Thursday, December 10, 2009

Noah's Ark Everything I need to know, I learned from Noah's Ark ..
ONE: Don't miss the boat.
TWO: Remember that we are all in the same boat!
THREE: Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the Ark.
FOUR: Stay fit. When you're 60 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big..
FIVE: Don't listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.
SIX: Build your future on high ground.
SEVEN: For safety's sake, travel in pairs.
EIGHT: Speed isn't always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.
NINE: When you're stressed, float awhile.
TEN: Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.
ELEVEN: No matter the storm, when you are with God, there's always a rainbow waiting.

This came from a very good friend via email this morning and I wanted to share.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Living in the Country

Late yesterday afternoon I was just sitting at my window looking out at the pond and the reflections. I decided to make this shot of it. As the season goes more into winter the bright colors of the fall leaves reflecting in it change daily.

I love living in the country. I was born 80 miles north of here in the country and grew up there. We lived in cities all our working years but when we retired we came back to the country.

I love the sounds of the country. The frogs on the pond, the birds in the trees and the sounds of the animals in the woods nearby. I am losing my hearing and have to have amplification now but am trying to store all the sounds I can in my memory. The hearing loss started when I was working and lightning struck the phone I had on my head to test some trouble on the line. Then it gradually worsened. I look like I am listening to a radio with the earphones on my head. Hearing aids don't work for me and the earbuds worry me falling out so I stick to the earphones.

Back when I was growing up, the woods were so deep around the house we could hear the wildcats and other animals. Only once since I have been here have I heard a wildcat.

And I love the smells of the country. Although there is a highway that runs in front of my house, I still get the smell of the grass and flowers. Nothing has ever smelled as good to me as the smell of honeysuckle early in the morning. My idea of heaven would be fields of honeysuckle.

We lived in such an isolated place when I was growing up that we didn't have a telephone until I was grown so I didn't have the disadvantage of being bothered with it. After I left to go to work when I was 17 they ran the lines where my parents could get one. It was an 8 party line and everyone listened to everyone else on it. Lack of one freed me to sit under a shade tree and read after my chores were done. I used to set up an old army cot with a pitcher of Kool Aid and surround myself with books. There was no air conditioning. Children in those days had such an advantage over children today. It saddens me to think that they have to be entertained all the time instead of learning to be self sufficient and creating their own entertainment.

I know a lot of city folk look down on country folk because they think they had no advantages. But I feel they had all the advantages to become decent people.

Yes, I do love living in the country. And I wouldn't trade it for a blue nose mule as Aubrey used to say.

Monday, October 19, 2009

My father

My father was a railroad man. Born in 1900 in Terry, Mississippi, he was the oldest by 11 months of two boys. When he was 16 his father died and his mother and the two boys survived by truck farming for a couple of years. Then shortly before he was 20, he went to telegraph school and became a telegraph operator. He went to work for a major railroad in 1920 and had over 50 years service with them before his retirement.

He loved the railroad--everything about it. He loved the big steam engines and worked many out of the way places just so he could be around them although he could have worked in a larger office.

In 1931 he married my mother, Kathie. This was the tail end of the great depression and jobs were scarce, yet he managed to keep his seniority by getting a friend to let him work the required one day out of 6 months to hold onto it. He gave the money back to his friend and that was a well kept secret as it was against the rules. He bid in the agency in Eden, Mississippi and we moved there. Then oil was discovered in Yazoo County and the agency came open in Anding, Mississippi and he bid that in. My mother and I were already there as my grandmother had passed away and we had to go and take care of my grandfather, who was alone.

We were allowed to ride anywhere we wanted free on a pass and my mother and I used to ride the train a lot.

Dad was a rather short, slender man and full of life and energy. He always had something new going on. Once he decided to plant gladiola as he loved flowers. But unlike most people who would have simply planted a couple of dozen, he planted an acre of them. They were the most beautiful I have ever seen with each stalk blooming up to 20 blossoms. The only problem was that we had trouble finding homes for all the beautiful flowers as he cut them! Then the next year he changed from flowers to garlic. And planted the whole acre in it. It surely was a difference in the smell of the place that year. Garlic is very pretty when it is growing and blooming though so we all enjoyed seeing it. The problem with that was that no one else, at all, wanted any of it.

In a way, he was a strange man. He was friendly to everyone but hard to really know. I knew he loved me but he never once told me he did. When my mother would ask did he love her, his answer was always "I married you, didn't I?" My mother told me he used to take me when I was a baby down to an old tree on the property and sing to me in the evening. I was the only child they had. When I got a little older, he took me to work with him every day. At that time he was working about 15 miles away and I would spend the whole time with him and he played with me when he had time.

The way my parents met was when he was sent to Anding to work and he boarded at my grandmother's house. He was 8 years older than she was and she immediately loved this young man, who at that time looked a bit like Clark Gable. She was engaged to another young man but soon broke that engagement to be with Dad.

I grew up with his love for the railroad and followed in his footsteps as a telegraph operator. Once you work for a railroad it never gets out of your blood. He missed it after his retirement and all these years later, I still miss it too.

These were just some random thoughts about my life with my father, who I loved dearly, but never quite understood.

He was a good man and I miss him although he has been gone 40 years this month of October 2009.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Chocolate Sings

This was in my email this morning. Enjoy!!

One day I had a date with friends for lunch. Mae, a little old "blue hair"
about 80 years old, came along with them---all in all, a pleasant bunch.

When the menus were presented, we ordered salads, sandwiches, and
soups, except for Mae who said, "Ice Cream, please. Two scoops,

I wasn't sure my ears heard right, and the others were aghast. "Along with
heated apple pie," Mae added, completely unabashed.

