January 05 '08
Volume 605

Cheryl And Jerry  December 22, 2007

Somewhere in the ancestral gene pool of my dear wife, there must have been an overabundance of "designer" genes. And, while Barbara Anne has a fair touch when it comes to home decorating, her daughter (Rayanne) and her niece (Cheryl) got double portions. Obviously, whatever talent my daughter has for decorating is something that did not come from me. Once I get all the home furnishings set in place, I’m good for life or the life of the furnishings.

If there were but three objects in my living room, Rayanne would long ago have run out of possible ways to arrange or order them, as there are only six different ways to arrange three items. Four items would present a greater challenge and allow for twenty-four possible arrangements, but with eight items (five pieces of stuffed furniture and three tables) the task would require 40, 320 possibilities. I’m pretty sure Rayanne’s past the twenty-four mark, but is no where near the 40k amount. Note: The eight items mentioned do not include an almost immovable armoire or the piano or the many lamps and set-abouts.

Cheryl has a good eye for room décor and arrangement, but she doesn’t come to see us as often as Rayanne, nor is she inclined to redecorate our place unless asked. But, rest assured, Cheryl will add her creative touch to any house she calls home.

After graduating from high school in Ripley, Cheryl married and moved to Memphis and found work at the J. Strickland Company, where she’s worked for more than thirty years. After her marriage faltered, she and her husband divorced. After a few years, Cheryl found an ex-athlete from Ole Miss. The two were happily married for several years, before developing a marital problem. They parted ways via a legal separation and were eventually divorced.

In her second single-again period, Cheryl found herself supported by a group of close friends and a few relatives, and she thrived. She bought a new house in Southaven, joined a Baptist Church nearby, and led a fairly active social life. She wasn’t exactly looking for a third husband, but she found one among the overlooked four-leafed clovers in her life.

Cheryl originally knew Jerry and Terri Gowen as friends of her and her husband. Jerry and Terri parted company a few years ago, and at the time, neither Cheryl nor Jerry ever thought they’d fall in love with each other. Perhaps, they might not have had Jerry’s daughter, Ashley, not recognized the opportunity to match-make her dad and Cheryl. As I understand it, Ashley gave Cheryl and Jerry each other’s email address and suggested mutual contact. The result was Cheryl and Jerry met for lunch, renewed their friendship, began dating, and in a relatively short time discovered they were in love.

Barbara and I were among the privileged few invited to attend the wedding ceremony at Minor Methodist Church in Walls, MS on December 22, 2007. The couple felt wedding guests should be limited to family and close friends, so there were perhaps thirty in attendance.

Cheryl had prepared us for a twenty-minute ceremony, but I don’t believe it lasted more than ten minutes. When one dispenses with the pageantry of several groomsmen and bridesmaids, ring bearers, and wedding singers, a wedding ceremony can be quite short. The minister covered all the necessary bases with respect to a double-ring ceremony and the exchange of vows and had us ready to drive to the reception practically before we’d settled in our pew.

The reception was several miles removed from the church, and the most direct route would have been to traverse Goodman Road all the way to Olive Branch for the catered affair at a bed and breakfast inn. But, with Christmas traffic, it would have likely taken an hour or more to travel the twelve-mile route. Instead, we drove south to Church Road and turned east toward Olive Branch. It’s perhaps three miles further, but it was a lot quicker.

While a limited number of people were invited to the wedding, a much larger circle of friends were invited to the reception. Cheryl had added her personal touch to the decorations. For the centerpiece at each table, she created a miniature Christmas Tree using pots of rosemary. There were plenty of food and beverage choices at the reception, enough to suffice for a meal, but my head cold had stifled my appetite, and I ate sparingly.

Barbara and I sat at a table with our great-niece Brigitte and her husband Will Ferguson. Donna, a long-time friend of Cheryl’s joined us with two exchange students, a girl and a boy, from Germany who were staying with her; their names were Sabine and Christian and they were from a community near West Berlin.

We also met the wedding photographer, Heather McGregor, who was kind enough to allow us the use of a wedding picture for this article. Those with Internet access may want to visit www.digitalmemories.photoreflect.com to peruse the gallery of pictures. Click the link to "Cheryl and Jerry Wedding."

