Sunday, April 27, 2008

Story Telling Day!

"It's all storytelling, you know. That's what journalism is all about."
~ Tom Brokaw~
"The storytelling gift is innate: one has it or one doesn't. But style is at least partly a learned thing: one refines it by looking and listening and reading and practice - by work." ~Donna Tartt~
Today is Storytelling day. I thought about several different ways of doing this blog today but decided to share one of my old stories. I hope you enjoy my story!
Something Old; Something New
A story By Patricia Sawyer.

Lisbet sat with her back against the wall and watched the leaves fall through the broken window. The sun was going down and soon another day would be gone. She wondered how many days she had been sitting here.

As the sun faded away behind the clouds the shadows slowly settled around the room. They covered the leaves piled under the window, and then the train tossed on the sagging old reading table. Finally even the tiny metal soldiers, marching in their crooked lines across the toy chest, were hidden in the darkness.

Lisbet was very sad. Every night she would sit awake and remember when she was new. Her dress had been Baby blue satin, fit for a princess. Not this untidy scrap she wore now. Her long dark hair had been braided neatly and tied with shiny blue ribbons instead of hanging dirty and tangled as it did right now. She had even worn shoes on her tiny feet and a snowy white bonnet on her head. But most of all Lisbet had a girl back then. A girl of her very own to love and share secrets with. As she drifted off to sleep she wondered how much longer she would have to wait. She wished she could be "New" again.

Lisbet woke just as the sun was peaking over the tree tops. She knew it was still early and wondered what had awakened her. She looked all around the dim dusty attic. The leaves were still piled under the broken window. The cobwebs still hung wispy, white in the corners. The train was still on the table and the soldiers were still marching in their crazy, crooked lines. Everything looked the exactly the same. Then she understood. It wasn't something she could see. It SOUNDED different! She heard voices! She wiggled close to the edge of her shelf trying to hear better. It had been so long since she had heard voices! "Oh MY goodness!" she said to herself, "Maybe I will be new again!" She was certain she heard the ring, ring of a phone, and the clang clang of pots as someone cooked breakfast. She hadn't seen a breakfast in a long long time. She could feel her doll heart beat with excitement. Then she heard a loud slam and everything was silent again.

Lisbet sat back against the wall and began to think that she had just been dreaming. She had hoped that a family had come here to live in the old house once again. A family with some boys for the train and the soldiers. A family with a girl for herself. In the early morning quietness Lisbet was even sadder. " Just a stupid dream!" she thought. All day Lisbet watched the clouds float by and thought about her dream. She had been certain that she had heard sounds from downstairs.


"What was that?" Lisbet wondered. She looked at the old train. It was still as before.


" I know I heard it then !" she said. She looked at the soldiers. Their lines didn't seem nearly so crooked all of a sudden.

THUMP..... THUMP......THUMP.....THUMP....

She knew it! She knew someone was coming. Someone was climbing the old staircase hidden in the upstairs closet. Someone was coming up to the attic. She was so excited she could barely sit still. The rusty bolt scraped as it slid back. The old hinges squeaked loudly as the door was slowly pushed open.

Lisbet quietly watched the child standing in the door. He wore an old tattered baseball cap and faded jeans. As he gazed around the darkened room he tossed a ball into the air, catching it in his other hand. "Ma! Come quick!" he yelled as he ran out and down the stairs. "A boy," thought Lisbet. "Just a boy! But at least Mr train and the soldiers will be new again, " she whispered. "remember me," she said to her friends.
"Look ma!" said the boy as he flung the door open toppling half of the soldiers. " Look at all this neat stuff! Can I have it?" he asked. "Well, we did buy the farm, so I guess whatever was left here belongs to us too," Said Ma. Ma told the boy to bring everything downstairs.
Lisbet tried to be brave as the Boy carefully untangled the old train. " some fresh paint and you'll be good as new." he mumbled. Next he tucked all the soldiers into a big old hatbox. "I sure like the way these march," he muttered to himself. Now standing almost directly below her. Lisbet had closed her eyes so she wouldn't have to see her friends leave her alone.
As quick as a wink Lisbet's legs were Jerked from the shelf and she was falling. Falling right into the open arms of the BOY! " And for you," said a soft voice in a whisper, "first a bath and then some new clothes. My Other dolls will like you just fine." "OH MY!" thought Lisbet. " A Girl! Not a boy at all! Just a girl who likes trains and soldiers and DOLLS! Finally another Girl to Love.
Finally a girl of my own!"
Later Lisbet sat on the ruffled bed in the downstairs bedroom. She had been scrubbed clean as a whistle. That's what the girl had said. She was wearing a pretty new dress of pink satin. Ma had even found a tiny black pair of of shoes for her at a store in town.
She looked above the bed to the shelf where Mr. Train sat on a section of track beside a newer train. The paint really had made him look good as new. Next she looked over the window sills where the soldiers marched in straight neat lines along with some newer soldiers. They looked like a royal army marching in step across the windows. With all the dust gone, they too looked good as new.
Finally, Lisbet looked happily at the pink cheeked little girl sleeping there beside her. "Thank you!" whispered Lisbet, "Thank you for taking us away from the dark dirty attic." And as she closed her glass eyes for a night of Dolly dreams she whispered, "Thank you for making something old; something New again!"

I hope you enjoyed My story. for story telling day. I wrote this story October 8, 1986 for an assignment for a children's story writing class. I hope you enjoyed it. I love to tell stories. ask my family they will tell you it's so. Happy storytelling day. If you have kids or grand kids or maybe even just a friend. Tell them a story today. Let your thoughts free to share. And hopefully someone will share their own story with you. Have a great day!


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Blessings Rambling Through My Mind Today.!

" Our Greatest Glory in not in never failing but in rising up every time we fail." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson~

" Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and repeat to yourself the most comforting words of all " This too shall Pass." ~ Ann Landers~

Troubles of one kind of the other come to every single one of us at some point in our lives. For some of us it seems to be a constant companion but it visits us one and all. It likes to surprise us. We worry over our children fearing they will find trouble. But Trouble will always find them. For some of us we also have the extra trouble of worrying over our parents. Maybe they are old or just forgetful. Maybe either the children or the elder is Ill? Illness in the lives of either can devastate us.

