train up a child in the way she should go…


and when she is old, she will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6 or something like that)

Or in our house, it’s more like bring up the little girl as a University of South Carolina Gamecock fan and, hopefully, she’s a fan for life. Not that it will be an easy life. Haha. But she comes from a long line of Gamecocks who have endured the good and lean years in athletics and remained loyal forever to thee, Carolina.

Teesa, will I meet Cocky

I love a basketball gym, but where is Cocky

Nay Nay, did someone say something about my bow

Teesa, I love the Gamecocks –

even if I didn’t meet Cocky this time

Alas, Cocky was spotted below where we sat several times and of course often in the spotlight in the middle of the arena performing his Mascot duties, but by the time Teesa maneuvered her way with Ella to the floor, Cocky had walked out through a different exit. Bummer. Next time.

The Gamecock women’s basketball team continues to be ranked #1 in the nation in the Associated Press poll of the top 25 NCAA programs. We have a large target on our backs now, but team veterans as well as newcomers are stepping up. And yesterday in their victory over Elon they had another newcomer waving her white towel during sand storm at Colonial Life Arena.

Go Gamecocks!

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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, sports, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

The Words She Didn’t Say


She wanted to speak, but the words wouldn’t come.

They stuck in her mind like pavement to gum.

Release me, release me the words cried today.

I’m afraid, she said, as she held them at bay.

We will be heard, they told her with force.

She shook her head to quiet their source.

They rattled around in the core of her brain,

But got up again and began to raise Cain.

Leave me alone, she shouted out loud.

They mocked her and told her they came in a crowd.

So even if caught and turned  out to sea,

Others would come and one day be free.

It must be the holidays because I’ve just written a poem with the same meter as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Good Lord.

My usually introspective self typically becomes more reflective during the holiday season, and I believe this poem officially crosses the line to brooding.  However, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year, and Teresa and I once again look forward to making the trip to the Upstate to spend an evening with her family in the recreation hall of the First Baptist Church of Fingerville, South Carolina.  Even if I didn’t love her family, I’d go to a Baptist Church with that name.

To everything there is a season, and this is the season for being thankful before the madness that is Christmas and New Year’s Day overwhelms us.  My wish for each of you is the familiar admonition to count your blessings and name them one by one. And if there are words you want or need to say to someone, set them free.

From our family to yours – have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

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I published this originally in 2013 and read it now with fresh eyes and less brooding, but still sadness for the losses of many friends and family members to Covid in the past year including three of Pretty’s aunts (Iris, Thelma and Cooter) who always made our Thanksgiving experience at the First Baptist Church of Fingerville a special time. We give thanks for them today, and I dedicate this post to their memories.

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

are Carport Kitty and Bully Cat an item?


Every new relationship has its highs and lows – peaks and valleys can be expected. Carport Kitty and I are no exception; we have developed a pattern I call Now you see me, Now you don’t. I leave you to surmise who’s the Now you don’t see me actor.

Yesterday I made a plan to skulk (as opposed to stalk) around Neighbor John’s driveway on my early morning walk to try to catch a glimpse of Carport Kitty who was in the Now you don’t see me phase for the past three days. I peered over his hedges as I walked down Cardinal toward home and saw that only one of John’s trucks was there. When I reached his driveway and could see above the hedges, I looked anxiously for CK. No cat in sight. Sigh. Major disappointment. I was about to just walk on by when I looked down, startled to see a multicolored ball of fur sitting very still near my feet.

…calmly curled at the bottom of the driveway next to the street…

Carport Kitty soaking up the early morning sun

I told Pretty when I got home I was sure CK would be dropping in for a Fancy Feast meal at some point during the day since she had clearly been waiting for me plus I knew she’d been impressed by my reminding her of the yummy meals we served in our carport (even though she never acknowledged my presence by a glance in my direction). Pretty shook her head and repeated her mantra I think she’ll show up when she’s hungry. Pretty stands by her cattitudes.

Alas, she was neither hungry nor thirsty yesterday apparently. Now you don’t see me was still in effect.

Today was a new day. Would I ever see Carport Kitty again, I wondered.

Why, yes. Late this afternoon someone was hungry.

She waited at the bottom of the kitchen steps while I prepared fresh water and her dinner. She didn’t rush to eat but seemed to be keeping an eye out for something or someone else. I thought I had seen the blur of Bully Cat leaping in the air and running away when I opened the kitchen door to pick up Carport Kitty’s food bowl. To quote Tweety Bird, I ‘tawt I taw a puddy tat.

