Blog of Cris Koonce
"If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together... there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart... I'll always be with you."
- A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
"It's not much of a tail, but I'm sort of attached to it."
- A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
It's the only orchid plant I've ever had. Orchids are beautiful and I never felt I would be able to keep one alive, let alone grow one for any length of time. When Dad passed away last summer, our dear friends at Clark Gardens sent me an orchid plant. It had beautiful white flowers and they lasted many weeks before fading and leaving a long green stick behind. It had 6 large leaves when it first arrived.
I read and read and read all I could find on the Internet about orchids, trying to identify the one received since the different types seem to have equally as many different needs for light, water and the like. I repotted it. Half expected that to kill it. But it survived.
Put it near the large bay window that faces north. Turns out that diffuse light is perfect for it. After the flowers faded it grew another huge leaf. I couldn't find anything to tell me if I should prune off the large green stem that no longer had any flowers on it. It was green, so I decided it wouldn't hurt anything to leave it alone. Even though it did look a little pathetic - that very long bare stick coming out of the middle of now 7 big leaves.
Then in very early spring this year... a new stem started to grow out of the original stem! It got longer and developed 6 or 7 buds. Thank goodness I didn't cut off that bare stem! It would be an understatement to say I was excited when the first bud finally opened.
If I have identified it correctly, this orchid is a Phalaenopsis: low light, intermidiate to warm temperature, "Perfect for all beginners." (That's me!) The souce of information that has helped most is: www.beautifulorchids.com
"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."
- A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
[This post is dedicated to Roxie, the best Blackmouth Cur pup in the whole world. My companion and friend with a fun sense of humor and the most just and caring soul, and playful heart. rip dear one. You are with me always.]
"I’ll take you with me everywhere I go
I’ll put you in my pocket who will know?
Right next to my heart at every show
I’ll take you with me everywhere I go
No matter where our trails will finally wind
Our paths will just keep crossing yours and mine
Until then in my pocket you must go
I’ll take you with me everywhere I go"
- from "Everywhere I Go" by Willie Nelson
The little pup in the picture is Miss Tess. I affectionately (most of the time), refer to her as my inheritance. She's a black labrador/daschund mix. Dad always said, "I'm not really sure how that worked, but a ladder was probably involved." Dad got Tess from the Veterinarian when she was a few months old. She was part of a litter of puppies that the Vet. was trying to find homes for.
Tess is an energetic and maturing 2-year-old now, and has adapted to her new home with us very well. However, the first couple of weeks were a bit rocky. Sunny, our 27 pound Basenji cross followed Tess everywhere. Our 54 pound, lovable brown hound (Blackmouth Cur), Roxie didn't like Tess. Roxie has the most kind and gentle soul of any dog I've ever known. But, there is still a pecking order with dogs, and Tess was in Roxie's house. Tess only wanted to play and fit in. Thank goodness. Tess hadn't been around other dogs much, so this was a new experience for her, plus she had been in a kennel for 3 weeks and she was ready for some serious run and play time.
My dad, the best dad in the whole world, passed away June 30th. The last 3 weeks of his life play like random film clips through my mind, over and over and over. I hope he knows I find great peace in the words he made a point of sharing with me several times over the last couple of years. He said, "It's normal for you to be sad when I die, and that's okay. But know that I've done everything I ever wanted to do." What an incredible thing to be able to say.
Dad and I shared a lot of time together. I was his side-kick. When I was a little kid, he would take me to the feed store and other places with him. His friends would ask him, "Who is that you have there with you." Dad would answer, "Oh, that's just some little kid I picked up on the side of the road." He would smile real big to his friends and to me as he said it. I felt loved.
There were the fishing trips for which he would wake me up at 5:00 am. It's very dark at 5:00 am, especially when you're 5 years old. We'd be in the pickup pulling the bass boat to a lake. I'd be curled up in the bench seat asleep using his leg as my pillow. We had to be on the water at sun-up - and we always were.
|Dad and Kate|
In my teen years and beyond, I got to go quail, pheasant and duck hunting with him. One of my favorite memories is sitting on the dam of the big pond on his place when the fog was so thick we couldn't see the other side. We could hear the whistle of the wings of the ducks before they were in view. They would drop down out of the fog in their first pass over the pond to get their bearing, then come back in for their landing. That was a magical feeling. One of our favorite pictures is one taken that day of Dad and Kate, his best dog ever, as we sat in the brush on the dam.
