Friday, June 3, 2011

Visit From Grampa

Visit From Grampa
Reposted from Dinah's Dreams Fun Blog - Nov 2009

This is Melanie, Dinah's second daughter. I thought I would write on mom's blog about this occurrence because it doesn't really go with my Traveling Blog. I also want to say that your dearly departed loved-ones are still around you and they still love you and want to help you.

My grandfather, when he was alive, lived in Chicago. He was a quiet man, a good man. He used to do concrete for a living. He helped to build the Sear's Tower. Everyone who knew him respected and loved him. My mother loved him immensely. He used to smoke Pall Mall cigarettes. He loved smoking so much that instead of taking a plane to North Carolina to visit us, he would take a train. That way, he could smoke all the way down from Chicago. I remember Grampa as a loving grandfather who was really tall. I think about 6'4" and really thick hair that was unmanageable and stuck straight up in the air all the time. :-) We miss him terribly.

Just after Halloween, my mother decided to decorate her altar with pictures of grampa. Mom said to herself, "Gosh, I wish I had a Pall Mall cigarette to put on the altar for Dad." But where would she get them. No one smokes Pall Malls and certainly she didn't want to buy a whole pack since she doesn't smoke. But she was going to buy them after work that day anyway to put on the altar. After arriving at work, a new family came into the shop. There was a younger man there, maybe 30 years old. He said that he found our store on the internet and his mother used to love our kind of store before she passed away.  Then Mom saw them out of the corner of her eyes...PALL MALLS!! She said to the man, "Have you always smoked Pall Mall cigarettes?" He said, "No. These were just the cheapest cigarettes that the store had." She said, "Can I have one?" He said, "You know, I was getting out of my car, and just before I got out, I grabbed my cigarettes and I don't know why, because I know you can't smoke in here. I must have brought them for you." And he gave mom a cigarette.

Mom put the Pall Mall on the altar that night, not even telling the rest of us what had happened at the shop. Later that night, mom babysat my son, Tiziano. When I got home, she said, "Tizi and I was playing on the computer, and all of a sudden I saw a big shadow and it went right threw me." She didn't say anything to Tizi because she didn't want to scare him and she didn't know if he noticed anyway. But she was so happy she new it was her dad. Then just after it happened, Tizi turned around on mom's lap and said, "Did you see that?" Mom asked him "What?" He said he saw big shadow and it went right threw us and down the hallway. He was afraid. Mom didn't want to say it was a spirit or a ghost. She said that was your great grandfather and he's an angel. Then mom ran out to Bill and said, "We just had a visit from Dad in the office." Bill said, "I knew he was here. I have been smelling his cigarettes now for two hours."

We were all so happy to get a visit from Grampa. I have felt Grampa around me for days and I believe he is still guiding me now.

Build an altar for someone you love that you want a visit or guidance from. They will come. The universe will shift it's energies and bring them to you if you truly want them to visit.

Big Hugs and Bright Blessings,


Friday, November 20, 2009

Hillridge Farms

Hillridge Farms 
Youngsville, NC            October 17, 2009

Ok, so late start again. I love to sleep. What can I say. We left the house around lunch time. I decided before going to Youngsville, I would take a detour and go to Smithfield. I have been to the outlet stores but it has been years and I thought I could get a new pair of shoes for Tizi there. So detour taken. We looked at several of the shoe stores, and we just stayed with his favorites. It was actually the same price at the outlets as it was in the stores in Fayetteville. But Tizi had fun riding those little rides on the sidewalks that cost 50 cents. And we got a hotdog and ice cream at dairy queen. Time had flown by though, because by the time we left Smithfield, it was like 3:30 pm.

We got back on track and headed towards Youngsville, a small country town past Raleigh. I assumed it was going to be like an hour away from Smithfield. I was hoping the farm was going to be open til 8:00 pm or so. Wrong. It took two hours to get to Youngsville from Smithfield. Traffic through Raleigh was horrendous. We made it to Hillridge Farms at around 5:30 pm. The farm was going to close at 6:30 pm. Ugh. We got out of the car and I said, "Tizi, run and have fun really fast."

The cost to get into the farm was $10 per person and it was totally worth it. In that hour, Tizi ran through a cool children's maze. There were pony rides, but we didn't do that. There is a giant slide. Tizi and I were going to go down the slide, but when we got to the top, Tizi said, "Mom, I don't really want to do this." And I said, "Thank goddess."  I was scared to death. It was a big black tunnel that you slide down with no windows or light. I'm kind of a wimp. So we ran down to the bottom of the slide area. Then I saw a train. It was just about to take off when we got to it. We picked a seat right in front behind the driver. (I don't recommend that unless you like being high on diesel fuels.) The train was awesome. Of course, I was high on diesel fuels at the time. It could have all been an illusion. It did go around a large track twice. With this little train tour, there was old farm equipment to look at and pumpkin-like haystacks. Oh the time they must put into this event every October, that family has to be exhausted. So we had a great time on the train.

