Sunday, January 30, 2011

Family Pictures




SARA looking at a couch she upholstered


The stairway to heaven

Friday, January 28, 2011

That's A Downer

Hey Man, don't ya  just hate it when something or someone brings you down? Like the young folks used to say, "Chill out, Man!"

I hate the feeling of anger. It can consume you. I don't like that red hot feeling that comes over me when I am angry. I become enraged and want to lash out. I have tried to learn to contain and control my anger for a very long time. I am sorry to say that I have been so angry at times that I have made a total ass of myself in front of others. I can't do anything about my behavior in the past but I can try to control myself and learn not to overreact when I become upset.

I was probably a horrible mother when the kids were young. I would lose control and harangue them when they incurred my wrath. I had to work very hard to learn to control my temper and not become a total bitch. I practiced tough love with the boys and demanded they obey me. I whipped them and grounded them and watched them like a hawk. I tried to make sure I knew where the boys were at all times. It didn't endear me to the children but I did love them. I told them I loved them often. Don't think I was a heartless mother. I just wanted to keep them safe and thought it was my responsibility to keep them out of trouble. They still did things that drove me nuts. I couldn't watch them 24-7. You can't hold your child's hand forever. They're bound to make mistakes. That's how you learn. Right?

I used to tell Scout and Colt and their buddies that if anyone got hurt I wasn't going to take them to the hospital. I told them I would just throw them over the fence into the woods and let the coyotes deal with them. Scout's buddy Allan started calling it Edgewood Insurance. I recited the rules to them often, especially when they were doing something dangerous or stupid like boys are prone to do.

Scout said that Allan wanted to have a pine cone battle one day and Scout told him it would be okay as long as nobody got their eye knocked out. (Another one of my oft repeated chants to my sons.) He said Allan threw a pine cone and missed him but when Scout threw his pine cone he hit Allan in the eye. He thought "Oh oh, Pam's right."

Colt told me that he knocked his shoulder out of socket one time when he was skateboarding. He was so afraid to tell me that he fell back hard on the ground to knock his arm back in place. He said it hurt like the devil but he didn't want to come home and face me with his injury. I would tell them they better not get hurt or sick because we couldn't afford to go to the doctor.  I had no clue they were that afraid of me.

Scout began to test me when he was a teenager. I was always ordering him to do this or that or the other thing. One day Donny said something about Scout growing up and his comment caused me to have an epiphany about my son. My eyes were opened and I realized that if I didn't do something to change my relationship with my sons they might not love me when they were grown. I realized I didn't want that.

I still bitched and moaned but I learned to take it down a notch. I finally found Flylady's website and started hearing her soothing voice in my head. I gradually began to change my thinking. I tried to look on the bright side instead of focusing on the negative. I started feeling happier. Getting older and learning that life isn't fair and if everything is good you should thank your lucky stars and not let anger take over you, also helped.

One of the few times I got anything out of pitching a fit was when the electric company came down and pruned my Magnolia trees without my permission. The tree was not interfering with the wires. The tree cutters were quite nice to me until I started being nice, then oddly, that was the last I saw of them. We got some mulch out of them.

They prune the trees along the highway in stupid shapes. They call the cutting style the Shigo method but I called it the Shitgo method. The huge oak trees along the highway are shaped like goalposts or tuning forks with wires running through the cut out crown. Some trees are too close to the lines and would look better trimmed back to the trunk but I'm not an arborist so my opinion doesn't count.

My cousins teased me about being fat when I was young. I put up with the teasing from my cousins, Mike and Randy, because they were always teasing me about something. I was used to it even though I didn't like it.

Daddy and his brother, Bob, used to go camping together in the mountains when we were kids. Daddy and Bob loved trout fishing. It was very cold so there was always a campfire. Someone had been baking potatoes in the fire in tin foil. We were all playing and running around the fire.

Randy started calling me fatty and other names and Stevie started teasing me, too. I became furious. They were ganging up on me. I wanted to lash out at them but I didn't  know what to do. Eddie made the mistake of standing in my face and calling me fat. I thought Eddie was the sweet one! I grabbed one of the hot potatoes off of the picnic table and smashed it in his face. He screamed in pain. I was busted. Some of the grownups had seen what I had done. I was sorry that I had hurt Eddie. He was the baby boy. I really liked him. I don't know why I went ballistic on him, but I did. I just became angry, like the Hulk, only I saw red. I was ashamed to be that mad.

