Saturday, February 28, 2009

Scourging at the Pillar

There is a wonderful Lenten series of reflections by Jennifer Hartline at Catholic Online. In today's series, she reflects on The Second Sorrowful Mystery: The Scourging at the Pillar. I invite you to follow this series as you prayerfully reflect on your spiritual journey throughout Lent.


Friday, February 27, 2009

Part IV - A Story Yet to be Titled

Chapter IV

Evelyn and Charlie’s marriage had run its course and divorce had been eminent for quite some time, yet neither of them sought any legal solution to their predicament. Charlie was down south doing whatever Charlie did best when he wasn’t on base. He didn’t venture back to Birmingham to see Evelyn or his children. Months passed and Evelyn grew comfortable living off her sister and taking a few dollars from her Ellie whenever she was in town. Neither Ellie nor Ruth resented Evelyn’s presence or that of her children. Evelyn was quite good a playing the victim. It was a family trait that tears could be brought forth with little encouragement. Her neediness and crying over how much Charlie had hurt her, together with her insistence that she’d never worked and had no skills, played heavily on her mother and sister. They doted on her and vowed to keep her and her children up indefinitely. Evelyn was soothed to not worry and take all the time she needed to get on her feet. The only trouble with that encouragement was that Evelyn procrastinated and never made any effort to better her circumstances. She was too comfortable. She kept the house picked up and dinner was on the table for Ruth and the children when Ruth arrived home in the evenings. It was an idyllic situation on a number of fronts. Ruth didn’t have to worry about paying a babysitter so she could work, nor cooking for her children after a long, hard day at the office.

Rodney became a regular visitor, eventually landing at the door every afternoon as soon as he finished his shift at 3:00. As the weeks drove on, the children seemed to get in his way. He began to resent their unexpected appearances in the room where he was necking with Evelyn, their begging and crying for this or that. Rodney had been married before, but he had no children and he was not accustom to what the responsibility for five small children entailed. He slowly grew impatient and would nag on Evelyn about the situation.

“Smack their little asses and make them go away,” he’d say. She’d try strong inflection in her voice and scold the children constantly to go and play, but it was to no avail.

“This shit’s gotta go, Evelyn. I can’t handle no fuckin’ kids. I wanna be with ya’ darlin’, can’tcha see whatcha do ta me?”, as he took her hand and ran it down his groin on over his manliness. Evelyn was such a sucker for sex, pathetically so. Rodney had been the best lover she’d ever had. He had a large sexual appetite not unlike herself and he was satisfying beyond all imagination. She was hooked on him physically, and she was beginning to follow his every direction, granting his every request, even if it meant neglecting her children and her nephews.

Rodney was raised like southern white trash. He grew up on a farm where his daddy raised pigs and crops of fresh vegetables, but also was involved in thieving cars and selling the parts. He was the top banana in the county when it came to thievery, and he raised Rodney straight off his loin. In this case, the apple truly did not fall far from the tree. His daddy berated his mother and occasionally would slap her across the face or shove her down if she back-talked even the slightest. It was the 1950’s. Women either stayed because they did not want to break their vows, or because they had been so humiliated and beaten down so often that they had no self-esteem left. A battered woman is brainwashed over time into believing that she is worthless, that nobody else would have her because she is so stupid, or that she is lucky that someone would allow her to stay with them after all of the stupid things she has said and/or done. This was Rodney’s mother and this was his environment. He knew nothing else. He didn’t know any other way to live or treat a woman. All he knew was that you were nice to her to get what you wanted, and when you didn’t want to fool with her or were pestered by her presence, you banished her from your presence using harsh, foul language that may be coupled with some type of physical violence.

Evelyn went to the country with Rodney to visit his folks several times. As is usually the case with dysfunctional relationships, everything always seemed rosey and happy when Evelyn was around. She fell in love with Rodney and wanted to live out her life on the land Rodney’s father had farmed all of his adult life, have Rodney’s babies, and most of all, be a woman of leisure.
She was spending more and more time with Rodney and less and less time caring for her children. Ruth and Ellie were growing weary of this relationship and Rodney’s attitude toward Evelyn’s children. Within the confines of the home shared by Ruth and her children and Evelyn and her children, and more often now, Ellie, dysfunction was beginning to rear its ugly head even there. Ruth and Ellie fussed and fussed at Evelyn to no avail.

Evelyn did as she pleased. She would fly out the door without a word as to where she was going or when she might return. It became too much of a burden on Ruth and her mother taking care of all five children night and day while Evelyn was en absentia.

Ellie had a grit. She was the matriarch. When she made a decision, there was no arguing with it. And she had come to a decision that something had to be done about Evelyn’s children. In her heart, she hoped that Evelyn’s dalliance with Rodney would play itself out, but in the meantime, she made some calls and soon the three children were divided between three relatives. Two of Ellie’s stepdaughters, who were nearly her age, took Leisa and Ella, and Ruth consented to keep baby Chuck with her and her boys.

Aunt Fay adored little Leisa. She rocked her and lovingly bathed her every day. She bought frilly little dresses for her and spent her days playing with her. Each morning she woke Leisa with a cheerful “Morning glory!” Leisa would raise her tiny head up and smile cheek to cheek. Being packed up and separated from the rest of her family didn’t seem to affect Leisa for long. Oh, she cried a bit at first, but you can’t miss what you don’t have. She soon adjusted to living with Aunt Fay. She was drawn to the love and tenderness that Aunt Fay showered on her. Aunt Fay could not have children, and having little Leisa there with her was one of the most joyful times of her life. Ella was living with Fay’s twin sister, Kay, on the same street and the little girls did see one another often, so there was not a complete divorce of the siblings’ relationship, other than with their baby brother, who was too small to walk and run and play with them anyway.

Six weeks after Ellie delivered the girls to Decatur, she returned to retrieve them. Their mama, Evelyn, was getting married and wanted the girls back home with her. Their belongings were packed. Fay and Kay said tearful goodbye’s to the little girls to whom they had become so attached. Ellie piled their things into the trunk of her new black Lincoln, put the girls in the back seat and hit Highway 31 straight south to Birmingham.

Evelyn and Rodney were married at the courthouse. There was nothing special about the day and no parties or celebrations ensued after the ceremony. They came by Ruth’s to see the children briefly before setting off on a quick honeymoon which consisted of going to the little house on the farm of Rodney’s dad where they would live.

Evelyn appears days later without warning. Ellie and Ruth thought surely she had come for the children, but Evelyn pleaded with her sister and her mother that she and Rodney needed time alone to get to know one another. She promised that she would come for them soon, very soon. She and Rodney appeared a few days later. Ella, Leisa and Chuck ran to their mother’s arms. They were delighted to see her and groped at her skirts for her love and affection. Rodney took a shine to Chuck, picking him up, bouncing him on his knee, laughing and tickling him. Ella and Leisa would go to him when they saw how much fun Chuck was having, but Rodney scolded them to go on and leave he and Chuck alone. This scenario was repeated several times over the next few weeks until Ellie had her fill of Evelyn and Rodney’s shenanigans. On a beautiful, sunny Sunday morning in the month of June, she packed all of Leisa’s belongings in a suitcase, and placed what would not fit in the suitcase into paper sacks. She withdrew a few dresses on hangars from the closet and she placed everything into the trunk of her big, black Lincoln. She handed Leisa her doll and told her that she and Grandma were going to take a little trip to see some people. Leisa was delighted and felt special being the sole company of Grandma on her trip. She was too young to give a thought to saying “Goodbye” to her sister, brother or cousins.

