More or Less

Ya know how sometimes a tune comes into your head?  Snatches of a song, a poem, and sometimes something as ridiculous as a commercial?  And they play over and over?  Yeah. I’m fairly sure we all get them – those annoying “ear worms”.  Well, a couple of days ago one came into my head and…

Laughter – Part II

Laughter has certainly buoyed me through a lot of difficult days. Sometimes life is hard and situations aren’t funny in the moment but being able to laugh about them later is what kept me from sinking into despair. This is particularly true when I recall the turbulent years of raising my son with autism –…

Laughter

There is nothing quite as sweet as the sound of a baby laughing.  The joyfulness of it bubbles out and all around.  The delight is infectious. Is there anyone who can resist smiling in response – even when the baby is a complete stranger?  And everyone has heard the adage “laughter is the best medicine”…

Silence

Once upon a time I wanted to be a nun – the whole bit – wearing a habit, carrying a rosary, and living in a convent. The “Song of Bernadette” was my favorite movie – the story of a young girl who had a vision of the Blessed Virgin, went to live in a convent,…

Christmas Trees

The first Christmas trees I knew were cedar and chopped down in the woods near our house. When I was five Mama and I made paper chains to circle our tree and she cut stars out of cardboard that we covered with aluminum foil. I didn’t know it was because she couldn’t afford to buy…

Perfume

Hunter’s Dime Store in Wendell (North Carolina) was my favorite shopping place when I was a child.  The store was small with two aisles that was really just a long rectangle, which ran down one side, along the back, and then back to the front.  Items were random and there were so many they defied…

Garland

I was newly arrived at college and having survived a broken heart (well, mostly), a fall from grace, and a life derailment I was eager to move forward in the world. The idea of “a fresh start” fueled my days and my interactions. I imagined being the most perfect version of myself.  My front was…

Heartbreak

Trying to describe heartbreak is nearly impossible. It is invisible and yet it is a physical pain that can be felt as palpably as a broken arm – only its right there in the center of your chest – an ache that cannot be healed.  The poet Edna St. Vincent Millay once soulfully mourned, “time…

Appendage

I was ten years old and supposed to be in some sort of program at church that Mama was in charge of because she was the leader of the Baptist Women’s Circle.  But I was sick – sick as a dog. So nauseated I could hardly hold my head up, my mouth full of that…

Rain

I love rain – everything about it. The way it looks and feels and smells. I love it in every season of the year.  The sweet spring rains that nourish soil and seeds. Refreshing summer rains that deliver us from the heat and parched earth. Crisp autumn rains that soak fallen leaves and smells like…

George

The first time I saw George Pappas it was a bitterly cold winter day. He was wearing a plaid woolen scarf thrown carelessly around his neck and an elegant black wool coat with his hands casually tucked into the pockets. He did not appear to take heed of the cold but rather seemed to be…

Witch’s Basket

Grampa, like most of his siblings, was an engaging story teller.  Folks loved to listen to him.  I was among them and if he wasn’t charming a crowd I would sit on his lap and beg for him to tell me a story. My favorites stories were about his childhood – most of them I…

Dreams

Whenever I sleep I have vivid dreams. I’ve had them all my life.  Sometimes the dreams are nightmares.  The first one I distinctly remember occurred when I was about five years old.  I can still recall it – a scene straight out of one of my storybooks.  I was walking in a forest of old…

If I had known…

If I had known those summers of my childhood weren’t forever I would have listened longer to the busy grasshoppers whirring across the country fields and the chirping of ink black crickets as night fell.  I’d have lain just a little longer on the quilt with my cousin watching clouds making picture shows against the…

Requiem for a Cat

August 2nd, 2013 was one of the worst days of my life.  I ran over my old cat, Tortellini.  It was awful and I felt as if I owed her some tribute for her years on the planet.  This is what I wrote the very next day after I was able to somewhat collect myself:…

Hurricane

A hurricane is described as an intense tropical weather system of strong thunderstorms with well-defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or higher.  They are categorized according to the strength of their winds on a scale of 1 – 5.  A Category 1 storm has the lowest wind speeds; a Category 5…

Susan’s Lessons

On April 25th, 2018 one of my oldest and dearest friends passed away after a valiant battle with pancreatic cancer.  Susan Davis Crooks was a remarkable person.  Along with another lifelong friend, Judy Scarborough Essick, I spent a great deal of time with Susan during the last year of her life, offering her what support…

Bullying

One of the most painful chapters in my life was when my young son, Alex, was being bullied – mostly at school but it also happened at Sunday School on occasion.  His eccentricities, inappropriate remarks, rigid rule following and lack of social understanding were all catalysts for teasing and taunting by other children — sometimes…

