Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Blogging Friends

By the time I finish this post, it will be 2012. I have spent a good part of this New Year's Eve reading posts from the blogs I follow. Although I do not always know where you live, I do love to read of your everyday goings-on. I find them all so interesting while at the same time all so different.

So many of my favorite blogs seem to involve chickens. I guess it is a little late for us to begin raising chickens as we left the farm we had lived on for forty years for a place closer to town. But it would be nice to see the chickens scratching around outside. Aren't they supposed to be good for keeping down the tick population? But aren't they also a little silly? They might get loose and get hit by the trains that come roaring past the house. And too, I would  have to think of names for them all. I will just read about your chickens.

I love to see all the photos of the gardens and canning you do. We did put in gardens at the old place. A few gardens were so large I thought I would never finish putting up green beans and tomatoes. We had a neighbor that would bring us his over ripe peaches. They made the best peach butter. My attempt at a garden down here did not go well. I am blaming the drought. It is ironic that there used to be rich bottom land just across the railroad tracks. The Corps of Engineers flooded it all to build Lake Dardanelle. It does make for a pretty view though. Well, y'all just keep posting those pretty pictures of potatoes, pickles, and corn.

I have really enjoyed seeing how you all decorated for the holidays. Everyone's homes were so pretty and the decorations were very inventive. Alas, I have not one creative bone in my body and have to hire someone to do all my decorating. I do want to see all of your projects though and will try not to be too envious.

You all seem to have pets. Their personalities shine through in all your snapshots of them. Most of you have cats - and pugs. No pets for us here due to the aforementioned trains.

Oh yeah, I really like to see the nice photographs you post. So many of them look professional. The scenery surrounding you is spectacular and makes me aware of how beautiful our world is. I too am surrounded by beauty but do not own a camera that will capture it. Until I decide to spend the money on one, I will enjoy your photos.

I did take this picture Labor Day 2010. You don't see a
lot of sailboats on the Arkansas River.

Seriously, what I love to read the most is about your kids, your grandchildren, your spouses, where you went on vacation, what you ate at the new restaurant, the rainy weather, the pretty birds you are watching, the flea market finds, the good books you read, that your health is improving....your life in general. Thank you all for sharing.

Friday, December 30, 2011

No 2012 Resolution

As I have decided to be kinder to myself in 2012, I am not making a resolution this year. Why set myself up for disappointment? It is pretty pointless anyway for me to resolve to diet and exercise when I know I will not do it for more than three days anyway.  Well, wasn't that pessimistic? Let me re-phrase.

When I began to think of all the diets I have been on, this Johnny Cash song came to my mind. Maybe I have not been on as many diets as places Johnny Cash has been, but I have been on an awful LOT.

I have told you about Dr. Lane's Diet - otherwise known as the Looking For A Husband Diet. It was my most successful as I lost weight AND gained a husband.

I did lose a little weight while hubby was in basic training but did not follow a particular plan. I ate a little of whatever I wanted but just did not eat a lot. Although I was not looking for a husband at the time, I was looking forward to a husband coming home.

Back in the early 1970s there was a candy-like dietary supplement called Ayds that I chewed with a hot drink thirty minutes before meals. It was supposed to curb my appetite. Although they were pretty tasty, I was still hungry.

I have taken various diet pills from time to time as well. In fact I was on some prescription diet pill when I got pregnant with my daughter. Although I stopped as soon as I knew I was expecting, I just knew she would be born with twelve arms. She only has two.

I joined a weight loss group named TOPS in the seventies. It stood for take off pounds sensibly. I do not remember there being a formal diet plan and I do not remember losing weight. I met a lot of really nice people though.

I was on a doctor supervised liquid supplement diet at one time. I was not successful at losing much weight but I did lose a lot of money.

Note the price on this nice book I bought at Wal-Mart. I think I may have thumbed through it a time or two but did not shed one ounce doing so. I may have done better if this Bob Green guy had come to my house to supervise my weight loss endeavors like he did for Oprah.

Ah, Atkins! Who has not been on the Atkins diet at one time or another or another or another. I had a friend who once said she was on the Pottsville Diet - the not quite Atkins diet. Arkansans know that Pottsville is the town right before you get to Atkins.

South Beach Diet. Another $17.47 not well spent. A sensible eating plan but I wanted cake and chocolate pie.

