Tall Tales & Little Lies

I come from a long line of juddywhackers.

From childhood on, I was surrounded by a bunch of grown-ups who had no problem stretching, embellishing and sometimes completely fabricating the truth if it suited whatever fable they were concocting.

Oftentimes, these scenarios involved a very naïve and gullible chubbikins, also known as yours truly.

It started with my dear, sweet Uncle Bobby, a man who would not hurt a fly but would pull my leg all day.

He was largely responsible for my round shape as a child, bringing me brownies, donuts, and candy bars on a daily basis.

And they always included an elaborate tale with them.

He saw my face light up one day when he told me he had got me something extra-super special as he handed me a cupcake with swirly frosting and sprinkles on top. A pastry far fancier than Granny’s sprinkle-shy cakes.

I oohed and ahhed over it; it was a cupcake fit for a princess.  It was almost too pretty to eat but that wouldn’t stop me now and wouldn’t slow me down then.

“Is this for me?” I asked.

He nodded. “And you want to what else? I made that special – just for you!”

“You made it?” I exclaimed, frosted crumbs dropping from my lips.
“I did. They let me go in the bakery and make it just for you! I put all of those sprinkles on there, too.”

This was the tale he gave for every sweet treat he got me. According to his tales, that man was in more bakeries, candy manufacturers and ice cream shops than he was fox holes in Viet Nam.

And now that I look back on it, this whole “especially for you” is probably what contributed to me thinking nothing can make you feel as good as a donut or a dozen.

Granny’s tales didn’t involve food but were often used to either entertain me or dissuade me from doing something.

I was told fables of folly about how my face was going to freeze and I was going to have 10 little girls who were just as sassy and mean as me. That last one usually stopped me in my tracks.

She often spun her tales around growing up and doing things like picking cotton and keeping opossums out of the chicken house.

And one time, a bull was involved.

“I was told to go put the cows up,” she began. “So off I went. I headed out to the pasture where they were and had to herd them up. This was a tough thing for just a small child to do. I was younger than you when I did this.”
“How did you herd them?”
“I clapped my hands at them and told them they needed to come home because Mama was not going to rest until they did – and they knew how ornery she was. You know that saying, ‘til the cows come home?’ Well, I’ve never been given proper credit but I do believe I was the one that said it first.”

“And they all went back to the barn?”

“Yes, they did. All but one. And this one was out in this other field. I had to walk all the way over there – it was far, too. It didn’t seem that far when I was just a-looking at this cow but when I started walking it in the heat it was.

“Anyway, I was about halfway across the field when I realized something – that was not a cow.”
“What was it?” I asked.
“It was a bull! A great big old ill bull. And there I was, in this pasture with it, hooting and hollering for it come on home.”
“What happened?”

“I’m telling you!” she exclaimed. “This bull, he was huge, maybe three times bigger than my Oldsmobile, and he was angry. He charged towards me and I knew I was a goner. I thought, that’s it. I am not gonna die at the horns of this bull. I am going to fight and get him back in the barn if it is the very last thing I do.
“He came running towards me and I went under him. Just dove straight down like I was going for the bases in baseball. I had a mouthful of dirt when I came up but I didn’t care. I had managed to get behind it and even though that bull was going probably 30 miles an hour, I grabbed hold of its tail and held on. He snorted and tore across the pasture and I was just a bumping along like a tin can in the back. He’d go one way, and I’d go the other.”
“I held on for dear life – I knew if I let go, he would surely kill me. And finally, I realized he would go the way I twisted his tail. So I’d twist it to the right and there’d he go. Or I’d twist it to the left. I got him back to the barn and when he went in, I let go and shut the barn door. Daddy always said I was able to handle that bull better than anybody after that.”

“You could have been killed, Granny!”

“Nah,” she said. “I was meaner than that bull. I couldn’t die.”

I asked her brother, G.E., once if it was true.

“I’m going to tell you the truth – as it is known to me,” he said, a serious look on his face.  “It wasn’t just one bull, it was two. And Helen stared one down and made the poor thing run off – our daddy was still looking for that bull until the day he died. Sometimes, we would think we heard it booing –”


“Yes, child, booing. Cows moo, bulls boo. We thought we would hear it off in the distance booing but it never did come home. Helen had scared it that bad. Daddy may have lost a prize bull.”

