Friday, April 22, 2011

Harrison Bay

Harrison Bay, in Tennessee, is a beautiful place to go fishing and camping in the summer. The park looks much the same as it did when I was a child the year my momma decided to go water skiing. My aunt, Jonnie Bell, and her husband, Robert, owned a boat. They met Momma and Daddy at the lake. After they showed my parents how to water ski they talked Momma into trying it. Momma was afraid she would drown so she bid me a tearful goodbye and I wished her luck. Robert kept telling her that if she fell down she needed to let go of the rope and she would resurface. Momma wore a life jacket because she couldn't swim.

Momma took her teeth out and handed them to Daddy for safekeeping. She said she didn't want to lose them if she drowned. She squatted down and leaned back as my uncle pushed the throttle and gave the engine gas. She came up kind of wobbly but she lost her balance and began churning through the water face first. She was holding on for dear life to the rope. She thought she was going to drown and she couldn't think straight. She said she would have drowned but the rope had twisted in a knot and pinched her finger causing her to remember what Robert had said, "Let go of the rope!" When she let go of the rope she was finally able to surface and breathe again. Robert brought her back to the bank where she was able to wade out of the water and give me a tearful hug and thank her lucky stars she was alive. 

Daddy got to take his turn water skiing and he came up out of the water like a pro. He skied around the lake until he fell into the water. As Robert circled around to come back and pick him up Daddy realized he could stand up in the middle of the lake. There was a sandbar underneath the lake and he happened to land on it. Daddy was able to start skiing again from the middle of the lake and came back to the bank, sliding over the water like a water bug until he got out. I was too little to water ski so I got to watch the excitement from the sidelines.

When Donny and I got married we went camping sometimes at Carter's Lake. We didn't start camping at Harrison Bay until Donny's momma, Edwadene, got remarried to Charlie McAllister. They were both widowed. Charlie's daughter-in-law worked with Donny's momma and introduced them.

Edwadene didn't like Charlie at first. She called him "that old man". I think she thought he was too old for her. Charlie was gray headed and big and burly. He had a smokers squint. Charlie set out to win Edwadene over with stuffed animals and presents. He was outgoing and friendly. Before long nearly everyone in the family liked him. Charlie convinced Edwadene to marry him.

Charlie loved to go fishing and camping at Harrison Bay. His family went up there every year for a week during the fourth of July. He wanted Edwadene to get her children to go camping with his family so that we could all get to know each other. 

Charlie's daughters, Deborah and Teresa, went camping with their families and friends. Deborah and Teresa's kids were close to the age of Tony's kids so they made friends quickly. Everybody had fun fishing and swimming and camping around the lake. 

We finally started camping on the campgrounds because of the convenience of having fresh water and a shower close by. Edwadene and Charlie had a huge camper that they set up close to the lake so that Charlie could keep an eye on his boat. The kids ran from one camp site to another playing with one another. 

Colt and Scout had been running around with the other kids. Colt was running around barefoot and stepped on a fish hook. He started screaming. Scout tried to help him but saw he couldn't get the hook out. He started dragging Colt, with one foot on the ground hopping, towards us. Colt was screaming and Scout was yelling that Colt needed help. Donny got some pliers and worked the hook out of Colt's foot. Colt was alright but he learned not to run around without shoes any more.

Charlie's family was very outgoing and close to each other. Part of the reason for that may have been because Charlie lost his wife and his son in the same year and he had been deeply depressed until he met Edwadene. They all wanted their daddy to be happy. But the biggest reason it was fun to be around Charlie and his family was because they were genuinely nice people. They really did love each other and look on the sunny side of life. Even with all their troubles they were happy.  

We had lots of fun when we went camping together. I think I got to know and like Donny's family better because we all got together and bonded. Until Charlie came into the Strickland's life I didn't know how much fun they could be. Tony was always joking around and entertaining everyone. Myra kept the kids busy and took them to the swimming pool. The boys chased snakes and looked for turtles. Time spent around the campfire was the best. Some primitive instinct must link us all by our fascination with fire.

The highlight of the camping trip for the men was the fishing. Charlie taught everyone about jug fishing. He had plastic pepsi bottles spray painted neon orange with a string tied to the neck and a fish hook on the end of the string. At night the men gathered around and cut up chunks of brim to bait the hooks. They wrapped the string around the bottle with the fish attached and put them in a black trashbag until it was full of jugs with bait. Charlie made up about a hundred jugs and then went out into the current to drop the jugs late at night. He would get up again early in the morning to go pull the jugs in. The  boys said that was the best part. They loved pulling the huge catfish into the boat and looking for more jugs on the water.