I am not sure what this one is about. Obviously no cake or pie in this plan either.

I have joined Weight Watchers more often than I want to remember. It is probably the most sensible and easiest plan to follow. I should probably try it again.

I have not had any of this nasty stuff in my house in years. Took this picture at Wal Mart.

Although I do not want to go on the Looking For A Husband Diet, I may give Dr. Lane's Diet another try. Wish me luck.

I wish you all a happy, blessed, and prosperous New Year.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Prelude To My Next Post

Am I the only blogger out here that has had trouble finding time to write even a small blurb? As I have way too many memories crowding the current things I need to be remembering, I will be writing again soon. In the meantime, a little preview of my next post entitled "All My Past Diets."

The following is a former post entitled "The Looking For A Husband Diet"

As mentioned in previous posts, I broke my ankle the summer I turned thirteen and spent that summer with a cast on my right leg. I got out of doing chores until Mama caught me scuffling with David and then I was back to doing dishes. I did walk to town with a friend several weeks after initially learning to use crutches. I had to stop a couple of times walking back up Cherry Street hill in front of the high school. But most of that summer was spent sitting in front of a fan while watching television. Mama was working then so we had a babysitter that came to the house. (I have a story to tell about her in a later post entitled "Pinto Beans and Frogs.) I was thirteen and could have taken care of my younger brother and sister but I guess my parents thought too much of them to leave in my custody all day. This babysitter was an older woman who wore her hair in two braids twisted across the top of her head that put me in mind of Petunia Pig. She was a dear soul though who certainly knew how to cook. Not only did she make breakfast and lunch for us kids, she had supper ready for Mama when she got home. We had biscuits and white gravy, cornbread and pinto beans, fried potatoes and macaroni and cheese, chicken and dumplings (I do not care for dumplings), meat loaf and ham....well you get my drift.

During that long summer of inactivity, I became that ugly three-lettered "F" word we do not let our kids say.  I gained a little more each year until I turned sixteen and Daddy took me to an old country doctor in Dover for advice on losing weight. Dr. Lane was short-spoken and all business. He smoked a pipe and brought his german shepherd to work with him every day. His fee for an office visit was five dollars. After a quick exam, which thankfully did not include removing my clothes, he brusquely instructed me to step up on the scales. My aversion to that ever sliding to the right measuring block began.

I should probably post Dr. Lane's diet on the internet in one of those little pop-up ads that say, "guaranteed to lose forty pounds in three months." I could probably make a tidy little sum from it as well. But I won't. Here it is.

I stayed on this diet plan all summer and did lose a lot of weight. But I stayed strictly with it. If I did not have something from the list, I just did not eat. I drank a lot of Tab soft drinks. I think they were probably ten cents a bottle and tasted pretty darn good with a saccharin sweet taste. They said later the saccharin was giving lab rats cancer but then "they" recanted that claim.

I maintained that weight loss until I was expecting Laura. All day long morning sickness prevented me from gaining much with Greg. But since I felt great during my second pregnancy, I gained quite a bit more than the doctor recommended amount. From time to time I would go back to eating the green vegetables, fruits, and lean meat but never enjoyed the same success I did that summer.

Although Dr. Lane delivered babies in his office, I used obstetricians for my deliveries. My family did continue to use him over the years from time to time for the common sore throats, rashes, ear infections, and bumps and bruises. On one of my visits for some malady, I asked Dr. Lane why I could not lose weight like I did back then. His as-always curt response was:

"Because you're not looking for a husband now"

I will fill you in on my other diets on my next post....just in time for our New Year's resolutions.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Big Chief Tablet

Another great Christmas has past. Santa brought our 9 year old grandson a tablet. When his Papa told him he used a tablet in grade school called a Big Chief, Blake asked if it was a touchscreen.

Another great Christmas morning with our two children and their family. I love those grandbabies. 

Another great Christmas dinner at the in-laws. When I noticed this sweet vintage Pyrex casserole dish there, my mother in law said I could have it. Not a Christmas present per se but a nice gift nonetheless.

And an equally great day doing nothing today but watching old movies with hubby. As there is a cold rain here out, I hope to stay inside and watch some of the old fifties movies our kids got us. I may even let hubby watch the old westerns while I nap. Life is good.

