the mickey mouse club

Who’s the leader of the Club that’s made for you and me…

M-I-C     K- E- Y


I’ve made the mistake of watching the Senate as it goes through the histrionics of repealing the Affordable Care Act for the gazillionth. time. Yesterday, I had the nagging suspicion I had seen this played out somewhere else before.

Attention, Baby Boomers from the 1950s. Sing along with me.

If you can remember the fun and games afternoons with Mickey and the gang,

you have a great memory

we had our clubhouse –

just like the US Senate has today

our Head Mouseketeer Jimmie was a

lot more fun than the new

Senate Head Mouseketeer Mitch

If only our Senators were as congenial as Mickey and Minnie, I wonder what could get done?

 We need more women in the new Senate Club

The new Senate Club represents

the best interests of all the people in the country,

wouldn’t you think?

sigh…Disney was a deal-maker, too…

And now it’s time to say goodbye to all our fam-i- ly

M-I-C see you real soon

K-E-Y   why? because we like you!


Most of these Senators can remember the Mickey Mouse Club of yesteryear – maybe some of them were even card-carrying members like me – but they’ve forgotten Head Mouseketeer Jimmie’s admonitions to treat each other with respect and kindness. The new Club thrives on disrespect and meanness. The new Head Mouseketeer Mitch has gotten lost in a wilderness of wheeling and dealing that will cost many Americans the opportunity for adequate health care.

Pretty is one of those Americans who has health insurance through the Affordable Care Act and will have none if it’s repealed. Multiply that by 32 million lives. I can’t. I can’t even imagine the ultimate price for the possibilities being discussed on the floor of the Senate today.

Maybe that’s why I’ve resorted to tunes from the years when my best friends were Spin and Marty.

P.S. The views expressed today in no way reflect the views of Mickey and Minnie Mouse or any of the Mouseketeers pictured. The pictures are copyrighted by the Disney Company more than 60 years ago.



Posted in Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, politics, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

From One Mother to Another – WWII

On May 29, 1945 my mom Selma and my dad Glenn eloped to get married by a justice of the peace in Magnolia, Texas. Magnolia was a small town 30 miles south of the even smaller town of Richards where they had grown up and gone to public school together. I’m not sure how they decided on Magnolia unless they had set out for Houston which was another 60 miles down the road – and couldn’t wait.

They eloped practically the day my father returned from England after flying 32 bombing missions over Germany as a navigator on a B-25 bomber. He had volunteered to enlist in the army soon after graduating from high school, gone to officer training school in the Army Air Corps, served in the 8th Air Force in England, received the Air Medal of Honor, was honorably discharged, came home to the rural Grimes County, Texas home he had left and married the woman he loved. She was 18 – he was 21.

My father had a brother, Ray, who was two years older than he was. My Uncle Ray also enlisted in the Army as soon as he finished high school. Even though the brothers had been separated for two years, they both were amazed to find themselves stationed together with the 8th Air Force in England. Ray loaded the bombs in the planes on the ground, and Glenn dropped the bombs from the air.

Ray and Glenn’s mother, my grandmother Betha Day Robinson Morris, kept this letter dated August 16, 1945 from a mother written to her from another mother in Doncaster, England. Apparently Betha’s sons had spent quite a bit of time in her home while they were stationed across the Pond during the war. Glenn was home and already married before Ray’s tour was over.

16 -8 – 45

Dear Mrs. Morris,

Many thanks for your letter. I was very pleased you appreciated my letter. I expect you have Ray home now.  We do miss him but let’s thank god the whole war is over & our boys won’t have to face that Pacific. I dreaded hearing that any of the U.S.A. boys who stayed with me would have to face that ordeal. Fancy Glynn being with you when my letter arrived. I could just imagine him saying that about the Yorkshire pudding. Yes Mrs. Morris my dear son arrived home safely & we’ve had a lovely 10 days with him. We had his coming home party last Saturday & what a party. Ray will tell you what a lively house this is like your own. I didn’t know what to do when the telegram came saying he had landed in England. I laughed & cried together so I know your feelings when that great big son of yours arrives. He’s a great guy. We’ve got his photo on the piano. I often talk to him. Pleased to hear you have 3 children. We only have 2 boys and my grandson who really is a beautiful child. I’ll send you some snaps when we can obtain some films for the camera. He’s so proud of his dear daddy. Ask Glynn to send me a picture of his wife. She sounds a jolly good sort of a girl. We get very few American Boys here now. I see a few was over for J.V. Days & everybody went mad. Tell Ray the Market Tavern was crowded. When we got in, you couldn’t get out again. My son who works there was tired out. What beer they sold & we was all dancing in the Market too. Give Ray this message from Shelia “She sends her regards to him & if she wasn’t marrying Nash, he stood the second chance.” She’s a sweet kid. I’ll enclose you the recipe for Yorkshire pudding  it’s really good. With roast, beef, mutton, or pork. We very seldom have a dinner without in England. As it’s very tasty with onions cooked. Let’s hope you make a success of it. It needs a lot of Beeting (sp.) up. Well dear space is short and time marches on. Give my love to my two Boys from their Limey Mum.

