Love Trail/NaPoWriMo Day 27


If I could see you one more time, I would tell you that I’ll love you forever. 

I would tell you that, though no longer here, you are still part of my soul. 

When I think of you and the great moments we shared, I smile deep inside.

You were so protective; I was a butterfly in your gentle hands. 

Our talks and your loving support were worth more to me than much fine gold.

My wings grew stronger because of your hugs, laughter, tears and great wisdom.

One day you flew away on your eagle wings, but you left a clear trail.

I know the way I am traveling; I won’t depart from it, ever.

Especially if it leads me back to you and the heaven of God’s heart.

© Elaine Wood-Lane    4/27/16


NaPoWriMo — Day Twenty-Seven: Write a poem with very long lines. You can aim for seventeen syllables, but that’s just a rough guide.  I awoke at 3:15 this morning for some reason and parts of this poem were just waiting to be written down so…I accommodated my muse and started writing. This poem started out being about my brother, Joe, who was killed in an auto accident in 1986, but as it continued, it became about all of those who’ve gone on before me to lead the way to heaven. I’ve known so much love in my life and I thank God for each and every person whom I miss very dearly now.

West Texas Twang/NaPoWriMo Day 18

Doris Elaine Wood!
Where in the world are you?
It’s gettin’ dark out there
and supper’s ready!

I’m comin’, I’m comin’ Mother!
I was down the street at Sonya’s.

When I call you to supper,
I better not have to call you again!
What were y’all doin’ anyway?

We were just watchin’ the sun set.
It’s so pritty tonight.

The same sun sets at your house,
you silly girl!
Go wash your hands
before comin’ to the table.

I can’t see the sunset from inside
our house, Mother.
None of our windas face west!

Oooh, it smells so good in here!
What are we havin’ for supper?

Sammon paddies, mashed taters,
sop, green beans and biscuits.
Oh, and chili sauce if you want
some on your patatoes and sop.

It has been so many years,
since this nightly conversation
took place, but I remember
the accents, the sound of
Mother’s voice, and the lovely
aromas rising from our supper table
like it was yesterday.

I don’t say everything as I did,
but many words apparently
I still pronounce with the same
Texas twang that I did back then.

You can take the girl out of West Texas,
but you can’t take the West Texas out of the girl!

© Doris Elaine Wood-Lane
4/18/16


The challenge today is to write a poem that incorporates “the sound of home.” Think back to your childhood, and the figures of speech and particular ways of talking that the people around you used, and which you may not hear anymore.

Definitions:
Taters (potatoes)
Patatoes (potatoes)
Sop (gravy)
Sammon (salmon)
Paddies (patties or more correctly, croquettes)
Biscuits (non-yeast rolls)
Chili Sauce (a relish that looks like picante sauce, but is sweeter and has no hot peppers in it)

Elaine

Living In A Castle/NaPoWriMo Day 16

The castle walls are cold,
even though it is fairly hot
And humid outside.

I’m dressed in four layers
from the inside out,
and still my fingers
have grown stiff from
writing for so long.

I uncurl my fingers
from around the quill
I’m holding, applying
a sprinkle of sand over
my writing to blot the ink.

Through the five foot thick
window walls, I can hear the
crash of the waves against
the cliff walls and I can’t wait
to get down there and take
a walk along the beach,
the lace of my dress dragging in the water.

My favorite time of day…

© Elaine Wood-Lane
4/16/16



The challenge today was to fill out, in no more than five minutes, an “Almanac Questionnaire,” to solicit concrete details about a specific place (real or imagined). Then to write a poem incorporating or based on one or more of the answers. I answered my questions based on my memories from my trip to Ireland and England last year with some of my daydreaming thrown in for fun.

