Celebrating

You are currently browsing the archive for the Celebrating category.

A Grandma Cracker (seriously what she calls her!) made yummy lemon cake full of Frozen goodness!

This photo shows the moment we started singing Happy Birthday! What JOY in knowing it was just for HER. The best!

T H R E E

Oh my goodness, in a high flying time moment, my cousin Ryan’s wee babe is now THREE. She is, among many other things, adorable and thoughtful and playful, and ever so loved.

I was the only person to old-school wrap her present after forgetting to buy a gift bag large or sturdy enough. What an ill-used muscle I have for this, dear reader. It took ages! She was a very careful unwrapper, slowly peeling off each piece of tape, before going delicately at the paper, which delighted me. I am a lover of precision and care, too, yup. She liked her necklace and magna-tiles, which also delighted me. I do not ever wish to be a lame gift giver!

We ate well and enjoyed many a conversation with parents and friends, aunts and uncles (there I am with mine!), grandmothers and grandfathers. The kids ran circles around us, eating and playing and squealing and splashing. A wonderful day to be THREE, indeed.

Hello from Bonne Terre in St. Francois County, where the paternal side of my Family Tree really leafs out. In addition to wanting to know America and never having visited Kansas City, St. Louis, or Joplin, this part of my history brought us to Missouri. Luckily, I am married to a very amenable traveler, and he enjoyed driving the winding roads of Missouri just as much as I did.

James Roy Sohn
Novella Grace Kelley

My Great Grandfather James Roy Sohn was born in Caledonia in 1894. He married my Great Grandmother Novella Grace Kelley in 1915. She was born in 1899 in Lesterville, and, rather sadly, I don’t have a clearer photo of her. They had three children together: Pearl, James Marshall, and my Grandfather Herbie. Like a lot of couples, the strain after the death of a child, James Marshall, brought them to divorce.

James “Jim” Roy was a barber in St. Francois County for more than 50 years, and this was his shop in Bonne Terre until he retired. I LOVE this building and imagining him pulling up in one of his Buicks!

He and his second wife, Missouri Day Crane (at right) lived in the house above at the time of the 1930 census. My Grandpa Herbie is at the left, Pearl next to Missouri, and Betty, their child together, is the little cutie. Unfortunately, tragedy struck James Roy’s life again, and Missouri Day died of breast cancer in 1940. She was only 42.

Before going on the trip, despite scouring every record I could find, I didn’t know where the barbershop was. I believe James Roy was keen on me learning, because, as we were walking around the lake pictured above, which is right behind the 1930 house, Greg and I met a man walking his dog. Bonne Terre being a small town, he knew we weren’t from the area, so he asked. I told him and said I had family who used to live there, giving the name Sohn. He got a wide grin and exclaimed Jim Sohn cut his hair when he was a boy. The fireworks sure went off! It was a meeting beyond good luck. He spoke very kindly of my great-grandfather and told me where I could find the shop.

1946 House in Bonne Terre
Annie Desdamony Sohn: August 8, 1879 – September 2, 1892

Greg and I spent the better part of a day driving to every town I knew my family to live, taking pictures of all the houses I could find on record, and visiting every grave on record, too, this one in Caledonia. I bought the flowers and some hummingbirds to be a longer lasting tribute to my visit. Annie Desdamony Sohn was James Roy’s sister and died two years before he was born.

Iron County Courthouse in Pilot Knob
James Marshall Sohn – buried in the Sohn plot at Pilot Knob, along with Hattie and Nicholas and James Roy’s older brothers, Albert, Fred, and Benjamin.
Sohn family entry at Ellis Island, November 9, 1857 on the Amazon.
Nicholas was 17 years old.
Nicholas Sohn at the time of his marriage to Hattie, in 1871. I sure have good looking ancestors!
with Grandpa Herbie, Pearl, and Betty, probably 1925
March 31, 1840 – April 21, 1932

Johann Nicholas Sohn was born in Germany in 1840. His family emigrated in 1857 and settled in Indiana. He enlisted in the Union Army at New Albany on May 12, 1861 and was shot in the left leg and gouged with a bayonet in the right at Chickamauga. He never returned home and never spoke to his family again, moving to Missouri after recovering from his injuries at a hospital in Chattanooga.

Harriet “Hattie” Elizabeth McIntire
Marriage to Nicholas on October 16, 1871
August 28, 1853 – October 7, 1918

Harriet “Hattie” Elizabeth McIntire was born in Caledonia in 1853. She and Nicholas married in 1871. They lived happily for forty years, raising five sons, James Roy being the youngest, and their daughter, Annie. He farmed and performed general labor, while she kept house.

Sarah “Sally” Catherine Anderson
January 10, 1860 – March 28, 1912
Marriage to James Harlow on November 5, 1875

Sarah “Sally” Catherine Anderson was born in Izard County, Arkansas in 1860. She married James Harlow Kelley in 1875 (such young brides back then), and, after reading the decree, I presume the minister who performed the service was quite the character!

They lived in Lesterville, where he also farmed, did some mining (the area had a wealth of ores), and she kept house. They raised six girls (Grandma Novella the youngest) and five boys. She is buried at Taum Sauk Cemetery, the most remote of all the places we visited. We drove along one very deserted road, passing a single truck along the way, before turning onto an a dirt road that ended at the cemetery. I thought, to myself, and aloud to Greg and Juniper, “If we’re ever going to enter into a horror film scenario, this is the place!”

