Thursday, April 2, 2015
It was a warm spring day many years ago when I first heard the legend of the Dogwood tree. My Grandmother was standing at the wood line behind her home and she was so joyful that she had spotted a dogwood in the shadow of the tall long leaf pines. I remember walking over to where she stood to see what she was doing. We were there for Easter, having driven from Tampa, Fla., to spend Easter with the family. Mammy, as we called her, was stroking the petals of the little tree and a tear was rolling down her face. I asked her why she was crying and she told me she was sharing the pain of the little tree. I didn't understand and she saw the confusion on my face and smiled. She asked me if I had not been told the Legend of the Dogwood. I told her I didn't think I had and she shook her head and told me to sit down. Now, Mammy had been a teacher most of her life. She never missed an opportunity to teach us things she thought we should know. I took a seat on a big old tree that had been felled by a spring storm and she sat beside me. This is the Legend she recited to me. At the time of Crucifixion the dogwood had been the size of the oak and other forest trees. So firm and strong was the tree that it was chosen as the timber for the cross. To be used thus for such a cruel purpose greatly distressed the tree, and Jesus nailed upon it, sensed this. In His gentle pity for all sorrow and suffering Jesus said to the tree: “Because of your regret and pity for My suffering, never again shall the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used as a cross. Henceforth it shall be slender and bent and twisted and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross — two long and two short petals. And in the center of the outer edge of each petal there will be nail prints, brown with rust and stained with red, and in the center of the flower will be a crown of thorns, and all who see it will remember.” It did not take long for the forests of Dogwoods to begin withering and dying. They did not die completely, only becoming slender and bent and now the flowers came profusely, showing the story of the crucifixion in their petals. I thought of this a few weeks ago as I noticed the dogwoods in bloom as we drove down Highway 151. The most beautiful of all were not the healthy ones that came from a nursery, well fed and tended. They looked taller and stronger than the real beauties, the ones that grew up wild in the woods of pine and oak, their limbs spindly and bent … the flowers are white, the nail marks marred by the rusty color of old blood and the crown of thorns at the center that speaks out to remind us, our Savior blessed you and and forgave you, just as he did the once majestic Dogwood tree. Sometimes being brought low is not a punishment, but a reminder. Rejoice, because this is Maundy Thursday. Good Friday will be time enough to reflect on what was done to this gentle man, this son of God whom we call Jesus. Our tears may flow as we do the Stations of the Cross, but much joy will be shared on Easter Sunday. He is Risen … and the Dogwood still blooms with the story.
Thursday, March 5, 2015
When we were growing up we had the best of both worlds where our religious training was concerned. We were brought up in both the Catholic and Southern Baptist churches. We learned to understand and cherish the Sacraments of the Catholic Church, the peace of the Mass and the strict discipline of the Sisters that taught us in school (might I even say, fear?) I attended Catholic schools until we moved to Ruby when I was 15. From the Southern Baptists of my Grandparents church (our beloved Douglas Mill Baptist Church) I learned to read my Bible and things I did not understand were explained to me my Grandmother, ever the teacher. I learned to love all the old hymns in the Broadman Hymnal...one of my favorite hymns was Wayfaring Stranger. It says so much about our Journey here on earth and what God expects of us. To often we ignore a call or put aside an obligation. We have a wealth of freedoms that we take for granted untill it is nearly to late. Bitter words can part of us from the love of our Church families and essentially from the Benediction of our faith.
Most of you know that I came close to meeting Jesus this past summer but while I may have been ready, others including God had other ideas. I even had a visitation from long passed mothers of my family who told me that all would be well. Eventually. So, I held onto my faith and let God work his miracles. On facebook when I was finally able to sit up for while and read all the prayers that had been sent up for me, I found I had a new friend that I really had never heard from before. I have never been sure how this Minister of a church in Kenya came to be my friend, but trusting in God we have been visiting on Facebook for many months. He has offered up prayer for me and I for him and his flock. They need rain for the crops, so I pray for rain for them. His church is in its infancy but they have so much faith. We have been discussing the possibility of a Sister Church to sponsor them and help them to get Bibles and Bible story books for the children; to give them moral support and help them get firmly on their feet. I love to look at the photos of his Congregation and how they get to their knees to ask for God's blessings. In a time when so many are punished by death for their Christian beliefs, and even here some of our traditions are banned where our holidays are concerned, I know that their little church will survive. If you would like to friend Lucas and his Church on Facebook his full name is Lucas Wafula Wechuli. Just go on Facebook, tell him God sent you. Here is a photo of three of the little children in Jesus's care...there are many more photos on Lucas's home page.
