Monday, December 14, 2015

Geminids Meteor Shower a Bust....

...due to significant cloud cover, but I have been treated to the occasional twinkles of fireflies in the wood and songs of the night by peepers and crickets, snuggled by Ashley, resident kitty, and Maggie, guardian Australian shepherd, is on duty, watching all from the top step of the front porch.  Starbucks Holiday Blend in my Franciscan Desert Rose mug, 70ยบ at 5:10 A.M., gentle breeze, flannel pajama pants, an unneeded down throw by my side...I wish you were here to enjoy these holy moments with me.  All this and the view of our Christmas tree from the front porch looking in has made for a peaceful morning.

My thoughts have been with a young mother-very-soon-to-be who lost her grandmother two days ago.  She is brokenhearted as she was so looking forward to her baby girl, aptly named Noel, meeting her great-grandmother.  My daughter-in-love lost her last grandparent this past week as well; PopPop he was called, never got to meet his newborn great-granddaughter.  

So life goes, cruelly to one generation in agonizing loss, blessedly to another who was in that limbotic place of not being able to live or die.  I had the pleasure of meeting both these beloved grandparents, and as with most who get to live a long life, their bodies had begun to be uncooperative.  I often think of the words of a first cousin of my mother's--does that make her my second cousin or first cousin once removed?--"No matter how old and decrepit they get, it's hard to let them go."

But go they must, and the mantel of historian is passed to the next generation.   My grandmother told me numerous times that her mother was able to identify any bird by its tracks and by its song.  That information must have marinated in my soul, for when the time was right, as a young married woman and mother, I had a thirst for knowledge--I wanted to know the identity of the many birds flitting, soaring and singing in southernmost Georgia.  I bought bird books, I took pictures, I set up bird feeders in my quest to be like the great-grandmother I never met in person, but knew so much about from stories my mother and grandmother told me.

My love for the Word of God came from my "Grannie."  She often retreated to her bedroom to read it and many times I'd find her sleeping, her Bible open and face down on her chest.  The Word found its way into her heart from her bird-loving mother, of whom it was said could hear any passage read aloud and was able to identify chapter, verse and book.  Grannie's Bible, with a completed family history section filled in, resides in a place of honor, on the dresser in the guest room which doubles as a morning prayer room, my prayers said while sitting in a chair which belonged to Grannie. 

I've bunny-trailed in my storytelling, as Grannie often did.  And those young ones who listen patiently to the same stories told over and over, each time anew for the teller, will be rewarded when their own children and grandchildren listen, eyes possibly rolling, yawns stifled inwardly, but words settling in their souls, germinating for the next generation.  

The two aforementioned baby girls will meet their great-grandparents in a different way, but I know they will meet them all the same.

A song of hope, "Hallelujah, We Shall Rise"

Friday, October 23, 2015

I Know It's a Small World, But... is it that today I met someone I knew only by name and circumstance?

Mr. A and I passed the Repeat Boutique on Norman Drive and I told him as long as this has been there, I had never gone in to shop.  A dear friend of mine works in receiving there, the busiest part of the store whose proceeds go toward a ministry which helps pregnant women.  

My friend introduced me to another employee, said her name but I didn't hear it, and added she was from Louisiana.  She, Mr. A and I spoke for a few minutes, and we learned she worked primarily in the book section of the boutique.  We said our it's nice to meet yous and I realized I hadn't retained her name and asked her again.  

It was Freida.

It had to be.  

This was on my desk at home:

I had chatted privately on Facebook with my niece, her husband had just lost his brother.  The parents of both men are still living and though I don't know them, my heart hurt for them and what they are going through.  I asked my niece their names and committed to pray for them.  

My nephew by marriage is from Louisiana.  All the puzzle pieces fit. 

I said to Mr. A, "This is Cajun's mother!"  And I told Freida I had prayed for her just this morning.  I marveled at this God-ordained moment.  

Mr. A and I were enjoying a leisurely afternoon.  We'd had lunch with an old friend and a new, gone to Target to purchase a gift for a baby shower, paid the power bill and upon leaving that location, I suggested stopping at the Repeat Boutique.

