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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Christmas Story

I watched the Jim Carey version of A Christmas Carol the other night. It's a lot scarier than the one with Mr. Magoo. Of course Mr. Magoo was the first one I ever saw and, at 6 years old, it scared me silly.

I remember I was in Arlington, Virginia with my mom, and my sister was having heart surgery at Walter Reed army hospital. My niece, Jeanna and I were left with a Nazi baby sitter that night. Oh yeah, she was all sticky sweet, pony tail, Bobbie sock girl, while my mom and Si (my sister's husband) were there. But as soon as they left for the hospital she started treating us like, well like children. This was something I was not used to. The baby of a large family is always treated as an equal. Better, but equal. I didn't take naps and I was certainly never on a schedule. I was a princess and Jeanna was royalty, being my niece and all, and this sitter was just plain wicked.

After watching the terrifying, yet animated tale, we were promptly sent to bed. We didn't get to discuss our fears or how the story affected us. No prayers or drinks of water, nothing. Just go to bed. But worse yet, she made me sleep in Jeanna's baby bed. I was 6 years old. I couldn't even stretch out my legs. I lay there while Jeanna cried and looked at the bars all around me. It was like prison. Then suddenly I smelled something. I thought, it couldn't be, but it was. The wicked Nazi baby sitter was having POPCORN!

Finally, Mom and Si were home. The sitter talked about what good children we were as she fell all over herself flirting with Si. I hope she had popcorn stuck in her teeth. Mom rolled her eyes at the girl and under her breath said "good Lord" when she saw me in that baby bed.

Later that night Jeanna and I would sleep snug against my mom in her tiny bed, and all was right with the world.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Today I watched Prancer for the first time. It's one of those movies I always intended to watch, but just never found the time. It made me cry. It had all the things that make a great Christmas movie. A small snow covered town, reindeer, a sweet, misunderstood little girl, Sam Elliott...Oh I love Sam Elliott.
I don't know why there aren't any good Christmas movies on television. There are a few newer ones. They're usually an adaptation of some classic, It's A Wonderful Life or Dickens's Christmas Carol, and they all star Tom Arnold or Tori Spelling. And, they are all really bad.
We had open house last week at the bank. Little kids from all over town came to serenade us with Christmas carols like, The First Noel. The words had been changed to The First Snowfall, which has nothing to do with Christmas or Jesus but, was less offensive than the other big number, Joy To The World, My Shopping's Done. Even sadder, I think most of the children don't know the difference. Their parents are too lazy and apathetic to take them to church, so they wouldn't know who Jesus is anyway.
I can't imagine my own childhood without God. I saw him in everything. I prayed whenever I was fearful or anxious, which was a lot for some reason. I can't see how a child survives the day without him. There is so much violence and hatred in this world. Television and video games look so real, who do these kids cry out to when they are afraid?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tis' the season. The cold and allergy season, that is. And it's one of those especially dry seasons here in West Texas. I feel miserable, congestion, coughing, sneezing, itchy watery eyes. I feel so sorry for myself and then I get to work and find everyone feels as bad or worse. My department sounds like a TB ward.

Yes, it's that time of year when we all walk around in a drug induced stupor. Not the kind of drugs we experimented with in high school. No these are much more expensive, harder to obtain, over the counter cold medications. I am forced to stand in line at the pharmacy and ask for my nonprescription Zyrtec D, show my ID and wait while they check some data base to see when I last purchased it. All this, to make sure I am not cooking meth. I think to myself, I don't even want to cook supper.

I can kind of understand. I must look like an addict, red eyes, chapped lips, reeking of Carmex. And maybe I shouldn't have yelled at the clerk for being out of my favorite nose spray. And maybe I am addicted to Carmex and nose spray. So, send me to rehab....maybe on some beach somewhere....

Monday, November 29, 2010

Just Another Saturday On Crazy Street

I decided I wouldn't put up a Christmas tree this year. In years past, I have worked myself silly decorating, baking, and trying to make the perfect little Christmas home sweet home for the kids, and they never seemed to care one way or another. This year, because of studies and work the kids are not coming home, so I figured it's pointless. We will invade their homes instead.

It's kind of a relief, after trying so hard to make everything the same, when nothing is the same, since Lauren died. I can relax and just see what happens. If Ive learned anything from this, it's you can't buy enough gifts or even drink enough mimosas and eggnog to fill the void left by a child who is no longer with you on Christmas morning.

Anyway, I thought I would decorate a little, you know, just a few things, but no tree. I worked very hard Saturday, had a huge mess, and was not even close to being through when I heard Jon calling for help. He said Mia, our pekingese, was out of the yard and he couldn't catch her. She runs from him because he gives her a bath whenever he can catch her. So I went out and called her and, of course she came running because I'm her momma and she loves me. Then Jon opened the gate to let her in and Darnell ran out, so she took off after him. They ran and ran, and Jon and I ran and ran, while the neighbors laughed and laughed. Almost catching her once, I lunged, lost my balance and fell face first into a pile of leaves. Jon finally caught Darnell and gave him to me. After several more minutes of chasing Mia, I pinned her to the ground while still holding Darnell. After rolling around in all the dead dry grass my chest felt a little funny and it was hard to breath. Walking back to the house Mia was having a little asthma attack and I was very worried about her. I gave her some Benedryl and took a little myself, but I only got worse. I hadn't had an asthma attack in such a long time, I didn't know what was happening, then I thought I was going to die. By that time, there was a football game on television and I had completely lost Jon's attention. He asked if I was alright a time or two, but with his eyes on the TV, he couldn't see my face turning blue as I tried to get enough air in my lungs to say "No, I'm dying!"

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why football should be banned from television.

Monday, November 15, 2010

An Idle Mind In The Wilderness

Jon and I spent the weekend in the mountains at a bed and breakfast. He wanted to take a few pictures and I thought I would enjoy the solitude. I was wrong. Solitude is lonely. It's especially lonely when there is no TV.

The bed and breakfast was a lovely old cabin with a claw foot tub and wood burning stove and, as I said before, no TV. I knew this in advance and thought about taking my guitar, but decided against it. I also thought I might take a book to read, but the one I picked out was a little depressing, so I left it at home.

The woman who owned the place had several jazz and classical Cd's, so that kept me busy for a while. She also had a lot of weird new age music, as well as some kind of tribal stuff. I think this lady was a Buddhist.

I didn't get that from her music or the WWBD bracelet she was wearing. I was looking for a book to read, and she had Louis L'Amour and some horse stories, like Black Beauty, and, oh yeah, Buddha's Little Handbook! I looked around the room and saw several Buddhist books. This woman was a Buddhist Cowgirl!!

I didn't sleep well. I dreamed I was being forced to two step by a short fat man with Dale Evan's face. It was horrible.

