The Hero of the House?

The word “House” is impersonal. It is nothing more than wood and stone.  A “Home”, on the other hand  denotes warmth and love. It is a place where you would feel safe and secure.

I don’t remember having a “Home” growing up.  Just a house.  It was a place with airspace we inhabited and that was pretty much it. I always wanted a “home”, somewhere safe to go to. A place to hide.  A place of fond memories. We had few.

I do have memories, but not of any nuances of the house or perhaps they were and I just don’t have a complete grasp of what a nuance is. I have few memories of the structure but mostly those are of me helping Dad nail shingles on the roof and Mom waxing the vinyl floors and us kids sliding across them to buff them up. So, I guess there are a couple of good memories, but that was much later.

Before all that, I remember the hole where the septic tank was to be and where our little ducklings fell into and we had to rescue them. There was nothing there but a big hole, no tank yet. I also remember us kids on our bellies watching as daddy fished them out. There had been a two by four dipping down into the hole and apparently they (the ducklings) walked down it but couldn’t figure out how to walk back up it.

I remember the outhouse out back that served as our toilet until the house was completed. I only once remember mother cooking on a two burner kerosene stove in our one room shack that had once been a chicken coop.  There were possibly only two beds as there wouldn’t have been room for more and we kids often shared one bed, two on each end facing away one from one another. Why not? We were little.

What I remember most of the kerosene stove was the stench of the fumes it gave off when she cooked. The one night I remember her cooking on that stove, it was raining hard outside and at that time we were still in the one room. We kids were laying on one of the two beds in the room,  I was about six, which then made my siblings, 5, 3 & 1 or thereabout.  There was nothing much to do on a night like this except watch mother cook, so there we were all in a row like the three wise monkeys plus one. I’m sure my job was to keep the smallest out of her way.  There wasn’t much wiggle room and cooking can be risky business.

What reminded me of it, is that it’s been raining outside this morning.

So, on a day like today we were making do when suddenly the stove burst into flames!  The flames flew up so high that they touched the ceiling. We all screamed as mother used her dishcloth to try and put the fire out. Bad idea. It was getting away from her, so she yelled at me.
yh4She yelled at me again before I realized that I had to go for help. I may have been frozen or was going around in circles panicking before making it out the door in the DARK, I don’t know, but I made it out. The last I’d seen was mom grabbing the baby. Outside, I struggled with leaving at all.  I was so afraid. Afraid of the night, the rain and to leave the others alone but… they needed help. My help.  I started running and running, tears fell as fast as the rain. I had to be the hero and in my head, I felt like one. Yet as my little legs carried me further away, the DARK got darker. It hardly ever rains in California, but it was raining now. There was so much rain I could hardly see and my hair was matted down over my eyes as I slipped and trudged through gooey mud. It was cold.

It couldn’t have been more pitch BLACK out there and I couldn’t see a thing. Was I afraid of the dark? Yes, what if something else gets me? This is wrong, what if they die and I’m out here all alone I’m thinking, but I don’t look back. My heart is pounding in my chest like it will pop out at any given moment.  I slip again. There had been a tumble down fence between our two homes and most of the time if we went next door, no problem. I was an expert at separating and maneuvering through the wires but tonight I can’t find them and it was so DARK. Suddenly, there I am tangled in a mesh of barbed wire and I can’t get out. No, NO! I gotta get out. I gotta get out, I gotta save them!

Finally, I break free and make it to the house next door and my little fists pound and pound away but it feels like nothing on their door. Can’t they hear me?  So, I scream but nothing comes out. There’s no sound or maybe I just can’t hear for the noise of the rain. Weakly, I keep pounding.

