Tag: Daddy

Signs… by JoAnn

Ever had something happen to you and thought it might be a sign? Maybe a sign to choose a different path in life or a sign that danger is ahead. Personally, I have always believed in signs such as these. To me, they are our instincts sending up a red flag.

The first time I took notice of such a sign, I was 22 years old and a mother to my oldest daughter. She was about 18 months at the time. I had planned a day out for the two of us. We lived in a rural area, about an hour’s drive from the closest large city. I had planned to drive us to my favorite restaurant, where we would enjoy a nice lunch. The drive would be a treat on such a beautiful Fall day. About halfway to our destination, I had a bad feeling come over me, and I felt like I should turn around and go back home. At first, I thought it was just anxiety about driving alone in the car with my baby—something I didn’t do very often. The feeling kept haunting me, though, and it wouldn’t go away. I thought surely there was nothing wrong; it was just me and my nerves again. When we got to the restaurant, the waitress who seated us suddenly began to cough. It bothered me that she may be coming down with something, and now here I am with my baby in her presence. We ended up having a nice lunch and made it home safely. Within 24 hours, my baby girl was running a fever and coughing. She had the flu. My mind raced back to when that waitress had coughed. I realized I should have listened to my instincts and returned home that day. Avoiding the waitress, and hence avoiding my little girl being sick. From that day forward, I have always listened to my inner voice and taken notice of signs. I tried to raise each of my daughters to do the same.

I have read many stories of people receiving signs from loved ones who have passed away. Signs that their loved one is near them and saying a friendly hello, or an I love you. When my own dad passed away, for months after, I would find nickels around my home. I’d walk from one room to the next, and there on the floor, as if it fell from the sky, would be a nickel. I wrote a missive about it titled “Daddy’s Nickle” on this website if you want to read it. You see, nickels were something that my daddy would give me as a little girl. Then he would take me to his favorite little corner store and let me pick out penny candies. It was something that only he and I shared, and there was no doubt I was finding the nickels because of him. If not, it was God’s way of easing my grief.

This past week was my daddy’s Birthday, which made me miss him badly. He would have been 98. I decided to try and take my mind off of my sadness and do a little house cleaning. I ran across a box that I had been meaning to go through. It was sealed, and I had no idea what was inside. I opened it and realized it was full of old photographs. I immediately found a black and white 8×10 photo of my dad back in the 1960s. I had not laid eyes on that photo in many years. I was so happy to see my dad’s face on his Birthday! I continued with my cleaning and decided to look through a plastic tote I had been meaning to clear out. Inside was a little velvet box containing my mama and daddy’s wedding rings along with my daddy’s keys. He had left them at my house the last time he visited me. I also wrote a missive about those keys and their significance if you would care to read it. It is titled “Daddy’s Keys.” Again, a gift was given to me on my dad’s Birthday, precisely when I needed it. I was beginning to realize that perhaps my daddy was trying to provide me with comfort that day. He was trying to tell me that he was still very near me. I placed the photo & wedding rings in a safe place, with plans to frame the photo later. I hung the keys in a place where I can see them every day.

A couple of hours later, I decided to go out. When I opened my front door, there was the biggest, most beautiful black and blue butterfly I had ever seen. It was like it had been waiting for me to open the door. It fluttered before me, then was quickly gone. But I knew. I knew it was a sign from someone I love dearly and miss so much.

I’m very thankful for the blessing of signs that protect me and help heal a broken heart. I wonder if people can become so busy in their lives that they miss the signs given to them. What a shame that would be.

Happy Birthday in heaven, Daddy!

Grocery Day

                                                      Grocery Day

When I was growing up in the 70s, my family did a lot of simple things together as a family unit.  My sister and I rarely stayed home alone while our parents went out.  Wherever Mama & Daddy went, we tagged along, and we never complained.  Back then, there were no video games or cell phones to keep us entertained.  So the chance to get out of the house for a little while, was well received.

One family outing was written in stone.  Every Friday after school was grocery time.  We all piled into the car, Mama with her well thought out shopping list, and Daddy with his freshly cashed paycheck, and we headed uptown to the closest supermarket.  

Farm Fresh wasn’t the largest grocery store in town, but it was just big enough for my parents to still feel comfortable and not overwhelmed.  In 1973, we had moved from a small town in East Tennessee, to a much larger city in Virginia.  Neither of my parents felt comfortable in crowded places.  They stuck to the smaller, older stores and businesses that most reminded them of back home.  

Mama was a hard-core grocery shopper.  She knew exactly what she wanted, what brand, size, and the amount she planned to pay for it.  She already had a menu made up in her mind of what she would prepare for meals the following week.  We all knew to just let her be as she shopped, and not to bother her while she was in her zone.  Daddy had already been given his orders as to what his job would be.  Usually he would pick out all the produce.  Having been a wonderful farmer in Tennessee, he was well equipped for this job.  I don’t remember walking with my sister, so she must’ve had a chore helping Mama.  

The only thing I remember doing is wondering around the store.  Maybe picking up an item or two that I needed for school, or a sweet that I could talk my mama into buying.  Sometimes I was allowed to bring a friend with me.  At least then I had someone to talk to my own age.  We could walk through the store people watching and make fun of weird hair styles or clothes.  Typical tween stuff I guess.  At least until we became bona fide teenagers!

As teenagers, a trip to the supermarket meant a chance to check out the bag & stock boys.  We would dress in what we thought were our cutest, most flattering outfits and prance around in hopes of getting a look our way.  Yes, we were very silly.  But we didn’t know that at the time.  We were too silly with our boy craziness to realize these young men, who were much older than us, had a job to do.  A job that I am sure they wanted to keep.  We just knew that one Friday, one of those cute boys would come up and talk to us.  Maybe even ask us for our phone number.  That of course never happened.  But we entertained ourselves quite well none the less.  

However, one of those stock boys did notice me one day much later.  But not in the store.  He was introduced to me by his mother and later he became, not only my first real boyfriend, but my husband Rusty.  He had been one of the stock boys that never even gave me a glance.  He was a hard worker then and remained a hard worker all his life.  

After our long trips (they seemed to take an eternity to a kid) to Farm Fresh, we would go home with our bounty that would sustain us for another week.  Almost every Friday’s dinner would be chili dogs and French fries or potato chips.  Mama would be too tired to cook, so Friday was the one day out of the week that she would make something fast.  Every other day we would have a plate full of the basic food groups, served hot and on time at exactly 5 pm.  Yes, we were very lucky ducks to have my mama cooking for us every day!

When Rusty and I married in 1983, I of course thought every Friday would be grocery day, and it was.  I took after my mama and learned quickly how to plan a menu for the following week.  Money would be tight for several years, and I learned not only how to make things stretch, but how to make our meals healthy and tasty.  I had it down to each individual portion.  I have told my daughters that I even calculated every bite that would be taken.  No joke!  I had the best teacher in the world, and I appreciated my mama more with every meal I cooked.

I like to believe that I passed on some of the knowledge I learned from my mama to my three daughters.  They have each certainly impressed me from time to time.  My youngest daughter now orders her groceries on her phone and drives up to the Walmart and has them placed in her car.  She never has to step foot in the store!  That amazes me!.  If that service had been available to me at her age, I don’t know whether I would have used it or not.  I am happy for the people who can benefit from it now though, and I have seriously thought of trying it myself.  The thought of someone else picking out my food for me, well haven’t quite grasped that one yet.  I still prefer to pick out my own items, check those sell-by dates, bargains, and what have you.  I’m still very much my mama’s daughter on grocery day.   

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