SummerTime and the Living WAS Easy
by DebraThomas
 Musings
Jun 12, 2012 | 6269 views |  0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
When I was much younger, Summer was a rite of passage and a season filled with memories. There was the annual trip to Six Flags, with all of the cousins piled in the backseat of the Buick, and of course no air conditioning, so the windows were down the whole way. We were stuck to each other with sweat along with sticking to the seat, but who cared, we were going to Six Flags. The sights we would see and the rides we would ride were all that could be discussed for the almost 3 hour tour to get there. Of course it is not supposed to take that long, but when you have to stop and pick up additional aunts and cousins; get the discount tickets the day of the trip and of course stop for gasoline, well that adds to the time in the car. Of course the ride back was always a lot quieter, because of the tired kids in the backseat, some asleep and others looking out of the window as cars and time flew by. Oh if we had only known then what we know today.

There are other things that are Summer to me. Getting out of 6th grade back in the early 70's and from a small school we didnt have 6th grade Graduation like they have now. We were just let out of school, and the amount of excitement was equal between the anticipation of the last bell ringing for the season as much for us as the teachers.
We had a really neat teacher one year that gave us our folders that she had for everyone in her class, and at the end of the year, we got to have our friends sign our folder. We felt just like the Seniors getting their Yearbooks signed. Of course there was the standard, stay sweet, and stay just as nice as you are, and such, but my favorites were the more creative ones. Like U Me = Friends 4 Ever.

 I dont remember who wrote that, so much for being friends forever. But I wish I had my folder so I could go back to that day and feel the excitement I felt of being outside and asking for people to sign it, just as if I were seeking autographs from celebs. Seems funny now but it was serious business then. 

Catching lightning bugs in a glass jar and poking holes in the top and then putting pieces of grass inside so they wouldnt get hungry was always a Summer thing.

Making Homemade Ice Cream in a freezer that had to be turned. Having to have someone sit on the top of the freezer and always making sure there was enough rock salt around. Of course there was always the discussion of what to put on top of it, Hershey Syrup or fresh peaches or strawberries. I still love mine just plain Vanilla with lots of the Vanilla flavoring in it, and ice cold. I havent bought any Hershey Syrup in many years, but the smell comes rushing back to memory just as if it were yesterday. It was an elixer that was as decadent as it could be. Man, I loved that stuff. And there was BOSCO too.  Bosco was usually reserved for Chocolate Milk.  Again, it had to be ICE cold and whole milk in a large glass. 

My dad was in the military, and I have a brother and a sister, both older than I. So when they were younger, Daddy was in the service and they got to travel through Europe. Well, when I came along, we were here, so I was taken on vacation State side. It was a big deal to get to go on vacation. He took Mother and I to Washington DC and all up the Eastern Seaboard. We went to Canada. We went to every state between here and Canada. We visited a lot of Historical places and I got to take the White House tour. This was when President Nixon was in office. At that time you didnt have all of the security measures that are in place now, and I got to see President Nixon in a window putting on his cufflinks.  We were on Penn Avenue, actually outside the gate, but there was just a little bit of movement in the window in the East Wing, and sure enough, through the lens of Daddys binocculars, I saw the President. What a thrill. I was 12.

Of course also during the Summer season another year was the Watergate Trial, so the rest is history so to speak.
That was the year that nothing seemed to be on television except that. No I Love Lucy or anything good like that. Makes for a long summer when there is not much on tv.

Or the Summer Olympics was always on.  Again, not much for a kid to watch, but thats what the bicycle and the dog and the hula hoop were for. Or roller skates. Or springy shoes. I dont know if it was just something "homemade" or it they were sold in stores, but we had a pair of "springy shoes" that were just what they said. You could spring on them and it made walking difficult, but once you got past the scraped knees and skinned hands it was fun. 

There is no commercial Lemonade that tastes like Aunt Myrtles. She made it with the right amount of lemons and sugar and some how got it so cold that the glass would sweat in envy of what it was holding.  Man, what I would give for some of her Lemonade.

