A Day In The Life

The Taverns
December 21, 2008, 10:34 pm
Filed under: Life in the South, Nature, Seasons, Travel

These are some interior shots from Historic Washington State Park taken on December 6, 2008, at the 22nd Annual Christmas and Candlelight.


The taverns are the most rustic interiors on the tour. The Morrison Tavern Inn and Kitchen is a reconstruction of the original building.


A bowl of dried hydrangea blossoms and greenery on the kitchen table.


A table and bench in the tavern room.  Smilax, pine cones and a red ribbon add a festive touch.


A lovely Willow ware collection on display in the kitchen.


The Williams Tavern Restaurant serves a lunch and dinner buffet under chandeliers hung with cedar, pine cones and red ribbons.


Pine, cedar and magnolia leaves are used extensively in the holiday decor along with dried sumac and holly.


Christmas and Candlelight
December 17, 2008, 9:51 pm
Filed under: Life in the South, Seasons, Travel

Each year on the first Saturday in December I travel to Historic Washington State Park for Christmas and Candlelight.  Old Washington served as the Capitol of the Confederate Government of Arkansas for a brief period and is located between Nashville and Hope in southern Arkansas.


Every sidewalk, driveway and street is lined with luminaires. The Methodist Church was built in 1861.


A hand-made wreath adorns almost every window in every building, over three hundred wreathes in all.


The court house, built in 1874, serves as the visitor center.



The Crouch House (1856)


Smilax decorates every picket fence.


Choirs and instrumentalists perform in the churches and outside the Williams Tavern Restaurant.


At dusk, hordes of Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts light the tiny candles in every luminaire.


And the magic of Christmas illuminates the hearts of those fortunate enough to visit Historic Washington.

A Fishing Tale
July 6, 2008, 12:54 am
Filed under: Fun Monday, Life in the South, My Life, Nature, Travel

This is my kind of Fun Monday. Olive wants us to share fishing tales. She doesn’t care if they are total fabrications or true stories. We just have to write about fish.  My story happens to be true.

I very rarely eat fish.  I just don’t like the taste.  Give me shrimp, lobster, scallops, crab, oysters… I’ll eat them all, but fish I don’t like.  However, I love to go fishing.  I grew up fishing in Grandpa’s pond and fishing in the creek behind my parents’ house.  In my twenties, I lived on the coast of Virginia and Maryland and never once went fishing in the ocean even though it was something I’d always wanted to do. 

In June of 2000, I had the pleasure of vacationing in the lovely southern city of Charleston, South Carolina.  I traveled to Charleston with a male friend that I’ll call Jerk because that is what the man turned out to be. 

Charleston is a beautiful city full of southern charm and friendly people. I highly recommend it as a vacation destination. There are a multitude of plantations and gardens to tour and many historical sights to visit. Jerk and I planned the bulk of our vacation via the Net. We went armed with a list of restaurants to try and I must say the food was superb everywhere we ate. We also booked an entire day of fishing in the coastal waters with a guide service. While sitting at my computer in Arkansas, we made our fishing plans. I tried so hard to persuade Jerk to request a private fishing excursion, but he felt we should save the little bit of extra money it would cost to have the boat to ourselves. Big mistake.

The fishing trip was booked for the fourth day of the seven we spent in Charleston. It was the first cloudy day of the vacation.  We arrived at the dock nice and early, met our guide and sat on the boat waiting for the other people who would be fishing with us to show up. Our guide hustled around organizing the fishing gear. The minutes ticked by. Finally, the guide told us if the other folks didn’t show up in the next five minutes we would leave without them. Alas, the Whiners arrived and we set off almost 15 minutes late. But, hey, why should a schedule matter when you’re going fishing, right?

Now, I honestly don’t remember the name of the family who joined us on the boat.  It was a husband, wife and two kids.  I call them the Whiners because that is about all the wife and kids did all day.  I think the husband was the only one who really wanted to fish, but he couldn’t leave his family behind so we all had to put up with the whining.  The poles were too heavy, there wasn’t a bathroom on the boat, it was too hot, the bait was too icky and when it began to rain, it was too wet.  Thank goodness, Jerk and I knew what we were doing because our poor guide had no time for us.  The Whiners couldn’t bait their own hooks, cast their lines, reel in their lines or do much of anything EXCEPT WHINE.  The husband tried to help out for awhile then he just gave up and tended to his own fishing.  Luckily, I was having the time of my life because I was the only person who was catching any fish. 

