Wedding Vows

It’s our anniversary tomorrow (January 10th). It is 21 years. It feels like two. I feel like we have known each other our whole lives, not just 21 years of our lives. 

The promise:

I Peggie, take thee John, to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.

I, John, take thee, Peggie, to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part. 

Love, respect, life, living. Happy, connected, forever, love. True love, soul mate, the one, unconditional love.

Man of my dreams

Life is not guaranteed

Wedded bliss

In sickness and in health

A picture. I was at work today and the picture fell out from some papers I have. It is one of my favorites, if not favorite, picture of John and Tayler. Tayler is about 10 months old in it. John is about 44, a few months shy of 45. John has a giant horseshoe full of staples on his head. Tayler has burned fingers on her hand. It shows the fragility that life is. It shows that nothing is guaranteed, no matter what we may think. It shows.

Life was good. Life was beautiful. Then on June 3, 2000, dad died and life was very, very sad. John got me through it. Every night he held me while I cried the ugly cry. 

A week or so after dad died, John started acting weird. I know, hard to believe right? LOL. We would be sitting there talking and all of a sudden he would just be silent and it was like he was looking right through me. After dad’s funeral, John and I and my sisters and their husbands sat up drinking White Russians, reminiscing and telling dad stories. We knew he was there, because he broke the tree. The tree actually split. No storm, no lightning, just dad. 

John thought maybe he just had a wicked, wicked hangover. He said his head felt like there was an axe in it. This went on for a while and he continued to act weird and to look straight through me. He said he was going to go the chiropractor the next day because he thought maybe his neck was out of place. At the time, I didn’t realize he was having seizures. I actually thought he may be having a stroke when he had a really bad seizure. 

I should have taken him. I don’t know why I didn’t. At that time we lived on the river, right past the Pizza Ranch and down from AmericInn (which was not there then). I watched. I was scared and really, really nervous. I could see his pickup on the bridge. He was going extremely slow. He definitely had a guardian angel that day because he was having a seizure as he was driving over to Pierre to the chiropractor’s office. 

I received a telephone call. John was being taken to the hospital by ambulance. I immediately called his brother, Roy, and he met me at the hospital. We knew nothing at that point. He was being monitored and all kinds of tests were being conducted. 

Ironically, my dad’s physician, Dr. Hoffsten, figured out what was going on. After testing and more testing, it turned out John had an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), which is an abnormal tangle of blood vessels connecting arteries and veins, which disrupts normal blood flow and oxygen circulation. They are typically found in the brain and if it ruptures can cause bleeding in the brain, stroke or brain damage. 

We were referred to Rapid City, to a neurosurgeon. We liked him. Seljeskog. Ed. He reminded me of dad. He made us feel comfortable. Next up, brain surgery. June 30, 2000.

John had to have surgery to remove the AVM. It seemed like the surgery took forever. It was a very long day. The AVM was removed and everything was going to be okay. More angels looking over us and God for sure. 

It seems so long ago that this happened. It seems so long ago that Tayler was little. It seems so long ago that our life was completely turned upside down, yet it feels like it was yesterday. The emotions are there, on the surface, just waiting to spring to life. It can’t be helped. I can’t stop them. I see that picture and the lump in my throat is right there. The tears are waiting to fall. 

I don’t take anything for granted. Things can change in a second. You hear that all the time. It really is true. None of us know how much time we have. None of us. 

So with my time, I choose to live life. I choose to live life with my true love.

Man of my dreams

Life is not guaranteed

Wedded bliss

In sickness and in health

…till death do us part

Tops for 2018

I’ve been reflecting a little bit on 2018. Overall, it was not a bad year. I’m grateful. I feel lucky. I love my life. I love what I do. Some people don’t get to say that.

In 2018, I wrote more than I ever have before. I put out a blog post just about every single week of 2018. I may have missed a few, but that’s okay. Nobody is perfect and perfect is nobody.

I went through the stats on my site and picked out the top 5 most read blog posts of 2018. I always like to add one or two that are my favorites as well. Before i get to those though, I wanted to say how happy I am that you come here every week and read these posts. It means the world to me.

