Thursday, May 30, 2013

It Is My Birthday

Well, today is my birthday. Actually it is a birthday milestone of sorts as I can now draw my "rocking chair" money. If I didn't want to eat or pay bills.

I've told you stories of my early years, haven't I?

About how my hospital bill was only $25.00?



And how I was named after Rita Hayworth?



Did I ever tell you that back in the early 1950's the new mothers were encouraged to stay in bed for ten days? That meant Mama and Daddy stayed with Grandma and Grandpa for ten days after I was born. My cousin was born nine days after I was. Just as Mama and Daddy were leaving Grandma's, my Aunt was beginning her ten day confinement there.

Did I ever tell you that my youngest Uncle is only two years older than I am? (He is the "three words the whole way to Oklahoma City Uncle). Mama said he thought I was his baby and would have crossed Main Street to bring me back to Grandma's if a neighbor had not called to ask her if she was missing one of her kids.

Mama said I would have starved if Grandma had not fed me milk gravy off the table. I still love gravy but I do not like the Pet milk formula they put me on.

There is a picture of me as a tiny baby with Mama and Daddy in front of Aunt Maggie's little house. It is the only picture I remember seeing of the two of them together. I wish I knew where it is.



My cousin Jimmy and I had our pictures taken together downtown at Collier's Studio. They said I called him Shimmy. They said he didn't like it. My first taste of heartbreak was when Jimmy died at fifteen.

I have a tiny scar on my middle finger from where it got caught in a fold-up baby carriage. Mama said Daddy threw it out in the yard.

I do not remember my Daddy ever raising his voice with me. He was an intelligent yet quiet man with a quick wit.



Mama was a city girl who moved to a small town in Arkansas and grew to love Daddy's people.



I don't remember my brother as a baby but I do remember when my sister was born. I thought Mama was too old to be having babies. She was 25.




All those nights Grandpa called my name in prayer have paid off. I have had a very blessed life.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Whoever Heard of Hickeytown?

Although I spent a big part of my childhood at my grandparents' farm, I was actually a city girl.  Mom and Dad always rented houses in town where the streets were paved and well lit. It was a safe and friendly town where children walked back and forth to school. 

Mama walked me to Michie School my first day of second grade and I walked alone afterwards. I cannot imagine allowing a seven year old out of the yard nowadays. It was a different world then.

This is a picture of my second grade classmates at Michie School. I am sure Mama would have dressed me in a cute little dress if I had told her that pictures were being made that day. I remember Toni reassuring me Danny would stand in front of me and hide my shorts but I guess we forgot to tell him.



Look how cute Scotty is in the second row. And look how sweet and cheerful Toni is. We have lost both of them now.

These, and the ones I made at Hurie School, were the friends I had through the tenth grade when Daddy and Mama decided to move to the country.

I was devastated and just knew my life was ruined when they moved our family to the small rural community of Hickeytown. Hickeytown? What sixteen year old wants to move to Hickeytown?




They wanted to raise chickens and ducks and have fresh eggs. They wanted to plant vegetables and tend flowers. They wanted to breathe fresh air and drink cool well water. They wanted a fire blazing in a wood burning stove. 

They got what they wanted but none of that was what I wanted. I wanted to watch a matinee movie at the Strand on bottle cap days. I wanted to buy an RC Cola at the bottling company on the courthouse square. I wanted to walk to the library and drink cherry cokes at the Diamond Drive-In. I wanted to cruise downtown Clarksville whenever Mom and Dad would let me have the car. 

But now I was stuck in the sticks where I knew no one and was facing all new kids in a new school come September.

Although I thought my destiny lay in my hometown of Clarksville, God had other plans for me. Hickeytown was and is a beautiful place on the Little Piney/Big Piney Creek (I never know which is which). I met and made new friends and happily graduated from Lamar High School. 

The following October my soon to be all time best friend invited me to go to the Halloween carnival at the Knoxville School with him. 

A year later I moved with him to his family home in Knoxville where the roads were unpaved, the air was fresh, and the well water was cool and clear. We planted gardens and heated the house with wood. 

And Mama and Daddy moved back to Clarksville.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Present


Bear with me as I re-post from last Valentine's Day.

I rarely get a Valentine's card from my hubby...but he always changes the oil in my car.



He rarely buys me candy either...but he always saves the last Twizzler in the package for me.

I do not remember him buying me many cut flowers...but he digs the holes to plant my azaleas.


He does not take me out to eat much...but he never complains if we have scrambled eggs for supper.

We do not vacation together very often...but he will travel anywhere I am to change a flat tire on my car.

He sometimes tracks mud in on my clean floors...but he takes his boots off every night at my house.

Aunt Dorcas



I was thinking of Valentine's Day gifts today and wondered whether Uncle Howard bought romantic gifts for Aunt Dorcas. If he did, she did not tell me about them. He used to go to the corner store every morning to buy her a 6 ounce bottle of cold Coca Cola. I remember Dorcas was crazy about him.

Uncle Howard dated the Mother of one of my high school friends. I won't say who...just in case.

She and her younger sister shared the same Anniversary date. It was not planned that way but the two couples often went out to eat for their anniversary.

She and Uncle Howard came to spend the night with us when we lived in Flat Rock. They chose the bedroom with just a twin bed. She said they liked to sleep close.

It was a big family joke that when Howard came to visit he brought his chain saw and cut back all of Grandma's trees. We wondered if they would survive each new cut.

They camped at Piney Bay every summer. Before they paved the road to Piney Bay, Daddy stopped to let us pick up a little black kitten that had been abandoned in the middle of the road. Howard put it in the shallow water to watch it swim to shore. It made me mad but he just laughed. He was a joker.

Anthony had to take off his artificial limbs to swim. He swam like a fish. I do not remember Jimmy going out to Piney Bay with them. Maybe they did not go until after he died.

When our oldest grandaughter was three or four years old, we took her with us to visit them there. Howard got a kick out of her standing beside the dock directing a stranger to "turn it a little to the left" as he was backing his boat into the bay. She is bossy like her Nana.

I expect as I get older I will begin to look more and more like Dorcas. We both shared what we refer to as "the Middleton hips." She had a grey streak of hair at her temple ever since she was a teenager. My son does too.

Well, I have just thought myself into missing her all over again.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Arkansas River Pelicans

The pelicans have returned to the Arkansas River. I don't know where they are wintering here from.

Photo courtesy of 123fotography
The pelicans line up along a sand bar between our bank of the river and Goose Island. I don't have a camera that will capture a good image so I am using a photo my cousin took of the pelicans up river from our place.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Chicken and Spinach

My daughter Laura and my niece Debbie attended the same day care when they were 3 and 4 years old respectively. As with most day cares, they served nutritionally balanced lunches that many of the children did not like. 

Jody, Debbie, Jason, and Laura

I learned years later that my niece would eat my daughter's spinach so she could have a second helping of chicken.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Just Dance

My youngest grandaughter was recently grounded from television and all electronic devices. When I asked her what she did all day her response was, "Oh, I just dance."