Barbers Milk had a milkman that would make deliveries to her house when I was a kid. So as a special treat when I was spending the night with her and her daughter Cindy, she would leave a note out for the Milkman to leave us some ORANGE ADE drink.  I dont know if they have it in all states, but if not, you should request it.  I have seen it in the stores recently, but I dont think it tastes as strong as it did when I was a kid. May be that my tastebuds are not as sensitive as they used to be, or maybe because we were not exposed to a lot of drinks like we are now. But it was some good stuff.

Also Summer meant going to Gadsden to Noccalooa Falls.
It was a shorter drive and they had picnic areas and cold spray would come off of the falls if you stood close enough. You didnt have to pay to go to the park, nor to play amongst the spring loaded childrens rides that were there. You could ride a rocking horse or a pig or a spotted mouse. It was wonderful.

There was always an ice cream truck around. The sound of the bells and the same song going on and on over and over again, but it was worth whatever change I could gather to get a FudgeCicle.  Frozen solid. Hard to bite. But so good.

When I went to my grandmothers house, she would be outside usually in her garden. They raised a lot of vegetable and of course she had her flowers. I didnt take a lot of time to appreciate the hard work that she put into raising the crops that we all shared in, but what I would give now to tell her thank you. Thank you for raising corn and beans and tomatoes and all of the things that were mixed and mashed together to make soup mix by the gallons and then put in freezer bags and boxes.  Soup mix. The staple of the winter months. That and hot cornbread with a glass of milk. Food of the best type and raised right there in Alexandria.

My Aunt Gladys would make me a shorts outfit every summer too. I can still hear the sound of her sewing scissors cutting cloth on a wooden table. The very thought of that sound echoes in my ear and I can almost go back to a very distinct time and place in my head. She smoked Salems, and sometimes I think I smell cigarette smoke and feel like a kid again.

There was always seed catalogs at the relatives houses. No matter where in the county you went, to either side of the family, someone had a Burpee catalog. Or a Moorse-Ferry seed catalog. I would look at those pages and stare at the colors of the peppers and tomatoes and dream of one day having a space of my own to grow every color of the rainbow.

Its summertime again here in Alabama. Not as much red dirt and chirt roads as there used to be. Not as much space for toad frogs and bull frogs and lightning bugs to roam but its still Summer in the South. And even though I am older, and wish I could say wiser, its still the most wonderful place to be, to me, because its home and its my roots.
Its where my Mother and Father were raised and where they spent their youth and their parents before them. So when you go outside and sit on your porch or in your swing this summer, take time to think about how you got to where you are in this world.

I do and I am so thankful for the life I have been granted, hot summer weather and all.




Arent People A Hoot?!!!
by DebraThomas
 Musings
Apr 20, 2012 | 4370 views |  0 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
I guess maybe its just me.  I wonder sometimes about the people that I seem to "attract." Out of nowhere people feel free to give me their opinion about things that I really have no control over, nor interest in, but yet they share their feelings. And not always are they the nicest feelings either. But I stand or sit there and listen. Here are two examples that come to mind. Sorry if I dont remember the exact names. Some days I dont remember my own.

I was in a local grocery store and I wrote my check, as usual. The cashier put it in the register and it kicked it back. And she tried again. And it kicked it back. Now am I the only person in the world that starts getting nervous and it seems as if time stands still when waiting on the receipt to come out or the APPROVED display to come up on the little thing you have to put your PIN in when using a card? It seems like I am having a heat stroke, dressed funny, having a severe acne breakout, and just all manner of things all at the time I am waiting on that darn APPROVED message, or the receipt to come out. Well, after 3 tries she had to call the manager who at the time must have been at the Georgia state line, because of the time it seemed to take for him to get to the register. I could hear sighs all the way back to the end of the line. I was so ashamed. Oh the shame!! Anyway, he punched in a lot of numbers and the thing cleared and I was on my way!! Yeah, Free at Last!! So I am taking my little cart of specials to the car when all of the sudden I hear someone walking fast behind me and saying, "Ma'm.  Ma'm.  Hey LADY!!!"  Well, I was in shock thinking, Oh my gosh, please tell me that I havent left the groceries on the counter, or my pants have fallen down to my waist or whatever, so I kept walking. Then finally the lady got in front of me and stopped my little grocery cart. She and her husband that is, stopped my cart.
To the best of my recollection, I think she said her name was Shirley Whitehead or something like that and I think she was from a neighboring county. She proceeded to tell me that this store carried the only bologna that her grandson would eat and he was allergic to peanuts and soy and so on.....and on.....and yes, on.  Well, I was concerned but also on my way to about 15 other stops that day, and it was about 100 degrees, so I was politely trying to get away. But she wasnt going to have any part of it. She and her husband and whom I suppose was her grandson, proceeded to follow me to the car. She also proceeded to tell me that if that episode with the check had happened to her, she would have told that cashier to take that receipt and that check and (sorry to be so crass but these are her EXACT words - and remember this is from a STRANGER)

"CRAM IT UP HER A$%^&*."