Oh yeah, my same as sister cousin welcomed her first grandchild yesterday morning. Ella Gail - what a special gift.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Past

Christmas Eve is tomorrow. I think I will have it all together by the time everyone arrives to have breakfast and open gifts on Christmas morning. I am so blessed to have our children live nearby.

I have been remembering my childhood Christmases. Sometimes after we were bathed and dressed in our pajamas, Daddy and Mama would bundle us up to go see all the lights in town.

Although Christmas displays were pretty modest in the fifties, I do remember Oklahoma Tire and Supply dressed their store windows in all the latest toys.  I could have sat there for hours looking at the dolls, doll houses, and carriages.  Of course, my brother was into the Tonka trucks.

The red, blue and green lights across Spadra bridge seemed magical to me. 

I love this picture of me and my brother. What do you think of that huge bow in my hair and my too short bangs. Is that the way bangs were supposed to be cut in the fifties?

Isn't my little brother cute? He looks pretty suspicious of Santa. Several years later, I threw his Huckleberry Hound hat out of the car window on Main Street. He was really upset. Another instance of "I should have got a spanking" but did not.

I remember Christmas morning smelled of new doll vinyl. I got twin dolls for Christmas the year we lived in Chouteau, Oklahoma.

My Oklahoma City Grandma came to visit and had sewn a whole wardrobe for my twins. I think that was the year I went to the first grade and told the teachers we did not have money for a new coat. The teachers bought me a pretty red coat. Mama made me give it back and took me to town to get one not as pretty.

There was a big snow that year but I still went to school. I walked in Daddy's footsteps to get to the car. I wonder why he didn't just carry me? I was little bitty then. We made snow ice cream there too.

We did not live there long. I was glad to get back to Clarksville. 

I remember I got a doll carriage the Christmas before my sister was born in January.  I remember telling Uncle Paul if they would stay all night with us, his newborn daughter could sleep in my doll carriage. They did not stay though. 

I got my first Barbie doll when I was twelve. Mama thought I was too old for a doll so she bought me a pearl necklace too. This Barbie had black hair styled in a bubble cut. Mama was probably right about being too old. I wish I had kept her though.

I asked for a record player for Christmas the next year. I did not get one but I did get a radio. The only music playing all Christmas day was Christmas carols.

I remember asking Daddy if he liked Paul Revere and the Raiders. He preferred Jim Reeves but said he did not care what I listened to. Later he watched the Beatles with me on the Ed Sullivan show.

I do not remember many of my Christmas presents. I suspect I did not receive a whole lot of gifts. But I always had a warm bed to sleep in, always had plenty to eat, and always had a lot of people who loved me.

I always knew why we celebrated Christmas.

I expect to be busy for a few days but would like to take time to wish all my family and friends - new and old alike - a most Blessed Christmas. May you all enjoy a warm bed, plenty to eat, and many who love you. And most of all, may you always know why we celebrate Christmas.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Traditions - Part II

-continued from yesterday-

Grandma and Grandpa took me and my two cousins to every fellowship meeting, camp meeting, and youth rally around. Once again, Uncle Jack teased we were looking for our "intendeds." Although there may have been some truth to that, neither of us married anyone we met there. Mid week services were devoted to the youth as well. My "only three words the whole trip to Oklahoma City" uncle was usually the best at the sword drill. That was the Bible quiz game where someone calls out a book and verse and the first to locate it in the Bible stands up to read it. I am ashamed to admit I would not be able to find the books of the Bible as quickly today. When did I become too busy to read a chapter from the Good Book daily? I remember Aunt Loda standing on those long steps leading up to the church yard and laughing about giving some boy a stick of Cloves gum she had powdered with alum and replaced in the wrapper. I wonder who it was and whether his lips are still puckered? I remember a little boy at church giving me a Cracker Jacks ring and saying he "claimed" me. He didn't claim me very long though.

The little church never enjoyed a large congregation but there were always more in attendance at Sunday morning services. When returning from Sunday School classes we sang Happy Birthday to anyone who had celebrated a birthday that week. It was a different birthday song though. Listen Here  We gave Grandpa a penny to count into a bell shaped jar in commemoration of each birthday year. I am going to have to ask someone how that custom came about. I do know it was exciting to hear seven little pennies chime into that glass jar. I would ask Daddy for money for the Penny Marches on Sunday morning. I thought it was great fun to march down the center aisle, drop a penny or two in the offering plate, then return to your pew in a somewhat viewing the body at a funeral fashion. It was much later that I realized a few pennies in the fifties may have been all some had.

