Monday, April 30, 2012

Z iz for Zimbabwe

  1. a landlocked republic in south central Africa formerly called Rhodesia; achieved independence from the United Kingdom in 1980

I realize it may sound a little confounding to see a redneck in Caneyhead talking about an African country half a world away.  I admit I don't know a whole lot about the place.  But I do know that our little church has supported a feisty little missionary there named Sherri Bumstead for years.  And some folks have come back with her before to tell us about their land, their culture and what God has been doing for them there.  We see slides of the beautiful land, friendly people, modest churches, hospitals and schools.  We learn just how much we have that we take for granted.

Sherri teamed up with others and started a ministry called Bethany Ministries.  Recently, with leading from God, they have opened it up to be Bethany World Ministries.  Many from our church collect everything from baby things to school supplies to Christian literature for them to send to Zimbabwe and around the world.  Several folks go and volunteer in their warehouse from time to time, sorting things and packing them to go in large cargo containers to make their journey out once full.

There are many wonderful ministries spreading the love of Christ and the Good News of Salvation.  But if you don't know one personally and are looking for one to support, I unblinkingly recommend Bethany World Ministries to you.

You can find the link to them and to another fascinating ministry called Wild Horse Ministries that combines gentling horses with sharing the gospel in my sidebar under Recommended Links.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Y is for Yams

Y is for Yams sweet potatoes that is.  At least here in SE Texas.  Basically everyone calls the same thing either or.  Like prawns and shrimp.  But realistically, they are actually slightly different.  I'm talking about those long, fat-in-the-middle, reddish-orange potatoes that sometimes look like they have paw paw whiskers growing out the sides of them. 

And tonight I give you Jesse Ruth's Sweet Potato Pie recipe.So hold on to your britches 'cause you'll have to let them out after you have all of this you want.

Three cups of cooked, mashed sweet potatoes.
Two cups of sugar.
3 eggs
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 1/2 teaspoon Allspice
1 Cup buttermilk (the real deal, not reduced fat)
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1 teaspoon baking powder

Bake in two 9" unbaked pie crusts.  Probably at 350 degrees until lightly browned and firm in the middle.  

Friday, April 27, 2012

X is for Xena, Warrior Princess....Boston Terrier

Back in 2006 I wrote an entry about our Boston Terrier gang.  Sad to say, now in 2012, the gang is all gone.  One by one they left us and went on to their reward.  But their fun and adventurous spirit remains.

Xena, was the first.  Pete got her when she was barely six weeks old in December of 1997.  She quickly became the center of everyone's attention.  She was  so loyal, so smart, so loving.  Please go back and read the entry where I explained in more detail why she was such a special and intricate part of our lives. Just Me and the Terriers

Thursday, April 26, 2012

W is for Whoring Around

Or at least when I said tonight's entry had to be about a "w", that's what Pete suggested.  :P  He's always trying to be funny. 

Since I don't know much about the subject, and I was purposing to write about people and places from my past during this challenge, then I'll talk about my Uncle Wayne for a little.

As far as I know he was the only one of my uncles who did not serve in WWII.  Perhaps he was just too young to get sucked into the war as he married mama's youngest sister, Catherine.

Unfortunately he got a brain tumor and passed away while I was still fairly young and in school.  But I remember he was very tall.  Aunt Catherine came to the bottom of his shirt pocket.  He had dark, wavy hair.  A huge grin.  He was a gentle giant.  He was adopted.  No real idea who his birth family was.

Barbara In Caneyhead

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V is for Willa V

Mother's mother was Mama Ruth.  Mama Ruth's baby brother was Uncle Harry.  Uncle Harry was married to a woman named Willa V.  As far back as I can remember, Aunt Willa V had grey hair cut short and stylish, wore glasses, and was always thin and neat.  She worked at Lamar University.  Volunteered at the hospital. 

Her and Uncle Harry had all girls that were grown as long as I can remember.  They say Aunt Willa V always cooked exact amounts of food for every meal.  Each meal was balanced and each meal was exactly a serving and each family member had one serving.  I know none of them ever had a weight  problem.  And the two of them long outlived their peers.  So I suppose she was doing them all a favor and keeping them healthy.

