Hard to leave this place

Hi everyone,

We didn’t plan to stay quite so long in Portland but there’s a lot to see and do out here and we’ve had new adventures. I had trouble sleeping last night so I worked from 4:00-6:30. Got drafts down for two poems. Then it was nap time for sure!

I’m glad you like my W.O.M. offering. I’m enjoying your poems too. Keep them coming!

I’ve decided to use PowerPoint slides for my talk about writing for children at The Writers Place next month. It takes time to put them together but in this case I have a number of points to make and the slides should help. If you’ve given any thought to attending, keep thinking. I would love to see your there.

And we’re back

Hi everyone,

Picture from 2019, pre-pandemic cruise

We had a wonderful time taking our family on a cruise in the Caribbean. Huge thank you to SANDY for planning the trip for eight people down to the last detail and being the perfect hostess, as always.

Best part for me was sitting together around a table at evening meals and watching JEFF, ROBIN, TIM, KRIS, TYLER, and JOSIE interacting in lively conversations and having such fun being there and loving the moment. Yesterday was long and tedious as we spent nine hours in the Fort Lauderdale airport waiting for a multi-delayed flight to Charlotte, eventually arriving there too late to make our connection — and then miraculously — that flight was delayed just long enough for us to make it. Home shortly before midnight. Sandy and I toasted each other and fell into bed. I slept in a hour this morning.

Naturally, my laptop and I had a tearful reunion and I made it certain promises that I might or might not be able to keep, but at least we’re both happy for now. The story it liked best was that I wrote the first drafts of a new story during the plane and layover times going and coming. Thank goodness for my writing pad and trusty pen. It began as an idea I thought I’d like to write about, but that never happened. Instead, the original thought segued into something quite different and kept morphing as it went. In the end, there’s no resemblance to the thought that got me started. But I like it. When I have time to type it and hone it, which may be a while, I’ll try an editor or two to see what I have.

Boy do I have a lot of catch-up stuff. It’s going to be one of those weeks.

What once was

Hi everyone,

Yesterday SANDY found an old flyer I made for our gift store, GAMBLE’S Gifts, that we owned and operated for thirty-four years from 1984 to 2018. After she retired from being a high school counselor, Sandy managed the store for twenty years until closing it. We had a wonderful staff who cared about people and were experts about our product lines. The pictures show one of our Christmas seasons. Dressing up a store to look like that was a labor of love.

Sandy still misses the store, staff, and customers and the buying trips to Dallas, Atlanta, New York, and Las Vegas, and other markets. I was on most of those trips too. My other involvement was to spend some time weekly doing back-office work, making some of our promotional pieces (especially in the early years), and designing the new layout each time we relocated the store (3) to be closer to our customer base.

We carried a lot of lines, some of them exclusively. The flyer lists Crystals: Baccarat, Lalique, Marquis by Waterford, Miller Rogaska, and Waterford. China: Christian Dior, Fitz and Floyd, Lenox, Noritake, Ralph Lauren, Royal Doulton, Spode, Villeroy and Boch, and Wedgwood. Collectibles: Department 56, Hummel, Lladro, Lowell Davis, Swarovski, All God’s Children, Bunnykins by Royal Doulton, and numerous others, and Giftware: Arthur Court, Brass by Baldwin, Fine Linens, Jewelry, Music Boxes, Root Candles, Wind Chimes, Picture Frames, Capodimonte Florals, and a host of others over the decades.

Sometimes, during quite moments of reflection, we look back at something we’ve done that we’re proud of. I feel that way about Gamble’s Gifts, but it was Sandy’s show and became an important part of her daily life for a very long time. I know she misses the store. I know she is proud of what she accomplished. She should be.

The family that cooks together…

Hi everyone,

Our time together has been special. We’re not with our son and daughter together often and we are making new memories to warm our hearts for some time to come. A favorite time is when Jeff creates some exquisite new recipe that brings us all to the kitchen to do our parts.