The Flowering Vine: Stardate, 1981

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The sun has one kind of glory, while the moon and stars each have another kind. And even the stars differ from each other in their glory- 1 Corinthians 15:41 (NLT)

 

Today was a beautiful day!

A celebration of our 50th Wedding Anniversary, and all of our children and their children converged from everywhere to spend this occasion with us.

Of course, we missed the older boys who have all grown up and moved forward on their separate journeys.

Ronnie and Eric are in the military and Angelo is teaching out of state.

We know they would have been here if they could have.

But isn’t that what the whole thing is about?

You have your babies, hope and pray over them, raise them and give them wings to fly.

Bittersweet–that’s exactly what it is.

But we wouldn’t have it any other way.

We’ve been blessed and we know it.

All of our children are healthy and have gone on to do great things.

And when we look at the grandchildren we see bits and pieces of Ma Lula, Ma Allie, Ma Hallie, Pa Babe, Alberta, Aunt Elvy and, believe it or not, those Hatfields.

Quite naturally, they favor one another physically– but their individual glory differs just like the stars that sparkle and glimmer at night.

All in all, despite the hard times and hurt feelings, we did it!

We did exactly what God wanted and His grace has been our strength to see it through.

And now…

We rest.

“Good night Leroy.”

“Good night Annie.”

 

And thus ended the series…but not the story.  Both Ron and I will continue to weave tales about our family between the two blogs.

Thank you so much for all of your support and for reading “The Flowering Vine.”

Love and light to you all!

Lady G

😘💋

 

 

In Defense of…

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The Department of Accountable Responsibility

March 9, 2017

Please read this letter very carefully. You are required by our laws to respond as advised.

Dear Lady G,

The time has come for you to complete and submit the following form for your annual Right to Remain Hearing.  As you know, every citizen of this land must undergo an annual evaluation to determine if he or she is fit to remain in our society.

Please complete this short questionnaire. Your responses will be used to help us make a preliminary determination regarding your continued eligibility for societal membership.

Circle all of the categories that apply to your current situation:

  • I am working at least 20 hours per week. (Complete and submit Form 405)
  • I own a business or a farm. (Complete and submit Form 406)
  • I am the primary care giver of a child under age 16. (Complete and submit Form 407)
  • I am the primary care giver of an individual with a chronic and/or debilitating condition. (Complete and submit Form 407-C)
  • I am currently attending college. (Complete and submit Form 408)
  • I am currently attending a technical school or career training program. (Complete and submit Form 408-T)
  • I receive recurring income from an inheritance or some other legal and verifiable source. (Complete and submit Form 409)
  • I am a volunteer at a non-profit organization for at least 20 hours per week. (Complete and submit Form 410)
  • I am an artist, musician, writer or entertainer. (Complete and submit Form 411)
  • I have a state approved patron who will sign Form 412 attesting that he or she will assume financial responsibility for my total care.
    • A “patron spouse” is not required to complete Form 412.

***Note:  Your patron must be willing to appear and testify at your Right to Remain Hearing. 

If you have been accused, arrested or convicted of a misdemeanor/felony since your last Right to Remain Hearing please complete and submit Form 187.

Remember, failure to legally maintain sustained housing, healthcare and other expenses required for your own personal care will result in an immediate and negative strike against your Right to Remain.

Important! If you belong to any of the populations listed below, you are NOT required to attend a Right to Remain Hearing.

  • Individuals under age 18, and who, upon reaching the land’s mandated age, are enrolled in a land certified school or an otherwise approved homeschooling program
  • Individuals over the age 65
  • Individuals who are deaf, mute, blind or in any way incapacitated
  • Individuals with a terminal illness or a chronic and/or debilitating condition
  • Active Duty Military and their immediate families
  • Military Veterans and their immediate families
  • Physicians, nurses, teachers, paramedics and members of any other ‘helping profession.’

Exempted populations must sign here and submit supporting documentation.  A list of acceptable supporting documents can be found on our website.