I remember being so very happy and proud they were around to come and see Bubba when he was born.  And privileged to have them  around for some time afterward.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U is for Aunt Unice

Aunt Eunice was on Mama's side of the family.  I remember her laughing and telling us about a nurse taking her vitals and telling her, "Lady, you're already dead."  I suppose that's where I got my own very low vitals characteristics.

In college, when our biology professor was going over blood pressure, he asked the class to stand.  He then began to give out average blood pressure readings and asked us to sit down when he called out our normal reading.  I was one of the last three to sit.  And this was not a normal size class.  This was a class that met in an auditorium on campus.

Then when I was back home and working out at a gym several times a week, their nurse called me in to check vitals.  My resting heart rate was 60 bpm.  She said, "Oh, how many miles do you run each week?", thinking surely this was because I was doing cardio workouts or running.  I told her, "I don't run unless something is chasing me."

And body temperature.  When I was fine and feeling well, my body temperature was always hovering around 97 degrees instead of 98.6.  At 98.6 I feel feverish and bad.

I ran my extremely low blood pressure through two pregnancies.  The morning I went in to have Bug, c-section, they took my blood pressure before I went to surgery and  even at nine months pregnant it was only 110/70.  While that was up from my normal, it was still well below text book normal.  Then after the c-section they kept getting readings like 148/85 and such.  It never went down!  I don't know what happened to me.  But I have no doubt something that happened during that delivery changed me forever.


Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for Texas (& That's my Grandbaby)

T for Texas...and T for that's my Grandbaby.  

I was born and raised in Texas.  I'm third and fourth generation Texan.  Remember we are a young state, and I was born to parents when my mama was 39 and daddy was 44.  I know living in Texas all my life colors my thinking.  I know we see things a little different than the rest of the country.  After all an awful lot of folks come to Texas looking to escape poverty, or some inconvenient form of justice.  Others came just needing more space and seeking adventure.  All of this and the fact that we were once independent, come together to make us a little more cautious to change things than the rest of the country.  A little more attached to our right to live on our land and use it as we see fit.  A little more protective of the rights of individuals over the whole.  More and more I see things starting to change as the average Texas becomes more often transplanted than home grown. 

So I was delighted to find a group for Texas Bloggers during this A-Z Challenge!  I hurriedly signed right up.  You can find the list and sample some other Texas gals blogs by clicking the icon in my sidebar.  Or sign up if you're female and from Texas.

Sunday, my kids come to church.  It was their first time to take the baby mobile so they were late getting there.  We were just about to start the 3rd song when they walked in.  Came down and tried to sit by me and Bug, but the pew was a little too full, so they sat in the pew ahead of us.  At the start of the third song, i stepped over a couple of folks and asked Bubba if I could hold that baby.  He handed her over.  She was a vision in a little pink velveteen suit that was reminiscent of the 1950's.  There were gussets and satin inserts.  And on her head was a beautiful pink bow.  So, naturally I turned around and showed her to the pews behind me before I sat down.  They nodded their approval.  I can't remember ever being prouder.  And the church was just about packed again!  God is up to something in Caneyhead. 

If you want to see my beautiful granddaughter, you need to "like" Life and Faith in Caneyhead on Facebook and you can see her picture posted there.  I shared one her mom posted.
You can find the link on my sidebar.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

S is for Shut Down

S is for shut down. As in Pete shut down my computer while I was in the shower & before I could post!
~ Barbie ~

Friday, April 20, 2012

R is for Radio

My earliest recollection of radio or music is in the rent house Mama & Daddy had on Cooks Road.  The beige GE AM radio.  Very similar to this one.  I can recall mama having it playing while she did house work.  I know I heard Petulia Clark singing "Downtown" standing on the linoleum floor by the chrome legged yellow kitchen table.  The only images in my head at the time of downtown at night had no multi-story buildings.  Very few neon lights even.  But still I heard it on the radio and so it must of been true that you "could forget all your worries, forget all your cares" if you went downtown.  It was all brought to me by KJAS thirteen hundred in Silsbee.

