Ireland, My First Impressions

I love to travel! I’ve had several countries on my bucket list and I’ve been able to visit some, but not all! I wish I could say Ireland was on my bucket list but it wasn’t! So when our daughter, Christy, and her husband, Sean, and their two younger children, Mason and Maddie, moved to Ireland for Sean’s job, I quickly added Ireland to my list!  Our daughter, Pamela, and son-in-law, Gene, decided to go and invited us to go with them. They didn’t have to ask me twice! We flew by Aer Lingus. It’s a very modern airline and I loved it! They served us a very delicious dinner and of course, beverages and snacks. Our flight was long, about eight hours, but very smooth!Ireland Air Line (2) Traffic is, of course, very different. Driving on the opposite side is the norm. The traffic moves smoothly with few stop signs or lights because they have roundabouts! There are some traffic lights, of course. In the city of Dublin, there are more traffic lights, but not as many as we have in the US. There are few stop signs! It’s no problem! Roundabouts take care of the traffic! We have one roundabout here in my town and no one likes it! Folks get confused with it and complain about it all the time! But the many roundabouts in Ireland were very fascinating to me!

Ireland Parking Notice the parked cars are facing each other! That’s perfectly fine!

Signs were another very fascinating subject to me! Folks respected and obeyed the warning signs! Ireland warning sign (2) The end of this street ended in the Irish Sea! This sign warned drivers not to go any closer and they didn’t! Ireland sign (2) This man made right into the cement sidewalk showed which way to walk! It’s so simple! Ireland Pam and guard rail (2) Pam is standing beside the guard rail at this harbor! No one was falling in! This was warning enough! Ireland sign bends  I smiled at this sign. We would have written Dangerous Curves Ahead! But this works! DANGEROUS BENDS AHEAD.

We took the train to Dublin to do some sightseeing. I love riding the train, but oh my…I’ve never been on such a modern train before!   It was wonderful! It ran so smoothly and so quietly, it was incredible! 

Ireland Modern train (2) Ireland train                We sat and visited like we were in our living room! That’s how quiet the train was! We visited without raising our voices the least bit and we could hear just fine!

We took a tourist bus on a sightseeing tour of the city. This isn’t the actual bus we rode on but I wasn’t quick enough to get a good picture of our bus! So this one will do! We went all over the city! The driver explained everything to us! We had a woman driver and when we were in an area of not too much for her to explain about, she sang Irish songs for us over the speaker! She had a real Irish brogue!         Ireland tour bus (2) Ireland open air bus (2)              We sat upstairs on the bus, right in the front seats where we could see well! Pam, Christy, and Gene sat back where there was no roof over them! You can see them in the picture here. They could probably see even better but we wanted the protection from the sun or rain or wind or whatever! It was a ride worth taking.

Ireland is a country that cherishes and protects its history. I love it! Notice the building here behind the tree! It’s been there for hundreds of years! It’s only what’s left of the building but its hundreds of years old! Ireland Old Building (2) Ireland preserves its history! I love it! Another interesting feature here is the wall around the property. Everyone has a wall around their property! This one, above, is of bushes and vines and is hundreds of years old! Ireland Pam & Jerry by wall (2) Jerry and Pam are beside a wall covered with stucco.

Ireland stone wall (2) Jerry is standing beside a stone wall. This next one is an ancient stone wall with vines overgrowing! It’s hundreds of years old!Ireland, very old wall (2)

Most walls are stone, some are cement! The height varies from a few feet high to several feet high. Some are hundreds of years old and some are new. It was very interesting to me! In Canada, almost everyone has a fence. In the USA some folks have a fence and some don’t. In Ireland, everyone has a surrounding wall!

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This is Christy’s house with a brick wall across the front and a high wall covered with stucco along the side yard! The house is very nice and fairly new. Downstairs it has a living room, completely separate from the rest of the rooms! There is a family room, office, laundry room, kitchen, dining/sun room, and a half bathroom. Upstairs there are four bedrooms and three bathrooms!                                             Then there is the third floor! It’s all open but with the spiral stairway going up in the middle so it’s like there are two rooms. There are two skylights, one in each room.

Ireland spiral stair (2)

Mason

 We visited places that go clear back to the 11th century! Unbelievable! I’ll show a few examples here.  Trim Castle! The building of this castle was begun in the 1100’s! It was added on to in the 15th century and again in the 17th century! The folks standing here aren’t quite that old, but getting close! It’s Jerry and me, in case you don’t recognize us! Castle with Jerry and Anita Ireland Cemetary Dublin 3 (2)

Cemeteries are so old and some date back to the 1300’s or older! This picture is of one in Dublin. It’s unreal! I have more cemetery pictures I’ll show in a later post.

It was chilly that day but you can see the sky was blue with white clouds! We had beautiful weather the whole time we were there! It rained one day! We were so thankful because it was quite unusual! I’m going to stop now and write more another day! It’s actually taken me several days to write this!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Scottish/Irish Roots

My dad’s side of my family came from Ireland and Scotland, so I have roots there!  This is a picture of my great-grandparents, William and Jane (Ramsey) Williamson, and their son, Andrew Stuart Williamson. William & Jennie Williamson (2) Actually, this picture was taken after they came to America. Andrew was born in Seaford, Delaware. He, eventually, became my grandfather! But going back further we can find out a little more about William and Jane in Ireland.

William’s family lived in Scotland where he was born in 1817. The family moved to Ireland while William was still a boy. They settled in or near Belfast. William became a baker.

Jane Ramsey was born in 1827 in or near Belfast. William and Jane met and were married in 1850. They had a baby girl, Mabel. I have no dates for Mabel, but she lived only a short time and was buried in a cemetery somewhere around Belfast.

The ‘great potato famine’ hit Ireland and hundreds of families left to make new lives in America. Heartbroken, William and Jane left Mabel in her grave and in 1864 boarded a ship for America. They lived first in Seaford, Delaware, where Jane gave birth to their second baby, Andrew Stewart, on September 22, 1865. When Andrew was a year old they made their way west to Iowa, where other family members had settled. William and Jane had two more children, William and Jenny.

William and Jane had moved from Iowa to Nebraska. Jane died and was buried in Bayard, Nebraska. Jane Ramsey Williamson (2)

William returned to Iowa and died in 1902. Grave of William Williamson (2)

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Andrew grew up and married Rose Williams. They had seven children. Six children are pictured here with Rose and Andrew. Bessie, Floyd, Eva, Claude, Rose, Roy, Andrew, and Louis.

Scan_Pic0032Scan_Pic0108                                                    One more son joined the family on December 22, 1909.                                                         The youngest, Glen Edgar, shown here, became my father! So there, you now have a short version of my Scottish/Irish roots!

 

Ring…Ring…Hello?

Telephone. A luxury I’ve had for most of my life. Telephones have come a long way! Let me begin by retelling my dad’s exciting telephone experience.

Dad was born in 1909. His family had their first telephone. They were on a party line, of course. The number of rings had to be counted to know when an incoming call was for them! I don’t know how many rings meant a call for them.

Eight long rings meant important news was being broadcast across the party line!               In 1918 good news came across the wires telling families World War I had ended!

July 5, 1919, there came eight lon-n-ng rings again! This time to tell everyone to look in the sky, south. There my dad and others in the family had their first sighting of an airplane, just a tiny speck, moving steadily along!

Dad’s sister, Bessie, was seventeen years older than Dad! She went to school through eighth grade, then she got a job as a telephone operator until her marriage to her young boyfriend, Earnie!  619px-texasrichardson_telephoneexchangeoperator-2 This isn’t a picture of Aunt Bessie but I imagine she looked something like this on the job!

An early telephone.antique-telephone-1-2

The first telephone below was in the farmhouse where my mother grew up in northern Iowa! It is now in my brother’s kitchen. The board on the box at the bottom has been replaced, as you can see. But my mother remembered the phone well from when she was just a girl. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   momonoldtelephone3-16-08   This is Mother, in her old age, pretending like she listening to someone on the phone of her youth!antique-telephone-in-georgia-2  This phone is in the history building in Winder, Georgia! I was given permission to post it here.

When I was a little girl, we had a phone most of the time. When Dad was a pastor, he needed a phone. Many emergency calls came to him. Black phone (2)  Some years he traveled and my parents couldn’t afford a telephone!

Jerry and I were married in 1959. We had a phone like the one in this latest picture. It started out being a party line with eight people on our line. It was very soon cut down to four people…then later, two people. We were very conservative. Long distance calls were made very seldom. Of course, when we had a new baby, calls were made to spread the news!  I’ll never forget the day Jerry told me, in the early 70’s, that I should start calling my parents once a month and have a nice visit with them! So I did! Black phone (2)  In the eighties, we finally got a private line! It was wonderful! Calling became normal and usual. With five children, how could it not!

