N is for No, Not, and Nope

N is for No, Not, and Nope 

Sorry folks, this post is NOT going to happen.

 

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M is for Mercy

 

M is for Mercy

This post is short but sweet. What could be sweeter than mercy? I was fortunate to hear Anne Lamott speak recently about her newest book, Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy. Two words: READ IT. You will feel mercy flow over you, and in turn lay it upon others.

We have all been hurt in this life and we have all hurt others. None of us is deserving of mercy, yet we can bring healing by bestowing mercy as God does for us.  How appropriate for this Easter weekend! Mercy, indeed, was great at Calvary.

Enjoy Georgia’s own Casting Crowns, whose home church is just up the road from me, singing  At Calvary .  Words by William R. Newell (1895). Music by Daniel B. Towner (1895)

Happy Easter to one and all from GeorgiaJanet.

At Calvary
1.       Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died
On Calvary.

Refrain:
Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty
At Calvary.

2.       By God’s Word at last my sin I learned;
Then I trembled at the law I’d spurned,
Till my guilty soul imploring turned
To Calvary.

3.       Now I’ve giv’n to Jesus everything,
Now I gladly own Him as my King,
Now my raptured soul can only sing
Of Calvary!

4.       Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span
At Calvary!

 

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L is for Lullaby

L is for Lullaby  

My first thought for the letter L was not lullaby. It was love. But oh, such a big assignment? How could I ever do it justice? Love has birthed poetry and prose. Most of the most beautiful words ever written were inspired by love. I can’t begin to measure up to Yeats, Browning, Austen, Bronte, or even McCartney or Sparks. So, I’m going to focus on a tiny little element of love – the lullaby. Soft chimes of a music box, the gentle lilt from a mama’s heart, this is what lullabies are made of.

Who among us cannot imagine a soothing, sweet, and calming lullaby?  Even the word lullaby, as it rolls off the tongue is lovely and sweet. It’s the perfect example of the literary device, onomatopoeia. What’s that? Onomatopoeia? From Merriam Webster.com, the official definition is “the naming of a thing or action by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it.” Words like hiss, achoo, belch, crack, hiss, and murmur are all examples of onomatopoeia. Ok, enough of the literary lesson!

When most people think of a lullaby the first refrain that comes to mind is the classic Brahms Lullaby, commonly referred to as The Cradle Song. I don’t think I ever knew the words beyond the first two lines, after that it became just hums. Interestingly, Johannes Brahms did not write this classic melody as a lullaby. It was actually a secret love song for a past young flame. One of the links below will take you to the story. It was published as Op .49, No. 4, in 1868 and was first performed publicly in December of 1869 in Vienna.

There are many other classic lullabies. Hush Little Baby, Rock a Bye Baby, Toora Loora Loora, and All Through the Night are just a few. Lullabies can be made from just about any song. I often sang The Gaithers’ There’s Just Something About That Name to my boys when they were babies, along with many other songs with the name of Jesus in them. I figured what more calming, peaceful word could there be? And that line in Because He Lives, “How sweet to hold a newborn baby and feel the pride and joy it gives.” Oh, my heart! Whether your own baby or a grandbaby or other special baby, there is nothing like singing to a newborn cradled in your arms. And best of all, they don’t care if you can’t carry a tune in a bucket. Some of the best lullabies are those that are serendipitous – they are made up on the spot. I made one up one for Mabrie Lane, one of my granddaughters. It went to the tune of Penny Lane:

Mabrie Lane is in my heart and in my arms                  

With the sweetest little baby girl charms…

The words after the first two lines were just a jumble of phrases, but those first two lines were pleasant repeats.

Just in case like me, you don’t remember, here is the traditional English version of Brahms’ lullaby lyrics.

Lullaby and goodnight,
With roses bedight,
With lilies o’er spread
Is baby’s wee bed.
Lay thee down now and rest,
May thy slumber be blessed.

Lullaby and goodnight,
Thy mother’s delight,
Bright angels beside
My darling abide.
They will guard thee at rest,
Thou shalt wake on my breast.


