In a world with ever changing values and technology, some things remain the same. Kinship, old mountain towns, and summer lakes. Most of the time you can depend on all three. Family is family. Most of us are connected if not by blood, in some other fashion to each other no more than 3 times removed. We connected to Joe, owner of this small town bar & grill and a new eatery called the Galloping Goose Cafe while in Rico, Colorado. He is a visionary for this town. Not sure if I could go back 4 decades, but the brief week we had in the old mountain town cabin took Dean and I to the simplicity of our childhood years. And we loved it. In search for WiFi a couple of times to get connected to our urban civilization to post photos and reserve a hotel room for our travels back home, other than that we lived without any electronics and screens. Dean and I resorted to reading, writing, napping, cooking, bird watching, photography, and walks. We return to our full-time employment with government entities that overwhelm with procedures, projects, policies, and politics. Cannot escape it in the evening with the political conventions being aired. So here is to wonderful July 2016 memories with family in the old mountain town and near the summer lake. I will keep reading, writing, … making more memories and connections.
My husband, Dean called me “vintage trouble” yesterday morning while in route to work. The word “vintage” suggests “the best of a past season”. I am the double nickel today, so I took this new name as a compliment as he said I “still have it”. Vintage stock. What I have is an aging body, but a spark, spunk for life that God gave me, and a sassiness to embrace all God has for me.
There is so much to do in this world, help make it a better place for those that surround me, God’s creations. I know who God says I am, and this is all that counts. I am too old to worry about what others think of me, so I will go ahead and say my vintage thoughts …
Criticism and pettiness paints life’s mural gray and black. Such negativism. Why the “accuser of the brethren”? We don’t need the devil to ruin another’s life as people do a good enough job at it. Who needs an enemy when you have family and friends like that. How about seeing one ounce of good in someone, and maybe you will see a pound of it. I would rather spend time alone than with someone who gossips and murmurs about others especially about their family and friends. That constant drip is annoying, and I avoid it. At church a couple of Sundays ago, Father Don talked about living “simply”. No prejudice thoughts or premeditated plans and gossip towards the stranger, neighbor, friend or family member. Simply put, live a simple life. Care for self and those who God has place you with. Vintage heart.
So onto more pleasant thoughts … Dean and I are the midst of a vintage project, resurrecting a childhood dream of mine. We happened upon it this summer. Dean has embraced this dream, and sees its investment advantages well into retirement, our autumn and winter years. It is a bit early to share the details, but it will be shared soon enough on Deanna Greens And Garden Art’s Word Press blog. And another blog will extend from this one. Stay tuned … more to come.
Dean and I along with our labrador-flat coat retriever mix, Midnight arrive at the 60+ year old cabin situated on Island Lake just at sundown. Oranges, pinks, and purples kiss the lake “good night” and welcome us. It’s been a long haul from St. Charles County, Missouri to this Minnesota paradise. But so much worth the road trip. Weekday and weekend warriors cannot stop on vacation either. We had taken the extra long route following the Mississippi River highways. So a 12-hour trip became a 15-hour trip. The meandering scenery had slowed our pace down before arriving at this moment. Midnight climbs out of the SUV from his secure kennel into what I think my father described to him as heaven. Our dog gazed wide-eyed at this expansive beautiful lake recounting the aquatic tales his deceased master had told him, I am sure. Into the lake he went, lapping water and going for his doggy swim in Island Lake. Just 2 minutes to realize heaven was here, and my father’s spirit present.
Our first night at the cabin we unloaded the SUV, then gathered jackets and a flashlight onward bound by foot just up the road with our dog. The little green cabin had folks congregated there near a campfire. We met up with my childhood friends and greeted new ones from as far away as Norway. Midnight gets acquainted with more labradors, the natural breed of our 4-legged friends in the land of 10,000 lakes. Before we know it, the time passes midnight with the campfire still aflame. Embers will be there in the morning to start a skillet breakfast. We head back to our lakeside cabin, choosing the front bedroom of the 2-bedroom pine-lined dwelling. I climb into bed too tired to have a spring from the mattress just about empale me. We’ll sleep in the back bedroom tonight and deal with the mattress issue tomorrow. We discovered the back bedroom mattress was not much better as Dean and I are forced to meet in the middle. This mattress’ sunken center provided cozy quarters for this exhausted yet still honeymooning couple. Our backs ache in the morning begging for more support. Dean flips over the empaling mattress to its other side to discover the year of the mattress … 1971. Why that is the first year my father along with my mother and their 4 children ventured to this heavenly northern destination in a Chevy Impala. Now don’t cast too much judgement on this mattress date. The cabins are only used 3 – 4 months out of the year, so a normal 10-year mattress can go to 30 – 40 years. So at 42-years old, it might be due for replacing.