In 2019, I hope to continue with the kid blog post memories. I’m going to have to dig in and remember some more. I already have one planned for next week, so at least the memories are still flowing. Anyway, here are the top 5 of 2018, along with the link.

  1. http://peggielarsen.com/2018/04/11/rest-in-peace-mike/ This post is about a pretty much life-long friend. He was one of the nicest people I have ever met in my life. His life was cut way too short. I love him and I miss him.
  2. http://peggielarsen.com/2018/05/16/tayler/ Of course, this is about Tayler, the last kid. She is definitely a good one. Bittersweet.
  3.  http://peggielarsen.com/2018/06/05/buddy/ The day we lost our Buddy boy. Such a sad day. We gave him a spectacular life.
  4.  http://peggielarsen.com/2018/10/24/the-pretty-people/ This is about my husband and Tayler. They are definitely pretty people. My sense of humor definitely shows in this one.
  5.  http://peggielarsen.com/2018/03/07/kid-friends-branch-and-peggie/ This is about my friend, Branch. We grew up playing together all the time. He was a great friend. I will never forget how much fun we had.

The next two are a few of my favorites from this past year. The first one is called Butterflies and Freedom. It’s about the carefree life of a kid. The beauty seen in nature. It’s about being a kid and getting to be a kid without a care in the world. The other one is the flip side of that coin. It’s about how fragile life can be. It’s about giving the ultimate sacrifice. It’s about signing that blank check, giving your life for your country. I struggle with this,  a lot. My son is a Marine Vet and I thank God every day that he survived two stints overseas. It could have turned out so differently. But, this sacrifice, this sacrifice of these young men, happened on home soil. This sacrifice is called suicide. It’s a huge problem and it needs to stop.

  1.  http://peggielarsen.com/2018/10/17/butterflies-and-freedom/
  2.  http://peggielarsen.com/2018/05/28/rainy-days-and-mondays/

As I was going through the posts on New Year’s Day and trying to pick out my favorites, I came across the one about my Dad. I know I write about him a lot. It just helps. I was sitting at the kitchen counter and heard the familiar tap on the window. Tap, tap, tap. I knew it was the cardinal bringing me the message. Telling me he was here. I got up and went to the window and looked out. I saw the flash of red, flying away.

 

  http://peggielarsen.com/2018/06/02/june-3-2000/

 

I’m ready for 2019. I’m excited to bring you more stories.

Watermelons and station wagons

I think I was around 10 or 11, which means we lived in the Prospect House. It was summer. We went on a vacation. A family vacation. I’m not sure what spurred this vacation. I have no idea why. We never went on vacations. We never did family outings. We never did family pictures. We never did family stuff. Not that that is bad, we just never did. 

The destination was Arkansas. Why? I don’t know why. I don’t think we knew anyone in Arkansas. The trip was taken in a station wagon. You know, the colored panel ones with a crap ton of room. We could spread out in the way back and not have to worry about being seat belted in. It was not a law then. We could sleep way in the back and be comfortable. The humming of the engine, the sound of the tires rolling down the interstate made it easy to relax and fall asleep. That gentle noise always put me to sleep. 

It seemed like we drove forever. Forever in kid time. It had to have been a couple of days at least. I remember when we got “there,” we stopped at a grocery store. We bought a watermelon and some other items. I only remember the watermelon. It had to be solid dark green though. That’s what dad wanted. Those were the best kind of watermelons. Why that is significant to me, I’m not sure. We went to the place where we were staying. It wasn’t a hotel or anything like that. It was a house. It was a cabin/house in the woods with lots and lots of trees. There were no other houses close by. It was strange. It was like a scary movie. I wouldn’t realize that then, but now, that’s what I feel. 

This house was big. It had lots of room and a big deck on the back. We played outside. I don’t remember doing any other kinds of activities while we were on vacation. One of the days I went out back and was playing in the “yard,” if you could call it that. There really wasn’t a yard, just trees. The deck was sloped, so there must have been a walk out basement in the house. 

The details are vague. It’s weird, I remember the watermelon clearly and the next incident clearly. That’s it. I remember nothing else about the trip. I remember nothing about why we were there. I remember nothing of what the inside of the house looked like, just the outside yard and the deck.

