“Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men out fowling so that we might, after a more special manner, rejoice together after we had gathered the fruits of our labors.”
Sunday evening, Oct. 27 — We’d had an early dinner and were watching the fourth game of the World Series. Len, who was recently a patient in PRMC, was preparing to go to bed. Just as he was about to crawl under the covers — chirp…chirp…chirp. The bedroom smoke alarm decided to make itself heard. (Don’t those batteries ever get weak during the daytime?)
Helen Hunt Jackson said it best in her poem, “October’s Bright Blue Weather.” Where better to enjoy this stimulating time of year than in Rim Country?
No one enjoys being in a hospital emergency room, but that is where Len and I found ourselves a couple weeks ago. As careful as we try to be at our ages, he had taken a fall and was experiencing back pain.
Have you discovered Cronuts yet? The pastries are a cross between a croissant and a donut and are sweeping the country from New York City to San Francisco.
August, the month with the royal name, is not very royal at all. It’s lazy and laid-back, time to sit on the front porch (if you have one) or on the patio, sipping lemonade, savoring the garden harvests, or stretching out in the hammock with a good book.
A warm welcome to Todd Youtz, new cook at the Payson Senior Center, 514 W. Main St.
It started when two Native American flutists, teacher and performer Betty Acker and new flute player and aficionado Tom Russell, decided to form a Native American Flute Circle in Rim Country.
Attention, seniors! Please be very careful in giving out personal information via computer, telephone and regular mail or in person.
June is pure magic. It transforms Rim Country into a fairyland of blossom and birdsong.
The mourning doves that have nested near our back yard in previous years are back — we hear their cooing morning, noon, and yes, even at night.
It has been said that to stay young at heart one should keep open to new thoughts and experiences and never quit learning.
April is such a cheerful month; filled with bright sunshine, warm breezes, birdsong and best of all in Rim Country, a multitude of blossoming trees.
Listen up! I’m starting a campaign to banish the word “basically” from our vocabulary.
Drive through any neighborhood in Payson and you are sure to see people walking their dogs — I don’t know if any survey has ever been done, but it seems to me that Payson has one of the largest dog populations in the country.
Love — What a strange thing it is… I hope you all had a happy Valentine’s Day.
January is Get Organized Month, time to clean out files, closets, the pantry and if you are really in a cleaning frenzy, even the garage.
Senior Moments Column
Happy New Year! Up go the new calendars. The earliest known calendars date back some 10,000 years, although primitive man undoubtedly had some method of marking the passage of time.
Welcome to December — this year the month has five Saturdays, five Sundays and five Mondays.
Happy Thanksgiving! What are you most grateful for on this holiday?
Recently Len and I attended a program on fall prevention at the Powell House presented by Toba Robinson, director of therapy services for KC’s Home Health Care in Phoenix.
Halloween is just around the corner. If you are carving a jack-o-lantern, don’t waste the inside. Cut out the pumpkin meat, scraping away the seeds and pulp.
Does anyone remember playing Cat’s Cradle or Hangman or Tic Tac Toe?
Signs of fall: squirrels harvesting a bumper crop of acorns in the back yard.
Now that Labor Day is over, we can settle into September and enjoy the cooler days and nights.
The month of August has no official holidays. It is a quiet month, some may even say dull, but August has its own charm. After the excitement of July, the pace slows down (until the rodeo comes to town in Payson).
“Ooo? Oo oo oo” — It is a little after 4 a.m. and still dark outside. From the back yard comes a sleepy call of our resident mourning dove. He must have decided it was too early to get up; no more calls for another half-hour.
This month deserves to be in big, bold print. July is filled with activity, excitement, picnics, outdoor sports —and fireworks! Some manmade and some from Mother Nature as the summer storms roll through Rim Country. If you are planning a July wedding, you might want to change your mind — July is The Unlucky Month For Weddings. Come to think of it, I don’t know anyone who was married in July.
June is here, that delightful month of long, sunny days and warm evenings. June is a gentle month made for being outside, whether having lunch on the patio, gardening, stargazing or simply savoring life in Rim Country. It is a month of blossoms. The honeysuckle at the side of our house just finished blooming and is now threatening to take over the rest of the building. We try to keep it trimmed, but if we turn our backs for a day or two, its tendrils sneak out and grasp whatever is within reach. It is lush and green and seems to thrive on neglect. June is the month of roses.
May is the prelude to June — the month when hours of daylight are the longest. In the midst of winter, we yearn for this time of year, but when the sun lingers late in the sky and the temperature climbs, we like to sit out on the patio in the cool of the evening, watch the daylight slowly fade away, and, as our family says, talk smart. Sometimes it is just Len and me, sometimes we are joined by other family members. There’s usually a lot of laughter — it doesn’t matter what the topics are, whether the day’s events, politics, gardening or whatever, it is a pleasant end to a summer’s day. And, remember, the days will begin growing shorter after the summer solstice on June 20, so enjoy this while you can.
