Musings by DebraThomas
Debra Parker Thomas
Apr 30, 2013 | 7973 views |  0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

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I was Scared; I'm Mad and I Dont Know Who to Thank
by DebraThomas
Jan 12, 2012 | 3088 views |  0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
As most of you that have read my blogs know, I am close to my Mother. I guess I am so close to her because I have no children and my dad died when I was young, so we for lack of a better word, grew up together. Well my Mom has a little problem with memory loss, and as I go through the days I find I do too. So while most everyone was enjoying their Christmas lunch on December 25th, my Mother was a little confused and got outside of her house and wandered into the main road that runs in front of her house, and fell. Thank God for so many things, like the fact that when I say the main road, I mean a two lane road that goes between the city she lives in and the connecting city, and most folks use it as a shortcut instead of using the highway a mile away. So the traffic is not especially heavy on the street. She fell onto the road and it was raining and it was cold. I have no idea how long she was outside, nor do I know how long she lay in the road, or if she fell just the one time or if there were consecutive falls.

God and his Angels were watching over my sweet Mom, as someone found her and called an ambulance. They stayed with her until the ambulance came and took her away. Of course I didnt know any of this until it was all said and done, which brings me to the rest of the story.

I was on my way to Mothers house to take her to Christmas lunch at the Waffle House and then on to visit the relatives on Christmas Day. I started to my car several different times and would either forget something, have to come back in the house, have to clean out a seat for her to ride with me, therefore bringing the groceries, or whatever inside the house, and after 5 trips of coming back and forth, I was tired of being so forgetful and wanted to get on my way, so I finally said, ok, enough, I am leaving. And I did. I left on a trip that I will never forget as long as I live.

I got to Mothers house with my Christmas gift for her in hand. I also had a bag with little grocery items in it, so when I got inside her house and hollared for her several times and she didnt answer, I started to worry. I set down the cokes and stuff and still had her gift in hand. Still calling out for her in every name I have ever used from Moma to her first name, I really started to worry. After several seconds of this, I dropped her gift to the ground right inside the front door and I screamed. I screamed her name, I screamed for help, I screamed for God to help me find my Mother. Then the awful thought came to mind that I want to find her but I dont. I wanted to see that she was just not hearing me, but I didnt want to find her injured or worse. I searched the house over. I looked outside, I looked in the basement, I looked in the yard, I looked around cars and in ditches. I ran up the street calling for her and I went from door to door at several of the neighbors houses. No one was home. No one answered me. It was like a scene from a horror movie. There was not a dog barking, there was not a bird chirping. There was not a car on the roads and I couldnt find her anywhere. I have never been so scared in my life. I think if my hair wasnt already white it would have turned right then and there. I aged at least ten years in those moments of fear.

I went back inside the house and I called every person I could think of. I called my sister in Atlanta and my cousin in Alexandria. I called everybody I thought might have a clue where she was. No one knew. I was petrified. I called my husband at work and he told me to call the Police. So I did. They told me that there was a report of an unknown elderly woman found in the road and an ambulance was called. I started to blab to the woman at the Police station this was my mother and where was she taken? The kind lady told me to sit tight and she would find out and call me right back. Within seconds she called me back and was so kind and soothing and wanted me to let her know how things worked out. I didnt get her name. I still havent called her back. I am just now getting calmed down. But I will call and I will thank her.

While I was getting dry clothes and shoes ready to take to the hospital to bring Mother home, my brother called and told me that he had gotten a call from Regional Medical Center and that Mother was there. He told me he was getting ready and would be coming from Montgomery but would meet me at the hospital. Ok, so I leave to go to the hospital and bring her home.

Well, as it so happened, she was hypothermic and had to have several tests done so we would be there for a while. And we were. She was sick. She was really sick.  Having the memory problem, she couldnt exactly tell me what was wrong, but she hadnt been feeling well, and even though we had been to the doctor a week before, she was not well. No one knew.  So there again, God stepped in and saved her life through having her in the road, in the rain and having someone stop to help her.

Mother is much, much better now. She is recovering with lots of help and love. She is feeling so much more like her old self, (and I say that with a smile because she tells me there is nothing wrong with her but age) and she is laughing again and just being Moma.

I was scared to death. I am mad at memory loss and dementia and all of the other diseases of the mind that takes away the memories we cherish. And, most of all, I dont know who to thank. I dont know if the persons that saw Mother in the road read these blogs, or if anyone that knows who might have called for help reads them and can tell them how very much my family appreciates them. We can never repay your kindness. God knows who you are and what care you gave one of his angels here on earth. You will be repaid with riches beyond our imagination from Him.

I dont know the name of the lady at the Police Station but I will find out. I dont know the names of the people that lovingly took her to the ER or the names of all of the wonderful people that treated Moma while in your care at the ER but I publically thank you.

She is an angel. She is my best friend. She is a large part of my life and she has touched so many people in her 84 years on this earth, and if I have anything to do with it, she will touch so many more.  Hopefully soon you will see me and the other white haired lady riding around in the little red Honda again. But you might want to get out of the way, because I cant guarantee that either one of us will remember the way home.........

So What Did you do with your Year? Mine was FULL!!!
by DebraThomas
Dec 23, 2011 | 3126 views |  0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Well here we are in the last few days of 2011. I was thinking about some of the things I did this year and you know, I had a pretty interesting year. Here is a sampling of what my year was like.

Makes me wonder what 2012 is going to show me......maybe introduce me to some famous writers that will read my blogs and give me their opinion? Hmmm...there's a thought to ponder.

This year was full of all sorts of interesting things I did for the first time. For instance: I became so humble to strangers that could help me.

