Saturday, December 24, 2016

Crunch Time

Alright everybody – are you feeling it yet? Are your nerves twisted up into tiny knots all over your body? Are your ears ringing from your pressure rising every time you have to enter a Walmart somewhere? Heck anywhere for that matter! There is NO place to go that is not crazy over-loaded with people, bustling around, trying to get those last few items bought.

Some are the smart shoppers who started way back in January! That’s right; there ARE people who begin their next Christmas shopping immediately after the present one has passed.  And you know why, right? THE SALES!!!!! Everything is discounted, marked down, and practically given away! IF – you still have any money left.

However, I have never been one of those shoppers. Not that there weren’t years I didn’t have the money; but I’m just simply not that organized. I have gone after-Christmas-shopping, but it’s for some particular item that I needed/wanted – but refused to pay full price for during the holidays.  Never have I set out to get all of my next year’s shopping done in one whack. What would be the joy in that? To be sane and calm, and prepared the next December, when everyone else is maniacal and running around breathless and crazy?! Who wants to be the outcast, sitting at home, watching your fill of Hallmark holiday movies, calm and satisfied knowing you’re all done – all that’s left is Christmas morning to come around.

And then there is the shopper that does a little here and a little there from about September all the way through December.  They do some of it in stores, a lot of it on-line, and by the week before Christmas, they may have a few things they still have to get, but for the most part they are done and can settle down and begin to enjoy the holidays with everyone else.

BUT – there are always THOSE PEOPLE who do ALL of their shopping at the VERY last minute, and then try and tell me/convince me, that they LOVE it. No – sorry just no. I am not buying that anyone enjoys trying to find decent gifts on Christmas Eve when everything is already all picked over, the dang shelves are no longer lined and pretty, but instead, scattered and disorganized. Nothing is where it belongs because of people putting things down wherever they decide to leave it when they decide that’s not what they wanted – and the poor store keepers are so swamped – they haven’t had time to put anything back in its proper place.

Besides the fact, that you have found yourself with all the other crazies who decided it would be FUN to shop this way, as it would bring about the true spirit of Jesus and the season. When all I can hear is people cursing under their breath as they pass me by, looking frazzled and probably wondering why they EVER though last-minute-shopping was the way to go.

May your displeasure have been minimal and your patience aplenty; and many wishes for a very Merry Christmas, from my house to yours.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Stolen Independence

I’m not even sure if I was aware when it started. I couldn’t have possibly known it, because once it really happened, it was like a ton of bricks to the back of my head – blind-sighted-a-hit as you could ever imagine.  And as I tried to remember the last time it had happened, for the life of me, I just couldn’t come up with an answer.

The Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving I was in the kitchen and making up pies and such for dinner the next day. At some point I realized I had totally underestimated just how much milk I would need and I knew a trip to the store was inevitable. So I found a stopping point, grabbed up my car keys and I headed out the door.

As soon as I got into my vehicle, I could feel the anxiety starting to rise in my stomach. I immediately begin to try and channel my mind somewhere else, but as I backed out of the dark drive-way, and onto the same dark road behind me, I realized just how long it had been since I had driven in the dark anywhere, much less, by myself.

I decided CVS was far enough to go to get some milk, as I would be as close to the front door as I could get, it was a well-lit parking lot and I should be able to safely dash in and out and back home again. All of that went exactly as my mind had planned, I drove home, and got back in the house just as easily as I had left.

Fast forward to this past Friday night. I had made plans to go to the Victorian Christmas in Thomasville Georgia. I was supposed to meet-up with some girlfriends from back home, but of course, that hour’s drive in the dark, alone, from Quincy to there and back would consist of only me.

I was perfectly fine until about 1pm Friday afternoon, when my mind starting rumbling thoughts over and over again – you know the ones – “what if something happens, I’m all by myself, on a dark empty back road” - and that particular night it was supposed to be freezing cold weather to boot.

By 3pm – I had totally talked myself out of going – I contacted my friends and told them I wouldn’t be coming and why. I told them that while my fear may have seemed borderline ridiculous, for me it was real and I couldn’t shake that feeling of dread and doom no matter how hard I had tried.

I’m only 53 years old and I have always been the woman who insisted on having her own vehicle, which would afford me the freedom to come and go as I pleased – and for years I did.

Now all of sudden, if it involves the dark, or a 70mhp highway going any great distance alone, I just won’t do it, I work my life and my plans around it. I’m really not sure when my youth, and my could-do-anything-by-myself-confidence was stolen; but it’s gone.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Holiday Tradition's

I know that by now, Thanksgiving must seem like a million years ago; but I would be remiss if I didn’t at least say what an exponentially grand time we had at my house this year for Thanksgiving dinner. 

My parents were here of course, as well as my youngest son Zach and I; but this year I invited some really good friends of ours to join us, to help fill-out our Thanksgiving table a bit, and I’m so very glad I did! We laughed until our sides hurt and ate until our stomachs felt the same. The food was good, the company was great and the day was a blessing for us all I think.

Now, you all know what comes next don’t you - THE DREADED LEFTOVERS.  Even though I sent plates of food home with everyone, I still had SO much food left over. You know actually, Thursday I was pretty impressed with myself; I did eat food and probably too much if it, but I was so full and satisfied I never even touched a single dessert that was available right at my fingertips.

Everybody left late Thursday afternoon, I watched some television that night, still not interested in putting anything else in my mouth, and I went to bed. BUT – the next day, I made up for it ALL. I was alone, left to my own devices, nothing but me and the television and a pile of shows I had DVR’d for a day such like that very day.

Every time my feet hit the floor it was as if they knew no other direction to go but the kitchen! I absolutely slow-grazed all day long, a little bit of this, a little bit of that; how in the world my stomach allowed me to consume it all I have no idea.  All that was missing was the feed-bag that probably should have been strapped to my neck!

Finally Saturday came, I knew my husband was coming home from seeing his family in SC, and it was like instinctively my hunger cycle went on strike and I couldn’t even look at food without wanting to gag.  Plus, if you all follow me around every year, you will also know that the weekend after Thanksgiving is when we always put our Christmas tree up; so I was excited as heck as well!

I did wait until Sunday before I started badgering my husband to start dragging all the decorations from the shed, plus he needed the help of my son who wouldn’t be home until late that afternoon.  So we grilled some steaks and baked a potato; because the last thing going back into my mouth was turkey!

Finally my son came over, and with the usual trash-talking and carrying-on that always seems to come with the light-stringing process, the tree was up and ready for the ornaments which didn’t happen until Monday evening because I was just worn out!