We tried to act quite nonchalant, as if people did this all the time.. But
when our orders were brought out, I didn't enjoy mine.

I couldn't take my eyes off Mae as her pie a-la-mode went down. The other
ladies showed dismay. They ate their lunches silently and frowned.

The next time I went out to eat, I called and invited Mae. I lunched on white
meat tuna. She ordered a parfait.
I smiled. She asked if she amused me.
I answered, "Yes, you do, but also you confuse me.

How come you order rich desserts, while I feel I must be sensible? She
laughed and said, with wanton mirth, "I'm tasting all that is Possible.

I try to eat the food I need, and do the things I should. But life's so short,
my friend, I hate missing out on something good.

This year I realized how old I was. (She grinned) I haven't been this old before."
"So, before I die, I've got to try those things that for years I had ignored.
I haven't smelled all the flowers yet. There are too many books I haven't
read. There's more fudge sundaes to wolf down and kites to be flown overhead.

There are many malls I haven't shopped. I've not laughed at all the jokes.
I've missed a lot of Broadway hits and potato chips and cokes.

I want to wade again in water and feel ocean spray on my face. I want to sit
in a country church once more and thank God for His grace.

I want peanut butter every day spread on my morning toast. I want un-
timed long distance calls to the folks I love the most.

I haven't cried at all the movies yet, or walked in the morning rain. I need to
feel wind in my hair. I want to fall in love again.

So, if I choose to have dessert, instead of having dinner, then should I die
before night fall, I'd say I died a winner, because I missed out on nothing. I
filled my heart's desire. I had that final chocolate mousse before my life expired.."

With that, I called the waitress over.. "I've changed my mind, " I said. "I
want what she is having, only add some more whipped cream!"

This is my gift to you - We need an annual Friends Day! If you get this
twice, then you have more than one friend. Live well, love much & laugh
often - Be happy.

SHARE THIS WITH YOUR FRIENDS including me if I'm lucky enough to be
counted among them.

Be mindful that happiness isn't based on possessions, power, or prestige,
but on relationships with people we love and respect. Remember that
while money talks, CHOCOLATE SINGS!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Look at me

I have an absolute horror of nursing homes. Aubrey and I did quite a bit of volunteer work in them during the last years of his life and came to know the cruelty that is put upon the patients, especially the ones in wheelchairs who cannot defend themselves. If it ever became necessary for me to go to one, I hope someone shoots me at the front door before I go in. I watched them mistreat my mother and some friends and have first hand knowledge of the way people are treated. And they pay a huge price for the so-called care they are given in them. While visiting my mother one day, I wrote this little poem and found it on my computer this morning. I deliberately have no pictures of her in her wheelchair as I did not want to remember her that way. I want to remember her smiling and happy and not with her head down and no hope.

Look at me
By Ann Roberts

Look at me
In this wheelchair
All bent and gray
Don't just turn your eyes away
Look at me.

Touch me
I won't break if you
Just touch me.
I can still feel the touch of a friend
Oh the days without end
When no one will
Touch me

Talk to me
Don't just say
How are you and walk away.
Although I am old and gray,
I still have things to say.
Talk to me.

Look at me
Touch me
Talk to me

LOOK AT ME, look at me, look at me!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

In memory of my father

On October 25, 1969 my father was killed in a car wreck by a drunken driver who hit us from behind. A while later I wrote this in memory of him. He never called me anything but Nancy.

The Keys
By Ann Roberts

Nancy lay in the hospital bed looking at the ring of keys the nurse had brought to her. They were her father's keys. Several hours before, Nancy, her mother and father had been involved in a terrible automobile accident. Her father was dead and her mother had been transferred to a larger hospital. She was alone. She had sent her husband with her mother to the other hospital so her mother would have someone with her when she regained consciousness and was told of her husband's death.

As she looked at the keys and carefully examined them, her thoughts were in turmoil. This one was the one to the house. The house her parents had paid for one note at the time until it was paid for and then improved one note at the time. Now that he was gone, what would her mother do?

She fondled another one. This one was to the office where he had worked for 50 years. He had kept the key as a memento after his retirement. He had still been welcome there.

The next one was to the automobile. He was so proud of it. He had saved his money until he could pay cash for it and it was now gone, along with him.

The accident happened one sunny afternoon in October 1969. He had wanted to take a ride and asked Nancy to go along with them. Her mother decided to drive.
They were all riding along laughing and talking when suddenly there was an impact from behind. The last thing she ever said to her father was "People should live with love and not hate".

It hit so hard the gas tank flew off into the road. The car careened down a fifty-foot embankment into a pine tree. Her father didn't stand a chance. The glove compartment flew open and was driven into his sternum. Her mother had multiple breaks and contusions. Nancy had a crushed vertebra. The doctor had said there was a chance she would never walk again and at best would always have to wear a brace. At this moment, this was secondary to what she was feeling.

The driver of the automobile that hit them so suddenly and cruelly from behind had no brakes and the driver was drunk. He suffered no injury at all.

As she kept looking at the keys and thinking, the thought came to mind "Is this all there is, you live, you die and someone hands you a ring of keys to signify that you were once really here." And the tears that she had not been able to shed until now came in a rush and she screamed out with the anguish and pain "Oh God, is this really all there is to life?"

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Be Kind to Your Web-footed Friends

A long time ago Mitch Miller used this as his theme song. "Be Kind to your Web-footed Friends, for a duck may be somebody's mother." The following is a true story that happened to a friend of mine and for some reason it brought to mind this song when it happened.

The Inheritance

By Ann Roberts

Joseph read the letter he had just received and thought to himself "I just got back from burying Uncle John and now the lawyer wants me to come back out there to tie up some loose ends". This would mean taking more time off from his job and he needed the money badly for his family. And over the years when he would go to check on Uncle John, his wife would get upset at him. Uncle John had left home many years before and moved to Texas to make his fortune. Apparantly, all his dreams had fallen through and he lived as a pauper. Joseph was the only one in the family who ever tried to spend any time with him or help him.

