Saturday, October 26, 2013


This blog post once again comes courtesy of the recent housekeeping I was performing on my desktop. A few years ago, I worked with a man...we will call him Phil. His name wasn't Phil, but it's close and you still get that alliterative effect when saying "Farting Phil" and that's important to the story. I worked for about 9 years with Farting Phil...his office was right across from mine. He was a very strange bird. He ate beans and/or chili every single day for lunch. He would heat up the beans and/or chili and then cut up an entire raw onion and stir it in and eat the whole thing with a sleeve of crackers. The eye-watering emanations a couple of hours later would have gagged a goat. No lie. Out where I work, you couldn't have flame or flame-producing I was reduced to fighting off Farting Phil's odiferous afternoon air biscuits with a non-industrial candle warmer.

He was a really decent engineer when it came to actual work...but his people skills were abysmal. He came from a different era (and from the NORTH). His sense of humor was crude, at best and he had the tact of a rhinoceros.

Example: A gathering of three women (I was one) in the breakroom, one of them pregnant (not me!)...all three in a PRIVATE conversation about morning sickness when Phil walks in for coffee.

Pregnant woman: "I just don't know when this nausea is going to let up."

Woman #2: "I always used to keep some saltines on hand and they really help."

Me: "I just really never had much morning sickness but I've heard that...

Phil, strolling up the table where we are sitting and standing there...just standing there with his cup of coffee...his crotch at eye level with all of us as he unceremoniously breaks into our conversation with:

"Well...I remember when my ole lady was knocked up, she'd blow chunks all morning, stuff her face at lunch and then barf all afternoon. Yeah, but at least it kept her ass from getting too big."
That conversation really happened. I won't say it was verbatim because I'm not 100% sure whether he said "barf" or "ralphed."
By-and-by as our project wound down (as we all knew it would), Phil's lay-off date rolled around. By this time, I was his manager, and his out-processing fell to me. On his last day at work, right after our out-briefing, Phil knocked on my office door, came in and said, "Hey, Marianne. I was just thinking that if you ever needed a picture of me, I'd leave you with this..."

I know what you're thinking, (some version of WTF?) because of course you are...but yes...that is Phil with a samurai sword slicing milk jugs in half in his back yard. And he thought I should have it. And then he left. I've never really gotten the "why" of this photograph. For several weeks I sort of kept my eye out for some sort of Ninja Farting Phil to spring from some bushes and decapitate me for being the one to actually lay him off...but the fact of the matter was, he'd known for two years when his release date was and he wasn't all that upset about it. The picture will always remain something of an enigma to me...and now I share that mystery with you.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Entertaining angels

We still have a feral cat problem at my place of employment over a year after a first wrote about it here.  We have been steadily addressing the problem and have been making all kinds of progress...and today we hit a watershed moment.  Today, we trapped what we believe to be the THE LAST fertile female feral feline.  She's been caught before...but when Jan (the very, very tenderhearted lady who spearheads the effort to get all of God's creatures into a loving home...or at least fed) took her to the vet, he told her she was still nursing...probably a young litter, so Jan returned her immediately to care for her brood.  She's had two other litters since then and has evaded all other attempts at capture.  Her last litter was getting that teenager look (well, tween anyway...big enough to be weaned for sure) and her baby-daddy (who was NOWHERE to be seen for awhile) had started to come catting around again.  We knew that we had a narrow window in which to act.

Finally, we convinced Jan to skip at least one feeding to get them good and hungry. 

Jan: "I just hate the thought of them going hungry tonight."

Me: "Are you kidding me?  You feed those kittens on a more regular schedule than I feed MY CHILD.  They will be fine."

It broke her tender little heart to do it, but within 5 minutes of baiting a trap with some really stinky wet food, we had Momma cat trapped and en route to her special surgery.  We reset the trap and got this little fellow:

There are two more that look just like him and then another yellow kitten.  Jan has a lady that has worked wonders socializing the other litters of kittens from out here and she said that she had the time and space for these four. (Of course, right now we only have one in custody...the others are still on the lam).  They are really beautiful kittens...and like I said, their siblings (at least half-siblings) have turned out to be wonderful pets after being socialized.
Please let me know if you are at all interested in adoption of one of these cuties once they're a little less bite-y and Tasmanian-devil-like.
Also, the cat-whisperer who will be re-civilizing the little monsters....err...angels will be getting Momma cat after her surgery tomorrow.  After she gets over being pissed off that her hoe-ing days are over, we believe that she will come around and will actually be relieved to no longer being a kitten factory and will need a home as well.

Updated Update:

Momma cat is not only no longer a Hoe...She is also not feral in the least. She's had her special surgery and did really well. I got her out of her cage after she returned from the vet's office and she was a bundle of purring calico love.  She was desperate for some petting.  She was mighty unhappy about going back into the carrier...and she's still going to the lady who's domesticating Momma's demon spawn (they are feral) for fostering.  Please let me know if you can provide her a permanent home.  Now that she's spayed and up-to-date on shots, she will make someone a wonderful loving girl.

Also?  We captured the yellow kitten.  He is very, very fuzzy and cute...unfortunately, he is a complete asshole.  He will need some time with our kitten-tamer, but in a couple or three weeks should be ready for a home as well.

Friday, October 18, 2013


Given her genetics, I suppose that it will come as a surprise to no one when I tell you that my child can be something of a smarty-britches.  She gets her smartassedry honestly from her Dad.  Just looking around my desk I have several examples of her humor:

Exhibit A: A couple of years ago, I kept getting quizzed as to what I wanted for Christmas...and honestly, I couldn't come up with anything.  So anytime anyone asked me, my answer was: "World Peace." Lo and behold, on Christmas morning, my gift from my child:

She had gone to Hobby Lobby, bought a blue foam ball and created for me "World Peace."