Illness in our lives can bring financial difficulties. Sickness can strike quickly and wipe out any savings quick as a wink. For those without savings even minor illness can spell disaster. I have heard many people say that they can't afford to be sick. I have tried and I really can't think of any one, That I know, who can afford to be sick. But Sickness passes. Most people do recover. The debt is repaid even if it is done slowly.

Most of us feel afraid sometimes. We fear many things. We fear what we don't understand. We fear the future because we don't know what it will bring to us. Will it bring Blessings? Will it bring Troubles? We are scared to imagine what it might deliver to us. We can also fear the things we have already lived through. If you have survived a violent storm you may become afraid of even the mildest thunderstorm. I actually like storms myself, but I understand why some people don't. I'm sure if I ever survived a really violent storm I would feel differently about them too. Some people fear flying, some fear heights. Some fear bugs or spiders or snakes. I knew a lady who was in a car accident and who feared driving or even riding in a car for a very long time afterwards. People can fear absolutely anything. I personally am not afraid of many things. I hate crowds of strangers and mice. I am afraid of both. I don't know why. I Just know that I loath both of them. It is troublesome to fear crowds. That means I hate malls and Christmas shopping. I do those things but they are hard for me.

When we are young we often fear failure. AS we get older and look back we sometimes don't like the way things have turned out. Many things we planned while young , simply didn't come to be. Other things are different than we had hoped for. My Daddy used to say. " God works all things together for Good." What we thought was a failure maybe was part of a bigger and better plan. Daddy also said " Nothing beats a try, But a Failure, and nothing beats a failure, but a try, try again." I have tried and I have failed But I accept that. I have learned from my mistakes. I think That's what my Daddy meant. I have beat a failure By a try try again. I don't fear failure. I do fear not trying.

When my children were small we were often separated for periods of time. A hospital stay with one meant being away from the other two. I hated it then. I am not fond of separation even now. I hated the fact that Anthony lived on the other side of the Country till I went there for a visit. He misses us who still live here in this tiny town where he began life. He however loves it there. "THERE" has become his home. I realized that long before I visited there. I knew his heart was there long before I accepted it. When I visited him in his new home I accepted that he would Most likely always live there. Cooper joined him there this year. Cooper is still dealing with the separation issues in his own way. New Mexico may not capture Coopers heart like it has his brother's But I am almost sure that if it isn't there, It will most likely be some other place besides here. They aren't like me. They enjoy the crowds of the city. I don't. It is only miles that separate us. We talk to each other almost daily. Memories keep us close. Love binds out hearts together even though we are far apart.

I love my children. I loved them when they cried and I loved them when they Talked back to me. I loved them when they did what I hoped they would and I loved them still when they did what I prayed they wouldn't. I let them know when they did wrong. I even let them know loudly some times. But they always knew, even when they were in the wrong that I loved them. They didn't get into trouble often. I count that as a blessing! None have ever been in jail. I count that as a Blessing. I am also blessed that they are all grown now.

I am at a point in my life where I can look back and see some things that I thought of as horrors at the time in a different light. So many trials and troubles have become over time another blessing. Socrates said "Our prayers should be for blessings in general, for God knows best what is good for us!"

Sometimes troubles weigh heavy upon our hearts. Sometimes they cast a shadow that hides our many blessings. It is up to each of us to remember that our blessings are there. I was going to try to day to count my blessings but I ran into a Small problem. I can't count that high. Don't fear failure unless it's the failure to try. Remember you can only be separated from those you love by miles. Love is a binding bond. When you have troubles, meet them head on.
For troubles are quiet often the escort of another blessing. To the world I am sure that I do not appear to be a wealthy woman. My life is rich with blessings and joy. Have the courage to count your blessings. Troubles visit us all. Sometimes they seem to move in to stay. It is natural to feel scared. The most frequently repeated command in the Bible is ~ Be NOT Afraid~ and remember that no matter what the problem is, "This Too Will Pass!" Have a great day!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Worse Date of my life!

"A man on a date wonders if he'll get lucky. The woman already knows."
~ Monica Piper~

"I've been on so many blind dates, I should get a free dog." ~ Wendy Leibman~

The shrilling ring of the phone began as soon as the bedroom door closed behind me. I glanced back at the door thinking that if that phone woke up my babies someone was going to die tonight. Emily was back in her bubble like tent after another bout with Asthma and Cooper had not wanted to sleep without her. He had demanded I sing Cum Ba Ya for at least five hundred verses. He loved that song. He loved the someones working and someones crying verses but he loved the someone is singing verse most of all. He would sing with his small voice for hours when he didn't want to go to sleep. " Some one is singing Lord Cum Ba Ya!" Over and over we had sung till finally he had give up and went to sleep. Now it was after ten o'clock and I was plum wore out. Anthony was gone for the summer to work in watermelons at my sisters so I was handling the little ones all alone. We had been today for a cancer treatment for Emily. Cooper was cranky. We Both were cranky. I snatched the phone off the hook ending the ring and as quietly as I could I said Hello.

"Hey Girl, What ya doing?" It was Tracy, a girl I knew from a store close to where I lived before I moved here. Before the divorce. Before the world started making me mad. She was just a person I knew Not someone I would have expected to call me. "I got your number from your Brother-in-law" she said, "he was just in here a while ago. I tried to call you but you didn't answer." I began to explain that It had been a rough day and I had been getting the kids down.

"Oh I don't care about all that." she said, "I have a guy for you to meet. You need to go right now to Harry's and he is...."
"Hold On" I said. " who is this Guy?" She had the whole thing planned out for me.. He was someone I didn't know But he was right now waiting for me to show up at a local bar. I would know him she said by who he was with. He was with her own Husband right now.. I had to go there right now..He wanted to meet me right now..

