Jan 28, 2012

More Girl Talk

I just had to record this little observation on the modern world.  In my weekly trek to Wal-Mart (aka The Mecca) I ran into a dear friend of mine and we got a chance to catch up in the office supply aisle.  After that we both headed in the same general direction.

I wanted to get some perfume, and as I surveyed the vast array of new perfumes, none of which you could actually smell, I was a little appalled by the names of them.  I looked down the aisle and there was my friend again, lost in trying to decide on eye shadow.  

"Who would want a perfume called Viva La Juicy?????"  I say, since it's just the two of us in the aisle.

She bursts into laughter.

"What the hell?  Doesn't sound like it would smell very GOOD to ME!"  

"Oh my God, that is funny!"  she laughed.

"And you can't actually smell any of them.......UP YOURS, Wal-Mart!"

By this time we were both laughing.

Note to young girls:  Have some discretion.  That stuff my smell great, but do you really want to answer the question "what perfume are you wearing?" with an answer like that?

Take a few minutes to think about what that says about not just you, but your entire generation.  Demand to be treated more respectfully.  Just some advise from a girl who's walked in your shoes.  Smelling like Liz Claiborne, I might add........

Jan 27, 2012

The Locket

Trying to organize my family history into a coherent story is proving to be quite a challenge.  First it is going to take a tremendous amount of organization.  So far we have tended to just drag everything out, get lost looking at pictures and reading old letters and telling stories about the people we can remember.  Personally, I am not concerned, because I think this is the most important part anyway.  

Where should one start?  At the beginning, with people no one alive has any memories of, or at the end, where we all know the players?  I will probably start at the end, just so the kids will be able to follow along for a little while because they know the players.  Then I will hope that by the time they get to the end they will have some small idea of who their ancestors were and a really clear idea that "who" they are is more than they ever dreamed.  In fact, I practically guarantee it.

I really must insist that when you start looking up your family history you should pay just as much attention to your maternal line of descent as to your paternal line.  All things being equal, if you neglect either side you are only getting one side of the story.  All things not being equal, the girls always get overlooked, (or LOST because their name changed) and if you are a girl, you will need all the help you can get dealing with life, and it may help quite a bit to think of your mother, and her mother before her.....and as far back as you know about.  You will be able to draw on the strength of the women who have come before you simply because you know their stories, not to mention their blood runs through your veins.  If you are very lucky, there will be an heirloom that comes to down to you, has been possessed by these other women, and you might imagine that they left a little bit of their spirits with this heirloom, and therefore that their spirits can ease your own.  I have such a piece.  Actually I have many, but we will start with the one that can be worn.

So I will start with the locket.  It is the one tangible piece of evidence that has survived to the fifth  generation of my family if you follow my maternal line of descent.  It has passed from mother to daughter 4 times, twice after a death, twice just because.  The locket has it's own story, and each of us is just a chapter in it's life.

Today, this locket belongs to my only daughter.  The chain has been replaced, not just once but several times.  The original chain was lost, the first replacement was too thin, the second one was too thick, and we still haven't gotten it just right.  The locket's shape is oval, and it is made of gold.  On the front are the initials FCS, on the back there are 4 more sets.

The Beautiful Redhead received this locket on her 18th birthday.  I worried that she was too young to be trusted with it, as it could never be replaced by any amount of money.  But she loved this locket, had always grown up seeing me wear it and hearing the story of where it came from, and most importantly, she knew the real "worth" of this locket.  It was something that she always knew would be hers, and I decided that it meant enough to her to be trusted with it at such a young age.  I have not regretted that decision.  She wears it all the time.  Inside is a picture of me and a picture of my brother.  They have been there since my mother wore that locket, and I at first neglected replacing the pictures, and then ended up having 4 children so I just never bothered the pictures on the inside.  So there we are, my brother and I , until she has reason to change whose picture is on the inside.  I also wrote down all the history so that she would appreciate the lifetimes the locket had born witness to.

