A Small Town Gal

Thanksgiving

Mel Boone 

This time of year brings back past memories of the holidays. As a kid, I knew that I was thankful for family, although it was in a way difficult for me to show it at times. My parents divorced when I was only 5 years old, so every year I experienced the same arguments of which parent would get me on which holiday. I would be glad to be with one, but on the inside, I would be sad to no be with the other.

I don't remember being close to any of my family. Neither parent was really well off financially, so I always felt like I had this "I'm the poor kid" sign on my back. I do remember certain family members looking down their noses at me, although I'm not sure that they really realized it or not.

Being older now, I believe that you don't have to be related by blood to consider someone as family. I have made some dear friends over the years that I care for so very much. It is those people who I am grateful for this Thanksgiving. They love and accept me for me and don't expect me to change. I don't think I could ever put into words what that means to me.

Thanksgiving day won't be a big day for me. Just a small meal with a few people. Who knows, maybe we will forget the thanksgiving turkey this year and go to the Chinese restaurant instead. Saving the turkey for Christmas will be fine with me. I don't mind doing something different.

Perhaps for dessert, I will make the pumpkin pie. Of course, if I use my grandmothers recipe, there will be bourbon in it. The secret ingredient that no one can identify but loves so much.

pumpkin pie
Photo by Getty Images/rez-art

A Love for Trucks

Mel Boone

truck
One of several trucks at the 2017 Flywheel Reunion, Macon, Missouri.

I've always loved trucks. Even before I had a driver's license, I just knew that a car would never be for me. It had to be a truck or nothing at all. My first vehicle ended up being a 1982 Datsun pickup. I drove it for years. Of course with it being my first, I've always had seller's remorse. I wish that I had never gotten rid of it. That Datsun was just so dependable.

To this day, I've never lost my love for old trucks. I'm not sure why they're so appealing to me. Perhaps it is because I'm already neck-deep in the antique tractor hobby and wanting an old truck makes sense somewhere in my mind. Perhaps it was all the times as a kid spent going to the junk yard with my step dad, seeing all these old vehicles just sitting there being parted out planted the seed in my head. Looking back, it seems like I got more enjoyment out of the junk yard than I did playing with my Barbie.

I have my wish list. I wish I had a GMC truck from the late 1940s or early 1950s. I love the body style. I like the Stanley Steamers, too. Those are different. In 2015, while my step dad and I were exhibiting our 1939 F-20 at the Red Power Roundup in Sedalia, Missouri, we got to ride on a high-wheeler in the truck parade. The International Harvester high-wheeler that we got to ride on was made around 1904 or 1908. It was a once-in-a-lifetime thing for us and I'm so glad that the owner let us ride with him. It's a memory I will have forever. There were several high-wheelers there, including a blue one built in 1910. The whole experience has put the high-wheeler on my wish list.

The truck that I've dreamed about for the longest time would have to be The Mercury truck. The Canadian built Fords are probably hard to find here in the U.S.A. (or so I'm guessing). That doesn't stop me from dreaming. Nor does it stop me from talking to Santa!

car
An International Harvester high-wheeler, made around 1910, on display at the 2015 Red Power Roundup, Sedalia, Missouri.

Fishing

Mel BooneIt's been a while since I've been fishing. I was reminded of that on Sunday when my stepdad had his 71st birthday. It had dawned on him that here in Missouri, he no longer needs a fishing license because of his age. It'll be a long while before I get to that point, but it reminded me that it's been a few years since I've gotten a fishing license, much less held a fishing pole in my hand.

I remember my first fishing pole that my grandfather gave me. It was just a long bamboo stick with a line and lure on it, no reel. It was the only pole that I've ever had. It has long since disappeared, but I caught many a catfish out of his pond with it.

The last time that I fished in that pond on the farm I was probably in my early 20s. I used a rod and reel that I borrowed from my stepdad. We caught quite a mess of catfish that day, plus one snapping turtle. I was glad to be rid of the snapping turtle! As for the fish, we had more than what we could eat, so we shared our catch with one of my stepdad's friends.

Grandpa, the friend, and the pond are long since gone. I cherish the memories, though. One more memory of the pond had nothing to do with fishing. Grandpa used to buy bags of fish food and take some to feed the channel catfish that he had stocked his pond with. We would bring two large metal Folgers coffee cans with us and a stick. On can had the fish food in it, the other can would be empty. The empty can would be put partially in the water and hit with the stick. After a few seconds, I would get to throw the food into the water.

I loved watching the fish come to the surface to feed. That was entertainment that my iPod just can't replace.

fishing
Photo by Getty Images/Terri Rosa Fox

Time to Trick or Treat

Mel Boone

halloween menus 

October brings a bit of joy to my life. I start to look forward to my favorite holiday, Halloween. Not that I hate all the other holidays, I just happen to love this one the most.

It's the one holiday that lets me dress up and pretend to be someone or something else without a grownup telling me to stop being silly or to stop daydreaming. I didn't have a great childhood, so I did a lot of daydreaming!

I've lost track of all the different costumes that I've worn for Halloween over the years. Wearing costumes didn't stop as I grew older. As an adult, if my boss would let me wear a costume to work on October 31, believe me, I would be dressed up! It was an excuse for me to not have to wear a uniform for a day.

