Stormy Weather

As many of you reading this know, my husband, aka Studly Doright, and I live in the Florida panhandle just west of Tallahassee. On Wednesday a category 4 hurricane named Michael blew right through our neighborhood and caused some excitement. I happened to be visiting my son and his family in Dallas, so I’ve only gotten second hand reports from Studly as to how our home, Doright Manor, fared.

First things first–he and the cats are fine. We have several trees down, but that was to be expected. He didn’t think there was any damage to the house, but the road in front of Doright Manor is blocked with trees. I’m sure he’ll be out there with his chain saw and axe as soon as the weather allows. The power went out fairly quickly, but we’d bought a huge generator after last year’s storms, and he’ll be able to enjoy his creature comforts.

Studly is an area director for a public utility, so he’s working from home during the storm. He sent me a text early this morning:

Scout is an incredibly helpful cat, especially during conference calls. She thinks Studly is talking to her.

I was supposed to have flown into Panama City Beach today (Thursday), but we changed the flight to Friday. Studly wasn’t sure he could get out of our neighborhood to pick me up in PCB which is a two hour drive on a normal day.

So I’m hanging out with granddog Toby. We had a good walk in his Dallas neighborhood this morning. Now he’s taking it easy and I’m going to read my book. I sure am ready to be home, though.

Peace, people.

A Distant Storm

Here in Dallas, Texas, on this October Wednesday morning, the sun is just barely up. I’m getting ready to walk Toby, my granddog, under the promise of a clear sky.

Back home at Doright Manor near Tallahassee, Florida, my husband, Studly Doright, is hunkered down, as the locals say, while Hurricane Michael drops buckets of rain and rattles the rafters. I’ve weathered more than one hurricane, but they each have their own personalities, and none are to be taken lightly.

I didn’t evacuate for the storm. It just happened to hit while I was visiting my family in Texas. Studly Doright left Dallas on Sunday morning and drove 12.5 hours to be home ahead of the storm. We’d already planned for him to leave on Sunday, but the approaching storm made everything seem more urgent.

Tonight I’ll be attending a concert with my granddaughter while Studly makes sure all of the hatches remain battened down back home. Tomorrow I’m supposed to fly home. Fingers crossed that the local airports aren’t impacted by Michael’s wrath.

In the meantime, I’ll be listening to this beautiful instrumental piece by Robert Linton. I found it when I googled the phrase “A Distant Storm.” And praying. A lot of praying.

https://youtu.be/tVReCkhyCxA

Peace, people!

The Lone Ranger, but no Beto T-shirt

Unless one lives outside of the U.S., I’d be willing to bet that they’ve seen a “Beto for Congress” t-shirt. Beto is a junior state congressman from El Paso, Texas, who’s running for the U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent, Ted Cruz. And while I live in Florida, I’m a huge Beto supporter. I really want, nay, need a Beto t-shirt.

On Sunday afternoon my son, grandson, and I attended a concert/rally for Democratic candidates in downtown Dallas. I just knew I’d be able to buy a Beto t-shirt during the event.

The rally began at 2 p.m., but the three of us figured that Beto wouldn’t speak until near the end of the night. We spent the morning going to estate sales, went out for brunch, and then took a short siesta before driving to the concert around 4:30. Finding a parking place wasn’t difficult, but we had quite a hike from our “$10 a day” parking lot to the park where the concert was in full swing.

Jason had loaded a backpack with a blanket to sit on and we all took umbrellas since there was rain in the forecast. Unfortunately after we walked all the way from the parking spot we encountered a sign telling us that backpacks weren’t allowed. Grandson Jackson and I went to the end of a long line of concert goers while Jason ran back to the car with the backpack.

As Jackson and I waited in line a guy came by asking if anyone had extra tickets. The folks in front of us happened to have a pair and he bought them.

My brain said, “Huh.”

“Is the event sold out?” My mouth asked.

“Yep. Right as we arrived they put the signs up.”

“Well crap,” said my brain.

I instructed Jackson to hold our place in line while I went in search of spare tickets. I only needed two since kids’ admissions were free. I tried my luck behind us first since the guy who scored the tickets in front of us had already tried that direction. Nothing. So I went to the front of the line hoping the guy had been mistaken. Nope. The event was indeed sold out.

I texted Jason, and went back for Jackson who was nearing the front of the line. We stood near the press line figuratively beating ourselves up for not purchasing tickets in advance. Then, just as I noticed Jason crossing the street to join us, a young man came around the press barrier.

“Here,” he said. “I heard you needed a couple of tickets.”

When I tried to pay him, he refused to take the money and disappeared back into the press area with a wink and a smile. He was like our knight in shining armor, or the Lone Ranger. Hi ho, Silver!

Jason, having just read my text about the concert being sold out wasn’t expecting to see Jackson and me smiling from ear to to respective ear as he approached.

“He just gave the tickets to you? What did he look like?”

“Like the Lone Ranger, my son. Like the Lone Ranger.”

