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A Valentine

Jerry has macular degeneration now. He almost never drives. He can hardly use his phone because of his limited sight. We’ve had snow on the ground for weeks, and today alone we have received almost six inches of rain. Sort of snow bound here in Crestline.

Yesterday, he said, “Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and I didn’t get you anything.”

I brushed the remarks aside. “Jerry, that doesn’t matter. You know that.”

This morning our furnace quit belching out heat. Jerry traipsed down to the basement. Came back. “The flame is lighting, but the fan doesn’t come on, so then the flame goes off .”

Jerry called Ken, our across-the-street neighbor, who is the best neighbor anyone could possibly want. Ken’s a little younger than we are . . .but still an old man, I suppose. A couple of weeks ago he had cancers removed from his nose and ears, and for a few days when we would see him, the end of his nose would be white . . .with bandages. Both men poked around in the basement.

The called furnace man came. His poking around in the basement led to his saying, “Your furnace is 40 years old, has this and that problem. You need a new one.” We ordered a new one. Wrote a check for half the charge. Will pay the other half when he installs it.

Later I stood by Jerry as he sat on a stool tending the fire in our fireplace. “I’m sorry I didn’t get you anything for Valentine’s Day.”

“Doesn’t matter, now does it?” I placed my hand on his shoulder. “Red hearts, chocolates, cards . . . It really doesn’t matter, Jerry.”

We’ve made babies together. We’ve bought furnaces and paid water bills. Once upon a time we were young, and now we’re old. A time or two, we stared down death. We swatted the tush of our sons, and of our daughter, and now, they with ease, place an arm about the shoulder of a fellow and say, “Let me tell you about Jesus.” We’ve wrecked cars and bought hamburgers and pumped gas and eaten in joints. We’ve settled into the skinny seats of planes, then tramped the ground in countries not our own. We’ve cried in our living room and in our churches. We’ve hooted in laughter. We’ve cooked biscuits and gravy, and grilled spareribs on our back deck. We’ve buried friends. We sleep with Winston, and drive ourselves crazy trying to make him mind us. We’ve looked wide-eyed at our kids as they took us in hand to tell us about Alexa and Siri. We’ve ridden horses in the Sawtooth mountains, and I fell off, and we’ve waterskied, and preached, and taught, and sang. And loved.

A box of chocolates? A rose. A card. Some glitter. . Sorry I didn’t get you anything, Shirley. Are you kidding me?

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Art/Architecture Blogging Culture Death Flowers/Gardening Life Marriage/anniversaries My Home Photography Shirley Buxton Photography The World

Of Roses and Potting Sheds. Of Death?

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The glass had aged, its frame of flaking paint angled in deviation from straight, for who would anticipate ordinary here–a cavern of musk and chemical, of fertilizer and rakes, of rust and twisted wire. Bulbs and seed, trowels and mud shoes and kneeling cushions. The glass, though marred of dirt and of defect, set truthfully its calling, and gave way to the buds, to the roses. Here they are. See them now.

I had placed them there. I knew their story.

They were fresh when given, dewy, tied with ribbon. Of tucked card, they were of occasion, for a delivery person had come and handed them to me.  Winston barked, and I shushed him.

One day they were finished, and I took away the vase and poured out the water, for no longer could they take nourishment. I recall that I laid them for awhile atop a book shelf, stretched out, a funeral of sorts.

Strong south winds rush across the room where lay the roses, and then began stray dried-up petals to be scattered about, and one day I took them up, retied their ribbon and carried them down the stairs off the back deck to the “potting shed” below. With little thought to exhibit, I stuffed them onto a shelf, a vague thought of using them again sometime . . . for something.

A couple of days ago as I was watering the now dying peonies, I glanced through that window and saw those ancient, dried flowers. I had not arranged them so, or at least consciously I had not. I lifted my hose and sprayed away the dust from the sagging window through which they showed. I stared at them. . .

In a few days I will be 80.

 

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Crestline family celebrations Food Humor Life Marriage/anniversaries Photography San Bernardino Mountains

The Surprise Anniversary Dinner

“Don’t plan anything tomorrow,” Jerry had said to me the day before our anniversary. And yesterday, the big day, he told me his plans for us to go to a very fine restaurant in Lake Arrowhead. Our daughter Rebecca would be coming up around 2:30 and would join us for an early dinner.

So, a rather routine day found us eating bacon and eggs for breakfast, no lunch, just snacks here and there, and around noon I tackled a yard job of raking up pesky leaves from our multiple oak trees. I filled a large, heavy duty black bag, swept the stepping stones, hosed everything down, and watered all the plants in the back yard.

A bit after 2:00 Jerry and I were relaxing in the living room when Rebecca drove up and came in with her charming dog, Paisley, and a beautiful basket of strawberries, chocolate candy, and green beans she had picked up at a farmers market. We kissed and hugged and I read aloud the sweet card she had brought.