Elaine

L.D. WOOD REMEMBRANCE 11/24/15

Nine years ago today our family lost my father. He was 92 years old and we had been expecting it as he was in the last stages of Alzheimer’s disease and had not been awake much, for about a week. Nonetheless, it was still a shock when the nurse called me around 8:00 AM, the morning after Thanksgiving, to tell me if the family wanted to be there, we should come up to the nursing home. His nurse, Glenn, said he didn’t expect Daddy to last past noon. So, I called my sister so she and her husband could drive up from Brownfield. I called my sons as well and I had Alan with me. We all went up and sat by his bedside all morning. He wasn’t awake, but I felt that he was comforted that we were there. He died about 5 minutes after noon. (It was rather scary how accurate Glenn was!)

L.D. Wood was born on January 23, 1914 in Lubbock County, Texas and died on November 24, 2006 in Lubbock, Texas. He married Margaret Inez Gill on June 6, 1934 in Clovis, NM. He was a cotton farmer for 34 years and then worked for the Texas Highway Department as an Engineer’s Aide for about 12-15 years before retiring. He lived 30 years after retiring, but was so good with his money, that he was able to take care of both Mother and himself all of his life. I find that remarkable.

I miss Daddy for his wisdom, his wry and dry wit, his pretty blue eyes, and all of his love and care. He loved his kids enough to make us behave well, work hard, be honest, and love deeply. He didn’t put up with sass and he taught more by example than by words. He was the sort of man who went to the hospital when family or friends were sick. He called them when they went home. He took neighbors to buy groceries when they could no longer drive. He wasn’t perfect, by any means, as none of us are, but he was a believer in Jesus Christ and was a member of the Church of Christ all of his life.

I still laugh at things he did over the years. For instance, when we had to put him into the hospital for pancreatitis in his early 80’s, he woke up and looked at the end of his finger where a pulsoximeter was attached. (Those glow red.) He didn’t have his glasses on and he motioned me over to him. He whispered, “Elaine, I do believe the end of my finger is on fire. What’s wrong with it?” He was so serious and I got so tickled! I said, “Daddy, your finger isn’t on fire! That’s an instrument to tell us how much oxygen you have in your system.” He said, “Well, I’m breathing easily and alive so I guess I have enough, don’t you think?” LOL!

Anyway, I always get a little blue on the anniversary of my parents’ and siblings’ deaths. I suppose that’s to be expected. I don’t mullygrub for days or cry a lot, but I do get misty eyed. I am SO thankful that I had such good parents. They were salt of the earth and as I’ve grown older and seen so many examples of bad parents, mean parents, and downright evil parents, I have become more and more aware of how very blessed I was to have such good parents. Thank you God, for the blessing of my good parents.

Peace, love, and happy Thanksgiving,

Elaine

Sunday Dinners

I found a recipe making the rounds on Facebook for Southern Banana Pudding and suddenly I was back in the kitchen of my childhood on a Sunday morning after church making banana pudding as Mother instructed me on how to make it.

Sunday dinners (which in the South means the noon meal) were the biggest and fanciest meals of the week. Inevitably they meant we had either pot roast, which cooked in the oven while we were at church, chicken fried steak, fried chicken, or some other delicious meat that we didn’t ordinarily have during the week. Along with that, we’d had mashed potatoes (always!), homemade gravy and two or three other vegetables, often picked right out of our backyard garden. Then, of course, we’d have one of Mother’s delicious cobblers or pies. Mother sometimes made cakes, but as she was always quick to point out, “Your Aunt Mary is the cake expert, while I prefer to make pies.” Mother had the best pie crust I’ve ever eaten and her cobblers were so delicious that often I would try to skip the meal right on over to cobbler, but Mother never allowed that, of course! If Mother hadn’t made what she called a “real dessert,” we’d make banana pudding or we’d whip up a lemon meringue pie or chocolate meringue pie.

