Listen…Young Me…Listen!!

people of all ages quote

 Response to Daily Prompt: Youth

Youth is an escape artist. One day, you are invincible and infinite. The next day, you are skeptical and insightful. The day after that arrives and you are seemingly finite and invisible. The first day may last for 25 years, the second day for 30 years. The third day may last for the rest of your life…if you let it.

But…don’t you let it. Somehow revive your youthful self and take away the finite and invisible thoughts. Being negative will get you absolutely on the wrong tracks. Just because you are not youthful…just because you may walk slightly less than perfect…just because your wrist hurts from arthritis when you carry something heavy (getting personal here!)…just because you might not be running a marathon…LISTEN…you still have the ability to move mountains with your strongest thoughts, your most immortal words, and your experienced-filled actions.

You are the same youthful person inside…you are actually a better rendition of the same youthful person. I am thinking of myself here…I could be brazen and bold one minute when I was very young and incredibly shy the next minute. I didn’t know me. I didn’t know who I wanted to me. I didn’t know how to successfully set goals until I was well out of college. I didn’t know how to play by the team rules and…at the same time…encourage new, better rules.

I am certain that I thought that I knew everything when I was 22, 25, 30. That is why I say…”Listen…Young Me… Listen”! Don’t ever think that you know everything! Don’t be afraid to try something new! Don’t be afraid to be a leader and not a follower! Don’t be afraid to work smart, work long hours, be competitive! By the time I was 40, I had figured out what to do about most of these problem areas. What if I had listened when I was 25? What would have happened? Would I have gone to law school like I considered? Would I have opened a business like I considered? Would I have taken a year off to travel around the world to find the real me like I considered? Would I have written the book that I kept thinking about like I considered? Who knows the answers.

What I do know is that it is never too late to regain some of that sheer energy and excitement of youth. Some of the younger people that you work with may think your ideas are not current…that your ideas are not with the program. Get yourself current in whatever way necessary and prove through your success what your ideas can achieve.

During my last two years of teaching, I felt a difference in attitude toward me (and other older teachers) from a few much younger teachers…even when our classes were highly achieving.  It was just a handful of people. They only seemed to respect their peers. I knew that their attitudes were very improper and not based on best practices. I didn’t have to say a word. I had learned to have strength and confidence and I knew that sooner than they think…they will be the older ones. Perhaps they will eventually learn something from their actions. They are already a bit past youthful.

Youth is fleeting. Youth is filled with regretful as well as prideful actions. I would say to my youthful self…keep on being you, but learn to be a better you as soon as possible. You will make it. You will have at least two joyous and fulfilling careers. I would say to the young me…don’t forget that you like to write. The written word should never lose vitality, warmth, and true feelings. To the older me…do you understand? Yes! I think that I really do understand!

Listen…Older Me…Listen!

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/youth/

 

Carry Each Other. One Love.

Bono and Mary J. Blige: “ONE”

 

The Daily Prompt for 8/16/2016 was the word carry. The first item that came to my mind was how the word is used in Bono’s song titled “ONE“. Bono wrote the lyrics for his band, U2 around the time that the wall came down in Berlin. In fact, the band was evidently in Berlin at this time. U2 was experiencing some discord at the time among themselves. The song lyrics were written in about 30 minutes and were recorded for their newest album. The words reflect the experiences of U2 trying to reach unity as well as many facets of the world trying to reach unity.

There are many interpretations of the song, but there is no doubt that the words speak (to me) of the idea that we have to learn to carry each other for the world to even begin to attempt to unify. We are all different. We are not the same. We have to care for one another in some way at some time, despite our disagreements. To you, the words may have a completely different meaning. I would be interested in your opinions.

The word carry brings to my mind 1) caring for someone who is less fortunate, 2) helping someone to learn to follow the rules in order to stay away from negative behavior, 3) taking the time to understand another person’s differing beliefs, 4) to refrain from hurting someone in any possible way, 5) to look for joy instead of sorrow for your fellow man, 6) to accept people for who they are meant to be, 7) to congratulate and celebrate as one world, one people.