Leisa and Grandma left for the long ride with Leisa in the back seat clutching her favorite doll, which was half dressed, dirty and had hair that stuck out in every direction. But she loved that doll, the one with the blonde hair and the ink on her face and arms. She eventually fell asleep listening to the music that Grandma played on the radio. When the years passed and she was long grown into adulthood, she would remember that song that memorialized that day. It was “Bye-Bye Love” by The Everly Brothers. That day it was just a song on the radio. Many years later, the title would seem ironically surreal.

Years later, Leisa had minimal recollection of this day. She recalled that it was beautiful and warm outside. She awoke from her nap just as her grandmother pulled the car off the two-lane highway and safely stopped on the shoulder. When Ellie came around and opened the car door for her, she slid out of the seat and down on to the pavement, her short little legs steadying themselves underneath her tiny body. She was but three years old but already very strong-willed and independent She did not question the why or where they had traveled. Instead, she happily assisted her grandmother by carrying her small doll as her grandmother urged her to follow her closely as they walked up the steep hill that was covered with a blanket of beautiful green grass. Leisa’s beautiful blonde, curly hair glistened under the bright sunshine as she made her way up the hill, dropping her doll, then exclaiming “shit!” out loud as she picked her up again. That was the norm for Leisa’s young years – cursing. She’d heard it all her life and it was as big a part of her language as it was the adults with whom she’d live; everyone except for Grandma and Aunt Fay. She tried in earnest to keep up with her grandmother who walked ahead of her.

Grandma was a tall and impressive woman. She dressed immaculately, always in a dress which she had invariably sewn herself, and never in pants or slacks. She loved her costume jewelry which she wore everywhere, every day. Her hair was long but fine and had grayed when she was quite young. Every morning, she would apply her make-up, which was always perfection, putting on her red lipstick last. She then brushed and worked her long gray hair with her fingers into a beautiful perfect bun on the back of her head, securing it with hair pins, and then finishing by inserting hair combs trimmed with rhinestones. At night, she would wash her hair and meticulously place wave clips in the hair on top of her head. With her coiffed hair, make-up and dress, she was always ready for anything – church, work, restaurant, shopping, or socializing.

Leisa followed her grandmother, who walked in long strides, even in high heels, carrying with her right hand a cluster of clothes hangers slung over her right shoulder containing most of Leisa’s clothing, and a small suitcase and purse in her other hand. The two of them walked up the hill, which wasn’t really so steep at all, where a bright red and white swingset caught Leisa’s eye. As she passed it slowly, she thought of how she would love to play on that colorful swingset that had a real teeter totter and everything, even a brand new slide. She even wimpered ever so slightly to her grandmother that she would like to stop and play. But not now grandmother was moving deliberately with a serious, strong purpose of immediate importance on her mind. She was intent on doing what she had decided needed to be done.

There were several buildings atop the small hill, all built in a deep red brick. There were two rows facing one another, with four buildings in each row. The earth was covered in beautiful green, grass in front of the buildings, and a long sidewalk ran down the center between the two rows of buildings, with single walkways extending like arms from the main sidewalk up to the porch of each building, which were duplexes, each comprising two full single-family units. The buildings in this section were but one of several that comprised this military base housing in Selma at Craig Air Force Base. Leisa followed her grandmother to the first building nearest the highway.

Leisa’s eyes wandered about as they walked, but she was not afraid. She trusted her grandmother even at this young and tender age, and she tagged along wherever her grandmother led her without question or wonder. If there was one word that appealed to Starr almost from the beginning of her early life, it was the word “go”. Starr was always ready to go. It was a good thing because she had gone and gone, and moved and shuffled all of her life. Stability, if she even knew the word, would not have been in her vocabulary. She followed her grandmother as she approached the screen door, opened it and entered without knocking. That was the way Leisa's grandmother was. If it was her family, she didn't need any announcing; what was theirs was hers and vice versa, in her mind anyway. Inside, they were greeted by Leisa’s Uncle Ben and his wife, Aunt Billie. Although undetected by little Leisa, Uncle Ben and Aunt Billie were more than a bit surprised by the unannounced visit. But it was Uncle Ben’s mama whom he adored, and they both greeted her graciously and warmly.

After the requisite greetings, Grandma got right to the point of her visit by blurting out, “Here’s Leisa. If you want her, you can have her.”

This Day's . . .

Dear old Sir Winston; what a jolly fellow.

Whatever keeps me from my Bible is my enemy, however harmless it may appear to me.

~A. W. Tozer

The words of a man’s mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook.

~Proverbs 18:4, The King James Version

There are two things that are more difficult than making an after-dinner speech: climbing a wall which is learning toward you and kissing a girl who is leaning away from you.

~Winston Churchill

My Flock @ Twitter

This is so cool! I found this on my wonderful friend Soutenus' blog, A Catholic Notebook. I searched the word "Faith". Click on the text below and you will be directed to the Twitter page where you can see all of the words resulting from my search. Do your own word search and have fun!
her now today him time things go thinking only out right hill live know like they believe u love

Real Mothers

Real Mothers don't eat quiche; they don't have time to make it.

Real Mothers know that their kitchen utensils are probably in the sandbox.

Real Mothers often have sticky floors, filthy ovens and happy kids.

Real Mothers know that dried play dough doesn't come out of carpets.

Real Mothers don't want to know what the vacuum just sucked up.

Real Mothers sometimes ask 'Why me?' and get their answer when a little voice says, 'Because I love you best.'

Real Mothers know that a child's growth is not measured by height or years or grade... it is marked by the progression of Mommy to Mom to Mother...

The Images of Mother

4 YEARS OF AGE - My Mommy can do anything!

8 YEARS OF AGE - My Mom knows a lot! A whole lot!

12 YEARS OF AGE - My Mother doesn't really know quite everything.

14 YEARS OF AGE - Naturally, Mother doesn't know that, either.

16 YEARS OF AGE - Mother? She's hopelessly old-fashioned.

18 YEARS OF AGE - That old woman? She's way out of date!

25 YEARS OF AGE - Well, she might know a little bit about it!

35 YEARS OF AGE - Before we decide, let's get Mom's opinion.

45 YEARS OF AGE - Wonder what Mom would have thought about it?

65 YEARS OF AGE - W ish I could talk it over with Mom.

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure she carries, or the way she combs her hair.

The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, and the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Positive Thoughts

When you judge another, you don't define that person, you define YOURSELF.

Just For Fun!

Here's a brain waker-upper. Bet you can't get 100% on the first try. See how you do with the colors! Have fun!

It takes an average of 5 tries to get to 100%. Follow the directions! It's harder than it seems, as it should be!

Click to take the COLOR TEST

Old People (Not For the Easily Offended)

The IRS decides to audit Grandpa, and summons him to the IRS office.

The IRS auditor was not surprised when Grandpa showed up with his attorney.

The auditor said, 'Well, sir, you have an extravagant lifestyle and no full-time employment, which you explain by saying that you win money gambling.

I'm not sure the IRS finds that believable.' I'm a great gambler, and I can prove it,' says Grandpa. 'How about a demonstration?'

The auditor thinks for a moment and said, 'Okay. Go ahead.' Grandpa says, 'I'll bet you a thousand dollars that I can bite my own eye.' The auditor thinks a moment and says, 'It's a bet.'

Grandpa removes his glass eye and bites it. The auditor's jaw drops. Grandpa says, 'Now, I'll bet you two thousand dollars that I can bite my other eye.' Now the auditor can t ell Grandpa isn't blind, so he takes the bet. Grandpa removes his dentures and bites his good eye.

