Bus Rides

When I was a little girl, I would ride to school on a yellow school bus with lots of other kids.  Some years my mother was even the bus driver!  We went to a Christian School about 10 miles from the center of the valley where we lived.

But, when I turned 13 and was going into high school, I went far, far away to school on a different kind of bus – a Greyhound Travel bus.  Grandpa and Grandma Norris, your great-grandparents, wanted their daughters to go to a Christian High School and they met some nice people who were part of a school in Alberta, Canada.  Grandpa and Grandma decided this would be a good place for me to go.  For me that was like leaving Indiana and going to Argentina – except I wasn’t going with my family – only with my oldest sister, Ruth.

For several weeks Ruth and I helped our mom make new clothes, pack our trunk and suitcases and prepare for the long bus ride to our new school.  At this school we would live in a dormitory – sort of like a big apartment building – with lots of other girls.

When the day came, after a tearful farewell, we climbed up on the big, big bus and got into our tall comfortable seats.  Soon the bus roared away and we were off on our adventure.  We rode all day and saw lots of different towns and countryside and then we rode all night and we tried to sleep…Then we rode all the next day through more towns and lots of wide open spaces…and then we rode all the next night.  We did stop at restaurants every once in awhile to get something to eat and have a chance to walk around…but mostly we just rode and rode and rode…50 hours later we arrived at our new school and while we were glad to be there…mostly we were just very happy that the long, long bus ride was ended!!

Gramma at the beach

There is nothing quite like smelling the salt air, seeing the seagulls soaring overhead, hearing the waves crashing on the beach and feeling the cool, wet sand squishing beneath your feet!! Add to that the adventure of hunting for special shells and rocks, digging holes or building castles in the sand, trying to jump through or ride on the waves…and you’ve just described a perfect beach afternoon!

When I was growing up, going to Oceanside or Moonlight Beach was about my favorite place ever. We did not get to go on many trips or vacations, but on a beautiful, summer day, it was a real treat to go to the ocean for the afternoon…and then we would usually have supper there too. Now supper at the beach was part of the experience. We would take quite a bit of wood – so we could build a large fire in the cement ring on the sand. We would wrap potatoes and corn-on-the-cob in foil and put them down in the coals of the fire. Somehow my daddy always knew just how long they needed to cook. While they were baking – we’d get out some hotdogs or hamburgers and grill them as well. Yum, what a meal…and of course, it was always sprinkled with sand that blew in from somewhere…I guess it made things taste better! Then when we’d eaten our fill, out would come the marshmallows. We’d put 2 of those big white fluffy puffs on a roasting stick and get as close to the fire as we dared and roast and toast them until they were golden brown. Now here’s a funny story…I always liked to let my marshmallows catch on fire and get pretty black before I’d eat them. Well, one time, I guess I didn’t blow on it enough – and I put the marshmallow in my mouth and it still had fire in it…I sure didn’t waste anytime spitting that out…and from then on I was much more careful about how I toasted my marshmallows!!

The other thing we would do at the beach was gather sea weed (called kelp) and put it in large silver tubs to take home to put on our garden. Kelp is slippery and looks like long ropes that have leaves on them…It also has these cool bulbs that you could step on and POP!

When the moon was full, sometimes we would go to the beach at night to hunt grunion. Grunion are tiny little silver fish that wash up onto the sand to lay their eggs. They are also good to eat. We’d have our flashlights to shine on the waves, waiting to see them coming in on the high tide. You had to be fast to grab them before they would wash back out to sea on the following waves. It was great fun!! Just being at the beach in the dark was exciting…everything sounded and looked different just by firelight.

Oh – how I enjoy the ocean…It calms and soothes me and I have many happy memories of being there!!

The Giant Sunflowers

On a tiny little farm in the center of the valley lived a family who had 5 lovely daughters.  Their father enjoyed planting a garden and raising animals to help provide the food they needed.  This wasn’t just an ordinary garden – this was a large, huge, gigantic garden with every imaginable kind of food.  There was the sweetest corn on the cob that you ever tasted, there were big red tomatoes and little yellow tomatoes that looked like tiny light bulbs.  There were many different kinds and colors of squash, potatoes, pumpkins, cucumbers, onions, lettuce, okra, spinach, green beans, carrots, peppers, watermelons and cantaloupes, and even awful tasting parsnips… and then…there were sunflowers.

Now sunflowers are not exactly vegetables, but they have seeds that make very tasty snacks.  With bright yellow faces they grow on a stem that makes them look something like a small tree.  They certainly made a nice border around the large, huge, gigantic garden.

Raising a garden is a lot of work.  The dirt has to be dug up, the seeds have to be planted, the plants have to be watered – and in the center of the valley, the plants had to be watered every day.  Then there are the weeds – those other plants that try to grow where you don’t want them too…and they have to be pulled up and thrown away.

So the father of the family needed lots of help from his lovely daughters to take care of the garden.  While each of the girls did their part, Kathy seemed to do especially well at watering the plants.  She would get up very early in the morning to make sure the garden had a good long drink before the day became too hot.  She got lots of freckles on her face from standing out in the morning sun, but there was a feeling of satisfaction from helping care for those plants.

The garden made the family happy – but the father was especially proud of the sunflower plants.  As the days went by, they grew taller and taller and their bright yellow faces shown brighter and brighter.  He would tell his friends that he had never had such grand sunflowers…they were taller than Kathy…taller than her father…before long they were taller than the house…they were a sight to see!

And then, a sad thing happened.  One day after Kathy gave those big plants a drink, she forgot to turn off the water…so the hose ran water on them all night long.  When the father came out in the morning, he was very surprised that he couldn’t see his tall, bright sunflowers.  What had happened to them?  Where did they go? Oh my, their roots couldn’t take all that water – and they had crashed right down to the ground. There lay those big giants with their faces in the mud.

So the father was sad and Kathy felt bad – but from then on, she remembered to turn off the water!!

Big Red

In a tiny little farm in the center of the valley lived the meanest baddest big Rhode Island Red rooster ever!  Just before sunrise Big Red started in with his Cock a doodle doo – Cock a doodle doo – Cock a doodle doo .  All throughout the day he strutted around the pen where the chickens were scratching, eating, generally clucking and laying eggs.  He made sure all those chickens knew he was the king of the roost.

Also on the tiny little farm in the center of the valley lived a sweet little girl.  It was Kathy’s job to scatter the grain for food and make sure the chickens had plenty of water.  She had to go into their pen every afternoon to gather their beautiful brown eggs.

This is where the trouble began.  Big Red – thinking he was totally in charge, did not want anyone coming into his territory.  Kathy needed to collect the eggs and there was no other way to get them except by going near Big Red.  He would flutter and hiss and make noises trying to scare her.  Actually she was afraid and did not look forward to going into the pen, but it had to be done.

One particular afternoon, Big Red must have been feeling especially mean and as Kathy came in to take care of the chickens, he started running toward her, jumping to scare her.  What he didn’t realize is that she had the watering hose in her hands.  A feeling of power came over her and she turned the water on full force and began squirting Big Red showering him with water, hollering at him and chasing him all around the chicken pen. The more he ran, the more she chased and sprayed him.  He was one soaked bird!!

From that day on, Big Red never again tried to scare Kathy!