I hate being angry. Anger can cause you not to think clearly. Anger doesn't solve anything. Some people know how to deal with their anger and express their anger calmly and logically. I believe that anger begets anger. I wish I could shield myself against anger. It can't be good for you. It burns up too much psychic energy and can make people sick. Being angry depresses me.


Friday, January 21, 2011

No Smoking Please

I was sixteen years old when I met a boy named Cecil while I was riding around with some friends in downtown Dalton years ago. He liked all of us girls but he asked me out for a date. To be honest, he wasn't that good looking or anything to brag about but I was just thrilled to be going out on a  real date with a boy.

On the day of my date my father made me mow my grandparent's yard. I didn't really mind because I used the riding mower but I was in no mood to be sweating and waiting until the last minute to get ready for my date.

Everything was going okay until I ran out of gas for the lawnmower. I looked for some gas and asked Daddy where some was. He pointed to the car and said, "Right there."

He usually siphoned the gas out for me but this time he made me do it myself. He told me to blow real hard into the hose in the gas tank and then to suck the gas up the hose. Well, I messed up and had to try again. I really sucked hard the next time and didn't let up until a blast of gas filled my mouth and caused me to choke and swallow some of it. I started gagging and spitting but I couldn't get the awful taste of gasoline out of my mouth. My eyes were watering and I wanted to throw up.

I went into my grandmother's house and told her what I had done. She decided to medicate me with Haley's MO. I asked if that would help and she said, "yes" so I took a big swig of it, and then another just for good measure. Being young and dumb I had no idea what to expect and didn't read the label. Haley's MO soothes an upset stomach but it's also a laxative.

I went back outside and finished mowing the lawn. In my mind I was blaming my daddy for not siphoning the gas for me in the first place. As soon as I was finished, I went home to get ready for my date.

I felt my stomach lurching and I was queasy but I was determined to go through with the date. I put on my makeup and applied some mascara, and was soon ready for my date to arrive.

He picked me up in his mother's shiney old-lady car. He didn't take me anywhere and show me a good time. We just rode around town. We rode by the Dalton Recreation Center where someone famous was supposed to be playing but we didn't have tickets to the performance so we didn't go inside. It was a very dull date except for the fact that by then the gasoline and the Haley's MO were about to catch up with me.

I kept my face turned away from my date because I was feeling sick. I started belching these awful belches which reeked of gasoline. Every time I belched the gas caused my eyes to water. The stench of the gasoline was overpowering. My mascara started to run and I couldn't help crying because the fumes were so bad. By about this time the Haley's Mo started to kick in. Actually it felt like it was trying to kick its way out of my intestines. My gut was growling and I crossed my legs to keep from getting the squirts. I was dying!

I sat on my side of the car leaning on the passenger door. My mascara was running down my face like a loose woman at a prayer meeting. I was coming apart at the seams. I was finally able to go home and get away from him but I was too embarrassed to tell him about the gas siphoning incident. Needless to say, we didn't date any more after that. I'm just glad he didn't smoke.

Do you remember your most embarrassing date? I'll never forget mine. That was the date from hell.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Say Cheese

Do you remember when the Polaroid Land Camera came out sometime in the'60's? It may seem primitive now, but it was the cutting edge of the photographic age. Those individual pictures were the first steps in photography which has led us to where we are today.

I really wanted one of those cameras. I dropped hints around the house hoping that Moma and Daddy would get me a camera for my birthday. I think I was turning 15 that year.

To say my daddy is tight would be an understatement. He never buys anything until he's checked out all the similar equipment and compared prices and found the best deal. We lived in Dalton and, back then, there weren't lots of stores like there are now to compete for sales. Daddy and Moma decided to see if they could get a better deal and save a few bucks. They drove 30 miles to Chattanooga.

The Land Camera was really hot since it could develop pictures in sixty seconds and was being advertised nationwide for sale for $19.95. Everybody wanted one.

I rushed out to the car to meet Moma and Daddy when they came back home from Chattanooga. I was excited to see if they had gotten the camera.

"We looked at a lot of cameras but we didn't buy you one. Your daddy said they cost too much, but we did get you a book that tells you all about the camera." Moma said as she handed me a little brochure telling all about the Land Camera. She told me she was really sorry they hadn't gotten me a camera.