     So I’ll say cheerio. 

          Sincerely yours


         Regards from all the young at heart to Ray & Glynn

Sender’s name and address: E. Hughes, L.L. Christ Church Rd, Doncaster, England.

P.S. I can only imagine my grandmother’s strictly tee-totaling Southern Baptist self as she read the part about the Market Tavern, beer and dancing. Oh my god.

P.S.P.S. Family lore always attributed my name Sheila to a girl in England. There is truth to that story apparently. My middle name Rae was my daddy’s attempt to feminize his brother’s name. So I guess I might have been named Betha Day instead of Sheila Rae had it not been for WWII.


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Hello? Ding, Ding who’s there?

Well neighbors Pretty got up bright and early yesterday morning to drive me to the Verizon Help Center because I have been having technical issues with my cell phone for the past week. The Help Center/ Show Room is 15 minutes north of our new casita de Cardinal in West Columbia. Normally I could have made that trip myself but our Dodge Dakota pickup truck has more issues than my cell phone so we are a one-car family this month.

We arrived at 10:08. I know the exact time because the young man who greeted us asked us to have a seat on a small bench in the extremely large, mostly empty show room. He then sent me a text as soon as we sat down. The text said, thank you for waiting…there is one person ahead of you.

When I looked back at the text later, I saw that it had been sent at 10:08.

I found it odd to receive a text from someone who was standing less than 15 feet away from me, but actually the text later proved invaluable in establishing my timeline for the visit.

Pretty and I chatted while we waited, and at 10:28 a.m. I received a second text from the friendly greeter with the encouraging information that someone would be with me momentarily which was good since I had a doctor’s appointment downtown at 11:40 and was beginning to experience a slight nagging notion in the back of my mind that this visit to the Verizon Wireless store had been poorly planned.

The store was now filled with customers who milled around with everyone’s cell phones being dinged with text messages from the same enthusiastic greeter about their place in line for the next available customer service person. No one talked via the antiquated mode of chatting out loud to one another – just text messages.

At any rate, shortly after the second text message I was approached by an attractive middle-aged woman with long flowing blonde hair who asked us to join her at her section of the counter and then said with a pleasant smile, how could she help us today?

I laid my cell phone on the counter in front of her and said I had two problems that I needed help with: (1) I couldn’t receive group text messages and (2) I could no longer send my pictures from my cell phone to my computer. Thank you for helping, I added with an equally pleasant expression on my face.

The woman beamed with good will as she picked up my phone and looked at it. Oh my god were the first words out of her mouth as the smile turned to a frown, and I didn’t think that was a good sign. I heard Pretty give a small groan as she turned away from us to stare at the new cell phone accessories in the show room.

Oh my god, she said again. I’ve never seen this cell phone brand – where did you buy this phone?

At your store, I said.

Really? she said with an expression that translated I don’t believe you for a minute. I’ve never even heard of a phone called an HTC, she continued.

She looked at me now with more than a trace of annoyance and began to punch buttons on my phone, looking back periodically to scroll down her own cell phone which was clearly superior to mine. She squinted her eyes as she said I don’t know how you ever see anything on a phone with a screen this small. She sighed…and turned my phone upside down as if to get a better view.

Oh my god, she kept saying over and over. I felt nauseous. I didn’t like the road we were on for sure. I felt our newly formed relationship of happiness and congeniality was about to be dissolved before it really got going.

After her head shaking went on for several minutes with more oh my gods, she asked me if I had insurance on the phone.

Probably not, I said. This was clearly not the answer she hoped for because her lips formed a tight thin line and her eyes squinted to mere slits with the eyeballs barely visible.

You should always buy insurance she said with a hard tone. It’s the only way you can return this phone and get a new one.

