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Monday, May 16, 2011

I Love

I was thinking recently about the many things that I love, and I wanted to share some of my thoughts.

I love roses that smell good. So many roses, these days, have been “ de-smelled.” Recently, my son sent a dozen roses to me. Not only are they still fresh looking after almost a week but they smell divine! They arrived on Mothers’ Day morning, by UPS. The long box contained the roses, a lovely clear glass vase, plant saver, AND a box of very nice chocolates!  The long stem roses are red, white, yellow, peach etc.—just so lovely!

I love the feeling I get when I look up the road ahead and see mountains. It is almost as if I can catch a really deep breath and all my senses come alert. All my life I’ve been going to the Smoky Mountains, and I never tire of them.

It’s not just the Smokies that affect me, either. Interestingly enough, my first glimpse of the Alps almost took my breath away and I felt tears running down my cheeks. That night, we stayed in a lovely small hotel, on the Swiss border, and I was up early the next morning because I wanted to walk in those mountains and feel their dirt under my feet.
Later that morning, but still early, I was the first person to arrive in the small dining room. A waitress asked if I’d like coffee, I said, “Yes, but when my husband comes down, he’ll want hot tea.” Moments later, all three waitresses faced me, “Why do all Americans always ask for HOT tea? Do they think we’d serve them cold tea?” Of course, I had to explain in the south, we drink lots of iced tea – or as we usually just say, ICE TEA.

Breakfast was served buffet style and I could hardly get enough of one dish. Finally, the chef came out and sat down at the table with Tony, Bruce, and me. He told me how to make the dish I liked so much. I used to make it fairly often back home.

 SWISS BREAKFAST FRUIT-

1 LARGE CARTON PLAIN YOGURT
½  tsp PURE VANILLA
2 OR 3 TBL SUGAR
LARGE WHIPPED OR VERY SOFT CREAM CHEESE
FRUIT TO YOUR TASTE OR AVAILABILITY, SUCH AS BLUEBERRIES OR OTHER BERRIES, FRESH PEACHES [ADD A FEW DROPS OF ALMOND FLAVORING], TOASTED WALNUTS , ALMONDS ETC.
LIGHTEN THE CREAM CHEESE BY MIXING IN A LITTLE YOGURT. THEN FOLD EVERYTHING TOGETHER.
OPTIONAL:  CAN FOLD INTO THE MIX, ABOUT 1 CUP , OR TO TASTE, QUICK COOKING OATMEAL [ NOT INSTANT ]. IF YOU ADD OATMEAL, LET IT SET UP OVERNIGHT.
I PREFER MAKING IT THE NIGHT BEFORE, ESPECIALLY IF THERE ARE HOUSEGUESTS.

I love ol’ timey church hymns. I have a fairly large collection of old hymn books,  and often I’ve used some of the hymns as solos. Every time I sang one, people would come up afterwards and thank me. Then, they would ask why we no longer sing them in the church service. I don’t really know. If singing with a group, it is fun to harmonize on them too. Just think, what is more beautiful than, “What A Friend We Have In Jesus,” or “In The Garden.” Do you remember this one? “ I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses,  and the voice I hear falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses. And He walks with me … and He talks with me… and He tells me I am His own.” Oh, My, what memories!

I love Basset Hounds so much that we bought three in a row, over about a thirty year period of time. They are the only breed that we bought as purebreds. They are very intelligent; easy to train; soft and huggable; and just plain darn funny!  They also boss the other dogs and any people who allow it.

Every article you read these days, says that chocolate will kill a dog. We didn’t know that when we had our big dogs, so they always had a bite of candy etc. Molly, our last Basset licked every brownie, mixing bowl that I used, at least once a week, chocolate, raw egg, and sugar etc. When she finished with the bowl, she spent the next hour slurping her ears and getting them all nice and clean. She never had a weight problem but when we visited the vet, she’d march right in and position her cute self on the scale until someone recorded her weight.

I don’t know that I love a singing group called, IL DIVO, but I really do enjoy their music and beautiful, well trained voices. They are four tenors and as a former singer, I have had my troubles with tenors and their egos. But I am not singing with this group so I can just enjoy them. If possible, I want Dee to include a music thingy on here so I can share my guys plus any of your favorites. [Here's the "thingy", Mom!] You can just listen to your favorites on your pc. My sweet friend, in California sent it and  I do thank him.

I love BLUE !!!   Can’t help it, just think that is the most beautiful color, all shades and tints. But my least favorite is a pale, pallid, baby blue. I want my blues to be strong, come meet me at the door, and help me find a chair. Also, I don’t mind a little green mixed in for interest.  Actually, I just love strong colors. Black is not a color but I love black too and really enjoy wearing it….