Forgetting

You know that feeling when you open your mouth to say something and nothing comes out because suddenly nothing is there? It’s like you were there with a friend and you turn around to introduce them to someone but they’re gone. You look for them in every closet and drawer and even peep under the…

Peace

I must have known peace in my mother’s womb although it had no name. And later in her arms as a young child – still, it had no name. Only a feeling that words lack power to describe.  My first real memory of what I can only describe as peace I found gazing at a…

Healing

During my years as a nurse I became interested in alternative and complimentary methods of healing. I explored energy work as well as massage therapy. What I found on this journey was more than I ever expected and filled with uniquely rich experiences.  One of them was particularly powerful……but I will come to that in…

The Giant in the Crack

I remember living with my family in our house on Wolf Street in Harrisonburg, Va.  I was between 4 and 5 years old.  I can recall the lay out of the house and many of its furnishings.  I even remember the windows and how the sun light shone through them and the patterns it created…

Vada

Vada loved Kris Kristopherson, mountain country, scotch whiskey, and smoking pot – perhaps not in that order. She was aloof, indifferent to the opinions of other people, wild, and fragile. She was also my friend. I loved her but she scared me a little. There was always this little piece of me that knew she…

Roosters

I’ve personally known a couple of roosters in my time.  My first was a little banty rooster gifted to me by Mr. Raeford Driver – probably to win my affection or offer apology after making me mad as fire at church by calling me a “pretty little boy”.  I was 4 or 5 at the…

Floors

I began thinking about floors a few days ago. Lord! Don’t ask me why such stuff comes into my head.  It just does. And this is what came of that thinking. I’ll just start with the word: floor. A benign word, as words go.  Usually a noun and we most immediately think of it in…

Camping

The first time I ever went camping I was nineteen years old. My parents had moved to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and soon thereafter joined the legions of locals who camped out regularly.  They purchased a cox camper – which is basically a tent on wheels – and became regulars. One of their favorite…

Birthdays…

I recently celebrated another birthday and the day brought with it memories of other birthdays over the years. Growing up my brother and I were allowed to pick whatever cake we wanted for our special day.  Mama would ask us what kind of cake we wanted several days before the actual birthday so that she…

July 4th!

My grampa, John Wesley Pearce, was born on July 4th, 1881. For many years the Pearce family gathered at my grandparent’s home on July 4th to celebrate his birthday.  When I was very young I thought the whole reason people set off fireworks was to celebrate my grampa’s birthday.  Later I learned that it just…

Insurance Company

If you were thinking an insurance company wasn’t an exciting place to work you would be exactly right.  But as life would have it you can meet some interesting folks no matter where you happen to be.  And even in a place like that there were some folks who entertained me during the self-imposed imprisonment…

Boyfriends

In Second Grade I had two boys who liked me more than a little.  I was flattered and very much enjoyed their extra attention.  Otherwise, I had no idea what to do about this happy turn except to smile at them.  That seemed to be quite enough – at least in the beginning – but…

Swinging

I was at the park watching a young girl swinging – leaning forward to face the wind and then leaning back her face to the sky – her hair flying in the wind and her face awash with pure bliss.  For a moment I was her – caught up in the sound of her laughter…

The Rest of the Story

I have been sharing stories of our journey with autism and my son, Alex, has been generous to allow me to tell these stories. I know the power that sharing these stories have because I was fortunate to have found a community of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families that shared their stories…

Driving with Autism

I had hoped that my son would learn to drive.  And then I hoped that he wouldn’t.  Either way, there were going to be consequences.  Not driving meant learning to use public transportation and certainly involved advance planning if public transportation was unavailable.  Not driving also meant considerable inconvenience for me as the parent.  And…

Quota

Prior to my son Alex’s diagnosis of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) he had great difficulty connecting with his peers socially.  For one thing, he did not understand slang expressions or idioms, which made casual conversation confusing and awkward.  Alex thinks in very concrete terms and expressions like “it’s raining cats and dogs” made absolutely no…

Understanding

Prelude:  Although this is a serious topic our experiences are not without humor.  So please know that as you read this it is completely okay to laugh. While living this was difficult for us in the moment being able to laugh in retrospect saved our sanity.  Laughter really is good medicine.  The Story:  Having a…

A Home for Children

I was young, single, in a dead end job, generally unhappy, and feeling useless.  So when somebody told me there were jobs available at a local Home for Children as a houseparent I thought that would be a rewarding job and an opportunity to go back to college.  I never made it back to college…

Good Boy

“My dog had puppies and they’re so cute.  Do you want one?”  I was in the sixth grade riding home on the bus, seated with my friend, Carolyn.  And, Boy! Did I want one?!?  You bet I did.  I would ask my mama the minute I got off that bus.  Mama frowned and shook her…

