Thursday, November 28, 2013

Turnip greens, Thanksgivukkah eve and more

I'm taking a break. It's almost midnight. I wanted to do a little so tomorrow would run smoother.
Part of housecleaning involves looking at Facebook updates and checking my email periodically.

Earline, a woman I grew up with, could whoop up as much noise as the rest of us teenagers at Northside Baptist when I was a child. She now runs a tight kitchen. Her Thanksgiving meal is ready to roll out of the fridge and sideboard, sing, dance and put on a little show before calmly lying on the table for a perfect Norman Rockwell photo. I should have know she would have grown up into a trouble maker.

Then I remembered the large bunch of turnip greens and large bunch of mustard greens on the back porch.

Well I have been washing those greens for about two hours. The turnip greens looked clean but they had dirt. About 8 rinses did the job. The worse part was - bugs. Yes, little bugs. They could have come from my backyard. The weather is cool and I stored them on the back porch. However they are fresh from the store, $2.99 a bunch.

Bugs are a good sign. No pesticide. Bugs are disgusting if they find their way on your fork. No matter how much protein.

I thought to myself, all this Thanksgivukkah in the news. Those latkes sound tricky but are they as hard to prepare as greens. I know, an 82 year old woman put her recipe in the paper. Sooner or later, I'm going to make some latkes. I already know we are the sour cream folks. No apple sauce but I'm sure the ketchup will make it to the table. I've eaten a version of latkes all my life. A hillbilly version, my mom is from Southern Appalachia. It's a potatoe pattie fried in l--d which is decidedly not kosher. No wonder they have the lovely name, tater splatter.

My uncle was a Seventh Day Adventist and did not eat pork. He and my aunt lived with my grandmother who was a member of the Holiness church. My grandmother said you could talk her into anything but don't tell her to do anything. She served pork as often as she could. How dare they be too good for pork.

People often wonder what gives with pork, chicken and Southerners. It's simple. A cow was too valuable to eat. When it came time to butcher a cow, it was sold. Pigs have huge litters. A cow has one baby at a time.

Well back to latkes. I love the touch in the recipe where she prefers to use russet potatoes and she - No simple drumroll, we need the loud clang of cymbals. - dries the shredded potatoes with a tea towel. But mind you, not too much. I can imagine her poor daughter taking her to some small Southern town with a redneck Jewish grocery that has the right potatoes. This is the South and I am sure that store has existed if it does not exist today.

There will probably be a nostalgic NPR story sooner or latter about Soloman's Southern Fried Delicatessan having its doors reopened by a young couple from Poughkeepsie who want to revisit the past. I can see the young couple now selling the store after a few months, these senior citizens tell them so many stories of Sam Soloman and his family, they wonder if these people are zombies. Zombies that will kill you will stories that run on forever and always, I mean always end in a preposition.

Now I haven't told the scariest part of my greens cleaning. The mustard greens looked really clean. I cut off the roots and pull out a core to the group that looked brown and yucky. The I pulled stray roots and weeds. Weeds in your greens, even a bug on your fork pales to a weed. Then, spooky music please, I found a live ladybug.

Anyway, the dirt was horrendous. I have posted a white flag and they are currently soaking. Those expensive bags of chopped, just pour it in the pot and stew seem like such a good idea now. In the newspaper, a woman commented that it did not matter if the latkes came from the grocer or was freshly prepared. Right now greens from a can sound good to me.

Any way, its time for me to stop typing. It's past midnight. Those mustard greens are not going to clean themselves and I need to peel the turnips. Break a fingernail Earline. Wink Wink - Just kidding. Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Hannukah for those who celebrate. Have a blessed day.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Red Jacket's defense of freedom to worship his Native American Religion.

I was looking up the definition for apologist. Then I read about apologists in other religions and I came across this text. This is a speech delivered in the summer of 1805 by Red Jacket of the Seneca tribe. Sometimes what people have said in the past can be so relevant and thought provoking today. I know something this old is no longer bound by copyright. However, I got the text from this link.
It looks like an incredible resource.

