MLK Day in 2022


“I think the tragedy is that we have a Congress with a Senate that has a minority of misguided senators who will use the filibuster to keep the majority of people from even voting. They won’t let the majority senators vote. And certainly they wouldn’t want the majority of people to vote, because they know they do not represent the majority of the American people. In fact, they represent, in their own states, a very small minority.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke these words in July, 1963 in response to a question from a journalist about a Civil Rights bill being discussed by Congress that would end segregation, a bill first proposed by President John F. Kennedy that became law in 1964 following his death, a law that represented a revolution in prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin in employment.

Dr. King understood the dangers of a political procedure which threatened the will of the people in a democracy – particularly in an attempt to suppress voting. Dr. King’s remarks hit home to me almost six decades later. The more things change, the more they stay the same, according to the French writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr in 1849.

In May, 2018 Pretty and I met our Texas sisters Leora and Carmen in Louisiana to spend a few days on Pretty’s guided tour of the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama. In addition to great barbecue and fun times playing cards at night, we went to the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church in Montgomery.

We squeezed in under the wire for the last tour of the day for the church following our visit to The Legacy Museum that morning. The church was rich in history but was usually identified by its connection to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who was its pastor from 1954 – 1960. The meeting to launch the Montgomery Bus Boycott was held in the basement of the church on December 2, 1956.

What an incredible experience we all had with our tour guide Wanda – her joy in sharing the history of the church was infectious…her storytelling made the history come alive. She provided opportunities for our personal interactions within the sacred surroundings. One moment from the church basement tour stood out to me as I settled into my thoughts on a riverboat ride later in the afternoon.

The original lectern Dr. King used in his meetings was still standing in the basement of the church. Wanda allowed each of our small group of six (another married couple from Kansas had joined us) to stand behind that lectern and repeat his words: “How long? Not long.” I put both my hands on the lectern as I repeated the short phrases, how long? not long. I felt a crack in the veil of shame for an entire race that I had worn since The Legacy Museum visit earlier that day. If Dr. King could say “not long,” then surely time was meaningless; redemption was still possible for all who repented. How long? Not long.

I wanted to add “too long.”

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

“Well, I don’t know what will happen now.  We’ve got some difficult days ahead.  But it doesn’t matter with me now.  Because I’ve been to the mountaintop.  And I don’t mind.  Like any man I would like to live a long life.  Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now…God’s allowed me to go up to the mountain.  And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land.  I may not get there with you.  But I want you to know today that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.  And I’m happy, today,  I’m not worried about anything.  I’m not fearing any man...”

These famous words were delivered in a speech by Dr. King at the Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee on April 03, 1968, the day before his assassination.

The Covid pandemic has changed all our lives in the past two years. The political unrest is crazy unnerving, but our struggles are small in comparison to those of a young African American minister in the 1960s who refused to surrender to fear in the face of threats on his life over and over again until one became a reality.

Here’s my last quote. I promise. But if you haven’t listened to any of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speeches, I urge you to celebrate his birthday in 2022 by going to the magical YouTube videos of his recordings to pick your own favorite quotes. I think you’ll be glad you did.

Meanwhile stay safer, stay saner, get vaccinated and boosted, and please stay tuned.

poster for 1993 March on Washington

“Our freedom was not won a century ago, it is not won today, but some small part of it is in our hands, and we are marching no longer by ones and twos but in legions of thousands, convinced now it cannot be denied by human hands.”

Hear ye, hear ye, Senators Manchin and Sinema. To borrow a line from Wanda Sykes, Dr. King is talking about you, fools.

Posted in family life, Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, politics, racism, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

how is Bully Cat like Novax Djokovic?


I wonder…hm…what similarities do they have…

Number 1: Both BC and Novax disrespect their peers.

Number 2: Both refuse to go home when politely asked to leave.

Number 3: Both Novax and BC will share a tarnished legacy for their selfishness.

Bully Cat looks longingly at Carport Kitty’s carport…

like Novax gazes past guards at Australian border

Bully Cat patrols carport border looking for legal representation

No one wants to take my case!

