A Memory of a Long Ago Summer Story

Dear Reader:

I grew up in the Haymount area of Fayetteville, NC -not the old historic Victorian mansions side but on the other side where ” Leave it to Beaver” middle class homes pervaded the landscape… ours being the wooden two story duplex on Huske Street.

It was a typical fifties neighborhood… our street was at the top of three hilly streets-all running downhill to the delight of us skaters, bikers and occasional sledders! ( except when we had to climb back up. )

Three blocks away was Fort Bragg Blvd and we were forbidden to get close to it, much less try to cross it. We were all pretty good until one of the first McDonalds went up across that major Highway! It was the closest thing to heaven.

We would save up our allowance each month to get one legitimate meal there with mother in her car… never breathing that the oldest in each family met once a month to bring back orders for the neighborhood gang. Of course it only lasted until ” Mac Scout” ( as we called the selected deliverer) got caught by a parent eating inside. Those early McDonalds was every kid’s fantasy meal!

Fort Bragg-biggest and most congested highway in the state… in the 50’s -we should not have been crossing it!

But the summer memory that has stayed with me is a creek that ran downhill through a forest area just a few blocks from the house in another direction. In grade school and junior high it was my escape to run to when I was upset or simply wanted to be alone.

One year when I was about 10… I was upset about something at school and went and sat down on the embankment to watch the creek flow over the rocks in the shade of overhanging trees. So soothing. I happened to still have my book satchel … I pulled out a notebook and wrote all my feelings out-then folded the note over and over before burying it under a dry rock on the embankment. I felt so much better.

It was the beginning of my love for writing and healing… I wrote when I was exceptionally happy or sad… and always on my birthday-writing out my dreams for the new age. Then I folded the note and placed it under a rock.

In real life the creek was smaller but the shady sanctuary it provided accomplished the healing.

The day before we left Fayetteville for good (when I was thirteen that summer)… I made my last trek to the creek. I had already written my last farewell note to that special place that brought me such comfort and joy. This time, however, I wrapped the note in aluminum foil and tied a string around it… leaving it under the highest rock I could reach.

I have never returned… I feel sure that whole area has changed with time and climate and real estate …but that’s okay… it is just as vivid in my memory as the last time I said good-bye. Everyone should have a special place growing up where they can commune with nature and God.

So until tomorrow… Every time I hear or sing Rock of Ages… I immediately think of that sanctuary that ” saved” a youth like me when I needed my special time… my conversation with God! A note for every new birthday year: new AGE hopes and dreams left under a rock!

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

The Dingles are off to New England… Vermont and Maine! Have fun and bring some ” cool” back with you!
One day in the sun and looks like Linda’s pink ruellia is already blooming and happy in the garden!
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In the Good Old Summertime!

Dear Reader:

As children of school age… didn’t we all live for summer? It was like Christmas vacation in eternal extension… except no gifts were necessary… no school and loss of rigid routines was gift enough!

I started thinking of all the words that conjure up visions of summer… through children and adult eyes… and historical facts we equate to this season. Here’s my selection!

Today is the Summer solstice… the longest day of the year … so we all need to get outside and enjoy every minute of it… the summer will end on September 20. Children think hot and swimming in summer… adults think hot and air conditioning… and the dreaded monthly electric bill!

The first ” modern” Olympic Games started in the summer of 1896 in Athens, Greece.

Watermelon… loved by both children and adults but Psst! Don’t let children know it is considered a vegetable-not a fruit! ( in the cucumber / vegetable group)

The Eiffel Tower grows six inches each summer due to heat and iron expansion ( I would think possibly more this record-breaking hot temperature summer)

Ice Cream ! Loved by ” children of all ages” -July is National Ice Cream Month.

The first woman’s bathing suit started in the 1800’s -bloomers included.

July is Blueberry Month! Think Maine!!

July is named after Julius Caesar and August is named for Caesar Augustus-nephew of Julius-means ” reverend.”

Mosquitoes… disliked by children and adults equally… my worst enemy as a gardener!

Thunderstorms can be equally exciting and terrifying simultaneously… but tolerated quite well… if they leave much needed rain behind…

For us Lowcountry residents June 1 is the start of Hurricane season… an annual threat made more active by the earth’s warming dilemma -thus warming the waters that trigger more hurricanes… not a good cycle these days -we just have to keep the faith!

