Friday, December 2, 2016

#Flashback Friday

How many remembers the Panama Jack t-shirts, sunglasses and other apparel?  We thought we doing something sporting around in our jeans or shorts and Panama Jack t-shirt, didn't we?  I was 12 when they were popular.  I wonder if they still make the t-shirts?  

Monday, November 21, 2016

The story of Hurricane Matthew continues.....

   Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest ~ Matthew 11:28

     Hello everyone, hope all is well and ready for the Thanksgiving holiday.  I sure am.  When I last posted it was a struggle for me to write the blog without expressing any of my personal emotions.  As a writer I have focused on expressing my emotions through my characters, plots and stories. 
     I opening admit that I have struggled with blogging because I was uncomfortable showing my personal emotions.  I did not want my readers to read my blog and automatically assume that this was who I am.  Besides, in the world wide web, once it's out's there. 
     In my last post, I talked about the day before the storm.  Today, I'm going to continue with my story.

     Saturday morning, October 8, 2016 I cooked a big breakfast: grits, eggs, sausage and toast.  A normal southern breakfast in my home.  I started doing laundry and just piddled around the house.  (Contrary to what the Webster Dictionary says, piddled/piddling is a southern term that means, staying busy.  Example: Picking up after kids, straightening, cleaning and organizing rooms as you multitask with other house chores).
     A little after 1 pm the electricity goes out.  It comes back on.  It goes out again.  The third time it's out for good.  By now, it's somewhere around 2:30 pm.  The gale force winds had become stronger at this time.  It was still fairly bright outside so I decided to go upstairs and work in my office while it was still daylight.  I was on vacation and figured why not get a jump start on my list of chores to get done that week. 
     I started up the steps.  Fourteen of them.  My son had went up prior to me to get his guitar.  A perfect time for him to play since the electricity was out.  Halfway up the stairs I stopped and went back downstairs to retrieve something from my bedroom.  What exactly, I no longer remember. Back up the stairs I went.  Just as my feet touched the landing, my son came burling out of his bedroom shoving me back down the stairs.  This is when I realized that my (at the time) sixteen year old, 5'8", bony, skinny teenage who weighed no more than 120 pounds soaking wet was very, very strong. 
    I gripped my hands onto the stair banister with all my might trying to force the words out of my mouth that was screaming in my head, "What's wrong with you?"
    "The trees falling, the trees falling!"
    My eyes grow wide with fear and disbelief.  I remember screaming, "NO!"  As soon as the words fell off my tongue all I could hear was, crash, boom, bang.
    My teen held me as I screamed and yelled.  My husband came burling up the stairs to find me standing in my office.  A spare bedroom.  Wind and rain whipped through the room.  An intruder and unwelcomed visitor that is was.  A tree limb bigger than me extending inside the window rested upon storage containers of winter clothing, family records, photos, Christmas decorations, a filing cabinet, a desk and several of  my hand writing manuscripts that had been filed in a storage crate.  
     What was once a window was no more.  Glass in a million pieces lay everywhere, including the storage containers that once were covered with lids.  Shards of glass protruding from the broken window were being blown inside the room each time the gust winds blew. 
     "Get out!  Get out!"  My husband yells at me.  Forcing me out of the room he slams the door shut.  I will not ever forget the sound as that door closed.  My heart fell to my feet.  I felt like the door to my dreams had been closed forever.
     "There's nothing we can do right now, not until the rain and wind stops."  He held me for several long minutes as I weep in his arms.  He could not have known the thoughts that I was having nor that I had a deadline with an editor.  A deadline at the end of October that now would not get met.
    Writing has been my life for the past ten years.  Every thought, idea, dream, notion, I had written now had a tree limb leaving it's marking on it.  I thought I was done for.  It had taken me two years to find a good editor and now I was dealt with yet another obstacle and set back.  I was in a position that would be most difficult to deliver my end of the agreement.
      Downstairs I sat at my dinning room table, holding my head with my hands as the most agonizing, ferrous migraine took over.  The gust of wind beating down on us as other trees in the back of yard began to tumble like dominos, I began to pray, "God you've got to help us."  I remember looking at the time.  It was barely 3 pm.
     It would be five hours before my husband and son were able to hand cut the tree limb out the widow and board it up.  Thank God we had the plywood to do so.  I realize now that my husband had used scrap wood from were he had built a hunting tree house this past spring.
     I can't remember what I cooked for dinner that night.  I do remember I couldn't eat.  I was sick with grief.  I do remember thanking God that we had a gas stove; one that I had demanded when we built our home.
     I will stop here until later.... 