I lost my sight completely in my right eye. Blind as a bat. It was scary and I had no idea what to do or how to get it fixed so I went to the eye doc and they sent me to Birmingham to the Eye Foundation and every month my husband took his vacation days and he drove me to the Eye foundation and every time we made the trip over there we talked about hoping I would be able to see again.So much nervous tension on what the doc would find or do; would there be shots; pills or hospitalization. DR. John Mason gave me a shot in my every single month and sometimes 2 times a month. He tried new techniques on me and when the sight was not getting better, he tried something he heard of and wanted to experiment with, by putting a shot inside my eyeball, and the liquid he would be injecting is a colorectal cancer drug. I had to sign saying yes I would try it. And 6 months down the road, I can now see to write, type, cook, and just about anything else close up with my prescription glasses. I can see 20/200 which is looking far away. And this is with the same eye I couldn't see a thing out of in January of this year.That was a neat experience. Thank you Dr. John O Mason. God Bless you Tracy Thomas, my husband for not having an off day for the last 12 months because you have had to take care of me and my trips to Birmingham because I couldn't drive. Bless you my love.

This year I had my hair cut off and donated 10 inches of my own white platinum blonde hair to the Cancer Society for Locks of Love. I was honored to do it and hope and pray the women and men that get their new hair from me will enjoy it as much as I have.

I lost my best fur friend and baby and I grieve every day.  I miss Muff The Wonderdawg more than anyone can imagine. She was my personal secretary; best friend; sleep buddy; confidant; joy and reason to come home from work on those long hard days when my bones would hurt so bad and all I wanted to do was crawl in bed or the recliner, Muff the Wonderdawg was there to comfort and console. She knew I had a bad day and I hurt and she would lay across my lap to let me stroke her and cry. She died in my arms in June. I grieve every day.

I lost a cousin. She was much older than I but to me she was beautiful. She was aloof but her white hair and skin color made me feel that this was what I was going to look like when I grow up or grow older, whichever the case may be, and I miss knowing she is still over the hill in Weaver being a starlet.  Barbara, you will be missed.

I planted potatoes and onions and garlic and strawberries and I waited with full anticipation of the crops that would come in.  Still waiting on them.

I canned fresh cucumbers and made pickles. All sorts of pickles. I made sweet/hot pickles and dill and then Kosher Vegetables. I made hot salsa too.  This was important because I have never canned anything before in my life.

I was instrumental in having the first annual Community Yard Sale. In an event to try to raise money for the scholarship, I being on the Weaver Alumni asked if we could have a Community Yard Sale and rent the spaces in the park so that people could pay the money to the Alumni for the Scholarship fund and the people could get rid of stuff in a yard sale without having people come to their houses and stuff.  It was a good thing. Many folks came to sell and other came to buy.  The weather was perfect and people made pretty good money.

In September, I was a volunteer with the Weaver Heritage Day Arts and Crafts Festival. This was the most fun to me. I was in charge of setting up a booth of information about Weaver Station and also I had SWAG BAGS filled with things I had gotten from all sorts of companies and governmental agencies. The State of Alabama gave me the bags and brochures and I filled the bags with just a little bit of everything. They were full and they were great. I made up 2000 bags and went through each and every one of them. Loved it. Met people and saw people I haven't seen in years.

Found out there is singing up at Jacksonville Health and Rehab on Sunday afternoons. Love to go to listen to the singing. Even got my mom and aunt to go with me one time and listen to the players do the Christmas show.

Spent time with my Mom. Good days and some not so good, but life. As I look at her and really pay attention to her, I see what her heart feels and what its lost. She is sad and lonely. I can be there every day but its not the same of her mom, dad, brother and sister.  I am her daughter, the youngest of three children and the only one that lives here, but I am not the persons she misses. I am fine, I am comforting but I am not who she misses.  I watch her slip away a little each day and my heart breaks a little more each day because I want more time with the Mother I had in the 70's and 80's when I wasn't married and we spent every Saturday in town buying and looking and eating.  Little by little we got separated due to my job, her friends coming over and I had to be at work early so I couldn't stay and play Scrabble or Checkers and get in all the gossip, or watch Jim and Tammy Baker on the PTL Club all hours of the night, and now that I think back on those times, i think that's the ones I miss most.  She had her life and I had mine. But we spoke every day and even though we still do, its different and you can tell that is about to run its course and she is tired. That hurts to think about. I love her so much.

On a lighter note, I passed it forward a few times. There are very few times we have any money left over at the end of the month, and sometimes its just a little as $10 which is not a lot and I know that, but you have no idea what that little bit means to someone.  We were in KFC in Anniston one day. This lady came in with a walker and she was trying to pay for her dinner and hold her tray and walk the line with the walker and so on.  While she had her head down, I got the attention of the cashier and I gave her the money to pay for the woman's meal.  She didn't know it, and when she tried to pay and the cashier told her it was on the house that lady came over to my table and hugged me. She said she had money but she was tired because her sister was in the hospital and she was trying to hurry to get back up there and all the things that had gone wrong and so on.  So I listened. She was quite happy to have someone to talk with and told me as I started to leave that I will be blessed. I told the woman I am already blessed. Another woman was waiting for her order to go and it was taking a little longer than expected so she watched the whole transaction take time. As the second woman started to leave she came over to me and hugged me. She said she was having such a bad day but to see that someone was concerned about a stranger was giving her hope.

So I gave someone hope.

I started a blog. Had no idea what a blog was nor if anyone would read it. It has always been my desire to have my writings read and reviewed and then someday someone would want to meet me and hopefully talk about a book deal. There are so many things to write about, and as I have said before my life is either a funny comedy or a sad country song, but its my life, and its out there, nothing pretentious, just me.  Got a story or 10 to tell and I want to share them. And if someone wants to sign me to a deal, well then we will talk........I got a lot to say.

