Saturday, November 3, 2012

Broken Arrow's Episilon Sigma Alpha; Their 40th Anniversary!

          Last Saturday was the Broken Arrow Chapter of Epsilon Sigma Alpha's 40th Anniversary Craft Show.  This annual event has become the primary fund raiser for this group and is always a great success.  They have used one of the BA Middle Schools for some years now and consistently fill the halls and gym with crafters.
          Some of the crafters each year are new, but they have a steady stream of crafters who return each year.  Customers like this!  The weather was beautiful and shoppers came through in a steady stream all day.
          These gals are a wonder as always.  They are constantly on the move, usually running at warp speed throughout the building, checking on how things are going, replenishing supplies...and in general, running the show like clockwork.  It amazes me that they all seem to have boundless stores of energy...especially after spending the days prior to the Saturday with last minute chores and setup!
          This year I just had a small table to promote Timeus with a book signing.  For the first time I was able to be in the entry area where the "welcome" table is, rather than my usual corner that I've laid claim to.  It was great fun!  I was able to chat with people as they came in, see old friends, and sign quite a few books!
          The proceeds from this show contribute to many things in the area:  the Margaret Hudson Program, the Oklahoma School for the Blind, the Oklahoma School for the Deaf, Meals on Wheels, and their national benevolence, St. Jude's Children's Hospital.
          It's a pleasure and an honor for me to work with a group of women who are so dedicated to helping others.  Well done again, my friends!  Happy "Anniversary" to you all...and my best wishes for many successful years ahead of doing great things!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Timeus on the Road

          Last month I was invited to bring some Timeus books to the Disciples of Christ Regional Assembly at the Community Christian Church in Tulsa.  It was a delightful day!  In the morning assembly the music was provided by In His Spirit Church.  Their praise team consisted of many ages, even some very young ones.  (I was sitting close to a stained glass window so my picture is not very distinct.)

          There were smaller meetings and lunch, groups and a final business meeting.  In between times I was able to visit with folks and share Timeus.  Lots of books went home with them.

          Toward the end of the day two of the smaller girls on the praise team stopped by to look.  My friend Gina whispered to me that she wanted to make a gift of a copy to them and wanted me to sign it.  They were thrilled!

          Before we left, Gina came back chuckling...she had gone to the restroom and overheard the two little ones discussing the book.  The older girl was telling a bit about Timeus' story and the younger one was listening wide-eyed.

          "Then what happened?" said the younger one.  The older one with a great deal of big sister aplomb said, "Well, we have to go home and read it.  Then we'll know!!!"

          Made sense to me!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow......

          For nearly six years I've played the piano at church that uses the modern genre of Christian music.  It was a real learning experience for me from Day 1!!  Having been raised and trained in the classical and sacred repertoire, it was a whole new world!   A lot of it I've come to love and enjoy.  Some of it I took a deep breath and jumped into!
          What I enjoyed most though was (and is) the people!  So many of them have become wonderful friends, the best kind of church family!

            A couple of weeks ago I found out that I had been recommended to another church in the area, one that was looking for a Music Director.  Some conversations, an interview and such, and I was asked how I felt about joining them.  They have a lovely, enthusiastic choir, they are very similar to the doctrines that I grew up with...and they have a wonderful (real) grand piano (something that doesn't exist in many churches in the lake area nowadays!!)  Definitely enticing!

          After a lot of soul-searching...especially relating to leaving a congregation I love dearly...I decided that this was a place where I could fill a need and be immersed in the rich music I've loved so much in the past.  I finally realized that all the dear friends I have in the other congregation will still be a part of my life...they will still be as close as the phone or lunch!  Does it get any better than that?

          This past Sunday (my last day) though was a day of many hugs and tears.  The pastor came in before the first service with a beautiful basket of flowers and set them right in front of my piano.   Would you believe that in all the years I was a florist, I never received a bouquet like this!!!!   I did many of them for lots of other people...this time it was my turn to be thrilled!

         After each service there were hugs and tears and best wishes, messages on a card, and more tears.  It was truly an emotional morning.  This has been a remarkable church family...loving, caring, happy, funny, and dedicated.  They have been an inspiration to me in so many ways.

         To this remarkable group of friends, you are beautiful people and I love you dearly.  I hope that the music I've played for you touched you as much as you have touched my life.  

