Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cars in my Life

1942  sold before we married
     Even before our marriage, my husband was buying and selling cars. When a sailor got his orders to ship out his car was usually for sale and my husband was ready to buy and then sell it himself. He'd make $25 or #30 dollars and in 1943 that was a tad more than pocket change. The only car he ever regretted selling was a '26 Chevy coupe.
     When we married we had a Plymouth coupe that was very picky about starting. On a damp, foggy morning it often took a push and that got so tiresome that it got a new owner.
Had a mind of its own about starting
     Several cars later we had a faded maroon colored Graham-Paige. It was an ugly thing and I thought something about the forward projections over the headlights gave  it a characteristic of  Brahma cattle. I went to the hospital in that car; came home, ten days later in a different one.

     Its seems that we kept this one a while and came home in it three months later when my husband had leave. It was missing a window which was hardly noticeable on the coast but as we drove northward we missed it. We coped by using a blanket for a windbreak over the baby's bassinet and at bottle time. the new father drained hot water out of the radiator for a bottle warmer. Wartime made no allowances for little luxuries.
   I think that the only car he was not interested in buying was a Packard. No one, absolutely no one, wanted a big gas guzzler like that! That poor sailor may have had to leave it on the street if he couldn't afford to ship it home
     Almost everything was rationed in those days, including automobile tires. Of course when a car needed tires the local ration office  would issue permits or stamps or whatever made it legal to go purchase some retreads. After applying time and time again for more tires the ration board became very suspicious of this sailor's constant need for tires and were about ready to arrest him for black marketing!
     Once we came home in a care that developed a bad leak from the radiator. It must have become much worse at about the time we had to go home and therefore it didn't get repaired. We had to go for the Navy was not known for flexibility in viewing late arrivals...You were either on time or AWOL.
     With a few extra cans of water in the trunk we left for that 400 mile trip and there was not a service station in the entire distance that we passed without a fill-up.
     When we arrived back in Corpus there was not enough time to spare for detouring to take me to our apartment so we drove directly to the base. My sailor made a dash for the gate yelling "You can do it!" So there I was, a tiny baby, a leaky radiator, no driver's license, and worse, no driving experience.
     Since very little was worse than AWOL in wartime, I drove home....somehow.
snow storm in 1946
     By the time the war was over, we either had replaced all the windows and leaky radiators or had a better car, so things were stable for a while. My determined husband insisted that I get a driver's license (now that I was all grown-up) and he got a job and soon resumed his trading habits.
      After he started his body shop there were always an available car he could trade for so he usually did. He had stayed in the reserve and once the squadron had a training week-end in Bemidji, MN, of all places. They flew up and while there, trader husband spotted an almost new Chrysler (I think) needing easy repair work and he bought it. He thought he could simply drive it home instead of flying back with the squadron.  That proved to be a no-no, so he left the car and flew back like a good boy, then loaded up with the next squadron and flew up again to get his car Fortunately, he escaped notice on his unauthorized trip.
     Another reason that car is remembered is that it had a record player! It came with several small records which we tried to listen  to on a trip to New Mexico but the dips in the highway made peculiar rhythms. Otherwise, it was a great car but soon someone else became interested in it so it moved on.
     Another large car we once owned was a Cadillac...a faded pink one, as I remember. It had only one fault, besides being pink, it needed shocks. When we drove out the driveway, at the dip it made a terrible sound, something like the braying of a donkey. The kids soon refused ride in it to school unless they could disembark several blocks away.
      There were a few others that created the same reaction. I don't know if their father ever caught on that they were not  being solicitous  of his time and convenience when they said "Just turn here, Dad, we'll walk the rest of the way."
     Somehow we became the owner of an old '39 four-door Plymouth. Stick shift, of course. Our daughters learned to drive with it. I can see it in my memory...backing and jerking to a stop, again and again as they struggled to get it out of the driveway.
      It became a tradition that the younger ones dreaded. It ended one morning when the third daughter called asking me to call her father because she had had a wreck on the way to school.

    Me: Are you okay?
    Daughter: Yes, just call Dad.
    Me: Why me?
   Daughter: Cause I don't want to. I hit a filling station.
   Me: What?
    Daughter: Mom.....!

 Call made. Husband dispatched. The "little dumplin's" brakes had failed and to avoid going into the intersection the kid had hoped to find a place to stop in the service station's parking area. At this point I had a simple two-word request: "Park it!"
     That was good-bye to an era. The fourth daughter and the son  learned to drive quite well without the "Little Dumplin's" tutoring
     So there it sat, in front of the shop, for years and years. Then one Sunday afternoon we got a phone call from someone interested in buying it. My husband went over to meet these potential buyers, three guys wanting to drive it to Mexico.
     They kicked tires, started it, hem and hawed and dickered over my husband's asking price. Finally, all three pooled their money and offered all they had for the little jewel but it was about fifty dollars short of the asking price, so my husband said,  'Sorry,' and pulled out to come home. After about half a block it struck him how stupid he was to leave that good money and quickly turned around and made the trade. He returned home amazed that he had almost not made the sale regardless of not getting his asking price.
    When we start remembering the cars the tales seem endless. Undoubtedly, with a little time there'll be more tales to tell. I am already remembering the one ........

