Sunday, June 17, 2018

Happy Father's Day

Who knows why you have to get older to realize how life really works? Who knows why you can’t recognize the genius of it all when it’s happening? And no matter how many times we say we won’t be like them when we grow-up, as we slam our bedroom doors; we seem to do just that anyway.

My daddy has taught me so many things; useful positive things. But you never only use/see the positive; if you’re honest with yourself, you also manage to pick-up some of the negative along the way. But both positive and negative learning's are necessary to be an adult. An adult who can make good decisions and sometimes, an adult who will so make new mistakes.

This is for you Daddy, and I hope it makes you proud, as that was my intention. For I am a huge mixture of mostly you; the good, the bad, and the parts that still need some work.

You taught me:
hat simply saying you’re sorry, is sometimes just not going to be enough.

temper, but you also taught me that one rarely fairs well when it happens.

love and compassion; and empathy to a fault.

how to worry, which led to learning how to pray.

to be truthful and to understand that I could not pick and choose when.

that I could do anything, and that if I couldn’t, be humble enough to ask for help.

intelligence + financial security = independence.

that family comes first, second and third.

that reason often comes with chaos, and openness sometimes needs a closed mouth.                             

to fight for what I believe in, even if I am the only who does.

to never put in writing, what I was not willing to sign with a signature.

that there is no such thing as “what is fair” in this world. If you work hard and do                                  right, good things will come and that’s about all that “what is fair” is really about and that self-            entitlement does not exist.

there are no silver spoons in our family. That I will always have to work for what I receive and I will be better for it. That being rich never seems to make anyone all that happy anyway.

that just because I love someone with all my heart, does not mean that they will always love me the same.

nd, you taught me that I will never be too old to learn something new, almost every single day of my life.

Growing-up with you for a Daddy was pretty tough some days, I will never say that it wasn’t. But you also taught me something else, something that was one of the most important things that I ever learned from you: to recognize when no matter what has happened or will happen, that someone’s heart was/is in the right place. That their intentions were honorable and good, and that they only wanted the best for you.

I won’t say I always knew that, but I’ve known it a pretty good while now, and I wouldn’t trade you as a Daddy, for any other man in the world.

Happy Father’s Day to all.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

And the rain it did come.......

For better than a week and a half, I drug our water hose and water sprinkler around our yard trying to revive the grass and keep all the flowers alive. The grass had already started to snap, crackle and pop when you walked on it, and there was no way after all that hard work spent planting all those new flowers, (not to mention the money spent which was a SECRET), that I was just going to not water and let it all die!

Of course, lots of bending and stooping was required in that process, so much so, that a couple of trips to the chiropractor was required. This back of mine is old and has seen it’s better days, and it nor my hips appreciate when I do all that yardwork; in fact sometimes I swear I can hear them screaming for mercy!

Needless to say, once all those days of dragging hoses and sprinklers had passed, getting sprayed in the face when I tried to move the sprinkler half an inch to the side, (either side, it didn’t matter, it’s never right the first time) because even though I have the hose “choked-off” as my husband says, I evidently, am not strong enough to stop all the water flow; so at some point a full-on body spray is going to happen. Not to mention the times I am trying to move it, judging by the two and the fro but somehow, my timing is off, and the fro-motion catches me still bent over, face down into the sprinkler as it comes back my way. I am sure during these times of struggle, I am my neighbor’s sole entertainment.

So of course, once the grass is all green, a tropical storm is announced and as it begins, it is expected to last for at least two weeks or better, with enough rain to water all the lawns and gardens of the world.

The week after all that happens, the rain is almost gone and the yard is beautiful, is when we will get the water bill. The water bill that reflects the 3 weeks prior when I had my own tropical storm flooding through our water pipes and into our ground.

Somehow my husband will not remember how bad the lawn looked before I started, nor will he remember the 10 days that I walked and worked that yard like a professional BEFORE the natural rains started. No sir, he will only remember the two weeks of God-given rain we received, without charge or effort on our part.

