Jack’s New Dog 


My husband Randy recently gave his friend Jack Frazier a pup. Now this pup was one of our dog Lester’s pups, so you know that’s not gonna be good. Well every few days, we hear from Jack with new tales about his pup.

One day, Randy stopped by and Jack was telling him about weeding the flower bed. He said that pup would slip up behind him every few minutes and bite him on the bottom. And another time, Randy and Ally stopped by to visit and that pup sat beneath Jack’s rocking chair. Every few minutes, it would dart out and bite on his feet. 

But the time that takes the cake is the day Jack was trying to dig potatoes. Well, every time he’d get some dug up, that pup would grab a potato and run off into the hay field. Jack running behind it, yelling at the top of his lungs, “Come back here you Randy Farris-looking thing.”

I don’t think he’ll take any more pups from us.

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The Cage

Kate contemplates her life as she sits at her kitchen table staring out the window.

Source: The Cage

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For the Love of Chocolate

Happy Valentine’s Day!

For the Love of Chocolate

Evalene peers up from the rack of her newest chocolate delicacies as the tinkle of the front door chimes sounds in the empty room. She grits her teeth as she watches him shuffle in. Her temper flares as the inescapable scent of fried chicken grates against the intense richness of her chocolates.
Harold makes his way to “their” table, as he refers to the place he and his wife of fifty years always sat. But Maude has missed the excursion for the past two years. Still Harold made the stop every day, dragging his loneliness in with his grease-stained brown paper sack.
Evalene slides the rack back into the case, careful not to slam the glass door shut as she thinks about confronting Harold. The chicken had to go. Definitely not Harold but his chicken was out. If she didn’t stop it now, customers would be requesting chocolate covered fried chicken.
She strides to the table where Harold has laid out two breasts and a thigh on a paper plate. She watches as he tucks his napkin into the collar of his blue button-down shirt, slightly wrinkled without Maude’s attentions. She plops her fists onto her rounded hips.
“Harold! How many times must I plead with you to take your chicken elsewhere? Anywhere but my chocolate shop.”
The plastic fork stuck in the chicken snaps, slinging the chicken from the plate. His gray eyes meet her blue ones as a thigh slaps her mid-chest.
“Ugh!” She looks down at the yellow grease stain that now soils her starched white apron. “Look what you have done!” She leans down and retrieves the foul offender from the floor, shaking it in his face. “No chicken in J’aime le Chocolat!”
“I apologize for hitting you with my thigh, Evalene. But I come here for the memories you know, not the atmosphere and not the chocolate.”
“What? You never even try the chocolate any more! For two years you come in here, I ask and I ask. But no, you eat your chicken and you leave.”
“Well, maybe the chocolate isn’t the same without love.” He sniffs as he drops his eyes back to his plate.
“Maybe, maybe not. But today, to make up for this affront to my sensitivities,” she gestured to her apron. “You will try my German Chocolate Bombes. I made them especially for you.”
She stalks back to the counter and flings the chicken into the trash. After washing her hands, (no need to ruin her chocolate), she selects her nicest plate. The roses rimmed in gold surround the paper doily where she places two perfectly round glazed bombes. She permits a smile before turning to stomp back to his table.
“Here, try these.” She places the plate next to his paper one.
“I just don’t know if I’m ready. Maybe I should wait.”
“Two years is a long time when you are our age. Just try it.” She scoots the plate closer to him.
A sigh tinged with the smell of Kentucky Fried Chicken rises from him as he reaches for the chocolate ball.
“But Evalene, do they have any…”
“Just try it, Harold.” She interrupts him and places the ball in his hand. “Just try it.”
He slips the cake into his mouth. She moves closer to watch him. A smile begins to creep across his face as the chocolate takes hold. She shifts her feet to get a better view of his reaction, when her foot slips on something and her feet fly out from under her.
“Owww!” She looks around to see what she had slipped on. She lifts her foot and looks at the bottom of her shoe. The shine of grease reflects the lights of the shop.
And just when things were going so well, she thinks.
Harold is standing over her, his hand held out to her. She lets him help her to her feet.
“How did you like the chocolate?” She asks, willing to forgive his chicken for her fall, as long as he made up his mind to enjoy chocolate and life again. She smiles up at him.
“I guess this means that you are okay?” He smiles into her eyes, then places the second bombe into his mouth.
She watches in horror as his smile turns to a grimace when he chews then spews the dessert onto her apron.
“Well, I have never been more insulted in my life!” She grabs the plate from the table and slides toward the counter on her slippery shoe.
“Evalene, did you have coconut in those?”
Something in his voice makes her turn. She shakes her head to clear her vision but his face remains as red and round as a cherry.
“Yes, there are coconut in these.” She surveys the front of her apron where bits of white flakes cling to the chocolatey clumps.
“I am allergic to coconut.” He wheezes, one hand grasping at his neck, the other fumbling with his shirt pocket.
“Oh no, Harold!” Glass shatters as the plate falls from her fingers. “What can I do?”
He motions for her to get something from his pocket. She finds an epipen then stabs him with it.
As his breathing returns to normal, she realizes she is holding him in her arms. Maybe she could love fried chicken and chocolate after all.

