Bathing Beauties in the Fifties

There’s this thing I found, called Wordless Wednesday (WW, for short), y’all. The rules are real simple, if you want to play. Just post a picture, on Wednesday! Only thing is, it’s gotten so gosh dern popular – it’s every day now. So I’ve decided to hop on the “Thursday Edition”  bus.

Of course, bein’ southern and all sort of precludes me from bein’ completely wordless. Just thought y’all’d like to know that this here picture is of my mom, on the far left, with her cousins and sister, taken sometime around 1950, in Myrtle Beach, SC.

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Southern Collards

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OK, y’all. This week’s Spin Cycle is supposed to be a poem.  This one is almost impossible for me, because I practically cut my teeth on poems. My beloved grandmother, who passed on October 23 of last year, was a prolific poet and artist. I already have posted  several of her poems on my blog. And, since my life’s goal was to be exactly like her, I started writing poetry when I was about nine years old. In searching through my archives of poems, both hers and mine, I finally decided on this one.

Being able to cook up a good mess of collards is the number one requirement of being a true southern cook, y’all. This poem is, I think, the last one my grandmother ever wrote. I found this hand written copy, dated May 2007, tucked away in one of her journals – the writing scribbled and hard to read, due to her failing eyesight. It is about one of her’s (and mine) favorite things….collard greens.

I think I know what inspired her to write this poem. My Aunt Barbara, who was was my grandmother’s daughter-in-law, and refered to as her “adopted daughter” in this poem, remarried a man named Benny, after my uncle died.  Benny, who is from Pennsylvania, never ate a collard green in his life, until he married Barbara and moved down south. He loved them so much, that he decided to try and grow them in his backyard.

Barbara, being one of those southern gals who’d rather spend the day shopping at Dillards than slaving away over the hot stove, had no idea how to cook them. So she did what all us southern women do in a pinch. She called up her southern mama, “Miss Gladys.”

This poem is the answer she got.

Southern Collards

By Gladys Parker
May 2007

When I was forty or so
And you were my daughter, adopted you know
I would don my apron the old fashioned way
Because you were coming for Mother’s Day.

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Here’s the collard patch, right outside
It looks a little country-fied
But, begging your pardon,
I like my garden.

The collards were cropped, a leaf off each one.
It makes them grow better – they get big in the sun.
Summer collards are okay to eat,
But winter collards are tender and sweet.

The pot is boiling with a streak of lean.
(Slab bacon, maybe, is what I mean.)
When the meat is tender the fork will tell.
Each leaf examined and cleaned very well.

Now, twist each leaf half in two
Place in the pot, like good cooks do
Cook ‘til tender and seasoned to taste
Drain – nothing goes to waste.

Even the “pot liquor” is good for you.
Or corn meal dumplings, cooked like I do.
So chop up the greens nice and fine
And they will taste just like mine.

What the Heck is a Meme?

Richard Dawkins initially defined meme (rhymes with dream) as a noun which “conveys the idea of a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation”.  Memeticists often define an individual’s mind as a “playground for memes”  and what they regard as “meme-generated patterns of behavior” can also be referred to as a person’s personality.

These days, a meme is an Internet  list of questions that you saw somewhere else and you decided to answer the questions. Then someone else sees them and does them and so on and so on. There’s even a bunch of websites devoted to memes, like The Daily Meme.

Why am I blathering on about this, you might ask. Well, my good  friend Debbie, over at Buzzin’ By, tagged me with this meme. It doesn’t have any questions, but  here’s the rules:

1. Go to your documents
2. Go to your 6th file
3. Go to your 6th picture
4. Blog about it
5. Tag 6 friends to do the same

There seems to be alot of controversy about how to do this. What if your pictures aren’t in your documents? What if your documents don’t contain picture files? How about if your pictures aren’t in files…just a whole bunch of pictures in one little ole picture file?

Well.

Here’s what I decided to blog about. It’s the sixth picture in my documents, which only contains five files.

ar008502This picture was taken in the summer of 2004, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  This is me and my step daughter, Danielle, getting ready to climb up into the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, which was constructed back in 18 70.

Also known as America’s Lighthouse, it’s the tallest brick beacon in the nation. It stands at an impressive 208-feet. The familiar spiral-striped landmark serves as a warning to mariners of submerged and shifting sandbars which extend almost twenty miles off Cape Hatteras into the Atlantic Ocean, known as the Diamond Shoals. In 1999 the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was moved, at a cost of millions of taxpayers’ dollars, a half mile inland, to save it from falling into the encroaching sea.