She wears the locket.  All the time.

I got the locket not long after she was born, in 1992.  My mother gave it to me as a surprise, with a sweet card that said "Melinda, our family is a family with strong women.  You are one of them." and made me cry like a baby.  She told me that she saw no reason for me to wait to inherit it when she died, and she wanted my children to grow up with memories of me wearing it, and know it's history.  I was so very excited and touched, and I write this story down now, so that it will float in cyberspace forever, proving I was a good guardian.  I always tried to wear it when our whole extended family was together.  We treasure extended family mightily in my family due to the simple fact that we have lost so many too soon.  I felt when I wore it that it signified their presence, and helped up all to be more fully together.  It might have been just me, I do so love to believe in magic, but if you are lucky enough to know your history you will notice certain patterns repeating.  Maybe it's genes, maybe it's magic, maybe it's just history, but it all amounts to the same thing when looked at from certain angles.  At any rate, I think my mom intended for me to replace the pictures then, since I too had a boy and a girl.  Two children, one of each.  Neither she nor I had any doubt that I was done!  History will prove us very wrong, not that we minded.  I do know that she asked me once whose pictures I had put in there, and I opened it up and we both laughed because by then I had had the twins and we both would have felt it was unfair to have only two of my children's pictures in it. Once I was really, really done forever and always, we added all the rest of our initials on the back.  There is room for a couple more generations there, and if it still survives they can put the initials on the inside.  It waits for Mackenzie to have a child.  A daughter.  I am looking forward to finding out where it will be going next.

When my mother Robin got the locket, it was after her mother had died.  My grandmother Helen Hamilton Hooker had a brain tumor, and many surgeries, before her death in 1985.  We girls all drew numbers, and whoever got the number 1 got first choice, and so on when we divided the jewelry.  We all knew what came down from who.  I was lucky enough to draw number 1, and I took her wedding ring, even though it wasn't expensive.  I distinctly remembered when her first wedding ring wore out, it just fell off her hand one day and  the gold had worn through on the bottom.  She replaced it with a flat gold band with a few small diamonds, but I wanted it because it had been on her finger every day for all those years.  She had prettier and more expensive jewelry, but that was the very best thing to me.  My mom picked the locket, and wore it on special occasions for the years she had it.  It wasn't really her style, my mother wasn't big on jewelry, just like Helen, but she knew where it came from and wanted it anyway.

Helen got the locket when her mother, Fern died in 1930.  She was just 11 when her mother died, after an illness of several weeks, so I assume her father Forrest kept it for her.  Forrest McKinley Hamilton bought the locket for Fern Corrilla Shively on their honeymoon.  The paper reports that "these two young people sprung a surprise on their many friends and were married at the home of her parent's, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Shively".  They would make their home in Gallatin.  They would have 3 children, a baby that died, Jessie Ruth (named for her brother and his sister), Jack Shively, Helen Elizabeth, and Harold Wayne (who was my great uncle Dobby, who recorded the tapes for us with all the stories he could remember).

A letter to my grandmother Helen from her cousin, years later, talks of how Forrest and Fern loved to dance together, and how she followed his lead so well that no one ever knew she could barely hear the music. (She had a hearing loss from an early age).  It also talks about how the cousin's mother, Fern's sister, always talked about how much in love those two were.  Later she would die young, leaving her young family to suffer through the depression without her.  Her family fought tooth and nail to stay together.  They loved one another fiercely despite everything they went through, and honey, they went through a LOT.  They were forged by fire, and strong as steel.  I know she would be proud.  You have to look, but she is wearing the locket in this picture.  It was originally on a Y chain.  I wonder if she ever imagined what that locket would come to mean to all of us who have come after. Did she imagine what we would be like the way we imagine what she was like?   She was quite a woman in her own right, and I have stories of her.  Stories that repeat down through the years and their only central theme is determination and self reliance.  I am so glad I have gotten to know this much of her.  And I am so glad my great grandfather bought her such a beautiful wedding gift.  I doubt that he ever imagined how many women would treasure it, but I know he loved every single one of us.  My daughter is the only one who doesn't remember "Pappy".  She just missed him, but she has the locket to remember him by.

