Saturday, November 29, 2008

Some Published Stories

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. I did. It was just mama and me this year, although we were invited to a couple of places. All I wanted was dressing and mashed potatoes. Mama cooked and, of course, added some other dishes, plus one of my favorite pies that we've always just called "just pie", which was delicious. We just spent a quiet evening together. Jim missed being with family, but he had a nice dinner with his towboat family, and he called home and talked to us. We have a lot to be thankful for. :)

I was going to post a whole story that I had published today, but I have too much else to do, including working on the last assignment of a writing course that's waaaaaaaaay overdue, so I thought I'd post the links to some of my published writing that is still in the ezine's archives.

I haven't submitted anything in quiet a while, but hopefully that will change soon. Most of my friends and family have read these already, but I wanted to share them with my new blogging friends, so if you need something to do for a few minutes, the links are below. They are all true personal experience pieces except "The Power Of A Teabag," which is totally fiction.

The Pink Chameleon published me first, and I was so thrilled.

"A Slice Of Heaven"

Long Story Short has published four of my pieces.

"The Great Grey Hunter"
"The Mouse Caper"
"How Old Are You Anyway?"
"The Power Of A Teabag"

Applecart also published me, but they are no longer publishing.

Thanks for checking them out, and I hope you enjoyed them, because I loved writing them! :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008


This is TT (Tiny Target because the markings on her side look like a bullseye, like her dad (Target) and her mom (Little Target). She is small for her age and darts around like a chipmunk. She's a hoot and I'm thankful for her too. :)

I would like to list all of the people and things I am thankful for, not just today, but every day, however, it would take forever, so here are just a few:

I am thankful for God, my friends and family (both mine and my husband's), that I love and am loved, my new friends in blog land, my cats, cows, Sammidog, the passion for art and writing that I have, and all of the lovely people I've met through those and other hobbies, a warm, comfortable house, art supplies, the 4-wheeler, Sammidog's new insulated house that Spotty-Butt (the kitten) shares with him, the military that are away from their families trying to keep us free and safe, and the list goes on..............

Take time to stop and count your blessings. What are you thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you that are celebrating Thanksgiving. Have a safe and happy weekend.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sammie-Dog Finds a Home

Meet Sammi-Dog...He arrived on Rabbit Hop last week.

Mama, who lives next door, saw him coming up through the garden the middle of last week with his chin and tail dragging the ground. She happened to be feeding her cats and dog at the time, so that's where he went first. He was so starved that he could barely walk and his head and ears were covered in big ticks. She felt sorry for him and fed him and picked some of the ticks off, but her dog, Auger (another stray in bad shape that found a home), who has been around a long time, let him know quickly that he wasn't welcome there.

This is not an uncommon occurrance. We live in a rural area out in the country, so dropped/stray animals are always showing up. Over the years a number of them have become pets. Others just pass through and keep going.

Neither of us wanted another dog. I haven't wanted another one since I had to have the last one euthanized, eleven years ago. I still haven't gotten over that one.

The next day he followed her to my house, barely able to walk, his eyes very dull and lifeless. It's hard to tell from the pictures, but his sides were sunk in as far as they could sink, his backbone and ribs were sticking out. None of us thought he would live through the night.

I have never been fond of any kind of hound, and, as I said, I didn't want a dog of any kind. I have cats and cows. I sure didn't want another house dog. But there was something about this pup and those eyes that just melted me, and I was a goner. Jim and mama too.

I gave him a bowl of warm milk and fixed him a warm bed on the back porch. He was never afraid of us or the cats, though if he got too close to the older ones he would get slapped and made to yelp. Needless to say, I had to stay with him to keep the cats back. They like milk too, but they're not starving.

He lapped up the milk and crawled right into the bed. For a couple of days he only got out of bed if I went out, to eat, or take a bathroom break. He looked like a Sammie to me, so that became his name.

Due to malnutrition he had no winter coat or fat on his body, and one day it was cool and damp. He shook a lot, some from cold or shock, even with cover, and some from nerves. This day I happened to remember that I still had my last dog's (a Pekingese) sweater, so I put that on him. He didn't mind a bit. You would have thought he'd worn one his whole life. Maybe he had. I don't know. No idea where he came from.

Anyway he has continually gained strength and is now literally bouncing around like a rubber ball, tripping all over himself and any cat or person that happens to be near. He gallops now instead of weaving when he walks. His eyes are bright and sparkly. He and the cats get along good. He has a great personality, is very smart, and he's really funny, and expressive, if he is a little undisciplined.

Of course Jim is working so it's up to me to train him. At least he's old enough that he's not going to tear up everything...I think.

Yesterday when I went on the four-wheeler to check the cows I got him to follow me part of the way, but either he didn't understand what I was asking him to do, or he wanted to ride. I saw it as a way for him to work off some energy. He decided not and came back to the house. When I got back I walked him and the cats around our acre yard a couple of times. They loved it. Sammie-Dog had his nose to the ground trailing everything, including the cats. Wore me out.

Sammie-Dog was still bouncing. I have been needing to start exercising. Maybe he is the prod I needed to get started.

