Imagine. Dream. Believe. Always.


Backpack, pink summer shoes, water bottle, today’s art work and daily report…our granddaughter Ella’s accessories for summer camp today. Imagine. Dream. Believe. Always. 

(I wonder how many Olympians had a version of this mantra when they were children?) 

IMG_20210729_145712550  “Tube, Tube.” You Tube videos

serious business after nap this afternoon

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July 29, 1898. My grandfather George Patton Morris was born in Huntsville, Walker County, Texas. This is a picture of his family except for the eldest son who had already left the farm when this picture was made. George is the little fellow standing to the right of his mother in the bottom row. He was the 9th. of 10 children – seven boys and three girls – born to James W. and Margaret Antonio Moore Morris in their home(s) in Texas. This family portrait looks very similar to many family images I’ve seen at the turn of the century in the early 1900s. 

But of course, what makes these people special to me is that I am their descendant. George had three children in his twenties, the youngest was my father. When George was 47 years old, I was born to that son Glenn and his wife Selma.

My grandfather’s family was neither prominent, wealthy, nor even well educated. From what I have found through oral family lore, they weren’t a fun loving group, either; yet they worked hard and somewhere along the way held fast to imagine, dream, believe, always. 

I had the greatest good fortune to grow up in Richards, the town where my grandfather had a single chair barber shop – a town less than 30 miles from where he was born, a small town in rural southeast Texas. I learned many lessons from my grandfather in that barber shop – not the least of which was that he loved me without reservation and helped me to imagine, dream, believe in family, always.

My grandfather I called Pa would have been 123 years old today. I wish he could have met Ella James – he would have loved her without reservation, and that’s a gift I will happily pass on to her every chance I get.

Thankfully family isn’t limited to direct ancestry – occasionally we have second chances for broader understandings of the bonds we share with others. 

Huss Brothers at Desk

The Fabulous Huss Brothers as I knew them

Pretty and I had a home on Worsham Street in Montgomery, Texas from 2010 – 2014. Montgomery is a town in Texas coincidentally only 18 miles from Richards. We had wonderful loving friends there during a difficult period, and I had grandparent “schooling” from three little boys I called the Fabulous Huss Brothers.  Although I haven’t seen them in more than four years, their mother Becky sends me pictures at random moments. This week she sent me several from a canoe trip vacation on the Boundary Waters, including this one that I think is priceless.

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l. to r. George (8), Oscar (12), Dwight (10)

From our twenty-two month old granddaughter Ella to my grandfather who would have been more than a century old today to the Huss family on Worsham Street in Texas – nothing means more to me than the people of my past and present who are  always…family.

Imagine. Dream. Believe. Always.

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

Posted in family life, Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, photography, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

going for gold in an inferno of sand in Tokyo while America burns and Europe floods


Pretty follows the Olympics as faithfully as I do the tennis majors; therefore, I also follow the Olympics which apparently are being carried on at least a gazillion channels in U-verse land without an adequate GPS to locate your destination. Thank goodness we finished our Downton Abbey re-runs just in the nick of time before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch was lit or we might be waiting breathlessly to meet Lady Mary’s final husband.

And yet, here we are in 2021 with our 2020 Olympics. Nothing’s perfect.

Unfortunately, the first event I watched was women’s beach volleyball. Word to the designer of “uniforms” in this event: shame on you. Good grief. These athletes wore bikinis which left nothing to the imagination while they (barefooted) served, set and spiked a multicolored ball on a court made of sand with temperatures of up to 113 degrees, according to the commentator during the game. Now I’m thinking that’s wrong on so many levels. But let’s start with if female athletes must wear outfits reminiscent of the Emperor Who Wears No Clothes to attract fans while they run around on sand that burns their feet, then maybe it’s time to re-think beach volleyball as an Olympic sport.

Speaking of burning sand, the Tokyo heat is mild compared to the fires in the western states of the USA on the North American continent. Nero was spotted tuning his fiddle as firefighters waged their war against the Bootleg fire in Oregon – the largest of 88 large wildfires currently burning in the U.S. – CBS News reported today. Nearly 1.5 million acres have been scorched during this season. New fires ignite due to the drought conditions and heat waves brought about by guess what? Bazinga if you said climate change.

As drought and unprecedented heat waves spark the loss of lives, homes and complacency in the American west, the floods across the proverbial pond on the European continent cause equal devastation of losses never to be recovered in central European countries like Germany and Belgium. The culprit: evil dastardly climate change which seems much more than imaginary to the families who have lost loved ones in addition to their hopes for the future.

Lordy, Lordy – there’s tropical storms (think big wind and lots of rain) swirling near Japan with a Covid pandemic swirling inside the Olympic Village. So far 14 athletes have tested positive according to the official games stats released yesterday.