I caught ten baby sharks and one fish that our guide said was a white fish. (It looked like a pale bass to me.) I was THE ONLY PERSON who caught fish the entire day. It was awesome!

A couple of notes before I conclude my fishing tale:  1. My relationship with the Jerk ended so  badly (two years later) that I destroyed all my Charleston vacation pictures.  It was a childish thing to do, but it felt right at the time.  The baby sharks I caught looked exactly like the one the man is holding in the picture above.  Some were bigger and some were smaller.  2. I released all the fish that I caught.  3. It rained off and on until the early afternoon.  At one point it rained so hard the guide took us to a public dock on an island where we sat under a large gazebo for 30-45 minutes. 

We made it back to our original starting point around 5:30 P.M.  As soon as we got in our vehicle, Jerk and I began laughing about the Whiners.  I’m telling you.  We heard some of the goofiest complaints ever!  Both of us had been thinking about the Whiner’s skits on Saturday Night Live all day.  We returned to our hotel to clean up and rest an hour or so before eating a scrumptious meal and embarking on a night tour of The Battery .  It was a perfect day.  Neither the rain nor the Whiners managed to dampen my spirit or ruin my first time to fish in the ocean!

Southern Nights
June 24, 2008, 10:27 pm
Filed under: Life in the South

The mimosa tree in my back yard is in full flower. I can smell the sweet blossoms the minute I step out my door. The scent is intoxicating in the warm night air as I sit on my porch and watch the fireflies work their magic.

My mom just had a new deck built and the man who did the job brought her some fresh produce from his garden. He brought her so much that she shared it with me so earlier this evening I cooked a good southern supper for Mom.

My favorite way to cook fresh squash is to sautee it with sweet Vidalia onions in butter. Yummy! We also had black-eyed peas, pork chops and cornbread.

And, of course, we had to have some salted, sliced cucumbers. The only thing that would have made the meal better is sliced tomatoes from the garden. We’ll have to wait a little longer for those. 

Invisible Walls
June 15, 2008, 10:57 pm
Filed under: Fun Monday, Life in the South, Nature

The Prytz Family wants to see our walls for this Fun Monday assignment. I have some lovely white walls in my home and those that aren’t white are a pale shade of brown called sycamore bark. The color has absolutely no resemblance to actual sycamore bark, but there you go.

I tend to drift during the month of June. No schedule. No bells. No students. No structure. I do, however, eventually get to the point which is my front porch. A lovely place to drift with virtually invisible walls.

Yikers! Not invisible and rather hard on the eyes. Let me try again.

Ah……much better. I had to open the door and zoom in a bit. A view from the west end of the porch which is also the front entrance to my house. And now for those invisible walls…..

Idyllic. Can’t you just feel yourself relaxing and drifting……..

Kick back and watch the birds at the feeders and squirrels running along the fence. How about a glass of iced tea?

You gotta admit…..I have a whole new meaning for just sitting and staring at the walls.

December 5, 2007, 9:25 pm
Filed under: Family, Life in the South, My Life

I am from music.  Rhythms, melodies and harmonies flow through my veins in a life-sustaining partnership that illuminates my soul.  Piano lessons, voice lessons, practice makes perfect, recitals, lift the soft palate, drop the jaw, curve your fingers and stand straight and tall.  Soft lullabies from my mother, watching Dad conduct the New York Philharmonic from a footstool in the living room, symphonies, operas and show tunes.  Jesus Loves Me, Christmas caroling, Sunday night singings, This Old Man, Elvis, Nat King Cole and Mahalia Jackson.  I am from music.