I didn't need anything, but I'm always up for a gander at what a thrift store has to offer.  This wasn't a lark or a whim.  It was an appointment from above.  

Being aware of Freida's unspeakably painful loss, Mr. A and I offered our condolences.  She invited us back to the room where the book sorting begins and showed me a poem read at her son's funeral called "Goodbye."

Goodbye to the sun, 
this is the last you will shine upon my face
to the wind and the grass
and everything beautiful around this disgrace

Goodbye to the trees and to this house
to the memories I held so dear
to those that haunted me in my sleep
and the one I’m creating out of fear

Goodbye to the faces I know best
and of those I never did meet
Goodbye to the lives I’m leaving behind
and the life I didn’t complete

Goodbye to my friends and family
you were the reason I held on so long
Goodbye to those that helped me
when my life seemed to always go wrong

Goodbye to my dog, 
my best friend excited to see me every day
goodbye to the living
as my eyes faded to grey

Goodbye to the dreams I might have had
to the love I never met
Goodbye to the passions that died
and the person I was and hope you don’t forget

Goodbye to the life that I once knew
please know I really did try
I love you all

please hold on as I say my goodbye

By the time I got to the part about "those I never did meet" tears began to fill my eyes.  My niece and nephew, Freida's daughter-in-law and son, are expecting a child next month.  The baby will not meet its uncle on this leg of the journey to eternity.     

Of all things, Freida began to say comforting words to me.  At lightning speed, my mind processes the fact that she has buried a son, but is concerned about my tears.  How is she that strong?

I told her I was okay, that I cried at the drop of a hat.  I shared with her that I had lost my brother under similar circumstances, but his death came not in an instant, but from several decades of self-destruction.  

I confided my belief that there are some who are so tenderhearted they have to leave this world to find peace.  She nodded in understanding.  Her son, my brother, they are finally at peace.  And we are the ones left behind to cope, to grieve.  

My understanding and empathy were limited, though, to the cause.  However hard it was to lose a brother, I can only begin to imagine the depths of pain caused by losing a child. 

And I considered how often I commit, via Facebook, to pray for someone.  My prayer life is far from what it should be, yet I do try to remember those who have asked for prayer and those on whose behalf I have offered to pray.  It is not the prayer or the pray-er; it is the God of this Universe to Whom we pray.

Galatians 6:2 tells us that in bearing one another's burdens, we fulfill the law of Christ.  I believe we are instructed to do so because some burdens simply cannot be carried alone.  Today, the Lord granted me an unexpected meeting with someone whose burden I feebly tried to help carry.  I am inadequate in and of myself, so I had to bring it to Him.    

RIP T-Tom 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Whistled Testimony

Scrolling through the newsfeed on Facebook this afternoon, I saw a video of "Why Me, Lord?" performed at the Grand Ole Opry.  It brought back a sweet memory of going to Clark's department store on Ashley St. with my daddy.  He asked the clerk behind the counter for an 8-track tape by Kris Kristofferson saying "Kris Kristahfahson."  

He took the plastic wrap and thin cardboard sleeve off and pushed the cartridge into the after market 8-track player in his red 1965 Chevy pickup with step sides and a tailgate which closed with chains.  I loved that truck and I loved my Daddy.  He whistled in perfect pitch to the heart tugging lyrics, equal parts regret and gratitude.  

I watched and listened, mesmerized as we rolled down Jerry Jones Road toward the Phillips 66 station he ran on Baytree Road.  At home, there was fighting, cussing, and carrying on, but the atmosphere of this truck cab sanctuary, filled with cigarette smoke instead of incense, was different.   

I realized the day he bought that tape and I first heard "Why Me, Lord?" it was his testimony.  We didn't go to church and I didn't know the word testimony, but my little girl spirit recognized one all the same.  

