Thanksgiving with an Extended Family November 28, 2022 554 words

My younger brother Brian and his wife Ann hosted the annual family gathering this Thanksgiving. It was a combination of vegan and traditional dishes. The meal featured wild rice soup, cornbread pudding, roasted Brussels Sprouts and cheesy mashed potatoes. My husband made a turkey shaped bread loaf for the kids table. Yes, we had 5 children under 8.
I recall past Thanksgiving meals where the Heatley side of the family gathered the day before at Grandma and Grandpa’s home. The table was so long that it extended from the dining area into the living room beyond. Each family sat together rather than having a children’s table. I recall many cousins around the table.
On Thanksgiving day, we gathered either at Grandpa and Grandma Turnbull’s home or in later years at our home for the meal. The main meal was served at halftime and the dessert and coffee was delayed until the end of the game. The game was the Detroit Lions vs the Chicago Bears. Each Thanksgiving, I would set the table while Great Aunt Pearl, and Grandma would prepare the meal. My Mother and Aunt Marian stayed out of their way in the small kitchen. My Mom would wash cooking dishes as they were used then discarded.
As a child, I thought that the meal took forever to place on the table. My stomach growled as I waited for the extended Thanksgiving prayer to conclude. I went for the olives first. It didn’t matter if they were black or green. Next I scooped up a large helping of turkey stuffing.
One year, Aunt Pearl brought a goose for my mother to prepare. It had been in her freezer for a long time. Neither she nor my mother had a clue how goose should be prepared. It turned out to be very greasy and chewy. That year, we ate vegetarian.
This year, the meal was cooked by seven different cooks. Clay Drake and his brother Tray provided the turkey.
Twelve adults and five children shared the feast.
I noticed that the family all talked at once, making it difficult to follow and listen to each speaker. I gave up and smiled while petting one of Ann’s dogs. Several voices were distinctive to be understood over the others. I did my best to remain alert , but I must have dosed a bit.
The salad and then the courses were brought to each person at the table. This may have been due to the tightness of the seating.
Feeling for the silverware, glasses and dishes, I orientated what was in my area. I made it successfully through the salad, soup and main courses. We had dessert after a short break to clean up the dishes.
I returned to the family room near the fire.
“Aunt Carol, you are the oldest family of the family” quipped my niece .
“How did that Happen?” I mused
My childhood memories tumbled down with a reality check. I was the oldest family member there and the oldest woman in the family.
“Where was brother Bob when I needed him?”

Next year, I will be sure to have one of my older brothers on hand. mean while I will enjoy the blending of the generations, hugging each of my family members. I am blessed. Happy Holidays.
carolaspot@aol.com copyright November 29, 2022

Deer hunting Season, week two, November 21, 2022 548 words

Our weather is perfect for the hunters this year. There is six to eight inches of snow on the ground with more expected. The snow makes it easier to track a wounded deer. Michigan’s Dept. of Natural Resources has reported 150,000 deer have been harvested state wide.
I wish to thank my brothers for comments relating to other hunting stories. I am grateful for their memories.
Bob reported he recalled Grandpa Turnbull had the deer hides tanned for future use. Bob and Craig remembered receiving deer hide gloves ,that were sewn for each boy. I never received gloves, but my mother sewed a purse for me from the last of the hides.
The hides were a soft brown and felt similar to a chamois cloth. I loved to rub my hand over the skin, imagining the beautiful animal it was from.
Both brothers related the last fishing trip Grandpa Heatley and my Dad took. Grandpa was more of a fisherman. He wanted to go fishing later in his life. He and my Dad traveled to the Upper Peninsula to fish. The trip took many hours. By the time they arrived, Grandpa was too stiff and sore to get into the boat. They came home without getting the last chance to fish.
Craig told the story of Dad’s last hunting trip. John’s family owned a farm of 110 acres. He wanted to hunt one more time like his father and father in law. Craig took him to the farm and situated him near a harvested corn field , in a sheltered blind to hunt. Dad was across the road in another field.
Craig saw a deer and fired, he thought he wounded him. When he tracked the deer, the deer was gone. There was some fur but no blood.
Hearing a shot from across the street, Craig saw his excited dad hurrying towards him.
“I got one! Come quick!”
When Craig examined the deer, there was a crease from a bullet on his right shoulder.
The deer had been shot by both father and son. Dad got the bragging rights and Craig got most of the meat.
Grandpa Heatley had a deer head in his barber shop on display. I don’t know if one of the Grandpa’s shot it. But it was on display for many years. I remember touching the glass eyes and wondering if they were real. The deer seemed sad to end up as a fixture in a barber shop. I never heard a story about the mounted head.
Hunting season will end after Thanksgiving. The deer and I will both rejoice.