Our little group then made the rounds of all the booths in search of Beto merchandise. Unfortunately, though, like the event tickets, the Beto t-shirts were all sold out. And this time, no Lone Ranger to help out. I managed to buy this one at a booth promoting the band, Polyphonic Spree:

But I was in search of one like this:

Finally I gave up, had a Shiner (a wonderful Texas beer), a gourmet slider, and enjoyed the rally. And what a rally it was! Beto was the main event, though, and he did not disappoint. He’s running a positive grassroots campaign, never once mentioning his opponent by name, and refusing to accept money from political action committees (PAC’s).

Beto has visited every county in the sizable Lone Star State at least once and several multiple times, speaking sometimes to a handful of people and other times to groups of thousands. Texas has long been a “red” state, but Beto has a chance to upset that apple cart.

I will wear my alternative shirt proudly back in Florida. My only regret is not being able to cast a ballot for this young man in November.

Peace, and hi ho Silver, people.

The Lady Wore Heels

Studly Doright and our son, Jason, spent the past three days playing in a member/guest golf tournament at Prestonwood Country Club in Dallas, Texas, while I did some shopping and spent time with the Texas grandkids. After the first day of the tournament my guys were third in their flight. On day two they took the lead, and on the third day, Jason sunk a six-foot putt to win their flight in the tournament on the first hole of a playoff. Exciting stuff!

The tournament culminated in a dinner for players and their guests at the club. Since my daughter-in-law was out of town for the weekend, I was on my own with these two chumps, er, champs for the event.

Studly had his eyes closed, but I still love this photo of these two.

Those who read my posts know I’m not a dressy kind of girl. It’s almost impossible to get me out of flips flops, but guess who wore heels on Saturday?

Yep, these are my actual feet.

We had a lovely time at the dinner. The menfolk received a great many pats on their respective backs and I basked in their reflected glory. It’s good to be queen.

Studly will leave Dallas on Sunday morning, but I’m hanging around for a few more days of fun with Jason and his family. I’ll miss this guy, though.

Peace, people!

Reparations

A friend in Illinois shared on Facebook this week that her young son’s bicycle had been stolen from their front yard. Somehow in their busy day they’d neglected to bring the bike into the garage, and her son’s pride and joy disappeared, most likely forever. I felt her pain.

Many years ago our son’s bike was stolen in much the same way. It was a beautiful blue Diamondback that we’d scrimped and saved for in order to give him exactly what he’d asked for that Christmas. And that kid took great care of his bike. Until one afternoon when he didn’t.

I still remember the anger I felt knowing that someone had come into our yard and in just a few minutes stolen something that had taken us months to save for. Our son was heartbroken. Studly Doright, though, was determined to get that bike back.

We thought he was nuts, of course. Dumas, Texas, was a town of about 19,000 back then. Certainly that bike was parked safely in someone’s garage waiting to be painted or sold to some kid in another town.

Then one Saturday afternoon a couple of weeks after the bike had been stolen Studly and I were in his old pickup truck driving home from mowing lawns. We both had full time jobs, but mowing lawns provided extra cash for purchasing extras like new clothes for the kids and bicycles for Christmas. Money was tight back then.

As we neared our home, a kid on an older bicycle turned down our street, and Studly went on point like a bird dog.

“Those are Jason’s wheels,” he said.

He dropped me off at the house and took off after the kid. I’d seen the bike, a run down rusty banana seat affair, but hadn’t paid attention to the wheels. Studly, though, had been vigilant.

He was gone for a couple of hours, but when Studly returned to the house he had three teenaged boys crowded into the cab of his pickup and a tangle of bicycle parts in the back. I watched from the living room window as he supervised the crew in putting Jason’s bike back together. The lecture he gave them as they worked was one part fatherly and another part mafioso. I have no doubt he made them an offer they’d better not refuse.

Our son received a similarly stern lecture when he arrived home that afternoon, with the bottom line being that he’d better not ever leave that bike outside overnight again. As far as I know, he never did and that bike went with us to North Dakota and beyond.

Getting the bike back felt like a small victory during that period of our lives. Not much was going right for our little family at that time, but Studly turned things around. He’s still doing that, just in different ways. I’m pretty lucky to have him.

Peace, people.

The Offering Plate

In my little blogging world one random idea often leads to another, and soon a theme emerges. After I posted “Choosing My Religion” on Monday, a piece prompted by a sun beam shining through clouds on a stormy day, the feedback I received here and on Facebook dredged up some long buried church-related memories.

As I recounted in “Choosing My Religion” I grew up attending three varieties of Protestant churches: Pentecostal, Primitive Baptist, and Southern Baptist. While the three were quite different in terms of worship volume and decorum, ranging from the jubilant, yet often apocalyptic tone of the Pentecostals to the solemn certainty of the Primitive Baptists, they all three shared one thing in common–the offering plate.

At some point in every service the preacher would intone an offertory prayer and the choir and/or the congregation would commence singing an offertory hymn while the deacons passed the plates. There was a rhythm to the plate passing and an order to it that made this one of my favorite parts of the service.

