Monday, May 31, 2010

Proud American

My brother wore grooves in the record "Mother-In-Law" by Ernie Doe. You rarely hear it on the radio anymore…it’s a real Golden Oldie! In the 1960’s he was a teenager and I was the kid sister who hung around and pestered him! He would hole up in his bedroom listening to Jan and Dean’s Little GTO and Dead Man’s Curve over and over. Records were less than a dollar then, gas for his 56’ two tone Chevy Bel Air was 29 cents… it was a simpler time. He worried about grades and if that cute girl in 2nd period Science class liked him, but the war was just on the news and in the papers. It was far enough away that it almost didn’t seem real. We watched Walter Cronkite on our old blonde Magnavox each night and the news was all bad. It was a steady stream of riots and combat. The Vietnam war had gone on since 1959 with no signs of ending. Americans had found their voice and there was unrest in large cities. Springfield in 1963 was still a relatively small town and you didn’t see picketing or hear anyone speak out against the Vietnam war. It just wasn’t American to do such things. Small town America was beginning to evaporate though. The war was taking too big a toll. It was striking too close to our friends and family.

It was a simple time when families gathered at the dinner table every night and talked about the days events. Moms still hung clothes on the line and visited with neighbors over the fence. Kids rode their bikes, played on the school’s swings and obeyed their parents rules. Be home before dark…good grades or else…tell the truth…be respectful of your elders. We went to bed at night knowing we were loved and that they were watching over us. I can remember that I felt like our President, our government was watching over us too and feeling safe within the four walls of my house. Too bad those days are gone, I wish we could go back sometimes.

He was a loving brother who played in the sandbox with me, took me for bike rides and shared his Hershey Kisses. He was a Veteran of the Vietnam War who served his country proudly. He was the firstborn son who held such a sense of pride for my parents. He was a loving husband and father who is missed everyday. He was the generation who served and was responsible, paid his bills and did the right thing...he was an American.

Remembering with love my brother who proudly served his country in the Vietnam War.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Take a Moment...

Hi. I'm "Hubby" that Joycee refers to from time to time. She has been encouraging me to write a blog of my own but I have no desire to invest the time that she does in hers. So today I am going to piggy back off of her!

My folks are both still living in Fayetteville. They are mostly house bound since driving has become an issue. So, when we go to visit we try to think of someplace to take them to get them out of the house. Since this is Memorial Day weekend we decided to visit the National Cemetery. I'd never been there so we depended on them for directions. They rarely agree on anything and directions were no different. Mom finally said to turn right on 6th Street. If we turned left a mile or so before 6th Street we would have gone to the Confederate Cemetery. Confederate Cemetery? Now I'm interested.

First to the National Cemetery. The beautifully manicured lawns and gleaming headstones all laid out in a perfect rows. Each stone marked with the name and vitals of the occupant. Most marked with a cross. Some marked with a cross, a circle, and a heart. We decided this differentiated the Protestants from Catholic. A few showed what appears to be a bugler. I wonder if this might be Jehovah's Witnesses. No clue. The few I saw with the Star of David were pretty self explanatory. Some of those buried there died in combat during World War II, Korea, Viet Nam and Gulf. Most didn't. They served their time and returned home to live out their lives in the peace and freedom they earned for all of us.

A group of middle aged folks on motor cycles pulled in. They knew someone buried there and had come to honor him. What is it about bikers that they always seem so patriotic? Maybe it is the freedom associated with riding that reminds them that their freedom was paid for by those buried here. More on that later.

When we left the National Cemetery I wanted to visit the Confederate Cemetery. Like the National Cemetery it is within the city limits but the difference was staggering. It was in a very country type setting. Almost spooky! The grounds weren't neatly mowed although there was a John Deere mower parked nearby. Hopefully the owner will climb on soon and make the dead proud. The stones weren't gleaming marble and I only saw two that were even marked to denote the occupant. It is kind of sad. Here is a link to give more information on the cemetery and includes the names of those known to be buried there. Most are unknown and forgotten. They are casualties of the different battles fought in the area. The Pea Ridge battlefield is close by and was the largest battle fought west of the Mississippi River.

