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!