Monday, September 22, 2008

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell Sept.23, 2008

Life certainly is full of surprises. Jim and I had our first dance in Junior High which was many years ago and we never thought in a million years that we would one day be married. But I remember how much I liked to dance with him. Well, in Junior High we never really danced- I am not sure what you would call it, but I thought I was having a good time. Once when Jim and I went to the 1991 Junior and Senior Prom, Keith Custer was Principal, and he had a dance with his daughter Amy. They looked so sweet together plus it looked like they were having so much fun. At Jeff and Chelsea’s wedding I noticed there were a couple of Dads there showing their little girls how to do different dance steps. I thought that it looked like they were really enjoying themselves.
My family was not the traditional cowboy, boot-scootin’ family - the Jitterbug- the Two Step- the Cotton-Eyed Joe- Foxtrot -or even the Waltz -never occurred in our home. My folks did not dance and we never went to the rodeo dances. My grandparents, on both sides of the family were very much against this pastime. Mom took dance lessons in college (she was quite a rebel back then) and found that she was not cut out to ’cut the rug’. I do not think that I ever saw my dad show any interest in gliding over the floor. So I am not a bopper. However, I am a huge ‘Dancing with the Stars’ fan. I think that all of those dances look like so much fun. I have always thought that it was an entertaining way to spend your time. When I was little I watched American Bandstand with my sister, Vickie. I wonder how one would be able to be a Go-Go dancer and then you could be in one of those cages. Even though our television was fuzzy I was impressed.
At Christmas I told Jim that I would love to take dancing lessons- I thought it would be fun and good for us- might help me lose a little weight and it would be something that we could both learn at the same time. He told that me he had absolutely no interest in becoming a ‘toe tapper’. Well--- I learned from his very informative aunts that Jim was, at one time, quite a little dancer. You can imagine my surprise when they told me how he would beg them to dance with him when he was a kid. I was told that he can do the Jitterbug- Bop- Jerk and many others- You can visualize my total shock of this information not only does he have the knowledge but he really enjoyed this particular activity. He claims that he has forgotten everything that he knew- I somehow think that he just might be fibbing.
At this point - life does not look good for Jim.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell Sept. 16, 2008

The Blundell family has had a very long two weeks. We had funeral services for Donna Bowlin, Jim’s mom, last Friday. Jim had spent time in Tulsa at the Cancer Treatment of America with his mother. She had called and asked for all of her kids to come she wanted to visit with all three of them. His sister, Verna, his brother, John, and Jim had not been in the same place at the same time in over 18 years. It was not that there were problems- they had got caught up in raising their families and Verna has many health issues that made travel difficult. Donna was fighting for her life- along with her lung cancer she had an infection in her lungs- her platelet count was down to three- and she had developed congestive heart failure. Even with all of those things against her she never gave up she fought to the very end.
Donna had many accomplishments in her life. After her divorce from Vernon Blundell she went back to school and received her RN degree. I was told that she was an excellent nurse. She had worked in Branson Missouri in the hospital there. She had a heart for those who had been abused whether it was babies- children, wives, or anyone else. She went to work for the Government in the Indian Health Department. Her husband, Jerry Bowlin, moved with her to the Shiprock, New Mexico area and White River Arizona area to work on the Reservations. She was quick to love the Indian babies- she told me that the babies did not have blankets or clothes when they left the hospital. She had a way of making you want to help out so I talked to the ladies in our church and we made a baby blankets and gowns. Donna was really pleased when the hospital received the huge box that we had sent. Later on they moved to Biloxi, Mississippi and she worked there in the hospital- when she was unable to work on the floor- she worked with heart patients watching heart monitors. She was very involved with the Cancer Treatment Center- she talked with the legislators of Georgia to help convince them to support the construction of a Cancer Treatment Center in Atlanta. She was successful in persuading them to build.
There was nothing lazy about Donna. One of her sister-in-laws said that Donna was always busy even if she was sitting under a cedar tree she would be cleaning the dirt.
I learned many things from my mother-in-law. I learned was that she thought her children were as near perfect as possible. Living with one of them I knew that was not entirely true. I learned that it was not a good idea to point out that there might be a flaw. I learned that I was mistaken. I found out and try to pass on to newly wedded brides that no matter what - you never complain to the mother-in-law about men, especially, your husband. Even if she is grumbling about men- you either stay silent (which I have never been good at) or you say that your husband never does anything annoying. Then you thank her for raising such a wonderful man. This means that you are more than likely lying through your teeth but it certainly makes life easier. But I really do have a great husband and have very little to gripe about, but I did not whine to Donna, not over three or four times, I am such a slow learner.