I attest that I belong to an exempted population:

__________________________________________________________

Please mail this form along with Form 323 (Income and Expenses Statement) to your assigned Department of Accountable Responsibility regional office.

An agent will be contacting you in the near term to schedule your appointment for  a Right to Remain Hearing.

Warning!  Failure to submit this form with required documentation within 5 business days will result in your immediate arrest.

Have a wonderful day and I look forward to seeing you soon.

Sincerely,

I.B. Wondering

Chief Inquisitor, 

Department of Accountable Responsibility

I’ve been imagining such a scenario and contemplating the outcome for quite some time so I decided to write this to see how it might look.

That said, how would you respond to this letter?  How would people you know and care about respond?

Based on what ‘appears’ to be the given criteria, do you know anybody who would be in danger of being ousted from such an imaginary society?  Just remember, for the most part, the ‘Department’ did not necessarily offer a clear indication as to what it deems valuable. 

It simply asks for ‘the facts.’

I’d love to chat with you about it….hit me up in comments

Food for thought 🙂

Lady G 😘💋

The Flowering Vine: Run Boy Run!

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Run Boy Run

(A song by)

Yoann Lemoine

Run boy run! This world is not made for you

Run boy run! They’re trying to catch you

Run boy run! Running is, a victory

Run boy run! Beauty lays behind the hills

Run boy run! The sun will be guiding you

Run boy run! They’re dying to stop you

Run boy run! This race is a prophecy

Run boy run! Break out from society

Tomorrow is another day

And you won’t have to hide away

You’ll be a man, boy!

But for now, it’s time to run, it’s time to run!

Run boy run! This ride is a journey to

Run boy run! The secret inside of you

Run boy run! This race is a prophecy

Run boy run! And disappear in the trees

Tomorrow is another day

And you won’t have to hide away

You’ll be a man, boy!

But for now, it’s time to run, it’s time to run!

Tomorrow is another day

And when the night fades away

You’ll be a man, boy!

But for now, it’s time to run, it’s time to run!

In youth, I ran like a gazelle. I first became aware of that “fact”, in the seventh grade. At that time, junior high school—of which seventh grade was a part—was on the same campus as the high school. The school was only a block from my home so, of course, I walked to and from school.

It was upon entering this phase of my education, that my very best friend—Curtis—turned on me. I didn’t know why it happened then and I don’t know now; maybe it was part of the “adolescent developmental stage”—children do get a bit rowdy at that age.

Whatever the cause, he did it. He turned on me—his best friend. We’d been besties since first grade. He even called my grandma—who was a teacher at our elementary school—Granny! We were brothers; tighter than panty hose two sizes small, but that year, something changed.

Curtis teamed up with two known bullies, and for most of that school year, joined them in chasing me every day, after school. Each day, the school bell signaling the end of the school day, was for me, analogous to the firing of a starter pistol. Upon hearing it, I ran like a gazelle: out of the classroom; through the hallways leading to the outside world and down the hill, on top of which, the school campus stood.

Once I hit the pavement of that downhill street, I knew I was home free, for I ran like a gazelle! Through the path that led behind the little church on the street below I flew, then another twenty or so yards, and I was home free. I never looked back to see if the boys were closing the distance. I knew they weren’t. I knew, and they learned, that to continue the chase, would be futile because, I ran like a gazelle. No shit!

However, one dreadful day, they got me. I didn’t say they caught me; no, they were never able to do that! I said they GOT me. They intercepted me. As I headed down behind the church, a big bully named Leaker stood in the path. One of the boys—it could have been Curtis, I don’t know—yelled out, “Leaker, stop him!”. Leaker stuck out a big yellow arm—just as I was about to streak past—and stopped me cold; knocking the breath—the very life, it seemed—right out of my body.

