Monday, October 18, 2010


It's been a few days since I posted.

A very interesting few days, too.

Made it to Jackson last week and the Canton Flea Market.

(much harder to walk those streets than the last time I went- I am still recovering)

Went with a good friend, who is becoming a REALLY good friend.

Stayed with an old friend from ....Jr High and High School, and enjoyed a Pampered Chef party, hosted by another friend from Jr High and High School days. In attendance were some other old friends from my youth, as well as some newer friends and some brand new friends.

We had a BLAST !

Got home Friday and CRASHED...gettin' too old for those two dayer's...most I can handle anymore is a few hours at a time, I think.

What a drag too...especailly when your brain say's GO , but your body won't move !

Came home and re-connected with another old friend from Jr High/High School, who I have been trying to find for years now.

JOY...pure JOY !

I have spent the last couple of days basking in the glow of the light that is Friendship.

So very Blessed to have had some of the same people in my life for so long.

So very Blessed to continue to add new friends to my life.

Friends who get me, Friends who know me, Friends who want to stick around because they know me and get me.

Sister's and Brother's, all

We may be apart, but we are never parted...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Mississippi Girl

I don't know why I get so homesick for Mississippi this time of year. For me, Fall (more than any other time) is when I absolutely "ache" to get back there...
I was born in Alabama and will probably die here, but genetically...I am ALL Mississippi !
I can almost spit over the state line too, I am so close, but man...even a few miles DOES make a difference.
I do believe you could blindfold me, and start driving, and I could tell you the very minute we crossed over the state line...just something about the air in Mississippi that smells like "Home" to me.
All of my family is there and I spent the early part of my life going between Jackson and Lucedale though, so maybe that's it...Maybe I sucked up so much Mississippi Red Dirt that it is 3/4 of who I am...and,maybe it is genetic...I don't know...I just know that no matter where I live...Mississippi is my HOME.
I've always heard that you can never go home too, but that's not true for me.
It's not the house I grew up in, or really even the people, although they do mean the world to me...but, I can (and have) just get in the car and drive into Mississippi for awhile and never see a soul I know there ...and, still come back here ...revived...replenished...(for awhile)
Just something about it that draws me to it...
I honestly don't think it would matter, if you cut down every tree in Mississippi and poured concrete over the entire state would still be home.
One of these day's, I'll get back there for good too...see.. my boy's have been instructed to scatter my ashes from one end of Beaver Dam Road to the other, when that day comes...and then, maybe...I'll be at peace...
In the meantime, I'm gonna head that way, right here in just a little bit...get a whiff of Home... and get replenished and revived for a little while...
Today (as with everyday) I am a Mississippi Girl !

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Dedicated to "The Girl's" !!!

Thirty nine years ago, about this time, my Mom was about to begin cobalt treatments, after having had a radical mastectomy of her left breast, the previous month.
It was the scariest time of my life.
She had gone to the doctor because she thought she had a goiter. Wasn't even aware of a huge lump in her breast !
When the pathology report came back, 23 out of 25 nodes were malignant, and knowing what I know now...I'm sure it had already metastisized everywhere. She had lost her battle with cancer, before she had ever started it.
In april of 72, they did an exploratory lap, and basicly opened and closed her. It had spread to her liver, the doctor said, and she might have somewhere from 2 to 6 months, and, No...there was nothing else they could do.
See, chemo and the more sophisticated radiation treatments that they use now, didn't exist back then.
She had 2 months.
She died on Sunday, June 4th, 1972, about 5 am, at the age of 46.
I was seventeen, and my little sister was fourteen.
Our lives changed completely after that.
Some of the changes were for the better tho, actually.
I stopped doing drugs...see, corny as it may sound, she could see everything I was doing now...or, so I thought...couldn't hide anything from her anymore.
I made a promise to her, that I would try to live my life in a manner that she'd be proud of, and I pretty much have tried to honor that promise for the last thirty-eight years.
So, see...God really doesn't close one door that he doesn't open another...but, I sure miss her.

