Wednesday, January 6, 2016

John Henry's Daughter- my earliest memory!

My Unbelievable First Memory:
Am truly sorry to have "stood you up" after building up your curiosity about my horrendous first memory - but we had a number of questions to answer online and opted to tend to business and are just now getting back to you, dear followers of our blogs.  

To set the scene - we lived on a very productive farm, with no electricity or indoor plumbing.   My Dad had a good herd of cows, mostly holsteins - they are the blavck and white ones which produce quite good volumes of milk - and we had one jersey, who produced richer milk - all of the milk was carefully carried to the milk house, which was cooled by water from a good well up near the farm house.  

Since we had no indoor plumbing, we did have a good "outhouse", which had two openings for grown up people to sit on- this was a well equipped facility complete and usually had a Montgomery Ward or Sears Roebuck catalog - from which people could tear pages to use for the obvious.  And 3 year old Esther (that's me) had a pet lamb.  And 3 year old Esther was not yet completely pottu-trained

So 3 year old E (me) decided to take her pet lamb to the outhouse, and make the lamb sit on one of the "grown-up_ openings.  Uh-0h!  Little me put the lamb up on the grown-up opening, and "oops", the lamb fell in!  Now, 3 year old E loved that lamb, so she climbed in after the lamb, and again oops!  She could not get out- so she yelled for help.   And wonderful, her 14 year old sister heard her - and with a huge effort, E was rescued, and taken up toward the house.  The only water available came from a nearby well with a gasoline pump - this water was used to cool the milk down by the barn, but under current circumstances, this very cold water was used to clean up Esther  -  and to this day, I still remember how very COLD that water was!!

Within a few days, my wonderful Daddy had made a small seat in that out house - just for my personal use, and told me how special that new seat was and to always use just it!!! And to never again get up on the big seats!  

Now how many of you readers can rival my very dramatic "first memory"?   I've wondered since where my mother was when this happened?  Maybe she was on the sofa with a cloth over her eyes.  

My Mother died at almost 100 - 28 years ago, and I never thought to ask her about this very traumatic event.    There are other early childhood farm memories that I'll also share with you, but none others are so very vivid in my old head.    

Any other comments would be just  anti-climactic.  Goodnight, all!

Monday, December 28, 2015

"John Henry's Daughter" - That's me, ESTHER!

Now that Christmas has come and gone, things are a bit more relaxed in the Powers/Miller household.   We hope that you all have had a fine Christmas - and especially good health!  I have reached an age where I am trying to accomplish what to me - seems to be IMPORTANT ,  and for a long time I've wanted to write down some of my most vivid memories for my own family.   So I think I will make those memories the subject of this and some futurr blogs.

And IF I finish more originals, I'll also share them with you (of course, if they have been commissioned, I will need first - to present any to the commissioner or the commissionee  (I made that word up -  you'll just have to  figure out who I meant.  GOTCHA!

My father;s name was John Henry Scobie, hence the title of this blog - "John Henry's Daughter".  I was "Daddy's Little Girl", and in my earliest years had a mother who probably suffered from depression, often on the couch with a wet cloth over her eyes.  And I had to be QUIET.  Maybe  it was migraines???   So my father "took care of me" which meant that he farmed with me along, either on his lap, or on the back of "Pete", the gentler of our team of horses.  And the other horse in the team was "Molly" - don't want to leave her out This farming was back about 1932 - and my Dad had good equipment for those days, but no tractor.  

An especially traumatic event happened when I was barely three years old.  My first husband, Dr. Duane Powers,  enjoyed that story so much that he told it  in detail - to many of his patients, including members of my bridge club.  No, that was not hr cause of our divorce.  Now  this is the end of this first blog.  Betcha' you'll want to read the next blog!  Sorry I have to stop to work on getting a few belated Christmas greetings in the mailnand to pay a few bills.   Ward and I have been very "busy big bees" since we  arrived home only one week ago - when we returned from a wonderful trip to New Orleans to visit son Terry and his lovely wife, Dani.  Our dear friend, Darline, and my daughter, Jennifer kept Painter and Poet in good hands, and we thank them!

Am planning to write anothr blog a week from today. 

Happy New Year and all that stuff!     Esther 


Saturday, November 21, 2015



When I published tonight's blog, I had re-read it, and thought all was in order,  until it went out!  And Thanksgiving was mispelled.   My eyes are not what they used to be,  nor is most of the rest of me.  But  I'm sorry when I goof, and will just keep on writing these bloggy blogs..

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.  And thank you for your interest in our ventures at Painter and Poet.

