GIRL POWER: UNSCRIPTED AND UNSTOPPABLE -AND SOMETIMES NEEDING A BATH


Tomorrow is the International Day of the Girl Child with its 2019 theme Girl Power: Unscripted and Unstoppable.

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says “We need to uphold the equal rights, voices, and influence of girls in our families, communities, and nations. Girls can be powerful agents of change, and nothing should keep them from participating fully in all areas of life.” Amen, brother.

Given the current state of political affairs in our nation with families divided, swept up into detention centers at our southern borders – living in horrendous conditions under a regime of daily terror – while across the big waters our nation abandons the friends who have been our major supporters in the war against ISIS, an abandonment that allows vicious attacks on these friends with a presumptive goal of ethnic cleansing…I say the openly corrupt men involved in these atrocities  need to go. Our country needs new leadership and directions, and I believe it’s time for girl power.

Luckily for Pretty and me, we have a granddaughter who gives us hope for the future. And thankfully, we see women and men today who are working tirelessly to make sure our granddaughter’s voice will be heard as they engage in speaking truth to power.

Ella in her elephant hoodie

(baby girl born 10-01-2019)

All baby girls have to start somewhere. Today Ella had a bath given to her by a group of four women who once were girls: two grandmothers, her mother, one of her cousins – and a female hound who wanted to get in the fun.

Happiness is having her hair combed by her mother after the bad old bath!

Tomorrow make time to celebrate the girls and women who have the potential to be powerful agents of change. To quote Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, the times have come to us.

Onward.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Posted in Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, photography, politics, racism, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

will the circle be unbroken?


Will the circle be unbroken by and by, by and by.

There’s a better home a waiting in the sky,  in the sky.

I stood between my grandmother and granddaddy during the hymn singing and, although they each held a hymnal with the words and music, we all knew the songs by heart. I had to know them from memory since I was so young I couldn’t read yet, but my grandparents could have definitely read the words. They had sung the songs so many times during their lives, though, they didn’t need them. My granddaddy sang the melody, and my grandmother sang harmony or what I later learned was the alto part I tried to imitate for the rest of my life.

…we sang the songs of childhood, hymns of faith that made us strong…

My daddy was the song leader in the Richards Baptist Church in the 1950s. The Richards Baptist Church was a small congregation of 50 – 60 members that met on Sunday mornings for Sunday School and worship services, Sunday nights for Training Union and another worship service, and on Wednesday nights for prayer meetings plus a business meeting one Wednesday night a month.  My mother played either the black upright piano to the left of the small raised platform where the preacher and my daddy sat and stood up when they had something to say or she played the little pretend church organ to the right of the raised platform. I could barely see Mama even when I stood to sing from my seat with my grandmother and grandfather on one of the hard wooden pews toward the middle of the tiny sanctuary; I could always see and hear my daddy.

My maternal grandmother had a particular place she sat every Sunday morning during the worship service – a place down closer to the front of the church, but she always sat alone. My mother’s two brothers sat in different places every Sunday, but my Uncle Marion sat on the back row since he was late coming in from standing outside smoking that final cigarette. My Uncle Toby also sat by himself closer to the front but on the opposite side of the church from his mother.

One by one their seats were emptied, one by one they went away.

Now the family is parted, will it be complete one day?

My family members in  that little Baptist Church are, indeed, gone. But the circle of life and family is definitely not broken for me.  Hallelujah! There’s good news for the whole family when the circle is complete.

Drew with his daughter Ella as his mother NanaPretty smiles at them both

NanaSlow holds Ella as NanaPretty keeps smiling

When Ada R. Habershon penned the lyrics in 1907 to the song Will the Circle be Unbroken, she had no way of knowing what an iconic gospel and country music song this would become. From remote churches like mine in the piney woods of East Texas to the center stage of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee this song spoke to individuals and the masses. Her original lyrics changed through the years as different performers rewrote them, but the question remained the same.

Will the circle be unbroken by and by? Regardless of time or place, the answer is yes.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Posted in Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, photography, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments

ain’t it funny how time slips away?


If you didn’t take advantage of the Ken Burns 16-hour special on Country Music through your local PBS station during the past three weeks, the title I stole today for my post (which is the title of one of my favorite Willie Nelson songs) may not grab you right off the bat. Thanks for hanging with me anyway, and as soon as you can, go somewhere to watch the Ken Burns special.

Awesome. The very soul of America is on display through the music of its people who rise up from Appalachian hollers, the Mississippi Delta, the Texas-Mexico borders, Bakersfield, California; the hills and mountains of East Tennessee and western Kentucky, New Orleans, Nashville, New York,  Los Angeles, the Oklahoma dust bowl; from the east coast to the west with every little town or urban area in between. Somewhere someone was writing our history in country music. Thank goodness.

