Throwback Thursday: The Family, Circa 1980s

Family Togetherness

WOW…no matter how we try to sugar coat it, some pictures from the past can be unflattering and sometimes haunting; just for the record I’m talking about myself in the picture below. What in the world, was I laughing???

Back Row: Me, Rick, Mom, Tony Down Front: Melody

Back Row (LtoR): Me, Rick, Mom, Tony & Missy
Down Front: Melody

That’s me on the far left, sitting next to my brother Rick, who we lost in May 2004.  As I look at this picture I can remember the events of the day pretty well; what I can’t remember was the year; however I will say it WAS in the 1980s as that’s when I had the short doo (hair-doo).  As we age, stuff like this just sorta melds together and dates become non-existent, unless they are documented on the back of the photo (which was not the case for this picture.)

For this particular vacation (ooo…visions of the Griswalds just came to mind), we were all in Kentucky for Christmas with only Tony and I, along with our families, having traveled from Florida that year and this picture was taken at our maternal grandparent’s home.  I’m sure like most families around the holidays we made it a point to have group and family pictures taken for future keepsakes. And oh what sweet memories those are.

Passage of Time

As we grew older and one-by-one left the nest, it wasn’t very often that mom had all five of her kids together at the same time, but when we were…wow, the house (and sometimes neighborhood) would never be the same.

We loved being together, catching up on one another’s lives, loving on our nieces and nephews, sharing a snuggle with mom while watching the Cincinnati fireworks on TV on New Years Eve, preparing big family meals, and making candies and treats with the kids.

The house was always full of laughter, food, love, and activities during the day. At night, not a spec of flooring could be found as all the grandkids camped out with their sleeping bags, making sure to be near to their favorite cousin(s).  Over the years during the different times we were all together (or nearly all of us) and the little ones were settling down for slumber, I recall hearing giggles and chatter coming from all angles of the house.  The parents were not rushed to quite them as we knew the children were enjoying being with family as much as their parents were.  Ahh, what precious precious memories of the excited little ones sharing stories and hugs with their cousins.

Tears swell in my eyes as I think back to those times long passed. They shall never be again except in memory.  So many things have changed, loved ones lost, marriages broken, children marrying and moving away, and four of the five siblings are grandparents, some several times over.

I truly miss those times together and wish we were able to stop letting life get in the way so that we could have been more physically present in the lives of our mom and each other.

The Future

Being a Nona of three precious grandchildren with another grandson arriving this August, I will remember to take care in creating more family time with my children and grandchildren. I shall remember not to let life be so all consuming and forget what really matters F-A-M-I-L-Y!  Why are we really put on this earth?  To work day and night…I THINK NOT!  It is to cherish our family, love on them, share activities, make memories and let them know how much they mean to us.

Thank you for letting me share some of my fond memories with you.

Throwback Thursday: Christmas 2003

It’s Christmas Time, It’s Family Time

I can remember it, just like it was yesterday.  My eldest son (D.A.K.) was home on leave from the Army during the holidays.  He was stationed in Georgia and between training stints.  I believe he was going to be departing for Colorado a few days after this photo was taken.  We were able to enjoy the short visit, open presents, savor the flavors of the holidays with some of my special recipes and just soak up the love of family.

Proud Momma

Christmas 2003

L to R: The Boy, Momma, Pvt. Kelley

Time together was precious and we knew it. Tomorrow would come soon enough, so we made the most of each moment. I KNOW without a doubt my boy KNEW I loved him and how proud I was of him and his decision to serve his country. (I must have told him 100 times in the few days we were together.)

The evening of his arrival we decided to go to an older part of town that was well known for their traditional Christmas display and Kris Kringle (not Santa.) We had pictures taken in front of the old-time sleigh and with Mr. Kringle himself.  Everywhere we went people were stopping my son and conveying their gratitude for his service to our great country.

The Military

You see, it was the event of 9-11 that had such an overwhelming effect on DAK. Shortly after the towers fell, he made the decision that he wanted to be part of movement to bring those who invaded our country, hijacked our planes, and killed our citizens to justice.  He did just that and hasn’t looked back.

He is no longer in the service and like many of his comrades, struggles with the effects from being exposed to several years in Iraq.  Like any good mother should, I pray daily for my children, daughters-in-love, and grandchildren.  I know my boy is a strong man and with time healing will find him.  One thing is for sure…this momma couldn’t be more proud than what I am of my son Dave.

Private Kelley and his very proud mom.

The stellar Private Kelley and his very proud mom.


Birthday Surprise Weekend (Part 2) ~ The Phone Call

As we were sitting at the gate waiting to board our flight to Florida, with a plane change in Charlotte, NC, I received a call from my sister-in-law “J”.  Now we all know how loud and busy airports can be and trying to keep our impending surprise a surprise would prove to be most difficult if someone you were trying to surprise called you while waiting at the gate.

My Dilemma

PhoneCallMy cell rings and I’m trying to decide if I should answer it, you see…it was my sister-in-law “J”.  I guess I took too long to answer and the call ended up going to voice mail.  I decided to ring “J” back and I ended up going to into her voice mail so I quickly left a message and hung up .  Wouldn’t you figure, she called me back within a couple of minutes and I had no option by to answer.

