Tuesday, December 31, 2013

December 2013 Reading List

Nine books on the December read list: three 3.5's; two 2.5's and four 3.0's.

Anne Hillerman has taken up where her father left off. And while I appreciate her keeping Tony's characters alive, I do not feel she is the writer he was. Spider Woman's Daughter is her first Joe Leaphorn, Bernie and Chee book. This is one of the 2.5's.

The other is Elizabeth Adler's Please Don't Tell. I like Adler's books and usually rate them higher. This one was not her usual 'beach book' - somewhat darker. A serial killer in the San Francisco area has sisters in his sights.

Chris Bohjalian has become one of my favorite novelists. Idyll Banter is a collection of his essays about the small Vermont town where he lives. I've given it a 3.0. This book was a gift purchased for me by a friend who died before he could give it to me. His wife brought it to me this summer.

I feel I should have enjoyed The Spymistress by Jennifer Chiaverini more that I did. It had all the right ingredients - a loyal unionist living in Richmond during the Civil War AND based on a real woman. I think more details about her espionage exploits would have helped - 3.0.

Adriana Trigiani has been one of my favorite authors for a long time. I always look forward to her latest book release. The Supreme Macaroni Company is the continuation of Valentine Roncalli's life. She expands the shoe company, marries Gianluca, has a daughter, stresses over whether to live in New York or Italy. Still giving it a 3.0 even though I didn't think it was as good as her books usually are.

Lisa Wingate is one author of Christian books that I can read. Her writing is uplifting without being preachy. I thoroughly enjoyed The Prayer Box - having it set on the Outer Banks added to my pleasure - 3.0.


Of all the books I read this month, my favorite was Gail Godwin's Flora. Godwin is another of my long time favorite authors and Flora was my great-grandmother Duncan's name. Set during WWII, ten-year-old Helen is left in the care of her mother's cousin, Flora, for the summer while her father works on a secret weapon at Oak Ridge. Helen is precocious and controlling. What happens during the two and a half months with Flora haunts Helen's life forever - 3.5.

A Question of Honor is the fifth book in the Bess Crawford series by mother/son writing team of Charles Todd. I love these mysteries set during WWI. This one was no exception. A solid 3.5.

And finally, another 3.5 for Rhys Bowen's Heirs and Graces - A Royal Spyness Mystery. Bowen is a fun mystery writer. I think this is the first Lady Georgina Rannoch book I've read, but will watch for more. I'm a fan of her Constable Evans mysteries and especially her Molly Murphy series.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmases Past - No Ghosts


One of the regular blogs I read this morning asked for memories of a favorite Christmas toy. I won't say this doll and teddy bear were my favorites, but they were among my firsts. A few years later I wanted sets of dishes. Those I got, but they were made of tin or plastic when what I really wanted was a china tea set.


This is a photo of my first son playing with a doll from my childhood. She (can't remember what I called her) was probably one of my favorite gifts. I do remember sneaking downstairs Christmas morning and seeing our dolls before my sister got up. The auburn haired doll in the yellow dress had my name on the tag while the blonde in the pink dress had my sister's name on it. I switched tags because I wanted the blond doll.


Possibly my favorite doll was this one which I received as an adult. I had attended a church luncheon and bazaar in my hometown at the beginning of holiday shopping season and bought some raffle tickets. I think what I was hoping to win was a quilt, but didn't expect to win anything. So when Mom answered the phone later that afternoon and said it was for me, I was elated to learn I'd won the doll. Pretty sure I named her Annie.


Doug's second Christmas (1963) when we lived in the Methodist parsonage in Brooks. It was fun to see the holiday through my child's perspective. Wish I still had that beautiful old buffet in the background. Hard to believe I bought it for fifty cents at an auction.


Ten years later and Douglas was excited about receiving a pair of platform shoes to go with his favorite bell bottom pants. He was into the disco craze (1973).


