Driving Miss Peggy

 

I have never proclaimed to be a fabulous driver. I am one of those Nervous Nellies that no one wants to ride with, and probably doesn’t even want as a passenger. You see though, it’s not entirely my fault. My mother taught me how to drive. She is not the most assertive driver out there. She jumped out of a car she was driving when a bee flew in the window? Yes, she left her teenage daughter (ME) in a rolling car and jumped out! Well, my darling sister came to the rescue and tried to help. Now, before I tell you how I scared the heebie jeebies out of Peg and almost killed her, I must say in my own defense IT WASN’T MY FAULT!!!!! Besides, the first time I ever rode in a car with her (which might have been the first time she ever drove), she ran us into a ditch. Yes, she did.

Peg’s version may be a little different and more life defying than my account, but here’s how I remember it going down. My mother was in the hospital so Peg came in to help hold down the fort. I think this was the same day I’d gotten my driver’s permit, but I might be mistaken. I’m pretty sure Peg had driven me to take the test. We drove the forty-five minutes over to the hospital in the late evening. The sun had gone down by the time we left to return home. She asked me if I’d like to drive back home. First, I did not tell her I’d never driven in the dark. Second, I neglected to tell her I’d never driven over the mountain. Well, it’s a first time for everything, right?! Oh yeah, and I’d never driven in the city traffic either. I had only driven on back country roads. I didn’t profess to know my stuff, nor did I enlighten her with my lack of knowledge…Until I started the car. My lack of skill quickly became obvious. I am sure I probably choked and nearly flooded the car by giving it too much gas when I started it. Obviously if I did not have a permit, my experience was limited

Remember it was dark. I did know how to turn the lights on and off…score one, or make that two, for the Suz! So, I take off like Gramma Moses and meander my way out of town. I might have cut off a few people. I really don’t remember, but I do know that I didn’t hit any other cars or pedestrians. Nor did I ram Peggy’s head into the windshield. Now the dashboard might have had her permanent claw marks in it by the end of the ride. After we got on the highway, Peg reminded me to turn on my high beams. She probably instructed me to turn the switch. I was really getting the hang of driving and picked up some speed. We were listening to the radio and singing. And neither of us can carry a tune, so that alone could have been an omen that all was not going to be perfect. Anyway as I was finally approaching a “normal” speed (but considered a fast speed if you were the passenger). I came upon the first big curve. I started getting shaky and I white-knuckled the steering wheel. I aced it without running off of the road or toppling us over the mountain. At almost the same speed, I approached the second curve, however this time there was an oncoming car. I was blinding the car with my bright lights. Peg demanded that I dim my lights. No problem, I thought…and all went black except the approaching lights. I think Peg almost crapped her pants. Funny thing was that I didn’t scare myself because I thought I had dimmed the lights. Well, it really wasn’t my fault. She failed to tell me that the dimmer switch was located on the floor board! I had no idea I was totally cutting off my lights. I wonder if the other driver messed his pants! At any rate, she yelled at me to turn the lights back on and to hit the thing in the floor to dim them. So, I was stomping my foot all over the floor and looking for it at the same time which meant I had to take my eyes off the road. She grabbed the wheel from me. The car was overflowing with adrenaline and estrogen. Still, I don’t think she made me pull over. I think (or maybe I blocked the memory!) she let me continue driving the rest of the way home. She was probably trembling too badly to take over anyway!

You think that taught her to never let me drive again? Nope! She took me to get my driver’s license after that episode. Yes, my Peg was a brave soul. The examination was given at our local courthouse, and the driving portion was administered by a deputy. Our family happened to be friends with the Sheriff. He came by to say hello and to tell the deputy to treat me good because I was his cousin. I really wasn’t but his last name was the same as my mother’s maiden name, so it was a joke between us. Anyway, I anxiously poked and followed every direction EXACTLY. I was granted my license. When Peg, and I exited the building to get into her car (yes, she even let me use HER car!) she shook her head and proclaimed that she could not believe that I was double parallel parked. Did I know that was illegal? Well, I just did what the deputy told me to do. She argued that he was probably testing me. So, why did he give me my license I asked my smarty pants sister. And you know what? She still let me drive home. I tell you the girl was not a quick learner!

Finding Harmony In The River Of Life

Sometimes, our foundations are shaky, and we teeter as the rivers of life flow around us. Maybe, our foundations are leaning because we’ve manipulated and rebuilt ourselves into a structure unable to endure.