Jan 21, 2012

The death of Self Esteem

Has anybody else noticed and been disturbed by the way famous people (usually young girls) are having photo shoots where they are doing a "tribute" to someone who is dead?????


Are they relying on the fact that someone is naked to sell the magazine?   Or is the person who consents to this relying on it being considered as "art" instead of "pornography"?  

And what exactly are you supposed to feel if someone asks you to come to a photo shoot so that they can camouflage your face and hair to look like someone else but they for sure want to use your naked body?  I have noticed that Hollywood has not been able to come up with one single original idea for about a decade, and now it's oozing over into media outlets that I cannot ignore as easily as the movies.

Do you figure that the money is good so what the hey?

Do you feel like "what's wrong with my naked body?  Is it 'cause I'm not famous enough?"

Do you stop to wonder WHY anyone would want you to look like a poor confused and exploited person who had a pretty sad life and killed herself over 50 years ago?  Do I need to point out that even poor confused and exploited persons 50 years ago had better sense than to pose naked for people who would widely distribute those photos?

Do your parents not object to any of this?????

Because I would like to tell all girls everywhere a couple of things:  

Number 1, don't let anybody take pictures of your naked body.  Nothing is wrong with your body, it is beautiful, but you  may want to wait until you are at least old enough to legally buy  a drink in a bar before you decide to do something like this.  Anyone who encourages you to display your naked body probably does not have your best interests in mind, and if you are determined to let someone take naked pictures of you the least you should do is hold out for the maximum amount you can possibly get, assuming you need the money to survive.  Anything else is just selling yourself short.  Really.  Once done, you will have to live with it for the rest of your life.  But you will not know this until it is too late and then you will never be able to un-know it.  There are many, many paths in life.  Choosing the right one takes time and should be taken slowly.   There is no reason for every second to be recorded in pictures.  You will have years to try many different paths, if that is your wish.  I promise. 

Number 2:  If you are determined to get pictures taken of your naked body, at least get the billing for it!! This Ms. Star Thang AS Beloved Dead Movie Star stuff is really beneath both of you. It's not fair to you because it implies that your own naked body is worth more with your face smeared up so that you don't even look like yourself (as if anyone will look at your FACE!  lol) and it's not fair to the dead person because you KNOW they are not getting a cut.  Girls should never do that to each other, it's a code.  We have to stick together, especially when our naked pictures are being shopped all around and our lives are ruined and there is no way to keep our grandmother's from finding out.  And if you think your grandmother finding out is your worst nightmare, just wait until you have kids.   Nobody else has your body, and the thought of taking the step of having nude pictures taken while hiding behind some kind of "tribute" is truly disturbing.  It's a cop out that even a 3 year old would know better than to try, provided the 3 year old had parents that held them accountable and didn't sell them out to the first guy with cash that came along.  How much better off would Lindsay be if she hadn't been raised to calculate how much she was "worth" in this way?  I am thinking quite a little bit, but I guess it would all depend on your definition of "worth".

I haven't watched much TV for years, but I am constantly seeing magazine's at the grocery store, you can't get away from it, and if you think your kids aren't taking some of that in you are not paying attention.  Our girls are completely lost and our boys are completely confused.  There is no map anymore and you can't even trust an adult to tell you the truth.  Worst of all, there seems to be a lot of confusion as to which way is up.  There are kids, and even adults who seem to be under the impression that "up" is whatever way you want it to be, but the world will teach you different, and without a strong sense of direction you will surely be lost.  Without a strong sense of yourself you could find yourself naked in a magazine looking for all the world like someone else, and not one person finding anything wrong with that at all.  When do you suppose that little voice inside them gives up and quits saying "hey, this isn't right, isn't somebody going to do something about this??? I'm just a kid!"  It seems that this voice gives up around puberty, if it lives to sound the alarm that long.  It is slowly eroded by the steady drip of apathy and the lack of honor in our world today.