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell Sept. 9, 2008

Horses have always been extremely important to me. Most of you know that the love of horse flesh was something that Dad and I shared. I was visiting with my neighbor and we were discussing how we try to encourage our children to share the same interests. We all want our family to enjoy the same things. I was trying to think what Dad did to encourage me- I think more to the point- he did not discourage me. I can remember always wanting to climb on any four legged animal. I usually rode bareback because Dad said I could ride my horse anytime I wanted but I had to catch it, bridle it, and saddle it myself-Dad did not have the time to chase a horse around just because I to go for an adventure in the pasture. I was too little and I could not lift the saddle, but I could reach the bridles and the lead ropes. So I would go out and rattle a bucket to trap the horses. Sort mine off and catch him and the fun was just beginning. I am not sure that I have ever been happier than I was then-Raising my family has been a joy as well- but be on the back of a horse was something I am not sure I can ever reclaim.
Dad would have horses in the pen as he broke horses for many different people. He had an appaloosa mare he had been riding. I think maybe she was the first appaloosa I had ever seen. He was doing the evening feeding when he got the her trough and poured in the grain. He was telling me how nicely she was coming along. I was wishing that I could have ridden with him that day, I asked what he thought she would do if I hopped on her. While he was telling me he thought she would not do anything - he grabbed a belt loop on each side of me and threw me up on the unsuspecting mare. Well--- he was wrong about her being calm- she cut loose and I never really got in the middle of her before she tossed me in the air- each time I went up, I gained altitude. I hit the corner post of the pen and slide down. Dad was laughing so hard and slapping his leg saying that he would have never thought she had it in her. That broke me of thinking out loud- but it did not break me of wanting to ride. I do not think that I hopped on an unsuspecting horse again. See I do learn- Some of us must learn through pain.
Dad never made me feel like I had to like horses or he never forced me to ride- in fact, Mother kept telling me that I was a girl and I did not have to go out in the barn lot and get dirty- I could stay in the house and do other things- I would rather go out in the corral and see what Dad was up to- You must admit life in the corral was more exciting than anything that ever happened in the house or at least in our house. Mom kept a very tidy home and tried to keep some type of order. She was always on hand to clean up the blood and patch us up so we could go out and do it all over again-
After visiting with my neighbor - it brought back so many fond and scary memories. One was remembering when I had my very own horse and dad tether me to him- Which is another story all together- But we were bringing in a cow that had gotten out- he had taken me as far as he could with me tied to him. He untied me and told me to make the horse do what I wanted and not to let him ran away with me. I was so scared that I would get lost and he would not ever find me again or that I would get dumped and he would be disappointed that I could not do what he told me. I told my pony to be really good and lets not run and we would be okay. When you lean down and talk to your mount and pat him on his neck let him know that together if things go just right you will make it back to the barn without either one of us getting hurt. This does not always work but
for some reason this time the horse did just what he was suppose to do, I found Dad and we brought in the cow. He let me know that he was proud of me- maybe that is what we really need to let our kids know- we love them and we are constantly proud of them.

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell Sept. 1, 2008

September is the time years ago that kids started to school. I think that I started to first grade after Labor Day, but then with the use of air conditioning they decided that we could begin earlier. When Mom and Dad went to school, they had to pack a lunch. I asked Mom what she got in her lunch- She said that in the early fall if she was lucky she would get a piece of fried chicken. Usually there was piece of bread or a biscuit and what ever else her mom had handy for a sack lunch. Sometimes there might be a piece of fruit when it was available. She said that some kids would only have a biscuit and it was hard. I asked her about how they wrapped up their lunches. Did they use wax paper or what? Now we have a variety of things to use to keep our food fresh and clean. She said that she thought that they did not wrap up any of the items in the lunch. I would have thought that the sandwiches would have dried out so much you could not eat it. But times were so different then. Can you imagine what a health inspector would think if he saw a someone eating a lunch that had not been in a refrigerator and it was not wrapped- The lunch would have been carried in tin lunch box or a paper sack that had been used many times. It is a wonder that the human race has survived. Now the kids go to school and get breakfast and a hot lunch. My generation is spoiled and my kids’ generation is worst. If we actually had to survive as my parents had to, I am not sure we would make it. Milking cows and raising chickens, not for pets, but for the sole purpose of eating them. Having chores that had to be done each and every night. There was very little time to play, let alone practice ball. I can just see the farmers that sacrificed to let their kids attend school would tell them that they could spend an extra hour or two after school so that they could practice the sport of their choosing. Kids had chores that had to be done before the sun went down. The sports were played during recess.
Sports were something that you did when and IF you had the time. Now it appears that the whole world stands still for a sport activity. I guess that I am getting old and realizing that getting a good education is so much more valuable than being able to hit- kick- bounce or throw a ball better than anyone.

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell August 26, 2008

Last week I told you how I had gone down home and was reliving parts of my childhood. I know that there must have been some bad things that happened. But as I get older I do not seem to remember very many bad times. I was very fortunate to have the family that I had and that they did not talk a lot about how the world had not gone the way they thought it should have gone. I can remember Dad telling me when I complained about someone not being a nice person- or something that I thought was not right- He would tell me that is was not good to let people bother me like that and that I should learn to love them the way God had made them. That was not what I wanted to hear. But he would just laugh and say not to let them get under my skin and go on with life.
One of the things that I did when I was little was to get the mail. Maggie Alder was our mail carrier - then when she retired, her daughter, Bea Odell, took the mail route. One time when I was going to the mail box I looked at the barn while I was walking by and there in the open hay mow door was an owl. I do not think that I had ever seen an owl before. But there he was sitting there just looking down at me like I had done something wrong. I think that he was a horned owl as he had those feathered ears that stuck up from his head that looked like horns. I wondered what he could do with those horns. I was sure that it could not be good -it was like looking at a huge mean looking chicken with the capability of a bull. All of these things just did not sound like it was something I wanted to get involved with, so I did what all children do when frightened. I ran to the house for my mommy. I told her that there was a big bird in the barn and he was really mad at me and I had not done anything to him. Mom went out to see what I was talking about and sure enough he was there sitting in the open door and he looked like he was mad at Mom, too. She told me that he was an owl and that is how he looks and that he was not angry.I think that every time, since that day that I look up at that hay mow door I remember that owl. When we went down home last week we were walking toward the barn and there was an owl in the barn. This time, however, he was white I did not get a good look at him and not sure if he had the tufts or if his head is smooth and round like a barn owl.. My first thought is that he is a snow owl- but not sure that is correct. I will do so more looking and checking my bird books to see what he is and will let you know what I find out.
After thinking about how unkind that owl looked- It made me think about how Mom and Dad always tried to teach me that you must get to know someone before you make any judgments on their character.