Electronics, computer and TV are non-existent in the cabins. While on this get away, Dean chose to use his basic cell phone on occasion. I took a vacation from it all. This post was written last week, scrawled onto my paper journal … I awoke this morning before sunrise. Is it night still? No clock to check as we are in a time warp at this northern lake retreat. In just a few minutes I see a tinge of blue in the black sky. I take this moment to observe the day’s beginning. I slip on my jeans and sweatshirt and quietly step onto the screened porch. Those moments of complete silence, no human awake just nature and I welcome the morning in this neck of the woods. Our dog, Midnight stretches on the porch and awaits at the porch door to be let out. He, too embraces morning’s arrival this day. There is something special about living in the present moment. All senses akeen, see the colors change before my eyes recognizing the picturesque treeline before me. The loons cry out as the fog lifts from the lake. Misty vapors keep my skin and clothes damp, I smell and taste the lake, and I remember my father’s love of this place. His planning, mapping, and research of his yearly fishing trip started in January when the tree farming and landscape designing was at a hault. My father was a planner, and I too like him. Yet this present moment reels me back to reality. I would have missed this unforgetable sunrise had I rolled over and slept in another morning of my vacation … ducks, a blue heron, and even a night owl calling it a night show themselves amongst the pines, birches, and cattails. The dragonflies are now flitting about, illuminating more color for this overcast day. The brisk morn may see a rain shower before the warm noon sun. No boat on the lake, that I hear or see, and 2 hours into this day … In 1971 and several years to follow, my father would have been out on the lake by now catching walleye and bass for that evening’s dinner. Way before my siblings or I and definitely my mother opened an eyelid. I miss my father today like everyday. This place called Valhalla is heaven on earth, and was my father’s favorite place while he was alive on earth. Somehow he is with Midnight, Dean, and I. It is called eternal life …
For my siblings and I Valhalla meant playing with friends all day with very little chores. We would play h-o-r-s-e in the barn, swim in the cold lake, boat rides, hide-n-seek with the fireflies lighting the path, and a campfire with songs and roasted marshmallows. Those young teenage years I wanted to be on the receiving end of another kiss from a cute Norwegian boy, my Minnesota friends’ visiting cousin. To me Valhalla is about people, kind-hearted genuine folks. The mild summer and lake fish bring the people. But the people bring life to the vacation. The summer visitors enjoy fish fries, potlucks, smokey breakfast skillets, and campfire tales. This year the fish fry, skillet breakfast, fire grilled pizzas, and lemon rice krispies treats make the food highlights. More Norwegian cousins entertain the family and friends this year. I miss my Norwegian friend from my childhood, and his cousin promises to persuade his return to Valhalla next summer. Initimate moments we share about the death and memory of loved ones. Songs were sung at church and at the campfire. Yes, my Scrabble game had kinder words reflecting my kinder, at peace thoughts this restful week. The year of the mattress did not reflect the oldness of 1971, but the goodness.
Saturday my family spent over 12 hours going through my father’s belongings. Piles of fishing & hunting gear, carpentry and gardening equipment, dog accessories, his own artwork, books, rocks; all things hobby needed new homes. Furniture would have been donated to the Goodwill, though Dad’s grandchildren desired a piece or two. Some pieces are handcrafted by my father from the Bates Family farm’s barn wood. I inherited German heirlooms passed from my father’s mother Anna Kurz, my namesake. Fine china and a walnut wardrobe built in Germany were brought to the United States in the early 1900’s when the Kurz family settled in St. Louis, Missouri. I wonder how many afternoon teas were served with the china set, and who was served? A crafty secret compartment in this wardrobe was discovered. Did Dad make this, or was this his father or grandfather’s work? Something to ask Grandpa about. It was like a life in fast motion, childhood through the many stages of adulthood wrapped up in a day.
Change … difficult at times, and welcomed at other times. Always here to stay. A life shortened, some days it’s hard to believe my father is not here any longer with us. Reality hit Saturday night into Sunday morning, as it was past midnight while driving home from Pike County, emotions raw. None of these treasures replace my father. Nothing can. Some are sweet reminders of the joys he found while alive on this earth. In June more change to come with my mother moving closer to our home into her downsized, yet elegant villa.
My father’s obituary … more thoughts in a few days …
Martin K. Bates, age 76 of Bowling Green, passed away Thursday October 18, 2012, at his home. Funeral services will be held 11:00 a.m. Saturday
October 20, 2012 at the Mudd-Veach Funeral Home in Bowling Green, with Rev. DawnVictoria Mitchell officiating. Burial will be in the Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Bowling Green. Visitation for Mr. Bates will be held from 10:00 a.m. Saturday until the time of service at the funeral home.
He was born March 10, 1936, the son of Earl Kenneth and Anna Susanna Kurz Bates. He grew up in St. Louis County and on April 26, 1958 in St. Louis, he married Darlene Hudson. She survives. Also surviving are his father of St. Charles; two sons Martin Richard Bates and wife Joan of O’Fallon, Stephen Kenneth Bates of Bowling Green; two daughters
Margaret Bates of Los Banos, CA, Anna Gall and husband Dean of St. Peters; five grandchildren; 5 great grandchildren; one brother Earl F. Bates and wife Sunny of the State of Montana and one niece Julie Fait and husband Jim of Romeoville, IL. He was preceded in death by his mother,
his step-mother Paula Bates and one nephew Drew Bates.
