Our Aluminum Christmas Tree

Good morning.

This is one of my most favorite times of the year.  I have always loved Christmas and really enjoying decorating, inside and outside.  Today I want to tell you about our aluminum Christmas tree.

I’m not now nor have I ever been a fan of artificial trees.  When I was small, Dad used to walk back into the woods with his saw or axe and bring back a beautiful cedar tree.  And I’m here to tell you that there is nothing that makes the house smell as good as a cedar tree.

Dad would put the tree into the tree stand and bring it into the house where Mom had a sheet all spread out on the floor where the tree would stand.  Heaven forbid if a drop of water got onto her floor.  After they got the tree placed where they wanted it, Dad would string the lights and Mom would put the ornaments on it.  She had all these little glass ornaments that my sister and I were not allowed to touch, much less hang one of them on the tree.  We could, however, put icicles on the tree but only one at a time.  But, when we finished, to me it was the most beautiful tree in the world and the house smelled good too.

But I digress.  So, since we were living in our new house and the aluminum Christmas trees had just come on the market, Mom decided she wanted one of them.  Lights were not put onto these trees; there was a color wheel that rotated and changed the color of the tree.  So, at one point, we actually had a green tree, but only when the green color rotated around.  Mom also bought some brand new glass ornaments for this tree which were pastel blues, pinks and greens.  Oh, and do you remember those ornaments that were made from paper and dipped into wax, then sprinkled with glitter?  Well, we put some of those on the tree too.  We didn’t put icicles on this tree either – it was just a piece of aluminum foil shaped like a christmas tree.

By this time, she decided that we were old enough to help decorate the tree.  Now, each ornament had to be put in the right spot and there could be no holes; it had to be perfect.  She even had a little Santa village that she put underneath the tree until the presents could be wrapped.  It was a pretty tree but it wasn’t a real tree and it surely didn’t give off that good ole cedar smell.

We used that tree for several years and only broke a few of those beautiful ornaments.  When Cheryl and I cleaned out Mom’s attic a year before she passed away, you know what we found?  Yep, we found that sad little aluminum tree and the rotating light.  Mom had kept that tree all those years.

I still have those precious ornaments that my mom bought so many years ago; but since I have cats, I don’t dare put them on a tree.  But, each year when I do decorate, I get them out and remember all those good Christmases we shared as a family.

See ya next Wednesday.

My First Car

Good morning.  Do you remember your first car?  Well, today, I’m gonna tell you about my first car.

Every teenager’s biggest dream is to have a car of their very own and I was no exception.  My parents couldn’t just go out and buy whatever car I wanted but that didn’t stop me from wanting one.  Uncle Chapel owned an auto glass company in Paducah and he could find good used cars at a very reasonable price.  So, my dad talked to him about finding my dream car.

Now don’t laugh, but my dream car was a black Corvair with red interior.  Yeah, I hear you laughing.  But, I thought those little cars were the cutest things and I really wanted one.  And, you know what, my Uncle Chapel found one for me.

You should have seen that baby. It was black and had red vinyl interior; it even had a radio.  It was automatic and the gear shift was a little lever on the dashboard.  The engine was in the back and the trunk space was in the front.

As soon as my dad drove up in it, I had to take it for a spin and of course I took my little sister with me.  We tootled up and down the road and just had a blast.  Just about every weekend, we would clean that little puppy, inside and out.

One time, we decided to take the back seat out and really clean the car.  We found a little capsule with a note on it.  The note said what the capsule contained, and if we put the capsule in water, we would get one.  I know I’m being a little vague here, but I can’t print what the note said the capsule contained.  But, being a teenager and a very nosy one at that, I had my little sister to get some water and we put the capsule in the water.  It didn’t take long for the capsule to melt away and reveal the contents. Imagine our surprise when it turned out to be a piece of foam shaped like a cat.

I remember one time when my mom drove it, she hit a rock on our road which knocked a hole in the muffler.  Boy, that little puppy sounded like a real race car until my dad replaced the muffler.

I drove that little car for a couple of years and had a great time.  I drove my friends to school and even drove it to Graves County where my dad preached so I could drive those friends around too.

Eventually, I decided I wanted something else – a red Mustang with black interior. And you know, my uncle found one of those for me too.  I was a really lucky girl to get the first and second cars that I wanted.

See ya next Wednesday.

I just want to wish all of you a safe and Happy Thanksgiving Day.

My First Homemade Pizza

Good morning.  Don’t ya just love a good greasy pizza?  Well, I do and I don’t care if it isn’t good for me health-wise.  I know I entitled this story as my first homemade pizza, but I’m not so sure that I had ever had any kind of pizza before this.

We were living in our new house on the Bottom Road and I was probably 12 or 13 years old.  We had relatives on my mom’s side living just up the road from us.  They also had the huge strawberry patches where we picked our strawberries every year.

My cousin was a couple of years older than I; and occasionally, we would spend the day together.  So one day, she invited me to come up to her house and we would make pizza.  Her dad was a farmer so almost everything we were gonna put on this pizza was grown on their farm.

So, I walked up to her house and we got started.  First she made the crust (from scratch I might add) and let that set for a little while.  Next, she fried some bacon and sausage (now this definitely came from hogs they had raised); and I tell ya, fresh sausage and bacon smells so good while it’s frying.  She took some homemade canned tomatoes and green peppers and onions and chopped them up for toppings. I don’t remember us having any cheese.  And, she boiled some macaroni to put on the pizza.  I know that sounds strange, but we were just using everything we could think of to complete this one-of-a-kind pizza.