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Last year, Mac said he wasn't going to plant so many tomatoes. This was after our tomatoes were like zucchini in that we couldn't
give them away. I canned and froze tomatoes and wrapped green ones in newspaper and stored them in the pantry. We were eating tomatoes at Thanksgiving. He grows some really great ones in these things he call "growtainers". They hold two plants each.
He has four of them. The tomatoes get to be softball and bigger size. They make great sink sandwiches. He has the makings for
four more of these growtainers out there. Okay, so that's eight tomato plants already bearing. But wait! He has nearly an acre planted in melons, beans, Armendian melons (a great cucumber), eggplant and peppers...we have strawberries (still putting on fruit)
and YES we have TOMATOES. There are Celebrity, Mortgage Lifter (three different varieties) and lord knows what else. He even
has some grafting stock to try grafting. Like we don't have enough already.
I saw this little marvel of a gadget on The Price is Right. It was called a Tomato Press. Okay, so lots of you already knew about this thing, but I didn't. So that weekend, I used it for the second time. I put on a big pan of boiling water and started blanching the
baskets and baskets of tomatoes that were sitting on every available space in the kitchen and dining room. I just plopped the tomatoes, skin and all, into the hopper and started turning the handle. Out poured lovely tomato sauce. I put the skin and seed back through and got more juice...I worked for nearly three hours and ended up with ten quarts of lovely tomato's for use in sauces of all kinds. And it made a pretty good juice, too.
Last year, it went like this: I had just spent two hours watering the garden. I watered the fruit trees and all the tomatoes, the Strawberries and the eggplant. I watered the peppers (bell and HOT) and the flowers even got some attention for a change. Done with the front, I turned the hose over to Mac and came inside for a cup of coffee! Mac was down in the big garden watering . I went down to take him a cold drink and he was shaking his head. "What's up?" I asked him. He looked around at the 80+ Tomato plants (including the three he had planted on Saturday) and said "I'm not going to plant so many tomatoes next year." I nodded wisely, but a mental eye roll was what was going on in my head. Yep, I've heard that before! Right now, at this very second he is going through a box of seeds he saved from last year. They are tomato seeds. I give up.
Thursday, February 19, 2015
Power outages are a pain...and due to a bit of ice during the night, we had a countywide outage.
awakened at about 4 a.m. and noticed that the fan was not running. Getting up to check the
clock, I immediately crawled back in my warm bed before it became a cold bed. I didn't have long
to wait. At 6:30 I got up and still no power. Fetching the torch (flashlight) I went looking for my
Kindle. I am half way through The Book Thief, and this was the perfect opportunity to get deep
into the other half. I haven't seen the movie, which I understand is very good, but I often refuse
to see the movie before reading the book. Hollywood never does the book proud. I remember
once after reading Dean Koontz's The Watchers for the third time going to see the movie. The
only thing vaguely familiar was the beautiful Golden Retriever. What a waste of money.
So as I am reading The Book Thief, I noticed something. My face was in turmoil. It couldn't smile,
it wouldn't hold even a hint of a smile. I stopped to think back on other favorite books and going
down the list in my mind realized that most books have humor in them, even if the books are not
intended to be funny. It makes a nice break in the book from the terror or the haunting or
whatever the nature of the book might be. Humor is definitely not the nature of The Book Thief.
