As I was preparing for yet, another family Thanksgiving dinner, I was frantically scouring all of the local thrift shops for older/used items to decorate our garage/party room. It’s hard to decorate a garage with any true style (mine is rustic, country), but as long as it’s clean and filled with family and friends, for me, it will be perfect.

I’m sure some of you are shocked that I would be thrifting for Holiday items, as others that truly know me, know this is what I do. I love things that had a life of its own, one that was loved and used by someone before me and hopefully someone after. Items that someone liked enough to make or purchase, items that have been used for family gatherings, and enjoyed by all those that gathered there. I know I’m waxing poetic here, but to me, that’s what the Holidays are all about. It’s the mushy stuff that makes a family memory.

A colorful mistake!

As my daughter Mandy and I were wandering through a place called, The Meander Thrift Store, this past week, I found an old “back of the couch” yellow afghan, that I’m about 99% sure that my mother had crocheted. It was a ripple pattern (which I’m displaying here in this picture). This picture is of the one I talked my mom into making for me; one huge teenage mistake. I’ll give the full story on that in a bit…

Now two of my mom’s favorite patterns were the ripple and the broom stick lace, but I digress. I only mention the afghan, because I should have been thrilled to get my hands on such and rare find, an item that took my mom weeks to create, but this one I just couldn’t get excited about, so I had to leave it there. Instead of it filling me with a since of pride in her accomplishments, in addition to having a nice throw to use on my old glider in the garage, I was filled with feelings of disgust and emptiness.

Now, I know you’re all shocked by my last statement. So I better explain briefly without bringing everyone down. Most of you know that my mother was killed a few weeks before my 17th birthday. After her funeral, for some reason hoards of people came into our house in Springboro and took almost everything that wasn’t nailed down, without rhyme or reason, they just took it. I do remember that my sister Sharon flew in from California and took all of the pictures and a little white crocheted poodle dog on a bottle, she said that was all she wanted and it fit into her suitcase. I wish I had stopped her from taking some of the pictures before we could make copies, or at the very least gone through them with her, but I was young. I’m sure she is taking the best care of them.

My stepdad didn’t try to stop anyone from taking anything or it didn’t seem like it to me; he just went outside and let them have at it. I’ve never made peace with any of this, in all these years, nor have I understood it. We didn’t have that much to start with and no one has ever said why they did it. I’ve always said, “you got along without it before you had it.” and now you know why. I often half way wonder if we had borrowed everything that we owned from them and maybe they were just reclaiming it all. I really have no idea, but I have always fondly referred to these people, as the vultures.

So, I did what any mature adult would do, I put it down and came home and dug out the one my mother made “just for me”… this ugly black, white, watermelon and gold afghan (see picture), I really wish she hadn’t listened to me when she made it. She and I worked on this God awful throw for weeks. She would let me get 4 to 8 rows in and then take it and rip all of them back out. She would say, you’ve missed a stitch here, can you see? As she shows me my mistake, I’m like; you wait ‘til now to say something, and why not when I was on that row? I guess she was secretly hoping that I’d hate that watermelon color, as much as she did, and would agree to another color before we finished, but no such luck, for I was a stubborn teenager, as most are, and not likely to, see the err of my ways, none to easily, I might add.

They say hindsight is 20/20, and in this case, it’s as clear as the nose on my face. Every time I see this afghan, I’m reminded of all the bad decisions I’ve made, and use this to try not to repeat them. I’ve kept it in a clear plastic bag for many years, so how it even got these stains is beyond me, I guess at some point the kids spilled on it, without mentioning it to me, as kids can do from time to time. No matter, I’ll keep it anyway. I’m sure there is some technique that will get them out. I’ll start with a little Shout and move on from there; hoping for the best. Even if all of the stains come out, it will still be a hug eyesore.

This afghan is a prime example of why you don’t let teenagers make their own decisions. Well none that will affect the rest of their lives anyway. I will always love this afghan, and hopefully pass it on to my children. Although, I’m fairly certain that it’s meant to spend its entirety in a clear plastic wrapper in the top of a linen closet, somewhere.