I don’t want a new phone, I said in a louder voice. I want someone to fix this one. I now understood our relationship was in real trouble. We had a failure to communicate – probably because we weren’t using text messages.

Pretty spoke up  at this point in the exchange and asked if I was eligible for an upgrade on our plan? The woman scrolled through her superior phone and shook her head. Not until February of 2018.

By now my anxiety level had reached 10 on a scale of 1 to 10.

Time was ticking away; Pretty took control (as she is prone to do) and said we have to go. With that the Help Center woman began to protest and said I’m not finished with you yet to which Pretty replied, oh yes you are and picked up my phone. We could feel her disapproval for us as customers while the smiling greeter wasn’t so happy to see us leave as he was when we arrived an hour earlier. I wondered if I should text him goodbye.

We raced home so that Pretty could drop me off and go on her merry way to her antique empire activities and our housekeeper/best friend Carmen could drive me to the doctor’s appointment which I was close to missing at this moment. Perilously close.

As Fate would have it, Carmen discovered she had locked her keys in the car she left running so that it would be cool when we got in it. Car running. Keys inside. Doors locked. No extra keys with her.

Needless to say, the doctor’s appointment had to be rescheduled for today with a few chuckles from the office manager when she heard the lost keys story. That’s a good one she said. Hilarious I agreed.

AAA came an hour later to unlock Carmen’s car door, and the car miraculously continued to perform flawlessly which was also good because she had to drive me back to the Verizon Wireless store instead of the doctor’s office.

All of my contacts and pictures in my cell phone were gone…as in GONE, baby gone as was any semblance of good will on my part which must have been apparent to the cheerful greeter when I returned for my second visit early yesterday afternoon. The woman with the long blonde hair flew over to personally escort me to the rear of the show room. No text messages necessary.

Two hours later Carmen and I left the store with my antiquated cell phone in hand, my contacts restored, and most of my pictures retrieved. I’m still hoping to find the ones I lost somewhere over the rainbow in my cloud, whatever that is and wherever it may be. Oh my god.

Following the harrowing adventures at the cell phone Help Center, I treated Carmen and myself to chocolate milk shakes at Rush’s. My mood improved immediately as we sat in the front seat of her car and texted each other about how much we loved the delicious milk shakes.

Ding, ding. Yummy.

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Father Goose Rhymes I Just Made Up



There was in old woman who lived in a shoe.

She had so many children she didn’t know what to do.

She gave them some broth without any bread,

Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.

Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme – circa 1794

There was an old man who lived in a White House.

He had so many children who stayed in the dog house.

He gave them some jobs that they couldn’t do,

Then tweeted and tweeted to raise a hullabaloo.

Father Goose Nursery Rhymes – 2017

Okay, okay. So I’m no Mother Goose and my rhyming dictionary has a few weaknesses, but I woke up this morning thinking about the old woman in the shoe with the children woes. The little jingle sounded all too familiar these days, and it was downhill from there.

Well, I woke up this mornin’ , Mother Goose on my mi-i-i-i-nd.

Enough already. Somebody stop me.

Tomorrow is another day – maybe I’ll wake up thinking more profound thoughts. Keep hope alive for that, will you?

Stay tuned.



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Manic Monday at WIMBLEDON Tomorrow – Feel the Magic!

Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive…it’s a train, it’s a plane, it’s Super Manic Monday at Wimbledon tomorrow and my head will be spinning like one of those old antique tops that we recently sold at our spectacular yard sale for Casa de Canterbury this weekend.

Roger Federer in 2012 following his win

Daddy WON Wimbledon again! Thank you, thank you

(one of Roger’s twin daughters at the match in 2012)

I lost at Wimbledon again – why me, o Lord, why me?

(Andy Murray was the runner-up in 2012)

The Red Man in the bleacher seats at

Casa de Canterbury during Wimbledon in 2012

(The Red Man was a serious Tennis Addict)

Paw Licker Annie entertained herself in 2012…

(she much preferred licking her paw to tennis)

Spike’s first Wimbledon experience – 

he didn’t quite catch the thrill in 2012

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in

2014 Wimbledon Final

Daddy lost Wimbledon…oh, no

Rafael Nadal leaving Wimbledon in 2014

(win or lose, Nadal likes to stay fresh)

Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Murray a/k/a the Big Four will be flailing away at yellow tennis balls again tomorrow at the All England Club at Wimbledon in the round of 16 players still standing in both the men’s and women’s draws after the first week of tournament play. The ESPN commentators have dubbed this day Manic Monday because it is the final time both the men and women will be playing on the same day on the grass courts of the 2017 tournament.

