Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. Also welcome to MAY!!!! Spring is AWESOME. Enjoy some beautiful IRISES from our yard. Meet "Goodnight Kiss"

Saturday, February 28, 2009

My Wonderful Inlaws

I have talked about my inlaws to many of you --so I thought I would feature them in today's post. My parents are both dead (Daddy died in 1969 and Mama in 1991)---so when George and I got married in 2001, his parents became 'my' parents too. I simply adore those two wonderful people.

Dad will be 97 on August 29 and Mom will be 89 on May 2. They will have been married for 69 years on May 5. I love to hear their story about their marriage. Mom (who lived in Winslow, Indiana) met Dad when he went to Winslow to work with the CCC. They fell in love and Dad asked Mom to marry him. Mom's parents said that she couldn't get married until she was 20 yrs. old. SO---three days after her 20th birthday, they got married at the Christian Church in Winslow.

A couple of years ago, George and I took Mom and Dad back to Winslow and they got to visit the church where they got married in 1940. It was so special to see them walk around and re-live that special day so many years ago.

Except for their eyesight, both are in good shape physically considering their ages. Neither have ever taken and still do not take prescription drugs to this day. How many older people can say this???? Amazing, huh?! About 20 years ago, Mom developed Macular Degeneration. So--Dad (the older one) became caregiver for both of them. He took such good care of Mom--and helped her to be very independent despite her poor eyesight. She loved to cook --so Dad put her recipes on a recorder. He put bubble buttons on the microwave --and other places where she needed to 'feel' where things were. She continued to cook and bake and live an almost normal life for many years. It was just this past year that her memory has begun to fail a little --so she doesn't cook anymore.

Dad continued to drive until his eyesight also failed this past year. Giving up driving and his independence was hard for this VERY stubborn and independent man--whose mind is as sharp as a tack!!!!! George's sister (Janet) BEGGED her parents to move in with her in Tullahoma--but Dad absolutely refused. They decided to stay in their own home (where they feel safe) as long as possible.

Janet and her hubby (Charlie) alternate weeks driving to Hendersonville to check on the folks, with George and I.. SO every couple of weeks, we visit them, go through their mail, write checks/bills/finances, etc., run errands such as groceries, take them out to lunch, and do whatever they need to make it through another week. Volunteers from their church get them to worship and Sunday School every week along with Wednesday Bible Study and the Senior Citizen monthly program entitled Young at Heart.

These sweet little people are such an inspiration to me. They still hold hands in church--and have been inseparable for all of these many years. Their love for each other is still so very evident --just by their actions. George and I hope to live as long as them --and hopefully, be as healthy!!!!

Are they not just AMAZING!!???? Here are some pictures I took yesterday sitting at their dining room table.

Dad and George are working on finances.. I asked him to look up and smile--and this is what I got!!!! Cutie!!!

Mom has the prettiest smile---and no matter when you see her, that smile shines through!!!

I finally got Dad to look up --and smile for me!!!!!

I love this picture--even if Mom has her eyes closed... See how lucky I am to have George and his family in my life????? Wow!!!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Bird Sightings 2/26/09

Yesterday was a warm and windy day on the Cumberland Plateau. These are the birds I saw in my backyard: Pine Siskins, Goldfinch, Tufted Titmice, Carolina Chickadees, White-breasted Nuthatch, Northern Cardinals, Mourning Doves, Red-winged Blackbirds, Downy Woodpeckers, Carolina Wrens, Robins and Northern Flickers.

I didn't even try to take pictures of some of our 'regulars'--that I have featured on several blogs. I did however try to get a photo of the Red-winged Blackbirds and the Mourning Doves---but both were camera-shy. I did get some pictures of a male Cardinal --who is getting his bright colors back. And George got some pictures of the Northern Flicker and one of our Red-bellied Woodpeckers. The Flickers are such gorgeous birds--and have been gone most of the winter. I was happy to see them return!!!! Hope you enjoy the pictures. Above is a picture of the Northern Flicker and below are more of our photos! Be sure and click on them to see them larger.