Fast forward ten years and the same radio is plugged into an extension chord and sitting on the tin roof of a shed at our house on 1122 so me and two of my friends, Sherry and Kathy, could listen to tunes while we sunbathed on our beach towels slathered in baby oil on top of the tin.  There was Terry Jacks singing "Seasons in the Sun" and Edward Bear singing "Last Song".

Another ten years speeds by.  Mama and Daddy and Sarah are gone.  I'm married to Pete and Polk has moved out.  But that same radio is still in the garage on 1122 playing things like George Straight  with "Amarillo by Morning" and Alabama crooning "she's close enough to perfect for me."

Shift into overdrive.  Another twenty-three years gone down life's road.  Bubba born, grown and now with a family of his own.  Living in that same house.  The garage is falling down upon itself in the back.  Time and the inattention of renters has took its toll.  But the beige AM radio still sits perched on a shelf in the garage, chord plugged into the outlet.....I wonder...could

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q is for Quiet

Today, I simply reflect on the fact that there is never enough time to simply be still and quiet.  With that said, I will endeaver to do just that.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

P is for Peanut Pudding

I suppose I still have Janie on my mind.  Everyone knows chocolate pudding made from scratch or by Jello.  And at least the Southern states are familiar with banana pudding.  But Janie made peanut pudding.

It was delicious.  Far better than chocolate or banana.  I watched her make it.  Helped a little.   But I have never summoned up the energy to make it.  First she'd take fresh peanuts and parch them.  After they were roasted to perfection she'd shell her a small bowl full of the nuts.  Fresh roasted always has the little red skin on the nut, so next she'd take and rub away all the red skin on the nuts in her bowl.  Then she'd start chopping.  And she'd chop and chop until the peanuts were halfway between the size of grains of salt and dust.  Then she'd make and build and bake a puddin, just like you would a banana pudding, only with the fresh roasted and chopped peanuts in it.   Heaven.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O is for Odie Mae

Odie Mae is what her closest friends and family often called her, but her name was Janie.  She was short and round when I knew her, with a wide mischievous smile and eyes that twinkled. She was one of the original, consummate country women. If you entered Janie's home midday, you'd likely find her brushing her hair back from her face with her hand toward her bun and wiping sweat off her glasses on her apron. 

Supper preparation would already be under way.  At that time the least number of people who ate any meal at Janie's was six.  And they almost always had from one to another half dozen or so stop in for lunch or supper.  She'd cook a platter full of meat, five vegetable sides.  Rice and pasta with most every meal.  French fries always.  And her fried cornbread.  Janie could take spaghetti, a can of tomato sauce, a little onion and some seasoning and have you begging for another helping.  They went through so much koolaide in a meal that she'd always mix up a double batch.  And she didn't mind one iota handing you a bowl and tators to peel or some other task.  If you walked into her kitchen, you had done enlisted.  Of course it weren't no bother, as the conversation was always lively and you were finished before you knew it. 

After everyone had gathered around the table, and said grace all the plate passing and bowl swapping began.  Meals always had simultaneous conversations mingled with clanging dinnerware and clinking glasses.  Then as each one finished, scraps from plates were immediately scraped off into a bucket for the hogs or the chickens.  Dishwater was heated and the dinnerware was immediately cleaned up.  Leftovers were stuffed into the icebox or covered and left out depending on their type. 

Then with the rag she'd wipe off the table and  towel dry behind it and if there were any four people in the house who knew how to play 42 dominoes, the box would come out and be set upon the table and Janie would pull out her chair.  I enjoyed playing so very many domino games with them whether it was at the house on that kitchen table or at the camp in Bush Lake.

Bush Lake and Janie went together like butter and bread.  She'd get up at dawn, squirrel hunt or deer hunt.  Come back and cook pancakes for everyone and their brother.  Then  start working on lunch.  After lunch she might catch a nap, or get her pole and head down to the aluminum boat to go white perch fishing.  She loved perch fishing.  Taught me the sport.  Made me like it too.  I haven't perch fished since Janie left us.

