Paper Plates and Mac n’ Cheese–Making the Most of the Time We Have

My dying friend once chided me, “You need to use paper plates more.  Why are you worrying so much about always using real dishes?”

Her niece had visited with us, and I guess the sweet girl told her Aunt that we hadn’t used paper plates.  At all.

It was precious that my friend was so concerned.  And ironic.  Because the only reason we hadn’t been using paper plates is because we had none.

None.  Not a one.

It was summer, my favorite paper plate season, so yeah.  The fact that I hadn’t been using them had nothing to do with a “standard” or anything–it was actually because I was too lazy to make a special trip to the store.  And quite forgetful when I was actually there–so no paper plates made it to the house for a while.

So doing the dishes it was.

I get what her concern was.  Now more than ever.  Life is too short to worry about fancy plates.  Or to be doing dishes all the time. Or not to use the fancy dishes when you want to.  For no particular reason at all.

I’m all for being environmentally sound.  Our recycling bin is the fullest one in our neighborhood.  But, paraphrasing Ecclesiastes, there’s a time and place for paper plates.

Like when you have a houseful of folks and the dishwasher is already being run three times a day.

Paper plates are good in times like that.

Mama got it.  In later years, she brought out the fancy “china” (ette) for Thanksgiving dinner.  And Christmas Eve supper.  And other big get togethers.  As her energy waned and her time was occupied with taking care of Daddy, she gave herself grace for the first time in her life to serve us frozen macaroni and cheese.   You know, after it was baked in the oven.

My crew still calls it “Maemae’s Mac n’ Cheese,” and they love it better than anything homemade I’ve ever tried to make.

Because of things like frozen macaroni and cheese and paper plates, my Mama was able to enjoy more time with all of us.  And us with her.  Same thing with my friend.  Sadly, she heard the clock ticking and wanted to make the most of the time she had to be with folks.

I was thinking about this earlier this morning when I saw I was down to one paper plate.  I thought about all the ones we used over the holidays with folks in and out and enjoying many meals together.  And I am thankful for every single one.  I’m weaning myself off using them now that all have headed home and my big girl is back at college.  Real dishes are the right choice.  For now.

Tonight I’m thankful for the invention of paper plates.  They are awesome when you have a crowd of folks.  Or a headache.  Or for making masks or using as paint trays.  So versatile and some are quite lovely too.  I’m also thankful for my friend and how much she must have cared for me to chew me out about how I needed to use paper plates.  It was a bigger lesson and though it took me a while, I’m finally getting it.  I give thanks for the example Mama set for me too.  It’s important to cook healthy for my family (and she did for oh so many years), but it’s also important sometimes to put the priority on being together and take a shortcut or two to make the most of the time we have.

Wishing you all enough paper plates when you need them and a frozen macaroni and cheese or two in the freezer.  For “just in case” and “whenever.”

Love to all.

 

My very last paper plate.....it's time.

My very last paper plate…..it’s time.

Sharing Stories Around the Picnic Table

On New Year’s Day, over Maemae’s Swedish Christmas Ginger Cookies in the shapes of Star Wars characters with a side of sparkling cider, I got to share stories with my nephews and my littles.  They sat around the picnic table I bought and brought home and painted on one of the occasions the Fella was out of town years ago.  Bless him, he never knows what he’ll be coming home to.

It was a beautiful day to sit by the fire and share stories.  I suppose I had an ulterior motive, but too many stories left this world with first my Daddy and then my Mama, so when I have the chance, I’m gonna tell ’em and they’re gonna listen.

We talked about superheroes.  This crew knows their stuff.  They named several I had no idea whom they were talking about.  Superheroes are cool, able to do amazing things that we can’t.  I remember thinking about what one superpower I’d want if I were offered such as that–it would be to be able to discern at a glance whether any food allergens were present.  But that’s another story.

Then we talked about real-life heroes and how they were real whereas the superheroes were not.  They named the standard police men and women, fire and rescue teams, ambulance drivers, military members, sheriffs, teachers, doctors, nurses…..and so on.  They had this down too.

I told them I wanted to tell them about two of my heroes.   Our Princess piped up, “Maemae and Cap!”  (Way to mess with my momentum, baby girl.)  I looked down at her, eyes blinking, for a moment.  She smiled and shrugged. “You told me they were your heroes one time.”

Well, she’s right.