The stunned auditor now realizes he has wagered and lost three grand, with Grandpa's attorney as a witness. He starts to get nervous.

'Want to go double or nothing?' Grandpa asks 'I'll bet you six thousand dollars that I can stand on one side of your desk, and pee into that wastebasket on the other side, and never get a drop anywhere in between.' The auditor, twice burned, is cautious now, but he looks carefully and decides there's no way this old guy could possibly manage that stunt, so he agrees again.

Grandpa stands beside the desk and unzips his pants, but although he strains mightily, he can't make the stream reach the wastebasket on the other side, so he pretty much urinates all over the auditor's desk. The auditor leaps with joy, realizing that he has just turned a major loss into a huge win. But Grandpa's own attorney moans and puts his head in his hands.

Are you okay?' the auditor asks.

'Not really,' says the attorney. 'This morning, when Grandpa told me he'd been summoned for an audit, he bet me twenty-five thousand dollars that he could come in here and pee all over your desk and that you'd be happy about it!'

Don't Mess with Old People!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bodies of the Incorrupt Saints

I began to post about the incorrupt bodies of the Saints a while ago, and today decided to see if there were any videos of this holy phenomenon. Of course, there are many. Here is just one that I found interesting. You may want to scroll down to the bottom and turn the sound off on the Playlist, or turn your volume completely down on your system. There is music playing, in case you want to listen while you watch the video.

Abbey's Listening to . . .


One of my personal favorites. This is such a wonderful expression of love and infinitely comforting. Bring a smile by saying this verse, even if it is only upon your own face. Be blessed, my friends.

VERSE: The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. ~ Numbers 6:24-26

THOUGHT: How would you like to place the mighty name of the LORD on people you love? God promised that this priestly blessing in today's Scripture enabled his name (his power and authority) to be placed on his people. What an incredible gift that we have the power to give to others with just our faithful words! Blessings are found all throughout Scripture. Why not begin looking today for ways to pronounce God's blessing on others? You can start with this one, and then add a bunch of others as you find them in Scripture.

PRAYER: O LORD of every good and perfect gift, your blessings are too many to count and too wonderful to fully comprehend. Please use me to share those blessings with others. Give me eyes to see and ears to hear so that I can share your blessings with others today and each day! In the name of Jesus, your greatest blessing, I pray. Amen.

This Day's . . .

As I began to grow into mid-life, my youth became more and more surreal. I found myself wishing and wanting to go back. Why? Because I didn't appreciate it enough. I was immortal and I could never envision myself as being 50, or even 40 years old. Thus is the poignancy of "Today's Smile".

It’s tough in the desert. It’s bewildering. It’s destructive. It’s hellish. Yet the testimony of the Old Testament, and ever more strongly, of the New, is that out of it comes new growth, new insight, new certainty that a God of love is at home among us.

~ Charles Elliott

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

~ Psalm 37:4, The Revised Standard Version

Youth is a marvelous period of life. What a pity so many don't know what to do with it!

~ Unknown

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Part III - A Story Yet to be Titled

Chapter Three

The third and final child of the union between Evelyn and Charlie was born in September, 1955. It was a boy and they named him after Charlie, but gave him the nickname of Chuck. Leisa and Ella were too young to care much about having a baby brother. They couldn’t possibly realize the most basic concept of having a “sister” or “brother”. The normal excitement of a family expecting a child was absent in their home. It was a dysfunctional atmosphere, at best.

Within three short years, they had grown to a family of five. Charlie remained in service with the Army and Evelyn, who hadn’t worked since the time spent at the Goodyear plant when she was single, didn’t care to work another day in her life if she could help it. Birth control was practically unheard-of, so the close pregnancies were not any mystery. As a couple, they could have practiced another method of counting days, commonly known as the rhythm method. But both were too lazy to concentrate on such things, never mind their voracious sexual appetites. Another baby was just that; another baby and another mouth to feed.

They were not very doting on their children. Evelyn and Charlie were too much into each other, their repetitious fighting, making up, sex, and Charlie falling off the wagon all over again. Charlie was gone a lot of the time with the Army. When he was home he was out carousing at all hours of the night. He had a perfectly good woman at home, but he was a classic womanizer. He lusted for the challenge of the stalk and the kill. It excited him beyond anything else – wife or children. He simply could not keep it in his pants.

Leisa in particular was very attached to her Daddy. Evelyn had a hard time quieting her and getting her to sleep on the nights when Charlie chose the company of strangers to that of his wife and children. Evelyn would sit in the front porch rocker holding Leisa in her arms while Leisa cried over and over, “I want my Daddy.” Eventually Leisa would wear herself out crying and fall to sleep.

Evelyn was very aware of Charlie’s haunting and drinking. He often came home very late and smelling of cheap perfume and liquor. They fought each other without concern for the eyes and ears of their young children until Evelyn finally tired of this routine. She packed up her children while Charlie was at work and moved with her children to her half-sister, Ruth’s house in a suburb of Birmingham. Charlie didn’t make a fuss over this change. In fact, he was relieved. He didn’t have anything good on his mind and now had his freedom to do as he pleased.

Ruth had been married several years earlier to a gambling con man. They had a son, soon divorced and she was on her own. She had a second child, another son, through an illicit affair with a married man whom she thought would leave his wife if she were pregnant. Her plan did not pan out and she was now raising a six year old son and a three year old son alone. Evelyn and Ruth’s mother, Ellie, had helped Ruth to purchase this rather modest home in a nice neighborhood after Jasper had passed away in the summer of 1954. Ellie’s children were all gone and rather than stay in Decatur alone, she took her savings and moved to Birmingham, putting the down payment of $1,500 on the home for she and Ruth and the boys. Ellie traveled around the state a lot. She would stay with Ben for a while, then with her brother for a time, eventually coming back to her and Ruth’s house for a while. This was her routine and it worked well since she had to travel selling life insurance, a job she’d picked up after moving to Birmingham. She was a natural born saleswoman and she did well.

In her absence, Ruth held down a full-time job, and Evelyn stayed home to take care of all the children. Evelyn wasn’t very attentive to the children. They roamed the neighborhood and walked in and out of their neighbors’ homes as if it were theirs if they needed to use the restroom or wanted something to eat. It was not uncommon for one of them to simply appear in the kitchen of a neighbor’s house asking, “Can I have somethin’ to eat? I’m hungry . . .” The neighbors all knew who the children were, and they felt sorry for them. They were sorry that it seemed nobody seemed to care where they were or what they were doing. They were seen roaming the neighborhood in the dead of winter wearing no coats or shoes. Evelyn was in her own little world, drinking beer during the day, smoking cigarettes, talking on the telephone, listening to the radio or watching television. She never gave much thought to lunch time or where the children might be or what they might be doing, and they got into some minor trouble here and there. Out of sight and out of mind. Unless one or all of the children came in wanting something from her, she didn’t seek them out. Her mothering skills and sense of responsibility were completely absent.

Once the children entered a neighbor’s home through her basement door. The neighbor’s washing machine was running and the older of Ruth’s boys talked them all into joining him to pour bleach into the washer. In those days bleach was packaged in a glass bottle. They pushed a chair up to the washer and talked Leisa into climbing up on it while the boys held it steady. She was to pour the bleach in the washer and then they would all run away. Instead, she dropped the bottle of bleach and it came crashing down on the concrete floor, the sound of breaking glass alerting the lady of the house. They all fled and Ella cut her foot badly on a piece of the glass.

The neighbor immediately came to Ruth’s house and knocked on the door. She was extremely angry and told Evelyn as calmly as she could what the children had done. After she left, each of the children blamed the other and Evelyn grew impatient not being able to discern who the culprit was, so she just let it go.

