Sunday, March 31, 2013

This Is Not Goodbye

It's Easter Sunday, everyone is doing their last minute preparations for egg hunts and ham dinners with the people they love. I'm visiting family in the middle of the country trying to summarize this journey that we've all gone through together over the past month. These are my thoughts:

1. I've grown as a writer.  At the beginning of this journey, I didn't realize how much of a challenge this would be. I've managed to push through writer's block and emote my deepest thoughts and feelings in words.

2. I've gained new friendships. It's amazing how well you get to know someone through their writing. You can see a person's personality through their words, I've thoroughly enjoyed getting to know each of you.

3. I've learned from you. I've enjoyed seeing the different writing techniques and styles, and incorporating them into my own writing.

4. It's been therapeutic. I've been through very trying times in the last year. This experience has served very well as a coping mechanism.

5. I've been inspired. I've decided to continue the challenge and keep writing.  It may not be every single day-but I want you all to know this is not goodbye.....this is "See you very soon!"

Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Everything happens for a reason.....

Everyone knows the old saying "Everything happens for reason".
In fact, I've have used this phrase as a personal reference in a multitude of situations throughout my life, even not fully aware of what the "reason" is in the vast majority of those circumstances.  Yesterday, however, a situation occurred to where I was able to see the phrase in action as the "reason" played out before my very eyes. Allow me to explain:
Every so often my family travels 6 hours by car to visit parents.  In these tough economic times, carpooling is key; so it didn't surprise me when my oldest son decided he would carpool and split the gas with either my other son, who has a spacious truck, or with my daughter and I in his Cadillac or her small Saturn Ion.
Well, needless to say, we ended up with the most uncomfortable 6 hour option, my daughter's Saturn. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a snob and I am very thankful for my daughter's car, but given the choice, it didn't make sense in my logical mind for three very long-legged people to embark on a 6-hour journey in most cramped of the three options. 
But there we were.....jammed, knees to chin, between luggage and pillows and blankets....sardines.....I thought.....how ridiculous! Pouting....I dozed.
Babump..babump...babump......my eyes popped open...my brain trying to assimilate the strange sound as my daughter eased the car onto the shoulder. We had blown a tire in the middle of nowhere.....and thankfully my son was there to rescue us....(my daughter and I were clueless).
On Monday, when we pack ourselves into the little Saturn, I will not pout...but be grateful.....because everything happens for a reason!!

Friday, March 29, 2013

The pickle on the counter


My daughter often commends me for my writing. Of course, we both know it helps that I always choose topics I am deeply passionate about... Yesterday, I wrote about Karma. 

"I love it, mom, I always love your writing, but if you want to challenge yourself as writer you should try writing about a topic that doesn't really move you. For example, a pickle on a counter top. If you can write about a pickle on a counter top and get people to enjoy it, then you know you're a good writer."

So here goes:


I didn't pay much attention at first. I was used to the sound of the door opening, the stark overhead light, the vacant stares. I  was used to the frenzy of grabbing hands. I had learned early on to accept the fact that most of the time, once something was "grabbed",  it wasn't coming back! That's the way it was, and for the most part, it just didn't matter. The cycle of "roommates" had become endless.....peaches, plums, berries, melons, lettuce, tomatoes, meats, cheeses, milks, and juices...they'd come, they'd go....and endless rotation.....here one day, gone the next.


But for me, well it was different. I was a senior member of this community; a condiment, (which in my mind put me in a totally different league).  Like my fellow condiments, the olives and peppers, I knew that I was not included in the cycle....I knew I could count on longevity. But, looking back, I shouldn't have been so cocky. 


She came out of nowhere, the little blond-haired girl with the spear, and while I noticed,  I chose to ignore her poking  around in my jar, even after my pickle friends began to disappear. After all, I believed I was special, different. So, with the classic, "It'll never happen to me" attitude, I watched complacently as she came and speared them one by one, til - POOF!- there was only me......

Now, as I lay here, clinging desperately to the granite counter top, I know that my time has finally come. Surrounded by a multitude of breads, meats and cheeses; my fate is clearly sealed....I am doomed.  I wish now, I wouldn't have been complacent, I wish now ......

