Wednesday, December 26, 2012

 Christmas InThe Old Country Church

Whenever Christmas comes I think of Christmas when I was growing up.  As everyone knows I grew up in the country.  This image is very much like our little Church looked.  I painted it one time long ago and donated it to the church.  Wonder if it is still there.  Years ago the steeple on the church disappeared and there were some additions to it but it is still standing but this is the way I remember it.

A few days before christmas all the women who were members and lots of the children went to clean it up for the Christmas tree.  We would all meet there with our brooms  and mops and gave it a good cleaning.  The men would go and find a huge tree to decorate for the party  When it was put on it's stand and in place we would all go to work decorating it.  Some of the ornaments were bought but a lot of them were made with love by the members.  We would use angel hair, tinsel and strung popcorn.  And always make snow from Ivory Snow whipped to the consistency of whipped cream and flung on the tree branches with large spoons.  And a star placed at the top.  It was always beautiful.

A couple of weeks before Christmas everyone would draw names so everyone would have a gift under it.  They were brought to the church and placed under the tree.  One of the men would dress in the Santa suit and come through the back door yelling ho ho ho.  He would ask for helpers and they would call out the names and everyone would go up and get their gift.  There was food and laughter and music.  And a lot of socializing.  One Christmas my dad was Santa and one little girl piped up with "That might be Santa but he has Jimmy Lewis" feet"  Dad was very pigeon toed and unfortunately I got that trait, to a degree, from him.  He was known for always joking around everyone but he couldn't seem to think of anything to say as Santa.  I remember I drew a little boy's name, who was about 3 years old and I got him a turtle you pulled around.  When he saw it he exclaimed "Oh, a turtle".  I wonder if he still remembers this.  

And this was how we celebrated Christmas when I was growing up in the little country church.  We knew how to laugh and play and I do miss those qualities in todays world.  Wishing you peace in 2013.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Old Couple

I awoke this morning thinking about an old couple I knew a long time ago.  This is a true story.

Once upon a time there was an old couple who met and married against the wishes of the man's family. They thought she was "not like mama" and truthfully she was not.  Every speck of dust was not dusted and sometimes things were not exactly in place, but she was a very unconventional old lady.  When she was in her 80's she learned to fly a plane.  She laughed and danced all the time and made him very happy and she was happy.  She didn't cook like mama either--what a shame.  But he was happier than he had ever been with her.

Once at a family reunion held in a public park, she got up on a picnic table and danced a jig.  The TV cameras were covering a story in the park and went over and got her picture and put it on the news, bringing great shame to the uptight rest of the family.

After they had been married a few years he was hospitalized and his family actually stood guard at the door and kept her from seeing him.  He was inside the room begging to see her and she was crying outside begging to go in.  He died never seeing her again.  She was not allowed at his funeral.  I don't know the details of why they managed to have control but they did.  When she was 100 she died lonely, with no one caring, in a nursing home.  

The moral of this story, if it has one, is to judge each person on their own merits.  I think when people meet like this couple that God sent them to each other and they should be accepted for what they are to each other as long as they are happy and these two people were very happy together.  They made each other laugh as never before and laughter is more important than being a good cook or a dust-nut.

I think of them a lot of times and sincerely hope his family was punished sseverely in their later years for the injustice they did to their father and his wife.  See, now you know that I have a touch of revenge in me, but I think all of us do to a degree.  

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Maybe the world should have ended.

I got an email from a close friend late yesterday that got me to thinking about a lot of things.  Mostly about the elderly in this country, of which I am one, and the treatment we get.

It angers me.  It angers me at a lot of things and a lot of people.

She had crocheted some afghans for some friends in nursing homes and delivered them.  The staff told her not to leave one as it would "disappear" as soon as she left the room.  She had to call the families and tell them she had brought them so they would know they were there even if a short time.

We played nursing homes many times because we knew this was the only entertainment they got so I know first hand how the people are treated.  My own mother died because of mistreatment in one.  And I thank God it was her choice for her to go there and not mine.  I would have never put her there nor would i put anyone there.

And it is not only these institutions that mistreat them.  There is no longer any respect in the world for anyone or anything.  The elderly are targeted because they are helpless.  Every time a benefit of some kind is taken away, it is from this group.  Their benefits, benefits they earned by their work through the years, and given to the bastards of the world.  The people who have more and more children demanding more tax dollars.  We have to feed the children breakfast in schools and most of the time it is because their mothers are too darn lazy to get out of bed and feed them or because they are in bed making more of these children for people like me who have and still are paying the taxes that support them.  It would shock you to know how many turn down jobs because they "gets" a check.  All of this and many of our elderly and veterans are homeless and people like the Salvation army try to fill the needs of food and clothing for them.  i stopped many years ago donating to the "Toys for Tots" program because one day I went to the distribution out of curiousity and saw well dressed people driving good automobiles there to take the freebies from the few who really did need them.

