Sunday, August 22, 2010

August My Birthday Month

August My Birthday Month 2010
My, My, how the time flies by when one keeps busy and having a good time!!! It’s been about a month since I last wrote something, so I guess it is time to make another memory moment. August is my “Birthday month”! Sardonyx is my birthstone, and Gladiolus the flower of the month. Such a beautiful tall and colorful.

August is known as the “Dog Days of Summer”. Dog Days are the hottest, most sultry days of summer and can happen from July to September. Normally the Dog Days occur for a week or two; but this year records are being broken and we are having one of the hottest and wettest summers to go down in the history books…with mid 80’s high temperatures throughout July and August and high humidity. I really don’t like to say it….but I will welcome cooler weather any day now! And remind me not to complain about the cold 5 months from now!!

On Sunday, August 8, the Smidt twins, Erma and Ervin, celebrated their 80th birthdays with a family dinner hosted by the DeJong children. Erma is married to Gerrit DeJong, they live in Sibley; Ervin is married to Louise Vander Meulen, they live in Artesia, CA.; Erv and Louise are visiting relatives in and around Sibley this month. Then my Birthday week rolled around!!! The week was filled with lots of visiting back and forth with the Smidt and Stolte relatives in Sibley and Ocheyedan….noon lunch dates were on the schedule with the sisters-in-law and friends. Then Friday, August 20, my day arrived!! And I put on a “Dutch” coffee party for my Dutch family of Smidts!! There were nine guests sitting around the dining room table which was adorned with Dutch Blue Delft serving dishes, and napkins. I served Dutch Almond Patties and angel food cake with lemon filling. It was a hoot!! We have lots of fun and good times together, and I always remind the family that I am still the youngest!!

August is also Canning month….canning fresh vegetables is a long-time tradition in the Midwest. Although I don’t do much canning anymore, I recall years past when my mother and grandmother would can everything from green beans, peas, sweet corn, carrots, beets, pickles, and tomatoes; they also canned meat…beef, pork and chicken which needed to be processed for hours. The women would start their work in early morning hours trying to beat the heat of mid-day. They would have kettles of water boiling on the stove in the kitchen….a kettle to scald the vegetables, a kettle for heating up jars, a kettle for heating the brine/liquid. When the jars were filled and lids put on, they were placed into a kettle to cook for another 2-3 hours in a boiling water bath; all this being done in a house with no air conditioning! It makes me sweat just thinking about how hot it must have been. We would go outdoors to sit under the shade tree to cool off. Years ago, some farm women had the luxury of a summer kitchen equipped with a cook stove so they could do the canning outside of the house.

August is when Osceola County has the Relay for Life….a time of celebrating and honoring the county’s cancer survivors and remembering loved ones whose lives were snuffed out with the dreaded disease. The event is held each year at the Sibley-Ocheyedan track and football field; decorated luminaries line the edge of the track and fundraiser teams are camped along the outskirts of the track selling their wares. People of all ages from babies to older folks take part in this event. Ed and I make it a point to attend the event each year and walk a few rounds in honor and memory of our family members who have had cancer. Those in memory are my sister, Bonnie, Ed’s Mother Edith, brother Roger, and brother-in-law (Bud) Renza Dykstra and many friends. This year I had four cousins in the survivor walk….but there is still hope! It is a time of many emotions, and a time of celebrating the lives of these survivors. This year 87 cancer survivors led the walk around the track.

Now Ed and I are going to end this month with a trip through the Rockies….sightseeing the Tetons, Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, and points of interest in beautiful British Columbia, Canada.

I love the month of August…my Birthday month!
Wishing everyone a great day!
Mary Ellen

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Silly Sisters

Silly Sisters
It was a rare evening in July spent with my two sisters….as we were looking at my “OLD” scrapbook, reminiscing and laughing our silly socks off! What a fun time we had together!

