This side of the Family

This is a two parter folks…….part 1

My grandparents lived in a huge house!  There was an eat in kitchen in the back, dining room, living room, a couple of bedrooms, lots of land, cows, bulls, horses, pigs, dogs and a magnificent wrap around porch.  The porch had not one but three screen doors which were constantly in use.  My grandparents had 10 children and almost all of them had children.  To say there were a lot of grandkids, would be an understatement.  I lived in Memphis and I did not spend much time with my grandparent or my cousins; however, I do recall my first overnighter with this side of the family. It was a weekend event and things were about to get interesting.

The first night, my cousins and I were all piled in one bed. I am talking maybe seven of us squeezed on a full size mattress.  Someone started singing, I don’t really remember the song but it might as well been the Ten Little Monkey song. “10 little monkeys all in the bed, one turned over and the other one said, rollllll over I’mmmmm crowded. So they all rolled over one monkey pushed out…” Well, it turned out that monkey was ME.  I will never forget the smell of that hard wood floor as my nose came face to face with it. Everyone back in the bed thought this was hilarious.  I remember thinking this was unacceptable.  But what was I to do?  I was out numbered.  I crawled in at the foot of the bed and went to sleep.  The next time I opened my eyes it was dark as coal.  There were no night lights.  In fact, there were no lights at all in that back bed room only candle light and someone had blown the candle out!  I was a little freaked out.  No, panicked would be a better term.  I remember lying there wondering how did I end up between two bodies?  I could not see a thing, I had no idea who I was beside but at least I had cover now and was toasty warm.  In fact I was really warm.  It was like someone just turned a heating pad on.  It did not take long for me to figure out what was happening!  That delightfully warm heating pad turned icy cold and wet!  Dang it, it was back to the foot of the bed for me.  I not only found myself without cover I was now frozen and wet to boot!  I remember thinking I was never going to spend the night again!  These people I called my cousin’s, were rotten.  Of course, I didn’t realize at the time there was a hierarchy and I was at the bottom, being the sporadic part-timer that I was.

The next day we all played in the field where the livestock was kept.  This was the first and only time I had ever played stick ball!  Ever heard of it?  You find a stick and a rock then play baseball, with a STICK AND A ROCK!  How Absurd. But it turned out to be loads of fun.  Later in the day, a game of chase leads to a black-eye for me.  I ran into a building. I heard the adults call it an outhouse. By the way, that game of chase was with a bull not my cousins. By that night, I had a light layer of dirt on me that gave the look of a nice tan.  Heck all of us did.  Grams announced we all had to get a bath before bed time.  Ugh, that word bed-time had become an issue for me.  Everyone was gathering their stuff and heading into the kitchen.  There in the kitchen was a long line of adults and kids. I swear when I think of it today I think of the Oliver Twist line, “more, please”.    Large pans of water were being boiled on the stove.  I remember looking over to the sink to see mounds of buckets filled with water and then… it began.  The adults and older kids took the hot water to the back porch and dumped it into a steel watering trough and the younger ones were assigned to the cold water dumping.  I was in that regiment.  Out of the 15 or so kids there that weekend I was somewhere around the 5th from the youngest.  I could not believe my eyes.  Grams had a tub made of steel on the back porch, the back porch I say.  I remember thinking I had not seen a bathroom at her house the entire time I had been there.  All the kids just went in nature’s outdoor glorious spa.  I mean who had time to stop playing, run back to the house and use the bathroom? Soon the tub was filled.  It could hold 4 kids at a time.  What was this????  Everyone had to share bath time?? What was happening to my life?  The order to bathe went oldest to youngest.  While the older kids were bathing, the rest of us would find games to play.  Soon it was my turn.  I had given way to the idea of sharing my water with the other kids.  I did not like it but I would go along with it.  I mean did I really have a choice?   However, what happened next was just plain disgusting!

Disclaimer:  I was somewhere between 8 and 12 when all this was going on so the little incidentals maybe a bit fuzzy but the main events REALLY did happen.

