Sunday, September 30, 2012


Hearing my hacking, sniffling, and whining, Les asked, "Is it about time for your annual stress-related cold?" I said, "Well, it usually happens between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I have been working myself to a frazzle lately." He laughed, because I pronounced frazzle the way our grandmother always did: FRAHH-ZELL! I knew perfectly well the proper pronunciation, but somehow, saying it her way made frazzle more emphatic!

I've long known that there's a direct correlation between stress and depression and getting a cold. (See attached). I also know that the symptoms I have--sneezing, watery eyes, and runny nose--mean that I am getting well. That logic doesn't make me feel any better. Yes, I'm having a pity party!

Les came in the family room and asked, "Is that Vicks salve?" I said, "Yep!" He said, "I didn't think they sold it any more." As I was applying it liberally to my chest and UNDER my nose, he said, "YUCK, that jar's about a hundred years old!" I looked at the jar and the label was practically translucent from years of greasy hands grasping the bottle. I said, "It's probably psychological, but I feel better already." Les answered, "No, it's making you delusional!" I was covered in my big, warm, fuzzy blankie and when I uncovered to go to the kitchen, he screamed with laughter, "You're wearing flannel pajamas!" I am a nightgown-kind of girl and I wear pajamas ONLY when I'm sick. He said, "OMG, you have on Syracuse Orangemen pajamas!" YES, I did. Would someone expect Notre Dame pajamas from a descendant of County Tyrone stock?

Vicks VapoRub IS still produced; see the attached article telling other uses for my "wonder drug"!

CLICK HERE to read: How Stress Influences Disease: Study Reveals Inflammation as the Culprit.

CLICK HERE to read: Uses of Vicks Salve.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


A good friend called and when she heard my raspy voice (because of my having a cold), she cautioned me by saying: "It gives a lovely light." She didn't need to use the complete quote as we are usually simpatico and engage in verbal shorthand; I knew she was referring to an Edna St. Vincent Millay poem:

"My candle burns at both ends,
It will not last the night,
But, oh, my foes, and oh, my friends,
It gives a lovely light."

What a nice reminder to take care of myself!

We recited the poem together.

We spoke about how, as teenagers, we adored Millay. She asked, "Do you think anybody still reads her?" I said, "There's a Millay Society." She asked, "I wonder if we loved her so much because she was a feminist and free-thinker or because she was a great poet?" I said, "Well, you know what Thomas Hardy said--the two greatest things about America--skyscrapers and Millay!" She said, "Well, she's not in the GREAT category like Yeats."

I asked, "Remember Mort Sahl?" She said, "Wow, you DIGRESS!" I said, "No, he said, "They quoted Edna St. Vincent Millay, but they believed Henry Kaiser." She wailed, "How the Hell do you remember these things?" I asked, "How many times could you ever have a quote by Sahl about Millay?"

She said, "I think I'll drag out Dirge Without Music; I haven't heard it since you had it recited at a funeral."

Simultaneously, we both began to say, "And I am not resigned."

Friday, September 28, 2012


My Red Hat Lady group was recently entertained with a performance by Susan Gingerich who portrays "the Herb Lady of Lavender Glen". The Herb Lady is dressed in garments reminiscent of early pioneer women and she pretends to be from 1830 transported into this era. She had gathered specimens from my yard and her presentation featured the historical uses of herbs and our relationship with other plants and the benefits of using natural products in cooking and healing. As I grew up with a mother who was an herbalist, I knew the "weeds". She held up plantain and I exclaimed, "Psyllium!" Several in the group knew "psyllium" but did not know that it came from a weed that might be in their yards. I told how Mother would gather the plantain "seeds" after green-gathering time and the plants had "gone to seed" and whenever any of us was "bound up" we were given some plantain seeds. Other plants she showed were yarrow, mint, elderberry, raspberry vine, and mullein--all from my yard.