I miss the good old days when we all went camping together.


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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Party Down Yall

I must have been a socially awkward teenager because my mother got it into her head one time that I should have a party and invite all my friends. I looked at her like she had grown two heads. Was she crazy? I didn't have lots of friends. I only had a couple of close friends and I didn't know anything about throwing a party. I think Moma was worried about me because I wasn't a social butterfly and she wanted to help me make friends. So we decided to have a party.

I told my two friends, and they told their two friends, and they told their two friends, and so on and so forth until everyone wanted to come to the party. My cousins, Randy and Mike, lived next door so all their friends wanted to come, too. Before long we had a crowd.

We played spin the bottle and I remember walking around the house with a boy named Joel. He kissed me. When we walked on around the house we came upon my dog, Rip. Rip was a German Shepard. We had him chained up at the corner of the house. He jumped at Joel and barked. Rip scared Joel to death. I should have taken note of that.*  All the boys had to maneuver past Rip to circle the house. It still didn't deter the boys from playing the game.

I felt nauseous the next day and blamed it on the kiss. I decided not to kiss any more boys.

I went into my bedroom during the party and caught a bunch of girls dousing themselves in my huge bottle of Ambush cologne that my mother had bought me. They were having so much fun they didn't care.

Daddy had piled an old dog house next to the creek to burn when it got dark for a fire. He had hooked the trailer to the tractor and piled hay on it for a hay ride. Daddy drove the tractor around the neighborhood and let the kids ride on it until everyone had an opportunity to go on the hayride.

The boys hung out around the fire together. Daddy tried to get them to roast marshmallows or hot dogs over the fire but they all refused. They didn't want to cook their food over a dirty old dog house even if it was on fire.

Everyone seemed to be having fun except for me and Moma. I was so busy making sure there was food and snacks for everyone and helping Moma keep everything clean that I didn't really have much time to enjoy my own party. While everyone was wandering around talking and laughing I was busy in the house. I started to realize that having a party wasn't as much fun as it sounded.

Moma had parked her Chevrolet Impala in the yard in front of the living room. There was a power pole in the front yard, too. We watched Bobby rare back and sling his RC cola bottle toward the creek. At least, I think that was what he was trying to do. The RC bottle hit the wood power pole and ricocheted sideways into  the windshield, causing it to shatter, then bounce towards the living room window. It barely missed.

Bobby started apologizing over and over again. Moma and I were worried about how Daddy would take it. We sat on the carport talking about the accident and wondering what he would say. When he came home Moma told him about the boy and the RC bottle. She said she was surprised because he didn't get upset about it. He said it could have been worse. He seemed to enjoy the party. 

They got the windshield fixed. The funny thing is, the RC bottle didn't even break. I wouldn't want to get hit over the head with one. They're tough.

Teenage parties are not going to turn out well. It doesn't matter how well you think you have things planned. Some idiot is going to do something to show everybody else he is the biggest idiot and something's going to get broke, or set on fire, or blown up. That's probably why I didn't want to have any more parties.

Well, Moma did talk me into having a pajama party one time . . . .

*Love on the Run, January 2011


Thursday, April 7, 2011


Did you know . . . 
Easter is one of the movable feasts of the Christian religion. Its date varies each year, but it falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after March 21. It cannot come before March 22 or after April 25. The first Nicene Council in A.D. 325 set the method of determining the date of Easter.
(World Book Encyclopedia, vintage 1960)
Easter is April 24, 2011. Palm Sunday is the previous Sunday on April !7, 2011.

It isn't raining rain to me, it's raining daffodils;
In every dimpled drop I see wild flowers on the hills.
The clouds of grey engulf the day and overwhelm the town -
It isn't raining rain to me, it's raining roses down.
It isn't raining rain to me, but fields of clover bloom
Where any buccaneering bee may find a bed and room,
A health unto the happy, a fig for him who frets -
It isn't raining rain to me, it's raining violets.
Poem by Robert Loveman, a famous poet who lived in Dalton Georgia

    Q: How do bunnies stay healthy?
     A: Eggercise 
    Q: What do you get when you find a rabbit with no hair? 
    A: A hairless hare! 
    Q: Why are people always tired in April?
    A: Because they just finished a march 
    Q: Why did the Easter egg hide? 
    A: He was a little chicken! 
    Q: What do you call ten rabbits marching backwards? 
    A: A receding hareline. 
    Q: How do you catch a unique bunny? 
    Q: What did the rabbit say to the carrot? 
    A: It's been nice gnawing at you. 
    Q: Do you know how bunnies stay in shape? 
    A: Hareobics. 
    Q: What's the difference between a bunny and a lumberjack?
    A: One chews and hops, the other hews and chops.