Didn't George do a great job getting these pictures of the Flicker?? There were two Flickers eating on the ground. SO pretty, don't your think?

The Red-bellied Woodpeckers have been with us ALL winter.. I named the male Pete and the female Petunia. I hope they have some baby Red-bellied this spring.. Wonder what I'll name the kids?????????? Hmmmm---how about Penney and Paul...????

"Aren't I just the most gorgeous bird in the world??????"

"See my back side... My pretty color is coming back!!! Wonder where my lady-friend is?"

"I thought I would smile for the camera one more time!!!"

For a bird-lover like me, it was a good day!!!! Hope you had a wonderful day also.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Craggy Gardens

In June of 2007, George and I went on our anniversary trip to Williamsburg/Jamestown/Yorktown. As we do on most all of our trips, we stop along the way searching out new waterfalls and/or scenic areas. One of the first places we stopped on our way to Williamsburg was Craggy Gardens. This is one of the most scenic areas in Western North Carolina, just north of Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The Great Craggy Mountains are an area of exposed rock surfaces and high peaks that provide breathtaking views of distant southern Appalachian ridges. Large expanses of native rhododendron cover the slopes and summits of the Craggies. In mid-June, pink and purple blooms of Catawba rhododendron cover the Craggies. Throughout the summer, smaller native wildflowers cover the ground with vibrant splashes of color. These natural garden meadows are "balds."

They say that mid to late June is usually prime time for viewing the pink and purple blooms of rhododendron that blanket much of the Craggies. We were there on June 18---and missed the 'peak' by about a week. BUT--we still saw some gorgeous blooms. Elevation at Craggy Gardens is about 5900 feet---and it was cool, even on a Summer day. While there, we took a 1.5 mile easy hike, called the Craggy Pinnacle. This hike led us through a 'tunnel' of rhododendrons to the summit. Here are some of our pictures taken that day at Craggy Gardens. Above is a photo of some of the rhododendron blooms. Below are other pictures. Be sure to click on the pictures for a better look.

Above is one of the views of the mountains from Craggy Gardens.

George --standing in front of one of the large Rhododendrons

A close-up of the gorgeous Rhododendron blossoms

A picture of me --in front of more of the Rhododendrons

And finally, here's one more photo of the gorgeous view from Craggy Gardens. We highly recommend this beautiful place at Milepost 364.4 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Yesterday, I talked about Fat Tuesday. SO--today, on Ash Wednesday, I'll talk about Mardi Gras. The years I lived in New Orleans (1983-88) were some wonderful years. I got my divorce in 1982 and moved from Jacksonville, FL to New Orleans to work as Director of Christian Education at Rayne Memorial United Methodist Church there. My oldest son was in college, so when I moved, I had my two younger boys with me (ages 12 and 13). I shared an older home with my friend Cathy and her daughter in the "Uptown" area of New Orleans on Prytania Street. Our children went to school on the streetcar... How many people can say that?????

Life was busy back then--as you can imagine, with two women working fulltime and raising teenagers at the same time!!!! But---we always seemed to find time to have some fun living in that area. One thing that all five of us enjoyed immensely was MARDI GRAS. Another thing that we also enjoyed was the 1984 World's Fair. I'll blog about it sometime!

Until I moved to Nawlins, I always thought of Mardi Gras as being a time when everyone got drunk, put on skimpy costumes (or not many clothes at all) ---and danced around!!!! NOT!!! That may have happened--but we got involved in the parades in different areas, not down in the French Quarter. The Mardi Gras parades and balls went on for about 3 weeks before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Believe it or not, one year our family went to TWENTY EIGHT different parades in the areas around Nawlins (including Metarie and Kenner). Seems like we went to a different parade almost every evening during that three weeks.

