Senior Hat Day

Did you ever cheat on a test?  Now, be honest, did you?  Well, I did, more than once, but I have to tell you about the time we seniors cheated on a Anatomy test.

I finally made it to my senior year at North Marshall High School and we all pretty much planned to coast our way through that last year.  I mean, you would have really had to put forth a real effort to fail anyway.  There were a lot of things that we did that year as a farewell to our last 12 years of school.  We were gonna be moving on to college, the armed forces or going straight to work.  So, we had to do some fun things before we left.

One of the fun things we did was to have a Senior Hat Day when only the seniors would wear hats to school.  No one else would be allowed to do this.  I think I borrowed one of my grandmother’s old hats that she wore when she worked in the garden.

Anyway, we all made it to school with our goofy looking hats.  It just so happened that those of us who were taking Anatomy were also going to be taking a test that day.  I hate to say it, but I had not even looked at the book or my notes so I had no idea what the test was about or how I was going to pass that puppy.  I don’t remember how it all happened, but there we sat taking that test and it just seemed like a good idea to sort of pull the hat down and peek at the paper of the person sitting next to me.  Well, that was easy so I just kept right on peeking until I finished the test and turned it in to the teacher.  What I didn’t know was that several other seniors had the same idea that I did and they all did a little peeking themselves.  Besides, the teacher couldn’t see us cheating because of our hats.  Right?  I have to add here that we had a great Anatomy teacher; he was also the basketball coach and several of us went to the same church as he and his family.

In a couple of days, he told the class that he had our test papers all graded, but before he handed them out, he wanted to let us know that he had seen quite a few people cheating on this test.  He also told us that if our grade was circled, that meant he had caught us cheating.  Oh geez, he did see us.  This was not good news.

But, of course my test grade was circled and so were half the people in the room – well the seniors at least.  So, he decided that he would give us a choice of the punishment for cheating – either write “I will not cheat on my Anatomy test” a gazillion times or take three licks from the paddle.  I’m not sure if I’ve told you this, but I was warned back in grade school that if I got a paddling at school, I could pretty well expect one when I got home.  Getting a paddling at school would be nothing compared to the whipping I would get from my mother, so the thought of three licks did not appeal to me.  However, we seniors kind of talked about it amongst ourselves and all came to the conclusion that we would take the three licks.  As it turned out, he barely touched us with the paddle.

After we had taken our licks, he started laughing and said he couldn’t understand how any of us could turn our heads at all from the way we all twisted and leaned over to cheat off our neighbors.  He got a real kick out of watching us and was never angry with us at all.  But he did get the last laugh.

So, Senior Hat Day was a memorable day for all of us, especially the ones of us who happened to take that Anatomy test.

See ya next Wednesday.


Trip to Asheville, North Carolina

Morning.  Today, I’m gonna do something a little different.  I enjoy the mountains so much; and when I get the chance to go, I am always happy to share it with folks.

As I have posted before, my son Joel and I have started canning and we’ve really had good success with it.  He wants to can more items so we decided that we would try to hit some yard sales and find used canning jars which would be cheaper than buying all new jars.

So last Saturday, Joel, Amanda and I made a trip to Asheville, North Carolina, to check out some yard sales.  I had sent a couple of emails asking if they had canning jars and received emails back saying they were available. We left Joel’s around 6 am and got to Asheville about 8:30 am and went to our first yard sale. We got a decent-sized box of lids $1. We then went to the second sale and got 34 jars with lids. I tell ya, we made out like bandits on our search for canning jars.

We decided that we would go to Chimney Rock and spend some time there before coming back home.  We all were a little hungry so we stopped at the McDonalds near the entrance of Biltmore.  It’s the fanciest McDonalds that I have ever seen; they even have a grand piano sitting in the corner.  We got a snack and Amanda said she had never been to Biltmore and wanted to see it. So, we left McDonalds and went straight into the Biltmore forest.  What an adventure that was.

If you’ve never visited Biltmore, you have really missed a treat.  It is one of the most gorgeous houses that I have ever seen and it is located in the mountains which makes it even more perfect for me.  When you first see the house, it’s hard to imagine that people actually lived there.  And then going inside and seeing tapestry on most of the walls, the huge fireplaces and the pipe organ in the dining room is amazing.  Someone was playing the pipe organ while we were there.  There is an indoor pool, exercise room and a two-lane bowling alley in the basement of the house.  The servants’ quarters were really nice and were very large.