Maybe CK was afraid to eat because Bully Cat lingered in the bushes somewhere. I stood guard while Carport Kitty ate.

I spotted Bully Cat at the edge of our yard next to the fence

Ha. He sees me guarding poor pitiful Carport Kitty’s dining experience with her over the shoulder fearful glances.

She carefully ate her Fancy Feast broiled chicken pate, and then she walked away but hid under our car. Now why would she do that? She knew I was protecting her from Bully Cat.

she left her Meow Mix – someone had drawn closer

Bully Cat enjoyed the dry food left by Carport Kitty

Thanks to my followers who are much more cat savvy than I am – you recognized the possibility of a food scam and figured my relationship with Carport Kitty was apt to be a threesome.

Bully for you!

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Stay safe, stay sane, get vaccinated, Happy Thanksgiving! and stay tuned.

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Thanks Giving: Good News Travels Fast


Seven years ago today I published this Thanksgiving post – I am still thankful for Teresa (known now to you as Pretty), our home, our family and for the recognition our relationship received in time for giving thanks in 2014. Lest we forget…

My friend Bervin is a retired serviceman who has helped Teresa and me in our assorted yards in the houses we’ve lived in for the fourteen years we’ve been living together.  I’m not sure how old he is…my guess is he’s in his mid to late fifties.  He is divorced and doesn’t have children of his own but has tons of nieces and nephews that he loves dearly.  He took care of his father for a number of years until his dad passed away the same year my mother died.  Bervin and I talk politics and football regularly when he comes to our house to work on one of his days off from his full-time job at Wal-Mart.  He is a tall handsome African-American man with a soothing voice.

This morning Bervin called me to say he’d seen Teresa and me on the news last night.  He called to tell us congratulations on our marriage license and added “ain’t nothing wrong with that.  No, nothing.”

Austin is a seventeen-year-old senior at Montgomery High School in Montgomery, Texas.  He was our next-door neighbor on Worsham Street for the last year we had our house there.  Austin is a terrific baseball player and recently got a scholarship to go to Angelina College in Texas next year.  He is a scholar athlete with super good grades to go with his good looks and other talents.  He used to come visit me sometimes and often brought food that his mother Melina had cooked and sent to me.  We moved from Worsham this past April, and I miss our talks.

Yesterday Austin sent me a text that said “hey mrs. Sheila I’m proud and happy for you and mrs. Teresa!  love you both!”

From Bervin and Austin and our neighbors across the street on Canterbury Road to family and friends in Texas and South Carolina to cyberspace friends in Mexico, South Africa, France, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada… from friends in the USA in California on the west coast  to New York on the east coast and everywhere in between – literally from sea to shining sea… we have received incredible messages of love and support over the past two days as the State of South Carolina became the 35th (or 34th depending on who’s counting!) state to make same-sex marriage legal.  Personal translation: Teresa and I were issued a marriage license by Richland County Probate Judge Amy McCullough late yesterday afternoon in the midst of an avalanche of good wishes.

We have been touched and overwhelmed by the media and social media response and are beyond grateful for the support.  Teresa refuses to watch the TV interviews on the internet because she was unprepared to actually go into the courthouse yesterday morning.  I was going by to pay the fee ($42.50 for anyone wondering) and she was staying in the car with the engine running to keep warm.  When Judge McCullough informed me she was able to complete our application process, she also told me Teresa had to be there to re-sign the paperwork we had signed in October.  I texted T to come in, and the media began filming when she joined me at the desk.  Teresa was horrified because she hadn’t washed her hair!

I, on the other hand, did watch the interviews last night and realized I clearly turned into a pillar of salty tears when the reality of the moment hit me and I was asked about my feelings…my feelings?  I had no words then and not many more now. I wonder how any couple feels when they apply for a marriage license?  Excited, nervous, joyful, proud, like something good is about to happen?  I wonder how the suffragettes in South Carolina felt when they voted for the first time…I wonder what the people of color in South Carolina felt when they saw the “colored” signs coming down…I wonder what the illegal immigrants who have lived in South Carolina for decades will feel when they get a driver’s license…maybe I had those feelings or ones like them.  Regardless, this member of the “older couple” couldn’t have ever imagined a moment like this when she was a little girl who asked another little girl to marry her in the early 1950s.   Wow…was what I felt.  Jubilation T. Cornpone…was what I felt.