I went out to play in the back. I noticed that I could hang on to part of the deck and swing under it, like gymnastics bars. I wondered if I would get slivers from the wood. I thought I would try it. I was bored. There really wasn’t anything to do. I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, my typical summer attire. I don’t think I was wearing shoes. I grabbed the deck. It was good. No slivers. I started swinging by hanging on to the boards with my hands and swinging my legs up underneath the deck. I felt something. It felt like fire. It was stinging. I wanted to let go, but I couldn’t. If I did I would fall on my back or my head. I had to wait until my legs came back down and then out from underneath the deck. My leg was burning like crazy. Once I could let go, I looked at my leg. The pattern was a circle, then another circle in that circle and finally the center. My skin was red and puffy. Huge bubbles of skin. Red bubbles of skin. Skin on fire. Stinging skin. I was screaming and jumping up and down. 

Unbeknownst to me, up underneath the deck was a flying ant nest. I never even knew there was such a thing. After I had run back in the house and told mom and dad what had happened they went out and looked. I wasn’t going anywhere near there again. My leg was on fire. It hurt for days after that. I think mom put something on it to help with the sting and the swelling, but it didn’t seem like it helped much. 

So that was the extent of the family vacation. I can’t remember anything else about it. I used to envy my friends who went on vacations every summer. After that vacation, I didn’t care if I ever went on another one again. 

Tis The Season


If you don’t know me, you may think I am intimidating, bitchy, even intense. However, if you do know me, you know I am nothing like that. You know I have a big heart and love to help people. 

You may also know that my partner, Chris Schreiber, and I, own The Underground Private Training Studio. It’s private. It’s a training studio. It’s by appointment only. We love it. 

This year, we wanted to give back. We wanted to help more people or help make Christmas special for people. My heart will always be with the Veterans, but this year I thought we would do something different. 

I contacted Maryhouse. Maryhouse is a nursing home here in Pierre. I was in contact with their Coordinator, Leticia Brewer.  I told her what we wanted to do. She said absolutely. She was kind enough to put together a list of the residents, along with a few things they would like for Christmas. Us and our clients picked names on the list to buy presents.


Their wants were simple. Almost child-like. Candy, chocolate, salty snacks. There was a common theme. Several of the residents wanted warm socks and blankets or robes. Some wanted crossword puzzles, books or drawing supplies.  It was so cute. Reading the list was so touching. One lady wanted ribbon candy. How absolutely adorable, yet heartbreaking at the same time. It really made me sad. 

They loved the attention. It was easy to see they loved having company. One gentleman’s wife was in his room with him when we walked in. She was combing his hair. She was not a patient, but she spent a lot of time with him there. His room was comfortable. It had a woman’s touch. We stayed in his room for at least ten minutes. We watched him open his presents. At one point his wife scurried to get her camera. She told him to look up and smile. It was absolutely adorable. He gave a cute little smile and she took the picture. She was worried that his hair wasn’t quite right. He got candy. He opened the next present. Both of them were touched. It was a beautiful sweater and a pair of really nice socks. He loved it. She had us sign his book. It was heartwarming. I’m glad he had her company. I’m glad she was taking such good care of him. She was so patient. They were a team. 

There was a handful of husband and wife residents/patients. They were together in one room. Living just as if they were in their own home or apartment, except the reality was they needed assistance. The reality was they needed help to care of themselves. The reality was they were there for each other as best they could. The reality was they loved each other and took their vows seriously. They were together until the end. Until they became parted by death. Touching and heartbreaking all at the same time. 

Chris and I laughed that day. We laughed a lot. We also cried. So many emotions. Many times that day I felt sadness bubbling at the surface, tears about ready to burst through. It was hard a few times to hold it together.

We walked into her room. It was spotless. It was immaculate. It was a grandma’s room, or in this case, her home. Her bed had a beautiful bright colored quilt, I think it was yellow. She had her windowsill decorated for Christmas. Snowmen. She was sitting in her chair. She was wearing gray slacks and a navy blue sweater. She was beautiful. Dainty and dignified. One look at her and you wanted to hug her. She was beautiful. We told her who we were and that we wanted to bring her a Christmas present. I put the present in her lap. She looked up and was saying something to us, but we couldn’t really hear or understand. Then she started crying. She was so touched and so grateful. She kept wondering why we were bringing a present to her. She was beautiful. She kept hugging us and holding Chris’ hands. She would have held our hands all day. And if we could have, we would have held hers all day. She was beautiful. 