There were so many things I felt like I needed to know before I loaded up to go meet a stranger in a bar. Not to mention that now was really not a good time.I was tired. I had just got the babies to sleep and what was I supposed to do with them while I traipsed around to a bar this late at night? She had all that worked out too. I was to load them up and take them to my sisters house. she had already asked Trudy and Trudy had told her she would watch them. I asked how old he was and she swore he was our age. There were really a lot of things that didn't suit me about this date but they talked me into it. They brushed aside all my complaints.Trudy was waiting on the sleeping kids and Tracy was going to come to the Bar just as soon as she could get there.. Hurry they said he is waiting and he's nice and on and on. Giving the bedroom door one more glance and saying a silent prayer that I would not regret this I hurried to the shower. It was by Now eleven pm and I still had to drive the babies to my sisters house, But I wasn't going to meet a man in the clothes I had worn all day.. I still had some pride after all.

I walked into the bar at eleven thirty seven.And looked around for John. He was Tracy's husband and Was supposed to be with the man of my dreams. Well at least Tracy's dreams for me. I spotted John near the back of the bar in a booth and headed that way. I had never been in that bar before and was surprised to see a lot of people I knew. A lot of People I saw had went to High school with me. I was stopped a few times before I reached the table. I had dressed in a pair of jeans and a tank top with a white long sleeved shirt open over that. I wasn't vain but I knew I looked pretty good for a woman thirty two years old. I looked pretty good for a Mom of three. I hadn't started dating yet. This would have been my first date. I didn't like the way it had happened but I was still hopeful. I walked up to the table where the two men sat with a little hope in my heart. My instinct had warned me.. But I was here now. I was ready for this date.

John was sitting across from a very nice looking young man. He didn't look my age. He looked much younger than me. John was my age. But John was also much older than Tracy. Maybe she had meant he was her age. They both had their legs stretched out across the bench on the side they were sitting on I stood at the end of the booth and waited for them to offer me a seat. I said Hi and reached to shake his hand saying " You Must be Mike?" He nodded then waved for the waitress to come over. " Yea " he said " I'm Mike" He and John both ordered beer. I wanted a coke but no one offered me a drink. They still hadn't offered me a seat. I was beginning to get a head ache from the loud music and all the smoke. I was also getting angry that not only was he way younger than me But he was rude as well. I wondered what Tracy had been thinking. Where was she any way? I knew the store was already closed. I was about to just walk out when a guy who went to school with me, came over and asked me to dance. His wife was already on the floor and the song was rather slow. I figured I might as well get something for my trouble so I walked away and left the two of them still laughing and talking together. They didn't even appear to miss me when I looked back from the dance floor. I knew this was a bad idea. I told my dance partner. He laughed and asked me where my ex was. He was shocked that I was divorced. I was shocked when he pulled me closer to his body after learning I was single after an eighteen year marriage.

Finally the dance was over and I had just walked away from the second man in one night. I felt as if this must be some crazy nightmare. I even for a second thought maybe I was asleep on the bed beside Cooper having sung myself to sleep right along with him and Em.I pinched myself to make sure. I really was in a bar in the middle of the night and My kids really were with Trudy. I felt stupid. I went to the bar and asked if they had coffee. The female bartender laughed at me and said I could get a cup at the store next door. I thanked her and was about to leave when John waved me over again and shouted my name. I went over again and this time I asked if I could sit down. Mike moved his legs and allowed me to sit by him. He was extremely tall and had the greenest eyes I believe I had even seen. He truly was very nice looking. But I was mad now. I had no intention of being nice at this point. He was way to young. He hadn't bought me a coke. I was way to tired for this whole thing.

"Look, I have to go." I said as I reached for a napkin. I asked John to borrow the pen I could see in his shirt pocket and wrote my number on the napkin. " "Mike, I'm not sure we should date, But call me tomorrow if you still want to go out and we will set something up between us." I said handing John his pen and Mike the folded napkin. I was going home. My head was pounding and my heart was not. I had made a mistake. " Hey Patsy" he said as I started to walk away, " how old is your baby?" I stopped and looked at him wondering if he had really said Baby. Not children or even Kids. He said Baby as if I only had one lone child. I was going to kill Tracy if I even saw her again. I explained that I had three children. He nodded when I said Emily was two years old. He even nodded when I said Cooper was four years old. I have to give the young man credit that he didn't faint when I said that Anthony was fourteen years old. But what he said scared me to death. He said. " Wow, he's only six years younger than me. I bet me and him will be friends." I tried to smile but couldn't I was suddenly feeling sick. I ran from the bar and all the way to my car. I got in and locked the door then sat there and cried. I wasn't supposed to be at a bar meeting a man who was twelve years younger than me. I wasn't supposed to be out in the middle of the night with my kids at my sisters house. I wasn't supposed to be a single mom at all. Then I heard the knocking on my window.

I didn't know the man outside the glass. He was standing there holding a steaming cup of coffee and smiling at me as if we were old friends. I rolled the window down and he handed me the coffee.. "Here" he said, "I see you are new at this dating thing." I nodded as I tried to wipe the tears away. He assured me it got better and that I would find a lot had changed since I had been out there in the world. He reminded me to be careful. Then he laughed and said I shouldn't accept drinks, even coffee from strangers. I felt better as I drove to My sister's house and got my kids.

Emily never knew she had been on a midnight ride that turned into the worse date of my life. Cooper woke up as I carried him back to his bed and demanded that I sing again. I was glad to sing him a few verses as he fought to stay awake for only a few minutes before he gave a great sigh and curled into a sleeping ball. I closed their door for the second time and headed off to bed myself. I was glad I had gone even though it hadn't been a good idea. I had learned something tonight. I had learned that people mean well but that I might better hunt my own dates from now on. I also learned that I would be treated different since I was a divorced woman. I also decided that I was worthy of the best life had to offer and that I wouldn't settle for less than the best.

I never saw the coffee bearing stranger again. I asked about him in the bar but no one could remember having ever seen him. I did see Mike one more time when he came by my house one night UN-invited and drunk, hoping for, as he called it, a little older woman fun. I explained to him that he was way too young for me and that he needed a girl his age. I forgave him for being not what I was looking for. He was just a kid compared to me. I hope life is treating him good now. Tracy and John divorced a few years after that. I think life is treating her good. He's still being himself. Still hanging in the same bar. I never did date anyone from the bar. I only dated two men after the divorce. The second one was my prince charming. He and I have been married what seems like a life time. I didn't settle. I got the best.

