Y'all come on in!

Y'all come on in!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Full. Queen. King.

That poor Justice of the Peace who was standing there with his little booklet in his hand attempting to get me and Mr. B married all those years ago did not speak any form of Red Neck. And I was barely learning the language that Mr. B had grown up with all those years. He was raised in Pennsylvania and me? I was a Texas Rebel complete with mini skirts and mile high hair. The JP did the best he could to understand me and finally gave up and pronounced us man and wife and Mr. B could kiss the bride. 

We chased off on a two day honeymoon in a hotel with a full size bed. It was plenty big because we were in love. For the next thirty years we had a full-sized, four-poster bed. We raised kids who were afraid of thunder and crawled in with us. We had cats that slept with us in that bed and a Chihuahua that claimed a portion of the foot of the bed most every night and it wasn’t too small. 

Then one night Mr. B put one arm under me, one over me and hugged up right close to my back and snored. No rephrase that. He SNORED!!! In my half sleep I thought a freight train had gotten loose from the tracks over west of town and was plowing right through the bed between us. 

Maybe it was karma telling me to get a bigger bed to give a freight train more room should that ever happen again. Hey, superstition is ingrained into my DNA so deep that a vinegar bath can’t erase it so we bought a queen-sized bed…just in case! The snoring did not happen again and everyone was happy. 

For about fifteen years. 

It must have been those five (or maybe ten…okay, okay, the fifteen extra pounds I’d gained…don’t look at me like that…I’m not admitting one more than fifteen) pounds I put on in those years, because after sleeping in king-sized beds in hotels, that queen sized one was getting pretty small. And the snoring had fired up again which told me karma was saying to get a bigger bed. It was back to the furniture store to get a king-sized one with memory foam.

It would be/was/is fantastic. Right up until we were traveling, without reservations because I like to go where the wind takes us, and the only hotel room available in the whole town had two full sized beds in it. 

No problem. We started out that way and we could survive one night! We crawled into bed and holy smoke! I couldn’t have cussed a cat without getting a hair in my mouth. When I rolled over, Mr. B’s face was so close that I had to refocus my eyes to keep from seeing two of him. And he SNORED! I love the man but I did not vow to love two of him when I was standing there in front of that JP and my marriage vows said nothing about the size of the bed in which he had free reign with that snoring business. 

I was so glad to get home to my own big old, wallowing sized bed, that I vowed to never go anywhere without reservations again. How in the world were we ever comfortable in that tiny bed with kids, cats and the Chihuahua sleeping with us? Oh, that reminds me of a motel story where we didn’t have reservations… I’ll post that one tomorrow. Right now let's break out the sweet tea!

Friday, February 27, 2015


It's Friday!
That means today is the last work day and then the weekend, which always, always goes much faster than the week, right? Y'all all got your morning coffee in hand, yet? Have two cups this morning to get you through the slowest day of the week. And be sure there's plenty on hand for that day after the weekend...Monday.

Coffee always reminds me of Mr. B's college days. He doubled up on hours, took supper classes and finished in three and a half years.  I might have gone to classes with him if they would have offered things like Romance Reading 101 or maybe Writing Conflict 201. But they didn't so I worked on getting my PHT...that was Put Hubby Through...so he could concentrate on classes, tests and all those boring papers he had to write.

While Mr. B was in college we had one major rule. The person who took the last cup of coffee was responsible to start a new pot. In three years we wore out two percolators. We thought we had so much nervous energy because we were young, full of spit and vinegar, and ready to put out a forest fire with a cup of water.

It wasn’t any of the above. It was simply the coffee.

One week we ran out of coffee twenty four hours before payday. We paced the floor, chewed our nails and the next day we were leaning on the grocery store door when it opened.

There were other tell-tale signs once we got him through school and realized how much coffee was affecting our lives.