Brahms Lullaby Recordings

Secret love song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooIbZHs8TE4

Original composition https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t894eGoymio

Jewel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0eASoAXTx0

Yo Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6nb35I9w-8

Kenny G https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIXuRwCTs44

Celine Dion https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBq9bV9rTHc

Celtic Woman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8hItcjQZVM

Dean Martin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpoYDRqHOog

Linda Ronstadt https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prhUMWfYo9w

Frank Sinatra https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ltmYzhZCpY


Just for fun, ’cause I’m from Dixie

Aretha Franklin: Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody 

Judy Garland Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody

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K is for Kool-Ade

 

K is for Kool-Ade   

 

 

I drank Kool-Ade as a kid, like millions of other folks. Somehow we managed to survive. I may have had a Kool-Ade stand – a more modern version of the lemonade stand. I don’t think I could stomach those hideous colors and flavors today. Do they even still make Kool-Ade? With all the warnings about food dye (especially red), artificial flavors, and too much sugar I don’t see how it could be profitable.

What I really want to talk about is not that kind of Kool-Ade. I want to talk about the other kind. The kind that killed 918 people in Jonestown, Guyana on November 18, 1978.

The kind that induced Charles Manson cult followers to murder the pregnant Sharon Tate and four others on August 9, 1969.

The kind that convinced German citizens to look the other way and soldiers to carry out the deed when Hitler murdered 6 million Jews.

Abundant atrocities are committed around the world daily by those who have “drunk the Kool-Ade” poured into them by a convincing and charismatic leader. Whether it is on a large scale, such as ISIS, or a small scale such as white supremacist cells in the US, there is plenty of Kool-Ade to go around.

In the recent presidential elections, both sides were accused of drinking the Kool-Ade provided by their favored candidate. Some would have us think that liberal arts colleges are the guiltiest, or the media, or churches. Let’s face it, there is a copious amount of the sweet beverage, enough in each for all to share the blame. I am reminded of the Bible warning from Matthew 7:15:  Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.

The scary thing is, in today’s frenzied pace of life we all want something to believe in. In our world of 24 hour instant media access it is easier than ever before for anyone who wants to make a buck or hide something to anoint the rest of us with their own flavor of Kool-Ade. I have become downright cynical, not knowing who can be believed, from the highest government official to the friend or co-worker who innocently starts a conversation with, “…well, I
heard…”, I resist committing to an opinion or position until I have what I hope is reliable information from people or sources I trust. Yet, no one can be fully trusted, and that, is the saddest part of all.  

 

Where does this leave us? Use whatever phrase works for you. There are warning enough to heed. Let us not be like lemmings, sheep, or horses with blinders. Be vigilant. Search your hearts. Go with your gut. Do the research. Use your brain to think. Don’t believe everything you are told. Be curious, nosy if you must, or even downright suspicious. If you believe in God, pray for discernment. Ultimately, we mostly believe what we want. Sorry if this post is such a downer, so finally, if you don’t believe that metaphorical Kool-Ade is alive and well, I have some waterfront property in Arizona I’d like to sell…

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J is for Joey, Jay, and Joel

 

J is for

Joey, Jay, and Joel 

I don’t even know where to begin. Joey, Jay, and Joel are my three beloved sons.  Joey is now 40, Joel is 32, and Jay will forever be 28 – the age he was when he died in a tragic accident 8 years ago this May. Not going to put pictures of them here, I know they wouldn’t be keen on that idea. You can read about Jay at the JCMF page. You can learn a little about Joey at his business page, Chapman Group Realty.  (A shameless advertisement from a proud mama.) Joel is on Facebook too.

Each of these men are special in their own way. Joey was the typical first born – adored as the only boy among girl cousins born that same year. He was always a charmer. Athletic, popular, and all around good guy. Jay, the middle child, even more athletic if that is possible. Sweet, funny, and all around good guy. Joel, the baby, spoiled by grandmother and loved by all, the easiest-going and most vocal. I am proud of the men they have become. Joey and Joel are loving fathers who have given me the precious gift of grandchildren – five girls and one boy. Jay left as his legacy the huge influence he had on his students. HE was a high school teacher and coach. Taken from us only weeks before he was to be married, I only have grandchildren from him in my dreams.

We had our share of trips to the emergency room. Stitches, broken bones, swallowed pennies. You know you’re the mom of a boy when you no longer panic at a little blood. We’ve had our share of sitting through sports practices and games. You also know you’re the mom of  boy when you have learned that baseball starts out cold and ends up hot, whereas football does just the opposite. Thank God for basketball – at least it is played indoors in heat or air conditioning! You know for sure you’re the mom of boys when you are no longer grossed out by farting and burping contests. There is one little advantage – once they are going potty on their own their Dad gets to do all the restaurant bathroom visits!

