From The Arbor Fabulous February Ahead
Weather-wise ours has been a mild winter. I may be an oddball, but I like my springs bursting with blooms, my summers sultry hot, my autumns colorful, and my winters downright frigid. By this time last year wed had three or four snows in Pontotoc. Folks here will do well to remember the Christmas snow of 2010, as it may be the last well see for the next decade or two.
My wife and I have just returned from An Afternoon of Humorous Storytelling in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, where apart from the great stories with a warm audience in a warm auditorium, we enjoyed sub-freezing temperatures in the evenings and temps slightly above freezing in the daytime. Now, thats January weather I can appreciate.
Were fortunate to have friends in Cape Girardeau who love to "bed and breakfast" us, thus reducing our trip expenses to tickets, fuel, and food. We think of such jaunts as mini-vacations and enjoy them immensely.
If you dont know, Cape Girardeau is gaining a reputation for hosting a three-day Storytelling Festival each spring. Not only are the storytellers entertaining and informative, but the cost of admission is a fraction of the cost of the National Storytelling Convention in Jonesboro, Tennessee each October. If youre interested in a fun-filled weekend check out http://www.capestorytelling.com/
February is likely to be our last best chance for measurable snowfall in Northeast Mississippi, but given the path old man winter has trodden, thus far, Im not buying snow tires or a new sled just yet.
The Pennsylvanian ground rat (smirk), Punxsutawney Phil, will be aroused from his slumber on February 2nd to let us all know if we can expect six more weeks of wintry weather or an early spring.
February affords lovers the occasion to shower the object of his or her affection with gifts from the heart on the fourteenth of the month, but really any day would qualify as Valentines Day.
Pro football fans and about half of all households in the United States will watch the New England Patriots play the New York Giants in Super Bowl 46 on TV on February 5th.
There are a couple of birthdays of Presidents long passed (Washington and Lincoln) that we shall observe on (get this) Presidents Day, which falls on the 20th this year and isnt really the birthday of either man. But, most government workers couldnt care less as long as they get another day off with pay.
While many of us enjoy the parades and festivities of Mardi Gras, our Roman Catholic friends, as well as other liturgically-based protestant denominations, will observe Ash Wednesday on the 22nd.
Thanks to this being a leap year, a few folks, namely those born on February 29th, will celebrate their birthday on the actual day. Ive never asked, but I wonder if persons birthed on February 29th have anything special or do anything out of the ordinary with respect to birthdays to celebrate their day, which comes along every four years.
You may not have a birthday on the 29th, but as a reader of The Bodock Post, youre sure to find something special in this months issue: Editor Ralph Joness series on Wonders and Mysteries rolls out; Our "in house" master gardener, Tim Burress, writes on how to maintain those Christmas poinsettias; Bettye Galloway has another great memory for you; Tom Campbell has agreed to contribute regularly and youll enjoy his article, too; a new contributor, Anny Lott, has an interesting and informative article on cast iron cookware; Cuzin Cornpone reveals a truism to which most of us church-goers can relate. All in all, theres something for almost everyone in this issue.
If you have a memory or two youd care to share with us, please reference our guidelines at http://rrnews.org/bp/submissions.htm
~ By Wayne L. Carter, Editor and Publisher
Poinsettia How To By Tim Burress, Master Gardener
Christmas is over and what do we do with those poinsettias? Well, we can throw them away because they didn't cost much anyway. That way we don't have to babysit them for another year till next Christmas, but hey what's the fun in that. We're gardeners right, and we love a challenge. Okay, okay, so I do anyway.
Here's what I do: They are ugly and leggy, so cut off the red foliage leaving only the green leaves. Keep them in spot where they get bright light and only water them when the soil is dry to the touch. Chunk that foil wrapper thats on the pot too so that they can drain properly.
When it gets warm enough, usually about late April, move the poinsettias out to a shady spot on the patio, and cut the stems back to about six inches. When the plants start to put on new growth, move them out to get a little more sunshine and if needed, transplant them into larger pots so that they don't have to be watered as much. I even plant pot and all in the ground to cut down on watering.
