Happy 92nd Birthday Grandma . . . . Have a Lollipop to Celebrate Today!

Jul 20th

Happy Birthday Grandma!  My paternal grandmother is 92 years old today.  What a character!  I could go into pages and pages about her, but will try to keep it short.  My Grandmother spent her adult life raising her five children, fostering other children, and working as Matron in a juvenile detention facility.  I remember when I was about three years old, she would take me to work with her and wheel me from room to room on a rolling office chair.  I’d watch her prepare meals for the inmates, do paperwork, clean up the facility, etc. as she went about her day.  At meal times she would put the food trays through to the “kids” on the other side, then she would hold me up to the bars and tell me to take a good look at the bad kids.  After I’d looked awhile she would turn me to face her and nose to nose she would tell me to NOT be bad like them.  At three years old I had absolutely no idea what any of that meant, but I’d nod seriously and agree not to do whatever it was landed those kids in jail.  Grandma has a wicked sense of humor, a very clear picture of right and wrong, a faith as wide as her compassion, and she ruled her family with an iron will.   Sometimes Grandma’s sense of humor and mine didn’t quite mesh, as it seemed I was on the receiving end of many moments that had me wishing I could crawl into a hole and just hang out there until time had passed enough for people to forget . . . they never forgot.  Like the time she announced at a family reunion that I FINALLY needed a bra.  Or the time she dragged me into the home of a teenage boy from her church, while he was HORRIBLY sick with the flu, and straight into his bedroom to introduce us and announce that one day we would marry each other.  He wanted to die, I wanted to die and no, we didn’t end up married.  Grandma gets a real sense of whether or not a person is good or bad immediately, and she acts on those feelings no matter which direction they go.  I distinctly remember the moment she met my ex-husband for the first time.  I was about 5 months pregnant with my daughter, barely out of high school and brought my new husband to my uncle’s house for Thanksgiving.  I introduced him to Grandma, she looked him up and down, pulled back her right arm, swung, and slapped him as hard as she could right upside the face.  He stood there, mouth gaping in shock, as my Grandma snarled “welcome to the family”, gave me a hug and went back into the other room.  OH MY GOODNESS!  Boy did she have HIM figured out just at hello!  When God created Grandma, He put all of the strength and determination of 10 women into one.  She has been a blessing to everyone, even while occasionally being a prickly thorn if she feels the moment calls for it.  Grandma, may your birthday be filled with laughter, fun and all the happiness you deserve. I love you.  (In this picture, some of my 2nd cousins were playing dress-up with her.  I had to giggle because I remember her playing dress up with me when I was growing up too.)
** This is also the day my Grandfather passed away – some birthday celebration for Grandma, hm? – and I cannot tell you how sad I am that my children missed out on knowing him.  I know he’s in heaven waiting to meet them someday.  Grandpa – I love you and miss you so much. 

Moon Day  – I think any of us who were born already remember this day in history.  It’s as clear now as it was then, even though I was only four years old.  I remember sitting on the floor in front of the TV, my Mom and Dad with me, staring at the screen, afraid to take our eyes off of it for even a moment.  We watched while nearly holding our breath as we watched Neil Armstrong place his foot on the moon’s surface for the first time.  My Dad had tears in his eyes, and though I didn’t comprehend the enormity of the whole thing, I knew it was huge because my Dad didn’t show much emotion ever, unless he was yelling at a game play he didn’t like.  Do you remember this incredible day in our world’s history?

Ugly Truck Day – We’ve all known guys with really banged up trucks, worn by the bumps and bangs they’ve suffered along the way.  Rather than be upset by these scars that life put into the dulling pain jobs, they were proud of them.  Each one spoke of an adventure that this truck went through with its owner.  Brand new, shiny trucks with all of the fancy gadgets and features are wonderful, but from what I’ve ready there’s just something about an ugly truck makes a statement of its own about living life without apology and rushing towards adventure with enthusiasm.  Happy Ugly Truck Day to everyone with an ugly truck!


