Friday, July 10, 2009

I'm Not Dead - Yet

I just read the following on someone else's blog and thought it was funny and mostly true. Maybe you'll enjoy it, too. It's attributed to Dave Barry, a syndicated newspaper columnist.


1. Never under any circumstances take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

2. If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be "meetings."

3. There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."

4. People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.

5. If there is a God who created the entire universe with all of its glories, and he decides to deliver a message to humanity, he WILL NOT use as his messenger a person on cable TV with a bad hairstyle.

6. You should not confuse your career with your life.

7. No matter what happens, somebody will find a way to take it too seriously.

8. When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Very often, that individual is crazy.

9. Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.

10. Never lick a steak knife.

11. Take out the fortune before you eat the cookie.

12. The most destructive force in the universe is gossip.

13. You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight savings time.

14. You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.

15. There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is age 11.

16. The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above-average drivers.

17. The main accomplishment of almost all organized protests is to annoy people who are not in them.

18. A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person.

19. Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that a lone amateur built the ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic.

20. The badness of a movie is directly proportional to the number of helicopters in it.

21. People who feel the need to tell you that they have an excellent sense of humor are telling you that they have no sense of humor.

22. The most valuable function performed by the federal government is entertainment.

23. They can hold all the peace talks they want, but there will never be peace in the Middle East. Billions of years from now, when Earth is hurtling toward the sun and there is nothing left alive on the planet except a few microorganisms, the microorganisms living in the Middle East will be bitter enemies.

24. Nobody is normal.

25. Your friends love you anyway.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


April in Aberdeen meant getting ready for pilgrimage time. Aberdeen is full of ante-bellum homes; one street was formerly called "Silk Stocking Row." People who own the beautiful old houses get them spiffed up and ready for people from far and wide to come and tour. The azaleas start to bloom, and the crepe myrtle bushes are bright with color. Local ladies who give tours at the various homes dress in period dress, and it's a time of festivities and showing off the best of Aberdeen. Although our house was not a large ante-bellum one, several houses on our street were. After I left home, they began to use the front porch of our house as a stop on the tour, and my mother greeted guests on the porch, which was set up to look like an old timey school room.

April also meant choral concerts and competitions and rehearsals after school. Our girls sextet competed at district and at state, although we were never selected to sing at the state concert. I guess a group who sounded a lot better than we did got to sing. But we got to go to Jackson for about 3 days to prepare for the state concert - probably the precursor to today's All-State choir. We took several buses there and stayed in a hotel; it was all so exciting for a bunch of small town teens!

One April meant celebrating Aberdeen's Bicentennial. Our sextet had to have ante-bellum style dresses with bonnets, and we sang at events all over town. One event was singing at the Civil War cemetery in Aberdeen. Yes, there is a Civil War cemetery. It's a little way down from Oddfellows Rest cemetery, although not all buried in the CW cemetery are war veterans. One plot is rather large and is framed by a low metal fence; there is a large headstone. I always heard that a lady was buried there sitting in her rocking chair.

During my junior and senior years in high school, as well as in the summer, I worked at a printing shop which had gotten the contract to print all the materials for the Bicentennial. Not only did I have to be a part of many of the events, I had to collate and staple the programs and get them ready for distribution. I was glad to see the Bicentennial activities come to an end.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

One of the young men I work with has gone on a skiing trip with a group of people from his singles class at church. Now, if I were his age again (26 or so), that sounds like something I would just love to do. I don't know if anyone who lived in Aberdeen in that era ever went snow skiing or even knew what it was. I was pretty much of a tomboy when I was young, probably brought about by the necessity of making up our own games, which were played mostly outside and with borrowed or homemade equipment. We would get our parents to save the big empty juice cans, and we would use an ice pick or a nail to punch a hole on each side near the top, thread the heaviest string or twine that we could find through the holes, and walk on the cans, using the string to pull the can up with each step we took. We loved the noise the metal cans made on the sidewalk. Why we didn't have more sprained or broken ankles I really don't know.