It was a great weekend, y’all. My husband, Jeff, Danielle and I were invited up there to spend it with, coincidentally, my same friend, Debbie and her husband, Kirk. They had rented a beach house somewhere near Avon, NC, for the week, and had invited a  menagerie of their kids, step kids, friends and parents. Lucky for us, we got included. It was one of those priceless, summer weekends that will go down in my memory banks as one of the All Time Greatest.

While we were there, I had a decision that I was mulling over. On Friday before we left, I had been called by Kathy, the HR person at Corning, and offered the right to return to my former job there. Three years before, in 2001, Jeff and I had both been laid off.

At the time, I was working as the publisher’s assistant at Wrightsville Beach Magazine. I loved the job. I got to write articles for the magazine and also for it’s sister publication, The Lumina News.  My office had a wonderful view of the Intrcoastal Waterway. I really had no intention of leaving there and going back to the boring production work at Corning. Also, there was no guarantee that  Jeff would ever be recalled, which would mean that the two of us would never be on the same sleeping schedule, since we worked swing shifts at Corning.

However, that beautiful and warm Sunday morning, Jeff and I walked on the beach, stealing a few minutes of solitude with our morning coffees in hand. We found ourselves remembering  how we met at Corning, the days of our courtship, and the friends we had made there. We realized how much we  had been missing for three years.

Monday morning, when we returned to Wilmington, in a move that suprised me more than anyone, I called Kathy and told her I would return.

In February of 2005, Jeff got “the call” from Kathy.

Five years later, I find I miss writing for the magazine, but not much else. The deadlines, the dramas, the stress….are all gone. Right now I am on a relaxing seven day break. I get to enjoy one of these every month, thanks to my schedule at Corning. And during these breaks, I ‘m fulfilling  my creative urges by blogging, thanks to, again, my friend Debbie, who suggested it.

Debbie, I sure do owe you a lot.

This visit to the playground of my mind was fun. Now to tag some more folks!

I’ll tag my son, Kyle, because he really needs to get blogging again. My first “stranger” that commented, Jan, because she has such a unique take on everything. Goodfather, because he’s been laid off, too, and he has already demonstrated he ability to do memes. Another Jan, at Jan’s Sushi Bar, because she and I have a million things in common (we just haven’t discovered quite all of ’em yet!) I guess I’ll tag our Spin Cycle hostess, Sprite’s Keeper, because I’m hoping I’ll become a little more popular by association. Finally, because she likes fried okra, Meli!

My New Year Plan – To Enjoy

This week’s spin cycle, brought to us by the ever engaging and evolving Sprite’s Keeper is about New Year’s Resolutions. From some darn reason, I can’t hardly bring myself to do this one, y’all.  The whole idea of having to “resolve” to do something is way too final.

I think it’s because Southern women kinda shy away from resolutions. It sounds so formal and churchy, as in, “The Southern Baptists have formally voted to adopt a new resolution.” It reminds me of a formal, sit-down dinner. You know the kind, where you send out invitations that say “RSVP” on the bottom in fancy gold letters, and you have to get out your great grandma’s silverware and polish it up? I envision starchy tablecloths, linen napkins and awkward silences, or somebody finding a piece of old food stuck to the back of a salad bowl. Shudder.

I’d prefer something alot more casual. As in, “Y’all come on over for supper, we’re havin’ homemade vegetable soup and cornbread with sweet ice tea.”

And well, sure, we Southern gals sometimes “resolve” to think about it tomorrow, if it’s really wearin’ on our nerves, but any Southern woman worth her weight in fat back will tell you – we are much better at making a PLAN. Now, a PLAN is something I can get all a-twitter about. A PLAN requires a list. And being a true southern gal from “North Cackalaky”, there ain’t  nothin’ I love better that writing (actually, revising, ’cause I always have one)  my good ole ‘”To Do” list. It’s second only to shoppin’ for new shoes, y’all.

In thinking about stuff I’d like to do this year, I’m ever conscious of the loss of my grandmother this past October. I have a fresh understanding of how short life really is, and I feel like we need to enjoy it as much as we possibly can, while we still can.

So, in the interest of promoting All Things Southern, and keeping my goal of enjoyin life more, I give you my 2009 “To Do” list:

1. First and foremost, have more frequent sex. We might as well use it before we lose it! (Hey, even the preachers are advocating this one.)

2.Enjoy the little things that I never give myself time to do. Bubble baths. Hot chocolate. Reading books. Listening to music. Painting. Lighting candles. Watching the sun set. Walking on Wrightsville Bdcp_09801each.

