Category Archives: family

Grandpa’s Driving School

I’ve been driving for a decade but chauffeuring my Grandpa around lately has me feeling like I am back in driver’s ed.

The first problem is his car, which is super modern and yells at you if you get close to the dashed line. I never realized how much I apparently hug the right side of the road. It doesn’t help any that I haven’t driven a big vehicle in over a yearso I’m quite cautious and intimated driving it.

Second, Grandpa is a very active passenger. He scans the road and tells you when to get over. He says “good job, good job” if you slow down sufficiently for a turn. He lets you know that the light has been green for a while so you should slow down because it will probably turn red eventually.

Third, Grandpa’s idea of giving directions usually means telling lengthy stories about something unrelated and then slipping instructions while at it. So for example: “And then his machine would go up and down and left. LEFT. TURN LEFT. Nope, we missed the turn…And then her husband died and she decided to move to (get in the right lane) the middle of nowhere and (THE RIGHT LANE.)”

I’ll probably come out of this a better driver. Probably. At least one afraid to get too close to the right side of the road.

The Insurance Talk

“Sometimes I get 4 blocks from home and realize I forgot to put in my teeth.” ~ Grandpa Buck

Back by popular demand, expect lots of Grandpa Buck the next few days.

Today he decided it was time we sat down and had The Talk.

Aka the “You are an adult now and should really consider getting a life insurance policy to pay for your funeral if you die” talk.

He walked me through how expensive funerals were, the cost of cemetery plots, and the burden of funeral homes. And then strongly suggested I consider getting a policy.

Believe it or not he does not actually sell insurance. Nor has he ever, that I know of.

But then again, his advice for planning for retirement: “Outlive everyone you have a life insurance policy on.”

Bethany Bakes

I would like to say my attempt at cooking yesterday inspired my sister, but she informs me that, in fact, she had planned all week to bake and I inconvenienced her by using the kitchen on Saturday. At any rate, I did her a favor because watching me discover how few baking necessities we own inspired her to go grocery shopping this morning.

And I have to hand it to her. She wasn’t kidding about baking.

She made 3 different types of cookies and pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie.

Alas, I do not get to try the pie. She is bringing it to work tomorrow. But I have gotten to play cookie tester all day!

There are certainly worse ways to spend a Sunday.

George Foreman Grill

My Uncle Stu and Aunt Joan gave Bethany and I their old George Foreman Grill and it is seriously the best thing ever. Our meat consumption has gone up dramatically.

I’ve made fish, chicken, pork, and beef on it. It makes cooking so much easier! I whip up a marinade beforehand (or not!) and throw it on for 5 minutes. And then wallah. The grill even lets me know when the food is done.

Major thank you to my relatives. I feel so much more inspired using it.

Also, did you know the full name of the grill is the George Foreman Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine? I chuckle every time.

“histery begines.” by Kids

A play written by me in 2002. I bribed my brother to participate by adding a football scene. To set the scene: I narrated. My siblings acted this out.

Welkam to the play histery begines. by Kids

Ones a pon a time the pilgroms came on the Mayflower to Amarika. They started thanksgiving and the turky to reprezent it.

Soo later life was beter but a war broke in. Einglend wanted Amarika.

We put Gouge Woshington in charge and we won! later Benjaman Franklen descovered Electrisity. World war 1 came next and thy trained pijins to fly at night and past mesjuses.

World war 2 came and went not to menchun Liken fout the sival war. [Lincoln fought the Civil War.]

More things happed. it would take days for me to tell you every thing so we will go to Last ear the world trade senter was crashet we had war agen and if you think about it are life is easy to the past. we have stove like foot ball, base ball, and T.V. and video such as Maryposin [?] M.P.

be Sides kids [indecipherable word] can get touchdowns. [Sam tackles stuffed animals]

well I think are life is veary nice. thank you for coming Mom.

Childhood Schemes

As I sort through my papers, I’ve come upon a list of schemes to make money. I don’t know how old I was when I wrote it, but I rather think my spelling speaks for itself. My siblings provided their own suggestions.


1. pett bisnos [pet business]
2. put on plays
3. alowans [allowance, which I did not get, so this was clearly optimistic]
4. lemanade [lemonade]
5. sell pretty stones [mostly supplied by my neighbor’s landscaping. I look back in appreciation for their forbearance when I attempted to sell their rocks back to them.]


6. ruimj sale [rummage sale]
7. sell ice cream
8. make things and sell them
9. be a dectiv [detective]


10. sing voice
11. wash cars

To Friends Down South

A poem written by my great, great, great uncle Abner Morse Johnson, from Rural Rimes, published 1926.

Away down in the southern clime
Where it is summer all the time—
Where you folks dwell—
With orange blossoms white as snow,
Where garden sass of all kinds grow,
It must be swell!

If I lived there all through the year,
In that fair land to you so dear—
Where grows the fig—
Of course, you know, I’d be afraid
That I, with garden hoe and spade,
Would have to dig!

And if I there, the whole year through,
Would have to dig, and sweat, and stew
And till the ground—
I think that I would rather be
Where snow and ice is letting me
Just loaf around!

My Tough Sister

“How was work?” I ask my sister.


I push deeper. “Anything happen?”

“Well, my co-worker Joe* came to ask the manager for a band-aid. And the manager asked why and he said he nicked himself. It wasn’t bleeding any more but he was bad with injuries and would feel better if he got an injury.

“So I said if our manager was getting a band-aid, he might as well grab one for me.” Pause. Then, very matter-of-factly, “I ran a pallet jack over my ankle and it was bleeding pretty bad. I was just going to leave it but if he was getting a band-aid anyway…I thought my co-worker was going to be sick.”

* smirk *

“I mean seriously, just suck it up. My manager told me I was three times tougher than Joe.”

And that, folks, is why my sister is not the person you want around when injured. Or maybe you do because she will treat it matter-of-factly?


*name changed to protect the innocent. And also because I forgot his real name 😉

Happy Birthday, Elijah!

It is my youngest brother’s birthday!

How to describe this guy? Elijah is thoughtful and witty. He gets a mischievous twinkle in his eye when he thinks something is funny. He joins in his siblings’ crazy shenanigans and handles three opinionated older sisters quite well.

I can’t imagine it is easy being the youngest of five, but this guy does it with grace and affection! Love you, Squire Beast!

Tough Food Critic

Today Bethany and I came back from work stressed and hangry. So instead of throwing in a frozen pizza, I pulled out the stops.

  • Tender grilled chicken marinated in lemon and garlic sauce (Aunt Joan, the George Foreman grill is AMAZING)
  • Baked asparagus sprinkled with lemon, oregano, and pepper
  • Ripe avocado
  • Crusty brown bread
  • A delightful antipasto
  • A nice red wine

After we ate, I turn to my sister expecting some commendation for whipping this up while she sat on the couch.

She stares at me blankly.

I try hinting. “So…what’d you think?”

A shrug. “It was okay.”

Me: “Okay?!”

Bethany: “Yeah. Not as good as Grandma’s cooking. So, okay.”

Well, if that is the standard I’m being judged by, I guess that was high praise!