One cemetery is funded by our tax money. The other isn't. One cemetery contains the remains of Americans who served the United States. The other contains the remains of Southerners who served the Confederacy. But, they are all Americans.

Many of those buried here didn't die in combat. They died of injuries and infections they got in combat. Or they died of disease or the elements they endured waiting for combat.

These weren't professional soldiers. They were farmers and merchants who volunteered to endure hardship and battle because they believed in the cause. They never got back to the farms and shops and families they left. They didn't like the federal government running their lives. If that sounds familiar it's because many of us feel the same way today. Fortunately, we have found ballots are better than bullets. Our government is elected and, if we aren't happy with how things are we can vote them out!

Below are a few pictures we took of the Confederate Cemetery.

The gazebo was really neat.

This monument, the gate and rock walls and the gazebo are all that is there to show appreciation. It's kind of sad. But that is how history works. It is written and subsidized by the winners.

One thing that really stood out was the ancient oaks and maples on the grounds. I wonder if they were planted when the cemetery was consecrated? Certainly they appear to be old enough. The rough and gnarled bark as well as the shape and obviously missing limbs are a testament to the years and harsh weather they have endured. And yet they live on. I like to think they take their responsibility to dead seriously and refuse to quit.

It's amazing how nature has allowed the wounds of the trees to heal and allow the trees to continue their vigil.

It's as if by living they want to remind us of the sacrifices and suffering endured by the folks buried there.

And after all, that is what Memorial Day really is all about. Our country has fought many wars during our short history. Looking back, some were more necessary than others. Some more popular than others. Some we look back with pride. Some we would like to forget.

I read about the "Greatest Generation". My dad was part of this. When they came home they were heroes for ridding the world of fascism and giving others the right to live in freedom. But I can also remember how the veterans of Viet Nam were treated. It is a shame on America that we must always remember.

I think I am finally getting to the point. The Bible says there will always be wars and rumors of wars. There will always be little men with big ambitions. There will always be reasons for war. Some good and some bad. There will always be a need for people to put their dreams on hold and their lives on the line. No matter your feelings for the conflict you should separate them from your appreciation for those doing the fighting. They didn't declare the war. Those folks are usually somewhere safe. They are the ones called on to fight the war. They are the ones buried in these two cemeteries.

Freedom isn't free. It comes with a price. So, while you are enjoying the weekend cooking out with friends and family or boating out on the lake, take a minute. Just one minute to remember that you can do this because someone else put their life on the line for you. Support the troops even if you can't support the war.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Life is Good!

Ben, here. Mom's taking the day off so it's me or nothin'. Not too much going on here on GrannyMountain. I've been supervising putting mulch down in all the flowerbeds. It takes them forever to do a project anymore, nearly two weeks to put down 12 truckloads of mulch. Dad has reset the stepping stones that go down the hillside on the east side of the house. One of the things that isn't so fun about living here is that it's hard to walk without feeling like you are going to slip and roll down the mountain! Not me of course, I have 4 wheel drive!

I'm planning my summer...
*Sleeping on the patios
*Going out on the boat
*Watching for deer to bark at
*Eating hot dogs that fall off the Grandkids plates
*Riding around in the golf cart every chance I get

It's pretty laid back, dress code is swimsuits and flip flops but I like to just wear a short coat...Life is good!

Friday, May 28, 2010


The Bluebirds are back on GrannyMountain! I see them daily now at the birdhouses that my Father-in-law built for us. We started seeing them back in March, scoping out the "accomodations." We have the birdhouses placed at the edge of our yard, away from places where we walk often. Birds like privacy too!

Here's a list of some pointers if you want to attract Bluebirds...