Shhh…Its A Secret

Taking the call I tried to walk to a quiet place in the airport (like that was possible), so I could chat and not alert her to my whereabouts by any background noise she might hear.  She was telling me about the party she has arranged for my brother and that she wished we could be there.  Just as I was about to tell her that I’m sure everyone will have a wonderful time…a voice came over the airport loud-speaker announcing our flight was beginning to board.  I panicked and blurted out that I had to go into a meeting and would call her later.  I didn’t give her time to respond as I needed to keep talking so that she couldn’t make out what was being said in the background.  I quickly told her I loved them, hope they have a wonderful time and would talk to her later today, then abruptly disconnected the call.  WHEW!!

After hanging up I started giving my sister a quick overview of the conversation.  Then it hit me. OH NO!!! I just told “J” that I had to go into a meeting.  I don’t go into meetings, I work from home.  Did I just tip her off that something was askew?

Oh well, if she suspected something was up there is nothing I can do about it now; it was time to board the plane and turn off our cell phones.  It would all make sense tonight when we show up to the party.

Check back later for Part 3~B’s First Flight in a Decade

Birthday Surprise Weekend (Part 1) ~ CVG Airport Security

50th BD Surprise

Oh yeah…we’ve known for many years that 2013 would mark our only surviving brother’s 50th birthday.  Although several of us tossed around ideas of what to do for a celebration, my sister-in-law sent a text saying that she’s throwing him a surprise party on July 19th.  My sister and I promptly turned to the internet and checked to see if we could afford a “last-minute” flight to Florida.  After finding airfare that fit within our budget, we quickly reserved three seats, one each for us girls and another for dad (pops).  We decided not to let anyone know we would be there and keep it as a surprise for everyone.

After waiting two very long weeks, our departure date finally arrived.  We woke early to finish some last-minute things on our to-do list, the zipped off to the airport (a full 10 minute drive), with enough time to find long-term parking, hitch a ride on a shuttle to the ticket counter, file through security, and make it to our gate.  Once arriving at the gate, we had about 20 minutes before they started boarding.

But wait, I am getting a little ahead of myself; let’s start from the beginning.

Security, Police Wanna-Be’s, Whatever You Call Them

I guess I should start with letting you know my sister “B” hasn’t flown in almost ten years as it will help you better understand her craziness.  So, it started at the security check point.  I explained to her that you all but strip (or so I sometimes feel) to pass through security.  I explained the totes that you have to put everything in them and walk through the body scanner with nothing in your hands or pockets. (Talk about deer in headlight eyes.)

I walked through the scanner first and was asked to step aside.  The TSA “woman” felt up my hair and quickly learned the bleep they were alerted of was only my hair clip.  After being cleared to retrieve my belongings, I walked over to my bag and was greeted with “Is this your bag?”  Yes, was my reply.  I was then informed that my bag needed to be searched, was asked to step over to another table with the TSA agent and was instructed not to touch the bag while it was being searched.  I said “sure thing” and stood calmly while she searched the bag, knowing I had nothing to hide.

While standing there as my bag was being searched, I looked over my shoulder I saw dad exiting the body scanner and my sister stepping in.  She was told to raise her hands above her head and assumed the “position.”  Being the goofball she is her comment was “ready for my spray tan.”  Nobody other than dad and me thought her comment was funny and I was laughing my head off while standing at the all serious search table with the TSA agent.

The Official Search

I am standing there, my carry on bag being searched and after the TSA agent opened the bag she went directly to my brother’s birthday gift which was in six parts.  As she removed one of the items, the conversation went like this:

TSA: This is a non-allowable item.

Me:  What, really?

TSA: Yes, this is what we consider “slurry.”

Me:  Slurry?  It’s not slurry, it’s Dixie Chili

TSA: Sorry, we cannot allow it on the plane.

Me:  It is in the original sealed can, not opened or tampered with.

Sister:  Can we put our name on it and pick it up when we return in two days?

TSA: Sorry, we have to dispose of it.

Me:  Yeah, we know what y’all are having for lunch.

Sister: Dixie Chili

So needless to say, brother did not get his six cans of the delicious Dixie Chili for his birthday but he thoroughly enjoyed the story and found the events at CVG Airport Security rather humorous, as we all did. (We haven’t even started the 3-day weekend and already….adventures are starting.)

tsaOn our walk to the gate dad shared with me that not only did he go though the body scanner, he also got the hands-on treatment.  To my amazement he asked the groping agent if “they were buying him dinner or at least giving him flowers.”  Gotta love the witty old man and his sense of humor.

Watch out Florida…here we come!

Check back for Part 2~The Phone Call


Family Bonding Over Food

Nothing brings family together like food.  Last week my sister informed me there was going to be a food judging contest at her work and asked if I would help her come up with and prepare her entry and that the entries will be judged on three criteria: 1) originality; 2) presentation; and 3) taste.   My reply, sure will.  So here we are a week later and the big day is tomorrow.

We decided to make a fruit cake.  No, not the Christmas type, but a summer type fruit cake.  This morning, I baked the cakes that make up the four layers, iced them this afternoon and we decorated it tonight.  I won’t be able to taste the finished product as I am sure there won’t be much (if anything) left over for her to bring home; but I’m okay with that.

I think we have met the three judging criteria, but we shan’t know that until tomorrow.  (Keeping fingers crossed for her.)

The finished piece (of cake)

The finished piece (of cake)