This year I noticed that my father in law is slowing down a little and not as physically strong as he has always been. This is bothering me. He has been my stand in dad since 1982 when I fell in love with his son. My own dad died in 1975 and I was lost for so long and then this man with tools and parts to things and organized garage with all sorts of things that are so interesting to me, well, we talked. We talked just me and him standing by the garage in the back yard and I told him I wanted to plant something to watch it grow. So he came and helped me in my yard to plant bulbs. And he trimmed trees and he cut the grass and he showed me how to take care of tools and machines; and now he is having a few memory problems and I hate it.  So I have a friend in my Dad In Law and I love him.  He loves me too.  I kid him I am the favorite daughter in law. He laughs and says yeah because I bribe him with chocolate and Reese Cups.  Don't slow down too much more Snooks, I need you to help me till another garden and plant some winter crops.

This year I became a little closer to my husband. I have known him for years.I have been married to him for years. But in the last year I have fallen in love with a man that will ask how I feel and do I need something for the various aches and pains I have. I have had to become more dependent on him and have been advised by my doctors to bring him with me to the appointments because my memory has been effected and I have no recollection of what they have said when I leave the offices. I have no idea what meds to stop or start.  He has to do these for me. I am now dependent on my husband.  Very dependent. My body is weakening and because of TIA's the memory is not what it should be, so Tracy has be to there to watch over and help with me.  He is so good to me.

I have seen my sister in a different light. She is the oldest of the three children but she has the greatest memories of the grandparents and the parents. Being born several years before me, she grew up in a different time and with the same blood relatives as in Mom and Dad but with different times in their lives with me. So its different with me and Mother than it is with Ann and Mother.  Sister is beginning to understand me and for once I am getting her too.  Its taken a long time.

And this year I got to be friends with my Brother again. I got to be close to him again. I got to feel the security of a big brother again. I missed that. There is love and security that comes from your parents and there is love and security that comes from your spouse but I learned of a love my big brother has for his little sister and even tough we may be in our 50s and 60s each of us and Mother in her 80s, it is still a wonderful feeling to know that I have these folks looking out after me. Taking interest in me and loving me no matter what. 

So this has been a year of not much money; prices going up; healthcare going up; and so much more, but this has been a year I wont forget.   Cause this is the year I let go. I let myself enjoy things, feel things and lose people and pets. But I grew up some this year. I learned a lot this year. I learned there is love, there is A LOT of good people out there and that its all going to be alright. We are going to make it There is a way and we have to make it......we don't know what the future holds, but there is one thing for sure, we will all hold it together.

Hope you did something with you year. I did.

I Do Believe There are Angels Among Us
by DebraThomas
Dec 15, 2011 | 3119 views |  0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
I am sure that you are familiar with the song about Angels Among Us. It was very popular about 15 years ago. Well, I never hear that song that I dont think about a couple of my own angels that I met during the time that song was playing alot and I wanted to tell you about two of them. So here goes.....

I was unemployed. It was at the Holiday Season. And I was a volunteer Board member on 2nd Chance, the local Domestic Abuse Agency. Our fundraiser every year was to wrap gifts in the Quinard Mall beginning the day after Thanksgiving all the way through Christmas Eve.  Since I didnt have a job to go to, I had more time than money, so I volunteered to work all of the days that were open, (and there were quite a few), so I treated that as my job. And I loved it. I would dress in the colors of Christmas every day or I would wear a scarf or a pin that had to do with the Season of Giving. Loved it. I met thousands of people and because I was having such a grand time doing the wrapping of gifts, or because I am not a quiet person, I dont know which, I seemed to draw a lot of attention.  The local media came in and interviewed me and asked what the donations were for and why I was there everyday and just your normal interview questions. So I got even more attention. And I captured the attention of a young man in a wheelchair. He was there every day in the mall.  Sometimes he sat at the end of the hallway where I was and other days he would sit closer to the gift wrapping booth but was still too shy to come up to talk. So one day on my way to get a snack and beverage on my break I told him to come by and talk with me sometime.  So he did.  Every single day from the time I got there until I left, he was there. Wheelchair bound and no use of his legs or torso, he still was my favorite elf.  He was known by many around as being a mall regular, so he of course drew more attention to my booth and it helped me to make more money for 2nd Chance. It was a win win situation. Then that song started playing over the loudspeaker. And we talked. We talked about religion, politics, God, earth, everything you can imagine. We talked about it. Then it got to be more of a friendship than just a casual acquaitance. He stayed at the booth the whole time I was there, day and night. More customers, well, he waited in line to see me. The very last day I was there was quite busy and I was a little rushed for time and space by that time of the season, so I was not really noticing the small package on the table in front of me. After a few minutes I looked around to see there was a note attached and it was for me. It was from Tommy. He had seen that I was busy and tired and rushed and he didnt want to bother me, so he left this small package for me still in its store bag. I could wrap it if I wanted, the note said, but if not, just look inside.  I cry to this very day when I look at that gift.  It is among my most treasured items, and I have never used it. But that day and Tommy comes to mind instantly when I open the box and take out those four goldtone angel napkin rings. See, Tommy told me that I was the Angel Among Us at the mall that year and and Angel to him. No one he said had taken the time to talk to him on a level that I did and overlook the wheelchair and the limitations he had. Everyone else wanted to be nice to him but not really get to know him. Tears welled up in my eyes and I told him later I couldnt accept the gift, much less the praise, I was not worthy of either. He disagreed and told me that yes, there are Angels among us. And that was one of the last heartfelt conversations we ever had. Time and work and family and lots of other things have come between us in the years that followed and I never got to tell him goodbye. See Tommy left this world earlier this year. But still when I hear that song or I handle those napkin rings, I know I was the one that was in the company of Angels. Yes, Virginia, there are Angels Among Us.

