Thursday, May 31, 2007

One of the good things about getting angry with Mike is that it motivates me to make changes that are long overdue, like clean out dresser drawers, or closets, or kitchen cabinets. Since I've done more of that this week than I've done in a long while, I'd say I had a lot of anger (and a lot of miscellaneous useless junk, as most packrats do). I feel much better since I worked a large portion of it off. When we had lunch together at Fire Mountain today, I felt free of most of the worthless stuff I've accumulated, and perfectly at peace with him. I'm ready for the Pipster's return.

We're meeting Billy and Mamie at McAllister's again at 11:30 for lunch and the exchange. I hope he's as happy to come back with me as he was to go with Mamie. Not sure if we take him back Mon. or Tues. but I'm sure Benji or Karen will let me know. Benji is posting some fantastic photos on his Flickr site. I watched a slideshow of the Puerto Vallarta set and enjoyed a mini-vacation of my own.

Thanks to Sarah, I have 3 new pictures of Nathaniel. This shot of the choirboy is my favorite. I hope he enjoys singing in his Novice Choir. Seems I remember his mother Laura in a children's choir, too, don't I? New Yorkers love the sound of singing children as much as Mississippians do, I'm sure; one of those simple pleasures with universal appeal. Check out Sarah's account of their encounter with the "Master of War." If you don't want this picture posted, Sarah, please let me know ASAP, so I can remove it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

We had a couple of showers yesterday and are expecting more today. It's mostly cloudy and a cool 72*, a perfect day for cleaning the back porch. I got most of it done and intend to do the rest after lunch, plus finish painting the floor mat I started last week.

According to the message I got from Mamie, Pip is eating much better for her than he did for me. Keeping the snacks out of sight seems to be the trick. Let him get hungry and see he has no options but to eat what's fixed for everybody else. I knew this, but was mainly trying to keep him from crying, so Mike would not scream and yell. The tearful, tiny two-year old is much easier to tolerate than the overgrown baby imitating him. I wish Mike would go spend the week-end with Ron, and leave me in peace to enjoy that delightful baby.

I'm feeling some envy of his other grandparents who are able to help one another rather than one of them competing for the primary caregiver's attention. Mike wasn't nearly this insecure when Clay and Cooper were babies. He even made an effort to bond with them. Now he seems incapable of that.

I dreamed recently of leaving him. He humiliated me by leaving me in a shopping mall while he followed a woman who had been flirting with him. When he came back, I asked for money to pay for my purchases, and he started throwing one dollar bills at me, one at a time with, "Is that enough? Is that enough?" making a spectacle of himself and me. I grabbed the car keys and left him at the mall, determined to have nothing else to do with him.

Last night's dream was equally disturbing. I was in a writing class. The instructor read two chapters of a novel to us and we were to write a synopsis of the rest of the book as we imagined it. I was totally blank while everybody else in the class was writing furiously. We had 4 hours to do this and when the time expired, I had written about 2 paragraphs. I felt like a total failure, and woke up wanting to cry over the loss of my imagination.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I had to laugh when I saw today's horoscope:

Sun is in Gemini, Moon is in Scorpio. Why does everything seem to be so difficult all of a sudden? It's because you've waited until the last minute again. Pray for a miracle.

Short of a fairy Godmother cleaning my house while I take a nap, I'm not in the market for miracles. What have I done to deserve one? Until I have done all I can do to help myself, the Good Lord is unlikely to waste a miracle on a lazy soul like me. Procrastination does tend to make housework pile up. I just spent two hours cleaning the kitchen and making it childproof before Pip returns. I was nervous while he was here thinking he might drop food on the dirty floor, then pick it up and put it in his mouth, as children often do. The closest thing I've had to a miracle is that he didn't. It gets spot cleaned occasionally with the "flip-flop mop," but that's about it.
The vinyl tiles on that floor look dirty even when they're cleaned to Health Dept. standards. I'd love to replace it and the downstairs carpet with laminate hardwood, but that project has never worked its way very high on my list of priorities. There are so many other deferred maintenance projects around here that need attention. The miracle I'd most like to have is a handyman show up about once a week to help with things like the closet door that won't stay on the track, the light fixture that came unscrewed from the wall, the screen doors that need to be rehung, a new cover for the hot tub, the latch on the gate that won't stay latched, the fluorescent light fixture in the bathroom that needs to be replaced, etc. I have a long list. Women who have sons, brothers, nephews, or husbands to take care of things like this should thank their lucky stars. That will definitely be a prerequisite of Husband #4 if there is one.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Man! Am I tired! We transferred Pip to his other grandparents around noon and it went more smoothly than I anticipated. He was cranky by the time we got to McAllister's in Richland, having been awakened earlier than he should have been by the dogs who were excited by my inconsiderate husband playing with them at his ungodly getting up time. He didn't get to sleep last night until around 10, because Gramma didn't want to miss Desperate Housewives and Brothers and Sisters. (If he didn't sleep all the way to Mobile, I'll be really surprised.)

But after a lunch of Cheetos and potato chips, he was in a better mood, and quite willingly let Mamie take him to their car while Billy and I moved his stuff from my car to his. I'm concerned about his eating habits, but that's bound to improve once he gets back home. Somebody smarter than me should make Cheetos packed with all the vitamins, nutrients, fiber, etc. that a child needs.