When you live in a home full of uproar, you listen and observe a lot more than you participate.  It's safer that way.  Daddy never shared a testimony in the traditional sense, all remorseful and crying in front of a bunch of people who act like they're stunned at what they're hearing, knowing they've done many of the same things, but after years of hard living--heavy drinking, smoking, swearing, bootlegging, womanizing, at times violent--a strange calm settled on him.  

It was the kind of peace only the Lord can bring to a tormented soul.  

I'd heard a penitent heart cry to the Lord in his own quiet way, humbled, going to the only Source of all he needed on this earth.  Nothing else here brought him any level of peace that I'd noticed.  I learned as much about the Lord that day after a trip to a discount store as one could have learned in 10 years of churchin', my age at the time.  

Daddy's time was drawing near and Jesus, ever merciful, received him home the year following the song's release, 1974.  Here's his testimony, another man wrote it and sang it.  Daddy whistled it and I can still hear the trills if I listen closely.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Random Memory and its Bunny Trails

The memory isn't completely random but triggered by a Facebook post of a cousin who shared a dream of going back in time and seeing a number of loved ones who'd gone on.  

I shared with her I had similar dreams and I considered them a blessing.  I recently dreamed of my mother, she was in her room, but it didn't look like the room which was hers for the last 37 years of her life on earth.  I say on earth because I have a firm belief in an afterlife which makes it truly and simply the continuation of life in Christ.  

In the room of my dream, my mother had both a living but unadorned scotch pine tree and a crystal lalique tree; the living tree seemed to grow neatly out of the floor and the crystal one was on a nearby side table of rich dark wood.  In her time on Earth, she could not enjoy a living tree indoors due to allergy issues.  She wanted and eventually got a green ceramic Christmas tree.  The living dream tree was not sculpted into a traditional Christmas tree shape but was as natural in form as it was unadorned.  The crystal tree was perhaps an extension of my imagination of her earthly desire, a thing of beauty and great worth, its elegant simplicity another reflection of my limited concept of heaven.

My mother's earthly home was full of bric-a-brac and a few items of reasonable worth mingled with.  Every dusty piece was of great sentimental value to her and she imagined it all to have great dollar value as well.  The chromolithograph below was on the wall of her living room from sometime in the early 1990s to the day she died in early 2003.  I've no idea of its current value, but the day I picked it up and paid eight bucks, or was it six, at a yard sale in my childhood neighborhood, was the day my mother pointed to the vintage framed art and told me to "leave that here" when I was taking her second-hand finds off the back floorboard of my old Buick LeSabre. 

She did it with a mischievous smile, one which couldn't be resisted, saying no to the twinkle in her dark emerald eyes not an option.  When I was a little girl, I was terrified of the consequences of disobeying her; as an adult I knew I could refuse her request/command but chose to comply.  I thought I'd bought this picture for myself, but it turns out I'd bought it for her.  

She rarely asked for anything, but took great pride in earning things for herself.  When someone gave her anything, anything at all, she treasured both the item and the connection with the person, almost in awe and always in great appreciation someone would give her something, and in close to all cases she would not let the item go.  In hindsight, I wonder if that was at least one part the Great Depression mentality as her earliest acquaintance with this world was in that era.     

It was both sad and sweet after her death when I lifted the picture off her paneled living room wall which she didn't care at all the paneling was considered dated, she liked it, and finally brought it to my home where it greets anyone who walks in the front door.  It looks like Thomas Kinkade's artistry and being it was almost certainly conceived and brought to life before he was, I am reminded there is nothing original on this earth, merely different perceptions and interpretations of the same beauty.            

As I look at it now, I'm not certain what drew this into my mother's vast and eclectic collections.  She wasn't so fond of all things flowery and frilly as I am.  Maybe it was the frame, unusual shape and old, old was always good in her book, but it, too, is embossed with flowers.  Was it the suggestion of an ethereal destination beyond the stone walk way and marble steps?  There is a place to go, but no one can be seen going there, they must be imagined.  Did it make her think of the loved ones she often spoke of and missed terribly? 

