Saturday, February 25, 2012


Have you ever had one of those weeks where nothing special really happened, but really a lot of special things happened? I spent part of this week chauffeuring my son around. The old Mercury has been acting up, so he got me to take him to work and take him home every day. I had to get up before daylight and drive through the dark to pick him up. He'd usually make me wait a little while before we loaded up the car and blasted off to Bob's. By then, daylight made it possible to see.

The other day, I picked Scout up in Sugar Valley, and we headed on back to Resaca. The sky was blue, and everything was clear around us. We drove east past the river down highway 136 and turned right to cut across the backroads to Bob's house in Red Bud. Gordon county is a particularly beautiful place. There are farms along the way. It is hilly and pastoral. We ran into blankets of fog as far as the eye could see all the way to Bob's. I wonder if that is what the hills of Scotland look like in the morning.

Bob's driveway had hay strewn all over it. Scout explained it had fallen off as they brought hay to the farm. There was a huge stack of big round hay bales covered with a giant tarp. Scout pointed out a stack of rafters Bob had for his new barn. His other barn had burned down. That's why all the hay is under the tarp.

I usually pulled up close to the house and let Scout unload the car. Every day he carried a coat and a square pink Igloo cooler*, compliments of me, and his lunch. Scout doesn't usually eat out but he eats outside. They aren't usually close to any restaurants. They were putting up a fence in Murray county this week. Scout said he had fun putting a fence across a creek. I don't know if he was serious or not. He got his boots wet so that probably wasn't comfortable. 

This morning I dropped Scout off for work and headed back home. When I got to Resaca, instead of turning right to go home, I hung a left at highway 41 and drove the extra mile or so down the road, past the new Gordon County jail, to Hardee's for one of my favorite breakfasts. That's a treat.

Only, this time, I noticed they were awfully skimpy on the bacon and egg. It was mostly biscuit, and I sure didn't need that. I get plenty of starch daily, thank you very much. When I fork over money for food, I'd like to have some sustenance. Ya know what I mean? Anyway, I brought breakfast home for me and my baby. Baby, being the operative word.

Colt comes home on the weekend so 'momma' can do his laundry and give him a little tender loving care like nobody but momma can do. Ain't I right, ladies?

On a similar note I was talking to my cousin the other day and mentioned that I saw Scout with a roll of my paper towels under his arm as he was getting ready to leave. She said, "Yeah, isn't it nice when they come shopping like it's Walmart?" Yeah, really! Now the shoe is on the other foot, I understand what a nuisance I was when I was young.

Nothing much else happened except Donny's birthday was this week. Now we will be the same age for half a year. That always makes me smile a little.

In closing, all I can say is ...


* I think the pink cooler adds a degree of  joie de vivre to the day.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Old People II

Colt and I went to the local Subway's to get something to eat last weekend. He drove because I can't see well after dark. We went inside to order and while we were waiting on another customer to have his sandwich made we looked over the menu. I happened to mention that the boy who was making the sandwich must have been working there a long time because I'd seen him there often. I teased Colt and told him the boy was a 'sandwich artist.' Colt's first job was working for Subway's and he always referred to himself as a sandwich artist.

We watched two employees making sandwiches and finally paid and started to leave. When we got in the car. and Colt started driving away, he said, "I wish you'd quit doing that."

I said, "What are you talking about?" Colt said that I kept calling the person making our subs a guy and that "...she was a girl." Of course, I said, "Unt-uh! That was a guy. I know it was." Colt kept arguing with me that I was wrong. 

I told him I had wondered about the big one who looked 6 feet tall until I saw the boobies, but I knew the other one was a guy. I said "I've been up there a lot of times. I talk to him. It has to be a guy." I almost wanted to go back to check.

I thought about all the times I had been up there and probably said 'sir' or something like that. I was beginning to worry.

I said, "I might call Subway and ask who all is working tonight. I just have to figure out how to ask without sounding like a nut." Colt said they would probably say the person's name was "Chris, or Pat, or something like that." I burst out laughing as I imagined the character Pat on Saturday Night Live. Pat is an ambiguous character who leaves people scratching their heads trying to figure her/him out. I refer to people like that as shemales. Some people are androgynous mysteries who don't fit clearly in a category.

