A Tailgating Tale, a Treasure Chest and Apricot Bars…my writing challenge entry!

WordPress has started a weekly writing challenge. Although I don’t consider myself to be a writer (although I do write), I was excited about the topic of this week’s challenge. The challege was to write about a favorite possession…

One of my favorite possessions is a little Cocoa Cola Cooler.  This little cooler warms my heart with some wonderful memories of my Grandparents, Grandpa LaNay and Grandma Alice, and our tailgate parties!

Always and Forever!

We took this little cooler, packed to the brim with a summer feast, and loaded it into Grandpa’s little white and blue Ford pickup. It was his fishin’, pic-nic’n truck! I don’t remember him using it for anything else!

Tailgating typically brings together sports and eating and fans of both! But Grandma and Grandpa had their own style of tailgating…no sports, just the sport of being in the beautiful outdoors and being together!

I am fortunate in having this memorabilia in my kitchen. Now holding a collection of collectible Cocoa Cola bottles, it once held some ‘made with love’ picnics to take along on our adventure paths of laughs, fun and love…our tailgate parties!

This little cooler was the champion of cool! It kept all of Grandma’s delicious goodies at the perfect temperature. I remember touching the cool metal sides of the cooler.  There is no cooler today that can come close to being as cool as my Grandma and Grandpa’s cooler, in more ways than one!

When we had our fishing hole mapped out we stopped for a bite to eat. Grandpa would say “let’s just have an appetizer and come back for more after we do some fishin”. I think he couldn’t wait to dig into the goodies!

Grandma always had some fresh fruit (it was always apricots if they were in season) in the top tray of the cooler.  I have had a fondness of apricots since then (resulting in the purchase of a baby doll named ‘Baby Apricot’ for my youngest daughter). There would also be an assortment of fresh veggies from Grandma’s garden…maybe some cucumbers or some of Grandma’s homemade pickles, or her fantastic spiced veggies that she canned.  I should learn to make those…they were excellent!

What a feast! Ah…now I know why we ate some before fishin’ and some…after fishin’!

Let’s go fishin’!

Grandma took such great care to pack a perfect lunch!

A perfect tailgate picnic!

There were always wrapped sandwiches (like egg salad and bologna) cut into finger sandwiches so that we could choose a couple of each.  And, of course, a homemade cookie (oatmeal or sugar ) or a piece of some homemade cake.

One of the most important things to bring along…some homemade tea, made from mint and canned raspberry juice from Grandma’s own garden! She brought that along in Mason jars. The tea stayed nice and cool in our little cooler and was so refreshing!

After we had a bite or two we headed on over to the lake or stream. Grandpa tried and tried to coax me into putting the worm on the hook. I couldn’t, no sirreeeeee, do it! He got a gigantic kick out of trying though!

After laughing it up a while he would put my mind at ease and hand me a pole, already baited…whew! Then I just had to worry about gutting the fish if I caught one! Yes…there were laughs about that as well!

After doing a little bit of fishin’ with Grandpa, Grandma and I would walk up and down the banks, skip a stone or two and admire the wildflowers. She loved Sunflowers and had her own garden of them. Mom has a picture of me standing in Grandma’s Sunflower garden.  See what this little cooler does? It tugs at my heart to know how Grandma loved me, her garden, and how I feel about my own Grandchildren! They are the flowers in my garden!

One of Grandma’s favorite flowers.

My Grandma Alice was a dedicated woman who valued her family more than anything on earth. She was not a woman of earthly possessions but felt herself to be a wealthy woman because of her family and her faith. She was a true example of commitment and dedication. She once told me that I should never serve myself before serving my husband. I later understood that she meant more than just serving supper and I understood just how much she treasured my Grandfather. I understand why they had such a wonderful friendship and marriage.  I cannot help but think of that…when I look at my little cooler.

My Grandpa LaNay was a gentle man and a true gentleman! He had a kind and generous heart. I never heard him raise his voice or say an unkind word. He had a good sense of humor and loved making all of the kids laugh (and he enjoyed making my Grandma laugh too)! He treasured my Grandmother and always told me what a good woman she was. He was a very talented artist who loved painting nature. I treasure the memory that he has painted on my heart.

What a collectible little cooler! It holds a collection of some of my most treasured childhood moments with Grandparents that I treasure! One little cooler…two wonderful Grandparents!

Bottle opener on the side of the cooler.

On my trip to Utah this summer I was lucky enough to get copies of my Grandmother’s hand written recipes that my Mother now has.  I have not had a chance to start sorting through them or trying each recipe yet but I am looking forward to coming across some memorable dishes that Grandma made…maybe even some recipes that she used for some of our picnics.