After tree limb was cut and removed from inside window
 My husband surveying the fallen tree.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

No  One Was #Prepared for #Hurricane #Matthew

     Hello Everyone!  I hope all is well and Thanks for reading my blog!  I hope you revisit my blog after reading this one, because I have a lot to say.  Thanks to #traumatic experience of Hurricane Matthew! 
     Exactly three weeks ago today, the lives of those in the path of Matthew were forever changed. Never again will I not be more prepared than I was three weeks ago. 
     I admit, I was not prepared for the storm like I should have been.  Honestly, no one was.  Why?  Listening to the predicted weather reports.    
     'Oh, it's going to turn back out to sea.  You should only expect to see wind gust 15-20 mph winds.' 
     In December 2014 I was diagnosed with asthma.  When it's going to rain my chest gets tight and I normally end up having to take a breathing treatment to get relief.  The entire week of  October 3-7 my chest was tight and I had to take breathing treatments everyday just to make it thru work.  That was my first sign that bad weather was coming.  But I ignored it.  On Friday, October 7, the sky was overcast and it was a freaky grey.  A color I don't ever remember seeing before.  The air had a eerie feeling to me; like something was hiding.  It could see me but I couldn't see it.  The air wasn't thick, but it was unusually cool and it just felt odd.  I remember going to my car after work and as I was putting my work and lunch bag in the car I stopped and looked around me.  Not a soul was in sight. The air made the hairs stand up on my arm.(That kind of freaky).  
     At approximately 3 am it started to rain.  A down pour, heavy rain with wind.  My second sign that we were in for trouble was when I woke up at 5 am from a dripping sound.  I woke my husband telling him I heard water dripping.  'It's raining.' he answers between snores.  7 am I finally get up to go to the bathroom and I stepped on a wet rug.  I sit here and giggle about my reaction but, oh my gosh, let me tell you, I woke the house up yelling, 'there's water on the floor!'.  Son came barreling down the stairs, husband sits up on the side of bed giving me a mean look.  Son steps in our bedroom and gets his face splashed with water.  Yep, we had rain pouring from out of our smoke detector.  
     I will continue with my story, in the mean time I've attached some photos I would like to share. 

     This was my back yard the day of the storm, just four foot from my back screened in porch. 

The following pictures are courtesy Melinda Scott my co-worker that she took in the #Pembroke, Lumberton North Carolina area.  


Friday, October 14, 2016

It happened on a dark night, on a country road....
     End of September, the 28th as a matter of fact, is when it happened as I was driving home after work.  It was a moonless night and the day had been a very long one.  You know the kind of long days were you want it to just be over so you can go home but time teases you by dragging by and pulling every last drop of energy out of you?  All through the day you keep thinking to yourself, if I could just crawl underneath my desk and sleep for a few hours I'll be ok.

    All week it had been cloudy and chilly, which was very unusual for southern #North #Carolina.  Normally, it's still very warm.  All day, the stitching of my clothing had ached against the very pores of my skin.  It felt like sandpaper scrubbing the bark off of a piece of wood every time I moved and walked.  The uncomfortably cold temperature inside my work hadn't helped any.  Just as soon as I got comfortable to really focus on my work I would get a surging hot flash and would have to get out of my coat.  Five minutes later I was cold again.  As soon as my shift was over at 9 pm, I rushed out the door, into my car headed for home. 

     Thoughts of a long, hot shower; sliding into my comfy pajama's and burrowing deep underneath the cover of my warm bed encouraged my haste to arrive home as quickly as possible twenty miles away.   

     Alone in the deep, dark Carolina night I traveled country back roads dotted with houses and farm land were the farmers had previously harvested their crops of corn that week.  At the time this was no concern to me.  I grew up on a farm and was pleased that the farmers were able to gather the crops before rain set in.  Talk of a #Hurricane #Matthew recently in the news meant rain was sure to come soon.

