#Core – #MothersDay

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On this Mother’s Day, I find myself thinking about my mother and what her passing meant to me. She’s been gone for eighteen years now. My dad died when I was comparatively young – only 30. I had my mother for many years after he passed away. After she died, I felt a keen since of mortality at my core. There was no one left older than me. That meant I would, at some point, be next. You really feel that when both parents are gone as they were in my case after my mother died.

When your mother dies, you feel quite alone. Even though I was closer to my father than to my mother, I felt more alone after she died. You never quite get over losing your parents and I think I can safely say, your mother. I think that may be because your mother nurtured you before you were born and immediately thereafter.

Mother’s Day also revers the maternal bonds as well as being a celebration of Mothers. I don’t know a lot about maternal bonds. My mother did her best, even though she was plagued by serious illness all of her life or the portion of her life in which I knew her. We didn’t have the strong bonds many daughter’s and mother’s have.

I hope every Mother out there has a wonderful Mother’s Day today and that you get to spend it with your children!

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Father’s Day in the U.S. And Other Countries

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My dad has been gone for 34 1/2 years and I miss him as much today as I did when he died. Particularly on Father’s Day, the third Sunday of June in the United States. My dad was a fun, but hard-working parent, never aimless. I miss the twinkle in his eye when he saw me and the spring in his step when he carried me to bed! This poem reminded me of him.

Father’s Day was first celebrated by Sondra Dodd in 1910 in Spokane, Washington. She had lost her mother in childbirth and her father cared for her. She wanted to show her appreciation for him. Sondra’s dad’s birthday was June 5, so Father’s Day unofficially ended up in June. The movement to establish a day to honor father’s grew and in 1924, President Calvin Coolidge became a supporter. He did not declare it an official holiday.

Father’s Day was celebrated in June. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson declared it an official holiday and designated the third Sunday in June as the official date for Father’s Day. In 1972, President Richard Nixon declared Father’s Day to be a national holiday.

There are some interesting and fun facts about Father’s Day in the U.S.

There are over 70 million fathers in the U.S. And 2 million of them are single. It is the fourth busiest day for sending greeting cards. More than 214,000 men are single fathers.

Other countries also celebrate Father’s Day. Canada celebrates it like the U.S. but unofficially. France celebrates Father’s Day on the third Sunday in June. They used to give their fathers’ Bic lighters but now they substitute other small gifts. Germany celebrates the day on the last day of the Easter holiday.

In Asia, India celebrates Father’s Day much the same way as we do, but Thailand celebrates the day on the birthday of their king and everyone wears yellow. In Australia, Father’s Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of their spring which is September.

Now, I’m going to go and start the dinner I’m preparing tonight in honor of my dad. Happy Father’s Day to all the dad’s out there!

 

The Man’s Retreat

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We looked at the property in the fall and the deep gold of the leaves astounded us. Behind the main house was this shed. Just the kind of place my husband liked for himself. A retreat. Never mind that is was open air with an air conditioner in a strange place or that it was only partially painted. My husband was handy. He could fix all that. I think he wanted to buy the property more for the shed than the house.

He had big plans for that shed. It would be his work room for his woodworking. He could store his plethora of parts he kept to fix anything that went wrong in the house or with the cars.

More than that, he could make it his own with a little creativity. He insisted that we buy the property. He already felt at home. #amwriting #writing #blogging #FFfAW #flashfiction

*Thanks to PricelessJoy for #FFfAW ahd pholor for the photo prompt.

Roundup of Appalachian Blog Posts

Friday Fare to Appalachia

I have committed to writing about my native area, Appalachia, every Friday. Today, I want to do a roundup of the blog posts I’ve written on Appalachia to date. This is for the readers who may have missed a post. It is also for the members of the wonderful new group I have joined on Facebook, Appalachian Americans. Enjoy!

Introducing a Friday Blog Feature on Appalachia

Mother’s Day: Founded in Appalachia

Personality Traits of the Appalachian People

Appalachian Cultural Stereotypes: TV Show “Outsiders”

Appalachia and Food: Green Beans and Corn Bread

Recipe for Memorial Day: Corn Pudding

The Early Homes of the Appalachian Mountain People

Appalachia: Settlers of Eastern KY in the 1700s

The Smokehouse: Preserving Meat

Appalachia and Food: Potato Pancakes

Appalachian Folklore: The Jack Tales

Book Review: Clay’s Quilt

Appalachian Roots

Bluegrass Musician Ralph Stanley Dies

I will blog about Appalachia every Friday, and perhaps on other days, at Writings from the Heart. I look forward to your comments! #amwriting #writing #blogging #appalachia

 

 

 

 

 

 

Independence Day

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I started to write this blog post about what Independence Day, the Fourth of July, meant to me. But, I changed my mind. Independence Day only means one thing and it should mean the same thing to all of us. This day, the Fourth of July, Independence Day, marks the birth of the United State of America. Our independence from Great Britain in 1776.

