August 30, 2007

The Nice Customer

I'm a nice customer, you all know me. I'm the one who never complains, no matter how bad the service I receive. I'll just stand and wait while the clerk works on some paperwork, or talks on the phone. Sometimes, someone who came in after me gets waited on first. When the clerk says, "Oh, I'm sorry. I'll be with you in a minute," I don't complain. I just wait. I never scream, I never nag. I never criticize. I would never make a scene in public.

You see, I will remain the "nice customer" without getting excited or upset, because my revenge is much more effective. I'm also the customer who never comes back. A "nice customer" like me, multiplied by others of my kind, could just about ruin a business...and there are many people like me around. When we have been pushed far enough, we go down the street to the competition.

He laughs best who laughs last! I laugh when I see you spending your money frantically on advertising to get me back...when you could have won me, and kept me as a customer with a few kind words, and a smile.

Okay, okay...I guess I can wake up now...all of that is just a dream, espcially in this day and age. Maybe, a few years ago, in another time, it may have been like that. The cold hard fact now, though, is that common courtesy has gone by the wayside for the most part, and good luck to you if you think going down the street to the competition makes any difference at all. I'm speaking, of course, of the merchandising business.

Hopefully, it is different when it comes to other services, such as your medical provider. I think that they will think twice if you take a stand there...they've got an awful lot to lose for sloppy services rendered--like maybe a license to practice, and a whole bunch of money!

Kids and Angels

I only know the names of two angels. Hark and Harold. Gregory, 5

Everybody's got it all wrong. Angels don't wear halos
anymore. I forget why, but scientists are working
on it. Olive, 9

It's not easy to become an angel! First, you die.
Then you go to heaven, and then there's still the
Flight training to go through. And then you got to
agree to wear those angel clothes. Matthew, 9

Angels work for God and watch over kids when
God has to go do something else. Mitchell, 7

My guardian angel helps me with math,
But he's not much good for science. Henry, 8

Angels don't eat, but they drink milk from Holy Cows!!! Jack, 6

Angels talk all the way while they're flying
you up to heaven. The main subject is where
you went wrong before you got dead. Daniel, 9

When an angel gets mad, he takes a deep breath
and counts to ten. And when he lets out his breath, somewhere there's a tornado. Reagan, 10

Angels have a lot to do and they keep very busy.
If you lose a tooth, an angel comes in through your window and leaves money under your pillow.
Then when it gets cold, angels go north for the winter. Sara, 6

Angels live in cloud houses made by God and
his son, who's a very good carpenter. Jared, 8

All angels are girls because they gotta wear
Dresses and boys didn't go for it. Antonio, 9

My angel is my grandma who died last year.
She got a big head start on helping me while
She was still down here on earth. Katelynn, 9

Some of the angels are in charge of helping
heal sick animals and pets. And if they don't
make the animals get better, they help the
child get over it. Vicki, 8

What I don't get about angels is why, when
someone is in love, they shoot arrows at them.Sarah, 7

August 29, 2007

All That Is Required...

I read something recently about the UK removing The Holocaust from their school curriculum. It proved to be a rumor...a hoax. It was said that it was being done so as not to offend their Muslim population. Even so, there are still those who deny that the holocaust ever happened--Iran being one of the most vocal about it. Radical Muslims are not our friends--they've made that quite clear. Their one passionate goal is to see that all infidels--that being anyone who is not of their faith--are wiped from the face of the earth.

During that horrible time in German history, over six million Jews, and several millions of others, including Russians, those of Polish descent, Christians, and others who were considered inferior, perished. They were massacred, burned, starved, and stripped of all human dignity, all while many were pretending that it wasn't happening.

It did happen, and more and more, in order to be politically correct, we are bending our own convictions, and giving up some of our own rights, so that those of the Muslims, and others are not offended-- and we, as a country, are just going along with it-- in much the same way that Germany went along with what was happening in that country.

Several years ago, I met an elderly man who had survived the holocaust. The tattoo of numbers was still visible on his forearm. Each time I saw that, I felt a little that, and at the still troubled, fearful expression in his eyes.

Edmund Burke, (1729-1797) an Irish orator, philosopher, and politician said, "All that is required for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing."

I don't want to forget that it ever happened in my friend's country, and I never want what caused that look in his eyes, to happen in mine.

August 28, 2007

Papa, Why?

Sometimes, we wonder why we think or feel about certain things as we do--how we develop concepts in our thinking, forming memories that trigger particular emotions--emotions that, sometimes, affect every aspect of our lives, when we least expect it.

For instance, when I was very young, I had a pretty little doll. Santa Claus brought it to me. The doll had a little rosebud of a mouth, and in the center of the rosebud, a little round hole, just large enough for a tiny, plastic nipple of a bottle of water, from which the doll, supposedly, drank. There was another hole in the doll, in the center of the buttocks.

When I examined the doll, I was very impressed. Now, Santa's elves were smart little creatures to think of putting a hole for the water to drain out of, because I thought that if you kept letting the doll drink water all the time, that it would fill up with water, if it didn't have a place to drip out, again.

One evening we had company. It was someone related to Papa, my step-grandfather--a brother, I think. Wanting to be nice, and to gain Papa's approval, I decided to show my doll to the company, which was a hard thing for me to do, because I was very bashful. Besides, if he stayed in a good mood, he wouldn't fuss so much at Big Mama.

Trying to be very courageous, I brought out the doll, and while displaying it, I explained that the hole in the mouth was for the water to go into, and assuming that they knew that the other hole was for the water to drain out of so that the doll wouldn't become full of water, and wanting to get the whole thing over and done with as quickly as possible, I simplified the matter by saying, "It goes in one end", and lifting up the dress, pointing to the hole there, said, "and it comes out the other."

Papa suddenly leapt from his chair, grabbing my arm, jerking my feet off the floor, spinning me around at the same time, and began to spank my buttocks and my legs with the open palm of his hand. Over and over again, making loud smacking sounds, taking my breath away, seeming to go on endlessly.

Finally, he sat me down hard on a chair, and said, "Now, ain't you ashamed of yourself--acting ugly like that!" I sat there, everyone's eyes upon me. Hot, scalding tears poured down my cheeks, turned red with shame and humiliation. I tried to think, through the stinging pain coming from the big, palm-shaped red welts, now covering my legs, why I was supposed to be ashamed of myself.

Later on, lying in bed, tears still streaming down my cheeks, running into my ears, I could hear Papa fussing at Big Mama, far into the night--berating her over "Sarah's young'un actin' ugly like that," and saying, "Sarah needs to be kicked to hell and back for giving her vulgar stuff like that!" But that didn't make any sense at all--hadn't Santa Claus left that doll for me? And I still couldn't figure out what awful thing I had done--but it must have been awful, because now I felt so sick and ashamed.

