Patience has never been a virtue of mine.  One Sunday morning, I had left Doug asleep in the bed, dropped off the girls at Sunday School and decided I would pick up breakfast at McDonald’s for Doug and I. It was maybe 9:00 in the morning. I pulled into the local McDonald’s. There was one car in the parking lot. No one in the drive thru. I proceeded to place my order, two scrambled egg breakfasts to go. She tells me my total, and asks me to pull around. I pull up to the window to pay. She says it will be a couple of minutes, and could I please pull forward and park? They would bring my order, “right out”.  (Does any of this sound familiar to you? And this was mid, late ’70’s!)  So I’m playing nice and I pull up and park my car.  I past the window where an older couple sat eating. The only customers in the restaurant.

And so, I sat.  And waited. Not a single car came through the drive thru.  Hell, not a single car came into the parking lot. I waited for ten minutes! Doesn’t sound like a long time, unless you are just sitting in a car.  Waiting.  Okay. I’ve had Enough! I put the car in reverse and back up to the window where I had paid the girl.  “Where is my order?” I asked.  “Oh, I’m so sorry, blah, blah, whatever.”  Okay, she hands my order through the window. Now I am Going to have the last word! I am Going to show her just how mad I am! She’ll be sorry!

I made up my mind to just flat, squeal tires out of there! I put the transmission in Drive and all the while giving the girl my most disgusted face, I mashed my foot down as hard as I could on the gas metal!  I squealed tires alright! Here’s the problem – I had forgotten to turn my steering wheel back in the correct position. So, instead of tearing out off the parking lot, my wheels were turned TOWARDS the building!! My car went up and over the wrought iron fencing by the side door of McDonald’s , coming to rest One Inch from the plate glass window! The elderly couple who were sitting in the booth Next to that window, jumped up and away when they saw me coming towards them!

After my car came to a rest, the manager and several employees came out to survey the damage and make sure I was okay. I told them to hurry up and call the police so I could go home. The store manager, who was the owner, turned out to be my old friend Bill! (Read “And you can bring your Dog”)  See how karma works? Anyway, Bill said no he would not call the police, made sure my car was drivable, and apologized for the slow service. He made some pictures of my car, which I assumed where for insurance purposes, and sent me on my way.

I took Doug his cold egg breakfast and told him the story. He couldn’t believe it! Neither could my insurance agent the next morning when I called him! He laughed his head off! He told me, “Marty, do you have any idea How many times I’ve wanted to do the same thing? I’m not even going to raise your insurance rates! You are my Hero!”

The rest of this story –    Our friend Bill, owned THREE  McDonald’s franchises. While I had thought he took pictures of my car that day for his insurance claim, he actually posted that picture at the drive thru window of each store that he owned with a caption that read, “If you see the woman driving this car……”  The picture hung in those locations for over a year!  Stay tuned.

Growing Older

Because of my friend Mac, I softened the title to “older”. It really upsets him when I call myself old. (Maybe because he & I are the same age?) Anyway, this morning as I was coloring my hair, (yes) I was thinking about the difference between my grandmothers and grandmothers of today.

And just an aside; I will always need glasses, I will always have wrinkled skin, but I will NEVER have gray hair! Not that I’m slamming those that do. I have nothing against gray hair. As long as it is on YOU. Your gray hair is probably beautiful. (Or so you’ve convinced yourself). It is simply a choice I made for me. But  I digress.

My grandmothers were sweet, church -going, soft-spoken ladies who lived with their grown children and grandchildren. My maternal grandmother lived with us for years. She paid for her room and board by cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and babysitting my brother, sister, and myself.  We called her “Bubba”. Bubba and I shared the same room; hell, we slept in the same double bed for years! She taught me how to iron when I was 9 years old. Back then, Everything had to be ironed! I think the only material available was cotton or wool. Maybe linen. There were no cotton “blends”. I started out learning to starch and iron my Daddy’s handkerchiefs, then pillowcases. Back then you ironed sheets, tablecloths, dresses, Everything! Monday’s were laundry days, Tuesdays were spent ironing.

Okay, don’t know how this became about ironing! Anyway, MY grandmothers lived with and took care of their families. They “retired” to their bedrooms in the evenings to read their Bibles or sew. They knew their “place” in the family and certainly didn’t make waves! We all went to church on Sundays, came home to a large dinner, and after Bubba had cleaned the kitchen, we kids scattered, Bubba napped and Mother and Daddy read, watched T.V.