Uncle John, when alive, had not been a very pleasant person to be around and the rest of his family had stayed away. But Joseph felt someone should go to see to his needs once in a while so he went.

The letter sounded as though the trip was absolutely necessary, so he took the time from his job and left the next day. He thought all the way about his uncle. Every time he had gone to see about him, Uncle John had seemed glad to see him and thanked him for his help. He just could not understand why he was the only one who ever bothered to go. Surely, some of them were better able to make the trips.

When he arrived at the lawyer's office, he was taken to a private room. The lawyer told him he had been named sole heir to his uncle's estate. Joseph thought "What in the world will I do with the few things that Uncle John had? I have no place to store them so I suppose I will just give them away." After the will was read the lawyer asked Joseph if he knew what his uncle had left him. When Joseph replied that he really didn't the lawyer smiled and said "Your uncle left you almost three million dollars and if you will sign these papers it all belongs to you."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dear Nannie

I lost my mother in 2001. This is a tribute to her. She was one of the most beautiful souls I ever knew.

For a long time now I have wanted to write this to you. Remember how when I was working away all those years we wrote each other almost daily and talked often.

I wonder now if you ever knew how much I admired you for your courage in going on for 30 years after Dad was killed in the wreck and after your severe injuries in that wreck caused so needlessly by a drunken driver with no brakes.

I remember so many things about those 30 years about you and your acceptance and coping.

I did the best I could in taking care of you through your 5 month stay in the hospital and then when you came home you had already gotten an automobile ready for the day when you would again be able to drive.

You didn't have much formal education but you had a lot of smarts. True, I had to keep your books for you and do a lot of things most women can do for themselves, but Dad kept you down by not allowing you to do these things. I know now he wanted to take care of his "Southern Belle" and that is always what you were...a person to be cherished and cared for. I used to think he was wrong but now I know he was just doing the best he could.

I admire you for the way you always looked so pretty in your nice clothes when you would come in from church and I would be at your house to spend some time with you. I wish I had said to you "How pretty you look today". I always knew I would never be beautiful like you were but it didn't matter.

I remember coming home from school and starting to call your name when I got close to the house walking and then running so I could tell you what had happened that day. I remember how you played with me like you were my age and my friend and not my mother.

I remember all the funny little things you did like the time you locked the keys in the car and left it running all night and calling the next morning to ask Aubrey if he would come down and not bring me as you were afraid I would fuss at you. There was no way he was going to get out of the house without me and when I saw you I burst out laughing. It did no harm to the car.

It was said that you were not the smartest gal around but you knew how to love and that is really what is important in this life. To know how to give and receive love.

I admired you for going on with your life and for going on even at 90 to the dances we played and you always having a man to dance with and go places with.

I admired you when you had the broken hip and the stroke and how you and I together coped with it for over 3 years until you left me. Those times were hard and broke you financially and I also had to put in a lot of money but I thanked God your mind was still intact and we could communicate as always. After you left Aubrey said he didn't think I could make it without you. It has been very hard but I hope you would be proud of me.

You really should have been born when Southern ladies sat under magnolia trees and sipped mint juleps.

I hope you heard the words I said at your funeral when asked if I had anything to say about what you taught me and I said "She taught me to love". To me, this is the greatest gift a parent can give a child and you gave it to me.

Thank you for being my hero. I miss you.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Golf and Kilts

Golf and Kilts

By Ann Roberts

Joseph looked at Kate and smiled. They had just come in to Scotland for the first time. They planned to celebrate their 20th anniversary here. And Joseph had gotten a trip from his company to compete in the golf tournament at La Monga club. This was a golfer's dream. It is one of the best known in the world and has been in operation since 1626.

As they looked around them at the rolling countryside, they both took a deep breath of the fresh air. They looked at each other in disbelief that anything could be so beautiful.

The limousine picked them up and they headed to the Royal Golf Hotel. They had been told this was a place that had easy access to some of the most beautiful gardens in Scotland and also to the wild and dramatic countryside. Kate was anxious to see the gardens. Although Joseph wanted to rest for the first day of the tournament the next day, he decided to humor her, as it was their anniversary.

They rented an automobile and set out for a tour of one of the nearby gardens. While enroute there they encountered a parade. Kate had always liked bagpipes and there were 100 men in kilts performing.

And then she got the thrill of her lifetime….a swift wind came up and she got a chance to prove what she had suspected all her life. What do they wear under the kilts? The photo she took was proof positive that her suspicions had been right.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My Beloved Aubrey

I have wanted to write about Aubrey for some time now but old memories are still so much in my mind, it was hard to do.

Aubrey Roberts was born in Utica, MS in 1927, the second of seven children. The oldest child, a girl, died shortly after birth. Back in those days a lot of women lost their firstborn because of lack of medical care.

When he was eight, his father was killed in an accident leaving him to help his mother care for the younger five. Their first knowledge of their father's death came when they got on the school bus to go home, the uncaring driver told him "Boy, your daddy was killed today".

This placed a big responsibility on a boy this age, but he shouldered it.He plowed fields for a dollar a day, worked in a store on Saturdays dipping ice cream and delivering groceries, delivered ice and anything else he could find to make some money.

At an early age, he decided he wanted to be a musician and ordered a cheap guitar from Sears Roebuck, which is still hanging on the wall. Survival of the family was the first priority of he and his mother. Somehow they managed to raise and make successful people out of his 3 brothers and 2 sisters.

He started a band and taught his brothers to play with him and they started playing country dances to supplement the meager family income.

