Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas travel on rough and dusty roads

One fact, that never changes throughout life are the various dusty roads, we must endure. Christmas can be the happiest or the saddest time of year.

This year without my wife it was one of those rough roads.

We have always had the best of Christmas’s. The last few years we have congregated at my youngest girls place for Christmas supper. She has loads of space and a kitchen that can handle cooking for crowds. My wife and I always got up early to see the Grandbabies open their presents. My youngest, lives the closest to us and my daughter being the baby of our family expected Christmas to remain a status quo. This year was slightly different, she want me to sleep over but I have a connection at home that I won’t try to explain, besides, I have no trouble getting up early and driving ten minutes to their home.

This year my girls had an extra special Christmas for me.

I got so many gifts, I felt like one of the Grandkids. Even a stocking from Santa loaded with toiletries. I got everything, from an automatic backup hard drive, Hamilton Beach indoor grill, to new portable phone system, tons of clothes and gift certificates,

Tania out did herself with a beautiful meal. It was a wonderful Christmas except for the one empty chair.

I am so fortunate, to have the girls and their families in my life.

I was proud the way I handle Christmas without my wife, that is, until I unwrapped the framed gift I have pictured here. Sorry to say, it was that proverbial straw, emotionally, I broke down. I hope, I didn't ruin the kids Christmas, I know they were struggling, also. I could see it in their faces. They were wonderfully containing their emotions.

They say it gets better with time but nothing much has changed in 2 months.

Friday, October 29, 2010

My Youngest Daughter's - Euology to her Mother

I have been blessed to have had 3 wonderful daughters. When we wanted to speak at the funeral, people said, “Are you sure?”

Yes we were sure! My baby girl, is a sensitive child and she did her Mother proud.

Here is her message.

If you believe there is strength in numbers, then our family unit is weaker today. But we still pick each other up, wipe each others tears and hold each others hand; because that is what my mother would have wanted.

She was the rock of our family; Always staying strong for us, now we need to be strong for her.

My Mom’s entire life revolved around her family.She cherished those special occasions and holidays when we all made time to gather together. To eat home cooking, talk and laugh. No matter how full we were, Mom always saved room for desert.

She never forgot a birthday or anniversary. She attended every graduation, dance recital and special event, bursting with pride for whichever one of her 7 grand children she was there to support.

Today as we honor my mom, it gives me peace to know she is surrounded by the things she loved most; her family, friends, and all these beautiful flowers. She will always be the strongest, most courageous woman I will ever know. And her love and strength will carry on in each and every one of us.

My Mother’s Garden

My mother kept a garden, a garden of the heart.

She planted all the good things that gave my life a start.

She turned me to the sunshine and encouraged me to dream.

Fostering and nurturing the seeds of self-esteem.

And when the winds and rain came, she protected me enough;

But not too much because she knew, I’d need to stand up strong.

Her constant good example, always taught me right from wrong- they were markers for my pathway that will last a lifetime long.

