north carolina, with love

I took this while sitting on a rocker on Stacie's front porch. In early May I was in North Carolina visiting my sister Stacie. It was a glorious time. Almost every morning I enjoyed a pot of coffee on her front porch. And every moment of it, I felt I was experiencing a slice of heaven. The view from her porch is magnificent. The spring scents were sweet and subtle. The breeze was tender and the birds' singing was like salve to my heart. Every sense I possess smiled. There were a few rainy days and even they were heavenly. I sat on the porch wrapped in one of my mom's afghans, sipped coffee and listened to the rain. On occassion I called Gordon so he could hear the thunder and rain. I just sat and smiled. It was refreshing to every cell of my being. I'm sure my liver... Read more →

stacie, hammin' it up

Life has had me by the tail ever since I got home from Arkansas and I've not captured many of my memories from the trip. I told about the photo shoot my sibs and I had with my dad. Before we had the opportunity to have a group picture made, my hammy sister, Stacie, captivated all the cameras. She is a ham-dinger. I wish I'd gotten a little more of that gene, but I didn't so I just get to enjoy her. She is so funny and entertaining. I lub' 'er lots. As you can see in these pictures, she put on a show. So unintimidated, acting like a teenager getting her picture made. As you can also see in the pictures, we were all waiting for her to finish the production. Read more →

first time driver

Last night I was doing some organizing and found this story from 8th or 9th grade. It's not a glamorous story but remember I was a mere child when I wrote it. Even with its juvenile spirit, I hope it provokes a little grin. First Time I'll never forget the first time my sister Stacie drove. It was a Sunday afternoon and we were on our way to church. My brother Michael and I were in the backseat and my mom and Stacie were in front. Stacie was in the driver's seat but I can't help thinking she could have done any worse had she been in the backseat between Michael and me. She poked along cautiously until we got to Potter where Highway 375 intersects Highway 71. The road was desolate except for one car that was a good half mile away. Panic was all over Stacie's face as... Read more →

are you washed

When Stacie and I were between 2 and 5 years old, an electrician was doing some work in our house. I sang "Are You Washed in the Blood?" After my solo, Stacie looked up at the man and said, "Mister, are you washed in the blood?" He replied, "Yes Ma'am I sure am." I was reminded of this story this morning when we sang that hymn in church. I smiled. Labels: Stacie Read more →

happy birthday to me

I received this lovely birthday greeting and am still basking in its make-me-feel-good-ness. Stacie made my day with my first birthday greeting. "Happy Birthday, Valerie. You always write such eloquent birthday tributes to those you love and this simple greeting seems so pale in comparison. What do I love about you: You have the most wonderful humor. You can make me laugh like no other and you laugh with me so whole heartedly. Your writing is so fun to read because it can make me laugh though you are so subtle in the effort. I'm so impressed. You are a great listener. Truly. You don't interrupt (like me) and I always feel like you really hear. Poor souls that have no one to listen. You listen to me blab on about what I made for dinner, what I wore to work, all the places I went, blah, blah, blah. Wonderful.... Read more →

happy birthday stacie

(Stacie 2005) Today is my sister Stacie's birthday. As with all my siblings, Stacie is years and years and years older than me. She was born in 1964 and I in 1966. Stacie and I are very close and kindred spirits. Billions of miles apart, (Edmonton and North Carolina), we talk on the phone several times a week. (Before she went back to work a couple years ago, we talked on the phone nearly everyday). My telephone plan is better than her's so when she wants to talk, she phones me, lets it ring twice, then hangs up. Like an obedient sister, I phone back immediately. She is the only person in the world I could talk to that often. I'm not a telephone person. Dead space doesn't make me nervous with her and it does with everyone else. (Stacie 1970, 6 years old) A couple years ago the little... Read more →

the mind of a child

(Me, Easter morning, wearing my very best Union Bank smile. 1970) When I was a very young child, I had three aspirations. I wanted to work at Union Bank so I could smile all day and dress pretty. Stacie and I use to play like the ladies at the Bank. We put on silly smiles and smiled, smiled, smiled, just for the fun of smiling. We played "Mail Call, Mail Call, 4th Street Mail Call." I have no idea where we got that game; I suppose it was a Stacie/Valerie original. One of us would take a slew of discarded junk mail and stand in the back freezer room and yell, "Mail Call, Mail Call, 4th Street Mail Call." The other, a resident of 4th Street, would come out of her house (the bedroom) and make her way down 4th Street (the hall) to collect her mail. When she arrived... Read more →

in the backwoods

(Stacie and me, early 70's) When Stacie and I were teenagers, probably 14 and 16, we went to see new friends who lived way, way out in the country. We got terribly lost and were on the back-roads of the back-roads. In desperation, we took a hilly, rutted driveway to seek help. At the end of the driveway, we found a dilapidated trailer and a number of barking hound dogs. As we sized up the situation, a skinny, wild-haired, bare-foot old woman came out of the trailer and stood looking at us while she yelled at her dogs. Hesitantly, we stepped out of the car and approached her. As we got close to the lady, we saw horrifying evidence that all people are not created equally. As she smiled kindly at us, she revealed her pathetically bad teeth. They jutted north, south, east, and west. I can nearly assure you... Read more →

my sister, the worrier

(Stacie, far left, and me, far right, with all our girls, Colorado 2000) Yesterday I was talking to my sister. Her emotions are all over the map these days. Her oldest child graduates this week and will soon be leaving the nest to begin a new life as a college student. Stacie is one of the most devoted, dedicated mothers I've ever known. Yet, as only a mother can be, she is overwhelmed with feelings of having robbed Melody. "I just wanted to be a perfect mom. Was it more about me than Melody?" she asked. "Should I have given her more freedom? Should I have....?" She began to recall memories. Through her tears, one of the things she recalled was when Melody got lice in elementary school. This was one of her examples of it having been about herself rather than Melody. Admittedly, Stacie use to be a chronic... Read more →

family and movies

(Diane, me, Stacie, Mama, Michael, Daddy. 1980) I just got off the phone with my sister Stacie. She's been way too busy and I've missed our regular talks. We have a delightfully fun relationship. There's much to be said for sharing a family of origin. Families share a common style of communication, body language, insecurities, and even humor. My siblings and I do and say stuff regularly that would require an explanation to an outsider. I know other families are the same. Stacie and I share an idiosyncratic bond in that we often quote movies, and occasionally a book, to drive a point home. When we don't really get along with a person, "There's a wall." (The Emperor's New Groove). When someone gets what they deserve, "There's a price you pay for the life you choose." (The Godfather). When we are in circumstances that put us way out of our... Read more →