Monday, July 15, 2013

The Girl Within
This week we had the rare opportunity to attend a Brown family reunion (my mother-in-law was a Brown before she became a Green). She is the only surviving sibling of eight and her parents were some of the first members of the LDS Church in north Alabama. So they planned a short program to discuss family history and made (in advance) a video showing how the family had grown. We were all asked to contribute some pictures and I sent this one of Butch and myself at the airport in the summer of 1977 while we were waiting for him to board a plane to Korea for his mission. His cousin, Rhonda, who was collecting the pictures, said she cried when she saw it because that is exactly how she remembers us. I told her I still felt like that girl – until I looked in the mirror. To which she replied, “You are still that girl.”

I’ve thought a lot about those words during this past week. I love the idea that young Betsy, idealistic, confident, and thin – still exists. Many years have passed and many things have happened – good and bad, wonderful and terrible, special and mundane – the fabric of my life. I reflected on what I hoped my life would be and how reality compares to those dreams I had at nineteen.

I wanted more than anything to marry Butch Green in the temple. (That happened in the Washington DC Temple in August of 1979 just a couple of months after he returned from his mission.)

I planned to work Butch through veterinary school and then begin a family. (Butch never made it to vet school. He found out he was allergic to almost all animals and I found out I was expecting our first child – Cathy. We moved to Birmingham and he got a job with UPS that has provided not only a good income but excellent benefits for our family.)

I wanted to have ten children and already had names for them – Faith, Hope, Charity, Jeremy, and Joshua are the ones I can remember. (We had eight wonderful children and didn’t use any of my names although Laura married a Joshua so maybe that counts!)

I wanted to graduate from college. (Still a goal.)

I drew out plans for my dream house. (My home does not resemble the plans I drew, but it has provided safety and refuge for me and my family for almost 25 years – if that’s not a dream house I don’t know what is!!!)

I wanted to write books. Actually this was more of a dream than a goal. My high school friends (who read my spiral-notebook novels) would tell me that one day I’d be an author, but I never seriously thought it would happen. (20 books and counting!!!!)

If I look at every day of the past 30-something years I see many, many things that I wish I had done differently. But taken as a whole, I am very thankful for the years between the day I watched Butch get on that plane for Korea and today. We have worked hard and we have been blessed. And just as Rhonda said – deep down, underneath the wrinkles and extra pounds, Young Betsy is still there – looking to the future with idealistic, confident optimism. And just think, 30 years from now when I look back on today – this pudgy middle-aged woman will be a Young Betsy!!!!

Works in Progress
I’ve been working hard on my re-write for Danger Ahead. It’s taking shape and I’m confident that I will have it finished by the end of the month and that it will be better for the revisions (even if that means it won’t be published when I wanted it to be).

Recipe of the Week
Lemon Icebox Pie (perfect for a hot summer day!!!)

1 (6 ounce) can frozen lemonade (softened)
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
½ pkg cream cheese (4 ounces) softened
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 TBSP sugar
1 graham cracker crust (ready-made)
Lemon slices (very thin) for garnish

Combine lemonade, condensed milk, and cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy. Pour into ready-made graham cracker crust. Refrigerate until firm – overnight if possible. Just before serving whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form (but don’t over-whip or you’ll have a bowl of butter!!!). Fold in 1 TBSP of sugar. Then spread whipped cream on top of the pie and garnish with a few lemon slices. Serve immediately.

What are the chances?
I hate to post another WalMart incident – but since I spend so much time there it’s only logical that many of my experiences would happen there! Premature gray-ness runs in my family. Both my father and my grandmother grayed early but they have beautiful hair and I never planned to color mine (although it had been suggested several times by my beautician). But when I went on a Kindergarten field trip with Tommy (my fifth child – I still had 3 more Kindergarteners coming) and someone asked if I was his grandmother – I changed my mind. I think I bought a package of Miss Clairol on the way home. And I have been coloring my hair ever since (nearly 20 years) without a single problem. Then I bought a package – just like always – took it home and went through the procedures (that by now I could probably do in my sleep). Once I got the dye on my hair I noticed that it was kind of a maroon color – not the way it usually looked. Slightly panicked, I studied the box. There was the same picture of a girl with lovely light brown hair and the right name Medium Dark Blonde. So I looked at the bottle of dye more closely. It was not my usual color – still a light brown – but definitely a different name. Now I was REALLY panicked.

I washed the dye out of my hair immediately. It was a little darker than usual, but nothing terrible (thank goodness!!!). Then I called the 1-800 number on the box, assuming that there had been a mistake at the factory. The very nice customer service representative asked if the box had opened easily or if I had to break a seal. I thought back and didn’t remember a seal. She said that occasionally someone will switch the dye from a cheaper brand so that they can save a couple of dollars. I only had to deal with the hair color for a few weeks and the Clairol people even sent me a coupon for a free box. But this leaves me with two questions. What is wrong with people (switching dye to save a couple of dollars and nearly giving people a heart attack)? And . . . What are the chances that I would be the one to buy that particular package????

Have a great week!!!!

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