Sunday, September 27, 2009

September 27, 2009

I had loads of fun scrapbooking this weekend with some friends. I almost finished an album for my son and his family. I still have to put down some journaling blocks and decorations on the page though. They will have to either journal the pages or tell me what to write as I don't know what I am looking at in the pictures. I ended up with 60 pages and only about 5 of them are blank.

Guess I will talk about my dad's mother tonight. Her given name was Mary Ophelia Coulon and she was born in Hamburg, Louisiana, in 1898. She had a sister and several brothers. Her parents were Pierre Albert Coulon and Laura Stepp. Her father was French and her mother was part Cherokee Indian. We all called her Mamo.

She married my grandfather, Charles Howard Jeffress, Sr. and they had one son, my dad. I don't know when or where they met, but my grandfather was in the Army during WWI. They ended up in California. My dad was born in San Francisco, California in 1920. I don't know their ages when they had him.

Primarily, my grandmother was a beautician and my grandfather, after his service years, was a shoe salesman. He was from Waxahatchie, Texas. I know that they divorced when my dad was young and she married George Fluke. After George died and years later, she remarried my dad's dad and they lived in Louisiana until his death.

At some point in time, she started doing ceramics and taught others how to do that craft. She was very proficient in China painting and also in making these ceramic dolls with lace skirts, one of which I have.

When our family moved from California, she followed shortly and opened a ceramic business. I used to go with her to Shreveport and buy molds. It was always a special day and we would eat out at the Bamboo each time. We ate there for years until the place closed sometime after Bill and I married and moved to Louisiana. She taught ceramics in the City Park and I was her helper. I loved cleaning the ceramics, but hated doing anything else to them. I loved mixing the slip as I loved the earthy smell of it. I loved to load the kiln too.

I guess she most influenced me. She always preached to never pass up an opportunity to learn something new and to never quit learning. Those are two of the things that have stuck with me all of my life and I have passed the ideas along to both my children and my students. She was a lifelong learner before the term was ever invented.

She did a lot of crafts. She was also an accomplished seamstress and made most of my clothes from birth until after my children were born. I remember that she would spend ridiculous amounts of money on buttons that had to match the outfit she was making perfectly. It didn't matter to her what they cost as long as they were the perfect fit for the outfit. She is the one who taught me to sew. She even bought me a kid's sewing machine to make doll's clothes with.

I would sit next to her and watch what she did and then we would swap seats and she would guide me as to what to do. That is how I learned to sew. I never took a lesson in school. She really made me some gorgeous clothes. She made my brothers shirts as well. I can remember some she made them that we still laugh about. The material was a synthetic nylon type and it was waffled. Hot as Hell in the summer time. Those were the boy's Sunday shirts. They would sweat up a storm on those shirts. I can still see beads of sweat on their faces when they wore those shirts.

When I started driving, she let me be the one who drove her everywhere. She loved to go to Hot Wells outside Alexandria on Sunday afternoons. They had mineral baths and the hottest water on Earth. Once she talked me into going for a bath and it only took a foot in the water to change my mind. How in the world anyone could get into a tub of water that had to come from the core of the Earth is beyond me. Then she would have a massage. We would usually get a hamburger afterwards and head back to town.

I spent the night at her house a lot and for breakfast we would go to Moses Cafe on Bolton Avenue and have a hamburger and coke. I guess that is where I learned to like "real" food for breakfast and not breakfast types of food. Those were the best hamburgers I have ever tasted. After breakfast, she would drop me off at school. Sometime I would stay there a whole week.

When I was young, I was asthmatic and missed some school when I was sick. She believed, and so do I, that Vicks salve would cure anything. If I was ill, she would smear it all over my chest and then put a piece of flannel on my chest. Why the flannel, I don't have a clue.

Mamo was an excellent cook. She would cook Sunday lunch and shortly after we came in from church, she would show up with our lunch. I have only eaten lamb once and that was when she cooked it. I learned to like liver the way she cooked it too. Not many kids will eat liver, but hers was really good. She could fry chicken that would melt in your mouth.

She was generous to a fault, especially where I was concerned. I guess it was because I was the only girl that she did so much for me. It makes me feel bad to this day that my brothers didn't get as much as I did from Mamo. When I was in the 5th grade, she took me to Schnack's for my birthday and bought me a 1/4 carat diamond ring. I still have the stone.

When I turned 15, she offered to buy me a car. I didn't want her to spend her money and told her that I didn't really need one. I honestly thought she would insist, but she must have given a sigh of relief because she never brought up a car again. Drat it!!! LOL

If I were sick, I would sit on her bed and she would give me her button tin and I would try and sort the buttons for hours. I would sort by how many holes they had, shank or no shank, color, texture, and on and on. I never did find a way to successfully sort buttons. When she died, that is all that I wanted of hers. Unfortunately, my dad wouldn't let us go to her house until he cleaned it out. In the process of his cleaning, he either gave away or threw away that button tin. If only he had known how much that would have meant to me, I like to think he would have saved it for me.

Once when she was going to Chicago for a ceramic convention, we went to take her to the train. That day, I had every book from school with me. I started crying because I wanted to go and she held up the train so she could buy a ticket for me. I got to go and miss school. My mother had to mail me some clothes as I didn't have anything but the clothes on my back.

When we arrived in Chicago, I learned what cold was. It was March and wasn't even cold enough here to have on a sweater in Louisiana. Up there waiting on a cab, I thought I would break some bones from shivering so violently. That wind swept off the lake and chilled me to the bone. We went out that afternoon and she bought me a new jacket. We never left the hotel where the convention was, but I had a new warm coat for the return trip. I can still see that beautiful turquoise car coat.

In Chicago I also learned that people aren't like Southerners everywhere in the states. On the elevator ride up to our room, there was a man in a trench coat and of course I said hello. He just shrank into his coat and stared at me. I can remember being afraid of him and afraid that he would come to our room and hurt us. People in the south speak to everyone. Just two different cultures.

When I ran off and married, I thought someone should know and I called my grandmother, Mamo, and told her, but swore her to secrecy. I bet I hadn't hung up my end of the line before she called my parents. My dad was beside himself because he had spent that weekend getting my room ready for me to come home from college and go to school in Alexandria. The next day, my husband and I were on the street in Natchitoches coming out of the bank and there was my mother. She was crying as she knew that my husband and I had broken up and then I upped and married him. I can remember her asking him if he really loved me and he said he did.

After Kenny was killed in a car accident, I moved into an apartment and stored my stove and icebox in my grandmother's storage shed. One day during a monsoon storm, she called me and said she wanted my things out that day. It was a Sunday to start with and a monsoon storm raging outside. I told her that it wouldn't come out that day, but would the next. I called the Salvation Army and told them to go to her house and pick up those two things on Monday morning. After that, we were most estranged until her death.

