01/01/17

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01/01/17! What a weird date that looks like! Doesn’t sound like a date at all. More like something made up by an author looking for a new book title.

Maybe that’s me, looking for something flashy to catch the eye of a Facebook reader on the first day of the first month of the year, 2017!

I woke up this morning after a good nights sleep, no staying up late to see the New Year in at our house.  No one calling at midnight because everyone knew it would only wake us up.  The truth be known, most of our children were probably sleeping also. It’s a whole new world anyway.  The relationships between parents and their children have made a distinct swing.

As a child I can remember the saying “Children should be seen and not heard.” No one explained what was going on in the world to their children on a daily basis.  We were expected to do what our parents told us to, and immediately.  There was no back talk.  If we were brave enough to ask “why?” we were told “Because I said so.” There were rules and we knew exactly what they were. And for the most part we followed them because there were consequences to be had if we didn’t.

This sounds like we lived in a world where our parents, teachers, and ministers ruled over us with a big stick, but for most of us that wasn’t such a bad thing. We lived in a world where there were rules, and the people in charge were the same parents, teachers and ministers. It was their job to teach us responsibility because that was the way they had been brought up themselves.

As we became teenagers we started to rebel, but there were always adults ready to show us the way things were supposed to be.

By the time my children came along and got into their teenage years life had taken another turn. The 60’s and the 70’s were very different than the rule abiding 50’s. Parents and children had to face an ever changing world, and that has continued to evolve ever since.

Now many parents have become the teachers, the explainers, of how the world works in a new and different way. They are much more apt to be “friends” with their children, showing them how and why life is the way it is.

As the children mature they are brought into the decisions of the family as important members.  No more “should be seen and not heard”. Because of the internet young people are more aware of all the activity going on around the world, and they have definite opinions.

Parents have always been very important in their childs life, but the relationships between them is no longer one of “My way or the highway.” It has been an evolving process for all of us.

So when you see a person of mature age being slightly upset over something they see young people doing, just stop and think about how they were brought up in a very different atmosphere. It takes time for all of us to accept a new way of looking at how things progress.

Life goes on, and we become closer and closer to our children. We remember how the world has changed from when we were the young people being told what to do and how to do it. We can see the advantages of knowing how great it is to know our own place in the family and our world. And we can rejoice that we can turn the reins over to a new generation, knowing they will do their very best.

 

 

 

Lake Michigan at its absolute best

THE GIFT TO MYSELF

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Dec. 4th, an auspicious day for me. Today is the day that my #2 son, Randall Wm. Jager, reaches the magnificent age of 60 years.  And tomorrow, Dec. 5th, my #3 son, Alan Wayne Jager, becomes 58 years of age.

It doesn’t seem possible, of course, that I could have given birth to men of this age.  Not to mention the number #1 son, Stephen Jay Jager became 62 years on Nov. 9th. And trailing behind them in years only, is Martin Earl Jager who reached 55 years on March 27th.

Thinking about all of them and how alike and yet how different they all are, has brought back a lot of memories.  They are all good dependable men, have their own place in society, and are sons to be proud of.

Steve is the oldest – he got to go first on everything, to be the boss to his brothers, and the one to set an example. He excelled in school, became an Student Council member, and graduated with honors. He has been a father to both children and stepchildren and a successful workaholic all of his life.  He has a great job on an oil rig in Pennsylvania and other states. He is an avid reader and we all know where he gets that from, me. And when you want something worked out you can depend on Steve to figure it out.

Randy also did very well in school. He then enlisted in the US Air Force where he was chosen to be one of the four airmen that lived in underground missile silos where they guarded our country, a great honor. Randy has always been our loner – takes after his mother that way. For years he has been a gold prospector in California, and for a long time I had trouble keeping up with him.  But besides that he has become a truck driver all up and down the Western States. He and I have a great relationship via text most of the time.

Alan is #3, and when he was very young he was always the goof off in our family.  The one who could make you laugh or drive you crazy. He could fix anything. He evolved into a very hardworking oilman, saved his money, built a house, started a great business that he took over from his father, Preston Jager, and became a staunch business man.  He raised a wonderful family that we are all proud of, and he even became a politician.  Now he has just taken on a new job as Holton Township supervisor in Michigan.

Finally, here comes Marty, the youngest. As did his brothers he did well in school but his life took on another meaning when he joined the US Navy, where he rose thru the ranks and made us all proud of him. Marty also took on the care of both children and stepchildren and has done a wonderful job of it. Now, after retiring from the Navy, he is employed as a mechanic in Florida. He is a very thoughtful and loving person to all who know him.

When I think of all four men I think of how proud their father, Preston Jager, was of them. He too was a hardworking, intelligent, family man, and that has carried over unto all of them. All four of them have been wonderful to their two stepfathers, Gary Bosley, and Bob Rider.  Both fathers made a great contribution to the loving men that my sons have become.

My “boys” are loving, courageous and dependable, and how much more could any mother ask for than to have sons like these? They will always be boys to me.  To know that they love me and care about me is the greatest gift of all.

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A GOOD DAY FOR PARENTS

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Spring apple blossoms 003

There might be a better gift that a parent can receive that will fill their heart with joy, but I find it is hard to think of one. This morning I received an alert that one of my sons had a birthday on Facebook, and would I like to write to him and wish him well?  Of course, I thought, I had already sent an e-card, but I would do it.  But I found that some other people had gotten ahead of me already. The outpourings on the page showed me that I wasn’t the only one who had warm feelings for this man.

