Friday, April 30, 2010

Zip-a-dee-do-dah and Zest

Hey, Y'all,
I am sure that many of my older readers recognize the words to the song from the 1946 "Song of the South" Disney movie, sung by Uncle Remus of Br'er Rabbit fame. It is such a happy song that I have always (along with many other people) enjoyed the zippin' along of it. I am most happy and enjoying life most of the time, and sometimes when I feel particularly good, I like to sing that song as I bounce around the house. It just makes me happy to sing it, too.

Zest is one of those words which describes the stuff they scrape from citrus fruits to use in a dish. Now, I don't care much for the scraped off stuff, but I do like the other definition which is the fresh zippiness we feel with life. Life needs zest in order to carry us along with that feeling of things going right.

Zip-a-dee-do-dah, zip-a-dee-a, my-oh-my-what a wonderful day, plenty of sunshine headin' my way, zip-a-dee-do-dah, zip-a-dee-a. Mr. Bluebird on my shoulder, it's the truth, it's actual, everything is satisfactual! Zip-a-dee-do-dah, zip-a-dee-a, wonderful feelin', wonderful day!

That is the way I feel most days, y'all. And now the A to Z challenged is zipped up. I have enjoyed it tremendously and would not have missed it for the world. It has been a glorious trip, hasn't it?

Today, I have a package to send, breakfast to eat, shower to take, kitchen to clean, laundry to do, lunch to have with friend, Judy, go to the drug store, bank, fill up the gas tank on my little Red Yaris, and then think about what I am going to pack for my trip to Texas. This evening, I will be reading and commenting on blogs. Just another day in the life of a little old grammy who loves having places to go, people to see, things to do, just life in general, and her Lord most of all.

This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for today. Much love to each of you, my friends. Welcome to new readers (friends) and have a blessed day. Bye for now. More later.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Yesterday

Hey, Y'all,
First let me say "welcome" to those who have become readers and followers of my blog over the past few weeks. How rude of me not to have said so before. I appreciate each of you coming over here to my house and chatting with me. Thank you all for having 'conversations' with me.

I once heard it said that "Today is yesterday's tomorrow" and thought about how very apropos it is. Ya know, if we thought about what we are doing each day, we wouldn't have to regret our yesterdays, would we?

But, wait, let me tell you about my yesterday that just took place. Oh...that is what I do most days, isn't it? Ha. Yesterday morning, I was up early posting my "X" entry, and then put the final touches on Brooke Renee's baby quilt so I can mail it on Friday. She is our newest great grand-child and lives in Texas. After I finished that, I got Gramps up and we had breakfast. He decided he did need a shower before going to The Terrace Estates in Morristown (thank goodness) even though he usually gets two showers a week and had just had one two days earlier. So he did his shower with just minimal assistance from me. I had laid out his clothing for him and while he got dressed, I did my ablutions for the day.

When we had both finished dressing, I called my neighbor and the two boys came down and we loaded up the car with belongings that Gramps would need while in the assisted living facility. I gave them a hug and thanked them, Gramps came out, and we locked the door and were on our way. We chatted as we went and before long we were there. Gramps said, "That didn't take long!" "No," I replied, "we actually live only about 15 miles from here"

I kept reassuring him that he would only be there a couple of weeks, and then I would be returning to pick him up. Bless his heart. He was worried about someone getting into his stuff while he was gone up there, and I told him I would lock his bedroom door. He did not want to go to Texas with me for our youngest grandson's wedding out there, so I had no choice but to have him where he could be looked after. Don't worry about our house, someone will be watching after it for us.

It seems his mental faculties are declining more rapidly over the past few weeks. More and more I am becoming his Aunt Lula. He somehow believes that I am already in Texas and that she is looking after him. I was introduced by him to someone yesterday as his aunt.

After we arrived there, I took him in and he sat down in the living room area with the other residents who were seated and rolling a huge inflated plastic ball around doing 'exercises'. I went on with the person on desk duty, Cheryl, and we went down the hall to the nurses' station to give her the insulin for his shots each day. I saw several people with whom I became friends while we were there last fall, for my recuperation from surgery, and, of course, had to hug them. (I am big on hugging, you know) Never waste an opportunity to give someone a hug, you never know when it might make the big difference in a day.

Cheryl helped me unload the car and get it into the room, Mark, the custodian, got the television set up for Gramps and also some other things done to the room and we talked about people we know and I found out that he was married to one of my former students at Alpha School back a long time ago. I also saw Tricia, who was my home health care nurse while I was there at the Estates. It was like old home week for me. I also saw Jennifer, the beautician, and enjoyed hugging and talking with both of them. It may not have been too great for Gramps, but I take enjoyment very seriously.

After we had lunch, I unpacked for him and told him where everything was a couple of times, and then hugging and kissing him goodbye I took my leave, and headed for home. On the way home, I made a couple of stops and saw Judy's mama, and then later I saw Judy at the church where she is the secretary. Just as soon as I got home, the phone rang, and it was a former student from 44 years ago, that calls me occasionally for help with his son's homework. His son, Taylor, is in the 8th grade this year and taking Algebra. Of course, it has been 62 years since I had algebra , so I really have to reach back for it. I never taught it, so it has to be in the back recesses of my memory. I tutored Taylor for the first couple of years of his schooling. I love those boys and of course, David, as well. (Taylor has a younger brother, Chad).

Anyway, after supper, I worked on making signs for each table for our church's Festival of Tables coming up on Saturday. More about that later. My goodness, this epistle is getting too long. Let's just say, I went to bed about 10:30 and leave it at that. You don't want to hear about any more (if you have gotten this far, even. ha).

This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for now. A lot to do today. Much love to each of you, my friends, and I'll see you later. Bye for now.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I Am a Xerophyte - a story

Hello,
I just now saw you looking my way. Are you surprised to see me standing out here in the hot sun? You know, I stand tall and proud day in, day out. I can not move, you see. I am often quite thirsty and you may notice that many more like me are standing also. We cannot sit down and must stand with our arms lifted to the blue sky.

My life began as a very small me...in the shade of a nurse, who protected me because I grew very slowly. I can only grow about an inch a year, but I can grow to be quite old, to about 200 years of age. I send out a part of myself searching for moisture. My skin is quite smooth and waxy and I have spines all over that hurt a person who would be dumb enough to touch them. They protect me from animals that would want to harm me. People look for me when they are out here in the sun and get thirsty.

Do you see the beautiful white flowers with yellow centers that are blooming on the tips of my arms and at the top of my head? I have adapted to the heat of the desert here, and it does not harm me. I have five arms when I am fully grown.My height can be anywhere from 15 to 50 feet.

When it rains, I can soak up a lot of moisture with my shallow roots which grow laterally. I am the state flower of Arizona. My name is Saguaro Cactus. I am a Xerophyte.

Hey, Y'all,
Hope you like my little informational story about xerophytes. Yeah, I admit I had to use the dictionary to find an "x" word. Did you know there is only one page of x words? Then I did some research. I am also posting this very late on Tuesday evening because Wednesday is a busy day. Haven't had time to do any reading of other blogs. Sorry. I will catch up though over the next few days. I am putting my husband in Assisted living for a couple of weeks on Wednesday.

This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for tonight. More later. Much love to each of you, my friends out there in Blogland. Bye for now.

The Watchers

The Watchers

Each evening at dusk, they come to stand silently on the hilltops surrounding the city below. Watching, listening, seeing all. They do not speak. They watch.

Invisible to human eyes, they see every action taken by the humans. The watchers are hungry, yet they wait. The watchers know that their time will come, and that it will be soon.

The city is ringed about with them. Their wings are wrapped closely about their bodies, grotesquely gnarled and misshapen, yet able to carry their huge bodies swiftly and quietly through the night air.

When, they wonder, will the Master come and set them free to fly down into the city, rending apart the subject that each has chosen? They have been watching for months now, seeing the debauchery taking place in the city.

Then they can feast to their content...

Morning is coming. The watchers see the first rays of dawn beginning to show in the eastern sky. They silently take flight into the dark western sky, until the dusk, when they will return, once again...to watch and wait for the signal.

Hey, Y'all,
I thought I would take a try at science fiction very short story. You can make the continuation of it any way you wish. That is it for me. It was simply a short flight of the imagination for me.

Yesterday was a busy day. I was up at an early hour, even for me, and put the pork tenderloins in the crock pot with a half-bottle of BBQ sauce, and then made coffee and had a bran muffin with a cup of coffee, did my blog for the day, and took my shower, dressed and left a note for Gramps telling him where I would be till later. I left out his cereal bowl with fruit in it, and a spoon, along with his Cheerios, and left the house by 8:45.

