Category Archives: Memories


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We had our first July hot day. Felt like a scorcher but was only about eighty-seven degrees. I had a bowl of peaches on the table, they were on sale at our local Aldi’s last weekend but had been too hard. Every day the smell has been growing sweeter. I’m sure they were not grown locally. They were white peaches and the only other place I’d had them was on the way to Niagara Falls, somewhere along the border between Virginia and North Carolina. Those were hot, fresh picked peaches and absolutely divine.  We ate them with the sweet sticky juice leaking out. I’ve been anticipating the taste of these.

Of course, these may have come from Germany, South America, or Georgia, or from that roadside orchard north of us. It’s a different world than driving along a road and stopping for a basket of fruit. It didn’t matter, today they were ripe.

Peeled and sprinkled them with sugar, only stealing three or four slices as I waited for them to start bleeding that sweet juice into the bowl the way only lightly sugared fruit will do. Then I dished up some nice cold vanilla ice cream and covered it with peaches.


My husband and I agreed, they were not nearly as good as those fresh-picked ones along the road, but they were great for our first peaches of the summer.

I hear tomorrow will be even hotter. We did buy a watermelon at the tomato barn where we get our summer vegetables. It’s getting cold and ready as we speak.

Hope you enjoyed some summer bounty. Something worth leaving the air-conditioning and sitting on the porch to eat.







Nice day with lots of heavy rain. My daughter arrived home to visit for a few days and got here just before the rain started. When we went out to eat sushi for supper, it had finally stopped.

Didn’t expect to get to watch the fireworks. We watched a little television instead while we caught up on life.  When we heard them popping off, the two of us drove down to watch from a parking lot about half a mile from where they were launched at the Fairgrounds. As usual, I enjoyed watching the people more. Not sure if it was too damp, but the fireworks didn’t seem as noisy or bright as last year. Did enjoy watching a family eating watermelon and it brought back a lot of memories.

When we were young, my parents worked hard, but being part of a large family, there were no long vacations or amusement parks. Instead, living near the Smoky Mountains, our getaways were to drive up the cool windy roads under the overhanging lush green trees into the National Park. Sometimes it’s good to remember how lucky we felt to have a good car and parents who wanted to make the trip.

We were crowded, sitting four across in those high bench seats, no seat belts, wanting to hang our arms out the open windows. But if you stuck even a finger out you were reminded about the kid who lost his arm to a passing truck, cut off clean at the elbow. Everyone would fight over the window seats (always went to the oldest), and talk and look for bears along the way. By the time we arrived, we would be hot and sticky with sweat.

Like the people in this shot from a melon eating contest, Dad would slice the melon and we would dive into our section face first, laughing and spitting seeds to see who could finish first. That first bite of melon was so sweet and cool and wonderful. Afterward, we would wade carefully into the creek over all the rocks and stand barefooted in the water for as long as we could stand it. We’d wash our face and arms clean so sweat bees wouldn’t follow us home, stinging along the way. Of course, we stayed and played a little, before driving on up and through Gatlinburg to look at the sculptures the Sandman might have made that week.

On busy days when the traffic moved at a snail’s pace, we were sometimes given enough change to buy a bottle of coke. The oldest again were the ones to get out, race to buy and open the drinks and walk carefully but quickly back to catch up with our car.  Those bottles were held between their fingers, dangling and dripping chipped ice with the promise of being cold.

Those are the kind of summer days that made us feel rich.

Hope you enjoyed this fourth with loved ones. If not, I hope you remembered the great summer days you’ve had in the past.

May there always be freedom, joy, peace, and sunshine for you and yours. Happy Birthday, U.S.A.



Blogged earlier today about my early addiction to books. Stopped for lunch, or would have posted it then. Addictions are nothing to be proud of. Almost every room in my house has a wall lined with shelves and crowded with books. For Christmas, most of my cleaning was moving the stacks of books to shelves or into closets so the kids and grandkids wouldn’t think I’m a hoarder. My new tablet at Christmas has over two thousand Kindle books saved. Okay, I am a book hoarder, but I try to be a neat one.

I’m not saying this to brag. I’m really embarrassed that I am such a book hog, but I love books. One of my secret fears is to have time to relax and nothing good to read.