So until tomorrow…

And speaking of walking by faith… year after year Harriett Edwards and I met at the Charleston Race for the Cure! Harriett has the most amazing faith as she once again gets her slingshot ready to fight cancer. We both believe in the power of prayer and I would love it… if you would say a prayer for my sister-in-pink, Harriett, She’s giving it her all… let’s do too!

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

Linda Carson… my first oncology nurse who was the brightest star in the chemo infusion room ( and recent retiree) stopped by with two witty and beautiful gifts.

My favorite bread with my favorite Mayo and an heirloom tomato… the best definition of summer! Guess what I had for supper last night! Nothing beats it!
A dwarf pink ruellia -perennial… can hardly wait to see it in bloom with the pink flowers! Linda… so kind… thank you!!! And DEER RESISTANT!!!
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A House is Who You Are…Not Who You Ought To Be

Dear Reader:

When it comes to old homes ( my home) there are so many things that need fixing … I feel immobilized where to start because everything is a ” big ticket item” … under headings like electricity, plumbing, new floors, new appliances, moisture issues… new bathrooms-pretty much the whole house except for the specific rooms I sleep in, den and creative computer room by the side garden. This is my world I live in.

It is also the reason I spend so much time outside ( except lately with the triple digits) -there the beauty is stationary … just hanging out with Mother Earth. No expensive repairs needed.

I used to tell visitors who stopped by that ” If I had the money to redecorate… you’d see the real me.” No longer… what you see IS the real me… who lives in a deteriorating house and prefers to concentrate on making a few spots ” happy places” and ignoring the rest…

Sarah Breathnach ( Simple Abundance) says it best: Tools for happy living/Acceptance, blessing our circumstances, and understanding that happiness lives inside us… not personal belongings ( or lack of).

When I get down sometimes on reality over dreams…that make up my life… I remember this passage: ” Walk around your rooms and offer thanks for the walls, and roof that safely enclose you. Pause for a moment to consider all the women who have lost their homes through death, divorce, debt or disaster. Be grateful for the house you have, knowing that, at the moment, all you have is all you truly need.

So until tomorrow… When people come to my house… I hope they feel the happy spaces -home is a feeling! Home is smiles!

I babysat Saturday night so Mandy could take John out for Father’s Day/

Today is my favorite day… Winnie the Pooh

Walsh, Mollie and the kids left for Carowinds Friday for Walsh’s company had bought tickets for all employees but alas thunderstorms prevented them from getting to ride the rides … very disappointing… but then they went on to Charlotte for Rutledge his ” Loggerhead”lacrosse team to play in another southeastern tournament and the winds of chance blew more favorably-they won the tournament once again.

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Mortals’ Tunnel Vision

Dear Reader:

Tunnel vision is described as having a very narrow view, inability to see beyond a limited viewpoint. It is the key reason our United States has, sadly, become ” dis-united.

If we let our focus narrow… we start to miss important things around us. Those ” missed things” are like lost puzzle pieces… leaving holes in our understanding of what truly is happening. Our visionary perspective becomes flawed and the puzzle will never get finished in its wholeness.

Certainly we are given example after example in Proverbs ( woman planting a vineyard, a wise herdsman, a wise leader who brings intelligent lasting order or the ant whose diligence assures him of food at harvest….that long-term man-made planning is necessary and profitable. BUT… Proverbs: 19:21-” … The human mind may devise many plans, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will be established.”

We still need God’s long-term, everlasting vision to accompany the plans of us mere mortals… in other words we need God to continue prodding us in the right direction with our plans.

So until tomorrow… With today being Father’s Day… we need to keep listening and watching for positive signs from our Heavenly Father that we are seeing the whole picture before following one certain path depending only on our mortal limitations. In the end God’s plans for us are our ultimate goal!

I only had an earthly father for five years… but my Heavenly Father has filled in with ” Amazing Grace” and my growing mustard faith! Let’s also hear it for the single parents who had to take on dual roles raising us! Mother and father!

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

This message takes on new meaning these days out in the hot hot garden!

Hope everyone had a happy Father’s Day!!!

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A Stroke of Luck… Can Go Both Ways

Dear Reader:

The Dalai Lama says it best: ” Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.”

Take a moment and remember when this exact scenario played out for you… and then the moment ( later) when you realized how fortunate you were …at what first appeared as a crushing disappointment.

