Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My First and Last Day of Teaching

Since moving our work location last week, Mama is a little lonesome at the house, so I decided to do something that may help solve this little problem...

For over a year now she's been wanting to get a computer so that she can keep up with her sisters, children, grandchildren, friends, etc. Many times she's says she never understands all of the computer jargon we speak, so my answer to that is, "Mama, you need to take a beginner's computer class." Months ago, I showed her the class for senior citizen's over at SFCC on Saturday's, but that didn't seem to excite her. So being the wonderful daughter I am, I decided to get down on the beginner's level and teach her the basics....I mean basics like, "The mouse we will use is not a rodent, and the cursor is not someone that spouts out curse words."

Since our old business phone number was cut off from the house and original office location, our Internet service was cut off also so we no longer have DSL at home, therefore I didn't have to show her anything about getting online yet....thank goodness.

I told her how to turn the computer and monitor on, and that you DO NOT turn your computer off the same way you turned it on. I tell you this because I bent down to turn the computer on and she is following my example and pushes the same button right after me....... My cursor almost came into play. The computer I was teaching her on does not have a flat screen (yet), and she seemed to think the computer itself was all in the back part of the monitor, and not in the tower. At this point my thoughts were...boy, have I got my work cut out. I showed her when to use the right click, and when to use the left. I told her what a link was. I even told her how to get on Solitaire since she played it about 10 years ago when I had another old computer.

If she gets a computer I wanted her to know how to type a letter or document, so we went to Word. Mama knows how to type on a typewriter, but I wanted to show her basics about setting her font and font size. I gave her a sentence to type, then showed her how to underline and use bold print. At one point I told her to type something and noticed she was typing something different, and this is what she typed, "This is too difficult a thing to teach a 75 year old person." After about 30 minutes of her computer lesson, she said she was tired, so I told her to start shutting it down and she immediately went to playing Solitaire, then she shut it down.

After I got home from work yesterday, she told me she played about a dozen or more games of Solitaire, and that she still had the "swing of it." Bless her heart....if all else fails, she needs to stick with her piano playing.

Old people are proud of their grandchildren and children are proud of their parents. ~ Proverbs 17:6

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Good Change After All

Greetings from the new Williston Farm Supplies...as Minnie Pearl says it best, "I'm just so proud to be here!"

Seriously, the transition to another office location has gone well...so far. Loading and unloading my wheelchair has made me well aware of every muscle I have in my body that works. Keep in mind that for the last couple of years I've only had to travel out the back door of the house and roll myself down the sidewalk about 25 yards to work. Here's a few pictures of my office (pictures still have to be hung).

It's almost exciting coming to work in the morning knowing I have a new office to come to. I know, don't laugh...you know that's something when you look forward to going to work. I mean, when you've literally worked in a barn, it's quite different to have an office that actually has a kitchen and bathroom, let alone an office for each of us. Yes, don't laugh...when it was on our own property, we didn't have to have a bathroom facility, not when all that worked there was family...you could run right up the sidewalk into Mama's house when the need arose. Now if it was a man that had to use the restroom, Wes could get away with telling them to "pick a tree" out in back. However, when you see a lady get out of her vehicle with a distressed look and say, "Where's your bathroom?" then we'd have to make a call to Mama and tell her someone had to use the restroom and send the lady up the sidewalk to the house. Telling a lady to choose a tree might make her get back in her vehicle and head back down the road somewhere else.

For those that don't know me, close to my father's retirement he decided to start an ag business supplying fertilizer and ag chemicals to the local watermelon, peanut, and hay farmers; so from 1981 - 1996 our office was in the house with our supplies stored in everything from the barn, to a semi trailer, then to a metal building, and that's when we converted the barn into an office. Back then we were the "only kid on the block" within a 15-20 mile radius. Times have changed, competition moved in...then out....so we've now got the other competition's office building and warehouse. We weren't dying to leave the old homeplace, but we needed the extra warehouse space.

Well, today was officially our first day back in business again since the relocating...also the last day of my work week and I look forward to sleeping in tomorrow....or perhaps I'll go look for some pictures for my walls....then again, maybe I'll stay home being my aching muscles need the rest.
He gives strength to those who are tired and more power to those who are weak. ~ Isaiah 40:29

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Come Cut it Off!

I just came out to do a little more packing for our move next week and had to check my email first...then read a blog here and there. So while I have my computer on (that will be cut off for a little while next week) I'm only gonna write for a few minutes as I don't want all of this packing stuff waiting on me Monday. In these parts of Levy County, a few words coming from a Smith is rare, but I'm going to attempt to write a short blog...ha. I get started and don't know when to cut it off. This reminds me of a story I've heard tell of about my Uncle Nolan, my Daddy's oldest brother.