Fling wide the doors! Old Sol, shine down your brightest sunshine! Let’s hear a drum roll, woodpeckers and a chorus of birdsong. Line the path with spring flowers — May is here! “April is promise, May is fulfillment” wrote Edwin Way Teale in A Walk Through The Year. At long last, gardeners can get out and till the soil. There is something therapeutic about getting your hands in warm earth, planting seeds and watching them sprout —and, oh my goodness, that wonderful sense of satisfaction when you harvest the first results of your efforts. Does anything taste better than a salad of lettuce, green onions, spinach and other early veggies right from your own garden?
Dandelions! They must have been put here on earth just so small children could pick them without being scolded. Their saucy blooms are among the first to welcome spring. Dandelions grow anywhere — roadsides, open meadows, cracks in sidewalks, yards — especially yards! There is a golden band of them along the north side of Highway 260 in front of Bashas’. Although it is commonly believed that early colonists brought the dandelion to this country, there are at least seven species native to North America. The common dandelion, which is often considered a garden pest, is an offspring of those introduced by European immigrants. They prized the early spring leaves as garden vegetables and made wine from the blossoms. Dried, ground roots were used for medicine. Dandelions are rich in potassium, which stimulates the production of bile and may be helpful in the treatment of liver disease. In the late 1800s, dandelions were in such demand that they were advertised in seed catalogues. The name is taken from the French dents de lion (lion’s teeth) referring to the jagged outline of the leaves.
April is here, one of the loveliest months of the year. April is many things: National Humor Month (who doesn’t need a good laugh once in a while?) and National Poetry Month. The first week of April is Library Week; the second, Garden Week; the third, Organize Your Files Week; and the fourth, National Karaoke Week — something to sing about. Newspaper Columnists’ Day is April 18 (my favorite) and Volunteers’ Recognition Day is April 20. On April 4, 1877, the first home telephone was installed and on the 9th of April 1833, the first public library in this country opened in Petersboro, N.H.
Today is the first day of spring, when day and night are of almost equal length. The vernal equinox has been observed as a holiday in many cultures. In Japan it is a national holiday, a time for families to visit graves of loved ones and to hold family gatherings. Egypt has celebrated the vernal equinox since as far back as 2700 B.C. In some Middle Eastern countries it marks the beginning of a two-week festival. In Payson, we may take note of the occasion by cleaning up after our weekend snowstorm!
March — It sounds like an order, doesn’t it? April, May and June are soft, gentle months and July sparkles, but March tolerates no foolishness. Either the day is so bright and crisp that it demands you Get Outside and Clean up the Yard or the weather is so nasty you don’t want to set foot out the door. March has no major holidays (unless you are Irish and observe St. Patrick’s Day on the 17th). March is the month most divorces occur. March 9 is Get Over It Day, March 11 is World Plumbing Day and the week of March 25 to March 31 is Root Canal Awareness Week — don’t they all sound like a lot of fun?
Communication — that’s what life is all about, isn’t it? I have a new telephone and am still learning how to use it. It is not one of the smart phones that do everything except tell you which direction the wind is blowing (and they probably can do that also), but it has more features than I’ll ever need. I remember back in the dark ages, when I was a child, and we had our first telephone installed. What a miracle it was to be able to talk to someone miles away! In those days there were party lines, which meant that nosey people on the same line could listen in on your conversations. You had a certain ring, which told you when a call was for you — I still remember that ours was two long, and one short ring. Recently we were at a family gathering where everyone was conversing, snacking and watching a football game. Of the three young people present, in addition to the above activities, one was text messaging, one was researching the history of television and one was taking pictures, all on instruments smaller than a remote control, which hold more technology than did the instruments used to send the first human into space. What a changing world we live in!
February, second month of the year, is like a small child going through the stage known as the terrible twos. February can be so winsome — it charms the birds into singing spring songs. Beware, though, when it throws a temper tantrum. February’s storms can be fierce. North America’s largest single storm snowfall of 189 inches occurred Feb. 19, 1959 at Mt. Shasta, Calif. Payson’s record snowfall of almost 50 inches occurred in the month of December many years ago — OK, any longtime Paysonites who remember the exact date, please e-mail it to me at email@example.com. So far this year we have a shortage of snowfall, but be careful what you wish for. There’s still time for a blizzard or two. Leap Year gives us an extra day this month and according to ancient custom that day may be used by “mayden lady to bespoke ye man she likes …”. Should he refuse her proposal, he was liable to a hefty fine, or, in some cases, to compensate the rejected “mayden” with a new dress of pure silk.
Have you ever celebrated New Year’s Eve in a hospital emergency room? I have. Let me tell you, it is a lot more fun singing “Auld Lang Syne” in your own living room, with a few good friends, over a bottle of champagne. However, given the way I was feeling, I was glad to be where I was. It began the Thursday before New Year’s with a mild discomfort in my right side, front and back, which over the next couple days became more painful. By Saturday morning I could hardly get out of bed. Len took me to the ER where they did numerous tests, including a CT scan, and put me on pain medication. By noon, no cause was diagnosed and the pain subsided, so I was sent home. No sooner did I get there than the pain reoccurred, worse than any I have ever had.
