Happy Halloween

Good morning.  I have briefly mentioned in an earlier post about our Halloweens when we were young.  Today, I want to talk about a couple of our favorite Halloweens.

Even when we lived in the little block house on the Bottom Road, our mom and dad would dress us up and take us around the neighborhood and to our families’ homes. Most of the time, we only had a store-bought mask and wore our regular clothes.  I only remember actually having a complete costume for one Halloween and I will talk about that one in a little bit.

What made the early Halloweens great were the treats that folks gave to us. We would come home with bags full of homemade goodies like cookies, brownies, candied apples and my favorite, popcorn balls.  You see, back then, you didn’t have to worry that someone would put a needle in the treats they gave out; that sort of thing just didn’t happen.  Halloweens were so much fun then and about the worst meanness that went on was getting your car or house windows soaped.

One year when my little sister was about four or five years old, we got all dressed up for Halloween.  First, we went to get goodies from all our families.  Once we visited all of them, we went back to our neighborhood.  Now, Mom and Dad would stay in the car and send us up to the house.  And, when folks opened their doors, they would see the car and knew exactly who was standing there with their little bags held out for treats. The funny thing was that they always acted like they were scared and we really thought they didn’t know who we were.  So, we went to one of our favorite neighbors and knocked on the door; and when Mrs. Thompson opened it, we of course said “Trick or Treat.”

She put her hands over her mouth and said, “Oh my goodness, who are you?  I’m so scared.”

And my little sister, being the sweet little girl that she was, raised her Halloween mask off her face and said, “Don’t be scared; it’s just me.”  Now, was that sweet or what!

I remember another Halloween when our cousin Angelyn was spending the night so she could go trick-or-treating with us.  The only problem was that she didn’t have a costume or even a mask to wear.  Well, my mom came up with the most perfect plan – she would make a mask for her out of a grocery bag that she had gotten at the store.  You have to remember that back then, the grocery stores used brown paper bags, not those plastic things we get today.  She took a bag and crayons and fixed up a pretty scary-looking mask.  She punched a couple of eye holes in the bag so Angelyn could see where she was going and put her in one of Dad’s old shirts and jacket. That year I had a clown costume and Cheryl had a Tinker Bell costume. What made this Halloween so fun was that even though the neighbors knew the car, they couldn’t figure out why there were three of us.  But we got the usual delicious goodies and had a great time with our cousin.

I really miss those Halloweens because the world was just a better place then and it was a safe place for kids to dress up and have a little fun.

See ya next Wednesday.


I Lost My Shoes

Good morning.  I know I have mentioned that I went roller skating when I was younger but today I want to share a particular skating party with you where I lost my shoes.

When I was in about the fifth grade at Sharpe Elementary School, our class would go on a skating party a couple of times a year.  The teachers would schedule a day and schedule a bus to take us to the skating rink in Benton. Joe Nanny was the owner of the skating rink and it was one of the most popular places for kids in Marshall County.

Of course, the teachers would send permission slips home with us because if you didn’t turn in a signed permission slip, you wouldn’t get to go to the skating party.  I’m sure we had to pay some money too for skate rental, but I don’t remember how much — it couldn’t have been much back then.

So, the day of our skating party arrived and everybody was so excited about going. We had to meet at the school to catch the bus to Benton.  Naturally, all my girlfriends and I had to make sure we were sitting in seats close to each other so we could talk about which boys we wanted to skate with when we got to the rink.

We got to the skating rink and had to get our skates.  I have to add here that it didn’t matter how much padding I put in those skates, I ended up with huge blisters on both of my feet.  But, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.  I just suffered through the healing of the blisters every single time I went skating.

Joe would play good songs to skate by and also had different kinds of activities that you could skate to if you wanted.  He would offer skating backwards, the limbo, and couples only.  Most of the time, it was where everybody could skate.  I’m sure I skated with a boy or two in the couples skate but most of the time, I just struggled to stay on my feet instead of my behind.

The rink also had soft drinks and candy that you could buy if you wanted to sit out a song or two.  There was a little galley that had little bleachers where you could sit and eat/drink your goodies or just watch everybody else skating.  That’s also where you put your shoes while you were skating.