Exhibit B:  I freaking hate squirrels.  They are nothing but tree rats.  The squirrels in my back yard and I have had hostile relations since we bought our house...they chew on shit I have stored in our shed...they've built nests inside my Christmas wreaths and birthed more of their flea-ridden kind...they taunt my dogs and cause them to get foaming-at-the-mouth hysterical...and they sit up in trees and make that weird, chittering squacking sound at me that sounds like four-letter-words in squirrel-speak.  I visited my friend, Nance in Canada where they had some vicious-looking demon-spawn black squirrels that also acted like they hated me.  I came back from my trip and told my family that it looked like the word was out on me in squirrel-dome because it had spread internationally that I was on the squirrel shit-list.
So naturally, when I asked my child at the beginning of the year to get me a calendar at the bookstore for my office, she came back with one full of squirrels.

Just look at these greedy little bastards.

This squirrel is clearly saying, "Imma gonna eat your brain just like this pine cone, lady.  Better lock up at night."

This one is so evil it's grown hell-beast horns...and it's scratching at the bubonic-plague-carrying fleas on its chest.  Filthy creature. (Shudder)

Final exhibit: I love cats. I love funky I was very pleased when I opened up my birthday present this summer and found this in my bag o' goodies the kiddo had put together:

Until I was heading out the door one day shortly after my birthday wearing it...she stopped me and said, "You can't WEAR that, Mom!  I bought it as a joke!"

"A joke? I don't get it."

"Bend your finger back and looks like it's humping your finger."

So, yeah.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Best. Christmas. Gift. Ever

I told the story here about the best gift I ever got.  Now let me tell you about the best gift I ever gave...

I am not the originator of this idea.  My friend Beth told ME about it years ago...and she said that she'd heard about it somewhere, but couldn't remember where.  It's basically the most awesome thing you can do for anyone (particularly a parent)...but it takes A LOT of time and effort.  That's why I'm posting this in mid-October...if you're gonna do this for someone, it will take you a minute to get it all together.

My parents are divorced, so I had to do this project twice, because if I did this for one of them, I practically HAD to do it for both.  Not that I didn't want to do one for them both...but I needed a lot more time since many of my "memories" applied to one or the other of them.  For purposes of demonstration, I am going to share the list I made for my Dad.  Mom's list had a lot more dealing with puberty, PMS, first periods, training bras, etc.  I think we're all more comfortable sharing my Dad's list.

The basic premise of this gift is that it lasts all year.  You buy yourself a box or a jar (I went with a big glass jar with a lid).  Inside the jar are 365 strips of paper, each with a memory on it.  The person you give the Memory Jar to is allowed read a memory a day.  I found that the easiest thing to do was start a Word document of memories...when something would occur to me, I'd jot it down and then add it to my master list.  After I had 365, I printed them off and then hand-wrote the memories onto pieces of paper that I folded up and put in the jar.  Looking back, I wish I had done the hand-writing in stages as well...I was nearly crippled on December 23rd the year I did this because I had to have a two day marathon of memory writing.  It was brutal.

Anyway, here they are...some of these only make sense to me & my Dad...but it gives you an idea of the kind of thing you can easily jot down.  I found that one memory would lead to'll probably notice clumps of similar-themed memories.  But since you're going to be separating all of these onto their own pieces of paper, you can be sure to mix them all up really well.

For the record, #35 is still the best advice I have ever been given.

Dad’s List

  1. I remember how you taught me to ski.  We were in Burnett, TX and you threw me out of the boat and then pushed some skis out to me.  You told me I could swim back to shore or ski back to shore.  I think I swallowed half the lake.

  1. I remember how you taught me to slalom…you waited until I was in the water and then only gave me one ski…we were at Logan Martin this time…but you still said, “you can swim back to shore or ski back to shore, your choice.”

  1. I remember how you always used to say “Heeeeeyyyy, Boo-boo!” in a Yogi Bear impression.

  1. I remember loving to look at the picture of myself in my baby book where I was sleeping in a drawer.  You told me once that you guys would just shut the drawer if I started crying.  I knew you were kidding.

  1. I remember how I used to beg to ride with you when we were traveling to a new job site.  You always had the better snacks.

  1. I remember you telling me how Mel Tillis really did stutter when he talked but not when he sang.

  1. I remember how you made me leave the room when Dirty Harry came on TV.

  1. I remember the fishing trip we took on the Grand Mesa.

  1. I remember how on the way to our fishing trip to the Grand Mesa, we almost hit an eagle (or hawk) that nearly flew into our windshield.

  1. I remember the hail storm in Elk City and how we ended up having to stay in the trailer because the hail was too big to make a run for the storm shelter.

  1. I remember having a garden at Farmington Estates.  You told me one day I’d understand how it feels good to grow your own food.  I have to say, I still prefer Winn Dixie.

  1. I remember picking up a 5 gallon bucket of rocks every day one summer before we were allowed to do anything else.

  1. I remember having only sub-flooring for MONTHS at Farmington while we waited on the grass to come in before we could get carpet.

  1. I remember you walking me through replacing a water pump in the Buick Regal I drove for awhile.

  1. I remember when we came back to Alabama from Colorado & you had CASES of Coors in the hallway of the trailer.  It was just like Smokey & the Bandit.  Sort of.

  1. I remember one day when we were living in Owassa, OK.  You came home from work and decided we needed an Intellivision gaming system.  We went after supper and bought one.  It wasn’t Christmas or anything.

  1. I remember the first game we got for the Intellivision was Lock & Key…sort of the alternative PacMan.  We played it for hours.

  1. I remember you telling me that if Scotty Gills made me cry one more time, I had better pick up the nearest thing and knock him in the head with it.  When I did, and gave the poor boy a concussion, you wouldn’t let anyone make me apologize.

  1. I remember when we were on the pipeline and you said your job was “grease monkey.”

  1. I remember the pipliner’s hat that you had made for me.  It was light blue and had a little bit of lace on the pocket.

  1. I remember how much you liked the first Cross pen set I bought you the first year I worked at Couch’s jewelry store.

  1. I remember how you used to say how much Granny “loved her pretties.”

  1. I remember you teaching me to play Rook.  And how to “shoot the moon.”

  1. I remember when you forced a plug of Coppenhagen down our cat, Socks, to try to get rid of worms and how the poor thing just puked and puked.