A particular time when Nolan was a little boy, he was eating a biscuit his mother had made a pan of. Well if you're from the South, then you know what cane syrup is. Yum...I was raised on this and knew just where my Granny Smith kept the old long-neck bottle that housed this thick, rich stuff. It was actually an old liquor bottle that they would put this stuff in. (All pictures are taken from off the Internet and are not mine, but will hopefully give you an idea of what I'm talking about.)

I know my Granny or Granddaddy didn't drink the liquor, but they obviously knew someone that did being this is the only thing I had ever seen them put it in.

Outside where they processed this, my Granddaddy had the big kettle pot, skimmer, and everything else it took to cook it during the fall/winter season when the sugar cane got ripe.

Daddy's told me many a time of watching him make it, and how he even helped to stir or skim off the top once he got big enough to do so. If you cooked it too long, it got dark and that's where the strong molasses-taste came in, but doing it "just right" produced a light golden-brown, clear, thick liquid. I like and will only turn down Aunt Jemima or the Log Cabin Maple Syrup when there is no cane syrup around. Although there are a few places within a 25 radius of Williston that make it each year, its not as popular making it the old-fashioned way as it use to be. From time to time we have a customer or two that will make a batch of syrup and let us know incase we wanted to buy a jug from him. During Daddy's last year of sickness, we had a family friend from down the road, Emory, that brought us syrup several times that his friend of family member made from up in Georgia. Both Daddy and Emory are no longer with us, but there's still a little left in that last jug that he brought to us a month or so before Daddy died.

This particular day (as I had started to say) Little Nolan grabbed the bottle of syrup and commenced to pouring it on top of his biscuit. If you aren't careful, the syrup (and about any other thick liquid you try to pour) started coming out the bottle in such a thick gush that very soon it was filling his plate and he didn't know how to tip the bottle up to make it pour into a thin stream, so he yelled, "Come cut it off! Come cut it off!" Granny or Granddaddy went over and rescued the little tike from wasting the whole bottle on one biscuit. Little kids like to do some things by themselves many times and have to learn things the hard way.

Uncle Nolan had to have help cutting it off (the syrup) as I need the same thing in trying to write a short blog. I need to learn to know how to "Cut it off!" So, I must get back to work with my packing as I don't want the following told of me...

Those who work hard make a profit, but those who only talk will be poor. ~ Proverbs 14:23

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Out With the Cold, In With the Cold

My alarm went off at 2:45 a.m. as we were planning on leaving the house at 4:00 for our first Christmas away from home in years. The first time was at the birth of my first nephew in 1974, this was also my first time seeing snow....not a good one (read about it in my blog "Purpose For Everything Under The Sun"). With the vehicle loaded, we pulled away at 4:12 and Mama, Meister, and I set out on what looked to be an "interesting" trip. Mama always says a prayer first before we leave...you never know what is lurking down the road that those prayers will get you through, or help to avoid. Two days before Christmas and we weren't sure what the traveling was going to be like going up I-75. Our first stop is in Valdosta at the Cracker Barrel...cold and around 32 freezing degrees (anything below 60 is cold for this Florida girl). To make it easier on Mama, the wheelchair tote was put on the back of my vehicle so that she wouldn't have to worry about the dog jumping out when trying to get my wheelchair...the only problem for me was getting out into an ice cold chair (that had been covered), but I survived it and got warm once inside the restaurant....then I had to go back outside in it. We stopped a few hours later south of Macon for her to walk the dog & let him go to the bathroom and smell where every other canine had marked their spot, then back on the road again. After a stop in Ellijay at Chic-fila, we made it to the house at around 1:00-1:30, got unpacked, then headed to the grocery story for this week's groceries. It was just the 2 of us then, but my brother's family would be coming for the Christmas meal, then my baby sister's crew, and part of a niece's crew would arrive on Saturday....an addition of 9 people.

The grocery store in Hayesville is huge, so by the time we reached the dairy section (last aisle), my throat was hurting from the cold inside the store. We left the store temps of what seemed to be below zero, to warm up outside in 30+ degree temps, got the car loaded back down again (but with food), headed to the house to unload, then finished the journey off with a bowl of hot vegetable beef soup mama had put up in the freezer our last trip up in October. Man it hit the spot, and my throat was no longer hurting. I couldn't wait to get in the bed and pass out. I slept like a baby.

