Monday, July 29, 2013

40 Love

In two weeks, Cat Daddy and I will have been married 40 years!

If  you were to ask me what it takes; what has to be invested to maintain wedding vows for 40 years, I'd tell you...40 years...of your life.

40 years y'all of  hard labor with no time off  for good behavior...
and no wish for parole.

I hope y'all are in the mood for a little light summer reading as I try to entertain y'all with different stories of labors of love!

Falling In Place
Why do all true love stories begin -- or end -- in a hospital?  Not in a daisy-filled meadow or on a warm white beach, but in a sterile and cold white hospital room.  Perhaps it's because life isn't always about being beautiful, but more about remembering to breathe in...and out.  Remembering too that while a candle-lit dinner, a dozen roses and sweet words are nice, love is forged and strengthened in the day-to-day reality of burnt meat loaves, endless chores, and in the unspoken of the endless waiting for medical test results.
The October night was clear and crisp: Its symphony a cacophony of her high heels on the pavement, clicking a staccato beat to the wailing sirens of an approaching ambulance and the hum of the hospital generators. Glancing down at the soft hand holding his, Jake was thankful Molly had given him one last chance. As they walked across the parking lot of the hospital,   suddenly and without warning, Jake’s mind raced back 40 years.  He remembered the first time he ever laid eyes on Molly as she stood outside the school band hall that September morning of their freshmen year.  All of 14 years old, she was a pretty girl with the whispered promise of the beautiful woman she would become.  Now, casting a sideways glance at her and seeing that promise fulfilled, Jack felt ashamed.  Penitent, he remembered how foolish and unbelievably stupid he had been three years later at the start of their senior year. That fall, with all the bravado only a 17 year old boy can possess, he had dumbly thought himself to be the catch of the county.  He cheated on her --more than once -- forcing her to walk away to salvage her pride.  Some ladies man all right.  How he had cried that June night shortly after graduation when she married someone else. His only excuse for losing her was poor at best. He was too young to know better ... or at least that's what Jack had told himself in the years that followed.
"How's your dad doing?" she asked, her voice breaking his reverie, returning him to the present. 
"Dad's doing what the doctors tell him to, but I'm more worried about Mom," he replied.  "She's wearing herself out.  She won't go home, eats like a bird, and worries constantly.  Molly, it's breaking my heart.  I can't remember them ever spending a night apart and even though Tim and I offer, she refuses to leave Dad...even for a night."

Stepping into the elevator that would take them to the hospital’s third floor, once again Jack felt the past drag at his mind. He thought about the second chance Molly had given him years ago. Who knew a simple invitation to a high school reunion would give him the opportunity to try and right a wrong?  Swallowing his pride, he had called Molly and was relieved to learn she was single again.  Apologizing for his stupidity 20 years earlier, he asked her to be his date for the reunion dance.  He could still recall the pride he had felt walking into the reunion with his high school sweetheart on his arm.  But somehow...some way...he had managed to blow it...again.  He was struggling now, trying to remember what idiotic thing he’d done at the reunion that caused her to walk out of his life once more, when the door to the elevator opened.

As they stepped out of the elevator and started down the hallway, they were startled to see nurses streaming out of his father's room.  Molly motioned for him to run ahead, telling him, "I'll catch up."

"What's happening?  What's wrong with my father?" he asked breathlessly,  needing the answer but scared to his core of what that answer might be.

"There appears to be a problem with one of his medications," the nurse replied just as the doctor stepped out of his father's room.

"An experimental medication we were trying with your father caused an adverse reaction akin to Alzheimer's.  This sometimes happens in Parkinson's. He was disoriented and hallucinatory with no recognition of his surroundings. We've administered a sedative and are working to correct the situation.  He is stable, but we'll continue to monitor him through the night. Hopefully Mr. Towns will be back to his normal self by morning."  As the doctor started to walk away, he stopped, turned and with a quick nod told Jack, "By the way,you've got one helluva mother in that room with your father."