I was hired by the school system to call the substitute teachers for the secondary schools in our city. A new private phone was installed in my kitchen! Blue telephone  It was very similar to this one! Yes, I picked out a blue one to go with my kitchen! The big difference of this picture is that my new school phone had push button numbers instead of a dial! I loved it. But, it was for school calls and paid for by the school system so our family still used the old black phone, most of the time. There were exceptions!

When we built our new log home twenty years ago in 1997 we bought a new phone with an answering machine! Oh yes! I wish I had a picture of it! We didn’t have to miss any messages! We also bought an old looking phone and hung on the wall in the kitchen. It worked but, of course, not anymore. new-old-phone-2  Now it just looks old-fashioned!

All this to bring us to today! Of course, businesses still have telephones and a few people still have a land line with a phone connected.

We don’t. We have our cell phones. But even so we’re not up-to-date! Jerry still has his flip-phone! jerry-on-phone-2 He says it works fine. I have my iphone. img_0052-4  What a difference in telephones today! I have instant access with anyone anywhere! I can text or message or talk at any hour of the day or night. My daughter, in Ireland, and I message or talk to each other whenever we want to! It sounds like she’s next door! I have friends all over the world and it’s wonderful to be in contact with them! My phone gives me the weather anywhere in the world, instantly! International and national news comes over my iphone! Pictures? My phone has a camera and I can even edit my pictures before I post them! I carry my phone with me all the time. I charge it at night while I’m sleeping.

This morning one of my sons called so we facetimed! That means we are both on a camera so we could see each other as we talked! Wonderful!

But back in about the seventies, a prediction was made that in the future we’d be able to talk on our phones–live! Oh, no, I thought! What if my house was messy! What if I looked bad, like I wasn’t dressed up! My hair might be a mess! I thought it was a bad idea! But the prediction came true and I love it! I love facetiming with my grandchildren and my children and even friends!

Yes, the telephone has come a long way from when it was first invented! But we still answer with “Hello?”

 

 

 

 

Jerry and His Toys

Jerry, like all men, has had his toys! I’ll start here in the very early 50’s! He was a teenager and didn’t like mowing the grass any better than the other boys. So he got to work and made himself a riding lawn mower! No one had riding mowers back then! jerry-mowing-lawn-rider-late-40s-2When we were young, if you wanted something, you either made it or you saved your money and bought it with cash!                                                                                                                  A few years later, at the lake, he saw folks waterskiing! He could do that…he knew he could, if he just had a boat! So…he worked and saved his money

jerry-boat-1955-2 Here is Jerry with his boat he saved for! He became a very good skier and had a great time with his friends! Years later, he taught all five of our children and even some of their friends to waterski!boat-jerry-1980-2 This is at Wixom Lake, north of Midland.  In about the middle 70’s he bought this nice boat so our children could learn to waterski. Jerry is standing in the boat, Tim is sitting, and Robby is in the water, wanting to climb into the boat! I can’t, for the life of me, think who the girl is! We spent many fun hours at Wixom Lake, Higgons Lake, Lake Margarite, and a few others! All five of our children became very good water skiers!    Just…not me!

One day, in the early 2000’s, our son, Ted, called Jerry on the phone. He had the chance to buy a ’69 MG B, but with his young family, he just couldn’t buy it! The price was right! Would Dad like to buy it? It’s the first and only time Jerry ever bought anything without looking it over and driving it, first! Yes, he bought the MG sight unseen! IMG_2008_07_04_9533 - ASF

He loved his little MG! He still has it but he doesn’t drive it anymore.

Jerry bought this Wheel Horse tractor about 35 years ago! He still uses it today but only for plowing, mainly snow or sometimes dirt. He used to mow our grass with it but now it’s too much work to take the plow off and put the mower on, then later, take the mower off and put the plow back on. It’s a big job.  I bought a trailer for the Wheel Horse one year and gave it to Jerry for Christmas. I hid it in the neighbor’s garage and Jerry had to find it! He still has the trailer, too. This is what he plows the snow with in winter. Although now, our good neighbor plows our snow with his truck and all he wants for pay, is a pie from me!

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So he bought his new John Deere for mowing!

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Jerry on his new John Deere

Jerry loves his John Deere tractor!

Life keeps moving on! The years have taken their toll! He can’t play or work like he used to! But mowing with his John Deere is something he can do and he does.