I laid there on the ground, dazed and confused; looking up into the blue sky—into heaven. I saw the heads and shoulders of Curtis and the bullies, forming a circle around me; no angels in this heaven. They grabbed me by my leg and dragged me, like a rag doll, back up the hill and proceeded to kick my ass. “Finally”, I thought, “the end has come”.

In spite of the beating I took that day, I lived. Curtis and I became best friends again in the eighth grade. I knocked one of the bullies silly when, at a later date, he tried to bully me on his own. I was threatened by another of the bullies, Andy, after I’d reported him for throwing pecan shells at the other students, but the sight of my Dad’s “Hawk Bill”, changed his mind.  I continued to run like a gazelle, but as a member of the track team; earning 3 letters and a trophy, before my high school education was completed.

Granddaddy Leroy knew exactly why the children at his school turned their ire against him. He was too White.  They let him know every day, with heatedly hurled epithets. “Hey White Boy”, would have been the gentler and most benign of their loathsome lexicon. I can imagine that they called him “Cracker”. I can imagine that they might have called him “Milkman”, “Flour bag”, or “Pale-face”.

They teased him because his father was White. They teased him because his complexion was lighter than theirs. Maybe they called him “Massuh’s Nigger”, “Massuh’s boy” or “Po-Bucker”. It’s impudently ironic that they would have been abjectly averse to being called “Nigger” or “Coon”, by Whites. But they were just children. Children can be ignorant! Children can be mean!

However, things could have been exponentially worse, if not for the actions of the benevolent teacher who oversaw the school. Each day, she’d let little Leroy leave earlier than the other children, so he could avoid their malicious onslaught. He would then run as fast as he could, until he was way ahead of the others.

I can relate to my Granddaddy’s torment; in kind, if not in the magnitude. I imagine that, when that teacher opened that door, Leroy ran like a gazelle; just like a gazelle I tell you!

On Grandparents, Sages and Ancestors

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Granddaddy (My Dad), circa 2004, watching over my son at a school camping trip. (Excuse the imperfections in the image.)

 

Every time I see folks taking care of their grandchildren, I always make it a point to say to them, “Thank God for Grandparents!”

No doubt, Grandparents can be a child’s guardian angel materialized on Earth.

Trust me when I tell you that I enjoyed interacting with my own Grandparents–when they were alive–and I’ve enjoyed watching my children do the same with my parents.

Grandchildren:  Always be a blessing to your Grandparents, just as they are or were to you!

Ah, but wait, I can hear somebody in the ethers hollering, “But Lady G, I’ve never had a relationship with my Grandparents.”

To that, I say…

Seek the Sages!

Sages are easy to find–if you’re willing to look around you.

Sometimes they are sitting next to you on the bus.

Other times, they are standing next to you at the library.

Or in the line at the coffee shop.

Interactions with Sages need not be unnecessarily long.

Sometimes, Sages offer a quick word of advice or wisdom that can take you ten steps further down the road.

Sadly, many Sages are slipping away in:

Nursing homes

Back bedrooms

Small apartments

Unattended to…

So…

Find the Sages I say!  Talk to them!  Learn their stories! Take pictures of them! Bestow them with accolades!

(It should go without saying that this advice also applies to Grandparents.)

Treasure them…they deserve it!

For tomorrow you will look and they’ll be gone.

Finally, let us not forget…

The Ancestors!

For the purposes of this post, Ancestors are defined as all of the Grandparents, and Sages who have ‘shuffled off this mortal coil’…having ascended to higher realms.

Remember and honor them!

They are watching!

Make them proud!

Love and light to you all!

Lady G 😘💋

Dedicated to My Grandparents:

Mary

Leroy and Annie Maude

And to my Parents, Sages and Ancestors!

Happy Birthday to Us- Pt 1

 

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Lady J (October 2016)

Greetings friends!

January is a month of birthdays around here!

First up is Lady J.  

She turns 11 this week.

If you guys follow this blog then you already ‘know’ her as my youngest child.

Talk about a spirited chick?

That’s our Lady J!

Not only is she feisty, but she’s a smart and witty one who enjoys cooking, crafting, writing, reading, drawing and playing piano.

Wise beyond her years, Lady J is, as many of you know, a self proclaimed “Protector of the Animals.”

That said, she knows just about anything that can be known about pretty much any animal you can think of.

Trust me on that one 😉

I’ve heard it all!

Naturally, she wants to be a Veterinarian.

Of course, some of you may remember this post where she staged a school bake sale to raise money to help support dogs awaiting adoption.

Poor baby, I think the final tally was only about $25.00…

But hey, it’s the thought that counts.

Anyway, please join me as I celebrate my sweet daughter, Lady J.

 

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Baby Lady J
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Lady J creation (age 7)
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Lady J’s current work (in progress):  A hand knitted winter’s scarf
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Practicing for Winter Recital (2016)
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Baking Brownies
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One of Lady J’s many sketches

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LADY J!!!!!

With love,

Mom 😘💋

The Flowering Vine: Mary, Don’t You Weep

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Mary, Don’t You Weep

Oh, Mary, don’t you weep, don’t you mourn.

Oh, Mary, don’t you weep, don’t you mourn.

Didn’t Pharaoh’s army get drowned?

Oh, Mary, don’t you weep.

Cheer up, sisters and don’t you cry.

There’ll be good times bye and bye.

Didn’t Pharaoh’s army get drowned?

Oh, Mary, don’t you weep.

(Aretha Franklin – Mary, Don’t You Weep)

“Why didn’t he come Lee?”, Bernard asked his older brother plaintively. “Don’t you understand ‘Nard? There ain’t no such thing as Sandy Clause, probably nevah wuz”, replied Leroy, in a voice laden with sadness, disappointment, and a tiny tinge of anger. Always an extremely astute child, in the few hours since finding the empty stockings, he’d come to realize, that Mary’s absence was directly connected to the absence of stuff in their stockings. “Why didn’t Jim tell us?” Leroy whispered under his breath, to no one in particular.

The boys got dressed slowly, lethargically; like two convicts clothing themselves before meeting the hangman. That’s what facing a Christmas Day felt like for two boys begrudged the boon usually associated with Christmastide. Once dressed and outdoors, they sat on the woodpile, staring at the ground; frozen, white breath fleeing their mouths, like souls exiting cold, lifeless bodies.

Then faintly, at first, gradually growing louder, like thunder from an advancing storm, the boys heard it; the unmistakable grumbling rumble of wagons approaching. The boys lifted their heads, straightened their bodies and turned towards the approaching sound. “Hey boys!”, came the liltingly gay voice of Ma Hallie, as her wagon rolled to a halt in front of the house. Pa Babe sat at her side atop the buckboard. Their wagon was followed by the blacksmith’s wagon, the owner of which, pulled sharply on the reins while emitting a hearty, “Whoa mule!”. The sharply dressed figure of Doc McCoo, rode shotgun.

Ma Hallie sprang down from the wagon, dress tail flying, like a sheet hung out to dry on a windy day. She reached in the back of the wagon and pulled out a wicker basket covered with a snow-white cloth. As Ma Hallie approached the boys, the smell of fried chicken marched before her, like an advance guard, striking the boys in their guts, causing their bellies to growl like angered lions. The rest of the group stepped down from the wagons as Jim and Coley exited the house to investigate the commotion.

“Take this basket in the house boys!”, Ma Hallie commanded, an order the boys obeyed with the zeal of Zouaves toadying to some great general. The smithy came forward holding three iron rings of ascending circumference, paired with hooked iron rods, which lengths duplicated the diameters of the hoops. The hoops and rods clanged together musically as the smithy approached Coley and Jim. The blacksmith conveyed the hoops and rods to Coley, along with the instructions; “The big ‘un fer you and the lil’ ‘un fer the youngest ‘un. Give the other’n to that brave boy Leroy”.

The blacksmith’s gifts, forged in his foundry, were called variably; “hoop-and-rod” or “hoop-and-stick”. The rod or stick was used to usher the hoop, as it rolled along the ground in whatever game the hoopsters might be playing; the number and variety of games that could be played with the toy, were limited only by the hoopster’s imagination. They were a common and popular toy among rural children. Some were simply bicycle rims and sticks; few were custom forged like these.

Leroy exited the house, licking his fingers. He’d obviously, taken an advance on a chicken leg, and was now, smiling with satisfaction, but the sight of the hoops elevated his elation. The boys were about to take off down the dusty dirt road with their hoops, when Doc McCoo stepped, abruptly, in front of them. In his hands, he held three, small, burlap bags, which rattled and clicked as he handed them to the boys. “Enjoy”, he enjoined, his grey eyes sparkling over the top of his round, wire-framed spectacles as he looked down at the boys and smiled a huge, pearly-white smile. He then handed Jim a neatly folded, crisp, one dollar bill. Jim thanked Doc profusely, while quickly shoving the buck into his pants pocket.

The younger boys opened their bags and reached in. Inside each bag were seven shiny, bright, multi-colored marbles. The joyful shine in the boy’s eyes rivaled that of the marbles’ that they held in their excitedly trembling hands. Leroy, especially, stared; mesmerized at a quarter-sized, green, and yellow, “Cat’s Eye”, marble. “This one”, he spoke quietly. “This one will be my ‘shooter’. I ain’t gonna never lose a game with this”. This declaration proved to be bona fide; that is, until Coley cut off two of Leroy’s fingers.

To be continued…

Mona Lisa and Me

Me at 3
Me at 3

“No matter where you go in the room, Mona Lisa will be looking right at you.”

I remember wondering how that could be possible as I listened to my Godfather talk about a picture that was on display in his living room.

Believe me when I tell you that I was NOT convinced that the lady pictured could do that. So, I tested his assertion. I mean I went to every corner of that room to try that thing out and, sure enough, Mona Lisa continued to look at me- no matter where I went.

I should’ve known he was right.

By the way, my Godmother, who looked like a beautiful Black Betty White, loved laughing at my Godfather as he carried on this sort of ‘grown up’ conversation with three year old me.  Best believe that there was nothing that he could ask me or tell me about that I didn’t have a quick response or answer for; well except for the Mona Lisa thing.  And to be honest, when all else failed, I’d just dip into my vivid imagination and make something up!

Making stuff up is a child’s prerogative isn’t it?

Who knew that my Godfather was teaching me to become a creative communicator 😉

At any rate, during visits with my Godparents, I loved watching and listening to my Godfather play jazz tunes ‘by ear.’  From what I understand, he and his sister were raised in a household that placed a high value on education.  In fact, his sister, who was highly intelligent, went on to become a professor at a prestigious American University.  One of the things that I remember most about her was the love that she had for her dear poodle, Zora.

By the way, you are correct if you guessed that her dog was named for Zora Neale Hurston, the Black novelist, folklorist and anthropologist.

Well to me, at that time, “Zora” meant nothing more than small, yappy, white poodle-period.

Anyway, while my Godfather challenged my intellect, my Godmother, who was a nurse, but had the skills and knowledge of today’s Nurse Practitioner or Physician’s Assistant, kept close watch on my physical wellbeing. To be frank, she had been doing so prior to my Earthly debut.  In essence, she handpicked my mother’s OB/Gyn and my Pediatrician; both of whom were top-flight. All in all, she took my parents under her wing the minute they arrived in Augusta. So it was only natural that she and her husband would become my Godparents.

By now you are probably wondering why I have coerced you into accompanying me on a promenade down the streets of my memories. In other words, what is the point of this post?

Well I am glad that you asked!  So here we go!

The purpose of this post is to encourage you to pour into the lives of young children -much like my Godparents did for me. Realize that this does NOT have to cost you anything but a little bit of time.