I was civil, but the closeness we once shared was gone as she was so ugly and demanding on the phone that Sunday. I don't know what got into her, but she fought the wrong battle with me. That, I guess, is one of my big regrets in life. I could have overlooked what she said and chalked it up to her age, but I didn't.

One afternoon my niece and I went someplace and were near the nursing home she lived in. I asked Ashley Claire if she would go with me to see Mamo. We had a nice visit and the next morning my dad called to say she had passed away in the night. I am so thankful that I was led to make the time to see her that day. Otherwise, I know my heart would have been heavier when she left. We were the last of the family to see her alive.

I miss Mamo to this day and wish she could see and know her great-grandchildren. She saw them when they were small, but never really got to know them when they got older. She would have enjoyed their company.

I miss you, Mamo.


Friday, September 25, 2009

September 25, 2009

I have been sitting here trying to decide which brother to start with, but we were a unit and I believe I will just have to tell about all three of them at the same time.

First of all, we were close in age, three of us, and then there was John. I am the oldest, then two years later is Chuck, 18 months later is Wayne, and 7 years from Wayne, came John.

I was born in South Carolina during WWII. After the war, my parents moved to California and that is where Chuck and Wayne were born. There were only three of us for almost 10 years of my life. We played together I guess from the beginning. I remember a few things from California, but only remember my brothers from our Louisiana days. I do, however, recall Chuck throwing a fit for his own ice cream cone at Punch and Judy's on Vine Street in Hollywood. We were all supposed to share one, but he pitched such a fit that he got his own. Maybe that is when the seed was planted that life isn't always fair. That is what Bill tells me all of the time - that we weren't promised fairness in this lifetime. I am a stickler for fairness.

When we moved to Alexandria around 1951, we lived in a duplex. You walked into the front room and there was a hall to the left. Down the hall there were two doors on the right - kitchen and bathroom, and a door at the end of the hall - bedroom. Now, I slept on a Hollywood couch which doubled as a bed at night up in the living room. My brothers had a bed in my parents bedroom.

I had to wait out school a year when we moved to Louisiana because they didn't have a kindergarten class in Alexandria as they had in California. I enrolled in Rosenthal Elementary School on Monroe street and went to school there for the first and second grade. My first grade teacher was named Mrs. Tower, but I don't know who my second grade teacher was. She must not have impressed me.

In the first grade room we had tables pushed together and four of us sat facing each other by twos. I am sure this is where I learned to read, but I do not remember doing anything at that school. I remember reading about Dick, Jane, and Spot. I remember in the 2nd grade we had desks where the top flipped up and underneath was a place to story your things. In the top was a hole cut out for your ink bottle. As much as I loved school, it feels weird to say I don't remember anything at that school, but I do remember friends from there who I have kept through the years.

My brothers got to play all day long when I was at school. I have no idea at all what they did. We would play in the yard when I was at home. There was a deep ditch behind our house that had reeds in it, frogs, and I bet there were snakes there too. Behind our house and down the street was a small park where we were allowed to go to swing and play. Back then, parents didn't have the worries parents face nowadays. I do though remember being grossed out by this older boy in that park. He called my brothers and me over to where and he caught a frog and cut its legs off and then laughed and stuffed the cut up frog down a hole. We ran for our lives and I don't remember going back there.

Once at that house, my brother crawled underneath the house and set it on fire. Boys and matches. The fire trucks had to come put out the fire. Another time we took mail out of mailboxes and tore the mail up and threw it in the ditch. Not too long after that, some man came to the house and he was like the FBI and wanted to know if we knew about this ladies mail going missing, since she hadn't gotten her social security check. We told the man what we had done and I don't remember being punished for our transgression. Lordy, but we could have grown up criminals if we had tried a bit harder.

My parents bought a home about eight blocks away from the duplex. It was a real house. You walked into the living room and behind it was the kitchen. To the left of the living room was a bedroom and next to the kitchen was another bedroom with a bathroom in between the two rooms. It was kind of like a box. You could run around that house because all of the rooms were connected unlike the house I finished growing up in.

When we moved to Nelson Street, Chuck got to start school which left Wayne to his own devices. I don't know what he did all day when Chuck and I were at school. We were allowed to walk to school as it was only six blocks away and you could see the playground from our front corner. That first year at David F. Huddle Elementary School Chuck and I were on the same hall. We were just doors away from each other. After that year, we were on different halls with an auditorium between the two wings. He was a bunny rabbit in a school play with a real bunny suit and muched a carrot too. He made a cute bunny.

He wasn't a good eater and I can remember his teacher telling him they had a 3 bite club at school. You had to take three bites of each thing on your plate in the lunchroom. I don't know if he bought that or not. I never had a problem with school food. In fact, I love, to this day, school/institutional cooking. Could those school cooks ever make some rolls. They must all use the same recipe because as many schools as I have been in, the rolls are all the best thing on the plate. Well, the greens come in second.

When we got home, we would take off our school clothes and go outside to play until our dad came home and then it was suppertime, bathtime, and bed. Notice I didn't mention TV. At that time, we had the TV we had in California, but in Louisiana there weren't any TV stations. It just sat there until Louisiana caught up with the rest of the world. One thing we loved doing was raking leaves into the shape of floor plans. We would then play house in the rooms we constructed. I don't know what we did when the pecan trees still had their leaves on.

Down at the end of our street there was a lot of construction going on and after the men would leave, we would go and get scraps of wood from their burn piles. I don't remember making anything with them except a pair of stilts. We would also love to run around in 1/2 finished houses and see what the inside was going to look like. I am surprised all of us aren't architects the way we loved making our own leaf houses and going through those houses.

At Christmastime, we would wait until people started putting their dead trees out for garbage pickup and the three of us would drag home a LOT of trees. Sometime we were lucky and they still had the stand on them. They became trees outside the forts we built with the dead trees. We loved the ones that still had tensile on them. It took very little to make us happy kids.

Somewhere along 5th grade time for me, my mother said she was going to have a baby. Oh, did I pray for a sister! I got another brother, but at my age, I was thrilled with him. When my parent's friends saw how good I was with a newborn, my babysitting careet took off. From 5th grade until I married, I had steady babysitting jobs. They would even call the dorm room to see if I was going to be home a certain weekend.

A new school was built across the street from our elementary school. It was named Alexandria Junior High or AJH. I was in the first 7th grade class there and the last 8th grade class as it was moved back to the high school after my class left. We walked to that school for a while too.

In junior high school my parents bought a newer brick house about 1.5 miles from our school on Simmons. My brothers went to E S Aiken grammer school and then on to AJH and then to Bolton. From out new house it was about a mile or so to the high school and we all walked unless some nice soul would stop and offer us a ride.

That house on Simmons street had connecting rooms, but two of the bedrooms were a trap. If our mother had a belt in her hands, we were drawn to those rooms like June bugs to light. Why I don't know because we were trapped and suffered the consequences. Had we just stayed out of those two rooms, we could have run her ragged just making circles in the house. She would have given out way before us. My parents still live in that house.