Mama took my vehicle back into town the next day and picked up a few more items we had forgotten, plus she stopped by Dollar General for some last minute Christmas decorations since we had invited the neighbors from "up the hill" for a spaghetti supper...we wanted more of a "Christmas look" around the house. Today was a day of lounging & prepping a few things before tomorrow's meal. Mama got the little Christmas tree from the top of my closet to add to the lighted garland I wrapped around the banister. Dollar General stuff worked just fine. Meister graced the photo with his presence.

The neighbors, Rose and Herb, came for supper and the two of them reminisced about how much they missed my daddy. Herb and Daddy would go play golf from time to time before Daddy started getting sick and was able to enjoy it. The last time they were over to eat, Rose bent down to pick Meister up and it hurt his leg that he had arthritis in. He bit her on the cheek. We were hoping she wouldn't try that again, and, she even brought the subject up at the table that evening, "Do you remember the time Meister bit me?" How in the world could someone forget that? They've got a BIG dog at their house, so being around a dog was not unusual to them. After supper and some small talk, they went back home and the Christmas Eve rain started up, now making it damp and extra cold outside.

On Christmas morning instead of opening our gifts (we did this before we left Florida), we started the cooking process. We knew we could take our time with cooking as Mama had told my brother's wife a few days before that we'd probably eat mid-afternoon or so since everyone would probably have a late breakfast. I even killed time doing a few other things. That soon changed when Mama gave them a call and was told they'd be leaving Ellijay in the next half hour, ride the hour and ten minutes to get here...putting them at our place around noon! Talk about high gear...we put it in it! I had just finished snapping the beans, the sweet potatoes had been pealed, the macaroni and cheese was put together but not baked, the turkey was out of the oven but not sliced, and everything else was either cooking/baking. It was looking very slim that mama would get the sweet potato dish started anytime soon, so I told her I'd start on it (even though I'd never made it before). I basically knew what spices & ingredients would go in it, so I just started adding till I got it to the taste I thought it should be, then started baking it. It turned out really good and I was so proud. By the time they arrived, everything was ready or fixing to come out of the oven. Took all morning to prepare, and about 15-20 minutes to consume it.

For some reason or other, within 10 minutes after consumption, everyone was ready for a nap....even sitting around the table talking had everyone yawning. My great niece, Ashlee, got a card game for Christmas, The Memory Game. I played a few hands with her and she won each time....so much for my memory. Could it be because I just turned 50? Mid-afternoon, everyone was about ready to hit the road back down to Ellijay, but first it was important to get family pictures. Going out into the cold woke everyone up for sure.
Pretty soon it was just mama and I back in a quiet house. Christmas was different this year with the rest of the family not being there, but it was memorable.
Saturday morning and it's wonderful to sleep in a few extra minutes. Looking forward to Ginger's bunch and Danielle & her two kids to get here. Oh, and lets not forget Bella...Bella's making her first long trip since her birth a few months ago.
The cutest little Shorkie I've ever laid my eyes on (also the only one). When they got here mid-afternoon, it took about as long to get Bella's belongings out as it did the rest of their stuff. Just so you don't think I'm exaggerating, here's a shot of the little canine. We weren't really sure how Meister would react. Meister stood up straight when he saw her with his tail erect and his ears thrown back as she yapped and jumped up in his face. He was a good boy and did not get upset, just tired after about 5 minutes of her bothering him and he went and laid back down.

Sunday came and went and we ended up eating leftovers from Christmas. The temps were still dropping and by Monday morning its in the mid 20's. Mama and I decided to pick up a few items at the brand new Walmart in Blairsville, so we dress appropriately and headed out in the cold. The store sits atop a high hill catching all the high winds that were blowing. When I got out into my chair, I literally yelled rolling through the parking lot into the store as the wind blew hard. The wind chills were probably in the single digits, or lower. We went our separate ways once in the store and decided to meet back at the entrance in an hour. It didn't take long to make my rounds, and 20 of those minutes were spent getting a key made...in the automotive department where the automatic sliding doors kept opening back and forth letting in a rush of the frigid air, once again reminding me of what I had waiting when we got back outside to the car. For supper that evening we ate Chili...so fitting for the cold.
Tuesday came and everyone went their separate ways for shopping. I took Mama into town to pay a bill and on the way there, I saw a neat Christmas decoration someone had added to their barn. Note the Christmas tree in the hayloft, and Santa behind the wheel of the old truck.

For supper that evening we ate at my favorite place, The Ridges...a Kodak moment.