They are.

I explained to this bunch of little people who had just had such an awesome week playing and imagining and running around together that the two people they all had in common are my heroes.

“You know why?”

The shook their heads.

“Because they were kind.  They didn’t leave anyone out.  They loved everyone.  What’s the first thing Maemae always did when you walked in her back door?”

My brother’s oldest piped up, “Give you a hug!”

Spot on.  Absolutely right.  That woman loved her hugs.  Giving and receiving them.

Before I could nod and confirm his answer, his younger brother shouted, “Ask you to take off your shoes!”

Ha.  Well yes.  Yes, she did.

And that was another thing that makes my parents my heroes.

They took care of what they had.  We did not grow up in a disposable household.  There was none of this, “oh well it’s okay if it breaks, we’ll just get another one.”  You took care of what you had–clothes, shoes, books, toys, dishes, everything–or you didn’t have it.

My parents were good stewards.  They saved and when they did spend it was well thought out and rarely on something frivolous.  They were good stewards of their money, of their home, of their time, of the land, of their children.

They took care of their things and of others.

And there was one more story I wanted to tell my little people.

“They also told the truth.  They spoke up for what was right, and what came out of their mouth was the truth, no matter how hard it was for them to stand up for ‘right.’  No matter how unpopular it made them.”

And now, as a parent, I can respect that so much more than when I was an embarrassed teenager.

A few weeks ago, my crew and I were watching an episode of “Girl Meets World.”  The daughter was struggling because, as a middle school student, she wanted to be popular with the “in” crowd.  In defense of her changed behavior and dress, she told her mom, “I’m popular with at least five people.”  Her mom (Topanga, for those of you who remember “Boy Meets World”) replied, “Well is one of those five you?”

Well.

That kind of truth is what I was raised with.  Speaking truth and living true to who we are.

It is interesting that to this day, the ones I hold in highest regard and admire as heroes (a word I don’t use lightly) are kind, take care of all that is around them, and speak the truth, no matter how difficult that may be.

After I shared about why Maemae and Cap are my heroes, the littles had their own stories to share.  It was neat to hear the memories all the littles had of my parents, their grandparents, and it was just as important for me to listen to their stories as it was for them to hear mine.  I think that is what family does best, when they sit down together and just “be”–they carry on the stories for those who have yet to come to hear.

Wishing you all someone to share your stories with, and someone to share their stories with you.  Those are really the only things no one can take away from us.

Love to all.

 

 

An Anniversary, ee cummings, and Christmas

December 17, 1967.

It was forty-seven years ago that my parents said their I do’s and joined their lives forever.   With close friends and family present, and Mama’s best friend from school and my Daddy’s Daddy standing up beside them, they joined hands and hearts and stories.

Forever.

I’m convinced they are up at the House sitting on the back porch, side by side.  Mama will reach out her hand as they watch the beautiful sunset and Daddy will take it.  And though it might be quiet between them, they love each other more than any two people I’ve ever met.

They loved children–their children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews.  They loved all children.  They kept copies of “Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm” by the Provensens in the trunk of their car to give to children or parents they met whom they thought might enjoy reading it.  Daddy sometimes carried Matchbox cars in his pockets to share with little boys and girls he came across, especially at the doctor’s offices.  When he left this world, he left quite a few he’d collected yet to be shared.  He loved cars and children just that much.

The last few years before Mama passed, she enjoyed picking out Christmas or winter stories for the children in her life. Last year, our first Christmas without her, I decided to carry on that tradition–the picking out of the holiday story.

I really enjoyed myself, and I was so happy when I found the right book and felt like Mama was there, giving my choice a thumbs up.  (Patricia Polacco’s “Uncle Vova’s Tree”)

This year I started earlier, reading and searching for just the right book.  I found several good ones.  My crew have really enjoyed the daily readings in “The Yule Tomte and the Little Rabbits: A Christmas Story for Advent.”  But what one story would wrap up all the joy and delight and emotions of this Christmas season?

This past weekend I found out that my Aub, home from college, has a newfound love of ee cummings.  Sunday evening I took a few minutes to reacquaint myself with his poetry.  As I was reading some of his work, I found one he wrote called “Little Tree,” which has been published more than once as a children’s story.  I found a copy illustrated by Deborah Kogan Ray, and it called out to me.

Could it be?  Could this be the book for this year?

