The Worst Hard Time

Yesterday I shared a poem I wrote called, The Dust https://nananoyz5forme.com/2020/01/14/the-dust/. It was inspired by memories of my childhood in Floydada, Texas, when the wild winds blew stinging dust into every little nook and cranny of my world. I hated the dust and the dry Texas winds. They drove me slightly mad. Explains a lot, doesn’t it?

And as a young wife, I grew to hate the wind and dust even more when on two separate occasions the back door of our rental house in Dumas, Texas, blew open while Studly and I were at work. We came home to find inches of dust on our floors, our furnishings, and inside of our cabinets. I cleaned for days and still found dust where dust shouldn’t be. I cursed the dust.

When Studly and I moved away from the Texas panhandle I missed the family and friends we left behind, but never the wind and the dust. I could live there again if I had to, but I pray I’ll never have to.

While living in Illinois I joined an informal book club. We drank a lot of wine and sometimes even discussed the book we’d been assigned to read that month. One that made the biggest impact on me was The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan.

The book chronicles the Dust Bowl era of the 1930’s through interviews with those who lived through that time. I knew every town mentioned in the book. And as awful as my memories of windy, dusty days were, they were nothing compared to the nightmare of the Dust Bowl years.

One lady in the book club complained that the book went on about the dust way too long. I countered with, “I think that was the point.”

If the author had glossed over even a bit of the despair caused by the weather conditions he’d have missed his mark. She also asked if anyone still lived there.

“Well, yes,” I said. “I have family and friends there along with hundreds of thousands of other hardy folks.”

“Unbelievable,” she said.

There is a lot of beauty in that part of the country–days so perfect, sunsets so gorgeous, you could almost cry. But I always remember the dust.

Peace, people.

It’s Raining FRIENDS, Hallelujah!

Characters Ross, Monica, Rachel, Joey, Phoebe, and Chandler first came to the small screen as FRIENDS 25 years ago. I watched the series sporadically, but was never one of those super fans who never missed an episode. I’ve most likely seen every installment by now, though, given that the popular series has never exactly gone away.

My daughter, Ashley, IS a super fan, and she’s shared her love of the show with her middle child, McKayla. So, when Ashley learned that the 25th anniversary of the popular series would be celebrated with exclusive showings of select episodes in movie theaters she got pretty excited.

I’m at Ashley’s home in Illinois this weekend, and coincidentally, one of the showings of FRIENDS was scheduled at a Cinemark theater in nearby Davenport, Iowa, on Saturday night. Well, how could we not go? Ashley bought tickets, and away we went.

(Waiting for the first of four FRIENDS episodes. That’s daughter, Ashley, on the left, granddaughter, McKayla, in the middle, and yours truly on the right.)

It was such fun to see these small screen characters on the big screen in four episodes. Ashley’s favorite episode in the series “The One Where No One’s Ready”

was among the ones shown, as was one of my favorites, “The One with the Embryos.”

I had a great time laughing at the familiar antics of the friends on FRIENDS while enjoying movie popcorn and candy with two of my own best friends. The evening was practically raining friends, don’t you know. As Chandler might ask, “Could there BE anymore friends?”

Peace, people!

Grandpets

Currently I’m in western Illinois hanging out with my daughter and her family. On Friday the adults went to work, the children went to school, and I got to snuggle with the pets.

That’s Match, above. He’s a friendly guy, who hates storms and tolerates pesky cats.

Below, is Snuggles, a pesky cat.

She is beautiful, but something of a little stinker. Messing with Match is her favorite pastime.

The three of us passed a stormy day together in quiet companionship; although, as soon as the thunder and lightning moved on the cat was back to attacking the dog.

Peace, people!

On the Horizon

Months can pass at Doright Manor with nothing of interest happening. Okay, so occasionally I set my underwear on fire and once I sent a green bath rug to a total stranger because I thought she needed it…

https://nananoyz5forme.com/2019/09/24/beware-the-green-rug-or-be-careful-what-you-ask-for/

Sometimes, though, I have lots of good stuff on the horizon. This weekend I’m flying to Illinois to see my daughter and her family. We chose this weekend because all three of the Illinois grandkids have stuff going on: Grandson Garrett will be marching in the high school band playing saxophone just like his Nana (that’s me!) did. Granddaughter McKayla is a high school cheerleader, so I’ll get to see her in action, while the youngest grandchild, Harper, will be cheering before the game. I’m almost too excited to sleep!