During that same time I was volunteering and wrapping gifts at the mall, I tried to spread as much cheer as I could to as many folks as I could. So many people would come in and be rushed and hurried, so if I could offer them a Merry Christmas and a candy cane, it seemed to warm the feelings of those coming into the mall and those leaving just a bit and more times than not, I wrapped at least one of their gifts. 

There was a man, and I am sorry I dont remember his name, just his face, and his kind gesture. As I said, I was unemployed and was down on my luck in more ways than one, with car problems, no sign of a job, and the unemployment was about to run out. But I still remained happy and cheerful and dressed the part of a happy volunteer because thats what I was. I have faith that God will take care of tomorrow, so I just did what I felt I was led to do and we would worry about the rest later.

This gentleman walked up to the booth. He wasnt from this area and he wasnt sure what this charity was all about. So I gathered information for him and told him that I was on the Board of Directors and that I worked in the Shelter doing things like painting the walls or hanging the shower curtains or taking donated items to them or talking with the women and children one on one sometimes. And at times was just there to give a hug or a warm cup of coffee. So many things a volunteer can do and the rewards are so great. The man took my pamphlets and stayed at the other end of the hallway on a bench and just kept watching me as I talked with the customers and wrapped and attempted to make bows and they all told me I did a good job but I knew that it wasnt the talent I had seen professional wrappers do and present, but mine was filled with love for the stranger taking time to take a chance on my wrapping abilities and making a donation to 2nd Chance. 

Later that evening as I was getting ready to leave, the gentleman came back to my booth and asked if I was going to be there tomorrow. Oh yes, I said and told him that I was there from open to close as a matter of fact, so come back by and lets see what odd items I can find to wrap!!!

The next day without fail, the gentleman all bundled up and rushing in from the cold brought me small boxes, large boxes, strange shaped items, just an assortment of things that he bought for his family. Great!!! I was so happy to see a new customer and to get the chance to say thanks for stopping by yesterday and taking the time to read the information about the charity. He talked with me a few minutes and asked why I was doing this. I told him that I was in a relationship many years ago and the person wasnt nice to me, and I vowed that if I could help just one person to avoid what I had gone through then I would and 2nd Chance was developed and I started donating and then became a Board Member and the rest was history. So he listened intently and asked if the person was still in my life. OH NO I exclaimed. I am married to a wonderful man that gives me the moon and stars above, he lets me have animals, he provides me with a roof over my head and a car to drive. He says I dont have to work, but I hope to return back to the working world soon so that I may take some of the financial burden off of him. And we have food. May not be what others would want, but you can usually always find a bowl of soup and some cornbread or pintos and onion on the menu any day of the week at my house.  He just smiled and said, that he wished me a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and that he would be back home with his family soon, he was here on business and was missing them so badly when he saw me enjoying myself and just had to see what it was all about.  He lived in another county and worked for the State Department of Transportation and he was just in such a better frame of mind because someone actually felt the love of Christmas and knew what it was all about. I smiled and said yes, I guess so, I just try to be happy and upbeat as much as possible because someone somewhere is hurting so much worse than I and having a bad time, so if I can make just one person smile or be happy, then my job is done.  The gentleman bid me farewell and Merry Christmas and I did the same to him. 

Late that night as the mall was closing, I was getting the scraps of paper up and cleaning up the mess I had made all through the commotion of the day. On the table lay an envelope with VOLUNTEER written on it.  Since I was the only one there, I opened it and saw the most touching Christmas Card I have ever seen.  He didnt know my name. He didnt know how to tell me in words what I had done to make him so much happier about being able to go home to his wife and children and tell them about the goodwill he had encountered in me. He wrote about my outfits and that he was going to tell everyone he saw to get their gifts wrapped at the mall next year. And he had one more thing. He had put a $20 bill in there. He said he heard me say that I was not working and he felt like I needed something for me. He said I had given to so many others that it was my turn to be treated. And he signed it STATE DOT guy.  No name.

I can not put into words what that $20 did for me. I got gas to go home. I got food for myself and my husband (takeout was a big deal) and I got to donate some. 

Yes, there are Angels among us. I am certainly not one. I can only strive to be me, and I think that God made me the best person I can be. I just have to live up to His expectations, which is a challenge, but I know I met two angels that season.

How many have I met since then?  Countless........and still counting.

Be a Blessing to Someone. Lighten the Load for someone. It will make your day.

What are your Christmas memories made of?
by DebraThomas
Dec 11, 2011 | 2211 views |  0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
If we had smell-o-video or something like that then several of you would be able to confirm some of the Christmas memories I have and probably agree with me these are wonderful. In the next few lines I will give you things that bring back sights, sounds and smells of Christmas Past, and who knows may be someday Christmas future.  Like:

When I was very young, Daddy would go to Jeff's BBQ in West Anniston and get BarBQ for us to have during the Christmas Holidays.  There is still a smell that I associate with Jeffs and it brings a smile to me when I do.

Moma cracking open coconuts with a hammer and a nail so that she could make the coconut pie or coconut cake with just one single red Marichino cherry in the top.

A big plastic red candle with a yellow flame that we had on either side of the carport and strings of lights with big bulbs that could be seen from space that had to be plugged in everynight before Daddy got home.