Girls hunting trip

Every year, my dad and brothers went deer hunting.
My mother would take me to Detroit to the large Hudson’s department store.
Driving to five points, we then caught the bus to downtown.
The store had sixteen floors, in different themes.
My favorite floor was one that was devoted to children shopping for their family members.
No parents were allowed. all the gifts were priced under five dollars.
I would browse, looking for the perfect gift for my mom.
No cheap dime store perfume for her.
After shopping, we rode the elevator to the restaurant .
I always ordered clam chowder.
It was a whole day event

Carolfarn@aol.com
Copyright Nov. 21st ,2022

Winter with a Vengeance November 14, 2022 342 words

Winter with a Vengeance November 14, 2022 342 words

This week we awoke to rain/ snow showers, winds up to 24 miles per hour and clouds. This is in sharp contrast to the mild sunny 70’s from the week before.

My husband must feel the change. He found the water heater for the bird’s water. This keeps the water from freezing in the coldest temperatures. Yesterday, John came home with a large bag of sunflower seeds.

His reasoning was,” they were on sale.”

He is worried for the wild life.

To add to the concerns, deer hunting starts tomorrow.

The deer will be on the run and unpredictable. I think that it is unfair to hunt animals that have mating on their minds.

The turkeys haven’t been seen for several weeks. I hope they survived their hunting season in October.

Though I have never hunted, I come from a family that hunted. My dad and older brothers would go out to the Upper Peninslula of Michigan to stay at Warners cabins. One of my favorite stories Dad told was the last time he and Grandpa went hunting together.

Grandpa had suffered two heart attacks. He still wanted to go deer hunting one more time. Dad drove him up to a place they had hunted for years.

Dad drove Grandpa as close to the shelter in the woods so there was little walking from the road. In the shelter, dad supplied a blanket, folding chair and a holder to prop the rifle pointing at the deer path. Supplied with a thermos of hot coffee, grandpa assured his son he had all he needed.

“If you need me, shoot your rifle three times and I’ll come to find you.”

“Bruce, I will be fine. Give me a couple of hours to hunt.”

So dad walked the trails in a circle, never out of hearing rifle shots. When he returned to check his dad, he was surprised to find grandpa finishing the last of his coffee and a 6 point buck dressed and hanging in a near by tree.

“Dad, how did you shoot and dress the deer?”

He knew that the deer was too heavy for grandpa to hoist into the tree for dressing. He had not heard the three shot signal to indicate that grandpa needed his son.

“Well Bruce, I was looking out the rifle hole when the buck ran down the deer run.”

“I lifted my rifle automatically and took aim, got him in the heart.”

Later another hunter who was tracking the same deer appeared and was surprised to find Grandpa and the dead deer.

They struck a deal, The hunter would dress and hang the deer to bleed out. Grandpa would put his tag on the deer and allow the other hunter to claim it. My grandpa wanted to show his son that he could still hunt and bring down the venison.

That was the last time they hunted together. Grandpa died the next February. I don’t recall other hunting stories. This was special because father and son shared a time together.

***

The Scare

I look out on a moonless night to hear the wind rattle the last of the hanging leaves.

The unseen voices of living things lost in the night remember better days.

Pausing at the edge of the porch to discern movements on the hill.

Goblin, spirit or evening mist to emerge?

Instead a deer with one antler weary from fall mating searches for a sheltered bed for the night.

I close my door to seek protection from the callous unconcern of the world.

From my book “Leaf Memories”

Carol Farnsworth

The Day before the elections November 7th 2022 391 words

As of last Thursday evening, 57% of eligible voters had cast their votes in this mid term election.
This is the highest pre voting numbers since 1999. With a week to go, we can to hear more of candidates spending their last dollars to bombard us with get out to vote masked with last minute appeals for our vote.
Opinions are far apart and vocal. I hear little in the way to compromise to come to a consensus.
In my brothers blog, Mayor Turnbull of Northville stated,”My Grandpa Turnbull was a Baptist, Republican and a Mason. My Grandpa Heatley was Catholic, Democrat and a member of the Knights of Columbus. Though they had different political views, they were the best of friends. They were able to listen to each other and accept another’s opinion. Asking questions, they were able to find compromise and common ground.
During the news and social media, I have heard little in the ways to work together to build a better community.
After tomorrow, we will count the votes to announce the winners and the losers. If we can’t find a way to listen and understand another’s point of view, we will all be losers.
I look for the quiet voice of reason and not rhetoric. If this succeeds, we will all be winners.

