Saying Goodbye…

Here we are on the last day of April, and this month’s post remains incomplete. I planned to share pictures of our baby goat. However, I either recorded the dates incorrectly in my calendar, or that goat ain’t pregnant! I can always count on humorous chaos from the goats. It was appreciated this weekend.

Once or twice per year, I like to include an earlier, memorable post. After the loss of someone special over the weekend, I knew which post to share! Reflecting over the past few days, I encourage you to take time to connect with loved ones. Have time for a visit? Stop by! Too far to travel? Send a note or call! I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to spend a long weekend with Donna last summer, and while difficult this past weekend, I’m grateful that her son held the phone to her ear, so I could say a few last words. Has someone special been on your mind? Today is the perfect day to get in touch!

RIP, Donna

Seeing America: The Long Weekend Road Trip

Originally published, July 6, 2017

By Maggie Murphy

The summer remains a busy time around here with gardening, the farmers’ market, summer classes at the college, and the upcoming county fair. However, Chad and I recently found time to enjoy a long weekend in Tennessee. The primary reason for the trip was to visit an old friend, Donna. Growing up, the demands of my parents’ work kept them from home for months each year. Donna worked for my parents for over 25 years. She was there to greet me most mornings, often provided rides to Fowler’s farm where I boarded Goldy, was there for many overnights when Mom and Dad were fundraising for the college, and was always a phone call away for any of us kids.

Donna commanded respect. She was one of the few people who would tell Dad if she disapproved of his actions regarding the kids, and he would even seek her advice during our difficult teen years. Donna also never hesitated to put us kids or our friends in our place. When she used my first and middle name, I was in trouble!

We had time for several visits with her and dined at her son’s restaurant in Knoxville. We even arrived in time to watch the prep work for the smoker. Chad particularly enjoyed trading poultry smoking tips with Donna’s son, Randy. On a later visit, there was time for an impromptu concert for Donna and the other residents at the senior living center (Strumsticks are perfect for road trips!).

We stayed in a lovely one bedroom cabin, just a stone’s throw from Marble Springs, the home of Tennessee’s first Governor, John Sevier. We found time to hike the grounds and view the log cabins on the property. Our cabin also had a covered front porch with rocking chairs, perfect for sipping morning coffee, reading, and even playing music.

On our last day, we headed south to the Great Smoky Mountains and hiked Middle Prong trail and drove Rich Mountain seasonal road near Cade’s Cove. The long weekend went so quickly! I look forward to returning someday for more hiking, fishing, swimming, good eats, and perhaps even some white water rafting.

(The Sinks-A swimming hole near Townsend)

Thanks for reading!

(Traveling to Knoxville? Check out Mario’s Pizza and Grill-10943 Kingston Pike)


The Summer of 1990: Movies, Memories, and Idle Hour


Recently, I’ve been thinking about those special times, moments that just happen, no planning involved. One special memory was the summer of 1990 with buddies since Kindergarden, Rick and Matt (aka Booger, a well deserved nickname due to Matt’s ability to belch the alphabet). During those summer days, we all worked mundane local jobs, but most Saturday nights, we usually ended up at Booger’s house.

Booger lived three doors down, and Rick lived around 1/2 mile in the other direction. Often the evening began with boredom at home and a walk down the block to see what Matt was doing. Rick would later show up in his late 80s Gran Turismo. Matt’s house was a stone’s throw from three fraternities. However, most of the college students were home for summer; Hillsdale Street was quiet. We raided the fridge and watched movies, walked to Mauck Elementary School a block away, or drove to Baw Beese Lake to swim or just watch the water.

Looking back on that summer, I can’t remember a particular movie, meal, or noteworthy event. Rather, those Saturday nights blended into a collective, a time remembered with great fondness. What made this time so special? We didn’t do anything particularly memorable. I recently came across the term, “idle hour,” time spent doing nothing in particular. We spoke of our dreams for the future, heading into our last year of high school. Mostly, we laughed a lot that summer, hold your stomach, fall off the couch laughter. Perhaps this was our “idle hour.”

When was the last time you enjoyed “idle hour?”

Thanks for reading!

You’ve Got Mail

Some people say that I am too quick to throw out or donate old items. Well, I do have a collection that has been growing over my lifetime. I have saved every postcard ever sent to me. I have a box filled with hundreds of them. They serve as a reminder of friends and family, sharing their adventures, school trips, spring breaks, and trips of a lifetime. I love to dig out the box and reminisce. Here are a few of my favorites:

My friend Ted, sharing his high school adventures in Spain


Gudmund, enjoying his final trip back to Sweden after a year as an exchange student in Hillsdale


My life-long pen pal, Karen, sending a silly postcard 🙂


My life-long friend, Rick, keeping in touch after moving out of state to attend college


Kyan, sharing her adventures from the Hillsdale College/Oxford program


My brother’s trip to Japan


My neighbor’s humorous postcard after a trip out west