Tuesday, March 22, 2016


I hate to get too personal (being a blogger, ha) but I have been sick with the galloping crud.  For eight days, I have been participating in the Great Lollygag Festival of 2016.  Lollygag is one of my favorite words.  Sounds so appropriate and definitive.  In my gowntail, coughing and sneezing and wheezing.  Would it never end?

The last fun event I remember is going to the grocery store and coming home and stirring up some cheesy chicken noodle casserole.  To have on hand in case this cold bug took hold.  Well, Burt got better and I went downhill fast.  But we had the supreme comfort food on hand for several days.  Obviously, it's curative powers have been reduced, in my eyes.  But Burt begs to differ.

There are days just wiped from my memory like the magic neuralyzer in Men in Black.  Life was  hanging on by a Kleenex.  I was so confused I thought I was binge watching reruns of Steve Harvey.  I'm not a recliner type person but I spent many hours like a carrier ship flattened in the furthermost position with tissues flung across my flight deck.  And that was when I could make it to the den.  I was so sick I only watched one movie, Doctor Zhivago.  And if that was just the one, it was a good one. (Omar Sharif)

Starve a cold or feed a fever?  Definitely feed the cold.  The highlights of my day were Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream, Welch's Grape Juice and Cheesy Chicken Noodle Casserole with sub highlights of Blueberry Pop Tarts and Hall's Tropical Fruit Cough Drops.  Bedside service was five star.  A special meal stands out - chicken noodle soup accompanied with Butter cheese and crackers, a family favorite.  Butter makes everything better.

Other highlights of the week were watching Nancy Regan's funeral and my every four days bathing experience.

Of course, the doorbell rang on days when I was sporting my old chenille bathrobe (it's old enough to vote) and my leopard print p.j's.  I forgot that my bed styled hair had a three inch section standing straight up, at an angle.  Thankfully, these were legitimate calls.  You have to go to the door so the bogey man knows you are home.  Sometimes I would answer the phone.  I have received sympathy from the Unknown Caller and Area Codes of Libyan origin.  My peeps would call daily and be amazed at how awful I sounded which brought me much comfort. 

I didn't just sleep my days away.  Many hours were spent in bed imagining I was cleaning the house.  I would jump from the bed with my hand across my forehead and tell Burt I must get busy and he would remind me I was sick.  You know how it goes when the lady of the house is ill.  Or I would be in bed thinking about taking up a new hobby like kayaking.  Or planning a garage sale.  It is all hazy.  I would try to plan my spring/summer 2016 wardrobe but didn't have the strength to lift my Spring Vogue from off the floor much less turn a page.  Thankfully, there were no fever induced mind games.  Just the dull pulse of a clogged head and raw throat.

Nights were the worst.  Propped up against two king pillows and a standard, practically sitting straight up trying to breathe during the night while managing not to gag myself on the sequestered cough drop between my cheek and my teeth.  Coughing fits and nose blowing were sleep killers. 

I finally went to the doctor.  I kept thinking I would get better.  When I proudly confessed that I had finally been able to cook dinner the night before, he said he wouldn't have eaten my cooking.  I had already been on Tamiflu (separate exposure to the flu) and still had this bug hanging on.  He said it was time to get rid of it.  I agreed.

As they say, a good time was had by all.  The Land of Counterpane was my spring break destination.  The Lollygag Festival did not live up to its billing.   Things are back to normal.  Bath, hair, makeup and real clothes, all on one day.  Think of the places I can go...

Wednesday, March 9, 2016


March may be blowing in and daffodils popping up but there are still a few late winter days whipping around the knees.  A cool evening is best headed off with a nice bowl of soup.  Whatever the time of year, this veggie steak soup is the best recipe.  The secret to this recipe is over thirty ingredients - from handfuls to smidges.  Family cooks have found this method to be tried and true.

The following is my most recent recipe in order of when I added the ingredient.  I have a recipe diary.  Every time I stir this up, I write down a list of the ingredients and date it.  Old envelopes are especially handy for this.  The only method required is to include at least thirty ingredients.  The ingredients can range  from meat to veggies to spices.  In the past, leftover pot roast was added.  I have switched to fresh steak.