TO BE CONTINUED ………  This Side of the Family …part 2


aMusing Monday’s: Monkey Whisperer

I hesitated to write this entry because I have been told never write about politics, religion or grandkids.  Feel free to pass on this week’s story, if you would like.  I just had to blog about their visit……

They looked like two rag dolls when they crawled out of the back seat.  They’d been riding for two days and it showed.  They looked at me, raised a hand, walked to their bedroom and fell out on the bed.  They were hot, sweaty, and hungry.  I never got a hug from those grandbabies (7 and 8 years old) until they got a second wind.  Then all heck broke loose.  Lots of hugs, lots of kisses and one very important question,  where is Zooie, aka Lucy?  It almost broke their little hearts when I told of her passing.  GK1 loved that dog more than he loved people and that included me.  They would spend hours together just sitting on the couch.  It was tough for both him and me.

I wanted to take them Geo Caching but the forest was closed due to extreme fire danger, so I did the next best thing.  I wrote a story about a ghost knight, their aunt Cait wrote riddles to find the caches; Poppy and I hid stuff all over the neighborhood before they got here.

The knight was on a quest when something got him.  He asked the boys if they would complete his quest.  “Well, heck yeah!” they said.  I gave them a GPS and their first clue. I started up the old Speed Buggy (my tricked out golf cart) and turned them loose.  They loved following the coordinates to each destination.  They also loved the clues more than the treasures they were finding. In the end, they found a bag of army men to help in their quest, a full set of armor, a bow and arrow and a small but semi deadly –not really–sword.   They chatted with a trusty steed and found their reward of a treasure chest filled with nuggets of gold (chocolates) along with 20 crumpled up one dollar bills. My reward? Smiles from ear to ear!  Poppy enjoyed a few grins too.

When the quest was all said and done, I let each one of them do a little driving.  They did well with a relatively small learning curve.  The one problem they both had was turning the corners at a speed that would not leave a passenger or two along the road side.  We drove all day.  They were well on their way to becoming experts.  In fact, Gk1 was so comfortable with his driving skills he sit back relaxed and drove with only ONE hand.  This did not go unnoticed by Gk2.  Gk2 looked at me and asked,  “Doesn’t he look cool?”     He decided that brother was so good,  he could just do all the driving. GK2 had more important skills to work on – like turning this rolling cart into a jungle gym! Good lord, the little curtain climber was walking all over the sides and back of the buggy, all the while, his brother was keeping a steady pace.  Gk2 was so comfortable he was hanging off the edge with one hand. “Look MoMo, one hand!”  He started to get on the roof to fly.  I said no.  He wanted to walk on the bumper in the front of the cart.  I asked him what would happen if he fell off while we were rolling.  He thought for a minute and said, “hmm, I guess I would become a speed bump.”  That tickled me.  We rode until the sun started going down then headed home.  We were just about ready to turn the corner when all of a sudden Gk1’s driving foot got a little too heavy.  I heard a thud, gravel and an aaawwh!. I turned around just in time to see Gk2 in the gravel road spinning like a top on his belly.  Arms were stretched out far, like a cat heading for water and feet were flailing in the air… He spun twice.  I yelled stop.  He gets up without a tear.  I brought no attention to his scraps for fear of an all out melt down.  Bath time would reveal the boo boos and soap bubbles would take care of the rest.  After a few minutes of trying to keep his manhood intact, he crawls into the buggy.  We get to the driveway and he looks at me to say with a little quivering lip,  “Hey MoMo,  I have been told I am the Monkey Whisperer.”… The cart stopped at these words.  There was a few seconds of silence, then we all roared with laughter all the way up the driveway.  Just think, this was only day one.

aMusing Monday…..Oh My, Hurry Hurry Honey

One evening a couple of years ago, I was sitting in the living room watching TV. My husband was in the den fully engaged with something on the computer and my daughter was in her room doing homework, well that is what she was told to do. As I sat there watching TV, I heard a huge thud on the large picture window, which was right behind my head. My first thought was, ‘That was a huge bird.’ Then I thought it was a bat but it was the middle of winter no way would a bat be out now. I then settled on an owl. That had to be it. It was a big thunk certainly as big as a very large owl. I got up to satisfy my curiosity. And to administer any kind of help I could give to that poor, poor little creature.