Flash forward, a dozen or so years, to Jan of 80.
We had just moved into our new house.
I was up on a step-stool, hanging curtains, when someone knocked on my back door.
I stepped down, opened it, and Clara Bell walked into my life, carrying a coconut pie, and became the best friend, confidant, mentor, big sister I never had.
We just "clicked" !
Just like that !
There wasn't a day that went by, that we didn't talk to each other.
She taught me how to sprig grass, plant flowers, cook some amazing much.
I can't count the times I called her and began our conversation with, Clara, how do you do this or that...and she could usually tell me !
She was there when I had what "I" thought was gas, and convinced me it was really and truely LABOR PAINS , and carried me to the hospital... where, just a couple of hours later, I had my second child.
She was there if I needed a friend, or even if I didn't.
She was there.
It was either the 4th of July or Labor Day of 81 ( I just remember it was HOT) we sat on my patio and she asked me to feel this bump in her breast.
Well, chills went down my spine, and the hair on my neck stood up, and even tho, I really just wanted to get up out of that chair and RUN, I didn't...
I touched what felt like a BB in her breast, which, to me...after the HUGE lump in Mom's breast, didn't qualify as CANCER !
No... that had to be a GOOD thing...RIGHT ?
Still, I harped and bitched and made her PROMISE me she would go to the doctor.
She did, and even THEY thought it was nothing, but decided to biopsy it, just to be safe...
Poor Clara...normally, when they do a biopsy, they also have you sign the consent to do a mastectomy IF the preliminary comes back as cancer.
They were so sure it wasn't cancer, that they didn't do that with her, so when she woke up and found out she still had her breast, she thought everything was ok.
it wasn't.
They did the mastectomy the next day, and she then, endured the most grueling regimen of chemo and radiation I've ever know anyone to do.
A full year and a half of it...and, never lost a blonde hair on her head either !
God love her, she'd have chemo on Monday afternoon, because she was off on Tuesdays...would spend most of that day hurling her toenails up, and then be out spriggin' grass that evening !
Toughest chic I have ever known in my life.
She made it past the five year point too...and then it came back....bone cancer.
Clara was a devout Catholic. She attended Mass every week..sometimes more than that.
Served as an extraordinary Minister in our Church, visited the sick, cooked meals for them, taught Sunday school....the whole nine yards...and she truely loved it.
She grew up infatuiated with the Miracle of Lourdes and Fatima...and, when five children began seeing the Blessed Mother everyday in Medjugorie (former Yugoslavia) she was estatic.
She made two trips to Medjugorie, and on her second visit December, before she died in Feburary of 90, Vicka, one of the visionaries, chose Clara out of an audience of hundred's, and asked her to have lunch with her.
Clara went...and, she asked Vicka if it were wrong to pray for the miracle of a healing ?
Vicka replied..."Sometimes the miracle is in the journey...not the healing."
Clara came home and decided, no more more radiation...and showed us all how to die with dignity on Feburary 2oth 1990....about 10:30pm, at the age of 46.
Two of the most important people in my life...gone.
Breast Cancer got them...and, even now...whenever I hear of someone ...finding a lump...having a biopsy...finding Breast Cancer...chills run down my spine...the hair on the back of my neck stands up, and I want to absolutely RUN from that fear....even though I know several times as many women who have survived !

Monday, October 4, 2010

Daddy Days

Just came in from outside. Down right chilly out there this morning. First thing that came to mind, as I scouted out the sky, was, "It's gonna be a Daddy Day."
Lost my Dad, eleven years ago, even though it still seems like it was just yesterday, most of the time. Lost Momma in 72, and sometimes even that seems like it just happened.
I know I miss em. As much, if not more,with each year that passes.
But... back to Daddy Day's...see, with would be shopping...and to be fair...if she had lived longer, there would have been MUCH more, I'm sure...but, as things stand...that's what I "know" !
But, with Daddy...heh heh...even now, I giggle in anticipation of what a DADDY DAY might bring...because it was always an adventure !
I have Daddy Day memories from 5 to 45 !
So many...
He'd pull up in that ole truck of his, come in, grab a cup of coffee, and tell me to "Get some britches on."
Off we would go....
I might not be able to show you everyone of them now, but I promise you, I have been down every South Alabama and South Mississippi pigtrail that exist's...and, even a few we carved out ourselves !
He loved nothing more that to get out and ride or walk the woods.
We'd stop at the local pac-a-sac...stock up on vienna sausages, sardines and crackers...RC Cola's and peanuts. Bury those drinks in the ice cooler he kept on the back of the truck, and take off... I don't think he ever had a clue about where he was going....think he just followed his nose, which always seemed to get him to the woods.
We'd ride with the window's fall air blowin' our hair...well, MY hair anyway...Daddy should have owned stock in BrylCream...because he was a true believer in it. I'm tellin' you...KATRINA wouldn't have moved that man's hair !
Anyway...we'd ride and talk...mostly he would talk, and I just listened...waiting for the next story he'd tell.
Some of them I heard over and over again, but sometimes, there would be a new one...a GREAT one...THOSE were what I waited for...Oh, MAN...He had some stories !
He might not remember where he laid his glasses down fifteen minutes ago, but he could remember those 70 year old stories like *that*...even older ones...stories HE grew up hearing.
I just sat there, with the sun on my face and the wind in my hair, and the smell of his cigar floating around the cab of the truck... listening and breathing and soaking it all up like a sponge.
We'd get back in the woods, find some ole stump to sit on, and have lunch ...just he and I and Mother Nature.
He always said, the woods was his Church...where he felt the closest to God.
I must say, I agree with him.
There have been days, since he died...
Days like today, when you first go outside, and feel the pull of the woods...and a strong craving for vienna sausages, sardines and crackers...RC Cola's and peanuts... and,the smell of a good cigar...the definate need for a Daddy Day !
Think I just might have to take one...

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Blue Roses

Some years back, I had the pleasure of caring for the most wonderful little old lady, as she lay there, in her bed in the Nursing Home, making the last few steps of her journey in this life.
As she took her last few breath's, she whispered, "Blue Roses" and I immediately took off in search of some...something, anything that might qualify for Blue Roses, in that Nursing Home.
I found a bunch of fake flowers in the Activity Room, and grabbed them and ran back to her room. I was too late...she was gone, but, "Blue Roses" has intrigued me ever since.
I have wondered many times, what it meant to her...
This is what "I" imagined....

She is standing at the gate, waiting for him to depart the airplane.
She reaches up and pinches her cheeks, hoping it will put just the right amount of blush on them, although she is sure she is already blushing from just the thought of seeing hm again.
She is wearing his favorite blue dress and hat, her stockings are new, and the seams are straight.
Her eyes shine with anticipation, and she cannot help the smile that is on her face.
She wants to look so beautiful for him. She wants to see it in his eyes, that he thinks she is gorgeous when he sees her.

It has been three years since he boarded that train and left her all alone.
Three years of praying each and everyday, that he'd come home safe and sound to her.
Three years of long love letters.
Three years of longing to see his face, the way his eyes crinkled up when he smiled, and those dimples that had won her heart forever, five years ago.
Three years of constant worry.
Worry that he'd be hurt, maimed, or (God Forbid) killed.
Three years of many a sleepless night, when that thought got in her head.

Imagining him lying injured or dead in some jungle, with no help at hand.
Imagining him taken prisoner, held in the most deplorable conditions.
China-Burma was a horrible place, or so they told her.
His letters never reflected that though. In fact, he wrote often about the great beauty of the country, and how wonderful many of the people were.
He wrote of home more than anything though. Of being there, doing everyday things, things completely unrelated to war.
She thought he was reliving those moments with each and every word. That, by writing about it so intensely, he could actually be there, instead of hunkered down in some foxhole, IF he were lucky.
Sometimes, the only cover he had were the staring eye's of the night sky.