Oh the carrying on that will transpire once that bill arrives. He’ll be full of “if you had just been patient, the rain was coming”, or “we’ll have to take out a loan to pay the water bill”. He makes up a new line every year, so once the bill gets here, I’ll let you know what it was.

Until then, if you need me, I’ll be sitting at the curb, waiting on the mailman to come by, so I can snatch that bill first and prepare my “it had to be done” speech!

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Vacation Turns Into a Stay-cation

Most every year on Memorial Day weekend, we pack-up our suitcases, gather all the hanging clothes, varied shoes and purses that will match outfits of course, and gather up whatever goodies it is that we’re taking for little eyes and ears to look at and listen to.

We sort out our separate medicine containers, filling the individual compartment days with all the things that help us stay alive, along with a load of vitamins that do their best to undo and counteract all the bad things we may eat or drink. Next to that, a bag of snacks (many are the things that the vitamins are attempting to counteract), and a cooler of assorted sodas and water; because this is the way old folk travel. We are not about to spend $2.00 for a soda or $1.50 for a honey bun. We would almost thirst and starve to death first!

All will be strategically packed into the back of my truck, making sure that nothing gets crushed or left behind. And all will be placed in such a way that when I swivel to my left to get something out of the bag or the cooler, I won’t wrench my back out as we’re riding down I10 driving 70+ miles an hour.

And last, but certainly not least, will be the box fan. The contraption that ensures no matter how well the hotel air conditioner works/or not – whichever the case may be; I will not burn-up and it also drowns out all the snoring that we both swear to sugar goes on whenever either of us is asleep and the other is still wide awake suffering through it.

I made reservations weeks ago. Began preparing weeks ago. Sent out group messages arranging dinners and lunches with folks so that we could make sure we got to see everyone we needed/wanted to see. South Carolina was to be our destination; it’s where my husband’s roots were created and it was where he was raised all of his life and lived into early adulthood. All of his/now our people, still live there and it’s quite the drive, but I love going back home with him to see through his eyes, all the stories I have been told.

But it wasn’t to be. I had no idea when we made all of these plans three weeks ago that the second coming of Noah’s Ark was about to occur. That it was going to rain a deluge of water for seven days and seven nights right smack in the middle of our annual mini-vacay.

I will admit that I was already second-guessing the trip in my mind, worrying a bit about traveling in all that rain; but I’m a worrier, that’s what I do. But when my husband started voicing some of those same concerns and feeling me out about how I felt, I knew it wasn’t just me who was concerned.

We cancelled the reservations at the last minute and we surely hated to miss that trip. But sometimes as you grow older, you really do grow wiser, and listening to your inner voice is something you actually do.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Raising Children to Remain Children

I read an article the other day, and then later that night, I watched the actual televised story about that same article on the evening “big” news. The story was about a high school in East Hanover, New Jersey that experienced a parental disruption and outrage because their daughter was not chosen during the cheer-leading squad tryouts.

Long story short, it was decided that anyone who tried out for the cheer-leading squad would automatically be chosen and if that was not the way anyone wanted to handle it – there would be NO cheer-leading squad at all.

People, I am worried for this world. I am so very worried about what is to come, and as many days as I wish I was 25 years old again instead of the 54 years of age that I have reached, I stop and think again how glad I will be that I probably just won’t really know how most of this is going to turn out.

When children are small, and by small, I mean ages 4-8, I understand to a degree, the wide range trophy giving – in my opinion it’s used as an encouragement tool. It’s used as an example that everyone participated and everyone tried their best.

I do understand that a lot of teachers and coaches may not think the way I do, but I believe in incentives for smaller children. I believe at an early age, they need to be encouraged in any way possible to keep their faces out of the television and participating in more activities outside, that will teach teamwork, sharing, participation, respect, and the ability to follow simple directions and even leadership.