Then we ran through a big castle. I lost Tizi. Then he found me. Then we ran towards the hay ride. It was one of the last rides of the night. On the way to the hay ride was a little covered area filled with hay where children were jumping up and down and having a great time. Oh, there was live music there and karaoke. On the hay ride we road all over the farm and through some woods to end up in a pumpkin patch. There we were able to get out and pick one pumpkin each. I just let Tizi pick one, because I didn't really want to carry two pumpkins. Plus we had already gotten two pumpkins at home and Tizi was decorating another one at school. Tiziano looked at every single pumpkin there. Finally we got the very best pumpkin in the world. And we took off running back to the leaving hay ride. So we road through the woods again and all around the farm.

The family and friends of the farm were having a bon fire and they were getting ready to cook some food over it. I also saw a man with a big gas can over the fire. I was a little worried about that, but stayed in ducking position for the rest of the hayride. Hopefully, no one thought we were too strange. When we got done with the hayride, Tizi ran through a hay maze and then back through that colorful children's maze again.

On the way out of the farm, they have a little country store. We went in and got homemade blueberry preserves, homemade superman ice cream, and homemade fudge. It was so good. They also had little toys and things for children. I got Tiziano a small train, since that is one of his favorite things. When we got outside of the store, I rode Tizi around in a pumpkin wagon and I took some pictures in front of some Halloween decorations. I got quite a picture of all kinds of orbs around the area.

We left the farm and headed home. I think it was about 7:30 pm. Though we only got to spend a short time at the farm, it was totally worth it. I recommend it to everyone who has children. We did so much and there was still plenty more to do had we had more time. I will definitely be heading back to the farm next year. You should too.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Scottish Highland Games

Scottish Highland Games
Laurenburg, NC          October 3, 2009

Oh my GOSH!!! Is there one of these every week? Ok I want to live at one of these festivals. I have never seen so many men in kilts in my life. Parking was a little weird. This was the first year of the Scottish Highland Games in Scotland County, NC. People had to park in this big giant field. Well it looked like no cars had ever parked there before and there was 3-4’ grass all around, which was fine. It made me feel like I was on an episode of little house on the prairie. But there were also briars, a lot of them. I don’t recommend sandals.  Ouch. I still have a sticker thorn in one of my fingers from pulling them out of my feet. Tizi had never seen briars before so he thought it was Hell so far. Lol We walked across the street to the ticket booth. I picked up a program to the game events and paid for my and my son’s armbands.

My son and I walked in and to the right there was a stage with a cool Scottish/Celtic sounding band. It sounded like alternative rock. On the left was the food booths. There were fajitas and haggis (ewww) and hamburgers and hotdogs, and homemade danish and breads. We kept walking through the field past the stage and an older couple came to ask if they could see my program. I told them yes. I said the games are about to begin (Noon) and that we missed the opening ceremony. L  We woke up late for the festivities again.  She said, “You didn’t miss much.” So then I was disappointed. I thought hmmm, this isn’t going to be fun if the opening ceremony wasn’t beautiful and interesting like I assumed it would be. “They must be about to start the games, because there are a lot of really big men over there near the field,” they said.   I said, “Where are they? Because that’s what I came to see.” That statement took them by such surprise that they stared at me for a long pause and then they were doubled over laughing. Consequently, I met the couple again later and they asked if I got to see those big men. And I said, “Yes. And I got pictures!” They laughed again, cute couple.

So off we went in search of the games. They had not started yet. So we watched some bag pipers. I think there was a musician contest, but I’m not really sure. I missed that. There was a lot going on here all at the same time. It was very well planned out so that you could be kept busy the whole time. I walked up to a booth. I thought they were selling things. There were lots and lots of booths. When I got up to the table there was a sign in book and lots of historical artifacts and books. Then a man came up and asked, “Are you of the McCloud clan?” And I said something like, “Huh.” He explained to me that the booths were set up by clans. I said, “Oh, I’m not Scottish. I’m Irish and Norwegian.” He said he had a book that showed the meanings of old Irish surnames and he let me look mine up. Scahill means “Bright Flower” according to the book. Sounds magnificent to me.

We moved along away from the booths and the awkward explanations that I’m not really Scottish and my son is Mexican. The games had still not begun, but I noticed a lot of children with numbers on their backs. It looked like there were children’s games. I asked Tizi if he wanted to compete. And, being an Aries, of course he did. So I got him a number and lined him to up to compete in some big rock throwing contest. It was an excellent pitch, I must say. I’m not really sure if he won or anything because there were like a million more kids after him. And let’s face it, who wants to see other people’s kids anyways? Just kidding. They were all precious, but I opted for the big men, as the games were just beginning.

