Archive for the ‘Country Times’ Category

My life is sometimes defined by the losses of people, friends, family that I have had to deal with along the way. With each loss, a part of me seems to disappear. I attempt to move on but there is always something missing because there is lack of closure…missed times and saying goodbyes. I miss some of these individuals every day and some I miss less often but it doesn’t mean that I miss them any less.


About 2 weeks ago I received a call about the farm…business stuff. It was a neighbor from my childhood…we grew up together and are distantly related. He was sending some paperwork to me and said he had a picture of his older brother taken with me in 1963—WOE! Most of my family pictures were destroyed. I have a few negatives but my mom didn’t keep the family pictures with her when she moved and people destroyed everything when they broke in and stole stuff. People have no conscience.


I was both excited to think about a photo I didn’t remember but I was also a bit torn as I anticipated seeing the brother. He died over 27 years ago. It is so sad—a bad car wreck. Senselessness. Memories—some are very painful ones—some are very playful ones but they still hurt. I don’t know what was with all of us…most of us that grew up together got married and then divorced not long after. In fact, there were only a handful of people that I grew up with who stayed married and even less stayed married AND happy. And, that is truly sad.


I didn’t mean to sound morbid. This was me at 3 years old. We were at the spring banquet for the Eastern Star. I remember we had to walk around together with a basket and give out gifts… 😀 …fun times. Later that year, in September, my paternal grandmother passed away and my family’s lives were forever changed. See how everything is sewn together with that thread that binds us. This is right before I began looking like a poster child for starving children because I was so sick. Pictures…memories… Oh the thoughts of good times and bad.


Have a great week! 🙂

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Meet Lionel, Gus’ and Fern’s cousin—ok, maybe they are not so closely related and there are 1000s of miles between the three. When we last saw Lionel, he was about 15 feet up in the air and he was probably the size of my hand—maybe larger. 😯 We were on the farm looking at crops. My daughter saw Lionel first. His web spanned the entire field road (the black spot to the right of him is something in his web). 😮

Lionel is not some little spider and I will be quite honest…I do not like spiders…even the smallest. There was no one for miles but the closest person probably heard me yell and scream. We took photos and then backed down the road very carefully so as not to disturb him. 😐

By the way, if you wonder where these names come from…I have no clue. 😀


I wish you a very happy and a very safe Halloween! 😀

And, Happy Gardening! 😆



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My hospice friend, the girl I grew up with, the one who was a part of my family for so long is moving away…about 500 miles…sniff, sniff. I haven’t seen her since 28 years ago this Saturday. That changed today 😀 …

I still haven’t met her husband. He has already moved and wanted proof that I was real–as she said, “She’s not a Yeti.” So, here is the proof…

Yeti and JJ

Yeti and JJ

I’m not a Yeti…I’m an Amy 😀 .

Have a great Friday and greater weekend! 😀

Take care and Happy Gardening! 😀

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On the wall at the bottom of the stairs hangs a large portrait of a man who is my great-grandfather—my paternal grandmother’s father (my dad’s mom’s papa). He is a rather handsome guy with his well-groomed mustache and those curly locks that are a family trait. His mustache was always well groomed in every photo I have of him by the way. My children were a bit scared of him (understatement)—his portrait—just as I was when I was growing up. I used to hide and could never look at him in the eyes 😀 . I never knew him and neither did my dad. He was called Clayton and my father who was born a few years after his death was named for him.



I still have some of the family property that was settled over 200 years ago. The farm was where I grew up, where I have such fond memories. It is said that my G-GF’s grandfather was born in Ireland and had married a Scottish lass. I cannot confirm this definitely and there is not a paper trail that is conclusive on what generation was born in Ireland or where exactly they came from but by 1785 at least one had settled in the area and by 1793 there were enough of the family to name a settlement after them. A couple of years ago, I was shocked to find a plat (1793) with the settlement listed. I had no idea. The area lost its name for a while but then was renamed for the families back in the late 1800s. Now, that is all but a memory. My G-GF was the postmaster for this little hamlet and the post office sat out in front of the old farmhouse. In my grandmother’s photo album, there is a photo of my G-GF on his horse and I have found newspaper writings of people talking about him delivering the mail. Today, very, very few of the surnames are left in the area and the road that was named for them that we lived on has been changed.