  1. I remember when Socks would occasionally hike all the way back to Granny’s house when it rained and our mud-yard would be a mess.  He did it three or four times and you always went to get him & bring him home.

  1. I remember when you thought you saw Socks between our house and Granny’s and you told me you got out and tried to get him to come to you.  I think he’s the only cat we ever had that you actually liked.

  1. I remember when one of my cats was in your truck engine one morning when you started it up and you thought you’d killed it, but he came back two days later with half of his fur gone.

  1. I remember going to kindergarten & saying that I’d just have you pick me up on your way home from work.

  1. I remember how grossed out I would get when you’d clean frogs after frog gigging.

  1. I remember how Granny set fire to the side yard one day burning trash & you had to put it out with a garden hose.

  1. I remember you taking me to Auburn.  You took one look at my dorm room and went to Wal-mart for cleaning supplies.

  1. I remember when you left after dropping me off at Auburn.  It was the first time I can remember you kissing me on the lips.  You looked like you wanted to cry.

  1. I remember once watching you use a grinder on the trailer hitch.  It jumped up and cut your cheek…you just went right on grinding and I thought you were THE TOUGHEST GUY EVER.

  1. I remember how you’d take My daughter to the arrangement over the kitchen door & point to the fake apples…”apple” was her first word, but we all knew you did it so that she’d naturally say “papa” next.

  1. I remember you telling me that “If you want a man, you can have one.  I never want you to need one.”

  1. I remember you telling me that kids crumbled their biscuits up but grown ups cut theirs in half before putting the gravy on.

  1. I remember the first lab we had.  His full name was Midnight Spooker.

  1. I remember how much you hated my first cat, Pumpkin, but that you always spent however long it took to find him & get him packed away before we moved each time.

  1. I remember when I got a whole fishbowl full of tadpoles and how they started turning into frogs and got out one day in the trailer.

  1. I remember your nickname for me when I was little was “Slim.”

  1. I remember you telling me about how I had colic as a baby and an old woman doctor in Bremen, GA finally told you “Why, this baby is allergic to milk” and how you had to feed me ground beef heart formula and how bad it stank.

  1. I remember how you used to get commodity cheese.  You’d grate it onto leftover spaghetti.

  1. I remember once I ate all of the frog legs before you got home, but you weren’t mad, you just ate a hamburger.

  1. I remember flooding the bathroom once when I wasn’t paying attention to the tub filling up and I thought you’d KILL me, but you said it wasn’t a big deal.

  1. I remember buying you the Lonesome Dove VHS tape set one year for Christmas and I could tell you really liked it.

  1. I remember when My daughter was little, if we ever went more than 2 or 3 days without dropping by, you’d come see us as we were leaving the house.

  1. I remember that you drove me to the hospital the night of Jeff’s accident.

  1. I remember when the doctors said that in order for Jeff to come home, the house would have to be completely dust-free because of his lungs.  You and Norma cleaned it from top to bottom.

  1. I remember My daughter telling me that she thought that “10-4” was a special code word that you said just to her.

  1. I remember being in college before anyone told me that “oooo-geee” was not universal for “brrrrr” when you’re cold.  I thought that everyone did that.

  1. I remember that you taught me to drive a stick shift.

  1. I remember how you always have called money “geidas.”

  1. I remember when you grew a beard and you looked a lot like Kenny Rogers.

  1. I remember you always had real handkerchiefs.

  1. I remember that you used to only wear the kind of socks with a green line across the toe.

  1. I remember going up into Granny’s attic with you to get her Christmas tree down.

  1. I remember when you painted Memaw’s front porch for her.

  1. I remember you brought back a yucca plant for Memaw.

  1. I remember when you moved that water oak from down by the hedgerow at Granny’s house up to the front yard.

  1. I remember when I had my appendicitis.  We were living in Pell City and had to drive all the way to Anniston.

  1. I remember that I wore the clutch out on my first car like 5 times.

  1. I remember that my first car cost $500 and I paid you $50 a month from my job at Harco drugs to pay it off.

  1. I remember when you rescued some baby squirrels from a tree the city took down. You had some animal milk from the vet in the refrigerator and I accidentally put it in my coffee.  GROSS!

  1. I remember when you almost choked on a piece of steak and we didn’t have steak for like a year.

  1. I remember how mad Christy used to get when she’d make a glass of tea, and you’d say “Thanks” and drink half of it.

  1. I remember once you cut yourself on a knife that was down in some soapy water.  You really needed stitches, but just used a butterfly bandage.

  1. I remember you letting me use your welding helmet to look at an eclipse.

  1. I remember when my friend David came over and was going to go knock on my bedroom door to see if I was ready, and you caught him by the collar and said, “Hold up there, hoss.” You scared the crap out of him.

  1. I remember you telling me about finding Max trying to smooth out the rocks on Granny’s grave.

  1. I remember you fishing off the pier at Ginger’s old house.

  1. I remember you going along with Bobby when he had us all afraid of the “snipe” that might get us during the Halloween hay ride.

  1. I remember my little rocking chair that had a music box on one of the skids.

  1. I remember you taking all of the things that might choke me off of one of my toy cars…I basically had a car with no wheels, hood or doors.

  1. My VERY first memory is one of you getting me out of the front seat of a truck at night.  I don’t know if we were going to a wedding or a funeral or what, but we were dressed up.  I had on a dress and tights and you rubbed my legs and said, “ooo-gee, ooo-gee, ooo-gee.”

  1. I remember showing you my all “A” report card and you saying, “That looks about right.”

  1. I remember during a winter in Oklahoma, you tried to go fishing in a flat bottomed boat when the water was frozen.  You pushed the boat out into the middle, got in it and jumped up and down trying to break the ice.

  1. I remember how scared I was when we thought you had a heat stroke in Texas and you were in the hospital for a few days and I had to stay with Aunt Nette, and Nathan was a little demon child.