Never trust someone Else's word when it comes to a date with a stranger. If something feels wrong it most likely is. And remember that Our age only works if you and she are really the same age! Laugh at me.. I know you are. I am too. I wouldn't change my life but God knows I wouldn't live it over.. especially that date! The worse date of my life! Have a great day!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Animal Parade!

The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself, too.
~ Samuel Butler~

Money will buy a pretty good dog but it won't buy the wag of his tail.
~ Josh Billings ~

Heaven goes by favour. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in. ~Mark Twain ~

My first was Diablo. He had short brown hair and deep brown eyes. He had very short legs But he was perfect for me. I loved him with all of my six year old heart. He was my best friend for a few years. I cried as I searched for him one Cold November Afternoon. He was missing. I was certain My cousin took him because she didn't have one like him. I cried and searched till Daddy came home. Diablo was gone, Daddy had found him that morning on the back porch steps. Daddy took me out back near the chicken pens to show me where he had buried my friend. Daddy explained that Diablo was old But I didn't care. I said I didn't want another one! EVER! Daddy just laughed at me. He already knew what I would learn. Diablo was my first but he wouldn't be my last. I was an animal lover. I loved Dogs!

I have had many furry friends over the years. I think they are like people in a way. Some impress you more than others. Some you remember for a little while. Some you never forget. We all loved animals.
I was a country kid. That meant I lived outside of the Small town. My Daddy wasn't actually a farmer. My Uncles had farms growing hay and corn and soy beans. They had mules and tractors and Combines. My Daddy just grew food crops. Tomatoes, peas, some corn, String beans, Butter beans, cabbage and Okra. Daddy grew what we ate. That included some of our meat. That meat came from animals.

Daddy never let us name any animal that we might eat. We could name the Hens and Daddy had one old Rooster for years and years. He called the old Rooster Captain. Young Roosters were for the soup pot they were all known as pullets. My Sister named a pig once. We all loved that pig. When it came time to Butcher that year we all cried and begged and pleaded. We hated bacon, we didn't want any sausage that year. We weren't going to eat Madam no matter what Daddy said. Even Mama shed some tears. Daddy called uncle Oneal to come and get Madam. I am sure that he butchered her and ate her. My daddy was upset over the whole ordeal. That night he made the no naming food rule. But that was also the first time we were allowed pets. An animal of our own.

We still couldn't have just any animal. No snakes or Big lizards were going in Mama's house. Mice and rats were also out. No wild animals. Grandma swore they all had rabies and we ate rabbits and squirrels so they were already part of the food rule. We already had some cats around even though they were all half wild. I only recall two of them that ever had real names. They were "Old Black Mama," Called that because she was solid black and the mother or grandmother to every other cat there; And Tinkerbell. I found Tinkerbell after she was abandoned by Old black mama. She was half starved and I fed her milk with an eye dropper till she was old enough to eat on her own. She would purr and rub against me. Grandma said she thought I was her Mother. I liked her all right. I just wasn't really a cat person. I Still had Diablo then. I was a dog lover. I had already made my choice as to what would be my pets.

After Diablo came Dave and Bruno, Sugar and Lucky, Lady and Mister. We had Daisy and Doll, Doobie and Shadow. There was Red and Blackie and Brownie and Twitch. We had Piggy and Spanky and Sissy and once we even had one called Pot head. Not because she smoked pot, but because she had showed up at our house nearly starved to death with an old pot stuck on her head. Jimmy freed her from the pot and fed her and she stayed. We had lots of dogs that just showed up there. Daddy said the town folks dropped their unwanted dogs off in front of our house. He always said we weren't keeping any more but he always fed who ever was there at feeding time. Somehow we always had at least one extra dog.

After I was grown I had a parade of animals. We had horses and ponies and spiders and hamsters. We once even had a snake. We had lizards and gerbils and turtles. We had fish ... so many fish. I still have thirteen ponds full of Koi and gold fish and frogs. We have a blue million frogs. We have had rabbits and squirrels and ducks and chickens. We have had a few cats. But mostly we have had dogs. We have had all kinds of dogs. We have had purebreds and mixes and just plain mutts. We have had barkers and growlers and one that people swore could talk. We have had big dogs and little dogs and Middle sized dogs too. I loved them all. I love them too much. I want them all. I once had, including puppies, thirty-two dogs. Dave said they had to go. He was nice about it. We couldn't afford all those dogs. I got to choose their homes. I wasn't very happy about it, But he was right That was too many and they had to go.

Since then we only keep four or five dogs at the time. Usually having three outside and one inside dog. Last year was rough for us and our dogs. We had had all of them for a good while. Max was 14 years old, Hot-dog was 25 years old and Piglet was 4 years old. They all died. We think a car hit Piglet but the others ate tainted food. My heart was broken. That left only Buddy outside and Cocoa inside. Cocoa fussed and whined for days until finally we let her go out with Buddy. She refused to come back inside. Colt was brought to us by a friend to replace Hot-dog. He is crazy but he's lovable. Since Cocoa had decided she was a yard dog we had decided that we wouldn't get another inside dog. Then we met Little Man.

We debated it. Since all the children are grown and gone we could go places and do things. Not if you own an inside dog. They have to be let in and out and washed and brushed. They have to be petted and fed and played with. Outside dogs need the same things but inside dogs are different. You can leave outside dogs for a short time. Inside dogs are harder to leave. But< I argued he is so tiny and he won't get bigger and he fits in a coffee cup. We can take him with us! And we did! He'd sit on the console between the seats in Dave's truck or on the front seat with me in my car. He loved to go visiting and even went all the way to Tennessee with us to visit Dave's Aunt Ruth. We fell hard and fast for that tiny dog. He became Dave's friend. Dave's dog! I'd catch Dave talking to him when he thought no one was listening. He followed Dave everywhere he went. Until last week. Last week Little Man wouldn't come when we called him. He was no where to be found. I thought someone had stolen him. I searched till bedtime but couldn't find him anywhere.Dave found him the next day out near the trash cans curled up in a ball. At first he said he thought, (I feel hoped is a better word for here), that Little Man was asleep. He was not asleep. Our tiny dog had died. Our friend was gone.

