That’s Their Problem



Mother has three closets jammed with clothes.  Last time I counted, she had thirty-two outfits with tags.  Last Sunday when she stopped by to score a meal, she was sporting this stylish ensemble.  Since it was a tad nippy, she’d donned the purple, long-sleeved shirt I’d given her when she got caught without a sweater at my house several years ago.  As you can see, it’s extremely roomy. Paired with these charming cropped pants she’s been wearing for at least ten years, she was really styling.  For a finishing touch, she slipped into ankle-high nylons and loafers, accessorized by her pedometer, since her current obsession is walking.

I couldn’t help remarking, “Mother, you do know that’s a hideous outfit, don’t you?”

“I don’t care!  I’m old enough to wear what I want to,” was her reply.

“Okay, but you know since you’re past eighty, people may get the impression you…

View original post 28 more words

Andrew and Molly Part 9

img_1779WhilesWharton had other matters to attend, Andrew and Bartles worked for hours that afternoon sawing trees with a cross-cut saw, chopping off branches with an ax, then piling the brush for later burning.  Andrew’s back ached and the muscles of his arms screamed.  At the end of the day, they were rewarded with a half-dozen stumps, a huge pile of brush, and a stack of logs.  The timber would be transported to a nearby sawmill for processing into lumber.  Wharton told Andrew he could take what he needed to fashion a room in the barn.  The remainder would be used on the place or sold in the colonies or shipped back to England.  Timber was one of the most important crops shipped back to England since her forests had been stripped.  Ship-building, an important trade, was always hungry for lumber. During a brief break, Bartles told him they usually worked the crops in the early morning, then split the afternoon between lumbering and blacksmithing as the need and weather permitted.  Blacksmithing was illegal in the colonies, but since their product was not great enough to impact the demand from England, they’d not had a problem yet.

Aggie sent Molly out with a pewter pitcher of beer and the men paused for a short break.  Battles spoke to the two of them.  When she turned to leave them, Bartles bade her stay. ” I came here as a bondsman almost four years ago.  I’d done blacksmithing on an estate in England.  Like you, my master died and I had to move on.  We’d have starved if we hadn’t bonded. It was a devilish passage we made, more than twelve weeks.  That’s when we met Master Wharton, but he warn’t no master then.  He was a sailor what broke his leg two days out and couldn’t work.  We took care of him or he’d have never lived.  When we got here, ship’s captain bound him over for lost work owed.  We was all bound to Mistress Ipswich when we landed, the woman that owned this farm. She was a hard, God-fearing woman, the meanest Christian I ever knew.  She took a fancy to Master Wharton not long after.  Once she was set on marrying him, he had no choice.  She meant to have him, one way or another.  He give up and married her after awhile, even though he didn’t have no fondness for her.  It was a hard bargain with never a minutes’ peace.  After a year or so, she fell out with a fit and died three days later.  He was Master after that.  When he found out I could smith, he got me a forge and helped me get a start.  I get to keep half I make.  He don’t have to let me keep nothing.  My time will be up in a few months and I’d be proud to teach you.  I’m telling you this so you’ll know you’ve got a chance.  Didn’t me nor Wharton have nothing when he got here.  Now he’s got a fine farm and soon, me and Aggie will be worked our time out an able to make a living.  Do right by Wharton and he’ll do right by you.  He don’t need to know we talked.  Lots of bondsman die before they finish their time, but you got a good place.”

Molly and Andrew were greatly heartened by Bartle’s story.  “I thank you for telling us, Bartles.”  Andrew told him.  “We are grateful.”  Molly flashed him a smile as she turned back to the house with the pitcher.

“I’d best get back in the house before Aggie skins me.”

“That she will,” chuckled Bartles.  “She don’t tolerate no slacking in herself nor nobody else, but she’s a good woman.”

Simple Apron from Old Jeans

img_1798I made my husband this great shop apron from items on hand in about two hours or less from a discarded pair of jeans.  No purchases was required.  I might make some of these for gifts.  The bib tail, and ties were made from the legs, the pockets from the back.


Miss Sally, the Felon and Luella’s Fried Chicken

img_1800Miss Sally was a challenged driver, even by her standards. After she totaled her own very nice car, her daughter, Judy, and son-in-law, Johnny passed their old, but good car on to her, thinking it would do to get her as far as the closest store and post-office, the restrictions she’d agreed on. Their reasoning was, it would spare her the expense of a new car and might be so far beneath her old standards that she’d be ashamed to be seen in it. It didn’t exactly work out that way. True enough, Miss Sally was discouraged and found the car hard to manage. The little car which Johnny had babied along for more than a dozen years and secretly hoped Miss Sally would reject was soon dinged up, battered, and missing a couple of mirrors. It seems backing up is a challenge for folks who don’t turn their heads to look behind them or utilize mirrors. Every time he saw a new injury, he just had to ask, “How did this dent get here? When was this bumper knocked crooked?”

“I don’t know. Certainly not when I was driving it,” she swore. At first they thought she was denying responsibility for the car’s insults, till it occurred to Johnny to ask, “Well, who was driving it, then?”

“I guess it was Harvey, the guy a few houses down,” she answered simply.

“Harvey? You mean Harvey who just got out of jail?” Judy protested.

“I’ll have you know he paid his debt to society, Missy!”  Miss Sally was offended at her daughter’s unchristian attitude. You’d think Harvey was the first guy who ever got in a little bind. “Besides, he was nice enough to drive Miss Dora home after she finished cleaning and he ran over the curb at the Pepper’s Chicken place.” “Mama! Why did you go by Pepper’s Chicken Place taking Dora home? That’s way over on Barkley Street, miles from Dora’s house. Why on earth would you go by there?”

Judy was worried now. Mama wasn’t supposed to be running all over town, certainly not with Harvey.  “That’s where Miss Dora’s cousin works. Chicken is a lot cheaper. Dora just lets her Cousin Luella know we are there and she brings it straight out the back door quick as we get there. A great big bucket doesn’t cost but two dollars! I always buy her one and get one for me and Harvey to share when we get back home.” Miss Sally looked pleased with her bargain. “Mama! You could get arrested. You are running around with a felon and receiving stolen goods! Luella is not paying for that chicken! That money goes right in her pocket! Besides, you know the doctor told you not to eat fried foods!”

“Judy, you know it’s not Christian to talk about folks that way. I am ashamed of you. She sighed. She’d tried so hard to raise Judy right.


Just Desserts


Bean Pie0001Billy was a good eater. He was over six feet tall by the time he was twelve, worked hard every day and was always hungry. Since Daddy had known real hunger growing up during the depression, he encouraged him to “eat well.” Billy liked to drink his milk from a quart jar to cut down on troublesome refills, and he would hurt a kid over a piece of leftover fried

View original post 236 more words

Quirky Family Evening

img_1799Kathleen Swain and her children.  Front left to right, Connie Miller, Kathleen Swain, Marilyn Grisham, Phyllis Barrington.  Back row, Linda Bethea and Bill Swain.  How did she ever birth all these behemoths?

A few evenings ago, Mother and her five children met for dinner at a local restaurant.  Afterwards, we went to her house to visit.  As soon as we no longer had to be socially acceptable, we regressed into our former roles and behavior, teasing Mother and each other.  At various times, we ganged up on each other just like we always had, sometimes with one sibling, sometimes another.

Once we got all that settled, we started noting interesting things about Mother’s house. Does this clock situation look odd to anyone besides me?

img_1796It seems she has been meaning to call the clock repairman but just hasn’t really had time, besides, that other clock was on the clearance rack at Walmart for a dollar.  She never did explain the lightbulb accessory.  She looked around meaningfully at the crowd.  “I guess I could use my Christmas money, but ………..”  I wonder which loser will crack first.

After my brother left, she asked us to turn her mattress.  I didn’t get a picture, but each corner of her mattress is numbered.  She didn’t remember why.  I really didn’t need to know.

When we were sitting in her living room later, we notice that each of her four speakers has a number (or two) that matches a corresponding number on the ceiling. I will only offer one photo as proof.  For some reason, she had numbered a couple twice and added a letter.  She said the theory was on a need-to-know basis.  Fortunately, I don’t need to know.


I am not concerned that Mother is developing dementia.  She is no different than she has ever been.  Oh, yes.  A large rubber band encircled the front door knob, despite the fact that she has a security system, dead-bolt, and safety bar propping door knob securely.  That’s so she will know the door is locked.  Go figure!


Featured Image -- 12391