Waiting on Spring

Spring has been flirtatious this year. Snow in early May. Only a single day that has edged to the 70 degree mark.

Now it’s a wet and cool Memorial Day weekend with my vegetable garden half planted.

About the only thing I’ve found this gloomy weather good for is a walk through the local cemetery… made me more reflective than normal, I think.

Lives willingly given to nail down the freedoms we enjoy.

Other lives gone just too soon … some by uncontrollable circumstances. Some by stupid choices.

Lives well worn … well lived.

Others that made us cringe.

Lives that started a legacy that is now our small town, still hanging on.

Lives that taught us to laugh … or hope … or to be reverent and merciful.

Lives that made us feel loved … tears well up because we miss them beyond words.

I walked away wondering what phrase or memory will someday sum up my days on the planet.

Seconds later I’m thinking about whether we’ll see weather in the 80’s before August. And will we complain when it does?

And … am I brave enough to grill our Memorial Day meal in the drizzle.

Ahhh … my thoughts are as fickle as the forecast.

Below are sweet reminders that nature won’t wait on inclement weather. Maybe I shouldn’t either.

All photos property of Sausmus Photography and cannot be used without permission.

Oh! The Cookies I Have Eaten

Slightly out of step with Christmas festivities, this is not a post about making cookies … it is about eating them.

Slightly out of step with Christmas festivities, this is not a post about making cookies … it is about eating them.

I’ve had an epiphany lately … If we are what we eat, then I am an Oatmeal Cookie with a large percentage of Russian Tea Cake.

Writing recently about my Grandmother, (Grandma Changed the World by Baking Cookies) it occurs to me that my family accented almost every moment of my childhood with cookies. It’s also how we solved most of our ailments.

Photo by Tina Nord on Pexels.com
  • Friday night sleepover at Grandma’s … oatmeal/chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies. “Just two,” she always instructed but then played deaf when we sneaked back to the cookie jar … multiple time! We were experts at trying to arrange the remaining cookies so that it didn’t appear that any were missing.
  • Family stopping by after church … Aunt Mary’s famous raisin cookies recipe … the one that only tasted right when Aunt Mary made it herself … we suspected that she left an ingredient or two out when she reluctantly agreed to share it after years of being begged.)
  • Fourth of July … orange gumdrop cookies … red gumdrops instead of orange (same recipe at Christmas with red and green gumdrops).
  • Snicker Doodles for lunch boxes
  • Brownies (with ice cream) for birthdays.
  • Gingersnaps for colds and sniffles or just having a bad day.
  • More bad days, especially a rough day at school … Ice Box Cookies to the rescue. It was somewhat of a cardinal sin in the family to not have a roll of vanilla or chocolate cookie formed into a log and wrapped in wax paper, waiting in the fridge for need-cookies-now-emergencies. If you don’t know what an Ice Box Cookie is, you’ll find knock off versions in the cold food section of the grocery store, next to cinnamon rolls in a can, and instant crescent rolls … all of which are handy but none of which taste anything like Grandma’s.
Photo by ready made on Pexels.com

Grandma watched TV shows about the end of the world and atomic explosions. The result was a flurry of baking in the kitchen … usually her go-to peanut butter bars. “No matter how poor we are, we always have enough ingredients for a batch of these … and they’re fast,” she said. I always suspected that if the world were about to end, she wanted to make sure we had one more sweet treat before the devastation set in. Guess that trait passed down to me … I have friends posting about the end of the world as we know it … warning us to stock up on survival gear … and I’m thinking about cookies.

I always suspected that if the world were about to end, she wanted to make sure we had one more sweet treat before the devastation set in.