Sometimes, we are afraid to submerge ourselves. We refuse to dive in. We barely even get our feet wet. Maybe, we haven’t learned how to swim. Maybe, we can swim but aren’t strong enough to survive the current.

Sometimes, we don’t want to get our feet wet at all. We stay completely above water at all costs. Maybe, we feel the need to manipualte the rocks and fortify our base before we take the plunge. Sometimes, a single pebble strategically positioned can make the difference between standing and faltering.

Sometimes, things are aligned perfectly. It just may be the way it is, or it might take lots of time and energy getting there. When you reach that point, you will feel your strength. You might weather and erode a bit, but ultimately you will ride out the storm.

Sometimes, we just want to sit back, take comfort in all that we are, and bask in the beauty of all that surrounds us. Welcome to peace.

A Segment Of Sometimes Series

Dirt Man Is Not The Man He Once Was But He’s As Good Once As He Ever Was!

Happy Birthday, Dirt Man!

Saturday was the Dirt Man’s birthday. I kept asking him all week if he wanted to go out to dinner or if he wanted to eat at home. It took him all week to decide he wanted to eat at home but couldn’t decide what he wanted for dinner. Then on Friday he changed his mind, but couldn’t decide where he wanted to go out. I think he probably figured I’d stick him with grilling his own birthday dinner! Then our friends, Belynda and Scott, gave him a gift card to Fire Ninja. That sealed the deal. We love Fire Ninja!

Both of the boys went with us for sushi. We love sushi. Dirt Man and I love sake with a shot of plum wine, so we had that as well.

I didn’t bring my camera, so please excuse the crappy shots taken with my cell phone. Our waitress first brought us some cooked sushi called Lotus. We did not order it. She just brought it to us and told us to enjoy it. It was delicious.

We all ordered appetizers that we ate, and entrees that we were unable to eat because we had ordered sushi and she brought us more free sushi! This time she brought something called Green Dragon. We ordered Golden Lobster. This one was the best sushi I have ever had! The boys ordered Christmas Tree which was a little spicy, but still good. And they also order Spider Women which was good but in my opinion, not as good as Spider Man. Needless to say, we were stuffed. We ended up boxing our entrees and having them for dinner on Sunday.

It was fabulous to get our sushi and sake fix. That will satisfy us for a while. Thanks to Dirt Man for sharing his birthday dinner with us.

Next is a little musical tribute to my man. He was a little disappointed that I did not post this on his birthday, so here it is. This is one crazy video. We listened to this song on our way to the mountains a few days before his birthday, and he was feeling the words. So Dirt Man, you may not be the man you once were, but you’re all the man I want or need! Hope you enjoyed your birthday!

These Blackberries Have Nothing To Do With Cell Phones!

Dirt Man and I decide to go blackberry picking. I am thinking it is so hot outside. I dress in a sleeveless shirt and shorts. “You might want to rethink what you’re wearing. Remember we’re dealing with briars. You are going to have scratches all over your arms and legs.” I go back and put on jeans, three quarter sleeves, and shoes with socks. I know I am going to be burning up in this heat.

We drive out to where we are going to pick. All of the places we are going to pick are properties owned by the company he works for. The first stop is on the side of the road. The bushes are loaded with berries, and we are picking to our hearts content with cars whizzing by us. I push myself a little into the brush for a better reach. “Oh, I forgot to warn you about snakes. There are probably not any poisonous ones. Maybe some black ones.” What the heck did he just say? I hadn’t thought about snakes. Now, I can’t stop thinking about snakes.

I get into another section and he says, “Oh, yeah, I forgot about ticks and chiggers. Better be careful.” Now, he tells me. I don’t want to be all itchy and bumpy. My skin is starting to crawl.

“Oh, and watch out for fire ants. There’s a whole mess of them over here.” What am I on some kind of insect and reptile safari? I look down and see brown specks all over my arms. But, I am not burning. Oh, it’s just the flowerets from the blackberry bushes.

“If the fire ants get on you, you’ll be coming out of your clothes as quickly as you can rip them off!” Now, I’m not so much worrying about the pain of getting stung by them but the horror of being nude on the side of the road. Not a pretty sight I can assure you! I can just imagine the car pile up on the road as everyone watches this screaming crazy lady throw her clothes all over the place as she is jumping up and down and dancing around.