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dandy' Yogg

Cat trouble

Woof, Woof.
     I wish there was some way that I could make My Lady understand that I truly have no intentions of dismembering those dumb cats that hang around my back door.
     If she’ll remove my leash I believe that I can convince them that they’re meowing at my door and trying to come into my house and I’m not going to put up with it.
     On the other hand, she may  understand those cats better than I.
     One evening after dark My Lady did not tell me to stay when she opened the door so I had my chance. I scattered eight cats in eight directions and they didn’t stop for any sight seeing as they left!
     Wow! Was My Lady upset with me.  She put me in the house (under protest, I can tell you) and called me a bad dog. Now that hurt. Here I am, the protector of this house, doing what it appears to me should be done, and I’m called a bad dog!
     I guess that I had her really stirred up, because she ignored me for hours. Well, I haven’t been around these eight years without learning a few things, and number one is, when your Lady is on the warpath you’d better disappear. The trouble was, she wouldn’t let me out of my corner on the sofa, so I just hid my face and went to sleep….kept the peace that way.
     Anyway, when I woke up, I decided that I was going to have to make the first move to make up, so I reached out my little paw a few times and patted My Lady’s arm and tried to talk over the situation a bit,, but she just started laughing so I shut up and crawled into her lap.  Sure was nice to have peace in the house again.
     Of course, I'm a lot smarter than those cats and I learned my lesson better than the they, ‘cause I don’t go out that door without my leash and those darn cats act like I never sent them scattering. They still mob the back door and I give them a scare now and then so they’ll remember who’s boss, but mainly I just walk on by them and let the silly things follow. 
     Did you know that there are some other doggie blogs? There’s a bulldog out in Wyoming who hates going out in the snow on account of his short legs, and some others who’ve been chasing gophers and digging trenches in the dirt. That sure sounds like fun!
      Well, I guess we’re all really lucky dogs and if they get in trouble with their family I can give them a few tips on managing their Ladies. 

Merry Christmas, ya’ll. Woof!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas with the Growing Family


December in Corpus Christi
     Our first child was three months old for her first Christmas and her first gift was a stuffed kitty that cost an outrageous $5. It was cute as could be but nothing like the cuddly stuffed animals of today. I simply had to have it for her. She couldn’t have cared less; that was the day that she first discovered that she had feet and she was entranced by their appearance.
      From that point we went through the usual progression of dolls and tricycles; blocks and tinker toys. No colorful plastics in those days. I was particularly partial to toys that would keep a child occupied for hours.
First horse
      One Christmas is especially clear in my memory. Our small son wanted a puppy so that was arranged. There was a problem, however, as the little doggie was so lonely that the quiet of Christmas Eve was broken by loud puppy whines.
Summer fun
     In order to keep the Santa image intact, our eldest daughter went in to the living room where the Christmas tree was awaiting Santa’s arrival and spent the night on the sofa, one hand petting and soothing the lonesome little pup.
     It was a joyous morning for her little brother when he greeted his first dog and promptly named him “Unting Buppy╦ć
      When my daughters were growing up, there were always dolls displayed prominently in the dime stores and even in other shops. One especially great place for dolls and unusual small gifts was Dore’s Doll Shop. I believe the last Christmas doll that I bought was a Jackie Kennedy doll.  Christmas was fun for mothers subbing for Santa.
High heels & toy
gun holster?
       In the fifties and sixties play and reality were widely separated so our Christmas saw its share of toy pistols and BB guns, and our kids and others in the neighborhood played cowboys and Indians with nary a thought of political correctness or in fear of warping their personalities.
       There were also years of buying special gifts of sweaters and jewelry for our teen-age daughters and some really neat articles of clothing for the growing-up son. He could never understand why I enjoyed purchasing his garments  as compared to the handmade clothes of his sisters . 
      The daily hum of that sewing machine caused my husband to insist that the main Christmas gift for several of the girls was to be a sewing machine so they could continue  with the handmade tradition.
     For years we kept the “live tree” tradition finally the chore of visiting tree lots on miserably cold and windy days became tiresome so after thirty Christmases we switched to an artificial tree and I almost joined my father in my declining enthusiasm for the hustle and bustle of the season. The children had grown up. There was no early Christmas morning excitement; if a teen was still home, they much preferred to sleep in to an early morning rush to the tree.  
     Regardless, Christmas will arrive as scheduled so a new, smaller tree has been decorated  with old favorite ornaments. The wreath is on the door and Santa and his elves have found their place in the wall niche. Poinsettias line the hearth in memory of our late son; the greenery there honors his father who joined him a year ago. Cookie making is on my list and, maybe, just maybe, some chocolate fudge.
The last babe
33 yr. of children
in the house.  
      So, although traditions are great, change is constant and our            
The latest addition 
to our family.

Christmas celebrations have moved away from much of the family gifting  and has become more of a time of  Angel tree gifts and family dinners.  The dining table extended to it limit, no longer has seating for everyone. The bar where the grandchildren sat now seats them as adults with their own children, and the card tables are put into use for the overflow. My kitchen often has ten or more occupants, some simply talking while other dodge around, trying to tend to the business of putting the finishing touches on the
Christmas dinner. The noise level increases.  Having  already done my share, I sit and watch! A new tradition is in the making and I am enjoying it!

      More than any other holiday, Christmas is loaded with poignant memories. We are fortunate if we have happy ones and are able to enjoy this celebration of the birth of Christ with happiness and a giving spirit, and with enjoyment of the music and the lighted wonderlands that the season brings.

All these beautiful lighted scenes were taken by my cousin while he was visiting during the Thanksgiving holidays.   