Another twenty years (1993) and one of the best gifts for all of us, but especially for my son, Doug. We hadn't been able to have my oldest grandson with us for many years, so when arrangements were made for him to be with us that year, I didn't tell anyone. My best present was to see the look on Doug's face when he saw his oldest son in our living room. Being with family is what it's all about.


Doug wasn't the only one to ride that Wonder Horse for miles and miles. His siblings and cousins had their turns riding and rocking on it, too.......


Until it came time for another generation. Now Brock has two little boys of his own. Isn't that horse still around somewhere?

Merry Christmas to all. May you enjoy time with your loved ones this holiday season.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Medford Christmas Pear


When I was growing up back in the 1940's-50's, when it got close to Christmas there were two gifts our family could always count on receiving - the five pound box of assorted chocolates from our landlords, Hade and Maude Hutchinson, which they delivered themselves, and a box of pears from Oregon, which came in the mail. Both gifts were a big treat. As a child, I looked forward to the candy more than the fruit. But the pears were good, too. What we didn't eat raw Mom made into cooked or baked goods. The pears were gifted us by our neighbors, Albert (Shorty) and Maurice Reichardt.


There weren't any pear trees at the Reichardt brothers, but there were plenty of cherry trees. I've written before of my memories of helping pick cherries there. At our home, we had an area north of the house which was referred to as "the orchard". I remember there being one apple tree and one pear tree - neither of which I can recall harvesting any fruit from. When the kids and I lived in "the little house", there was a pear tree which did produce some very tasty pears.


But this post is about a Medford pear and how it came about. (I was trying for an artistic 'Pear and Amaryllis' picture here.) In August of last year I blogged about a book I had read, Cash Scow. In September this year I received an e-mail from the author, B.K. Showalter, thanking me for my review of his book. That really made my day. There have been several instances of responses to my blogs - usually from distant relatives replying to one or another family history post - and those, too, are always inspiring.

Then just before Thanksgiving this year, I received another e-mail from B.K. commenting again about my original blog and remarking that his mother-in-law lives in Creston. That prompted a flurry of e-mails back and forth, one of which included the fact that the Showalter's now live in Medford, Oregon, another that they planned to be in Creston over Christmas. It wasn't long before we had made arrangements to meet in person while they were in town.


When I read Medford in B.K.'s e-mail, I immediately thought pears. I recalled the boxes of pears from my childhood and wondered......

There's always a little hesitancy about actually meeting in person someone who you've only known online, but meeting B.K., his sister, Cindy, his wife, Marjorie and her mother, Maxine, was like meeting long-lost relatives. There was the connection of growing up in SW Iowa and NW Missouri. There were books and travel and vintage cars to talk about and one-room country schools - Maxine taught in them and the rest of us attended them. We could have spent much more than an hour conversing and getting acquainted.

Whether we meant to or not, our 'meeting in person' plans came with a time limit - just in case we didn't hit it off. But before I left, the subject of their hometown came up. I said, "When I saw that you live in Medford, Oregon, I got this image of pears. Marjorie, said, "Yes. We're noted for our pears." B.K. added, "Medford is the home of Harry & David, one of the original direct marketers of mail order fruit"; which is when they handed me a gift bag containing a pear. Once again, I will enjoy a treat just as I did sixty years ago - A Medford Christmas Pear.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Newgrange and the Winter Solstice


Today is one of my most favourite days on the calendar - December 21 - the Winter Solstice. It marks the longest night of the year as well as the point at which the sun (sol) stops (stit) moving south. Which means with the sunrise tomorrow, the sun will begin its journey back north, which means light and warmth return. No wonder the ancient ones celebrated the solstice. I'm celebrating it too!