The nature of this book is not really fear either. The nature of this book is Doldrums...because that
is where you are from page one onward. The Holocaust is the main thrust of the book, but even
in The Diary of Anne Frank you smile on occasion and are even able to laugh out loud. But not
here. I hope I am not putting you off reading this spell binding book because that is exactly what
it is, spell binding. I find my self putting off the last few pages hating to come to the end of it
Because I know I will never want to read it again,
Thursday, February 12, 2015
I was talking online to my granddaughter Arianna yesterday. She loves school, and for that I am grateful. I loved school, too. I attended many of them during my schoolyears and even once went to school in a skating rink (our school in Savannah had burned to the ground). Arianna told me that they are reading To Kill a Mockingbird in English Lit and how much she is enjoying it. I asked her if she had read The Diary of Anne Frank and she said no. I was shocked, as it was required reading in my class at Our Lady of Victory in Washington, DC. It was not, however, how I first learned of the Holocaust.
I was twelve years old and we lived in Cleveland, Ohio. Our neighbors 2 doors down were the Silvers. I was friends with their daughter Regina and frequently was a guest in their home. We played card games with Mrs Silver and it was she who taught us to play Rummy 500. One day when I was there Dr. Silver came home and was so excited he was actully shouting as he came in the door, yelling for "Mama". "Mama Mama, are you here?" He ruffled mine and Gina's hair as he rushed by us, looking for his wife. He called her "Mama" and she called him "Papa". His voice was filled with excitement and something I only identified as justification years later. I heard the name Eichman mentioned and that he had been captured by the Israeli's Mossad and was now being held for trial. Mrs Silver came in and sat down with a whoomph on the feather sofa between Gina and me. She turned her wrist over and gently stroked the numbers and letters inked permenently there on that pale skin. Gina had told me some time ago that her parents had been in the Concentration Camp Treblinka and had been freed at the end of the war by American troops.
There were many war criminals to be held up to public scrutiny and put on trial at Nuremburg but many still who escaped justice. One of them was Otto Adolph Eichmann. And that was what was causing all the excitement in the Silver household. This cruel man had finally been found in South America and was going to finally face the victims who were still living and hopefully pay the price for ones who did not. My eyes kept going to the tattoo on Mrs Silver's wrist. She took my hand and laid my fingers on the ugly block of ink. "Never again we pray..." she whispered.
When we moved to DC one of the books we were required to read was "The Diary of Anne Frank" and I was mesmerized because finally I understood a bit of what the Silvers had been through. A very little bit, but I would learn more as I grew up. I was haunted by that turned wrist and the anguish in the eyes of a friend's mother. Here is a short history of one of the cruelest men to ever draw breath...Otto Adolf Eichmann was a German Nazi SS-Obersturmbannführer and one of the major organisers of the Holocaust. Eichmann was charged by SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich with facilitating and managing the logistics of mass deportation of Jews to ghettos and extermination camps in German-occupied Eastern Europe during World War II. In 1960, he was captured in Argentina by the Mossad, Israel's intelligence service. Following a widely publicised trial in Israel, he was found guilty of war crimes and hanged in 1962.
Last week was the 70th anniversary of the discovery and freeing of the prisoners left alive in the camps of Auschwitz, Treblinka, camps to numerous to list here. Lest we forget...