He took his new favorite toy with him - the squirt bottle, so he was happy. What is it about water that is so fascinating to children, especially Borden boys? My sons and grandsons came into the world loving it. The lake was a popular spot, but leaving it was an ugly ordeal each time I took him. His other favorite entertainment was a bucket of water on the back porch into which he sank several rocks, fished them out, then repeated the process over and over. Who needs a DVD player when a bucket of water is so much fun?

I wouldn't be nearly so tired if it hadn't been for Mike. Having a two-year old in the house brought out the two-year old in him. I was ready to strangle him by the time Pip left. If Pip started screaming, Mike tried to outscream him. Color this Gramma's nerves frayed.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Pip was ready for a nap by 1:00 today after such a busy morning. He's played on the back porch most of the time with the squirt bottle. He ate a good breakfast of oatmeal, half a Pop-Tart, and almost a fourth of my banana. We walked down to the lakeside and went out on the pier where he emptied a whole bottle of water squirting it at the lake. The wind was blowing it back in his face, which made him laugh. Leaving the pier got the opposite reaction, so we had our first meltdown. Getting him, the stroller, and the two dogs back to the house while Pip pitches a fit is not easy, but we made it. He rode part of the way upside down in the stroller. I had tilted it back to keep him in it, so he tried to get out the other way and when I straightened it back up, he was upside down. Thank goodness, none of the neighbors were out; they would probably have been alarmed to see the spectacle.

I thought about going to church, but was having too much fun just hanging out here. As much as I would like to show off my cute grandbaby, it's more fun and less stressful to relax at home. Mike went to meet John and Trish for lunch at Margarita's, and wanted us to go, but Pip was having too much fun and I didn't want to interrupt him.

Last night was sorta crazy. With naptime not starting until 4 and going until 8, it was midnight before we got to sleep again. Pip and I slept in the guest bedroom where I had plugged in his white noise machine. When Mike got up around 6, the dogs came and joined us, and went straight back to sleep. Pip is enjoying the dogs more since he learned that all he has to do is point the squirt bottle at them and they hush, or get down, or go on. He's talking non-stop and every once in a while I can understand something he says. He said, "shut up!" very plainly last night after Mike told the dogs to shut up, but he hasn't said it again and I haven't encouraged that particular phrase. It won't take him long to develop an extensive vocabulary.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Playing at Peabody Park in Memphis.Saying good-bye to Dad for 10 days Pip with the yardstick on Gramma's back porch after breakfast.
No more pictures, Gramma, I don't want to smile!
Music at the touch of a button!
It's been a busy two days. Pip finally gave it up for a nap about 4 this afternoon. He's a happy baby 99% of the time, very easy to entertain. The closest he's come to crying is when Gramma didn't want to let him have more Cheetos, but we know how to avert those tears, don't we? I wish I'd gotten a picture of him playing with my squirt bottle. He kept squirting himself in the face, everytime looking surprised, then laughing at himself. Too funny.

Friday, May 25, 2007

We're picking up Pip at 1:00 in Memphis at Central BBQ, so today's post will be delayed (or skipped). I had the dates wrong, thinking it was Monday the 28th, not Friday the 25th. Good thing Pip isn't old enough to criticize his Gramma's messy house. I have a feeling it's going to get messier. I'm planning to leave the dogs in the house all day. Hopefully, they will not add to the mess.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Clay and Cooper get out of school today. Yeah! I remember the exhilaration of that feeling of freedom. What a thrill! And now I'm getting excited about going "back to school" for the P'ville reunion in July. They have a busy summer planned with camps, ballgames, and a family mission trip to New Orleans to work on recovery efforts. Congratulations to Cooper, who made the All-Star baseball team!

We have a picture of the growing 4 week old puppies, with the contrast quite evident between the bigger puppies and the littlest one. Jenny, the bottle-fed baby, hasn't gained any weight for the past week or so, not sure what her prognosis is. They're getting crushed puppy food mixed with goat's milk, but are still nursing, which is declining as they get their teeth.

We still have not located the bulk of pictures that Cecil took during park years. Gloria had one album which came from Carol Jean and has made its way to a CD and posts on George's blog. Some of those are in an album on the Good Game, Buddy! site too. But there are more, so if anyone knows their whereabouts, please tell me. I have volunteered to scan them for a CD to be used for a video at the reunion. Other people have pictures that could be used, as well. Among my own pictures, I've found more than I realized I had. This one shows the building where I attended 1st-5th grades.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

My Democrats have disappointed me, backing off the timeline for troop withdrawal from Iraq. Bush will have to approve the minimum wage hike to get his funding, but I'm not enjoying that small consolation at the moment. I really hoped they could do more. Benji sent a petition to sign supporting a bill to outlaw gasoline price gouging. I did, and I hope everybody I know does, but that's enough politics for today.