Meanwhile, Carport Kitty could be seen yesterday eating three square meals at the bottom of our kitchen steps in the carport. She had been looking thin and “poorly” for the past several days so we were happy to see her appetite return.

keep the food coming, sisters

Bully Cat was seen hustling to his own home – the judge and jury of Pretty and me sent him packing. Novax’s visa was revoked a second time by the Australian Immigration Minister this morning; he will be returned to immigration detention this afternoon but will appeal to the judicial system to restore the visa in time for him to participate in what was once his favorite Grand Slam. I’m thinking he’s lost the good will of Australian tennis fans in 2022 – he should go home to Serbia to practice for the clay season.

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

Stay safer, stay saner, please get vaccinated and please stay tuned.

Posted in family life, Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, photography, politics, Slice of Life, sports, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Spike, our Texas cur dog who needs a pack


When my cousin Martin saw Spike for the first time he said, “Sheila, that ain’t nothing but a cur dog. Plain as day.”

That was in the spring of 2012, the year my two mothers died within two weeks of each other. I was a motherless child by any definition at the end of April, the month Spike appeared on Worsham Street in Texas as a motherless cur dog which according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition, and my cousin Martin, meant he was a mongrel or inferior dog – surly or cowardly.

When that cur dog showed up on Worsham Street in front of our house, Pretty and I had four other dogs: Annie, Red, Chelsea and Ollie. I tried to convince my neighbors across the street to keep him, but both of them had cats as well as dogs plus jobs that required their daily presence. I was a stay at home writer. My neighbor Lisa and I tried to find his owner for several days but finally realized someone had dumped him in our neighborhood so he belonged to Worsham Street. I called Pretty to talk to her about him – she was living most of the time in South Carolina while I had been in Texas to take care of my mother – and since we split the four dogs into two separate households – what was one more?

At first Spike was skittish around Red, Annie and me. He preferred to stay in the yard, but one night the rains came; I saw him sitting on the back porch looking at Red and me on the bed through the sliding glass door which I got up to open for him. He came inside that rainy night – never to be an outside dog again.

Spike sound asleep with his buddy Red on our sofa in Texas

(spring, 2012)

Red was quick to be surly – Spike not so much

Spike seemed to understand that he was the low dog in the pack. Red was the alpha male because that’s how terriers roll. Smallest in size – but Red was the recognized “star.” Annie was a big dog like Spike but much older. She allowed Red to lead as long as she approved of his leadership, but don’t ever cross her. Spike learned to avoid her, but he loved Red. Red adored Annie. Typical love triangle similar to humans. Am I right?

The math Pretty and I had originally calculated worked well when we were in different homes but changed dramatically when we were together in South Carolina. Then we knew we had five dogs. Looking back to those years I’m not sure how we managed but we loved them all.

Spike, Red and black lab Chelsea in back yard on Canterbury Road

Spike fell in love with Chelsea on his first trip to South Carolina in 2012; it was a feeling that stayed with him as long as she lived – a feeling that remains with him six years after she died in March, 2016. To this day he whines in a high pitched voice when he sees a big black dog walking by on our street from his perch on the couch in our living room.

Spike at home on our patio in July, 2012

Spike and Chelsea on my grandparents’ bed in September, 2014

my grandparents would be horrified if they knew

One by one Spike’s pack succumbed to illness and old age, and he became the sole survivor in the spring of 2016. Pretty and I promised each other we would shower him with affection, treats, walks, to give him the attention he hadn’t experienced as the interloper of the original four. We tried for months to lavish him with our love – perhaps partially to assuage our own grief. What happened surprised both of us. Spike’s grieving was as real as ours, and he didn’t like being an “only” dog. He missed his pack.

Enter Charly in the summer of 2016. Charly was twice rescued: once by Pawmetto Lifeline and then by Pretty, Spike and me.

Spike and Charly in our living room – 2019

when you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with

Now we have another little old man about the same size as Red, but that’s a story for another night. He and Spike aren’t buddies, though – neither is Carport Kitty who definitely dislikes our three dogs. That’s okay. Charly runs interference between Spike and Carl who has learned the importance of pretending CK doesn’t exist. Spike has a pack again. Pretty and I love them all.

Spike on his walk – January 11, 2022

By the way, cur dogs are really a wonderful breed of “hard-working treeing hounds” with traits that include being devoted to their people, protective of their environment and fabulous additions to families.

So to my cousin Martin I say thank goodness Spike ain’t nothing but a cur dog. Pretty and I wouldn’t have him be anything else.

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

Stay safer, stay saner, please won’t you get vaccinated and boosted, and stay tuned.

Posted in family life, Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, photography, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

in case you missed it – yesterday was January 6th.


