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Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Christmas Boxes

  Sitting here this early Christmas Eve morning reading all of the posts on facebook about how some people are missing their mothers this holiday season.  I too am one of them.  So many things I miss about my mother,  way to numerous to count, but one of the most precious of memories involves the Christmas season.

Mom was an avid crafter. Although she didn't have much money left from her monthly check, she found bargains when there were none to be found by the average person. She had boxes and boxes of yarn, needles, eyeballs, fabric, doll heads, you name it, she had it.
These were her treasures and she took great joy in showing me just what new crafty thing she had just bought, or a new book of patterns that had just came in the mail. Sometimes her small little apartment looked like a Hobby Lobby store. One would do well to even find a place to sit down in her living room. When I close my eyes, I can still invision just what it looked like...partially made dolls lined up on the back of her couch, while a half crocheted afghan lay across the arm of a chair. Sewing machine light shining with bits of thread and scraps of fabric laying on the floor.  Her heaven on earth.

Mom, though her funds were meager, always managed to give all of us, her kids, a Christmas box. She would spend months crafting and putting the items back for gifts. A week or so before Christmas she would spend all of her time baking cookies, banana bread, pumpkin bread, and candies of all sorts. She would then wrap the goodies in clear plastic wrap and tie a red bow around each one. There on her couch would be 5 boxes, lined up like Christmas soldiers,waiting patiently to be filled. She would then divvy out all of her crafty things and sweet treats amongst those boxes. On Christmas Eve morning she would give us all a call and say, "your Christmas box is ready, come and get it". One never knew just what might be included in that box of goodies. 

One Christmas in particular that I remember was when she had come upon a mountain of fabric for free. I think maybe one of the local factories was closing down and she happened upon all of this free fabric, thread, elastic.etc.   Well, she got an idea that she would make all of the men a pair of jogging pants for their Christmas gift that year.  She sewed and sewed until she got them all finished in time.  Wrapped lovingly with paper that she had saved from Christmas past, and placed each pair of joggers in the special box to whom they belonged.  I will never forget when Don opened his gift...They were the sickest, most hideous color of pink one would ever imagine...kind of between a pink and orange color.
We laughed until we hurt over those pink jogging pants. But Don, being Don, put those babies on and wore them proudly. Made mom's day for sure, she was so proud of herself and her accomplishment. Matter of fact he wore those pants until he nearly wore them out, and our house fire took care of the remainder of them. We still have a laugh when we think about those pink jogging pants.

I believe this same year is when she sewed all of the younger kids a "Cabbage Patch" doll. She bought the heads, fabric, and doll pattern and she worked diligently to get each of the kids dolls finished in time for Christmas. Surprisingly they looked really good too. Actually you couldn't tell much difference in her homemade version and the real one other than they didn't have the certificate and the stamp on their butt. My girls kept theirs throughout their teen years and beyond, not sure if they still have them or not..

So, yes, I too along with so many others, miss my mom and dad during the holiday season. This time of year always stirs up those precious memories that are embedded so deeply in my mind and heart. Again, we are reminded of just how precious life is, and how we should enjoy every possible second of it. There is no time for the frivolous things that we get so caught up in. In the end, all we have left are the memories. Death is so final.  There are no do overs to life, so make the most of what you have. Love your children, your spouse, your parents.  Appreciate the smaller things life has to offer, for some day they may be the big things that you remember....................

Sunday, September 4, 2016

My Aunt Marge

Margie Mobbs Lucey, the baby daughter of Johnnie and Pearl Mobbs. She was a beauty back in her young days and is still a very beautiful elderly woman now. Her mind is still spry, yet a little slow at times with speech, due to a slight stroke she suffered a few years ago. She walks with a cane, but one can tell she would really like to throw it down and take off without it. Sometimes she wants to walk a little faster than what her mobility allows. Her hair which was once as black as midnight oil and long and straight as an arrow has long since turned to shades of gray and is now at shoulder length. I focused on her high cheek bones, and thought, "that is definitely her Indian genes that she inherited from her mother, my grandmother." 