My “OLD” scrapbook is filled with page after page of birthday cards which I received while growing up. I was well remembered by my aunts, sisters and friends, year after year with cards and notes. You have to know those cards are from the 1940’s and are probably considered to be antique. We were amazed how cards have changed in looks, size, style and verse, over the years. There were serious cards, funny cards, and fancy cards…some even had a velvet or satin insert. As Barb, Kathy and I read the cards on each page, we got the giggles. We soon realized that our sister Bonnie always gave me a humorous, funny card. Bonnie had a good sense of humor; she would be the one to crack the jokes and make us laugh!
We were four Stolte girls growing up on the farm….I was the “Middle Child”… with two sisters 5- and 7-years older than I, and one sister 5-years younger….so when Barb and Bonnie were 14 and 16, I was 9 and Kathy was 4 years old. Because of the difference between our ages, I don’t remember having a close sister-relationship with any of them during my childhood years. In my sister-memory search….I was the “Little” sister to Barb and Bonnie.
Maybe we girls did have a sister-bonding when the four of us shared one bedroom with two double size beds, in our two-story farmhouse. You can do the math…four girls, two beds, two kids to a bed!! That’s the way it was in those days…the kids could share a room and a double bed. The upstairs was not heated, so in the winter time that bedroom would get so cold we could scrape frost off the windows and sometimes even off the ceiling.
Our farm place had a looong driveway on the downhill, so in the winter when it was snowy, we would go sledding down the driveway from the house to the road…I don’t see how we all fit on that small sled. The sisters helped me learn to ride bicycle when I was around 6 years old. They would set me on the bicycle and give it a push and awaaay….I would fly!! Wobbling to and fro until down to the grass I would fall; then I’d pick up the bike and push it back up the hill for another try!!! I finally learned to ride. When I was in second grade I was able to ride my bicycle with my sister Bonnie and our neighbor friends, the 1 ½ miles to Zion Parochial school, in the fall and spring time.

Our family spent Sundays going to church in the morning, and often times Mom would invite company over for Sunday dinner; that was the highlight of the week… having friends and/or cousins over to play games. In the summertime we would eat outdoors under the shade tree and then play a ballgame in the yard. Dad loved baseball games. On summer nights our family would go watch baseball games. There was a ball diamond north of town where the local teams played. On Saturday nights we’d go to town for the outdoor band concert and an ice cream cone. I liked to follow my sisters around and hang out with them and their teenage friends…I’m not sure they always appreciated having their little sister tagging along with them.
A Sunday dinner on the lawn. Pictured from front left: Mary Ellen, Kathy, friend, Joyce Bremer (Scheu), and cousin Marilyn. The hill in the background is where I learned to ride bicycle.

Now in our adult life we enjoy being together whenever possible. Kathy lives 3 hours away, so we may get together once a year. She usually comes this way to attend a wedding, or some special occasion, this year she was here for our cousins reunion in Ocheyedan…it turned out to be a very special time of fellowship with cousins we haven’t seen for a long time.

We are saddened now, that there are only three sisters, since Bonnie went to be with the Lord in 1992. She died of cancer....18 years ago!! Oh my!! Where did all those years go? Life is so short and fragile! But I am grateful that we can laugh and treasure many precious memories of our loves ones. I am so blessed to have experienced the gift of being raised in a loving, Christian family….my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends... and for that I give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and faithfulness!!
The Stolte Family - 1951
Sisters: Bonnie, Kathy, Mary Ellen, Barb and our parents.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer Time