The lack of discipline, attention, provisions and care for these children was of such a nature that in today’s world, they might be taken away for negligence.

Some evenings, Ruth and Evelyn would feed the children dinner and get them all tucked to bed, and then turn off all the lights and leave them alone while they went to honky tonks to drink, dance and flirt with men. Often times they would both bring men back to the house, have sex with them and then send them on their way. One night after they had left the house, Ella awoke and climbed down out of the bed. She walked through the quiet, dark house looking for her mama or Aunt Ruth, but found no adults. She climbed atop a stool beneath the wall telephone and picked up the receiver. Her tiny fingers fumbled with the dial, but of course she did not know how to call anyone. She had only seen the adults doing this and tried to replicate their motions. She heard a lady saying something to her on the other end, probably the “Operator”, but she was too young to know what the lady’s words meant and eventually, she hung up the phone. She climbed down from the stool making her way through the dark house and returned to her bed. Neither Evelyn nor Ruth ever knew that little Ella had left her bed while they were gone.

Grandma Ellie was not privy to what was taking place during her long absences, but she began to get a sense of it from the little remarks that innocent children make. She began to put together a story of a lifestyle going on in that house that she did not like. She chided Evelyn and Ruth about the children, taking care of them and curtailing their illicit behavior. Ellie was a tall and impressive woman, and in her own mind she felt she was the matriarch of the family; whatever she said was how it was going to be. Evelyn and Ruth only feigned resignation as long as Ellie was around. Once she was out of sight, they went straight to their old routine of leaving the children unattended and carousing and drinking at all hours of the night. At least until Evelyn met the second man with whom she would fall madly in love.

She met him at one of the honky tonks she frequented. He was a big man, very tall with full, wide shoulders. He looked a little rough in a James Dean kind of way, but that excited her. His name was Rodney and he worked at one of the local steel mills. Steel was a huge industry in the south and a man could work hard, make a good living and end up with a fair pension over 30 years time. It wasn’t his job that impressed Evelyn. She was looking at the man, the package. Tall, blue-grey eyes, a strong embrace that gave her chills down to the pit of her stomach when they danced, and a line that would melt any woman’s best defenses. She was captured in exactly the same manner by Charlie, and she was about to repeat history without giving it any thought except as far as her own selfish and lustful desires. Evelyn slept with Rodney the first night they met. From that day forward they were a couple, and their union turned lives upside down and relationships were irretrievably broken. The ramifications of Evelyn’s selfish choices would last a lifetime. The very worst was yet to come.

Monday, February 23, 2009


I am shining!

VERSE: And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. ~ Hebrews 10:24, 25

THOUGHT: We need each other. We cannot make it on our own. God calls usto get together regularly to encourage and to motivate each other to live vibrant lives of service and faith. With the day of Jesus'return and our ultimate victory on the horizon, we should be motivated even more to help and to encourage each other.

PRAYER: Lord God, thank you for giving me a Christian family to encourage me and motivate me to serve others. Please use me to bless others when we gather in Jesus' name to praise you. In the name of the Lord Jesus I pray. Amen.

WISDOM: But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. ~ Proverbs 4:18, King James Version

Friday, February 20, 2009

This Day's . . .

The finger of God never leaves identical fingerprints.

~Stanislaw Lec

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

~2 Peter 3:8-9, The New International Version

Begin to weave and God will give the thread.

~ German proverb

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Uncle JoJo, R.I.P

Uncle JoJo, as he was known to all in this huge Italian family, passed away peacefully around midnight this past Wednesday. He would have been 89 years old on October 1st. Uncle JoJo lived all his life in East Thomas, in the home that was built by his native Italian father, Leonardo, when he and his wife, Phillipe, came over from Italy. They built the house as a small store, and built another one next to it in which they lived. Leonardo and Phillipe had ten children, all sons!

It is customary in Italian families to name the first son after the paternal grandfather. I was married to Leo for 15 years, and our son was born out of that union. Leo also adopted my daughter.Uncle JoJo's father and the other members of the East Thomas community, which was primarily Italian immigrants, built the old St. Mark's Catholic Church, which is still there today. It was sold a few years ago due to the declining membership in the also declining area. Uncle JoJo attended St. Mark's all of his life, until it was sold. He then joined us at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Adamsville, Alabama, where he attended regularly until he had to move into nursing care just a few short years ago.

Uncle JoJo was such a dear, sweet and lovely man. He was engaged twice but never married, and thus never had any children. WE were all his children and he spoiled us all. His first engagement was broken apart by his fiancee's mother. He met and fell in love again and became engaged. Sadly, his fiancee was killed in a car crash. I guess Uncle JoJo didn't want to try again and have his heart broken again, so he never married, and I don't know that he ever dated. He also coached Dixie Youth baseball for over 30 years. It made such a wonderful impression on all the young boys that he coached over the years.

Anyone who knows anything about Italian families knows that there is always Sunday lunch, with spaghettie, meatballs, garlic bread, salad and lots of loud and boistrous conversation. It is a lively scene. Each and every Sunday that I was a part of that family, and even after my divorce, Uncle JoJo brought all the children bags of candy. Each child received his own brown paper bag, which they would tear into to see what goodies were in store for them that week. I remember my mother-in-law chastising them "no candy until after lunch!" "Awwwww ...." they'd all say. Uncle JoJo was also constantly pulling his wallet out of his pocket and giving a few dollars to the kids, and even the adults. He bought the food every week for the Sunday dinner and delivered it to my inlaws on Saturday.

Uncle JoJo had a wonderful laugh and a great sense of humor. He was a typical Italian - he could get mad and fly off, but he never stayed mad or felt harsh toward anybody. I have nothing but the most fond thoughts of Uncle JoJo. I was and am so sad to think that he is not in this world, because they don't make them like Uncle JoJo anymore. But on the other hand, Uncle JoJo is with the Angels, his mama and papa, 8 of his ten brothers, and probably has reunited with his long lost love. He had complete dementia and nobody needs to linger like that. The Heavenly Father, in his mercy, chose him to come home on February 17, 2009. It was not too soon for this precious soul to go to his eternal reward, to know everything and be with everyone he loved, most of all, the Lord.

Uncle JoJo, I will never forget you. Will you pray for me? I look forward to seeing you again someday. And this time, I will bring you a brown bag full of sweet treats. I will love and miss you always.
You can escape from Satan's lure, but you cannot escape from God. Today's Heartlight is very powerful!

VERSE: And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. ~ Ezekiel 36:23

THOUGHT: God can and will use us even though we are not worthy vessels for him to use. Scripture gives us many examples of people God used when they did not measure up to his moral and holy requirements. For example, think a little about Samson or most of the otherJudges! God will be revealed as the holy, mighty, and awesome God that he is. So let's not be unwilling tools in his hands. Instead, let us offer ourselves to him for his service and his glory.

PRAYER: Holy Father, make me pure and holy, not just by your grace, but also in my actions, words, and thoughts. Create a clean heart in me and renew a righteous spirit in me by the power of your Holy Spirit. May my life be a holy sacrifice of praise to you. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

This Day's . . . and About Serving God

In the early morning hour, right after I rise, I begin the routine of getting myself ready for work. Being alone, sitting there applying my makeup, and then doing my hair, it is an hour or more when I can purge my thoughts, when ideas come to me, and even revelations mysteriously, but divinely appear.