Joe would offer one last song before the party ended and the floor would be totally full because no one was ready to go home.  After the last song, we all rushed to the seats to change into our shoes and get our coats before the trip home.

Well, this is where it gets interesting.  I went to get my shoes and couldn’t find them.  I searched that place over and still couldn’t find my shoes.  So, I waited to see if someone had accidently taken my shoes and was going to return them.  And, by the way, these shoes were new; and since I didn’t get new shoes too often, I really wanted my shoes back.  Finally, I found what I thought were my shoes; but lo and behold, they weren’t mine.  They were some scruffy old shoes but they were the only shoes left.  Somebody had taken my new shoes and left me with these.  The sad thing was that the old shoes fit me; so whoever took mine, would be able to wear them just fine.

The trip home was very long for me because I was really afraid I would get into trouble when I got home without my shoes.  But my mom didn’t say too much about it.

We went on many more skating parties while I was in grade school but I never lost my shoes any more.  But, you know something – I guess whoever took my shoes surely needed them much worse than I did.

See ya next Wednesday.



Playing Outside in the Summer

After my mom and dad built the new house, my sister and I had to play outside in the summer.  I think my mom was just so proud to have a new house that she didn’t want it messed up at all.

My grandmother Mawdie babysat our little cousin Greg while his mom worked so we had someone who could help us come up with new fun things to do.

He had a gazillion little cars and trucks so sometimes we would find a good spot in the yard and build roads in the dirt with bridges and buildings.  In order to have a bridge, you had to dig a hole in the ground and that’s exactly what we did.  Most of the time, we would get spoons from the kitchen to dig our holes; sometimes we had to use other sticks.  Occasionally, Mom would buy us popsicles and we always saved the sticks to use for the bridges.  We used twigs and leaves to make buildings and our cars just had to have garages.  Anyway, we would bring water to our holes and we never could understand why the water didn’t stay in the hole all day.  I can’t forget to say that Bugs (my cocker spaniel) and Doc (Dad’s bird dog) usually got right in the middle of our construction.  All they had to do was just walk through our building site and everything would be completely destroyed.  But, we would just start all over again.

Getting water for our holes would give us another great idea — mud pies.  So, we would bring more water and mix it with our extra dirt and make the most beautiful mud pies you ever saw. Sometimes I would find little flowers blooming in the yard and would mix them into my mud pie.  Then we would take some of the muddy water and pretend to make coffee.  Now, we never ever ate those mud pies, but they sure looked pretty.

When we got tired of playing cars, we would get on our bicycles and ride to the creek.  We would get a good running start so we could get across the creek.  You see, there was a lot of loose gravel and if you weren’t going fast enough, the bicycle wouldn’t be able to get through the gravel and you would fall.  And I’m here to tell you that falling onto a bunch of sharp rocks is not what I call fun.  I know I have said it before, but some days we probably rode our bikes 100 miles riding up and down the lane that ran beside our house.

Even if it was raining, we played outside but it was usually in the barn or corncrib.  We never got bored because we always found something fun to do outside, even if it was just climbing trees or playing baseball with walnuts and sticks.  I sure do miss those good ole days.

See ya next Wednesday.


My First Flight

Good morning.

Are you a good flier?  I am so fascinated by planes and love to watch them take off and land; however, I’m not a good flier.  I tolerate it and am ready to be on the ground the minute the plane takes off.

The first time I flew in a plane was several years ago just after I had graduated from high school.  My dad, mom and little sister had moved to Memphis, Tennessee, so my dad could attend Getwell School of Preaching. I had started business school, had a job and we still had our house so I stayed at home.  My grandmother, Mawdie, stayed in the house with me and looked after the house and our pets.  I always knew that I would have a good home-cooked meal waiting for me everyday when I got home.  I took Mawdie to church on the weekends and we spent some really precious time together.  I talked to my mom almost every day, but I missed them very much.

We all decided that I should fly to Memphis one weekend to see them.  Paducah has an airport so I could catch a plane in Paducah and they would pick me up at the Memphis airport.  The one problem was that I had never flown and all I could think of was that puppy falling out of the sky between Paducah and Memphis.