The amount of each ingredient is totally up to the cook.  A splash, a spoonful, a pinch.  Be daring.  This recipe has a new ingredient never seen before - chili garlic hot sauce. Happy stirring!

1.     olive oil
2.     chuck eye steak 1.42 pound -  cut into strips and cubed - sauteed
3.     1 onion, chopped
4.     3 ribs celery, sliced
5.     salt
6.     pepper
7.     28 oz. Hunt's diced tomatoes + 1 can water
8.     3 sliced carrots
9.     2 bay leaves
10.   handful of small peppers - red, orange, yellow - sliced and diced
11.   1/2 turnip - sliced and diced
12.   1 large squash - halved lengthwise and sliced
13.   1 can Del Monte Cut Green Beans, drained
14.   sprig of fresh rosemary
15.   splash of coffee
16.   another large can of water
17.   cayenne
18.   coriander
19.   Hungarian paprika
20.   Cavendar's Greek Seasoning
21.   tarragon
22.   curry
23.   ground mustard
24.   oregano
25.   garlic powder
26.   Old Bay Seasoning
27.   ground allspice
28.   Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
29.   peppered vinegar
30.   liquid smoke
31.   Grandma's Molasses - one coated spoon
32.   1/8 tsp chili garlic hot sauce
33.   Cattleman's BBQ Sauce
34.   sherry
35.   pickle juice
36.   lemon pepper
37.   soy sauce
38.  1 can Bush's Northern Beans, drained
39.  8 new potatoes, cubed

I usually add one can of no salt kernel corn, drained.  I didn't have it in the pantry.  This recipe is good for using what you have and/or running to the store and buying all the veggies you want.  Anything works - fresh, canned and frozen.  Mushrooms are also good.

Eating the rainbow.

Yummy bowl of Veggie Steak Soup with Toast

Sunday, February 28, 2016


The t-shirt is mine.  Hard won.  And at the acceptance of my shallow, jaded viewpoint in the midst of beauty.  After six years of whole hearted support for our beloved symphony orchestra, Burt and I strayed.  He slept and I wandered.

Two and a half hours of musical rhapsody.  Big. Triumphant.  Grand.  Two hundred voice choir and full orchestra.  I recognized only four words all evening.  Lord, Amen, Christ.  Jerusalem.  I do not know Hebrew or German.  I couldn't read the translations in the dim light.

The music was movingly beautiful.  The combined choirs were pitch perfect and full-voiced.  The orchestra was unfailing in devotion and deliberation.  Our maestro was full of controlled emotion and precise character.  I was the one failing.  I tried desperately to be swept away by the experience.

Did I mention the last performance was the Brahms Requiem?  Lullaby man.  Even with grandiose flair.  Two rows in front of our seats, a man's head went from right to left all night long.  I'm sure he was miserable wondering when his nightmare would end.  Really, it was not a nightmare.  I feel horrible even mentioning it but I hope our experience was atypical.  

My mind wandered all over the concert hall, wondering how many other minds were wandering.  Did I turn the iron off?  Did I pay the gas bill?  I can't remember if I stewed the prunes yesterday or Friday.  She said she would call but now I think it is too late to accept the invitation.  Are those daffodils ever going to come up?  What I'm I going to wear Easter?  I will try shrimp again this year at the beach.  What is the Pantone color this year?  I don't think the back of my hair looks good.  These shoes are pinching me.  How did I let her drag me here?  I think I want scrambled eggs for dinner.  Antiques Roadshow said it was the best example ever.  I should have gone at intermission.  Mmm, that violinist is having trouble with her bow.  The soloist foot is almost hanging off the stage.  I think Revenant will win Best Movie.  The report is due Monday.  I forgot to call my sister.  The paint will be dry by tomorrow.

