Monday, June 29, 2009

Let the Pictures Do the Talking

My New Hometown

You are greeted by a HUGE PINK ELEPHANT at the crossroads that lead to Tiny Town.

Across the State Line...where is Rock City?

I was a day late getting here and the grass that had threatened to overtake the run down and abandoned church had been cut...ruining the effect I was hoping to capture. Maybe in a few weeks....

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sepia Scenes

Brought to you by Sepia Scenes.

Ah New Haven. Not the New Haven you think, but the New Haven I called home for two years while living in North East Indiana. It actually was an area of Ft. Wayne, a Rail Road town that given time will grow on you. It is not uncommon for Joe to say "I wish we had never left" and I nod in agreement.

Retrospect is everything, isn't it? I would still be employed by the Beverage Co (and would have received my 10 year award!!dang!) and he would not have gone through the terrible year in Lou. working for a supervisor that nearly killed him...oh well,it is all in the past now. We have moved on.

I have found a job with a major restaurant chain in their Retail area. The orientation began yesterday. Four of us were being inducted into the Corporation and having the Employee Handbook read to us in between watching videos from the 1980's and eating our one free meal.

I am the oldest of the group of four. Out of the group of four, two are college students, three are women, one is a musician, and three are from Indiana.


I think not. Hoosiers are taking over the world.

I continue to look another job that does not require me to work week-ends but I am relieved all the same.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I scream! You scream!

We all scream! For ice cream!

Picture this....trying to loose 20 pounds by pounding an elliptical machine but cruising through the Dairy Queen Drive Thru and asking, "Do you have the Candy Cotton Blizzards yet?"

And being told, "No, not yet."

Please please please! I love those things. What is it they use for that candy cotton flavor? Sort of like hot rocks...sort of not. What ever, I love it.

Long ago summer was officially announced by the sounds of the Mr Softy Truck approaching your street, driving very slow, allowing all the kids within hearing distance - and us kids had the ears of German Shepherds back then - enough time to run home and beg, cry, thrown ourselves on the ground and pound the floor for that one thin dime that would purchase a sprinkle cone.

They were gigantic cones with a little twist on top.

When my daughter was young the Mr Softy truck was replaced by a Popsicle man who flew through the neighborhood so fast you had to think he was meeting his drug connection at his apartment in a half hour.

No sooner would Bridget come running into our humble abode and shake me down for fifty cents for some sort of Bomb Pop, and back out on the street returning in minutes with tears in her eyes that she had missed him.

Poor baby. Hopefully he would swing back by and all the little kids who missed him would be waiting with their money clutched tightly in their sweaty hands.

It's officially summer.

The last Popsicle I bought was for a the little kid of a friend. Nothing says summer quite like the stained face smile of a child sucking the red white and blue off of a Bomb Pop.

On, Mr. Softy, will you please come back?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sepia Scenes

Once again it's time for Sepia Scenes. How does a week pass so quickly?

Long ago, too many years to even estimate now, I "bought" my first digital camera with "company bucks" accumulated through a promotion and then used in a gift book. I was reluctant to join in the digital craze that was taking over the country as I loved my SLR Nikon and sometimes would take incredible pictures.

One of my friends tried to explain to me how much fun a digital was, what you could do with it, the programs available to refine the pictures, how digital was easier to store than film...and on and on and on.

Once I had that little premium camera in my hand, I never have once touched my old Nikon, except to move with all the other crap I have accumulated in my life time that I can not live without....

Anyway, this picture was from those first days of fooling around with the new technology. The freedom it gave you to take pictures of anything you damn well pleased...this was one of the results, now in Sepia. (because my friend was right all the time!)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Catholic School Girl Confessions Continued - Part III

Riding the Bus Home

After assembly in our homerooms and the official calling into the office for your smacks on the ass if you had misbehaved intolerably, the announcements for the next day and blah blah blah, the bell would ring and you were sprung free for the day.

We erupted through the two back doors of the building like projectile navy blue vomit the scene much like most high schools, I imagine. You either climbed on the bus, jumped into a car and burnt rubber out of there, or found your mother and/or someones mother and carpooled home.

I, for the first two years, climbed on one of the three city buses - since we were a private school we did not have Big Yellow Buses at our disposal, I believe they contracted with the city - got my ticket punched and found a seat among the yelling, screaming, writhing, gyrating teenage soup of blue and white. Usually I sat with Laura or Josie and endured the ride downtown. It was always an ordeal, no matter what.