A plastic Santa Clause on top of the roof with a bag attached and a spot light in the front yard showing off such. Now remember I am in my 50s so this was WAAAAYY before Walmart and other stores around here had things like that and not many people decorated as elaborately as my folks.   I still dont.  

Gifts under the tree for each of us, but of course I would get into mine and wear the ring or watch or whatever a long time before we were actually supposed to open the gifts.

Christmas Ornaments that the family had years before I was ever even thought about. 

The smell of the fireplace when it smoked just a little.

Santa Clause at Sears on Noble Street.

The Anniston Parade and sitting on the steps of the Church of Christ on Noble thinking we had the BEST spot. 

Actually getting a piece of candy that was thrown during the parade. I thought I was really something too.....

Riding around looking at Christmas lights.

Snoopy and the Red Baron song.

Charlie Brown Christmas.  As a matter of fact the Charlie Brown Christmas song is one of my favorites.

Going to Christmas Mass at Fort McClellan when the troops were still there.  Being in awe of all the sights and smells. And this was at midnight.

Being told to go to bed so that Santa could come on.  And trying to stay awake so I could hear him.

Being threatened all through the month of December that Santa was listening and if I wasnt good, he would know it and not come.

Fresh Oranges and Apples. Nuts. Hershey Kisses in the red, green and silver foil all in the candy dish in the living room.

Assorted nuts and a nut cracker with them in the wooden bowl next to the fruit and the candies.

Those hard candies that had jelly type stuff in them and also ribbon candy.

A real tree that we had to keep water in.

Putting my rocking chair next to the tree so I could feel the warmth of the colored lights and taking in the smell of the tree.

COLD weather.

Christmas specials like Perry Como and Pat Boone. Bob Hope.

Company. (some people call them Visitors)

Christmas Cards that came in colored envelopes and some had booklets or were fold out cards that said MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM  THE PARKERS IN WEAVER ALABAMA. And then you unfolded it to see  MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM GERALD   CATHERINE  BROCKIE AND DEBRA.   I loved seeing my name in the white letters on that red fold out.  And the ones we would get from other folks with their names were my favorites.

Christmas Letters from Santa and written to Santa.

Going to Big Momas house and seeing the smaller, real tree in the corner of the living room covered in silver tinsle and BIG blue bulbs and blue lights.  I mean those big blue lights.  

Big Mom giving each of us kids a Silver Dollar for Christmas.

Huge bowls of Dressing and Potato Salad.  These were brought up to the house by Truman White (son of Mr Thom White of Weaver) and made by his wife my aunt Mutt.  When I say huge, I mean, biggest mixing bowl you can think of and we ate every bite.   What I would give to have some of that dressing now......

Moma cooking a ham in the oven and putting Coke on it with brown sugar and me feeling bad because she cooked it all night (even though it was a canned ham) and she had to get up all during the night to check on it and put more coke and sugar on it.   Oh man, what a sight and sense that is......

Well, I guess you get the picture, that I had a wonderful childhood when it came to Christmas.  We ate and loved every minute of the music, church services, company, cards, and decorations. All of this was made possible by my parents, Gerald and Catherine Parker and my sister Ann and brother Brockie.   I have been truly blessed. 

Thank you. I love you. Merry Christmas to you.

What is Christmas?
by DebraThomas
Dec 11, 2011 | 1531 views |  0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
When I think about Christmas of course the FIRST thing that comes to mind is the birth of Christ. We wouldnt have this celebration if it were not for that one miracle that happened over 2000 years ago. Just ponder that for a while and then everything else should fall into place. All of the  rushing to get the perfect gifts; the cooking; the running from house to house and party to party and already being filled with stress before you get there and dreading seeing some relatives that you havent spoken to in a year or more and the list goes on. Just slow down. Live for the moment. Experience the music and the lights and the colors. This happens one time per year and with so much sadness and grief in the world, then why would you want to ignore the whole reason and the being of Jesus Christ as the babe that lay in the manger. Think about what a manger is. How humble were Mary and Joseph to even think about having to ask for a place to stay for the night so that she could give birth. This is what we need to reflect on. Or at least I think so.  Maybe it is because I am older now, and wont say wiser but filled with a love of Jesus, and the Holy Season.  I am not a big religious person and certainly not a Biblical Scholar by no means, but I have a strong faith and have counted on and relied on my faith many times to get me through some really dark situations in my life. And I know there will be more to come. But I wanted to share the love I have for Christ and the meaning I find in this wonderous season of giving and love. And I guess what I am asking is that we carry the genuine feelings of gratitude and caring and sharing throughout the year and to everyone.

I know I am going to try to be a better person. Thats my Christmas gift to each of you, to try to be a better friend, listener, volunteer, patient and caregiver. Hopefully I will succeed in this venture and if I dont, well I will keep trying until I get it right. Be blessed you all and have a wonderful Holy Season, whatever name you care to call it. Take time to Thank Him, and thank you for taking the time to read my blogs. I have been away for a while due to sickness and a few pains but I will continue to write if you continue to read. You fill my heart with joy and I thank you.  Godspeed to each of you........

The $84 Dollar Pickles
by DebraThomas
Oct 01, 2011 | 6756 views |  0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

I am not a winner of contests.

BUT, I just knew I was going to win one if not both of the contests at the Weaver Heritgage Day Festival this past Saturday. I was certain I was going to be wearing the sash that said I had made the BEST CORNBREAD or had the PRETTIEST PICKLING items. Was certain.

So back in the summer I scouted all over the county looking for Pickling Cucumbers. I handled them in the farmers market, the grocery stores, peoples gardens and everywhere just looking for the perfect pickling cukes.  I asked folks about them and was told yeah, these will do......but I didnt buy. Then I called my mother in law that lives in a neighboring county, and she said well you need them to be a certain size and so on. Ok, back on the hunt for the most perfect cucumbers. 

