Thursday, September 19, 2013

Best Friends & Co-Conspirators

     It's funny how a person comes into your life and somewhere deep inside, you just know this person will always be there, come hell or high water, thick or thin, good or bad, always and forever.  Time can pass, years even without seeing each other but when you do it's like you've never been apart.  You just pick up right where you left off with no explanations, anger, or's just not necessary, not with a best friend.  It is a connection that is hard to replicate or explain.  They are not replaceable because a best friend occupies a place in your heart that cannot be filled by anyone else.  You may have other close friends but there is only one true best friend.  You trust them with your life, your kids life.  You tell them things you would never tell anyone else, you do things with them you'd never do with anyone else and you love them in a way you'd never love anyone else.  And they love you the same way despite your flaws and problems.  They are your co-conspirator because they are in it with you all the way up to your necks or worse.  They laugh, cry, and sympathize with you when needed and then snap you out of it when you go overboard.  They're your sanity, your rock, your funny bone, your stylist, your conscience and sometimes the only brains you have!  God Bless'em!
     I've always believed to have one best friend is to be rich beyond all means.  I know this to be true because I have Tempie.  There is no one like her and never will be.  She is that one best friend for me.  She is the one constant in my life, my lifetime co-conspirator, my confidant, my voice, my cheerleader.  My best friend of 50 years, through hell and high water, thick and thin, good or bad, always and forever.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Things My Daddy Taught Me Part III-Having Fun Is A State of Mind!

     My Daddy believed in working hard, not hardly working.  And he certainly didn't discriminate.  He expected us girls to do our fair share and not just in the kitchen.  Meaning if it was time to work cattle, we all worked cattle.  If it was fixing fence and water gaps, we were all up to our waist in the water pulling wire.  If the pecans were ready, well we were all picking pecans and staining our fingers.  Hard to get that pecan stain off too, but it didn't seem to bother any of us.  Today they would probably call that child abuse but we were just having too much fun!  You could say he was a real equal opportunity  employer, my Daddy.  But I can also say there was never anyone that liked to have fun more than he did.  He could work you to death one minute and have you rolling with laughter the next.  It never ceased to amaze me how he could come up with something to get us all in a good humor.  It didn't take much because we never had much.  We never had television, at least not while any of us seven  kids lived at home.  Daddy was smart that way too.  He wasn't about to have a bunch of kids sitting in the house doing nothing, glued to the TV.  Funny how all the kids in town wanted to come to our house all the time, guess they thought he was fun too.  By the way, he didn't discriminate with them either!  If they were at the ranch they became one of his kids and got treated accordingly.  When Daddy died I realized just how many "kids" he really had.  A true testament to the kind of person he was, just simply wonderful.
     One HOT summer day we were moving cows from one pasture to the other and had been at it for 4 or 5 hours, needless to say we were HOT!  No one was talking much and the day was really starting to drag out.  No one was in a very good humor.  The cows weren't in a good humor either. Daddy disappeared for a bit and I wondered where he had gone.  Nobody said anything, just kept pushing the cows.  About 15 minutes passed and still no talking and no Daddy.  Finally, Daddy comes riding up behind us and I felt a stream of water hit me in the back of the head.  I jerk my horse around to see where it came from and got hit in the face with another stream of water.  My Daddy took off whooping and hollering and chasing my little bother with a squirt gun!  Now where in the world did he get that squirt gun?  His saddle bags!  He'd gone to the water trough to fill them up.  By them, I mean one for each of us!  He handed them out and we had a blast chasing each other and cooling off!  When the water ran out play time was over and it was time to get back to work.  We didn't mind it one bit.  That's was just my Daddy.  He truly had the gift of mixing work with fun.
     One of my favorite memories of  his zany sense of humor came when I was about 7 years old.  Another very hot day of course, riding in the pickup filling feeders with my two little brothers, little sister, and 2 yr old niece.  Now mind you,  we were all 7 yrs or younger, bouncing around in the truck, thirsty, hot, tired and grumpy.  Two of the little ones were crying their eyes out.  Daddy just kept on doing his feeding and whistling.  Now on the ranch there are these big deer blinds that look like small houses with little windows.  Daddy started heading toward one of them and I wanted to know why.  I was soon to find out.  He pulled up beside the blind window like it was a drive-thru at the Dairy Queen!  And ....promptly order 6 vanilla ice cream cones!  He handed each of us one, pretended to lick his and had us all laughing in no time. I thought he had lost his mind!  I look back on that and it still cracks me up!  I guess you just had to be there.
     Daddy taught me that you can have fun no matter how bad, hard, or tiring things can be, if you just set your mind to it.  And you don't need any thing to do it, just a little imagination and willingness.  He always told me, "It takes the same amount of effort to smile as it does to frown and smiling just feels better!"

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Things My Daddy Taught Me, Part II - Frying Eggs on Flat Rocks

     The art of frying an egg on a flat rock, balanced on sticks in the middle of a creekbed, is darn near impossible.  How do I know this?  The countless hours and eggs used by me trying to do it.  If you think robbing the chicken coop at the barn,  Mom's refrigerator, and a few mean ole setting hens was hard, try carrying them, riding bareback on a horse that had a mouth of iron and a mind of his own.  WHOA meant something entirely different to him, and only he knew what it was.  His name wasn't Savy Nada for nothing. It fit him well.  We'd gather up some eggs, wrap them in a cloth and then a sack, lead the horses to anything tall enough for us to step up on, then slide on the backs of our horses. Tempie, my best friend to this day, is the little rat in my pocket when I say we.  She learned a lot from my Daddy too, since we were partners in crime all the time.  It didn't take long for us to figure out it was going to take a lot of eggs, especially if we kept hauling them horseback.  The first couple of trips, the eggs just didn't make it, so we decided to walk to the creek with the eggs in a bucket.  That worked better, but knowing what I know now, we should have just settled for scrambled.  We'd get to the creek and build a fire in a small hole in the sandy gravel.  Next we'd go flat rock hunting up and down the creek and haul them to our camp.  We worked a long time making sure the rock was level, laying on our bellies eyeballing it real good, adjusting and readjusting until it was just right.  Or so we thought.  Next we let the rock get hot, hot enough to fry an egg by our estimation.  It got hot alright, so hot it busted right into.   Back to square one.  This time we didn't let it get so hot.  With our setup just right, we cracked the first of many, many, eggs.  Cracked it on the side of the rock and slowly poured it on our apparently, not so flat rock.  It slid off that rock, right into the fire faster than a blink of an eye.  Actually, we couldn't believe our eyes.  We both just sat there with our mouths wide open, in total shock.  We couldn't believe all our hard work AND our egg, went up in smoke.  Back to square one, again.  And again.  And again.  I could go on and on and on.  But sooner or later, wasting so many eggs became a big problem.  After enough eggs to feed a small army wound up sliding off that so-called flat rock, right into the fire, in stepped Daddy.  No amount of leveling, or finding the fastest rock, or begging, made any difference.  He was not, at all impressed with our little venture. 

      So, hence the lesson: 
  1. determination and stubbornness, are not the same thing
  2. chickens can only lay an egg a day
  3. rocks out of the creek bed are Not perfectly flat
  4. eyeballing is not the way to level anything
  5. it's not honest to take things without asking
  6. eggs from the store cost money
  7. there are hungry people everywhere that would have loved to eat those eggs, including my Daddy
  8. rocks bust before getting hot enough to fry eggs
  9. Easter is not the same without eggs to dye, so think of others and not just yourself
  10. waste naught - want naught

Monday, October 26, 2009

Things My Daddy Taught Me, Part 1, Where I grew up

I was blessed with the privilege of growing up on a cattle ranch, in Southwest Texas. Almost in the heart of the hill country. In a valley, at the base of the Edwards Plateau, along the banks of the Nueces River. It was a big ranch by some standards, right at 10,000 acres. The lake we swam in, was fed by a large spring that came out of the side of a hill. It was full of bass, perch, and catfish. We had fig trees, pecan trees, wild plums, and big, beautiful , oak trees. We even had pine trees to cut for Christmas. The mountain laurel, when in bloom, covers the hillside in purple, and fills the air with a strong, sweet, aroma. It always gave me, an instant headache. We had persimmon bushes, that when the persimmons ripened, we had pretend chewing tobacco. The wild grapes made great jelly, and of course, the first grapevine cigarettes. It only took one time of smoking the vine, for me to figure out It wasn't worth my tongue swelling double in size. The whitetail deer, turkey, and quail, flourished on the ranch. You never killed anything you didn't eat, unless of course, you crossed paths with a rattlesnake. Summertime , was always, rattlesnake time. We never left the house without being told, "watch out for snakes!" We always had a big garden full of vegetables, and an orchard with peach, pears, & plums. Canning & preserving was a big deal at our house. We really didn't have to buy much from the grocery store, we were pretty self-sufficient. It took a lot to feed us seven kids, and our constant string of overnight friends. And we had a lot of friends! We never had television, but all the kids in town & surrounding ranches, wanted to be at our house. My Mom built us a ping pong table using a sheet of plywood, we had a concrete slab with a basketball goal, a baseball diamond in front of the house, and a volleyball court in the back . We had a tree house, playhouse, and a camp on the creek. The camp on the creek got the most use. It was there, I learned how NOT to cook a chicken, that you can NOT fry eggs on a flat rock without them sliding off, & that you can NOT smoke grapevine without your tongue blistering. Thank God, we had lots of chickens, because we were convinced, if we leveled that rock a little more, we were going to have fried eggs. Horses were part of every day life. Any spare time I had, was spent on the back of my horse, Buck, & later years, on Rascal. We rode bareback, tried wearing breechcloths, which was a one time thing. Sweat + horse hair + bare skin = itch, rash, pain. We made our own war paint out of Agarita bush roots by mashing them up and mixing with water. We thought we were pretty smart until Monday morning came around and we had to wear it to school. We didn't know it would stain for days, and my face was red from scrubbing and all the jokes.

My Daddy was bigger than life. His name was Jerome, but everyone called him John, or Big John. He could have been another John Wayne. He was a big man, 6"2", about 220lbs. His Dad died real young, so he only got to go to the 6th grade. He went to work instead. On a ranch. And there he found his true calling, ranching & family. Daddy loved life, the people in it, and the Lord he worshipped. He believed in honesty, hard work, having fun, and prayer. He went and fought in WWII, came back and went to ranching and raising a family. A family that became 7 kids, 4 girls, & 3 boys. His first priority, was getting his kids to church. He loved to sing, and was the song leader at our church, until he died. Many a Sunday, I stood on a chair by the pulpit, and sang a special with Daddy. I love Sundays the best. When we worked, and we did a lot, Daddy always made it fun. He was always smiling and happy, even when he had reason not to be. It didn't matter if you were a girl or a boy, we could all do the same things. We did the same work, had the same responsibilities, but the girls couldn't cuss. Daddy wouldn't have that. He just wanted us girls to be independent and capable, like his Mama. When Grandpa died, she raised 5 kids by herself, and never remarried. She lived to be a healthy 96 year old, and said it was from all the hard work and going to church. We all wanted to be like Granny. The first thing I learned from my Daddy, at a very young age, was love of family, love of the Lord, & love of others. From that young age, I knew I was loved, by Daddy, by the Lord, & the rest of my family. What a great way to start my life and in such good company.

**This is the beginning of Things My Daddy Taught Me.   Please join me on some colorful, sad, happy, crazy, tragic, stories on my life's lessons.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

High School Again!? But I'm 50!! Part Two!

I guess I'm just a sucker for punishment. Once again I enter the forums hoping to find a thread with good, useful, tempered information, with little or no bickering. But instead, the first thread I come in on, quickly becomes an argument of opinion. How can you argue an opinion? Isn't that just what it is, an opinion? Don't we all have them, or at the least, aren't we entitled to one? I suppose that depends on your opinion, if, and I mean a BIG IF, it is the same as everyone elses. If not, quick as the next comment loads, you will not be considered popular by many! The minute it happens, you will soon find there are some very quick witted, some very sarcastic, some downright hateful people in the forums. It doesn't take long to figure out that some people ask for opinions, but then are offended by the ones that differ. By having a different opinion, it's like they are being told they are wrong. And some people just cannot stand to be wrong! They might as well just say, " post only if you are in agreement with me." I guess it's in some womens nature, hormones, or hard headedness, that makes the forums so touchy. Maybe it's just the high school leftovers, that some never get rid of. But I'm guessing, these women, probably behaved just the same in high school. How well I remember those girls! The best thing I know to do is to read'em and move on!

I didn't spend much time in that thread, figured I had read all the high school bs I needed for one day. But all in all, most of the forums are very informative and can be a lot of fun. I have had the pleasure of associating with a lot of real, honest to goodness, grownup women, too busy to be in high school, or to play the high school games. They don't stay in the negative threads long, but go off to find one thats a little more civil and productive. I guess we are just too durned old to be playing high school games and bickering. It just takes too much energy! (Energy, well, now that's another blog for another day!)

To me, navigating the forums has become pretty simple. It's a choice, plain and simple. If it feels like high school, sounds like high school, acts like high school, then be prepared for high school drama. If your in the mood to revisit high school, then open that door and stroll down the halls. With all the drama, pettiness, bickering, and name calling, it won't take you long to appreciate graduation, adulthood, and all the ups and downs that come with it!

**Note to blog readers. This is about no one inparticular, so if I offend anyone, I apologize. We just differ in opinion

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Not High School Again?!

  When I go into the forums on different venues & social networking sites, it sometimes feel like I have stepped back in time.  Like I just walked through the door, and into the hall of my old high school.  It amazes me, that turning fifty is just around the corner, and on occassion, so is high school.  Not that high school was bad, I don't mean that, it's just that as you get older, you can do with a lot less drama.   And looking back, there was always some sort of drama.  How could there not be?  It was all part of growing, learning, and trying to figure out what it meant to be a grown up.  But at this stage of my life, I am a grown up.  I know what it means to be a grown up, I've been one for years.  Or so it seems.
  In high school, teen hormones & immaturity were to blame for a lot of the drama.  And I guess at my age, alot of people would say, hormones are still to blame for the drama that pops up, every so often, in the forums.  But the thing is, we are not teenagers.  We are adults, with adult resposibilities.  We take care of others, we have jobs, we do important things everyday.  And yet, some of the post that go on in the forums, make us look like hormonal, petty, high schoolers, without a lick of sense.  It blows my mind that women such as ourselves, can regress so quick.  I am all for having fun and joking around, but not at the expense of others. 
  I will continue to pass through the forums and visit, but I will not go back to high school.  I'm just too old!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

My Favorite Time of Year!

  • The morning air is starting to feel a little fallish.
  • High School football and pep rallies are in full swing.
  • Fall Festivals are sprouting up everywhere.
  • Halloween costumes and pumpkin picking time.
  • Thinking about pumpkin pie and Thanksgiving!
  • Buying and selling handmade, for a good old fashioned Christmas.
  • Supporting Handmade for myself and fellow Artisans!