Christmas Time brought out a whole new slew of recipe books and delicacies:

  • Sugar cookies with slathers of butter and a touch of cream of tartar
  • Rice Crispy® treats (made by my mom … these were too modern for Grandma)
  • Peanut butter balls rolled in chocolate (I was horrified to learn that a small amount of paraffin wax was used in these! But didn’t stop me from eating them.)
  • Spritz cookies … as long as we hadn’t lost any pieces to the cookie press
  • Thumb print cookies … filled with our own homemade strawberry freezer jam
  • German Springerle … these cookies – a work of art and true German artistry – demanded baker’s ammonia (sounds nasty, but I’m pretty sure that’s what was in the bottle deep in Grandma’s cupboard). They also required a special rolling pin … sad to say, I’m not sure what happened to the two that Grandma kept … I’ve never attempted these on my own.
  • Joe Froggers … a very laborious molasses cookie … chewy to perfection … and loaded with a lethal amount of molasses
  • Russian Tea Cakes … probably my favorite, especially with finely chopped walnuts and lots of powdered sugar

I had vowed not to do a lot of baking this year because it’s not in line with anyone’s health needs in our family … but … this list!

Maybe just ONE of these … but …. which?

Springerle (source of photo unknown) … these licorice flavored, coffee dunking cookies were part of our German Heritage.

Last minute confession: After writing the first draft, I had to run to the store for some dinner items, but couldn’t stop myself from peaking into the fridge where the instant cookie dough is kept. There was just one lonely roll of sugar cookie dough left. Even though my Grandma (and our youngest daughter, who has become Christmas Cookie Baker Extraordinaire) wouldn’t approve … I couldn’t leave the poor thing there by itself. After all … the evening news was petty bleak about the state of our world.

Wishing you Happy Cookie Eating … whatever the occasion!

Thank you for reading “Small Stuff”.  This is the second of two blogs sites that I keep.  You can find more on my thought&faith blog at rashellbud.wordpress.com. Wishing you a beautiful day full of the Small Stuff that transforms life into BIG STUFF.

A note to my “silent” readers … thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to read my work. I’ve learned that many of you are shy about commenting or hitting the like button, but I want you to know that I appreciate your visits and invite you into the conversations whenever you are ready.

Wishing you peace in all things … Shelly

The Little Christmas Liar, Part II

I realize now that my brother had been about to call her out on that Christmas day.

Thank you for reading along and sharing this memory with me. Part I is found here.

PART II

After presents, the three older of us kids were shooed outside into a world of crunchy snow and cool breezes. “Blow the stink out of your pants while I finish up with the ham”, Mom pushed us toward the door.  Grandma asked if she could now tidy the room and clean the dishes which were crusting over with half-eaten oatmeal. Grandpa wanted to see Dad break in that new pipe and join him with a well-worn one of his own.  

Thus occupied, the adults ignored us as we scrambled for our rubber boots and layers of wool socks.  A stack of used bread wrappers sat by the door.  These were to go over our socks before wrestling our feet into boots that were slightly too snug to begin with.  The wrappers made “swish-swash, swish-swash” sounds as we stomped through the snow, but they did serve well enough.  Our “poor-man-snow-boots” (as my brother called them) … they would suffice. Never mind that it was so cold that snot froze inside our noses almost as soon as we stepped off the porch or that we would get scolded for spreading soggy breadcrumbs throughout the house later.

Just as I don’t remember how we finally got to the tree and presents in the living room, I don’t remember how Marla came to join us in the front yard, but there she was.  The sun, which decided it wanted to be a part of the day, sang in falsetto as it did nothing to warm up the morning, yet in its brightness, created a stunning world of crystal and dancing light as we broke into the ice-layered snow and tried to form snowballs.

“Let’s make a snowman,” Marla suggested.

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

We didn’t see our neighbor from down the block much in the winter time.  She went to a tiny, church school on the other end of town, so our playtimes were usually restricted to the summer months. The fact that she joined us now was unusual but welcome, and I wanted to please her so that she would stay.  My brother had a different mindset. 

“Snow’s too hard for that,” he snapped. “Don’t you know anything?”

Marla stay stooped over her pile of snow, patient with her attempts. Her mittens were worn through and soggy, so she stripped them off and worked bare-handed.  Once he saw that he wasn’t going to get a reaction from the girl, he huffed and marched to the garage in search of our sleds.

Marla had gotten used to ignoring him.  They were about the same age and had for some mysterious reason slid into the role of enemies.

There were a lot of things my brother didn’t seem to like about Marla. First of all, her parents were “as old as Methusela”. (He ignored the truth that our own father wasn’t any younger than Marla’s parents and was, in fact, almost two whole decades older than Mom.) He often taunted how poor they were.  We were poor too, but they did appear more in need than us.