Biggest/best surprise:  Monday while I was at work – my husband strung Christmas lights on my outside bushes. Early Merry Christmas to me!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Christmas Is Already In The Air

From the minute our tires hit the pavement last Friday morning, we were scheduled to the maximum capacity. As I told you last week, my future plans were to make stops in both Columbus Georgia and Phenix City Alabama to re-visit both of my late grandparent’s last homes, and their final resting places in both cemeteries. Additionally, we also planned to stop along the way, and purchase some holiday flowers, to change-out at both grave sites, getting both sets of my grandparents ready for Christmas.

After making all the stops, we were on our way again, with about another hour or so drive before we would be at our final destination – Callaway Gardens.

We arrived at the Callaway Lodge and Spa a little after 4:30pm. We got to our rooms, unloaded our gear, and headed out to find something to eat as we had not had anything since breakfast around 9am.  We drove around Pine Mountain and its surrounding areas for about an hour before making a decision to dine at a place I had seen on-line called the Country Kitchen.

The Country Kitchen is actually located in Hamilton Georgia about 10 minutes away, and directly across from a spot called Mountain Lookout, complete with a telescope and a wonderful view. Cosmetically, I can see why it is so attractive to the naked eye and the hungry stomach, but everything is not always as it seems. The service could have been much better, and the food could have been warmer when it got to our table. But a starving man will eat most anything, and we did. They’re intentions are good and with a little more effort, they could live up to the hype that brings the folks in.

However, the next morning we ate breakfast at Edie Mae’s Kountry Kitchen in Pine Mountain and IT was the real deal. The lady that owned it was running the register and directing traffic and customers all at the same time, making sure everyone was tended to. You could order or do the buffet, we did the latter and it was wonderful! They also served lunch and supper – but we wanted to try other places as well.

After breakfast we headed to the Butterfly Center at Callaway. I’d already been there several times before, but there will never be a trip to Callaway that seeing the butterflies are not included.  Every species of butterfly imaginable could be found and there were cameras in most every hand!

But the grand honors of the trip belong to the Fantasy in Lights trolley-ride on Saturday night. Because of the cold front that came through, it was cold and windy, but it made it all the more “real” as we literally rode “in the lights” for at least six miles or more. I felt just like a child again, as 400+ people trolley-strolled and made low-voiced noises expressing our pleasure.

It was a wonderful mini-vacation but as always we were both glad to get back to Quincy. Because no matter where you’ve been, or how old you are, there’s still no place like home. 

Friday, November 25, 2016


It’s going to be a busy, next couple of weeks for me. Not only am I trying to prepare for Thanksgiving, but I have also scheduled a small mini-vacation for the weekend BEFORE Thanksgiving which only adds to the chaos of the holiday week!

I have ALWAYS wanted to go to Callaway Gardens at this time of the year when they have the Festival of Lights.  I mean I’ve been to Callaway Gardens, Warm Springs, and all of those historical sites several times in my life with my family as a child, and later as an adult with my own children. And all of those visits were wonderfully educating and enjoyable. But I have only seen the Festival of Lights in pictures, and as beautiful as that is, I just know it’s going to be some kind of spectacular in person!

So about two months ago I went on-line and made our hotel reservations and bought our trolley tickets. Now you can either drive your own vehicle down the roads throughout Callaway that are lined with lights OR you can take the train trolley and ride through that way. And you know I had to pick the one that I thought would give us the ultimate excitement experience – and that was the trolley.

I actually got a pretty good deal because you can buy packages that include the Festival of Lights, endless tours through the Butterfly Center (which is AMAZING) and several other things that Callaway has to offer: like golfing, zip-lining etc.

My husband does not golf and you’re not about to see my behind rigged-up in wires shooting across the wild blue yonder, 50 MHP, from one pine tree to another! So I’ll just stick to the things that feel a little more age appropriate for me – like walking with my own two feet on the ground, riding in a car or trolley, and photo shoots of beautiful butterflies.

We plan to leave out the Friday before Thanksgiving week and come back that Sunday afternoon. Now here is the kink in ALL of those weekend plans – it’s the last weekend for Nascar racing. Oh I know – I can hear the gasps as you fans read these words. “How dare she? How could she? Has she lost her mind?!”

Well yes, some would say I did.  But no worries, I have looked at all the time schedules of the races, and somehow, we should be able to manage to fit all of them in with a little constructive scheduling of our own.

When we depart on Friday, my plans are to stop in Columbus, Georgia on our way up, the city in which I was born, and visit/drive-by both the houses of both sets of my grandparents who have passed. One lived in Phenix City, Alabama and the other in Columbus Georgia. It’s Thanksgiving and it certainly feels like the time to visit and reminisce a bit.

Other than that, the weekend and holiday week will take its natural course and another Thanksgiving will come and go. I wish you and yours a safe and happy holiday. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Meeting In The Middle

Gadsden County is one of the most diversified places I have personally ever lived in regards to race. It's indeed a melting pot of human beings and many-layered tiers of financial status.
And yet not one single person has created a riot, a fire, a flag burning, or spray painted a swastika on a landmark for all to see. No one is standing in the street with angry, wide-open mouths hollering nasty words or holding signs that say the same.  As a matter of fact, the people here are just as they ever were which is respectful, polite, and kind.
Last week I was in Leon County and as I was leaving a restaurant I saw a pile of young Caucasian girls - in their early 20's following out behind me. I stopped to hold the door, and instead of the next young lady holding for the next, and so on, they all filed out, all six of them while I, the 53 year old woman held the door open for them.
Today I was entering a food establishment here in Quincy - Gadsden County - and a man, in his 40's, a man of color, was standing outside talking on his phone. As I was approaching the door, he saw me, took three extra quick steps in an effort to grab the door and hold it open for me, never intending to enter himself at that moment, because he stood outside for another 10 minutes finishing his conversation before he ever came in. He was simply being a gentleman.
I don't know where the problem with lack of respect lies, but I will tell you that I'm very disappointed that people of this country seem to think that violence and hate is the way to voice your emotions about someone who you feel is violent and hateful. Makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. If you feel that strongly that a mistake has been made, demonstrating the same-like behavior with ugly sound-bites and even uglier behavior doesn't really seem to be making your point - does it?
I'm just trying to understand. I truly am. I have a child who was a Democrat supporter and I have a child who was a Republican supporter. And of course, I understand the disappointment of one and the joy of the other. And never in a million years would I dare to confront either one about their very personal and passionate choices. I will not choose, disagree or argue with either - because I love them and I believe in both of them and I respect their separate/different ideals and philosophy's about life.

I think we would all do to try and carry ourselves in the same manner. Because no way will I ever believe that what is happening now - is a positive solution. What a sad example we are setting for our neighboring countries - you know - the ones who don't have freedoms? I just imagine they're probably sitting back watching and wondering why we do.

I'm No Quitter!