People who do not display their naked bodies do not do so because they have all the money they could ever want.  People who do not display their naked bodies do so because they value their "self" and do not want to start out on the slippery slope of losing their honor or their self respect.  It's time for honor and respect to make a huge comeback in America.  This is the time, while there are still some left who know what that is.

It seems that parents have fallen down. I am not trying to pick on Lindsay's parents, there are plenty more.  She is just the easiest one to come up with links to.   It seems, actually, as if some parents have fallen down a rabbit hole.  It also seems like they took the pill that makes you smaller.  When I was growing up, parents seemed to have taken a pill that made them bigger.  Parents, and it did not by any means have to be your parent, any parents, were big, watching, and not afraid to correct you whether you were their kid or not.  

Consider how all of us accepting this of thing as anything but disturbing will change the world a little bit more. (Like saaands through the hour glass, these are the daaaays of our liiiives....) We are not doing anyone any favors by letting stuff like this exist in our world without honest comment.  No one ever calls them on it, and women's magazines are the very worst.  Years ago I read Playboy for the first time.  Yes, I really read it.  I was AMAZED by how good it was, compared to the crap they put out there for women.  The women's magazines were always the same: Lots of ads for makeup, jewelry and clothes, a few recipes, some version of Can This Relationship Be Saved?, and advise on how to keep your house clean so your husband would come home and your children would not end up on drugs. Oh, and a sex move that is supposed to be "new" and will keep your man so happy he will not want to leave your presence except to go to the bathroom.   Seriously.  Now even Playboy, the one magazine that never made any bones about what it was but included extraordinary interviews and always made the women who posed in it at least look pretty,  has decided to jump on the "pretend to be somebody else" bandwagon.  

Take a look at a magazine, pick any one, it does not really matter anymore, with clear eyes and then tell me what message you get from it's contents.

 I have pretty much given TV and movies up over the past several years.  I have always read a lot, and I haven't looked back, either.  Now when I do watch I am usually shocked.  Doubly shocked, once when it happens and again when no one watching is disgusted by it, some even laugh.  They are not bad people, and I know that, but they are not thinking for themselves.  They are just staring at a box, "relaxing", and accepting unquestionably that what comes out of it is appropriate and funny when neither of these things is  true in the slightest.  But to bring this up might make people "uncomfortable" and they don't want to make any "waves".  Because............well.................because it has become fashionable to fall in with the status quo and  not question anything.  Wake up and get real!  The world is going down the tubes and everybody is watching Jersey Shore.  

I think the world is being slowly choked to death by the political correctness of these times, and I am done being silent while my children are constantly bombarded with ideas that make no sense and do not even have any entertainment value.  There are a million ways to quit buying into this kind of thing, literally.  I hope you don't buy any of these magazines because they are nothing but trash and advertising, but I repeat myself.  Take a good look at some of the article's.   Just read the outside!  I double dog dare you.  Then, if you are really feeling good about yourself, watch some t.v.  Tell me what you really think is funny about it.  I would just love to know.  Discuss this with your children, or if you don't have children, any children you know.  Us being quiet about it makes them think this is "normal".  This is not "normal", I refuse to accept this as "normal" and I am done being polite about it.

We are bombarded with so much filth that is supposed to be "funny" or "artistic".  Pah-leeeeezzze.  Use your brains.  Is that what you want your kids to think is normal?  Not me.

Jan 19, 2012

Blindsided by TLC

Before Christmas, one of my oldest, dearest friends stopped by.  At the end of her visit, she and I were at the top of the stairs that lead into my basement, which has become the man cave and where the twins hang out most of the time.  The twins were both at the bottom of the stairs.

She was making her goodbyes when she mentioned something about hoping that Santa came to see the boys.  My youngest baby blurts out "Oh, Santa.....the God of the whores."