My copy arrived today.

I had already read the poem, and it touched my heart, but when put together with Ms. Ray’s warm and whimsical illustrations, it became a new favorite.

Just like that.

The littles and I read it together.  When we finished, they both sat still for a moment.  I asked if they liked it.  Both nodded.  Our Princess said, “It’s really almost like a Christmas poem, isn’t it?  It’s so beautiful.”

Yes.  Yes it is, as a matter of fact.  On both accounts.

We hunted for our Christmas trees in the woods on my Granny’s farm most of the years I was growing up.  Such great memories of beautiful afternoons wandering around, finding one we liked, but continuing on just to be sure. And then trying to find our way back to the one we’d chosen at the very beginning.  Daddy was so patient with us.  We never chose the “perfect” trees as there was an unspoken understanding that those belonged to the animals and the woods.  (Well, maybe I did speak it a time or two when someone dared to suggest us getting that perfect one.)  We usually looked for the ones that the deer had rubbed their antlers on.  Daddy taught us how to look for those trees, and he told us there was a chance that those wouldn’t make it.  So we chose one of those each year–we called them corner trees, which was perfect since we always put our tree in the corner of our living room.

Perfectly imperfect.  And every year Mama would say it was the prettiest tree yet.

That made me happy.  And I was quite sure it made the tree happy too.  Daddy taught me the word anthropomorphism many years ago, and it suits me.  I like to think that the trees have feelings and are happy or sad to be chosen or not.

Maybe that’s one of the reasons that ee cummings’ poem spoke to me.  I’m sure it was, but when I read the line–“and there won’t be a single place dark or unhappy”–my heart was home.

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from “Little Tree” by ee cummings and Deborah Kogan Ray

 

Yes.

This beautiful book will find its way onto our shelf after the 12 days of Christmas, but it won’t be forgotten throughout the year.  This timeless poem turned children’s book is one that can bring back memories whenever it is opened and read. It is too lovely to be tucked away for very long, dreaming of when it might be able to share its story once again.

Tonight I’m thankful for this story I found (thanks Aub!) which brought back memories that were such a big part of my Christmas each year.  Those tree hunts with Daddy were a tradition I love and dearly miss.  I am also thankful for the story that began 47 years ago tonight, celebrated after all had gone home over cups of warm Pepsi, because they had heard it was so good.  I give thanks for the two who loved us and taught us and encouraged us.  And I’m thankful for their love of books and generous spirits.  They left some mighty big shoes to fill.  While I cannot fill those shoes myself, I can walk along the path they left, and do my best to live up to whom they raised me to be.

Happy Anniversary to my parents, and Happy Everyday, as my Mama would say, to everyone!

May today be a day that you will always remember joyfully in the years to come.

Love to all.

 

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I will be giving away a copy of the book “Little Tree” by ee cummings to a lucky reader.  The winner will be chosen randomly at 12:01 a.m. EST on December 18th.  To enter, comment below with your favorite Christmas book or like the “I Might Need a Nap” Facebook page and comment on this post on that page.  For handwriting practice for the week I will have the littles write your names down, put them in a hat, and we’ll let Miss Sophie draw out the name.  I will send the book out to the winner on Thursday, and it should arrive before Christmas, barring anything unforeseen happening.  Good luck!  Only one entry per person please.  

More of the story of the two who became one can be read here.

To Dust or Not to Dust

My number one chore growing up?

Dusting.

Ugh.

We all took turns unloading the dishwasher.  Somehow the bathroom was always clean or, well, mostly.  I remember washing out the tub regularly, but it was never MY chore.  We rotated vacuuming and things like that, but dusting?

When you said dusting in our house, folks automatically thought of me.

Every Saturday.

Back in the days of Saturday morning cartoons, I would run out during commercial breaks and do as much as I could in another room, posting my baby brother as a sentry to “holler” when the show was coming back on.  It’s amazing, and you might not believe it, but that living room was the best dusted room in the house.

The others?

Not so much.

I had some “viewing” to do.

I miss Saturday morning programming.  (Thunder?  Isis?  Shazam?  HR Pufnstuf?  The Jetsons?  Those were great shows!)   But I digress.

Occasionally I had the choice of staying inside and dusting or going out and mowing.  I didn’t let the door hit me as I raced outside.  I wasn’t sure who picked up my slack inside at the time, but now I have an inkling.