I loved Sunday dinners because that was when Mother’s wonderful cooking shined and when she taught me how to cook. Sometimes it would just be Daddy, Mother and I eating these huge meals, but oftentimes other family would come over too. If it was just Daddy, Mother and I, we’d save the leftovers and eat them for Sunday supper and continue eating them throughout the week. My favorite was Mother’s pot roast dinners because that meant on Sunday evening we’d have roast beef sandwiches with warmed gravy to top them off. I think I enjoyed that almost more than the big meal at noon.

Isn’t it funny how seeing one old recipe can spark so many wonderful memories in our minds? As I’m writing this, I’m seeing our old kitchen in my mind with the yellow countertops, antique white cabinets, and our old O’Keeffe and Merritt stove that cooked better than any stove I’ve ever used. It was huge, old-fashioned, and I was always a little embarrassed that we didn’t have a built-in stovetop and oven like my friends’ homes had, but in all honesty, that old stove was far better. I’ve seen a revival of interest over the last 20 years in these stoves. I’ve especially seen them in many television sitcom kitchens and am always surprised.

We also had an old Frigidaire refrigerator that wasn’t really very old at the time, but always seemed that way. Those, too, have become very popular again in vintage kitchens. I guess it is true that given enough time, everything comes back in style!

I must admit, I’d give anything for one more chance to cook a Sunday dinner at Mother’s elbow. She used every pot and pan in the house to cook these wonderful feasts and I had to wash the dishes afterwards, but the meal was worth it! So are the memories…

Thanks for going down memory lane with me today! I must admit, there are days when I really enjoy these trips!

Peace and love always,

Elaine

Happy Father’s Day!

I thought I would share some photos of Daddy and myself taken as I was growing up.

Daddy holding me while Mother looks on when I was very young, but I’m not sure how old I was. My parents were older and I was a “surprise” so I always loved this picture. They both looked so happy.

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Me, about 1 year old, in our living room on the farm in Lovington, NM. I didn’t have a lot of hair yet, but Mother or Judy, my sister, always tried to put a hair ribbon in anyway.

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This was in our backyard at the house we rented in Lubbock, Texas after Daddy quit cotton farming. I’m about 3 years old in this picture and it looks like it was on a Sunday before church. Look at those little white gloves and hat Mother had put on me! You don’t see kids dressed like that for church any longer! Daddy always wore a hat to church too, but took it off for the picture. He was about 51 in this picture.

This was in the backyard of our new house that Daddy and Mother bought in Lubbock. That little sycamore tree behind Daddy eventually grew to be a very tall, large tree. I think I’m about 4 in this picture.

Nearly every summer of my childhood we went to Ruidoso, NM for vacation. No matter how many times I asked Daddy to take me to the river, he would get up and take me. Up and down the hill to the river and back. Poor man! He had the patience of a saint in that respect. I think this was probably in summer of 1969 or 1970.

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Daddy on a Father’s Day in the late 1960’s. He loved red carnations so we gave them to him every year. Mother always insisted he have his picture taken with his flowers. I think one year he finally said, “Inez, I think we have enough pictures of me holding flowers. Let’s not do this any more!”

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This was in 5th grade and was taken before Daddy and I went to the Girl Scouts Father-Daughter Banquet.

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I can’t tell you how many pictures we have like this of Daddy sitting in his chair over the years, either reading the newspaper, a book, or working on a crossword puzzle. This looks like the early 1980’s when I was in college, judging by the chair he’s sitting in and his snazzy eyeglasses. 🙂

Daddy, about age 90, and me. Some of our best conversations took place with me sitting on that old hassock next to his chair so he could hear me. I think that place right there is where I got to know my father best.

DADDY

Daddy was a good father.
He loved us and taught us
how to protect ourselves
and be independent.

He taught us the basic things
of life so we could make it on
our own and not have to ever
be dependent on someone else.

This included teaching us
car maintenance, budgeting,
basic plumbing, home maintenance,
and for me, helping me with what
was then “new math” homework.

Daddy is the one who taught
me how to overcome my
shyness and flirt with boys.
(He was good at flirting!)

