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Archive for the ‘Alabama’ Category

Sweet Home Alabama

Posted by Mummy Dearest on May-17-2010

Over this last week of *vacation*, The Baby has now and again asked me rather odd questions. The first, if I knew how old one had to be to go to college in America.

Well, I said, about 18, but it depends upon how one has done in school.

These out of the blue questions and statements continued throughout the week.

On Saturday, it was the Day of Judgment : I had to brush her hair out. It took almost two hours. She was so very upset that I attempted to distract her, and then I finally heard what was on her mind.

She wants to go to College / University in Alabama. That child loves Alabama. What does she love most ? The people. They are so friendly, they are so kind. And Alabama is so beautiful.

I mostly listened ( she was very upset about the whole hair brushing business), and now and again would bring up some of the wonderful times that we have had in Alabama. Smith Lake is near the top, and feeding catfish there with baby bottles filled with a mush of saltines and water.

So, The Girl wants to be from The Big Apple ( in fact, she has told certain people that she was born there), The Boy tells everyone That he is American and Baby wants to be in Alabama.

I do not know if I have done things correctly or incorrectly, for my objective was for all three to know that they were Dutch, not mongrels. Not meaning any offense to Americans ( hey, I could only be an American), but I have met enough dual passport people to know that this can cause problems.

Oh. Stinkin. Well.

Libby Holman

Posted by Mummy Dearest on May-14-2010

I just read a book about Libby Holman. How I wish that I had sound on my computer. My sound took off when Vista arrived. I would love to hear this. Although, truth be told, I probably wouldn’t like it. But one never knows.

She had a very interesting life. That is one of my diplomatic comments. She was at times either great friends or dreadful enemies with Tallulah Bankhead.

Apropos of nothing at all, I assure you, Tallulah Bankhead was from the same one horse town that my Father lives in. I have seen her family home . It is in nowhere Alabama. It is a lovely home. My Father considered buying it, but decided that he was too old to handle an old home.

She and her sisters ( how funny, down there, the first girl is always known as *Sister*, the first boy, *Son*) were extremely witty, of which the Holman books give one example after another.

This is rude :

“I’ve tried several varieties of sex. The conventional position makes me claustrophobic and the others give me a stiff neck or lockjaw.”

The Cheek Has Landed

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jul-16-2005

We have found a peaceful routine which we all seem to enjoy. Before his two hour drip starts at noon, we go out shopping somewhere with Dad. We move at a slower pace, but we all have our jobs and move like clockwork- The Boy sets up the walker at the garage door, The Father is there by that hump in the driveway, just in case ( his strength has been a major help during this trip).

After lunch, we watch a film with the children upstairs, while quiet time begins. At 2.30, I start filling the cooler, the children move the lake toys from the truck to the van and The Boy sets up the walker by the garage door. The call The Cheek Has Landed ! always sets my nerves at ease.

At the lake, we park the van in Jimmy’s drive way. I sit there with Dad and sip cold beers while The Father takes the children down to Jimmy’s dock and watches them as they play in the water for a few hours. We look for the buffalo as we drive to and from the lake.

We often go out for dinner, to ease Grandma’s work load. Tonight we went to Ryan’s, where I made a hog of myself on peel and eat shrimp. I could eat shrimp from dawn until dusk.

The days pass quickly. We do wonder about the weather, though. Or rather, if we seem to be the modern day rain makers of ancient lore. Since we have been here, Dennis blew through and Emily is on the way. You may recall that last year, the hurricane season coincided with our dear feet landing upon American soil : we were in South Carolina when the A storm tore through, then in Florida when Bonnie and Charlie whizzed by.

Today in the local paper, The Mountain Eagle ,there was a picture of the parking lot of a local Mexican eatery. In an unusual flash flood / storm, the lot flooded to the top of the wheels of the cars parked there yesterday evening. An unusual funnel shape cloud had been sighted.

Guess where we had dinner last night ?

The path to the car hidden by knee high water, Dad’s wheel chair became stuck in a gravel path- The Father to the rescue- and fire ants, desperately trying to escape drowning, devoured Grandma’s and my legs.

I am sure that all of this water pouring out of the heavens- across two continents- upon our heads is only mere happen stance, an odd series of unrelated events .

After all, Rain Men were simply charlatans, weren’t they ?

(Article . )

Severe thunderstorms result in flooding, downed trees in county

From Staff Reports
Published July 14, 2005 10:23 PM CDT

Heavy rains caused havoc in Walker County Thursday night as flash flooding plagued residents and motorists throughout the area.

A tornado warning was issued early Thursday evening as a funnel cloud was reported north of Jasper. However, wind appeared to cause few problems compared to the rain, which quickly began to inch up, trapping some people.

