Grandpa C

A Peek at Woodville and More…

I really need to dump my photos off my cards!  Yikes! I keep saying Iwill keep up from now on, but it seems like photos add up FAST!

Here are a couple of photos I took a few days ago in Woodville.

I love that RED boat! Since the lake flooded the parking lot at the boat launch for a couple of weeks in April, Iwas surprised to see the wild Irises growing!  I thought they might have been messed up or that they might bloom much later!

For Memorial Day, we had placed a new bouquet of flowers on my father-in-law’s grave.  I also snapped a couple photos of an eagle memorial that wasat the cemeteryto honor those who served in the US armed forces. My father-in-law loved eagles!

Here is what is gracing our dinner table.

I love Carnations.  I love their spicy scent and their appearance.  I think the pink ones are especially pretty with the white Baby’s Breath. These were the combination I chose for flowers for our wedding!

Okay,then.  Are you sitting down?  This next photo is of “someone” who lives not too far away. I only had the little Canon camera with meon the dayItook this photo and I was bummed I had left the Nikon with its telephoto at home….

I aim to get a BETTER photo, but in the meantime….If you travel down Route 64,  just south of the Town of Bristol (maybe 2 or 3 miles?) look at the small blue house on the west side of the road.  You will see the recliner sitting there and perhaps….well…

One Annual Visit

 I hate to admit it, but in all of the busyness that seems to have overtaken our lives this year,  both Mark and I nearly forgot to take one trip!  This trip is rather important to Mark, as he has been faithful to make sure there is always some form of decoration on his dad’s grave. 

Before visiting the grave, we make a stop at the beautiful store across the street from Forest Haven.  This farm market sells wreathes and Chrsitmas trees and decor.  We generally have made this trip far sooner than this and  are able to pick out little decorations for the wreath.  I remember the first Christmas season after Mark’s father passed away, we were all near tears as we watched the young girl putting together a wreath for the grave.  Because we came so late this year,  we had to choose a ready-made wreath.

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massive and beautiful store.small

wreaths for sale.small

mmm juicy apples.small

The store has an active beehive inside a glass display complete with tubes running to the outside in which the bees can travel.  It was incredible seeing the bees in the hive….

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My favorite place in this store is on one end….

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another look at the fireplace.small

I think this building is the largest log building I have ever seen and the fireplace is mammoth!

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I turned off the flash and I love this warm and cozy photo!!!

very warm and welcome fire.small

the new wreath on grandpas grave.small

pretty gazebo at the cemetery decorated.small

The following was probably my favorite photo of the day. I love the lighting and color! (oh, and snow!)

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Productive Workday!

Mark’s mom had called last week and told Mark that she might want the kids to come and do some yardwork for her….she hires a landscaper, but she was anxious to have the leaves and branches removed from her lawn.  The kids and I agreed that we would be willing to help out.

We arrived at the house shortly after noon and began working right away. We began in the front yard and worked our way to the back.  The house has several plantings around it that catch leaves….Pachysandra, Myrtle, low-growing pine type plantings, as well as shrubbery.  Ben used our Husqvarna blower to dislodge many of the leaves in these stubborn areas and Michelle and I raked. Even though the lawn is only between 1/3 and 1/2 acre, it certainly seemed to be growing larger as we worked!

We finally finished up the lawn by 4:30. I raked almost the entire time, and the kids worked most of that time as well. My mother-in-law also worked raking and picking up twigs from the lawn. By the time we were done, we were feeling rather tired! My mother-in-law ordered pizza and chicken wings for dinner and I was never so happy to have food we didn’t need to prepare!

The day was cool, but as we worked, everyone took off layers as we progressed. The sun came out, the skies turned a most remarkable blue color, and it was just pleasurable to be outside.

As we were finishing up, I went and got my camera from the truck to grab a few shots. My mother-in-law’s home is located in front of a huge ravine with a little interesting history…

At the edge of the lawn, there are several pine trees planted, allowing little grass to grow there, but moss thrives! Here is a mossy knoll behind a little workshed.

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The ravine behind the house is very steep, deep, and it would be to one’s disadvantage to tumble down the grade! Despite warnings, I couldn’t help but carefully wander down the grade a little, with the aid of saplings to grab hold of! What did I need to photograph?

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The Bristolwood woods in which we dwell weren’t always woods. Much of our woodland was formerly clearcut and farmed. Most of our trees look dwarf compared to the old growth trees abiding in my mother-in-law’s deep gully. In the photo below, there is a mossy area located nearly in the center…it is somewhat difficult to see from this angle, but the moss is to the left of a trail leading through the woods. There are areas of terraced paths in the woods leading down to Irondequoit Bay. The bay is part of Lake Ontario, one of the Great Lakes.