Summertime, Summertime, Summertime! Summer is a time for FAMILY! Good Old Summertime is….Family vacations…. Family picnics… Family reunions… Family outing…swimming/boating, ballgames, parades, celebrations and county fair time! Summertime has finally arrived! Everyone is anxious to be outdoors in the summer sun.
I love summertime! I love the LONG summer days of sunshine. (I am also thankful for air conditioning!) The sunrise is one of God’s creative displays of beautiful colors given for us to enjoy…from the first rays of sun appearing on the horizon, there are streaks of deep red-orange, red, pink and purple as the rays shine through the horizon and clouds; we witness these gorgeous colors on our early morning walk.
Summer is a time….that we exchange those heavy coats, gloves and sweatshirts for shorts, t-shirts and flip flops/sandals! It is a time when the birds sing their songs each morning. The squirrels are scurrying up and around the trees, and the children run, play and laugh with such delight in their yard.
Summer is a time….for eating watermelon, cantaloupe, fresh fruits and vegetables, ice cream AND Root Beer floats! In our rural, farming area we are blessed with watching the fields turn from dirt black to the beauty of green leafy stalks of corn, soybeans; and the aroma of freshly cut alfalfa hay…there is just nothing like the smell of fresh hay! I remember when the countryside scene resembled a checkerboard of green corn and soybeans, golden yellow oats and the wavy blue flowers of flax during the month of July. It was a beautiful sight. But things have changed and there is very little oats and less flax being grown in our area, anymore.

Some things never change….like good old summertime activities. Traditions….I’m thankful for our family gatherings…. this month, we had an Ostermann cousins reunion, a special time with my sisters, and our immediate family gathering. It’s nice to get together with our loved ones…to visit, have good food and fellowship, and have lots of laughs with one another. I am so thankful for our family get-togethers.
I close with the following, a favorite summertime song….
Oh Beautiful for Spacious Skies…for Amber Waves of Grain. For purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain! America! America! God shed His grace on thee, and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea!
I hope you all have a wonderful time this summer!

Stolte/Smidt Snippets

Stolte/Smidt Snippets

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Day at Target Field

This Blog site is the result of much coaxing of our beloved grandchildren to learn what life was like in the early lives of Ed and Mary Ellen. These writings will be a joint attempt in trying to capture events from our early childhood years to the present. Wow! That will be a task!... hope it won't be too boring!!

On Saturday, July 3, our grandson Al took grandpa and grandma to a Twins baseball game at the new outdoor Target Field, in downtown Minneapolis. It was hot, sunny and 91 degrees! A good fun day spent at the ballgame! Take Me Out To The Ballgame"! We left Sibley at 8:45 a.m., stopped at Perkins in Worthington for breakfast, then traveled to the game via I-90 East to 35-N. We parked the van in a lot at N 1st St. & Washington Ave., and walked 4 blocks to the stadium. After our self-guided tour of the stadium, we settled into our second level seats, located just past 3rd baseline. What a view! It was so pretty!
The Twins were playing an exciting ballgame....Jim Thome hit two homeruns and Morneau hit one; Mauer and Cuddyer had some good hits...the score was 4-1. Then in the 8th inning after a Tampa Bay player hit a grand slammer, they took the lead with a 7-run inning. Twins lost 6-8. Bummer!! We took photos, ate brats and had a Killebrew Root Beer; I caught a Well’s Blue Bunny Big Bopper ice cream cookie, they were throwing down to the crowd. There is a huge variety of food and beverage vendors in the corridors on each level.
Before the game, a military presentation saluting our American service-men and women, was given. The Minnesota National Guard unrolled a huge American flag across the outfield; the presentation climaxed when Navy Seals parachuted onto the ball field, it was awesome!
The stadium is very nicely designed; the colors coordinate with the blue’s, and tan colors of the city skyscrapers in the background. It is amazing! We missed seeing the bronze statutes of Harm Killebrew and Kirby Puckett as they are outside the stadium gates. We discovered after entering the stadium that if you go outside the gates, you cannot re-enter so that was a bummer! At the end of the game we left through the 5th Ave., gates, adjacent to the metro train and joined the crowds of people heading to their vehicles parked in the many lots. We got back in Sibley at 10:20 p.m., tired, but happy to have this opportunity in making another memory!

Until next time,
Ed and Mary Ellen