One example for me was when we moved from Fayetteville NC to Laurens. SC. I didn’t want to move… I had friends and two cousins my age who were like sisters… my babysitter love for little Gregory. I already had decided I wanted to go to UNC to college… didn’t want any part of it.

Eight years later… at my Erskine college graduation, as I looked around at my classmates, especially the Ya’s … I knew then that the detour that lead me to a small liberal arts college in an even smaller SC southern town ( Due West) was a place I was supposed to land… it was the birthplace of my rebirth ..evolving into the person I was supposed to become.

Again our little mustard seed returns with the importance of faith… the faith that one day will take us home. Honey responded to yesterday’s post…adding that mustard also is good for leg cramps. When she got married she was given a mustard seed to wear in her shoe on her wedding day for good luck in her marriage and it sure did work! Honey also has a bumper sticker on her car that reads: ” Do All Things With Great Love.” ( And that is exactly what Honey has done all her life.” )

So until tomorrow… If you are too busy to laugh… you are too busy!

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

A big shout-out to my oldest grandson, Rutledge who turns nine today!!!He and his family are having a Carowinds/ Charlotte Lacrosse weekend with Father’s Day … putting dad right in the center of family life! …perfect timing!

Rutledge ” goes” to Ireland
Always 18 for Dad
Wearing Dad’s Shrine Bowl jacket
Happy Father’s Day
Sweet ” Rainbow Bridge” Poogie guarding Rutledge’s crib-was such a sweet dog!
My second hibiscus plant by the fence -first bloom -gorgeous!
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Do Small Things with Great Love

Dear Reader:

One lesson in life I have learned is that small tokens of friendship and love are more important in life than grand gestures. Things like receiving a brilliant smile from a stranger in a day gone awry… restores hope in mankind.

Drop-in visits from friends and family to share a moment of congeniality or a dessert, an ice cream cone, or simply a hug turns an ordinary day into a memorable one. I think it is true that the ‘ best things in life do come in small packages! And this is reiterated in scripture… with the amazing mustard seed.

Early on I received the token below with the card attached… that I took to every early chemo or radiation session.

Most of us remember this part of the mustard seed parable but like.a teacher reminding her students (during a review before a test) …” If I keep returning to certain items again and again… you can be assured it is an important fact that needs to be remembered! This is also true of Jesus’s messages. Jesus repeatedly used analogies of the mustard seed to illustrate what heaven is like in Matthew 13.

Personally mustard is my favorite condiment… I love it on hot dogs, hamburgers, hot pretzels, mustard greens… in sauces and dressings. * And did you know applied mustard to sunburnt skin… will neutralize the sting of the burn?

Up close a mustard seed is teeny-tiny and hard as a rock. Excuse the pun but surely we can all ” mustard” up enough faith as this little seed? In fact we are told…with faith only this size we can move mountains!

Later Jesus tells the parable about the tiny mustard seed growing into a tree big enough to hold a whole lot of birds… except, of course, he is not talking about birds but people.

Mustard trees in Palestine don’t look like American mustard trees/they resemble a big bush that can hold lots of birds.

The continued meaning about the mustard parable is that the kingdom of heaven is like this enormous plant that has room for huge flocks of birds … as heaven has enough room for all and He means ALL God’s children.

So until tomorrow… I will actually do some math for you… when asked to find the simplest denominator in Christianity… the answer is faith… simply faith! It is all it takes to move mountains!

My faith was restored when I heard from Carolyn Daniels Wednesday… she told me ” Becky, a craw is the same as a “crop” in a chicken. It is a place they store food until it can be digested… ( came straight from the mountains of North Carolina!) Finally… now that was the best little gift of all!!! Thank you Carolyn ( ” I no love longer have something stuck in my craw!”)

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

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” Why I Wake Early” …

Dear Reader:

I am not sure when it happened. It happened before my brain recognized it as a bona fide new pattern in my daily routine.

I have started waking up at the ” crack of dawn.” The first few times it happened I had fallen asleep watching television and had to turn off everything and then try to get back asleep so I figured it was just a circumstance or coincidence.

