Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Winter on the Hooch

Winter is wintering around my porch.  Too cold to be out there writing even though it’s my new favorite spot.  Golden, brown, and red leaves still decorate my oaks and the ground beneath them. Our house philosophy is “we will remove no leaves before it’s time”.    “Time” means there are no golden, brown or red leaves on the branches.  “Time” means that Santa may have to wade through leaves to get to our house if he approaches from the river side and misses the rooftop.  “Time” means that our neighbor and lovely friend has generously agree to spend an afternoon blowing our leaves off the yard and down the hill.  “Time” means we might be about to host a party on the porch—Love those words.  Room to move around and spread out.  We even have a heater on that porch—so far we’ve only used it twice.  Winter has only teased us until recently. 

My porch has proven a cozy spot to write—not today—and a place for sumptuous meals, naps, and aerobic activity…what?  Hmm?? What’s the shift from those previous porch activities… enter Fred.  Actually Fred probably entered my porch a month or so ago when I brought my plants that summered in the backyard while my screened porch was in process.  Fred previously lived on my “not screened” porch when those plants lived on my tiny back porch—one could have referred to it as a “stoop” if it hadn’t had 18+ steps from the river garden. 

Fred has shared then new, previously referred to as screened, back porch with us for several weeks but had managed to stay hidden most days. Since he frequently showed himself on the stoop while I was watering, and since river life has accustomed me to all kinds of critters, I was not surprised that he too preferred my new back porch.  It doesn’t host cats or snakes or birds. Fred is a lizard.  A chameleon to be exact. He’s about as big as my hand—long that is.  And he can move quickly.  Fred had winked at me one day from the eave near the screen door.  Duke Boy was with me so we just winked back.  We knew that Fred would provide that extra protection that can’t always be provided by screens. 

Things were rocking along pretty well for Fred until the night temperatures dictated a need to move my plants—mainly begonias—indoors.  I only gave it a passing thought that Fred might be hitchhiking indoors from the cold too.  Fred’s cousin, or perhaps twin, had once posed as a lizard statue under a dishtowel on our kitchen counter during a summer of screened door openings.  I knew it could happen.

What happened instead was Fred showed out sunbathing as if at the Grand Isle Resort while Queen Elizabeth was also enjoying the pre-winter sunshine.  I saw him but had chosen to ignore his shameless “own the place” behavior.  What ensued was me, a broom, and  Queen E not wanting that thing in her bed.  It was better than any treadmill work I’ve ever done.  Fred should be in the Olympics. Fred and I ran up and down behind the settee and up and down the screen. I even opened the door and let in a wasp so Fred could run out.

  I am proud to report that Fred still suns on that porch since I’m a failure at lizard removal.  I named him so Queen E could envision him as a friend rather than a reptile.  I think that’s the category for lizards???  The Queen was unimpressed with my reptile removal skills and my naming.  She still wants the porch doors shut so he won’t visit her room.  Fred will have to snuggle under the porch blankie today.  I’ve made it a point to shake it out before using it on a chilly evening.

Peace to all of you this Thanksgiving weekend.  If you see Fred out he may be sporting a tiny hounds tooth scarf so he’ll fit in with the rest of the crowd on the porch.


Karen Erwin-Brown is the director of the Valley office of the Pastoral Institute.  She offers individual, marriage and family counseling by appointment only.  Call 334-768-2341 to make an appointment or more information.   

Monday, November 25, 2013

Seeing with 3 year old eyes

Chilly day on the Hooch.  Haven't visited Dex today. 

Yesterday during church had coffee, cinnamon rolls, lemonade, muffins, and fruit loops. 

... fruit loops were ok but my imagination was better when I was eating cinnamon rolls prepared by 3 year old hands.

  Nursery Sundays are always entertaining.
 hearing Veggie Tales,
                  seeing excitement in the eyes when the blocks fit the holes,
 Queen Elizabeth enjoying her cinnamon roll.

 I'm sure "big " church was fun too and worship was certainly different.

  I'm thankful during this Thanksgiving week that God provided me a set of 3 year old eyes to see the world for an hour.

Time to get to Monday with 60 year old eyes and bones.  Peace for the day from the Hooch.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thanksgiving and fire

Spent the morning with Dex even though he was cool to me.  Watching leaves fall was like watching a movie in fast forward.  Our river garden is at least ankle deep perhaps knee deep now in gold, reds and browns.  The great thing about leaves on the ground is that means the view of the Hooch is pretty fabulous.  Coffee, Dex and the river...

now I'm in front of my cozy fire.  Little BW is trying to push the laptop away so she can snuggle into me.  My fire is of course...electric..it has a blower for warmth...need one that crackles.  Do they make those...well duh, called "real fire".  I don't have to go into the cold for more logs, no sweeping up ash, no sparks on the rug...close to perfect. 

