If I Won The Lottery

The other day, my 16 year old grandson Mac and I were daydreaming together about what we would each do if we happened to win our local lottery. I don’t even know how much money it is but we were assuming at least $20 million would be coming our way, after taxes, etc.

(I mean, if you are daydreaming, you can make up any number want, right? So, $20 million it was!)

Okay, so we were in dreamland, completely. I say that because I am NEVER going to win the lottery! I know that because I NEVER buy lottery tickets!!

Mac already had plans for his money. He had a long list of parts he wanted to get for his computer. And he is a new driver, so a flashy car would be at the top of his list. Maybe an apartment too, when he turns 18 of course.

But in the long run, he had a little trouble spending all his money. Even after taking all his friends out to dinner numerous times and going to every movie he could think of.

It is actually hard to buy enough things to spend $20 million, he discovered. Who knew?!!!

Now my list was completely different. (And here we discover the difference between a person at the beginning of their life and a person at the end of their life) I wasn’t so much interested in getting “things”. I find they don’t last very long or they lose their charm after time.

I was interested in experiences. I decided I would take all the grandchildren on trips, to places they had never been. I wanted them to see new views, taste new foods, hear new languages, experience new cultures and realize that people all over the world are different in many ways and yet the same in basic ways.

Things are forgotten. Experiences are lifetime treasures. They can change us forever and provide us with wisdom and profound understanding.

Things can become boring and broken. Experiences can be indescribable and remain intact in our memories for a lifetime.

Things can be replaced easily. Experiences are irreplaceable. They are gifts of time, energy and love.

Next I decided I would give each child a gift of education unique to that child. One child would go to art school. One child would go a computer school. One child I know, wants to get a Real Estate license, etc.

I hope they each appreciate this gift because anything you learn, you have in your head. No one can take that from you. You don’t have to rely on anyone else. You own that knowledge forever! It’s yours!

Education is a gift like nothing else. I would spend whatever it takes to get all my grandchildren educated and independent. What would that cost?

But how happy would I be? To have six well educated, well travelled, maybe multilingual, tolerant, active grandchildren with possibly multi-ethnic friends and acquaintences, who wouldn’t be happy?!!!

And it would only cost $20 million!!!!!!

Word Of The Day – LAUGH

I have a very distinctive laugh. It’s kind of loud, but I can’t help that. Everyone says it is unique and very contagious.

When I hear my laugh inside my head, it sounds fine. When I hear my laugh outside, as in a recording, it is a grating sound to me. I don’t know how other people can stand it!

I got my laugh from my mother. I laugh just like her. When we laughed together, we could shake walls. We certainly couldn’t hide anywhere when we were joyful and giggly.

I laugh easily and often everyday. My sense of humor is well developed. I inherited it from my father, who had a very dry wit. He was a good joke and story teller.

I look for the funny side of almost everything – even the saddest of occasions. Often, people view me as pretty quirky because I can laugh at the oddest of situations.

I have found laughter to be helpful in so many ways. It can relieve tension as well as break barriers. It can tell a truth as well as reveal a lie. It can ease pain and calm anxiety. It can provide joy and explain loss.

I can hardly think of a personal event in my life that wasn’t improved or eased with a chuckle or a good belly laugh.

My laugh is a gift and it’s a gift to give to others. I am now responsible to pass on my gift to my children, grandchildren, family and friends. What was given to me must be given away every day.

And so I laugh. I laugh at funny jokes. I laugh at ironic events. I laugh at silliness. I laugh at myself. I laugh with babies and toddlers. I laugh at failure. I laugh at loss. I laugh at forgetfulness. I laugh at old age.

I just laugh. I must laugh.

How To Become A Granny

Next to being a mother, being a granny is the best thing ever. The relationship has a lot of the perks of motherhood, without all the responsibilities. For example, I get all the hugs and kisses but don’t have to worry about getting the kids to bed on time or giving them a balanced diet.

The grandchildren and I have a lot of fun together and don’t have a lot of rules we have to live with. It’s pretty much a perfect world, being a granny.

OK, so first of all, to become a granny, you have to get a grandchild, somehow. There are several ways to accomplish this. First, there is the old fashioned way. You know – you have a child. The child begets another child.

It’s lovely and very sweet to see the baby of your baby. You fall instantly in love because they remind so much of your baby and when you gave birth. It’s a full circle moment for sure.