Dr. Dabbs lived down the street from us, and he actually had a full-size tennis court in his backyard. His daughter and son were older than Alice and I, and they played tennis on the school team. Alice and I would often put on a brave face, go down and knock on the Dabbs' back door, and ask Mrs. Dabbs if we could borrow some racquets and balls and play on the court. She never told us, "No," and we would hit balls back and forth for a long time. Maybe that's where I got my love of watching tennis on television. I never thought about working with a coach or playing seriously; I guess I didn't know those things existed like music teachers did.

I guess today I would sit in the ski lodge, drinking a cup of hot chocolate, wishing I were young enough once again to try my hand, or my feet, as is the case, at skiing. I think I might have been good at it, because I never shied away from taking a chance, whether it was climbing a tree (and falling out) or swinging on a vine in the jungle.

I hope Brandon has a great time!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

All the stores are full of Valentines, Valentine's Day candy, and doo dads. The dime stores in Aberdeen (for awhile, we actually had two of them) had the Valentines that you either cut out or punch out, and you wanted to buy yours as soon as they were on the shelves. I don't remember seeing all the things that are in the stores today - pens, pencils, talking stuffed animals, etc. - only the cards and boxes of candy.

About a week before Valentine's Day, we had to decorate a Valentine box to take to our classroom; it would hold all the Valentines we received from classmates. A shoe box was the ideal base for the box we planned to cover with red, pink, and white crepe paper, paper doilies, and massive globs of glitter. We also cut out tons of paper hearts to stick on the box, along with our name prominently displayed somewhere. The big day finally came, and we very carefully carried the box into our classroom, where it was displayed on a table with everyone else's. Selections of which Valentines and to whom to give them were made several days ahead of time. You didn't give a Valentine to everyone in the class; you certainly didn't want some random boy to think you were madly in love with him just because you gave him a Valentine!

The one Valentine we girls hoped to get was one that had a real lollipop (red) threaded through the card. It was so special, and you just knew that that boy was probably going to grow up and marry you because he gave you such a cool Valentine. In the afternoon, the homeroom mothers would come and bring cookies and punch. No one seemed to worry about sugar or red food dye or food allergies back then, and I don't remember anyone collapsing or going into shock from eating homemade cookies and punch.

We even had the little conversation hearts back then - the ones that taste like an antacid to me, although Arnie loves them. He actually mailed a small box of those hearts to me in college just to see if they would really go through the mail. They did. There was a space on the back side of the box for a name and address. The post office would probably throw them out today; I wonder what it cost him back then in the 60s?

Anyway, Happy Valentine's Day, and I hope you get that big box of premium chocolates I know you want!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

On cold days like this one, Alice and I stayed inside to play. I remember a lot of those days, but there must not have been so many because we would have been in school. Alice liked to play with paper dolls - you know, the kind where you cut out the paper clothing and use the little tabs to attach the clothing to the dolls. I never saw much point in it. The doll was one-dimensional and couldn't bend or move around anyway. Then, you put an outfit on her and what could she do? Nothing. Then you took that outfit off and put on another one. B-o-r-i-n-g!

I much preferred the not so cold days in the fall when the leaves had fallen and we could play outside. Sally Ann had a very deep back yard with a wonderful tree with limbs just right for kids to climb on. In fact, each of us who played on that tree had his/her own limb. Of course, Sally Ann had the best one; it went out for a ways and then branched into a "y" so you could hang upside down and do various tricks on it. And it wasn't too far from the ground, in case you fell, which we did sometimes. The rest of us had to get permission from Sally Ann to play on her limb.