Thursday, December 4, 2014
I was talking to some facebook friends about the big book of computer info called "The Complete Book of Computer for the Complete Idiot." I reminded them that it's main use is as a door stop; a $69.99 dollar door stop. Well, after I had learned what I needed from it, I sort of wore out my EMachine. Everyone was after me to get a laptop. I am not sure what I had against it, but I was not a happy camper with a laptop. I wanted what I was accustomed to, that tall tower and big a** monitor that took a special computer desk to sustain its' weight. So in 2008 Santa did the unthinkable. He brought me a laptop and I sort of pouted about it. Okay, so I just out and out refused to even try it for the first week it took up residence. Then, when the EMachine refused to cooperate at all, I opened the laptop and began to try it out. I hated the little pad that replaced the mouse and Mac heard me all the way down in the garden..."I HATE THIS THING!!" It's a lucky girl I am, because Mac knows a good bit about computers, he's built his fair share, including all the ones we have used beginning in 1991. He even built my EMachine. He came in and went into his office and came back with a mouse. He plugged it into the USB port (now I have to be honest and tell you that I had written down UBS till Mac corrected me...it stands for Universal Serial Bus). The computer picked it up as new hardware and installed it. I hesitantly approached the computer, and placing fingers on keyboard, began to type. I used the mouse for the things the mouse has to do and was in love. Oh yes, I love my laptop. I was on that laptop hours at a time. By the end of it, I had written a book, and had it published. Also, I was not the only one who loved that laptop...Sonny our Russian Blue loved it too. When I wasn't on it, I'm afraid he was. And then something awful happened. Sonny and I loved my laptop so much that we actually loved it to death; yes, we killed my laptop. I don't know how we killed it, but suffice it to say that it became overheated and decided to blow itself up. Sigh. I handed it over to son Michael who had it for several weeks. "Exactly what did you do to it," he finally asked. That was when he returned it to me as being a hopeless case. I think it should be purrfectly clear that Sonny has denied all culpability in this. He claims he was in his cola box, and has the proof. So right now I am using Mac's laptop and he has ordered me to keep it closed and turned off and Sonny's presence is not needed upon the case. Poor Sonny. So, this is going to be my letter to Santa. I'm sure he reads the Chronicle...after all, he has letters to him published in it every year. So here goes...Dear Santa, all I want for Christmas is a new laptop with cat repellent implied...I've been pretty good all year if you don't count the mornings and evenings...thanking you in advance...Sandi So, what do you think? I'll let you know if he agrees that a new laptop is in my future. Cross your fingers for me, will you?
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Sunday, July 27, 2014
This has been such an eventful week that I wonder where to begin my my narrative. So I will begin at the beginning. As you know we started out last week with the most wonderful news, the birth of our grandson Edgar Lawrence McBride. The day was not the best for me healthwise, but heartwise it was wonderful. After learning that I had cellulitis in my right foot and began treatment, on Wednesday the problem was no better, in fact worse. Mac bundled me into the truck and we headed to the Emergency Room Department at Carolina Pines in Hartsville (SC). I was seen by a surgeon who admitted me immediately. On Thursday I went into surgery where they did cleanout of the affected area. When I came out of recovery I knew from Mac's face that the news was not good. The surgeon came in and spoke to us and told us that the partial amputation of my right foot was not only indicated, it was imperative. I agreed and the surgery was set for Friday. I did not sleep much Thursday night, I was not worried, only anxious. I was told how much of my foot was to go, and I knew I had to live with it. But still sleep eluded me. Friday at 6 am they came to take me to surgery. I was so glad that it would start early, knowing that it would be well underway if not a finished procedure by the time Mac arrived at the hospital. When I came to, as they rolled me into my room I was suddenly surrounded by my family and love. The day moved on in slow motion it seemed. I had yet to cry. I am not a big cryer. Friday night, after my family had all gone home and as I lay on the hard framed hospital bed, I lay curled up on my side and drifted in and out of a half sleep. The tv played in the background, something on HGTV, when the first Spirit arrived. The swirling of a warm mist, the face of my mother peered down at me. She was saying something I could not understand, but her gentle hands caressed my face and as she moved away I saw another spirit ready to move in and my grandmother's hands took the place of my mothers and her voice spoke straight to my heart reassuring me that I was not alone, then my mother in law was there, her face brightly lit her hands caressing and loving and she was speaking to me. Finally the fourth spirit moved over me and soft sweet hands stroked my face and neck. I was not asleep. I was wide awake. The Visitation lasted all night. I felt rocked and cuddled in loving arms. arms of the strongest women in my life experience. At six am I fell into a deep and healing sleep. I am well on the road to recovery and the medical staff is amazed at how little pain medication I have had to take. The doctor told me today that they are calling me the Wonder Patient. He says that I will heal better since I am not having to take so much pain medication. So that is what happened to me Friday night. I would not give anything for the experience. God is good.