Both she and I went very still and very carefully did not look at each other.

I said "What?  What did you just say?"

He repeats "Santa Claus?  Saint Nick?  He was the God of the whores, isn't that right?"

We are still both frozen there, not moving.  Barely breathing.  I am kind of in shock, trying to make sense of these words coming out of my Youngest Baby's mouth while he looks at me with the same expression that he would ask me if I sent lunch  money to school with his brother.

So I say "Can you spell that word?" in a desperate bet that I have heard wrong.

My friend is holding her breathe trying not to laugh or change her facial expression in any way.  Thank God she was the one this happened in front of!  I mean, honestly, when you are a parent you are vulnerable in ways I don't even want to tell you about. They can ruin your life at any moment!!  Your mission (and only hope) is to keep them as ignorant of that fact as is humanly possible.

He could not spell that word, and instead of trying he looks at me as if I am stupid (which, I admit I kind of have to give that one to him), and says, "You know, like women.......?"

I say "WHO TOLD YOU THAT??!!!  And you should never use that word!!"

And he says "I saw it on The Learning Channel!  It was a documentary and it said that St. Nick is the God of the whores because he saved them!"

I do not, at first, believe this.  I accuse them of getting around the controls on the computer.  Both twins insist that this story is true,  Apparently they both watched it but only one was fool enough to open his mouth and reveal what they had learned.  So, I Google it:

And while he is not big on details, he got the gist of it.

Apparently, in Thailand, St. Nick is the patron saint of prostitutes, because he took young girls likely to be sold into prostitution and put them in an abbey instead, where they became nuns.   The moral of the story is that St. Nick is not be confused with the God of the whores.  I won't even offer any guesses as to whom that might be.........  but I would expect he is probably ensconced in Hollywood.  In any case, I expect the prostitutes need all the patron saints they can get.

Just a cautionary tale to any parent still under the impression that documentaries are safe and boring.  It all depends on the interpretation.  You may want to watch with them to clarify points that could be misconstrued.  It could save you a very embarrassing scene that, with any luck, will occur in the privacy of your own house with only your trusted friends as witnesses.

We girls laughed for about 20 solid minutes after this, in private, while we railed equally against the Learning Channel and Thailand, in that order.  Santa was spared any acrimony.

Another memory made!

Jan 17, 2012

Conversations with my dog

I recently had this conversation.  A couple of times.......

'Dog':  "Why do you keep me caged up only on your property?"

Me: "Because I have to keep you safe and I love you!"

'Dog':  "But I want to run and be free and make friends and smell everything!!"

Me:  "If you ran free you might get hit by a car, or lost.  Your friends can visit you here, they know where you live, and as for some of the things you smell.......well, they just aren't good for you and it's my job to keep you safe!"

'Dog':  "But I'm big now.......I am a dog.......I am supposed to run free and smell everything.  It's the way God made me!"

Me:  "Well, that is true, but you are my dog, and I have to pay to get you out of the pound, and that's if you don't get hit by a car and die, and I wouldn't want to have to explain to God why I was so careless with your life.  Thank God I got you both fixed.  At least that's one thing I don't have to worry about with you dogs!!"

'Dog':  "But..............but.............but.................I'm not living a full life......I'm going to die alone.  All the other dogs' mothers' let THEM run free and smell everything!!"

Me:  "And I certainly hope their mother's have good reasons because God is pretty hard to fool!  Besides, someday you will be grown dog and you will have to make your own decisions.  I have to keep you safe long enough for that to happen.   It's my job to teach you how to make good ones even if I am not here to hit you upside the head with a wooden spoon and keep you on the right track.  It does seem to be taking kind of a long time, but we must persevere.  I know in my heart that you are a smart dog and you can figure this out."

'Dog':  "But..................but...........but..................."

As the 'dog' searches for another argument, I casually put some food out.  This distracts his sweet little male brain and the conversation is over.  Again.  

Until next time.