BW has given up on being my "laptop" and has burrowed into an afghan.  Queen Elizabeth is dreaming of Christmas cookies with Martha Stewart.  Just had mochas and cream cheese on ginger family cookies.  Yum.  It's beginning to look a lot like winter...

Top 10 Thanksgivings:
New room for Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth in her new room
New laundry room no longer in basement
Hedgies on the way to being parents and you know what that means>>>>!!!!!
BW all snuggley
Duke Boy happy as Bama wins its way through the season
Good folks to work with
Good folks to worship with
Good folks to call family
Friends who love me--wahoo --that's 11!!

Hope you will count your blessings instead of sheep tonight.

Peace from the Hooch.
Looking forward to Thanksgiving with this cute family of Bama fans!!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Kennedy remembered

Watching the Kennedy memories tonight.  Remembering being in Ms. Guthrie's room in 5th grade at Bush School in Birmingham when some boys ran down the hallway yelling that the President was shot. 

My family felt a kinship to the President because my Dad, a Medal of Honor recipient, had shaken hands with him in the Rose Garden in May of 1963.  My Mom didn't go because she was pregnant with my little sister, Bette.  Jackie Kennedy was pregnant too but unfortunately lost baby Patrick in August when he was born five weeks too early and his lungs were too little.

Sad day for our country then and now looking back.

Sorry that Lanett High School lost tonight to Fyffe?? spelling??  Safe travel to Hedgie Girl and all the fans traveling home tonight.

Peace from the Hooch tonight.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

One duck dynasty afternoon

Dex finally warmed up again so I could sit with him.  Queen Elizabeth & I ate supper with him tonight.  Lovely evening to enjoy a great meal prepared by other main man, Duke Boy.  Here now with both of them watching Bama. 

Spent the afternoon napping here. The Dex couch is the best nap spot. 
Duke Boy had a birthday this week==thank God, now he is only 1 year younger than me again!!
Good thing we're both so cute since we look so much alike after all these years!

 Attempted to pick up pecans by the Hooch today. Not many there.  Took Queen Elizabeth on a joy ride down in the truck so she could help us hunt.  We picnicked a little after unproductive pecaning.  Lovely day to enjoy the Hooch though.  Disappointing to have so few birds today.  One duck. They must have all gone to Mississippi for The Game.  Gave the Queen a thrill trying to climb that hill in the truck.  Reminded her of riding with Major Charles in the golf cart after the Hedgie wedding.  It was her first trip down there in 5 years.  Who knows when I'll get her there again.

Next Saturday, we have the Winter Festival in downtown West Point.  It's gonna snow courtesy of KIA.  Come and bring friends.

Lots of good buys at Bluffton Antiques in Lanett.  Check out booth 19. 

The Pastoral Institute has Holiday Hope on Thursday the 21st.  You can still make a reservation if you call by Monday.  334-768-2341.  It's for those who've lost a loved one and are going through the holidays for the first time without them.  Duke Boy and our Naomi, widow group, are making a wonderful meal.  Free event.

It's good to have the Queen here.  She never fails to make me smile with some of her comments. She continues to be amazed that I know how to do laundry.  She has to be since I don't let anyone touch my washing machine. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Medal of Honor remembered

Lovely tribute by the VFW and Valley Postmaster yesterday. My family was honored to be able to participate in the ceremony.  Weather was beautiful with a little nip in the air.  Tommy Weldon, the Valley police chief, played taps on his trumpet.  Impressive!  The last few military funerals that I've attended the honor guard has used  pre-fab bugle music.  It's lovely but not quite the same experience.  Taps always bring a tear-- the bugler at my Dad's funeral, soggy and wet under a tree. I'm not sure if his was canned or not--I do remember that it was sad.

 The Medal of Honor stamp is available today for purchase.  My Dad's name is in the inside if you purchase the book, Henry Erwin.  There are also 464 other names of the WWII recipients.  Just to be politically correct--never refer to a Medal of Honor recipient as a "winner" of the medal.  Most of them never strived for this honor since many of them are awarded posthumously. My Dad's medal was raced to his "death bed" by his buddies from a broken case in Hawaii.  I think it's the fastest a medal was ever approved.  He had it engraved himself.  My nephews, the Erwin Brothers, are planning to produce a movie about this story. 

Dex is chilly today.  He wishes we had a big ole blanket for  him to wrap himself in for the upcoming winteriness. 

Hedgies had their last adoption class last night.  On to the home study.....then...

