The Best Christmas Gift

In much anticipation I opened up the gift from my son and daughter-in-law.  When I saw the title on the box, “Pet Sweep Animal-Powered Debris Removal System” I tried hard to hide my disappointment. Had my 7-year-old granddaughter, who watches too many product commercials on T.V., made this recommendation?  We do have 3 dogs and living on a dirt road produces a large amount of dirt and hair.  I just didn’t see how this was going to work out.  As you can tell from the picture, Bailey our red Healer didn’t look very interested in earning her keep.

Fortunately, when I opened my package I found something more useful.

pet-gifts

My gullibility never ceases to amaze myself!

 

One of The Greatest Generation Still Bringing Christmas Joy

Recently my son called me up and asked if I’d come down to watch the children for an evening. It was my daughter-in-law’s birthday and he wanted to surprise her by taking her out to dinner for the evening. I only had a day’s notice and it’s an hour and a half drive one way but my lovely d-i-l rarely gets time away from the children. Not too many will take on 4 children ages 2,4,7 and 9.  I was more than happy to do this for her.

Before I went home the next morning, I decided to go to the Aldi’s grocery store to shop. This was only a couple of miles from their home. The Aldi’s closest to me involves a round trip of 60 miles. However, the savings is well worth the trip and I usually combine it with other errands.

While moving down the aisle I began to hear Jingle Bells played on a harmonica. At first I looked around thinking a child with a harmonica might be playing in the next aisle.  As I continued to shop, the harmonica music continued with all the familiar Christmas tunes.  I realized Aldi’s must be playing Christmas music for the season.

When I came to the check-out line,  I saw the source of the beautiful music.  An elderly man was sitting on the bagging area  happily playing on the harmonica. I heard someone ask the cashier about him and he said the man was usually here 2 or 3 times per week. When I started to bag my groceries,  I thanked him for providing the lovely music.  A woman came up to speak with him and said she remembered him playing in a nearby mall. He recalled that must have been over 20 years ago.  I overheard his whispers to her that he was known as “The Harmonica Man” and had been featured on local radio and television stations.

We continued our conversation and something about him reminded me of my father who was a WWII veteran, so I asked him what year he was born (seems a little rude now).   He answered that he was born in 1919. My father was born in 1916 and would have been 100 years old this month. I mentioned he was part of “The Greatest Generation”. He humbly replied that he wouldn’t know about that.  He went on and asked me if I enjoyed love songs and he played a beautiful melody. He brought such joy to me and the other shoppers that day. As he left the store pushing an empty shopping cart,  I noticed his walker was inside his cart,  97 years old and still bringing joy.

When I went home, I decided to do a little research on him since he said he had been featured on local stations as The Harmonica Man. What I discovered (and PLEASE listen to this interview: he is so much more than The Harmonica Man. He is one of The Greatest Generation!

Great State: WWII, Korea, and Vietnam Vet Known Better in MWC as the Harmonica Man

The Season Closes with Surprises

Oklahoma is having unusually warm weather.  The day before our annual Thanksgiving event, known as “Man Week” Man Week Has Arrived, a.k.a. Thanksgiving!, the weatherman reported we would have our first freeze of the season.

I’ve been a little behind with the garden (unmotivated) and I still had jalapeno peppers and green tomatoes growing in the garden.  In a moment of guilt, not wanting to waste food, I immediately began to harvest the peppers and tomatoes. But how to preserve?  It’s the day before Thanksgiving and I have things to do!  John suggested stringing the peppers like his mother used to do.  That sounded like a lot of work to me and I’m all about saving time.  Checked out google for all the alternatives and it did seem like the easiest way to go.

I got out two large craft needles and John got out some green fishing line.  He took one string and I took the other.  It was actually very relaxing working together and it went quite fast.  It also added some color to the kitchen for the Thanksgiving feast.

Next, what to do with the tomatoes?  This year the size of the tomatoes were small but the taste was wonderful.  Too good to waste!  In the past I’ve canned, froze, dried, made tomato jam (very good) but I didn’t have time for that.  I put them in a colander waiting for a magic idea.  Gradually they began ripening and we began eating and enjoying the wonderful flavor of homegrown tomatoes.  I’m so spoiled I don’t buy a store-bought tomato.  There’s just no comparison!

peppers-and-tomatoes

In the middle of all this last-minute harvesting, I discovered a couple of surprises in the girl’s Garden Granddaughters’ Garden. This garden was long forgotten and the Bermuda had taken over.  To my surprise, I found cilantro and lettuce growing. This year was my first attempt at growing cilantro.  Even though I use cilantro to make hot sauce, what I didn’t realize is that cilantro does not like hot weather.  We had a very hot June this year and it never grew.  But the cooler temperatures in November brought it peeking out to greet me.  I harvested what I could by cutting leaves and not pulling the roots and put the garden to bed with straw.  Perhaps the cilantro and lettuce will come up next Spring.