Thursday, November 23, 2017

A Jim Terry

It’s hard to imagine where the year has gone, but here we are, yet again, at the beginning of another holiday season.  I have been fortunate in my life to experience a lot of joy and happiness during this time of year. I often sit and reminisce about holidays past and those special times I have shared with friends and those around me, but definitely welcome and cherish those fun times, especially when I think of my family. 

Not long ago, actually just over four years ago in November 2013, our family experienced the passing of the matriarch of our family. This happened right before this holiday of thanks we call “Thanksgiving.”  I remember when I got the news and how this made me feel. I felt as though cellular death or necrosis of the tissues of my heart certainly had begun and that my heart would eventually stop from the hurt and ache I felt.  It was only through shedding many tears, looking through old handwritten cards, time passing, hearing her voice in voicemails, speaking with family and remembering her and her kindness towards me as my mother, that I was able to embrace a little bit of comfort for my aching heart.  

This incident was a big transition for me and for our family. We had been so fortunate for so many years because we had experienced so much happiness and joy in being together as a family during the holiday season. When the happiness and the familiar setting we knew turned to heartache and sadness because of the loss of our mother, we had to ask ourselves, “What were we to do? Where were we to go from here?”

Fast forwarding to January 2015, I found myself in a beautifully decorated clubhouse speaking with family while on the verge of adding another member to our family. My father, in his heartache and loneliness, had decided to remarry and we were on the verge of having to accept another in place of our mother by his side.

At first, I found myself a bit confused and angry with my father for, what was, in my perception anyway, moving on so quickly.  Through time, and because of the loving and kind person Kathi was, I found myself ever so grateful for her and coming into our lives.  Her charm, wit, and humor are unmatched. Her calling and singing to me on my birthday was always such a blessing. Her love and talent for music are priceless.  Her kind words and how she would make you feel so welcome and important are remarkable. And lastly, the warm embrace and the gentle kiss on the cheek that she would provide, when I would visit, always made a grown man feel like, well, a young boy coming home after being away for a long time only to experience the warmth, love and security that only a "home" can provide. It’s all of these things, amongst many others about Kathi, which I will always cherish and remember for the rest of my life.

So fast forwarding once again to this past weekend...I found myself on a plane headed to Boise to say one last goodbye to this sweet woman who had become a part of our family (only three short years earlier) before she passed from, what was diagnosed by her doctors as, “terminal cancer.”

As I sat by her bed and held her hand while she slept, being heavily sedated due to the pain she was experiencing, an array of thoughts and feelings went through my head. How could I express to her how much she really meant to me? How could I appropriately thank her for helping fill part of a void in our family? And how could I thank her for taking such good care of my Dad and helping fill his void as well?

So as I sat there with just Kathi and myself in the room, I decided to quietly verbalize all the reasons why I was so thankful for her and ended it with, “thank you, Kathi! I love you.”  It was just after I said this that Kathi, even though she was in the state she was in, slowly opened her eyes, squeezed my hand, and said, “I love you too” and then closed her eyes once again and drifted off back to sleep.  

It was after this experience, that if anyone else was in the room at that time, one might witness the gentle tick and tock of the clock on the wall...the peaceful sound of chirping crickets in the background from Kathi’s favorite sound machine on the nightstand next to the bed...or the quiet sniffling and whimpering of a grown man, now crying, realizing that he was provided with one last gift by hearing four simple words..."I love you too."

So during this holiday of thanks and giving, remember to value those times with your family and give thanks for everything you have.  Everything in this life can be gone in an instant. It is times like this that I personally am reminded to strive to be a better person.  I try to tell and show those around me, but especially my family and those I love, that I love them. And even though my heart aches once again due to the new void created by the loss of this amazing woman, I want to provide one last "thanks" to my second mother Kathi. “Thank you for coming into our lives. Thank you for all your love and support. And thank you for truly being A GIFT!

We hope you all are safe, happy and healthy and, of course, spending time with FAMILY.

In loving memory of Kathi Kelly Nickell-Terry (1941-2017)

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Saturday, November 11, 2017

Happy Veterans Day


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Just say, "Konnichiwa!" Jim Terry

Think about that ONE pet, your favorite, that you had while growing up.  I know there may be some of you out there that may not have had a pet when you were younger, but for those of you that did, which one was your favorite?  I must say that I was lucky enough to be surrounded by animals while growing up. We had a few dogs, several cats, I loved having a fish tank in my room and we were also raising and breeding horses at one point during my childhood.