We LOVED the parades---and we loved going home with all kinds of 'treasures' (they called them 'throws') that the people on the floats would pitch to us. We actually collected boxes and boxes of beads, doubloons, cups, etc... We were REALLY into it!!! And Cathy's daughter (being a beautiful teenage girl) got some special throws (like LONG beads among other things). We loved getting those long beads--and those 'special' doubloons. When we'd get home each night, we'd sit down and check out all of the wonderful things we got!!! (When I left New Orleans for Houston in 1988, we sold all of our 'treasures' since we had boxes and boxes of them. )

My kids will tell you that "I" became one of the kids when chasing after all of the JUNK!!!! I even stomped on a child's hand one time---when he was trying to get "MY" treasure... How dare that kid steal my stuff!!!!! ha ha (AND---ask my sons --Mark and Jeff-- about the time someone did try to steal my bag of goodies... We chased that kid down the street--and retrieved my bag!!! Think that kid thought I was going to kill him!!!! ha)

I will tell you though that we enjoyed the parades along St. Charles Avenue--and we did NOT go down into the French Quarter area (where 'naughty' stuff may have been going on)... The route along St. Charles was more 'family oriented'--so we enjoyed that the most. AND---during those three weeks of celebration, we'd also enjoyed sharing some King Cake... There was a plastic baby hidden in the cake, and the person who got the baby had to BUY the next cake... FUN!!!!

Like I said, we took in about 28 different parades over a 3 week period. The weekend before Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday was the biggest and busiest. We loved watching the Krewe of Bacchus Parade, Endymion, Zulu, Rex---and of course the big truck parade on Fat Tuesday. Hearing those bands come down the street (especially the St. Aug band) and seeing the flambeaux made shivers run up and down my spine!!!! We were all so sad when it was over for the year!

I'm glad I had the opportunity to live in New Orleans BACK in the DAY! I don't think I'd want to go back there now--since the hurricane. It's just too sad!!!! But experiencing Mardi Gras is something I will NEVER forget!!!

Today is ASH WEDNESDAY. Are you going to church today or tonight to 'burn' your sins???? I enjoy the Ash Wednesday service so much!!! AND---now begins Lent... Are you giving up something for Lent??? I've always added something for Lent rather than to give something up. Possible things to add: contact an old friend or friends; visit or call a loved one you haven't contacted lately; pray more; read the Bible more; attend a Bible Study or Spiritual Growth study... Just some thoughts for you --as we begin the Christian season of Lent.

On another note, my friend SHELLEY is having a wonderful giveaway on her site. Click on her name and check it out!!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fat Tuesday

I was SO fortunate to have lived in New Orleans for about 5 years back in the '80's.. Today is FAT TUESDAY ---and I yearn to be in that glorious city (the New Orleans I remember--before Katrina). Our family would get up before dawn and stake out our place along St. Charles Avenue. We had ladders (the higher you could go, the more you could see and catch), chairs, coolers full of goodies, and our special bags to collect all of the dubloons, beads, stuffed animals, cups, etc. etc. etc. !!!! It was an exciting day!!!!

The first parade on Fat Tuesday was ZULU. Then, if you can imagine--they had truck parades (huge 18-wheelers) that seemed to last for hours and hours. These big trucks were decorated all sorts of ways --and there were lots of people on every truck. They'd throw goodies and more goodies ---and we'd stand there and BEG for those trinkets (throws). As long as I live I will never forget the sound of those truck horns blowing and echoing along St. Charles Avenue on Fat Tuesday.

After all of the trucks were gone, we had the final parade of the day, REX. After the REX float went by, we knew that the season was over for the year. We then would go home and eat our PANCAKES--- knowing that Lent (Ash Wednesday) began the very next day!!!!

I have TERRIFIC memories of my life in Nawlins. The picture above is from 2004--before Katrina hit. Let's hope that New Orleans has a much better Fat Tuesday today than they have the past few years.

I'll write more about Mardi Gras tomorrow. We were all sad at the end of Fat Tuesday, knowing that the Mardi Gras season was OVER until next year. Happy "Fat Tuesday" to YOU today. Be sure and eat your pancakes today though, since Lent begins tomorrow and I'm positive YOU will give up all of that sweet stuff. Right????????????

Monday, February 23, 2009

Welcome to my Corner!!!