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Thursday, June 5, 2014
Friday, April 18, 2014
It was a warm spring day many years ago when I first heard the story of the Dogwood tree. My Grandmother was standing at the woodline behind her home and she was so joyful that she had spotted a dogwood in the shadow of the tall long leaf pines. I remember walking over to where she stood to see what she was doing. We were there for Easter, having driven from Tampa, Fla., to spend Easter with the family. Mammy, as we called her, was stroking the petals of the little tree and a tear was rolling down her face. I asked her why she was crying and she told me she was sharing the pain of the little tree. I didn’t understand and she saw the confusion on my face and smiled. She asked me if I had not been told the Legend of the Dogwood. I told her I didn’t think I had and she shook her head and told me to sit down. Now, Mammy had been a teacher most of her life. She never missed an opportunity to teach us things she thought we should know. I took a seat on a big old tree that had been felled by a spring storm and she sat beside me. This is the Legend she recited to me. At the time of Crucifixion the dogwood had been the size of the oak and other forest trees. So firm and strong was the tree that it was chosen as the timber for the cross. To be used thus for such a cruel purpose greatly distressed the tree, and Jesus nailed upon it, sensed this. In His gentle pity for all sorrow and suffering Jesus said to the tree: “Because of your regret and pity for My suffering, never again shall the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used as a cross. Henceforth it shall be slender and bent and twisted and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross — two long and two short petals. And in the center of the outer edge of each petal there will be nail prints, brown with rust and stained with red, and in the center of the flower will be a crown of thorns, and all who see it will remember.” It did not take long for the forests of Dogwoods to begin withering and dying. They did not die completely, only becoming slender and bent and now the flowers came profusely, showing the story of the crucifixion in their petals. I thought of this a few weeks ago as I noticed the dogwoods in bloom as we drove down Highway 151. The most beautiful of all were not the healthy ones that came from a nursery, well fed and tended. They looked taller and stronger than the real beauties, the ones that grew up wild in the woods of pine and oak, their limbs spindly and bent … the flowers are white, the nail marks marred by the rusty color of old blood and the crown of thorns at the center that speaks out to remind us, our Savior blessed you and and forgave you, just as he did the once majestic Dogwood tree. Sometimes being brought low is not a punishment, but a reminder. Rejoice, because this is Maundy Thursday. Good Friday will be time enough to reflect on what was done to this gentle man, this son of God whom we call Jesus. Our tears may flow as we do the Stations of the Cross, but much joy will be shared on Easter Sunday. He is Risen … and the Dogwood still blooms with the story.
Monday, March 24, 2014
There's a beauty regimen that nearly every woman I know has to go through. Has to I tell you. There is no choice in the matter, even for those who were born beautiful, you have to work to keep that beauty up on your face and not hanging around your neck with myriad wrinkles and age spots. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this regimen needs to start at, oh I don't know, age ten? Shockingly enough I began my "Noxzema routine" at the late age of fifteen. I remember telling my mother that the soap (Camay, remember Camay?) made my skin feel tight and icky. My mother went out to the store the following day and bought me a cobalt blue jar of Noxzema skin cleanser. Thus began the routine that follows for the rest of my life. It was only the first step, but a major one. It was like I had joined some kind of tribe after I told my friends about the miracles of that astringently smelling white cream that I used at least twice a day, on weekends three. Where had I been, I was asked. One friend claimed to have started using it at age seven. I could only think she must have had some extremely oily skin...or extraordinarily dry skin, for this was one of those "one size fits all" products. There I am, a Noxzema addict, step one is now complete and step two was just around the corner. Lipstick. My first tube was purchased in the May Company. It was Rose. Not red Rose, barely pink rose, you know just a blush of color. My mother wore Fire Engine Red and I asked her why I couldn't wear red. She told me quite simply, "you don't have the maturity to pull it off. Wait until you're older." Of course when we got home, I had to go in her bathroom and try her lipstick. She was right. I looked like an escapee from Barnum and Bailey's Circus. So, at age 16 I could wear a little powder and a tiny bit of mascara. So now here we are, clean face, a little powder, some eye makeup and an almost there lipstick. By age twenty I refused