Some might say: Just listen to her…”looking at the world through rose colored glasses again!”…I say…”perhaps we all should do the same”. At least for one day.. while we are carrying each other.

Lyrics to “ONE”

Is it getting better or do you feel the same?

Will it make it easier on you, now you got someone to blame?

You say one love, one life, when it’s one need in the night.

One love, we get to share it

Leaves you baby if you don’t care for it.

Did I disappoint you or leave a bad taste in your mouth?

You act like you never had love and you want me to go without.

Well, it’s too late tonight to drag the past out into the light.

We’re one, but we’re not the same.

We get to carry each other, carry each other…one.

 

Have you come here for forgiveness?

Have  you come to raise the dead?

Have you come here to play Jesus to the lepers in your head?

Did I ask too much, more than a lot?

You gave me nothing, now it’s all I got.

We’re one, but we’re not the same.

Well, we hurt each other, then we do it again.

 

You say love is a temple, love a higher law.

Love is a temple, love the higher law.

You ask me to enter, but then you make me crawl.

And I can’t be holding on to what you got, when all you got is hurt.

 

One love, one blood, one life, you got to do what you should.

One life with each other: sister, brothers.

One life, but we’re not the same.

We get to carry each other, carry each other.

One, One.

 

Carry Each Other.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/carry/

Crème Brulee. No Gizmo.

number 3 creme brulee

When I wrote about my “personally” complicated Coffee Angel Food Cake the other day, the very creative and funny “thechickengrandma” mentioned in a comment that separating eggs was a cinch for her. She has a gizmo from Pampered Chef! I am desperate for a gizmo now…even though I cannot visualize what it looks like. I am wishing that I would be invited to a  Pampered Chef party…oh my…I know that I could probably order a gizmo online. The parties are way more fun with all of the food and all. I just don’t want to be the hostess!

I am retired now, so I have no extra time anymore. I cannot be a hostess! I have filled my hours with planning future outings with friends and looking up possible vacation locations where my husband and I could go…should there be any money left after I finish buying exercise outfits to wear to the gym.  Plus, I had two baby gifts to buy this week. And the Olympics have kept me busy. The Olympics alone have taken up seven hours a day. I will watch any event. That is why I cannot have a Pampered Chef party and have the opportunity to perhaps quickly get a gizmo.

In a comment to the “thechickengrandma”, I said that Crème Brulee could be made with five egg yolks since my complicated cake takes so many egg whites. As it turned out, my recipe calls for six egg yolks. If I had a gizmo, I might make Crème Brulee again. I will just have to wait until a gizmo comes my way.

My Recipe for Crème Brulee

There are many recipes with different combinations… I imagine that all are delicious!

Ingredients:

2 cups heavy whipping cream

6 large egg yolks

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

8 teaspoons additional sugar (for sprinkling on top of chilled custard before caramelizing)

Boiling water-enough to cover two-thirds of the height of the four ramekins in 13×9-inch pan

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a 13×9-inch pan, place 4 (6-oz) ceramic ramekins. In small bowl, slightly beat egg yolks with wire wisk. In large bowl, stir whipping cream, 1/3 cup granulated sugar and the vanilla until well mixed. Add egg yolks; beat with wire whisk until evenly colored and well blended. Pour cream mixture evenly into ramekins.

2. Carefully place pan with ramekins in oven. Carefully pour enough boiling water into pan, being careful not to splash water into ramekins, until water covers two-thirds of the height of the ramekins.

3. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until top is light golden brown and sides are set (center will be jiggly).

4. Using tongs or grasping tops of ramekins with pot holder, carefully transfer ramekins to cooling rack. Cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Cover tightly with plastic wrap; refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours, but no longer than 48 hours.

5. Uncover ramekins; gently blot any liquid from tops of custards with paper towel. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons granulated sugar over each chilled custard. Holding kitchen torch 3 to 4 inches from custard, caramelize sugar on each custard by heating with torch about 1 minute (may take longer…but be careful not to brown too much), moving flame continuously over sugar in circular motion, until sugar is melted and light golden brown. Serve immediately, or refrigerate up to 8 hours before serving.