Finally a light switches on and the door opens and I fall through. I barely get the words out “a fire!” and Mrs. Lopez’ 20 boys hit the dirt flying out the door. Me? I fall limp and someone carries me to this massive dining table where I’d seen Mrs. Lopez feed her ginormous family and I’m situated in a chair. I sit there as her daughter, Ernestine quickly mixes me a concoction of sugar water to drink. I think someone says she’s a nurse.  I don’t understand how it works but she says something about how it would calm me. Perhaps it was an old folklore remedy or just a distraction but it worked as I sat there slumped and worried. I think  there are other people around, but I can’t be sure. She, or maybe it was Mrs. Lopez dries me off, then cleans and bandages my wounds.

The fire department did come out, someone across Hwy 5 had seen the blaze and called but I think the Lopez boys had pretty much gotten it under control before they arrived. The important thing is the fire was extinguished and my siblings and mom were all safe.  Where they went while it was burning, I don’t know. I would later return home to a tarp being put over a gaping hole in the ceiling, which did not prevent periodic drips seeping through and plaguing us the rest of the night. THAT is all I remember. I would like to say I was praised for my heroic flight, but I wasn’t, at least I don’t remember. It was actually quite anticlimactic. I even tried sharing my adventure but no one cared. The only thing anyone was worried about was the house.

The place was a mess, Dad had arrived home and that was it. I don’t remember if we ate or much of anything else after that. There were no McDonald’s in those days, but that wouldn’t have mattered. Dad would never have sprung for anything so extravagant.

The rain subsided and the tarp sufficed until the rest of the house was built. This room would later become mom and dad’s bedroom I think, minus the charred wood. Why it hadn’t burned to the ground, I don’t know. Perhaps it was the rain. I would later recall vaguely remembering being a little sorry I’d missed all the excitement.

The next day, I went out to the yard and noticed where I’d traveled, but what had seemed like a hundred miles the night before was only a a couple hundred feet. Not far. It was no wonder no one cared about my adventure. Some hero.

Dad would later incorporate this as part of our house, a U shape structure with a courtyard in the middle. Mom would put a garden out back and I would wander the hills. I didn’t stay home much, because “home” wasn’t safe, unless I was left alone to read a book.

I still long to be coddled, but that’s just a dream. I am glad for what I do have. My hubby loves me, sticks up for me and keeps me safe. We are not rich, but it’s a coddling of sorts. I wonder though, did I ever give my kids a home?  Did they ever feel coddled and nurtured?  Or, was that something I didn’t know how to do or do well?

I know they know I love them like life itself. They know I’d give my life for them if need be, so I hope that’s enough. They often tell me I was a good mom, and sometimes it comes with a qualifier… considering where I came from and where I’d been. We laugh about that. They do know.




Cousin Jack

Here it is the wee hours of the morning and I can’t sleep. I seldom have that problem any more but here it is.

I got to thinkin’ about cousin Jack.

Cousin Jack was an old farm boy from Alabama. Actually, his real name was Israel but we all called him Jack. He spent most of his youth in the army, retired Air Force, so the first time I remembered meeting him, he was already an adult with a family and all. (pic on left) I think I was in my twenties then, with two girls of my own.

I remember Jack hoisting my little city girls up on the fence to watch the hog that had just given birth to a whole bunch of piglets scrambling for a teat. His two boys were older and like their dad, loved riding the girls around the farm on their four wheeler’s.

Jack was older than I but halfway in age between daddy and me. All I know is that he was actually  daddy’s first cousin which made him my second cousin but we were still cousins.

I didn’t see him again for a good many years.  What I learned about him though was that he was hard working and enterprising.  I remember daddy driving us through his land on what seemed like miles of corn fields. It was amazing to see row upon row of fresh corn. That was all his, daddy said. What I remember was that he was always accumulatin’, but mostly land and cows.  I would later add to my opinion of his persona, “hot tempered and opinionated”, after all he was a southerner. A redneck through and through.

It seemed that Jack took a dislikin’ to my Uncle Tracy for “some reason” and felt compelled to compete.  If Uncle Tracy bought a parcel of land, Jack would out do him. If cousin Bill bought a bunch of cattle or more land, he’d out do him. (Cousin Bill was uncle Tracy’s son in law).