My grandparent's first child was born in 1926. They were raising children in the midst of depression times. Daddy said they never had much but they never thought themselves poor. Grandpa worked daily and Grandma raised most of what they ate. Grandma did get a job at a canning factory in town once but when she saw all her babies waiting for her at the edge of the yard when she came home for lunch, she did not go back. They lived five or six blocks from the downtown railroad tracks when Grandpa's mother would feed the hobos who showed up hungry on their front porch. After church service Sunday dinners often included members of the church congregation while countless families arrived in the middle of the night requesting assistance to get closer to their destination. Not one time did Grandpa turn them away without money and a bite of food. Where did the money come from?

Since Grandma and Grandpa still had a two and a three year old at home when I was born, the grandchildren did not receive presents from our grandparents. But that is not to say we did not receive gifts. Every year on the Sunday before Christmas, they filled a plain brown sack with an apple, an orange, assorted nuts, and a handful of Christmas candy to pass out at church. I looked forward to them each year and I now know that simple offering of love for their church family came from their hearts.
The finished Christmas cookies. Grandma called them
tea cakes. My aunt and uncle carried on the Christmas
goodies gift tradition last Sunday.
The gifts I received from my grandparents were given in everyday lessons and experiences. They taught me what the exchange of gifts on the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus really represents. I was blessed with hearing the Word of God from a Man of God. I learned that Jesus Loves Me meant Jesus loves ME and that all children were precious in God's eyes - not just the ones that looked like me. I always knew that if no one else in the world loved me, my Grandma did. I under appreciated that my Grandpa's fingers were permanently bent and twisted from years of carrying heavy sacks of feed - his daily gift to his family. I did appreciate him taking me home when I got homesick - even after he was in bed asleep. I was blessed with never hearing one curse word pass Grandpa's lips. He felt "heck" was a swear word. I was honored to know they always spoke the truth. Grandpa said a man's word was his bond. I was given the knowledge that if I was scared, or sick, or about to have a baby, my Grandpa had the ear of God. If he was heavily burdened, he not only prayed but would fast as well. Yet he continued to work. These are the gifts no one can buy. These are the gifts we should offer each other.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Traditions - Part I

It is funny how everyday events become traditions. I do not remember baking Christmas cookies with my Mama or with my children either. Yet we have been baking sugar cookies with the grandchildren every Christmas for years now. 

I think this is why Mama didn't want to bake with kids
I feel like new family traditions evolve as the parent's ideas and practices become intertwined. Although I do not remember reading bedtime stories to my children, my son began reading books to his first born when she was just a baby. I know this because while I was taking the grandchildren to school one morning, I overheard her tell of something the teacher had said. I thought she was relating the story as the Charlie Brown teacher would when she finished with, "and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." When questioned she said, "That's what daddy says sometimes." He must get tired of reading.

I remember daddy telling me bedtime stories from memory. I would ask to hear the story of The Bremen Town Musicians but now I do not remember what it was about. I still remember the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf though. Grandma had me read it when I was the lookout for the school bus and would yell, "Here it comes." After the kids grabbed their books to dash out the door, I would laugh and say, "just kidding." I do not remember which uncle whined, "Mama, make her quit that!" I do recall being bratty.

Speaking of stories, I remember Grandma telling me a true story. After she had delivered one of her nine children, she awakened Grandpa to ask for a drink of water. She said he promptly got up, walked out to the back porch where the well was, drew up a bucket of cool water, drank a dipper full himself, and went right back to bed. She never said whether she got her drink.

Although it would not capture the attention of kids nowadays, I was fascinated by Grandma's Sunday School story of David tending his flock depicted on flannel backed paper cutouts stuck to a fabric covered easel. I think the flannel board must have been a precursor to present day power point presentations. Mama said Grandma first took me to church when I was three weeks old. I remember Grandma singing I'll Fly Away and patting my palm against hers as she kept rhythm to the tune. My grandson has that song on his iPod. I remember she always had a clean handkerchief in her purse. She called her purse a pocketbook. She somehow tied a little bit of change into the corner of her handkerchief in such a manner I could not unfasten it. Grandpa always had clean handkerchiefs to use when he preached. He needed them to wipe tears from his eyes. I remember Sunday School songs like Jesus Loves Me - this I know for the Bible tells me so. And Jesus Loves The Little Children - they are precious in his sight. And The Wise Man Built His House Upon The Rock - and it stood firm when the rains came tumbling down. These mini-sermons in melody send life messages that last a child forever.

