A trip down memory lane

Twenty years ago on April 4, I awakened to a white glare outside the bedroom window, realized the glare was from snow, laughed aloud, burrowed back beneath the covers, and snoozed for another 30 minutes.
That was the first morning of my retirement, the first working day morning I didn’t have to jump out of bed, get dressed, feed the animals and head downtown as I’d been doing for 43 years.
In retrospect, that was the day I was figuratively “born again” and that was the day I vowed that come 5 o’clock I’d stop doing whatever I was doing that seemed like work, and just relax for the entire evening or do something I really wanted to do. I adhere to that rule religiously.
Re-reading my last column in the daily paper, I find it hard to believe that so much time has passed, that so many changes have occurred, that so many things have stayed the same.
In that column, I wrote how much I was going to enjoy lingering with my darling dogs, Maggie and Barney, with my horses, Taggie and Tessie, with my kitties, Callie, Gus and Jason, instead of having to race out the door in the morning and having to rush through chores when I got home.
Maggie and Barney are long gone. So are Taggie and Tessie and Callie, Gus and Jason. But there have been and still are wonderful successors to take their places in my heart and home, and I have indeed stopped rushing.
The only deadline I have – after living 43 years with several deadlines daily – is the one for this column, and it has been a joy to write.
Sometime this summer I’ll re-submit the first column I did after being welcomed by the Farm and Dairy editor.
It is on the No. 1 floppy disk for my antique Apple IIc computer. Now there are 39 filled floppy disks and I hope to fill at least a few more before something stops me!
* * *
April 3, was the perfect spring day, wasn’t it? Everywhere there was an explosion of warmth and green, of teensy leaves even on the accursed barberries, of a profusion of daffodils and hyacinths, of spring beauties spreading beneath the birch tree.
But capricious April will have to don boots over her green velvet slippers which left their mark wherever she stepped, since snow – yes, snow – is expected the rest of the week.
Today I’ll cut a huge bouquet of daffodils for the house since freezing temperatures are also due.
* * *
You all know my aversion to spelling and grammatical errors and I was tickled to see this message on a sweatshirt in a catalogue: “There, their, they’re – Got it?”
And an 1865 English lesson from a Freedman’s School went like this: “Three little words you often see are articles – an, a and the. A noun is the name of anything, as school or garden, hoop or swing. Adjectives tell the kind of noun, as great, small, pretty, white or brown. Instead of nouns the pronouns stand – her head, his face, your arm, my hand. Verbs tell of something being done, to read, count, laugh, sing, jump or run. How things are done the adverbs tell, as slowly, quickly, ill or well.
Conjunctions join the words together, as men and women, wind or weather. The prepositions stand before a noun, as in or through the door. The interjections show surprise as Oh! How Pretty! Ah! How wise!. The whole are called the nine parts of speech, which reading, writing, speaking teach.”
Maybe today’s English classes would benefit from this!
* * *
In closing: “You know you are getting old when it takes longer to rest up than it did to get tired.”

About the Author

A lifelong resident of the Mahoning Valley, Janie Jenkins retired in 1987 as a feature writer and columnist at the Youngstown Vindicator. In June of that same year, she started writing her column, "On My Mind" for Farm and Dairy. She loves all animals and is an accomplished equestrienne. Local history is also one of her loves, and her home, the former Southern Park Stables, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. More Stories by Janie Jenkins

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