Anyway, once everything was cooked and chopped, we started building the pizzas (we actually had enough for two pizzas).  We piled all those goodies on the two pizza crusts and baked them.  Man, I tell ya, those were some of the best pizzas I have ever eaten and I’ve had some good pizza.

I really had a good time that day with my cousin and we spent some other fun times together as we grew older.

Oh, one other time that I remember, was one day she decided we should lay out in the sun and get a tan.  I didn’t have a bathing suit; I mean, we didn’t go swimming and I certainly didn’t need one.  But, she gave me one to wear and I have to tell ya, I looked pretty pitiful in that thing.  To begin with, it was way too big and I thought the thing was going to fall off of me.  The bra section was a joke because I did not have boobs, much less boobs that would fit that suit.  But, we got out on her front porch and stayed about 30 minutes.  To me, it was pretty boring, but I was more scared that somebody was gonna see me in that nasty-looking bathing suit.

Wasn’t growing up a lot of fun?  As I have been writing this blog, it has brought back some of my favorite times growing up.  I hope you’re enjoying reliving my childhood as much as I am.

See ya next Wednesday.


The Shocking Lamp

Good morning.  Today I’m gonna tell you about a lamp that used to shock the crap out of my sister and me.

When Mom and Dad built the house on the Bottom Road, we did take a few things from the old house but they mostly bought all new furniture.  One of the things that we took with us was a really nice lamp and Cheryl and I decided we wanted that lamp in our bedroom.  You may remember from an earlier post that we had to share Cheryl’s room so anything in there belonged to both of us.

We started out with one big bed but later Mom bought us twin beds which stopped a lot of the fights we had after the lights went out.  You may also remember how I would touch my little sister with my toe once we got into bed and she would yell at me, which got us both threatened.  Yep, I did it, but she was so easily aggravated.  And, that’s just what big sisters do to little sisters.

Anyway, we put this lamp on the chest of drawers.  I’m not sure how we discovered that the lamp had a piece of metal on the shade; and if you touched it, you would get a little shock.  We didn’t tell Mom about this because we knew she would take the lamp away and we had begun to have a lot of fun touching that thing and getting a little tingle from it.  I believe we even conned our cousin Greg into touching it and of course, he screamed like a girl.  So, we didn’t let him join in the fun any more.

We finally got to where we would stand there and see just how many times we could get shocked.  It was probably a very stupid thing to do but kids are not the smartest creatures; and if something is fun, you want to keep on doing it.

Well, finally one day while we were at school, our mom was in the room cleaning; and when she went to dust that lamp, it shocked her too.  She didn’t think it was too funny but I would have given my eye teeth to see her get shocked.  I would have most likely gotten a whipping for laughing at her; but alas, I missed it.  When we got home from school, we discovered that our favorite lamp was missing.  We asked Mom about it and she said she had thrown it in the dump because we could get hurt if we got shocked.  And, yep, you guessed it, we acted so surprised that the lamp could do that.

My little sister and I used to have a lot of fun together even though we didn’t always get along.  But, I think that is why we are so close now.

See ya next Wednesday.

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.



Getting My Tonsils Removed

Do you still have your tonsils?  Today, I’m going to tell you about the time I had my tonsils removed.  Boy, was that fun!

While I was growing up, I was sick all the time with sore throats and I tell ya, they were not fun.  I missed a lot of school every winter because I was constantly sick with a sore throat.  The doctors kept telling my parents that I needed to have my tonsils taken out, but they didn’t want to jump the gun and have them taken out when I might outgrow getting sore throats all the time.

When I was in eighth grade, I was still plagued with sore throats.  I made plans to spend the night with one of my friends who lived on a farm and her dad and brothers just happened to be killing hogs that same day.  The day arrived and you guessed it, I had a little bit of sore throat.  But, I begged my mom to let me go to my friend’s house anyway.  She told me to stay in the house once we got to her house after school.  Did I listen?  Of course not.

After school, my friend asked if I wanted to go watch her dad and brothers, and of course I said yes, conveniently forgetting what my mom had said.  We stayed out there in the cold for quite a while and I was freezing by the time we got back inside the house.  And by now, my throat was really hurting.

We sat down at the supper table, and I could barely swallow my food.  Eating was so painful because whatever I ate, scratched my throat as it went down.  I excused myself from the table and went to the bathroom and cried.  I wanted to go home so badly even though I knew my mom would be mad at me.  My friend’s mom offered to take me home but I decided I would tough it out and go on to school the next day.

As I tried to sleep that night, I dreamed I was driving a car and I kept coming to this curve that I couldn’t get around.  It was actually me trying to swallow; my throat was almost swelled shut.  Early the next morning, I was so miserable and openly crying and they called my mom.  She came and got me and I went immediately to the doctor’s office.  He told my mom that we couldn’t wait any longer to take my tonsils out so they set a date for the operation.

The day arrived and I was dreading it because I knew that I would be given a gazillion shots.  And, I think my mom broke every speeding limit when she took me to the doctor’s office.  Now, what was unique about this was that the doctor was taking my tonsils out in the clinic and was only going to give me local anesthesia.  That’s right; I was going to be awake the whole time.

So, they got me in the chair and numbed my throat and started the process. It didn’t hurt at all but I could hear them cutting those puppies out.  It didn’t take very long but I had to stay the night at the clinic.  Just a little note here that this was the same clinic in which my little sister was born.

That night, I went to bed and slept really well although my throat was a little sore from the surgery.  The next day my Grandpa Thomasson came to take me home and I think he drove as slow as he could and hit every hole and rut in the road.  I was feeling pretty rough by the time I got home.

But, since that day, I have been free of sore throats and I can tell ya, it’s great.

See ya next Wednesday.