I narrowed my eyes. “Truth?”

“You don’t think I would tell you a juddywhacker, do you?”

I honestly wasn’t sure. I had heard some mighty big tales.

And somewhere, in betwixt and between, there was some teeny, tiny kernels of truth.


Kindness matters

Since I was a little girl, Mama has always preached kindness.

She believes it costs nothing to be kind and sometimes, those gestures – no matter how small – can go a long way.

Even though it has been a part of my life’s mission to do the complete opposite of what Mama tells me to do, I have heeded her advice.

Respect for everyone, regardless of their title or position was another one of Mama’s sermons when I was younger.

“Treat everyone with respect,” she would direct me. “Think about how you would feel if that were you. Or me. Or someone else you love. Even if you don’t mind them.”

As much as I hate to admit Mama is ever right, her words have rung true more times than I can count.

It helped me get one of my favorite jobs years ago after I had just moved here.

I had faxed my resume the night before but was worried it didn’t go through. Lots of things can happen with a fax – the machine could have been out of paper, it may have been lodged between spam faxes about cruise deals or it may have inadvertently been tossed. And I wanted this job.

I went in search of the place, hoping to talk to whoever was hiring.

I was greeted by a young woman sitting at the desk and I smiled, hoping I had found an ally.

I had, thankfully; but little did I know the woman acting as receptionist was the wife of the managing partner of the company.
“And it didn’t matter,” Mama said when I told her. “You would have treated her the same regardless.”

True, I would have; but, I have also sat in that chair and similar positions enough times to know some people think they can talk to you and treat you any way they want if they feel like you are the low girl on the totem pole.
I think they forget those positions are the gatekeepers who determine who gets through to the people they want to talk to. Rudeness doesn’t open the gate; kindness and respect do.

But it’s a shame that people treat someone poorly, just because they think they can.

Over the weekend, we went to one of our favorite places for lunch. I had called in the order but told them I knew we would probably add chips and drinks once we got there.

Since it is one of our usual places, I quickly realized the girl standing behind the counter was new.

It was a weird and confusing order to begin with because, well, we’re weird and confusing people. There were vegetarian sandwiches without the usual condiments and salad plates and pickles. All kinds of food craziness.

First, we had to add the drinks.

And then, I had promised Cole cake. There was a choice between carrot and some kind of heavenly lemon pound cake. Cole went with the lemon but was eyeing the cookies, too.

Then, Cole swapped out his usual chips for another brand after the cashier had rung it up, so she was trying to void that off because they were a different price.

I don’t think she had had to ring up a slightly crazed woman and her pre-teen son who had not eaten all day yet.

Somehow, the total was $119.99.

She let out a soft groan. She hit buttons on the register to no avail. Someone came over to look at it and told her the only way to get rid of it was to void the whole thing and re-ring it.

“I am so sorry,” she began. “I’ve got to ring everything up again.”
“That’s OK,” I said. I felt like it my fault, like in our low-blood sugar and hangry state, we had somehow caused the snafu. I looked over my shoulder at the people behind me and offered my apologies. It really did feel like it was my fault – and the girl was brand spanking new. They should have warned her about us.

When she finished and gave me the total, she laughed, “That’s a lot better than $119, isn’t it?”

I laughed as well and told her my son could probably eat that much in one sitting, so I hadn’t been really shocked.

As we settled into a booth to eat, the lady who had been behind us in line walked by and said, “The girl at the register is just new and she’s learning. It’s only her second day. But she did good, didn’t she?”

“She did. I figured she was new and everyone deserves a learning curve.”

The lady smiled. “I agree. And thank you for being so kind about it. A lot of people would have been rude or upset.”

“Oh, gosh, no. I’ve been there and I didn’t handle myself as calmly as she did!”

The lady smiled again. “Well, I just wanted to thank you… she’s my daughter, and I appreciate the fact you were kind to her.”

