Ask Auntie Linda, August 12, 2015


Auntie Linda

Dear Auntie Linda,  I am a seventeen years old, a senior in high school, make good grades, and have never done anything to make my parents distrust me.  We live thirteen miles outside town.  Most kids don’t want to come out this far before going out at night.  My parents let my brother take the car and go out at night or meet friends in town.  I am allowed to use the car in daytime, but they don’t want me driving alone at night in case I break down.  I have a cell phone.  I don’t always want to stay over with a friend or have a guy drive me home.  How can I get them to relax this double standard?  Unfair

Dear Unfair,  That’s a sticky one.  It’s not about trusting you.  It’s about protecting you, which you don’t like a bit better, I’m sure.  Maybe if you promised…

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Ask Auntie Linda, September 27, 2015


Auntie Linda

Dear Auntie Linda,  I live in a decent, not fancy, neighborhood.  All the residents keep their places mowed, painted, and well-kept, except for one neighbor.  The lady living directly across the street from me is a hoarder.  Her place looks like she is having a garage sale all the time.  Junk cars, old furniture, and hundreds of flower pots are in plain view.  She has old appliances and dozens of containers standing on her porch.  Her shades hang crooked on the windows.  Her grass is tall and she has dozens of cats swarming around.  We ordered Pizza the other night and her cats attacked the Pizza Man.  Several of us talked to her and she threw us off the property.  What can be done about this miserable mess?  Sick of the View

Dear Sick of the View,  You can call the ASPCA or animal control about the cat problem.  You can…

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Charley’s Tale Part 33

Needless to say, Charles was apprehensive about Ellen’s entertaining, but was reassured to know Geneva would be there to help out.  Cora would be serving with Birdie’s assistance.  Cora assured him everything was perfect on his way out to visit the girls at Geneva’s house as he did every morning.  Geneva promised she’d be there way early in case Ellen needed anything.  Ellen had hosted dozens of teas over the years, so Charles felt this would go well.  He had no idea she’d invited twelve instead of just her syncophant friend, Sarah.  Sarah had loyally endured Ellen’s barbs and snide behavior for the dubious benefit of her company for years.

Cora had laid a lovely tea with Ellen’s wedding service.  Dainty cucumber sandwiches and chicken salad sandwich fingers rested on a bed of lettuce on the bottom tier of a serving dish, scones on the middle, and luscious petit fours on the top tier.  More waited in the kitchen.

The parlor and dining room was full of ladies in their finest.  Anticipation was high as no one had seen Ellen for months or really knew the nature of her illness.  At two ten, conversation was buzzing when Cora rang a little silver bell and announced, “The new Mrs. Charles Evans.”  Ellen swept confidently down the stairs into the room. Her short flaming red hair clashed with the bright yellow of the silk dress, her brows and lips heavily made up.  She easily weighed twenty pounds more than when they’d last seen her.  A titter was heard, then nervous laughter.  Sarah quickly glanced around, and sensing disaster, starting clapping as if in congratulation.

Geneva joined in gratefully, then took her daughter’s arm.  Sarah rushed to embrace Ellen, “Oh, Ellen!  You look stunning!  I hardly knew you.”  Truer words were never spoken.  Ellen’s garish red hair and clashing yellow dress were a shocking combination.  Conversation resumed, and Ellen was gratified to be the center of attention.  To hear her tell it, she’d barely been snatched from the jaws of death, and was just now making a brave recovery.  The group was fascinated to hear the tale of little Ginny’s unexpected arrival, and to learn of Ellen’s recent bereavement and the vast inheritance she was soon to receive.

Ellen had little idea of the impression she’d made and felt her return to society was a great success.  Geneva felt sick, knowing her daughter had set tongues to wagging.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book Reading and Interview – Sandra J. Jackson

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore

Please give a warm welcome to Sandra J. Jackson who is joining us at the Cafe today for the book reading. Sandra is the author of Promised Soul and Forever an Echo and we will take a more detailed look at those shortly.

First however the official biography.

A graduate of a 3-year Graphic Design program, Sandra J. Jackson has always been creative, from drawing and painting to telling stories to her children when they were young. Her wild imagination lends itself to new and exciting ideas. Sandra’s debut novel, Promised Soul, was released in 2015 by Fountain Blue Publishing. A short story, Not Worth Saving, appeared in New Zenith Magazine’s 2016 fall issue. She also has had several sports articles published in a local newspaper. She holds a professional membership with the Canadian Author Association and is a member of Writers’ Ink.

Sandra lives with her husband and two…

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Charley’s Tale Part 32

With the question of the funeral settled, Ellen gave her full attention to her Thursday Tea.  On Wednesday, Rosalee came by to tint her hair red.  It looked far too pale to Ellen, so she made Rosalee redo it a deep auburn shade, quite a starling change.  Naturally, her lipstick and eyebrow pencil no longer matched, so Ellen sent her out for new shades.  Rosalee was worried about the vibrantly colored hair, lips, and brows, but Ellen was thrilled at the change.  “I hope Dr. Evans is ready for a big surprise!”

” I want to really dazzle my friends at my tea, tomorrow.  This is my first time to see them since I was sick and I want to look young and full of life.”  Ellen stated.

“That new color looks mighty lively!  Are you sure you don’t want me to tone it down?  I don’t want to put Dr. Evans’s nose out of joint.”  Rosalee was worried.

“It’s perfect.  Don’t you worry about the doctor.  He’ll be charmed!” Ellen was delighted with her new look.  She already planned to claim a headache and avoid him that evening.  It would be after eight before he got home since he would be going by Geneva’s to have dinner with the girls on the way home

Ellen strolled into the kitchen the next morning, startling Cora with her brilliant hair and brows. “Sweet Jesus!  I thought somebody done broke in!”  Cora exclaimed, fanning herself.

Ellen took her shocked reaction as a compliment.  “Yes, I am a new woman.  I wanted a new look for my tea.  What do you think?” She asked.

“I sho think you got you a new look!  Yes ma’am!  It ’bout took my breath.” Cora replied, truthfully.

Ellen was delighted.  ” Now here’s what I want you to do.  When my friends get here, I’m going to make a late entry.  Wait at the bottom of the stairs.  When I am on the top step ready to come down, announce, ‘the new Mrs. Charles Evans.”  Then I’ll make my entry.  They will be stunned!”  Ellen giggled like a girl.

“They sho will.”  Cora concurred glumly.

Just Women Getting By: Leaving A Legacy Of Strength


In this collection of six serials, Linda Swain Bethea weaves narratives of women through several centuries. The stories span from 1643 to 1957.

Beginning in England in 1643, a young couple travels to Jamestown, Virginia, to begin a new life in the American frontier. The rest of the stories travel from West Texas to North Louisiana to the Texas Panhandle to East Texas. Disease, death, starvation, and prison are faced with stoicism and common sense, and always, with a sense of humor.

The women in each tale stand tall and possess the wisdom and tenacity to hold families together under the worst conditions. Through it all, they persevere, and Linda Swain Bethea’s storytelling is a testament to the legacy they left.
Conversational and homey, you’ll fall in love with the women of Just Women Getting By – Leaving a Legacy of Strength, which celebrates the courage of those women who had no choice but to survive.


Read A Free Chapter HERE

Lissy’s Heartbreak

Lissy, a tiny black-haired girl came to Vacation Bible School with her cousin Judy the summer I was ten. I immediately warmed to her, though she was so shy she’d only talk to her cousin. She and her mother had come to spend the summer with her Uncle Joe and his family. I didn’t see Lissy again until August when Mother spent a few days in the hospital delivering my youngest sister.

Lissy was Mother’s roommate. I was almost totally ignorant of anything to do with sex, having only accrued a bit of misinformation at that point, but I did catch on that there was a big secret about Lissy. I overheard Lissy’s mother talking to the doctor, “She wouldn’t start, and she wouldn’t start, but when she finally did, she wouldn’t stop.”

Lissy was crying and wouldn’t answer the doctor’s questions. I never saw her again.

Mother sent me out before I heard any more. I felt bad for Lissy, but was intrigued. Knowing I’d learn nothing more, I sequestered that information in my mind, hoping I’d understand later. Long after I was grown, I remembered to ask Mother about it. She remembered well. Little Lissy had suffered a miscarriage and was admitted with massive blood loss. She was only eleven.

Charley’s Tale Part 31

Ellen chose not to attend the funeral once she learned it would be a simple service at the village church fifty miles away, a great relief to her husband and mother. In the 1940’s a trip of that length on winding, rutted roads was no small endeavor.  Naturally, in the absence of air conditioning, most trips in the sunny south might invest over a steamy ride with the windows down, dust fogging in the windows.  It would not do for a pampered lady like Ellen to arrive sweaty and dishelved with wnd-blown hair. Ellen reasoned she didn’t know Cousin Jean’s friends and could grieve in the comfort of her own home.  Charles and his boys escorted Geneva while the girls were left at home with Birdie and Josie.  Josie was devastated to miss the trip, since she’d hoped to see her sweetheart, Bobby.

A group of true friends gathered to honor Cousin Jean’s life.  Due to her oddness and departure from the accepted role for women, she never been plagued with foolish friendships.  She’d farmed, hunted, fished and shared her life with those she loved in the face of scorn, criticism, and family estrangement.  She gave generously of herself, especially in her love for her orphaned niece, Geneva.  It was a life well-lived.

Returning to to farmhouse, they received friends.  The table, counters, and refrigerator groaned under the weight of casseroles, fried, chicken, potato salad, cakes, pies.  Robert, Bessie, Bobby, and their young son Freddy attended the service and joined them at the meal.  Robert had grown up on the farm and brought Bessie there as a bride.  Cousin Jean had attended the birth of both children, along with a midwife.  They had spent more hours with Jean than anyone else these past years and deeply grieved her passing.  They assumed Geneva would have inherit, but should she sell, they could be out of a home and job.

Geneva assured them they’d continue as before, but would get back to them as soon as the will was read, which did provide them some ease.