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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Wish You Were Here

This is our last day here in Galveston, and it is a beautiful one. The ocean right now is so many different shades of blue and green, I'm not sure a photo would do it justice.
The kids left about an hour ago, and I'm feeling pretty sad. This is how my grandma felt all those years ago. We would be leaving her house and all trying to kiss Grandma goodbye and get in the car before she started crying.
I think everyone had a lot of fun. Yesterday we walked around the Strand and then took the harbour tour. Jon and I went on Thursday, when it was cold and rainy, and thought they would enjoy it. Of course we all sunburned but we got to see a lot of dolphins and pelicans and a tropical bird called a frigate, that the captain said would only be in the area for a week or two. Plus we saw different kinds of ships and boats, even a WW2 destroyer and submarine.
Sarah, Jonathon and Eric and I played in the ocean until we were nice and crispy while Jon napped on the beach. We walked out pretty far to play in the waves and the fish were jumping out of the water. Seriously, big fish, well big for west Texas.
Last night Jon made this huge meal with cedar plank salmon, shrimp, rice, stuffed jalapenos, coconut ice cream and grilled pineapple. We were all so full and tired from the beach, we couldn't even stay up to watch the Texas Tech game, thank God.
We talked and laughed and just enjoyed the company. And we talked about Lauren. We always do. Just funny stories, nothing sad. I hope we always will.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My Tropical Depression


Here we are in Galveston. I am sitting on the deck watching the seagulls scavenge for food and drinking a somewhat local wine. Life is good. Now and then I wonder what is happening at work, then I remember how little I care. They may hate me. I may be the worse boss in history. But who cares? Not me, not today.

My main concern is, will the fruit flies leave me alone if I drink a dryer wine? And can you drink a dryer wine if you are still on the wash cycle? Okay, that was funny. Jon just said it was incredibly stupid, so maybe it will be edited out.

We had one nasty thunderstorm yesterday. I just kept thinking, how is this not a hurricane? Speaking of which, there is still a lot of cleaning up from hurricane Ike going on here. Out in west Texas, it's a little hard for us to imagine just how much damage water can do. We have a tornado, and the county just brings in some earth movers and such and we get that mess cleaned up. Some of these places look like a shrine to procrastination, but I think it must be tougher to rebuild than you might think.

We have found some pretty cool sea shells on the beach. I remember, when Lauren was three or four, we took the kids to Corpus. She was amazed at all the broken shells on the beach and was convinced they were teeth the Tooth Fairy had dropped. She said "Momma, look at all these loose toofs!" I think I will make a Sailors Valentine from the shells for Lauren's grave. I saw Martha Stewart do it once, I won't get as carried away as Martha or the ancient mariners did but it will be pretty.

On Friday, Eric, Sarah and Jonathon will be here. We are celebrating our thirtieth wedding anniversary. I can't wait to see them. Jon and I raised some pretty good kids.

I brought a new cookbook on this trip and planned to try some different recipes, but Jon is such a kitchen Nazi, I gave up and let him take over. It should be interesting when Eric gets here, as he suffers from the same affliction. Well I guess I'll just enjoy it while I can.
Oh, I forgot to mention, Jon took this picture this morning. I think it is quite good.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

SaturdayMorning TV

Like most kids of the sixties, I was raised on TV. Our moms were not concerned about the effect it would have on our eyes or our lives. If we were quiet, and not in her hair, all was right with the world.

Of course, television was much better in those days, especially on Saturday mornings. We only had one TV in our house, so I usually had to fight to watch what I wanted to watch. Two of my brothers were wrestling fans. Trust me, wrestling in the sixties was more lame and idiotic than now. My brother, Jerry, the intelligent one, and I were of like minds. So I generally could depend on him to take my side. We knew from the beginning, Looney Tunes would never be topped.

When I was very young, I absolutely LOVED Roy Rogers. This seems kind of odd to me now since I really don't even like westerns. Roy Rogers was handsome and brave and he wore a white cowboy hat that never came off in a fight, but only when he met a pretty lady. But most appealing was how he could sing after nabbing the black hatted bad guy. Ah.... we all need a hero.

