Monthly Archives: February 2019

It’s Gray o’ Clock in Oregon

Posted February 20, 2019 by Kerry McFall

So far this February, it’s been gray o’ clock almost all day every day.  Last weekend I laced up my hiking boots and braved the colorless cold for a little exercise, hoping for maybe a bit of early wildflower action at Bald Hill.  Nope, no flowers.  Silly woman.  But there were rewards!

sketches of pussy willow and newt

“Bald Hill Trio”, mixed media by Kerry McFall

The first was the whitewater rapids just off the parking lot, where usually there is a sleepy creek — on many days the gray has included a lot of rain.  The second was a lake fed by another rapidly running creek, where last summer the beavers had thought they were engineering a modest little pond.  And the third was… could it be?  A Mud Puppy! aka Rough-skinned Newt.  Haven’t seen one of those for years.  It was obviously a very cold newt, moving at the speed of “molasses in January” as my Dad would have said.  The vibrations of my footsteps must have warned it to stop moving and blend in with the lichen, but its’ bright orange “fingers” and underbelly edges gave it away.  I stood over it protectively for a long time to discourage bicycles and strollers, until it finally crept in comic slow motion off the asphalt and into the dead grasses.  Funny how such an encounter makes the whole chilly trek worthwhile!

There were also a few brave pussywillow catkins peeking out from their reddening stems, begging to be petted, urging me to find a place to step where I wouldn’t sink to my ankles in the ditch.  It was worth the jump and the stretch to feel their kitten-soft silver fluff under my cold fingers.  I think that’s as close to spring as we’re going to get for several more weeks!

Giggles and Hats and Cuddles with Cats

The Evolution of Friendship – posted February 7, 2019 by Kerry McFall

painting of glove, moon pie, and cream pitcher

“Evolution of Friendship”, mixed media by Kerry McFall

“When would you like me to drop off the tea glove that I embroidered for Corey?” my friend Tracy texted.  “It’s your turn.”

I had no idea what she was texting about.  I called to ask my daughter.

“Remember when she sent a glove to me for the wedding?  I carried it with my bouquet – it was one of the little gloves Kayla and I used to wear to our tea parties when we were little girls!  You know, ‘Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue?’ “ 

Pushing back through the mental fog of four tough years to the hubbub of my daughter’s wedding, I almost remember the glove.  Going back 20 years further, though, I definitely remember the tea parties – best fun ever!  Life was so much simpler.  Tea cups to sip from, sweets and savories piled into baskets, lacy table cloths, chipped pink polish on tiny fingernails hidden under soft gloves, giggles and hats and cuddles with cats, and puppies and bunnies and chickens… 

We moved on from tea parties at home to fun at the county fairgrounds.  Our girls quickly learned how to care for the bunnies and chickens. Then we taught them to quilt and sew and make costumes for the Renaissance Fair.  We showed them manners and courtesy and affection, and how to be strong and speak their minds.  We showed them many things, but especially how to be friends.

And then our little girls grew up, as little girls do.  They kindly accompanied us to Quilt Guild meetings through their Middle School years, then firmly moved on to activities that did not require the presence of their middle-aged mothers.  Sigh. 

Now they are strong women, and good friends though living far apart.  The four of us are still able to put together the occasional tea party, usually for a cup of Christmas Tea.  My daughter will be Matron of Honor soon for Kayla’s wedding.  So last week Tracy delivered a gift bag, with the little glove on top of a tissue-wrapped threesome of delectable Moon Pies (specially ordered from Indiana*,) because that’s what good friends do: they see your need, they bring you treats, they make you smile!

The little glove will soon be passed along to Kayla, with perhaps a few added embroidery stitches (in pink?), along with a copy of this essay, and my sketch.  It is my turn.

*  For hand-crafted Moon Pies go to