So, I am not much of a drama person. Heck, I don’t need any drama in my life because I have enough internal drama to make myself go crazy. So, now I am looking everywhere I step. I am looking for snakes, any kind of slithering. Every twig I hear break, I am ready for one to coil around my ankle. The buzzing bees are starting to sound very much like hissing snakes. Then an odor wafts through the air. Dirt Man says it might be a snake. Sometimes snakes will emit a foul odor. Maybe it’s some form of protective instinct, I don’t know. The smell gets stronger. Dirt Man suggests that it is probably a dead animal in the ditch a little farther beyond us. I reply that it’s ok as long as it is not a dead human body. To this he replies that it could be entirely possible as we are near a certain area that is known for a bit more criminal activity. So now, I am not only looking for snakes, ticks, chiggers, and dead animals, but also dead people. Blackberry picking is exhausting my mind. Not to mention that my back is starting to hurt from stooping over to reach them and avoid getting torn up by briars.

Dirt Man pulls out his machete. Yes, my man has a machete with him. He clears the briars, and places a board (the one that had some fire ants on it) farther into the woods, closer to the ditch that might contain something dead. Does he think I’m crazy? I am starting to get itchy. And put a B in front of that word and I am getting a little of that, too. And I see a humongous brown spider. I don’t scream when I see it (I keep all the drama in my head!), but I nearly jump out of my skin when something else brushes across my arm.

So, we move on to the company pit. The blackberry bushes are towering over these metal pallets. I have no idea what these are used for but am thankful that all I have to do it climb them and stand there and pick. No snakes, no chiggers, no ticks, no dead things. Score! But it is in the direct sunlight. Yes, it is hot. I am sweating. I feel something trickle down my crack. Oh, no! Oh, it’s just sweat. See, everyone knows I don’t sweat. I do anything I possibly can to prevent that. You know like no strenuous exercise and staying in the air conditioner or in water if I must be outside.

We decide to move on to the next designation. “Oh, watch out for wasps here!” Is there anything he is forgetting to warn me about? This has a bit of a breeze which is nice, but it is still hot as the dickens. My makeup is melting. Yes, I am wearing makeup because I might see someone I know. Not in the woods, but somewhere else if we stop anywhere when we leave here. I mean you just never know. When the wind blows, I can hear a rustle that almost sounds like a trickling stream. Come to find out it is the quaking aspens. Pretty cool, huh? Dirt Man is getting bit by mosquitoes. I am glad that the mosquitoes are not choosing me to feast on. I am starting to tickle all over. Hmmm, am I infested with ticks and chiggers or am I on the verge of heatstroke? My jeans and shirt are starting to stick to me. Dang, it’s hot! We decide to call it a day. I am happy to say that I did not encounter any snakes and seem to be tick and chigger free.

We reaped close to four gallons of blackberries. My agenda is blackberry cobbler. I wish I knew how to make wine. However, I think with that amount I’d only make a glass, and we’d fight over who gets to drink it.

I take a shower when we get home because I can feel creepy crawly things all over me. Mind you, I can’t see anything, but I feel them. My mind know they are there. See the drama in my head continues. After my shower, we go out again. I still feel like something is moving around and raising the hair on my arms. I look down and see a itty bitty green spider on my arm. A while later, I feel something on my leg. I reach down and find a tick crawling across my skin. Drama? Maybe it’s not all in my head. Excuse me while I go take another shower.

I Whined Before I Was Old Enough For Wine!

This is where I whine about my deprived childhood. Well, not really. I’m going to tell you the things I wanted but didn’t get. Though I was disappointed at the time, I got much better things in place of what my heart desired.

I did not ever get to go to 4-H camp like many of my friends. I desperately wanted to go, but wouldn’t ask because I figured it cost too much money and didn’t want to cause any friction. However, my sister and I built tents in the house by draping quilts over the furniture. I think we would eat our lunch in them, take naps, and play cards. My cousin and I built lean-tos and forts with limbs and brush in the woods. We even made furniture and beds from sticks. Sometimes, we would spend all day in those woods. My brothers once built a fort by digging a hole and building a mound over it with rocks and sticks and then camouflaged it with grass and leaves. It was so dark in there we had to use flashlights to see. They even sent me as the unsuspecting youngest to steal the matches from the house to start a fire. We listened to my brother’s transistor radio in there. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. They let the rest of us play in it. I never actually slept in it, but they probably didn’t either. We also built igloos in the snow, and snow forts to hide behind during snowball battles. It was all a bit like camping without the sleepover.  While the kids were at camp, we got up to find Mama’s mile long list of daily chores which usually included cleaning the house and weeding and planting the garden. We hated working in the garden worse than anything. We’d wait until right before it was time for our parents to come home and we’d rush to the garden and throw the seeds in and shove some soil over them and move on. Once when we were planting, our nephew so meticulously placed his seeds exactly the two inch space apart. He was so slow and we were annoyed that he ws so slow. His were the only ones that came up out of what the three of us planted. Daddy couldn’t figure out what happened to the rest of them. Had he been there to witness it, he would have known! And then we used to fish at night and build bonfires on the river bank. We roasted wienies and marshmallows on sticks. During the weekends, we went for excursions on the parkway and had picnics in the mountains. We swam in the rivers and caught crawfish in the creeks. It was almost like camp except it was with my family.