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Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! On this day, I am thankful for family, friends, laughter, tears and memories. I am thankful that we live in a country where we are able to bear arms and hunt for food to provide for our families. I am very thankful to all of those who serve and protect those rights!
Turkey and ham are in the oven but so is the venison!!
Here is a recipe for the venison manhattans that we are planning to enjoy today! I hope you all have a blessed Thanksgiving Day!

snoopy

Venison with gravy (served with mashed potatoes)

For frozen meat, I use four packets (about four pounds of meat). I place it in my cast iron roaster and cover it with water, two cans of beef broth, salt and pepper, four dashes of thyme (about one teaspoon), and one large bay leaf or two smaller ones (remember this step and remember to take them out, my kids hate it when they get one in their plate). Place in the oven, preheated to 375 degrees for three to four hours until the meat is falling apart. Drain the meat and save the juices. In a saucepan on the stove, melt a stick of salted butter (I always use real butter). When the butter is melted, add enough flour(all purpose is best for gravies but self rising will work in a pinch) to form a paste. Then add the juices you saved from the meat and whisk briskly. Bring to a boil then remove from heat. If it seems a little thick, add some water or beef broth to thin it. Now add the meat to a large bowl and pour the gravy on top of it. Stir together. Place bread on a plate, cover with mashed potatoes and smother with meat and gravy. Then dig in!

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My First Deer Hunting Adventure

I killed my first deer while I was pregnant with my first child. I was very pregnant at seven months, waddling out to catch a glimpse of a deer. I never expected to see one but just after daybreak,a small buck grazed his way into the field I was watching. I waited until he in just the right spot and pulled the trigger on my rifle. He went down on the spot. I was ecstatic. I jumped up and down, as much as my protruding tummy would allow. Then I went after my truck, time to load him up. I retrieved the truck and got to him out in the field, I backed up to where he was and climbed out on the tailgate and hoisted him into the truck.

Now this was back when you still had to take your deer to a checkpoint here in Kentucky. My parents owned a little store on Cave Run Lake and I wanted to take my first deer there to be checked in. There was only one problem, I had an appointment with my midwife in thirty minutes.

The only option for me was to call and reschedule my appointment. I wasn’t going to miss a minute of my glory over killing my first deer. So I return home and call the office. When the midwife answered the phone, I informed her that I wouldn’t be able to make my appointment because I had killed a deer. She asked if I was ok, which puzzled me. I’m fine, I responded, why wouldn’t I be. She said, “Well, you hit a deer.”

I laughed out loud. I didn’t hit it with my car, I explained to her, I killed it with a gun.

“I’ve been delivering babies for a long time but this is a first for me.” She told me.

So I rescheduled my appointment and went on to my parent’s to check my deer in and bask in my moment.

The day came for my next appointment came and I took my midwife a picture of me with the deer, my pregnant belly dominating the photo. She had been telling everyone about the woman that shot the deer when she was pregnant. Back then it wasn’t too common for women to be out hunting with the guys, especially not in the shape I was in. But that never stopped me, I repeated the feat two years later, pregnant once again.

 

For more humorous hunting stories, check out my new book, Hunting with Hope, now available at Amazon.

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Hunting with Hope is now available

Huntingwithhope

After countless hours of collecting stories and photos, then many more hours getting everything together, it is finally finished.

My book, Hunting with Hope, is now available at https://www.createspace.com/4529179.

It should be available on Amazon with in the next five business days.

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The Importance of Family

How important is family to you? Sometimes I feel like we take our family for granted. They will always be there for us, no matter what. We are dealing with the very real fragility of our family unit and customs at this time.

My family usually spends each Sunday together: eating, talking, singing, laughing, fighting or whatever we decide to get into. This past Sunday, I really missed this gathering. My mother fell last week, fracturing her ankle and her leg. So the family came together to make sure she was taken to the hospital and my father, who is paralyzed on the left side and confined to a wheelchair, was cared for. This meant carefully juggling everyone’s schedules. And for our family, that is quite a few schedules.

Yep, that's me doing the photobomb! This was at one of our Sunday family gatherings.

Yep, that’s me doing the photobomb! This was at one of our Sunday family gatherings.