Oh no.... here she comes, the blond girl, a gleam in her eye; a spear in her hand......  I've got to get awayyyyyy, I've got to......it's too late......here I goooooooooooooo. CRUNCH!!! 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Kelly Green & Karma



My best friend, Sandy, and I pulled into the parking lot.  Anxiously, I perked up and grasped desperately for the mirror hanging over the passenger seat.  Just a dab of his favorite lipstick should do the trick. I thought to myself, plotting inwardly.     I stepped out of the car in my most form-fitted bell-bottomed jeans, with a brand new kelly-green top that showed just enough, grinning to myself because kelly-green was his favorite color.

"Do you think SHE'S gonna be here?" Sandy said, interrupting my conniving thoughts. I looked at her and rolled my eyes.  She knew not to bring HER up in front of me; after all, SHE was the bane of my existence, SHE stole him away from me. Sandy gave me an apologetic look, "Sorry, love, just trying to prepare you  in case he did bring that no-good dir----" Jenna's words veered off into silence as she grabbed my arm, pulling me back to a complete stop.

"What?  What is it, Sandy?" I asked as I shrugged my arm out of hers.  Her face turned to pity as her puppy-dog eyes guided mine to the entrance.  My eyes sparkled for a moment as they focused on him, my one-time prince charming, looking dapper as ever, reminding me that I still loved him.  My dreamy glistening eyes suddenly turned to fury when just to his left I saw HER on his arm, wearing my same kelly-green shirt.


I'm embarrassed to tell you the words popped into my mind.....(If you read between the lines I'm sure you can figure those words out).....But, what  I will tell you is,  I wish I could have punched HER in the face.......but then, I was only a young girl......

Fortunately, I've matured considerably since that fateful night.....Older and wiser, I take the high road if someone upsets me. I refuse to wish harm on anyone, physically or otherwise.  After all..... "Karma will take care of everything", I say smugly about the offender, and karma is all I wish for....

It wasn't until I read my daughter's quote, (who's half my age), that I realized the truth....

"It's amazing how some people wish Karma to come back on Everyone EXCEPT for themselves...it's easy to tell someone else "What Goes Around Comes Around" - look in the mirror, it applies to everyone." ~Julie Mitchell~

I suppose I'm quite not as mature as I perceive myself to be......:-)



Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Moments of indulgence....what I wish



I am not exactly sure when I wrote this, or why. But, reading it today brought me to tears.
I wish, with all my heart and soul, that I could re-live this "anonymous" morning. If I could....I promise you, the message would read much differently…..

 Moments of indulgence 
(What it read) 

This morning I decided to sleep in!! While hubby made breakfast, I sat quietly sipping my coffee, and making myself this long overdue promise. Before I tackle my over-sized "to do" list, I will take some time indulge...... Be it the sweet freshness of the cool breeze, the melodic sound of singing birds, or radiance of the golden sunlight. I will take the time to enjoy the absolute beauty of the moment......Here's hoping that everyone finds some time in their day to enjoy their own beautiful "moments of indulgence" :-) ♥

Moments of indulgence
(What I wish it read)

This morning I decided to let him sleep in!! After making his favorite breakfast, we sat together  quietly sipping our coffee. “I love you”, I  said tenderly, gazing into his eyes.

His eyes intense,sparkled with emotion as he reached over to caress my cheek “We are so lucky”, he whispered earnestly, “to have found each other.”  

Nodding in agreement, I close my eyes. Savoring the moment, I make myself this promise.  

Today, I will forget about my over-sized to do list. Instead, I will use my time wisely, by indulging in God’s most precious gifts; the freshness of the cool breeze, the melodic singing of the birds, the golden radiance of the sunlight, and the enjoying the company of the man I love.....Here’s hoping that everyone finds some time to enjoy their own beautiful moments of indulgence, and enjoy each and every precious moment they have with the ones they love.
:-)


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

True confession.....




Alright!!! This is it!  Time to confess to those of you who do not already know.....but I have to do it quickly, because I'm literally running  out of time.....

With a quick slug of coffee......here goes.....

Today I share with you a slice of me, not just a slice of life, but of who I really am.....

Yes, my friends, I offer to you a true confession....

I am not a princess, but I do deserve a crown....

I am a procrastination queen....

Why I am like this I'll never know, and I don't know how to change. (I've tried).

But the reasons are of no significance, and there's no time to ponder....

The clock is ticking...... and there is so much to do

So, goes my life....

