Posted in Introspection, Photography

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

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There’s something about taking pictures.  It connects you with the human race…  It gives you a mind’s eye view of the world… Shows the window to the soul…Tells a story…Frees the imagination…Captures the truth.

It is a universal language.  Everyone loves to see themselves in photographs and to see photos of people and things that they love.  When I am behind my camera, I see the greater good, the brightest color, the person behind the eyes, and the wonder of all God’s creatures.  There is nothing that rivals that feeling.

Wherever I go, when I take my camera, I am transported to another dimension!  Strangers are drawn to me and want me to take their picture, or ask me to use their camera to take their picture.  Once on a trip to Mardi Gras’, I began taking pictures during a street dance.  Soon, couples I didn’t know and would never see again,  danced by and posed, wanting me to capture their revelry.  I must have taken 300 pictures in a two-hour span.   Photography breaks down barriers and builds relationships.

When I was 10 years old, my dad let me take a camera to Girl Scout camp.  It was a Brownie.  Brownie Cameras were boxed shaped and you looked down through the top to find your subject.  The film had to be threaded through the inside maze until it clicked into place.  I thought it was fabulous.kodak-860732__340

 Through the years I have had the Brownie, Polaroid, Instamatic, Digital and of course disposable!  After I retired, I purchased a Nikon 3100 and began my true love affair with photography.  I have, of course, chronicled our family’s growth, events, and trips,  but I have also been fortunate enough to capture some glorious sights.. and here are just a few.

197Outside of Denver at Buffalo Bill’s Grave!017Kerrville, Texas

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My beloved Maine!086Peek-a-boo Kitty

071San Antonio Zoo

029Cuerro, Texas

Sunset was taken courtesy of God and Galveston!

 

Posted in Friendship

Snapshots of my Life by Ginger Keller Gannaway

I have loved taking pictures all my life; however, I’m a crappy photographer.  A “good” friend once declared that most of my pictures are blurry or off-center.  Ok…ok, I own my limited skills with my camera phone, yet I still treasure snapshots of family vacations, huge holidays, and everyday moments.  Remember the “wabi sabi” philosophy  (embrace life’s imperfections) as you view these Snapshots of my Life.

Gerry & RA relaxing in Gubbio, Italy:pic2

 

My Boys (Evanator, Caseman, Shaner) on a Pensacola beachmy boys pic

 

Best I’ve ever looked in a bathing suit!

vintage beach

 

Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain with Gayle, Kelly, and MommaSpain pic

 

Yosemite good times for my 3 boys and their cousins (John, Matt, and Dan Gilmer)

yosemite pic

 

Watermelon Times with me, Mama, and a mischievous Ryan Kellerwatermelon.jpg

 

School Days at St. Edmunds (Emile, Ginger, Gayle, Kelly)school pic

 

The Weight of a Dad!funny family

 

Christmas with Big Santa Clause in Eunice!santa

Kelly Ann under a moss-covered Louisiana tree:

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 Kelly Ann under a moss-covered Louisiana tree
Posted in Aging process, Exercise, Introspection, Old Age, Pets

Walking my Butt by Ginger Keller Gannaway

Walking my Buttmillies butt

Let me be clear.  I do not enjoy exercise!  I fear weights, treadmills, and machines with names like elliptical.  I avoid any sort of exercise class because the idea of staying in step or keeping time with a roomful of moving bodies makes me sweat more than actually exercising ever could.

However, I will go for a walk.  Mostly I walk my dog. Mostly to give her a sense of freedom and the chance to smell the roses, my neighbors’ lawns, a random piece of trash, another’s dog’s butt, or a dried-up pile of poop.  My walks are mostly for Millie, but they are also a bit for me…specifically for my oversized booty!

Walking my Butt

I’m walking my butt,
Walking my butt,
Walking my big fat butt.

Birds gossip and squeak;owl
Squirrels scamper and peek.
Is nature judging me?
Do they even see
My big fat butt?

No, no, no, no way.
‘Cause my dog just sniffs and squats.
Another short squirt on another lil sprout.
She stops, she pulls, she pauses
To give my butt a kind of rest.

millie and me
So nature really doesn’t care
about my feet, my butt, my hair.
It’s my own so critical eye
that makes me wanna cry, so…

I’m walking my butt,
Walking my butt,
Walking my big fat butt.

Posted in Friendship

Walk Talk

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For years now, I have gone for a walk almost every day.   I tie my tennis shoes, grab my sunglasses and head out the door.  It’s therapeutic and even spiritual in nature.  I need it and evidently so do others.  Through the years I have encountered different types of walkers and have developed certain categories, if you will.  Below are just a few of these walkers…see if you recognize anyone you know.