No rainfall totals could be obtained from the National Weather Service in Birmingham at 9 p.m. WBRC reported at 9 p.m. that 2.5 to 3 inches had fallen in Walker County.

In Jasper, water was reported inching up in the Perico’s parking lot, reaching above customers tires. At 8:30 p.m. a virtual lake still stood in front of the business, spilling over from the grass area into to parking lot.

City streets in the downtown area were quickly flooded, including 18th Street, old Highway 78 and Longridge Drive.

Severe flooding at 19th Street and Corona Avenue prompted the Jasper Street Department and police to barricade the intersection from use. Water flowing toward the intersection was up to 6 inches deep in areas.

Jasper Police Chief Bobby Cain said heavy rains and flooding caused severe sink holes on Ridgebrook Road and Blackwell Dairy Road.

Ridgewood subdivision, where a washed out road trapped residents several weeks ago, again found residents trapped. Subdivision resident Sandra Guthrie said that while a temporary road had been set up and work contracted to make a permanent repair from the first sink hole problem, Thursday night’s rains caused the problem to happen all over again. Scanner reports indicated another sinkhole problem.

“About three-fourths of the road is washed away,” Guthrie said.

The situation will affect about 55 to 75 residents, she said. Scanner reports confirmed that residents were trapped and a sinkhole problem existed.

Just after 8 p.m. she said the temporary road was almost entirely gone.

“The road is crumbling in and washing down,” she said.

Regina Cordell of the Walker County Emergency Management Agency said at 8:10 p.m. she had only received reports of trees down in that office by that point. Sheriff John Mark Tirey could not be reached for comment.

COPYRIGHT � 2005 Daily Mountain Eagle, a division of Cleveland Newspapers, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Big Vacation

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jan-14-2004

One thing that I found unusual when I first came to the Netherlands, was how the passing of New Year’s Day meant that it was time to begin planning for the big vacation . I don’t recall growing up with big vacations every year, perhaps because Americans get less vacation time, perhaps because in Europe it’s so easy to go to another country ( you know, throw a stone out of my window and you are in Belgium sort of thing) or perhaps my family just didn’t have the money for it. What do I know, I was a kid.

But the New Year has started and The Father has indeed contacted our travel agent. Well, his travel agent- the one he uses to arrange his business trips. The kids and I will once again spend the full five weeks in the States, but this time, The Father will be joining us for the first 2, 2.5 weeks instead of the last few weeks. And this time, he wants see something new, something different. What he really wants, is for us to jump in a VW camper that has a peace symbol painted on one side and go ‘look for America ‘, but I nixed that one pretty quickly. It only took three words : Baby gets carsick.

So, we have reached a compromise : we will fly into Washington, D.C. and then meander our way down to Alabama. I can live with this. I didn’t mention that no one in their right mind goes to D.C. in August, that words like ‘pestilential ‘come to mind when describing the weather there at that time of year.

After all, no one in their right mind goes to Alabama or the Gulf Coast in August either, especially if they loathe hot and humid climes.

How Did This Happen ?

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Dec-7-2003

So, last summer at Dad’s, we were all going to watch this show together on TV. This is a painful thing for me to do, as I cannot smoke in their living room, but, I want to be sociable, be pleasant…

It is a show on the Army Rangers. Truth be told, I’ve never heard of the Army Rangers. I grew up with a rather pragmatic father who was in the Medical Corps. He- having dropped out of school at 15 and ending up with a graduate degree from Harvard- was always taking classes and going to trainings when I was a kid, but I never…ever… heard the word Rangers. Nooit.

So, we are watching this show. Wow , Dad ! Fort Benning, you were there! Say- Fort Bragg ! That’s were I enter the picture. Finally, as place after place has been mentioned that I know Dad was at, I look at him. He looks at me. He says ” Daughter, the money we spent on your education… you know, I was a Ranger.”

No, I never did. He never had some special patch on his uniform, he was always in the Medical Corps. We go to that odd patch of Florida each summer because he had some sort of Ranger training there- they dumped him out in the Ocean and he had to find his way home, so to say.

I don’t doubt that my Father was/is a Ranger, but why on earth did I never know ?

For me, the most telling bit that makes me believe him ( although I have to say , the man has never lied to me about anything. At all…) is that I knew he was a Medical adviser during the Viet-Nam War. He said to me, last Summer, that they always wanted him to come along. He was a Ranger- they would never leave a Ranger behind.

Dad would have done most of this training in the 50′s, most likely between 54 and 60.

Any ideas ? Do Rangers wear patches ? Is there really a Ranger school ?