With the yard sale in her rear-view mirror, Pretty will be up with me to catch the Magic Marathon that is the beginning of the second week of one of the 4 Major tennis tournaments of 2017. Roger Federer  won the Australian Open earlier this year, and Rafa Nadal won his record-setting 10th. French Open title a few weeks ago.  His 10th. French Open. Truly awesome.

These guys are “oldies but goodies” as my friend Robin Lee says whenever she sees me.

That’s how I feel about the men and women who continue to loom large in international competition even as they pass the 30-year-old hurdle that used to be the sign of the end of times for tennis players. Good for them. They crash their own glass ceilings every time they step on Centre Court. And we haven’t even mentioned the legendary Venus Williams who is playing in her 20th Wimbledon at the ripe young age of 37. You go, girl.

Spike has grown fonder of tennis in the past 5 years and will watch Wimbledon with Pretty and Charly and me in our new bleacher seats at Casita de Cardinal this week. We have to hope The Red Man and Paw Licker Annie will have the best seats in their home away from home, too. Red will pull for Roger with Pretty, and Annie, well, she will keep her preferences to herself.

Spike and I both love Nadal whether he has a shirt on or not. Vamos!!

Enjoy a fantastic week of tennis if you are a fan and have access to sports channels on your TV.

Thanks for staying tuned.

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and on a lighter note, happy fourth, America

As the fireworks boom and crackle around me in our new neighborhood tonight, I have a few parting shots myself from a day of family, friends and fun in our new home. These are the good ol’ days…trust me on that one.

Six-year-old Finn was the first to hit the pool –

and almost the last to leave it

Finn, Number One Son, Pretty Twos

Pretty’s Dad Walker and Finn’s Dad Dave

The only thing better than being on top of the water…

not now, Charly

he said whaaat about Mika?

let me just say one more thing, Walker

Pretty Twos had to leave early to go

to their mother’s festivities

Sis’s friend Tim from Asheville

Number One Son all grown up

the gospel according to Sheila Go

Finn’s mom and dad…awww…sweet

(Some of our best friends are straight people)

Sis in the sun

old woman Slow in the shade…

pawpaw, sometimes I think you’re the only one

with any sense

Brother-in- law Jim

Tiny yellow ball and paddles

grand pool entertainment

never mind the score – that smile is always the winner

I can’t be getting sleepy

barbecue, watermelon, a pool – 

does it get any better than this

I asked Finn if he knew why we celebrated July 4th.

America made a nation that day, he said.

I couldn’t put it better myself.

All of us at Casita de Cardinal send our best wishes to all of our amigas and amigos in cyberspace for a festive Fourth and fabulous summer.

Stay tuned.





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A Declaration of Independence – July, 1848

In July, 1848 seventy-two years after the original Declaration of Independence was ratified and signed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania the first women’s rights convention was held in Seneca Falls, New York. A group of approximately 300 women and men gathered to address the state of women’s rights in the United States of America. Using the 1776 document as a model, 68 women and 32 men adopted the following Declaration of Rights and Sentiments (thanks, Wikipedia)…reader beware…may hit a little too close to home in July of 2017 for all of us.

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one portion of the family of man to assume among the people of the earth a position different from that which they have hitherto occupied, but one to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes that impel them to such a course.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted, deriving their powers from the consent of the governed. Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these rights, it is the right of those who suffer from it to refuse allegiance to it, and to insist upon the institution of a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed, but when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their duty to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of the women under this government, and such is now the necessity which constrains them to demand the equal station to which they are entitled.

The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpation on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