There’s not a soul on this earth who can say I didn’t give turning 52 years old a run for its money! From the time it happened last November, I threw at it everything I could think of and it still got back up, and kept on going.

I had a case of Bell’s Palsy that December, the following February I tore the meniscus in my right knee, that March I had a mammogram/biopsy scare, then in September I tore the meniscus in my left knee that I’m still recovering from – besides the times through all of that when I pulled my back out a couple of times. I’m telling you, that old saying, when it rains it pours, has certainly been my theme song this past year.

But here I am, rolling/gimping right on into year fifty-three, still smiling and laughing, and putting my two cents in every chance I get, because you can’t keep this old gal down!

My actual birthday event was a few days ago now, but as it seems to work out when you birthday falls on the weekend, and because I have such a great circle of friends, I have been coming and going her and there since that birthday clock struck midnight. And EAT – Lawdy have I been eating. I just think that’s what older folks do – we pick great places to eat great food and that’s how we celebrate life.

I mean by this time in life, you pretty much have everything you need or want, a good meal seems to be the simplest thing to do and share the joy at the same time. I had lunch with friends on Friday, breakfast and a movie with a girlfriend on Saturday, lunch today with my husband and youngest son, and I’m still scheduled out for dinner tomorrow evening with another girlfriend, and then one last time, as far out as next Saturday for lunch with a girlfriend from home who’s coming to town.

I’m not going to be able to eat a thing by the time Thanksgiving gets here at the rate I’m going! Heck I feel like I’m walking around with a feed bag attached to my neck as it is now!

I’m ready for whatever comes with this next year. I won’t lie and say I’m not looking forward to a more injury free year – these two knees of mine have kept me and my activities tamped down and that has gotten old very quickly.

But besides ALL OF THAT – I got an extra hour of sleep last night (another Happy Birthday to me) and that was the most glorious thing of all – and I’ve been reveling in that joy since I looked at the clock this morning and knew that 7am really only meant 6am. So I turned over – and rolled back out – one more time.

And for the rest of us, a lot of exciting things are coming our way because once you leave October, time rolls on like a freight train out of control. Get ready! Because only the strong and determined can keep-up!  

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Old Time Tradition's

We hadn’t been one single time this year, for one reason or another; a hurt knee, and because earlier in the season it was just too blasted hot! For years, we did it, 100 degrees or not, but as the old folks, like me now say, it’s way too hot for me when I’ve got no skin in the game, no dog in the fight.

My knee still has me confined a bit, but not enough that we couldn’t attend last Friday night’s Homecoming/Senior Night combined game. There was still certainly not any bleacher climbing, so we sat on the first row of the middle section of the bleachers. Now I can’t say our view of the field was the best it’s ever been, but our socializing activities were kicked-up a few notches for sure! When you sit on the first row, you see any and everybody who walks down the main sidewalk to get to where they’re going.

Myself and everybody else we saw, were running neck to neck with any politician running for office with all the neck-hugging and hand-shaking that went on all night long. We got to see folks that we hadn’t seen since maybe last year at the Robert F Munroe Homecoming game! 

Both senior recognition and Homecoming honors were held during half-time. The Homecoming
Representatives were as beautiful as always, with Miss Allison Bergman taking the honor of Queen for 2016. Senior representatives Morgan Bot, Emma Jones, and Jenna Branson were all just as beautiful as runner-ups and graciously congratulated their longtime friend and classmate on her victory.

Additionally there was a chili-cook-off and who else, but the first woman in Greensboro, Florida history ever to be voted into the Town Council was there to judge, Libby Fletcher Henderson! The master chefs and results being:
1st place – T.S. Co. Chuckwagon Chili – Jason Thompson and Billy Suber
2nd place – Munroe’s Madhouse Chili – Ben Munroe
3rd place – Last year’s winner, Phil & Phil’s Championship Chili – Phillip Adams & Phillip Suber
4th place – Wilson’s Chili Company – Wil Hinson
Worst Chili – TJZ’s Chili – Todd Baroody, Jason Boone and Zach Helms

And an honorable mention to Jackson Boone for showing his Bobcat Pride, agreeing to wear a costume befitting of the cooking occasion at hand – he wore a hot dog costume all night and even made the 11:00 local news!

But my favorite part of the whole night, before the game began, we were all asked to stand for a moment of prayer. The National Anthem came next, with a resounding rendition blaring strong and proud through the speakers and night air. And as we all stood with our hands over our hearts, and we did all stand, not a single soul was kneeling – slowly but surely the flag begin to glide-up the pole, the strings being pulled by a local Boy Scout Troop led by Jenni Hansell Briggs, until the flag reached the very top, and I had the same feeling of mighty pride I always have when this happens.

Even though the Bobcat’s didn’t win the game, it was another one for the memory books.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

It's Time To Fall Waaaaaaaaay Back!

I have been waiting for this since earlier in the year when it was taken from me. Stolen right out from under me, just like a thief in the night, while I slept. Literally. And when I awoke, I looked over to the side of the bed towards my nightstand, squinting my eyes as I always do when I first wake-up, like you do when the first light of day busts you in the eyes through your windshield if you’re driving East on your way to work. And there it was – or should I say – there it wasn’t. Anymore. It was gone. Just gone.

But I’m fixing to get it back by golly! In just a few weeks, I’ll lay down at night to rest my head and relax my tired bones, and the next morning it will feel just like Christmas! I’ll wake-up, go through my whole waking-up routine, and there it will be. Just like Santa Claus read my letter, and brought me just what I wanted and asked for, except it’s sitting on my nightstand, instead of under the tree.

I’ll glance over, squint once more, and then smile. Smile the biggest smile you have ever seen, then flop my messy-haired-head right back down on that soft, cool pillow, knowing that in that minute – I won. It’s my time to shine – such exaltation – because I GOT IT BACK!! That hour that was stolen from me nearly eight months ago, was rightfully returned and it’s right back on my clock where it belongs.

This weekend has also marked the preemptive setting for all of the upcoming changes as well. It’s as if the weather and the world’s time-clock are running in perfect rhythm with one another. Because everybody in the Big Bend area woke-up to temperatures down in the 40’s and the highs of the day, only to hit the mid 80’s.

My neighbor across the street was up early this morning chopping wood for his fireplace, and I’ve seen more than one Face Book picture posted of late-night fire pits, folks sitting around in jackets and vests, roasting marshmallow’s and making s’mores. As well as pictures of early bow-hunters sitting in tree-stands hoping for that first deer of the season.

But of course with ALL of these things, comes for me at least, my annual hay fever symptoms. The sneezing, wheezing and coughing that takes much of the fun out of what everyone else seems to be able to enjoy.