By 9:30, I was parking my car at UT Hospital parking garage and then walked up the hill to the Heart-Lung Institute building and went up to the offices of my cardiologist's group and waited just a few minutes until I was called in to have my echo cardiogram. Soon after that I had my pacemaker check and the technician told me I have another three years before the battery will need changing, so that was good news.

My Dr. came in and we talked for several minutes about my health and he told me that every thing looked good, and that he would stop by one day soon and meet my family doctor ( who is a jewel), here in Jefferson City, since he comes home that way every day. He grew up in Morristown area and apparently still lives there. He was one of my students when I was teaching at Alpha. Isn't that neat? He didn't have the results from my echo cardiogram because the server for the computer was down, but said if there was any problems with it, he would call me. Would you believe that when I was recuperating in Alabama from my reconstructive surgery on my gall bladder, he actually called me in person to consult with me? Now that is a great doctor. Not very often will you have a doctor who is so busy, yet takes the time to call. I am very blessed to have two doctors who take such good care of me.

I got back home by noon time and saw that Gramps had not yet arisen from his bed. I had time then to fold some laundry, and do some other chores. I let him sleep until about 3 and then dragged him out of bed (almost), but insisted he needed to get up. While he was eating his cereal, I began preparing the remainder of what we would be having for supper and then after he had used his electric razor to shave his face, got him into the bathroom for his shower. He is not wild about showering, but he is mostly agreeable to get it done. ha.

By the time he had finished showering and getting dressed, I had gotten pretty well underway of peeling the sweet potatoes for supper and slicing them into french fry slices. However, I did not fry them. Instead, I placed a piece of parchment paper in a jelly roll pan and put some olive oil on it and spread out the sweet potato pieces on it. Then I sprayed the tops of them with buttery spray (like Pam) and sprinkled paprika on top of them and baked them at 450 degrees for 25 minutes. They were yummy!

We had sugar snap peas also. I had never cooked any of those before, but when you follow directions on the frozen package, they are easy. The boiled corn was a hit also. Supper was really good and enjoyed by all. Scott, the dad, didn't get to come because he was working late. We really missed having him with us. I like seeing him eat, because he enjoys it so much. Our dessert was fresh strawberries with whipped cream, and the little apricot pinwheels that I described making in a previous posting.

After supper we played dominoes until close to 9 p.m. Laurie and Olivia loaded the dishwasher for me and cleaned up the pots that I had used to cook supper. They are so very sweet to me and Gramps. I turned on the dishwasher and came into my computer room, and began reading blogs, but my head was soon drooping, so, sorry folks...I didn't get much reading or commenting done. I will try to make amends today. Breakfast calls to me, and today is one of the days I carry off the trash to the dumpster. I'll be back.

This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for today. Much love to each of you, my friends. More later. Bye for now.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Vanity and Its Foibles

Hey, Y'all,
When I was a girl (way back yonder), I guess I was like most little girls in that I wanted to look really good when I went to church or to any special occasion. I was most vain about my hair, and if I were trying to make it look just so, with curls, I would get angry if anyone got even close to speaking to me when I was fussing with it. My mama had a story for just about every thing, and my crankiness about my hair was no exception, and a saying as well.

One time when I was being really nasty to anyone who came near me, she said, "Ruby, did I ever tell you about the little girl who wanted her hair to be curly?" I said, "No, I don't think so".

Here was her story: "One time there was a little girl who was cute and she knew it. She was very vain about her looks. She got so angry one time when her hair would not do what she wanted it to do, she said, "Even if I die and go to Hell, I want my hair to be curly." Well, one day not long after that, she got sick and died. She had never accepted Jesus as her Saviour, even though she knew about Him. So they laid her out and put her into the coffin. It came time for the funeral, and after the preacher said some words over her, the pall bearers carried her from the little church to the graveyard nearby. They noticed as they carried her that the casket got heavier and heavier. Sounds were coming from the casket, and they wondered what in the world was going on. When they got to the open grave, they set down the casket and opened it. Imagine their shock and surprise when they saw a dozen little imps chattering and curling her hair."

Mama told me that story when I was about eleven years old, I guess. As you can see, it left an impression on my young mind. I have never forgotten it, but you know, I reckon maybe I do still have quite a bit of vanity in my old bones. I do like to look good, and I love to be thought well of, as most every body does. Hats are one of my weaknesses, and I wear one to church when I get to go. I enjoy receiving praise for hard work, and having done a pleasing thing. I hope I please my Lord, and look forward to rewards when I get to Heaven.

Some quotes about vanity:
"There are no grades of vanity, there are only grades of ability in concealing it." Mark Twain

"A man receives the shocks of life on the buffer of his vanity." Alexander Smith

"To be a Man's own Fool is bad enough, but the Vain Man is Everybody's." William Penn

"The highest form of vanity is love of fame." George Santayana

"You're so vain, you probably think this song is about you," Carly Simon

"Vanity as an impulse has probably been of far more benefit to civilization than modesty has ever been." W. E. Woodward

"Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity." From Ecclesiastes 12:8

Vanity has been blamed for many things, and it is true that a lot has been accomplished through vanity that would otherwise never have been done. It is also true that vanity has caused a lot of heartaches that would not have been suffered without it. Vanity is a part of human nature that we must constantly strive to keep it from overtaking us.

My mama had a saying to kind of take us down a notch or two when we were concerned with how we looked. "They'll never be able to tell the difference on a galloping pony." In case you don't get that one, she meant that we probably didn't stay still long enough for anyone to notice if we looked good or not, I reckon.

Well, today is going to be a busy one for me. It is 7:15 and I have already put the tenderloin in the crockpot with barbeque sauce on it for tonight's supper. We are having roasting ears (boiled corn on the cob), and sugar snap peas, along with some toasted garlic bread. I have an appointment in Knoxville with my cardiologist; a regular checkup at 10 a.m. so I still have my shower and breakfast to do yet. I imagine Gramps will be sleeping in, but coffee is ready to turn on for him and I will set out his cereal and bowl for his breakfast before I fly out of here like, well, like anything you want to imagine. Ha ha.

This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for today. Yeah, I love to hear how much you like reading my blog. It makes me feel appreciated and we all need that, now, don't we? Much love to each of you, my friends out in Blogland. More later. I am soon going to create a story board for my suspense story and begin writing the rest of it one of these days, God willing.
Bye for now.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Happy Birthday, Hannah









Hey, Y'all,
Tomorrow is our great grand-daughter, Hannah's, birthday. She is our oldest great grand and she will be nine years old. I don't have any really recent pictures of her alone and these came from her mom's blog. Isn't she beautiful? She is just as lovely on the inside as she is on the outside. She is at an Awana meeting in the close up picture.

Today has been a very quiet day, a lot of wind outside, and I have not even gotten dressed today, and have just kind of lounged around. I did make a dessert for tomorrow evening. I cooked some dried apricots, drained them, mashed them up with a shortening cutter (that you use to cut shortening into flour) and then added a bit of sugar, cinnamon, and cloves. One could use an artificial sweetener instead of sugar if they so chose. Then I used a couple of ready made pie crusts that you unroll, and using a rolling pin, I rolled them a little thinner and kind of squared them up. Then I spread margarine on the crust, followed by spreading the apricot mixture, followed by sprinkling some pecan pieces on top of that. I then rolled it all up into a long roll and sliced it into small sections. I placed the slices on parchment paper in a pizza pan, and baked them at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then turned them over and baked them for another 15 minutes. Removed them from oven and placed them on a plate to cool. Yum! Right now they are stored in a plastic container for tomorrow evening.

I sat on the couch with Gramps this afternoon and watched a movie with him. He asked me if I liked to swim, and I said, "Do you?" He said, "Oh, yeah. I wish Ruby liked to swim. She almost learned to swim when we were in Texas one time." He thought he was talking to someone else, and that he was child sitting. He asked me later this evening who that girl was that was here this afternoon that he was watching after. I said, "What was she wearing?" He said, "I don't know, I didn't look at her that close." I replied that I had been with him all day, and that it must have been me. He had nothing to say to that news. Bless his heart.

It is nearing 9 p.m. right now. Last night he went to bed right after supper, around 7:30 and I remained up until about 12:30, reading other people's blogs and writing comments. When I went into the bedroom, he was wearing his outer clothes again, and was ready to eat breakfast. I said, "honey, it is bedtime and I need to go to bed and get some sleep." So he got into his pajamas again, and we went back to bed. He said, "Don't disturb that person sleeping in that bed over there." I replied that I was the only one in the bed.