When the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson, in Philadelphia, they knew that Great Britain would certainly take issue with the American colonies breaking away from their mother country. They knew they were effectively declaring war. They knew that the American colonies did not have the numbers of people or weapons to fight off the British. They had faith that they would, somehow, prevail.

Four days later, the real celebration began. The Continental Congress was still meeting. The Declaration of Independence was read. The Liberty Bell rang. The coat of arms of the King of England was taken down and the celebration began. The United States of America came to life.

What followed was the American Revolutionary War between the 13 colonies and the British Crown. It lasted through approximately 1783 and was a bitter and bloody battle. The French entered the war in 1778 and assisted the Americans. By 1781, the Americans had basically won their freedom. On September 3, 1783, in France, the British recognized that the Americans had won their freedom in the Treaty of Paris.

#weekendcoffeeshare 7/2/2016

 

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“Jenn, you’re early for coffee today, but come on in,” I called out as I saw Jenn walking toward my side door. I was glad to see her as I always am when she stops by for coffee. “Rosemary, it’s the Fourth of July weekend. I was afraid you wouldn’t be home,” Jenn said. I replied to Jenn that I had been gone earlier in the week but planned to stay home for the Fourth. My little dog, Betsy, is sometimes scared of the noise of fireworks so I wanted to be with her. She helped me finish the coffee and tea and we went out back to sit on the deck. We wanted to have a nice, long chat and morning brew.

“You’ll never believe what I saw as I drove up your mountain road,” Jenn said. “I saw a bald eagle sitting in the top of a tree along the road! The road rose up right at that spot and I was almost as high as the eagle and got a really good look. I didn’t think many bald eagles were around any more.”

“Oh, Jenn,” I said. “There are a few bald eagles around here now and many across the country.” That’s the way our #weekendcoffeeshare chat started today.

There is a big, wild lake close by where I live and nesting pairs of bald eagles have been spotted there. I told Jenn that there is one tree, probably the one she saw, along our mountain road, where I have also seen a bald eagle, probably one of those nesting pairs of birds. The bald eagle is a success story because it has been brought back from near extinction. By 2007, it was actually taken off the endangered species list.

It’s appropriate to talk about the bald eagle this Fourth of July weekend since it is America’s national bird. “Jenn, I said,” “Bald eagles are the only eagle that exists only in North America. But, we almost killed them off largely because we used DDT, an insecticide. This chemical caused damage to the eggs of the eagle. The eagle’s habitat was also damaged when the original forests were removed. The birds that the bald eagle eats were hunted and killed off. They had no food supply. Bald eagles were even shot because farmers thought they threatened their livestock.”

Jenn asked,”So, what happened to save the bald eagle?”

I replied, “First, we banned the DDT insecticide which went a long way toward protecting the bald eagle. Shooting them was also banned. When they were considered an endangered species, we protected their nesting sites and, in most places, still do. Their nests are used year after year by the eagles and weigh, sometimes, up to 4,000 pounds. As our pollution control laws took effect and our water quality improved, we started seeing more bald eagles. By 2007, there were enough so they were taken off the endangered species list. They are still protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the MIgratory Bird Treaty Act.”

Jenn said, “I’ve heard of bald eagles sometimes nesting in suburban neighborhoods.” “Yes,” I said. “From what I understand, there are so many now, they are competing for territory. The U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife sometimes find them injured by other bald eagles because of this problem. In 1963, there were only 487 nesting pairs of bald eagles in the U.S. By 2006, there were over 9700.”

I said to Jenn, “Many people don’t realize that bald eagles are powerful, big, and that they are birds of prey. They are meat-eating birds. They usually live near lakes. They fish, eat roadkill, and steal the kills of other birds. Bald eagles can weigh up to about 14 pounds with a wing span of six to eight feet. They have been known to swoop down and pick up small dogs and cats out of backyards.”

The bald eagle has been America’s national symbol since 1782. The bald eagle had been seen as a sign of strength since ancient Rome. It started appearing on flags, documents, and gradually became associated with America and its spirit and strength.