Life has been good! Jerry has accomplished a lot in his lifetime. He loves God first, then me, and then our five children.

 

 

 

New, Old Flower Bed

I love flowers. But, living in the woods isn’t a good place for growing flowers. I’ve tried and tried and have had only a little success.

I also love antiques. We have lots. The ones that mean the most are ones that have been in my family from years and years ago.

One of our antiques is an old double bed frame. It’s been in the family for years and years! In fact, Jerry slept in it in his growing up years.Now, what does a person do with an old iron bed frame? It’s been hanging in our pole barn for years.

Somewhere, in our travels, we saw a ‘flower bed’ or ‘bed of flowers’ in a yard! It was an old iron bed frame with flowers blooming inside!

So that’s where the idea came to us. Last fall Jerry and I worked hard making a flower bed inside the frame of our old iron bed frame! IMG_1495  It used to be black, we painted it brown.

It’s still not what I want it to be yet, but we have had flowers blooming in it this summer! Flowerbed 2 (2)  Flowerbed 1 (3) In the right-hand corner, I have a lonely, little, red Petunia.  Actually, I planted Petunias all along there but most of them didn’t make it.  IMG_2208 (2)  This is a close-up of an Oriental Lily.

I’ll have Dahlia’s blooming early this fall. So there you have it!

 

A Drink of Water

 

I answered a knock on our door. A stranger stood there, a young woman, dressed as a person trying to find her way in life, looking tired, disheveled, and frustrated. “Hi,” I said with a question mark. She had dyed her hair a couple of different shades of red or pink or both. It was tied in  sort of a ponytail but it really wasn’t long enough! I don’t know how to describe her pants. They were black, tight, mainly with holes! Her black shirt was long and rather tight.

She began talking fast. “My phone is dead. I’m trying to find my boyfriend’s house. Can I charge my phone?”

Before I even answered I thought of the electrical outlet on our porch! “Sure you can, we have an outlet right over here.” I quickly moved the old antique buggy parked, covering the outlet. “Plug it in right here.”

She explained her boyfriend lived on this same road but she didn’t know where. She needed his house number. “What’s your house number?” She was very nervous. “Could I have a drink of water?” she blurted out.

“Sure,” I answered. “Do you want ice in it?” She nodded. I went in to get her a paper cup of ice water. But when I got to the kitchen I reached for a glass and filled it with ice cubes and water. A Drink of Water close up

She gladly accepted it. I suggested she sit on our swing. She seemed to relax a little bit. I didn’t see a car so I asked how she got here. “On my bike!” she replied.  Sure enough, there sat a bike in our driveway.

I asked if she’d like to call her boyfriend on my phone. She finally reached him and he gave her his house number. It was about a half mile east of our house. As she walked to her bike she thanked me for helping her out and then said, “My boyfriend is the father of the  unborn baby I’m carrying!”

I watched as she rode her bike down our long driveway to the road. I had so many questions. How far had she ridden her bike? How far along was her pregnancy? Did she ride out here from town, a distance of about five miles? Or did she also live in the country? How did she pick our house to ask for help? Did her boyfriend already know about the baby or was she meeting him to tell him?

Jerry and I had a lot to think about and talk about that evening. We had so many unanswered questions. We were so glad I was able to help her out in even just a small way.

Then we began to get some negative thoughts. What if we were being staked out for them to return during the night? No. This couldn’t be. She was too sweet! She just needed help. I don’t even know her name! I don’t know her boy friend’s name, even though he’s a neighbor of ours!

She is a person created by God. She was mysteriously brought to our door. She and her boyfriend and the tiny baby are being added to my prayer list. God knows their names! God loves them!

 

 

What Can We Do?

When grandchildren come to visit. What shall we do? We went to the Hall of Ideas at the Center for the Arts. It was closed! So we went to the Tridge and hiked along the river.  On the way home we stopped for ice cream.

 

But what to do today?

Our neighbor kids are still in school, so the days are long. Today I remembered my nephew, Ruhl, has an archery center. So we went there and will go back on Friday! They loved it!

They both learned quickly and did well! Ruhl had a pink bow for Maddie! Then after practicing with those, Ruhl brought out the compound bows! They did well! Mason has a good eye and hit the bull’s eye almost every time! They both have sore arms now!!! So they can heal tomorrow and Friday we’ll go back. Thanks, Ruhl, for a great afternoon!

So, now I have another option of what to do with grandchildren when they come to visit!!!