From there, after he graduated from high school he was drafted in the army and sent to El Paso, Texas, where he got a job in his off time playing in a small lounge. When his tour of duty was up, he continued to play music, and played virtually all over the country. He played guitar, fiddle, drums, and piano quite well. He played with a big band sound for many years on drums, and then formed his own band, "Aubrey Roberts & The Good Ole Boys" and played with everyone who was somebody and lot who weren't. He also sang really well. At one time he had 3 radio shows going at the same time around the Jackson and Vicksburg, Mississippi area. I kept the band and we still play special events, especially the Snowflake Ball, which is put on by the Governor's office in Jackson for seniors and handicapped people each December. His grandson, Jesse Gandy, is now the bandleader.

His first love was the fiddle and he requested that a bow be placed in his coffin. I put it in his hand and laid his hat, which he always wore, on his chest.

It has always been almost impossible to make a living in music in Mississippi so Aubrey had to take a regular job also. After his retirement, he spent a lot of time playing for charity events and won the citizen of the year award for his work with the United Way playing for senior citizens and the handicapped. There are certificates hanging all over the walls for his work in this capacity.

He was married and had four daughters and did well in music over the years.

I was very proud to call him my husband.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I wish I could take credit for this, but it came to me from a friend in an email and I like it and want to share it with you. It is so descriptive of Southern people, who are possibly the most misunderstood of all groups in the US.

Perhaps all y'all who are not from the South might get some
understandin' from this little lesson!

Southern women know their summer weather report:

Southern women know their vacation spots:
The beach
The rivuh
The crick

Southern women know everybody's first name:

Southern women know the movies that speak to their hearts:
Fried Green Tomatoes
Driving Miss Daisy
Steel Magnolias
Gone With The Wind

Southern women know their religions:

Southern women know their cities dripping with Southern charm:
Foat Wuth

Southern women know their elegant gentlemen:
Men in uniform
Men in tuxedos
Rhett Butler

Southern girls know their prime real estate:
The Mall
The Country Club
The Beauty Salon

Southern girls know the 3 deadly sins:
Having bad hair and nails
Having bad manners
Cooking bad food

More Suthen-ism's:
Only a Southerner knows the difference between a hissie fit and a
conniption fit, and that you don't "HAVE" them,

you "PITCH" them.

Only a Southerner knows how many fish, collard greens, turnip greens,
peas, beans, etc., make up "a mess."

Only a Southerner can show or point out to you the general direction of

Only a Southerner knows exactly how long "directly" is, as in:

"Going to town, be back directly ."

Even Southern babies know that "Gimme some sugar" is not a request for
the white, granular sweet substance that sits in a pretty little bowl in
the middle of the table.

All Southerners know exactly when
"by and by" is. They might not use the term, but they know the concept

Only a Southerner knows instinctively that the best gesture of solace
for a neighbor who's got trouble is a plate of hot fried chicken and a
big bowl of cold potato salad.

If the neighbor's trouble is a real crisis, they also know to add a
large banana puddin!

Only Southerners grow up knowing the difference between "right near" and

"a right far piece." They also know that "just down the road" can be 1
mile or 20

Only a Southerner, both knows and understands, the difference between a
redneck, a good ol' boy, and po' white trash.

No true Southerner would ever assume that the car with the flashing turn
signal is actually going to make a turn.

A Southerner knows that "fixin" can be used as a noun, a verb, or an

Only Southerners make friends while standing in lines, ... and when
we're "in line,"... we talk to everybody!

Put 100 Southerners in a room and half of them will discover they're
related, even if only by marriage.

In the South, y'all is singular, all y'all is plural.

Southerners know grits come from corn and how to eat them.

Every Southerner knows tomatoes with eggs, bacon, grits, and coffee are
perfectly wonderful; that red eye gravy is also a breakfast food; and
that fried green tomatoes are not a breakfast food.

When you hear someone say, "Well, I caught myself lookin'," you know you
are in the presence of a genuine Southerner!

Only true Southerners say "sweet tea" and "sweet milk." Sweet tea
indicates the need for sugar and lots of it -- we do not like our tea
unsweetened. "Sweet milk" means you don't want buttermilk.

And a true Southerner knows you don't scream obscenities at little old
ladies who drive 30 MPH on the freeway.

You just say,"Bless her heart"... and go your own way.

To those of you who are still a little embarrassed by your Southerness:
Take two tent revivals and a dose of sausage gravy and call me in the
morning. Bless your heart!

And to those of you who are still having a hard time understanding all
this Southern stuff...bless your hearts, I hear they are fixin' to have
classes on Southernness as a second language!

And for those that are not from the South but have lived here for a long
time, all y'all need a sign to hang on y'alls front porch that reads "I
ain't from the South, but I got here as fast as I could."

Southern girls know men may come and go, but friends are fahevah !

Life is too short for drama & petty things.. So laugh
insanely, love and Forgive quickly! From one Former unstable person to
another... I hope everyone is Joyous in your head - we're all doing well
in mine.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Topsy-Turvy World

Jeff got off the train at a small town and was surprised to see no one around anywhere. He wondered at the lack of people on the streets. Then to his surprise he saw one man approaching. But approaching in a quite different way than the norm. This man was walking on his hands upside down. He watched for a few minutes and then several other people came from the stores moving toward him in the same way.

Curious, he went into a small restaurant and was greeted with the same sight.Everyone was on their hands. One man reversed his position and asked if he could help him. Just to see how it would be brought to him he ordered a hamburger and drink. When the waitress brought it, sure enough she was upside down with her long hair touching the floor and the food and drink on a tray on her feet. She had on a T shirt and pair of shorts and from what he could tell was a rather nice looking young woman.