The next morning, while strolling through her gardens, I saw many "graven images" of other Gods. I think perhaps, she was one of those people who, ( know that if you could see me right now, I would be making air quotes as I say this ) respects all religions. She even had a wind chime that was a cowboy on a horse and a star of David. He must have been the Frisco Kid. (To understand that last remark, you must have seen, The Frisco Kid, starring Gene Wilder and Harrison Ford, or refer back to my blog on July 11, 2010.)

All in all she was a sweet lady with a lovely B & B, which is for sale, by the way. It would be a good buy for someone looking to get into that business. Just a little sprucing up, maybe an exorcism or two and you would have a nice little place. Oh, and it comes with a horse.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

No Tears (or itchy watery eyes) In Heaven

I went to a funeral today. Lisa, my sister's step daughter lost her long, hard fought battle with cancer.

As I sat there listening to the typically Baptist sermon, I started thinking about the flowers. The altar was covered with easel sprays, the kind you only see at funerals and horse races. How is it possible to make something as beautiful as flowers look so depressing?

My first experience with funeral flowers came when I was six and my grandfather died. Whenever I caught an adult crying, they would start telling me about how Grandpa was in heaven with Jesus and the angels. But everyone was terribly sad about it. I was walking around the living room smelling the flowers and suddenly came face to face with my grandpa. That's how I learned the tradition of old East Texas families keeping the body in the home. Chrysanthemums made me feel sad and ill at the same time for years after that.

When Lauren died, our house was so full of flowers I couldn't breath. I also couldn't stand to see them die, but just like all living things, they did.

I was thinking today during that funeral, when I die, I would like people to send balloons instead of flowers. I think they would be a more accurate depiction of the party I will be attending. After the funeral, my loved ones could give some balloons to the children. The rest, they could release and watch them float up to heaven just like my happy soul.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thank You Rangers

Baseball is the most romantic sport in the world. There are books and movies on the subject. We use it as a metaphor and study it in history. Tell your most loved baseball story and your listener becomes misty eyed, remembering something from their own youth.
There are tall tales( Casey Jones ), ghost stories( Field of Dreams ), and love stories( The Natural ). There are legends and there are myths. I don't care who you are, you know a baseball tale.
Thank you, Texas Rangers for giving me the most fun I've ever had watching baseball. It's been a great season.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I would like to apologize for saying I wished San Francisco would slide into the ocean. I think I forgot for a moment I was a Christian and we are not supposed to wish ill will on others. We do, however, enjoy slaying Giants.

Let's Go Rangers!

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Rant

I'm starting to resent the 2010 baseball season. I was perfectly happy being the fan of the most lovable, yet flawed team in the country. The season ending in mid September was just fine with me. But suddenly, I find myself, here at the end of October, unable to sleep, my stomach in knots, watching my team get their butts kicked in the World Series.

Yes, it's been a great year. And yes, I have seen the Rangers play some great ballgames. But somehow, I long for those innocent days of low expectations. It was an easier time.

There are so many things I don't understand. How can a bullpen, praised by all the sports writers, suddenly look like a bunch of little leaguers? How can hitters, known for their strength and home run abilities, strike out or fly out more often than not? I just don't believe the Giants could possibly be a better team.

I keep remembering 2005 when the Houston Astros played in the World Series. They were swept in 4 games and my heart was broken, and they were really just my second favorite team. I was thinking, I cant remember who beat them. Who won the World Series that year? I don't care. I only care that Houston won the National League and got to play in the World Series.

Of course, I was not as bitter toward that team. I wasn't wishing for California to hurry up and slide into the ocean, like I am now. You know, that would solve their budget problems too. Can't you just see it? All those San Francisco fans, with their orange towels and fake black beards, knuckles turning white as they cling the edge of the world. Jon may be right. I may take these things to seriously.

The Rangers will be playing at home the next three games. I hope that makes a difference. Anyway, I refuse to give up on them until the fat lady sings. I just hope she's not singing the blues.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I Heart The Rangers!

The heavens shook over Texas last night. The sky roared like the ocean as thousands cheered and danced with joy. Living rooms were lit up with people hugging, high fiving and drunk dialing loved ones as champagne corks popped.

Dark highways lined with buses carrying weary players home from Friday night football games suddenly erupted as the news came over the radio.

So, this is what it feels like to see your team win.

Winning the American League championship was so much more than I had ever hoped for, before this year. I have always loved this team, win or loose, no matter what. But winning feels good. Winning the World Series has got to feel even better.

So, Let's go Rangers! Beat ( t b a )

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Speak Kind Words. Recieve Kind Echoes

Jon thought the Chilean miners were exploited and accused the press of overkill. I was glad to see a good story with a happy ending instead of the every day political mud slinging. Isn't everyone sick of it?

I'm thinking about getting rid of my home phone and just using my cell from here on. The only people who ever call are political fund raisers. Yes, I agree with most of your points. I probably will vote for you, and no, I will not send you a donation.

I used to enjoy politics, but now I try to steer every conversation away from the issues. The thing is, what I believe, I believe strongly. Like I know abortion is wrong, there is no doubt in my mind about that. But it's a moral issue. If you don't believe in God, that's what we need to talk about. Without God, what is morality?

As far as securing our borders, I'm a little wishy-washy. Because of national security, terrorist activity and such, it would be nice if everyone came into this country legally. But, I can understand how hard that can be and also how desperate some of these people are to get here. The violence in Mexico is horrible right now. The gangs and drug lords are at war with each other but know one is safe. How can we tell someone who is trying to protect their family, that they can't come here. I mean isn't that how we all got here?

As long as I'm incriminating myself to the Republicans, I'll say one more thing. I kind of like Hillary Clinton. She seems to have it together. I'm not sure I'd vote for her, but I'd hang out with her.

I'll be glad when this election season is over. I'd like to see everyone apologize for the slurs and unkind remarks, but I doubt that will happen. Maybe we should have a season of tithing in kindness, just to see what happens to this world.

A friend quoted this scripture in her blog. "A man finds joy in giving an apt reply-and how good is a timely word" Proverbs 15 ;23. Say something good to someone today. You'll both be blessed.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Current Events

There's a lot going on in the world today. It's best not to turn on the morning news until you are up and had your coffee. Otherwise, you may be tempted to pull the covers over your head and hide.

Yep, the world's in a mess, from the economy to social injustice and just plain old criminal activity. Here in Texas we're having a little border problem with Mexico. People are being kidnapped, imprisoned on false charges and murdered in the streets. It looks like a ripe spot for a new little war, once we get this middle east thing wrapped up.

Now and then something good happens and it changes your whole outlook on life. I don't just mean the Rangers advancing in the playoffs, although that is wonderful. I'm talking about the rescue of the Chilean miners.