Fast forward to the 2000’s. If you are a grandparent and have Not been lucky enough to  retire to Florida (for at least the winter months) then you have one, or maybe two different scenarios playing out in your life. Either you are still working because you need health insurance, but lucky enough that you live separate from your children / grandchildren, but close enough that you can attend Every school, church, sporting function that they have. Or Your home is now home to your grown children / grandchildren. In which case, (I imagine) you are living in Your home, pretty much like my Bubba used to live at my house. It’s YOUR house, but You cook, clean, shop, maybe do laundry for Them, and then retire to Your “Room” to have some privacy! Some grandparents are literally raising their grandchildren as their own.

Anyway you look at it, the ways that we age in this country, in this day and time are Nothing like my grandparents! They were respected, taken care of, loved, even revered! if you remember the last time your grown child or one of your grandchildren told you that you were loved, or appreciated,  please – put that in a special place! Oh, we all Know we are loved, but somehow, grandparents have been pushed ” to the back of the bus, ” so to speak. We are trying to stay active, and interesting, and vital in the world, but hey! We are Tired! Some of us are sick! Or lame! Whatever! We are doing the best we can, for our age! Cut us some slack!

And for God’s sake! If you are reading this and you are young enough to still Have your mother or dad, go CALL them! Have your child call them! Tell them they are loved! Take them to dinner. Hell, Fix them dinner!  I know you are busy! Tough! We aren’t going to be here that much longer! If you can’t take the time to tell me Now, don’t be all crying about it at my funeral!!   Stay tuned.

“And you can bring your Dog”

So , guys and their cars, right?  One night , lying in bed, Doug and I tried to name all the cars he had owned. Couldn’t do it.  Anyway, at  the very beginning, Doug owned a candy apple red, 1958 Corvette. Hard top convertible. Beautiful car.  He worked and saved his money and bought it himself.  Of course, it didn’t last long.  He totaled it one night, racing some other teenaged idiot, coming home from the Senator’s Club. Thank God, they weren’t killed!  By the time I started  dating Doug, the Corvette was a ball of scrap metal and he was on his second or third car by then. His older brother, Jim, had gone into the Air Force and he and Doug had traded cars.  Doug was driving a 1956 green and white Chevrolet 4 door Bel Air. Huge car! Straight shift, steering wheel so big, most tires today are smaller! So  this car (boat) was really good for one thing. Parking! It had a back seat more roomy than a double bed. **

**FYI – if you are reading this and you don’t know, or can’t figure out what “Parking” is, go ask your grandmother and stop reading my blog.  It is rated M!

So on weekends, wherever we went on a date, of course, later we would end up Parking. Here’s the problem. Once you shut this car (boat) down, it would not restart!  (Doug told me years later that it was some minor battery problem, but at the time, he didn’t have the money to repair it.) After Every date, Doug would end up pushing this car out of whatever spot we were in, with me at the steering wheel, ready to pop the clutch to get us started. This was a pain in the summer, but in the winter, it was horrible! One winter’s night, after trying unsuccessfully to get this friggin’ car (boat) started, we decided that we would have to walk to the nearest road to see if we could help or hitch a ride.

It was Freezing outside, so Doug threw the blanket (we had been “Parking”) over my head to keep me warm and we started walking. After quite a while, a car finally pulled over to offer us a ride. As it turned out, we actually knew the guy. His name was Bill.  He opened the passenger side door and yelled, “Climb on in here, Doug! I’ll give you a ride. Oh, and you can bring your Dog, too”.  I took the blanket off my head and he said, “Sorry, Marty!”

That’s okay. years later, I got Bill back! But that’s a whole different blog! Stay tuned.

Eye Doctor

I’d been going to the same eye doctor for years. Local guy. He doesn’t remember it, but we even rode the school bus together in grade school.  I only go to the eye doctor every couple of years, maybe three. I know when my eyes change or not. Over the years I had developed an astigmatism in each eye.  Anyway, it had been a couple of years so I go in to see Dr. He’s a big talker; big story teller. An hours’ appointment can take Forever. So, he examines my eyes, says, “It’s the strangest thing!”  “What’s wrong?” I asked.  “Well, the astigmatism in your eyes is GONE!” “What do you mean, Gone?  Where did they go?” He says, “I don’t KNOW!” he says, “But they’re Gone!”

Okay, he writes me a new prescription, I take it to LensCrafters in the Mall. I come back an hour later, pick up my new glasses, and start to leave. I walk out into the Mall, and immediately grab hold of the wall! I can’t see anything! I look to other people like I am punch drunk! I make my way Back into LensCrafters and tell them I want my old glasses back!  “Sorry, we asked if you wanted to keep your old lenses, and you said, no.” They said I had to go back to Dr. and get him to rewrite the prescription. I don’t know how I drove home.