  1. I remember how all of the men in the family used to play Rook at Memaw’s house during holidays after we ate.

  1. I remember you always getting a beer, taking a couple of good swigs and then adding tomato juice straight in the can.

  1. I remember how you always packed sardines and crackers into that old black lunchbox you had.

  1. I remember you’d keep potted meat in a compartment on the boat.

  1. I remember you telling me how a live well worked.

  1. I remember how you’d absolutely try to kill people when you were pulling them on the boat when they were skiing or boogie-boarding.

  1. I remember the special island we always went to on Logan Martin.

  1. I remember camping out on the island on Logan Martin in sleeping bags.

  1. I remember you showing me the tree that had all of the mayflies in it on that island on Logan Martin.

  1. I remember the green army blanket that had the ties that I would use to make a tent in the living room.

  1. I remember you giving me your old Buck knife.  I still have it at work.

  1. I remember you putting chewing tobacco on my bee sting.

  1. I remember you using your knife to get a splinter out of my foot & it didn’t hurt a bit.

  1. I remember you pulling my baby teeth with a piece of floss.

  1. I remember once you told me that my aunt let my cousin be mean to me because my cousin was ugly and I was pretty and my aunt hated that.  I don’t know if it was true, but I sure liked you saying it.

  1. I remember how you’d call that old purple truck your “one-owner.”

  1. I remember getting fishing poles one year for Christmas.  Mine had Snoopy on it.

  1. I remember laying sod that came from the old football field.  That was some seriously hard work.

  1. I remember burning pine needles in the ditches at Granny’s house.  Everytime I smell pine needles burning, it reminds me of that.

  1. I remember we all got poison ivy when we cleared the land down in Farmington.

  1. I remember having pink eye and you were the only one I trusted to put the drops in my eyes.

  1. I remember getting Scarlitina on my 7th birthday and missing most of my party because I went back to my bedroom and laid down because I felt so bad.  You put cold washcloths on my head that night.

  1. I remember that if any of us kids threw up, you’d turn green and almost throw up yourself.

  1. I remember you buying some REALLY smelly fish bait on our way to fish one day. I think it was rotten chicken livers or something.

  1. I remember you telling me what night crawlers were & showing me how to dig for them.

  1. I remember you telling me that if I stole a washcloth and buried it, my wart would go away.

  1. I remember My daughter wanting to call and tell you to “get the doctor” after he gave her a shot.  Her papaw was always telling her he’d “get’em” for her.

  1. I remember how you’d hold a crying baby and howl like a dog and say, “You hear that?  Those dogs’ll come get you if you don’t stop crying. Wooooooo”

  1. I remember when my cat, Pumpkin, got a broken leg and we had to let the vet put him in that weird brace/cast thing.  You’d sometime dangle a piece of string or something for him to play with.

  1. I remember when I was getting a wrench down for you from on top of the ‘fridge and hit myself in the head.  It was a little cut, but bled like all get-out.

  1. I remember you smoked a meatloaf. It was awesome.

  1. I remember when I had to borrow your smoker.  You let me borrow a rug so that my van didn’t get dirty.  I kept the rug…it’s still on my back porch.

  1. I remember telling you I was having a little girl.

  1. I remember how we drove together when Christy was having Jordan.  You looked as scared as I felt.

  1. I remember how when we were waiting for Jordan to be born, you walked the halls with My daughter, bouncing her and talking baby talk to her.

  1. I remember how you’d eat cornbread and buttermilk out of a glass.  That’s still really gross.

  1. I remember how we’d tape all of the cabinet doors shut in the trailer before we’d move it.

  1. I remember that you didn’t like one of my friends, but were still polite to her.

  1. I remember how hard you worked on our house in Farmington before we moved in.

  1. I remember riding on the Snapper riding lawnmower with Granny.

  1. I remember you buying pig-skin boots.

  1. I remember a suede sports jacket you bought and how good it smelled.

  1. I remember you taking plates of fish you and Norma had fried out to Gary when he just about couldn’t stand anything.

  1. I remember the Father’s Day when you invited Gary over and he had such a good time.

  1. I remember that yours is the best coleslaw I have ever eaten.

  1. I remember when Shannon’s cat got caught on one of your fishing poles you left out.

  1. I remember you coming to Children’s Hospital when My daughter had her tonsils out.

  1. I remember you telling me that I couldn’t snore after I’d had my tonsils and adenoids out.  Jeff would beg to differ.

  1. I remember that you used to wear Aramis cologne.

  1. I remember Ginger telling me that you are the one that named her “Ginger Sue.”

  1. I remember you taught me how to make chili.

  1. I remember you TRYING to teach me to make cornbread.  I still can’t make a pone, just muffins.

  1. I remember you and Norma making me green chili for the first time. I’d never had chili with pork.

  1. I remember how I’d make extra chili and ask you to make me cornbread, and we’d swap.

  1. I remember we thought that someone had broken into Granny’s house, but it was just a squirrel that had come through the attic fan.

  1. I remember how much you always hated taking pictures.

  1. I remember you helping me move into my new house.  I couldn’t talk you into dropping Jeff’s horrible brown chair off of the back of the truck.

  1. I remember the shower head in our old trailer.  It was on a straight piece of pipe, and hinged near the bottom.  That thing conked me on the head a hundred times.

  1. I remember my friend Rolinda being jealous of my pipeliner/welder’s hat.

  1. I remember loving to watch you get the trailer ready to hitch up.

  1. I remember borrowing Norma’s snowsuit to go up to Iowa and then melting the back of it by standing too close to the furnace in the foundry up there.

  1. I remember living in Iowa where it seemed like all there was around were corn fields.

  1. I remember Granny coming out to Wyoming & we went up and saw Glacier park and stood on snow on the 4th of July.

  1. I remember living at the KOA in Carrolton, GA in October. I was a plain old ghost for Halloween…just a sheet with eyes and mouth cut out, but it seemed like that year ALL of the pipeline kids trick-or-treated with us.

  1. I remember how carefully you’d go through our Halloween candy before you’d let us eat any of it.

  1. I remember one year you had to fly out to Oklahoma to get our trailer.  I can’t remember why we had left it there.

  1. I remember you telling me the story of the time you were on a plane & they pulled off without removing the gangplank all the way and you saw the pilot’s lit cigarette fall out of his mouth.