It was so cute to be able to watch some of them open their presents. Another beautiful little lady, got a collapsible clothes hamper. It was so touching when she said, “Oh, how nice. I really needed one of these.” Of course they never remembered what they had asked for. The surprised looks on their faces said it all. She hugged us too. She gave big squishy hugs. She was adorable. 

Every single one of them said thank you. Many of them wondered why we were doing it. A few weren’t too sure about where we came from, “The Underground, sounds illegal,” they would tell us. We just laughed and laughed. 

Those nurses and aides and Leticia are absolutely amazing. Those residents are in good hands. God bless them. 

That day was so special. That day we will never forget. I have not stopped thinking about those people. 

But why wait until “tis the season?” How about any time? Those people are the forgotten generations. The ones who are done. The ones who need us. The ones who need some attention. We need to give it to them. 

Sing, sing a song…

The big day. The big production. The Spring Concert. Lincoln School, fourth grade. We lived at the Prospect house. It was about a block from the school. Very close. It was convenient. 

We worked all year for this. It was a big deal. Everyone dressed up. We were expected to look nice. Girls usually wore dresses. Not this girl. My idea of dressing up was not jeans, so some weird dress pants and a sweater, usually a long-sleeved shirt with a sweater vest over it. Very classy and dressy looking. For me, it was. 

We practiced forever. Our music teacher was Mrs. Newman. She looked so young. Like she did her whole life. May she continue to rest in peace. Pretty sure it was her first teaching job. I can’t imagine being a music teacher. Maybe because I can’t imagine myself being able to learn music. I love it. I wish I could read it, or even know what a note is. I can’t. I don’t. I’m going to work on that this next year. I’m going to learn. 

I liked music class. Singing was fun. I remember one assignment we had to find a song with a certain count or beat or whatever it’s called. We had to bring in the 45 record, remember those? We had to show her and have the class listen to the song and find that beat or count or whatever. I brought in the 45 Lorelei by Styx. It’s a good song, but I don’t think I got the assignment quite right. It was a good song though. 

The reminder was yesterday. I was training one of my clients and the song Country Roads by John Denver came on the Spotify playlist. At the time I changed the song because I didn’t want to listen to it. It was such an old song after all. I told my client my fourth grade class had to sing that song at our spring concert. We laughed and talked about those concerts for a minute and then moved on. 

Fourth grade Peggie went right back to the concert. The concerts were held at Riggs High School in the gymnasium. Each class had a designated place on the bleachers. We were told not to be disruptive and to listen to Mrs. Newman. Of course we were and of course we didn’t. Fidgeting was going on big time. As much as being a kid is fun, there was a lot of nervous energy flowing around, anxiety if you will. We were all nervous. Well, maybe not everybody. I was. The gym was filled with parents and relatives and other spectators. The time was now. Singing time. Everything we learned time. Mrs. Newman time. 

I remember clearly we sang Country Roads by John Denver, and the song Sing, by The Carpenters. It was fun. I liked to sing. When our class performed Sing, we got fancy, some of the kids sang a different part of the song, while other kids sang another part of the song. Harmonies, perhaps? I told you I don’t know music. We sang the songs and I was devastated. I wanted it to be over. I wanted it to be done. I made a mistake singing Sing. I was embarrassed. Maybe nobody could tell. 

The next week in class, we got to listen to the recording of the concert. The click of the recorder playback button made me sweat. It seemed extra loud for some reason. The song started. Sing. The la, la, la, la, la part, is pretty prominent in that song. The recording kept playing and in that one part of the la, la, la, la, la part, plain as day, clear as a bell, there was an extra la. It was me. The extra la was me. I wanted to crawl under my desk. I wondered if anyone knew it was me? Obviously whoever was standing beside me during the concert had to have known. I was embarrassed. I felt like an idiot. That mess up, that screw up, was recorded forever on that tape. Why me? 