Not good, you may think.....and you'd be right,it's not.....I have tormented myself and others for years.....

And yet somehow I manage to prevail.....


With a whoosh and a whir, I will fly though the house like a white tornado, clean with the fury of a mad woman,and still manage  make out bills, correspond with others, finish the laundry, (nourish myself, daughter, and pets),and tackle any other miscellaneous duties that come my way. 

We are going on a trip, and I will be packed and ready to go....

If you don't have time management issues like me, you probably wonder how in the world I survive.....and here's the best answer I can give....

We procrastination queens have highly developed multitasking skills, and crazy as it seems, we really do work better under pressure!!

 TICK TOCK TICK TOCK.....BUZZZZZ......

Well, time's up!! I've really gotta run.....but glad I found time to share this, because next time you see me running around like the proverbial "headless chicken", you'll understand.  

You know my secret; my true identity, 

I AM,a procrastination queen !!



Monday, March 25, 2013

It just a prairie.....(a reminder to me)





We're different..

"It’s only a prairie!" they snicker, shaking their heads as they pass us by.                              

They mock us with ugly words and gestures ,.....they say we're strange.....they judge....  

We're not offended, though... We understand....we're sad.
Sad they can't “see” what we see, or "feel" what we feel. (Sad they can no longer remember the beauty....)

Perhaps, we think,that will happen to us one day...
but,quickly we perish the thought
We must always remember....

The prairie
The rich, sumptuous palette of green
shimmers brilliantly in the early morning light.
Mesmerized, we stop, we stare....
Sprinkled with colors of unparalleled splendor, 
We think these must be the brush-strokes of God...

Our eyes

Sparkle with a renewed sense of innocence

and wide-eyed wonder 
Eagerly they drink in the pristine beauty surrounding us.
With tears they express their gratitude

Our toes
wriggle in blissful anticipation
wanting to be soothed by the cool dewy blades of grass
we take off our shoes
we indulge them
with a dance they express their gratitude


With arms
intertwined and fingers clasped
We quietly stroll,two hearts beating as one 
absorbed in the majesty, the serenity of the moment
Our Spirits soaring toward the heavens 
Blessed
With an embrace they express our gratitude


Our moment
Like a fragrant breeze, it lightly caresses our cheeks
but we know it's something more. but what? We wonder 
The presence of an angel?... The presence of God?
We do not know
We only know it's real
A Glimpse
A prairie
A feeling  
A journey of two souls 
Connected for eternity
In that moment
We truly understand
God is everywhere
With love we express our gratitude.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

You are so beautiful to me......


thank you

To all of the beautiful people in my life......
If ever you should doubt God’s purpose for “you”, just take a moment to look around….and think……
Think of all the lives you touch on a daily basis, the people you love, and how empty their lives would be without you....... Think of all the ways “you” make a difference in the world.

My heart, not my mind, compels me to write these words. For each of you, in your own unique way, provide me with a deep sense of warmth and comfort: a source of light that gently guides me, even in my darkest hours. It’s through “you”, I find myself reminded of God’s true purpose for all of us. In sharing the inner beauty of your human spirit, you give those who are frightened, lost, or lonely the strength to carry on…..

May you always remember your significance to the world, the impact you make in the lives of others, and how very much you're loved and needed. May you also know and remember how very important “you” are to me!!

With Love and Gratitude…..

I am genuinely grateful to have"you" in my life.........

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Worth fighting for.....





Midnight

I awaken; wondrous words dancing in my head....Do it now, I think, sifting through the dense sleepy fog that is my brain. I know I must fight, they're worth fighting for, and I don't want to lose them, not this time.......so I fight............   

The battle is tough from the beginning. My eyelids, still heavy with sleep, trying hard not to cooperate. It's a struggle, but somehow I manage to pry them apart. Feeling slightly victorious, I lie silent and smug, enveloped in the velvety blackness, and grin as the scenario plays out in my mind.( Me, meticulously recording the words made for dreams, into my pretty purple journal.... for the entire world to share.)  But wait! What's happening? Already, I'm beginning to drift away. It’s too soon, ..... I’m not ready....I have to stay awake. "Just do it before it’s too late! The little voice in my head cries urgently, don't let them get way, you've got to share them.... you can’t let them goooooooooo!!"  