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell August 19, 2008

Last week I went down to my old home place. I was looking over the place where I had many memories. It was kind of like when you watch a movie and you see and hear the characters thoughts. As I was walking around I saw the gates that were painted silver. I can remember when they were painted. Vickie and Virgil got to paint, Dad would not let me as he said I was too little and would make a mess. That was one time where I felt I had really been slighted. After all, it was not my fault I was younger than my brother and sister. I just knew after Dad thought more about it he would relent and let me paint. That never happened. I imagine the more he thought about the more he was positive that he had made the right decision.
There was the brooder house where we kept the baby chicks. That held a special memory as well-I would go down to the brooder house and open the door when Dad had bought more chicks than he was suppose to purchase from the hatchery. The door swung in so you had to be really careful and not open the door too fast or you might smash a chick. Smashing chicks was something that was frowned upon by Mom and Dad. One had to be very cautious as the chicks were frightened of every thing. They would bunch up in a corner and pile on top of each other and that was not good. After I would get in and get sat down- I loved to watch the little chickens running around pecking and cocking their head to one side and then the other as they listened to new sounds. I liked to pick them up and hold them and talk to them. I usually was not in their too long before Dad would catch me and say, “Vanita get out of there, if you handle the chicks too much you will kill them.” I thought that was unfair. I was not just handling them- I was taming them. I figured one day he would thank me for having such nice tame chickens. One time, for some reason I got to keep a chick in the house. I cannot remember the reason for this, as we had a place for him to live. Anyway, he stayed in a box- I would catch him and play wit him all the while Dad said that it was not good for him to be handled all the time. I must have been about four or five years old and that made Virgil fourteen or fifteen years old. We had a rainy day and Virgil decided that my newly found pet needed a special place to live. He built ‘chicken little’ (oh, that was an original name) a little house out of a box. He made a two story house. It had an upstairs, that the chick could actually climb, and I thought it was great. I do not know where Virgil got his idea, but it was a nice thing to do for his little sister. Since Chicken Little was a rooster- I found that raising a rooster was not the best thing to do. After he had grown into a full feathered cock, he would chase me and flog me from the house to the mailbox and back to the house with me screaming both ways. This is where I lost my interest in grown feathered birds. Even now going into a chicken house is extremely difficult thing to do. It is a sad thing when you are chicken of a chicken. I can tell you that ‘Chicken Little’ was not all bad- he made good chicken and noodles.

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell August 12, 2008

This has been a busy week- of course; it seems every week has been full of things to do. I realize that I am not busier than anyone else- my problem lies within myself, as I am not the most organized person. I went to Ruidoso to help my sister. This is kind of like the blind leading the blind as sometimes she is not organized either. But to her defense, she has many more people in her life that requires her attention. But we have a good time, anyway. Her daughter, Casey, got married on the 2nd of August, so I went early to help her get things ready. It was not to be a huge wedding, just family and a few friends. It turned out well and we had a good time. The thing is - with Vickie’s family is that even though their four children are spread out in age, 37 to 26; - they all had babies close together. Along with Vickie and Randy’s grandchildren, we had Randy’s sister’s grandbabies as well. Every child was adorable and certainly had their own personality and wanted their due of attention. While we were working on the food for the reception we had nine kids running around all under the age of seven. Boy, that was a busy place. We did not have all nine kids there constantly, but was a little tot around there most of the time. Actually, it was not bad at all. Wendy, Vickie’s youngest daughter, took control of the kids and she was wonderful. She has a unique personality and she was a lot of fun for all of us. I stayed one extra day after everything was over, we were sitting in the living room in Vickie’s home and Randy was just sitting in his chair and we discussed how quiet it was and how tired we were. Do not get me wrong Randy and Vickie love their grandchildren, nieces and nephews, but they like the quiet life too. I must admit I was enjoying the silence, as well. We were talking about how we understood why God gave children to the young and let us older people keep them from time to time. It is not that we no longer love children, we just do not have the patience that we used to have. I can remember Mom telling Dad to quit teasing the grandkids and keeping them all stirred up. He would have them running through the house screaming and running to Mom to protect them from getting their ears chewed- or just from the awful faces he could make to terrify them. Mom would tell Dad to go outside and leave the kids alone as she felt like she was going to fly. I never understood that- Now I do! I think that I owe Mom a hug, now that I think about it.
There seems like there is always something to do around here. It may not be what you want to do but there is something that needs some attention. I went down to check on the water down home and sure enough one of the windmills was dribbling water. The tank was full, but it was not going to stay that way. I knew that the mill was going to need to be pulled and new leathers would have to be replaced. I was hoping that we would not have to replace the pipe also. Jim had just got back from spending the weekend with his mom in Tulsa- I did not want to tell him that we had a well job to do when he got off work. Jim is the kind of man that does not yell or whine often, he does what needs to be done. We got the mill pulled, replaced the leathers. Fortunately, the pipe was in good shape but what we did not have was the correct size of jet-rod connectors as they were worn completely out. We got as far as we could and quit for the night. Today, I purchased the right connectors and we are ready to finish the job. The best thing about going down home, if we are lucky, we get to visit with the neighbors along the road. We visit with them and find out what things have happened to them and about their kids and grandkids. After visiting with them I think that most of the time Life really is good.

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell Aug. 5, 2008

Last week I wrote on lazy Sunday afternoons the other great thing about Sunday’s was the comic. We love the comics. At home we got our Sunday paper on Monday. This meant we received two papers on Mondays. I think that the comics helped us learn to laugh at ourselves. Poor old Dagwood was always in trouble. We were in the Viet Nam conflict so Beetle Bailey gave us something to amuse us. Those that were in the World Wars might it a little more humorous than the rest of us or maybe not. I am sure some of them could identify with one to the characters in that strip. Mothers and Grandmothers enjoyed Dennis the Menace quite often, along with Family Circus. Mom and Grandma always read the serials- Brenda Starr- and Rex Morgan. I never got into Gasoline Alley or Dogpatch- I liked Nancy and one of our top favorites was Peanuts. Then there more different comic strips that the Hutchinson News carried- Hi and Lois quickly became a favorite- We did not get the Wichita Eagle so when we went to Uncle David’s they had a whole new set of comics. There was Pogo, Shue, and BC, those were alright but they did not have some of the ones I liked the best. I thought that Uncle David and Aunt Theo must have been very intelligent as I thought that some of the ‘funnies’ were hard to comprehend. Those that were political I never did get and most of the time, I still do not understand.
Through the years humor changed. Some of the comics became more vulgar, that might be little harsh, maybe lewd is the word. I love the Lockhorns and I learned to like the Far Side. Baby Blues and Zits are entertaining along with For Better or Worse. It is kind of sad once in a while, but sometimes life is sad. I think that our music reflects our lives and I think that the comic strips are the same way.
If it had not been for the comics I am not sure that Jeff would have ever learned to read. Jeff went to summer school and Rocky Stewart told the kids that they could read anything that they wanted to read. He wanted them to understand that reading could be enjoyable and it was not always something that they would be tested on later. Jeff loved Calvin and Hobbs. Calvin was the only thing that he liked to read. The worst thing was that he liked to become Calvin. This was not always such a good idea- As I told him time and time again- Calvin is fun to read about not so much fun to live with.

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell July 29, 2008

Just a word about Joe- As you know he had heart surgery a week ago Monday- he is home and doing very well. We are glad to have him back.
I am writing this on Sunday afternoon and it brings to mind what Sunday afternoons used to mean. Before I came along Sundays were spent with Moms family. (When I came along all of the other kids were grown and were starting their own families away their hometown.) After church they would either go to Uncle David and Aunt Theo Cary’s, or Uncle Edwin and Aunt Hazel Crouse’s or Mom and Dads or Grandma and Granddad Cary’s house. They all had kids about the same age- Patty and Max Cary- Charles and Mabel Crouse and my sister and brother, Vickie and Virgil. Vickie and Virgil were a little younger than the others, but they had a great time playing together. There was always plenty of food to enjoy and I am sure plenty of dirty dishes to wash. But when you have all of the family together many hands make light work. Grandma could fry the best home-grown chicken and of course gravy made with the good fresh cream gravy. I am not sure but I think that Grandma made most of her bread- so there was homemade bread with freshly churned butter- I do not know how they had the time to fix all of the food without the conveniences that we have now. They had to work so hard just to put a meal on the table. It seemed to me that Grandma kept house effortlessly. Her home was always neat and clean- I never remember her complaining about having to clean up. If I know that I have company coming I have to put everything on hold to get things to where I am not embarrassed. If I do not know that I am having company there will more than one of us surprised.
Years ago when kids had a Sunday afternoon they could play outside, Since it was really not much cooler inside as it was under a tree or in the side of a hill that could work as a fort - house- an inn- or whatever their imaginations could dream up. Mom tells of the countless times that when she was little, that her brother, Harland and her would play out in the pasture or just go on walks.
As I was growing up we went often to the grandparents and Uncle David’s, do not remember much about going to Aunt Hazels much. Uncle Edwin died when I was quite young- and Aunt Hazel remarried a man by the name of Ray Wilcox- he was not from here and they made their home in Garden City.
I when was younger- Sunday afternoons were one time that we got to eat sandwiches- This did not happen often- but sometimes after church we would go to Norman Hadley’s and get lunch meat- He was one of the only businesses open on Sunday. Mom and I would get liverwurst and dad would get what he called dog, which to everyone else was bologna. Norman had the best lunch meat around. He would slice however much you wanted. With the liverwurst he would put thin paper between the slices so it would not stick together. Oh, I thought we were living ‘high on the hog’ when we had sandwiches because we also got potato chips and that was a treat in itself. My how things change- I hope that you all have a lazy Sunday afternoon and take time to enjoy all of your blessings.

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell-- July 22. 2008

Good News - Bad News-
Bad News- Joe Spence had to have a new valve replaced in his heart- Good news- he is doing fine and is recovering quite nicely.
Bad News Joe is out of town and the townspeople are worried if they are going to be able to get some of his wonderful tomatoes- Good news- yes, they will be able to get the produce as it becomes available- Bad News- I am take care of the garden- I have the rare ability to kill any living plant known to mankind- good news- I have help, not with the killing-but with the watering - consulting- picking and whatever else needs to be done - Hopefully they have better gardening skills than I do.
I just do not understand why some people can grow things while the rest of us can not grow mold. I have three; I started with four, tomato plants. When I got them they were pretty and nice. Thinking that I would be smart, I planted each one in their very own planter. I thought they were growing and looking good- until I went into Joe’s garden. His are about four to five feet tall and are producing tomatoes. Mine are about two and half feet tall and have three puny little tomatoes. I do not think they have the will to ripen. While Joes are grwong quickly and are fat- plump and ripening to a beautiful bright red. I do not try any other vegetable- there is no point in wasting the time, the energy and the water to kill some poor, innocent plant. One time, many years ago I had a lovely garden and the grasshoppers ate it up in two days. I found that to be very discouraging- I guess there are two types of people in this world- growers and consumers- I am definitely a consumer. My Grandma Cary and I am told that Grandma Alley were extra good gardeners- they could grow anything and they liked to eat what they planted- Aunt Zora (Dads sister) could grow flowers on a cement slab. She had the knack of knowing just what to do to make the plant want to live. Dad liked to try to garden but his heart was not completely committed to the cause. Uncle David was another one who could really makes the soil and seed do what he wanted them to do. He was a very good farmer - he had a way about him that worked well.
I just hope that Joe gets back on his feet and can enjoy the fruits of his labor- literally. And I hope that he will still be talking to me when this is all over and done with.