I stood off to the side observing, as I watched my one and only Aunt of 89 years, (that is still living), look through a photo album that a cousin had brought with him to our first family reunion in many many years. The entire album was a collection of cemeteries, tombstones, and flowers of family members who had passed away. Some were several years ago and were really great photos that are definitely worth keeping. I had to turn away though and take a deep breath to keep the tear from falling from my eye. It was such a sad scene. 

"I wonder what she is thinking, she is the only one left.  Her mom and dad are gone. Her brothers and sister is gone. All of these people in this album are gone." 

She was the baby of the family, and here she is looking at all of these photos, of her aunts, uncles, and cousin's tombstones. It had to be sad for her, but then again, it was probably good to remember all the family that she once felt close to. She would stop ever so often and tell a story that she would recall of the one that had passed.  I could tell that through the sadness she was also thoroughly enjoying the memories and this reunion. The fact that these cousins had driven over from Union City, Tennessee was like icing on the cake to her, I know. So glad they made the effort.

All of this made me think of myself. Yes, selfish, I know.  I am the baby of 5 kids. Mom and Dad are both gone.... and so it starts.  So for, all 5 of us are still living, although some are not in great health. The oldest sister is in her mid 70's, and I know that if  I live long enough, some day I will be where Aunt Marge is now. Even though her children love her dearly, there has to be a loneliness that I am sure no one would understand until they reach that point in life for themselves.

I wish that I had took the time to tell my dear Aunt just how much she meant to me. Although I am sure that she knows. I spent many hours of my childhood running in and out through her front door. In the summer months my cousins and I were together nearly everyday. Such great memories that will always live near and dear to my heart. She was almost like a second mother to me and I suppose that is why I felt such a connection to her when I saw her yesterday. It was like a little piece of mom had come back to me for a few hours.

We are planning another reunion for next year and hopefully many years after.  I pray that my dear Aunt's health holds and we can enjoy many more days together as great as yesterday was.  We never know what life may have in store for any of us, but we can all look forward to that Great Reunion in the sky where no one ever grows old, no one ever dies. What a reunion that will be.

To my cousins...I love you, and so glad we got to spend the day together..so looking forward to next time!


Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Whistle Blows

Laying there in the quiet peaceful darkness of the early morning hours, just before sunrise, as the birds began chirping their springtime melodies, all was calm.  In the distance I heard the rumble. I first thought it was a plane but, no, I had heard this before, many many times. Then, the distinct sound of the old whistle blowing.  For a moment I was confused.  A train in the city? But yes, there is a railroad close to the airport, which is not to far away from our house. I just lay there, listening to the lonesome sound of the long drawn out whistles, and it took me back in time, to that small little town that I grew up in. I was overcome with a homesickness, and a loneliness that I had never felt. Once again memories of days gone by................

In my young days families would gather at our house ever so often. All of the cousins, probably at least 12 or 15 of us, would go walking around town and it always ended with a hike down the railroad tracks. Like ducks in a row trying to stay balanced on the rails. Or skipping in between the rails on the boardwalk, as we called it. Laying rocks on the tracks to see if the train would smash them to pieces. Just being together, having fun and enjoying life. Many times we would have to jump off the tracks and let a Cotton Belt train go past us.  So big and powerful. The rumble would almost make my heart jump in my chest. Being raised in a town that had a busy railway in its midst, we were taught at a very young age that trains deserved respect, and not get to close to one that was passing by. Looking back, it almost gives me anxiety to think how close to it some of us probably were.

I lived in that small railroad town most of my life. Raised my children there, and taught them the dangers of the trains, just as my parents had taught me. I remember many nights of being awaken by the low steady whistle off in the distance, rumbling and screeching as it would make its way down the winding tracks from one end of the county to the other.  It was always such a lonesome sound. Almost like a cry. There were times when it even brought a tear to my eye. Sometimes is was almost  haunting and eerie sounding and would make a chill run down my spine. There were times when it would be so loud I would think it might be coming through the middle of our house.

Not to long ago we went back to our home town to visit family and had to stop at the crossing to let a train go by.  Again, as it rolled slowly past, hearing the clackity clack of wheels on rail, I was hit with nostalgia as soon as I heard that lonesome whistle blow.
I'm sure that I will probably never live in this small town again, but seeing and hearing this train just added to the memories and love that I have for it.  It is my home town. It is my childhood. It is where I am from. It helped make me who I am today.  It is where my mom and dad are laid to rest.  It is where I have family. It is where I have friends. It is where I owned a business for a decade. It is where a piece of my heart will forever be.