There is much that is unknown to me about our family history but there is quite a bit that I do know and that is how they treated others—always helpful—always courteous—always respectful. There have been times where I will forget and will get angry when I am provoked but this is not the way I was taught. I do not know the reasons for this family line settling in America but most likely it was to have a new chance at life. The story goes that there were two men—two brothers who came to America. One went north and one south. Why? I have no clue and I cannot confirm this. As I dug into the family history, I discovered that I have more questions than answers. Even the pronunciation of the name has changed—Americanized? Maybe. I may never know the story and yet I do know. The family that I knew were pious, modest, and simple. They never wanted glory, prestige, wealth, or power because they had more–more than they ever needed. 🙂


I love life. At times, I find that there are enormous barriers that get in my way—more than small obstacles–more like stone walls. I have to remember where I came from—my roots—my family and sometimes I have to be reminded. 😉


Happy Gardening! May all of your memories of family be wonderful! Take care and be blessed! 😀


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I have so many great memories of Christmas on the farm. We were simple and celebrated very simply. Christmas was a cedar tree cut and dragged home from somewhere on the farm, old electric lights added, precious hand-blown ornaments that had been passed down through generations, even icicles that were reused each year… Christmas was also the best food I think existed, even Black Fruitcake—YUM! 😀 , and family that would gather around the big farm table.


MadonnaChristmas has always been very special to me and I have tried to pass that on. My paternal grandmother who died when I was 3 was the real lover of Christmas. It was her passion that was passed on to me through my dad, my mom, and great aunt. One year when I was a young teenager, I received the precious Madonna that belonged to my grandmother. Each year, I received something of hers for Christmas but this gift has been the most special. For years, I unwrapped her along with the carolers and cherubs to display on the Welsh Dresser my dad made years ago. When Christmas was over she went back into the box…that was until I decided that she should not be hidden 330 days of the year and is now enjoyed every day.


Christmas is lots of things to lots of people but to me it is the memories of Christmas past coupled with the memories of Christmas present that makes it so special. My passion for Christmas is not much different than that of my paternal grandmother. And, I hope that I have passed on much of her love of Christmas and what is truly important.





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As I was sent on my way to first grade my parents said, “Get a spanking at school and there will be one waiting for you when you get home.” I didn’t try to find out how true that was but knowing my parents there would not be just one but two


spankings waiting for me. We didn’t have a woodshed; we didn’t even have a fireplace until I was 14 😀 , but that would NOT deter my parents. Many parents in the area were the same as mine. You know that phrase, “Spare the rod, spoil the child?” That sentiment was emblazoned on a wood plaque in many a home. We were raised to respect people and property—well, most of us.


IN THE NEWS — Another cemetery was vandalized in Alabama last week. I saw the headline and checked to see if it was one I knew. It wasn’t but there was a particular cemetery near where my mother grew up dating back to a battle during the War of 1812. It had been vandalized several times (not the only cemetery but this has become a type of recreation 😦 ). An ancestor that settled this area had a brother killed and is buried at the one from 1812 . The cemetery was moved at least twice, the first was to make way for a lake then it was moved again to make way for a subdivision. People do not have respect for others. It is a shame. It was suspected that teenagers were hanging out in the area drinking when they spray-painted some of the stones and then went back and broke them not once, not even twice, but several times. It was a sad scene. 