I didn’t know the cashier’s mother was behind me. I know if that were my child and someone was rude to them, especially when they were learning, I would be heartbroken and probably a more than a little bit angry. That interaction could have gone a totally different way, just because of attitude.

Or my raising.

We never know who is behind us, watching, observing and seeing how we treat others.

Kindness, in all things and no matter how small a gesture it may seem, matters.

It’s the end of the Georgia Cyclone…and I feel fine (7/26/2017)

Unlike many of my friends growing up, I didn’t have a season pass to Six Flags.

If something wasn’t in Athens, it was too far away, according to Mama.

And Mama was hyper-overprotective so, I couldn’t even go with my friends when I was invited.

I’d beg and plead for her to let me go.
“You won’t like it,” she told me simply.

How could she know what I would like when she wouldn’t let me see for myself?

I continued to beg and plead. She still said no.

My friends eventually quit asking me.
“Your Mama never lets you go with us,” was the explanation one friend was kind enough to offer.

“You take me,” I begged her.

Mama refused, citing first she didn’t know how to get there, where it was, or anything about Six Flags.

“Your mama is doing good to ride a Tilt-A-Whirl at the fair,” Granny said. “You sure don’t want her ridin’ no Scream Machine. She will be sick for days. Plus, she don’t do the sun. She’s allergic.”

My childhood was void of Six Flags until my Junior year and one of my best, dearest friends decided we had to rectify this.

The fact I had never been to Six Flags came up when she was saying how excited she was about the Georgia Cyclone.

Most people couldn’t understand how I was such an anomaly of childhood and even though she had known me for a few years, she could not fathom how I had not been to Six Flags.
“We will go Sunday!” she said, declaring we would do a double date.

I’ll admit; I was nervous. Some of those rides did look scary.

I somehow managed to stifle down the fear – I didn’t have to ride anything if I didn’t want to – but I couldn’t choke down the embarrassment.

The boy I was dating – and I use that term loosely as I don’t want to remember much if anything about that experience – conveniently left his wallet in his truck when we met my friend, Ashley, in Snellville.

He didn’t mention this fact until right as we pulled up at the gate.

I was so embarrassed. Were we going to have to turn around and go back, after we just drove what seemed like light years to get there?

Ashley and her boyfriend had to pay our way in; I am guessing she had surmised from her previous dealings with him that he was the kind of putz who would pull something like that.

Off we went to find rides.

I think anytime I try to enjoy some kind of outdoor event it has to be on the hottest day on Earth. It was sweltering.

I think the soles of my Keds melted at some point because my feet felt burned. Maybe it was because I was doing a lot of walking and I have always been a sit on my tater type of gal.

I didn’t ride most of the rides; I took one look and chickened out. I was fine with sitting – more than fine actually – while everyone else rode them though.

I also learned when you were at Six Flags you pretty much stayed there all day.

My “When are we getting there” questions morphed into “When are we leaving?”

And wouldn’t you know it? The one ride I did get brave enough to ride left me drenched.

To add insult to injury, the cheap little weasel didn’t want me to drift out of his sight, so he would hold on to the belt loop of my blue jean shorts.

I tried to pull away from him but he held tight like it was a leash and I eventually ended up slapping his hand away.

I was mortified.

It was 257 degrees; my clothes were soaking wet; I was pretty sure some kid threw up in my hair; and this greasy soon-to-be ex-mistake of mine was trying to keep me literally within arm’s length.

Was this why Mama told me I wouldn’t like Six Flags?

I tried to skip school the next day as I was recovering from the trauma. Ashley actually had to literally drag me out of bed and make me go, telling me the only way to get over someone holding my belt loops was to be amongst friends.

I never went back to Six Flags. I think I went to White Water once and I am pretty sure someone told me they were taking me to get donuts or something. Me and water parks go as well as Mama and the Tilt-A-Whirl.

The other day, I came across a news article that said the Georgia Cyclone was being taken out of commission this Sunday.

It made me think of my one foray to the theme park some 17 years ago.

“Mama, am I ever gonna go to Six Flags?” Cole asked after I announced the wooden roller coaster was being retired.

“Probably not,” I told him.

“You won’t like it. Just trust me.”