***

Twas the Night before voting and in all the booths, not a voter was present, there will be no goofs
The signature cards were placed with care, In hopes that votes will soon be there
When outside the poll there arose such a noise, I leapt to my feet to see what made the clatter
When what should my eyes see
Three different crews from the local tv.
Turning my head to go inside, a microphone was thrusted into my side
A little man with beady eyes,
questioned me to my surprise
How will you vote? who are you for?
Taking his shoulders, I led him to the door
Banging and hollering he kicked the door
He uttered a curse, then I heard no more.
He went quickly to work
He scattered pamphlets of candidates and turned
with a jerk
giving the the finger, he turned to go
Outside in the falling snow
I heard him yell into the night
No one wins without a fight.
Carolfarn@aol.com Copyright 2/7/22


Devil’s night in Detroit October 31st, 2022 477 words

Most people are familiar with traditions of All Hallows Eve or Halloween. In my hometown the scariest night was October 30th or Devil’s Night. It was a night for pranks. It was popular in the 1930s and 1940s. Older youth would soap window or decorate trees with rolls of toilet paper. Occasionally, a hole from a bb gun would be found in a front window. Younger children would stay indoors.
In large cities such as Baltimore ,New Orleans and Philadelphia, pranksters turned to arson. The most notable urban area to see this change was Detroit. Racial riots, a shrinking population and factories closures led to burning of abandoned buildings and homes.
My husband’s family lived in the inner city of Detroit. The flight of white neighbors to the surrounding areas and the increase of rental properties led to the decline of neighborhoods.
As more people left, fewer police and firemen had to cope with set fires. In 1983, more than 800 acts of arson were reported on Devil’s night.
Fires spread to adjoining structures with the loss of property and lives. Detroit was burning and the city leaders were at a loss how to stop the destruction.
In 1986, a city wide curfew for youth under age 18 was in effect after 10 p.m. It continued through Halloween. Groups of neighbors patrolled their streets and reported any suspicious activity. These groups were named angels of the night.
The curfews and angel patrols continued until 2017. As a result of the angels and police, the number of arson incidents dwindled each year. Detroit paid a high cost. Many neighborhoods were abandoned with one to two homes on a square block. Traffic lights blinked with no traffic. Homes were cleared and remaining owners planted crops where city playgrounds once stood.
The Homes in Detroit are becoming a place to bring new young couples into neighborhoods. But the city infrastructure and schools are lagging behind.
My nephew bought one of the older historical homes in Detroit. He lives with two Great Danes and lives behind an 10 foot wooden fence.
More needs to be done to rebuild the community.


Detroit

Located on the Detroit River, across from Canada.
Early settlers traveled the waters of Lake Huron to smaller lakes.
The French traders gave way to the English then Americans.
Except for the native Indians, all called this land their new home.
Many ethnic groups migrated to this city for the factory jobs and the hope for a better life.
Settling in neighborhoods, they stayed , like bees in their hive.
Racial violence fueled by unemployment compelled a generation to move.
Some tried to stay and help rebuild the city.
Many more wanted to destroy the Motor City.
Arson is quick, but rebuilding the trust of a people will take generations.
Don’t forget the Motor City.
carolfarn@aol.com copyright 10/31/2022