When I first learned of Newgrange in County Meath, Ireland forty years ago, it was in an article about the winter solstice - how the rising sun shone through a roof-box and illuminated the passage and chamber of this 5,000 year old tomb. Oh, how I wanted to see that for myself. Of course to be one of the ones to see the rising sun flood the chamber with light on the solstice, you literally have to win the lottery which only a few each year, do. But, because I visited Newgrange in September, nineteen years ago, I was able to stand in line for a turn to enter the passageway and view the burial chamber.


The picture I took of the carved entrance stone as I waited in line. This megalithic stone is about ten feet long and four feet wide - estimated to weigh five tons.


A path encircles the ancient Newgrange mound. This is a picture I took on the backside.


And this is a photo I took of one of the engraved kerbstones along that walk around the mound.


Also on the backside of the entrance to Newgrange was this stone structure. At the time of my visit I did not learn what it was. Thanks to the internet, I now know it is a 'folly' built in the 1800's. A folly is "an ornamental building with no practical purpose, esp. a mock-Gothic ruin built in a garden or park.  I'm glad to finally understand what this was. It was built with stones taken from the Newgrange mound.


There are two other passage tomb mounds in this same area, Knowth is pictured above along with some of its eighteen 'satellite' tombs (the small mounds). Excavations at this site were just beginning when I was there.


The other noted mound is Dowth, part of which is evident on the right in this photo. To the left is the home and memorial of John Boyle O'Reilly - poet, journalist and member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (Fenians). His poem, A White Rose, was always a favourite of mine:
"The red rose whispers of passion, and the white rose breathes of love; Oh the red rose is a falcon, and the white rose is a dove. But I send you a cream-white rosebud, with a flush on its petal tips; for the love that is purest and sweetest, has a kiss of desire on the lips."


All three of these megalithic tombs lie in the beautiful Boyne River Valley. This photo, taken from the front of Newgrange, looks toward the Boyne River about a mile away. You may remember learning about "The Battle of the Boyne", a well-known battle in the history of the British Isles.


 "I would fly to the woods' low rustle and the meadows' kindly page. Let me dream as of old by the river, and be loved for the dream alway; for a dreamer lives forever, and a toiler dies in a day." (from 'The Cry of the Dreamer' by John Boyle O'Reilly - said to be JFK's favourite poet.)

However, wherever you celebrate the solstice, may you enjoy the return of light.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

For The Good Times

Last evening I read the news that Ray Price had died. He was a singer I liked from the 60's and 70's - country western crossing over to pop. When I heard his name, I immediately thought, "For the Good Times". It was a hit of his in 1970 - written by another of my faves, Kris Kristofferson.

Yesterday was the tenth anniversary of the death of my Mother. As always, she was on my mind. I began thinking how some of the words of the song related to my state of mind:

"Don't look so sad, I know it's over. But life goes on and this old world will keep on turning. Let's just be glad we had some time to spend together...."

Chrismas at Mom's 2002. Left to right: Katrina, Mom, Ron, Bud, Ruthie, Andrew, Nicholas and Tina.
In this picture of the last family Christmas with Mom in 2002, she doesn't look sad so much as lost or overwhelmed. The rest of us were having one of those 'good times', teasing, laughing and carrying on. Now that I am older, I understand that overwhelmed feeling. First of all, it is hard to hear everything that's going on. Secondly, I feel (and I'm sure Mom did) somewhat forlorn about not being able to do all the cooking, cleaning and prep work for a family dinner. It isn't easy to let go of the reins.

Counter clockwise, bottom right: Mom, son-in-law, Gene, granddaughter, Kristi, Great-granddaughter, Jesse.
The previous Christmas (2001). Another new great-grandchild for Mom as well as for her sister-in-law (in the picture on the fridge Aunt Leona's granddaughter Heather with son Michael.) "Hear the whisper of the raindrops blowing soft against the window and make believe you love me you'll still be there, one more time, for the good times."

1964 Mom, Dad, Ginger and second grandson, Michael Eugene.
The good times far outnumbered the bad or sad times. It is those I should dwell on.