You see my great grandma had 12 kids and out of those only 8 or 9 of them lived. I could be wrong on that. But Uncle Tracy and my grandpa were from the same litter, only grandpa was on the older end of the scale and Uncle Tracy was closer to Daddy’s age. Cousin Jacks Poppa was Pervie also near the bottom rung and I heard tell his momma was mean as hell, but I don’t remember her. The pic below shows some of them.

Back: Grandpa Orlie, Uncle’s: Tracy, Fitzhugh, Pervie – Front: Aunt’s: Ada, Omie, great grandma, and Vergie

How one family could have kids on opposite ends of the social spectrum, is beyond me. I can only guess the younger ones benefited from the older ones working by getting more education, therefore more advantages. One thing for sure, they were all a hard working bunch. Uncle Fitzhugh also had a Jack who would move to Texas; his sons were younger and fully educated and classier.

Cousin Jack was decent folk, steady and far brighter than he let on to be. Being in the military he got to see the world and was well traveled, but daddy doesn’t know how he survived being so bull headed as he was and all, but he did. Calling him bull headed, well that was like the pot callin’ the kettle black, as if dad could talk.

When I visited Daddy once, Jack noticed the tires on my car were going bald, so he sent me to this tire place in town. Beings as I was from Colorado, I was a bit shy on going to a business I didn’t know for fear of being taken advantage of.  For one, I am a woman and…two, considered a “Yankee” to boot.

He tells me to tell them that “Jack B of Walnut Grove” sent me.  He says, “They know me there”. “They know I got a big mouth and if they don’t treat you right, the whole damn county’ll hear about it!” They gave me a great deal and I was in and out in no time.

Daddy said, that’s how he was. He had a big mouth and at times could be downright offensive, but one thing for sure, if he likes you, he likes you and you couldn’t ask for a more honest dealin’ man around. You always knew where you stood with him.

Jack with my grandson Jack – It tickled him to when my little guy jumped on the Kodiak

After I moved there I found that to be true. People either loved him or hated him and that would all depend on what kind of person you were or how you’d dealt with him or one of his kin and/or friends.  That’s what happened to Uncle Tracy. You see Uncle Tracy  had taken advantage of daddy once a long time ago and basically absconded with over 360 acres of good timber land, leaving daddy with only 20 acres. Daddy and grandpa got like $5,000 for all of it, perhaps less.   Truth is, it was grandpa’s and daddy’s temper that interfered with their judgment that lost the land, none the less they all blamed Tracy for taking advantage of a known flaw in their personalities. Daddy never forgot that and of course Jack didn’t either. Loyal.

“Our former dam and creek” that daddy always wanted to build a house nearby.
Tracy cleared the trees and put in cattle but the land goes as far as you can see.

Jack, like us, started out land poor.  I don’t know how but there was quite a bit of land in the family and each started out with a chunk of it. I used to tell people we owned the town. My husband didn’t believe me until his first visit and he spotted a street named after us. Actually, there were several but that’s all we had. No money. Just land.

Now Jack was different. He may have looked like a hick, but he was sharp. He not only gained more land adding thousands of acres but he had hundreds of cattle, pigs, llamas and for a time raised corn to boot. So, he did right well for himself. He also knew how to handle money, and he knew how to save and multiply it. He put his boys through college and they too did well as engineers and accountants.

Jack and his truck & tractor.

Daddy liked him because he said, he wasn’t uppity, he’d give you the shirt off his back if you needed it, that was how he was. He did get in Dad’s face at times and was always bugging dad to get his affairs in order and take care of us kids, but daddy wouldn’t listen. Jack was trying to look out for us to no avail. I respected him for that.

