Monday, February 27, 2017

Maritime Monday


This is one of my favorite photographs of my Dad. I think this was when he was at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, right after he enlisted. So he would have been about 17 or 18 here.

Isn't he simply precious looking? (I know, he'd probably say something smart to me about calling him "precious", but to me he is here!)

Daddy was in the Navy for 22 years.

He and Mommy met when he was stationed in San Francisco (she was a WAC!) and she was stationed at the Presidio. He was 21 and she was 20. They were married in December after a proper courtship! A dear friend introduced them to one another. I love her today so much! Without her I might not be here now! (Betty, you know I love you!!!)

Daddy was a Machinist Mate 1st Class. But he could do so much more! When he retired from the Navy, he didn't really retire. Instead, he embarked on a second career, from which he retired from as well.

He kept that svelte figure you see in the photograph until he retired from the Navy. Then he went from his 28-inch waist, to a whopping 30-inches! (I love to pick on him!) Daddy you'll never fit in that 30-inch belt ever again!

He retired from the Navy in June of 1976. I attended his retirement ceremony. I don't think I've ever been prouder of anyone than I am of my Daddy!

I am proud of all of our service men and women. But the Navy holds a special place in my heart, because I grew up Navy.

So, for all you Navy brats that I grew up with, do you ever tell your Dad's how proud of them you are?

I still get choked up when the National Anthem plays. I still put my hand over my heart and come to a standing attention when the flag is flown in parades. I still take my flag down at night. It never touches the ground. I can't look at the flag and not see the precious blood that was spilt so that I could go to bed at night a free woman. I can't look and not see those men and women who will never come home again.

I can't begin to tell you the nights, (over 16 years of nights) my Mommy had us on our knees praying for my Daddy's safe return. And knowing that if Daddy came back, there was some little girl somewhere in the US that her Daddy wasn't coming home.

Yes, I'm proud of my Daddy. And I will defend the rights of our veterans with my dying breath if need be. We should all strive for service to God, and service to Country. Without either life is not worth living.

I love you Daddy!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sentimental Sunday


I probably post more on here about my sweet Mommy than anything else. This is one of the last photographs I ever got the privilege of taking of her. (Lois Velleda Dreher Beane 1938-2015).

I can't help but think of Mommy on Sunday's. My earliest memory of her is being very small (before I was 2 because my sister was born when I was 22 months old, and at this time I was the only baby!), and sitting on her lap. Everyone who knew my Mommy knew she couldn't sing her way out of a tin pail, but she'd certainly try! My memory is of her singing 'Jesus Loves Me'. I recall her telling me the Bible stories of little children. David as he was a shepherd, learning to play his harp, and killing the lion with nothing but his slingshot! Cain and Abel being the first two children ever born on earth! Mary, the mother of baby Jesus, only 13 when she found she was with child. Jesus at 12 astonishing the scholars in the Temple with his vast and curious knowledge.

She told me about Daniel and the lions den, and what the power of prayer could do. Deborah, a prophet and a judge (what? you mean no women's lib?). Ruth and the magnificent love story, not only of Boaz her new husband, but the great love she bore for her mother-in-law, Naomi. (I was so blessed to love my husband's mother! What a great blessing to love someone!)

She recalled Joseph and his coat of many colors, of his brothers throwing him in a pit and covering his coat in blood to trick their father in to believing he was dead. But he was then sold into slavery. And because he was faithful, God brought him up to be the pharaoh's overseer of his house! Talk about a ladder climber!

Then there was the story of the talking ass. The little donkey looked at Balaam and spoke like a man! Balaam believed he had to listen to God then!

Jesus, gathering the little children into His arms saying, "Suffer them to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of God".

Jesus, bringing the dead girl,  Jairus' 12 year old daughter, back to life!

Jesus healing the sick and the lame.

Jesus causing the cripple man to pick up his bed and walk.

Jesus spitting in the clay and causing the blinded man to see.

Jesus teaching us how to pray.

Jesus dying on a cross (I always cried, and I probably always will). Being buried in a dark, cold tomb with a huge stone placed at the opening.

Jesus, rising from the dead on Easter Sunday. I always got goosebumps from that! (Again, I probably always will!)

Can you see a theme here? Mommy taught me about Jesus. About becoming a Christian. Reading the Bible to me every night. Making sure my prayers were said. Making sure I was in Sunday School and Church, and to Bible School every summer. And lastly in a Christian school.