But here is where I draw the line; once you become any age that is trying out for school sports, cheer-leading etc., there are going to be disappointment’s. Everyone cannot play. Everyone should not be chosen. It’s not about the prettiest or the most athletic looking person (or should never be) it should be about who is the readiest for the task/position at hand.

I’m just not sure when it stops. What will happen to our need to compete, to be better, and the strive to be the best if we’re already, always “equal”. I believe in working for what you get in life and I’m completely convinced that the way we are proceeding down these new paths is only going to ensure – no one ever has to really try at all. What will happen when that almost 16-year-old child/young adult has his first job interview and is not chosen? Will Mommy still call and complain?

I raised my children to believe in themselves AND to expect to be disappointed sometimes – but to also TRY AGAIN. That if they really wanted something, to work harder, work faster, and work smarter; and slowly, as they grew older, they learned to set goals for themselves.

This new trend is not helping to create self-sufficient adults, it is crippling them. We are teaching them that everything is free – and I can promise you this – in the real world – IT IS NOT. Life is WORK – and in real life, things are never simply handed to you just because you showed-up.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Southern Peace, and Comfort

#89 David Glenn Underwood 

As we pulled up to the house, the lawn was full of every type of motor vehicle one could imagine. Admittedly, I am not the best driver, so, finding a spot that I can fit my truck into, that I won’t get blocked in or have to squeeze back out of when I’m leaving, appeared to be the difficult task ahead.

Finally, I find the perfect place that I should just be able to roll in or out of once it’s time to go, we park, and began to unload our bags to take inside.

When I moved to Quincy, almost 20 years ago now, I would say the only funerals I had ever been to at my then age of thirty-five, were those of elderly family members. Since moving here, unfortunately, I cannot even tell you how many services have been added to that list count, none of them blood family, but most family just the same.

We entered the house and it was of course, packed inside with as many people as cars were parked outside. With each step I took, so many familiar faces were spotted, hugs given and taken, and from the front of the house all the way to the back, as I made my way with the bags, there was nothing but love and compassion on every single face I saw.

Just inside the doorway of the kitchen, women were bustling in every direction and the smells were like you had just stepped into the best country diner in the world! They were laying-out and arranging all the food that had been brought in, getting it all ready for anyone who’d like to come back, grab a paper plate and a plastic fork, and taste some of the best food prepared by southern cooks.

Before I moved here, I ever never seen the likes of such. City folk don’t seem to carry that tradition around in their pocket. The first thing that starts happening when any death occurs here, are the phone calls, and folks trying to decide who will bring what food, and who is in charge of the paper goods.

That’s what we do in these times of grief and sadness, we feed people. We feed them, we gather round them, and we talk about most everything but what brought us together that particular day in the first place. We laugh and tell old stories back and forth, and we visit. We visit with people we haven’t seen in forever and a day, because life gets busy and we don’t seem to have the time, until something horrible happens, that makes us stop and recognize what the most important thing of all is: family and friends.

This county lost a young man this past week, David Glenn Underwood, way before he reached his prime and far too early for his Mama and Daddy; that is just not the way the cycle of life is supposed to work. The entire Underwood family has always been so good to me and mine, so I continue to send love, and prayers for them to have peace and comfort to get through the days ahead.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Kindness Leaves A Legacy

What feels like a million years ago now, a woman and her two children moved to Quincy Florida all on their own. The company that the woman worked for told her they would take care of getting her and all her belongings moved, to not worry one little bit.

As the time grew closer for her to move, she noticed that no one was saying anything about hiring a moving service to pack-up her things and get them from Albany Georgia to Quincy Florida. So, a week away from the time scheduled for her to move, she finally asked, just what was the plan to be?

She would soon find out that a couple of fellows from that same said company would be moving her and all her belongings here – not a moving company. They would rent a big U-Haul trailer, and they would  help her pack and load.