I am my mother’s garden, I am her legacy- and I hope she feels the love reflected back from me.

~~~

Tania and Chelsey, Mother and daughter.

My 15 year old Granddaughter (Chelsey) sang. It was so beautiful and the first time she sang in a crowd. Her Grandma wanted to hear her sing but she was so shy we never got the opportunity to hear her. She wanted to sing for her Grandma, and it was the most beautiful voice I have ever heard.

Chelsey


I have so many people that I need to thank.

The Rev Heather Robinson, for her gentle touch to my back; renewing my strength when, I started to stumble.

Annie & Bill, Dianne & Murray, Dave & Mary, who, have always been a rock and keep in constant touch.

All the people, who sent flowers and signed cards to the Heart & Stroke Foundation.

To neighbors, and friends of my girls, who provide us with a endless supply of food.

To all the friends, who called and lent support.

To those, who came to the funeral

To all the many internet friends, who have added heart felt comments on the blogs.

To my best friend's Dave & Mary, who wanted to send me a ticket to fly west 3000 miles, to stay a while with them.

To Dennis Toll Funeral Home & Chapel, for providing the very best in professional service.

And most of all my family, who are always there giving comfort and keep thinking, I need to eat.

The Grand Children Carole was so proud of.

Two of three grand daughters, Caitlin & Chelsey

Inseparable, Abby with her idols, her cousins,Chad & Paul

My first born - Tracey, and her first born - Brent


Tracey's youngest- Alex on Graduation Day


A rare picture of Paul, with his girl friend Melissa and not his Cousin Abby.
Usually if I take a picture of Paul, Abby is with him.


And last but not least - My girls
Tania, Tracey, Terri, Carole
Carole passed away 11 days after this picture.
Love! is a beautiful four letter word. Use it often ………Doug


Never Say Goodbye

I am walking with you hand in hand,

I am speaking to your heart.

Listen when I say to you,

"I'm here, we'll never part."

I am with you in the daytime,

I am with you through the night.

I hear the prayers you're sending me.

Can you hear me? I'm alright.

I am happy and I wear a smile,

I'm with some friends you know.

Open your soul and listen to me,

I'm here, I did not go.

I am holding you with living arms,

I am carrying you through your tears.

I am listening to you tell the stories

Of our laughter through the years.

I am shining down a light of love

From the heaven in the sky.

Please believe me when I tell you,

I will never say goodbye.


It is hard to let go of memories


My Baby Girls Euology to her Mother and family thank you's

I have been blessed to have had 3 wonderful daughters. When we wanted to speak at the funeral, people said, “Are you sure?”

Yes we were sure! My baby girl, is a sensitive child and she did her Mother proud. Here is her message.

If you believe there is strength in numbers, then our family unit is weaker today. But we still pick each other up, wipe each others tears and hold each others hand; because that is what my mother would have wanted.

She was the rock of our family; Always staying strong for us, now we need to be strong for her.

My Mom’s entire life revolved around her family.She cherished those special occasions and holidays when we all made time to gather together. To eat home cooking, talk and laugh. No matter how full we were, Mom always saved room for desert.

She never forgot a birthday or anniversary. She attended every graduation, dance recital and special event, bursting with pride for whichever one of her 7 grand children she was there to support.

Today as we honor my mom, it gives me peace to know she is surrounded by the things she loved most; her family, friends, and all these beautiful flowers. She will always be the strongest, most courageous woman I will ever know. And her love and strength will carry on in each and every one of us.

My Mother’s Garden

My mother kept a garden, a garden of the heart.

She planted all the good things that gave my life a start.

She turned me to the sunshine and encouraged me to dream.

Fostering and nurturing the seeds of self-esteem.

And when the winds and rain came, she protected me enough;

But not too much because she knew, I’d need to stand up strong.

Her constant good example, always taught me right from wrong- they were markers for my pathway that will last a lifetime long.

I am my mother’s garden, I am her legacy- and I hope she feels the love reflected back from me.

Picture of Tania, my youngest baby girl and her family.


My 15 year old Granddaughter sang. It was so beautiful and the first time she sang in a crowd. Her Grandma wanted to hear her sing but she is so shy; we never got the opportunity to hear her. She wanted to sing for her Grandma, and it was the most beautiful voice I have ever heard.

Picture of Chelsey

I have so many people that I need to thank.

The Rev Heather Robinson, for her gentle touch to my back; renewing my strength when, I started to stumble.

Annie & Bill, Dianne & Murray, Dave & Mary, who, have always been a rock and keep in constant touch.

All the people, who sent flowers and signed cards to the Heart & Stroke Foundation.

To neighbors, and friends of my girls, who provide us with a endless supply of food.

To all the friends, who called and lent support.

To those, who came to the funeral

To all the many internet friends, who have added heart felt comments on the blogs.

To my best friend Dave & Mary, who wanted to send me a ticket to fly west to stay a while with them.

To Dennis Toll Funeral Home & Chapel, for providing the very best in professional service.

And most of all my family, who are always there giving comfort and keep thinking, I need to eat.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Travels Down the Dusty Road of Life

Through life we sometimes travel not only a dusty road but one full of bumps and pot holes. Losing a loved one is about as rough as it can get.
On Oct 22nd I experienced the roughest ride of my life with the death of my wife, my lover, and my best friend.