Have I mentioned that one of my favorite inspirational websites is here? The artist that most recently intrigues me is Natasha Wescoat. Put her name in search, and you will see the kind of art I'm currently imitating. She calls this one "Calico Fancy." I painted a similar one last night that is yet unnamed. I don't try to copy her work, just use it as a guide for my own renditions. One of my artist friends from church says she doesn't post her work on the internet because she doesn't want copies of it being made. I can appreciate that, but as a mostly self-taught artist, I can attest to the helpfulness of having others' work to inspire and guide me. Didn't some wise person say, "Imitation is the most sincere flattery?" Check out her work; it has an innocent, child-like, playful quality that I admire.
I found out I'm not the only person who enjoys hearing train whistles in the night. Skip's email yesterday described the sounds he heard when growing up in New Orleans: "You are not the only one who loves the sound of a train, especially in the night. In New Orleans we had trains that ran near the levee about 10 blocks away, the sound of streetcars on St. Charles Ave, two blocks away, and on foggy nights the sound of fog horns on the river. It was a haunting sound, that brought feelings of dreamy, far away places into my bedroom."
Ricky sent an interesting story about former tennis champion Andrea Jaeger, who is now an Episcopal nun, caring for sick, abused, and at-risk children. He also found the source of a quote I've saved for years:
A hundred years from now it will not matter the sort of house I lived in, what my bank account was, or the kind of car I drove, but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.
It is attributed to Forest E. Witcraft on a site I have bookmarked. Thanks, Rick! Great resource! The Jaeger story reminded me of this quote.
Rick, Benji, and Skip, three of my favorite guys, all sent e-mails yesterday. Unusual, but that's a GOOD DAY in my book!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Jay-Jay snagged one of his dewclaws yesterday, pulling it loose, making it hurt and bleed. Even though it was their closing time, our vet stayed at the clinic long enough to care for him. Poor Baby sounded like a whimpering child, so pitiful. Today he seems to be fully recovered.

I didn't get far with housecleaning yesterday, but got interested in new art projects. I'm painting a vinyl floor mat for my kitchen. Linoleum scraps are used for this, the white backside makes a good canvas for acrylic paint. I saw several in a gift shop not long ago with hugely inflated price tags, and decided immediately to try my hand at it. Last week I bought an 8'x6' piece (large enough to cut several mats from) at Big Lots for $10, found instructions at the HGTV website, made a list of supplies I need, so cleaning house has slipped a little lower on my list of priorities. Oh well, I've got another week, and a couple of days are all I need to make it company ready. I do my best work with a deadline bearing down on me.

Mike wants to go to Fire Mountain for lunch, then we have several errands to run. I'll finish this later...

2:45 pm. Just got word from Gloria that the Plantersville reunion is being planned for July 28th at the school with a catered meal in the cafeteria. This should be fun. She still has to get approval from the school board. Wonder if this old porch is still there. Maybe I could get a new picture of me and Jane 47 years later in this same spot. Do we look bored, disgusted, or what? It was in front of this building that we frequently jumped rope. Maybe we got put out of the game early.

Monday, May 21, 2007

I'm concentrating this week on getting my house shipshape for company. Pip will be with us for a few days, and couldn't care less what shape Gramma's house is in; but his other grandmother is driving up from Mobile to get him and I'd be mortified if she saw it in its current state. (What is the opposite of shipshape?) Benji and Karen are going to Mexico for a much-needed vacation; it was her 40th birthday gift from him (and her parents?).

Mike and I enjoyed a peaceful Sunday together. If he had a hangover, he didn't act like it. The episode in December scared him, as it should have, and he has maintained his sobriety since then. He still has an occasional glass of red wine at night, or a beer with BBQ, but one is the limit, and he's stuck with it. Spending the night at Ron's was easier for him than he thought it would be. He was able to get himself dressed without assistance, which confirms what I've tried to tell him - I do too much for him! He has taken over several chores lately that I was doing, and with every one came a new level in his self-confidence. Thank you, Lord!

According to the two horoscopes I've read today, I may be taking a trip sometime soon. Is it the trip to Memphis to pick up Pip, or maybe it's that get-away to Tampa that I've been wanting? Travel conditions are improving? Maybe gas prices are coming down?

Sagittarius Horoscope for May 21 2007
Sun is going from Taurus into Gemini, Moon is going from Cancer into Leo. For the next few weeks you'll have to contend with others, what they like and what they don't. This may be annoying, but you can get through it. Besides, travel conditions are improving.

Sometimes you feel like you're navigating through a thick fog, but the obscurity will finally lift today. The skies ahead are sunny and clear! You can expect an invitation to take a little trip, or an offer to belong to a special group of associates. Don't pass up any opportunities to have fun, dear Sagittarius. You can benefit from a diversion right now!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

I had a quiet Saturday night at home alone. Mike went to Ron's for a birthday party and decided to spend the night rather than drive home from Terry in the dark. His night vision is not good, and my guess is he over-indulged in the beer, so I'm glad he didn't risk a wreck or a ticket. My cute neighbor offered to come keep me company, but I resisted the very strong temptation to let him. It helped me feel less lonely, though, knowing I was alone by choice, and my ego got a boost, too, so I appreciated his proposition. Gus and Jay-Jay were company enough.

