What’s That Beside the Road?

Have you ever been traveling down the road and see a shoe laying over in the median by itself? One shoe. You have to wonder how that happened…

Was the person who lost the shoe going down the road with their foot hanging out the window? Why didn’t they go back for it? You’d think they might need that shoe when they get where they’re going.

I’ve seen other articles of clothing laying beside the road and wondered if somebody suddenly decided to  stop and have a yard sale right there on the side of the road. I mean, please pick up after yourself! Tennessee trash. Maybe it was somebody taking clothes to the Salvation Army in a convertible…

And how does underwear end up by the roadside?? My neighbor, John, posed that question and I don’t think I want to know the answer. We’ll just assume it was somebody on a motorcycle who had to change clothes in a hurry, and leave it at that.

Ok, I can see how you might lose a shirt or something small out of the car and not notice it, but what about a mattress? I actually saw a mattress driving down the road one day. (the mattress wasn’t driving, it was laying beside the road) Can you really lose a mattress and not know it fell off the truck? I guess stranger things have happened.

You can’t not make up a story to go with that  – here’s my version: It was being hauled in a pickup truck — probably an old, brown truck with holes rusted out on the sides. The guy driving was helping his brother move and decided not to tie down the mattress since it was just down the road. He gets to the new house, pulls in, walks around to unload the truck and wonders who stole the mattress. I’m telling  you, this really could happen around here. Living in this part of the country lends itself to many a colorful story.

I’ve let my imagination run away more than once when I see something by the road. A box or an old brown rug in the distance can look just like a furry critter from several feet back. Here I am, enjoying the sights when I spot something large and brownish looking up ahead. I start sighing, “poor thing — what is that?” My mind starts to imagine what it could be. “Oh, it’s a big dog or a deer…”  My eyes are welling up – I’m expecting the worst. Then we get up to it. It ends up being a big brown rug or a clump of hay.

Who knows what I’ll see beside the road the next time I go out. We do live near a flea market that meets every weekend. Somebody could have dropped some of their flea stuff off an old truck when they were heading out. Maybe it will be something I can actually use.


Do your own hair at home ….. get “at home” results!

If you’re around my age, back in the day you may remember watching your mom put perms in her hair at home. It was the age of the “Toni” and perms curled so tight they squealed. We had to crack the windows and open all the doors just to get the smell out of the house.

My mom and her sisters would gather in the kitchen with all their hair kabobs and boxes of perm mix, and fix each other’s hair. First they rolled it up on those tiny plastic “rods”. That’s where you get the curly-Q curl — the smaller the roller, the tighter the curl. That’s the look they usually went for. I seriously think my mother’s motto was:  Give all the bad guys in the world perms and you’ll have world peace. Perm it to heaven!

I was the recipient of a few of them too. Mom started doing my hair as I got older and naturalness of my contour started to wane. I endured that for awhile before she was content to let a hairdresser take over. One day after a bad perm, and upon realizing that my really thick hair only expanded when permed, I decided to revolt. I took control of my own hair and stopped all perming. Oh glorious day.

Fast forward a few years and I’m back to doing my own hair at home again. No perms in sight — now I color my own hair  (Much to the dismay of my hair gal, I’m sure!) It’s not easy, but the results are pretty good and the gray is held at bay for a little while longer. It’s fun to experiment with color. My hair motto remains: It’ll grow back!

The Doublewide husband has even gotten into the act. It all started when I asked him to put color on the back of my head where I can’t see to do it myself. I tried, but it wasn’t working with me standing there, mirror in one hand and the color tube in the other. I had deep burgundy no. 47 from one end of the bathroom to the other. I thought stains would come off of countertops …  So, now he dons the plastic gloves even before I can get the color mixed up. I think he actually enjoys it. The couple that colors together, stays together I guess.

Coloring is o.k. and l’ll even snip my bangs when they get so long I feel like the fifth Beatle.   Who knows how much I’ve saved by doing my own home hair care?! I’m not saying it’s for everybody. You have to be pretty brave …. and have a supply of nice hats on hand, just in case.

