Saturday, July 10, 2010

Mam-maw's House

"If I could just come in, I swear I'll leave
won't take nothing but a memory,
from the house that built me"

The very first moment I heard these words from the song "The House That Built Me" by Miranda Lambert, it struck something deep inside me! All of my childhood memories of my Mam-maw Eunice's house in Bastrop, La. came flooding over me like a wave! The words "I thought if I could touch this place or feel it, this brokeness inside might just start healing" bring tears to my eyes every time I hear them!

My dad's parents lived in a little two bedroom frame house on Riis St. There was a front porch that had a porch swing for many years. The fondest memories in my whole life seem to come from this house & porch! As far back as I can remember, I used to stay with Mam-maw & Pap-paw Masters for a while every summer. I can recall sitting in the living room on the floor watching President Kennedy's funeral procession on their black & white TV. I can remember being there the week that Robert Kennedy was assasinated. My grandmother used to watch As The World Turns every day and I can still remember the escapades of the Hughes family....Don, Penny, Bob, Nancy & Grandpa Hughes!

There was an attic fan in the house that would pull in the most wonderful breeze at night! I would always want to be in the bed right beside the window so I could feel those breezes but by morning, I would usually be freezing. Mam-maw would always be up early in the morning to fix breakfast for Pap-paw and she would always have me a cup of coffee ready filled with milk & sugar. Her biscuits & "thin" bacon gravy still make my mouth water just thinking about them.

Each morning after doing the daily "chores", I would usually meet up with a distant cousin who lived next to her grandmother on the street behind Mam-maw's house! Vicki was the same age as me and we had the most wonderful times during my visits with Mam-maw! We both had a bunch of Barbie dolls and would play for hours with them. We would still see each other each summer even into our early teens!

Mam-maw had a little storage house behind the "big" house that we loved to nose around in. There was an old iron bed with a mattress in this "little house" and it was always a treat if we got to spend the night in there. It was really just a storage room but when you are a kid, it held the most wonderful junk to be rummaged through. My pap-paw always had a garden in the back yard and I can still remember him digging up "Irish" potatoes and then later having them sliced & fried for breakfast!

I think the bathroom of Mam-maw's house had been added later than the rest of the house and you had to actually go onto the back porch to get to it! There was a claw foot bathtub with big high sides that was always a special treat to take a bath in. The only drawback of this bathroom was there was no air conditioning and by the time you actually got out, you were dripping with sweat!

To this day, my favorite time of day is the late afternoon, just before dusk. It was usually this time of day when we would always sit out on their porch, either to swing or just sit in the lawn chairs to talk & visit. There is not an afternoon that goes by even now that I don't think about all those times sitting on that porch.
I think the last time I ever spent a whole week with Mam-maw & Pap-paw was when I was about 16. I met a boy that was the nephew of my Aunt Gayle's husband. I was so taken with this boy and was in dire straits when I had to go back to Vidalia for school to start!

There are so many memories from this house that I can't begin to write them all down for fear this post would run on for pages, eventually ending up the size of War & Peace! My Pap-paw died in 1983 and was buried on my son Andrew's second birhday. My Mam-maw died in 1989 on my husband's birthday. Both of them died of heart attacks at this house, both very suddenly and unexpectedly! The house was eventually sold after Mam-maw's death and I can't tell you how many times I have ridden by there and longed to go up to the door and ask the people living there if I could just walk around or see the inside again. I guess this is why when I heard Miranda's song for the first time, my first thought was of the little gray shingled house at 1007 Riis St., Bastrop, La. It was most definitely "the house that built me". I love you both, Eunice & Malone Masters and not a day goes by that I don't think of you!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Happy Birthday to Baxter

I can't believe it! Tomorrow, my precious, precious dog Baxter will turn 11....uh, that's 77 in dog years! It seems like yesterday that my son Andrew was begging us to let him have a puppy from the litter of labrador pups that belonged to our neighbor, Joe Thompson. Joe had told Andrew he would give him one of the puppies for his graduation gift. Cary and I really didn't want a dog and we knew that if we took one, even though both boys said they would take care of everything, we would end up doing it all! After much begging from the boys and much deliberation between Cary & I, we relented! It would be a few more weeks before we were to get the puppy since they were only a few weeks old. I knew that by the time we got the puppy, I would be off for the summer from my job at the junior high and I would be able to be home all day to potty train him.

The day finally arrived and we went to pick him up. He was the cutest thing EVER! I remember driving Andrew to his friends houses to show the puppy off. We had been trying to think of a name for him but it was my mother who actually came up with "Baxter". It just seemed to fit this precious little furry creature! This is Baxter's first official picture on the day he arrived at the Hughes household.

