Lunch with my Cousin and a Night in LaGrange

Drive, drive, drive! That’s about all I did on Friday the 13th. I left my friend Nicky’s home in Kingsport, Tennessee, around 9:45 yesterday morning and drove to Knoxville to meet my cousin, Peggy, for lunch. Peggy is my second cousin. Her father and my grandfather were brothers. Both were handsome men married to attractive women.

Peggy and her two older sisters were the young women I looked up to as a child. All three were beautiful and well-mannered; whereas, I was a plain little girl with a tendency to rebel. Nevertheless, Peggy, who is three years my senior, was a sometimes playmate, and I have great memories of times we spent together in our younger days.

I’d lost track of Peggy for at least a couple of decades, maybe more, until a few months ago when she friended me on Facebook. After I’d accepted my friend Nicky’s invitation to visit Kingsport I began making plans to have lunch with Peggy in Knoxville on the way home.

Now I’m kicking myself because I forgot to get a picture of the two of us together. Damn. You’ll have to take my word for it, but Peggy is still beautiful and well-mannered. We did our best to catch up in the limited time we had to visit, but I need at least another week with her.

Once we parted ways I set my GPS to avoid major highways and the city of Atlanta on my trip home to Doright Manor. The resulting route took me on a scenic, yet curvy, roller coaster ride through Tennessee and into Georgia. I figured that once I’d gotten far enough south of the aforementioned Atlanta I’d reconfigure my settings to find the fastest route.

Back roads are fun, yet exhausting, and around 7:00 p.m. I decided to stop for the night in the town of LaGrange, Georgia. Now, I might’ve found the most perfect town in the world quite by accident. After checking into the brand new Courtyard by Marriott, I had a nice dinner in their bistro before setting out to explore the downtown area.

Directly across the street from my hotel was a park with a statue in the midst of a fountain.

Curious as to the identity of the statue, I crossed the street for a better look. I’d expected to see some Confederate war era general, but to my surprise and delight I discovered it to be a statue of General Lafayette.

According to GeorgiaInfo, an online Georgia almanac,

“Born at the Chateau de Chavaniac, Auvergne, France, on September 6, 1757, Gilbert Motier de Lafayette became at age 19 a major general on George Washington’s staff. He played a vital role in the defeat of General Charles Cornwallis at Yorktown, October 19, 1781, ending the American Revolution.

Later in France Lafayette was commanding general of the National Guard. Leader in the movement that gave France a republican form of government, author of the Declaration of the Rights of Man, and designer of the “Cocarde of Liberty” which he holds in his hand.

LaGrange, Georgia, was named for Lafayette’s home, the Chateau de LaGrange, on motion of Julius C. Alford, when this city was chartered on December 16, 1828…”

The statue and the surrounding park are a fitting centerpiece for this lovely town.

The First Baptist Church on the Square:

This is a museum of some kind. I’d have visited it if it had been open. Maybe on my next trip through the area I’ll have better timing.

Lots of interesting shops called to me, but again, I arrived too late:

I don’t think I’d ever seen a “Keep Off the Trees” sign before. It kind of made me want to climb them, rebel that I am.

I MUST visit this shop:

What a day, am I right? Lunch with a long lost cousin followed by a trip on scenic back roads, culminating in a stopover in LaGrange. I’m ready to be back home with Studly Doright and the cats, though.

Peace, people!

Tuesday in Kingsport

My super hostess, Nicky, treated me to a wonderful day on Tuesday. We talked non-stop for most of the morning, taking breaks only for our respective showers and makeup rituals. We had a great deal of assistance, though, from Sodie:

And Linskey:

Neither of whom are quite sure how to feel about my presence in their home.

Nicky and I had a stellar lunch with friends at The Mustard Seed in downtown Kingsport. These are all women Studly and I have become friends with through the Motorcycle Sport Touring Association (MSTA). That’s Nicky in the foreground. Behind her, starting from the left are Mary, Ann, me, and Nancy.

After lunch we went over to Nancy’s home and later spent the afternoon swimming at another friend’s house on the lake.

The adorable children are our friend Tammy’s granddaughters, while Tammy is wearing the pink swimsuit in the middle photo below.

After dinner Nicky and I returned to her home where we talked well past my bedtime. I slept like a rock. Lovely!

Today we’re heading to Pigeon Forge and Dollywood. Try as we might we couldn’t convince any of the other ladies to come along. They all think we’re nuts. I’m pretty sure they’re right, but we don’t care.

Peace, people!

I’m Driving

I’m driving, or I hope I will be at the time this piece publishes at 7:05 a.m. on July 9, 2018.

Destination: Kingsport, Tennessee.

Purpose: Girl Time.

My dear friend Nicky invited me up for a visit, and she has planned a wonderful week of shopping and dining, theatre going and more. We’re even going to spend a day at Pigeon Forge and Dollywood. I’m pretty stoked.

Studly Doright, should be fine now on his own, having passed the worst days of his post-surgical experience, and I’m sure he’s ready for me to stop hovering over him. I’m a terrible nurse. All I know to do is check for a fever and offer aspirin and worried looks. None of those seem to be effective treatments for nerve pain. Hopefully, my absence will be.