I stood there with my mouth open. I was absolutely speechless. I couldnt believe a stranger was telling me this. And in front of her grandson at that. And if that wasnt bad enough, she repeated it.

"Yep, I would tell her she could take that check and that receipt and Cram it up her A%^&*(."

I absolutely cant remember where I park my car half the time or where my keys are, but I can remember that lady and her speech and the look on her family's face as she said those words to me.
They didnt have a look as a matter of fact. Not one of shock. Not one of surprise. Just a look. As if she does this all the time.

She proceeded to tell me in great detail about the way the clerk had treated me and that it was just an embarrasment to me and she felt sorry for me and she wanted to tell me that. 

So now every time I have a clerk or anyone that makes me feel like I am in the wrong, I just silently say to myslef.....well you can just take that ____________ (whatever the item may be) and Cram It .......................

On another time out in public, my husband and I were eating dinner at a restaurant. The race was in town, and there was not a whole lot of choices in the evening time that were not crowded, so we wound up at a place we didnt normally frequent.
I am eating my dinner. Not even making eye contact with this lady nor her dinner companion. For some reason, she comes over to our table, and states her name, ( I think it was something like Stella Jones Williams or something like that, sorry if thats wrong) and out of nowhere she started telling us her story of this man she was with wasnt her husband. He was just someone she picked up at the races. She wasnt going home with him but he didnt know that, and she wanted a good dinner out. Ok. Nice.
But if that wasnt enough, I stopped eating my food, not because it was out of politeness, but because she had food being projected from her mouth, (it was corn I recall) and it was hitting my baked potato. Not much appetite after that.

So my husband, whom I love with all my heart, looks at me and says in front of the lady, "Debra, why do you attract strange people?"

Well what do you say to something like that? The lady finally went back to her date of the evening, and I just paid the bill and walked out with him after he finished his food.

So why may I ask do people share the strangest things with me?
I dont know. 

Maybe for the same reason they ask if I have a twin sister; if I have ever worked at _______ fill in the blank; do I know I have grey hair (yes, and its natural, not dyed).

I am an easy going person most of the time. But to answer the most asked question, yes. I do know I have grey hair. Actually its white. Its natural. Its mine. I like it this way, and dont care to color it. But thank you for bringing that to my attention.

Now, why dont these folks tell me something like,

Hey did you know that you have something in your teeth? Or that you have tucked your skirt into your pantyhose?

Folks, thats info I could actually use.

Thanks folks, you may be a little different than the rest of the world, but hey, you make my life more interesting.
And to my husband, dear, I have no idea why I attract the folks I do.

What attracted me to you? Hmmmmmm?
Thank you, Senior Citizens.
by DebraThomas
 Musings
Apr 20, 2012 | 3546 views |  0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
As one of my mothers caregivers, I have learned a few lessons of late. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks, because at 86 years of age, my Mother is still teaching me. I am the old dog, she is the well trained and educated and experienced teacher. And I never want to stop learning.

She has taught me from a small child to present day to respect others. She may be having a problem with memory these days, but she still knows how to respect others and shows it several times a day in her actions. If one of us, being her family members, takes her a snack or something different to eat, she will offer some not only to us but to whomever is in the room with her. Be it French Fries or Little Debbie Snack Cakes, she will always offer. Sometimes someone will take her up on it and you can see her smile. She has been sharing her love of service to folks as long as she has been alive.

And then there are the other folks in the Rehab center where she is located. They show the lines of time in their faces and hands and some arent able to get around much anymore, but they all have a story. Just ask them.