I once read that Prince Charles had just the cure for the sessions he must sit through.  He began memorizing as a young man and falls back on that technique for keeping alert while sitting on a podium.  Thank goodness we were not sitting front and center.  We wondered how the soloists sat ramrod straight while waiting for their solos.  Their heads did not bobble and they didn't yawn or close their eyes.

In the meantime, I was saying "The Swing" by Robert Louis Stevenson in my head and thinking about the days of yore when I still remembered "If" by  Rudyard Kipling.  Memorization is a tricky thing.  It requires regular use.

I was sandwiched between two men.  One was sitting ramrod straight but pushing the sleep odds which left him in physical tatters after the show when his body finally wanted to give into sleep but had to drive home.  The other gentleman was my seat neighbor and towards the end, his man spreading was beginning to encroach on my propriety.  I was not in danger of going to sleep between worrying about the Leaning Tower of Pisa on one side and the spreading situation on the other side.  

This is really not a fair synopsis of the experience.  For the time, the music hall was filled with rich and intricate tapestries of golden notes.  I feel horrible for not fully appreciating the time and energy invested by so many.   The official review was glorious.  My little review is just one little experience.  If you know me, you know I love my symphony and have all my life.  But now I have survived.  No dispersion being cast against the talent and drive offered up to these two wretched representatives of the human experience.  I think we will stick to English.        

Friday, February 12, 2016


Automobile.  Air conditioning.  Indoor plumbing.  Just a few of my favorite things.

But my new favorite thing is the washing machine.  I just don't have the arms for all of that lifting and toting and wringing out soap and water.

At nine o'clock last night, I realized how much I had taken this lovely machine for granted.  Suddenly I was reduced to thinking about pounding rocks or making a washboard from all of the good wood we have stashed in the garage.

The fully loaded machine made terrible sounds like giving up the ghost.  And then everything stopped.  The fancy dashboard was still lit up.  But no more wash cycle or the all important - spin cycle.  Full of jeans and socks.  Just about the heaviest load one can imagine.  Clothing items that do not give up the water easily.  I know.  I twisted and wrung out water on two pair of good jeans.  The ones you will wear out of the house to be styling.  These were toted back to the guest bath and stretched out in the tub where, hopefully, some of the water would drain over night.  Another pair was twisted and plied until slightly acceptable for tossing in the dryer.  That pair is now hanging in my closet, dried but soapy.  But not too much to keep me from wearing them.

Of course, Burt had to come assess the situation.  No progress was made in that department.

After talking to the repair service, Tuesday is my earliest date.  I spent a little bit of time hoisting out water - seven gallons worth.  Dealt with wet socks and the last pair of jeans.  Thankfully, this was the last big load.  Other necessary loads had been done on Wednesday.  Of course, a big load of towels would have been the worse.

So that part of living has come to a halt.  But I still have other spin cycles in motion.  My office is in a state of re-do.  No new paint but still activity on the magnitude of the machine in full spin.  Changing things out.  First, it was the long goodbye to a nice piece of furniture which had served its purpose but seemed to loom over my desk and the rest of the room.   Then the two new lateral cabinets arrived, empty but soon to be filled.  This may be the age of data and sticks and clouds floating around, but not for me.  This writer likes to keep all of her unpublished precious papers filed somewhat neatly.  If you grow up writing since you were twelve, thinking you will be the next Faulkner, Eudora Welty or Emily Dickinson, and then you aren't, it is pretty hard to part with the volume which has been produced.  No more need to save it for the museum.  But I have it in a file.

We have looked at new shelves at Home Depot but not purchased yet.  Once the shelves are up, more writer stuff like books will have a place.  I have set up all four lateral files and re-filed every piece of paper in our lives which survived the great purge and shred of 2016.  I'm telling you this for sympathy because it is a thankless job when you are the one starring in the one woman show.

The spin cycle won't be complete until more boxes are unpacked.   This can only be accomplished when more stuff is disposed of.  But I'm holding out high hopes.  Looking to the direction of the office dream being completed,  I offer up my office today, this morning, in the midst of the spin cycle.  Please judge kindly.  Remember I'm stilling bailing water out.  As a good friend said, which is the only kind who can tell you these things, "It didn't get this way overnight."  Ain't it the truth!