As George told you in a recent blog, we bought new computers on Friday!!!! We've been talking about doing this for a year now---and wanted to do it before one of our computers crashed.. And as George said, we wanted to help the struggling economy!!! ha ha... We each got a 20" iMac, 2.66 GHz, and 2 GB Ram (memory). Love the 20" widescreen monitor with 1680 x 1050 resolution.

George has been a 'mac' guy for many years---so when we got married, he convinced me to try a Mac. WOW---I would NEVER go back to windows again----never, never, never. I cannot believe how much better the picture is on this computer. And to think----I thought my old mac had a good picture. WELL---this one is TONS better!!!

We obviously spent most of the weekend uploading all of our files on the new computers. All in all, it went well. Now--I just need some time to LEARN all of the new 'stuff'. We downloaded Picasa (photo program) this weekend---and I love it. We had an old photo program which won't work now on this new operating system. Picasa is MUCH better than our old program. I'm just so excited.. Can you tell????? ha ha

AND---since I switched out computers, I even took time to do some cleaning... How can things get so dusty?????? Geeschhhhhh... You'd think the maid in this house would do a better job cleaning!!!! Hmmmmmm...

SO---since my area of the room (where I spend MUCH time) is relatively clean now, I thought I'd share with you my 'corner'. Above is the new computer (taken from my desk chair). If you look closely, you can see our little TV in the background on the left--which is 'on' ALOT when we are on the computer! It's not that I can multi-task---but I have fun trying!!!! Below are other pictures! Be sure to click on the pictures to see them larger.

The picture above shows my 'corner'looking toward my desks. I have a computer desk and a desk to my right when I am sitting in my chair. I also have a small table behind me --on my left, that I pull out and use for writing (since I'm left-handed). SO---I can get boxed in --in my special 'corner.'

Next to my computer desk is a table for our printers. Above that, you can see the cute little calendar I got from blogger friend PEGGY. (Like that 'tiny' container of hand lotion in the picture???? ha ha)

And to the left of that calendar is a painting which was painted for me by a special and talented friend, Sammie. Above that painting is one of my special crosses.

This is my little desk to my right of the computer desk. This desk is special to me since it was in my family for many years. I try to organize my stuff --but that desk does get cluttered at times!!!! LOL.

This is my special 'waterfall' calendar --which my son Mark gives me each year. Above that calendar is another of my many crosses I have collected through the years.

These last two pictures were taken from George's side of the room looking back to the wall behind my desk. I have three gorgeous pictures from the Bluebonnet Festival in Chappell Hill, TX (1990, 1991, 1993). You can also see more of my cross collection.

And finally, one more picture of the wall on my side of the room. Hope you have enjoyed seeing my 'corner'... It may never be this clean again!!!! ha

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Who are you--when you are online'????

Here's another one of Brad Paisley's songs that I love. (There are many of them.) The words to his songs are SO neat---and most are TRUE when it comes to our lives and how we live in today's 'crazy' world. Many of his songs are really FUNNY--such as the one listed below. We bought that CD as soon as it came out. There are so many great songs on it, including "Ticks" and "Online." AND---there are tons of other great songs on all of his CD's.

The video is HILARIOUS--so be sure and see it. I'll bet ALL of us know someone who fits the description below ---of being a totally different person 'online.' If you haven't heard the song (or seen the video), check it out!!!! It's GREAT!!!

"Online" lyrics by Brad Paisley

I work down at the Pizza Pit
And I drive an old Hyundai
I still live with my mom and dad
I'm 5 foot 3 and overweight
I'm a scifi fanatic
A mild asthmatic
And I've never been to second base
But there's whole 'nother me
That you need to see
Go check out MySpace

'Cause online I'm out in Hollywood
I'm 6 foot 5 and I look damn good
I drive a Maserati
I'm a black-belt in karate
And I love a good glass of wine
It turns girls on that I'm mysterious
I tell them I don't want nothing serious
'Cause even on a slow day
I could have a three way
Chat with two women at one time
I'm so much cooler online
So much cooler online

When I get home I kiss my mom
And she fixes me a snack
And I head down to my basement bedroom
And fire up my Mac
In real life the only time I've ever even been to L.A
Is when I got the chance with the marching band
To play tuba in the Rose Parade