I looked down at the little book, then I looked at Moma. I thought she was joking but I soon realized that she wasn't. There was no camera. They really hadn't bought one and all I was getting was a crumby book about the camera. "Gee. thanks Mom." I couldn't believe it.

What a birthday. Oh, well, nobody could say they spoiled me now, could they? Needless to say, I was disappointed. I still had a glimmer of hope that they would whip out a camera and yell, "Surprise!" but that didn't happened.

Thankfully though, I had a good friend who knew I had been wanting a camera. She had a part-time job and she was old enough to drive. She came to visit me on my birthday and she brought me a Polaroid Land Camera. That was the nicest gift she ever gave me because I hadn't been expecting anything from her. It was extra nice since I thought all I was going to get was a book about a camera for my birthday. Thanks Susan. That was my Polaroid moment.


Friday, January 14, 2011

My Shiny Sink

A few years ago Donny and Scout put some new cabinets and a new sink in the kitchen for me. They were a big improvement over the old ones. I took a lot of time before choosing everything. I was so proud of my new cabinets with pull out drawers. It was so much more convenient than ordinary cabinets. My favorite part of the new improvements was my shiny new sink. My single sink is very big and deep. I was determined to take care of it.

One day when I was reading on the Media Domain soap opera discussion board someone mentioned the Flylady website. One person complained that while they were visiting relatives that their host made them uncomfortable because the host would always clean the bathroom after the visitor's morning baths. They were insulted because they thought it reflected on them, like their host thought they were dirty, or something. Another poster said that the person may have just been a member of Flylady. They said the website teaches about cleaning your house through routines. My curiosity was piqued and I visited the website.

As I read Flylady's homepage I was thrilled to learn that the first thing she instructs you to do is go clean your sink. Hello! That's just what I was looking for. The more I read, the more I was impressed. She teaches that you can do anything for 15 minutes. Her mantra is babysteps. She encourages you and gently scolds you for your negative thoughts. She is loving and supportive and has a huge following. I don't know how many people are Flybabies today.

I joined Flylady's website and started getting daily emails with reminders like "get dressed" and "do your laundry" and "what's for dinner". There were so many emails that I figured I'd never get it all done. Thank goodness Flylady says you only have to do ONE thing at a time until it becomes a habit and the first thing is to SHINE YOUR SINK. She tells you to develop your habit at your own pace and stick to what you've established and before you know it your house will practically clean itself. I thought "Yeah, right."

Well, I'm here to tell you that, although I thought Flylady was some kind of crazy cult to start with, I am a true believer now. Flylady gives loving support and unconditional love to all her readers. She publishes testimonials from her readers that are uplifting and sometimes heartbreaking or hilarious.

Flylady starts out helping us with our homes and then she delves into the reasons our homes are a mess. She helps us get a handle on our finances and teaches us how to take care of ourselves. When I think of Flylady I think of the parable of the ten virgins. (Matthew 25:1-13) Before Flylady, we are like the five foolish virgins who don't have enough oil for their lamps. After Flylady, we learn to think ahead and be prepared for life like the five smart virgins in the story.

It is so much easier to clean your home when you think of it as blessing your family instead of cleaning up after everybody. It is so much better to think positively instead of bitching and moaning about having to do everything.

I recommend Flylady to anyone who wants to clean their house or learn to set up routines or who just need emotional support. It is especially useful for people with small children. Imagine how nice it would be to have your kids growing up learning to clean up after themselves. Flylady is for everyone, not just women or women with children. She had done more good to help more people than anyone I know. She does it with love and common sense. She admits that she struggled with all of these issues in her life and has finally figured out how to help herself and to help others. I applaud Flylady. She is my hero.

Go to and check it out for yourself. I think you will be impressed. I was.


White Stuff

Frosty's Cousin




The snow on Christmas Day was beautiful and eveyone enjoyed it. The snow we had on January the 10th was even more incredible. We got six inches of snow in Resaca.
I am getting tired of the snow now and I am ready for it to go away. That's enough snow for a while.
The temperature usually doesn't stay the same for three weeks in the south in the winter. I'm ready for rain and warmer temperatures.
Snow is beautiful but slush and mud is not.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What Would You Do For Love?

Have you ever had a strange or traumatic experience and, when you retraced your steps, you thought you were crazy? It happened to me. I was 17 years old at the time.

