WINTER SOLSTICE 2016


“We cannot stop the winter or summer from coming.  We cannot stop the spring or fall of make them other than they are.  They are gifts from the universe that we cannot refuse.  But we can choose what we will contribute to life when each arrives.” -unknown

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TALES OF THE BLUE INDIGO


My WordPress stats tells me that my last post was over two months ago.  It is probably the longest that I have gone without posting at least a quote or photo.  I confess that I have tried to keep up with many of the blogs I follow, but I know I have missed many good posts.  That will be my loss!

My goal for this year, as confided to Loren Rhoads of Cemetery Travels:  Adventures in Graveyards Around the World, was to finish a piece that I started several years ago and abandoned because I could not figure out who the murderer was going to be or what the motive would be.  Perhaps I don’t multi-task as well as I used to because I couldn’t seem to post regularly and finish my writing project.  Many bloggers manage write books and still post every day.  I had to choose to solve my murder and finish my novella-sized project, “Tales of the Blue Indigo,” although it does need a bit of polishing .  At least I can go on to other writing projects like another incomplete one I titled, “North Beach.”  Right now I am now sure what I will do with any of my writing.  Perhaps I will combine them into a collection in my other blog, Tales of the Blue Indigo, that only has one post  just published but I would be happy to have you visit.  The first post is a rather long story titled, “Sug.”  I would welcome feedback!

Here is the opening paragraphs of chapter one of my completed writing project,“Tales of the Blue Indigo.”

            Joe T. suspected that the old man had brought him along on the ride only to

open and close the gates…then he saw the snake.

     Will McNally, an old man at sixty in the eyes the young Joe T., stomped a worn

cowboy boot down roughly on the brake. The blue Chevy pickup stopped like an

obedient quarter horse as the dust it had been kicking up behind caught up with it

and started settling down on top of it.  The two cow dogs riding in the back stood       

with their front legs on the side of the pickup bed and began barking as McNally

opened the door and jumped out of the truck like a roper off a horse at a rodeo.

     “Buster, Lady! Shut up!” he growled. The dogs went silent as their owner crept

around the back of the truck like some Comanche in a raiding party.

Joe T., grateful for the air conditioner blowing in his face, could only stare ahead in

creeping fear as the rattlesnake dragged its heavy body out of the thick brush and

across  the gray dust and ruts of the dirt road. He jumped in his seat as McNally’s

face, tanned and lined as a fine cigar, appeared in the passenger window as his hand

motioned for Joe T. to open the window. With shaking fingers he pushed the

automatic button as the tinted glass glided down silently. McNally had left the truck 

running , its humming diesel idle was the only sound to compete with his pumping 

heart.  The heavy heat drifted into the truck and the cool air floated out.

     “That’s a big son of a bitch,” McNally whispered, “just watch – maybe you’ll

learn a new trick. Here, take my hat. Be quiet and stay out of my way no matter what

happens,” he warned as he took off his tan felt Stetson to reveal wavy silver hair with

remnants of black that had once been the majority.

FRIDAY FOTO: Boobs and Betty Bombers


OCTOBER IS BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH

On Saturday, October 17, I participated in a walk to raise money for the American Cancer Society as a member of the BETTY BOMBERS team from the USS Lexington on the Bay Museum  where my daughter works.  Husband trailed along to take these photos.  My daughter and I walked in honor and in memory of my niece, CHERYL LYLES SMITH, who died in 2012 of cancer.  There were 16,000 walkers who raised $460,000; the BETTY BOMBERS raised $5,374.  Below are photos that Husband took  on a gloriously beautiful South Texas day. 

2015 10 17 Making Strides (108)

 2015 10 17 Making Strides (22)Some of the Betty Bombers getting ready to walk.

2015 10 17 Making Strides (1)Young walkers arriving.

2015 10 17 Making Strides (2)Pink Men from Radiology Associates, a sponsor.

2015 10 17 Making Strides (7)Walkers checking out the booths before the start.

2015 10 17 Making Strides (12)Harbor Bridge and floral sculpture

2015 10 17 Making Strides (13)The Water Garden was turned pink.