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell July16, 2008

This week we have had some sadness as we have lost another good friend, Bonnie Frazier. Bonnie and I have worked together for several years at the church. Together, we co-chaired the funeral dinners. Bonnie was much better at fixing just the right amount of food. She rarely had an over abundance of leftovers. We have served many meals together and I will certainly miss her.
Joe Spence is in the hospital getting some heart work done- We are hoping that he gets back in the swing of things soon. His garden is starting to take off and he needs to be able to enjoy the fruits of his labor. He has some onions that weigh over two pounds each. Way to go, Joe!
One thing about the lifestyle I have chosen to lead is that I am never bored. This past week proved to be no different. We finally got some of our cattle moved to where they should have been 2 months ago- but with Jims work and all kinds of other events we felt we had to do, the cattle work got put off. Working with the cattle is one thing that Jennifer does not miss being included. When we did cattle work she was the one who kept the home fires burning and the house intact. Jeff helped us out when he could. Friday, we got the ol’ girls in and paired up and hauled to the appropriate pasture. We did not get completely done so we kept them penned and continued to pair up on Saturday. Jeff and Chelsea came out and helped us. It was either the weather or keeping them penned up had made a few of the girls really cranky. Jim had taken a load to pasture while Jeff and I stayed to pair up a few more. We located a pair and by the time we got her and her calf in the loading pen she was not entirely happy. But, of course, when the pair went in the loading pen another cow which did not have a calf with her went in the pen also. I thought, ‘no problem, we will just sort her off and that will be that’. WRONG. We started to get the unmated cow out and she would not budge. The paired cow about ran over me to get out. About the time I thought I had the odd one to the gate she would just stand there and look at me while the other was wanting out of the pen, desperately. I saw that the mother cow was almost to the point of getting nasty- but I thought if I could just get the other one out, then I could leave everyone alone. Jeff saw that I was having some difficulty and got in the pen to help me out, I told him to watch Momma as she might ‘get’ him. He did not seem too concerned until we started to move them around. There are times when you wonder how someone might react in a certain situation. I always thought that when push comes to shove my family would protect me. Well…. I found that when a cow is blowing snot and makes a run, my son, who I spent hours in labor and gave him life, will actually crawl over the top of me to save his own skin and leave his poor, old, fat, defenseless mother to save herself. The cow did not make any contact - but she did make a believer out of us- We decided that maybe we ought to let her cool down a little and see what Jim could do with her. At least, we did get the job done, maybe not in the most efficient way but life will go on.

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell July 8, 2008

We are almost half way through July and I still do not have the work done that I wanted to accomplish. I am amazed how long it takes me to do things. Jim and I worked about 50 head of calves the other day and I cannot believe that it took the whole day. I know that when Dad was in his late seventies and early eighties he worked faster than we did. Of course, the weather was not exactly the best- but Dad worked in the heat and he never complained as much as I did. Maybe no one complains as much as I do. I know that we could work and pair up 50 head in a day, easy, with daylight left over- the other thing is that I have lost all of my strength, not that there was ever that much there to begin with but there was more than there is now. I think that it must be Jeff’s fault. When he was at home he was my muscle. He pulled and tugged and moved whatever I wanted moved and I was the overseer. Now that he is no longer at home I have to do those things he was doing. He sure did make it look easy. Jim can only do so much and probably if the truth was known most men would send me to the house and find some good help. But he puts up with me and my moaning and groaning. I thought that I was ready to get these calves worked, but there are things you forget about; such as getting rid of the wasp nests on the chute. We were doing fairly well and minding our own business when a wasp flew by me a stung me right above my elbow. He really shot the jazz to me. I think that you could call it a ‘fly by’. Wasp stings have never bothered me but this one swelled up and was uncomfortable for a few days. We fixed him, I had the burner from the branding irons and we burnt his happy little home. There were a couple other nests that got our attention, as well.
When I was a little girl the Cary place seemed to have more wasps, bees and grasshoppers than we did down home. Grandma had a dinner bell and I liked to ring it for Granddad to come in from his rock house. I soon learned to check inside the bell first. If you did not the wasps did not like for you to ring the bell at all. They would come barreling out of the bell and they meant business. I can remember running away from those winged bombers and screaming like the little girl that I was.
Wasp can make their homes almost any place. I thought that they had to build on something solid. That is not the case or, at least, not at our current house. We have wasp that make their nests in the trees. Boy, that really is a shock when you walk under a tree limb and look up and there is a wasp nest the size of a pie pan. It is a good idea to just walk away. Dad, on the other hand, declared war on them. He would get a newspaper and roll it up and make a torch out of it and set it on fire and burn them out- he would do the same for bumble bees- I do not ever remember him ever getting stung. If he did he never would have admitted it. It is a wonder that he did not catch the building on fire in his attempt to get rid of the stinging bugs. Maybe that is why we did not have the flying stingers at my childhood home.

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell July 2, 2008

This has certainly been a wild week. It is just amazing how quickly things change. We were fortunate to have Jims Uncle Larry and Aunt Pasty visit us Tuesday Evening. Wednesday evening, Lisa Ballot and two her daughters along with her mother, Addie Ellen Burnett came into town for a quick visit. Addie Ellen is a sister to H. R. Burnett who was a causality of World War II.
While we were visiting we were talking about our childhood. I was telling her about the time that my lovely mild-mannered mother chased me down the road. It seems that I lead an interesting childhood as compared to other kids. Or maybe I just have a better memory than some other people. I really believe that country kids have such an advantage over town kids- We have so much more room to run around and find various things to amuse us. Do you remember finding a litter of kittens in the hayloft? I would find a momma cat and try to mimic a kitten so she would give away the location of her babies. This worked sometimes- but there were a few that would not fall for my impersonations. Or how about a mother hen who proudly brings out her chicks and is very cranky with anyone who approached her- One time we had a strong wind in the spring and the bird nest blew out of the trees. Virgil and I went around picking up baby birds and brought them in the house. We attempted to save them from the cats. We had a little bird cage we put them in and we worked hard to try to feed them. I got a whole new appreciation for mother birds; they must have a lot of patience.
Sometimes just sitting under the tree and making mud pies was delightful. Going out in the pasture was my all time favorite whether it was on foot or on horseback. You could let your imagination go wild and have all kinds of fun with out any high priced toys or gadgets. Sometimes the simplest things are the best.