But the Sandman, ever crafty and vigilant, is irresistible. When he beckons me; I will not win.... "Made only for dreams", he reminds me gently, then with a quick sprinkle, we’re gone. Me, the words.... slip-sliding together into a peaceful oblivion where the words made for dreams are tucked safely away.

5:30 AM

I don't move, I don't open my eyes, I don't even breathe, for a moment I think I can still salvage them. Feeling exceptionally alert, I’m filled with a searing desire to remember.....I have to try!!!  The words made for dreams (or the remnants of) are still close; so close I can feel them, ... sweet to the ear,  delectable to the tongue,  lusciously dreamlike, they need to be written and shared… I can do this!!! ..........Optimistically I reach out....my heart pounding with anticipation, last night’s memories still tickling my brain like tiny feather…so close, excruciatingly close.... then poof, just like that, they’re gone, whisked away into the misty morning air.....never to return.....   

"It's is my fault", I whisper somberly, to the pretty purple journal.

She doesn't answer, she doesn't have to; I know she agrees.  

    . 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Have you ever?







Have you ever had one of those moments that you just wanted to sit back, relax, sip wine, and reflect on everything that is good in your life? 

Tonight is one of those nights. 

The aroma of sweet spiced apple envelops the air around me, as candle flames dance in perfect synchronization with the melodic styling's of Kenny G. 
"You should be cleaning, paying bills, blogging......you should be...."  says the little voice in my head

Shhhh.....I whisper......"I am not listening." ......This moment is mine, it's precious, and even "you" cannot take it away.

Happy Friday and Happy Spring Break!!!!!!!!!!!!







Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fast food is never allowed

                           


They do it for me, I do it for them, We do it for him.......

Together we've shared more than four months of Sunday's since the day John left us behind; it's quickly evolving into a new family tradition.....

Each week, the family gathers together at my house for dinner. Yes, the "event" is always here, but the responsibility is revolving. Here's how it works....

Me and each of my kids/spouses takes turns hosting Sunday dinner. It's the responsibility of the host/hostess to  provide the appetizers, and dinner on his or her designated day.....AND... (this is my personal favorite) we've established the rule: No Fast Food Allowed, so creative menu planning and cooking are a must.

We eat, we drink, we laugh, we cry, we play, we sing, and yes, we have real discussions; we take comfort in each other, we take comfort in being a family.....we love.....

Don't get me wrong, there's a part of me that will always love Friday.....but for now Sunday is my favorite day....a day where family is what matters, and fast food is never allowed.....

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Have you seen her?


No, she won’t beat you up on the playground, shove you in a locker, or shake you down for milk money……  

In fact, if you stay out of her way she may not bother you at all.

But don’t kid yourself, she’s there, she’s active, and she’s dangerous.

Sadly, I've personally observed her power. Sudden and intense, like a tornado she can wreak havoc on the unsuspecting and innocent, and does. Devoid of compassion and empathy, she is fully capable of demolishing all in her path…..before moving on.

Having witnessed the devastation of her victims, and their struggle to pick up the pieces…..I  can’t help but wonder…..

How many victims has she left behind?……How many will there be in the future?……How many even know she exists?

After all, she’s had years to practice. Not only has she molded her technique into an art form, but she  executes brilliantly.

Yes, she’s an adult now, but don’t let her fool you….

No she's not clenching her fist, but listen carefully to her words.....….

 SHE'S STILL A BULLY! 



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Lesson


                             
                               
                     The Lesson
An angel found herself on earth ….
with a fractured pair of wings
Uncertain of her purpose, here…
among such calloused beings
So absorbing all their anguish….
she sought to share their pain
And pledged to help them heal their wounds ….
to give them hope again
Inspired, she loved unconditionally,
all who crossed her path each day
With sincerity she tried to help...
but most turned her away
Though she strives to make a difference,
the days stretched into years
And the long and grueling journey
had driven her to tears
The time she’d spent on earth, it seemed,
had been to no avail
Her presence hadn't changed a thing, h
her love had surely failed
“My Lord, they did not know I cared,
or what I sought to do….”
“My child”, he said, “do not despair….
the children always knew.”
The angel smiled, returning home;
her time on earth was done
But you, my friend, are the angel now …
and your journey’s just begun
So on those days when gloom creeps in
and your heart is feeling low
Keep in mind the lesson all angels should learn…..
The children always know…..