2015 10 17 Making Strides (17)Crone and Daughter

2015 10 17 Making Strides (24)Source of the “pink” fountain with the original part of the Art Museum in the background.

2015 10 17 Making Strides (26)Old Glory raised with a pink crane.

2015 10 17 Making Strides (30)They’re off and walking/running along the bay front!

2015 10 17 Making Strides (86)The pink gorilla in the walk.

2015 10 17 Making Strides (35)Cooks walking for a cure!  Their aprons read, “Cooking up a recipe for a cure!”

2015 10 17 Making Strides (87)The marina is in the background; many of the boats had pink flags.

2015 10 17 Making Strides (89)This blood hound and his parents wore tutus.

2015 10 17 Making Strides (118)We made it!  So did the pink gorilla!

2015 10 17 Making Strides (126)At the pink Corpus Christi fire truck with ribbons for each type of cancer.

2015 10 17 Making Strides (128)Husband/Photographer

This post is dedicated to those who survived breast cancer and to those who fought and lost and to all whose bodies have been marked with cancer of any type.

MONDAY MADNESS: Old Buckaroos


Those in the class of 1963 have turned 70 years old or soon will.

There were only about 36 graduates that year in the small south Texas town of Freer.

Many of us had started first grade together and everybody knew everybody.

Graduation would scatter us like dust in the brush country where we grew up.

We would journey into the 1960s with hopes and dreams of the young

and then emerge in a new millennium where all the dreams may not have come true.

The memories linger sweetly.

A PLUVIOPHILE ON THE COAST


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After days of endless searing heat we have beautiful rain today!  It may not be enough to break the drought, but it is welcome relief.  Husband and I had coffee on the veranda and put out extra containers to catch the rain water and rejoiced that the rain barrel would be replenished.

I love the rain.  Perhaps that comes from growing up in South Texas where rain is usually scarce.  I remember the severe drought of the 1950s when ranchers asked the preacher to pray for rain and put a little extra in the offering plate while contributing secretly to a plan to seed the clouds.  Rain was always critical to my father as a rancher.  He would stop whatever he was doing and watch it rain  As a child I learned to do the same, and  I can still remember the smell of the first drops of rain on dry, dusty ground.

Today I still appreciate the rain as we are in Stage II for lawn watering restrictions because of the current drought across Texas.  We don’t want a hurricane but a little disturbance in the gulf that would bring us some moisture is always welcome.  So far our rain gauge measures 3.4 inches and it is still coming down.  Thank you Chac, the Rain God!

Disclosure:
The illustration I used came from Facebook, but I did not know the source.

 

APRONS OF FAITH AND SEX


apron part I

A METAL FOLDING CHAIR creaked as she sat down and shipped off her best black coat.  Underneath and over the light cotton dress was a neat blue pinafore apron with wrinkled white ruffles at the bottom and top.  The young women, faithful members of the Ladies Sunday school class, smiled knowingly to each other in silent sisterhood in the small room on the second floor of the church on a cold but sunny Sunday morning.  Any one of them could have inadvertently worn her apron to church that morning.  The possibility was very high that each of them had left a rumpled and soiled one behind tossed over the back of a chair or on a hook by the stove.  Inside the stove a roast, surrounded with carrots, onions and potatoes, lay simmering in a pot in anticipation of Sunday dinner with gravy, green beans, macaroni and cheese, tall glasses of iced tea; perhaps apple or mincemeat pie for desert.

 

THAT WAS THE WAY it was back then in rural South Texas.  Wives got their families up and ready for church; they served a quick breakfast, hurried the children to get dressed with clothes laid out carefully night before, began preparation for lunch, gathered up Bibles and Sunday school books and, if they were lucky, loving and faithful husband drove them all to church.  If the head of the house did not attend, creative excuses were made for him to the preacher.  Whether he was merely a wayward believer or an outright non-believer, the wife never ceased praying that some day he would go to church with her.  Some prayed this prayer all of their married lives.  The only way some of the men finally got to the church was in a hearse.