The Abbreviated Summer (8/24/2016)

Summer won’t be officially over until September 5, when we put all our white shoes and linen pants away.

But, summer was really over a week or so ago when school started.

“Summer’s over?” my child said, exasperated one Sunday evening when he was told he had to start the next day. “I literally just got out!”

It sure felt like it. Compared to the summers of my youth, his were over in a blink of an eye.

When I was his age, summer seemed eternal.

Somethings I didn’t like. I wasn’t a fan of the heat, we never went on vacation and with Mama working nights, my mornings were spent poking her multiple times until she woke up.

But somethings were so simple, I realize now how perfect they were.

A big deal for me was Mama taking a friend and me to the movies every summer, sitting a safe distance away so as to give us an air of independence while keeping a watchful eye.

Somehow, Mama always fell just trying to get up from her seat.

She claimed it was because she had a hard time adjusting to the light after sitting in the dark for two hours; I always replied her feet and the ability to move them had nothing to do with the lighting.

More than likely, it had something to do with the fact she was a tad bit clutzy. But picking Mama up from the popcorn shrapnel and sticky stuff we hoped was only Mellow Yellow was as much as a tradition as the summer blockbuster.

There were evenings sitting in the living room with the back door opened, listening to the crickets while we snapped peas.

It just took a few moments for me and Granny to find a rhythm that matched the cadence of the bugs humming in the night.

It could be hot and miserable, but somehow sitting with Granny as we snapped and shucked corns and shelled peas, it didn’t bother us much.

Even though this was work – Granny often put most of our evening efforts into the freezer for the winter – to me, it was the best fun I could have.

Sometimes, she’d make homemade ice cream for us, or her sweetened milk, taking regular milk and adding sugar, vanilla and ice.

My days were spent at the big library in town, sometimes, I even poked Mama enough while she was asleep that we got there before they opened and I was one of the first to walk in and smell all the knowledge on the shelves. I’d check out books by the stacks and spend my days curled up in the chair with my cat reading.

Of course, maybe my favorite summer activity was just the little joy rides Mama and I would take.
They always started at The Store to get gas in her little blue Ford Escort and to get ice cold Cokes out of the chest freezer – in the glass bottle, thank you – and packs of peanuts.

We were cool before Barbara Mandrell claimed she was.

Off we’d go, through the backroads of Oconee County, riding into Morgan County and eventually Clarke County. Mama loved nothing more than finding some old country road, usually one lined with picket fences and thick trees and discovering where they went, so that was how we spent many dusky summer evenings.

And we didn’t go back until after Labor Day, not the beginning of August.

“Why is my summer so short?” Cole asked, wanting more time.

“I don’t know,” I replied. I really wasn’t sure. It made no sense to me and I would love for him to have the long breaks like I did.

But he’s already been back in school for two weeks now.

Good thing my summer was much longer; there wouldn’t have been enough time to enjoy it all.

The Birthday Party Blues (7/27/2016)

My child is already making his birthday list, putting a corgi at the top followed by Pokemon cards and DS games.

His birthday is months away, mind you.

But, he starts early. Real early. And that’s OK. It’s my way of making up for never having him a real, official birthday party.

Just hearing about friend’s planning parties for their own children is usually enough to give me hives.

All the elaborate stuff that goes into it – jump-jumps, petting zoos, themes.

What happened to just cake and ice cream?

I’m not knocking those who do the big deal birthday parties at all; they are just not something I would do and didn’t even want when I was a kid.

Nope, even when I was a kid, birthday parties kind of freaked me out.

Who in the world ever thought running around a bunch of chairs, with balloons on them nonetheless, to fight with other kids in a game of “Musical Chairs” was fun?
It was terrifying.

For one thing, the sound of a balloon popping is terrifying. Particularly if under your tater. Running around a bunch of chairs is not fun either.

It made me feel like a real life Jack in the Box toy, which also scared the stew out of me, except instead of popping up, we were popping down.

Then there was usually a pin the tail on the donkey thing. Yeah, give kids something with basically a needle and blindfold them. It made me question all the rules of safety I had been cautioned about. I mean, what was next – running with scissors?