There was a borrow pit through the back yard and the neighbors yard, across the street and through those people's yard. My brothers would live at that pond fishing. They even took my dad's boat over there and said that they would rev the motor, go about a few feet, and shut the motor down as they had gone across the pond. They would get out of the boat, turn it around and do it again, and again, and again.

My brother Wayne took one of my mother's sterling silver wedding forks and taped it to the end of a cane pole and spread the tynes on it to make a frog gig. I remember coming home from somewhere and they were cooking frog legs on my dad's Coleman stove. They offered me a bite and it got bigger and bigger in my mouth. Probably why I don't care for frog legs to this day and too because of that boy in the park I told you about.

Mama said that once when we had torrential rain, she looked out the front window and saw two boys in a boat moving with the current in the ditch along the highway. Upon closer inspection, she realized it was Chuck and Wayne just floating with the water. Another time she looked out side and a state trooper pulled up in her driveway with the boys in tow. They had taken my dad's shotgun to the south traffic circle (a wetlands now) and went hunting in there. They never even thought about the cars zooming around that thing. It is pretty large an area and to two young boys, it probably looked like Yellowstone National Park. Hey, it was a place to hunt.

We never had air conditioning when I grew up, but in that house, we did have an attic fan and it was so nice at night in the summer time when we would partially close a window, click on the attic fan, and shut some doors to create this suction that would pull the window curtains far out over our beds bringing us a cooling breeze. We didn't hae air conditioned cars at first either. Our grandmother bought the first one in our family and everyone wanted to ride with Mamo. Since that time, the floor heater has been replaced and so has the attic fan with central air and heat. We didn't have a dryer either and all of the clothes were either dried on the line of on this rack over the floor heater in the hall if it was the monsoon season. That house only had and still only has one bathroom. How everyone managed to bathe everyday and use the bathroom is beyond my comprehension and I don't remember it being a problem.

All three of my brothers make me laugh hysterically. They are just like my mother's brothers when they get together and they "embroider" stories of when we were growing up. I can't begin to tell you how funny they are. You would have to be around them to appreciate their humor.

While we lived on Nelson Street, one year my brothers got red bikes for Christmas. Ungrateful child that I was, I got a child's sewing machine, a table and chairs to share, a doll with a real baby tub, but I didn't get a bike. I tried to act happy and I was, but they were outside riding around and I was inside bathing my doll. I was miserable, but just tried my best not to show it. After all, I probably got more than they did with all of the girly things. Well, after lunch, my grandmother said for us to come outside and look under the house. She had hidden my beautiful blue bike under there and I guess it was her way of surprising me. That was one of my happiest memories as a child.

We all gained immense freedom with those bikes. As I said earlier, parents didn't worry about bad things happening to their children back then. Our street wasn't paved and neither was a main road a block away. We rode those bikes all the way to the city park which was at least a mile away from home. There was a gully in the park and water had eroded the land which made some hills and valleys. We were scared to death because it looked like to us we were at the top of the mountain and then we would zoom down to the bottom and up another hill all to do all over again. We spent hours riding those hills. As an adult I went back to see those hills and had to laugh out loud. They looked so steep to us when we were children on our bikes, but they were just little indentions in the ground.

Around the fifth grade, the city came to pave our street. Gosh, but I bet we worried those poor workers to death. Our mother made gallons and gallons of Kook Aid that we would sell to the workers for pennies a glass. We were in business for ourselves at 10, 8, and 6. John would have still been too small to hang out with us. There came a time that the drains were laid along with the concrete pipes throughout our end of town. The workers would cover the manholes when they left for the day. That is when the Jeffress kids swang into action. Off we would pop those covers, and would roam the labyrinth of culverts. I am so thankful there wasn't a heavy rainfall when we were down there. We would have probably been washed down to the Red River never to be seen again. It was so much fun down there and our voices carried for miles and miles.

On Nelson street
dressed up in my clothes so when our dad came home we could trick him into believing the boys had left and he now had only daughters. He knew better, but would carry on anyway. My mother says that when I would come in from school, I would make my brothers gather around this little kids table we had and teach them what I had learned that day at school. That is probably one of the reasons none of them particularly cared for school when they got there. I think they also got the line, "Oh, you are Jane's brother!"

My oldest brother and I ended up being pretty close once we got to high school. His friends were my friends and we did pretty much everything together. I guess Wayne was a bit young for us at that time. I know John was just a small boy.

After graduation, Chuck joined the Army for four years. During that time I was in college and then married. He got married shortly after doing his duty. He didn't have any children by that marriage. He married again and had two sons, but that marriage didn't last either. He is still married to his current wife and raised her daughter as his own.

He started as a driver for UPS and worked his way up to management and was what I call a sharp shooter for the company. If they had a center that wasn't performing up to snuff, he was sent in to fix the situation. Now he fishes and has a dog named Rudy.

Wayne quit school and joined the Marines. He earned his GED while in the service and I remember my mother saying that the principal at Bolton High School, Mr. Pate, called her one day to come and pick up his diploma. She said she was so happy that she cried. When Wayne got out of the service, he too married, but as I understand it, Chuck's wife told Wayne's wife that she didn't have to put up with his hunting and fishing and that marriage ended in divorce. We still love that wife. They didn't have any children. He married again and had his first son, but that marriage ended as well. He ended up raising his son along with his third wife and her son. They have a boy and girl who are now graduated. Three of their children are in or have been in the military. Two are/were Marines like my brother and the other is in the Navy.

Wayne is the brother who always got hurt. We were out shooting arrows and when it was Chuck's turn, he told Wayne to get out of the way and Wayne ran into a barbed wire fence and sliced his head open. Off to the emergency room and I don't remember target practicing ever again. He and Chuck were fishing on the Red River and his foot slipped off a culvert and he sliced open his foot. Off to the emergency room. Got his foot stitched up and walking back to the car barefooted stepped on a broken bottle and had to return to the emergency room to have that one stitched up too. At my mother's choir practice someone told him there was caramel candy in these bottle tops and he dug it out and ate it. Off to the emergency room to have his stomach pumped out since it was poison. When he was a toddler, he somehow or other crawled out of his crib, up to the countertop in the kitchen and my mother found him eating some pills she had from her pregnancy with him. Off to the emergency room to have his stomach pumped out. I guess you could say he had a spell of bad luck.

John went from high school into selling vehicles. He has won many national awards for his salesmanship. He is divorced from his third wife and didn't have any children with any of his wives, but did adopt his second wife's daughter, who he loves dearly. He is still in sales, but is now the leader of salesmen. I haven't seen it, but my parents say he has a lovely home that he has fixed up beautifully.

All threee of my brothers inherited my dad's gift of being able to draw and paint. None, but Johh, pursue that gift. He does some really lovely pen and ink drawings with watercolors added. I have a few of his pieces. I can't draw a straight line with a ruler and although my mother tried to teach me to knit, I can't do that either. I do love to sew which I learned from my grandmother and do scrapbooking and card making. I like crafts.

