Days of Parents and Refrigerators

As a rule, I really enjoy Thursdays. Though our weeks tend to get busy with life, Thursdays are usually our day with my parents. A day when we get them out of the house for a little bit. It is usually a relaxing day because they don’t do anything fast. One of the perks of being with them is moving at their pace. It is a good thing. Sometimes the date is moved, but Thursday is usually their day. However, one Thursday last month we did not get together with my parents. One Thursday last month something else happened that day.

She was old. I did my best to keep her clean, but when things get that old, it’s that much more difficult. There are cracks, breaks, leaks and unidentifiable build-ups. Things that can’t be helped when you’re old, especially when you’re an old refrigerator. (I bet you thought I was talking about my Mom. Just so you know, she may creak a little, but Mom would never have unidentifiable build-ups.)

In her day, she was very pretty. A big, black, side-by-side. I don’t know what it’s called but her exterior was “bumpy.” Her ice machine always gave her trouble and then, finally, just froze up and died. She had survived a family of five, three of them being teens into young adulthood. The constant opening and closing, the opening and staring, the opening and slamming…light on, light off, light on again, while they try to make up their minds if they wanted something or not. After they got married and moved out, she survived the short-term return of the now-marrieds-with-children. After almost 20 years, she had done her time and, I could tell, she was looking forward to retirement. However, I am married to a man who was raised by parents that lived through the Great Depression. He was taught to fix rather than replace. Personally, this has worked in my favor. He’s fixed my feet, my teeth, and my jaw without the slightest hint of looking for a better model and, for that, I am grateful. But, when your refrigerator shelves are held together with wide-band clear tape; well, I think it’s time. Still, I held my tongue. My hope was for one of those shiny, french-door, bottom freezer models. Of course, I made sure Cliff knew that, just in case he found some great sale that he couldn’t pass up.

After 41 years, I know how the man works. I ask for something and then, if he declines, I ask him if I can manipulate him in any way. (I am an honest manipulator.) He tends to say, no, as in this case; but I feel like I at least made the effort. We’ve been doing a lot of house renovations and spending a lot of money and so, I did understand and tried my best not to complain. He, on the other hand, was sneaky. He came across a great deal at Home Depot, realized he had a coupon to add and bought it, all while I was sleeping. The next thing I knew, he was talking about how our Thursday plans would have to change. That happens so I thought nothing of it. A little while later he was on his laptop and showed me a big, beautiful, shiny, french door, bottom freezer, with all the bells and whistles and said with a smile, “It’s coming on Thursday”.

When it came we just stared, not because it was absolutely beautiful, which it was; but because having only owned one side-by-side or another for the past 30 or more years, we had no idea how to put things in it. Cliff had always lived with “condiments on the door”. I had no idea where things went and cared even less, so condiments went on the door. That didn’t look very plausible with this model. The freezer was also a bit of a conundrum. After a few minutes of complete confusion, we started to finally figure it all out, found a place for everything, and put everything in its place…even the old fridge.

Since we don’t just throw things away around here, the old fridge is living a quiet, cozy life of retirement in my parent’s garage. A life where she can rest and her doors are only occasionally opened and nobody really cares that her shelves are taped together. My parents understand all of that and realize that old age is really not that big a deal.

P.S. ~ In case you’re wondering, there are pictures. I can’t figure out how to show them to you because my site is not cooperating. It’s done that a lot lately…

I wish you all a Very Happy, Very Blessed Thanksgiving! In spite of everything that is bombarding us these days, there is always something to be thankful for…

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Posted in Aging, Blessings, Caring, Change, Cleaning, Family, Fathers and Mothers, Food, Getting Old, Home, Home Improvements, Humor, Husbands, Life, Marriage, Refrigerators, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized | 2 Comments


Our family loves Yellowstone National Park and we have visited there more than once. It is breathtaking. All of it.