There is no riding with my truck windows down, no letting the windows in the house up, and no sitting on my front porch in the cool, night air or actually, outside period if the wind is blowing; at least not until the first freeze comes that will kill off all the fall pollination.

But that’s alright. Once it gets dark earlier, I won’t feel so left out, because everyone else will be inside with me, instead of enjoying the activities that spring always affords.

Break out the slow cookers, soup and chili recipes – it’s just about that time folks! Bundle-up!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Pumpkin, Peppermint, Party-Punch, OH MY!

Is everybody ready? Do you all have your feet firmly planted onto the ground? Because the whirlwind of holidays that are about to be upon us will sweep you off your feet, spin your head around on the top of your shoulders, and carry your body as light as the air all the way into the New Year – without you ever knowing what hit you.

About two week weeks ago everything pumpkin started showing up. Pumpkin latte’s, pumpkin-filled doughnuts with sprinkles on top, pumpkin-spice pancakes, pumpkin flavored creamer for coffee and the list goes on and on. Not to mention all the pumpkin spice candles and potpourri that are sending your mouth and nose sensoria’s into pumpkin orbit!

And none of that has anything to do with all the pumpkin bread, pies, and cakes people will be baking from now all the way into Thanksgiving which is a month and a half away. I mean seriously folks, I have zero memory of pumpkins being so popular when I was growing up.

I mean there were fields of them, stands selling them, and places you could go to have your child’s picture taken among them. And somebody’s aunt always seemed to make a pumpkin pie and bring it to Thanksgiving dinner to contribute to the spread; but that was it. In the last five years or so the world has gone crazy for holiday flavors.

Finally, the last of the pumpkins will still be in the grocery store bins when they break out all the Christmas candy and spread it among the items to gorge over. Then the peppermint phase will start the cycle all over again when Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts begin making a killing off all the specialty coffees that they pour-up and serve this time of the year.

The transition from one holiday to the other will be so smooth, so nonchalant, you’ll never see it
coming. One day Walgreens will have Pumpkin Reece’s Cup’s lining the shelf, the next day, it will be Christmas Tree Reece’s cups and your hands and eyes will never know what hit them.

The ghosts and goblins will be gone and the Christmas lights, decorations and wreaths will be hanging in their place. You’ll be so transfixed with the beauty and sight of it all, you’ll unconsciously roll with the flow just as they intended.

Yes sir, those merchants know exactly what they’re doing. They know just how long they can string all you pumpkin addicts along and then seamlessly and successfully transfer your addiction right into peppermint and eggnog as if it was your idea all along. It’s the most perfect example of ebb and flow that exists – the holidays move up and down like waves in a warm ocean, calling, “follow me, follow me,” and you mesmerizingly do so.

Then finally New Year’s Eve is here, and that’s a whole nother awakening. That’s the King Daddy Dog realization that life can start anew, and you have another chance to get it right this time.

Hang on folks – cause that ride is about to begin!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Winning The Battle

As I sat and watched both professional and college football this weekend, I was once again so proud to see how much the world has evolved. I of course didn’t see every team participating, but there are still several weekends left in October and this whole month is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Several teams were wearing pink gloves and pink socks and the breast cancer symbol across their helmets and jerseys.  I saw several commercials of grown 200+ pound young men with tears in their eyes, talking about their mothers, grandmothers and aunts who have been stricken with this horrible disease; some who battled and overcame it, some who did not.

Last March I had my own scare for about 30 days or better. The steps you take to come to a conclusion, to a definitive prognosis are long and nerve wracking to say the least. But several mammograms and a biopsy later – almost a month later - my personal ending was negative and I was as grateful as you could imagine.

So many women are not so lucky. But there are still so many women who are not even getting themselves checked. I shudder to think what the odds of survival are for those women who discover their cancer in ways that could have been otherwise prevented with prior check-ups.

No it’s not fun, and no I’m not about to tell you it’s not downright uncomfortable and sometimes painful – BUT IS SO NECESSARY. I say to women all the time, you cannot fight a war when you have no ammunition. Every day that a possible disease continues to grow inside your body is another day that you’re behind the curve in winning the battle.

We can all walk a million miles/raise millions of dollars to try and help find a cure – but ladies – you HAVE to be proactive in taking control of your own lives, your own bodies. My mother will be 76 years old this December and she STILL has her mammograms every single year. Breast cancer has no age limit – and she is well aware of that – as she has friends in her own circle who have fought that particular battle and won as well.

Precaution, prevention, and protection are the names of the game we call WINNING. There are free clinics everywhere who will help you if you do not have or cannot afford a healthcare program. Don’t let being embarrassed or without funds/having to ask for help, stop you from taking care of yourselves. There are also hospitals that offer free screenings throughout the year – pay attention and get on the list.

Right this minute I know women who starve themselves trying to stay thin, lay in the sun trying to
stay tan, but if I ask them when they had their last mammogram, they can’t tell me. They either don’t remember or they just haven’t done it. Skinny and tan won’t matter when you’re dead.

This is a strong/harsh message. I want it to be an awakening. Get yourselves checked. Please. If not for the people who love you – then love yourself.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Buckle Up!

I’m going to start where I left off last week. By stating the obvious once more and say that our nation has absolutely no priorities. None.

I also said that I had no clear thoughts about what is happening to us or why – but I do. I do have one real and clear thought. Lack of leadership.

Let me take you back about 12 years – to the National Conventions – when they called out the name Barack Obama – and he headed to the stage to speak. Just as if it were yesterday, I can remember listening to this smart and beyond-his-years wise-sounding man and thinking to myself, he will be President one day. He SHOULD be president one day.

Then 4 years later he is elected. And good gosh almighty what a mess he walked into. We were slowly climbing out of the deep, dark hole of 9/11, the recession that followed for years afterward, and were just coming up for air. People were starting to think we might see daylight again and that maybe the worst was over.

But the nation was so far in debt, in such a shambles, how could he have possibly “repaired” all of that in just four short years. So we elected him again, and here we are four years later and we have not seen sunshine yet.

I watched the first live debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton week before last and I’ve got to tell you folks – I’m not sure we’ll ever see real sunshine again. It’s always normal to see political satire and comedy acts replicating/imitating presidential nominees during campaign season. 

But when the real life stuff becomes so outlandish and comedic – that it reaches far beyond anything some artist or actor could create for a picture or a skit – well that pretty much sums up the state of our union.

When the debate battles become screeching/smirking/lying/accusing contests between two grown people – one of whom by the time the elections roll around in November, will be running our COUNTRY in January – well I don’t know about you, but that just scares the bejezzus out of me.