It has been a very wet spring. It seems like the plumbing barely starts working right before another storm comes through here, flooding our yard again. I bet we will have a very hot, steamy summer because we certainly are getting lots of water. I am so happy to see spring arrive that I don't even mind the mind-numbing heat of summer, yet. Back when I was young my parents didn't have air conditioning except in their bedroom. My parents worked the night shift most of their lives and they slept in the day. It was nearly impossible to sleep in the stifling heat of summer during the day without air conditioning. Years later they finally got air conditioning for the entire house. When they moved to Florida they didn't even use air conditioning down there. They were used to the heat and humidity. I got used to not using air conditioning when I drove my old Ford truck so when I started driving the Buick I didn't use it. Donny told me that I needed to use it sometimes so it wouldn't mess up, or something like that. Sometimes I listen to him about as well as the kids listen to the teacher in the Peanuts cartoon. "Waah waah waah wah"

Has anybody else thought about starting a garden? If you have, what are you going to plant? I've already seen plants at Bills Grocery. We always buy our tomato and pepper plants from them. They had broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, tomatoes and flowers out front. Scout and I have been talking about making a garden on the north end of the backyard and fencing it in to keep the animals out. I also saw something about making a garden out of straw bales. We have one bale left from last fall so I think we will plant something in that and see how it turns out. That sounds even better than the topsy-turvy planters.

We've already started mowing and cutting bushes and cleaning up around here. Last weekend the boys trimmed all the bushes in the front yard. I counted more that thirty bushes. I grew each one of those bushes from cuttings off of a bush from my Daddy's house. My daddy taught me how to root bushes. Every Rose of Sharon bush in my front and backyard was grown from cuttings I rooted in the backyard. I can grow just about anything if I want to. I guess I have a green thumb.

I hope you noticed that I've enhanced my website. I put several gadgets on my sidebar on the right. I put up a survey, too. It is on the right. Please take the time to answer my survey and let me know if you enjoyed your visit. I have been having so much fun building my blog. 

I've made touch with some old friends and lots of relatives that I never get to be around. I have some wonderful cousins who are computer savvy and willing to help me learn a few things. Thanks yall. They are also talented writers who have published several books. Right now I am reading my cousin Tommie Lyn's book On Berryhill Road on Smashbooks. ( You can check 'em out on various sites, like,,, but, here's a link to my Smashwords page: My cousin Connie Chastain recently published Storm Surge. ( -- On sale ten days early! Woohoo! Supposed to launch April 15, but on sale early due to Romantic Times Convention in Calif. Thanks DBP EIC Gail Delaney for the early release!) I think you can find books for both authors on Amazon, too. If you like books, please check theirs out.

My son's fiancee Kimberly Reeves says: 

Sanna, Patricia, Susie, Debbie, Aja, Allen, and Kathy.

Myra and Noodie
Ann and Jim

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Pictures of Spring

Butterflies on the peach tree.

Yellow butterflies were all over the peach tree.

I've never seen so many yellow butterflies.
I saw one lone black butterfly among all these yellow ones.

Yellow butterfly.

I don't know what kind of tree this is but I like the way the flowers hang down like Spanish moss .

Our dogwoods in our front yard.

A camellia bloom.

Another bloom on the same camellia bush.

The variation in colors was incredible.

This is pale pink.

Fresh watercress growing in the creek.
Butterflies on the peach tree.

Girls Night Out

It seems funny calling it a girl's night out when we're all in the grandmother stage of life, but Debbie and Melissa and I enjoyed a delicious and pleasant night out at the local Great Wall Chinese restaurant in Calhoun Georgia. 

We swapped stories and stuffed ourselves to the gills. Well, I did, at least. I never watch other people eat so I can't say about them. I learned that lesson when the boys were growing up. If I watched Scout eat I would get upset and ruin the meal for everyone. Scout salts his salt when he is eating something. Instead of griping about it I finally decided to ignore it. Hence, the reason I don't watch people eat.

The blonde, the brunette, and the redhead.

Debbie and Melissa and I went to the Wal-mart in Calhoun and I showed them a couple of routes down there and back. We rushed around until we located a pillow sham Melissa was looking for and then we came back to my humble home.

 This is a picture of my dogwoods in the front yard. We have two white dogwoods we got out of the woods and two pink ones that I bought at separate times. One is light pink and one is bright pink.

I hope we will be able to go on a picnic sometime when we plan our girl's-get-together. Melissa will have more time after she retires from teaching and tax season is over. I'm starting to have fun. (Shhh . . . . don't tell anybody!)

Girl's night out's not like it was in the old days.

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