By four o’clock my battery was about drained. We said our goodbyes to the newlyweds and bestowed our best wishes upon them and headed back to Pontotoc.

The trip to Memphis for the wedding left me drained for a couple of days. According to Cheryl, all the planning for the wedding reception left the newlyweds drained also. They spent a quiet Christmas in their home in Hernando.

Rediscovery Orange Craving Vitamin C

It had been so long since I had eaten a freshly peeled orange that I had forgotten how good one can be. And, I probably wouldn’t have eating one recently had it not been for the head cold that came my way the week before Christmas. There was a time when a common cold lasted seven days if untreated, and if one went to a doctor it would take a week to get over the cold. I believe my recent head cold lasted twelve days, and I let it run its course except for a couple days in which I took a few Benadryl.

As good as Christmas Dinner was and as many sweets as we had to go with meals or simply to snack on, I really didn’t overeat. Perhaps, my sense of smell was reduced, but the foods I would normally have greatly enjoyed, just didn’t make the grade. Instead of enjoying meals, I came to rely upon snacks to satisfy my hunger cravings. The best snacks I could find were salted nuts and party mix, and an occasional glass of eggnog.

Preparing for Christmas, Barbara bought a sack of juice oranges for use in a fruit salad and for a decorative touch, piercing some and inserting cloves band-like around the oranges. I think Barbara was inspired by a Martha Stewart TV program to reproduce something she had seen her mother do. I think both the oranges and the cloves suffer from such an arrangement, though remaining edible for anyone who can tolerate the mixed flavors of orange-scented cloves or clove-scented oranges. Personally, I try to limit my consumption of foods flavored with cloves to pickled peaches, which is the only food I still enjoy that is laced with cloves.

It was one of the afternoons after Christmas Day where I wanted a snack but didn’t want anything sweet. Seeing the oranges in a basket on the kitchen cabinet, I was tempted by an old citrus memory. I found a paring knife to score the orange peeling for removal, but what I really needed was a citrus peeler, the kind one used to get at Tupperware parties. They zip right through the peel of an orange without slicing into the fruit. Alas, there were no citrus peelers to be found in any kitchen drawer.

I hadn’t paid much attention to the type of orange I had selected, but it turned out to be a naval orange. It was juicy and deliciously sweet and tangy all at the same time, and best of all, there were no seeds to extract. The taste of that one orange has kept me returning to the fruit bowl on a daily basis. I doubt the vitamin C content of the oranges I ate in the latter days of my cold contributed much to my recovery, but at the same time, it certainly didn’t hurt anything. Since the party mix is now gone that I relied on to balance the acidity of the oranges, I may find myself eating less oranges, but I intend to do my part in finishing up the second bag of oranges we purchased last weekend.

Dumpster Diving Gold In Them Thar Thangs

Submitted by Carl Wayne Hardemen, Collierville, TN, as "The Art of Dumpster Diving for Gardeners"

"In reality, serendipity accounts for one percent of the blessings we receive in life, work and love. The other 99 percent is due to our efforts." ~Peter McWilliams

What? A perfectly good baked chicken container from Kroger! And someone threw it away, doomed to decompose in some lonely landfill for the next three thousand years. They could have had their own mini greenhouse to start seedlings in.

I am fortunate to find it, since it was under a mattress and inside the sixth black plastic bag I went through in that dumpster. Saved myself $5.99 plus tax at Wal Mart, though the chicken was not as fresh.

Mimi wanted to know what I was doing storing baked chicken containers in her sewing room. I asked her what she was doing sewing in my potting room. She doesn't appreciate that the lint from her skeins of yarn is a fine organic material which makes a fine mulch and decomposes readily into humus I will be needing to start my free range heirloom mater seeds in those discarded baked chicken containers.

Something told me to check out this dumpster, since it was just down the street from the exclusive Snooty Oaks subdivision where the current and previous garden club presidents live.

I needed a tank of gas for my car and was looking for discarded furniture and auto parts to sell to a master gardener to use in their next advanced flower arrangement class.

Rumor has it the local garden club had been in the area recently looking for discarded carpet to mulch their food pantry garden. One of their mottoes is: No Organic Material Left Behind. Carpet retains more water than an entire Red Hat Ladies Club. Using carpet as mulch reduces weeding and watering and hoeing. One of their guiding sustainable gardening principles is: Low maintenance is par for the course, but we're shooting for a birdie!