On January 06, 2021 I watched the desecration of my nation’s house, felt horrified and saddened beyond measure at a reality television show produced, directed, and starring the former president of the far from united states – a man who confused firing an apprentice in a make believe office on television with the real life responsibilities of our oval office.

I timed my morning walk yesterday to be sure I returned to hear President Biden’s comments on the first anniversary of the January 06th. insurrection at our nation’s Capitol. He was scheduled for 9 o’clock our time, and I walked through our kitchen door at 8:55 a.m.

Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden took their places at a podium erected for them in the middle of the US Capitol’s Statuary Hall – my mind immediately raced to the images of the rioters in that hall last year, the people I witnessed trespassing through this very space the year before following their breach of security to illegally gain entrance to this building that belonged to all Americans, the chants of where’s Nancy, hang Mike Pence haunted me still…

But both Vice President Harris and President Biden reminded me that, although our democracy sustained a gash like the broken windows in the Capitol on that day, the people we fairly elected conducted the people’s business on our behalf in the people’s house that day. The transfer of power had been neither peaceful nor pretty, but democracy held firm; the legitimate electors were certified according to the constitution.

Yesterday afternoon Pretty and I picked up our two year old granddaughter after her preschool. The heaviness I felt in my morning’s memories was magically transformed to joy in Ella’s delight with a camellia she picked from a shrub full of pink wonders.

flower, she said

yes, I said, its a flower called a camellia

Teesa, do you think Naynay really knows what this is?

I can smell this, Naynay – why did you say camellias don’t smell?

I love camellias

Camellias are wonderful, Sweet, but wait until I talk to you about democracy.

**********

Stay safe, stay saner, please get vaccinated, boosted, and please stay tuned.

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

famous last words: no need to take my phone


I was lost. Not panicky yet, but on the verge.

The reality hit me as forcefully as the rain that soaked my clothes, the cold winds that swirled around me. I stopped to remove my fogged glasses which made seeing even more difficult in the dark night, but in that instant when I stopped, the hordes of people who were walking behind me stepped around to unintentionally get between me and my fearless leader: Pretty.

We were exiting Colonial Life Arena following the hastily scheduled South Carolina women’s basketball game against Mississippi State last night because our original opponent, Ole Miss, couldn’t safely play due to health protocols. Pretty and I had questioned whether we should even go to the game in the first place but decided to take the risk since we knew the people who always sat in our area would be vaccinated and wearing masks.

Not so fast, my friend. Apparently a family of three had purchased the tickets for the seats in front of us that had been empty during the preseason games – a young couple with a little boy who sat between them. None of them wore a mask. Bummer.

The game was fun, the #1 team in the nation rebounded from our loss at Mizzou on Thursday night; Pretty and I were in a celebratory mood by the time the game reached its 80 – 68 conclusion only to be greeted by a monsoon when we stepped outside to start the trek for our car. The weatherman had predicted inclement weather, and I had worn my lucky Gamecock baseball cap along with a lightweight windbreaker in the unlikely event he was right, but Pretty doubted his track record for forecasts and opted to come bareheaded without a raincoat.

Parking for our game had also been a bit tricky. Our assigned parking lot which was in a garage directly across from CLA was closed so we had parked much farther away in an open lot that was a hike from the arena. Pretty, who always drove us everywhere, had taken great care to park our new (to us) family car toward the back of the lot when we arrived.

I had hollered to Pretty when we began walking toward the car after the game for her to go on ahead of me, that I would follow her, not a problem. I sincerely believed it. (A) I walk for 45 minutes every morning so the 10 minute walk to our car should be easy (B) Pretty was getting drenched and hated getting wet with a passion (C) I never walked as fast as she did and didn’t want to slow her down. It seemed like such a great plan.

Everyone knows the best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray.

Clearly our plan and I both went astray in that parking lot. I was sure I remembered where we parked two daylight hours earlier, but that didn’t help when I walked to where I thought we were – and we weren’t there. But a biting cold wind was there along with a deluge of rain on a dark night illuminated only by the headlights of car after car driving around me while I wandered in a wilderness of disorientation looking for Pretty.

At one point I thought I saw our new car pulling around and slowing down for me. Such a relief – Pretty on the move to get me. But alas, as I approached the passenger door of the front seat, the man who was driving waved me away. I scared him almost as much as I scared myself.