No one.

I may hear differently from Sister, Mess Cat, or Bubba, but I learned in just the past few years that perhaps Mama was overdoing it, having me dusting every. single. Saturday.

A few years ago we were on the phone.   She used her special word that she and my great Aunt would say when they had done something they really didn’t want to do, but now felt awesome about having done it.  “I’m feeling pretty sanctimonious,” she said.  “I just dusted the whole house.  It’s been a few weeks.”

Excuse me?  Mama who had me dusting every week say what now?

Yep.  She no longer dusted the house weekly.  Which is why I’m pretty sure she let it go when I was out there mowing.

And I thought I was getting the better end of the deal.

Eh.  Considering all the stories I made up in my head while I was out there, I probably did.  I loved mowing grass.

Last night my dearfriend whose name is not Shirley jokingly complained that someone she’d hired to come sit with her Daddy did housework and even dusted her house while she was there.  “And I just wanted her to sit with my Daddy!”

“Yeah, who wants their house dusted?” I laughed.

“I know.  I had it all set and ready for Halloween,” she joked back as she waved bye.

Huh.

You know, that’s an idea.

Today I noticed, as I was looking for our copy of Be Nice to Spiders on our bookshelves, that it’s been a little while since I dusted.  Probably even longer than Mama ever let her house go.  And we all now know she was a slacker when it came to dusting.   Yep, it needs a good dusting job.

But wait.  There’s Halloween coming.  It does lend a spooky sort of air to things.

So I decided to wait until next week.  And then I saw someone post how few Fridays there are until Christmas (just stop it y’all), and I thought about how cute it would be to have the dust there where little elves could leave footprints or write messages in it.  Maybe Santa will even leave a print himself?

Perfect!

So of course no dusting before Christmas, right?  And I can’t on New Year’s Day because whatever you do that day, you’ll be doing all year long and well, we canNOT have that.  At all.

Dust makes me think of a light dusting of snow too.  Perfect decoration for January.  And–best part–absolutely free.

And when February rolls around, we can all leave little love messages on the shelves and end tables and what not…..won’t that be sweet?

That’s really as far as I got in thinking about how useful it is to have a dusty house. (I mean, now I’m thinking about how deprived I was growing up.  A dust-free house? So sad.) But give me time.  I’m sure I’ll come up with something for March too.

And then spring housekeeping will hit.  Maybe that will be the perfect time to dust?

Tonight I’m thankful for the laughter I hear in my heart that I am sure is my Mama.  She and Daddy always called me on my procrastinating, and I know she’s shaking her head at me now.  “Just go on and get it done, T. Annie,” she’d be saying, I’m sure.  “You’ll feel so much better after you’re through.  You might even feel sanctimonious.”

Ha.  I just might.

In the meantime, I’m worn out.  Coming up with valid reasons not to dust my house has slap worn me out.

Wishing you all some silly fun and well-intentioned procrastinating success.  Love to all.

 

Just a Bowl of Butterbeans

In the past week or two, I’ve had a couple of friends discussing favorite foods and they have asked me what “my people” ate.  Do I eat grits?  Yes.  Do I like okra?  Anyway you want to serve it–absolutely!  Chopped onions on my black-eyed peas?  Step back and watch me go.  Do I love buttermilk and cornbread?  While I know this used to be supper for my Daddy and his family sometimes and it’ll eat okay, my favorite is really cornbread and pot liquor.  I love fried okra, fried green tomatoes, and a big ol’ bowl of grits.  When the garden was in season it was not unusual for a pot of fresh picked snap beans with red potatoes and onions to be our supper with a slab of cornbread on the side.  I love me some home-cooked vegetables.

And this right here, this is my ultimate comfort food.

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Just a bowl of butterbeans.

And it’s not surprising really.

The memories in a bowl of these–feeds my soul for quite a while.

Of helping Daddy plant the garden.  Of beans drying on the floor in my Granny’s “cold” room in the winter for spring planting.  Of sitting in comfortable silence with Daddy when we picked–or having gentle conversation, as easy as the breeze that lightly blew in the evening air.  Of sitting with a fan blowing on us to help relieve the heat as Mama and I shelled them into a washtub.  Of watching Mama blanch the beans and put them on the towel to cool for freezing.  Of the times all I wanted to eat was a bowl of butterbeans.

Oh me.