Here are a couple of suggestions as to how you might do this:

Take a child to the public library and show them the process of finding and checking out a book.  Then, read to them.  You might also take them to free events that introduce them to different cultures.  Look for museum specials so that you can also introduce them to the arts.

Teach a child how to prepare your favorite simple dishes like salads and sandwiches. If they are older, you might show them how to use the stove to prepare a cooked meal.

Allow a child to accompany you to the bank, store or any other place where you take care of business.  While there, explain to them what a checking/ savings account is and allow them to watch you conduct a transaction like making a deposit or cashing a check.  If you are fully automated in the banking realm, show them how online transactions work.  Likewise, take them to a grocery store and show them how to select food items and how to pay for them.

Talk to them about money; specifically, about how it is earned, invested, spent, donated and saved.

Allow a child to watch you as you engage in a favorite pastime or routine activity. Help them to research activities that they may be interested in learning how to do.

To be honest, you can apply all of the suggestions above to any person that would benefit from that knowledge.  Get creative about sharing your skills, abilities and knowledge with others. Remember, you can adjust any of my suggestions in order to make them age appropriate.

Now, before I go, I’d like to have a word with anyone who has been named the Godparent of a child:

Godparents, take your job seriously!  Feel free to use my suggestions.  Please don’t think that you are functioning as a proper Godparent if your only involvement in your Godchild’s life is taking them to get a hamburger and a T-Shirt once a year. And for those of you who simply flaunt the title “Godparent” while adding NO value to the child’s life, I would like to challenge you to step up your game in a major way!

Lady G, is now stepping down from the soapbox!

Honestly, I thank God everyday for my Godparents; especially my Godmother who continued to watch over me through my high school years.  I also thank God for my daughter’s Godparents who have always been so very loving, kind and generous to her and my family.  They remind me so much of my own Godparents.

May God always bless and keep these four souls for all the days of their lives; even until the end of time.

Friends, I also urge you to take time to think about and remember the adults who poured into you when you were a child.  Challenge yourselves to pay it back and forward.

NOT Rocket Science

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Trust me, you can relax because, as the title indicates, I am NOT about to discuss the trajectory of a spaceship.  Nor will I be writing an epistle on the various applications of Einstein’s equations.

Did I just sense a collective sigh of relief?

However, I am going to share three experiences that I believe perfectly illustrate some glaring deficiencies in the knowledge base of some of our young people.

Now, before I start, let me clarify that this post is not meant to place all blame on teachers and in the interest of self -disclosure, let me admit that each of my paternal aunts were educators.

Back to my point.

I honestly think that weaknesses in our children’s educational backgrounds are due to several negative social, political and economic factors that have converged to formulate a clusterf*ck of sorts.

Uhh, enough with the pontification! Read these experiences so you’ll understand what I mean:

Experience 1

Several months ago, my friend, who taught Advanced Spanish at a local high school, was testing her students on the subject of ‘Time.’  During the test, she moved the hands on a clock to indicate various times of day. She then asked the students to write, in Spanish, the time that was displayed. Seventeen of the twenty students failed the test.

But not for the reason that you are thinking.

The fact of the matter is that seventeen students failed the test because they had no idea how to tell time on a non-digital clock. The Principal made my friend re-administer the test using images from a digital clock.  Needless to say, the pass rate greatly improved.

Unfortunately, the Principal NEVER even acknowledged the fact that the students could only tell time on a digital clock.

Now my question to you is twofold:  What time is it and does anybody really know what time it is?

You’ll have to forgive me for throwing in two musical references but it’s what I do 🙂

Experience 2

I went to Arby’s on yesterday to grab some dinner for me and my daughter.  The total cost of our food was $11.31.  I did not want to use my debit or credit cards so I handed the cashier five ones and a five dollar bill.  After that, I handed her four quarters.  Finally, I handed her an additional quarter, one nickel and a penny.  Y’all that’s $11.31 all day long!