Me and her would load up in an black jeep Pete had jacked up by putting the springs on top of the axle.  I could barely get one foot in the door to pull myself up with the steering wheel.  Janie had to take a small wooden chair and step up on it and into the jeep. We'd throw the chair in the back.  We'd run off and squirrel hunt or pick wild dew berries or whatever took Janie's fancy for that day. 

Once there had been a very rainy, wet deer season.  All the roads in and around Bush Lake were a mess.  As likely to get stuck going and coming as not.  Janie and I had been down the road for an afternoon hunt and headed back to the camp in the jeep.  The fellows were headed out to go get on thier stands for the evening hunt.  It was pouring rain.  The road was narrow and a terrible mess. They met us in  a 2 wheel drive truck and I got over into the messy part and let them have the good part of the road.  Later when everyone was back at the camp they told the story and remarked how nice that person driving the big jeep was.....Pete hadn't recognized his own jeep in the rain and half fogged over windshield of the truck!

Janie was practical, impatient, forgiving, a fountain of wisdom.   She died a number of years ago in a car crash.  She was wrapped around her grand baby, protecting her.  Now that I have one, I know why.   But I miss her. 

Thank God one day I'll walk down the grassy bank toward a shining river and find my friend sitting there with a cane pole in hand, shiner on the hook waiting for that heavenly white perch.


Monday, April 16, 2012

N is for Nitetime

 Nitetime has been my favorite time of day since I was a kid on Knupple Road sneaking out the window of my "playroom" with my older cousins to run and play in the moonlight.  I feel more alive in the night air.  The crickets and frogs make a peaceful background symphony.  The air feels cool against your skin.  Anything seems possible.  Anything ugly or dirty is hidden in the dark folds of the night and all that can be clearly seen is what we wish to illuminate.  Everything is more exciting in the dark because you can't take in everything at once but have to peak between the shades of dark to discern.  Magic seems possible.  Flying feels possible.  Falling hopelessly in love becomes possible. 


P. S. There ain't nothing like having a grandbaby! 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

M is for Memories

Yes, M is for memories.  And tonight it seems I've gotten lost in them.  Reading old entries.  Visiting with ghosts.  Replaying favorite scenes.  So I don't have much to write.  But I do have a suggestion that you might enjoy waxing nostalgic, too.

Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for Livingston, Tx

For those that don't know it, that's a mouthful.  Every so often as I grew up, we'd wind our way through the woods on two lane farm to market roads that had no shoulder towards the destination of Livingston, TX.  We'd pass through such colorful places as Dallardsville, Soda (where daddy swore I could get all the free soda water I wanted), Segno and Camp Ruby.  Camp Ruby is where the cemetery is.  Where my daddy's mama and daddy lay along with other family members.  I can remember going to family reunions held at the cemetery and the choir from the Alabama-Coushatta Indian tribe would sing for us.  Not sure why, just know it was good music in that little board church with the hardwood floors.

But I digress, as today is about Livingston and what made going there special.  Well my daddy's people cotton farmed right next to the Indian reservation in that area.  When I was growing up, we had a several of my aunts who lived there (Ray, Meryl, Elsie) cousins, and my grandmother as long as she was alive.

So, we'd drive through the woods, passed bunches of old pumping units (horse heads) and I'd imagine that the red light on the top of towers was Rudolph's nose.  Or get bored and ask for a hamburger.  Which made daddy terribly mad, as he couldn't understand why I couldn't see we were out in the middle of no where and a hamburger could not be found.

Then we'd usually go to Aunt Ray's and Uncle Doc's.  Everyone would congregate there because they had the roomiest house and a good large lawn.  Many times these gatherings were called because the two sisters that lived the farthest away, Elena and Mitzie, had flown in.  And the relatives would congregate.  There'd be forty-two tournaments running full time in Aunt R.A.'s dining room.  I remember how thrilled I was the one year they finally let me sit in on a game, thinking i was old enough to get it.

The kitchen would always have large pots simmering down something tasty and there would be a parade of pies brought in from a dinner down the street.  Most of my time at these events was spent playing croquet with my cousin Gary who was older than me.  Or when we got a little older he'd take me to town for malts or to the picture show to see free movies because he worked there sometimes.