I have given you but a glimpse of my brothers. We fought like cats and dogs, but would kill for each other if we had to. I am glad now that I was the only girl with three brothers. I didn't have any competition when I was growing up. :-)


Thursday, September 24, 2009

September 24, 2009

I just love snapdragons. There are some growing outside my back door. Did you know you can pinch the flower off, put your fingers on either side where the flower separates, mash, and voile', you have a puppet? We used to play with them when we were children and could find them. They aren't something everyone grows. My husband knows that I love them and keeps me some to play with. Yes, I still have to play with snapdragons.

Today I will share some things about my dad. He is called Jeff and I think I forgot to say my mom is another Jane. My dad is a junior, my brother the III, and his son the IV. Would you believe we all have the same middle name? My mother was going to name me Laura Jane after my paternal great-grandmother and herself. However, I was a WWII baby and when I was born my dad was shipping out. He wanted to have someone carry a family name and since I was the first child, I got the honor of having a boy's name. My middle name is Howard. There was only one teacher who was allowed to call me by my whole name, Jane Howard, and I kept it a secret until I grew up. If someone found out, I would almost go into hiding. Now it doesn't bother me in the least, but back then I might as well have had a red A printed on my forehead. I had a wise teacher in college who told us to choose a child's name wisely as they would have to bear it thoughout their lives and to watch what their initials spelled too. For instance, my husband's initials spell WET. Guess it was meant for us to hook up with names like we had.

My dad was born in California and spent his young years there and in Oregon. His dad was a veteran and they moved from post to post. He ended up in a military school at a young age and I guess it was with his best interest in mind with having to move schools, but I always thought it was very cruel of his parents to leave him so young. He is an only and how he ever survived four of us is beyond me. He likes his peace and quiet and I know for a fact that for years and years he never had any peace with a daughter and three younger sons.

He learned to fly an airplane before he was old enough to get his driver's license. He graduated from Hollywood High School and was friends with a lot of people who later became movie stars. He was left to his own devices with both parents working and has told about one of his fond memories of removing a manhole cover, snaking his way with a sack of leechy nuts, and going onto the flats in the San Francisco Bay area. It is a wonder he didn't drown when the tide came in. He would eat his nuts and feed the birds with them as well.

My dad was an artist from the start and was even offered a job working for Walt Disney. After high school, he moved to Louisiana with his mother and started going to LSU in Baton Rouge. WWII interrupted his schooling, but in his later years he would come back and finish three degrees and teach at Louisiana College in Pineville, Louisiana. He became a pilot and then a pilot instructor in what I believe was called the Army-Air Force back then. He was stationed at Shaw AFB in Sumter, South Carolina, where he met my mother.

Her best friend liked his best friend and they were young and could only double date. Betty Ann begged my mother to date my dad so she could see his friend, Casey. My mother said she didn't like my dad because he was so full of himself like a lot of pilots are/were. She dated him so her friend could see his friend. In the wind up, they had a double wedding and each recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversaries.

My dad was stationed in Burma and flew the HUMP. He said that after the war ended, he would return to base and there were bullet holes in his plane. Word hadn't reached the fighters in the mountains that the war was over.

After the war, my parents moved to Hollywood where my father was in business with his mother. He was a florist and did doctor's offices, restaurants, and movie stars flowers. I can remember getting up at the crack of dawn and going with him to the flower market. It seems there were alleyways filled with cans that had fresh flowers stuck inside and he would buy what he needed for that day. I am wondering if my mom had fresh flowers that were leftovers at the end of the day. I just don't know. We would go on deliveries into the mountains and people had their homes built out on ledges and that might be where I got my fear of heights. I remember seeing the twinkling lights of LA down in the valley area.

My mother was a continent away from her family and being from a tight knit family, she was miserable. She had her sister come for a visit, but I don't know if her parents were ever able to make that trip. The did have two of my brothers out there in Burbank. I don't know if she said she would leave or what, but it was decided that they would move to Louisiana where my dad had relatives and she would only be 1000 miles from home. The had also decided that they didn't want to raise children in that rat race either.

We looked like the Grapes of Wrath moving across country. My dad had an old green Packard car and pulled a thing behind the car with all of our earthly possessions in it. One lady promised my mother she would mail my doll high chair, but that was history. I never saw it again. I left behind my kindergarten class too. Once in Louisiana, my dad set up shop as a florist again, but I don't guess he could make enough to support five of us. He went to work for a timber company as their purchasing agent, pilot, printer, safety man, and Lord only knows what else. He was with them for 20 years and then my mother went to work to support him while he finished his education. She was a school health nurse while he was in school.

When I was 10 years old, my brother, John, came along. It was like he was my baby doll. I can remember getting him out of his crib if he whimpered, as we shared a room, and my mom yelling that I had better not have him out of the crib. He never had a chance to cry if I was around.

Before too long, I was in college and gone from the nest. My dad was back in school and studying art, his life. He has always loved the southwest and all of his art was of mountains and aspens. All of the work was from the perspective of a pilot. When he still worked for the timber company, he also did commercial art work for a printer and I have seen him at the drafting table well into the night. By this time there were six mouths to feed and one paycheck didn't make it.

He graduated from Louisiana College and went on to Stephen F. Austin college in Texas where he got his master's and terminal degree in art. He came back and taught art at Louisiana College until he opened his own gallery. He was a very successful artist and when he turned about 80, we convinced him it was time to put it down and enjoy his later years. He has since taken up golf and it is a passion with him like everything else he has done.

I get my drive from my dad. His mother always said you are never too old to learn and to never pass up an opportunity to learn something new. I guess he got his drive from her and passed it down to my brothers and me. He encouraged me to go to college and earn a degree. My mother didn't understand why I would give up a good job at a department store to go to college. I am thankful for his encouragement as it has served me well. He is someone to look up to. Both of my parents have been good parents in many ways and have erred too. None of us is perfect. Except for a few regrets, I am glad that I listened to their advice.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I wasn't able to write last night as I think I have the flu. I had chills yesterday and couldn't get warm until Bill made some chicken noodle soup and then I was peeling out of socks, my flannel shirt, and out from under the cover. That warmed me up considerably. I have felt like a mac truck ran over me and then made another pass to make sure the job was done. Today, I have felt a bit better and have caught up on my email.

Today I think I will write about my mother. I guess she is on my mind because she called today to say they had snow at Red River, but had gone on to see some of the trees and a deep gorge. Glad it is them seeing the gorge because heights and I don't get along at all. It would be torture for me to even be near something deep.

My mom is a knitter. At 84, those needles are clacking all the time. She loves making baby things and I believe everyone in the immediate and extended family has something she has knitted for their baby. She also knits the most wonderful wash clothes. They are soft and I am kind of ashamed to say I don't use mine. I am saving them for a rainy day. I just don't want to mess them up. I might never get another one.