The war between these two had escalated the summer before over a bag of bananas. The helpless bananas had been snatched out of Marla’s hands as my brother and his friends raced by her on their bikes.

Later that day, Marla’s mother trudged meekly up the sidewalk to our house and asked to see my mother.  She talked in quiet, yet firm tones which resulted in Brother having his bike locked in the garage for a week. Worse, he wasn’t allowed to play with his friends for twice that long.  It wasn’t just the stealing of the bananas, which were squished and thrown into the yard, it was the taunting.  “Marla is a baby! Marla is a baby!” they had  called out, making fun of the fact that they had caught the girl, who was their age, singing and playing make-believe with her dolls in her back yard, as if those toys were her real friends.

Photo by alleksana on Pexels.com

Marla had not cried in front of them, but wasn’t seen outside of her house for most of the rest of the summer.  “See, she is a baby,” my brother’s friends chanted when they road by on their bikes.

She might not have come around our house at all except that there were other no kids in the neighborhood.  All those who went to her school lived far out in the countryside … too far to walk or even ride a bike. As an only child, she got lonely, I’m sure. 

“What did you get for Christmas, Marla?” 

She didn’t seem to hear as she swept more snow toward her mound and tried once more to get the pile to form a ball. Her hands were red and shiny, the way mine got when I grew so cold that the pain left me in tears.  Marla seemed to know no such pain; she worked on un-phased. 

“I got a doll,” my little sister rambled, “And candy. And so many, many toys.  Santa brought us a whole sleigh full!”

“I got a China doll,” Marla suddenly stood up.

“The doll was just part of it,”  her words started in a slow cadence but gained speed as her eyes widened with excitement.  “She will sit on a shelf in our front room. She came with three of the most beautiful outfits a person ever saw.  And … “

She paused as if trying to find the perfect, magical words for something so magnificent that natural words might not do justice.

“And … I got three dresses in my size to match.  Such beautiful dresses … too beautiful for our town.  When I wear them, people are sure to mistake me for a princess.”

I sighed. I  couldn’t imagine owning something beautiful enough to be be mistaken for a princess, not that I liked dresses much or ever considered being a princess before this.

Photo by Elly Fairytale on Pexels.com

Marla wasn’t finished. Her gray eyes, much too big for such a thin face, sparkled like the crystalized snow around us. Her yellow hair stuck out in a number of spots on her hatless head like the straw of a scarecrow.  With a long neck and red cheeks, she reminded me of one of my picture books of Alice in Wonderland, minus pretty ribbons and a flowing gown. 

“We got the hugest fruit basket with the sweetest, most tasty fruits. Tropical fruits. And then! Then, there was a brand new chess set … boxes and boxes of chocolates … new stationary … a wooden yo-yo … a shiny pair of Mary Janes with an ever-so-slight heel … bubble bath and perfume … and brand new sheet music for Mama.  A new felt hat for Father and … lace curtains for our front windows, and so much food for our pantry that I couldn’t name it all … and a goose.  We’re eating goose for dinner.”

My brother had returned from the garage with our banged up metal sled … the Flying Saucer … in time to hear this extravagant list.  He “Hmmm-huffffffed” past, marching to the small hill at the end of the driveway. Once there, he suddenly spun around, gritted his teeth, and opened his mouth like he was about to shout something, but instead shut it, and chewed on his bottom lip..

“Are you going sledding with me or not?” he glared as he gripped the rope handles our dad had fastened to the round and dented metal disc that served as our favorite sled for the way it spun us round and round as we whooshed down hills.

I was not. I wanted to hear more of such gifts, so did my sister. Brother stomped off on his own.

I was both entranced and dismayed, a cloud I did not understand covering me.  It would take looking back to understand the weight of jealousy that had found its way to my heart.  My six-year-old brain wrestled with the thought that it somehow seemed unfair that my family had finally experienced great riches at Christmas, and yet plain, ol’ Marla should have gotten so much more.

Marla lived in a broken down house … more broken than ours … with broken down things.  My Dad patched our things, while Marla’s parents seemed unable or just too tired with age.  They were rarely seen except at their church or when coaxing a severely complaining truck to the mountains to gather wood  … their source of income and of heat.  Their unpainted, wooden house was paper thin.  No insulation padded the walls.  Newspapers covered the windows in the winter; both to add warmth and to keep out the stares of the nosey boys who tormented them.

