repeat after me, repeat after me

I have a confession to make: I hate the white supremacists, KKK, neo-nazis, fascists – whatever name the far right demonstrators are calling themselves today – as much as they hate me. So there.

I need to go back to my high school civics class where the teacher should instruct me to write on the blackboard at the front of the room:

“Hate is not an American value, tolerance is.”

“Discrimination is not an American value, inclusion is.”

“Violence is not an American value, dialogue is.”

Complete this sentence:

When I think of America, I think of…

What do you think of?

(Send me your answers in the comments section please.)


Posted in Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, politics, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is | Tagged , | 18 Comments

this is TROUBLE = OMG!

The little room was as cold as a witch’s you-know-what in spite of the intense glare from the bright spotlight shining down on me while I lay stretched out on the large chair now completely reclined to become an operating table in the dermatologist’s office Thursday.

I felt like I was a member of the happy family that was visible in the 46 photos hanging neatly on the three walls that surrounded me because I had plenty of time to study them while I was waiting for Dr. Anon. The wall behind me was a small row of cabinets with a sink, disposable gloves container, assorted medical instruments and supplies; but I had been lying in the recliner long enough to study the family images in some detail.

Dr. Anon was in a few of the pictures with his wife and four children who looked just like a combination of their parents. I recognized some of the places where the photos were taken, but the ones of the family on camels threw me off a little. Frankly, the idea that the good doctor was a camel rider made me a little anxious for some reason. Why shouldn’t doctors ride camels, my sensible self said as my irrational self felt an overwhelming desire to jump up and run out of the room.

I was waiting for the results of my basal cell skin cancer surgery from two hours earlier. If all went well, I should be up and out of the doctor’s office by the time I could say Marcus Welby. As my mind wandered, I thought about Marcus Welby M.D. and the actor Robert Young who starred in the TV show which led me to a memory of Loretta Young as she opened the door swirling her skirts to begin The Loretta Young Show on Sunday nights which took me down the road to her affair with Clark Gable. I was almost out of mental ramblings when the door to my little room opened and Dr. Anon walked in followed by his assistant Shirley.

The smiling man riding the camel in the photo had been replaced by a much more serious fellow and an even more solemn assistant.

“This is trouble,” said Dr. Anon with a slight frown. The nurse nodded and began assembling the surgical instruments again.

I had two fleeting thoughts: One was the mental image of the woman at the Verizon Center who was the subject of my post several weeks ago (July 19th.) – the woman whose first comment when she looked at the cell phone I had brought in with problems to be fixed was, Oh my God. She had continued to repeat OMG off and on for the hour she pretended to work on my phone. Many of my photos I lost that day are still lost. OMG.

The second thought that flew across my brain was the TV commercial with the dentist who told the patient (lying in a similar recliner to the one I was on) with his mouth locked in an open position that he had one of the worst cavities he had ever seen and then the dental assistant says, It’s bad. Lunch? and they walk away because their jobs were to diagnose problems – not to fix them.

To his credit Dr. Anon didn’t run away but went back to work on my skin cancer issue with a vengeance. After the second round of numbing and snipping, I was released to a smaller waiting room where Pretty and I sat for another hour with two very tall men who at one point switched the communal TV from the weather channel to Fox News. Ding. Ding. Ding. Not so fast, my friend. I politely picked up the remote and found CNN without any difficulty. No one said a word. Time marched on.

Much to our surprise, Dr. Anon  himself strolled into the small waiting area/ break room to apparently have lunch since it was by now after 1 o’clock. Once again the cheerful man in the family photos, he drank his lunch from a beer mug which contained a brown liquid reminiscent of beer but of course mustn’t have been since his work day wasn’t over.

The tall man whose ear  was in the same unfinished state as my nose suggested to Dr. Anon we might need a drink more than he did. Following some good-spirited joking around discussing everyone’s favorite bourbon, Dr. Anon went back to his office, produced an open bottle of Jacob’s Creek bourbon and offered the two men, Pretty and me a drink. The two men and I accepted with enthusiasm. Pretty declined.

Dr. Anon went back to work while my two new friends and I chatted in the waiting room – setting any political differences aside as we shared our healthy shots of bourbon in an attempt to keep our spirits as high as our pain levels. I hated it for all those pioneers who had had to rely on bourbon instead of Novocaine for pain relief. Novocaine wins…no contest.

Finally, six hours and 22 stitches later, Pretty and I left the doctor’s office with two prescriptions and less money than we’d had when we arrived. The two tall men were nowhere to be seen, but the waiting room was full.