He asked her why everyone moved in this way and her answer was that this town was named Topsy-Turvy and they never walked on their feet because when they did, all they could see was the ground below and this was depressing so they decided to learn to walk upside down so they could see the blue sky above and feel uplifted.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could find a way to have the whole world topsy-turvy and never have to look down at the dirt but up at the beautiful skies and clouds?

This is my thought for the day.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Giving up a friend

Her hands stroked my head and back as they had done so many times in the past 21 years since we had been together. Then she gently picked me up and said "Old friend, I am only doing this because I love you so much". I knew then what was to be my fate and I gratefully snuggled into her arms. She started the car and was crying the whole time.

I thought about the first time that I saw her. One of her friends had picked me up from the kennel. I was the last to be sold from this litter as I was the runt and also had a very bad underbite. This was a disadvantage as most people who bought Schnauzers wanted them for breeding and this might show up in any litter I fathered. The man who took me only took me because he could not find another dog and wanted one of my breed. When he took me home and showed me to her, she picked me up and said, "You are the cutest little dog I have ever seen". From then on it was total love between the two of us.

In a couple of weeks the man gave me to her as he found he was really too ill to take care of a puppy. So I went home with her. She played with me and petted me and spoiled me. All I had to give in return was my love and she accepted this and gave me her love. She renamed me "Happy" because she said that suited me better because I always looked like I was smiling.

I remember chasing a red ball down a long hallway and bringing it back to her. She would try to take it from me and I would tease her and not give it to her. We played like this every day. I learned to sing "Yankee Doodle" with her and we disturbed the neighborhood with our singing, as my voice was quite loud for a small dog.

After a few years, she and her husband moved and couldn't keep me any longer so she found a good home for me with an elderly man. After two years with him he died. She again came to my rescue. The people in charge of the estate wanted to have me put to sleep, as I had become an old dog of 14 by then. But she said she wanted me back and they made arrangements to take me.

Getting back to her was the happiest day of my life. I could no longer run and play like I did when I was young, but she loved me anyway. She would take me in the car with her a lot of the time and I loved that.

Then I started to weaken and hurt all the time. The doctor told her there was nothing he could do for me. She couldn't seem to bear to part with me for several weeks. Then this morning she came to a decision.

We reached our destination and when they took me from her arms I wanted to tell her how much I loved her and how much I knew she loved me to make the decision to put an end to my suffering. As she turned to go, she reached back one more time and stroked my head and with my eyes I said "Thank you".

Thursday, July 23, 2009


When I was a child growing up in the country in mid-Mississippi it was customary for a lot of the white people to have someone come and do the washing and ironing and other hard chores around a house. This is the story of one, who became my closest friend as a child.

Her name was Matt. She was poor beyond belief. When she was a child, often the only food she had was field rats that her father managed to kill in the woods. She lived in a shack with no lights, water, and only a fireplace in one room for heat. She worked for my family, along with other families in the neighborhood washing, ironing and cleaning the houses to survive. But she walked with pride and really didn't seem to mind having to walk several miles each way to get to work.

She came to us on Monday to wash in an old washtub with a scrub board, and boiled the clothes in an open kettle in the back yard. They were hung on clothes lines to dry. At the end of the day she gathered them to take in so she could iron them on Wednesday when she came back. I still remember how fresh and good they smelled. To iron, she used the old flat irons that had to be heated on a stove or at the fireplace.

She was already working for my family when I was born and she was the only person my mother would ever leave me with when she had to be gone for a day. And while she was babysitting me, she would play with me. We used to go fishing in a little pond nearby with bent pins for hooks and worms we had dug. The fish we caught were very small but she kept them and fried them whole for her supper.

She always ate with us and given a choice of food, she would want fried pork and cornbread with the grease from the pork poured over it. She would eat this with her fingers all mashed up together. And it really looked so good the way she did eat it.

Matt had 6 children and on the meager money that was paid to her for all this work, she managed to feed and clothe the children. She lived in the house with her sister and brother-in-law, who had 2 children of their own living there. The house was only 3 rooms but somehow they all managed to have a place to sleep. Once when she was sick, we went to see her and the bed was made with sheets so clean they were pure white and ironed neatly. She never married.

When my mother would ask her what she planned to do when she got old to care for herself she would reply "Sugar say she will take care of me". She never called me anything but Sugar.

I left home and got a job and she wrote me weekly. I would send her clothing and other needs periodically. When she had a doctor bill, I had it sent to me and I bought her glasses and medicine so I suppose Sugar did fulfill the promise made as a child to take care of her. When I was in my early 20's and living in New Orleans, I received a phone call that she had a stroke and was in the hospital unconscious. I sent flowers. Three days later another phone call told me that she had died. I thought my heart would break upon hearing those words. I asked did she ever know I had sent the flowers and her sister hesitated before she told me she didn't. I asked her to please take them to the funeral.

This all happened a very long time ago but I still miss her.

She was my friend.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Plight of the elderly

Yesterday on Facebook we were discussing nursing homes and the plight of the elderly in this nation. Here is a photo documentary of the treatment my own mother received at a nursing home. It is very painful for me to write this and see these pictures again but I feel it is important for people to understand what is happening to our elderly.

The doctors keep them alive for the money and experimentation on longevity and then they are sent to nursing homes to be abused. I had kept her in her own home over 3 years with help around the clock and then the money ran out and she decided to go to the nursing home and I thank God every day I did not have to make this decision for her.

My mother was a gentle caring person and on the day before she broke her hip and then had a stroke which paralyzed her right side she had driven her own car at the age of 90, and a few days before that she had gone to a dance we were playing. The stroke did not affect her mind.

