Welcome...

Grammy's House is a term affectionately used by our two grandchildren, Xavier and Sophia. Our sweet Sophia, resides here with us. We named our 100 year old Victorian home Rose Water Cottage when we moved here, in June of 2011. It is quite a haven for grownups who are weary of being grownups. So, welcome to our storybook world...where magic happens every day.
Blessings,
Christie

Storybook Cottage Crafts

Monday, August 24, 2015

Story, Indiana…a road trip

They traveled in a case…in a tiny traveling case. Eliza the Mouse and Talula Kate Duckling.
Their chaperones, Grammy and Big Daddy, are taking them on an adventure.

Through the big city, into the country, and through another big city…




….across a large bridge…


 …and past old buildings and old schools…


…and through two states, into a third….Indiana.

There are tiny white farm houses and aqua blue skies…and there is corn…
fields and fields of corn...


The car turns off the busy highway and onto a smaller highway…
then another turn, and they are on a winding road, making their way
through the shade of the woods...


Oh, how wonderful to ride and ride and see such beauty…
feel such peace…
to travel back in time to a place called Story…
Story, Indiana

The car slowly approaches the STOP sign, and pauses for a moment.
Before them, lies the quaint little town.


A general store, with its old gas pumps..



 and old bicycles with flowers growing in their baskets …


…and murals painted on the walls…


A little house upon the hill where the town's doctor once lived...



A wheelbarrow filled with flowers..


and an herb garden …


and surprise lilies…everywhere…


Finally, Eliza and Talula Kate can stretch their mousie feet and duckling wings 
and take a look around….


The house is so cozy with its Victorian sofa and low rocker…


 and low chair…


its wood floors painted gray…

and bay window with lace curtains…


An old parlor stove stands guard in front of the mantle, 

and a wooden clock hangs above…



 …and how Eliza wishes once again, Grammy had remembered one tiny cast iron tub…
very much like the one in this cozy little cottage...



Grammy feels right at home, enjoying the afternoon sun streaming through the bay window's lace curtains…


Talula Kate Duckling wonders why Eliza has packed the tiny case with every tiny shawl…


…and every tiny hat…2 tiny baskets…2 tiny flower crowns... and 2 tiny soaps…


(Alas, it is Duckling's first adventure…and she has much to learn)

She has even brought her tiny phone! 



Talula gives it a try.
It surely does not work, for they are off in another world, it seems…
off in a story book world, where time stands still.
No television, no phones, no computers…
just the hum of the air conditioner ..
and the quiet chirping of the birds.

And in the shade of the old walnut trees, the heat of the summer
must relinquish its hold..
The little toy mouse and her dear duckling friend decide the shawls are not needed.
They each choose a pretty crown
with trailing fabric ties.

Talula's will be darling with the soft pink of the ribbon 'round her neck,
and the tiny blue flowers of Eliza's tiny crown are her favored shade…
that heavenly hue...



The fragrance of their soaps …honey and lemongrass…leave them feeling refreshed
after such a long journey.

It is time, now, to make their way to the restaurant...
and Grammy loves the old school desks greeting her at the entrance …


 Dinner in the old General Store of the Story Inn is quite wonderful..
and they enjoy the charm of the old stained glass windows...

 

and an old buggy suspended from the old ceiling…


The evening comes to a close. 
They make their way back to the coziness of the cottage,
and fall fast, fast asleep.

The next morning,
coffee is served with a hearty breakfast.


 They are on their way, once again…
traveling on to a second destination
where the adventure will continue…

And they will pass more fields of corn…
and tractors…
'neath aqua skies..



Come along for the rest of the journey.

Stay tuned…

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

My friend, Bill Fry...

I went on a little journey this past weekend.
 I traveled to Mayfield, Kentucky, to meet up with dear friend Kim, and from there, we would drive to
her family's home in the small town of Eldorado, Illinois.

She grew up on this farm, with this big red barn…


…and her dad, Bill, would take me around the place and tell me stories…
and show me his garden
(the asparagus, gone to seed…where the cucumbers had grown...he just set out those over there…)
There was just so much to tell..and just so much to take in…


He was fairly excited. To say the least.

Kim and I have been friends for 20 years.
It was the summer of '95 that we met and found we would be teaching on the same team,
assigned to a profoundly wonderful group of 6th graders.


It had been 20 years since I had visited her childhood home, met her parents Vernie and Bill,
her little brother John and her big sister Barb. I learned she had lost her oldest brother, in a tragic accident.
But life had gone on…

And now, on this visit…we were grieving the absence of her mom, who passed on February 26th.
On the same day, I was remembering what would have been the 30th birthday of my Rachel Rose.
A day of grieving and loving and remembering.


Kim decided we would surprise her dad, with my visit.
Mission was accomplished.

We drove out to the family's lake house, built on the banks of a lake not far down the road from their home. John's bees were in a clearing, off to the side. Canoes were at rest at water's edge.
It was peaceful.


My friend Bill, calls me Chris. He just does.
This is what he has called me for 20 years.
So I answer.
He pulls out the photo albums, and tells me stories of friends in California…"..and there's me and Vernie…and there's John with Terry's son…" 
So many memories…
and I listen.