Mighty Mouse was clever and funny. Rocky and Bullwinkle was the best. I loved the Fractured Fairytale segment. But in Looney Tunes, Bugs Bunny taught us how to be a wise guy and still enjoy classical music. Daffy taught us stupid people can be lovable too. and Foghorn Leghorn showed us the dangers of unrequited love. OK, so I had to stretch for that last one.

This Saturday morning, as I was drinking my coffee watching Rick Steves European Travels, I couldn't help but think of Saturdays past. In my mind, I'm a little girl, sitting cross legged, drinking my chocolate Quik, with a bowl of Cheerios, watching my Saturday Morning heroes.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dressed To Kill


We were watching the movie, The Natural, yesterday and I realized something. People don't dress up anymore. Not like they used to, anyway. In the movie, during the scenes filmed at the ball park, I noticed most of the men were wearing ties. The newspaper reporters were very well dressed, and Glenn Close was wearing a dress, hat and gloves. It must have been hot and uncomfortable, but she looked fabulous.

I know we all remember how June Cleaver cleaned house in a dress and pearls, and Carol Brady looked so spiffy in her polyester pantsuits. No, kids, it wasn't just a TV thing. People used to take pride in their appearance.

I remember, with great horror, my mother, in her dress and stockings, carrying her big purse around Six Flags. All was well, until she tried to straddle the log in the log ride.

There was a time when a woman could go to the Sears catalog and order something called a house dress. My mom and grandmothers all had them. They were usually bright, floral prints, loose fitting, with a zipper or buttons down the front. They were perfect for after church when you knew you would be going to evening services. You could just slip it on, fry your chicken, make your gravy, and keep your church dress clean for later.

One thing I never understood was the roller bonnet. This was a colorful bonnet that fit over your curlers and was supposed to be more attractive than a head full of rollers. When I was a little girl, my mother made me wear pink sponge rollers in my hair all day on Saturdays. I think my first big rebellion was taking all styling rights away from her and wearing my hair long and straight. Now I am paying for it. If only my hair would just bend a little.

Have you noticed most college age girls look like they just rolled out of bed at two o clock in the afternoon. They wear flannel pajama pants and flip flops everywhere they go. Their ponytails look like they have been slept in and they are wearing whatever free Tshirt they can find. The shirt is too short, the pants too low, and we can all see their "crack art". Girls, please save this look for marriage!


Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Grass is Blue

I've always wanted to play the violin. Well to be honest I've always wanted to play the "fiddle".
I love bluegrass music. That high lonesome sound tugs at my heart and brings tears to my eyes. It reminds me of sweet old people I love so much and long to see again.
My Uncle Ulysse, one of those old people, was a fiddle player.When I knew him, he always wore overalls and had a glass eye. He married my mom's sister Lorene, despite threats and warnings from my grandpa. Grandpa thought a dance hall fiddler was in no way suitable for his sixteen year old daughter, but Lorene was in love and ran off with him anyway. Somewhere along the way, Ulysse met Jesus and started playing fiddle for his church. They raised a big family and had a very happy life until Ulysse died at the ripe old age of ninety eight.
As a child, I loved going to their house. Every morning I would wake up to the sound of that fiddle."five foot two, eyes of blue" that was Ulysse' song for Lorene. Saturdays were spent watching his favorite TV shows. Hee Haw, Porter Wagner, anything with music and musicians. Sundays we went to church. Ulysse loved his church, and he loved his preacher, which just so happened to be his son.
I remember once when asked why he volunteered for Meals on Wheels, Ulysse said he had to help those poor lonesome old people. He was ninety at the time.
I believe heaven is like an east Texas family reunion. There will be fishing and swimming and of course all day singing and eating on the ground. And there will be bluegrass music and a sweet old guy playing the fiddle. I think Jesus will dance.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Lonesome Puppy Blues


I have two dogs. One is a Chihuahua and the other a pound puppy. I love each of them just as much as the other, but differently. I think the big difference is Butters, the chihuahua loves me and Darnell, the pound puppy, adores me.