It's been a good haul tonight so far. I've scavenged 9 sections of water hose totaling almost a dozen feet, a considerable pile of used aluminum foil, a rusty tomato cage, and several colored bottles to make bottle trees to sell so I can buy another storage building for my patio.

The hose pieces, a little glue, some duct tape and an ice pick, and I'll have a variegated soaker hose in no time. The rusty tomato cage, a little sandpaper and ironed aluminum foil, and I'll have that new Christmas tree Mimi's been wanting. She didn't like the one I made out of old carpet padding and a broken camera tripod last year. Just as well, since she suddenly needed to spend Christmas with her mother.

Dumpster diving is not all it's hyped up to be. It's hard work. You'll learn new skills, like using sea grass string to secure abandoned shrubbery to the roof of your car, and driving while hanging out the side window due to a roll of carpet draped across your car.

I'm thinking about writing a book on this very practical skill as soon as I find a working ballpoint pen and some decent looking paper one of these nights.

Contact Carl Wayne at mymaters@yahoo.com.

A New Look For A New Year

The online version of this newsletter has a new look. The new webpages were uploaded on Christmas Day, but a number of online readers are not aware of the change.

Many individuals who read the Internet version of Ridge Rider News habitually access the "current issue," rather than first accessing the main page. We haven’t changed all the pages of our site, because it would be a monumental undertaking to apply the new template to all back issues. Instead we added a new homepage, an about us page, a contact us page, an archives page, and a search page. We have not yet deleted the old homepage, so readers who may have bookmarked the old site don’t know what they’re missing.

Why change? Personally, I felt the former website that my nephew Brett Brown designed was more than adequate, but it employed some fancy graphical images that required certain "add-on" programs for the graphics to be viewed correctly. If I wanted to add more of these images to direct users to new pages on the website, doing so required a website creation tool called Dreamweaver, a program Brett was more familiar with than I was, and Brett doesn’t come back to Pontotoc often enough for me to get him to make changes when needed.

The last time I tried changing the e-mail link from wlc@rrnews.org to something else, I hit a snag and was frustrated for hours by what should be a simple task. By the way, for those who once used this address, it’s active again. I had deleted it because I was getting a lot of SPAM (unwanted email) and didn’t have any tools at my disposal to deal with the SPAM. However, now that Yahoo! has provided a better e-mail program for my account, I can block the unwanted email, and I’ve recently received a newsletter, sent to this address, which I had forgotten.

The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back came when SUPERVALU upgraded Internet Explorer on my laptop computer to Version 7. That resulted in me being unable to see some of the graphical images on my website even after I updated the add-ons. If I couldn’t see them, chances are good others couldn’t either. Thus, I began to consider upgrading the website.

About the same time, Yahoo! announced they were changing the web hosting plan to which I subscribe. Unbelievably, I got fifty times more disk space than before, and the cost dropped by three dollars a month. Additionally, there are dozens of new features tossed in with the price, better e-mail, and a pretty powerful "site-building tool." What a country!

The site-building tool offers hundreds of templates that form the basic building blocks of a website. I picked one with a color scheme I liked and started "playing with it." Pretty soon, I conceptualized what I wanted to achieve and within a few days, I was satisfied with the results and uploaded the new pages. To see the new pages, one needs to type rrnews.org or in the URL window of their Internet browser. The page that displays appears below.

The idea of putting part of the current issue on the main page came from the Patriot Post newsletter. The Patriot allows readers to read a few paragraphs before clicking a link to go to the next page of the current issue. I also placed descriptions of recent issues to the left of the current issue for those who wish to review a recent issue without going to the archives. It’s going to take me a little longer each week to get the Internet version of this newsletter, but I believe folks who haven’t seen the "new look" will like what they see.

We recognize that all change is not for the best, but we are pleased with the changes made to our Internet newsletter. We’ve included a feedback form on the contact us page just so others can quickly let us know what they think or ask a question without having to look up our e-mail address or find the proper link. We look forward to hearing from our readership in this New Year.

Bodock Beau Definition Of Old

Thanks to Carl Wayne for this one:

Definition of Old: First you tell your friends that you are having an affair. Then, your friends ask "Are you having it catered?"


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