Tag Archives: family

Happy Fourth of July–in two days

This greeting is early, I know, but since I  blog on Tuesday and Friday, I thought a mention was due BEFORE the actual Fourth.

What is your favorite part of the Fourth?  I’m sure you have many.  Mine are sort of a mix of all the past Fourths:  lots of fireworks when I was very young.  My favorites as a child were snakes.  You young people may not have ever heard of them.  They weren’t exciting.   Before being lit, a snake looked like a piece of black licorice the size of an aspirin.  When I lit the top, the snake would grow in a long, black tube of ash, coiling like a snake.  When they reached a length of about six inches, it stopped.  A light breeze would break the ashes up and blow them away.

However, snakes–boring as they were–were very safe.   When I was six, I took a sparkler and lit it.  Unfortunately, I was holding the wrong end.  I’d pick up the soft, thick end of the sparkler, believing–and, yes, I do remember this–that was the comfortable handle.  When I put a match on the other end, the heat moved down the wire section and the part I held–the “sparkler” part–burst into, well, sparkles.  I got terrible burns on my palm.   A great deal of what I remember about celebrating the Fourth has to do with pain.

Every year back then, in late June, there were explosions in stores that carried fireworks as well as the factories and transportation centers.   That’s why you see fireworks sold at stands yards away from and building and why sparklers are now so hard to light.   When I was a kid, fireworks killed people.   I feel it is my duty, as an old person, to mention history.

However, I do have good memories of the Fourth which include family and watermelon and long drives to Wichita, Kansas, and back to Kansas City in the same day.  Historical note:  this was before car air conditioning.  

What’s your favorite memory of Independence Day?

The joy of not being alone

I’ve said this often:  I love my church.    During this difficult time, ministers visited in the hospital and at home.  Missionary friends dropped by Tuesday before they left for Ecuador.  Others have called.  Today a minister  and her young daughter visited–always fun to have a little girl around.   People in the congregation have sent cards,  kept us in prayer, and asked what they can do to help–and I know they mean that.  After all, Ken and the guys showed up to move furniture for us.

Our families have been wonderful. We don’t have relatives closer than Kentucky and Arizona although I have a cousin in Kansas, but George’s sister calls almost daily. We love talking to her. My sister sent a card. My brother called. Friends from the church George served in Burnet stopped by Monday. One of George’s oldest friends even volunteered to drive all the way from Kentucky to visit.   People tell me their friends and families and prayer groups keep us in prayer.

And so, we’re not alone.  Even with George as sick as he is and with my being  worried, we are truly blessed  by those who remind us that we are not alone.

I thank God every day for each of you.


The Heart of Maple Avenue by Diane Perrine Coon

Guest blogging today is my sister-in-law, Diane Perrine Coon.  She’s an expert on the underground railroad in Kentucky and surrounding states, a speaker,  a respected historian, and the daughter of one on my favorite people.   Thanks for dropping in, Diane.  Take it away.

 It was one of those fortuitous events that many believe are God incidents, I was living in Pennsylvania and taking an early retirement from a large corporation at the same time my Dad died leaving Mom with an oversized house and yard exactly 857 miles away. So I left my daughter and grandkids up East and came back to Kentucky, to small town Kentucky. That move meant I spent the next 12 years getting to know Mom all over again in a new and fresh way. And it also meant I got bored and went back to graduate school, this time in American History.

In her last year as Mom at age 95 was dying of congestive heart failure, I was amazed at how many of her friends, some she had known for 50 years, others for 30 years, and some just 10 years or so visited her frequently. Sometimes there were shouts of great merriment. Other times it was a time of reflection, of that gentle gossip among old friends, or of Mom reading one of her favorite poems by Billy Collins. Then it dawned on me that Mom had taught Bible for over 65 years and these were her students. This was their way of thanking her for bringing a very real Jesus into their lives.

As hospice was called in, her oldest Kentucky friend, Joyce Rose now with just one kidney after her own surgery and in her late 80s, visited bringing homemade soups because Mom could not get solid food down anymore. When we moved to Kentucky in 1950 to a tiny hamlet called Pewee Valley, Joyce lived just down Maple Avenue from our house on the corner of Maple and Elm Street. She had five children and often found herself at the doctor’s office (my Dad) and visited Mom’s kitchen. Then Mom, a nurse, gave allergy shots to one of Joyce’s children and never charged for it. A deep and lasting friendship grew between them.

On one of her last visits, I asked Joyce to help me remember the people that lived on Maple Avenue, Pewee Valley, during the 1950s. It was such a momentous time in our lives. It was our first real house with a big yard and fabulous big trees. There were only 650 people in Pewee Valley when we moved there, so it was a very small town. My Dad was setting up medical practice after years in internship, residency and four years in WW II. My brother and I were adjusting to our fifth (and third) school. Of course that first Sunday, Mom trotted us all off to our new church in the next village. Within hours everyone on Maple Avenue knew who we were, and within days, we had met all the kids that lived up and down the street. And within months our side yard had baseball games going, rabbits being raised in the other side yard, and Duchess, my horse, was munching everything in sight in the back field.   

A couple of months after Mom died, Joyce phoned and asked if she could come over. She brought with her a piece of cardboard. She had drawn a couple of lines to represent Maple Avenue and there along the edges were the names of all the families that lived there in the 1950s. I almost burst into tears. Instead I hugged her tightly. I could imagine how many memories had flooded into her mind and soul and she drew the map. This was such a great act of love toward my Mom from her oldest Kentucky friend. And that is the heart of Maple Avenue.

What’s coming up

My sister-in-law Diane Perrine Coon, whom I introduced last week, will be blogging Tuesday about Pewee Valley and memories of her childhood.  Pewee, as the natives call it, is a lovely town with huge trees and beautiful, historical houses. 

Thursday, another blog about being frugal, about my husband this time.

So this week seems a lot like, family week but that’s okay.  I married into a marvelous bunch.   

By the way, Pewee Valley is named for the pewee bird seen to the left.