I wanted a horse more than anything in the world. Apparently, I really was concerned about money – I gave my parents this letter asking for a horse (according to the picture I drew, it’s safe to assume I would never have made it as an artist!) but indicating that I didn’t want it if it cost too much money. When my father was drinking he’d pacify me with the story of buying me a horse, but I’d have to step up to the responsibility of getting up at five o’clock in the morning to walk about a mile up the mountainside to my grandmother’s house to feed it and then back after school to groom and exercise him. All I can say is I wouldn’t have lasted a week. Good thing I didn’t get one! But I did get to ride horses at my aunt’s farm, and I didn’t have to do any work. Better than that was the fact that we got to ride motorcycles. That was the most exhilarating feeling ever to zip through those mountain passes leaning your body with the bike as you hugged those curves. And the wind in your face! And motorcycles didn’t smell like horses. Yeah, I’d say that was a great trade off! I didn’t actually have my own motorcycle, but I rode with my dad, uncle, or cousin. However, my nephew had a small bike that I sort of took over and tore up!

It totally sucked that I was never ever allowed to join Girl Scouts. I wanted to do it because the other girls got to do it. I really would have made a much better Boy Scout anyway. I never sold cookies, but I could bake them like nobody’s business. We had full reign of the kitchen while my mom was at work. So, we experimented a lot. I also got a hand- me- down Easy Bake Oven which actually made crappy little cakes. I did order a bunch of vegetable seeds from a seed company and sold them which earned me a vanity case. It was a patchwork of several tones of aqua and had a mirror inside trimmed in lace. I still have it!

I never ever got to go to Disney World. Am I the only person on earth who has never been to Disney? I did get to go to Florida. I also got to go to Kings Dominion and Busch Garden theme parks. Though I was afraid of heights, I did like roller coasters when I was young. I got sick on the tea cups and was petrified of the things that dropped the bottom from under you. I really wouldn’t have been much fun anyway. I really wasn’t fond of the Disney characters either because I almost never went to the movies and our television reception was crummy in the country.

I did not get to take ballet classes. I was so jealous of Karal and Judy when they bought their cute little tutus and slippers. No matter that I did not have a coordinated bone in my body, nor was I a frilly kind of girl…I wanted to do it, too. However, my free spirit was allowed (parents didn’t know because they weren’t home!) to play our Donny Osmond full blast and prance my ungraceful little butt all over the house and yard. I screeched and jerked, and let it all out. It was a total blast!

So, while there were things I didn’t get to do and things I didn’t have, I got to help cut firewood, tend gardens, and pick apples, peaches, and cherries. I got to climb trees and swim rivers. I collected jack rocks and arrow heads. I scooped frog eggs from the quarry and watched them turn into tadpoles and then to frogs. I had creeks, quarries, and woods out my backdoor. I had acres to explore and an imagination the took me many miles away. Nature was my playground. Life was my teacher. I was blessed. I just had to grow up to appreciate it.

Playing Tag In The Comfort Of My Air Conditioning

My wonderful friend, Nancy, has tagged me to tell you twenty-five things you never really wanted to know about me. If you haven’t read Nancy’s blog, f8hasit, you need to get your butt over there now because you are really missing out! Gee, is there anything I haven’t already told you?! I don’t think I have anything juicy or hair raising at the moment. If I think of something, I promise to blog it! Here is my attempt at telling you something you don’t already know about me:

1. I have not watched the news in months. I have depended on the internet or radio as my source of local and world news. Heck, since Grey’s Anatomy season finale, I haven’t even watched tv at all.