My doll was taken away from me, and disposed of because of my shameful, and vulgar, behavior. It was sometime later that I realized what that little hole in the doll's bottom was supposed to be, and what the water that came out of it represented. I was pretty sure that they knew, too, which was probably the reason that Papa was so angry with me--but I wondered why nobody bothered to tell me. Some things you just have to find out for yourself. The hard way.

But it's funny, I never felt the same about Papa after that--and the next time that he put his hand under my skirt, and touched me, "down there, " I was going to tell Big Mama. No matter how much he said, "If you tell on me, I'll whip you good!"

The Way Kids See It

STORY OF ELIJAH The Sunday school teacher was carefully explaining the story of Elijah the Prophet and the false prophets of Baal. She explained how Elijah built the altar, put wood upon it, cut a steer in pieces, and laid it upon the altar. And then, Elijah commanded the people of God to fill four barrels of water and pour it over the altar. He had them do this four times "Now, asked the teacher, "Can anyone in the class tell me why the Lord would have Elijah pour water over the steer on the altar?" A little girl in the back of the room started waving her hand, "I know! I know!" she said, "To make the gravy!"
LOT 'S WIFE The Sunday School teacher was describing how Lot 's wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt,when little Jason interrupted, "My Mommy looked back once, while she was driving," he announced triumphantly, "and she turned into a telephone pole!"
GOOD SAMARITAN A Sunday school teacher was telling her class the story of the Good Samaritan, in which a man was beaten, robbed and left for dead. She described the situation in vivid detail so her students would catch the drama. Then, she asked the class, "If you saw a person lying on the roadside, all wounded and bleeding, what would you do?" A thoughtful little girl broke the hushed silence, "I think I'd throw up."
DID NOAH FISH? A Sunday school teacher asked, "Johnny, do you think Noah did a lot of fishing when he was on the Ark ?""No," replied David. "How could he, with just two worms?"
HIGHER POWER A Sunday school teacher said to her children, " We have been learning how powerful kings and queens were in Bible times. But, there is a higher power. Can anybody tell me what it is?" One child blurted out, "Aces!"
MOSES AND THE RED SEA Nine-year-old Joey, was asked by his mother what he had learned in Sunday school. "Well, Mom, our teacher told us how God sent Moses behind enemy lines on a rescue mission to lead the Israelites out of Egypt . When he got to the Red Sea , he had his army build a pontoon bridge and all the people walked across safely. Then, he radioed headquarters for reinforcements. They sent bombers to blow up the bridge and all the Israelites were saved." "Now, Joey, is that really what your teacher taught you?" his mother asked. "Well, no, Mom. But, if I told it the way the teacher did, you'd never believe it!"
THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD A Sunday School teacher decided to have her young class memorize one of the most quoted passages in the Bible; Psalm 23. She gave the youngsters a month to learn the verse. Little Rick was excited about the task -- but, he just couldn't remember the Psalm. After much practice, he could barely get past the first line. On the day that the kids were scheduled to recite Psalm 23 in front of the congregation, Ricky was so nervous. When it was his turn, he stepped up to the microphone and said proudly, "The Lord is my Shepherd, and that's all I need to know."
THE QUILT Sunday after church, a Mom asked her very young daughter what the lesson was about. The daughter answered, "Don't be scared, you'll get your quilt "Needless to say, the Mom was perplexed. Later in the day, the pastor stopped by for tea and the Mom asked him what that morning's Sunday school lesson was about. He said "Be not afraid, thy comforter is coming."

Words of Wisdom

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others,you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

~Max Ehrmann, Desiderata

August 27, 2007

Close Your Eyes

All this stuff about school starting back, and all the writing and talking about it, has stirred up one of my memories about it...well, about school, anyway.

This was one of my first grade experiences, a few years past Eugene the Traitor, and I was in love again. His name was Micky, and he had a head-full of platinum curls, and he is the type, I'm sure who grew up to be some kinda goregeous hunk! But I digress.

Micky was in love with me, too, because he told me so. We declared our love, in a note, passed from one desk to the other, until it reached its intended destination. It was printed by Micky, on a scrap of notebook paper, and said, I love you. Do you love me. Put yes or no. It had two lines drawn, one for "yes", and one for "no." With trembling hand, I printed "yes" in the designated spot, and sent it back from whence it came.

In school, in those days, in all classrooms, , the first order of business was to say The Pledge of Allegiance, and The Lord's Prayer. It didn't take long at all to learn it by heart. It was especially easy for me to learn, because I just loved words--hippotamus being the very first one I learned to spell, long before being old enough to go to school. But, again, I digress.

One morning we were saying the Pledge of Allegiance, and The Lord's Prayer. I always closed my eyes when we said The Lord's Prayer, but this one morning, I opened my eyes, for only a second, to get a glimpse of Micky, and there he was staring right back at me. I blushed with pleasure knowing he was looking at me.

When the prayer was over, I heard Micky, "Miz Whiteside! Miz Whiteside!" he was yelling,and waving his hand to get her attention. "What is it, Mickey?" she asked.

"Miz Whiteside, when we were saying the Lord's Prayer, Janice didn't have her eyes closed!"
My heart was pounding, and I couldn't believe my ears! Micky, The Boy of My Dreams, was telling on me! I could feel the heat in my face, as I dropped my head in shame, thinking that I sure never wanted to look at him again!

"Micky," came Miz Whiteside's voice of sheer wisdom, "if you hadn't had your eyes open looking at Janice, you wouldn't have seen that her eyes weren't closed." I just had to look up so I wouldn't miss his moment of humiliation, too. Needless to say, that was the end of our romance.

Thinking back over some of my experieces in love at such a young age, I realize now, why I had to kiss so many frogs before finally finding my prince.

School Daze

It looks like school is back in session all over the place, and in some places, stirring up controversy. Down home, it's all about the weather, and up here, at least where I am, it's about the clothes.

Schools here have a new person in authority who is laying down the law about school dress. No more baggy pants, oversized tees and other clothing, no gansta type garb, no jeans for the boys. For the girls, no shorts and low-cut tops, no lingerie-type clothing. In other words, the boys must not look like gangstas, and the girls must not look like sluts. It's slacks, shirt, and tie, for the guys, and skirts, and blouses for the girls.

Needless to say, not everyone is all gung-ho about these new rules, but they are being enforced. Many, thinking they could still dress as they pleased, were sent back home the first day...tut suite!

Some parents are giving it full support, and some are decrying the fact that their 'self-expression' is being taken away from their little dears.

For those of you who may be thinking that maybe the families couldn't afford a whole new wardrobe just to comply with a silly old school rule, the fact is, that they are given resources to help them comply.

If they would just stop to think about it, they would realize that considering all of the extenuating circumstances, that it's a good thing.

August 26, 2007

A Matter of Faith

Jesus has a very special love for you. As for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear.- Mother Teresa to the Rev. Michael Van Der Peet, September 1979

The past few days, I have been reading about Mother Teresa's crisis of faith.