The worst though was my own birthday party one year.

I was so excited about having my friends come over, but Mama probably chained smoked two packs of Virginia Slims while she got everything ready.

And nothing made Mama more scared than seeing a car pull up for someone to drop their child off at the party and peel away.
Mama watched the car drive away in a panic.

“Does your Mama know when the party’s over?” she asked as the child made her way inside. “She knows to come back and get you, right? Right? Where did she go? Some place close?”

I didn’t know why Mama was so upset but I think she wanted to cry. She asked me who the kid was and I told her I didn’t know. She came in toting a gift though; she couldn’t be too bad.

She wanted to sit on the couch with the other moms, but she couldn’t.

She had to make sure everything went smoothly, meaning someone wasn’t sticking their fingers in the cake.

We played the games – no musical chairs with the balloons or pin the tail on the donkey. I can’t remember what we played but it definitely wasn’t that.

As we settled in for cake and ice cream, Mama was ready to breathe a sigh of relief. Everyone knew cake and ice cream meant the party was wrapping up.

Just as Mama was thinking she had survived, she found two kids jumping on her bed.

I’m not sure how she got them down but she did and she didn’t even scream.

Maybe it was because she knew the party was about to be over.

Soon, mamas were grabbing up coats and gathering their children, thanking Mama for the party. Knowing my Mama, she was ready for them all to leave so she could chain smoke for the next two hours.

We still didn’t know if that kid’s mama was coming back or not.

Eventually, she did. It was about an hour or two after the party ended but she finally came back.

We still don’t know who that kid was.

That was the last birthday party I had at home.

“Mama, can I have a birthday party – a real one? Not at school?” Cole asked me years ago.

He had had all his parties at school which meant I brought something to the school to celebrate. One year, I even took a piñata to day care then realized that was about as bad as the pin the tail on the donkey thing.

Multiple kids running around and needing to be watched and entertained, the dogs panicking and probably getting stuck under the bed while they hid, trying to make small talk with parents while I wanted to introvert…

“No. I think I am going to take a hard pass on that,” I said. “But, I will make it up to you. I promise.”

So he starts his birthday wish list in July.

He gets one really cool gift and some small other ones; I get to keep my sanity.



The Good Old Days (7/20/2016)

Growing up, Granny loved to tell me stories about what she called, “the good old days.”

Tales involving picking cotton, drawing water from a well, and all of her siblings having to share one bed during the winter to stay warm.

“This was the good old days?” I asked her once.

“Yes,” she was replied. “They was.”

That’s how Granny, talked too. She dropped out of school, maybe in third grade or so, to help work the fields. She didn’t speak proper grammar and didn’t care. It never stopped her from getting her point across.

Her stories included growing up in the Depression and how they survived. Huddling around the wood burning stove to stay warm, wearing clothes until threadbare, and never throwing anything away. She was a packrat of the highest caliber, because she grew up in poverty.

“What are you going to make with this?” I asked her once, moving a huge garbage bag containing fabric off the couch.

“I don’t know yet, but I’ll make something. Don’t you worry about it. Clothes, curtains, quilts. It’ll get used.”

And it would, too.

The woman would wash and re-use aluminum foil and Ziploc bags and thought if someone was using thick Dixie plates at a dinner and threw them away, they were “just showing how high fa-lootin’ they was.” Dishes were not supposed to be disposable.

She told me about riding the bus to Plattsburg, New York, alone, to get to Pop. They had eloped, Granny lying to her mother that she was spending the night at a cousin’s house, and the next morning, my grandfather headed back to where ever he was stationed in the Army. Granny went back home to her mama and daddy, never breathing a word she was married until she announced she was heading north. Their wedding night was only their third date.

“How in the world could you let Pop go back up there and not go with him?” I asked.

“Back then, you did what you had to. He was in the Army and he had to save up money to get me a bus ticket,” was her no nonsense reply.

Those times, were not easy, nor were the years that followed and they made steel run through veins. She was resilient and tough.

“Why do you always talk about those times, Granny?” I asked her one day as she started up on one of her yarns for the umpteenth time.

“Because they was the good old days, Lit’l Un.”