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“Well, I suppose I’d better get dressed, ” I said some time later. I paused, then added, “I feel like ordering in McDonald’s.”  I grinned.

“Or pizza,” Jerry said.

We  looked at each other, snickered a bit, then I said, “Why don’t we do that! Nothing says we have to go out anywhere.” We had nothing to prove, no one to impress, and besides I could stay in my less than spectacular clothes, and my dusty feet would be just fine for a few more hours.DSC_0082

Rebecca looked up the number to the local pizza joint, Jerry pulled out a credit card, and over the phone we ordered our 62nd anniversary dinner. Rebecca and I made a salad, we grabbed drinks from the fridge, and carried our dishes and pizza carton to the back deck. We dined!

DSC_0085And kissed.

DSC_0092Rebecca smiled.

We watched as our finches joined in the celebration by chowing down on the seeds  they pull from the sock that swings from the deck rails. Nearby, hummingbirds swigged their sweet nectar. A beautiful, balmy summer day in the San Bernardino Mountains. Perfect setting for a significant meal.

DSC_0091The air grew chilly, a bit of wind picked up, so we moved inside. I took a carton of fine vanilla ice cream from the downstairs freezer. Rebecca poked about in the cabinets, found three decent cookies, cleaned the strawberries, then piled them on the ice cream I had plunked into three glass dishes. The Keurig gurgled, and whiffs of fresh, strong coffee swirled among the items of celebration.

“I’d better go,” Rebecca said. “Want to get down the mountain before dark.”

Thanks, hugs, kisses, good-byes to people and to dogs concluded the Buxton family celebration. How sweet it is.

 

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Christianity/Religion Courage Family family celebrations God Goodness of man grandparents Integrity Life Marriage/anniversaries

My Jerry of 62 Years

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credit for photo to Buxton Photography

Vividly I recall the moment. Tulsa was the place where my eyes first swept across  his image.  A chapel service. Apostolic College. Both of us students. A number of days (maybe weeks) later, I looked across a room and had this “knowing.” I would marry him.

And I did. Sixty-two years ago. At Swan Lake he had asked the question, and on June 27th in Marshfield, Mo. a pastor said his words, we told our vows, and we became a couple.

Doubtless God ordained this coupling, for our lives together have been unusually happy, and I like to think we have made positive contributions to God’s work, and to our society in general. I know he has. He has taught in both public and private schools, pastored two churches, founded a still-thriving Christian school in Rialto, CA., then when he was 75 years old, well after he had officially retired, we went to Lake Havasu City, AZ. and there he planted a church. When we left 3 and 1/2 years later the group averaged 40 to 50 people, and our top attendance had been 92. Statistically, this represented a remarkable accomplishment.

Husband. He was–and is– my husband. I was young, so very young, lacking a few days being 18 years old, naive, not worldly-wise at all; I could have been utterly fooled. That June night as I changed into a lovely negligee in the small bathroom of the Circle C motel we had selected at random as we traveled on our three-day honeymoon toward Kentucky where we had our first revival scheduled, I recall a panicky moment. For a sudden understanding had come to me. I really did not know this man with whom I was about to share a bed.  (No one knows. Ever. For scarcely do we know ourselves.) But God had directed both of us. We had listened, and today find ourselves elderly, showing a few physical imperfections, happy, still full of faith in each other, and in God, who throughout all these years as been the center, the core of our home.

We started with little. Everything we owned was in that car of Jerry’s –well, it was sort of his, his and the finance company’s. One suitcase held all my clothes, Jerry’s outfits were meager, and his wallet was far from bulging. My dad had cast a doubtful eye on the car tires, and before the wedding had seen to a new set being mounted. We climbed, stared-down challenges, were faithful, kept our vows, and that wonderful husband God gave me has carved out for us a beautiful home. Our four children are of the highest calibre, all God-fearing, upright peoples of this earth. Our grandchildren are beautiful and smart. They leave notes around when they visit and occasionally they call us. Our little greats show promise, no doubt on their way to being exceptional!

No better husband could ever be than my Jerry. He is kind, thoughtful, giving, handsome, consistent, romantic, grateful, and humble. He is a man of God. How blessed, unusually blessed I am.

And so at this moment, in this way among others, I will say I love you to my charming, unusual man, My Jerry. My lover. My husband. Happy anniversary!

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Family Marriage/anniversaries The World Travel

The Makings of a Sudden Trip

I write this first segment aboard a Lufthansa plane, at an elevation of 37,200 feet. Set against a crystal blue sky, the surging aircraft–with me in it–is traveling at a ground speed of more than 500 mph. Far beneath us I see a river. The screen attached to the seat ahead tells me the river is called the Nile, and I think of Moses, and bulrushes, and a floating baby basket. We will reach our destination in 2 hours and a half. The city of the airport is Nairobi, the country is Kenya, the continent is Africa.