A person sitting on the end of an aisle would take the plate from the deacon in one hand, deposit money with his or her free hand and then pass the plate on to the next person and so on until the plate was handed to another deacon at the end of the pew. It was a beautiful thing to behold.

No matter which church I happened to be attending on any given Sunday I always had a bit of money to contribute, either from my own allowance or from one of the adults in my life. Usually I had a quarter, sometimes only a nickel, but occasionally I was able to give a whole dollar. Those were proud days indeed, although, we were taught that excessive pride was a sin, so I squelched the chest puffing and smile that went with placing a buck in the bucket.

One Sunday when I was five or so I was with my Grandma and Grandpa Hall at their little Pentecostal Church in Floydada, Texas. Just before the service started my bladder told me urgently that I needed to potty. My no-nonsense Grandma took me firmly by the hand and marched me back to the ladies’ room, accompanying me inside so as to hurry me up. I might have had a reputation for lollygagging, and she was having none of that on her watch.

I placed the two quarters I had for the offering plate on the back of the toilet, did my business, and went to flush, accidentally knocking my money into the toilet. Thankfully I hadn’t pressed the handle, so a tsk-tsking Grandma had me pull a handful of toilet paper off the roll to keep my hands dry while I retrieved the coins, all the time trying to get me to hurry.

When I bent to pick up the coins with one hand using the toilet paper as a shield, I leveraged my free hand on the side of the toilet and accidentally pushed the handle, flushing the quarters. I started crying, but Grandma Hall got tickled. This stern woman laughed as she dried my tears. She laughed until tears of her own rolled down her cheeks.

I washed my hands and walked solemnly back to my seat, chagrined at having nothing for the offering plate that week. Seeing my Grandma laugh that hard, though, more than compensated for the lack of funds. It’s still one of my best memories of her.

Peace, people.

A Real Fungi

Monday is Labor Day here in the states, and Studly Doright has the day off work. Since he’d played golf on both Saturday and Sunday, Studly decided to do yard work on his holiday. I was drafted to assist. Oh joy.

My job was to drive the lawn mower around the yard and load fallen branches into the trailer while Studly used his manly skills to chop branches that were too big for me to lift. We’ve had two fairly severe thunderstorms this past week, so I filled my little trailer multiple times.

Once I’d finished my part I handed over the reins of the mower to Studly who insists that he’s better at the job than I am. Hey, I only almost backed over his foot twice today. That’s a real improvement over previous performances.

Doright Manor sits in the middle of a forest on a small lake. I grew up in the Texas panhandle where trees are few and far between, so I never get tired of exploring our woods. Today, while Studly was mowing I found this little party animal:

Yep, they tell me he’s a real fungi.

Peace, people!

Wakulla Swim

On Tuesday morning I took our granddaughter, Dominique, and her friend, Sophia, to Wakulla Springs. Sophia had never seen an alligator outside of a zoo setting, so we had high hopes for a sighting.

When we first arrived at Edward Ball State Park rain was falling, and tickets for the boat ride weren’t being sold yet due to the possibility of lightning down the river. The girls donned their hoodies so we could go exploring.

That’s the diving platform above.

The small blue markers strung across the river are the only demarcation between swimming territory and all manner of wildlife including gators, manatees, and snakes. According to the park rangers the only real thing keeping wildlife out of the swimming area is the presence of people.

Occasionally an alligator will cross the line and have to be removed. While the girls were swimming I watched two other swimmers each pull a snake from the water. They assured me that these snakes weren’t venomous, but eeek!

Around noon we were cleared for the boat tour. The rains had cooled everything off, so while we saw a good many gators, they were all in the water.

And I managed to fail at getting a photo of anything other than my fellow passengers, trees, and swampy water.

After lunch the two Texas girls swam in the Florida sunshine for over an hour.

Meanwhile I reclined on my brightly colored blanket and read.

The girls slept all the way back to Doright Manor, while I sang along to the 60’s channel on Sirius/XM. Now, I need a nap!

Peace, people.

Snapshot #207

I took a few photos at Tallahassee Nursery’s “Summer Sips” event on Wednesday evening. Here’s one of my favorites from the night:

I call it “Big Bad Bromeliad.”

That reminded me of my favorite childhood song, “Big Bad John,” the heart wrenching story of a miner who sacrifices himself to save his co-workers during a mine collapse. Yes, that’s the kind of tale that appealed to me as a child.

Jimmy Dean, famous for his sausages, sang “Big Bad John.” He was practically a hometown boy, having grown up in Plainview, Texas, just 30 miles or so from my own home town of Floydada.

I believe that’s a young Jimmy Dean in the photo below, but Pinterest couldn’t differentiate between Jimmy Dean of sausage fame, and actor James Dean.

I know for certain that it’s Jimmy Dean sausage pictured here, though.

As far as I know James Dean didn’t deal in pork products as a sideline, nor did he sing.

He could have, though. He was just that cool.

Without further ado (or a decent segue, for that matter) here’s Jimmy Dean, singing, “Big Bad John.”

https://g.co/kgs/b8nuxi

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.