My boyfriend was grounded one Sunday so I was riding around alone that afternoon. Gary and I had been talking about getting married. I decided I would go to some mobile home lots and check out some trailers. I went to several mobile home lots and noticed another couple that was always checking out trailers, too. We would wander through the trailers without any salesman to annoy us.

I left one lot and went to another one in Rocky Face. When I got there I started looking at the trailers and the decorations and appliances. I was enjoying myself when a man showed up and asked me if I was interested in buying a mobile home. I told him I was only looking but I was going to get married someday soon.

He kept talking to me and told me to come into his office so he could show me something. I went inside and he talked for a few minutes before he suddenly started getting creepy. He told me that his wife didn't satisfy him. (What about her needs?) He said that she didn't care if he had sex with other women as long as she didn't know about it. (I'll bet.) He asked me if I had ever had sex. (Uh, creepy.)

I was about to panic and I didn't know what to do. I had already realized that I was very stupid to be traipsing around without a companion and this man was scaring the hell out of me. I was trying to devise a way to get out of his office without him stopping me. Fortunately for me, the young couple who had been looking at trailers at the other lots finally showed up and he got up to go talk to them. I took that opportunity to get the hell out of there and thank my lucky stars the lady and gentleman showed up.

I berated myself for not realizing it was dangerous for a young woman to wander around alone. I went to my grandmother's house and told her about the weird man and how he had scared me. My grandmother told me not to tell my daddy about the man at the trailer lot. She said there was no telling what he would do if he found out. My daddy had a very bad temper. My grandfather told me everything would be okay, not to tell Daddy. Well. Okay. I can do that.

I went to school and told my friend, Debbie, about the dirty old man who had propositioned me. She said she didn't know which trailer lot I was talking about so I told her that we could ride up to Rocky Face and I would show her. There were several lots at that time. I sure wasn't going to stop.

After school Debbie and I rode up to Rocky Face and I went by the lot and it was empty! There wasn't a trailer there. They were all gone. I rode down to the empty lot and we got out of the car. I pointed to the area where the office had been and told her where I had parked my car and how lucky I was that the young couple showed up when they did. I told Debbie that I must be crazy or something because I don't know how everything just disappeared but it was there yesterday. I couldn't explain what happened. I swore I didn't lie but I don't know if she believed me. Would you believe me? I thought I was trapped in the Twilight Zone.

I went to my grandmother's house and told her about going up to the empty mobile home lot and how shocked I was that it was gone. Vanished. Poof!

That's when I learned the rest of the story. It seems PawPaw got in touch with a sheriff's deputy that was a friend of his and told him to go with him up to the trailer lot. PawPaw said that he and the officer went into the office to talk to the manager. PawPaw said they talked to the man and he denied everything. PawPaw said that he was going to ease around to the right side of the deputy and get his gun and shoot the bastard.

The deputy saw that PawPaw was trying to position himself and told the other man that PawPaw was a mean man and he had insulted his granddaughter. He made PawPaw back off. PawPaw told the man he would burn down every trailer there if he didn't get the hell out of there. The deputy told the man he better listen and not be messing with young girls again.

My grandmother said that the man had every trailer moved and that was why it was deserted when Debbie and I rode by there. Can you believe that? PawPaw was amazing. He made a whole mobile home lot move. Now, that's love!


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Love On The Run

I was fourteen when I had my first date. I was asked to a semi-formal banquet for the football team. I was thrilled to be going with the boy I had liked, off and on, since the first grade.

My mother helped me find an appropriate dress and I teased my hair up to make myself look "taller" and I waited nervously for my date to arrive. I had no idea what to expect on a date. I was shy and unsure of what to do when my date came to pick me up.

Joel came to pick me up and my mother made us pose for the obligatory "first date" picture. We tried to escape my parent's scrutinizing behavior but failed.

My father had a dry wit and it was impossible to tell how he would behave. When my date and I started to leave, my daddy called out to my mother to "get my coat" because he was "ready to go". As he said that he reached up to the shotgun hanging in the gun rack in the den. He took the gun off of the wall rack.

Before anybody could say anything, or react, Joel turned around, ran out of the den, through the living room and on out the front door. He was moving so fast you could almost see his hand on the door facing in the den while his feet went out the front door.