Peaceful day from the Hooch.   

Monday, November 11, 2013

A tribute on Veterans Day --Henry Erwin--Medal of Honor recipient

Today I'm going to the Veterans' Day celebration in Valley to say a few words about my Dad.  Shawn Daily, the postmaster for the Valley office, who is also in the military, is doing the military bio.  I am to cover the civilian side.  Dad was a Medal of Honor recipient. 

 He was a good man, who took us to church every Sunday.  Sunday morning, he grabbed your toes through the cover to awaken you. Sundays we ate out so Mom didn't have to cook.  Britlings, the Frost Top--I can still taste the Lot-o-Burgers.   Family was important to spend time and we did--usually visiting both Grandmothers and siblings on one side or the other on Sunday afternoons. Sunday evenings were spent at home around the dinner table and then TV-- Bonanza or Ed Sullivan. He was always in bed by 9.  Snoring from that room sounded like a German Shepard dog guarded the bed.

Dad worked five days a week at the VA Hospital in Birmingham, AL. He left for work every morning by 5:30 but not before planting a Listerine-laden kiss on your sleeping cheek. To this day I don't have to use an eye lash curler.  You could also set your clock by his 5:30 return.  Dinner was on the table and we ate together.   Paper, TV, a little help with homework--he was good at Math--thank goodness--I was not.

Our yard was also neat and clean--girls didn't have to do yard work--thanks goodness--sorry Hank.
Girls washed dishes.  Mom did everything else.  The house was also always neat and clean. 

If Dad had a vice it was cigars and new cars.  He smoked cigars for years and then chewed them for years after that.  New cars were always a surprise. To my knowledge, he always picked them out alone.  I'm guessing he paid cash.  He didn't like debt.  He'd just come home with a new car about every two years.  He'd trade the old ones until we got old enough to drive.  My first car was a '64 Chevy, white with red interior. I inherited it when I was a sophomore at Alabama. Freshmen couldn't have cars then.

Dad made sure all his kids got an education.  Grammar school and up.  You respected your teachers.  The GI Bill helped with our college educations. Dad helped with the $20 to $50 in your pocket when you went back to school on Sunday evenings after a weekend visit.  When I didn't visit.  I'd get a short letter with a little cash about how I needed to call my Mom. When I say short, I mean short--less than a paragraph.  I loved those letters and the cash was nice too.  He and Mom never called before they visited me in college.  Back then those visits were not cherished like I would have had I know that I wouldn't have them anymore.

Precious memories of him were when Hedgie Girl was a baby.  We lived in Pell City and Leeds was about a 30 minute trip. Early in the morning after Duke Boy had left for church, I'd hear a knock.  No call first.  Dad would show up and hug me--then sit and hold Hedgie Girl.  He'd stay about an hour while I visited a little then did whatever Moms of newborns do--shower, have another cup of coffee, do laundry--then he'd give her back and say bye.  Makes tears to think about those times. 

He loved us.  We loved him.  I miss him.  I wish he was here to hold our soon to be family member who is out there somewhere waiting to join our family. 

A salute today to my Dad and to all those who helped give us the kind of freedom that I enjoyed as a child, and I continue to enjoy today.  Thanks Dad. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Views from the Hooch


Ms. Potato Head stopped by Valley Family Dentistry for the Cabbage Patch Girls to correct her overbite.  Gotta love it when your dentist gives you Chocolate!!

These are not morning children.  Too funny.
My niece maker of beautiful pictures made this one.  

We love because (God) first loved us.  1 John 4:7-21

These words began my devotion from the Upper Room this morning. It can be accessed free on-line if you are interested.  It's written by people like me--perhaps this year I will attempt to be a writer for them. 

I am tickled to announce a new blog by the Hedgies--if I was really good at this stuff I'd link you to it--another goal for this year--it's time for them to be public about finding a baby for us to love on. 
They have done so in a big way with all kinds of wonderful pictures, stories, and peeks into their souls. Made me cry and swell with pride that I know them and they are a part of me. 
so the above is the link.  I know I'm amazing--
"How long the road is.
 But, for all the time the journey has already taken,
                                    how you have needed every second of it."
                                                                        Dag Hammarskjold

I'd love to stay with y'all all day.  I've got to visit Dex today.  He was cold this morning so I kept my distance.  My to do list is a mile long and Queen Elizabeth wants to go shopping.  I probably need a spiff up too.
Speaking on Monday, Veterans Day, at the Valley program at the memorial in Langdale.
 The Medal of Honor stamp for WWII is issued that day.  My Dad will be remembered.

 rockin the power of purple with Hedgie girl and the Queen

the hedgies