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July 3, 2014
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A most unexpected gift

Fifty years ago this week, my five sons and I began our journey from Pennsylvania to California. Today — when this is published — is also my first granddaughter’s 42nd birthday. My son Doug and I were talking about this as I told him about whom I talked to yesterday, somebody who lives on the East Coast.

This requires some explanation. I’ve often written about sitting on my sofa watching television for hours as I do my crewel designs. Of course, I have my favorites shows and my dislikes, some which go back for years. People think I’m crazy that I’ve never been a Lucy and Desi or Archie and Edith fan, nor have I made it a habit of watching a lot of other sitcoms like Friends or, heaven forbid, Roseanne.

I’m not crazy about comedy shows, although Seinfeld is a favorite. Mystery shows are at the top of my list, and there are episodes on “Criminal Minds” I never miss, along with “The Good Wife” and “Blue Bloods.” Don’t bother calling me during these programs. There are also great new mystery and police shows like “Rookie Blue,” “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago PD” one on for the summer, the other two off for the season.

Something does bother me, from time to time, especially on “The Good Wife.” When they bring up politics and I cringe. Either way they go with this they lose half of their audience and that’s just plain stupid. Please, those in charge, we watch sitcoms to be entertained and your political views are not part of being entertained. And, of course, there are all of those cooking shows, old and new.

Cooking shows are especially fun to watch except for those times they show recipes that include a dozen or so ingredients, some which I know we won’t find sitting on the shelves of our local markets; however, they’re fun and are informative for the novice cook. Now I want to talk about another television show that I watched, with much interest, some few months ago. Then it disappeared; but was brought back again last Sunday.

This show deals with a famous family called the “Wahlbergs.” I fell in love with not only the show, but also the whole family. Most know actor Donnie Wahlberg who’s the detective on “Blue Bloods.” Then there’s his brother, actor Mark, who was in “The Italian Job,” “The Shooter,” and recently “Lone Survivor.” It’s their mother Alma, who raised nine children on her own, that I find most wonderful.

Not only are sons Donnie and Mark famous, her son Paul has opened a chain of restaurants in the New England area where’s they’re from. Now the whole clan is going to be in a new sitcom for all of us to enjoy. Watching Alma is such fun. She has this spontaneous infectious laugh that bursts out from deep inside. Her head goes up and down joyfully, her long earrings dangling and bouncing from her ears.

Alma’s eyes squint shut as she smiles. You have to just love this gracious lady.

The men in her family have a small group of old and dear friends they “hang” around with, tease, enjoy and include in their busy lives. Watching the interwoven love and friendship is only part of the story that enfolds on this new show. I don’t plan on missing any of it. There’s more.

I was bored out of my mind one day, and saw Alma on TV, smiling. I thought, “I really like this lady.” I immediately went to my closet, looking for something to make a crewel design for her. To my surprise I had a piece of material the exact bright green the Wahlberg’s use in their restaurant and a design began. I put Alma’s name in the center and designed white daisies everywhere around it.

When the crewelwork was completed and framed, I did the usual checking to find her address and sent it off to the East coast. Too often, when I do crewel projects and give them away, I don’t hear anything from the recipient. I really don’t always expect a thank you, but it’s nice when one arrives. Yesterday I had a call from New England. Lo and behold, it was Alma Wahlberg.

Alma and I talked about our families for about 10 minutes. This now famous; gracious and otherwise everyday mother took the time to say “thank you” Edna. It thrilled me to the core. I’m still smiling.

Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County writer and columnist. She may be reached at

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Jul 3, 2014 05:07PM Published Jul 3, 2014 05:07PM Copyright 2014 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.