         Thank you, God, for sending me to be a part of theirs!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Re-enactment of the Battle of Cabin Creek

           That's how it was listed on the advertising posters, but technically, this time it was a charming vignette of what life was like "back then."
           The first re-enactment had been complete with "soldiers" from both sides in resplendent uniforms charming all the "locals" (including my granddaughter who was about 4 at the time).   One very dignified fellow came into the restaurant as we were eating dinner in the complete Confederate gray outfit including a magnificent wool cape that swirled around him as he opened the door for a lady!
           He was definitely an officer, with lots of shining brass buttons and insignia, well polished leather, and a magnificent sword.   When he  saw my granddaughter staring wide-eyed at him, he came to our table, doffed his hat and gave her a very courtly bow (complete with the cape swirl again).  She's never forgotten that...neither have I!
           The following day started with each side waging "battle" in the middle of a local farmer's pasture, complete with officers on horses, infantry charging forward afoot, and a few wagons rumbling along for good measure.  Each side charged and retreated, there was much musket "fire," lots of loud voices and bugle calls, an occasional "casualty"...all this was done about every two hours for the afternoon.   It's an interesting scenario for both history lovers and children (who get to see "living" history).  I'm not sure who enjoys these things more...the re-enactors or the spectators!

           This year's event turned out to be more to see life as it was.  At first I was rather disappointed, although it was staged in the area where the Confederates gathered for the attack before the second battle. The wooded area wouldn't have been a good place the other scenario.

           We came through a ravine on the way to the main area that had a small rocked dam, a charming bit of the past.  Since this would have alongside the Texas/Military Road (or close), was this a refreshing stop, or a place to fill containers for the last leg of a trip?  The Road was used for so many years it would be hard to guess how many travelers it would have seen.
           We could hear the drum cadences as we came up the hill to the site.  This small group definitely add flavor to the scene.  It's always hard not to want to march along with a band, keeping the beat!  My favorite was the youngest...I never saw him lift his head.  I couldn't decide whether he was watching the others trying to keep up with their adult stride or was missing being somewhere else!  

           Close by was the surgeon's tent.  He was explaining the instruments those battlefield doctors had was difficult to keep from staring at the mannequin's newly amputated hand still lying there on the poor guy's leg!  It was a graphic reminder of the realities of that war with the primitive conditions that existed!
           I got busy taking pictures of the markers placed there to commemorate the different regiments and worked my way over to the tent where two dignified gentlemen were sharing great artifacts.  The family who owns the acreage where the battle was fought have unearthed some fabulous finds that give a great picture of the battle.  The case on the table was one that they loaned for the weekend.  

           The cannon was a replica but the unexploded shells were labelled with where they were found back east.  The gentlemen were very knowledgeable!
           The refugee lady had her own re-enactment story...and told of one of the horrors of war that is often forgotten.  She told that "the soldiers had ransacked their farm, took all the food they could find, and burned their home.  She had barely had time to gather her five children and throw a few belongings into a cart.   She was following the Military Road, hoping eventually to make it to a safe haven."
           The other scene I loved was with the lady "doing the laundry."  She was showing a youngster how clothes were scrubbed...a hands-on lesson no less!   Note the laundry hanging on the line!
           Since I tell the stories of historical women in the schools, I am always delighted to see these "pieces of history" shared with youngsters.  Teachers don't have enough time to teach much more than the facts...being able to explore the past in such a setting is invaluable!
           When we went back to the parking area there was a small "unit" drilling.  It was delightful.  As I walked up to take a picture, I heard someone say, "My bayonet keeps falling off!"  Hm-m-m.....  My favorite fellow in this group is the man on the end with the wonderful beard.  Talk about playing the part!!!  Also...note the expression of the person on the far end of the front row....priceless!
          On the way out I stopped one more time to take a picture of the one wagon we saw.  Probably not authentic but great atmosphere.  The wagon train that the Confederates captured was pulled by mules rather than draft horses but would probably have been about that size.  The history books tell us that the train stretched for over 3 miles on its trip...over 100 wagons loaded with supplies. 
           It doesn't say how many wagons were captured, but it must have been quite a sight, quite a chase, and quite a "haul" for those weary, barefoot, threadbare the waning days of a tragic war!

          Thanks to all those who participated in the weekend...from the Oklahoma Historical Society to the individuals.  Those families who brought their children did them a great favor...they'll have stories to tell in class and have those memories forever.  
          So will we all!