Soon, however, I was waking up at 6:30 ( almost literally) on the dot… as if I had an internal alarm going off. I felt replenished and ready to take on the day. I felt a sense of pride in watering both gardens, throwing in a load of clothes to wash… picking up from the day before, loading or unloading the dishwasher, some days running to the grocery ( loved the feeling of being only one of a handful of people shopping that early.) and then fixing some toast while finishing watching the last morning segment of GMA. Morning mission accomplished and I was more alert and active than I had been in awhile! The whole wonderful day ahead of me!

Mary Oliver’s prose speaks to me in her simple truths and observations!

Why I wake early Hello, sun in my face. Hello, You who spread it over fields and into the faces of tulips and the nodding morning glories and into the windows of even the miserable and the crotchety- best preacher that ever was, dear star, that just happens to be where you are in the universe to keep us from ever-darkness, to ease us with warm touching, to hold us in the great hands of light – Good morning , good morning, good morning. Watch now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness.”

So until tomorrow… I look on this God gift as a much needed change in my prior routine… I have more energy, can’t wait to get out and check on the gardens and look forward to the unfolding of surprises and opportunities laying in wait… to be revealed!

Today is my favorite day/Winnie the Pooh

Yesterday Cable-man ” Spectrum Samuel” arrived two days early to put in all new lines that were way overdue for a ” make-over” he grinned. He helped me change a light bulb I couldn’t reach and worked out in the excessive heat climbing tall ladders to replace old drooping lines-Samuel is my hero! I have Cable… I have a television that works!!!

While Samuel was here Michele and Peter ( church friends) stopped by to select four ” Honey” bowls for the Ukrainian Hope for Hunger fundraiser… bringing the most beautiful caladium with them. I am going to “babysit” it inside until this excessive heat subsides! Thank you Michele and Peter.

Interesting coincidence… I find this poem and my first morning glory blooms!

The other Saturday when Mollie and the kids were here… they got interested in looking up their birth gem stones… mine is the sapphire for September ( Libra) and the morning glory is my flower ” gem stone” because of the color.

My other birth gemstone is on my glass door -my birthday angel holding the September gemstone that Marcia, Mollie’s mother, gave me many years ago! I told Mollie I see it every time I leave and re-enter – The angel tells me good-bye and welcomes me back home. My home guardian angel-I feel secure knowing she is always guarding the home at night!

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Still “Hotter than Blue Blazes” …

Dear Reader:

With my cable still out and my jaunt to my polling precinct only lasting ten minutes since ( sadly I was the only one in the room with the poll workers) .. I returned home with a lot of time on my hands.

What has saved me is a series of murder mysteries ( setting on Edisto Island) that I just started. In one scene the main character asks a colleague…” What’s sticking in your craw?” Suddenly I was transported back in time to Grandmother Wilson’s farm with her asking a little pouty girl with arms crossed and lips poked out -me-the exact question, using the same expression.

I never understood the question per se but I was smart enough to pick up on the gist of the intent. ( And no matter the problem… a glass of iced tea and a cookie always provided a satisfactory ” cure.” )

Granddaddy Charlie used a similar expression based on his many frustrating episodes with keeping his tractor going…with the question ” What’s grinding your gears?”

Suddenly I found myself wanting to know what a ” craw” was? Perhaps a body part and if so how did something get stuck in it?

Google failed me… it sent me to southern expressions and excerpts where the expression could be found in prior stories but no one had a definitive explanation concerning what it was or still is.

As part of the advertising for a complaint department… I found this picture and under it was written… ” Call and let us know for one and all… “What’s Sticking in Your Craw?”

As I was still searching for the definition of ” craw” Google kept pulling up more southern expressions and I have to admit it was a fun detour! I will share some with you…

Both Jo and Bernice shared their personal examples of It’s So Hot……

Jo- was driving in the days before car air conditioning… an egg rolled out of its carton, fell and cracked right on the floorboard-By the time Jo got home… there was a perfectly fried egg waiting for her… to clean up.

Bernice said her husband , one morning, warmed up her coffee in the microwave… by the time she went to sip it-it was scalding hot and she yelled ” This coffee’s so hot… it would burn the lips off a chicken!!!”

So until tomorrow… southern expressions are tricky unless you really know the person delivering it… I remember one day a boy in my biology class in college tapped me on the shoulder and when I turned around he whispered ” You’re about as cute as a speckled coon dog puppy?” I remember being so taken back… trying to decide if this was good or bad… but he looked sincere so I replied ” Thank you… I think?”

