Happy Mother’s Day

My mom has been gone for many years now, but there’s not a day that I don’t think of her or need her or miss her. We seldom saw eye to eye, but we usually saw heart to heart.

Happy Mother’s Day to the woman who insisted I use good grammar and who modeled great reading habits. I owe her everything.

Peace, people.

Wine Fueled

Saturday came with its easy vibe, cloaked in laziness and splendor.

A chaise lounge beckoned, and I reclined, the better to revel bodaciously.

A glass of red in hand, the radio on a slow, low, sexy jam, stretch out your hand

And touch me there, and here. Oh, the wine might fuel me, but it’s you who

Moves me, every time, every single time. Come closer, and kiss me.

Scraps from Their Pasts

For Christmas I put together scrapbooks of their early years for our two children. The idea wasn’t an original one. Studly Doright’s mom, Saint Helen, had given Studly and his four siblings scrapbooks several years ago as Christmas gifts and for him at least, it remains one of his all-time favorite gifts.

I’m not a very crafts minded person, but in preparation for assembling these scrapbooks I made multiple trips to Michael’s (for non-Americans, that’s THE place to go for creative types) in order to purchase the books and to find appropriate decorative touches for each page. I bought tons of stuff and ended up using only a fraction of it. Project ideas, anyone.

I’m so awful at this type of thing that I actually started all this at the beginning of 2016 and had planned on presenting them with their gifts at Christmas that year, but I got bogged down in the minutiae, and it took me almost two years to complete the task. I’m still not sure how my mother-in-law put together five such books without going crazy, because I’m fairly certain some of my sanity was lost in the process.

I’d looked forward to presenting the books to my kids in person when we were all in Nashville that Christmas, but since I was an entire year behind, and we weren’t getting to see them for the holidays this year, I had to put them in the mail.

Now, I’d worked my butt off cropping photos and arranging them with curlicues and doodads. I’d spent countless hours searching through old school pictures and awards. The thought of trusting these works of heart to the mail almost drove me crazy(er). So, before I boxed them up for shipping to Dallas, Texas, where our son lives and to Port Byron, Illinois, where our daughter resides, I documented each and every page with the help of my trusty iPhone camera.

I’ll spare you from viewing all of the pages (you’re welcome). While I wasn’t there when they opened the books they both assured me they’d enjoyed their trips down memory lane. I’m so glad I spent the time creating these, but even more glad that I had only two children.

Peace, people.

Clone?

One of the upsides to the social media site, Facebook, is the way it reminds of us photos and events we might have otherwise forgotten. This morning the following photo popped up in my Facebook memories:

That’s Studly and me with two of our grandchildren, Garrett and McKayla, from nine years ago. At first glance I thought the woman pictured was my mom. Then it dawned on me, that my mother died before ever meeting any of her great grandchildren.

Here’s a photo of Mom with our daughter, Ashley, who is the mother of the children pictured above. I think maybe Ashley was four in this photo.

Again, here’s the photo of me:

Holy cow. People have told me how much I look like mom, but until now I don’t think I fully realized it. Cloning. It’s real and apparently has been since the 1950’s.

Peace, people. (Miss you Mommy)

The Best First

I’ve been feeling nostalgic lately for those early days of my relationship with Studly Doright. I don’t know if it’s because we’re both in our sixties now, or because our oldest grandkids are near the ages we were when we first fell in love, but something has me in a mood to reflect on how this whole thing started.

We’d begun dating not long after I moved to Dumas in my senior year of high school. Studly worked as a stocker, keeping groceries lined up on grocery shelves at the local Piggly Wiggly, and as a sacker who efficiently packed shoppers’ purchases into bags and then carried those bags to their cars. My dad was his boss and even before I began dating Studly, Daddy would comment on his superior work ethic.

“That Noyes kid works circles around the rest of my crew,” he’d say. (FYI, Studly Doright sometimes answers to the name David Noyes, but don’t tell anyone.) Coming from my dad that was high praise and most likely impacted my feelings for Studly even before I’d gotten to know him.

Our first date was to the homecoming football game in 1974. I can’t remember who our team, the Dumas Demons, played that night, or even if we won. I just recall how comfortable I was with this boy, and that was not the norm for the awkward kid that was me.

When he walked me to the door after the game and kissed me goodnight I knew I was a goner, so perfect was that kiss. Once inside the little house my family was renting I shut the front door and leaned back against it. My mom had been waiting up for me and gave me this look.

“Oh, Mom,” I said. “I think I’m in love.”

I didn’t say those words to Studly until that Christmas, though, and not until after he’d said them to me first. My family had returned to our hometown of Floydada, Texas, to spend the holidays with family. For nearly a week Studly and I had to endure being apart. I’m sure I mooned around like a lovesick puppy, and from accounts from friends, so did he.

As soon as we were reunited he took me to our favorite parking spot in his ’66 Plymouth. We were a little awkwardly sweet at first. His motorcycle helmet was in the seat beside me, and as a goof I put it on. Underneath the protective layer of that helmet I said, “I missed you a lot.”

Studly replied that he’d missed me, too.

“I might like you a little,” I confessed.

“I think I might love you,” he responded.

“Oh! I love you, too,” I said. We most likely kissed after that. I forget.

