Posted in 10 on 10, everyday musings

She’s quite fond of the slimy creatures. 10 on 10 for June

My 3-year old daughter is a caretaker.

She takes care of her stuffed animals and our pets and other people’s pets. Sometimes she takes care of me and once in awhile her brother (though she’s usually bossing him around). What she really enjoys taking care of, though, are worms and bugs. I don’t get it, but she likes rolly pollies and worms and wants to put them in containers to keep them safe whenever she finds them. I try to explain that they are safe outside because that’s their home, but it doesn’t always work.

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We had filled the pool in our backyard one night this week and for some reason the water on the grass drew a huge worm, one we country folk call a “nightcrawler” right out of the mud. My toddler was delighted. DSC_0104DSC_0101She was delighted to show it to her brother and make a video for her dad, who was at work, and she was delighted when I said she could keep the worm in a plastic container from the kitchen if we added some wet soil to it for it to live in for awhile.

She most likely wouldn’t be delighted that yesterday she couldn’t find the worm so I took it all outside to look myself and discovered the worm was indeed gone. My closest guess is that our very large, moody cat ate it.

I think we’ll have to be a little more careful about taking care of our worms in the future.

This post is part of a monthly blog circle that publishes the 10th day of the month and features 10 photos from the previous month on either one day or throughout the month. To continue the circle please click over to Shea Kleundler’s blog

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Are you a blogger, advertiser, or have you been put in charge of advertising at your church or another organization? Maybe you are in need of some faith-focused images for your project, whatever that project is. If so, you can find some great images at Lightstock.com. I’m a photographer contributor and simply a supporter of the site. While I am a contributing photographer I wouldn’t expect you to feel obligated to use my photos from the site because there are some amazing artists who you support when you purchase from Lightstock. *disclaimer: by clicking on the link you are supporting me as an affiliate and I will receive a small payment for that referral.

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Posted in authentic, everyday musings, Guest blog posts

Windy, your ears are freezing

 Sometimes my dad writes little stories about growing up. That’s when I realize I must have got the storytelling bug from him.

This is something he shared this week on Facebook.

Story, photos and captions by Ronnie Robinson.

”Windy, Your Ears Are Freezing”

It was a calm but frosty minus zero morning; one of those mornings you could see particles of frost glisten in the air as the sun arose. Windy and I met each other at the Laddsburg Pond Bridge. It is the coldest spot in Laddsburg. It was one of those days that was just too cold for Willis Howell’s school bus to start.

Windy, full name Harold Wandell, was a foster child who homed with the loving Effie and Stalwart Carl Norris. He had walked the mile down from the top of the hill. Not much communication in those days and I don’t know if they had a phone but neighbors just met-up. We were there to wait for the bus that did not come.

Windy was one of the older boys that would help put the chains on the bus when it would get stuck in a snow drift. That would be a 20 min delay. But a frozen up bus or bad storm could be a 2 hour delay or a no show at all. Some times we would pile up in Willis’s station-wagon for the first part of the route, then go to his place and see if the bus would start so as to pick up the remaining students for the trip to the high school.  Windy never wore a hat to school. The top of his ears were starting to turn white and I said “Windy I think your ears are freezing”. Then we made our way to New Albany.

 photo and caption by Ronnie Robinson | This is the new bridge.In my mind, I see one with narrow steel rails.
photo and caption by Ronnie Robinson | This is the new bridge.In my mind, I see one with narrow steel rails.
 Photo and caption Ronnie Robinson | The view of the road from the old Corson home going past our home.
Photo and caption Ronnie Robinson | The view of the road from the old Corson home going past our home.

I don’t recall walking or running or how but I remember us being there and then getting a ride to Wyalusing in a milk truck that was picking up milk from the platform at the bottom of Dempsey Hill. You see, we were not that loyal to school but there was to be a WVHS Rams wrestling meet that day and we were on that team.

Another event I remember well was: “The After School Blizzard.” Mary,Mary Inez Corson and I got of the school bus one blistery evening to walk the two  mile (well not quite, it was a quarter mile)  up the dirt road to my place. My parents lived there too. The wind was fierce and cutting. It was difficult to see. It was blowing frozen sheets  and chunks of icy frozen snow from the fields.The  previous snows had melted from the sun shine and then refroze. They were now breaking up and air-born in the strong wind. I think the drifts were making it more difficult also, but the blowing ice and the snow is what I remember most. We had to shield our face from getting hit by them. I was about thirteen then and I felt so manly proud because finally I was able to be ahead of my adventurous mentor and surrogate sister. I walked backward some and I could see her still walking.

 Photo and caption Ronnie Robinson | You may see a set of foot prints. I vividly picture two sets.
Photo and caption Ronnie Robinson | You may see a set of foot prints. I vividly picture two sets.

Thinking back on this now with a touch of shame I realize it would have been more manly-mature of me to help her.

She may have been wearing a skirt. Girls in that day wore skirts. Sometimes they carried snow pants with them. Also being a good student she may have been carrying books. I don’t remember anything after getting to my home. Mary had to walk the five hundred more yards to her home.

Mary, my forever friend, died suddenly at the age of 56. She donated her body to science. She lived in Texas with her husband. My wife Carolyn and I spoke with her when she and her husband were in Bradford County for her father’s funeral.