Well, it does come, somewhat, as a surprise, but I have my own view of this.

I think she exemplifies the true meaning of faith. In spite of her feeling of the lack of it, and not feeling the Lord's presence, apparently for several years, she continued on in the work that she felt that she had been called to do. I think that is a true test of faith...never feeling His presence, but staying faithful anyway.

Who knows but what she would have become puffed up and proud, considering all of the accolades which she received during her lifetime? She, according to what I have read about her, was one of the most humble people in the world. But maybe, if she had not begun to have doubts about certain aspects of her faith, if she always felt nothing but joy in the presence of the Lord, perhaps she would have lost this humility.

If we are honest, we all will admit to times of doubt, even though we may deny it to ourselves, and others. That usually happens during some awful time in our lives, or in the lives of our loved ones, but then when things get better, our faith returns (it never really left) and we bask in the realization of the goodness of God, and we are okay again.

I think that she may have been suffering from depression, undiagnosed, and not aware of it. She was surrounded by poverty, pain, and suffering on a daily basis. It was something that she could never get away from. She was bombarded with the needs of hurting, and suffering humanity, and I'm sure that she felt overwhelmed with the vastness, and intensity of it, and she must have felt hopeless...but that is not something that she could allow others to see in herself.

I think that the fact that she wrote letters to Jesus, mentioning her lack of faith, spoke volumes about this woman. The fact that she questioned herself, to me, shows just how humble she really was.

Did her faith really leave her? No, I don't think so.

Did You Ever Wonder

Have you ever felt this way? I'll bet a lot of us one time or another. I have.

Sometimes, I wonder what it's all about. What is this dissatisfaction I feel, even in the midst of what some think of as the good life? What is that which keeps nipping and tugging at the back of my mind--never quite letting me get the feel of, or really get caught up in, all that's going on around me?

Why this feeling of detachment, of not being with it--as if I'm standing back, watching myself, and others perform? I sometimes feel as if that's exactly what it is--a perfomance, a roll we've been assigned to play. Worst of all, I wonder which roll I'm playing, because I don't really know who I am--and I wonder if we make what or who we are, or does what we are, make us?Have we the choice to become what we really want to be--regardless of how others view us--or do we conform to the way they think we should be?

To whom do we owe the responsibility of what we are, or shall become? To ourselves, or to others who are totally without concept of the way we feel--of what we are really feeling? Is all this the reason why someone, long ago, was compelled to say "To thine ownself be true," and yet, how can I be true to the self I do not know? And how do I find out who I really am? Will I ever know, or am I supposed to go on playing the roll--on, and on, and on-- until Someone,
finally, calls "Curtain!"

I know that there are times of confusion about the people and events in our lives. We will always have our times of sorrow, and anguish, and we feel as if life might as well be over, because there is no hope. There are times when happiness seems to elude us like a flitting butterfly, but try to look at it all in perspective. Just keep reaching for tomorrow. It's still there.

August 25, 2007

Mama and Daddy

Maybe some of you, who read that last post, thought that I wrote it about me. It could have been written for a lot of people, I know, but I wrote it, thinking of Mama and Daddy.

You know, I told you about how she, and my real father, had been divorced when I was just a baby, and then when I was eight years old, she remarried.

From the very first time I saw him, I began calling him Daddy...and that's what he was to me, always, no matter what.

Daddy had been born and raised on Sand Mountain. Many of you could never imagine the kind of existence that entailed. Not only for himself, but for just about anyone in those days. It was pure, abject poverty, lived out by those uneducated, and certainly no resources which may be acquired nowadays.

Daddy was uneducated, his daddy was, and I'm sure it was that way back through all the generations of his family.

I knew my step-grandfather for only a short time. He died a few years after Mama and Daddy married. I'm not sure, exactly about his character, per se, as to the kind of worker he was, as far as trying to provide for his family.

He was a tall, handsome man, even in his later years. It seems that all of the men in that family were exceptionally handsome, especially when they were younger. I think he was well aware of that, too...being handsome, I mean.

Living out in the country, which is where everyone there lived, not many of them ever venturing into the small town, other than to pick up a few things that they might need, such as tobacco, or a few commodities. That's what I meant about not knowing his character. Most folks tried to farm, and grow most of the food they needed, or raised hogs, or cattle, if they could, but I don't think he did much of that.

I don't know about many of those details, but I know that it would have been during the depression, or there-abouts, that Daddy would have been growing up. Times would have been tough all over, and it would have been a struggle for survival for most folks.

That isn't all that made it hard on Daddy, though. He was horribly abused by his father. He had been a harsh, and cruel man, who was a bootlegger. So maybe, that is how he got by, but from what Daddy said, he drank as much of it as he sold. Not only that, but he gave it to Daddy to drink when he was only a child. Daddy said that he got drunk for the first time when he was three years old on "white lightening."

His father beat him, not always for any good reason. It was not in the way that one normally thinks of in the way of punishment for a child's innocent misbehavior. It was with fists, or a wooden chair, and once, he said that he woke up from unconciousness, with rain dripping onto his face from the roof. He had been knocked unconcious with a two-by-four-- trying to defend his mama from his daddy --and dragged over there by the side of the house. He finally left home, and married at fifteen years of age.

Maybe, that's why he always drank, and no matter how hard he tried, he never got to the place where he could stop. Oh, it wasn't a matter of drinking every single day, but when he did drink, it would be for four or five days straight. I think he just had too many demons, too much torment, from memories that never left him.

I told you all this because, even as bad as that was, Daddy still had a big heart. He would give you the shirt off his back, and as I have said before, he was a very proud man. He wouldn't accept anything that he couldn't repay, and he was a hard worker. Right after he married Mama, about a year later, we moved to another town, and he was hired at the local Army facility in that town. He didn't make a lot of money as a laborer, but it kept a roof over our heads, and food on the table. We moved around a lot, around town, but it was never into anything better than what we were moving out of, but he always thought so, and took pride in that.

The only thing was, that Daddy still had that same mentality, prevalent in his own dad. He was handsome, and he knew it, and even though he loved Mama--in his own way, and as much as he was capable of loving anyone-- he went out with other women. Not only that, but he thought that it was his right to do so. And he did it often, sometimes leaving Mama, and staying with the other woman for days, and at one time, months at a time.

Once, he told Mama this story about going deep-sea fishing in Florida, and was supposed to meet the guy he was going with over at his house. He never asked her to go along on these jaunts, and never even asked if it was alright with her if he was going to be gone for a week. She was a woman, and he was a man --that's just the way it was.

What he didn't know, is that she was suspicious, and had a pretty good idea where he was headed, which was a few blocks from their house. As soon as he left in his car, she left on foot, and sure enough, when she got there, there he stood out in the yard, practicing his casting with his rod and reel.