I think my mom still has perm fever, though. Just at her house today, she suggested that maybe I needed her to perm the sides of my hair. (what would that even look like?) My answer was a resounding, “thanks, but no thanks”! I’ve learned my lesson. I know she had a perm-in-a-box waiting, just in case I said yes for old time’s sake.






Hairdos at Home!

Writer Dazed After Conference

Well, I’m on the late train again and it’s getting later. I’m so late, the train might actually be going backward.

This shouldn’t surprise me, though. I can’t seem to get Christmas and Thank You cards in the mail on time (if I send them at all), can’t get to church on time…

I went to the Blue Ridge Christian Writer’s Conference a few weeks ago, came home and I’m just now writing about it. I think I’m just a little dazed …. it could be from all that coffee I drank while I was there. Everybody else got busy blogging, tweeting and Facebook posting about the wonderful conference, what they learned and the pristine situations that led them to meet just the right people at just the right time. Oh the joy to be fresh from a writer’s paradise writing up a storm, writing up a monsoon – writing something! All of them are going to be discovered by great publishing houses, get contracts worth millions and leave me in the dust. Gee, thanks guys.

The Blue Ridge Conference is a great place to let the creativity flow and come up with the  perfect storyline, plot and ending for the next great novel. It’s a place where people meet, collaborate and then stay up way past their bedtime, eating chocolate and laughing. We’re going to see some award winning works come out of this year’s group. I should have gotten some autographs while I was there. Max Lucado — look out!

I, on the other hand, used the time as more of a learning retreat (emphasis on the retreat part). While everybody else was running from class to class I strolled along and tiptoed through the tulips.   I learned some and retreated some. Clouds coffeehouse on the Ridgecrest campus is possibly the most wonderful place on the face of the earth. If you follow me on Facebook, you saw a pic of Clouds , and  my muffin and coffee. Don’t you hate it when people post pics of their food all the time?!

While I was going to classes, not going to classes and relaxing at Clouds, I had time to ponder suggestions from my writerly friends on taking my writing to the next level — specifically with this, my blog.  Should I publish it more often? Do I have time to publish it more than once a month? What do I do? Stay tuned — this and other questions answered ahead.

O.k., I can’t stand delays, so here’s the answer. I decided to go for it.  Wisdom from the Doublewide is going weekly! Whoo hoo. I’m full speed ahead.  I’m zooming into the future, doling out wisdom on most every topic that comes to my mind, except maybe politics. But then again, I usually see things from a peculiar angle. So politics may enter this arena, but only for a laugh. (I won’t tolerate any arguing or cussing on my page).

If you want to get in on all the action (as they say in Nascar), sign up to follow me on WordPress and we will navigate the questions of life together. Appliances left sitting on the side of the road. How does that even happen?



Culinary Creations in the Doublewide

I called this one “culinary creations” because that’s what often happens when I cook — I get creative.

More specifically, I get freestyle creative.

“Free” being the operative word here.

Like when I really wanted a coconut cream pie and there wasn’t one to be found in the house. Since I was all out of fresh coconuts, I opted for making waffles instead. I think I really just wanted something sweet. I did a search for waffle recipes and found one that looked easy enough. A check in my cabinets turned up most of the ingredients, so I decided to go for it.

Time out while I explain something:  having only some of the ingredients to make food doesn’t stop me. As long as I have the key items I’ll try it!  I sort of take a recipe and make it my own. I’ll substitute different ingredients and try add-ins that sound good.

Back to my homemade waffle mix: so, I almost gave up after reading over the suggested recipe and realizing I didn’t have everything. Almost… I wanted a waffle and I would have a waffle. I could see it covered with butter and syrup. I could taste it. It would be mine.

Armed with flour, an egg, baking powder and all the other yummy stuff for my tasty creation, I whipped up the batter and poured it in my waffle maker. Then I waited. While I watched, the lid on the waffle maker started to rise.

I wasn’t expecting that.