I flipped on the porch light. I immediately noticed the porch was illuminated but the door area was dark. Dang maybe one of the lights burned out, no bother, for now my attention was on the little owl. I ran around the couch and over to the big window. I looked out but I didn’t see it. I looked and looked but nothing was out there. That seemed impossible to me. That owl hit that window so hard it made me think the glass could have shattered or it could have been knocked out. Maybe it was under the wicker couch on the porch….it had to be. While looking for the bird I saw that the light near the door had not burned out. It was as bright as the other two lights that were shining on the porch. Weird!

I decided to go on the porch and check under the couch. Not only was it cold, we still had snow on the ground. That little creature would freeze to death if left out there. I ran around the couch again to the door. All of a sudden I noticed the door was still dark. What the heck? I leaned back to view the picture window…. lights were on but yet the door was dark. My dogs were GOING crazy. I leaned into the beveled glass to try to see what the problem was. All I saw was my dog’s hair reflecting in the glass. I decided I would deal with the light issue as soon as I got the bird taken care of. I turned the lock on the door knob and preceded to open the door when all of a sudden this huge shadow moved and light started pouring in the front door’s beveled window. OMG what just happened? I left the door shut and ran to the front window again. And there it was! No, not a bat nor a bird not even an owl, it was a huge black BEAR!!!!!!!!!! And it wanted in my house! More precisely, it wanted me! I ran to the den shouting BEAR! BEAR! BEAR! my husband was still so involved working on the computer that he never even looked up….”okay” is all he said. UGH! I ran back to the porch window. The bear was now standing straight up and looking at me…ME! I screamed BEAR! BEAR! BEAR! and ran to get my daughter. She was all involved in her ‘homework’ which was really a computer game and her response was “okay mom in a minute”. I ran back to the window. I did not see it anywhere but I did noticed the door was dark again. I ran to it, all the while screaming BEAR BEAR BEAR THERE IS A BEAR ON THE PORCH. OH MY HURRY HURRY HONEY!…. no one responded. I checked out the beveled door’s window. OMG that was not the dog’s hair reflected in the glass. IT WAS THE BEAR’S HAIR AND HE IS TRYING TO TEAR THE DOOR DOWN! Now I am screaming so loud even my dogs can’t compete and they head for the bedroom with tails tucked. I look out the window again…bear is on the move…to the BACK YARD! I have a doggie door. It is not big enough for the “BEAR” to get in but its head or paw could get in. I run to get the dog door cover located behind my husband’s chair and slide it into place.

It was about then my hubby looks up and says, “What are you doing?” I scream “A BEAR, A BEAR IS TRYING TO GET IN THE HOUSE!” “What?”, he says with a dazed and confused look on his face. Then it hit him and he sprang into action. He ran to the front window and said, “There is no bear out there.” “DUH! I KNOW THAT!”, I said, “It went around the back!” He runs to the back and opens …..THE DOOR! He is nuts and I am not waiting to see what happens.  I run for the bedroom with the dogs. Along the way I pass my daughter in the hall and yell, “A BEAR!”. After what seems like at least 15 minutes all was calm when I came back out. There was no bear anywhere. I guess he went to our neighbors. Daughter was back in her room and hubby was back working on the computer. They were notimpressed.  And you know why?  Because they NEVER saw a THING!  The dogs were still traumatized and in hiding under the covers and I was left with an exciting memory of an owl, I mean “BEAR!”

Who knew that bears wake up early around here?

Oh! and the next morning I saw the big old paw print that he smacked the window with. It was at the same height as my head would have been sitting in the chair!!! Thank God for thick glass.

Until next time


“Well behaved women rarely make history!”  Mae W.