I heard some reporter talking about how they have survived. It's amazing, but in the 17 days before they were found alive they were all given jobs. One was in charge of physical fitness, another food and so on. The one in charge of the food rationing stretched 2 days of meals into 17. These men must have had the greatest leadership to have survived this ordeal. But what made me grin when I heard this story was, when they were assigning jobs, one man was given the job of poet. I don't know what to say about that, but it's just cool. If I am ever in any kind of disaster situation, please do not choose me to be the poet. I'm afraid I will bring everyone down and what good would that be?

Anyway, praise God, I just saw they were bringing up the last man. Can you imagine being the last man? It would be so frightening. But then again, he will probably be the lead character in the book and movie.

Well, I just have one more thing to say about the baseball playoffs. If the Rangers beat the Yankees and go on to play the world series, I believe they will be playing the Phillies. Nothing is definite yet, this is just my guess. If this happens, for future reference, in my blog and in conversation I will be referring to the Phillies as the Philistines. I think you get my drift.

Monday, October 11, 2010

It has occurred to me, it's too late to die young.

I've been in some ugly wrecks, and lived through them. I've had a nasty drug addiction, and overcame it. I have had my share of unhealthy relationships, and walked away from them.

I've learned, in truth, you can not die from a broken heart. And yet some wounds will never heal.
Some things I will never forget, like the softness of my grandmother's cheek when I last kissed her goodbye. I remember the feeling of leaning against my mother on long car rides. As hard as I try, I can't forget my sisters phone number.
I can still feel my arms around Lauren, the last time she left home. And I will never forget rocking her feverish four year old body.
So, it's too late to die young. I guess I'll hang around and see what happens next.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I don't know what to do with myself. I can't concentrate, I cant read and I have writer's block. The Rangers have got to win this game today and let me get on with my life.

It has consumed my every thought. I started to put on a certain shirt this morning and then remembered I wore it to the game when they lost to the Angels. I've said before, I'm not superstitious, except in baseball. I know, that's really stupid, not to mention self centered, to think my wardrobe affects the outcome of such an important game. But then again.......

I miss watching the games on Fox Southwest. These announcers don't know and love the Rangers the way Josh and Tom do. I also miss the Jack in The Box commercials. They're so funny and original. And about the commercials, am I the only one who has noticed that Red Robin stole their jingle from Hot Pockets. Really listen to it. Reeeeeddd Robinnn. Or Hooooot Pockets. It's the same completely unoriginal jingle.

I'm so tired of hearing about Derek Jeeter. On the Rangers pregame show these jerk announcers are talking Jeeter and the Yankees. So what if the Yankees have won 35 or so World Series in the 100 years they have existed. That means they didn't win 65. Texas has been around since the 70's, so really they have missed out on fewer pennant races. OK, I'm rationalizing but what I guess I am trying to say is what the Rangers have been saying all season.

"It's Time!"

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Second Look

We've been home three weeks and I still have thoughts of Georgia running through my mind. Hey, that might be a song.

I'm still listening to jazz and boring my friends with vacation memories. I find myself humming Moon River and wondering what Johnny Mercer was thinking about when he wrote that song. I see him gazing out over the Savannah river as he penned the words, "I'm crossing you in style someday". I see the old African American woman who made Savannah roses from dried reeds and sang so beautifully on the banks of the river. And the young saxophone player on the square trying to make a name for himself. I hope he succeeds.

I think about these people, and the thousands upon thousands who have made such memories, falling in love, writing songs and pursuing their dreams in this bewitching old city. What a lovely place for inspiration, she is their muse. I am drawn to her and again I hear Mercer's words, "We're after the same rainbow's end, waiting round the bend, my huckleberry friend, moon river and me".

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Field Of Dreams Come True

I've had a very good week. I celebrated 31 years with the love of my life, I saw BB King in concert, and tonight my Rangers won the A L West. My heart is full. I only wish I could share it with Lauren.

Lauren was the biggest Rangers fan I ever knew. Well, besides Sarah.

After Lauren moved to Durant, she went to as many games as she could. She was never happier, than when she was at the Ball Park. She loved Michael Young and saw his potential before anyone else noticed. When she was 5 years old, she knew all the words to Take Me out To The Ball Game.

A month before she died, Jon had a school in Dallas. I was home alone one evening and I called her. It was very loud and I thought she was busy with friends so I said I would call her later. She said OK and then, "Mom, guess what. Dad brought me to the Ball Park." I can still hear her voice saying it. Jon had taken her to see the Rangers play Oakland and she was so happy. A few months later, when she was gone, I found the ticket stubs in her jewelry box. Jon had never bought any of the rest of us seats that good. But it's alright. It was the last little bit of time he would ever have with her, so I'm glad they had good seats.

I really hope there is baseball in heaven.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

BB King / Gary Moore - The Thrill is Gone

You Are Only As Old As The Music You Listen To

I was noticing on facebook how everyone changes their profile picture so often. I guess they actually enjoy having their picture taken. I don't. I will continue to deceive myself and never look at any recent photos taken of me. No, I haven't aged, and I'm not over weight, and I will win the lottery having never bought a ticket.

Seriously, I think I will play it like Ann Landers. Remember how she was 102 years old but in her pictures she had that big black hair do and what appeared to be a forever youthful smile? If Ann could pull it off, so can I. I will never, ever change my profile picture.

The thing is, I don't look that bad in the mirror, but my pictures are awful. Why is that? If I'm just kidding myself, why can't I kid myself all the time?

Well, anyway, Tuesday night I am going to see the greatest blues guitarist of all time, B B King. He's older than my dad and almost as cool.

When I first started listening to the blues, I brought home an album by Fleetwood Mac. This was before Lyndsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks and Christine Perfect joined the band. They were a blues band through and through. My Mom was listening and said "Have you ever heard of Muddy Waters? I think you would like him" I couldn't believe Mom knew anything about music but I worked at a record store so I looked him up and she was right. It turned out Mom was a blues fan from way back. Anyway, I was hooked. I guess it has been my favorite kind of music since.

I hope you enjoyed The Thrill Is Gone.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Time to Get Back Home

Well we fly home tomorrow, and I am ready. I've had a wonderful time, but honestly, I'm ready to get back to normal. I miss my dad and I miss my dogs. I miss the people I work with and I really, really miss watching the Rangers. I just read they swept the Yankees, which is great, but I wish I could have seen it.

The dolphins were thick in numbers this morning. They are so beautiful and graceful. I know I will miss the mornings and evenings on the beach, but we'll come again someday.

Savannah is such a lovely city, with it's history and architecture. I'll be able to bore friends for hours with all the pictures we took. Every where you go, restaurants, shops, whatever, you always feel like a guest. The people are just classy. Whether it's a plate of buttermilk biscuits and whipped butter or complementary champagne with brunch, you just feel welcome.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Rambling Thoughts

The bad thing about Tybee is, they don't get the Rangers games. I saw on the sports highlights this morning that Nelson Cruz hit a walk off home run in the 13th to beat the Yankees. That would have been a great game to see. Although, I'm certain I would have turned it off before it was over, too nervous to see how it turned out.