One of my aunts said many times they walked to evening church services but had no recollection of walking back home. Church lasted late into the night in those days. I remember walking with my cousins in Oakland Cemetery between Sunday morning and Sunday evening services. About midway in the cemetery a little five or six year old girl is buried whose likeness is captured in a brass encased picture frame affixed to her grave marker. We always wondered about the little girl who was so obviously loved.

-continued tomorrow-

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Spilled Beans

Don't you just hate it when you have no intentions of mopping your floors on a Thursday night then you spill a whole bowl of freshly cooked pinto beans in the middle of the kitchen floor and then not only do you have to mop the floor you have to wash the heavy kitchen rug and while you are washing it you may as well wash the one in the foyer and then you notice bean juice splashed all over the refrigerator and freezer so you have to wipe it down too and while you have the cleaner out the dishwasher and range needs cleaning as well. But it is just as well I did go ahead and sweep and mop or I might not have noticed the two little "I promise you brown beans" that had somehow rolled way over into the small bathroom.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Pelicans' Return

The weather is warm yet quite dreary in Arkansas today. I am home sick and as I opened the drapes, I noticed the pelicans out on the water for the first time this season. Although I may give in at some later date, I refuse to pay the price of a good camera. Therefore, you will just have to take my word that the pelicans have returned to my part of the river. I believe it is actually called Lake Dardanelle. Anyway, here are the pitiful pictures I have taken of them.

Oops, no pelican here. This is what I like to think of as a
wise old bird - I believe a crane. My sixty year old eyes
can make it out better than this pitiful camera lens.

Here's a couple of pelicans separate from the group.

The main group stay huddled on an old log midway between
the bank and Goose Island.
I am very curious about this little group of birds. Where do they go during the summer? When did they start out on their journey to Arkansas? There are many more this year than there were last year but they all look like mature birds - no baby looking ones. They may come from your part of the United States. From some of the pictures I have seen posted already this early winter, I do not blame them for heading south. I will look after them until their return to you in the spring.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


I have a confession about my home grown tomatoes. They are home grown but are not vine ripened. I got maybe a total of ten tomatoes off my vines during the whole past summer but come cooler weather they started producing little green tomatoes. I wrapped those, along with the ones my brother in law gave me, individually in newspapers and have them setting in a window of the cool attic. Every few days I check to see which ones have ripened. I expect I will have a few for Christmas dinner.

Sunday Breakfast

I didn't have frozen biscuits so Blake helped me make scratch
biscuits. It's hard to do with only one arm.

He wanted one large pizza biscuit

And two gingerbread ghost shaped ones

Blake and Papa sorting the tomatoes

Some did not survive the cold

One perfect tomato

Two perfect tomatoes - note the flour on
his nose. 

A bunch of perfect ones

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Little Decorating

I just have a minute for a quick word. I am getting behind on reading my blog list - duty calls elsewhere. I will be glad when I retire so I can read your blogs and write my posts all day. That is how retirement works, isn't it? My daughter in law came down yesterday to decorate a little for me. I am almost a minimalist so I don't have a lot of fluff in my home. I do like seeing what everyone else has done
with their decorating - fluff and all. Maybe I just don't like taking it back down. 

I need to insert a memory here after re-reading the first sentence. Shortly after Grandma's oldest daughter married, she moved far away to California. She raised all three of her children there before returning to Arkansas. She and Grandma exchanged long newsy letters routinely that often started - just a quick word.
They usually ended up long words. Kids today could never survive with just letters coming through the mail two weeks apart.

I love turquoise and aqua. Need to find a bird
for the cage - not a real one.

Bear and cowboy snowman on the old metal
stool my grandpa made.

Can you tell the tree skirt is my friendship quilt?
Probably not a good idea on the front porch but
it is pretty.

We have been in the house over a year and
have yet to build a fire in the fireplace.
Hubby can't seem to bear starting the
first one. I am buying electric logs for
the holidays.

