Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Remembering Dick Gregory...


  

  The first time I saw Dick Gregory, in person, was my freshman year in college. He was the guest speaker invited to entertain the students and faculty at Murray State University, a small college in western Kentucky.
   He was amazing. I watched him perform, probably on the Ed Sullivan Show, a few times. I knew he was a great entertainer.  What I didn't know was that  he was the first black comedian to appear on television. However,  there was so much more to the man than his ability to make people of any color laugh. With his first steps on the stage he owned the crowd. I don't think he received a standing ovation as he strolled on stage. Everyone applauded with gusto and anticipation. We were ready to be entertained. What we received was a lesson in humility and humanity and a good dose of humor. He made us stop and think while we laughed.
   Our high school had been integrated  in 1964, without a lot of problems. There were a few weeks of bomb threats and then it seemed integration fell into place. All students went to school. The rest of the United States was not a fortunate. And I may have seen only what I wanted to see. However, that is my memory of our schools integration.
   Dick Gregory told us of a different integration than we had experienced. We all watched the news and knew the trouble in the land. I did not see it up close and personal. He did. He lived it.
 He spoke of life as a second class citizen in his own country. He mocked bigotry and racism. 
     He also spoke on Vietnam. He talked about how fortunate we were to be in college when so many young men who could not afford college were fighting a war with no way to win. I was sitting in the midst of several young men and I have to admit, that statement made a few of them squirm in their seats. I also squirmed in my seat. I knew he was telling the truth. I also knew Tommy had enlisted in the Marine Corps. Vietnam was always on my mind.
    Dick Gregory told one story that stuck in my mind. He was married and had several children. He named his newest born daughter "Miss".  He said when people talked to her she would be referred to as 'Miss Gregory' without the usual slurs. He said he knew he could not stop it all but at least most of the time his daughter would be called, "Miss Gregory".  That statement brought tears to my eyes.  I always knew I wanted children and I wanted them respected as human beings.
   He told more funny stories and all too soon the show was over. He thanked us all for coming and he received a standing ovation from everyone in the audience. We stood and clapped until our hands hurt. Then it was over. Everyone went their own way back to dorms or houses. I can almost guarantee Dick Gregory walked home with each and every student in their minds. I know he walked home in my head.
   Dick Gregory died August 19, 2017. He was 84 years old. I have an old album of his I think I will try and find today. The record player is long gone but I would like to hold the record. There was one thing I did not know about him. He was a conspiracy theorist.  I smiled when I read this statement. I have been a conspiracy theorist since President Kennedy was killed. Most people think this is such a crazy way to think.  However, I will forever believe that the government we see and the one that is running our country and the world are two separate entities. We are just along for the ride and to keep these people funded.  Conspiracy theorists is as easy for me to believe in as knowing there is a God. I have no doubt about either.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Total Eclipse of the Sun 2017

  I have looked forward to the 2017 eclipse of the sun for about a week. When I woke up it was around 8:30 a.m. I put the coffee on first. Then I started to check the Weather Channel to see if our day was as warm and bright as had been forecasted.  For some reason, I decided to check my emails first. I was not alert enough to stop a jerk from using my confiscated debit card number.  He got me for almost $50. I called the bank immediately, when I realized what was going on, and made the transaction void. I had to make  a fast trip to town to get everything straightened out. I was also watching the time. I wanted to be home when the eclipse happened. I made it just as the beginning of the eclipse was visible from my home.
   I was anxious to see what would happen. The temperature on the way to Fulton was sultry and pushing the high 80's. It's not a very good day for naturally curly hair. When I returned home the eclipse was moving into our area. Tommy and I put on our solar glasses and started watching the eclipse. 
   While wearing the glasses, the sun appeared to be a vivid shade of orange with a slice, of what could easily have been a piece of pie, eaten by the moon.  A few minutes later we came back outside and by now two pieces of the pie was gone. I decided to stay out. The sun was changing fast and I didn't want to miss anything. Soon it was half a piece of pie missing, followed by another chunk of the sun. One slice of orange pie left and everything else was black.
   Things started to change as the last piece of the pie was eaten. The skies turned to dusk. My dusk to dawn light came on. The solar lights in my flower beds lit up. The temperature dropped about ten degrees. 
    
   


  This was taken when the sun was blocked and in a matter of minutes everything slowly returned to normal. The sun is shining and hot again.It was just was another Monday after all. . . with a little bit of magic thrown in.  My kind of day.

 
   

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Sabella Finally Gets a Much Needed Bath. . ..

  Someone dropped Sabella, our German Shepherd, at our home about ten years ago when she was about five months old. We had a yellow lab named Sandy and we were perfectly content with the way things were.