I'm still not convinced the person who waited on us was a girl. What do you do when you aren't sure what sex someone is? Do you refer to them as the sex (boy, girl, lady, sir) that you think they are, or do you watch yourself and try not to use any nouns? Colt said "Do like Crocodile Dundee and grab 'em." That made me hoot with laughter. Dundee, an Australian in New York, had grabbed the cross-dresser's crotch. Then he knew Gwendoline was a man. (Crocodile Dundee 1986)

Next time I go to Subway's I'm going to try to read the name tag of the guy who makes my sandwiches. If I've been calling him a boy and he's really a girl I'm going to feel pretty awkward next time I address her.

I get a kick out of hanging out with Colt and Scout. They are always embarrassed, or laugh at me for being an old fart and for some of my misperceptions. I don't mind. I do say some dumb things now and then. Sometimes I can't hear and I misunderstand people and repeat back some strange things I think someone has said to me. I can't see good when I'm driving at night so that's always good for a couple of laughs and I get frustrated easily. What's not to love?

This week Scout had to go to court for jury duty. His car has been quitting unexpectedly so he asked me to drive him each day. Monday he went to the courthouse and waited half a day but was dismissed before lunch. I picked him up and took him home. Today he went back to the courthouse again and they let him go early without choosing him for jury duty. If you aren't selected for jury duty you don't get paid so Scout wasted a couple of days sitting around for nothing. That's not good.

I didn't mind getting out and taking Scout to town early. I ran some errands and paid some bills. I haven't paid bills in person in so long that I didn't realize the cable company closed their office in Calhoun. Signs were pasted on the windows with information about going to Rome or Cartersville if we needed personal service. Rome is 40 miles away and Cartersville is even further away. I don't know my way around either one and I'm sure not running around looking for them. I came home and called the cable company and learned you can pay your account by check over the phone. Who'd of thought you could do that? I don't like paying bills digitally. It makes me nervous.

The reason I had to pay my cable bill over the phone was because I'd made a mistake with my bill. I found out I had recorded the check in my register but must not have written the check because the numbers were wrong. I couldn't have written the check. I've racked my brain trying to remember what happened. I think I must have mailed the bill but forgot to write the check and put it in the envelope. I thought I had already paid the bill. I hate doing that. I blame it on chaos.

I really need to learn to pay bills a full week in advance so they will have plenty of time to get there. The post office is closing smaller post offices across the country, laying people off, and considering closing on Saturdays and Sundays. Mail delivery is becoming slower. 

Snail mail is in less demand but I still don't trust giving my account numbers and other vital information to strangers, even when I make the call. I'd never give anybody I didn't know information if they called me asking questions. I'd worry about identity theft. I don't have enough money for us to spend, much less strangers.

I imagine it won't be long before we do all our business using computers. We have moved into another step along the evolutionary ladder from pen and paper to keyboards and the internet. We're as far removed from early cave drawings or indecipherable hieroglyphs and our modern technology as a paper plane is compared to a jet. 

I don't want to give up mail service, although I hate unsolicited mail. I get tons of things trying to sell us insurance, requesting donations and coupons out the wazoo. I drown in piles of it until I decide to purge everything and have a bonfire in the backyard. I'm ablaze with anticipation. I can feel a conflagration coming on. I've got tons of junk mail and a brush pile I need to burn. Oh boy! That should be fun and that will get rid of some of chaos.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Is That You Tom

My parents rented a house from Mr. and Mrs. Hale when I was six months old. It was a little two bedroom cottage that sat behind the Hale's house at the edge of the woods. I loved living in the little house. We lived there until I was eight years old. 

Mr. and Mrs. Hale had a nice modern looking house with a lovely paved circular driveway. They had a hedge separating their yard from our yard behind the driveway. Mrs. Hale had a flower bed along the hedge. I liked to watch her plant flowers and tend to her garden. Sometimes she let me help. I believe that is where my love of gardening began, with a lady in a garden learning to tend to beautiful flowers.

Mrs. Hale was a lady in every sense of the word. She was married to Clifford Hale who was Superintendent of Dalton City Schools. They were both well educated. 