At 3:30 a.m. he was awake again, and I had to get up and put some bio-freeze on my cramping leg. Then when I went back to bed, he said, "are we going to get up?" I said, "Baby, I gotta get some more sleep." So he began to sing, "Rockabye baby," to me. I said, "Thank you honey, now lets' stop singing and go to sleep". So we did. Ha.

Well, just a few more letters to go, and frankly, I'll be somewhat sad to see the challenge end, won't you? Oops, our television satellite just went out. Hope it comes back on. It is awful inconvenient sometimes to live way out in the boonies and have to rely on satellite for television and internet, separately, even. Expensive, too.

I'll see you tomorrow with my "V" entry. Looking forward to it. This is Blabbin'Grammy signing off for tonight. Much love to each of you, my friends, and more later. Bye for now.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Friday Question challenge

Hey,Y'all,

Wasabi Mommy challenged other bloggers to copy and paste these questions and answer them. So here they are.
1. What was the first car you owned? Oldsmobile F-85 - 1966

2. What song are you embarrassed to know the lyrics to? Not any

3. Have you ever had stitches? That is just too funny! Too many to count

4. What was your first job? Knoxville Credit Bureau in 1951

5. Who is your favorite Sesame Street character? Big Bird

An Unusual Tool

Hey, Y'all,
I would be willing to bet that most of you readers out in Blogland would not know what the object is in the picture . It involves the occupation that my mama had her whole life until retirement. She was a knitter in a hosiery mill. They manufactured socks that one wears on the feet. Her job was to knit the major portion of a stocking after someone else had knit the first part of it. She would take the stocking and put each stitch in the edge of the sock over a tooth on the transfer (name of the object in the picture), and then pulling the sock through the transfer, she would turn the transfer upside down and transfer the stitches onto the machine. She would then pull the sock down underneath and hold onto the sock with the left hand and remove the transfer with the right hand. She would then move on to the next machine, repeating the transfer action. The machines would then knit the rest of the sock up to where the elastic band was supposed to be knit. By the time that she finished transfer of a sock on the third machine, she would be ready to go back to the first machine. By the way, the teeth on the transfer are very sharp. The base of the transfer measures 4 and 1/2 inches in diameter.

The top of the sock left to be knit was the ribbing. As soon as she finished her part of a sock, it was added to a group of socks until she had a dozen pair. The dozen pair was bundled and sent to the "ribber room" where the socks were finished up. She was paid by the dozens or partial dozens that her machines knit during the day. She kept three (3) machines running each day. She moved back and forth, back and forth, day in and day out. She would usually work right through lunch, eating as she worked. She worked from 7:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. The only time she was out of work was during the worst of the depression years and nobody was working then.

When a machine would go down (something be wrong with it) she would send for a "fixer", a machinist, to work on the machine. She was losing money, of course, when the machine would be down.

My mama quit school when she had finished the fifth grade so that she could go to work in the hosiery mill in Loudon, Tennessee, where she was born. Her dad died when she was only nine years old and they were living in Texas at the time. She had an older sister and two older brothers, who had also quit school upon completion of the fifth grade. There were younger brothers and sisters. They had gone to work at the hosiery mill, too. As you can probably guess, the hosiery mill was the big employer in the county. The youngest sister, Edith, did not quit school but finished high school. I believe, though, that even she worked at the mill in the summertime.

Their mother, Granny Black, was half Cherokee, and unfortunately could not read or write, and left with seven children to raise by herself. It was necessary for her children to work as soon as they could. Granny worked, too, by doing laundry for people that paid her almost nothing. (But that is another story).

The transfer in the picture belonged to my mama. She and dad moved to Knoxville soon after they were married. In Knoxville, she worked at the Holston Manufacturing Company Mill. She bought it after she was married to my dad, and it must have been in the 1940's that she bought it. She carried it home every day, and back to work the next day, and kept it wrapped in a stocking to protect its teeth. It has one hundred and eight teeth in a brass ring. It is quite heavy and was in my sister's possession until she passed away in 2007 right after Christmas. It then came into my hands, and it is quite dear to me because of what it represents.

My mama worked off and on for fifty years, from the age of eleven until she was sixty-one and was a primary supporter of our family. My dad worked at the hosiery mill in the ribber room for quite a few years until he got a job at Fulton-Sylphon during the World War II. Then in 1947, we moved to the farm in New Market where he became a farmer.

My mama had told us about how she had to be hidden in the lint barrels at the mill when she was just a child of eleven. The government had just passed the child labor laws, and if a factory was found with children working there when the inspectors came through, it would have to pay a fine. So when they knew the inspectors were coming through, the children were put into the lint barrels until the inspectors had finished their walk through the factory. She started working at he mill in 1912.

My mama could read and write exceptionally well, because back then, if a person was smart and had learned well, their fifth grade education could rival a tenth grade education now. She always kept her production in a small notebook and was scrupulously honest. If she was paid too much, she let the bookkeeper at work know, and if she was not paid enough, she let him know too.

She passed away in 1973 at the age of 72, her health broken by the years of standing on her feet, working for her family, but I know she never regretted a day of it. My dad lived on for another six years and missed her every day of it. From 1947 till 1961 she lived in a room in a house belonging to one of my aunts during the week and then came home on the Greyhound and spent the weekend on the farm. That, my friends, is true dedication to family and responsibility.

I know this posting is probably about my mama as much as it is about the transfer that she used in her work, but I can't tell about one without telling about the other.

Well, this is Saturday and it looks a little like rain today, at least the sky is cloudy and the weathermen say it is supposed to, so I reckon maybe it will. I think I will probably make a good breakfast for Gramps and me this morning. It is nigh on to nine a.m. so I gotta get shakin' and move my bones. Ha.

This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for today. Much love to each of you, my friends and family, out there in Blogland. Bye for now. More later. I'm looking forward to reading a lot of blogs this evening. In case you are wondering why I put comment moderation on my blog, I had been getting some comments in Chinese that would lead to a porn site, and I don't want any of that stuff. Bye for now.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Taking A Chance

Hey, Y'all, (Thank you, Niki, for the Sunshine Award!)

Taking A Chance - Chapter one-

All the way home, as the lightning flashed and the thunder rolled overhead, Susan's thoughts drifted back over the day. That customer was back again for the third time this week, looking curiously at her tiny five foot two frame, and unsmiling as he did so. Was he simply an admirer or was he hired to search for her? He always bought only junk food, sometimes only a pack of gum, some chips and a six-pack of beer.

Susan looked into the rear-view mirror and saw the car lights shining in her blue eyes, and wondered if she was being followed. Her hands gripped the wheel tightly and she almost crossed the center line.

"I have to get a grip on myself," she said, when the car turned off in a different direction.

Home at last, she turned into the driveway and parked the car in the spot reserved for her apartment, and putting her coat up over her head, ran for the doorway of the apartment house. Having taken the keys out of her purse before leaving the car, she had them ready to use. Quickly she inserted the door key, and after going inside, locked the door after herself.

Oh, it felt wonderful to be home at last! Susan turned up the heat slightly and, kicking off her shoes, thought about how good it would be to get out of the uniform and into her gown and a warm robe. First, however, she went into the kitchen and poured a cup of milk, and putting it into the microwave to heat, got out the box of ready mix chocolate drink.

What was that noise? Susan moved over to the window and looking out. could only see the occasional flashes of light as the rain hit the window panes. Was something moving around out there?

Glancing at the kitchen clock, she noted it was a little past midnight, and thought, "Girl, you gotta stop this shaking in your boots at every little noise. You are safe here." Closing the blue cafe curtains on the window to shut out the night, she turned to the dinging of the microwave and removed the hot milk.

It had been a long and tiring day, standing on her feet all day at the cash register of the local supermarket, smiling at the customers who sometimes came in complaining about the high prices. Of course, there was nothing she could do except commiserate with them, and tell them to have a good day when they took their groceries, and small children, going on their way.

Brinnnnnnnnng, brinnnnnnnng....the jangling of the telephone interrupted Susan's thoughts.

"Oh, no! Not a call at this time of night! Who could be calling me at this time of night?"

Susan's hands nearly dropped the cup of hot chocolate as she stood there thinking and listening to the phone. She didn't have caller ID, so she had no way of knowing who it could possibly be. Perhaps it was a wrong number. After about nine rings, it stopped. Susan let out the deep breath she had been holding.