to let anyone see me without my makeup on. Mac was the only exception, he saw a clean scrubbed face twice a day. When we were stationed in London, my friend Bubbles, (she was known professionally as Violet Loxley, the West End Actress) took me to her hairdresser. Every woman knows you have to have a hairdresser that you'd trust with your life. (Here I have my darling Miranda). But so far while in England, I had yet to find anyone with whom I was, well, content. Bubbles had no end of Service people ("Little Men" as she called them...her 6/2 195 pound window washer was "her little man" and the sentence always began with "I have this little man who may be able to help you out, hair wise.") She meant no disrespect, she was not rude, she was English. So, off I go to her "Little Man" who welcomes me warmly, clasping both my hands in his and standing back begins to nod his head, smiling widely. He sat me in the chair and considering me as a blank canvas began to "tch tch" and shake his head. I wondered if I had sprouted another head that didn't meet with as much approval as the one that first entered his shop. He looked at Bubbles and still shaking his head, said "lovely face, shame about the eyebrows." Bubbles came over to me and said very quietly, "he wants to give you a wax, dear. Are you game?" Now how could I tell this tiny sweet lady that the lioness, (which she often referred to me as) in her midst was not game? So Elliot (our little Man) came to stand over me with a sharp stick, globs of hot wax upon it and although I felt I might bolt and run, I simply grasped the arms of the chair as he began to paint molten hell on my eyebrows. Pretending it was not so bad, I began to relax, it only burned a little bit . He then rubbed strips of cloth over the wax, rubbing till I thought a bruise might appear. And then the maddened little man ripped them off quickly, no warning, just PAIN erupting from my forehead. I think I screamed. I don't know, because I think I may have lost consciousness there for a minute, too. When I came to myself Bubbles was patting my hand and saying things like "it's all over now dear, wait till you see". Well, once I dashed the tears from my eyes I could see what she meant. Wow. My eyebrows looked wonderful, making my eyes look larger...the brow no longer went from one side of my face to the other with no break in the middle. I no longer looked like a long lost relative of the Wolfman. The amazing Elliot spent the next hour on my hair and when I walked out of his shop, I had to admit that I felt wonderful and looked pretty darned good, too! So we're about to walk out and back to Marylebone Station when Bubbles takes a package from "her little man". Okay, so Elliot is indeed a diminutive soul, he being 5'4 and me being, well, tall. Off we go, catch the train and back to Beaconsfield we go. On the train she takes the package from her bag and tells me "you'll like this much better for your legs than a razor or that harsh cream." I opened the box and gazed upon a contraption that fit nicely in my hand. It had what appeared to be a coil of wire at the end. Bubbles explained that this was an Epilator, and that you just run the little contraption up and down your leg lightly and "voila" the hair was gone as if by magic. I tried it that night. Dogs from several blocks away responded to my howls of pain. Please, someone pass me the razor.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
As you all know we lost a landmark in Chesterfield last week. People stood on the street slack jawed with shock as first the building went up, then the ammo inside went off (in protest, I believe). The good old Feed and Seed has stood there for over 75 years and all of us have stories about it, I am sure. I remember the smell of chicken scratch and the gentle peeping of the Easter chicks, dyed in bright colors of pinks and blues that every kid who walked through those big double doors wanted to clutch to them. The fertilizer smells and the old men sitting around the pot bellied stove because Easter might be just around the corner, but old Man Winter was still hanging around. I have a couple of good family memories that involved the good old Feed and Seed...but my favorite comes from their selling of cracked eggs...so gather round children and listen to the tale of the The Great Egg Caper: Long before the medical factions started warning us about things like eating too much meat, eating too little fish, using good old fat back grease for frying and cooking, and eating eggs with cracked shells, we were doing it all. By we, I mean our entire region. We're Southern. It goes without saying. My Grandfather, who was of Scottish descent, believed that a penny saved would keep him solvent. I'm not saying he was tight, but for heaven's sake, he was Scottish. He believed in land ownership, because, he said, they're not making it anymore. At his death he owned nearly 1000 acres which he left to my Grandmother, till her death, at which time it would be divided between the three daughters. My grandmother, who taught school, was a very kind woman who believed in helping her fellow man, even if that meant giving