Dave buried him out where all the others are. Hot dog and Max; Trigger, Boo and Smokey. All our animal friends who enriched our lives. Some for years and some for only short times. We agreed that we will rest for a while. Dave said he didn't want another inside dog right now. I agreed. I washed and cleaned his dishes and toys. I packed everything inside his kennel box and put it away. I had just carried it all out to the shed when Dave called from work. He had found out about some new puppies. They are tiny tea cup Chihuahua's just like Little Man. I reminded him that we are resting.We are he agreed. He just thought we should know where we can get one. Just in case he said. I figure that we will rest about five more weeks. By then the babies will be old enough to take from their mama and we will have rested from having an inside dog for about as long as we can. We are animal lovers. We are dog people.

Not everyone is an animal lover. If you aren't then admit it and don't have pets. There is no shame in not being an animal lover as long as you don't harm them. If you love animals but can't keep one, there are plenty out there in shelters who are looking for homes but need to eat Every day! Help them if you can. Remember to help control the strays by having your pets spayed or neutered if you can't or don't want to raise puppies. Train your animal to be a part of your family But never forget that they are an animal. Love them, Laugh at them, and enjoy them for how ever long they remain with you. We are resting, But only for a few weeks. We can't help it. We are Dog people! Be kind to animals! Have a wonderful Doggy Day!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Under the Quilt

Love if you have it you don't need anything else, and if you don't have it, it doesn't matter what else you have. ~ J.M. Barrie~

While we may be of different faiths, we have a strong sense of faith, family, community. We hold the values of freedom and human rights very high and I think that those are all a part of a very strong quilt that binds us together. ~Robert Menendez~

My first memory of My Grandma is of her legs and feet. We would go to her big old house every Saturday night just before it got dark outside.Daddy and the Uncles would be outside doing things around the place. I was never quiet clear on the mysteries of what they did. I know they had pigeons out there because we could see them fly sometimes. I also know they had hunting dogs in big pens. Us kids weren't allowed to befriend the hunting dogs. Uncle Neal said it would mess them up. My Mom and Grandma and the aunts would gather around in the hot, wood heated, Kitchen and soon they would lower the frames from the ceiling and they would quilt. They Made a few quilts every year each of them sewing dainty little stitches as they sat and talked. No one in Our Family would be cold.

Us little kids would all be sent to play on the floor beneath the quilt where they could know where we were. There was no room for us to play anywhere else. Sometimes My cousins would be there and we might play Barbies or sometimes Go fish cards. Sheron even had a checker board and some drink bottle caps that we could play with when she was there. The Older children always gathered on the back porch. There were cousins of all ages too But you had to be what was considered a big kid to get out from under the watchful eyes of the women. By the time I was a big kid the gatherings had stopped but I'll always remember those wonderful days. The days when I was sent to play under the quilt!

I loved my cousins a lot. Sheron was my favorite. She still is in a lot of ways. She is just a tiny bit older than me. Not quiet a year But she was a lot of fun. I loved Playing under the quilt with Sheron. But Most of all I loved it when the cousins didn't come.

When The cousins didn't come I would lay quietly under the quilt tent by myself and listen to the grown ups talk. I couldn't see their mouths but I could see their feet. My Grandma would pat her foot up and down as she told some tidbit of rumor to my Mom. Sometimes if she was trying to make a strong argument for something she would even stomp her foot up and down. My Mom didn't move her feet too much. She mostly kept her feet crossed and still. But Every once in a while she would uncross her feet and slide them back and forth over the hardwood floors or raise and wiggle her toes. Aunt Rose had pink painted toe nails. Aunt Lucy always wore white socks. Aunt Frankie didn't quilt. She wore loafers and stood propped by the counter sometimes. But most of the time she would go outside with Her husband Emmett. Or on the porch and look at a magazine.

Grandma always wore the same thing on her feet. Plain brown slip-on shoes, over stockings that came just above her knee. She wore plain brown garters around those to hold them in the exact spot that she wanted them. I would watch her feet and listen to her tell the most wonderful stories. Sometimes I would imagine her feet dancing or running although I never saw her do either. She loved to walk and I walked with her many times. I would have liked to see her run though.

I learned so many things laying under the quilt surrounded by feet. I learned that the preachers widow was courting the school teacher when I was too little to care about courting. I learned that Babies take forty full moons to come long before I knew what a full moon was or where babies were coming from. I learned that homing pigeons could be trained to bring and carry important messages or secrets. And that wearing red to a wedding or a funeral meant bad luck to the wearer. I learned recipes for foods that I have never cooked and I learned that Women who love each other share a special bond. A bond that brings them to share their thoughts and opinions with each other without fear of shame or censure. Their words to each other have a flow that becomes over time almost poetic. And that their feet often keep time to the music that only their hearts can hear! Let your heart music Move your feet. If you have family or friends in your life share with them in a relaxed place. Be open with them. If you have children, let them learn form seeing you interact with your family and friends. Let them learn about what moves your feet and your heart.
Love Many! Trust a few! Harm None!
Have a great Day!

Monday, April 7, 2008

A Housework Holiday!

Housework is something you do that nobody notices until you don't do it. ~Author Unknown~

Our house is clean enough to be healthy, and dirty enough to be happy. ~Author Unknown~

“Life is denied by lack of attention, whether it be to cleaning windows or trying to write a masterpiece.” ~Nadia Boulanger~

Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing. ~ Phyllis Diller~

Guess what today is? Today is NO HOUSE WORK DAY!!
Finally a day that I will be happy to celebrate. Tickled to death in fact. I don't have to buy a gift or wear a funny hat. I don't have to bring any special food or wear a shirt of any particular color. This is a day to celebrate!One of my favorite days. A holiday from housework.

Years ago when my kids were small I developed a plan for housework. It came right in the middle between I'm busy with a child and I'll finish this later. That's the way it worked for me.I always managed to keep the dishes all washed and the floors clean. Everything else got done when I found a spare moment. If you have small kids you will understand that spare minutes are very rare. If you ever find one an emergency will immediately arrive to gobble it up.