Amidst the angst currently visiting our world, I came upon this story. It made me cry happy tears. It is a story I recently came across on facebook on their Yellowstone National Park page. It is a story of kindness. It is a story to be remembered. It is a very big deal…


“On July 23rd, 2020, three lives were changed forever. Long-time friends Joe Wheat and Dane Coles took a last minute trip to Grand Prismatic in Yellowstone National Park. Coles, an outdoor photographer, wanted to do the overlook trail to the hot spring. 

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Posted in America, Americans, Attitude, Blessings, Caring, Facebook, Faith, Fellowship, Friends, Gratefulness, Happiness, Hiking, Hope, Humor, Life, Love, Montana, National Parks, Uncategorized, Vacation, Yellowstone National Park | Leave a comment

“Kids Say the Darndest Things”

Erma Bombeck once said, “When humor goes, there goes civilization.” In the early 1950s, America was still reeling from the effects of World War II and dealing with the current threat of the Cold War, while sending our men to fight in Korea. In the early 1950s a man named Art Linkletter joined our nation’s radio waves and television screens to remind us of the importance of humor. He hosted shows called, “House Party” and “People are Funny” but, is probably best remembered for his interviews with children on, “Kids Say the Darndest Things.” The idea for the show came to him during a conversation with his own son, Jack, after his first day of kindergarten. He told his father he would never go back. When his father asked him why little Jack responded, “Because I can’t read, I can’t write, and they won’t let me talk.”
Personally, with the looming election results, which at the time of this writing are still not in, and the suffocating effects of “you know what,” we could all use a little child-like, unadulterated humor. And so, without further explanation, I give to you our grandchildren, 1 girl and 6 boys, in all of their very little, unfiltered glory…

~ I notice our ever-so-serious 5 year old granddaughter putting her hand on her chest every once in awhile. I, jokingly, asked her if she was checking to see if her heart was still beating. Her serious response, “Yes, I thought it stopped before, but it didn’t.”
~ Our oldest grandson learning to ride a two-wheeler bicycle with training wheels. Me leaning on the bike behind him teaching him how to pedal and steer. I think I’m being helpful until I hear him say, “Nana, you’re just adding more weight to this thing.”
~ One of our favorite worship songs at church…”Glorious and mighty, you’re awesome IN BEAUTY…” Our third grandson’s version, “Glorious and mighty, you’re awesome AND NUDIE.”
~ While watching two of our grandchildren, the younger one has to go potty. I get that fateful call, “Nana, I’n d-o-n-e…(not a typo).” I go in to do the dirty deed of clean up and hear a pathetic little pleading voice ask the following question, “Nana, can you wipe ‘nice’?” This poor child! What did I do before?
~ A grandson falls asleep on the way to the grocery store, a one mile drive. I wake him up and tell him he can’t fall asleep right now because Nana has to shop. His response, “Nana, only one of my eye’s is sleeping.” As I carry him into the store, he has an epiphany, “Nana, look my shadow isn’t smiling.”
~ Our granddaughter at the age of 5 had a physical for kindergarten and had the following interview with the doctor as part of her physical.
“What do you do when you’re hungry?”
“What do you do when you’re tired?”
“Go to sleep.”
“What do you do when it’s cold outside?”
(Our granddaughter hesitates. The answer the doctor was looking for was ‘put on a coat’. The response she got from our ever-so-practical little girl…)
“Stay inside.”
~ A grandson, watching me attempting to do a yoga video, makes an impressive observation. “Nana, you’re not smiling.”
~ A new children’s table and chair set for the four oldest grandkids. A new coloring book and set of scented markers for each. A new look for our grandchildren as each has smelled their markers so much they look like Hitler.

Kids and grandkids truly say and do, “the darndest things!” It really is the little things that bring us so much joy. We can’t do much about the rest of it. But, we can live with the realization that in the light of all eternity, it’s really not that big a deal!

Posted in America, Americans, Attitude, Blessings, Childhood, Children, Christians, Encouragement, Eternity, Family, Grandchildren, Growing Up, Happiness, Home, Humor, Life, Love, Memories | 1 Comment

Happy Birthday! Happy New Year!