Family Fun

Lots of families have activities they enjoy doing together.  For some it is card or board games; for others it might be hiking, sailing, or some other outdoor sport.  Like those other families my childhood family enjoyed being together, too.  Sometimes we played cards, board games, roller skated (Daddy just watched and cheered – no…

Needles and Pins

You’d think I’d like to sew seeing as how all the women in my family liked to sew AND were good at it.  To my mother’s great disappointment I did not follow in their footsteps.  And let me tell you – they were some impressive footsteps.  My mother’s mother was legend.  The woman not only…

Little River

If my mama had known that my little brother and I were playing so close to the river that ran by our house she would have had a hissy fit.  Not to mention the times we actually played IN the river.  And the time I walked across the dam would have given her heart failure…

The Roman Rocket

My daddy grew up during the Great Depression.  There was precious little money for gifts at Christmas especially in a household of nine children.  They felt very lucky to find their stockings filled with candy and fruit on Christmas morning.  On occasion their dad would splurge on fireworks to celebrate the holiday season.  One particular…

Morphus Creek Bridge

I had ridden over Morphus Creek Bridge hundreds of times before I came to know that it was haunted.  I don’t know when I heard the story or who told it to me.  I imagine it was on a bus ride to or from school but I can’t be sure.  The first story involves a…

About Time

I have a “thing” about clocks – a fascination, if you will.  I’m not sure what it is about them that I like so much.  I have given it some thought but there is no particular memory associated with them that would account for my attraction.  Over the years I have found myself irrationally drawn…

Lost Things

My favorite thing about lost things is clearly remembering thinking “I’m going to put this (the currently lost thing) right here (wherever in the world that was that you cannot now recall for love nor money) so I can find it next time (and right NOW is “next time”) I need it”.  Yep!  My favorite. …

The Bicycle

I wanted a bicycle so bad and was too young to do anything about it except hope that I’d get one for Christmas.  I had learned there was no such thing as Santa Claus and so I understood the relationship between how much money your parents had or didn’t and what you might or might…

The Cloud

Folks who know me know this: I am NOT tech savvy in the least!  What I do know amounts to being able to turn on my computer, check email, and googling stuff.  That’s about it.  The fact that I’m even doing this blog is nothing short of miraculous and would be impossible except for my…

Homecoming

I was raised in a rural Southern Baptist Church when the only air conditioning in the summer were hand held fans with pictures of Jesus on one side and funeral parlor advertisements on the other.  There was plenty of hellfire and brimstone on Sunday mornings, Prayer Meetin’ on Thursday nights, and lots of hymns sung…

Outhouse

For those of you too young or refined to know what an outhouse is let me explain.  Also referred to as a “johnnyhouse”, it is a small structure situated some distance from the house used to cover an earthen latrine and protect the user from the elements.  Typically it has one opening for one user…

Gravity

I have been thinking about gravity a lot recently.  Not in the way that a scientist would think about such a thing – just as an ordinary person who is affected by this phenomenon. I remember when I first heard about gravity.  I was a very little girl who asked a lot of questions every…

The Clothesline Incident

One summer some years ago my parents lived in a duplex apartment a few doors down from my family.  Out of town relatives came to visit the both of us for the weekend.  The number of visitors overflowed our guest accommodations so my daddy set up their Cox Camper in our side yard to make…

Freedom of Choice

In 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that school segregation was unconstitutional and must end.  Mostly it didn’t.  In 1955 the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that integration should happen with “all deliberate speed.”  And yet when I entered high school in 1964 our school remained all white.  North Carolina, along with a number of…

Learning to Drive

I grew up in the country and like many country kids I learned to drive a tractor long before I learned to drive a car.  In fact, I learned to drive my daddy’s tractor when I could just barely reach the brakes.  There wasn’t much to it really.  Changing gears on a tractor is relatively…

Paper Dolls

Cleaning out the attic I ran across a couple of tattered boxes containing my old paper dolls.  Inside I found my old friends – not as tattered as the boxes but definitely worn.  When I was a little girl I spent endless hours playing with these paper friends. In case you are unfamiliar with the…

Of Mice and Mama

My mama was a small woman – just a little over 5 feet tall.  And prissy! Lord, that woman was prissy!  She wouldn’t leave the house without lipstick.  She believed in good manners and “acting like a lady” – hands in your lap (gloved if possible), knees together, and absolutely NO cursing.  She could give…

Harmony

In my heart of hearts I believe we are all connected.  Unfortunately, my egoic mind, my persona if you will, often struggles with this concept.  Sometimes it needs a reminder.  And that is just what happened some years ago that resulted in the following writing – which I reflect on from time to time…..and share…