  1. I remember one year we left our trailer in Tulsa and came home for a few weeks in winter.   When we came back, there were hundreds of dead ants in the toilet that you’d put antifreeze in.  You explained how they had tried to drink it anyway.

  1. I remember you feeding the neighbors’ dog really good chocolate hoping it would die.  What a waste of chocolate.

  1. I remember when we were traveling once, someone tried to open our hotel room door, but you had a gun for protection and told them so and they went away.

  1. I remember once a snake fell down into the boat with you.

  1. I remember the first cowboy boots you bought me.  They were Dingos.

  1. I remember that you did not like my hair cut short when I was 5…but Jackie and Christy had short hair, so I wanted it too.  I had no idea I’d have a cowlick.

  1. I remember Uncle Lyndon giving me silver dollars sometimes and you would put them up for me for when I was older.

  1. I remember living with you in Memaw’s old house, just the two of us.

  1. I remember me & Shannon making chili for you and Norma for a surprise when we were all four living together on Pinecliff.  She wanted to put KETCHUP in it….yuck.

  1. I remember the strawberry patch that Granny had going for a year.

  1. I remember how you’ve always saved me out some scuppernongs every year just to eat.

  1. I remember the first time I tried your scuppernong wine.  YUMMY.

  1. I remember you making me whiskey, lemon juice and honey when I was sick.

  1. I remember when you thought Christy was sneaking your Crown Royal and you replaced it with hot pepper juice.

  1. I remember you going down to get a Spartan trailer from Florida.  I don’t remember the name of the lady it belonged to…someone Bobby knew.

  1. I remember how much work you put into refinishing the paneling in our Spartan trailer.  It looked SO good when you were done.

  1. I remember eating green plums and salt with you.

  1. I remember gathering pecans with you behind Memaw’s house.

  1. I remember watching Smokey and the Bandit with you.

  1. I remember all of us going to the drive in, but I can’t remember what we saw…all I remember is how cool that speaker thing was that we hung on the window.

  1. I remember when you repaved Granny’s driveway.

  1. I remember when I was working on an aggravating project and you bought me a Koozie that said, “I don’t care if it doesn’t work right.  If it did, I’d be out of a job.”

  1. I remember you telling me that Jeff turned out alright, “After he’d been married a couple of years.”

  1. I remember just recently Jeff telling me that he wishes he could be as scary to boys as you were.

  1. I remember finding muscle shells on the Logan Martin island.

  1. I remember when I was in Auburn, my roomate’s car had trouble.  I knew it was her thermostat because you taught me about it.  She thought I was a genius.

  1. I remember you making a ramp for Jeff’s wheelchair.

  1. I remember you building a swing for My daughter in the front yard.

  1. I remember you getting my culvert fixed after a dump truck smashed it.

  1. I remember you sneaking down to Granny’s in the middle of the night to take up the fence that Mr. Brickhouse had put up down in the field.

  1. I remember going with you to the place where you got your pool table.

  1. I remember you taking the stitches out of my knee.

  1. I remember how you came to the surgery center when My daughter had her oral surgery when she was little.

  1. I remember the stinkin’ Lincoln.

  1. I remember going with you to fill up the propane tanks on the front of the trailer.

  1. I remember when we were living in Pell City, it snowed on April 1st.  When we first woke up I thought you were joking.

  1. I remember Norma teasing you about all of the toilet paper you bought at Sam’s.

  1. I remember how you’d always say that you wish we’d been born rich instead of so damn good-lookin’.

  1. I remember you telling me how to make the bacon-wrapped jalepenos.  Those things are awesome.

  1. I remember when you first started doing the bread and butter onions.  Everyone loves them.

  1. I remember the ladder at Granny’s that lead up into the attic.

  1. I remember the BBQ grills you used to make out of pipe.

  1. I remember you got tired of someone knocking down our mailbox in Farmington.  You welded one together & sunk a pipe down into the ground that you filled with concrete.  I’m sure someone was surprised when they tried to hit THAT with a baseball bat.

  1. I remember you coming to change my flat tire when I had one on the way to school my senior year.

  1. I remember the when I was finally old enough to wear just the ski belt when I was skiing and not the whole life vest.

  1. I remember when we were living in Tuttle, Oklahoma it seemed like we spent every other night in the storm shelter.

  1. I remember going to a real Indian village somewhere south of Oklahoma City.

  1. I remember you explaining to me what a “panhandle” was when talking about the shape of a state like Oklahoma, Florida or Texas.

  1. You bought me a mini-fridge and a coffee pot for my dorm room.  Probably kept me from starving!  I used to heat ravioli in my coffee pot.

  1. I remember the year that you gave me & Shannon $100 bills for Christmas.  Shannon lost hers at the mall when we went shopping the day after Christmas.

  1. I remember how you hated swallowing pills and would crush them up with a spoon, add juice and stir with a toothpick.

  1. I remember once in Oklahoma the air conditioner went out in the trailer and it was over 100 degrees and we had to go stay in a hotel room.

  1. I remember the tan suit you had that you wore for Easter when I was about 12 years old or so.

  1. I remember once you cut my bangs and kept trying to “even it up” until I practically HAD no bangs left.

  1. I remember you finishing the oak cabinets down in Farmington.  They looked great.

  1. I remember holding Jon in my lap and looking out the sliding glass door at Granny’s house while you fed Spooker.

  1. I remember when we tried to go no-salt and bought a salt substitute that was just downright nasty.

  1. I remember when you had the belt-buckle made with the silver dollar.

  1. I remember shucking oysters with you in the driveway at Pinecliff and eating them as fast as we shucked them.

  1. I remember how you’d play horseshoes in Memeaw’s front yard.

  1. I remember how you had the police go down and talk to Larry Gaither’s mother after I saw her wearing my class ring after the house had been broken into.