The site is quite sloped, and I suspect there was a slide, because there is a bit of rubble and the majority of the headstones are destroyed. I could not find her grave and placed her hummingbird in the safety of the trees.

The view near Taum Sauk
James Harlow Kelley

James Harlow Kelley was born in Cobb County, Georgia on August 14, 1854, the same day as my nephew Tyler! His parents, Louisa and John Marion arrived in Missouri between his birth and 1870, and lived in the Arcadia Valley and Lesterville for the rest of their lives. They are all buried at the Collins Cemetery, a blink and you’ll miss it roadside affair between Annapolis and Minimum.

August 14, 1854 – June 3, 1933
I do believe the engraver got carried away!

The little specks are dragonflies. We’ve never seen so many as on this trip. Hundreds and hundreds!

Farmington 1940, the house where Missouri Day died.

After Missouri Day died, James Roy married a final time to Blanche Mund on January 10, 1942. They remained together until his death. I suspect the photo is shortly after the wedding, at their home in Farmington. The picture above it is the same house today. It’s undergone quite the transformation.

Blanche & James Roy in the 1960s

James Roy died mowing the lawn at this house, on June 19, 1970, nine days short of his 76th birthday.

Hillview Memorial Gardens in Farmington
elderberry flowers
Does anyone else remember Bert Cooper on Mad Men asking a whiskey person if they had any Spirit of Elderflower? Hilarious…
Oh, the sky!!
Red hot poker – they took a beating with the deep freeze, with hardly any coming up or blooming. Sad face.

First kohlrabi of the season, huzzah!! We like them roasted, in soup or salad, salad rolls, pretty much anyway we can get them. Plus, how cute is Farmer Greg?!

Speaking of Farmer Greg – he turned fifty! Looking good Mr. Half Century!

I made banana chocolate chip cake with banana frosting to celebrate. It was wonderful!

We also went out for burgers and a shingles shot because we REALLY know how to party. If you’re over fifty and haven’t been vaccinated against shingles, giddy-up and go. Seriously, for your very own sake. Unless your sores ooze in a public place (eew), you can’t give it to anyone, but goll-ee does it sound like a nightmare. I’ve heard horror stories of people not being able to tolerate a sheet on their body because of the pain. You can also have permanent nerve damage (ouch!) and multiple recurrences. No, thank you.

Mary and Michael visited us last weekend! How wonderful it was to be together without quarantining beforehand and then hope no one was asymptomatic, as we are all fully vaccinated. So many shots this year, oof. Did I mention we got our tetanus updated, too?

Jesus chills while we puzzle, of course. He’s an old man (almost fifteen!), but is as cute as when he was a puppy and very tolerant of Juniper wanting to romp.

Butterfly cherry pie! We grew all the cherries! Heck yeah…

Sunflower parting shot, ours are sure going like gangbusters this year…

When I gardened in Portland, I could generally expect plants to reach their potential the year after putting them into the ground. Here in Colorado Springs, it takes a good three years for plants to equal that size and maturity. How different life is in the high desert, with our house perched at a majestic 7000 feet. But, alas, it does happen, and this is THE year! The garden, and the peonies in particular, are the best they’ve ever been, with giant beautiful blossoms currently bursting. I am taking in the scent of my favorite coral charm, on my birthday, of all wondrous days. The one, this year, that I turned FIFTY.

We celebrated with a trip to Mirch Masala and the i-Cool rolled ice cream spot because that is exactly what I was craving. At 50, I really know what I do and do not want, and have no qualms about expressing myself.

I have found that I am more at peace than I have ever been, on every level. I know what I can and cannot control in my life, what is worthy of fussing over, and what is best left ignored (annoying neighbors and stressful news on the very top of the list). A new level of freedom, truly.

I have also made peace with my body, realizing how perfect it once was with me utterly blind to it, to recognizing its current state with deep affection. The softer belly, sturdy legs coupled with weaker knees, strong arms, eyes blurry close-up and wholly capable of spying movement far afield, and feet that prefer solid orthotics. Oh, and the wrinkles and thousands of grey hairs weaving a mystical topographic map of my wondrous life of adventure.

Most of all, you will not be surprised to read, I remain luckiest in love. Greg is the best partner, friend, and cuddler I could ever have conjured with a magic wand. Our life together is one for the ages.

We celebrated my Mom’s 72nd birthday with a weekend of fun at our house. Pizza, waffles, prickly pear margaritas to accompany a Tex-Mex BBQ of epic proportions, four varieties of homemade ice cream (peanut butter & chocolate, mixed berry, walnut {the most popular!}, and coffee), and a wicked good triple-decker strawberry frosted birthday cake, modeled by my fabulous nephew Tyler.

The Grandma Tess celebration rose is festooned with hundreds of blossoms and smells divine!
horehound
potentilla
budding goldenrod & wild bee house

As promised, our newly mulched and planted garden. The rain came right after Greg got all of the meat off the grill, with some wild torrents and furious waves of baby hail (no damage, woot!) before turning rather lovely and Portland-like for the better part of the next two days. Heavenly.

Juniper squeezing in amongst the columbine.

Our first official butterfly sighting in the garden. Here’s hoping it is a banner year!

<<>>

P.S.

A sincere note of gratitude to the best man I know (GREG!!) for replacing my computer’s power supply. You make this blog possible, and I super appreciate it.

« Older entries