20 years before she passed away, Mommy had a brain aneurysm. The repair to the aneurysm caused her to have multiple strokes. It robbed her of many parts of her memory. Short term memory became almost none at all. But she could tell you the day she accepted Jesus into her heart. And she could remember the words to so many hymns and sang along when I'd sing for her. She remembered every day to say her prayers, although sometimes it would be nothing more than "God, I don't know how to pray today, but You know what I need and those I love needs. Amen." She said grace for every meal, "Come Lord Jesus be my guest, Share this food that God has blessed. Amen." And she read her Bible every single morning of her life. Sometimes she could read only a single verse, others she would read all day long.

She couldn't always remember my name, but she'd say, "There's my little girl!"

Mommy had to retire when her aneurysm ruptured 20 years before her death. But prior to that, she was the director of a county council on aging. If you are familiar with that program, you will know that they do everything in their power to make the lives of the senior citizens in their area more comfortable. They provide so many services, that I can't begin to name them all. Many times Mommy would go to work at 4 or 5 in the morning, and not be home until well after dark. She'd had to take someone to a physician's appointment, because there was no one else to do it. Or she'd load up a van, and take those more able, on a trip to the seaside, or to a museum, or to an outdoor drama.

And it wasn't just her job. Mommy tried to help anyone who asked for it, or who she saw had a need. If there was a death, Mommy cooked up a load of food and took to the family. She even packed boxes of her home canned vegetables and took to those who were without. I've seen her "clean out the house" for someone who had lost everything in a fire. I've seen her help a new widow who didn't know where to turn to. I've seen her take charge as a Christian scout team for the church's children. Taking the teens to outings. Teaching Sunday School. Pass out commodities to the community.

I've seen her come home from work and take my five little children all home with her, even though she was tired, just so I could study for nursing school. And she'd keep them overnight so I could study without interruption as long as I needed.

I've seen her offer her last dollar to a man who said he needed something to eat, that was standing on a street corner. I've seen her offer a bum a cup of hot coffee and a free meal in a diner, just because he looked hungry. I once saw her take her coat off and give it to a woman who was walking down town with 3 little babies. They were bundled warmly, but the woman didn't have a coat, and she was shivering so badly. Mommy didn't hesitate. She pulled her coat off and put it over the woman's shoulders. The woman told Mommy she couldn't take her coat, but Mommy insisted. Even though she'd have to stop at a store and buy herself another before she could get home.

I've listened to Mommy give her testimony in church. She told of how she'd been unable to talk until she was 11 years old. She had a bit of an odd sounding voice, and she was often asked, "You have a strange accent, where are you from?" Mommy would always smile, and say, "from Indiana". Truth is, my Mommy was a walking talking miracle. She was born without a voice box (larynx). Even the physicians couldn't believe she could speak. Xrays confirmed this diagnosis. I've seen them myself. When she was 11, Mommy was sent away to school to learn to talk. She was taught how to speak by vibrating her tongue against the roof of her mouth. They would put marbles in her mouth, and she would try to make sounds around the vibrating marbles. Eventually they would remove the marbles one at a time, over an extended period, until she was actually talking without a voice box! Today there are other mechanisms, even an artificial larynx, that can be used. But back in the 1940's, there simply wasn't much in the way of help. But she was able to speak so lovely! (Can you imagine the health codes today if someone were to try to teach someone with a mouth full of marbles?)

Mommy had many health problems during the course of her life. Including being born premature. She weighed only 2 pounds at birth. Her father wouldn't even hold her until she was six months old, because the doctor had told him that she would die. But Grandma put her in a shoebox lined in flannel, and would heat bricks and placed them in flannel around the shoebox. She made an incubator thus. And Mommy thrived!

She was pronounced dead at one time. And she had an out of body experience when it happened. I was away in Europe at the time, so I was not witness to her miraculously coming to. Much less being able to tell everyone every word that was spoken, even what they had been doing while she was dead. And she told of the beautiful white light, and family members she could see. And the sudden rush back to her body, and the longing to stay in the light.

I've seen her so sick and tired all she could do was fuss. (That year she tried to pass off some garland on a palm tree as the Christmas tree, if not for my sister and I our little brothers wouldn't have had a Christmas tree that year!) I've heard her say things she regretted later. She wasn't a saint. And she was far from perfect.

But, like most children, my Mommy was perfect for me. And for my sister and brothers.

Well, I've said enough about Mommy. I've got to go and find the tissues. After all, I'm just a sentimental old fool.  And this Sunday, I'm missing my Mommy.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Monroe Bean's Newsletter

The Monroe Bean's newsletter was mailed this morning. If you would like to receive a copy of our newsletter, simply click here to send an email to request a copy.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Thriller Thursday


I was raised by a mother who did not believe in ghosts. Her father, my grandfather, however did. He often told my Mom that unless you believe in them, or open yourself to see them, then you never would.