My favorite dog we owned when I was younger was named “Freckles.” She was one of the most loyal companions I have known to date. While playing Tonto and The Lone Ranger with my sister, Lora, in our youth, Freckles would always be there by our side to help destroy invading enemies.  Sometimes the invading enemy would be the local farmer with his combine because our fort would be set up in the wheat field adjacent to our home.

My favorite fish was a goldfish named Jabber Jaws. To this day and as a young boy, I swear I could speak goldfish.

My favorite horse was named Flicka. Each and every morning before school, I would go out to the corral, climb the fence and ride her bareback, just to hang out with my friend and tell her to, “have a good day.” And with a quick “whinny” back at me, as I dismounted her and headed on my way to catch the bus, she inevitably would tell me to do the same.

However, of all these memories and pets that I had in my youth and getting back to the initial question I posed, the ONE FAVORITE pet I had while growing up was a tomcat named “Panther.” His beautiful fur coat was where he got his name. His fur was pure black with not even a hint of white or a discolored strand of fur to be seen. His eyes were that of a pale, but beautiful, green that were more striking due to the dark background of his fur. And if you were to see him physically, there was no question that he was a cat NOT to be messed with.

Each and every summer, as most tomcats do, he literally would take off for three to four months at a time. I remember each and every fall when he would return home, that there would be some other scar on his body, another portion of his ears ripped off or another war wound that was inflicted while he was trying to enforce his dominance in the territory for which he claimed was his.   

I also remember a day while weeding one of our gardens, which was located closer to the road on our property, that he warned off an aggressive neighbor’s dog that was going to bite me.  He did this by literally jumping onto the dog’s back and ripped enough hair from him that one might be able to fill half of a pillow with.  To this day and up until the day that dog passed, that dog NEVER trespassed on our property again.  And why am I bringing up my cat Panther at this time of year? Simply because of all of the myths, legends, and superstitions that are associated with black cats especially during Halloween.

Since the Middle Ages, especially in Europe, it was believed that "the black cat was a witch's companion or the witch herself transformed into a cat and of course could be up to no good." This misconception was one of the things that lead to hunting “witches” and with that also the death of several thousand black cats. Interestingly enough, some now say that the more rapid spread of the Black Death, during that time, was because of the cat killings. Could it be because the rats, which carried Black Death on their backs in the form of a rat flea, could then proliferate and prosper and not be hunted by the very same cats the people were killing? 

 Other superstitions I could find about black cats are…
-       It is bad luck, in several countries including the USA, when a black cat crosses your path.
-       In Italy, “if a black cat sits on the bed of a sick person, death will shortly follow.”
-       In China, a black cat symbolizes “famine and poverty to come.”
-       In Ireland, “if a black cat crosses your path in the moonlight, it means there is going to be an epidemic of sickness.”
-       In some nations, they believe that if you “chase a black cat out of your house, then good luck will never reside there.”

With that being said, some superstitions also speak of good about black cats…
-       In Scotland, “A black cat sitting on your porch” means that wealth will be coming to you.
-       For those of you that are married and in some cultures believe that “if you find a white hair on a black cat and if you can pull it out without getting scratched, it means that you will have a long, happy and prosperous marriage.”
-       In Latvia: “If black kittens are found in the silo they believe that they will have a good harvest courtesy of a spirit called Rungis.”

In looking at the two lists above and knowing that omens and superstitions go back thousands of years at times, I still am more than likely and inclined to believe the good superstitions about black cats. In Japan, they believe that cats, but specifically black cats, ARE GOOD LUCK at all times when they cross your path. I can say no different from my favorite pet Panther that crossed my path several years ago during my childhood. He brought me only happiness, companionship, and good luck.

So during your Halloween celebrations if that black cat crosses your path, maybe simply do as the Japanese do and just say, “Konnichiwa!” Then continue going about your fun and your trick-or-treating knowing that you just had good luck cross your path...which in essence, per Japanese superstition, may last a lifetime!  


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Monday, September 4, 2017


HAPPY LABOR DAY! "IN A NUTSHELL" will return in October with more fun, laughs and COOLER WEATHER! Enjoy your holiday!