2. I can not for the life of me read and follow directions until I screw up said assembly and must resort to them!

3. I am loving our new grill. I use every opportunity to have someone else grill the meat, and I place myself in the air conditioned kitchen to toss salad. Lame aren’t I? For example tonight, I sent hubby out with the London broil and prepared veggies for the grill. I stayed in and made a caprese salad. By posting this, I am risking that my gig is done. I might end up being the one on grill duty now.

4. My herb garden is dying out except for the cilantro which flowered way too early and the flat leaf parsley and rosemary which are beyond gorgeous…almost makes up for the dead dill and the oregano and basil the dog dug up.

5. My flower beds are full of weeds. Sad thing is I don’t care. The blooms are lovely and the weeds add character! Did you buy that? Why don’t I weed it? I’m lazy, stooping hurts my back, and one bed has poison ivy. I really don’t want to be red, bumpy,  itchy, and sore!

6. I bought three pairs of denim capris this summer, even though I didn’t need them. I thought I might need them. Ok, I just wanted them! I love them and wear them all the time.

7. My birthday is soon, and I thought I was going to be turning 48. I will only be turning 47! What is wrong with my mind trying to age myself a whole year?! My husband’s birthday is this week, and that is how I remembered how old I am!

8. I just had six to eight inches cut off of my hair. It feels so much better.

9. I love taking pictures even though I suck at photography.

10. I have not been to church in almost two years. Even though I feel guilty about not attending, I actually feel a deeper spirituality than ever. Go figure.

11. My friend, Karal, is moving back within the week. Yay! I’m excited.

12. I buy patterns and fabric I never use. I have good intentions. I’m going to try to get better. Not about making things, but about buying stuff I like but really won’t make. You don’t even want to know about my fabric stash!

13. That said, I still would love to update my fabulous machine that does 32 stitches to the newest model.

14. I think I sew faster than I drive!

15. I don’t have the heart to let go of any antique pieces of furniture that we’ve acquired through family, even though we’d have so much more “living” space if I did.

16. I have never made homemade wine. It runs in the blood and I should know how. I prefer to be the tester.

17. I wish I could get everything on my computer that I write in my head! By the time I get to the computer, I’ve forgotten what I was going to say. That is the words are no longer the ones originally chosen and don’t sound the same, so I discard the idea.

18. I really want to learn the art of stain glass. Yes, I know it will probably cut my hands up. But beauty is worth a bit of pain!

19. I somehow manage to take my colloidal silver and allergy pill almost every day, but almost never remember to take vitamins. Why’s that?

20. I am really sad that my godchildren are moving to another state, like nine hours away. I will miss seeing them and being able to hug them often. I think I will be having lots of phone conversations with them. Oh, I will miss their parents, too. There is just something about the little ones though that have stolen my heart!

21. I have not crocheted in over a year. My fingers are happy about it, but not my heart!

22. Lately, I have not been able to finish reading any books I’ve started. Poor choice of literature? Maybe it’s time to pull out one of my old faves like “To Kill A Mockingbird“ or “A Separate Peace”.

23. My kids think their dad and I are hoarders. We really aren’t. We are just sentimental. Trust me…I discard much more than I’d like.

24. Just found out last years canceled Vegas trip might be on this year. I am excited, but apprehensive. I hate flying! I don’t do gambling either, but still it should be fun!

25. I love chimes…wind chimes, church chimes…all is music to my ears. Except I must admit defeat. Hubby’s mom handed down her grandfather clock to him. He was smart enough to turn the chimes off at night. I insisted on keeping them on last night to see if we could sleep through them. They chime this beautiful melody every fifteen minutes, and every hour they chime and dong to the number of the hour. We did not sleep last night. Don’t know if I was too lazy to go downstairs to turn it off or too stubborn to admit defeat. The chimes will be turned off before bed tonight. But they sure sound glorious during the day!

I am tagging the following ten and hope you will play along. If I didn’t tag you and you want to play, join right in.

1. Carol. She is an incredibly interesting woman, nature lover, and an amazing gardener that can be found at Wanderings Of An Elusive Mind.

2. K is Carol’s daughter. She makes tree people. How cool is that? She can be found at Banterings Of A Basketcase.

3. Erica is a fabulous photographer and writer. You will find her at Pines Lake Redhead.

4. Jimmy over at Just My Opinion always has a great story and he knows just how to tell it.

5. I hope my friend, Linda will play. I can only imagine the things she will come up with! You can check her out at The Good, The Bad, The Worse.