Clearly, I was trying to get rid of some change.

Anyway, after the cashier disappeared from the drive-thru window, I heard what sounded like a whole lot of change being feverishly moved around.  Honestly, it sounded like a rat had gotten into the cash drawer.

Before long, and to my surprise, the young cashier returned to the window and handed me several coins-along with a receipt.  I immediately said, “Oh you don’t owe me any money, I gave you the exact amount, the total was $11.31 –correct?”

She said, “No m’am it was $11.40.”  She then handed me my food.

Well, I smiled politely and drove off–still feeling a bit confused.  I mean if the total due was $11.40 then she certainly didn’t owe me any change, in fact, I owed her.

Ok, now I’m befuddled as hell!  So when I got home, I checked the receipt.  Guess what? the total was, indeed, $11.31 but the amount tendered was entered as  $11.40 so the change shown was $0.09.

Our dear cashier thought that a quarter, a nickel and a penny was $0.40.

Y’all it ain’t no cash register or computer in the world that could have helped this poor baby.  Honestly, I felt so sorry for her.

Experience 3

In the words of my wise cousin Ron, there is no need to split a hair that doesn’t need to be split.

Now watch me split this one anyway 😉

OK, so recently I went to the deli at Publix  to get 3 pounds of smoked turkey.  The young man working the counter was quite nice; we had a lovely little chat while he sliced my turkey.  Just as he was finishing up, he said, “Ma’am, this is gon’ be too much meat to put in one bag so Imma need to split it up.”

I said, “OK, that’ll be perfect.”

The young man then proceeded to divide the meat into 3 portions; placing each portion into 3 separate bags.  He then went on to say, “Ok here go your first half, here go your second half and here go your third half.”

Y’all, somehow that just didn’t sound right to me.  LOL!

Alright, I realize that many of you probably laughed at a couple of these ‘experiences.’  But, seriously, if you are a parent, grandparent or if you have a direct vested interest in a child’s education, you might want to pay closer attention to what is going on at the schoolhouse.

Remember, the students of today will be the doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, police officers, paramedics, engineers, air traffic control/pilots, truck drivers and politicians of tomorrow.

Don’t you want them to be well prepared?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

True Railroad Stories: The Coal Toss

RR track photo

Greetings Readers!

If you read my ‘about’ page you may remember me mentioning that my father would be making contributions to my blog.

Today, he decided to share a ‘feel good’ story from his time as a conductor on the railroad.  It is important to note that this is a true story; and frankly, it is my favorite.

Enjoy!

– Gwin

The Coal Toss

     Many years ago, I was a young railroad conductor who was in charge of a train running between two major cities in the South. At that time, I had a beautiful wife and together we had two healthy children.  I felt very fortunate to be able to provide a comfortable living for myself and my family.
     Anyway, I had been working the same train route for several years so I was very familiar with the surrounding areas.  Oftentimes, I would get to know the people who lived and worked in the smaller towns along the way.  But of all of those places, one place sticks out in my mind for sentimental reasons.  Basically,  it was a tiny ragged shack where a mother and several small children lived.  I remember how the children, whose clothes were always torn and tattered, would run outside and wave to me and my crew whenever we passed by.
     When winter came, I would think about this poor mother with her children.  I thought about how cold they must have been at night.  I also thought about how warm my own children were in my home.  Just as I had completed that last thought, it suddenly occurred to me that there was something that I could do to help.
     The very next day, while gathering supplies for work, I packed an extra bag of coal and tossed it to the family when we passed by.  I knew that the mother could use the extra coal for her potbelly stove to help heat the home and keep her children warm.
     I continued tossing coal to those children for quite some time. I’ll admit that tears welled up in my eyes every time I did it.  I am sure that the railroad wouldn’t have been thrilled to know what I was doing but I felt good about doing it anyway.
     More than 40 years have passed and to this day I often think about that family and I wonder if they remember the conductor who tossed the coal.