Since I can remember, I’ve been making up my own stories, but I really didn’t start to write until my son was four and my daughter two. A stay at home mom, I went to take a writing class and left them at daycare for the hour or so I would be there. My daughter of course just walked out the door and started walking down the street. Luckily they noticed and my son ran out and caught her. We were all rather shaken, and I didn’t try that again.

Back then, in the seventies, there was no Internet, no free workshops, nothing. But the lovely teacher, Leola Archer, also taught extension classes at U.T., and I mailed in the homework. She was so encouraging to me to keep writing, and when it was good, told me where to submit my work.

Leola proposed I join her writer’s group, Pen Women, in Knoxville. All remarkable women, all multi-accomplished in their fields. Some were composers, others artists, photographers, but most were writers. They met on Saturdays, and my husband the angel watched the children. At the time you needed  three professional, paid for credits to join, and I had exactly three. Wonderful time. Have been writing stories, articles and books for over forty years.

Started a writer’s group when we moved to Cookeville because I missed my writer friends. Cannot encourage anyone too much to join a group of writers. The praise and criticism is priceless. Most of all, I love being in a room with sympathetic souls who do not think I’m any crazier than they are.


All those years I wrote, edited, submitted, queried, went to conferences to meet editors and other writers. Mailing submissions off with a SASE and return postage. The usual routine. Sold lots of stories and how-to articles, but only one book.

Then Pat Gentry dared everyone in our little group to post a book on Kindle. Bless her heart. It’s like any other compulsion now. I write and work on the book until it’s the best I can do, but instead of burying it in some computer that goes dead and swallows it whole, I clean it up and publish on Amazon. Since retiring I have quite a cluster posted there now, admittedly some of them are a little weird.


Tonight, just received a five star review on the new book, Joanna of Virginia: Fires Down the Shenandoah. Made me so happy I danced around the room.

Knowing somewhere, someone is paying money and taking down my book to read to while away an idle hour or sleepless night is priceless. I encourage everyone that has a story in your heart or crowding your head to write it. After all, the more you write the more you have to read – maybe even one of my books.

And this makes 31 blog posts this month. Yay, another dance tonight.





When I was a little girl, there were so many things to do, but not when the weather was bad. If the day was nice, we were out in the yard playing, like all the kids where we lived. We didn’t have a television until I was five, so that was never an option. The only phone we had was an old black rotary that was a party line. Although always forbidden, you could lift the phone and listen to someone else’s conversation, but if you breathed or giggled, you would get yelled at and would have to just ease it down.

We did the usual, played with dolls or paper dolls. When we didn’t have any we cut out paper dolls from the newspaper or catalogs, colored pages in our coloring books, and argued over everything. Mother would stop and make the newspaper dolls whenever someone tore the others. She just fan pleated the sheet , went snip, snip and opened it out to girls or boys holding hands. Then we would color on some clothes with our crayons. No matter how hard we tried to cut them out, they never came out as perfect.

Sometimes we would play jack rocks. These worked great on the tile floor or outside on the porch. You had to bounce the ball and pick up a jack, then catch the ball until you had all ten in your hand. Next time pick them up by twos, then threes, etc. Think eight’s were usually my limit, before one or more of the jacks would leak out of my hand.

Boys never played jacks or dolls. But we always wanted to play marbles and they would never let us. They were no fun inside. Even on a smooth made bed, marbles didn’t roll right, not like outside in the dirt.

Then as now, my favorite thing was books. When I was little it was looking at the pictures and being read to. We didn’t have a lot of money and my parents felt toys were foolishness. We were always making things to play with and the toys or books you got at Christmas were special.

At school, I was so excited to learn to read. It was from the Dick and Jane series, with little Sally and Spot along for mischief. Can’t remember the cats name, but remember Miss Kelso holding an index card to cover all but one line while you read out, “See Spot Run. Run Spot Run,” and variations of the same.  I can remember having enough money saved and the thrill of buying my first book.

But the real magic came when I was old enough to walk up to town, about a mile, with my sisters. They would go to the dime store or drug store to spend their ten cents, but I always went to the library. It wasn’t a grand place, there was a gym in one half of the building and you could always hear someone bouncing a ball as they dribbled up and down the court. Can’t remember anyone yelling or carrying on, just the slap, slap of that ball and the stale smell that filtered into the room with its walls of shelves and books. My goal was to have my name on the card of every book in that room. But unlike this card, in ours, only the librarian stamped the date and wrote your name down.