The man heading up that group of “movers” was Ricky “Big Rick” Gleaton. He drove to Albany Georgia with a U-Haul truck and a regular truck and small trailer hooked behind it. To this day, I know he was not prepared for the work that was before him once he arrived.

Ricky and I, and his other two helpers worked all day, boxing and loading that U-Haul. Sometime around 3 or 4 o’clock I was finally brave enough to tell him that I wanted to also bring my smallest child’s swing-set. He said no problem, they dug it up, as the poles were concreted down, and loaded it on the back of the open trailer.

Then I showed him my front yard wooden swing attached to wooden posts that were also concreted into the ground. Right after my divorce, my daddy and my children built that swing together. My daddy said my little family needed to somewhere to sit and talk about our days, and that’s exactly what has happened; for about 22 years now. The swing itself has had to be replaced, but those same wooden posts are what sits in my yard today, holding another swing filled with conversation history.

Ricky also dug up that swing/poles, and you won’t believe this, but I told him I wanted to bring my two crepe myrtle trees that sat on either side of it, as they hadn’t been long planted. Without blinking an eye, he asked did I have a shovel and proceeded to dig those up too!

By the time we made it to Quincy that evening, it was almost dark. We decided not to unload until the next day. All we took inside my new house was a lamp and my mattresses; at first. Which was fine with me! But nothing would do until the bed frame was set-up and the mattresses on it. Ricky didn’t want me sleeping on the “floor”.

Ricky Gleaton is gone now, but that’s who that man was; to me, and everyone else he ever knew. His little girl and granddaughter got married this past weekend; Susan was a beautiful bride and I know she made her Daddy so very proud, and I know he was watching from the best cloud in heaven.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Days Gone By

As some of you may already know, mostly because I haven’t been able to stop babbling about it for over a week now; I’ve recently discovered the television series Downton Abbey. I will admit, I am very late to the game so to speak, but my grand, I have enjoyed it immensely.

I made several jokes last week that I have begun to hear myself speaking British in my head-voice whenever I would read anything. And then much to my surprise, and probably my husband’s dismay, I also began “speaking” in that tone as well.

Most Saturday's are the day for linen's to be washed. Today was no different. We may not be like most though, as we wash and re-bed with the same sheets each week, never changing unless they are worn out. This is not to say I don't have extra's as I do, I have three unused sets still in their original packing - should I need them - all bought on sale of course.

Well, today was the day for "the change". We've been using the same set for almost 2 years now, week in and week out. As I'm telling my husband I'm about to open a new set and we'll be discarding the others, he begins to argue the point that we should change out every other week so one pair won't get so worn.

In my best imitation of Mrs. Hughes - Head Housekeeper of Downton Abbey - I said:
"you are most welcome to introduce another set of linens to be washed each and every week, ones that will also participate in the change out of linens, but you sir shall be fully responsible for the task of re-folding that horrid fitted sheet as well, as where my method, never ever requires such a dreaded duty a’tall".
As I spoke, the accent gradually came out as well as the words. And as you can imagine - with mention of folding that &%)^%$ fitted sheet - not another word was spoken! His face however reflected laughter, and maybe just a tad bit of fear.

I am almost at the end of my journey through London and will miss those characters and their lives. As a good friend of mine said so well, “it was one of the best series to ever grace my television screen.”

There doesn’t seem much use for rank and file these days, or respect for general seniority and authority for that matter. People walk around with imaginary masks, hiding their evil and hate. No one, and nowhere is safe anymore, not a church, not a school, not two deputy’s sitting in a restaurant eating lunch.

I realize it was a different time, and a different place, but the ideals were such that one would have never thought that the basic idea of it all would just die out. But they are indeed dying, if not already dead. I dare say I do wonder, what will be left of respect and honor in another twenty years’ time? I’m not quite sure we really want to see that far into the future; the present day is scary enough.