We have 5 sons, and 2 daughters.  Three of the sons don’t show up on FB much, altho their families do, but the other two sons post often. And the daughters? When any of them have a birthday online, it makes us as  parents proud that so many others appreciate them, and the lists of well wishers are so long and so loving, that it brings great joy to us. We must have done something right. The diapers, and the crying in the middle of the night, the endless washing of clothes, the PTA meetings, all are long forgotten, and here we are.  Our children are all fully grown, they are loved and respected by their families and friends, and we can smile and say Thank You, for all of our many blessings today.

Happy Easter, everyone.

A SPECIAL DAY

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Our special day in Florida 2016

On a wonderful sunny day, March 10th, 2016, we are here to celebrate a very special occasion, the gathering of a strong family, the “Strong” family.  I know that we don’t all carry that name all of the time, but we all have one thing in common.  We love and support the spouses that were born with it.

Names may change but the love and connections that we have with each other are an enduring thing.  We all can remember our parents with great pride and respect. They were the mainspring of our lives from the time we were born.  No matter what was going on in their lives, we were the focus of their attention, our schools, our church, our friends, all of these were at the forefront of their lives every day, and that never changed no matter how old we got.

As a group our ages span the length of twelve years.  Nevertheless we basically have had the same experiences, seen the same family experiences as children, watched the world as it changed from a world at war in the 1940’s, and evolved into the world we live in today. Our lives have gone in many different directions, we have accomplished many things that we could never have even imagined as children, and now here we are.

We are sitting together, all eight of us, in the sunshine in Florida and that in itself is a wonderful and miraculous thing.  For a few months of each year we live within a few miles of each other, and we can get together to celebrate it.  All families are not so lucky, but we are, and we can appreciate it as we break bread together today.

So I salute you, the “Strong” family.  We have come a long way together. Our individual families will follow us with the knowledge that we love and appreciate them just as our parents did for us.

We are a lucky bunch, the “Strongs”, and we will be looking forward to our gathering next year.

HEROINES

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Verlie in the Orchard

From the vantage point of being a mother, a grandmother, and even a great grandmother now, I would like to talk about some of the heroines of our current day.

At one time, a long, long time ago, the place of the average mother was in the home.  There is no doubt that she was a hard worker and seldom had much spare time for herself. She was the one who kept everything running on a day to day basis, with some suggestions from her hard working husband. When children were ill, or needed clean clothes, or someone to go to PTA meetings she was the one in charge.  Our mothers, aunts, and grand mothers all did their part in this process.

But somewhere along the line things began to change.  Mothers still did all of these things at home, but now they began to go out into the workplace in addition. Life became very hectic for women as this world gradually began to accept and then to expect them to be workers in business.

Since women had learned the skills that were necessary to do a good job they were welcomed as additions to the outer world.  They brought their organizing skills right along with them.

So now it is a whole new prospect.  I would like to nominate my heroines, the young women we know who are doing double duty and showing us how capable they are. They work at home and they work in the community. They find new ways of earning an income by sales or crafts, or even by politics. They are showing their children that women can do whatever needs to be done, and they go wherever someone needs them.

And yet they still are putting their children and their spouses first, as women have always done.  It is a wonderful thing to see our younger women taking over for us.

I salute them all, they are my heroines, and I am so proud of them!

 

WHAT WILL MY GRANDCHILDREN REMEMBER ABOUT ME?

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Lake Michigan at its absolute best

Sometimes a question will just leap out from the page to bring forth a multitude of tumultuous thoughts.  That is what this one did for me. I have 6 grandchildren from my own sons, and five from my husband’s family.  Then I have 6 more from 2nd wives of my sons after they were divorced and remarried.  Another grandson was adopted out 30 years ago, and yet another grandson drowned at 18.

The ones that I had the closest contact to turn out to be the ones that have had problems with their parents because of divorce.  A strong bond is formed when a child and a grand parent have to face difficult situations together.

So all of these children will remember me in different ways.  Mostly they will remember the grandma who loved the mountains, who lived on the IPad and loved to write. That is why I published my first book, so that they would get to know me better.  Some of them will remember me as Grandpa’s second wife, and that’s really grown more loving with time and experiences. Almost all of my grandchildren live a long distance from me, and I have very little physical contact with them.  But e-mails, phones, and Facebook can be a wonderful thing. I can keep track of their families, even tho sometimes I shake my head, watching their lives go by.

And there are some grandchildren who still end their calls or notes with “No Matter What”! They will remember that I was there for them when they really needed me, when their whole world was shattered, and these relationships have lasted twenty years and more, and grown ever stronger. Because of them I feel that I was in the right place at the right time, and did what needed to be done.

I am really fortunate to have all of our extended families, and I hope they will remember me fondly, no matter what. I have been lucky to have all of our grandchildren to love and to cherish.

SUMMER IN MICHIGAN

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Lake Michigan at its absolute best
Yes, it is summer, and yes, it is the 4th of July, one of the constants in our lives. Supposed to be hot, but until today that has not happened here in Hart, Michigan. The cherries are turning red, we can see the green and tiny apples starting to appear on the dwarf fruit trees, and another wonderful season is upon us. There is no place like Michigan in the summer and fall. Miles upon miles of fruit trees in every direction, fruit stands wherever you look, and the Farmers Markets are in full bloom. We are blessed with a climate here that brings forth almost every kind of fruit you can imagine. When we were in full swing on our farm we had 25 different apple varieties, seven kinds of peaches, 3 kinds of pears, plums and apricots that you would die for. Waiting for the exact time to pick the fruit when it was at its perfect flavor and beautiful coloring, we would walk the orchards every evening, exulting in the perfection of it all.
Today we smile at it all, and remember. It is a wonderful thing to have spent your entire life raising fruit in order to make people happy, and that is what my husband has done. I am dedicating this day to him, Bob Rider, and to all of the people including our children who worked on our farms and sold fruit at our Farmers Market. As I speak he is out on his riding mower, making our lawn look as great as his farms have always done. Well done, Bob Rider.