6. I think Heather who hangs out at Welch Happenings can tell us a few things as well. I love her down to earth goodness.

7. Susie is a fabulous writer over at Life According To Dr. Susie Q. She truly writes from her heart.

8. Katherine has traveled the world, and she has some tales to tell. The greatest part of her stories is that she tells them from her soul. She is also a fantastic poet. She can be found at A New Day.

9. Gretchen has had some interesting things happen to her along her journey. I so hope she will give us some scoop! You can visit her at Second Blooming.

10. Angelia is so kind and generous. She is getting ready to get married. I know she is very busy, but she is probably in need of a distraction, so I hope she’ll give this a whirl. Check her out at Living, Loving, Laughing….

Don’t Let A Rotten Apple Ruin Your Sauce!

Growing up my dad had some acquaintances that were not so savory. One such man was Gilbert Snead. I don’t think I ever saw the man sober, and he was an obnoxious drunk. Whenever the two of them drank together, it often involved guns and or fights.

My mom, sister, and I were with him one time while they were target practicing. I was probably only about eight or ten years old at the time of this incident. We were down in the bottom by the creek below Gilbert’s house. He dared my father to shoot a beer can off his head. We begged and begged my father not to do it. Drunk and stubborn, he was not about to turn down a dare. Gilbert smugly placed the Pabst Blue Ribbon can on top of his head. My dad lined up across the field like shooting cans off of people’s heads was a daily occurrence and aimed his .22 pistol.

We screamed for Daddy to put the gun away. We just knew he’d kill Gilbert. Not that I liked Gilbert, I just didn’t want my Daddy to be carted off to prison for murder. About the time the shot rang out, Gilbert’s eyes enlarged to about the size of dinner plates, and he fell “lifeless” to the ground. We hollered some more. I’m not really sure that the sounds actually escaped my throat. I was so scared, my knees were knocking and I felt like someone had jerked my stomach right out of my body. We didn’t see blood as we reached Gilbert, and he started to stir. Apparently, Gilbert didn’t really think Daddy would shoot at it, and had fainted. My dad went off to find the beer can. We were mortified. He was quite proud. Yeah, bulls eye…hole dead center on the can. Duh, he knew he wouldn’t miss. After all, he’d been shooting the little gum balls (about the size of a quarter in diameter) off the sycamore trees all day. Gilbert would point to the exact one for Daddy to shoot at, and he’d smither it every time.

In those days, my father was what I would call a rascal. Gilbert was a mean man and really brought out the worst in my father. He talked him into doing things I don’t think he would ever have imagined on his own. He never harmed anyone else. He just took really stupid risks that he would never have attempted had he not been egged on.

I did not witness this incident, but Daddy told me about it. Once, Gilbert was standing in the ditch in front of Daddy’s van so it put him lower than the height of the van. Anyway, he got angry at my father for something and was going to shoot him. My father saw he was cocking his gun, so he aimed between Gilbert’s eyes but about six inches above his head and fired. The bullet pierced the van and shards exploded off the van hitting all along Gilbert’s forehead. It made him so angry he stormed off to his house.

Another time Gilbert came to our house late one night while my sister and I were alone. You have to remember that we lived out in the country and there was no 911 to call for help. And if we had called the Sherriff’s department, it would have taken them no less than thirty minutes to reach our location. Gilbert rolled his old car in our driveway, spitting gravel everywhere. He stumbled out and fell up the steps. He cursed and grumbled and kicked at the door for my father to come outside. We were petrified. He finally went away. After my mom got home, he came back. My mom went out and chased him away with threats. She may have had a gun in her hand, but I don’t remember. I only remember being too afraid to go to sleep that night.

Gilbert was always trying to hurt my father physically by pulling knives or guns on him. Once my dad caught Gilbert stealing from him in the van. I don’t know what he tried to take, but Daddy rammed his head into the dashboard. My father may have been wild and rough around the edges, but above all, he was honest. He worked hard, and did not take what did not belong to him. He expected the same behavior from others. To his knowledge, Gilbert never stole from him again. However, that did not reform him.

I think the final straw that ended the relationship between my father and Gilbert was when he sold my father a gun. Shortly after the purchase, a deputy from the Sherriff’s department showed up at our door to confiscate the gun. Apparently, it was a stolen good. My father handed it over and explained where it came from which they already knew. Bottom line was that my father lost the money he paid for the gun.