I mean seriously people, we can’t get past the point about what he hasn’t paid to the federal government (and how smart he apparently is for getting away with it) and her (I didn’t know) illegal use of an email server, to talk about much of anything that is going to straighten out our country and all the cracks in its foundation.  I for one, am not entirely sure there’s enough Spackle in the world.

But the most disappointing and horrifying fact is this: we are a more divided nation than ever right now. I hear very few conversations about definitive votes in either direction. But I hear a LOT of conversations about voting for “the lesser of two evils” in regards to one candidate or another.

Again I leave you with another thought: how did we get here – to voting for the least scary monster? Because make no doubt – WE DID IT. Buckle-up your seatbelts - the worst is yet to come. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

What Is The Solution?

I’d like to write about my thoughts and concerns regarding all the pull-over and stop deaths seemingly only occurring with people of color and the men in blue. But the problem is, I don’t have one single clear thought about any of it. The percentages of these happenings appear to be so lopsided – it’s impossible to know what is real and what is not.

Between the hundreds of phone video’s streaming live on FB before the bullet is cold, the eye-witness accounts in which none are amazingly the same, and the grieving relative accounts of what a wonderful person such and such was – we have still yet to see an official report from the police.

Because folks, official reports take time to gather, the facts take time to gather, the reasons why someone in blue pulled a trigger take time to gather. No one is going to give ANY kind of an official statement before the facts are in. Before the video cams associated with the men in blue are reviewed and studied for the information they need to reach a factual decision about what happened and why.

I believe that the majority of all men and women in blue go out every day to serve and protect just as they gave an oath to do. I’d like to say all – but we’re talking about human beings, not super heroes and where you have human beings you will have bad apples.

But I also believe that we’re being led to believe there are more than a fair share of bad apples with all of the occurrences of late. So I sit here wondering are they really bad apples, or just a combination of bad decisions/split-second time to-think, decisions.

As I said when I started out, I don’t have many clear thoughts about all of this. It saddens to me no end to believe that men of color are being targeted and shot simply because their skin is black. It would also make me question our entire legal system that begins with the men in blue – and what real law and order means.

You will not ever convince me that riots are the answer/solution to anything. Emotions are on level red for everybody concerned, and many people might as well mentally commit to a death sentence before they even begin. Because lives are lost every single time almost any demonstration has been done in the last 12 months.

But if I had to sum-up one of the biggest problems from this past week between the shooting in Tulsa and the shooting in Charlotte, I’d have to say, regardless of the cause and result, both of those events were over-shadowed by the pending divorce between Angelia Jolie and Brad Pitt.

On the night of the Charlotte shooting, the very first story out-of-the-gate on the CBS National News was about “Brangelina” and their break-up. Who on God’s green earth thought THAT was the story to lead-off with? AND WHO CARES?

That my friends is my most clear thought regarding what is wrong with our nation – priorities. We seem to have absolutely none. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Fall Festivities!

By the time you’re all reading this, it will be the first day of fall! Thursday, September 22nd is the day I’ve been waiting on since the first day of summer. It has been one more hotter than hot summer this year, and I for one am ready to celebrate carving pumpkins, marsh mellow roasts, laying our pine straw in all the flower beds, and smelling that brisk, clean air that always comes with the change in the seasons.

It goes from smelling like dry, hot dirt to burning leaves, and smoke-stack chimneys. I told you all a few weeks ago how everything in my yard was beginning to look tired and worn out. Well now it all just looks downright pitiful and like it all needs to be rescued and saved.

So I told my husband earlier today that next weekend we’d be trimming down the rest of the drying Lantana and Canna Lily beds, covering them all with fresh, red pine straw.  I bought some yellow mums that I’ll sit out beside our front yard swing. The same swing that will hold some pumpkins and my scarecrow boy and girl.

And before you know it, October will be here and the festivals will begin! Havana has a wonderful Pumpkin Festival every year that I’ve been to many, many times. Starting years ago with my children, then some years just with friends, and other years my husband and I take our own stroll around the streets and look at all the different activities.

They always have a little face painting booth and pumpkin decorating area set up for the smaller
children. Sidewalk sales and festivities all along the streets and shops of Havana. Several different food courts set-up and a sprinkling of independent vendors who have set-up one time booths to hawk their goodies.

All the merchants and their buildings are decorated to the nine’s with ghosts and goblins, witches and pumpkins. It’s a magical time in a magical place and if any of you have never been you should check it out – Saturday, October 8th.

The next event I always like to attend is Mule Day in Calvary Georgia! It’s always the first Saturday in November which will be November 5th this year. The first year I moved here in 98’ I was invited to attend Mule Day with a couple of my friends, Donna and Debbie Hall, who happen to be sister in laws as well. We all brought our children and I’m telling you, what I big time we all had that day!

Rows upon rows of vendor booths selling every kind of art and craft your mind could ever imagine. And the food booths – oh my grand! Whatever you could think of that you might want to eat - it was there! Live singing, a parade, little kids riding mules; just an absolute smorgasbord of activities that would have us all worn out by the end of the day.

Living in a small town, surrounded by many small towns, guarantees safe/fun to be had! Join the festivities! You’ll be glad you did!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

And I'll Gladly Stand Up!

I remember growing-up, and sitting down to eat a meal with any one of my girlfriend’s and their families, that it was automatic that everyone bowed their heads and said grace. The only mystery that ever took place was what kind of grace that would be said: a traditional grace, a spur-of-the-moment made-up grace (the best kind in my opinion), or one that sounded somewhat traditional, but like none I had ever heard before.

I also remember every day before school would start, that saying the Pledge of Allegiance was just a given. For years, most of us would recite those words not truly realizing or understanding the depth of the words being spoken. We said them, because that’s just what you did.

Today when you sit down at table to break bread with people, many times, you have no idea the religious affiliation of the person sitting next to you, their beliefs, or if even they believe at all. So “blessings” seem to fall to the wayside under the scrutiny of being unsure and not offending anyone.

Groups that gather and recite The Pledge of Allegiance are now under attack as well, and freedom of choice and speech has plopped itself dead in the center of that controversy.

I don’t know what the “right” answer is, nor do I know if there is a “right” answer. Growing-up, I was raised to think independently and make-up my own mind about how I chose to believe and live life. I was of course guided in certain directions, but I always understood those choices were mine to make.

In turn, I raised my children the very same way. Maybe even a little more so in the “speak your mind” department, but just the same, they were raised to have minds of their own based on their own formed opinions throughout their lives.

As it often happens, even though they were raised in the same house, with the same values and the same ideals, my children are very different people, but they are also very alike people. Sounds confusing I know, but that’s the perfect way to describe them.

I don’t pretend to understand the how’s or the why’s of the people who are born here, raised here, or have enjoyed the freedom’s and liberties of living here – how they cannot honor the flag and the independence and freedom it represents by standing at attention, with their hand over their heart while it waves in all its glory.