Things happen, kids make mistakes. Fourth grade mistakes feel like the end of the world mistakes. I recovered. Life went on and school went on. Music went on, but I learned from my mistake. I learned a really important lesson. I learned to never sing out loud at concerts again. La. 

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

I’ve loved you since I met you. We’e been together since I was young. I think I was about 15 or 16, but I knew you way before that. I knew you when I was a little kid. It feels like it has been forever. In reality, it has been a very, very long time, just not forever. You drew me in with your beautiful smell. You drew me in with your amazing color. I loved it. I loved you. 

I craved you. I couldn’t help it. I became addicted. How could I not have? We did everything together. We woke up together. We spent the mornings together. We always spent after lunch together and even evenings. We did this for many, many years. But then you started causing problems for me. I started feeling weird and I started having issues with my body. You were harming me because I couldn’t get enough of you. 

I had to start hanging out with your less than fun younger brother. He wasn’t bad, but I liked you better. I loved you better. It just wasn’t the same. It took me a while, but I stopped thinking about you. I actually started to feel better without you. You left me alone for over six months, maybe longer.  I felt free. I really felt better without you.

One day, I saw you again. You were just right there. I couldn’t resist you. It was like heaven. We only hung out in the mornings though. It felt just right. You weren’t being mean to me. You weren’t making things go crazy. It was nice. I loved you again. You loved me again.  The weekends were the best. We hung out all day. Just like we did before. It was wonderful. 

But now, you are starting to not be so great again. You’re starting to drive me crazy. I can’t sleep at night. I lie there in bed, just staring at the ceiling. I think and think and then think some more. You are doing it again. You’re starting to be mean. 

I’ve come to the realization that we can only hang out in the mornings. That’s it, no afternoons or evenings. Even on the weekends, it can only be in the morning. The rest of the time, I will be hanging out with your brother again. He’s just not as good though. Why can’t he be just like you, except without the meanness? Why can’t he? 

I really do love you more, but I have to be disciplined. I have to be strict with you. Even though I want to hang out all the time, I have to stick to my guns. 

Coffee you have been so important to me. I really have loved you forever, but it’s back to your brother, decaf. I will see you in the mornings, but that’s it. I just can’t spend that much time with you anymore. I have to take a break from you. 

The Familiar

They came in a tube. They were green and smelled like pine trees. The kind of smell that made a person relax and unwind. The kind of smell that made a person forget. The kind of smell that made a person realize life was going to be okay. The stress melted away.

The smell was familiar. As soon as I opened the bottle of “Holiday Peace” essential oil, I felt myself back there. I could see myself back there. Back at the Euclid house. In the bathroom. The water was running in the tub. I put one in the water. One of the oil balls. It was kind of soft and a little squishy. I knew I wasn’t supposed to. They weren’t mine. They smelled so good. Always taking things that weren’t mine.

The heat of the water melted the rubbery sphere and released the oil. The blend of oils was amazing. The scent filled the bathroom with pine and fir and frankincense. I hated baths. I hated taking them. Taking a bath…sounds weird. Anyway, it wasn’t my favorite thing. I preferred showers. I never understood how someone could just sit in the tub forever, but I did it. Those oil-filled bath balls drew me in. I couldn’t help it.

We begged to use them. She always said no. Always. I think they were expensive. Maybe that was why. As I look back now I could see why she was selfish with them. I could see why she hoarded them. I could understand a little bit. I could. 

When I opened the bottle of essential oil, it was as if I could see the memories flooding out of it, like it was a waft of smoke curling up out of the bottle. I could feel the memories as if they were yesterday. The smells, the sounds, the house, the tub, all of it was there. The smell was vintage. The smell was almost a cold smell. It’s hard to explain, but I can smell a chill. It’s strange. It must be the pine smell and cold air smell combined. I love it.

There may have been others scents, but I always remember the green, the pine, the smell, the feeling, the familiar.