I have blocked it from my memory.

Once downtown the bus deposited us at the corner of Broadway and Main. There was a 5&10 situated there and we would either slip in there for a coke, or go across the street to the bakery to purchase a cookie to split between us.

Downtown is where most kids transferred to other city buses to carry them home to their final destination.

But not me.

Oh No.

I trudged on down to the other end of Main Street and turned north, maybe I would turn north after going into the record store and checking out all the new LP's that arrived that week, then I would turn north and head up to the Greyhound Bus station.

Yes, my mother would not travel the 15 or so miles each afternoon to collect me from a school she was forcing me to attend. Oh no, she made me ride the Grey Hound Bus home each and every afternoon until I was a Junior.

My freshman year I was accompanied by K. K. was several years older than me and he too endured the ride on the Greyhound to Mayberry just for the privilege to attend Catholic High School. He was my partner in crime for that one year.

I never laughed so hard as I did with him on those rides home. I laughed until my sides ached and my jaws hurt. I am certain we disturbed every adult who rode on the that bus with us. At 3:50 it would leave the station and head towards Mayberry with a stop here and there along the way.

No one was spared our scrutiny and our obnoxious observations. We were brutal in our assessments of the people we rubbed shoulders with briefly and, unfortunately for a few, daily. We threw stuff at each other, we rehashed our day at school in high voices, we talked about our peers at school and what devious deeds they had been up to that day and then laughed like hyenas.

We cringed in horror at the grease spots on the windows that some poor soul, just trying to catch a few winks, would lay his head on the glass and dream. We would push each others head at the stains and shriek in disgust.

My friend K. can recite the entire itinerary as given over the loud speaker in the station. He remembers a lot more than I do. He rode the bus a total of three years, I only two. He remembers certain riders that climbed on daily with us.

Why they did not get us permanently kicked off I will never know. Maybe people were more tolerant back in those days.

K. would get off miles from town, at a country intersection where his mother waited in their family station wagon. He would ring the bell, stumble down the aisle because I more than likely tripped him and exit, leaving me alone, the bus oddly silent. Blessedly peaceful.

I would step off at the bus station in Mayberry and walk home from there.

I would see the Bus Station from time to time in Lexington and feel something tighten in my chest. Maybe it was the glimpse of the ghost of a young silly girl, in her navy blue sweater and pleated skirt rolled up at the waist, in her saddle oxfords and white bobby socks, running up the steps just barely in time to catch the bus, tears of hysterical laughter running down her cheeks as she chased after her friend K, who had her Latin book held above his head and threatening to toss it.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I want a new Drug

As I was pounding away on the elliptical machine listening to the music I had downloaded the first few minutes thinking I was not going to make it today, that maybe today I would just go over 20 minutes then quit. 20 minutes is good, 20 minutes is fat burning. 22 minutes is better, then when I open my tightly closes eyes, pressed so close together that if I try to see the time it is only blur, and if that blur says I have passed the 20 minuets mark, then I am almost half way to the 45 minutes I really want to ....reach.

My eyeglasses are perched under the screen that tells me how hard I am pumping, how fast I am going, how high my pulse is reaching, how long I have been sweating.

I think that Joe took the money he received from his first bonus as an officer in 2006 and bought this machine. He researched it on Consumer Report, did his homework. He could have purchases a cheaper one but went with this model and three moves later, it remains the Thoroughbred of fat burning machines. As many times as I have tried to destroy it, it triumphs.

And I keep on keeping on.

I remember how the runners high feels. A euphoric cushion of well being, of floating, of all things being almost perfect.

One night, many years ago Joe and I ran in our first 5K race on the downtown streets of Lex on a steamy August night with 5000 other runners. He was/is faster than me and as I approached the final stretch to the finish line he came bounding out from the crowd and made me run faster, faster and faster to finish the race. God Good what a feeling to finish your first race!

It was such an incredible high. It is a feeling that is akin to leaving your body and being just a little bit above you, hoovering and not with you anymore, but still within reach...

A runners high.

I pump those pedals and marvel at how my knees do not scream at me and how my mind says, "No not this song - yea this one- no next one - "

And then I am over 40 minutes and feel a flush of exhilaration and satisfaction and for two minutes flip through songs trying to find that last one, that last three minute song to bring it home....