And, then you go outside and take in the view of the Smoky Mountains.  Now that is a sight to see.  We then went to the conservatory and hothouses where they grow the flowers that you see inside the house.  Since the weather was so nice, it was really enjoyable to walk around and look at all the flowers.  We spent about three hours at Biltmore and enjoyed every minute of it.  We didn’t go to the Azalea Garden or winery; we’ll save those for another day.

After leaving Biltmore, we went to Chimney Rock which is another favorite spot of mine in the mountains.  We drove down curvy little roads and saw streams and small waterfalls.  We stopped and had some lunch, then walked down to the little stream behind the restaurant and took pictures.  With full tummies and happy hearts, we made our way back home.

We had a wonderful time and I can’t wait for my next trip to the mountains.

See ya next Wednesday.


Killing the Mouse

If you remember, I mentioned in one of my earlier posts that when we lived in the little cinder block house on the Bottom Road, we would lie in our beds and listen to the mice gnawing on the walls. You could actually see where they gnawed through the wallpaper in our bedroom.  I never noticed if there were holes in the rest of the rooms, although I’m sure there were. And, my little sister and I were never afraid of the mice; we just snuggled down in our beds at night and went to sleep.

There were also nights when we would be sitting in the living room watching some program on the television and we would see little mice run from my parents’ bedroom to our bedroom.  I mean, these little guys would almost stop and wave at us as they ran from room to room.  And, Dad would grumble and say he was gonna get those little boogers.

So, one night, when I was about 6 years old, he decided he was going to kill this one mouse and said he wanted me to help him. Oh geez, why me? Now, in the corner between the rooms stood the kerosene stove that we used to heat the house in the winter. So Dad got one of his work boots, handed it to me and said, “You stand in front of your bedroom door and when he comes your way, you whack him with my boot.”

Sure, okay, that sounded easy enough.  So, we took our places on either side of that stove with boots in our hands ready to rid ourselves of this pesky mouse.  The mouse came running out of their bedroom and straight toward me.  But, when the time came to whack him, I screamed and dropped the boot. The mouse ran right between my legs straight into our bedroom. No, of course I didn’t kill the mouse. And, my dad who was not the most patient person in the world, was not very happy with me.  He couldn’t understand why I didn’t just do the deed without screaming like a baby.  But, I betcha he secretly laughed at me and I sometimes wonder if he didn’t set me up just to see what I would do.

Well, I don’t think we ever got that mouse.  We just all went on living together in harmony in that little cinder block house.

See ya next Wednesday.


Our Neighbors

Living in a rural area also meant that you had lots of wonderful neighbors and neighbors were always there when you needed them.  That is something I really miss today because everyone works all the time and people just don’t seem to need each other any more.

When we lived in the little block house in Sharpe, we had some great neighbors.  One lady, Mrs. Johnson, lived across the street and she rode to church with us on most Sundays.  My sister and I spent a lot of time at her house.  We would sit on her front porch swing and she would tell us stories about when she was a little girl.  She also grew the most beautiful red roses that I have ever seen; and on Mother’s Day, she would let my sister and me come over and pick a rose to wear on our dresses. She also gave us one for our mom’s dress.  Whenever I see pretty red roses, I think of her.

We had some other neighbors who lived up the road and they had several children, one that was my age.  Now, these people didn’t have much, as most of the families then, but they were a happy bunch.  We did have running water in our house but not them.  They had a well on their back porch where they drew water; and if you wanted a drink of water while you were there, they would drop the bucket into the well and draw it back out full of ice cold water. And let me tell you, that was good water.  You then had to hold the dipper by its long handle and sip the water without touching the dipper itself with your dirty hands.  So, one day while I was up there playing, I got thirsty and asked for some water. They drew out a bucket of cold water and handed me the dipper.  The only problem was that when I took it, I touched the dipper with my hands. The little girl who was my age couldn’t talk plain and when I touched the forbidden dipper, she went bonkers and yelled, “Daddy, Daddy, Karen cuched the gipper!”  Oh crap, I thought I was in big trouble, but they just let it pass. But I can tell you right now, I never touched that dipper again when I got a drink of water.

I hope this brought back memories of some of your favorite neighbors when you were growing up.  Don’t you kind of miss them?

See ya next Wednesday.