The day that follows sleep

I got up this morning and wondered what will the day bring.

Each morning that I awake, I push myself from the bedclothes, I shake off the grogginess left by sleep.
I move my legs towards preparing myself for the day – wash, shave, brush, comb, fresh clothes and so then it begins. What will the day be?

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A daisy for Momma

The old T model Ford chugged and stammered its way along the thin pig trail that crisscrossed up the side of the Gravelly Spur Mountain.
On one side looking down was a shear drop, while the other side was straight up.
As Pearl looked off the mountainside, in the valley below the farmer’s new crops of corn were beginning to show some strength in the neatly planted rows they laid off earlier in the year traipsing behind their best mule teams.
The mountain laurel dotted the side of the mountain and a faint smell of wild roses occasionally whisped through the open car.
This trip up the mountainside would eventually reach a point where the car would stop because there was no more passable road and Grandma Kitty, Grandpa Bill and little Pearl would get out and walk the rest of the way.
Their goals were three fold — Grandpa Bill was scouting the mountainside for any usable timber, Grandma Kitty was planning to hit her favorite spots to gather remedy roots, barks and berries, but the main goal involved a tremendously large bouquet of daisies tightly grasped in Pearl’s hand.
You see this was Mother’s Day weekend and for Kitty and Bill their mothers were both in heaven.
Grandpa Bill’s mother lay in a green patch of ground nestled between stately cedar trees on the side of the mountain where generations of the family rested, while Grandma Kitty’s mother was buried miles away in another county.
Through the years they had created a tradition of alternating between the locations on days like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Memorial Day.
As the T model hit the end of the road, Grandpa Bill shut her off and picked up the lunch pales sitting neatly in the back seat. Grandma Kitty pulled her burlap sack from beneath the seat and Pearl jumped out without losing a single daisy from her bouquet.
As they walked up the old mountain trail Grandpa looked over at an old cabin and said, “Pearl, that there is where your great, great, great grandpappy built his home after beating them there Red Coats.”
Though abandoned the lonely the cabin still held its position strongly on the side of the mountain creating a natural fortification against potential attack from indians.
Grandma Kitty spied a bit of wormseed and she strayed from the trail to gather some to grind. Some of the neighbor’s kids had needed a batch of her remedy to rid them of worms.
The canopy of the dogwood trees almost hid the entrance to the little cemetery.
As you walk between two majestic oak trees, in a clearing high on top of the mountain, was this lush green field with lines of stones marking departed loved ones. Some stones were store bought with fancy writing on them while some were simply mountain stone where someone had chiseled in the name of those gone on.
Pearl had made this trip before and knew the ritual just as if it was a part of daily life.
As they stopped near the edge of the cemetery, Pearl gave half of the daisies to her father ‘cept six.
He took them and walked over to where his mother slept. He sat down on the grass next to the stone and started talking with her. He told her about how the crops were last year, how the children were, and anything he thought might interest her.
As he did this Kitty took Pearl’s hand and they walked to the graves of the other six mothers who came before her and placed one daisy on each plot of mountain ground.
When they finished Bill had placed his flowers on the grave, told his mom how much he loved her and said goodbye once again.
He joined Kitty and Pearl and they walked slowly to the edge of the cemetery that went up to the very edge of the mountainside.
Pearl still tightly gripped the other half of the bouquet and when the time was right she gave it to Kitty ‘cept one.
Kitty quietly held the bouquet and looked to the east to her ancestral home, she called out to the four winds to carry her love to her mother dear and she tossed the daisies across the sky and they flew through the air off the mountainside.
As Kitty walked back to join Bill and Pearl, Pearl looked up at her and handed her the one remaining daisy she would not relinquish earlier.
“Mommy, I want you to have my love now. I don’t want to wait until I have to talk to a stone or to the four winds.”
Kitty put her arms around her and Bill put his around Kitty’s. They stood there and gazed off the mountainside watching the four winds carry the daisies across the sky.
For more stories of the Gravelly Spur, see the book “A Mountain Pearl.”