And then I find it, Huey Lewis, "I Need A New Drug".

And I realize that I have.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The First Five Pounds

Coming up with something to write about daily is a real chore. This morning I had a thought and then lost it. Maybe tomorrow.

But, I have lost five pound so far, and it might be more as I have this crummy scale I bought a Goodwill for $2.00. I realized I had left our digital scale in Ft. Wayne, tucked beside the washer and dryer I left with the house. I could read that scale from my five feet five and 1/2 inches. I can not read the scale now, as it is too far away for my reading glasses and the long distance glasses just barely miss the mark.

But, if I bend down and balance myself and be very very still, it looks like five pounds. And could be more, because I was into it a good two weeks before I dared look at a scale.

Clothes are beginning to look different on me. Just a little. But it's enough to put a song in my heart and get me on the elliptical machine five days a week.

Thank God for the MP3 player.

Who the hell are the Black Keys? Don't know, but they were recommended by Rolling Stone and I love them! All two of them.

When I loose another 10 pounds (which I hope will be in the next six weeks) I am going to take up running again. If my old knees will agree. I've truly missed it.

There is a 10K in Lex the 4th of's possible.

As all things are possible.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Love Affair with Candy

I inherited a sweet tooth. A double whammy sweet tooth, as each of my parents are Irish and there is something about the Irish and their sweets. My father would pour three spoonfuls of sugar into this coffee each morning. We had to watch him, as he grew older he tended to loose count. Every evening, after dinner and seated side by side in their Electric Chairs (as my mother refers to them, as the seat raises to help you out), watching a western – as my father loved Westerns – my Mother would whip out her box of chocolates and offer the box to my Dad, who would take two, then Mom would take two and if you happened to be there, you would then be offered the box and you could take two too.

Every Christmas, Easter, Mothers Day,and Birthday she receives several boxes of confectionary delights, and at two pieces apiece, they last awhile. Now that Pop is gone, they last longer, but I think she now has three…one for him!

Bourbon Balls are my Mom's favorite. As a child I remember the Rebbecca Ruth bourbon ball’s box were housed in a round container, the balls stacked on top of each other. Mom would “hide” the box high up in her closet. As a little kid, I would push a chair to the closet and find that box, extract one and gnaw the chocolate then dispose of the bourbon soaked cream candy center. It was yucky back then to my child taste buds. Now a days, the more bourbon, the better!

When I was a kid there was a corner store in each neighborhood. The store would have a soda machine outside the store on the porch and on the inside were the basics one needed if one did not want nor need to make a trip to the A&P downtown. Milk, bread, canned veggies, and an ice cream cooler, a Coca Cola cooler in the back that held those 6oz. glass bottles and a large glass deli case with sandwich meats and where you could also have one made for you.

But the big attraction, the only reason I ever went into the store was for the candy!

The cash register sat on a wooden counter that held the gallon jars of pickles and pickled eggs. Behind the counter, running all along the back and around the window sill were the candy jars. Full of penny candy! Hot balls, pixie sticks, cinnamon balls, licorice, chocolate gold coins , chick-o-sticks, bazooka bubble gum, smarties, wax bottles, jaw breakers…everything you can imagine. The candy bars were displayed under the penny candy. Baseball cards, Red Hots, Mounds, Hersey bars, Zagnuts, Peppermint Patties,Good-N-Plenty, candy necklace, Pay Days, Sugar Daddy sucker, Necco’s, cigar bubble gum, Slo pokes, candy cigarettes -some even puffed out smoke!, red vine licorice twists, Boston Baked Beans, Turkish Taffy - in strawberry , vanilla, chocolate & banana which you would put in your freezer and then crack on the table making it split into pieces, Neapolitan coconut slices, Heath bars....I think that's about it.

Anytime you found a penny or -The God's are Smiling!- a nickel, we would run down to the store and slap down our loot, choose and point.

There was one candy bar that cost more than a nickel (remember, this is when dinosaurs roamed the earth). The Blue Monday, the ultimate of all candy bars, cost a dime! It was a large (back in the day I remember it being much larger than it is today) chunk of pulled cream candy covered in a semi bittersweet chocolate made locally. It was so sweet, I could not eat it all at once. It came in a shiny silver wrapper with blue lettering. You would slit one end open and when you could take no more, you would slide it back in and save it for later.