Friday, August 11, 2017

"E" is For ETERNITY ... by Gina Waite

So family and friends of "In a Nutshell," today happens to celebrate the day we discuss the letter "E" in our 5th consecutive day of posting memories associated with the letters in "F-A-T-H-E-R." I made the realization about two days ago that I would EVENTUALLY have to EXPLAIN memories that start with the letter "E". This is an ENORMOUS task to my fried EGG-type of brain, this week. I promise, I have no real EXCUSE EXCEPT the letter "E" is EXCEPTIONALLY hard to think of nouns associated with it! We may have to start off with EASTER EGGS as there were never more creative EXCITEMENT at our home than that of decorating our un-EQUALED EGGS:

EVERY one of my siblings and parents are artistically talented. In our own way we EACH shine in different areas of art and artistry. My Mom and Dad really EXAMINED and creatively came up with EVERY opportunity they could to include productivity and tradition with artistic EXCELLENCE. Going back to an EARLIER EXPLANATION, this week, my Mom showed her own artistic EXCELLENCE when she ENGAGED herself in sewing Christmas jammies with an individual style that suited EACH of us, almost EVERY year for Christmas. As excited as we were to open our Christmas jammies, we were EAGER for our annual EASTER EGG dying and decorating! I think EVERYONE in my household, growing up and the final EXTENSION of my own little family, was ENTHUSIASTIC and ENERGETIC about this annual EXERCISE. Wax crayons, vinegar and all sorts of added accessories were used in EXECUTING creative EGG dominance. I think once, one of my siblings used ELASTICS to cover certain parts of a hardboiled EGG in order to cover and EXPOSE different areas of the shell in order to create a pattern. EGG contests always ENSUED and my Mom did her absolute best to recognize EACH and EVERYONE of us.

I think of ENVELOPES. Before her graduation into the Spirit World, my Mom wrote me the most EXCELLENT birthday letter filled with EXPRESSIONS of love and admiration for my EXAMPLE. My Mom was so talented in EXPRESSING her love through letter writing. Similarly, I have never known a person to be more EXCEPTIONAL in EXPRESSING ideas and stories off the top of their head than that of my, EXCELLENT Mother. 

One EXAMPLE was a time she had several of her grandchildren gathered together in a room at my brother, Richard's house, to EXPLAIN details of a story about EACH one of them in her imagination. There was so much EXCITEMENT and ENERGY involved that when the ENEMY of her story approached the un-EXPECTING heroes ... the ENGAGED grandchildren were involved to the point that one of them EXTRACTED their lunch in front of EVERYONE. The EXCELLENCE of story-telling to create such EMOTIONAL involvement that the audience may be physically ill ... is a gift ... and one my Mom gave to EACH one of her grandchildren that EXTREMELY ENJOYABLE, and memorable, night! I'm so grateful to have an EXCELLENT memory ... my Mom's contributions to our family and ETERNAL and un-ENDING love with never be ERASEDfrom my mind.

Hmmmm...I'm realizing how EXCITING and EMOTIONAL writing about memories associated with the letter "E" have been for me! I'm so ETERNALLY grateful for my family and the fact I got to EXPERIENCE writing about it, this week!

Stay TUNED TOMORROW for the letter "R"! The wrap-up and RESOLVE to our week-filled posts of our REWARDING family REALTIONSHIP!

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"H" is For HOLIDAYS ... by Gina Waite

Just to review what is happening with "In A Nutshell" this week, we are on day four of six, reviewing thoughts and memories associated with each letter in the word, "FATHER" as we celebrate my Dad's birthday this week! Consequently, we ALSO celebrate birthdays in AUGUST for: Andrew (my brother Richard's baby boy) Savahnna (my sister, Angel Angie's gorgeous girl) and our VERY OWN TERRIFICALLY TALENTED TWINS (Richard and Ryan my twin brothers.) So far we've already reviewed the letters "F"... "A" ... AND "T" ... today is the day of the letter "H":

HAIR ... as a family ... we HAPPEN to HAVE a HEALTHY, HECK of a lot!!!! At one time in HER life, my Mom HAPPILY sported the bee-HIVE (and tried to make that work for my sisters as pictured) as well as my daughter, Paris, used to refer to her little todder-tried half-ponytail as HER "HELICOCK-CO (helicopter) HAIR!" As a child, I thought I could HELP Mike with a HAIRCUT and butchered his in the bangs while HACKING off my HIGHLY-LOVED blonde ponytails underneath the elastics. My HEAVENS ... I'm so glad to be ALIVE today!!! Our resident, HAIR-GICIAN, Angel Angie kept us all on point and HEALTHY, in the HAIR department. She did HAVE HER experiment-with-my-own-HAIR-through-HAIR-school days ... but HAPPILY moved out of that stage as she HEALED HER own by wearing HATS! 

Speaking of HATS ... there are memories of a day when Lora, my HILARIOUS sister, decided to take HER HILARIOUS antics to new levels by sporting a wicker chicken basket on her HEAD. The basket, itself, was a replica of a life-sized chicken and split HORIZONTALLY to open HALF-way down. Perfect for my sister to place the top, atop HER HALF-COCKED HEAD. Lora HEADED out to the backyard to entertain HER family, who were HAZY with HUGE amounts of HOMEWORK, without HEARING or realizing that all my Dad's HIRED-HANDS were in full view of her HILARIOUS chicken dance. Upon completion, HOOTS and HOLLERS went up and now the dance is of legend and HISTORY!