All week we heard that snow was headed our way...the day we were to leave to go back home to Florida, also New Year's day. As far as I was concerned, it was cold enough for it to rain down icicles. I can only take so much cold, but for some reason I was excited about the cold this year, especially if we did see some flakes...it didn't have to be a lot, just a few.
Wednesday arrived and all I had heard about the last few days was the brand new little restaurant called Michaelee's. It was small and quaint, so we made reservations and met for lunch at 1:00. Although there was parking in the front and rear, the parking area for a handicapped was a disaster waiting to happen....especially when you're sticking out an additional 4 - 5 feet further from my wheelchair being on the back. I got it parked well, it was getting out of here that would be the problem...no place to turn around, looked like I would have to back out through the parking lot onto the street. Food-wise, I was talked into getting the Roman Club Panini by Logan...but I'm glad he talked me into it. They were huge, so I split mine with mama since everyone talked about the homemade desserts this place had. I sure didn't want to miss out on that... I got the Molten Lava Cake, a chocolate cake baked in a small tin that had chocolate sauce in the center of it...they heat it up, then place a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. The others got the Pina Colada Cake...coconut cake with pineapple filling (or just the opposite as I never tasted it, just saw it), and Logan had the Snicker Bar Pie....yum. We were stuffed by the time we left there, and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get into the vehicle...let alone back out of the parking lot. Keep in mind the temps were probably in the 30's outside, so it wasn't a summer day to take one's time. I needed to roll my own self for the exercise, but I let Logan push me to the car since the elevations out in the parking lot were so weird and so un-wheelchair friendly. I backed up and into a little space between a couple vehicles to get myself turned around so that I wouldn't have to back out onto the street....this made Mama a little nervous, but I'm a good backer-upper (I've had plenty of practice fitting into tight spaces in this chair). We sat around, read, slept, watched TV, and even played cards when we got back to the house. After a lite supper a little later, we played some more cards, then prepared for bed. The clouds were starting to move in for tomorrow's rain and we still prayed for some snow. Ginger, Erik, Peggy & Shelby were leaving tomorrow to go home, and we were wanting some before they had to leave, if possible...I didn't think that was too tall an order for God. From time to time we'd look outside, or have to let Meister out and would freeze in just that short time of opening the door to let him in and out. Still no snow. Everyone retired to their sleeping quarters, and within 10 minutes someone knocked on my bedroom door. Shelby, in a rather excited tone said, "Aunt Becky, I just wanted to let you know it's snowing outside!" I dressed as quick as I could and got back up into my chair, and by this time everyone had gone back downstairs. Mama came out of her room wondering why I was turning the lights on and unlocking the front door. Not only was it freezing, but it was pitch black. When the lights were turned on at the end of the house, I could see little snow flurries floating past the light. Sure enough--though it wasn't a whiteout--it was snow. I had to stop and thank the Lord for answering that little prayer. I was satisfied with what I saw, so I got back into my warm bed.

Thursday arrived and I had to tell some of the family goodbye as they were heading back to Florida, the warm sunshine state. After they left, we did most of our packing and then the others went and spent a little money and energy at Fun World. We left a little earlier than everyone else before supper so that I could fill up with gas for the trip home tomorrow, and made a run to the dump. The temps never really got much out of the 30's on the trip this year. It was down right cold whenever we went outside....then add the rain that had been falling all day, it made it all the more colder. We were capping off our trip with our last meal at Rib Country...mouth-watering meat that is fall-off-the-bone tender. We pulled up to the restaurant and waited on Danielle and them. As we waited, a car pulled up beside us and four occupants got out. Honest to goodness, the people looked so mismatched. From my perspective, it was the mother (who looked like someone you'd bump into in the grocery store), the father, and the son or daughter. Either the son had invited his girlfriend, or the daughter had invited the boyfriend. Regardless, the two males looked as though they had stepped off the Deliverance movie set and went into the restaurant. Being it was a little early for our reservation, we sat out in the vehicle and waited on the rest of our party. After about five minutes, the young man came out and sat on the porch to smoke a cigarette and saw mama and I getting out of the vehicle. He was very nice to open the door for us. I got a bit tickled because he looked as though any minute he would pick up a jug of moonshine and dance a jig in front of us...very mountain man-ish. In this place where we stay in NC, there are lots of people that are originally from Florida, but the rest are just good ole country folks, then there are some that are from the backwoods that look as though they don't come into town much. These were backwood-looking folks. (Which reminds me of the time when Mama & Daddy were up here in NC and an emergency had arisen with my Daddy, thinking her may be having a heart attack, he had to be taken to the hospital in the city next to Warne. They didn't know what to do with Meister while Daddy was in the hospital, so someone had suggested a pet boarding place just outside of town (in the boondocks) down a little road called...Hanging Dog Road. This story would also make a good blog one day.) The people at the restaurant looked as though they may have friends that live down this road. Needless to say, I tried not to stare at them as we ordered our food, ate it, then went back home to finish any last minute packing. A little cards before bedtime, then the lights went out a little earlier since the plans were to head back home by 6:00 in the morning. Ugh...I hate to get up early.