Baxter immediately became one of the family! He was afforded the privilege of staying in the house with us, not to be bannished to the outside! It was a struggle for a while, making sure that after every little nap, he was scooped up to go outside to "potty". He was really good and wasn't very hard to train!

It didn't take long for this little tiny thing to grow into a huge boy! I think having his daily bowl of milk just added to the growing spurt. He was always so full of energy and any time that he was let out in the front yard, there he would go, running full speed. There was one night when he was 3 that I let him out in the middle of the night so we could look at the meteor shower. As luck would have it, my neighbor two houses down decided at that moment to check the mail in his mailbox and Baxter, having seen movement, proceeded to run to the neighbor to check him out. Before Baxter could even get to the neighbor's mailbox, the neighbor saw this huge dog running toward him, broke into a run himself and threw himself on top of his vehicle! Of course, we didn't see this as the neighbor's vehicle was under his carport out of our view! We didn't know until about 30 minutes later that anything had happened until the deputy sherrif showed up at our door asking if we had a dog! To make a long story short, the neighbor sued our homeowners insurance company for damaged to his vehicle (that he did himself trying to jump on the hood) and for injury to his back (that he did while jumping onto his hood). Poor Baxter had not even gotten close to the man. In fact, he had turned around and headed home before the man had even reached his car. Our insurance paid the man $7,000 and Baxter never even got near him! Let's just say we were very careful about letting Baxter out when that neighbor was outside!

For years, Cary would load Baxter up in his little red Honda Civic and they would make the short trip up the street to the Jack Hayes Elementary school yard. Baxter would jump out of the car and run full speed for about 10 or 15 minutes. He would then slow down and proceed to sniff everything within his nose reach. He managed one day to get into a nest of hornets. Cary was trying to beat them off of Baxter just enough to get him back into the car. When they got home, poor Baxter went and hid in my closet for several hours until the shock wore off! I can't tell you how many hours over the years that Cary (or I) and Baxter spent at the school yard!
He would pester you to death every day until you took him up there!

I'm sure that I have traumatized Baxter over the years with my constant desire to dress him up for all occasions! He was and still is a good sport about it but I know in his heart, he hates every minute of it!
This was his first Halloween costume...he was Yoda from Star Wars!
This particular year I tried dressing him up to be Keith Urban (the country music star of whom I'm obsessed with). I couldn't find a blonde wig so he ended up looking more like Wynonna Judd than Keith Urban. I called him Baxter Barkley, country canine sensation who's #1 hit was Who Wouldn't Wanna Sniff Me? (I know, I'm sick).

Almost two years ago, we moved to a new house and it was a very traumatic experience for Baxter....Oak Circle had been the only house he knew and all of a sudden, he was in a new place. After a few weeks, he began to lose big patches of hair and had all of these rash looking places. The vet said it was from nerves/stress from the move. It took a while but he finally got over it. Now he's sniffed & peed on everything within a square mile of the new's his territory now!

There are so many stories to tell about his last 11 years. I just don't have the room to write them all. Let's just say that Baxter doesn't yet know that he's actually a dog...we haven't told him and may never tell him! He's had a bowl of milk every day of his life and he has NEVER spent one night outside! He's the one that wakes us up every morning, brings the newspaper in every day, gets several treats per day and follows my every move in this house!

I know in my heart that his days will be soon be up as I know labs only usually live to be 12 or 13, but I'm not thinking about that right now! I can't imagine what it will be like when he's not here, under my feet, making my every move! I never in a million years dreamed that I could love any dog the way I love Baxter! I tell him every day how sweet & precious he is and I kiss his head every single day! I whisper in his ear daily that he's my "precious boy" and I know he understands!

Happy Birthday Precious Boy!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

People Who Are Always Late

I may be stepping on some toes here, but I just got to thinking about people who are always late!

First of all, I know there are times when "real life" happens and you can't avoid being late, but these instances are few and far between. I'm talking about people who are always late to EVERYTHING, ALL THE TIME! I guess I'm just the polar opposite, I'm paranoid about being late and I am always a little early. I just can't understand why people are late to their jobs, meeting with friends, going on trips, parties, etc. If there is one thing that will send me into orbit, it's having to wait on someone when they were supposed to meet me at a certain time! OMG, it's like prisoner of war torture to me! It just says to me that they think their time is more important than mine! How can you be consistantly late to work? Don't blame traffic if you have to endure the same traffic every get up earlier and leave before the time the traffic gets bad!