Meanwhile…I found a recipe, that I tweaked a bit, for some Apricot Bars that are quite delicious! Even an apprehensive husband, who doesn’t particularly like apricots, loves them. I have named them Picnic Apricot Bars in honor of my Grandma and Grandpa and our picnics that we brought along in our little cooler!

Picnic Apricot Bars…shown here on my other Grandmother’s plate.

Here is a link to the recipe …


(You can print the recipe from the page that the link opens up. Just go to the bottom of the page for the print button).

I am thankful for having such wonderful Grandparents and thankful for this precious cooler that helps me remember such wonderful times together…pretty cool! This ice chest is a treasure chest!

Until we meet again…

Wishing you the blessing of treasured memories…

and Happy Trails along the way!


By the way…that little Baby Apricot smelled like apricots for seventeen years, maybe more. My daughter gave her away when she was seventeen. I…was not happy about that!


A Home and The Range Update….Mom ‘N Poppy’s Log, Silver Wings!

I’ve been away for a couple of weeks….and I’m back to my Kentucky home.

This post is a snapshot of my trip back to my ‘Utah Home’ (I also have an ‘Arizona Home’) and some notes about family…and blessings.

My Brothers, Sister and Brother-In-Law, some of their family and my Parents live at my old stomping grounds in Utah.

Utah Home…just below Horseshoe Mountain.

The trip…

My Sister had a hysterectomy and I was there to help during her recovery.

My Sister…

I call my Sister ‘Debaroo’ because she has a lot to carry around in her pouch! She has two boys that have Muscular Dystrophy and she has been raising three Grandchildren…a bit much to handle after surgery. I am so thankful I was there to lighten the load so that Debaroo could focus on healing and recovery. It was a blessing to me… spending time with family. Surgery and recovery went well.

About those Nephews of mine….

They are amazing! They have both outlived their life expectancy…something I attribute to the love and care of their Parents, Family and to their attitude, faith and loving spirit. They are such a blessing to our Family!

Dustin had been on oxygen for the past month…following an episode of pneumonia. It was quite probable that he would be on oxygen for the remainder of his life. Once again…he has amazed us and he is no longer on oxygen! That was a wonderful day!

Little Tommy….so happy that Uncle Dustin no longer has the oxygen tank!

Dad and Mom …

Still sewing…at 82 years of age!

Mom loves keeping up the yard and making it look spiffy!

Both of my Parents have had life threatening illnesses and conditions over the past couple of years. It was a blessing to see them both being active and doing well.

Some nice surprises…

I had a birthday while I was away. Dad and Mom brought cake up to my Sister’s home and Dad made his famous, scrumptious homemade ice cream for me. YUM!

They call me ‘Aunt Vickie’ in those parts!

I don’t always get to see both of my Brothers while I am in Utah so it was great to be able to see them both on this trip.  I also got to see a Nephew that I haven’t seen in several years…Damian. He is a Border Patrol Agent in Arizona and we don’t see him very often. We were all excited to see him walk up the sidewalk…a very nice surprise!

Damian and some of the ‘Wild Bunch’.

It was wonderful to spend time with my ‘Utah’ Family.

Here are some shared and special moments…

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Tuesday, June 5th…

My last day in Utah…sad goodbye’s. At the same time…we thought of the song ‘Silver Wings’…started to sing it…and started to cry. We are such softies…geeze! Goodbyes are always difficult…when you love someone so much! I boarded the plane…looked out at the wing…well, I guess you know the rest of the story!

Silver Wings….shining in the sunlight….roaring engines….are taking me away, leaving me lonely….

Only until next time…and then those Silver Wings…will bring me back!

Silver Wings

Happy Trails….’til we meet again!

A Swing Thing…and Just a Swingin’!

Childhood memories of the swing in this episode!

Ahh…the swing!

Swing, Pump....Tire....Swing!

I recall my childhood passions…the swinging in the breeze,

No matter where the swing hung,

From a pole or in the trees…

Work and work…pump harder, climb higher,

Feel the wind, feel the rush,

How high can I go,

How far will I fall?….

I remember the joy,

Calloused fingers from the chain,

The thump from the jump,

Do it again… I

Remember it all!

S W I N G…

Baby Swing

Take a Swing

The Door Swings Both Ways

Swing Music

Swing Dance (and there is a Louisville Swing Dance Society…that’s where I live)

Golf Swing

Swing The Bat

Swing Set and…a Porch Swing, where you’ll want to hear John Anderson sing! Click the link …you’ll love it!

John Anderson…Just a Swingin’

Just a waitin'...to be swingin'!

I hope this brought a smile…some memories for you…of swingin’!

Tune in tomorrow for my recipe for Southern Sweet Tea…Vee Style!

Please share your comments about the photos, if you like!

May your day be blessed! May you always come out swingin’!