The best thing about Tybee has to be these mornings. The sound of the ocean and the birds, it's like music.

Oh, and on the subject of music, we heard another great band last night. Probably my favorite so far, it was two young guys with an acoustic guitar and a stand up bass. the sound of just those two instruments was incredible. They played The Grateful Dead, Buffalo Springfield and some original stuff.

Yesterday, we went to the beach early, like we have every morning, and there were a lot more surfers out. It looks like so much fun. It makes me wonder what it would have been like to grow up here.

We met a guy in Savannah, who just bought a bookstore. He was a photographer and had published two books. We bought the one on the cemeteries of Savannah. I said maybe that made me weird that I was so fascinated with such. He didn't think so because they are so beautiful and interesting. He said his publishers wanted him to do a book on the plantations of Savannah. He said, in the deepest Georgian draw, I love to hear this guy talk, "There aren't any plantations, because Sherman burned them all". Seriously, I felt like I should tell him it's okay and we need to try to move on now. Most of these people still refer to the Civil War as The War (pronounced wowaa)

There are two cats that live here at this condo. I was thinking this would be a great place for a cat, but I don't know. Cats hate water so I guess they still depend on the kindness of strangers. (sorry I'm stuck on Sherman's army burning the plantations) Anyway back to that food chain thing. If God had made cats great swimmers or if they had thumbs and could hold a fishing pole, they would rule the world, or at least the water ways. Also I've always wondered how a cat born in West Texas, miles from the water, knows it wants fish. Think about it.

I think maybe it's time for a swim.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Porpoise Driven Life

My new favorite thing to do is sit on the beach and watch the dolphins
play. There are so many, it's just incredible. I also enjoy the pelicans diving hard into the water to catch a fish. But the dolphins are the big show. They swim as families. Babies stay with their mothers until they are 7 years old. They get so close you think you will be able to touch them.
Ive watched fish jumping out of the water and I wonder why. Don't they know they're just making it easier for the seagulls and pelicans to find them? I guess in order to make this whole food chain thing work, God had to make some creatures stupid.

Yesterday we went to the Bonaventure Cemetery. We saw the old Colonial cemetery on Tuesday. It's very interesting. Graves go back to the Revolutionary war. But Bonaventure has the most incredible statues. Some people spent more on their final resting place than most of us spend on our homes. Johnny Mercer is buried there. If you don't know, he was a song writer and he won academy awards for his sound tracks. He wrote Moon River and The Days Of Wine and Roses. He also wrote Come Rain Or Come Shine and Accentuate the Positive. In the movie Midnight In the Garden Of Good and Evil, Kevin Spacey lived in his house. His monument says, "Buddy, I'm a kinda poet and I got a lot to say"His wife's says "You musta been a beautiful baby" I'm becoming quite fascinated with him.

Yesterday, I got stung by a jellyfish, both feet and ankles.g It wasn't near as bad as I thought it would be. I thought maybe it wasn't a jellyfish, since it didn't hurt that bad, but the life guard said it was. I mean it hurt, but just not like I thought it would. After about a half hour it quit hurting and my feet were just numb. So, no biggie....

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Sunday was a series of naps. We were still pretty tired from the airport marathon so we took it easy.

Down on the beach we saw what looked like a family reunion. All different ages of kids and adults.

Some were fishing. Some were sunning and others playing in the sand and water. There was a boy about 8 years old fishing with the men while what appeared to be his older brothers looked on. Suddenly his line went taught and it looked as though he had a big catch. Everyone was telling him what to do as he reeled it in. We waited to see how big it was but it broke loose and got away. The older boys yelled "Psych" in unison. I guess brothers are the same everywhere.

Later that evening, after a good nap, we went down to the beach to hear some bands. We walked into a little patio bar where a group of old guys, about our age, were playing a Beatles tune. They looked like they had spent most of their days in beach bars. Surfer meets bar fly, if you know what I mean. They were called The Samuel Adams Band, but I think they must have been history buffs because they were drinking Corona. Pretty good guitar players, they played Pink Floyd, Lynard Skynard, Beatles and of course, Jimmy Buffett.

I got into a conversation with a guy from Tybee who proceeded to tell me everything that was wrong with Obama. I thought, oh no, I do not want to talk politics. He said being from Georgia, he had to compare him to Jimmy Carter, did I know who that was. I said yes, being young and idealistic and taking all my info from Rolling Stone magazine, I voted for Carter. He said "you couldn't be that old." I said, "yes I could" He said, "I was born in 75". I said, "I voted in 76".

I was wearing my Michael Young Texas Rangers shirt and standing in line with the inebriated at the rest rooms, when a severely intoxicated fellow pointed at me and said "Josh Hamilton!" I turned around and said "Michael Young."

After so much stimulating conversation, we were tired so we strolled down to the pier just in time to hear the Land Shark Band play my favorite Jimmy Buffett song, Come Monday. Well, really the only Jimmy Buffett song I like.

On Monday we went to Savannah to walk around and see the sights. We saw another little band down on the market square. They were old guys too, and played 60's stuff. They played Under the Boardwalk, This Magic Moment and Stand By Me. It's not so much what they played, but the sound. That distinctive 60's electric guitar, like in Del Shannon's Runaway. It makes you miss people you haven't seen in a long time and may never see again. Then they played Georgia On My Mind and for some reason that song always makes me think of my sister. So we moved on.

Tomorrow I will tell you all about how much a jellyfish sting hurts, but Jon is waiting for me now, so....

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I thought I would try to write a little every day while on vacation. The condo people forgot to mention that the wi-fi was down everywhere except the pool. I hadn't spent much time at the pool since I had the whole Atlantic ocean at my disposal, but I guess I will now.
So anyway, here we are on Tybee Island. Getting here wasn't as easy as we thought it would be. We got up early Saturday morning and drove to the airport where we waited and waited, then waited some more. Finally we boarded an airliner I can only describe as a school bus with wings. Even the flight attendants reminded me of school. There was the tight faced tired of your crap English teacher who hated me, and the very professional, let's just get through this day without any violence principal. I really liked him.
After 45 nauseating minutes, we landed at DFW, where we waited. Having only flown into Love Field, I was quite impressed with DFW. The trams were really cool and sort of reminded me of I Robot, the Will Smith movie. I ate a $12 salad, yes, I said a $12 salad, before boarding a much roomier plane. The flight attendant on this flight, was wider than the aisle she was trying to maneuver. I wondered what is the criteria for the job. She was rude and impatient with all the passengers. I guess maybe I expect too much.
Anyway we landed in Charlotte NC around 5:00 and waited. The cool thing about that airport was the rocking chairs. It looked like somebody's front porch. I thought I would see Adicus Finch at any moment. I did see a lot of soldiers at all the airports, and being a mother I had a crazy urge to hug all of them.
After a 3 hour lay over in Charlotte, we boarded the smallest plane yet, for a 35 minute flight to Savannah. There were more rocking chairs in that airport. They've got this whole southern thing down. We picked up our reserved mid size
rental car which seemed more like a clown size car. It was a Ford Focus but my husband called it a Ford Feces. Anyway we drove to Tybee and went to bed because it was 11:00.
It has all been worth it, so far. I'll write more later.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Jon was looking at my blog and said, "you have 15 followers". I said I had more people who tell me they read my blog but have not become followers. I called them Uncommitted Followers. He said "Uncommitted followers? Oh, are they Methodist?"