Today is a special anniversary date for me. Five months ago on April 27th., I wrote a post I called Cowgirl Up. At the time I wrote, I was afraid of a knee replacement surgery set for the following week on May 1st.  When I say afraid, I mean totally fearful. Both my knees were an arthritic nightmare of pain when I walked or wasn’t walking. The decision to do the surgery was made after several years of orthopedic pain pills, steroid shots, and a few other treatments I can’t spell. Nothing prevented the aging process of my joints. Losing weight could have helped, as any rational person should know. My life dieting habits of more than seven decades, however, has been characterized by poor food choices.  No one to blame but me, and those eating choices caught up with me as my body parts began to wear out.

The final push to Cowgirl Up and go through with the surgery really boiled down to more than my fears: I had a vision of the quality of life Pretty would have to endure taking care of me as I became less mobile, and that was a sorrowful, sobering sight. Number Two reason, as Joe Biden likes to count everything, was the news of our son and his wife’s expecting their first child in October. I didn’t want my grandchild to know only the old woman who couldn’t get around very well.

Ain’t it funny how time slips away? In the past five months, I’ve had both knee replacements, put away the walker and almost ready to put away my cane. Pretty no longer has to worry with getting the walker in and out of the car every time we drive. That’s huge in my mind and easier on her back.  Within a week, we will have our new granddaughter, Ella, to love and adore. Nothing good comes without complications and concessions in my rehab process for my second knee surgery on August 28th., but now the different battles associated with withdrawal from my pain medications of the past five months will shift the focus finally away from my knees.

During the past five months, I’ve chosen to live a solitary life – much like the life I lead as a writer. What is unusual for me, though, is that I haven’t been able to write. I’ve watched way too much TV, taken way too many naps, iced my knees religiously, and been faithful to my rehab exercises at home and with my therapists at the Lexington Medical Center two days a week. They have been gems.

“I don’t wait for moods.  You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work.”     —– Pearl S. Buck

I read this quote today from my collection of memorable quotes and it prompted me to try to write something. This is how it turned out.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, photography, politics, racism, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

more saltgrass tales (by GP Morris)


GP Morris is the son of my father’s brother Ray. He is a graduate of the University of Texas in Austin. He has lived in or around Houston, Texas all his life but has a son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter living in Seattle, Washington;  a daughter, son-in-law and another granddaughter live in Tyler, Texas.  He recently began a journal of stories for his grandchildren and sent several to me. 

Houston Music Hall

The family was opening gifts Christmas Eve 1967. #1 gave me a 33 1/3 vinyl record album. Everyone wanted to hear it. I dropped the needle. Everyone in the room looked at each other and fled. The room cleared in less than 30 seconds.

After the New Year I found out the artist on that record was going to play at The Houston Music Hall. I had some mowing money saved up. I told Mom that I wanted to take someone from school. Mom thought it was a good idea.

I met the young lady when she caught a ball that had gone out of bounds while I was on court playing basketball. She passed it back with two hands and a smile on her face. After the game I asked for her number and I called her the next day.

Mom spoke to the young lady’s mom. They coordinated what would be appropriate attire for the concert. Sport coat and tie de rigueur. The young lady’s mother said her daughter would be wearing a dress.

We would need transportation. It was going to be a concert when a parent drop-off was unacceptable. I had an idea. J lived four houses down. She was head cheerleader at high school. She was also my ex-babysitter. She was cool.

J was taking us to the concert in my parent’s car. J told Mom that I was over dressed. Mom said wearing school clothes to The Music Hall was like going to church barefoot. Yes ma’am was J’s response.

J tried to suppress laughter when we went to pick up the young lady. Then she saw the young lady. She was resplendent in skirt and petticoat. I forgot to mention she also wore a corsage Mom insisted was appropriate for the occasion. Tears rolled down J’s cheeks.

Our adventure began when J dropped us off in front of The Music Hall…

This was 1968. Love Street Light Circus Feel Good Machine was Houston’s bastion of psychedelia. A club where Bubble Puppy, The 13th Floor Elevators, Fever Tree and The Moving Sidewalks headlined. Not exactly the sport coat and tie crowd.

Mom was not wrong. The Houston Music Hall was home to The Houston Symphony. But tonight Love Street’s patrons vacated the haunts of Buffalo Bayou. They were doing their best Haight-Asbury impression downtown. The scent of weed and Hai Karate had replaced cigarettes and Old Spice.