Susan looked in the mirror at her tired face. There were new worry lines beginning to show around her mouth and eyes. Her dark curls of her shoulder length hair were drooping (it seemed to her), and she felt haggard looking. She had only been here in this little mid-western town for a couple of months, and was looking every bit of her 45 years. How fortunate for her that she had found work after two weeks of searching the ads and walking around, looking. She didn't know anyone in town well enough for them to be calling her at this hour.

Feeling she had covered her trail well enough that he could not find her again, she sank down into the kitchen chair to drink her hot chocolate. Her eyes filled with tears as she remembered her last encounter with him.

"Is it possible that he has found me even yet again? What do I do? Where do I run to now?"

Brinnnnnnnnnnng..Brinnnnnnnnnnnng..there it was again! Should she take a chance and answer it? She had to know...

Picking up the phone, she whispered, "Hello"....
*********************************************

Well, friends, I thought I would try my hand at some suspense fiction. It is quite difficult, isn't it? It is a bright sunshiny day here in East Tennessee, and I'm hoping to finally finish the baby quilt for my great granddaughter, Brooke Renee, and get it sent off to her before I fly like a big bird out to Texas to see all the family out there. I will also get to see the grandchildren and great grands that live in Illinois, since they will be there for the wedding of my fourth grandson to be married. It has been two years since I will have seen most of those in Texas. Some of them did get this way last year when I was so very ill, near unto death. I appreciate both them and my daughter in Alabama for the help they all gave to me and Gramps. We had a lot of prayer and help from many different quarters of the earth. Friends and family near and far are so deeply appreciated.

Praises be to God! He spared my life for a while longer, and I am so very thankful for His mercies to me and my husband. My getting well was much more His doing than any of mine.

Gramps will probably be sleeping late today. I had to get him up yesterday so that after I got back from my checkup at the doctor's, we could go into Knoxville for our "Movie Day" with Mae and Imazo. I got a fairly good report from my family doctor. My liver enzymes are still up but some of them are down more than last time a month ago. I am off my Crestor because of my liver so naturally my total cholesterol is up, but the good thing is that my good cholesterol is up too. This may be TMI for some of you, but I know my daughters will be pleased to read this.

Oh, yeah, we had lunch at O'Charley's and then went to Imazo's house to watch the movie. I got the television turned on and set to watch, I opened the DVD case, and Shazam! It was empty, no DVD! Imagine our chagrin at that howdy do! Well, Imazo had no movies to watch, so I knew she needed to go to the grocery store and Mae was feeling tired, so we just found a station for them to watch, and we left Gramps and Mae to watch tevee and went to the store.

When we got back from Knoxville, I drove on up to Blockbusters and they said that had been happening a lot lately. People come in to steal the DVDs and pop the security tab off the package and slip the DVD into a pocket and out they go. The young man there gave me credit for the return of the case and I will pick up another DVD next week without any charge.

Well, folks, that is about it for today. I have some laundry to finish today as well as vacuuming to do. Much love to each of you, my friends out there in Blogland. This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for today. More later. Bye for now.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sisters - Mine Was One of the Best

Hey, Y'all,
You know, you never really and truly appreciate something or someone to the fullest until they are gone. Then, you begin to remember all the things that made them so special to you and to all those who knew them. I guess it is just a fact of human nature. Anyway, I know you have already guessed that this is a picture of my sister, Margaret, and me. It was taken soon after we moved to New Market. Margaret was, by nature, a sunny individual, always ready to have some good, clean fun. Well, actually, I am too. Ha. In this pic, we were leaning against a corner dirt bank on the farm, just being sisters.

Margaret was almost eight years old (just lacking 11 days) and was happy to get a little sister, I guess, since she had two brothers older than she, and a younger one, born about 4 and a half years before I was. The birth order in our family was: Bill, Ralph, Margaret, Hugh, me, and then finally, little brother, John.

It was often told that when I was only six weeks old, Margaret was holding me and dropped me on the floor and I fainted. We always joked and said that she dropped me on my head and that is why I am the way I am. Ha ha ha. Anyway, I reckon maybe she always was the responsible older sister. We did have a lot of fun along the way, though. When I was growing up, she was the one who cared for me while Mom was at work in the hosiery mill every day. It was she who held my hand when I was little and we would go places together.

As we grew up, she became the one who tattled on me when I did the wrong thing, but she wanted me to be a responsible person, I know. If she had to behave, then I did too. She wanted me to do the right thing, and was not loathe to remind me. She also knew who was boss in the family. We were mostly a matriarchal family. Dad was an easy going fellow most of the time, unless we got him really riled up. Mom was the boss, I guess because she was raised by her mama. Our grandpa died when Mom was only 9 years old and left Granny to raise seven children on her own. (But that is a story for another day).

The story was often told about how Mom was out of the house for some reason, maybe gone to town, and a salesman came knocking at the door. We were still living in Knoxville at the time. Margaret answered the door and when the salesman asked if the lady of the house was in, Margaret said, "No, but daddy's the boss when mama's not here," indicating, of course, that he could speak with dad.

She and I did a lot of things together out on the farm, growing up. We scrubbed the clothes together, we did the dishes together, oftentimes singing. I did the soprano, and she did the alto part. Sometimes, when it was time to do the dishes, I would head to the privy and expect her to finish the dishes while I was gone. Sometimes she would, but often times they would be waiting for me to dry after I got back and washed my hands. Darn it! Sometimes, we would sing in church. We both belonged to the church choir. (Goodness, that brings up another story in my mind, but it can wait till another day).

Margaret came to visit me when Charlie and I lived in Indiana, and expecting Carol. She actually came to visit when we had only lived there for a short time and then back when Carol and Teresa both were soon to be born. She helped take care of me when my time was very near to be delivered of them, and for a couple or so weeks after. I remember when Carol was born, and of course, I had no experience (I didn't know nothin' 'bout birthin' babies). Back then when a baby was a newborn, we put belly bands around their middles until the last of the umbilical cord came off. You should have seen the two of us fixing the belly bands around Carol, and later, Teresa. Of course, they don't do that any more.

It was Margaret who mainly cared for my daughters when we moved back to the farm, and I had to go to work in the Magnavox factory every day to help support them. It was she who saw them off to school every morning. It was she who took them to the doctor when they needed to go. She cared for them then when I went to Carson-Newman for three long years. I missed parts of those years with them, but I know they got the best of care and love from her, my mom and my dad. She was their consciences as well, and never failed to tell them, "Now, you know that's not right!"

Margaret became a paid caregiver when mom and dad were no longer with her. She cared for them in their last years. In the early 1980's she began her career as a paid caregiver and living most of the time with the patients and coming home one weekend in the month. John, our youngest brother, was married and living on the farm. Dad had deeded the house to him, and so she, John, and his wife, Darlene, were living out here on the farm. John was a teacher at Jefferson High School, and he would go get Margaret one weekend a month and bring her home. When he decided to move to Arizona with his wife and two children, he sold the house, and Margaret was left with no home of her own anymore.

When he left, then I became the person who would pick up Margaret from the patient's home and bring her to our home to spend the weekend. When Margaret decided she wanted to retire from that, she rented an apartment in a government housing building, and lived independently for the first time in her life, at about the age of 68 (I think). She never learned to drive - no opportunity and no money to buy a car. She always lived frugally. She never went past the eighth grade in school, but did earn a GED in her sixties. Margaret was loved by all who knew her. She loved the Lord and people. She is missed.

Well, I have a doctor's appointment today. My regular family doctor's checkup time. There is a lot to do. so I had better get with it. We are also headed to Knoxville later today for our "movie day" with my two sisters-in-law, Mae and Imazo. This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for now. I'll check on the other blogs later this evening after Gramps is in bed for the night. Much love to each of you, my friends out there in Blogland. Bye for now.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rationing and Quilts, Part 2








Hey, Y'all,
I hope I can get the blogger site to upload pictures of some of the baby quilts I have made. Apparently the site is very busy and has been all day on Tuesday, even at 11 p.m. when I tried. Anyway, I thought I would tell about what I remember of rationing of goods in World War II.

I remember when the United States declared war. I was eight years old at the time. I remember hearing it announced on the radio, right after Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese planes. It was not long after that when my two oldest brothers were called up in the draft and had to go to the army. They both served overseas in the Pacific Theater of Operations. My oldest brother, Bill, was married and had a little girl, who is now seventy years old. My next oldest brother, Ralph, was still single, and didn't get married until after the war was over.

On the home front, rationing of goods became a way of life beginning in January of 1942. To get a classification and a book of ration stamps, a person had to appear before a local rationing board. Each person in the family received a ration book, even the babies. If you bought gasoline you had to show a gas card, and a ration book.