Alas, I can't offer a picture because my picture library is acting up.  Some days...or as Rosanna Rosanna Danna would say "It's always something."

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


This afternoon reminds me of another bright, blue February day, years ago.  I knew gunshots.  We lived on the fringe of the fringe of a big gang neighborhood.  Of course, it was not this way when we moved in.  But gangs were turning whole neighborhoods upside down.  We were just lucky to be far enough away.  And in a few years, we would be fortunate to be able to move.  But on the weekends we could lay in bed and hear gunfire in the distance or the occasional drive by of rapid shots fired from speeding cars.  Then the parade of ambulances on the major thoroughfare.  But not on our block.  Not quite in our neighborhood until that February afternoon.

Certainly not five houses to the north and just around the corner.  One by one, neighbors came out of their homes, gathering in the yard next door.  We didn’t know just how close.  A few minutes passed, and five houses to the north they appeared:  three uniformed police officers with their weapons drawn, going around that first house on the corner cautiously, checking bushes, then coming down the street three abreast, just like a movie.  We all ran home.  My heart pounded as I stood behind the locked front door and watched as the policemen went in and out of every yard looking.  I tried to hide my absolute fear from five year old Cate as I sent an SOS to my mother and Burt.  By the time he made it home, an army of marked and unmarked cars had seized the streets as police officers and dogs walked the alley behind my house.  An unmarked car idled in the intersection two houses down.  My usually quiet neighborhood of retired original homeowners and first-time owners led the five and six o’clock news, yet not even the super-charged “live at the scene” reporters standing in the intersection where it all began knew that the end of the story was hiding in an attic three houses away, hearing the police cars, the curious neighbors and the engines of the satellite news trucks.

I took Cate to dance but she couldn’t dance through her tears.  I thought about what it must be like for a child to grow up in constant fear.  Supper was fixed and eaten.  Rumors had circulated all afternoon.  The paroled felon was armed and dangerous.  A policeman told my husband they would get the suspect, one way or the other.  He was most probably not in the neighborhood.  He would try to run, once it got dark.  About 8 p.m. I went to bed for a short nap.  My midnight oil would burn until dawn, if necessary.  Minutes later, I heard two gunshots. It ended, just a block from where it began.

I heard all four shots fired that day.  The first two injured the muzzle of the police dog and a policeman’s finger.  My sense of security was shaken but would heal.  The last two shots haunt my memory.  They would prove to be fatal.

Yesterday morning, I came out to my car and it had been ransacked.  I'm sure the person was very disappointed that there was no money hidden in any cubby hole or under the mat.  I didn't feel as violated as I thought I would.  My initial reaction was relief that the car had not been damaged.  Maybe my sense of security,  But then I remembered Sunday.  My little brush with crime was nothing when compared to the horrific day.

Three people had been shot and murdered in twelve hours.  A 27 year old mother was shot in her front yard on a bright, blue Sunday morning standing next to her 2 year old child.  The whole community has been shocked by this.  She didn't live in my neighborhood or my part of town.  But her home was in a relatively quiet family neighborhood, during the daylight.  Or so it was thought to be.  Two teenage boys are being held without bond.    

People say it and people write it.  When will this end?  We are in the same neighborhood.  The same city and state.  There is no explanation except there is evil in this world.  It shouldn't be a privilege of fortune that makes my front yard safe and another questionable.  A wise young person recently talked to me about risk and fear after the Paris terrorists attack.  The odds are in my favor.  A life must be lived without fear.  And if something happens, it happens.  But there is no controlling the situation or the things we encounter in life.  As odd as it seems, I'm in more danger standing in the front yard twenty years ago or three days ago.  What has changed?  Nothing.  What we have to fear is not over there, migrating here.   But we can't let fear gulp us up.  I'm preaching to myself.  I wish I had answers.

Sunday, January 24, 2016


One snow day is better than none.

You can use popcorn to make nachos if you're out of taco chips.  But...