Ok, maybe it wasn't actually with a dog, maybe it was with a boy.  Or two.  But Jack and I have had this same conversation without the words.( I can tell by his eyes!)  Only with Jack, my actual dog, I know that as long as I let him in and give him food he would rather be there than anywhere else.  'Outside' ceases to be a concern to Jack unless he can see it.  

Boys, however, are pretty hard to fool.

Jan 12, 2012

Prayer For The Grieving

While we have had a wonderful winter so far weather-wise, we have lost a lot of people.  

Grieving is hard to go through.  It's hard to watch people you love go through.  This is probably the reason we try to hide it and pretend everything is fine.  But what I have been wondering lately is, does grieving, once begun, ever really end?  

Oh, sure, you get to the point where you stop crying all the time.  Eventually you can even bring yourself to plan your outfit's so that they coordinate again.  You have days where you are happy, then you remember your grief and feel immediately guilty.  It's not like you're suicidal or anything....... The list goes on of all the ways we convince ourselves that we are "over it".  Our hearts are not fooled.

Here is a prayer with a link and a few verses if you or someone you care about has been grieving.  We are entering the long, dark winter and I offer you the knowledge that you are not alone in your grief.  The sun will shine again, and you will know happiness.  It will mean even more to you now that you have known true grief.  This is what it is to get older.

Comfort the Grieving

Father, I pray for (name one or more) and others in my circle of family and friends who are grieving...

They're hurting for many reasons, and I ask You to help them through this season of loss. I reach out to You, the Father of compassion and the Source of every comfort, asking You to touch them with Your unfailing love and kindness. Be their God who comforts them as they're going through their struggles, and bring them through the tough things ahead. Come alongside them in their pain, and strengthen them so they'll one day be able to help others who face the same struggles. (2 Corinthians 1:3–4; Psalm 33:22; 1 Samuel 20:14a)

You're close to people whose hearts are breaking, those who are discouraged and have given up hope. May You who see their troubles and grief respond when they cry out. (Psalm 34:18; 10:14a, 17)

When they're hurting, help them find their joy in You, for it's Your joy that will be their strength. Help them to trust You as their God of hope. Fill them with Your joy, peace, and hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Help them experience the love, joy, and peace that are the results of His life in them, no matter what they're going through. (Nehemiah 8:10b; Romans 15:13; Galatians 5:22)

May they sense Your presence in this hour of need. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Jan 11, 2012


OK, folks.  I may be paranoid.  Or crazy.  In any case,I am blaming the distraction of menopause for this but I have a nagging worry in the back of my mind that Alzheimer's may be starting.  If so, my plan is to get lost in my own family history and never come out.  

Maybe it's because I only drive the same routes, going the same places, every day.  Maybe it's because the automatic pilot has been handling these things for so long that I should just trust it and build a little bank of extra time into my schedule.  Maybe I got so good at multi-tasking in raising 4 children that certain things have worn a path so familiar that I have no choice but to follow, like a cow will come home at dark, or a dog will know when it's time for you to feed him even though everybody knows that a dog cannot possibly really know what time it is.

At any rate, the other day I was on my way to the Post Office.  I go there every day for work.  I take the same route every day.  I guess my brain doesn't even bother to work anymore on this (and many other familiar and oft traveled) routes every day.

My regular route to the Post Office was blocked by a train across the tracks, so instead of turning I go straight.  This puts me on the path that I follow home every day and noon and again directly after work.  About half way through my route home, I realize that I am headed home when I should be on my way to the Post Office.  This is not really a big deal but it has begun to happen a lot more often lately, and the distraction of menopause is leading to violent mood swings, against myself, mostly shouted loudly in derision of myself, in the privacy of my own car.

I believe that all of this is *normal*.

If you know better, tell my kids, since they are really the ones who will bear the brunt of it anyway.

