Friday, February 25, 2011

All good things must come to an end

The Buster women have spent the week celebrating the birthday of one of our own, my dear Aunt Linda. Somehow I got to be lucky one to close out the week and it's extra lucky for me because I happen to know that Linda loves Friday's. So hopefully, I'll make her day just that much sweeter!

So, what can a girl say about Linda? Geographically, we've never been close, but that just makes the time we spend together that much more special.

When I was young, 10 or 11 maybe, I got the honor of spending 2 weeks with her and Joey at her house in Colorado! And what a fabulous time it was!! (Way before she had daughters of her own--I like to say I was the practice kid.) She took me swimming, horseback riding, camping, fishing, and even to Mesa Verde!! I have at best a very foggy memory, but I'll never forget that special time we spent together.

I know we saw each some between 1991 and 2008, but the next real time I remember spending with Linda is when she brought her family over to my mom's for Christmas. It was Linda's (5),  Mom's (2), Me's (4), and THE Grandparents (2)! A house full of generations, family, love, and traditions!
Unfortunately there was a little heartache, too. This was Linda's first Christmas away from Colorado and it was hard for her. I can still see us sitting on the step, her head on my shoulder, her hand in mine, me whispering words of comfort to my aunt. I'm not happy that her heart hurt so, but I'm glad that I could be there for her when she needed someone.

What else to say???
Oh my stars!!
Nobody, and I mean nobody, can braid my hair like Linda and I do so love having my hair braided!!
She gives fierce hugs!
She loves her children!
She loves all of her family!
She understands my phone booth!
She has a precious heart and I'm glad to call her family!

Happy Birthday Week Linda!
I hope it was all you deserved!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

More than Just an Aunt

When I was growing up, Linda seemed more of a big sister than an aunt.   She's only seven years older than I am and those seven years often seemed the difference between uncool little girl and really cool big girl.

In preparing to write this post, I recalled countless stories of time spent with Linda ... laying out with her and her best friend Bernadette {I really thought I was cool then!  They were in HIGH SCHOOL!}, discussing the movie "Footloose" and admiring the red boots Linda had gotten after seeing the movie, her frustration about having to share a bathroom with me, and countless trips for ice cream.  And, she let me be a bridesmaid in her wedding!

But more than all those fond memories, I am thankful that Linda was there during some of the most difficult periods of my life.   When I was in second grade, my parents separated for awhile.   My brothers, my dad, and I moved in with my grandparents and Linda.   I had a little room across the hall from Linda's bedroom and many nights, Linda graciously allowed me to crawl in bed with her and encouraged me that my parents would get back together.  {She was right!  They did and on April 2nd, they will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary!}

While I was in college, I found myself in a very difficult and scary position ... again it was Linda who listened and encouraged.  I even spent some time with her during one summer and, once more, Linda was a voice of encouragement and support during a time of great darkness in my life.

Now, we laugh about how her oldest is much like I was at that age.   Since my girl started playing soccer like her middle, we have yet another thing in common - the title of soccer mom.   And her youngest will always hold a special place in my heart as she carries a portion of my name ... Samantha Kaitlynne.

Linda is a strong person, an incredible mother, and an incredible photographer.   But most of all, Linda has been for me a friend.   It's been said you can't choose your family but you can choose your friends ... I'm grateful that Linda is both family and friend.

Happy birthday, Linda!  I love you!
Teri Lynne

Funny Girl

We are celebrating my sister, Linda, on the occasion of her ??th birthday on Generation to Generation this week.  Her actual birthday was Monday, but we like celebrations and we like stringing them out as long as we can,  Right?

Linda has been referred to as many things in the family.  By her own proclamation, she is 'not the baby' of our family, although she is the last born of my parents.  Daddy used to say that they had '3 kids and a pet'.  Our entire family would look at her and say, in chorus, 'Wash you hands, Roger' to mimic a commercial that we heard on television when she was little.  Affectionately called 'Little Bit' by some and even 'That Little Boy' (her all-time favorite, as she was eternally mad at The Almighty because she wasn't a boy)...she burst into our family in the middle of the night and has kept things interesting ever since.

As I've thought about stories involving Linda from childhood, I've smiled a lot.  She was really a funny, funny child.  There are enough years between 'us' (we 3 older children) and 'her' that she is in many ways an only child.  But she was always in the thick of things, demanding to be heard and seen. 

She really did resent being a girl.  I can remember Mother having to be harsh with her to get her to wear a dress.  When our oldest brother got married, Linda declared that she wasn't going if she had to wear a dress.  Her hair was always cut very short, and if someone mistook her for a boy, she would say, "Did you hear?  They thought I was a BOY!"  I used to think that she was the only person I knew who could walk out the front door clean as a whistle, and go around the house and come into the back door and be so dirty that another bath was in order.  I now have a grandson with that same talent.  It must run in the family.

She loved horses and dogs and fishing and swimming.  She hated being still.  If it was Sunday, you could be sure that Linda was going to be in some level of trouble because sitting still during church two times in the same day seemed beyond her abilities.  She was a busy, busy girl.

