Saturday, March 28, 2009

Just call me Moonpie

Years ago, I volunteered to get takeout dinner at the new restaurant that had just opened down the road. Does anyone remember the restaurant Po'Folks? It was a cliche' of a southern restaurant with cutesy redneck names for dishes that launched one down the road to coronary artery disease.

Since the restaurant was new, I decided to get a variety of dishes so we could get a feel for the menu. I got suggestions from the hostess taking my order "and give me a couple of pieces of cake, a slice of apple pie and a slice of moon pie". She looked at me quizzically. Whatever.

When I arrived home, I pulled each of the dishes out of the to-go bags and explained what I had ordered. I removed the pieces of cake and the apple pie. Something was missing and I said "Where's the slice of moon pie?"

My husband laughed as he pulled a cellophane wrapped, chocolate sandwich, marshmallow creme filled Moonpie from the bag.

Hence the nickname.

The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes

The mother bunny hopping up the snowy mountain to the little child to deliver his egg. I remember her falling and getting back up and trying again until she made it all the way up the hill. And all her children, back at home, pitching in and helping to do the chores while she was gone. Awwwwwwww. And the fact that she was a country, mommy bunny and all the faster, stronger, male jack rabbits thought she would never be able to be an Easter Bunny just fueled my early feminist tendancies.

This was a prompt on Plinky - "Name a children's book that makes you nostalgic". It's a new service that prompts you with a random question and you answer it. You can post it to your blog, twitter, facebook, etc. automatically. Just fun.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fun in the Street

I am sometimes a stick in the mud. I have always been that way, it did not just come with age. I have to be coaxed out of the hole I put myself in. I think too much and then talk myself out of things. Not proud of it but aware of it.

My daughter is quite different. She wants to do something and she does it. There is no talking about it, mulling it over, or hesitation. She just does it.

The other night, Daughter and her BFF (best friend forever for those that don't speak text) were hanging out with no boyfriends around. BFF is going to a local college and taking photography. She had an assignment where she had to use a bounce flash in low light. BFF came up with the idea to use flowy dresses to show the movement. Since Daughter's second job is working at a bridal shop, they came up with the idea to use prom dresses. Daughter went that day and picked up the dresses and the photo shoot was on.

They started across the street from BFF's house since there is a really cool alley of pear trees. BFF's mom helped out and they had a great time - BFF doing her thing with the camera and Daughter getting her inner model on. What girl doesn't love modeling for a photographer while wearing fancy designer dresses?

Then they decided to head over to our house for another session and so I could take pictures of both of them - BFF wanted to get her inner model on too. So BFF's mom and I headed out into the street at 9:30 at night to take pictures of almost grown teenage girls in prom dresses, spinning and twirling in the dark. BFF took all the photos I posted today of Daughter, I took the one of BFF and Daughter.

My point in all this was that I had fun. It was spontaneous. Had my daughter discussed this with me the day before, I would have thought about it . . . way too much. It would have been "too late". And what if they couldn't get the dresses? Or do we really need to be in the street at 10pm?

But really . . . who cares? It all happened perfectly and BFF took some great pictures. We all had fun . . . the girls and the moms. Completely unplanned, undiscussed, unprepared fun.

I need to stop thinking so much and do that more often.

Monday, March 16, 2009

RIP Popcorn

I arrived home tonight to the news that infamous Smoky Mountain moonshiner Popcorn Sutton had passed away, possibly at his own hand.

Many of you recall that I introduced you to Popcorn here in an earlier post on my blog. He is a local legend that had recently been picked up by the big boys at the ATF. That resulted in 2 consecutive 18 month sentences to start this Friday, March 20th. His wife found him at home today and the local sheriff is investigating his death as a possible suicide.

I guess Popcorn decided he was not going to jail.

As I read the local news blogs (Google will give you 16,700 hits for "Popcorn Sutton") that reported on Popcorn's death, realization set in that this mountain character was not just loved for his moonshine or his quirkiness or his arrogance in the face of the law. We have all romanticized him as an icon of a way of life that is breathing it's last breath. The mountain way of life that Popcorn represents is almost gone.

Many throughout the country, those that have a stereotypical view of Southerners, believe this is the way we all live up in these mountains of Appalachia. But the truth is, with better education, TV, and technology, we are pretty much like the rest of America. Yes, the stories you see about rural Appalachia are true - poor medical care, dropouts, drug addicts, teen pregnancy. Poor people everywhere have the same problems.