Mama was a stay-at-home mother. She did play bridge once a month, but you could always find her when school was out. She didn't like cooking then, but makes the most wonderful potato salad, tuna fish, congealed salads, and we learned to love hot dogs and hamburgers. We were laughing the other day when I was there for a visit saying that we ate good on Sundays. My dad's mother would cook a full meal and bring it to our house. My brothers would meet her at the car and try and get to the food before she got it into the house. Her specialty was fried chicken and these roll-ups with chili peppers in them. You take some crescent rolls, flatten them out, put a piece of pepper from the can of Old El Paso, and a stick of cheese, roll them up and bake them. I think I could eat one million of them. She was a good cook. Mama's cooking has improved over the years and she can set out a delicious meal.

Our mom had us doing chores although she was always at home. I don't know what chores my brothers had, but I had to keep the bathroom spotless, eat off the floor spotless and clean. I also had to wash and dry the dishes. She would help if she and I wanted to go after supper to play tennis. She was quite the tennis player and could beat the socks off me. She grew up with clay courts across from where she grew up. If either of us could get around again, we would be out at the city park lobbing that ball around. She knew if she could get me to laughing, I was worthless on the court. She would go into a low stance and start swinging from side to side and that would do it for me. It is hard to serve if you are laughing hard.

Mama loved to visit with her friends and still does. We went a lot of places with her and could she ever make a dollar stretch. Once in a while she would take us to the A & W Root Beer place where we could get a hamburger and root beer. Fond memories.

Not much fazes my mother and she keeps up with the times. She is much more flexible than I am and never sees the bad in anyone. She is almost naive if you ask me. She sings in her choir and the doors to the church never open unless both parents are there. Once in a while they will miss, but it is because we are having a family function someplace out of their town. Otherwise, they will be in that church.

Mama and I haven't always seen eye-to-eye on much, but we still get along and if she gets on my nerves, I just leave and come home.

My mother is one of eight (now there are only four left) children and she knows how to share. She would give you the shirt off her back if you wanted it. Honestly!!! Her family was a tight one and it has been hard on her to lose siblings and not be able to run to South Carolina for their funerals. Her family always encourages her to stay put and not make the trip home when someone dies. It is hard if you are young to get around in the Atlanta terminal and I think they would worry themselves to death if she tired to do that at her age.

I wish I had 1/10 the memory cells that my mom has. She can remember back to when she was in the crib and her grandmother coming in to tell her she had a brand new brother. She can describe her dresses when she was a toddler, her dolls (she still loves dolls to this day), what went on in the household, and at school, and I sit in wonder at her memory. I have tried many times to get her to journal these things, but to no avail.

My mother still has her South Carolina drawl after living in Louisiana for probably 60+ years. It take her forever to tell you something, she still uses words that are foreign to our ears like "al-U-min-e-um" for aluminum. She is one classy Southern lady.

Monday, September 21, 2009

September 21, 2009

I was just reading a blog where the woman told about a person a day and it got me thinking - I wonder if I can think of 365 people who I can talk about. I think I can.

#1 Bill
Bill and I met back in 1970. Back then, he was a Roman Catholic priest stationed in my hometown. I went to midnight mass one Christmas and there was like an aura around him while he was preaching. No lie! Whatever he said that night gave me the courage I needed to want to take instructions in the Catholic faith.

I was strongly influenced my my paternal great-grandfather. I never saw Poppee put one bite of food into his mouth that he didn't recite his Rosary. I really didn't know what he was doing at the time because I was raised a Methodist, but it impressed itself on my young brain. My next door neighbor and another friend two doors down were both Catholic girls. I guess there were a lot of Catholics in our neighborhood. Even before them, my across-the-street neighbor was Catholic and I can remember them not having the same holidays as we did in school. When we were out and they had to go to school, I would go with them.

The nuns were fascinating to me and boy did they demand respect. When they walked into the classroom, everyone stood until told to be seated. I went to public school and we didn't have anything remotely like that. I looked forward to our holidays so I could go with them to school. My first piano teacher was Sister Francilla and was she ever a stickler for playing the piano with form. If your hands weren't curved just right over the keys, she would take the thinnest baton and whap you across the knuckles. You paid attention to what she said.

Getting back to Bill. After the new year came, I called the rectory and told the secretary I wanted to take instructions and didn't want the black headed priest or the old one, but I wanted the one with the red hair. I understand that they really got a kick out of that request. I took my instructions and after Kenny, my husband, came home from his stint in the Army, he watched the children, bought me a new dress, and I was baptised by Bill. He heard my first confession and gave me my first communion. My landlord and teacher at the high school I graduated from was my sponsor.

When Kenny was killed in an auto accident, it was time for confirmation and Mary Ann, our secretary, asked me if I was going to invite Father Bill. I said I didn't know I was supposed to do that and she said I was. I called the rectory and was told he had been transferred to Shreveport and was given the phone number. I called him and invited him. He said if possible he would be there.

The night of the confirmation we were all dressed in robes and marched into the church and were seated together. In came all of the priests, probably 20+ of them. When I saw him, I thought it would be so neat to have a husband like him as he was so kind and understanding. Of course, I feared I would be struck by lightening having a thought like that in the church. As my saints name, I picked Jude. When the Bishop got to me and I gave him my name, he was kind of taken aback. I guess most women take on lady saints names.

Afterwards, Bill introduced me to the Bishop, Bishop Greco, and told me to stay on the steps of the church. He ran off into the night with his cassock flapping in the breeze. Here he came with a wrapped gift that I still have, a paperweight with a cross inside of it. He then said goodnight and went off with the rest of the priests for supper.

At work the next day, I wrote a thank you note and asked Mary Ann, a Catholic, to read it and see if it was appropriate. I told her that one day I wished I could find someone like him to marry. She asked me if I were serious and I said I was. She said let me help you write the note. Between the two of us, we wrote one that could be read between the lines. :-) He read between the lines.

At that time, I didn't know he was doubting whether or not he had made the right decision on becoming a priest. He said that as soon as you got settled in a place and made friends of parishioners, the Church would transfer you out to somewhere else and there was never a feeling of belonging. We talked on the phone and when he was in Alex we would see each other. Ours was a courtship of letters and phone calls. In late June of 1972, we spent the day riding the backroads and talking. He made the decision to talk to the Bishop and tell him he was unsure he wanted to remain a priest.

The Bishop said for him to take a sabbatical and go off far away and think about it. He asked me if I liked the mountains and I said I loved the mountains. Now, a mountain to me was a place called Red Dirt which is a state preserve south of Natchitoches. If you are at the lookout place there, you can see for miles around. I thought it was a mountain, really.

He said he would go to Denver to think and he did. We talked on the phone every night and wrote volumes of letters which are in a box out in our barn. It was apparent that we would end up together and we decided to wait until mid-term so Melyssa could finish part of her school year. In November when I got my phone bill, it was about $2000 which was an unbelievable sum in those days. Instead of waiting and getting another bank breaker phone bill, I went to my parents and told them I was moving to Denver to be with him.