It’s a wonder I have any teeth left. I still love a Blue Monday every now and then and lament they are smaller than before. But rejoice that they still taste the same.

Like Childhood.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

What I Hide In My Trunk

Everyone knows I am looking for a job. I am looking the way I have found every single job I have gotten in the past 20 years. That is, through the paper/want ads. It is not the want ad's any longer, but Career Builder, Whatever City Help, Company web sites, and numerous web sites I have found along the way.

I have written letters to people I know with my resume asking for help. This worked okay, I received 4 leads from 10 letters, but then I thought I was moving to Memphis to save my marriage, and it ended up being the Nashville/Clarksville/Ft. Campbell area.

My frustration is immeasurable.

I went to a Job Fair in Nashville and ran across another ex-Beverage employee, same company, different subsidiary. She was laid off from Waste Management after leaving Major Beverage Company. Major Beverage Company asked her to come back and she said no. I said, "May I send you my resume to pass on to your boss? I know they prefer to hire someone who knows what they are doing rather than having to train someone".

Never heard back from her. Need to contact her again.

I was in tears the other night over a conversation I had with my sister. We were yakking away about Joe's new job and the area and she said that her husbands father did some contract work for a Major company in this area. "That is Joe's biggest account here!" I exclaimed.

"One of the men from the Company is on the BOD for Joe's company in Lexington."

"I know! He sat at our table at a fund raising dinner for the mayor!"

"His name is P*** M***** and he came to our wedding."

"What!! You're telling me this major officer in L**** Corp. is a friend of yours!! Darling! I will have to call him and chat him up!"

"Please don't use my name."


I was crushed. Joe keeps telling me that I am the only sane sister in my family. Ha! The part that truly hurts is that if the tables were turned, I would have taken time off from work to help her out.

A company that does direct sales and was going to hire me on the spot. I was suspicious! For several reasons. First, they were selling air purifiers and air in their office was putrid! Cigarette smoke so state that the Marlboro Man himself may have lit one up there. I was told how much money you can make at this company. Let me say this, they did not look like the epitome of success. I'll leave it at that.

Oh, just to add this. I interviewed in the training room and was looking at the dry erase board and read this...

Step One
Create repoir

Repoir?? What the hell -rapport?- even I, the worlds worst speller, knows that is wrong!

So, what do I have in my truck?

Employment applications for Cracker Barrel, MacDonalds, TJ Maxx, etc. etc. And I have filled them out and am returning them.

I am ashamed to think that I am now trying to land a minimum wage job. And I am equally ashamed that I will be thrilled if I am offered one!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

At the Ballet

It's another Sepia Scenes Wednesday.

I'm not too sure this works as well in sepia as it does in color, but I wanted to use the photo this week. I love the way the little girl in the foreground is taking a break from the dance and how the other three year olds are doing their own thing.

And I like the motion going on with the girl to the left.

This is my grand daughters dance class that had a 40 minute recital Sunday. 40 minutes y'all! The last dance recital I went to lasted all afternoon. All After Noon. At my daughters dance recital, it went on all day. All Day!

Please check out the other's at Sepia Scenes.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Food Network Junkie

Sunday morning my Sister In Law and I watched Bobbie Flay BBQ, Guy’s Big Bite and finished it off with Rachel Ray. An hour and a half of mind numbing chatter, knives, blueberries on the grill, salmon, more BBQ sauce than you can shake a stick at, and seafood…blah blah blah blah.

We were fascinated and offered our own takes.

“I learn more stuff watching these shows. Have you heard of ceramic knives?”

SIL was not yet in a talking mood and just looked at me. “humprrrr” was what it sounded like.

But I do learn a lot and I love it. I am also in love with Guy, I want to run my fingers through his spiked hair. I want to ride in the red 1967 Camaro and visit the Diners Drive-in’s and Dives with him. I want to turn to the camera and say, “It’s money” and point at him.

I agreed with Rachael when she told me that she always makes her own BBQ sauce because that stuff you get at the store is usually just a lot of corn syrup.

I remembered my first batch of home made BBQ sauce. A friend of mine, from West Kentucky who knows a thing or two about BBQ, gave me a simple recipe a long time ago. Catsup, vinegar, honey/molasses and lemon juice.