I do remember back in high school saying I wanted to get married and have six boys! I had all the names picked out based on whoever the cute guys were at that time. I don’t think any of them were Joeys, Jays, or Joels though. I was never much of a girl-person, so just as well I had my boys. Even when I taught, I had an affinity for the boys. I believe it’s true about mothers and sons having special relationships, as well as fathers and daughters. It is an unexplainable connection. Of course I have become a girl-person now that I have five granddaughters, but times are different for girls now. They can be whatever they want. Heck, they can even be boys if they want and vice versa!

I would be remiss if I didn’t include one more J – the man who made it all happen, my husband Joe. Kind, caring, hard-working, and as stubborn as a stump. His stubbornness is a bane and a blessing. It can be frustrating in little day to day things, but is an advantage in making big life decisions. I love this man with all that is within my being, as I have for over 45 years, and will continue to do until the day I die, just like my sons.

My boys are no longer little. They have become men like their father.  They are strong, wise, and Godly; good husbands and fathers. But most importantly, they are mine – my sons – my boys.

 


Warning! Tear-Jerkers Ahead!

A Mother’s Song

 

The Man You Have Become

 

My Little Boy

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A-Z Challenge: I is for Ice Cream!

I is for Ice Cream!

I love ice cream! Maybe it goes back to childhood and the ice cream truck. This shows my age, but I can remember not just the trucks, but the carts too. We would hear the recorded bell-like music a few blocks away and scramble to ask for a dime from whatever adults happened to be around. As the ice cream man pulled to a stop the kids would line up. Heaven forbid it took you forever to scrounge up some change, because then you have to run to try to get to the truck before the man got back in the cab and drove away. What was your favorite? The little cups with wooden paddle spoons? The original waffle cone nutty buddy? The rainbow bar? The push up? The hunky bar?

Here’s a story about hunky bars. Well, it’s not really about the bar, but about the stick. I don’t anyone calls the chocolate covered vanilla ice cream on a stick a hunky bar anymore. Somehow, hunky came to mean something entirely different, either referring to a man’s attractive muscular build or transforming into honky – often thought of as a derogatory term for white people. Upon researching the word honkey/honky, I found several discrepancies about its origins. Just google it if you want more info.  Back to the story about hunky sticks. In my early days of teaching preschool in the early 1970s I wanted the kids to do a project using what I called hunky sticks. I asked another teacher, who happened to be a black woman, if we had any hunky sticks. Maybe she thought I said honky instead of hunky.  She stopped and gave me a disbelieving look.

“What did you just ask me?”

“I asked you if we had any hunky sticks.”

“What do you mean do we have any hunky sticks?”

“I mean do we have any of those wooden sticks you get from hunky bars?”

She continued to look at me incredulously. I couldn’t figure out why she was having such a hard time understanding what I was asking about, so I said,

“You know, those flat wooden sticks from ice cream bars or popsicles?” 

A look of relief flooded her face.

“Oh! “I thought you said hunky sticks!”

“I did say hunky sticks! Like you get from hunky bars, the chocolate covered vanilla ice cream bars.”

“And you call those hunky bars?”

“Yes, that’s what they are.”

“Well, I never heard them called that, and you might want to find out why.”

“Ok, but do we have any?”

I was puzzled, but I asked somebody about it later and was told about the derogatory meaning of honky. I had no clue! The times were changing. And there’s no such thing as hunky sticks anymore. You have to ask for popsicle sticks or the even newer term, craft sticks.

Back to the original topic – ice cream! Remember the little cardboard cups that came with the wooden paddle-like spoons? Every kid in Atlanta during the 1950s and most of the sixties was delighted when their school served the little French’s ice cream cups. What a treat! Yet, when the French’s truck came around to neighborhoods we didn’t want the plain cups. My favorite was the rainbow bar, a type of orange sherbet flavor but it wasn’t icy like sherbet. Or maybe it had sherbet swirled with vanilla ice cream. Hard to find rainbow ice cream like that anymore, but a Varsity Frosted Orange can be satisfactory substitute.