At that moment, Molly caught up with Jack and silently took his hand, giving it a reassuring squeeze.  Puzzled and wanting to know more, but with the need to see his father first and foremost in his mind, they stepped into the room.  There would be time to give the doctor a what for later, but for now it was more important he judge for himself  his father was okay.

Walking into the room, the full portent of what was to be unfolding before their eyes, they could only turn and stare at each other speechless.  Unable to believe what he was witnessing, Jack’s first thought was, "Oh my gosh...this can't be real.  This only happens in the movies."   It was too surreal to be true.  Both of his parents lay on the small hospital bed, his father lying on his right side, moaning and shaking while Jack's mother lay beside her husband, the only man she had ever loved.  Her arms were wrapped tightly around him, holding on for dear life as he kept repeating, "Don't let me fall.  Please don't let me fall!"
"I never have and I never will," was the single promise whispered by the only woman he’d ever loved.

As Molly, tears in her eyes, softly laid a hand on his mother's back, Jack walked to the other side of the bed to see their faces.  His tiny, frail mother, reading the confusion and fear in her son's eyes whispered, "He's all right now, Jack.  He was afraid of falling out of the bed or off a cliff. I'm not sure which. I just thought it might help if he knew I was here, holding him. Please don't fret about me, hon. I'll rest better too, feeling him breathe beside me."  Giving Jack a weary, small smile, she closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep, continuing to hold the man she had promised "through sickness and health" with no intention of ever letting go.

Looking across the hospital bed that held 67 years of love unfailing and seeing his own 40 years of missteps, Jack’s eyes came to rest on Molly's tear-streaked face.  As Jack looked at her beautiful face, he fell into silent prayer.  "Lord, if it's true the third time's the charm, I only ask for one thing:  Please, Lord, if it be your will, the next time I feel myself falling let Molly be the one to hold me."

This is based on two beautiful couples I know.  Parts of the story are true; parts are what I see in my mind's eye when I'm with them.

All of it is based on love.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Still Restless....


There ain't a native born Texan worth their weight in tamales who doesn't claim to have an ancestor who stepped over the line Travis drew in the sand at the Alamo.
Now seeing as how there were around 160+ brave souls who died there, this isn't possible...


it's a claim I double-dog dare any of y'all to try and refute.

Seriously...just try.

~When the legend becomes fact...print the legend.~

Dear Papa,

I hope this letter has reached you and finds you well. Forgive my hen scratching as I am writing this in the dark whilst perched against the north wall. This is where I have been placed to stand sentry should we be attacked.  Colonel Travis urged us to write letters if we were a mind to.  He also said it might be best to do so hastily as this will be the last opportunity for our courier to safely slip out under the cloak of darkness. As I have no sweetheart Papa, it is you I chose to share my thoughts with tonight.


Now where were we when I last talked to y'all?

Oh yeah...on the road to San Antone! 25 years is a long time and a lot of things can the traffic.

I know I'm getting old, but I swear up and down, I don't remember this many cars and one-way streets when last we visited.  But with two wriggling kids in the back seat maybe, just maybe, I was a little preoccupied?

Arriving in the downtown area, a peculiar situation presented itself...parking.

In order to get out and walk, one must first pay to park.  Same goes for the hotels.  In addition to the room rate, parking is an additional cost.  I'm not going to beat them up for this. Law no!

This city is built around the tourist trade and if there weren't the parking lots, there would be a battle royale over prime parking spaces.

Not only was there more motor traffic, but the foot traffic around the Alamo was huge!
Did I mention there was a conference in town...and a picket line for some cockamamie cause out on the plaza...and it was July 4th...and it was hot?

(The line to tour the Alamo put me in mind of the line of kittens vying for Cat Daddy's attention at one of our shows...crazy long.

We arrived safely although it was a might tricky getting though the horde of soldados camped around the mission.  But we rode through like the Devil himself was chasing us. At first, the boys inside the Alamo let loose a volley of buckshot upon us, but on hearing us cussing in english, threw the doors wide open.  I wish you could have heard the cheers as we rode in.  There was never a grander welcoming committee.  Steely eyed, dirty, but such a sight for these sore eyes.  They are all knights in buckskin Papa, ready and willing to do battle.