For another Christmas story see Karen Rutherford's blog.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

When Santa no longer visit

    It must have been my fourth of fifth Christmas that Weatherford had a large community Christmas Tree on the square by the old band stand. Santa Clause, himself, was to stop by with fruit and candy for all the children so my parents decided it would be a great experience for their little one to get to see ole Santa.
    It was indeed an experience, but not what they expected. Santa did arrive and he distributed the bags of goodies. He also passed out bigger and more special gifts such as dolls and bikes, to a few more fortunate children whose parents had wanted their children's gifts hand delivered by the big man himself.  This unfortunately, left the majority of children wondering why they were less favored and trying to understand their frustrated parents  explanations. My mother was angry. In fact, that usually calm woman, was furious, and I expect that the organizers of the event were made aware of her feelings. 
     After the Santa days Christmas became a time of Christmas Eve church programs which we walked to in the crispy winter air. Those were the type of nights that I still associate with Christmas Eve. 
     Christmas also brought the school holidays; there was still a tree to decorate, and gifts to buy. Mother did some special baking, and there was always chicken and dressing and my father's favorite cake with white icing and coconut...definitely not the candy decorated one of his childhood.
     In those days little girls played with their dolls for several years after Santa no longer delivered their toys, and the choosing of my doll was something my dad reserved for himself. He was probably remembering his sisters' pleasure in receiving a doll. The remainder of my gifts were chosen by Mother. Later, when I was in my teens, she told of the one Christmas she had only one dollar to spend and stretched it to make a pleasurable pile of of jacks, doll dishes, a jumping rope and a few other fun things. I never felt deprived, although I did yearn for a $2.98 Shirley Temple doll that never appeared under the tree.
     After I married and was no longer a part of their immediate household, I was flabbrtgasted to find that my dad was no longer making a big deal out of Christmas. He tried to explain to me that his enthusiasm no longer existed but I found it hard to accept. Mother's dedication to the spirit of Christmas continued even after the time came when I had to do her shopping.
     My husband and I and our growing family visited our parents each Christmas Day. The children were allowed to take their favorite gift to show and we took our gifts to our parents and chaos prevailed. Whether we brought joy with our arrival or relief with our leavtaking, is debatable. We did make fresh memories as the kids sat in their grandparents laps, listening to their PaPa's tales and brushing their Granny's hair... and the scent of a cedar tree and a wood fire lingers .

Christmases of the Past

  My childhood Christmases were happy ones, even in the terrible days of the Depression, It was a special event that  I must attribute to my father’s memories of his own childhood Christmases.
     In his family, the custom was to give one toy to each of the younger children; fruit and nuts and hard candies were the remainder of their Christmas loot. The older girls would get hair ribbons and brooches or sensible items such as a new pair of gloves or a scarf. To receive the one gift was exciting and the fruits and candies were special treats. Nothing more was expected.
       There was also a traditional Christmas cake that my dad remembered, not quiet as fondly as the toys and candy. He described it as rather dry layers similar to those of old-fashioned “tea cakes,” covered with icing and decorated with candies. Each Christmas, the sisters produced this Christmas goodie.
       Strangely, I have no memory of Mother ever mentioning her childhood Christmases. Her father, a Methodist minister, may have subdued his children’s fun-loving nature long enough to made the day a quieter one of a more religious nature. I wish I knew.
        It was these memories of Dad's early years, that set the stage for the Christmases of my childhood and made them so special for me. Naturally, I knew the meaning of the Christmas celebration and viewing the star-lit skies of Christmas Eve were awesome, but that dimmed in the excitement of decorating the fragrant cedar tree with the glittering ornaments and ropes of tinsel.
      In the drab days of those Depression years, these bits of color were more beautiful than anyone in today’s colorful world can imagine. Our tree was always located at a window far from the only heat we had…. that from a wood-burning heater that barely heated one end of the room. My days of the Christmas season were spent gazing at the changing reflections in the glass ornaments until I was thoroughly chilled, then baking by the stove and returning to the tree. Recessed windows of color such as these of today were among our ornaments and a few are now family heirlooms in the possession of my eldest daughter. 
     Depending upon the size of our tree, there were usually a few unused bits of tinsel, which I strung helter-skelter over a small cedar growing in our front yard.
      The final decorating was to hang a few tissue bells from the ceiling and place small wreaths in the windows. The bells were folding ones that when unfolded formed a bell of honeycomb tissue. I just this minute remembered the wreaths! They, like the bells, were a faded red and were probably also of some type of crushed paper. They were small, and had bedraggled bits of greenery and ribbon decoration.
     One year my dad did not have a spot located to cut our tree so he asked if I thought it would be all right to use a small live oak tree. Of course, I agreed with my dad’s plan to use a substitute for our traditional cedar. As you might imagine, as a Christmas tree, the live oak was a dismal failure. Dad’s only remark was, “I’ll not do that again.”  And he didn’t!
     Next came the anticipation of Santa’s visit and the excitement of the morning after! There was always a doll and doll clothes Mrs. Santa had made. Once there was a little ring with a tiny blue stone surrounded by a circle of tine clear ones. Hair barrettes, a pencil box, a coloring book were tucked among the tree’s branches and I searched and searched for more. Almost eighty years later, I still have the ring and the pencil box! Cherished treasures!
      The day came that we all experience: the day that some older kid announces that there is no Santa Clause. Of course, I knew better, but just in case the claim that my parents did the gifting was true, I began a search for any hidden gifts.
      Sadly, I found them stored in the attic.  I quickly replaced the trap door and wished I had never searched and I wished it were not true. That unforgettable day, the magic left, never to return, and growing up began.
      The gifts I had discovered appeared on schedule Christmas morning. They were accompanied with the usual five and ten cent gifts of the day: many small items could be bought for that amount, making even a few dimes provide a lot of joy for a little kid.