The first Atlanta ice cream parlors I recall were operated by Miss Georgia Dairies. We just called it “Miss Georgia.” Oh the joy when on a hot summer evening Mama would say “Let’s go to Miss Georgia and get a hot fudge sundae!” There were three locations I remember. When I was very young and we lived in West End there was a small one next to the Gordon Theatre. There was a big one on Lee Street, near Oakland City Park. It had drive-in service with carhops. I can remember my sister dragging me along with her and her high school friend who had a car. My favorite there was always the cherry spinning wheel. What’s a spinning wheel? It’s the original term for a milkshake because it was made on that machine with the spinning wheel! The other location was Cascade – that was after we left West End for Venetian Hills. The banana split was another favorite; the old fashioned kind with the three different flavors of ice cream, three different toppings, whipped cream (real of course), nuts, and a cherry on top.

The Miss Georgia’s went away and the Diary Queens came in. Oh, the soothing feel of those soft Dairy Queen cones. I remember Mama driving me home from the doctor where I’d just been diagnosed with mono – yep, the teenage “kissing disease” that she blamed on my boyfriend: mononucleosis. We stopped at the Dairy Queen on Delowe Drive. That luscious cold vanilla felt so good going down my swollen sore throat. Dairy Queens also featured prominently when my boys were little. After every baseball game we hit the Dairy Queen for those little ice cream sundaes in the baseball cap bowls. Most Dairy Queens are still around. Even now, my husband and I go for a treat. He likes a blizzard while I adore a peanut buster parfait.

There some very good store bought ice cream brands nowadays: Breyer’s, Bluebell, or Haagen-Dazs. I only want real ice cream – no ice milk or frozen yogurt for me! Then there are the ice cream shops. Imagine the wonder of 31 Baskin Robbins flavors. The small towns have their Tastee Freezes and their Dairy Kings. But often the very best ice cream is found in the little independent mom and pop ice cream stands. My favorite of all of these is in Flagler Beach, FL. It’s called The Waffle Cone. Beware! It is addictive.

 

 

 

 

 

Naturally, no store bought ice cream can compare to home made. I have fond memories of family cookouts, and they usually included ice cream made in the old timey hand-churned ice cream freezers. We would buy bags of ice and the rock salt, then take turns turning and turning that handle round and round. There was no such thing as an electric ice cream churner in those days. Mama’s favorite flavor was always peach, but I preferred the banana. Hand churned ice cream was always a highlight at church socials too. There was peach, strawberry, banana, vanilla, chocolate, blueberry, and probably a few others served along with pie, cake, brownies and cookies. All home baked of course. And who doesn’t love a big scoop of ice cream on homemade peach or apple pie?

Now, I must stop writing and make a little trip…hmm…what flavor shall I get? What flavor would you get? Comment below!

 

 

Betcha didn’t know this was a real song!

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. 1925

Step back in time…Vintage Mister Softee Commercial

 

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H is for Home

H is for Home. 

Home, homesick, home again, home alone, I’m going home, I wanna go home, you can’t go home again, there’s no place like home, home is where the heart is.

We all have a visual of the word home. Maybe it’s the place we live now. Maybe it’s a place from our childhood. Maybe it’s a home we hope to have one day. We write songs, poems, plays and novels about home. Home holds a special place in most folks’ hearts. We “wanna go home,” whether it’s on country roads, from the train station, from a road trip, or just from the workaday world.  We get homesick when we’ve been away from home too long. There are a few who cannot bring themselves to leave home, opting for the comfort,
security, and sureness over the fears and uncertainties of the world beyond their own front door. Agoraphobics.

 

Thomas Wolfe said you can’t go home again, and I think he’s correct about this. Even if you go to a physical place, time has elapsed, you have changed, and others have changed. It’s like the proverbial river you can’t step in twice because the water you stepped in the first time is no longer there – it’s moved on downstream. Same thing with home. Whatever made it “home” to us in first place was a point in time, in dimension, in space, to which we cannot return.  It exists only in our minds, and we know the mind can play quite fanciful tricks on our consciousness. Ah, if we could only click the ruby slippers and say “there’s no place like home” three times, and poof! We would be deposited in a warm familiar place.