Of course, being a self described "nerd," I read any Halloween-related book I can find. Two of my favorites are Missouri Ghosts by Joan Gilbert and Ghosts of the Ozarks by Bruce Carlson.

Then there are the movies. I now go through my yearly Halloween ritual of making a bowl of popcorn and grabbing a bottle of vanilla Coke for a night of movies. Pumpkinhead, Aliens, Ghost Ship and Men in Black are on my list to watch this year. I don't have kids to take trick or treating and I'm pretty sure the neighbors don't want to give their candy out to an adult, so I look forward to this ritual now. Of course, I'm so short, I wonder if I could dress up just to fool the neighbors. I bet I could get a good laugh out of that.

I am still a kid at heart. I hope that is one thing about me that I never want to change.

halloween sign

Jake and His Toys

Mel Boone

 

 

 

 

My dog Jake loves his toys. One of his favorites is a small, round rubber ball. In fact, he has five of them: two blue, two red, and a green one. He can spend most of his day and evening playing fetch with one of them providing that I am willing to throw it for him. Honestly, I wish I had some of his energy. I seem to wear out long before Jake does.

jake
Jake dressed up on St. Patrick's Day.

Once in a while, the ball gets thrown and lands inside of one of my stepdad's boots. It's a challenge for Jake to get it out, but given enough time he does. Jake usually ends up with the boot on his head and once the valued ball is retrieved, the boot gets left behind in the middle of the floor.

Of course, if you really want to see my stepdad go nuts, then let Jake play with his pink squeaky pig. Jake loves to chew on it, but the obnoxious squeak is almost intolerable! Jake doesn't care. He loves his squeaky pig. I guess Jake assumes that his humans will learn to love it, too.

I've yet to teach Jake to fetch a Frisbee. To him, it's just another chew toy that happens to be somewhat flat and round. I throw it, he chases it, lays down, and starts to chew. Guess if I want him to fetch, I'll use one of his rubber balls. When I get tired of throwing, I'll give him the Frisbee. Fair enough, I think.

Buddy, on the other hand, is the couch potato. I show him a toy and he just stares at it. If I want any activity out of him, I have to go into the kitchen and yell "treat time!" He will be the first one there.

So it goes with my life. That's OK. I'm content with what I have.

Hello Fall

Mel Boone

 

 

 

 

tree

Fall will soon be here. If I'm not mistaken, summer turns into fall this coming Friday. The weather forecast here still shows summer-like weather well into next week, but I know that will soon change. Before long, I will be doing the dreaded: changing the clothes in the closet. Dragging my cold weather out of storage and putting my beloved shorts and sleeveless shirts into storage.

I do still look forward to many hikes before winter sets in. I'll have my camera with me when I don't have two dog leashes to hang on to. I do love the beauty that nature brings when the leaves on the trees change color. The only thing better is the nature's beauty in spring when everything is in bloom.

Buddy and Jake don't mind their fall walks, either. I think they enjoy running though the leaves. It reminds me of when I was a kid on my grandparents' farm. I had my grandparents' German shepherd, Tasha, as a buddy to jump in the leaves with. Of course, that was when we were not running around in the yard or pasture playing a game of tag. That usually ended with me on the ground, Tasha sitting on my back, and grandpa laughing his head off at us. I never stayed mad for long. After a few minutes, we would be playing again.

It's this time of year that you find pumpkin and nutmeg everywhere along with pecan and sweet potato pie. Everyone is in their "pumpkin spice" mode. If it smells or tastes like pumpkin, it'll sell like crazy during the next few weeks. That's OK. It's fall.

So, this weekend I'll be on my traditional lookout for pumpkins and gourds to decorate my porch. I think I'll add a few white pumpkins to the decorations this year. My camera will be with me, too. I never know when I'll see the next perfect fall picture, but when I do, I'll be ready to capture it.

trees

Time on the Grill

Mel BooneOne of my favorite outdoor activities is being able to use the barbecue grill. I love it! I also have a smoker at home, too. And yes, you guessed it, I love it, too! But, alas, the grilling season will soon come to a close. The cold weather will be here soon.

My stepdad used to do all the grilling. I don't think he had as much fun at it as I do. He finally decided that since I enjoyed it so much, I could willingly take over "grill duty." I won't argue with that. Finally, I may have found something that I am better at than him!

Both the grill and smoker are charcoal burners. I've got nothing against propane. In fact, our first grill was propane. There are those who will use only one or the other. Honestly, I'll use whichever one I can get hold of.

The one thing on my bucket list now that I have a grill and a smoker in my backyard is to have a brick oven. I've always wanted to learn how to bake bread and pizza in one of those. I'd like to be able to build one. Of course in this day and age, you can pretty much Google anything. So I guess that's on my list. Perhaps I can find a DIY book on Amazon, right? I'm sure once I get it built, I'll totally have fun with it!

All in all it has been a great season this year for me to be outside using my grill. I can't complain. The summer hasn't been too hot or too rainy, thank goodness! I still should have a few good weeks left, but I shouldn't take that to chance. I never really know what Mother Nature has up her sleeve for me.

charcoal grill
Photo by Getty Images/Jag_cz