It's so easy to make jokes about different denominations. We've all heard about the Baptist woman who showed up at the pearly gates with her covered dish. I was raised a Baptist and I can tell you they are serious about getting people saved and pot luck suppers.

We rarely hear jokes about other religions. Though, I did hear a comedian say, you can tell a Buddhist by there WWBD bracelet. But for the most part other religions aren't that funny.

I thought about this after hearing Pastor Brad's sermon this morning. He was talking about living under the Law in the Old Testament, a curse, and the blessing of the Christ in the New Testament. I thought, that's it! Christ followers are so light hearted because our hearts are truly light. Our heavy baggage has been left at the cross. We don't have to worry about eating kosher or killing the infidel. Oh, we are the infidel to some. But to God we are a royal priesthood, a chosen people.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What Doesn't Kill Us Will Likely Embarrass The Hell Out Of Us

We have all embarrassed our children, almost as much as our parents embarrassed us. I think I have told you before about my mother wearing a dress and stockings and carrying her handbag across her arm at Six Flags. I know it doesn't sound all that bad, but I was 10 and, well you just had to be there.

I went out with a guy once that my mom said she had a "bad feeling" about. She said he looked like a pirate. Yes, a very handsome pirate every girl in town wanted to date. Well, Mom had me paged on my date, at the movies where she informed me she was coming to pick me up. Everyone I knew heard about it before I got home that night.

My dad chased the sweetest guy I ever knew off our front porch because he didn't like the way he looked. That sweet guy is now my dad's doctor.

Most of the time my parents embarrassed me out of love. What mother wants her daughter to spend the rest of her life living on ill-gotten booty with Johnny Depp or , heaven forbid, a Doctor. I, on the other hand, have caused such humbling experiences for my children because I am a goof ball and klutz.

Many of these red faced moments took place at amusement parks. Once we were going through the Fun house, not that much fun, at the Amarillo Tri State Fair. When we reached the end, there was a rolling drum we had to walk through. The adolescent punks behind us pushed me in and I fell on my face. The drum rolled and rolled like a washing machine until I finally rolled out and landed at Jon's feet. My family looked horrified.

Another time I was packing for a trip to Six Flags and noticed my sneakers had spots on them. I dabbed a little laundry soap on the spots and threw them in the washer with a load of towels. The spots didn't come out and, as I later learned, the soap didn't either. That day at six flags, we had just finished a water ride and we were drenched from head to toe when Sarah said, "Mom look at your shoes". There were soap bubbles coming out of my shoes. The more I walked the more suds my feet made. I looked like I was walking on a cloud of bubbles. Of course Jon and the kids walked ahead of me and pretended I wasn't with them.

Probably what was one of my most humiliating experiences came days after my son was born, so fortunately for him, he wont remember. I was a nursing mother, for the first time, and was just getting used to all the stuff that comes with that. You know, the instantly wet Tshirt the moment you hear your child cry and of course, breast pads.

I had just finished feeding Eric when my brother in-law stopped by. He and Jon visited for a while and then suddenly I realized I hadn't put my breast pad back on. I looked on the table where I had laid it and it wasn't there. Then I noticed Jon's brother was using it for a coaster. At first I thought I would die. But those things are pretty absorbent and they do harden, so soon we had a whole set.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Love Letters

Back in the days before email and texting, my mother and her sisters wrote letters. This is how I got to know my aunts who lived so far away. From her letters, I knew my Aunt Francis was a lovely woman who grew beautiful flowers and wrote poetry. She sometimes pressed flowers from her garden in Jacksonville Florida and included them in her letters to Mom. I also know, at the age of 80, she played Dolly in her community theater's production of Hello Dolly. Knowing only this much about her, she is someone I will never forget.

How will people remember you? Have you considered what your legacy will be?

Countless times I have walked to my mother's bedroom door and caught her on her knees praying. With so many children and grandchildren, Mom was no slouch when it came to praying. She never hesitated to "assume the position" when she came before the Lord. You don't see people doing this much anymore. I myself pray all day, about everything. Most recently, when the plumber left the gate open and my dog was out for some time before anyone noticed. After searching everywhere for him, I stood in my driveway and whispered, "Dear Jesus, please take care of Darnell and bring him back to me safely". Seconds later I heard the rattle of his collar, looked up and saw him running toward me. "Thank you, Jesus!" I sometimes sing Jesus Loves The Little Doggies to Darnell, but don't tell anyone. They may want to put me away.

The thing about prayer is, like all things in heaven, they are eternal. Mom's prayers for her children are still covering us today.

I gave my mother several journals over the years hoping she would write something she needed me to know. I wanted her to write me a letter or something. She never wrote a word. After being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's the first thing she lost was her speech. Day after day she sat with her Bible in her lap. She would look at me as though she wanted to tell me something. What is it, Mom, I wondered. When she died I asked Daddy if I could have her Bible. He gave me a shiny new one still in the box and I told him I wanted the one she read. He gave it to me and after some time, I opened it. There was my letter, bookmarked and underlined. John 14: 1-3, Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

Mom left a legacy of prayer. A brave woman to the end, she cherished the letters from her God. They comforted her and gave her peace.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Cornbread and Iced Tea Of Life

Today I was floating in my swimming pool. Oh, did I not mention I have a pool? It's so big, it took my husband a long time to inflate it and fill it with water. It's big enough for one air raft and me.

Anyway, I was floating on my raft and looking at the different shapes the clouds make. I was reminded of summer afternoons long long ago, lying on the lawn watching clouds with my brothers, Joel and Steve. We'd be there watching the shapes and laughing for what seemed like hours. We were happy or at least content. We didn't have a lot of the things our friends had, but not having them, we never knew we wanted or needed them. Life is funny the way different societies define wants and needs.

I thought about this for a long time. What do I need to be happy? Am I happy now? I thought ,yes, but then I thought again and decided I needed a glass of iced tea. And not just any iced tea but the iced tea my grandma Belle used to make. She used loose tea and added a little baking soda while it brewed. I don't know why, but it was wonderful. Anyway, if I had a glass of Grandma Belle's iced tea, would I then be happy? No, I think I would need it just the way my dad drank it on a hot summer day. Daddy liked to drink tea from a quart size Mason jar. If you don't know what that is, it's a jar used for canning fruits and vegetables. He would fill it completely full of ice then pour the still hot and steeping tea over it. For some reason it just tasted better in those canning jars.