Good? How in the world could she describe them as good?

All she told me about was how poor they were, how they struggled, how getting through the day was sometimes a miracle of itself.

“How was that good?” I wanted to know.

“It just was. If you was breathin’ and on the other side of the ground, it was good.”

Her stories were woven around my grandfather serving in World War II, my uncle in Viet Nam. Mama, she said, made her proud because she had a job that was in an office and didn’t have to do the labor she had.
“You never tell her you are proud of her,” I said to her once. “That may make her feel better, you know.”

Granny stuck her chin out, not one to be chastised for anything. “She don’t need to know if I am proud of her or not; I am and that’s all that cussed matters.”

After over 20 years of hearing her stories, I started to tune them out or make her change the conversation. “You’ve told me this already, old woman,” I’d tell her.

“Yeah, well you ain’t listened, old gal,” she said in return.

How I’d love to hear her old stories again. The only thing close to it I have is, thankfully, a DVD my beloved cousin, Dotty, made of her talking and telling some of her stories to them.

I miss her stories and more importantly, I miss her common sense about the things that happened in the world around us. Especially lately, I’ve yearned for her comfort, for her wisdom, and for her just declaring that things would be OK and we would survive – meaning all of us – because that was the only choice we had.

It seemed like her focus was always about surviving, just surviving one thing from the next. How in the world could she consider those ‘good old days?’

I asked her that one day.

The question actually struck her speechless for a moment. “One day, you’ll understand. It ain’t about the little petty problems or any of this other junk. It’s about the moment, and being with family and friends. Don’t matter how much money you got, that stuff’s fleeting. It mattered about how much love.”

She had the ones she loved around her.

Maybe it was the good old days after all.

The Original Stay-cationers (7/6/16)

While everyone else is uploading pictures of their toes in the sand, or a view of the ocean set against the backdrop of their tanned legs, the Crouches are staying home.
For the 13th year in a row.
No loading up the van and heading south to Florida and its heat. There’s no sandy beaches in my future nor in my recent past.
And in a way, I am kind of OK with that.
I am not a huge vacationer to begin with. Even when I was a child, we didn’t go anywhere.
Mama asked me once if I wanted to go to Disneyland; whether or not she would have taken me, I don’t know. But I remember asking her how much walking was involved and after considering having to use public restrooms along with countless others, I told her I’d rather go to the library instead.
Maybe it’s because the one time we tried to venture anywhere for any length of time, it seemed like something always happened.
I was maybe 5-years old the first time my family decided to go anywhere.
This was a big deal – huge, actually, because my grandfather agreed to go and it was on a Sunday.
So there must not have been any kind of sporting event on TV that day that he had to watch.
It was spontaneous; I had got up to get ready for church and Granny had announced we were not going.
“Did church go out of business?” I asked over my Fruity Pebbles.
“No, but we are going to do something today we ain’t never done; we going on a day trip.”
Granny called to inform the preacher he was on his own this Sunday, she was not there to keep the congregation in line and God help him, keep them awake, either.
Mama worked all the time, Pop & Bobby worked all the time and were self-employed, and Granny worked and thought she kept a tri-county portion of the state in line. There was no time for vacations or up until now, a day trip.
But here we were, loading into Granny’s Oldsmobile, all of us, and heading – of all things – out of state to North Carolina.
We went to Cherokee, in all its gaudy glory.
I was amazed at how everything looked, and all the Native American regalia that was displayed in shops. I wanted one of everything; I think Mama decided on a pair of moccasins and a headdress with a toy bow and arrow. Why she refused to get me a real one, I have no idea. I was protesting this fact when a man dressed in Native American buckskin told me I needed to respect my mother.
All I knew was based on the size of his headdress, he must have been the head guy, so I shut up. Until he decided to flirt with my Mama. The crazy redhead seemed to like it too.
“He was handsome,” she giggled when I grabbed her hand to pull her away.
I was tired. I was hungry. My feet hurt. I was ready to go.
We had been there about one hour and 15 minutes.
I stated my complaints. “We drove all the way here – out of the dadblamed state. You gonna have fun it if I have to make you!” was Granny’s response.
I didn’t, but I knew better than to say anything else.
Maybe it was the boiled peanuts, or maybe I was carsick because I ventured out of state, but by the time I got home, I was feeling quite queasy.
Granny called the preacher to make sure the church had not imploded or Jesus hadn’t come back in her absence. He assured her the church was still standing and that Jesus wouldn’t make any decisions without consulting her first.
The next week, Granny found chewing gum – chewing gum, which she never allowed in her nursery – stuck in the carpet.
You would have thought all 10 commandments had been broken as the old gal was in the floor muttering under her breathe as she scrubbed.
“See! See there! That’s why we don’t go nowhere!” she screamed at me.
It wasn’t my idea to go anywhere but she wanted me to understand her logic train.
I just felt sorry for whoever was going to receive her wrath.
You’d think Granny would learn, but the next year on another Sunday, she decided we were going to Stone Mountain.
She called and told the preacher, reminding him about the gum from the year before. He assured her no gum would be chewed while she was gone.
We walked around, found a funnel cake for me, followed by ice cream, then watermelon. We walked some more. My uncle asked me if I wanted to walk up to the top.
“Why would anyone want to do that?” I cried.
He asked if I wanted to ride the cable car to the top instead. “Good lord, no!”
He went alone instead.
Mama complained about the heat. “You know I get sun poisoning real easy. It’s too hot!”
Someone got the grand idea for us to take a riverboat ride. The thing wasn’t going that fast, really, but watching the water rolling and swaying was enough to make me really, really sick.
“Maybe it was the funnel cake,” my uncle suggested.
“Or maybe it was the watermelon,” my grandfather said.
“Yeah, or the ice cream,” my uncle added.
I was sick. So sick. And ready to go home.
I think we were maybe there 2 hours.
As we headed back home, we realized we didn’t need to go anywhere. Not for a few days, and sure not for a week or longer. Heck, we were doing good to get to the grocery store once a week without some major catastrophe.
Granny set it in stone when she declared, “That’s it. We’ve tried day trips and this mess ain’t working! We ain’t going nowhere ever again!”
And I pretty much haven’t gone anywhere since then. Why tempt fate when it seems to be something my family just isn’t good at doing?
At least I don’t have to worry about the vacation laundry.