That’s why, when he popped off spit firin’ mad at some politician or some injustice, callin’ them names ya hadn’t oughta repeat, ya let him go because it was “his way”. One thing for sure, there was never a doubt in your mind about what he thought. There were times you’d cringe at the stuff that came out of his mouth. The more I was around him, the more I could see right through his prattle as he’d spew.  I was to discover that it was just talk. There was a heart of gold in there. Half the time I think he was just tryin’ to get folks riled and he did it well. He didn’t mince words and he could get ya to thinkin’.

One day, I’m at work and one of my coworkers tells me he’s dead, killed in a wreck or maybe daddy called and told me, I don’t remember. For sure it was my coworker that told me how. Some big trucker fell asleep or was drunk and went over to the other side. Her husband was on his motorcycle and saw it. Saw Jack. Jack had been decapitated. Killed on the spot. He died in 2007 at the age of 73. His obit states:

“Mr. — was retired from the U.S. Air Force and the United States Department of Agriculture. He entered the military at the age of 17. He served in the U.S. Armed Forces as a Ranger when they occupied Germany after World War II. He also served in the Korean War and saw combat duty during the Vietnam War. At present, Mr. — was a cattle farmer.” 

Daddy missed him most. A lot in fact. He was his best friend. But even he said, “sometimes Jack could be an ass hole” and I said “yeah… but he was our ass hole.”

What made me think of Jack is the elections comin’ up. Yeah, we got a couple of them.

The thing of it is,  there are people in life like Jack. They can be a bit hard to take sometime, because it’s all out there for the whole world to see, flawed and imperfect. Even so, I never heard him demean a woman like daddy would and did.  He was a good man. I never heard him say an unkind thing about someone based on color alone so much as work ethics and it was a sorry thing if they were one and the same, regardless. He didn’t pick and choose. You work hard, you get treated fairly. Period.

Daddy said that sometimes he was harder on his boys. I believe it. My boys got to work the farm once one summer and one liked him, the other didn’t so much. He treated them as his own. My sweet nerd was not at all the out door type, so he didn’t quite toe the line and farming is hard. Manual labor was not up his alley but it was good for him. He learned and never held it against Jack. For all his abrasive ways, when the chips were down, Jack was a good fair person and could always be counted on to give you the shirt off his back to help you.

Despite daddy’s ill treatment of us kids, I took care of him when he was sick and Jack liked that. He liked me and yes, I liked him too. I wish he could have been around when daddy passed away,  but he’d been gone nearly four years by then. It would have been nice to get his advice on a few things.

“Tell them Jack sent you!”




Tit for Tat X 2


Everyone is telling us to get out and vote.  But who do we vote for?  who instills the most confidence, if any?

This is what we’ve got… Potty mouth anyone?

There is no denying he has a reputation for displaying a degenerate attitude toward women in general or in times past. Men take note. It isn’t funny! I got an airline pilot grounded once for grabbing me like Donald boasted doing. It is reprehensible and unforgivable.

The flip side, and the played down are Hillary’s own verbal tirades as follows:

It is obvious, her sharp tongue has sliced up a good many people not to mention her share of racial slurs which have seeped out as well. (calling Jews “kite”, while so many support her?) She has been shown time and again to have little regard for the “little people” who serve her.

“It boils down to whosoever is without sin, cast the first stone.”

It could be a lose, lose for the American people.

I am grieving.

**The above picture  was “stolen” off the net and I’m not sure if this is the right credit info: 488767-hillary-and-trump.jpg


Why Do I Write?

A Momma's View

Image result for quotes writing

I love award nominations. Don’t worry, this post has nothing to do with yet another blogger award and I’m also not fishing for another nomination. What I like in regards to the nominations are the questions that mostly come along. I think you find out a lot about a blogger when you read their answers.

One of the questions that is often asked is “why do you write”. It’s a good question, actually. Why do  we all write?

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Autumn Tag

Hello friends!

First of all I’d like to give credit and honor to the creator : for divising this entertaining blog to pass on.  It is the season. Then also to for nominating me to pass this request on. Check out his blog for some great food fare. Yum!

