Old News is Still Funny

I’m sitting here looking through some old newspaper columns I wrote way back when I worked for the Whiley Republican in Williamsburg, KY.

What a hoot!

Back then I wrote a lot like I write now — blogs anyway. The blog kinda took the place of what was once a column. Maybe they’re still called columns in newspaper lingo. I’m outta that loop now.

This was not too many years after Elvis passed to that great Graceland in the sky. I decided to write a column about the hubbub surrounding opinions that Elvis still walked among us. I know, it’s a little out there.

If you care to read my novice small town reporter ramblings from long ago, here is that column:

Please Let Elvis, and Us, Rest in Peace

Ok, Elvis, come out and let us all in on the big joke.

I’ve figured it out. Elvis is still alive and he’s putting all those commercials about himself on television to drive us crazy.

Any time of the day or evening, flip on the tv and see commercials promoting books about Elvis or phone numbers to call for messages he supposedly made four years after his death. If he has made a call to anyone recently I sincerely hope they didn’t accept the charges!

There are also “one of a kind” Elvis dolls, Elvis Hawaiian hula lamps and black velvet paintings of “the king”. Oh, I almost forgot, a new Elvis credit card is now available to make it oh so easy to afford all of this.

There are also experts on cable talk shows who share their theories on where Elvis is keeping himself these days. Some say he has been seen in Michigan and others are sure he’s on a tropical island. Personally I would choose the tropical island. Not to slight Michigan, but I lived there. And now for my theory. If he’s on a tropical island somewhere, chances are he wants to be left alone.

Perhaps visitors to Graceland should look a little closer. Who’s the maintenance man there now, anyway? Yes, that has never been addressed on one of those Elvis commercials. Or what about the one room that was shut up and has never been opened since his death? Any true Elvis hound (no pun intended) wouldn’t rest until these mysteries are cleared up.

Oh no. What if I’ve started something else now. If I see one commercial about this on cable tv I’m contacting someone about royalty rights. After all, everybody else is making money off him.

So, is Elvis dead or alive? I happen to be in the ever shrinking minority who believes he has been gone since August 16, 1977. If that date isn’t right I’m not to blame. I got it from one of the those commercials.

Not that I sit around thinking about it. I’m just so tired of seeing Elvis this and Elvis that everywhere I go. I’m afraid that it will wash my brain so much that I will start to think about it and plan pilgrimage to Memphis. And before, all I ever wanted to go there for was to see the Mississippi.

Come on all you Elvis promo pushers. Let us, and Elvis, rest in peace.

To All My Mother Figures

I’m a dog mom. Does that qualify me to celebrate Mothers Day?

Maybe not – but I have a lot of moms to celebrate. This isn’t a new idea I just came up with. I wanted to post a special tribute to some of the women who have been like a mom to me. And to my own mom, Nancy

All the love and memories came crashing in while I was frying potatoes (“fried taters” in these parts) for supper, because it reminded me of my Aunt Bobbie, my mom’s sister. She taught me how to fry taters. She also taught me how to make cornbread. I remember it well, standing in her kitchen on Riverside Drive many years ago. I was so excited. She had two wonderful sons who she loved with everything in her, but never had a daughter of her own.  She became like a mom to me.

All of my mom’s sisters (I believe there were about eight girls in all) were like mothers to me in one way or another.

Aunt Shirley taught me to laugh and have fun in the kitchen. I loved her kitchen with all its aromas — especially the smell of Uncle Dempsey’s Butternut cakes. She also taught me what proper sweet tea should taste like and that you shouldn’t ever let anybody leave your house hungry.

Sunday suppers at Aunt Faye’s house came complete with Pistachio cake. My cousin Valerie (Faye’s daughter), always had to wash the dishes and I helped. I loved looking out her kitchen window over the sink while I rinsed and dried.

I loved going up to the country to my Aunt (Lucille) Cille’s house. It was a treat riding those curvy roads to Nickelsville, Virginia. I spent summers there riding my bike all over town with my cousins and their friends. Aunt Cille and Uncle Bruce had the biggest gardens of anybody and the best fresh vegetables. There was always a big meal on the table. Evenings after supper and Sunday afternoons were often spent sitting out on the carport, warm summer breezes blowing in.