One of the interesting comments made in a TV interview I watched was that Teresa and I had been “dating for fourteen years.”  Gosh, was that what we’d been doing for fourteen years?  Maybe that’s what young people call living together these days, and I know this youthful reporter was not intentionally offensive.  Or maybe this was a tiny example of why marriage equality is necessary: to say hey this isn’t dating – this is my family we’re talking about, a family that has been through the same highs and lows your family goes through except we lacked the piece of paper that your parents had to make it legal.  Dating, to me, is a trial run.  Teresa and I are already in the race together and way past the starting gate.

To the LGBTQ activists we have worked with for the past thirty years in South Carolina and around the country – thank you for each goal we set and each victory we made happen together.  The burdens have been much easier to bear when they are shared, and we’ve had warriors with Great Spirit walking every step with us.  We admire and respect your leadership and bravery over the long haul that is the task of changing a culture and fundamentally altering the political landscape.

I often say the battles are for those who will come after us and that the next generation will benefit from our efforts in the state, and there is truth in that.  But I also want to remember my sisters and brothers who did not live to share these celebrations with us.  Last night we went to dinner with one of my oldest friends Millie who took Teresa and me and another good friend Patti to an Italian restaurant.  Millie had made the plans a week ago so we weren’t there to celebrate the excitement of yesterday but I confess I did carry the license with me.  I wasn’t leaving home without it.

pasta fresca pic

The waitresses were fabulous and came to our booth to congratulate us when they realized why we were ordering champagne and snapping pictures and brought our desserts with candles to end the dinner with a bang.  Our server was a young woman with a great smile, and she drew “hearts” on our to- go box.  Really sweet.

But Millie’s partner of fifteen years, Cindy, wasn’t with us because she had died earlier this year.  Millie said Cindy would have wanted them to be next in line to apply for the marriage license.  This was not to be for her and many of our brothers and sisters who have gone before us.  We will always honor their memories.

One week from today we will observe my favorite holiday of the year, Thanksgiving Day.  Teresa and I will make our usual trip to the upstate to have a late evening family meal with her mother’s people in the fellowship hall of the First Baptist Church of Fingerville, South Carolina.  I always love being with her family because they are good people and because nothing is more important to me than family.

This year I’m getting a head start on the holiday and giving thanks for the woman who loved me enough to say yes, I want to marry you.  That’s the Good News tonight.  Tell it.

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joining the community of lesbian cat lovers


Carport Kitty has dropped by around dinner time for the past two late afternoons and I, as Pretty predicted, make sure to rush her food to the carport before she has time to think I have failed her. No sign of Bully Cat. And no sign of Carport Kitty following her Fancy Feast and Meow Mix. She is not one to linger for a visit, but she has at a minimum allowed me to give her a quick rub when I set her food down. This was the extent of our relationship.

She stopped coming by in the mornings to eat so I assumed Neighbor John must be a bed and breakfast arrangement for the heated condo accommodations. However, I walked past his house on my regular early morning walks with my eyes turned toward John’s driveway just in case Carport Kitty might be up and about for a stretch in the sun. I hadn’t seen her at his house for a while until this morning.

There she was sitting in Neighbor John’s driveway

I stopped to chat but kept my distance in the street. How were things working out for her in the heated condo? Did she like her friends who roomed with her at night? How was the breakfast and by the way, I have delicious Fancy Feast at our carport this morning if you’re interested. Otherwise, I will see you for dinner.

Carport Kitty running toward me

To my astonishment I felt movement behind me, turned, and saw Carport Kitty actually trotting behind me like one of my dogs would do. Evidently mentioning the food made an impression.

The next thing I heard was the sound of garbage trucks rumbling down the street behind me, and I thought (being the Alarmist Pretty thinks I am) of the irony in the story I would tell of how I was welcomed with my newly minted membership in the Cats for Lesbians Club only to have that membership revoked because Carport Kitty had been killed by men who didn’t care about animals.

The men did care, though, and slowed their gigantic commercial vehicles as Carport Kitty leaped in front of me and raced up our driveway. I moved as fast as I could to get her breakfast. Close call.

As CK dined, I noticed from my kitchen spying post she ate quickly, glancing around like something bothered her. I fed the dogs, then went back to check on her only to find Bully Cat having a go at the food. First of all, I think I showed improvment in my cattitude by not opening the door with hysterical obscenities. No, no, no.