I finally was about to give up and I found a local farmer that was selling his wares and one of the produce items he had for sale was cucumbers. They were pretty too. They were green and firm but there was no sign that said they were pickling cucumbers. Now being new to the canning game, I thought you had to have PICKLING CUCUMBERS like that was a breed or a variety special to the recipe. After NOT buying them all these months, I had waited until almost the very last minute to get the job done, and time was wasting fast. So I bit the bullet and finally uttered those words that will live in the lady clerk's memory forevery.  I know that because I can still hear her laughing at me.   I walked to the counter and placed my money on the counter and asked her point blank when the pickling cucumbers would be in . She said "Honey, they are back there just take as many as you want and think you will need."  I looked all over the counter. There was nothing telling me that they were pickling cucumbers, just plain on cukes on a shelf.  So I go back and thats when she tells me that ANY cucumber can be pickled. Anything just about can be pickled. And she laughed. Out loud. Long and with a wheeze and a grab at her side. She asked me why I hadnt bought them all the other times I had been in there and I told her I was looking for PICKLING CUCUMBERS.  More laughter.  Ok, I bought them and came home.

I had gone to the store and gotten the rings, lids, and jars needed for the task. I had the sugar, the recipe the lime and all I needed was the Pickling Spices. Do you know how much they are charging for those things nowadays?

I almost fainted. Thought sure I could get them cheaper at a Dollar store somewhere, so after driving all over the county to save a dollar or less on a bottle of spices and the other stuff it took, I finally got the needed items to start pickling.

Now in the recipe book it says to wash the cucumbers before you put them in the lime water. Ok. I took each and every single cucumber and washed them, not rinsed them but held with one hand on the end and put dish liquid on them and washed them with the other hand. It was a strange motion if you were a neighbor and looked through the window at me doing this jerking motion about my waist high and if you looked from behind it looked strange, but I was indeed washing each and every cucumber with Dawn dish liquid and then rinsing them. Each one of them.

Got them all washed and dried and then I had to cut them into slices. OK. Did that. Put them in the lime water and left them and stirred them as it said. Cant be a metal pan, cant use a metal spoon, has to be a crock, etc.    By now I am having some serious doubts about these pickles but I am half in and half out of the chore so might as well go on.

Out of the water they have to come and it said to wash them off, so again, I washed every single slice of limey cucumber. Every individual slice.  It took hours. My back and body hurt so bad. Then I had to boil the stuff that goes over the packed jars.  Forgot that you have to wash and sterilize the jars before you can pack them.   So, I get the slices out of the crock, then have to put them back in the crock while I boil the jars and the lids to pack them. Now the stock pot that I am using to sterilize these jars and lids is several feet tall, so by the time you get it on the stove, its a little hard to work with since I am not a tall person so it called for getting a stool to stand on to stir the jars while they "cooked."  No one tells you that they dont have to cook, just boil and sterilize.  I cooked the jars and lids until there was no water left. Those were some hot rings, lids and jars.  I got a very good steam bath from that incident.  Back off the stool and back to the chips in the crock. Back and forth. I had seen this same movement of step up step down in videos of people trying to lose weight but had no idea you had to do this to make pickles.

Ok, we are now ready to put the clean jars on the counter and pack the slices in them. Did that. Got the sugary, spicy mixture in each jar and then sealed them and put them into their hot bath.

Back out, drained and ready to sit and listen to the jars seal. I was so excited.

The jars sealed and I was the proud owner of 12 pint jars of sweet/spicy pickles. I am so happy. And I am worn out.

So my lesson learned and the cost of the lesson was:

Cucumbers of almost any size can be pickled. They DO NOT have to have a sign on them that say Pickling cucumbers.  :Price paid: $6.43 for 2 gallons of gas spent trying to find the perfect cucumbers with a sign that says PICKLING cukes.HOT WATER TO WASH EVERY SINGLE CUCUMBER AND SLICES 3 times each: $26.36 according to the Water Works and Sewer Board Bill I got for last month. JARS  LIDS   RINGS   $30       Trips to find Jars, lids, rings, lime,  $5.23 in gas.SUGAR  $7  Vinegar $6   Spices $4     

Now, looks to me like they could have made a sash that said Most Expensive Pickles. Then I would have won. So guess next year I just need to start earlier and them others better be worried cause this next year, I am taking home the ribbon for something............just see.

He Said Its Like Living With Lucy.....
by DebraThomas
Sep 27, 2011 | 1775 views |  0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

I write a lot about my family. Well that's about all I know. I have had them since I was born and then I married, and I got inlaws, so thats all I can relate too.  Oh I worked for over 30 years and if it was a legal job, I did it, but my body gave out long before I wanted to have to stop working, and well, the mind, some days its there and somedays.......

I laugh a whole lot. I laugh at commercials, the animals, my 84 year old Best Friend I call Moma and well just in general. Not all the time is it just hysterical here but when I laugh, I do it with my whole body. And its sometimes at the most peculiar or worst places, like at a funeral or in church or something somber. And even if I am here at home, I can start laughing and get so tickled that I just can not stop and it gets louder. Then when my husband, who is my other best friend, asks me what I am laughing about, I cant straiten up to tell him. And then he sees no humor in that, so he gets miffed and I just go into a screaming howling laughter.   If indeed laughter is the best medicine I should have no medical problems.

Then there are things he finds so darn funny that I dont and thats the times he tells folks that living with me is like living with Lucille Ball.  You just never know what its going to be like from one day to the next.   I dont get it. I dont think I am that unusual.

