Candy Memories

You know how there are little things that will always remind you of someone? Like every time I see a greyhound or something with a greyhound on it, I think of my friend Natalie. Whenever I see anchors or nautical-themed things, I think of my cruise-loving mother in law.

When I see certain candies, I think of my dad. My dad was a fan of hard candies. He had four favorite kinds of hard candies: Peppermints, lemon drops, cinnamons and Horehounds (brown candies that have a unique flavor that reminded me of licorice and root beer).

They’re the kind of candies that you find in the paper bag packages at the Cracker Barrel country store. The ones with very distinct and very different flavors. Continue reading

Dad Would Have Turned 54

If life had played out a little differently, and cancer hadn’t stolen my father from us when he was 50, today would have turned 54 today.

On “dad days” like today, I try to remember a story about my dad to share. But it’s hard, the sad memories push themselves to the forefront. When I really try to remember things, I think about bow ties and learning to drive stick shift, which aren’t necessarily stories to tell (or ones I haven’t told already). I remember little thinks like the fact that he liked cinnamon Altoids, didn’t drink coffee and wore suspenders. It’s times like these that make me fear losing memories of my dad.

There is a small comfort though in being reminded of him in little things that he likes, like hot apple cider, straw hats, red pick up trucks or the curved arches in my dining room.

For today, that will be enough.

A Great Grandmother

Today, we are at a memorial service for Brad’s great grandmother. By the time I came along, my great grandparents were already gone, so I had no idea how great it was to have a great grandmother. To be the most accurate though, due to the different family dynamics, Brad’s great grandmother (grandma Raymond) was only 2 years older than my grandmother.

Grandma Raymond was a sweet lady and I’m glad that I was able to know her and I would like to share some of my favorite memories of her with you.
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When Brad and I were planning our wedding, she and Brad’s grandmother bought their dresses for our wedding together. The next time she saw us, she asked for me to look at her dress. “It’s very shiny and is that okay? If it’s too shiny to wear to your wedding, I will find another dress,” she said. The dress was beautiful and she looked great in it at our wedding. I appreciated that she wanted my input.
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The Bow Tie

For nearly as long as I can remember, my dad would comment on how cool it would be to have a REAL bow tie. He once said that he thought being able to tie a bow tie was a skill that classy men had and seemed to be a dying art.

My dad didn’t own a bow tie when I was a kid. As my dad’s 50th birthday approached (January 28, 2011) I was in full-scale wedding planning mode and decided that I wanted to give my dad that opportunity to be the man in the tuxedo, tying a real, bow tie.

I searched a few stores and ended up in the men’s department at Macy’s. They had a wide selection of bow ties, including the classic, black satin bow tie. The cashier asked me while ringing up the bow tie, “does he know how to tie this?” He didn’t know who it was for, what it meant or any of the back story but I answered, “He will.”

Dad’s surprise party 50th birthday party had to be changed from a surprise party in Ohio to a planned party at my parent’s home in Pennsylvania because my dad’s cancer treatments were taking a toll on him, making travel tough. For his birthday, I gave my dad his bow tie and a link to a how to video on YouTube.

I’ll never forget that smile when he opened his bowtie

A week or so after his birthday, I received an email from my dad with several in-progress photos of him tying the bow tie. Continue reading

Friday Five: Birthday Edition

I doubt that I’ll be one of those women who dreads birthdays. I may lament that I’m old some days, but never on my birthday. I figured today, I would share five birthday memories that made me smile as I approached one more year older.

1. For either my 6th or 7th birthday (childhood gets a little foggy sometimes), my parents gave me a yellow stuffed bunny that reminded me of my cake so I called it Frosting. Frosting currently lives in my attic.

2. I volunteered to participate in a work weekend at our church camp over my 15th birthday. When one of the organizers found out it was my birthday, he got cake and ice cream and all of the volunteers celebrated with me.

3. For my 19th birthday, Northeast Ohio had a legitimate blizzard and most of the area shut down, canceling the fancy dinner plans that Brad had made for us. His family came out and got me, we played in the snow, had a private dinner made for us and they made me a cake. The next day, when clearing out got started, my siblings came over and I got another party. Dinner reservations were remade and my birthday lasted a lot longer.

That’s a man skiing down the street

4. On my 21st birthday, I had balloons tied to me. Continue reading