Some Day

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Sep-3-2003

There is a saying , ‘ You can’t go home again’. That has never been true for me. All through my life, no matter were I am coming in from, the moment I enter the door to my parent’s home, I am home again. I am taken care of, I am the child once more, I am surrounded by the objects that I grew up with.

It was hard saying goodbye this time. Dad is getting older, there are no guarantees that there will be a ‘next time’. Lately when I go to visit, that fact hangs in the air surrounding us. As well as having fine times shooting beers and watching sunsets, there are always those heavier moments. Perhaps it is a part of growing older, of growing wiser or perhaps it is just that he and I are all that is left of our original nuclear family. The past is gone over. And over. And over again. He wants me to be able to look back and see things through the eyes of an adult, not those of the child that I was at the time, and so I hear many things that I would rather not hear. But I listen. He has his story to tell and it seems I’m the one he wants to tell it to.

Mortality and the process of aging are always there, the leit motif of late night talks. I’m not afraid of growing old, of dying. Most likely because I am a pretty practical person and those seem like foolish things to waste one’s energies upon. One can dither and fuss about, but really, that won’t change anything. It certainly won’t help.

Recently I noticed that I have stepped over a hurdle of aging without even realizing it. At some point, perhaps while I was sleeping, I seem to have accepted the fact that I have a finite amount of time left. That sounds rather dramatic, but it wasn’t and isn’t. The best way to explain it, is to talk about quilting.

I started quilting when I was 18. Over the years, I would run out and buy all of the magazines, looking for ideas and examples of quilts that I would like to make ‘some day’. I have dozens, maybe even hundreds of quilting magazines and no desire to buy any more. After all, I can only make so many quilts in so many years, let’s be reasonable. I have chosen enough patterns to last through my lifetime.

I have also started throwing out things which I once saved, thinking ‘ well, some day I might like to do this… or do this again… or need this…or fit into this’. I seemed to have decided that there is no more ‘some day’, just the days that are left.

Sweet Home

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Aug-22-2003

On the way to the lake today we stopped off at Horace and Sara’s. They have about sixty acres of heavily wooded land and even Dad had a bit of trouble finding the dirt road that leads into their property. The kids- of course- were hoping to catch sight of that black panther, but were happy enough to play with the three stray dogs that Horace and Sara have taken in. One looked like a slender, black newf and the kids begin to talk of how they missed Buddy and Elvis.

We admired their tractor and Sara’s canning kitchen and then took off to the lake. In the late afternoon, Dad and I and The Father were sipping cold beers and talking about next summer, what might be possible, what people would like to do. The Father- of course- suggested that we fly into Boston, that Dad meet us there and then we all drive down here together. This is a long time dream of The Father’s. If I were home in my little room of my own, I would insert a music clip here. It would be that Simon and Garfunkel tune, you know the one : ‘ We’ve all gone to look for America…’. I have yet to meet a Dutch person of our age who doesn’t dream of getting in the VW camper and driving across America.

Then Jimmy came down from the house carrying a big bowl of sun-warm scuppernong grapes that he had just picked. Except for Dad, we had never eaten them before, so Jimmy told us how one splits them with your teeth and then pops the grape into your mouth, discarding the skin. They were very good and much fun, for of course The Boy had to squeeze one with his fingers. Which popped out and landed on my lap.

Tomorrow we pack for 4 days in Florida and then on the 29th we head home. It’s been a fine summer and passed very quickly.

Green Acres

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Aug-21-2003

The other day when we were driving out to the lake for the afternoon, I saw some deer walking through a pasture next to the road. I’m such a ‘city girl’ that I must admit that I was charmed. Wow, deer !

Yesterday we went over to Granny Estes, to help her celebrate her 94th birthday. Horace was there and we were chit-chatting and I mentioned the deer that we had seen. He then told me that they have a few wild turkeys on their property right now as well as a black panther. Black panther, aren’t zoos the natural habitat of black panthers, not farm land in Alabama ? But I just smiled and said ‘Wow ! A black panther’.

You know, we still owe them a visit.

Black panther ?

Old Friends

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Aug-16-2003

The Father and I sit on the deck in the morning, watching the hummingbirds, drinking coffee, smoking and catching up on things. We laugh and laugh and laugh at what we are saying, two word jokes that would require three books of footnotes for anyone else to understand. I realize that there is no one else who’s company I enjoy half so much as The Father’s.

To add to the fine morning, I learn that they are retiring their FrontPage site. Celebrations are in order, dontcha think ?


Posted by Mummy Dearest on Aug-14-2003

The Father flies into Atlanta tomorrow. It will be fine to see him once again.