I loved those gatherings at Livingston.  There was no alcohol.  No bedtimes.  If we were there on a Sunday, we'd often all go to church with R.A. and Doc.  Life seemed slow and good.  Felt like a movie from the fifties.  A time warp.  One I'd go back to if I could.

Post Script:  R.A. or Ray was married to Doc, and was Gary's mother.  Meryl had once been married to a gangster.  She had a son named Billy who became fast friends with my older sisters and at one time drove a race car.  Aunt Elsie was married to Curtis and they lived on place that was like a farm.  Had a barn.  Big pond.  Uncle Curtis was supposed to be a carpenter, yet they didn't get an indoor bathroom until I was in high school.  They had an outhouse.  I remember well having to go there  when we stayed over. Aunt Elsie always had big old country mattresses on her beds and lots of quilts.  Elena was married to a Jew, Uncle Dave, who owned Hofbrau Restaurants in Oakland and San Fransisco.  I found it funny later in life, that he, a Jew, owned a restaurant with a German name and German beer steins.  Then there was Mitzie.  She had been a twin.  Her actual name was Verlis and her twin brother had been Vernon.  But sometime before I came along, Vernon stopped his vehicle too close to a train crossing and a loose hook on a log car caught his bumper and pulled him under the train.  All together there were 14 children in my daddy's family that survived until adulthood.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

K is for Kellly

At age twelve, Bug became an aunt on Tuesday when Baby Ruth was born.  She's  a little excited but isn't totally on the bandwagon yet. 

But imagine you're not even four yet and suddenly you have a niece.  Well you can't even grasp the concept, but that's what Kelly Michelle was to niece while I was still a toddler!
Through our growing up years it was more like Kelly was a play companion and we spent a  lot of time doing things together and at each other's houses.  Even once we were grown and with families of our own, I don't think we have had the same usual aunt and niece relationship.  It's more like a cousin you love like a close friend. 

But the adults in my life knew what the real relationship was and that meant when Kelly was riding my tricycle and the handlebars broke off, her grandparents were all like it's okay dear, it's not your fault, it was rusty.  But I was sure if I'd have been the only one riding it instead that it would have stayed together much longer. 

I remember sharing a tub bath with her at one point.  A bubble bath.  And I was horrified and shocked to find at the end of our time together there a brown log turd floating beneath the bubbles! 

I know sometimes after her little sister, Paige Ann, was born I'd gang up with Kelly against Paige and at other times I'd feel sorry for that itty bitty girl and take up for her against Kelly.

We rodes horses and jenny together.  We did wiener roasts together.  We skinny dipped together in my sisters pond (sshhh..don't know if she ever knew that).  We pranked people together.  Helped my brother-in-law bail and pick up hay together.    When I was little I envied that she had blond hair, that she took tumbling. 

She could crank a motor that had a manual choke on it when she was still not much more than a toddler.  But I taught her the finer points of driving a standard in my 1979 Mustang.  In high school I remember threatening a good freind of mine who was interested in her about how I'd hurt him if he hurt her.  And I remember my Senior year when a girl started a rumor about me being pregnant, Kelly stuck right up for me, then came to me later on the side and asked "you aren't are you?"  No, I wasn't.

She's practical, creative, has a ball around folks, though she seldom seeks out a crowd.  She's made a career out of being an elementary school secretary.  She's got just that right mix of tough and love to do it.  Raised two boys.  Married my best friend's brother. 

So, I don't know if I love her like most people love their nieces, but I do know I treasure her, count on her always being herself and don't get to visit with her half as much as I'd like to.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J is for Jesse Ruth & Jesse Oah

My mother was named after both her mother and her father.  Her father was named Jesse Oah and her mother was Ruth Catherine.  Mother was named Jesse Ruth.  (Click her name to read all about her.)  Her Ruth was why Bubba wanted Ruth for little Hazil's middle name.  And by naming her that he graced mama, my grandmother, and my sister Edna who is really an Edna Ruth. 

Hazil honors some folks on Candi's side of the family, but it also honors Pete's mama, and his sister Darlene who is actually Hazel Darlene.

