Sunday, April 16, 2023

Beginnings and Endings...for Now

A little over three years ago when I had retired, I decided I wanted to try my hand at podcasting. And I am not sure why I even got that thought in my head, because I never really ever listened to any podcasts. While I had no clue whatsoever on how to go about it, I jumped in and became a closet podcaster. No one knew that I was doing it, not even my Best Half. I decided it was best to not have anyone know, because I just might embarrass myself big time. 

So I opted for making a short 5-10 minute podcast weekly on just whatever popped into my head. While being raised and living in Minnesota all my life, and having family that originated “Up North”, it was bound to be pretty local in content. And being married to a Southerner who was a really hard of hearing guy, there were bound to be some stories there too. And my thought was that before I died I would hand over the link to my podcasts for my family and friends to have a listen…after I had long left this world.

But in reality what happened was that I told my long time friend, The Tootsie Sister, about my working at podcasting. I even gave her the link to it since she was in a few of the stories. I never thought to tell her not to tell anyone. I just figured she would listen and then forget about it. But that is not exactly what happened.

A few weeks after I had shared the link with my friend, she had told her sister about it. And her sister, who is a friend of my cousin, shared the link with her. So word got out to my cousin about the podcast…and the rest is pretty much history. My whole family was made aware of the podcast I was doing thanks to my cousin. They all were fine with me telling stories about the family and actually enjoyed talking about those days. 

One day my friend’s sister, the one who had blabbed to my cousin, texted me and said that the podcast was great, but her other sister who is deaf couldn’t enjoy it. I should turn it into a blog that would mirror the podcast. It was food for thought, because by this time my Best Half was trying to listen to the podcast and couldn’t make out bits and pieces oftentimes. He has always been hard of hearing, but as age hits his ears, he is having more trouble hearing broadcasts. So the blog was born for the hard of hearing and deaf family and friends. And I found out there were several who turned to the blog just as much as the podcast. I guess it’s always good to have choices.

That was over 3 years ago…with just a few people following, mostly family and friends. Over the past 3 years it has grown to many thousand followers from all over the world. People I have never met and probably never will meet. Some who have stayed silent and just listened or read the blog. And some who have commented and connected with me via facebook or email…they are new friends. It was something I never in my wildest dreams ever planned to happen. And with it came an incredible feeling of awesome! 

Who on earth would ever think to listen to what I had to say or stories I had to tell? I am amazed at all of this. Every week for over 3 years there has been a podcast or blog with a story to listen to or read. It has been an awesome journey for me to watch all this unfold. 

But lately I have been thinking about how I would like to not be committed to a weekly podcast/blog. So after a whole lot of thought, I have decided to end the weekly production of the podcast officially today. While I am kind of sad and wondering if this is the right thing to do right now, I have decided that I would like to end the time I put into the podcast and maybe just go out on a good note. Maybe in time I will pick it up again. 

I want to thank each one of you who have checked in every week to listen to the podcast. I have enjoyed each comment and message I have ever received from those who took the time to send one. You have made my world smaller when I have heard from people all over the world who have been listening. It has been one heck of an adventure and journey for me and my Best Half. 

Here is one final song from Monday Morning Music from a Distance. 
In trying to figure out distance recording music with the grand-daughter, here is our attempt. This time she sang solo and then added a few harmony tracks. Then she emailed it back to me and I tried to throw in guitar, ukulele, mandolin, harmonica, and strum stick. It was pretty hard to sync it all together. But as always, it was a fun time with the grand-daughter and making music together. 

This is an old song By Albert E Brumley, written in 1928. He was out picking cotton and singing an old song and then started thinking how it would be nice to fly away from the cotton fields. It was 1929 and there in a cotton field in Alabama he sang “I’ll Fly Away”. And the rest is history, as they say.

So until we are brought together again, many blessings to all of you. 

This is Sue and My Best Half signing off along with the Monday Morning Music gang. 

You can listen to. this podcast and music over on the website

 I'll Fly Away
            Albert E. Brumley

Some glad morning when this life is over
I'll fly away
To a home on God's celestial shore
I'll fly away
I'll fly away, oh, Glory
I'll fly away
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by
I'll fly away
Just a few more weary days and then
I'll fly away
To a land where joy shall never end
I'll fly away
I'll fly away, oh, Glory
I'll fly away
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by
I'll fly away

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Winter You're Growing Old

The past few weeks it has continued to be Winter around here in all its glory. Snow, Wind, Cold, Blizzard Warnings and everything else Winter related. And it is April, usually a time of warmer weather, Spring showers and a look forward to Summer. 

