These two children came across the road to the orphanage to watch the kids run races. They had such pretty little faces, just as all the children there do. I noticed all through the day people stopped and looked through the hedge from the road. When we said hello or Merry Christmas, Happy New Year or whatever, they were always ready to visit with these ‘strange looking white people’. I might have been the oldest person they had ever seen, lots of people asked me my age. I only saw two people while I was there with gray hair. This road or little street was more like an alley but there was a lot of activity on it. Pretty nice houses were on the other side. Almost everyone has a garden, that red dirt must be rich and fertile. Their top soil goes down forever, we saw a place that had been dug out like we would dig a calache pit, and the red dirt was all the way down and on the bottom was green stuff growing. There was a shower almost every afternoon even though it was the ‘dry season’. No one can appreciate the green countryside more than we do. Once in a while we are blessed with it and we are thankful.
I would like to show you a blog from 4 years ago. I like to go back and remember that remarkable trip to Kenya. There is a group from the College Hills Baptist Church in San Angelo who are on their way to Kenya and should be landing in Nairobi shortly. It made me think of this blog and wanted to repeat it. I wonder where all these children are now.
The first day we were at Children’s Rescue Centre at Miali Saba in Kenya, the kids went out to play after Bible Study. There was a soccer game going on and the rest of the kids were playing games. With everyone in a circle, the one who was ‘it’ wove in and out around the others and whoever they stopped by had to get in the middle and do a dance while the others chanted a song. It ended with a big wiggle, bend down, pull grass and throw it, then a kick. It was a real dance with real steps. Pretty soon I was in the middle and did the best I could. They laughed but were nice about it. (Lisa and Benton were good at this!) Then they got in a circle and beat on the ground and sang while someone danced in the center. Afterwards Paul told me I needed to buy them a real drum.The next day Elizabeth and I shopped all over town looking for one. Everyone told us the Coffee Shop had some but they were closed. Then someone suggested the book store. As we passed by, Elizabeth saw two drums in the window. How exciting! They were big around and covered in goat skin, really nice ones. I chose one and asked the man how much~1,000 shillings, or only about $10.
What a surprise, I would have thought at least $30 each. Anyway we bought both of them, then found some large wooden spoons to use for drum sticks. The next day we took them to the orphanage and two of the older boys started playing them, not just bang bang bang but like real tribal drums. When everyone got in the circle to dance and sing, the ‘head drummer’ beat his drum, the other boy held his hand on the head of his drum to mute it and played another beat. It was wonderful.
We noticed when they went to eat their dinner, they put the drums away in the store room so they were going to take good care of them.
When we went out there on New Years, there was a parade coming down the little road beside the orphanage and this group from town had drums, they were colorful and were celebrating another ‘year of life’. You could hear the drums from a distance. Something special about drums since the beginning of time~
In the summer of 1952, I was in Port Aransas, Texas (on the Gulf of Mexico) with my parents and two sisters. The monkey belonged to Daddy, some friends gave it to him as a prank. Junior was sweet but then he had another side~he could bite! (no one got bit that time though). Everyone was fishing from the pier, Mother and Daddy fished for Tarpon and we fished for supper.That day I was in charge of Junior. I put on an old swim suit and shower cap and spent the day entertaining everyone, Junior could draw a crowd. He was wearing his swimming trunks but he took them off after they got wet, or should I say, he wet them~ Every day he would get in the water with us and run on the beach trying to beat the waves. He was curious about everything, he picked up every shell he found and worked on it to see if anything was inside. Several weeks after we came back home, a big brown envelope came in the mail. A photographer from the San Antonio Express newspaper had snapped the picture and they ran it in their magazine. Someone recognized me and Junior and sent it to us. What a fun time to remember. A few years later, Junior went to live at the Zoo in San Antonio. Don’t get a monkey, get a sweet puppy instead.
Of all the trees I have grown, the peach and apricots are my favorite. These three little trees are from some seeds I saved last August and planted three weeks ago. They are growing fast and are over 10 inches tall, I will re-pot them into three gallon size buckets in a few weeks and grow them in the sun room until Spring. Sprouting seeds is addictive, you get fast results and it is fun watching a miracle of nature. I gave away over 20 peach and apricot trees last year and the friends who took them will be having fruit in three years or so. Tomorrow I will give you a favorite cobbler recipe of mine, it is easy and delicious, you don’t even have to get out your rolling pin~
I painted this picture from a black and white Mathew Brady sketch. I was not excited to do it but someone wanted it. Since the sketch had very little detail, I painted in faces that were not there. I ended up with people I knew, members of the family, I had to improvised. When I thought it was finished, I had to go back and take out the 30.30 rifles, they didn’t have any of those in the Civil War, and replace them with muzzle loaders. I also had to repaint the Mexican people with black people. There was a lot of painting going on with this one. It was a huge challenge, all the faces are the size of a postage stamp .I was loving it by the time I finished. The guy who ordered it traded it for something else. (Some day it will be his again).
Biscuits are easy to make, my grandmother Montgomery made them every single morning for breakfast for her family. One of the sweetest things I remember about my childhood is waking up at her house with the smell her biscuits baking. She always had homemade fruit preserves, back then everyone made their own preserves and jellies. I got to have a little coffee with cream and sugar too. (I poured it my saucer just like Granddad and let it cool and drank it from there). I liked being at their house, it just wrapped itself around you with good smells, soft cuddly beds, the sound of the train whistle, and all of that sweet love from Grandmother and Granddad.
There is farming and ranching in Kenya. The growing season for corn or maize, which is the big crop there, was over for the year at the time we were there. Someone said even with the mild climate and plenty of rain, they only grow one crop of corn a season. They do have modern tractors and equipment, but more like ours were back in the 1950’s. No air-conditioned cabs or fancy stuff and they had no need for it.
Sometimes they tether their animal’s front legs together with a short rope to keep them in one place and come back for them later
On the street in Kitale that led from Mili Mani to downtown, there were always cattle or sheep grazing. They all looked healthy and were gentle.
They somehow managed to stay out of the street and traffic but I didn’t know, they looked awfully close to the passing cars. We didn’t see any horses but lots of burros.
They are truly beasts of burden and were used to haul heavy loads on their backs and also for pulling wagons and carts. I enjoyed seeing the cows most of all, I have always liked cows.
Dogs are a huge part of our family. Several came from the pound, one we found on the road, two were Give Away’s. Early one morning I was reading the paper and saw the ad, ‘Free Shih Tzu to a good home only’ . I waited until 6:00 to call, but I wanted to be the first on the list. Thomas Mallow answered the phone. I told him I wanted that puppy, that we had recently lost Spook who lived to be almost 19 years old and we needed a new baby. He asked a lot of questions and said they would hold her until I could get to San Angelo at 10:00 to be interviewed. When I rang their doorbell, I heard barking and when I was inside, there was this precious little black and white dog, all happy to see me.( I also noticed a beautiful little baby boy in a jumper seat on the floor.) So the story unfolded, Pamela and Thomas got Marsha when she was a few weeks old and she had been their only baby. Then 18 months later, Blake was born. Marsha did not like him, he was taking her place in her mama’s lap. She would just look at him and growl, they knew that wasn’t going to work so decided they had to find another home for her. They chose us. I couldn’t believe what had just happened. Coming home she rode in Dan’s lap and that was the beginning of great times for us. Pamela and Thomas saw Marci several times after that and she still growled when she saw Blake. We have kept in touch and I get pictures of Blake often, he is a big fine handsome 13 year old boy now. Marci was one of our most wonderful gifts ever! She is an old girl now, she has been with us for a long time. Thank you again a hundred times sweet friends!
When ZZ was growing up, her favorite toy was her play kitchen. One year she even got an E-Z-Bake oven and was able to make cakes and cookies. She had her Papa’s little table and two chairs and all kinds of dishes and cookware. She could put a real meal together for her little friends,( both real and play like). It was fun watching her. Most of her other ‘toys’ were how-to books. One was on sculpting and making figures. They were made from polymer that was baked in the oven and came out strong and hard. The figures had finest detail, ribs on the socks, buttons and buttonholes. She gave one away to someone special every year . What a thrill to be “the one”. These two pictured are a little boy with his fishing pole, Dan and Debbie got that one for Christmas one year, the girl in the blue dress and sandals is mine. What a treasure~
In l963, I painted this picture from a snapshot my good friend Helen McAngus gave me of her daughter Lisa and nephew Willie. Their horse was Sally~ This picture was one of the most enjoyable to paint that I can ever remember. I knew these kids well, they had fun growing up in the country, there was always something to do. About six years ago, I had a letter from Helen’s granddaughter Shannon, telling me she had the painting now and how much it meant to have something from her mom’s childhood. Since then I have written her notes about Lisa and Willie growing up. Shannon has a beautiful little daughter named Morlee who looks a lot like Lisa. This picture has been on Face Book but I wanted to put it in my blog, it has come full circle for me, fun from 1963 and on up until today. I love this story, I loved those kids~