We had worn the finish off our coffee table three times. I’d written two letters to the folks who make varnish telling them their product was inferior. The last time they wrote back and asked how many times a day we set a hot coffee mug on the table. More than three, please use the enclosed heat resistant coasters with their logo on the top.

The handle on Husband’s favorite mug had no color left on it and his fingerprints were permanently embedded in the glaze.

We tried a sample of instant coffee one time but the process was too slow. There was a waiting period while the water boiled.

Husband had to see a doctor for a checkup. The nurse took his pulse and asked how much of coffee he’d had for breakfast that morning.

“Two,” he said.

“That’s not so bad. The cuff must need to be replaced. I’ll get another one. Two cups isn’t so much.”

“Not two cups,” I told her. “Two pots and that’s on school days. On Saturdays, it’s more.”

She nodded. “I’ve seen lots of folks with this problem. Mostly college kids.”

I suppose the real tell-tale sign was the day we went to purchase a first aid kit for the car. Back then it was a big thing. One of those little tin boxes with Band-Aids, iodine, aspirin. All that stuff in case we were stranded on the road between Durant and Tishomingo. Seemed like a reasonable thing until we dumped the box on the bed and really looked at the contents. After a few minutes we tossed them all in the trash. The only thing we needed was a pint container of coffee, brewed with twice the coffee and half the water. That would get us through anything.

After a few years, we figured out that sleep was important if we wanted to live to see 50 candles on our birthday cake, so we cut back on coffee. I have found that if I have two drops after supper I will count sheep until the sun rises. A while back I had a small cup with my dessert.

Dawn was a long time coming...and the next day was Monday!

Thursday, February 26, 2015


Just a reminder folks...each Sunday I will give away a prize! This week I'm giving away your choice of a signed paperback copy of Lucky in Love or a digital copy in either Kindle or Nook! To get your name in the drawing you do have to leave a comment on one of the blogs between Monday and Saturday evening. So please, please leave a comment so you can be included in the drawing. Thanks to everyone who has joined the blog and to all those who have already commented. Big hugs to all y'all!

Sass and The Soap Box

I wore out two or three soap boxes before I realized a person has to choose their battles. Not just everything is worth a blistering tirade or even a thirty minute tantrum. But this past week someone mentioned that the time would be changing in about a week.

I drug out the soap box, spit on my knuckles and prepared to fight.

I crawled up on the soap box, looked around at the motley crowd, cleared my throat dramatically and got ready for the speechifying. There were probably more than one of those traveling charmers selling snake oil who contributed to my DNA, and my oration would no doubt bring big changes to those of us who hate that Saturday night when we have to change the time.

A couple of hours later I was still ranting. The only person left sitting in the audience was Uncle Moe. He’d forgotten to turn on his hearing aid and I found out later he’d told Aunt  Oma Lynn to go on home and fix supper. That he’d stick around and buy the snake oil when I finally brought it out to sell. He figured it might help his bursitis and maybe even his hearing. Fine bunch of family they were. If I couldn’t even get the kith and kin to rally behind me how was I supposed to lead the troops in protest to the White House.

Oh, well, I’d just call the AARP and give them a healthy piece of my mind. They’ve got all these commercials out now about not messing with AARP. Evidently they’d never recognized the problem and would be delighted that I’d brought it to their attention and AARP (That is pronounced Arp, kind of like Harp without the H for all you youngsters out there) had political pull. I've been a member for years and unlike the folks on the commercials I do know Arp pretty good. I drug the soap box into the living room, sat down on it and dialed the 800 number.

A right sweet, very young voice asked if she might help me and I asked her if she’d brought her dinner to work with her. She informed me that she certainly had. A ham and cheese sandwich on white bread with mustard. That was good because what I had to say would take a little while and she could eat while she listened. I commenced to telling her the problem and every now and then I’d hear her utter something kin to a sigh, so I knew she hadn’t fallen asleep. When I finished she asked me what kind of snake oil I was selling.

It was time to quit fooling around with the small potatoes and go straight to the big boss man. Family wasn’t interested. Arp, even if she could run in spike heels, didn’t understand. Sometimes to make changes a body had to march alone. But they’d all be sorry when I saved their sorry old hides from dropping graveyard dead from overwork.

I polished up the soap box, drug it down the hall to my converted bedroom/office and dialed the number. When the White House answered I asked to speak to the man himself. The lady said that wasn’t possible. Folks just didn’t call up the President of the U. S. of A and expect him to walk out of an international conference to visit with them.

“Well, I am a voting citizen of this great nation and as such I should have a say so in this business,” I said with great authority.

“Just what business is that?” She asked.

She should have never made that mistake.

I commenced to telling her that I didn’t want an extra hour of day light. What we had was enough. My body couldn’t take another of yard and garden work after supper. It was about all it could do to keep up with the hours of daylight that it had. My stomach got so confused last year that at dinner time it didn’t want to eat. Then an hour later when I was forty miles from anything edible it had to digest part its own lining, which has eighty million fat grams and four hundred calories per tablespoon. I gained sixteen pounds of cellulite on my thighs because of that extra hour of daylight.

I let her have it with both barrels for about fifteen or twenty minutes. When I finally wound down she told me she still wasn’t authorized to call the President of the United States out of the meeting but if I ever wanted a job selling snake oil she knew where I could get a bright red wagon with gold stars painted on the side.

I kicked. I screamed. I stated my cause. I stomped a hole in my soap box. But they are going to change the time anyway. I think I need something with a little more kick than sweet tea!

REMINDER: The drawing for a signed copy of Lucky in Love will happen on Sunday...all the names from folks who comment this week will go into the famous red boot for the drawing. Good luck to everyone and I love, love, love your comments!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Sweet Tea and Panty Hose

We’ve heard over and over again that an author should write what they know. Well, dear hearts,  
when I wrote that scene in The Ladies’ Room about Trudy going to the bathroom during her great-aunt’s funeral and poking a hole in her support panty hose, it was written from absolute, bonafide experience.

When panty hose first came out, I wanted to kiss the ground the woman walked upon who had designed them. I know it was a woman because what they replaced had to have been designed by a man who knew nothing of cheesy thighs. If he had he wouldn’t have made a garter belt with those bumpy things to hold up stockings. You know what I’m talking about. Those hard plastic nubs that we had to sit on all day long. By the time I got home I from church or school you could bury a marble in the hole that thing had poked into the back of my leg.

We had a party the day I bought my first pair of panty hose. And then I found out the real truth! I didn’t have holes in the backs of my legs anymore but getting them on required a fork lift, two pairs of heavy duty pliers and a good friend who did not mind sweating. Getting the legs up over my toes, my calves, my knees and my cellulite thighs did not mean the job was finished. The seam that was supposed to go to the top of my legs stopped two inches down from crotch level and that thin tight elastic, the one that was supposed to rest comfortably on my waist, cut a groove across my tummy.

That’s when I found out they came in sizes and there was a chart on the back. When I ran my finger across the weight and height, I found a note in small print that read, “Go get your garter belt back out of the drawer.”

Finally enough women marched on the plastic egg factory that they made a size for us folks who had healthy legs. Problem solved. I was back in that euphoric state where I was ready to share my gold plastic crown from Disney World with the woman who invented them. 

Until the day I went to a funeral and had to scurry off to the bathroom in the middle of the eulogy. I jerked down the panty hose and my finger nail went through them, right there on the inside of my right thigh. No problem. These were the newest, best thing yet. They were made of that stuff used to build space ships, guaranteed to never run (I didn't even own a bottle of clear finger nail polish anymore). I could live with a hole in the leg as long as I didn't have an embarrassing run working its way down to my toes.

I pulled them back up and a bubble of fat was so happy to be set free that it jumped right out that hole. I could almost hear those little fat cells singing, “I’ll Fly Away,” with the chorus when I returned to the funeral. The other fat cells joined right in and the bubble grew until it was the size of a golf ball hanging out there rubbing against my other thigh. And those fat cells called upon all the others in my legs, offering them freedom from oppression. A mutiny was in the making. 

Did I mention this was all in July in Texas? That meant the freed fat cells were sweating so they were sticking against my other leg. I made a hasty trip back to the bathroom, took the blasted panty hose off and tossed them in the trash. Removing them caused me to work up a sweat so believe me when I tell you that I knew exactly what Trudy was feeling. She wanted to take them off and strangle her two cousins. I wanted to take mine off and strangle that woman who claimed to have designed them. I’d bet you dollars to cow patties that it was her husband who really created the things and she got the rights in the divorce.

Just thinking about all that work to get them on and get them off makes me thirsty. Let’s have some sweet tea and give thanks that the new trend is not to wear stockings or panty hose.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Sweet Tea and Shoes

Southern women love shoes. It's part of our DNA and we've been known to buy the shoes first, then go lookin' for the outfit to go with them. After all, one cannot have a pair of gorgeous zebra print high heels and not have a single thing to go with them.

I remember my first pair of heels. I begged Mama until she finally gave in and let me use my baby sitting money to order them from the Bellas Hess Catalog. They were shiny black with little bows on the toes and Queen Anne heels which were only one inch high. My brother told me I looked like a duck with ingrown toe nails as I learned to walk in them. My sister couldn't wait four more years until she could have her own pair and my mother told me that I was starting something I would regret.

With knees that sound like popcorn doing its thing in the microwave these days, I will have to admit, Mama was right!! Some folks might blame knee surgeries on high heeled shoes but not me. They might have caused the problems but what instigated the whole mess boils down to that chart on the doctor's office.

Y'all know the one I'm talkin' about! It hangs right there for us ladies to study while we are waiting on the doctor to finally come on in our room. You look down the side and find your height then carefully (don't jump a line) go across to your ideal weight.

Yes, ma'am! That chart is the culprit. It didn't take long to figure out that if I was only a few inches taller, I would not be overweight. I did not need to diet. I needed higher heels. That meant I could go shopping as soon as the doctor's visit was over.

It worked for a few years but then suddenly, the shoe folks didn't make six inch heels. I needed stilts if I was going to be all right with that chart. I needed to be six feet two, not five feet two to be classified in the slightly overweight division.

Time to think outside the box...quite literally since that little box with the number in it was my guide. If I couldn't buy the shoes high enough and my knees were hurting, it was time to go back to flats or better yet go barefoot. I liked the latter even better than flats so I figured out a solution to that danged chart. I took my glasses off the next time I was in the doctor's office.

Could not see the chart therefore it did not control my life!

I'm safe until they get one of those horrible gadgets on the exam table that weighs a person, sends the information to the chart and gives it a voice. If it ever says, "Carolyn Brown, if you give up potatoes fried in bacon grease and never eat another Snicker bar for the rest of your life, you might be able to wear those one inch heels and be only mildly obese."

That is the day I intend to set fire to the chart. There is bail money hidden in a tin can under the frog statue in the back yard. Y'all get it and come bail me out! And bring me some real sweet tea. That stuff in the jail is the kind they make from powder and any self respecting woman standing up for her rights against a lying chart would gag on it.

Monday, February 23, 2015

A Little Sweet Tea and Sass


I'm entering a brand new world but hey, I figure with a pint of sweet tea and a healthy dose of southern sass, I can do this. So sit back in your chair and we'll visit. Some days it might be something that made me giggle, or a recipe one of you've asked for, or something that brought tears to my eyes or I might even get out my snake oil wagon and go to speechifyin' about my newest book. But I guarantee we'll visit about something every day or two.