Daddy also sometimes poured milk over ice and added sugar and vanilla. It hit the spot if you were craving something sweet and didn't have the money for ice cream, and we rarely did.

My parents used to pour milk over crumbled cornbread and eat it like it was a real treat. I read recently this practice came about during the depression. It seems in the hardest times most people could still grow corn. These people, trying to feed their families, could either make and sell corn meal or moonshine, and usually did both. If you had nothing but cornmeal and hopefully milk, you had a meal. This may be where the term "comfort food" came from. And it's no wonder we use words like comfort and food in the same sentence. All through the Bible you see bread referred to as life or life giving. Jesus was the bread of life. He broke bread with his closest friends before he made that long walk to Calvary. When he returned to his friends he cooked them dinner while they had been fishing. What do we do when we get together with people we love? We eat.

My sister and brothers loved cornbread and milk also, and I know they had a few hungry days. They have teased me about being the "rich kid". I never had to pick cotton and Mom bought me a bike when it wasn't even my birthday. They have picked on me for good reason over the years. But they were there for me when my little girl died and for that, I will always be thankful. My family is the cornbread and iced tea of life.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Country Living

I love the commercials for Blue Bell ice cream. They make every day living in the country look like an east Texas family reunion. Old people find joy in the work of their hands and children romp in lakes and play on old tire swings. And of course someone is always churning ice cream. This is how I thought life would be fifteen years ago when we moved to the country. Now all I can say is, I did my time and I'm glad I'm out.

First of all, in our part of Texas, if there is a lake or pond near by, you should stay away from it. It's probably not supposed to be there and anything could be in it. You could get a nasty infection. Also we grow unusually large mosquitoes in west Texas and they love to hang around dirty, murky water.

I had a garden when we lived in town and thought I could have a much bigger and better one when we moved to the country. The rabbits and coyotes loved my big garden. They ate very well and grew in numbers. It didn't really matter. After the first giant, prehistoric grasshopper monster flew in my face, I gave the garden to the rabbits and coyotes and never went out there again.

We had a little wasp problem. Early in the Fall, when it didn't get warm until late day, I used to come home from work and find my front door covered in wasp. I had to walk around to the back just to go in the house, but sometimes there were wasp in there also. Sarah found an old wasp nest and wanted to take it to school for her science class. She left it on the kitchen counter for days so I put it in a baggie and threw it in a drawer. One day I was looking for something in that drawer and found a baggie full of baby wasp.

I'm more afraid of snakes than anything. I never finished painting my back door because a snake crawled across my foot. It was a small grass snake and Jon said it scared him worse than it scared me. He obviously doesn't know how scared I was. I walked out to my car one day, and right there on the driveway was a big ugly bull snake. I know it was a bull snake because I didn't see a rattler, but then again I didn't stay around that long. I turned and ran under a tree and found myself in the biggest spider web you ever saw. It was the work of a huge green and yellow spider, I have since learned, was there to eat mosquitoes and not me. All of this, before 8:00 am.

My sister never had a problem with bull snakes. She said they eat mice. I said I'd rather have mice. Jon said there was a bull snake living in our well house that ate mice. I said I would never go into that well house. And I didn't, until I had to. Jon was out of town and we were expecting the temperature to drop below freezing. He said I would have to go out to the well house and light the heater. Lighting that heater was terrifying enough, but it was dark and I knew there was a snake out there. Sarah was home from college for the weekend and said she would do it. Well, she was my child, if anyone was going to be killed by a gas heater or ravenous bull snake it should be me, right. We walked out there together. She was holding the flashlight, but I had her stay at a distance. As I tried to step through the door, I was gripped by fear. I stopped and turned back several times until finally, I was in. Sarah was laughing the whole time. It took several tries to light the fire. It was very dark, or maybe my eyes were closed, I don't know, but I finally got it lit and ran out the door. Sarah had the most horrified look on her face, then she started to laugh. She said while I was lighting the heater, with my eyes closed, there was something looking at me. She didn't know what, she just saw eyes. We screamed and ran in the house and I took a very long, very hot shower.

We moved to town almost four years ago and people still ask me if I miss the country. I'd like to be sentimental about it, but I cant. I love it here. We don't have a well house yet we still have water. A big truck comes by weekly and picks up our trash. I never get stuck in the mud and I haven't seen a snake in ages. I love hearing children play in my neighborhood and the sound of church bells telling me the time every 30 minutes. I am enjoying all the comforts of suburbia.

Friday, July 30, 2010

It's just my opinion, but......

I like to read a book before it becomes a movie. Movies almost never do justice for a really good book. For instance, I wanted to read Dear John about the time it was coming out on film, but I just never found the time. So I didn't go see it at the theater either. I finally watched it on pay per view the other day and it was pretty good. I did, however, feel like something was missing. It's like an inside joke that you, the outsider never gets. I hated the ending, but a few days later I realized what had happened. The characters loved each other. But being selfless people they sacrificed their love to help others. He, by reenlisting after the 911 attack, she, by taking care of a terminally ill man and his autistic son. I think the book would have explained that much better and I would have appreciated the ending. Sorry if I just ruined the story for anyone.
Well, a while back I bought the book, Eat Pray Love. I couldn't get past the first couple of chapters because I disagreed strongly with this woman's view of God. so I put it down. Recently I saw a preview for the movie, starring Julia Roberts. Everyone is talking about it, chain stores are building merchandise adds around it and it hasn't even come out yet. I guess it's going to be a really big deal. I thought maybe I should finish the book so at least I could say why I didn't want to see the movie. Only now I do. I still haven't gotten that far in the book, but it's got my attention.
Here are some of the things I had a problem with.
In chapter 3 she says" Culturally, though not theologically, I am a Christian. And while I do love that great teacher of peace who was called Jesus, I can't swallow that one fixed rule that Christ is the only path to God" I say, then you are not a Christian. She says"Traditionally I have responded to the transcendent mystics of all religions" And it goes on...blah blah blah the gospel according to Oprah, we are the world yadda yadda yadda...
OK, so I think most Christ followers can agree with me that this is disturbing. But then I read on into chapter 8 where she meets her Guru and he ask her want she wants. She says "I want to have a lasting experience of God. I want to be with God all the time but I don't want to be a monk, or totally give up worldly pleasures. I want to learn how to live in this world and enjoy it's delights, but also devote myself to God." hmmmm... Isn't that what we all want?


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Travelin' Heavy

We took a little trip this weekend. We went to see a Rangers game in Arlington. It was a two day trip so, of course, I took everything I own.

These days it takes a lot more primping paraphernalia to make this girl presentable. One bag for what I am going to wear and what I think I might wear, a hanging bag for things that will look just as wrinkled if I wad them up and shove them in the glove compartment, and my duffel bag. My duffel bag holds make up and a complete hair arsenal. For example, products, I don't know if I will need gel or mousse or otherwise, blow dryer,curling iron and flat iron. ( Lord, why do I think I need a flat iron?) After lugging all this 500 miles, I discovered, when getting dressed for the game, I had nothing to wear and my hair was flat because of the humidity.

