Thursday, May 1, 2008

Down to Details

Otto and me surrounded by just a few of
those who attended the Smith family reunion at Asilomar
last August. Back row, Son Stan with daughters Josie and Daria.
The great-grandchildren are Summer Bishop, Jon Andersen and Baxter Bishop.

The prompt for Sunday Scribblings this week is “family.” My mind is spinning among the multitude of approaches I could take to this subject. There are human families and animal families and, scientifically speaking, families of animals. I might discuss family size with reference to the population of the earth, which has tripled within my lifetime, or the pressures on the modern family that have resulted in increased rates of divorce..

I guess I’ll take the approach that I suspect most Sunday Scribblers will take. I will talk about my own dear personal family. Except that, even here, I must choose between the parental family in which I grew up,

My father Allen with my brother Allen.
My mother, Pearl, with me.

and Otto’s and my own family. All right, I choose the latter. But who said that even that is a simple choice, given the four generations our family comprises?

Smith Family Passport Photo, 1959
Back Row: Phyllis Otto Joe, Otto
Front Row: Sterling, Stanford, Candace

So I narrow it, and narrow it, and narrow it. (You don’t want to go through all of the steps!). I finally arrive at the subject of gifts for our multitudinous family, for holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, weddings, births. I need a marked calendar to remember the dates, and then I forget to look at the calendar.

Just yesterday I realized that I had missed great-granddaughter Summer’s tenth birthday, which was April 28. I sent an electronic late-birthday greeting, but the gift is yet to be chosen. And, during April, I also missed the birthdays of Ruthie, Anna and Gwen. Where has my mind been? I thought April was just beginning. Time passes faster all the time!

Maybe I should just resort to the following strategy, adopted when grandson Ian’s January birthday was over-looked. I made a card with the following verse (and the proper enclosure):

I didn’t forget you. Honest, I made it
from DEC into FEB with no JAN. I mislaid it,
or else someone stole it to fence or to pawn.
Today when I looked it had vanished, was gone
just when I thought it was time to begin it,
gone with your birthday buried within it,
gone in an instant, quick as a wink,
while I wrote a verse or you skated the rink.

You know what I think?

I’d better just change the words at the head
of this verse to OWED TO IAN instead.
So I. O. U. something clever and nifty
or useful, or frivolous birthday gifty.
But if I choose it you might have plenty
of it already - so here’s a twenty,
I hope you’ll spend it on fun or a show
or somewhere you have been wanting to go,
event or place that will give you a lift
that I can’t wrap up as a birthday gift.


SusieJ said...

Granny, you're great in every way. I would take belated birthday card from you any day, no questions asked. Love the pictures... just lovely.

Lilibeth said...

Ian is one lucky little grandchild. What a treasure.

Suma said...

ohh granny...that verse was just too good...

the pictures are beautiful...just what a happy family is...

have a wonderful day...

Marianne said...

Phyllis, this tickled me so.

I know just what you mean only I don't have nearly the birthdays to keep track of as you. (and yes, I try and get them marked on the calendar and then not look at said calendar also)

Your Ode...Owed... is clever and full of your love for Ian.

Beth said...

I really enjoy your versifying . . . and how you talk about the writing process that shows your creativity, discipline and commitment. The love you have for Ian shines through the poem and I would take this over a GIFTY any day!

anthonynorth said...

A great poem. I'll have to think up something similar for my brood of 5 sons and 2 daughters. Although I suspect they'd say:
'But I can't spend that, Dad' :-)

Bethany said...

I think that poem itself must have made a terrific gift. :)

paisley said...

i do so envy the fact that your family is a unit... ours is so splintered,, most of us never even see each other... i loved the poem too!!!!

keith hillman said...

Granny, that is one lovely post, and I so enjoyed the poem! I also have a calender I forget to look at, so now I have a reminder 'thing' in my computer sidebar! No excuse now!

Lucy said...

Granny, Can I adopt you? I've never known my grandmas and YOU are a gem! If you say yes.. I promise I won't EVEN Expect you to remember my birthday! ♥

Just Jen said...

Sorry I haven't been around in ages! We've been superbusy and unfortunately my blogging world was put on hold for awhile. I'm hoping it's not a pattern and I get to visit more often ;)
Great grandchild? wow, that's no small family you have! you are truly blessed and so are they to have a grandma that does all those birthdays!

Jane Doe said...

