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What would you think if you were riding down the road and saw clothes hanging on a fence like this?

Any one of my daughters might hit the brakes and slow down to see if it’s a yard sale. My husband would gun the motor and say, “We have plenty of junk of our own.” I can hear myself think, “That’s not a yard sale! Buncha rednecks. No wonder southerners have the reputation we do! Who would hang their laundry on a chain link fence?”

Not that I’m judgmental. But I do remember being in Bible college in the early seventies when mini-skirts and hot pants were in style. I had nothing appropriate to wear, so my mom and a cousin, made me five decent length dresses. I was so proud and very spiritual. A fellow student came into the Soda Shoppe where I worked. Her dress was pretty short and I remember thinking to myself, “Good gracious! Does she not own a mirror? I wouldn’t be caught dead in something that short, especially here in a Bible college!”

A few days later, my boyfriend surprised me and did our laundry. The college dryers were the kind that got extra hot. He filled it up with quarters and went to play basketball. My only dresses were made of polyester, and well, even though I wasn’t caught dead out in a dress that short, I sure could’ve died at the wardrobe I had left. There wasn’t any choice but to wear my tiny polyester frocks since that was all I had and we were a thousand miles from home. So basically I wore the flattest shoes I owned, and scrunched down a lot. But I saw the looks. And I learned a lesson. God really does have a sense of humor.

Pete Wilson wrote about a “Prospective Bomb” he got while being frustrated with a lady with two huge carts of flowers. She was in line in front of him at Lowe’s and the process was taking forever. He was in a hurry and really needed to get moving. The prospective bomb dropped when he heard double-cart flower-lady saying to the cashier that she was planting a flower garden at the home of a friend who was dying of cancer.

Oh my goodness. Why do I judge so easily? Why do I get so ill with others? Someone is going through financial difficulties and we think, “Shoulda had a budget!” Someone needs prayer for healing and we think, “Shoulda took better care of herself.” I’ve noticed in the news there’s often the little add-ons like, “She was not wearing a seat belt.” Well MAYBE, her kid dropped his sippy-cup and mom turned around to get it so driver dad wouldn’t be distracted with all the screaming. We never know what someone is going through, or what led them to do what they did. So why don’t we cut each other a little slack?

By the way, the clothes on the chain link fence are mine. My dryer broke and my husband was almost out of shirts. I’m just thankful I didn’t run out of underwear yet. Yep. I’m a redneck and proud of it. And if anyone thinks I’m having a yard sale, well, pull in and make me an offer.

Voting Day

My beautiful mother-in-law Nina donned her voting clothes and matching lipstick. At eighty-nine, she voluntarily gave up driving last year. So we made a date to take her to the polls. Voting is very important to her. For as she often says, “If you don’t vote then you can’t complain.” Lord knows I don’t want to lose that privilege. So off we went.

It’s getting harder and harder for her to move about. But her mind is still very sharp. Sitting in the booth she studied and marked each side of the long ballot. David and I stood at a booth together next to her, helping each other and checking our notes. When we finished, he asked if she needed any help. A firm “No.” came her reply. Proudly she finished then placed her ballot into the machine that looked suspiciously like a shredder. She nodded and smiled at the elderly veteran who guarded the ballot box. From the same generation, these two shared the silent wisdom that comes only with decades of living. “Men and women fought and died for my privilege to vote. I can’t believe there are people who don’t bother going to the polls.” Her conviction rang true.photo 2 (1)

On the way home we took a little tour of Fulton Street with all its beautiful fall foliage. Down several side roads we drove slowly admiring the lovely view. “Go down Church Street” she requested. I’ll show you where we lived when your dad got home from the war. She recalled each neighbor and how hard it was to get a decent apartment back in the day. As we drove through Salisbury, candidates’ posters waved and beckoned from every corner. Though politics can be very divisive, this one thing I think everyone can agree on: Aren’t you glad the political ads are over for now? My mom-in-law offered this wisdom on that subject. “I wish it were against the law for candidates to say anything about their opponents. If they were only allowed to speak of what they personally plan to do if elected, things wouldn’t get so ugly.” Sounds like wisdom to me.

Recent reports indicate the campaign spending between Hagan and Tillis for NC Senate alone is the first to cross the $100 million dollar mark. That’s one hundred MILLION with like seven, no… eight zeros.