But back to the elderly.  How many are kept alive past their time just so the medical profession can collect more from medicare on them?  Is it really life when you do not know who or where you are?  Everyone has their own opinion on the end of life but mine is when you can no longer think or make your own decisions, then life should be and really is over for you.

Younger people complain about the elderly still driving.  Yet younger people drive drunk or on drugs and they get a slap on the wrist but just let an older person violate a law and they want to take their license.  They claim we might hurt someone -- so let them watch where they are going too and the older person won't hit them. (No, I have not been in any trouble with driving--just making a point)

People have children thinking when they get old they will be shown respect by them.  Very few cases where it works out like this,  It is usually the offspring begging the parents to get them out of jams all their life and when they can or will no longer do this, they take their property and shuffle them to a nursing home and leave them to die alone.

If I sound angry, it is because I AM angry.  Angry because of the treatment of people who worked and earned golden years and got brass instead.  Angry at all the injustice in the world that i see more and more daily in letters like I got from my friend.  Years ago I wrote a poem and hung it in the hall of the local nursing home.  Don't remember it all but it was

"Look at me in this wheelchair
All bent and grey
Don't just turn your eyes away
Look at me,

Touch me
I won't break if you j
just touch me.

Talk to me
I still have things to say
Don't just walk away,

Look at me, Look at me, Look at me!

I know I rambled but all this was on my mind and if it makes even one person stop and think and be a little kinder, I hope you will forgive my rambling.  I feel better having said it,

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I made a statement on facebook a few days ago that as you get old you are fortunate enough to be able to live your childhood again if your mind is still clear.  I find I think a lot about my growing up years as I grow older.  Random events pop to mind and I find myself laughing out loud some time at these memories as I relive them.

One in particular comes to mind quite often.  I grew up in a small country village and only one store and a post office was there.  I remember in the heat of the summer we would go and sit under a shade tree by the post office to talk to the postmaster.  One summer it was 105 degrees.  And that was hot!  But I don't ever remember suffering from the heat when I was a child and I would run all day playing.

The store was the meeting place for everyone.  And on many Saturday nights we would sit on the porch, both black and white people (this was back in the days when people got along regardless of their race0  We would eat potted meat, sardines and crackers and drink cokes and all laugh and talk.  And yes, I do know that what I am about to say is not politically correct but it is not intended to offend anyone.  One of the blacks would say to the whites "We having a nigger supper, come and join us".  We would all spend hours there talking and no one tried to be mean or nasty to the others -- as I said people got along.  I had one special friend, a black woman who came and washed for us on an old washboard in the back yard on Mondays and boiled the clothes in an old iron pot and then hang them on the line to dry.  She would come back on Wednesday and iron them.  She used the old flat irons that  had to be heated by fire.  Boy did those clothes ever smell good and not a wrinkle in them.  One day my mother asked her how she planned to support herself wen she got too old to do this type work and she said "Sugar will take care of me--she say she will"  This was all she ever called me, from the time I was born until her death.  No matter what my mother cooked all she could get her to eat was cornbread with fried salt meat and the grease poured over it.  She died when she was about 60 or so due to a stroke.  When she had the stroke I sent flowers to the hospital but she died before she ever saw them so I told them to use them fro her funeral.  When the called and told me of her death, I cried like a child.  And true to my word as a child, I did help her as long as she lived and sent her money for her doctor bills and boxes of clothes.  In spite of being dirt poor she always had a smile and never looked like she was not happy.  Next to my mother and father, I loved her best of all.  Like I said, these were the times when life was good and no one had a "tude" or expected something for nothing as people now do.  You worked for what you got and were thankful for the job.

Yeah, I know I ramble and don't pay much attention to punctuation but they are just random thoughts that come in my head and I try to get them down while I am remembering them.

I had a wonderful childhood.  We didn't have a phone and I am thankful for that as it gave me more time to sit under a tree in the pasture and read.  I didn't have any electronic toys to play with but I had trees to climb and a little pond to fish in with bent pins and worms to catch the very small fish and then throw them back.  I had parents who knew the proper time to spank me with no one yelling child abuse at them.  Most of the 4 letter words I never heard of until I was an adult.  And all of these things I remember makes me more certain that I owe this to whatever success I have achieved in my life.

Thank you, Lord, for my childhood and for living long enough to remember how it was before the world went crazy,