Written for and dedicated to my dear friend and teacher....
          May you forget how wonderful you are................



Monday, March 18, 2013

Perfectly content


It's Monday night....just me and Jul'......
hanging out and doing our thing....and for now, I am perfectly content.

We eat, we talk, we laugh, we gossip we 
change into our comfy clothes...., and for now, I am perfectly content.

In over sized night shirts, we ready ourselves by gathering up our necessities.....
DVR Ready- check 
bottles of water- check
fluffy blankets- check
sweet snack-check
lights turned down-check

and then, I take one last look at the computer screen...

"Ready Ma?" she asks.....

"I am",  I answer, "just finishing up my blog....."

Okay, she smiles patiently....(figuring this will take awhile)

But I will surprise her, because I have finished my blog. 

Yes, tonight it will be just me and Jul'......

It's TV night, and for now, I am perfectly content......and hope that as you read this; you are feeling perfectly content too. :-)










Sunday, March 17, 2013

Amelia tried to warn me


living dead girl - by Elizabeth Scott
          (some thoughts)
  
She tried to warn me that it would be difficult, reading the book, even before she handed it over. I could see it.... her eyes said it all.  Wide and filled with “something”, but what?….. Shock, horror, disdain?  I couldn't tell exactly, but what I could tell was the books content had shaken her to the core, and I must admit it intrigued me. After all, the Amelia I know is tough and unshakable, just like me.

“Let me know what you think”, she said, the uneasy tone in her voice similar to the look in her eyes, “It’s a young adult book", she added, "and I’d really like your opinion.". 

"Sure", I smiled easily, having no idea what I was in for, I added the book to my priority list, but didn't give it much thought until yesterday…..That's when I picked it up........

To say living dead girl captured me from the very first page would be an understatement. Several times, I felt the need to put it down; to wash away the disturbing images imprinted on my brain, but I couldn't!  Instead, I devoured it, page by page, until it began to devour me. Haunted by the torment and unimaginable abuse, I had to keep reading..... as if my reading would find some kind of redemption for this child. …..….as if my silent plea to Elizabeth Scott "to make everything turn out okay in the end" would make her change HER ending and allow the “once upon time girl” to wake up and find herself safely tucked into her bed on 632 Daisy Lane....as if......

While living dead is incredibly heart-wrenching and painful to read, I can't help but give the author her due. Beautifully written, she boldly challenges each of us to picture what none of us wishes to see…..and believe me, it's not for the faint of heart.

As far as whether it belongs on the young adult list, well the verdict is still out on that one. My daughter is reading it as I write this blog. I will see what she has to say about that!! 

And Amelia, next time you try to warn me, I will pay closer attention.....:-)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Uh Oh....Truth or Fiction?



When we spoke of Brittany, we never used her name. Sometimes we referred to her as Bryan’s sister, but mostly we just called her “narc”.
I watched impassively as she bent down, struggling to gather the books someone had deliberately knocked out of her arms. She looked weary as she straightened up and swept the long strands of red hair away from her face. Even from across the hall, I could see tears streaming down her cheeks. Sometimes I felt sorry for Brittany. I wondered how she found the strength to come to school every day; how she managed to come and face all of us. Yes, sometimes I felt sorry for her, but most of the time I only felt contempt. She had done this to herself, I reasoned. Being a narc at all was enough to ruin your life, but to rat out your own brother….well, that was enough to end it!

What you have just read is an introduction to one of my short stories.  

The fact is, I've written several such stories, each  "TRUE", based on (MY) life and from (MY) unique  perspective.   

Utilizing basic story elements, (plot, character, conflict, theme & setting), I articulate my memories carefully, assuring my readers will not only identify with the thoughts and feelings of the author, (ME), but, also find her, (ME), to be the protagonist or good girl!

That being said, I sometimes question the accuracy of my own stories.. For example, at the end of this particular story, I wrap everything up neatly and attractively, and must admit, (I) look pretty darned good in the end....

But then again, that 's only (MY) perspective.  I sometimes wonder how Brittany’s version of the story would read???? 




Friday, March 15, 2013

{Insert Picture Here}


Where’s the camera when you need it?


I've heard it said “A picture paints 1000 words”….. Oh, how I wish I had one now!!!