Fertilize them with a good houseplant fertilizer, I prefer organics, in April, June, and August. I like to prune the longer branches back a little during the growing season to make the plants stockier and more compact. On October the first, I start the darkness-light thing to make them form the red foliage and set blooms for the Christmas season. I do the darkness, light thing by putting them in a dark closet for about fourteen hours and then put them in the light for ten hours. I keep up with this by putting them in the closet when I get home from work and setting them out when I leave for work.
With any luck at all, ta da, they are much bigger and more beautiful than last year, not to mention, you did it yourself. If you have any questions or comments, send me an email at email@example.com
On another note, everybody get ready because the "4th Annual New Albany Home and Garden Show" is coming up soon. You will not want to miss this year's event. Patty Roper of Mississippi Magazine will headline our Friday lineup as she presents "Southern Entertaining with Style and Ease."
Tickets for this presentation are limited and a sit down lunch will be served, for more information call 662-534-1916. Saturday's event will be headlined by Felder Rushing, "The Gestaldt Gardener"; Rick Griffin, Landscape Designer; Charles Wood and his "Gardening by the Signs"; and Carl Wayne Hardeman; Master Gardener and poet
Happy Gardening and Keep Diggin' in the Dirt.
Mysterious Tunnels First Of A Series By Ralph Jones
All the years of growing up in Pontotoc, the Post Office was one of the buildings that really never dawned on me as having a basement, attic, or especially a set of secret passages. I had no reason to go anywhere except up a few steps to the main level to get our mail from box 33 or to mail a letter at the window. Even the doors to other parts of the building from that main lobby were off limits to us young guys.
In later years Mr. Jim Mogridge, who did so much to get the museum established in the building, showed me all around the area. I knew the building was high off the ground and at the rear there was a set of stairs going down to a lower level, but somehow it did not "click" on my pea brain that there might be a full basement there. There was nothing going on there that anyone said anything about, and there was no other business down there. But to me there was, and is, a mystery to the building.
As Mr. Mogridge showed me the basement he told of how it was designated as a "fall out" shelter in case of an atomic attack some years ago. Food stuff was stored there, along with radiation detectors, and other things needed to survive in the event of attack.
It is quite a large area as you can see now while visiting the most interesting museum. The exterior stairs on the west end of the building were quite useable and there is a wide set of stairs going up to the ground level. However, there is an interesting entrance and area that few probably know of; I certainly didnt.
A set of stairs on the south side of the building near the loading dock, lead to a single door that opens into a small basement room. That room is currently set up as a doctors office for the museum. While the building was still a fully operational mail handling facility, that room was the office of the postal inspector. The inspector was the only one with a key to get into the office and its secret. He could come and go at any time of the day or night and no one would know. Another door in his office opened into the basement of the post office itself, thus giving the inspector full range of the building at any time. The only other door in that small office led into what might be mistaken as a closet. Although small and dark, it was not a closet but a vertical chase, or shaft, leading upward. Inside is a steel ladder extending up into the blackness of its tiny confine.
What was its function, an escape to the roof; a way to get into the attic space above? Yes to all of these, but it also contained another intriguing entity. It was a spys den! Well thats what we kids would call it. It connected to a tunnel system in the attic whereby the postal inspector could crawl around and observe what was going on in the mail sorting room and other areas of the post office below. Up high in the sorting room where the walls meet the ceiling, there are small slits about six inches wide and an inch or so tall, all around the room where the inspector could look through and observe what was going on in the room below. Security was tight, evidently.
What excitement it would bring to be able to explore these attic tunnels and to once more peer down onto the unsuspecting workers below. What tales would these tunnels tell, if they could only talk.
A well-kept secret indeed!
Cast Iron By Anne Lott, Contributor
I see survey's fairly often on foodie websites asking potential survey takers to name the one thing that's most important in their kitchen's; what's their favorite go-to, must-have item. So I go through my mental list of appliances, dishes, toolie type gadgets, glassware and even certain herbs/spices currently in my kitchen and pantry. Truth is I have several things I love and use with great delight, happy to have both the luxury of a well-stocked pantry and a handy wooden lemon juicer.
