One Last Time

I couldn’t help but think about my mother this Thanksgiving. I thought about the many meals she planned just for her family to come celebrate with her all the things she was thankful for. She didn’t have the happiest of childhoods, she lived through the depression and life with my dad was difficult because he suffered from a mental illness. Still, she was thankful she made it through all she did.

A few weeks before Thanksgiving, she would grab a couple of used envelopes and on the back of one envelope, she would write everyone’s names . On the other, she would write her shopping list. She had rather large handwriting, so, in the end, the whole envelope would be written on.

She would go to the store, bring home the groceries and hide anything she thought we might get into before she cooked, like the colored marshmallows for her cathedral cookies or the large marshmallows for the sweet potato casserole.

A few days before Thanksgiving, Mother began to cook. As she  cooked, the house filled with the savory aroma of a big old Tom Turkey roasting in the roaster,. That roaster sat on the washing machine while it cooked that turkey to perfection.. She had a humongous bowl in which she mixed the dressing. She made two  extra large dishes of it. Her dressing was by far the best thing she made. There was  a time when I realized it would be prudent to get the  recipe if I wanted to carry on the tradition.

“I won’t know how to make it after you are gone and no one will know how to make it,” I told her.

“Well, I just put in a pinch of salt, some sage, bread crumbs, chicken stock, you know.”

“Yeah, but how much of it? I need measurements.”

“Honey, I don’t measure it, I just know how much to put in.”

“Can’t you just measure it and tell me?”

“I wouldn’t know how.”

I never learned that dressing recipe and I have tried to duplicate it as best as I can, but to no avail. Now that my mother is gone, so is the dressing I loved so much. Oh, what I would give to have just one more Thanksgiving with Mother. The cooking, the laughter, the late nights with her during the holidays-now gone, but never forgotten.

 

 

 

 

 

Jack’s Fight, an Update

Thursday, I took Jack to the vet for the surgery to rid his body of a cancerous skin tumor. The vet, Dr. Brittain, thought it would be approximately a forty-five minute surgery. As it turned out, it was a little more complicated than that. But, he came through the surgery with flying colors . The incision was quite long , due to the size of the tumor and it looks as if he’s had a tummy tuck.

But, the news is good. No cancer in his lymph nodes and she doesn’t suspect any on the inside. The tumor could grow back, but in the event it does, we’ll catch it when it is small and it will be easier to remove.

Two days after his surgery, he is happy as a lark and last night resumed howling with the coyotes promptly at 11:15 p.m. as is his nightly ritual. He is on antibiotics for two weeks and then his stitches will come out.

I am so grateful to my friend and fellow author, Jackie Smith, for setting up a Go Fund Me account for Jack. We could have never gotten the surgery without it. For those of you who donated to the account, thank you so much. Our Jack is on the mend!

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Jack’s Fight

It has been an emotional time here at Baker’s Acres. Our Jack, an American Dingo, who stars in his own book- Jack Learns to Grill , was diagnosed with a fast growing cancer. He has a tumor on his side and it has gotten quite large very quickly. The vet told me surgery was needed, but I didn’t know how that would play out since we  live, like some Americans, paycheck to paycheck. How we were going to pay for his surgery, we didn’t know.

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Enter my friend, and fellow author Jackie Smith. Jackie is such a great friend and would do anything for her friends. Upon hearing my sad tale of Jack’s cancer and having helped me publish Jack Learns to Grill, she offered to create a Go Fund Me campaign. Maybe there was a light at the end of the tunnel! Maybe there was some hope for my Jack!

Once I sent the information to her, Jackie then set up the campaign and got it off the ground. She didn’t waste any time. Our goal was met in two days time! Two days!

This whole ordeal has restored my faith in humanity and reinforced the importance of having good friends. I want to thank all who donated, some were friends and relatives of Jackie’s and some of mine. Whoever you are, whatever your reason for helping, please accept my sincere gratitude.

As of now, surgery is set for next Thursday . I will keep you updated on Jack’s progress. He is a lovely boy who deserves a long life. I’d like to think that’s possible now.

Thank you all for your help!

 

 

 

 

 

Gettin’ With the Times

My husband and I are generally the last people in the world to get in  on the new product bandwagon. We were some of the last folks to get a microwave oven, for heaven’s  sake. He didn’t want one at all. I did. Eventually, I won, but it took a long time to convince him.

Well, sir, when cable TV came out, we got it, but, it turned out to be way too expensive for our small budget. What with three kids at the house, two of which were under 5, well, there was just no extra money for cable. At that time, we didn’t have to have a digital converter to watch regular broadcast tv, so, we were set with that. I didn’t mind, really, because all my soaps were on ABC and we got that with no  problem. And of course, the night-time line up was pretty good for those days.

My employer told me about Refer-a-Friend program from AT&T and Direct TV. I was able to get a pretty decent deal on internet and TV. So, I set up the installation. I must admit, I was pretty excited about getting cable. For me, however, the downfall of having cable TV is there are so many shows to watch , so many channels to check out.  I kinda get lost in all of it. I mean, I find a show I like, one that we like and the next week, we can’t remember what station it was on or what it was called. Consequently, we never get to watch it again! It’s hell getting old.

Now that we’ve had cable for almost three weeks, I have fallen in love with HGTV. All the Tiny Home shows, the Fixer Uppers, House Hunters, all of it, we just love to watch. Of course, I love the vet shows on Animal Planet and the bevy of movies we can watch-it’s limitless! Now, something I really love is the “On Demand” feature. Oh my goodness! There is such a huge choice of shows you can watch whenever you want to. And then, I am , of course, able to watch General Hospital when I get home from work or whenever I like because I record it! I’m in TV Heaven! I feel like  a kid in a candy shop.