Photo by Sausmus Photography/property of smallstuffliving.com

We all thought her parents odd and Marla odder.  Not only did she still play with dolls, she built forts and playhouses outside as if she were a member of the Swiss Family Robinson, banished to a life on a deserted island. Once, before the feud with my brother, she invited the two of us to roast potatoes in “my jungle” as she called it.  She had smuggled three mid-sized bakers out of the house and kept us in hushed tones as we tried to coax a flame out of leftover logs.  Without enough kindling to encourage a fire, we burned up all the matches. She crept into the house in search of more, but her mother heard and discovered what we were up to. We were sent home. I always wondered if Marla got her roasted potato that day; she seemed so hungry. 

Music. The one truly normal thing about this family was music.  Morning, afternoon, early evening, piano music escaped through those thin window pains, drifting as far as our house sometimes.  Often I snuck to the trees next to their lot and sat underneath, listening to the hymns and classical pieces played by someone who seemed to have magic fingers the way they made elegant sounds come out of that dingy house.

It was Marla’s mother who mostly played, but sometimes I heard the banging of keys and halting measures repeated again and again and again until there was less halting and fewer sour notes. I assumed it was Marla practicing, eventually growing in skill so that I had to listen very carefully to know which of them was playing.

Just as I was about to ask Marla how they were going to cook that goose for their dinner, we were called in to ours. All thoughts of Marla and my jealousy faded as we sat under the beam of Grandpa’s smiling face, stuffing our stomachs with ham, cheesy potatoes, and orange jello salad, trying to leave room for the cherry – pudding cheesecake with a graham cracker crust and Grandma’s once a year traditional, licorice-flavored, Springerle cookies. BUT not enough room for her mincemeat pie.

File image / source unknown

The rose colored glasses that viewed that wondrous Christmas didn’t crack until college.  It made no sense that while laboring over some all important paper about layers of deceit in King Lear or something like that, it hit me.  

That. Big. Fat. Liar! 

It took me a moment to know what I was even thinking about … the memory so random and so long tucked away.

Marla …. Marla lied. 

No china doll. 

No fancy gowns.  

No piles of books and puzzles or boxes of chocolate and stationery. 

No goose dinner.  

No lace curtains to replace the yellowed newspapers. (Why had I never noticed that they never appeared in those windows?)

I realize now that my brother had been about to call her out on that Christmas day.   There had been no tree in the window or decorations outside. There was likely a box of oranges and some baked goods from church members.  Maybe even a gift-wrapped classical book or sturdy, practical shoes, but that would have been it. 

My brother … yes, he could have ratted on her that morning … put his enemy on the spot. And why wouldn’t he, given the chance to get even for squealing about the bananas. But he didn’t.

He gave her her imaginary Christmas. 

And … then it occurred to me … my Dad was complicit too. He could have spoken up that day as well. He could have said no to my Grandfather’s whims … but he didn’t. He carried the burden of letting Grandpa pay for our house and a car big enough to carry all of us about. And then, to jab the knife a bit deeper, he paid for Christmas while Dad struggled to keep basic bills covered all year long.

Dad also knew the stories of Grandpa’s neglect when my mom was our age and that not all of the drinking binges led to funny endings like the night he had been locked out of the house. Now, there he was … taking the spotlight on that Christmas … a spotlight Dad might have felt was undeserved.

But Dad let Grandpa be the star.  And that was a good thing because Grandpa left us the next spring … illness swooping in and snatching him away with no warning.

Those are supposed to some of my most glorious Christmas memories because they were our last with Grandpa. But now they’re invaded by a liar, leaving a residue of guilt.  We had our wonderful Christmas … Marla’s was dismal.  And I had been jealous of her bragging only to discover that it was my bragging that likely heaped more misery on her. 

I have no idea what became of Marla, but a new thought occurs to me today.  Somewhere out there is a 60-something-year-old woman preparing for another Christmas.  It is a dark world for all of us right now (2020) but I pray for her today … and I wish I could say …

Marla,

You may have never gotten those fancy dresses or eaten goose for dinner (trust me, it’s not that great) … you may have never found your way to a mansion and may still have newspapers for curtains …

but I hope that wherever you are, that you have a piano to tap out songs of joy and peace … and I hope that the light of Love has found its way to you … you dear little Christmas Liar.