  1. I remember you having the tape of Stanley Merrell coming on to some store clerk.

  1. I remember you used to get those cable black boxes.

  1. I remember you trying crocs for the first time.  I didn’t think you’d like wearing them.

  1. I remember how My daughter used to think you were on TV when Bill Dance came on when she was little.

  1. I remember getting some of the big glass bottles for you to make wine in over in Birmingham.

  1. I remember when we all went down to Florida with Ginger’s family and a hurricane was coming in.  Jeff was all for trying to wait it out.  You told him that was fine, but that I’d be coming back with you.

  1. I remember you taking Jeff out deep-sea fishing and he was as sick as a dog.

  1. I remember you showing me what a wheat penny was.

  1. I remember you coming by and helping me get the lawnmower started when I was having trouble with it out on Rocky Mountain Rd.

  1. I remember how you’d always give Mr. Atkinson a bottle of Crown at Christmas.

  1. I remember watching Rooster Cogburn with you.

  1. I remember listening to Jerry Clower in the truck with you.

  1. I remember my favorite TV night was Thursday because it had Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley.

  1. I remember you always used Lava soap to clean up with after you’d been working.

  1. I remember how most fabric softeners besides Downey would make you itch.

  1. I remember the year you bought that back massager thing with the springs that went on your hand…I got it tangled in my hair first thing.

  1. I remember that couch we had in the trailer had pears on it.

  1. I remember that the drapes for the windows on the front of the trailer had to be special made.

  1. I remember how you could look at yourself in the double mirrors in the bathroom of the trailer and if you moved JUST close enough, it looked like you only had one eye.

  1. I remember how the doors separating the different parts of the trailer slid on tracks.

  1. I remember having to make out the couch every night for me and Christy to sleep on.

  1. I remember the round cricket containers you had.

  1. I remember asking you how they knew how many crickets they were giving you when we went to buy bait one day.  It didn’t look to me like they were counting close enough.

  1. I remember you used to put cut potatoes in for the crickets to eat if you had to keep them for any length of time.

  1. I remember you explaining the cicada “skins” that I found on trees and how you called them Caty-dids.

  1. I remember eating blackberries and milk.  The milk would turn purple.

  1. I remember Granny telling me that I had that “Donald Hart” look on my face sometimes.

  1. I remember how I loved it when we’d get a call for a job. We’d be packed and headed that way within 48 hours.

  1. I remember the handheld pocket poker game that you and Norma had that we all got addicted to.

  1. I remember that you used to always have a subscription to Field & Stream magazine.

  1. I remember when you had your kidney stone.  I called Christy in Atlanta to let her know that you were in the hospital and she was nearly hysterical.

  1. I remember how you got some EMS friends to give Jeff a bargain rate on his ambulance ride from the hospital.

  1. I remember how relieved you were when you passed your kidney stone yourself and they didn’t have to go “fishing” for it.

  1. I remember you telling me that a chicken would run around after its head was cut off of it and I was HORRIFIED.  I actually had nightmares.

  1. I remember finally getting to get my ears pierced for my 10th birthday.

  1. I remember thinking your frog-gigger contraption looked like a pitchfork.

  1. I remember getting our first 8mm camera.  We thought we were HIGH TECH.

  1. I remember going to Carowinds in Charlotte, NC.  Granny & Ginger had come up to visit.

  1. I remember briefly living in Bessemer and thinking what a dirty smelling town it was.

  1. I remember when you discovered Skin So Soft was good for keeping mosquitos away.

  1. I remember when you had to have a patch of skin removed & tested for cancer and how after that you ALWAYS kept sunscreen on.

  1. I remember you telling me that garlic pills would keep fleas off my cats.  You did not tell me how impossible it would be to get the cats to take the garlic pills.

  1. I remember you putting Vicks vapor rub on me and getting out the humidifier when I was sick.

  1. I remember you putting Noxema on sunburns.

  1. I remember that you always carried a thermos, but I don’t remember you drinking coffee.

  1. I remember the ladies at the dentist’s office teasing me about you never coming back after you had a bad experience at the dentist’s office.

  1. I remember thinking that I inherited your dislike and distrust of dentists.

  1. I remember you bringing brim home to stock the pond we had behind the house.

  1. I remember that I couldn’t believe that Jackie’s dad was your UNCLE.  It just didn’t seem like it should work that way.

  1. I remember being surprised to meet a lady named “June.” It still seems to me like a boy’s name since that’s what everyone called you.

  1. I remember finding out that you & Norma had gone & gotten married by finding the marriage license on the table.

  1. I remember you telling me about a pipeliner that had steel toed shoes that were too small and his pinkie toe stuck out past the steel toe.  You said that someone dropped a pipe on his foot and it cut his little toe off.

  1. I remember sometimes you would let me use the CB radio when we were travelling.

  1. I remember you telling me a joke about a guy you worked with that went to work on the Alaskan pipeline.  You said that he was out there and got chased by a polar bear and he ran to a tree that had its lowest branch 20 feet off the ground.  You  said, “He jumped and missed.” And when I said, “Oh no! Did the bear get him?”  You said, “Naw, he caught it on his way down.”

  1. I remember you letting My daughter go through your tackle box and take her favorite colored worms.

  1. I remember the pen you made for Spooker.  It was made out of railroad cross ties and could have probably held an elephant.

  1. I remember that the only time I’ve ever been able to stand listening to country music was in the truck with you.

  1. I remember when you first made jalapeno hushpuppies and you’d call them “hellos.”

  1. I remember making you a red velvet cake one year for your birthday and getting red food coloring all over the cook book.

  1. I remember you used to buy Juicy Fruit gum.

  1. I remember when Granny had a TERRIBLE smell coming in from the vents.  You went under the house and found a big ole dead field rat.

  1. I remember we used to always watch Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.  I think it was on Sunday nights.

  1. I remember when I was paying you back for my first car, you’d put my “payments” into a glass jar.

  1. I remember when the ignition switch messed up in my first car, you rigged it so that I had to use a flat head screw driver in this assembly that dangled from my steering column.

  1. I remember asking Santa for a chess set.  After I got it, you helped me figure the rules out.

  1. I remember you popping popcorn in our old iron skillet…this was before the days of microwaves.

  1. I remember our very first microwave we got.  It came with a “bacon tray” which we just had to try out.  It took just as long to cook the bacon in the microwave, the bacon came out rubbery and it made a TERRIBLE mess.

