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Category: Family

We ain’t right

Game Day

Oh, football weather is once again upon us. And I’m happy. I’ve got veggies, bottles of ranch dressing, and all the fixin’s for nachos.  I also bought some sushi, but that can be our little secret.  So anyway, the preparations have been underway. We’re flying the colors and sporting our best orange.  Mom has been out to the graveyard to get Grandmother ready, too. I approve of this, mainly because it’s cool and I couldn’t do it if I had to. I can still see her, perched on the couch, her back ramrod straight. “Hold ’em boys, hold ’em.” She’d be puffing away on that cigarette and probably wishing for a shot of Jack Daniels. Grandmother was a big Vol fan, as we all are here in big orange country. Knoxville is a sight to behold on game day.  Not sure if you can make it out or not, but the little football says “Go Vols” on it. My contribution was the “live, laugh, love” part because Grandmother wasn’t very religious and all the scriptures just felt wrong. She was all for laughing and loving, though.  So that’s her little piece of Big Orange Country, about ten miles from Neylabd Stadium. I’d say she can hear the cheering and feel the stands thundering as 100 thousand strong…

My Mother

Mothers teach us all sorts of things. From the very beginning, they’re teaching us nonstop. They teach us how to walk, how to feed ourselves, how to treat the dog. As we grow older, the lessons get more complicated from the simple “No!” to how to read, write, & tie our shoes. We recognize danger, thanks to the values instilled at every turn (lots of treacherous stuff out there in the world). Before long, the complicated life decisions over which friends are suitable & what grades are passable are upon us. (Although Sevier County School Systems deem a “C” passable, the school of Jody did NOT). We might have to have several lessons more than once. We learn when to push our luck & when to say I’m sorry. They show us unconditional love. My mother decided to teach me about Indians early on.  The only thing that separated our house from the school was our cow pasture & pine thicket. The band practiced relentlessly throughout the summer & when we were outside together, the drums would beat ominously & I would shiver & shake with the resonating thumps. Of course I asked my momma what it was.  “The Indians are coming to get you,” she answered solemnly every time. This never failed to send me running back into the house, lest the Indians thunder in on their painted horses & scoop me up & carry me away…

Christmas 2015

​So there’s this family I know, & they’re not normal.  Allow me to explain.  I’m scrolling through all the pictures of smiling faces & homemade cookies & well wishes on Christmas Day. Being as that I have no children to clean up after, I had a fairly relaxing day & could spend it mindlessly trolling the internet, looking at y’alls madness & mayhem.  I got to a picture of a home I know, a home I’ve visited, a home that belongs to a family I love.  In the picture was a modest tree, decorated with traditional colored lights & homemade ornaments, nothing flashy or showy about it. The tree sat on warm hardwood floors, polished to a shine. Nearby, perched on a low table, was a glass of milk & a plate of cookies. Other pictures revealed stockings hung on the chimney (with care, I imagine). The pictures themselves weren’t perfect, either, kinda blurry. Nothing was staged. But it was perfect in my eyes.  I looked closer. And I saw something there. Or rather, a lack of something. Underneath the tree were just a few presents. Maybe six. Maybe there were a few more that didn’t make it in the frame. I was puzzled. Houses with children are usually overrun with presents. Even here, Johnny & I are terrible & have all of ours under the big tree in the living…

Best Friends

I My bestie was looking for an epic shout out on my Facebook for her birthday. I’m not feeling especially epic today, but I’ll give it my best shot. Lisa is a Yankee. Like, dyed-in-the-wool of Cincinnati, Ohio. She once called to tell me that Kroger’s had bagels on sale. “Lisa, for the last time. I am from the SOUTH. I don’t eat bagels & cream cheese, I eat biscuits & butter.” I mean, this was just a few years ago. She’s been here since 1994. My first impression of her was not good. She looked like this other girl that had moved here the year previous & turned out to be a total…you know. But Megan’s goal in life was to make friends with every new person who darkened the door of Seymour Middle School, so by association, I was obligated to make nice as well. Turns out, Lisa was just as big a nerd as I was (am). So we’d hang out for days on end during the summer, playing card games, riding horses, & “cooking” (cooking consisted of what Lisa dubbed “drooling sandwiches” due to the content of mayonnaise & mustard). We also dared each other to eat stuff, like expired chocolates from Valentine’s Day with hot sauce on them. We also fancied ourselves quite the photographers. If it wasn’t equally embarrassing to me I would totally post a few.  It was much…

Puerto Rican On A Stick

I’m not doing the challenge provided (a family member you dislike) today. Instead, after prompting from the previous post, I’m going to tell you about the Puerto Rican on a Stick.  My family used to be big. And even when it was big, we had more friends than we did family. I was quite old when I came to the realization that several members of my family weren’t family at all. Not by blood, not by marriage, not by nothin’ other than their proximity to us.  One of these people is whom I lovingly refer to as the Puerto Rican on a Stick. I don’t know why I thought we were related. I guess because I always knew him. The story goes (what I can get out of anyone, at least) is that he became friends with my uncle Dale somehow, some way, back in the early 1970’s. He lived in New Orleans, so I don’t know how they met. He is very dark skinned, with jet black hair & eyes. Hence the “Puerto Rican”. But he’s not Puerto Rican. He’s Indian, I guess. I don’t honestly know. He had polio when he was very young, & now walks with canes attached to his forearms. Hence the “stick” part. Except to be correct, it should actually be sticks, but that’s not as funny…

Mothers

Y’all know how I feel about kids. I don’t want any, & most of the time, I don’t care for other peoples. But I have recently learned something. We need to be praying for mothers. Mothers everywhere. Whether they’re raising their own children or someone else’s. Whether they have one or two or ten or none and just want to be blessed with one. Or, in the case of this month’s “Awareness of the Month”, if they’ve lost a child through miscarriage or death. All these women are mother…s. Mothers are constantly fretting that they aren’t adequate. If they spend all day nurturing their child, they feel that they are neglecting housework or their husbands. If they miss a “Mom watch this” they fear that their child will have development issues & be in therapy for abandonment when they turn 21. They feel that they can never do enough & will never be able to protect them throughout their life. Mothers have a hard time. Most of my closest friends are mothers. Some of them, it’s all they ever wanted, & they are totally immersed in the motherhood thing. But they can’t protect their children from heartbreak. They’ll do anything to avoid problems. Other mothers are living the dream too, but the kids don’t cooperate. You hear these stories of kids that NEVER sleep….apparently that’s true. So that mother definitely needs prayers, as she…

Fathers

Sometimes you meet people & think, “Wow. They are so nice. I could never be that good hearted.” This also brings to mind the saying, “Wouldn’t hurt a fly.” That sums up my step dad. He is humble, soft spoken, & good natured. He is gentle, kind, & loving. Not at all like me or the woman he married!!! I still can’t believe our good fortune! Haha. Now, he’s not perfect. He’s slow as molasses in January…slow as Christmas…slow as a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter…but good things come to those who wait! Love ya Scott. Happy Fathers Day. Happy Fathers Day to all the DADS out there. Happy Fathers day to the MOMS who have to be both. Happy Fathers Day to all the men who helped me grow: Uncle Dale, who patiently explained to me about fish guts & species of trees, Carroll Adams who claims me as his, Richard Montgomery for not killing me & Megan when we used his golf balls for creative purposes…and stole his convertible Mercedes to drive to a class in Morristown…and the old gentlemen I’ve met at work who counsel me day to day. There are many. And Johnny, who’s a disciplinarian to our naughty naughty dogs. Lol. I’m also thinking and praying for the fathers overseas who would like more than…

3 Wild Mules

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful girl with long golden hair. She met & fell in love with a handsome young man. They were wed in the middle of Crawford’s Notch by Jimmy Temple. The little family grew, & soon they had three wild mules running around the house & over the hills. They had a swimming pool, but preferred the pond. Theirs was a picturesque farm on the river, in the middle of town, with beautiful horses grazing in manicured pastures. As the mules grew up & formed relationships with others, these friends were welcomed as family. Their home was always full to brimming with an ever growing group of people. There was much laughter & fun & plenty of tasty food. We sought counsel many times over the years & found understanding in their eyes and a big hug at every turn. The family remained strong & close knit as the years went by. They gathered every Sunday morning at the main home for biscuits and gravy at 9:30 sharp. It was the one time a week everyone was expected to convene together as a whole. They believed in agriculture, & they all worked hard to keep the Sevier County fair going so it would always serve as a special memory for all the kids of the county. They brought it out of a black hole & made it the best one in the state. And we were proud. This family was loved…

An Accident

Getting quite a bit of this view today as I pray for my great uncle Roy Dykes, Tammy’s daddy. He’s a tough ole bird and my mind won’t quite wrap around that he’s in ICU and the doctors are not confident. They say it could go either way.  Tammy’s momma always said Roy was supposed to go out of this world the same way he came in–by accident.  He has survived the following: having been trapped under a tractor for an hour and ten minutes and was among Lifestar’s very first airlift patients. He had his middle finger ripped off at the knuckle while leading a mule (it’s buried in the flower bed…the finger, not the mule), he was attacked by a gigantic emu while trying to load them in the trailer (someone told him he could have them for free- “I ain’t gonna have no little bird hurt me!”). And while we’re on poultry…he was burning leaves out in the barn lot one time & it got a “little” out of control. Well, a rooster somehow got his tail feathers in the flames, & made for the barn. Roy followed in hot pursuit, before he could burn the whole barn down. He succeeded in running him out, mildly scorched but no worse for wear. There was also the time…

Horsin’ Around

A long, long time ago, I was the new kid.  I had never once in my life been the new kid.  I had vowed not to be the weird girl in boots & wranglers ever again, so my first day at Walters State I dressed in a cute little tank top, little khaki shorts, & trendy sandals.  (I was not only young, but thin, back then) My plans, at usual, got wrecked.  I spilled my sprite all over my shorts in route to Morristown.  You would think this wouldn’t be such a big deal, since it’s a clear drink, & would have plenty of time to dry in that early September heat, but that wasn’t necessarily the case.  My shorts were dry clean only.  So they had big dark spots all over them.  Luckily, I had a change of clothes in my car….a pair of wranglers & old brown boots.  So much for fitting in. Imagine my surprise upon walking into my first class & everyone was dressed JUST LIKE ME! I didn’t want to be the nerd who sat down front, & the back row was already full of ‘baccer chewing cowboys being rowdy & loud.  I sat down in the middle row & tried to be inconspicuous. Not too long after that, this girl blew in wearing red jeans & a very shiny belt buckle.  She sat next to me. We struck up conversation after having a…