Carole’s life 1942 - 2010
Carole had many health issues over the last ten years. Starting in 2000 when she had heart surgery, then losing eyesight a result of mini strokes and blocked arteries. But! If you met Carole and asked her how she was doing.
She always said, I’m fine.
I cried when my parents passed, I cried, when my brother passed. I cried for family and friends. They say crying is good. It is a healing process.
None of it prepared me for the tears I have lost losing my most precious possession. My, beautiful wife. Nothing has ever hurt this bad.
Life with my Carole spanned from, Aug 1959  to Oct 2010.
It is those years in between that are so important.
Memories are all that are left.
We were a team for 51 years. And I have lost the most valuable player.
Carole and I met when she was in high school and just 15. I fell in love with her immediately. We married when she was 17..... Aug 1959. We had our first beautiful daughter in Dec 1960. Bought a house and set up a home.
Over the next 10 years we had 2 more beautiful daughters and a two bedroom home; time to start looking for more space. We bought a new home in a survey and I wasn’t happy. I wanted country, she wanted city, and country won. She always did without for her family happiness.
It wasn’t long before she was the happiest person in the country. She had a wonderful neighbor and friend Betty Rock (nee Jolley). The kids were happy, I was happy, the world revolved around one big happy family. She cemented us together as a family. I do believe she invented crazy glue before they bottled it.
Kids grow, start their own families, and move on. We were blessed with 3 wonderful daughters, great son in laws and grandchildren to be proud of.
Grand children were now her number one priority. She loved them all.... equally. She was like a Momma bear in a honey hive when surrounded with her kids. The special family gatherings were important to her and that is how she left this world; Surrounded at bedside with all her family as she struggled to stay with us for just a few minutes longer.
I wish I could stop for a commercial break and turn back the hands of time. I wish, I could say....sorry, for not protecting her.  I wish I could wave a magic wand, I wish most of all that my prayers were answered.
For 51 years no matter what transpired, we always kissed each other goodnight.
Thank you Carole, for a life time of love.....I love you.
Please view the photos of Carole's life.
Is there any wonder why I was in love?
She was such a beautiful bride.
One last stroke of the pen and we are legally Husband & Wife.
At 17 years of age she was a mature woman.
 A Vacation to Virginia with her parents; Virginia is my mother's birthplace.
This was in Aug a year after we married and Carole was expecting.
Her father died in Nov, a month before the baby was born.
 My favorite sailor.
 
 She loved to travel.
 
 Soft sands and far away places. 
This picture is only 2 years ago.
Happiness was with her family and
nothing pleased her more than a family gathering.
Here we are all together on my 70th birthday.
Carole's last picture. 
Taken by our 11 year old Grand daughter Abby, on Canadian Thanksgiving Day, Oct 11, 2010. 
Hard to believe we lost her just 11 days later.
 She was a wonderful Mother, Grandmother and wife. And a fact that people never quite believed, she never colored her hair once in her lifetime and she had no gray.
Put your arms around her Lord
Treat her with special care
Make up for all she suffered
And all that seemed unfair.
With only memories for us to keep
These are the words she would reply
“This life for me has truly passed
I, love you all to the very last.
Weep not for me but courage take
And love each other for my sake.”

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Life is Precious

Life is precious
We had a pair of Cardinals that frequented our bird feeders. He would always crush some sunflower seeds and fly to her and feed her first. It was interesting to watch the love of a mate. One day, only the male came and he spent the next several days calling for his mate. We could tell by the sound that he was stricken with worry.


I recently received an e-mail that reminded me that all things big or small cling to the principles of love and life.
In the EYE of a SPARROW

A female mate was hit by a car as she swooped low across the road, and the condition was soon fatal.


Her male mate brought her food and attended her with love and compassion.




He brought her food again, but was shocked to find her dead.



He brought her food again, but was shocked to find her dead.



Aware that his mate was dead and would never come back to him again, he cried with adoring love...




...and stood beside her with sadness and sorrow.



Millions of people were touched after seeing these photos in America , Europe, Australia , and even India .
The photographer sold these pictures for a nominal fee to the most famous newspaper in France . All copies of that edition were sold out on the day these pictures were published.

And many people think animals and birds don't have brains or feelings. You have just witnessed love and sorrow felt by God's creatures. The Bible says that God knows when a sparrow falls.

Live simply, love generously, care deeply, and speak kindly.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Memories of Iris

I worked for a market gardener at a very young age, crawling along rows of carrots weeding. The rows seemed so long I never thought I would reach the end. My pay was 20¢ per hour, I so badly wanted that new bike my parents couldn't afford.
Since I was an experienced ‘Weeder’ helping Mom weed her flower bed was just an inconvenient chore; One that I hated, after-all! I had that new bike to ride.
My memories of childhood are probably what became en-grained into my soul. Somewhere, between market gardening and chores around the yard, I acquired a love of plant life in general. My mother loved her Iris and without a doubt, that is what attracted me to collect them.
There was a time in my life when I thought I would like to collect all the NORTH AMERICAN DYKES MEDAL AWARD WINNERS