The grey and white spotted kitten, whose name is Spotty-Butt, and who carries her fuzzy tail laying flat on her back, has taken to Sammie-Dog too and rubs on him and sits with him or by his bed. He, for the most part, ignores her. I keep expecting to find her in bed with him one morning. She's a character too, but that's another story.

He's a great little dog, at least I hope he's about grown. I prefer small dogs. I noticed this morning that his fur is getting thicker and you can hardly see his ribs now that he's getting some fat on his bones. He doesn't care for dog food much though since he's not starving now. He apparently had been used to table scraps. That's what he prefers, but we don't have many, so he's going to have to get used to dog food.

I catch him standing in the driveway sometimes looking back over his shoulder like he wants to stay, but feels he should go. Maybe he's remembering his other family. Maybe they lost him and are looking for him too. Meanwhile we'll try to nourish him with food and attention. See the the pink dog food all over his chin.

I had a very hard time getting these pictures. Either Sammie-Dog would sit down right under the camera and pose, smiling, or he was against the back of my legs. I turned around so many times trying to catch him still long enough to snap the picture that I nearly got dizzy. He's an energetic goofball. Maybe it'll rub off on the rest of us. :)

Mama and Jim say I'll have him in the house before long. I don't think so, but we'll see. Will keep you posted.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remembering Daddy

Tulips were one of daddy's favorite flowers, so this little watercolor painting is for him. He left us unexpectedly on Nov. 11, 2004, four years ago, and not a day goes by that I don't miss sharing my life with him. All the little day to day things. He is always in my heart and I feel his presence around me continually. He was a good dad, and though I'm a senior citizen now, I'm still his "Baby Girl." Always will be.

This picture was taken when we lived on the river bank, and could actually see the river, not long before we moved to Rabbit Hop, where we're still on the river bank, but can't actually see the river. It's just a short walk away though and beautiful when you get there. The house in the photo has been long gone, but we pass where it sat every time we go to, or come from, town. Also part of my roots. :)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Madamojell and Jessie Brown

The other day I was blog visiting and on Amanda Blake's blog I discovered this painting, which I love, and I couldn't help but giggle when I looked at it and it's title. It brought back memories of the two imaginary friends that I was blessed with as a child. Mine happened to be people, and I still have a soft place in my heart for those girls. :)

Their names were Madamojell and Jessie Brown and they were wonderful friends, always there to play with and talk to when nobody else was.

I was an only child, but there were always other children in the Rabbit Hop community to play with, plus I had lots of cousins, several around my age. Lots of sleepovers at our house too. The older girls in the neighborhood loved to spoil me. The whole community was more like family than just neighbors.

Even when I was alone, I wasn't. I had a vivid imagination, my dolls, my teddy bear, my monkey, my books, and my two friends that nobody could see or talk to except me. Mama would hear me carrying on a conversation out loud and she would ask who I was talking to.

I would look at her like she was crazy and say, "Madamojell. Can't you see her, Mama? She's sitting right there?"

Madamojell's name came from the word Madamoiselle. Mama used to call me that sometimes when I was being a little smarty pants. It stuck in my head. Only I couldn't pronounce it and it came out Madamojell. She was a free spirit; not afraid of anything or anyone. She traveled to the beat of her own song. I think, looking back, she was a combination of two older cousins and a neighbor girl that I always looked up to and loved immensely. I wanted to be just like them.

Of course, it was the fifties, and though my older friends dressed in lots of can-cans under full skirts, pony tails, bobby sox, and cardigan sweaters buttoned down the back, Madamojell dressed her thin body in long chiffon dresses, hid her long blonde hair under luscious wide brimmed hats, wore dainty gloves, and she wore lots of makeup and jewelry. She had a wonderful laugh and was very wise. At least, I thought so. She loved living and was full of self confidence.

Jessie Brown, on the other hand, was a complete opposite of Madamojell.

My older cousin, Gene, stayed with us for a while, and he had a friend named Jessie Brown ______, and I thought he was so handsome. He was dark haired, had a dark complexion, sparkling brown eyes, a great personality, and I just loved his name.

My invisible friend, however, was not sparkly. She was a lovely girl, very quiet, kind of plain looking in her dark plaid cotton dress with her long brown hair hanging down past her shoulders, her brown eyes kind of sad. She was a bit shy, a great friend, and fun to be with, even if she was afraid of her own shadow. The kind that you could sit in silence with, without feeling awkward.

The three of us spent many happy times together having tea parties, playing house, talking and laughing. Sometimes they even attended school with my dolls and stuffed animals, where they all sat lined up on the couch and listened attentively while I "read" to them from my Golden story books, the stories that mama had read to me until I had them memorized. The students enjoyed these stories immensely. (This was before I actually started school and learned to read; no kindergarten back then.) :)

As I got older, Jessie Brown disappeared. Or maybe she didn't. Maybe she has been me all these years.

Madamojell, on the other hand, still pops up often in the form of my alter ego or my creative muse.

I think she may be the me that I was always afraid to let out. Now that I'm a Senior Citizen, who knows, I may turn her loose. :)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Some Rabbit Hop History

I originally posted this little bit of Rabbit Hop history on Moxie Blue about a year ago, and surprised some of the people that had known me for years. They thought RH was a figment of my imagination. Since some of you may not be familiar with me I thought I'd post it here also. Hope you enjoy!