Mr. Bates lived in St. Charles County for 43 years where he owned and operated Bates Nursery in St. Peters from 1969 to 2002 when he retired. While owning the nursery, he raised many of his own plants, and did landscaping. In 2003 he moved to Bowling Green. Martin was an avid hunter, loved his hunting dog Midnite and enjoyed training dogs. He also enjoyed woodworking and painting and sketching. He was a good husband, father and grandfather and was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Hannibal.
Serving as pallbearers will be Rick Bates, Steve Bates, Ian Bates, Nathan Bates, Benjamin Phelps and Dean Gall.
Memorials may be made to the Donors choice.
“Time, you left me standing there
Like a tree growing all alone
The wind just stripped me bare
Stripped me bare
Time, the past has come and gone, gone
The future’s far away
An hour only lasts for one second, one second
Time without courage, time without fear
Is just wasted, wasted, wasted time
Oh, oh, oh, ooh ooh ooh
Time, why you punish me?”
These lyrics from Hootie and the Blowfish’s song “Time” keep playing in my mind tonight. This post is continuation of my thoughts in my last post written 5 hours ago. I cried when I walked upon that boat dock at Island Lake last week. I felt my father’s spirit with me, though in body he could not be there with me. Valhalla was Dad’s favorite place to do his favorite thing, fish. Such an appropriate name. “Valhalla” is the Viking’s heaven after he dies from warfare. My father has been fighting such a battle. Dad’s days are running short. He is dying of brain cancer, and I keep thinking about his life. Dean & I visited his father, my 96-year old grandfather last evening. Grandpa Earl tells us stories of his childhood and my father’s childhood. Yet he is cognitive enough to ask about his oldest son, my father. A copy of a photo arrived in the mail today from my cousin. A 1945 family portrait of my Grandpa Earl, Grandma Anna, Dad, and Uncle Earl. Mom called this evening on the way home from work. A hospital bed is being delivered to their Bowling Green home. Yes, the bed my father will be in when he passes from this life. God, I am so thankful for my father, Martin Kenneth Bates. He has been strength to this family for many years. And now we are his strength. He will be with You soon. And I will miss him greatly. I do not want pain for him, just Your peace, comfort, and rest.
My Dean & I so enjoyed our stay at Valhalla Resort on Island Lake outside of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. It was a peaceful vacation, time to slow down our pace. Our stay included meals with friends, walks, swims, and fireside chats with tales of old. Friends shared stories of our childhood sparking laughter one after the other. One evening turned into a 1:00am departure from the dwindling campfire. A night owl called to us, or maybe he was talking to the rabbit hiding in the bushes. Bugs chirped. All dogs and cats had long since retired to their favorite beds. As Dean & I walked to our lakeside cabin, we saw the Milky Way. The Big Dipper shone so brightly in the clear northern sky. It brought to memory my father sitting a boat nestled near the dock for that particular summer night, telling a young audience how to tell time from The Big Dipper. My friends recalled this, too. It seemed like yesterday … Dad seemed to explain it so easily that we understood it. Here are a few web links on telling time with the stars: http://www.johnpratt.com/items/astronomy/telltime.html, http://www.av8n.com/physics/star-time.htm, http://www.physics.ucla.edu/~huffman/dtime.html
My identical twin sister and I are close in many ways. Of course, we are close in age. But our looks, height, weight, markings, hair color, skin color, etc are very close as well. Those young childhood years we were instant playmates. Though during the junior and senior high school years we developed our own interests and friendships. So many personality traits are different. Yet we share a common interest in organic gardening, art, and the simplicity in living as mature adults. There is a close, understood bond with twins. And as we get older, this rings true in our relationship. Here we are, my twin sister Margie & I at age 2. I would love to hear your twin story.
I dedicate this post to my Aunt Shirley & Uncle Lee, childhood sweethearts and best friends for life. They were married 50 years ago in May. The 1st photo displays the fun loving couple I will always remember in my heart, and their friends and family. Included are my father (to the left of the bride) and my mother (to the right of the groom). The 2nd photo is at their 50th wedding anniversary celebration with their children and grandchildren. We lost dear Aunt Shirley on June 6 after many months of battling lung cancer, she died from a seizure. I love you, Aunt Shirley and Uncle Lee.
This spring morning was crisp, you know a hot cup of coffee, mocha, or tea morning! We had not had one of those mornings for a few days as we have been experiencing early summer weather instead of early spring weather. Not that I am complaining! Someone on FB captured an unusal shape in their cup of mocha this morning. “Mocha Love ” I call it … Gratitude and love filled my first thoughts this morning. I am so thankful for a loving husband and family. I spent last evening with my elderly grandfather. He lay on the hospital bed after having his middle right toe removed that morning due to a chronic infection as well as a stint put in his leg to aid with circulation. Yet he talked and laughed hour after hour of childhood memories, my father’s and uncle’s childhood stories, and the present day events. I have missed out on so much, busy about my own life, parenthood, grandparenthood, working, and now the greenhouse adventures. Yet I left late in the evening from the hospital with such a warm heart … “Mocha love”, I call it. It carried to my morning and throughout this day.