Finally I stopped for shelter under a large tree in the middle of the lot. I’ll just give Pretty a call, I thought, and fumbled in my pocket for my phone when that nasty know-it-all sarcastic voice in my head that I knew only too well reminded me of those famous last words I uttered before we left home for the game. No need to take my phone – no one ever calls me except you, I had told Pretty, and I’ll be with you. Okay, time to panic.

My one comfort was I knew Pretty wouldn’t leave without me.

“Sheila, SHEILA, SHEILA!” I heard Pretty yelling for me and finally saw her standing in the wind and rain, waving frantically from a short distance across an exit lane in the parking lot. I was found.

Pretty laughed at my story of the man who wasn’t her. We were both happy the Gamecocks won – and I promised to bring my cell phone to every game.

***********

Stay safer, stay saner, please get vaccinated and please stay tuned.

Posted in family life, Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, Reflections, Slice of Life, sports, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

where to? what next?


Time to say goodbye to the holidays for me – bah, humbug survives another season to rise like the phoenix for another new year. What’s ahead for 2022?

I started the New Year much like I’d ended the Old Year – with a morning walk through the neighborhood.

the sun rose in the east over a neighbor’s American flag

somewhat reassuringly, I felt on both counts, given the anniversary of the January 6th insurrection in six days

America strong? America divided? Where to, America, in 2022? What next?

who’s this in front of Bully Cat’s crib?

Well, well, well. Something new to see on the first day of the New Year. A different cat sitting in the driveway of Bully Cat’s secret hiding place with the open door policy for him. Apparently Bully Cat has a Crib Cat Companion. Where to, what next for Bully Cat himself?

Bully Cat across the street from our house when I got home

Bully Cat up to his Old Tricks on the first day of 2022 – strolling past me as I walked up our driveway. Where to, BC – what next? Is there hope for redemption from your bullying behavior in the new year? Is there hope for redemption for everyone in the new year…

so where did that put Carport Kitty

in a familiar hiding spot

but under Pretty’s truck in our driveway instead of Neighbor John’s

Where to, what next, Carport Kitty? Will you stay afraid of Bully Cat, or are you running a food scam with him? Only the New Year solves the mysteries.

Regardless, you have a place to call home

and a new favorite spot in the warmer weather –

keeping watch over yarn ball Pretty got you for Christmas

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

Stay safer, stay saner, please won’t you just get vaccinated and boosted, please stay tuned.

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fa la la la la – say what?


Fast away the old year passes

fa la la la la, la la la la

hail the new, ye lads and lasses!

fa la la la la, la la la la

I’m a little late for decking the halls with boughs of holly and trolling yuletide carols, but I 100% don gay apparel every time I get dressed. Surely I get points for that. Fa la la la la, la la la la.

I had this ancient Welsh folk tune running through my head on my morning walk today, a walk shortened by inclement weather. This grey day drizzle was reminiscent of my Seattle years before I came to South Carolina in 1972 – reminding me of what I disliked in that breathtaking Pacific Northwest with its majestic Cascade mountain range topped off by Mount Rainier, the glorious evergreens, and the wondrous lakes I loved to drive across going to work every day.Yes, had it just not been the dreary winter where the sun refused to shine, I might have stayed in the city with the bluest skies you’ll ever see in the summer. Fa la la la la, la la la la. Fast away those old years pass…

As I wrote the year 1972, I stopped and got out my calculator to be certain of the math I had quickly calculated. Hail the new year 2022, lassie – it’s the 50th anniversary of your life in Columbia. Goodness, I have lived 2/3 of my 75 years in a state other than my “home” state of Texas which still calls me one of its daughters of the republic. My daddy used to say when I lived in Seattle, you can take the girl out of Texas, but you’ll never take Texas out of the girl. I have the boots, saddle and headstone that would make him smile. Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Tomorrow the old year 2021 passes – we will hail the new year with our own hopes for the future wherever we are. I am grateful to celebrate life every new year with Pretty and the rest of our growing family, with our friends in real life, with the exactly 800 followers from around the world of cyberspace whose support encourages me to keep writing, and for the work of the January 6th. Congressional Committee which seeks to uncover the truth of the attack on our Capitol one year ago next week. My hope in the future for my granddaughters and their granddaughters is that we will leave them a safe and sane environment brimming with peace and prosperity, filled with love for one another. Fa la la la la, la la la la.

From our house to yours, Happy New Year!

Please stay tuned.

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

Irrelevant conversation overheard by no one at our house this past week.

Pretty: you know if I ever have a cat, I would like for it to look like Carport Kitty.

Me: you do have a cat, and it is Carport Kitty.

Carport Kitty surveying her kingdom yesterday

Carport Kitty rules.

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dear Santa, send boxing gloves


Before you ask yourself whether you’ve read this story before, I can say possibly – it’s a seasonal favorite of mine.

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

“Dear Santa Claus, how are you? I am fine.

I have been pretty good this year. Please bring me a pair

of boxing gloves for Christmas.  I need them.

Your friend, Sheila Rae Morris”

“That’s a good letter,” my grandmother Dude said. She folded it and placed it neatly in the envelope. “I’ll take it to the post office tomorrow and give it to Miss Sally Hamilton to mail for you. Now, why do you need these boxing gloves?”

“Thank you so much, Dude. I hope he gets it in time. All the boys I play with have boxing gloves. They say I can’t box with them because I’m a girl and don’t have my own gloves. I have to get them from Santa Claus.”

“I see,” she said. “I believe I can understand the problem. I’ll take care of your letter for you.”

Several days later it was Christmas Eve. That was the night we opened our gifts with both families. This year Dude, Mama, Daddy, Uncle Marion, Uncle Toby and I went to my other grandparents’  house down the hill from ours. With us, we took the See’s Candies from Dude’s sister Aunt Orrie who lived in California, plus all the gifts. I didn’t like to share the candy, but it wouldn’t be opened until we could offer everyone a piece. Luckily, most everyone else preferred Ma’s divinity or her date loaf.

The beverage for the party was a homemade green punch. My Uncle Marion had carried Ginger Ale and lime sherbet with him. He mixed that at Ma’s in her fine glass punch bowl with the 12 cups that matched. You knew it was a special night if Ma got out her punch bowl. The drink was frothy and delicious. The perfect liquid refreshment with the desserts. I was in heaven, and very grownup.

When it was time to open the gifts, we gathered in the living room around the Christmas tree, which was ablaze with multi-colored blinking bubble lights. Ma was in total control of the opening of the gifts and instructed me to bring her each gift one at a time so she could read the names and anything else written on the tag. She insisted that we keep a slow pace so that all would have time to enjoy their surprises.

Really, there were few of those. Each year the men got a tie or shirt or socks or some combination. So the big surprise would be the color for that year. The women got a scarf or blouse or new gloves for church. Pa would bring out the Evening in Paris perfume for Ma that he had raced over to Mr. McAfee’s Drug Store to buy just before he closed.

The real anticipation was always the wrapping and bows for the gifts. They saved the bows year after year and made a game of passing them back and forth to each other like old friends. There would be peals of laughter and delight as a bow that had been missing for two Christmases would make a mysterious re-appearance. Ma and Dude entertained themselves royally with the outside of the presents. The contents were practical and useful for the adults every year.

My gifts, on the other hand, were more fun. Toys and clothes combined the practical with the impractical. Ma would make me a dress to wear to school and buy me a doll of some kind. Daddy and Pa would give me six-shooters or a bow and arrows or cowboy boots and hats. Dude always gave me underwear.

This year Uncle Marion had brought me a jewelry box from Colorado. He had gone out there to work on a construction job and look for gold. I loved the jewelry box. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any jewelry.

“Well, somebody needs to go home and get to bed so that Santa Claus can come tonight,” Daddy said at last. “I wonder what that good little girl thinks she’s going to get.” He smiled.

“Boxing gloves,” I said immediately. “I wrote Santa a letter to bring me boxing gloves. Let’s go home right now so I can get to bed.”

Everybody got really quiet.

Daddy looked at Mama. Ma looked at Pa. Uncle Marion and Uncle Toby looked at the floor. Dude looked at me.

“Okay, then, sugar. Give Ma and Pa a kiss and a big hug for all your presents. Let’s go, everybody, and we’ll call it a night so we can see what Santa brings in the morning,” Daddy said.

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

“Is it time to get up yet?” I whispered to Dude. What was wrong with her? She was always the first one up every morning. Why would she choose Christmas Day to sleep late?

“I think it’s time,” she whispered back. “I believe I heard Saint Nick himself in the living room a little while ago. Go wake up your mama and daddy so they can turn on the Christmas tree lights for you to see what he left. Shhh. Don’t wake up your uncles.”