 

The Serious Walker:  Eyes straight ahead, purposeful arm swing, long stride…..no nonsense…’get er’ done’.   This walker may not speak even if you say good morning or hello..they are on a mission! These walkers generally have good tennis shoes and suitable attire.

 

The Dog Walker:  This type varies from the laid back walker who lets their pooch sniff and tinkle at will, to the run/walker whose dog is one with the owner!  The run/walker/and dog seem to enjoy the discipline…eyes forward..steady movement, and sporty outfits, whereas the laid back walker is sometimes on his phone, multitasking a chat and potty patrol, while frequently donning their work clothes and shoes, or worse….pajamas.  (a dead give away)  

 

The Walker Talker: These walkers don’t want to be alone!  They usually are seen in two’s and occasionally a ‘pack’ or even a ‘gaggle’.  To these social beings, the heart-to-heart chat is almost more important than the walk.  The walker talkers show commitment, enthusiasm, and encouragement.  Through the years, I have had only a few dear friends like this.  Walker talkers are a special breed indeed.  *cute outfits optional, but certainly appreciated!

 

The “I Hate to Walk But I Have To” Walker:  These poor walkers look bored, tired and MAD!  They look down or straight ahead and never acknowledge anyone else.  They avoid walker talkers at all costs and generally do not wear workout clothes.  The “I Hate to Walk” walkers most likely have a spouse or doctor who is encouraging their exercise!  They may be walking, but they certainly don’t have to like it!

 

The Stalker Talker Walker:  I have personally encountered this walker many times in my neighborhood.   This walker is (a.)  A talker and  (b.)  Wants to talk whether you do or not.  For example:  I had happened upon this walker several times and did engage in polite conversation; however, I kept moving.  Then, I noticed that he just happened to be walking at the same time I was and would even cross two streets to come over to speak.  I had to up-my-game by keeping a vigilant eye out, so that I could change directions if need be, to avoid “the chat”.  Sometimes he would be talking as he walked toward me and then say, “I’ll walk with you”.  Oh, my!  This person is a sweet, older gentleman who is uber friendly and means no harm, however, he IS a Stalker Talker Walker!  Beware!

 

The Barbie or Ken Walker (aka Sporty Spice):  These walkers have a certain MO:  great looking outfits; expensive tennies; matching visor or hat; earphones and always a Fitbit or Apple watch to check their progress and status. They usually keep a fast pace and rarely speak…they only nod.

 

The ‘Baby on Board’ Walker:  These walkers could go a number of ways:  a mom trying to do it all by pushing a stroller or double stroller and having a dog on a leash, while trying to walk or jog;  Sometimes you will see a super tired parent out early in the morning trying to take baby for a stroll just to stop the crying or get a break! They may be drinking coffee and/or checking their phones;   And of course, there are the super parents who are going for their run/walk no matter what!   These parents are usually pushing a double stroller and the kids are eating snacks or watching a movie.  The stroller I used in 1978 would never have made it!!

 

Did any of these descriptions remind you of someone or even yourself?

No matter what type walker you are or type walker you observe, we’re all just trying our best to get out there and bust a move! Don’t be intimidated, mad or too serious to stop and smell the roses….just keep walking the talk or talking the walk, whichever one you choose!

Keep movin and groovin!

 

Posted in Exercise, Friendship, Outdoors, People

Walk Talk

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For years now, I have gone for a walk almost every day.   I tie my tennis shoes, grab my sunglasses and head out the door.  It’s therapeutic and even spiritual in nature.  I need it and evidently so do others.  Through the years I have encountered different types of walkers and have developed certain categories if you will.  Below are just a few of these walkers…see if you recognize anyone you know.

The Serious Walker:  Eyes straight ahead, purposeful arm swing, long stride…..no nonsense…’get er’ done’.   This walker may not speak even if you say good morning or hello..they are on a mission! These walkers generally have good tennis shoes and suitable attire.

The Dog Walker:  This type varies from the laid back walker who lets their pooch sniff and tinkle at will, to the run/walker whose dog is one with the owner!  The run/walker/and dog seem to enjoy the discipline…eyes forward..steady movement, and sporty outfits, whereas the laid back walker is sometimes on his phone, multitasking a chat and potty patrol, while frequently donning their work clothes and shoes, or worse….pajamas.  (a dead give away)  

The Walker Talker: These walkers don’t want to be alone!  They usually are seen in two’s and occasionally a ‘pack’ or even a ‘gaggle’.  To these social beings, the heart-to-heart chat is almost more important than the walk.  The walker talkers show commitment, enthusiasm, and encouragement.  Through the years, I have had only a few dear friends like this.  Walker talkers are a special breed indeed.  *cute outfits optional, but certainly appreciated!