Anyway, I made reservations for one weekend and made my way to the airport after work on Friday afternoon.  I bought some flight insurance, just in case my worst fears came true, and checked my luggage.  So, I got on the plane and made sure I had a window seat.  I have to add here that I was flying in a plane with propellers; they didn’t have jets flying out of Paducah then.  I got all comfortable thinking I had both seats to myself; however, to my disappointment, I had a seat partner.  The man who was seated next to me was a businessman; I don’t remember his name although I’m sure he introduced himself.  I do remember that he was about half drunk and smelled like a brewery.  He talked to me all the way to Memphis.  I had brought a book to read but never opened the first page.  They served a meal on this 30-minute trip.  We had club sandwiches, chips and a drink.

So, we’re on our way to Memphis when we run into a thunderstorm.  Oh crap; see, my fears were materializing – I was never gonna see my family ever again.  It rained pretty hard for a while but the pilot finally went above the clouds and I have to say that watching the lightning from above was really great.  The lightning was pink and lit up the whole sky; it was beautiful.

We got ready to land in Memphis and the pilot came on and told us the landing would be a little rough and he was absolutely right.  I was never so glad to see land again.  It was raining in Memphis and we had people who met us as we got off the plane with umbrellas.  That’s right – they escorted us into the airport.  When I got inside, there was my mom, dad and little sister waiting for me – what a beautiful sight.

I really enjoyed spending the weekend with my family and I don’t even remember the trip back to Paducah.  I made several more weekend trips to Memphis, but I’ll never forget my first flight.

See ya next Wednesday.

Another Trip to Chimney Rock, NC

Good morning.  If you remember, last year about this time, a couple of friends and I went to Chimney Rock, NC, to get apples.  Well, it is once again fall so we thought we needed to go back, and not only get more apples, but see some of the sights around Chimney Rock.

So, last Thursday, we set out about 9:30 am and made our way to my beloved mountains.  We got to Chimney Rock around noon and decided we needed to have some lunch before we started our adventures.  On our way to the restaurant, we passed several apple and fruit stands.  Some of them were decorated for the fall and some already had their stands decorated for halloween. We had lunch at a little restaurant with a stream behind it, like last year’s, and the food was very good.  The weather was perfect so we were able to eat on the patio.

We had already decided that we were going up Chimney Rock, especially since the elevator was back in order.  It took us about 10 minutes to drive to the entrance, we bought our tickets and made our way to the elevator.  To get to the elevator, you have to walk down this hallway which is carved out of the mountain.  Lights are all down the hallway so you can see but it’s really neat.  The elevator brings you to the gift shop and the door to Chimney Rock.  You still have to climb 40 steps to get to the top but I’m here to tell you, it’s worth it.  The view from the top is spectacular.  You get a panoramic view of the mountains and Lake Lure.  It’s absolutely gorgeous.  We spent quite a while just walking around and taking in some of nature’s most beautiful scenery.

As we were going back down the elevator, the attendant suggested that we visit Hickory Nut Falls which is below Chimney Rock.  You have to walk down this little trail about 3/4 of a mile, but if you take your time, it’s a nice walk and you can really enjoy the fresh mountain air.  As we got closer to the falls, you could hear the water hitting the rocks.  There were a gazillion hickory nuts lying all over the place – I really wanted to grab a few but was afraid the forestry service might not like that very much.  We also had to be careful and not get hit by the hickory nuts the squirrels were dropping. I do believe they were seeing how many people they could hit with those puppies. Actually, we didn’t get hit at all but you could hear the nuts falling through the trees.

Anyway, we finally got to the falls and they were so pretty.  Just standing there watching the water come over the top of the rocks was so amazing.  I wanted to stand there forever; it was so peaceful.  We were looking around at all the rocks, little water falls and trees when I spied a little garter snake all stretched out on some leaves taking in the falls too.  We stayed a little longer but noticed that it was getting late and we still had to get apples, so we reluctantly left.

We stopped at one little apple stand and got apples, tomatoes and cabbage.  We stopped at another larger stand and I bought a half bushel of apples so I could make some more goodies.

We had a wonderful time and spending time with my friends was the highlight of my day.

See ya next Wednesday.