The mothers had inadvertently made my date the star of the show. We were youngest in attendance. My young friend was a muñeca among a mass of the hip hugging jeans sweeping the floor. She illuminated every row we passed as we made our way to the last row. It was a sold-out concert.

We were nonconformists in Music Hall attire attending a concert of aspirational nonconformists. The concert began with “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. The Beatles were not on stage.

************************************************

 

Stay tuned.

 

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

maternity photo session??? fabulous idea!


This past Sunday Pretty and I were trying to decide in the middle of the afternoon between going out to eat Mexican food, our favorite comfort food of all time for as long as we’ve known each other, and taking a nap.

Mexican food won, and we set off for one of the only Mexican food restaurants open on Sunday – El Salto on Decker Blvd. Because of its distance from our home, we rarely make the effort to go across town to dine there. However, the place is near our son and his wife’s home so Pretty texted to see if they wanted to meet us there.

Drew did meet us there but said Caroline was getting her hair fixed for their maternity photo session that night at which time I’m sure my face must have shown complete surprise. Pretty rescued me by explaining that some couples had photographers take pictures of them just before their baby is born – the maternity photo session. Drew nodded without real enthusiasm but said he was up for giving it a try.

Caroline sent a link to Pretty this morning with the results – I guarantee they made me smile and feel better about life. I chose a few to share with all our friends in cyberspace – enjoy!

These beautiful pictures were taken by Carolina Rain Photography located in Charleston, South Carolina. Bravo!

Needless to say, Pretty and I get more excited about the October 7th. due date every day!

Stay tuned.

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

Friday the 13th. – the day after the Democratic debate and a name game


Friday the 13th. could be bad news for one or more of the candidates who participated in the Democratic Party debate last night. Once again, I felt overwhelmed by the number of persons who met the criteria to participate in the debate, the merry-go-round format of questions and answers at dizzying speeds. I haven’t watched the post-debate analysis today so I have no idea who the media thinks won, lost, or was neutral in the outcomes of the performances. I’m sure I’m not a good judge because I confess my favorables floated among all  the candidates with the same dizzying speeds of their answers.

I’ve decided to whittle my choices for the next debate using the non-scientific method of a name game. I am assigning point values to my reaction of the names if they were President with 1 point being the lowest and 3 being the highest. I invite you to play along in the privacy of your own home. Then we can compare our results. Isn’t this fun?

President Amy – 1 point

President Cory – 2 points

President Pete – 3 points

President Bernie – 1 point

President Joe – 1 point

President Warren – 2 points

President Harris – 3 points

President Yang – 1 1/2 points (he gets the extra half point for sending me $1,000 a month)

President Beto – 2 points

President Castro – 2 points

Now about the score. Looks like Pete and Harris each had 3 points. Cory, Warren, Beto and Castro each had 2 points. Yang had 1 1/2 points. Amy, Bernie and Joe each got 1 point.

So, according to my name game poll, my next debate would inclue Pete, Harris, Cory, Warren, Beto and Castro. Say goodbye to my bottom vote-getters.

Hm. I detect a pattern here, but I’ll let you have it your way, too.

Really, the only name I hope never to see with the title of President again is Donald Trump. Please.

Have a great weekend. Stay tuned.

 

Posted in Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, politics, racism, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is | Tagged , | 15 Comments

and on the flip side…


Canada has a new 19-year-old super star, Bianca Andreescu, who won the 2019 U.S. Open Women’s Championship in New York City this past Saturday. With that victory she became the first Canadian to win a grand slam singles title…ever. #SheTheNorth. Congratulations to Bianca and to a rebirth of professional tennis in our neighbors to the north. Although I was disappointed that Serena Williams had another missed opportunity to win major title #24, I had to be happy for the young woman who beat Serena at her own power game that was virtually unbeatable for the past 20 years. #SerenaTheQueen.

And let me also add my best wishes to Rafael Nadal who won the Men’s Championship on Sunday in a 5-set match that was packed with everything a tennis fan could ever dream of in a U.S. Open final. Daniil Medvedev, the young 23-year-old Russian, was fearless in his pursuit of the title – fearless, tireless, an ingenius combination of drop shots intermingled with ground strokes of nearly 100 miles an hour. This young man had all the weapons to beat Nadal, and yet Nadal somehow brought the tenacity and focus to play every shot as if it were his last. At 33 years of age, Nadal is the first man to win 5 majors after reaching the age of 30. He is one win closer to Roger Federer’s record pace of 20 total grand slam titles. Fed Fans probably weren’t happy with Nadal’s 19th, but I don’t think any tennis fan could deny Nadal’s counterpunching every shot in the grinding 5 hour match. Vamos Rafa!! My heart still belongs to you.

