Green milk

16 Mar

My family is not Irish. My mother and her siblings all have (or had) red hair, so everyone assumes we’re Irish. We’re not. And we’re not Catholic. So St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t hold any special place for us, really.

Except for milk.

When we were little, my mother would put green food coloring in a gallon of milk. Green milk! Because, the logic was, on St. Patrick’s Day you’re supposed to eat green food. (I’m sure we ate green beans or peas or something that was supposed to be green, too.)

The obituary

16 Mar

Celia Bernice Fulkerson Spillman, 85, of Jamesport, Mo., died Sunday, March 9, 2008, at Wright Memorial Hospital in Trenton, Mo.Mrs. Spillman was born Feb. 22, 1923, in Grundy County, Mo., the daughter of Clarence and Bessie Hoskins Fulkerson. She graduated from Trenton High School and the Platte-Guard Business School in St. Joseph, Mo. She married Woodford Grimes Spillman on Dec. 13, 1948, and has lived at her present address since 1963.

Mrs. Spillman was a member of the Jamesport Methodist Church and the Cloverleaf Club, both in Jamesport.

She is survived by three children, Barbara Smith of Blackwater, Mo., Sherry Whitt and her husband, K.D., of Princeton, Mo., and Terry Spillman and his wife, Cindy, of Trenton; eight grandchildren, Erica Smith, Monica Beauchamp and her husband, Marc, Adam Smith, Graham Whitt and his wife, Christina, Phillip Whitt, Katie Whitt, Josh Eaton and his wife, Jill, and Jacob Spillman; one great-granddaughter, Riley Whitt; a sister, Lucille Smith of Brimson, Mo.; a brother, Donald Ray Fulkerson and his wife, Mary Louise, of Newton, Iowa; and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents and one brother, Lowell Bond Fulkerson.

A family visitation will be from 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 12, 2008, at Resthaven Mortuary, north of Trenton. Funeral services will be at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, March 13, 2008, at Jamesport Methodist Church; the Rev. Richard Key will officiate. Burial will follow at Edinburg IOOF Cemetery at Edinburg, Mo. Memorial donations are suggested to the Jamesport Methodist Church or the Edinburg cemetery.

I didn’t write it with courtesy titles, but other than that and missing half a sentence about my grandparents being divorced, it’s pretty much unchanged and very straight-forward. (OK, I did have to fix some punctuation things that the paper had wrong, but I’d written correctly.)


15 Mar

A couple of weeks ago, I had a nightmare. About kittens.

In the dream, I was pulling kittens out of the closet in the utility room of my grandmother’s house. There’s one wall of cabinets, and every time I found a kitten and handed it off to some unknown person, she’d put the kitten outside. I argued that that was not solving the problem — as I found more kittens.

I told my mother about the dream at least a two weeks ago; it was something we laughed about. When my mother, brother and I started going through some of my grandmother’s things (and after a few drinks — my mother is a lightweight), there were several jokes about who would have kittens, or someone would “meow” as they handed off or opened a box. We capped off the night by opening the cupboards in the utility room.

What’d I find? Kittens — kind of.


13 Mar

One of my favorite stories with my grandmother:

Two years ago, we went to my grandmother’s for a family Christmas. My mother, my sister and her husband and I were there, along with my mother’s sister and her family (husband, three kids, one daughter-in-law and a granddaughter) and their brother and his family (wife and son) were also there. It was a full house.

On my way up from St. Louis, I’d stopped at a wine store. There was a wine I wanted that I hadn’t been able to find anywhere else. I think I walked out with four bottles. Family get-togethers are always stressful. My mother and her sister do not get along. We live farther away (and almost always have) than the other relatives. My siblings and I generally do not have a lot to discuss with our cousins. And my cousin’s daughter — who was almost 1 at the time, I think — was definitely center stage.

Our family gatherings don’t include alcohol. That year, we changed that; my mother and I cracked open a bottle of wine with dinner. (We offered to fill glasses for others, but there weren’t any takers.)

My uncle Terry and his wife, Cindy, were late showing up, though. Terry’s step-son’s wife was in a car accident on her way home (before heading to dinner), and the whole family was at the emergency room with her. The car was totaled, but Jill was fine (and sore), and went home with her husband. Cindy, Terry and their son, Jacob, came over for dinner. Cindy was pretty shaken from the accident and sitting in the ER; when she walked in, my mother offered her a glass of wine, and between the three of us we emptied two bottles.

When my mother and I got ready to leave, my grandmother pulled me aside and said there were two bottles of champagne out in the garage that she’d had for a few years. She said she couldn’t drink it anymore, and said I should take them because “you look like a drinker.”

My grandmother, the drug mule

13 Mar

While looking for a safe deposit key that my grandmother had somewhere, we made many interesting finds. (I definitely get my pack-rat tendencies from her.)

Along with a lot of random jewelry scattered about (some costume, some antique, some just plain scary), a set of (antique) chatter teeth, a series of books that my mother and her siblings had as kids, a voter registration card from 1973 and several driver’s licenses, we discovered a drug stash.

Not just a few prescription medications, although there were definitely those. Nope, shoe boxes full of drugs.

These are (as far was we know) legal. My grandparents used to go to Texas during the winter, and they’d go to Mexico to buy over-the-counter medication. Most of this has been around for years. Nearly all of it was on shelves my grandmother couldn’t reach without a step ladder.

We also found a pill-cutter. Not only was she buying and distributing, she was evidently cutting too. Scandalous!