 Enjoy!

Avoid Confusion. Avoid Freeways.

Downtown Dallas, Texas 

Just in case you are wondering…the freeways are totally confusing in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Oh my, I realize the freeways in LA are over-crowded and fast moving, but I don’t live there. I have been a passenger in a NYC taxi many times and I admit that I sometimes just close my eyes, but I don’t live there.

Perhaps, if I opened my eyes when in a taxi in NYC …I would SEE all of the roadway confusion and not just HEAR it. I’ve never been in a taxi in LA…being in regular cars was plenty enough for me. I am beginning to feel the same exact way in DFW, especially with all of the current construction. For months at a time this past school year, I took confusing side roads during the very busy morning drive…because freeway construction was causing traffic jams and accidents every, single day. Too many cars…no matter what the route.

The High Five Interchange, Dallas

high-five-interchange-dallas

According to the 2015 U.S. Census estimate, there were 7,102,796 people in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. I wonder what the next census number will be with the huge amount of growth. Too many cars, too many people, too many important places to go. I have to admit that I like it that way. However, I could have stayed home and be that one less person on the roads today. No! I do live here and I want to take advantage of all that is out there. Even if the freeways are confusing.

I became so very confused with one of the fairly new  interchanges today. It was one of the ones with the highest ramps…I call these fly-away zones. I think that I need an instruction manual and perhaps a video to study. Besides, it appeared that several million of the people in the census were going the same way that I was going. And they knew what to do. OK…I perhaps have exaggerated a bit, but maybe thousands were going the same way that I was going. I should have stayed home and watched the Olympics. In that case, I could have avoided the confusion of the fly-away zone!

Downtown Fort Worth, Texas

 Calm Fort Worth!

Downtown Fort Worth

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/confused/

 

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A Complicated Cake Recipe.

Mocha Coffee Angel Food Cake

Let me be clear about this fact…I like to cook. My mother liked to cook. My grandmother liked to cook. The only difference is that they had the time and took the time to make everything just right. I appear to have no extra time and even less patience. I consider myself part of the “Microwave Manipulators Menagerie”. Don’t call me a “Baby Boomer” anymore. But…back to the cooking. I like desserts (to a fault!) . I cannot help it (sure!). I was just made this way (so untrue!). I want to make a different dessert for Thanksgiving this year. I will keep all of the buttermilk pies and the pecan pies. This will be an extra cake to go along with all of the other multitudes of desserts.

Drum rolls needed…please! I intend to attempt the best cake of all time according to the expert…me and only me. I intend to make the very complicated

Neiman Marcus Coffee Angel Food Cake with Butter Icing Covered in Almonds!

Some cooks may consider this cake to be easy. They may even say that I have lost my mind to call it complicated. If I have to separate even one egg white, I think that the recipe is difficult. This cake has 1 1/4 cups of egg whites! Do you realize the significance of that statement? That means that the recipe calls for 10 to 12 eggs! This cake is:

TRULY COMPLICATED!

I have mentioned this cake in another post. There was a time when I ordered a slice of this cake at the Neiman Marcus Mermaid Bar (described as a “whimsical cafe”) every, single time that I went shopping with my mother at the NorthPark Center in Dallas. At some point during the last few years or so, they stopped making it. I was totally crushed. I even talked to the manager about the decision. His answer was so complicated that I can’t even explain the reason.

Nevertheless…here is the complicated recipe for “the most talked about cake at Neiman Marcus”…

 

COFFEE ANGEL FOOD CAKE

1 1/2 cups sifted sugar

1 cup sifted cake flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups egg whites (10 to 12 eggs)

1 1/4 teaspoons cream of tarter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon powdered instant coffee

Butter Icing (recipe follows)

Toasted almonds, slivered or chopped (to sprinkle generously on the icing…I say…the more the better!)

Cake Directions:

Add 1/2 cup of the sugar to flour. Sift together four times. Add salt to separated egg whites and beat with flat wire whisk or rotary eggbeater (old recipe!) until foamy. Sprinkle cream of tartar over eggs and continue beating to soft-peak stage. Add the remaining cup of sugar by sprinkling 1/4 cup at a time over egg whites and blending carefully, about 20 strokes each time. Fold in flavorings.