The point is, I'm glad they are kids who want to honor folks from their past in naming thier child instead of just wanting the newest popular name.  It shows the respect they both have for family, thier elders and things from the past.  And that they easily agreed on the name shows that they share a common set of core values.  I sure am proud of my granddaughter's parents.  ;o)


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I is for It's a Girl!!

Today at 1:55 pm Hazil Ruth (Baby Ruth) entered the world weighing six pounds, ten ounces and measuring nineteen and one half inch long.  A head full of black hair and dark blue eyes that she kept open most of the time immediately after her birth.

She's a doll, she's a dream.  The sweetest baby you've ever seen.  Mom and dad both did well.  I'm so very proud of them.  I found out the hard part of being a grandparent today....wishing so badly you could do it for your kids.

Time to feed us a late supper and make a last call to check on the new little family.


Monday, April 9, 2012

H is for H_________

H is for my last name.  Which we don't post on this blog.  Our thinking is either you know us really well and already know our last name or you don't know us and don't need to know our last name.

But I will tell you that there will soon be an addition to the H--------- family.  A sweet, precious little Baby Ruth.  Well, that's what I'm gonna call her.  She's named after a whole bunch of people in both Bubba's side of the family and Candi's side of the family. 

This is my first grandchild.  A whole new and exciting experience for us.  So bare with me.   And say a little prayer for mama and baby.  Better include daddy too.  I'm sure he's much crazier inside than he looks on the outside. 

God bless.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

What a Blessing Today Was!

Easter Sunday.  A day of miracles, of newness of life.  The Holy Spirit has been blessing our little church.  We've been having record attendance, someone saved most every Sunday and someone being Baptised most every Sunday.  Just a sweet spirit of joy and love in the Lord abounding.

But today He pulled out all the stoppers!  Our little community church was packed with 235 in attendance!  Every previous record left in the dust.  Everyone was happy even though we were packed in tight.  We shared communion.  We had singing, preaching and one come forward to join our flock.  Several baptised.  Then we had dinner on the grounds together and half the crowd stayed for that!  I found two folks I went to high school with in the crowd that I haven't seen in years, so that was fun.
Wiley Mae Community Baptist Church

My own personal highlight of all highlights was that my husband of 28 years helped to serve communion, and both my children and my daughter in law were in attendance.This was the fulfillment of that rainbow promise at the dam those years before.  My whole family under the Lordship of Christ Jesus! 

He is always faithful and true!  Even when we are not.  We simply cheat ourselves out of some of the joy, the blessing, the being in the center of all he is doing when we aren't faithful.  But it doesn't stop Him from completing His promises.  He'll work through us or work around us.  And if He has to He'll run us down flat.  But His word is Truth and His way is Faithfulness.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

G is for Galveston

The first trip I ever remember to Galveston was with my daddy and mama to visit Aunt Winnie and her girls (grandchildren?).  We went to the beach on the island.  I was intimidated by the size of the ocean.  But I was enjoying the pattern of the waves on the beach and looking for shells, when it happened...I was racked by a jellyfish! Intense pain.  Hot, wet tears.  My day was ruined, the beach was ruined.  Of course my cousin immediately administered the island home cure of the day, circa late 1960's.  Clean off excess jelly with sand.  Douse the wound in ammonia and then off to a shower to bathe and let the soap (probably original dial gold) make it burn as bad as at first.  I felt betrayed!  Surely someone should of warned me there was that terrible a monster lurking in those waves. 

Years passed, I got over it.  Family trips to Galveston was much more about Sea World and things like that then actually stepping into the waves.  Then my late teens hit.  And the beach just up the coast from the island, Crystal Beach, was the spot to go on a skip day or weekend to sunbath, look and be seen, cruise your vehicle up and down the beach in a never ending parade.  I passed the right of this passage on to my nieces, Kelly and Paige.

In college I only made a couple trips to the beach.  For one thing I went to school at SFA in Nacogdoches, so that doubled the drive time.  Me and one of my boyfriends, Bill, went back to do the Sea World thing.  And once when I was dating a carnie we rode out a hurricane on the island.  But it was nothing like the ones of recent years on the Texas coast.