And so hearing that faint whistle blow early this morning brought floods of emotion back to me in a way I haven't felt in a very long time.  I wish I could have just one more day with cousins on a railroad track, not caring about tomorrow. One more day of my dad telling me to be careful and watch for trains. One more day of  my girls learning to drive and cautioning them vehemently about the trains and what could happen if they too did not respect them. The sound of that lonesome whistle is forever etched in my book of memories and I will visit it from time to time as The Whistle Blows.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Best Friends Forever

I stood there in the warm October sun. Numb, staring at the small grave site and the beautiful bouquet of flowers that would soon adorn the top of it.  I saw a son kiss his mother for the last time.  I saw a daughter hold close the urn that held her mother's ashes with a small gesture that simply said "you will forever be in my heart."  I saw a sister kneel, pluck a vibrant flower from the bouquet and place it in the shallow grave. I saw family and friends with tears flowing generously as they held a small handful of sod and gently let it fall. I felt my heart would break into a million pieces. So missed by many, so loved by all, myself included.  All of the emotions that so frequently follows death.  Anger, love, loneliness, peace, fear and the list goes on.  We all felt the same as the person next to us, connected somehow, even with strangers.

As I stood there in the cemetery I couldn't help but take a moment and turn to my right and  look up the road a bit. This cannot be, I have been here before. At this nearly exact place. Such a long time ago. Maybe not in this same circumstance, but in the fact of losing a best friend. This same gut wrenching  sadness. Can I do this again? Can I go on with life as usual? Yet, I knew that I could.  Knew that I would. The irony of it all, the two that I lost, that WE lost, were cousins.

Melba and I were about 7 or 8 years old when her family moved to Bell City. Just a very short distance from where I lived,  across an ally way actually. We had a lot in common, and she made me laugh...hysterically! In a few days we had become fast friends. Best friends. Inseparable nearly from day one. We remained best friends throughout our teen years and into young married life, until one night she was taken from this world way to soon.  Only about 21 years old. Leaving a very young son behind. My heart was crushed. How could this tragedy happen? It was so hard to except and to understand.  One cannot keep from asking the "why's." And now, here I was once again feeling that same loss and anguish as I did on that sad day so many years ago.

Standing there looking up toward her marker, and listening to the final prayer being given by Billie's heartbroken and humble son, I took comfort in knowing that we had lost Melba nearly 40 years ago and she is still very much alive in my heart and memories, I know that Billie will be too. I know that as time passes all of the sadness will turn bittersweet.  I know that as long as I have a sane mind, I will always remember Billie's sense of humor, her laugh, that beautiful alto harmony voice that added so much to our singing. The sincere honest person that she truly was.  I know that I feel very Blessed to have known Melba and Billie and to have been able to call them both my dear friends.  My life would not have been the same without them in it.

Walking back up the old path, I had to stop a moment and look at Melba's gravestone..and just whisper to myself...........".I remember, I will never forget." I glanced back down toward where Billie would lay and whispered again........"always and forever in my heart."

I loved them both so very much.





Monday, July 28, 2014

The Plain Air Ride

Once I heard an old time preacher man say that he had never took an "airplane ride" but that some day he was going to take a "plain air ride." With somewhat of a sense of humor, of course, but the whole entire congregation knew exactly what he was talking about.

I thought about that this past weekend when Don and I took our very first airplane ride ever to our daughters' wedding in Florida.  Excited would be an understatement of all the emotions I was feeling. Finally the day came, and filled with anticipation I scurried unto the plane with only one thought in my mind..."I have to get a window seat or I am going to cry right here in front of all these people."  It was a wasted worry, there were plenty of window seats, as my daughter, the travel agent, assured me there would be.  As we left the ground and started the lift off, I could actually feel my heart flutter inside my chest.  The stewardess on the intercom informed us that we were headed for a height of about 37,000 feet.. that is about 7 1/2 miles high..Oh, My!

 As, I looked out the window at the clouds floating along below me, I was overwhelmed with the awesomeness of just how big and powerful God really is. I have always heard that we were like grains of sand...but being 7 miles high and looking down just kind of put that all in perspective.  We are truly grains of sand in this ginormous world.