Susan holds a PhD and is the President of The Ohio Sunshine Health Freedom Coalition which is a non-profit, grassroots organization which is dedicated to educating and informing the public about health freedom. She is an advocate for the passage of Ohio House Bill 259, a bill which "protects consumer access to homeopaths, naturapaths, nutritional consultants, and other natural and complementary and alternative practitioners providing services that do not rise to the level of concern requiring state licensing" (from the bill).

For more information, go to www.ohiohealthfreedom

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Yesterday an older friend called and left a message; in the message he said that to he couldn't come to a meeting because he thought he had "the grippe". I hadn't heard that term for at least 50 years! Les said, "Let's look it up!"
[grippe: an acute febrile contagious birus disease: influenza]

I laughed and said that it would definitely NOT be in my vocabulary. Les said, "You better write another article about words which make you sound old!" I've written several articles about those kind of words (see attached "DAVENPORT")CLICK HERE

Among the other words:

RECKON (as in "I reckon"))
PIKE (rather than route)
VEER a friend's daughter says that only old people use the word)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


My BLOG is mostly topical, or humorous, but when I heard of the murder of Trayvon Martin, I wanted to write about it because my mind went back to May 7, 1979, recalling when a sixteen-year-old boy was murdered in the local Kroger parking lot. His infraction, according to the murderer, was because he and his friend used dirty language.

12 fine Fayette County people--a jury of his peers--found the murderer not guilty by reason of insanity.

The following day, the murderer strutted the streets of Washington Court House with a gun strapped on his hip.

That's justice--Fayette County style!

I put the idea for an article in my DRAFT file.

Recently, the mother of that sixteen-year-old died and somehow, I felt bereft for not having followed up on that BLOG article comparing the senseless tragedy of her son to the other senseless tragedy of Trayvon.

The boy's mother worked for me in the 1970s and we were as close as a management/employee relationship would allow. How she was able to cope with the circus which surrounded her after the murder of her son, I do not know. I wanted to protect her from the ignorance of the so-called "good intentions" of people. I detested the "professional mourners" who crowded in to witness her devastating grief. At the funeral, I stayed busy keeping the S.O.B.'s at a distance. I felt, "How dare they come to bother her in her grief?" I thought, "The rats come out of the woodwork to view her sorrow." Those people have a sick fascination, but cloak it with their spurious platitudes about "paying their respects" and "making an appearance" or a whole litany of other cliches. We know that their perverse pleasure is in witnessing the anguish of others, but they always dutifully report "how well" the aggrieved are "holding up"; or judging "how bad they're taking it"! Perhaps they do not realize what they consider "kind words" are oftentimes wounding rather than comforting.

I'll never forget her telling me, "I want to die, but I have to stay alive because I have other children." In the intervening years, when I would see her, I would mention her son because she'd told me that she liked to talk about him to some people, but not to others! I told her I knew exactly how she felt because, when my brother died, I couldn't stand for some people to even say his name--but with my family and friends, I wanted to talk about him. When people would mention the circumstances--which they invariably do--it is like a fresh knife in the heart! My brother died in 1964 and someone recently asked, casually, "Oh, yeah, didn't that happen out on.....?" I stopped the person before they could mention the where, what, when, and how, or any other clinical details of his death. It still hurts. How can people be so obtuse? Why would any right-thinking person want to mention, ever so casually, the circumstance of a loved one's death? I have concluded that they are either stupid or perverse, or perhaps both!

The last time I saw the boy's mother, we were exchanging the usual hugs and pleasantries and I was looking at her Grandma's Brag Book with the pictures of the grandchildren and for a moment, she looked wistful, but it wasn't the time nor the place, there in Dollar General, to discuss what might have been.

She was a good mother, wife, grandmother, friend, and a good worker. I cannot think of higher praise.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


My friend Vivian reminded me that I had not published a "CRINGE--FAYETTE COUNTY TALK" article in awhile.

It certainly isn't because I haven't heard NEW ones!

Just last week:

Someone said VICE-A VERSA rather than VICE VERSA!

FLUSTRATED--I haven't heard that in awhile.

MANGO instead of green bell pepper.

CLEMATIS--someone tried to correct my pronunciation!

TOWARDS instead of toward.