The next day, I called Dr.  He said it was going to be the next day before I could see him again. I go back in, what, Day 3, and tell the Dr. about my problem. He examines my eyes again and says, “I can’t Believe it!”

“What is it?” I asked. “They’ve come Back!” “What is back?”, I asked. “The astigmatism! It’s come BACK!” “In 3 days? Where did it come from?” I asked. “I don’t know – but it’s Back!” He wrote me another prescription that I took to LensCrafters. When I told the guy at LensCrafters what the Dr. had said about my astigmatism, he laughed until he had tears in his eyes! He said he was not going to charge me for these new glasses, since we didn’t know where my astigmatism came back from! Needless to say, I haven’t been back to that  eye doctor! Stay tuned

Dougie part 2

I told you that my sweet husband has always been more than a little naive. (see Dougie part 1).  As we raised our children and built our lives together, we never really sat down and had a discussion about everything we knew about every subject. I mean, we were  both fairly well read and educated, so you assume things, you know?

I had known that Doug didn’t care for gay people. Talk of them made him uneasy, but, we didn’t visit the subject very often; plus he has an openly gay first cousin, so who knows? We are busy people, in our mid-thirties, trying to raise children and make a living.  So one night, we are going out to dinner with friends. Doug and I are in the back seat of the car. For whatever reason, the conversation turned to homosexuals. Doug says, “I’ll tell you one thing. right now. If I was a homosexual, I’d get me a calendar and I’d mark it down when it was supposed to be my turn. I wouldn’t let ’em get me over a barrel when  it wasn’t my turn!” I thought for sure John would wreck the car, he was laughing so hard! To this day, I haven’t been able to fully convince Doug that that is the way “they” like it! Stay tuned.


Friends come from different times and different places in our lives. Some stay with us for a short time; others, stay for the long haul. I met one of my dearest friends when I got my job at Houchens.  She was actually my immediate boss. I have to say at this time that I LOVE my job.  I’ve been there for 6 years and compared to the job I had previous to this – forget it. This job is like heaven! Anyway, the way you are hired into Houchens is knowing someone already there.  I think maybe my job was created for me. At any rate, I don’t think my group was happy that another “old lady” had been hired in. The first day I was introduced to Courtney, she gave me her best “I am a well educated, strong black woman. I am your Boss and you best not forget it.”  I just laughed at her! Basically, she’s young enough to be my daughter and as I told her, “You’ll have to do better than that to scare me! For almost 3 years, I worked at a place where I was usually one of maybe 4 white faces in a sea of probably 100 black faces.”

We pretty quickly got on the same page.  It helped that we have the same birthday month and a similar sense of humor. She is a single mother of twin boys.  When I first met her, her father had passed away the year before and she and the boys were living with her mother.  She, like me, loves to read.  She’s very active in her church and a wonderful role model.  She and I slowly formed a close relationship built on daily contact and mutual respect. Even though she was my boss, we played our roles and kept our friendship to ourselves. If I needed to talk, she would invite me into her office, close the door and let me unload. Some days it was her turn.  Either way, we became very close. She loves Doug and knows  Everything about my family.

As close as we were at work, she didn’t discuss “work” issues with me.  I did not know her daily, weekly, monthly problems at work. So 3 years into my employment, when Courtney announced that she was leaving Houchens, I was devastated!! I couldn’t imagine what would happen to me! Courtney had always had my back! She was the one that would be looking out for me! Yes, I was worried about ME! She was young enough that I knew she would land on her feet. At 60, my working days are numbered.  And aside from that concern, I was losing my FRIEND! When she made her announcement in the conference room, I broke down and sobbed!

The next year was horrible! I drug myself to work everyday, but it was drudgery! My joy in the job, my joy in my daily live was gone. I grieved for Courtney as if she had died.  As time has gone on, of course,  we have both adjusted to the changes in our lives. She got a wonderful job that she loves ; where she makes more money and doesn’t have to drive very far to work. She also gets to spend more time with her boys who are growing like weeds.  As we hit the day of February 4, it’s hard for me to believe I ‘ve been without Courtney for exactly as long as I was with her.  Even though she is just a phone call away, and she continues to be my close friend, I miss her sweet, pretty face  every day. I always will. I love you, my Chocolate Child. God bless you! Stay tuned.