I find it hard to believe I am here.

Jerry called from the living room, where he sat with Steve, to me in the kitchen in the afternoon following lunch, Easter Sunday 2017. “Want to go to Africa tomorrow?”
“What?”
“I said do you want to go to Africa tomorrow.”
“What are you talking about?” I questioned as I walked into the living room.

And so began the trip. I knew Steve and Dearrah were flying on Monday to Nairobi, Kenya where Steve would preach during a church conference, then on to Rome for a few days of sight-seeing. I knew that, and that a few people from his church would be going with them. But we had not figured into those plans in any way.

“Why don’t you and Mom go with us,” Steve had said after Jerry casually asked of the airline price for the trip. “We bought rooms at a group rate, and it was cheaper for us to add a room we didn’t need, so your rooms would be paid for.”
Jerry and I stared at each other. Then we grinned, began talking of appointments, hotel reservations and such we had for the coming days, and that we could cancel them all, how that our passports were up to date, how much fun it would be, and that because of my cancer treatments last year when our 60th wedding anniversary rolled around we hadn’t really celebrated it, and this trip could take care of that little lapse, and that the fares were exceedingly reasonable . . .

Steve made phone calls to his secretary, Evette, to assure that seats were available on all the flights we would need. They were. We said yes. We were laughing, Dearrah and I hugged, and Steve reminded us we would have to cancel our plans to attend a drama that evening, get home as quickly as we could for Evette needed our passport numbers, visas must be arranged, travel insurance bought, packing for us, phone calls, and such. Our drive home before we could even begin the process was two hours and a half. The first flight was out of LAX at 11:00 on Monday morning, we needed to be there at 9:00, and the airport is a 2 hour drive from our house, so we would leave at 6:30 am, take Winston to Rebecca’s and transfer our luggage to Nate’s car.

I called Rebecca to ask her to keep Winston and to get Nathaniel to drive us to the airport. “We’re going to Africa tomorrow.” Stone silence. “We’re going to Africa.” When she could finally talk, it was to say how excited she was for us, and that of course she and Nate would help us with the airport trek, and with looking after Winston.
Panic set in a few minutes after we walked into the house. I could not find our passports. I keep mine in a desk drawer in a folder named Important Documents; Jerry keeps his in one of his dresser drawers. Neither passport was in its place. Expired ones were, and a copy of our current, valid one, but I could find neither of our passports. I was trembling. Called Steve. Asked how much time we had. Could the airline tickets be cancelled? “Keep looking, Mom. I’ll make phone calls.”

I tore the house apart, checked in pockets of all our luggage, pawed again through the places they should be, checked folders in the desk, and finally out of two drawers of a four-drawer file I took  every file folder and plopped them on the floor, thinking maybe mine had slipped out of its file. Nothing. I went upstairs to the room where we keep our pictures and travel mementos. Same word: Nothing. I was sick.

Back to the study. I opened again the bottom file drawer, took everything out of there, and discovered a large file with ISRAEL/ISTANBUL scrawled over its face. I looked through it, and there among maps, cards and notes was my passport. I grabbed it up, ran in the bedroom. “I found mine.” Poor guy, Jerry had pulled a chair up to the dresser, still searching, and was just pulling out the entire big drawer when I walked in. “Maybe it’s behind there.” IT WAS! I reached my hand far to the back, and there wedged against the rear wall was Jerry’s passport. Somehow it had slipped over the edge of the drawer and had jammed there.

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California Children Christianity/Religion Culture Family Family affection Life Marriage/anniversaries Mom's love Photography Shirley Buxton Photography Travel

Sixteen Days with Grands–Pre Day 1

Yes! Andrew asked Jerry and me if we would be able and willing to keep three of their children for 16 days while he, Shawnna, and their eldest son, Gentry, vacation in Hawaii. Gentry graduated from high school in the spring, and the trip is his graduation present. I was delighted to say yes!

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On Saturday, we traveled down to San Diego to meet up with Andrew’s family and with our second son, Mike, and his wife, Melina, who were there to celebrate their 26th wedding anniversary. Around 2:00 in the afternoon we all met near the jetty in Mission Beach. Relaxed in the afternoon, did “beachy” things, ate snacks, then just at dusk the men and boys built a great bonfire.

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dsc_4369Ella and her mom on the sands of the great Pacific.

dsc_4401The descent. At the edge . . . then gone. How quickly so. And Brady . . . merely days before, a baby. Now a fledgling young man.

So ended Saturday. On Sunday morning Jerry and I were extremely blessed to be in church with our three sons and some of their families.