Pretty drove me home where I immediately took to my bed with the vapors and dreamed about  a doctor who said Oh my God when he saw me reclined on an operating table and a woman at a cell phone store who kept saying This is Trouble over and over again as she banged my phone on her counter.

More meds, please.




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

locked and loaded

Our guns are locked and loaded,

Full of fury and fire.

Our hopes of peace outmoded

By men with war desire.

Who speaks for those enraged

By words so full of hate?

We must – we must become engaged

Before it is too late.

Too late to hear the cries

From half a world away.

And yet we share the very same skies

That weep for us today.




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

an extra special Tuesday

The cover of my third book features a family snapshot of my favorite Aunt Lucille who was my daddy’s sister, her daughter Melissa, my mother and daddy, and me.

I am the child fiddling with my gloves and not looking at the picture-taker, whoever that might be. Probably my Uncle Jay who was my Aunt Lucille’s husband and my first cousin Melissa’s father. He liked to take pictures and had the most impressive camera of anyone in our family so naturally he was the photographer for important occasions like Easter Sunday.

I was ten years old at the time of the photo, and I’m assuming it was a picture taken right before we went to church for an Easter service at the Richards Baptist Church in Richards, Texas the little town in Grimes County at the edge of the piney woods. Population 500 counting dogs and chickens.

My mother looked happy – no doubt because she managed to dress me in a ruffled dress, Easter bonnet and, reluctantly, white gloves. My daddy is the one with the crew cut, which I’m sure I secretly envied.

My Aunt Lucille is the beautiful woman wearing an appropriate corsage with her Easter outfit that included gloves, handbag and hat. Melissa was probably two years old and apparently not too thrilled with either her Easter outfit, the photographer’s efforts, or a combination of irritations as we prepared to go to church that day. She’s the pretty little girl with the frown.

I love this picture – and I love the people in it.

Time, distance and the vicissitudes of life, as my daddy used to say, make it difficult to keep in touch with my cousin Melissa who is the only one remaining in this picture besides me. She lives in San Leon, Texas with her husband Tim and their three dogs. San Leon is a small town on Galveston Bay past Houston if you’re driving south toward the Gulf of Mexico and the Galveston beaches. Regardless of where you’re driving, Melissa and Tim live a thousand miles from Pretty and me in South Carolina.

But today she was in Charleston with Tim who was there on a work assignment and we had made plans to get together. Pretty wanted to take me, but she was still in the business of the final push to clear out Casa de Canterbury since the new owners brought a big ol’ moving van up to the porch today and started unloading. That’s a convoluted story for another day but needless to say, Pretty was overwhelmed with no opportunity to drive me to Charleston at this point in our lives.

In (and up) stepped my good friend Dick Hubbard who happily agreed to drive me to see my cousin Melissa for an early lunch at her hotel today. Bless his heart. Dick and I have been friends for 30 years but usually meet for lunch in Columbia so we enjoyed the extra time to visit on the two-hour ride down to Charleston and back. Gossip,  the meaning of life, his husband Curtis,  my wife Pretty, pickup trucks were a few of our topics as we drove in a slight drizzle…just enough to require his new windshield wipers every once in a while.

The visit with Melissa was perfect. We caught up on two years’ worth of current events in our lives since we last saw each other in Texas in the summer of 2015. We talked politics, books, retirement, what Tim was doing, how Pretty was doing – but mostly we talked about the other three people in the book cover picture who are no longer here and how much we both miss them.

Melissa and I share the solitude of being “only children” and what that means when we have lost our parents and grandparents. Neither of us has children of our own – Melissa’s daughter died many years ago of cystic fibrosis.

But today was a joyful day because we could talk together about the people we both knew and loved when we were growing up: we are each other’s people after all. Sixty-five years of family history are ties that will always bind us, regardless of the years between visits or the distance of a thousand miles that separate us today. Thank goodness for facebook.

Both of us actually knew the people we were talking about; and that’s a happy thing, as Melissa likes to say.

This was an extra special Tuesday for me, a day I won’t forget anytime soon…until we meet again.

Melissa and her playhouse in Beaumont, Texas


Posted in Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, photography, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is | Tagged , | 17 Comments

Father Goose Nursery Rhymes


Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme (circa 1725)

Pretty good one, Mother Goose – your rhymes reflected your times.

As for Father Goose, that rascal, what might he write in 2017?