A babysitter named Corrine and a Banana Splits lunchbox

It was the Euclid house. It was fall. The mornings were cold. It was a contest. We wanted to see who could make it to the babysitter’s house without wearing a coat. It wouldn’t have been bad, except we rode our bikes, so it always felt like the wind was blowing right in our faces. We rode the whole width of the street. We thought we were cool. Brats riding bikes in the middle of the street. We were every parent’s nightmare. We had to carry our lunchboxes too. We used to have the brown paper bags, but for some reason I begged my mom into getting me a regular lunchbox. Mine was from the TV show The Banana Splits. It was white vinyl. It had a snap fold-over closing. It smelled weird, that strange vinyl smell.  The kind of smell you can’t stand, yet you keep smelling it. 

Every morning we did this. Same time, same place. No coats. Contest. 

I was curious, so I looked up The Banana Splits show. It was around until about 1970. It started in 1968. The puppeteers, Sid and Marty Krofft, made it big after this show ended. Their next cartoon was H.R. Pufnstuff. Remember that one? I also just lost 1 minute and 22 seconds of my life listening to the theme song from The Banana Splits show. It’s called “The Tra La La Song,” and you will never get it out of your head. Seriously. Not even kidding. 

We were going to her house. The babysitter’s house. I always wondered, if we could get ourselves to a babysitter’s house, why did we need a babysitter? Weird. Anyway, it was only about two blocks. I tracked it the other day because I couldn’t remember. We would cut through the alley and out into the street. We rode over to Grand and then two blocks north. Her house was a few houses in from the intersection of Grand and Elizabeth. The house was big. It had a wraparound porch and was painted white. 

She was pretty. She had dark hair and beautiful dark olive skin. She was really tan. Her voice was kind of different. It’s hard to describe. Not high pitched, not deep. Just different. She taught us about life. She taught us about doing our part. She taught us about working. We liked to help her. There was a clothesline in the backyard and a big garden. There were rows and rows of green beans. We picked them for her and ate them the whole time we were picking. We helped with the laundry. We helped with everything. We even helped with cooking and baking.

She let us be kids. She let us play in the dirt. She didn’t get mad if we were dirty or muddy, or if we made a mess. She just let us be. She taught us how to knit and how to put together jigsaw puzzles. The hard ones. The 500 or more pieces ones. I vaguely remember music too. I can’t remember what it was about the music, but something…

She treated us right. She treated us like we were her own. I loved her. 

Thanks Corrine Leidholt. You were a positive influence in my life and I am forever grateful for you. 

Halloween Tradition

Happy Halloween

Do you ever wonder what the history of Halloween is? Me either. 

Okay, I kind of do wonder. I had to go look. Basically, the practices of Halloween mostly come from Celtic paganism in the British Isles, and their feast of Samhain, the new year. They believed it was the time when ghosts and spirits came out to haunt, and the Celts would appease the spirits by giving them treats. Interesting. 

Back to my Halloween. Back to plastic masks with the stinky smell and the eye holes, nose holes and mouth holes that would practically cut your skin if they were moved just right. We could eat a sucker and the stick would stick out the small hole that was the mouth hole. We thought it was cool. Like we were smoking a cigarette. Those things made your whole face sweat and it was hard to breathe. They were also creepy. 

Costumes are creepy. Costumes are uncomfortable. Costumes are weird. But we all did it. We all wore those creepy plastic masks to hide our true identity. Nobody knew who we were unless they were trick or treating with us. Or unless they recognized our parents who took us out trick or treating. Wait a second. That never happened. We went by ourselves. Every year. All the time. Do kids even do that anymore? I mean, it is kind of a scary world out there anymore. 

We used to hit all the “good” houses. The ones that gave “good” Halloween candy. As in none of that rotten crappy candy, such as Necco wafers (GAWD), or candy corn (heaven forbid) or those disgusting peanut butter chews that were wrapped in orange and black paper to make them more appealing looking. It never worked. We could all see right through that little trick. The best houses were remembered every single year. It was tradition. I remember some highlights. 

One in particular was the Mateer House. They lived on Broadway. They gave presents! Can you believe that? Presents. The line was crazy. You had to get there early and you had to wait in line. They greeted kids at the door and then proceeded to take down the kids’ name and write it in a book. I wonder how many kids tried to dupe them and get double presents. I would like to think none, but I bet it happened. They were the cutest little old couple. They obviously loved Halloween. One year I got a sleep mask. It was black. I wonder if I ever used it. 