•Ideally the box should be installed by mid-February, but you can still install one throughout the month of March and as late as early April when breeding begins. Because bluebirds begin their seasonal movements in February and male bluebirds begin establishing territory by mid-March, the box should be up as early as possible to increase the chance that it will be used. Once the female has arrived and chosen the nest site, it may be several weeks before the pair actually begin nestbuilding.

•Don't be discouraged if a bluebird pair does not choose your box right away or if you get the box up a little late in spring. Because of the shortage of suitable nesting sites, there's still a chance that a pair may come along in early summer that has been unsuccessful elsewhere. Also, you might get a tree swallow, chickadee or wren using your box instead. That's okay! These are native species, and they're using your box because there are not enough tree cavities in your area to go around. Put up more boxes!

•Face the opening of the box away from prevailing winds and in the direction of a distant tree if possible. The tree will become a landing point for young bluebirds when they first leave the box; they'll need a safe haven to avoid landing vulnerable on the ground.

•Bluebirds generally breed between April and the end of July. They may lay from three to six pale blue eggs per clutch, with an average of four or five. (Bluebirds often have at least 2 clutches and sometimes even 3 over the course of the breeding season.) The female incubates the eggs for 12 to 16 days, while the male assists in feeding her.

•You can check on the eggs and the nestlings once a week until the young are about 12 days old. Contrary to popular opinion, human "scent" does not cause the parent birds to abandon their young, because birds have a poor sense of smell. Take notes about what you find! After the birds are 12 days old, it will be best to observe the box from a distance, because disturbing the young later than this may cause them to "fledge" or leave the nest prematurely, which might reduce their chance of survival. Young bluebirds generally leave the nest between the 17th and 20th day after hatching.

•Once the young have left the nest you may clean the box out. Bluebirds typically re-nest a second and sometimes a third time during one season, and they frequently use the same box over.

Do you Etsy? Handcrafted items that aren't cookie cutter can be found for great prices on Etsy. They had over 900 birdhouses to pick from!

Recylcing at it's best...


One of a kind...



Poor indeed is the garden in which birds find no homes. ~Abram L. Urban

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sonic Summer

Don't ya just love to go through the drive through at Sonic and get a big Limeade? Drive-Ins are still one of my favorite places to go in the hot summertime. After dinner when your tummy says, "I have a little empty spot!" Sitting with the windows down reminds me of Taylor's Drive-In in Springfield, Missouri when I was 15 and my Sister-in-law and I would cruise the lot or get a cherry coke. Or Steak and Shake on Glenstone and we'd get the orange creamsicle shake, YUM! That was long before she and my brother married. We were a little dangerous together. One time we went out when we weren't supposed to and had a little fender bender. Murphy's Law says if you are somewhere you're not supposed to be, you WILL get caught!

We have an old fashioned Drive-In here called the Suzy Q. It's been around for 25 years and they're the REAL THING! You pull up, get out of the car and place your order at the window. They make the best hamburgers you ever put in your mouth! Grilled to perfection on a flat top that's cooked a million of them. And home cut skinny fries, hot and salty. The shakes are made with real ice cream using the old Mix Master, soooo good!

The best thing about going is setting with the windows down, under the neon lights listening to the music. Just doing nothing like when we were kids and didn't have mortgages or car payments. Take your kids and your Grandkids with you this summer and teach them to love Drive Ins too.Some things shouldn't change, some things were right the first time around...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Magic Trick

Everday across the country families sit down to that "Magic Trick" called dinner. I say Magic is involved because often times it involves the things that are in the fridge in separate bowls waiting for Wednesday's "Something from Nothing" dinner.

You know what I'm talking about. That one chicken breast, those two spoonfulls of gravy, the half a baked potato that was salvaged from your resident picky eater.

My Mother was Queen of Leftovers. Nothing was ever thrown out. Nothing ever spoiled because she was diligent, on top of the refrigerator inventory.

There was always vegetable soup when roast was leftover.

Potato soup or potato cakes when mashed potatoes were needing a facelift.