It’s always fun to have something new to explore and we are having a ball with cable TV. I know- it’s about time, right?

 

Books, Dance and Weddings

These past few weekends have been really busy ones for me. Last weekend, I was attending Authorfest up in Denison, Texas. It was so much fun and was a two day event. Friday, there was dinner and readings from the participating authors and Saturday, there were book signings , Bark and Paws events and even a parade. After the main event Saturday, there were more readings from the authors.

When I got home from church, Sunday, my kids came over, along with my grand daughter. This is an every week occurrence that we love. It gives us time to catch up with what is going on in our kids’ lives and time to play with Miss Doodle. She loves to play school and of course, being the kid, she has to be the teacher. She is quite strict and we get sent to time out if our participation is less than stellar. At any rate, there is a lot of giggling, eating, laughing and loving all meshed together in these little visits.

This weekend, Saturday boasted Doodle’s first dance recital. Her little class danced ballet to “A Spoonful of Sugar” of Mary Poppins fame. All were cute, but , I have to tell you , being the doting  nana, our little Doodle was the best and the cutest! When I was dancing in recitals, we danced and went home, glowing because we had made our mommies and daddies proud, but these kids, well, they get flowers for their performances . So, the glow is only secondary to the big people flowers they get for dancing their little hearts out.

Sunday, my husband, Stephen and I drove up to Pottsboro, Texas to Camp All Saints, the camp we perform “labor of love” weekends (getting ready for the children who come to the camp during the summer) with our Church for the unhoused. Only, this week, we went for Jason and Tricia’s wedding. What a beautiful couple they made. Tricia in her yellow dress and wedgie shoes and Jason in his nice pants and suit coat. Their vows, tender and loving made me think back to my own wedding day. Talk about glowing- Tricia was the most beautiful bride. Jason is a lucky man to have her and she is a lucky woman to have Jason.

And the world keeps on turning.

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Working Title

Hey y’all! I have finished the sequel to The Conservative Congregant and now have a working title. The title, as of this moment is “And Time Stood Still.” It encompasses the book pretty well, I think .

If you have read The Conservative Congregant, then you know it is about a woman who leaves her comfort zone to make a meal for the “unhoused” congregation of The City of Hope. The City of Hope is a church for the unhoused or homeless folks of the city. It is set in Dallas as the book is based on my actual church, The Gathering. The Gathering was a dream of Archdeacon Jim Webb  of the Episcopal Diocese here in Dallas. Thankfully, he was able to see it come to fruition before he passed away .

Back to the book. Because Eloise Dowager stepped out of her comfort zone to feed the homeless, many blessings come her way. I don’t know if you have noticed it, but that is truly what happens in real life. TCC  follows her as life takes her through the many changes that take place in her life, up to and including the day she makes the dinner. The blessing she receives is much more than one could ask for and she is truly blessed.

The sequel follows up on her blessing and all that entails. I cannot go through it with you for obvious reasons. But, suffice it to say that something big comes out of this book. I am very excited about it and hope to publish it to be released in June 2016.

My plans are to publish one or two more novellas and then publish the novel that will tie the story fully together. I hope you will follow me in this exciting journey and pick up the books as they come out in print or on Kindle.

Have a great week  and keep reading!

 

One of a Kind

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(Granddaddy Walker, Barbara Walker and Mama Walker)

Mama. That’s what we called her, though she was not our mother. Mama was the best grandmother-my favorite grandmother. She was my daddy’s mother and she was all mine. Well, that’s what I thought. She was a farm girl. Had been all her life. So, she was not a tiny little thing and she was not fragile. She could milk a cow with the best of them and who knows what else. She was not fat, but round and her lap was the most comfortable I think I’d ever slept in. She called me her favorite, but I think she told all her grandkids that. And every one of the grandkids knew they were her favorite. I sure did.

Mama stayed with me while my parents worked and my sister was at school. The days were filled with her working in the yard and me riding my stick pony. It was imperative I learn how to ride that stick horse to perfection because I wanted to be just like Mama. One time, while pulling weeds in the beautiful flower bed, Mama fell backward. She told me not to tell Daddy, but I had been worried about her and told him anyway. Besides, I never could remember when I was supposed to be quiet about something.

After working in the yard, Mama would read to me and she taught me to read when I was three. I loved it and she loved teaching me. We’d have lunch and I thought I was the luckiest little girl in the world because before I took my nap, I was allowed to watch
“As the World Turns”, her favorite soap opera.  Once it was over, we’d make the long trek down the hall to my room and she would lay down with me. I could never figure out how she woke up before I did, but she always did.

Mama took a blood thinner because she had hardening of the arteries. It made her smell funny- like medicine. But, it was Mama’s smell. It didn’t smell bad, it just smelled like Mama.

She made dinner for all of us because my parents worked so late. I can’t remember all she cooked, but I make her chicken and dumplins’ to this day. Oh my gosh, if ever there was as wonderful a meal as her chicken and dumplins’, I don’t know where it could be found.

There is nothing like yesterday’s grandmothers. They were old fashioned, they loved to give you things to eat and drink that made your body work more efficiently, if you know what I mean. And they were a tough bunch, having been farmers and whatnot all their lives.

Every kid thinks their grandmother is the best and you know what? They are right! I’ll bet your grandmother was the best as well! Here’s to our grandmothers!