The Game of Life

This is the third Birthday Season without the guest of honor. Wife Lila sent me an email today that said, “Read your Mom’s obit post from 06-2015 this morning. Felt like I needed to. It was good then, and is even better now.”

I confessed that I had let Mother’s October 17 birthday sneak up on me, and I hadn’t done an update. Her reply rocked me: “Someday there will be a point when you won’t remember to update. Not sure if it is something to look forward to or not.”

I’m pretty sure I won’t let that happen. I still remember what happened when I moved away from home to go to school in Ohio and forgot Mother’s Day.

This photo was taken when Brothers Mark and David came down to help “declutter” the house preparing it for sale. Little did we know that I’d end up buying the house myself in June two years later. (More about that later.)

Past stories about Mary Welch Steinhoff

Making the Rounds for Mother

When I pulled into 1618 Kingsway Drive late April 18 after a marathon month on the road that took me from Missouri to Ohio to Florida to Ohio, then back to Missouri, the first thing I noticed was a single red rose on the bush around the yard on the front yard.

The next morning, the bush was covered in blooms. Even though we had several days of torrential rain over the past few weeks, there were quite a few blooms ready for me to make the Mother’s Day rounds.

I don’t like plastic flowers

I’d rather leave some ratty real blossoms cut from the front yard instead of plastic plants made out of dead dinosaurs. The latter might last longer, but they are impersonal. The first stop was Wife Lila’s mother’s grave in St. Mary’s Cemetery off Perry Avenue.

Unusual tributes

My brothers and I usually mark Mother and Dad’s graves with things we pick up on the road, or things from the house. I’ve left tiles from the ruins of a building in Cairo, a railroad spike from Wittenberg and a coin smashed flat by a train car. David and Mark have buried tiny shoes from Mother’s shoe collection and Christmas ornaments.

Mother was an unusual lady, so we think she’d appreciate our quirky leavings.

“Who will decorate the graves?”

I spent many hours with Mother driving all over Cape and Stoddard counties visiting tiny cemeteries that contained the final resting places of her friends and family. This is my grandparents’ grave in Advance. You can click on the photos to make them larger.

I don’t know how many times I heard her ask, “Who will put flowers on the graves after I’m gone?”

I’ll do my best.

Raised on Raisin Bread

We Steinhoff boys were raised on cinnamon sugar peanut butter toast made with raisin bread bought at the “used bread store.” Mother would go to the Bunny Bread outlet and buy loaves of the stuff, and turn out a dozen or so slices every morning.

Sounds as much as taste

What I remember more than the taste of the gooey stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth concoction was the sounds of its making.

It would start out with the squeak of the springs in the oven door being pulled down. Then there was a clatter and crashing when Mother removed all the heavy pots and pans stored in the oven. That would be followed by a tinny sliding sound when she took out the warped and bent cookie sheet.

She’d butter up as many slices of bread as the sheet would hold, then sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on them, and stick them in the oven. Just as the sugar was beginning to bubble and, hopefully, before the toast would start to burn, she’d snatch it out of the stove and put a dollop of Peter Pan crunchy peanut butter on it. (I always liked a thin coating of the butter on mine. I didn’t like big globs of the stuff.)

Peach milk shakes

When peaches were in season, she throw some fresh peaches in the blender, along with ice cream and a little milk. Because I was scrawny in grade and high school, she might pitch a couple raw eggs in my shake. Little did we know the delayed effect of that. It took about 35 years for them to add more than the desired bulk.

I don’t do peach milk shakes in the morning, but I DO like a smoothie in the evening. Since I had some fresh strawberries and blueberries for my smoothie, I thought I’d try them on my morning toast. They added an interesting taste change, and looked pretty darned colorful. (The picture was taken with my Samsung Galaxy 7 Edge smart phone. I’m always amazed at the quality it produces. Click on the photo to make it larger.)

For what it’s worth, I’ve found the raisin bread sold at Sam’s Clubs is some of the best around: it’s very dense and has a gazillion raisins. Wife Lila said she likes it with some cream cheese spread on top.

(That’s Son Matt and Grandson Malcolm. Malcolm is sneaking up on his teen years now, but he’s still not crazy about being stuffed into funny shirts.)

 

Boys ‘n’ Toys

dashcam-atlanta-traffic-12-22-2016I figured I’d better get this posted before another Christmas rolls around. (It was supposed to go up before 2016 went to sleep, but the software didn’t want to upload the pix). I normally take two to 2-1/2 days to make it from Cape to West Palm Beach, a distance of 1,110 miles, no matter which route I take. I had the traffic day from hell going through Chattanooga and Nashville. I spent almost all day making less than 200 miles. Even Atlanta, caught at rush hour in the dashcam photo above, only took an hour to clear.

That put me at Son Matt’s house just in time to chow down on Christmas Eve with Sarah, Malcolm and Wife Lila. I was too tired and too busy eating to take pictures of the festivities there.

Christmas at Kid II

Christmas at Adam Steinhoff's 12-25-2016Christmas Day found us out at Son Adam and Carly’s watching Grandsons Graham, Elliot and Finn playing with Santa’s leavings. Wife Lila had made each of the boys a unique Christmas ornament out of palm fronds from the yard, and she wanted to get a shot of the three of them holding them.

Since she had that angle covered, I shot what it was like to herd mischievous cats.

Boys can make blasters

Christmas at Adam Steinhoff's 12-25-2016This goes to prove that boys can make blasters out of anything, not exactly the Christmas spirit image Gran had in mind.

True confession time

Christmas at Adam Steinhoff's 12-25-2016I make a tiny percentage when you shop on Amazon after pressing the Big Red Button at the top of the page. I try to shop locally, but I find myself hitting the Red Button on a regular basis. Since I rely on reviews to make purchasing decisions, I feel it only fair to review stuff I’ve bought.

Have you ever read a review where somebody confesses that they received the item for free or at a discount? Well, I must have written enough reviews that vendors are starting to send me discount and free offers to review their stuff. One of the items was a set of Maggift 30 Pcs Magnetic building blocks.

That sounded like a great stocking stuffer, particularly for free. The older boys were too into their battery-powered toys to be excited by this, and Finn was initially more interested in destroying things his mother made with the blocks than making things himself.

Hey, these things go together

Christmas at Adam Steinhoff's 12-25-2016It didn’t take him long to discover the magnets made it easy to stack the pieces together by shape. The box says ages 3+ but Finn, who is half that, found them fascinating. They look too big to be a choking hazard, and the magnets are affixed well enough that I don’t think they would break off.

A quiet moment

Christmas at Adam Steinhoff's 12-25-2016Any toy that will keep an active toddler occupied and quiet is a good toy. I’ll end up filing a 4 out of 5 star rating for it. A four because the product arrived on time and was as described. Something has to really knock my socks off to get five stars, something I point out to vendors before I agree to review it.

Y’all have a happy and prosperous 2017.