Looking out the tiny window, the clouds looked as if they were giant balls of cotton and I was sure that if the need arose, I could jump on one and it would catch me and hold me in its pillowy softness. I imagined how fun it would be just to jump from one cloud to the next. Or just lay there and  bask in the bright sunshine for a while. I felt as if I were a child again experiencing awesomeness for the very first time.

While focusing on those beautiful white orbs, I thought about and old Hoppers song.  Goes like this:

"Steppin' on the clouds, we'll see Jesus, rise to meet him in the air,
Steppin' on the clouds, he will greet us, oh, the joy together we'll share.
I'm gonna leave this world behind me, goin' where the devil can not find me
 I'm goin higher, higher, higher, Steppin' on the clouds.

I realize also that this little piece of what was pure delightment to me, is also what a lot of people take for granted. Their jobs require or demand that they fly often, so I am supposing they just get used to it, like riding in a car, or on a bus. To most, it is not a big deal.  But as I looked around me and saw the girl next to us was napping, my thought was "how on earth can you nap?"  The man across the isle was working on his computer..."are you kidding me?"  With clouds like this beneath us?" Do they not realize that they are missing God's handiwork that is right here in their midst? I seriously think that a lot times we miss out on blessings by just not taking a moment to see, smell, hear, and touch the mighty works of God. We just need to (as the old saying goes) stop and smell the roses.

I had these same emotions as I stood on the nearly pure white sand of Santa Rosa Beach. The gulf stretched out in front of me with waves lapping at my feet..such total power and awesomeness...Just had to take a moment and take a deep breath and thank God for all the beauty and magnificence that he created.  Once again, I am sure those that live there or go there often take it for granted too. Maybe it is only us Inland people that really appreciate that kind of awesome beauty, or maybe not.

I don't know if I will ever get the chance to fly any where else in this life time.  Or even to stand on the snow white beaches, I hope that I do at some point.  I always told everyone that flying in a plane was in the number one spot on my bucket list.  Well, I can cross that baby off now.  The image of those clouds are forever etched in my mind. If I were an artist, I would paint a picture of it. Although I am sure that a painting would never compare to seeing it all in real life.  If I never get to fly again, one thing that I know for sure is that when this life is over, and God calls me home,  I will indeed take a "Plain air ride" just like that ole preacher man did several years ago.

The ole preacher man was none other than Brother Sydney Razor..Assembly of God minister. My pastor, and mentor when I was a kid.  Don and I attended his church the first few years of our marriage, and he preached my dad's funeral.  A very special man of God that I loved dearly. Many years ago he did indeed take his "Plain Air Ride".  I have no doubt he is now enjoying all of the breathtaking beauty of Heaven itself.

A big thank you to both of our girls..April and Marissa for making this dream come true for Dad and me. The wedding was simple, elegant, and beautiful. But the bride was even more so.  Just the icing and whip cream to this piece of cake.  Love you both and really do appreciate all that you do for Dad and I.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

This Bleeding Heart

Eagerly I wait for Spring to arrive,
Each day I check, "are you still alive"?
Searching the ground for one tiny sprout,
on hands and knees,  I crawl about.

Then one day the searching ends,
"There you are" all new again.
Tender, fragile, all clothed in green
I gaze at your beauty, so serene.

Spring rains come, the heavens part,
bringing forth to you one tiny heart.
Bleeding drops of different hues,
I look at this flower, I think of you.

From Heaven above, to this special place,
a sweet gentle kiss upon my face.
Each year we will visit, we will never part,
as I wait the arrival of This Bleeding Heart.

          written by:  Debbi Hendrix



Once again, this little Bleeding Heart flower breaks forth from the ground.  It is always the first thing I look for in the spring. This very flower belonged to my mom.  She had it in front of her apartment for several years..When she got sick and could no longer live by herself, she asked me to dig her Bleeding Heart up and take it to my house..I did without hesitation.