Traveling On

We’ve been rambling down life’s highways a lot this week. Actually traveling since last Saturday and we’re so glad to be home. This morning the skies were blue with only a few puffy clouds, and the trees and grass were rich and green. A hot, perfect summer day, with the radio on, us reminiscing with each song, and the air conditioner blowing. Bliss. When Elvis crooned “Don’t Be Cruel,” and we both sang along, the world looked like a peaceful dirt road in the country, with nothing in sight but a bunny or deer somewhere.

Reality Check

What it was like, was endless traffic slowdowns, interspersed with long busy highways. They looked more like this.9595818-mmmain

We were actually listening to talk radio with people arguing about how the Republican Convention was going.  Aggravating enough for us to stay awake with early in the day.

But when we found a good classics channel, we could smile, sing, and just remember. Listening to Simon and Garfunkel when they were still in harmony, we seemed to glide along.

Keeping Reality at Bay

I think life is so sweet and beautiful most of the time, sharing it with my best friend and husband. It can take a moment to feel it when you’re tired and achy and have an eight hour car trip to get through. But find the right tunes and all the rest slips away. You’re left with just the sweet music and the love. Next time you’re in the car, try it.








Class Reunion

Had a nice time visiting with old, familiar faces at class reunion. Saw not a soul I recognized, but two or three people somehow remembered me. The most fun was combining the school reunion with a family reunion. My older brother and sister were there, each of us with our near and dear along as escorts. One sister couldn’t make it, but all four of us had graduated from this school in the sixties.

As we left, nostalgic tunes were being sung under a mirrored ball and couples were moving around the dance floor. I had to sigh, as my husband has never been much of a dancer and was ready to leave long before me. I had to wonder how everyone had become so much older but still seemed as sweet to me as the old music floating out of the gym door behind us. Nice to take one night to remember, leave the computer at home, and escape.

Blog Post Hopping



I remember when I was a kid, maybe eleven or twelve, one of my sisters and I tried selling personalized greeting cards door-to-door. We were going to sell them and get rich.  I was in charge of sales and she seemed to be in charge of the money.

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So excited to do it, loved the catalog of cards and looking at how pretty they all were. Some felt silky, others embossed, or with pretty cut-outs and intricate edges, and the best were sprinkled with glitter. Liked walking along, carrying the sample book and knocking on doors. Fascinated to see  in stranger’s houses, to see how other people lived. But when it came time to ask them to buy, to really go into someone’s home and show them the cards and tell them what a great deal they were getting, I felt suddenly shy and hated doing it.

There were very few who closed the door in our faces. Most were nice, bored housewives who liked the excuse to take a break and look at the cards. I liked talking about the cards and pointing out their special details. It was easy to explain how they could include a printed signature or not, whichever they liked. They could even have their return address printed on the envelopes. All that was easy. But I hated explaining the price and asking them to buy.

It might have been that I realized the cards were overpriced, worried maybe they couldn’t afford them, or just sat knowing they were going to come up with some polite way to say no.  Anyway, I realized then I was never going to be a salesman.


I love writing, escaping to another world, following wonderful characters as they deal with impossible problems and danger. I even like publishing the books. It’s a lot like any craft, there is great satisfaction in making and creating a project.  I work hard at the editing, formatting, and creating the covers. Writing the copy is hard, but I like the challenge.

But selling them, asking someone to buy something that I’ve worked so hard to create, well, it’s always difficult for me.


Taking part in the Great American Western Romance Week has not been difficult . The organizer set everything up and I’m sure sent me some wonderful emails about what to do. I did save the one with the date I was scheduled to blog on and did get a post submitted. Managed to delete all the details on how to enter for prizes. We were gone for a week and I accidentally ? deleted about 500 emails when I came home.

But since I’m giving away four autographed paperbacks, will try not to feel embarrassed for asking you to comment on the blog at in order to win.

There are a lot of prizes (all free) books, gift cards, even a Kindle Fire being given away. It runs all week and all you have to do to win is comment on the blogs. Believe this is the link to the Kindle Fire drawing,


How do you feel about selling things? I know many people love to do it.  In our new world, everyone is supposed to dream of being an entrepreneur and creating something that will make them rich. It all requires selling that something. Would love to hear from you.