I saw an add in the paper for Darnell about three years ago. It said he was a Chihuahua-dachshund mix. We had a dog like that when I was a little girl and his name was Darnell. When I saw his picture, I just knew he was supposed to be mine, so I adopted him. I wanted to know his story , and at the shelter they told me he came in as a very sick puppy and his little friend, also sick, had died. They took very good care of him and eventually he was healthy enough to be adopted.

I wonder sometimes, about the person who threw this little dog away. Do they know what they are missing? He has been such a blessing to me. He is funny and sweet and wants to be with me all the time. He is not a lonesome puppy anymore and he is grateful.

This is the only PSA I will ever give, so just listen, OK.

There are a lot of dogs and cats on death row, and they never hurt anyone. If you can't adopt a pet at least think about supporting your local shelter.

There. Ive done my 70's hippie child, We Are the World duty.

One more thing.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY BUDDY HOLLY!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Required Reading







I have loved to read since I was a little girl. I mostly like fiction, but I will read anything. Anything, with the exception of required reading! Teachers love to ruin a good book by saying there will be a quiz. Maybe I have some rebellion left over from my pirate days, ( pirate days is a phrase I love to use whenever I can, to describe my misspent youth. I stole it from a Mary Chapin Carpenter song.) As I was saying ...rebellion..yada yada...pirate days..Oh, I just can't read something if you tell me to. You know, like, Oh Sheila you have to read this book. My first thought is, no I don't, and then there is no way I can make myself read that book. I'm still not sure exactly what happen in Moby Dick, but I don't care. I read the Cliff notes and I passed the test, sort of. Maybe I missed out on some important information I will need on my next whaling trip, but I think I will manage.



The other things I don't read are those sticky sweet emails that say "you must forward this to 7 people if you love Jesus". I usually glance over it quickly, and if the art work looks like it could be copied in velvet, or someone spilled pink teddy bears and roses all over it, I know it will end with a threat of Jesus not knowing I love him. So I hit the delete button. I know Jesus and I think this makes him laugh.



And let's not forget the email curse. " Billy Joe died just 24 hours after not forwarding this email". I delete those in the name of Jesus.



Little Faithers Have Big Ears

I know that's not how the saying goes. It just sort of popped into my head this morning when Pastor Paul used the phrase" little faithers". I just thought, Little faithers have big ears and they believe everything they hear. They believe the gossip of the old men at the coffee shop. They believe the conspiracy theories they read on the Internet and they believe the dooms day prophesies from cable news. They just can't believe God is in control.
I like the History channel, and I watch it when ever I can. You can see instances all through time when people must have thought it was the end of the world. During a program on the black plague something occurred to me. There was pain and death all around. Entire families were lost. It was one of the darkest times in history, but the message of Christ survived.
I have taken some pretty hard blows in life. I've been cut to the core, left feeling dead inside, but I always woke up the next morning, even when I didn't think I wanted to. I'm not saying it cant happen again or it won't kill me next time. I'm just saying I'll be OK.
I know this sweet old man who shoes horses for a living, and does it with a joyful heart. We have both lost daughters since we met. He always says to me, "Be thankful. You live in the greatest country in the world and when you die you get to go to heaven."

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Labor Day




I always enjoyed the television show, The Wonder year. It was a pretty accurate portrayal of my preadolescence. I never knew a twelve year old boy as sweet and sensitive as Fred Savage, but they got every thing else right. The music was great, the clothes were hideous and the nightly news was sad and violent. I was watching TV with my family the night they broke in to say Martin Luther King had been assassinated. And when Bobby Kennedy was killed, we watched his funeral train roll across our TV screen over and over. I had two big brothers in Vietnam, so most nights the war footage was just too hard to watch.


One late July day, my best friend, Ivy and I were making plans for a sleep over at my house. We had been at the pool all day and my sister came to pick us up instead of my mom. When we got in the car I asked if every thing was OK and she said no, and we should cancel our plans. She didn't want to tell us why, but we persisted. She said Billy, one of the neighborhood boys, had been killed in Vietnam and Mom was taking it very hard. I was devastated. I had never known a young person to die, and Billy was like a brother, with the exception of always being nice to me.