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell June 24, 2008

Summer is certainly in full swing- One thing that you can be sure of is, that it will rain during harvest and state fair time. The rain that we have been having reminds me of when dad farmed and it seemed just as he got all of the repairs completed and the combine in the field then it would start to shower. Harvest is, at best, an extremely frustrating time of the year. My heart is with all of the farmers as it seems that this year has been full of aggravations with the weather, the fuel prices and I am sure that the repairs are enormous.
I like to watch how the animals cope with the heat. Jeff and Chelsea have two new puppies and they love to lay in a pool of water, not much different than the human species. In the hot summer you can be sure that the lake and the pool are full of those who love to splash around in the water. Personally, I do not care to go the lake or the pool- It might have something to so with being twice the woman that Jim married. Just cannot find that swimsuit that is flattering. You know the kind, the ones that make you look like a size two- oh, that is right, there is no such thing. All of this brings to mind how some think that cattle should not stand in the water. I am not sure that those who worry about such things are aware that in the winter the cows normally only drink from the creek and do not lounge in the creek and contaminate it. Where as the fish are still living in the water and the ducks are still swimming and bathing in the same water. I have heard that they worry about the animals depositing some kind of nasty things in the water for those people who like to play in the water. Frankly, the fish and birds bother me more than the cattle. I do not, however, want to remove the fish or the birds as I think that God must have thought they were a good idea since that is where he thought they should be located. I just cannot understand what those people think that the cattle are supposed to do? I would like to see those individuals wear a leather coat in the blazing sun. I would bet you, that they would want to stand under a tree along the creek bank in the cool, cool, water. I mean, do you really think that in the heat of the day that a cow would like to go stand on top of a hill and let the heat suck out every bit of moisture that her body can produce and have a sun stroke? I think--- NOT. Maybe that is how some of you deal with the heat -but I can guarantee that you will find me in an air conditioned room or vehicle, if I am not cool- life is an ugly place. I can not tolerate the heat like I could when I was younger- Some may think it is my age- I guess everyone is allowed to have an opinion.
We have a stock tank (metal tank) close to the road and this was late spring I drove by and had to take a double look as one of our cows was standing in the tank. I thought that maybe something had scared her into the tank-I thought that it was a coincidence as it really it was not hot out yet. Later when I went by again, it was not just one the cows it was several of them standing there in the tank. They made it look so natural, I left them alone. I have wondered - maybe the cows are about my age, in cow years. If that is the case I think that I will let them enjoy themselves.

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell June 17, 2008

I was told one time that when one generation plants a tree and the next generation will chop it down. I was almost offended by the remark as we were cutting trees down for fire wood. But in our defense we were cutting trees that were already dead. When Jim and I moved back home after living in Texas for a couple of years, our home was heated by firewood only. We chopped wood for twelve years. Well, actually, Jim chopped - cut- split- loaded- unloaded- stacked wood. We have a fifty-fifty marriage- He brought the wood in and I burnt it. It was not quite that lopsided but Jim did most of the hard work to keep us warm. The kids got to help their dad out many times. When wood is the only heat that you have - you do not leave home for extended periods of time in the freezing weather unless, of course, you do not mind chopping ice in your toilet or thawing out pipes and all of the other ‘wonderful’ things that goes along with frozen water lines. What reminded me of this was when a friend called me yesterday and was telling me how he would like to plant an apple tree.
When I was a kid growing up we did not have a wide variety of fruit trees but we did have one cherry tree, one mulberry tree, three pear trees and a few peach trees. Come to think about it I guess we did have more than I thought. Living in Kansas you do not get to harvest the fruit every year, which did not hurt Moms feelings. As I have said before mom did not like to can but she was great at freezing peaches. They were so good in the winter, Mom and Dad liked to pour cream over their peaches, I liked mine plain and still a little frozen. Aww-- that was good eatin’. The cherry tree died when I was quite young. We did not use the mulberries for anything. I have heard that some people make jelly out of them. One thing is for sure - the birds really like the purple fruit. I use to eat them until one of my brother’s friends told me that they were not good to eat and that they were full of worms. So I never ate another mulberry. Since he was older and wiser I just knew he would not lead me to believe something that was not true.
Grandma Cary had a crab apple tree but we never used the fruit for anything- with the exception of throwing them at each other. The first good edible apples that I can remember were from the Ray Parcels. They had an apple orchard across the road from their home. Ray and Winnie Parcel were wonderful, kind people and they were delightful to visit. I thought that they would be really neat grandparents and I am sure they were. Now the apple trees have all died out and all that is left are the memories.
The apple orchard that I remember well was the one at Cashes Grove. Bob and Mary Pierce purchased Cashes Grove and made their home there for many years. I was impressed that a tree could produce so many apples. Bob was very proud of his home and the trees. I learned that the deer love apples from Bob and Mary. At that time the deer were not as plentiful as they are now and to see a deer was a treat.
With the prices the way they are now we might be smart in planting some fruit trees and start being a little more self-sufficient.