The ration books were good only for a certain period of time and had to be used during that time if they were going to be. This was to keep people from hoarding them up. There was also a black market for goods and I think they probably did a brisk business.

Some of the things that were rationed were: automobiles, and their tires, sugar, gasoline, shoes and footwear, coffee, fuel oil (like kerosene and motor oil), meat, lard, dairy products, processed foods, dried fruits, canned milk. All kinds of things. We had scrap drives where we collected tin and metal, and rubber for the war effort. We also had a 'victory garden' and raised a lot of our own vegetables.

One of the stories in our family was how our alarm clock quit working and my mom went to town (we lived in Knoxville at the time) and went into a jewelry store and asked about buying an alarm clock so she could be sure and wake up in time to go to work at 7 a.m. The store owner told her he didn't have any to sell because he couldn't get any of them. All the metal was going into the goods for the military. He asked her "Why don't you get a rooster?" That made her so mad she could have spit! She never got tired of telling that story. Ha.

Each person only was allowed one pair of shoes a year, and if you outgrew your shoes before the year was up, either someone went without a pair so you could have one, or you went barefoot. We did a lot of barefoot going in the summertime, anyway.

During the war, some of the coffee we got was not too good. The coffee companies began adding chicory to the coffee to stretch it out. One story I remember about coffee was soon after the war was over: My dad sent me to the neighborhood store that was up the hill just a couple of blocks from the house. I thought when he sent me that he told me to get a pound of Jubilator coffee. Well, when I got to the store, I asked for the Jubilator coffee, and the storekeeper said, "I don't believe I ever heard of that brand". So he called the house and asked if that was what dad wanted. Dad said, "No, I wanted a pound of Percolator coffee."
Well, now, I was really embarrassed about that and dad teased me about it for years. Ha ha.

It was a funny thing about the war. Before the war, there was not enough money to buy what we needed. After the war began, the economy picked up, but even when you were earning money, stuff was rationed, so you couldn't get as much as you wanted. I remember, too, that when we bought sugar or flour or meal, it was packed in paper like it is now, and so as not to waste any of it, and to get every grain of it, mom or Margaret would empty the bags and then tear them apart to get whatever was in between the seams. None of it was allowed to escape. That, my dears, is thrift.

Well, I am writing this up on Tuesday evening, and it is almost midnight. I am just about ready to go to bed, and will try again in the morning to upload the pictures I want to post. Then I will publish this post.

Hey, Y'all,
It is now early morning and I was able to get up early and download some pics of a few of the baby quilts I have made. All of them are reversible and I have only put one side of each on here. They are colorful on both sides. You can see how big they are because one of them has my husband holding it up in front of him (see hands at top of pic and mantel behind him, ha). I also posted a pic of my oldest brother, Bill, holding his son, Fred, and Norma, his daughter, is standing beside him.

Well, I still have a day ahead of me to do stuff, and it is very early in the a.m., so I am headed back to bed for a few hours. Still got a little sleeping to do yet, and yes, I can go back to sleep. I am quite used to waking up and making a trip to our indoor privy (no outside one these days) and then going back to bed. Sometimes, when I can't sleep, I play at my computer, until I get sleepy and then go back.

This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for today (until later) and going back to bed. I have a baby quilt to finish today. More later. Much love to each of you, my friends out there in Blogland. (Is there such a word? I reckon there is if we say it is. ha ha). Bye for now.

Quilting - A Productive and Rewarding Pastime






Hey, Y'all,
About 30 years ago (I think it was that long ago), I decided I would make a quilt for each of my grandchildren. At that time, I had only one, so it was not such a grand challenge then. Well, I now have five grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren. Each of them (except the newest one, on whose quilt I am now working) has a quilt made for them that is like no other quilt that anyone has. Each of the quilts made for the grands have hand stitching in them. The great grands have quilts done completely on the machine. The great grands' quilts are patterned after the "love quilts" made to give as lap robes to senior adults and baby quilts to people who are battered women with babies.

I don't have pictures of all the quilts, especially the quilt I first made for oldest grandson, Daniel, which I had begun and then put away until about 12 years ago, and then picked up again to finish for him. Perhaps if I ask him, he or his sweet wife, Whitney, would take a pic of it and send the pic to me.

Above are some pics of some of the quilts I have made. The last one for a grandchild was made for my grandson, BJ, who is in the U.S. Air Forces. It was just finished and sent to him a couple of months ago. His was the only one that was reversible, (because the idea came to me when I was planning it). The four quilts pictured here were all of a size to fit a king-size bed and were not done on a quilting frame, but put together row by row.

The babies quilts (for great grands,) I will publish a little later because I want to get this posted before I leave to go to have some routine blood work done prior to a doctor's appointment for Thursday. I will add them to this posting later today. I come by quilting quite honestly since my mom and my sister were quilters. I am a "Johnny-come-lately" when it comes to doing them, and got some of my ideas of how to quilt from books by Georgia Bonesteel who is an author of Lap Quilting books.

Well, got lots to do today, and will be back to finish adding pictures to the post later. Come back and see the rest of them, if you so desire. This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for a little while. I'm a gonna finish all this later.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Privies, Punning, PPO, and Procrastination and A Poem

Hey, Y'all,
It seems like I could think of a lot of subjects beginning with "P" and had a difficult time making up my mind, so here goes:

Privies- For those of you who may not know what a privy is, in the language of a southerner, it is a toilet, most usually an outhouse. A conversation with Gramps went something like this:

ME: "I think I'll write about privies tomorrow."
HIM: "Did you all have one when you were growing up?"

"Well, yeah, several."
"All at one time?"

"No, honey. At different times when we lived in the country. At Possum Valley, and at New Market"
"Did they have a half moon on the door?"

"Nope."
"Did they have a latch on the inside?"

"Of course. We had to be able to fasten it to keep other family members out."
"Well, was it a one-holer or a two-holer?"

"The one here in New Market was a two-holer."
"Did two of you ever use it at the same time?"

"Well, two girls, Margaret and I, could use it at the same time, or two of the males in the family, but no otherwise."
"What did you use for toilet paper?"

"The Sears and Roebuck Catalog or newspapers or magazines, of course."
"Did anyone ever come and tip it over?"

"No, now let's go to sleep. I'm tired and I need my beauty sleep." Ha.

So the conversation went on a few more minutes and we settled down to sleep, finally.

Anyhow, a little more about privies. As I said, I've had some experiences with them. When we lived in Possum Valley, and I had begun school, I needed to go to the privy and was of course, only six years old. I could hear a dog barking outside, and as most children would be, I was really scared to go outside by myself, so I hesitated in asking to go, and consequently wet on myself. Someone pointed to the floor where the puddle was and so I was embarrassed and had to have my drawers dried near the stove that heated the room. I think maybe the teacher had extras that she kept for us in case of "accidents".

At New Market, when we moved here, I was once again introduced to the use of the privy. The outhouse got this name because long ago it wasn't called a toilet in polite society, but spoken of as a private place, hence a privy. Anyhow, it was across the road and down the wooded hill from our house. It was often populated by spiders and other critters. When we had to go in the dark down to it, Daddy would light the lantern, so we could carry it with us. I usually got my sister, Margaret Elizabeth, to go with me. In the summertime that is. In the winter, we used a 'chamber pot' or 'slop jar', and of course, had a lid to go on top of it. We kept it under the bed, and only used it in dire necessity. It was my chore to carry it down the hill each morning to empty it. UGH! I'm glad those days are over.

One time, on my way down the hill to use the outhouse, there was a snake on the path, lying there sunning itself, I suppose. Well, I screamed bloody murder, and of course someone came running, and I shouted, "There's a snake! There's a snake!" Whoever it was that came, probably my dad or Margaret, saw it and said, "Oh, that's only a black snake. I thought you were dying or something!" I said, "Well, I could have been if it had bitten me!"

Of course, you know that black snakes won't hurt you. In fact, they keep mice and rats out of the barn. They are friends to the farmer, but I didn't give a hoot what they did to help us, I just knew I didn't want one around me.

PUNNING - Well, folks I am one of the world's worst people for puns. Both my sons-in-law and I love to out pun each other. My daughters love to groan when we all get together and begin trying to outdo each other. I've heard that puns are the lowest form of humor, and if so, I know a lot of people who don't really care that they are.

