Single Daisy

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This little stem broke off a few days ago from a grocery store bouquet of flowers . I hated to see it go in the trash can. It seems to be thriving in a tiny crystal bowl with a bit of water. I was amazed to see it still looking so great today.

To all mom’s out there following my blog, let me be one of the first to wish you a blessed Mother’s Day.

May you always be resilient like this flower… blooming beautifully in midst of calm or chaos. As storms arise in your journey, may you be grateful for the rain to help the blooming flowers grow, and find sunshine to light your path.

Blue skies and sunshine outside our back door at Wilkes County Hardware

Happy Mother’s Day!!!!

The Clothesline

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I was walking around the hardware store yesterday checking the shelves for products that needed replenishment. I came upon a roll of clothesline. My mind began to instantly wander from the task at hand. My productivity waned… I was lost in my thoughts.

We sell clothesline at Wilkes County Hardware, even the old fashioned cotton type & clothespins

The memories came flooding back of my mom’s clothesline when I was growing up. We spent the Saturdays putting the sheets, & towels onto the clothesline. It was a time saver for mom, not having to run the dryer all day after working all week.

My sister and I both had “jobs” while we were assisting hanging clothes on the clothesline. We both were too young to reach the clothesline for ourselves. We had it down to a well-oiled system. One of us carried the old metal dishpan outside into the fresh, clean air towards the line. Of course the clothespins were in hand too. Once we were at the line, I handed mom each piece of laundry from the dishpan, while my younger sister, delved out the clothespins. Mom hung the laundry in sync with the wind. The whole process didn’t take long.

Mom used an old metal dishpan like this one, wet laundry was too heavy in the laundry basket… of course I asked her why she used this when I was little…

Now, memories are often nostalgic… so I must say that my mom’s memories of these Saturdays at the clothesline are probably different from ours. She probably remembers the trips out to the clothesline where we both complained about the weather being too hot, or bees flying too closely, or even those hateful chestnut burrs that were close by waiting to prey on our innocence toes/feet in the late summer/early fall months. I know complaints were definitely lodged… but we always finished our task, hanging the laundry out to dry.

Oh… those chestnut burrs were rough on the feet!!!

I’m glad my sister & I were able to experience so many wonderful things during our childhood that are now seemingly falling away into the past.

Everyone used to have a clothesline… now I bet that if you still have a clothesline in 2021, you are a rare lucky person.

Back to nostalgia, as we both grew older, mom sent us out to the clothesline to hang or even harvest the freshly dried clothes. I took them down while my sister held the fresh loot.

I can still smell the scent of the sheets & towels dried outdoors. Nothing was better than those air dried sheets on your bed at night.

However, I do recall, that towels and washcloths from the line were not a favorite of mine. They were a little too rough for my liking. We used the line mostly for sheets anyways.

My dad eventually took the old chestnut trees down and made way for some new backyard landscaping as I got older. The clothesline was used less frequently as we got older.

But that clothesline was a constant in my backyard during my childhood. Things change as do people. I will always cherish those good memories of times spent together at the clothesline, soaking up the fresh outdoor air & sunshine.

Hope

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The Spring season & Easter holiday always brings a sense of hope.

Spring is beginning to emerge in all of its glory, with the grand rebirth of nature. The first flowers bloom, trees are sprouting the first tiny green leaves, & the grass awakens from its winter slumber. Birds are busy nesting, and their chirping can be heard from early mornings to late in the evening.

Easter for many people is a significant religious experience… the love of God and his Grace forever changed the world… bringing HOPE to all.

Spring of 2021 just “feels” very different from Spring 2020, which was fully immersed in the Covid pandemic.

As I recall, this time last year, our reality was very different. As a nation, we were focused on Covid, shutdowns, & finding new ways of doing business. Many businesses closed. 2020 was also spent on how to control the spread of the virus, & let’s not forget the shortages of key products. I think the list is lengthy, so I’ll not continue.

Clorox wipes, toilet paper, N95 masks, and so much more…

Our focus as business owners at Wilkes County Hardware last spring was on “essential business operations”.

When many states across the US shutdown spring of 2020, our state did also. Hardware stores were considered to be essential.

For a few months, curbside service was offered in order to keep our customers & employees safe. We are still offering call ahead curbside for anyone who wants it even still now.

Last spring we dealt with consistent shortages of all types of items. This was a new problem that we had never encountered as a business owners.

Store stock merchandise had always been always readily available prior to Covid. Trying to find alternatives or other venders was difficult at times AND still continues into 2021 spring season.

I will say that finding solutions to living during a pandemic did prove to be a challenge and how to manage a business during it all, felt at times, all encompassing.

HOPE kept us going.

I’ll conclude with one of my favorite quotes concerning hope. “May all your choices reflect your hopes not your fears”. Well done Nelson Mandela…

Full Circle Moment

I was standing in my kitchen Thursday morning before leaving to go to the hardware store, listening to Hoda and Jenna in the background on the television.

Hoda began to discuss a feature she had recently saw on Warren Buffett. He had revealed a bit of life advice.

The life advice conversation Hoda was retelling focused on the people in your inner circle, those who you could call upon in times of crisis or need. Buffett had spoken about a dear friend who survived Auschwitz. Every time they would meet someone new, they make a mental note, “would they have hid me”?