I personally know women who drives themselves nuts trying to keep their house spotlessly clean. They sweep or dust every single day. They carry a cloth and polish of some kind with them every where seeking out and destroying every speck of dust of dirt. Making themselves and their families miserable. Dust happens, dirt happens, even spills happen. Sometimes I want to say to them. " Girl, put your feet up and relax. Take a day off. Give a cobweb a chance to start. It won't destroy your life, It might even enrich it.

I see tips and hints on-line all the time. I read most of them because if I can get a job done faster I'm all for that! I honestly hate most house work. It's not the job itself that I hate. It's the loss of the time it takes.Time that I could spend writing or reading a good book. Time that I could spend With my husband or children or My sweet Grand-children.. I hate to give valuable time to cleaning. I know cleaning is important but it shouldn't always be the most important. I always read over the hints and tips but I have never found a wonderful easy way to clean a house. It takes work and a plan to get that work accomplished. Once you have a plan you execute it in what ever way works for you and your house. Maybe you have time in the afternoon or maybe your time is at midnight. No two of us can follow the same plan. No two of our lives are exact.

When my children were small I did floors on Monday and laundry on Tuesday. Dusting on Wednesday and on Thursday I did a little of everything. I Did what ever I had to on the other days to keep everything in good shape. It was right then when I got a routine established that I decided to get married again and I doubled my household size instantly. Let me assure you that eight people use an awful lot of towels . I needed one whole day each week just to wash bath towels. Then there were sheets and blankets and rugs.. Not to mention clothes for all those people. So for many years every days plan included laundry. Every days plan included washing bath towels!

I now live in the smallest household I have ever in my life lived. Dave and I make very little mess. We do live in an old home on a dirt road so dust will always be an issue here. I really could skip days and days here and there and simply ignore all house keeping and get away with it. No one would notice. The truth is that I don't really need a holiday from housekeeping. I have been taking those holidays with-out permission for years and years. When I missed a day of house cleaning, no one cared. If the children wanted to go fishing or on a picnic at the lake, the floors would still be needing a sweeping when we got back. The dishes would wait to be washed after the bedtime stories were told and retold and the songs sang a thousand times and then once more. I always managed to get it all done.. eventually.

We lived in our house and it reflected that fact. I always cleaned the kitchen every night before I went to bed myself.. I have a thing about dirty dishes. I'm not going to bed with them in my house. Another trick I had was to get up a few minutes early and do laundry before the rest of the house was awake. I could get a load started while my coffee made. Them move on to something else while it washed. I also gave the older kids an extra amount of allowance for any chores they did.. You would be surprised at how much it helps when someone else folds a load of towels or dusts the bookshelves. I always welcomed their help and they always loved the extra money they got for doing chores. When you have eight people in your house, you have no choice but to figure out a way to get it all done. We had a lot of chores but we took days off for relaxing and play. We took whole weeks off for camping trips or trips to the beach. If you have children, remember that housework will wait. Nothing is as important as children. Not the load of dirty clothes, the breakfast dishes, or the cobweb hiding behind the screen porch door. Give your self a NO HOUSEWORK Holiday often. Put down that broom and have a great day!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Out Living Youth

Wisdom doesn't automatically come with old age. Nothing does -- except wrinkles. It's true, some wines improve with age. But only if the grapes were good in the first place. ~Abigail Van Buren~

The young have aspirations that never come to pass, The old have Reminiscences of what never happened~ Saki~

Every Birthday, you decide whether to mark it the end of your greatest days or the beginning of your finest hour. ~ Oprah Winfrey~

Americans are living longer than ever before. With better health care, early screenings and people choosing healthier lifestyles, this trend is expected to continue. In Fact, the population of elderly is expected to increase. It is estimated that by the year 2040 the Old folks will account for twenty-three percent of all Americans. Nearly one half of those will be over the age of Eighty-five! I plan to still be here annoying my kids and Grand kids when My age group is the largest of all age groups.

When I was very young I always thought my Daddy was very old. This was when he was in his late thirties and early forties. I was always sure he would fall over and die any second. And yet he lived on. The older I got The more his oldness multiplied in my mind and yet he lived on till I was an adult and had began to feel old myself. My Daddy died of Congestive heart failure at sixty-six years old. It was then that I decided that Daddy was quiet young. Especially too young to die. My Mother has reached the ripe old age of seventy-four and as far as I am concerned she is way to young to die. She has some health issues and has lived with both myself and my oldest sister for small amounts of time. But she wants to live alone in her own home. She says she likes doing her own thing. That bothered me. My Mama isn't supposed to be doing a THING. I thought she was too old! Then she reminded me that she is only twenty five years older than me. That really isn't all that much older. She likes her lifestyle. She says she gets lonely sometimes. She knows she could live with some of her children. There are eight of us she could travel around from one house to the other and never get tired of any of us but Like most older people, she wants her own home, Her own lifestyle.The elderly are no different that any of the rest of us. We all want to do things our own way! I do and I'd bet you do too.

I used to run a small day care. I have kept hundreds of children either in my home or when I worked in the day care field for someone else. I have kept bad kids and sweet angelic cherubs. I have changed diapers and wiped noses. I have read stories and watched Disney movies for many years. But I have given that up. I had decided last year that I had to have a break from all of that. It had got to the point that I needed a time out! I had been resting from having a job And then came the phone call from My oldest Brother. He and his wife needed a baby sitter they said. They never doubted whether or not I could do it. They never questioned whether I'd be good at it or not. They hoped I would accept their offer of a new line of work. After talking to them both I accepted their offer and thus began my new Job!

I have always known Miss Kathleen. I have always liked her as well. She and I are both word lovers. She has wonderful stories of how she met her Husband in Liverpool ,England during the second world war. She tells me those wonderful stories every day. And I listen carefully and ask questions of her every day. She loves to be heard. She loves to talk. She and I talk all day some days. Miss Kat is 84. She is forgetful. She has fallen before and broke her hip. She is afraid of falling. She has a walker but she tries not to use that. I encourage her to use it but she doesn't like it because it makes her look old she says. I told her that she was old. In fact I told her she was older than the devils own dirt. She laughed out loud when I told her that and she said to me. " Yes child I know WE are but One never wants to show their true age." And so there she and I sat laughing the day through at the idea that we had out lived the devils own dirt. Miss Kat is lucky. She has been in the nursing home for recovery when she broke her hip. She doesn't want to go back. As long as her health allows she will be living happily with her daughter. She is lucky she has family that wants her to be happy. Not all of the elderly are so blessed.