I couldn't help but get out my guitar and write a song about this Winter. It is definietely not a love song. But it comes from the heart. You can listen to it over on the podcast. Just go to and scroll down to the podcast episodes. Enjoy

Sung to the tune of Sounds of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel

lyrics: Susan Engström McAuliffe

Hello Winter you were my friend

But I’m tired of seeing you again

You never seem to want to disappear                             

Even though Spring is oh so near

You stay and keep on snowing

And being cold

Winter you’re growing old

Down the driveway I try to go                                                                  

But there’s too much ice, there so much snow

I slip and slide and finally hit the ground

Buried in snow with drifts all around

And I pray someone will find me

Before I freeze

My toes and knees

And in the early morning day                       

I hear the weatherman say                                   

Another storm out West  is coming here

So don’t you put away your snow gear

Because once again you’ll need it              

To fight the snow

Winter you’re growing old

I’m such a fool thinking Spring                                             

When there’s still snow on everything                                    

It seems we never ever see the sun

Will the warmth of Spring ever come

Or is this what climate change is

A big white abyss

Winter you’re growing old

Someday soon it will be Spring                                  

We will sweat and forget everything                                             

It will seem like Winter was never here                       

With mosquitoes buzzing in our ear

And we will long for a cooler days                               

Looking through the haze

Of a never ending Summer

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Lunch With the Tootsie Sister

A few weeks ago I had a chance to meet up with my long-time friend, The Tootsie Sister, as she is known in these podcasts. She is a lifelong friend from my high school days. She is the friend who went to work at the Minnesota State Fair with me as the first women on the crew at the gates taking tickets, way back in 1976. She was my maid of honor when I got married 44 years ago. She is intertwined and connected in my life as much as anyone can be. We are just that close.

While it took more than a month of checking schedules and finding a time we could meet up, we finally were able to get together at Olive Garden for lunch and some time away from everything else in life. A time to catch up on what is going on in our lives. And this time we were meeting as two retired people. My friend has finally retired as of the first of the year.

When we both got out of our cars in the parking lot we bear-hugged each other and walked into the restaurant, both of us chatting a mile a minute as we were walking in. As we followed the greeter to our seat, we were grateful to be put back in a corner booth where we could sit and not have a lot of people and their conversations flowing into ours., and ours into theirs.

Menus glanced at and the typical never-ending salad, soup and breadsticks ordered, we got  comfortable in our booth and ready for a long awaited visit. In looking at my friend, the first thing I noticed was her rested and relaxed appearance compared to the last time we were together. I could tell the past few months of retirement so far had done wonders for her. And as I mentioned it, she agreed how much fun retirement has been so far. 

We chatted about our kids and grandkids, filling each other in on how sometimes they can worry us to the point of great anxiety. And at other times how they can make us want to remember not to interfere in their grown up lives. Even though we had our opinions on how we would do things if we were in the same situations. Just one more conundrum of being a parent to adult children…what’s OK  and what’s off limits. Luckily between us nothing is off limits in our conversations.

But as we chatted we both realized that we have lived through those times already and have come out on the other side, weary at times, but surviving what life threw our way. And here we were 35 years later and now watching our kids go through many of the same struggles we did at that age. Our ways of dealing with life now compared to 35 years ago are…let’s just say…more mellowed. Maybe due to time and wisdom or maybe just due to age and energy levels, I am not sure. Either way, we have learned to pick our battles more efficiently.

Stuffed and content sitting at the booth that day, I took a good look at my friend, The Tootsie Sister, and came to realize how close we are and have stayed through the years. Through high school, weddings, kids, grandkids, our spouses’ health issues, even the inability to see each other very often, she is my old friend. The one who has walked this path of life with me through all that life has dished out good and bad. She is one of those close, old and dear friends that you can’t find in newer friendships. There is a history that travels back decades. There is no need for explanations, we both just have an understanding of each other and where we have been and where we are going. 

That day as we left the Olive Garden, we got in our cars and started to drive off. As I looked in the mirror and saw her driving away, a Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton song came on, “You Can’t Make Old Friends”. It is the last song they did together and it tells about their friendship through the years and their history together. 

In it it says, “It’s been you and me since way back when. You can’t make old friends”. And while I have several close friends and am close to those in my family, there are just some things that rang true listening to that song as we drove away that day. We have become old friends through time and life happening and continuing to come our way. And when it is all said and done, it is true…you can’t make old friends…they just grow with time.