The mountain people I'm lamenting were resourceful and strong and proud. They wanted better for their children. They worked hard and came up with ingenious solutions to problems only they ran across. Sometimes the solution was a home remedy made from tree bark. Other times it was a homemade kiln in which to fire their dishes. They used what they had and if it broke, they fixed it. If they didn't have money, they found something to sell - sometimes it was moonshine.

I'll miss Popcorn. I never had his moonshine and now I guess I never will.

Rest In Peace Popcorn.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Denver's Big Blue Bear

I went to Denver this past week. The trip was for a work related conference rather than for pleasure. Denver seems like a nice city but I really didn't get to see a lot of it. Here's what I know about Denver after being there a week:
  • The airport has an east and a west terminal.
  • The Hyatt takes up an entire downtown block and is across from the convention center.
  • The convention center has a big, blue bear peeking through the windows.
Yep, that's all I know about Denver.

I work for a great company. Every year, they fly into an interesting locale to gather for meetings and awards. We've been to Chicago, Vegas, Washington D.C., Orlando, and others. But I am confused as to why they give us no time to see the interesting locale. They used to. When we went to Orlando, we all had an evening at DisneyWorld. And in D.C., we had a bus tour. I guess they are under no obligation to entertain us or show us the sights but then, if not, why not just do things at our headquarters? Maybe one day, I will learn the answer.

So they scheduled us. Rise at 5am. Breakfast at 6:30, meetings start at 7. For lunch, a buffet and if you're not done, go ahead and finish eating while the speaker starts. Meetings until 5 or 5:30 and then you have an hour to change for a dinner activity until 10pm. After that, gather in the bar for drinks and socializing for an hour before excusing yourself. Drag yourself to your room and fall into bed. Start again the next day. On the last day, meetings end at 1pm, run to the shuttles, catch a flight and a connection, arrive home at 11pm. Whew!

There were wonderful moments in all that - challenges were overcome, surprise awards received, honors bestowed, and unexpected checks taken home. It felt good. I felt appreciated. Some of my friends received honors, awards, and checks too. I have some good friends and I'm very proud of them. I will remember that part.

And the Big Blue Bear.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Meet Gary

Meet Gary. We were married for almost 20 years. He died 3 weeks short of our 20th anniversary. I have talked about Gary here before but only briefly. It's hard sometimes.

Today I was going through a bunch of old photos. My plan was to re-do some of our old family pictures, convert them to black and white, and put them all in matching black frames. The frames have been sitting on the kitchen table for over a week so I really wanted to accomplish this today.

As I browsed through the scrapbooks and boxes, I started to realize that we don't have a lot of good photos of Gary. There are tons of pictures of the kids of course. And there are some of Gary and the kids. But not very many of just him. He seemed to be caught off guard in the ones of just him, probably because he hated having his photo taken and I snapped it when I could get it.

But I loved this picture of him. He is looking straight at me. He rarely smiled in pictures which is okay because he looked kind of goofy when he did. He is holding a hose nozzle that you would find on a fire truck. It's an antique. He used to be a firefighter and he collected antique firefighting items. We were visiting his parents at a campground in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Georgia.

As I went through the photos, I remembered so many things about him. Things I want my kids to know. For instance:
  • He owned more than 2 shirts. Seriously, it seemed like every picture we have of him, he's wearing either the shirt above or a gray tshirt.
  • He was very smart and very funny. The photos don't show that but he was. He had a high IQ but was also "common sense smart". And very witty.
  • He loved whatever you gave him for Christmas. There are many pictures of him holding a gift with a wide smile on his face and you can hear him saying enthusiastically "Allright!!!!"
  • He sometimes slept through family events. There he is in the background, sleeping - at birthdays, at Christmas, at picnics. It's kind of funny that he could nap anywhere.
  • We went a lot of places and did a lot of things. We never had any money so how did we do that? He was very careful with money, bordering on cheapskate. But he spent money on things he loved and doing things with his family was one of those things.
I put the photo in the frame and hung it in the hallway. I hope my kids remember those fun things about their dad. I'm sure they have other memories too. And I thought about the fact that, while I have mentioned him here as my husband, I don't believe I have ever shared anything about who he was and why we loved him. There were days when he made me so angry I could not even speak to him. But most days, he made me a better person. Everyone should have someone so special in their lives. And now you know him a little better.