One grandson came to me this way. The son of my daughter, Mac, was our first grandchild and is now fifteen years old.

Then God can gift you with grandchildren, as I was when our niece asked Gramps and me to be her parents and be grandparents to her children. That’s how I received five grandchildren in Phoenix, now ages fourteen to twenty-two.

These gifted grandchildren came to me in such a special way. I learned to love them as I learned to know them, each in their own special way.

Then, of course, there is adoption, where you choose the child yourself. How special is that? I don’t have any grandchildren in that way but I would certainly accept them if they came in such a manner.

I love being a granny so much. I would take grandchildren almost anyway they might come to me. If they were for sale in a mall, I would become a retail shopping granny. If they came wrapped in bows, it would be Christmas every day. And if I had to borrow some, I would most certainly get the library card and start checking them out!!!!

I recommend grannyhood to all. For me it is the culmination of all I have learned and loved the past seventy-four years rolled up in six shiny young faces that I cannot get enough of.

Try it! I think you’ll like it!!!

The Graduation We Went To But Didn’t See

My youngest grandchild, and the only girl, Marie, just graduated from Eighth Grade. She came back home two hours later a High School Freshman. It was magic really!

Mostly because the Covid rules only allowed two people to actually attend the ceremony. So Gramps and I, and all the other relatives were watching the streaming service. Which, in fact, was not working, so no one saw anything!

Can I tell you now how frustrated we were?! We drove for twelve hours, brought a gift, got dressed up, sat around a computer screen in dining chairs. All to see NOTHING!!!!!

Marie simply walked out the front door as an Eighth Grader and came back a Freshman. I’m not sure if the school band played “Pomp and Circumstance”. I’m not sure if Marie processed in and sat in alphabetical order. I’m not sure if she proudly walked across the stage, accepted her diploma and shook the Principal’s hand. I’m not sure if anything traditional happened.

I am sure I went with her the morning of graduation to get her hair done. We spent a wonderful time in the salon discussing many things, from the way the world is to the way the world should be. Priceless!

I am sure I saw her before she left in her new dress, new shoes, shawl and new hairdo. All the family told her how wonderful she looked and she was beaming as she departed with her parents for the ceremony.

I am sure all the family met her after the graduation for a dinner for twelve. The new Freshman sat at the head of the table, while gifts, cards, balloons and congratulations were sent her way. Her smile was almost as big as the table.

I am sure Marie knew she was loved and adored by all her family. I know she felt our pride in her.

And that is the most important thing.

I am sure we saw the best parts of the graduation, after all.

The Measure Of A Memory

Gramps has been busy on his old computer finding movies we have taken of Mac over the years, editing them, adding music and titles, and then moving them over to a new storage before everything goes to the new computer. (Thought you could just plug in the new one and start going, right? WRONG!!!!!)

In the process, we have been sort of re-living Mac’s early years. It’s been a real trip down memory lane.

And I realized, as I was watching Mac at age five at our annual July 4th fireworks party, that I was really there. I could hear his little-boy voice asking questions. I could feel the anticipation of setting up the fireworks in the back yard. I was actually laughing at the silliness of the adult men bragging about who had the biggest ordnance. I was counting the heads of the little kids to make sure no one was in the fire zone. I was checking to make sure everyone had a glass of refreshment in their hands.

I mean I was there! I believe I could almost smell the sparklers burning.

That’s how powerful a memory can be. It’s not just remembering an occasion – it’s reliving it with all your senses.

It’s like taking a trip but with no luggage, no vehicle, no stay in a hotel, no long hours on the road or in the air and no cost!! It’s all there in your head, just waiting for you.

Memories are precious treasures. They are personalized destinations. They are your own books that you can read over and over. And anything can trigger a memory – a photo, a smell, a word, a touch, a thought. But the trip is free and there is no age limit. They are great indulgences during quiet alone times or the current favorite, forced quarantine.

After watching the movie, I had all the feelings of having been there – the memory of the memory. so to speak. I was still smiling and chuckling over the funny things done and said. My heart was still overflowing with the sweetness of the children and the joy of having the entire family together. I was still in awe of the fireworks display and proud that we had organized such a wonderful evening for everyone.

All those feelings were rushing over me. And the best one was knowing that we had provided a fantastic memory for everyone else.

