Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy Anniversary

I have a dear friend who emailed this morning, wishing me happy anniversary. You see, it's not my wedding anniversary, nor the day I became engaged, but it is the 75th anniversary of a film that defines every southern girl's inheritance, Gone With the Wind.

When you are born, people look at you in two categories, Melanie, the steadfast woman of simple beauty whose heart belonged to only one man, Ashley Wilkes, or
Scarlett, a self centered, stunning beauty that no man could resist who was determined to have the man who didn't want her at the cost of all.

Both of these women are hard role models to emulate. Yet, in my humble opinion, they are the mirrored image of what all women are, like two halves of a whole. The teenager, the free spirit before marriage is Scarlett, the composed woman with the grace of a wife and mother is Melanie. It is an ironic black and white portrait of emotions.

I can remember being introduced to someone and immediately upon speaking my accent gives me away. The gentleman laughed and remarked, "A Scarlett I presume." In all honesty, I was insulted. I consider myself more of a Melanie and yet, the more I thought about it, how exciting it would have been to be the "bell of the ball" just once. Of course, the image that popped into my mind was that of Scarlett at the ball after her husband died of measles, dancing behind the booth until Rhett pulled her out and they turned Atlanta on its ear by having a widow dance.

Hum... come to think of it. I'm always doing something wrong, turning things on its ear. Perhaps, I'm more Scarlett than I realize. One thing I have come to know. A man wants a woman like Melanie to raise his children, but in his bed, he demands Scarlett a woman who lust for life and takes what she wants damn the consequences. As a romance writer, it is the essential part of being a woman and writing those emotions.

I'll leave you today with my favorite picture. Happy Anniversary to Gone With the Wind fans everywhere.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day Dreaming

I must tell you, we've had some wonderful weather this week. Temperatures in the upper 70's, low humidity - just delightful. But, this is the south and soon that will change. Tomorrow's call is for the 90's and increased humidity. For those beyond the Mason Dixon Line it means there is no good hair day.

So a friend of mine asked where would I go what would I do otherwise. Hum? I closed my eyes and thought about it. The vision appeared ( along with Zac Brown's song Toes in the Water ). Champagne shores... so those white crystal beaches, palm trees for shade across a wide deck and there I'd sit in one of those brightly Caribbean painted Adirondack chairs possible a Turquoise blue. I'd definitely be forty pounds lighter. My emerald green bandeau bathing suit would be covered by a print gauze cloth of off white sprinkled with salmon colored Hibiscus flowers. A soft warm breeze would disturb the brim of my straw hat.

On my right, a tall glass of ice tea. You can see that tea glass covered with condensation, the rim lined with a dab of raw sugar, wedge of lemon, and a washed sprig of mint resting sideways, leaning against the glass for support so it wouldn't slip beneath the liquid. My eyes are closed as the waves gently roll to shore.

Ahh yes... toes in the water... bottom in the sand... not a worry in the world... ice tea at my hand - Life is good today... life is good today... sigh................

Have a great end of the week and love your special father this weekend.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Nature strikes again...

I really don't like snakes. I know there are great for keeping rodents and other pests down - sigh- but I really hate snakes. As long as they are out doing their job, in the back field where I can't see them, I'm fine. HOWEVER, when they step outside those bounds and decide to come closer to visit the human in the house, I call out the reinforcements.

Yep, you guessed it, the other night, I had to call for back up.

It was your typical day. Hot, Humid, Hazy - those of you in the south know exactly what I'm talking about. Even ants break a sweat in those types of days. So after supper when it was a bit cooler, I thought I'd go out and rescue my baked laundry on the line. Basket firmly attached to my hip, I opened the back door and stepped onto the deck. I stepped maybe two feet from the door when something jerked me to a stop.

I suppose its that flight or fight lizard part of my brain that recoiled when it noticed it. Cause truly, I wasn't looking. But fear bolted my feet to the deck and the hair on the back of my neck rose. Mouth dry, I craned my neck and looked around to try and figure out what sounded the alarm. Sure enough, there by the doggies pool lay a huge black hose.

Yeah, it wasn't a hose. But it lay coiled past the pool for about three feet. Heart hammering, I did what every red blooded woman would do. I dropped the basket and ran back to the house. Flinging (Yes, in the south, we fling things) the door open, I cried out. "KILL IT!" And bless them, the men came to my defense.

My son who works in construction had just gotten out of the shower. Decked out in his blue camo boxers, no shirt, his Roy Rodgers cowboy boots, and John Deere hat came running from his room with his forty five in his hand. Ah Dirty Harry you would have been proud. Then husband appeared armed with a shotgun, bare-footed, jean shorts and a white t shirt. Ah no hat, it bothers his solar collector on his head.

Anyway, I now have Doc Holiday and the Outlaw Josey Wales on the deck going, "Yeah, that's a big snake."
"Man do you see it's head?"
"Naw, just cut it across the middle and get it to raise up."
All the while the dog is going toward the pool curious to all the shouting and smelling something not right. Me? Oh, I'm cowering behind the two big brave men and then they tell me to get the dog.

I go down the steps calling the dog who notices the son, Doc Holiday, climbing on the rail of the deck and turning his hat backwards to get a good shot. Tail between his legs, the dog slinks to me and we go in the garage to sit on the back steps. Moments later, its Saturday night in Tombstone. Shrieks of, "I got 'em!" "No, I got 'em!" ring across the yard. I let the dog go and he high tails it to the garden as far away as he can get from the smoke of the deadly shootout.