As an adult, I accompanied Dad to the hunting lease on many occasions. On one trip we were bumping along down the dirt road in the truck and decided to sneak up over the pond dam to see if there were any ducks. We got a couple for supper. We didn't have a dog with us to retrieve the ducks and one of them landed smack dab in the middle of the pond. There was no wind. We chunked rocks to make waves to move the duck to the pond edge but were having little effect. We got a fishing rod out of the truck and Dad cast past the duck to snag it and pull it in. Well, that got the duck closer and that was all, 'cause the lure would slide over the top of the duck without catching. The duck was about 8 feet away now. Dad found part of a long, fallen tree branch but it wouldn't quite reach the duck. So I held on to Dad's back belt loop and braced my feet, as he leaned way far forward with the branch using it to pull the duck to shore. His belt loop broke! We got the duck.
Dad was a gentleman's gentelman, an outdoorsman, a hunter and fisherman, a professional, deeply a part of the community, a man of service, someone who gave back. I am very proud of him. Most importantly to me, he was my dad. He was my knight in shinning armor, my teacher, my companion, my best friend. I experienced unconditional love because of Dad, he demonstrated grace to me every day of my life. He will be "in my pocket," next to my heart everywhere I go - always. May I learn from his example and share his gift of grace.
In loving memory.
Dr. Albert Thurston Koonce, Jr.
November 30, 1932 - June 30, 2012
Rest in peace, Dad.
"Today a new sun rises for me.
Everything lives, everything is animated.
Everything seems to speak to me of my passion.
Everything invites me to cherish it."
- Anne De Lenclos
Every year I make a 12-month calendar for my Dad for Christmas. The pictures it contains are of all the good times and people past and present. It's fun to make and even more wonderful to see him enjoy it both at Christmas and throughout the year. Love my papa.
This past year I made a calendar for myself too. It has pictures of family and critters. Lots of critters. This month's calendar image is of the little wren above. The wren is one of my favorite birds, right up there with mockingbirds (for their spiritedness and fearlessness), chickadees (for their curiosity), and bluebirds (for their beauty in colors and song).
The wren is inquisitive and animated. And they are just so darned cute. Little balls of feathers with twitchy tails, hopping all around purposefully. They are always busy. Every so often one will look in my office window to see what is going on. It's nice to have such entertaining company.
Speaking of busy... I'm supposed to be putting a new screen in my window's screen frame. Don't want the smaller, buggy critters to come in my office to help me work. That would be bad. Until next time.
"Is not this the true romantic feeling - not to desire to escape life, but to prevent life from escaping you."
- Thomas Wolfe
"I was not a classic mother. But my kids were never palmed off to boarding school. So, I didn't bake cookies. You can buy cookies, but you can't buy love."
- Raquel Welch
Wishing for you a Valentine's day of warmth, kindness and peace - and love in any one of its many beautiful forms.
It's been an incredibly busy time.
This photo journal entry was going to be of a cottontail rabbit. I'm guessing you noticed the picture above is not that of a bunny. When taking the dogs to and from the back yard, they have frequently paused on the deck to sniff - really sniff - between the boards in one particular spot. I honestly do not know how they keep from hyperventilating some times. This usually means that some little critter has made a home under the deck. As long as it isn't a skunk, I'm okay with that. There are probably other creatures that are on the please don't make your home under the deck list, but I digress.
One day while eating lunch and looking out the bay window onto the deck this winter, a young cottontail rabbit ever so slowly appeared out from under the deck steps. The fur on the top of his head was all a muss, like that of a little kid when popping its head out from under the bed covers. This prompted the thought of posting a rabbit picture.
During work today, I came across a folder of warm, richly orange colored gladiolus pictures taken last summer. (Just before the deer ate them - and the drought hit.) Happy, soothing colors. Sounds great to make a quick addition to the pictures in rotation of the computer wallpaper. That's how the quick break started. But the photo had other ideas. The photo said it had delicate grace, light and form and that all that color, though nice, was distracting. Hummingbirds would surely disagree. The hummingbirds are wintering south of the border, so they didn't get a vote.
The key word for the selected quotes was supposed to be, "classic," - prompted by the feel of many black and white photos. That lead to a quote about "not a classic mother," and the word love. That lead to thoughts of my mom who liked Thomas Wolfe, which lead to a quote about true romantic feeling, which reminds me - Hey! It's Valentine's Day.
So, Happy Valentine's Day.
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Recent Blog Entries
- Winnie-the-Pooh and Orchids
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- The True Romantic Feeling
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