My Grandmother was in a nursing home. We made long trips every weekend to see her and visit her as long as she lived. Her health was poor, her memory all gone and we weren't equipped to care for her at home. We would have loved to but some times circumstances make that impossible. Grandma was also lucky. She was well cared for and her children cared enough to visit. Not all of the elderly are lucky. Even some with Family aren't treated well.

We all see it on the news occasionally. We tend not to really notice though. Someone has harmed and old person somewhere. We comment that we wouldn't stand for that if we were old. But we wouldn't really have a choice. Sometimes the remains of an older person is found and they have been dead for a long time. We tend not to pay that much attention either. Except to wonder why no one smelled them. We may see an elderly person sitting in a hot car in front of a supermarket. Do we not realize that they are dehydrating as they sit there in the sweltering heat? Or do we see them and look away. If you leave a dog in the hot car they will arrest you. But go ahead and leave Great Aunt Sue. No one will notice. Great Aunt Sue has outlived her youth. We will ignore her from now on. She will be shoved into a nursing home and never checked on if she doesn't have family. And even then she may go weeks and months and even years without a VISITOR. There are many things the nursing staff can do for their childlike elderly patients. Most nursing homes have wonderful caring nurses and helpers. They keep the people in their care clean and fed and comfortable but they are overwhelmed with the numbers. They do all they can. Sometimes it isn't enough.

With improved health care we all stand a chance of living into our eighties, nineties or even for some of us to the ripest of old age beyond One hundred. Last week in the obits in a local paper, the youngest person who had died was a wreck victim who was sixty three. As I sat there reading the obits I began to think of all the Old people I used to see when I visited Grandma. They would gather around and listen as we talked to her. Some would even talk to us as if they were giving us the answers that she couldn't. Since She either couldn't or wouldn't speak we often talked to her as if she was a child. One old lady once told me. " Don't talk to her like she is a fool and she won't look at you as if you are a fool."I never spoke to Grandma in a condescending tone again. I was afraid of her room mate.. I realized that they understood each other even If I understood neither of them.

I am forty eight years old. I know my children see me as very old. I expected that they would. It is the nature of the young to see us that way. Old and in a lot of areas they think we are foolish. They think we have outlived our youth. I figure if I am going to live well into my eighties that I will be older than dirt at around seventy five. Until then I am going to be a rocking and rolling Grandma. I am not going to be told what to do. I am going to do my own thing. Even if My children don't want me to have an own thing to do. And until then I am going to notice the elderly around me. I am going to learn from them now before they truly are gone. I am going to ask them to tell me their stories. Then I am going to actually listen as they do. If I see great Aunt sue sitting in your car in a hot parking lot I am going to call the police. Then I am going to ask her to roll the window down if she can and I will be standing there with her when you come out or the cops arrive which ever happens first. For your sake I hope it's the cops. So if you have a great aunt sue.. don't leave her in a parked car near me.

Finally I have a challenge for anyone who may read this. Do something kind for an elderly person. If you have one in your family, call them when you can spend ten minutes checking on them. If they call you, give them ten minutes of your time. If you have both Kids and older folks in your family. Get them together then sit back and watch the beautiful way they reach out to each other. I love to watch my Grandson read to Miss Kat every day. He reads his homework reading assignment sitting on a stool by her chair. They both enjoy it. But not nearly as much as I do. His young voice is free and strong as he reads her his second grade story. He relaxes and if he misses a word she never notices. He is relaxed so he rarely misses any but she wouldn't care. Her head is tilted just a little to the side and she listens as if the story is a wonderful thing to her. When he is done she always pats his hand and says.. " Wonderful, Simply wonderful. You are a great reader."Then they both grin at me and ask for "tater chips please". I try to take him to visit My Mother when I can. He loves her house. He says she has lots of stuff. And he likes that. If you don't have any old people in your family I am sure the nursing home near you would be happy to help you adopt a Grandma or grandpa from some of their old folks. They will know who would be better suited to a child of what ever age you may have. They will know who has no visitors for days, weeks, months and years. I plan to do what I can for the fastest growing group of Americans before I become one of them. Won't you join me in helping the aged before you too out live your youth? Be kind to the Elderly. Remember that they will most like get to God before you will. He will hear their side of the story first! I'm hoping when he hears about how I treated someone old, he will pleased. After all he is pretty old Himself.
Have a great day!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Taking a Dare!

I never dared to be radical when youngFor fear it would make me conservative when old. ~ Robert Frost~ (1874 - 1963)

Girls are always running through my mind. They don't dare walk. ~Andy Gibb~

She looked around the track as she climbed from her car. She noticed the storm clouds building up in the distance and hoped that the rain would hold off for a little while. She had really hoped for more walkers today. She figured the storm clouds had kept them away. People seemed to stay home when storms threatened. She would make do with the ones who were here But she had really hoped for more. More witnesses to her foolishness, she thought with a smile. More witnesses to the Dare. It had all started with a blog. Someone had offered advice about dog walking for exercise. She had commented and Now here she was At the walking track. She was about to take a walk. She was about to accept a dare. Oh he hadn't come right out and said the words But she had read them there between the lines. DOUBLE DOG DARE YA! She had seen that he was offering a dare. She had read the dare in the comment that said she should write about it AFTER she had done it. She had read the comment twice and both times she had felt the thrill of the dare. Even though he hadn't written the words there she had felt them in the stillness of her heart as she read the comment. She just knew he had been thinking them. She thought he was a man who would enjoy a dare. I DOUBLE DOG DARE YA! Being that she had never turned down a dare and especially a double dog one here she was standing at the edge of the curb. She could feel the fear and excitement rush through her body. She was ready! She was daring!