The six foot snake is dead and I am now safe. Doc Holiday has another notch on his gun and Josey can retreat to his inner sanctum. Me, I'm cutting the grass as low as it can go so Mr. No shoulders will find another spot to hide.

Yeah man, all in the life of living on the farm.

RIP Mr. No Shoulders

Friday, June 3, 2011

Goodbye to another hero of the range....

Growing up, you could always count on two things, Friday night was meatloaf and on Monday night the world stopped revolving in the twentieth century because at 8 p.m. Gunsmoke was on. As a child, I watched it but not with the intent scrutiny of my parents. My dad watched it probably for Miss Kitty. My mom watched it for James Arness.

He wasn't a strikingly handsome actor like Clark Gable or Montgomery Cliff but his well worn face and honest expressions reminded us of our own humanity. He had a commanding impression on our small black and white T.V. and gave a good delivery of his lines that made us all believe in everything he said. I think everyone practiced the fast draw that was on the opening five seconds of the show. In fact, it was that opening scene that attracted so many of the ladies that lived in our little horseshoe. Yes, those paragons of virtue would sit around and wait for it. His pants legs first, as he moved down the street to meet the bad guys. Slowly he filled the screen. You waited while he removed the safety. His fingers spread out, wide just beyond the handle of his .45 and you held your breath as the music swelled. All the while praying that just once the heavy would lay down his weapon and go peacefully. Yeah, that's what WE thought we saw.

I think I was in my twenties with babies on the way and we were watching an episode of How the West was Won when my mother came clean. Yes, all those years I thought she was sitting peacefully beside my dad, indulging his fantasy and mine of winning the west, only to find out, the ladies were watching how round Matt Dillion's rear end was. Come Tuesday morning, when they all got together for coffee, they would lower their voices and chuckle over how it excited them. I couldn't help but laugh when she told me. The image of all those ladies fanning themselves, drinking coffee, indulging on cinnamon coffee cake discussing another man's buns still makes me laugh.

So today, when I heard of Mr. Arness' passing, I thought about those ladies I grew up with. Only two are left, but I have to wonder when they get together on Tuesday, will they discuss those days of yester- year when they watched television on Monday night's to get an eyeful of one cowboys trouser seats.

Mr. Arness, you will be missed. I think Toby Keith said it best in the lyrics of his song, I should've been a Cowboy,

"I bet you've never heard ole Marshall Dillion say
Miss Kitty have you ever thought of running away
Settling down will you marry me
If I asked you twice and begged you pretty please
She'd of said Yes in a New York minute
They never tied the knot
His heart wasn't in it
He stole a kiss as he road away
He never hung his hat up at Kitty's place"

The range you ride now, sir, is different. You may not have hung your hat up in Kitty's place, but you will be forever remembered as the sheriff of Dodge City. Thank you for 20 memorable years and a lifetime of dreams.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


I'm not a big coffee drinker. Love to sit in Starbucks but I can't drink the stuff. It smells wonderful but when I put coffee in my mouth, my throat closes up refusing to let it down. Perhaps its my glasses. I've heard it said.. if you drink coffee your ears will fall off and I'd have no way to keep them on my head. What ever the reason, I am a tea drinker.

Winter or summer my day begins with a glass of ice tea garnished with lemon. I maybe bleary-eyed and grumpy till the taste of Mr. J. Lipton hits the back of my throat and cuts the dust from the back of my mouth. I savor it. Holding in for a few moments, letting the fresh citrus tingle wake my taste bugs before it cools my throat as it careens over the falls toward my gullet. There is nothing as pleasant as that.

By afternoon, the stress of the day has taken its told and I'm up for another cold glass. The day of course will end with a warm cup of tea in the quiet of my living room when the men folks have skedaddled to their beds. So, no surprise, I'm making my pitcher of tea this morning ready to head out to the deck to plan a disaster for my hero and heroine when I pause to read the back of the tea bag paper.

"Your small cup can make a big difference"... really? Well it sure flushes my kidney's ... let's read on.... "Now , when you drink a cup of Lipton tea, you are not only taking care of yourself..." Ah see the subliminal message letting me know its okay to continue to drink... "but, you a re doing a bit more to support tea growers and the environment."

Okay, my family has always drank J. Lipton. When I was little I suppose I thought he was part of the family because the box with his likeness sat on the counter watching me eat Captain Crunch every morning. If my buying a box of tea supports tea growers then lets look at how much I have contributed to the well being of the world. I am double nickles. Uh, yeah that is 55. I've been drinking tea religiously since I was at least 5 years old. At 3 glasses a day, that 1095 glasses a year so for 50 years... that's 54,750 glasses give or take a few. We buy 2, 100 bag boxes of tea every two weeks, so that's 52 boxes a year. Average cost about three bucks a box.. so in a years time that's about... $156.00 worth of J. Lipton. Now, for 50 years that means I've contributed..nearly 7,800 dollars to save the worlds tea growers, not counting tax.

Say, I think this Tea hero needs another glass.. pardon me while I pour some over the ice and sit on my back porch to ponder my next adventure. Won't you join me? Cheers!
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