One of our favorite games at Sally Ann's was Follow the Leader. Now, Larry lived for a time in the other side of Alice's duplex, and he was an only child with a said-to-be alcoholic father, Herman, and mother, Pearl, who watched his every move from the swing on the duplex front porch. Larry wore glasses that were as thick as Coke bottles (the glass kind, you know, like we had back then when the Coke tasted better than it does now). Before Larry came over to play, Sally Ann, Alice, and I would dig some holes in the yard, fill them with leaves, and tell Larry we were going to play Follow the Leader. The leader would manage to barely avoid the leaf-filled holes, but Larry would step in them every time! We would howl with laughter, and Larry would start to cry. Then, his mother would start yelling, asking us what we had done to him. We would tell her we were just playing a game and didn't know what was wrong with Larry. Wasn't that mean? And Larry was even nice to me the last time I saw him, which was probably 25 years ago. He should have shoved me into a hole then and there!

At one point, Sally Ann's father decided to make some extra money and raise chinchillas for the fur. Now, he built a fairly nice house for the chinchillas to live in; it even had air conditioning. We didn't have air conditioning in our houses, but the chinchillas did, so we spent considerable time in their house playing dolls and even dressing up Sally Ann's cats in doll clothes. I wonder what the two types of animals thought about each other. The chinchillas were in cages, so they never got very close to the cats. I really hated it when his chinchilla enterprise came to an end; I don't know if it didn't generate the money he had hoped or what, but we really missed the cool air.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Aberdeen Winter

Hearing that we might have some low temperatures with possible ice/snow next week reminded me of winters in Mississippi - where we saw snow and ice once in a blue moon. As a child, I had never heard of fancy Doppler radar systems, people called metereologists, Gary England drinking games, and storm chasers. We didn't have a television until I was probably 12 years old, and even then, we could get only one channel late at night. So, if the daily newspaper from Memphis, Tennessee said it was going to rain, then it might - or might not. The local radio station, WMPA, may have made some weather predictions, but you had to listen at just the right time of day - somewhere between the farm report and Uncle Bubba's Swap Shop.

Anyway, my friend Sally Ann had an aunt Brooksie who was married to a man who worked for the local funeral home. I think he was nice enough, but I was always a little skeptical of him since he worked around dead people all the time. I remember him as being a quiet person, but I guess there aren't many chances to practice the art of conversation at a funeral home. When the weather would get really cold, Brooksie and her husband would run a hose up to the top of a bare tree in their front yard and, I suppose, let the hose run all night. The next morning, the tree would have icicles all over it - kinda like the trees you see decorated for Christmas where someone has paid someone else a lot of money to wrap thousands of lights around the trees. It was the prettiest thing to walk past on the way to and from school. It was the closest thing to a winter wonderland that we would see. If it ever DID snow, school closed, most of the town shut down, and everyone's mamas ran to the grocery store for milk and bread, just in case the trace of snow were to cripple us for weeks. :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Long time, no post...sorry. I know - you're tired of "Fire, fire." My job has really gotten in the way of my blogging. :)

I was reminded the other day of a story my mother told me. My mother worked at a men's pants factory in Aberdeen, which may have been, at one time, the largest employer in town. My mother was the overseer of a "line" of women who had a quota to make every week. Some of the women came from very poor backgrounds; they didn't own a car and were very happy to pay a small amount for someone with a car to pick them up for work and take them home. Mary was one such person. Mary was a very hard worker. She didn't own a sewing machine at home, but my mother said she sometimes made her own dresses BY HAND. Now, I've made dresses with a sewing machine, but the thought of making one with just a needle and thread puts me in awe of someone who would do that. I guess you do what you have to in order to survive. Mary, along with 3 or 4 other women, regularly rode with another woman to and from work. Mary's husband, Emmett, who sometimes worked when he wasn't drunk, was unpredictable, at best. One day, as the car filled with women drove up to take Mary home, there was Emmett, sitting on the front steps, as my mother put it, "as naked as a jaybird." Right there - for all to see. Mary must have loved Emmett a whole lot. Another time, Mary had done all the laundry, hung it out to dry, brought it in, starched and ironed everything, and put it away neatly in a dresser drawer. Emmett came home drunk that night, opened the dresser drawer, and urinated all over the freshly-done laundry.