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I STILL REMEMBER MANY of my mother’s aprons even though she has been gone over forty years. Red and white checks with tiny black smocking…one with a hand red hand towel attached…an organdy one with white flocking that I never saw her wear…one scalloped interestingly at the bottom and made of solid and printed sections…a  softly patterned one made from feed sack.  She kept them  in a drawer by the sink with the dish towels, cook books and recipes clipped from newspapers and those gleaned from friends and written down in her own handwriting.  They were crisply starched and ironed treasures of female fashion and always on standby alert to be donned for battle for a brave and noble household Joan of Arc. They were defenders against clouds of sifted flour, splatters of hot grease, peanut butter smears, dripping chocolate icing, softened margarine, occasional dust and tears, those of a child or even her own.

MY MOTHER DID NOT restrict her apron fashion sense to the kitchen alone, but she seemed to wear her aprons like friendly armor as she performed the many domestic chores indoors and outdoors. The center of the house and her life was the kitchen. And the kitchen was where she singed the chickens and cut open their gizzards.

Lucy apronOUR FAMILY LIVED ON on a ranch.  We kept chickens along with an assortment of cats, dogs, goats, pigeons and a peacock names Mathis. Cattle were raised for more serious financial purposes. When Mother a chicken to cook she would go out to the chicken yard and grab the eligible fryer, occasional hen or aging rooster by his or her scaly yellow legs, and like some efficient French executioner, quickly wring off the neck, twisting the body in the air as delicately as a lady might twirl a pale white parasol in the noonday sun. Only the few inches of pitiful neck and head would remain in her hand while the feathery, headless body flopped frantically on the ground for a minute or two. The feathers around the remaining stub of neck always seemed to be ruffled, as if the hapless fowl was surprised and angry at the whole foul business!

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THE LIFELESS CREATURE WOULD be dipped in scalding hot water that would make the feathers easier to remove. As a child I thought it was the best of fun (this was before we had television in our home) to stand over a barrel outside and pluck the body until it was mostly naked. The wet smelly feathers would stick to my small fingers and hands. Mother would inspect my work and remove any feathers I had missed; then she would take it inside to the kitchen, wash it and then singe the small hairs away by turning on a high blue flame on the gas stove and quickly passing the body over it several time.  I would watch in morbid fascination  as she made the first cut, sending the intestines slipping into the cool water that filled the sink, tingeing it a diluted crimson.

Diamonds and pearls. I was always confident that a shiny diamond or iridescent pearl would be found when she cut open the gizzard and peeled it open, spilling out bits of grain if the chicken had eaten just before death. Although it was quite unlikely that anyone had dropped a diamond out in the chicken house while gathering eggs or scattering chicken feed where an alert bird would hungrily peck and swallow it down, I never gave up hope that one day an expensive jewel, perhaps even a ruby, would be found in some favored craw.

apron pattern

BY THE TIME I was eleven or twelve we began buying our chicken in town at the grocery store where all one had to do was to choose the desired chicken and the friendly butcher would wrap it up neatly in white butcher paper, tape it and mark the price and content. Mother still insisted on cutting them up even if she did not have to kill them. She made sure that I was taught how to cut up a chicken properly.

TODAY I ONLY BUY boneless chicken breasts hygienically wrapped in clear plastic and nestled softly in Styrofoam beds far from the realities of the gruesome slaughterhouse origins. I have plucked and prepared enough chickens! And I could not even produce an apron for a scavenger hunt.

SEVERAL YEARS AGO I  was reminded of the incredible versatility of the faithful yet sexy apron by a Garth Brooks song, “Somewhere Other Than the Night,” I heard on the radio as I drove to work one morning. A young farmer comes home early from his fields on a rainy day. Damning the rain and the wasted day to himself, he looks up in surprise to find his wife standing in the kitchen “with nothing but her apron on.” She had been waiting for a day like this and they spend the rainy day wrapped up in a blanket on the porch swing.

WHERE IS MY APRON WHEN I NEED IT?

 

love apron