 

 

For many, home is spiritual place, a place where we will be when our life on earth is over.
Some may picture streets paved with gold or a mansion just over the hilltop.  They may plan a “going home” service. Loved ones may say, “Dear, dear, grandma, she’s gone home to Jesus.” I too, believe in a home beyond earth. I can’t visualize it – I would not presume to decipher God’s architectural plans. I do know it will be a place of beauty, filled with
glory. I know I will be reunited with those I love who have gone before – I’ll know I’m home when I’m with my middle son Jay, sweet stillborn grandchild Mullaina, my brother Mike, Mama and Daddy, and so many others. Not to mention the sweet face of Jesus.

 

 

When I had nearly completed this post I did some limited research just to make sure I had said all I wanted to say about home. I came across a similar blog post where the author described my thoughts beautifully. If you’d like, take a look at The Elephant Journal for Jillian Locke’s essay on Hiraeth.

Links to iconic songs about home. Enjoy! 

Bobby Bare: I wanna go Home

Bon Jovi & Jennifer Nettles:  Who Says You Can’t go Home 

Motley Crue: Home Sweet Home

John Denver: Take me Home Country Roads

The Crabb Family: I’m going home with Jesus

Simon and Garfunkel: Homeward Bound

 

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A-Z Blog Challenge: G is for Grandmas on Spring Break

Hello all! The public school spring break week is almost over. I know my teacher friends have enjoyed their time off, except maybe for the ones who chose to have medical procedures or such so they wouldn’t have to miss school. Teachers are a selfless bunch. Read This Teacher Talks and you’ll see more examples of what caring, kind, people most teachers are. 

I don’t remember as a kid this much hoopla over spring break. I don’t think we were even out a week. Just Good Friday before Easter. Maybe we went shopping for an Easter dress, hat, shoes, and gloves. Yes, gloves. Now I am really dating myself! More about Easter in a later post.

These days, my older grands are off to the beach, usually the Redneck Riviera. If you don’t know what or where that is, ask anybody in or near Panama City Beach Florida. They likely won’t tell you about the beautiful Cove and St. Andrew’s Bay areas. They want it protected and serene, not turned into the crazy scene you’ll find on the beach. Some have moved on to classier locales further west like Destin, Seaside, or Miramar. Sometimes they head to Orlando and the theme parks, along with a million other folks.

My favorite near-history spring break was 1990, I think, but can’t be sure. Could have been 1989, or 1991. Somewhere in there. My oldest and his two cousins were close in age – all born within a year of each other and they were about 12 years old. My middle son was about 7.  My sister worked but she she wanted her daughter to have a spring break trip and wanted me to take all the kids. My mama would keep my youngest who was only four. They offered to pay for it: Disney tickets, a hotel room on the beach in Daytona, gas and food. I was young enough back thing to enjoy such a trip so off we went. We had a blast – just me and the kids. We stayed up all night to see a night launch from Canaveral and it was magnificent. Truly a fond and fun memory. 

Don’t think I could manage that today, but I will still be participating in spring break, just a little differently. Mamas and daddies need some help looking after the younger ones so they can still get some work done. Wouldn’t it be nice if all adults had a spring break from work? I suppose if they were still paid it could be wonderful, but I know business would suffer. In this day and age of the almighty dollar taking precedence over the True Almighty God that will never happen. Sad but true.

For my time with the little grands, now ages 3, 5, 6, and 6, I had big intentions. Stocked up on colored chalk for the driveway, bubbles and a bubble machine, peanut butter- jelly- and bread, those hideously food colored ice pops, and Little Bites, those most likely unhealthy tiny muffins. My babies love them! It all went over well. After all, isn’t this what being a grandmother is all about? We’re available for the babysitting but what happens at grandma’s stays at grandma’s.

Grandma, Grandmother, Granny, Nanna, Grammy; a few common grandmother names. Mine does not fit with those – MAHI – yes, like the fish, MAHI. The story behind it started 15 years ago when the oldest was born. I was referring to myself as Grandmommy – no dowdy grandma for me. When she started talking around 10 months her mother figured it out. Little McKenzie was trying to say Grandmommy, but it came out MAHI. I’ve heard some really cute grandmother mother names in my day; Mahi may not be especially cute, but it is an endearment I treasure. One of the cutest grandma names I ever heard was Pattycake. Sadly, Pattycake  has passed on but I’m sure her grandchildren loved their Pattycake. I’m stuck with Mahi, but I don’t mind. Mahi I am and Mahi I’ll always be. Although a friend recently suggested I should have used GranJan and I rather like that one. Maybe its not too late to change? Hmmm…

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A-Z Blog Challenge: F is for Farm

Hello all, here is my April 6 post for the 10 Minute Novelists  A-Z Blog Challenge. Remember, I don’t skip Sundays so my days and letters may not match up to others. Also, from here on out I will make each entry a new post. To see the first few posts, A-E, go back to the original A-Z challenge post of April 3.

