Friday, June 30, 2017


Connie Ehrlinger lives in a nice brick house just outside Paxton, with her husband, two children and a fluffy little Pom named Cherie.   Connie favors Olive and mustard and butter yellow colours in her home and in her clothing, with quite a few outfits of well-cut slacks  with sleeveless paler blouses in the same shade of those foody colours which never really remind you of food.  She wears a narrow gold chain and tiny earrings, and always smells of Estee Beautiful and of Doublemint, which she’s been known to snap as she watches eagerly in conversation, ready for the next activity to be planned or to begin.   She “wants the most GO for her money,” and will hop right in with you for a trip to VP for bread, as quickly as to making a weekend of it at the Pepperell Outlet Stores.    

Connie steps right smartly around town in little leather shoes, loafers or sandals or wedges, according to the occasion, and has a nice Hamill-cut in the same shade of Clairol Strawberry Blonde she’s worn since 1986.  She likes  minimal makeup---just a little horizontal blush and a bronzey Clinique lipstick, and she’s on the go.

She has her kitchen laid out with exactly one of each item she might need, with a certain Tupperware especially for the Five-Cup she takes to Church Suppers, or one little handled pan for the box of “cornbread” Stove-Top she carries in her quilted blue “casserole toter” in cooler parts of the year.

   She does not have the Cookin’-Proud gene of her Mama Ole Mrs. Youngblood, nor her sister Carlisle, though they all do “favor” each other remarkably, with quick smiles to show their charmingly-overlapped canines, and the same interested hazel eyes. 

Unlike Carlisle, Connie is just a little bit ignorant of things---not a reader, doesn’t care for crafts or anything that takes a while to finish.   Her taste runs to The Bachelor and the whole gaudy gamut of Housewives and a lot of reality things like Pawn Shops and Hoarders.   House Hunters is the ne plus ultra, and HHI the creme---she has them on DVR back a couple of years, and once erased Varon’s whole collection of R. Lee Ermey, because the “box” was almost filled up.

Connie is a planner.   A new calendar gives her the same gentle thrill that a new tablet and pencil used to give Carlisle---a whole new blank world to hold her dreams.

  She keeps calendars and a daybook with precise notations of every event, appointment, anniversary date and practice, as well as the due date of every bill, renewal, or library book.  She has THAT kind of analytical mind---one which Keeps Up With Things, but which hasn’t much patience for news or any books beyond Taste of Home and Southern Living.   She’ll stand with one hand on her hip in the kitchen, looking days and weeks ahead at her calendar, shoving her gum forward in her mouth and stretching it around the tip of her tongue, reminiscent of the days when she actually DID blow the best bubbles in the schoolyard.

Then, she’ll grab a pen and her book, check off an item or two, notate a couple more, close the paper-laden book with the THONK finality of a job done, and place it with the several in the drawer of her little kitchen desk spot, all in the space of time it took to boil the water for the Minute Rice. 

Connie does everything this way, and that’s why she’s been secretary and/or Treasurer of every organization in town except the Masons and Lions.  She KEEPS UP.   Carlisle got the imagination and the words; Connie got the numbers and the ORDER.   And neither would change places with the other on a bet.  

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


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Start spreadin’ the NEWS..!

Our new little GRAND arrived yesterday, in NEW YORK CITTTY!

She and her parents are doing fine, and we’re all so Blessed.

Friday, June 16, 2017


The five sisters:  Aunt Eddie, Mammaw, Aunt Lu, Aint Bessie, and Aint Lo

A little more about Mammaw’s Sister, Aint Bessie (she of the Ole Fly fame).   She was a fun, lively woman, when we would be all gathered for talk and meals, but she became mysteriously stricken with a great weakness and pain of limb upon every rising from the dining table.   I think that most of my opinions and views in those days were formed and shaped by Mammaw---the greatest caretaker and influence in my life.   Probably Aunt B's being a younger sister gave her some leeway that Mammaw didn't get, for growing up, the younger girls were mostly exempted from the field work and cooking and washing for all that big family of young-uns.  Since all I really knew of Aint B. came from her maybe-twice-yearly visits, I sorta leant toward Mammaw's view that she could help out, if she'd just get up off the couch.

Aint B. had a plump little figure and some beautiful clothes.   She took a morning bath which required bringing in the big old #2 tub from the back porch (not by her) and filling from the kitchen faucet, and then everybody out of the house while she bathed (usually Mammaw and I were out in the garden, hoeing or picking something to cook or to can).   And she had lovely skin---she carried a bag with lotions and her perfume and hair stuff in it, and she slept in a big hairnet to keep her permanent pretty.   We could come back in when she got into her housecoat, and I'd empty the tub, pitcher by pitcher, into the sink, then take the tub out, while I watched her lotion arms and legs and put cream on her face, and later a little puff of powder and tiny dab of lipstick.  

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Then she sat down to wrap her legs.   She had roll after roll of gauze or cotton strips or some white fabric that she rolled round and round her legs from knee to ankle before she pulled on her stockings and rolled her garters on.   She took all that off to sleep, re-rolling the little rounds and sticking in a pin.

She kept repeating like a mantra about her Milk Leg she'd contracted, and how sore they were all the time (I wonder now if it was something like phlebitis, and that kept clots from forming like surgical stockings).  And her legs were just really pretty underneath all that wrapping, so I, too, thought she might be exaggerating her malady a bit more to account for her not being able to clear away or wash dishes or cook, and that she had to get right up from the table after every meal and go lie down and elevate her feet on a pillow.