FOR SURE (pronounced as one word FERSHURE)

Monday, September 24, 2012



1. At lunch time, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and point a hair dryer at passing cars. See if they slow down.
2. Page yourself over the intercom. Don't disguise your voice!
3. Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if they want fries with that.
4. Put decaf in the coffee maker for 3 weeks. Once everyone has gotten over their caffeine addictions, switch to Espresso.
5. In the memo field of all your checks, write "for marijuana".
6. Skip down the hall rather than walk and see how many looks you get.
7. Order a diet water whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face.
8. Specify that your drive-through order is "To Go".
9. Sing along at the opera.
10. Five days in advance, tell your friends you can't attend their party because you have a headache.
11. When the money comes out the ATM, scream "I Won! I Won!".
12. When leaving the zoo, start running toward the parking lot, yelling "Run for your lives! They're loose!".
13. Tell your children over dinner, "Due to the economy, we 're going to have to let one of you go".



Sunday, September 23, 2012


Today my client and I went to brunch at a local buffet. I went through the line first and as he was going around the buffet table, he stopped at the end of the table and said, "After you, sir." He did not realize he was looking into a mirror. When the "sir" did not respond, he stated, emphatically, "After YOU, sir!" I nudged him and said, "It's YOU!" He obviously didn't hear me as he stayed in the same spot, feet firmly planted, with cane in hand. I said, loudly, "That's a mirror!" Of course, he was then embarrassed. At the table, I reassured him that no one else had heard me. I don't think he enjoyed his meal because of the embarrassment.

I have gotten glimpses of myself in mirrors and for a moment, not realized it was myself.

What did Bette Davis say? "Growing old is not for sissies."

CLICK HERE to see more quotes from Bette Davis.

Saturday, September 22, 2012



When you must visit a public "restroom", you usually find a line of women; you smile politely and take your place in line.

Once it's your turn, you check for feet under the stall doors; you see that every stall is occupied.

Finally, a door opens and you dash in, nearly knocking down the woman leaving the stall. You get in and find the door won't latch.

It doesn't matter, the wait has been so long you are about to wet your pants!

The dispenser for the modern "seat covers"(invented by someone's mother, no doubt!) is handy, BUT empty!

You would hang your purse on the door hook, if there was one, but there isn't; you carefully, but quickly, drape it around your neck, (Mother would turn over in her grave if you put it on the FLOOR!), yank down your pants, and assume "The Stance".

In this position, your aging, toneless, (I should have gone to the gym!) thigh muscles begin to shake. You'd love to sit down, but you certainly hadn't taken time to wipe the seat or place toilet paper on it, so you hold "The Stance"!

To take your mind off your trembling thighs, you reach for what you then discover to be the empty toilet paper dispenser. In your mind, you can hear your mother's voice saying, "Honey, if you had tried to clean the seat, you would have KNOWN there was no toilet paper!" Your thighs shake more.

You remember the tiny tissue that you blew your nose on yesterday --the one that's still in your purse. (Oh yeah, and you have the purse around your neck, that you now must hold up, trying not to strangle yourself at the same time). That will have to do. You crumple the tissue in the puffiest way possible. It's still smaller than your thumbnail.

Someone pushes your door open because the latch doesn't work! That person obviously did not look underneath--the first rule!

The door hits your purse, which is hanging around your neck in front of your chest, and you and your purse topple backward against the tank of the toilet.

"Occupied!", you scream, as you reach for the door, dropping your precious, tiny, crumpled tissue on the floor, and you lose your footing altogether, and slide down directly onto the TOILET SEAT.

Of course, it is wet! You bolt up, knowing all too well that it's too late. Your bare bottom has made contact with every imaginable germ and life form on the uncovered seat because YOU never laid down toilet paper -(not that there was any, even if you had taken time to try.)

You know that your mother would be utterly appalled if she knew, because, you're certain her bare bottom never touched a public toilet seat because, she would say, "Frankly, dear, you just don't KNOW what kind of diseases you could get."

By this time, the automatic sensor on the back of the toilet is so confused that it flushes, propelling a stream of water like a fire hose against the inside of the bowl which sprays a fine mist of water that covers your butt and runs down your legs and into your shoes.