I remembered stopping to talk to him on my way to school. He would be working on an old car or an old go cart, and I thought he was lucky he didn't have to go to school anymore. I didn't know he was just waiting to be shipped out.


The summer was nearly over before the army got him home for his funeral. It was Labor Day and school was about to start. I had a fight with my mom that day over some socks I didn't want to wear. I think she thought I just needed to cry, But I really didn't want to wear those socks.


At the funeral, my throat hurt so bad from trying not to cry, but I didn't think anyone would understand why this eleven year old was so sad. I missed Billy, and I missed my brothers. It was kind of an end to Innocent times, a realization of how cruel life could be.


It's Labor day again and I'm thinking of Billy. I'd like to say all that patriotic stuff people say, like "Thanks for your sacrifice". But I also would like to say thanks for being so nice to an eleven year old girl. You made her feel special.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009





















Let Me Introduce You to My Redneck Friend

I think prairie dogs are amazing. They live in communities, have families and seem to be communicating and looking out for each other.

My husband thinks they are great target practice.

What has happened to us? We used to be such peace freaks. I have actual firearms registered in my name. I don't touch them and can't sleep in the same room with them, but I have every right to own them. Jon even loads his own shells. Are we becoming rednecks?

We still listen to the same music, but we don't have the same values as most of the musicians, and we no longer drive hundreds of miles to see the bands.

When my son, Eric was a baby, I would play a song, by Jackson Browne, for him and he would dance. It was called Redneck Friend, and when I hear it now I can still see him dancing his little diaper off. But the words meant something.

It said, "Daddy's in the den shootin' up the evening news, Mamma's with a friend, lately she's been so confused. Little one it's all up to you. It ain't like him to argue or pretend . Honey let me introduce you to my redneck friend".

Sometimes you need a redneck to bring order to your world.




Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Souvenirs


A couple of weeks ago we had a garage sale for the first time in about five years. We sold a lot of stuff but surprisingly we still have a garage full left. It was so hard deciding what to sell, what to keep and what to throw away. We were going through a box of old books and Jon pulled out this little white zippered Bible. I said " Oh that was my first Bible. My mom gave it to me for Christmas when I was about six. See she signed and dated it." Jon looked at it and said "So what do you think, about three dollars?" He is no where near as funny as he thinks.

It's hard for me to let things go. It's not so much the things but the memories tied to the things.I still have a bone shaped dog tag engraved with the name Sidney for a dog I owned about five minutes. The tag came in the mail a week after the dog was stolen from my yard. But I will never forget her.

Right now my daughter, Sarah's wedding dress is driving me crazy. She may not want it, but I can't part with it, even if it is in my way. I have Tonka trucks, G I Joes and Barbies. And I also have batons. Fire batons, hoop batons, knives and plain old twirling batons. I keep them in a closet where I don't have to look at them, but I feel better knowing they are still there. You see my little girl was a baton twirler. She twirled through middle school, high school and was the feature twirler at her university when she died. It was a huge part of both our lives. For many years family vacations were planned around twirling contest.

We moved to another house shortly after Lauren died. It was just too hard. Before we moved, I would wake up every morning, try to walk down the hall to the kitchen, but would always end up leaning on her bedroom door crying. Driving home from work, I would remember how happy it made me to see her little black car sitting in the driveway. I would pull into the drive and just sit, dreading that empty house.

So we sold the house and moved into town. But I couldn't part with her things so I set up her room just as if she was coming home. I know, crazy huh. I even hung her Tinkerbell poster on the wall.

There is a song by John Prine called Souvenirs. In one verse it says,

I hate graveyards and old pawn shops

For they always bring me tears.

I can't forgive the way they robbed me

Of my childhood souvenirs.

It's a good "feeling sorry for myself" song, as are most of John Prine's songs.

I know I said I would keep it light, sorry, I guess I lied.

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A wife, mother, and spoiler of small dogs, I grew up in a small West Texas town, with my eyes full of sand, and my heart full of joy.


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