These folks with grey in their hair, and wrinkles and age in their eyes, can tell you what it was like during the Depression or the War. Doesnt matter which war, they can take you there with just mere words. If its the Depression era you want to discuss, they lived it and dont ever want to go back through that again.

Or on a lighter note, ask them about what it was like with no television or computers. What must they think of these airplanes and jets and satellites in space. Its amazing what we come to think of as everyday things and dont even get excited anymore when there is another launch of a satellite into space or a new breakthrough in modern medicine. We take so much for granted.

These folks have been through so much more than we will ever see in our lifetime. We will hopefully never know what its like to have to go and milk the cows by hand before school time, or have to gather the water for the washing of clothes from the spring down the way, or the washing of the clothes on a rock and washboard. Or better yet, a wringer washing machine.

These folks havent had many drive thru meals, or jeweled nails or any of the latest fashions. Up until a few years ago, many of them still sewed their own clothing. And if I must say, it was a better grade of clothing than we have today.


It seems to me that everything these days is disposable. Cars can be replaced in just a few years. Computers are outdated as soon as you walk out the door. Food can be eaten on the go, sometimes without stopping. News is at your disposal 24 hours a day and the sex of a baby can be known and shared around the world in just a few moments.

I dont want to have to chop wood for the stove so that I can cook 3 meals a day; and I dont want to have to get behind the mule and plow the garden and fear a dry spell that might make my crops fail. But I admire the ones before me that did do this. I not only admire them, I appreciate them. More than I can ever say.

Because of this older generation, we have the paved way we have today.
We are spoiled. All of us. We have electricity in all the rooms and are not limited to one bulb hanging from a string in the ceiling. Or no forced air coming from vents in every room. We dont have to wait on the news to come over the radio at a certain hour to know whats going on in the world.

Thank you seems like such a simple thing to say. But thats all I can think of.
As I go to visit my mother and aunt in the Rehab place, I try to take the time to smile and at least speak to as many of these older folks as I can.

To grow old will be a great honor I hope to reach. And if I am so fortunate, I pray that I will have my husband and my family to see me reach that old age. The age where wisdom is seen in my eyes, and work is seen in my hands.

Thank you Senior Citizens. It seems to me that we owe you a lot more than a discount on certain days or a free cup of coffee. 

We owe you a standing ovation. And a lot more. Respect would be a good start.

I shall try to respect more elders. I hope others will also do the same.

Thank you for letting me share my thoughts and if you get the chance, thank someone that is of age. It doesnt matter what for. They will know. Just say thanks.

It will make their day, and yours too. 