But that’s not all, folks! In late October, I’m meeting a group of friends in Nashville for a weekend of shenanigans. Of course we’re all in our late 50’s to mid 60’s, so the shenanigans will be kept to a quiet minimum, but still, it will be fun.

I love having stuff on the horizon.

Peace, people!

Excitement and Anxiety All Wrapped Up in One Package

Have you ever been so excited for something to happen while simultaneously hand-wringingly worried about the same event? I’ve been so in need of a spirits booster. My digestive system isn’t being all that cooperative these days, and I’ve felt like a useless, grumpy old biddy.

Part of my grumpiness stemmed from thinking I wouldn’t get to make my annual drive to Illinois to stay with the grandkids while their parents took a much needed vacation to a sunny beach. I really look forward to the one week a year when I get to hang out with the three Illinois grandkids, and when that was threatened I figured my days of being useful were probably over. (Okay, I get dramatic sometimes, so sue me.)

Then yesterday evening my daughter and I were brainstorming back and forth and we wondered if the kids could fly to Florida and hang out with us during their spring break week while their parents flew to Mexico. The more we talked the more our plan came together, and this morning we booked flights for the three who are ages 16, 14, and 6.

I jumped up and down and whooped a couple of times (take that, grumpy old useless biddy) and then realized I’d now be a nervous wreck until the kids were safely in Florida. See, I do have a purpose! Worrier-in-Chief. Fortunately, I have only a week to wait on their arrival, and I have plenty to do between now and then.

(The photo below was taken at Christmas. Cannot wait to hug these three!)

Peace, people!

Cold is Relative

Studly Doright is playing in a golf tournament today while I’m home taking care of the cats and doing laundry. Any thoughts I had of getting out and running around town for a bit were dashed by the weather.

It’s “Florida cold” outside, not to be confused with “Michigan cold” or “Wisconsin cold” but trust me, when you’re accustomed to 70° weather with sunshine, a cloudy 40° day is a real bummer, and our night time temps are going to dip below freezing this week. Brrr.

My daughter in Illinois has no sympathy, though, and I can’t blame her for that. Their weather forecast makes me want to cry for them. If they cry for themselves, their tears will freeze on their rosy cheeks.

Studly Doright and I are no strangers to bitterly cold weather. We did our time in the cold white north, four years in North Dakota and another eight in Illinois were plenty for me. Perhaps our little cold snap here in the Florida panhandle is just a reminder to count my blessings. Or maybe it’s just cruel and unusual punishment for some unknown offense. Whatever it is, may it be gone soon. I’m also wishing warmer weather for all those impacted by Winter Storm Harper.

Here’s our own force of nature, also named Harper.

peace and warmth, people.

In Praise of Patience

Late Thursday evening Studly Doright and I returned home to Doright Manor here in the panhandle of Florida. We’d left Port Byron, Illinois, on Wednesday morning after celebrating our middle granddaughter’s birthday with a family breakfast at a restaurant of her choice in Moline. I wish I’d thought to take a photo that morning, but this is our lovely 14-year-old McKayla.

Studly and I departed from Moline and started towards home, only he didn’t take the exit our gps indicated. When I questioned him he just said, “Patience.”

After nearly three hours of patience we ended up in Champaign, Illinois, to have brunch downtown at Sam’s Cafe. We both love Sam’s, where the pancakes are the best and the French toast is out of this world. The old diner on Walnut Street is nothing much to look at, but oh, how we’ve missed it. I’d come down with a cold on Tuesday night, but that French toast tasted like it might cure all my ailments.

We left Sam’s and finally took a southbound road out of Champaign. I figured that since we’d dawdled for the first three hours of the day that Studly would be in a mood to make up some ground. I was wrong. Somewhere south of Marion, IL, he took an exit that had us traveling a winding road through Vienna down to Metropolis where we stopped for a burger at Fat Edd’s Roadhouse before checking in at Harrah’s casino and hotel. I was baffled. It was just barely 5 p.m. We never stop before 7 p.m. when traveling like this. When I asked Studly if he’d been abducted by aliens and reprogrammed to wander aimlessly he just said, “Patience.”