I’ve been eating on this pot of butterbeans I cooked for a couple of days now.  And today it hit me what this weekend is and why I might need comfort a little more than usual.  My Daddy went in the hospital for the first leg of his battle against his Goliath five years ago this weekend.  Five years?  How can that be when I remember the details of that day so clearly?  How I made the calls and cried in the dark and told my brother I could not breathe if my Daddy was gone.

Just a bowl of butterbeans.

Here I am, five years later, and well, I guess I know better.  Daddy left this life over two years after that, but he is not gone.  He is in the summer evening breezes and the memory of conversations we used to have sitting outside watching the sun go down and swatting gnats.  He is in the music I listen to, the good stuff he raised me listening to.  He is in the couch sitting over there, so full of comfort because that’s the last place I sat next to him before it all fell apart.  He is in the yard I gaze out over, remembering his vision for it and how he helped us move here.  He is in the children I love as I see in them his eyes or smile or recognize his wit and his frustration with folks when they just won’t do right.  He is in the bowl of butterbeans and all the memories that swirl amidst the beans and pot liquor.  He is in my heart.

Gone?  Never.

The food of my people was the good stuff.  Things from the garden or pasture or barn with a can of Vienna sausages or a fried Spam sandwich thrown in for a snack every now and then.  The soul of my people can be found in the fields, in the breezes, in the songs of the birds as they fly from the cedar tree to the fig tree where Granny had hung pie tins to run them off.  It is in the sandpile where we built froghouses and on the dirt road where we walked and rode bikes and threw dirt bombs at each other.  It is in the memories, and I give thanks my soul is very full.

As I was eating my bowl of butterbeans today, a song blew in and began playing in my mind.  I thought for a moment.  Was it a real song or had I only imagined it?  It’s been so long since I thought of it.

And so I did some digging–thankful for the internet, right?–and there it was.  Waiting for me, patiently, like an old friend.  It’s not my Daddy’s voice singing it–but the joy of the little girls dancing, the agility of the couples enjoying the song, and the fact that this Daddy and child have been performing together over sixty years…..it comes in a close second.

Hope y’all enjoy it too.  Love and the goodness of a bowl of butterbeans to all.

 

BUTTER BEANS (Charles D. Colvin – To the tune of “Just A Closer Walk With Thee)

Little Jimmy Dickens – 1965

Also recorded by: Johnny Russell; Papa Joe Smiddy.

 

Just a bowl of butter beans

Pass the cornbread if you please

I don’t want no collard greens

All I want is a bowl of butter beans

 

Just a piece of country ham

Pass the butter and the jam

Pass the biscuits if you please

And some more o’ them good ol’ butter beans

 

Red eye gravy is all right

Turnip sandwich a delight

But my children all still scream

For another bowl of butter beans

 

Some folks think that cornpone’s best

Some likes grits more than the rest

But if I was a man of means

I’d just want them good ol’ butter beans

 

See that lady over there

With the curlers in her hair

She’s not pregnant as she seems

She’s just full o’ them good ol’ butter beans

 

See that big, fat, ugly lad

He’s made everybody mad

They don’t love him, by no means

He’s the hog that ate the last of the butter beans

 

When they lay my bones to rest

Place no roses upon my chest

Plant no blooming evergreens

All I want is’ a bowl of butter beans

 

Just a bowl of butter beans

Pass the cornbread if you please

I don’t want no collard greens

All I want is a bowl of butter beans

 

 

About Suckers and Saying Goodbye

Today a friend shared a picture of her precious grandson.  He was flopped over in tears, not wanting to leave his Granny’s house.

Ah, the memories that brought back.

When Aub and the littles were small and they didn’t want to leave Maemae and Cap’s house, it could get quite emotional and a bit dramatic.  They might not want to pick up the toys and put them away because that put them one step closer to leaving, and the fun would be over until next time.

Something that they couldn’t bear thinking about.

And so, cue the pitching of the fit.

I’m sure there was a part of the fits that had to make my parents feel good, but they never missed a beat and let on that they did.  Eventually they came up with the perfect solution.

Treats.

In the beginning it was the DumDum suckers.  They were safe for our food allergy child, and different folks liked different flavors.  Daddy thought the Savannah blueberry ones were interesting.  He knew I loved the coconut and would pull one out for me from time to time.  I think Mama liked the banana split.  (Or was it orange?  I know orange Tootsie pops were her thing.) For a while our Princess loved the mystery flavors and trying to guess what it was.   Then she moved on to the bubblegum or strawberry shortcake because PINK.  Sometimes folks would linger over flavor choices just to spend more time there with Maemae, looking and thinking about it and choosing.