Some days a fleece sweatshirt and a fleece afghan just aren't enough.

January is a month of bare beauty.

A still house makes lots of noise.

Mr. Man may be back.

A pile of fruit in a lovely glass bowl on the kitchen counter doesn't mean I eat right.

You can "not" eat purple hulls peas for New Year's and live to tell.

The Beatles left from Liverpool.

Homemade spiced tea is one of my favorite things.

A cat might be crazy, really.

A ticking clock is not conducive to a power nap.

In the grade school of the computer world, I'm being held back in 1st grade.

Having to stir my tea with a fork means start the dishwasher.

I'm all about strings - piano, acoustic guitar and cello.

Some people cannot live without Coca Cola or Chocolate or Frozen Pizza. 

January. Cold and bleak.  Only five inches of snow and I'm not complaining.  Can not even imagine folks with over two feet.  My Grandmother used to say "Just like an old horse to die in the winter."  Last year we traveled to Texas for a funeral.  It was bright sunny but bitterly cold with whipping wind.  We couldn't open our eyes.  This January doesn't involve traveling to a funeral but still people we know leaving this world.  We couldn't travel north because of weather.  My grandmother and Daddy both died on January days.  Makes the whole process a little bit harder.  Weather can really stand in the way.  On the most vulnerable day in your life, trying to plan a service for your loved one.  Thinking about the cold.  Or it could be a spring flood or a looming hurricane.  Life doesn't stop when your world does.  It just has the gall to keeping on moving.  January seems an unusually busy month for not going gently.  Here's to tip toeing through the next week.


The Winner of My Favorite Things in 2015 is Deb A.  Her name was randomly chosen from a hat by an able bodied RANDOMONIUM staff member.  She also has a blog "Stop Her She's Knitting!"
Some of her favorite things in 2015 were S'Well Bottles, Star Wars: The Force Awakens,  Brunty Farms Poultry, CSA,  Pistachios,  Mystery Sock Yarn Year,  Pepperplate,  My little back patio,  Kindle,  High School Wrestling,  Cleaning out her house,  My neighbors,  Fried Eggs on toast and Evernote.  

She will be receiving Kiehl's Creme de Corps Body Butter, PaperMate Clearpoint Mechanical Pencils and Pure Natural Honey, Bemis Honey Bee Farm.   

Thank you for your participation!!

Start working on your list for 2016 The Best I've Seen! List of Favorite Things


Monday, January 18, 2016


This post originally appeared August 28, 2013.

Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of the first people I want to meet when I get to heaven because he dared to have a dream.  The God-given hope and direction of a man who was a gifted preacher and prophet filled the nation’s Capital fifty years ago today.  What a wonderful world it would be if we could all have even a sliver of that same hope. 

The walk on Washington was not a particular memory for me at the time.  I was too young to understand.  My mother does remember watching it on television.  However, the event four months later would become my earliest, defined memory.

In my earliest years, I do remember watching riots on the television and seeing dogs attacking people and water being used to subdue and disperse crowds.  These images were disturbing for a child.  One of the best gifts my parents gave me was a love for all people and a living example of The Golden Rule.

When Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot, I asked my mother what a “negro” was.  She told me that M. was a negro.  M. worked for my grandparents and I had known her all of my life.  “Oh, her skin is just  a different color.”  I was already being raised to judge a person by the content of their character.

Although it was not for good, I have been judged by the color of my skin.  Neither were pleasant experiences and both were desperate attempts to gain power.  One was to make sure I was white and the other was because I wasn’t black.  This was at a time of great racial tension in the education system, when integration and busing were struggles in every community.  I was living in a different state each time.

In this day and time, I think most people have been judged by the color of their skin.  Our country has a rainbow of colors.  A few years ago, my family toured The King Center in Atlanta.  For me, it was a reverent time of reflection, reminding me again of the importance of Dr. King’s message.  I felt the same feeling of reverence when I went to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  These places stand as more than a monument to persecuted people but also as  twisted monuments to the human soul when hate takes anchor, pulling a nation downward.