3. Make a memories DVD of the pictures we took LAST summer. I enjoy torturing my family by making them sit down and look at our pictures.

4. Finish scanning all of my grandmother’s old family photos, so I can make  DVDs to send to all of her family, and  type all of her poems, so they are saved in my computer. And then, make poetry DVDs to send to the family. My grandmother had alot of profound things to say, and I’m on a mission to share her words and stories.

5. Start another blog, about my grandmother’s life, with the old scanned pictures and poems. I already enjoy posting her poems, and I want to put them all out there.

6. Finally getting around to setting up my grandmother’s sewing machine, that I’ve had for 2 years and mending some clothes that probably don’t even fit anymore.

7. Help my youngest son move into his new apartment, where he’s going to college, and clean out and re-paint his old room and get new furniture for it. Then we can have friends over for the weekends, another thing I enjoy.

8. Try and get over my phone phobia, by planning to make more phone calls. That will allow me to do something else I enjoy – share a laugh with friends.

9. Plan a vacation. (There. A sentence with two of the most heavenly words in existence…PLAN and VACATION.)

10. Lose 15 pounds. I realize this is on everyone else’s list. I don’t want to stop enjoying cooking, or dinners, or eating out and especially I don’t intend to give up my cocktails. I’d just like to enjoy shopping for clothes again. I might have to join that HASAY thingy.

I “Do Not Qualify” to Adopt a Rottweiler

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Yeah, it’s pretty shameful.
Y’all know I own a Rottweiler, Hannah, that is just like my own child. My mother-in-law had this portrait done of her. It was a  Christmas present this year for my husband. We have it hanging over our mantel.  To say we adore this animal is an understatement. She is five years old, now, and when she eventually goes into the great doggie heaven in the sky, we are both gonna be blubbering idiots.
Well, recently, we got this hair brained idea, y’all. We decided that maybe it was time to get ourselves another puppy. We’d really like to give Hannah the opportunity to teach another little Rottie gal all she knows about bein’ the Most Spectacular Dog in the Entire Universe.
I hate to admit this, but we might’ve  made a few mistakes when we got Hannah. We found her online, from one of those backyard breeders. We didn’t realize, at the time, that gettin’ a puppy from a less than conscientious breeder was allowin’ them to continue to stay in business, thereby producing less that desirable specimens of the breed. Much to our dismay, our beautiful girl has hip dysplasia, and it ain’t pretty, ya’ll.  One day we will have to have her put down. And, of course, it goes without sayin’, we can’t breed her.
So this time around, I thought we’d do the noble thing, and rescue a puppy. One that wouldn’t otherwise have a chance at havin’ such committed and adoring parents, like us two fools. I found this Rottweiler Rescue outfit online and what’d ya know, they had the cutest lil ol litter of Rottie pups! Five little girls and five little boys! They even had a video camera set up to film their antics and you could watch them everyday on You Tube.
Well, naturally I fell in love with these pups. I wanted one so bad. I mean, what’s not to love about a Rottie pup? This is Hannie when she was little.
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See what I mean, y’all?
One thing I noticed, and this is important to keep in mind, is that all of these puppies had had their tails docked. Which was fine by me, I think Rotties look better with their cute little nubs.
So right away, I filled out their “Application to Adopt”. It took me almost two hours! I couldn’t believe all the stuff they were wantin’ to know! They asked about everything, and I do mean everything. What was the square footage of our house, and how many people live in it? What ages are they? How many hours do we work per week, how much do we make, who’s our vet, what’s his address and phone number and if we’ve had this vet for less than a year, what’s the name, address and phone number of out previous vet, and why did we change vets? They asked if we would ever consider a Rottweiler with a tail, and I answered No. Because I really just wanted one of the ten cute, lil puppies that had already had their tails docked.
I’m now convinced that adopting a child from China would be alot easier.
A couple weeks went by and then I got this email:
Dear Ginger,
Thank you for your application unfortunately in order to qualify, you must know your animal control laws. You state that you don’t know of any, you can familiarize yourself with animal control laws by going to their website or just calling up and asking for a copy of them.  It is very important when you own a dog that you know these laws, especially with owning a Rottweiler.
Also, you state you would never adopt a Rottweiler with it’s natural tail.  Unfortunately, this is rescue and unless their tails have been docked at under 3 days old, you have a Rottweiler with a tail.  In rescue we are about saving lives and not their looks.
Thank you and best of luck in finding a puppy.
ARRF Coordinator
Well now, excuse me all to hell, y’all, but that was just rude! Was she accusin’ me of not wantin’ to save Rottweiler lives? And the comment about their looks. That’s kinda snooty, considerin’ that they’ve already ruined the “looks” of the puppies they’re advertising all over You Tube.
So I wrote her back, and then she wrote me back, with more of her rude comments highlighted:
Dear Suzi,
I just wanted to take a minute to respond. Obviously, I can find all of my county rules and ordinances concerning animals and Rottweilers in particular. I was trying to be truthful, when answering your questionnaire. I do not have every rule memorized. But I understand that dogs require a leash, animals cannot run free except in designated parks, they must be registered, they must be up to date on their vaccinations. I would do all of these things, anyway. I already own a Rottweiler, and have had her for 5 years. I love her DEARLY and it is insulting to me, to have it implied that I would break a law, or not care properly for my dog.