Somebody STOP me – the weight of disasters is heavier than my weighted blanket which I still use in the summer time when the living is clearly not easy. We send our love to all our followers in cyberspace who are struggling for whatever personal disaster has struck. From our family to yours, we are with you. We wish we could lessen your burdens…until then…

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

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from black magic vaccines to Wimbledon wizardry


Pretty knows I will be grumpy next week because today the two week tennis odyssey known as Wimbledon climaxed with the men’s championship match which pitted 25 year old Italian Matteo Berrettini in his first career slam final against five time Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia. The not unexpected result was a sixth Wimbledon title for Djokovic, but Berrettini tested the champ with his massive serve and forehand that Djokovic called “the hammer” in his post match interview on court.

Novak also played for his place in history today – his victory gave him a total of 20 grand slam titles that tied the record for men on the tour with Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal. At 34 years of age, Djokovic is the youngest of the three (Nadal is 35, Federer will be 40 in August) and thought to be a favorite for a gold medal in the Olympics this summer as well as the front runner in the US Open in New York which begins August 30th. He is now also leading the conversation for the GOAT of men’s tennis; his four set win on the Wimbledon grass courts today support the acclaim.

If anyone is looking for a tennis band wagon to climb on for a ride to the top, Djokovic is your man. Those of us who are Nadal and Federer fans for the past 20 years find Novak’s band wagon a tough one to climb on, but it’s hard to argue with his professionalism, his commitment to the game, and most of all…his success. Well done.

The Wimbledon women’s championship was played yesterday with two newcomers to the final: Ash Barty of Australia, Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic. Barty won a thrilling 3 set match which began with a frozen Pliskova who lost her first four games on Centre Court but she thawed in the second set to push Barty, the number 1 player in the world, to a third set. Wow. Big hitting, Vanna. Pow – take this. Pow – you take that.

The unusually emotional Barty paid tribute to fellow Indigenous Australian Evonne Goolagong Cawley who won her first Wimbledon singles title in 1971 fifty years ago. Barty not only made Cawley proud but also the entire country of Australia which holds Ash as a special part of its large tennis heart that is sprinkled with awesome champions in the past. I’ve just about given up on tears, but mine flowed alongside Barty’s during her interview after the match. You see, I remember when Evonne Goolagong won Wimbledon so Barty’s respect for her mentor and friend made me feel the emotions I always felt when Dick Enberg wrapped up NBC’s Wimbledon coverage every year. Enberg was a man who tapped the spirit of sports – and the tennis tradition that was Wimbledon.

My love for this game runs deep, and one of the ways I mark time is by the tennis season majors. The Australian Open, Roland Garros and now Wimbledon are in my 2021 rear view mirror. The Olympics are an added attraction this year but I know the year is drawing to a close when the US Open ends in September. Remarkable how time slips away.

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On a totally different subject I had a remarkable conversation this week with someone who told me he hadn’t been vaccinated against the Covid virus. We live in South Carolina which currently ranks 39th. in the nation out of 50 states with our 39% of the population fully vaccinated so I wasn’t surprised to talk to someone who was in the majority. But his objections to the vaccine included his opinion it had not been fully tested plus his belief in a mysterious component lurking in the vaccine which was designed for “culling” the population. I shook my head and asked him who he thought was being “culled?” Hearing this fiction on the news made the ideas seem distant, unrelated to my life. Having the black magic plots brought to me at my back door steps by someone I knew personally – someone whose work I admired – chilled me in the hot summer humidity.

As John McEnroe would say, You cannot be serious?

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

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01/06/21 Just Another Normal Group of Tourists?


The most absurd statement, however, came from Rep. Andrew Clyde (R. Georgia) who said, out loud, in public: “Let me be clear, there was no insurrection and to call it an insurrection, in my opinion, is a bold-faced lie. Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol and walked through Statuary Hall showed people in an orderly fashion staying between the stanchions and ropes taking videos and pictures. You know, if you didn’t know the TV footage was a video from January 6, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.” – Vanity Fair- HIVE – May 12, 2021

A “tourist” on January 06, 2021 at US Capitol

Photo by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades for the Washington Post

Seriously? Comments like Rep. Clyde’s insult the intelligence of all Americans and our friends across the globe.

To woman in the picture: help me understand what motivated you to take leave of your senses – who are your people?

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

Posted in Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, photography, politics, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

unfinished business: a man of letters


In the summer of 2018 I published eleven stories focused on letters written during WWII by my father to my mother, his mother and others. I ended the series with the assurance that I had other letters written by my dad – letters to me when I was in college and beyond, more letters to his mother and father. However, I was all “lettered out” at that time and couldn’t continue.