Daddy drove me to my first
high school dance, even
when my mother disagreed
about me going.

Daddy always worked hard
outdoors in the elements.
His hands were rough and
calloused, but when he
patted us on the head to
tell us he loved us, there
was never a touch so tender
as his.

I watched my father go from
a strong, super intelligent man
to a tender, loving man who
took care of his invalid wife
for 15 years,
to a man with Alzheimer’s
who still had enough smarts
to disguise himself in an
attempt to leave a nursing home.

Daddy secretly helped others
whenever he could.
He called and visited the sick.
He stayed in touch with all
his cousins and siblings.
He worked hard at building family.

Daddy loved us.
He was proud of us.
He was tender with us.
He was tough with us.
He had the iciest blue eyes
in the world when he was mad.
I loved holding his hand and
telling him I loved him.

Daddy was a good father
and I thank God every day
for giving me such a good dad.

© Elaine Wood-Lane
6/21/15

Watching Cars and Stars

Sitting on the front porch

with Daddy in the summer twilight,

was always one of my favorite times.

He’d smoke a couple of unfiltered

Camel cigarettes and I would watch

in fascination as the blue smoke

curled its way upward into the almost

twinkly sky.

We lived on the corner of a street

where cars drove by with fair frequency.

We played “slug bug” where if we saw a

VW Beetle, we would “slug” each other.

Our slugs were actually not slugs though.

They were more like pats on the back.

Daddy always let me win, but when you’re

only five years old, you don’t see that.

As the twilight deepened and the stars

came out in all their beautiful glory,

we would turn our gazes from cars to stars.

Daddy would point out the North Star,

the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, and

other constellations every time.

His hand would draw the lines so I could

see the constellations clearly.

I would giggle and say I saw every single one.

I never did though. Ok, I saw the North Star.

The rest?  I just said I did because I loved

spending time with Daddy and listening to his

quiet, sure voice in the darkness.

I loved him so much that I listened for hours,

over the rest of his lifetime, to explanations

on how car engines worked, highways were built,

how he performed soil samples on those highway projects,

or how life was when he was a cotton farmer.

A little, bitty girl and her middle-aged dad,

sitting on the porch,

watching cars and stars,

and building a life of security, fun,

knowledge and, most of all, love.

©Elaine Wood-Lane

4/2/15

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Front Window

(Ironically, I was distracted by the snow and forgot to post this poem earlier today when I wrote it and added the photos. It has now snowed quite a bit more!)

FRONT WINDOW

Snow storm of the season!
Six inches to eighteen inches possible!
Stay at home!
Services cancelled!

These are the sound bytes we’ve
been hearing since Thursday
here in Colorado.

Has it snowed? Sure!
Has it been the storm of the season?
Maybe? It has had its moments.
Are we staying at home?
Well, yes, today we are.

I find it amusing how “SENSATIONAL”
news has become over the years.
When I was a child, we listened
to farm weather reports on the radio
every morning because my dad
was a former farmer.

The weather report was delivered
in a monotonic voice with very basic facts,
when the next precipitation was expected,
and maybe if the
temperature was going to drop below zero
or over 107, the reporter would speak a little louder.
We got the point, nonetheless.
Imagine that!

These are things I’m thinking as I watch
it snow intermittently this morning,
first in almost microscopic fine flakes
and then in the big, gorgeous Santa Claus flakes
we see on Christmas specials in December.

My front patio has been redecorated by the
hands of old man winter, and, for once,
looks rather stylish with the added
layer of snow.

I thought I’d share it with you before
the next sensational weather event occurs
and erases it all with its carelessness.

©Elaine Wood-Lane 2/22/15

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Come on Baby! Let’s Get Started!