E & W


WARD AND I HAVE SO VERY MUH TO BE THANKFUL FOR!    We are still living very independently, and Ward's health is excellent.  And I surely have nothin much to complain about  When I was 70, I knew that my balance would become gradually worse, and here I am - still able to get around our house, walk down to the local stores (using my walker  and stopping often to rest -  but still able to go alone.  Wonderful news.  Going to check out the building next to Culver's Chapel -  I've heard that's a good possibility for walking inside when it's not a good idea to try to walk outside.   

Our youngest daughter, Jennifer Powers, is now living in her own apartment in Plymouth, where she works at Smith's Ace Hardware -  near Kroger's.  We love being able to see her often, and she is a wonderful example of how to live well!  When I start to gripe about some stupid small annoyance and she is in ear or eye shot,  her index finger reminds me not to sweat the small stuff! 

And as to being grateful,  Ward is cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year - getting the turkey first thing Monday morning.  I baked a cherry pie several days ago - and it is in the freezer.  
We will have our nuclear family here - Ward's 2 older kids will join us - Scott from southern Indiana, and  Susy (Susanne) from South Bend, and our Jennifer.  Scott is making scalloped corn, and I will have fun helping with it all. And Jennifer is  like a streak of lightning in the kitchen - dirty dishes are whisked out of sight, and she is a terrific cook!!

For the first time in many years, we no longer have regular gallery hours, but we are always happy to see friends and customers - just ring our door bell, and if we're here, we'll let you in.  And if I've been lazy, and am not presentable,  I'll grab something to put on and get decent very fast!  And when we are better organized, I will put out the open sign as much as possible. 

I'm working on two originals that ar almost finished - both commissions, and have 8 more that I hope to get down in the next several weeks.  If the weather doesn't get too bad quickly, we hope to soon drive down to New Orleans, to visit son Terry.  He and Dani have a lovely  home, which we have not yet seen.  And I feel very ready to go  -  all prepared, including a new perm, with a wash and go style - if your're a man, this sounds silly, but if you are a female, like me, you will understand.

The current major project is finishing matted prints of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Plymouth.  They are printed, and the certificates are signed.  So it will take a week or two to complete this.  Our dear friend, Judi Dodge, is the force behind these prints.  And our friend, Randy Burkholder, has helped me remember   some photo shop steps that had simply flown out of my head.  We are so blessed with wonderful people who help us.

And as ever, if you want something from our gallery, and can't get in touch with us, call our fabulous friend and heper, Darlene Best.  Her Plymouth phone number is 574-936-4431 and she really knows more about  our gallery than I do!

Dear friends, and friend customers, we wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving, and happy shopping as you enter into this holiday season!

from  Ward and Esther

Monday, November 2, 2015

Today, we arrended a Memorial Service at Ancilla, a lovely place with "Indepenent Living" and all the stages including a very well run nursing home.  Tony Zurbrugg's mother, lived there for m or 4 years and passed away reently, and she was remembered in this service.  

It's just past midnight and I'm going to make this the shortest  blog ever!  I'm prepared for the changes coming tomorrow.  I am thinking about having a sale from now till Christmas.  After I talk this over with Ward, we'l l let you know.

From Esther, OLP ("Old Lady Painter")

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

SLIPPING BACK TO  MOVE AHEAD!                                          Blog- dated October 27, 2015

Ward and I are entering a new chapter in our lives and from now forward, we will not have any set open hours, but please remember  that you visitors and customers are always welcome.  We treasure your interest, whether or not you purchase anything!   Soon our  sign will make that clear.  So ring our front doorbell if you want to stop and visit us and our gallery.  

I'll be working on some projects and Ward is likely to be either reading or watching TV or cooking.  His food is awesome!! And if nobody answers, we are likely not home!

"Slipping Back" means that I'm gladly getting rid of the cell phone, which I've never been at ease with.     For many years we have  had a land phone line  for our residence phone - 574-842-4350.  This number is in the Culver phone book - in Ward's name, as he is a retiree of the phone company.  This number will still be in that phone book, under his name, but there will be another phone number  there also -  Painter and Poet - and it will list our long standing gallery phone number - 574-842-8888 when the new directory comes out.   Each of these phones will be attached to an old fashioned answering machine, where - you may leave a message if we are not able to answer the phone.  This method is almost pre-historic - the old fashioned way, and we promise to answer or call you back as soon as we can.   .These changes will show up when a new phone book is published.  

We will continue to sell over our Painter and Poet website,  We will  accept  personal or business checks, but not take charges.  And of course, we welcome plain old CASH!  We will not accept charges, but will allow you to take home prints and mail us a check (if you don't have one with you).    For purchase of originals, we will work out a time payment plan with  you, if needed.