This is the document that was presented to the state Medicaid board trying to get help in stopping this sort of treatment of patients in nursing homes. And also before several boards for this same reason. No one cared. Not a one. It was taken as a matter of course. Before the inspectors come to these places, they notify the facility so they can pass the inspection. How fair is this to the elderly and handicapped.

This is the caption under the pictures.
Kathleen K. Lewis, Room 238A, Pinecrest Guest Home, Hazlehurst, MS
Condition when admitted to Hardy Wilson Memorial Hospital, Sunday Dec. 10, 2000, with suspected broken elbow. Found dehydration, kidney infection, coumadin level too high in blood and anemia. First photo of left back area around shoulder blade, second picture shows injured paralyzed elbow. Next picture shows condition of foot with nails not trimmed and last picture is full view of her.

Aubrey did a lot of volunteer work for the United Way and we saw these same conditions in other facilities around the state.

And it scares heck out of me to think that someday I may be subjected to this treatment. No one deserves this.

This is hurting too bad to continue writing at this time.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Love Story

My aunt died at the age of 87 several years ago. Among her memorabilia I found an exchange of notes between her and her husband of over 30 years. I used it in a writing class and am posting it here.

Gussie met Louis at the beginning of the school year in 1919.

She was 16 and he was a young teacher who was beginning his first year of teaching.

He boarded at her parent's home so she was thrown in constant contact with him.

It was easy for a sensitive young woman to fall in love with this handsome teacher.

In a few months they married. He quit teaching and became a carpenter and

then a contractor. They were always moving as he built houses they lived in for

a while, then sell them and move on to another one he built.

Finally, after about 20 years of this he built a house neither of them could bear to leave.

Although they both loved children, they never had any of their own.

They grew closer and closer as the years went by and they lived alone

just the two of them. When he would go out in the morning to work she always had a hot breakfast for him.

He always managed to get home in time for lunch with her.

In the evenings they would sit and talk.

Sunday's they went to church and both sang in the choir.

Sunday afternoon they would pack a picnic lunch and take a long ride into the country. He always kept several bags of peanuts in the car to eat as they rode along and feed

the squirrels when they stopped. He was a gentle, kind man.

When she would start talking too much he would just look at her and say "Now, Miss Gus" and

she knew to stop.

When Gussie was 48, Louis developed a brain tumor and had to have surgery.

She took him home and diligently nursed him, but he never recovered.

About 5 months later he died leaving her almost totally without funds from

paying doctor and hospital bills but she never complained. She took a job in a kindergarten and stayed there for several years.

Then she started sitting in a nursing home and helping the people there.

At age 80 she had to retire from this due to a health problem.

She died when she was 88 years old.

One of the last things she said to anyone was that she missed Louis so much.

She still mourned his death, even after over 40 years.

Her niece, who was her only kin, was going through some of her belongings and

came across a letter written on an envelope after they were married for 30 years.

It read "Baby, I am sorry I was not here to fix your lunch today,

but I had to go to the meeting. Your lunch is in the oven.

You will never know how much I love you."

And on the back in his handwriting "I missed you today, come by the job if you have time this afternoon.

I love you too."

When her niece read these words she knew, possibly for the first time,

how deep the love between her aunt and uncle.

She knew the meaning of "A Love Story".

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Summer when I was 15

Seeing a post by a friend on Facebook this morning about her 12 year old granddaughter visiting her for a couple of weeks made me remember my 15th summer.

My grandmother ran a little hotel in a small town. She got down and spent the summer in bed and needed help. I was supposed to visit her for a couple of weeks, but I asked to be allowed to spend the summer with her and my folks agreed.

We found a lady to do the real running of the hotel but I helped in many ways. I shared a room with this lady and we became good friends. They were were building a new highway through the small town and the road crews and their families were staying at the hotel. The men had to be at work at 6 am and that was before the cooks arrived. So I got up each morning and their wives also got up to join them for breakfast so one of my jobs was to cook the meal. I got to know these people quite well and we became friends..some were not much older than I was and we would sit in the lobby and play games or go to the movie theatre up the street together. After I left at the end of the summer, I never heard from any of them again and often wondered what had become of them.

There was one young man who was only a year older than I was and we became close. So close until he thought we should marry but I had other ideas about that. On Sunday afternoons we were allowed to have some young people from town in to make fudge or whatever we wanted in the huge kitchen provided we cleaned up afterward and didn't leave a mess for the supper crew to clean up. At this time, there was no other place in town to eat except for an ice cream parlor so her dining room was always full of people from town for Sunday meals and during the week most of the working people in town came there. And was that food ever good. She had a staff of 6 to work the kitchen and about the same amount of people to do the cleaning and laundry. She raised her own chickens in the back of the hotel for slaughtering also. I managed to avoid that job.

There was a boy there with his folks who was 3 years younger than I was and he fell for me also. You haven't lived until you have a boy just beginning puberty following you around. But I was nice to him and the other young man and I let him tag along with us to the movies. We had no transportation so we walked every evening all over town for a couple of hours talking. Usually the 3 of us.

One Sunday afternoon we got into my grandmother's homemade wine and that is the sickest I have ever been in my life and the drunkest. The boys walked me for hours to wear it off. The next morning I had a rash from head to foot and could barely stand. I am sure my grandmother wondered why she didn't see me that day but I couldn't face her.

Sometimes, on weekends, my mother and father would drive the 90 plus miles to visit with my grandmother and to see me.

As the summer progressed, I could see my grandmother weakening. At night, I would go into the kitchen and fix salads and things I thought she might enjoy as she had no appetite by then and she ate some of it just to please me.

When I left for home to start the new school session, I knew I would never get another chance to spend any time with her. During the Christmas season she passed away. How it hurt and how I loved her.

Of all the summers of my life, this is the one that I cherish the most--the time I spent with her and learning responsibility which has stayed with me for a lifetime.