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And I envied the HECK out of the fact that she had a "standing order" for a case of Co-Colas to be delivered and set on her back porch in Mobile every morning.   She drank twenty-four six-ounce cokes in a day's time.  And guess what lucky person got to run over to Aunt Lu's with the wheelbarrow every day to get that case of cokes?   And back for three or four more trips, for bananas or Bromo or the Pinkham's that she forgot to bring.  I even had to go get ice a time or two, because we ran out so often, filling up those big tea glasses with Co-Cola, and all.

(Looking back, I wonder if the reason she stayed with Mammaw all the time, despite the impossibly-tiny house, might have been ME).  

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The three rooms were Kitchen at the back, with a good sized rectangular wooden dinner table and six chairs, the Middle Room, which held Mammaw and Grandpa's double bed on one wall, with a BIG round black pedestal Dining Table under that saggy-screen window and the beehive in the wall that you could hear humming.   There was a big pump organ on the third wall, and the fourth, of course, was taken up with the head of the bed and kitchen door, with a space somewhere in there for a good-sized wood stove---a really pretty, curvy one, like an immense black vase with pipes in the middle of the floor, all taken down for Summer, and creating a marvelously-open space.    The belly of the stove had a garland of raised-up rose buds, one of which had tattooed a permanent "rose" on Uncle Samalee's beeehind when he was about four, and had just gotten out of the tub and bent over to get his drawers on.  

The front room had another double bed on the north wall, a couch where I slept on the opposite, covering a never-used closed up fireplace with a doilied-and-what-notted mantel, which would take you unawares; if you sat up wrong in bed, it would conk you in the noggin.  The bed was Aint B's, and there was also an across-the-corner dresser to the "suit" along with a chest of drawers, and a pretty maroon-brocade platform rocker with a chunky metal smoking stand.   I just cannot imagine. 

Aint B. had her own little built-in maid-servant every Summer trip, for I fetched and carried cokes and cake-on-a-saucer and a funeral parlor fan and her purse and her hair-scarf and her magazines---she was the first person I'd ever seen who bought those Romance and Screen and True Story magazines, and I was fascinated. 
   She told fabulous stories of the city, of the streetcars and the train station and all the big stores and the parades.   And they went right down to the water and bought their shrimp right off a boat.   Not quite the enchantment of Aunt Eddie's Indianapolis (I was fated to be here), but I was rapt, all the same.  

People from all over town would drop by and sit on the porch with Aint Bessie, and she held court every day til the sun got too hot out there, or she'd get her "parasol" ---Mammaw and all the Aunts had a big black umbrella for shade, and they all called them parasols--and venture around the block to Aunt Lu's store or up or down the street to people's houses.  She'd go to whatever doings any one of the three churches was putting on---luncheons and teas and watermelon-cuttings---all functions that Mammaw wouldn't have even come in out of the hot garden to attend. 

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from the internet---her silhouette, size, white hair, and certainly looks like Mobile to me

I know that the bit about The Fly painted her in less-than-her-best light.  I think it's just my memory of that one particular day---I was maybe eight, and I can STILL hear her say, "Look at that OLE FLY!" and the sound of the flappy old worn-out swatter hitting the equally fragile screen, right before the immense cloud settled on that good dinner.

She and Uncle Les adopted their nephew when his mother died shortly after childbirth.  They lived in Mobile, and I think I remember Uncle Les had something to do with shipyards.   Ron never came with Aint Bessie, but would ride the bus by himself later to come for a couple of weeks with Mammaw, Aunt Lu, and Aint Lo---who all lived that small Delta town.   What an adventure that must have been, and him not yet ten years old.  I envied that freedom, and still to this day LOVE the sight, sound and scent of a GREYHOUND.

Monday, June 5, 2017


There’s a wonderful expression in the South which conveys happiness, pleasure, delight, gratitude, and whole host of other good things:  the word is TICKLED.   There’s no gonna getcha anticipation or those fun-scary creeps associated with a Tickle Monster, nor is any touching or jostling involved (well, there MIGHT be some, at the Ticklee’s express request, but that’s nunna my binness).

You can be Tickled that the Grandkids are coming this weekend, Tickled to see them, and Tickled to make their favorite nanner pudding.  Other forms are when something’s just so gosh-darned funny you’re Tickled to death, or you can be Tickled Pink (that would be my choice, of course)  to receive/hear/learn/bestow something dear to your heart, your lifestyle, your conscience or your pocketbook. 

And sometimes something can TICKLE YOUR FUNNYBONE so you laugh long and loud, or it can be just so fun and sweet, you just smile all over.   Sis has a flock of chickens, and they are just the dearest little clucky souls.  One, especially, is my favorite (and I think is secretly hers, as well, but neither of us will ever let on---biddies have tender feelings, plus their beaks are just ankle-height).   Bonnie Faye is simply the most beautiful barnyard creature I’ve ever seen---an almost houndstooth pattern to her poufy elaborate robes, and the fluffiest stockin’-tops I’ve seen since visiting the Clydesdales.   I don’t know if it’s too many Harry Potter movies, or if she’s seen the Buckbeak centerfold in Better Coops and Gardens,  but she’s got the regal bow, the incline of the head, and the calm acceptance of the reverence she’s due. 

  Girlfriend’s got quite the Royal Thing going on:

A fun comment from Sis when she saw this post just now:

Awww, I DO just love her so much! She still lays a tiny little white egg about 3 times a week. She also has short term memory loss now and when we let everybody out in the late afternoon to play, she looks down to peck a bug and they all run off. Then when she looks back up, everybody's gone and it's panic time!!! BU_KACK!!! about 100 times until we go out and show her where everybody went, then she waddles over until the next time... Life is full of BU-KACKS isn't it. We all just need someone to show us where everybody went from time to time.