We didn’t go into the casino. Instead we watched tv and snuggled into the first truly comfortable bed we’d had all week. I took cold medicine and slept like a rock for much of the night. As soon as we were back in the car on Thursday morning Studly turned in the opposite direction our gps indicated. I didn’t bother asking what he was doing. “Patience” seemed to be the only answer I’d get anyway.

I should have anticipated that his intended destination was food related. When we lived in Illinois, Studly’s job took him to the Metropolis area often, and there he discovered Rube’s Cafe. Rube’s serves biscuits and gravy made exactly like Studly’s mother makes them, and he’s been dreaming about them since we moved from Illinois six years ago. I had a bacon and cheese omelet while Studly feasted on biscuits and gravy. I believe there was a tear in his eye as we drove away.

The remainder of the trip was fairly straightforward; although, I did plot us a route that avoided major metropolitan areas. We used the gps sparingly, and I navigated us on peaceful backroads through Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.

I seriously enjoy reading maps, and the activity kept me alert all day. Our route added an hour to the original route’s estimated arrival time, but we avoided the stress of the holiday traffic crush, and perhaps some major delays around Nashville in Tennessee, and Birmingham and Montgomery in Alabama.

I’ll take this over the interstate any day:

There’s a lot to be said in favor of patience.

Peace, people.

More Pictures from the Road

On Saturday Studly and I traveled the second leg of our Christmas journey, driving from Clarksville, Tennessee, to Port Byron, Illinois. We made good time and soon were hugging our daughter and three of our five grandkids.

This is how the youngest one dressed to greet us in 33° weather:

After getting the grandkids all riled up we headed to a pizza place across the river in LeClaire, Iowa, where we played pinball and Pac-Man, tried our luck with the claw game and the fortune telling machine while the pizza was being cooked. I was too busy playing to take any pictures, but I took this one of the granddaughters posing as the Grinch and Cindy Lou Who in front of a shop in LeClaire.

There wasn’t nearly as much NASCAR style driving going on today, so my sanity isn’t in question as it was last night. I didn’t take many photos from the passenger seat today either, but we did pass a truck carrying its payload in an unorthodox manner:

Studly called my attention to this odd sight as we approached the truck north of Springfield, Illinois. We pondered for many miles how this little car was loaded onto the bed of the truck.

Other than these two pictures I only snapped a few others:

Studly got a bit excited when he saw snow on the side of the road. I hope that’s the ONLY snow we see this week; although, the forecast is calling for a white Christmas.

That’s part of the Peoria, Illinois, skyline, above. Not a great photo, but Peoria is kind of a cool river town.

As I type this, Studly and I are unwinding in our cozy hotel room with a view of the Mississippi River outside our window. We’re watching the Kansas Jayhawks play basketball while recharging our batteries for tomorrow’s activities with the grandkids. We’re going to need all the energy we can muster. Wish us luck.

Peace, people.

Pictures from the Road

Studly Doright and I are heading north to spend Christmas with our daughter who lives near Moline, Illinois. I’d intended to write today’s blog post as Studly drove, but I couldn’t concentrate on writing while he was navigating the bumper to bumper traffic.

Things got a little intense a time or two. Going through Dothan, Alabama, a car came within inches of plowing into my door. Only Studly’s quick reflexes kept us from getting hit. Then somewhere north of Nashville a car stopped abruptly in the left hand lane of I-24. Again Studly’s quick thinking prevented an accident. My hero!

So, I didn’t write a thing until we got to our hotel room, and all I have to show for today’s blog are three photos taken while Studly drove:

I have a fondness for Piggly Wiggly signage. My dad managed a Piggly Wiggly grocery store for much of my life, and I met Studly when he worked for my dad at the Piggly Wiggly in Dumas, Texas.

This huge confederate flag waves over a section of I-65 in Alabama. Confederate flag memorabilia is sold in every gas station and convenience store along the interstate. The current president is quite popular in these parts, and I’m always in a hurry to get out of this state.

Traffic in the southbound lanes of I-65 came to a standstill due to a nasty accident just outside of Nashville. Look how far back the headlights go in the distance. Too many people all trying to get somewhere for the holidays. Hoping no one was seriously injured in the wreck.

Tomorrow’s traffic should be less hectic. There won’t be any major cities to navigate between Nashville and Moline, but if you don’t hear from me tomorrow you’ll know I’ve surrendered my sanity.

Peace, people.