We decided to skip the tour and headed straight to the gift shop 'cause y'all know nothing says vacation like cheap souvenirs.

Did I say cheap?

  I meant to say cute.

I was looking forward to stepping into an A/C shop, but again the crowds stopped me cold all right...cold in my tracks.  Where the heck did all these folks come from?

All I wanted was a coupla snow domes for corn sakes, but you'd a'thought oil had been struck the way folks kept crowding in.  Even if I had found some snow domes and did not lose a hand in the process...heck, I'd still be standing in line waiting to check out!

Tell sweet sister Barshie I have no news of John nor his brother Captain Sadler.  I know they are with old Sam Houston somewhere, but as to those whereabouts that is unclear.  What is clear is they won't be joining us. Colonel Travis called us out earlier to tell us there will be no more joining us.  The 32 of us what rode in from Gonzales are all that will be answering his call.  Papa, I pray all who have read the last letter he wrote asking for help  and heeded not,  will be able to look at themselves in the mirror whilst shaving. Perhaps our blood burned too hot, but with his call for Victory or Death, we had to come. 


Colonel Travis is a good man.  A mite young, best I can tell not much older than me Papa, but still a brave soldier.  After we arrived from Gonzales a day or two ago, he called us all out and gave us the chance to leave.  Not a man save one chose to do so and nary a one of us hold it against him. He has a wife and children to think of.  I pray you are not angry with me for staying.  I arrived committed to lend a hand and stay I must.  I ask only Papa, that you would bless my decision to defend the right to freedom.

History may say we died because of the land.  I am not inviting death nor do I welcome it.  I would like to see Texas become what I see in my mind's eye.  I would like to see my children born here. But no doubt we will perish, Papa, as there are over 3000 men just outside the walls and less than 300 inside them.  The odds are heavily against us, but make no mistake.  If perish we must, so too will many of the enemy when the fighting commences.  Texas is too vast, too beautiful and too wild for one man to try and control her.  Knowing this full well, steadies my hand and my resolve to fight with my last dying breath.

Finally...I just waved the white flag in defeat.  A coffee mug just wasn't worth the hassle.
Thank goodness those brave men, defenders of the Alamo, hadn't had to fight that mob too.


The beauty, wildness, and vastness of Texas cannot be tamed nor can the people who have chosen to live here.  One man cannot dictate to thousands what can and cannot be done.  Texas will not allow it nor will we.

History may say we were foolish, but I want you to tell them otherwise. This mission, the Alamo, old as it is, stands for freedom and so shall we stand until we cannot stand no more.


But you know...I can't help but wonder if the outcome might have been different if tourists had been there that fateful morning.

Time might have been bought for the defenders inside those hallowed walls, if there had just been a few souvenir and drink stands camped alongside the soldados tents.

I can just picture ol' Santy Ana's army trying to get past those throngs of folks fighting over their Made in India gen-U-ine Mexican wedding dresses.

Upon arriving here a mexican bugler was playing a strange melody.  It was like nothing I had ever heard and Davy said it was a old Spanish tune meaning show no quarter.  Day and night he played it up till last night.  Now no sound breaks the stillness of the night sky.  It's Santa Ana's way of telling us there will be no prisoners.  Perhaps he figures to scare us, but Papa, it has only done the opposite.  I am even more resolved to hold my position on this long wall and it's a resolution held by every man in here.


Pammie asked me if I was gonna talk trash about San Antonio.  Heaven forbid.  I'd rather cut out my my heart...than to ever dare rag on it.

(Shoot...I'm worried enough that I'll probably be in deep ca-ca for this post.)

You don't tug on Superman's cape.
You don't spit into the wind.
And you don't mess with Alamo.

Just ask Ozzy!

Read my lips.

This chubby old lady loves her Texas AND it's history much too much to ever be found guilty of treason. I love San Antonio with it's culture, beautiful River Walk, Mission Trail, and the history held in place by it's charm.