It was so delicious that when we were finished the band-aid that I had on one of my fingers was missing – sure was good with that bar-b-que sauce-.

Tonight I did it again, only a little twist on the original basic West Ky finger licking good sauce.

One onion (a little smaller than a med) chopped up
2 cloves of garlic smashed and chopped
¼ c. vinegar
½ cup catsup
Big squirt of mustard
Worcestershire sauce - a good glop
Salt & pepper
½ c. light brown sugar
About ½ cup honey
Big squirt of lime juice (because I am out of lemons) (I would use a fresh lemon if I had one, the zest too)

I first put the onions and garlic in a pan with a glob of butter and cooked until nice and caramelized (I learned that word from Food Network!)Then I added the vinegar and cooked it until the vinegar was absorbed and very little moisture remained, maybe five minutes at most.

I put into a sauce pan and added the other ingredients and let it cook for about 1/2 hour until I had to stop myself from licking the wooden spoon.

It looked like this... (I had transferred it to a plastic container)

On to the grill for the charcoal cooking of the wings. I must have cooked them correctly because they never fired up. The sauce I apply at the end, after about 20 minutes, and coat one side, five minutes, turn, coat the other side, five minutes, then turn and coat, a minute or two, turn and coat again.

Remove and eat.

Thank God I removed all bandages before commencing to consume. Guy would have said, "That's money" if he had been here.

Monday, June 08, 2009

The Bathroom Incident

I knew I had to find the Ladies Room when I was at the grocery store across town. I thought the effort involved could be postponed until I arrived at the library. I knew exactly where they are located therefore no wandering around would be involved.

When I arrived, it was Code Red! I rushed into the large pink oasis of relief and flung myself into the first available stall. It was then I realized there was a ruckus going on down at the end.

A baby was crying pitifully. Wailing and hiccuping. It was painful to listen to. Added to that pain was the accompanying angry chatter that rode over the sobs.

"Stop it!"

"Be quiet!"

"Quit that crying!"

"It's nothing, look, it's nothing!"

The tone was harsh. The crying just continued and gained intensity. Her tone took on more force and I feared she was going to smack the child. I was feeling distraught and wanted out. Quickly. Sniffles and choppy breathing replaced the weeping. I wondered, knowing I had to be wrong, if the child was an infant. The pitch and rhythm sounded so much like a baby's.

I burst out of the stall thinking I wanted out so badly I would skip washing my hands. It was not so much the child's crying, but the unsympathetic tone and harshness of the woman's voice. There was another woman who had entered the bathroom and was washing her hands and I took the sink next to her and turned on the water. She tried to catch my eye. I avoided it looking for the towels to dry my hands when "She" came out of the last stall, she was very elegant looking, very beautiful, and yanked the paper towels from the container and began to run water over them and return to the still crying child. I turned to my left and had to lock eyes with the woman next to me. She tightened her mouth. I smiled at her, agreeing that I wanted to interfere with the scene playing out too, but felt it was not my place.

I went to the door to escape and another woman was entering and I stood back to allow her entrance. At that moment another woman came out of a stall, also witness to the wailing child incident, and rushed out the door practically knocking me aside, with out making any eye contact or apologies, skipping the hand watching ritual to break out!

It really was that heart breaking.

I returned the DVD at the opposite side of the room and was headed towards the door when She entered the library through the alarm door area. With no child! Oh, there he was, about 10 feet behind her!

He was a little tyke dressed in seersucker shorts with a little white button shirt. He was rubbing his eyes, a remarkably skinny child who looked exactly like Dill from the movie, To Kill A Mockingbird. Only a miniature.

She clearly was not his mother. A mother would not be in a public place ignoring her child, walking so far ahead of him, not holding his hand! They were of different races.

I thought to myself, "Is she the nanny?" That would explain the bathroom horror.

Just as I passed behind the child to exit, he said in a small voice, "I want to go to the Children's Room" and headed in the opposite direction of the woman.

I continued out the door and got in my car and laid my head on the steering wheel. I wish I had the nerve to give that woman a piece of my mind and give her hair a yank while I was at it.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Welcome to the Gang

It was over 40 years ago that Omega came into our family. This is the Motley Crew that greeted her arrival. Since I am so broke and really can't afford frivolous things such as real birthday cards any longer, I make my own by gluing photographs to blank cards.