First, I did not write this letter F post. With his permission, I am sharing a post from Harry Duke, a colleague in my writing group. Harry operates a produce stand out in his neck of the woods and regularly posts “From the Farm” entries on his Facebook page. Go here to learn about Harry and read more of his posts. Harry Duke Facebook. This is his post from April 1, 2017.

From the farm…
It promises to be a beautiful day and I am out to the State Farmer’s Market a bit earlier than usual; I want to spend a bit more time checking out and choosing what I buy and who I get it from. I am thinking to offer a bit more variety this week than before and some things are just getting harder to find. For example, the season for good collards and turnips with roots is coming to a close but folks still want them. Daisy has settled in on the back seat while we roll across the country through some of the lesser traveled parts of Atlanta; you might say we are short-cutting it a bit. 
As usual, folks were pulling up to the curb before I was set up but, as I have mentioned, it works out.
“Ah-hah, I HAVE found you! Y’know, I bet I went by this intersection 3 times looking for you and I just didn’t see you.”
This is Porter’s momma talking. We know each other from the dog-park where Porter and Daisy sometimes meet up to play. Porter is a large standard breed poodle with sort of ‘latte colored” fur. His ‘mom’ and I had talked the last time our ‘children’ had played together; she said she wanted to come by for a few things. A few things, ha! Turns out she operates a childcare facility and she was stocking up on good ‘snacky’ fruits and veggies for those children as well as her family. Now, I know this may not seem in keeping with the stated ‘mission’ of this produce stand but, when I think just a little longer about it, it is in perfect agreement. Who needs fresh, wholesome fruit and veggies more than little children?
George came by about that time.
“You got my okra?” Like the green tomatoes and snap beans, he had asked me to get a case of okra for him and I had it right there on the table. But, I wanted a favor from him.
“George, I know you are going to freeze this so you and your folks can enjoy it over time. I did not feel I could afford two cases this morning but I would like to have some to see if other folks are ready for fresh okra. How ‘bout I take out about 3 pounds to sell here and cut the price for you and you take the rest?”
We had a deal. I joked that he was going to be busy for a while processing that case of okra.
“Naw, won’t take me no time. ‘Sides, I ain’t got much to do today. In fact, I think I want a bunch of them collards, too. Nobody eats ‘em but me so I’ll get them a-going right alongside the okra.”
Speaking of cooking for one…
She was a woman on her own. A bit hunched at the waist, her silver hair like a crown on her head, wearing a flower-print dress that probably had been a Sunday go-to-meeting dress for many years. In general, she sort of reminded me of Queen Elizabeth II, a bit matronly but holding up well against her years. She had stopped for “a tomato, an onion, an ear of corn and a red potato.” I asked the obvious.
“Yes, it’s just me, now. My husband passed a few years ago. Cancer. He was only 64. It was mercifully sudden for him. I still have trouble … missing him, y’know. It was too sudden for me.”
She took her change and her bag, turned toward the sidewalk, took three steps and stopped. She was standing right in front of the turnip greens.
“I sure do like turnips but they are too much trouble.”

I hear a lot of that out here. Makes me wonder how it is that people buy ‘em if they are so much trouble. I perceived a ‘longing’ on her part.
“My husband loved them things. He’d do all the cleaning if I would just cook up a mess for him. I won’t cook up a mess for just me. I just buy a can. What I really want are the roots. Do I have to buy the whole bunch or can I get just three or four for the roots.”
“Would you like just the root?”
“Can you do that?” 
“Dear, until somebody buys that bunch, I own them and I can do anything I want to them.” Guess I was trying for the humor element, here. She grinned at my effort.
“Well …” she was thinking.
“Here is a thought,” I offered. “Do you have a neighbor who likes turnips?”