I was so happy to have the U. S. Open to lift me out of my post-operative fog following my surgery on August 28th.  So happy with tennis that I rarely clicked on the news. I missed the headlines of the Taliban leaders’ invitation to Camp David to sit down with the American President. Seriously? Inviting the Taliban to Camp David for a little chat on the weekend before the 18th anniversary of 09-11. Even wild-eyed National Security Advisor John Bolton couldn’t go along with such madness. So before I came totally out of my fog, John Bolton was gone. Oh my. That would be four national security advisors in three years. Quite a record.

The fog has finally lifted after two weeks of post-operative rehab and the ongoing care of Pretty who continues to add stars to her crown in this world and the next. She does love me and wants me to recover fully by the time our first grandbaby Ella arrives. Fingers crossed! Thanks to our friends here who show up with food and foolishness to help sustain and entertain me – you will always be on my good side and I will never forget your kindnesses.

Thanks to everyone around the world who sent me encouraging words, complete sentences, and short paragraphs designed to make my second knee surgery less stressful and my recovery speedy. I really appreciated your support from places I have never seen but would love to visit now that I’m a bit more mobile.

Finally, I am truly grateful to have only two knees.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

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

FOG ALERT!


For all my friends who heard the sad story of my throwing away 20 years of mine and Pretty’s movie ticket stubs when I came home from my knee replacement surgery in May, I have good news. I found the box of missing ticket stubs last week in my office in the same place I thought they should be – except that they were hidden under a decorative gift bag I had been saving since our 10th anniversary celebration ten years ago. I swear I have been looking for that box of memories everywhere and nowhere apparently but was thrilled to find them before tomorrow.

Tomorrow is the day for my second knee replacement surgery which is proving to be as fun as the first one was.

I have instructed Pretty to keep me away from the computer for the next couple of weeks since I clearly am not responsible for the fog that anaesthesia brings. Thank goodness for the US Open – so far my favorites, the Williams Sisters and Rafael Nadal, are through to the second round. Life is good.

Catch you on the flip side.

Stay tuned.

 

Posted in Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, Reflections, Slice of Life, sports, The Way Life Is | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

a day at the farm off backswamp road


Pretty and I love nothing more than taking our dogs for unleashed adventures, and the farm off Backswamp Road in Hopkins, South Carolina has always been one of our favorite stomping grounds. The farm owned by our good friends Dick and Curtis has a lovely old  house that’s tucked off the country road that leads us there from Columbia. Their home has been the site of countless fundraisers for the LGBTQ community and other local charities over the past 30 years because its owners are generous, ready to share their southern hospitality for a good cause or just a dinner for a few friends.

But it is the acreage surrounding the home that has been a favorite spot for our dogs to run until their tongues hang out with joy and weariness. So in October of 2014 Pretty and I took our three dogs, The Red Man (rescued Welsh terrier), Chelsea the tennis ball chaser (black lab), and Spike the squirrel chaser (yellow lab/ shepherd mix) out to the farm for an afternoon romp. The day was one of those days you can forgive South Carolina its blistering summer heat for the perfect weather she gives us in autumn.

I hope you enjoy these images as you envision three city dogs who must be leashed on their walks in their neighborhoods as they experience the freedom of the farm.

Pretty talking to Dick – Chelsea curious about conversation

the pool cover entertained all afternoon

Red and Spike busy exploring – Spike has always been a follower

Red would rather explore by himself

what do labs love? WATER!!

run, run, run!

who says I can’t play?

Pretty and her cell phone

the old Dodge Dakota – faithful to the end of its second engine

loading up and saying goodbye

we had the best time – thank you, Dick, for inviting us!

This day is one of my favorite memories. Red and Chelsea lived until the beginning of 2016, but they both had cancer and their last year of 2015 was a tough one for all of us. Spike continues to live on with us today and now has Charly around to torment him. That’s ok – he didn’t like being an only dog.

We still love to visit the farm, but I haven’t been able to go as often as I would like.  We’re grateful for the standing invitation. Hopefully after this second knee surgery at the end of August, I might be able to make another visit this October. Fingers crossed.

Stay tuned.

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

Happy Birthday to our own millenials!


Number One Son and Pretty Too

This week Pretty and I had dinner with our Number One Son (Drew) and his wife Pretty Too (Caroline) to begin the celebration of their August birthdays. They are our very own Millenials and we love them dearly.

This picture was taken recently by a friend of theirs – they are all smiles because next year they hope to be holding one Ella Elisabeth James, their daughter who is expected in October.

Pretty and I are all smiles, too! Our children and grandchildren are our hope for not only our family but also our country. May the promises of America become a reality in their lifetimes.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

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