***Nobody “implied” you would break a law, and if you can so easily find your ordinances, then a) why didn’t you, and b) why would you state you do not think you have any ?

As far as the tail business goes, I understand that you are not in the business of docking dogs tails. I realize that you are “saving lives”. I think it should be obvious to you that I am also interested in saving a life, by applying to adopt a dog from a shelter. I have nothing against dogs with tails, it is just my preference in Rottweilers. I also prefer to adopt a puppy. In looking at your website pictures, I see that you have a variety of dogs, some with tails, some without, some older dog and some puppies. I was trying to express my preference, and if that makes me a horrible person and not fit to own a dog, so be it.
***The question was would you adopt a dog with a natural tail and you stated “no”  If it is only your preference, then you would have stated yes, but a no implies no. We have to discount the applications where people state no because a lot of our Rottweilers have their natural tail, when you  state no to the natural tail, there is always the chance that people will get the tail amputated and mutilate our dogs, so it is a standard denial as we must always protect the health and well being of our dogs.


I am amazed that you would pronounce someone as unqualified to adopt one of your animals with no other evidence to go on. Have you really got that many folks offering to take them, and pay the adoption fees you are asking for? And are all these folks that much more qualified than my husband and I? This was my first attempt to get an animal from a shelter. I thought it was the right thing to do. What an experience, to get slapped down and rejected for not answering your questions correctly! Now I am wondering if I should just give up and not try.
*****We did not deny you with no evidence to go on, you filled out the application and in your own words, you were being truthful, that is our evidence, your truthful answers on the application.  And yes, we actually do have that many people that want to adopt our dogs and puppies and pay our adoption fee.  We actually have more applications than dogs.

By turning us down, you are shutting the door on a loving family and a great home for one of your dogs. And by doing so, you are letting down one of your dogs.
**** I am not letting down any of my dogs, as you have to fit our guidlines and qualify, so I would be letting down one of my dogs by allowing someone who does not qualify adopt.

I am attaching a picture of my rottweiler, Hannah. I want you to see that I have managed to take pretty good care of her and she is healthy, happy and loved. Thank you for what you are doing to help the breed that I love so much. I am sorry that my heart and my home do not meet your high standards.
***** These are not high standards, you should see what other rescues require for their adoptions.  These are regular standard questions to determine if your qualify for one of our dogs.  Obviously you take care of your own dog, we never said you were not qualified to love and care for your own dog, however, we do not approve applications that don’t meet our requirements.
Again, thank you and best of luck in your search for your puppy.

Well. Suzi, your whole “tone” tells me something. You migh be livin’ in North Carolina, but you’re obviously not from around here, darlin’. The part about us possibly MUTALATING one of your dogs almost made my head explode. (Is she SERIOUS, y’all? )
I guess we won’t be gettin’ another puppy anytime soon. The whole dern experience has left a sour taste in my mouth. I feel bad for poor Hannah, what with her havin’ such an unqualified, potential tail mutilatin’, requirement failin’ mother, like me. I guess loving the breed to the point of distraction, trying to be completly honest, and wanting to give a decent life to another dog counts as nothing.
So if any of y’all are thinkin’ about adopting from a rescue organization, be forewarned. Study up on all of your county ordinances, make sure you tell them that you’re willin’ to take any kind of dog they have, in any condition, and be prepared to be turned down anyways. There are homeless people livin’ under bridges down here, but a homeless dog must have the run of your house, and it better be big enough, nice enough and with enough square footage, y’all!
Oh, and also, you’ll need four real good, reliable references, who have known you for years and can vouch for your character…and a hefty $250 adoption fee.

Undecided in North Carolina

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This week’s Spin-Cycle topic, which is brought to us by http://www.spriteskeeper.com, is about the election.