Monday, October 1, 2012

"The History of Cabin Creek Crossing"

          Since my little book was published, I've had questions about the name "Cabin Creek Crossing Books."  Well, for starters, it seemed appropriate for me! 
          The area in northeastern Oklahoma where I live is the site of two of the Civil War battles in Indian Territory...and probably the most interesting ones.  Obviously there was not a lot of action this far west, but feelings ran just as deep on each side.
          We attended the biannual re-enactment of the battle this past always an interesting experience.  Before I share those pictures, perhaps a bit of background is in order!
          For many years the main thoroughfare through the wilds of Indian Territory was known as the Texas Road.  From Fort Leavenworth in Kansas this road ran south through unsettled land to Fort Gibson, then on to Fort Washita on the border of the Mexican province of Texas.  It was a supply route for the forts and a hopeful tomorrow for intrepid settlers looking for a new life on land of their own.  They were willing to brave the Territory that was a refuge for outlaws, rustlers, and various Indian tribes to find a place of their own on the fertile rolling plains west of the Ozarks.
           As years passed the Texas Road became an artery of commerce as well, moving supplies, cattle drives going northward.  When the lands were divided among the Indian tribes, much of the eastern and northeastern part of the territory was given to the Cherokees.  Many of these families became prosperous by recreating large farms, even plantations, as they had had in the southeast.  One of those, Joseph Martin, maintained over 100,000 acres in cattle in that part of the state close to the Grand River.  He built a large antebellum home for his family next to the Texas Road....close to a ford across Cabin Creek.

           When the Civil War came to Indian Territory, that supply line became known as the Military Road, moving supplies to Fort Gibson from Kansas.  Martin's homestead became a strategic location on the trail because of his blacksmith shop and stores, plus places for wagons to camp...close to that ford across Cabin Creek.

          Most of the Cherokees joined the Confederate forces, led by one of their own, Stand Watie.  Early in the War the Confederates attacked a contingent of soldiers from the Kansas forts but were defeated.  Later in the War however, the Confederates, by then needing almost everything from shoes to uniforms to medicines, heard that another wagon train was on its way.  This one consisted of over 100 wagons.  This time it was a total rout.
          A surprise attack created chaos for the Yankees who had not even bothered to unhitch the mules from the wagons that night.   The noise of the resulting battle panicked many of the  mules who stampeded over the cliffs with their wagons; others wagons were captured by the Rebels.  Pursued by the Union forces, some of the Confederates escaped to the west driving the wagons loaded with supplies (valued at over $1.5 million, including a hefty payroll bound for Fort Gibson).  The rest of the Southern forces managed to escape southward....across the ford at Cabin Creek.

          There were scars from the battle that stayed visible for years; time has softened most of them.  Stories of the war are still told...but what happened to the payroll gold remains a mystery.  A Confederate cannon that was knocked off the cliff during the battle has remained embedded somewhere in the creek for years, mute witness to what happened there.  The waters in the creek are much deeper now thanks to the completion of the Pensacola Dam, but all along that bend in the creek the memories still linger about what happened that September night...close to the ford across Cabin Creek.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

And Along Came a Donkey Named Timeus....

        Yesterday was a monumental day!  Timeus arrived!  A little donkey named Timeus, who has been a part of my life for several years now.....

        A few years ago I was playing for a church in Pryor.  It was Palm Sunday.  The pastor read the passage of scripture that I have heard on this day ever since I was a child...about Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  That Sunday something clicked and I started wondering what had happened to that little donkey (actually, him and his mother both) after Jesus went into the temple.   I don't remember the sermon that day, but by the time church was over, I knew that his name was Timeus!

        That afternoon I sat down and wrote the first part of his story.  By the time I time I got him to the steps of the temple, I had a definite problem.  I didn't know what to do with the two donkeys either!

        I put it away for awhile but he was never far from my thoughts...actually the little fellow kept nudging me from time to time.  Finally, it all came together and it became their journey....their "amazing journey."

         I showed the manuscript to several friends who critiqued it for me and encouraged me to go forward with it...which meant finding an illustrator.  At that point I found that writing it was the easy part!  Oh, was it ever!!
         Evidently artists and illustrators are scarcer than the proverbial "hens' teeth"!!!!  I spent months trying to find someone appropriate.....
        Then, in one of those happenings that I call a "God thing", we (the donkeys and I) "met" Ellen.  She agreed to take this little story to heart and bring Timeus into "visual life", so to speak.  So the fun began.....

         Our church backgrounds are similar so the depiction of the events would be easy to work with...just talking through how the scenes would "look."  The rest was a training ground of sorts!
         I've lived in the country for a long time, plus we had raised cutting horses for years.  The area around Grand Lake is farm and ranch land; horses, cattle...and donkeys are a part of our life here.  I've been around farm animals most of my life.