Online I live in Malibu
I pose for Calvin Klein, I've been in GQ
I'm single and I'm rich
And I've got a set of six pack abs that would blow your mind
It turns girls on that I'm mysterious
I tell them I don't want nothing serious
'Cause even on a slow day
I could have a three way
Chat with two women at one time
I'm so much cooler online
So much cooler online

When you got my kind of stats
It's hard to get a date
Let alone a real girlfriend
But I grow another foot and I lose a bunch of weight
Every time I login

I'm out in Hollywood
I'm 6 foot 5 and I look damn good
Even on a slow day
I could have a three way
Chat with two women at one time
I'm so much cooler online
Yeah, I'm cooler online
I'm so much cooler online
Yeah, I'm cooler online
Yeah, I'm cooler online
Yeah, I'll see ya online

The words don't do the song justice...You really need to hear it to appreciate it!!!! Now my question to you: Who are YOU online????? Tee Hee Hee!!!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Ain't Nothin' Like...

I like most all kinds of music, including 'modern' country music. And one of our VERY favorite artists is Brad Paisley. We went to Knoxville last year to Brad's concert which was MARVELOUS!!! One of my favorite songs of his is one entitled, "Ain't Nothin' Like." Here are some of the words:

This old world is full of simple pleasures
They're all good but some are better

Ain't nothin' like finding that woman (man)
That you know you're gonna love for the rest of your life
And ain't nothin' like knowing the Lord's a comin'
Back one day to make you want to do right

Ain't nothin' like watchin' a bunch of young'ns
Run screamin' through the sprinkler in their little bare feet
And ain't nothin' like finding twenty dollars
In the pocket of the britches that you wore last week

Ain't nothin' like throwing a hula popper
Draggin' it across a spot a big 'un oughta be
And ain't nothin' like having him for supper
With some good hush puppies and some sweet iced tea

If you haven't heard this song, you need to listen to it! There is so much meaning in the simple things in life. For instance, what is better than seeing a Proud Papa with his baby girl? The picture above is me with my Daddy--taken back in 1942.

Also, there 'ain't nothin' like' waking up early in the morning hearing the Cardinals outside my window 'chipping' for their breakfast. There 'ain't nothin' like' seeing a gorgeous sunset, or walking in the woods and turning the corner only to see and hear a beautiful waterfall. It's just the simple things in life which are so important.

Friday, February 20, 2009

High School Hang-outs!

Aw---what memories!!!! Recently, two things have happened to remind me of a couple of my high school hang-outs. First, I got an email from someone I had never met--who had googled about the Country Boy Drive-In in Big Stone Gap, VA. The google search led him to my original blog, since I had mentioned this old hang-out in a previous blog which I wrote in 2007. We enjoyed sharing memories from my hometown of Big Stone Gap, VA. Isn't the internet wonderful for finding information, and meeting people?

The other incident happened just this week when I was talking to one of my blog friends about another old hang-out called Carmines. SO---because I have obviously been reminded of these hang-outs recently, I decided to share them with YOU.

Above (on the right) is a little restaurant called Carmines. Carmines was located in downtown Big Stone Gap ---and it was the 'place' where teens hung-out for many years!!!! What I remember most about Carmines was the FOOD... (So what else is new??? ha).. I used to buy two of the best chili buns (no wiener in them; just delicious home-made chili) in the world in Carmines along with a coke all for a whopping 25 cents!!!! My my--wonder what 25 cents would buy me now? A piece of bubble gum maybe!!!??? ha ha... WELL---there are many other things I remember about Carmines including the pinball machine in the back. My friend Susan even mentioned getting in trouble for playing the pinball machine. Overall, I just remember Carmines being a neat place (and safe) for teens to gather!!!! Do you have a favorite teenage hangout???

Secondly, the picture below was another hang-out---once we all could drive!!! This drive-in was called the Country Boy. Susan remembered that she and Johnny would 'back' in---and watch all of the people go by. I don't remember the food there, but I do remember it being a very special place for all of us kids to be!!!!!