Mom would give people a piece of her mind when she was pushed, when the territory of her business was trespassed upon, but she wouldn't often divulge the depths of her heart.  Along with many other thoughts and confidences, she took the reason for wanting this with her to heaven.

In the photograph of the picture I took this morning, I see a faint image of myself bottom center and a reflection of a McCoy bowl on top of a bookcase across from this yard sale turned heirloom item.  (The bookcase's original life was part of an entertainment center handcrafted by my brother-in-law.  I was delighted when it came to live in my home, its new incarnation one part display case and two parts library.)  A bit of my mother was left on this earth in my form and the bowl was hers as well, an item I've wondered if my first daughter-in-love would like to have for the shade of it, in the aqua family, repeats in her decor.  

I don't know if this picture will be treasured by another family member one day in the future or if another young mother will pick it up at a yard sale for six or eight bucks and her older mother will claim it.  And it really doesn't matter all that much.  One day I won't care, but today I do and this is the story of the picture on my front entrance wall.  

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Lizard, Lizard, show me...

a red tongue, red tongue, red tongue.

Grannie told me to go on the narrow front porch of my parents' little brick house, this was the late 1960s, watch for a lizard, then chant this to it.  She emphasized the word tongue on the up beat.

I was dubious but curious and mostly obedient.  This was the era when minding one's elders was demanded and arguing and backtalking was quickly squelched, with physical force if necessary.

I'll be dog.  Soon enough a lizard scurried by, slowed for a few moments and did exactly what Grannie said it would do!

Starting this morning on my roomier front porch in the 21st century, I spied a lizard on a table where a fern from my baby boy's wedding now resides.  It looked up at what surely seemed like Mt. Everest, a big black flower pot, surveyed left, then right, and quick as a flash hopped a cascading frond, valuable real estate with the best view on the porch.

My baby boy's observation of a lizard came to mind.  He noticed they did push-ups.  I've noticed they love the eco-system created just for them by the many potted plants which adorn my front porch for eight or nine months of the year.  They hide behind the shutters, skitter along the porch rail, sometimes evading the cat who sees them as toys, drink water droplets from the leaves on the plants, snap an insect for breakfast and make adorable teeny baby lizards.  

I've often said of myself it doesn't take much to entertain me.  

These little chameleon-like creatures are even mentioned in the Bible, "a lizard can be caught with the hand, yet it is found in kings' palaces."  

I don't catch them with my hand, as a matter of fact, when one migrated indoors for the winter, hitching a ride on its plant home, my now daughter-in-love, then girlfriend of my baby boy caught it for me and released it to find a winter home outside.  

Back at my childhood home, a neighbor boy picked up a lizard, was looking at it closely and it latched onto the columella of his nose and hung on for dear life.  I went inside and told my mother there was a lizard hanging from Mike's nose and she told me, "Go on and leave me alone."  

I forgive her now for that, she had four children and worked full time.  I did what she said and went back onto the carport and the husky kid with a crew cut and freckles on his round face was shaking his head, the lizard flinging left and right, he was crying, so I went back inside and apprised my mother of the situation once more.

This time she must have believed me for she got a dish towel, calmly held the boy's head with one hand, grasped the lizard with the dish towel and it unclamped its jaws for freedom.  Little lizard got the ride of its life and the little boy wasn't traumatized, we weren't allowed to be that way either back in the day, and resumed playing.

There's my lizard story, small but significant.  Country living lends itself to little observations like this and my training for this life began at my Grannie's command.

Can't see the lizard and I believe that's the plan.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Copied from Cindy Trimm

Praise, like gold and diamonds,
owes its value only to its scarcity.
- Samuel Johnson

One of the most devastating sources of emotional pain that a person can experience is rejection. Although it is rarely perceived as a blessing, I believe it is often a divine announcement that you were never supposed to prosper within a particular relationship or realm in the first place.

Some of us were born into homes, communities, and even nations that reject us. Conversely, some of us place ourselves in relationships or communities that will never help us prosper. Instead of finding our strength and identity in God’s unchanging love for us, we turn to individuals or institutions for affirmation or stay too long in a dysfunctional relationship.