For this is truly one ugly remembrance of my childhood in every fashion of the word. It will remain a constant reminder of all the bad decisions, I’ve made in my lifetime, and I will love and cherish it for all the good and bad reasons. I can’t wait to toss it on the back of the glider in the garage and to hear all the jokes that come from my grand’s.

I do hope to share with them, the story of my mom and me in the making this afghan. I’ll leave out all the yucky stuff, and just tell them, of another life lesson, that I had to learn the hard way. Lesson being: That when you’re young you’ll make decisions, good and bad, which you’ll wish later in life, you’re parents, would have and should have overrule you on. Instead of them letting you make your own decisions and forever living with the confusedness. Yes, I did mean to say confusedness in stead of consequences there, because I was so confused, no one in their right mind would choose watermelon as a color, except a confused or crazy teenager.

I should add that I liked it so well, I crocheted matching shams that I used for years in the kids rooms as doilies on the night stand or dresser. Sorry kid, you were little and it matched your orange bedroom, which is something else that I’m sorry for. I didn’t learn until later, that orange stimulates a child’s mind and prevents sleep. Who knew?

This should give you a little insight as to where my mind goes at the Holiday’s. I try to keep in mind, that the things I make, the purchases that I make and the things I introduce into my family gatherings, that I’m making lasting memories for my children and grandchildren, and I want them to be good memories.

So, I’m not stroking over my using orange ribbon for the bows on my place cards, instead of the jute, that I wished I had used, or having one place setting too many and/or even being short one chair. Life goes on and on and on and I want to make the most of every minute of it, and to be truly thankful for what God has given me and for all the things He will extent to me later. Because at the end of the day, the only thing that remains my memories, and I really want them to be good ones.

Note: You better believe that if Mandy wanted watermelon color clothes (and she did) she got them as a tweenie, but as for the items that she will be keeping long-term, she got unique and simple things worth keeping, nothing that can get outdated or in tens years from now, someone say, what were you thinking? Well, not from me anyway. I’m sure she was gifted oddities that she in like turn, regifts to someone that she feels is better suited for them or can use them (hopefully, just teenagers). Because ew…

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November Events:
I wanted to wish my son-in-law Alan a very happy belated birthday, my brother Ralph and his wife Jana a Happy Anniversary, my nephew Michael Terrance a very Happy Birthday, to my beautiful Granddaughter Miss Averi Marie a very Happy Birthday, indeed and last but certainly not least, to JJ aka Justin Joseph a very, very Happy Birthday.

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Book Club:
Is reading the Blood Meridian and I for one am not a fan. I had no idea of the language or content when I decided to read it, and will try to make better choices in the future. Wow! I’m going to finish it, but its not my favorite.

I did just make two new purchases: A friend of a friend, Kellie Lynn Ketcham wrote a book called Advancing Backward, that I’m excited to read and the other is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, which apparently is on audible, that I could have downloaded for free from my local library. I never remember to check that. I usually forget my PIN, so I have to call anyway.

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Family Events:
• Steven called and said his grades are looking up. Yeah… Thank you Lord! He also wants to apply for a job as a pizza delivery driver in Cincinnati. Now, that scares me to death. I guess he hasn’t seen the news this week.

• My Grandson Trey (Alan Edward) just appeared in local production of Nut’s with his play group, he’s been grounded ever since, so he may not be seen in any thing else, if he keeps this up. Its okay Trey, Gram loves you.

• I’m also thrilled to announce that my Great Grandniece was just born yesterday, named Addison Faith, she came into this world 2:18 p.m. 7 lb 10 oz to my Grandniece Diana (Grubb) and Matthew Reeves. Congratulations!

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Special Thanks:
To my friends: Kelly Richmond for redressing, Ms. Kelly Scarecrow for my fall vignette and to Renee Thomas Dale for getting me 15 of my 26 blown glass pumpkin place card holders, these two additions will make my Thanksgiving memories all the more special.

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Thanks as always and Welcome to the Family,
Sheila Jean Adkins Metcalf

TO ALL – thank you for teaching me some of the great lessons and listening when I needed to be heard. ~ Kellie Lynn Ketcham

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