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Memories of New Mexico~Part 4

19 Mar

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

Back to Albuquerque – way back in my day, the airport was not the big event it is today. The airport (appropriately called the Sunport, since it’s over 5300 feet in altitude) shared the runway with Kirtland Air Force Base. The airport building itself was quite different than it is today; quite primitive, but unique. Here is a picture of it, taken with my grandmother. It will give you an idea of the “Southwest” look it had.

 

 

No jetways then – one had to climb a set of stairs to get into the airplane.

There was a “wall” made out of New Mexico stone, that was really beautiful. And after I was old enough to drive, my girlfriends and I would drive to the airport, sit on that wall, and watch the airplanes take off and land. It made for very inexpensive but wonderful evening entertainment. I’m not even sure the wall is still there. And since 2001 and 9/11, I suspect security wouldn’t let anyone sit on that wall and watch the airplanes come and go anymore. Pity.

As a kid – and then a teenager – we used to enjoy driving from Albuquerque up to the mountains, sometimes to Sandia Crest (tops out at 10,678 feet in altitude). It was a bit harrowing at times – the road was quite twisty and curvy, and it wasn’t such a great road back in that day. Today it is a lovely road – still some twists and curves, but not as nerve-wracking as it was then. And even in July, the temperature up there can be as low as 28º in the daytime! Take a jacket!

 

 

After Fred and I married and moved away, a fish restaurant was built along the way up the mountain. My mother and family/friends would drive up there for a Sunday meal after church. When Fred and I visited, we were able to go with them to Bella Vista Fish Restaurant. Granted it was fried fish, but it was an all-you-can-eat place, and we most certainly ate our way through the meal! It was great!   Unfortunately, it is no more. The original owners died, the children took over, but made it into a sports bar – and the patrons just didn’t take to it that well. So it went under. We were sorry to see it go.

Just one more memory. I’ve mentioned before that my father had one lone peach tree in our back yard that he babied. He would wrap it in cheesecloth each year, so the birds couldn’t get to the fruit. It produced some of the biggest, sweetest peaches I’ve ever eaten! Mother would cut some up, freeze them for pies later, or make fresh-frozen jam out of them. Delicious!   But one other type of pies she would make were cherry pies – and they were the best! We would drive out to the North Valley to Bosque Farms to pick our own cherries. I remember doing that a number of times. We would pick what we wanted, and probably paid by the pound or basket. Mother had a cherry “picker” in that it would dig out the seed as one turned the handle. So we would de-seed the cherries, mother would freeze some them for pies later on, and then would make a pie. Daddy loved it. Especially with hand-packed, home made ice cream from Fitzgerald’s on Central Avenue! We stopped every Sunday for the ice cream to go with the pie mother had made. WOW!!

Oh my, what memories those are for me. This is such a fun trip down memory lane for me.

See you next time.

 

 

 

 

 

Memories of New Mexico~Part 3

12 Mar

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

I can remember going to Carlsbad Caverns as a family. It was fascinating! I especially remember standing with a large group of tourists in a huge cavern, and the lights were turned off. It was so dark and black that I, literally, could not see my hand in front of my face. I know, because I tried to see it – and couldn’t! And then the guide lit one match, and it was light enough to see everyone in the group. Astounding! My Aunt Jessie had always said that she would never go to the Caverns. Why? Because she was convinced that the day she went – it would cave in! Guess what? She died in 1990 – without ever having gone to the caverns – and the caverns are still standing! She had some funny superstitions.

Another fun memory is that of going to White Sands National Park. It is near Las Cruces, New Mexico, and also near the White Sands Missile Range. It was such fun for my brother and me to romp around in the white sands. The entire area looks like a desert, with the sands shifting and moving around – but the sand is sugar-white, not tan or brown as one usually sees a desert. The sand is made up of gypsum and calcium sulfate, and thus reflects the sun, rather than absorb the heat. And because it is at high elevation, with high evaporation, the sand is cool to the touch. Really a neat thing to see. These are some pictures taken of my grandmother and others back in the 1950’s. I think it’s hilarious to see them dressed up so much – to go walk in the sand dunes!

As an outing, my family would frequently drive around the state, to see what we could see. We would drive to Isleta Pueblo, just 15 miles south of Albuquerque. We crossed the Rio Grande River to get there. It was a fascinating place to see.

Credit Google Search

Lots of interesting information on the sign

 

Credit Google Search

 

Or we would drive to the Santo Domingo Pueblo (now Kewa Pueblo), on our way to Santa Fe. It’s about 25 miles southwest of Santa Fe, between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. They had some wonderful turquoise jewelry there and other Native American artifacts. This trading post looks very much like I remember.

 

Credit Google Search and NCPTT

 

Another fascinating place to go and explore was Bandelier National Monument. It is near Los Alamos, New Mexico. I remember climbing up hand-made ladders into some of the dwellings dug out of the cliffs. It was grand fun for a kid like me.

 

 

Credit Google Search and Wikimedia Commons

 

Credit Google Search and YouTube

 

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

Memories of New Mexico~Part 2

26 Feb

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

JUDY

 

 I have some mementos of New Mexico, and I would like to share them with you. Some of the Native Americans that lived in the pueblos out and around Albuquerque, made some wonderful black pots. I’m sure that originally, they were actually used within the house for some household chore, but these little ones are just for sitting on a shelf, and to be enjoyed by all. At least I’ve always enjoyed them. However, they were quite expensive, and I was unable to purchase any.

My wonderful sister-in-law, DiVoran, had this little pot sitting on her shelf for as long as I can remember. We made a trade one time – she got some gold earrings, and I got her little black pot! It was an even-trade for both of us.

 

 

And Fred’s parents had this black pot, that I admired so much. So when they passed away, I was able to inherit the pot, and have enjoyed it ever since.

 

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They both sit on a shelf, along with this adorable brass road runner that I also inherited from Fred’s parents. They had him a long time, and I admired him for all that time. He appealed to me because the road runner is the New Mexico state bird.

 

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Some newer art forms from New Mexico also have appealed to me. The last time we were in Albuquerque (Fred’s brother still lives there), I purchased this little glass cactus. I thought it was really cute – and it is almost a prickly as a real cactus!

 

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For some reason, Kokopelli has become a favorite Native American icon of mine.

I just think he’s cute – and he’s playing a musical instrument. From Wikipedia, I gleaned the following:

Kokopelli is a fertility deity, usually depicted as a humpbacked flute player (often with feathers or antenna-like protrusions on his head), who has been venerated by some Native American cultures in the Southwestern United States. Like most fertility deities, Kokopelli presides over both childbirth and agriculture. He is also a trickster god and represents the spirit of music.

This little statuette sits on one of my shelves for me to enjoy. I have forgotten what this type of metal-work is called.

 

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I also have another type of that art work – it is a turtle. I saw this the last time we were in Albuquerque, and it appealed to me. I think it’s cute.

 

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Those of you old enough, and interested in car racing – especially the Indianapolis 500 – might remember the Unser brothers. They were New Mexico boys, and back in the 1960’s-1980’s had an auto shop in Albuquerque, designed for maintaining race cars. Al Unser won that race four times, his brother, Bobby won it three times, and Al Unser, Jr. won it twice! You might say it was in the family’s blood! There is a Unser Racing Museum in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque that is open to any and all.

 

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Credit Google search and Rita Wechter

Memories of New Mexico~Part 1

19 Feb

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

JUDY

 

I’ve mentioned before that I grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. And yes, that IS one of our 50 Unites States – check out your U.S. atlas. It’s between Texas and Arizona. It’s actually a pretty large state.

 

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The culture there is a mixture of Native American and Mexican. It’s a nice blend. Of course, growing up, it just seemed natural to me. In fact, it almost surprises me to find Native American culture in other states. I guess I thought it was just contained in New Mexico. I’m not always very bright….

In the course of writing this post, I would like to share some of my memories of New Mexico. But my thoughts may jump from one subject to another without any connection, so please bear with me. It’s going to be a fun ride for me…..

I always liked the New Mexico flag:

 

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From Wikipedia I gleaned the following:

The yellow field and red symbol colors are the colors of Spain. First brought to New Mexico by Spanish explorers in 1540. On New Mexico’s flag we see a red sun with rays stretching out from it. There are four groups of rays with four rays in each group. This is an ancient sun symbol of a Native American people called the Zia. The Zia believed that the giver of all good gave them gifts in groups of four. These gifts are:

 The four directions – north, east, south and west.

The four seasons – spring, summer, fall and winter.

The day – sunrise, noon, evening and night.

Life itself – childhood, youth, middle years and old age.

All of these are bound by a circle of life and love, without a beginning or end.

I’ve mentioned the Fiesta dresses (or Squaw dresses) please see my post on December 9, 2012 -we wore. They always remind me of New Mexico.

I had a funny “One of our 50 is Missing” episodes – please see my post of March 3, 2013 post – I don’t speak Portugese.

The mountains to the East of Albuquerque, part of the Rocky Mountain Range, were always my delight. I loved those mountains, and miss them here in Florida. Please see my post for February 15, 2015 – The Crest.

 

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Back in my growing-up days, we didn’t have cell phones, and sometimes not even TV. My family didn’t get our first TV until I was about 15 years old. So we had to find other means of entertaining ourselves. Both before I met Fred, and after but before we married and moved away, one of our favorite things to do was to drive out to the west mesa rise, turn around and drive back into town, looking at the city lights. Especially at night, when all the lights were on. It was truly a beautiful sight.

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yummm…Cinnamon

12 Feb

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

JUDY

 

Do you like cinnamon?   Yummmm…….one of my favorite flavors. Of course, if you use too much, it can be really HOT!!! But in moderation, it’s GREAT!

 

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When I was a child, I would go to the corner store and get a sucker – or lollipop, if that’s what you want to call it. It was about 1″ square, nearly clear, on a “stick” and I would fill my mouth with that delicious taste. It would take me quite a while to work my way through that sucker. It was wonderful!

 

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Remember those little “red-hot” candies? Those have a wonderful cinnamon flavor, as well. I’m sure the sucker and the candies are nothing but sugar, sugar, sugar – with a little bit of cinnamon added for taste. That’s okay…..I like it anyway!

 

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I don’t remember how I discovered this, but I would go to the corner drugstore and get a small vial of cinnamon oil. I would fill it as full as I could with toothpicks – you know, the pointy ones – and let them soak for several days. Then I would take out one and suck-or-chew on that toothpick until it was nothing but slivers, soaking up all that wonderful cinnamon flavor. Yummmmm.

 

Long about Halloween time – in this case probably August or September, whenever stores put up their Halloween stuff – you can go into grocery stores or some restaurants (Cracker Barrel springs to mind), and smell those wonderful cinnamon brooms. I’ve always wanted to get one, but I understand the cinnamon oil leaves quite a stain. So I just enjoy the cinnamon smell when we go into Publix or Cracker Barrel.   Yummmm…

Something Fred and I have taken to doing, is sprinkling cinnamon on our breakfast cereal. Not only does it add great taste to the cereal, but we’ve found that cinnamon is good for our health! No, really!

Researchers have concluded that the health benefits of cinnamon can be obtained in the form of its pure bark, essential oils, in ground spice form (which is bark powder), or in extract form when its special phenolic compounds, flavonoids, and antioxidants are isolated. These compounds make cinnamon one of the most beneficial spices on earth, giving it antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-microbial, immunity-boosting, cancer and heart disease-protecting abilities. (Credit Google search and Dr. Axe)

Yet another way we use it, is to add it to our breakfast smoothie. We don’t really taste it, along with all the other tastes in there (blueberries, banana, walnuts, protein powder, flax seed meal, natural peanut butter, baby spinach, almond milk, stevia), but we feel good, knowing that cinnamon is in there.

 

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One of the articles I read even said that the Egyptians used it as an embalming spice. Wow! Didn’t know that!

So many uses for cinnamon, but if for nothing more than it’s taste – I would use it! Give it a try…you might like it.

Yummmm….cinnamon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s in a Name

5 Feb

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

Have you ever considered your name? I mean, really thought about your name…why you were given the name you have…if you were named after someone…if so, who and why? And do you think that you were only given a middle name so you would know when you were in trouble?

In olden times, names were given to a child, and that child was expected to “live up” to the meaning of that name.

Perhaps because I’m older now, but I wonder about things like that. I remember asking my in-laws to give me their childhood memories. My Father-in-law started in with the statement “Don’t you know that within five generations you have a million people? There’s no way I can give you that!”

When I explained that I didn’t want those millions – I only wanted his memories, and my Mother-in-law’s memories, and he said, “Oh!” And that’s how the memories book came to be. They were true to their word and we have some wonderful memories about themselves, that would have been lost if I hadn’t insisted.

 

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Within that memories book, are the stories of how their four children were named. When my husband was born, Fred’s mother wrote: We took a long time deciding on his name, but we finally decided to name him for his two grandfathers. They both had the name Charles, so we took the Charles from the Wills side and Frederic from my side (Dad Wills had an initial only for his second name! His parents could not agree on Henry or Harry so named him Charles H. Wills!)

 

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And because both Grandfathers as well as Fred’s Dad were named Charles, they called him Fred. So he is Fred today – except for the military. They insist on “First name, Middle initial, Last name.” No exceptions. It was sometimes difficult, since both of their names were Charles F. Wills.

I do know that Fred’s middle sister is somewhat named after Fred’s mother. She was Charlotte Emily, and Fred’s sister is Emily Ann.

 

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Within Dad’s memories, he told of how they named the twins, when they were born. He wrote: ……made a friend in the person of the Company Commander of Company L, a First Lieutenant Earl S. Eaves…… He became a life-long friend: our twins, Larry and Sally, are named after him and his wife, Sally. We gave his name Earl to Larry as his middle name.

 

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Fred’s Mother told me once that there was actually a fourth daughter born in her family, Lillian Elspeth. But she only lived to be two years old, and then died of spinal meningitis. Sally was named Sally Elspeth. When I told Sally about this, she was surprised, as her Mother had never told her that story.

On my side of this family, my maternal Grandmother was Addie Mae.

 

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She named her first daughter Jessie Mae.

 

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My Mother was named Agnes Anita,

 

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and they named me Judith Anita.

 

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I also remember my Aunt Jessie telling me that sometimes, when Granny was upset with either of them, she would get exasperated and yell “Jagnes!!” They weren’t sure just who Granny was upset with, but they both knew they were in trouble!

My father was one of 13 children, and they named him William Jacob.

 

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When my brother was born, they named him after my father, version 2.

 

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When my brother’s son was born, they named him William David (David after my sister-in-law’s brother).

 

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All-in-all, we decided that, if we had sons, there would be NO Charleses and NO Williams! There had been enough of both in our families. But we only had daughters, so there was no problem!

So…..what’s in YOUR name?

 

 

The Gurgle Pot

29 Jan

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

Some years ago, Fred’s youngest sister gave us a most unusual gift – a Gurgle Pot. Never heard of it? Neither had we, so let me tell you about this neat item.

It is a water pot for your table. It is shaped like a fish. It makes a delightfully amusing “gurgling” sound as you pour. According to the information card that came with the Pot, the designer, Matt Ellison tells us how it all got started:

“Years ago, I attended my brother’s wedding in a small village in Southern France. Since there were no hotels in town, all guests were matched with French hosts. My hosts spoke no English and I spoke no French which made dinner conversation a challenge. Long stretches of awkward silences were compounded by the fact that French dinners can last 3-4 hours. There was, however, one saving grace…a fish shaped water pitcher that “gurgled.” I found myself drinking more water than wine so I could fill the silent room with “gurgling” and unite the table with smiles.”

“Inspired by the lighthearted affect of the gurgling sound, I returned home and began sculpting my own version. Ten years, two kids, 15 molds and one typhoon off the coast of China later, I can finally share the GurglePot™ with you. I’m confident it will create similar smiles around your dining table in years to come.

Pour, Listen, Enjoy!”

So there you have it – the Gurgle Pot in all it’s glory. It really is a fun thing to have on your table. It is definitely a conversation-starter. If you care to go online to see all the different colors it comes in, just type in “gurgle pot” in your browser and see them all.

Fred’s sister gave us one in what might be called earth-tones or clay-flower-pot, but most websites call it “red.” It is produced in a rainbow of colors.

 

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We thoroughly enjoy our very own GurglePot™ – and you might, as well.

Amazon has a large selection of GurglePots  large and small.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Reunion

22 Jan

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

Have you ever been to a family reunion? Ever heard of families having a reunion? My family has never really had one. Our little family gets together quite often, and so we don’t consider it a “reunion” as such. My father was one of 13 children, but most of them lived close to each other, and there wasn’t any need for a reunion.

But there are other kinds of reunions. Fred and I attended one just this week. In August of 2015, I had a total knee replacement at Celebration Health in Kissimmee, Florida.

 

 

 

I was in the hospital for four days, under the care of the nurses there. While there, they told me about the “Joint Replacement Reunion” that the hospital sponsors each year. Now that I am included in the “joint replacement” crowd, I am always and will be forever eligible to participate in the annual reunion. Included in the reunion are those with knee, hip, shoulder replacement, and any other “joint” that has been replaced.

 

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Our first reunion was in January 2016. We were eager to experience this – but turns out that a MAJOR storm was passing through! Everything was under the tent – and the wind and rain blew so hard at times that we were afraid the tent would blow down! Fortunately, it didn’t. The advertised event was to be held rain or shine.

 

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One of the “events” is a walk around part of the hospital complex. That didn’t happen last year! But this year, it did. It was a nice walk, and some of the sports orthopedic doctors were in attendance with those of us walking. Nice to converse with them along the way.

Last year, since the walk didn’t happen, some of the nurses set the music, and got a “conga-line” going. Quite a few of the reunion participants joined in that dance. It was fun to watch. My new knee was only five months old, and I wasn’t up to that.

There were people running around, helping out, that had on dark blue t-shirts that proclaimed the reunion. I was amused to see the back of the shirts, and asked one lady if I could take a picture of it. Here it is. Cute, huh?

 

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After the walk, a meal was served. Last year, we were pleased to see that the hospital had the meal catered by 4Rivers Smokehouse – one of our favorite bbq places!! And they catered it again this year. Yay!

 

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Credit Google search and Adam J.V.

 

We thought 4Rivers was just a local Mom-n-Pop place that had expanded a bit (there is now one near us in Kissimmee). But to my surprise, I found online that there are 14 restaurants, with one coming to Atlanta later this year. The rest are in Florida.

Here is a short tidbit from their website:

FUN FACT:

Why four Rivers? In short, it represents our family, John, Monica (wife), Jared (son) and Cameron (daughter). But they also appreciate the serendipitous double meaning with Genesis 2:10, where four rivers branch from that which flows out of Eden

Here are a few pictures of this year’s event:

 

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Debra – one of my favorite nurses manning a registration table

 

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The big tent

 

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The starting line for the walk

Tied up in Knots

15 Jan

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

In previous musings, I’ve mentioned that I really enjoy crocheting. My favorite thing to crochet is an afghan, in shell stitch. I use big, thick yarn, and a large hook. It goes quite fast, and I like the way it looks.

I have tried knitting – even took lessons at one time – but I could never get anything to fit! Even after making a sample swatch, when the product was finished – it just didn’t fit. It was either too big or too small. Every time. So I gave up on knitting.

And then there was another “phase” that came through – macramé. I never really tried my hand at it, but did enjoy some of the items that my friends made from that. Along about Thanksgiving time, I did a post on the macramé pilgrim that hangs on our front door. He’s rather adorable.

 

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A former sister-in-law made a large purse for me, out of black macramé yarn. I carried it all around Europe on our 3-year-tour there, and really enjoyed it.