Happy New Year! It’s time to settle in after the flurry of holiday activities, pause for dreaming daydreams, relive old memories and think new thoughts. Now we can catch up on those projects set aside for winter’s indoor hours, curl up with one of the books we have stacked up, or try a new recipe. January is National Soup Month and what could be better than a bowl of hot soup on a chilly evening? What is your favorite kind of soup? Cream of mushroom is preferred by folks in Grand Forks, N.D.; Portland, Ore. people favor bean with bacon; and chicken noodle is the choice of diners in St. Louis. In New Orleans, gumbo is a perennial best seller.
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year …” so the song goes and indeed it is a special time for most of us, but for some it is a very difficult time. If you are reading this in the comfort of a warm room and have food in the refrigerator, count your blessings. There are many around the country and right here in Payson who, because of economic conditions, loss of jobs or illness, are facing a bleak holiday. Few of us can afford to give thousands of dollars, but if you can spare a dollar or two to drop in the Salvation Army kettle, send a small check to Payson Community Kids (P.O. Box 1856), Payson Area Food Drive (P.O. Box 307) or any other of the many organizations in Rim Country helping the less fortunate, please do so.
Oh, these dark mornings! I am normally an early riser and love the morning hours, but it is hard to get out of a warm bed when the house is chilly and dark. Remember, though, that in only 16 more days, it will be the Winter Solstice when the sun begins its slow journey to bring back long hours of daylight. Often in December the sun closes the day with a dramatic production, a blaze of color that etch the bare branches of trees against the semi-circle of sky and turn the pine needles so dark as to appear black shafted with gold from the last rays. Swiftly the blaze of color fades to be replaced by the first glistening stars. Silent Night! Holy Night!
bygone days; necklaces in style today are big, bold and colorful. Nor is the trend limited to women only, many male sports figures and celebrities also sport (pun intended) chains and other neckwear. Necklaces are believed to have originated during the Stone Age, 40,000 years ago. The earliest ones were made of vines or animal sinew, sometimes with shells or animal bones or teeth on them. Now beads or gemstones are most popular. Since my wardrobe consists mainly of jeans, sweatshirts and T-shirts, I guess I won’t need any new necklaces, no matter how in they are!
It probably goes back to my childhood, growing up during the Great Depression, but I absolutely hate to see food wasted. Stale bread ends up as crumbs or bread pudding in our house, leftover roast chicken becomes chicken salad or potpie, the ham bone flavors a split pea soup. I could go on and on, but you most likely have your own food saving ideas.
Last week was Fire Prevention Week. Have you checked your smoke alarms lately? If the batteries have not been replaced in the past six months, now is the time to do so. For those of us who no longer are comfortable climbing ladders, the fire department offers a service whereby they will come to your home and change the batteries for you. Call (928) 474-5242, extension 300, for an appointment.
“October is the jewel set in the hand of time” — so wrote Gladys Taber in her book The Best of Stillmeadow and I must agree that October truly is a splendid time of year, especially here in Rim Country. Summer’s heat is gone, but we do not yet need winter’s warm clothing. The monsoon season (what there was of it!) is past, days are bright and sunny.
Dearie, do you remember when ... • A family had one telephone per household rather than one for each family member • Pizza and zucchini were unknown edibles • Television — what’s that? Turn on the radio, it’s time for “Fibber McGee and Molly” • Pets ate leftovers, not fancy canned or packaged food, and no one thought of brushing their teeth • Text was what you studied for an exam • We read road maps and actually got where we wanted to go instead of having a disembodied voice telling us “turn left at the next intersection” • Twitter was what birds did • Women wore house dresses and aprons • We put galoshes over our shoes in wet or snowy weather
“For it’s a long, long time from May to September” according to the old song, but it sure hasn’t seemed like such a long time since we were anticipating Memorial Day and now Labor Day is just a memory. I hope yours was pleasant … and just think, there are only 110 days until Christmas!
If you have a home garden, right about now you are probably awash in cucumbers. These fruits of summer (botanically they are a fruit although most of us consider them a vegetable) are prolific and easily grown. They are one of the oldest cultivated plants, having been cultivated in India more than 3,000 years ago. Christopher Columbus is credited with bringing the cucumber to the new world where the natives eagerly added it to their corn, squash and other food crops.
If you have not yet visited Key Ingredients: America by Food, the traveling exhibition co-presented by the Smithsonian Institution and the Arizona Humanities Council at Payson Public Library, 328 N. McLane Road, you still have the opportunity to see it before it closes Aug. 7.
There’s always something happening at the Payson Senior Center, from bingo to woodcarving, Zumba dance classes to bridge. Among the most popular events are the almost daily pre-lunch programs, which include informational speakers, health issues, holiday celebrations and everyone’s favorite: live music.