Happy Fourth of July, everyone! I hope you get to see a bald eagle! #writing #amwriting #blogging #FourthofJuly

*Image provide by therightclicks at Creative Commons

 

 

 

Father’s Day in the U.S. And Other Countries

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My dad has been gone for 33 1/2 years and I miss him as much today as I did when he died. Particularly on Father’s Day, the third Sunday of June in the United States. My dad was a fun, but hard-working parent, never aimless. I miss the twinkle in his eye when he saw me and the spring in his step when he carried me to bed! This poem reminded me of him.

Father’s Day was first celebrated by Sondra Dodd in 1910 in Spokane, Washington. She had lost her mother in childbirth and her father cared for her. She wanted to show her appreciation for him. Sondra’s dad’s birthday was June 5, so Father’s Day unofficially ended up in June. The movement to establish a day to honor father’s grew and in 1924, President Calvin Coolidge became a supporter. He did not declare it an official holiday.

Father’s Day was celebrated in June. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson declared it an official holiday and designated the third Sunday in June as the official date for Father’s Day. In 1972, President Richard Nixon declared Father’s Day to be a national holiday.

There are some interesting and fun facts about Father’s Day in the U.S.

There are over 70 million fathers in the U.S. And 2 million of them are single. It is the fourth busiest day for sending greeting cards. More than 214,000 men are single fathers.

Other countries also celebrate Father’s Day. Canada celebrates it like the U.S. but unofficially. France celebrates Father’s Day on the third Sunday in June. They used to give their fathers’ Bic lighters but now they substitute other small gifts. Germany celebrates the day on the last day of the Easter holiday.

In Asia, India celebrates Father’s Day much the same way as we do, but Thailand celebrates the day on the birthday of their king and everyone wears yellow. In Australia, Father’s Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of their spring which is September.

Now, I’m going to go and start the dinner I’m preparing tonight in honor of my dad. Happy Father’s Day to all the dad’s out there!

 

Recipe for Memorial Day: Corn Pudding

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Just for fun, I want to share with you an old-fashioned Eastern Kentucky recipe that you might enjoy for your Decoration Day celebration. It came to me from my aunt, Sylvia Prater, who was born and raised in Appalachia. She was my mother’s sister, a wonderful cook, and our whole family enjoyed her big meals often as I was growing up and even after I became an adult. Here is her recipe:

Corn Pudding

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the following ingredients in a 13″ by 9″ baking dish:

2 cups frozen corn

4 beaten eggs (I recommend a cage-free brand)

2 cups milk  (I recommend skim milk)

2 tbsp butter (i recommend real butter like Kerry Gold)

1/4 cup sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

Grease your baking dish with a dab of the butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes. Stir before it sets. Enjoy for your holiday dinner! #am writing #writing #blogging #appalachia #recipes

*Image courtesy of ji1991 https://freedigitalphotos.net

 

#weekendcoffeeshare: 5/28/2016

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Hello! I didn’t know if you would come by for coffee since it is Memorial Day Weekend, but I’m glad you did! It is such a beautiful day. Why don’t we sit out on the front porch at the table and we can have our morning beverages? Here….help me carry the pots. Thanks!

Tell me what you’re doing this holiday weekend? Oh, you are going to your family home in Floyd County! That county is right next to the county where my mother’s family came from. Are you taking flowers and going to a family cemetery? Yes, I know. My family cemetery is on top of a hill too. Also a private cemetery. So many of my ancestors are buried on top of one hill or another in Magoffin County in private cemeteries. The family all chips in every year to keep them maintained. So do you? That’s just the way in Eastern Kentucky, isn’t it? Very few of my relatives are buried in the public cemeteries in the area. Oh, you call Memorial Day Decoration Day, do you? So many people do in Appalachia. There is a whole story behind Decoration Day.

Memorial Day was originated as Decoration Day in 1868. It was established by the Grand Army of the Republic, the Union Veterans of the Civil War, to honor all the Civil War dead. An earlier Memorial Day, in 1866, was celebrated by women of the Confederacy in Columbus, Mississippi.

Memorial Day, or Decoration Day was celebrated on May 30 no matter what day of the week that date fell on. The families of the war dead usually celebrated the holiday by placing flowers on their graves. Gradually, Decoration Day included all war dead, not just Civil War dead. In 1971, Decoration Day, then called Memorial Day was designated a national holiday and was to be celebrated the last Monday of May.