      Those previously discovered gifts were a set of handmade doll furniture made from the wood used in the car bodies of early days. Some was oak and some was a softer wood and I can appreciate the difficulty of using these odds and ends of wood to make the four pieces of furniture that made the set of a table and one chair, and a bed and dresser.
     These were not tiny items and were not proportioned realistically but they were wonderful. Each piece had been decorated with pink apple blossoms on the apple green background of the furniture. The little dresser had a framed mirror and drawers with carved knobs that actually opened each one.
      Thirty years later, all but the little dresser were stolen from my own attic where they had been stored.  If I ever, ever, spot them at a garage sale or in a junk store, they’re coming home!

Undreamed of in the '30s and '40's, decoration such as  this is becoming common, today.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Have a little chuckle

It's tough living in a woman's world!
The season is a busy one: there’s the gifts to buy and wrap if you have time.  A handy supply of gift bags is a life-saver.

Suddenly we’ve all turned into cooks. It’s the time to bake all those favorite cookies and breads for gifts.  It’s time to stir up all that candy you didn’t have time to make last year.

Another year has gone by without making that really good fruit cake you been planning to bake. The persons scheduled to receive these are relieved to hear you grumble that it won’t happen again this year.

Now, for the house: Besides turning into the “cook of the year.”
You’ve become a decorator… and not just of the house but of the entire yard. There is enough  “Honey do’s” to keep the man of the house busy for weeks and its only ten days ‘til Christmas!

The tidy house has turned into a jumble of boxes of Christmas decorations; bits of sparkle litter the carpet; pine needles and poinsettia petals are joining the sparkle litter;  a glass ornament breaks.

It’s time for your favorite drink whether its of the hot chocolate or chilled wine variety, kick off  your shoes, turn up the Christmas music (if you can find  where you stored it last year) and join in with a few chuckles over bits of humor that have been shared with me.

From Jeff Foxworthy  he really has us pegged!

If you've had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed a
wrong number, you may live in Texas

If someone in a Lowe's store offers you assistance and they don't work
there, you may live in Texas

If 'Vacation' means going anywhere south of Dallas for the weekend, you may
live in Texas

If the speed limit on the highway is 55 mph --you're going 80 and
everybody's passing you, you may live in Texas

This is easily understood!
Cowboy's Ten Commandments posted on the wall at   Cross Trails Church in Fairlie ,   Texas  
(1) Just one God.
(2) Honor yer Ma & Pa.
(3) No telling tales or gossipin'.
(4) Git yourself to Sunday meeting.
(5) Put nothin' before God.
(6) No foolin' around with another fellow's gal.
(7) No killin'.
(8) Watch yer mouth.
(9) Don't take what ain't yers.
(10) Don't be hankerin' for yer buddy's stuff.  

It’s a rushed time…lots to do. Have a happy holiday, don’t bother with New Year’s resolutions and instead think of the positive things you’ve done. I hope I’m here soon with memories of past Christmases but if not…

                                             Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 11, 2010

As the twig is bent so grows the tree……..

We have been saddened by the actions of bullies and the toll of their harassment.

We have been angered by flag burnings.

We have been deeply disturbed by picketing and belittling signs that have appeared at funerals being held for servicemen killed in action.

Now, once again, a recent report in the Huffington Post concerning the funeral of Elizabeth Edwards, brings forth these emotions and   reminds us of the malignant elements in our society.  Yes, these things grow: and they hurt, and they destroy what is civilized in our society.

The Huffington Post article that appalled so many readers quoted statements from the Westboro Baptist Church spokesperson that were both reprehensible in content and in the assumption that they were authorities in their assessment of Ms. Edward’s thoughts, wishes and final designation.

Free speech gives this group the legal right to speak thus. Good manners and a more modest assessment of their ability to judge would limit such outrageous remarks. Free speech is one of our most cherished freedoms and must be protected although its use has been challenged again and again by those who do not accept the boundaries of acceptable behavior. Therefore we must find another way to rid our society of such vicious verbal and destructive attacks.

These people have their opinions as we all do and that is not the issue. The issue is their public expression of them, ignoring all decency and consideration in doing so. Can they be taught good manners at this point in their lives? Hardly!

Therein lies the heart of some of our society’s problems: the basic rules of behavior that are being ignored by some adults and are not being taught to all of our children.

If the adults’ opinions are inflexible and there are few laws limiting their actions, what are our options? We can attempt to ignore their actions (which are only to create attention), we can limit their access to the objects of their vilifications, and we can take steps to better train our children to prevent such behavior extremes in future generations. Of course we can also choose to do nothing,

With the harassment problems, some action has been taken. Awareness of the scope of the problem aroused people into creating helpful and educational programs that may prevent many future tragedies 

But like a deep-rooted plant that when cut off, sprouts up again and again, the root must be dealt with before the growth is stopped. That takes us to considering what a child is taught and the behavior it sees all around.

There is much truth in the old proverb; It takes a village to raise a child. It also takes parents who realize this. Today’s village includes relatives, friends, educators, churches and civic organizations, and the concerns of the entire community…in other words: Everyone! 

The key word is concern. Concern is not being nosey or bossy; it is watchful and thoughtful and caring. A concerned community does the best it can to provide a good environment for its children.

Parenting is not easy. Family life has changed from that of fifty years ago and in today’s fast moving and demanding life we need the village more than ever.

