Sunday, July 12, 2015

When Being Country Wasn't Redneck

I went to a mud bog last night. I was really surprised at how many people were amazed that I went. I am thinking there are a lot of folks that have no idea how I grew up. I am about to enlighten you.

I grew up in Kinsey, AL. Chevy Country and the apartments were not around until I got in high school. I grew up in a Kinsey that was laid back, safe and fun. We could walk to church and seldom drove.  I grew up a short walk from my Granny and Grandaddy and many days were spent just hanging out with them.

Summer time was the best. Once I finished my long list of chores, the rest of the day was mine to do whatever I wanted to do. If the chores took longer than usual, my friends Janet and Tami would help so that we could get busy with our day. We would leave early in the morning and often not returning until well after dark. We didn't have cell phones so our parent often had no clue where we were or what we were up to. We lived in a different time so, there was never a concern about our safety. All of the neighbors would keep an eye out and there was always someone who knew where we were.

We spent our days riding bikes and walking every where we went. Many days were spent on Ham Branch road playing in the creek. Back then, there was no bridge and the creek went across the road. We rambled in the Kinsey Baptist Cemetery and learned a lot about our history and family from those old headstones. Back then, there was always a Grand parent around to tell you who it was, what they did, who they were related to and how they died.We never wore shoes. By the end of the day, we had what most people now refer to as grocery store feet. Ours were dirty from good old Alabama clay and dirt. When it was time for me to come home, my Daddy would whistle really loud. Often, I was to far away to hear it but, it would travel from neighbor to neighbor until it finally reached me. "Rhonda, your Daddy is whistling for you" I knew I better run as fast as I could because once he whistled, you better get there fast.

I learned how to drive on an old VW Beetle Stick shift. I was only 13 years old. Most of us were driving at 13 and 14 and never worried about getting in trouble because that is just the way it was. As we got older, we moved from bikes to dirt bikes and then to old cars and trucks. When we turned 16, we got the old cars and our parents drove the new ones. My first vehicle was a 1970 something Chevy step side truck. We spent weekends mudding. There is nothing more fun than riding a dirt bike thru a big old mud hole! Many Saturday nights were spent at the Rocket Speedway, down the road from our house, watching the races and the nights we didn't go, we were asked by Daddy, "You want to go outside and listen to the races?" Of course we ran outside to do just that.

I learned to shoot pistols and shot guns at a young age. I was taught not to fear them but, to have respect for them. I have been deer hunting and bird hunting. Fishing in my Grandaddy's pond was a favorite past time. I could bait my own hook with worms, crickets and minnows. Although I hated to use minnows. for some reason it made me sad.

One of my jobs was to feed and water my Granny and Grandaddy's chickens and gather the eggs.  I don't mean a hand full of chickens in a little chicken coop. These chickens were in a big chicken yard and some times there were any where from fifty to a hundred chickens. When we had friend chicken, it was really fresh. Once an old rooster that decided to try to spur me, ended up on Granny's table for supper,and of course he was fried up just right.

My Grandaddy once brought two little calves to their house instead of the farm. We promptly named them Festus and Miss Kitty. We played and fed those calves until they got really big. One day Grandaddy brought the trailer home and said something about taking them to slaughter. We put up such a fuss crying and carrying on, my Granny told him he shouldn't have let us get attached to them and now he was going to have to keep them so, keep them he did. I know some other cows ended up on the table but, it was okay because I never me them.

I grew up in a time where all we knew was being country. Everyone helped with the peanut harvest in the fall. It may be driving a tractor, driving trucks pulling peanut wagons to the drier or taking sandwiches and sweet tea to the field. We picked our on tomatoes, peas, squash, corn and cut okra in the early morning when it wasn't so hot. We didn't get peas already shelled. We sat around with big pans and shelled them ourselves. The rest of the day was spent in a hot steamy kitchen blanching and putting everything in bags to freeze.

I grew up in a time where everyone around here was country and redneck was not part of our world. Loud cars, mud, guns and horns that played dixie were just part of life. I grew up getting dirty, muddy, shooting guns and driving fast cars and trucks but, easily transitioned into a girly girl with makeup, big hair, halter tops and frills when ever I got the chance.