Do any of you know people like this? Over the years, I've encountered many people who just can't get it together to be anywhere on time! Am I the one being rude by expecting people to be where they are supposed to be ON TIME?

Oh well, my rant is over....just felt better getting this off my chest and I don't know why I decided to write about this today!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

My Love Of Music

I was just thinking as I was downloading a song on ITunes about how much I love music. I can't remember a time in my life that music wasn't a part of it. As a kid growing up, my brothers and I were always subjected to the music that my parents listened to. Back then we had one of those wood cabinet models with the turntable inside and the built in speakers. When the TV wasn't on, my parents were always listening to their albums or 45 rpms. I'm not saying that we loved or even liked all of it, but I think it has made all of us music lovers.

I can remember when I was in about the 3rd or 4th grade, my parents bought me a Beatle 45rpm to play on my little red & white phonograph. I loved the Beatles and it was during their heyday...l965 or 1966. My best friend at the time (Trudy) had two Beatle albums and we were constantly listening to them. Whenever I hear a song from one of those records, it immediately transports me back to Olla, La. and my memories of me and Trudy.

The first album that I ever owned was bought by my parents for my 10th birthday. It was The Monkees first album. I still have this album and in later years, bought it on a CD version. It's funny how you can still remember the words to songs you haven't heard in years. It's a wonder this thing still has any grooves left in it because I know I played it millions of times. As I got to be a teenager, my album purchases turned to The Osmonds. Lord have mercy, my first true teen idol obsession was Donny Osmond. I couldn't get enough of his music and his first solo album "Donny Osmond" was played over and over until I think my parents wanted to have their ears sealed shut. I still have this album and all of the albums I've ever owned.

Over the years my music taste has matured (well, somewhat)and I still love to buy music. I can't imagine not being able to listen to music. In fact, I could do without a TV before I could do without my CD player or MP3 player. I can't drive in my car at all without either the CD player, radio or Sirius radio playing. Over the years I've tried to buy CD's of the old albums that I loved and I've gotten a pretty big collection. I wonder sometimes that if something ever happens to me, who will want all of this? I know Andrew & Jonathan couldn't care less about my music collection. I really don't think there will ever be a big monetary value for the likes of The Monkees, Bobby Sherman, Donny Osmand, David Cassidy and other long faded teen idols music. Now, my Keith Urban collection is a different story....those will be given to carefully selected, true Urban Ho's that will appreciate their value!

I guess I'm just getting sentimental thinking about my love of music and how I appreciate my parents for loving it too and passing it on to us kids. I can't hear a Merle Haggard, Jim Reeves or Don Williams song without tearing up and thinking of my dad!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

My First Blog Post

Here I am......52 years old and posting my first blog! Who would have ever thought it? You are probably not ever going to find the answers to life's questions on this blog....just random ramblings that I decide to write down!

I've been wanting to write a blog for a while now but never had the courage to do so. Thanks to my friend, Julie in St. Louis, I have decided to venture into the blog world. Julie has really inspired me due to her excellent writing skills (you won't find that with me), excellent photos and her vast travel stories. I don't have wonderful stories from France but I do have vast memorable trips taken with family & friends!

I hope you will enjoy my writings about family, friends and any other quirky, nutty thing I deem worthy of writing about! If you are offended easily, I apologize beforehand! You never know what I'll say....half the time I don't even know what I'm talking about! I love to take pictures so I'll be posting a lot of those too!

I hope I can post several times a week, but if my life is just too boring at times, I'm not going to bore you too with the details!

Before I close out my first post, I thought I would tell you a little about myself....I've been married to Cary T. Hughes for 32 years (he swears it's been much longer) and I have two boys..Andrew (29) and Jonathan (25..almost 26). We have a precious, much spoiled yellow lab named Baxter who is almost 11. You will be hearing about him on a regular basis. I work at Ouachita Junior High as the bookkeeper and I've been there 13 years now! Neither of my boys live at home (Woo Hoo) but they do live here in empty nest for me...I can see them when I want! In my middle age (as of Nov. 05) I have become completely obsessed and have totally lost my mind over Keith Urban (the country music guy married to Nicole Kidman, just in case you don't know who he is). Lots of my stories will pertain to my escapades traveling to the Keith shows that I can get too! Because of my obsession with this man, I've traveled to places I'd never been and made many, many new friends!

So, it's now official...I'm a blogger! Watch out blog world......can you get the Nobel Peace Prize for blog writing?