Birthday Celebrations October 24, 2022 474 words

This week, I celebrate my 68th birthday. Thats is a lot of cake and ice cream! Recently, we have had several first birthday parties. The consensus of the family members is to place a small cake in front of the birthday child and record him or her attacking the cake. My youngest niece Evie, eagerly ate her cake with gusto. When the remains were cleared, she had cake and frosting in her hair and on her face, shirt and both of her hands.
I started to research birthday celebrations. Historically, the Pharaohs of Egypt, proclaimed a feast on the day of the birth of a new Pharaoh over two thousand years ago.
Early Christians celebrated the Feast Day of the saint that had the name sake rather than their birth day. They were given another name at Baptism and picked another saint’s name at Confirmation, when the young person is accepted as an adult into the community.
Some Christian churches have a new member be born again with a public profession of faith in front of the community.
In Japan the seventh, fifth and third birthday are called Schichi-Go-San it is marked by going to visit the Buddhist Temple and distributing sweets to the children. The former empress Michiko’s birthday on October 20th has art exhibits and public festivities. She will turn 88 this year.
In Argentina, birthday party menus include cake, small sandwiches similar to tea sandwiches and filled pastries from the bakery.
In Brazil, tradition calls for guests to sing birthday songs while clapping. Brigadeiro is a chocolate cake, covered with chocolate frosting , served to celebrate the day
In Mexico, Quinceanera, is a traditional celebration on a girl’s 15th birthday. She is welcomed into womanhood with a party and a table of young men and women. Gifts are given to each guest.
In Nigeria, it is common for a whole cow or goat to be roasted. This is served with Jollof rice, a dish of tomatoes, peppers and onions. Nigerians prefer to give small gifts through out the year rather than on special occasions.
In China, friends and family gather to celebrate with each other to promote good luck in the coming year. The year of the dragon, is considered to be the luckiest of the Chinese new year. The next year of the Dragon is in 2024.
Whether you have a lavish party or an intimate family gathering, birthday celebrations are here to stay.


Birthday an acrostic poem
Balloons hang from the kitchen fixture.
I imagine what are hidden in wrappings.
Red and white streamers hang from the corners.
This is the day I have waited for!
Hurrah, Mom brings in the cake.
Dollops of frosting decorate the doll cake.
A cry of lament escapes my lips.
Yuck! The cake slides to the floor!

Carolfarn@aol.com October 24, 2022

Moonstruck October 17,2022 400 words

This past week, we had a large full moon. The Native Americans called it the harvest moon. As the days shorten and the frost appeared in the morning, nature warned the people to harvest their crops for the cold weather ahead.
As I gazed out at the bright backyard, I thought about how many ways we use the word moon in our daily lives. The light in the night could have caused moon blindness for some nocturnal animals. The deer were active for several evenings. I saw the activity on our motion cameras posted at the water dish.
The gem, moonstone, is a popular addition to jewelry, they come in a variety of soft colors varying from cream, gray, yellow, orange to light red. The moonstone symbolize change .The stone can change to a green color if stimulated by light. Moonstones are said to protect travelers and bring luck in matters of the heart.
In the Hopi language, moon means overflowing spring. In Afghanistan, the full moon has an orange cast. The full moon name is translated as,”God is with you.” There are many names moon seen in different cycles. For example, the next full moon on November 8th is called the shelter moon to start the time of the year when the native people’s sheltered most of the time.
Mooning is a reference to a person’s idling . To moon over another is to be attracted towards that person. A less attractive use of the word moon is to bare one’s buttocks to insult another. The word mooney can mean dreamy, restless or or silly. The moon is said to influence feelings and thoughts as the moon’s pull affects the ocean’s tides.
As the song from the Movie, Moonstruck explains,”When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore.” So enjoy the large moon on a clear evening. Allow it encouraging your imagination to soar.


Moon Over Michigan

The bright orb reflects on the rippling waters.
Large pines cast shadows the dance in the wind. Water laps onto the beaches with a slow rhythm.
The pull of the full moon causes the animals to frolic in the night.
Man ponders the full moon while nature embraces the experience of night glow.
carolfarn@aol.com
October 17th, 2022

Art and visually challenged artists 478 words

Two months ago, I was invited to share my process and insights on producing craft art for the APH Insight Art Contest. I have participated with the show for the last 5 years. My friend and fellow artist recommended me to APH after she turned them down due to a full schedule.
Carol, you are so engaging,” Lynda continued, they will love you.”
So last Wednesday, I called in on zoom to talk about my art and encouraging children who are visually challenged to try art. I had no photos, notes or examples of my art. I did have stories and shared interactions with fellow artists for the past five years.
How does a blind speaker know if he or she is connecting with their audience? I listen for audience response. The number of questions asked tells me if the audience is engaged and enjoying themselves.
The best laugh was in answer to a mother who had a blind daughter who doesn’t want to try art.
Thinking we were talking about a child, I started to talk about finding materials for the child to explore.
“O no,” she responded,
“She is eighteen!”
I replied,”Well, my daughter just turned thirty. She is just starting to listen to me.”
I added,” Wait a couple of years and you will be amazed how smart your teenagers will think you have become.”
I spoke about increasing opportunities to learn the artist craft and display artwork. I told the story about researchers study of the the lack of art majors. They found that if kindergarteners are asked if they can draw an object, most will answer yes and demonstrate their skill.
In the middle elementary school years, less than half of the children will respond that they can draw.
By the time the students are in high school, only one or two will indicate that they can draw. If this is true of students with no disability, how much more must we encourage, promote and support artists with a disabilities?
I my own experience, six years ago, I attended an art contest locally called ,”Art Prize.” The art was displayed all over the city in many venues. When I asked to feel a piece, the answer was, “
no.” I had to explain that I was an artist and that is the way I see the art.
This last year, there were signs that encouraged people to touch a piece of sculpture or 3 D art. The art world is slowly changing to include more than vision to enjoy art. Art is for all.