PROCRASTINATION - Yeah, I am among those people who put off doing things, even things that I enjoy doing. I have to be in the right "mood", and have everything "just so" before I begin a project. For instance, before I begin a quilt of any size, I gotta be in the right frame of mind to do the beginning of it. Some art projects I have planned in my mind, are still on the back burner, but I will eventually 'get a round tuit', so to speak. Folding laundry, dishes in the sink, all that kind of stuff does eventually get done. My mom would have just called it 'Ruby Irene being lazy'. Ha.

PPO - That is one of my beliefs - Persistence Pays Off. I am a firm believer that keeping on pays off in the finality of things. In many ways of my life, I have found it to be true. If you want something to happen, ya gotta believe it will. Pray for it, keep at it, and believe it's gonna happen and keep on believing. My mama said that hard work never hurt anybody. She had a saying: "Things that you do, do with your might; things done by halves are never done right." That's it.

Well, folks, I never did find out what made all that noise the other morning at 4 a.m. I figure I must have just dreamed it, and it was so loud in my dream that it just woke me up. Do ya reckon? I reckon so. We spent a quiet day yesterday and didn't go anywhere or do anything spectacular (not that we ever do, ha). I was in here at my computer last night, and Gramps was in the living room watching television at about 10:30, when all of a sudden, I hear another huge noise. This time it was Gramps hitting the floor with his body. He had turned off the light near his chair and tried to leave the room with no lights on. Duh!

In the first place he doesn't see too well, and in the second place he is never real steady on his feet so he uses a cane to walk with. I jumped up, and ran in to see what had happened. I turned on the light and there he was sitting on his backsides looking up at me. I knew immediately what he had done. Yeah, he was okay and I helped him get up (which is not easy), and he came on in and went to bed. He will probably be a little sore today.

Today I'm making pizza and chocolate eclair dessert for our supper with our neighbors. They are bringing the movie, "Up", with them for us to watch tonight instead of playing games afterward. This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for today. I have a dessert to go prepare. I made the pizza sauce yesterday afternoon. More later. Much love to each of you, my friends. Bye for now. I look forward to blog reading tonight before bed. Thanks to you all for the lovely comments and for reading 'my stuff'.

PS. A poem I once wrote:

Shadows

As I gaze around my room
The shadows flow as liquid, soon
To be dispelled by light
When sunshine chases out the night.

But all the shadows are not
Visible to the naked eye;
Instead they fill my heart,
Waiting for me to say good-bye.

Good-bye to what? I dare not say!
Or should I tell? I will today!
Good-bye to gloom, good-bye to doom!
"Come, sweet Jesus! Soon!

Fill this space inside my heart,
Make all the shadows flee;
Cause the sadness to depart,
Till only You are in my heart."

That's it. I wrote it several years ago. Bye again for now.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Only One Choice

Hey, Y'all,
Elizabeth looked into the mirror at her reflection. A serious face, full of the misery she felt inside, gazed back at her. Her chestnut hair waved about her face, and her blue eyes were red-rimmed from tears that had poured into her pillow as she thought about leaving city life behind, again.

She had lain awake several nights, sobbing her sorrows at leaving all chances of ever getting married and being stuck out in the literal wilderness, away from everyone but her immediate family. She imagined the following conversation with her younger sister, Irena.

("Why aren't you excited about moving? It seems like an adventure to me!"

"Humph! What do you know about anything, anyhow? You're just a kid, and you'll be going to school meeting other people! I'll be stuck out on the farm, working out there, just like I am here.")

She looked at her plump body and thought, "Who am I kidding, anyway? My boyfriend, A.J., left a year ago, and I haven't heard from him except for that one letter I got from him about six months ago. He told me that he was working so that he could save up enough money for us to get married. I haven't heard anything else from him. I have no way of staying here in town. I don't have a chance of doing anything except moving with the family."

Elizabeth turned away from the mirror and began packing up dishes again. The kitchen was almost finished and she had the bedrooms and the living room to finish packing up. She picked up another box and some newspapers. Even though she inwardly rebelled at the idea of leaving town for a farm way out in the sticks, she knew the only choice she had was to obey her parents and do as she was told.

She shouted at Irena to come and help her finish up the kitchen. It was 10 a.m. and there was lots left to do. It had been raining for the last couple of days, and looked so dreary outside, it absolutely fit in with her mood.

Irena came into the kitchen eating a banana popsicle that she had taken out of the icebox while Elizabeth had been staring gloomily at herself in the mirror in the hallway.

"What is wrong with you? You have been moping around for days now. What do you suppose the farm looks like? Will we have any cows, or pigs?"

"I don't know, Irena, but you need to finish up that popsicle and help me finish packing these dishes. We have to be ready to leave day after tomorrow and there is still a lot to do. Mom left orders when she went to work this morning that we were to be through with packing a couple of more rooms by the time she comes home. Now hurry up, and give me some help!"

"Ha! You're not the boss of me! I'll help when I am good and ready, and not before! You're just mad because you haven't heard from A.J. in a long time. What do you suppose has happened to him, anyway? I wonder what my new school will be like? I wonder how long it will take me to make some new friends? What do you think, Elizabeth?"

Irena chattered on, never once thinking of the heartbreak that Elizabeth was facing.

Little did they know that their mama had driven off A.J. at the bus stop one night over a year ago, telling him that he was not welcome in their home because he was a no-good drifter without a job or prospects of a job. She felt she was protecting her daughter from heartbreak at his hands. A good part of the move they were making was to get out of the city where her two daughters would be protected by distance from life in the city. She could see that Irena was growing up and would soon be interested in courting.

Elizabeth was twenty-two and what people called 'pleasingly plump' and she just called it 'fat'. She had a pleasing demeanor, and people loved her because of it. She had early on, been bent to her mother's will, and although she had inwardly rebelled at times, there was little outward evidence of it. She was eight years older than her sister, Irena. Irena was more outgoing and a bit more successful at getting her own way. And, yes, a bit spoiled as well, being the youngest sister.

When they reached the farm, a few days later, riding in the truck that delivered the furniture and goods, Elizabeth was dismayed to see that the house had four rooms and a path. That meant, of course, that there was no indoor toilet, and no running water in the house. There was a cistern with a pump when you stepped out the back door onto the porch (if it could even be called a porch).

Even though she knew Irena would help her, Elizabeth knew that the years ahead would be filled with work for her to do. With their mother working in town during the week, and only coming home on the weekends by Greyhound bus, and being brought out to the house in the truck that delivered groceries, Elizabeth knew that her choice was really no choice. The responsibilities were endless, and she accepted the choice with grace.

Hey, y'all, This is my idea of how my sister, Margaret, must have felt about coming out to New Market when we moved to the farm. It is fictional as far as telling her true feelings. I can only imagine what it must have been like for her, as the oldest daughter in the family having to move out here. Most of the things I have expressed in this characterization are true. It is only lately that I have tried to put myself into her head and think as she might have thought.

She never married, and wound up being the family caregiver. She was a sweet-natured lady, but no little plaster saint. All the kids loved her, and she loved them. She became a sub for me when I was living here and took care of my two daughters (along with my mom), when I was going to Carson-Newman-College. I owe her a debt of gratitude for the years that she spent caring for me and mine.

Well, I was going to write about Outhouses I Have Known, but I will save that for another day. Someone asked me in a comment about the price of gasoline in 1941. I believe it cost somewhere around 15 cents a gallon.

This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for today. I was sleeping soundly in bed this morning (about 4 a.m.) when I heard what sounded like banging on the door outside. I jumped up (yeah, believe it or not, at my age, I can still jump up) and ran to the back door and turned on the light....opened the door....nothing or no one there. I ran then to the front door...turned on the light...opened the door...nothing or no one there. I still don't know what it was making the noise. So I shut and locked the doors again, and decided to come on in here to my computer and do the day's posting. I figured it could have been thunder or maybe an earthquake.

Oh, well, I'm headed back to bed to try to finish out my night's sleep. It is, after all, only 5:15 in the morning. Good night, y'all. See you later. Much love to each of you, and I'll let you know when I know what the noise was all about.


Friday, April 16, 2010

A Nickel - What would it buy in 1941?

Hey, Y'all,
Well, we are halfway through the alphabet now, and to the letter "N". I got to thinkin' about the letter N and what could I write about, and all at once it came to me, (with the economy now in the toilet) what we used to could buy for a nickel back in 1941, when the economy was beginning to improve a little. I remember hearing the old song about the fellow who was living on the streets and begging for money. The song I am thinking about came out somewhere around 1930 (I think) and it went something like, "Mister, can you spare a dime?".