I love my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer for all the obvious reasons and I can't imagine a week going by without using my Food Saver to 'slurp' (my word for vacuum sealing) extra food items to toss in the freezer. Also, I don't know what I'd do without my antique drip-style coffee pot. I experience an almost Zen-like moment while patiently waiting for the Community Coffee to drip into the bottom half of my old pot. The bonus being the aroma of the dripping coffee...ahhh! I love my first morning cuppa.
But when I get serious about the absolute bomb as far as culinary tools are concerned, I must admit it's Cast Iron cookware. Good old American forged Cast Iron. I have tons (it's really heavy too) of Cast Iron cookware. The one I reach for the most is probably the 8" skillet shown in the picture above. If you look closely, you can see just how smooth the inside of the pan is and how aged the color has become from repeated use and loving care. No stick, no worries, no kidding, this is my go-to pan.
My grill pan is handy too. For a quick and super delicious steak,
it's unbeatable. I have a propane burner rig on my patio that I crank up
to about medium heat, position my griller over the blue-flickering flame
and heat until it's rockin' hot. Then I lay a nice thick steak over the grill
ridges and watch the smoke roll.
Pancakes anyone? This griddle pan is also the lid of a Dutch Oven, hence the handle. I've used the griddle/lid far more than the accompanying pot. It's great for pancakes, hoecakes or French toast at breakfast, but my favorite thing to cook in this shallow pan is cornbread.
You see, I love cornbread that's really crispy and thin. Those big ole thick pieces are not for me. Crunchy thin slices with a thick crust and lots of butter are the best and this little pan works perfectly. While I'm making my cornbread batter, I add some oil to the griddle skillet and get it fairly hot. When I pour the batter into the pan it sizzles and spits and that's what makes a thick crunchy crust. Oh boy, get the butter!
Both these little skillets are really handy, but I don't use them as often as others. The one I call Itty Bitty is perfect for single servings of egg dishes or even hot appetizers straight from the oven and piping hot. The larger one I use for scrambled eggs and Spanish Tortilla. So cute too!
I know this is a biscuit pan and I do use it for that very purpose, however, it's also fantastic for individual corn bread. I also have one of those cornbread pans that shapes the bread into an ear of corn. But like most of us agree, they aren't the best. This pan, however, is really great. Although I've never done it, I think tiny little pies would bake nicely in this pan. Maybe an apple pie with a double crust brushed with butter and sprinkled with sugar, or something totally different such as meat loaf or tiny pizza. I'm going to promise myself to use this more, and in different ways.
I don't actually need a butter warmer very often, but isn't this sweet. It's a tiny pot with feet which raises it just enough to keep lemon and butter sauce warm, not hot. Grill sauces, such as barbeque work well in this little cast iron bowl too. Just pour the sauce into the pot and set it on the grill for use when needed.
Outside of the 8" skillet, the Dutch Oven is undoubtedly the most ubiquitous cast iron piece anywhere. Soup, stew, gumbo, casseroles, even peach cobbler or chicken fried steak can be cooked as easily in the home kitchen as on the dusty trail. Its an essential for sure.
I also have a ginormous Dutch oven that was actually invented for the campfire cook. Its lid has a deep lip edge around its circumference for holding hot coals and embers, and feet around the bottom to position over coals in a campfire. It literally becomes an oven, browning on both top and bottom. It was custom-made for real campfire cooking. I saw a show a few years ago on Food Network that featured various ranch cooks in competition for the best cook on the trail and this pot was used for everything from biscuits to fruit cobbler. Granted, I don't use it very often, well hardly ever, but it's a very cool pot. I love Cast Iron!
Deep frying is almost a religion in my part of the country. Chicken, Fish, Taters, Hush Puppies, you name or dream it, we can fry it and usually do. The Deep Fryer is definitely a plus for those of us who routinely have a crowd of folks gathered for a summer fish fry. This is the pot I love to hand to my son with a big bowl of fresh catfish fillets and fish-fry (seasoned cornmeal) and point him toward the patio with a request for Fried Catfish. He's really, really good at cooking Fried Catfish.
This little pot is a 2 quart size that can be used for anything. It's really old, antique actually, and a gift from a very dear friend. It is a treasure to me and one that I use all the time. Every single time I use it I remember my friend and her generous spirit. Our friendship is eternal, although I don't see her very often anymore, this little pot connects us.