I have been married so long, I cant remember life without my husband. And I dont want to.  But there are times he can tell one of my "happenings" and I just want to crawl under something.

One of his favorites is when we were newly married. I was working (told you I worked almost my whole life) anyway, I was at work in Jacksonville and there was a gym next door to the bank I worked at.  Well, Hubby had made mention several times about he likes the marital arts and how he would love to train with different teachers and the different techniques and so on, so I just came home all excited one day and told him I had read this sign at the gym and they were offering classes. And one of the new classes they were offering was something called MING SOON. 

With a very quizical look on his face, he asked me over and over what the new class was and I would tell him Ming Soon.  I had heard of Karate and some of the other forms of Martial Arts and I was trying to impress my new husband and how I had taken an interest in his interests.

So after a week or so I guess that curiosity had gotten the best of him and he came to my job. We went to the gym and before he entered the door to inquire about the classes, he looked at me, took me by the arm, and said,

"Deb, look at the sign. It says that they have Karate and they have new classes....but it supposed to say COMING SOON.  The C and O have fallen off and are laying beside the sign on the floor."

Without missing a beat, I wasnt going to let him know I was embarrassed, so I just looked him in the eye and said, "well, I know they have different names for their forms and types of martial arts, so I thought MING SOON was a new one. "

And to this day he still thinks it is so funny.

I dont get it........

He has a strange sense of humor.

I Just Couldn't Have Done It......Nope
by DebraThomas
Sep 27, 2011 | 2655 views |  0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

I am a firm believer that God puts you where He wants you to be at the time He wants you to be there.  With that said, I could never have been a Pioneer Woman.

Nope, couldnt have done it.

I get tired just getting the clothes out of the washer and putting them in the dryer. The idea of having to carry the clothes to the river or stream and then beat them with a rock, I cant even get the hamper downstairs without wheezing and having to get something to eat or drink on the way back.   Then it requires  sitting in the recliner and watching TV just to rest up for the next load. And its just the two of us!!

I wouldnt have made it on a farm either. I love the animals too much. I would have named all the chickens and cows and whatever else there was and couldnt imagine and dont want to now, the way we would get food on the table.

So thats out.   Just to get a Peanut Butter and Cracker with a Coke or Pepsi would have been out the question too. No stores, not much food and there wasnt a whole lot of gas or fuel around so walking would have to be the answer.

Well thats out , and there was no Walmart or Winn Dixie.  So couldnt just run to the store and get whatever.

Feeding the animals is a chore now and I just have the 3 dogs and 3 cats. Well and a husband but he isnt an animal.  Not always anyway, but if there is just one piece of chocolate left in the house, you better get out of the way. Reminds me of those old Mutual of Omaha shows where Jim was in the woods with the moma bear protecting her young and how she reacted, well, imagine a 50 year old man hunting a Snickers or Reese Cup in the middle of the night......not a pretty sight. Especially if there isnt one.

I thought I had it rough just trying to get the outfit ready for him to go to work and a lunch packed and gas in the car for him to go to and from work.  Man, I just wouldnt have made it in the earlier days.

I saw OLD photos this weekend at a local festival we had in Weaver. There was one that struck me and it was a store back in the early 1900s and it was stocked full of fruits and vegetables. The photo was of course in black and white and even then it shows so much detail. I dont know if its my habit of just loving food or what the attraction was but that was my favorite photo of all the ones I displayed on Saturday.  

In those days they didnt worry about feeding the dogs a certain brand of food or having one for overweight dogs or ones that had skin allergies and so on. There was no such thing as cat food back then, or at least it wasnt advertised in the photo, the cats lived outside and ate rats and whatever.

So I took a poll and the votes here in this house from the cats, dogs and myself are that we are where we are supposed to be. And we are doing what we are supposed to do, keeping the man of the house full, pretty well happy with life and gas in the car.

No, I would not have made a good Pioneer Woman. So when I complain now because the dryer door wont shut; the hot water heater is leaking; there is a hole in the siding; the lightbulbs are burnt out and I cant reach them, I just take a breath, sit back down in that recliner and think to myself,

Now where is that last piece of Reese Cups hidden?


A Riddle For You.....
by DebraThomas
Sep 26, 2011 | 1628 views |  0 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

What does a belly dancer; Medieval Knight; the Civil War;TeePees;and sausage biscuits and fried pies with cornbread tasting and prettiest picklin' all have to do with each other?  

Now before you answer, there is a tank and a bunch of old cars involved too.

Well, now that you have had a chance to figure this out, and I dont know that you have, well I will tell you.   All of these are things I took photos of and have posted online but thats not the only thing.  These people and this food and these exhibits were all on display at the Weaver Station Hertiage Day Festival. So this should either peek your interest or it should bring a smile to your face because you were one of the thousands of folks that came through the gates at the Festival on Saturday, the 24th.

I am telling you, I saw more folks than I have seen at some college ball games. And most of these were from Weaver and the surrounding area, which tells you of the pride and the love that these folks have for this little town.

There were retired teachers, and retired students that mingled together. There were church families from long ago that stopped to say hello and share a smile. There were dogs and kids of all ages and sizes.  There was every color of jewelry to be found and crafts and artists work that was beyond words.