FRIEND AND 1 BROTHER:—It was the will of the Great Spirit that we should meet together this day. He orders all things and has given us a fine day for our council. He has taken His garment from before the sun and caused it to shine with brightness upon us. Our eyes are opened that we see clearly; our ears are unstopped that we have been able to hear distinctly the words you have spoken. For all these favors we thank the Great Spirit, and Him only.
  Brother, this council fire was kindled by you. It was at your request that we came together at this time. We have listened with attention to what you have said. You requested us to speak our minds freely. This gives us great joy; for we now consider that we stand upright before you and can speak what we think. All have heard your voice and all speak to you now as one man. Our minds are agreed.  2
  Brother, you say you want an answer to your talk before you leave this place. It is right you should have one, as you are a great distance from home and we do not wish to detain you. But first we will look back a little and tell you what our fathers have told us and what we have heard from the white people.  3
  Brother, listen to what we say. There was a time when our forefathers owned this great island. Their seats extended from the rising to the setting sun. The Great Spirit had made it for the use of Indians. He had created the buffalo, the deer, and other animals for food. He had made the bear and the beaver. Their skins served us for clothing. He had scattered them over the country and taught us how to take them. He had caused the earth to produce corn for bread. All this He had done for His red children because He loved them. If we had some disputes about our hunting-ground they were generally settled without the shedding of much blood.  4
  But an evil day came upon us. Your forefathers crossed the great water and landed on this island. Their numbers were small. They found friends and not enemies. They told us they had fled from their own country for fear of wicked men and had come here to enjoy their religion. They asked for a small seat. We took pity on them, granted their request, and they sat down among us. We gave them corn and meat; they gave us poison in return.  5
  The white people, brother, had now found our country. Tidings were carried back and more came among us. Yet we did not fear them. We took them to be friends. They called us brothers. We believed them and gave them a larger seat. At length their numbers had greatly increased. They wanted more land; they wanted our country. Our eyes were opened and our minds became uneasy. Ware took place. Indians were hired to fight against Indians, and many of our people were destroyed. They also brought strong liquor among us. It was strong and powerful, and has slain thousands.  6
  Brother, our seats were once large and yours were small. You have now become a great people, and we have scarcely a place left to spread our blankets. You have got our country, but are not satisfied; you want to force your religion upon us.  7
  Brother, continue to listen. You say that you are sent to instruct us how to worship the Great Spirit agreeably to His mind; and, if we do not take hold of the religion which you white people teach we shall be unhappy hereafter. You say that you are right and we are lost. How do we know this to be true? We understand that your religion is written in a Book. If it was intended for us, as well as you, why has not the Great Spirit given to us, and not only to us, but why did He not give to our forefathers the knowledge of that Book, with the means of understanding it rightly. We only know what you tell us about it. How shall we know when to believe, being so often deceived by the white people?  8
  Brother, you say there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit. If there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it? Why not all agreed, as you can all read the Book?  9
  Brother, we do not understand these things. We are told that your religion was given to your forefathers and has been handed down from father to son. We also have a religion which was given to our forefathers and has been handed down to us, their children. We worship in that way. It teaches us to be thankful for all the favors we receive, to love each other, and to be united. We never quarrel about religion.  10
  Brother, the Great Spirit has made us all, but He has made a great difference between His white and His red children. He has given us different complexions and different customs. To you He has given the arts. To these He has not opened our eyes. We know these things to be true. Since He has made so great a difference between us in other things, why may we not conclude that He has given us a different religion according to our understanding? The Great Spirit does right. He knows what is best for His children; we are satisfied.  11
  Brother, we do not wish to destroy your religion or take it from you. We only want to enjoy our own.  12
  Brother, you say you have not come to get our land or our money, but to enlighten our minds. I will now tell you that I have been at your meetings and saw you collect money from the meeting. I can not tell what this money was intended for, but suppose that it was for your minister; and, if we should conform to your way of thinking, perhaps you may want some from us.  13
  Brother, we are told that you have been preaching to the white people in this place. These people are our neighbors. We are acquainted with them. We will wait a little while and see what effect your preaching has upon them. If we find it does them good, makes them honest, and less disposed to cheat Indians, we will then consider again of what you have said.  14
  Brother, you have now heard our answer to your talk, and this is all we have to say at present. As we are going to part, we will come and take you by the hand, and hope the Great Spirit will protect you on your journey and return you safe to your friends.  15

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Well it is almost Thanksgiving. It is cold and wet here in middle Georgia. I'm linking up with trifecta with this post. We are using the transitive verb "pluck" in this weeks challenge. As always, lots of good reading in the links.