Gilbert died many years later. I don’t know whether he ever changed or not. I am glad my father did. Daddy still drank and played his poker for years. One day Daddy picked up a bible and read it. Then, he read it three more times. Daddy then became baptized as a Jehovah’s Witness. I might not agree with the tenets of the religion, but I can honestly say that it has changed my father into a mild and mellow man who would never dream of carrying on the way he had. He’s expressed regrets about his past but he’s made his peace. You may be shaking your head in disbelief at his behavior, but personally, I am proud of the man he has become. My father is a colorful character who is well loved in his community and family. I love him very much, and I wouldn’t trade him or my past for anything. I think that had he been the way he is now, our childhoods would have been vastly different, but I would be no where near the person I am today. The experiences of my childhood shaped me with values and resilience and helped me determine my future.

Simply Unbearable!

While years ago I would have compared my Daddy to the likes of a grizzly bear, now I’d compare him more to a teddy bear. He has softened with age. However he can be big and bad when he needs or wants to be. Even big and bad enough to scare real mountain bear away.

This is the bucket of seed the bear tried to make off with!

This past Winter, my folks had a black bear that kept roaming on their property. Most of the time the dogs chased him away. However, one time the bear must have been really hungry and was determined to make off with the bucket of sunflower seed that Daddy feeds the birds. He heard a ruckus on the porch, and the dogs were barking like crazy. You have to realize that at slightly over six feet in height and around two hundred-forty pounds, my father is probably physically a close match for the bear!

Teeth marks where the bear tried to chew the car up!

Daddy opened the door to find the bear walking across the porch with the sunflower seed bucket in his mouth. Daddy clapped his hands together and thundered, “Get the hell outta’ here!” The bear dropped the bucket, rolled across and off the porch, and ran head first right into the corner of my mother’s car. He got mad and gnawed at the front wheel area.

Where the bear clawed up the utility pole!

This weekend the bear came back. They didn’t actually see the bear this time. They heard the dog carrying on and the porch ruckus. They figure the bear was after the corn feed for the squirrels. I think maybe Daddy just need to set out food for the bear since he seems to be feeding all of the other wild critters. The poor bear is probably feeling left out. Anyway, the dogs chased the bear up a utility pole. You can see all of the gauges his claws ripped into the pole. The shards of evidence were lying on the ground at the base of the pole.

Huge splinters the bears shredded from the wooden utility pole.

Now if bears like honey so much, why didn’t he just go after this? Or maybe the big old bear is afraid of bees!

Honey bees at the edge of the garden.

While The Cat Was Away, Everybody Played!

While we were here in paradise, this was at my house!

Poker chips, cards, cups, and a KEG?!

Somebody (Apparently the works of Oldest because Youngest was with us.) had a party AT MY HOUSE, AND I WASN’T INVITED!!!!

All’s good. Those were the only remnants of what went down. The house was clean. I don’t even want to know about the rest!

We had a wonderful weekend on the river property. We enjoyed family, good friends, fabulous food, Piney River lemonade (must be a local to understand this one!) and other good beverages.

Sunday, I got to spend Fathers Day with my Daddy.

These are the oldest and youngest men in my life. The pine directly behind them is the tree Youngest planted with his Granddaddy when he was small. Every time he visits, my Dad takes him out back to show him how big his tree is getting. The tree is now taller than my Dad…and well, so is Youngest!

Dirt Man and Youngest on Fathers Day. Youngest is also taller than Dirt Man, now.

This is what Dirt Man gave my Dad for Fathers Day. It is CatDaddy (Carolina Moonshine). Daddy was delighted not only with the contents but with the bottle itself. He has an affinity with bottles, and this one is a gem.

I gave my Dad some books. Books are always a hit. I’ve really hit home runs with the books I’ve bought him and my Mom lately. They’ve each been reading them and sharing them with one another. I’d never have thought they’d find any books of common interest…now, I know which kinds  they both like. History of any sort is a winner with Daddy. However,I’ve found that our interest in nonfiction runs very close.

It was nice to get back to nature and with the people we love. It’s all about roots, literally and figuratively.

Walking The Walk, Talking The Talk, And Living The Life

Happy Fathers Day to my one and only, Dirt Man, the love of my life and father of our sons.