OK, I’ll admit it - I love my darn computer! In some cases, I stay in almost constant touch with  family and friends. I no longer, go out all that much plus even a trip to Augusta where I still have dear friends , takes me over three hours to drive. ( I drive the speed limit plus about five, never faster than ten mph over.) I OBVIOUSLY have no business driving the expressways or interstates --- so don’t. I feel that the computer is a major help for old people. I have former friends who are quite bitter and, frankly, unpleasant to talk with because all they do is complain. They refuse to use a computer and are just plain annoyed with folks who do. Two of those ff’s had quite nice computers installed in their guest bedrooms but never used them. Don’t get me started on grumpy old people, trying to remain positive here.

I love Hilton Head Island. I’ve been visiting there since there were only two motels and a grocery store. The bridge was wooden and rickety. I have tons of happy memories centered on the island. We used to go at least twice a year, and I continued after Tony died. In recent years, I’ve rented condos at a place on the beach, called Ocean One, and it suits me just fine. It is very nice but not swanky and I can sit on the balcony, breathe the ocean air, and watch the dolphins and shrimp boats. We have our favorite places to eat and shop and I feel at home there.

Since I now live with my daughter, the sight I love most is seeing my son’s truck turn into our driveway. After his military service, the last in Iraq, I feel we’ve paid our dues as a military family.  I love most, in this world, just having my children and grands, close around.

When I start to feel blue, it comforts me to reflect on these things I love. What do you love?
 This is Dee when she was in her early 20's, with our Basset, Molly.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Billie


Mother’s Day is Sunday, and I have been thinking a lot about my mother, Wilma Butler Hasty. 


Talk about your middle child syndrome, my mother had it going and coming. She was the middle child of seven daughters, with three older brothers and one younger. She was also the smallest of the entire crowd. She hated swimming pools because she said every time she got close to the one in their yard, someone would grab her and throw her in. She never learned to swim, understandably.

She admitted to being born in 1900 but we think, at least, a year or two sooner. When asked, she’d say something like, “Oh, around the turn of the century.” She was named Wilma Elizabeth Butler. When she was young, her nickname was Billie and a few folks called her that all her life. She was a very talented person. She had a lovely singing voice, played the piano, wrote poetry etc. she was also very intelligent. She attended Bessie Tift College where she exempted out of her freshman courses after taking a series of tests.

By the standards of those days, Billie was a bit wild. She was the first girl in Marietta, Georgia to bob her very long hair. She was a flapper and could dance a mean Charleston. She smoked cigarettes but always said she didn’t drink, just enjoyed a highball occasionally. (I suppose that was instead of just drinking straight whiskey?!)

Her three oldest brothers all owned automobile dealerships, so there were plenty of cars around, and she started driving when her feet reached the pedals, about age 11. She enjoyed driving around town with her sister Hazel when they were just kids.

I suppose by the time I remember my mother, she was a more proper matron, about 34 or 35 when I was born. I have two older brothers, bobby and Don.

Mother was a character, even when I knew her.

No one ever told me the ”facts of life,”  so the advice I was given by Mother and her sisters made no sense to me at all. She said I should never let a boy hold my hand because he might get excited and go crazy. Well, I just had to try it but I never got one to go crazy. Used to wonder what I was doing wrong there. She also said I should never accept food from a boy because they touched their “things” and probably didn’t wash their hands afterwards. This was when I was in the first grade and I always wondered what their “things” were.  Yes, I had brothers and uncles and lots of men in my life but I was very sheltered.

Dee recalls her grandmother telling her the exact same thing when she started first grade: “Never let a boy touch you because they are not clean. They never wash their hands!” Dee thought that was funny.

Mother was raised in a very well to do home, but when the Depression hit, she and my dad were in the same boat as everyone else, with very little money. My earliest memories are of the 1930’s, and my mother had to be thrifty.

Mother was a whirlwind of activity. She was a grand organizer, liked to get things done. She organized and supervised the soup kitchen, in the school in our small town. She’d majored in nutrition in college. She saw that hungry children got a bowl of vegetable soup, cornbread, and a piece of fruit, every day. It was about 1940, I think, kind of the end of the depression.

Back then, tramps came to our door, asking for food. She never turned one away but often had them sweep off the walk or bring in some wood, just anything to let them feel they’d earned their food. Small as she was, I don’t think she was ever afraid, but she most likely had her shotgun close by and would kill a chicken by shooting its head off.

Dee takes after my mother in a lot of ways – both are energetic and industrious, intelligent, and funny. My brother Bobby and I used to laugh and say “Mother will never die, as long as Dee is alive.”

Mother was taken from us in 1976 when she had a massive stroke, and she never really recovered. I miss her every day.