Toss Away the “Could Haves” and “Should Haves” DayI am one of those people who has a tendency to re-hash the past.  What could I have done differently, what SHOULD I have done differently.  If I had made this decision, or that decision, would things have been better?  Would I have saved my kids this grief or that?  Would I have been carrying less baggage, or more?  The truth is that all of that talk is useless.  Learning from our mistakes is good, it helps us not make them again, but fixating on the things we cannot change prevents us from moving forward into the future.  Sometimes, depending on what your past issues are, this can prevent you from moving forward in a healthy way and making better choices from this point forward.  Today you can change all of that!  Today is the day to cast off all of that baggage, and stop trying to second guess the decisions that cannot be changed.  This is a big one for me.  I hope it is for you too.

Woodie Wagon Day – For most of us, I’m guessing, our only experience with the Woodie Wagon is from old surfer movies, but the wood sided vehicle wasn’t just something done for style, there was a practical reason behind it!  The popularity of this vehicle started in the 1940s.  Steel was being salvaged for the war effort, so car manufacturers were turning to wood as a replacement.  It was placed along the sides of the “wagon”, and was a great family vehicle for the 40’s and 50’s.  As the popularity, and necessity, of the car subsided the prices dropped, and California surfers began buying them since they were not only inexpensive, they could easily carry their surf boards.  Today the nostalgia continues in old movies and in the memory of those who had one in their family in those days. 

National Lollipop Day – I don’t normally go into in depth history of most of the food holidays, but this is pretty interesting.  I was wondering where lollipops came from and thought it was so fascinating that I’d tell you!  The first version of the lollipop was likely created by cave people thousands of years ago when they collected honey from beehives with sticks.  Not wanting to waste any of it, it is guessed that they just licked it off of the stick, making the world’s first lollipop.  Yeah!  Archaeologists believe that ancient Chinese, Arabs, and Egyptians all made fruit and nut confections that they “candied” in honey, since honey acts as a preservative, and put sticks into them to make them easier to eat.  By the 17th century, as sugar became more plentiful, the English started making boiled sugar candy treats, and also inserted sticks into them to make them easier to eat.  I found that linguists say the term “lolly pop” literally means “tongue slap” (isn’t that funny?).  It is possible that London street vendors started calling the treat they were selling it.  Another forerunner to the modern lollipop can be find in the Civil War era, when hard candy was put on the tips of pencils for children.  (why this was done, I don’t know).  The early 20th century was the era of automation, and this is when the birth of the lollipop as we now know it, seriously begins.  In about 1905 the owner of the McAviney Candy Company could have just stumbled on the lollipop by accident.  They made boiled hard candy by stirring them with sticks, and at the end of the day the owner brought the sticks home to his kids.  In 1908 he began marketing these “used candy sticks”. This was brought further in Racine, Wisconsin by the Racine Confectionery Machine Company when they introduced a machine that put hard candy on the ends of sticks at the rate of 2,400 sticks per hour.  The owners of the company thought that they could produce enough lollipops (even though they weren’t called that yet) in a single week to supply the demand for an entire year.  Around 1912 a machine was invented by Russian immigrant Samuel Born, that inserted sticks into candy.  It was called the Born Sucker Machine.  In 1931 the owner of a candy company called the Bradley Smith Company took credit for inventing the modern version of the lollipop, trademarking the term, which brings us back to the 17th Century phrase ‘tongue slap’, taking the name from a famous race horse named Lolly Pop.  The development of the lollipop took its time and there is some competition for the title of who created them, but no matter who can take credit for it, it is here to say and is one of the most popular candies in existence.   Here are some really cute lollipop ideas from www.food.com to get you started enjoying this treat today.

Sorry this took so long to post this morning (oops, early afternoon).  Grandma called to thank us for some birthday flowers we sent and ended up talking for quite a long time.  So nice to hear her so happy and having such a good day.  She’s absolutely basking in all of the attention.  Have a wonderful Saturday, a productive and relaxing (are those two contradicting each other?) day, and a blessed weekend.  God Bless You and I’ll see you tomorrow!

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