Photo by Kristina Paukshtite on Pexels.com

Thank you for reading “Small Stuff”.  This is the second of two blogs sites that I keep.  You can find more on my thought&faith blog at rashellbud.wordpress.com. Wishing you a beautiful day full of the Small Stuff that transforms life into BIG STUFF.

A note to my “silent” readers … thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to read my work. I’ve learned that many of you are shy about commenting or hitting the like button, but I want you to know that I appreciate your visits and invite you into the conversations whenever you are ready.

Wishing you peace in all things … Shelly

My Grandma Changed the World with Cookies

My daughter signed me up for a website that asks me to respond to weekly prompts, sharing about my life and memories … thoughts to be passed down to the family. I haven’t been very good about keeping up with it … sorry, Honey … but a couple of the prompts have lined up with things on my mind at the moment.

This week, the prompt was to write about someone who was a positive influence during my childhood. I started typing without really knowing who I was going to write about … turns out to be Grandma.

Grandparents … and our senior citizens in general … have been taking up a lot of my “thinking time” during this pandemic. It crushes me to think of the elderly isolated and withering away ALONE in their homes or rooms in a senior home … lonely … afraid … sad … scared … alone … alone. (Repetitions intentional.) Some I know have died without their family at their bedside because of restrictions. Awful …

I won’t stray any further into what the pandemic is doing to our elderly… as it’s not what the prompt or my response was about. I’ll just add that all this COVID stuff, especially during the holidays, has made me nostalgic.

Here is my response to the prompt from my daughter with a little more added in.

Who Had the Most Positive Influence on You as a Child?

I feel like I had a lot of good influences as a child.  One that stands out first is Grandma (my mom’s mother).  

It’s funny because as a teen, I think I was pretty hard on Grandma and didn’t see her as a good influence because she had become a hermit and shut herself off from people.  She didn’t like to go places and had stopped driving long before I was born.  I guess I saw her as someone who was very afraid of life and therefore weak. She started a lot of sentences with “Aren’t you afraid” … and by the time she finished asking, I guess I was afraid too.

For her struggles with anxiety and fear, Grandma was an amazing person.  With Mom so busy wrangling four kids and Dad trying to juggle enough work to keep us all fed, Grandma was our extra bright spot.  She had the time to fuss over us, play with us, and make us cookies.  Lots of cookies.  We always said that Grandma pretended she was making the cookies for us, but she was the one with the sweet tooth.

From Grandma I learned that the trick to good cookies was making sure that the butter and sugar were fully creamed.  She made me do this with my hands so that I could feel what it took to melt the ingredients together until I could barely feel the sugar crystals any longer.  Eventually I would  use a wooden spoon and could tell by the color of the mixture when it was truly ready for the next ingredients.

Peanut butter cookies (I loved making the patterns with a fork as we smashed down the dough), snickerdoodle, and ranger cookies (cookies with cereal and nuts in them), and occasionally brownies … filled her little kitchen and its pink plaster walls with scents of love.

Ice cream was another of Grandma’s sweet tooth staples.  Her favorite was Marigold’s Strawberry ice cream with chunky pieces of frozen strawberries imbedded.  She usually had Chocolate Ripple, and Tin Roof Sundae on hand as well. If there was only one serving of Strawberry left we knew what we would be having … it would NOT be the Strawberry. That’s about the one thing I remember Grandma standing resolutely on … the Strawberry was HERS.

For not liking to be in groups of people, Grandma always had other people on her radar.  She was a very loving person, always mindful of others.  She sent birthday cards faithfully, called the little old ladies in town on a regular basis (always referring to them as the “old ladies” as if she wasn’t one of them), and kept up with all the graduations and big events in the lives of her many nieces and nephews and their children.  She made sure there were flowers on all the family graves at Memorial Day, and kept my imagination alive with stories of her childhood and of family memories about people I only knew through photos because they had passed on before I was born. She received more Christmas cards than anyone I knew, probably because she was so faithful about sending them out and including a personal hand-written letter. (She would not be a fan of the modern form letter popular these days.)