My daughter-in-law is in the last days of her pregnancy. As we all wait with excited anticipation for the birth of her and my eldest son’s first baby, I have been drawn back in time to remembering those last days of my pregnancy with my son. As any woman who has been in those last days of pregnancy knows, they are full of a combination of growing discomfort, nervous excitement, a strong wish to get the birth over with, and, for a first time mother, a little bit of fear of the as yet unknown travails of labor and delivery. I remember mostly sleepless nights because there is no comfortable position to lay when one is big with baby. For me, heartburn raged, my back constantly ached, and the only way I could truly lay down and still breathe was semi-curled up on my left side like a beached whale. If I did happen to drift off to sleep, I was soon awakened by toe-curling leg cramps that could only be alleviated by lumbering out of bed and walking the charlie horses out. If leg cramps didn’t wake me up from my light, uncomfortable sleep, then the urgent need to empty my squashed bladder did. Fun times for sure! Yet, still, there was the almost constantly held breath of waiting for labor to begin.

101 years ago today my paternal grandmother, Maud Lee Spence Wood, was in the same expectant position, awaiting the birth of her third child, my father. However, where I and my daughter-in-law waited/wait in comfortable apartments with soft carpets, tight walls, running water, electricity, and central heat, in a modern city of thousands, my grandmother waited in a wooden house on the southern end of the great plains. The house had been built by her husband, George Washington Wood, after they arrived in Lubbock County, Texas in a covered wagon a few months earlier in October, 1913. They traveled 350+ miles from Dallas County to Lubbock County in that wagon with their first two children, Harrel D. and Jewel, and all their worldly goods. I’ve often tried to imagine what that trip was like for my grandmother, and, quite frankly, I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around it.

Now, here they were, 101 years ago today, waiting for their third child. I don’t know anything about my dad’s birth other than that it occurred at home in that little house on the prairie, hopefully assisted by a doctor or at least a midwife. Daddy arrived on January 23, 1914 and wasn’t named L.D. Wood until six weeks (months?) later because George and Maud couldn’t agree on a name for him! This was how Daddy’s long, full life began. He lived to be just shy of 93 years old and the world changed drastically in those years.

As we wait for Baby Cooley now, L.D. Wood’s great-grandchild, I can’t help but wonder what their life will be like and how the world will change in their lifetime. In three generations, the world has been transformed from wagons, rudimentary Ford Model T cars or trains for transportation, letters or telegrams for communication, primarily lanterns for light, wood stoves for heat and cooking, and no indoor plumbing to fast, computerized cars, trains, buses, and airplanes for transportation, 24/7 instant communication via high speed internet and cell phones, electricity (provided by a variety of energy sources), indoor plumbing and central heat and air. Our modern hospitals are prepared for any health needs or emergencies, including labor and delivery.

My grandfather died of pneumonia contracted while sick with the Spanish Influenza in 1920 at the age of 42. There were no antibiotics to treat pneumonia or anything else yet. My father lived 93 years and died of Alzheimer’s and old age, essentially. How long will Baby Cooley live? 100 years? 120 years? That’s not as improbable as one might think given the progress of modern medicine.

Regardless, as we await Baby Cooley’s entrance into this world, my constant, grandmotherly prayer is that the birth will be easy and uneventful for my lovely daughter-in-law, that Baby Cooley will be healthy and strong, and that they will live a life as long, full of grand adventures, and happy as their great-grandpa Wood’s. Come on baby! Let’s get started!! We’re all waiting!

Elaine

The Tradition of the Christmas Amaryllis

When I started working on the main campus at Texas Tech, my boss’ wife, Willie Haragan, would give all of us in the office an amaryllis bulb to grow for Christmas. I had never seen one before and quickly fell in love with the tradition. The boys and I especially enjoyed watching the magic of the quick growing amaryllis which bloomed, usually, right on time for Christmas!

Today when I saw this pink amaryllis kit at the grocery store, I had to buy it!

I am restarting an old/new tradition. Maybe someday I can share the tradition of growing an amaryllis at Christmas with my grandchildren. Next Christmas our little grandbaby will only be 11 months old, but who knows? He/she might still like it!