The flush somehow sucks everything down with such force that you grab onto the empty toilet paper dispenser for fear of being dragged in too.

At this point, you give up. You're soaked by the spewing water and the wet toilet seat.

You're EXHAUSTED! You try to wipe with a gum wrapper you found in your pocket and then you slink out to the sinks, trying to appear inconspicuous.

You can't figure out how to operate the faucets with the automatic sensors, so you wipe your hands with spit and a dry paper towel and walk past the line of women still waiting.

You are no longer able to smile politely to them. A kind soul at the very end of the line points out a piece of toilet paper trailing from your shoe. (Where was that when you NEEDED it?) You yank the paper from your shoe, plunk it in the woman's hand and tell her warmly, "Here, you just might need this!"

As you exit, you spot your hubby, who has long since entered, used, and left the men's restroom. Annoyed, he asks,"What took you so long, and why is your purse hanging around your neck?"

This is dedicated to women everywhere who deal with public restrooms (rest? you've GOT to be kidding!). It finally explains to men what really does take us so long. It also answers their other commonly asked questions about why women go to the restroom in pairs.

It's so the other gal can hold the door, hang onto your purse, and hand you Kleenex under the door!

Friday, September 21, 2012



Rita Hayworth, born in 1918, was a popular dancer in the 1940s and died in 1987. She had several unhappy marriages and when someone asked her about them she said, "They went to bed with GILDA but they woke up with RITA HAYWORTH!" The movie Gilda was probably her most famous role.

This video Rita hayworth--Is Stayin' Alive is extraordinary!

Thursday, September 20, 2012




Wednesday, September 19, 2012


My friend LEE RENO sent the article WE DIDN'T HAVE THIS GREEN THING BACK IN MY DAY. I believe in being "GREEN" and practice nearly everything voiced by the young person, but I also see validity in the article because my mother was the one who taught us about recycling--because she had to recycle out of necessity. I always say that I wore "hand-me-ups" from my younger brother!

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.

The woman explained, "We didn't have this green thing back in
my day."

The young clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations."

She was right: our generation didn't have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.

But we didn't do the green thing back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts; wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our day. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right; we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house; not a TV in every room and the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded-up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut
the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she's right; we didn't have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn't have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service.

We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


A recent study conducted by THE Ohio State University found that the average Buckeye walks 900 miles a year.

A study by the American Medical Association found that a Buckeye drinks about 22 gallons of alcohol a year.

This means, on average, Buckeyes get about 41 miles to the gallon.

Monday, September 17, 2012


PATTY BURCH sent "PARAPROSDOKIANS" to me. I told her she also needed to include my family's motto:


Paraprosdokians are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected and frequently humorous. Winston Churchill used and loved paraprosdokians.

1. Where there's a will, I want to be in it.
2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you but it's still on my list.
3. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
4. If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.
5. We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.
6. War does not determine who is right, only who is left.
7. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is NOT putting it in fruit salad.
8. They begin the evening news with "Good Evening", then proceed to tell you why it isn't.
9. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.
10. Buses stop in bus stations; trains stop in train stations; on my desk is a work station.
11. I thought I wanted a career; turns out I just wanted paychecks.
12. In filling out an application, where it asks: "In case of emergency, notify", I put "Doctor".
13. I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
14. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut and still think they are sexy.
15. Behind every successful man is his woman; behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.
16. A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.
17. You do not need a parachute to skydive; you only need a parachute to skydive twice.
18. Money can't buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.
19. There's a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can't get away.
20. I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not so sure.
21. You're never too old to learn something stupid.
22. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
23. Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
24. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
25. Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
26. I'm supposed to respect my elders, but it’s getting harder and harder for me to find one now.

Sunday, September 16, 2012



As I've aged I've become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend. I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.