St. Philip's is having their parish week-end at Gray Center, so I'm taking a day off from church. There was a Eucharist at 8:00 this morning at the church and there will be one at 5:30 this afternoon, but long ago I broke the habit of thinking I had to be there everytime the door was open, so I'll do something else.

The weather is so nice, I think I'll take my paint supplies to the deck and paint. And listen to music. Gus and Jay-Jay will enjoy morning naps in the fresh air.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Ascension Day Evensong music went better than I expected last night. I'm still not sure how that happens. It has to be that Power Greater Than Ourselves, God's Grace, the Holy Spirit. We had so many rough spots in rehearsal, but none in performance, well, there was a half-way rough place in one song, but I'd still give the overall effort an A. The congregation outnumbered the choir by 2, sad but true. I've come to believe that most of our supporters are the spirits of the dearly departed, you know, those in the next room.

Death is nothing at all... I have only slipped away into the next room... I am I, and you are you... Whatever we were to each other, that we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way you always used. Put no difference into your tone; wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without effect, without ghost of a shadow on it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was; there is absolutely unbroken continuity. Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner... All is well.

by Henry Scott Holland, Oxford Professor of Divinity

This sweet sentiment was given to me after Mother died, along with a small book, "Words on Strength and Perseverance." Praying for the dead is not something I was brought up doing, but Episcopalians do it without a second thought. I actually like the practice; since we continue to love them, why not pray for God to continue to bless them, or to tell them we love and miss them, or to thank them for all they meant to us? Extemporaneous praying is rarely done in public, however, so most of this is done in private prayers, since it is of a very personal nature.

Thanks to Rick, we have this news from Tampa: We're all looking forward to the end of school - next Thursday. Little League baseball is over except for closing ceremonies which is tomorrow. There is a possibility that Cooper made the All-Star team which means he'll be playing in the LL district and regional tournaments. We already have AAU State tournament starting next weekend, so it could get to be a very busy 3-4 weeks.

The puppies are getting bigger everyday. Ginny, the little bottle-fed girl, is still with us and seems to be unaware of the gap that's ever-increasing between her and her brothers/sister. She still hasn't hit a pound yet (12.5 ounces this morning). Hagrid, the "big 'un", is over 3 pounds now. The other three are right around 2-2.4 pounds.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I was asked by a choir friend last night how anyone could be so transparent as to write about their personal life in such a public way as a blog. I'm not sure my explanation satisfied her, it didn't satisfy me, even though I've given it some thought. I belabored the idea of transparency last year after taking this blog from a private status to a public one, so I won't recycle that.

What I thought about on my way home from choir was that I grew up in what is sometimes referred to as a "goldfish bowl." A pastor's family had less privacy when I was a child than they do now. The benefit of being scrutinized 24-7 is that the subjects of this scrutiny develop a tough hide. We're not impervious to criticism, we just don't take it as seriously as some do. I learned that criticism says more about the critic than the criticized. People in small churches and communities, for the most part, finally realized it was to their own benefit not to pay more attention to what the pastor and his family said, did, wore, or dated than to their own families.

The words, "Everything you say and do is a reflection on your father," was an admonishment my mother frequently used trying to control her 3 strong willed children. And it made me cringe, like fingernails on a chalkboard. If my father needed his children's good behavior to prop up his public image, he was on shaky ground, indeed. "Let's give 'em something to talk about," was often my first thought, if not my spoken response.

"Preacher's kids are the worst ones," is a cliche I still hear whenever someone finds out my father was a pastor. Some of us worked hard at giving pk's their bad reputation. Truth is, I knew kids who acted much worse than we did, but they did not live in a goldfish bowl. There was a time when I so deeply resented our conspicuousness, I could have easily become a recluse. I still struggle with it, but I don't want to go to the opposite extreme and be an exhibitionist, either. Knowing where to draw the line, or in contemporary parlance, "set the boundaries," has always been difficult for me. Learning discretion has been a life-long challenge. I enjoy a small amount of attention with some control over what is revealed and what is kept private. The blog gives me that. Hopefully, it helps someone along their way; then I don't feel completely narcissistic.

Maybe that's why I have not given the web address to this blog to but a couple of people at church. If the rest happen to find it, that's ok, but it won't be because I gave it to them. There are limits to what I am willing to publish from the "Shameless Plug and Self Promotion Department." The rest of you know me well enough to put things I say in their proper context, at least, I hope you do. And I'm not likely to see you face to face every few days like church friends.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

George sent this photo today, which depicts a giddy girl in love with the boy beside her. He looks pretty happy, too, don't you think? I'm guessing it's Summer '63, since Richard and I both have no braces on our teeth. Yeah, we went through that together, which prompted not a few jokes about our wires getting tangled. The other two guys are dead now, Freddy Morgan and Ken Boyd, and last I heard, the one with the Cheshire cat grin has serious health issues. The other girl is Beverly Roberts, not sure where she is now.