She spent countless hours in our backyard, playing with Daddy's hunting dogs.  She taught them tricks and when she was angry, she would exclaim that she and Duke were going to "run away and join the circus. We know tricks and stuff!"  One trick that she never accomplished was teaching Duke to salute when she sang The National Anthem, but she sure gave it a good try.

I will never forget looking out of the window of my bedroom and seeing her put that dog's paw up over where she thought his heart was and telling him that he was putting his hand over his heart and he should leave it there.  Then she would strike a similar pose and sing "The Star Spangled Banner" as loud as she could and more than a little off-key.  I called Mother to come watch and we laughed until we were weak.  She did it over and over again.  And while Duke didn't keep the pose or do it on cue, it wasn't because of a lack of effort on Linda's part.  I might add that Duke patiently stood and occasionally tipped his head and howled while Linda sang.  As much as a dog can, that dog loved Linda.

Linda is still busy.  Only now her business involves being the mother of 3 lovely daughters of her own.  She is as involved in their lives and their activities as any mother I know and she loves it.  She has come a long way from that little girl in the back yard, but she will always be that funny child in my heart. 

Happy Birthday  Celebration, Linda.  I love you!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Linda Show

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For your Birthday, Linda!
We're celebrating all week long!

Love you,

Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy Birthday, Linda

There it is!

The Gift

A small flower pot, red and white checked, with a picture on one side and the inscription " I Love You" on the other. You might say, it is nothing special.  I would beg to differ with's the little things that warm a mama's heart.  Let me tell you about this little pot.

I am the mother of four wonderful children, God has been so very good to me. They all are loving children and are not at all hesitant to say they love us. That is very special.  When they were growing up, lots of "special" art projects went to grandmothers, Sunday School teachers, wonderful loving eighbors, and close friends. I always encouraged those gifts. You see we were most fortunate in our friends. They loved our children...and that is not always the case.

Well, we moved when Linda was in the fifth grade. Her older sister, Mollianne was a senior in High School. We moved from the flatlands of Southeasat Missouri to the mountains...of Colorado. We were
excited and loved the mountains, however, leaving friends is never very easy on anybody, but children reflect their parents attitude, and they made the move with grace and tho' it was not easy, they were happy girls! I think they understood that we knew we were doing God's will and families are meant to be together.

We arrived in Colorado in January, at semister break. We moved in. Buster Girls enrolled in school soon as possible. The girls started school and begin to make new friends and learned new and different customs that are the life in Colorado.
The fifth graders were well into planning a Valentine party, and doing a gift for a friend. Linda was very lucky, you see, she had one of the nicest teachers, who knew just how to handle a "tom boy" fifth grader, moving in from out of state with a accent and a big voice! We were so grateful.

Valentines Day....Linda was one week from a Birthday! A Big Birthday. But Valentine's day, she came in from school, in a run. She had a surprise....for ME! That little flower  pot, and you know, for the life of me, I cannot remember what was in it... if it had anything in just said:


Thirty six years later, Linda is all grown up.  She has three girls of her own.  She has  "things" they have made and given her...and she knows what it means to a Mama's Heart.

That little pot sits proudly, with red roses and every time I look at it I see a little "dirty face" and big blue eyes and I feel bug hugs that said those three little words:

{This post is the beginning of We Love Linda week on Generation to Generation.  Linda's birthday is today and we are going to celebrate all week long.  Be sure to check back and see how we are celebrating.  Happy Birthday, Linda!  We love you. ~Mollianne}

Charlotte and Linda

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Uncle Bob

Eleven years ago, our family was welcoming a new baby girl {Casiday Hope} and anticipating another birth {Jeffie Jean}.  The next generation of us was exploding with life and we were all thrilled.

In the midst of that, we suffered one of lifes bitterest moments and it hit us hard, as it often does.  I was busy at home on Saturday morning, doing my usual chores and busily getting ready for my husband's return from a business trip to Japan.  My phone rang and my plans changed.

My Uncle Bob {Bob Austin}had died unexpectedly in Memphis.  He's was Neenie's brother and they had lived together for nearly 8 years, as they were both widowed.  I live 4 hours from  Memphis and was very close to my Neenie.  As soon as Ed arrived at the airport, we high-tailed it to Memphis to stay with Neenie and try to be of help.

My Uncle Bob was truly one of a kind.  He was small of stature, very dapper and to me the epitome of all things Southern.  I could listen to his honey-sweet drawl for days. When I was a little girl, I thought he looked like a movie star!  He collected antiques and called his things, "good junk".  He teased like nobody else and he was fiercely loyal. He loved his Lord, his Wife, his Daughter, his Sister {as he called my grandmother, because he said he didn't know her well enough yet to call her by her given name, Irene}, his friends and his extended family. His love of life and the people he met was obvious in all he did and said.

In retirement, he had a shop in his back yard where he framed pictures.  I could spend hours looking at the beautiful things he had there.  It seemed that all of Memphis made their way to his door at some time or another.  The young women who worked for him loved him and he called them his 'Angels'.

At his visitation, I was overwhelmed by the number of people who stood in line for hours just to pay their respects.  They came from all walks of life and each had something kind to say about Mr. Austin.  They wanted to speak to his family and there were numerous tales of some kindness in deed and word that Uncle Bob had shown to them at some time. 

The morning of the funeral, we were getting ready and a big black Cadillac pulled up behind the house.  I went out to say that my Uncle had died and the shop was closed.  An older gentlemen got out and asked to go in the shop.  He wanted a piece of scrap molding to put on his desk to remember Mr. Austin.  One of them men with him gave me a name, which meant nothing to me.  I went in the house to get the key, as this sounded like a reasonable request and told Ed who is was and what he wanted.  Ed looked at me and asked me if I knew who Kimmons Wilson was.  I said no and he explained that Mr. Wilson was the man who started Holiday Inn. 

Mr. Wilson was unable to attend the funeral and he wanted to pay his respects and get a piece of molding.  We helped him look through the scraps until he found a piece he wanted.  He said such kind things about Uncle Bob.  Bob had framed some pictures for Holiday Inn corporate offices.

The night before, a janitor came and told me how kind Mr. Austin had always been to him, saying hello when he came into the building, asking about his wife and children.

That is just the sort of man my Uncle Bob was. Not concerned about a person's 'status' or station in life.  Concerend about the person he was speaking to and making you think that you were the most important person he had to talk to that day.

I miss him.  I miss hearing him say, "Come in this house, little girl."  I miss listening to him talk on and on with my Ed about Memphis Tiger basketball.  I think of him when I see a package of Little Debbie's because he confessed to me that he was addicted to them.  I laugh when I see yellow flowers, because he always said that there were "too many yellow flowers in the world." 

He was one in a million and I am very thankful that he was a part of my life and my family.

Bob Austin

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sloppy Joes

There are moments when I really believe in time travel.  You know, when a taste or smell or sound transport you someplace else and for just a nanosecond, you *are* removed from your present surroundings and  experiencing something all over again.

That happened to me today.  Our chef here at The Church House makes THE best-ever Sloppy Joes.   We used to have Sloppy Joe and Tater Tot Fridays when I first worked here.  That was the menu once a month in our DayCare and our Church Staff would jockey for position to be on the call list if there were leftovers.  I have been known to be extra helpful-if they needed help-in the kitchen the week before Sloppy Joe Friday, in hopes of scoring one.  You really are SOMEBODY around here if you rate a Sloppy Joe and so far, I've been able to stay on the approved list.  I hope to stay there.

Last week, I inquired about the next offering of Sloppy Joes.  It doesn't happen solely on Fridays anymore, by edict of the new DayCare Director {what is she thinking?}.  So I have to be a bit more sly about it.  I found out that Thursday the 10th was the next scheduled day for my favorite lunch meal and while I couldn't find my makeup case this morning [seriously....} my first thought this morning was, "Sloppy Joes!"

When I got to work, I went straight to the kitchen to see if I could make the coffee or do anything else useful.  Chef was there all alone and cleaning out the fridge.  We had a bit of ice and snow last night and I saw while I was getting ready that school was delayed by 2 hours.  Making small talk, I mentioned that it must be nice not to be making breakfast for all the little darlings this morning.  He informed me that they wouldn't be there at all today.  What?  I thought there was a delay?  Nope...after I checked, they cancelled City Schools, and the DayCare closes when the schools close.

My face fell.  "But today is Sloppy Joe Thursday"  I said defensively.  What were they thinking?  Chef said he wasn't thrilled, because he'd already made them.  I sensed a glimmer of hope for my palate. 

Can I help you sweep?  Fix your coffee? 
Empty the trash?  You need help... I'm your girl!

He laughed and told me to get to the kitchen before he left around 11:00 and he'd set me up.  I didn't even really have to ask. God Bless Chef Phil.

I presented myself promptly at 10:40 and was rewarded with a bun and a serving of the amazing Sloppy Joes to heat in the microwave.  A bit of a sacrilege, but I'm willing to drop my standards on occasion.  I heated up the meat and tenderly filled my bun.  I took a deep whiff of the tantalizing armoa and bit in.

In a flash, I was no longer standing in the kitchen of the Church House on a snow day in February 2011.  I was back in the cafeteria of Alma Schrader Elementary School in Cape Girardeau, Missouri and it was 1968.  I could smell that funky dairy/milk odor of the cafeteria.  I could feel the green plastic tray in my hand.  I could hear the lunch lady saying, "Move along...move along."  Everything wonderful about lunch when you are in the 4th grade was right there for just a second.  I bit into my Sloppy Joe, which was ever so much better than anything I ever had at the cafeteria at school and knew that it was worth my efforts.  Best lunch I've had in weeks.

Thank you, Chef Phil.  Not only for feeding the hungry, but also for providing that wonderful trip back to another time and place when life was easy and lunch was fun.