Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Interesting for us all

Frigid morning.
Bees are no fans of frost.
But the evening sun 
Made it warm enough to swim,
Bees have but one mission,
They swarmed sugar water jars
And hustled home 
With man-made nectar.
Mother Nature 
Makes life interesting 
For us all.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Mamie Square ~ my column from Sunday's paper

Cleaning out the old house has been on our to-do list since Reagan was in the White House. I knew it would take a lot of time. I knew most of the things stored in the space were junk, but as we all know there is often some treasure in the trash.

Soon after moving here in 1980, the entire family began using that space for storage. When I started keeping bees earlier this year, it became obvious that I needed a space to build hives, harvest honey, and organize my beekeeping tools. That’s when cleaning the old house became a priority.

Jilda’s parents were the original packrats. Later, when we built our house in December of 1983, we had tons of stuff in our trailer that we didn’t want to put in our “new” home. Old dishes, Hurricane glasses from a trip to New Orleans in the summer of 1980, and other stuff.

There were books, clothes, fixtures, and furniture that wouldn’t work in the new place. We put them in the old house temporarily. We had every intention of having a giant yard sale and using the proceeds to go on vacation. That didn’t happen.

Later, Jilda’s brother used the place to store old chairs, lamps, and beds. Soon, his kids needed a place to store stuff too. These last few years, the old house became so full of junk that it was difficult to walk through it.

I had time this week to get started going through years of “I may need that someday” stuff.

Raking through the front room, I found boxes of stuff that Jilda’s folks had stored there. There were church bulletins, pamphlets, and appliances that were broken way beyond repair. There was a radio that did not have an FM dial.

There was one box in the corner that I pulled out to the porch. I wanted to make sure I didn’t pull out a slumbering rattlesnake. There were no reptiles in there, but down close to the bottom, I found an old quilt.

When I pulled it out, it was stained and tattered around the edges. I held it over the side of the porch and shook out the dust and debris.

Finishing up for the day, I gently folded the quilt and took it back to the house. Once Jilda got home from work, I showed it to her. Tears welled up in her eyes.

Jilda remembered the quilt from her childhood. She thought her grandmother had given it to one of the other grandchildren before she died.

Jilda’s grandparents were poor but resourceful. Her grandmother Mamie had made the quilt from scraps of cloth from old feed sacks. It was beautiful at one time, but time and mice had tattered much of the old quilt. Jilda held it like it was an ancient artifact. To her, it was an artifact.

She placed the quilt on the deck table and examined it carefully. The very center of the old quilt was in perfect condition and was still beautiful. She took her scissors and gently cut out a section from the middle.

She smiled as she restitched the edges. I wasn’t sure what plans she had for the “Mamie Square,” but we have a small table behind the loveseat. She took all the things off the table, placed the tiny quilt in the center, and placed everything back on the table.

It will take a while to sift through years of junk. I just hope we find a few more pieces of hidden treasure like the “Mamie Square.”

Monday, December 02, 2019


Today is an anniversary for me. I sat down at my computer on December 2, 2005, with the intention of trying my hand at writing a blog. I stumbled my way through and pressed publish.

My first posts rarely had pictures because it was hard enough to come up with the words.

I really had not made a conscious decision to write every day, but my early feedback was positive. One of my first followers was Brenda Rowley from Alphie Soup Blog from Australia. She's been kind to me through the years. She left a comment last week.

One day led to the next and I found myself writing a post every night. For the past 14 years, there has been only a few nights that I have not posted. Usually, it's because tornados come through and blow our power poles to South Carolina.

For me, the thing about writing daily helped me find my voice. Say more with fewer words.

I've written about this before, but about a year after I started blogging, my friend Dale Short had a column in the Lifestyle section of the local paper. He'd been doing the column for a while and was ready to take a break.

Approaching the editor at the paper, I pitched the idea of me writing the Sunday column. I took a few sample posts from my blog. He scanned them and said, I've had people approach me before when they wanted to write a column and they did for a few weeks but the deadlines come too quickly and I wind up with a blank spot on my page.