Mom never saw a ghost her entire life.

My grandfather did. Perhaps the last ghost he saw was when he actually came to visit us when I was 15. He and my grandmother arrived one evening, and were expecting to stay for a couple of weeks at least. But my grandfather got up sometime during the night, and was awake when my Mom got up (which was always before the chickens). He told her he had to go home that very day. She tried to convince him to stay longer, but he refused. He wouldn't tell her why he had to go home at first. But after (much) persuasion, Mom finally got the story out of him.

Grandpa and Grandma were given the best bedroom during their visits, which was of course, Mom and Dad's room. Grandpa said he had gone to bed, and was lying on the bed nearly asleep, with the blanket and sheet down around his feet, as the room was warm. He was brought wide awake by the touch of a hand in the dark. He looked and an elderly woman was standing beside the bed. She touched his arm, and then she reached down, took hold of the blanket and sheet, and covered him up.

That wasn't Grandpa's first experience. But it was the most profound for me.

We had only lived in the house about 22 months at that time. We had moved from a large city, to a community of about 1000 people. The nearest grocery store, was not only 10 miles away, but was the size of very small convenience stores. To do any real shopping you had to travel 30 miles. So, the move was life changing by itself.

We had gone from a tri-level modern 1960-built home, to an old farm house on about an acre of land. My first view of the country house, and I screamed and begged my parents to let me go to boarding school. It was in terrible disrepair! Wall paper was peeling and hanging. there wasn't a proper bathroom. No laundry hookups. What was to be my bedroom was really an upstairs sitting room back in its day. The paint was peeling on the exterior. And the place was overgrown with weeds. The house itself reminded you of a neighborhood haunted house. At that time I didn't know if I believed in ghosts or not. I did have nightmares if I watched too much scary television shows!

Mom and Dad's bedroom was on the first floor of this house. Across the hall from the living room. The room was always ice cold. I could never go into it without freezing! And once we got hookups for a washer and dryer, I would beg out of taking Mom and Dad's clothes to place in their closet. It simply scared me so badly. I didn't know why at the time.

Once, during our first winter there, we didn't have any heat. So Mom had me put a cot in her room for myself, and my sister slept in the bed with Mom. She ran an electric heater that night to keep us all warm. (Dad was still in the Navy and was on ship near Israel.) That night I felt very uneasy lying on the short camp cot in Mom's room. I brought my little dog, Sandy, and put him in bed with me. I fell asleep finally, after much tossing and turning, to Sandy's dismay I'm sure. But Sandy woke me. He was a small Chihuahua, and he got up on the pillow beside my face and stood up growling. I raised up to see what he was growling at, and an elderly woman was standing beside of the bed staring down at my Mom. I made a gasp, and she turned and looked at me. I threw myself down on the cot, and pulling Sandy with me, laid trembling with my head covered by the blankets. I must have fallen asleep that way, as it was how I awoke the next morning.

I tried to tell my Mom about it (I was about 14 at the time). She told me it had all been a silly dream and to forget it. But when less than a year later my Grandpa saw the same woman, I felt like had validation in what I saw.

But it has been only the beginning.

Since that time, I have seen many apparitions. I have felt others. One common apparition I have seen more than others has been that of my mother-in-law. She passed in 2003 in Texas. I live in West Virginia. So, why would she be seen here, especially since she had never even visited us here?

Well, I believe it's because I took care of her as she was dying. And I was by her side when she did pass. And, frankly, as far as I know, a ghost can appear anywhere it wants to! But I have seen her twice in the nine years I have lived in this house. Both times, she was standing on the far side of the breakfast bar, which divides the kitchen from the living space. Each time, I was in the kitchen. And she was in a space behind the bar where it would be nearly impossible for someone to stand, due to the arrangement of furniture. However, she was there. She was not completely transparent, but about like the photo above. She never spoke. Nor gesture in any way. She simply was standing there looking at me.

Why? I don't know. I don't have a gift of interpreting what a spirit or ghost wants to say. However, I like to think she is simply checking in on my husband and I.

Then there is "the lady in white", whom I have seen dozens of times. But that was always in a nursing facility, and we'll save that story for another time.

Do you believe in ghosts? If so, have you ever encountered one? Were you afraid? Do you know what to say to get a ghost to communicate with you?

We'll revisit this topic again at a later date. But let me know of your experiences!

Wordless Wednesday

Do you know who this Vietnam War hero is?
He's my 8th cousin once removed.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Sentimental Sunday


Way back when I was a child, it was customary to have the minister and his family over to your home every so often, for Sunday dinner. It gave the pastor's wife the chance to rest without cooking, and helped you to really get to know your minister as well.

My family was no different. I often remember Mom having the pastor to Sunday dinner.

When I was younger, Mom would fry up two chickens ahead of time and then warm them in the oven before serving them. (We didn't have a microwave until after I got married!) She'd often serve baked beans, or pinto beans as a side dish. Cornbread of course, Maybe potato salad, or macaroni salad. Some greens. Sweet tea. And a cake for dessert.

Back then, unless you went to the butcher and had it cut up, your chicken came whole. The neck and giblets (liver, heart, and gizzards) came stuffed into the cavity of the bird.

It would start out looking like this:


And it ended up looking like this:


Today, it's almost a lost art to find someone who can actually cut up a chicken correctly. The above is done correctly. When cut correctly, a single chicken can feed a family of four to six without anyone leaving the table hungry.

It was my Daddy who taught me how to cut up chicken. He said he used to cut it up for my Grandma when he was growing up. So whenever he was away at sea, it became my official/unofficial job to cut up the chicken for Mama to cook.

And my Mama, who had little talent in the cooking department, could do this superbly! I loved her fried chicken!

Mama used her electric skillet. She said it was because she could set the exact temperature on it, and get the chicken to come out cooked crispy on the outside, but tender and juicy on the inside. And she certainly knew her strengths in that department, because this is about the only thing Mama made repeatedly for the Pastor, until I got older.

As a teen we moved to the country. And Mama's Sunday dinner for the pastor changed. She cooked pinto beans in the pressure cooker with some ham, or ham pieces. And my skills were still needed. It was my job to always make the cornbread.


To suit Mama, the cornbread had to be the only recipe she knew. I wasn't supposed to try anything different. Her recipe worked, and wasn't no sense trying to fix something that wasn't broke!
It had to be baked in a well seasoned skillet. (I still use Mama's skillet to this day!)
After it was baked, it was allowed to cool for a few minutes, then inverted on plate and sliced for serving before placing it on the table.

Everyone loved that cornbread. Even the pastor. (One Sunday he preached about a woman's virtue's, and used my cornbread as an example. I was 15, and tried not to get a big head over it, but at 15 I couldn't help but be proud of it!)

The recipe? I'll never forget it. It's about as simple as it comes. And no, it's not the healthiest version, but it is the tastiest!

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.

Mix together:
1 cup stone ground cornmeal (the really gritty stuff)
1 cup self-rising flour
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
In a separate bowl mix 1 -1/2 cup of sweet milk or buttermilk and 2 eggs. Then mix with dry ingredients.
Place the skillet on the stove burner and melt 1/2 cup lard in the skillet (yes, I said lard). Once melted, swirl the liquid lard all around the interior of the skillet, and poor off the liquid into cornbread mixture and stir well.
Pour the batter into the skillet.
Bake for 20-30 minutes, until golden, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Thank you Mama. It's still the best cornbread I've ever eaten!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Shopping Saturday

I know I am not alone in saying that my mother was a "shop-a-holic"! Growing up, she often took us along as she went shopping. Sometimes for hours, and hours, and hours on end. If it was on sale, Mom considered it a bargain, whether she wanted or needed it, or not! If it wasn't something she liked, she'd give to someone for a birthday or Christmas gift!

My sister got that gene from Mom.

Me, on the other hand, hate to shop! If I can con (er uh-hmmm), rather I should say, if I can get someone else to volunteer to go to the store when something is needed, I'd much rather let them go.

I've been wondering about the sky rocketing cost of groceries, and just how much inflation there has been since I was a child way back in the (mumble-mumble-mumble), well way back then.

So let's take a look at some common grocery items and see what the difference is:

When I was a child, the cost of:
bread cost 22 cents a loaf


a half gallon of milk was 49 cents




sugar was 38 cents for a 5 pound bag

coffee was 39 cents a pound

butter was a whopping 67 cents a pound, which meant most households went to using margarine which never went rancid if not used up

a chocolate bar was 15 cents



and a bottle of my favorite beverage was 35 cents, but you got 2 cents back on every bottle you returned! Or you could get 2 cans for 27 cents.

That was back before missing children were placed on milk cartons. And you could still get your milk delivered to the house if you wanted, or buy it in the super market.

Specialty shops were common place:
bakery for bread
dairy for milk or ice cream
butcher for meats

We had convenience stores, but there weren't many. As I became a teen we began to see more and more of these.

And now for the 'coup de grace'. When I was married to my first  husband, on the back of our wedding photo and announcement in the paper, is the brand new Volkswagon for that year. The cost?
A whopping $1,800!

Oh, if we only knew how high inflation would take us, we could have bought stock in common grocery items, and have retired long ago wealthy!