One time they had a beautiful garden party for some of their hoity-toity friends. They had tables set up with tablecloths and china under the trees. Bouquets of flowers enhanced the elegance setting. I'd never seen anybody have such a beautiful big party like that before. I stood at the edge of the hedges, watching the guests and activities at the party. It looked so exciting.

The little house we lived in behind the Hale's house was nestled at the edge of a tree line. It felt very secluded from the neighbors. We could only see the Hale's house in front of us. I always felt safe living there. The only time I was ever scared was when I got lost in the woods. 

I wandered around in circles until I came out on the other side of the tree line at a neighbor's house. Several people were outside in the yard and saw me come out of the woods crying. They called around until they called Mrs. Hale. She told them she would tell my mother. We didn't have a telephone.

Momma came to pick me up and take me home.  Momma thought I'd run away from home but I didn't. I was just being a goofy little kid wandering around in the woods near my house when I realized I was lost and was hunting my way home. I was pretty scared. If I hadn't had my little cocker spaniel, Janey, with me I don't know what I would have done. She stayed by my side and didn't leave me alone.

Our little house had one bathroom and I can remember being so little I had to wrap my legs around the toilet to keep from falling in when I sat down. I was always afraid of falling in. One evening while I was sitting on the toilet, looking at the Sears Roebuck catalog like my Daddy did, I heard a loud noise outside the window. Momma hollered at me to ask, "Is that you Pam?"  I told her I hadn't done anything. The sound came from outside.

Daddy wasn't at home so Momma got Daddy's pistol out of the bedroom and walked down the hall, past the open bathroom door. She told me to stay inside; she was going to go check outside to see if she could see anything. She came in a little bit later, madder than a wet hen. 

Momma said someone had been peeping in on me while I was in the bathroom. She said she should have gone out the front door and she would have caught the sorry rascal.

We had a propane gas tank sitting under the bathroom window and there were hand prints in the dust. We saw it clearly the next day. We had proof that someone had been spying in our windows. Momma promised herself she'd use better judgment next time and she'd shoot him if she caught him back there. I believe she would.

I never thought about the implications of someone getting their kicks out of peeping at people, much less kids, when they were naked when I was young. I just thought they were probably 'touched in the head'. Looking back at the situation now I realize how dangerous the situation could have become. Maybe we were lucky the guy saw Momma come down the hall holding a gun. That probably caused him to think twice about coming back. I'm pretty sure Momma could have made a hole in him if she had a chance.

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Friday, February 3, 2012


A medical scandal is surfacing about doctors cheating on written exams for their medical licenses. It is coming to light that different sections of the medical community have been passing answers around so others can prepare for the tests. Radiologists, dermatologists, and who knows all have been exposed as cheaters. I never liked cheaters.

I've always said and believed, "... you wouldn't let a doctor practice medicine on you if he cheated would you? ... Neither would I, so never cheat. Make an honest grade. That's what counts." Now I find those same guys I've been holding to a higher standard are, themselves, cheats and possibly unqualified physicians. Ye gads!

What does that say for the medical profession, and equally important, what does that say about integrity? It's so much easier to access information nowadays so maybe they should allow wider latitude about testing and make the rules more lax but do you want to go to a surgeon who hasn't studied everything because it was so much easier to look it up on the internet? How do you know who cheated and who really knows their stuff? If radiologists are cheating, and dermatologists are cheating, you know other fields of medicine are doing the same thing.

I don't know how doctors learn everything they need to know, anyway. I can guarantee that I'd never in a million years be able to become a doctor. They have so many articles and studies to keep abreast of new information, on top of the hundreds of patients they have to shuffle through their medical mills. Doctors probably don't have very much time to evaluate their patients. When they get their license and go into business doctors "practice" medicine. Maybe they have always cheated and that's why they call it practice instead of repair. I don't know. I still don't feel comfortable with doctors cheating.

I think we have to insist on quality in certain professions. Medicine is one important profession that should be held to the highest standards. Doctors can help or ruin people's lives. I'd prefer to err on the side of helping.

I never liked cheaters. When I was in elementary school a teacher accused me of cheating off another student. I think we were taking a test. I may have been fidgeting because I didn't know the answer but I did not cheat. I don't remember if she sent a note home to my mother or gave me a failing grade on my paper but I do know what my mother did. She made sure I was telling the truth and then she went to school to talk to the teacher.