“I’ve been thinking.”
Whenever I say those words to my husband, he immediately responds with, “Uh-oh!” I realize that the thought of me thinking is a pretty big “Oi-Vey;” but, there’s a reason that I’m thinking.
I just celebrated my 61st birthday. Have you ever noticed that birthdays inspire lots of questions? When my husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday, aside from the very-timely-right-now answer of, “World Peace,” (i.e. the election to be over and Covid to be gone) I honestly had trouble thinking of something. I dabbled with the idea of a tattoo, but when I think about it, I really don’t like self-inflicted pain. I also can’t help wondering what tattoos will look like when you’re 80 or so because…you know…wrinkles. I don’t need anything which is a gift in itself. And so, the thinking began. What do I want? I settled on a new screen door. Fall and winter in Florida, which barely exist, are the time when you open your windows and doors. Being a Northerner, it has taken me years to get used to this, but I think I’ve finally conceded to this fact, and so, I got a new screen door. I’m very excited about it!
Anyway, all of that thinking got me thinking.
Most of us think of the worldwide New Year of January 1st, as a day of new beginnings, new promises, new resolutions that we’ll make and, most likely, break. But, if you think about it, January 1st is a world wide new beginning. It’s corporate, in a sense. Everyone all together making new choices for their lives.
Here’s my thought. Individually, our birthdays are the beginning of our personal New Year. A time to reflect on the year that’s passed. A time to think about the year that’s ahead. A time to make changes and decisions in our lives. What do we want to be when we finally grow up? How do we want to be remembered?
And then I had this thought…
Every day of every year every one of us gets a chance at a do-over. Every single day is a chance at a new start!
And so ends my “thinking!”
Happy New Birthday Year to us all!

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” ~Lamentations 3: 22-23

Posted in Aging, Birthdays, Blessings, Christians, Corona virus, Encouragement, Faith, Florida, Getting Old, God, Gratefulness, Happiness, Hope, Humor, Husbands and Wives, Life, New Beginnings, New Years, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Leave a comment

Phoebe and Scrubs

Officially, his name is Oliver. Personally, I call him Scrubs and not for any reason you would probably guess. Like all of us, Scrubs has a beginning; unfortunately, nobody knows what that beginning is. And so, Scrubs’ beginning starts with our dog, Phoebe.


It has been a very long time since we’ve owned just one dog, but here we are. In fact, the last time we owned just one dog was in early 1999. From that year on, we’ve always owned at least two, and at one point four, which quickly dropped to three and then back down to two. I love dogs. I love this dog, though I have to admit she is kind of weird. She’s a whiner and a complainer. If she doesn’t get her morning walk, she acts like she’s going to die. If you dare to leave the house without giving her a morning walk, she throws a temper tantrum that the entire neighborhood can hear. She is exceptional in the very worst sense of the word. She is Phoebe and being part coon hound, she is a nothing more than a fifty-pound smeller.

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Posted in Animals, Attitude, Blessings, Caring, Cat Attitudes, Cats, Children, Christians, Courage, Dog walking, Dogs, Florida, Granddaughters, Growing Up, Humor, Kittens, Life, Names, Teachers, Teaching, Uncategorized, Walking, Yellow Lab and Treeing Walker Coonhound | Leave a comment

King Who?

I’ve heard of many fictional kings in my life, but never this one.  My first job was with Burger King and, as a kid, King Kong was always kind of scary. King Arthur and his Roundtable has always been intriguing since nobody seems to be certain if he actually lived or not. And then there are the animated versions of Kings. King Julien, from the Madagascar movies comes to mind, the little hyperactive lemur king. The Lion King gave us Mufasa and Simba. The Little Mermaid had King Triton, and the funny and lovable Minions have King Bob. These I have heard of. But never have I ever heard of King Bob-Omb.