The paths found in the woods weren’t created by homeowners living there, but are reminders of the days when Native Americans lived in the area. Yes, these narrow paths are very old and were carved out by Indians traversing to the water.

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A stark contrast to the ancient trails behind the house are grand and new “palaces” being built across the ravine. These homes are not at all like my mother-in-law’s home that was built in the 60’s, but very large with exquisite amenities.

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So, we have the very grand homes and the humble paths dwelling peaceably together…here is a little better shot of one of the paths.

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Try as I might, it was about impossible to capture the stream in the bottom of the gully that leads to the bay.

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And this last photo is in memory of my father-in-law. My mother-in-law recalled how he would get on his electric scooter and retreat to this little area. She said sometimes she would be calling his name with no reply…she would come back to his little “secret place” to find him sound asleep on the scooter!

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Yes, we certainly raked a lot of leaves and twigs and our backs are complaining, but this was one of those days that we just wouldn’t trade….

Name That Fellow!

My father-in-law passed away in January of 2005.  A few months before he left us, he passed his possessions on to Mark and his sister.  One of his favorite items was a Scottish fellow whom I could never decide exactly *who* he is!

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I have heard stories of Pere Noel, Sinterklaus, Santa….but never a Scottish Santa?  Could one of my dear Scottish readers perhaps identify this kilted laddie?  He is quite stunning and he remains one of my “treasures”, knowing that he was well-loved by my father-in–law.

 My Father-in-law acquired this McSanta at a craft festival and he paid a dear amount for the fellow. I would greatly appreciate knowing what, exactly, to call him!!

Signs of the Season

I wanted to photograph the peaches I bought on Thursday from Wegman’s as I don’t think anyone would believe me if I told them they are the size of a softball. But, they are! Please be aware that the plate these peaches are sitting on is a big full size dinner plate! Oh, and the grapes are the now long gone Fredonia Grapes I bought at the small stand on Thursday. It seems Ben has an addiction that surpasses my own!

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I wandered outside late this afternoon with camera in hand, looking around to see what I might see.  Only one of our maple trees in the front yard is showing some real color. I am not sure why this one lonely tree has decided to prematurely slip into its autumn colors, but it sure was pretty against the sapphire blue sky!

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Although all the wild daisies have stopped blooming, the yellow daisies I transplanted into the ground from the hanging pot seem to be in “on display” mode! The flowers just keep coming and coming. I am hoping that these flowers will winter well, as they are just plain downright *happy* flowers! I just love their bright yellow faces!

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Throughout the day today, we had a few spritzes of rain. It was a changeable day, for sure.  One moment, the sky was that intense autumn blue, with puffy white clouds. Suddenly, the sky filled with a gray ominous presence, then buckets-full of rain would pour down.  And, as suddenly as the rain came, it was once again gone.  Our temperature never rose above the mid-40’s today.  It was 49 when I took the Scotties out this morning, but the thermometer slowly declined as the day progressed….certainly not the “norm”!  That said, I would say without a doubt, this is typical autumn weather. As soon as the leaves begin their short-lived display of color, our annual “monsoon” (tongue-in-cheek, you realize) season picks up, making sure that the spectacular show winds up as litter on the lawn beffore it is fully appreciated….

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When Mark and I decided to build a swingset for the kids, we wanted one that would last a long time.  We certainly didn’t want one that would nearly tumble over when the kids got rambunctious!  Mark built a super swingset that would last for years!  The sad part about this swing is that Mark had intended to add a playhouse, perhaps a slide, a tire swing, and maybe even some other components. He certainly never expected to suffer a spinal cord injury at age 38.

Although the swingset isn’t nearly what was intended, it certainly has served to be a source of enjoyment for the kids. When Mark built this structure, he got online and ordered sturdy swings made for school playgrounds!  We used to remove the swings over the winter, but the past couple of years, I left them up.  The humorous part regarding my negligence is that the kids would walk through the snow, up to the beloved swingset and propel themselves just as though it was a warm summer day! The only difference was attire!

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I caught Michelle enjoying the swing this afternoon. My kids are hale and hardy….it is so unusual to see Michelle dressed in a sweater, particularly with the hood up!

When Mark first proposed building this swingset to his dad, his dad was a bit discouraging, telling Mark that Mark and his sister rarely used their swings. Undaunted, Mark continued on with his grand plan!  Now his dad is gone and I sometimes wonder if he might be watching in the “great cloud of witnesses”, smiling down on his swinging grandchildren!

Happy Memorial Day

Memorial Day is not one of my favorite holidays. Oh, I know, we must honor the memory of those who fought and served our country. For that, I am extremely grateful and I do want to remember.