Around Christmas one year I found some of those Bob’s soft peppermint candies and got them for Daddy.  Those went in a separate jar and became another option.  Then at some point Mama bought those caramel creams and put them on a pretty cake plate that sat empty much of the time.  Another option.

It’s good to have choices.  And in this case, it was win win win.  And it got folks out the door with smiles on their faces.  I even saw one or two of the lovely women who took such good care of Daddy when he was sick picking up one or two for the road.

It just worked like that.

I was thinking about that today, and about how I want to start that tradition back here at our house.  I even have the jar and the cake plate tucked away for just that.

Because you know, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down–or get the little ones out the door–whatever works, my friends.  Whatever it takes.

Tonight I’m thankful for memories of my crew huddled with Maemae around the candy dish, contemplating this very serious choice at the end of each visit.  I hope they will remember those times and know they were loved so very much.

Love to all.

“You never would have let ME do that!”

So today I figured out I’ve grown up a little more.

I found great joy in making a mess.   And I didn’t rush around to clean it up.

My little nephew, a precious and bright 17 month old fella, figured out that if he pushed on the handle of this–

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that water squirts out.

And that if he aimed it just so it would hit him…..or me…..in the face.

And we laughed and laughed.

And then he pushed on it again.

Before it was over, he was a bit wet, my arm was soaked and there was water all over the recliner where we were perched together quite comfortably.

And it did not bother me one bit.

Him either.

I’ve thought about those moments today, and what my own children would have said if they were watching instead of being outside playing with their older cousins or working at a job.

They probably would have looked on incredulously.

“You never would have let ME do that.”  I can hear it in my head as though it actually happened that way.

Why?  Because I have said those words so many times to my own parents.

The folks who raised me did not hang around for long.

See, there were three different couples going by the same names who resided at Blackberry Flats over the years.

First there were my parents–the ones who made me toe the line and do what was right.  The ones who stayed on me hard and expected me to do my best and pick up my room and contribute to the household by doing other things as well.

And then there were my brother’s parents.  Somewhere in the nine years between my birth and his, my folks took off and his showed up.  Oh, they were tricky–used the same names, looked very similar, but they were Not. My.  Parents.

Instead these were the folks who were less strict about bedtimes, who did not insist their son wear shoes in the middle of winter (“if his feet get cold, he’ll put some on”), and whose bedding requirements had changed drastically.  (He did not have to keep a top sheet on his bed complete with the mandatory hospital corners–bottom sheet and comforter only.  Why I never!)

And then, nearly eighteen years later, we discovered that those folks had flown the coop too.

In their places, the grandparents.

The people who took on loving my children acted nowhere near like the folks who had taught me right from wrong.  Oh, they still made my crew toe the line and pick up their toys, but these folks let these children do all kinds of things we had never been allowed too.  The woman posing as my Mama loved to let my oldest use a knife to cut up different foods when I was nowhere around.  They had tea parties and whiled away afternoons reading books and playing with cars and hoola hooping.  One time they bought a trampoline and had it waiting in the backyard for my oldest to arrive…..and then proceeded to jump with her.  Their predecessors NEVER jumped with me.

And so tonight I had a giggle, thinking about those folks and who they became.  I guess I’m really on my way, because my crew would probably be right.  I don’t think I let them play with a spray bottle when they were little.  We tried not to make messes and we stayed as clean and dry as we could and if we were going to get wet, we put on bathing suits first.  Because that’s what we do.

But now, now I’m an aunt who is fun (or tries to be) and who wants to dote and laugh and giggle over the silliest of things.  Or just sit and hold napping babies who are pretending to be asleep while I pretend I don’t know they’re awake, just so we can sit and do nothing more important than be together and love each other and create memories and stories to share for years to come.

As for these folks whom I’m raising, they’ll have good stories too–the ones who start off with my “Mama left when my baby cousin was born and some other doting, willy-nilly silly person took her place.  Looked just like her, but she was not the one who raised us.”

Yep, I like that I started that story for them today.

Y’all go do something unexpected and surprise folks who know you today.

Love to all.