     Less than five miles from home my anticipation spiked when I came upon the last intersection on my route.  Within ten minutes I knew I would be making my last turn on to the dirt road where I live.  Previously harvested corn fields ran parallel of the road I traveled flanked by very deep ditches on both sides.  Up ahead was a sharp curve that banked to the left.  Acquainted with the curve, I was confident in keeping my vehicle on my side of the road at the speed I was traveling.  Entering the curve, I admit I was going above the speed limit. 

     How much you silently ask?  Oh, a little over 60 mph.  I really couldn't tell with my odometer needle.  Come on, have you really looked at how the odometer gauge lines have gotten so small?  Sure the number 40, 50, 60, etc are big enough to see but I have a desk job with not one but two monitors and to top it off I wear bi-focals.  I can't be starring at no dash in my car while trying to position my nose to see where the odometer needle is pointing at 63, 64 or 65.  I do like all the rest, whether you admit to it or not.  I glance at it, take an educated guess and keep it moving. 

     Entering the curve my headlights that was on dim caught a glimpse of something in the road.  A person?  A stray dog maybe?  Heart racing I flip the control for bright lights.  No, it can't be!  I scream out loud to no one but myself and the radio.  I grip the steering wheel with one hand and slammed my other hand down on the horn like there was no tomorrow.  I put both feet on the brakes and began to pray, "Jesus have mercy, Heavenly Father up above...."

     My eyes quickly count 1, 2, 3, 4.....10 and still just as many more were in the road.  I darted my eyes in my rearview mirror and then back in front of me.  Not another car was in sight in either direction.  I made a quick decision, one that had to be made with no dallying.  I pressed down harder on my break with both feet.  I could now hear my tires squealing.  I swerved to the left.  Not a wise choice I can hear you saying.  Wrong or not, I didn't see any other choice.  

     As I came into that curve, what I saw up ahead were approximately twenty #raccoons on my side of the road, stealing corn from the harvested field.  I had never seen so many at one time.  When I shined my bright lights they all stopped in the middle of road and a few of the bigger ones stood up on their hind legs.  They were in every shape, size and color.  Now can you imagine me calling 9-1-1 saying I wrecked in a ditch because of raccoons in the road?  I sure didn't want to hit any of them.  No doubt I would have tore the front end of my car up.  Didn't feel like trying to explain that one either to the insurance adjuster. 

    As it would happen, only to me, when I came to a screeching halt sitting sideways on that dark, country road my mom calls.  I answer through my Bluetooth, "Hey Ma, how was your day?"  Mouth dry I suddenly get the craving for a very, strong ice coffee. 
If I had a dime for every time she asked this question I would be a rich woman.
"Where you at?" 
"Sitting in the middle of the road, trying to find my britches and put them back on."
"What?"  She pulls the phone from her ear while yelling for my dad, "Here Andrew, talk to this gal.  She's talking foolishness again.  She's yours anyway."
"Hey gal what's up."  Dad snickers.  I've yet to find it funny that whenever I do something Mom considers crazy that 'I'm his youngin'.
I begin my spill about the twenty raccoons stealing corn from the field, crossing the road in front of me, minus that I was going 60+ mph.
"Gal, I thought you had more sense than that seeing how you're traveling home late at night. You ought to have deer whistles on that new car of yours."
Hearing Dad talk on about deer, dogs and whatever else is creeping in the deep, dark Carolina night, I step on the gas and continue on my way.

     I arrived home safely that night.  Once I calmed down enough to re-tell my story of what happened down the road in the dark, I pointed a finger at my husband.  "I told you I need a horn with an attitude."  Haven't gotten a louder horn yet, and neither have I seen any more raccoons.

Monday, September 12, 2016


You know #fall is upon you when.....

10. #Dove #hunting season is on- #Labor Day always comes in with a bang!

9. #Deer hunting season soon follows.

8. #Corn is #harvested- Tractors on the highway in the evenings always delay your time getting home.