Today is another day, another year…summer heat continues with a vengeance. The earth is burning, scorching our world, searing our souls. Losing those we love has been too frequent in the past two years because of Covid and now its variants. Last week an entire condominium community in Miami, Florida was destroyed with more loss of lives. Gun violence rises daily in America as surely as the temperatures increase. I mourn with the families and friends of everyone who must face the reality of death.

But today is the 45th. anniversary of a death I faced when I was only thirty years old: the loss of the man of letters. Born in 1925 in Huntsville, Texas, my dad survived 32 bombing missions as a navigator in the 8th. Air Force in Europe. He came home in 1945, eloped with his home town girl, had a disastrous honeymoon in Miami but successfully recovered to produce a daughter in 1946. He was unable to survive colon cancer in the summer of 1976.

My dad and I grew up together. He was twenty-one when I was born. He loved to hunt doves and quail when they were in season but most of all he loved our bird dogs who were too spoiled to be much good to us in the fields, regardless of the season. He caught fish in any tank or stream in Grimes County, read poetry to me from Best Loved Poems of the American People. He taught me how to read The Houston Post – particularly the sports section. He followed the Dallas Cowboys, he coached high school basketball teams, he even coached a baseball team in Richards when he was the school superintendent of those two segregated public schools in the 1950s. He taught me to play golf on a public course in Freeport, Texas when I was a teenager. We cooled down with a root beer from the A&W root beer stand.

He was always in school himself – the first in his family to get an undergraduate degree followed by a master’s degree that was capped off (literally) by a doctorate in education when I was also in college. He believed in God, the Richards Baptist Church, the First Baptist Church of Brazoria and finally the First Baptist Church of Richmond where his membership days were done. He also believed in writing letters.

This letter was to his mother in lieu of a birthday card. It’s legible, reads like he talked, and so I am reminded of this time when he was nearly forty years old and finally able to buy his first home. Imagine his excitement.

“I believe one of the ways that you have been most helpful to me is expecting good things of me. You know when you have people who believe in you, you don’t want to let them down.”

I’ll close with a portion of a letter he wrote to me in 1970 when I was a student in Southwestern Baptist Seminary. He and I had an ongoing joke about my mother’s obsession with her camellias – hence his acknowledgment he was learning the names. Good one. Then he closed with a blessing from a Native American proverb. When I was a child, he regaled me with fictional stories about his rides with the Pony Express. I think this is a beautiful ending message so I wanted to share this with my followers in cyberspace who may appreciate the comfort he captured. My dad may have truly loved those bird dogs, but I know he also loved me.

“May you keep your heart like the morning and may you come slowly to the four corners where men say goodnight.”

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

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Committed to Home – with Pride


“It’s rare to find a collection of essays so rich and compelling, its contributors sharing the journeys that frequently took them into regions unknown but eventually led them back home – to themselves, their loved ones, and their communities…” Robert H. Brinkmeyer, Jr., director, Institute for Southern Studies, University of South Carolina.

This quote is from the back cover of Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home, an anthology of the first-person stories of a few (21) organizers of the LGBTQ movement in South Carolina from the HIV-AIDS pandemic in the 1980s through marriage equality in 2014. I had the privilege of collecting, editing, and securing a publisher for their voices, a labor of love for me for four years from 2013 – 2017.

During the month of June which we celebrate as Pride month, I encourage anyone who hasn’t had an opportunity to meet these trailblazers (Jim Blanton, Candace Chellew, Matt Chisling, Michael Haigler, Harriet Hancock, Deborah Hawkins, Dick Hubbard, Linda Ketner, Ed Madden and Bert Easter, Alvin McEwen, Sheila Morris, Pat Patterson and Patti O’Furniture, Jim and Warren Redman-Gress, Nekki Shutt, Tony Snell-Rodriquez, Carole Stoneking, Tom Summers, Matt Tischler, and Teresa Williams) to go to Amazon or directly to the USC Press for a read that will make you proud.

Happy Pride!

Get Vaccinated and please stay tuned.

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remembering Harvey Milk with Pride


June is our official LGBTQ Pride Month, and I’m resurrecting this post from May, 2014 to honor a man whose life – and death –  continues to speak to us through his celebrated legacy. Lest we forget…

Today, May 22, 2014 would have been Harvey Milk’s 84th. birthday.  Instead, his life was tragically shortened by five bullets to his head in his office at San Francisco’s City Hall in 1978 at the age of 48.  Harvey was one of the first openly gay elected LGBTQ officials in the entire USA when, on his third try, he was elected to the Board of Supervisors of San Francisco in 1977.  Eleven months later he was murdered by a former board colleague who believed the growing gay movement threatened traditional values.

His life and death have served as an ongoing inspiration to the LGBTQ community in America and around the world.

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Harvey Milk Postage Stamp Issue

You’ve got to give them hope.  If a bullet should enter my brain,

let that bullet destroy every closet door.