I stood in line that day in Atlanta, waiting to sign a book of reflection.  A young African-American woman was in front of me, writing a few sentences.  She stepped away from the book. Imagine my shock when I looked down and read her racist comments.  I wrote a few words and came away, amazed that she didn’t get the message which was all around her.

But now, thinking about it, I should not be surprised.  So many things have not changed, especially in the South. 

Every Sunday morning, fine Christian men tuck their shirts into their pants, held up by the Bible Belt of the South.  I have heard their ugly whisperings, directing their hate at an image on the television, judging a man by the color of his skin.  However, their judgments are made impotent by the lack of content in their character.  These same men and women lifting their praises to God on Sunday and  whispering their racist bitterness at lunch the next day.

Many years ago, a senator from Illinois came to town, stumping for a fellow politician.  My Daddy had been following the politics of this young man.  We sat on the steps of the Capital, at the foot of the casual podium, listening to this brief speech.  When you are close enough to hold eye contact with a man, in that brief second there is a bond of relationship.  My Daddy began the last year of his life watching this Barack Hussein Obama take the oath of office as President of the United States.  My father cried tears of joy.  He carried a New Testament in his briefcase and The Prayer of St. Francis in his wallet.  And Jesus in his heart.

Hate is easy because it is natural.  Love is not easy.  But love is the answer today just as it was fifty years ago.   And every day is an opportunity to act on the dream where all are created equal.

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


I promise to keep writing my blog even if I do win tonight's lottery.  Why should numbers printed on white ping pong balls change my life?  At 1.5 billion or $930,000,000 in cash value anyone's life would change.  An unnamed family member said she didn't want to get a ticket because it would ruin her life if she won.  She has now purchased the life ruining ticket.

If the magic genie grants my wish, there are a few things I would like to change.  And I am very shallow in this concept, mostly.  I would first spend about three or four days living under the bed.  You never know what might land on your head.  And I will look so silly it will take a few days before I can go out in public, even to acquire my legal, tax, security and beautifying teams.  I can promise you I will have my hair done daily even for just hanging out in the mansion.

I will buy a house up on the ridge overlooking the river and have Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV Fixer Upper come and do their thing.  With a pool.  On the way to my newer house, I would like to go jewelry shopping for a long strand of pearls like they wear on Downton Abbey and maybe a diamond bracelet.

As soon as we can share our secret, we will fly all of our family and friends in for a big party.  I want the big floating moon balloon hanging over my pool.  We've already nixed the idea of buying our own plane.  A charter seems to be the best way to go for those kinds of things.

To remain anonymous, I can't list my donations but my church, institutions of learning and local charities would be high on the list.  I really am not into having my name plastered everywhere.

I would definitely give my family a fair share so we could all have a blast sitting around the pool in Palm Springs saying "Look at us now, just folks from Arkansas."

Do dreams really wrap themselves around a slim piece of paper?  We will find out tonight.  Don't you hope a bunch of people win, share the wealth?

Taking a chance for $2 on $1.5 billion.  But we take chances everyday.  What are the odds that the complete stranger wearing tube socks and running gear sitting in front of you will become your husband?  Or the little spit of a pup covered in seed ticks will grow up and fill out to become a love in your life?  Or the mewing lamb you're handed, who's arrived three weeks early, and someone tells you "it's a girl" will take away your breath and heart instantly?

Or the car will flip and you will be able to climb out of it?  The loan will go through on your first tiny home?  The 104 fever will break with the first hint of dawn's light?  The surgical odds will be defied time and time again and surgeons will shake their heads in awe?

What are the odds for personally seeing every President in your lifetime, nine minus one?  What are the chances for you, the biggest fan, being able to greet Olivia Newton John to your city, spur of the moment, in a quiet southern airport?  Or having a spring dress you made worn to the White House?

What are the chances of symphonies being written by a man losing his hearing?  Or bright, beautiful paintings created by a man losing his mind?