She pulled the dog leash from the back seat, giggling as the collar bobbled and shook. The tiny bells ringing. "be nice Doobie" she said aloud as the old couple passed her with a surprised look, " Save your energy for the run!" she added stepping out onto the paved track.

It said speed walk, skip. and hop she was thinking to herself as she passed the first two women, the collar bells ringing sweetly as she hopped along. Three hops forward and one back sounded good too so she tried a few of those before turning and with a mad dash in the other direction ran passed the same two women for the second time. Doobie's collar bells ringing away as she sprinted for the next curve and the oncoming walkers. She hadn't used the track before even though it was right across from her house. This was fun. She was wondering at the possibility of It becoming a habit.

She was having so much fun that she was well into her third trip around the track when she saw the Dark blue cruiser slowly circle the park. A small tingle of fear causing her to wonder if this time she had really overdone it. She debated running towards home. She was certain that she could reach the safety of her own property from where she was standing. before they could catch her. She had only driven here to keep her own dogs from following her across the road. " Dogs!" she said to herself with a chuckle as Doobie's collar bounced and swayed. " My wonderful funny dogs!" Raising her eyes to glance once more at her home across the way she leaned over and patted Doobie just above the collar."Good Dog" she said as she looked toward the officer stepping up onto the track. " Let's RUN!" she shouted Loudly as she began a dash for the man in blue that she now recognized.

"Ah Mam?" he said with a straight face as she skidded to a stop right in front of him."Um is everything all right Mam?" " Oh yes Officer" she replied with a smile. " Just out with Doobie here for a run, waddle, skip, hop, dash, walk she added loudly as the old couple hurried by them. "Down Doobie!" she yelled pulling on the leash. " You can't hike on this nice officer's leg!" " Quit That!" He snapped trying to sound firm even though she could see the laughter in his eyes "You're scaring people!" he choked coughing loudly to cover his mirth. "WHOOSIES!" she answered" What, is it against the law now to go for an enjoyable walk with your dog?" " You ran backwards at people!"" NO they ran frontwards at me! I swear it!" she snickered," You jumped a bench!" he accused"Absolutely not! That bench crawled under me!" she sputtered. trying not to laugh aloud."You barked and growled at an Old man? " he asked coughing again choking as he tried to hold the laughter in. She shook her head as the bells swayed and bobbled up and down in front of her. "That was Doobie!" she whined "But he doesn't bite. And That Old Fart was giving us an Evil Eye. In fact officer" she shouted as she saw the old man coming closer, I want that Man Arrested!""Officer " The wrinkled old man called meekly, slowing to a stop a few yards away, "Is everything all right?""Do not move a muscle!" the officer ordered "If you dare to take one step I'll lock you up and throw away the key. So help me God!" he choked as he turned away to speak to the old man.

She could see them talking even though she couldn't hear what they were saying. The young Officer's feet planted firmly as the Old man waved his hands around and continually looked fearfully her way. She really wanted to run at him with her empty dog collar and growl but she knew that even Bobby would only allow her so much. She figured she was a little close to the limit so she just stood there as he had insisted and waited. The track was almost empty now. The parked cars all sitting with the owners inside waiting to see what would happen to the crazy woman with the dog leash and collar but with no dog. The same crazy Woman who had dared to disrupt their Monday Afternoon walk.

Finally she saw the old man begin to move away towards the parking lot. Bobby walked towards her with a grim frown on his face as he shook his head back and forth at her. A tiny smidgen of fear crawled into her chest. But even that fear couldn't stop her from giving a bark and sticking her tongue out at the old man as looked at her one last time before hurrying to his truck and locking himself inside.

"Turn around and don't look at them!" Bobby snarled grabbing her arm and pulling her around to face out across the abandoned track. " Why?" He asked as they stood together watching the black clouds roll across the sky. " I was just walking my dog," she insisted." God woman " he snapped, " you don't even have a dog! Who are trying to fool with that." Shrugging she replied. " Sure I do. I have four dogs at home. Good dogs every single one of them," " Then why on God's green earth are you here with an empty collar hanging on a leash. Why not walk a real dog? Where did you get that old thing anyway? " he demanded waving his hand at the empty collar," My dogs won't hop backwards," she explained with a giggle glancing his way to see just how angry he was. She couldn't see his eyes as he gazed off into the distance. She hadn't at first thought he was angry, but she had scared some old people. He might not like that. She was beginning to not like it herself as she stood there watching the clouds and trying to gage his mood.

The wind was beginning to pick up when Bobby finally turned to face her. He wasn't smiling but she could swear that she saw a small laugh way down deep in his green eyes. " A dare? " he asked with his left eye brow jacked up. "Yep " she answered with a tiny smile. " A double dog one!" " Anybody we both know?" he wondered. " Not this time," she answered. " Someone new," " You know we're too old for this crap?" He warned a smile just beginning to lift one corner of his mouth. " yea Maybe," she agreed "but I have to write about it, " she explained with a smile. "Ahh" he said pretending to understand. "Research then" he added with a grin."Yea I plan to call it that," she laughed. " So what happens Now? Am I going to jail?" " Nah "He laughed aloud, " you're going home! BUT first..." and leaning close he whispered a few words before turning away and hurrying to his cruiser.

Carefully following instructions she hopped three hops backwards, three hops forward then tore out in a hard run towards the parking lot and the old man sitting in his locked pickup truck. The old fart sped away just before she reached him his cell phone plastered to his ear as he chattered away excitedly to who she was sure must have been the dispatcher on duty. Turning with all the dignity she could muster she ran to her own car and jumped into the front seat as the rains began to fall. She tossed the leash with it's empty collar across the seat to fall lifelessly to the floor. She wiped her face on her sleeve and tried to catch her breath as she choked on her own laughter. The sound ringing in her ears as it rolled through the small car. With a toot of her horn and a wave at the man rolling around in the cruiser parked nearby, She drove away across the highway and home. Happy to have pulled it off. Happy to have not been arrested! Happy to have friends in high places. Happy to have a friend who understands the greatness of a DOUBLE DOG DARE!Have a happy day! Laugh if you can. Step out sometimes and take a dare. Enjoy Life! I DOUBLE DOG DARE YA!
Ps. No old people were harmed during the research phase of this story. I promise!