I opened the door which caused the Bully Cat to retreat to our garbage cans – not a full retreat – but not disrespectful. I appreciated that and simply said you have to go away because Carport Kitty needs me more than you do. (Maybe I waved my arms a little with a Shoo or two.)

Bully Cat did retreat across the street, Carport Kitty finished her breakfast. My membership in the community of lesbian cat lovers is temporarily secure.

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

Posted in family life, Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, photography, Random, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Bully Cat returns, but I am conflicted


Late yesterday afternoon I peeked down at our back door steps through the glass in the kitchen door because it was about Carport Kitty’s dinner time, and I wasn’t about to miss her visit – our only time to bond since she now resided at Neighbor John’s heated cat condo.

But what to my wondering eyes did appear on the top step where Carport Kitty usually waited for me?

The horrid Bully Cat! The Bully Cat who appeared for all the world to think HE was coming to dinner – what on earth possessed him?

Well, I sprang into full frenzy mode – I jerked the door open, shouted obscenities, waved my arms in the air and followed him as he made his way out of the carport. Interestingly, my diatribe didn’t seem to scare him as much as it did me. He ran, then stopped periodically to see if the hysterical old woman was still following him, then ran again, stopped, repeated. Finally he made his way across the street and down the hill.

I was furious, fuming and flabbergasted all at the same time. Needless to say Carport Kitty was nowhere to be seen for her food yesterday.

During my morning walk today, I thought I caught a glimpse of the Bully Cat a block up from our house. I was walking in a different direction so I couldn’t be sure. Then I was 100% positive when he confronted me five minutes later.

He stopped, seemed to be weighing his options

he came over to me as if we were the best of friends,

my tirade forgiven

then Bully Cat slowly sauntered on

When he walked off, I thought he looked a little thinner. I wondered if he was getting enough to eat. Sigh.

But when I got home from my walk, someone was waiting for me.

hello, is it me you’re looking for?

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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, The Way Life Should Be | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

sunday morning coming down


I had what some might describe as a “brisk” walk this Sunday morning, as in brother, it’s really cold outside today – is there any way I could skip the healthy habitual morning walk when Jack Frost was nipping at my plants and my nose as the sun rose from its customary place…

Full disclosure: I’m not a cold weather person which goes a long way to explain why I live in South Carolina. Pretty and I talked often about relocating to another state, country, world in search of politics we preferred to our state’s conservatism, but this was back in the days before our granddaughter’s appearance. Honestly, a warm climate was best for both of us. Politics be damned.

Patriotic and Playful

A belated Happy Veterans Day to all those who served

in the air and everywhere

1st. Lieutenant Glenn L. Morris with his mother before leaving to join the Army Air Corps in WWII –

he was 18 years old

My dad flew 32 missions over Germany when he was stationed in England with the Eighth Air Force. He never talked about that time with me, but he did instill a love of family and trees in their autumn finery when we walked those hills, those forests in rural Grimes County, Texas together.

He still walks with me every morning.

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

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the return of the cat formerly known as Lilibets


Following the incidence with the Bully Cat in our carport three weeks ago, and perhaps coincidentally with much cooler weather, sightings of Lilibets went dark. That is to say, as quickly as the stray cat made us her new best friends, she vanished. Pretty and I became alarmed when she didn’t make her normal breakfast and dinner times but assumed she must be “wintering” at Neighbor John’s house in the heated condo he provided. Perhaps he now served Fancy Feast, too. I skulked outside John’s house so many times looking for a glimpse of the cat I was afraid I might be mistaken for stalking. (Skulking a lot is not the same as stalking.)

Being the Alarmist that Pretty knows and calls me, I began to imagine the cat had been mauled by the Bully Cat, lay meowing for help, dialing 911, being run over in the road because that is how an Alarmist’s imagination works…until…

Last week I passed Neighbor John’s house on my regular morning walk and who should I see sitting as big as you please in the sun in his driveway but our cat Lilibets. Naturally, I began to speak to her, to tell her we missed her, wouldn’t she like to drop by for a meal every once in a while. She looked at me with utter disdain, as if I had been a complete stranger making a fool of myself. I picked up the fragile pieces of my heart and walked home.

When I relayed this story to Pretty, she said Okay, this cat is officially all yours. When I protested, she said no, no – all yours.

This morning was a glorious fall day for my walk.

Coming down Cardinal this morning

Passing by Neighbor John’s house, I gave my usual check for Lilibets, and what do you think I saw?