What are the chances you will be born into a loving family who spends vacations camping around the country and singing to the radio?  Or the roof won't leak with the weight of a record snow?  Beds are warm and dry with fresh linens?  The kitchen is always busy with a pot roast cooking and merginue being spread on chocolate pie?

Maybe the white balls bouncing down the plastic tube can't touch us.  The details have already played out in our lives.  Maybe all the chances are blessings unaware.  

Monday, January 11, 2016


This post first appeared two years ago.  In memory of a wonderful Daddy.

He wasn't a beer drinker.  But he loved a good commercial and in the past couple of years, he'd spent more time accruing a file of 30 second spots that peaked his interest.  From his teenage years, he had  been fascinated by products and sales, influenced by two glamorous older sisters and their love of fashion and life, during and after the war.

Four years ago today, after his doctor's appointment, he wanted an Oyster Po-Boy and a Bud-Light.  At the time, we all got a kick out of the request which he said was fueled by all the beer commercials during the NFL play-off games he watched with my mother.  She was the football fanatic and he just went along for the fun.

The birthday feast began when I picked them up in a parking lot.  I didn't even have a present because Christmas had just ended but I did run and get a card.  And he said his new Christmas Charcoal merino wool vest was so nice it could count for birthday too.  And he was wearing it for his birthday, number 76.

The oyster po-boy was okay but he said he'd never get another Bud-Light again.  He didn't.  It was a bright but very cold January day when I took them back to their car.  We got out and exchanged hugs.  We had enjoyed a brief but fun lunch, talking about commercials and such.  And three days later, he left us in a quick and peaceful ending.

I wrote the following piece on my first Father's Day without him.   Thank you for indulging me this happy birthday tribute.

Photo by my brother-in-law, James Bingaman

My Daddy was born in a log cabin and started school in a one room school house. He moved to the "city" in the 3rd grade and went to school barefoot the first day but not the second day. City folks wore their shoes year round. He graduated from the University of Texas. As a senior project, he developed the Raid Bug Commercial - Raid, Kills Bugs Dead! A professor snatched it up. He married my mother! Then the young man from a land locked state almost immediately began Naval Officers Candidate School where he jumped off the side of a ship and thankfully passed Astronomy. His naval career sent him to Morocco, where my parents lived for two years, traveling Europe on vacations in a red VW Bug. I grew up knowing about minarets, veiled women, cos cos, and mirages in the desert. They sailed back to America on the U.S.N.S William O. Darby (General born in Fort Smith). Texas called their name and that's the country of my origin. Texas O' Texas. We saw much of the U.S. on camping vacations. We always had a "vacation song." One year it was the Carpenters "Close to You." Another year, Paul McCartney and Wings "Hands Across the Water." He loved all kinds of music and liked to play the piano in a very grand manner. He sung in the church choir almost all of his life, faithfully. "The Majesty and Glory" was his favorite and I cannot sing it anymore. Someday. He carried the Prayer of St. Francis in his wallet and a New Testament in his briefcase. He was a talented whistler and a random clapper ahead of his time.  He loved to sing around the house. He worked hard in the retail world and knew his store and every product. He was fun to shop with! He was faithful to The Store and took care of his employees, ferrying little old sales ladies home on icy roads. He could do a mashed potato dance that made mean mashed potatoes. He loved butter. He taught us the Golden Rule in a time of great racial unrest. He kicked his house shoes down the hall just to make little girls laugh. His daughters were his joy. His wife was his best friend. His loved being a Granddaddy. Even when he was sick, he made lemon meringue pies to take to "shut-ins".  He defied all odds and lived through surgeries that gave us 13 more years. He always tried to look at the positive side or a new direction when facing difficulty. He was the baby of the family and the favorite cousin. He wasn't perfect. I called him nozella due to his penchant for picking up mail or receipts at my house. He was the designated shrimp police for the wedding reception. He could get on my last nerve when I was a teenager but he encouraged me in every endeavor. There are endless little things I could tell you. This is my father's day tribute. He rests a few miles from where he started out but I hear him singing "Alleluia, alleluia, the majesty and glory of Your Name."