Keep in mind that my parents had never laid eyes on Bill and I was taking their only grandchildren at that time halfway across the country. My mind was made up and I resigned from my job and hired the movers to fetch my things. He lived downtown in an apartment and found the children and me a house in a suburb not too far away. After about two weeks with those living arrangements, we got a marriage license and saw a judge who married us between court cases. We had to run back and pick up Heath from kindergarten and the three of us went on our honeymoon to IHOP. He let his apartment go and moved to the house.

Also, I learned that I didn't like the mountains and wanted back on flat land. Once there, he took me up to Lookout Mountain with kids in tow and with a picnic lunch. He went up the backside which was switchbacks and steep. I thought in the mountains there would be a rail or something to keep you from falling off the road, but there wasn't. If you looked down, you would see pieces of metal. Probably where cars had crashed down the mountain. Right then and there, I realized what I thought was a mountain wasn't even a bump in the road. Mountains are nice to look at, but not something I wanted to live in. I was terrified of them. Heights and I don't do well together.

While we lived in Denver, Bill was a manager of a McDonald's working for Copus Corporation. We got to come home our second Christmas out there and my dad and youngest brother came out for a visit the next summer. My brother lost a finger while I was gone from home and there wasn't money for me to come home. When Bill's dad called to see if we wanted to come home and take over the farm, we jumped at the chance to get back home. Our farming lasted about three or four days and it was apparent that you couldn't have two farmers on one farm.

I got a job teaching since I had earned my certification in Denver and Bill went back to school for a year and a half to get his teacher's license. We are both retired educators. He raised the children as his own and although Melyssa remembers her dad, Heath doesn't. They were so young when he got killed so that is why they don't have a good memory of him.

Bill is one of the kindest and nicest persons anyone would ever want to meet. He is an only child, but isn't a selfish one. He has always given freely not only with is money, but also with his time. He is the one who taught the kids how to cook and even had Heath breaking eggs with one hand when he was only five. I remember the two of them cooked veal pinwheels as Heath's first cooking of a meal.

I think I made a wise decision and my family loves Bill. He is such a fair person, he is wise, and has been a fantastic grandfather and now a great-grandfather. Funny how I would probably have killed my children if they had up and done something like I did, but I have no regrets. I hope he doesn't either.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

September 17, 2009

Of all things, I have caught a cold. Drat!!! I wonder if it is because I got my flu shot or if it is just one of those things. I bet I sneezed 20 time in a row last night without stopping.

We went for check-ups and our doctor said we needed exercise. I could have saved her some time on that one. How well do I know how badly I need to exercise. She suggested a stationary bike and I told her we have one in the shed that is probably 20 years old. Her next suggestion was to join a gym. Well, since I had therapy after her, I purchased a couples plan at the gym where I go for therapy. The way I look at it is, if I have spent that much money, surely to goodness I will make the time to drive those 22 miles one way and go.

Forty-four years ago today Melyssa was born. We are going out tomorrow night for supper with them to celebrate. We saw Terrell in the big W today and he said he called her office to tell her secretary to wish her a happy birthday since she hoped to fly under the radar all day long. They went out and bought a cake and did a party. That was very thoughtful and nice of them.

Bill went for his first gym session today when I was doing therapy. He said he was surprised that he wasn't sore. Hahaha. Just wait until tomorrow. I increased my numbers on this machine where your ankles go behind a bar and you swing your legs out and up and I think maybe I needed to leave it alone. Talk about stiff and sore. It isn't even tomorrow and I can hardly walk.

I hear my new clock playing music in the other room. I have had my eye on it for about a year and the other day when I was in the jewelry store picking up a ring, I told the girl that I wanted it. She said I could put it on layaway, but I told her I might be dead as a doornail by the time it got paid for. I had a bit of money tucked aside and went on and got it. It has the sweetest music on the hour. I might have to move it into the bedroom so I can hear it better. If I am busy, I miss hearing it. At Christmas, it has some songs for that time of the year. I love that clock and am so glad I treated myself to it.

Most everything that needed doing from the fallout of the non-wedding has been done. I thought of one more person who needed to be called, but Melyssa said that Emily Anna had already taken care of it. Looks like it will still be raining this weekend and that would have spoiled the outdoor wedding anyway. Things do have a way of working out for the best. We will look back on this time a few years down the line and hopefully can find something to laugh about. I know one thing, I don't have to look at the groom's cake and I won't even tell you what it was going to be. So there is some sunshine in all of this rain. :-)

Tonight I believe I will work on a journal that I am still painting pages in for my granddaughter-in-law to put the cute things that you think you will remember about your baby that you forget. I will do a sample page or two for her, but it is just a speckeldy notebook where I glued pages together, painted the pages with art paint, and then if you can't draw, you just clip pictures and words from magazines and glue them to the page. You can write in all kinds of handwriting like caps, print, cursive, ghost letters and color in the space, etc. I put ribbon around the cover so it would tie shut and then put wallpaper over that to dress up the front and back. She is always so appreciative and I believe she will like this. Makes journaling fun when it has art in it.

My parents leave for out west and will follow my middle brother and his wife there. They plan to do some fly fishing and just lazing around. Then my folks will leave them and go see some friends in New Mexico. My dad used to be an artist before he retired and all of his work is of the mountains out west and the aspens. He wants to see the leaves change color one more time. He will be 90 next year and this will probably be their last trip west.

Melyssa and I are going to see them this Saturday and take her dress for the wedding back, take things back to Michael's, and also to Hobby Lobby. I know she has no use for the flowers for the two silk arrangements that were going to be at the reception along with the roses. There are tons of candles that she will never use either. Just lots of this and that and hopefully she has all of her receipts and can recover some of her hard earned money.

Vallie came today and my house is sparkling. If I were wealthy, I would have her every day. I love a clean and straightened home, but don't like doing it myself. Not something that finds its way onto my daily agenda. She will come back next week and fix it up again before my friend Polly and her husband arrive for a two week visit.

I don't know where she and Jan will sleep in their camper thing because she is bringing all of her art things, I do believe. I have to laugh because I will get an email asking if she needs to bring such and such. Nice that I have most all of what she wants to bring and at least they will have a place to lay down at night. They have the largest camper that you drag behind a dooley truck and I can just see it stuffed to the brim with artsy-craftsy stuff. Wonder why we have to have a stash so large to put out a card or two or a scrapbook or two. LOL

I believe my chef is about to call me to the table. We had a sandwich late and so supper is late tonight. Maybe I won't have a dream like the other night when I woke myself up calling to Heath. I was hollering his name so loud that I actually woke up. He was about a football's length from me and I needed for him to look my way to tell him something. Dreams are really strange and I wonder what makes us have some of them. Mine are all in color which makes it interesting too.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Whew!!! I thought my blog had gone into cyberspace never to be found again this evening. I went to post and only got one posting. I panicked!!! Using Google, I put in my name and found the blog, but couldn't get to the place to post. Next, I copied all of my posts to a Word document so I could recreate the blog. When I finished that, it hit me like a ton of bricks. My mind was what was in cyberspace!!! I had used my regular email to sign in with and not my gmail address. Put in the gmail addy and BINGO!!! Here I am and can try and catch up.