Sift flour-sugar mixture over egg whites about 1/4 at a time and fold in lightly, about 10 strokes each time. Pour into ungreased round 10-inch tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and invert pan on wire rack. Ice with Butter Icing (add a bit of powdered coffee to icing if desired). Sprinkle generously with toasted almonds.

BUTTER ICING

1/2 cup butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

3 to 4 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions for Icing:

Cream butter. Add salt and sugar, a small amount at a time, beating continuously. Add milk as needed, and flavoring. Beat until light and fluffy. Ice the cake and sprinkle generously with toasted almonds.

ENJOY!!

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/complicated/

 

Reach Up High? Not Me.

Short-Woman-Tall-Man001Really quite short.

  Response to Daily Prompt: Reach

It has taken me a long time to realize it…but, I am really quite short. I don’t feel short at all. For some reason, I feel tall and strong. I was truly the tallest child in sixth grade and I have never gotten over the power. By the seventh grade, I imagine that I lost my title fairly quickly.

To give up the title did not bother me at all. I had already developed the tall mentality…it was embedded in my personality. Perhaps, I have been around five year old children for so long that I think all grown ups are that size. However, just lately I have seen some pictures of myself that make me wonder…am I shrinking?

Besides the obviously improperly proportioned pictures are the following sad, but true situations:

1. It is virtually impossible for me to reach the two liter Cokes on the top shelf at the grocery store. I refuse to ask for help. I would rather do without or pay more for the carton of can drinks.

2. I cannot seem to reach the iron and pull it down from it’s holder on the back of the pantry door. If by chance, I am able to grab it…water pours on my head. I did not remember to drain the water. Who needs to steam iron these days anyway?

3. The ironing board from the same holder on the back of the pantry door. I just can’t talk about it. Impossible to reach.

4. Any books on the top shelf at the library or at Barnes & Noble are entirely out of my reach. I guess that I didn’t need to read them in the first place.

5. Jackets that are displayed at a department store (prime example-Macy’s) on a rod to hold the hangers and merchandise. There is no way that I can reach these. I rarely see a salesperson. Recently, I took the matter in my own hands and found one of those long rods with a hook on the end. I suppose they were made for the short clerks. As soon as I started to snare a jacket, two or three salespersons pounced towards me. Customers DO NOT use the long rod with the hook! Trouble!

6. The carton of Legos on the top shelf of the closet in my classroom are a non-reaching item. Or the box of books on the top shelf. Or the construction paper on the top shelf. And especially the floor puzzles. The floor puzzles are a disaster when I drop them as I teeter-totter on a small stool. I have lots of experience with this mess. This might have something to do with my retirement in June. No! Wait! It was really the testing. What is worse? A headache from boxes of puzzles falling on your head or a headache from giving a test to a five year old whirling dervish?

7. Any of the hooks placed on the wall in our laundry room…used for coats and various other items. My husband put them up…so sweet of him. I cannot reach any of them. He is 6’2′. Evidently, he also thinks that I am tall or that I can find a small ladder.

So there you have it…I have faced the truth. I am too short to reach anything. And all the things that I really need are on the top shelf. To top it all off…we were out to dinner with friends recently and were (of course) the last to arrive. When we walked into the restaurant, we found the table immediately. My wonderful and absolutely kind friend said, “Oh, you found us on your own! I told the hostess to look for a really tall man and a really short lady!”…well! I guess that the news is out…I am for sure really short. My reaching ability is definitely over!

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/reach/

Obsessed With A House.

Maple-Forest-HouseThe Maple Forest Cottage

Response to Daily Prompt: Obsessed

As usual, I was in Home Depot with my husband and absolutely could not find him. This happens quite repeatedly. He becomes obsessed with the nails or hammers for the nails or the worst…obsessed with some sort of pipe fittings. The boredom overcame me and I wandered aimlessly towards the kitchen area.