Momma worked in the cotton mill and had a 'net' of cotton around her head if she didn't 'blow off' after work. She showed up in the hall at Mrs. T's room, clad in a halo of cotton. When the teacher saw momma she went to the door and asked who she was looking for. Momma told her she was my momma and she came to talk to Mrs. T. Mrs. T started backing into the room and momma followed her inside. Momma said she came down because Mrs. T had accused me of cheating and she wanted to get it straightened out because I didn't cheat.

Mrs. T was backed up against her desk and every eye in the room was focused on her and momma. Mrs. T said she caught me cheating and, besides, I hadn't been doing my homework either. Momma said, "Now I know that's a lie because I sit with her every night helping her get her homework." Then Mrs. T started backtracking and said I didn't turn it in. She made reference to some cousins somewhere in the conversation and Momma told her she had no right to judge me by something she accused my cousins of doing.

Momma told Mrs. T that she worked third shift but if she had to she would come to school every day and sit in class with me and make sure I did my work; then Mrs. T wouldn't have any trouble out of me. Mrs. T started himing and hawing because she realized Momma wasn't kidding. She wasn't going to let me get by with doing nothing, and she sure wasn't going to let Mrs. T accuse me of things when nothing was true. I admit being a goofy kid but I was very honest. I didn't know any other way to be. Momma and Daddy didn't broach any lies so I'd better not be passing them around to others. After that incident, my grades went up. I think Mrs. T didn't want Momma to come back to school.

That's when I first realized how important it was to be trusted and how important it is to be honest and tell the truth. It's also the first time I remember Momma standing up for me.

When I was in high school I saw a few people cheating. It got so bad that some people cheated or copied off each other all the time during tests. The same group of cheaters counted the ballots for homecoming queen one year. Oddly enough, one of the girls won. How about that? That was my first experience with politics. No wonder I'm a cynic.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012



February is a between month. By that I mean, it is a time of waiting. It's not really cold and it's not really springtime. It's the period in between. I know people who live in other parts of the world are still contending with the cold and the snow but it has been positively tolerable around here The backyard is still green. Granted, it's mostly weeds and not much grass but it didn't die off like the yard did last winter. I'm not saying it's because of global warming but the weather has been awfully mild this year.

It's been raining a lot. That's not always good, especially if you live in lowland. We get all the run-off from the neighbors north of us when it rains. The water runs through our backyard over the septic tank field line. Too much water, too quick, tends to slow down the plumbing. I can always tell we've been getting too much rain when I leave the bathroom plunger in the bathroom for weeks because I might need it. I take it outside when we don't need it. The stinking plunger has been in the bathroom since Christmas! That's a sign of the times.

The other night I pulled out some old home videos and watched them. They were so bitter-sweet. Colt was my adorable little monster baby who wouldn't listen to a single word. You can hear Donny saying, over and over again, "Colt come here." "Come here Colt." He never takes a step to obey. I guess he had a mind of his own, even then. The little rascal would run away from me when he could get a head start. That's why I got Donny to build a six foot fence around the yard. I was afraid he'd run in the highway. 

Watching those videos took me back to the sweet days of the kids youth. I also got a few pictures of people in the family who have passed away. My only regret is listening to the people who kept telling me to 'quit filming me' and wish I'd just kept on. I would have had more pictures of my grandmother before she died. 

Donny's mother was on the tapes. It is such a drastic change from how she has become. Edwadene was talking and laughing and playing with the children. Now she has Alzheimer's disease and doesn't seem to know any of us. His little granny was also on the tapes. She died a long time ago. So was Donny's step-father, Charlie McAllister. He was a big old man. He was bigger than life. Charlie was a character and he loved to fish. Everybody who knew Charlie loved Charlie.

Daddy and Momma were so young looking. Wow! They were the age Donny and I are today. Time keeps on ticking. 

Scout was the sweet little shy boy he is today. He played 'horsey' with Colt and was always there as his protector.  

I wish I could go back to one day and spend it with my little boys again. I wish we could all go back and spend a day with those who are no longer with us and just enjoy being with them once again.

Don't forget to say "I love you." 

Mikki, Alicia, Brooke, Don, Delbert, Douglas, Bailey
and those celebrating this month

to those celebrating this month

to those who passed away


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