Apparently, I had stirred up a super colossal Belgian waffle. I checked my bag of flour again to make sure it was plain and not self-rising. The online recipe didn’t mention this. Oh wait — I hadn’t followed the advice on Allrecipes. You can always expect the unexpected when you don’t follow the tried and true written instructions. However, it does keep things interesting…

The waffle maker finally clicked off. I leaned away from it as I raised the lid. I honestly didn’t know what to expect. It smelled like a waffle and, to my relief, looked like a waffle. I put it on a plate and covered it with butter and syrup. Eureka! It actually turned out to be better than the waffles I make with the commercial boxed mix. Score!!! I was pretty proud of myself. I don’t remember exactly what all I mixed up in the bowl or how much, but it was good.

My poor husband — anytime he asks what’s for supper and the reply is “I’m experimenting,” he starts to look for the pizza delivery number.

My theory is, if you have the key ingredients to build on, what can really go wrong? My homemade bread experiment turned out ok. I won’t say it was the best bread I’ve ever had, but it wasn’t the worst! It made really good toast. 🙂

This way of thinking carries over to other areas of life. Like the time my hair-do person accidentally got the color mixture for my hair a little too thin. Being the improvising, and brave, soul that I am, I suggested using a little cornstarch to thicken it up. (yes, this concoction was going on my head) We tried it. It worked. I walked out of there looking well coifed and oh, so chic. Did I mention that I’m brave?  My hair motto: it’ll grow back!

But I digress – back to the food. This particular creation is not an original one, but it is something we used to fix when I was growing up. It’s really easy and helps make sure no donuts will ever go to waste again! All you need is some butter, a frying pan and stale Krispy Kremes! Any glazed donut will work, but there’s something about those yummy krispity creations.

So, you heat the pan and let the butter melt away. Then add the donuts and fry until they start to brown and the sugar caramelizes a little. There you have it – those little brown pillows of buttery sweetness are ready to enjoy! Surely this is a glimpse of heaven on earth.

Ok, so I’m hungry for one now and I don’t have any donuts. Maybe I can make some — I wonder if I have the right ingredients…



Bible Stories Set in the South

Think way back to when you were a kid in Sunday School. Remember hearing your favorite Sunday School teacher talk about the Bible stories of old? You could imagine Jesus and the disciples walking down  all those dusty roads, discussing everything they’d seen and done.

I have so many memories like this from years spent growing up in church. My favorite one has to be when  my Aunt Shirley (Sister Shirley to everybody else) and Sister Powell  taught us Bible stories using a flannel graph board that sat on a rickety wooden stand with little paper cut out figures of Jesus and all the disciples.  They would move the colorful paper “actors” across the board like they were traveling to some distant town, while explaining how people were healed and set free of various diseases and demons. I was mesmerized.

We didn’t have big screens with animation and lights and sound like the computer age has brought us. But they will never replace the simple authenticity of Aunt Shirley and Sister Powell sharing from their hearts while handing out cookies and paper dixie cups of red Kool Aid in that little Sunday School room at the Gravely Apostolic Church.

Reminiscing about those days gone by got my wheels turning — what if Jesus and the disciples, and all those other people  in the Bible had been in the South instead of the Middle East?  I’ve never been to the Holy Lands, so I can somehow better visualize them in East Tennessee. What would that have been like?

Certainly the miracle healings would have been happening — Jesus is the same no matter what country, century, time zone or time frame. There were a lot of fisherman back then  (almost all the disciples liked to throw a line in the water) — another proof positive that the Lord must be a little bit Southern! Fishing is pretty much a way of life in the South too.

I think the scenes where Jesus fed the multitudes might have been a tad different. Southerners love to eat — we’re usually eating or planning what we’re going to eat next. Nearly everything we do here involves food. I can imagine the people sitting around on the hills while they were waiting on Jesus to teach, talking about what they were going to have for lunch. The conversation might have gone a little like this if it had happened in the South:

“Now, I’m gettin’ hungry, y’all. You mean to tell me that we came all the way out here with no food?!”

“Hey Jesus — what’re we having for lunch? Some fried baloney would be real good right about now. Got any pork rinds? Oh, sorry…”

“They got this buffet down at the chicken shack. All the wings and taters you can eat for $5.99.”

