Friday, August 28, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dad!!

Since he does not get online, I can post this now.  No one can say that I did not have this done before his birthday!! I am embarassed to say, but for some insane reason, I forget his birthday.  When we were young, we celebrated he and my grandma's together....his was the second of September, and hers was the third.  Some how, at some point...I put them together, and thought his was the 23rd of September.  The harder I try to remember, the more confused I seem to stay.  Then when you add senior moments to the equation...well....I have been a flop....too many years to count!

Did not know what to do for his birthday this year...he is not easy to buy for.  They have almost everything they need, and with the move to a senior's apartment...they are downsizing.  So I did an unusual thing...I asked him.  He asked for one of my special cards....which is just a homemad card....where I morph photos, or copy one of my paintings onto card stock, add a poem, and thanks to the digital age....I have a personal card.

So, I chose a ref photo, my brother had sent a copy of to me....a photo of my great-grandfather's old mule that he used to plow with every year, taken sometime about 1924.  When I enlarged it, I was amazed to realize that there was a shadow on the mule's side...and it was my great-grandfather and his old hat.  So I painted it onto some acrylic paper.

Then I had to decide what to do for the inside...and I remembered the papers I had 'found' when looking for something was a poem that my grandfather, my dad's father, had written in 1977, right before he passed away.  He had never quite finished it., though his ideas and thoughts were there.  So I took a deep breath, and finished it for him, and for my dad.

Hopefully this will be a present that he will be glad to recieve!!


Most every year, there comes the urge
To sort your files and give closets a purge,
To toss un-needed stuff away,
Put things you keep, in good array.
But a year will come, as it has for me,
When you know such sorting, no longer need be,
You know darned well, as you think and discover
You won’t need the items your search will uncover.

As I check my hunting clothes, on the rack,
I feel I should carefully hang some back;
But why not be honest, “You silly old goat,
There’s no use in keep that old hunting coat”.
"Ditch it, or sell it, or give it away,
No sense to keep it another day”…
You know darned well, from the health you’re in
You never can go hunting again.

You bid thing adieu, without remorse,
Sorry to part with some, of course;
But you count the pleasures they brought in the past
And are happy for memories that still last.
Tax forms, audits and such, all in files,
Travel bags, folders and maps showing miles…
You know darned well, as you check them through,
They will never again be of use to you.

Fishing poles and equipment, bobbers and flies,
Shop tools of all sorts, but no projects, no tries,
Gardening tools, fertilizers and such,
The flowers live on, but not with your touch,
You look at the pictures, you’ve taken a lot
Remembering those still with you, those not…
You know darned well you’re not “finished” yet
There are more years to do things, I bet!

Aims, wants, desires, keep changing each year,
And as they pass by, new methods appear
To help to fulfill joys, pleasures or work,
They invent a new gizmo, tactic or quirk;
Less action, more quiet, thoughts of the past
More snoozing through TV, dreams of the past…
You know darned well your descendants and kin,
Will also be living these same dreams again

Switch to other activities, of course
Those things have served their good purpose
Read books, write a letter, and give some advice
Watching the children of children is nice;
Making joys for self and others can
Fill the rest of your life, old man
You know darned well, life will make sense
Maybe be bette, because of your experience.

And when you are gone, your spirit will live
Many lives richer for these things you give
Children grown, with children of their own
Will sit and watch as the grass is mown
Watching grandchildren and knowing
That their short lives are also going
You know darned well, because you’re clever
Not even the Sun stays hot forever.

Written by S.E. Ackley, July 1977,  but unfinished;
With a humble attempt at completion,
by S.J.Richards in August 2009.

Happy Birthday, Daddy!! I hope and pray you have many more! Just as I will always be your little will always be my dad!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Some thoughts to remember....

With the start of school, and all the little ones going off for the first time to kindergarden, I started thinking and remembering.  I sent my three off, with 3 different sets of feelings...some traumatic, some cheerful, with pride and sadness.  Most seemed dependant on how many children I had. 

I also thought about how funny it is, with the first child, we cannot wait for them to walk and talk, and get  older, and with each one, or so it seems to me, we wish they would progress more slowly and even stay small forever. Some I think, is keep them young and away from pain (except an occasional fall or spanking), to keep that "joie de vivre " and innocence. Yet, some I think also, is knowing all the work and worry that come after the first crawl, and step, and climb....the questions that go on forever, after that first word.  And yet, once it is all over....and they start to grow, you wish for all those things to happen again, because you miss it.

I so miss a baby to hold, sometimes, with that special smell of baby powder and warmth; a toddler to watch try everything the world has to offer, with a newness we can never get back....catching that first snowflake on their tongue...wishing on the first falling star...catching their first lightening bug....drawing their first picture....tossing their first ball and the joy and pride on their face the first time they catch it.

I have also, enjoyed the first date, the first prom, the first many interesting stages of life. Watching your first grandchild be born (if you are lucky), bonding with them in a different way than your child...telling them stories of when their parent was young. I know there is much I don't miss...and I know you all know the kinds of things I mean (diapers, 2 am feedings, colick, etc).

It just seems ironic that as we get older, we miss all the things we used to take for granted or wish away. How often we wished they would just be quiet for a little bit, or not get up so early; we wished the day was over, so we could go to bed.  How many days at work, that I wished were over. Oh, for all that time we wished away in our would be nice to have some of it back. Now time passes so quickly, there seems to be so little left to do all that we haven't done.

I ache sometimes when I look at Bubba and see all the firsts he will never have, and all those he has missed.  Though even without them, he is still happy, and does not know what he has missed.  Part of that, is his lack of time him it is always today....there is no yesterday to regret, and no tomorrow to stress over; he lives totally in the present.   I also think part of it, is the love he has, that surrounds him.