       Ellen is a city girl and hadn't had the opportunity to observe the "every days" of country life.  Armed with my camera, I think I took pictures of just about every donkey I could find in Mayes County for her to use as reference!  (My personal favorite is a donkey named Bubba who lives just a couple of miles from me...but that's another story!)    

        When the day came that she sent Timeus' "close-up", I knew we were on our way!

        Ellen's expertise was invaluable when it came to formatting this little book.  I had found an excellent company who was willing to print the book...close enough to home to keep the personal touch, yet professional in their work.   At this point I became the "learner."  Bottom line... it takes a LOT to get a book ready to print!!!!!

        For the past few months I have proofread, re-proofread, and found so-o-o many things that needed to be tweaked, changed, or simply discarded.  I learned how much expertise it takes to know how set the pages up (where chapters start and end, how  and where to put the illustrations, what can, or can't, go here...or there) that I feel like I've had an eye-opening education in things that I (as a reader) always took for granted!

         Along the way the proverbial wastebasket was filled with extra quotation marks and unnecessary commas, redundant words were cleaned away, and a few re-writes added to make the scene or chapter flow better.  Subtle things like deciding how dark or light to make the evening sky had to be decided.  Somewhere in all this, with all the "housecleaning", a book emerged and grew to a ready-to-print product.

         This most excellent printing company had a great  product to work with (and I can discuss things like "crop marks" and "color separations"...and know what they mean!)   Monday morning John Link called me to tell me that Timeus was ready to be delivered.  His comment?  "I've looked it over.  It's beautiful!"

          "Timeus' Amazing Journey" is probably no more amazing than the journey it's taken to get him on the road!  I know that God gave me the story to write...there's no doubt about that.   He also sent the perfect people to complete the work.

           Heartfelt thanks to:

Ellen Wilkerson for all the hard work...a labor of love...and for becoming a wonderful friend.  One day soon I hope to meet her in person!
         John Link and his excellent company, Graphics One Printing, for a beautiful job of making Timeus' presentation a work of art.
           and,  all the friends who have encouraged, critiqued, and most of all, have loved this little donkey and his mother.

         You can find "Timeus' Amazing Journey" at
 as well as a link for information at

         He's ready to take his journey....into the hearts of others now!

9/11: We Will Always Remember....

          Today is the eleventh anniversary.  Each one of us should take a moment (or more) and remember the sacrifices that have scarred our hearts individually and as a nation.

          For those whose families were impacted, take a moment for silence and say a prayer.....

          For all of us as a nation, take a moment for silence and say a prayer....

  This day affected all of us....and always will!


Monday, July 30, 2012

My Husband Says Old Books Follow Me Home......

           Actually they don't, but it does seem that I have a penchant for finding something to love in the most dilapidated old books at an estate sale.  This one was so worn it had been put in a ziploc bag to keep the pieces could I resist when the package said "Handwritten Cookbook 1922"!!

           This time my treasure came in the form of a three-ring binder about 6" x 9" with what had been a very nice cover.  It reminds me of the texture and embossed look of a school yearbook; this one has a lovely scripted "Recipes" and a steaming casserole on the cover.  
           The inside back cover lists the maker and a patent (?) from December of 1904.  The inside front cover is inscribed by "Blanche"  with her thought "The way to a Man's Heart" and November 8th, 1922.  Was this something that this young girl used to collect recipes for her hope chest...from an era when proper young ladies began planning their future households early?   Was this a wedding gift?
           The dividers inside are alphabetical:  Cakes, Desserts, Drinks, Eggs, Fish, Game, Ices, Leftovers, Meats, Oysters (????), Pastry, Pickles, Poultry, Preserves, Salads, Soups, Vegetables, and Misc.  Never would have thought that oysters deserved a divider of their own!!  Each and every division has handwritten recipes... except for the Leftovers, Oysters, and Pickles!

            In some places Blanche's handwriting is hard to decipher, so please take these recipes with the proverbial grain of salt...they're just too charming not to share.  If there's a question mark, it means I think that's what it says!
Ice Box Rolls
1 quart milk: scald, cool
1 cup sugar ?
1 cup lard
1 cup mashed potatoes, cold
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp soda
1 cake yeast, dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water
1 quart flour
          Mix like you would cake dough.  Let stand one hour and add enough flour to make stiff dough.  Let raise (sic) and use as needed.

Graham Cracker Dessert
(not a lot of measuring here!!)
1/2# marshmallows
1/2 cup thin cream
1/2# dates
1/2# graham crackers
1/2 cup nuts
           Mix thoroughly and roll and cool in ice box.  Cut and serve.