Promise.
Did you listen to music today or have a Debra day?
by DebraThomas
 Musings
Apr 19, 2012 | 2313 views |  0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
I just got a call from a friend of mine and she said, we missed you at the meeting the other day and she proceeded to tell me the details of this missed chance I had to visit with others. During said meeting, evidentally she messed up something or somewhere and she told them, "Uh Oh, I'm having a Debra kind of day."  We both laughed and I am sure the people in the circle of friends also laughed. And I am honored. To know that I am now famous enough to have a day named after me. Its great. I mean its not like a Ferris Bueller day or anything or St Patricks Day but at least I know that the words, Debra Day, may catch on and I will be the person the day is named for! Famous. Finally. Not for a great work of writing material, not for fortune, not for curing a disease but for admitting that I screw up and when I do, its a royal screw up. And, I tell about it. I laugh at myself and others laugh either with or at me, never sure which, but whatever the case, they laugh. And my day is made if I can make someone laugh. I am sure I make folks laugh all the time and I just dont know it, or its because I am not trying. I am sure that folks laugh at me for having spilled stuff down the front of my blouse and not knowing it; or driving with something hanging out of the car door or window or trunk. Or think that I am having some sort of a fit because I am directing music while driving. See I just got a CD player put in my car. First time I have EVER had a CD in a car. You have read about my cell phone so you know I am little (lot) behind the times. So when we got the CD player put in the car, I didnt even think to take a CD from home. So I had to buy one. Did you know they dont have as many CD's in stores as they used to? And then it was Tony Bennett.  Now you younger folks wont have any idea who that is, except when I tell you the CD I bought has Lady Gaga; and Amy Winehouse singing with him. And he also has Michael Buble with him and a host of others like kd lange and the such. Anyway, when he gets to singing some of those old standards that I know and love so well, I get to driving and singing and directing music as if I were in an orchestra.  Strange how music can have some sort of effect on folks. Loud music that has repetative noises makes me nervous inside. Cant understand whats being said and then its repeated about 1000 times. Or what my husband loves, which is what I call TING TING music.  You know, New Age music. No words or if there are words they are sung in Gaelic or something and again I cant understand the words.  Or the other one he likes is what I call cartoon music, which is really Classical music but I can usually name the cartoons or commercials that it came from. So did you listen to music today? And if you did can you name the type it is? Country. New Country. Outlaw Country. and so on.  So many names for so many things, which brings me to DEBRA day.  It used to be called being blonde by some folks but then I think people who really are blonde took exception. So my friend has named it DEBRA day instead.  See, its not only when I am driving and directing music that makes it seem I am out of it mentally, well its the kind of screw up things I do. Like the other day, I wanted to and needed to cut the grass here at the Ponderosa. It was weedy and I am afraid of snakes, and bugs, and ticks and lice and grass cut feet and well you get the idea, so I decided I would cut the grass. So I bought me a lawnmower last year. My husband says its not much above a toy lawnmower because its small and doesnt have a lot of gadgets. But it fits my hands just fine. And I can pick it up and put it in the car to take it to Mothers or wherever it needs to go, like to the C&C Small Engine Repair shop. I have learned not only the way there, but roads to take to be sure the lawnmower doesnt fall out of the trunk while getting there. So I go the back way through Saks instead of down 431 to the shop, taking roads that make me go downhill alot instead of up hill. Then when I get to come home with my prize possession, I drive another set of streets, making me go downhill coming home. That way the lawnmower goes forward and not backwards. Makes sense to me. Well, I was thrilled with myself because I got the lawnmower in the car by myself. Got the twine and tied it in there really good, and drove to the shop. The man called and said it was ready. I was so happy!!! So I went back to get my lawnmower. Seems the problem was a cord that had been put on wrong at the factory, it wasnt my fault after all, and they fixed it. YEAH!!! So I take my backroads coming home. All is well. I get home and I have a certain pair of clippers that I like to use in the yard to clip roses and such. Love those clippers. So I got them suckers and I went to clipping all the twine I had put around the lawnmower. I clipped and I cut and I was getting the lawnmower out when I noticed that I had cut the cord that is used to start the lawnmower into. Smack dab into. Well, I didnt bother to get it out of the trunk, I just tied it back up, went back to C&C and when I drove up, the guys there said, what happened? Then of course they had a laugh and tied a knot in it and told me to go home.....safely.  I did.  And I cut that grass (it took me 2 days because I am so out of shape) but I got it done. The next day I was going to tidy up a little bit and get the parts that I missed. It kept going dead so I turned it over to see what it was choking on. There was a shoelace or something wrapped around it, so I got it off and kept trying and it wouldnt go. I tried and I tried to start it but it blew this blue smoke out the muffler and I just kept trying. My neighbor, Jeff, next door told me to stop, you dont use something thats smoking! Well that nice man came and helped me to finish up. I was so happy. But the next morning I was up early and ready to take the lawnmower to the shop again. I did and as soon as I drove up, those nice gentlemen came out to see what in the world was wrong. They were so caring and nice and didnt say anything to make me feel stupid when the gentleman that first asked me what was wrong put gas in the mower and started it. And it didnt smoke. I was in shock. I couldnt believe it. Then after they cut it off and had a small chuckle at my expense, I told them I had learned the day before you have to have oil in the mower (Jeff asked me if it had oil and I told him I didnt know you had to have oil in them) they advised me that when I turned it over to get the shoelace off I probably got oil on the motor. Thereby making the smoke. But when the oil cooled off and dried up then I could have cut again with no problem. The men there are very nice. Very kind. And they just smiled when I told them I wasnt having a blonde day, I was just having a Deb day.   

Whats so sad, I think they understood.  But at least I made someone smile.

Did I do it when you read this blog?  Hope so, cause its sad but this is true. My life is a funny country song or a sad comedy, whichever way you look at it, but its my life.