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell June 11, 2008

While I was getting ready for the Wilmore Opry last Saturday afternoon I realized that I needed some improvement on my appearance. There are some things that can not be fixed but I know that I need a hair cut and some more color put back in my hair. Then I was thinking who came up with the idea that an arched eyebrow is more attractive than a thick bushy eyebrow? I mean, a bushy eyebrow would catch more dust and dirt that would fall and it would catch a lot more sweat before it came running into your eyes. I decided that my eyebrows were in severe need of plucking. You would not believe how many different ways there are to remove those unwanted hairs. You can have them removed by a professional (which is the best) who has different tools to use than the average person. They can use electrical gizmo that is suppose to eliminate hair- there are waxes - creams- razors and the old stand by, tweezers. I had procrastinated getting an appointment to get professional help on my appearance, which I am in desperate need, so I looked in my medicine chest to see what torturous contraption I had purchased before. There are things out there that are just painful and are not that effective. There was some wax that had dried up and was not useable. The wax works ok if you have someone else apply it. This particular wax you put in the microwave to heat it and there is an applicator that if the wax is too hot little letters show up on the stick that say HOT. I thought that it did not feel that hot so I applied it anyway. I learned that even though you think that it is just warm, on your eye brow area it might just blister. It is so attractive to go around with a blister or a scab as an eyebrow, or a mustache.
As I was looking I found a box of wax tape made just for this purpose. It is arched just right for the top and underneath of your eyebrow. I thought that I would try it as there was nothing else left but the tweezers. I kept thinking that there was a reason that I did not use these handy little strips. The instructions said to simply apply the strip on the unwanted hair hold the skin tight and then rip it off the opposite way the hair was growing and do not leave on for more than ten seconds. I slapped the strip on my left eye brow, rubbed it so that each and every hair would stick then I ripped it off- then I remembered why I had not used these again. It works very well and it removes the hair-----along with the hide that the hair was attached to. Now what do you do? I had to get the other side to match-this is a real trick anyway, I did not want to remove the delicate skin above the other eye- so I put the strip on the other brow did not rub it as much and then ripped it off- but since I had not rubbed it as much I did not get all of the hairs so I had to do it again and once more. It took quite a bit of make-up to cover the painful - hairless brow. Even Jim noticed that something was amiss yesterday as the wounded brow is trying to heal. Maybe I should leave these things to the professionals. I guess that I should say that I should work harder on my inward self rather than my outward appearance, after all, as my mom used to say ‘pretty is as pretty does’.

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell June 3, 2008

This has been a windy and stormy spring. I think that the wind could very well be partly my fault. I thought last year that we had not had the wind that we used to have when I was kid. I guess the powers that be must have thought that I was complaining. That certainly was not the case. I have had enough wind to last for quite sometime. I can remember that one thing that really got on my dad's nerves more than anything was a windy day and a whining kid. When the wind would gust, it would blow dirt and sand in his eyes. Then the worst thing of all is that the wind would blow his hat off. On horseback the wind made life much more difficult. It would blow things around on the ground and the horses would be uneasy. If something was going to bust loose, this would be the time it would happen.
Our house had a big picture window in the north. When you looked out of it you could see the driveway and the road. When a dirt storm came from the north you could watch it come down the road and right into our house. It seemed it was usually on Saturday night after Mom had spent the biggest part of her day waxing our hardwood floors. That dirt would blow into the house and all of the dirt and dust on her beautiful floors was heartbreaking. I not sure Mom ever cried- but I know how important her housekeeping was to her and it made me feel sort of sick inside.
When a storm would come up Dad would get antsy and thought they should to go the cellar. Mom was not a cellar goer. She might have been more likely to go to the cellar if it was a pleasant place. But the underground crypt was buggy, musty and all around yucky. Once Dad was sure that they were about to be blown away, so he told mom that they must go to the cellar. This was a Saturday night and Mom had worked hard all day with her Saturday cleaning and she just got Vickie and Virgil to bed. She was so tired and was not interested in going to the cellar. She told Dad to go on but she was staying in the house. Dad said that it would not look good if the house blew her and the kids away while he was in the cellar safe and sound. Mom won that round and he stayed in the house with the rest of his exhausted family. Luckily, the storm passed over without any harm. I think by the time I came along they were not as concerned with the weather since I never remember going to the cellar for safety. This did not bother me as I was with mom on her thoughts of the cellar-spiders, bugs, toads and snakes are not my idea of a good time.

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell May 27, 2008

In January I realized that my husband was going to turn 50 years old this year. His birthday is on the 25th of May. I decided to get a head start on what I was going to do for his birthday. I am not very good at gift giving, but for Jim 50th I had to do something special. This always makes me think of whenever Dad would want to give Jim a gift. He wanted to get him something that would please Jim. I never had a clue what he would want. But this year, I come up with the perfect idea. I decided to surprise him with family. Jim has two aunts, Donna’s sisters, that he has not seen in years. The last time he had any time at all to visit with them was at his grandmother’s funeral 21 years ago. I got to thinking that it is a shame that families only get together at funerals- so I called his Aunt Margie from Las Vegas, Nev., and his Aunt Linda from Delta Co. and they agreed to come out for his birthday Memorial Day weekend. Linda was able to bring her two daughters, ages 18 and 22, that we had never met. When planning this all out I realized that Jim’s mom had appointments in Tulsa at the Cancer Center, so she did not have to make a special trip from Biloxi, Ms. Her birthday is the 20th so we could celebrate her birthday, as well. I am not sure how long it has been since she was able to be with her sisters for a birthday celebration. We did surprise Jim with his Aunts visits, his dad and brother, John and family, came from Dodge to enjoy the occasion. Everyone from out of state stayed at our home and I must say it was wonderful. It is a good thing that I am not as old as Jim or all of this excitement might have killed me, but I will admit I am really tired. This worked out so well that I would encourage all of you who have lost touch with family to get back in contact with them and please do not wait for the next funeral.