This morning I was thinking about my witness to my dear aunt yesterday. My cousin, her son, has a brain tumor and he has taken a turn for the worse in the last ten days. I am drawn to comfort those in need, whether they are family, friend or stranger. Therefore, I wrote her a long and sincere letter and witnessed my conversion to her. It brought us ever closer, and she wrote and asked me if I minded her showing it to my uncle. Of course, I do not mind. If she thought it would help him, I encouraged it. He is for the most part an invalid and unable to physically "be there" for his son and it is taking an awful and sad toll on him. He needs strength and comfort, but also help in shoring up his faith. I hope my witness helped him.

I was thinking about that, and the passing of my children's great-uncle on their father's side on Tuesday night, molling over all of my emotions resulting from the diseases that have stricken family and friends, and the death of Uncle Joe. As of this morning, my calling, or one of them, became very clear. In that moment I knew that I have been spared several times, I have been allowed to have my health and live so that I may serve by comforting those in need and helping them to grow stronger in their faith. It fits because I am a nurturer by my nature. There was a time when I was a young adult when I didn't give the Lord a second thought, much less a first. I had turned away from Him for many years in my naivete. I know that he saved me from certain death on at the least three occasions that I know and recall vividly, and will never forget.

I have been given a wonderfu blessing, a chance to atone by being of service to our Heavenly Father in any way that comes naturally to me. This is why "Today's Thought" is so profound. I am ever amazed when I open my email in the morning and find something such as this, the perfect thought, or the perfect scripture, at the perfect time. I believe very much the same as Woodrow Wilson. I pray that each of you will find your calling and that you will respond by deed and way of life. God bless you all.


No man is a true Christian who does not think constantly of how he can lift his brother, how he can assist his friend, how he can enlighten mankind, how he can make virtue the rule of conduct in the circle in which he lives.

~ Woodrow Wilson

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

1 John 1:5-7, The New International Version

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Available soon at a "re-distribution" center near you .... delicious when served with "ACORN" squash!
WARNING: Consumption may cause need for "Joe the Plumber"!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


My husband and I were talking this weekend about all of the sickness and death that seems to be around us. And we're talking people our own age. We are seeing cases of cancer, one case in a young 24 year old girl who is newly married. I've known her all her life, even though I haven't seen her in many years. I recall her as a very petite little 4 year old girl with long blonde hair and very shy. I used to volunteer to keep the nursery at church and that is where I met this sweet child. My husband lost a high school friend to cancer a month a go; he lost a former brother-in-law younger than us two days after Christmas after a two-year battle with the disease. I have so many around me who are vocal about their inability to understand "why". Why do these things happen to such wonderful people? Why are we in the financial situation that we are in? Why won't my family embrace their faith as I do? All Christians feel frustration and in our own humaness, lose our way and the sight of our focus.

I have my own view, generally, about such things as the above. It is so hard to see a young girl with cancer. Her mother and father and younger sister are surely in agony; her friends in a state of disbelief. I have a friend who seems lost, that there is no control in her life and she questions "do I ask for too much when I pray?" because she doesn't see the answers coming. When I try to make sense of a great many things in life, I lean on my own spiritual experiences and on God's Word, the Bible.

I lost a Christian Sister to a brain tumor three years ago. She was the most devout child of God that I have ever met. Witnessing her 2 1/2 year battle, all the ups and downs, in a home where she lived with her husband and three children, I learned a great many things about faith, humility, and serving. Her name was Cathy. Cathy wrote to me once and talked of how she felt about the Lord and what she was going through. She knew she would not live. And she accepted it. She said, "I believe that as God's children, we are all like flowers in His heavenly garden; a garden that he planted seed by seed, and nurtured with great love. Sometimes, He comes across a flower that is so enchantingly beautiful that He cannot help but pick it from the garden and take it Home with Him." She continued, "I do not want to leave, my home or my family and friends, but if God has chosen me, then He surely must feel that I am very special, and therefore, I must go with Him." She was not afraid, and she and her children and husband said the Rosary every night of her life next to her bedside before going to sleep. Dear God, what a blessing it was to meet Cathy at this particular time in her life.

I had gone through a horrible health issue in the months preceding meeting Cathy and learning of her illness. There were times when I had prayed for so many weeks, but continued to worsen, and I would cry out, "Dear God, why won't you help me?" I was ashamed in the shadow of a willing child of God like Cathy. I do not pretend to know what goes on behind doors. All I know is what I was told by her husband and her family, and that was that she was brave, happy every day, and never angry for what she was going through. If Cathy could do that in her situation, anyone should be able to.

We often lose sight of our spiritual father, our guide, the Holy Spirit, and we wallow in the mire and wonder why we are not receiving what we ask for from God. Simply put, you need not ask for what you want or need. God knows what is in your heart and mind. BUT, you must accept that God will always see to your needs, but it may not be exactly what you want. God knows best, He has always been there and always will be, never sleeping, never tuning you out. You need not ask for anything except for God to take care of your needs. We cannot expect anything to happen in our preferred timeline, for God will take care of things when He knows it is the perfect time and it will be in the perfect way because it will come from Him.

Hard as it is, forgiveness and turning your troubles over to God and then putting them out of your mind are the two hardest things that we as Christians must learn to do. I have learned forgiveness; it is the most powerful thing that has happened to me. I'm working on giving everything to God and then pushing it out of my mind, and I'm making a lot of progress.

In the last two years, I have been through the most horrendous personal upheaval I know it's not the worst thing to ever happen to someone, but personally, it has been tragic and extremely hurtful. I have gone into a place of aloneness and told the Lord time and again, "I can't do this anymore, please, please, don't ask me to, I can't do it." But, He made me stay the course and I'm still here and there is change going on all around me for the better. You see, I made a promise to the Lord after my illness and after Cathy passed. I promised that I would never, ever turn away from Him again. That I would be still and listen for His call, and then I would do whatever He asked of me. And He has blessed me beyond belief. I am happier, stronger, more content and secure in my faith and in my life. I thank God every day for these great blessings.

Losing family and friends to awful diseases and tragedy will always be difficult for us as long as we live on this earth. It is impossible to be joyful for the lost ones, even though we know that they are in a much more glorious place that ourselves. The Lord takes the ones that He wants to come home, when it is time for them to go home. And with each tragedy, if you open your heart to the Holy Spirit, the sacred lessons and love that you receive from each and every one is a great blessing that I cannot describe. I only know that it brings forth peace and comfort and joy.

If you want change around you, know that you cannot make people do as you want them to do. BUT, you can change yourself. I was frustrated for literally years trying to push change and it did nothing but cause dissention. Something (or someone) told me to just make my own personal change, and live as an example to others. This I did, and there has been change over time. It has been slow, but my eyes are wide open to the Lord and I see these changes all over the place. It is almost more than I can bear. My heart wants to burst it is so full. I am just one of many who have successfully turned their heart and life over to God, who have learned to hear Him when he speaks, and to know when the Holy Spirit is guiding me, instead of Satan. I can only witness to you that when that moment comes and you realize all that I have said, you will be set free, forever and ever.

Right now, this minute, I feel God's eyes watching down on this world, and I feel His sadness. I am sure he is so disappointed that he has given so generously and that it has been torn apart, dirtied and spat upon. In my heart, I feel that God is going to grow tired of the world's behavior and when He does, that's going to be the end. And He will protect his faithful and lead them Home. I want to be there and I want YOU to be there with me.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Problem

This Day's . . .

God's providence is not in baskets lowered from the sky, but through the hands and hearts of those who love him. The lad without food and without shoes made the proper answer to the cruel-minded woman who asked, "But if God loved you wouldn't he send you food and shoes?" The boy replied, "God told someone, but he forgot."