Leftover bread? Chicken n' dressing was on the menu.

Meatloaf reappeared as chili.

Rice from breakfast could be spanish rice for dinner.

Even milk became buttermilk. Ok, I've lost some of you here...

So if you are trying to stretch those dollars a little farther,
ask Mom or Grandma how she did it in her time.
She's probably still got her recipe for Lima Bean Casserole somewhere!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

First Job

I wasn't waitress material...on my very first day of my very first job, I gave my two week notice. That sounds like I am such a quitter and I hate that! But I was 15, the job was an assigned job with the VICA-DECA program at school and I had asked for a job that I could learn a trade. That's evidently what they had available so that's how I ended up in that cafe in 1968. It had maybe 20 tables but when lunchtime rolled around it was up to me, on my first day to take the orders and remember who ordered what. I failed miserably. It was a horrible feeling but I knew right off that this was not going to work. At the end of the day, I walked up to my boss and told her I wasn't cut out for this and I was giving my two week notice. She wasn't too surprised. It could have scarred me for life, but I moved on. In no time I was working in a flower shop, loving every minute and learning from a very patient, encouraging boss who loved to teach.

When I came across this website the other day at Hardly Famous, it made me feel a little better that others have moved on from their first jobs!

Michael Jordan – His first job was in a hotel and it lasted a week.
Bono – Gas station attendant.
Al Pacino – He got fired from his first job as a cinema usher.
Mariah Carey – Hat checker (she got fired).
Stephen King – Janitor.
Robin Williams – Ice-cream scooper.
Jennifer Aniston – Telemarketer.
Warren Beaty – Rat catcher.
Tom Hanks – Popcorn and peanuts vendor.
Madonna – Worked at a Dunkin Donuts.
Clint Eastwood – Pool boy, gas station attendant.
Brad Pitt – Dressed as a giant chicken for a Mexican restaurant.
Ellen Degeneres – Cleaned cars.
Rod Stewart – Grave digger.
Mick Jagger – Porter in a mental hospital.
Nicolas Cage – Sold popcorn at a theatre.
Julia Roberts – Worked in an ice cream shop.
Quentin Tarantino – Video store clerk.
Danny DeVito – Hairdresser in his sister’s salon.
Keanu Reeves – Janitor.
GRANDson Jackson is hoping to find his first job this summer. With the economy the way it is, there haven't been too many options.
I did see a couple jobs listed in last Sunday's paper...
Sign Shaker or one I KNOW he would excell at...
Donut Maker!

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Rooster and the Hen

Tough times? Recession getting you down?
Let's go back to the Depression Era for a poem from a wise old hen...
Said the Little Red Rooster,
“Believe me, things are tough!
Seems the worms are getting scarcer
And I cannot find enough.
What’s become of all those fat ones?
It’s a mystery to me.
There were thousands through that rainy spell,
But now, where can they be?
But the Old Black Hen who heard him
Didn’t grumble or complain,
She had lived through lots of dry spells;
She had lived through floods of rain.
She picked a new and undug spot.
The ground was hard and firm.
“I must go to the worms,” she said
“The worms won’t come to me.”
The Rooster vainly spent his day
Through habit, by the ways
Where fat round worms had passed in squads
Back in the rainy days.
When nightfall found him supperless,
He growled in accents rough,
“I’m hungry as a fowl can be,
Conditions sure are tough.”
But the Old Black Hen hopped to her perch
And dropped her eyes to sleep
And murmured in a drowsy tone,
“Young man, hear this and weep.
I’m full of worms and happy
For I’ve eaten like a pig.
The worms were there as always,
But, boy, I had to dig!”~Adeline J. Haws

Thursday, May 20, 2010

IM just saying...

It's a fact of life, if we don't learn how to keep up with technology it's going to leave us in the dust! For years I fought getting a computer, I couldn't imagine having time to set in front of it and pay bills or email. Our first computer was a HP, and dial up took about 5 minutes to log on. I was right, I didn't use it much.