I’ll post as I can this week. There’s no telling what trouble Nicky and I might get into. We might need bail money.

Peace, people!

Confluence

Currently I’m reading Stephen King’s novel, The Outsider. I’m about 4/5 of the way through the book and had to stop and catch my breath. The man certainly knows how to build to a thrilling denouement. I’m sure nightmares are forthcoming.

Somewhere in the pages I’ve already read one of the main characters uses the word confluence. The details of a gruesome murder in one small Oklahoma town and those of a similar crime in Ohio led those investigating the first to discover the second due to a confluence of events.

I began to wonder if I’d ever used the word confluence in a conversation or in writing, and I can say with almost complete certainty that until this day I never had. It’s such a mellifluous word, and fairly rolls off the tongue. Sort of like mellifluous does, come to think about it. I wish I’d used it at some earlier time in my 61 years on this earth.

Yesterday Studly Doright and I went for breakfast at the Broken Egg in Tallahassee. As we waited for our orders to arrive the Neil Diamond song, Thank the Lord for the Night Time, played over the restaurant’s sound system. We’d just heard the same song on Sirius/XM’s channel 6 on our drive across town. So would that be a coincidence or a confluence of events? Or is it just sad that I had to listen to that song twice within a twenty minute period?

The photos above show the confluence of the turquoise blue Havasu Creek with the Colorado River. Neither has anything to do with Neil Diamond.

Peace, people!

A Golf Widow’s Lament

My husband, Studly Doright, is a Golfer. Note the capital “g.” Normally he plays golf every Saturday and Sunday with an occasional Wednesday evening thrown in unless the weather doesn’t permit. And in Florida, the weather permits roughly 98% of the time.

When I was a younger woman I detested the many hours his golf habit kept him from home. I felt like every couple in the world was out strolling with clasped hands at farmers’ markets while Studly and I were separated by a chasm comprised of eighteen holes. I complained a lot. He ignored me.

Then one day about a decade ago I began to enjoy those times when he was on the course. I took myself places he wouldn’t enjoy like public gardens and parks, tea rooms and chick flicks. I went to local nurseries and learned about butterfly gardens. I roamed the aforementioned farmers’ markets and attended art exhibits. In short, I happily cultivated my interests.

Then eight weeks ago Studly had surgery to repair an extrusion of his sciatic nerve. He was in excruciating pain prior to surgery, but managed to play golf right up to the day they cut into him. Golf allowed him to focus on something other than the pain.

The weeks after the surgery have been tough. While his pain has lessened, he has jumpy nerves and restless legs that keep him from sleeping well and reminding him that he’s still recuperating. Worst of all, he won’t be cleared to play golf until the second week of August. That’s about to drive Studly, and me, nuts.

Perhaps if he felt better we might enjoy a few couples’ activities like I used to dream of us doing. But nowadays I really prefer doing things by myself. He’s my favorite guy, but he isn’t a farmers’ market aficionado. Still, if he was up for some outings, I’d gladly include him in my plans

Last evening Studly said in his saddest voice, “I’ve missed at least 16 rounds of golf, but who’s counting?” Broke my heart.

Maybe I can cajole him into going out for breakfast this morning, and we can browse through a motorcycle shop. That’s about as close to a farmers’ market as he’s going to get. Never thought I’d say this, but I am so ready to be a golf widow once again.

Peace, people.

Have a Laugh

When I don’t have anything to say, I let others do it for me. Some of these I found on Facebook, others on Pinterest. I figured we could all use a giggle. Note that I’ve grouped them for your consideration.

Diagnostic jokes:

Acupuncture, anyone?

Something to make you think:

A couple of unicorn jokes:

A bit of humor for the aging:

And one that made me snort:

Finally, Studly Doright and I laughed ourselves silly over this YouTube video. I really wish you all could hear his laugh. It’s really why I stay married to the man. 😉😉https://youtu.be/HFFgCTKy2c4 Peace, people!

Coming Attractions

This next week is going to be spent preparing for fun. I’m leaving on a road trip to spend some time with a good friend in Kingsport, Tennessee, on the 9th, and that kind of fun requires some serious forethought.

My car needs an oil change and a good cleaning. My nails need to be manicured and pedicured. I have to think about what needs to be packed. My hair needs to grow an inch. Okay, the last one’s unlikely to happen unless a miracle occurs, but I can wish, right?

Of course Wednesday is the 4th of July. I’m not feeling particularly patriotic this year, but Studly Doright will have the day off. We’ll most likely cook burgers on the grill and maybe catch a matinee. Oh, and we’ll probably spend the night being annoyed by firecrackers. When did I get old?

On Thursday I have my annual physical. Whoopee. There’s nothing like being poked and prodded and having to pay for the privilege. And when one is in her sixties, as I am, there’s no telling what one will learn. Cholesterol too high? Blood pressure out of whack? I can’t wait to see what’s wrong with me this year. Again I ask, when did I get old?