For about 14 years I wrote a weekly column for a local newspaper and last week on my FB I got the bright idea to rerun some of those. Then Awesome Agent suggested I do it in the form of a blog instead so here we are...opening another door in my writing world. Comments will be appreciated greatly and I do promise once a week there will be a giveaway of some kind so come back often and be sure to comment because that's where I will get the names to go into the famous red boot.

So hand me the sweet tea and let's talk about fashion today.

I am not a clothes horse. Give me a well-worn comfortable sweat shirt for winter, a tee shirt for summer, and something to put on the bottom to keep me out of jail for indecent exposure and I’m a happy camper.
However, I’d gotten tired of going to the closet and finding nothing. The time had come to think about shopping. I hate to shop. I hate to try on clothing even worse. My self-image and mirror-image go to war with each other. There’s no truce. No mediators and definitely no winning for either side.
Then the editors of one of the magazines that come to my house solved the dilemna for me. I picked it up and right there on the front amongst the headlines for the most “Divine Desserts,” and “Cheap Dream Houses” was “Spring’s 5 Hottest New Fashion Trends.”
Surely with only five new fashion trends I could find something I could live with and purchase one in each color. I grabbed a candy bar and a glass of sweet tea and sat down to view the hottest new things in style.

Number one: geometric prints. Four designers represented. Four looks. One for casual. One for work. One for evening and I’m not so sure where the other fit in. If we still had outhouses, I’d maybe think it would do for a trip to that place. I tried to imagine my short, square body in leggings in bright red, yellow and hot pink geometric print. My split personality images both snarled their noses. I would definitely look like the Pillsbury Dough Boy turned over the paint cans out in the garage.

Number two: the suit. Jacket. Skirt or pants. Blouse. Right? Nope, Mr. Klein and Ungaro just left off the blouse. When I checked the price tag for the two pieces I could surely see why. Valentino added a blouse to his collection. Made of sheer material, cut down to the waist and edged in lace. Looked wonderful on the model. Would have cost me court costs and a two week vacation in the county jail. There wasn’t enough material in that blouse to flag a freight train, let alone cover up over sixty years accumulation of fat cells.

Number three: black and white. Surely this was going to be my calling. At least the black part. I can’t wear white. I have grandchildren in the double digits and besides I’m not known for grace above and beyond the call of duty. Anything white is only that color for a little while if I wear it. But the black, I could certainly do the hottest new fashions in black. No problem. Right? Wrong! Black and white horizonal stripes and stringy little black, high heeled sandals. The day I wore that get up, is the very day they’d have those hound dogs out hunting down a violent criminal. The canines would see me stripes walking down Main Street and go to baying. I’d be trying to outrun them in those shoes and break my fool neck.

Number four: military. I’ve got the attitude. Ask my grandchildren. But there was something about that tie up around my neck ... just choked me looking at it. I’ve always been grateful about being a woman so I don’t have to wear a tie, or learn to tie one either.  Besides I bet every one of those skirts have a waistband and zipper. Probably even a button to bite into that special little parcel of fat I keep at waist level. Nope, Gucci was going to have to appeal to the thinner women who always wanted to grow up to be a drill sergeant.

Number five: the wrap. By now, I was getting worried. But then there was a whole page of cute little wrap around dresses. Looked somewhat like a kimino robe. Said it was fuss free and looked good on everyone. I’d found my hot new style. I would order five of them in different patterns and my closet would be full again.

Guess who looks like Archie Bunker’s wife in a wrap around dress. I kept expecting my voice to raise six octaves and to start calling Husband to the supper table with a New York accent. I sent them all back and didn’t even moan about the return postage. I did think about writing them a stinging letter about how their famous wrap did not look good on everyone. Then I realized there was a bit of small print. Looks good on everyone who is the same size as the models in the pictures.

So much for the five hottest new fashions. I made a new list. Five tee shirts and something to go with them to keep me out of jail. And the magazine with all that false advertisement went straight to the trash can!

Until next time y'all keep sippin' that sweet tea!