Monthly Archives: January 2014

Just a Warm & Fuzzy Hillbilly Story

Just a Warm & Fuzzy Hillbilly Story

A friend of mine lost her purse twice in the last 2 weeks.  The first time, she got a call that it had been found on a highway before she’d even noticed it missing.  The second time, she left a store and realized she’d left it in the cart, and went back immediately.  While waiting at the Customer Service Desk to report it, someone turned it in.

Both times, all the money was missing.  Frustrating, for sure, but sadly not unexpected.

It reminds me of something that happened when I first moved to this area.  It was a small action, but I’ve remembered it for over a dozen years, so that tells you how impactful it was.

We lived in a little tiny place in a scarcely populated area.  I drove 70 miles to work each way, every day.   The nearest gas station/convenience store was 7 miles from our house.  The next closest one was an additional 18 miles away, so the Y’all Stop was a pretty regular stop for us.  It was owned by a married couple, Toni & Ray, who considered it a “retirement job”.  They lived in a little house adjacent to the store.

New people in the area, especially those from big cities (like we were) or those with no blood relatives (aka ‘kin’) in the area (like us) were often viewed with suspicion.  People weren’t unfriendly, but you definitely weren’t one of them.  You didn’t “belong” right off the bat.  So it was for Steve & me and the kids.

We moved in at the end of February, and I started my new job the first week of March.  Sometime in those first couple of weeks, my middle child and I had stopped at the Y’all Stop for something or other.  It was uneventful.

Several days later, I stopped in for gas.  There was no “Pay At The Pump” option, so I went in to settle up after filling my tank.  Toni was getting used to seeing us, and recognized our vehicles.  As I approached with my wallet, she said “I have something for you.”  From underneath the counter, she pulled out a wrinkled $1 bill, with a note paper-clipped to it.  The note read “The brown haired girl who moved down by Moore Bend.  Her Mom works at the newspaper.”

My daughter, when digging into her pocket to check the balance of her allowance those days before had dropped a dollar on the floor.  Someone found it, and made sure to turn it in so it would find its way back to her.

Still in my big city mindset, I was left almost speechless.  I thanked Toni profusely, and asked her to pass on my thanks to the gentlemen who found the dollar bill and turned it in.  She waved it off, and started asking about how we were settling in.  She bought my coffee that day, the first of many days that she would offer me a cup while we chatted.

We moved to a different home 7 years ago, with different nearby gas stations. Toni & Ray sold the store, and moved away to be closer to their children and grandchildren, to finally and officially retire.  The new owners made a go of it, but I understand that it’s no longer in business.

That is still the most meaningful dollar anyone has ever handed me.


Forecast: Mid-50’s, Windy, Chance of Poop

Forecast: Mid-50’s, Windy, Chance of Poop

Like almost everyone, I have days when I wake up with exceptional energy and attitude.  I think today WOULD have been one of those, if Aban (the 4 year old grandson) hadn’t come upstairs at 0:dark:30 and woke me with the exciting news that Pickle just pooped on the carpet. A lot.  And it was diarrhea.  He used all his 4 year old knowledge to speculate that she might be sick.  He was right.

So before dawn, I was already running a carpet cleaner.  If anyone had stumbled into my living room at that moment, they might have surmised that I was hugely motivated today, but then the smell would have hit them like a wave and totally distracted them from pondering my motivation any further.

After finishing the carpet cleaning, I made Aban & Ethan (the 8 year old grandson) pancakes.  Emptied the dishwasher, then cleaned up from breakfast.  Took the dogs outside, emptied garbage, and checked Pickle over to see if I could identify what caused her to….how shall I put this delicately?…… sneeze from her butt.  I think it was an overdose of Milk Bone biscuits, which sometimes happens when the kids are over.  They love giving her treats.


I glanced at the clock after that, and it was not yet 7:00 a.m.  On a Saturday.