7. The temperature has dramatically changed to cooler.

6. The leaves on the trees are slowing beginning to change their color.

5. County fairs are in full swing.

4. Retailers are displaying mums, pumpkins and all the fall goodies needed from Halloween to Thanksgiving

3. Planting season is in for collards, mustard and turnips.

2. The days are gradually getting shorter and the nights longer.

1. Seasonal allergies has made Flonase your best friend!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Interview with Carol Graham, Host at
Never Ever Give Up Hope
Hi Everyone!  I'm so excited to share with you my interview with Carol, the wonderful host at Never Ever Give Up Hope.  I met Carol, along with a group of other wonder authors last October in Baltimore, Maryland at the Focus on Women gala event. 
Check out my interview! I hope you will enjoy!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day
As we celebrate #Mother's Day, I am reminded of a story of a #woman who went to great lengths to protect her son during a time of war.  This is a true story, a story of a Mother's love.  A story about my maternal-grandmother, Annie L Jones.
1968, my mother's brother, who was in the Army, was killed in a car accident in Washington, DC.  Soon after my mother's youngest brother was drafted into the Army.  The day that he left for Vietnam, my Granny got on the phone and started calling everyone and anyone she could to stop him from going to the warfront. 
Now, my Granny only had a education as far as the 6th grade.  My granddad went to school up until the 3rd grade. 
Granny started dialing numbers, pleading her case.  Begging for help that that she did not want to loose another son.  One person led her to another, to another and another. Somehow, by the grace of God, Granny got the phone number to the Pentagon!  Yes, the Pentagon.  Once again, by the grace of God, Granny got through to someone who was willing to listen.  My uncle's plane landed in Spokane, Washington and he was escorted off the plane by two MP's.  My uncle served in the military, but he was stationed in non-threatening areas like Laos and Germany. 
One summer, my grandparent's had some visitors.  While they were talking and reminiscing about the good ol' day's, they started talking about Granny calling the Pentagon.  One of my cousin's and I used to stay with Granny and Grandpa during the summer while our parents worked.  As you can imagine, we were shocked to learn that Granny had done such a thing.  It took a whole week for my cousin and I to find the phone bill where Granny called the Pentagon.  Old folks were funny; they still are.  My grandparent's didn't believe in throwing nothing away.  Granny had one of those ol' timey rotary phones.  I'll never forget how tired my little fingers were trying to dial the number.  Pulling the rotary wheel all around to the stopping part seemed to take forever.  It seemed like hours it took us to dial the number because my fingers would get tired, cramp up and I'll miss dial by not getting the rotary turned all the way around.  There were several times a woman came on the line saying, "Operator, do you need help dialing your number?"
Of course we slammed the phone down because we weren't supposed to be on the phone in the first place.  That was another thing.  You didn't touch Granny's phone.  You would get a spanking.   
Determined to find out if Granny really did call the Pentagon, my cousin had to help by putting his chubby finger in the number slots with mine to dial.  Getting the number dialed, we each pressed our ears up to the receiver when it began to ring.   
"Pentagon, how may I direct your call?" A woman on the end answered.
I'll never forget gasping loudly and slamming the phone down.  My cousin jumped up from the couch.  "She did, she did, she did call the Pentagon and got Uncle Ted off that airplane!"
A Mother's love.  It can't be measured, it can't be borrowed and it can't be hidden. 

Saturday, January 2, 2016



     Happy New Year everyone!  Another year is behind us with a new one on the horizon.  Have you made a new year's resolution, goal or plans? 
     Unlike most, I have not, nor do I intend to because of personal reasons.  Growing up I always hated the week leading up to New Year's Eve.  My mother would have me cleaning, scrubbing and organizing the entire week after Christmas.  The house would be pristine clean and I would be too exhausted to do anything on New Year's day but rest up.  Her reason?  She believed that if you had a clean and well organized house on New Year's Day, that it be that way the entire year.  I know what your thinking.  Your wondering if I still carry on the same tradition.  My answer is a big no.  Simply because I work full time; am currently attempting to re-write a manuscript and I have a husband and a teenage son.  (That alone is another blog for another time).  
Here is a list of other New Year's traditions and superstitions I grew up with:

1-Never,never do laundry on New Year's Day. The old saying is that you are washing someone out of your life; thus someone will die in your family.
2- Never bring the new year in without buying groceries.  If so, the rest of the year, every time you turn around your out of something.   
3-Never take garbage out on New Year's Day.  You will have garbage in your life all year long.
4 - For dinner you have collards and black-eyed peas.  Collards represents money and black-eyed peas are for good luck.
5- On New Year's Day spend a little money so you will have money all year long.
6- On New Year's Day wear a new item of clothing so the rest of the year you will have other new clothes.  

Hello friends,  HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to you All!  I hope everyone is well and coping during this #COVID-19 pandemic.  I can only ima...