I have another idea. What if a candidate put that money to good use in the state, say perhaps the school system? What our teachers could do with just a portion of a hundred million dollars! They’re so used to pinching pennies, no telling what wonderful new things could be accomplished in their classrooms. I dare say the politician who pledged that donation in lieu of bombarding the airwaves and mailboxes would win hands down.

That’s my current soapbox. And according to my mom-in-law, since I voted I still have the right to complain. I hope you voted too. I’d sure hate for Nina to hear otherwise.

A Journey Home

Health issues and finances prevented us from making a big deal over our fortieth anniversary. It’s been a very rough couple years. Then out of the blue a few months later came a way for us to take a cross country trip to see our kids. We prayed and asked God if He was sure about this. So He sent us another blessing and said, “Don’t worry. I’ve got this! Y’all have a good time.” [I knew it was the Lord because He had a southern accent.]  So off we went as though we had good sense.

Our 3100 mile road trip took us through twelve states with cities like Saint Louis where the big arch is. Though we didn’t stop long enough to ride to the top, we were sufficiently impressed snapping pictures from Interstate 55.arch

We passed beautiful stadiums where the St. Louis Cardinals, the Houston Texans and the New Orleans Saints play. We did not go by the Cowboy’s stadium as we we’re busy trying to stay alive while navigating Dallas. On the last leg of the journey I was able to see the ports of Houston from high upon the bridge over Baytown. But once again David was busy with the pesky details of driving. Even though we checked Google Maps on our phones as well as the Atlas we found crammed under the seat, we still made one wrong lane change near Baton Rouge and ended up two hours off course. Who would think that I-10 would divide into both north and south of Lake Pontchartrain? So that’s how we saw the New Orleans Saints Superdome.

Before we left home I had the desire to veer off the path and tour the annual antique show and flea market in Round Top Texas. It’s said to stretch over three hundred acres with two thousand vendors, give or take. Dealers come from across the country bringing their treasure. Even the Junk Gypsies have a booth there each year. But by the time we’d traveled from Illinois, the home of our first daughter, all the way through Texas, I decided there was nothing I’d rather see than our second daughter Amanda and her sweet family.

Did we miss some stuff by taking the fastest routes? Yes we did. Did we see what we set out to see? Yes we did. We toured Ramsey Illinois sufficiently and got a good peace of mind about where Stephanie’s family has settled. We enjoyed Corpus Christi and gained assurance that as beautiful as it is, Amanda’s family will not call it home forever. We were able to hold our grandchildren in our arms instead of just our hearts. We saw a beautiful sunrise then outran pitch dark clouds as we left Oklahoma where the wind really does come sweepin’ down the plain. [You know you can’t go through Oklahoma without singing the song.]Then a glorious rainbow burst through the clouds assuring us of God’s great protection and love as we crossed into Texas.sunrise

Leaving Corpus Christi was bittersweet. After nearly two weeks on the road I longed for home. Our sweet two year old grandson waved good-bye as we blew kisses and smiled through the tears. We have no idea when we’ll see him again. As we headed out early that Wednesday morning, there was a beautiful lunar eclipse. I don’t recall ever seeing one. Topping the South Padre Island Bridge, there glistening over the water, the bright gorgeous moon appeared as if a cosmic cookie monster had taken a generous bite.

Now that our trip is over I’m reminded of some important things.

  1. The most amazing sights are not manmade.
  2. Loved ones are the best treasures.
  3. And home is with the man I’ve loved for over forty years, wherever that may be.

No matter how hard life gets, we’re on this crazy journey together. Hand in hand we travel as the Lord continues to assure us. “Don’t worry. I’ve got this. Y’all go and have a good time.”

That by itself is a pretty big deal.me beach

Funky Light

Originally posted on Lynna's Wonderful Life:

I’ve got this lamp we found in the basement of an old house we bought. In fact when we looked at that place, I pictured us on Antiques Roadshow. But mostly we made numerous trips to the dump. Anyway, we salvaged this lamp and I like it. David rewired and painted it and replaced the bulbs as well as the glass shade for the middle. We’ve used it long enough now that it’s getting kinda quirky. I can turn the little button thing on the side which is supposed to signal the bulbs to come on, but mostly, they just sit there til I spin the knob just right. Then one or more may pop on… or maybe not. But on this particular day, ALL THREE bulbs came on at once! Wow! It’s gonna be a three light day!