HARDLY ever do I remember a HOLIDAY without the magical effort and resources of my now, HEAVENLY-HAPPY Mother, and HER HANDSOME, HANDY , HELPMEET of a HUSBAND! New Years, Valentine's, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, 4th of July, Halloween and ESPECIALLY CHRISTMAS were HYPED-UP and HONORED! My Mom and Dad arranged for HORSE-drawn sleigh and HAY rides and the previously mentioned HALLOWEEN HOUSE OF HORRORS (family spook alley.) Through all the memories, my parents were many HATS and I can HONESTLY say ... I HAD a very HAPPY childHOOD!
Stay TUNED TOMORROW for the letter "E"! It's EVERYTHING EVERYONE has been EXCITED for!

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

"T" is For Terry ... by Gina Waite

Just to review what is happening with "In A Nutshell" this week, we are on day three of six reviewing thoughts and memories associated with each letter in the word, "FATHER" as we celebrate my Dad's birthday and so many family birthday's in August (if you haven't already been keenly aware...we've got a couple to celebrate and remember.) We've already reviewed "F" and "A" so that brings us up to speed with the letter, "T":
I'm calling it the TERRIFIC letter "T" as it clearly has so many associations with our family ... starting with our last name, "TERRY" and the fact our family claims TWINS. From what I understood of the TUMULTUOUS years that the TWINS experiencing their TWOS ... my Mom had to TAKEOFF to the TROPICS in order to have a TIME out and much needed THINKING TIME. Having the TWINS in our TRIBE has been a TOTAL TREAT. Ryan TICKLES our funny bone with his incredible comedic TIMING and Richard keeps us up-to-date in the latest and greatest, TECHNOLOGY! They both TIED-the-knot with TROPHY wives and Richard's son's, Gabriel and Andrew, constantly TEACH us that to be happy we just need to be, TOGETHER ... and frequently to play with TRAINS and TYRANNOSAURUS rexes!

Our beautiful neice Savahnna, Angie's daughter, and her TITANIC bearded dragons are quite the TEAM of TRAINER and TRAINEE but when TWO male dragons are close enough to see each other, the TECHNIQUE of TRYING to dominate each other just about brought her Aunt Gina to TEARS! Mary, our baby sister, and her husband BEN, are amazing TEAMMATES and parents to the THREE of the smartest, most adorable TRIBE I've ever seen. Ben's amazing ability of TEACHING people to TALK again also incorporates his capability of TRANSLATING everything he TEACHES into Spanish.
I think of all the TREES we planted over the years and the hours and hours of TIME spent on the TRAMP perfecting games like Add-On and TANNING on TOP of it all Summer long! The Touch-downs thrown in our backyard, the TENDENCY of our TROOP to spend TIME playing pinball on our very own pinball machine enTITLED, "TILT!" The Summer afternoon THUNDERSTORMS and the TEMPTATION to spend a lot of TIME overlooking the valley from the TERRIFICALLY positioned TERRITORY of the TERRY home makes me THANKFUL to remember the letter "T"!
Stay TUNED TOMORROW for the letter "H"! That Nutshell HIGHLIGHTS the HILARIOUS HAPPENINGS of the Terry HOME!

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"A" is For Apples & Angles ... by Gina Waite

If you didn't catch my "In A Nutshell" post, yesterday, you may be wondering why I would use the letter "A" in the title of my post! That's simply because we are on day two of a consecutive 6 day post ... sharing memories that coordinate with each letter in the word "Father." Why, you ask? Well TODAY of ALL days is the highly ANTICIPATED, AUGUST 8th ... IT'S MY FATHER'S BIRTHDAY! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TODAY, DAD! I know I speak for everyone of your children when I say we LOVE you and wish you health and happiness in the years to come. I genuinely hope you'll sit down for ten minutes, today, and ENJOY a cup of ice-cold water (the only way you drink it) AND hopefully enjoy yesterday's post about the memories I have associated with the letter "F" in "Father" and maybe even follow that up with today's post which is dedicated to the memories I have that are associated with the letter "A" in "Father."

Now onto my thoughts and family memories associated with the Angelic letter "A":
I have ALWAYS been AWARE that it was an AWESOME experience to be raised with eight siblings. ALTHOUGH, it never occurred to me that A LOT of those memories would come to me associated with my siblings would be revisited when smelling APPLES. APPLE cider and dehydrating APPLES especially heightens my awareness of our APPLE orchard and my happiness in feeding the horses through the fence. The AMBITION my parents had to purchase ACERAGE to build a beautiful home, horse barn and cabinet shop then ADDING an orchard, raspberry patch and garden! As children, we received AWARDS for our ABILITY to garden!

My Dad's ATHLETICISM AND ANTICIPATION of ALL things competitive spilled over into ARM and leg wrestling matches that left most of us sore and in need of an ASPIRIN! I must ADMIT ... my Dad's endless energy and AGELESS APPROACH at life lead the family on many ADVENTURES! My Mom's talent and ARTISTRY in ABSOLUTELY everything she did! Even ACQUIRING enough coordinating fabric that she could make ANNUAL Christmas jammies for ALL eight of her children. In thinking about it ... ARTISTIC ABILITY rubbed off on ALL my eight siblings, except me (I was tempted to use ACCEPT...but my Mom might be AGAINST that word choice ... wink, wink); ALTHOUGH, I did ARRANGE for ALL my siblings to be ACTORS and ACTRESSES in my AWESOME, self-proclaimed, AWARD-winning days of AUTHORING, producing and directing Summer screenplays!
So many memories of backyard and trampoline ACROBATICS that kept ALL of us busy through AUTUMN! Oh AUTUMN ... that glorious time of AUTUMNAL coloring that my ANGEL of a Mother loved with ALL of her heart! ANGELS remind me of my Mother and Grandmothers, ALONG with my sister, ANGIE (who is aptly nicknamed, "Angel') ... my nephew Andrew (who will be talked about in length TOMORROW during the TWINS post) ... my besutiful neice, Savahnna who ALSO shares an AUGUST birthday and my darling Paris who was born in APRIL AND longed to be an ANIMAL doctor. AHHHH ... I love remembering the letter "A"!
Stay tuned tomorrow for the TERRIFIC letter "T"!

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"F" is For Family ... by Gina Waite

I know I've said this before but days seem to fly by now! I remember thinking how quickly the Summer went by as a kid-but now, Shazam ... it's GONE! It's how I felt in June when my good intentions to write daily posts leading up to Father's Day completely flopped as my brain had a disconnect with the fact that I WOULD BE GONE on a ballroom tour with my children that would keep me completely occupied and busy the entire TWO WEEKS BEFORE! What ... I double-booked myself???? How can that be???? That's NEVER happened before (here's where I wish I could insert a sarcastic, side-sneer emoji as it seems the closer to 50 years old I get ... the MORE these things are HAPPENING!)

So let me catch everyone up to speed. In June, starting with the Monday BEFORE Father's Day, I had anticipated coordinating each day with a letter in the word, Father, that would also combine a flood of memories of my Dad. As I started writing those Father's Day week posts (I emphasize "started" as it's difficult to prepare your house, garden, yourself, hubs, two children, a father-in-law and a darling but crazy blonde golden doodle for ten days of vacation and be well rested enough you don't completely pass out at some point on the tour bus #ithappened) I realized that to talk about the memories of my childhood and my Dad would ACTUALLY integrate my ENTIRE family ... ESPECIALLY my Mom! She made life MAGICAL! So to expound and revisit an idea I was EXTREMELY EXCITED ABOUT, I'd love to remember my dad on the week of his birthday by sharing memories of my family while using the word, "FATHER." This has inspired and conjured FABULOUS memories for me that I'd love to share with ALL of you in hopes ... you may want to reply and share some of your memories, too!

Let's start today with the letter "F"!
My Fabulous Family was/is extremely Friendly! I cannot remember a time that my parents hosted a nightly dinner without a Friend of one of the eight children there to enjoy with us, too. The Funds that it must have required to Feed the ten of us at home and then Frequently adding extras to Feast with us was as Fiercely loyal Friendship as one could Find. My brother Ryan got the nickname of "Fred" and his twin sported a beautifully curly, Fro ... For which my son, also Fancied at Fifteen!
My Fam was also Frighteningly Fun! The time and effort that went into our annual Halloween Spook Alley Frequently approached Fifty or more Families every Halloween! The handmade costumes and gravestones along with Fog machines and Flashing strobe lights seem to Fit In with even the BEST effects of the day! Finally, there were lots of Summer Bon Fires, and Few Fall evenings or chilly Winter mornings, without the crackle and pop of the Fiery Flames in our beautiful Fireplace.
Stay tuned tomorrow for the letter "A" and please think of Any Additional "A" memories you can Add!
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