Tag Archives: family

Summer In Gilmanton

Bike tires on dirt roads

The wind whipping past my ears

Listening for frogs

Jumping in the babbling brooks along the way

To The Farm

Red Barn, yellow house

Tall grass in need of mowing

Steps made out of granite, framed by Brown-eyed Susans

Two old rocking chairs adorn the porch, strewn with fire wood and kindling

A black cast-iron wood-burning stove in the kitchen

Window above the sink

A view of the clothes line, yellowing pillow cases waving in the warm breeze

Floorboards creak, rugs heavy with dirt

Deserted rooms

Outside, crumbling rock walls section off meadows

Meadows dotted with tiny yellow and orange hawkweed flowers

Sheep to sheer and hay to haul

Wood to chop and birds to watch

This is summer in Gilmanton

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Summer Days

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Here it is, the last day of August.

We’ve enjoyed these summer days.

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Backyard fires, complete with roasted marshmallows,

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Mornings in bed,

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Walks in milkweed meadows,

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Foraging forays,

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Beach days,

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Family love,

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Treks on backyard trails,

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Cloud watching,

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Rock hopping,

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Garden growing,

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Wetland walks,

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Warm sunrises,

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Lounging,

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And a deep appreciation for each one of these summer days.

The last day of August also brings us the first day of school.

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Change, the only constant

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Heart-shaped, fluffy white clouds in the blue sky.

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Purple and pink sky in the morning. A sure sign of an oncoming storm.

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Snow can change the landscape dramatically.

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And it sure is fun to play in. Peaking through the hemlock boughs as Ethan prepares to sled down the big hill.

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Have you ever browned butter? If not, you should. Swap out one stick of softened butter with one stick of browned butter and your chocolate chip cookie recipe will be forever changed.

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Do you see what Regan sees?

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Afternoon sun shines on cattails in the frozen ground. My shadow on the bridge.

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Daffodils are emerging from the leaf litter. Change is upon us.

 

New Year

Each year goes by faster than the one before.  Just like everyone else, I’m finding my way.

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We celebrated my birthday a few weeks ago. I’ve been on this planet for thirty-five years.

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We finally had some snow. I spy Ethan. Do you?

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This is our bedroom window on a cold winter’s morning.

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I’m in awe of the beauty of this planet. And I’m always looking up.

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It’s nearly February and the geese are still beating their wings and honking.

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I’m rewarded with color.

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And beauty.

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And squirrel tracks.

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Each year we reflect. I love what I see.

 

Christmas Eve

It’s Christmas Eve. I’m five years old. I’m lying in bed watching the light stream through the vinyl blinds. It’s nighttime but the moon is bright and it’s being reflected off the snow that is blanketing the ground. I’m supposed to be sleeping. I can hear music coming from the other room.

I lift the covers off of me and swing my legs out of bed. I place my feet on the carpet and walk through the dimly lit kitchen and into the living room where I see my mother sitting in the middle of the couch on the very edge of the cushions. On the coffee table in front of her are the two slender red candles we put out weeks before when we were decorating the apartment for Christmas. Tonight, they are lit and I can tell they have been burning for some time because they are half the size they were and there’s wax all over the silver candle holders. It seems like she is waiting for someone. I think it must be Santa.

She tells me to go back to sleep. Santa won’t come if I’m awake. I run back to my room and call for her to tuck me back in but she’s already making her way back to me. She wraps me in blankets and says goodnight.

I toss and turn for what seems like an eternity. I wonder if he will skip my house because I’m still awake. I finally start to doze but then I hear footsteps. I’m lying on my side, my face towards the wall. I hear my door creak open, I see light shine in from the kitchen, I see the shadow of Santa. He tiptoes into my room and as I hold my breath, he places my stocking at the foot of my bed. I want to turn around to see this mysterious person but I know I can’t. I concede to simply watch the shadow on the wall. He retreats.

I gently nudge the stocking with my toes. I hear wrapping paper crinkle inside. I feel as if I just might burst with excitement. I can’t wait to see if he received my letter and brought me the very toys I asked for. I close my eyes and smile. It’s almost Christmas and I almost saw Santa.

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December

Each one of these December mornings I am gently reminded just how many days are left until Christmas.

Today? 4 days!

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Inside, our balsam fir tree is trimmed.

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Outside, it feels more like October.

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There’s time for walks…

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There’s time for practice…

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And there’s always time fore baking…

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These unseasonably clear skies offer us more time outside to enjoy the splendor of December.

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Merry Christmas!

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Today, we celebrate Thomas!

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Today is my husband’s birthday.

We met when I was a freshman in high school. We started living together almost immediately. Thomas and I made a great team back then and now, nineteen birthdays later, we are unstoppable.

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In one of my English classes, we were tasked with writing an essay about an important person in our lives. I wrote about Thomas. I read it aloud and everyone stared. Mr. Loomer said, “Wow, saying one person is your whole life is a big statement.” It was a big statement and it’s still true. Although now, we have a son that shares that spot with him.