If you do NOT know better, then please ignore me driving around (seemingly) aimlessly ( I have a plan, I just can't remember what it is every minute of every day!!), and/or the scary expressions on my face while I verbally abuse myself for being an idiot, ask myself what is wrong with me, and bite my own head off for having the audacity to ask me such things.

On days when my route is not varied, I sing loudly along with the songs on my favorite station that features 60's, 70's and early 80's.  Early because the awesome people who program this station do not classify RAP as music, in accordance with my own privately held opinion.  I get especially excited when Jackson 5 tunes get air time.  

And if you are wondering why you never see me anywhere but Wal Mart anymore?  It's because I rarely go anywhere but Wal Mart anymore except for work.  I have to go there or starve.  Everything else either dropped off my normal route or I am trying to get there, probably distracted by a variation in my normal route, and besides, can no longer behave myself in public due to violent mood swings.

And everything will work out just fine.  Shut up.

Jan 7, 2012

Medicate, schmedicate......

Even though it is January and still not winter yet, I have a plan.

My great uncle, Wayne (Dobby) Hamilton, at the end of his life, recorded tapes for our family of his life.  Just what he remembered, little stories we would have never known if he hadn't taken the time to record them.

He did these tapes before his death in 1999.  They were recorded on cassette tapes, and we all made copies and laughed and cried as we heard about who we really were.  Then we all put them up and kind of forgot about them.

For Christmas, my brother, who is pretty quiet and does not often talk about emotion, (this runs in our family, on the Hooker side ;)) made me another copy of these tapes.  True to form, without a word he handed me the one thing that no one else could and that meant more to me than anything else I can imagine.  I believe his exact words were "No big deal.  But I can't find tape #3".  This caused a ripple effect throughout Missouri as me, my aunt and my uncle all started searching through our boxes of memorabilia for the elusive tape # 3, which beckoned to us like a mermaid to a sailor over the waves. Going through your boxes is a good thing to do at least every 5 years, especially if you don't move.  You might want to block out some time, as about 2 hours in you will have torn apart your attic/basement/garage/closet and the entire room will be laid in piles that you will not want disturbed for (possibly) quite some time.  You will not be able to call that progress, but you will justify it in the name of History.  You will be doing the right thing.  Get busy.

So happy and excited was I that I dared listening to them again, even without Tape # 3 .  This time I took notes, and it quickly became obvious to me that these tapes needed to be put down word for word in permanent form.

I found a man here in town, a musician and sound man, to put these tapes on CD for me and am going to transcribe them.  If you have anything like this, I strongly urge you to contact John Thomas Productions in Brookfield, Mo.  You can find him on facebook.  I cannot tell you what it will mean to you to have it in a form that you will be able to keep safe for generations to come.

Today I got the elusive tape # 3 from my aunt Linda (way to be a pack rat Aunt Linda!!) and dropped it off along with the family tree that my grandmother completed in the 1970's to be put on a CD also, and picked up the CD's of the tapes we have so far.  I have them downloaded onto my computer and am going to start transcribing them word for word.  I also have a rubber trunk full of old pictures that have come to me down through the generations.  Mostly, I must say, because no one else was interested and not even polite enough to pretend to be interested.  That is all right.  That is actually normal.  In my experience you have to raise a couple of kids before you start to care who you are, let alone wonder where you came from.  This is called "maturing" and it will happen to you, probably in your 40's, but I personally believe everyone has their own time line for this.  It's all written out in God's plan for your life.  You will have to take my word for this.

This brings me to the MEDICATION headline for this post.

There is a tendency in this country to over medicate ourselves, in my opinion.  There is also a malady called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.  It's real.  I have it and so do other member's of my family.  It's from not getting enough Vitamin D, that's what the Doctor will tell you.  Anyone else will tell you that winter is very hard and depressing to get through.  It is all the same thing.  They make medication for it and I do not fault anyone for taking anything that helps them, as long as they have paid close attention to the side effects.