I guess you have seen about the Petraeus scandal. I have been trying to avoid as much news as possible but that has not escaped my eyes. At the risk of sounding crass, “Guys, what is it that causes this?” Are you really willing to throw everything away? Women do it, too, but what has happened to respect, respect for others, respect for property, respect for oneself and just pure respect? Where are the boundary lines? You can make anything exciting if you want to and it doesn’t have to be with someone ELSE’s spouse or without your spouse. I’m still trying to get over Mark Sanford and a few others who were out living it up while their wife was performing some super woman feat—one was giving birth to their child. And, let us not forget John Edwards… I can’t even write those words. Men who leave their wives when their wives have health issues… I told my husband that I would so like to take him out to the woodshed, or get someone else to… Well, you get the picture.


I urge us all to know where our boundaries are and if not, learn them. See them and cherish what we have. As for the tombstones…I think this is worse than a crime of vandalism. It is a crime against home and sanctuary—it was their place of rest. When we dumb-down the crime by making it less sensational, we do a disservice to us and all of the people that pass after us. And, infidelity… You wouldn’t want to be treated with such lack of respect so treat others better than you would want to be treated…PLEASE. Thank you!


By the way, I never got a spanking all through school–not from the teachers but I did get in trouble one time…I would rather have had a spanking… 🙂 …I would rather have had three. Be good to others and cherish your spouse! Happy Gardening! 😀


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It is interesting to know our namesake(s) and the history behind our names. Sometimes we are named for an ancestor; sometimes it is a family friend or other family member. Do you know if you were named after someone? Not knowing much about my family history before my mother passed away, my knowledge of my namesakes was limited until I began to do a little digging. Mom said she named me (my first name) after my great aunt—Dad’s mother’s sister—or rather a shortened version of her name. And, my middle name came from my mom’s side of the family—no mystery with that one.


Sisters in front of the old farmhouse
Amanda Pauline, Lillian Ann (my GM), Emma Irene

My great aunt did not marry and she had no children. Her first name was Amanda but went by her middle name because her grandmother, Amanda Amelia, lived with the family. Pauline was like my best friend when I was young and a great substitute for my grandmother after she passed away. I don’t think there was anything she could not do.


The name Amanda has been passed down through my father’s family since at least the 1700s—back to my 5th great grandmother, and I doubt this is the origin. This name has been used in every generation except for my father (I know he was glad 🙂 ) who was an only child and I have not confirmed that my 5th GG daughter’s middle name was Amanda or if there was possibly another daughter who died who might have been named Amanda. The name continued down through several lines and generations—not just mine. I didn’t use Amanda or a shortened form in my girls’ names. I think they are ok with that but I probably would have at the time had I known the family history.


Names should be badges of honor, something we build on as we grow so that when we are gone, there is a sense of respect in the remembrance of our name. Do you know if you have a namesake or perhaps you are a namesake? Is it a name that has been passed down through many generations and has meant something special to the family? Did you name your children after a certain namesake in the family? It is something special when we can connect to our family that has gone on before.


Happy Gardening and may we make our namesakes proud! 🙂


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I have been looking for a photo of my dad and me when I was little. There was one where I was helping him plant flowers but I cannot locate it or the others mainly because when the people pillaged our house, they destroyed our family photo albums. This poor quality photo was taken of my dad and me at my SURPRISE going away party just before I left for college. He is making this speech about how proud he was of me all while I am boo-hooing like a baby. My father died less than 3 years after this photo was taken.

My dad saying how proud he was of me

A friend was over before the party and kept asking if I wanted to change clothes. I didn’t take the hint. She kept saying, “Are you sure you don’t want to change clothes?” We were just going to pick up something from the church or something of the sort—or so I thought. I guess she thought I looked too much like Daisy Duke without the “chest.” Those jean shorts even had a tear in the hem.

My dad tried his hardest to be the best example of a dad. His father was not a part of his life so my dad wanted to make mine better than what he had. He was always so giving and caring—both of my parents were. That is where I get it from. Daddy has been gone for 31 years this month. I don’t miss him any less today than I did 31 years ago. Daddy, thank you for giving meaning to my life. I have never forgotten all of your sacrifice, dedication, and love! Happy Father’s Day!