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell May 20, 2008

Memorial weekend is upon us. Memorial Day is a holiday when we remember those gone on before us. Each year we have more flowers to take to the cemetery. Our soldiers have a special mark by their graves. I think that it is good that we remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice so we may remain free. Regardless of your stand on war - we still honor those who have served by giving their lives. I have a good friend,Jerry Ferrin, who is very interested in those who have served in battle. He sent me an e-mail telling me of a new way to identify the remains of our soldiers. There is an agency that will help out families get some closure on a loved one who never returned from the war. Since DNA has become an efficient wayof detection, it has made identification much easier. There is an agencythat has devoted its resources to finding and identifying those who havelost their lives in War.This is what Jerry had written. "JPAC is a government agency (Joint Prisoners of War, Missing in ActionAccounting Command) located in Hawaii which is responsible for identifyingWW2, Korean War and Vietnam MIA remains. There are 32 known casualties of World War II from Comanche County, Kansas,and information can be found on them at the following web page: Those whose bodies were not recovered for burialat a national cemetery or returned for burial in the USA were:Lt. H.R. Burnett, USNR; Pvt. William H. Finney, Coast Artillery Corps; MMMate 2nd Class John Jenkins, USN; S.Sgt. Ira Leighton Metzger, USAAF; CPOAlfred Glenn Seidel, USN; Corporal Elwin Edward Smith, USMC; Lt. Ralph J.Sooter, USAAF; 1st Lt. Hobert H. Thompson, USAAF; T.Sgt. Leo Curtis Thrall,USAAF: Sgt. Ernest Trummel, USAAF; Ben Vonachen, USAAF; 1st Lt. Donald G.White, USAAF; Lt. Donald E. Wright, USAAF; Watertender 1st Class Squire B.Zane, USN.JPAC is seeking DNA samples from relatives of service men who are missingor lost in action to keep on file for possible use in identifying thosewhose bodies have not yet been identified. More information on this simple,painless DNA donation is on the JPAC web site at it involves only a simple swab inside the cheek with a cotton-tipped swab."Some may think that we spend too much time and money on the dead; but Ithink that if someone can help others to get some peace of mind and gettheir loved ones home where they belong, my heart is with them.

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell May 13, 2008

Have you ever stop to consider how much dishonest people have cost us? Not only monetary but we are suspicious of each other. Have you ever had someone come to your home and steal your belongings? They not only steal your things - they steal your time looking for them. I am not sure which makes me the most angry- By the time I figure out that the item is gone, I am so irritated and livid, that I am fit to be tied. To top things off it ruined my day and this is very bad for Jim. I figure that my time is just as valuable as anyone’s. When I was a little girl, my dad told me that once you break a trust it could never be repaired. As sad as that statement is - it is true.
If we could trust each other, we would never need a lock - we would never have keys to lose. I get so tired of losing keys or not being able to do what I started out to do because I left the keys at home or the key ring is in the other vehicle. Lock and keys are just the tip of the iceberg. We have people that make a living installing security systems to keep the thieves out. Businesses must employ security guards and that expense is passed along to us, the consumer. How nice it would be if our law enforcement officers could spend their time doing something else besides working robbery cases.
I guess I have my knickers in a twist and maybe if we could prosecute and let the punishment fit the crime as they did in the old west- maybe we could rest a little easier at night. But that is just way this country gal sees it.

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell May 06, 2008

The month of May brings to life many memories- In May we have May Day. Not many people still recognize this tradition. When I went to school in Wilmore - we had the Halloween Carnival and the Coldwater School celebrated May Day. Sometimes Mom would take me to the Grade School to watch the winding of the Maypole. I thought that it was a beautiful program with all of the pretty ribbons and the singing. It made quite an impression on me.
The maypole made me think of the pole that was on the Coldwater Grade School playground. The pole stuck out of the ground at least twelve feet. Of course, I was small so it might have not been that tall, but seemed like it was. I think that maybe it was an axle of some sort. It had several chains hanging from the top, at the end of each chain there were 2 handles of horizontal pipe that one was probably 6 inches above the other. I remember watching kids play with device one time while I was waiting for Vickie to get out of the high school. I was sitting outside of the playground on a bench waiting for school to get out so I could ride the bus home with Vickie. I think that I only did this one time and I can not remember what the circumstances were that I was allowed to ride home with my sister. I was really scared as I sat there- but while I was waiting, the lower grades was having recess. Those kids were having such fun on the playground equipment. That pole with all of the chains was a little brutal, but they had such fun on it. You could get several kids one per chain they would grab on to the handles and start running slow at first then faster and faster until they were airborne. Now they were not airborne long as someone would either fall off or they needed to stop. If they just needed to stop that was not so bad, but if they had fallen, they would get trampled, and when not if they let go of the chain it would, of course be flying and would hit you in the back of the head. It was terribly painful, but that piece of equipment was one of everyone’s favorite. Kind of makes you wonder - why? When I went to Jr. High in Coldwater as Wilmore was closed I got to play on it. I learned pretty quickly that it was important to have a person per chain. If there was a loose chain swinging, it could very well have been lethal. But that did not stop us; it was as much fun as I thought it would be, when I was watching as a little girl.
Another thing on the playground that they on longer have are old tires. Tires were great fun especially if they were large enough to crawl into and have someone else roll you down a hill. Oh, boy! If you could stay in it to the bottom, you were really ‘cool’. Remember the teeter-totters? I can remember giving and getting bounces on those long boards. Sometimes the bell would ring and the kid on the bottom would get off and send you to the ground just a little quicker than you would like. I can still remember the board and the ground meeting and it seemed that the ground shook. If that would happen to me now… Oh, I do not even want to think about it.
I loved the merry-go-rounds. In Wilmore we had two; one we pushed from the outside of the merry-go-round and the other we pushed from the inside. The first one was what the littler kids used, but the one that we pushed from the inside was awesome. We could get at least three kids to push really fast and I thought that we just might fly off into outer space. I always thought that it looked like a flying saucer.
Kids now do not have the same playground that we had because it has been deemed unsafe. But what fun we had playing on those contraptions. I am sure Moms did not appreciate the tire marks, dirt and blood on our clothes. But the clothes washed and we healed up, and were ready to go again. I guess, I can tell I am getting older as these memories seem like the good old days.