I was stunned. Daddy stood there, chagrined, and told me to go tell Joel he was just kidding with him. Joel had run to the house next door, where his brother was parked waiting for Joel and me to double date with him and his girlfriend. They had been visiting my cousin, Mike, who lived in the house next door while Joel came to pick me up for our date.

I went to tell Joel that Daddy was just trying to be funny and he wasn't really planning to go on our date with us. Joel tried to act like he wasn't really afraid but we rode to the banquet in total silence and barely talked the rest of the evening. We danced some and he tried to be polite but the date was ruined and Joel and I never had another date again. Too bad, Joel was a nice guy. Well, he was a nice guy after he met Daddy.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Granny Took Us For A Ride

I spent a lot of time with my father's sister's kids when I was little. My aunt would watch me for Moma and Daddy when they had to go someplace. It was natural for my cousin Randy to tag along with me and my Moma, too, sometimes. He loved to go with us when we went to visit my Gramma and Grampa Carter. He was a little charmer with those big brown eyes and his big white smile. They really got a kick out of him.

One time Randy was going to go stay with his Grandmother Shoates and, for some reason, I got to go along with him. Randy was two years younger than me. I can barely remember this so we must have been pretty little.

Grandmother Shoates was a weird old bird. She was tall and gangly and she was always puffing on a cigarette. My uncle, Jimmy, had been adopted when he was a baby so I always wondered how she felt about being a mother and grandmother. She didn't seem to be a particularly loving person. I never knew Jimmy's daddy because he passed away before I was born. Jimmy was always smiling and friendly and easy going. I figured it was a good thing he was adopted and didn't take after Gramma Shoates.

When Randy and I went to spend the day with Gramma Shoates we played around and didn't do anything particulary bad, or anything but she became annoyed with us. She said she couldn't take the noise or us any longer. She called a taxi and told us she was taking us home.

She put Randy and me in the taxi and rode over to Randy's house with us in tow. My aunt wasn't home and there wasn't anyone there to watch us but Gramma Shoates put us out of the cab anyway. She told us to sit on the steps until Vivian got home. Then she crawled back inside the taxi and rode away.

Randy's family lived in a threadmill house near the mill. There were dozens of other similar little houses in the neighborhood. Our uncle Bob lived up the street from them. We went to their house but nobody was home there, either. I think we played in somebody's coal pile for a while before we returned to Randy's house to wait for Vivian to come home. I don't know what happened when she came home and found Randy and me sitting on the steps but I imagine it caused quite a stir. Randy and I never did go to visit his grandmother together again. I imagine it was just as well.

If somebody did something like that today the law would get involved and the kids would probably be taken away from their families. I think someone should have dropped a net on Gramma Shoates. She was the one who was irresponsible. We were just kids. Crazy old woman!

That was my first and last ride in a taxi cab.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Colt the Chef

From the time Colt was born, he was making a nuisance of himself. He wasn't like my first born, Scout, who had always stuck with me and, mostly, minded me. Colt had a mind of his own and didn't want to use mine. Sometimes he pushed me to the limits of my mind though. Take for instance the fact that when he was a toddler I was in dire fear of taking a bath unless someone else was around to watch the baby. I had friends who thought I was an over-anxious mother because I was always panicking whenever he got out of my sight. But true to form and against my better judgment he proved me right when the opportunity came along.

One day when Colt was seventeen months old and we were alone I decided that I could take a quick bath and be in and out before he had a chance to get into anything. Now I know that was a stupid assumption but that's what I thought.

I told Colt that I was going to take a quick bath and I wanted him to be a good boy while I was in the shower. I jumped in the shower and took about a ten minute bath, just hitting the highlights and not bothering to dawdle. When I got out of the tub I wrapped a towel around me and went to check on the baby.

I found Colt in the kitchen. He had pushed a chair up to the stove where he had been playing. I gasped at the mess. He had taken a piece of dry toast and smeared cold, congealed bacon grease all over it. He had made an open-faced grease sandwich. To top it all off, he had coated it with a generous layer of sugar from the sugar jar. Lordy, my baby made me a grease sandwich. What in the world would he be into next?

I got the video camera out and recorded it as proof: Colt, the chair, the sandwich, the sugar all over the stove top. The proof that it never paid to turn your back on him. There was no telling what he would get into if he wasn't watched constantly. Through it all Colt stood there grinning like a 'possum and proud as a peacock. That's my boy!

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