I really love refrigerators and Home Depot has a LOT of refrigerators. Like the couples on Fixer Upper…I only look at stainless. I am a refrigerator snob and I blame it on HGTV. However, this was not the beginning of my most intense life interfering obsession. Not even a stainless refrigerator with Sonic ice could cause this obsession.

A picture on the cover of a magazine was the major catalyst for this particularly serious obsession. Right there in the magazine section at Home Depot, I saw my future…

THE MAPLE FOREST COTTAGE.

The blue-green roof, the gables, the expanse of large windows, the porch, the absolute charm of the Maple Forest Cottage was too much to fully comprehend. Beautiful. This was a storybook house fit for a wealthy Little Red Riding Hood or perhaps her grandmother. I grabbed up that magazine like a child at an Easter egg hunt who has spotted the golden egg. I bought the Better Homes and Gardens “Special Interest Publication” almost immediately. I found the area of Home Depot with the umbrella tables, sat down, and stared at my house on the cover of my magazine.

I spent so much time at the umbrella table that my husband had to find me. As he approached, he said “I told you that we really don’t need another umbrella table!”. I answered…”Are you kidding? What we need is this house!!”. He looked down at the magazine and just said:

“WEIRD HOUSE!”

I imagine that he didn’t appreciate Hansel and Gretel’s house either. You just need vision for these things. I have been working on his vision since that moment. At first, I kept the magazine in a basket next to his chair. If he put a magazine on top, I moved the Maple Forest Cottage magazine to the top again. This went on for several years, but the pages inside the magazine started turning a bit yellow. I put the magazine in a very safe place in my desk.

Fortunately,  an architect named Sarah Susanka had written a book titled The Not So Big House… this wonderful book includes the Maple Forest Cottage and other unique homes. The designer for the Maple Forest Cottage is Michaela Mahady. Some of her other designs are also architectural wonders…at least, to me! Of course, I bought the The Not So Big House  and placed the book on an end table at our farm. Sometimes, I move it to the coffee table. The book is still there…in a place of honor. My husband has yet to mention anything about my obsession with the magazine, book, or the house. Better to leave the subject alone, I guess.

When a person is obsessed, one cannot leave the subject alone. Since we are getting close to living at our farm, we have been talking about building a house on our land…a hill not too far away from the older farmhouse would be a good place. I personally have been talking about this for years. The Maple Forest Cottage is really too big, but the architect has a smaller version. Of course, it also looks like it is out of a wonderful nursery rhyme. Like I originally said…beautiful.

I have not caved in yet, but I did find a “not so weird” house plan that I like. Our daughter even thinks the new plan is “pretty”. I am not really looking for just “pretty”. I guess I am looking for “weird”.

I have been planning and obsessing and looking at the Maple Forest Cottage for 20 years. The magazine came out in the spring of 1996. I have decided that I will enlarge a picture of the house and have it matted and framed. It will be the first picture I hang in the not yet decided upon new house. I don’t easily forget. Obsessed!

 House Plan

Original Maple Forest Cottage Magazine

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/obsessed/ 

 

Maybe He Said. Maybe She Said.

2016-Election

Response to Daily Prompt: Maybe

Maybe our political situation is just not right. The current presidential election in the United States is on the fringe of a “he said-she said-they said-we said- you said” theater production. It is not a laughing matter to me. It is an embarrassing matter to me. Maybe, just maybe he really did not say that. Maybe, just maybe she really did not say that. Maybe, just maybe I am really tired of it. And it is just August.

I counted and it is still three months away until we can vote and make a decision. Maybe, just maybe I can’t listen to all this he said/she said business anymore. There are too many critical issues to discuss to listen to intelligent people waste time with name-calling, bickering, maybe false information, maybe self-promotion, and perhaps even downright anger. I want to know what they are going to exactly do about:

1. Creating a bipartisan atmosphere in the Senate and in the House so that key decisions can be addressed and solved. I see so much questionable agreement mixed with strong disagreement. Who knows what to believe? I do not see comprehensive cohesiveness at all.

2. The state of education throughout the country. High-stakes testing is causing havoc within so many school districts. I have seen this first-hand in local situations. Teaching to a test rarely causes a student to garner long-term information and recollection of information. Are we starting to create an entire generation of children who cannot think on their own? What kind of future is that?