Just laugh at me or with me, but just be happy whenever you see me. I will be when I see you.
I'm Telling You Its Hard to Be Nice
by DebraThomas
 Musings
Apr 10, 2012 | 2979 views |  0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
I try to get along with everybody. To a certain extent. But lately it seems like I am getting a short end of the stick so to speak when it comes to customer service. Or just people being polite in general.

All of my life I was taught to be nice and treat others like you would have them treat you. As a matter of fact, I think its a Golden Rule to Do Unto Others.......and also there is a pretty good BarBQ place by that name and they have the whole statement on their shirts which I think is pretty neat.

So I do that very thing. I treat others the way I want to be treated. Or at least I have in the past. It may be coming to a screeching halt though, and soon.

It takes a good bit to get me to the point of being mad, but once it does, its not a pretty sight. You really dont want to be within ear shot of me when I let go. And for that I am sorry. Really, I know I shouldnt but sometimes bad words come out and I feel terrible afterwards.

But I havent said any bad words, YET.

I have written on facebook about the trip to McDonalds last week when the girl (I refuse to call her a lady at this point) YELLED at me (her manager was beside her) and then had the gumption to tell me I had ORDERED THE WRONG THING. (Still havent figured that one out.)

Then I went to the grocery store and told the clerk I wanted to get some strawberries. The man told me here are some, and I pointed out, yes but those are molded. He said, well take them off and use the rest. Do I get a discount? No.  Ok, then I dont want them, and was told well then you dont want strawberries.  

Went to a restaurant that is now out of business with my future husband and another couple.
We had a lovely dinner and I wanted dessert. I asked the waitress what type pie they had and
(I swear these are her words...)we've got lemon, apple and one piece of chocolate and you dont need it. (No I didnt get out of the booth and WHOOP her, but I wanted to....I was held back).

And now its come to clothing. I have been trying to find "church clothes" for quite some time now. I have been to several stores in the county, and while I have closets full of clothes that I love, they fit about 20 pounds ago. Still love the clothes just cant get them to fasten. So the hunt is on for new clothes.

The ones I can find wont reach around my right leg much less cover anything top or bottom and if the size is right, there is not enough material there to suit me.   I dont like to show everything and I dont want to see everything that everyone else has either.  And when it comes to shorts, well, this old gal AINT going to be buying something called Bootie shorts. Dont know what they are but dont want any either.

Which made me turn to ebay. I have purchased all sorts of things from ebay in the past and had lots of fun looking at the brands and prices of what I deem good prices  and durable clothing. So I saw a sweater I liked, would do to wear during the summer months in an air conditoned place, great price, so I bought it. Paid for it via paypal. Was very happy with my purchase.

Came in this evenign and turned on the computer to see that the seller had refunded my money because SHE had put the wrong amount on the item and she wanted to sell it for 10 times the price I paid. So she took it upon herself to refund my money.

Normally that wouldnt bother me, but I wrote my note to her and explained I saw the item, bought the item and want the item sent to me at the price I paid for it and if this were a store I would have to get it at the ad price.

She wrote back and said no, stores make retractions all the time and she wouldnt sell me the sweater again at the price I already paid.

So, I write back and say ok, I dont want to go through ebay and paypal rules but if I have to contact them, then I will.

She takes attitude with me and tells me to do what I have to do. So I am. I'm telling.
Like a kid that doesnt get their way, I'm telling. 

I'm telling on her; the waitress; the guy that FORGOT to plug my air conditioner back up today at the garage when he was trying to figure out why the radio didnt work; the girl at McDonalds and just about anybody else I can think of.

I try to be nice. I really do.

In reviewing my yearbooks (annuals) from high school, it states more than once, STAY SWEET;
STAY THE WAY YOU ARE AND YOU WILL GO FAR; TO ONE OF THE SWEETEST GIRLS I KNOW; and so on.

Well, if folks in the CUSTOMER SERVICE type of work dont start being nicer to me, then I'm going to start telling on them.

Wonder where it would get me? Probably not far. I doubt the mean folks read my blogs.

But you wonderful, nice folks that do, tell them to be nice to me, because I'm trying to remain sweet and nice. I can do that easier than I can become a young girl again.

Thanks nice people. Saw a T shirt one time that said MEAN PEOPLE SUCK.

I agree.

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