Calling it a Night–the Game Version

Last night I was up late.

Oh yeah, I know there’s many nights that I stay up late writing and don’t publish my stories until after midnight and maybe get to bed by 1.

But last night?  I published my story at 3:12 a.m.

And fell asleep three minutes later, as soon as my head hit the pillow.

It’s like this when my baby brother is around.  We stay up late.  Later and later each night.  And last night was his last night here this visit, so we went for the record.

He went upstairs to bed after 2:30 a.m.  I could have gone straight to bed then, but as Bubba was standing there about to head up the stairs, it hit me what a precious time this is–this time being with him in the late night quiet– and the letter to my children starting writing itself and wouldn’t go away.  I wanted and needed to put it in words.

This keeping each other up late goes way back.  When I had moved back home with my oldest when she was quite small and Bubba came home from college, he would come in some nights and sit on the foot of my bed.  Yes, I was in bed.  Ready for sleep.  And that boy would sit there talking and engaging me in conversation until I started talking foolishness and he felt like his goal was achieved.  One night in particular was fifteen years ago.  My eyes were drooping and I could not keep them open.  He asked me a question and I remember replying something like, “God…..Jesus…..Hot dogs…..Elephants.”  The last thing I heard as I passed out was the sound of my brother laughing triumphantly as he headed down the hallway to his room.  He had won.

This visit we’ve both held our own.  1:30 a.m.  12:30 a.m.  2 a.m.  And then last night.  After 2:30.  At one point I thought I had him.  His eyes were glazed and they almost drooped.  I wasn’t sure he was really listening, and then I’ll be dog if he didn’t answer my question.  Coherently.

A little while later we were solving the world’s problems and he was sharing his thoughts.  I felt myself losing my grip.  I shook my head and continued to listen.  Then I had a thought to share.  And in the middle of it…..those elephants and hot dogs started floating around in my mind.  I totally lost my train of thought.  I don’t know if he noticed, but I stumbled for a second during which I had no idea what we were talking about–and then luckily I got back on track.

That was close.  He almost won.

In the end I think we were both winners.  We’ve had some hard conversations and some mirthful moments.  I haven’t laughed this hard in quite a while nor have I challenged myself to think about some of the things we’ve discussed in a long, long time.  It’s been really good.  And powerful.  And…..precious.

So tonight I’m thankful for sleep-deprived nights in the company of someone who knows me better than most folks who know me do.  I give thanks for his family’s safe journey down to see us, for the time that we worked to take care of business and for the times that we kicked back and just enjoyed being together.  Most importantly I give thanks for the gift of family.  For without them, none of the rest of what I have or am would matter one bit.

And I guess tonight my baby brother wins.  As he stays up driving all night to get his family safely back home, I’m calling it a night early and heading to bed.  No talking goofy, no droopy eyes, I say “uncle” and bow to the champion.  This time.  You win tonight, Bubba.

Wishing you all someone to stay up and have heart to hearts with.

Love and a GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP to all.



Sunday Drives and Other Ways of Doing

Saturday night.  Almost Sunday.

A shift in the mindset is about to happen.

It does every Saturday night, but this one in particular.  I’ve been thinking all week about what has happened to the Sunday traditions I was raised with.

It started last Sunday when my phone rang around 10:30 in the morning.  It was a real number–meaning that it didn’t show “Unknown Caller” or a 1-800 number on the caller ID.  So I answered it even though I didn’t recognize it.  Sometimes I throw caution to the wind like that.  Don’t get excited though, it’s not very often.


“Yes, hello.  I’m so and so and I’m calling for this agency which raises funds for this group of people and we can really use your support because it’s important to us and your support allows us to continue to exist which totally betters your life as a matter of fact we don’t know if you’re aware, but life without this organization would be totally unbearable, so—-”

Okay it was something like that.  I’m not quoting him verbatim here. 

“Ummm, I’m sorry.  Ummmm.” Calmly, Tara.  Be kind.  “I’m sorry, are you aware it’s Sunday?  Sunday morning?”  I paused.  “This just isn’t a good time.”

“Oh ma’am I’m sorry.  I’m not a part of the organization, I work for the group who does the fundraising, so please don’t be upset with the organization.”

I ended the call with suggesting to this man that while I realize he is trying to make a living, perhaps he should tell his supervisor that Sunday morning is not a good choice of times to call people.


Frankly, I was shocked.  I thought that Sundays, especially Sunday mornings were considered sacred and respected, pretty much across the board, whether folks were church goers or not.  The unwritten do’s and do not’s of the day so to speak.  I guess not so much anymore.

Growing up we weren’t always involved in a church. So for different periods of our lives our Sunday mornings were free.  During the springs and summers, if we hadn’t gotten it all done on Saturday or if we’d been otherwise occupied or if the weather had been off, the grass would still need mowing on Sunday.  If it were any other day of the week, Daddy would wait only long enough for the dew to dry up and then head out as soon as possible after, so it wouldn’t be too hot for the job at hand.  But not on Sundays.  He didn’t let us start that mower up one minute before noon, and he never did either.  I always thought it was out of respect for the other folks who lived nearby, but maybe it was his way of tipping his hat to how he was raised.  Much like my “no doing laundry on New Year’s Day.”  A tradition continued out of respect for our past and our people.