Sometimes still I can catch a scent that reminds me of her perfume and I think of the summer when I was 15 and the world was mine.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


It seems as though every time lately I walk into a place of business the employees have an "attitude".

I go in Wal Mart to buy a few groceries and at the check out the checker has an "attitude". And most places I frequent are the same way. Case in point-- I was entitled to a free upgrade to my cell phone and no one seemed able to supply one. I had to go to three different AT&T authorized stores and not a one had what I was looking for nor were they willing to try to find me one. They seemed to think it was my fault. I ended up going on the Internet to their site and ordering one. I entered my shipping address and two days later I had an email to call them. I did and they said the shipping address was wrong. Now I may be a little on the slow side these days, but I do know where I live. So I ended up having to give them another address so I may or may not get the phone. I admit I do live in a strange situation. My landline is a Crystal Springs number, my snail mail goes to a post office box in Gallman and my physical address is a 911 address out of Hazlehurst. But it is hard to convince people that my mailing address is different from what my physical address is. It took the better part of a morning to do what should have been a simple procedure, and that is get a new phone.

Another annoyance was last week when I got a bill from my doctor and it was for the full amount. I called several times and no one would return my call. I finally wrote a letter to the office manager. The next day someone called and asked what the problem was. I told him they did not bill my insurance. He replied that I didn't have any insurance on file. I then told him that was strange as it had been on file with them over 20 years. So now they will go back to the first of the year and submit insurance on my bills from then. And I now see my doctor on the one day he is in Crystal Springs as the office force at the main office are impossible for me to deal with. I told the doctor last visit that getting through there was worse than trying to break in the White House. I had tried for 2 days to get in to see him there and finally went to the office he only visits once a week and got in immediately. Good thing I wasn't having a heart attack.

Now I am developing an attitude of my own against all these other people who are making life hard for me with their "attitude"

End of rant

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My Beautiful Hibiscus

My beautiful grandchildren, Jesse and his bride-to-be Rebekah, brought me this gorgeous hibiscus Sunday afternoon.

Almost every Sunday they come to see me and play and sing for me. He plays really good guitar and they both sing. He is the bandleader of what is left of Aubrey's band "Good Ole Boys". They are both in nursing school. He is registered for RN for this fall semester but she says she is going to skip this semester and get in the next one. I asked did she plan to use his notes and let him go ahead of her one semester. He finished LPN2 at the top of his class. There are not many young people who would spend their Sunday afternoons with their grandmother and it is much appreciated. I love them both dearly, and look forward to their weekly visits out of their busy schedule. Each night I pray that I will live to hold their firstborn in my arms. I feel they will wait a few years before having it though and get their education behind them. At least, I hope they will.

I have been repotting plants the past few days. We finally got some rain and it made it easier to work outside as the temperature went down a few degrees and in heat like we have been having, even a few degrees is important. I have a fern that has been passed down from generation to generation by my mother's family and it is next to be repotted. It is a very large lace fern and if you are familiar with this type you know it "bites".

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Yella's story

Sweet Dreams

About two years ago I was going to my car to run some errands when a large yellow cat literally fell at my feet from hunger. I got in the car and started out, then thought better of it and stopped and came back to him. He had a bad injury and was bleeding. There was an abscess on his rear. I fed him what he would eat and took him to the vet. He stayed there 3 days and healed and I had him neutered and brought him back and put him on my screened back porch. I could tell he was an old cat and had been scarred many times in battles.

I already had Tommy Tucker, who I had adopted from the animal shelter several months before. It took them a long time to become friends. Finally, Tommy stopped growling so I brought Yella in the house to live as a family member along with Tommy. At first, he ate more than any cat I have ever seen--I think it was the first time in his life he had an unlimited amount of food and clean water. With a lot of care and brushing he became a beautiful 15 pound bundle of love.

Although he was larger than Tommy, he always was the submissive one and would never fight back. The two would play together but if a fight started, Yella wouldn't fight back. And although Yella was an old cat, he played like a kitten with Tommy and with me.

He would stretch out on the carpet and get on his back totally relaxed and sleep. I used to get a laugh out of the position he would get in. I called him my big clown. He didn't just sit down like most cats, he would plop down. And he was hard headed. No matter how many times he was told not to do something he would do it anyway. And he was smart. I could tell him to go find Tommy and he would search the house for him. I was the only person he would ever sit on. If anyone else picked him up he would immediately get down with an indignant look at them.

Yesterday, on July 4, 2009, I left the house for a short time and he was fine and playing. When I returned about an hour later, he was vomiting and had gotten a large hair ball up. I went to another part of the house and was coming back to give him some hair ball medicine..he was stretched out in the floor screaming and dying. We got him in the carrier to take him to the vet and he died enroute.

I feel he received and gave more love in these two short years I had him than at any other part of his life.

My big yellow clown is gone and will be sadly missed. May he RIP

Saturday, July 4, 2009

July 4

July 4 has always had a bad taste to me. It was the day of the surrender of Vicksburg in the Civil War -- the bloodiest war in the history of this country. The casualties were many and I have read the most of any war we have ever been engaged in. Aubrey and I made a lifetime research of the facts of this war. He was a history buff and I went along with him for the ride. Here is an excerpt from an old newspaper article during some of our research at the National Park in Vicksburg.

July 4, 1863, was the turning point in the Civil War. In the battles from Port Gibson to Vicksburg Grant lost 9,855 men, of whom 1,223 were killed. In these engagements he had made 37,000 prisoners; and the Confederates had lost, besides, 10,000 killed and wounded, with a vast number of stragglers. Two days before the surrender a Vicksburg newspaper, printed on wallpaper, ridiculed a reported assurance of Grant that he should dine in that city on July 4, saying, "Ulysses must first get into the city before he dines in it."
The same paper eulogized the "luxury of mule-meat and fricasseed kitten".