that penny saved, to the down trodden. She had generosity of heart. She and my Grandfather got along the way most married people do, they had their ups and downs and could carry on an argument for days and then suddenly, it was over. And like everyone else, the arguments usually were over money. Mammy (my grandmother) went grocery shopping on Saturdays. During the week (after retiring from teaching school) she farmed along side Daddy Dwight (my Grandfather). The days from Monday through Friday were long hard days, especially Friday night. Friday nights were the nights when Mammy made out the checks to the farm hands, caught up the ledger and prepared for another week beginning Mondays. Daddy Dwight , after inspecting the fields, made up the schedule for what needed doing to the tobacco fields...poisoning (for worms), watering, topping (taking the flower tops off the plants so that the growth would go to the leaves and not the flowers), decide when it was time to "put in tobacco" and hire the extra hands, get the fuel for the tobacco barns , check the barns and flues, just get ready for production, in general. It was not an easy job, for either of them. It was early one morning, a Saturday, and Mammy was getting ready to go grocery shopping at the Red and White. They always got their eggs at the Purina place, (the good old Feed and Seed) and bought them 8 dozen or so at a go. They always got the cracked cheaper eggs. Daddy Dwight was in charge of that. He took the pickup to town, and Mammy took the car. So, Saturday afternoon, I was sitting at the table, knees up and feet on the seat of the bench, reading a book. I even remember the book. It was "Lad: A Dog" by Albert Payson Terhune. Having spent the night with head under the covers and flashlight focused on the page, I only had about two chapters to go. The argument between my grandparents was like a buzzing mosquito in my ear...I wasn't really listening, but the voices were rising. Mammy had the patience of Job and really didn't lose her temper till she had taken as much as she could take and then boy howdy, everyone better stand back, because as in the words of the miners, "she's gonna blow!" Funny, but all her female progeny are just like that in every respect. So I hear Daddy Dwight fussing about Mammy throwing out some of the eggs. She tried to tell him that some were cracked a bit too much and she couldn't cook with them. He kept insisting that there was nothing wrong with them and how wasteful she was being. I saw her eyes narrow and lips thin to a straight line. I closed my book with a snap and just as I was getting up to leave the room, the house, maybe the yard, it happened. Mammy picked up one of the eggs that was severely cracked and said, "here Dwight, let me show you why I can't use this egg," and smooshed it on the top of his head. Then she rubbed it in. And the fight was on. The egg fight, which started in the kitchen, eased onto the screen porch and then on out into the yard. They were throwing eggs at each other like a pair of six years old. Neither of them were laughing, they were intent on coating each other with as much egg as they could. I had run down to my Aunt Margaret's and ratted them out and she and my Aunt Pat went up to the house to break up the war. Both were slightly out of breath, but we never knew what would have broken up the fight first, their anger dying out or running out of eggs. And remember, they had at the very least eight dozen of them. I don't remember how long it took them to start speaking to each other again...three days or three weeks. But I know it took the Aunts three days to cleanup the slippery, gooey mess of eggs dripping from the cabinets, the table, and the walls onto the kitchen floor. My cousin Crystal (Aunt Margaret's daughter) and I were talking about this "comedrama" this morning. We were laughing so hard we couldn't catch our breaths. I told Crystal that I thought I would write about the the great egg caper, that enough time had passed where it was funny. But Mammy and Daddy Dwight never laughed about it. It was not allowed to be brought up in their presence. So, if I get a visit from the other side tonight, I'm thinking I'll know why. I just hope they aren't carrying a box of eggs. v>
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
A group of us girls got together last night, leaving husbands and significant others to fend for themselves where it came to scavenging for food, drink and entertainment. Waitress not included. It's been a while since we were all together swapping war stories from the line of duty. It felt good to be in the company of women. I'm sure men can appreciate this, it's not much different from their poker nights, only we have no cards or chips, we expend no money only laughter. We try to keep things light for the fun of it and occasionally dark for the thrill of it. We were doing hamburgers and Good Sister was doing her world famous slaw. I was amazed because she was actually making it in front of us so we could all steal the recipe if we were so inclined. I was. I did. I will. I told them about a house that had burned nearly to the ground on my way out to