He's 18 !!!

there he is in the running pack !!

Yep. My oldest 'baby' turned 18! Let me brag just a bit: He's an overachiever. In the top 10 runners on his HS cross country team (he's on this month's cover of Running Times). Scored a perfect score on his math SAT. Has never brought home less than an 'A' on his report cards. Is dry-humored, polite, well-mannered and good company. He calls himself 'the voice of reason.' And I'm a lucky, proud mama-mule !! Hear, Hear to good kids !!



chasing Charlie

My Appalachian roots are deep in the wilds of southern West Virginia/northwestern Virginia. I spent every summer of my childhood / teen years with my grandparents in WVa. I recall fondly many activities including berry picking and making jam, wildflower picking and visiting relatives. A more vivid memory is that of visiting my grandfather's aunt Sally. Sally lived just over the mountain in Tazwell County, Va., in the old family farmhouse. It was a rambling wreck of a home, added onto as fortunes waxed; fallen into disrepair as fortunes waned. I usually did not enjoy the 'visiting relatives' part of my summers. I wanted to be outside roaming the mountains, playing with the dogs. Not cooped up inside with 'old folks.'

Typically, we'd all be greeted with noisy kisses and big hugs, pinching of youthful cheeks; then offered a 'soda' - 7-up or RC cola in a glass bottle. To the 'parlor' we'd go and sit while family gossip ensued. I especially liked Aunt Sally's house because it had so many rooms and lots of dusty out of the way poking-into places. But I was forced to sit with the adults. On one such visit, I remember staring out the window at a patch of mountain sunshine and all of a sudden a grizzly, bearded old man popped up in the window and stared right back at me! I squealed. The adults in the room pretended nothing had happened and kept talking right over me. I squirmed. I looked again. Gone. Did I see right ??? A few more sips of my 7-up. Then JUMP! The MAN, again, peeking around the corner of the door into the parlor. I squealed, again! This time Aunt Sally laughed and told me, "That's your great-great uncle Charlie. He's shy." I got permission to go outside. I was going on a hunt. The Charlie-hunt. He'd hide around doors, peeking at me. I'd jump and say BOO! He ran. I followed. Much like chasing a feral cat, I chased Charlie: through the house, outside, around corners, in and out of barns - I almost caught him in the springhouse, once. I just wanted to SEE him. Ask him endless questions like 'Why is your beard so long and white?' Later that night my mom tried to explain Uncle Charlie's strange behavior to me. Apparently he was a war veteran (and figuring ages and such, I'm thinking he fought in WWI) and came home from the war 'that way.' Sally, his sister, never married. She cared for her brother Charlie and her aging mother until they both passed away.

Charlie never spoke. He came into the kitchen once when Sally called him and took a bottle of soda. But he skittered away quickly. I never hugged him or talked to him. But I like to think he enjoyed our games of 'hide & seek' after we both got over our initial 'fear' of one another. At least, I hope he did. Maybe my churlish self terrorized him!! EGADS!!!!



A big thank-you to my Black Sheep Squadron

Your much appreciated comments remind me that while I might be feeling lonely, I'm not alone. Here's my attempt to 'fit in' with the white (read 'right') sheep crowd...

Can a red dirt girl ever be too red ???
Thanks to Soubriquet for the pic. Hugs and xxx! all!!


feeling churlish ...

Yes, I'm feeling churlish these days. Herald the holiday season with customers who are quick to complain if they are not helped "IN THE ORDER THEY WERE WAITING". It's my job to explain that when I say, "Can I help the NEXT customer in line, they need to be ready to claim their spot. My favorite sales manager quit this past week and her leaving amidst tears and hugs made me feel bluer than blue. She was my 'Go To' girl whenever I had a question or problem. I knew I could trust her to be friendly and professional and helpful.

And the bipolar depression keeps me feeling like the proverbial black sheep in the bunch. I mean, who can I talk to about the despair of being the odd sheep out, not able to join in all the white sheep games and play. I read today that misery eventually passes and happiness comes to you. I'm worried now that I might miss the happiness boat. You see, when I try to perform normal weekly tasks like grocery shopping, dinner with acquaintances, eating out etc. etc. I have all this black sheep anxiety of feeling swallowed up by the white sheep crowds. Then I can't function. Anyone out there want to wear a black sheep suit to keep me company for a while? I'm feeling lonely.



wednesday's wheels

I always KNEW something was up with my bicycle. It never stays put where I park it ....


bedding down with the mule:

Rule #1:


Reason #179

Why I don't swim in the ocean !!


wild abandon ...

I love abandoned buildings. I grew up across the road from an abandoned farmhouse and barns. I'd regularly prowl through the buildings, looking for the odd old thing: keys, calendars, bits of crockery and such. A farm down the road from us had a lake with an abandoned rowboat. My girlfriend and I would row the boat out and sneak smokes (disgusting!) until the neighbor caught us and called our parents! I especially loved roaming through my grandmother's childhood home, deep in a holler in the west virginia mountains. One summer my mother, aunt and I hiked, literally, over the mountain and through the woods to granny's old house to look for treasures. My aunt had rescued a beautiful oak headboard and refinished it. Boy was I ever envious! I found a calendar on the wall, circa 1920's, and went to take it down from its nail. When I pressed the center, a small BAT fell down onto MY MULE HOOVE. I screamed. The mom screamed. The aunt screamed. You should have seen us all trying to squeeze down the stairs together. We fell laughing in a heap in the front garden. I think that calendar is still there!