Just about the same time that he spotted her, the other woman stepped outside, and Mama tackled her like a linebacker! They rolled all over the yard, across the sidewalk, and right out into the street. A city bus had pulled up and stopped, and the passengers were cheering her on, like crazy!

Finally, Daddy got Mama off of her, and told her to get home, and he would be right behind her. She left, but he didn't go right behind her. He and the other woman went on their fishing trip to Florida. Daddy brought back pictures, showing all the big fish he caught, but many of them, which were taken of the two of them, had one side torn away, and had only Daddy standing there with his big grin and his prize catch.

I'm sure that some of you may be wondering how I could still feel so much affection for him, seeing as how he had treated my mother like that. All I can say is that he loved me from the start, he was always good to me, and treated me with respect, and I loved him...he was my Daddy.

I asked Mama once, after I was grown, why she had married him, and why did she stay with him. Her answer was simple, and from the heart. "Because I love him, Janice...I always did, and I always will."

Love covers a multitude of sins.

You'll Catch More Flies With Honey

You'll catch more flies with honey

Big Mama used to say

But it's been my experience

It's quite the other way

You said you'd never cheat on me

You'd never run around

But now I've heard all about

That new love you've found

She'll use you up, and put you down

She'll torture and deny you

When she's really done with you

She'll try to crucify you

Nothing I've held back from you

I tried to make life sunny

Still you prefer her vinegar

Much more than my honey

August 24, 2007

You Can Be Sure

Your sins WILL find you out!

Sharecropper's Shack

Remember the story about mama's mortification over the stolen chicken? Well, the little sharecropper's shack that we lived in looked just like this picture. It's not the house--this one may be a little bigger, but when I saw this, I was taken aback, because at first I thought I was looking at the very house!

When Mama remarried, she was working in another state, and I was living with my grandmother in Georgia.

I remember when Big Mama told me that Mama had gotten married, and they would be there in a few days. Mama got married! That meant I would have a daddy. At last, a daddy! I could hardly contain my was all I could think about, and I must have asked Big Mama a thousand questions about him, but she knew no more than I did.

At last the day came, and Big Mama and I were standing out in the yard, looking up the dirt driveway that led up to our house. Finally, we saw them coming, walking up the road, having walked from the bus station in town. My heart felt as if it might burst! There was Mama. My little short mama with the shining blond hair. And next to her, a tall, handsome man with curly dark hair.

They were walking with their arms around each others' waist, and I just started running toward them as fast as I could run! When I got about halfway there, he knelt down and held out his arms to me, and I ran into them, and he swung me up in the air, putting me on his shoulders, a leg hanging over each one, and he carried me, laughing that laugh that only Daddy could laugh, the rest of the way back to the house. From that second on, he became my Daddy until the very second he died--while I was holding him.

Mama had met him in the town where she worked. He was a widower with six children, whose wife had been dead for over a year. The next day after they got there, we got on a bus going to Alabama, to a place called Sand Mountain. All the way there, I kept expecting to see a big old mountain made of sand, but it was called that because of the soil in that particular part of Alabama, and of course, it was up the mountain.

When we got there, one of his nephews met us and took us home. And what we went to was a little house which looked just like the one in this picture.Daddy was a sharecropper, and this was the sharecropper's shack. It had two rooms, and a smaller little room which was the kitchen. That was it. And we , Mama and Daddy, and five of my step-siblings (the oldest son was on his own) all lived in that little house.

I had never seen anything like it in my life. Big Mama wasn't rich, but she had nice things. This house had a plank floor, with cracks wide enough to see the ground underneath, and plank walls with cracks wide enough to look out through in the winter to see the icicles hanging on the nearby trees. There was no bathroom inside. It was down a little trail a little distance from the house. There was no running water. There was a well in the back of the house, though, with the coldest water you ever tasted. That supplied our drinking, cooking, and bathing water. A big old metal washtub was where we took our baths--in water heated in a special compartment of the woodstove in the kitchen.

It sounds primitive, I know--and it was. But for me, at that time, it was home. Home with a mama and a daddy--and oh yeah, some stinking mean stepsisters and a stepbrother, too. That might be another story.

Seasons of Life

There was an Indian Chief who had four sons. He wanted his sons to learn not to judge things too quickly. So he sent them each on a quest, in turn, to go and look at a pear tree that was a great distance away.
The first son went in the winter, the second in the spring, the third in summer, and the youngest son in the fall. When they had all gone and come back, he called them together to describe what they had seen.
The first son said that the tree was ugly, bent, and twisted.The second son said no it was covered with green buds and full of promise. The third son disagreed; he said it was laden with blossoms that smelled so sweet and looked so beautiful, it was the most graceful thing he had ever seen. The last son disagreed with all of them; he said it was ripe and drooping withfruit, full of life and fulfillment.
The man then explained to his sons that each of them had reported correctly, because they had each seen but one season in the tree's life. He told them that you cannot judge a tree, or a person, by only one season,and that the essence of who they are and the pleasure, joy, and love that come from that life can only be measured at the end, when all the seasons are passed.
If you give up when it's winter, you will miss the promise of your spring, the beauty of your summer, the fulfillment of your fall.
Moral: Don't let the pain of one season destroy the joy of all the rest. Don't judge life by one difficult season. Persevere through the difficult seasons and better ones are sure to come.

August 23, 2007

Kool-Aid or Coffee

"Kool-Aid, or coffee?" She stuck her head around the door between the kitchen and the livingroom.

"Coffee," I said, remembering how she watered down the Kool-Aid. I could hear the sounds of lids being unscrewed and taken off jars of peanut butter and jelly, and the crinkle of bread wrapper. She was making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the kids--everyday, the same old thing for lunch, for the kids, and for Liz, too.

I asked her one day, if the kids got tired of it. "Perhaps," she said, wiping the stickiness from the table for the umpteenth time, "but they're just little, and with what Roger gives me for groceries, I have to stretch it as far as I can. He'd have a fit, though, if he didn't get meat every night for dinner."

"Here you go." She set the coffee mug down on the table in front of me. She sank down into her chair, and rested her hand across closed eyes.

"He didn't come home last night. Didn't call or anything. Last time I saw him yesterday, he was going to pick up that part for his motorcycle. Said he was going on to work from there, but he didn't come home after work, either." She leaned over and pretended to pick lint from the worn, braided rug she had just vacuumed.

"I bet he went to Fontana. A friend of his called the other day from there--said they were gonna have some cycle races, or something." She twirled a twig of long auburn hair around her finger, her brown, fawn-like eyes looked about to spill over.

I took a sip of the too-hot coffee--watered down, too, today. "Don't worry, Liz," I said, feeling sorry for her. "He's alright--probably be home before long." She had told me about the times he had cheated on her.

"Yeah, I know, but it's not just that." She twisted around in her chair so that she was looking at me. "You'll never guess who called me this morning. My mother," she said flatly.

