Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

The mountains that encircle and enfold me. 

Home is the white dot in the center

Add caption



Words in lonely echoes fall
No ear to  count their metre
Once a full and bustling hall
Hosts not serf nor praetor

Dust motes in the air drift down
And gather in the corners
Stir as versifier turned clown
Searches but no mourners 

Sit in solemn grief at loss
Off they scattered oblivious
All had fallen to dross 
Daily life was lascivious

Most were lured by promises
Of greater finds afield
Left were doubting Thomases 
Awkward pens to wield

~ Ellen Apple 6/29/2016 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Tuesday - For What It's Worth

Tuesday should be recognized officially as a second chance at Monday, because I will not hesitate to tell you I had one hell of a Monday. A day of dominoes, where one off kilter event triggered another, then another, then another. To the point that by 3 PM my give a damn was broke, and I raided the liquor shelf in the hallway. A shelf so seldom utilized that I had to take a damp cloth and clean the necks and caps of bottles before I could mix a drink. 

So what does Ellen do when she has had a shitty day? 

I woke up this morning (granted, it being a day off from work helps) and resolved that today will be truly a new, better, different kind of day. A bit of contemplation and reflection is in order, and that will occur throughout the day. 

Beautiful thing about life. We can constantly, and with either broad gestures or minute adjustments, change the circumstances in which we find ourselves, and the foreseeable future. 

Reading back over what I have just written, it sounds as though I have had some sort of disaster or calamity in my life. That is not the case. No big, single thing. Just little things, that individually and encountered separately would be addressed and resolved as a matter of course.

My Monday was a Murphy's Law sort of day, I suppose you could say. One thing, then another, then another .... add six or seven needed course corrections in a short period of time, and you really do want to just sit down and have a good stiff drink. 

So that is what I did. 

Once again, and for too many days and weeks and months in a row, I am feeling the urgent call for change. For a healing of a beleaguered planet. A weariness settles across my soul, and I ask myself can I really continue to put out this call for Earth, healed? How many of us will it take to encourage kindness, to plead for compassion, to pray for understanding, before the tide turns? 

I am just one voice, a tired and not really battle ready middle aged white woman who lives in a place that you have to really search for hard on a map. 

My network is a bedraggled collection of people across the globe, sort of. But there really is not a cohesion, and no single purpose or creed represented. There is diversity, that much is true. 

So after this meandering miscellany of Ellen's brain, I realize the theme this week is wisdom in one of my online communities. So how to tie this all together? 

Wisdom comes of experience, and observation, I would think. Or at least that would be two components. 

But wisdom is not automatic. 

Wisdom is needed, here in this day and time. 


We see the EU situation, and animals that are tossed like trash for someone else to clean up. 

We see Trump could really be elected president, because, hey, Brexit. 

We see floods and fires and no-one connecting the dots in terms of what humans have done to exacerbate the climate issues. 

We see freedoms that were bled to obtain being summarily voted away and riddled with real and metaphorical bullets. 

I have no answers. 

Just lots and lots of questions.

And very little wisdom. 

I want to close with a Facebook memory from a year ago :

Several years ago, Roger and I were in a local grocery store standing in line to check out. Directly in front of us was an older gentleman holding a young girl, she looked to be maybe 18 months old. Riotous blonde curls, big blue eyes, rosebud mouth, porcelain complexion. There was a red balloon tied to a shelving support. She wanted that balloon. She had big crocodile tears, puddling up in her eyes, looked as though they would spill down her cheeks at any minute. She had one hand clasped around the man's neck and was reaching out to the balloon with the other. Her little lip was just quivering and she was saying "Boon. Boon". Now he was having none of this, he stoically held his ground and paid for their items and left. Rog and I, well were we the grandparents in that situation would probably have bought her a dozen "boons". I do not think that he was being mean, just firm. Not giving in, you know? Because little girls with crocodile tears welling up in their eyes can really work on a person's heart, as can little boys with pouty mouths and soulful looks. Just a memory I wanted to share.

I have a vision of Earth, Healed. Be Kind. It costs nothing and can mean everything. 

~ Ellen Apple 6/28/2016

Monday, June 27, 2016

Magical Monday

There is magic in life ... moments that transcend the norm, events that seep serendipity and whisper whimsy. There are the small private moments that make your catch in your throat they are just so perfect :

And every once in a while, you encounter an image that speaks to you on a visceral level, when a heartfelt yes! bursts from your lips, an invocation of the yearned for and an acknowledgement of the divine:

Or you find a meme that speaks to you, for even if you cannot go to the woods there is still outside, at end of day, as the birds sing the sun to bed and the fireflies dance their dance of fairy lights, silently saying to one another, here I am, here I am, so tired of being alone:

Or this, the most amazing magical moment of all, when you take a deep breath, pick up a colored pencil, and create a wee work of art all your own. As small as a playing card, never to be celebrated in a gallery or a tabletop book, but all yours. From the choice of colors to the off center placement, as if the dragonfly were trying to once again attain the freedom of the heavy summer air where the creek meets the woods. 