3. Immigration is a problematic occurrence…no matter what one side or the other says. In one small area of a nearby city, I know of countless numbers of families and/or individuals who are undocumented and are maybe/probably totally living off of the government. And…the children are receiving a free education, healthcare, reduced cost housing (in some cases), free breakfast at school, free lunch at school, and in other cases…a free place to sleep and eat when some adults are incarcerated for various offenses. Until I saw it with my own eyes, I did not understand the very real as well as disturbing situation. I honestly care for these families, but is it right to take when you do not give?

Truthfully, these issues maybe are the more minor of the huge problems that need answers. Such as the economy, the environment, the fear of terrorism, healthcare, social security. I need to know who, what, when, where, why, how. Maybe, just maybe I need to know by November.

I don’t recall being distressed with absolutely both sides in my entire adult life. I will admit that I am not really political, but I have always voted. I do not want to dedicate myself to either party. I would rather vote for the person with the best ideology, the best progress, the  best vision of fairness, the best honest demeanor. I vote my heart and my heart is having a difficult time with this election.

I wonder why. It seems to me that educated, successful people could possibly find a way to be able to talk about the issues without the ever-present verbal demolition of their opponent. Maybe…I have heard enough of candidates taking the low road instead of the high road. Maybe, just maybe.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/maybe/

Why Do I Crave Buttermilk Pie?

Buttermilk Pie Buttermilk Pie

Daily Prompt: Cravings

Why do I CRAVE Buttermilk Pie? What a really ridiculous question! I dislike buttermilk intensely, but sugar mixed with buttermilk is so incredibly decadent. The other ingredients are just regular, run of the mill pie parts.

Pie parts like real butter, eggs, a little flour, vanilla and of course…a pie crust. Just six ingredients mixed together and throw it in the pie plate. There is just not another pie so easy to make, but tastes like a delicate gourmet pastry concoction. Well…maybe not gourmet, but close enough.

I had my first Buttermilk Pie when I was very young…not a toddler, but not too much older. My mother made a pie for her bridge club and left in on the counter to cool down a little bit. There was a person who cut a very odd shape piece out of the pie. Surely, it was my brother. Funny that I was the one who ate every bite. There was not enough left for the entire bridge club, so she had to hurry and make a second pie. I was not the favorite child for a few days.

I didn’t mind being in trouble because that pie was the best thing that I had ever eaten. Hooked on Buttermilk Pie…that was me. For that reason, I don’t make it very often. For our gigantic Thanksgiving celebration, I make four Buttermilk Pies. It has been said that we sometimes have so many desserts at Thanksgiving that each person gets one entire pie or cake to themselves. We won’t even talk about all the other food, since we are on a pie focus.

Sometimes we have new Thanksgiving guests who arrive with the other 45 or so other guests (the more the better!) and the new people have never heard of Buttermilk Pie. Not that I force the issue, but they leave having at least tried it. They did not have a mother and a grandmother who grew up in Nashville, Tennessee. They can’t possibly understand about the pie and Southern traditions.

Just in case you are faced with a question about why people would like pie made from buttermilk…here is the recipe:

The Buttermilk Pie

Recipe makes two pies!!

3 cups sugar

6 tablespoons flour

6 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup real butter

2 teaspoons vanilla

 

Mix all ingredients in bowl for at least three minutes or until your arm can’t take it. Pour into TWO unbaked pie crusts. Bake until firm in center. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes and then reduce heat to 325 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

Enjoy!!!

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompt/craving

 

A Surprise! Delighted? Yes!

Inn at Meander Plantation

The Inn at Meander Plantation…Locust Dale, Virginia

Thank you to Martha L. Shaw for asking me to participate in her “I am Astonished with Delight Challenge”! These types of challenges cause me to look back in time…and absorb memories again. Sort of like the lyrics to the song “Try to Remember”, my delightful time took me happily back in time:

 

Try to remember the kind of September when life was slow and oh, so mellow

Try to remember the kind of September when grass was green and grain was yellow

Try to remember the kind of September when you were a tender and callow fellow

Try to remember and if you remember then follow…

 

My time to be “Astonished with Delight” did not happen in September or even in October, but that does not make any difference. The song still works!