And of course, here is my entry.

Thanksgiving 2013, the official day of family togetherness. Janet Futrell usually spends the day alone. What little family she has lives far away. Harold her husband stays at the All Saints Convalescent Center.

She still runs a small daycare in her cramped apartment.

Her daycare began when a neighbor's baby cried all night. As she angrily, groggily stepped out her door to get her newspaper and saw the mother, Rosita Rodriquez. A loud cluster of sound subsided as Ralph Calderon nodded at her as if she agreed before walking his prissy butt home.

“I'm so sorry about Travion's crying. He catches everything at daycare.”

With her arm around Rosita, Janet patted her back as the young woman sobbed.

“I was fixing to put muffins in the oven.”

“I've heard you Southern women could cook.”

“Well, my cooking improves when someone helps me eat. I'll be back over with muffins in about 30 minutes. Dry your tears dear.”

And that is when Janet started doing daycare. No more bad colds for Travion until kindergarten. He would sit wrapped in a quilt as he and Janet did puzzles and looked out the window on the few days he missed school.

Leaning on her cane, Janet stood next to the window looking out to the street of the comfortable subdivision, plucking the fat cashews from the nut mix. A large teenager with the body of a man wraps his arms around her shoulders.

“Miss Janet, you know you are not supposed eat only one type of nut.”

“Whatever do you mean Travion, You know how Uncle Martavis gets when he sees Cashews.”

Travion rolls his eyes in the direction of Martavis getting red and gesturing widely with his hands. “He is only getting warmed up, anyone next him gets to hear politics and more politics.”

“Pshaw, a little caterwauling is good for the soul.”

Monday, November 25, 2013

Too much spin if you ask me.

I read the first part of David Oedel's article in the November 23rd issue of the Macon Telegraph, I was impressed that someone would express the plight of a mentally ill woman.

Then he blamed the woman's lack of mental healthcare on Obamacare which began in October of this year. Anyone with any experience know that the mental healthcare system is broken and has been broken. Mental Illness is seen by so many as a personal falling and not the treatable disease it is. Just wiping the shame from people would be monumental.

Governor Deal turned down medicaid assistance for 600,000 Georgians because in three years, the federal government may not foot the bill. If I needed medicaid those three years would be better than nothing.

Governor Deal who has cut the budgets for mental health care until all that is offered is bare bones.

People with mental illness cannot apply and receive help because their condition limits their reasoning and negotiating ability. People hire lawyers to get social security and medicaid started. I am quoting the former district attorney in Houston County, Kelly Burke. “The law treats people with mental illness poorly.” I doubt there is any sheriff or law enforcement officer in Georgia who does not understand this. Our prisons all have shadow mental health wards.

I grew up in Georgia and it is a one party state. It was Democrat when I was young and it is Republican now. Unless you want to waste your vote, you might as well get involved with the Republican party. I am not endorsing the Republicans. They are in charge and probably will be for awhile.

Sonny Purdue gave himself a $100,000 tax break. This was widely reported in the news. It was legal, the Georgia legislature passed the law. None of these legislators were denied re-election. There was no outburst of people asking Sonny Purdue to return the money. No one said, “Sonny Purdue, teachers are being furloughed, don't you think you are being a little greedy?”

I sincerely hope the Republican party will nominate someone for governor that cares more about the people who can't help themselves than some diehard partisan rhetoric. The denial of medicaid hurts rural healthcare in addition to individuals.

There were going to be problems with the Affordable Care Act. Lawmakers had too many special interest groups to pacify. The more complicated anything is, the more difficult it is to implement.

To David Oedel, you are a lawyer. You take a very tragic circumstance, give it a sympathetic light, then use it to advance a political ideology. This sways a jury and earns the money a client pays you. I'm a conservative person too. I just recognize that we need to be reasonable with taxation to pay law enforcement salaries, build roads, provide public education and take care of those who can't take care of themselves. You cannot have your cake and eat it too.

Mental healthcare has enough problems. Reducing services is not helping.