  1. I remember that you paid my car insurance during my first year in college.

  1. I remember you had Dave Winfrey call me so that I could reassure him that he didn’t have to take his whole family down to the coast the weekend we started operations here at the incinerator.

  1. I remember the welding jacket thingy you used to have for welding with…and your huge welding gloves.

  1. I remember how I used to think that your welding rods were just big sparklers.

  1. I remember the first TV we had with a “remote control.”  That thing was as big as a book.

  1. I remember us all going out to Crystal Springs one year for the 4th of July.

  1. I remember Al Rosser telling me that his dad’s dog once ripped your back pocket off of your jeans.

  1. I remember you always had those brass spittoons.

  1. I remember when our old "home” address changed from Rt. 7 to Rocky Mountain Road.

  1. I remember you telling me that what a grasshopper spit out when I caught one was “tobacco spit.”

  1. I remember climbing too far up the poplar tree in the corner of Granny’s yard.  You came out and helped talk me down.  I was crying and scared, but you said, “You climbed up okay, you can climb down.”

  1. I remember you explaining to me how a master cylinder and slave cylinder worked in a clutch. (and why I kept burning clutches up by riding the clutch too much.)

  1. I remember you taking us out to Jimmy Dales near Tulsa (was it Collinsville?) and they had a litter of puppies…like 12 of them…and Christy and I played for HOURS with them.

  1. I remember you getting my insurance though “Turkey” Lee when I turned 16.  We still use him.

  1. I remember Heinz ketchup is the only ketchup you would eat.  I am the same way.

  1. I remember how you always liked eating Pecan Sandies and milk.

  1. I remember that you came to Jeff’s 40th birthday party, even though I know you’re really not into those kinds of things.

  1. I remember you opening a savings account for My daughter when she was born.

  1. I remember you made us a tire swing that hung in Meemaw’s pecan tree.

  1. I remember you burning fire ant beds…we (me & Christy) had to stand way, way, way back.

  1. I remember you pulled up Granny’s cast iron bell for me.

  1. I remember the Miss Martha’s Originals that you and Ginger used to buy for Granny.

  1. I remember when you got a set of binoculars that were very, very expensive. You had to be with us to use them.

  1. I remember when you got your first “fish finder.” You spent FOREVER looking through the book.

  1. I remember once I was working at Burger King during the summer…a group of teenage boys was supposed to be working & they came in for a “break.”  They were inside for about 45 minutes before one of them put 2 + 2 together and came over and begged me not to tell my dad on them.

  1. I remember when you told me that a guy you had to fire came back and had a gun.  That really scared me.

  1. I remember how you will always help your guys out who need extra money by letting them do work for you.

  1. I remember “Sut” telling me how good you were to him after he turned a mower over on himself on the job.

  1. I remember how upset you were when Josh Craft got hurt and how you kept a constant check on him.

  1. I remember when I broke the mirror in my bathroom in my new house, you had your friend

  1. I remember when the wind blew my patio table over & shattered the glass top, you had a plexiglass replacement made for me.

  1. I remember you showing me how to polish the glass top on my sideboard with steel wool.

  1. I remember how you kept Pluto (the cat we were giving My daughter for Christmas) at your house for a couple of days even though you hate cats.

  1. I remember when Shannon’s cat (forget it’s name, but it had a stub tail) got caught up in your fishing gear you had left leaned against the door and how bad you felt about that.  The cat ended up being okay.

  1. I remember you getting a turkey caller one year & teaching me how to do it.

  1. I remember you teaching me how to whistle.

  1. I remember when we used to watch the 6 Million Dollar Man and it got totally out of control when they added the story line about Bigfoot and the aliens.  Then Jackie and I got in trouble for trying to convince Christy that Bigfoot was living in the woods behind Granny’s house.

  1. I remember that you and Norma came by the house one night just as I was finishing up making Pad Thai.  You ate it and liked it (or said you did!) It had tofu in it.

  1. I remember just the other day, a guy a graduated with who was Sylvester’s son sent me a message on Facebook to tell me that he just figured out who my father was, and that he wanted to let me know how much he always respected you.

  1. I remember when a guy stopped by the Rocky Mountain Road house on a motorcycle and asked if I knew where you were or who you were…you guys were old high school friends.  I called you and you came over and visited with the guy.

  1. I remember watching you sharpen knives with whetstones and oil.

  1. I remember you telling me the difference between a yankee and a damn yankee.

  1. I remember you bringing over that section of concrete pipe to widen the ditch near my culvert on Rocky Mountain.

  1. I remember traveling to Colorado (we were going to Grand Junction) and how we could only go like 10 miles an hour up the steepest part outside of Denver.

  1. I remember you telling me when we were travelling through the Cumberland Gap.

  1. I remember you telling me that most of the corn I saw growing in Iowa was feed corn for animals, not corn for people.

  1. I remember you saying we were planting beefsteak tomatoes and I thought that was a really weird name for a tomato.

  1. I remember the year that Granny’s cucumbers got completely out of hand and it took all of us to keep them picked.

  1. I remember one year you planted watermelon vines in Granny’s garden that were yellow inside.

  1. I remember you planting low-acid tomatoes once…I couldn’t get over their yellow color.  I don’t remember what they were called.

  1. I remember your favorite type of corn was silver queen.

  1. I remember that you got me to try boiled okra, and even though it’s slimy, I still love it.

  1. I remember you used to buy a brand of hot pickled okra with the state of Texas on the label.

  1. I remember when we were living in Texas, they had all of those LoneStar beer commercials about the giant armadillo and you’d always say, “I know about the giant armadillo!”