I also love the Daughters of the Republic of Texas for everything they have done to preserve this landmark city and its uniqueness.  They are the caretakers of the Alamo and in doing so, saved this priceless treasure.  The Alamo is the number one tourist attraction in Texas and rightly so.  Without the DORT, who knows what might have happened to it. I have so much respect for them and their work

So much in fact, I'm in the process of applying for my girls and I to become members.

My only regret Papa is not being able to see you one more time.  I pray you are out of harm's way, and that you harbor no ill will to the commanders of the Texican army for putting us in harm's way.  I choose to be here and I choose to stay.  Remember that Papa and if I do perish as I spect I will,  when you think of me know I died for Texas.  I cannot think of a finer cause to give my life for.

Your son,
Jonathan Lindley
March 5, 1836


(The above letter is a work of fiction out of the over active mind of a Texas born and bred woman.  My great, great, great grandfather was John Sadler who with his brother William, fought at San Jacinto.  My great, great, great uncle Jonathan Lindley fought and died at the Alamo.  He was part of the Immortal 32 and who came to Travis's call for help in 1836.  In bravely doing so, he wrote in blood his name...and my family' the sand of the Alamo forever.)


How could I ever forget?

For this is where everything I hold dear first began.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Natives Are Restless

After 3 months of a social life that was centered around my weekly date with doctor/doctors and pushing a tray through the buffet line at Luby's...I was getting more than just a little stir crazy.  Now rather than dye my hair blue, I told C.D. we needed a trip...desperately.  Not a long one mind you and not a "working" one. Just a little romp to remember life is supposed to be fun too.  All work and no play makes a grumpy Trash and I was getting grumpier and grumpier with each passing second. I wanted to climb in the poodle seat, guns gems a'blazin' and hit the road running.

(Roaring Rivers MO...1961. That's the Trash on the right...with the skinny legs and fierce-some face!)
I felt we needed to reconnect and recharge.  It seemed to me the whole year had been composed of nothing but work and hospitals.  That's never a good thing for any relationship...even one that is nigh on 40 years.

Just as every adventurer before us had done, we packed the wagon with provisions and lit out to San Antonio.

I personally believe every warm blooded Texan (native or transplant) should make at least one pilgrimage to the Alamo.  Texas has a glorious past and while the Alamo is just one part of alone is the stuff legends are made of.  There is no way one can stand on that piece of hallowed ground, touching the stones that comprise this simple mission, picturing what transpired there in the early morning hours of March 1836 and not be moved...possibly to tears.  In it's humble beauty, it leaves one humbled. If y'all ever wonder why Texans tend to brag so much...this is it. And for the record...we don't consider it bragging...just fact.

I can't begin to tell y'all how much I love this city.  The way the past is weaved with the present is stunning.  Spanish architecture dating from the early 1700's melding with modernization is not an easy task to accomplish, but this city does it flawlessly.  No where in Texas is the German, Spanish and the South's influence more prevalent than in San Antonio. It is a city unique unto itself. 

But hey...that's just this woman's opinion 'cause I am kinda partial to it.


When our kids were growing up, they thought there was only three places to visit in the world.

1. Arkansas/Roaring Rivers
2.  Galveston
3.  San Antonio

Those were the places we visited every stinkin' summer.

(Photo courtesy of Give Me Props. Taken on the boardwalk of Galveston)

With our limited budget, we knew where to go for the kids and us to have the most fun family style and not break the bank.

A trip to San Antonio always...always...included an exit off the highway to Aquarena Springs.  Now you tell me, where else on earth could one, while submerged in a submarine theater, behold beautiful mermaids swigging Dr Pepper? Where else could one play tic tac toe with a live chicken...and call it arcade games?  AND to top it all off, watch as Ralph, the diving pig, swan dived from a volcano?

Only in Texas y'all!

The kids were great troopers on the road.  They loved to travel as much as we did...still do.  We didn't have I-Pads, WI-FI, TVs or anything like that for traveling entertainment back then.  We were the entertainment committee. We entertained each other by seeing who could sing the loudest, play the best air guitar or steering wheel drums, and talk the most.  Yeah...imagine that?  We talked...about anything and everything!  They got riddles, history lessons and genealogy stories. In return, we got knock knock jokes, school stories and dream sharing.