Boo-Anne’s Betrayal (6/29/2016)

Doodle, a.k.a Boo-Anne, had been betrayed.

By the very man she loved more than a Milk Bone itself: Lamar.

The chunky little red dog was curled up on the couch, taking her post-dinner, pre-bedtime nap one evening when Lamar decided it was time for a bath.

She had artfully dodged bath time previously, ducking behind the couch or my chair anytime she saw Lamar.

He had warned her she was going to get a bath this time.

The little pibble mix stuck her chin up defiantly as if to say, “No, sir!”

She had outsmarted him and ducked to safety enough times to feel confident she was in the clear.

But alas, she was not.

Just when she thought because of the time that she was safe, she hopped up on the couch for her nap.

Lamar saw her reposed position – head on the arm of the couch, eyes closed in blissful slumber, and her belly slightly exposed in case anyone just had to pet it – and went in for the grab. He scooped her up in his arms like a baby.

“Get the bathroom door, Cole,” he instructed.

Cole ran to get the door, shocked his daddy would betray his baby girl this way.

The look on her face was priceless. At first, she may have briefly thought Lamar was going to cradle her like he did when she was a mere little puppy, holding her against his chest as he sang to her.

That look gave away to shock and horror as she realized he was walking towards the bathroom and she knew what that meant.

“Close the door, and do not, under any circumstances, open it until I tell you to,” Lamar told Cole.

Unlike the German Shepherd who nearly takes the wall down, Doodle just took her bath with great shame.

When done, she shot out of the bathroom like a pinball, running through the house, hitting one hiding place after another before settling on her spot behind my chair.

“Boo-Anne, did he not dry you off?” I asked her. “I have a towel….”

Big brown eyes peeked from behind the chair cautiously. She glanced right, then left before scurrying towards me.

I swaddled her in the towel and rubbed her somewhat dry.