I climbed over her and slipped quietly past my sleeping Uncle Marion and crept through the dining room to Mama and Daddy’s bedroom. I was trying to not make any noise. I could hear my Uncle Toby snoring in the middle bedroom.

“Daddy, Mama, wake up,” I said softly to the door of their room. “Did Santa Claus come yet?” Daddy opened the door, and he and Mama came out. They were smiling happily and took me to the living room where Mama turned on the tree lights. I was thrilled with the sight of the twinkling lights as they lit the dark room. Mama’s tree was so much bigger than Ma’s and was perfectly decorated with ornaments of every shape and size and color. The icicles shimmered in the glow of the lights. There were millions of them. Each one had been meticulously placed individually by Mama. Daddy and I had offered to help but had been rejected when we were seen throwing the icicles on the tree in clumps rather than draping them carefully on each branch.

I held my breath. I was afraid to look down. When I did, the first thing I saw was the Roy Rogers gun and holster set. Two six-shooters with gleaming barrels and ivory-colored handles. Twelve silver bullets on the belt.

“Wow,” I exclaimed as I took each gun out of the holster and examined them closely. “These look just like the ones Roy uses, don’t they, Daddy?”

“You bet,” he said. “I’m sure they’re the real thing. No bad guys will get past you when you have those on. Main Street will be safe again.” He and Mama laughed together at that thought.

The next thing my eyes rested on was the Mr. And Mrs. Potato Head game. I wasn’t sure what that was when I picked it up, but I could figure it out later. Some kind of game to play with when the cousins came later for Christmas lunch.

I moved around the tree and found another surprise. There was a tiny crib with three identical baby dolls in it. They were carefully wrapped in two pink blankets and one blue one. I stared at them.

“Triplets,” Mama said with excitement. “Imagine having not one, not two, but three baby dolls at once. Two girls and a boy. Isn’t that fun? Look, they have a bottle you can feed them with. See, their little mouths can open. You can practice feeding them. Aren’t they wonderful?”

I nodded. “Yes, ma’am. They’re great. I’ll play with them later this afternoon.” I looked around the floor and crawled to look behind the tree.

“Does Santa ever leave anything anywhere else but here?” I asked. Daddy and Mama looked at each other and then back at me.

“No, sweetheart,” Daddy said. “This is all he brought this year. Don’t you like all of your presents?”

“Oh, yes, I love them all,” I said with the air of a diplomat. “But, you know, I had asked him for boxing gloves. I was really counting on getting them. All the boys have them, and I wanted them so bad.”

“Well,” Mama said. “Santa Claus had the good common sense not to bring a little girl boxing gloves. He knew that only little boys should be fighting each other with big old hard gloves. He also realized that lines have to be drawn somewhere. He would go along with toy guns, even though that was questionable. But he had to refuse to allow boxing gloves this Christmas or any Christmas.”

I looked at Daddy. My heart sank.

“Well, baby,” he said with a rueful look. “I’m afraid I heard him say those very words.”

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

(This is an excerpt from my first book Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing  published in 2007 when I was 61 years old. The following Christmas one of my best friends Billy Frye gave me a pair of boxing gloves – better late than never, Santa.)

From our family in South Carolina to whoever you call family – wherever you call home – we send our warmest wishes for a holiday season filled with love for each other, overflowing kindness toward all creatures great and small, good health, joyful memory making.

Stay safe, stay sane, get vaccinated and please stay tuned.

Posted in family life, Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, photography, politics, racism, Reflections, sexism, Slice of Life, sports, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

once upon a time there was a calico cat


Once upon a time there was a thin elderly calico cat with a limp that showed up in the carport of Pretty and her wife who lived on Cardinal Drive. Pretty could never resist a stray cat, neglected dog or random unhappy person so the calico cat was the beneficiary of Pretty’s rescue efforts that began with a water bowl in the carport followed several days later by the addition of a food bowl which required a team to then keep up with fresh water in the water bowl and inexpensive dry pellets in the food bowl which over time became Fancy Feast delicacies – preferably chicken and liver. No fish, please. Seriously?