True Blue

With the recent changes in direction in the automotive industry in our country, I don’t know what the future will hold for the brands that our family stood by ever since they traded in their horse and wagon. I would like to say that I am hopeful that some of the great traditions and loyalties will remain despite what the future may hold.
When I was in my youth, there was a bit of variety in choice, but for most it came down to two choices. The division begins at early age and you figure out that you are either on one side or the other pretty soon.
Do you drive a Chevrolet or a FORD, Fix Or Repair Daily?
Now in our household we were a Chevrolet family. From the early blue Malibu to the golden Chevy pickup to the candy apple red Monte Carlo. Everything my parents drove at that point was a Chevrolet.
I do have a faint remembrance of my brother driving a Volkswagen bug when he was in service. He wore out two motors hauling sailors back and forth from Norfolk to Atlanta. I will say one thing about those bugs — they didn’t use much gas. But one thing about it, you sure could not tell how to operate one. All the little buttons had funny little symbols on them. I remember right after he first got it, we went for a ride. We nearly froze to death trying to figure out how to turn on the heater. After we got back, sporting two different shades of blue, my mom jumped in and drove it around the block. When she got out, she said, “Boy, that thing has a dandy heater in it.”
I still wonder where that heater knob was.
By the time I got to driving age, it was time for me to make my decision. Will I be a Chevy or a Ford man.
My dad and I went to the government auction and looked over a variety of cars. With my limited funds, in spite of the fact I wanted a Chevy, I got my own Ford Pinto. Now, I grew to love that car until it perished in a collision with a great big Chevy.
I then graduated to a Ford Pinto station wagon, and later a Ford Fairmont station wagon.
Now, if this is looking like a trend, it isn’t. It just seemed like that’s all those folks at the government auctions wanted to get rid of. Guess they wanted to keep their Chevys.
Finally, since I was traveling so much on the road between music appearances, my mother convinced me to invest in a brand new Chevy S-10, metallic blue with an extended cab. Boy, was I proud of that truck, even though it cost more than my parent’s first house.
Why is that you reckon? There is something wrong when to buy a car, you have to pay what someone paid for the house they live in.
“Blue,” as I called my Chevy, served me until 2004 when I retired it with over 330,000 miles on it. I had no major problems in 15 years of driving. We drove through ice, snow and through the depths of the August southwestern deserts. Of course, there were often prayers in the desert to God above to help us pass safely through.
I guess I did have one problem with Blue.
Blue had a star complex.
Several years ago I made my acting and singing debut in a film for CBS titled “Desperate for Love.” The director selected my truck to use as a set for one of the major scenes.
The teen-age theme was set around a high school choir and a love triangle that results in one of the leads dying. The film featured Christian Slater, Brian Bloom, Tammy Lauren and Veronica Cartwright. In one scene, Old Blue co-starred with them all as they danced, joked and cut up in Blue’s bed. After everything was said and done, the truck earned more money than I did that day.
Which I really did not mind. After all, I was the one who had to feed Blue.
After that I just couldn’t keep Blue out of episodes of “In the Heat of the Night.” Almost every week you could see that metallic blue pickup passing by in one scene or another. Blue just had a need to be on camera.
That was one of the reasons it was so hard to let the reliable friend go some years ago. I had always envisioned Blue well polished, sitting in a film and television museum somewhere stuffed like Roy Roger’s “Trigger.”
In all the years Old Blue and I hit the trail, Blue only failed me once, when I was on my way to do a commercial audition in Charlotte, N.C.
Just as I came out of the mountains in the dark of the wee hours of the morning, Old Blue began to balk. I pulled off and as I made it under the bridge, Blue died. Conveniently he carried me with his last breath to a sheltered area where I would not be standing in the rain that had just started coming down. Before long a police officer came by and helped me get pulled to a local garage, where after about five hours and a reasonable payment for the replacement of a coil, I was back on my way to the audition. I arrived a bit late but still ready to roll. After ten minutes, I had rejoined Old Blue for the trip home. I did not get the commercial. And you know Blue never gave me one more bit of trouble.
Somehow I just know that Blue figured out I was auditioning for a Ford commercial.

A little funny never hurts

One of my readers said that I needed to share a bit of comedy in my column to raise the spirits of the folks back home. Well I don’t know if I can do that but I’m willing to take aim at it.
One of my favorite places to find funny comments or situations is in church and sometimes the funniest thing you find relates with youngin’s and church thinkin’
I remember a few years ago my nephew asked me if he had a guardian angel. I told him ‘Sure you do. Your guardian angel is always with you.”
“Does he eat with me?” he asked.
“Sure,” I said.
“Does he sleep with me?”
“Sure,” I said.
“That must have been who kicked me out of bed last night,” he said.
Now I won’t take credit for this next one, its one I heard from an older feller which will remain nameless:
Do you know where radio was invented?
The Garden of Eden.
God took Adam’s rib and made the first loudspeaker.
A little known fact about Noah’s Ark:
There were three camels on board.
The first was the camel many people swallow while straining at a gnat.
The second was the camel whose back was broken by the last straw.
And the third was the one who shall pass through the eye of a needle before a rich man enters the kingdom of Heaven.
Farmer Jud and his wife Jeweldine, a childless farm couple prayed to have a child.
As an answer to the prayer, the couple received the blessing of triplets.
The preacher commented as to how their prayers were answered.
Jud said, “Yep, but I never prayed for a bumper crop.”
A lady searched endlessly to find the love of her life with no success so she finally turned to prayer:
“Oh Lord, I am not asking for a thing for myself but please send mother a son-in-law.”
A father asks a prospective son-in law “Can you support my daughter in the manner she is accustom to?”
He replies “ She ain’t gonna move is she?”
I have always heard that bread cast on the water always returns. Bread cast on the water, may return but all the bread we send overseas sure doesn’t.
Laughter has always been an important part of life in our family mainly because of the nature of our ancestors to lean towards being stoic in their approach in life. That approach comes even more naturally to me than laughter does. I am often asked “Why don’t you smile more.” My answer is sometimes “I am smiling on the inside.” Moments of joys and laughter are even more cherished to me. May laughter always fill your days because God does have a sense of humor otherwise, he would have never made someone quite like us, would he?