My husband is just as bad. He packs everything in his bathroom cabinet and forgets his blood pressure medicine. It kind of takes the fun out of things when, in Dallas traffic, I see that little vein throbbing in his forehead.

I had a great time, though. It's something we need to do every now and then but, I couldn't help thinking how much better I enjoy the games at home.

At home there is no line for the bathroom and I have already paid for the snacks and beverages which, again there is no line for, in my kitchen. At home I can turn the air conditioning up if the temperature gets above boiling as it always does in Arlington.

At home if someone is too talkative or I don't like what he is saying, I can leave the room. There was this young man sitting behind us at the game who, for someone with such a limited vocabulary, talked constantly. He used the F word to describe everything. Also, after the game, there was a concert, which I considered going to, until I heard him tell his friend there would be a lot of HOES there. I'm not sure what they would be hoeing but it sounded like work to me so....... In all seriousness, it made me angry to hear him refer to women this way. I just hope he was as transparent to all the young ladies he attempted to pick up at the concert.

When we booked our hotel, they said it was a short stroll to and from the ball park. It seemed a bit further, so we decided to ride the hotel provided trolley. Now I have seen movies where they try to cram as many people as possible onto one bus or train. But these scenes always take place in foreign countries, not in the wide open spaces of Texas, U S A. I learned more about some of the other hotel guest than I really needed to know. Needless to say, we chose the walk, over the trolley after the game. It was still very hot and I don't know if it was the heat, humidity or perhaps the flimsy flip flops I was wearing, but my calves were cramping. Soon I had a full blown charlie horse in each leg. I thought I heard someone say something about a death march. I envisioned a smiling Nazi meeting us at the door and saying we were all going to get a shower now.

And that's the story of how I spent Saturday night with 47,798 other Rangers fans. Other than the heat, humidity, obnoxious drunks and over crowding, it was a great time.
I am posting a trailer to a movie we saw a couple of years ago. I really liked this movie, if you haven't seen it you should check it out.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Summer, Baseball, Green Koolaide and Big Hair

My mind is full of memories of long lazy summer days. Little things bring them to me, a smell, a noise an old pair of cut off jeans, these things are my childhood. After playing with neighbor kids most of the morning, it was time for lunch. My mother's kitchen was always noisy. Everyone talked at once about their jobs or what they were doing that evening. There was ice clinking in glasses and dishes being set on the table and of course the sound of what ever my mother was frying for lunch. Yes my mother was a fry cook and my brothers and I have the arteries to prove it. All that noise and suddenly it was quiet when we heard "Like sands through the hour glass, so are the Days of Our Lives"

I think of mornings spent at Vacation Bible school, singing, learning, playing and having snack, green Koolaide and store bought cookies. It was an event filled week, beginning with a parade and ending with a picnic in the park. We lined up outside every morning for the promenade into the sanctuary. We pledged allegiance to the flag, the Christian flag and the Bible. After singing Jesus Loves The Little Children, we were given a scripture to learn and sent by age to our classes. I thought everyone lived like that.

I loved going to the beauty shop with my Mom. I watched as young women in white uniforms teased hair into lofty coifs. I breathed hairspray and waving solutions, never thinking about my lungs or the ozone layer. American Bandstand was on the television and Elvis and Priscilla were in the magazines. It's where I drank my first Fresca, or was it a Tab? I still love beauty shops today.

The best part of Summer was the Little League games. I'll never forget those hot sticky mosquito ridden nights at the ball park. The sights and sounds seem like a dream now.

I need to push myself away from this desk and my work and enjoy summer like a child. I need to smell the chlorine and mosquito spray and burn some hot dogs over a campfire. But for now, I'll be the responsible adult.....until this weekend. Texas Rangers baseball, I'm on my way.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Mrs. Bacon

I bought an old wicker rocking chair at an antiques store. It reminded me of one my grandmother had when I was a little girl. Hers was black and mine is brown, but I may paint it. My grandfathers rocking chair was a wooden ladder back. They always sat, side by side on their front porch in Cumby. That's a very nice memory for me.

I don't think I really noticed my grandmother much, until after Grandpa died. I was six years old, the baby girl of his baby girl and he had my heart, as well as my attention. Grandma was that sweet white haired lady who sat with Grandpa on the porch, made pallets on the floor and told us kids who was sleeping where. She cooked for us and called every meal supper. We'd wake up in the morning and she would say "come eat your supper".

I think the first time I really noticed her was after Grandpa's funeral. All her family was there and she wanted to give her son's something of their father's. She opened his closet door, looked at his straw hats and walking canes, then collapsed in tears. She had married him when she was fourteen years old, almost sixty five years earlier, and now she was alone. I needed to know my grandmother after that day.

I heard her telling my parents, once, "Sheila takes good care of me, but maybe she needs to go play". If it was a hint she wanted to be alone, I didn't get it. I stayed by her side every time we visited.

She told me about when she tripped over a tree root leaving church and broke her arm. It didn't heal right and she could no longer put her waist length hair up. It broke his heart, but Grandpa took her to the beauty shop to have it cut. He took a lock of Grandma's hair home and braided it. I asked her if she still had it and she said she threw it away after he died. It made her too sad to look at it.

She talked about traveling in a covered wagon with her parents. She said her father had changed their last name from Kirk to Wilson. She didn't know why, but sometimes he would wake them in the middle of the night and say they had to leave. I have since tried to research this, but found nothing.

Grandma was napping out on Aunt Lilly's screened back porch one day and when she woke up she told me about a dream she had. She said she was down in a valley, all alone, shivering in the snow. She looked up on the mountain and saw flowers growing in colors she had never seen. And there was my grandpa as the young cowboy she first met. He threw down a lasso and pulled her up. Years later I saw a man on TV talking about his near death experience. He said, in Heaven he had seen flowers in colors unknown to this world. I wondered then, if Grandma had been given a preview of Heaven.

She had so many stories, but soon she would loose the ability to speak and I wished I had started listening sooner. She would blurt out the occasional word. When my brother, Steve walked in the room, she would laugh and say Calvin. I think she was saying he looked like my father. She still said Imogene, my mothers name, and cried when were leaving. I felt a lump in my throat and a deep sadness for days after going home.

She died when I was seventeen, she was ninety something. I remember her in her pink shawl and butterfly pin. It looked so pretty with her white hair. Her funeral was in the little country Church where my cousin was pastor. It rained that day, and standing in the cemetery with my heels sinking in the wet ground, I thought about her life. She crossed Texas in a covered wagon, married the cowboy of her dreams and lived to see a man walk on the moon. She lost children, babies and adults and saw her sons go to war. She delivered at least two of my mothers babies. How awesome to bring your own grandchildren into the world. How awful to see your daughter go through childbirth.