This is an old (and not very good) picture of the Country Boy Drive-In---where all of us teens would meet and just hang-out!!!! Friend Jim said that he thinks the car in the foreground was his old '49 Buick Dynaflow.

Memories???? Aren't they great??? I especially am so glad that I had the privilege of growing up in such a great little, mountain town in the southwestern corner of Virginia. Neither Carmines nor the Country Boy Drive-In are there anymore. Wonder where kids from BSG hang-out these days????? Now share your special places!!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Appalachian Dialect--Part II

This is a continuation of my last blog on "Appalachian Dialect." I got so many comments and emails after writing the first one. It was just so much fun comparing the language in various areas. The following are phrases and/or words and sentences that are written using Appalachian Dialect. See how many of them you relate to!!!! I put an asterick (*) by the ones I still use sometimes--to this day!!!!

*Go GIT me some cake.
*Both pen and pin are prounounced like PIN.
*Hem sounds like him. (Let's HIM the skirt!!!!) ha
*CRACK that door. (means to open the door a little)
He lives up YANDER in that HOLLER. (yonder and hollow)
I walked in a CRICK (instead of creek).
*Is it Mondee morning yet?
Did he go a-huntin'?
I LIKE to broke my neck when I fell.
* I got chillbumps all over me. (goose bumps)
Everwho left the door open needs to close it.
* Well, I swanny!!!
He HAINT got no LARNIN'.
* Idn't that nice? (and NICE is strung out for awhile!!! ha)
A tire is a TAR and a fire is a FAR.
*If Walmart ain't got it, you don't need it!
I done went to the store.
*Who WUZ there?
*I RECKON (meaning I suppose)
A paper bag is a POKE.
*A shopping cart is a BUGGY.
*A frying pan is a SKILIT.
*Pop or soda was always called 'coke'.
*I'm PLUM lucky to know you.
*I'm gonna WARSH some clothes.
*I'm going to Warshington, DC.
I'm gonna ARN (iron).
You are RIGHT smart.
Dang, you're purty.
He explained it REAL simple.
The corn growed real good last year.
*I'm gonna buy ME a new dress.
JEAT????? (Did you eat?)
*I was FIXIN' to go to the store.
Law, I hope how soon we get some rain!
I was gettin' better but now I've took a BACKSET with this flu.
He don't scare me none. I done finished my lessons.
* Are you NECKED as a jaybird???
How many CHILLINS do you have?
How FUR is it to town?
Are you TARD tonight?
*Check the book out of the LIBERRY.
*You were SMACK DAB on target.
I live out CHEER in the woods.
Thet pore boy's an awkward size--too big for a man and not big enough for a horse.
Zeke, he come bustin' outta thar and hit it for the road quick as double-geared lightenin!

Welll---I could go on and on ---but you get the idea!!!! Such colorful language we have!!!! But there is one thing that irritates me: To hear an 'outsider' try to pronounce the word Appalachian... It is "app-uh-latch-in" (NOT "app-up-lay-shin). Do you GIT it now?????

Hope you enjoyed my posts about dialects. I'd love to hear more of your crazy words and phrases!!!! On a personal note, we had a huge thunderstorm with HAIL yesterday. The tornado sirens blared --but luckily we are fine! ALSO---following through with my love of being a southern gal, I fixed pinto beans and cornbread for dinner last night. YUM-Dilly-IOUS!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Appalachian Dialect

A good friend sent me an article on "Appalachian Dialect" which really made me think!!!! SO---I did some research and alot more reading. A dialect is a variety of languages spoken by a group of people from the same regional or cultural background. Each dialect has its own pronunciations, sentence structures, and vocabulary. There are several dialects across the USA, but ours (Appalachian Dialect) is one of the most distinct. People (LIKE ME) who live/lived in the Appalachian Mountain region of the eastern United States are known for their distinct dialect and the strong accent that comes with it.