Finally, I was grown and married to my Pete.  A man who preferred the cool, green of the woods to the sun, sand and surf of the beach.  For us, Galveston became mainly the place you go to see someone real sick in the hospital or a place you try to get into to take tests.  But we have had our share of fun there.  Riding the trikes up and down the seawall and stuff.

My last trip there was in 2009.  I wrote about that right afterward.  Bubba hadn't been there since he was little and Bug never had been.  Pete didn't feel like making that trip, but it was a special day for me and my kids...just us out in the big ol' world together.  

Good evening and God bless!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Thursday, April 5, 2012

E is for Edna

Edna is my sister.  Actually my eldest sister.  My only surviving sister.  I don't know what it is like to grow up with a sibling.  Edna was 18 when I was born.  During my early growing up years my sisters were probably more like aunts to me.  Young, pretty aunts. 

Anyway, Edna is special.  Just because she is a special type person.  When I was a young woman, I'd shake my head and think Edna thought the world was like Walt Disney World.  But now I know that Edna knows as well as anyone how far from Walt Disney the world is.  But she tries to make it like that for everyone in her life.  And that makes her special and a treasure to everyone who knows her.

For me personally, not having mama, daddy or our other sister since I was in my early twenties, Edna has been aunt, older sister, surrogate mother and friend to me.  For my children growing up with only my stepfather on my side of the family for a grandparent, she has always been the aunt with the mostest.  The most time.  Remembering more occasions.  With more surprises.  More love, acceptance and support.  Attending more activities.  Going above and beyond to try to never let them feel the void on our side of the family.  I don't think they have.  Thanks to Edna, that's a void only she and I share.


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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D is for Danny Boy the pipes, the pipes, are calling...

Pete's oldest brother was called by everyone near and far, simply Danny Boy. Danny Boy had a very expressive face that easily slipped from a wide mouthed smile to a scowl. He was a horse trader extraordinaire! It's possible he could of took an empty wasp nest, turned a profit on it and made the buyer think it was his proudest possession.

He loved to play 42 dominoes and he wasn't above a little talking across the table. Always sung along with the songs on the radio, especially Conway Twitty.

He liked to dance and was good at it. Enjoyed muddin', jeep riding and jaunts with a horse and wagon.

Once way back in our more youthful days, I was miffed at Pete and decided I'd just go out and show him. I'd go out for half the night or more and let him worry about me. So, I walked in a local dance hall and up to the bar to order a drink. In less than a minute, who was at my elbow but Danny Boy. "What you doing out here Barbara? Peter really loves you. You don't want to do this. Go on home." 

Didn't take long to realize I'd walked into the wrong bar on the wrong night. ~LOL~ No way I'd have any peace or any fun. So I did go home. Never tried that stunt again.

I'm speaking in past tense, because unfortunately, Danny Boy was taken from us far too soon. He died of a massive heart attack in July 1999.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

C is for corn

You thought I was going to say "Caneyhead", didn't you?

No, today I'm talking about corn memories.  Rows of corn growing in Daddy's garden.  Daddy plowing the waist high corn with his jennie.  Jenny trying to grab a bite as they went down the rows.  Daddy stopping at the end of one to lean against the georgie stock and smoke a cigarette, while
rewarding a good Jenny with a niblet ear.

Once Daddy was sure there was a coon visiting our garden.  Every day he'd find one or two stalks bent down and an ear peeled off.  Nothing but a the green husks and some cob left on the ground.  But we didn't live in an area that was home to coons.  No real woods around.  And he never could find a coon print or any other sign.  Couldn't catch any in the field when he'd shine it at night.

One day, we found the answer.  Our beloved Susie dog was found laying in between two rows, corn upright between her paws, pulling the husks down with her teeth so she could get to the golden kernels.  Susie was my best friend.  An alert dog.  A snake dog.  Daddy didn't mind at all if it was her enjoying the fruits of his labor. 

In fact, Susie would nibble all sorts of delights from the garden.  Green beans.  Fresh peas, shelled the same way she peeled the corn.

She was just some little Heinz 57 mix that we had gotten from Aunt Norma when she was a pup.  But we all believed her to be the smartest, best dog ever.  She passed away when I was in 5th grade.  I remember Mama picking me up from school and telling me the awful news.  We got home to find Daddy cutting up his old wonderful marine tool chest to make her a coffin.  Tears rolling down his cheeks while he worked.  Mama made a lining out of an old sheet and a pillow.  We lay my little dog down and put her to rest beneath a crape mertyl tree in the backyard.


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Monday, April 2, 2012

B is for Dam B

A group of men were out surveying for an important building project.  Henry said, "What are we going to call it?"  About that time the boss was stung by a bee, and he exclaimed, "Damn bee!"  To which Henry said, "It's not very imaginative, but I guess Dam B will do." 

My daddy told me some such story long ago.  Of course daddy was a great teller of tall tales, so I doubt if that had anything to do with the Army Corp of Engineers naming it Dam B.  But daddy did come home from WWII and go straight to work as a heavy duty equipment operator on the building of the dam.  He, like many others, came back with amoebic dysentery.  And once while he was running his equipment up high on the structure, he passed out.  Luckily a track hung on something large and he didn't plummet off.  He went and saw his doctor and he happily told him that a cure had just come in.

I can remember stopping by the dam with family and picnicking  under the trees at the rest stop at the top of the dam as a child in the 60's.  And daddy walking me down to the dam, and me being amazed at what my daddy had built. ;o)

In the mid to late 70's I often spent the weekend there at Head Acres, as my best friend Mary Lou and her family had a camp there.  Running the roads in a little orange VW.  Swimming, water skiing, camp fires, boys, and sneaking into the nearby VFW hall to dance.  Back then you could actually drive out onto part of the dam and turn around.  And many would line the sides and fish there. 

In the mid 90's once while on my way back from 4th of July celebration with my sister and her family, I pulled into the rest area and bubba and I walked down to the dam.  I had told him how his pawpaw had helped build it, so of course he wanted to see it, especially since he was between 2nd and 3rd grade then.  I had been going through the roughest time of my life for the six months before.  As we turned around on the dam to walk back down the stairs and leave, there was the largest, most beautiful rainbow in the sky!  I claimed it as my own personal sign from God that my trials would soon be over.  Sure enough, immediately in the weeks that followed things got better and better and by my birthday in September, all was well once again.  No....all was better than ever before.

Summer before last, we stopped by Dam B on our way back from our friend Jim's to rest, stretch and eat.  I wanted to take Hannah down to see the dam, but a gate was across and locked where you used to could drive down.  And it was  posted that no one was to go on foot either.  So, I couldn't share that experience with her.

If you'd like to find out more about Dam B and it's history, click the picture above.

And if you are enjoying yourself in Caneyhead, "Like" it on Facebook in my sidebar. 



Sunday, April 1, 2012

A is for Alma Rose

Alma Rose was my father's mother.  My grandmother.  She had fourteen children on a Piney Woods cotton farm.  She passed away from complications of diabetes when I was around 7 or 8 years old.  I remember going once with Daddy to see her in a nursing home when she was nearing the end.  I can't clearly recall her funeral.

But!  I remember vividly getting out of the car at her little house in Livingston and being met by her coming towards me fast as she could with arms outstretched to wrap me in a huge hug.  I can't clearly picture her face.  Just a smile and grey hair.  But I can see the short sleeve shirtwaist dress with the flowered apron over her large bosom.  And I know it meant feeling loved and special. 

From those trips I also recall the smell and taste of chocolate pie served while it was still slightly warm.  My favorite places at her house was her front porch swing, her flowerbed full of roses, and her catfish pond.  Huge gold fish in a cement pond with green leaves growing beside it and hanging over into it.  And a little statue of a black boy beside it.  I was always intrigued by him, watching over those goldfish and part of me felt sad he had to stay there all alone.

Once, when a large number of us were at grandma's for some holiday gathering, me and too many of my cousins all got in the porch swing together and kept pushing and pushing till it went higher and higher and finally flipped over and split us out in her rose garden.  It wasn't pleasant and it was the only time I ever remember being in trouble at grandma's house.

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