All of a sudden, she is shoved sideways,nearly knocked down, and she wonders why these people, who are standing there waiting with her, are shoving and pushing like they are, and then it comes to her.

She is not twenty three.
She is not standing at the airport waiting for him to depart the airplane.
She is eighty years old, lying in her bed, each and every bone in her body hurting, as her Nurse's turn her over and try to rearrange her so that bedsores will not form on her frail, emaciated body.

That day...the day he returned home from War, was many years ago, a memory made in a time that has long past, no matter how real it is in her mind.
He is gone, many years ago now.
He left her alone again for the second and final time, what is it...ten years ago ?
She doesn't really remember, except to know that she has been without him for far too long now, and she is ready to be reunited with him again, forever this time.

Death cannot come soon enough for her, for with it they will be young again, together again, laughing and happy, and looking forward to a life together.
The War is over, and times are more prosperous than they have been for a very long time.
This time, when they are reunited, it will be forever, and she is impatiently waiting for it.

The Nurse's finish the task of getting her settled, and as her body calms, she eases back into
her memory and smiles as she sees him get off the airplane.
She waves so that he will see her, and it is all she can do not to break through the people waiting there for their loved ones, and run into his arm's.
But, wait...what is that he has in his arms ?

No, it can't be, she thinks, but as he gets closer, she sees that it is.
He has the biggest bouquet of Blue Roses she could ever imagine in his arms.
Where in the world did he find them, she wonders.
She smiles as she remembers telling him that Blue Roses were her favorite, after he had asked her if she liked Roses.
She'd thought of the Rudyard Kipling poem, Blue Roses then, and knowing that he was fishing to try to find out if buying her roses would please her, she had told him her favorite was BlueRoses, knowing he'd never find any.
He didn't need to be spending his hard earned money on buying her flowers anyway.
He had brought her violets though, after that...the closest thing to Blue Roses he could find, she guessed...and, she had loved them.

Now, here he was standing before her, his eyes crinkled up by a huge smile on his face, and those dimples, so close she could reach out and touch one, and she thought she would swoon right then and there.
She would have thrown herself into his arms, but for that huge bouquet of the most beautiful roses she had ever seen, between her and his arms.

He hands them to her, and she takes them and inhales the lovely fragrance that is pouring off of them, and looks up and smiles.
She tells him than, that she had no idea that Blue Roses even really existed, and where in the world did he find these ?
They were waiting for me to pick them up from a peddler on the side of the road in China, he tells her.

She set's them down on a bench beside her and he slowly envelopes her in his arms.
He holds her close and then kisses her long and lovingly, and she is finally home again, for the first time in three years, and she is home to stay now.

She is lying there in her bed, gasping for her last breath, and yet she is smiling.
She whispers something and her Nurse bends down over her, to hear what she is trying to say.
As she let's go of that final sigh, she whispers again, softly...Blue Roses....and she is gone.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Hello, Nice to meet'cha !

It's a beautiful fall morning, here in Lower Alabama, this October 1st.

There is a nice nip of chilly in the air (sleeves required) and the leaves are starting to turn and fall.

The weight of mature pecans pull the limbs of the trees low, and hickory nuts are drumming on the tin roof of the porch, already.

It is , in one word, wonderful.
Could stay this way forever, as far as I am concerned.

I've attempted to do this before (BLOG) without much success, but now, that I am offically retired, maybe I'll be more attentive to it.

I "journal" the old fashioned way (pen to paper) most everyday anyway, so (if I can establish a habit) maybe I'll be better at it.
We'll see...

I'm naming this blog "Back on a Red Dirt Road" because it's where I come from and where, it seems I will end too.

Loved it as a child, hated it as an adolescent, was neutral about it as an adult, and now, in the autumn of my life, I've come Full Circle, back to it, and the love for it as well.

Very BLESSED in this little corner of the world. Hope you are in yours.

Till next time....