If someone was in need, Grandma would have my Mom get money from her bank account and send an anonymous letter with some cash tucked in.  She was very generous with us kids and it was because of her we had a lot of basic things like school clothes and new shoes covered. Because she didn’t like to leave the house, she gave us money at Christmas and birthdays. We never minded, because the older we got the bigger the numbers got on those checks!

Even for all of the fears she battled (probably stemming from a battle she had with a brain tumor in her forties and a challenging marriage to Grandpa, who drank too much sometimes), she had a deep and simple faith in Christ.  We used to sit at her organ and she’d play hymns from the old German hymnals she had.  She didn’t like to go to church any more even though it was a block from her house, but only because it meant being in a crowd. She cherished visits from the Pastor and parishioners who checked in on her regularly. She read her bible often and tucked in notes from the radio preachers who inspired her.

Grandma filled my childhood with scented memories.  I got to spend a lot of Friday nights at her house.  (Each of us kids took turns having a special night.)  We, of course, baked cookies, and we ate frozen meat pies, heated up in her oven as soon as the cookie making was done, the smells of that pie crust and the meat, vegetables, and gravy tantalizing me. I loved bathing in her oversized claw foot tub, filling the bathroom with the aroma of a rose garden from the bubble bath she kept on hand.

She kept a closet of toys and puzzles for us, took me on walks, read books, taught me to crochet, taught me a lot about gardening, instilled a love of flowers, and of story telling. And most of all … a love of all things sweet.

Although my siblings and I may have been good excuses to bake cookies in excess, those cookies … and every ingredient … and everything else we did together … speak to me of a fully invested love from my Grandmother. Can’t think of a much more positive influence than that.

This was all I wrote for my daughter … but I think a “cookie post” is on it’s way. I recently came across a box of some of Grandma’s treasured recipes and I’ve been thinking especially about her gingerbread cookies.

Stay tuned.

But before I go … what about you … any special memories of a grandparent’s influence? Or someone else in your childhood? Or maybe it’s your turn? Are there any special traditions you have with your family?

Thank you for reading “Small Stuff”.  This is the second of two blogs sites that I keep.  You can find more on my thought&faith blog at rashellbud.wordpress.com. Wishing you a beautiful day full of the Small Stuff that transforms life into BIG STUFF.

A note to my “silent” readers … thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to read my work. I’ve learned that many of you are shy about commenting or hitting the like button, but I want you to know that I appreciate your visits and invite you into the conversations whenever you are ready.

Wishing you peace in all things … Shelly

Bananas About Bandana’s

“Here. You need these.”

My SIL thrust a pile of bandanas and scarves into my hands.

“Gosh. What will I do with these?”

“They’ll make good masks. You just need them; they were Mom’s after all.”

Mom left us last March; now we were gathered in my childhood home … My Guy, my big brother, SIL, niece, and me … looking through her things.

Sophie is suspicious of this basket of cloth. As long as I don’t tie one around her neck, I guess she’ll be okay.

Mom was a collector … not a hoarder (well, I guess that depends on which member of the family you talk to) but a true collector. Her character was reflected in the fact that she had a knack for cast off things and cast off people. Simple and quiet herself (well … quiet around strangers … not so much around us or those who were subject to her teasing), she could always find a treasure behind layers of dust or underneath scarred, water-stained wood. A little dusting … a little oil and elbow grease … and a cast-off-nothing became desirable again.

Some of the things we found in the house were collections from yard sales and auctions. Some things were saved from our childhood. The bandanas fell into the second category.

In Mom’s teen years (’50’s), bandanas were fashionable as headscarves and came in any color you liked as long as it was red. They looked cute on girls with short hair. A comeback was attempted in the ’70’s, only with slightly longer hair and a full rainbow of colors. It was a look that didn’t work so well for me.

You know those memes where they show a gorgeous woman with her hair in a nice neat “messy” bun next to a Kathy-Bates-look-a-like (serial killer version) with a messy bun? The meme caption says something like, “Other women with a messy bun. Me with a messy bun.”

Well … there you go. That’s what awkward-duckling-teenage-me looked like in a bandana head scarf, compared to other girls. They all looked ready for a fashion shoot. I looked like I was going to mop floors.