Tizi and I went to get some homemade ice cream and then found a place to have a seat on the grass and watch the big events. Well these men were abnormally huge. I mean 6’7” and muscular. They were lifting up what looked like telephone poles. And then they tossed them. I gathered that the pole had to fall forward and it was best that it touched a certain line or went over the line. Whoever flipped it farther won. It was fascinating, and I’m not just saying that because of the kilts and the heavy grunting…lol

So we ate the delicious ice cream and watched the games for a bit and then went to the facilities, port-o-potties. We walked by the children’s games again and they were doing a different game. So I signed Tizi up. It looked like a bleach bottle that had been duck taped all around to make it look like something else. It was tied to a rope and the kids are supposed to spin around and throw the thing. Whoever makes it go farthest wins. My son got a proud 5’7”! It was awesome.

Then we got thirsty. I really have to think about bringing bottled waters to these events from now on. The food booths were completely sold out of drinks, except for this one booth that had some authentic Scottish orange aid kind of sports drink. We were desperate. We had to drink it….Ugg. We still had those drinks when we got home that night. We went to the food places to get a snack. It was only about 2:30pm. The hamburgers and hotdogs were sold out. Oh no! We were forced to eat…gulp…Scottish food!!!!!  EEEEAAAKKKKKK!!!! Oh man, I don’t know what that was. It was something like a beef pot pie or something, but one sniff and a tiny nibble and it was up from our picnic, waving politely to the nice booth owners, and discretely tossing that stuff in the trash can when they weren’t looking. We went to the danish shop and got a strawberry shortcake. And the hotdog/hamburger place still had about 4 bags of chips. So we got two bags of Doritos and that was our lunch.

Apparently the festival arrangers did not plan for the number of people that actually came. By 1:00 pm they had run out of armbands. The (normal) food and drink was all gone by 2:00 pm. This would have been a great venue for a booth. I believe most all of the shops sold out of their wares again by about 2:00 pm.

We ate our strawberry shortcake under a shade tree and I let Tizi go play on a children’s train caboose that was by the tree. Then we took our bags of Doritos over to the concert area, and sat on the ground and watched. We saw Scottish dancers and listened to some violin.

Then got up and went over to see what was happening with the games. The boys were still going. Now they were tossing some giant weight straight up in the air, right above their heads crazily. Whoever’s weight went the highest won. And no one died from blunt force trauma. Again awesome!

Then we turned around and the children’s games were beginning again. This time it was something called a perimeter race. (By the way, the children’s games were totally free. I thought that was wonderful.) I thought they meant the perimeter of a little roped in area for the children’s games. But alas, I was incorrect. The perimeter race was all the way around the whole Scottish Highland Games, about ½ a mile. But I had already signed him up and he was raring to go. I was thinking, “Oh Gosh, Do I run with him? Or do I just sit here while he runs around in the middle of the woods with a bunch of strangers.” I was wearing sandals and had a bag full of Irish Soda Bread. (It’s really heavy bread in case you were wondering.) I opted to let him run by himself. There were about 25 other children from ages 4 - 6 who were running with him. He would be fine.

So I watched eagerly as he ran. Then, he started to dilly dally. I could see him through the people and the trees running the path. He wasn’t keeping up with the other children. He kept looking back and slowing down and stopping. I think he must have been looking for me to follow him. So I started to run through the middle of the Highland games fields trying to run parallel to the track. Maybe he would see me and see that he could keep going. I got to the entrance of the games, and kids ran by, and Tizi wasn’t with them. I started to freak out, looking all around for my son. I started to double back to see if he was by the train area. When I got to the train area, I looked across the field and there he was on the other side still on track. So I followed the track back around. I started to run after him. He stopped completely towards the end of the race. He didn’t see me at the end. So he started to freak out. I finally reached him as he just stood looking ahead. And when I got to him, I grabbed his hand and kept running, dragging him along and said, “Let’s go!” He didn’t know I was behind him. He was happily surprised. A little blond girl shouted to my son, "Come on number 177. You can do it!" Some of the other mom’s on the side lines were talking and they said things like, “You’re a better mom than I” and “I hope that bag is not heavy”. As we darted passed them, I shouted, “Yes, it’s heavy. It’s Irish Soda Bread.” They looked as if they understood. We got to the finish line. I think we were second to last. But it was grand! Tizi was so happy. We just ran to the side of the track onto the grass and plopped down on the ground. We sat feeling accomplished and drank our nasty Scottish orange soda.

On the way out we took some time to look at the historical houses and buildings on the property. It was like stepping into the past, maybe 1890. There was an old cotton gin and old plantation house and an old reverend’s house (tiny, tiny, tiny). It was all lovely and interesting. The festivities as a whole were wonderful. We had a great time and we will most definitely be going to next years games.