I’m a North Carolina white woman, born to parents that both grew up in Southern baptist homes, in what used to be a small town, so I’m (naturally) a registered Republican. All of us are, y’all. The only time I EVER voted for a Democrat was when Jimmy Carter was runnin’ and that was because he was so Baptist and so southern, plus he reminded my Grandma Gladys of her Papa Green, so how could I not? It turned out to be a big mistake, with all those long gas lines and all, so I’ve been stickin’ with the straight Republican ticket ever since.

I have to hang my head when I admit that I voted for George W. I am sorry and I hope y’all will accept my heartfelt apologies. But, here’s the thing. I don’t think George, Jr. is really a Republican. Naw, really. I think he’s fakin’ it. I think he’s a closet liberal, who’s helped out his rich oil buddies by startin’ wars. I even think he might have sold his soul to the World Bankers, and those One World Government Illuminati types that just want to make enough money to be able to live in fancy caves underground, when the rest of us go up in the mushroom clouds.

So now I don’t feel like I can trust the Republicans anymore. I miss Ronnie Reagan. I wish he was still around to tell me one of his grandfatherly stories about how little Suzie in the third grade in Indiana needs new shoes and how my vote could help her get some cute pink and white Nikes. Without his help, I can’t seem to find my way anymore.

I wanted to be able to get behind one of the mainstream canidates.

John McCain is supposed to be conservative, but I got a feelin’ that he’s only pretendin’ to be, so all the conservative Christians will vote for him. I’m grateful that he went to war and fought for us and all. All that military experience will come in handy. His wife sure is a looker with all that perfectly coifed blonde hair. I was excited when he chose Sarah Palin, instead of some old-timey senator like Obama got. Sarah seems so down-homey and apple pie-ish, that it’s real hard not to just love her to death. But when McCain debated Obama, he looked real scary, y’all. He kept repeatin’ the same thing over and over, like some kind of scratched up little ol’ 45 record. I practically got the vapors from watchin’ it.

I absolutely loved some of Obama’s speeches. That stuff he said about his Grandma reduced me to tears. He’s so eloquent, and young, and handsome. His wife, Michelle, is cute as a button, too, with her fist-bumpin’ and all that jazz. I love that he is neither black, nor white, and yet he is both. I understand why so many people support him. But I was disappointed when he chose Biden. Biden is so old and outta touch, and so ingrained in the system that Obama says he wants to change. I wanted him to choose Hilary. Also, the whole Acorn business scares me. So does that Jeremiah preacher-man. All that hollerin’ from the pulpit got on my Baptist nerves. Now, I’m smart enough to realize he’s prolly not a Muslim, but his reputation as the most liberal senator, plus the fact that he voted “present” instead of actually standing up for anything goes against my upbringing, I reckon.

Then they both lost me over that big bailout deal. I mean, come on already! If either one of the two of them had stood up to George Bush and The Fed and just said NO to giving HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS of DOLLARS WE DON’T EVEN HAVE to the banks, then that canidate would have had my vote, right then and there, y’all. When McCain annouced that he was suspendin’ his campaign and runnin’ back to Washington, my heart was all a-twitter. I thought he was going to act all Reaganish and stand up to them-there big bankers. I thought, “Here’s his big chance to show the world how a REAL Republican is supposed to act and show everyone that he’s not going to stand for another four years of George Bush’s nonsence.”

I still can’t believe that both candidates, Obama the eloquent Liberal, and McCain the war hero Quasi-Conservative, voted exactly the same on gettin’ us even further into debt. McCain should have been against it on the general principle of wanting smaller government, and a balanced budget, like every Republcan in the history of the world has ever talked about. And Obama should have said, “Whoa, wait just a cotton pickin’ minute, if we’re gonna borrow this kind of money, let’s bail out the homeowners and throw in some programs to help out the poor folks, y’all.”

So I voted for Bob Barr. He’s the Libertarian that’s runnin’. He was flatly against the bail out, and he’s all about cuttin’ taxes, reducin’ government spending and restorin’ our civil liberties lost during the Bush administration.The media ignores him, so almost nobody has even heard of him. I’m fully aware of the fact that he’s not going to win. I know my vote won’t count for much. But I did it because I feel we need another choice. I figure if enough people vote for these Libertarians, then maybe the media will sit up and take notice some day.

And I really like what he says about the Federal Reserve. From Bob Barr’s website: The Federal Reserve is a secretive and unaccountable organization which dominates monetary policy, regulates financial institutions, and increasingly intervenes in economic markets. Congress must insist on accountability and transparency in the Federal Reserve’s operation, while reconsidering the Fed’s almost total control over the money supply.

Plus, he’s from Georgia, y’all. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.