Dad wore bandanas too. They were much more utilitarian in his case … around his neck to soak up sweat while laboring on one of the farms where he often hired out to make extra money … or when up on our roof in August, tearing off rolled roofing with 95 degree temperatures melting his face and his mood.

In the 50’s Dad worked on farms in central Washington … bandanas were a face covering for him to ward off the dust from temperamental windstorms. You also might see the red cloth peaking from the inside rim of his hat where he stuffed it to soak up head sweat. And he wasn’t above using one these “fashionable” pieces of fabric to honk snot into when ordinary handkerchiefs weren’t available.

While neither of my parents used handkerchiefs in the fashion of a bank robber (at least not that I know of), I’m bringing that look back to existence.

With COVID-19 overtaking our world and the recent (controversial) mask mandates, the discovery of Mom’s handkerchief collection is timely. I may look a bit suspicious when I wear them, but it is a cuter look than the cleaning-lady-aura that I rocked in the ’70’s. Most importantly, they don’t fog up my glasses as much as masks ,so I don them often.

Well … it wouldn’t be a COVID-19 pic if toilet paper wasn’t in the background.

Kudos to Mom for collecting a variety of colors (pictured above). Makes me feel like a fashionista to be all matchy matchy.

When Covid Days are behind us, I hope to find other uses. Here are some suggestions, should you have a big collection like mine:

  • Head band
  • Neck Scarf
  • Decorate the dog with an awesome neck tie
  • Ice pack (in a lunch bag or around your neck on a steaming hot day)
  • Sling (hope you never need to try this out)
  • Cleaning Rag (I have a hard time doing that unless said bandana is full of holes and ready for the rag bin itself.)
  • Dust deflector
  • Fancy handkerchief
  • Blindfold (Recommended for happy occasions only like surprise parties … nothing devious encouraged here!)
  • Instant table cloth (if you have a small table)
  • Bug zapper (If you have have speedy reflexes and stellar aim, you should be able to take out a few pesky flies with a rolled up bandana!)
  • Coffee filter (Okay, you probably have to be really desperate … but imagine that camping trip where someone forgot the coffee filter … the majority of coffee addicts I know are desperate enough that they’ll go for the bandana.)
  • And of course, a Covid mask

Here’s a complete coincidence, but I encountered my friend Danika yesterday wearing of all things … a red bandana! She had no idea that I had just written the first draft of this ever-important-bandana-post. Thankfully, I didn’t get a “you’re crazy look” when I asked for a selfie.

“It’s for something really important,” I insisted.

And see! She’s one of those beauties who makes bandana wearing fashionable again. (She does good for Covid mask wearing too.) And me? Well, you see for yourself the results above. I’ve definitely got that sneaky bank robber thing going on.

While I’ve brought Danika into all of this, let me point out that she is a fellow blogger and is in the process of creating her own business, Milk N Honey Cakery. She is an amazing cake artist and you’ll love her work. Be forewarned … hers is a dangerous blog site. The pictures are delicious and the posts will leave you hungry. I can’t guarantee that just looking at the food photos won’t add calories.

Here’s her latest post. Check it out and let her know what you think.

Thank you for reading “Small Stuff”.  This is the second of two blogs.  You can read more on my “Thought Blog” at rashellbud.wordpress.com. Wishing you a beautiful day full of the Small Stuff that transforms life into BIG STUFF.

All photos on SmallStuffLiving are the personal property of Sausmus Photography and of this blog. Please do not use without permission. Thanks!

Advertisements come with the territory but do not necessarily reflect my opinion or endorsements.

Nope. The cat did NOT like those bandanas. They are in HER favorite spot for looking out the window, and the raised ears make it clear that she is quite disgusted with me.

Thank you for reading “Small Stuff”.  This is the second of two blogs.  You can read more on my “Thought Blog” at rashellbud.wordpress.com. Wishing you a beautiful day full of the Small Stuff that transforms life into BIG STUFF.

All photos on SmallStuffLiving are the personal property of Sausmus Photography and of this blog. Please do not use without permission. Thanks!

Advertisements come with the territory but do not necessarily reflect my opinion or endorsements.