I hope they throw the book at Crystal Fessler. If she gets a long enough stay in prison, she will receive some sort of mental healthcare. Hopefully, she will be in good enough shape for a family member to help her continue treatment when she is released. It is truly a tragedy that a 32 year old woman would be sleeping in a public park and causing so much mischief to rescue dogs. We are all God's creation. I appreciate Oedel giving people a compassionate viewpoint.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Deep thoughts on spin

When I started teaching school, I had a difficult time with discipline. Was I born one of those people who just want to be everyone's friend?

I have never lost that willingness to get along with other people. I have had to put up with some real jerks that have mistaken that kindness as weakness.

One of the reasons I have continued to write fiction is that it lets you express so much that most people would rather not listen, myself included, and state opinions or observations. We are all complicated in that our actions do not match our opinions.

One thing I learned over time is not to hastily let a harsh opinion loose. When you hear the other person's story, you find yourself regretting what you said. It's not that people can be different than what you perceive. More like people are what you call on in that person.

I've been told I am too nice. A teacher I worked with let me know what a high caliber teacher she was in that students did not give her a hard time. They knew she was a bitch. I have been called a bitch too. In my opinion, it was incredible disrespect from a student who felt contempt for me. I would never confuse contempt or anger with respect.

I see well written pieces in editorial columns that give you real sympathy for people and a situation. Then bam, they tie it to a political ideology which may or may not bear a help for the same people.

I have been watching the Sopranos. Tony Soprano is killed in the end. They are starting to show him in a harsher light. Usually when they kill someone on the Sopranos, you already dislike the character. It's not real life; but, it makes the hit easier to take.

Spin is easier to take than reality.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Gym Candy Crackshot

This is my response to Trifecta's weekly challenge which was to use the verb remember in a 33-333 word story. Third definition to be precise.

Anyway here is my story -

Skillfully or luckily lining up threes, fours or fives of colorful shapes that wink. smile or beguile, I get five free plays every three hours. I stop housework, cooking, reading, watching television, mowing grass, visiting with the other inhabitants of this house to play.

Social media, smedia, someone named Tiffany just sent me a life. It is nice this stranger remembered me. I have no idea who most of my online friends are. But, Hell no, Gem Candy Crackshot, you faceless greedy monster, I will not waste money to pay for all those lives and Crackshot Gizmos. I am not on level 452 by accident.

I plan to stop at 665. I'm not playing with the Devil's number. I usually play with the sound off. Harvey, my husband thinks its a waste of time. I recorded the radio advice columnist who said it staved off dementia and exercised the brain. The music does get loud and annoying. However, it is fun and I might be going to win this game.

I've turned sound on. I can't hear a thing. I look up at Harvey. Dang it. I want my sound.

“The sound don't work Harvey.”

“Hmmm, let me see mama.”

“Call me by my name Linda, please?”

“What's for dinner Big Poppa?”

I look down and it's my little towheaded son Joey. “I don't know Joey. Harvey what would you like to eat?”

“Pork chops, turnip greens, crowder peas, cornbread and baked apples. Grandma, here is an apple you can peel.”

“I don't like to eat any of that.”

“It's good food. Put your great-grandmother's laptop away.”

“This laptop is a a bunch of junk and it don't work.”

“It still works for granny. What kind of homework have you got? I told your mom we would get it done before she comes to take you home. What are you looking at kid. You wasting daylight and they aren't making anymore of it.”

Friday, November 1, 2013

autumn intruders

My response to trifecta's 33 word challenge. Trifecta's link is


In The Scorpio Races, author Maggie Stiefvater writes, "It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die."  Give us the next thirty-three words of this story, as you imagine it.  Take it wherever you like, but make it original and make it 33 words exactly.  
Maggie Stiefvater facebook link is

"It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die." Maggie Stiefvater.

Brown haired intruder stalks my house.

Sensitive brown eyes desiring crumbs to eat.

Setting the death trap, I lay in wait.

I'll be fooled no more.

Snap, Mouse lives to fight another day.

Mice invade my home every fall. This fall I have encountered a particularly elusive one.


 Zephyr is a soft, peaceful breeze. And I thought it had to be an imaginary animal. For many of you, we will not meet again until the next A...