In Appalachia and in most of the South, the tradition of the holiday did not change. It is still called Decoration Day and still celebrated on the Sunday before the last Monday of May. It’s an important holiday in Appalachia. Relatives of the war dead come home to the region from far-flung places to place flowers on the graves of their relatives and to see relatives still living in the area. It is a tradition that the cemeteries are cleaned and mowed, graves are cleaned up and weeds are cut, and everything is made to look nice for the holiday. All types of flowers are placed upon the graves from live to cut, artificial, and silk. Flags are placed on the graves of veterans. Usually, a big meal is eaten at some relative’s home and a lot of visiting takes place. In Eastern Kentucky, at least, relatives are buried in private cemeteries all around and through a county, or several counties. A lot of driving and walking up hills to private cemeteries is required.   You can’t even get a car up to where this writer’s grandparents and great-grandparents are buried.

Church services are often conducted in the local churches on Decoration Day. Some families celebrate it as a secular holiday. It seems that one of Americans’ favorite events on Memorial Day is attending one of the parades in thousands of cities and towns.

I’ve enjoyed having coffee with you today! I hope you enjoy Memorial Day!

*Image provided by Simon Howden #freedigitalphotos.net

**Thanks to parttimemonster.com for providing the linkup for #weekendcoffeeshare!

 

A Child’s Salvation — the Horse

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It’s the week of the Preakness and perhaps that’s why I’m thinking about horses. The Preakness is important here in Kentucky. It’s the second jewel in the Triple Crown and this girl hopes Nyquist will wear it. Not only am I thinking about horses but I’m also thinking about horses and their people…..and the relationship between people and horses and how important that can be to both.

Long ago, so long I can hardly remember, I knew this little girl. She had two ponies during her childhood and, later in life, a horse. Meet her second pony, Mr. Ed, named after a rather famous TV show that aired back in the day. Her first pony didn’t work out for her as he was a stallion and her Daddy was terrified the stallion would kill her as he was pretty temperamental. Only she and the stallion knew the secret that it was really fine. The stallion went off to live at a farm and her Daddy brought Mr. Ed into her life.

The little girl didn’t take riding lessons until much later in her life. She seemed just to know how to ride. Mr. Ed was a Shetland pony but a rather large one. He was kind and gentle but fun for the little girl to ride. Sometimes, when he didn’t want to be ridden, he would just lie down on his side. The little girl would just laugh and jump off his back, barely in time, to avoid being crushed. The little girl’s Daddy watched in helpless wonder. She wasn’t even 10 years old.

Riding Mr. Ed wasn’t the most important thing to the little girl. You see, the little girl had some problems. She would not have described it like this, but in adult words, she and her mother did not have a very good relationship. Her mother was a sad and depressed woman. Probably clinically depressed though, then, that diagnosis didn’t even exist. She seemed to take her sadness and depression out on the little girl.

The little girl’s mother made the little girl feel unloved, like she wasn’t good enough, like she had to do better and better, be smarter, be prettier, than anyone else and maybe then her mother would love her. She was too young to understand that nothing she did was ever going to make her good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, to please her mother. Nothing was going to make her mother love her. She didn’t understand that the problem was with her mother, not with her. That understanding took years.

Mr. Ed was the little girl’s salvation. She would run to his red barn, in the moments she could get away from her mother, and she would sit in the straw, hiding in the corner of the barn. She would cry and talk to Mr. Ed. He would stand there, eating his oats and hay, and listen. Sometimes, he would even lie down with his head close to the little girl and sleep while she talked. She hid there as long as she could, away from her mother.

When the little girl grew into a teen-age girl, Mr. Ed watched for her to come home every day from school. She would go for a ride after school and stay with him as long as possible, even in the winter. He was still her best confidante. His barn was still her hiding place, away from the hurtful comments and the hateful face of her mother. She grew into quite a loner, preferring the company of animals to people. She had a hard time relating to most people. Her Daddy worked away from home most of the time and he was not there for support. She had a wonderful aunt and uncle close by, but the influence of her mother was too much and that of her aunt and uncle was not enough.

The teen-age girl started college and graduated early. She wanted to get a job and leave home as soon as possible. She, with her Daddy’s help, made arrangements for Mr. Ed before she left. He was old by the time she was 20 and ready to leave home. He had developed some laminitis in his hooves. He went to a farm owned by a large animal veterinarian in a nearby town, though he didn’t live long. The hoof problem was too severe.

The grown woman the little girl became will never forget Mr. Ed. She loved horses from then on. Mr. Ed had helped save her life and made intolerable emotional abuse almost tolerable.

If you are a mother who feels depressed or overwhelmed, go to your doctor and get help. If you are an adult child who suffered emotional abuse, contact the National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse.