Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My Dad

I actually posted this quite a while ago when I was participating in "Wednesday's Walk Down Memory Lane".  Which is starting up again by the way!  Today is the anniversary of my Dad's death, so thought I would post it again with some minor changes.
As we are preparing for our first trip back to Australia in 12 years, my thoughts have naturally been turning to memories of home. Memories of family, events and places. Memories of those that we will be visiting with and those that are no longer there. Our last trip back to Australia was for Christmas 1996. My Dad was dying from cancer. I had to decide whether to go back for a funeral or to go and see Dad before he died and let the children (and me) have some memories of their Grandfather. It wasn't a very difficult decision.

My parents divorced when I was 14. My Dad remarried a lady that my family had known forever. Her husband was a fishing buddy of my Dad's and he had died a few years before my parents divorce. Birdie is definitely on our list of people to visit several times. On our previous two trips back home she would whip up a full-blown meal out of absolutely nothing. When we would stop by to visit, she would always insist that we stayed for dinner (tea), when we would protest about it being to much trouble, she would say, "Nonsense, we are just having scraps."
I have wonderful memories of that trip. My Dad was a man of very few words, so we didn't have any long heart to heart talks, but sometimes actions make up for the words. I loved watching my Dad watching Jessica as she ran around his huge backyard with her brother. Jessica looked a lot like me at that age and I could tell that Dad was thinking of me as he watched her. It made me feel good to know that his memories of me bought a smile to his face. Dad always had a huge vegetable garden. He had been having trouble with birds, rabbits, etc., eating his vegetables, so as a deterrent he had placed several plastic snakes strategically around his garden. My children did not know that they were fake and they soon came tearing into the house when they spotted the coiled snakes basking in the sun. My Dad thought that was hilarious!!
Growing up, my Dad took me with him on fishing and hunting trips. He always put the worms or frogs on my hook for me - yuk! Dad even made me my own fishing rod. My Dad would often bring home orphaned baby kangaroos, wombats and one time, a native hen that we called a road runner. We raised it with our baby chickens. My Dad spoiled me. For Christmas one year Dad made me a playhouse that had a kitchen and a living room complete with a working stove and lights.

On our 1st trip back home, Dad loved taking the Joshua to a fish hatchery that he was instrumental in building and running. Joshua had the wonderful experience with his Grandfather of taking a dead mouse out of a mouse trap and resetting it. That day my Dad drove us all over the local area showing us the sights. We got to see the farm that my Mum and Dad had owned just after WW II.

This is my favorite picture of my parents. Not sure when it was taken, but, even though they divorced, it is good to know that they once loved each other very much. It is good to know that they still loved their children and their children's children.
This will be a difficult trip in some ways. My Dad died in March, 1997 and my Mum died February, 1998. Not having them there when we return is going to be a shock, even though they have been gone all this time. They are what make home - home.

It was a much different trip back to Australia last year.  Many people that I loved were not there this time.  We visited Mum's and Dad's graves for the 1st time.  Words cannot express how good it felt to be with my family.  I love being with Jim's family and hearing all their stories about growing-up, Dadisms/Rickisms and especially the stories about Jim's shenanigans!  But, I miss sitting around with my family and talking about our memories........our shenanigans.  I miss fishing with my Dad.


Monday, March 8, 2010

WARNING - Gum boots needed to wade through the mush........

After I typed the title for today's blog, I realized that there are some who may not know what gum boots are.  Well, let me share.
This is a pair of gum boots that Samuel would like.  In fact, he had a pair that was a little like these.  Samuel loves to splash in puddles of water and mud, so gum boots are a must in his wardrobe.

I like the red shininess of the above pair of gum boots.  You certainly couldn't be in a hurry when donning this pair.  Maybe they are for the discerning dominatrix fashion conscious gum boot wearer.

This pair is a normal pair of gum boots.

 My Dad and Mum had a pair of boots like these.  These boots were made for working.........sorry, just had Nancy Sinatra's song, "These boots were made for walkin'", run walk through my head!!