Okay, this is a little strange. See the little monkey on
the mantle. He has been there ever since we moved
in. I don't know for sure how he ended up there but
he seems to like it. I'll just decorate around him.
Back to my reading. Everyone leads such interesting lives.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


I promise you I am going to decorate for Christmas this year...and will probably start this weekend. I plan to post a few pictures too. I am way too sleepy and tired tonight though so I thought I would just pull out an old picture from early last spring. Yes, it is a little tiny green snake that somehow managed to worm his way up onto my kitchen range. Or maybe he dropped down from somewhere. I know I could have picked him up and hand carried him out but I was all alone and had to sweep him outside. He kept wiggling sideways and giving me the creeps. He still gives me the creeps and I haven't seen hide nor hair of him in months.

I may take a blog vacation and come back next week with pictures of my Christmas tree. Oh, you all know better than that....I can't be quiet that long.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Check out this article in my 1953 Good Housekeeping magazine I found at the consignment store.

Can you imagine?  Unfortunately, I can. My OKC grandmother wore this type of girdle. How did they walk in them? How did you get out of them? What kept it from creeping up your thighs? Oh, I see. It has garters you attached to your nylon stockings that I imagine held the girdle down while holding the stockings up. 

Although I want no part of being trussed up like the Thanksgiving turkey, I expect I would eat a lot less if my stomach was all squashed in. In fact, I once heard someone say spandex is the cause of America's obesity crisis. Nursing scrubs are notorious for the capacity to "give" as well. One of my nurse friends said she knew she had to start changing her eating habits when her scrubs started getting tight. I, for one, am going to worry about all of that after Christmas. 

Monday, December 5, 2011


It is funny about memories, isn't it? It seems most of my childhood memories include aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Although they say you don't recall events that happened before you were three years old, I could not have been much more than that when Uncle Jack cautioned me to be careful with the big-as-me hammer I was using to drive nails into the dirt yard of the house on Taylor Street. This was during the time Mama had to stir the vertigo causing gravy for Aunt Lizzy because she had all day long morning sickness while carrying Monica. Monnie is not that much younger than I am.

I remember how my Great Aunt Maggie's Chihuahua Princess Kay was called PK for short. I remember being shooed out of Aunt Maggie's dark bedroom after Daddy told us not to ask for any more chocolate covered cherries. She said we could have as many as we wanted. She died shortly after our visit.

I remember how Aunt Emma's snuff left thin brown streaks in the creases of her mouth. I remember playing with Jimmy on Aunt Maggie's front porch when Daddy had me sing "Oh Susanna" for Dorcas and Howard. Howard laughed that funny "huh huh huh" laugh of his because I sang "banjo on my knee-bone" like Daddy did sometimes. Dorcas made a big to-do about how talented I was. I was probably cute back then.

I remember Dorcas quickly tying the big sash on my pinafore so I could resume playing with the kids at the farm. One hot summer day she offered to pay us kids a penny apiece for every fly we killed. That may have been the same time she told me to just ignore the boy cousins when they kept saying Jimmy was the oldest grandchild.

They say my nine days younger cousin would get mad when I called him "Shimmy." I do not remember that. There is a studio picture of us together where they said I kept crawling toward him and he kept trying to get away. I do not remember where I last saw that picture.

They said Jimmy had a little rubber boy doll that he loved. I do not remember it. I did buy one that I imagined looked like his though. I bought the little girl doll too. They said Jimmy remembered our great grandma and that he called her his Cookie Grandma. I do not remember her. They said she predicted Jimmy was too smart to live a long life.

Jimmy was smarter and more talented than I. He went to kindergarten when the rest of us did not start until the first grade. His kindergarten had a fireman's pole he could slide down. He learned to read before I did and read Dick and Jane stories to me. He could count money before I knew a penny from a dime.

He would blow and pop huge Dubble Bubble bubbles just to show me he could and I could not. He would climb the ladder to the hay loft, scramble across the wide-planked floor, and tumble out the door onto the heaped up hay as I watched from the ground. He wasn't afraid to go in the dark, loud, and scary pump house like I was. He was an athlete before we knew what one was.