 These children are the adults of our future society and the leaders of our country. We should remember the truth in these old proverbs of long ago and this one in particular:

As the twig is bent so grows the tree. takes a village to raise a child

Friday, December 3, 2010


     Depending upon where you were, Thanksgiving could have been a great family day, a hungry one or for many, a lonely day. I am thankful that ours was filled with family, a plentiful table, and much talk and laughter, all very different from that of last year when my husband was in the hospital.
     In addition to my daughters, there were six grandchildren  with their families and friends, and a cousin of mine with his girlfriend from Hungary.We missed those who were unable to be with us.
    Dandy was not disturbed by the confusion of twenty-three persons, most of them strangers to him, and remained very calm and polite through the day. To my knowledge, he did not beg at the table, but there is always the possibility that he did not need to beg with so many willing hands around the table.
    My cousin wanted his friend to see as much of the area sights as their time would allow. She, as a teacher in Budapest, was interested in everything:
Memorial marker
The window from which the
shots were fired.
Dealey Plaza, where history was made, the old stockyard area of Fort Worth, and a surprising bonus...the Christmas lights of some of the most most lit up areas in the city.

Daily drive of the longhorns
in the Stockyards

   Traditionally, Thanksgiving has been the fourth Thursday in November but a national uproar was created in Franklin Roosevelt's term of office when merchants pleaded with him to set an earlier date which would give them a longer shopping period. This was still during the Depression and businesses were struggling to survive. There was such protest that  the changed date had to be repealed.
     Today the issue of a limited time for shopping is almost laughable. Although the official Christmas shopping began the day after Thanksgiving unofficially, the shoppers have been lured into the stores for six weeks or more.
     Our lives have changed. Ten or fifteen years ago I was offended by the Christmas decorations that appeared before Thanksgiving. I felt the true meaning of the special day of Thanksgiving was being bypassed by commercialism.  Has it happened? We appear to be keeping it alive and well and should always do so.
     This year, while shopping several weeks before Halloween, department stores were decorating with their Christmas glitter.  Before Halloween! I didn't even blink an eye! Our time has become so compressed that, unlike in the days of FDR's administration, it is now the shoppers who are now needing more time to shop.
     Despite the demands of what we are now calling the Holiday Season let us not ever ignore the special meanings of the three special days:
           Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Doggie Tale

     Dandy doesn't want to talk about it. He is curled up hiding his face and ignoring the world. I am sure that  at his first opportunity, he'll sneak onto this computer and tell the world how mean his Lady is, but this is so sad/funny that I must share the story.
     Like a proud mother of an exceptionally smart child (does that include all of us?), I have bored all my friends with "smart doggie' tales BUT  I didn't realize just how smart he really is!
     Last week was his first bath here at his new home. The sink in the utility room seemed to be an ideal spot and of course he was a very patient, enduring dog. Of course!
     However, I was a little fearful for his safety being so high from the floor. I was afraid the urge to jump and shake would overcome his caution and he would get hurt, so for this bath time I decided to try the bathtub. There was a rubber mat to keep him from slipping and a hand-held shower spray attachment to do on-the-spot shampooing and rinsing. This should be a more efficient way to handle this little chore, I was sure, so calling to him and chattering about "bath time,
I turned on the water, adjusted the temperature, and looked around for Dandy. Well, there he was, lying on the bedroom floor, his chin flat on the carpet and his eyes closed. I called...he didn't blink or twitch an ear! Silly me, I had said the b-a-t-h word and he knew. He knew that running water was for him.
     My only option, if I were to remain as head of the pack around here, was to go over and pick him up.
     He ran! He was a streak of brown fur and then I spotted him in the corner by the bed trying to get under. Luckily the bed is only a few inches off the floor so he was cornered. I was sure I had him! I reached to pick him up and he made a lightening quick dive under the bedside table and looked at me. This space was 5 1/2 inches high and he filled it completely. I tugged on his harness and he yelped. I reached around him and tried to give a gentle shove. He whined. I tugged some more and it hurt. The table was heavy and it was loaded with things, as all flat surfaces in my house are, so postponing moving the table,  I called and called and he began to wiggle out, those big eyes looking at me, silently begging me to please go away.
     The moment he was free from his tight spot he almost sprang to freedom  but I grabbed the little fellow and petted  and soothed him as best as I could.
     Yes, he got his bath and stood patiently through it all. Naturally, once out of the tub, he gave a mighty shake or two but my handy towel covered that. Once released from the bathroom, he made a beeline for the sofa with me close behind.  Maneuvering him into his bed instead of the sofa, he patiently endured a blow-dry and brushing and condescended to join me in the kitchen for a treat.
     I am not yet forgiven but there will be other baths. I'll try to remember not to say the "B" word and I will never, never start that little chore without having Dandy on a short lease. I don't want his dread of a bath causing him to get into such a tight spot that I can't get him out!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Dandy's Yogg