It reminded me of a time when I was sitting…

View original 382 more words

The Dreaded Boy

I heard about the kid long before we met. He had terrorized numerous Vacation Bible Schools every summer from the time he was old enough to attend. Being four years old he would likely be entering preschool. I prayed it would not be the one where I taught. With summer nearly over, I received my class roster. The terrible prospect was real. The dreaded boy would be mine.

A colleague advised me to speak with the principal to ward off the coming doom. Perhaps he could inform the parents that the class was full. But it was not.

Or maybe he could have a frank discussion with the parents ahead of time to place the kid on some sort of probationary agreement. The first time he crossed the line, bam! He’d be out. Surely they’d understand that we can’t have one boy ruining the school year for the rest of the children. Maybe they’d get mad and enroll him somewhere else.

I spoke to the principal who listened well. In fact he agreed that the boy would definitely be a handful. “Let’s give him a chance. You never know. Maybe you are just what his family needs.”

I seriously doubted it.

The school year began as usual. Care Bears greeted my new students from bright bulletin boards. Clear contact paper secured new nametags to each desk. Grumpy Bear shed a tear over the time-out chair in one corner which I was sure would be occupied by the dreaded boy.

At orientation I greeted each parent and child, handing out supply lists with smiles and dreams of a great new year. Each parent received a request for an optional home visit. I prayed that one certain family would opt out.

But they didn’t.

I scheduled their visit last hoping something would come up and we’d have to cancel. In the meantime I waited for the other shoe to fall. The boy could not stay in his seat. His blonde hair was always a mess and in need of a trim. His fingernails stayed black with some sort of crud and his shirttail was generally snotty from wiping his nose.

Then it happened. Busy at my desk while the students worked on a coloring page, I noticed that once again his chair was empty. Suddenly two grimy little boy hands covered my eyes from behind.

“Miz Clark! Guess who?” came his raspy voice. Suddenly he twirled around my neck and hugged me with all his might. He buried his little head in my hair and whispered, “I love you.”

Home visits went particularly well that fall. Parents gushed over the folders I brought with examples of their children’s school work. Still looming however, was the visit to the parents of the dreaded boy. Directions to his home included phrases like “way out in the country,” and “lots of dogs but don’t be afraid; they’ll be chained up.” As I drove I rehearsed how the boy was still tipping his chair over numerous times per day, but at least he had not been in a fight in a while. I prayed not to get lost or bitten or murdered.

Down the long gravel road through dark woods I drove, having not a clue if I was on the right path. There was no street name or sign since apparently this was family land. A small clearing opened up to the front steps of a trailer. I hoped that the barking dogs chained toward the back of the lot confirmed I was at the right home. Either way, I sure hoped those chains held. Suddenly a little blond head appeared as the metal door flung open. “Miz Clark is here! She’s here mama, she’s here!”

“Show her what you made for her!” his mother beamed as she invited me in. On the table was a little pan of brownies her son had stirred together and microwaved “all by himself.” With it he served Kool-aide he had mixed and poured into a tall glass just for me. His purple mustache assured that he’d sampled it properly before my arrival.

Somehow the fact that he still had a problem keeping his chair on all four legs never came up. His mother’s warmth and care for both me and her son were so beautiful. The scales fell off my self-righteous eyes that night and my heart was changed forever.

The prediction the principal made was somewhat true. That family turned out to be just what I needed. Nearly thirty years later, I still think of the dreaded boy… the one who stole my heart.

The Den of Many Colors

It all started with a red love seat, also referred to as a “love couch” by my friend Randall. But if you’re expecting a racy story don’t get your hopes up. This is about a red sofa that is a double recliner which we purchased when George W. sent everyone rebates. [That would be President Bush, not Washington.] When our tax dollars came, off we went to stimulate the economy. Since we had just moved into our current home and a regular size sofa wouldn’t fit in the tiny den, the love seat seemed a wise choice. Why I chose red stems from a deep desire to make things “pop” as they say on the designer shows. The goal of popping was indeed met when the aforementioned love couch was placed upon the royal blue carpet. Did I tell you that we already had a green love couch? It was purchased in days of yore. Also purchased in a similar time of yesteryear were the silky gold curtains which I love. They just happened to fit the window in the same tiny den.