When Lamar walked in, she ran back to behind my chair, going to the side between the arm and the shelves to look at him.

“I can’t believe you betrayed Boo-Boo that way,” I said.

Boo-Boo, Boo-Anne, Doodle—that dog was a true Southern belle because none of those were her given name of Angel.

“She needed a bath; she got out of them last time and she just thought she was going to get out of this one.”

She may have, but she didn’t expect to be so abruptly snatched from her nap to be chunky dumped in the tub.

“She will get over it in a few days. She loves me.”

I wasn’t so sure. Doodle could hold a grudge.

It didn’t take a day. Hours later, the pudgy pup was curled up beside him on the couch.

She may have forgiven but she didn’t forget.

When she saw him with the bottle of all-natural flea spray, she ducked behind the couch.

“I forgot to put conditioner on her but I want to make sure it’s not a flea,” was Lamar’s explanation while I watched him try to coax her out from behind the couch.

Boo-Anne peeked out before burrowing further behind her barricade.

It took a few days but he was finally able to spray her, sending her behind my chair for safety.

This time she put her little head up on my arm rest as if to ask, “Why do you let him do this to me?”

“Doodle needs her nails trimmed,” Lamar said. “I’ve got the clippers by the door. I need to grab her and take her out on the porch to trim them.”

“All you do is betray her, you know. She’s gonna get to where she doesn’t trust you anymore.”

“She trusts me fine,” Lamar said. “She knows I am taking care of her.”

Maybe she did.

And maybe the little weeble-wobbling dog also felt like her puppy rights were being violated and her trust was being equivocally betrayed.

Lamar even tossed the spray to Cole one evening for him to chase her into her hiding spot to spray her.

“She’s going to get you back,” I warned. “Payback is going to be bad, I’m afraid.”

Lamar didn’t think so. He was confident of the little dog’s love and loyalty.

As we returned home from church one evening, Lamar went into the bedroom to change and found Boo-Anne’s payback waiting for him.

“I told you she was going to get you back,” was all I said.

A woman scorned is one thing; a Boo-Boo betrayed is another.

Rest in Peace Cassius Clay

Love how my dear friend Mary Marvella is remembering Cassius Clay…My memories of him involve me watching him on TV, hearing his famous, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” line. I may have been just a youngster, but I knew cool when I saw it.

RIP, The Greatest

Pink Fuzzy Slippers Authors

Keeping this short today. Do you remember when a young black boxer made records that had everyone rooting for him? I wasn’t a boxing fan and this man was younger that I was. His charisma lasted until his death this past weekend. Does anyone remember what he did when the draft called on him to fight? 

Just for fun, share two facts about him.

From Of Mountains and Mysteries,  just barely birthed!

Jamie has just turned 18. She lives in the North Georgia Mountains and drives beat up old truck she starts with a screw driver.

Over the noise of the wind blowing in her windows and her radio she caught a deep horn blast behind her. A glance in her rear-view mirror made her heart stop. Crap! A big rig loomed so close to her tailgate she could almost feel it pushing her. She jerked the…

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Press Release: Of Mountains and Mysteries

Make sure you hop on over to A Romance Caper on Facebook tomorrow to join the chat! I am writing as Sabrina Cole, my fiction-writing alter ego and the featured guest at 4:30 EST!



get-attachmentPageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00004]Nantahala, GeorgiaJune 5, 2016.

For Immediate Release


Gilded Dragonfly Books Releases New Paranormal Romance Anthology Set in North Georgia Mountains

Gilded Dragonfly Books is releasing its latest anthology, Of Mountains and Mysteries, Sunday, June 5, in the paranormal romance genre. Tasked with writing short stories that use the mysteries and magic of the North Georgia Mountains, ten authors created stories using legends, myths, and their imaginations. Some stories have shifters (humans that change into animals at will) while others have ghosts, witches, and other supernatural elements. Some stories feature only the magic of nature and the beauty of the mountains.

Nantahala is a small fictional town steeped in legends of the Native American culture and only imaginary miles from Dahlonega. Each author created her own independent story, with each one building on the lore of Nantahala to deliver individual vignettes. Some of the authors are…

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