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“Say My Name, Say My Name”

Roxanne Teresa Sicurello. That’s the name I was given at birth. My mother, knowing that Italians have a habit of naming their children after themselves and fairly certain that she could never look into a cradle at her infant son, if ever she had one, and call him “Rocco,” told my father that I was named for him. Thus, she satisfied both  Dad’s need for a child named after him and her need to not have a son named Rocco.  Just to sweeten the deal, I was given the middle name Teresa for my paternal grandmother, Teresa Massessi, lovingly referred to as Tessie Massessi, and yes, it rhymes with messy and yes, it suits me well.

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41 is an important number. A significant number in many ways. It is the number that follows 40 and precedes 42. It’s a prime number, which means almost nothing to those of us with a “no math mind.” There is a US Highway 41 that goes from the very southern peninsula of Miami, to the very northern U.S. peninsula, the upper peninsula of Michigan. Amazing!

For those of us old enough to remember the tear-jerking, full box of tissues movie, “Brian’s Song,” Brian Piccolo’s retired jersey is number 41. Side note ~ I actually remember where I was sitting in my living room and holding and using an entire big box of tissues. I also cried for about an hour after it was over. It was that bad.  Moving on, in 1941 three very significant things happened, the Japanese bombed Pear Harbor, we officially entered WWII, and my mother was born, thus securing my place in the world…kind of.

This past Tuesday, my husband and I celebrated our own 41.  We have been married for 41 years. I was 19 when we married, one month before my 20th birthday, and I am 60 now, I have been married for fully two-thirds of my life. That’s a long time, like  an “I really am an old lady” long time, which is even harder to comprehend when I feel like I’m still about 41 years old. Of course, the mirror says otherwise, but still the feeling is there. It’s not true, but it’s there.


You’ve heard the age old saying opposites attract. Can I tell you it could not be more true? In fact, when I think about it, there’s not much that Cliff and I have in common. For example, Cliff likes sports, he likes playing them and watching them. When we lived in NJ, Cliff was the pitcher in our church’s softball league. They played on Monday nights. For the guys, it was a competition, a time of camaraderie, an athletic event. For me, it was a wonderful social outing! A time to visit with the wives, chat, and slather ourselves and our children in what we felt was a “natural” mosquito repellent, otherwise known as Skin So Soft by Avon. I have no idea why or how, but it worked and though I wasn’t overly fond of the smell, we definitely smelled better than the men.

Cliff enjoys old movies, I do not. But, I do like to crochet and will sit beside him with my hook and yarn while he gives me a rundown on different actors and the trivia he knows about them. It’s interesting…sometimes. Lately, we have found a common interest in British television programs. I don’t know why. We have to have the subtitles on to understand what they’re saying since we are “separated by a common language,” but the series’ that we’ve watched so far have piqued both of our interests and we’ve really enjoyed them!

Cliff enjoys things to be “orderly,” his drawers, his closet, his shoes…a place for all things and all things in their place. I tend towards “creative chaos.” My drawers are separated into shirts, pants, shorts and underthings, but they are not even close to orderly. They are shut most of the time, so that’s good! I tried to organize my closet once. That lasted a day. I realized I missed my closet disarray because sometimes I find something I forgot I had and it’s like getting a new and unexpected gift! Who wouldn’t love that?

My husband is a food camel. He can go for long periods of time without eating and think nothing of it. I am a foodie. I eat every few hours and think I will meet some horrible end if I don’t. If we plan a trip to Disney, something we both enjoy, it is inevitable that I will ask him where and when we will eat and whether or not we’ll get a Starbucks Refresher. If plans change as far as where we will eat, I can deal with that. I can even be mature about it, as long as I know we will be eating. Besides, I usually have my pockets stuffed with snacks like a chipmunk, so I can make it through until our meal. However, if he tells me we will be getting a Starbucks Refresher when we get into the park and then realizes that a very popular ride has almost no line and decides that we should get in line instead of getting our Refresher. Well, let’s just say that can and did, yesterday, push me to a mild meltdown. I did enjoy the ride and saw the wisdom of his decision when we came off the ride and saw a 105 minute wait. We only waited for 20 minutes and we did get a Refresher immediately afterwards.