When the girls were teenagers, Zack on Saved By the Bell carried a cell phone around all the time that looked like this! By 1990, cell phones were a necessity even for me. I felt safer having one in my purse and just like Ziploc bags...I had to admit it was better than the "old way" of doing things!

Facebook and MySpace let's me keep up with our kids and GRANDkids. Better than a letter or email it's instant gratification! I'm so glad I turned the computer on in 1990 and waited for it to load AOL. Technology takes us farther than we ever expected, the ability now to Twitter, IM or text.

IM just saying it's all good!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"The Teen Commandments"

Remember 16? I barely do, that's been 41 years ago. Our GRANDSON is turning 16 this summer, how can that be? A blink ago he was running his Hot Wheels along the coffee table and helping me make chocolate chip pancakes on weekends! When you live a distance from grandkids, you are shocked when you see them over holidays or summertime. They grow by leaps and bounds, but when their voice changes and you don't recognize that person on the other end of the phone line...that's a wake-up call!

Stephanie mentioned recently she "earned" her Mother's Day card this year. Many times I felt that way when the girls were growing up. Not easy being Mom when they are teens. The only way you survive those years is to take a day at a time, not fly off the handle and picture their cute little faces at two when you look at their far out style now!

O Magazine had a great article last month on the "Teen Commandments" written by Lian Dolan. These are great tips to navigating the teen years! Just a few observations of my own in italics...

1. You shall not attempt to engage in meaningful conversation in the morning.
I always considered time in the car as time to have one on one, intense "Mommy Time." They were trapped and HAD to listen!

2. You shall not approve the use of more than two electronic devices simultaneously.
Our girls didn't have Ipods, mp3 players, Facebook or MySpace. They begged for years before we added cable TV. But teens have an innate ability to tune out parents, I remember having to repeat myself a lot!

3. You shall not offer commentary about haircuts, hairstyles or haircolors.
I was a much stricter Mom with our oldest daughter, sorry Stephanie! By the time we became parents to our second 8 years later, I picked my "battles!"

4. You shall not offer helpful suggestions on homework management.
Homework was done as soon as they came home and both were focused on doing their best, we were lucky there. It's a real worry when your kids struggle with a subject.

5. You shall not extend curfew beyond midnight.
I'm glad our daughters are grown!

6. You shall not expect a fully functioning frontal cortex.
They look grown up, but they're not! Continuing to parent when they are teens is crucial!

7. You shall not believe in the chaperoning abilities of the "older sibling."
Stephanie left a BIG impression on her little sister when she threatened to flush her down the toilet! Amy still talks about it...

8. You shall eat dinner together as often as you can.
We always ate dinner together but that was 1970's/1980's. With all of the outlets kids and parents have now, it's much harder. There's something about a meal that says home and family.

9. You shall not hesitate if they call and say they need a ride home from a party.
Having that conversation with your teen is probably one of the most important. Knowing they can depend on you always is a very good feeling.

10. You shall remember that you were 16 once.
I asked my husband if he remembered 16. He said, "Kinda, I remember how much I wanted a car!" Even though there's 42 years separating them, I bet Jackson would answer the same!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

One of the Lucky Ones!

Mom (1942)

I've always liked things that were old, steeped in tradition or passed down from one generation to the next. My Grandma Keeling instilled in me the value of heirlooms. That may be too "grand" of a word for the items that have been passed down to me. Cracked pitchers, faded plates and linens that are yellowed with age are just some of the things that I love.

My Grandma Keeling lost her Mother to rheumatic fever when she was only 6. Her father owned the general store in the small community of Lead Hill. Of course he spent many hours away from his young daughter, so Grandma's Aunt Zulah was there for her. Ten short years later, Grandma's father passed. She went to live with her Aunt and Uncle, her relationship to them was close, almost as if they were her parents.