You Are My Favorite

I have six grandchildren – five boys and one girl. They range in age from fourteen to twenty-three.

I tell each one they are my favorite. They each smile and laugh and say “You say that to all of us!”

And that is true! I do say it to each one, every time I see them. “You are my favorite,” because each one is, in their own special way, my favorite.

Mikey is my gentle giant. He is soft-spoken with a beautiful smile, a loving heart and giving ways.

Jake has the beautiful eyes and long hair of a male model. He is loyal, musical, loves history and is truly fair and honest.

Jimmy is my computer whiz. He finishes every job he starts, is very logical and can entertain himself when necessary – i.e. he likes his alone time.

Matt is the social butterfly. He is loud and boisterous, loves music and astronomy and has a wicked sense of humor. He can’t sit still for more than five minutes but can talk forever.

Mac is another computer nerd who wants to fly helicopters when he graduates. He is very loving, shy and funny. He saves his money for computer parts.

Katie, my one and only girl, is the artist who loves to draw and gets excited about pencils and pens. She is very creative, maintains an entire imaginary world in her head and loves cosplay. She is a true free spirit.

Can you see now why each one is my special one? How could they not be?!!

More important, I want each to know it – to hear the words out loud from me as often as possible. They are special as they are. It is unconditional love from me to them.

That “special” connection will always be there, no matter where we all are no matter our age or circumstance. Nothing will ever be able to break that bond.

And besides, I have to keep telling each one so the others won’t get jealous!!!

Think I made all this up? Check out comics.com/pickles by Brian Crane for January 14, 2021!

20 Questions To Ask Your Grandchildren

Do you have grandchildren in another state, as I do? Do you have grandchildren nearby, as I do? Do you visit them on the phone more often than you see them in person, as I do? Especially these days?

Do you find the conversations sometimes lagging when you can’t think of something to say? Or do you just ask the same questions every time?

Would you like to spice up those talks and maybe learn more about those precious kids? How about share a laugh or a secret? Maybe even let them ask you a question or two, or is that too scary?

Want some assistance all you grandparents out there?

Here are some helpful suggestions.

1 – What is one thing you would change about the world?

2 – Imagine you just won a million dollars, what would you buy first?

3 – What is something that helps you fall asleep at night?

4 – If you could change your whole name, what would you change it to?

5 – What makes you happy?

6 – How do you deal with angry feelings?

7- What is the best thing that ever happened to you?

8 – If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

9 – What do you think is the most difficult job in the world and why?

10 – If we had to leave today and you could only take one thing, what would that one thing be?

11 – What do you look forward to when you wake up every day?

12 – What is the question you always wanted to ask but didn’t?

13 – What is the worst thing you have ever eaten? Why was it so bad?

14 – What is your favorite word?

15 – What are four things your friends would say you are really good at?

16 – If your favorite color had a smell, what would it be?

17 – What is the funniest thing that ever happened to you?

18 – How would you describe a perfect day?

19 – If you were allowed to make the biggest mess EVER, how would you do it?

20 – Which sense is your favorite, seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling or feeling? Why?

Chocolate Chip Cookies

My mother loved to cook.  That is to say, she loved to bake.  Everyday meals were not her forte, but desserts and special occasions were her real love.

She had a real sweet tooth (which I inherited!), and so we had a dessert at every meal. Yes, even breakfast had something sweet and yummy.

Mother was well known for her homemade pies, especially apple.  The crust was always crispy and golden.  Daddy loved her apple pie with a slice of cheese on it.  I think he learned that growing up in South Dakota.

Christmas was a big baking time.   She would start in September, making cookies, candies, bars and pies. Everyone would get something – the mailman to the doctor’s office to the pharmacy to all the neighbors.

There was always something in the cookie jar and more stacked in the freezer, waiting for the right occasion.  Mother never went to visit anyone empty-handed. That was her rule, “Never go out with a bare face or an empty hand.”

The one item that brings back the most memories of my childhood is Mother’s chocolate chip cookies.  Just the aroma of the cookies baking makes me feel like a girl in her kitchen, helping her bake.  I suddenly feel all warm and safe with a smile on my face, eager to see how the cookies turn out.

Then there is the joy of tasting the first warm cookie from the oven.  That was always “cook’s treat” at Mother’s house.

My daughter feels the same about my chocolate chip cookies. When she takes a bite now, she closes her eyes and sighs, “Ah, my childhood in a cookie!”

Her son, Mac, says my chocolate chip cookies are the best.  Little does he know he’s talking about Mother’s recipe, passed down through all these years.

And I bet his children and their children will say the same.

Peggy’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 1/4 C all purpose flour
  • 1 C packed brown sugar
  • 1 C Crisco
  • 1 C white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 1 t soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 T water
  • 12 oz. semisweet chips

Cream sugars and Crisco.  Add eggs.   Sift salt and soda with flour. Add to creamed mixture.   Add water. Add chips by hand.   Drop onto cookie sheet by spoonful . Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Cool on rack.

How The Barter System Works In Coronavirus Land

Gramps and I did not do any stock-up shopping at the beginning of the virus outbreak.  We had what we needed at the time and the thought of the world running out of toilet paper never occurred to us.

So last week we were running low on paper products, including tp.  But by that time the stores were completely empty of anything paper.  Even Amazon was sold out.

As it happened, I made chocolate chip cookies one day and thought I should share them with our daughter and grandson Mac.  Mac says I make the “best” chocolate chip cookies ever.  Music to my heart!

They assured us they would love some cookies.  So over to their house we went with cookies in hand.

We had a lovely visit.  We talked and shared and laughed.  Until the subject of toilet paper came up.  How many stores did you go to?  How many rolls did the store have?  How many rolls do you have?

Finally we confessed we were down to three rolls.  (Can you believe this is what we’re talking about?!).  Our daughter offered to give us some from her supply, as she had just found a large package the day before.

We were saved!  Chocolate chip coolies for tp.  The going rate appears to be one dozen cookies for four rolls of toilet paper.  Not bad really.  They stay fed and we stay dry.

My Favorite Possessions

I think about the things I would try to save if there were a fire in my house.  Those objects that are precious, have memories attached to them and can’t be replaced.   Those possessions that can give you a hug and a good feeling just by being there, being seen and being touched.

I have several of these irreplaceable items Some are out to be seen.  Some are safely tucked away.  And some are used daily.

My quilts are very important to me, but one is especially precious.  It’s hanging on the wall in our guest bedroom.  It’s so valuable to me because it is made from linens stitched by my grandmother and mother.  There are tablecloths, towels, napkins, dresser scarves and doilies in the quilt.  Then it is bordered in colorful handkerchiefs.

I can just feel those women around me when I am in the presence of that quilt.  It’s like a great big hug.  It speaks to me through its stitches and linens.  I would definitely grab it first, if there was a fire or a flood.

My great-grandmother’s bedroom set is in our bedroom.  Gramps and I have used it since we were married.   My grandmother was born in that bed.  It is made of cherry wood and is very ornate – very Victorian.  It has a tall headboard and footboard.

I can’t even tell you how cuddled and comforted I feel in Gram’s big bed.  I can just imagine the generations of women dusting those wooden boards and changing the linens and fluffing the pillows.  It’s an honor to keep up the tradition of loving my bed.  My dilemma?  I’m not sure I could carry it out in a disaster.

Now my mother’s silver tea set is very portable in case of a calamity.  It’s tucked away in a cupboard because we never use it anymore.  That’s not to say I don’t get it out and pet it periodically.  My mother had it sitting on the buffet, always polished and always shiny.  It reminds me of her in many ways.  She too was always polished and shiny.

I have some of my Daddy’s tools, which also are not very useful but are a treasure to me. He was a carpenter in the CB’s during WW II and was a general all-around fix-it kind of guy.  To have those tools that were used and touched by him so many times is a gift for me.  When I see them, I can almost hear him working and banging away on some project. Thinking of it now almost brings tears to my eyes.

Then there’s the diamond ring that Gramps gave me many years ago as a birthday present.  I wear it all the time.  It’s a daily reminder of his love and devotion to me. Coincidentally, the large diamond in the center is surrounded by six smaller diamonds, exactly the number of grandchildren we have.

The whole ring is a little remembrance of my entire family – all three generations.  I don’t go anywhere without it.

So obviously, all these possessions could not be gotten out of the house very rapidly.  But they could in a slow evacuation.  And you know what?  It doesn’t matter if I have any of these items really.

Because I carry all the people and memories in my heart, where they are safe from every disaster and can never be lost.