My parents had three children: myself, my sister Kym, and my brother Kip. Now that’s not too bad as a family unit goes. Then you start to add the grandchildren. My sister has one son and my brother has three children. Still not too bad, until you get to me. Insert evil grin here! I have seven children. Yup, seven. So between children, spouses, significant others, outside obligations and such, it can be a chore to make sure two people are available at all times. But so far, we have managed it quite well. And by the time this is over, I’m sure we will be experts at it. My mother has to be non-weight bearing on that leg for at least six weeks and it could be as long as three months.

Here is part of the family. This one was taken last Christmas. Just to give an idea of how many people we're talking about.

Here is part of the family. This one was taken last Christmas. Just to give an idea of how many people we’re talking about.

But that is not the worst part of it all. It’s the closeness and companionship that we cultivate on those Sundays that we will miss the most. I’m sure we’ll squeeze a few in as she recuperates. But as for now, her living area is kind of small and with the addition of a second wheel chair, a couple of clumsy children, four dogs, a cat and the rest of us, it is a very tight squeeze. And on those Sundays, Momma loves to cook for us. So to keep her off her feet, we will be postponing these gatherings or be bringing food when we converge on her.

Sometimes friends like to come over and join in the insanity!

Sometimes friends like to come over and join in the insanity!

Until she is able, I think each and every one of us will be missing the music, food, laughter and love that we experience with our family on that special day of the week.

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Pets are People too!!!

Pets are people too, at least mine are. Or maybe they just act like them. I have three dogs, Jake (Great Pyrenees), Samwise (Saint Bernard), and Lester (Chihuahua). These three each have their own distinct personality but somehow each one seems to fit his name.

jake

Jake is our protector, our knight in shining armor. He watches over everyone in the family but especially the kids. When we had to walk my son Thomas to and from the bus, Jake watched us for a week or so. He then took over the job from me. He would wait patiently for the bus to stop then he would take Thomas by the sleeve and lead him up the driveway onto the porch and to the front door. Well, except for the one time he forgot that Thomas was taller than he was and ran him into the branches of the tree in our front yard. Now I’m not sure why he chooses to lead some people and not others, could be something about their mental state, but he always notices when my mom pulls up. He waits for her to open her door then he reaches in and gets her by the arm to lead her to the porch.

jake the protector

He also helps to get the kids on the bus each morning. With five kids, we have two bus runs: the early run for elementary school and the later run for the older kids. When the bus passes our house in the mornings, Jake will come and stand at the front door. If the kids aren’t out there at the time he feels it necessary, he will bang his head on our front door until they come out. He then marches them down the driveway and waits with them until the bus stops. When they are safely on the bus and the doors close, he makes his way back to the house to wait on the next run. He alerts the older kids when the bus has passed and waits to escort them to the road. But however, once these two get on the bus, he watches while the bus stops at the house next door before he comes back home. I think he believes they will sneak off the first chance they get.

samwise

Samwise, or Sam for short, is our lazy-bones. He loves to lay on the front porch on his back, right in front of the door. I don’t know if he wants to be a doormat or he’s afraid we’ll leave him. He is also our rock collector. We will watch him carry rocks that are almost bigger than he is into the yard. I think he eats them because we never find them the next day. One day, my husband’s friend Woody came to visit. He drives a Dodge truck with the pipe-like running boards on it. Now it’s not a new model and may have a few rust spots but it still runs great. So Woody parks his truck in the drive and walks over to talk to my husband. They are standing there talking when they notice Sam come ambling up. Well, he walked right over to Woody’s truck, sniffed it, then plucked one of those running boards right off. He carried it out in the yard and began to chew on it as if it were just an oversized chew toy. Woody looked over at Randy.

“Oh, oh Randy. Your dog is eating my truck.”

We rescued Woody’s truck and now he doesn’t leave it unattended at our house.

Lester, well there are lots of words to describe him but none that you can use in polite company. He is a bit spoiled. My husband claimed him when we first got him home and boy has he done a bang-up job of raising him.

Lester the cute

Lester likes to sleep with Daddy but Daddy doesn’t like the fact that Lester won’t lay still at night. So after sleeping with Daddy every night, one time he locks him out of the bedroom at bedtime. This left Lester to bunk down with one of the kids that night. The next morning, I got up to get the kids ready for school and Randy had gotten up to go potty. As soon as I opened the bedroom door, Lester streaked in and landed on top of the bed. He looked all around and when he didn’t see Daddy, he walked up to Randy’s pillow. Now you know how your head will leave that dent in the pillow, well Lester hiked his leg and fill that pillow full. Nope, I didn’t kill him, I figured Daddy deserved it for deserting him.

Bathtime is not a pleasant time for Lester and he fights it with all that’s in him. Randy calls him “Twelve Pounds of Bad” and he puts it to good use. My daughter Ally can look at Lester and ask him if he wants a bath and he starts fussing at her. Growling and carrying on something awful. He sounds just like the weasel from the old Foghorn Leghorn cartoons.