Going to a mud bog does not make you redneck, it just means you grew up country and country is all you know. I can dress up and become an elegant lady just as easy as I can put on a pair of jeans and t-shirt become country. I appreciate a nice smooth riding Mercedes but, nothing beats a jacked up truck with loud pipes. I can maneuver my way through a big city with ease but, deep down inside, I am just a country girl at heart. Life can be stressful and complicated and a hot summer night with family, watching loud trucks stirring up some mud and dust, can take you back to the simpler way of life and remind you that being country is really not so bad.

Monday, June 9, 2014

It Is Just What A Mother Does

I recently had someone say to me "I dedicated my whole life to my children, I sacrificed everything for them" and this was said in a resentful tone. I am like....wait.....what? Isn't that what a Mother does?

It got me thinking about being a Mother. As most people know, my oldest child is twenty-nine years old which means I have been a Mother for that long but, actually my "Motherhood" started way before that. I became a "Mother" at the age of my younger sister. I was twelve when she was born and from that day forward I became her protector and treated her as my own, more so than a sibling.

She went everywhere I went. Before I could drive, I drug her all over Kinsey with me and my friends as we played and hung out. When I got old enough to drive, she went to school dances and road around the Northside mall with me.

I taught her all I knew and tried to do everything right so that she would have a good example. I fed her, dressed her, bathed her and played with her......all the things a Mother does, yet I was her sister. That is just what a Mother does.

As a Mother, I have sacrificed and put myself on the back burner so that I could take care of my kids. It is not anything I is just something a Mother does.

To this day, I will change plans and drop anything that I have going on, to take care of any need that my children may have. That is just what a Mother does.

There have been times that I wore clothes that were just worn out, so that I could buy my three children new school clothes or make sure they had a great Christmas. That is just what a Mother does.

I have headed up committees and organizations that involved my children, even though there were other things I would rather be doing but, since it benefited my children I did it any way. That is just what a Mother does.

There have been times that I got angry with my kids but, I tried to handle the anger in a way that they knew that what they had done was wrong but, I stilled loved them. That is just what a Mother does.

I have tried to guide my children in the right direction but, I also allowed and taught them to make their own decisions. That is just what a Mother does.

I could go on and on but, you get the picture. The thing is, there has never been a second that I ever resented doing what a Mother is supposed to do.

When I look at the Woman my sister has become and the wonderful adults my three children have become, I feel nothing but pride and love......there is no resentment, there is no regret. All I feel is an all consuming love. A love with no strings attached. A love that does not expect anything in return. It is a Mothers love........ Because that kind of Loving....... is just What a Mother does.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Bailey's Story

Our Bailey came into this world in October of 2007, she was one of five born to our Poodles Brandy and Whiskey. All of the puppies grew and thrived and one by one, their little eyes started to open....all except one of the smallest of the bunch. I took her to the vet and was told that her little eyes did not develop and she would be blind.

I left the vets office that day cradling this little tiny baby with tears pouring down my face. I worried about what was going to happened to her.....would she have a life and if so, what kind of life would it be.

I was told by some to have her put to sleep.....they said it wasn't fair to prolong her life knowing she would never see. All I could think to myself was......she is healthy....she is just blind. Why on earth would I end her life over something like this.

The decision was made that this sweet  baby would become a permanent part of our lives. We named her Bailey. She grew and thrived and learned how to make her way in her own little world. When Bailey was a wee little thing, she would hold on to her Mama's tail so that she would know which way to go. One day.......she knew all on her own, which way to go!

Bailey grew to be a loving and trusting little one. She has never met a stranger and she will approach everyone, both human and animal, trusting that they will never bring harm to her. The funny thing was, every single dog or animal she has ever met, treated her with tender care. It is as if they know she is special.

Bailey will run and play just as hard as all the other dogs, even though she can not see. We taught her to listen to our voice so that she did not run into things. She has a sweet way of tilting her head when you talk to her. It is her way of letting you know she is listening.