He flips through the pages, and suddenly it's time to go…

We will meet up with little brother John at the restaurant in town…
where everybody knows everybody..


and then we'll head back to the house..
and friends and family will drop by..and check in…and head out again..
Much laughter and story-telling..
and the cat's out of the bag.
Tomorrow is John's birthday.
43.
I can NOT believe it.


It was just the other day, he was that young man of 23…
Time marches on.

Off to bed.

Saturday morning, I descend the stairs and smell coffee. It's early,
but Bill/Dad has already left for work at the furniture store... NuWay…where he runs the show.
It was established sometime in the 20's. He's shown me the old photos…the old "cash register"..
He is there 6 days a week...

By 8:00 am..he's popped in with the newspaper…and then he's gone.
He calls to tell us there's gas in the car…"in case you gals want to go shopping"…

So we finish our coffee…and our long conversation…and we fix our hair and our makeup and discuss lipgloss colors (the things we used to do all those years ago)

We drive to the nearby town of Harrisburg, Illinois, and enjoy a grilled chicken salad at
The Burg.
It is such a darling cafe, with its framed flag with 48 stars...


It has been lovingly restored.
In its former life, it was a pharmacy…and then a tavern.
The owner saw its potential.
We're thankful.


We then make our way to the neighboring boutique Gypsy Moon…which was formerly 
Myrons (an upscale dress shoppe in the 6o's) and before that..
it was a bank…






We head to the grocery store, to acquire goods for the evening's celebration/cookout, and make our way back to her momma's kitchen...
and while Kim prepares appetizers and treats, we have more time to reminisce and share memories and talk about life…and our children...

At quarter past 4, with Dad/Bill riding in the back seat…
 we drive through neighboring Riverside to see the church where Bill and Vernie were married.
It had suffered a terrible blow by a tornado, a few years ago,
but reconstruction is underway, and we are thankful.
We are on our way to attend mass at "the little old country church" in Ponds Settlement.
I have never attended Catholic mass. This will be my first.
I am overwhelmed by the sacredness…the songs…the ritual…
Kim kneels..I kneel…I follow her lead.
We sing and pray and we share "peace" to our pew neighbors…


We stop by the house for the appetizers, and then it is on to the house by the lake.

There, John has grilled for all of us…and there are deviled eggs and cheese balls and fresh tomatoes and chips and all kinds of cookout delicious-ness…
and a birthday gift he shares with all of us...fresh bread, made by the nuns.
Goodness.

And then there's Kim's cousin Lennie, who taught kindergartners for 35 years..
and we are kindred spirit friends in an instant...



As dusk approaches, I look towards the water…

There is no singing "happy birthday"…
just this…


quiet moments. 
remembering.

Sunday morning the house is filled with the fragrance of home-made breakfast.
Kim has out done herself,
and I realize we have not captured a photo of the two of us.
Niece Jessica, snaps...


..and then it is time for goodbyes.
It is hard.
We hug and kiss and hug some more…
and he fills the back of the car with tomatoes and cucumbers, green beans and peppers…
"Chris, I got sweet corn for you…" 

and we're on our way…


I arrive home to one happy little girlie…



Monday morning, Sophia and I set up camp on the back porch and commence a lesson in the
snapping of green beans. 

(We find one of Grammy Nancy's bowls..
and have quite a discussion of this dear one who resides in heaven)




She digs the tiny "nuggets" within, and says, "Grammy, you can eat dese widdle beans! Dare da-wicious!"


That task is accomplished, and I am on to the schucking of the corn..


and she appears, with her widdle stool…and wants to learn…


I take over the peeling and slicing of the cucumbers..
placing them inside the refrigerator dishes passed down from my Uncle Neil and Aunt Lea…


….and this tomato! Good gracious…have you ever??


The purple of the eggplant and the yellow of the corn, alongside that 'ripened to perfection' tomato..
I am in Garden Goodness Heaven!

I add chopped onion and Apple Cider vinegar…a dash of salt and pepper... and scoop the concoction into another lidded glass dish and into the fridge for chilling…


Tim prepares the corn for grilling (melted butter and tarragon) and then returns with this mountain of caramelized corn…


The freshly snapped green beans are cooked down to perfection, the new potatoes boiled to just the right softness…and we enjoy the feast…
wishing terribly, that Bill Fry could join us at our farm table, here in our little cottage in Franklin.

As I reflect on the weekend, I am grateful for my friend Kim.
We had no idea, that summer of '95, that we would be enjoying such a steadfast friendship,
all these years later.
We had no idea the road ahead would have so many bumps and twists and turns.
This new road she travels, that her family travels….
moving forward, missing her mother's physical presence…
it is hard.

Our dads share the same name, and each of them is called Billy by family and forever friends.
My dad was born on November 7, 1931.
Her dad was born on November 11, 1932.
They each love their girls in a mighty way,
and they are proud of their accomplishments…and remind the world around them, 
of all their girls' successes, because the world needs to be reminded…always…
They both know Jesus, and their faith is profound.
I am thankful for these two dads. 

I have already relayed my thanks to Kim,
but to Barb and John..and to Patrick and Matt and Jessica and Bradley..and to Lennie and Roger…and Mark and Josh…to Sister Alicia and Aunt Ada…to Nathan and Courtney and baby girl Kennedy…and Brandy and Hayden…
Thank you for sharing your Bill Fry with this "long tall Chris" from Tennessee.
I am proud and honored to call him friend.

Blessings.