I love this picture I dug up the other day. At first glance it is just a picture of five of us six kids and my Dad. As I really look at the photo I see so much more. First, when I dream about my Dad this is the way he appears to me 90% of the time. Young, happy, smiling, in black wing tips. I see my little sister dressed like a doll, she was the apple of my Grandmothers eye. In later years she and Omega would be dressed alike in dresses made by my Mom. My Grandmother, or Nana as we called her, taught my mother to sew on an old Singer sewing machine that still sits in the family room of Mom's (and Dad's) house though it no longer works. Just a relic that I am thinking of asking for and having repaired sometime in the future, hopefully when I land a job. Nana also taught me how to sew and the dress I am wearing in this picture she actually made with me! I am also wearing gladiator sandals, which I adored and loved and wore everywhere until I wore them out. My youngest brother is in the front, hogging the camera and since my Mom always took pictures with the sun behind her, we are either squinting or closing our eyes. My two other brothers are known as Irish Twins, born with-in 11 months of each other. They both wore glasses and had to have braces. How I lucked out with good eyesight (until I hit 40!) and relatively straight teeth is just pure Irish luck. Though one of my Irish Twin bro's threw a baseball at my face, a wild pitch, and broke my front tooth when I was in 6th grade. I'll never forgive him for that! Never!!

I loved that station wagon. It was a ford something or another and we had it for many many years. It had a super engine in it, since it was a Ford, maybe a 454. Joe could tell me, but he is not here. I do know that thing could fly! We would get it up to 100 miles per hour (we were teenagers!) and make the usual hour trip to Louisville in, oh, 30 minutes. I would always take the Station wagon for the drive through town, which was a loop from one Convenient store on the South side of town to the Dairy Queen on the other end of Main street. You would honk and wave at every one you knew who were also cruising the Main Drag. The station wagon was good for piling lots of bodies inside.

I can not place where we are, though it looks like the campus at UK with the dormitories in the back ground. What we would be doing there is also a mystery. I may show (give back) the picture to my Mom prod her memories. It could be the Airport.

I scanned this picture and then transferred it to a SD card so that I could print off a copy. It did not come out so good, so I went with my next selection...

.......... Omega in the Tweetie Bird pj's talking on the telephone. Omega was a precocious child, calling her much older friends at an early age.

I think she will like it. I think she will enjoy it much more than a store bought card. And I can not find the card of the little kid asleep (passed out) on the floor with an empty wine bottle clutched in his hand.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Evil is as Evil does

Yesterday I jumped into a car and made the three plus hour trip back to Central Kentucky for my step daughters graduation. I thought I would be home in plenty of time to think of something and then write about that something.

All I could think about was this. At 330pm yesterday I was unaware that my there was a graduation to attend. And all the way home (as I was out filling out employment applications and the such) I was upset and wrestled with knowing I was going to face either going on the unexpected trip or begging off. Going would be .... not only accepting that I was and always will be on the outside of my stepdaughters life...but rolling with what ever is thrown at me concerning my step daughter. By not going well, I just can't go there.

We arrived home earlier this afternoon and here I sit with nothing. I have nothing but a bag of resentment that simmers and can not under any circumstance boil over.

We have been together for 12 years and yet I am always on the outside. Some think I choose to pitch my tent here but the truth is that some stepmothers will always be the Evil Step Mother no matter what.

I wish I dared discuss it here.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Water Water Everywhere

It's time for another edition of Sepia Scenes.

Last week I mentioned the Cumberland River and while posting my entry for the week I thought, "I've always lived by water!"

Mayberry sits on the Muddy Kentucky River, well not actually on the river, but it is about 10 minutes away down a very windy road that descends into the Palisades, the magnificent walls of million year old limestone cliffs and dripping springs that turn into huge daggers of frozen ice cycles during the winter and gently deposits you on the floor of the verdant banks of the Kentucky.

Then it was the confluence of the Three Rivers in Ft. Wayne, the St Mary, the St Joseph and the Maumee. We lived very close to the Maumee which had the most magnificent River walk! I once got into hot water with the locals referring to the Rivers as Creeks (actually pronounced "cricks" in Kentucky)!

In Memphis it is the Mighty Mississippi and in Louisville (and when we did a short stint in Cincinnati) it is the Ohio.