Whose business is it if I choose to read, or play on the computer until 4 AM, or sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, and if at the same time, I wish to weep for a lost love, I will. I will walk on the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body and will dive into the waves, with abandon, if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set. They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And, I eventually remember the important things. Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody's beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength, and understanding, and compassion. A heart never broken, is pristine, and sterile, and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver. As you get older it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore. I've even earned the right to be wrong. I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it).

Saturday, September 15, 2012



REMEMBER: Cell Phone Numbers Go Public this month.

REMINDER: All cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sales calls.


To prevent this, call the following number from your cell phone: 888-382-1222.

It is the National DO NOT CALL list. It will only take a minute of your time. It blocks your number for five (5) years. You must call from the cell phone number you want to have blocked. You cannot call from a different phone number.

HELP OTHERS BY PASSING THIS ON. It takes about 20 seconds.

Or go to this website and signup online:


Friday, September 14, 2012


After having dinner with friends at the Hong Kong Buffet, we were standing outside the restaurant behind the lions, talking. Suddenly Gerald exclaimed, "It's a male and female lion!" I asked, "How do you know?" When he pointed to the evidence, we all laughed upROARiously (well, not really, I just couldn't help myself with adding the lion's roar in uproariously)!

When we went home and told Les about it, he asked, "Did he have BRASS ones?"
(Note small circle near the bottom of the right photo.)

Thursday, September 13, 2012



Can't eat pork:
Swine flu.

Can't eat chicken:
Bird flu.

Can't eat Beef:
Mad cow.

Can't eat eggs:

Can't eat fish:
heavy metal poisons in their waters.

Can't eat fruits and veggies:
insecticides and herbicides.

H m m m m m m m m m m m

I believe that leaves Chocolate and ice cream!

Remember: "STRESSED"

spelled backwards is


Wednesday, September 12, 2012


One of my husband's high school teachers looks younger than several of his former students, including my husband. The teacher has been retired for a number of years and he stays very active. Last week, at an event, I introduced the teacher to some other friends and mentioned that he'd been Gerald's teacher and one of the people asked, incredulously, "How old were you when you started teaching?" The teacher, always witty and quick on the uptake, said, "16." Another asked, "When did you start to college?" He said, "Age 12." Although he frequently tells us not to call him MISTER, and to call him Don, none of us can/will do that.

I said, "Oh, he has a picture turning old in his closet, don't you Mr. Gray?" Of course his last name is NOT Gray, but he said he appreciated the literary reference!

"You are a wonderful creation. You know more than you think you know, just as you know less than you want to know."--Oscar Wilde from The Picture Of Dorian Gray.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


"Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11." -President Barack Obama

Monday, September 10, 2012


I have the Power Of Attorney for an older friend, Charles, who is in a nursing home. Recently, Charles had become very concerned about getting a State ID. I told him that although he no longer drove, his driver's license was still good for another year to use as identification. I told him it was a waste of $24.00 but he was insistent about getting a state ID. I took him to the BMV and the Clerk there told him he could wait another year as his driver's license was still good. Finally, he said, "I heard on television that they won't let me vote without a State ID." The Clerk and I both reassured him that he couldn't be denied his right to vote.

For years, I have encouraged him to cast absentee ballots but he wants to vote in person. I told him that I would take him to the Board of Election and he can still vote as he would if he were going to a precinct polling place, but he could do it early.

This year, after voting in the Primary, he told the people working at the Precinct Poll that he would never miss voting because he knew what it was like to be denied the right to vote. One of the poll workers looked stunned and asked how that had happened. Charles explained that he had grown up in the South where there were poll taxes. He went on to explain that although his father had the money to pay the poll tax, he was still denied the right to vote because they gave a literacy test which even a person holding a Ph.D in government could not have passed. Charles said that the reason he left the South was to be able to vote. Hearing this, one of the poll workers, whom I know to be a Republican, had tears in her eyes. She said, "I knew it happened in history but I never met anyone before who had been denied the right to vote." Charles said, "I will NEVER give up my right because too many people died to make sure I can vote." I was equally touched. I said, "Thank Lyndon Johnson for the Voting Rights Act of 1965!"