He could leap over the cattle guard, run down the driveway, and be back in the yard before I could cripple across those metal bars. He zoomed around on a bicycle way before I learned to ride one. He played well with all the kids and even though he won all the marbles from the guys out at the farm, they all liked him. Sometimes he let me play.

Did Jimmy and I always get along? No, we did not. Did he ever say he loved me or even that he liked me? No, he did not. Was I ever jealous of him? No, I was not. Did I adore him? Yes, I did.

My Aunt Dorcas married a handsome Robert Mitchum looking man the same year Mama and Daddy married. I never knew if Uncle Howard was kidding or telling the truth. I usually just didn't believe anything he said.

He always had a grin on his face and a cigarette hanging from his lips. Although he never hugged me, kissed me, or even patted me on the head, I think he loved me.

As was common then, Dorcas and Howard had four boys in rapid succession. If they ever wished for a girl, they never voiced it.

It wasn't long after Jimmy was born that Michael came along. Pleasant and even tempered, Big Mike was always the peacemaker and often took the side of the underdog. They said Michael and another cousin, who will remain nameless, were playing with matches and caught the pasture on fire. I do not remember that.

Dale and my brother are the same age and played together at the farm. I do not remember ever playing with them. It was not long after Anthony was born that Dorcas and Howard moved to North Little Rock to be near Children's Hospital.

Although I do not remember Nicky with "real" legs, I do remember how he stood on the back of a tricycle and used his hands to pedal pell-mell around the corners. You had to step aside quickly as he careened down the hallway. It was always a little startling to see his blue jeans covered and shoes donned artificial limbs thrown all akimbo under a chair or behind a sofa as if someone had taken a spill and no one cared enough to help them up.

I remember Aunt Loda saying the secretary of the school Nicky attended was appalled when she told her to see if Nicky couldn't just walk across the street to her house when he broke a screw in one of his limbs. The unwitting secretary said, "Ma'am, did you understand? The teacher said he broke his leg!!" Loda was serious when she said, "Well, it happens all the time and sometimes he can still walk on it." They later learned he had loosened a screw to get out of class.

He told everyone he was not allowed to eat the Pop Tarts because his mom was saving them for when his baby cousin Robbie came over.

I do not remember his three older brothers ever giving over to Nicky or him ever receiving special attention from them. He was knocked off the sofa once while scuffling with his brothers. He grabbed both stumps and screamed, "My bones, my bones!!" It frightened me but as it left no impression on them, he just laughed and piled back in on them.

The summer I was there, Nicky had ulcers on his stump and couldn't wear his artificial limbs. I remember Dorcas' washing machine would get off centered and jiggle all over the kitchen floor. Nicky hoisted himself up on the machine with those strong arms of his to try to steady it. He just bounced all over the floor along with the machine.

I spent a couple of weeks with Aunt Dorcas the summer Jimmy and I turned fifteen. I didn't see much of Jimmy because he was a popular kid with loads of friends and things to do.

Michael took care of me though. Wherever Mike went, I was welcome to go too. Those three older boys ran all over the place in North Little Rock. As I have often said, it was a different time then.

I slept in Dale's bed while I was there. I am unsure where Dale bunked and apparently neither did the friend who opened the window screen to awaken him for an early morning fishing trip. You should have seen his face when he grabbed my foot instead of Dale's. Whatever happened to that boy?

After I got back home that summer, I made plans to fix my friend Karen up with Jimmy. That did not work out because just a few weeks later Jimmy dove into a shallow pool of water and broke his neck.

I remember Grandma going to Little Rock to stay with the younger boys while Dorcas and Howard stayed around the clock at the hospital. Although Grandpa had to come back home to work, he continued to pray for God's intercession.

I remember Mama saying she found Grandpa mowing around the banks of Spadra Creek when they called to say he needed to come back to the hospital.

Later that night, I remember Daddy slumping against the wall when they called to tell us Jimmy died. His cigarettes glowed long into the night as he grasped them between his hands and sat hunched over in his chair.

I remember Grandma trying to lead me next to the grave site to say goodbye. I could not. Years later Grandma said she had lost her mother, her father, her sisters and brothers but nothing hurt like losing Jimmy. I do not remember Dorcas crying. She said she had to stay strong for Howard and the boys.