Magic is ours, there for the taking, the dreaming, the joy. 

Magic in the eyes of a child, the kindness of a stranger, the giggle of a friend. Magic in the pages of a book, the song of a sparrow, the storm in the night. Magic in the large and small, the sublime and insignificant. Magic in the mere fact that we are here, and can love and hope and dream, no matter our age, no matter our health or wealth or circumstance. Magic in the breezes that blow and the flowers that bloom and the waves that crash on near and distant shores. 

That is the Monday I hope each of you has had.

~ Ellen Apple 6/27/2016

Thursday, June 23, 2016

I Have a Tiny Treasure Chest - repost

I have a tiny treasure chest
No-one else can see
Where stored away are all the best
Things that happen to me
From time to time I'll have a day
When life just makes me cry
Nothing anyone else can say
Brings blue back to my sky
I'll gently open my toolbox
And not see gold or gem
But rather my life's building blocks
(not gathered on a whim)
Lessons learned and loved ones lost
A few almost perfect days
Battles won at too much cost
Wrong turns and some delays
The "bad" you see are not thus so
(This took me years to learn)
It takes dark and tears to grow
Many truths to discern

~ Ellen Apple 06/23/2015

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Talkative Tuesday?

Full Strawberry Moon, shaky hands make for cool effects ! 

I was trying to get firefly light, but this turned out pretty good. Taken 06/19/2016

View of the Full Strawberry Moon from the road in front of our house. Taken 06/20/2016

It has been an interesting two days for me, here at Little Beaver Creek. I think I have enjoyed the full moon/summer solstice more this year than I had thought I would. I still would enjoy being able to go to Stonehenge just once, where I have always imagined one can just feel the residual energy of the ancestors of the land when the night is calm and the moon is full.

It is the time of fireflies and songbirds here in the Appalachian Mountains of southwest Virginia. We have had a fair amount of rain thus far this year, and there are profusions of growth everywhere. When I drive to work in the wee hours of the morning, eyes reflect from the roadside ditches. One recent evening, just as darkness fell, we heard a commotion out on the front porch and I went to investigate. I interrupted a raccoon, scarfing up the bits if kibble the cats had left in their dish. There are deer I see regularly, as well as opossums, skunks, groundhogs, squirrels, and rabbits. The mountains and hollows, the ridges and woods, they teem with life. I hear songbirds before sunrise, and crows as I drive home in the early afternoon. I know there are bear and coyotes here as well, and who knows what else? 

For as long as I can remember I have had a habit of "putting food out for the critters" - and there are plenty of critters here to feed. I do not, however, leave garbage outside - that can lead to serious bear problems. The amount of food scraps I put out are barely enough to feed the occasional opossum or raccoon. There is a large farm on the other side of the river from us, and steep mountainous terrain on three sides. We actually have less of a problem with deer than the people that live in town. 

In the aftermath of the NBA Finals, Taco Bell gave away free tacos today. I do not - we do not - make a habit of eating from Taco Bell, but Roger was insistent he wanted his free taco. I had errands to run in town anyway, so I timed my trip to be able to get him his taco. I actually made three stops, and each time I ran into someone I knew. So I got hugs, and was able to catch up with a few people I had not seen in a while. 

There was a woman, looked to be in her 40's, walking on the sidewalk on Main Street. She was carrying a large duffle bag, and it being in the low 80's very humid, I felt bad for her. I very seldom pick up anyone walking, and never stop for hitchhikers. We may live rural, but there are still dangers to watch out for in life. But she looked tired, so I pulled over and offered her a ride as far as I was going. She advised she was on her way to Bristol TN - about 35 miles away. I said I would take her to the other end of town, out by US 19 where it would be easier for her to get a ride. 

There was a wind-battered umbrella in the truck, one of the handy telescoping sorts, and I gave it to her. It is a bit floppy, but will help keep her dry if she has to walk in the rain. She offered to give me what money she had for gas if I would drive her to Bristol, but it was just not something I could do today. I am trying to not feel guilty for leaving her at the side of the road, but at least I tried to help a bit. I did tell her that she would stand a better chance at a ride where I left her, because all of the traffic in town is local. She had a big bruise on her head, and staples in her scalp. She told me she had been on a back road and got hit on the head. 

I am recording this encounter because it was a reality check for me. For various reasons, I have been in a bit of a self-pity mood lately, and I believe encounters like this do more than anything else to give me a reality check. I love to piss and moan about this and that, but I really do have a better life than countless others. I am blessed, and loved, and moderately healthy. I have a vehicle to drive, and a job to go to. 

And you.
I have you, people who care enough about me and my words to take a few minutes out of your day to see what has been happening here at Little Beaver Creek. 

I have goals, and dreams, and love in my life. I have managed to avoid addiction and alcoholism, and try my best to be a good citizen and friend. I screw up, a lot, and get forgiven and loved anyway. 

I hope I was able to extend enough kindness to the lady today. I tried to be encouraging, and empathetic towards her situation. 