 Woof, Woof!
    There has sure been a lot of confusion around my new digs. I didn’t have a clue what was the cause then I heard a word I’d heard before - “Thanksgiving!”  That explains everything. That is a time when every woman I’ve ever known changes from an attentive companion to some sort of constantly busy,  pan banging  gal, who seems to live in the kitchen.
      Now I must admit My  Lady still has time to talk to me occasionally and we’ve had a few short walks. Things smell pretty good, too! I figure that any time the smells are this good, there should be some good eating around somewhere. 
     Well!  Looks like I’ll never know! Can you believe that what is in my dish is dry dog food! I’ve tried every trick…oopps .. ..Of course I would never use trickery! What I mean is that I’ve sat in the middle of the kitchen and used my most soulful expression and all My Lady does is walk around me. I thought that maybe if I’d made a little noise she catch on that I’d like a bite or two of that good smelling stuff. All she did was to say “Good doggie.”  Finally I actually begged. I stood on my hind legs and did that little pawing thing with my front feet that always makes the women a real push-over. 
     So what happens? I get a treat…a cold weiner!  And I danced for that?  I must be losing my touch.
     Still, I’ve been through times like this before, so I’ll just take long naps and ignore all the commotion. I know very well that the word “Thanks” is a good word  and I’ve caught on to the “giving” thing too. Someone is always wanting me to “give” them a handshake.  That’s okay with me. Sometimes someone says “gimme a kiss” and I simply play deaf with that because I don’t do kissy.
     Still, Thanks-giving  makes a good word, and I can tell you right now, that being a dog makes me want to say “thank you!”  I have a good place to sleep, a lot of good things outside to smell  and listen to. I even have two special places so I can look outside. And My Lady is pretty nice, too, although we need a little attitude adjustment on this good smells/dry dog food problem.
Well, we do still have this cat problem but  I can usually ignore them…except when they don’t move out of my way, but if my leash has a little slack I can take care of that situation real quick. 
     Yep, life is good.  I hope yours is also at this Thanksgiving time.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dandy's Yogg

Me and the cats

Woof, Woof,
    I thought it was about time to update you on how things are going around here. I still have that herd of cats to contend with. I simply can not understand the mentality of these cats. When My Lady takes me out for a walk, these critters scatter like they'd been shot out of a shotgun. It's a really fun thing to watch and one of the highlights of my day.

I simply ignore them especially if one remains behind and arches it back and gets all puffed up. I don't even look around. Do they realize that they don't interest me.... with all these interesting scents of coons and deer and such, do they really think I am going to be interested in a cat? Well, I'l change that statement a tiny bit. One of this bunch of arrogant felines has never run from me. From the day I arrived, this smallest of the group, has stood its ground and let me touch noses. I kinda admire this little fellow. It's a pity all his kinfolks are such a pain to have around.

Anyway back to crazy feline behavior. I have told you how rude they have been to  a newcomer so figure this out: they follow me everywhere  I go. Everywhere! Here I go, leading My Lady to all the interesting places that I'd like to investigate further, and here appears a cat; then another, and another. Soon we form a parade with me in the lead and eight cats following. Its a sight, I can tell you.

Still, I've remained polite...until yesterday! Yesterday, My Lady gave took me outside to the patio and gave me a bone. from a dish of food she was carrying. When she set the dish down those pesky cats appeared just as they usually do. I gave them a warning growl. My bone had come from that dish. That meant that it was my food. Right?

Those dumb felines paid no mind to my little growl so I did it again and they still paid me no attention. Looks like I got no respect out here so I just dropped that bone and made a lunge and with all my might, did the growl/bark thing and you should have seen those cats fill the trees.

I think that I have that matter settled now. They can follow, but I'm not putting up with their rudeness any longer.
They can be nice or hit the road. They're no fun anyway! I'd rather dig a hole any time.


Sunday, November 7, 2010


Woff, woff,.  My name is Dandy, at least I think it is! I seem to be called by a lot of different names: Sweety, Doggie, Funny Face….ME, being called Sweety. How ridiculous ! I don’t want to sound too macho, but I come from a long line of hard-working hunting dogs! If My Lady will  take off that leash next time we’re outside, I’ll show her  how fast I can put eight cats up a tree. 

Now those cats: that’s something I’d like to discuss. Why is it that they bow up at me. Really, I’m not interested in them although there’s one little tabby that I rub noses with.  The whole gang of them bow and hiss and slap me when I try to be friends. They’re about my size and should be a lot of fun to play with but, no, they’d rather be rude! Then when I ignore them, they follow me everywhere. Like I said earlier, take that lease off and we’ll come to an understanding. 

My Lady is nice enough and I’ve found her easy to handle. Usually, one little whine is all it takes to get her attention, but if that fails, all I have to do is reach for her with my paw and she’s mine. And how that woman loves to talk!  If I do my little talking act she puts on quite a show even talking something that I think is called “baby talk.” She is kind of fun, though, especially when I show her what I can do with my squeaky coon thing she calls a toy. I hope  I can convince her that this is what my ancestors did with badgers, rabbits and even rats. It’s in my blood--I can do it too. I’m not just an entertainer. If those outside cats ever overlook a rat, I’ll take care of it quick-time. 

This is my first time to do a Yogg … you pronounce that a little like you’re in the middle of a yawn…but I’ve watched My Lady doing this a lot.  Sometimes she acts as though she doesn’t like this little box  and I expect that if she wasn’t a nice lady she might say something I don’t want to hear. 

Anyway, if she ever leaves me alone again, twice in one day, I’ll try out my paws again. It’s really not too complicated: you just hit  the bottom of the screen and funny things happen and you’re through!