I knew she was back with her love, happy and whole, but I missed her. I still do.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Frisco Kid

This is my favorite scene from one of my favorite movies.
God gives you strength to make it through the dry hard spells of life and then sometimes, just like that........

Rain Dance.wmv

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Happy Birthday, Lauren Brooke. You would be 25 today. That's a milestone birthday. If you're a boy, your insurance cost drops dramatically. For girls, it's when everyone starts asking when you are going to get married.

It's likely you would be married by now. You were picky, but when you loved, you loved with your whole heart. A lot can happen in four years, you might even have a little girl of your own by now. Imagine, another little Lauren running around.

I spent the morning watching videos of you. I know, it's like picking at a scab, but it made me feel like you were with me today. You were twirling all morning. You always sparkled on the field. Not just because of the sequined suits and fire batons, but your eyes and your smile, you glowed.

You would be so proud of the Rangers, with the exception of the past two nights. This is going to sound crazy, of course I am crazy, so why shouldn't I sound crazy. Anyway, the thing is, when I watch the games on TV, I always see you in the stands.

Did I ever tell you about the day you were born? I remember every minute. It was just after midnight on your due date. I had back labor, which I had never experienced before, and I wasn't sure if it was labor but it sure hurt. We went to the emergency room and the nurses said it would be awhile, so they would call the doctor and Jon should go have me admitted. Well you thought differently. you were almost born in the bathroom. A little Vietnamese woman actually delivered you. They gave you to me and you were crying. I said don't cry baby, and you instantly, opened your big ole eyes and cooed like you knew who I was. You were beautiful. You came into this world as quickly as you left. I should have been with you for the later.

The one thing that keeps me going each day, Lauren, is I know you are not just in my past. You are my future.

I love you with all my heart



Sunday, July 4, 2010

Bored On The 4th Of July, part two

There is possibly a half foot of the Gulf of Mexico standing in my backyard, thanks to hurricane Alex. Oh well, as a West Texan, I know better than to complain about too much rain. If the fireworks are canceled that just means a few less mosquito bites for me.

We have had very few rainy Independence Days but two stand out in my mind.

The first was when my brother, Danny was overseas, so his wife, Shirley and the kids were living here. She tried to be sweet and take some of us to Palo Duro canyon for the day. It was a cold rain, and I'm sure we complained, but we had fun, Shirley was always fun.

The second, and one of my favorite memories, was an impromptu cook out at Joel and Sue's house, my brother and sister in law. The weather had ruined a lot of plans, but we had the best time sitting in a circle around an outdoor fire pit, snuggled up in blankets. We talked and laughed and passed around a mason jar filled with a vodka concoction the neighbor had passed over the fence. Steve played the guitar and we sang Friends in Low Places and Amazing Grace. Yes, I know, ours is a strange tribe. Some call that tribe Redneck. We call it family.

When Eric and Sarah were little, we lived in Borger, Texas. We were all the family we had. On the 4th of July, 1985 I was very pregnant with Lauren. We had been to the lake and I had a backache. Wanting to take a walk to relieve my back pain and possibly start a little labor, we strapped Sarah in the stroller and started to leave. Eric, however, was playing next door with a little girl and wanted to stay there. Her 14 year old sister said she would watch them and we believed her. When we got home, Eric was not there. The sister went inside and the little girl got mad at Eric and told him to go home, so he went looking for us. He was only three. We scoured the neighborhood and could not find him anywhere and wouldn't you know it, the labor pains did start. We finally found him at a grocery store where he had gone through the check out line with a toy. He told the checker his name was Eric Jon Superman and his mom would come by to pay for the toy. I was so frightened, but after we found him the labor pains stopped and that is the story of how Lauren was almost born on the 4th of July.

Lauren marched in the 4th of July parade for many years. First in a line of twirlers and later as the feature twirler. I was always very proud of her. In 2005 she was crowned College Miss Majorette Of Oklahoma. The lady who organized the parade in our town asked Lauren to ride in the parade that year with her sash and crown. Lauren, who was in summer school at the time, reluctantly came home for the big event. That morning while getting ready to go, I could tell she was really dragging her feet. I asked her if she didn't want to do it and she said, " It's one thing to march with a band and represent your school, but this is just shameless self promotion." I was never more proud of her. We snuck out of town and went shopping. It was a great day and as it turned out, our last 4th of July together.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Bored On The 4th Of July, part one

July 4th has always been special to me. Not because I'm so patriotic, but because of the memories. When I was a little girl, I had my own personal fireworks show, with my brothers spending their hard earned money from summer jobs, on what I thought were the ultimate in pyrotechnics. Kids would come from all over the neighborhood to watch as they popped firecrackers and shot off missiles, bottle rockets, spinners and, my favorite, roman candles. My brother, Greg had the roman candles. It was sort of his thing, and he saved it for the finale. The show was fun for everyone watching, but these were my brothers. I remember the first time I was allowed to hold a lit sparkler and make circles in the night sky. It's no wonder I suffer from "Princess" syndrome to this day.

One 4th, I went to the lake with my friend, Ivy. Some of my brothers had left home by then and it wasn't quite the same. Still, I knew I would miss being with my family. I never expected it, but there was a huge fireworks show at the lake. I had never seen anything so beautiful. The explosions made the shape of an American flag in the sky. Years later, I wondered if I had imagined it.

We took our kids to Padre Island for vacation in July of 1989. After learning a few important things about the use of sunscreen, we headed north for Texas Rangers Baseball. It was the 4th of July and we were promised a spectacular fireworks show. We drug our blistering scarlet bodies into the stadium just as a down pour began. We went with 30,000 other folks under the stands, this was the old stadium, and tried to get out of the rain. The water rose higher as we tried to hold three kids off the floor where they were being stepped on. After having enough beer spilled on us and plenty of smoke blown in our faces we made a mad dash for the motel.. There were broken tree limbs and downed power lines every where. There had been a tornado pass through while we were taking shelter under the baseball stadium. Last year, while watching the Rangers play on T V, we heard the announcer say only once had the Rangers experienced a rain out on July 4th and that was in 1989. We call that Armstrong Luck.

We were in St. Louis for Fair St. Louis in 1997. It took place under the arch by the Mississippi River. We saw Cheryl Crow, Tony Bennett and the most fabulous fireworks show ever. And you know what? There was that American flag. Maybe I hadn't dreamed it. It was a great time for the kids and us. I remember a man carrying two beers, stopping to look over the sea of bodies. Just at that moment it got really quiet and the sea of people looked at him. He nervously said "Barb, where are ya honey? Ive got your beer." Everyone laughed and then, across the miles of bodies we saw a woman jump up and say "over here". We all applauded. It was great, until all one million of us needed to catch the same bus back to civilization. But I won't go into that.


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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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