Wow… those type of friends or family are the people you need in your inner circle of life. Definitely those who you can count on in times of laughter and crisis….Right???

It was always an an “Aha moment”, when my middle students realized that Anne Frank and Martin Luther King Jr were born in the same year, 1929.

I retired from teaching in 2019 in order to spend more time with my son, grow as a business owner, and to help care for my grandparents

This interview piece brought several things to the forefront of my mind. I recalled that, Holocaust Remembrance Day was earlier this past week.

One of things we discussed in class was how different their experiences were, but the history of the times bonded them together, they were in the “same life boat of history “.

Amsterdam at Night

As I heard the interview from my kitchen, it all came to me…my grandparents were born in 1928. This was not a revolutionary insight, but more of a full circle moment for me.

I have lost two people from my inner circle that loved me dearly. The events from the interview and real life combined into my daily existence…

My grandparents would have been there for me if I needed them.

My inner circle may have grown smaller, but those who are inside that circle, are there because they would do anything they could for me or my family.

Grief is hard…

AND Life is short y’all. Find & keep those who are in your inner circle, those who would have “hid” you.

My grandparents witnessed a tremendous amount of history in their lifetime. Just like Anne Frank & MLK, they “arrived in different ships” but they ended up in the same “historical boat”.

Is your “boat” full ??? Who’s in your inner circle of care??? Do you have room for more on board???

February brings me full circle in 2021. This time last year, my grandmother took a huge downturn in health. I spent many hours at my grandparents house and a few hours in between at the hardware store.

With both of my grandparents now gone, I have more time to focus work, another huge part of my life journey, Another chapter…

Perspective. Chapters do come to an end, & things change. Sometimes life is hard. As another chapter begins to unfold, another one concludes.

I realize that these chapters should not dictate my life story, and I know they are an important part of my story.

So I’m ready this February to greet the circle of change, coming full circle.

2020… “a year that will live in infamy”

As a retired history teacher, this day many years ago, was a watershed event in American history. Famously stated now by our former President, Franklin Roosevelt, “December 7th, 1941, a date which will live in infamy-the United States was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”

How Americans lived and worked simply turned on a dime after this tragic day. America quickly entered into World War II and wartime life began.

My grandfather in his Navy uniform. He enlisted during WWII as a young man.

The significance of history sometimes makes me consider the present day… in 2020, our world has experienced one of those unique watershed events, fighting a pandemic.

No, we may not have sent troops into full combat across the globe to fight against tyranny. But for many folks, 2020 will be a year that will go down in “infamy “.

Those like my grandparents who were part of the Great Depression/WWII Era, were called the Greatest Generation, rightfully so, in my opinion.

Granny & Papa in their early years

The “Greatest Generation” was given the name by news anchor, Tom Brokaw. These folks contributed to war effort, fought in war, & helped however they could because it was the right thing to do. They also worked in war production plants, & rationed… yes, they sacrificed… they didn’t have the basic necessities so the troops could have them during the war. Meatless days, Wheatless days, no sugar, coffee, & gas rationing. What an amazing group of people who made our nation stronger! If you still have these folks in your life, hold them dearly in your heart & prayers each day.

Ration books, codes

What will history reveal about life in 2020 Pandemic Life??? Will it be a “Greatest Generation Scenario” where folks did everything they could??? Or will it be a more muddled view???

My mind goes back to the old Thomas Paine passage from the American Crisis, “ These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer solider and sunshine patriot will in times of crisis shrink, from the service of their country…”

2020 has brought trying times. No need to elaborate. People are struggling everywhere, sickness, quarantine, economic struggles, business closings… the list is long.

Thomas Paine wrote these words during the American Revolution. By the way, the word revolution, it is a synonym for change…. we talked a lot about this in history. It doesn’t have to be a “change” in governmental structure. Case in point, The Industrial Revolution- so much change occurred in our world during this time.

Think about how our lives have changed in 2020… new ways to teach students, working from home, zoom, curbside business, to go orders only at restaurants, the list is long and still changing daily. Life in 2020 has been revolutionary whether we realize it or not.

I must admit, at times, I wanted to shrink away and just go hide. The difficulties of 2020 have been relentless in my world. I would bet that we all have had those days… but 2020 experiences have made me a stronger person. I’m still here, working through different situations as they arise, one at a time, using friends & family and prayer as my anchors.

The revolutionary quote by Thomas Paine continues, “ but he who stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman”. In other words, we need to have strength to continue on.

Stay strong. Be safe. Practice social distancing, wear your mask, wash your hands. Follow the science. Do all the right things, like our grandparents did during WWII.

We are now experiencing some of the darkest times of the pandemic, our numbers seem to continue to rise more and more each day. Let’s end 2020 with Hope…. Such a small word, HOPE. The power it holds is mind boggling.

Quite mornings… beautiful sunrise always a beautiful way to begin a day… Hope springs anew

I leave you today with more words from the World War II Era, just like I began this blog post… Winston Churchill’s famous line from WWII, “we shall never surrender”. In the speech he gave, he told the people of his nation, “we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields…” in other words, he told them, we are not giving up. We will press on… The “Greatest Generation”.

So I guess that could be a significant lesson for us today in 2020. Not giving up, always seeking answers, finding solutions to difficult problems. “Never surrender”. Go find your hope today.

Hope