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween, 1943-2010

     It’s fall of the year, a season I always love and October has flown by even faster than usual.
     Today is Halloween and Halloween always reminds me of the night I arrived in Corpus Christi to begin my married life. This year, Halloween is on a Sunday, just as it was sixty-seven  years ago, The night of my arrival in the huge Greyhound bus station was on Saturday night and the Halloween celebration was in full swing with the building reverberating with celebrating sailors who were there either waiting for their special arrivals or perhaps waiting for their bus to take them away on their leave.
      As I disembarked into the sea of white caps and shouting voices, I had a few qualms about my future life, for the surroundings of the moment were not what I was expecting, although to tell the truth, I don’t know exactly what I was expecting. I was seventeen, had completed one year of college, had worked one summer at a pilot training field and was presumably ready to meet the world head-one, but this mass of sailors and their shouting was not the world I expected.
     Then I saw him; that special sailor I had made the trip to marry on the following Monday, November 1, 1943, and all was well.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Poolville High School and the green bus

     The grades taught at Toto must have included the 9th because I entered high school as a junior. I was fourteen because I had started school early and had skipped the sixth grade. In those days there were eleven grades; the system changed to twelve the year I graduated, tossing me out into the world at fifteen (soon to be sixteen).
     All the Toto students did not move into the Poolville school. Some transferred to Peaster; some went to Weatherford, but those of us whose location made Poolville the best choice had an unique experience awaiting them: the opportunity to ride in the old green bus.
     It was indeed an oldie. The body was of wood, faded to a dull green. Although it had rows of windows, the were covered by rolled up canvas that was unrolled in cold weather. The seats consisted of benches running the length of the bus and in the center was a flat wooden rail meant to serve as a foot rest for those passengers seated on the side benches. On the other hand, the manufacturer may have installed it for safety; as a brace to prevent the riders from sliding off their seats if there was a sharp turn.
     For whatever reason the center board was meant, it was more often used for the last arrivals to sit upon if the bus was loaded. The pecking order also had a lot to do with the seating choices one had. Our bus driver was a quiet man named Arthur  Fuller. His passengers were either a quiet group or he was not bothered easily because I remember no disciplinary efforts being made.  One the other hand, he may have realized that completing the route often depended upon his passengers.
     If that seems strange, one must visualize the road conditions of those days. Any rain caused the road to be slick enough to lead to a quick slide into a ditch. Then the kids unloaded and contributed enough muscle to get "ole green" back on the road. A heavy rain activated those waiting mud holes and they became a lob lolly that held in their clutches almost any vehicle. Again, we kids lent our muscles to get us on our way again. On those occasions we did not get to school in a pristine condition.
     The weather did not always cause the problem. Once when making a wide turn at the end of the route, ole green suddenly sank to one side. Our driver, still seemingly unperturbed, asked us to unload so the problem could be corrected. All that was needed was a few strong boys to lift the rear of the bus so one of its wheels could be reattached. Making the turn had been the last straw, the wheel had come off and rolled away.
     If ever a vehicle had a personality, ole green had its share. And we kids may have learned a little from riding in it:  it was not sleek and shiny, but it got us there; if there was a problem, we fixed it, if we got dirty in the process, so what? We had done what needed to be done. Of course, in those days, child endangerment was not the issue that pushing a bus on slippery footing might be considered today. Can't your imagine today's mom's outrage..."You asked my child to do WHAT!"
     The Poolville school was a red brick building with its bottom floor housing the lower grades and the Superintendent's office. The top floor held classrooms for the upper grades and the large study hall or assembly room with its stage for programs...and the huge iron stove that attempted the impossible task of warming the entire area. On each side of the study hall was a stairway, more for safety in case of fire than to relieve congestion, for there were nothing resembling the crowds of today.
     Poolville had a janitor to tidy the place and load the wood in cold weather. It was never enough so the boys were often sent to the woodpile for more. Whenever we became uncomfortably chilled, we hovered around the stove and when warmed we returned to our desks.
     There were few discipline problems. The superintendent was a large man whose usual expression was rather stern. Although his blue eyes could twinkle, they also sent the message that he did not tolerate mischief in his school. And, make no mistake, as long as he was there, it was his school.
     School was great after I got over the strangeness of being in a new school and joining a group who had been classmates since the first grade. The classwork was more challenging and more was taught in class than that of earlier years when much of what was learned was in homework. Not that there was not still homework: there was loads of it. We had a civics (today's social studies)  teacher that gave a daily test on what he had assigned for study: Eddie Kannenberg, a German man who did not come back the next year. Whether he simply moved on to another school, enlisted in the army or was shunned because of his nationality, I never knew.  I remember him talking fast, being impressively through, and we were expected to listen. We did.
     R.L. Hodges, the superintendent, taught math. No nonsense in that class, either, although one April Fool's day the class climbed through the chubby hold behind the stage and hid on the roof. Class time arrived, Hodges arrived in the classroom, walked to the joining backstage area and said simply. "All right class, come on down now." We did and that was that: no giggling and no sermon; the usual classwork began.
     A new girl in a small school attracts a bit of attention among the boys so I had my share of dates, dodged all the goodbye kiss attempts, until the guy I ended up marrying came along. Perhaps by that time I had a crick in my neck! We dated two years before he joined the Naval Air Corp and left for the coast.
     This brought about a bit of long ago type of harassment. To date me this guy broke up with a girl who had a close group of friends, so I was on the receiving end of every snide remark that a group of teenage girls could think of, and make no mistake, teenage girls are very accomplished in that respect!  Sixty years later I received an apology!
     Regardless of that unpleasantness, school was great. We usually had time to play volley ball before class and at some time during the day we played basketball. Basket ball was, and remains, the game of the Poolville school and even that of the community. We played on a dirt court, one of the few in the county and we played our hearts out, but always with that disadvantage. Poolville finally got a gym and more recently a new school and a really nice gym. I do doubt that they love the game more than we did in our days on the dirt court.
     This was in 1941 and we had three months of normal school life. Although the war in Europe had been in the news for many months it was far away. News was limited to radio broadcasts, morning, noon and evening, and in rural areas, a weekly newspaper. It was a terrible shock to learn of the attack on our nation that December 7. The following day's assembly was called to listen to President Roosevelt's announcement that we were at war.
     As youngsters, we did not grasp the seriousness of that until some of the older boys began to be drafted and the next year our small class soon became smaller.
     Still, we played ball on our dirt court, attended tournaments, and our teachers did not neglect our education. And, we students on the south-east route continued to ride the green bus. It was old then and sixty-nine years later is there anything left except a few rusting parts? Could it be in someone's pasture, its canvas curtain hanging in a few rotten shreds and housing wasp nests and mice? The next year we had a normal appearing orange bus...but the roads remained the same.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Tragedies of Harassment