July, 1984 "Ruth and Holly" (amidst the hollyhocks).
Mom, content with her life....her garden, flowers and kitty. Never complaining. "And I'll be here if you should find you ever need me..."


"Don't say a word about tomorrow or forever. There'll be time enough for sadness when you leave me."

This picture, which I did not remember ever seeing, was one my brother found and used in a collage of old pictures for Mom's room when she went into the nursing home. I would love to know what she was laughing about in the mid-1940's photo. To me it epitomizes  the good times.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Go Big Red!

I'm reluctant to admit it, but there was a time in my life when I was a fan of Nebraska football. Like many people in Southwest Iowa whose news came out of the Omaha TV stations and newspapers, we felt more connected to Nebraska than to Iowa.


This was around 1966 when Coach Bob Devaney was rebuilding Nebraska's program prior to leading them to two consecutive national championships in 1970 and 1971.
I would listen to Lyell Bremser on KFAB. He would always get so excited, sometimes not even realizing what he was saying. His pet phrase was "Man, Woman and Child!" As in: "Man, woman and child! Can you believe that play?" (Or pass, block, touchdown, etc.)
One time when I was over at my parent's helping do something and was listening to the radio broadcast of the game, I got so excited when Nebraska made a touchdown I started screaming and jumping up and down. Mom said, "Ramona! Are you crazy?" I must have been, at least a little.


Fast forward ten years, November 13, 1976, and my allegiances had totally changed. I had become an Iowa State fan. (Still am.) ISU and Nebraska were both in the Big Eight Conference then. Nebraska was a powerhouse; Iowa State, not so much. Since 1961 Nebraska had won every game over Iowa State except for the 1972 tie at Clyde Williams Field in Ames.
Nebraska was ranked #9; Iowa State wasn't even ranked. Everyone expected another Nebraska win, but, what the heck, it was a beautiful autumn day and I had been invited to attend the game by another Iowa State fan.
I remember arriving at the stadium and going in on the west side to find our seats. I remember the taunting and obnoxious remarks by the Husker fans as well as the miles of cable and the cameras for the TV coverage. I really remember the long, long lines at the women's restroom. But mostly I remember Iowa State BEATING Nebraska 37 to 28! It was wild. I screamed. I jumped up and down. I was more than a little crazy.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Your Name Could Have Been .....

Yesterday's post about glade - the sunlit clearing and the man - made me think of all the other names for places that can also be names for people. For instance, lea - a grassland, pasture or meadow.


The cows are in the lea of Clonalis House near the town of Castlerea in this picture I took in County Roscommon, Ireland.


Or, spelled Leigh (meaning delicate or weary), it is also the name of my sweet girl. How would she like to be Kari Meadow instead of Kari Leigh?
Or maybe Gael Lea? The name Gael is one I liked, but not spelled Gale or Gail. A gale is a strong wind or an emotional outburst. I only like it if spelled Gael - which means 'native Irish speaker'.


A fen is a wetland. This picture is of Wicken Fen (love that name) a nature reserve in Cambridgeshire, England. Typical fen vegetation is in the foreground while carr vegetation is in the background. Carr is the northern European equivalent of our wooded swamps like those found in the southeastern U.S.

Would either of my boys liked to be named Finn? Doug strikes me as a more likely Finn, but Finn Fleming (Preston's last name) does have a certain ring to it. Finn means 'fair' while Douglas is derived from the Gaelic dubh which means 'dark', so I guess Preston with his blond hair would have been the more likely Finn.


I always liked the name Glen. Probably because it was the name of one of my favorite cousins. I remember when I first learned that glen was also the word for a secluded narrow valley, I wondered why my Aunt Evelyn would have named her second son for a valley.


I have so many pictures of various glens in Ireland. This one of the Powerscourt Waterfall on the Dargle River near Enniskerry in County Wicklow is in the most enchanting glen. The valley is surrounded by Djouce Mountain and the Great Sugar Loaf.