The list goes on — there are even more Bible happenings that might have played out a little differently with a Southern spin.  Imagine all the lamb casseroles and fig cakes on the table when Lazarus passed away. Jesus got there after Lazarus had been dead a few days, so people  had plenty of time to pay their respects with macaroni and cheese. Poor Martha, trying to sort out everything and make sure all the dishes were matched with the right lid. Do you still have to send ‘thank you’ notes if the dearly departed doesn’t stay dead?

If that had happened here, people wouldn’t have laughed and made fun when Jesus said Lazarus was only sleeping. I think the men would have all removed their hats and bowed their heads while somebody played organ music in the background. You have to build up to the big moment. Then there would have been the biggest cook out ever known to man, to celebrate Lazarus coming back to life!

There’s something in a name. Driving around the Southern states, you’ll see plenty of places named after towns in the Bible, like Damascus, Lebanon, Athens, Goshen and Mars Hill. It makes us feel closer to the Lord. I did a search and actually found biblically named towns all over North America (Southerners don’t have a corner on the market). It’s pretty interesting.

I know heaven isn’t divided up between the North and the South, but then again, you might be surprised when you get to the Pearly Gates and hear St. Peter say “ya’ll jump in the truck, we goin’ up to the Big House!”*

So that’s my humorous look at the Bible set in the South. I’m sure my northern friends could offer a different point of view of those stories set above the Mason-Dixon line. I’d love to hear some ideas – feel free to comment!

*line borrowed from  comedian, Jeff Foxworthy

Inaugural Memories

January brings snow,  cold temps and memories from the presidential inauguration I went to nearly 30 years ago.

During some of my newspaper days, I lived and worked in Kentucky. I was part of a small staff that put together the Whitley Republican and Corbin! This Week newspapers. We ran around the mountains interviewing and photographing people and their grandpaws and grandmaws, along with writing stories about their kids in beauty pageants and various and sundry other things that happen in small Kentucky towns. Covering the wrecks and killings and politics was no fun, but there were more fun moments than bad.

One year the Corbin high school band was invited to play for the elder Bush’s inauguration festivities. We were invited to go along to document the story for the rest of the town to see. So our photographer, another reporter and I boarded a bus with band members and their moms and headed toward Washington DC — traveling all night long.

Besides going to the inauguration to report on the band, we were also scheduled to meet with hometown hero, Cecil Moses, at the FBI building. He had made it out of  Whitley County, Kentucky to work for the big guys. Our appointment was first thing in the morning after we arrived. There I was, half asleep, wearing the same clothes from the day before, with my hair looking like who-knows-what. I managed to wake up enough to talk intelligently and take notes for my story. Our photog got some great pics (that’s news lingo) and we managed to put together a pretty good feature for the paper.

That evening we finally made it to our hotel and found out who our rooming buddy would be. Somebody else had the list of names and figured out who would room with who.  I was young and not too concerned about it. Thank goodness I was put in a room with a band mom and not a weirdo! We got to our room to find out there was only one bed… it was a fairly large bed, but still. Only one bed. We didn’t know each other from Adam, by the way. I was tired from the trip and my FBI excursion, so all I remember was being decked out in my fuzzy pj’s and falling asleep by the time my head hit the pillow. The next morning we got up in a cold room, used a really cold bathroom to shower and then went out into the cold to explore. Washington DC in January is… well, cold.

There were bright spots though– it was fun and I got to see a few monuments, though it felt more like a flyby than a sightseeing tour. It was so cold that night, we ran from the bus to the site, looked for a minute and then ran back. I’m sure I could have qualified for a marathon right there. Incidentally, that’s the only time you’ll see me running — to get out of the cold. Abe Lincoln was a blur and we made fairly quick work of the Vietnam Wall. I want to go back up there to get a better look at everything, but when it’s way warmer! We also rode the subway, watched the presidential motorcade go by and tried out some good restaurants.

If somebody invites me on a trip like that again, things will surely be different. (what is it with me and bus trips?) I would go — with some modifications. First in my list of demands, I’d have to have a car. None of this bus riding stuff. Then I would need time allotted to get myself together before meeting FBI people. If I’m driving up there, a hotel stay along the way will be included. It’ll at least include coffee and a continental breakfast. I may have to have my own room — or approve the person picked out to share my room. The lady I was paired with 30 years ago would be fine too. I remember her being really nice.