~ George Buttrick

Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you to judgment.

~ Ecclesiastes 11:9, The New International Version

It's a wise man who lives with money in the bank; it's a fool who dies that way.

~ French proverb

Friday, February 13, 2009

This Day's . . .

When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don't throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.

~ Corrie Ten Boom

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

~ Psalm 90:12, The King James Version

A smile costs nothing but gives much. It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None is so rich or mighty that he can get along without it, and none is so poor that he cannot be made rich by it. A smile creates happiness in the home, fosters goodwill in business and is the countersign of friendship. It brings rest to the weary, cheer to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and is nature’s best antidote for trouble. Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away. Some people are too tired to give you a smile. Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give.

~ Unknown

New Playlist

Abbey's Road has a new playlist. It's just a few artists, but a lot of songs from the 70's that bring back my best memories of life in Southern California during that time. I moved to Los Angeles in 1972. I was married to my daughter's father, who was from Los Angeles. His family moved to Texas, but he'd always wanted to go back to California, and I was a wide-eyed and star-struck young girl. My dream was to live in L.A., life in the fast lane, beaches, surf boards, movie stars and to just live in the coolest place on earth. I was 18 years old when I moved there and the 1970's was a fantastic decade to live in L.A. Music was really happening, and that has always been my first love, so I was in heaven! I traveled in some pretty cool circles, saw some stars here and there, went to the beach every weekend, frequented some trendy places and made some lifelong friends. I lived in West Los Angeles, which is the next "town" (tho there is division to the naked eye) to Santa Monica. I worked in Century City on the top floor of a high-rise. I could see Long Beach and the airport to the south, Santa Monica and the beach to the west, downtown Los Angeles to the east, to the north was Hollywood, and just adjacent to CC in the northeast direction was Beverly Hills. Santa Monica, West L.A. and Beverly Hills was my stomp ground. My friends that now of my love of Mexican food don't realize that I was a regular at the El Coyote Cafe on Whilshire, just past CBS Studios. It's still there and there are a lot of famous patrons today.

I would spend Saturday and Sunday in the warm months on the beach in Santa Monica. It was free entertainment. My daughter was small and loved playing on the beach. We'd pack a lunch of PB&J's, fruit and head to the beach in my little blue 1965 Volkswagen beetle. She couldn't pronounce it and called it a "boltswagon". I'd have a friend or two meet me there sometimes and we'd throw frisbie up and down the beach. My daughter always entertained herself well and made friends with whatever children happened to be there. It was awesome.

The Hari Krishna temple was located 1/2 block from our apartment. In fact, it took up both sides of half of that long block, occupying several buildings of apartments. With the mild climate, I'd leave my windows open all the time (I lived in an upper apartment on the front) and I could hear them when they had what me and my friends referred to as a "wing ding", the ladies in their sari outfits dancing and clinging the bells on their fingers together - cling,cling,cling ..... cling,cling,cling ... in rapid succession. Sometimes they would have a feast, like a big block party. Of course me and my friends were really young and a bit crazy, so we talked one of the guys, his name was Les and he had long wavy brown hair and a full beard and looked just like the picture of Jesus, into going down into the crowd of Hari Krishna's and getting some food. He walked down there and got into the thick of the crowd. When he approached the tables full of their Indian food or whateve it was, a bunch of them started talking to him in a language he didn't understand. He freaked and ran back to the apartment. It was hysterical.

One time, very late at night I was awakened by the sound of something outside on the street. I looked down into the dark street and there was a BIG, BLACK Cadillac sitting there with the motor running - right in the middle of the street. Then I saw two men in dark suits carrying big briefcases walking from the direction of the Hari Krishna temple, get into the car and drive away. Proof to me that this was a big scam. They'd recruit young people into their group, and required them to give up all of their earthly possessions to the temple. They'd house them, like in compounds and during the day, they'd panhandle all over the city, worst of all, at the airport. They gave everything to the Temple. The children were cared for in one large place and schooled in that building as well, which the parents were out panhandling and bringing the money back to the temple. It's sad to think about now. They were totally non-violent, but nevertheless, W-E-I-R-D!

I went to what was called a "Hollywood party" one night with my boyfriend. The house was up in the Hollywood hills and sat on a bluff. The view down the bluff reached as far as the eye could see. The bright lights of L.A., east, south and west. It was a gorgeous view. Oddly, there was no furniture at all in the house, except for a bed that sat in the very center of a bedroom. The other rooms were bare. The kitchen was done completely in black, appliances and everything. Everyone stood around with cocktails in their hands, mingling and chatting. We didn't know a souls - sort of party-crashing, but it was hilariously fun!

A good getaway was a weekend trip to San Francisco. We could fly round trip to NoCal (what we called it) for $50. We had friends up there so we didn't have any expenses other than transportation and eats.

One of my most favorite trips was when my BF and I drove to and went all around Death Valley. That was an amazing trip. I'm not certain, but I think that is where Spawn's Ranch is where Charles Manson and his cult lived. There is a really cool place there called Scotty's castle. I believe the man's name was Scotty Johnson and he was extremely wealthy. Why he would build this place in the middle of the desert is beyond me. But it cost him a fortune to have the beautiful woods and tiles hauled in, as well as the rest of the materials to build this really awesome ranch house (it was more of a ranch house than a castle, but it was enormous).

My BF had a van and it had a double bed in the back. We took our cat, Luxie, with us and we'd pull off road, open the van door and sleep looking out at the stars. Luxie would roam around and as a feline, was in heaven chasing whatever it is that scurries around the desert. It's wonder she wasn't bitten by something lethal. Come to think of it, it's a wonder something didn't craw up into that van. But it didn't, and the nighttime in the desert has the most beautiful sky with millions of stars. I won't ever forget it. It was so awesome and beautiful. The nighttime temperatures were also very comfortable in the desert.

Another great trip was when I went camping with my best friend, Lawrence, and his friend Larry and his girlfriend, Evelyn. (Hm, I wasn't thinking of her when I named the lady in my story but isn't that odd?) We rented a campsite at Idyllwild, which is up in the mountains above Palm Springs. We pitched our tents and put our food items in the wooden storage cupboard and locked it so the critters wouldn't get to it. We sat around the campfire that night talking, drinking beer and shots of tequila. I had never had shots of tequila before, so they were showing me how to do it. I have the pictures of this momentous occasion and they are great to look at and remember when. Eventually, we dispersed with the lemons and the salt and we were just passing around the tequila bottle and taking swigs. Oddly, I felt terrific the next day! Isn't that a hoot? Maybe that's when I grew to love those margaritas so much! I think the others were dragging a big, but I was full of energy and ready for our hike. We hiked up a river along the rocky side of the mountain wall. Evelyn and I did NOT bring appropriate shoes for this and she lost one of her thongs down the side of the mountain and into the rushing waters. I remember being there vividly, the scenario of the passing of the tequila, and taking the photos, but not much else. Not to wonder why .... LOL.

Oh the days, the years, how they have passed me by. Those days seem like a dream, but I know that I lived them. I thought then that I had all the time in the world. Little did I know how fast time would pass and how my memory of details would fade. I could get melancholy over it all very easily. So I won't think about that now. I'll close, post the new playlist, and invite you to open Abbey's Road up and minimize it while you work on other matters on the puter, and listen for a while. I have lived some really great experiences, and I have loved each and every one of them.

PEACE ....

