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Archive for the ‘Fun’ Category

The Inheritance

My beloved mom-in-law passed away a few weeks ago. She was such a beautiful soul. And funny… oh my word! The things she would come up with. She had special names for certain things in her life; like the big white robe she wore in the winter. Often she warned us not to be alarmed if we saw a polar bear ambling around her house as it was just Big Bertha.

When she could no longer walk with just the assistance of a cane, she began using a walker with a seat. It had a little basket where she would load her gardening tools as she puttered around the yard. Inside the house she would load it with cleaning supplies or laundry for that long trip down the hall. She dubbed it her “Cadillac.”

She had a pink blouse which she always wore to the doctor. More accurately it was mauve, that dusty rose color which was popular in the eighties. Her daughters tried every way they could to get her to wear something besides that godawful shirt as it did her no favors. However she always went back to it. Though mauve is code for ugly, she brightened it with her smile.

We’ve begun cleaning out her home of over fifty years. You can’t even imagine the treasures we’re gleaning. So far we’ve only gotten to the kitchen. We checked expiration dates on the foods in the pantry and laughed so hard at the things she hung onto. David suggested that if the date began with the words “In the year of our Lord,” we could probably assume it was too old to consume. In the back of one especially low cabinet was an unidentifiable figure. It appeared to be a dried corpse of an animal from yesteryear. David’s sister bravely pushed it into the floor with a broom. The four of us stood hovering over it trying to make out what it could have been. David finally scooped it up with the dustpan and took it outside. It was larger than a squirrel and had a funky shape. The sisters told me I could have it as part of my inheritance. I was more than thrilled.

Later as I thought again about the dried up mystery animal, I remembered bringing Nina some driftwood from the beach many years ago. She had expressed wanting a piece to put a little ceramic bird on that I had brought her the year before. Apparently the two treasures never met as she always had lots of projects in the works. In fact that bird is probably buried somewhere in her craft room which our middle daughter lovingly renamed Nanny’s Crap Room. It is an accurate description and we can hardly wait to go through the treasures there.

What I love about Nina’s kids, Jo, Gail, and David, is that they’ve been able to maintain their mother’s great sense of humor as we do the necessary things. No pushing, grabbing, or resentment; just working together to honor their mother’s last wish of having a happy home. The closest we’ve come to fighting so far has been over a pack of bacon.

Very graciously I have been included in the dividing of assets. Along with the driftwood shaped like a varmint, I’ve been given her cement pineapple which was always her southern symbol of hospitality. Though I do not share that same sentiment, I love that she did. I tucked it by my side entrance behind a large hosta lest anyone get the wrong idea. You know how I feel about entertaining visitors I do not know. All you “angels unaware” might as well fly on down the street to someone more Godly. However, if you do happen to knock on my door, don’t be surprised if I’m wearing a mauve shirt. Too bad it didn’t come with Nina’s sweet smile.

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I love my little town. Salisbury, NC has so much going for it. Sure, that includes some crazy but don’t you think every family has a touch of crazy? It keeps things interesting. Sometimes folks refer to us as “Smallsbury” in a derogatory fashion. That’s okay. I think small is a good thing. In fact, someday when I write my book I might just title it that. Smallsbury, USA.

Many neighborhoods still exist here where we look out for one another. The other day I was standing at the kitchen window when I noticed a cop car slowing down. It proceeded to pull into my mom-in-law’s driveway. My heart just stopped. I alerted David so we both moved to the front window and peered through the curtains like Gladys Kravitz on Bewitched. What is going on across the road?!!

We checked our cell phones to make sure we hadn’t missed a call. As we watched to see what was afoot, David grabbed his shoes so he could run interference between the police and his eighty-nine year old mother. Not that we needed to warn her in case she was smoking pot or something. We just wanted to be there if she was going to be arrested while “Bad Boys, Bad Boys” played in the background.

However, before David could get his shoes on all fear was gone. The policeman turned out to be our nephew. Since he was in town for court, he decided to stop by his grandmother’s house to check on her. Then every cop’s worst nightmare happened. His grandmother sent him across the street to our house with a box of doughnuts. Talk about stereotypes. Bless his heart. Jay w KK

This would not be Nina’s first brush with the law. She was driving home from serving Meals on Wheels one night years ago, when she made a right turn beside a vehicle which was stopped for a light. Since there was no turning lane, the police pulled her over. When asked for her license she realized her purse was locked in the trunk. Exiting the vehicle into a night filled with flashing blue lights, there she was, guilty before God and everybody. As she opened the trunk she was sure that all who passed thought she’d been busted for drugs. Nervously she retrieved her purse. Suddenly matters got even worse. Dropping her pocketbook, as we say in the South, she watched as the contents spilled across the pavement. No telling how many tubes of lipstick rolled into the gutter that night. As she stood there mortified, two nice policemen chased down the contents. Her lifetime motto has always been, “Lipstick makes everything better.” That night might have been the one exception.