Sound familiar? Maybe you’ve been so afraid of the unknown that you’ve stuck with familiar roles or relationships no matter how repressive they are.

I want to encourage you to try a different approach. When you are confronted with rejection, think of it as a divine course corrector. I love how the actor Sylvester Stallone describes how he handles rejection:

I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear 
to wake me up and get going.

When it’s time for you to move on, embrace rejection as the push you need to get going. Or when you deviate from a course you have been divinely guided to pursue, understand that rejection might be what keeps you pointed in the right direction. Someone once asked me, “How do you deal with rejection?” My answer? “With grateful acceptance.”

When you are confronted with rejection, 
think of it as a divine course corrector. 

Learn how to use rejection as a tool for growth. It requires great discernment to know when to ignore rejection—when to keep doing what you’re doing regardless of what others say—or when to use rejection to provide valuable feedback regarding what you should be doing, how you should be doing it, or with whom. 

The key to gaining wisdom through rejection 
is rooted in your identity—knowing who you are in Christ and who God called you to be.

Life, in general, is risky—and the more risks you are willing to take, the more you will risk being rejected. The next time you face rejection, keep the following three truths in mind:
  1. The problem may not be with you. People usually reject what they don’t understand, do not have the capacity for, or cannot control. 
  2. It’s a matter of perspective. Talk the situation through with people who know you, your gifts, and your calling. Ask them for perspective and feedback to make sense of the situation. 
  3. Mediocrity resists greatness. Albert Einstein observed, “Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.
Remember, your worth is not found in what others think of you! Use rejection to build and strengthen your resolve.

Praying you will use rejection as an opportunity to prevail,

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Better Show This Morning

After disturbing my husband's sleep by rummaging in the dark for a beach towel to dry off the dew dampened lounger, I settled in the God-breathed planetarium to watch the Perseids meteor shower.  Two mornings ago I got a sneak peak; this morning, I watched the full show.

I could not follow instructions, nothing new for me, to place my toes toward the northeast as that is where the light pollution came from, toward Valdosta. Southeast it was and in addition to here a streak, there a streak, I saw two marvelous collisions of comet debris with the earth's atmosphere creating the appearance of shooting stars.

Offering prayer and praise the Lord, I told Him I believe it is His Word, His decree, His breath that is the elusive mystery beneath the substance of our DNA and I affirmed my belief His thought could form something from nothing!  Hebrews 11:3 explains it clearly:  "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible."  I concur with those who pooh-pooh the miraculous and believe only what can be seen under a microscope or through a telescope--there surely was an awe-inspiring bang at its inception.

Prayers were said for my "children," one on a business trip to Chicago and the other sleeping under these same stars out west in Colorado.  I reflected on a time when our little family of four watched the annual Perseids meteor shower and I marvel now we are a family of six with the seventh member's debut slated for early fall.  

A satellite meandered across the eastern skies and a jet streaked through the west.  Shielded by forest on three sides, I gave thanks no one could see me wrapped in a cream-colored bed sheet and misconstrue my star-gazing for a one-woman klan rally.  The mosquitoes were horrid, and as the first stage of dawn ascended from the east, I went inside to start coffee.

Watching the ever-changing sky is a spiritual experience for me, one of awe, and I wonder if I will be among those who view with the naked eye the second coming of Christ from the east.



Tuesday, August 11, 2015

I Saw Three

From my vantage point, south of Valdosta, north of Dasher, the pre-peak-Perseid meteor shower is just a sprinkle.  There is a tad of light pollution with security lights, but overall good viewing with the moon waning.  The yellowy crescent rose shortly after I did, a little after 4 A.M.  There is significant cloud cover to the north, so the viewing may not have been clear in town.

The cat and dog seemed mystified by my nocturnal wandering, placing a lounger in the yard when I'm ordinarily sleeping.  The dog sneezed so hard from the overspray of mosquito repellant I applied, her snout hit the porch floor several times, poor thing!  