The reprehensible attempts of voter suppression by Kasich in our state, Scott in Florida, Perry in Texas, Walker in Wisconsin, and Haley in South Carolina, are all outmatched by the brazenness of the Leader of the Pennsylvania House who was quoted as saying that the state's voter ID bill is "gonna allow Romney to win the state." He didn't even try to hide the motive! It would be different if there were any proof of widespread attempts of voter fraud, but there hasn't been; any voter fraud has been miniscule in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida and ZERO in South Carolina! It is just a calculated effort to deny people the right to vote. As my brother said, "If they can't LIE, or BUY an election, they'll DENY people the RIGHT to vote to guarantee a win." LIE, BUY, and DENY!

I remember my heroes Schwerner, Chaney, and Goodman, and others who died because they were helping people fighting for their right to vote. It is indeed a sacred right. My all-time hero John Lewis spoke at the Democratic National Convention this year and in a rousing speech, said that the voter ID laws were "NOT RIGHT, NOT FAIR, AND NOT JUST!" (see accompanying speech). I'll add my brother's succinct "LIE, BUY, and DENY" to that!

Sunday, September 9, 2012


An older friend asked if I'd ever heard the term "scalawag". I said, "Sure, my mother used to sing a song with the lyrics is zat you, Myrtle, is zat you, Myrtle, I guess you better send that scalawag home. My friend said he'd never heard that song. I called my brothers and none of them recalled the song, although all knew the term scalawag. One asked, "Don't you remember on all those old westerns they used to call them scalawags?"; another asked, "They used to call pirates that, didn't they?" Another, the history expert, said, "Sure, that's what Southerners called the white southerners who supported the Union during Reconstruction." When I asked my husband, he started singing the song. Surprised, I asked, "How do you know that when my brothers don't?" He said, "Living with you for 41 years!"

Since my brothers didn't know the song, I thought that maybe it was one of those songs which my mother sang that I was never able to verify as being actual songs. With a number of my mother's "riffs", I had checked Alan Lomax's history of folk music to try to verify some of her unusual renderings. (Read about Alan Lomax in the attached article) Is Zat You, Myrtle? had the same kind of sing-songy sound as "Chattumentoogy" (one of Mother's riffs) and we had an aunt named Myrtle; I thought it might have been one of Mother's made-up songs. I didn't recall anything except the two lines and the tune.

However, it didn't require much research; all I had to do was to go to YouTube. Is Zat You, Myrtle? is a comic, corny, country and western song. Hear the YouTube rendition by The Carlisles and read about the songwriter Bill Carlisle.

CLICK HERE to read the article about Alan Lomax.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


My mother never had a good relationship with her only sister, but her sister's children--my cousins--all adored my mother and she was good to them. All of these cousins: Elmer, Mary, Helen and Mervyn, "stayed with" my family at different times; fortunately, the youngest one, Darrell (the "Demon Child") was never with us. When my mother's sister was divorced, her children Helen, Mervyn, and Darrell were all "farmed out" to the Children's Home. Elmer and Mary were full-grown at the time.

Mary was very pretty and looked like my mother; I remember she stayed with us one summer when I was very little and she spoiled me; taking me with her everywhere and pampering me! My favorite memory of Mary is that she thought she could fry flour and it would taste like the flour which coated fried chicken! Mother let her try it and the result was a greasy glob in the skillet. When Elmer's wife deserted him and their child, he and the son moved in with us! Mervyn "stayed with" us intermittently (see BLOG article CUT THAT PIE!). Helen lived with us for a year until she graduated from school because she had "aged-out" of the system; she was already 18 because she'd been "held back".

Poor Helen; all of us liked the other cousins, but nobody could tolerate Helen! She was homely, but, strangely, she didn't seem to realize it, because she would brag about herself a lot! When I asked Mother HOW Helen could think she was pretty, Mother said, "It's whistling past the graveyard." Of course, at the time, I had no idea what THAT meant! I didn't like Helen because she wasn't "smart". She didn't like me because I was a "smart-aleck" (Helen pronounced it "ellick", rather than "aleck" and I never failed to correct her!) She brought every single textbook home from school at night but never opened them. She once asked me to help her with a subject, although I was five years younger!