Well, Happy New Year...it's now 2010. We leave at approximately 6:07 and head for sunny, warm Florida. The first couple of hours driving we have the roads almost to our self. Mama and I decided to stop at Cracker Barrel for breakfast and then back on the road again, as Willie Nelson would say. Everywhere we were, it was down right cold. Mama had to get out once after our breakfast stop to take the dog for a walk and do his business...of smelling where all the other dogs had made deposits and make his own. This was not the type of weather one would exactly want to get out and walk or run a dog in, but I will have to admit, Meister is a good little traveler....he just sleeps the whole time.

We arrived safely back home and...in the cold. Little did I know that for the next couple weeks (or close to it), the weather we had up in NC was just preparing me for the temps and extreme cold we again would feel in sunny, warm Florida for not just a couple days, but nearly 2 weeks. Yesterday was the first time in days that I could get by going outside without a jacket of some kind. It felt wonderful. The cold was unusual this year, but the seasons will just continue to come and go each year like clock work.

As long as the earth exists, planting and harvesting, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never stop. Genesis 8:22

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Change....who likes change? That was one word President Obama focused on during his campaign. For some people it can be a positive or a negative experience. For some reason its been on the negative side with me lately. I've been in the process of having to make decisions that aren't the easiest to make. Partly due to competition in the workplace, our business will be moving in the next week or two to another location down the road. Yes, I'm leaving the convenience of heading out the backdoor at home and rolling down the sidewalk to the present office to work, to having to load and unload in and out of the vehicle several times a day. Except for the couple of years I lived out in Montbrook next to my sister's house, I didn't have to go too far to work at all. This time, I believe the hardest for me is leaving the place my Daddy started almost 30 years ago. So we've been cleaning out desks, drawers, filing cabinets, shelves, etc. in the past week to get ready for the big move (for me anyway).

I stop here and there and recall experiences I had with my Daddy when I'd read sales books, ledgers, papers, and other things that would have my Daddy's handwriting on it....little chicken scratch, I'd call it. All of which has sentimental value to it. I went in the house at lunch and was telling Mama of some of the things I found and couldn't finish the sentence because I'd start crying. Everywhere I look I see "fingerprints" of him. It will be much different than what I'm use to...meaning more wear and tear on the hands...that I treasure. But it'll just take some time getting use to, I'm sure. Thanks to my nephew Logan and Peg for painting my new office....finely, rather than out in the open and where everyone has to come through and disturb my poor train of thought, I'll have an office of my own!

When I went out to ride my bike today during the noon hour, I turned on my radio and heard this song by Phillips, Craig & Dean. Of all that's been going on with the cleaning out of the office and finding the sentimental things, this song really hit home. I thought of my Daddy...

Nothing To Lose:

You taught me how to ride a bike, tie my shoes and fly a kite,
How to swim, and how to fish, to see and star and make a wish.
Said its okay to make mistakes, just don't get stuck in yesterday
Forgive, forget, and move ahead, because life is what you make of it.
Now you're gone and all I have are memories I hold deep.
But if I'm quiet, I hear your voice still ringing in my ears...

Saying, "Live with no excuses, and love with no regrets,
laugh a lot and leave this life with nothing left unsaid...
Make this world a better place, don't be afraid to cry.
And when it's finally time to say goodbye,
Nothing to prove, nothing to lose, nothing to hide".

You see, life can not be measure by...the place you live, the car you drive.
The thing that counts the day you die, is who you are, and what's inside.
So tell the truth, don't ever lie...integrity at any price
Your words, your bond, your highest price...so guard it close and live your life.
So many things I learned from you, 'bout life and love and play.
But I learned more by how you lived than what I heard you say.

Saying, "Live with no excuses, and love with no regrets,
laugh a lot and leave this life with nothing left unsaid...
Make this world a better place, don't be afraid to cry.
And when it's finally time to say goodbye,
Nothing to prove, nothing to lose, nothing to hide".

Today's blog is probably the shortest one you'll get from me, but I also wanted to let you know I didn't forgot how to write (it's only been 2 months since my last one). We may go through changes in this life, pleasant and unpleasant, but I serve one that never changes...

Every good action and every perfect gift is from God. These good gifts come down from the Creator of the sun, moon, and stars, who does not change like their shifting shadows". James 1:17