Music was on the scale of some of the best I have ever heard and when you take in to account that all of this was free, was under the trees and shade of the Weaver Elwell Park and you could come and go with no stamp on your hand or admission charge, well it was just one more fine sight to see. And the seeing was only one of the senses that was stimulated during the festival. There was Smoke N Hot Irish BBQ and he had smoke billowing from his fires all day, then you walked across the trail and there was freshly cooked popcorn with a cold drink ready for you. How about a nice, juicy hot dog cooked outdoors, that is always good, and slather it with coleslaw or cabbage....mmmmmm its making my mouth water right now, not to mention the cotton candy and snow cones. Then you needed to have the sense to feel the warmth from the fire the Boy Scouts built from where they stayed out in the park all night, and then the tightrope they had on display to walk. Or you could shoot the plates lined up at the edge of the woods. How about watching a woman do a belly dance right in the middle of Weaver Park. She was really good and pretty but well, you just dont want to see me belly dancing. I was more iinclined to be the one in the massage chair getting a massage while folks walked on past me to get to the Senior Citizens Building where there were hot biscuits with sausage and fried pies just made that morning waiting to be gobbled up. And they were gobbled up, FAST.  Not a crumb of a brownie was leftover.

The Civil War actors were quite busy doing their parades and shooting rifles at unexpected times during reenactments. Then there was a Midevil Knight and His Lady there to demonstrate the way they lived at an even early time. Indian Tee Pees were there for you to exlplore and take a nap in as we found one young person heading that way but being told by her mom, no its time to go home. But the little girl had other plans. She wanted to sleep in a teepee like the Indian Children did. 

As you rounded the corner, the Blue Knights had their big motorcycles on display. Beautiful motorcycles that are almost as big as my car, but worth a lot more. These guys are policeman that do charitable work for others and are special to us for many reasons.

There were crafters with feathers for your hair or face painting to be done. A MoonWalk and a Slide was ready to have Children jump and yell as they played for quite a spell.

Music was heard throughout the park, some folks sat and some stood and others just walked and listened as County, Rock, Gospel and Slower Old Rock songs were sung.   CountryBags were give out with all sorts of goodies in them for people to go through when they got home. Much like a child at Halloween pours out their candies to see what has been given to them, adults are  the same way when handed something full of all sorts of neat stuff. It just kinda makes our day. And when they found out it was all free, well, hey, lets walk and see what else is here.

So no matter the age or gender, when it all comes down to it, we like to have a good time. And a good time is usually found in a park. And when the park has a festival and there are free toys and games and things for the parents to do, well, it makes it a little more fun for the children too.

We all need a break from the hustle and bustle of being so rushed. Walking in the park and celebrating a small towns heritage, well, it just doesnt get much better nor more Southern than that. And I for one am so glad I got to see it all and be a part of it all, because I was told to look for about 100 or so people to show up and when the people just kept coming and kept coming, I was thrilled. You couldnt get the smile off of my face. I didnt take time to eat the food that was there but with that  Barbq smoke billowing in the air, it was hard not to. But I was having so much fun and meeting new folks and the ones I used to know, well, it was like a homecoming of sorts for the old and the new. We celebrated what we always knew and what my moma told me a long, long time ago, and I never forgot : 

No matter where you go, you will never be able to get away from your roots.

You know what, I am glad I didnt. Life is so much sweeter when you have someone to share it with. And I found I have a lot of people that like me and some that really love me, be it Sunday School teachers from when I was a child, old neighbors from my childhood home, and people I wen to school with and played with and some that I am related too.  Life is good. Small towns are good. And when you have a park and music, pretty weather and lots to see and do.........well, life just dont get much better than this.

Now before I close and let you think that you have missed out, we will do this again in the same park and at the same time next year. But you dont have to wait that long to get that funny feeling of love and rememberence.

We will be having a Chirstmas Parade in Downtown Weaver on December 3. We have a mighty fine line up of folks, and as soon as Santa comes through, well thats not the end of it. WHY NO SIR EEE.....................stick around and go to the Christmas in the park.  There will be music from the local church choirs; other singers will be singing Christmas music and there will be all sorts of Christmas themed HANDMADE and Homemade items for sale. So you come to the CHRISTMAS PARK on DEC 3 and we will be winding up the Parade there but we will just beginning to get the Christmas in the Park started. Chili Cook Offs and Hot Chocolate. All sorts of things to keep us warm as we gather to listen to the stories of old and the music sung by young and old alike as it has been through the years.

So, come on and see me in the Park on December 3. Mark your calendars for the Parade to start at 10 am at the Elementary School and wind up at the park.

Join us at the park, wont you? Just tell them Deb sent you.

Are you Coming to the Park??
by DebraThomas
Sep 16, 2011 | 1754 views |  0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

I am so excited! I have been telling you about the Weaver Station Heritage Day Celebration for a while now, and we are almost there!!! Its going to be great. It has been so long in the planning stages that now we are almost to Celebration Day and its as exciting to me as if it were a county fair or something. There is going to be a cornbread tasting contest; prettiest pickling contest; arts, crafts; prizes; games for kids; pinto beans to eat with the cornbread; demonstrations from Civil War folks and Knights in Armour will be there. The Calhoun County Sheriffs Department is going to show up in one of those BIG vehicles they have and there is just all sorts of live music that's going to be played during the course of the day. The Boy Scouts are going to be there and people that have all sorts of Indian artifacts and dances and just a little of anything dealing with the Indians that once lived here will be evidenced.  I am just like a child when it comes to this sort of stuff.....old cars, antique tractors, who knows what all will be there. And the most exciting part to me is that I was not only involved, I got asked to be the GREETER at the gates. Do you know what that means?  I will get to see everybody that comes and get to hand them brochures and information and booklets and well I guess you will just have to come and see me and I will show you what all I have for you.

It is going to be so, are you going to the park on Sept 24th? If so, I will see you there.....and tell me you read it in the blog......

Thanks and I will see you on the 24th!!!

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