Lilibets herself under Neighbor John’s truck in his driveway!

Again I called to her, said how happy I was to see her, how had she been? Nothing. I was apparently dead to her. Somewhat sadly I walked the few houses down to our driveway where I saw her water and food bowls Pretty had bought for her when she named her Lilibets.

I saw Neighbor John’s truck go past as I walked up the kitchen steps and waved to him. He didn’t wave back.

Then I went inside to do the regular feedings for Spike, Charly and Carl but came back outside a few minutes later only to spy her royal highness Lilibets.

I wasted no time in preparing her favorite meal.

she wasted no time in eating it

Such a happy ending for an Alarmist. Who knows when my cat will return, but when she does, her new name will be Carport Kitty.

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

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let’s talk infrastructure – better days ahead


Life is messy, to quote a favorite Pretty-ism, and governing in a democracy of 333,600,000+ citizens is as messy as it gets. While electing 435 Representatives and 100 Senators to enact legislation that will “form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity” sounds like a sensible plan, well…even the preamble to the Constitution occasionally gets lost in translation.

President Joe Biden’s ambitious agenda reflected in a House bill called the Infrastucture Investment and Jobs Act passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 228 yeas to 206 nays (with 13 Republicans voting yes and 6 Democrats voting no) as the clock approached midnight on November 5th., nearly three months after the Senate passed its version of the bill on August 10th. – three months of very public internal disagreements among Democrats that insured no domestic tranquility in the Congress amid plummeting poll numbers for Biden. Messy politics.

So what’s in it for me, you ask. Why should I care?

Hm. Raise your hand if you are tired of overcrowded interstate highways patched together with crazy glue, holding your breath in fear as you cross crumbling bridges over the rivers or angst about fires in the woods on the way to grandmother’s house for the holidays, racing to archaic airports unable to handle the traffic in the air above them or the press of the passengers scurrying to different gates for connecting flights in terminals, cringing at the idea of drinking water from your kitchen tap, worried about climate change but so overwhelmed with the concept you have no idea whether recycling is a myth, the skyrocketing price of gasoline for a car too old to be a hybrid or driving a new electric car in a frantic search for a charging port, hoping you will have WI-FI when your children attend school in cyberspace, wishing you had a mass transit system that wasn’t created in 1904, and wondering if the grid for your power will hold during surges for heat in the winter or whether you will be sitting in the dark, freezing, with thoughts of burning your tax returns for survival.

Yes, my fellow American citizens, I see your hands raised in frustration, anger, doubt, about the intelligence and/or integrity of your elected officials who seem to be incapable of playing well together when the game is on the line. I feel your pain – my hand is raised high above the white hair on my head. Hint to elected officials: the game is on the line.

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, come blow your horn. There should be joy in America tonight mixed with gratitude for legislation promising better days ahead that will propel our nation’s infrastructure into the 21st. century. President Biden’s campaign promises to improve prosperity for ourselves and our posterity haven’t struck out. Indeed, he is still at bat in the White House, and he’s swinging for the fences. You go, Joe.

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

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where did Halloween go?


Ghost, ghost said our two year old granddaughter Ella as Pretty (a/k/a Nana) rolled her away in the grocery store cart from the Nana car in the parking lot toward the store entrance this afternoon. She was, of course, referring to the gigantic white ghost inflatable that had weaved and bobbed to her when we went to the same store two weeks ago. Such fun. Much laughter. Not scary.

Oh, Halloween is over, and the ghost won’t be there today, Pretty told her.

Ok, Ella replied with her favorite response to adult answers lately.

Fast forward to our ride in the car on the way home when she sat in her car seat facing backwards watching YouTube kids version on Nana’s cell phone which is clearly the best entertainment when you can’t see where you’re going. I had my customary place next to Ella in the back seat while Nana was our designated driver.

We rode past a house in her neighborhood that had been decorated with a huge display of Halloween inflatables for weeks but was now a plain typical yard like the other ones, and Ella looked out the window as we passed.

Looking directly at me with great sincerity she asked Naynay, where did Halloween go?

Pretty and I both laughed out loud but then had to come up with something, anything.

Without blinking an eye, I said Halloween was over – it had been replaced by Christmas. Pretty jumped in from the front seat to add we would have another holiday called Thanksgiving before Christmas. I was grateful.

Ok, Ella said, and went back to her Tubes.

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