Eggless Milkless Cake 
(If memory serves me correctly, this might have come from the Depression years?)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup water
1/2 box raisins
2 Tbls. butter or lard
1 tsp each of allspice, cinnamon and cloves.
          Boil slowly for 15 minutes.  When entirely cold, stir in 1 tsp soda dissolved in 1/3 cup water.  Add this to 2-1/2 cups flour and 1 heaping tsp flour which has been sifted three times ??   Last of all add 2 tsp vanilla and 1/2 cup nuts.  Bake slowly for one hour.

Mrs. Miller's Salad Dressing
3 eggs
1 Tbls flour
3 Tbls sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup vinegar
1 cup water
1 small can Carnation milk.
Lump of butter.

           There's not a clue as to where to go from here......

G. Walrod's Salad Dressing
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1 Tbls flour, mixed with the sugar
1/2 cup sweet milk
Pinch of salt
1 Tbls mustard
1 Tbls butter or oil

Beat together.  When good and hot, add 3/4 cup vinegar (?).  Double boiler.
One would assume that the double boiler was used from the start!

There are a couple more recipes that I'm still trying to decipher before I tuck Blanche's labor of love into my files.  

           In our hurried lifestyles today where scheduling around work, various practices for the kids, and looking for a bit of personal time in our lives is a constant headache, there's a bit of charm (and certainly nostalgia) in looking back at a time when by a certain time in the afternoon, the homemaker tied her apron around her waist, gathered her ingredients, and began creating a home-cooked meal for her family.  Children and husband came into a house filled with the aromas of home cooking and the words "Wash your hands and get ready for dinner."  

           We certainly have a lot of conveniences today that they never dreamed of...a lot of them we wouldn't want to give up!  There is a bit of wistfulness sometimes in looking old handwritten cookbook seems to share that with us!
             I found the lower three pictures in some copies of "American Cookery" from the 1920's which I have listed in my store "The Vintage Bookworm."

Monday, July 16, 2012

For the Love of Blue Willow!

          First of all, let me be perfectly clear that I don't need anything else collectible to love!  As a matter of fact, I've been trying lately to ignore any auction or estate sale that might tempt me.   This just proves what I've suspected for some time...some collectibles will find you!
         This particular collection belonged to a great-great aunt in a family who needed help in finding new homes for quite a few items of blue willow that she particularly doted on.  She absolutely loved the pattern and tended to surround herself with whatever she found....that included even sheets and pillowcases, tea towels, some extraordinary table linens, and pieces of the china in just about any form.  It was an extensive collection.  
         Since my husband and I both love the fresh clean look of cobalt blue and white, we said...not a problem!   In fact you'll find it in lots of places throughout our home, so this would be a labor of love...of course!   

          It's been downhill from there.....

         Armed with a sort of inventory list from the family and tackling 2 huge bins, I found myself surrounded with more pieces than I could ever imagine!  Every surface in the living and dining room soon had stacks of china on them! 

         Should have known......

          I started by listing just a few "cute" pieces in one of my stores and immediately met a great collector!  The kitty cat planter turned out to be a "twin" of sorts!  Clay Calhoun had a bank that matched the planter...the two pieces were identical in style and I had a new friend!  Clay has been collecting for some time now and loves to find unique pieces.  (You'll want to look at his Facebook page..."My Blue Willow Collection" with his name and see some fascinating items!)  After perusing the list I sent him, he asked for pictures of other pieces...and we were off and running.  And my education has fast become a priority!  I've been finding out how much I didn't know!

          The biggest surprise came when I started researching for him what was called on the list a "trivet."  

          Looked like one.....
         Didn't even come close!  According to a very helpful blog (Nancy's Daily Dish), this is called a "mezannine", more commonly a "strainer" or a "drainer."   They were used in the bottoms of serving dishes to drain the juices from meats, etc!  Innovative and practical!  (Thank you, Nancy.)  The one I had fit the bottom of a deep serving dish, a tureen,  that had its own platter.  Now it's in Clay's collection.
   I've been taking pictures and listing a few items as I go; what's been listed so far is on      
     The clever little dachshund can be arranged as you wish and will hold nibbles or condiments and such!  
         Obviously blue willow has kept up with the times with an instant coffee canister and an electric coffee pot!  With what other things I've already researched there will be some fascinating finds to tell you about.  

         By the way, the queen-sized sheets and pillowcases are stunning!   Just thought I'd drop a hint.....