Sibling Assignment #180: Smelterville, The Wayside Market, and Penny Candy

Sister Carol gave this sibling assignment:

 Neighborhood grocery stores used to be quite common in Kellogg as we were growing up.  Think about the neighborhood grocery stores that used to be in Kellogg, and write about some memories associated with these stores.  Pick only one store to write about, or several.  If you have a photograph of the store, or where it used to be, share a photo as well.

You can read brother Bill's thoughts on another favorite store in our neighborhood here . I remember trying my first ice cream sandwich at Don's Market. I will like sister Carol's when it is complete. 

Today I am stretching my Kellogg boundaries and writing about the Wayside Market in Smelterville, a small town west of Kellogg. Before sister Carol was born Bill and I spent time at a babysitter's house in Smelterville while Mom taught school at Silver King. Our babysitter's name was Margaret Gallaher. 

I think I stayed there all day while brother Bill was in kindergarten in the morning and we also went there a few  times in the evening when Mom's PTA meetings and Dad's bowling night landed on the same day. Kenna and Stu White were often there also. Somehow they were related to Margaret, which made them a step higher on the cool kid ranking. 

There are many fond memories of staying at her house. We loved her dog, her sparkling eyes, her warm smile, and playing outside in the yard with some of the other neighborhood Smelterville kids. The most vivid memory of staying at Margaret's was going to Wayside Market after lunch. I don't know if we did anything to earn the five cents she gave each of us, but all I know is that when she lined us up and put a nickel in each of our hands, it was an invitation to walk across the alley and shop for penny candy at the Wayside Market. By the counter were so many choices of candy. The checker would give us each a small brown bag that we could fill with our five pieces of candy. It was hard to decide whether to have a licorice pipe, wax juice tubes, Bazooka bubble gum, a Tootsie Roll Pop ( even though they cost two cents), Kits, and so much more.

For a four  or five year old, it was a feast. We couldn't wait for the moment when we could go shopping. I don't think it ever occurred to us to get a nickel candy bar. We wanted penny candy. Back to her house we would go and enjoy our afternoon snack. My brother probably had to read the Bazooka comic to me. Soon Mom would be picking us to return home.

This was over fifty-five years ago. Time has marched on, but we have endured. My brother may not still eat penny candy, but he has memories of all kinds of places he enjoyed in Smelterville. Kenna is still my friend. The Wayside Market is still there, Margaret still lives in the same house and is over ninety years old. A while back I saw her shopping at Wal Mart and she still had those sparkling eyes and kind smile. She remembered me. Mom and I both decided we should go visit her. 

Now that I am living back in my hometown I love memories like this that have come full circle. Places are still there, people remember, and I feel a warm glow when strong, happy memories can sustain through our lives. Next time I drive to Smelterville I am going to go inside the Wayside Market and see how much candy costs now. I better bring my debit card.


Sibling Assignment #179: Gardening: A Lesson in Patience

I gave the sibling assignment this week:

"As spring lurks somewhere around the corner, it is time to think about gardening. Each of us have had different experiences with gardening at different locations. What we have all learned is there is a huge learning curve when it comes to gardening. What lessons have you learned from gardening? Share about a particular plant, gardening as a whole, or whatever you want." You can find brother Bill's post here. I will link sister Carol's when it is completed.

"Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace." May Sarton

When I first began to garden I wanted instant gratification. I was an impatient garden. It was only fitting I planted big, bright annuals around the outside of the house, filled pots with more colorful flowers, and shoved way too many flowers in each bed I planted. What I did at my first house was probably really not gardening. It was more curb appeal. It all looked pretty, but then the flowers died in the fall and I started all over again the next spring. What I did learn was how to pick out healthy annuals, what color combinations worked, and how expensive it all was.

I had more of a plan at my second house, but then that impatient gardener, instant gratification need crept in also. I had more area to garden. I needed to do much more to amend the soil, What I did do different with my second house was read and research. I attended a class on home landscaping, I studied plants native to my area, I explored perennials vs. annuals because I planted and tended to the flowers more and Everett did the vegetable gardening. In the nineteen years I lived there I learned from trial and error. I killed lots of plants. I learned how to grow roses, I learned how to propagate and winter over plants, but I still didn't slow down and exercise patience. It was often hard for me to appreciate what we had created, because I thought I needed more in a spot, or another burst of color, or some interesting foliage. I still wanted every inch of the flower beds blooming. I didn't want to wait for plants to mature. The trees and shrubs overtook each other because we didn't space them like we should have. 

I did walk away from that gardening experience with much knowledge. Whether it was dividing flowers, starting then from seed, or buying them at the nursery I learned species that were successful, ways to create pots of containers that worked, and how important location was. We learned that maple trees were a beautiful addition to any yard. The most important lesson I learned was to focus on four seasons of interest and color while gardening. This was the part I liked best. If a shrub is going to bloom in the spring, what would it look like in summer? Did it have colorful branches to brighten up a gray time in winter? If you are investing in plants for the long haul, you want them to provide more than one season of beauty.

I am now retired and planning gardens in another home. I was forced into patience last summer because the house wasn't ours yet so I couldn't jump into my frenzied pace of planting flowers, plus it was later in the summer, it was very hot, the smoke from wildfires was bad, and we were exhausted from moving. We did  bring lots of containers with us that helped add color for the remainder of the summer.