After all it is Autumn, one of my favorite seasons.  I like Spring and fall because they are the periods of transition. We bud and grow in spring  but in Autumn we morph.

So let’s start!

The rules are quite simple, you must first:

Attalla House in Fall
  • I love the color changes all around and the drifting leaves as they fall

    Fall on the farm in Gallant


  • I love the cozy feeling you get when the air first starts to chill and the leaves are gone.
My family busy prepping for Thanksgiving and having fun.
  • I love that it’s the prelude to Halloween and Thanksgiving when family comes together.

And now your turn!

My fifteen:


This has been an unusually busy week and today was the worst.

Yesterday, my Cat Chloe had to have surgery. As I mentioned a few blogs ago, she’d been losing weight of late and now she’d stopped eating.  When I took her in before, her blood work had not indicated anything grave, other than a typical (for her age) kidney enzyme count or some such, which only required a diet change. However, I could tell she was losing weight and yet hungry all the time.  She liked her canned food, which was soft, but she was no longer going for the dry. Another age thing?

Well, felines have something they are prone to called resorption. It affects their teeth and gum area and can cause them quite a bit of pain. Fortunately only one tooth was involved, so we had it extracted.  She is fine now.

Doing what she does best – in the daytime anyway.

However, my little gal has to be on pain meds for three days. She was not a happy camper because when she got home, her favorite place to be (outside) was barred.

I couldn’t let her go out because it was now evening and we are known to have coyotes in the neighborhood, so the vet said no. Having been sedated, her reflexes would be subpar for awhile.

So up goes the baby gate and boy did she try to figure that thing out. She was not happy.

baby gate

But all in all, she did get a pretty bandage.


In the meantime, I  add some warm water to her dry food per Dr.’s suggestion, which I did last night. She ate.

The downside to that is that this AM what was left over had drawn ANTS!!!  Lot’s of them, with a trail leading outside, down and around the patio to the fence and disappearing heaven knows where.

I know the neighbors have complained of ants, but they’d not been a problem here.

I looked everywhere for any kind of bug spray and found none.  So, I got out the vinegar. Well, it soaked them but it didn’t kill them, so Home Depot, here I come.

Oh dear!  So many choices. Which do I go for?

Well Spectricide was cheapest, Ortho next and the highest was RAID!  So, I used my “rule of thumb” and got the one priced in the middle.  I figured if Raid was that high, almost twice the others, it must have a ton of stuff I don’t want in the house or…near my pets. The cheapest, I reasoned might not do the trick, I don’t know, but I didn’t want to have to go back if it didn’t.  My animals were starving!  And, I wanted to be able to put their food down and feel it wouldn’t be contaminated.

I needn’t have worried. They’ve been sleeping most of the day anyway.

I woke Ferguson, he looks worried probably wondering what I’m up to now.

In addition to spray I got some of these little “traps”.  It says they’ll take the stuff to the nest and they’ll all be gone. I know how tenacious these little guys can be. I did the tour in Arizona of the Biodome where they had put several species of ants in there and the little guys took over and…eradicated all others!  Nope. I wasn’t taking any chances. These were little guys.

The first go around with vinegar didn’t do much. When I got back from the store, they’d already called in reinforcements. What a mess! I couldn’t think what on earth they could be going for. I don’t have a messy floor. I’d put the food up. What in hell’s name did they want, as one came crawling up my leg and then the other?!

I had to get in all the places I could think of. I laid them by the fence where they’d disappeared to and behind planters next to the doors. Everywhere the trail lead in.

Ant bait

I made sure to lay them in places where the pets couldn’t get them, not that they would, but just in case.

So…then I had to clean up the mess of ant carcasses and while I was at it, I bathed the dog. Ferguson, our Papillon, although a spaniel derivative,  hates baths but he actually did good this time and I even brushed his teeth without him fussin’ too much.


So by the time my two are ready to eat this evening I’m sure things will be fine.

I hope.

Killing ants is a lot of work.