And a few days ago I thought about the date I was born and the date the Civil War ended and there is only about a 70 year spread there. My great grandfather was an officer in the Confederate army and was away at war when the Union army came through our little village in Yazoo County, Mississippi and set up camp in his back pasture, where the soldiers proceeded to vandalize the house. From the old family tales from my grandmother who was a young girl they did not try to harm his family. They did take a lot of the valuables and kill enough cattle to eat. They stayed a few days and then moved on, probably to Vicksburg. Several years ago I donated my great-grandfather's old uniform and sword, along with some personal letters to the archives in the state capital.

About 25 years ago, I wrote a poem which I cannot find now which was published in a statewide newspaper about war and lack of freedom worldwide and ended saying I would be free only when the world was free. And from the looks of things there doesn't seem to be much chance of that happening.

Happy 4th of July to everyone!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

An old raccoon

As I sit here typing this, I can see out the window that my old raccoon is having his lunch. Went out to lunch today and brought leftovers to him.

He is very old from the looks of him and very skinny and half his tail at the end has no hair left on it. I feed him daily at about 1 to 3 pm and he has come to expect it and when I am late he looks toward the window and then comes back a little later to see if I have put anything out for him.

I have always liked raccoons and like to watch them. There are a lot of them around here and sometimes the babies come out to play. The two stray cats that I feed are not afraid of them nor are they afraid of the cats. Several years ago, one got so tame with me feeding him he would approach me but I never was able to touch him. As they are carriers of rabies (or so I am told) I don't push it to pet them.

I hope by the end of summer he will be in better shape than he is now.

All of us senior citizens should stick together, you know.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wasted years, Wasted Tears

I plan to include some of my writing class work over the years in this blog. All are true stories and I am Nancy (the name my father wanted to name me when I was born) and Aubrey is Bern (his middle name was Bernard) The other names are names I made up to avoid using the people's real names. Here is one I wrote about 10 years ago.

Wasted Years, Wasted Tears
By Ann Roberts

The ringing of the telephone jarred Nancy from her daydream. When she answered, it was an older friend and the first words she said were "I got my old sweetheart back".

"What are you talking about?" Nancy replied. She knew Edith's husband had been dead for several years. What Edith told her gave her a total shock. It seems that fifty years before she had been married, for a short time, to another man and he had called her wanting to see her again. They had separated because he had a problem with alcohol and Edith didn't feel she could stay with him. Both had gone on with their lives and married again. No one in the town knew of this first marriage. And now she was planning to remarry her first love. She invited Nancy to the wedding.

Several weeks later Edith and Jim were married in the church chapel. They moved into Edith's house. Both of them had a son by their other marriages and both young men seemed to be happy with the renewed relationship. Neither of them had any prior knowledge of their parent's first marriage.

About two years into the marriage, Edith became ill and was diagnosed with cancer. She had surgery and then chemotherapy but still the cancer progressed. Jim cared for her as if she were a baby and even to the end they seemed totally happy just to be together. They admitted they had never really loved their second spouses as they had loved each other when they were young. They talked of the time they should have stayed together but didn't. He had stopped drinking right after their divorce, and Nancy wondered why he didn't do it before he lost Edith. Why did they remarry without trying to find each other again?

Soon Edith died and Jim was heartbroken. He also seemed ill and his son took him to see a doctor. It was then they discovered he, too, had cancer. He had not let Edith know he was sick, as he didn't want to worry her. Two weeks after her death, Jim also died.

Nancy went to the funeral and she was thinking, "All those wasted years, all those wasted tears. Why?"

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Growing Up

I remember the smell of the honeysuckle in the early morning as I awakened. I grew up in the country and all the fences were lined with it. It was especially fragrant this time of day with the dew on it.

I remember spring rains when my parents would let me strip to my underwear and play outside with it coming down and falling all around me. I remember laughing as I played.

I remember my sixth birthday party, when my grandmother sent five gallons of ice cream and we ate it all. She had to send it to me by train from 70 miles away.

I remember bobbing for apples in a washtub at a Halloween party. When the party was over, we went home to find all the tires on my father's automobile had been deflated. And I remember him going and getting the boy who did it and making him put air in all of them with an old hand pump, while my father watched…Needless to say, this was the last time this boy ever played a Halloween prank on my father.

I remember one Christmas finding a red ball hidden in a drawer and thinking this was all I would get for Christmas, only to find later that it was a present for the cook's child.

I remember how my grandmother smelled with the perfume she wore. When I think of it, I am still able momentarily to smell the fragrance. Years later I bought me some of it but it just didn't smell the same.

I remember our washwoman coming to wash the clothes on Monday with an old washtub and scrub board. And how good the smoke smelled from the fire under the iron pot that she used to boil them. I also remember how she played with me and how I loved her.

I remember summers under a shade tree just watching the clouds and making faces out of them and day dreaming.

I remember Christmas parties at our country church and a big Christmas tree that we all helped to decorate. We beat up soapsuds to make the snow and used the angel hair for decorations. One of the local men always played Santa Claus. One Christmas I had to make a recitation and I was afraid, but I did it anyway and didn't make any mistakes.

Remembering all of this makes me wonder if growing up is really that wonderful. I wanted to grow up so I could do fun things, but looking back, it seems these were the fun things.

Monday, June 29, 2009

About me

I am older than dirt and younger than a newborn.

My name is Ann Roberts and I live in mid-Mississippi in a small community 5 miles from a store in any direction. But I love living in the country as I lived in town many years.

I hope to let you become better acquainted with me through these pages and sharing some of my fondest memories through photographs, and stories.