I slowed down. I walked around with paper and pencil and took notes, I tried to visualize what I wanted my garden beds to look like. I read and researched again. I saved money by shopping fall sales. I thought about specific color schemes. We planted bulbs in October so we would have color greeting us in the spring.

As the snow still falls and the days are cold and gloomy, we are ready to move forward. New vegetable beds are being prepared, some plants were wintered over, and I have plans for what to add for annual color when the time comes to plant. I will continue to practice patience as best I can.


Sibling Assignment #178: Blending Self-Discipline and Creativity

  Brother Bill gave the sibling assignment this week.
"Back at Whitworth, the Chaplain's office used to put together a book of meditations for the season of Lent that reflect upon some aspect of the forty days leading up to Easter. 
Let's pretend we are at Whitworth.  Each of us has been asked to contribute a Lenten meditation and we were asked to write about one of three topics  -- or a combination of them:
mystery "

Today my meditation is on discipline.  Actually, I will focus more on self-discipline. When the word is heard, often images of punishment, military code , or training for a marathon come to mind. Discipline may be seen as rigid and unbending. When people try to be creative while being disciplined it often rubs them the wrong way.  An artist may feel like they are being fenced in. It may be too structured. Todd Henry said ,"Discipline simply means making an agreement with yourself and keeping it. " 

That doesn't seem so rigid. When a writer tries to stay focused on completed a piece of writing, a goal may be set to write so many pages a day. That doesn't take away from the creativity. It just provides an agreement you make with yourself. I am working on expanding my experiences with art forms. I don't want this to be a "wishy washy whenever whatever" project. I have scheduled a day of the week with a friend to work on creative works. I have made an agreement with myself to keep broadening my creative skills. That is self-discipline.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Galatians 5:22-23 " But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law."  Self-control is also self-discipline and believe me, this is a mighty list of fruits of the Spirit. While we work to demonstrate these, Jesus would want us also to show self-discipline. It brings us closer to our agreement with our own selves. It helps us reach the goal of being creative. 

Whether it is in reading the Bible, raising children, performing on stage, writing poetry, or creating a art journal, it all takes self-discipline. When a friend gives up chocolate for Lent, that is self-discipline. When people choose not to eat meat on Friday during Lent, that is self-discipline. 
When a person wants to expand their creative endeavors with writing, painting, practicing photography, drawing, or designing,  self-discipline is needed. 

Yes, a person can follow their muse, but there is a time of being true to yourself and your art. There is a time to commit. There is a time to make an agreement with your own self. There is a time for self-discipline.  I hope I can stay the course.


Sibling Assignment #177: Valentine for Everett

Sister Carol gave the sibling assignment this week. It was a fitting one for Valentine's Day.

"Do a photo slideshow with music depicting love.  You must use your own photographs."  When the sibs have theirs posted, I will link them.

I hadn't done a slideshow for awhile. I had pictures on two different computers.  I started out the day frustrated, but then as I reviewed pictures and music and came up with my ideas for the slideshow, it was a good way to spend a few hours. 

On the theme of love I chose to do a valentine for my husband Everett. I worked at capturing images that show what we love: outdoors, beauty, good food and drink, companionship, and road trips. Above is Everett enjoying the view from a vacation cabin on the Clark Fork River.



Sibling Assignment #176: Winter Grace

I gave the assignment this week. "This assignment is in three parts. First, choose a poem that you feel best exemplifies snow and post it. Second, explain why you chose that particular poem. Third, find photos you have taken that connect in some way with the poem and your own writing about the poem." You can find brother Bill's post written after a blizzard in Maryland here and sister Carol's will be added when complete.

I discovered and rediscovered a large list of poems about snow this week. Often the poems dealt with animals in snow, fun things to do in snow, or simply shoveling snow. I had never read this poem before, but this is what I like about it. With simple examples, the author speaks of the beauty of snow. I love photographing snow and think bare landscapes of snow and sky are simply beautiful.  She focuses on solitude. These is a quiet calm when I carry my camera alone in snow. 

I love the stark contrast of bare branches to white snow. It is easy to capture the truth of snow. It doesn't hide. Nature is always there. In melting snow we see what lies beneath. The garbage along the stream, the muddy creek, a dead bird, animal sign. The world is sleeping.  The world is growing under the ground, inside the branches, and in burrows and caves. Winter is hibernation and I really love her last lines of the poem.as she used the words  slowed-down season, darkness, solitude, cold, and night. Snow is a blanket of winter. It is a blanket that provides rest for the soul, a place to be along, a time for darkness, and pure beauty.   I chose a series of photos I have taken that married well with her words.

Winter Grace
If you have seen the snow
under the lamppost
piled up like a white beaver hat on the picnic table
or somewhere slowly falling
into the brook
to be swallowed by water,
then you have seen beauty
and know it for its transience.

And if you have gone out in the snow
for only the pleasure
of walking barely protected
from the galaxies,
the flakes settling on your parka
like the dust from just-born stars,
the cold waking you
as if from long sleeping,
then you can understand
how, more often than not,
truth is found in silence,

how the natural world comes to you
if you go out to meet it,
its icy ditches filled with dead weeds,
its vacant birdhouses, and dens
full of the sleeping.

But this is the slowed-down season
held fast by darkness
and if no one comes to keep you company
then keep watch over your own solitude.
In that stillness, you will learn
with your whole body
the significance of cold
and the night,
which is otherwise always eluding you.

Patricia Fargnoli