Helen was horse-faced and my brothers called her "Helen The Horse" (except they said "Hoss") and WHINNIED at her!

One day, in the 1980s my brother Neil said he saw Helen walking on a downtown street and he rolled down the car window and whinnied at her. I had forgotten how merciless, cruel, and mean my brothers were to her. I asked one of my brothers why they were so mean and he said, "Because we could!"

When Neil told that story, I told my mother that she should have made us be "kinder" to Helen and Mother said that Helen destroyed the notion about unattractive people being nice! I said, "But she didn't deserve to have us be mean to her." The brothers assert that she was equally mean to them. Mother said, "I probably shouldn't have allowed the cousins to pile in on us; you know, I didn't know how much you kids resented it!" I had never considered that as a motive.

My brothers had a poem they recited:

"Helen Brown went uptown,
One leg up, one leg down,
Helen Brown went downtown,
One leg up, one leg down."

They would add other uncomplimentary stanzas, that I am ashamed to tell!

Helen married a guy whose last name was Brown and she said, proudly. "I'm Helen Brown Brown." I made fun of her. It's ironic that I insist on being Sue Shirkey-Raypole. The last time I saw Helen, she mentioned about my "keeping" my maiden name! I wondered if she remembered my ridiculing her being Helen Brown Brown, but being insufferable, I thought she wouldn't "get" the irony.

I know I wasn't mean to her like the boys were, as I was mostly just dismissive of her. I remember how she was always hoping that "Mommy" would be coming to get her to take her places. I made fun of her for saying "Mommy" by saying, "Don't you know that only little kids say Mommy?" I can remember her getting "dressed up" on Sundays and waiting for her mother and her mother's companion to come to see her. I wondered why she cared whether her mother was coming because it should've been obvious that her mother didn't want her. How sad--for Helen--but sad for me not to comprehend. Of course, I now know that she undoubtedly knew that her mother and father didn't want her but she always HOPED. After she was grown, she was the one who helped her mother! Helen was probably a better person than I!

Friday, September 7, 2012


I know you all have people like this in your life: ones who know everything, have been everywhere, know everybody, and do things much better than you ever imagined doing them.

Recently, someone who is a member of an organization to which I also belong, told me that she would be catering the next function for the organization. I said that I thought they always used a caterer we both know well. She said, "Well, I'm going to do it much cheaper for them." I said, "I didn't know you catered." She said that she had extensive catering experience.

As a person who has catered, I was actually interested, and I politely asked what dishes she planned to prepare. All of the dishes she mentioned were commonplace and I said, "Yes, that's standard fare; we'll be in Carbohydrate Heaven." [I thought that was funny because she'd mentioned three pasta entrees.]

Obviously, she did not think I was amusing. She said, with umbrage, "Well, I do my stuff DIFFERENTLY." As I had not meant to be insulting to her, I said, "Good; I get tired of the same old fare." With each dish she mentioned, I inquired how she did it differently, thinking I was going to be treated to a Martha Stewart-like seminar, or at least a Rachael Ray example! She said she was going to prepare Beef Stroganoff. When I asked how she did it differently, her version sounded just the way I've heard and read of it being prepared. As I don't like it, I told her that I didn't think it was a good choice for a banquet as a lot of people were lactose intolerant. She said, "What do you mean?" I said, "Sour cream." She said, "Well, pasta dishes go a long way." I said, "And you also said you were fixing potatoes." She looked at me as if that were a crazy statement. I said, "The others always have a choice of Beef or Chicken." I told her that one of the best catered meals I'd had provided a choice of chicken and pork tenderloin. She said she was going to try to stay away from the meats, because of the expense. I said, "I think most people expect a meat course." She said, "Well, it's Beef Stroganoff." I said, "Honestly, I think most people would consider that a pasta dish."

I asked if there would be any appetizers and when she proceeded to tell me how she fixed the "meatballs with jelly", I said, "Yes, I have that recipe and I see that at a lot of functions, but we prefer the Swedish meatballs." When she mentioned the "little weenies", I said, "We prefer Bourbon Dogs." She said one couldn't have liquor there; I said, "The heat destroys the alcohol and leaves the unique flavor."