The “I Hate to Walk But I Have To” Walker:  These poor walkers look bored, tired and MAD!  They look down or straight ahead and never acknowledge anyone else.  They avoid walker talkers at all costs and generally do not wear workout clothes.  The “I Hate to Walk” walkers most likely have a spouse or doctor who is encouraging their exercise!  They may be walking, but they certainly don’t have to like it!

The Stalker Talker Walker:  I have personally encountered this walker many times in my neighborhood.   This walker is (a.)  A talker and  (b.)  Wants to talk whether you do or not.  For example:  I had happened upon this walker several times and did engage in polite conversation; however, I kept moving.  Then, I noticed that he just happened to be walking at the same time I was and would even cross two streets to come over to speak.  I had to up-my-game by keeping a vigilant eye out, so that I could change directions if need be, to avoid “the chat”.  Sometimes he would be talking as he walked toward me and then say, “I’ll walk with you”.  Oh, my!  This person is a sweet, older gentleman who is uber friendly and means no harm, however, he IS a Stalker Talker Walker!  Beware!

The Barbie or Ken Walker (aka Sporty Spice):  These walkers have a certain MO:  great looking outfits; expensive tennies; matching visor or hat; earphones and always a Fitbit or Apple watch to check their progress and status. They usually keep a fast pace and rarely speak…they only nod.

The ‘Baby on Board’ Walker:  These walkers could go a number of ways:  a mom trying to do it all by pushing a stroller or double stroller and having a dog on a leash, while trying to walk or jog;  Sometimes you will see a super tired parent out early in the morning trying to take baby for a stroll just to stop the crying or get a break! They may be drinking coffee and/or checking their phones;   And of course, there are the super parents who are going for their run/walk no matter what!   These parents are usually pushing a double stroller and the kids are eating snacks or watching a movie.  The stroller I used in 1978 would never have made it!!

Did any of these descriptions remind you of someone or even yourself?No matter what type walker you are or type walker you observe, we’re all just trying our best to get out there and bust a move! Don’t be intimidated, mad or too serious to stop and smell the roses….just keep walking the talk or talking the walk, whichever one you choose!

Keep movin and groovin!

Posted in Cajuns, Children, Easter tradition, Food, Friendship, Grandchildren, Grandmother

Pock-Pock (a Cajun Easter tradition) by Ginger Keller Gannaway

Cajun Pock-Pock Easter Tradition by Ginger Keller Gannaway

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Evan & Mama Gerry

     Chubby fingers clutch a pale pink and green boiled egg.  Concerned eyes flick back and forth from the egg to the bowed head of the chubby-fingered 4-year-old girl’s 8-year-old brother, a boy with destruction in his eyes.  The boy firmly holds a bright blue egg, and as he quickly raises his egg a few inches above his sister’s egg, the girl muffles a scared squeak as the brother aims and delivers a decisive blow to his target. POCK! “Ah-ha!” the destructor declares as he witnesses the broken crown of his sister’s special Easter egg (the one that took her a full 6 minutes to dye because she patiently dyed the pink half before carefully turning her egg over and holding it in the green dye for several long minutes).  The girl juts out a “boudin lip,” yet she dutifully hands her victor brother the cracked egg.  “My egg’s the champion!” brags the boy as he tosses the pink and green egg into an overflowing basket of slightly cracked Easter eggs. He struts around the grassy backyard holding the blue egg over his head.  Other kids in church clothes throw sideways glances his way, but his sister simply reaches for a Goldbrick egg in her Easter basket to ease the loss of her two-toned egg.  MaMa Joe tells her cocky grandson, “Way to go, cha! You beat your cousins!” but PaPa Joe sulks in the kitchen with a cup of coffee and the purple guinea egg which he refused to give up to his grandson a few minutes earlier.

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Momma Gerry & Emile

For now 8-year-old Claude Emile revels in his Pock-Pock Championship for an Easter in Ville Platte, Louisiana.

Such is the way in Cajun land on Easter morning.  Friends, cousins, aunts, uncles, moms, dads, grandmas and competitive grandpas compete with their multi-colored boiled eggs to win the title of Pock-Pock Champion on a bright spring day.