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Part II - A Story As Yet Untitled

The long ride on the bus was weary, but there was great purpose in it. Charlie managed to drift in and out of semi-consciousness, a place where a door opens and closes quickly and there’s only a glimpse of something familiar. And, when you wake you remember nothing at all. It was the end of April, 1953 in the deep south, still springtime, but the humidity was at its peak. With the changing seasons came the thunderstorms and sporadic funnel clouds that spawned tornadoes here and there across the thickly covered slopes of new foliage. One never knew from where they might come, or if they would come. But watchful eyes scoured the heavens and alert ears listened for the clue of calm and the sound that followed of a racing locomotive that was called “Tornado”.

Charlie’s military uniform was soaked with sweat and a far cry from the freshly starched and pressed outfit that he had donned before catching the last bus home that morning. He’d been away for 15 months and had missed the birth of his first child, a daughter named Ella. Charlie couldn’t miss what he’d never known, so his thoughts were drawn like a hot magnet to thoughts of his wife, Evelyn.

Evelyn and Charlie had met four years earlier in a local honky tonk in Decatur, down by the river where the sailors and longshoremen left the dreary hard life of working a barge on the river and drifted into town to drink a few, shoot some pool and maybe find a girl. Sometimes a guy would get lucky and meet a girl who would share drinks with him as long as he was buying, and dance with him until both were aroused beyond control. Then they’d drift down the narrow lane to the Back River Motel and get a cheap room for a cheap roll in the hay. Come morning the sailors were gone early, well before daylight, feeling satiated and ready for another long haul down the river to the next port.

Evelyn enjoyed going to the joints, having a few drinks and smoking her cigarettes at the bar. She wasn’t a striking beauty, but she was a lovely girl with long, wavy brunette hair and blue eyes. She had the most beautiful legs that went from here to yonder, and she wore her fashionable yet inexpensive dresses cinched at the waist with a slim belt and often left the top button undone for effect. Her ankles were enhanced by the ankle-strap shoes she wore, and all a man needed was to begin there and work his way up with his eyes until he saw the face of lovely Evelyn. She could take a drag off a cigarette, then blow the smoke in such a slow and exotic way, flipping the ashes with the unused finger of the hand holding her vice of choice. She knew how to look at a man and say “yes”. She loved to dance and dance she did every Saturday night. Evelyn was an excellent dancer and she was well-known up and down the honky tonk lane as a regular.

She still lived at home with her mother, Ellie, and her younger brother, Ben, and Ellie’s third husband and she and Ben’s father, Jasper. They called him simply “Pa”. She worked during the day at the Goodyear factory that was a mere block from the small house where they lived on Sherman Street. She and Ellie would walk to the plant together each morning and walk home together in the afternoons. Ellie and Evelyn were close, but Ben was the baby boy and the apple of Ellie’s eye. Evelyn would save as much of her money as she could after helping with house expenses and buy nice dresses and high heeled shoes to wear to the honky tonks. That was her freedom and escape, her way of relaxation. There was little to no crime and walking through the barrows of the shipyards down honky tonk lane posed no threats. Evelyn had walked there alone many Friday and Saturday nights. Sometimes she’d be escorted home by one of the sailors she’d latched onto and other times, she may not come home until the wee hours of the morning alone. She was headstrong and knew what she liked. And she had no bones about going after it. If she liked what she saw and wanted the sex, she went for it. She didn’t dress like a cheap whore and didn’t look that part. She was classy, but she had a healthy sexual appetite.

Charlie was a Don Juan sort of fellow. He like to dress snazzy, behaved as if his shit didn’t stink, and he knew he was handsome enough to get his way if he set his mind to it. He was raised in Florida and had left home to work on the barges that traveled up and down the southern part of the rivers, loading and delivering merchandise, coal and food items along the way. When he landed in Decatur that particular Saturday he showered, shaved and gave himself a good dowsing of his best cheap cologne. He meticulously ironed his best silk shirt and slacks. He spit-shined his shoes and dressed for the kill.

Evelyn was already prominently seated on the barstool dead center of the bar in O’Toole’s. That was Evelyn's place; she earned it and owned it. She and some of the other regulars were already engaged in laughter, drinking and smoking. O’Toole’s was busy this Saturday night. It was the dog days of summer, August to be exact. It was hot and humid, and everyone wanted to get out for a cool cocktail and pass away the time in conversation. Maddy O’Toole had an old jukebox in the corner and for a dime, you could get ten records played. There was just enough room in that corner of the bar where a few people could dance if they wanted. Charlie liked the ambiance of O’Toole’s as soon as he walked in. It was smoky, loud and his quick perusal of the placed revealed several nice ladies ripe for his picking. Yes, this would be a good night for Charlie.

Charlie approached the bar, leaned in and asked Paddy for a scotch, neat. He then found himself a small unoccupied table where he chose a seat facing the crowd. He wanted to do some inspection and size up his possibilities. It didn’t take long for Evelyn and the smooth, sexy way she took a draw off her cigarette to catch his eye. She sat with her legs crossed and exposed her knees just enough by the opening in her skirt. Charlie’s eyes gazed at her beautiful and petite ankles and indeed followed her legs all the way up with his eye, scanning her and committing his visions to memory.

Quite innocently Evelyn looked his way and they locked eyes for just a moment. She slowly turned her head away and took a long, smooth draw off her cigarette followed by a sip of her cocktail. It was a brief encounter but enough to interest Evelyn. She liked what she saw sitting across the barroom from her as well. His dark wavy hair was shining and combed neatly back, his mouth was small but inviting, his neck was slender and long. He was tanned from all the days working outside on the barge and the white silk shirt only enhanced his beautiful brown skin. Evelyn was a pro at being aloof and thus she embarked on the game with Charlie.

Evelyn’s laughter was infectious. Charlie watched her with her friends as she sipped her cocktail, talking and laughing and occasionally drawing from her cigarette. It seemed she flaunted her beautiful legs his way on purpose, and it was just as he surmised. The dance of intimacy had begun in earnest.

When Charlie had finished his scotch, he rose and walked slowly toward the bar leaning closer to Evelyn to order himself another drink. He stood close enough so his shoulder would lightly brush against her arm. She could smell his cologne and felt her stomach turn with excitement at the feel of his arm next to hers. She nonchalantly moved her arm so as to brush against his again, and this time she spoke, “Oh! Uh, hello, I’m sorry,” smiling that big beautiful smile lined with red lipstick in Charlie’s direction. He pursed his small mouth in the most sexy way. He gave her a wink saying, “No apology necessary, it’s okay. Uh, hello to you, I’m Charlie, and your . . . .”, “Evelyn. Nice to meet you Charlie. Where’re you from?”

“I’m off the Cinnabar, just tied up this afternoon. Thought I’d come in and shake off the dust and wet my whistle. You from here?” “Born and raised,” she said. “Been here all my life . . . work at the plant, Goodyear that is.” They nodded and smile at one another as the crowd of Evelyn’s friends began to drift away from her. Charlie pulled up a stool, “Mind if I sit?” “Sure, that’d be nice,” she said. The dance of intimacy was now in full swing.

Charlie and Evelyn sat, talked and drank for over two hours. She loved his crazy sense of humor and though she wouldn’t admit it, she like the sexual connotations that he threw in here and there as bait on a fishing line. He definitely stirred something in her, but it was so strong that it also scared the hell out of her. Charlie was different. He may have worked on a barge, but he was very suave and debonair. The thought never crossed her mind that he’d developed his role in the dance through a lot of ports of call and women loved and left. He was a pro and it made Evelyn somewhat uneasy in a way that should couldn’t quite figure out.