I was listening to Dr. Laura Berman the other day on XM. She has recently lost her mother to cancer and is having a very difficult time. She was sharing with callers her feelings...her stomach "drops," as fear sets in and the realization that her mother is really gone. Even though for the past 25 years she and her mother lived apart, now there is a sadness that she can't reach out and call her, touch her.

One of the things that she mentioned that hit home with me, was the fact that she had become her mother. How many times have you said something and think, "My Mother used to say that?" The connection we have with our moms is complex. They guide and direct us our whole lives. We accept it as children, we resent it as teens and young adults, then we miss it when they are gone from our lives.

Moms are the ones who plan the family gatherings, bake the favorite cakes and go that extra mile to make our children and grandchildren's lives special. As they get older, we "take up the torch" and step up to help her out. It starts slowly, usually with holiday meals and then one day we are carrying the torch by ourselves. Almost without noticing we begin the process of becoming our Mothers.

How our Mother's can be our rock yet drive us crazy is an enigma. She understands us like no one else on Earth. In a lifetime your Mom is your caregiver, your role model, your confidant. Teen years she's your nemesis, the enemy and sometimes your worst nightmare if she catches you doing something wrong! But by middle age, if you're lucky...she becomes your best friend. The one you can confide in without any worry that she will ever judge, only support you in all things. I'm one of those lucky ones!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Starving to Stuffed, 30 min.

When I have leftover rice, and leftover rotisserie chicken, and half a bag of frozen shrimp in the fridge...I can make a quick dinner that is really good, really filling and really quick. The next time you get home at 6pm and you need to put something on the table quickly before the kids die of starvation...try this recipe!

Colleen's Fried Rice
2 Cups leftover Long Grain Rice, chilled (you can use brown rice too)
3 Eggs
1 Cup Frozen Peas and carrots
1 Stalk Celery (finely diced)
1/2 Onion (chopped)
1 Clove Crushed Garlic
1 Teaspoon Minced jalapeno chili (optional)
1 Cup leftover Cooked Chicken (diced)
6 slices bacon
6 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Tbsp Fish Sauce
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Hoisin Sauce
1 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
2 green onions, diced
Cook the rice, cover and refrigerate. Gently whisk eggs in a bowl. In large saute pan, cook bacon, set aside to drain. Pour off all but a small amount of the bacon grease and add the egg mixture. Cook as if making an omelet, just turn over to cook through. Remove from pan and cut into small pieces. Add a little bacon grease and saute the onion until cooked. Add garlic, chili and shrimp, cook until shrimp turn pink.Remove from pan and slice. Heat a little more bacon grease and saute celery,carrot and peas, stir fry until tender. Add rice and stir through. Add shrimp, chicken,bacon, egg and sauces. Cook, stirring all the time until hot. Add green onions and stir through just before serving.
Printable Recipe

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Simplicity or just Common Sense?

The Recession has hurt a lot of people. It's cost jobs for some, income loss for others and for all of us we've taken a new look at our lifestyles. I speak for myself when I say it's been awhile since I had to budget our money. That's not to say I wasn't being careful. We started out with only "two nickles to our name," and fear of going back to that has always made us wiser about the choices we made. We struggled the first few years; college, new baby, old cars that were always broke. Somehow we always managed to pay our bills. Then the girls got older, hubby worked hard and one day it just wasn't so difficult. We are blessed to have enough. I'm noticing a new movement that has taken hold with the turn in the economy. It's called a "Life of Simplicity."

People are drawn to this lifestyle to find meaning in their lives, they realize a life based on materialism and consumerism is empty. It takes so much energy to "keep up with the Joneses." When we come right down to it, what gives us joy in our lives? For myself I can answer that quickly, my family and my home. So here's a list of 10 practical steps to simplifying your life.

1. Reuse paper bags, envelopes, newspapers, etc. Newspapers and shredded paper make excellent mulch in the garden. The mulch will break down over a period of time and add humus to the soil. (This is called recycling and most of us do it now without even thinking.)