Cast Iron is passed down from one generation to another, and in my world that's a very big deal. Eternal friendship gifted me this small pot, and it will be around in that same eternal manner for me to pass along. That's special to me indeed.
Biographical Sketch: Anne Lott works full time in accounting for a company in Jena, Louisiana, but enjoys the spare time she can give to her blogs. Her interests are eclectic, but writing about cooking or interesting events is definitely a passion for her. She is active in church, singing in the church choir and is involved in a local community theater.
Anne states nothing beats being in the kitchen with her son and two grandsons, sharing chores, cooking and making memories.
Refurbished Homes By Ralph R. Jones, Editor
There is a program on the Home and Garden (HGTV) Network, where young, first time home buyers shop for a house. It gives good information on most every aspect of the home, garden, accessories and other items pertaining to the new or remodeled home. Most of the things they say and do are legitimate. However, some of the "would-be-buyers" of re-furbished homes are to be questioned.
Having been in new home design for over forty years, in actual building of homes for about six or seven years previous to that, and having followed the construction of homes for the past fifty years or so, I find some of the situations hard to comprehend. I fully believe the television part of the show is like the tail wagging the dog. It tries to conjure up some action and conditions that seem to be un-real.
I see young couples come into a house that is ten, twenty, and thirty years old; most of the time the home has new paint, new carpet, new appliances, and is in excellent condition. The sales person is trying to tell the couple the positive side of the property; only to have the young lady say, "This kitchen will have to be ripped out and a new one installed, this one is sooooo 1980s." Remembering the 80s, they werent too bad; most houses even had indoor plumbing.
"This floor will have to be removed and a new ceramic tile floor put down, a new granite counter top installed, and we want a commercial gas, six eye, stove, and a stainless steel refrigerator installed, before I could possibly live here," is so often heard. It is hard for me to understand why a person who only knows how to boil water and make a mediocre peanut butter and jelly sandwich, cant live without a four to six thousand dollar, six-eye commercial stove. That new vinyl floor covering is much easier on her feet, and just possibly, when she drops that hundred dollar crystal vase that Aunt Matilda gave her, it wont break into a thousand shards and slivers of extremely sharp missiles. The laminate counter top comes in thousands of patterns and colors and is more user-friendly than the granite that cost umpteen dollars a square foot more.
When they get to the bathrooms I usually come un-glued. Lets face it folks, the bathroom is a fairly private room. But to the younger generation, youd think that the bath room was the "Showplace of the South," possibly a meeting place for the Garden Club. Baths now include, vaulted ceilings, skylights, huge glassed in separate showers, whirlpool tub(s), his and her potty rooms, his and her vanities, towel warmers, ventilating fans, heated floors, indirect lighting, and on and on the list could go, but if the wall tile in this bath is not mauve with a crimson border; it will have to be gutted and start all over again. Its all a far cry from the #2 galvanized wash tub set by the coal heater. And to think, sometimes two or three kids took a bath in the same water. Im not saying we should go back, but there might be a middle ground somewhere, without getting all bent out of shape about grout color.
If the truth be known a forty-eight inch clothes closet would probably be enough for the average man. However, the lady in this case would lie down and die right there on the new beige carpet if that was all she got. It would take that much space to just hold her jeans. No, a walk in closet about eight feet wide and fourteen feet deep might be sufficient for her if the arrangement was good. Anything less, forget it, punch out the back wall and add another room, possibly two; one for shoes alone. FYI, we took a "blind survey" in our Sunday School Class a few months ago and found that some of the ladies had well over one hundred pair of shoes.
Now the bedroom itself does not have to be too large, just large enough for the king sized bed, with twin king sized dressers, a chest of drawers or two, dressing areas, desk, big screen TV (the size of Kansas), and a corner or two for his and her treadmill, recliners, and a home gym. A room about twenty-four feet square might be large enough. This bedroom, closet, and bath combo is often larger than the entire three bedroom house we built back in the sixties.
Ill not dwell long on colors since it seems that if its off-white, paint it purple. If it is already purple then paint it off-white. If it has carpet, rip it out and install hardwood floors, and vice-versa. The general rule seems to be, whatever is existing, must be changed.
By the time the young lady has everything her little spoiled heart can desire she then looks at hubby and asks if she can please, pretty please have this house. He chokes at the price and when they revive him to a semi-conscious state, he signs an offer-to-buy for six hundred bazillion dollars. All he was concerned with was; did it have a den and a double garage with a work bench at the end. What he really got was "TOOK."
The TV show, real estate person, decorator, and the owner are happy. The wife is already wondering how they can knock out this wall and make a larger room for the kids when they arrive; and the young husband is just wondering, "What just happened?"
Storytelling By Wayne L. Carter, Editor & Publisher
One of lifes great mysteries, at least to me, is why more people dont attend storytelling festivals and storytelling events. Now, if somebody could just figure out how to incorporate football into storytelling events, it might become the hottest thing on planet Earth. Until then, I suppose Ill go on questioning why.
I was excited the first time someone told me about their experiences with storytelling festivals, and I freely admit I had trouble grasping how it functioned. How vastly different was my mental picture of what they described compared to my impressions after attending my first storytelling festival.
"The storytellers and their audiences are under these big tents," I recall Joe Steen stating. "And there may be ten or more tents scattered over a few acres. You just pick a storyteller you want to hear and find that tent."
Okay, I suppose such a description is not exactly the sort that would excite most people, but I was intrigued by the concept and wanted to know more, even attend a storytelling festival. I nurtured that idea right up until I learned that tickets to the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesboro, TN (the one Brother Joe attends) run more than a hundred and fifty dollars per person for the three-day weekend. I doubt Id pay a hundred fifty dollars to see Elvis (assuming hes still alive).
Suffice it to say, when I learned from friends in Cape Girardeau, Missouri about three years ago that there was a smaller version of the National Storytelling Festival sponsored by the local Convention and Visitors Bureau and that ticket prices were a fifth of those at the National festival, I got excited all over again.
My wife and I attended the second annual storytelling festival in Cape Girardeau in 2009 and have been faithful in attending each year thereafter. Were hooked.
Fewer people attend the festival in Cape Girardeau than the National Storytelling Festival, but youll hear some of the same storytellers you could have heard at the larger festival. In Cape G, there may only be two or three tents and a half-dozen or so storytellers, but Barbara and I have never been disappointed with the stories or the storytellers.
I can describe the community, the downtown area, the scenic beauty of Cape Girardeau, even the style of tents and seating used, but my communication skills break down along the lines of answering what storytelling is.
Yes, its somebody telling a story, but its most often somebody who truly loves sharing his or her experiences with others, and, more often than not, they do so in a most interesting way. For example, one of the storytellers at the second annual festival in Cape G verbalized her sagas in poetic form as a world class guitarist provided background music. She dressed in 40s attire from her head to her toes and even clogged through one of her recitations about living out her mothers dream to be a clogger.
Some storytellers continue to be guests on National Public Radio and many are well educated, having been professors and teachers or remain as such. Some are old in the sense of age, but many havent reached midlife. The stories they share are largely crafted from their own experiences. Some stories are so poignant as to bring a lump to a mans throat or a tear to a womans eye.
A few storytellers may employ a musical instrument to aid them and others may have a puppet on their knee. I cant guarantee all stories are truthful and certainly anyone who has won a liars championship multiple times (like Bill Lepp) didnt do so telling the truth, but I can guarantee the storytelling festivals described herein will supply something pleasing to every person that attends and that storytelling is every bit as American as apple pie.
My wife and I will be attending the fifth annual storytelling festival in Cape Girardeau, this April. Why dont you make plans to do the same?
Wash Day By Bettye H. Galloway, Contributor
Wash day was always Monday. At least it was always Monday in our little community in North Mississippi in the early forties. These were the days before REA found us and provided electricity, which meant no electricity and no running water.
Dale, with her two smallest girls, would come up our hill at daylight on wash day, and by the time we got up and ate breakfast, she had already started the fire under the black wash pot. By the time we were allowed to go outside, Dale was busy carrying water from the pump to fill the three tubs lined up on the sawhorses behind the house, one for scrubbing, one for rinsing, and one with bluing water for the white clothes.
