Y'all come on in!

Y'all come on in!

Friday, May 26, 2017


For a long time now folks have been concerned about the overpopulation in prisons. Seems there's not enough cells to accommodate the number of folks who have done something that warrants them one of the few rooms they have in those places.

Reading all about that caused me to realize why we have fat "cells". Not fat particles. Not fat jugs. Not fat packages. But fat cells.

We're told that we're born with a certain number of fat cells. It's evident that I got my share,  my neighbor's share and my friend's share when they were passing them out at the birthing process. Some pudgy little angel was sitting up there on a white, marshmallow cloud, looking down at the hospital maternity wards and said, "Hummm, let me see, yep, that one looks real good. Since I was napping through two births and having dinner on the third one and didn't toss any fat cells on those kids, then I'll just dust this one with their share. Zap!" And it was done.

So I got a whole prison of fat cells begging to be filled up. Most folks can pass a candy shop window without it hurting them too much. Not me! My fat cells cry out that I'm not utilizing the space. Since, even in youth, I was not known for willpower above and beyond the call of duty, I waltzed right into the candy store and my fat cells and I were very happy when I left.

I remember once when I was a teenager, I looked in the mirror and didn't like my overstuffed prison of fat cells. That's when I learned all about that horrid thing called a calorie, when I introduced my body to something called diet pop and commenced to not caring if there were a few empty cells in my prison of fat cells. I closed the prison down for good now that I was a slim, trim and mean machine. I knew how hard it had been to get control of the prison and now I would never, ever let even one of those dormant cells fill up again.

Oops! Six months later my prison was overfilled again. I drug out my little calorie book, started gagging on diet pop and got out the locks to shut that blasted thing down once and for all.

After that time I realized I could empty the cells but that didn't mean they were gone for good. It was always going to be there...willing, waiting, whining and ready. My body was tired of the eviction process and they really did whine every time we passed the Braum's store and there were posters of hot fudge sundaes. My fat cells were now multiple offenders but they kept getting released to beg for donuts, fried potatoes, candy bars and even pasta. There was no keeping them locked up and empty, not after they'd figured out the escape plan.

The only thing they whine about more than being deprived of their favorite fattening foods is when I tell them that if we eat that, we will have to ride the stationary bicycle or walk three miles. That's when they lay on the floor and pitch a regular old southern hissy fit. They are spoiled rotten but there doesn't seem to be any help for it so I've stopped trying to evict them.

And that's why, in the beginning, they were named fat "cells"!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Happy Mother's Day...

Some women declare that everything they knew about motherhood was learned from their grandmother, their mother or even Great Aunt Rosie. I give credit where it is due and those women certainly played a big part in what I know about motherhood. But most of what I've learned was while driving down a little state highway from Bells to Whitewright, Texas almost fifty years ago.

To begin with, the highway hadn't been resurfaced since my Grandpa was still a carpenter and he'd been retired for a long time. The road was like motherhood. There were days when I'd think I was going to get through the present phase in my kids' lives without a hitch and then I'd fall right into a hole big enough to swallow an army tank. So much for thinking that one good day meant another would follow.

The highway is a two lane road, one lane for going and one for coming back from Grandpa's house. When you become a mother, they don't let you go back to the delivery room if you don't have a current driver's license. And if they ask you to spell mother, you say T-A-X-I. There will be times when you'll be going down one lane of the highway and times when you are coming back on the other side of the road but from the time you hear that baby's first cry and you are a mother, you will never be sitting still again.

Sometimes you'll be traveling along with older cars that can't go more than 35 MPH and sometimes you're doing good to keep up with the little sports cars trying to make a seven mile straight stretch in two minutes. They're all going to the same place, right along with you. That old model with the tail fins will get to the PTA meeting just as surely as the brand new red sports car with a spoiler on the back end. The meeting doesn't even start until seven thirty and there's always plenty of doughnuts and coffee.

The scenery is always changing. At times the front yard is freshly mowed and the flowers are blooming. Other times it's full of dandelions and the flower beds need to have the weeds pulled up. Just like those children that made you a mother--they eventually get past the pull-up stage and to the school age stage but it still takes constant work to keep the bad things out of their lives.

Before you can turn around, they're to the driving stage and then the dating stage, the cutting-the-apron-strings stage and hopefully that long awaited responsible adult stage. But just because they've graduated from each stage and made you proud, does not mean you are finished because once you became a mother, you're always a mother. It doesn't matter if you are the mother of the multi-billionaire computer soft ware genius or of a ditch digger, you are still a mother.

See that crossroads over there that says you can go to Savoy one way or Ida the other? There's lots of times like that in motherhood. Sometimes we actually brake and think about where that road might lead or where the kids might be today if we'd chosen to take a different road. But rest assured, the journey will end where it's supposed to and neither of those roads would take us to grandpa's house where he always gave me the best advice.

And take a look at that 1948 John Deere tractor sitting out there in the pasture with weeds growing up around it. It's not sitting there because it is useless. No, ma'am. Do not make the mistake of underestimating it. It's just resting a spell. It has plowed more fields, cut more corners and knows more about life than any of those new fangled models that keep breaking down every time they hit a hard spot in the road. It might not be air conditioned or have that fancy radio stuff in it. The green paint might have rust spots, but honey, if you put some fuel in it and start it up, it'll prove it's got a lot of get up and go left in it.

As you travel down the roads of life remember to stop and smell the flowers this Mother's Day! And maybe even pick a bouquet of yard roses for your mother.

Happy Mothers Day to all mothers out there from this old 1948 tractor.

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Little White House...

This morning I was looking out the kitchen window at a couple of young squirrels playing chase around the trunk of our old hackberry tree. I wondered how many stories that old tree could tell if it could talk. It was a big tree when we bought this place almost forty years ago so it's been around for a long time.

Had it been planted to someday provide shade for a little white house sitting out there at the back of the lot because when it was a baby tree, not everyone could afford indoor plumbing? As much as I sometimes wish I could crawl into a time machine and go back to that slow, southern life style of the eighteen hundreds, I sure wouldn't want to stay very long because I do love indoor plumbing.

However there were benefits of that era. No one had to stand outside in the cold with their legs crossed and doing a tap dance while they waited because a person did not tarry long once they got inside. There was no central heat and air and that little moon provided both ventilation and light. Jogging was invented because a person had to get back to the house to wash their hands.

There was no need to put a magazine rack in the little house because a person only had so much lung power and that was never enough to read a whole article. Folks learned early to take a big gulp of air before opening the day and to pray that they didn't have to inhale again until they were jogging back to the house to wash their hands.

It was not an absolutely waste of time. The entire inside was wallpapered in old newspapers and folks training for a walk on the bottom of the ocean (see previous paragraph about holding your breath) could read the latest news concerning the Dalton gang's latest bank robbery. Or if they turned their gaze to the other side of the place they could read all about the newest medicine in a bottle, guaranteed to cure everything from the seven year itch to ingrown toe nails. It might taste like warmed over sin but hey, it couldn't be worse than the eau de toilette in the little white house.

I've heard a story about Great Aunt Rosie's second husband. The first one died from what the coroner called an acute case of ear problems brought on by severe nagging. The second one did not read the death certificate until after they were married--bless his heart. Now this second one had a little more backbone than number one and when Aunt Rosie went to pitching a hissy for an indoor bathroom, he stood his ground and told her that it was not happening. She already had the prettiest toilet in the whole county. It had two holes and roses planted all around the outside and he'd even put a couple of nice seats that had lids on them over the holes.

It was winter time and the children decided they'd play a prank on Uncle Henry (That's number two. Uncle Herman was number one. She had some throw pillows that she'd embroidered with the letter H so she bypassed Cyrus and Vernon when she was looking for a new husband.) So back to the story: the kids in the neighborhood were building a snow man between the house and the toilet and about the time of the morning when he made his way down the path, they smeared a thin film of glue on both toilet seats. It said right on the bottle that it would dry in ten minutes and was guaranteed to stick for life.

Aunt Rosie missed him about noon when he didn't come to the table for lunch. He loved her chicken and dumplings and nothing ever kept him from being right there when she put them on the table. She went to lamenting, figuring that he'd done dropped dead in some neighbor's yard, and throwing herself a first rate bawling fit. After all there weren't many widowers with a first name beginning with the letter H left in the county. When he wasn't there at twelve fifteen, she just went on and called the undertaker and picked out a suit for him to be buried in.

In the middle of all the hullabaloo, what with the neighbors already bringing covered dishes of food to the house (they kept them ready in the freezer just in case because nobody wanted to be the last one to bring in food to a mourning family), she had to make a run to the outhouse. She found Uncle Henry sitting there, teeth chattering, blue from the cold and unable to utter a single word, bless his heart. They had to get a pair of pliers and take the toilet seat to the house with him since that glue lived up to its claim. But some smart kid who'd accompanied his granny to the house knew what to do to separate Uncle Henry from the toilet seat and by supper time he was able to partake a little of Aunt Rosie's dumplings and several of the dishes the kind folks had brought to the house in case he was dead.

The undertaker was one happy man because he didn't know how in the world he was going to get a suit on Uncle Henry with that toilet seat stuck to his backside. Uncle Henry's sister was really glad because she wasn't sure he could get into heaven in that condition. But the preacher was more than a little miffed. He'd already started preparing the funeral sermon and now it would be wasted.

Aunt Rosie figured her nagging had finally worked because the next day Uncle Henry called a local contractor and told him to come on to the house and put an indoor bathroom at the top of the stairs. He didn't mind giving up a bedroom for it but he did want a lock on the door and a magazine rack on the right side of the potty.