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Great barbecue place after church. Loved being with my family. Loved seeing Jerry stand close to our wonderful boys, for through the years it has become almost impossible to get all our four children together at one time. I cherish such rare occasions and consider them precious. (Just sorry Rebecca didn’t make it down.)

At Andrew’s we loaded up Cole, Brady, and Ella, and by 2:30 were on our way to Crestline. We would see their parents in 16 days.

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Family Food Life Marriage/anniversaries My Family Photography Social Uncategorized

An Anniversary

It snowed, they say, that day in the deep south state of Louisiana when he was born. Now, here he is today 82 years old. Gerald Buxton, my hubby.

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We planned a simple day–some last minute shopping for our big trip that is just days away now, a stop at the pharmacy, a little business at the bank, and a run by Costco for fuel and for treats for Winston. Throughout the day our children called to wish him a happy day, as did several of the grandchildren

“I’m taking you out for dinner for your birthday,” I had told him previously and he decided on the Cheesecake Factory where he would order their Jambalya. But as the day wore on, and we were miles away from the designated restaurant, he talked himself into settling for Cocos which was much closer to home and where he would order the Oriental Chicken Salad. As we entered the restaurant, we both stared at the bountiful, beautiful pies in the glass case, and I said, “We could take one of those home for your birthday.” But through the meal as we ate our delicious food, we decided I would whip up a coconut cream pie at home.

I did.

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Winston whimpered. . .

Image. . .and because it was a party . . .

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. . . and because that little pup is spoiled . . . rotten, I tell you.

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Anyway, it’s Jerry’s birthday, and I cannot imagine my life without him . . .so, I’m wishing lots more pies and cakes. Many more celebrations–rare, elaborate, or simple. But there.

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Culture Friends Goodness of man love Marriage/anniversaries Photography

Sam and Lil White’s 70th Anniversary

“Do you know what today is?”

The gentleman addressed the question to his tiny wife who sat across the living room. Always small, she now is tiny, legally blind, and suffering from a painful Shingles attack. She did not answer.

“It’s our anniversary, Lil. Today is our 70th wedding anniversary.”

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And so it was, as my Jerry discovered today when he talked by telephone with his longtime friend Samuel S. White.

I am so sorry I did not recall their anniversary date, and thus did not call or send them a gift, or at least a card for this very significant day. I am sorry they were alone. . . and almost forgot the special day themselves. I am so sorry, for they are dear and precious people and deserved more from me.

Many of you know these exceptional people. Some of you might not have met Jesus except for this rare couple. We have benefited from her leadership among ladies, from his dynamic preaching, and from their generous spirits, and from their sincere love.

I hesitate to post their address, but I know many of you will want to acknowledge this special day in their lives, so I am posting my own address and if you would like to send a card or a letter I will bundle them and send them on to these our friends. Mail letters: Rev. and Mrs. Sam S. White c/o Shirley Buxton P. O. Box 4577 Crestline, CA. 92325

If you’d like to post a message to them here, I will make a copy of your words for the Whites.

Thank you.

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Family Life love Marriage/anniversaries My Family Photography

Our 57th

Seven years ago we celebrated our 50th with great festivities and, sadly, with a few sorrows. You might want to click on the link which will lead you to several posts about those special days. Part of the plan was that our dinner/celebration with many of our friends, Jerry would sing to me I’ll Be Loving You, Always. What he did not know was that as a surprise I would join with him on the chorus.

untitled (1 of 1)…more years have passed and today we celebrate our 57th wedding anniversary. We’re spending a quiet day here, poked about in our gardens, and ate a simple breakfast. This evening we will go down the hill for a special dinner, and Saturday we’re also doing something special.

We’re long past the giddy giggling isn’t he cute, isn’t she a doll state, but are now deeply ensconced in enduring love and in steadfast devotion. It’s a rich place, safe, secure.

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Friends Marriage/anniversaries Road Trip Journal Travel

55 and Counting!

Summer road trip. Day 26 Monday June 27, 2011

55. Jerry and I spent our 55th wedding anniversary in Globe, AZ. Jerry and Brother Dean, along with Brother Dean’s son played 18 holes of golf beginning early in the morning. I had to take care of some printing and mailing, then poked around this nifty mining town where there are lots of historic buildings.

Suddenly, as I prowled about with my camera, wafting over the warm air, I heard magnificent music. It was 11:00, and coming from this building were clear, splendid peals of church bells. It was beautiful.

Meandering flower shots.

In the evening the Deans joined us for our anniversary dinner. We drove out to Roosevelt Lake, but both the places they had in mind were closed on Monday. No problem, for when we had eaten at the Mexican food place on Saturday, Brother Dean’s steak has looked so delicious, and he had raved about it so much, we gladly went there. Jerry and I shared a 16 oz. rib eye. Fabulous.