As you know, things aren’t always as they seem. The policeman knocking on her door was not there to interrogate. The cop carrying doughnuts across the road was just doing his grandmother a favor. And the lady in the blue light was not being busted for drugs. In Salisbury though, we already knew that. Word travels fast here because we’re all standing at our windows, peering out checking on our neighbors. I especially love that small town living includes policemen who love their grandmothers, deliver doughnuts, and chase lipstick for nervous women.

God bless Smallsbury!

*Special thanks to my beloved nephew Jason who allowed me to take his picture while in uniform holding a box of Krispy Kreme. What a man!

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Stop the presses! I did it! NO WAIT! Don’t stop the presses. Keep rolling because ALL my books are now in print! Check them out on Amazon. Search books by Lynna Clark. I am NOT that other Lynna with the big bosomed women on the covers… obviously. So be sure to look for the Blue Meadow Farm series of five. And if you like them, please spread the word for me. I do not have a marketing guru so I’m counting on you. Thank you my friends!

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

To view the series click here. Blue Meadow Farm Series

The series starts and ends with a dogwood tree.

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Woohoo!

Guess what. I did it! I totally did it. I feel like a little girl on the swing set calling out. “Watch daddy watch! I can skin the cat!”

Sorry cat-lovers. That’s not a literal skinning of a feline. When I was a kid that’s what we said when we could hold the bar and flip over between our arms without falling onto our heads. And if one could manage to pull back through and land on one’s feet, we were putting the skin back on.

Of course that was about a hundred years ago and folks don’t use such terms anymore. So let’s compare my latest accomplishment to diving. I’d lunge head first off the pier into the muddy water to impress my daddy. It was either that or he’d hold me by the ankles over the river and drop me so I’d learn that it wasn’t that hard. He was correct. Water didn’t shoot up my nose like it did when I jumped feet first.

Annyyywayyy…

Drumroll please.

I got my first book into print! As-in actual words on real paper you can hold in your hands, PRINT!  People! You can dog ear the pages and come back to where you left off without powering anything up or remembering a password. You don’t even have to recall the name of your first pet or your grandmother’s favorite vegetable. You can just relax, read and repeat. Hopefully the only thing hard will be putting it down.

I couldn’t figure out how to make the cover the same as the Kindle version so it will look a little different. Something about the gigawatts of the first picture with Hannah on the tractor; it wouldn’t translate. Can you tell how un-savvy I am in the technology department? That may give you a little insight as to how hard it was for my chemo brain to format the pages to fit within the six by nine inch frame including margins. It even has page numbers! Can you believe it?

Did you know that the space down the middle between pages is called a gutter? Who knew? All my life I’ve been warned to keep my mind out of there. Now I know how.

So hop on over to Amazon and search Lynna Clark or Blue Meadow Farm. Under Book One there will be a Paperback option. Click there and you’ll see the yellow book with blue flowers. I really hope you love it. Remember, it’s the first book of a series of five, so take your time and enjoy. I’m already working on book two for print so it shouldn’t be long until it’s ready too. And if you’re willing to help a struggling rookie author, please leave a comment or review either on Amazon or Facebook so others will notice my work.

Thanks so much for your encouragement!

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Too Close for Comfort

I just discovered that we have a new neighbor. He’s rather shy, but curious enough to venture from his home into my yard. I heard a rustling in the brush at the back of the lot so I opened the door to look. Apparently I surprised him because he quickly returned to his own home without pausing for an introduction. In fact, he moved a lot faster than I expected for a fat guy with short legs. I’m just sayin’. He could’ve said the same about me had I been the one on the run.

He stopped and pulled himself up to his full height and looked my way. When he noticed that I still had him in view he dove under a storage shed. I didn’t mean to scare him. Maybe I should’ve left my ball cap on.

When David got home I told him about our new neighbor and we looked out back. Sure enough, there he was, waddling around in the yard next door, glancing up occasionally for busy bodies who might want to mingle. He must’ve noticed us because once again he dove under the shed.

I understand. I’m not real social either.

I couldn’t help but wonder though. We live in the city on a busy road, so where did he come from? Was he really a she and did she have a family under that shed? Was she just venturing out to check the weather? Typically groundhogs have one job to do and that’s just one day a year. So was she having second thoughts about her earlier prediction?

