4 November 2017

I am grateful for Bedtime story time.

I wrote about this nearly-nightly practice a few months back.  (See Bedtime Story Time: Detectives in Togas)  Ongoing for practically the last 12 years, it is the close of our day.

In October, it was my turn to choose, so after reading a few poems and short stories by Edgar Allen Poe and other Weekly Readers from my own childhood to get us in the Halloween spirit, I picked up an old family copy of Samuel Clemens’ The Prince and the Pauper. 

Prince and the Pauper2

Set in medieval England, it is the story of two boys of vastly differing circumstances, who are so identical in appearance that when they meet and decide on a whim to dress as the other, fate intervenes; whereby the pauper becomes a prince and the prince becomes a pauper.  Misidentified and driven from the castle, the prince is caused to suffer injustice, derision and deprivation at the hands of the world, finding no one to really believe his claim of royalty.  Likewise, the pauper, who is believed to be suffering from a mental malady when he claims to be other than the prince, is trapped in the castle and must come to terms with the inequities of court life, customs and the law of the land.  A tale about the folly of judging others solely on the basis of appearance, the brutality and at times absurdity of the law, as well as the virtue of mercy, its message is as relevant today as it was when it was first penned almost 140 years ago.  It is a story worthy of sharing.

For Bedtime story-time, for cuddles at the close of the day, for stories whose messages are ageless, I am truly thankful.

3 November 2017

Thankful, grateful, truly blessed

by these flowers of faithfulness.

Violets Faithfulness (2)

I grew up with violets.  My mother grew violets.  My father grew violets.  On the kitchen windowsill, in the bathroom around the tub they bloomed.  Pink, lilac, violet, a splash of flamboyant color when everything else was brown.

A little water, a little pruning, a little fertilizer, a lot of sunlight, is really all they need to thrive, but for some reason many people shy away from growing them, intimidated by their care.  If you want a plant you can forget about entirely, a violet is definitely not the plant for you, but if you devote a minute or two each day to it then you can have a beautiful bloomer.  You just need to be a bit attentive, daily devoted…faithful.

These are my two:

Light violet 2Violets dark 2

Found at a yard sale, in amongst the detritus of another’s life, brown, crumbling leaves, root bound, unblooming, unloved.  I couldn’t leave them, destined as they were for the trash heap.   I knew with just a bit of care, they could recover, thrive, become something beautiful once again.  They just needed some devotion, some faithfulness.

Day third:  I’m thankful for my orphaned violets and the lesson about life that they teach.


2 November 2017

Coffee.  I am grateful for coffee.  Just plain old coffee, nothing fancy.  Dark roast, a splash of cream, in a cup first thing in the morning.  Before talking, before seeing, before thinking, coffee.

Thanksgiving Pilgrim Maxwell House

It has been this way since before my mind coalesced and memory began.

When I was a wee babe, literally swaddled in blankets not yet a year old, I was given coffee.  Now in all fairness, it was mostly milk with a bit of sugar, but it was REAL CAFFENATED coffee.  Why?  Because I was a colicky baby.  A very colicky baby.  And because my maternal grandmother, Maw Maw, said so.

I do not know if this lore is widespread, but in my neck of the woods, generations of colicky babes have been reared on coffee, because apparently it works to curb the fussiness.  Of course, back when I was a child, my parents and certainly my grandparents didn’t know about the negative effects of caffeine on calcium and vitamin D, but I’m pretty sure they would’ve sacrificed my future bone health anyhow for a few minutes of peace and quiet.  I know I would have.  Forsooth, there is no guarantee that a child will make it to a bone-fracturing age anyway, and, truth be told,  it is even less likely that a child will make it to adulthood if their beleaguered parents are unable to find respite from the wailing.  You know it’s the truth, whether you want to admit it or not.

The end result of my coffee imbibing, was that I was an addict by the time I was old enough to toddle.  Here I am, just a few years young, furiously pouting because my coffee bottle wasn’t on the coffee table when I ambled out of bed that morning.

Pouting for my coffee

My addiction all started with a baby bottle of  Maxwell House and now over 40 years later, requires at least 2 pots and a Starbucks latte a day to keep it at bay.  I’m not proud of it, but I am thankful for it. Besides there are “worse-er” habits!

Coffee wakes me up, it picks me up, it props me up!  It makes every day possible.  It helps keep both my children and my husband alive.  It brings my family together.  It cheers, it comforts, it consoles, it clarifies.  It’s good EVERY SINGLE DAY, from the very first sip of the morning to the very last drop  in the very last cup.

Number 2:  Coffee



1 November 2017

October is over.  November has begun.


For me, like many, the month of November is about thankfulness.  Gratefulness.   Thirty days in the waning of the year to recount and count the many blessings that Providence has bestowed.  It is a time to take stock of the year’s successes and failures, gains and losses, laughter and tears.  A time to account for the changes that time has wrought and a time to prepare for the new year to come.

I know thirty days of this-and-that are all the rage nowadays, as people attempt to find a better body, a better perspective, a better life, through checklists; measuring success, or for that matter, failure one box at a time.  But I know better.  Or at least an old professor of mine did, when he proffered that the lawyer that was good at making checklists was the lawyer that was terrible at practicing law.  Read into this what you may.

Thirty days of gratefulness didn’t start as a checklist for me, with prompts for those days when I couldn’t think of anything I was really “thankful” for.  It started when my son began Kindergarten.  From Day One, I packed a little hand-drawn note in his lunch box to let him know I was thinking about him throughout the day.  When November came and my creativity was lagging, I decided to use my cards to recite to him all of the things about him I was thankful for.  The notecard and thankfulness idea carried over to my daughter during her first year of school.

Although the card drawing finally ended, counting my blessings in November remained.  So to begin my thank offering for 2017, I want to start where I began, with my parents.  To say I am who I am because of them would be cliché, but the truth is I am.

My daddy, my best friend, instilled in me a love for books and learning.  He once said that people can take many things from a person, but they can’t take away one’s education.  He has dedicated his life to ensuring that each of his own children, and those of countless others, have received an education or at the very least a better one.  Through scholarships, service on the boards of a state college and our county library, and his tireless work to help local schools improve, whether by serving on accreditation teams, helping secure grants and funding, paying for entire school groups to attend luncheons with authors,  or donating money and books to school libraries, he has acted out his beneficence.  He is father wise, not just to me but to many, without whose help my, their, our educational goals may not have been realized.


Daddy and Laura

My daddy and I playing “trains.”


My mother, the conservationist, the lover of animals passed her bleeding heart on to me.  As a kid, she introduced me to horses and the love of riding, a hobby she pursued from her earliest childhood.  She also introduced me to orphaned deer, Bucky, Heena, Sheena and Adelaide, which she hand-fed back to health and kept in our playroom bathroom until they were old enough to return to the wild.  She’s fed raccoons, squirrels, opossums, and even most recently a wake of buzzards, although they were unintended visitors to her smorgasbord.    She’s spent a lifetime observing and appreciating the abundance of life all around us, and protecting her furry friends from illegal poaching.  She is mother earth, the seer of the unseen, the defender of the natural.



Sister the First and I with Bucky circa 1979.


I am blessed that both of my parents are still living and that I am finally back in Bama and closer to them once again.  I am grateful for the impact they’ve had on my character.  I offer thanks for the passions they have instilled in me, and hope that I am a worthy vessel of their legacy.