For all of our differences, and  obviously they are many; there is one thing Cliff and I have in common, our faith. Our common love for Jesus has held us together through some of the toughest moments of our lives. He is our third cord, that causes us to not be easily broken. Who loves us unconditionally and teaches us to do the same. It’s not always easy, but it is always worth it.

41 years…It’s a pretty big deal!

“…a threefold cord is not easily broken.” ~ Ecclesiastes 4:12

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This is 20/20…

The term 20/20 has come to have a few different meanings. It can be the measurement of visual acuity, of course.  In the late 1970’s Barbara Walters was the co-host of a new show called 20/20, which is still on the air. And then there is hindsight, which is always deemed to be 20/20. Things are always much clearer looking back. Though we may have heard of most of those things, none of them really prepared us for the actual weirdness of the year 2020. So, what did I really expect from a big family vacation in 2020?

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Calvin Graham, an Incredible Life

In 1930, the United States experienced the worst drought it had ever seen in the Midwest and named the area hit, the Dust Bowl. The Great Depression had begun at the end of the previous year and Herbert Hoover was our President. 

In 1930, Pluto was discovered. The Chrysler Building was completed and stood as the tallest building in the world until the Empire State Building was completed the following year. The average yearly salary was $1,970.00. You could rent a house for $15 per month. A brand new Pontiac Big Six car cost $745.00 and a gallon of gas was 10 cents. 

In 1930, my father-in-law was born and so was Calvin Graham. 


On April 3, 1930, Calvin Graham was born in Canton, Texas. He grew up in Crockett, Texas and was one of seven children living at home when he and his older brother decided to find a place of their own. Calvin sold newspapers and delivered telegrams after school to support himself. Until one day, when he came up with a plan for his life. He decided to join the Navy and fight in the war. It was 1942. Calvin was 12.

He had begun shaving when he was 11 in an effort to look older. He also practiced speaking in a deep voice. He told his mother he was going to visit relatives, forged his mother’s signature, stole a notary stamp from a hotel, and went down with his buddies to sign up. He wasn’t worried about the recruiting officer and his mother’s forged signature, he knew he could tell them he was 17 and bluff his way through that. After all, the Navy needed men. What worried him was the Dentist.

There was no way to hide the fact that he still had a few baby teeth. The Dentist said he was 12. Calvin insisted he was 17 and told the Dentist that he knew for a fact that the two guys ahead of him were 14 and 15 and he’d let them through. Finally, the Dentist told Calvin he didn’t have time to waste on him and let him in.  And that is how Calvin Graham became a Navy Seaman, all 5′ 2″ and 125 lbs. of him. 

Calvin was on board the USS South Dakota as a gunner when it was attacked in the Pacific at Guadalcanal. A 500-pound bomb struck the main gun turret. The explosion sent shrapnel through his mouth and jaw, knocked out his front teeth, and knocked him down three stories of the superstructure. At 13 years old, though injured himself, he helped pull fellow crew members to safety. He took belts off the dead and made tourniquets for injured men. He gave the injured crewmen cigarettes and stayed with them, encouraging them all night. He was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.

Calvin’s mother, seeing her son in newsreel footage, contacted the Navy and revealed his secret. He was returned to Corpus Christi, Texas and thrown in the brig for almost three months. It took his sister’s complaint to the newspapers to get him out of the brig. The Navy stripped him of his medals, revoked his disability benefits, and ordered his release with a dishonorable discharge. He married at 14, was a father at 15, and divorced at 17. Knowing he was about to be drafted, he signed up for the Marine Corps. Soon after enlisting, he broke his back in a fall. After that he sold magazine subscriptions. In 1976, he began writing letters to then President Jimmy Carter, seeking honorable discharge status so he could get disability benefits for his medical and dental expenses. In 1978, with help from some Texas Senators, it was approved and his medals, except for the Purple Heart, were restored. He died of heart failure in 1992. He was 62 years old. In 1994, two years after he died, his Purple Heart was returned to his family.

Calvin’s was an incredible life. He was a very big deal. 

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