The portion of that conversation I recall was about being born again. I hope to see my sister again in the “Land Of No More Storms.”

Posted in personal musings, Storytelling Photography

The star

They carried the star up the steep, snow covered hill because the truck’s tires spun and sent the hunk of metal skittering sideways toward the old dirt road. In the end they left the truck in the field and slid the star, made of wood and strands of Christmas lights off the roof. Their breath steamed patterns out in front of them as they walked and the sun, a misleading sign of the outside temperature, cast long shadows onto the untouched surface of the snow that fell the day before.

Ropes were looped and tied and hooked on a pulley, the ladder was climbed and the star was hoisted with a couple reminders from father-in-law to son-in-law to “be careful of the lights! You’re hitting the lights on the tree!” But finally it was high enough and nails were hammered in to hold it in place.

Dad built the star several years ago and put it at the edge of the woods, at the top of the field and where people driving by on Route 220, across the Valley could see it. It has become a beacon, you could say. A beacon of good will, or peace, or joy or whatever it represents for each person who sees it. It can mean a lot of things for a lot of people but for Dad it is a sign of hope and the real reason behind Christmas. After all – isn’t that what the birth of Jesus was all about? Bringing hope to a hurting, fallen world?

So on this little hill, in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania my dad hangs his homemade, 50-some pound star, and with it hangs a little bit of hope – hope for health, for peace, for love for all, hope for the broken, the weary, the shattered souls.  And it reminds us who is the hope of the world.

Isaiah 9:6-7

6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 

7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

Posted in keeping it real, personal musings

Time with Grandpa | Athens, PA Photographer

The weekends are often reserved for time with my parents and sometimes my dad takes the kids out to help him with chores. 

This weekend he wanted to dig up gladiolus bulbs from this summer so he can use them again to plant in his garden next year. My youngest was determined to use the clippers to cut the bulbs off, which was making me nervous. Before long, though, she was completely distracted by the worms being dug up in the dirt. Like she often does she felt she needed to take care of the worms so she began collecting them in her gloved hands, then just in her hands.  She followed me around asking me to hold them and keep them warm.

At one point Grandpa found what we call a nightcrawler around here – a huge worm that almost looks like a baby snake. She wanted to take him home too, but her big brother put the worm under the leaves instead so he could find a new home. We didn’t make it out without a bucket full of worms sitting on the front seat of the car and now in our house. She’s been told the worms need to go out in our now defunct garden, but she says we can’t put them outside because she needs to take care of them.

Honestly, none of this surprises me since her brother once made us bring a slug home to keep as a pet. What a sad day it was when daddy tried to clean out the slug’s home and instead lost him somewhere on the floor in the process.

Little Miss didn’t find it funny at all when her brother pretended he was going to eat the nightcrawler. In the end he didn’t, of course, but she was quite offended and told him “You’re rude! Don’t eat my worms!”

The ironic thing about all this is how we previously told her she couldn’t bring her worms inside, yet somehow she ended up convincing us to bring worms inside.

Posted in honest stuff, keeping it real

Care for your dead

My dad had surgery on his wrist recently, limiting what he can do around the house and in his yard. Not being able to clean or mow the lawn or take care of his truck is hard for him because he’s always busy. Last weekend our family drove to his house to try to help out, but instead of giving us assignments around his home we ended up in the cemetery down the road, where part of our family is buried.

When we saw him loading the truck with dirt and shovels we were a bit concerned about what we were helping with. Our 10-year old told us we were filling in graves. That was alarming to say the least.

But, no, we weren’t filling in a fresh grave. Instead we were adding dirt on top of a grave that had sunk somewhat over the years. Dad said it was most likely a grave without a vault and instead only a casket, causing the ground to settle some over the years.

The cemetery is an old one, with many of the graves dating to before the Civil War. My dad’s grandparents, his great grandparents and great aunts and uncles are buried there, as is my sister, who died when my mom was seven months pregnant. She would have been my older sister.

 Dad is a caretaker, in a way, of the cemetery, probably because he’s on the board and lives so closes to it.

 

Where I’m from we take care of our dead by trying to keep their graves from falling completely apart, even though it’s hard when the really old stones crack and break and  fall over.  Still, Dad tries to make sure someone  mows the lawn and old flags and flowers are pulled off the graves when they start to fade in the sun.

I guess caring for our dead reminds us of them and what we learned from them. 

Even though we were there to help him, I kept catching Dad lifting and carrying heavy objects if we didn’t move fast enough or I got distracted by taking photographs and didn’t grab the wheelbarrow.

Miss G surveyed it all from the safety of “papa’s” truck cab as it started to rain while we worked. 

After we laid the dirt down on a couple of sunken areas in the cemetery we laid hay on stop and sprinkled grass seeds to help the grass grow.

Miss G decided she’d keep working when we got back to the house and Grandpa gave her a spade so she could dig in the dirt near his hostas and tulips. Luckily she only plucked a couple of tulip tops off . I was actually surprised with how long she spent working on her “project” (digging one hole and filling it and then moving dirt from one  pile to another.) That night she turned the bath water brown, which to me signifies the end of a very good day.