 However, after Sabella slowly made her way down our driveway Sandy instantly became a mother. She loved Sabella. I did not realize how lonesome Sandy must have been for a companion. Tommy and I worked nights and slept days so most of the time Sandy was alone. We kept her in the house until it was time for us to leave.
  Sandy and Sabella became inseparable. They ran and chased each other. Ate out of the same bowl, most of the time, which surprised me. Tommy and I grew to love Sabella especially after we saw all the happiness she gave Sandy. The only problem we had was both dogs shed. .  . a lot. It was a loosing battle. We tore up several vacuum cleaners in the process of trying to keep a clean house. Brushing the dogs was an everyday chore and it still wasn't good enough. We used dry shampoo and doggie perfume. We burned candles and kept two vacuums plugged in and ready.
     Today was a beautiful day and I decided to give Sabella a tub bath in a galvanized tub Barbara gave me last year. I let the water warm for two days in the sun. Gathered all my dirty towels that I was about to wash, the doggie shampoo and  a hassock for me to set on.I still have trouble getting up and down in low areas. 
     I called Sabella to me and then grabbed her collar and began to brush her coat. She is used to that so it didn't bother her.  She is a smart dog and she knew this was not going to be an ordinary cleaning. Next I put the shampoo on and then the warm water. Sabella looked at me like I had just defiled her in some way.  All the time I was bragging on how good she was doing. I scrubbed her all over. After that I rinsed her and did the same thing all over again. It is a good thing I had all our dirty towels outside in a basket because I needed every one.  Finally I let her go. She was about as dry as I could get without a hair dryer and I know better than to try that. She hates my hair dryer.   She was still on the damp side. I let go of her collar, gave her some smooches and told how proud I was of her.   
  Sabella looked me in the eye and proceeded  to run straight for a dirt pile!  She flipped on her back and rolled around like a little pig.  She stopped for a minute to make sure I was watching and then she smiled at me. !***!!  I took off my filthy clothes, gathered up all my dirty towels putting everything in the much needed washing machine. I am clean; as for Sabella--well she smells better than she did. In fact we both do. This is just the first of many more baths now that I have an idea of how it will go. That is if I ever catch her again.


   

Monday, July 31, 2017

Waiting Has Never Been My Strong Point. . .

  I have often said, "I have the patience of a dead rat!" Nothing in my life has changed to make this statement any less true. Unfortunately, I am forced to dig deep in the 'no patience pile of poop' and try to conduct myself with dignity and some semblance of sanity as we have waited for three months to find out what is wrong with Tommy. 
  It has been three months of one unexpected health ailment after the other. Followed by one procedure after the other. Several procedures have been repeated and if the doctors have an answer; they are not positive enough to tell us. 
  Tommy has had sepsis and was in the hospital over Memorial Day Weekend. Never did find out where or why he had this. Then within a few days after being discharged he had 3 mini strokes and one real stroke. He was admitted to another hospital in the middle of the night by ambulance. I don't remember how long we stayed there. He had to go through another round of CAT scans, MRI's and blood work up the wazoo. His arms looked like he had been beaten with a baseball bat at times.There have been other admissions, tests, scans, and heart appointments. He is tired, and is still suffering from the pain of shingles he had in 2016. We meet with a neurologists to see if there is anything that can be done about the pain in his neck and left arm. This pain gives him a fit every day, all day long. We see the neurologists on Wednesday. 
  Today we wait for a call that is supposed to tell us what condition his liver is in. They did find a spot of cancer on his liver. If the spot is confined to that one area, they can do surgery---maybe, or radiation and chemo. So today we wait. And we wait some more for a phone call that may or may not happen.
  I want to thank everyone for your love,and your prayers. I want to thank you for all the crazy, funny things that have allowed us to laugh in the midst of tears. My favorite story about laughing in the midst of heartache came from Tami. We were staying with Tommy at the hospital when he had the strokes. They had taken him down for another CAT scan and we were walking the halls, drinking coffee and crying at times. When we got to the end of the hall we sat down and Tami looked at me and said,"You know Mama, I wouldn't be surprised if Daddy didn't eat his twin while in the uterus and the little left over brat is trying to get out of his stomach!!" I have no clue where this came from but I nearly spit coffee halfway across the hallway. I started laughing right in the middle of a bad crying spell! So we did both--we laughed, we cried and then we laughed some more. Neither of us knew what day it was and were pitiful to look at however,  we laughed until we quit crying.
 I thank God every day for our girls, for our crazy family and all the blessings God has given us. Tommy and I are a team and we don't give up on each other---no matter what life throws at us.  Love to each of you my friends. Thank you so much for your thoughts, prayers, funny messages,cards and messages straight from your heart. I have friends and family all over the world that I will never meet but they have stood with us through this messy road in our lives. Thank you to all the family we know and love personally. We are indeed blessed with love.
   

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

A Busy Sunday . . .

  While Tommy and I wait for his biopsy reports, I find myself cleaning house more than I have in years. It is hard to sit still. My mind wanders in directions I don't want it to go.
 I miss my mother more than I have since she died. I long to here her say "Tommy will be fine." For the first time in my life, it is hard to talk to my daughters. They are as worried as I am. I want to be strong for them. I am not doing that great of a job. We all want to know the results of the procedure done on May 31st. Small talk gets on my nerves. I only have one thing on my mind and I refuse to speak those words out loud.
  Yesterday Tami,Jake,Logan and Jacy came out to visit and help us get a few things done. It was my first time to meet Jake. He is very nice and will probably never come back to the house. I put him to work almost as soon as he walked in the door. Tami and Jake assembled a futon for me. I thought it would be simple. It turned out to be a two hour job with 40 million assorted screws.  Tommy and I would have never gotten this done. Tommy doesn't feel like doing it. He would need my help and I can't get down on the floor or sit low to the ground yet.

 I needed an extra bed in the living room slash den area. It looks nice and I am very thankful for Tami and Jake's help and visit.  The grand kids moved some mulch for us to different flower beds. Jacy drove our truck. I love her laugh when she drives. I have reduced the amount of bird feeders and flower beds this year. I do not want to take of a lot of flowers or a big garden this year. 
  One of the things that always happens when the kids come out is music. They are amazing. 
   
                     


                       
   We had a good time. In fact, it was the best time we have had in several weeks. Laughter is a good medicine. After everyone left, Tommy and I walked out to the fire pit area. I needed to push mow around all the swings and 'stuff' I wanted in that area. It took probably 30 minutes. Check one more thing off our list. Below is the den and the futon. Yesterday I moved the china cabinet. That is another blog dancing in the back of my mind. 
                 
  






   

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Invasion of the Possum Snatchers...



   The end of April and a good portion of May found Missouri in a state of emergency. Round after round of torrential rains set in and did not let up for days at a time. Interstates and roads were closed due to water over the roads.   People and animals alike were stranded and had to be rescued. About this time, our garage became a second home for five uninvited possums. They did not arrive together. Instead they came one at a time for close to ten days. They were eating our dog food and making a nuisance of themselves. We purchased two live traps, loaded them with dog food and the wait began. The first night we caught a possum. We immediately took him off to a safer place, far away from our garage. Tommy was determined that I help with the possum catch and release program. I tried.


I have to admit they are one ugly animal, and they stink to high heaven. This little stinker was also heavy. We took him down to the Missouri River. I wanted to go there anyway and check out the river and roads. It was as bad as had been reported.

Upon arrival at the river we were surprised at how high the river was. It was completely out of its banks. The parking lot was covered by the muddy, rapidly expanding Missouri River. A steep boat ramp located on the other side of the trees was completely submerged.





Tommy found a dry spot and pulled over to let the possum go. It should have been a simple release. After the cage door was opened all the possum had to do was jump out of the cage and head for higher ground.

 Now I know why possum's seldom make it across the road at night. They cannot make common sense decisions. At night they see two headlights blazing down on them going 70 miles an hour and they think they have time to saunter across the road. They seldom make it. The same thought process happened with our 5th possum to release. Not one iota of common sense. He jumped out of the cage and into the raging water! Off he swam in the wrong direction. Hopefully he made it to the trees and climbed one for protection. If not he is probably floating down the river and should reach St. Charles by tomorrow.  We tried. The possums are gone for awhile. They have been replaced by a wild calico mama cat and 4 kittens.  To be continued when we figure out what to do with our new tribe.
             




                                                                                 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Wind, the Rain and This. . .

  When I wake up in the morning, I never know what the day will bring. We have had storms off and on for a month. Yesterday we woke up to a horrible storm about 3 o'clock
in the morning. Thunder shook the house, lightning split the heavens while lighting up our bedroom, enabling
us to see our dog having a panic attack. A loud crackle of lighting hit again. With a loud bang the electricity went off. I could have sworn I heard Sabella cry. 
  We had a wedding to attend at 10 a.m. which meant we had to get ready without electricity. It has been a long time since I put on makeup by flashlight.



  Today was almost a repeat of yesterday except we have electricity. Tommy wanted to go to Ben's and see how he was doing. He made it over the first hill and had to turn around because a tree branch had snapped and a huge limb, the size of a small tree, covered our road. 
  Tommy turned around, driving home to get me because he knew I would want to see the tree. At first I wanted to leave the tree alone. I do not care for the man who owns that property. Apparently, I was mad at the wrong man because Tommy swears 'the ass' I am mad at does not own that piece of land. I still disagree.  However with that in mind, we decided to clear one side of the road. The branch of the tree is the size of a small tree. We tried several times to drag the tree with a rope. That was futile. The rope broke each time. We went home and retrieved a heavier rope. 

There was a lot more tree than we originally thought. It took three tries to drag that branch and, I use 'branch' loosely. We finally moved it over, so one side of the road is clear. I think the people who own the property are responsible for cleaning up their property. I am really not sure. I know trees are down everywhere. I think I will make some calls and see what needs to be done. It is a county road so I guess I will start there.


It is passable. . . sort of.