I actually first met an incredibly special friend in early September way back when I was in college. She is the important subject of my delightful surprise. Suzanne! My best friend in college and most likely the most fun and most smart and most successful person that I know…then and now. We both were journalism majors and naturally met in one of those classes. We joined the same service sorority. We both were on the college newspaper staff. Our families were similar and we were brought up very much alike. We were friends immediately.

That friendship has lasted for over 45 years. When we first graduated from college, we worked for the same newspaper in my hometown. Oh my! What fun times we had. We had some escapades…that is for sure!

Suzanne was with me when I first met my husband. In fact, it was a date that she and his cousin confidently put together…without my knowledge. One morning, just moments after I arrived at work, they told me that they had the perfect boyfriend for me. His cousin had seen him at a family reunion the past weekend. As soon as she started talking to him, she thought about me…why? I really don’t know. Anyway, I said absolutely not! I did not want to go on a date with someone I didn’t know! It didn’t matter what I said, they had the date set up by the time I arrived back after lunch.

I was really sort of furious, but I didn’t want to back out. It would not be particularly nice. By late afternoon, the two who were determined to find me a new boyfriend somehow produced a picture of HIM. Well… hmmm… maybe I might better be finding a better attitude. Suzanne just happened to be going to Fort Worth that very weekend… to visit a friend at TCU. HE (the date) lived in Fort Worth. On Friday afternoon, we drove to Fort Worth and I met HIM. Funny thing…on the way back home on Sunday, I announced to Suzanne that I was certain that I was going to marry HIM. We were married one year and seven months later. This coming Sunday, we will celebrate 40 years of marriage!

Suzanne was my Maid of Honor in our wedding. She and the other attendants looked so beautiful in their mauve/ peach colored dresses. Suzanne was totally involved in helping my mother and I plan the wedding. In fact, she beaded the bride’s book because my mother broke her arm a month before the wedding. I even had Suzanne to drive out to the reception location the afternoon of the wedding. I was so worried that the bakery would drop the cake before setting it up on the table. She does not  remember the cake errand at all. There is no telling what else I asked her to do.

After I was married and moved to Fort Worth, Suzanne was offered a newspaper position in Louisiana and later another position in Chicago. She eventually became the publisher for 15 suburban newspapers in Chicago. What a career! After growing tired of the weather, she and a close friend decided to purchase a historical home and acreage in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. After renovation, they opened the Inn at Meander Plantation…an elegant Bed & Breakfast, a wonderfully beautiful large home with beautiful grounds.

Suzanne and Suzie were very busy establishing their business and we were busy raising two children and working and going to soccer games, etc! However, we saw each other a very few times. We kept in touch. We had epic telephone talks, we wrote letters. After the arrival of the internet… we emailed, we talked via Facebook.

I always told our daughter about my unique friendship with Suzanne…so that she would feel like she knew her. Also, so that she would realize the importance of keeping lifelong friends…and she has. On Mother’s Day two years ago, our daughter surprised me with a “girl trip” for just us…to visit Suzanne in Virginia! I was totally “Astonished with Delight”!

Our trip was the best trip! It was as if Suzanne and I had lived in the same city for years and years…like we saw each other every day or so. More than that, she and our daughter were instant friends. Their conversations lasted for hours. We laughed, we visited wineries, we enjoyed gourmet dinners at the Inn’s restaurant, we were amazed at the delicious breakfast offerings, we drove to the Shenandoah National Park, we visited Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello… we absolutely just enjoyed being together.

In our fast moving world, it seems like friendships can be so fleeting. People move across the country and close ties are lost somewhere along the way. However, my special friendship with Suzanne is the forever kind. I am still amazed that our daughter chose to give me the best Mother’s Day present ever…to surprise me with the gift of togetherness! Delightful, for sure!

Suzanne at Meander

 

 Suzanne at the Inn at Meander Plantation