Perhaps there is a lesson in there cherish all that we have, while we have it, to let life get in the way a bit less, and let love get in the way more? 

Remember that song, about time in a bottle?  I wish I had that bottle.

One way I have, is the paintings I do...and those I plan to do...this is my middle daughter...daring me to punish her....which she did alot...I'll never forget that look!

This is my great grandpa's mule....with his shadow reflected on the front of the mule....which I hope to paint soon...
This is my son, on an elephant....I also want to paint it!
These are my daughters and their cousins, at a family reunion...not sure how clean they got...but they certainly had alot of fun!
Memories...cherish them, and hold them close to your heart....their time is so short, and none of us ever knows how much time we have!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Time flies when you are having fun....

And it disappears completely, when you are painting!! I have been working on the horse I started, trying to get his shoulder I can start another.
I also started one with a few donkeys or is not done yet by any means.

When not painting, I have been dozing at the computer, since I am still working on getting my son to sleep at night and not in the daytime.

 I have managed to spend some time with my family, also...novel idea, huh?  I also, 'somewhat' insanely, joined Facebook...takes way, way, way too much time to try and keep up with that!!  I heard it was good for networking, and increasing sales, but I am not so sure....yet.  (I thought that Blogger had a spell checker....but I don't see it...I hate totally relying on this brain of forgets things too much anymore.  I will promise to do my best!)

While taking a class on trees, on Wet Canvas, we decided to do another exchange...5x7 flowering are mine.  Glad everyone finally got theirs, so that I can show them!!

These went to Canada, New York, Florida, England, Michigan, Ireland, Pennsylvania, and Germany. It was alot of fun!!!  And I recieved some beautiful paintings in return!  Which I might show you at a later date!  In keeping with my trying to go to bed earlier (than 2 or 3am.), I am going to sign off for now.  Hope everyone sleeps well!!

Saturday, August 1, 2009


A number of my friends have lost their pets lately, and it started me remembering. Over the years I have had a number of pets....some were what I call successful, or a good match...some were not. An aside: If you don't know it, the worst time to buy a cute little puppy or fuzzy little kitty, is while you are pregnant...unless you have had LOTS of pets before. Your maternal instincts are in high gear...and you need something to hold and cuddle and love...while you wait for the baby. The problem arises after the baby is born, when you would rather hold the baby and the pet tends to get shoved to the side, if it is lucky. I learned that the hard way...and sad to say so did the puppy I had gotten.

I had a bird once, since living in an apartment usually limits you on pets. He was the meanest parakeet I ever met. He bit me all the time, and attacked me if I let him out of the cage. But when he passed, I cried buckets...because he had been a part of my life.

The best remember pet, was the dog I had as a child...he was the typical stray that followed us home...and amazingly my parents let us keep him! He looked like a fox to me...but then I had never really seen a fox up close. We named him Frisky, because he loved to play.

This is the only picture that I have of him...tho' my parents may have more. He was a beautiful reddish gold color, with highlights that just seemed to glow at times.

I was not a particularly popular child, and we lived in a neighborhood of mostly I became a tomboy; I think I would have anyway, I never did really like girl-type games or dolls. Frisky became my confidant and best friend during a time when my social skills were lacking, and it felt like no one cared. We went for long walks...or I rode my bike and he ran along side. When ever my heart felt like it was breaking, he would curl up with me, and lick away my tears. He filled a void that was deep inside; the only problem was that he could not talk, and tell me what to do or how to cope.

I remember, as a child, we would go back the lane from where we lived, and climb this one high hill...and lay up there and watch the clouds. Of course the best time was when the Blue Angels would come for the air shows...there turning point was right over this hill...and they would come in so low we just knew they saw us!! Frisky would jump and bark...not really understanding our excitement, but participating anyway.

As I grew up, I needed him a little less, my brother moved away, and then I graduated from high school, and went to college for two years. Sad to say, I cannot remember the year he left us. I know that as we kids grew up and became involved with other things, he became my dad's dog. Now they went for walks, and Frisky would watch him garden. As he grew older, he had a lot of arthritis, and once my dad and a neighbor had to dig him out of a culvert that ran under our drive...he had chased after something and gotten caught. No one knows quite how long he had been trapped, and he was never really the same after that. He always slept in the basement, just in case of accidents. I remember once I begged my mom to let him sleep in my room, and for some reason only mothers know, she said yes. He had to be coaxed in, as he was not really allowed in the house, except for the kitchen and basement. As soon as I got back in bed, he snuck out; I tried 5 or 6 times, and realized that he was just not soon as we opened the cellar door, he happily ran downstairs.

As he grew older, and less able to move, my dad had to carry him in and out, and he knew how much pain he was in. My dad said he was his dog, his friend, and his responsibility, and no one was putting him down but him; so they went for their last walk out into the thicket behind our house, with daddy carrying his gun, and a blanket and shovel. He did it all, my dad, bore the burden and the sadness. I wish I had been able to say goodbye. I am not sure that I would have had that strength.

We may heal, but we never forget those we lose. It doesn't matter if they are your human friends and family, or your canine or feline ones. I am not sure the love is any less...or the pain of loss. I know there is a debate over whether there is heaven for animals....but it surely is a comforting thought that somewhere Frisky is still playing; that my mean old bird, flies free; that the burros I worked with in the summers and the jug-headed, ugly gray horse that gave me the very best ride of my entire life, are running thru' green fields; and that one day, those I knew, people and animals, will be there to greet me when it is my time to take that last walk.