"You gotta be kidding!" I knew her mother hadn't spoken to her since she had married Roger. Liz was from a wealthy family there in California. Prominent. Her father was a renown obstetrician/gynecologist. Her mother was very proper, and very "la-ti-da", as Liz described her, and it was she who had most objected to her marrying Roger. "He's just a sailor, Liz," she had said disdainfully, so they had dated in secret.

She was four months pregnant before her mother finally found out about it.

"How could you be pregnant?" she had asked. "I checked the waste basket in your bathroom every month, and I know you had your periods."

Knowing that her mother always did that, she had wrapped a sanitary item in newspaper, and deposited it in the waste basket, for five days out of each month at the appropriate time.

"I'm phoning your father's office for an appointment," she had said angrily. Liz had begged her not to, and she had been humiliated nearly to death as her own father conducted a pelvic exam.

"Well," he had said, slipping off the glove and dropping it into the waste can. "Looks like you are about as pregnant as pregnant can be! How many times did he do it to you?" Her face had burned with embarrassment, and she snapped, "What difference does it make--one time is all it takes, isn't it?" Her father had laughed then.

When her pregnancy was confirmed, her mother had asked, "How could you do this to me? What are people going to think?" She had cared more about what other people would think than how Liz felt, and she put her through the agony of a large formal wedding--white gown and all. "They'll know anyway, Mother, in five months," she had cried--to no avail.

After the wedding, her mother told her that she never wanted anything to do with her again--and she hadn't--not even through the births of three grandchildren. Her father called, occasionally, and always sent money for the kids' birthdays, but her mother had held her grudge. But now she had called.

"What did she want?" She looked up, as if startled. She had been lost in her own thoughts.

" kid sister is getting married, and she wants me to be Matron of Honor--Mother said we might as well forget everything that's happened. She wants to come over tonight. I wonder if she knows my sister is three months pregnant? Father told me." She gave a harsh little laugh, "And wouldn't you know, it would have to be when Roger hasn't been home all night, and I don't know if he will be--and I don't even know where he is!"

She got up, slowly, looking more like an old woman in her movement, than the young, attractive woman that she was. She walked to the window and looked out.

"Maybe they were right about Roger--at least, now, Mother will get to say I told you so. I could hear the pain in her voice. I picked up the mug, taking the last swallow of lukewarm coffee.

In my vocabulary there was never any profanity--but at that moment, it was in my thoughts. "Damn you, Roger," I thought. "And damn you, Mrs. La-ti-da--damn you all, anyway!"

August 22, 2007

Potato Candy

1/2 cup mashed potatoes

powdered sugar

peanut butter

Combine the mashed potatoes, and powdered sugar, until firm enough to roll.

The mixture will be wet, but keep slowly adding the powdered sugar until it is the right consistency to roll out.

Sprinkle the powdered sugar onto a flat surface, and roll the mixture out into a thin layer.

Cover with peanut butter, and roll it up like a jelly roll.

Cut into even pieces.

For Women Only

When you have to visit a public bathroom, you usually find a line of women, so you smile politely and take your place. Once it's your turn, you check for feet under the stall doors. Every stall is occupied. Finally, a door opens and you dash in, nearly knocking down the woman leaving the stall. You get in to find the door won't latch. It doesn't matter, the wait has been so long you are about to wet your pants! The dispenser for the modern 'seat covers' (invented by someone's Mom, no doubt) is handy, but empty. You would hang your purse on the door hook, if there was one, but there isn't - so you carefully, but quickly drape it around your neck, (Mom would turn over in her grave if you put it on the FLOOR! ), yank down your pants, and assume ' The Stance.' In this position your aging, toneless thigh muscles begin to shake. You'd love to sit down, but you certainly hadn' t taken time to wipe the seat or lay toilet paper on it, so you hold 'The Stance.' To take your mind off your trembling thighs, you reach for what you discover to be the empty toilet paper dispenser. In your mind, you can hear your mother's voice saying, 'Honey, if you had tried to clean the seat, you would have KNOWN there was no toilet paper!' Your thighs shake more. You remember the tiny tissue that you blew your nose on yesterday - the one that's still in your purse. (Oh yeah, the purse around your neck, that now, you have to hold up trying not to strangle yourself at the same time). That would have to do. You crumple it in the puffiest way possible. It's still smaller than your thumbnail . Someone pushes your door open because the latch doesn't work. The door hits your purse, which is hanging around your neck in front of your chest, and you and your purse topple backward against the tank of the toilet. 'Occupied!' you scream, as you reach for the door, dropping your precious, tiny, crumpled tissue in a puddle on the floor, lose your footing altogether, and slide down directly onto the TOILET SEAT . It is wet of course. You bolt up, knowing all too well that it's too late. Your bare bottom has made contact with every imaginable germ and life form on the uncovered seat because YOU never laid down toilet paper - not that there was any, even if you had taken time to try. You know that your mother would be utterly appalled if she knew, because, you're certain her bare bottom never touched a public toilet seat because, frankly, dear, 'You just don't KNOW what kind of diseases you could get.' By this time, the automatic sensor on the back of the toilet is so confused that it flushes, propelling a stream of water like a fire hose against the inside of the bowl that sprays a fine mist of water that covers your behind and runs down your legs and into your shoes. The flush somehow sucks everything down with such force that you grab onto the empty toiletpaper dispenser for fear of being dragged in, too.
At this point, you give up. You're soaked by the spewing water and the wet toilet seat. You're exhausted. You try to wipe with a gum wrapper you found in your pocket and then slink out inconspicuously to the sinks. You can't figure out how to operate the faucets with the automatic sensors, so you wipe your hands with spit and a dry paper towel and walk past the line of women still waiting. You are no longer able to smile politely to them. A kind soul at the very end of the line points out a piece of toilet paper trailing from your shoe. (Where was that when you NEEDED it??) You yank the paper from your shoe, plunk it in the woman's hand and tell her warmly, 'Here, you just might need this.' As you exit, you spot your hubby, who has long since entered, used, and left the men's restroom. Annoyed, he asks, 'What took you so long, and why is your purse hanging around your neck?' This is dedicated to women everywhere who deal with public restrooms (rest??? you've GOT to be kidding!!). It finally explains to the men what really does take us so long. It also answers their other commonly asked questions about why women go to the restroom in pairs It's so the other gal can hold the door, hang onto your purse and hand you Kleenex under the door!

This HAD to be written by a woman! No one else could describe it so accurately...but I have no idea who that might have been!

The Banana

Have you ever stolen anything? I have. Well, at least that's what they called it...stealing. It was when I was just a little girl, maybe three or four, and we lived in that house on Canal Street.

Around the corner from the house, which would probably have been Main Street, there was a little grocery store. Hedgepeth's Grocery, or something like that. The people who owned it seemed old to me then--a lot older than Mama, anyway.