            Here are our family’s Pock-Pock Rules:

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Ryan & Andrew in Eunice
  1. Two folks each choose an unbroken Easter egg.
  2. One person holds his/her egg with the fat side up and faces the opponent.
  3. The opponent holds his/her egg with the small end towards the other egg.
  4. The egg-holder on top taps the other’s egg until one of the eggs cracks.  (Most folks prefer a soft, slow tapping motion that makes a “pock-pock” sound and that keeps the game going longer. * Emile’s quick, hard hammer-like hit irks me).
  5. After a few pocks, both folks will hear a deeper sort of cracking sound that signals the breaking of one egg. They pause at this point and examine their eggs’ ends; however, sometimes the crack is not visible and a few more pocks are needed to reveal the definitive cracks that label one of the egg-holders a loser.
  6. The holder of the uncracked egg is that round’s winner and he/she gets to keep the broken egg. (Unless you’ve pocked-pocked with Papa Joe and his favorite egg)

     

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Caseman &Big Papa

My momma learned from her dad (Papa Joe) that guinea  and duck eggs were harder than regular chicken eggs, but this was not always the case.  Cajuns can be very competitive (even when the prize is a grubby boiled egg), and some have resorted to cheating.  One Easter Emile made a plaster of Paris egg and painted it yellow.  He managed to trick the younger cousins and the older relatives with poor eyesight, but when cousin Kenneth discovered the trick, the final pock-pock sounds came from Kenneth whacking Emile’s “tete dure.”

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Shane& his Easter eggs
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Kelly Ann & Ginger

 

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Casey & Jana

I have always enjoyed this Cajun tradition, and even though Emile’s grandkids don’t particularly like or even want to keep boiled Easter eggs (They prefer the plastic eggs filled with jellybeans or chocolates), the kids still enjoy the pock-pock competition.  This Easter I look forward to  spitfire Amos (age 5) going up against his calm cousin Evan (age 24) and may the best egg win!

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Easter in Eunice, 1985
Posted in Children, Grandchildren, Holidays

Nannie and PaPa’s Guide To A Hoppy Easter

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Nannie and PaPa’s Guide to a Hoppy Easter:

Hippity Hoppity Easter’s on its way!  Every year we host our annual family Easter extravaganza.  Our children and grandchildren convene at our house for this eggstra special time and we pack in a full weekend of fun!  Here are a few of our must haves:

DSC_0401    Eggs, eggs, and more eggs:  Plastic eggs filled with candy, money, gift cards, stickers, toys, and chocolate!

Eggs, eggs, and still more eggs:  Dyed eggs and the contest to see who has the most creative; deviled eggs, egg salad, quiche and the most popular among the little ones….Cascarones!

Bunnies:  Blow-up Bunnies in the front yard, bunny plates, napkins, and cups; bunny coffee mugs, bunny candy jars, bunny chair covers, bunny magnets, bunny garland and a small ceramic bunny village!DSC_0377

Church:  We always go to Church as a family and cherish this time together.

Baskets:  Everyone has their own special basket….a tisket, a tasket, a green and yellow basket!!!

Outdoor activity:  We usually enjoy some type of outdoor activity whether it be a long walk, letting the kids play in the park or taking a family bike ride.  With our crew, it’s a must to get outside!

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Food:  We have our big family meal on Saturday night.  It varies with turkey or ham, scalloped potatoes, deviled eggs, cake, veggies etc.  But, one of our must haves is Sister Schubert rolls!!!!  Sister Schubert’s dinner rolls, and then her cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and the ones with sausage.  If you’ve never tried them, you must!  Run to your nearest grocery store and check the frozen food section!  

The Hunt:  After Church, after brunch, after pictures and after a change of clothes…we have The Hunt.    The younger kids hunt just with themselves and we divide the yard, so each one gets the same amount.  But then, the “older” kids have their hunt.  No child is too young or too old to hunt!     For these kids, we fill the eggs with money.  We line them up oldest to youngest and hunt the backyard first.    After all eggs are found, we line up by the one with the fewest eggs found going first and the most found go last, then we head to the front yard.  We have our usual hiding places, but my husband and I like to shake it up by finding more creative spots each year.   Then we come inside and count!  It’s not really tooooo over the top, but it gives each child a little extra fun cash for whatever they want.

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After the festivities….everyone goes home!(that’s a must!)  While we are all together, it is fast and furious.  We hop, scamper, hide, munch and laugh!  But, after all the excitement, my husband and I prop our feet up, finish off the chocolate, enjoy the quiet and begin planning for next year!

Happy Easter Everyone!

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See Soulspeak2016.wordpress.com for “What Happens at Nannie and PaPa’s Stays at Nannie and Papa’s!!!!!”

Posted in Caring for others, Children, Friendship, I love you, Parents, Poems Matter

Poems to Ponder by Ginger Keller Gannaway

For April, National Poetry Month, I offer you a few Poems to Ponder:lake house

  1. “I Spy Babies” by Shane Gannaway (my son)

    shaner
    Shane Gannaway
  2. “Spring and Fall”  by Gerard Manly Hopkins (probably my favorite poem)
  3. “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes (strong advice read by Viola Davis & the poet!)
  4. “Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost (in memory of poet philosopher Ric Fox)nothing Gold can stay
  5. Hearts Under a Microscope by Gary Gannaway“Tis true. Science says it’s so.
    Each heart muscle cell
    Beats to its own rhythm.
    Under a microscope
    It looks like a tiny heart,
    And it sounds likeYour heart Your heartpoem love
    Your heart Your heart.Put another heart muscle cell
    Onto the same slide.
    And it will beat to its own
    Independent rhythm,
    And it sounds like

    Heart my Heart my
    Heart my Heart my.

    Once the cells touch,
    A miracle occurs.
    The two cells begin to beat as one,
    And they sound like

    Your heart My heart
    Your heart My heart
    Our heart Our heart
    Our heart Our heart.

    ‘Tis true. Science says it’s so.(Valentine’s Day, 2010)

    “Shoulders”  (cool class video)by Naomi Shihab Nye ( what the world needs now)

  6. Shoulders
    A man crosses the street in rain,
    stepping gently, looking two times north and south,
    because his son is asleep on his shoulder.

    No car must splash him.
    No car drive too near to his shadow.

    This man carries the world’s most sensitive cargo
    but he’s not marked.
    Nowhere does his jacket say FRAGILE,
    HANDLE WITH CARE.

    His ear fills up with breathing.
    He hears the hum of a boy’s dream
    deep inside him.

    We’re not going to be able
    to live in this world
    if we’re not willing to do what he’s doing
    with one another.

    The road will only be wide.
    The rain will never stop falling.

    poem1

Posted in Introspection, Travel

Come Home to Maine

Come Home to Maine

 

Come Home to Maine:    

My fascination with Maine began some twenty years ago.  The beauty, grandeur, and peace among the rustic, sometimes unsettling landscape, intrigues me and draws me there like a long, lost love.  It beckons me to breathe its scent and feel its sturdy ground beneath my feet.  Maine lures me in with the promise of filling my soul and never disappoints….never.

Even as I write, we are traveling toward Maine.  We’ve driven from Virginia through Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.  The snow is still piled along the highway and dots the countryside in patches.  It’s cold and dank, as some would say.

We finally arrive in Prospect Harbor Maine.  The tiny village has a filling station/grocery where we make one last stop before our new home for a few days.  There are houses along this long road, some boarded up from their long winter’s nap and others have a light on and smoke curling from the chimney.

Our home for the next five days is the Prospect Harbor Lighthouse.  It is located on a naval base and we are met at the razor wire gate by a guard, who after checking ID’s, waves us in.   We are staying in the old lightkeeper’s house just a few feet away from the lighthouse itself.  The house is more than we could have hoped for; quaint, well appointed, warm and inviting.  Thanks to the naval base, it has been well maintained through the years and treated with love and respect.

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The light from the lighthouse cycles on every 10 seconds or so.  Last night, standing out in the frigid wind, we watched as the light cast its spell onto the water and into the dark unknown ocean.  The light both welcomes you and warns you of the rocky shore.  The Maine coastline is littered with dark rocks and seaweed.  The waves crash into the rocky shore like a rhythmic beat orchestrated by the pull of the moon.  The gulls and herring are searching for food and fly low dipping in for fish or excavating clams for a delicious bite.  They appear always hungry and needy and searching….constantly searching for that next meal.

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It is snowing again and the flakes are large and pillowy, floating down and dancing criss-cross through the sky.  The air smells fresh and as we step outside, we are in nature’s own walk-in freezer.  Each branch, rock, roof top and road is sprinkled with a layer of crystals and ice.DSC_0135

 

Every time I go for a walk down a silent trail or stop to admire the occasional sea village, I am in awe of the simplistic beauty.  The lobster boats and the people working the traps, both mirror a weathered look.  Their outer shells creased and colored by the sun and sea.  Their strong, classic lines forever changed by the wind.  It is a harsh life they have chosen.  At nature’s mercy, they strive each day to complete their tasks and feed their tables.

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What more can I say about my Maine?  It is my heart-home.  My descriptions only begin to touch the surface, but it’s what my soul feels when I am here, that tells the true story.  Every glorious creation is here.  Everything clean, fresh, mild, harsh, bright and dark….so lovely, yet so lonely….restless yet tranquil.
Perhaps you will see for yourself.  That is my solemn wish for you….take a chance, pack a bag and come home to Maine.

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