That’s the point when you decide if you’re going to get grumpy, or make the most of the jump start on the day.  I debated the grumpy option, but then realized it would annoy Steve oh-so-much-more if I went in the other direction.  See, if you’re the spouse that has to get up super early and clean up dog poop, the other spouse has to go along with whatever you want to do the rest of the day.  It’s an unwritten rule.

I jumped up and told the boys to get ready for the park.  I got Aban dressed, and ran upstairs to alert Steve to the amazing fun we were going to have.  His bleary-eyed, coffee deprived, confused face was worth the carpet cleaning effort.  I grabbed socks and headed back downstairs, where I found a naked Aban.  “What are you doing?  Where are your clothes?”  He looked at me with complete seriousness and said:  (are you ready for this????)

“Sorry, Grandma.  Robots don’t wear pants.” 

How do you argue with that?

Hot damn, it’s going to be a good day!

We spent the next several hours flying kites, feeding ducks & geese at the lake, and even crammed in a trip to McDonald’s for some Play Place action and hot fudge sundaes.  Steve took pictures, we tangled up kite string, and both boys realized that geese can be MEAN when you run out of bread.  We even found some crested ducks, or “ducks with Afros” as Ethan called them.  I don’t know if I was more intrigued by the crested ducks, or by an 8 year old knowing what “afros” are.  It’s not exactly 1974.

Sportin' the 'fro!

Sportin’ the ‘fro!



Sometimes the best days can have a rocky start…You can make lemonade out of lemons… Attitude is everything…Happiness is a choice…. all that motivational, positive thought process stuff…..once in awhile it’s spot on.  I’m still hiding the Milk Bones, though.  I don’t want to push my luck on positivity two days in a row.

Ethan :-)

Ethan 🙂

The Goose Whisperer (with pants on, thankfully)

The Goose Whisperer (with pants on, thankfully)


Welcome to The Dog House

Welcome to The Dog House

We have family and friends visit quite often.  We love having guests!  Some of them, though, need a little orientation to how things work at our house.  If you don’t live in a “dog house”, and by that I mean a home that is specifically structured to accommodate a canine element, you may need a few tips to help you acclimate.  Here’s a tell-tale list of what to expect:


1.  The 33 gallon aluminum trash can on the back porch is not for trash.  It’s to store the dog food.


2.  We drive a vehicle that seats 7 so that we can fold down the seats and take the dogs with us.  Pretty much everywhere.


3.  If you don’t want to incite a riot, you must spell the words “walk”, “squirrel”, and “treat”.  If you accidentally say them out loud, duck and cover.


4. While it’s still gross, please know that the drops on the toilet seat and the bathroom floor are not urine….they just slobber after they finish drinking from the toilet.  Yes, we know that we can close the lid; our dogs are smart (and strong) enough to raise it themselves.


5.  If you ask us if we’re sure we locked up the house when we left, we will laugh at you.  We pity the fool that chooses to enter our house without our permission.


6.  There is dog hair on the furniture.  No matter what we do, it’s there.  Sure, we could make some futile effort to keep the dogs off of the furniture, but we LIKE having them cuddled up with us on the couch.  We DO, however, keep those nifty lint rollers in every room of the house in case someone is foolish enough to wear “nice clothes” at our place.


7.  There was not a recent thunderstorm.  The branches were drug into the yard by the dogs.  They’re toys now.  We gather them up and take them into the brush, and they bring them back.


8.  Beware of bones.  Stepping on a half-chewed soup bone while barefoot is one of life’s most painful experiences.


9.  We’ve taught the dogs to do their business in the woods behind the house.  Sometimes they forget.  Walk through the grass at your own risk, because no “Pooper Scooper” in the world will give us a quote.


10.  “Do they bite?”  is NOT a realistic question.  Every animal with teeth is capable of biting.  “Will they bite me?” IS a realistic question.  Answer:  Only if I tell them to.


toilet perception