Laughter the best medicine – Graveyard humour – Laugh while you can!!!

Thanks to Sally, from Smorgasbard

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

As we enter the realm of Halloween it is time to disinter humour from the darkside.. and also by email from a friend…. in celebration.

halloweenA truly Happy Person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour, and one who can enjoy browsing old cemeteries! There are some fascinating things on old tombstones . . .

Harry Edsel Smith of Albany, New York Born 1903–Died 1942 Looked up the elevator shaft to see if the car was on the way down. It was.

In a Thurmont, Maryland cemetery: Here lies an Atheist, all dressed up and no place to go.

On the grave of Ezekial Aikle in East Dalhousie Cemetery, Nova Scotia: Here lies Ezekial Aikle, Age 102. Only the good die young.

In a London, England cemetery: Here lies Ann Mann, who lived an old maid but died an old Mann. Dec. 8, 1767

In a Ribbesford…

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Aunt Ader’s Place Part 5


As the fire burned low, the lap babies had been put down and knee babies were sleeping quietly on pallets, the chatter from the older children slowed as they; too, drifted off to sleep at the feet of their mothers, aunts, and grandmother.  Desperate for ghost stories, I hung on the words of my superstitious Maw Maw. She held grandchildren spellbound with all the scary tales she knew.  Should she falter, one of my aunts urged her on…”Mama, remember about the big black dogs running through the house.” Her stories were more terrifying because she believed them with all her being.

“Oh yeah, lots of times, late at night, if the wind was still, and the night was dark, me and Granny could hear them ghost dogs, howling and scratching at the door, trying to get in…but once in a while, if the moon was full, we’d see them big, black devil dogs blowing right into the room where me and Granny was, made of black smoke from the fires of hell with blazing coals for eyes.  We hid under the covers, ‘cause Granny said ‘if you ever looked in them fiery eyes, you was bound for Hell’.”

Opportunities to hear scintillating stories like these were rare, usually limited to visits with Maw Maw, my paternal grandmother. Mother could hardly snatch her spellbound children from the writhing mass of cousins clustered around Maw Maw’s knees. Daddy ruled the roost, and he liked the stories as much as anyone.  Mother held the ridiculous notion that tender minds didn’t need to hear scary stories, more concerned about the nightmares she’d be dealing with in a few short hours than the extreme pleasure they afforded us at the time.

I do wish I could hear and savor those stories again, unmolested by that nagging voice in the background.  “There’s no such thing as ghosts.  Those stories are just pretend, like cartoons. Now, go on to sleep and forget about them.”

Maw Maw by CarMettie Swain Knight, a champion ghost storyteller


Thank you Bernadette

Haddon Musings

Today I would like  to continue celebrating National Writing Day by sharing with you some wonderful writers that it  has been my pleasure to meet through writing my blog.


D. Wallace Peach (Dianne) specializes in writing fantasy that will transport you to a different time and place.  Her blog site is Myths of the Mirror and she can be found at


Brigid P. Gallagher is a holistic practitioner who writes about “life lessons in being slow” and soon will publish a book filled with these lessons. She can be found at Watching the Daisies,


Osyth takes beautiful photographs and spins interesting yarns.  She can be found at Half Baked in Paradise,


Judy Dykstra-Brown writes a blog titled Life Lesson and she can be found at  You are sure to enjoy her gorgeous photography and her funny and quick witted poetry.


Lyn from Lynz Real Cooking,…

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Aunt Ader’s Place Part 4


dog-trotScary stories are best when told by a believer.  On a cold, dark night, the women and children clustered cozily around the fireplace at Aunt Ader’s old house while the men were out hunting.  By the firelight, mothers in straight back wooden chairs bumped rhythmically back and forth to lull their little ones off to sleep, as their older kids stretched out pallets in the front room enticed by oft-repeated family tales, some funny, some sad, some terrifying.

I recall this sad story as deliciously heartbreaking, though I never knew any of these distant relatives of relatives.  My Great-Aunt Jo told of her pregnant Cousin Lou on her daddy’s side from way over in Alabama.  Back before Aunt Jo was born, Cousin Lou left her baby Jessie Mae on a pallet under the shade of an oak while picking beans with her family nearby.  Lou looked back often to check her sleeping baby.  It was resting so well, she picked on a bit longer, hoping to get enough beans to can a few jars. Little Jessie never made a peep.  When Lou’s basket was filled, she came back to retrieve the baby and was horrified to find the shade had shifted and the baby burned beet-red in the sun.  Lou and her mother, Ruth, rushed to sponge the baby with cool spring water. For three days, Little Jessie lingered between life and death, before dying.  The family had to restrain poor grief-stricken Lou from pulling the baby from the coffin at the burial.  She gave birth to a seven-month baby a few days later that only lived a few hours.  Though she went home to live with her husband, all she did was pine for her lost babies.  She became catatonic, unable to eat, dress herself, or leave the chair where she rocked her dead child’s rag doll.  A few months after her grieving young husband took her home to her mama, Ruth, it became obvious she was pregnant again.  It was hoped the new baby would bring her back to life though she never responded to the new baby Sally, just kept rocking Baby Jessie’s doll.  Ruth was left to raise little Sally and manage her sick daughter.  On good days, Lou was like a docile child, sitting quietly or doing simple tasks.  On rough days, she cried and rocked her rag doll.  On her worst days, she wailed and tried find her baby or throw herself in the well.  When she finally roused enough to try to hang herself, Ruth had to put her in the asylum where poor, deranged Lou managed to hang herself after a couple of months. Because she’d killed herself, she was hastily buried at the asylum and couldn’t have a Christian burial with her lost babies.  Afterwards, people swore they could hear Lou crying, trying to get to her babies’ graves in the church cemetery dark, moonless nights.  I still get tingles thinking of it.


Aunt Ader’s Place Part 3

warhome2Uncle Dunc and Aunt Lucille had a houseful of kids.  Sometimes we were lucky enough that Bert, the eldest would drop in our games, raising our rough play to fever pitch.  Naturally, he tired of us soon, leaving us deflated when he went about the business.  I was always leery of the two big girls, since they seemed smart-aleck.  Ava, the oldest, was pretty with a bouncy, blonde ponytail.  Though I overheard Mother whispering she was trashy for mowing in her swimsuit out by the road, I thought it made perfect sense and worked well for her since she married a guy with a greasy ducktail and had a baby before her seventeenth birthday.  I kept a watch on both girls to see if they sprouted leg hair like Aunt Lucille.

swimsuitI believe Ava saw herself like this.

Prudy, the next girl was skinny with a lot of pimples and wore those pointy bras common to the late fifties and early sixties.  Her swimsuit kind of wrinkled over her skinny behind so she didn’t mow out by the street.  In fact, she worked as a carhop down at the drive-in for a while after dropping out of high school before hooking Toxie, who worked at the filling station and always smelled like oil.  Red rags always hung out of his back pocket.  I never had any contact with Toxie except when he yelled at me from under the hood of an old car suspended from a tree branch in Uncle Dunc’s front yard when I hit a ball into it.  I never really liked him much after that.

Carolyn was just a couple of years ahead of me, but must have been easier to control than her big sisters.  Her long hair, parted down the middle was braided so tightly it pulled her eyes back and hung in tight, thin braids almost to her waist.  The other girls must have rebelled against their mother in their dress and behavior, but at ten or so, mousy little Carolyn suffered under Aunt Lucille’s bossiness, since she only wore dresses and had to attend fundamentalist church services along with her mother and younger twin brothers.  They were wild little boys a couple of years younger than I, still peed their pants a good bit, and didn’t seem worried by Aunt Lucille at all.  Carolyn said she wouldn’t be allowed to have boyfriends, drop out of school, or cut her hair till she was sixteen.  I was only six or seven at the time, but that seemed very unfair to me.

I made a point to stay out of Aunt Lucille’s way since she yelled at kids a lot and was fond of using a switch on Carolyn and the little boys when she could catch them.  I certainly never asked to spend the night like I did at Cousin Sue’s and Cousin Cathy’s house.  We only visited Uncle Dunc for a year or so, until he moved off Aunt Ader’s Place, which incidentally was very near Daddy’s favorite brother.  I heard later he gave up drinking after a car-wreck left him paralyzed and he had no one to depend on but Aunt Lucille.

Aunt Ader’s Place Part 2

dog-trotHouse much like Aunt Ader’s

Not understanding the nature of inebriation, I assumed Uncle Dunc, a great name for a drunk, was just playful when he laughed at all our jokes and fell off the high porch chasing us. No one bothered to explain for years that Dunc was a drunk. He was one of my mawmaw’s youngest siblings, younger than some of her own children.  Her mother, Cynthia, was a scandal, having been twice divorced before she married John Miller.  John only lasted long enough to father a daughter and twin boys in quick succession before dying of lead poisoning.  He was shot in a bar fight, he was saved the heartbreak of his fickle wife’s abandonment.  Presumably, his son Duncan was the bad apple that didn’t fall too far from either parental tree. 

Aunt Lucille demeanor didn’t match Uncle Dunc’s.  She was a dour, strait-laced woman not given to smiling, though it’s not likely she had much to smile about, considering her life with Dunc.  She looked a lot like Smokey the Bear in a dress. I have never seen a woman more hirsute before or since.  Her unibrow and mustache dominated her round face and coarse, black hair, resembling pubic hair covered her legs, though I had no knowledge of such a thing at the time. After a visit there, Daddy always warned against us girls against shaving our legs or we’d end up with legs like Lucille.  I was far too young at the time to be aware of leg-shaving anyway, but I certainly didn’t want Smokey the Bear legs like that.

Most of the time when we visited Uncle Dunc’s place, many other Aunts, Uncles, and cousins were there.  After dark, a propane lantern hanging on the big front porch cast a cone of light and dozens of cousins chased each other hysterically in and out of the shadows while parents visited in the cool of the front porch.  Mamas rocked babies and put them down to sleep on pallets just inside the house where they could be heard if they squeaked.  Sometimes there would be home-made vanilla, peach, or banana ice-cream made in hand-cranked freezers.  The evening usually ended when exhausted kids were called in for ice-cream, but on the best nights, the old folks launched into deliciously terrifying ghost stories, made all the better because the teller believed them.

cousinsA few of my forty first cousins.


To be continued

Meet and Greet Invite

You are cordially invited to a Meet and Greet at the Hollywood/Union Branch Library today from 100 till 300 and tomorrow at the Broadmoor Branch from 100 to 300 to meet Linda Bethea, author of Everything Smells Just Like Poke Salad and Kathleen Holdaway Swain, her mother, her collaborator and illustrator.    You can bring your own copy of the book for signing or make arrangements for purchase.  Numbered prints of Kathleen’s original art will also be made available.  Copies of the book have been made available at branches so you should be able to get on request list should you prefer to read the library copy. It is also available on Amazon in Kindle or paperback.   Please


Independent motion – can you help?

Help Nick if you can.

Sue Vincent - Daily Echo

What would you give to make a dream come true if you woke to find yourself living a nightmare?

What would you feel if you could never again walk on a beach? Or go out alone in the snow…feel the stillness of a wood or cross a field?

And then, you found a way…

In 2009, my son was a successful young man with a bright future… until he was stabbed through the brain in an unprovoked attack and left for dead in an alley.

He was found almost immediately by passers-by who saved his life. By the time we arrived at the hospital, Nick was being prepared for emergency brain surgery. We were allowed to see him, for a few minutes, to say goodbye. He was not expected to survive…

Over the past couple of years, many in the blogging community have come to know my son and know…

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Aunt Ader’s Place

Aunt Ader’s House was reminiscent of the two pictured here.

dog-trotI had no idea who Aunt Ader was, or that her name should actually have been pronounced Ada, but her old farm house was a wonder.  Uncle C H, my Aunt Jenny’s on-again off-again husband apparently enjoyed some claim to it, because over the course of my childhood, several of my relatives rented it, probably when they’d fallen on hard times.  It stood high on a hill surrounded by several huge oaks.  A rutted red-dirt drive curved its way up toward the house, dusty in summer and rutted deeply in rainy weather.   In the spring and early summer weeds sprigged up between the tire tracks, kept short courtesy of the undercarriage of the vehicles making their way up the hill.  Though Aunt Ader’s forebears had been prosperous landowners a couple of generations back, the land had been subdivided and sold off long before I came to know it.  To the eyes of a small child, it was welcoming with its deep front and back porches and wide dogtrot.  An enormous living room and kitchen opened off one side and three bedrooms on the other.  Fireplaces on either side furnished the only heat.  Bare lightbulbs dangling on cords sufficed to light the big, high-ceilinged rooms, welcoming ghosts to the shadowy corners. Rain on the tin-roof could be pleasant or deafening, depending on the intensity of the storm.   I was never tempted to stray far from the light, though the sunshine from the huge windows flooded those rooms in the daytime.

A water heater stood in the corner of the enormous kitchen next to the galvanized bathtub on the wall.  The old wood stove was still in use, though the only indoor plumbing was water piped in to the sink in the one piece enamel cabinet with a built in sink standing before the window, looking out on a large field with several pear and fig trees.  Several unpainted shelves served as storage, for everything that couldn’t fit into the sink cabinet and pie safe.  A cord exiting the round-topped refrigerator was plugged into an extension cord connected to bare light bulb dangling from the center of the kitchen ceiling.  The light was turned off and on by a long string.  Strips of well-populated fly-paper hung near the windows.   An unpainted toilet stood slightly downhill about three hundred yards off to the left of an old barn.  Kids were always warned away from the hand dug-well, enclosed in a wooden frame with a heavy wooden trap cover stood a few feet from the back porch.  Mother was so adamant we not go near, I was sure it was surrounded by quicksand, just waiting to suck a foolish child in.  A bucket hung from a chain from the roof of the creaky structure.  Pigs were pinned up near the barn, though not far enough away to miss their smell, explaining the fly problem.

To be continuedwarhome2