Nothing other than going to therapy has been going on and I guess that is why I haven't posted in a while. One sentence isn't very interesting.

Yesterday morning, my granddaughter whose wedding was this coming Saturday evening, went to her mother, my daughter, and said she wanted to call it off. Of course, it was a shock and disappointment coming at the 99th hour, but we are so thankful she didn't go through with it if that isn't what she really wanted. Yes, tons and tons of money went down the tube with her announcement, but had she gone through with the wedding, then we would have had the agony of a divorce and there might have been children involved then. For a 19 year old, it took a lot of courage on her part to call it off.

My daughter went to work and had to leave and come back home. She woke me from a dead sleep to see if I could help her call everyone on our list of invitees and tell them not to come. She had to spend the day dealing with vendors to little avail. It was nearly 9 PM when I finished the task and every person I spoke with agreed that her decision, though a tough one, was the right one and that it took a lot of character to say it wasn't what she wanted to do after all. I just wonder how many other girls go on with the wedding knowing in their heart-of-hearts that it isn't what they want and then have to go through a divorce. That might be why there are so many divorces these days.

Now that that is behind us, we just have to be supportive of Em's decision and be there for her when she is sad or upset and she will be in days to come. I am so glad that she is in college and has her classes to focus on. She is an A-B student and that will help her keep her mind off what has transpired. She is a hard worker and studies to keep good grades and now she won't have any distractions.

Today both Bill and I went for regular check ups and our doctor said we had to get some exercise. She suggested a stationary bike, but I told her we have one out in the shed that is probably 20 years old and I bet it wasn't ridden over twice. Just too boring. She then suggested going to a gym.

Well, the place I go for therapy on my knees is also a gym, so I purchased a couples package for six months and maybe because of the money spent, we will drive the 22 miles to the gym and try to get a bit of exercise. Right now, I am getting some doing my therapy, but that runs out soon. Keeping my fingers crossed that I haven't thrown our money down a rat hole.

My friend from Virginia leaves for here this Friday. She and her husband are going to an RV rally first and within two weeks, we should be crafting into the wee hours of the morning. She is a night owl too. We met about 10-12 years ago on a crafting group and have never met in person. They plan to stay in their camper in our driveway for two weeks. I am sure I will wish they could stay longer, but when the finally get back home, they will have been gone for a month.

I have an early dentist appointment tomorrow/today and have to hit the sack if I expect to be on time. It is at the time I usually crawl out of my bed and I am hard to get up.


Friday, September 11, 2009

This has been a fast paced week. We didn't do one thing on Labor Day, but had fun none-the-less. Slept late and then stayed on the computer all the rest of the day.

Therapy this week. I refused to do the stuff for my shoulders. Having several days off made me realize that my shoulder was hurting after therapy, but not as badly when I let it settle down for several days. One of the therapists really gets out of joint when I refuse to do something and always says she is going to have to talk to the head guy about it. Hey, it is my body and I can do with it as I please. He must have told her I didn't have to do it, but she said that now we will be aggressive with the knees.

She put me on this contraption where you are sitting at an angle, there are different amounts of weights that are on it, you put your ankles behind this bar, and then you swing your legs up. Geez, but that wasn't any fun at all. In fact, when I got home I got a cramp in my quads that I thought would never leave.

I have gotten my leg to 3.5 degrees with zero as a goal. I don't think I can reach zero in the time I have left at therapy. I will do the best that I can and my doctor will have to be happy with that. We also went to the stairs and I was supposed to put my right foot on the step and then step up without holding on to anything. Couldn't do it. She let me put my hand on the rail, but I wasn't supposed to use it to hoist myself up. What she doesn't know won't hurt her. Probably won't help me, but I did try and not use my hand for leverage - it just happened that it did help to get me up on that step. I did tell her that my quads definitely need developing more.

Went to the dentist for my 6 month cleaning and NO CAVITIES!!!!! That temporary crown was hanging on a thread and the dentist re-cemented it. My new crown should be in this next Wednesday, just in time for the wedding. Yeah!!! I certainly don't want to be a snuggled toothed granny at the wedding.

From there, I came back through town and went in the opposite direction to Many to get my oil changed. Looked at the ticket they put in the window and I had let it get 2000 miles beyond where it should have been changed. Who ever looks at that little sticker they put on the car? Glad I didn't harm the truck and will try to be more attentive. I want this vehicle to last a long time as I love driving a truck. Who'd ever have thought so?

Bought Halle's diamond earrings for her birthday, a card ( I should be shot since I make greeting cards, but just don't have time right now to do so), a bag to put them in, and some money and a card to put in the bag. She is going to be sparkling for the wedding. I know she is going to make an adorable flower girl. Can't wait to see that. Ran by Sonic for my daily treat when I go where there is one - an ice cream cone. I see how long I can make them last and this one lasted for about 12 miles.

Melyssa said that Zoey will be with her this weekend since T is coming in for the bachelorette party. They are supposed to be going to Lafayette. Why so far away from home beats me. Just hope they are careful down there. I know where I will be this weekend and that is at Melyssa's house playing with that doll.

There was this soft-sided toolbox at a store I went in today and I started to leave it and go back later and get it, but was afraid it would be gone. One present bought and paid for as a gift for Bill's Christmas. Bought Zoey a Gloworm that has music, a Fisher Price baby's first doll, and one of those things that has brightly colored donuts that stack. Two people now have Christmas presents. I treated myself to this wall clock that has like grandfather clock chimes in it, but it plays the most beautiful music. The lady at the jewelry store said that I could put it on layaway and I almost did, but hey, I could be dead by Christmas, so I bought it and Bill will hang it tomorrow for me.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Saturday and Sunday

Yesterday M'lys and I went to Natchitoches and Alexandria still trying to find something she would be happy wearing to the wedding in two weeks. No luck on Front Street, so we ran out to one of the shops on the other side of the river. She found two dresses and shoes, but said she was afraid one of the dresses was a bit too short. We decided to go on to Alexandria and get my mother's opinion.

Both dresses were tried on and modeled and the suit she loved was too short and made her look short. Kind of boxy looking in fact. She tried the other dress and it fit, but still wasn't what she was looking for. She is going to keep it though for church and work.

Peep (Mama), M'lys, and I loaded up and went to the mall to one of the larger department stores. As soon as we got to the department she was looking for, there were three outfits for her to try. The first one she tried on was fancy, but you could see the shoulder pads through the chiffon and that looked tacky. Plus, it was too large on her. She tried on the one that I liked, but she looked like she was one of the bride's maids instead of the bride's mother. We got a good laugh on that one. Lastly, she tried on the three piece outfit and it was a keeper.

Off to the shoe department and I found the perfect pair of shoes and they had them in her size. I liked them so much that I had the guy bring me a pair in a different color. Well, I have a huge foot, but my heel is narrow and I took two steps and those buddies had to come off and quickly. Of course, they want you to buy them and said I could put some kind of non-slip strip inside, but I put them back in the box and thanked them for trying. Guess I will infuriate my folks and wear my clogs like I usually do. I do have some that might work for a wedding. Who cares anyway. If someone wants to comment about my shoes, let them. Like I really care.

We took back one of the dresses she had picked out in Natchitoches and then went to an upscale boutique to try and find the right pair of earrings for the bride. They didn't have what we wanted, so we decided it was time for lunch. We went to one of our favorite places and Peep and I got fried shrimp and M'lys got the steak. I treated and they did the tip and there was enough left over that my dad had his supper in a take out box.

We went back to my folk's house and they drank coffee and I drank my water. It thundered and I waited for the rain to start, but it didn't come. It was nearly 4 PM and I wanted to get on the road and didn't want to miss the half-price time at my favorite drive-thru. We hustled to the car, said our good-bys, and made it with a few minutes to spare and got our Route 44 diet cherry limeades. Best drink around.

M'lys was relieved that she finally had just what she was looking for to wear to the wedding. She ran in when we got back to my house and gathered the things I sent with her and went to her house.

Today, Sunday, we got up early and went to Heath's place in Grand Cane. He called and said they had plowed through the donuts and if we wanted any, we had better stop and pick up some more, which we did. We ate two each on the way to his house.

They have gotten the pipeline for some of the Haynesville Shale field across the road and there was a new drilling well next to the road on the way. When we got there, Heath said he was one step closer to them drilling in his section. What a blessing that will be if they do. If it happens and it comes in like they expect it to, he will be able to pay off their new house in Conway withint 18 months. He said that after taxes and his tithe, there would only be 1/2 of what he would get left. Glad that he gives to the church, but hate that he has to pay so much in taxes.

For their 15th anniversary, he bought Chriss a 2010 yellow with black Camero. I hope she doesn't get any speeding tickets in it because it is certainly a sporty looking car, just the kind cops like to pull over. LOL Glad she didn't get red because that would have almost guaranteed her a ticket.

We had a great visit and Benjamin and Bridgette were there. He and Gunnar spent a lot of time outside playing basketball. Everyone except me, I think, shot skeet. Even Bill shot. I just couldn't take a chance on the kick of the shotgun banging my shoulder. Halle Clair even shot. (I can't get this tiny spot to turn green for the life of me. Weird!)

It was a nice day and I got Heath to get out the Rhino and take me back on his property. Everytime I have been up there it has been too hot for me to go and see the deer stands and the pond. He has cut little tracks all through the timber and brush. It has taken him three years and there is still so much work to be done. His rye grass and turnip greens are starting to sprout. He said that once it gets cooler, both will take off. After the leaves fall off the trees, the deer won't have any foliage to eat and will start on what was planted.

We went down to the pond and his neighbor and he are having a new dam built and then a run off dam with pipes built. He isn't sure how far up it will come, but knows his boat rack will have to be moved. He showed me the size of the bream in the pond and I didn't even know they grew to that size. They are my very favorite fish to eat. The pond will be stocked with them.

When we got back to his house, it was time to pack it up and head for the "Hill". We had left Bisquit just about as long as we could. Bisquit is one of our dogs who is old and the arthritis had gotten so bad that he can no longer get up on his own. He has to be lifted up and then he can walk. After he uses the bathroom, he has to be carried back inside. We know he won't be around much longer, but the vet says he isn't really in pain, he still eats well, and has a strong heart beat and we just cannot put him down. We can't go off for long periods of time, but he has been a loyal dog and being here for him is the least we can do. We still have Pepper and he is a funny dog.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

September 2, 2009

I have played around with my blog this evening trying to learn more about how to add things on here. I am going to try and add some more pictures. I hope I don't mess up anything.

My weekend was straightened out by my sweet son tonight. I have been torn between both children for the weekend. I didn't get to see Heath last weekend when he and his family were at home. They are coming back in this weekend as it is the opening of dove season and he and Gunnar want to hunt those tasty little birds. I can still taste a friend's mom's way of cooking them - wrap in bacon, soak in something, and then smoke them. All you get is a tiny bite, but man are they delectable. Yummy stuff!!!

Getting back to this weekend. Melyssa isn't happy with the dress she has picked out for the wedding and wants to see what they have in Natchitoches and Alexandria. I mentioned if nothing there, maybe Leesville might have something. Large circuitous trip, but if she can find something comfortable and that she likes, then she will enjoy her daughter's wedding much more.

Here is the dilemma - go with Melyssa shopping or stay and see Heath and his crew. He came up with a win-win for me and both of them. I will go with her shopping on Saturday and then go and see him and his family Sunday morning before they leave to go back to Arkansas. Now I can quit worrying about it.

The UPS man brought me a box today and I had to wait until I got home from therapy to get into it. I tried to slice into it with my keys, but that is some hard tape. I had to end up using scissors on it. Lots and lots of things for my Cuttlebug and also my Cricut machines. I have lots of new toys to play with.

The pens for the wedding keep calling me and I keep ignoring them. It won't be a hard thing to do, but time consuming and I won't get to farm or collect my Hatchlings if I am not in front of my computer. Oh, this retired life is so hard sometime. LOL Yes, it is an art doing nothing and an even greater art choosing which thing not to do first.

Now, I am going to try and add some pictures to my blog. Let's see how this shapes up.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

When I got up this morning, it occurred to me that my dentist appointment to have a fitting for my crown wouldn't give me time to get it in before the wedding. I almost panicked. Instead of leaving with just enough time to get to therapy, I left 30 minutes earlier so I could stop by the dentist to see what could be done to calm my nerves.

When I arrived, I showed the receptionist where there wouldn't be time enough for a tooth to get back by the 18th if my appointment wasn't until the 10th. She pulled the appointment up on the computer and said there wasn't one for the impression to be made. The one on the 10th was for a cleaning.

Now what?
Some children didn't show up for their appointments and once in the chair, my dentist said I must be right with God because I had gotten in the same day I checked. I had to miss therapy, but hey, that is fine with me. Now I will go on the 16th to pick up the crown and will be able to open my mouth on the 19th. I don't know how I could have kept it shut when this is my first granddaughter getting married. Keeping my mouth shut isn't something I do very well. LOL This is the second day in a row that I have had a "fat, numb" lip. So glad this is the first and only time that has ever happened and hope it is the last.

A friend sent me a link to a Louisiana blog and I have spent the last two hours reading and blog hopping. I do wish people would say where they are from someplace on their blog. I have noticed many of them don't. Who knows, they may live in the next parish and could become a real friend instead of a cyber friend.

Must get back to the blogs, but just wanted to check in so I didn't forget the tooth (toothless) story.