I managed to acquire approximately 18 varieties plus others, that where not award winners. I suddenly realized that Iris take a lot space, a lot of weeding, and a lot of dividing. They also have a very short bloom life and are not good for cut flowers or as pot plants for resale.

Trying to remember the various names was fine until a winter storm blew down and away most of my identifying signs.
Here are a few that are in bloom now.



 Wabash


 My absolute favorite and I don't remember the name.
 Beverly Sills , beautiful in pink.
 Double Purple Satin Falls. Heavy bloomer.
Honky Tonk Blue

Jesse's Song
  Another favorite. Orange Slices.
 Burgundy Red
 Silverado - light blue
Another unnamed.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mother’s Day, another trip down that dusty road of life.

Mother’s Day is all over, but the week before was an extremely busy time for the flower business. I helped my daughter and her husband with deliveries. Load after load delivered to super markets and garden centers. I was glad to see the week come to an end. The week ended with severe storms on the Saturday.
Of course, that is not the end of the season,just the beginning. I help just during the rush towards Mother’s Day. I prefer my comfort zone of retirement, doing what I want to do when, I want to do it.

It is amazing, the different attitudes that I come in contact with. Some people believe they walk on water, while others couldn’t be nicer and more helpful. I have come to believe it is the store managers that make the difference. One such store refused delivery on the Friday of two trucks that had traveled 2½ hours because they were concerned with the coming weather front. They couldn't phone and say hold the shipment; but they phoned the next day and wanted their shipments sent as soon as possible. There is a lot more to the flower business than just growing. There is the control that is required to avoid confrontation and the overwhelming desire to beat some dipstick manager with in a inch of his useless life.

There are a few more baskets to deliver.






Sample the baskets.









Timing is everything. You need color but not too much.
These turned out perfect, we had lots of favorable comments.









Time to load the truck and head out for another delivery.








Monday, April 26, 2010

The Demise of Roadfood Junkie

The Roadfood junkie website was taken down in favor of blogging. There was more work and costs to maintaining the Roadfood-junkie website than I was prepared to put into it. The website was gaining in popularity but I just wasn't getting the advertising dollars to support the site. Websites rely on a visit to the sponsors to help with maintenance costs.

Blogging seems the easy way to go and Blogger, makes it so easy. Where it took me hours of coding before to get up a web-page; I can now get a blog up in minutes.
Roadfood-junkie Travel Journal was my last creation and where I transferred some of my web-pages to.
It is a long dusty road out there, and I never want to stop learning. I will no doubt try something else, there is more to computing than just emails.

So visit my Roadfood-junkie Travel Journal along with my Dusty Roads Blog and at the bottom of every blog is a comments link. Be nice to know, who is reading the blogs.It makes the effort all worth while.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spring Flowers

It was a lot of work getting the flower beds into some kind of shape and the weather never always co-operated. But the housekeeping is done and now we can sit back and enjoy the spring flowers.

After a long cold winter, it is uplifting to see a return to life all those bulbs and roots that made you sweat a year prior when you were planting. Although, I must admit most have been planted over the last couple of years.

This is the first year in many that we feel ahead of the game. Two reasons; first- we did a better job of fall clean-up and second… and most important, no greenhouses business to contend with. We do miss the planting & growing aspect of the greenhouses. The cold snowy days of winter working inside a greenhouse and enjoying being the creator of plant life was very therapeutic.

Our gardens kind of come in stages, right now, it is the yellows of daffodils & Forsythia bushes or the reds of spirea, dogwood, azaleas’ or Magnolia bush’s, along with purples of hyacinth, followed by red tulips. Hostas are showing their heads and buds are forming on Clematis and rose bushes.
The first flowers I see when I turn into my drive.


It won’t be long and the Iris, Peonies and Lilies will be coloring our world. Although we no longer grow as a greenhouse business; we do some plantings for annual color after the perennials peter out. We over winter, Bougainvillea’s, Brugsmansia, Elephant Ears and miniature orange trees for containers around the yard and this is the time to try and kick started them back to life after their meager existence.

I get great joy in seeing my wife stroll around the yard each morning, scissors in hand looking for flowers to cut, or a weed to pull. She has had such a tough time physically, health wise, gardening uplifts her spirits.
She always trys to have fresh flowers on a table.

The birds are singing and gathering materials for nest building. Currently we are awaiting the return of Baltimore Orioles & Humming birds, so put out the nectar feeders early. Last year we had six Orioles that spent more time in the backyard than I did. We feed the birds and with so many shrubs and trees around we seem to have an abundance of varieties. One thing we have learnt, feed the birds and they will come.
Cardinals are a constant visitor to the feeders, summer and winter.


Daffodils come in more than just yellow.


There are white ones also.


These hyacinth were from an Easter Basket of flowers a few years ago and are still going strong.


Our Magnolia seems to be slower than most to open up. Must be the variety.


Of course, there are lots of magnificent Forsythia bushes to bright our world.


What a glorious time of year to watch life unfold.

Soon after I took these pictures, it snowed.