You are a wonderful grandma, great grandma, and great-great grandma! I want to adopt you too!! Great pics, and your writing is superlative as usual. Thank you for sharing!

Robin said...

How utterly delightful. All families should have someone like you in them.

kiki. said...

Granny Smith does it again. I always love reading your posts. Your poem was brilliant. Thanks for the pictures. They're beautiful. :-)


Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Granny, I am not even 40 and I've got the same problem. Where does the time go???

I've actually moved to a computerized calendar. And then, I forget to look at that, too.

If Ian doesn't appreciate the gesture, come my way. I love birthday cake!

murat11 said...

Granny Smith: You had a lot of families to choose from - no way you could go wrong. I think of your entire blog as an extended family album, so the Scribble Prompters just managed to catch up with you for this week's prompt.

Best wishes to you and peace.

Devil Mood said...

How wonderful to see your old photos and hear your stories, as usual.
As most scribblers have mentioned, time does seem to fly faster and faster. I'm 24 and months pass by without my notice, I hope it doesn't get much worse with age, otherwise I'll be lost in a time wave.
Belated or not you write perfect birthday cards :)

Tammy said...

I loved the wonderful pictures and find you are very blessed indeed.

I can barely remember 3 kids and 4 grandsons birthday's. I hope he kept that special card!


Remiman said...

You're quite a gifted lady!
You give me hope!
And for that I thank you.
This poem is precious.

forgetfulone said...

Granny, I admire you so much. Your charm, your wit, your talent, and your love for your family.

gautami tripathy said...

I have come to love your posts, Granny!

I send my e-love for you...


Patois said...

Granny, you make me smile. I love your ode. And there's nothing wrong with re-gifting it.

jadey said...


I so love your blog. I want to thank you for taking the time to come to mine. I love your post about family. Time does get away from us all no matter our age or how busy we become. The best times are those when we get to surprise them with the gifts we may have forgotten and get to see their smiles or hear of what they did with that special something. That is one thing family is wonderful and will always be there.

Mary Beth said...

What a wonderful poem for a belated birthday. It's hard, as the family keeps growing and growing, to remember when every birthday falls. You need one of those perpetual calendars to keep track of them all:) But families are worth all the hassle.

steviewren said...

oh I wish I were half as clever. I just freeze when it comes time to write something in a card.

anno said...

Oh what a treat! My husband just asked me why I was laughing, so I read him this poem and now he is laughing, too.

Ian must have loved this. Thanks for the beautiful pictures, too!

Maggie May said...

I love your photos. Your family look lovely. I have started to forget Birthdays even though they are written on the calendar. I never used to do that! You sound as though you have a really big extended family though, so you are excused!

Geraldine said...

What a wonderful post! You are an amazing person Granny Smith.

I am adding you to my blogroll so I don't miss another post over here!

Huggs, G

JonsterMom said...

Everyone is right. We are all SUPER blessed to have you for a grandma! But then, I've known that all my life. You are the greatest!
Love you!

nonizamboni said...

Wonderful ode to your grandson and loving post about your family. I enjoyed seeing your family in the 'early' years too.
Have a great week, dear friend.

Anonymous said...

Hello! Thank you for your comment on my blog :) I really love your poem...especially the first few lines. Beautifully written.

Karina's Pen said...

Thanks for your comments. You're belated birthday card is a great gift, and one that lasts forever. You grandchild is very lucky! And you do sound like you also have a great family!


What a wonderful poem you sent to Ian. Something he will always treasure I hope! I love the pictures interspersed throughout. Truly special.

danni said...

thank you so much for your supportive comment - how lucky your family is --- a treasure more rare and more priceless than the largest or finest jewel - they are very blessed! - danni

giggles said...

Really enjoyable post, loved seeing your family! You are such a with it granny! My brother whose birthday was April 29th said he was always disappointed when he was a kid and there was no money in the card!! I'm sure he loved it. The poem will be treasured too no doubt!

Hugs Sherrie

Inland Empire Girl said...

Very nice post about family! Great photos.

Thornbird said...

So sweet and innocent. This is the perfect way to make up! And all the photos were really nice. Thanks for sharing with us!

Smoochdog ~ said...

Loved this post so much! The photos made it extra special. I think being able to look inward at someone else's family is always so amazing. It makes me truly happy to see you having such a wonderful lineage to your family.

P.S. To answer the question you posed on my putting (golf) is worse than my driving! At least when I drive the ball I get some satisfaction of the sound of the "Thwack" when I hit the ball!