Pictoral Wishes For Your 2013


Gwamma Sandwich

Mistake Number 1:

Accepting a ride from the dynamic duo

Mistake Number 2:

Liking it

Mistake Number 3:

Morphing into the Three Musketeers


Shame on these two for offering sweet, little Gwamma a ride in Babe the Blue Ox, capitalizing on her trust and innocence.  A few fishtails and power slides later, she understood the consequences of her choices and cursed God for free will.  That’s when ‘ol Diablo kicked in– along with the turbo.  A switch was flipped and she liked it.  Gwamma has gone over to the dark side and reverse is not in her vernacular.


Now the woman who gave birth to me, nurtured me, and tucked me under my blankies every night wants to go mud slinging and doughnut spinning.  Hell, she wants to drive.


Next they will put a red nose on her, hitch her to a sleigh, and shove a carrot up her butt.

Keep Momma Happy

These days it is rare that all three of our adult children are under one roof.    The smell of a juicy turkey baking and my famous sweet potato pie usually reels ‘em in each fall.   Next to cooking, my favorite thing is taking pictures–taking pictures of them.  Collectively, they are my finest moment and the loves of my life.  I cherish the holidays with them and hope to capture just the right smiles for our family photo Christmas card.  Do they care?  You decide.

Family portrait 2012

Achieved  after  an  appropriate  amount  of  begging,  bribing,  and pretty-pleases with sugar on top.  This is what my little cherubs offered up.  I’m not alone.  My sister-in-law, Auntie Karen, solved the lack of enthusiasm in her family this way:

Toby, the Pomeranian, was the only one with any “cheese” so she hung up her son and daughter’s empty sweatshirts where their beautiful smiles should be.  Mission accomplished.

We laughed about it on the phone and wondered where we went wrong.

Was it the cupcakes we baked for all their birthday parties at school?  Was it when we made their beds and washed their clothes?  Was it all the worrying we did when they got their driver’s licenses?  We decided it had to be all those bedtime stories and fairy tales that turned our sweet little ones into unrelenting, nonconforming monsters.







Pearls Before Swine



Icy north winds blew snow across the endless Iowa prairie and over the backs of huddled up cattle as I headed eastbound, through the corn belt on I-80, from Coon Rapids, Iowa–back home–to Flint, Michigan.   


The landscape was surreal.  Nothing broke the plain except for a few clusters of twisted, gnarled oak trees and weather beaten grain elevators.  The main industry along my route was ethanol production.  Every so often a small town sprang up around a silver nucleus of massive corn silos.  “Colder than a well digger’s arse” came to mind when I saw the exhaled breath steaming out from frosted calf noses and each time a hard shiver made me want to turn up the heater in the truck.  

Coon Rapids has a vibrant, historic downtown shopping district sans a Walmart, KMart, or grocery conglomerate.  These are family-owned businesses where grandchildren work elbow to elbow with grandparents.  After being in town just a few days, I stopped up at the Hardware Store for some parts.  The woman behind the counter asked, “You must be Kelly?”  A big, fat smile spread from cheek to cheek as it dawned on me that just being new here made you special.

I came to Coon Rapids out of “necessity”….my husband was deer hunting in “Macke Land” –with a family he has loved to hunt with for the past 12 years.  This year, however, a business meeting cut his deer camp week short so, anticipating the inevitable (he doesn’t lack confidence or optimism) he recruited me to drive him to the airport at the end of his hunt and to deliver his deer meat, antlers, gear (oh, and his hunting dog) all the way back home, a distance of 700 miles.  At first glance, it seems I was doing him the favor.  As it turns out, the gift was mine.

I’ve lived with this man for 30 years and have listened to all of his big swamp buck stories.  This year I was privy to all the camp lingo and the strategies that make blood brothers out of men. Stuff like:  Day two, dark-thirty…BBD.  (Just to whet your whistle and show off some tough guy swagger that I picked up at deer camp.)  Big Buck Down.

Finally, I was able to get into a stand of precious timber, see this Boone & Crockett buck down where he was harvested, and witness the respect for the game and the chase that our group of hunters has.  Then came the fun part:  watching two grown men sweat and struggle to drag this monster buck some distance down a ravine, then back up a ravine, and finally heave it into the bed of a pick up truck on the count of three.  I played dumb and watched while their antics tickled my funny bone.  John climbed up into his tree stand and relived the action for me, minute by heart pounding minute.  I could see Christmas morning in my husband’s eyes.  When I put my arms around him for our picture, I felt him still shaking like a little girl from the adrenaline rush.  I smiled at him, on my inside.

Our hosts prepared a MAN CAVE dinner with 2″ steaks sizzling on the grill to celebrate.  The area Game Warden (Title always  capitalized here in Macke Land) stopped by for a bite and a story.  Gus entertained him with stories about how he “influences” trespassers (pumpkin heads) who “no speak-a-da English” to master the language REAL QUICK once they are busted on his land.  The whole camp is on a “swat team” high alert for Pumpkin Heads at all times.

The next day the meat packer sent out a 9-1-1 call to us saying that we had to get over to his shop before dark thirty, a day early, because he already had 35 townies come through, taking pictures of John’s deer, and trouble was brewing. EVERYONE heard about this buck.  He knew that someone would help themselves to these antlers before dawn.  He didn’t want to be responsible.
This was our cue. We said our goodbyes, collected our things, our dog, and our memories and left town with our buck of a lifetime.  On the way to the airport and just
outside of Iowa City, a frozen ravine caught my eye.  I looked down from the bridge and saw five perched bald eagles!  My heart skipped a beat.

By 2 p.m. John was on his flight and I was eastbound and down headed for the Michigan line.  FAST.  After a testosterone filled week, I was ready to “git-r-done”.  600 more miles to go without heat in the car (we have to keep the processed meat frozen and the hide from reeking–which was incentive enough for me to follow the rules–this time).  I threw up the radar detector and set the cruise at 84.  In no time, I reached the world’s largest I-80 truck stop.  They have three giant semi trucks in there on display, a laundromat, a hotel, several restaurants, a parts department featuring CHROME and a wall of rig lighting–plus a Ginormous gift shop.

Shopping at I-80 Truck Stop
“World’s largest”









So far, so good.  I passed the three I’s without smelling any bacon.  Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana.  At midnight I crossed the Michigan line, making time.   Yes, I listened to Dr. Laura, XM’s The Highway, Fox News Channel, and Blue Collar Radio.  I admit it.  With 50 miles to go, my phone rang.  It was John.  He was at his hotel and thought to check on….his Dear…his Deer.  You decide.

As soon as I bragged about my speed, my time, and my total awesomeness….I was attacked by big flashing cherries in the rear view mirror.  Yep, I took my eye off the ball for a minute and Porky came calling.  What to do, what to do.

He came along side the window and I told him I had guns… and bullets… and dead animals… in my truck.  Arnold asked for my license, registration and certificate of insurance, all business-like.  Then I threw down the trump card.  “Hey, do you want to see my 14 pt. buck?  He’s a Booner”  With a wicked grin and a twinkle in his eye, he said, “Sure, hop out.  Show me whatchagot.” I buttered his bread on both sides, telling him he got me fair and square.  The clincher was when I asked him if he wanted to hold the antlers.

After checking the tags, my new BFF shot me “The Look”  (I see it every time I get pulled over and work my magic)  and he said, “Just slow ‘er down, na.”

AND SO… Stay tuned as I continue to be a legend in my own mind.

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