  1. I remember listening to Ray Stevens “The Streak” and you’d say the “boogity-boogity” part.

  1. I remember watching ENDLESS episodes of Heehaw.  I can still hear you singing, “Gloom, despair and agony on me…”

  1. I remember that you used to HATE James Spann.  I  don’t know if you ever got over that Elk City thing with him.

  1. I remember how you’re always afraid that a child is going to choke on something. 

  1. I remember bringing My daughter over to your house to play in the snow for her first real snow fall.

  1. I remember how you used to feed the old lab, Maggie, half a loaf of bread when she’d come over.

  1. I remember once, I was supposed to make dinner & Christy was helping me.  I drained the spaghetti noodles in one of our green Tupperware strainers, but when I went to put it back in the pot I’d boiled it in, I dumped it in the floor.  Christy and I decided that the best thing to do was put it back in the strainer and rinse it off really, really good.  Which we did.  Sorry I fed that to you, but it doesn’t seem to have done any harm.

  1. I remember you telling me that my mailperson was a lesbian and that she’d been beaten up by her girlfriend.

  1. I remember you telling me how you’d wandered too far down Bourbon Street when you and Norma went to New Orleans and you ended up on the gay end of the street.  You said you went into a bar & it took you two whole beers to realize it was a gay bar.

  1. I remember how you always kept the TV on the weather channel.

  1. I remember your nickname for Christy used to be “Chubby” and she HATED that…especially since she was as skinny as a rail.  She had only been chubby as a baby.

  1. I remember the steel bunkbeds Christy and I had a long, long time ago.  I think you made them.

  1. I remember how after Dennis started coming around, and he started calling you “Dad” you asked Jeff if he wanted to call you “Dad.” Jeff was like “No.” and you were like, “Good.”

  1. I remember how you would break open a Golden Delicious apple in two with your hands.  Golden Delicious is My daughter’s favorite variety too.

  1. I remember that you’d always take those elastic head band things off of the girls when they were babies as soon as you could get your hands on them.  Except for My daughter.  She never wore one because Jeff said they looked like they’d give a baby a headache.

  1. I remember that Jeff Bolton, a guy I work with, told me that you fried the best fish he’d ever had.  And that was warmed up.  He’s never even had it fresh made.

  1. I remember how you’d always get me the “good ice” if I asked for it.

  1. I remember you telling me about how Mr. Parker babied his old arthritic dog in the winter with its own heater an electric blanket.

  1. I remember you getting me some of those instant heat packs when they first came out…the ones you shake to activate…to keep my hands warm when I had to go to ballgames when I was a Golden girl.

  1. I remember going with you to watch the Oxford fireworks at the hill at the high school when My daughter was a baby.  You said you could see just as well and the noise wouldn’t scare her there.

  1. I remember you using a level to make sure the trailer was set up right every time.  Sometimes you’d let me help.

  1. I remember when you got the cedar trees that were destroyed in a big storm and split them yourself to panel your “gameroom.”

  1. I remember catching you trying to teach My daughter to say “Roll Tide” when she was a baby.  That was not nice.

  1. I remember that you and Norma would always park behind the Shortstop and sit on the tailgate of your truck to watch football games.  You’ve always hated crowds and I think I get that from you.

  1. I remember the carp that lived off the pier at Buchannan Dam and how we’d sometimes fish for them with bread balls, but we always threw them back.  You said they were trash fish.

  1. I remember seeing fields and fields of bluebells in Texas.

  1. I remember the first phone I got that was just mine for my room.  Back then, we had to buy it at the AT&T store.

  1. I remember you showing me how to coil a really long electrical cord (the outside/industrial orange ones) so they wouldn’t kink.

  1. I remember you telling me that Norma Martin came to you when she heard that Jeff & I were getting married and told you that you needed to put a stop to it.  She said “That boy will ruin her life!”

  1. I remember the Vicks inhalers you used to use.

  1. I remember making you a batch of fried olives and you ate nearly the whole thing last Father’s Day.

  1. I remember laying my head in your lap while you put eardrops in my ears when I had an ear infection.  You were about the only one I’d hold still for to do that.  Then you’d put cotton in after to keep the medicine in.

  1. I remember when we had squirrels or mice or something in the walls at Farmington and they’d be scratching right above my head when I was trying to sleep at night.  We were afraid to poison them in case they died in the walls.  I can’t remember how we finally got rid of them.

  1. I remember you used to carry a pocket watch that had to be wound.

  1. I remember the down parkas we all bought in Colorado.  I think you got a down vest as well.

  1. I remember living in Oklahoma when the Equal Rights Amendment was trying to get ratified by the states.  That year I built a “snowwoman” instead of  a “snowman.”

  1. I remember when you ordered a new Buck Case knife and one of the dogs in the neighborhood got the package and took it to the street & it got run over a couple of times.  The knife was somewhat scuffed up on the handle.  The company sent you a new one, and I got to keep the scuffed up one.  It replaced the original one you gave me (that blade had been sharpened down at least an inch) in my purse, but I still have both of them.

  1. I remember when I registered to vote, I asked you what you were registered as and you told me that you had registered as a Democrat, but couldn’t remember the last time you voted that way.  So, I registered as a Democrat and have never voted that way.

  1. I remember that you and I would eat ourselves nearly sick off of Granny's Martha Washington candy balls that she would make at Christmas.

So there you go.  One word of warning...the thing about this gift is that it really and truly is the best gift you will ever give.  This year, every single person who sees this will be in complete awe of how thoughtful and touching your gift is...the recipient will brag on you endlessly...BUT...You have to be prepared for the next year...because you will never top this.

P.S. Just to give a little background clarification to all of the references above to trailers and all of the different locations I mention...growing up, my Dad was a welder for a pipeline company.  We had a "home base" back in Alabama, but for work, we had to move to different locations where pipelines were being built.  There would be a pipeline being built, say, between Grand Junction, CO and Moab, UT.  We'd live in Grand Junction for a month or two, and then when the pipeline had progressed enough, we'd move further down the line.  The moves were so frequent and usually happened over a weekend.  The whole "crew" usually lived in trailers while out on jobs.  Between jobs, we'd all disperse back to our homes in our hometowns to wait for the next job. Sometimes it was for a few weeks, sometimes a few months.  It was a neat childhood...I saw all parts of this great country.  When I was little, my mom said I used to brag about being constantly on vacation.