The cloud cover from town is creeping southward blotting out what little of the moon which showed. It appears the show is over, so I'll sit here with my thoughts and prayers, listening to the crickets' relaxing serenade and the traffic in the distance, people already headed to work or home as the case may be.  

I hope your day is most pleasant and you experience a heightened awareness of the abundant blessings from above.  

Monday, August 10, 2015

Simple, Often Repetitive, Always Funny

In my perpetual overthinking, hazard of one with abundant time on her hands, I hesitated to post my morning laughter on Facebook.  It begs to be told whether or not there is a listener, so the world must know how feeding the birds can be fraught with danger...and funny.

I've been watchful for snakes which sometimes view my bird feeders as their hunting grounds, slithery mooches.  This morning, I heard a soft buzzing near the base of a crepe myrtle, one of two where I place seed for my avian visitors. 

I try later to describe the sound to my husband, telling him I was at first looking for a baby rattlesnake, then theorizing it might have been an insect of the night winding down as the sun rose.  

"It talks to you, too?"

Great laughter, the sort which would wake a neighbor if we had one in earshot.  Yes, I suppose the crepe myrtle has begun talking to me now.  

His sweet zaniness never grows old, even as we do.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Precious Treasure

Pictures of paintings by Sandra Kuck downloaded from Facebook, World Arts--Best of the Best

I was never quite this feminine and my sons were never remotely this calm, but these paintings capture how I felt in my heart about being a mother, beautiful.  My older son recently shared with me that he was able to feel his baby kicking in his wife's womb, he compared it to a thump.  I told him I remember vividly when his father first felt him kick, the expression of wonder I saw in his eyes; it ranks up there with one's wedding day, a supremely precious moment in a lifetime.  My son has never been one to gush, but I could hear his awe of the miraculous in his voice.

His childhood looked more like this:

My best guess is this was taken in 1993.  He and his baby brother spent quite some time jumping off the front steps and into a little mud puddle they created.  From things he says, I gather his little one will enjoy similarly joyful activities in life.    

Monday, May 18, 2015

My Man

Thomas Rhett's uncle, Brooks Akins, coached our older son in football at the Boys Club level.  The in-laws of another country legend, Kenny Rogers, live across the highway from us.  My man was born in Ohio, not one you'd expect to be a country music fan, but being a transplant to the south it got in him.  

Thomas Rhett's voice is the sound of the south, a drawl and a twang set to music.  I fell in love with this song today, first time I heard it, and in the video is an old Chevy truck like my daddy drove, only Daddy's was red.  (The wedding ring Mr. A wears was my daddy's.)   

I read an article online about the good fortune of marrying a southern man.  I've long teased my man about being a Yankee, but all that is desirable in a man entrenched in the culture beneath the gnat line osmosed to mine.  

At dinner this evening, he looked at me with sheer happiness at my happiness while I was dancing at the dinner table to Thomas Rhett's song.  I told him to hold that thought and he was patient with me while I recaptured his loving expression.

Twenty-eight years and counting.  Our first grandchild is due early this fall and our baby boy is getting married this summer. 

Love multiplies.  

God is good. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Good News, Please

Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, what beautiful names to give to a brand new princess.  A new baby, a fresh start, a chance at a better outlook on this world we are all passing through.    

I've overdosed on news of racism, especially with the inspiration for twitter's #EricSheppardChallenge attending university in my home town, though I should say attended.  Something tells me he won't be in class here this fall as his possession of a firearm on a Georgia campus, a felony in the state, may cause his registration to be delayed.  He's doing a darn good job at being the hidden one in a federal game of hide and seek, so he may not surface before the deadline for registration anyway.   

When the whole world seems to be coming apart at the seams, people everywhere stomping an American flag and residents of Baltimore torching a CVS store, I retreat to the serenity of line-dried clothing.  Eric Sheppard would likely find this racist as this practice dates to antiquity and the sheets are white.  There are, however, no eye holes cut in them, so I may get a pass for the 21st century.  They'll smell divine, no matter what anyone of any ancestry, royal or otherwise, thinks of them.