Dale had mastered the art of washday. She sorted the items from our hampers into three pileswhites, coloreds, and work clothes. The whites went into the first tub where they were soaked for a while, gently scrubbed on a rub board, and then carried to the wash pot and boiled while she worked on the colored clothes. The whites were removed very carefully from the boiling water with a broom handle and carried to the second tub on the sawhorses where they were rinsed and transferred to the third tub of bluing water.
My sister and I were too busy playing with Dales girls to pay much attention to what she was doing, but we were allowed to keep the fire stoked under the wash pot and to hand her the clothes from the piles as she needed them. When the whites had soaked for a while in the bluing water to whiten them, we were allowed to help hang them on the clothesline holding them in place with wooden clothespins and being careful to space them so that there would be room left for the colored clothes.
The colored clothes, meanwhile, had been soaking in the first tub. They were scrubbed on the rub board, boiled in the wash pot, and transferred to the rinse water. We then were allowed to hang them on the clotheslines with the white clothes. The work clothes followed the same pattern with the exception of the trip to the clothesline. Usually the white and coloreds had filled the clothesline, and the work clothes (usually denim and khaki) were hung on the fence surrounding the yard.
After the wash was completed, Dale stripped us all and gave us a good bath in the wash waterher girls in the rinse water and my sister and me in the bluing tub. We were filthy from playing around the ashes at the wash pot and around the tubs all morning. She then carried all the water, bucketful by bucketful, to the garden for irrigation. Water was scarce and nothing was wasted.
Toward noon, we watched Dale and her girls walk down the hill toward their house, and we waited with bated breath for the next washdaya whole week away!
Third Bun By Thomas Campbell, Contributor
Man, were we surprised! Megan was eleven. Zachary was six. Now, we discovered "Bun Number Three" was in the oven!
God blessed us with our "baby for the new millennium," and we had no idea what awaited in the genetic amazement of being able to watch our oldest daughter grow up before our eyes all over again. In February, 2004 (just two days before Valentines Day and one day after her Pappaw Larrys birthday) Emily Elizabeth Campbell greeted us, singing loud and proud.
Those days, I was back in college trying to clean up the educational mess I created back in the early 1980s at Ole Miss. This would be the perfect time, I thought, to take a semester of classes on the Internet because "Sweet Baby Emily" would be spending the majority of time in her bed (just across from the computer desk where I was stationed), so naturally Id be able to do my work as she slept or played.
Ha! It was not the last time I took online classes, but it was definitely the last time I took four online classes at the same time. Emily taught me that a parent should never have any preconceived notions how an infant might act. I had the craft of "one-handed-typing-with-a-baby-in-the-lap" down to a fine science in order to complete my work.
Know this: It has been a real blessing having Emily as a sidekick all these years. Megan and Zachary were born during a time when Deana and I both worked our respective jobs and they went to day-care. I sometimes call this time, "B.S."
No...Not that. It means "Before Surgery." At the end of the twentieth century, I caved in to the pain and agreed to have my back surgery. If you have worked in the first thirty-five years of your life as hard as I did lifting heavy equipment, furniture, and appliances, golfing, or water skiing, and have not yet succumbed to the herniated discs you likely will have (the biggest sign is that intense fire rushing down the side of your leg along the sciatic nerve), then trust me. You will. Be patient. Hold back those tears. Make excuses. Its coming.
My surgeon did a super job on me. There was no more pain! There was no more anxiety! There was no more thoughtful process in my head! I was lulled into a false sense of security about my "new lumbar spine!" If I had USED my brain, I would have preserved the doctors good work. Unfortunately, I was foolish and let myself slip into that pre-surgery mind that I could do anything with no consequence. Stupid me.
So, Miss Emily came along after the second surgery to repair my newly re-herniated discs. At least she waited three years to let my back heal so I could be a "stay-at-home dad."
As this chapter of my life unfolded, I had to learn that I was disabled. My right foot became unreliable to stand. My big toe and second toe both remained steadfast for me. However, last three stank up the house (no pun intended) as they had become numb 24 / 7 / 365. Also, the muscles in the lower right leg would decide to shut down intermittently, which left me sprawled on the floor like a bowling pin. As I have told folks, its highly entertaining for passers-by and my kids to see their big, pear-shaped daddy fall over without warning. It makes me too big a risk as a hire in the business world.