According to the News & Observer report from Raleigh, NC and their groundhog Sir Walter Wally, we are all set for an early spring. So far that prediction has been correct. And according to the folks at the Weather Channel, Wally is ranked seventh most accurate rodent in the whole nation! He is correct 58% of the time which outranks his more famous counterpart Punxsutawney Phil who is only 37% accurate.

I wonder what my new neighbor thinks about all that. Is she as happy as I am to be waddling around the yard seeing daffodils, yellowbells and crocus blooming? [Is it croci when there are more than one?] Or is she like me, content just to hole up without interaction?

I sure hope so.

I’d hate to have to dive under a shed.

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Good Luck

We don’t have a lot of traditions in our family. Most of what we established as a young couple has long fallen by the wayside as our three daughters have married and started traditions of their own. But one thing we hold tightly to is the habit of eating beans and cabbage for New Year. Everybody knows that doing so insures lots of coins and cash for the next twelve months. And anyone who knows us has been witness to how well that works for our family.
[I really need a sarcasm font.]
Therefore, in order to keep any more financial crap from hitting the fan I proceeded to cook a big pot of white beans. Hopefully the good luck fairies were not already ticked off as I waited til January 2nd to do so. I had in fact started the process on the 1st by thawing out the hambone we’d saved from Christmas and the chicken broth David had frozen at some point. Both these items make a big pot of beans taste like manna from heaven. As stated before, we use white beans, either Navy or Great Northern rather than Pintos which tend to give us gas, and not the kind that currently sells for $2.39 a gallon.
Annyyywayyy…
The beans had simmered for hours and filled the house with a great aroma. Chunks of ham fell from the aforementioned bone with promises of yumminess. David made the slaw since he prefers his cabbage with mayo, vinegar, and a touch of sugar. His bowl of beans is capped off with a helping of slaw right in the middle so that the bean to slaw ratio is perfect. This one dish wonder is further perfected with cornbread. We happened to be watching America’s Test Kitchen while the beans simmered. The cooking wizards demonstrated how to bake the perfect cornbread muffins. I did not however write down the recipe as I knew I could watch their technique then find the measurements online. Once they finished I went to my writing room, opened the laptop and noticed my email inbox was full. Plus a quick glance at Facebook revealed best wishes from friends and friends of friends as well as pictures of children of people I tried to remember; all celebrating Christmas and New Year with trips to grandmas everywhere.
David stepped into my writing nook and mentioned that the beans may need more chicken stock as they had cooked down to an occasional bubble which resembled a volcanic eruption. I hoped that wasn’t a sign of stomach issues to come. I closed the laptop, stirred the beans and praised God for keeping them from scorching. Apparently I had been sucked into the quicksand of social media for much longer than I realized. I took my beloved’s hand and asked if he was ready to eat. He knows that’s his cue to ask the blessing. He lovingly gazed at me with something akin to wonder. After forty some years of marriage I should have recognized that questioning look. What I mistook for admiration of my bean cooking skill was in fact his thinking face; as in, should he say out loud the question which swirled in his brain. Instead he prayed a sweet prayer asking God to continue to work in our lives in the coming year; for strength and healing; and a special thanks for blessing us and bringing us through one of the hardest times of our lives.
We dipped our beans, added the slaw and sat down to watch football. Something was amiss but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Once again chemo brain gave me the feeling that I was forgetting something. Finally I asked. “Does this taste okay? I think it’s missing something.
David looked at me with a smile. “It’s great!” he said between bites. “Even without the cornbread.”
Dagnabbit! I had looked forward to cornbread all day and somehow forgot to bake it. Oh well. At least the good luck fairies only care about beans and cabbage. Hopefully they were sufficiently appeased. In fact, maybe that’s what we’ve been doing wrong all these years. Maybe it’s the cornbread that’s been nullifying the coins and cash. I’ll let you know how this year goes. Perhaps we’ve finally stumbled onto the key to financial success.
But I have to say that at some point I’m going to bake some cornbread. After all, money’s not everything.

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Merry Christmas!

Hooray Faithful Readers! My Christmas novel is ready! I’m so excited to have it finished and on Amazon. It will release Wednesday, December 7th.  When you read it, be sure to look for pictures of grace, Christ’s unconditional love, and even a little glimpse of heaven. I hope you like it!bk-4-cover

To view it and the others in the series, click the “Shop Now” button on my Facebook “Lynna Clark-Author” page. Or shop Amazon at Blue Meadow Farm series.

As always, thanks for reading!

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