I told him I had a year's worth of columns already written. By the time I got home, he'd sent me an email and told me I had the spot. I've never missed a deadline.

Glancing at my Blogger statistics, I've published over 5100 posts and according to Blogger stats, I've had over 1.6 million page views.

Several months ago, I went to a writer's conference. There was a young man there at one of the roundtables who wanted to write. Several of the guest speakers there gave him good advice. My only input was to write every day. I'm not sure if he thought what I said was important, but I think the advice is sound.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Happy birthday mama

Today was my mama's birthday. Had she lived, she would have been 95 today. She enjoyed flowers. Her yard was covered in dozens of flowerbeds.

One was an old cast iron washpot she used for doing laundry before she and my dad got running water inside the house. Others were along the edges of the house on all sides, some were in coffee cans, and others grew around the giant water oak.

I'm guessing she didn't get many flowers on special occasions while all of us kids were home, but once we grew up and started families of our own, she got them more often.

Today was no exception. Jilda and I went to the cemetery this afternoon and decorated her grave with an evergreen arrangement with red berries. Jilda is a natural at doing flowers.

The sun was out today, but the wind out of the north made long sleeves necessary. After she did the arrangement, she tied a red and green plaid ribbon around the arrangement.

We stood at the foot of the grave for a long while. As we turned to get into the Outback, we wished mama a happy birthday.

Saturday, November 30, 2019


It's been warm enough to swim here today. The sun played tag with the clouds for most of the day. We hit the road early. I took my sunglasses but spent most of the drive taking them on and off. 

The first stop was Hobby Lobby. Jilda needed supplies so that she could get started painting the Christmas cards for this year.

This evening, my team played a wild football game but ended up losing a game we should have won. But that's the way it goes.

Tonight, I got a weather alert. When I looked at the radar on my phone, I saw that people to the north and west were getting pounded.

When I walked onto the back deck, the sky to the east was stary. But off to the west, I saw strobes of lightning and thunder rolled.

The windchimes play different notes when the wind is gentle. But when storms approach, the combination of notes sound almost ominous. 

The lights have flickered once, but I'm willing the storms to dissipate leaving behind a gentle rain.

Friday, November 29, 2019

The day after

Both Jilda and I were slugs today. I'm talking cold molasses in the veins. We slept in on the day after Thanksgiving. Jilda's brother called at 7:15 a.m. and we were both still sleeping. It's been a minute since we weren't up by 6.

Our biological clock is set to wake up when morning light seeps around the bedroom blinds.

We sipped coffee at a leisurely pace. When we shoe'd up for a walk, it was still overcast. The light was muted. The brisk walk was refreshing.

We spent much of the day doing routine stuff. 

This evening, I had an assignment for the paper to shoot pictures at a Christmas event. Jilda and our great nephew Jordan decided to join us. We got him a swirl of cotton candy as big as a hornet's nest.

Santa came roaring in on a firetruck. I shot pictures of kids with big eyes. 

The paper frowns on me using the pictures before they run in the paper, so I will refrain tonight. Instead, I'll use a picture of a piece of wood that Mother Nature has reduced to a piece of impermanent art.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm whupped. We had 20 folks here today. Most of them were kids. The thing about kids and Thanksgiving is that it's not really about the food. It's about having fun.

Our great-great-nephew Easton came with his grandmother and great-grandmother. He's in pre-school.

He was cranked but he was not a fan of the dogs. When I told him the dogs owned the farm and they only let us live here, he thought about that for a long time. Soon, he was fine with them being around.

Today was a couple of first for him. Zuzu which is my nephew Jame's baby daughter taught Easton how to go through the doggie door. He was ecstatic.

I managed to get them all to stand still for a few moments, but as you can tell by the look on Jordan's face (far left) that he really thought slowing down to take a picture was a waste of time.

I hope today has been a one for you and your family.

For those going shopping later this evening, you might want to read a post from a few years ago about shopping on Thanksgiving. CLICK HERE.

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