Saturday, April 25, 2009

Saved By The Bell?

Every time I go get my haircut, I park in the back of the beauty shop where my niece works and look around at the back of the old buildings and wonder what life was like when those buildings were first built. I've heard so many tales and seen pictures of what things looked like in Williston over 50 years ago. I've heard my daddy say many times long before I-75 was put in and Williston was known as the Crossroads of Florida, Williston was a busy little town. Full of gas and full service stations, as you had three major highways intersect here; 121, 27, and 41. Daddy said when he was a young boy everyone came to town on Saturdays and would stay just about all day.

Does anyone remember the dime store? It was located at the corner of Main St. and Noble Avenue where part of Lane's Hardware is now. As children we'd go inside the store and love to look around. The candy counter fascinated me back then and I used to say when I grew up, I wanted to work there in that particular department. There was a rather old lady that worked in there by the name of Mrs. Claudie Bell. We never were bad children, but she'd look at us and shake her head as in "no-no" if we'd pick up something. I guess she thought we'd break it. I recall just where the sewing section was, the household goods, perfumes, and so many other sections the store had. Pam and I would beg mama to buy her and I the little sales ticket books, and we'd always pretend we were waitresses taking everyone's order when we got home. From there mama would take us to the A&P grocery store or the Red & White/Germani's before we'd go back home. A little hard to shop when you have 5 children in tow. Boy, if we ever acted up, she knew right where to pinch us...that little tender skin up under your arm. We'd walk out with red eyes from crying. It shut us up though.

Times have changed and we've progressed to the Walmart/Target era. Back about the early 80's and some of my older nephews and a niece were probably ages 9-14 years old, we rode down to Dunnellon and went to the new Walmart...not the Super Walmart, but the smaller one that was first built. This was before I had gotten my license after I had my accident, so I had no vehicle either. Mama was at one end of the store, I picked up what I needed, and the kids each had a little money to spend of their own. We finished our shopping before my Mama did and told her we would go out to the car to sit and wait on her. It was in the evening and in the fall of the year, so it wasn't hot outside. My oldest nephew Neal had purchased a cassette of his favorite group and asked if he could play it as we waited, and I told him he could since I had the keys to the car. So, he puts it in to listen and before long Mama comes out the door and Neal took the cassette out and gets into the back seat with it. When Mama gets out to the car, she loads her stuff into the trunk and gets into the vehicle and starts it up. Well, you all know the annoying sound of the bells it makes until everyone in the front gets their seatbelt put on...only everyone had their seatbelt on, and it did not shut off. We left out of the parking lot and it continues. After 2 minutes of ringing, Mama started getting a little annoyed and asked what we "did" to her vehicle for the bells not to shut off. Instead of turning and going back toward Williston we looped back through the parking lot and she starts fiddling with buttons, lights...everything, and still no luck. Her voice gets a little more panicky and we went back out on the road and the opposite direction of Williston. By this time, neither Neal, Andy, or Danielle are saying a word...only Mama was talking, rather loudly...over the bells. I'm defending myself since I hadn't touched the radio or anything else, and the kids remained silent. I think they knew better than to say anything...they were smart. By this time we are 10 minutes into ringing bells, and a little more volumn coming out into our voices. Mama whips over into a convenient store parking lot at the gas pumps and stops the first person she sees coming out of the store and asks them if they know how to shut off the bells. It was just a lady if that tells you anything. I just shake my head and say, "Come on Mama...she doesn't know that kind of stuff." Coming down the sidewalk is a young man just innocently walking by and Mama does the same thing to him..."Would you know how to shut these chimes off in my car?" Again, I said under my breath (loud enough for her to hear), "Mama, this is not a service station, come on...he is just an innocent bystander." It was so embarrassing, I didn't know what to do but listen to the bells as the man said, "Mam, I have no idea how to shut that off." And on and on the bells was like Chinese torture. By this time Mama is in rare form, and would have stopped another person but I spoke up and said in a louder tone, "Come on Mama, these people don't know how to fix that!" And all of a sudden I feel a hand come right across my cheek and she said, "I said hush!"

We left Dunnellon after that and I kept quiet all the way home....I would say you could have heard a pin drop in that car that evening, but you couldn't because of the bells we heard all the way back home...for about 20 more minutes.

And the moral of this story...don't back-talk your parents, no matter how old you are. I end with this scripture verse that still stands true...and it could actually go for anyone, and not just parents. Proverbs 21:23 reads this way...Those who are careful about what they say keep themselves out of trouble.

Friday, April 3, 2009


As I was getting ready for work earlier this week, I could hear sirens in the distance. This isn't unusual to hear this every morning. Whenever I've passed these emergency vehicles myself, I know that someone somewhere is usually in some type of distress, and not always from auto accidents. When I pull over to let them pass, I get a lump in my throat and usually say a quick prayer that God would be with them wherever and whatever they are heading to. I am fortunate to have family members, a slew of church family members, and friends that are part of law enforcement and the emergency teams in our tri-county area. They are very special people.

This particular morning, it sounded like a lot of different sirens. Not to sound selfish, but all I could think of was that some of my family members would be coming to work around this time, so I said a prayer for their safety. When I got out to the office, I was greeted not with the usual "morning, Becky", but with somber faces and the voice of my sister talking on the phone to someone about a sweet young lady and her baby. Seems as though this young lady, Tiffany, was killed when her and her little baby girl started out this morning. Not sure of the distraction (probably involving her baby Madelyn), but she hit a school bus. How fast things can happen. Little did she realize that morning when leaving her house, that she wouldn't be coming home that evening. None of us know whether we will lay our heads on the same pillow that we lifted it off of each morning. I know firsthand how quick accidents happen as I've had it happen to me twice in my lifetime. Fortunately I survived, but a few of my friends didn't.

Some of my blog this week has to do with procrastination. Don't put off another day of telling someone they are special, or that you love them. What about...please forgive me, or I forgive you? Don't wait until the kind words can only be spoken at a funeral. My family has always been a loving family, but what may be surprising to some of you is that we weren't the type to say "I love you" to each other. It didn't mean we didn't love each other--as we certainly did--it was just uncomfortable to say. When daddy got sick with cancer we started saying it every day to him; even moreso the last few months of his life. I'd give anything to be able to tell him today that I love him, but I can't. Because of my relationship with the Lord and knowing Him personally, I will see my daddy again one day when we're reunited in heaven.

In reading my bible the other night, I came across something I haven't read in a few years. A Judean king by the name of Jehoram....he was a wicked king. He killed his brothers with a sword, and the leaders of Judah. He built places for people to worship other gods. He led Jerusalem into sin, and led Judah away from the Lord. The Lord caused the Philistines and the Arabs to attack Jehoram, and they took away all of his wealth, his wives, and all but one of his sons. After this he became sick and died a painful death. The thing that struck me the most was that it said in 2 Chronicles 21:20b, NO ONE WAS SAD WHEN HE DIED. Imagine that. They didn't even bury him in the place where all the other kings were buried. Can you imagine people hating you so much that no one would be sad or mourn your death? That in itself is sad.

Although I knew Tiffany's parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, I did not know her like most of you did. But in viewing the pictures put out there on Facebook this week of her friends and her precious little girl Madelyn, I feel like I got to know a little bit of her through many of you and the sweet things written about her. You know what? I think it would be fitting to say of Tiffany, EVERYONE WAS SAD WHEN SHE DIED.

I end today's blog by asking you to continue to pray for little Madelyn and the Poupard family during this sorrowful time.