Forget American Express and MasterCard folks.

I tell you what's priceless...memories.

~Don't leave home without it?~
I never came home without them.

Fact it, they're still packed in the suitcase of my mind.

We'd start the day with a big breakfast. (Remember y' McDonald's on every corner.)  I'd pack sandwiches for the first day, but after that lunch was snacks. Dinner was a real Gaido's in Galveston.  The first time we ate there and the waitress brought out finger bowls at the end of our meal?  Well let's just say the looks on the kids and Cat Daddy's faces staring at a little slice of floating lemon was priceless as well!

(This wasn't the time OMH wrote Nerd with Zinka on the Bella Mama's back!)
 With two kids who would try anything once, meals on the road were a snap.  I swear up and down...y'all haven't lived 'til you've dined on rat cheese, Town House crackers and hang-down.  But the real piece de resitance...dashboard nachos.  Mmm alive...that was some kinda good eatin'.  Makes me hungry just a'thinkin' about it!

(Photo courtesy of Give Me Props...and just so you know...this has nothing to do with this post. I used it for two, I refuse to show my beautiful 11 year old Grayzilla in a bathing suit...and two, just to prove my squirrel power!)

Okay...I'm back from my trip to the fridge down memory lane, although I don't promise I won't do a u-turn at some point again.

The last time we visited San Antonio was Memorial Day weekend 1988.  We were there for the grand opening of Sea World and when I say grand opening I mean it wasn't even complete.

The trees were sticks, no shade (absolutely zero), and I won't even go into the lack of ventilation in the highly hyped penguin exhibit.


But at least it was colder than a polar bear's foot in there and the penguins were comical characters in their tuxedos!  But as hot as it was and as darn cute as they were, it wasn't enough to lure me back into that odoriferous edifice!

The ski show was spectacular, but all I can say about Shamu is tsk tsk and shame shame!  Due to her...ahem...amorous advances to the trainer, Jenn needed a quick course in the facts of life.  Thanks a heap hussy!

(Photo courtesy of Give Me Props. Speaking of hussies...the Bella Baby modeling the St. Tropez look! Not to repeat myself...but I won't show her in a bathing suit either.)
U-Turn alert...

Can I take a minute and say how strongly I object to animals being kept in captivity for our entertainment and then have the audacity to be shocked when they behave naturally?  There is just something so inherently wrong with this concept.
Whew!  Thank y'all for letting me vent.  I needed to get that bad taste out of my mouth.

If you do the math, it had been 25 years since visiting San Antonio.  I expected changes and maybe it was because we picked the worst possible weekend to visit (July 4th), but the changes I saw were not what I had in mind.

(Photo courtesy of the Robster. Jenn and Brandon deep sea fishing on the Gulf of Mexico. Where else, but on a charter boat from Galveston of course!)

Oh law y'all!

This is running way longer than I anticipated...even for me!

I still have a lot of talking to get to, but I think I'll end this here for now and with your kind permission, continue it in a part II...

if that's ok with y'all?

My fingers...and brain...are starting to get cramps!


Monday, July 1, 2013

Ripples of Kindness

Fair warning...this is going to be a disjointed...and very long post.

First things first.

I am running amuck...and happy as a pig in sunshine for it!

No longer tethered by a PICC line, I'm free to get into as much trouble as I so desire...and boy oh boy, do I so desire!

I've been released by one doctor and hopefully will be soon by my colon surgeon as well.

I am finished with oral antibiotics and all my blood work came back normal.


Thank goodness I can honestly say there is at least one thing about me that is normal.

Your prayers for my recovery?

My sweet friends...they meant the world and all to me.

Thank you.

Now...on to other news.

We just wrapped up the Vintage Home show during Dallas Market Center's Home and Gift first official outing since my unfortunate incarceration.