My Aunt Nina taught me that you should always look your best wherever you were going. I watched her put on makeup and curl her lashes and hair to go out. It fascinated me. She, my mom and some of the other sisters would put Toni perms in each other’s hair. The smell of the perm solution just about ran me out of the room, but I sat there taking it all in, gaining a lot of fashion knowledge, along with a little news about the goings on in the family.

I surely don’t want to leave anybody out — there was also Aunt ‘Rene (Irene) who had the cleanest house this side of the Mississippi. She let Uncle Everson put his deer heads on the walls, but they had to be placed just so. I could tell, even with their beady eyes following me everywhere around the room. Aunt ‘Rene’s house was at the top of what’s probably the highest point in Weber City, Virginia. We could see all over the place sitting outside in the front yard — even over into Holston View Cemetery where my mamaw and papaw rest.

My Aunt Joyce taught me the importance of being strong no matter what. One of most resilient women I ever knew, she passed way too young.

My dad’s sister, Sarah, raised four boys well. All of them grew up to be fine men. She taught me the importance of adapting to changing situations. She, too, would have loved to had a daughter to go with all those boys and took me home with her to spend the night whenever she could.

Grandmothers can teach you a lot, too. My Mamaw Moles (my dad’s mom) taught me that a girl can drive a big ol boat of a car (made entirely of real metal) through the interstate traffic of Greensboro, North Carolina without an ounce of fear! Well,  she had no fear — I saw my life flash before my eyes a few times the day I took that road trip with her.

Mamaw Dockery taught me the worth of a good story. Told just the right way, it can hold a kid spellbound and out of mischief (like jumping on the bed). How I would love to sit and listen again to her tell the story about the headless Civil War soldier she saw walking up her front steps over in Fort Blackmore. Ghosts seem to be more prevalent out in the country.

Saving the best for last, but not nearly least — my own mom taught me about Jesus and the importance of being part of a church family. It’s something I still value so much in my life. Mom also liked to cook and put big meals on the table. Her Sunday suppers were some of the best. We usually had roast and potatoes with plenty of home canned green beans. If it was summer when gardens were in, there would also be a salad or killed lettuce and onions. Ok – now I’m hungry again.

I guess the thread running through this quilt of family memories is that all of them fed me in some way. Whether it was food or a life lesson, I am better for having known each of them. They are and will always be influences that helped shape me into who I am today.

I’d love to know — what are some memories of women who helped shape you?

 

 

Mules in the Mountains

I had a lot of neat adventures back in the late 80’s working as a reporter for the Whitley Republican in Williamsburg, Kentucky. There was always something going on in that little mountain town.

Sometimes a little weirdness going on, but interesting nonetheless.

One experience in particular is still dear to my heart – the day we went up into the mountains to do a feature on mules hauling pipeline. My friend and newspaper comrade, Teresa, recently found a copy of that article and sent it to me. Reading it again brought back a lot of memories.

When nothing else works – bring in the mules.

A company working to lay pipeline in the Kentucky mountains were not able to take the big trucks into the area where they needed to go. So the foreman had the bright idea to take mules up there to help do the job. It still kinda fascinates me.

The newspaper photographer, Bill, got wind of the story and off we went to find them. We had to drive a little way up in the mountains. When we got there, we found it just as we’d heard – mules were doing the work where trucks couldn’t. It stands as my favorite experience from my time at the paper. (Well, that and getting free supper every Tuesday night at the Bonanza steakhouse. But that’s another story.)

I interviewed the foreman (and the mules 😄), and Bill took lots of photos – it turned out to be a very nice feature spread and we also won photo feature of the year, and feature article of the year from the Kentucky Weekly Newspaper Association. Cool beans.

I moved on from newspaper work, but never forgot my love of writing about everyday life – neat stories about people, places and things.

In the back of my mind, I missed newspaper life and thought that I would like to do that again.  I wanted my own publication, though. Then I heard about the One Christian Voice network of online news sites.

I messaged the editor of Nashville Christian Voice and found out that they were looking for someone to start another site in Tennessee.

Pick me! Pick me!

Long story short – I’m now the editor of my own news site, ETN Christian Voice! I’ve been slow out of the gate, but it’s coming along. I get to choose the stories to feature, I’m writing about the things I love to write about and my dream is happening.

Don’t ever let go of your dreams. They’re there for a reason.

Keep moving forward and do what you know to do. Pray, give your plans and dreams to God and He will take it from there.

Have faith.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,  the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1