I would just like to say… Do all you can to be the best dad because you never know when this day will be your last. Love your children more than yourself, live as an example, and show your children your undying love! And, remember, in order to really love your children, you need to love your wife first. Happy Gardening!

I had this scheduled to post when I found these photos…

Planting seeds with my dad

On my dad’s shoulders in Florida

I love you, Daddy! You were the best!


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This is a photo of the famed cat in our family when I was growing up—who was more than just a cat. His name was Charlie Brown.

Charlie Brown

Not long after I came home from the hospital when I was 10, our calico cat named Callie had kittens. She liked to sleep with me, particularly under the covers, and my mom was scared she would have the kitties there in the bed. It was tough trying to keep her out. Not long afterwards, she gave birth to 3 beautiful kitties—Charlie Brown, Linus, and Lucy who we called Lucy Locket. They were very special kitties and had a beautiful dad named… Sweet Violet. Sweet Violet was left on our doorstep by a family friend (head shake). My mom usually named the cats and named this one thinking HE was a SHE. I don’t have a photo of him but he was smoky and white—absolutely no stripes.

There are many funny stories I want to tell about Charlie Brown. He was the closest thing to a brother I had. He thought he was PEOPLE. But his dad, Sweet Violet…

My great aunt (who was like my grandmother after my GM died) was staying with us for a while she was recovering from something. Sweet Violet wanted to go outside. My aunt went to the door and called the cat, “Violet, Violet.” The cat would not budge. She refused to call a male cat “SWEET.” She tried and tried with no results. As soon as she said, “Come on Sweet Violet,” up he ran out of the door.

May our lives be beautifully blessed by our kitties and pets and may you have a wonderful day in the garden of life! Happy Gardening and Simon says, “Happy Scratching!”


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Do we really know what it means? I had a 4th  great-grandmother on my mom’s side (my great-grandmother’s great-grandmother to clarify :)) who married a man she loved very much. She was a little young and he was older, but they were married in Kentucky back when our country was in its infancy. How do I know of her love? Well, several clues are there but the end of her life said so much about the love she had for him.

from wikipedia

The women in my family have been very strong-willed. Some will say it is a character flaw while others will say it is a gift. It’s probably a little of both. There is no doubt that Elizabeth was a strong woman. After marriage, Elizabeth and her husband moved south as lands were opening to new settlement in order to build a home and raise a family. My mother’s family line remained in this area until just shy of the year 2000.

I have the good fortune of possessing written information passed down through the family as well as stories that were shared along the way. As I was searching for more information about my family and relations, I found journal records belonging to a neighbor farmer of the time that detailed some of the events that led up to those stories and no, the family didn’t get the information from the journal. Little pieces have been put together to tell a bigger story (one I am not telling here :)).

Elizabeth was not a woman of money, fame, or power—well, maybe a little money. She, like so many women of that day, made do of what she was given per situation. She loved her husband so much that one day after he had been sick in bed for quite a while—they were up in age and watched all of their children grow into adults-even buried a few—her husband passed away. The story goes that she was so brokenhearted that she laid there with him in the bed and willed herself to die. She did die that same day–passing away almost 100 years before I was born. This story has touched my heart ever since I heard it almost 40 years ago and brings a tear to my face each time.

After my great-grandmother died (Elizabeth’s great-granddaughter) I went with several relatives to visit the old homeplace. No one had lived there for years. I was young and wasn’t into family history but I remember people pointing to a corner in the room talking about how “he” died first and then “she” willed herself to die. I thought how creepy this was. Later, when I was putting some family history pieces together, I found out who this “he” and “she” really were and that they were interred in the same grave for all eternity. Imagine the love and devotion she had for her husband. This is not a Romeo and Juliet type of story. This is as close as it comes to the happily ever after story you can get though it is still a bit morbid. It is true to life and tells us so much about our ancestors.

And, to add, this house was still standing as of several years ago when I was back for a visit but the land is no longer held by any of the family.

May your life be blessed and filled with love and devotion and may your gardens produce beautiful bounties no matter where they are! Happy Gardening!


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