Since I keep home fires burning while Pretty manages her antique empire, I begrudgingly became a member of the Calico Cat Rescue Team. Full disclosure: I have never been a cat person. There are dog people, and there are cat people, and sometimes they combine forces in the same lesbian household but I had an unsatisfactory experience with that combination 38 years ago so I wasn’t interested in another combo attempt. Hm…

Plus, I have a doctor’s excuse for cat allergies.

However, none of this is relevant to the Calico Cat Rescue Team because here we are six weeks later having a team meeting on a night of heavy rainfall mixed with sporadic lightning and thunder, but the team members aren’t worried about the calico cat named Carport Kitty.

Carport Kitty is safe and dry in her new condo

(A word of special recognition to Annie of Animal Couriers who predicted this next step for our team. Girl, you saw this coming all the way across the Pond in France. Ha.)

The cast of characters for the Cardinal Drive Carport Cat Community now includes the villain Bully Cat and the sneaky Yellow Cat known also as the Orange Tabby who continue to drop in every day to share Carport Kitty’s leftovers, but no one dares approach her highness in her new castle.

Once upon a time Pretty rescued a calico cat that both members of her team love.

Pardon me while I go take a Zyrtec.

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Stay safe, stay sane, get vaccinated, and please stay tuned.

Posted in family life, Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, Random, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Hail to the Chief!


(A/P photo/Carolyn Kaster)

When the Fort Jackson military band played the first notes of “Hail to the Chief” indicating the entrance of President Joe Biden to the Smith Hammond Middleton Memorial Center at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg this morning, I was surprised to feel tears rolling down my cheeks as I watched him enter to deliver the commencement address to the 128 member graduating class. I’m not sure what moved me – I think I must feel sorry for this elderly white man who is trying so hard to do good for so many. And yet, recent polls indicated his popularity with the American people is a dismal 36%. I’ve always been part of a minority; maybe that’s why I cried.

The Covid pandemic rages again with new twists and turns and more than 800,000 deaths in this country, vaccinations have become political punching bags, Americans may not get all they want for Christmas (and if they do it will cost more), gasoline prices spiked, black lives really don’t matter to police, workers are hard to hire because they are insisting on a decent wage which trickles down like a Reagan economic theory, the Senate is up to its ass in alligators who have forgotten their initial objective was to drain the swamp, January 6th. insurrectionists who attempted to overthrow American democracy are being released on their own recognizance and allowed to leave the country without supervision by judges who support the Big Lie, voting rights are assailed in every state and oh yeah, Russian autocratic president Putin has sent an army of 94,000 out of a projected 175,000 troops to the Ukrainian border to possibly invade in early 2022…to name a few of the problems President Biden has wrestled with in 2021.

With these overwhelming concerns, what was this President doing in our state today giving a commencement address at a relatively small HBCU in a relatively smaller town 47 miles south of Columbia? The answer is his friendship with Congressman Jim Clyburn who resurrected Biden’s candidacy in the South Carolina Democratic Primary that made him the frontrunner and ultimately the party’s choice for its presidential nomination in 2020. President Biden can thank Representative Clyburn for his desk in the Oval Office of the White House if he has time to catch his breath, and today he did just that.

Six decades ago a twenty-one year old young man from Sumter, South Carolina graduated with a bachelor of arts degree from the only publicly funded Black college in the state – now known as South Carolina State University in Orangeburg. His name was James Enos Clyburn, and he currently serves as the Majority Whip for the US House of Representatives where he has been a Democratic member since 1993.

Jim Clyburn graduated from the HBCU in December, 1961 at a time when the college only held graduation ceremonies in the spring so his diploma was mailed to him. When spring rolled around in 1962, Clyburn was already teaching in Charleston and married to his wife Emily who he met while attending State. Both Jim and Emily Clyburn never forgot where they were from or where they attended college.

Apparently sixty years later, though, Clyburn still wanted “to walk.” But on this occasion while his family watched, his diploma was presented to him by his friend Joe Biden, the President of the United States of America. In his introductory remarks, Rep. Clyburn recalled the parting advice his wife of 58 years gave to him before her death in September, 2019: if we want to win the White House in 2020, Joe Biden must be our party’s nominee.

Hail to the Chief Joe and Hail to his friend Jim during this holiday season and in the New Year. Bless their hearts, minds and bodies in a time that tries all of our souls.

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Stay safe, stay sane, get vaccinated and please stay tuned for a holiday post on a lighter note: Dear Santa, Send Boxing Gloves.

Posted in family life, Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, politics, racism, Reflections, sexism, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments