Mr. Bradley and the Old Floozies


Mr. Bradley died!! Mr. Bradley died!!

This was unbelievable! I had seen people get shot on “Gunsmoke,” but I’d never known anyone who had actually died. I knew I was supposed to cry when someone died but I couldn’t manage it. First of all, Mr. Bradley was an old grouch. He wore khaki pants and shirt and an old gray felt hat with oil stains around the hat band. He was really selfish. He had built us a chicken house. When I went out later to Continue reading


Superman and Grits

Cathy and Linda0001


This is me pictured with my cousin Cathy on a visit to their family in Baton Rouge. On this memorable trip, I was first introduced to grits.  It was instant love.  A year or two later Cathy told me Superman had killed himself.  I was sincerely devastated.  If Superman couldn’t deal, what hope was there for the rest of us?


Not a Small Matter!

Grandma young adult0007dentures by mail 1gum diseasefamily6Grandma was born in 1896. Very progressive, she employed higher standards of hygiene I do today, possibly because she’d barely survived typhoid in her mid-forties. Like me, washed her hands frequently as she cooked, but she scalded instead of merely rinsing her dishes, and boiled her whites, linens, and towels when doing her laundry with home-made lye soap in a huge cast-iron washpot outdoors until she got a washing machine. Continue reading

More Snotty Girls

Good baby0002

See this beautiful dead baby photographed outdoors in front of a black drape.  He was the cause of my first major social failure.  Before you get too outraged with me, bear in mind this child was my grandmother’s baby brother, stillborn in 1898.  Even she never knew him. From the time I could remember, whenever I caught Mother Continue reading

World Championship Foot In Mouth Award


I am the World Champion at talking when I should have been listening.  More than thirty years ago, I had a dear friend in Nursing School who was valiantly struggling with morbidly obesity serious enough to interfere with ambulation and other life activities, not to mention the psychic and social pain she dealt with daily.  Working Continue reading

You Never Know

Battered shoes

Many years ago, I was on an hospital elevator with a minister I knew.  A somber man got on with us.  He looked straight ahead, deep in thought. Attempting to make conversation, the minister said, “Smile, it can’t be that bad.”

The man’s expression never changed.  In a low voice he remarked, “My son just died.”

The minister and I were both shocked.  As he stammered an apology, all three of us burst in to tears.  We hugged the man, offered shocked condolences, and offered to make phone calls for him.  The minister got off and went with him.

I’ve never forgotten, and suspect neither of them has either.  You just never know what a person is dealing with.

Get to the Point!


Picture a skinny girl with boobs the size of fried eggs in this lovely lingerie.  Then add a curly, frizzy crazy old-lady perm.  Add a few sheer out-of-style dresses Grandma hand-picked for me at Goodwill.  Don’t forget the pimply back and cotton slip showcased so beautifully by those hideous dresses.  There you have the nightmare of style I sported in Continue reading

Hanging By a Thread

hanging by thread

Though he didn’t apppreciate it till later, Bill’s life hung by a thread as he sat tranquilly in that day in church, just as he had every Sunday of his life. We all lined that pew, third from the left in front, Billy, Daddy, Mother, Marilyn, Connie, Phyllis (she was good help with the little girls), then me, on the end, where I’d hopefully pay attention best. Careful thought had gone into the seating. Billy and I couldn’t be trusted to sit together. I couldn’t be next to the little girls. I played with them, encouraging them to “act up.” Nobody sitting next to Phyllis got any encouragement to do anything except be worshipful. This generally worked out pretty well, giving bored kids plenty of time to think, the very thing that put young Billy’s body and soul in mortal peril that particular Sunday.

As the minister droned on and time dragged, Billy had plenty of time to think. The offering had been collected and sat temptingly on the altar: a handful of change, a couple of fives, tens, ones, a twenty, and a few checks. Brother Deck, an ancient deacon, who’d help collect it, had nodded off in the pew directly ahead of us, his head drooping as he slept. Occassionally, he delighted us by tooting in his sleep. It sounded like a screen door flapping and was quite satisfying, though we couldn’t make as much of it as we’d have liked, having been forewarned not to laugh when he did it again this week. It was still something to look forward to, relieving the tedium of the service.

Brother Elmer Elkins and his wife Miss Margie sat on the other end of the pew ahead of us. Brother Elmer had had the good sense to marry money. His wife had inherited land as well. Mr. Elmer was an excellent farmer, adding to the investment of her inheritance, and was the envy of the that farming neighborhood and the undisputed “boss” of the church. Though the church might vote on expenditures, plans didn’t come to fruition unless Brother Elmer, the church treasurer, signed the checks. As Billy pondered the fortune displayed temptingly before him on the altar, it occurred to him that in the bustle of church dismissal, that treasure would be unattended. He might be able to pick up a little offering of his own, if he slipped to the front unnoticed.

As the prayer ended, he slipped out the opposite end of the pew from the rest of us, intending to sidle by the offering plate unnoticed, helping himself to a little gift. Brother Elmer must have dealt with this temptation before. He slid out of his seat just ahead of Billy, turning to glare him down, before “collecting” the collection plate. Apparently, Billy wasn’t the first to think of this little trick. Thank God, Brother Elmer’s “bad boy” radar was working that morning. It saved Billy’s life!