I loved that store. Besides shelves of canned goods, and such, they also had display cases filled with lots of pretty things, like little appliqued handkerchiefs, and trays of home-made candy. I went in there, everyday, either because Mama or Big Mama sent me to get something, or just to visit.

One day, while passing by, they had set stuff out in the front of the store, like fresh vegetables, and fruit. I spotted big bunches of bananas, which I just loved, and stood there, picking out the one I wanted. When I had done that, I took off running with my banana. Not running away, but running toward home, all excited at the thought that they were giving away free bananas.

On the way, I met Eugene. Eugene was the love of my life. He lived next door to us. We were going to get married. My mama, and his mama said we could. In fact, Big Mama had a long under-slip that I was going to use for my bridal train. When I tied the straps around my head, in front, the rest of the slip trailed over the back of my head, and down in back, reaching the floor. I was already learning how to make my princess tiara by tying the stems of clovers together, making a circle big enough to fit around my head. They said that we should get married in front of Big Mama's fireplace, but since it was summertime, we would have to wait until it got cold, so we could have a fire in the fireplace, and it would be much prettier that way.

I was so happy to see Eugene, until he said, "Ohhhh, you stole a banana." "No, I didn't," I said. He said, "Yes, you did, and I'm gonna tell your mama, " and ran off in the direction of his house, where my mama was visiting his mama.

Now, I was really scared! I didn't think that I had done anything wrong, but Eugene sure did, and now he was gone to tell Mama. I knew I had to do something, and fast. I went looking for a place to hide, and found it, under Big Mama's bed.

"Janice!" Mama called. I could hear her walking through the house. "Janice Louise, where are you?" I swallowed the last of the banana, and squeezed the empty peel as close to my chest as I could get it.

"Here she is!" The edge of the bedspread lifted. And there was the face of The Traitor, formerly my Future Bridegroom, looking right at me! "Come out from under there...right now!" That was the voice of my mama. I didn't move, or say a word. "Get out from under there, you little heifer!" That was a term of endearment, but not in that tone of voice. I started crying, and then sobbing, as I slid from under the bed.

"Did you steal that banana?" I shook my head. Then what are you doing with that banana peeling?" I couldn't speak, I couldn't stop crying. "Well, then, c'mon, you're going with me!"

She grasped my hand firmly in hers, and said, "You're going to go tell Miz Hedgepeth what you did, and you're going to pay her for that banana!" We stopped on the way out, to grab the little hankie, in which was tied my entire life's savings...about five or six pennies.

We went marching up the street, and around the corner to the little store. I was crying so hard, and my face was hot with humiliation. When we got inside, Mama said, "Janice, tell Miz Hedgepeth what you've done." I couldn't speak. Since I couldn't, Mama was glad to. Placing the empty banana peel on the counter, she said, "She stole this banana."

"Why, is that what this is all about? She didn't steal that banana, Sarah. We saw her when she stood there and picked it out. We wanted her to have it." Oh, the love that emanated from my little heart to hers! She knew that I didn't steal it!

Mama still tried to pay for it, but Miz Hedgepeth wouldn't allow it. With that, I took Mama's hand, and we went marching out of the store, right past Eugene the Traitor.

The next time that I went by the store, Miz Hedgepeth called me inside. "Come in here, Janice...I have something for you." And with that, she opened the glass display case, and took out the tray of her home-made potato candy. She took a piece, and placed it my hand. My cup of happiness was running over! Now, I knew for sure that I had been exonerated! That candy must have sold, at least, for two or three pennies! I thanked her, and ran out, popping that whole piece into my mouth, at once, and savoring every moment it took to melt away.

I was just going to say, "Who says crime doesn't pay?" but if I said that. you might think I really did steal that banana!

Oh, and Eugene The Traitor, formerly known as my Future Bridegroom? I don't know whatever happened to him.

August 21, 2007

Bitter or Better

I've been writing quite a lot about some experiences in my life. Some of them have been funny. Some happy, and some downright tragic.
I think all of us have that in common. Life is not always "just a bowl of cherries" as the old song goes, so we've all had our share of good and bad, and have had the tragedy, too.
Some of us allow what's happened in the past to color every aspect of our lives. Some, more than others, because we are all different in our emotional makeup, and much of it is a result of our particular background, or upbringing.
I went to a therapist once, and he was amazed at the fact that I wasn't mad about anything. "Why aren't you mad?" he kept asking. "You should be mad. You have every right to be mad!"
But I wasn't. I'm not. I don't know why. Maybe, it is just because I am a forgiving person. Maybe, it is because I understand that people, for the most part, do the best they can. It may not always be the best, just the best that they can do. How they live their lives, and how they treat us, is a direct result of their own upbringing. It is a cycle that is sometimes broken, but sometimes it isn't.
Maybe, it is because I understand that we can't change our past. We can't change the fact that people don't always love us, or think well of us. Maybe, it is because, in spite of everything that happened to me in my past, I decided to become better, rather than bitter.
Much of what we feel, on a daily basis, is a direct result of how we react to the way others treat us. I read somewhere that life is ten percent of what happens to us, and ninty per cent, how we react to it. That's a choice that we can make.
I have to admit, though, that sometimes my "reactor" just doesn't want to cooperate with maybe I am angrier than I realize!
I hate to think that this is so.


No matter what your political, or religious persuasion may be, I think that you will find this intersting.

The Garden of Eden was in Iraq.

The cradle of civilizatiion was in Mesopotamia, which is now Iraq.

Noah built the ark in Iraq.

The Tower of Babel was in Iraq.

Abraham was from Ur, which is in Southern Iraq.

Isaac's wife, Rebekah, was from Nahor, which is in Iraq.

Assyria, which captured the ten tribes of Israel, is in Iraq.

Babylon, which destroyed Israel, is in Iraq.

Daniel was in the lion's den in Iraq.

The three Hebrew children were in the fiery furnace in Iraq.

Belshazzar, the King of Babylon, saw the "writing on the wall" in Iraq.

Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, carried the Jews captive into Iraq.

Ezekiel preached in Iraq.

Peter preached in Iraq.

The "Empire of Man," described in Revelation, in the bible, is called Babylon, which is a city in Iraq.

Israel is the most mentioned nation in the bible, the second most often mentioned is Iraq, however, Iraq is not the name that is used in the bible.

The names used in the Bible for Iraq are Babylon, the Land of Shinar, and Mesopotamia.

Mesopotamia means "between the two rivers," more precisely, between the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers.

The name Iraq means, "country with deep roots" and is a very significant country in the Bible.

No other country, except Israel, has more history and prophecy associated with it than Iraq.

The symbol representing America is an eagle, which makes this verse from the Koran, the Islamic Bible, rather interesting:

Koran (9:11) For it is written that a son of Arabia would awaken a fearsome Eagle. The wrath of the Eagle would be felt throughout the lands of Allah, and lo, while some of the people trembled in despair, still more rejoiced, for the wrath of the Eagle cleansed the lands of Allah.

And there was peace.

Another irony? The particular verse in the Koran, 9:11

Just something to ponder.


A reader brought to my attention that the informatiion, while implying that the verse quoted from the Koran refers to the military action in Iraq, that it is actually a hoax.

Here's the link: Koran 9:11 refers to the war in iraq?-Fiction!

August 19, 2007

Vinegar Pie

1 stick margarine
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 tsp vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans

Stir together all ingredients
Pour into unbaked pie shell
Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees

Life should be this simple!


I don't know why, but I keep thinking of death today. Well, not "death" per se, but of dead people. Maybe, it's because of all of the tragic events on the news lately, or maybe, it's because I just dreamed about my favorite cousin who died a few years ago. She was still young. We were the same age, only six weeks apart in age. Everytime that I dream about her, she is sad. Maybe, it is because of there being no closure in the event...a phrase that I don't like, and is way overused to my way of thinking. Is there ever any such thing, really? Especially to the one who has lost someone they love?

My aunt, her mother, is still grieving over the death of her daughter, even though it has been nearly eight years, now. That's because she feels in her heart that it was not due to natural illness, but that it was something that was done to her, and now she has no way of ever finding out the truth. No closure.

My mother had five brothers, and two sisters. Only one sister survives, and all the rest, except for one older brother, died within two or three years of each other, including my mother, who died six years ago. At the funeral of my cousin, another of my young cousins, Butch, said that it was too bad that everyone got together only at funerals. Eight months later, his dad, my Uncle Seals, died. Six weeks after that, Butch died suddenly. In a span of two years, after the death of my mother, one of my stepsisters, a stepbrother, my favorite sister-in-law, and two very good friends died. They've all been on my mind lately.

Two years ago, a young cousin drove his pickup to his favorite place, high up on a mountain. He climbed into the bed of the truck, and sucked on a hose he had attached to the exhaust. It was in the hot summertime, and they didn't find him for five days. No one knows why. No closure.

This past June, a thirty year old cousin, was found dead of an overdose. Ironically, she had been to the same doctor who was in the news lately concerning the wrestler who killed his wife and son. She picked up her prescriptions that day, and she was dead the next morning. Her death is still under investigation. No closure.

What is that really--closure? Does it mean that it's okay that someone died, they are dead and gone? Does it mean one has come to terms with it, and accepts it for what it is, a final farewell, at least in this life?

I had one real brother. By that I mean that he was not a step-sibling. The thing is, I never really knew him very well. When my parents divorced, my dad kept kidnapping him from my mother who was awarded custody, and in those days there was no such thing as Women's Rights, so there was nothing she could do about it. So, I didn't ever see my brother until I was fourteen years old, and he was a stranger. Many years passed before I saw him again, and he was still a stranger.

When our mother became so ill, and I was taking care of her, he started coming around, pretty often. Soon afterwards, his wife divorced him, and I didn't see much of him, but talked to him, daily, on the phone.

When we moved up here, four years ago, we still talked daily. One day, he mentioned that he had been to the doctor, and had some tests, and they had seen something on an xray, and the doctor thought that he might have cancer. He smoked five packs of cigarettes a day. He joked about it, just the way he joked about everything. He said that he was about to take a trip on that long black train, or something like that, referring to a song .

The thing that I had found out about my brother was that he could either tell the truth about something, or a lie--it didn't much matter. So I didn't even know if what he said was true.

A few days went by, and he didn't call. I called him, and his phone had been disconnected. I didn't know his address. I didn't know his friends. I did everything to try to find out what had happened, and always came to a dead end.

The last time I had talked to him, had been in April that year. In February, my husband got a call from his company's headquarters. They said that they had a phone number for his wife to call.

I called the number. It was someone who had known my brother. He told me that my brother had died the day before. He died of lung cancer. It seems that he never went back to the doctor that April, and then he became so ill that he went to the hospital on that Friday in February. They sent him to some kind of hospice facility the next day, Saturday. He was dead on Sunday.

His friend said that he had gone there to see him, and asked if there was anyone that he needed to call, and he told him no. He asked him if he didn't have a sister, somewhere, and did she know where he was. He asked if he wanted him to call his sister for him? He told him that he had just talked to me that morning. He asked him if he wanted him to call a priest or a rabbi, and he told him no, and became angry and told him that he had better not call one.

I don't know why he told him that...I don't know why he didn't want me to know anything about anything that was happening to him. I don't know anything except that he was almost penniless. I do know that I would have tried to help him. I do know that I gave his friend permission to scatter his ashes on our mother's grave...because that is what he wanted. He wanted no service of any kind...only to be cremated. I complied. That was the only, the final, thing that I could ever do for him. Doing that, for me, was closure.

Magen David

Even if you are not Jewish, I think that you will find this amazing about the Jewish Star, which is alo referred to as a Magen David.

All twenty-four letters of the Hebrew Alphabet are found in a Magen David. There is no such thing in any other language.

August 18, 2007


Ladies, have you ever done this?

And guys, have you ever done this?

Of course, you haven't.....uh-huh!

Kelly's Mansion

While reading here, Walking Prescott: The Mysterious Staircase, I was reminded of my own

fascination of old staircases. I remember some that I saw a few years ago, which were really interesting.

The staircase was in an old house, called Kelly's Mansion, and located on Kelly's Island, Ohio, which is located in the Western basin of Lake Erie, and is about four miles square. It's the largest fresh water American Island in Lake Erie. There is a ferry service from Marblehead, and air transportation from Sandusky, Ohio.

I visited there several years ago, when it was just a rustic, nearly primitive, little place with only a few little stores, such as an old grocery store, and various other things. It was a place to camp, to explore, and the glacial grooves, carved into the limestone more than thirty thousand years ago, are there.

Kelly's Mansion was about the only place to stay while there, being used as a hotel of sorts. In its present state then, it was not fancy, but certainly interesting.

According to information available, Irad and Datus Kelly visited the island on July 12, 1833, and by August 31, 1861, they had purchased all except 91 acres for four-thousand-four-hundred-seventy-five dollars...and six cents! They later acquired the other 91 acres.

Kelly's Mansion had been built by Datus Kelly, as a wedding present for his son, Addison. In the front part of the house was a grand spiral staircase.

According to information available, Mr. Kelly had met a man from England in New York who had built one like it, and commissioned him to build one like it for the mansion.

It was constructed from one solid piece of oak, about twenty feet high. The steps were constructed in groups of three, using no nails, and is self-supportive. It was transported by boat from London, England.

During the years that the Kelly family were in residence there, the back stairs were used by the servants whose living quarters were upstairs. On those stairs, imprints are visible...footprints forged there over the years by the many trips their feet made up and down those stairs!

The Kelly Mansion was purchased in 1933, by the Domican Sisters of Adrienne, Michigan, which they used as a retreat and educational center. From 1945 until 1957 it was a summer camp for over 8,000 girls over the years.

The nuns, and twenty of the girls in residence, restored the staircase to its original conditiion. After the restoration, the stairs were used for graduatiion purposes only, when the girls would be allowed to descend the staircase.

This is a sketch that I did of the Kelly Mansion when I visted there.

August 17, 2007

Did You Ever Wonder

Did you ever wonder what children really think about? Do you remember what you thought about? Can you still remember the emotions you felt? Do you remember fear? Do you remember feelings of security? Do you remember the emotion elicted by a harsh tone of voice, or an endearment? I do...and that is why I can never be deliberately harsh, or cruel, with anyone...especially a child.
When I was a very young little girl, my mother and I lived with her mother. My mother, nor my grandmother were ever mean or harsh with me. I was very blessed in this way, but I always felt very empty, and lonely inside, and no matter how many others were around, I still felt that deep lonliness which I was not even old enough to understand.
The greatest desire of my heart, even at that young age, (I think that I was only about three at that time because that is how far back that I can remember) was to have a daddy. I had never had a real daddy, my own father having left my mother while I was just a baby. I would see other children, other little girls with their daddies, and I would envy them, I suppose, not really understanding the meaning of the word...I just knew that I wanted what they had.
We lived in a little house on Canal Street, in Cedartown, Georgia. I know that it was my mother, my grandmother, and myself in that house, and I remember a couple of uncles, only teenagers, really, but I don't remember Papa being there, so possibly my grandmother, who was a widow, had not remarried at the time.
There was a little girl who lived about two houses away from us, and she had a real family. Sometimes, I remember that we would play together, until one or the other of us got called into supper. When she was called in, I had to go home.
I remember this one time, that they called her in to eat supper, and I only pretended to go home. I waited until I knew that they would all be in the kitchen, eating. It was warm weather, and as everyone else did, they had the backdoor to the kitchen open, It had a screen door, which was the common thing, too, which allowed a cool breeze to blow into the kitchen.
I stood at the back steps for awhile, just listening to the voices rising and falling in conversatiion, with an occasional outburst of laughter. I stood there, just soaking in the sounds, and the smells, and the feelings that I felt. Finally, I could stand it no longer, and walked up onto the porch, and stood at the screen door, leaning inward against the screen, with my hands cupped around my eyes, so that I could see more clearly.
There they all were...a mama, a daddy, and a little girl. A family. A word that I did not even know the meaning of, and probably had never heard it in conversation, but I knew what it was. It was the thing that I wanted with all of my heart.
I was not even aware of anything but what was before me. I was not aware that they could even see me...I had not even thought about it. But suddenly a harsh voice rang out, "What is she doing here? Who told her she could be here? I thought I told you to tell her to go home!"
It seemed as if my breath stopped. I was frozen. I didn't know what to do. Then I heard the soft voice of the father, saying, "Awww..let her come in, and give her something to eat. She's probably just hungry."
"No! No, I will not! She will go home where she belongs, right now!" In anger, she jumped up, and ran toward the door, shooing me like an animal. "Git outta here...go home where you belong!"
I turned and ran, stumbling home, blinded with tears. I hadn't wanted food. I hadn't wanted anything, but to stand there and look at them...that's all I wanted. I wanted to see a happy mama, daddy, and little girl.
I can't describe to you the emotion that I felt. It was a crushing, heavy, constricting feeling that seemed to fill my throat with an ache that went down through my whole body...cutting off my breath.
I remember sitting out on the steps of Big Mama's back porch. It was about dusky dark, and the evening was warm, but I was cold, through and through. I shivered, but I am not sure it was from feeling cold. I stared at an old dead tree that was back there, and thought that that was how I felt inside. I felt sorry for that dead old tree.
I have never, even after all these years, forgotten a single detail of that day, and I don't think that I ever will. And that is why I could never, in a million years, be unkind to a child...because the hurt never goes away. Not even if it is buried deep inside where no one else can know about it, it is still there.

Everything Reminds Me

It seems that everything I see on television, or on the news, reminds me of some experience concerning myself, or someone I have known. Mostly, though, it will have something to do with my own life. So, I am just going to go ahead and start writing them here. Maybe you will find some of it interesting. Maybe, you will even be able to relate in some way. And, maybe, you will find yourself thinking why in the world I would write about such things. I just might find even myself thinking that very same thing, too.! But I hope that no matter what the subject, that there will always be some kind of moral, and something to make you think.

Check It Out

Hey...I found some interesting, and heartwarming information here, What...? , go check it out!

No Greater Love

It'a really sad about the miners in Utah. It's sad about the ones trapped inside, but the tragedy has intensified with the deaths of the rescue workers who were trying to save them.

There is no comfort in words, not for the survivors of those lost in the initial accident in the mine, nor for the families of those whose loved ones lost their lives trying to rescue them. So far, three of the rescuers have died, and six are injured.

It is said that life is but a vapor, and I guess it really is. It is also said that there is no greater love of any man, than to lay down his life for his friends.

And How Is Your Day

No doubt she'll find an attorney who will take the case, too!

After all, this is an equal opportunity society in which we live!

August 16, 2007

What Is It

What is it that makes us go on dreaming, even in the stark reality of daylight?

Why does our heart tell us to keep going in the face of every opposition?

What is the force that drives us ever onward toward a goal that seems unobtainable?

What gives us the courage to carry on, even when it seems that we have gone the last mile?

What is the never ending force that travels through our being--the force that is our being?

Why do we struggle against it? Why the resistance against the thing that is trying to work for our good?

Is it because we all must have a dream? A destiny to fulfill? A pattern that can be formed in it's entirety, by only specific pieces of life, much in the same way that a picture is formed only by each specific piece of a jigsaw puzzle, which has been cut to perfection, and will only fit into that one particular part of the puzzle--its shape and size and color, made to be fitted into no other part--the picture which without it is incomplete.

If a piece is forced into a part of the puzzle, for which it was not made, the picture is misshapen and imperfect.

And such is life.

Our lives are like a jigsaw puzzle. We keep searching until we have found the piece of the puzzle

which fits perfectly into the picture. Much searching, much trying, much forcing of pieces--trying to make a whole of perfection. Our perfect picture., but sometimes the pieces are hard to find--they have to be looked for carefully. Yet, we keep searching.

Sometimes, the piece looks exactly as if it will fit, but it doesn't, and we try to force it into place. because it looks like it belongs there. Finally, after much effort we put that piece aside, and go on searching for the one that fits.

The important thing is that although we may search long and hard through the pieces that don't fit, eventually we find the ones which do, and we have what we have been striving for.

Just as a puzzle is challenging at times, discouraging at others, but ultimately fulfilling when it all comes together beautifully as a result of our efforts--such is the putting together of each of our lives. It's the challenges, the discouragements, the searching and the trying, and the determination to see the fulfillment of our endeavors culminate into the perfect picture.

That's what it is.