The tragic results of harassment are becoming an almost daily news feature. My first thought was to write "extreme harassment" but whether or not the harassment appears extreme is not the same for every individual. Regardless, it appears that the instances have reached a critical stage and that, in general, people are getting aroused enough to take action.

Forerunners in coping with this problem are members of the gay community and they are now extending a helping hand to some of our troubled youth.  Sentiments on the subject are as varied as the colors on a color wheel, but think what you will, the harassment problem can be reduced to a very personal one: What kind of person do you become when your opinion or actions contribute to making a person feel so worthless or hopeless that they take their own life?

Harassment can take many forms but it is meant to hurt.  It is not all concerning gays; those in the workplace, school children, or those of various ethnic backgrounds are also targets. It can target physical appearance or lack of athletic abilities, a slow learner or the person who is brilliant. The list goes on and on.  Most of us have endured some form of mild harassment and we probably called it teasing, but teasing can be friendly or loving or it can turn into something that hurts.

A recent October posting by Michael Bratton created in my mind a very moving scene as he wrote about a harassment situation years ago in his school. His description is extremely thought provoking. What was the background of this child? Was there no one to care about her. How desperate was her situation? Could her family been living out of a car? And above all, why didn't the teacher notice more and what was the school's policy concerning needy children? The image of "Johanna" will not leave me and I wonder what eventually happened to her;  is she still living but in the same desperate condition or did some miracle occur and she has become your next door neighbor, or maybe that wealthy lady living in that ritzy house on the next street?  I hope you will follow Michael's link in the list on the right of this page... Writings of Michael B 

WHAT we can do is the question in our minds. Where is the starting point? What exactly can we do? I have always held the opinion that at some time, in some way, there is a place for each person to use their abilities to do their part. One might support a project vigorously with hard physical labor, in a quiet manner with background action, or if there were a need, perhaps financially, .  Speakers can speak out, writers can write, artists can express sentiments in moving art work, photographers will find opportunities to photograph scenes that will speak aloud.

Among us are politicians, news people, school officials and teachers, counselors...and above all,  parents who care.  Surely as capable adults with experiences in many fields, we can find a cure for this harassment epidemic.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Paper cutting and More

Recently I got a real eye opener when I saw photographs of the paper cutting work of artist Christine Winkler Rayroud. This work is unbelievably intricate and is done with fingernail scissors. How the patterns were worked out beforehand and then followed defies my limited knowledge. Check out her page and see if you want to get out your fingernail scissors and start creating.

My mother entertained me with her paper cutting at Valentines. As I recall, it was all done by folding the paper so that the finished work consisted of identical facing sides.  She would cut the simple winged hearts and some series of connected hearts which I thought were rather cute. She also cut a heart tree that was just that---a tree with a elongated heart trunk and covered with heart leaves. Can you imagine how special that would be to me at this time had I managed to save some of these. All she used was her sewing scissors and scrap advertising fliers for paper.

At that time the ads were printed on only one side, leaving a nice blank page for drawing or writing a  list or as in this case, doing paper cutting. Most of my paper dolls and their clothes had a printed underside and many a childish crayon picture was drawn on those blank sides. Even a special item in our home, the poem, Come Little Leaves, that my mother reconstructed from her early school days was written in her Palmer Method handwriting on the back of some advertising matter, decorated with a watercolor border of falling leaves and framed for a gift to my father.

Her recall and reconstruction of that old poem/song was made at least sixty years after she and my dad had read this 5-verse poem in their old McGuffey  reader. That woman didn't need a computer-just give her time to think and she'd have the answer.

Today, information about that poem is readily available on the Internet: thirty years ago even the Dear Abby column could furnish any information! Today, information on every imaginable subject can be found if you ask the right question.

Following a link brought me the information about the wonderful paper cutting mentioned earlier. Other links have shown things of nature, art, archaeological interest--even the latest heart-stopper showing the dizzying climb up a 1768 foot tower !

Email sometimes does the same. Although some are forwarding posting of real interest, some are questionable as to the veracity of their content. Some of my favorites are the humorous ones and although these may be old to you I hope you get a second chuckle when reading them today.

For the Southerner:  
A true Southerner knows that "fixin: can be used both as a noun, verb, and adverb.
A true Southerner grows up knowing the difference between "pert near" and "a right far piece."
Even true Southern babies know that "Gimme some sugar" is not a request for the white granular sweet substance that sits in a pretty little bowl in the middle of the table.

For those who sometimes think they can write:

A little girl was diligently pounding away on her father's word processor. She told him she was writing a story. What is it about?" he asked. "I don't know," she replied. "I can't read."

A college class was told they had to write a short story in as few words as possible using three things:
The following received the only A+ in the class:

"Good god, I'm pregnant;  I wonder who did it.

Two more thoughts:

If you think there is good in everybody, you haven't met everybody. 

If you can smile when things go wrong, you have someone in mind to blame.