“Actually, yes. Yes, I do. I have seen her washing those things under the hose outside.”
“Okay, here is an offer. I will let you have the whole bunch for my cost which is considerable less than what is the price. You take them along and offer some to your neighbor. You give her the greens and some of the roots and you keep the root parts you want. Who knows, she may even offer to pay you a bit for them and do the cooking for you?”
Did not take her long to like that idea. I guess she and the neighbor get along pretty well.
A young mother stopped.
“I’d like three ears of corn, a tomato and …how much are the snap beans? Oh, a pound is probably all I can afford.”
We talk for a moment as I inquire about how many she is feeding and what age is the child (8 year old daughter). I ask because I am interested in seeing that people eat well and I want to find out if there is room in the family’s habits for positive change without increasing cost or time to fix. Before long…
“I have never tasted anything like this!”
She is sampling raw bell pepper, cucumber, red onion and even tomato without salt or pepper.
“That is amazing!” she proclaims. “I mean, I do use these but I either cook them in with stuff or I mix them in with other stuff, like in a salad, or cover them with some other flavors.”
Not to belabor the point but I tell her of how my mother introduced me to ‘the taste of green’ by having me taste raw vegetables right out of the ground or just off the vine. The delicate crispness of a perfect radish, the unique flavor of a bell pepper or a tomato just rinsed under the hose. She now seems to understand that fresh and raw is totally different from foods that have been moved away from the garden for processing or shelf-sitting begins. “When are you out here? I am gonna shop with you every time you’re here.”
Remember I told you how I felt about the customer I lost two weeks ago. I feel better now.
“You don’t know me, do you?”
I looked up to this senior citizen, full-face covered in a pure white Santa Claus beard with sunglasses perched on the bridge of his nose.
“Tom!”
Over the past year (by the way, fb alerted me that today was the one year anniversary of my first farm post) a few folks have kept me posted on Tom and his health which has all too often been less than good news. I have asked you to pray for him. Now, here he was standing right in front of me having walked up from his place.
“Nine heart attacks and subsequent procedures, yep.”
Nine, folks and he is looking fresh as a daisy. I know he is mid-70’s but he looks amazing and moves around as spryly as any totally healthy man of his age.
He came up to see me and thank me for …well … I have sent him a tomato here and there over the past months … He wanted to say ‘thanks’. To tell the truth, I felt more than a bit humbled and a little embarrassed ‘cause there was a small group of customers standing around and Tom made more than he should have of things. So, I, being interested in ‘turn about is fair play’, want to nominate Tom for the “Wonder of Wonders” award for his happy spirit, high morale and constant affection for the people in his community in spite of MOST DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES. He is a one-man cheer squad for the residents and mission of the Housing Authority and mankind in general. Take a bow, Tom.
Nine heart attacks; can I get an Amen?
Picklers.
Lou has stopped by once or twice since I started the farm. Walking over from his truck, he got to the edge of the first table and exclaimed “picklers! You got picklers!” 
I was a bit startled until I realized he was looking at the cucumbers I sell, They are grown especially for pickles but many realize they are more tasty than the larger cuke and have smaller and less tough seeds; ideal for salads as well as pickles.
Lou bought six and I thought that was the end of it. But, no. The stream of late afternoon shoppers kept me an hour past my usual 4pm closing. So it was about 5pm I was finally able to break down my tables and pack up the few leftovers. And, I would have been gone if one last customer had not shown up with a pleading …
“You got anymore picklers?”
It was Lou.
“I just got me a new pickle jar and some vinegar and spices and I want whatever picklers you got left so I can fill up my jar and make pickles tonight.”
His smile said it all.
I had seven cucumbers left.
So, we settled on a deal. I gave him the last seven cucumbers and when the pickling process is finished, he will share a couple of those dills with me. Yes sir, a man and his pickles …it is a beautiful thing.

 

 

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A-Z Blog Challenge: Letter E

Happy April! 

Are you participating in the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge? What is it exactly? For every day of the month — EVERY DAY — you blog on a specific letter of the alphabet. (Today is B as Saturday was A! You get Sunday’s off to write more blogs for the week) Then everyone else who is doing this reads your blog and comments on it. Tomorrow is C, the next day D, etc, until you get to X and Z – it’s pretty insane but it can be fun!
We’re supporting all you bloggers who do this with a new thread every day. Please paste in the link to your blog so EVERYONE can come by and comment! Have fun And GOOD LUCK!

Link  to 10 Minute Novelist on Facebook. 