I need to do some work on the other site today, so I'm cutting this short. Good Game, Buddy! has had 473 hits so far. I just wish we could get more comments and contributions. I know, I'm probably being impatient; it was less than a week ago that we announced it. Maybe they're all working on essays of their own to send us.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

During the years I was in Nashville with Richard, 1964-69, I missed a lot of what went on in my family in Plantersville in my absence. I'm sure I heard about most of it on our frequent trips home, but I didn't experience it, so I didn't remember it. I have some curiosity about those years that has never been satisfied. Some of those blanks were filled in by Paul this morning when he sent remembrances of his growing up years with Cecil. It's an excellent piece and tells of experiences I totally missed, like the camp-outs. It's posted on the new website. Thanks, Paul.

George is telling on his blog how he and Carole met, then married, which sent me searching for the story about how Richard and I got started. (It involves a bus ride, too, George.) I've written about it, and could have sworn I'd blogged about it, but couldn't find it. So for the benefit of posterity, I'll do that now.
In the spring of 1959, I was seated by Tonya Philpot on a school bus ride home from school. Seated in front of us were the Borden twins, Richard and Robert. Tonya had blue nailpolish from Woolworth's, which we were using to paint our fingernails. The boys complained about it stinking. Impulsively, I painted a blue swipe across the back of Richard's neck. When he wiped his neck with his hand and discovered what I'd done, he turned around, grabbed the school books out of my lap and threw them out of the bus window. We were in front of Pete and Tez Temple's house. I screamed, Tonya bopped him over the head with her books, Robert grabbed her books, it was quite a commotion and caused our bus driver Maldon Griffin to stop the bus and find out what was happening. When we explained, he made Richard go get the books, then told all 4 of us to report to the principal's office first thing the next morning.
Tonya and I were nervous while we waited for Mr. Griffin to come in, but Richard and Robert just laughed and teased, "Don't cry when you get your licks." They thought we would all be paddled and sent on our way, but Mr. Griffin had a different punishment in mind. For the remainder of the school year, Richard and I were to sit on the front seat directly behind the bus driver, and Robert and Tonya were to sit on the other front seat, to and from school. Tonya and I thought this was a great idea, because we thought Richard and Robert were cute. They were disappointed not to get a paddling. That changed by the end of the school year, as each couple became sweethearts. Thirteen year old girls and fourteen year old boys, need I say more? Our adolescent hormones definitely got a jump start.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mother's Day came and went with sweet wishes from sons, grandsons, husband and dogs, so I felt more special than usual. Thanks, guys! And I hope you treated the beautiful mothers of my grandchildren to a day of pampering. (I have gorgeous daughters-in-law, in case I haven't mentioned it. And Ricky, I need a copy of the picture I know you made of Mary Ann and the boys yesterday. The puppy she's holding here is now a mother. And how are she and the babies doing, by the way?)

One of yesterday's highlights for me was the Children's Choir which sang with the Adult Choir. There is nothing sweeter to me than the sound of singing children's voices. I directed children's choirs for a number of years, and have heard nothing before or since that I like better. One little girl happened to be sitting on the pew in front of her grandfather when she turned around and said, "Papaw, you sing too loud." Later, she had her hands over her ears, and family members know exactly who that reminded me of, don't you?

It happened during my second wedding when Don and I decided to include our children in the ceremony. With 4 boys and only 1 girl, we drafted my niece Laura to be a junior bridesmaid along with Carla, Don's daughter. Bro. David Hall officiated. Daddy sang "The Lord's Prayer," at the end of the service. I looked at the children to make sure they were all behaving while most eyes were closed. Poor 7 year old Laura was standing directly in front of Daddy as he did his best imitation of George Beverly Shea. She had clenched her rose bud in her teeth, put both hands over her ears, and had an impish frown on her face. I couldn't help but giggle. Daddy seemed oblivious to her antics, which was just as well, I suppose. It's a memory that never fails to make me smile.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mother Church!

The following block advertisement appeared on the NYTimes op-ed page on 5/12/07:

The Episcopal Church, Marking a Milestone, Moving Forward

Somewhere near you, there's a blue-and-white sign bearing the familiar slogan: The Episcopal Church Welcomes You .. It represents some 7,400 congregations that trace their beginnings in North America to a small but hopeful group of English Christians who arrived May 14, 1607 at a place they called Jamestown - the first permanent English settlement in the New World.

You may know us as Washington's monumental National Cathedral, site of historic services and ceremonies, or the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York, still unfinished, but already the largest cathedral in the world.
But the Episcopal Church is also Boston's Old North Church, founded in 1723 and made famous by serving as the beacon for Paul Revere's revolution-spurring "midnight ride." And Philadelphia's Christ Church, home parish of 15 signers of the Declaration of Independence, host to the first General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 1785.

It's Trinity Parish on Wall Street in New York, formed in 1698, and St. Paul's Chapel just down the street, frequented by George Washington and the spiritual healing center of Ground Zero since September 11, 2001.

It's also Epiphany Church in Los Angeles, where Cesar Chavez rallied the United Farm workers. And Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Cumberland, Maryland, whose basement was a major stop on the Underground Railroad to freedom for enslaved African-Americans. And St. John's Church in Greenwich Village, a meeting place for gay and lesbian action following the 1969 Stonewall uprising.

It's a parish in Iowa. A campus ministry in Georgia. A mission in Dinetah - the Navajo Reservation. A cathedral in Utah. Even a house church in Vermont.

Wherever you find us, you'll find the Book of Common Prayer and a Christian faith that honors and engages the Bible, the tradition of the Church, and God-given human reason.

Joined in prayer, you'll find people with many points of view - Christians who are progressive, moderate, and conservative - yet who value the diversity of their faith community.

That's a heritage drawn from our deep roots in nearly 2,000 years of English Christianity, and shared by a worldwide Anglican Communion that unites nearly 80 million people in 164 countries through prayer and ministries committed to caring for "the least of these," as Jesus commanded, by reducing poverty, disease, and oppression.

Episcopalians struggle with the same issues that trouble all people of faith: how to interpret an ancient faith for today ... how to maintain the integrity of tradition while reaching out to a hurting world ... how to disagree and yet love and respect one another.

Occasionally those struggles make the news. People find they can no longer walk with us on their journey, and may be called to a different spiritual home. Some later make their way back, and find they are welcomed with open arms.

Despite the headlines, the Episcopal Church keeps moving forward in mission - in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, as well as congregations in Belgium, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Germany, Guam, Haiti, Honduras, Italy, Micronesia, Puerto Rico, Switzerland, Taiwan, Venezuela, and the Virgin Islands. We're committed to a transformed world, as Jesus taught: a world of justice, peace, wholeness, and holy living.

We've grown a lot in 400 years, since that 1607 worship service from the Book of Common Prayer was held in Jamestown-inside and out. Come see for yourself. Come and visit. .. come and explore ... come and grow.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Just in time for Mother's Day, I got this gem in e-mail:

Most of us would agree that a mother's job is priceless. But the folks at take time every year to figure out how much the actual work is worth. This year, they say the work of a stay-at-home mom would command an annual salary of more than $138,000. That's up about 3 percent from last year, but not as much of an increase as employers predict for their workers: 3.9 percent.

For working mothers, the amount is put at more than $85,000 this year. That is on top of any money earned in the workplace. Much of the theoretical salary, by the way, is figured on overtime. "Mom works multiple jobs and rarely gets a break from the action, working an average of 52 hours of overtime," said Bill Coleman, senior vice president and chief compensation officer at, in a press release.

According to the survey, stay-at-home moms work a 92-hour work week while working mothers logged 49 hours, or nine hours more than their formal workweek. By the way, Mother's Day is May 13 this year. Order your flowers TODAY!
Even though I no longer have the job of mothering anybody but my hubby, and he can be the biggest baby of all sometimes, I thought these figures were terribly impressive. I've often told Mike if he had to hire done what I do, he would appreciate me more. And anyone who knows me knows I do as little as I can get by with. He thanks me more now than he used to.
I hope all you mothers feel appreciated this Sunday and that you have a very Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Whenever I have lunch with George, as I did yesterday, I'm reminded of things I hadn't thought of in years. Yesterday I recalled seeing the mailbag being left atop the pole by the railroad track, and watching as someone (was it Cecil?) took it down, then delivered it to the post office. Why I would have been down by the railroad track watching the mail drop is not something I recalled, just that I saw it. Seems I was on my bicycle at the time.

This led to remembering the coins left on the track for the train to flatten. I had several of those, at one time. The hikes we took with Cecil to Tulip Creek to swim always included a trek down the tracks, too.

I miss hearing that train whistle in the middle of the night. I heard it 3 different times one night when we were at the Monaghans in March. When I mentioned how much I enjoyed hearing it, I got very strange looks from all the adults who heard me say it. It's just one of those sounds I associate with being "at home." There are no train whistles where I live now.

As most Plantersville people know, Cecil could be downright peculiar sometimes. George did not know that Cecil ate raw eggs for breakfast. Seems he mixed it with orange juice, but maybe not. I did not realize that Cecil's weakness was candy, as George told me yesterday. I knew he enjoyed sweets, Deedo and Mama always sent him part of their cakes, pies, and cookies, which he was always delighted to get. Cecil's regular diet was spartan, consisting mostly of Campbell's soup and sandwiches.

Cecil had odd jobs, too. I remember his going to Florida in the spring to work in a fruit processing plant, mainly so he could watch the spring training baseball games. He worked as a watchman in the fire tower at Verona some. He mowed the grass at the cemetery. And didn't he take a job pressing pants in the Blue Bell factory after they first opened in Plantersville? He lived so frugally that he didn't have to have a lot of money. The money he inherited from his parents provided his primary support, or at least that's what I heard.

I wonder why Cecil waited so long to get his own telephone and television. He must have been in his 70's. He enjoyed watching ballgames with Daddy, and Daddy always enjoyed having his company. If Cecil had had his own TV, they would not have shared all those hours together cheering for the St. Louis Cardinals, or the Atlanta Braves.

George's memories are mostly of pre-park Cecil, as he left for the Army then Ole Miss about the time the park opened. (Or was it Ole Miss, then the Army, George?) My memories of him are mostly after the park opened, but a few have nothing to do with the park. My favorite non-park memory is of playing rook and Parcheesi in his kitchen after school. The 3 preacher's kids and Cecil made a foursome, then Ken joined the group and Cecil coached our card-playing from the sidelines, teaching us strategy and concentration. We played in his old house and his new house. I got mad at him for tearing down the old house, because it interrupted our game routine, or because I liked old houses even then, I'm not sure. "It just doesn't suit me," was the only explanation I remember him giving us.

George remembers pecan trees being cut down to make room for the tennis court. I don't remember it that way, but he's probably right. I have noticed in the recent photos we've seen that there is a tree in the middle of the back court at the west end, so there was probably at least one removed to make room for the court. One of the pictures he posted today shows the croquet court when it still had grass. Did we wear off the grass, or did Cecil remove the grass?

We're getting positive feedback on the new site from the few who have seen it. I want to copy some of the accounts written by others that have been posted on George's blog and paste them to the new site, also some of the old, old pictures. He's received priceless pieces from people over the past year that deserve to be re-run. Maybe some of these writers will begin blogs of their own, several good writers in the bunch. I'd also like to make Judy Borden's history of Plantersville available, but the scanned copies are not very clear. Maybe we can find a copy that is clearer, or a volunteer will agree to re-type the whole thing. There's some wishful thinking for you.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The new website is just about ready for the Grand Unveiling. I like the way photos can be displayed in albums, but I wish they could be embedded in the narrative also, like this site does. Oh well, I guess nothing is 100%!

If you want a sneak preview before opening day, go here. I'd love to know what you think about it. Leave comments, sign the guestbook, let me know if you encounter problems. And you will know why today's blog is so short.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Last week I wished for a more recent picture of Harlee, so today I have one, thanks to Deanne, who made many at the birthday party yesterday. Check out her album at Snapfish. You may have to register, if you never have, but it's free. She also has one of her and her dad going fishing, early enough that she caught a gorgeous sunrise. "Ah, but did she catch any fish?" you ask. You'll just have to see for yourself. Ok, here's a hint.

We're having network problems with our computers. I have a sneaking suspicion that it has something to do with Bellsouth/ATT modifying and synchronizing their hardware and software, as a result of the merger. It's an intermittent problem, but annoying, to keep getting "no Internet connection" error messages. I'm hoping it quits after a day or two.

In a recent e-mail conversation with George, I had the opportunity to share an article I bookmarked over two years ago, The Tupelo Miracle, which will explain, to those of you who have wondered, why I selected CREATE in Tupelo to be the recipient of memorial donations following Mother's death. The most immediate reason was that Gloria is soliciting donations for the Boys and Girls Club House that they plan to build in Plantersville, and CREATE is assisting in this effort. In the back of my mind, however, was the idea that Daddy, who was a big fan of George McLean, would give his hearty approval. After you read the article, all this will make more sense to you.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

George posted a picture this morning that I love, wish I knew who the photographer was. I also wish I could tell who the girl is, caught in mid-air, perfectly spotlighted by the sun, graceful as any ballerina, but it's not quite clear enough. It looks kinda like Betsy, but could be any number of others. Clearly visible under the basketball goal and to the left is our house, one of those pictures worth at least a thousand words. Enlarge it to at least 200% for the full effect. Ah, the ephemeral beauty of youth!

Since I'm still not able to talk, sing or laugh without coughing, and since it is impossible to attend our church without doing at least one of these, usually all three, I am taking another "sick day." On a 1 - 10 scale, this cold has been an 11, a real monster. Most of the congestion is in my chest, but there is improvement every day. I tried to listen to St. Paul Sunday, but am getting a network error, whatever that is, so I put on a favorite CD, Voices of Praise by the Choir of King's College.

The good thing about this bad cold is that Mike has become more independent. I've been setting up the coffeemaker and opening Pop-Tarts ready for the toaster every night before I go to bed. He's been getting up early and letting me sleep. I still have to help him with the new brace and shoe, but he waits for that until I've had breakfast, and he's doing most everything else for himself. "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind!" (Or is that supposed to be "a man," rather than just "man"?)

Saturday, May 05, 2007

The new site is up and accessible to the two of us working on it. Available from a different provider, I thought it might be the answer to some of the limitations of Blogger. Audio and video files can be added to it, along with pictures in albums with slideshows, so the viewer doesn't have to scroll page after page looking for a particular photo. There are a couple of features I want to figure out before going public. Maybe in a couple of days...

What I'm hoping to get with the new site is broader participation from the relatively small number who will be interested in it and have something to contribute. There are a number of writers, photographers, collectors of old photos, etc., who can send material, and with the reunion coming up on July 28, maybe we can compile short bios of those attending and add them. It will be a good time for people to bring old pictures to be posted. The neat thing about posting old pictures online is that they become available to others very easily. I'm hoping the new site is even more user friendly.

The pictures being posted lately on George's site have created a good bit of interest and brought people together who lost contact years ago. Who knows what treasure is hidden in those old shoeboxes? He's got pictures of people who are now deceased and they were younger than either of us. This one, in particular, got to me. If a library is burned up with every person's demise, isn't there something we can do to preserve some of it? I'm hoping we can include memorials for them with pictures and favorite memories from different people.

By now, I'm sure you've figured out the focus of the new site is Plantersville and my partner is George. If you would like to join this effort, contact him or me for the link. My e-mail address is .
Oh! And mark your calendars for July 28th, time and place to be announced soon. If you would like to help organize the reunion of P'villians and former P'villians, and you live close enough to do some legwork, e-mail Gloria Holland, , or George.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Well, as my cartoon counterpart says: Aaack! Nothing freaks me out like a foul-up in my online banking. I'm totally paranoid about identity theft, and, of course, it's the first thing I think of when it doesn't work. That would push me to the other side of rational, I do believe. It's a tenuous thread I'm hanging on anyway. Ok, you've all been warned!

As if I didn't already have enough to drive me crazy, I got the bright idea this morning to start a new blog, a joint venture with a friend who may veto the whole idea. If it launches, Dear Readers, you'll be the first to know.

Thunderstorms interfered with last night's sleep, since Jay-Jay insisted I stay awake with him. Poor baby just cannot quit trembling after the first rumble of thunder. About 1:00 this morning, I put him in the bottom drawer of the dresser beside my bed. At least, it stopped his pacing across my pillow and I was able to sleep. When I woke up around 3, the storm was over, so I let him out. He's been sleeping ever since.
Did you know it's Respect for Chickens Day? Who thought of that, I wonder. I told Mike he'd have to eat something other than chicken today and he countered with a promise to eat his Chicken Parmesan Lean Pocket very respectfully.
If you need a good Sunday School lesson, visit LaRue's blog. They're studying First and Second Peter this quarter. Any wonder her class loves her and her teaching? She's one of the best!
I watched the Republican debate last night and almost felt sorry for them. It ain't easy to finesse disagreement with Dubya and still put a good face on their campaigns. Romney made the best showing, I thought, but most Republicans I know don't acknowledge Mormons as Christians, so I can't see him gaining much traction down here. Maybe I'm wrong, or maybe they're desperate.
What Irishman said this? "There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about."

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Wish I had a more recent picture of this pretty Johnson Girl; she's one year old today, but this photo was made in December.
As a quick scroll down this page will reveal, I spent a chunk of time yesterday playing with clip art. I've wanted to use it ever since I started blogging, but could not figure out how to convert a WMF file to a JPG file. Yesterday it clicked!

Every time I upload a photo, Blogger tells me I'm only using 2% of my photo space. With as many pictures as I have, seems a shame to waste all that space. So look for more pictures in the future.

I also surfed around for new blogs to read, and made a couple of happy discoveries. Sarah has a blog, but more importantly, she has a newly published book, View from a Burning Bridge. Congratulations, Sarah! Even though I've never met you, I've heard really good things about you from Betsy and Laura. Good luck with the book!

The other blog I enjoyed was not new, but renewed. Jerry Grace is back online at the sbcouthouse. Welcome back, Brother! And thanks for the giggles.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Congratulations to Clay who earned his Green Belt in karate last week-end! I'm really proud of you, Clay! If I ever need a bodyguard, I know who to call. Here's the latest from Tampa, thanks to Rick:

Clay earned his third stripe as a Gold Belt last week and was eligible to graduate to Green Belt this past Saturday. He did great during his trials and graduation. Now as a Green Belt, he'll be sparring with "light" contact.
Cooper was "Super Dooper" on the mound again last night. He entered last night's game against the 2nd place Giants in the second inning. The starting pitcher struggled and gave up six runs in the first inning. Cooper pitched 4 and 1/3 innings before reaching the maximum Little League pitch count limit of 75 pitches in the 6th (and final) inning. When he left the game, his team (the Devil Rays) had come back to go ahead 15-8. The relief pitcher got the last two outs after walking the bases loaded. Cooper got the Win with 9 Ks, 1 BB, Faced 17 batters, and gave up only 1 Earned Run. That was the last regular season game for the Devil Rays who finished with an 8-10 record. The LL tournament starts this coming weekend.

The puppies born last Wednesday continue to get bigger and Ginny (originally called Fluffy) is still being bottle fed but seems to be doing fine - just small (7.5 ounces). Hagrid is still the "Big One" weighing in at 19 ounces! The vet looked them all over yesterday and gave them all good grades. :-)
Mary Ann's band (Mosaic) spent 5 hours in the recording studio last night and recorded 2 songs. They need to record 2 more songs for the demo disc to be complete and ready for distribution. They have booked their first engagement with "Proverbs 31 Woman" conference which is going to be here in Tampa on Oct. 6th (Mary Ann's birthday)!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The dream I had before awaking this morning was of seeing several old black & white pictures of myself at a much younger age, pictures I'd never seen before. And what did I find in my first opening of email this morning but old b&w pictures of myself that I'd never seen before! Funny how that happens sometimes. The first is a cropped version of the original, which included Mr. Gooch, it's on George's site, made May 1962. Daddy and I look so relaxed and close to one another. We were, but this picture captures it better than any I've seen.

The second I'm calling "Ricky's first day at Cecil's Park," made a couple of months after he was born on Nov. 8, 1964, one of those warm, shirt sleeve winter days in Dec. or Jan., I'm thinking. Other than Betsy, Paul with Ricky, and me, that's Cindy Partlow on Paul's right, his sweetheart at the time, and Marilyn Sample on his left. Thanks, George, for "making my dream come true."