Recently I learned how to paint furniture with a plaster of Paris base which gives it a distressed chalky finish like milk paint. So David and I painted two little beat up side tables and added them to the tiny den. One is my favorite robin’s egg blue and the other is yellow. Did I tell you the walls are also yellow?photo 2

Back to the red love couch:

Since the left side of the recliner-sofa is getting a little worn due to being next to the table with the lamp, we decided to switch things up. If the lamp were on the opposite end, the right side of the red love couch would get more use and would wear out more evenly. However, since we’d just created a gallery wall above the red love couch, the lamp would be in the way. Hmmm…

Maybe we could place the red love couch on the diagonal against the corner and put my floor lamp from the reading/cozy room back there. Hey! That works! But the reading chair in the cozy room has no light now. The former den lamp is too large. So I robbed the bedroom of the small bedside lamp and table… except it’s too low. Add a stack of books under the lamp and voila! It’s perfect!

But now the bedroom looks whoppy-jawed. Perhaps if we move the bed over next to the wall where the table and lamp used to be… whoa! How long has it been since this corner has seen a vacuum? My mother would not be pleased.

Okay good. The bed is next to the wall, but not so close that one cannot make an escape for a three a.m. potty run. Perfect! Except now there’s an empty space on the other side of the room where the bed used to be. How about a small chair… with a blue cushion… maybe turn it over to the decent side… Perfect!

Now just look at this tiny den! Yellow walls, royal blue carpet, gold curtains, green love seat, side tables in robin’s egg blue and yellow, plus the red love couch. It’s a good thing I have an anchor piece which ties it all together. That would be the awesome ottoman our daughter found at the Goodwill and covered for me. Hannah let me pick the fabric… obviously. Oh how I love my tiny den of many colors. It’s not at all what I envisioned when dreaming decorator dreams. And I doubt HGTV will stop by to take pictures. I might be going out on a limb here.

But I think it kinda pops!photo 1 (1)

Home Sweet Salisbury

At the bottom of the ramp off I-85 our truck slowed to a stop. In the shade of the wide bridge we waited for the light to change as the well-manicured landscape beckoned us to relax. Soft plumes of decorative grass waved a gentle sweet welcome against sturdier trees while bright art promised that our lovely little town remains. After 3100 miles of travel from North Carolina to Illinois then Corpus Christi, we finally returned home to Salisbury, NC.Salisbury 034

Home.

I had no idea how much I would miss her. Often I take her downtown stores for granted, assuming they will always thrive whether I shop or not. But then we visited the new home of our eldest daughter where she and her family have been called to ministry. Illinois farmland stretches so far that she told us we’d know we were there because we’d be able to see the curvature of the earth. Freshly mown fields of corn and wheat in the current harvest make such a pretty backdrop. However, downtown Ramsey is empty. I suppose the little boarded up shops once thrived too, but no more. The folks there were absolutely wonderful, so very welcoming and friendly. Such hard workers and they’ve taken the sweetest care of our daughter’s family. Thankfully the church there is thriving. But drive they must to the nearest shops twelve miles south.

The next leg of our road trip took us to Texas, all the way to the Gulf Coast. Corpus Christi invited us to walk the bustling city which displayed art, craft booths, and local bands during the monthly ArtWalk. Our son-in-law Shane amazed us with his hidden super-power of parallel parking. Elbow to elbow we moved through the streets with several thousand of our closest friends. Once we realized the futility of pushing our two year old grandson in a stroller, his dad hoisted him onto his shoulders.photo (22) There he could see and hear the kid who played in his own “One Man Band.” He was surprisingly talented with a touch of crazy which makes everything more fun.  I couldn’t help but think about all the events like this in my own hometown that I chose to ignore. What fun I surely missed!

Beautiful “Home Sweet Salisbury” with her charming shops, friendly people, lovely landscapes and interesting art. I can’t imagine life without her. Sure she’s a touch crazy at times.

Okay perhaps a lot crazy. Maybe that’s why I relate so well.

But isn’t she beautiful?!

 

For more pictures click here 

Not pictured is Hap’s Hotdogs, a must when in Salisbury.

[By the way, we say SAWS berry.]

 

Literary Bookpost has Just the Thing!

Literary Bookpost has
Just the Thing!

The Wine Shop and  The Stichin Post

The Wine Shop and
The Stichin Post

Salisbury 058

Artist Joe does beautiful work from a photo.

Artist Joe does beautiful work from a photo.

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