2. Have a Buy Nothing Day. (This is called real life, also called too much month at the end of the paycheck.)

3. Carve some space for ‘mindful living’ so that you have time for ‘beingness’ rather than ‘doingness.’ (Being satisfied with what we already have.)

4. Find friends who know the glass is half-full or in other words, find friends who share the same value system as you do. (It's great to have friends who lean the same way you do.)

5. Grow your own food or buy as much as possible from local growers. (Gardening has surged in this recession, it's saves money...and the tomatoes are killer good!)

6. Use non-toxic products such as borax, vinegar, baking soda, lemon, and salt in your home, yard, and garden. (You don't need a lot to keep a clean house, elbow grease should be your biggest expentiture!)

7. Before you buy something, write the item down on a note and if you still want it after a month, purchase it then. (Daughter Stephanie says she "Gives the item a ride in the cart, then puts it back." Isn't that a funny way to decide if you really need something?)

8. Decide what is really working in your life and let go of that which no longer serves you. (All of the things the world says you "have to have," review what YOU really need and eliminate the rest.)

9. Surround yourself with what you really need and love. (That one's easy, family and a place to lay my head down at night!)

10. Go Organic. Organic gardening is not only about the avoidance of chemicals, but in the larger picture, it is organic living using Nature’s laws. (If you're not a gardener...Farmer's Markets are a great way to stimulate the local economy, improve your diet and go organic without paying high grocery store prices.)

Use it up, wear it out, make it do...
good advice then and now!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Beauty...and the Beast

I've been gardening daily now, also known as "The Evening Buffet" for the deer!

I was setting out another flat of flowers and noticed a large black snake is on a rock ledge watching me. Far enough away that I didn't pee my pants and afterall it was a black snake, a beneficial snake if you can say that in the same sentence. He or She was about 4 foot long, and was about the size of a childs' wrist. I didn't get the camera and take a picture so if you'd like to see a Black Rat Snake, the variety that is most common in Arkansas, click HERE. Pioneer Woman showed us a cows' prolapsed uterus, but I'm still not over that and I don't want to cause any mental traumas. I'll let you decide if you want to see how scary she was...

Stop reading now if you have a weak stomach. I'm going to show you a picture that I took last summer. A garter snake, doing what snakes do. Turn away now if you're squeemish. Ok, are you ready? Are you sure?

Don't blame me, I warned you...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

"Every Trip's a Pleasure"

We took a lot of car trips when I was a kid. Daddy would have the window down, Mom would complain her hair was blowing and my brother and I were in the back seat fighting over who was on who's side. We'd drive along on two-lane blacktop roads, listening to AM radio when all of a sudden Mom would see the familar Stuckey's sign in the distance. "Twenty-five miles to Stuckey's, let's stop for awhile and get something cold to drink," she'd say. We all knew what was under those familar pitched roofs with the teal blue shingles...Pecan Log Rolls!
That mouth-watering nougat with maraschino cherries, whipped and rolled in caramel and pecans, it could not be turned down. Besides Pecan Rolls and Divinity, they always had a "novelty" section of souvenirs, cold drinks and hot snacks. The candy section had all my favorites...Rainbow Taffy, Pink Peanut Patties, Chick-o-Stick, Goo-Goo Clusters, Coconut Slice and Cherry Mash. I had inherited my Mom's sweet tooth!

My brother and I would beg for a toy. One of the best things we ever got was a road game that looked like bingo cards with little orange slide windows to cover things you'd see along the trip. Railroad crossing sign? slide. Cow? slide. Volkswagen? slide. Police car? Bingo!!

"Every trip’s a pleasure, when you stop at Stuckey’s" ...

Road signs were placed all along America's highways going back to the 1930's. They welcomed travellers with clean restrooms, fresh hot food and plenty of choices of the candy they were famous for. Daddy would gas up the car and then off we'd go again...this time with sticky treats to keep us occupied for miles and miles!

*Stuckey's can still be found and you can even order treats online now at

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