Saturday, April 23, 2016

Best Friends For Life

She was my best friend and I told her everything.  When she would laugh, her whole body would shake, the good kind of laugh, the most real of all, and Lord did we laugh.

She gave me the gift of reading and my love for books. She had books all over her house and most summers at least one day was dedicated to romping thru used book stores; the kind you could bring books in and trade/swap as well. 

She taught me how to cross-stitch and we made pot holders with that ropey looking stuff you tied on a frame, and she also taught me how to iron. I don't know how many other people are aware, but back in the day, every man's undershirt, handkerchiefs and undershorts were ironed. That was one of my favorite things to do and it sounds a little unreal since that is the thing I hate most to do now.

I never went to her house that she didn't have Fig Newton cookies, ice cream and the best oatmeal ever made. We would make homemade milkshakes using ice cream, milk, vanilla flavoring, sugar and a blender. She had these tin cups in all different colors that kept those shakes so cold, you had to wrap your cup with a paper towel to keep your fingers from sticking to the sides like tongue to ice.

She made real cinnamon toast too, not that fake cinnamon-sugar you buy now. She made her own with real sugar and cinnamon mixed. Every now and again a morning will come along that I make my own cinnamon-sugar toast, drink my cup of coffee and sit quietly thinking about her for a little while.

You could always find some kind of real homemade soup in her refrigerator.  My Granddaddy came home for lunch every day and had a bowl of soup and a sandwich every single day.

There was no dishwasher in their home and I loved washing her dishes. Her kitchen windows went almost all the way across the back of their house; they were huge, wide open windows. I would stand there and wash dishes and look out over her yard and right smack in the middle was a big, beautiful Sycamore tree.

The redwood deck that was on the back of their house went all the way across the back of the house. We would sit out there a lot, early mornings and later in the evenings after supper.  She was the hero of stray/wild cats. They all knew where to come for scraps and food, and her beautiful soul never let them down.

This week two of my favorite people in this world will celebrate birthdays, my grandmother in heaven and my oldest child Joshua will turn thirty years old. How perfect that when one best friend would be called to leave me, I would gain another beautiful person who would be another best friend for me one day.

Happy Birthday MaMa Eloise and Joshua, how fitting that your beautiful days of birth are so close together, just like your place in my heart.

copyright 2016 Michelle Mount Mims
Also previously published @ The Havana Herald

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Hometown Girls

I walked through those doors for the third time in less than a month. My knees were shakier than before, my stomach was in knots, and my nerves were completely shot.

I would give my name and take a seat next to my husband who had come with me that day as my much-needed support system. As I looked around the room filled with chairs and other people occupying those chairs, I couldn’t help but wonder about their journeys that day.  

Five minutes or so passed and suddenly I heard my name being shouted from the end of the hallway. I began to rise to a standing position, my husband squeezed my hand, and I walked towards the noise of my name like I was walking out a sentencing of some kind.

The nurse led me to a room, told me how to change my clothes – what to leave on and what to change out with another garment; she had no idea that I now knew that routine by heart.

Now this is where this story becomes a special one, so play close attention. I came out and took a seat with two other women – one was flipping through her cell phone and one was looking at a magazine; no one was talking.

I had been sitting there less than two minutes when the young lady closest to me begin to speak. She was talking about one thing or another – a garden they were trying to give a go again this year even though it didn’t go well last year, her son who was autistic which was the reason for the garden – she was hoping to be able to sell the vegetables for extra money for the special schooling he may require.

At some point the other lady also begin to talk, and before you know it, I was asking them both where they were from – because although we were sitting slap on the other side of Tallahassee – I knew those accents as good as I knew my own. One turned out to be originally from Quincy, and one lived in Hosford. I continued to let them ramble because Lord knows, I needed the distraction.

Soon my name would be called again, the nurse technician would explain everything that was about to happen to me, and again, her accent was also all too familiar. I was too nervous before the procedure, but afterwards I asked her where she was from, and she too was originally from Quincy Florida. All those stories go deeper than just hometown acquaintance’s – and would take too long to tell, but we would all know some of the same people – and we would all be in awe of the strange coincidence that found us together that day.

Three and a half weeks, two mammograms and a biopsy later, I am blessed to say that my end results were benign; and those three women were a gift from God that day – of that I am convinced. I can only hope that I was the same comfort for them.

Ladies – get your annual mammograms – always.

copyright Michelle Mount Mims
Also previously published @ The Havana Herald

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Birds and Blooms

Well, true to my word, this weekend we did exactly what I told you needed to be done last week – our yard got a much over-due manicure.  

Late Saturday afternoon, my husband and I piled-up in the truck and headed out to Lowes for all the things it takes to create a spring landscape, plus everything else I managed to put my eyes and hands on and sneak onto the cart.

