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!

100_6090 (2)

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!!!

Growing Up…White

In 1944 to 1946, I began my education in Des Moines, Iowa  at Nash Elementary and Kirkwood Elementary. The schools I attended were racially mixed. Race meant nothing to me. I played with anyone who would play with me.

I was raised in Iowa, except for three years, 1946 to 1949, when we lived in Oklahoma and Illinois. It’s interesting how impressions are made on children. Because I’m writing about the 1940’s and ’50’s I’ll use the word, Negro, rather than Black.

When we moved to Oklahoma, we lived in a town that was all white. I remember seeing a negro man walking along the railroad tracks one day. The thought that came to my mind was, he’d better keep walking because negro people can’t be in this town! If he wants to sleep overnight, he’ll have to sleep in the jail!  What a thought for a little child. What a thought to remain in my mind after all these years! Anita 1947

We moved back to Des Moines and for 8th and 9th grades I attended Washington Irving Jr. High. I have many memories of my two years there. There were many, many negro students. I don’t remember any negro teachers.

I wasn’t very athletic so gym days were tough for me. I couldn’t serve a volleyball and get it over the net… My hands stung every time I tried to hit the ball back over the net. One day a girl, who was getting very aggravated with me, yelled, “Niger”, at me! I couldn’t believe it…she was a negro! Later we became good friends.

A negro boy in my homeroom was named Matthew. I’d never heard of anyone named Matthew. I thought it was interesting his mother named him a Bible name! Today it’s a common name…I have a fine grandson named Matthew!

I had a very long way to walk to and from school. One day as I was walking alone, one of my classmates, who was also walking alone, caught up with me. We started talking as we walked. We enjoyed each other’s company and laughed a lot.

We were walking down a very busy street. All of a sudden, a car veered and nearly lost control. We jumped quickly, staring at the car. The driver caught my eye. He was staring, in disbelief, at me! Oh my goodness, we’d nearly caused an accident! Yes, my friend was a negro boy! So what! We were friends…simply that, friends. And good friends, at that! We continued walking together until we came to where he had to turn the corner but our mood had changed. We said good-bye. We were still friends but we never walked together again. I felt bad then and I still do today.

These are just a couple of memories I have of growing up white in a country of both whites and blacks. I have lots more, but these stand out in my mind.

Years later, I understood why I had such a feeling of comradeship with my black friends. My parents, though never saying so, had the feeling of equality with black people and had always encouraged me in this way. But it was more than that. My dad became Director of Interracial Evangelism, in the 1960’s, in our denomination, Free Methodist Church of North America. I was so proud of him then and still am. What a legacy my parents gave me.

 

 

 

Respect…or not

I was born in 1938 so my growing up years were in the 1940’s and ’50’s. Saying please and thank-you, dressing for the occasion,  showing respect and responsibility were the norm! Did respect end in the 1960s? It looks like it and I truly don’t understand why.
What’s happening today? What’s wrong with people? I was near the busiest intersection when an ambulance came to the corner. His lights were flashing, his siren was wailing. No cars stopped for him! He had to stop! My turn came at the light. My turning light was green but I stopped, even though drivers behind me were impatient. The ambulance driver waited until he saw that I wasn’t moving and then he went through his red light! I don’t mean to praise myself but what is going on? Is the fact that schools don’t give driver’s training anymore, at least, part of the problem? Aren’t kids learning safety and respect? It should start at home!
I wrote recently on facebook, about not getting help pulling my recycle bin out of our snow-filled ditch. I’m not young, I almost fell. What I didn’t say was that one driver stepped on the gas, and skidded past me! 
Is there no respect anymore? May I mention, again, how folks dress for church? I’ve written about it before. I grew up always dressing up to go to church. It wasn’t a showing off time. We didn’t have money to buy expensive clothes. But we dressed in clean, well-fitting clothes, and we looked nice. We weren’t showing off, we were being respectful for God’s House. Scan_Pic0105                   My family, ready for church, in the middle 50’s. Lorraine, Billy, Mother, Dad, myself, and Richard. I was about 15 in this picture.
Recently I saw a teenage girl in church with faded, very holey jeans. Later, the same day, I saw her in blue jeans with no holes. Why did she change after church? I sense rebellion here and I don’t understand it…not at all.
I guess I’m the one who is rebelling now because I still always wear a dress or skirt to church. But, I dress in respect for God’s House, not to show off.
I’m thankful my new pastor dresses nicely. He wears slacks and a nice shirt with an open collar. I would prefer a suit and tie, but he always looks neat and clean.
There’s so much more to respectfulness than just what I’ve mentioned here. Opening and holding the door; table manners; saying please and thank-you; showing respect when driving; letting a driver cut in; I could go on and on. I think you get the drift.
Being respectful is so important and I fear it’s becoming a lost art. What are your feelings here? Am I just old-fashioned?

My Bucket List Last Year…

I’ve already made out my bucket list for 2016 so I’d better go over last year’s list to see how many I completed on it.    Oh dear…

  1. Go to South Carolina to Miller’s graduation. Completed 

2.  Go to Haleigh’s graduation. Completed.

3.  Go to Haiti. Completed. 

4.  Finish my writing on My Big Brother and send it to him!

5.  Continue writing my parents story.  In process.

6.  Lose weight.  Do 10 pounds count?

7.  Attend Conference in May. Completed.

8.   Have family ‘get-together’ here in July or August. Completed.

9.  Continue writing Prime Time News newsletter bi-weekly. Completed. 

10. Create Christmas card.

11. Communicate with Andrew and Katie.

12. Sort books and give appropriate books to book receivers.

13. Clean and arrange reading room.

14. Clean wood floors and wax.

15. Ride an elephant.

16.  Go dog sledding.  Completed  Feb. 26, 2015.  Here We Go

Oh boy…not so good. I only completed nine out of sixteen. Hopefully, I’ll do better in 2016!

Surprise!!!

On Sunday, January 10, Jerry turns 80! Jerry & Anita Jan 8, '06  How can that be? Where have the years gone? Neither one of us know!

It’s been a few days of surprises for Jerry! Our Canadian son, Tim and daughter-in-law, Shauna, came as a surprise! I almost  spoiled it several times! I caught myself just in time and was able to keep the secret! On Thursday, about 3:30 PM I told Jerry I needed to go to the store to pick up a few items. Instead of going to the store, I drove to the airport to meet Tim and Shauna! When we arrived home I let them out so they could go to the front door. I drove into the garage and went in through the kitchen as normal. Jerry mentioned it took me a long time to buy a few items! Then Tim and Shauna walked up and knocked on the door! In they came! Jerry said he thought he was seeing things! He was thoroughly surprised! It was so fun! They brought a surprise gift to him from a friend, Keith. IMG_1673  IMG_1674

This morning, Saturday, we, Tim, Shauna, Jerry, and I went out for breakfast at our favorite restaurant, Lanny’s. When we walked in, there at the far end of the room sat our family! Jerry could hardly believe it! How fun it was!All Here  Here we all are! Shauna, me, Bella, Gene, Pam, Ted, Sydney, Christy, Jerry, and Tim! Jerry was so surprised! They had come from Chicago; South Carolina; and Holland, Michigan! They had stayed overnight at a motel so they could be at the restaurant before the four of us got there!

When we got back home it was interesting to see how everyone was enjoying catching up with each other! Reminscising  Bella and Pam are looking at the calendar Sydney had made and given to us for Christmas. Christy and Ted are looking at the book of photos Christy had made and given us for Christmas! Dad overwhelmed  Jerry is a bit overwhelmed with everyone here since he didn’t know they were even coming! On the sofa is Bella, Ted, Christy, Sydney, Tim is sitting in a chair talking with Sydney. Bella, Grandpa, Sydney Bella and Sydney love Papa! They were the only two grandchildren who got to be in on this birthday surprise! Then Christy decided grandchildren couldn’t take her place on Dad’s lap! Christy loving Dad  Two in-laws escaped to the kitchen to chat! Shauna and Gene  Shauna and Gene.  Finally, Pam had to escape to the sun room to get some work done. In today’s world, you can take your job with you, wherever you go! Pam still working

We missed Rob’s family from Georgia but they were here between Christmas and New Year and just couldn’t take the time from jobs and school to make a return trip so we celebrated birthdays while they were here! Haleigh turned 19 on January 8 and Jerry will be 80 on January 10.Jerry & Haleigh B-day cake

 

FAMILY! The most important and special people in the world!

Happy Birthday, Armon

Happy Birthday, Armon! Armon - wedding I can’t believe you’re 11 years old today! In this picture, you were all dressed up ready for your big brother’s wedding! It was a big day! Here’s a picture of you and me together, on that day! Grandma & Armon  I’m so glad I got to go to the wedding! I’m, most of all, glad I got to visit your whole family for a whole week!

Now today is your 11th birthday! This is the first year since you’ve been in the US, that I’m not baking and decorating a cake for you! That makes me sad! I loved how you loved my cakes! It’s also the first year I’ve not celebrated with you! But I’m with you in spirit and I know you’re having company for supper. So, with your family and your company, I’m sure you’ll have a good birthday!

Heavenly Father, thank You for Armon! He’s growing up so quickly! Please be with him, reveal Your love for him, help him to give himself to You completely. Please keep him safe and well. Help him to make good friends who’ll influence him in good positive ways. Help him with his school work. I love Armon so much, and You love him even more!