Line drying clothing surely is close to the bottom of things a brand new princess will ever be expected to do in her royal life, heck, those who attend to her are royal in this category as somewhere in Buckingham Palace must be a state of the art laundering facility, no pegging out of the royal nappies in this generation.   

If Eric Sheppard-on-the-lam is hiding amongst the hedges along the highways, he may have dried some of his clothing on a makeshift line somewhere, but methinks modern fugitives aren't this resourceful and he is probably piled up (like laundry) somewhere with someone super sympathetic to his self-made plight.

Britain's brand new Princess Charlotte will also be in hiding for some time, albeit her digs assuredly are a bit fancier than wherever Eric Sheppard is hanging his hat and the next American flag he plans to tromp and burn.

After I hung freshly washed sheets on the line, I thought of Sheppard.  I'd stomp the little malcontent if he dirtied my laundry with his feet.  I instantly condemned my thought in the style of social media before I ever shared it: How terrible of me to value a piece of cloth over a man.

Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana presently has none of these concerns and my only one for her, as the spare to the next generation of heirs to the British throne, is that she isn't someday discovered partying naked in the United States as was her uncle spare, Harry.  

If she is, she might cover her lady bits with an American flag and she could be either a hero or a villain, depending on one's perspective.  (Reference: Michelle Manhart)

Now back to my antiquated laundry habits and some good news with an exception:  Tonight I shall sleep blissfully atop line dried jasmine-scented sheets.  

Note the jasmine blooming to the left
Uh-oh, the jasmine is white and called Confederate Jasmine
I give up on trying to be politically correct.  

A nod to my late brother, "I'm just dammit me."  


Saturday, April 18, 2015

VHS Class of 1965 photo shoot

I had the privilege of photographing some special long time friends, a few ladies from Valdosta High School's class of 1965 on the day of their 50th class reunion.  What a joyful, funny, delightful group.  Of course, I would be blood kin to the lovely lady in bib overalls and pearls.  

The original back drop was slated to be a Valdosta landmark, The Crescent on N. Patterson St., but there was this little policy we were made aware of:  we could be arrested if we were on the grounds during a private event.  A private event was scheduled some four hours later than we intended to catch a few candids there, but no chances were taken, no pictures either.  

We drove down to The Ponderosa for a wooded background.  They talked about sex and sang "Amazing Grace" all on one humid southern Georgia spring afternoon.  My sweet husband surprised us all with some sweet tea afterwards and that sure beat rations at the Lowndes County jail.      

Friday, April 17, 2015

Electronics and Perimenopause if those two go together.  

"Here's another thing to avoid:  breaking into peals of laughter if your tech-challenged quinquagenarian pulls out a flip phone or a BlackBerry.  Remember--you're dealing with someone who might have fond memories of the busy signal or a typewriter or both."--Annabelle Gurwitch in The Care and Feeding of the Menopausal Woman in Your Life, Real Simple magazine, May 2015

And I promptly burst out laughing upon reading this.  Mr. A, my 61-year-old sweetheart owns and prefers a flip phone.  Occasionally I have to search for a replacement as his is well-used and abused being the sole means of communication for his sign business.  About a year ago, some young soul at the Verizon store got him to *update* to a slide phone and he. hated. it.  My phone, a little rectangular number about 3/4" thick bit the dust, and I secretly coveted the slide phone he cursed daily.  

I finally found the flip phone he wanted and he happily relinquished the slide phone to me with the caveat that I'd hate it.  I don't hate it.  I just recently, though, figured out how to answer it, depressing a numeral as opposed to pushing the button which gives auto-text replies.  I first was in awe of a slide phone when my baby boy got one.  He bought it for himself with funds from his first job as a lifeguard when he was 16 years old.  He's 24 now, so in electronic years my phone is about 8.7 quintillion years old.  And that's OK with me, resident quinquagenarian at The Ponderosa.

Quinquagenarian--a person who is 50 years old or whose age is between 50 and 60.  That would be me, a word nerd who learned a new one today.  