On this day in 2014 Harvey Milk was honored by his country with the issuance of a forever postage stamp bearing his image and the colors that symbolize the movement.  Thirty-six years after his death the bullets to his brain destroyed many closet doors.

When I bought 100 stamps this afternoon at the Post Office, the young woman said to me, You are the first person to buy these Harvey Milk stamps.  And I said, You don’t know how thrilled I am to have them.

How appropriate on this coming Memorial Day  to remember an American hero who died for his hopes of equality and justice.

Closet doors have opened at warp speed since Harvey’s time.  He would be amazed, as I am continually, that nineteen states and Washington, D.C. have legalized same-sex marriage.  The number of LGBTQ elected officials has grown exponentially at local, state and federal levels with the support of many organizations including The Victory Fund which has as its mission the appointment and election of members of our own community in order to take a seat at the tables of political power.

Harvey Milk and others like him made possible an event that kicked closet doors open for hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ persons and underscored the perseverance of a community determined to make its mark on the country.  We would not go away.

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Flag for March on Washington

with two wrist bands and rings from the March

(Memorabilia courtesy of Dick Hubbard and the late Freddie Mullis)

On April 25, 1993 the largest march in the movement’s history was held in Washington, D.C., and the gays and lesbians came running out of their closets to participate.  You simply had to be there to take it all in.  Wow.  We were inspired, empowered.  For many of us the closet doors would never be shut again – except from the outside.

 I have a long list of heroes I will remember this Memorial Day weekend, but today I salute Harvey Milk – an ordinary man who committed outrageous acts of courage in his everyday rebellions.

I owe you.

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On June 26, 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down all state bans on same-sex marriage, legalized it in all fifty states. I believe Harvey Milk would have been very proud – I know Pretty and I were.

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

Posted in family life, Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, politics, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

in the event you missed the news today


“An emotional President Joe Biden marked the 100th anniversary of the massacre that destroyed a thriving Black community in Tulsa, declaring Tuesday that he had ‘come to fill the silence’ about one of the nation’s darkest — and long suppressed — moments of racial violence.

‘Some injustices are so heinous, so horrific, so grievous, they cannot be buried, no matter how hard people try,’ Biden said. ‘Only with truth can come healing.’

Biden’s commemoration of the deaths of hundreds of Black people killed by a white mob a century ago came amid the current national reckoning on racial justice.” —— Jonathan Lemire and Darlene Superville in the AP

Neither my American history class in West Columbia, Texas in 1963 nor my American history lectures at the University of Texas in Austin in 1966 mentioned the Tulsa Massacre of 1921. “Just because history is silent, ” President Biden said today, “does not mean that it did not take place.”

Today we as a nation have an opportunity to acknowledge an oppressive silence about an unspeakable horror that created a generational deprivation of justice and equality which should be the rights of every American. We must not only admit the betrayal but also support actions to make amends to those survivors of the Massacre, their descendants, their home town.

I believe as individuals we also have an opportunity, an obligation, to speak truth to our families, friends and elected officials at all levels of government about the importance of equal treatment for everyone regardless of our differences. Nelson Mandela said:

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

May that be our truth.

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

Posted in family life, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, politics, racism, Reflections, sexism, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

54 Quotes from 46 People


I rarely reblog from my other blogging friends (as in never) but Brian could be the Winner of all my Favorite Saying Contests that have been relegated to the “gone, but forgotten” posts. Such a clever guy. Check him out.

Bonnywood Manor

Before you delve any further: This is an older post, so I feel compelled to explain a few things. One, it’s nowhere near my birthday, so there’s no need to express congratulations over milestones or pity over my decay, unless you’re feeling really festive. Two, the bit about my having the flu seems discordant (and insensitive) these days, but that section was scribbled before the stunning madness of Covid. Three, there’s something soulfully satisfying about discovering a passage that really speaks to you, especially when those words come from a source you didn’t expect. And that’s the real focus of this collection. Enjoy.

I’m a tad late with this, but (cue minimalist fanfare) here’s my annual birthday post, based on a budding tradition that originally wasn’t meant to be a tradition. It just worked out that way.

It all started with 50/50, some thoughts I shared as I hit…

View original post 1,376 more words

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Happy Birthday to the Queen of my Heart


Today is officially proclaimed International Pretty Day in honor of

her birthday!

Pretty’s smile and laughter are celebrated every day by the people she knows through her passion for playing tennis, those who deal with her in her antique empire, her Twitter friends in cyberspace, her friends and family in real life – especially her granddaughter Ella who always lights up all over whenever Pretty comes into her view.

I am fortunate to share Pretty’s smile and laughter every day of my life. She is the Queen of my heart.

Happy International Pretty Day, Sweet! Celebrate yourself today!

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