Thought I'd share a little about Rabbit Hop this morning, as some of you may be wondering what it is or if it really exists. It does indeed exist, and has since way before I was born. I've lived all but two years of my whole life here, and many magical things have transpired here over the years. :)

I'm not sure why it's called Rabbit Hop, except for the sheer number of rabbits that used to abound here. Even when I was growing up if you turned in to the drive after dark and the headlights hit, rabbits popped up like popping corn from everywhere and ran. Very prolific they are. :)

Rabbit Hop is a small community of houses in a rural area about four miles from the nearest really small town (one business street and no traffic lights). My maternal grandpa's dad bought a small farm with a house sitting back off the main road and moved in when my grandpa was about three years old, which was about 1899. The community was pretty thick with families at the time. There was a one room schoolhouse, Rabbit Hop School, near the main road, which Papa and his siblings attended. I'm not sure what else was here in the early 1900's (I need to do some research).

By the time I was born, Papa had married and raised six children in two sets (three,wait a few years, then three more). He, my grandma and the youngest two children were living in a house on the riverbank in town, and they ran a shoe shop in town, where they repaired shoes for a living. My mom, next to the youngest, married my dad, next to the youngest of eleven, when she was sixteen.

They lived with my dad's widowed mom, but I was born in Papa's house on the riverbank when mom was seventeen. We lived on the outskirts of town until I was two years old, still on the banks of the river. Papa now owned the country farm, so he gave my parents enough land by the main road for a house. It was a little four-room house built by dad. The rooms were small, we had no running water, no bathroom, no telephone, and no electricity, and I got very sick with polio right after we moved in.

They later bought a garden spot, of about an acre beside the house lot, from him in the Rabbit Hop community, where mama raised a garden every year and canned and froze most of what we ate. I can remember waking up in the mornings and she would already be in the garden hoeing out weeds and tending the vegetables.

I was about sixteen years old when mama and daddy had a new living room and kitchen added on to the four rooms. We had had cold running water in the kitchen sink for a few years, which had to be heated on the wood cookstove, but now we had hot and cold running water in the kitchen, plus my bedroom was turned into a bathroom, and the old living room became my bedroom. The old kitchen became a guest bedroom and mama's sewing room. But I get ahead of myself.

Papa and Granny moved back to the house on the farm for a few years when I was small. It was just over a little hill from our house, a short walk. They ran their shoe shop from a small building by the road, which my dad had built for a work shop. Daddy had to add on to the little shop for a place to do his mechanic and wood work. I grew up very close to all my grandparents, and I have made countless trips over that little hill to that home place in my lifetime. I have always loved it out there. So quiet and peaceful. Still.

The community was thick with houses, families, and neighbors who were the same as family. I was an only child, but I always had other children to play with and grow up with. There was a country grocery store across the road from us. They also sold gas. There was another one within walking distance down the road. There was also a button factory just under the hill on the way to the river, which we can't see, but it's only about a fifteen minute walk. There has always been a boat landing there and at different times beer joints. The man who ran the grocery was also a commercial fisherman and owned the button factory. Oh yes, there was also a rock crusher on the bluff above the river.

I went to school in town with all the other kids here in the fifties and sixties. We rode the school bus together every day. A few families came and went, but most were still here in the seventies when I married and my husband and I bought an acre adjoining my parent's garden spot from Papa near the road, where we built the home we still live in.

Daddy had already bought several acres adjoining their house place and eventually Papa sold him the farm, so I am the fourth generation to live on it. The community is no longer a thriving one. The grocery across the road, the button factory, shoe shop, and beer joints have long been gone. A nice rock-sided home replaced the Rabbit Hop School many moons ago. Some of the homes burned and the families moved away. Many of the people have now died or moved on.

Daddy made a wooden sign with two large rabbits a few years ago that said Rabbit Hop-population eleven and a half. It's fewer than that now. All that's left are hubby and me, my widowed mom next door, and the elderly couple kind of across the road and down a little piece. The only other houses left are used as weekend/vacation houses by the children that I grew up with, or their children.

Papa's old home place over the hill is now falling down, though we're still using the old barn for the few cattle we keep.

I've often taken spells of wanting to live somewhere else, at least for a while. Everything is so far away from us. The nearest towns of any size are half hour away, and the nearest city with a mall or any shopping is at least one and a half hours away. It's frustrating sometimes to have to drive so far for everything, especially as I get older, but on the other hand, I'm deeply attached here and wouldn't know how to live anywhere else. It's where my roots are.

I've seen a lot of life, both good and bad, here. People came and went over the years, buildings changed and disappeared, just like everywhere else. Time doesn't stand still and everything changes constantly. But, as I said at the beginning, magical things happen here sometimes if you're paying attention. I have lots of happy memories associated with this little place out in the sticks called Rabbit Hop Community, and I'm beginning to dread the time when I have to leave it behind.

One day I will tell you about the people and some of the magic of the Rabbit Hop I grew up in. :)