 When I was little, this was they type of gum boot I would wear.  I loved my yellow gum boots.  I also had a yellow rain jacket to match.  Everyone would wear yellow boots and rain jackets to school when it was raining.  Looking back, we must have looked like hundreds of Gorton Fishermen heading off to school.

Well, I need to stop this splash down memory lane and get to the real topic of today's post!

Today is my husband's 45th birthday!!

This is one of my favorite photos of Jim.  Do you know which baby of ours he is holding??  Jim tells this particular child, "In this photo I have hair, in photos soon after this, no hair."

This is Jim and Sam in Sydney last year.
Jim is the best Dad.  I love watching him with our kids.
 I love Jim with all my heart.
We even had matching sweaters at one point in our lives!!
We have been married nearly 24 years and have seen a lot of the world together.
I still enjoy spending time with him more than anyone else.
We have fun.
He is a good man.
He is getting a little old........but is still the love of my life.
Sooooo, without any further ado!



Saturday, March 6, 2010

Last night Jim and I went to see "Little House on the Prairie The Musical".  I had mixed feelings about going to this show.  Like many, I grew-up watching "Little House on the Prairie" and reading the books.  Even though I loved the TV show and the books, I couldn't imagine a musical based on Little House as being all that exciting.  Well, I admit it, I can be wrong......rarely, but sometimes.

"Little House on the Prairie has remained one of the most popular and beloved celebrations of pioneering America since Laura Ingalls Wilder published the first book of her classic series 75 years ago. Now the inspirational stories cross into yet another frontier in an uplifting new musical. Melissa Gilbert, who we all knew as “Laura” for 10 years in the much-loved television series is now all grown up and playing “Ma.”
Through the magic of live theatre, the musical follows the Ingalls family‘s journey westward and settlement in DeSmet, South Dakota where Ma and Pa Ingalls hoped to make a better life for their children. It tells the story of their struggle to keep their land claim. In story, song and dance, we see the Ingalls suffering the hardships of winter blizzards and prairie fires as well as rejoicing in the settlement of land and town. Most of all, the story follows Laura as she grows from the wild child who loved to run free into a woman who embraces the responsibilities of her own future while struggling to remain true to herself.
Recommended for the whole family, LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE, THE MUSICAL brings the joys and sorrows of family life during the settlement of the prairie to contemporary America. Families will continue to identify with these life affirming stories that celebrate the pioneering spirit and the core values on which this country was founded – a spirit that resonates within each of us today."
Jim was quite excited to go and see "Little House on the Prairie the Musical".  In his younger days, Jim had a bit of a crush on Melissa Gilbert.
I would say that there is no accounting for taste, but what would that say about him marrying me!!!!

Of course, Melissa Gilbert did evolve quite a bit over the years on "Little House".

We really enjoyed the musical, it is definitely on the top 10 list of the best shows that we have seen over the years.  Melissa Gilbert certainly didn't have the strongest singing voice in the cast, but it was cool to see "Laura" play Ma.
 We also found out a bit more about Melissa Gilbert.  She is on the board of the above charity......a very good charity.  Anything to do with the care and well being of children will always have a soft spot in my heart.  Click on the above picture to learn more if you would like.

While in Tampa the cast has been working on a Habitat for Humanity house in Ybor City.
 We had a wonderful night.  Bought some incredibly expensive mementos............

 We wanted to buy Bill (our nephew who is living with us at the moment) this "Farmer Boy" t-shirt.  Unfortunately, they did not have it in his size.  We thought he would appreciate this generous gift.......something to celebrate his new found skill and passion - farming on Facebook.

 Instead, we bought Jessica this t-shirt.
We could have bought Ma, Pa and 1/2 pint shirts if we had so desired.
 Every show we go to, we buy a mug.  Thought the tin cups were cute.
 Then Jim just had to have this stuffed horse for Samuel.  It goes with the decor of Sam's room.  It was soft and cuddly.  Where else could you get such a wonderful stuffed horse???
So.......I relented and bought it for Jim Sam.  After all, it is his birthday on Monday.

The songs were great, especially the last one.  Made us a little homesick for South Dakota.

It also made me think of what will be made into a musical next. "The Brady Bunch?"  "CHiPS?"  I know........"The Waltons - A Musical!"