The Tree House

My daddy built a tree house for my brother at the edge of the woods across the field from our house.  It was a sturdy platform wedged securely among a few young but tall hardwoods.  It had two walls but the rest was open to the surrounding woods.  A small, shallow creek gurgled softly nearby. …

How Folks Say Stuff

I have long been intrigued by accents.  Who doesn’t enjoy the lilt of the Irish or the rich brogue of the Scottish folk?  The British sounds from posh Londoners to a jaunty Cockney are musical as well.  And then there are the Australians who have their own quirky way of speaking.  And what about the…

Picking Beans

I had a lot of chores when I was a kid but none that I truly hated more than picking beans.  First of all, if you know anything about North Carolina you know that the summers can be sweltering.  And if you don’t know anything about a summer in the Carolinas, know this:  Carolina summers…

Gratitude

Once upon a time on Facebook I accepted “the Gratitude Challenge” (listing things you are grateful for every day for a certain number of days). I asked to be delivered from the obligatory list of all the usual things that most anyone would be grateful for including me – things I am grateful for on a…

A Cat Named Clara

My family inherited a cat from a little old lady named Miss Barham when I was about 7 years old.  Miss Barham looked exactly like a gnarled old woman from one of my storybooks.  I suspected she might be a witch although not a bad witch.  Miss Barham had been renting our house in North…

The Girl with the Shaved Head

I had seen her before that day in the cafeteria – just around school – on the playground, in the hallway.  She wasn’t in my room.  Maybe she wasn’t even in my grade.  She was thin, olive skinned, and had large chocolate brown eyes.  She could have been pretty only she reminded me of a…

Mr. Vance’s Pansies

In our house on Wolfe Street in Harrisonburg, Virginia (circa 1955) our next door neighbor was Mr. Vance.  He was a stocky, white-haired gentleman with a wide, pink face and broad smile.  He reminded me of Santa Claus without the beard.  He had lived in the same house for many years. He shared a side…

Ouija Wind

In 1970 my friends Vada, Debby, and I spent an evening with a Ouija board.  It felt exciting — a bit on the forbidden side of life.  I must admit that although I had always hoped for encounters with the supernatural or some real psychic power – the practical side of me doubted either would…

That One Shoe

This wasn’t what I had planned to post today but something happened this week that got me going. So here goes. I was driving down Highway 96 South and right there smack in the middle of the road sat a shoe without a person in sight.  Now I don’t know about you but every single…

Bird Dogs

My daddy loved dogs and he especially appreciated a good bird dog.  There is true beauty in watching dogs running over a field, sniffing out quail, standing point when they find their mark, and seeing other dogs in the pack honor the first point. Although I never went hunting with Daddy (because I didn’t like…

The Cuban Missile Crisis Plan

The Cuban Missile Crisis occurred during October and November 1962.  It was probably the closest our country came to engaging in a Nuclear War with Russia during the years now referred to as the Cold War.  Without going into the whole political turmoil the bottom line is that Russia had delivered nuclear weapons to Cuba,…

Sleeping on the Floor

I slept on a pallet of quilts on the floor with my 5-year-old grandson this past weekend.  My husband and I carefully laid down 6 old quilts that had once belonged to our ancestors – tediously but lovingly sewn by our mothers and/or grandmothers.  Perhaps, as they sewed, they even pictured their children and grandchildren…

Coins and Reprieve

Having a school Annual was a big deal to me.  Not only did the Annual capture pictures of our classmates and the school year’s events but friends passed them to friends to write in – thoughts on whatever – events that had happened, looking ahead, good wishes, and the like.  They were a treasure –…

Barnin’ Tobacco

Barnin’ tobacco is a tough, sweaty, exhausting job but the some of the most fun I’ve ever had.  Of course, I speak from the point of view of a barn worker.  Whatever tobacco farmers have to say on the subject I humbly acknowledge and totally respect.  And I’m also talking about how tobacco was cropped…

Shoes

My husband thinks I have too many shoes and I would agree that I have a considerable number.  But I’m certainly not the infamous Imelda Marcos!  In fact, I suspect that I have in the low range compared to the average woman. So let’s talk about Imelda for a minute.  It has been estimated that…

Early September Morning

I prop myself up in my bed to study the morning. The day had begun secretively — no garish orange sun to announce its arrival — only a pale gray sky as somber as the sea. Its subtle light flows softly through the window and onto my bed. This is the color of dreams and…

Country Stores

It’s hard to find an old country store in operation these days. I see some old ones here and there, mostly boarded up, abandoned and run down.  I asked some folks on Facebook if they knew of any that were still open. I got all sorts of responses. Some folks suggested Cracker Barrel and I…