  • He has not ever permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the elective franchise.
  • He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she had no voice.
  • He has withheld her from rights which are given to the most ignorant and degraded men—both natives and foreigners.
  • Having deprived her of this first right as a citizen, the elective franchise, thereby leaving her without representation in the halls of legislation, he has oppressed her on all sides.
  • He has made her, if married, in the eye of the law, civilly dead.
  • He has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages she earns.
  • He has made her morally, an irresponsible being, as she can commit many crimes with impunity, provided they be done in the presence of her husband. In the covenant of marriage, she is compelled to promise obedience to her husband, he becoming, to all intents and purposes, her master—the law giving him power to deprive her of her liberty, and to administer chastisement
  • He has so framed the laws of divorce, as to what shall be the proper causes of divorce, in case of separation, to whom the guardianship of the children shall be given; as to be wholly regardless of the happiness of the women—the law, in all cases, going upon a false supposition of the supremacy of a man, and giving all power into his hands.
  • After depriving her of all rights as a married woman, if single and the owner of property, he has taxed her to support a government which recognizes her only when her property can be made profitable to it.
  • He has monopolized nearly all the profitable employments, and from those she is permitted to follow, she receives but a scanty remuneration.
  • He closes against her all the avenues to wealth and distinction, which he considers most honorable to himself. As a teacher of theology, medicine, or law, she is not known.
  • He has denied her the facilities for obtaining a thorough education—all colleges being closed against her.
  • He allows her in church, as well as State, but a subordinate position, claiming Apostolic authority for her exclusion from the ministry, and, with some exceptions, from any public participation in the affairs of the Church.
  • He has created a false public sentiment by giving to the world a different code of morals for men and women, by which moral delinquencies which exclude women from society, are not only tolerated but deemed of little account in man.
  • He has usurped the prerogative of Jehovah himself, claiming it as his right to assign for her a sphere of action, when that belongs to her conscience and her God.
  • He has endeavored, in every way that he could to destroy her confidence in her own powers, to lessen her self-respect, and to make her willing to lead a dependent and abject life.
  • Now, in view of this entire disfranchisement of one-half the people of this country, their social and religious degradation—in view of the unjust laws above mentioned, and because women do feel themselves aggrieved, oppressed, and fraudulently deprived of their most sacred rights, we insist that they have immediate admission to all the rights and privileges which belong to them as citizens of these United States.In entering upon the great work before us, we anticipate no small amount of misconception, misrepresentation, and ridicule; but we shall use every instrumentality within our power to effect our object. We shall employ agents, circulate tracts, petition the State and national Legislatures, and endeavor to enlist the pulpit and the press in our behalf. We hope this Convention will be followed by a series of Conventions, embracing every part of the country.

Happy Independence Day to all our friends and followers in cyberspace who are celebrating in the USA – practice kindness and caution this weekend wherever you are in the world.

Posted in Lesbian Literary, Personal, politics, Reflections | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home

Coming this December – a Must Read!

Read the intimate personal essays of 21 native or adopted South Carolinians who contributed significantly to the organizing of the queer community in our state from the AIDS crisis in 1984 to marriage equality in 2014.

Jim Blanton, Candace Chellew-Hodge, Matt Chisling, Michael Haigler, Harriet Hancock, Deborah Hawkins, Dick Hubbard, Linda Ketner, Ed Madden and Bert Easter, Alvin McEwen, Sheila Morris, Pat Patterson, Jim and Warren Redman-Gress, Nekki Shutt, Tony Snell, Carole Stoneking (deceased), Tom Summers, Matt Tischler and Teresa Williams answer the questions surrounding the reasons for their activism in a conservative state in the South during a tumultuous time in American politics when many people assumed the only activists in the queer community lived in San Francisco or New York City. These folks chose to remain committed to home instead of fleeing South Carolina. Why?

Although the book isn’t scheduled for release by the USC Press until December, I couldn’t let the Pride month of June (or the Obergefell Supreme Court decision two-year anniversary this week) go by without sharing my excitement over this book which has been in the making for the past 4 years. Harriet Hancock was my original creative impulse for undertaking the project and has been with me every step of the way toward the ultimate goal of collecting and sharing these stories.

I am grateful to all contributors for their unwavering willingness to participate, to Harlan Greene for a wonderful foreword and to the USC Press for their commitment to “home” authors.

Happy Pride!



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Happiness Barometer

at Casa de Canterbury in November, 2016

at Casita de Cardinal this week

Even the miraculously still alive 70th. birthday plant is happier in its new home. 

Just saying.

Beat the heat this weekend, cyberspace amigas this side of the equator…or stay warm to all our amigos in Capetown, South Africa where our good friend Dr. Saskia visited for three weeks recently and almost froze to death. According to her, everyone wears coats all the time because there is no heat in any building she ate, slept, shopped, or did research in. Brr. I must only visit South Africa in their summertime.

Posted in Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is | Tagged , | 6 Comments

summer solstice

i want to be sure i stay awake until midnight tonight.

don’t waste a minute of the last gasps of spring.

summer begins to steal the daylight hours

as surely as heat rises.


Posted in Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is | Tagged | 10 Comments