On the less depressing side, my husband, Studly Doright, is doing better on his road to recovering from minor back surgery. He’s been able to sleep, and he’s gotten his appetite back, so he’s not nearly as justifiably grouchy as he’s been since the procedure. Life is pretty good, even for a couple of old folks.

Peace, people.

Umbrella Geography

As I drove through a pop up thunderstorm on my way into Tallahassee yesterday I glanced over to make sure my umbrella was tucked into its appropriate spot in the catch-all pocket of the passenger seat door. Sure enough, there it was just waiting to provide an invaluable service. And if it hadn’t been there I knew there was another umbrella in the pocket behind my seat.

Studly Doright and I keep two umbrellas in each of our vehicles, plus spares in the house for visitors and one in his shop. We are a proud, multi-umbrella household.

For most of my life I didn’t even own such a device. I thought they were pretty when characters on tv and in movies unfurled their umbrellas to stroll through a gentle rainfall. In theory I knew they could be useful, but I grew up in the dusty Texas panhandle where most days it was too dry to whistle.

Unless one is an umbrella fetishist there is absolutely no use for an umbrella in places that might get rain three times a year. And when it does rain in Floydada, or Claude, Texas, the howling winds generally render an umbrella useless.

When our daughter was small she desperately wanted a colorful raincoat with matching galoshes and umbrella. We were barely living paycheck to paycheck back then, so something the child might get to use once in her life wasn’t high on my list of priorities. But she’d have been adorable in matching rain gear. Damned poverty.

How many umbrellas do you own? Is the number directly related to where you live? I considered making the claim that I could tell where respondents reside by the number of umbrellas they owned, but decided I’d just be guessing. I’m no umbrella soothsayer, after all.

Peace, people.

It Happened One Sticky Afternoon

A few days ago I read a hilarious post by a blogging friend. Here’s the link for her “I May Have Clothestraphobia” post:

https://ellenbest24.wordpress.com/2018/06/24/i-may-have-clothestraphobia/

Reading the blogs of others is one of my favorite things, not only because they make me cry, or laugh, or think, but because they often remind me of events in my own life that might be blog worthy. Ellen’s post above took me back to a bout of “clothestraphobia” of my own.

There was a time when I was very slender. Indeed, I was Twiggy before there was a Twiggy. Well, I wasn’t that cute, and I had no major modeling contracts, but otherwise, we could’ve been twins. Maybe not, but trust me, I was skinny.

I’m fairly sure this is Twiggy, but it could’ve been me.

Then I had two children two years apart, and I wasn’t so skinny anymore, but part of me still thought, and to this day still somehow believes, that I was/am skinny. I have a really bad case of backwards body dysmorphia that often affects my choices in clothing.

When our kids were in elementary school and junior high Studly Doright and I were heavily involved in their youth activities. We coached both in various sports, but mainly focused on coaching Little League softball and baseball. On some summer evenings we’d barely see each other as we’d run in from our respective jobs, and change clothes before running back out the door to take our daughter and/or son to practice or a game. On top of that, Studly coached an older girls’ softball team that our daughter wasn’t even old enough to play on. We were busy and having a blast.

“Now what does all that have to do with your clothestraphobia?” you might ask. I’ll tell you.

On one hot, sticky summer afternoon I hurried home to change clothes so I could be at our son’s baseball game. Studly had called me at work saying he’d be late, so I needed to be at the field within the next 30 minutes to get the lineups ready and corral the kids. He promised he’d be there before the umpire called “Play Ball!”

No problem. We lived in a small town and I had plenty of time to change, pick up the kids from the sitter, and get the ball rolling at the ball field. I hurried to the bedroom, discarding my button down top as I went. Halfway done, I now only had to take off the matching pull-on skirt. I loved this set. It was light blue with little flecks and the full skirt made me feel so feminine. So the waist might’ve been a little snug, (I still thought I was skinny, you know), but the skirt had deep pockets. I adore skirts with deep pockets.

Remember I mentioned that the day was hot and sticky. We did live in the Texas panhandle, after all. And also recall that I said the skirt was of the pull-on variety. There was no zipper, just a fixed waistband with a tiny bit of elastic on each side.

I first attempted to step out of the skirt, but it refused to go over my hips. Hmmm. Hadn’t I stepped into it just that morning? Maybe not. I scootched it up in an attempt to pull the skirt over my chest, but it wasn’t having that either. Perhaps, I thought, I could lower it a bit and get one arm inside the waistband. By this time I was perspiring profusely as I watched my time slip away.

There was no way my arm was fitting inside the now constricting waistband, but I did manage to get one breast out so now the whole shebang was hanging lopsided, and I couldn’t get it to move up or down. Now I couldn’t even consider just wearing the damned skirt to the game. I did the only thing I could think of with time running out. I fetched the scissors and awkwardly cut myself out of the skirt.

I cried as I did so, but I sacrificed the skirt I loved to be at my child’s baseball game. Statues may never be erected in my honor, but I took one for the team that day. I’ll bet Twiggy never did that.

Peace, people.