Bailey learned to sit and stand on her hind legs and dance. She never learned how to chase and retrieve a ball but, she did figure out that she could chase and tackle the other poodles to the ground when THEY were chasing the ball.

Bailey always slept with Ethan until he left home. She slept under the covers, never on top. Sometimes you might see the tip of her nose sticking out a little but, that was it.

We often forget that she is actually blind. She will run full force in the yard and can chase down every dog we have. She will daintily tip toe past the trees in the yard until she gets to the open area and then she is off like a shot. She will run down the hall full force, make the corner and leap onto our bed.

Bailey is scared to pieces of the rain and thunder. The only place she is comfortable being is at home. Any where else and she shakes like a leaf.

Bailey doesn't know she is different, being blind is all she has ever known. As far as she knows everyone else is just like her. With the exception of a few things to keep her safe and to ease her way, we have never treated her any differently that all of our sighted dogs. She is such a sweet little dog, loving her is easy.

There has never been a time that we have regretted making Bailey a permanent part of our lives. She has brought nothing but, joy to our lives. She is sweet natured and happy. She is loving and smart. She has taught me that anyone or any being can overcome some of life's hardest things.

Today, our Bailey is at the vets office fighting for her life. It seems so unfair that a little dog that started out with such a rough start, should have to go through something like this now. I pray that our Bailey can fight her way through. I just can't imagine our lives without her sweet presence.

I held her in my arms all night on Wednesday night before taking her to the vet. We are now on day three of her being away from us. I pray that she will soon be in my arms again.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Love Of My Life


I did not realize that it has been exactly a year since I wrote in my blog. I am such a slacker! Any way. Once again, I am about to celebrate an anniversary with the Love of my Life. Thrity-one years! Wow, time has really flown by for us.

The young man that I married, thirty one years ago has become my best friend, the love of my life, my heart, my soul.....the very air that I breathe. I knew from the time I was seventeen years old, that I wanted to marry Tim Parrish, have children with him and grow old with him.......that is exactly the way my life has played out.

We started out with young exciting love and now that love has grown into mature, strong, secure and yes even more exciting love. When you are young and in love, you can not even imagine the true forever love that it turns into.

We have had our ups and downs but, we have worked through those times together and have become stronger not only individually but, also as a couple. I know this mans thoughts before he ever puts them into words. I know his likes and dislikes, I know how to make him laugh and I know what to say to make him feel better. And, you know what? He knows me in the same way.

Even after 31 years of marriage and almost 33 years together, my heart still skips a beat when he walks in the door. Hearing his voice still sends a thrill through my heart. Most of all, seeing the pride he has in our children and watching his heart melting smile when he looks at our grand son Clayton, just makes me fall even more in love with him.

To the love of my soul best friend. I love you more today than I did yesterday and I love you less today than I will tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Marriage Is Like A Pot of Soup

Today is the day that Me and Tim celebrate thirty years of marriage. Hard to believe we have been married that long! One thing I have learned about marriage is a lot like a good pot of home made soup!

You start out throwing in your main ingredients. Well, we all know that just throwing a couple of things in a pot doesn't make soup. You taste it and if it is not just right, you make adjustments. You may throw in a few spices to liven things up. You set it to simmer. Don't let it simmer too long have to stir it up every now and then. Don't set the heat to high or it will boil over or worse it will scorch. You don't want to have to throw it out and start over! You sometimes try to stick to a recipe but, we all know that sometimes you have to make it your own and not someones elses! With a lot of attention, patience, imagination and adjustment anyone can have a perfect pot of soup!

I will not sit here and pretend that our marriage is perfect. There is no such thing. We work at it every day. There have been times that we have almost wanted to give up but, we didn't. We knew that what we had was worth fighting for. We have learned to add the spices when needed. We have learned when to stir it, when to raise the heat and when to let it simmer for a while. Most of all, we have learned to add the right ingredients to make a marriage. A marriage that has made it through thirty years of happiness, heartache, joy, sorrow, laughter and at times confusion. In the end what we have is a house full of beautiful children, a perfect grandbaby and each other. Always each other! What more can we ask.......we have an almost perfect pot of soup!