Tuesday, May 23, 2023


 I got these little scutters before my sister passed. I thought they would cheer everyone up in the house. Who knew the person I really got them for would be gone. And so it is me being nursemaid for a raucous crowd. They slept a lot at first. Now they are comfortable. They know their morning and evening walk. They are eating in the same room with the big dogs. I never thought big dog would be used to describe my chihuahuas. 

From left to right, they are Mattie, Bella and Winnie. A trio of dachshunds just planning an escape from their enclosure. Right now they are in the dining room playing with a plastic cottage cheese container. They have dumped the plastic recyclables and apparently, the cottage cheese container is a bit better from than the soda bottles they ususally work on. 

Originally, I was getting two. Two so they could keep each other company. The man recommended the Dachshund with the yellow collar over the one with the red collar. I thought about the one with the red collar that night. I called him the next morning and asked if I could get that one too. 

The yellow and red collar pups look so much alike. Originally, it was a light brown area between the shoulders of the red collar pup that indicated it was Winnie. I had to study them fast. Mattie had a yellow collar and the other two had taken it off her. 

They look different now plus there is that personality factor. Winnie is hyper and Mattie is much calmer. Mattie is definitely a bit redder and she is slightly bigger than Winnie. The prettiest one is Bella which is a very appropriate name. Mattie has green eyes which I did not know was common for those with the Merle gene. Since I have hazel eyes, we match.

My mom called her dogs little scutters. I decided to look the word up. Scutter is used to describe active small animals. My mom is from Appalachia. They have studied the speech in that there were sections that spoke Elizabethan English. With television, I am sure that is lost now. As a child, I had hard work to get my mother to call things correctly. She would call a bra a brassiere. My 11 year old sensibilities had my work cut out. As a 13 year old, my mother called a vest a waistcoat with the pronounciation of "wesket". My sister who is ten years younger than me never heard those words from my mother. What moms will do to please their children. 

One thing from Appalachia that I love but have rarely heard is a style of singing. It is not really singing in the sense of listening to a tune. It is the singing of a story in rhyme. The singing nature is a nmemonic device to help remember a story from when oral histories were the norm. One person sings a line and then another person sings the same line back to them. This goes on for quite a long epic poem. 

There is so much lost in time. I searched youtube to see if anyone had posted one of these poems. I have a copy of one that I got at Tremont which is an educational center located in the Smoky Mountains. I will post a copy of the poem in my next post. It's a two step process. Locate the poem. Copy the poem on blogger. 

I grew up in a military town and I have always called myself Southern lite. My hometown called itself an international city in that people were from all over the country and world. As a result, I never was exposed to so many of the idiosyncrasies of the people of Appalachia or the coastal plain. I've read so many of the unique qualities they have were borne of the need to survive in the rugged environments. One thing I know is that some of the wilder tales are truly just tales. 

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Listening to the Wind

 When people die, we acknowledge they came from dust and return to dust. Well my dust is the red clay of Georgia. I grew up in a military town and my inclination when I grew up was to leave. People came and went all the time with military transfers. I left two times but returned each time. My soul is part of the Earth here. 

Thinking back to the first book I was going to write as a teenager. Somehow I was going to defend the South and people were going to get it. Except, the South is like all places. It can be a terrible, rotten place and a beautiful place. 

Now, I wonder what I really want to say.  

It is funny how time and experience changes how you view things. I lost a sister in March. It started with a backache. Three weeks later she was gone. They think she had a cancerous mass. Meanwhile a blood clot which had formed under the mass must have broken up to cause a heart attack. I was there in the hospital room when it happened. I thought she was going to throw up again. I got the nurse and she hit some button and yelled coding in the hallway.

For awhile her heart beat was there. Then it wasn't. I knew she was not going to make it. The nurse in the hallway started rubbing my back. The doctor said it had been 40 minutes. They had to stop brain damage had occurred at that point. I go back in the room and for some crazy reason start cleaning up. Picking up trash organizing the items I had brought to the room. I thought to take a load out to the car. My sister lying in the bed.

I called the funeral home. They tell me the hospital does not usually come to the room to collect someone. The nurses ask me to step out so they can get my sister together. I come in. She is in the body bag and the reality just crashes. I tell what is left and hidden of my sister I am so sorry. I get my things to leave. 

Getting on to the elevator, the nurse that coded for my sister was coming up with her breakfast. My sister had wakened me at 5 am to get the nurses to reposition her on the bed. By 6 am she was gone. The nurse gave a sad look. My mind said, "Life is for the living."  She gets off, I go down that elevator because you can enter the dining area and there is a door that goes to the parking lot. When leaving, one of the hospital security men zip up as I start to pay for my parking. I fumble for my card. I guess he had been alerted. I don't have to pay. Just hand him my parking slip. 

And now I listen to the wind. Today, there was no wind. Somedays, the wind really blows. I used to think the wind sounded like the ocean rushing through the leaves. Now I am listening for voices. I haven't heard any voices. I just think of the people I have lost and find myself straining to hear any of them. The wind is what it is.

I miss you Julia.


 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...