Another house on Yankton street gave away popcorn balls. Delicious, chewy and sweet popcorn balls. Not too sweet and not full of seeds. Perfect popcorn balls. They lived on the corner of Yankton and Capitol. The Brasel house. The best popcorn ball house. That was definitely a house not to miss. 

If you were lucky enough, some houses gave out full size candy bars. That was definitely a huge score in the trick or treating world. If you found the house, you immediately told all other trick or treaters you came in contact with. Sometimes when it was getting time to head back home and people were turning off porch lights, and you happened to hit their house, they gave you all the candy they had left. That was a huge Halloween score. 

Once it started getting late, and we got home, it was time. My absolute favorite part of Halloween. It was time to sort the candy. Everything had to be perfect. I got rid of my costume. I got rid of my coat, if I needed to wear one that year. I sat down in the living room. The lights had to be on. The bucket or bag, or whatever receptacle was used as the candy collector, was dumped on the floor. I had to shoo away the dog and the Dad. Dad would constantly be in the pile. He would always sneak a Baby Ruth or a Butterfinger. The sorting would begin. The candy sorting ritual. Everything in piles. Baby Ruths in a pile. Kit Kats in a pile. Reese’s in a pile. Every single different kind of candy was in a pile. The only thing I would eat while sorting was gum. Dubble Bubble. Five or six pieces at once. Slupring up that sugary pile of pink putty. Mmmmmmmm. I don’t chew gum anymore. You can probably see why. 

Once everything was sorted into piles, the pieces were counted. It was a tradition. Then the trading could commence with siblings. Sometimes nothing was traded. Sometimes a few things were traded and even sometimes the gross candy was thrown away. Dad wouldn’t even eat it. Every year it was done the exact same way. Every year. It was tradition. 

The pretty people

I’ve known him for a long time so I know the comment was not meant in any way offensive. I never took it that way either. I actually thought it was pretty funny. It was ironic because I get that all the time. When I am with my husband or with Tayler, I get it all the time. Now, I don’t think I’m ugly at all, but I also don’t think I’m one of the pretty people. I’m just me. What you see is what you get. My husband and daughter, on the other hand, are pretty people. They get stared at ALL.THE.TIME. 

When John and I met it was unreal how his looks affected people. I always wondered what people were looking at. I would even comment to him about it. He was oblivious. We would be in line at a checkout counter at any store, just pick one, any store, it doesn’t matter, it was the same whichever store we went to. The checkout person could barely talk. They would stutter and stare and could hardly do their job. It didn’t matter the age either. High school to blue hairs. He got it all. 

From the time Tayler was born, hands down the number one comment was how beautiful her eyes were. Very true. They were. They still are. She is finding that out every day at college. People don’t just glance at her, they downright stare. It gets uncomfortable. It gets kind of weird. She said she just stares back. It’s hard to know what to do. They comment on her eyes all the time. We have standing jokes at our house about her eyes.  

Thank God neither she nor John is conceited. They both have the warmest hearts and would do anything for anyone. I love that about them. This post is not in any way meant to offend anyone or make it look like John and Tayler are egomaniacs. It’s just the way it is. They can’t help how they look. Don’t hate them because they are beautiful (LOL). 

So, back to the beginning of my story. We are meeting with the photographer for Tayler’s senior pics. We are sitting at the table with him discussing the places we want to go and kind of hammering out ideas. He told Tayler that she was absolutely gorgeous and her eyes were amazing. Yep, I’ve heard that before. Next up he told John what a good looking man he was too. Yep, I’ve heard that too. And from a lot of men as well. John doesn’t discriminate. Both men and women love him. I was sitting there, soaking it all in. Waiting…nothing. Okay. We were getting ready to head out the door and I was walking out first. All of a sudden the photographer told me how great my shoes were. Yep. That’s what I got. He said, “Nice shoes.” They were green. Green shoes. Converse shoes. One of my favorite pairs of shoes. I’ll take it. 

In this world of everyone being offended by something. I was perfectly fine with my nice shoes comment. I’ll let the pretty people take all the compliments and get all the attention. I’ll let them feel uncomfortable and not know how to respond to the many, many stares and comments. I’ll let them learn to handle their beauty. Me, well, I have nice fucking shoes and I won’t apologize.