***


Don’t touch!
Stand back!
Stay behind the barrier.
“Monet would never tolerate this!” I mumbled at his exhibit of his work.
He painted at different proximities to his work.
Far away to see the whole picture.
Close to paint what he saw.
Blurred waterlilies.
carolaspot@aol.com 10, 10, 2022.

A walk in the past October 3, 2022 600 Words

This weekend, I talked with my sister-in-law Karen, about her trip to Scotland. She reminded me of many places that I had seen in Scotland. One of the most interesting memories was visiting an old Scottish chapel high on the North Sea coast surrounded by fields. This chapel was so old that it only had part of the roof and two walls to keep it together. There was a beautiful window that did look out on the sea. What I remember the most was the old cemetery. To walk into the cemetery one had to go through a cattle gate or a gate that had two turns in it to keep the sheep out. Once in the cemetery one could wander through 12 inch tall grass to see the old monuments. Most of them were very simple. One in particular caught my eye. It was newer than the rest and could be read easily as it was not as worn as others.
This one was inscribed “in memory of our daughter gone but not forgotten ,she traveled to America and has not been heard of since”. The idea of never seeing a child again after she left her homeland was sad but inspired me to think of all of the people who left their lands to come to America. How many of us have tales of immigrants in our families? In my own family, I have tales of relatives and ancestors coming from Scotland to Canada and England to America. My husband’s family has tales of his grandparents both coming from Poland to this country for new opportunities.
These tales are woven into our family history. As I think of what is happening now in our world I am reminded that these people are also looking for a better life, what do we do now in our world, to make life better for ourselves and for each other? Those immigrants built communities to help each other, what are we doing to help people who are new to our community. We may think there are more differences now than in the past. In reality we are all humans and all have similar needs and wants. Do we look for what is similar or do we emphasize the differences in each other. I am glad that my grandparents were able to make the leap from the old world to the new. Can we make the leap from our old ideas of family and community to encompass more of the world. I find I have an easier time ignoring some of these physical differences because of visual impairment. But we all have our prejudices and instead of emphasizing differences, I would suggest that we look for similarities in those that we meet. How do we greet new people in our community? Do we ignore them, do we assist them in finding things or do we angrily turn against them? Building community can be messy, but building walls can be more harmful.

******

When I was in high school, my choir sang a song,”No Man is an Island,” by John Dunn. It was a part of a meditation series. Other writers have used the metaphor of human interactions building bridges to each others. Below are the words that I remember:
“No man is an island. No man stands alone.
Each man’s are dreams for me.
Each man’s life is my own.
We need one another, so I will defend,
Each man as my brother,
Each man as my friend.”


John Dunn, 1955


October 3, 2022
Carol Farnsworth
carolfarn@aol.com

Johnny Appleseed Day September 26, 2022 243 words


John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed was a pioneer from Pennsylvania. His goal was as he moved west from Pennsylvania to Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Ontario was to plant apple seeds along the path that people were taking west. He said “this is so that people will have something to eat along their travels westward”. Many people have heard of Johnny Apple seed but most think he is a story rather than a real person.
John Chapman was born in 1774 and traveled first with his family and then by himself through several states dying in 1849. The Midwest can thank Mr. Clemens for the number and variety of apples that you will find in this area. Also apples from the original plantings have been found as far south as Northern West Virginia.
As a young girl, my Girl Scout troop would sing a song about Johnny Appleseed. And it went like this:
All the Lord is good to me
and so I thank the Lord
For giving me the things I need
The sun and the rain and the Apple seed
The Lord is good to me.
Traditional song about Johnny Appleseed author unknown
So today when you reach for that delicious fresh apple think of the pioneer who thought of his people to come behind him and he tried to put in plants that they could enjoy and eat.


carolfarn@aol.com 9/26/22