This flower has had many homes since then...She was first in my front yard at Bell City..when our house caught fire and we moved, I dug it up and put it in a pot..We lived in an apartment for a while, so she lived in a pot...then we bought a house in Dexter and she was once again planted in the ground and thrived very abundantly.  When we sold that house and moved to the city, we were once again in an apartment, and she lived in a pot again, then I took her to my daughters house and she lived in her back yard for a couple years. When we bought this house that we live in now, she was dug up once again and placed where she is now...here she will stay. (unless we ever move again, of course)...She is one tough, sturdy, dependable flower, which would also describe my mom!

When I see those first small cracks in the ground in the early spring, and a few little green twigs waving up at me, I have a joy unspeakable down deep in my soul.  It is like an angel kiss that is sweet and tender. A smile from Heaven.  In a couple of weeks she will have little pinkish red hearts hanging all over her...It is like my mom saying to me, "I am still here, I am still close to you, and here is my heart." Just like with Sally (the vine) I love this little flower so very much. Each time I look at it I think of my mom, and it seems to bring a little piece of her back to me.  I will forever and ever cherish This Bleeding Heart, and just as with Sally, I will do everything within my power to keep them both alive and thriving.  Can't wait to see it bloom again this year. Kisses from heaven just to me.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Just An Old Pair Of Shoes

I stood there in the middle of the isle looking at all of the different kinds and sizes, searching for this one specific kind, in which there were none.  Again! It wasn't the first time that I had looked for this one certain style.  But unfortunately, the day had finally come, I had put it off just as long as I could.  I had no choice...it was time to buy another pair of black flat shoes.

While my husband stood at the end of the isle and patiently waited for me to try on at least a half dozen pair, he made a few comments as to which ones he liked best. I didn't know that it would be this hard. As I looked down at my feet, I couldn't help the tears that began to form in my eyes...trying hard to hold back all of the emotions that was connected to this old ragged pair of shoes that I had worn into the store.  I SO wish they were new again... I wish that I could buy them all over again just like it was the day I actually came upon them..nearly 18 years ago. 

It was another typical Saturday afternoon when my mom called as she so often did, and wanted to go to Walmarts (yes, with an 's').  She wanted to buy her another pair of black shoes because hers' was   'just about to wear out.'  As we enter the store she proceeds straight to the shoe area and locates her favorite shoes.  I am sure she told me at least a dozen times just how comfortable those black shoes were that she had on her feet, and that she was going to buy her another pair just like them. Actually this would be her third pair. Same color. Same style. Same size. She insisted that I try a pair on too, and so to make her happy, I did.  Surprisingly they were actually pretty comfortable.. She says to me,  "just put them in the cart, I'm gonna buy you a pair too." Well, we argued over this idea, because there was no way I was gonna let her buy me a pair of shoes.. cheap or not!.. I told her, "No, you put yours in the cart and I will buy you a pair." ... I won!  I would not have thought it at the time, but those cheap ole Walmart (s) shoes quickly became my favorite pair... I wore them to church, to work, to shop, everywhere I went.  Yes, my mother was right again... those were the most comfortable shoes I have ever owned.  I can honestly say that I got way more than my money's worth on that buy!

So here I stood, looking down at the old, dirty, worn out shoes on my feet, thinking about the twinkle in my mother's eyes at the thought of getting herself a new pair, and the feisty little attitude she had at wanting to buy some for me. I was so overcome with emotion.. thinking to myself, "this is silly, they are just an old pair of shoes," but I couldn't shake it... in the check out line I finally got myself together enough to share with my husband that those old shoes were special to me because I had gotten them on one of the many shopping sprees with my mom and she picked them out.

Even though I have looked at Walmart (s) several times in the last year or so to see if they still had those same shoes, I have never been able to find any.  I guess they are out of style these days. And yes, like my mom, I would have bought another pair just like them. Same color. Same style. Same size. 

I like my new shoes well enough I guess, although they really are not as comfortable as these old ones. I will continue to wear my old black fake leather shoes here around the house and out in the yard until they no longer have a sole. Even though these old shoes took me to church, and to the nursing home to visit my mother years later, and to all the special places that I have visited with my family and friends, to me they still have soul. They will serve me a couple more years as I plant my flowers and tend to my little garden, for those are the places that I find to be more surreal these days. There is just something about when they are on my feet that brings a bit of my mother back to me. To most people they are Just An Old Pair of Shoes, but to me they are so much more....they are a very precious memory embedded in my heart....and as all the other memories... I will cherish them forever ....................