Today is my favorite day. Winnie the Pooh

This hibiscus bloom was so big -it was lying on the grass… so I grabbed one of my rabbit statues and propped the bloom up-I should have added a blue ribbon around the rabbit’s neck and then it would have been patriotic enough for Flag Day! Wave that flag and vote!!!

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” How Hot Is It?”

Dear Reader:

Yesterday morning I was up and out at six am talking to my gardens… warning the flowers it was going to be a hot one… conserve their water supply and I would see them later in the evening.

This week will definitely be a survival test for animals and plants alike. And as luck would have it… my cable is out… so I definitely have no excuses not to catch up on correspondence and reading. The earliest the cable man can arrive is Friday afternoon… ( and have a good day)

But… like the title picture says…only I can handle my attitude and I choose happy. So here we go readers… our game today… How Hot is it? ( Please feel free to send in your ” hot ” responses! )

IT’S SO HOT. …………………………!

A squirrel was seen picking up nuts with a pot holder

A funeral procession was spotted pulling through the Dairy Queen

One can wash and dry their clothes at the same time

My thermostat read” Are You Kidding Me?”

I bought a loaf of bread and before I got home… it was toast!

The Statue of Liberty was asked to lower her arm

The construction market is slammed with people willing to work for shade

And what got me in such a good mood… Jo Dufford … she arrived yesterday morning with a new butterfly garden flag for the garden so now there will always be ” Jo’s Butterflies ” in my garden.

Thank you Jo for your friendship… your mentorship when I needed it the most as a rookie teacher in the seventies! Below Jo is holding one of Honey’s bowls for hope and feeding hunger for an Ukraine fundraiser that she brought this past weekend! So talented!

So until tomorrow… ” Happiness is not readymade, it comes from your own actions!”

Don’t forget today is Flag Day ( Old Glory is 245 years old) AND if we want to see our flag continue to fly over a democracy… get out and vote today wherever primaries are being held. Too many American have sacrificed the ultimate price …for us not to…

Today is my favorite day- Winnie the Pooh

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Bread Crumbs and Memories Show Us the Path Home

Dear Reader:

Have you ever considered that the symbolism of personal paths (that take us back to God’s Home) just doesn’t apply to human ” everyone’s ” but to everything God created?

All we have to do is watch a few nature documentaries and we see that every single creature God placed on this earth has a path to follow but man is the only one who gets to accept or reject their given path.

Saturday, at Winnie’s funeral, Anne and I found a pew together… while waiting for the service to start Anne commented on a necklace I was wearing … the symbol on it looked Celtic and she wondered if Tommy and Kaitlyn had brought it back from Ireland. I told her ” no” but later remembered I got it when we went to Ireland several years ago.

It symbolizes a secret Christian greeting to identify oneself for safety reasons. On the back it reads: Jesus loves me. I either wear it or take it with me to every oncology check-up.

In particular the Irish and Native-American cultures recognize that the path of life is traveled by everyone and everything… on the ground, on the seas and in the oceans and the skies.

The famous Celtic knot is revered in Ireland encircled by three spirals -life, death, and rebirth. When it comes to knowledge and wisdom the spirals tell us to learn names, causes, and their influence…and leave this knowledge behind to help others on their paths.

Native-Americans worshipped the Sun God who brought life to the world everyday…they revered animals and nature. The ” Path of Life” was symbolized by the Hopi tribe called ” The Man of the Maze.” ( It shows a man entering the maze which represents birth and he must follow his Path of Life -filled with happiness, sadness, obstacles and adventures )

If one has ” beautified ” the path you walked and left the world a better place for your existence in it …if your memories of good acts are completed… then the memories act as stepping stones for those who come behind you to follow and the Creator blesses you and brings you into the next world.

So until tomorrow… ” It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.” Albert Einstein

Unfortunately the deer or a deer found a path to my moon flower trellis and ate the middle of the abundantly-covered moonflower vines and leaves.

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

Pardon the grandmother BooBoo Bragging Corner but Walsh took Rutledge to Charlotte to play in another Lacrosse competition including a team from Texas this weekend while Mollie held down the fort with Lachlan and Eloise.

The Lowcountry team won every game concluding with the final -the Championship and Rutledge was named MVP of the tournament. So proud of you Rutledge!

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