Note:

I can’t keep up with numbers, dates, days, and letters. I will do better if I simply post every day. I am loving this challenge. It makes me write! Just letting you know this because my numbers, days, and letters may not match up to everyone else’s. Oh well, I am a rebel at heart.  I am also re-ordering these posts so that the newest is on top. The first three are very short as I played catch-up.


5. E is for Empowerment 

Look for a minute at the top right corner of your screen. See my tag line? Bohemian Southern Belle, author, ENCOURAGER of strong women. I am not really satisfied with this line. I wanted to say empower-er of strong women, but that just didn’t work, so I settled on encourager as a temporary place holder. One of the Merriam Webster Online definitions for empower gives this as an example of empower:

 to promote the self-actualization or influence of; i.e.: The women’s movement has been inspiring and empowering women — Ron Hansen

Isn’t that cool! Exactly what I want the tagline to represent – as a Bohemian southern belle writer, I want to empower, encourage, and enable women to be strong. Of course many women already are strong. I want to honor them and recognize them. Yet, many women do not feel strong or empowered. I want to encourage them to know they can be strong and empowered no matter their role in life. A poor single mother raising intelligent, well-
behaved children with limited resources is every bit as strong as a female financially successful CEO. In fact, she probably stronger!

Last night, I was seeking input on my dilemma about the wording of the tagline from my writing group members. One gentleman asked this question: Are you a feminist? After a few moments of thought, I answered, “In most ways, yes. But in some ways no. I have strong convictions about some things that are on most feminist’s agenda, namely, abortion.”

A female colleague in the group spoke up. “Being pro-life doesn’t mean you can’t be a feminist. You are still for equal rights and opportunities for women.”

Hmmm. I had to ponder this. What is a feminist, exactly? Back to good old Merriam Webster. Their definition: 1. the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. 2:  organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests. Hallelujah! I can correctly claim to be a feminist, even if I am pro-life.

We went on to play around with the terms empower, encourage, and enable. We even looked at Julia Sugarbaker videos on YouTube. Her iconic character is definitely a feminist, also southern, but more classy than bohemian. That’s I want to convey – a bohemian Julia Sugarbaker. Her character defends women, even her tiara-wearing beauty pageant queen sister.

If being a beauty pageant queen is your aspiration, GeorgiaJanet supports you and wants to encourage you. If being an accomplished housekeeper is your goal in life, I applaud you. If being a powerful business woman is your dream, I hope you achieve it. WHATEVER it is to which you aspire, I want to empower you to achieve that dream. That’s what a strong woman does. She empowers other women. You can read more about Strong Women on the Strong Women page of this website.

Still haven’t settled on just the right tagline. Any suggestions? Comment below!


4. D is for Difficult

Don’t you just hate it when people are difficult? We expect some things in life to be difficult – finding the right partner, the right house, the right job; but we don’t usually expect people to be difficult. It seems some people actually make it their life’s mission to be difficult. The person who orders their hamburger with no pickle, mustard only if it’s brown, tomato only if it’s ripe, on one side of a seeded bun. Naturally, this person is in front of you in the line ordering or the drive through. Or what about someone who wants to get together, then says they can’t have company at their house for whatever reason, so can they come to your place, and by the way, can they bring their new puppy, and can they come at 8:00 tomorrow morning? The worst case scenarios is when the difficult person is a family member. Is there someone you have to tiptoe around in your family? We all have them – the one who gets their feelings hurt if they are not included in every outing, the one who wants to have endless phone conversation early in the morning or late at night, the one fills you in on all the details about someone you don’t even know? Wise old souls will say be thankful for the difficult people in your life yada yada yada,

but I would usually
rather scream… 

 

 


 3. C is for Color! 

I love colors! All colors! I even have Pinterest boards for colors. All the colors of the rainbow are gorgeous, but I’m going to save the reveal of my favorite for another letter’s post.

 


2. B is for Blog

It’s going to be fun to see each day’s blog posts. I am rather new to this so
I am looking forward to learning from everyone. B is also for babies. I love babies! There is nothing like holding a newborn babe in your arms – especially if it’s your own baby or  grand-baby.  

 

 


1. A is for April!

I don’t know what happened to the good old fun of April Fool’s Day. I suppose life has gotten too serious. No pranks received and no pranks played. A is also for April the giraffe. If you haven’t been drawn into waiting for April to deliver her calf you must be on another planet. I’ve been watching for about 5 weeks now. Here’s the link: April the Giraffe Live Cam

 

 


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