Although it may seem that I was, I was actually NOT being critical nor competitive, but I honestly could not glean that anything that she was planning to prepare was any different than others.

Finally, weary of her incessant bragging, I said, "I served a little pate de foie gras at my last gathering, but I was the only one who would eat it!"

Even that did not stop her! She said, "I think a cheese ball will be OK!"

I won't be paying $25.00 for her catered meal!

Thursday, September 6, 2012



You can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish.

I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger, then it hit me.

To write with a broken pencil is pointless.

When fish are in schools they sometimes take debate.

A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.

When the smog lifts in Los Angeles, U.C.L.A.

The professor discovered that her theory of earthquakes was on shaky ground.

The batteries were given out free of charge.

When a dentist and a manicurist married, they fought tooth and nail.

A will is a dead giveaway.

If you don't pay your exorcist, you can get repossessed.

With her marriage, she got a new name, and a dress.

Show me a piano falling down a mineshaft and I'll show you A-flat miner.

You are stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.

Local Area Network in Australia is the LAN down under.

A boiled egg is hard to beat.

When you've seen one shopping center, you've seen a mall.

Police were called to a day care where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.

Did you hear about the fellow whose whole left side was cut off? He's all right now.

If you take a laptop computer for a run you could jog your memory.

A bicycle can't stand alone; it is two tired.

In a democracy it's your vote that counts; in feudalism it's your Count that votes.

When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.

The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine was fully recovered.

He had a photographic memory which was never developed.

Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.

When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.

Acupuncture is a jab well done.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Writing the CROWDER BEANS article made me recall that the recipe for Calico Beans came from a carry-in dinner and they were brought by Bob Kelly, one of my fellow supervisors at International Harvester. I had not seen Bob since 1982. Several years ago I was in K-Mart, in London, Ohio, and I saw Bob walking down the aisle. Bob and I were never friends but had worked together in the same department until I was promoted.

As he was coming toward me I noticed that he had gained considerable amount of weight, which admittedly, so had I. Bob was wearing jeans, boots, and a plaid shirt with his belly hanging over his belt; he had a chaw of tobacco in his cheek with the tell-tale, brown spittle around the corners of his mouth. I said, "Hi, Bob", and I was going to mention how I still used his wife's recipe for Calico Beans.

Noticeably moving the chaw of tobacco around in his mouth to be able to speak, he said, "You sure have porked up a lot!" I was so taken aback I could not come back with a fitting rejoinder!

While driving home, I thought of a hundred things I coulda/woulda/shoulda said!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Although one of my followers wrote that I have too many food-themed articles, I must share this.

My friend Patty e-mailed and asked if I'd heard of crowder beans because she'd bought a can at the store and had never heard of them. I told her that I used them in my 15-bean casserole. The 15-Bean Casserole started with a recipe called Calico Beans; that recipe called for 5 cans of different beans. I thought, "If five beans are good, six would be better!" Because we do make 15-Bean Soup, we started calling the Calico Beans the 15-Bean Casserole, but I usually use just 7 or 8 cans, depending on what might look interesting or unusual in the canned bean section at the store. Each time we make the Bean Casserole, we use different beans. All permutations have been good.


1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound bacon
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon mustard
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 large onion, chopped
1 can each:
pork 'n' beans
lima beans
kidney beans
black beans
garbanzo beans
crowder beans or black-eyed peas
cannellini beans

Crowder beans are rightly called "crowder peas" or "cow peas", rather than "crowder beans". They are similar to black-eyed peas. (CLICK HERE to see attached article Peas, please.)

Patty wrote, "It is our job on earth to learn about every bean we can!"

Monday, September 3, 2012


With America's working families under unprecedented attack, it's important to remember what unions have done for us. From the weekend to sick leave, child labor laws and safer working conditions, unions will always stand up for the rights of working people.

Here's to the Labor Organizers who gave their lives to give us the 8 hour work day.