My best friend’s husband was in the U.S. Navy for a while, and learned to tie all those knots – and the names for them. When she told him she would like a plant hanger, he got to work and actually made her a lovely, hanging “table” – made with those “knots” – where she could put her plants, and hung it from the ceiling in their family room. I was so envious!! It was gorgeous!!

Okay, all that to say that I am not very savvy about knots. I do know that to make a really secure knot, you must make a “square” knot – and I’ve learned how to do that.

 

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I know about “slip knots” that I use in my crocheting. So I know a little bit about knots.

I can’t remember just where I first saw a cleat with a rope wrapped around it, so that the boat would be anchored at the dock. But somewhere I saw it once, and it caught my fancy. I thought it was a rather interesting way of wrapping a rope – in a figure-eight, but it would definitely make it secure to the dock.

 

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Credit Google search

 

Remember now – I am NOT a boat person! So why this caught my eye, I don’t know. However, it stuck in my mind. Some time later, I was visiting a good friend and her family, and they decided it was a nice time to take their boat out for a spin. When we docked, she handed me the rope and told me to tie it around the cleat as best I could. The memory of the way it was wrapped popped into my mind, and I just wrapped it as I remembered seeing it. When my friend’s husband went to untie the rope, he stopped and nearly shouted – “WHO TIED THIS ROPE?” I thought to myself, “I am in deep trouble now!” I meekly said, “I did.” He looked at me and said, “where did you learn to do this?” He nearly flipped out when I told him I had just seen it….once. He sputtered, “ONCE??…YOU SAW IT ONCE…and you can tie it like this?   I’ve been trying to teach Lynn to do this ever since we purchased the boat!” That certainly made me feel pretty good about myself! I had learned something about “knots” just by observing it done once.

Sometimes this old brain really DOES retain important “stuff!”

Our Nation’s Capital

8 Jan

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 Have you ever had the opportunity to visit Washington D.C.? If not, then put it in your bucket list, as it is somewhere you don’t want to miss.

 

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By Carol M. Highsmith via Wikimedia

 

There is a different “air” in the air there. It’s just…..different. I find it difficult to describe the difference, exactly, but the whole atmosphere of D.C. is different from any other city we have visited. Is it just because it’s our nation’s capitol? Perhaps. It’s just…different!

We, as a family, have visited D.C. many times – especially when we lived in Virginia. It was only about a three-hour drive from our house to our nation’s capitol. We usually stayed in a hotel outside the city proper, parked the car, and rode public transportation. It seems like we were there either in blistering heat or freezing cold!

There are so many things to see and do there. The museums are magnificent. The history of this great country is portrayed for everyone to see.

 

 

But one of the most impressive, and awe-inspiring, is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery. While that is not the official name of it, that is the “common” name for it. There are remains placed there from World War 1 through the Vietnam conflict. Amazing to see.

 

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We had heard so much about the annual cherry-blossom festival there, but never, in the nearly 13 years we lived in Virginia, made it up for that event. And so, in April of 2013, Fred and I made the trip to D.C. just to see the cherry blossoms. It was spectacular! Some pink, some white, just gorgeous! And those little blossoms were just everywhere. One time, as we walked along the Mall, there was enough breeze blowing to make the blossoms shed from the trees – and it looked like a snow storm! Such fun!

 

 

But this place is at the heart of our country. This is everyone’s “home town.” We all belong there. Of course, I really wouldn’t want to actually LIVE there, but it’s a great place to visit.

Our daughter, Janet, and her family made a trip to D.C. a few years ago, and brought us back a professional photo of the U.S. Capitol building. Here’s a copy of it.

 

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I think it’s one of the most beautiful pictures I’ve ever seen! The photographer really had a good eye – and a steady hand! – to get this photo just right. We have framed it, and it hangs proudly on our wall where we can see it just any time we care to look at it.

In the not-too-distant future, there will be great celebration in that great place – the inauguration of a new United States President. Oh, to be able to see that in person! But we’ll just have to watch it on TV. I’m not going up there again in the freezing weather!! That’s why we live in Florida!

 

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