Each week, my friend Laura and I meet with a group of students who are incredibly passionate about reading. SO passionate in fact they are willing give up an hour after school every Friday to participate in our club. The fun we have had, and the books we have read….. Honestly, I can think of no better way to begin my weekend, but I digress….. this post is not supposed to be about me….


Now, getting back to the kids….

Today, as usual….we began the meeting by positioning desks into a circle and passing out a snack and drink. (We believe our readers should have well nourished; well hydrated brains.) Then, once everyone was seated, we began our discussion. Without going into detail about the book, (no spoilers here), I will share the topic of discussion.

What do you think the future would be like without books? What would you do if someone tried to burn your books?  {Insert picture here]

As a writer, I find myself at a loss…..there are no words to describe the mortified expressions on their faces or the intensity in their voices as they adamantly proclaimed:  “No One will ever burn our books!”

Call me a dork, but seriously, these kids made my day!!! :-)


(The current book we are reading is the fictional novel: Human.4; written by Mike A. Lancaster.)





Thursday, March 14, 2013

Carrie, this poem is for you......

                                                       My first pastel:  3/2012


This picture, drawn last march, was first piece of many pieces in my pastel phase. J  When I gave it to my friend, I promised to share with her the motivation behind it. Hopefully, I have captured that feeling in my poem.

                                                                                
Summer sun glistening
Gleeful feet dancing
The sweet scent of wild flowers
The feeling of Joy

Happy children laughing
Jump ropes and hop scotch
Ice Cream Man music
The feeling of delight

Cat tails and dandelions
Morning glories and lilacs
 Hot dogs and lemonade
The feeling of glee

Butterflies and bullfrogs
Climbing trees, Hide-N-Seek
Sprinklers and hoses
The feeling of summer
                                                                                   































Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Every Day is Saturday (for her)



The sound of music interrupts the fleeting sweetness of my dream
I groan and bury my head deeper into the mountain of pillows 
they're cozy and comfortable with a
fragrance that is fresh and crisp and clean
I pretend not to hear the alarm
I refuse to open my eyes
Instead,I snuggle deeper into the mushiness of my mattress
It's softness feels like heaven
It should be Saturday, I tell myself
I PRETEND IT IS and wrap myself up tightly til 
I'm "snug as a bug in a rug"....
Completely covering myself in the feathery softness of my
fluffy white comforter.....I feel luxurious
I am determined to make this moment last
but the music does not stop playing.....
and I dare not hit snooze button
Because if I do
I'll surely fall into her trap.....
With one last stroke, I longingly look at her
The cat who lays contentedly purring by my side 
she stretches and winks at me sleepily
Her warmth encourages me to drift back off into dreamland 
But I'm responsible and know what I have to do 
With a sigh of resignation I gently lift the covers 
Moving ever so slowly....careful not to disturb her as I slip into another Wednesday 
because for her, every day is Saturday 
            I envy her.....I really do



Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Our Little Slice of Heaven

                               Thank you for loving me! 

A little Slice of Heaven
 A beautiful beginning
We laughed, we danced, we schemed
We held on to each other; we held on to our dreams
Two hearts that once were lonely
Melded easily into one
And we thanked the Lord in heaven
For our daughter and our sons
In time our youth began to fade
but our lives were no less sweet
T’was our love for one another 
That made us feel complete
Now each memory is but a slice
that I nurture tenderly
within the confines of my heart
  keep them safe as they can be
And though you had to leave me here
I know that I'll be fine
 for the slices love created
Live forever in my mind
                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                                                              
                                                                                        
                                                                          
                                                                         
                                                                      

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Old Gray Porch


Cracked and weathered, the old gray porch was my favorite part of granny’s house. Like granny herself, the aging veranda exemplified the grace and gentility of another era; strong and enduring, its elegance could not be marred by the hands of time.

In my mind’s eye, I can still picture granny’s porcelain skin and sparkling blue eyes, as we'd settle in for story time. Using crickets as her backdrop, she’d begin by humming an old country hymn, and wait patiently as we gathered ‘round in sweet anticipation. Hearing the first rhythmic squeak of the rocking chair, we know she was ready:

 “Once upon a time”, she’d begin.

Immediately enthralled,we'd allow the sugary sweet sound of her southern drawl to take us away, and transform the old gray porch into a mystical, magical place of childhood dreams…….