We’ve been married more than 41 years now. We’ve had some epic fights over four decades. We’ve hurt each other’s feelings and done incredibly stupid things, but on some level we’re still those two teenagers, sitting in that old blue Plymouth shyly declaring our love for each other. Every single day.

Promise Me

We were sweethearts in high school, Studly and I. We’d begun dating in September of my senior year, just a few months after I’d moved to Dumas, Texas. Apparently Studly had followed me around all summer, but I was pretty clueless. I wasn’t the kind of girl boys like him pursued. I was more the type they avoided.

Studly worked for my dad who managed the local Piggly Wiggly grocery store. Not long after I asked him where the ketchup was shelved, we began dating and fell head over heels in love. We were inseparable for my entire senior year, and when I moved to Amarillo in the fall of ’75 to attend college the angst of separation drove us both a little crazy. You see, Studly is a year younger than I am, and still had his senior year of high school to get through

I came home to Dumas fairly often, and Studly drove to Amarillo every chance he got. Dumas and Amarillo are only about 45 miles apart, after all, still, it might as well have been a trillion miles, so in love were we.

When Christmas break rolled around I couldn’t wait to spend some quality time with Studly. We went out every night and fell deeper and deeper in love. On Christmas Eve Studly and I went parking in our favorite spot at the old motorcycle track, and when he presented me with a small velvet box my heart started pounding so hard I thought I’d pass out.

I knew it wasn’t an engagement ring. We weren’t at that point in our relationship yet, but I thought it might just be a promise ring, a symbol of our intention to someday be engaged.

Anyway, I opened the box and found myself looking at the ugliest, cheapest piece of jewelry I’d ever seen. See the green one below? That’s the one.

It had the look of a prize from a gum ball machine, but Studly looked so earnest when I opened it that I had to gush over it.

“Put it on!” He urged.

So I did. Luckily it had an adjustable band. Could he not tell that it was obviously an extremely cheap piece of jewelry? I thanked him for the ring, trying to be upbeat, but all the time wondering if he’d bought it from some scam artist.

We made out for awhile, before he suggested that we go to the Pizza Hut for dinner.

“You can show off your ring!” He said, as I cringed.

When we got to the Pizza Hut, it was hopping. There were no empty booths to be had. I was relieved. Maybe I wouldn’t need to show my dubious promise ring to anyone after all. Then a couple we knew waved us over and asked us to sit with them. Crap.

Almost immediately after we joined them the girl, Karen, exclaimed, “Guess what? We’re engaged!” She then showed me her lovely engagement ring.

Studly and I both admired it. Her ring was small, but so pretty. Studly gently took my hand, and said,

“Honey, aren’t you going to show them your ring?”

I wanted to hide under the table. I knew Karen and her guy would see the ring for what it was–a cheap piece of plastic in an adjustable band.

Just as I was about to bring my trembling hand up to show them the ring, Studly stopped me. “Maybe you’d rather show them this one.”

Out of his pocket he pulled a small blue velvet box. When I opened it I began laughing.

I didn’t know whether to hit him or kiss him. I showed Karen and her guy the first ring Studly had given me. We all had a good laugh when I told them the story.

I don’t know what happened to that gum ball ring. Studly said he’d spent a lot of money trying to win a ring from the gum ball machine. It might’ve well cost as much as my little sapphire by the time he finally got it. I wish I’d kept the cheap one. I had no appreciation for such things back then, but I do now.

There’s a lesson there, I suppose. Pay attention to the little things. Someday, they’ll be really important.

Happy New Year, friends.

Thirteen Today

Our beautiful middle grandchild, McKayla, was born 13 years ago today, prompting us to leave our son’s home in Dallas, where we’d spent Christmas Day, to journey as quickly as possible to Kansas City to welcome this child.

She wasn’t due until mid-January, but she insisted on arriving early. I will always believe the tsunami that hit Indonesia on December 26 played a role in McKayla’s early arrival. Superstitious? Maybe. But she’s quite a force of nature.

Happy birthday, dear McKayla. We love you.

Thoughts on Killing Off a Bottle of Merlot

I stopped today at a small winery in Chautauqua, Florida. In a tasting room, I sampled the Chardonnay along with a Merlot and a holiday blend. I purchased three bottles, one of each, and tucked them into my suitcase before continuing my journey west on interstate 10.

My plan was to meet up with Studly Doright at a Holiday Inn Express in Crestview, Florida. I love assignations with my husband. The prospect of a pretend illicit meeting with my man is a bit heady, so as I drive I contemplate which bottle to open tonight. The Chardonnay? No, too much of a lightweight. The holiday blend with mulled spices? No, I’ll save that for Christmas Eve. Ah, that left the Merlot. Deep and rich and red.

I can’t divulge the details of our night, but let’s just say, I picked the right wine. Here’s a toast to old married people. We live. We laugh. We love.

Peace, people.

Birthday Boy

Happy 15th birthday to our eldest grandson, Garrett. I remember the day you were born like it was yesterday. We paced the halls and worried the hospital staff with endless questions. It seemed like you’d never arrive, and once you did, our lives were forever changed.

You’ve enriched our family in so many ways that I’ve lost count, and you’re the only kid I know who can consistently spell better than I can. Love you more today than the day before.

I can’t wait to see what your future holds.