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!

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!

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Dear Mama,
I got an email last night from Melanie telling me Uncle Hoot has terminal cancer and there's nothing they can do, it's just a matter of time. I know how much you loved him.

I was thinking about how sweet and charming he always was... he adored you too. I remember when you were so sick in the hospital and he would come visit almost every day there for awhile till you were out of the woods. He would always kiss your hand and tell you how lovely you were and grin that mischievous grin he always had. He always brought the rest of us, who were sitting in the waiting room waiting, something useful... one time he brought a big basket of snacks... crackers and candy and even kleenex and quarters for the vending machines. And he'd sit and talk and make us all laugh at his stories.

I was thinking about hearing about the time when he was 12 years old and his sister, your mama, was a few years older and he had been rabbit hunting and was on the front porch cleaning his shotgun and Nellie was messing with him, somehow it came down to him saying the gun wasn't loaded and her telling him to prove it... she stuck her finger in the barrel and dared him to pull the trigger to show her... he did... and it went off... shot her finger right off... Grandma Allison was frantic because Nell had immediately clasped her hand to her stomach and Grandma thought he'd shot her in the stomach! Bad enough that he shot her finger off! Nanny's (Nell) right hand was always a curiosity to me growing up... missing that one finger. The stupid things that kids do huh?

And I was remembering how everybody teased Uncle Hoot about the time he was deer hunting in SC and had scattered corn all around his deer stand to bait the deer. Didn't know it was illegal in SC, he'd been hunting in NC most of his life where it was legal to bait deer. He got arrested and put in jail overnight... had to pay a big fine and if I'm not mistaken, got his rifle taken away. They never let him live that one down!

He had a long, full life... his Christine has been gone for some time now and his four beautiful daughters are all grown up with grandchildren of their own... I hear from Elaine once in awhile, saw Faye at your funeral, she's still a pretty woman... I think Jeanette and Sheila were at the funeral home too, but I don't remember seeing them.

Mel says Helen and Macie are taking it pretty bad that Ralph (Hoot) is so ill... such a large, loving family, only the two sisters left... I miss the days of Easter picnics and Christmas parties with all of them... it's sad to lose touch with people you were once close to. It's started happening in our family now that you're gone and it makes me sad. Beth and I try to talk often and Jeff calls me once every week or two. Kevin sends me text messages often. I miss you... Daddy's not the same since you left so it feels like you're both gone.

I love you Mama.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Dear Mama It's Me...

... I missed you at my wonderful Highland Wedding last month... you would have loved the day and you would have been so very happy for me and my Hugh.

We had a bagpiper there and he played "Amazing Grace" in memory of all those celebrating with us from heaven. I hope you were able to look down and hear that, there were a lot of tears, we miss you so much!

We are all dealing with you leaving us in our own way... who knew such a tiny little woman could leave such an enormous void... Christmas and birthdays and Thanksgiving and Easter are awkward and weird. Hannah has stepped up and is working hard to be the glue you were to hold the family together, you would be proud of her, she is an amazing young woman.

Even though it's been almost two years since you left, I still find myself almost picking up the phone to call you sometimes to tell you something that excites me, or something that saddens me, or something that angers me.

Dad got remarried this past December, I don't like her one bit and that makes it hard to deal with Daddy and it was hard to have her at the wedding when you couldn't be there.

I'm happy, Mama, with my new husband and my new life, he loves me like Daddy loves you. My job is going great. We are thinking about buying a house with a little bit of land so we can have a garden and a yard.

I love you Mama!