The question right now though, is, "What could you buy for a nickel in 1941?". I remember when a loaf of light bread was a nickel. We would walk to Ridley's store in New Town ( a part of Knoxville that we lived in) and buy a loaf for that. We expressed outrage when later it went to seven cents, and later on even nine cents a loaf.

One could also buy a cup of coffee at the Blue Circle for a nickel, along with a ten cent hamburger. Hot dogs, ready to eat, could be bought for a nickel as well. You could stop in at the Walgreen's drug store and buy an ice cream cone for a nickel. (That was when they had a soda fountain, and you could buy a Scarlet Nectar fountain drink for a nickel. Yum! those were really delicious!)

By the way, I turned eight years old in 1941, so I remember well what could be bought for a nickel. I did not get my hands on very many of them, BTW, so memories of what they could buy remain in my old noggin.

You could get a 12 ounce Pepsi Cola for a nickel as well. I remember a lot of radio jingles from way back. One of them went, "Pepsi Cola, hits the spot; twelve full ounces that's a lot, twice as much for a nickel, too; Pepsi Cola is the drink for you; Nickel, nickel, nickel, nickel." The Coca Colas were only 6 ounces for a nickel.

When you went to the grocery store, you could purchase along with your nickel loaf of bread, a hunk of bologna for just a nickel, and a big Baby Ruth candy bar for another nickel.

At the post office for a nickel, you could buy two 2-cent stamps and a penny post card.

Newspapers were three cents a copy, and you would get two cents back that you could buy enough candy to share with a friend. (They had penny candy, you know).

I know this sounds like a fairy tale, or some such thing, but not so. Money was just as difficult to come by back then as it is now.

Back in 1943, my brother, John, and I had done some chores around the house and it was close to Christmas. My mom, who along with my dad, were working regular again, what with the war effort, gave five dollars to John and me for spending money to buy presents from us to everyone in the family. By that time, my oldest brother was in the service, along with my next oldest brother, both serving in the Pacific Theatre of Operations. My oldest brother was married and had at least one child by then. We had another brother, Hugh, and a sister, Margaret. So there were a whole bunch of people that John and I had gifts to buy for, including each other.

John and I walked down to Washington Avenue and went into Schubert's five and dime to buy our gifts. We each had two dollars and fifty cents to spend. You should have seen us, checking the prices on each item we looked at. I know the employees there had a lot of enjoyment watching us (maybe a lot of worrying that we might shoplift something, too, who knows?). Anyhow, it was a neighborhood five and dime, so I am pretty sure they knew us. They went to the same church we did, too. Believe it or not, we found something for everyone in our family and maybe had a little change left over too. It was something for us both to remember for the rest of our lives. Now everyone is gone that would remember that, except maybe for my sister-in-law, Mae, who is Bill's widow. I am the last remaining sibling, and I really miss them. I am now the "keeper" of many memories we all had in common. That is one reason I want to share them with others, my friends and family.

Well, that is about it for today, folks. I look forward to reading your posts and 'catching up' on what I didn't get a chance to read yesterday. Yesterday was our day to go to Knoxville and spend a goodly part of the day with Mae and Imazo, Hugh's widow". This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for today. Much love to each of you. Bye for now. More later.

P.S. We had an ice box instead of a refrigerator during those days, and the ice truck would come down the street, delivering ice. They supplied a card that the customer would put into the window to indicate how much ice the customer wanted. It had a number on each side of the card. If I remember correctly, it had the numbers like 15, 25, 40, and 50 or some such, and whatever amount you wanted, that was the number that you turned to the top. The fellow driving the truck would see it, and stop the truck, use the huge tongs to break the ice chunks apart and then use them to carry in the ice to put into your ice box. Even after we moved to the country, we had ice delivery, because we had no electricity for the first two years out here. My goodness, isn't it funny how much one can remember when some memories trigger others?

Well, I really am leaving now. Catch you later, you all.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Motoring

Hey, Y'all,
Well, I must admit I had a lot of thinking to do about the "M" posting. I know a lot of you all will be writing about Mama's, and I could have done so, too. As most people do, I have a lot to say about mamas, but I decided to go in a different direction.

My husband and I have done a lot of traveling over the past 35 years, and I wanted to write some about a particular trip we made in the summer of 1994, just after I retired from teaching. We took a three week motor trip up into the area where I lived when I first was married to the father of my children. We visited a lot of places on that tour. We made no motel reservations ahead of time, except to reserve for the day that we would be stopping.

We spent some time in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and some time in Kendallville, Indiana, and also visited Warsaw, and walked around that city, and I pointed out to him some of the places that I was familiar with. We walked in Bixler Park, where Charlie, Margaret (my sister) and I took Carol to play the day before Teresa was born.

We went on west then and into Illinois. We traveled over a good deal of the midwest and stopped at a lot of tourist places, like St. Joseph Missouri where the Pony Express began. We went to the Henry P. Dooley Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska. We went onto a steamboat there in Omaha (somewhere) and looked at it. We toured several historic churches, among them was a St. Ann's Church. I think it may have been in Minnesota.

In Minnesota we also visited Walnut Grove which was a town where Laura Ingalls lived as a girl. They have the whole section of town preserved where she lived. We really enjoyed doing the tour of that and did a lot of walking and looking. It was wonderful.

We also stopped at a house and saw where Jesse James was shot. I don't know what town that was. (You must realize it has been sixteen years since we took that trip). We also went to a woolen mill (Fariboult) in Minnesota, and were able to tour it. I bought a woolen hat there, and wore it for many years but somehow I no longer have it, darn it!

While in one of the towns in Minnesota, we saw a high school production of "Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat" as produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber originally. It was really great.

One of the highlights of the trip for my husband, Gramps, was when we stopped at Hibbing, Minnesota and saw the Hull-Rust-Mahoning Iron Mine. It is the largest open pit iron mine in the world and in 1966 was added to the National Historical Landmarks of America.

While in Minnesota, we went on into Minneapolis-St. Paul and went to the Mall of America. OH, my! What a sight that was. Right now, thinking of the trip we made just about blows my mind. We eventually made our way into Canada for the first (and now I know, the last) time ever. It was something I won't forget (unless I wind up being like Gramps now).

We saw a lot more things on our motor trip, but I won't say much more right now. At the time we took this trip I was 61 and Gramps was 68 and still had all of his left foot. He had to have the front half of his left foot removed 4 years later due to an infection in his foot. He is a diabetic, and the foot would not heal. Fortunately the doctor was able to save the back part of his foot and the ankle.

Almost every year we have traveled out to Texas to visit our daughter and her family out there. We have also traveled to visit our daughter, Teresa, and her family who lived in Florida, every year. We traveled to visit my brother, John, and his family in Arizona. He passed on about a year and a half ago. We have also visited with nephew, David and his family, who live in Arizona. Well, you get the idea...we love to travel and most usually, I have driven. My sister-in-law, Imazo, told her sister, Barbara, that she knows how happy I am behind the steering wheel. She said, "Ruby is happier than a raccoon eatin' on an ear of corn, when she is behind that wheel". Yep, that about says it.

My daddy loved to go. Anytime anyone used the words, "Let's go", he had his hat on his head and was ready to take off. I guess I must have gotten the wanderlust in my feet from him.

That is about it for today. I look forward to reading all the postings for today, but it will have to wait until this evening. I got things to do, places to go, people to see. This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for today. I'm thanking all of you other people who visit my blog. I appreciate "seeing" each of you. Bye for now. Much love to each of you. More later.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Librarian

Hey, Y'all,
I have been,as far back as I can remember, a reader and almost as far back as I can remember, a storyteller. It probably is not good storytelling technique to begin with the letter "I", if one is going to keep the interest of the audience, but who knows better what is going to be told than the "I" of the teller. Ha.Anyway...

When I first encountered the letters of the alphabet, we lived in a little three room log cabin in Possum Valley down in Concord, which is a part of Loudon County
. The cabin belonged to my Granny on my daddy's side, and she owned a larger house where she was living at the time. The cabin had three rooms, a loft, and a path (to the outhouse). The cabin also had a fireplace (but that is another story)where we warmed ourselves at night before going to sleep. The second time we lived there, I was only four or five years old. The walls were papered with newspaper to keep out the wind. Some of the papers were funny papers with all kinds of colors and we spent time looking at them.

There were also the cereal boxes that had letters on them. I remember "reading" the letters on the Post Toasties cereal box. Then when I was six, I began school and learned to read and write. As I stated the other day, the school was called Boyd School, and it no longer exists. There are other stories related to the school which I will save for another time.