Clouds over Great Sugar Loaf Mountain as I drove through the 'Glen of the Downs', Gleann dá Ghrua, meaning "The Valley of the Two Brows."


A ridge is a geological feature consisting of a chain of mountains or hills that form a continuous elevated crest for some distance. This photo of Bud standing on a ridge with the Arkansas River in the background was taken at Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas.


Ridge seemed to me a very unusual name for a little boy when I heard that it was what my first great-grandson was named. But I have grown to be very fond of the name. After all, his Dad, the first of my grandchildren is named Brock. I wonder if he knows that his name comes from the Irish broc - a male badger.

My kids are lucky they were born when they were. With all the reading and traveling I have done if I were naming them now their names would probably be of the, shall we say, unusual, ilk.

Monday, December 9, 2013

An Open Space Surrounded By Woods

This post's title is the definition of my Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary's Word of the Day - Glade.



And here am I walking a path in a glade five years ago. This was at Mingus Mill in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. The Mill and Mountain Farm Museum are located near the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. The Oconaluftee River Trail follows the stream for which it is named for a mile and a half back to Cherokee. The other trail, The Mingus Creek Trail climbs past old farms to the Smokies high country.

The word glade has been used since the early 1500's. It was originally used not just to denote a clearing in the woods, but one filled with sunlight. It may be from the Middle English adjective "glad", which meant "shining" which goes back to the Old English "glaed". "Glaed" is akin to Old High German "glat" ("shining, smooth") and Old Norse "glathr" (sunny).

But the first thing I thought of when I saw today's word of the day wasn't 'an open space surrounded by woods' - it was a man whose name was Glade Havens.


I met Glade and his wife, Lois, when I lived in the little town of Brooks (1962-'67). The house they lived in was one of the oldest in town which they had restored. I had heard that it was "just full of antiques". Of course I coveted a chance to see if the inside of the house matched the outside and surrounding yard, but I really didn't know them other than to say hello. Then one day I had an excuse to stop to see them. They invited me in and when I commented on a few of the antiques in the living room (or maybe it was the parlor), Glade asked if I would like to see the entire house. Would I!!? I didn't have to be asked twice. I think Lois entertained my little two-year-old as Glade took me on the tour. I imagine somehow they knew there was more to my excuse for stopping by than the one I had manufactured.

I wonder how Mr. Havens came by his name. Was it a nickname? A family name? A little research shows that his name was actually Glade Elbert Havens, son of Alfred Havens and Hattie Dyer Havens. It was not a family name as far as I can tell. But one site does suggest that the German Gläde is a nickname for "a handsome man".

A handsome man and a lucky man who lived a long life. One story about him I found was about when he drove a road grader. While he was maintaining the road south of Brooks a bridge over the Nodaway River collapsed sending him and the road grader crashing into the river bed. Neither man nor machine was hurt too badly. Glade lived in three centuries. He was born in Mortons Mill, Iowa in 1898 and died in 2000 at the age of 101 in Bella Vista, Arkansas.


Glade and Lois are buried in the Brooks Cemetery - not exactly 'an open space surrounded by woods' but certainly a sunny, shining, place.

















Saturday, December 7, 2013

Wife-in-Law

The first time I ever heard the term wife-in-law was in 1968. I had moved to Des Moines and scored a job at Airline Textiles and Gun Club Sportswear, aka, The Bob Allen Company. The building was new that year, located at 214 SW Jackson. It was close enough to our apartment on SW Davis that I could walk to work.

My position was accounts payable and assistant to the comptroller, Claude Fothergill. The woman I replaced had resigned to start a family after working to put her husband through law school. I shared a small office with Claude - one of the nicest, most helpful, mentors I ever had. The majority of the accounting staff was accounts receivable, sales and customer service and they all sat out in a big room.