Little Jack Kelly

Sat watching telly

Eating his fish and chips;

He answered his phone

Because he was home

Then said with a groan,

“I’m it.”

Best wishes to General Kelly in his new role as Chief of Staff. One week and counting.

Stay tuned, sports fans.



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’til the river runs dry

I will sail my vessel ‘til the river runs dry.

            Like a bird upon the wind, these waters are my sky.

            I’ll never reach my destination if I never try,

            So I will sail my vessel ‘til the river runs dry.

Garth Brooks’s lyrics sing a song of determination that begins with his all-important first step of getting into the boat with a sense of purpose and working as hard as he can to keep the vessel from tipping over in heavy winds.

Whether our rivers are real or imaginary, it is sometimes difficult to keep sailing our vessels in the right direction to achieve the long-term results we strive for as individuals, as families – and even as a nation.

Carl Bernstein (of Bernstein and Woodward in the Nixon years) says we Americans live today in the midst of a cold civil war. Garth Brooks might say that sailing our vessel of democracy has gotten much more difficult as heavy winds blow against it with more suspicions of each other in every news cycle.

Discernment of truth is ridiculed. Harsh rhetoric – whether true or not – is applauded and considered to be shaking things up that should have been shaken up a long time ago in Washington. Our vessel of democracy tilts too far leeward or too far windward with politics to the left or right that create schisms which have become as wide as the Grand Canyon.

Earth to America: your vessel is in trouble and in danger of sinking.

The passion we feel to protect and preserve our families must be the same passion we feel to protect and preserve our democratic ideals. A small wind of individual apathy toward basic civic responsibilities such as voting can become a hurricane force when it is multiplied by millions who have lost faith in their institutions and the people who are in charge of them.

All of us are in the same boat with the same basic needs for clean air to breathe, food to eat, pure water to drink,  affordable popcorn at the movies…well, maybe popcorn is a bridge too far…

We must each do our part to ensure the waters of kindness, compassion, respect for our differences, celebration of our shared humanity – like birds upon the wind, these waters are our skies and we will sail our vessels as individuals, as families and as a nation ’til the river runs dry.


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

and may you have no more sorrow

This is a special post for our friends who live very far away from us in New York. They have lost a precious member of their family, an adorable little dog named Butterfly, this weekend. She succumbed to many health issues and passed away in her mother’s arms.

If we lived close to them, we would be at their home tonight to mourn with them as they sit shiva – we would be bringing them a bite to eat and a treat for Butterfly’s sister Cricket who is the inspiration for The Cricket Pages, the blog that introduced us to their family.

Every weekend I looked forward to Rachel’s posts that always included Cricket and Butterfly’s antics – sometimes funny, sometimes more serious – but always entertaining.

I will miss Butterfly from now on. I hope she and The Red Man get to meet somewhere and swap stories.

May God comfort you among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem and may you have no more sorrow.


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Spike speaks

Hello. My name is Spike, and I don’t ever get to say anything in cyberspace. It’s not that I don’t have something to say. It’s just that nobody ever asks me what I think.

And I think plenty. That’s what I do best. Think. In this family thinking is a lost art and talking occupies center stage. Talking, in my opinion, is overrated.

For example, nobody has ever asked me my opinion on summer. In my opinion, summer is hot.

I don’t get the pool thing…

Normally I enjoy a refreshing dip in water, but this water ain’t right. It smells funny. I don’t trust any water that smells funny.

So take me back, country roads, to the place I belong which is inside my air conditioned house…where I can think in peace and quiet…

but not always in solitude…

Oh, well. You can’t have everything, if you stop to think about it.




Posted in Humor, Life, Personal, Random, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is | 10 Comments

the mickey mouse club

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

M-I-C     K- E- Y


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

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

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

you have a great memory

we had our clubhouse –

just like the US Senate has today

our Head Mouseketeer Jimmie was a

lot more fun than the new

Senate Head Mouseketeer Mitch

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

 We need more women in the new Senate Club

The new Senate Club represents

the best interests of all the people in the country,

wouldn’t you think?

sigh…Disney was a deal-maker, too…

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

M-I-C see you real soon

K-E-Y   why? because we like you!


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

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

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

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



Posted in Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, politics, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

From One Mother to Another – WWII

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

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

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

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

16 -8 – 45

Dear Mrs. Morris,

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

     So I’ll say cheerio. 

          Sincerely yours


         Regards from all the young at heart to Ray & Glynn

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

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

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


Posted in Life, Personal, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments