My Mama went to heaven in 2008... I still have conversations with her in my head, I catch myself picking up the phone to call and tell her something, I miss our talks, our shopping trips, our giggling and silliness. My Mama was my best friend and I won't ever stop missing her... so I talk to her through this blog... hey it helps me!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas is upon us

It's been awhile... busy!

Hugh and I were watching television last night when a K-Mart commercial came on... advertising Christmas pajamas... it's always the little things that make me miss you the most.

I told him that every Christmas Eve, you always got us new pajamas to wear...

I've been sorting old pictures to make scrapbooks for Jeff, Kevin, and Beth for Christmas and have enjoyed looking at the old black and whites of us when we were growing up... I noticed all the cute pj's over the years... every Christmas morning picture! My favorites still, even after a hundred years (LOL!) of new pajamas, are my apple pajamas from when I was five, I guess, and we lived in that A-frame house in Swannanoa. That was the Christmas I got my new record player and all those yellow 78s... Kevin got a "ride-on" plastic train and I think that was the year Jeff got a BB gun. I loved that house!

I remember riding my bike (with the training wheels) down that curved, concrete driveway and missing the curve and skidding across the concrete on my behind! Ouch!!! I decided then and there... NO MORE training wheels for me, I'd just risk it... we took 'em off and never looked back... a bike was easier to steer without the training wheels.

So many great memories growing up... you were the BEST Mama EVER!

Merry Christmas Mama, and I guess I better get to the store and get my Christmas Eve pajamas!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving 2010

Well, Mama, another Thanksgiving has come... and gone... our third one without you and it's still hard, mostly down to moments now. 2008 was the hardest, of course, you had only been gone two months then and we weren't really sure how to survive our first "real" holiday with our family reduced by the main character. We muddle through with lots of tears and lots of laughter and lots of memories.

Last year, 2009, Daddy had just announced to us that he was getting remarried, we had just met her, but she didn't spend Thanksgiving with us, so we gathered 'round once again and held on tightly to each other, somehow knowing there would never be another holiday that we felt like a complete family again.

This year Daddy and "the wife" chose not to come to the family dinner... "the wife" cooked for her side of the family and they stayed away. Jeff and Kevin, Hannah and her new boyfriend, Nick, and Caleb and Kaila came. There were eight of us at dinner... the food was great... Kevin made pumpkin pies like you used to.

Hannah and Nick came down Wednesday night so Han could help me with the cooking. It was a wonderful visit with her. There were tearful moments and the oddest times... who would have known how tightly memories are linked to things like food. When I opened up the Lynn Church cookbook to the page with your pumpkin roll recipe I had to brush the tears out of my eyes in order to read the recipe. I've shared that recipe around to a lot of folks recently and it has a whole new group of fans...

Bless Hannah's heart, she was helping make pumpkin rolls and was flipping the pages of that old cookbook to the page with the recipe so she could make the frosting this morning and she happened to pass the "Glorified Banana Pudding" recipe... she choked up and the tears flowed for a few minutes... she couldn't believe how fast and hard the emotion caught her on that one!

I made Jeff a Red Velvet cake for his birthday, which fell on Thanksgiving Day this year. He cut the first piece and took a bite of his favorite cake... he said to me, "I tell you one thing, THIS is the closest you've ever come to this tasting like Mom's red velvet." His eyes filled up with tears and his voice broke...

Like I said, who knew all those simple, favorite recipes were so tightly linked to our memories of you?

And by the way, your favorite food of Thanksgiving, the dressing, was the best I've ever made this year... you would definitely have taken a big plate of it home with you!

You always said Thanksgiving was your favorite holiday, because you have friends and family and simply a feast without all the hustle and bustle and stress that those other holidays bring... this year was like that... low stress, good food, good fellowship, good times.

We ate, laughed, cried a little, played some hilarious video games, took a walk to the lake where Hugh took some great pictures of us with his new camera. Everybody left pretty much at the same time and now the house feels so very empty... if we lived close enough to the mountains, Hugh said he would take me for a ride on the Parkway... ah well, a movie, some computer time, and leftovers and we'll survive the "empty house" syndrome.

I love you, Mama, and I really, really missed you on Thanksgiving.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Baby Boy's Birthday

Dear Mama,

Today is Caleb's 24th birthday, can you believe it has been 24 years since that sweet stinker was born?

He's been married for a little over a year now, you would have loved his wedding, it was outside beside a lake and Kaila was driven down the long driveway to the wedding site sitting on the back of a convertible, like a beauty queen in a parade. She's so sweet and perfect for him.

You were there with me the day he was born... you were there when all three of my kids were born. I laugh every time I think about the day Jill was born... I had a doctor's appointment, you were with me, and the doctor sent me on up to the hospital to induce my labor. You said that you should drive, it just didn't seem right me driving myself to the hospital to have my first baby, LOL! But, you weren't really accustomed to my car, its stick shift... so we jumped and jolted our way to the hospital, laughing all the way!

The day Caleb was born, they scheduled me to come in for induced labor (again! my kids seemed to NEVER want to be born on their own!) so things were a little calmer. But you were there and hurried back home to get the girls as soon as their brother arrived so they could visit him, thank you for that!

After giving birth to my firstborn, Jill, with only 5 hours labor, then only 2 and a half hours labor with Hannah, we thought this would be more of the same... 23 days late and TEN hard, painful hours later, Caleb finally arrived, I looked down into his eyes, that looked straight up at me and into my very soul, his eyes looked so wise and filled with laughter even at birth... they smiled back at me (yeah, I know babies don't smile at birth, but I swear there was awareness and humor in that child's eyes that I had never seen before in any other baby), I held him close and whispered to him, "Hello my little friend."

And he's always been a friend to me. He has asked more questions (usually beginning with "what if") than any child I have ever known, he has teased, tortured, aggravated and annoyed... he has made me laugh when I thought there was nothing but tears left inside me. Matter of fact, he's made me laugh till it hurt and more tears (of joy) rolled down my face.

We've been through learning to potty, learning to read, 4-H cooking projects, made up songs, a world of memories I can only begin to scratch the surface of in a few words.

One memory stands out today... it was fall, cool weather had arrived and we were clearing some trees in the back area of the property... Caleb had begged and begged for months for an ax for his birthday (why I don't know!) We had found a small, not too sharp hatchet at the flea market and bought it for him, making sure he knew he could not use it without an adult with him. The Saturday after receiving his new ax, he decided to chop down a pine tree in the back yard, I gave him my permission... the tree couldn't have been more that 4 or 5 inches in diameter... and that persistent child started chopping, making small chops with his little hatchet... he chopped, and he chopped and he chopped... for HOURS! Took him all day to chop down that tree, of course he took short breaks, but he NEVER gave up and would not accept any help from anybody... he chopped till that little tree fell to the ground, to the cheering and applause from his sisters and me! What's the big deal, you may ask? Well... that boy who spent the entire day chopping down a tree just to prove he could do it... was only 4 years old!

But enough for today, Mama...

I heard mine and Caleb's favorite song on the radio just last night, like it had been sent to me in honor of his birthday... "Next to You, Sitting Next to Me" ... We would listen to that song and sing to the top of our lungs along to it as we drove down the road...

I miss you Mama!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Another Tuesday Comes and Goes

Dear Mama,

I know I was the one who told them all off, and I was the one who didn't answer the phone when Jeff called a couple Fridays ago, but I was still raw and emotional and had already dealt with Kevin texting me to death with his ranting and raving and rudeness. I had already dealt with Beth's texts about how she is NEVER unselfish and would never hurt me and is sorry she's no more than my bratty little sister... I just didn't want to talk that evening... plus I really was asleep. I had been to the chiropractor that morning and he had relieved so much of the stress I had been holding all week, so when I got home, I just lay down and took a nap... and slept for like four hours! It was such a relaxed, restful sleep! If I had been awake, I would have answered the phone...

But now, three Tuesdays have come and gone, and Jeff has yet to call... I watch the clock, it's usually just after 9 when he calls... by 9:30 I can be pretty sure he won't... I wait... tense, afraid he will call, afraid he won't...

I don't know what I'd say to him anyway... or what he might say to me... they weren't intentionally rude or mean... just cold, distant, and indifferent... and it hurt... and I don't know how to get over it.

Anyhow... the job is going great, I love working there at the paper, gaining more and more responsibility, and more and more experience, love the freedom of creativity they give me...

And my hubby and I are doing great... he has some health issues we are dealing with but we're getting there and our relationship is very very close... you'd be happy to know how happy we are... we actually were able to take a walk around the neighborhood last night since the evenings are beginning to get a little cooler, even though the days are still in the 90s! Almost the end of September!

And speaking of the end of September, Kaila is giving Caleb a surprise birthday party this Saturday... gotta get his favorite Reeses Cake made this week to take up there...

I miss you Mama!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Charleston and the Wedding

Dear Mama,

We drove down to Charleston yesterday to attend Kristy and Chris's wedding and to deliver the cake.

It turned out pretty don't you think?
The bottom tier has a lemon curd filling and the top two have raspberry cream cheese. The frosting is buttercream with turbinado (raw) sugar sprinkled around to look like sand. I made the candy seashells using candy melts in some shell molds I found at Michael's. It was tasty as well as beautiful.

The wedding was small, very romantic and sweet. Kristy made a beautiful bride, she wore a flowing long white dress, very simple, like a floaty sundress with spaghetti straps, her hair was up in a curls at the nape of her neck... she looked so pretty and happy. Madi and Macie were her bridesmaids, they wore sort of teal greeny/blue short dresses with straps, again simple but elegant. Chris, his brother Anthony, and Taylor and Tyler all wore khaki linen pants and creamy linen shirts... Chris's shirt was white, while the guys shirts were more off white. Everybody was barefoot... we all stood on the beach at Folly Beach near Charleston as the sun set for the sweet ceremony. They had a guitarist to play the wedding march and a couple songs during the ceremony. Jordan and Heather photographed it all... Jordan is getting to be quite the photographer!

After the wedding, we had barbecue and fixings in the house they had rented on the beach. Marcia did most of the cooking... I think Brad made the barbecue and Sabrina helped with the cooking. It was small and intimate, less than 20 people there, but so perfect. We stayed and visited for a few hours before heading back home to Columbia.

You would have enjoyed it, Mama.

I miss you Mama!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Kristy's Wedding

Dear Mama,

Kristy's getting married tomorrow. I'm making the cake... the wedding will be in Charleston, on the beach and she's only allowed up to 25 people there without having to get special permits and such, but we're going because I'm taking the cake. It's only a couple hours drive from here.

Marcia is making most of the food for the reception and she said this morning that "Goin' to the Chapel" keeps running through her head as she packs and prepares to head to Charleston... I told her I couldn't hear that song without crying anymore... she agreed, saying it's just running through her head, she can't sing it out loud... not without her two backup singers! She really misses you and Beckie, her two sisters who left us within a year of each other. You and Beckie can look down tomorrow on Folly Beach and sing for us!

Kristy has finally found a wonderful man who is good to her and she's head over heels in love... I'm so happy for her... she's had a tough time of it... Danny remarried awhile back to none other than Beth Lynch! Amazing!

Anyhow, wedding bells are ringing once again in the family!

I miss you Mama!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Two Years

Dear Mama,

Two years ago, yesterday, I got a call at 11 p.m., a call I wish I had never had to answer...

The family had tried several times throughout the evening to call... we were out and about all that Sunday evening and I didn't hear my phone ring, I'm sorry... not that I could have done anything to change the subject of that call.

Finally about 11 p.m. Kevin got through and I answered... he had been calling every few minutes for hours and was getting more and more frantic by the minute, so when I finally answered, all he could do was blurt out "Mama died!"

My mind just would NOT wrap itself around that statement, so bluntly and harshly put. I kept saying "No, No, No!"

Daddy got on the phone then and his voice was cold and detached and pitiful... he was still at the hospital, but was heading home, as he said to me then, "I don't know why I'm going home, there's nobody there." He was so sad, in a state of shock, just as I was.

I hung up the phone, threw myself into Hugh's arms and sobbed uncontrollably, he held me and tried to understand the garbled words coming from my face pressed against his chest. He got Kevin's phone number from me and called him back to get more information, as I was unable to put two words together clearly.

All I could keep saying was "No, No... NOT MAMA! NOT MAMA!"

Hugh was able to find out what had happened and helped me pack a bag, take a shower and get on the road for the longest two hour drive I've ever been on. I don't know what I would have done without him. I remember calling my best friend, Kitty, as we drove through the early morning hours, around 1 or 2 a.m., telling her as soon as she picked up her phone, "My Mama died!" just as bluntly and starkly as Kevin had told me... how else do you impart such news?

I had just talked to you, Mama, two weeks before when you called to say the "September" poem to me... we had chatted like old times for half an hour or more... I look back at that conversation with such gratitude that we had talked like that, and just a few weeks before that we had been up to visit, going to the Forest City Owls baseball game to hear my Caleb sing the National Anthem... we were so proud, and I'm so glad you went with us and shared that evening... dinner out at Fatz with Caleb and Kaila. It's a wonderful memory, the last one I have of you... the last one of a lifetime of wonderful memories.

Thank you Mama for being such a big part of my life and for the love, laughter, tears, and memories I now have of my precious little Mama.

I love you, I miss you Mama!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Family is Coming Apart, I Think

We went to Fontana this past weekend, Mama. It was tense, stressful, we left a day and a half early. I just couldn't take it.

Seemed like everybody was trying too hard, Daddy was tense and nervous with his new wife there. We shouldn't have gone. I got in a fight with everybody for making my new husband feel unwelcome and now nobody's speaking to me. There just doesn't seem to be the cohesion there was once. I wish you were here to talk to in person. I don't have anybody to talk to who understands... my husband is upset and all he can see is how he was treated and he doesn't want to have anything else to do with them because of it.

I blessed 'em all out and of course the comeback was totally defensive, they'll never see how they treated him, whether it was intentional or not... and I'm sure it was unintentional, but it hurt just the same. I feel like the black sheep... it's not a good feeling.

We had noticed a reticence, a stand-offish sort of attitude toward my husband for awhile but I thought it was because we weren't married and were living together... I think we had high hopes that the feeling would be different once we "did the right thing" and got married. Guess not. Why do we have to be so judgmental toward one another? I don't understand... it hurts so much and nobody seems to care how much I hurt... they just think they're right and can do no wrong and the gossip and backbiting and defensive walls keep accelerating... I don't know what to do!!!

I miss you Mama!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fontana without you

Dear Mama,

Went to Fontana for Labor Day weekend for the first time since you left us... some folks who were there claim it was a great time, but for me it was a disaster. We are simply not qualified to be in charge of a family vacation. You pulled it off so beautifully every year, and it seemed effortless, so how hard could it be? Hard!

Daddy's new wife came and we, of course, hated that and pretty much ignored her the whole weekend. I'm quite ashamed of us. We are not the accepting, all-embracing family that we like to think we are... we are wary of strangers, people who are different from us... We are like a mob family... without the crime! I never realized till this year just how clannish we are.

My new husband came this year, Mama, and he was treated pretty badly... no direct affronts, that would just be bad manners! But more like he simply wasn't there at all... not included in the "men's" activities, or conversations, no matter how hard he tried to just talk to Jeff and Ethan, they quickly found something else to do every time he tried to start a conversation with them. It hurt me so much to watch it.

How did you do it? How did you make sure everybody was welcome and accepted at these things? I have no clue!

Not many people came this year anyway... just the immediate family. I guess the others have felt unaccepted during the past years and only came because of you, so since you aren't here, they stayed home. I'm rather ashamed of us, Mama.

I wrote letters to Jeff, Kevin, and Beth and Ethan, telling them how I feel, we left early and they were shocked and offended and they will be even more shocked and offended when their letters arrive this week. I was in a no-win situation... I could either put on a "happy face" and deal with it, or leave as quietly as possible, or I could blow up, bless them all out and ruin everyone's vacation... I chose to leave early. Maybe that was a mistake, but they really hurt my feelings. I'm sure they feel they did NOTHING wrong... they never do. It's gonna be hard to even participate in holidays after this, at least for awhile, don't know if my nerves can take it.

I love my life now, Mama, you would be happy for me, and Daddy seems to be happy for me... why can't the others be? I just don't understand!

I miss you, Mama!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


The goldenrod is yellow,
The corn is turning brown,
The trees in the apple orchard
With fruit are bending down.

The gentian's bluest fringes
Are curling in the sun
In dusty pods, the milkweed
Its hidden silk has spun.

The sedges flaunt their harvest
In every meadow nook
And asters by the brookside
Make asters in the brook.

In dewy lanes at morning
The grapes sweet odors rise
At noon the roads all flutter
With yellow butterflies.

By all these lovely tokens
September days are here
With summer's best of weather
And autumn's best of cheer.

Happy September 1, I miss you Mama!Organic Goldenrod Summer Showers Seeds 450 Seeds

Friday, August 27, 2010


Dear Mama,

Cherokee Purple Tomato 15 Seeds - Heirloom
Remember a few years ago when Jeff planted and grew some heirloom tomatoes called Cherokee Purples and they were so delish?

I found some for sale at the Rosewood Market today... a little health food store here in town. They were a little pricey but Oh My Goodness... so sweet and yummy! I made some tuna salad and had that with lettuce and Cherokee Purples for supper... Hugh's not much of a tomato eater but he gave them a try and like 'em OK... oh well, more for me! Ha!

Jeff always gave you the first tomato every year from his garden... he misses doing that now... it's always the little things we miss the most. He cried last winter when he went rabbit hunting and shot a rabbit... he always brought you a mess of rabbit whenever he got any.

While I was enjoying my juicy, sweet, purply-red tomato with my supper, I got to thinking about you telling me how much I loved tomatoes, even as a baby... you said I would just eat and eat tomatoes and my face would break out with those big ugly bumps, but I loved 'em. Still do... and my face doesn't break out any more!

I only bought two today... Purples don't last like those modern hybrids do.

I will think about you when I slice and devour the other one... probably tomorrow.

I miss you Mama!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Been Thinking About Fontana

Dear Mama,
I've been thinking about Fontana... we're planning to go next weekend for Labor Day. I didn't go year before last, then you left us just two weeks later and I regret not being there with you and everybody.

I didn't go last year either... just couldn't bring myself to. Beth and her family were there, and Jeff and Kevin and Hannah... I think Daddy said there were only 16 people last year... compare that to the year we had over 60!

We're gonna go this year, we don't expect too big of a crowd. Marcia still can't face Fontana without you and Beckie, she's had a tough time of it, Mama... you left, then less than a year later Beckie, and then just this past March, Richard... Just her and Robert left and, well, Robert is still sad even though he's trying harder now I think.

This year we're gonna have taco salad (of course), Beth's bringing the taco meat, I'm gonna bring chips and cheese and salsa... we'll get some of the others to fill in the blanks there... we're also gonna have BBQ and Kevin's gonna make that. I'm taking buns.

I think I'll make pimento cheese and maybe a sour cream pound cake. Hugh and I found custard powder like Beth brought home from Scotland that time and I may make some of it to pour over the pound cake... should be yummy!

Daddy's new wife will be there and that's gonna be hard, Mama... she just does NOT fit in with us and we try, I promise we do.

I love you Mama, we'll miss you this year... there's nobody left to do the "dam dance." And nobody to sing "Going to the Chapel."

We'll enjoy it I'm sure, but it won't be the same...

I miss you Mama!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mama Used to Say...

Dear Mama,

These days I start a lot of sentences with "Mama used to say..." I don't want to ever forget the words of wisdom... some in fun, some serious... I heard from you all my life. It amazes me the things that come out of my mouth and I remember it as something "Mama used to say!"

This morning at work somebody asked, "Is today Wednesday?" Before I thought, I automatically said, "all day if it don't rain!" Immediately I was asked, "what if it DOES rain?" "Well, then it's a rainy Wednesday!" I replied... my Mama used to say that... I never really understood why!

Just like "you lie like a rug... and step on it!" or...

"I'm just like Ol' Mis' Duncan... always in the way!"

Hugh and I were watching the movie 2012 the other night and in the movie California has these massive earthquakes causing the whole state to pretty much collapse into the ocean... of course I said to Hugh, "Mama always said one of these days California was gonna fall into the ocean. And it just did!"

Old superstitions that you never took seriously but always did anyhow, without thinking... like throwing salt over your left shoulder, knocking on wood, "Oops I dropped the dishrag, somebody's coming hungry!" or "My left hand itches, I'm gonna get some money" being careful to put your left hand into your pocket to scratch it so you didn't scratch the luck away... "the bottom of my foot itches means I'm gonna walk on strange ground" and "don't let a baby look in the mirror before they're a year old or they'll die" or "get married in green, ashamed to be seen!"

These are the silly, foolish ones and they're the ones that come to mind today... I promise, Mama, the serious stuff has stuck with me too, I'm just not thinking about them right now.

Talk to ya later... right now my ears are burning... somebody must be talking about me!

I miss you Mama!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Corn and Green Beans and other summer Veggies

Dear Mama,

Stopped by the produce stand on my way home from the grocery store this morning... bought some green beans and field corn, among other things. We like a good, down home, vegetable dinner sometimes.

I sat this afternoon, watching the tear-jerker movie Carolina, and strung and broke beans, put them on to cook with some whole tiny red potatoes, an onion, and a little butter and salt... out of bacon or I would have used good ol' bacon grease.

Cut off the corn for "fried corn" to have with my beans and maybe I'll cook a mess of okr-y with it all.

Memories flooded as I broke beans and watched Shirley McLane as "Grandma Mirabou" on TV... a one-of-a-kind family, the Mirabous... just like we were always a one-of-a-kind family... not the same, but with similarities...

I remembered as a little girl, before the days of air conditioning, sitting in the shade of the apple tree in Nanny Sensing's back yard, many of us together helping out, many hands make light work... stringing and breaking green beans for canning. It was too hot in the house with Nanny's old pressure canner going with the first "run" of beans processing while we sat in the relative cool shade of that old apple tree stringing and breaking, and talking and laughing, making the tedious work so much more pleasant with the socializing...

Some years later, as a young married woman with little ones playing underfoot, you and I, and sometimes Linda and Marcia, would do the same thing at your dining room table with the fan going full blast, or sometimes in the back yard under the black walnut tree for shade... those were wonderful memories, the hard work, the aching back and feet, but in the end... 100+ quart jars of green beans canned for the winter... sometimes it was tomatoes we canned, sometimes peaches, pickles, jellies, soup... sometimes corn or okra or squash for the freezer... but it was always more fun doing it together and the hard work flew by as we talked and laughed and gossiped.

Remember the time you sent Beth into the kitchen for something while we were stringing and breaking and she found a black snake stretched out in the kitchen floor?

When I cut off my three ears of corn this afternoon to make a small "mess" of corn for just Hugh and me to have for dinner, my mind went back to when I was about 9 or 10 years old, watching Nanny Sensing cut off bushels and bushels of field corn to put in the freezer for winter... we teased her a lot about the fact that she ended up with more corn on her than in the plastic freezer containers or freezer bags she put the corn into... She would have corn all down the front of her flowered apron, all over the wall above the sink, and covering her glasses so thickly it was amazing she could see to cut... but when she thawed that corn and made fried creamed corn in the winter, it was worth the mess and hard work... us kids were in charge of carrying the corn shucks and cobs to the pig pen and throw them in to the hogs...

Which brings another amusing memory to mind... the time the hogs got out and Papaw and Daddy were both at work so you and Nanny had to chase them down and pen them back up... a funny sight to a seven year old... Nanny in her cotton house dress and you in your polyester pantsuit, sticks in hand, chasing hogs all over the neighborhood and finally VICTORY!!! getting them back into their pen and fixing the exit hole as best you could till Papaw and Daddy got home to fix it more thoroughly...

Hard work and laughter... those were truly the good ol' days!

I miss you Mama!