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I could go on for days about how amazing he is but instead I will just say Happy Birthday to the funniest, most caring, devoted, and thoughtful husband in the world, who makes me feel adored and as if it’s my birthday every day. Happy Birthday to the greatest, most compassionate, and positive teacher and father to our boy.

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You are my hero and my pillar of strength.

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Thank you for being you.

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November in New England

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It’s November in New England, a very special month for my family. My son’s twelfth birthday is in a few days and the day after that marks sixteen years of marital bliss for Thomas and I. The love I have for these guys is inexplicable, more than I could ever put into words.

November is the month of Thanksgiving and we have so much to be thankful for.

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Queen Anne’s Lace leaves are still poking through the dry and browning leaves.

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Tiny rose hips lend color to the muted landscape.

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A single poplar leaf is bright in contrast to the dirt of a meandering trail.

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The shining sun gives a golden hue to the leaves that are still holding on.

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Autumn is acorn harvest time.

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Chilly nights and rainy mornings call for a fire in the wood-stove.

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Fires in the wood-stove call for a steady supply of fire-wood.

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Sweet treats in the shape of the ever falling oak leaves can be made with the processed harvest of acorns.

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The blue sky and white clouds can now be easily seen through the bare branches of our mighty maple tree.

I am forever thankful for all this life has to offer.

xo Jodi

Beauty

There is a cemetery along the walk I take with my dog and as I walk by I study the gravestones. I look at the names and at the dates. Some of them have battery operated lighting, flowers and wreaths, trinkets and a lot of them seem to have been long forgotten.

As I searched for flowers to decorate my mother’s urn inside the house on this beautiful sunny morning, dew still clutching to the short blades of grass and shrubbery, my son tapped me on the shoulder. From behind his back came his once tiny hand holding something. As he extended his hand out to me he said, “Here Mom, these are for you.” He was holding two little bright blue flowers. He smiled and walked off to explore more of the yard.

I wonder how as children we somehow instinctively do this thing; pick out the beauty in the world to give to another.

Now that I am grown and my own mother is no longer here to give beautiful things to, I still pick flowers for her. I set them beside the urn that holds her ashes. I set them beside the picture of her once smiling face.

There is beauty in life and in death.

mm

 

Maple Walnuts

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I set out to make a snack that would be healthy but still a bit decadent. What I came away with was a memory of my great-grandmother, Grammy Pray.

My dad’s father’s mother lived in a little house across the driveway from my grandparents. Us grandkids would go over and visit with her, while she sat in her chair and peeled apples for a pie or threw her legs up with joy as she reminisced about skiing down a big mountain when she was just a girl.

She was a spry, happy lady and she lived to the age of 96. I remember trying to keep my little brother from playing with the white lace doilies she kept on the side tables next to the couch.

Grammy Pray told great stories of her youth and she always wore a smile on her face. She was so proud of her only son, my grandpa. She talked about her memories of him as a little boy, always with a gleam in her eye.

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I started the morning with a recipe for maple covered walnuts.

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It’s not much of a recipe, really.

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Toss a cup and a half of whole walnuts with 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup and a pinch of salt.

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Bake at 325 degrees F for 10-15 minutes.

The kitchen was filled with scent of walnuts and maple syrup baking. That scent reminded me of Grammy Pray and the house I so often visited while I was a little girl and I’m so glad it did.

We miss you Grammy Pray!

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Myrtle I. Pray

BRISTOL – Myrtle I. Pray, 96 of Beech Street, died Friday Jan. 28, 2005 at the Mt. Ridge Center in Franklin.

She was born in Boston, Mass., the daughter of Frank and Florence (Whiteway) Hinds. Prior to retirement Mrs. Pray had worked at The New Hampton School and the Laconia State School.

Mrs. Pray had been a long time resident of both Gilmanton and Bristol. In January of 2004, Mrs. Pray was awarded the Boston Post Cane as the oldest resident of Bristol. Mrs. Pray was an accomplished pianist and organist. She had played with a six-piece band at the Gilmanton Iron Works Town Hall, and had served as organist at the Baptist Church in Hill. In her spare time Mrs. Pray enjoyed the Lawrence Welk Show as well as Everybody Loves Raymond.

She was the wife of the late Norman C. Pray. Family members include one son and daughter-in-law Donald & Ruth Hislop of Gilmanton; one step daughter Myla Jacquith of Alexandria; two brothers Raymond Hinds of Tilton, Frank Hinds of Iowa; one sister Dottie MacDonald of Cape Cod, Mass.; four grandchildren; Betty Hughes, Michael Hislop, David Hislop, and Susan Ward; 10 great grandchildren, one great great grandchild. She was predeceased by one brother George Hinds and one sister Edith Hinds.