This year I’m content to watch the inauguration from somewhere warm. It’s on a Friday, so I won’t get to sit at home on my comfy couch in my fuzzy pjs. Now that’s my idea of acceptable inaugural attire. 🙂 Wouldn’t it be hilarious if everybody at the inauguration was in their favorite flannel pj’s?! Too funny. I’m gonna send that to the big inauguration committee suggestion box.

Referring back to my blog from last year about running for pres — I need to add something. When I’m inaugurated, we will definitely be wearing comfy pjs  and everybody will sit in a big ol recliner or overstuffed chair with a mug of hot chocolate. Now that’s my idea of fine living.



Redneck Rooms To Go

So, the Doublewide husband has outdone himself. I think. Let me explain.

This all started a couple of months ago. When hunting season rolls around, there’s a small flurry of activity to gather up the necessary equipment. All the camo clothing in the house has to be washed in special detergent that apparently makes you smell like a deer so the real deer can’t detect you. Or at the very least, you smell like a tree.

Let’s pause for reflection. I thought that was the whole idea – wearing camo so you look like a tree. Then deer will somehow associate you as being part of the landscape and not realize you’re there until it’s too late. I guess smelling like a tree is important too. I’ll get to doe urine a little later.

Well, I guess we could go ahead and talk about that now. Did you know they actually sell the stuff? I’m not really sure I get it, but I think using doe urine is important when trying to lure a 7 point buck close enough to shake hands. It’s a little like what a girl does when she’s “fixing up” to go out on the town to find a guy, except this is in the middle of the woods with snack crackers and potted meat, and you don’t necessarily go in pairs to the bathroom. In this scenario the intended male ends up being shot. Now for all you animal lovers who may be reading this — I love animals too, but this is a Southern male thing. It’s a tradition. My dad hunted, my uncles hunted – everybody either used to hunt or they still do. I still have memories of deer heads hanging throughout my aunt’s house. Note: Deer eyes will follow you around a room, no matter which chair you sit in while trying to visit and find out how everybody’s doing.

My husband and his brother are like two girls getting ready for the spring prom. First they plot out their strategy, discuss which places are best to go and when they’re likely to actually go to the woods. Then they spend time texting and calling each other in the meantime. An early morning Waffle House stop on the way to the hunting destination goes without saying. I think that’s an unwritten rule of hunters everywhere.

In the process of all this getting ready to go out and fool the animals so  you can bring home dinner and a trophy, it’s important to consider every detail. Part of that includes a place to sleep should you decide to stay overnight in the woods. This is where my husband’s backwoods ingenuity comes in. Tent camping is one way to do it. Or you could build your own rolling room that will go  just about anywhere you might need a night’s lodging.

So, my husband (who I think may, in some way, be kin to the Duck Dynasty gang) decided to recycle pieces and parts to put this thing together. An old trailer frame with wheels, leftover siding from our neighbor, some extra particle board from another project, foam insulation and some new lumber all came together to  become what is now parked on the back 40 – a small rolling room that can be used for a hunting trip in the woods, or extra room should a death in the family bring in out of town guests. It’s a win-win!

This mobile Motel 6 has almost all the comforts of home — two wooden cots that clip to the wall when not being used, a propane heater,  plastic lights you can push on and off, a card table bungeed to the wall between meals and a couple of plastic yard chairs. What more could you ask for? Well, plumbing is not included. But when you’re in the woods you kind of expect to have to balance against a tree anyway. Camping in the back yard? No problem — the house isn’t too far away. I guess we could install an outhouse  in the back there somewhere, but I’ve used one in my day and they’re no fun (that’s another blog topic). This thing really is a redneck’s paradise.


Redneck Rolling Room

They haven’t actually taken it out in the woods yet, but we sat in it a couple of times to test the heat holding capability. The real test will not even be seeing how it does with  freezing temps overnight in the middle of nowhere. Let’s see what happens they have to withstand each other’s snoring in the small confines of that box.

Film at 11.