Now those are Rivers!

The scene I photographed some time ago is a tug that sits on the Louisville side of the Ohio, seemingly abandoned and in need of a paint job.

The sepia tone would do the job nicely.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Like a Rolling Stone

In another lifetime I spent many years in this part of Kentucky, at the state college. It is located in the furthest reaches of the fertile crop lands and coal stripped plains, and it was there that I began my disastrous first attempt at higher education.

Since actively playing around in Facebook I have recently discovered the "gang" from way back then, when I was having the time of my life and flunking out of school, when time was not an enemy, the days were always bright and clear, the lakes were right around the corner, the keg parties were numerous, the joy of youth knew no bounds, I had no direction home, like a Rolling Stone.

I pulled out one of the Yearbooks I kept from that period (because I keep everything) and spent an hour or so Sunday afternoon leisurely turning the pages and recognizing the faces, whispering the first names to myself, or the nick names, then checking and 100% of the time I was correct.

People took getting their pictures for the year book so seriously! Some of them dressed up in suits. I wondered if their mothers requested this, as I do not think I knew anyone who wore a suit then. At least not that kind of suit. Yet, as I turned page after page I noticed some of the shenanigans that was taking place. I laughed at the number of people who had their pictures taken twice, in different clothing. There were many of them!

I especially lingered over this page......

I wouldn't go so far as to say I had a crush on one of them. Let's just say when ever I would see him on campus I would sigh and wish I was the sort of girl he would notice.

Many many years later, in Lexington at a honky tonk I worked, he walked in and sat in my section. I was dumbstruck that out of all the gin joints in the world, he would walk into mine! I came out from behind the bar and approached him and the party he was with, "Don't I know you from somewhere?" I asked. (Originality is my middle name.)

He looked up at me and said, "Isn't that suppose to be my line?"

As it was, he was married but asked me out anyway. I am proud to say, despite my disappointment, I declined or else this would a good story.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Revisiting Memphis

"Where are you all moving to?"


"Oh, you poor thing!"

This was the exchange I most encountered several months ago when I thought I was headed to Memphis. My husband had taken a promotion that required him to stay in Memphis and I stayed in Indiana, well because we had just moved there seven months before! Then he receives another promotion and is transferred to Middle Tennessee!

The thing about Memphis is all moot now, but for a city that inspires images of a gaiety on Beale Street, the duck walk at the Peabody, a trip to the most famous mansion on the Mississippi, Graceland, the best BBQ and an annual event in May to prove it, Memphis sure gets a bum rap when it comes to destinations for a vacation....unless you love Elvis.

Yesterday I was talking to a friend who was asking me about Memphis. He was asking me about the various landmarks one finds there, Graceland, Sun Studio, Beale Street, the Lorraine Motel. Had I been there?

Ten minutes later..........I concluded the impressions of my experience with a, "I can't believe that I retained all that!"

Fact of the matter is, both Joe and I were dumbstruck by the Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel. We spent two days immersed in the history that sits so close to downtown Memphis. First we toured the Lorraine Motel and the exhibits on the first day. The second day we crossed the street and entered the Boarding House where James Earl Ray rented a room on the second floor and waited for his moment.

I will not fill this post with the history of the events that unfolded in April of 1968, most of us know it well, but I will encourage anyone who visits Memphis to find the Lorraine and enter into one of most challenging times our nation has ever experienced. And in many ways we still are challenged.

Seeing the Freedom Rider's Greyhound, sitting on a replica of the city bus that Rosa Parks made history in, seeing the jail cell that MLK spent time writing a famous letter while doing his time, to look into the faces of those who gave their lives in the name of freedom just leaves you with a sense of the enormity of injustice and prejudice in this country and how far we have come.

Because if it were not for MLK and his rhetoric of change without violence, who met his end in the worst type of violence, riddled with hatred and controversy and shrouded in speculation and unanswered questions some 40 years later, we might not live in a country who can elect a black President.

When standing at the threshold, looking into the bathroom of the Boarding House and realizing that the window, that small square porthole that James Earl Ray balanced his rifle on the sill, one can feel the sorrow and shame that lingers there. Lingers from all the visitors that look and squint and realize that room 306 of the Lorraine sits across the street and on the April day, some 40 years ago, he squeezed the trigger.