I ain't gonna lie y' was a mite tiring, but I was blessed to have my daughter Jenn and sister Kerri come out to help me.  They split up the days Cat Daddy couldn't be there and kept me from disobeying the doctor's orders.  No easy task y'all as I can be quite the ornery old lady from time to time.

Sales were good, but it's the extra bonus I received during the show I want to tell y'all about.  While set up, I was reminded of why I have to continue to post.  I have been charged to do so.  Sometimes fast and furiously; other times in dribs and drabs.

(I can read your minds and right about now y'all are thinking to yourselves of how little I do blog these days, but hear me out.)

It's true.

I do tend to post rather...ahem...sporadically.  To the point I had considered calling it a day and handing in my mouse.

I had my reasons, beginning with I didn't feel there was anything left to say.  Let's face it...I can only show y'all my underwear so many times until you see how faded they are.  Also, it seemed like everyone had moved on to greener...and quicker...pastures like FaceBook and Twitter, leaving me with the sole excuse for rambling on being how much I loved the sound of my own voice.

But a funny thing happened on the way to market.

Readers reached out to me.

Readers who don't comment, but still take the time to read.

While washing my hands, a woman at the sink next to me, glanced up in the ladies' room mirror, caught my eye and said simply "I read your blog. I don't comment and I don't have a blog, but I read yours."  Stammering out a thank you, this perfect (and I do mean perfect for taking the time to tell me that) stranger dried her hands and was gone in the blink of an eye.

This happened not once...not twice...but four times during the five days we were there.

(Coincidence?  I think not. Just one of the many ways God has of speaking to me when I am doubtful of my place here on earth.)

Another one of these readers sat me down and took the time to tell me how important my writing was to her.

(Now because I believe in truth in advertising I should mention we are friends and she is not only one of the dearest people I know, but also one of the most honest.  She's never been known to blow smoke up someone's dress, but to always be frank and speak her mind.)

She shared with me how when she is having a tough day she reads my blog.  Doesn't matter if I haven't posted anything recently...she just goes back and reads one of her favorite posts to find a smile.  She pointed out that while I may not realize my blog's impact,  it touches others...almost as if it had a mind of its own.

As I sat there stunned by her words, a sense of blessing and being blessed came over me.  This was the only reason I needed to keep blogging.  FaceBook is fine for what it instant connection.  Blogging provides more than just a moment's scratching of an itch.  Over time, whether we actually meet or not, we develop a kindredship...a sense of oneness.  I've heard over and over, blogging friends are not real.  I disagree.  Blogging requires a commitment...FaceBook does not...and I have yet to see the purpose of Twitter.
I guess simply all depends on what each of us is seeking.

Most of us dream of making a big splash in an ocean of fame when sometimes being a ripple is our destiny.

Think about it.

A splash lasts only as long the depth of our ambition and gravity will allow, but a ripple widens, spreads and multiplies until collectively, it becomes a wave of ideas, emotions and acts of kindness.

I'm sharing this not to boast, but to share what it's taken me 62 years to learn.

All of us are capable of making a splash even if it's doing a belly flop instead of a swan dive, but to be a ripple...ahhh...that takes more than just sticking our big toe in the water.  It takes sticking our necks out as well as stepping out of the boat.

We have to be able to pick out the best stone for skipping, aim for the other shore and avoid hitting...or hurting...anyone in the process.  This takes repetitive practice and patience.  Done right, a ripple provides instant results that last far beyond our stone skipping abilities.

A ripple will continue to flow out, creating more ripples to join in and will only be stopped when encountering stagnant waters.  It's up to us to see to it that doesn't happen.

I thank those four people for being ripples in the river of my life and for reassuring me that I too am a tiny one.

I will continue to ripple along, but the course of my writing may/will change direction to avoid the aforementioned stagnation.

As I said earlier, I've shared all there is about me that's fit to be printed, but there are stories in my head that I hope you may want to hear.

I'm thinking of calling it My Required Summer Writing List.

And good grief...wouldn't you just know it?

Now I've got myself craving raspberry ripple ice cream!

(all photos taken by Jenn at Give Me Props during the show.)