Soon, Emily and I became commuter students. Back issues or not, I was still studying and cleaning my transcript, and as my baby girl got older, it became necessary for me to go to class on campus in Oxford. Emily had never been through the "day-care experience" like her siblings. She had always been with me during the day. We really didnt have it in the budget to put her in child care. God always finds a way in the wilderness, though.
Enter my father-in-law, Larry Woolfolk. He was retired and spent his mornings at home in Oxford down the road from Camp Lake Stevens on Old Highway 6. Seeing as he had a real affinity for his granddaughter with whom he shared a birthday cake each year, he was more than happy to take care of her while daddy went to class.
It is this time with her Pappaw that her mother and I credit her learning so much about how to communicate and have such a vibrant personality.
I cherish those early morning trips Emily and I took on the newly-expanded Highway 6; it pared an hour-long trek to the farm down to forty minutes. Precious are the memories of peeking into my rear-view mirror and winking at my baby girl as she patiently sat in her child-seat watching Barney movies, Charlottes Web, 101 Dalmatians, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and a library of video tapes to keep her occupied while we piled on mileage to our Chevrolet "Warner Brothers Edition" Venture Van (which I am still driving, by the way!).
As I sat in large auditoria listening to professors and taking notes to expand my knowledge, Larry and Emily would sit at the farm and watch television, climb into his red Ford F-150 and travel all over North Mississippi to cattle sales, hardware stores, farm supplies, and always the "Play Place" at McDonalds. He introduced her to friends, and gave her the embarrassment of riches that is bottle-feeding baby calves, riding in the wheelbarrow with Rascal (their Shih Tzu), and fishing in the pond for catfish that weighed more than she did.
Larry helped Emily learn and be inquisitive, and yes, he spoiled her...thats what "pappaws" do. We see him and his sense of humor in her, God bless him.
Our baby Emmybeth...shes my running buddy; my kindred spirit. See, when I was her age, I was the baby in my family. Shes her mothers doll, who loves doing girly-girl things with Deana. Shes an annoyance to her brother and sister (sometimes), but you know what? Thats what the kid-sister is supposed to be.
I think shell be a superstar every step of the way! Its going to be thrilling to see where she goes!
Writers note: If you have followed my previous articles in "The Post," you may have seen a trend. I started with one about son, Zach; then one about my Aunt Bill; one about oldest child Megan and her dog, Princess. Somebody got pouty over Christmas. This column is about her.
The Catalogue By Ralph R. Jones, Editor
The "Sears & Roebuck Catalogue" was a standard household item in my growing up years. How well do I remember it as the kids of the neighborhood wished away the hours thumbing through its pages.
It seemed that a household could not manage without "The Catalogue." Next to the Bible, it was the most popular book in most homes and, if the truth be known; got read more than most Bibles.
How did mom know what the latest fashions were, if you couldnt refer to a Searss catalogue? Grandpa got his overalls there not to mention his razor strop.
How did kids pick out things for Santa to bring them for Christmas without "the catalogue?" Could dad find a "David Bradley" wagon, or harness, or farm implement; how about baseball gloves and supplies by "Ted Williams?"
Where else could you drool over a genuine "Radio Flyer" coaster wagon, or a "Daisy Red Ryder" B-B Gun; only in the catalogue! "Craftsman" tools were superior; "Sears Brand" anything was good, and if anything gave you trouble; Sears stood behind it one hundred percent.
Before school started each year Mom would get down the catalogue and wed sit at the kitchen table and look over school clothes. Do you remember the size charts; in the middle of the book? Measure here, loosely, under the arms, or around the waist, and not over heavy clothing, from the center of the back to the cuff end of the sleeves, inseam length, size of this and that, etc., etc., etc.
Mom had a tape measure and shed start measuring me, up and down and all around. This was all before S, M, L, XL, 2XL, and "one size fits all" came about. Between Mom and Sears, they worked it out where the clothes usually fit pretty well. By the time she finished, her # 2 yellow pencil had been sharpened a couple of times, at least, with the butcher knife. The form (included in the catalogue) was full of numbers, words, and codes. She would figure the money down to the penny and then write a "First National Bank" check for the total.