Airline Textiles produced travel bags and accessories for the airline industry. Gun Club Sportswear made hunting clothing. The founder of the companies was an accomplished skeet shooter. His wife was a former airline stewardess, hence the two manufacturing entities.

The woman who introduced me to the term, wife-in-law, was a very bitter mother of two teenage girls whose husband had left her for a younger woman. She was always complaining about him, the divorce, child support and the other woman, whose name she would never speak. Instead she would refer to her in a scathing, pseudo-sweet voice as "my wife-in-law". If someone asked, "your what?" She would say, "Well, what else should I call her? She married my husband, so doesn't that make her my wife-in-law?"
Even though I had never heard the term before, it's use is documented in writings as early as the the first part of the 20th century.

I have had two wives-in-law and never felt bitter or mean about either one. In fact, I quite like(d) them both. Kenny's second wife, Marlene, was always friendly toward me and as far as I know a good step-mother when my son stayed with his Dad.

My husband's first wife has been my "wife-in-law" the longest, twenty-eight years. We have always gotten along, been friendly to one another and shared birthday parties and other social events.

The only times I have had jealous feelings about her were because of my step-son, never over her/my husband.


You see, I love my step-son as my own. I admit to being jealous of his relationship with his Mom. I only ever wanted to feel that I was that special to him, fully knowing that wasn't logical.

Today my thoughts are of Alice and what a lovely, warm, thoughtful, friendly, kind, talented, independent woman she was. And my heart is with my son, Mark; aching for him as he copes with the loss of his Mom.

I really like this photo of Mark & Alice that my son-in-law, Ken, took a few years ago in California. I am so glad I never felt bitter toward my "wife-in-law". Rest in Peace, Alice.

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Hundred and Two


I don't know at what age I began being able to name things - or understand the names of things. But when it came to rivers, the first one I learned was the Nodaway. When we went to town the big bridge we drove over crossed the Nodaway River. Then came the floods of '47 when we couldn't cross the bridge because the bridge, the highway and everything else was under water.


That same year I learned the name of a really big river - the Mississippi - when we crossed it to visit relatives in Quincy and Plainville, Illinois.



It was the fall of 1949 however when I began daily crossing a river (well, a creek, really) on the way to school -  the name of which totally perplexed me. Mom called it "The Hunderd and Two". (AKA, The One Hundred and Two). But how could that be the Hundred and Two when the real 102 was the creek down east in the cow pasture?
Mom explained that the waterway we waded in order to fetch the cows for the evening milking was one of the small rills that joined two others before running as one beneath the bridge we crossed on the way to school at Jasper # 2.
Not only that, it was also a part of (later I would learn the term, tributary) the river that everyone judged the amount of rainfall by - i.e. "The Hundred and Two is out of its banks North of Vogel's." That's how we knew we'd had a lot of rain.


Mom always said our little creek was one of the few rivers that flowed North. If you look at Section 22 and find the 'Ruth Lynam Trust' and then follow it back, you will see where it began on what was the Reichardt Brothers farm when I was a kid. (Mary Hoffman on this plat.) It flows north and then west to cross Ironwood Avenue underneath the bridge we crossed morning and night on our way to and from school.




It was little more than a ditch as it meandered west through 'the big pasture up north' which is where Dad's Hereford beef cattle usually were. There it joined the bigger 102 - the one that flooded north of Vogel's. (Section 15, Mary Smejdir)  Eventually this creek wandered on down West of Grandpa & Grandma Ridnour's. Which is why I got frustrated when I asked Mom the name of the river down there. (Section 31, Gary Mitchell) "The Hundred and Two" was her answer. "How can these creeks ALL be the 102?" I demanded. "And why are they called a number instead of a name?" Mom's best answer was, "I guess because there are one hundred and two of them."
I wanted our little creek to have its own name, not the same as all those others.



Eventually I understood that the One Hundred and Two River was comprised of three branches - the East, Middle and West Forks. Our portion was part of the West Fork. In the late 70's the kids and I lived on another tributary of the West Fork of the Hundred and Two when we lived in 'the little house'. (Although I mistakenly thought it was the East Fork at the time.) All three forks of the 102 join up in the area of Hopkins, MO then flow into the Platte which flows into the Missouri River.

Other explanations for the name of the river include that it was the 102nd river crossed by the Mormons on their migration from Nauvoo, IL to Salt Lake City, UT or that it was 102 miles from their previous encampment. Also that the three forks cross the western extension of the 'Sullivan Line' (Missouri-Iowa border) 102 miles from the confluence of the Missouri and Kansas Rivers near Kansas City which is the starting point for surveys in Western Missouri. I like Mom's answer the best of any. It really did seem like there were 102 One Hundred and Two's when I was a child.


Winnie the Pooh and his friends lived in the Hundred Acre Wood. Several incidents from the stories involved the river - playing Poohsticks and rescuing, at various times, Piglet, Roo and Eeyore from the waters. No where do I find the name of the stream that ran through the Hundred Acre Wood in A.A. Milne's book. Did Mom say it was The Hundred and Two when she read the story to us? 

"Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known." (Winnie the Pooh)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit

I have always loved myths and superstitions but I don't remember ever hearing the old British superstition of saying "rabbit, rabbit, rabbit" as the first spoken thing on the first day of the month. Doing so is supposed to ensure good luck for the month.


Saying rabbit or rabbits in succession is still a tradition in many English speaking countries including ours, especially in the New England states. Did my Yorkshire Great-great-great grandmother, Rosina Edwards Hull (who was born 188 years ago today), bring this superstition with her to Vermont?

Some say the phrase should be "white rabbits" and that you will receive good luck, money and/or gifts that month. White rabbits conjure these:



The White Rabbit from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. "Oh dear, oh dear, I shall be too late." This was the part of our son Mark's in one of his school plays.


While daughter Kari was on the crew and helped move things around the set to indicate the presence of an invisible, six foot three and a half inch, white rabbit known as Harvey in her school's production. "Well I've wrestled with reality for thirty-five years, Doctor, and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it." (Elwood P. Dowd) The 1950 movie was based on a play written by Mary Coyle Chase.


Of course one of the earliest rabbits of importance in my life was The Easter Bunny. I imagined him as something like this one, hopping along upright on his back two feet and carrying our Easter baskets in his front paws.



It was a live baby cottontail bunny that our Dad brought in from the field for us May 3, 1958 that I also remember when thinking of rabbits. I recorded that in my diary along with getting a bottle to use for feeding it a couple days later. But I didn't write down how long we had it before it died. Memory says it wasn't very long.


In the world of domestic rabbits, I was always drawn to the French Lop Ears.


Which may explain why I loved my rabbit, Fiona (Gaelic for 'fair', 'white', 'beautiful'), so much when she was given to me as an adult.


Assuming Gr-gr-great Grandma Rosina was superstitious and did pass on the rabbit, rabbits or white rabbits saying to her daughter Agnes (seated right), her granddaughter, Flora (seated left) or her great-granddaughter, Bessie (standing right), which one of them discontinued the practice? My Grandma Bessie had so many old sayings, she had surely heard this one. It does seem like one she would tell her grandchildren. Maybe it is my memory that is imperfect.
The first words I spoke aloud this morning were "rabbit, rabbit, rabbit". Bud wondered just what was wrong with me now. I'll let you know if the month brings good luck, money or gifts. Not counting any Christmas presents, of course.



Of all things Rabbit, though, my very favorite has to be Richard Adams' book, Watership Down. "You know how you let yourself think that everything will be all right if you can only get to a certain place or do a certain thing. But when you get there you find it's not that simple."

It has been many, many years since I read the book. I think it is time for me to read it again. "Man will never rest till they've spoiled the earth and destroyed the animals."