Lester loves his treats and when he gets mad, he will find whatever you have hidden. One night, he was upset because we had just gotten home and we had to turn around and go out to pick up one of the kids. We knew we would only be gone about an hour, so we promised him a good treat when we got back and left for town. Well you think one little dog won’t do too much damage in an hour but boy were we wrong.

Two of our sons were selling candy bars as a fundraiser for school. So I had two bags of candy bars stashed on a table beside my chair. He had managed to get into those and get one out. He had consumed three quarters of it. He had also managed to get a box of Pop-Tarts out and open it, then open a package and consume half of that. There were little bits of paper everywhere. I guess he was a little mad that we left him.

I would like to dedicate this post to all of the beloved dogs out there. Whether they are still here or gone on, our love for them will never fade.

Beanhead   brady and pole   cola   Princess Cupcake   coop   shorty   sparkplug

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Bob’s Obsession with Death

As you all know by now, our six-year old is quite the character. Recently he has been obsessed with death. He talks about it often, even to the point of talking about people getting old and dying. He also talked about us dying. I thought this was normal behavior, until we went to the cemetery on Memorial Day weekend. Then I began to worry.

As we wound up and up on the graveled country road, Bob sat in the back seat keeping us entertained. Suddenly, he brought up death.

“Mamaw, you know Papaw’s getting old. He’s going to die soon,” he told her in all seriousness.

“Bob, not if we take care of him. We want to keep him around for along time.” My mom told him.

“Now actually,” he began.

We all burst out laughing.

“Now actually,” he got louder this time, “you need to quit feeding him.”

We laughed harder this time. Until we got to really thinking about this. What if he decided that we were too old or too sick to care for, then he would probably find a way to send us on to our great reward.

When we reached the cemetery, we started through the gate. We were the only ones there, having missed the crowds. As we walked among the headstones, Bob informed us, “Hey, there sure are a lot of dead people here.”

Yep, there sure were.

But at times, he can really be more sensitive than many children his age. He came upon the grave of a four-year old girl. The grave was covered with knick-knacks and toys. He stood there for a few moments, staring down at her final resting place.

“You know Mom,” he gazed at me through solemn eyes, “somebody sure must have loved this one a whole lot.”

Tears slid down my face as I squeezed his hand. “Yes, I guess they did.”

Bob

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Daddy’s Hands, Toll Booths and Fallen Rock Zone

It seems like we spent lots of time in the car when I was little. I remember lots of road trips. Daddy would drive, whether we went in the car, truck, motorhome or boat. His arm slung across the steering wheel, his thumb tapping each finger in time to a tune. Sometimes, the tune would be an old country or rock song playing on the radio but other times, it would be a tune in his head that manifested itself through his fingers. And most times, he would sing along. Now this doesn’t seem too bad, but Daddy is like me, couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. We heard his versions of “Blueberry Hill,” “Down in the Valley,” and any Elvis tune that ever played. Now I can hear the opening bars of some of these songs and still cringe waiting for him to begin singing.

My dad before he was my dad. Back in his army days. Love you Daddy!

My dad before he was my dad. Back in his army days.  Love you Daddy!

When we all became bored of the singing, he would begin to tell us stories. Stories of the places on the road, places we were going, even stories about road signs. One of my favorites was the story behind the fallen rock zone signs. I don’t know if they have these signs outside of Kentucky but around here we have many since most of our roads are cut through hills and mountains. Daddy began to tell us this story one night in the car. He said that once upon a time, a little Indian girl named Fallen Rock had gotten lost in the woods. Her family then posted these signs so people would look for her and perhaps bring her back home. We fell for it, hook, line and sinker. I still smile every time I pass one of these signs. I have since told the stories to my kids. They love them too.

I remember when the Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway had toll booths scattered along the way. Any time we traveled from our house to Mamaw’s and Papaw’s, we would have to pass through these. We would watch for these landmarks to mark our journey. I can’t remember the exact amount of change it took to pass through them but I can remember Mommy and Daddy counting change out before we would reach the small buildings. Daddy would roll down his window, the scent of his cologne blowing back to tease our noses. His arm would snake out the window and the light would reflect from his wedding ring as he flipped those coins down into the basket.

Toll booth coin toss

Now, as I drive down the road with my children, I remember these things and mourn the things that they will never get to experience. Like riding down the road in the back of the pickup truck or riding in the very back of the station wagon. Or riding in the top bed of a truck camper as we head to the lake. Sometimes I think everyone is so worried about safety that they take the fun out of life. Hopefully each of you can remember something wonderful about road trips when you were young.

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