Above is a great picture looking down toward my hometown, Big Stone Gap, VA. What I love about the picture is knowing that my wonderful little hometown is down there nestled between the mountains. I always knew that I grew up in the mountains ---but I certainly took it for granted while growing up, and didn't appreciate it UNTIL after I left the area. Big Stone Gap is truly in a GAP---and is in a beautiful area of the country in the southwest corner of Virginia. I haven't gone 'home' much since 1960---but when I have gone, I am totally in 'awe' of the beauty there. That drive up in and around Powell Valley is absolutely tremendous! I have great memories of my hometown.

The early settlers to this area were mostly Scottish, Irish, German and English. The merging of all of these dialects combined with the isolation of the area has caused the Appalachian dialect to be labeled in many phonetics and language studies as "Virgin English" --a form of English that some say has changed very little since the settlers first came. Yet--if you study it, you'll find that it does change, continually!!!

SO--how do "I" feel about the 'language' in the area where I was 'raised up' (as they say)????? I guess my answer would be that I was CONFUSED!!! Here's a little background that makes a difference in my reactions and responses. I was raised in a family of school teachers. Even with our Scotch-Irish background, my family 'tried' to speak "proper" English (whatever that is!!!).. The way we talked was a 'touchy' subject--especially when 'outsiders' said something!!!! I remember when my sister-in-law first came to Big Stone Gap from her home in California, she said to me, "Betsy, you have an ACCENT." WELL----that offended me BIGTIME. ME???? An ACCENT???? NEVER!!!! ha ha

I used to think that 'outsiders' thought of us as stupid because of our accent. And I agree about some of the usage.. It's embarrassing to hear someone say "I knowed it" or "I seen it." Can't they learn the proper way to use verbs????? BUT---if you dig a little deeper and study our special language and southern drawl, you'll find some of the most interesting and vivid descriptions of any language. Our language is liberally sprinkled with such gems as: "That man is so contrary, if you throwed him in a river he'd float upstream!" OR--"She walks so slow they have to set stakes to see if she's a-movin!"

In another upcoming blog, I will be talking more about OUR language ---and many of the things we say (or the way we say them). It's amazing-- when I did research I found that even though I've been gone from southwest Virginia for 50 years, I still use much of that language... And I truly am PROUD of it now. From my upbringing, I learned so many important values: religion, families, individualism, self-reliance and pride, love of place, being oneself, sense of beauty, sense of humor, neighborliness, patriotism--and most of all, special friendships which have lasted a lifetime.

Yes, being born and raised in the small town of Big Stone Gap, Virginia --in the southwest corner, in the Appalachian Mountains, made me a BETTER person. I am proud of my heritage!!!! "Hidy, hidy, furriner! You went traveled a fur piece to get hwar, and it's rainin' like a big dog. Pull up a cheer and set a spell."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What Happened on August 5, 1992???

Recently, I blogged about turning 16 (in 1957). SO---let's fast-forward about 35 years!!! In 1992, I turned FIFTY... At that time I lived in Clear Lake, TX (south of Houston) and worked as the Director of Christian Education at Clear Lake United Methodist Church. Several of my 'good' ???? friends down there got in my office AHEAD of TIME---and decorated every inch of it!!!! I found evidence of this 'over the hill' birthday for months AFTER the actual birthday... Thanks to my wonderful friends (you know who you are) for making that birthday so memorable. The picture above is me with the cake they gave me. Below are two more pictures of the 'celebration.' Aren't my friends just SO nice?????? !!!!!! ha ha

This is what I found when I opened my office door that 'special' morning. It was a HUGE surprise since I had no idea they had been working on this... To tell you the truth, since I'm a 'nosy-rosy' person---I'm shocked that they pulled this off without me knowing about it!

From inside my office ---- there I am --looking through ALL of the 'stuff' searching for my desk! They decorated every inch of that office --and it truly took me WEEKS to get it all cleaned up. Don't I have such incredible friends???????!!!!!!! ha ha... Can't believe this happened 16 1/2 years ago... Mercy Me!!

The bottom line: I wouldn't go back to either age 16 or age 50 again.. Once I met George, my 'real' life began (2001). Now--let's just pray that both of us live long, healthy lives!!!!