It does, in my heart of hearts, make me want to scream out, “Go somewhere else, where the living is hard, there are no true freedoms, and choices are not yours to make”. But that’s not my place – nor is it anyone elses - because we do have those freedoms of speech and choice. That was decided for all of us many years ago, and so it was written for all of us to follow.

So I end this today by shouting God Bless America – because that is MY right to freedom of speech, choice and religion – all wrapped up in one. 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Hurricane Hermine

The first time I ever experienced hurricane-like events was the first year I moved to Quincy, Florida, in late September 1998. It’s absolutely true that unless you live in a place where such events are real and have happened, you just have no idea what to expect, nor have you really ever been aware before, how those happenings effect other people.  

It was cloudy, stormy-looking and the humidity was at an all-time high that morning. I went to work, left my children at home together, ages 12 and 3 years old.  My job was 10 minutes from my home and there was power when I left for work.

As the morning progressed the sky grew darker, the wind blew harder and by 11am we were closing down and everyone was headed home. I was given all kinds of advice and instructions:
 1. Take all your chairs off your front porch - they’ll fly through your windows.
 2. Take your wind chimes down and into the house (mostly because they sound creepy when the wind      is whipping them around).
 3. Make sure you have things to eat that you don’t have to cook.
 4. Have both candles and flashlights on stand-by.

I went home, did everything everybody said, and me and my boys were ready to wait it out. We lived in an old farm house – the windows were heavy and solid. But that night, in the dark, when that wind started picking-up speed, it sounded like they were all going to burst into shatters as they rattled and creaked through the force of the storm.

As we all three sat in the middle of my bed, we talked about anything and everything trying to keep our minds off of what was happening. We still had power, so nothing is quite as scary with the power of light. But I knew at any minute that could change, so I tried to keep the level of calmness even, and the level of distraction high.

We would all end up falling asleep together, snuggled-up close and tight, and we wouldn’t know until morning that at some point, the power had been taken out, and we would wake-up to darkness, no television, or updates.

It was still pouring rain, but most of the crazy winds had stopped and that in itself was a relief. It wouldn’t be but another few hours and the power would be restored; but in the meantime, we were all relieved to be able to say, we had just made it through our first hurricane.

Today the feelings of anxiousness are much the same, but much more experienced. I left early for the grocery store, got all the staple items we needed, and a roast and fixings so that we would have cooked food for a couple of days.

The generator is ready, and all the gas tanks are full, in cans and vehicles alike; and all the other preparations are now old-school, habit and complete.

Signing off with hopes and blessings that this time next week finds us all still safe, with no residual after-effects from Hurricane Hermine.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Welcome Relief

The once green leaves are beginning to turn yellow. Their edges are no longer soft to the eyes, but instead ruffled and crispy. They are beginning to lose their strength, therefore the ground is holding as many of them as the limbs themselves.

Though autumn is not officially here, the evening breeziness is beginning to gather speed and the straw from the pines is free-falling into the streets, the bushes, and lawns everywhere.

All of my Lantana beds are beginning to look tired and worn out. The colors are fading and the legs holding the blooms are weakening and no longer seem willing to stand-up at attention for all to see.

My Gerber Daisies have long since laid-down as well, and my marigolds are not far behind them. The box that holds them is still full, but the blooms are fewer now, and they, too, look weary and ready for summer to be over.  

And I think both my husband and myself are ready for the chore of watering the ferns and plants every day to be over for a while. The shine from last spring has worn-off and standing in the heat every evening is no longer enjoyable.  

The butterflies seem scarcer and maybe it’s just my imagination, but they all seem to be fluttering more slowly as if they too, know the season of their lives is just about over.

The birds are eating more sparingly, the food seems to stay in the feeders much longer now. When spring first arrives my yard is full of cardinals galore, but now, it’s a hit and miss to catch more than one at the time perched and eating.

As I stand on my front porch and look-out over my yard, I realize with the descriptions that I have just given to you, that everything looks like I feel. I am tired. Tired of being hot, weary of standing/walking in the heat day after day, and my nerves are crisp from it all and ready for some relief.

I’m ready just like my lantana beds, to be done for the season. For the coolness to come, and for someone to cover-me-up with a straw blanket for warmth and comfort until next spring.

I’m ready for cooler mornings with less humidity. Mornings that my glasses don’t fog-up when I walk out of my house to my vehicle.

I’m ready for cooler nights so that I can sit on my front porch glider with a glass of sweet tea and have slow and easy conversations with my family without mosquito’s eating us alive.

I’m ready to enjoy grilling outside again like we did this weekend. Other than when my son grilled steaks the weekend before, I couldn’t have told you when the last time was that the grill was fired-up to cook anything. Lord, just to stand next to it felt like you were on fire yourself!

Yes I am sure ready for fall to be officially here. And I promise, you will never hear me say “I sure will be glad when it’s warm again”. Not once.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Danger Zone

There are just some places people like me, with my kind of addictions can’t go. It’s horrible because I can’t control myself, the urges, the tugging need to have what I want when I want it – almost to the extreme of harming myself.

And this time of the year, oh my grand, it’s so much worse. You’re absolutely surrounded by it, no matter where you go; you can spot that special gleam in other people’s eyes. All of them enjoying themselves, and it makes me think to myself, “Why not me? Why should I be left out of all the fun? I think if I really try, I can control myself.”

Well let me tell you all something – I CAN NOT. I cannot control myself. And they mean for you not to be able to control yourself. Right when you walk in the door, it’s all right there, rushing to greet you. 

Pumpkins of every shape and size, every color, and every styled/carved face imaginable. Door 

decorations, house decorations, table decorations; you name it and they have it on display.

Hobby Lobby is the worst/best! Every aroma of fall smell you can think of wrapped up in a candle, in a potpourri bag, or in a scented decoration. Fifteen styles of table napkins for your Thanksgiving table – which is exactly why I have about 4 full packages all in different designs in my holiday decoration’s right now. I get blind, deaf and dumb once all those sights hit me and I can’t remember what I have and what I don’t, and I buy it again, just in case.

Today I went to Pier One in Tallahassee. I was only supposed to be returning an item. A lamp I ordered on-line finally arrived but it was broken. I thought I would have to ship it back, and then wait for it to be received before I would regain that money into my checking account. Imagine my surprise (but mostly ecstatic delight) when the lady over the phone said “No ma’m, you can just return it to the nearest store and receive your refund immediately!”

Oh yes! Right then, the bells started dinging and a ’whistling, because I KNEW how exciting that trip had the potential to be.