The rest of Ms. Gurwitch's article dealt with other delicate topics such as vaginal dryness and the need for ocular assistance in reading restaurant menus. Once again, I hear my mother's quiet wit, usually reserved for those closest to her, "My mini won't pause."  

And oh am I reaping what I sowed when I used to kid her about wearing glasses perched on the end of her nose.  I'm also reaping for wishing my older son's sixth grade teacher would take a tweezer to those long white hairs on her chin.  Mine are black and I don't see them until I go on a search and destroy mission with the 5x magnification mirror.  (You can get one of those at as well.)    

Oh, Mama, so far my mini hasn't paused long either and I breathing on 52.  Oh it's taken a few breaks, enough to scare Mr. A into thinking he was going to be a daddy when he's papa age and enough to excite me into thinking this cyclical madness has departed forevermore, but no, the occasional, "Surprise!"  Or as a boss lady I had when I was a teenager bluntly put it, "Damn bloody britches."  (Spell check just asked me if I meant "bitches."  Well, sometimes.)  It had probably been a decade or more since my gray-haired boss who resembled Madame, minus the flamboyant accessories, had that laundry issue, but her contempt was palpable.

In case you're not old enough to remember Madame:  


And I get it.  Like when my hairdresser, who is a year younger than I, said she "stopped" altogether a couple of years ago.  That hearkens back to pregnant women who said they were never sick a day when I had morning sickness all day long for six months.   Whose idea of a prank is all this?!

As a quinquagenarian who is quintessentially cold, I've found myself on the front porch at night trying to cool down a little.  I can't classify this experience as a flash, but more a surge, like the flush of humidity which can be felt before a summer thunderstorm.  Not long afterward, I'll be back to my old self, under a blanket in mid-April.  

Old.  Old enough to know better, oldest person in the gym, old enough to have learned how to type on a manual typewriter, but I have no fond memories of a busy signal.  Womp...womp...womp, how irritating!  

In fairness to Ms. Gurwitch, I do not care for the busy signal's solution, call waiting.  The long boooop interrupting my present call is downright rude.  The person on the other end of the line should just wait their turn though I can't think of an acceptable way to tell them so because I find leaving a message on an electronic machine just as cumbersome as carrying a manual typewriter. 

Despite my non-impressment with modern line-less telephones, I'm techno-geeky in my own way.  I can make my iPad air 2 dance--the instant messaging on it, using a Zagg keyboard, is far more efficient than texting.  Texting, talk about a 20-year step back in communication, hitting a key three, four times for the correct character and if you pass it by, starting over.  Wait, that's on flip phones.  No one uses those anymore.  Except Mr. A.  

And I sent my older son, a freak of nature when it comes to uber-intelligence, a voice message via iMessage, a trick I learned before he did.  For people I can't see i to i with, meaning those who do not possess an iPhone or an iPad, I found an app called textfree which enables me to nottextbuttext, again, using the Zagg keyboard.  I'm one qwerty kind of quinquagenarian, much more efficient than index finger hunt and peck communication.  

But you know the one thing you can't do with modern electronics when perimenopausal peevishness strikes?  Slam the phone down!  Try that with one of these modern numbers and it's back to smoke signals as the damage is irreparable.  

OK, I admit, smoke signals were ahead even of my time, but I have great memories of several relatives born in the late 1800s!                 


Monday, April 13, 2015

Short and Sweet

"Thom, you're about to find out just how much we love you."--Mr. A, speaking to our firstborn over the telephone about the upcoming birth of his first child this fall.  

We women have so much to say and share about pregnancy, childbirth and infant care, volumes are written and spoken.  This, however, is about the most touchingly beautiful thing I've heard, from father to son. 

Mr. A and our firstborn son
an outstanding father
to an outstanding son

2012 at our firstborn's wedding
Mr. A, best man
Mrs. A, best mom :D
our firstborn
his lovely bride
our second son, also best man
his then girlfriend, now fiancee
and the 7th person, number of perfection,
now resides in the womb of our daughter-in-love

Psalm 103:17But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,
18to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.