He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it. ~Clarence Budington Kelland

There is certainly something in angling that tends to produce a serenity of the mind. ~Washington Irving
He taught them how to fish, how to choose a lure, bait the hook, and cast the rod. He taught them how to hunt, how to look for signs, how to safely use a gun, how to clean and care for the gun. But he also taught them that what they brought home was not nearly important as what they found while they were on the river bank or sitting in the woods. He taught them the importance of reflecting on one’s soul and the comfort of solitude.

Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard. ~Standing Bear
He shared the beauty, bounty, and power of nature through camping and hiking. He taught them to respect the land. He impressed upon them that the preparation of the hike or campout was as important as the event itself. He instilled them with confidence and survival skills to rely on in times of fear in the wilderness. He paved the way to enjoy the great outdoors in all four seasons.

Man is a tool-using Animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all. ~Thomas Carlyle
He passed on his automotive skills. He taught them to changes tires, oil, and antifreeze. He taught them how to pull an engine apart and put it back together. He taught them if you don’t how to do it and can’t find it on the internet, go to the library and get a book. He taught them to read the blueprints. He showed them that grease washes off with soap and water. And he taught them that if the job was truly over their head to call a mechanic.

The things I make may be for others, but how I make them is for me. ~Tony Konovaloff
He let them watch, participate, and learn the trade of woodworking. He let them help build furniture, and do home repairs. He trained them to operate his tools and equipment. He passed on the satisfaction of making something with their own hands and how to tenderly care for those made by their ancestors. He bequeathed family heritage through generations of turning and carving talent.

What we hope ever to do with ease, we must learn first to do with diligence. ~Samuel Johnson
He encouraged them to never give up, that persistence will pay off in the end. He told them if it was worth the time to visualize that it was worth the diligence to achieve. He gave them courage to try new things and supported them when they fell short. And he has proven he will always be there as long as their efforts are of good principle.

A knowledge of the path cannot be substituted for putting one foot in front of the other. ~M. C. Richards
He prepared them for recuperation of failure in the race of life. When they were small and fell down, he picked them up, dusted them off, and ran beside them. He taught them to keep running. He told them that sometimes the falls would be harder, maybe resulting in bruises, cuts, and broken bones. He told them that when those times occurred, they would mend and continue, that scars of experience would shape them, and no lesson learned was a wasted one. He trained them to be self-sufficient, but still he waits in the shadows. And if one of them should stumble and fall, he’ll be there if they’re unable to pick themselves back up.

“Every father should remember that one day his son will follow his example instead of his advice.”By example, he showed them that honesty reaps success and happiness. He taught them to deal with people fairly, regard them with respect, and never to burn their bridges. He was a role model by volunteering at church, leading organizations, and volunteering for community projects. He has shown them the grace of serving others and the gratitude of giving. He raised them to be productive members of society.

The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother. ~ Henry Ward Beecher
He has openly shown affection for me, their mother. He has held me in esteem by opening car doors and other gentlemanly mannerisms. He has assisted with household chores, shopping, raising children, and caring for ill family members. Most importantly, he has always been here for each of us.

Some people dream of success… while others wake up and work hard at it. ~Author Unknown
He has taught them the personal satisfaction of hard work and money earned. He taught them that no one should be above getting a little sweaty, dirty, or tired to make a living. Through responsibility and good work ethics, he has provided them with a plentiful life. He has taught them the value of money. He has taught them that money earned is much more appreciated than money gifted to them. They were never in need, yet they were not spoiled.

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. ~Richard Bach
He has loved and provided for his family. He has treated them with tenderness. He has laughed with them and played with them. And he has even occasionally fought with them, but through it he taught them to stand up for what they believe in. He has shown absolute joy and pride in very stage of their lives. He has trained them by example to be good fathers someday.

Dad, your guiding hand on my shoulder will remain with me forever. ~Author Unknown

****Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope. ~Bill Cosby
I must share with you one of the fondest memories, one of those that mark the true love of a father, one focused on the love of his son and not the opinions of others. When our oldest child was in kindergarten, he came home so proudly bearing this huge cardboard tie he made for his Daddy for Father’s Day. He had cut this out and colored it with his own little loving hands. With much excitement, he presented this to his Daddy early that Sunday morning. After thanking him, my husband proceeded to dress for church, and yes, he wore his one of a kind cardboard tie. I don’t know who beamed more that Sunday, the daddy or the child. Of course, he got lots of stares and comments at church. Some couldn’t believe he actually wore it, some complained that he made them look badly for not wearing theirs, and others smiled with admiration. Yes, I smiled.