Then wed wait. Sometimes a letter would come in the mail from Sears, "Mrs. Jones, the color you ordered is no longer available, would you please make another selection, or the size you ordered is temporarily out of stock in the Memphis Mail Order Center and will be shipped to you from St. Louis, MO."
She would return a letter of acknowledgement to them with any information they needed, knowing full well that there would be a delay. She would say to me, "I sure hope they dont fool around and let school get started before they send this."
Sooner, or later, the package would arrive, wrapped in heavy brown paper, tied stoutly with string (packaging tape was not allowed). My, my, how good those things would smell as we un-wrapped them. I never did like to "try on" clothes, but it was a necessity as soon as the package arrived. She wanted time to return them if they did not fit. I think she always ordered clothes a little large for me so I could "grow" into them.
Some of you will remember "vouchers" from Sears. It seems that there was always a sewing machine drawer with several vouchers. When you sent too much money and the overage was only a small amount, rather than send a company check or postal money order, Sears would make up the difference with an "I.O.U.," as it were. It was about the size of a dollar bill and on yellowish-gold color paper with black lettering (if my memory serves me correctly), it looked something like a check payable to the holder; redeemable only at Sears, however. Some would be for only five or six cents, others might be for a dollar or more; but Mom saved them all. The next time she ordered she would total what vouchers she had and include them, along with a check for the balance. She and Sears got along very nicely and Sears seldom let her down in quality, performance, or money matters.
Years later, after Mom had gone on to her heavenly rest and we were cleaning out the house, someone came across one of those old vouchers. My, what a flood of memories it brought back to this ole red-head.
Things have really changed since we last ordered from Sears. Everything now days is a "must have now," no waiting, or the deals off. The big catalogue has gone the way of the dinosaur; and people would not use them now if they were still around, most likely. But I still enjoy a catalogue for browsing, comparing, and just plain ole shopping.
Oh, in case you have forgotten, in the days of the out-door toilet the older Sears catalogues had another very useful purpose. Dad would take an out-of-date catalogue to the outhouse and with a sixteen penny nail secure it to the wall for uuuh, ahhh; for our reading enjoyment; yeah, thats it, our reading enjoyment.
We miss you "Sears, Roebuck & Company Catalogue," the Internet is just not the same!
Bodock Beau Church Humor
The following selections of church humor came from an email we received. We didnt have room for all of them, but we thought youd enjoy these.
A Sunday school teacher was telling her class the story of the Good Samaritan.
She asked the class, "If you saw a person lying on the roadside, all wounded and bleeding, what would you do?"
A thoughtful little girl broke the hushed silence, "I think I'd throw up."
A Sunday school teacher asked, "Johnny, do you think Noah did a lot of fishing when he was on the ark?"
"No," replied Johnny. "How could he, he only had two worms."
The preacher's 5 year-old daughter noticed that her father always paused and bowed his head for a moment before starting his sermon one day, she asked him why.
"Well, Honey," he began, proud that his daughter was so observant of his messages. "I'm asking the Lord to help me preach a good sermon."
"How come He doesn't answer it?" she asked.
When my daughter, Kelli, said her bedtime prayers, she would bless every family member, every friend, and every animal (current and past)..
For several weeks, after we had finished the nightly prayer, Kelli would say, "And all girls."
This soon became part of her nightly routine, to include this closing.
My curiosity got the best of me and I asked her, "Kelli, why do you always add the part about all girls?"
Her response, "Because everybody finishes their prayers by saying 'All Men'!"
Cuzin' Cornpone A Bodock Post Exclusive
Our loveable friend, Cuzin' Cornpone, appears only in The Bodock Post.
Our Mission Purpose - The Bodock Post
It is our desire to provide a monthly newsletter about rural living with photographs of yesterday and today, including timely articles about conservative politics, religion, food, restaurant reviews, gardening, humor, history, and non-fiction columns by folks steeped in our Southern lifestyle.
Copyright © 2012 ~ The Bodock Post.