Monday, January 12, 2009


This past Thursday evening, Mom, Shane, and I traveled down to Sun City Center to visit Aunt Donna and Aunt Tommie. Aunt Tommie just arrived Sunday for a two month visit. We haven't seen her in two years. Cousin Debbie, Cousin Ron, and his wife Ellie joined us for dinner. We brought food from the O.G. (Olive Garden). Our menu consisted of lasagna, salad, and bread sticks of course! Agustin had also thrown in some Tiramasu for Ellie and Ron who LOVE the stuff. I think we should hook them up to an IV for it! This small family reunion lasted a few short hours; sweet and satisfying, with the usual fun banter between us.

This is Aunt Donna's antique china. I just love the fact that it is about 125 years old!
Click to enlarge photo for a closer look at the pattern.

Shane is proud that he is soon to be taller than Aunt Donna!

Aunt Tommie visiting with Shane. It had been two long years since we had seen her.

I simply MUST share the story of THE ROCKER with you!
First off, I want you all to know that my Grandpa Booker was a master craftsman. He made a rocker for each of his daughters and daughter in laws. Some of the grandchildren received a rocker from him as well. My sister Rita, as a matter of fact, has her little red rocker still today. That little cane seat rocker has been to the jungles of South America, but is now in Paraguay with her. I guess we could call it a TRAVELING ROCKING CHAIR as well! Grandpa never used nails in his rockers, but made his own wooden 'pegs' to attach each piece together.
Rita, could you please post a photo of your little rocker that Grandpa made? I'll try to remember to post the one that mom has. Mom painted hers PINK! It's beautiful and sits proudly in her office today.
Many years ago, before the passing of my Grandpa Booker Riffe, he cut the pieces of this rocker out of a variety of woods. We assume he wanted to use the left over wood from what was lying around his shop from previous projects.
Back in 1999(?) when my cousin Ron visited Aunt Tommie at her home in Indiana, she gave him the pieces to see if he could fit the puzzle pieces together, to build the rocker. A few years before that day in '99 though, my Uncle Robert had taken the pieces out to California with him to try and put together. Uncle Robert was killed in an auto accident before getting the chair together. That's when Aunt Tommie acquired the pieces. She lived in Oregon at the time I believe. Anyway, when she moved out to Indiana, she brought the pieces with her. She was keeper of the pieces until that day in 1999 I mentioned. Well, Ron has been working on the chair since October, putting it together and staining it with a beautiful walnut stain. The photo here does not do it justice! Looking at that rocker Thursday evening, none of us could have told you that it was made out of no less than four different types of wood. Ron still has to put the seat on it, but he couldn't wait to show it to Aunt Tommie and the rest of us that evening. Ron, I thank you for completing a project that our beloved Grandpa started all those years ago!
I think I'll always call it, THE TRAVELING ROCKING CHAIR!

You can tell, Aunt Tommie was thrilled!
Side Note: Every project Ron takes on comes out wonderfully. It's a family gene I do declare!

And I think Ronnie was a little proud, as well he should be. I asked him how it felt to handle the pieces of wood our Grandpa had handled all those years ago. It was awesome!
I think it's so cute to see that mom and Aunt Donna were holding hands in these photos
with the rocker.

The Motley Crew
Mom, Debbie, Ellie, Ron, Aunt Tommie, Aunt Donna, Shane

Debbie, Ellie, Ron, Me, Aunt Tommie, Aunt Donna

The old ones (oops. I meant the "mature" ones) were allowed to eat at the dining room table.

While the youngin's were placed at the kitchen table. That's Ellie with Shane!

Debbie kissing her mama goodnight. I'm so happy to have caught this on camera!


MightyMom said...

oh how sweet!!

Penless Thoughts said...

What a lovely, special chair and story!!! I also love the china.

Jungle Mom said...

That was so fun to read. What a good thing Ron did. And now I see Debbie got all the tall genes which explains why I am so short.
What a great time. I am so happy you could all be together.

HsKubes said...

What a blessing to spend time with family!
I'm sure she was so delighted with the rocking chair. A beautiful chair, too!

Hope you have a lovely week!
~ Christina

Pat said...

I am laughing, crying and enjoying those moments with you Pam (feel like I know them!!)...LOVE THE PICS!!!!

I love the fact that your Mom is barefoot in them, too!!

Shane is soo well adjusted (that and Olive Garden makes a wonderful family get-together!!)---

What a blessing to share the chair story in pics ---I think it is a beautiful chair!!And, what a story to accompany them!!


Mrs. C said...

What a neat story! Often the best family heirlooms are those that are handcrafted with love instead of the ones bought at a store. ;)

retha said...

A good piece of family history!
I love the getting togethers of family and when the 'mature' ones tells stories.

Mrs. Miles said...

Hi Pam,

Thanks for your visit (via Betty's blog) and for taking the time to leave a comment. I decided to track you back! I'm glad I did.

First off, love the name Aunt Tommie. How could one not be fond of someone named this? What is Tommie short for?

Second, I noticed lots of your relatives seem to have names ending in "ie" awww - its sweet!

Third, what a wonderful, warm family you are blessed with.

Fourth, what a touching and sweet surprise the chair was - how talented to have refinished it this way and what a great story behind it too.

Fifth and final, the end shot, of the Granny Hug, well, thats priceless!

I sure enjoyed stopping by!

PS - looks altogether too nice there in Florida, want that I should send you a bit of our Canadian snow?

~ Barb

Pam said...

Mrs. Miles-
Welcome andthanks for your lovely comment!

Tommie is short of Thomasine!

Betty said...

Hello Pam!
That was a touching story and you can be proud to have such a talented grandfather! The chair looks awesome and should be held in honors.
Great pictures too. I loved seeing what your mom barefoot. Looks so familiar with the hear we have down here....

Kimberly said...

How sweet...what great memories for Shane. And some people say homeschooled children are not "socialized" enough!

Most Rev. Gregori said...

Pam, that rocker sure looks great. When I was a kid, there was an old baby carriage, that was hand made by my grandfather. He made it for my dad when he was a baby. There was also a very comfortable rocker, but alas, since these items had passed to my aunt, she donated them to a museum along with many other items, just before she died.

All family group pictures are wonderful also. Looks like you and Rita have a lot of great memories.

God Bless.

justabeachkat said...

Oh Pam, what a wonderful post! Full of love and family history. I love the china, but boy oh boy do I love the rocking chair and the story behind it. Cute photos of everyone too. By the way...which table did YOU sit at? LOL


Mimi said...

beautiful workmanship on the rocking chair...
and it looked like you had a wonderful family reunion...
reunions are always so much fun remembering times past...

Joy in the Burbs... said...

Oh Pam, what a story. Thanks for posting the history of that rocking chair. I know it has been a treasured part of your family even before it was put together. What a talent Ron has. Your family reunion looks so sweet. I'm glad Shane let them all love on him. :)
My parents live in SSC too.


Candy-Faith said...

Love the pics :)
Love candy

Anonymous said...

Oh, the picture is as priceless as the rocker!

Anonymous said...

This girl loves her Mother in the last picture.

A Note From Theresa said...

What cute pictures of your aunt with the rocking chair! It made me laugh, you are blessed to have such sweet family.

Frazzled Farm Wife said...

I just love the traveling rocking chair story!

Shane Rios said...

I had fun that day.

Kristi said...

That's a great story about the rocking chair! I love stories like that.

He did a great job putting the pieces together and it is truly a beautiful chair. Would love to see it when it is completed!!

And I loved the china too.


Kelly said...

I love the story of the Traveling Rocking Chair and I love the family photos. I love all things sentimental!

Mrs. C said...

What pictures!!! The look on her face when she was presented with the chair...!

Thursday's Child said...

How neat! :D