I am from faith.  Hellfire and brimstone from a circuit riding preacher who rode the dirt roads of Arkansas.  Spare the rod and spoil the child.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.  Methodist.  Fourteen years perfect attendance in Sunday School, church camp, vacation Bible school, Bible Quiz Bowl champ.  I believe in miracles, the power of prayer and the redeeming grace of God.  Victory in Jesus, Sweet Hour of Prayer, Standing on the Promises and Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.  I am from faith.

I am from the South.  Humidity so thick you can cut it with a knife, kudzu, honeysuckle, watermelon and fried chicken.  Dogwoods blooming in the woods come spring.  Stately pine forests, gently rounded mountains and wide sluggish rivers with surprisingly treacherous undercurrents.  Dinner on the grounds after church, tent revivals, the graves of Confederate soldiers, gentility, graciousness and steel magnolias.  Setting on the porch, visitin’, sweet tea, homemade ice cream and catching lightning bugs in a fruit jar.  Honey, sugah, how ya’ll doin’, ya’ll come back and see us real soon.  I am from the South.

I am from the earth.  Rich, dark Southern soil.  Rocks and red clay.  Gardens big enough to support a small village.  String beans, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, peas, squash, okra, watermelons, onions, peppers.  Plowing behind a team of horses, hoes, rakes and freshly cut hay meadows.  Cows, horses, chickens and hogs.  Zinnias, marigolds, four o’clocks, tulips, daffodils, roses, poppies and wildflowers.  I am from the earth.

I am from James Buchanan, Mary Catherine, Charles Marion, Leva Ann, Walter Penn, Ava Bell, J.D. and Pearl.  I am the oldest child of Don and Cathy.  Preachers, carpenter, housewives, mechanic, salesman, farmers.  Mississippi plantation owners and senators, a minister newly arrived from Wales, outlaws in the Oklahoma Territory, and the Choctaw Nation.  I am from proud and independent people with a strong work ethic etched in the callouses of their hands. 

Hit the Road, Jack
November 20, 2007, 10:46 pm
Filed under: Jasper, Life in the South

I live on a dirt road. Not gravel, not crushed rock. Dirt.  Luckily, I have a long drive way.  My house sits off the beaten path completely surrounded by woods.  I say ‘luckily’ because the road I live on is what is known in these parts as a ‘beer joint road’.  It is a back way connection from the highway in a dry county in Arkansas to the beer joints just across the line in Oklahoma.  Now we don’t need traffic lights out here in the sticks yet, but we do get a little busy on the weekends.  People who live in the edge of Oklahoma also use the road as a short cut to get to the nearest town of any size.  And there are drivers who find my road convenient because they don’t have insurance or because their vehicles are in such a state of disrepair that they try to avoid state highways.  Then there are people, like me, who live out here in the country and use the road because it is the only way to get from here to there, wherever there may be. 

Jasper and I walk the road almost every day.  Usually late in the afternoon or early evening.  I put his harness on his little 10-pound body, snap on the leash and off we go.  Jasper likes to step lively and on some days I am practically jogging to keep up with his pace. 

As we walk, we meet the people who, for whatever reasons, are driving on our road.  Now I know just about everyone who lives on this road and if a neighbor drives by us they usually stop and speak.  At the very least, the people who know Jasper and me, slow down as they wave and pass us by.  I consider the fact that they slow a down an act of courtesy rather than neighborliness.  When conditions are dry, as they are now, the dust from a passing vehicle is awful.  So slowing down to keep the dust from enveloping us is a very nice thing to do.  

What never ceases to surprise me are the people I don’t know who either slow down and speak from a rolled down window as they drive by or stop altogether and talk for a bit.  Most of these people are men.  And most of these men are….well, scruffy looking to say the least.  Maybe they are loggers or laborers of some other type.  I really don’t know.  I can tell you that they aren’t being friendly because I’m a woman walking alone on a road in the middle of nowhere.  I know this because invariably these men talk about Jasper.  They tell me he is a good looking little hound.  They ask how old he is and how much he weighs.  One bearded man with very few teeth, grinned and said Jasper sure was “a cute little feller.” 



I have to agree.  Jasper is a mighty “cute little feller” even though I can’t get him to sit still for a picture!