We didn’t go to the store on Sunday unless we absolutely needed something.  And if we did happen to go (always after the morning church hours), we sure didn’t tell our Granny.  Sunday was the Sabbath, and things like that would have upset her greatly.  Or so I grew up believing.

Sunday was the day Mama often fried chicken for dinner.  It was a quiet day.  (Well I guess not for her, bless her.) We might read or finish up homework or watch the Sunday afternoon movie on one of the local channels.  Some Sundays might find us taking a drive…..and winding up at my Granny’s for a visit.  It’s what we did.  And by evening, it was either potluck night or I made waffles on the old waffle iron.  Waffle nights.  Those are good memories.  I even made up my own recipe for peach syrup out of the peaches we’d frozen the previous summer.

Okay, pardon me while I wipe the drool off my keyboard.

I am not judging those who do not take their Sundays “off.”  There are folks who have no choice.  Their job might require them to work that day.  Or they might have something that needs doing and it cannot wait another day at all.  Even the Good Book addresses those situations, when Jesus told some folks that sometimes things just need doing on a Sunday, and that’s okay. **

I am not judging the man who called me last Sunday.  He was, after all, doing his job.  I am just wondering, in a curious sort of way, where we are heading.  I actually rather like the inconvenience of not being able to get a meal at one of our favorite places on a Sunday.  And not being able to shop at the craft store.  Or the on-line yard sale site.  Or our favorite used book store.  All those things suggest this day is different from all the others.  Set apart.  I like not calling folks early or knocking on doors before noon.  Sometimes the old ways make sense.  And they help us take care of ourselves.

Tomorrow is Sunday.  I’m going to try to slow down a bit and remember what that means.  We’ve come a long way from the days when the constable could penalize you if he caught you working on the Sabbath. (We watched the Revolutionary War period movie “Johnny Tremain” on Friday.  Intense.)  And yet, I do hope we don’t go too far in the other direction.  I don’t think we were made to fill up each one of our days with someTHING to do or someplace to be.

Sometimes it can’t be helped.  But when it can…..

I think we might take a Sunday drive tomorrow.  And maybe, just maybe, I might pull out that waffle iron.

Love and a restful Sunday to you all.


**Luke 14:4-6  They were silent. So he took the man, healed him, and sent him on his way. Then he said, “Is there anyone here who, if a child or animal fell down a well, wouldn’t rush to pull him out immediately, not asking whether or not it was the Sabbath?” They were stumped. There was nothing they could say to that.

**Matthew 12:11-14  He replied, “Is there a person here who, finding one of your lambs fallen into a ravine, wouldn’t, even though it was a Sabbath, pull it out? Surely kindness to people is as legal as kindness to animals!” Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” He held it out and it was healed. The Pharisees walked out furious, sputtering about how they were going to ruin Jesus.





You’re Never Too Old to Skip

My sweet cousin whom I grew up playing Barbies and petting puppies and making toadhouses with sent me a gift two days ago.  One I want to share with y’all tonight.  She wrote me about something that happened that reminded her of my Mama.  A Maemae/Aunt Barbara sighting, I like to call it.  In the middle of missing Mama and grieving and remembering, it is such a precious gift to have someone else take time to remember with me.

My cousin and her daughter E, who is six months older than my Aub, travel once a week for E’s orchestra rehearsal. (She can play, y’all.)  My cousin goes along and takes her knitting and enjoys her time with her sweet girl and her time for uninterrupted knitting while E is rehearsing.  This is her story–

Last night as we were leaving, there was one of the orchestra members leaving at the same time but just slightly ahead of us.  E told me she plays flute and is very good, but is also very sweet.  She reminds me of Aunt Barbara.  She is built like her and even has some of the same features.  Well, as we are walking to our cars, she begins to skip.  Now this is not a young lady.  She is at least in her 60’s.  I thought she had one of the songs they had rehearsed in her head that encouraged her to skip.  So she turns around and sees us and I asked her what song was in her head to make her skip.  She said, “Oh, no.  I believe that the older you get the more you need to skip.”  All I could think of was your mom.  

Oh y’all.  The tears.  That is who my Mama was.  She loved this life and the people in it, and it seemed her spirit was often skipping even when her body could not.

Tonight I’m thankful for my sweet cousin who took time to share this story and who said it was okay to share it here.  I’m thankful she loves my Mama and misses her and still looks for her in this world too.  I’m grateful for my Mama, who loved life.  Her joie de vivre was a blessing to so many.

And I’m thankful for this that happened tonight on the way home from our walk with Miss Sophie.

Returning home from our walk--that's our Princess up ahead skipping along.  Cooter even started skipping a few steps later.

Returning home from our walk–that’s our Princess up ahead skipping along. Cooter even started skipping a few steps later.

I know it’s hard to tell, but when we were nearing home, our Princess began to skip.  She was singing and skipping, and I gave thanks that she has a bit of her Maemae in her too.

May you all have a skip-worthy day.  You’re never too old.  Love to all.