Michael was a big boy who did not seem offended that we called him Big Mike. He was a gentle soul who knew no enemies and would hurt no one. The hitchhiker Dorcas and Loda picked up along I-40 did not know that though as he listened to Loda rant about what the sleeping Michael had done and could do. The poor kid clung fast to the passenger door with a wary eye on Mike. I doubt he wanted to ride very far.

Michael was a self taught and talented jeweler working in Pine Bluff when he suffered a pulmonary embolism and died suddenly. Once again, Aunt Dorcas had to bury a child. Once again, she had to be strong for Howard and the boys.

We began calling Nicky either Nick or Anthony since it no longer seemed appropriate to call the tall, strong, and handsome man Nicky. Although Nick had a family that included grandchildren, he never lived far from his Mother.

His profession was making and fitting artificial prostheses. Many clients appreciated the fact he understood their needs.

Nick was preparing to take his granddaughter to school one morning when he suffered a massive heart attack and despite all efforts to revive him, died in his Mother's kitchen floor. She came home to find his limbs tossed to the side.

This time, Dorcas had to be strong because Howard was very sick himself. I suspect her lone son was shoring her up much more than she ever knew. She said Dale was her buddy.

Uncle Howard died shortly after Nick did. I was heartsick. Not only had I lost this man who was an integral part of my childhood, I grieved for my Aunt Dorcas' loss.

But this little lady who seemed to be shrinking daily felt she needed to be strong. She told me a while ago that she had grieved but that she had put her feelings down in a tablet, closed the book, and placed it on a high shelf. I could never bear to read that journal.

My Aunt Dorcas is now resting in the arms of God. She is bathed in the love only experienced by one who has loved.

Although I do believe the Bible's version of streets of gold and jewel encrusted mansions, I have an extended version of heaven for my Aunt.

I see meadows of green grass and streams of cool and calm water. There is sunlight from every direction but it is not hot. I see Grandma and Grandpa coming down a little path toward Dorcas. Daddy and Inez are with them. There is Jimmy standing beside Dorcas - just as he was forty five years ago. Howard has a wide open grin because Nicky is running toward them on two long, sturdy legs. Michael waves from a fishing boat in that clear stream. That looks like Mama sitting beside him. How happy Dorcas is as she is once again with her family.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Merry Christmas To Me

Work is so interfering with my newest pastime - reading everyone's blogs. I just have to work tomorrow and then no more weekends until after the New Year. I did high-tail it to Clarksville today to check out some old magazines I had heard about at a consignment store. JACKPOT!!!!!!

You should be able to enlarge the picture to see the cover of this 1964 issue of Good Housekeeping with celebrity cookbook recipes from Mrs. LBJ, Bing Crosby, Doris Day, Tony Curtis, Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Peggy Lee, Deborah Kerr. I cannot wait to check them out.

Look!!! January, 1953!!! So sweet. An early Christmas present to myself.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Aunt Lizzy's

I went to Aunt Lizzy's house today. Her sister, and my Aunt Dorcas, passed away this morning. I will tell of that in a later post. Although the pretty redbirds that were perched on the old dying apple tree outside her kitchen window would not let me take theirs, I did take some neat pictures while there.

The last remnants of fall and the ever present flag off the front porch of the house they have lived in nearly sixty years.

A Better Homes and Garden magazine from the year they married. Note the price is only $.25 for this content laden book. She declined my $50.00 offer by saying, "If I was going to get rid of it, I would just give it to you."

My cousin took this picture of a fallen leaf on Thanksgiving day. Doesn't it look like a floundering starfish?

This picture of the old storm cellar is deserving of a story all its own. My two same-as-sisters cousins and I sat on this shelter many days watching cars go by on what was the main thoroughfare from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Little Rock, Arkansas. 

Uncle Jack teases that we sat out there looking for "fellers." I wonder how many times my husband passed by on his way to his friend's house in Flat Rock. Because he rode motorcycles, I am sure we discounted him as a potential mate.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Knoxville Friendship Quilt

I am blessed to have the quilt my hubby used as a child. I believe it is called a friendship quilt because it has the names of friends from the Knoxville community embroidered on each block. Although I recognize all the names, I did not know all of these friends.

This the one my mother in law did. I need to get
her to re-do the last part of her name.
This is where my step mother's name should be. Do you remember me telling you my step mother and mother in law are sisters? They were always together and I don't know why Sue didn't quilt a block?