her house. It struck me as suspicious...but that's the cop blood, you see. Everything is suspicious. So GS told me that there had been a few suspicious fires in town, and that I could be right about the house. Everyone was moving around the kitchen, breaking up lettuce, slicing tomatoes, GS was now making chili so those of us so inclined could have a Carolina Classic hamburger...chili and slaw with a healthy slice of Vidalia onion. Turns out we were all so inclined. She cut the potatoes to fry, and looking around at our bounty, said "Wendy's doesn't have anything on us, girls!" Asking me if I wanted a soda, she directed me to her fridge. "I put some diet cokes in the freezer." I walked over to the fridge, pulled the freezer drawer out and grabbed a coke. I heard one of the girls say, "did you intend to put a morgue drawer in your kitchen or was it a happy accident?" Every one broke out laughing as GS shook her head and told us it had not even occurred to her until it was set in place. After that several of us begged her to tell us the story of the night she got pinned in the Morgue. The Morgue in the old hospital was more like a walk in closet with four odd looking drawers inset into the wall. It was old, having been an afterthought years ago when the hospital was first built. The only other people (other than the resident dead) that entered on any kind of frequent basis were the Medical Examiners and family members there to identify a loved one, or view a loved one who had passed in the hospital. One of the drawers, the bottom drawer on the left had long been in need of repair, but administration had done nothing about the repairs in the six months since the request had been made. There was now a trick to pull the "Resident of the drawer" out into the light for viewing. In the room was a tall metal trash can, you had to open the door out, pull out the drawer and quickly kick the trash can under the drawer to support it and keep the body on the tray of the drawer from tumbling onto the floor. The ME's had become so used to doing this that it was just second nature, open door, pull drawer, kick can, support tray. See? Easily done. So this one night when GS was the ME on call, she had to go down to the Morgue to do the paper work on a body that had just gone down from upstairs. The family would want to "view" her, she knew, and she needed to get all the paperwork in the system. For some reason, the "Residents" were always put in feet first, rather than head first which made it difficult to read the toe tags. You had to pull the body completely out to read the information. GS said she groaned when she saw which drawer her patient was in. She expected the worse. She got it. "I opened the door, " she told us, "and realized that the body within was well over three hundred pounds. At first the tray refused to move. I had one leg cocked to kick the trash can under the tray when it rolled out, but the tray still refused to move. Instead of looking to see what might be holding it, I just gave a hard jerk on it and suddenly it began to move. It picked up momentum and before I could kick the can under it to support it, it came off the track and pinned me to the back Morgue wall. I couldn't lift it. I couldn't move it. I began to wail hoping someone would hear me. After a bit, I gave that up and decided to save my voice for when I might hear someone coming down in the elevator. I figured that someone would miss me eventually, or the family would be escorted down to view the body and that I wouldn't be here long. I was in there for an hour before I heard the slightest sound other than my own breathing. I began to yell, "hello!!! hello!!!" at the top of my lungs. The young ME was now thankful for the sweater that she had pulled on before going down to the glorified closet. It was cold in here. Of course, it needed to be cold, but she was afraid she was going to freeze to death before anyone came to her rescue. It was the elevator she heard that sounded like an angel skidding to a stop. She heard a voice singing a gospel song and so she began to shout, "in here, help me please!" She saw the young man in the huge mirror that hung on the morgue wall and showed the outside hallway. He stopped, took an ear bud from his ipod out of his ear and stopped. His eyes were wide and his mouth hung open in shock as though he had awakened and found himself in the midst of a horror movie. The ME, whose voice was now raw and wispy from shouting for over an hour, again called out, "Hello!!" She could hear the young man clearing his throat. He too seemed to have lost his voice. He turned all around trying to locate the voice. He began to stammer back, "hello, where are you?" He turned into the Morgue and seeing her there against the wall, ran over to try to help her. It took three men and a jack to free her from her chilly prison, but they finally managed to get the tray back on the tracks and into the drawer. "You know it was about a month before I felt warm again. And it was the impetus for building a new morgue. And high time, too!" And so that's the story of the Morgue Drawer...line of duty stories? I have a million of them.