Just after midnight, Evelyn decided she needed to head on home. “I’ve enjoyed getting to know you, Charlie. It’s . . . it’s been really fun.” “Let me walk you home, Evelyn, what’d’ya say?” An invitation she could not resist and thus accepted. They walked slowly in the dark on the tree-lined sidewalks toward the house on Sherman Street. They stopped and sat for a while on a bench at a bus stop. Charlie talked smoothly and easily and Evelyn was enchanted just listening to him. She found herself allowing him to hold her hand as they walked and she liked it. When they sat down on the bench Charlie just stared at her. It made her nervous.

“What?”, she said nervously running her hand up and around her neck. Charlie touched her chin with his fingers and turned her head toward his, then moved in for the kill. He kissed her gently and slowly, and she didn’t resist. “That’s what,” he said. “Your lips look just like a piece of sugary red candy, and they taste even better.” Evelyn giggled nervously. She was beginning to lose this game. She had to shore up and be strong. This guy was more than she’d handled. She wasn’t in control like she wanted. He was controlling and it unnerved her.

“Well, uh, thanks, I think. I need to get going, it’s late, you know.” “Okay. But why dontcha gimme your phone number? I mean, I want to see you again. What’d’ya think?” “Well sure, that’d be swell,” she said. She found an old gum wrapper in her purse and a pencil, wrote her number down and gave it to him.

They stood and he walked her slowly the rest of the way home, holding her hand firmly but gently all the way. Standing on the sidewalk leading to the porch, she looked at him and smiled, “It’s been nice talking with you, Charlie. I, well, thanks for the drinks and the company. Maybe I will see you again sometime.” “Oh, you’ll see me, you can bank on it,” he replied. She glanced over her shoulder as she entered the house and saw him standing there in the shadows, watching her watching him.

The romance was torrid and hot. Charlie and Evelyn had an insatiable lust for one another once they got a taste of it. They could argue viciously, and then make up ravenously. Charlie’s barge hit Decatur every two weeks, and every two weeks they spent the weekend together. After four months Charlie announced that he was leaving his job and joining the Army, but he wanted to marry Evelyn first.

They were married by a Justice of the Peace just before Christmas 1948. Charlie joined the Army just after New Year’s 1949 and was shipped to Fort Benning, Georgia two weeks later. Basic training kept him away for two months. He had furlough for one week, and then he’d get his orders as to where they would go. They ended up in Biloxi, Mississippi. They rented a small, cheap duplex. It had one bedroom, a small bath, a tiny eat-in kitchen just barely enough room to put a small table for two, and a small living area. Evelyn was beside herself with happiness. She had met and married the sexiest man she’d ever known. He did things to her that she never dreamed. Their sex was unbelievably wonderful, but it didn’t take long for Charlie’s weakness to reveal itself.

Charlie had a roving eye. He wanted Evelyn all to himself. His lust for her was as great as any man could have for a woman, but he wanted other women, too. He’d come home late occasionally at first. Then he might disappear for an entire day, sometimes an entire weekend. They fought bitterly when he came home, but he’d always throw Evelyn in bed, make love to her and all would be forgiven. He’d swear to her it was the last time and he’d never wander again. But it was a lie that she gave into and accepted repeatedly because she wanted so much to believe in him. Especially now that she knew she was pregnant.

Charlie received orders that he would be going to Korea before he ever learned of Evelyn’s pregnancy. He left for duty when Evelyn was four months along. When he left, she moved back to Decatur, back to the house on Sherman Street to live with Ellie, Ben and Pa. Ella was born that following July. It was 1952. Charlie had been gone for five months. The following April, after fifteen months overseas, Charlie was on the final leg of his trip home. Home to Evelyn. He couldn’t wait to see her, much more, to get in the sack with her.

Once Evelyn learned when Charlie was coming home, she found a small house on a sparsely populated dirt road on the outskirts of Decatur. She moved in a few weeks before he was due to arrive and had the place cleaned up and neatly decorated for his arrival.

That spring day in April was turbulent. The warm air knocked the cooler air that was resisting the new season, and it stirred a fury of storms all over the south. A couple of Evelyn’s friends came over to keep her company. She didn’t have a storm cellar and she was a bit anxious. She didn’t want to leave because she might miss Charlie’s homecoming. They sat around the small living room, smoking and having a cocktail, watching the brewing storm outside as the clocked slowly ticked by the hours.Without warning, the sound of footsteps quickly coming up the front porch caused Evelyn to jump from her seat. The screen door was yanked open by whoever was out there and in stepped Charlie. Evelyn rushed to him, threw her arms and legs around him and they did circles around the living room as they kissed over and over and Evelyn cried with excitement. Charlie turned toward Evelyn’s friends and told them, “you all need to get along.” Then looking into Evelyn’s eyes, “We got some business to take care of.”

With that, her friends left and Charlie took Evelyn into the small bedroom and threw her onto the bed. They tore at one another clothes with such fierceness that some were torn and buttons popped. Some clothes didn’t make it off at all. The storm had jelled and was blowing full force. There was thunder and lightning in the skies and in the bed. The friction of their bodies was hot and furious and the sound of the raging storm seemed like a song that they followed in time, engaging in the dance of intimacy. In time, they would learn that the climax of their dance of intimacy resulted in the creation of their second child, a girl whom they named Leisa.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Simple Red Envelope - Quiet, But Clear

If you've never visited A Catholic Notebook (see my sidebar), you're missing something quite wonderful. Soutenus is gifted and passionate about our shared faith of Catholicism. I copied the following from her blog in order to spread this crucial message and in the hope that all Christians will gather together regarding this issue and wage an onslaught on President Obama about his most heinous decision, which was also his first as President.

Sometimes an idea is shared that is simple and perfect for addressing an issue. This is one such idea and I hope you will be inspired to pray for its effectiveness. I hope you will take part and share the idea. I thank Mum2Twelve (actually 13 now) for this wonderful information.

Author: John Otto

Dear Friends and Intercessors:

This afternoon I was praying about a number of things, and my mind began to wander. I was deeply distressed at the symbolic actions that President Obama took as he began his presidency. Namely, that he signed executive orders releasing funds to pay for abortions, permission to fund human stem cell research, and federal funding for contraception. I have been involved in the pro-life movement for nearly 20 years, and it pained my heart to see a man and a political party committed to the shedding of innocent blood. This man, and this party lead our country, but they do not represent me or the 54% of Americans who believe that abortion is wrong and should no longer be legal.

As I was praying, I believe that God gave me an interesting idea. Out in the garage I have a box of red envelopes. Like the powerful image of the red LIFE tape, an empty red envelope will send a message to Barack Obama that there is moral outrage in this country over this issue. It will be quiet, but clear.

Here is what I would like you to do: Get a red envelope. You can buy them at Kinkos, or at party supply stores. On the front, address it to:

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington , D.C. 20500

On the back, write the following message:

"This envelope represents one child who died in abortion. It is empty because that life was unable to offer anything to the world. Responsibility begins with conception."

Put it in the mail, and send it. Then copy and paste this into an email and send it to every one of your friends and family who you think would send one too. I wish we could send 50 million red envelopes, one for every child who died before having a chance to live. Maybe it will change the heart of the president.

John Otto

The Lord will bless you abundantly for carrying His Word to all corners of the Earth. I'm only asking you to carry it to Washington, D.C. as quickly as possible.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Abbey's Listening To . . .

TRIVIA: Robin Trower was one of two musicians to form a 1960's band who wrote and published one of the most played songs of all time. Do you know the name of the group and the song? No cheating! The answer is at the end of this post. Trower, incidentally, is a primo guitarist. Fine listening for any day of the week.

Robin, THEN ...... and NOW

Answer: Procol Harum, "Whiter Shade of Pale"