We rolled out of there with one of those big iron-dolly-carts stacked high. A huge bag of potting soil, another huge bag of bird feed, six Boston ferns, two big handle-trays of marigolds - one of them orange and yellow mixed, and one of them huge yellow blooms about the size of two half-dollar coins.

Three miniature multi-colored petunia baskets to hang on the beautiful three-pronged plant holder my

husband made for me about three years ago. A couple of pots of Gerber daisy’s – one red and one orange and a big pot of the newest Gerber creation called Lollipop. One huge red geranium – I try and have at least one of those every year as it’s one of my mama’s favorites and it always reminds me of her.
And last but not least, a new flag pole for our back yard shed, as the last one snapped in-two a couple of months ago and we had yet to replace it.  When we finally rolled up to the register, we looked like every cashier’s nightmare and every store owner’s dream.

The plan was to begin Makeover on Mims House – first thing Sunday morning. I knew it was supposed to be a nice, cool morning; perfect conditions for all the work we had ahead of us.

Complete with the services of Helms and Carter Lawncare and Landscaping – courtesy of our son Zach Helms - he pulled-in with their big-rig trailer full of everything one would need to bring a yard back to life. He cut the grass, edged the curbs and driveway, applied the weed eater to some much neglected areas, and then finished off with the spreading of fertilizer and weed killer.

My husband pulled all of the old pine straw off of all the lantana beds. The lantana in all three beds were already bursting-up through the straw, and the Amarillo’s around the mailbox are also about set to bloom as well.

Next, my husband and I cleaned out and refreshed pots of dirt, re-planting and transferring pretty flowers for hours – working off the tailgate of my truck. It’s the perfect height for me, no stooping and half-bending that would be sure to bring on a backache afterward, and most likely a couple of trips to the chiropractor next week. 

Before we could get our part finished, the birds were already enjoying the fresh food in their feeders. Cardinals flying in from all directions, poking their beaks in and out of the feeder and eying the fresh water that also filled their bird-bath nearby.

Now I can just sit on my glider and watch it all finish developing - in slow, beautiful motion.

copyright 2016 Michelle Mount Mims
Also previously published @ The Havana Herald

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Let It Rain

You wake-up to rain, you go about your day in the rain, and you lay down to sleep to the continuing sound of rain. Then you wake-up for the next three days and do it all over again.

I had such big plans for Good Friday. I was of course grocery shopping for our family dinner that was planned for Saturday. But I was also, planning a trip to Lowes to buy some spring flowers for all of my front porch planters, and maybe some new hanging ferns as well.

Everybody wants their lawns and home looking nice and spiffed-up for Easter weekend. My son and his business partner worked their selves like dogs last week trying to fertilize, lay straw beds, and manicure lawns for the big holiday and all the out of town company it was sure to bring in.

Their labored-doggedness continued into Saturday morning, through the pouring rain at times, all in the name of customer service and pleasing folk.

This was the first year I can remember in a very long time, that my own lawn and home was not Easter ready; but sometimes that’s just the way it works out.

We did however have my folks down for a visit, had our version of Easter dinner on Saturday, along with Zach and Hannah, myself and my husband. I fixed a huge pot roast with new potatoes and carrots, baby lima beans, fresh turnips and rolls. And of course, a family favorite – Dirt Pie for dessert.

The day was filled with lots of story-telling and laughter as my parents had not yet had the pleasure of meeting Hannah, but by the end of the day, everybody was smiling and laughing, and no one would have ever known that hours prior – they were meeting as strangers.

And today, Easter Sunday, the rain continues. The grass appears to have advanced three shades of green in the last 72 some odd hours, the jasmine around my front yard swing is popping with the beginning of blooms, and my pink fringe bushes have left literal bloom-drippings draped all over the ground below them.

The new leaves and limbs on my Drake Elms look as though they are hanging by a thread, totally drenched with water, and in desperate need of some sunlight, although they too, have grown in leaps and bounds.

The leaves on my Knock Out rose bushes are blush-red and beginning to extend into what are always the biggest and prettiest blooms.

But my porch still looks incredibly dreary, with no color or signs of life in sight. My macho ferns, the only ferns to make it through the winter this year, are still standing tall and majestic in their huge black planter urns, but even they look incredibly lonely with none of their flower-rooted-friends to flank their sides.

I’m hoping there are some sunny days ahead.  I’m ready to load-up my truck with marigolds, petunia’s and anything that brings beautiful splashes of color to the eyes.  I’m ready for my yard to come alive with flowers, birds and butterflies. I’m finally ready for spring. 

copyright 2016 Michelle Mount Mims
Also previously published @ The Havana Herald