But, eight years ago, on the day before Memorial Day, Mark came into the living room, collapsed on the floor, and instructed me to call 911. I will never forget that day. I ended up calling neighbors, and their daughter, who was pregnant, offered to stay with the kids. As Mark left in the ambulance, my neighbor told me that he sometimes suffered back pain that could be relieved with a muscle relaxer. I remember teasing and joking, never dreaming of the nightmare that lie ahead…..nor, the life-changing events.

All of Sunday night, Mark was on a gurney in the hospital, writhing in agony and pain. He was given shots of pain relievers, even morphine, but received no relief. I stood beside him, or sat on a chair as they wheeled him off for x-rays, a CT Scan, and then a milogram. I don’t know when I felt so helpless, or so alone.

Finally, in the breaking hours of Memorial Day, another doctor was dispatched to have a look. He read through the results of the tests, then took Mark in for surgery. In his mind, he was semi-sure that when he saw Mark the next day, he would get up from the bed and be OK. But, such was not the case. Instead, Mark was sent to the spinal cord injury unit of another large teaching hospital to learn how to live as a paraplegic. Mark was 38 years old at the time.

When I think about this and this strange odessy we have been on in the past eight years, I cannot help but feel a sadness….sad, because I see a certain look in Mark’s eyes as he watches the kids and I know that he is aching inside to be able to do more with and for them. He had built this house we live in from the ground up, with some help from my father and brother. To think of this rugged sturdy man living his days in a wheelchair seemed so foreign.

This morning, we decided that we would visit my father-in-law’s grave. We put flowers on the grave for the summer on Memorial Day and we needed to get this done. There is another sadness because no one else sees fit to do this. My father-in-law was always a giving, caring person who loved his family so deeply; the fact that no one puts flowers on his grave just breaks my heart. But, on the other hand, I am happy to do this, as I know it would please him.

We stopped at Michael’s to pick up the flowers, as they have good quality flowers that last well.
My father-in-law’s grave is located in the Korean War Vets section, so we put a red/white/blue theme on the grave.

After buying the flowers, we drove right to the cemetary. I had bought several sprays of various flowers, and I dumped the contents of the bag on the ground and began to arrange them. As I worked, Mark noticed a couple with an older man…..the older man was walking funny, with his belly thrust forward. Suddenly, he fell onto a bench. As Mark commented on this, I saw the man’s head moving strangely, indicating that he was breathing erratically.

At this point, the man that was with him hollered to lower him to the ground. I got up, wondering if the couple needed help, and yet, not wanting to get in the way. Within seconds, the man yelled, asking if anyone had a cell phone! Mark immediately gave me his and I ran to the couple.

The older man was lying on the ground, his face quite red. The younger man had called 911 and was talking to the dispatcher as his wife went off to get blankets. Another woman appeared with a pillow for his head.

The older man seemed very coherant when I arrived; apparently, he had lost consciousness for only a short time. I stayed with the couple, learning that they did not know this man…they met him over at a monument. The wife saw him walking strangely, and told her husband she was afrraid he was going to fall down. He had told them that several of the names etched on the memorial were friends he had gone to school with as a youngster. Although it was sunny out, it was not swelteringly hot, so it hardly seemed like the heat caused the man to pass out.

As we awaited the arrival of the EMTs, the elderly man told us about himself. We learned his name, he asked that we call his sister and tell her, and he felt so funny lying on the ground in the cemetary. The last time he had been lying on the ground like this was in Korea in 1952! He was a total delight. He said he had no medical problems, and then giggled as he said that the EMTs will be surprised to see a LIVE man lying in the cemetary!

As I became a little tired, I looked at the little bench where he had been sitting. There was an inscription on it….it was dedicated in the memory of Dr. J Bruce Iuppa. Dr. Iuppa was the name of the Dr that delivered Michelle. I felt the tears burning in my eyes, but was able to fight them off. What an emotional moment that was.

When the medical team arrived, I went back over to my family and finished arranging the flowers. My father-in-law had picked the most wonderful area for his grave…..under a pretty tree with a bench nearby. He had told us how wonderful this place was, but we never really appreciated it until his death. He certainly picked his final resting “place” very well!

Here is a picture of the grave with the arrangement.

And, the back side of the arrangement.

After checking out the elderly man, the EMTs filled out what seemed like mountains and mountains of paperwork. Since the man had driven by himself to the cemetary, his sister had told the EMTs on the phone that she would drive him back to her home. The man had declined a trip to the hospital, as this is the first time that anything like this had happened to him.

When the man’s sister arrived at the cemetary, the man arose from the bench, walking towards her. They embraced, sharing a kiss on the cheek, then walked over together to speak to the medical people.

Although this started out as a rather unusual adventure, I somehow felt as though my life had been made just a little better, meeting this warm and wonderful Korean veteran at the cemetary!

Happy Memorial Day!