We have operated our business now for 26 years.   And we will  continue now as long as we are able.  We've only lost money one time by trusting a customer, and that was at Plymouth's Blueberry Festival.  They even gave us a fake address.   Sneaky devils, weren't they?

Many people in our age bracket avoid computers - But not me!.  I design and print the note cards and many of the prints we sell in our gallery.  I will still use email, keep a mail list, and an email address book, and do our book-keeping on line.  Our email address is  Thank you all again for being our customers.  We do so appreciate you!  Changes go into effect on Nov. 3, 2015

Our goal is to spend more time enjoying ourselves, and  also creating more art and poetry. And I want the business side to go back to being as simple as possible.  We thank you for helping us continue to enjoy painting and sharing our painting and poetry with you!

From  Esther and Ward  Miller     "The Painter and the Poet"

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

"Boot the BOOT!!!"

Early fall is full of vibrant colors.  We all enjoy Jack Frost's antics and t's enough to almost overwhelm this artist!  It's my favorite time of year!!

Several days ago, I had welcome news - after a month of wearing  a boot to protect my right ankle
after surgery to remove some old hardware. - I was finally allowed stop wearing the boot and I am sharing a a picture that I took looking down at the contraption!

How very pleasant it is to have my still tender footsie where I can wiggle my toes with ease.  This is cause for celebration!  Still have to keep my foot elevated, and am sternly instructed to "Take it easy!"  Difficult for me - who always like to move from one project to another.

I've almost finished a small watercolor of a barn, and checked it now in the "light of day".  It needs a zing of bright color somewhere vaguely near its center.  Hot pink or orange would do the trick.Maybe even a suggestion of some old dried berries on stalks woodwork..  Kind of like "trimming" a hat or getting dressed up and deciding what, if amy, jewelry to wear.  Always a bit less that you first think!

 I  like to try out little accents on small pieces of watercolor paper - and test by placing them on  the almost finished painting to see how they work, Artistic license!   I'll decide, finish the painting  and try to photograph it and show it to you on the next blog!

Friday, September 19, 2014


Just over 2 weeks ago, I had surgery on my ankle - removal of some hardware put in over 30 years ago to hold my ankle together.   To my dismay, some of the hardware decided to push through the skin - a health "no-no"!  My protective husband bandaged it almost each day for months while we waited for an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon - now it is fixed, and I am lumbering around with a "Boot" a contraption invented to protect the foot beneath.  It protects the healing wound after the surgery, and the welcome news is that with very good medical care, I am gradually emerging from one more challenge, and am plugging away on paintings "in process", and  have recently finished putting together more popular prints to beef up our inventory.  I remind you that our winter gallery hours are 11 till 5 on Saturdays, and by chance (when you see our open sign out), or appointment when you call us.  I'm still not adept at getting messages off the I Phone, so safer to call us at our home phone 574-842-4350, where we have a very reliable answering service. 

Fall is truly my favorite season.  After our evening meal - whether at home, or in one of our favorite eateries,  Ward drives and I ride along enjoying the scenery, and casing the area for  interesting subject matter.  We have our good camera with interchangeable lenses, etc. and then we also have an I-Phone, also with photo capability - I'm going to try this - as we try to keep up some with new technology.   

We do not have "spell check" on this blog setup, so please excuse me if I goof on spelling.  Ward takes me to the library every few weeks, where I  check out books on CD's - and I listen when I am doing repetitive things , so this listening does not reinforce spelling as well as "reading" from the printed word.   Today, I finished hearing "The Daring Ladies of Lowell" by Kate Alcott.   an exciting mystery about life for residents and  cotton mill workers in a New England town - setting is around 1830.  A good "listen"  my substitute for a good "read". 

Friday, September 5, 2014

34th Wedding Anniversary

It's the 5th of September, and Ward and I celebrated with an exceptionally good dinner at the Cerulian Restaurant located on a canal  off Winona Lake.  We had a waitress snap a photo of us, and I had hoped to transfer that photo to this blog.  Alas - can't seem to get that done.

Yesterday, I had surgery on my right ankle - to remove a protruding rod that was put in almost 25 years ago.  A serious health risk.  Glad that is over, and will be happy when recuperation is complete. 

Am looking forward to getting back into a good routine.  You can count our being open on Saturdays from 11 till 5, but otherwise we'll be here by chance or appointment.  And since I am still not really adept on our I Phone, please email us at or call us on our home phone - 574-842-4350. 

I have finished sketching in outlines  a number of paintings - and as I finish them, I plan to post them on our blog.   Two complicted originals are almost done - will also post photos of them after they have been delivered to the purchasers. 

Now I'm going to post this (before I heat a wrong key) and will write again soon!