However, it occurs to me that everybody is "depressed" because we have such easy lives now.  With all these scenes from the depression running through my mind, it occurs to me that depression is something that is actually a luxury to have.  Don't you think that during The Great Depression people were "depressed"?  "PROBABLY!"  the voice in my head yells, "But when you are spending all your energies on just surviving another day, they didn't really have the TIME to be "depressed"".  Believe it or not, it was about the least of their worries.  Were there some alcoholics?  Oh hell yes!  But the point is, depressed or drunk, they still got up every day and did what they had to do.  They did not have the option of being "depressed".  Good thing they didn't or we may never have gotten as far as we have in this country.

I think the voice in my head is dead on.  With 4 children I have always said that I had a nervous breakdown with my name on it, and as soon as I got time I was going to take it.  I was serious, but guess what?  As usual, God had other plans, and since I didn't ever find the time to have the nervous breakdown because every day I had exactly what I needed to do right in front of me, what do you know?  I made it.  I made it without having a nervous breakdown.  This is partly because of my practically famous stubborn streak, and I am sinfully proud of it, and I think I have the right to be.  It has always worked for me.  "Work" has always worked for me, and it turns out that this may indeed be in my genes.  You are going to be amazed at what my ancestor's lived through, and I am pretty certain you will be surprised what yours lived through too, once you start digging.  Get busy!  This is how people survived before they made a pill for that!!

There is a pill for everything now.  Please, please pay close attention to those side effects.  They can kill you.    I'm pretty sure this is actually the plan now, so that trial lawyers can glean huge settlements after you die, giving every person who is still living $29.95 each, while the trail lawyers made several million dollars.  No, I am not paranoid.  Check it out.  You will be disillusioned and possible terrified, but you will no doubt live long enough to be both of those things as long as you take the bait.  

I think our world has had it so easy for so long that we have forgotten how to be tough and keep going.  I think this is NOT an aspect that we can survive without.  I don't blame us, but I think we have almost forgotten why we have been so lucky.  I mean, everybody has a house.  We flip a switch and have light.  Hot water has been taken for granted for, what, a hundred years?  There is central heating and air.  We could all donate at least 100 pounds of clothes or household goods and NEVER KNOW THE DIFFERENCE.  Are we lucky or what?  It takes a lot of nerve to be "depressed" when you think of it this way.  Start thinking, and you can just go right ahead and count your blessings, because you have a lot, especially if you live in America.  If you travel to other countries, you already know this.  If you don't travel to other countries, take my word for it.  Or go ahead and travel, just be prepared to be "depressed" and there could be a fair amount of shame there too, because you did not even know you had it so good.

Look around at the old people you know.  Have you ever noticed how long most farmers live?  I think they live so long because the have to GET UP, every single day, rain, shine, blizzard, whatever (!) and keep going.  They have no choice, and this gets them through.  Staying in bed is not an option they would ever consider unless they are so sick they cannot get out of bed.  This is the key, I think, just do not entertain any other notion, because once you let yourself get down, somebody will probably take care of you and while you may need that for short periods, if you don't hang on to your will to be independent, you just may not have that option anymore.  By then you will be on a pill, which may or may not help, and if you give up they will keep you on those pills, plus more, and it just goes downhill from there.  When I die, I plan for it to be from natural causes, which to me will be God's will.  With medicine these days, it is unclear to me where the line between science and God's will is, so I just try to avoid science (!) whenever possible, whatever "science" has come to mean these days.  You need to be an investigative reporter to figure that out, and I have other things to do.

So, this year, if winter ever gets here, and I am sure it will, I have a plan.  I am going to be transcribing my family history and putting it together and scanning pictures until I doubt I will even know it's winter unless I go outside.  It's my plan, and I'm sticking to it. 

Yeah, I'm stubborn, it's the way God made me, plus I come from a long line of fiercely loyal and independent people, who no matter how hard things got, kept on a keepin' on.  In the end I think it's all anyone can do.  Good luck, and get busy!! Your kids will need to know this someday and you may not still be here to tell them the good stuff!!