When we moved back to Knoxville from Possum Valley, I was half way through second grade, and went to my first really big school (it even had an indoor toilet, wow!), I saw my first library. It was love at first sight! ALL those books. OH, my, I just couldn't believe it. I was in Hog Heaven! I had an unforgettable experience the first day I was at Brownlow School in the library. I was dying to go to the bathroom, and the librarian must have noticed my fidgeting, and she told me where the bathroom was and sent me. I have always been grateful for her kindness to a little girl who didn't know her way around. I learned that a little kindness goes a long way.

You would have to have been in my family (an observer, maybe) to know how much we all loved to read. My mom, dad, four brothers, sister, and myself were all readers. I have a niece who once remarked that she had never seen so many people at one time who loved to read.

Well, I guess it was just natural that I gravitated toward becoming a school librarian. I worked in the school library at New Market High School as a student, and then, 12 years after graduation from there, I went to Carson-Newman College, I earned 60 cents an hour working in the library at CNC. After I received my Bachelor's degree for teaching from Carson-Newman College, I was hired to teach and be a part time librarian.

During those 28 years that followed, I hardly ever refused a child to go to the bathroom, because I could remember my own experience and the kindness of that very special person. (This last statement is not really where I was going with this story when I began it, but it is important, I think). I have loved my life teaching and also being a librarian. They are called media specialists now or maybe communications specialists, but in my mind it is still librarian.

During my years as a school librarian, I honed my skills with words by having a storytelling day once a month, where I dressed as a "grandmother", told the children stories, and gave them each a little cookie at the end of the library period. I loved doing that, and since then have reminded me of it when I run into one of them who remembers me and says hello. I get lots of hugs from former students. Those mean a lot to me.

Well, that is about it for now. I have a lot to do today. The car needs to be serviced and I have an appointment for that as well as an appointment for getting Gramps into the assisted living place while I go to our grandson's wedding in Texas. He really doesn't want to go to Terrace Estates, and thinks he can stay here alone, but no deal. He just can't do so. I will be leaving here in a couple of weeks for Texas, and since he didn't want to make the trip (I know he thought he could just stay here), he will have to stay there for the two week period I am arranging today.

This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for today. Thanks to all of you who check in on my blog and read it. Love the comments. They are like sunshine on a cloudy day, and like rain drops to a dry and thirsty ground. I just soak them up. Love to all of you. Bye for now. Gotta go.

BTW, my neighbor will be checking on Gramps while I am in Morristown this morning. Bye

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Knoxville - My Old (and still) Stompin' Grounds




Hey, Y'all,
Yeah, I said Stompin' Grounds. Never heard of that expression? Means where one has spent a lot of time just bein' alive and spending time there. Actually, two of my siblings and I were born there, and our three oldest siblings were born in Loudon, where our mom and dad lived when they met and married, back when people actually got married before living together. (A commentary on how many people - not all - think nothing of that particular mode of life) I make no apologies for my commentary, it is just that I believe in the sanctity of marriage.

Anyway, we three youngest were born in an older part of Knoxville near where my parents worked in a hosiery mill. The part of town we lived in was called New Town, and we lived in one of the company houses that were owned by the hosiery mill. The hosiery that they made there was what we called anklets, and are now called knit socks or sports socks and a lot of us wear them with tennis shoes.

Except for some time spent in Possum Valley (way out in West Knoxville when it was very rural) I lived in Knoxville until I was fourteen and we moved to the land where my husband and I are living now. With brothers who were living in Knoxville all the years until they passed away, my ties to Knoxville have been and have remained strong. After my youngest brother, who inherited the family place here in New Market and later sold it, my sister went to Knoxville to live. She had been occupied as a caregiver while the family farm was still in the family.

I was married the first time at the age of 18, and went to live in Indiana for several years and had my children there. Some time after moving back to Tennessee, my first husband and I parted ways and I came back home to the farm to raise my two girls, still maintaining strong ties to family in Knoxville.

Through the years following, I married my present husband, and we lived in New Market still maintaining strong ties to family in Knoxville.

Even now, after all my siblings are gone, we still have family in Knoxville and continue to visit there each week. That is where we go each week to spend time with the widows of two of my brothers. We keep in touch by phone, and the internet with the offspring and their offspring, also going to family get-togethers.

A couple of years ago, my husband and I wound up back here in New Market on land that my parents sold to a neighbor of ours, so that I could begin college at Carson-Newman College. The plot of land they sold has come back into our possession seemingly by accident, but I believe it was in God's plan for us. My husband and I are living out our last years in the house that was built by the neighbor to whom we sold the plot of land. Isn't God wonderful?

Picture above is of my youngest brother, John (in back), and our niece, Norma, (who is now 70, sitting beside me - I am on the right), and she is holding her little brother, Fred, who is 3 or 4 years younger than she) and I am holding our cousin, Mike, son of my Aunt Daisy, and both Mike and Daisy are gone now). This was taken when we lived in Knoxville, in the yard of the house where Norma and Fred's mom, still is living. Gramps and I pick her up every week to go out and eat, along with our other sister-in-law, Imazo. Mae is the widow of my brother, Bill, and Imazo is the widow of my brother, Hugh. The house Mae lives in is next door to the house where we lived in my middle school years, and that we sold to move to New Market in 1947.

I apologize for the length of this long-winded posting, but somehow, I just have a hard time stopping before I have said it all.

Thank you to all you people out there in blogland who are visiting me. It just makes my day to know that people are really interested in reading what I have to say. I am trying to get around to all of you, and it is wonderful to read all the different postings!

Well, I have to get into the kitchen and feed my sweetie pie his breakfast. BTW, we had a lovely time last night with our neighbors. The roast beef was tender and tasty, along with the macaroni salad, yeast rolls, and broccoli. The cake and ice cream were really yummy, too. This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for today. Much love to each of you, my friends. Bye for now.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Jingles and Joining

Hey, Y'all,
Well the first subject beginning with a "J" is Jingles. A strange one, you say. Yeah, I guess you could say that. It is just an anecdote from the 1930's. That was when there were a lot of contests for writing jingles to be used in radio advertising. Ladies (and gents, too, I guess) all over America put on their thinking caps and came up with little short poems that were put to music and inspired people to buy the product. I remember several of them, but I won't recite them for you right now, maybe another time.

Anyway, getting back to the family anecdote...my mom was one of those women who entered the jingle contests. Back then the postage stamps were about 3 cents each, but that was a lot of money when you were poor like we were. The prizes were anything from a year's supply of the product to some amount of money - a cheap way for the company to get ads for the commercials. My mom had written a jingle that she just knew was going to win, and my brother, Hugh, who was 4 and 1/2 years older than I and was probably about 7 at the time, wanted to lick the postage stamp. My mom, being the sweet woman that she was, let him lick the stamp (pre-self sticking stamps) and then she put it on the letter. Well, you know that little kids always have a lot of saliva, and he really licked it good. It was the last stamp we had, and she feared that he may have licked it too well. However it was still sticking to the envelope when she mailed it. Of course, she didn't win, but always claimed that she thought he had put too much spit on the stamp being the reason she didn't win. My family members may or may not have heard this story before, but it is true.

Joining:
We are, by nature, mostly social beings. Very early on, we join into groups that have like interests. Just think about it. When we are yet babes, we see another baby and recognize it as being "one of us". If you don't believe this, just observe two babies that first see each other, and what do they do? They begin smiling at one another, and communicating by whatever means they have.

These days, mothers have these little groups where they meet and arrange "play dates" for their children to have someone to play with. When we are taken to church, as children, if we are Baptist, there are groups of children in different organizations, like Awana, or GA's, or RA's, and the children join in the group. At school, there are also organizations like 4-H, that children are encouraged to join. We all have choices that we make, either to join, or not to join. Usually the choices are based on if we have similar interests or not.

There are also gangs that children often join. Sometimes they join because they don't fit in to other groups, or they join for protection, or they join because they want to be looked up to or feared. We as adults join a political party or choose to be considered an independent thinker. Face it folks, unless we choose to swim against the stream, we join with others so that we will be in a group and protected.

When a person works at a job, there are choices one must make about working where there is a union or no union. Unions protect jobs and workers, but are not necessarily always a good thing. I am speaking neither pro nor con, just stating the facts, ma'am.

I doubt there is anyone out there who can say that he has never joined with another group of some kind that has a common interest of his. We are joiners.

Well, that is it for right now. I look forward to reading the other blogs. I am preparing supper for us and our next door neighbors today, so it will probably be late tonight before I get to read and catch up on the other entries. This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for today. Much love to each of you, and thanks to all those who comment on my postings. Bye for now.