So my husband and I (or rather he did) lugged that big, cumbersome box all the way to Tallahassee earlier today. I could barely contain my excitement of what was yet to come, and you know you can’t let on about those things ahead of time or you won’t be going at all, let alone with your husband’s accompaniment. Those kind of places are the LAST places my husband wants to be.

And it happened. I could see it all through the window before I even opened the door. Autumn extravaganza galore! Oh it was a sight for the holiday-homesick eyes to behold.

I am proud to say I returned my item and ALL I bought were some new holiday placemats. BUT – I did scope out the place so I’ll be ready for my next visit – ALONE. SOON. REAL SOON.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


I’ve been actively watching the Olympics since 1976 which would have made me 13 years old; one year younger than one of the most impressive gymnasts of my lifetime – Nadia Comaneci. That year she became the first woman to ever score a perfect 10 in an Olympic Gymnastic event. I was absolutely enthralled with that Russian fireball-force who would not only take over the stage floor, but she would also take over our hearts.

I can distinctly remember watching it on television at our neighbor’s house for a couple of nights. I have no real memory as to why we were watching it from there but either way, it was quite the experience, watching it like that with other people – everyone who was just as excited as I was.

From that year forward I have been one of the biggest fans of watching the greatest of the great performing their hearts out every four years – to prove they are the best at what they do, in the world.

Fast forward to the year 1996 and I was in Phoenix Arizona for the week, traveling with my job. I was staying at a hotel in downtown Phoenix when the Olympic torch runners came through – and as I looked out the window – I realized I was a part of history. Had I known earlier that where I was would be one of the points of attraction, I would have been front and center. But as it was a surprise, I watched from my window on the fourth floor in total amazement to that which I was bearing witness to.

That same summer, weeks later, I would find out that their run would also bring them through our little hometown of Leesburg Georgia! I cannot even tell you how excited I was to know they would be right at my finger-tips – even if the time schedule turned out to be 5:00am.

I got up EXTREMELY early that morning and put my 1 year old in a stroller, and me and my baby and my 10 year old walked up to the main highway that dumped into my neighborhood, and waited with the rest of the crowds that lined the main street into our little town.  It was still dark of course, so it was a magical moment in time when they came running down the road, with side cars flashing lights for their protection, and that one lone person in front carrying the lit torch.

That same summer the Olympics final destination was Atlanta, Georgia, but even just our little parlay of participation would make it such a memorable experience.

Today ends the first week of two weeks total and I’ve already stayed-up WAY past my bedtime every night just trying to cram in all the watching I possibly can.

To watch the jubilation and the tears as they compete gives you a window into lives that strive for true excellence with every breath they take. It’s certainly a privilege to be able to see all of that – I hope you’ve been watching with me.  GO USA!!!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Uncanny Reflections

There comes a time in life when you are walking along, carrying on conversations, discussing serious subjects with people, seemingly feeling pretty confident about your thought processes and your point of views; and then, it just takes one person to put you back into your place. Make you think a little harder about something you said, and very possibly, just possibly, admit you could have been wrong.

This election year has people disenchanted, disappointed, unbelievably angry, and some, ready to physically fight. It has been one of the most volatile and downright rude and outspoken elections I have personally been witness to yet.

But it has also been one of the most passionate, bare-bones loyal, and in-it-to-win-it elections that I have ever seen as well. The young people that have been inspired to come out, to march, to vote, to carry signs, and stand there and cry – as their prospective elective is beaten and out-numbered – is a truly inspiring sight to witness.

I made the mistake of sorts on a Face Book post a week or two ago. I have truly tried not to put myself and my particular opinions out there, because number one, nobody really cares, and number two, it always seems to lead to a free-for-all before it’s over with.

At any rate, during the Democratic National Convention (and I watched both conventions – I like to be informed) I watched as everyone waited with bated breath to see if Bernie Sanders would truly graciously concede, and I also watched as groups of his supporters threatened to not go down as easily should he do just that.

Many were saying that they refused to shift and vote for Hillary Clinton, and I made the statement that if they were true Democrats, they needed to get on board. Quit thinking about voting for the Green Party, or worse, no party at all, because every “stray” vote is a vote toward the Republican Party, and in my mind that was the last thing they wanted to happen.

Well you know, I was quickly set-straight by some very young and passionate moral compasses about why their “stray” votes were not to be considered as wasted votes. I was reminded very quickly, just how fresh-minded and liberating 20 something year old’s can be. I was reminded of when I was 21 years old and I believed we could change the world, could make a difference, and that any vote for a decent human being was a vote in the name of justice and all that was good.

My hope is that these Millennial’s can show us all a thing or two about discrimination, love for all, the real meaning of Black Lives Matter, that every Muslim is not a terrorist, and that this world cannot survive within the sheath of hate that seems to be covering us now.

My hope is that they are all right, and that there is hope left in this world. And I hope, truly hope, that I am just old, disillusioned, tired, worried, and wrong. I really, really want to be wrong.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

It's Still Hard to Grow-Up

I remember the first few times that I went back to my parent’s house, the house that I grew-up in from ages 7 years to 21 years old, and I can clearly remember the feeling of disconnect and loss as I stood looking in a bedroom that no longer belonged to me.

I also have a strong memory of years later, when they moved from that home, my whole-life-of-memories home, into another home across town that had never belonged to me at all. A part of me no longer just felt disconnected and lonely for what I had always known, but now, I would also feel amputated from my childhood and the feelings that came with each room in the other house.

The kitchen where I learned to make chocolate pudding and homemade French fries, the den where we all watched television and laughed as a family, and my bedroom, my yellow and orange bedroom that felt like sunshine, happiness and warmth.

Today I invited my son and his girlfriend over for a big Sunday lunch. I made some of his favorites, baked some cookies afterward and we all enjoyed ourselves as we talked about one thing after another.

But before anyone set down to dinner, I came back into the living room from the kitchen and noticed that he was missing.  And as I glanced up, the light to his old room was on.

As I started up the hallway I don’t think I was quite prepared for what I saw. There he stood, in the middle of the room, not moving, just staring. Now that room still isn’t decorated, there are no pictures hung, but the bed is now made, and the mule dresser has some odd and end things already sitting on it.

Zach has never been one to show much emotion, but in that instant, I saw on his face the feelings that I felt all those years ago. That feeling of how different everything looked now, how quickly we were able to make that change as if he were never there at all, and how if even just a little bit, he was missing everything that room used to mean to him.

Well, truth be told, that’s the number one reason I made the decision not to move into his room when he left. It’s obviously the bigger of our two bedrooms as it was once two rooms, but now made into one, but I just couldn’t see myself in there – being comfortable trying to sleep in that room – as if it had never belonged to him.

I was sure I’d still be imagining his hunting gear lying everywhere, boys paying Xbox on his couch, sleep-overs with sneaking-out friends, stinking football gear strewn across the floor, and the laughter, my gosh at the hooting laughter that went on in that room. How would I ever sleep – still seeing and hearing that going on all around me? Plus, I’m still feeling disconnected and a little lost myself.

And besides, nothing in this world gets rid of that permeating “boy” smell. Not even peach potpourri. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Big Cleanse

When everything around you seems to be falling apart, raging out of control, and at every turn, hope for anything good again seems to be lost; start over. Find new ways to recreate your own goodness and bring order back into your own life.

Because as bad as it feels to say it, there’s not an awful lot we as individuals can do about all the hate and destruction that is taking over the world. We can live right, we can be kind, we can be compassionate and we can love one another – but there are wars being fought right now – right here in the United States of America – that we have absolutely no way of making anyone understand that peace for one, will always bring peace for all.

When things feel out of control for me the only way I know how to cleanse from within is to purge. And that’s exactly what my husband and I began doing this weekend.

Because I have drug you all thru my trials and tribulations of the emptying of my nest for the past 6 months or so, you all already know that my youngest child has moved out of our home.

Well for those who have not experienced that yet, let me explain something to you – when they leave, it seems they pack up and take all the things that are important to them, to their survival and for their immediate needs. The rest, well the rest continues to sit in one big clutter-pile until you decide you’ve had enough, you get in there and bag it up, load it up, and take it to them – which is exactly what I did.

I couldn’t seem to completely move on myself as long as things were in such disarray. But once his old room was clean, and empty, it was time to move on to the shed; formally known as his “man cave”.

You know outdoor sheds and other “holding” areas for items you are “saving” should almost be against the law. Because you know full well, that most of us have some “pack rat” in us – and most everything we have ever spent money on, we can think of a reason to keep it.

And that is where we started the King Daddy Dog of purges this past Saturday morning. Our shed also has a loft on either side of the top. So you can only imagine just how much STUFF this shed can hold at any given time.

Now mind you, this shed is like a 12x30 size, so it’s not any small structure and it was PACKED. It was also 110 degrees on the inside of that thing and after about 2 hours of heaving things to the floor for the trash pile, we were both pouring sweat and looking for a way out.

The purge/cleanse is about half-way complete. I am at a stand-still until my son decides what to do with his musical instruments, foosball table, ping pong table, and dart board. There may be a big yard sale in my future. Stay tuned. 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

We All Bleed - Red, White and Blue

In just a few days, cities and towns all over the world will be gearing-up for the holiday celebration of the 4th of July. The holiday which declares our symbols of freedom and our appreciation to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

My grand what a mess this world is in; everywhere you turn there is disaster, trauma, and sadness, whether it’s some made from nature or others made by man.  There are fires raging out of control in California and homes by the hundreds destroyed with no relief in sight. Hundreds of brave firemen fighting an uncontrollable monster with teeth of flames biting at the edges of land yet to burn.

There is flooding in West Virginia like nothing those folk have ever seen. People standing in knee-deep water looking at nothingness, spaces of land where their homes used to be. Where they used to laugh, grill hot dogs and hamburgers, and shoot off fireworks on holidays like this. They won’t be celebrating anything this year other than life itself – the fact that they are still alive – even if they only have the clothes on their bodies and the empty land on which they still stand, as the body count continues to rise.

I’m sure to these people they feel as if they are all alone, that no one else is even aware of what they are going through – except for the national news reminder every night – the reminder that many of us forget about as soon as the newest show of Jeopardy airs right after.

I lived in Albany, Georgia during the Flood of 94’. There is nothing like the feeling when you’re packing up to leave, trying to decide what to leave and what to take, or the absolute fear and feeling of desperation that almost overcomes you and paralyzes your body movements and your thought processes.

And then, after it is all over, you come back home to sights your eyes nor mind could have ever imagined, and the sadness is so overwhelming you’re left wondering will life ever be the same again? The ruination is so much worse than anything you think you have ever seen on television – and you cry – for yourself and for everyone who is experiencing loss.

There will still be celebrations this year and there will still be cook-out’s, fireworks, sack races, and small children running around dressed in red, white and blue with sparklers held in their tight little hands, and smiles on their faces with no cares in the world.

My hope is that even though we are not sheathed in sadness or overrun with fire and rain, that as we all spend time with our family and friends – we take the time to remember why we have these freedoms, why we are lucky enough to live in the greatest place on earth, and say a prayer for those who are struggling and having a hard time trying to remember their own happy times from better days.

We ARE the greatest show on earth – God Bless the USA.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

A New Beginning

The last few weeks many changes have been taking place and with those changes have been many more visits transpiring from Quincy folk to Georgia and Georgia folk to Quincy. Loads of furniture have traveled those all too familiar roads from one place to another, and things that were common staples years ago, will now be put to use again.

There was an attic full of old relics, pictures, and furniture – some of it even dating back to my own teenager days – that were used by myself so many years ago. I’ll admit feelings of melancholy occurred a couple of times as things were unwrapped and I was left standing looking at articles that my own hands touched more than 38 years ago now.

My youngest son’s new home is just about ready to move into – it’s been painted through-out the inside, the bathroom has been re-walled, and the kitchen has been re-floored.  The outside shutters, front door and railing have also been re-painted and trees/bushes have been cut-down and dug-up.

So although he hasn’t moved in quite yet – it’s already full of “new” furniture to help him fill-up a new home, pictures to make it feel warm and lived-in, and several rugs to place on the hardwood floors that will be cold come winter time.

But I too, will also have an empty room in my home – so I too, have also been receiving “new” furniture to fill my own empty spaces. It will all start happening in the next week or so – the final round will begin, and although I think I am ready, only time will tell once I have an empty room where a very active young man used to live.

What in the world will it look like without fishing gear, hunting guns, diving masks and duck calls lying about all over the place? Or his nightstand that stays piled with historical stories of president’s and wars, and his book-marked bible? Or the piles of clothes scattered here and there that always leave me wondering what is clean and what is not. Or the six pairs of cowboy boots that stand in a line, tucked just under one side of his bed, that I ALWAYS inevitably stump one of my toes on.

It’s the same room that I pass on the way to my own bedroom just across the hall, where I could lie in my bed and hear him if he called out, if he was coughing or sick, or just sit up and know at 1am, because the door was now shut, that he was home safe and sound.

I have already bought a new bedspread for my about-to-be guest room, it’s bright with colorful flowers. And now I have some “new” pictures, lamps, and a chair that were given to me from my folks that will go beautifully with what I already have – for a nice fresh start.

But my heart has to wonder, if at first, Zach will feel as strange in his new home, as I will with my newly-decorated room? Nahhhhhh….he’ll probably never even look back.