I have a vision of Earth, healed ... and I saw today in teary brown eyes how scarred so many of us are. Please, be kind to others. It costs nothing, and can mean everything. 

~ Ellen Apple 6/21/2016

Monday, June 20, 2016

Of Suns and Moons and Magical Things

Do you believe in magic?

I believe in magic, and magical creatures. I believe in Angels, and the Fae. I believe there is a white unicorn with quicksilver eyes who drinks moonbeams from the creek after eating violets in the field on nights when the moon is full and the mists hang low. 

I believe there is an energy, a vibration to life that connects us one to another, and to the Earth itself. 

I believe that if we live in a manner as to respect all life, to protect the innocent and shelter the weak, then we are fulfilling a mandate that is as old as this fragile world we inhabit. 

 Are miracles a regular occurrence in your life? 

“People usually consider walking on water
or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle
is not to walk either on water or in thin air,
but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged
in a miracle which we don't even recognize:
a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves,
the black, curious eyes of a child --our own two eyes. 
All is a miracle.”
~Thích Nhất Hạnh 

... and magic is afoot ... To my friends on the flipside, Blessed Yule. The fae are said to be out and about tonight about midnight.Here at Little Beaver Creek we are anticipating rain and storms, alas. Entering into this transitional phase of the year, as the wheel continues to turn, is a time to let go and look forward. Many blessings to all this Midsummer's Eve. ( Me ) From 6/20/2015

Happy Solstice, everyone...for us folks in the eastern time zone, the apex of the Solstice is at 7:04 pm tonight. We're in the window for a coupla days on either side of that, so you can utilize this gateway energy to let go of something that doesn't serve you anymore and walk through the threshold into the new life you WANT to live.  From 9/20/2013 Licia Berry 

We make our miracles, and the joy, the sublime euphoria, is in the process, not the result. It is in the stepping out, the lunge for the brass ring, the good feeling of tired you get after knowing you have given a task your best, and then some. 

So on this day, when the Sun and Moon perform their ancient dance of flirtation, coyly drawing closer to one another then skipping further away, when we have light that lasts longer, and dreams that burn into our brains to the point that we can hardly distinguish the fantasy from reality, at this moment in your existence, step forward, step out, throw off the shackles and restrictions that you have imposed on your potential, and be. Be bold, and bright, and intense, and brash, and fearless. Climb higher and dig deeper. Sleep longer and run faster. Find your magic and create your miracle. 

~ Ellen Apple 6/20/2016

Friday, June 17, 2016

Friday Frustrations and a Flashback

Frustrating Friday is not an alliteration I am overly fond of, but it suits this day all too well. So, a list of the things that I find frustrating today:

  • The ongoing information (misleading information? disinformation?) coming out of Orlando about the murder of the 49 precious souls. My take is that once all of the various agendas have been satiated we will more likely than not never know why, and who may or may not have been able to prevent ... 
  • The senseless murder of a young performer at the hand of another obsessed fan ... our priorities are so skewed. Reminds me more and more of the excesses and debauchery of the last gasps of The Holy Roman Empire ...
  • The descent of our political process into an abyss of lies, innuendo, misogynism, racism, xenophobia, cronyism, and endless, inane, senseless babble ... 
  • My personal inability to help a scared and hurting friend whose daughter is missing ... 

This poem was included in my Facebook Memories for June 17. Three years later, and I still like it. Unusual for me ... I tend to tinker with my words when I revisit them. So here is my Friday Flashback : 

A Monday Poem

The calico cat sits
In regal pose upon a shelf
Placed beneath a window
For the pleasure of cats
A perch to gaze out upon the world
The rain drips from the porch eave
Her heads tips to one side as she
Does she wonder where 
The water begins?
Where it ends?
Does she contemplate 
Catching the drops?
She stands
And settles again
This time gazing upon
The world she knows and understands
Her indoor domain
and slowly comes to rest on her haunches
To nap

Ellen Apple 06/17/2013

And I shall close with a capture of the calico from this week, demonstrating the sort of languid liquidity of relaxation that humans can only dream of ... 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Inciting A Riot: night in their world (and thoughts on Orlando)

Inciting A Riot: night in their world (and thoughts on Orlando): The incomprehensible tragedy in Orlando is still very fresh. People don’t know how to feel, or how to express what they are able to fe...

I have been following Michael (Fire-Lyte) for years, first on Witchvox, then on Facebook and Twitter and of course his blog. He knows little to nothing of me, which is as it should be. I admire him tremendously, and he spares nothing in his writings, and the broadcasts he does as well. Enjoy. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Monday Musings

Monday Musings

The sun rose this morning
A baby was born
A wedding was celebrated with joy
A 100th birthday was observed
A championship game won
A heart was broken
A job was lost
A home burned to the ground
A parent breathed their last breath
Tears and laughter mingled
and blood stained a life
But it all seems sharper, brighter, sadder
Because of what happened 
Before the sun rose

~ Ellen Apple 6/13/2016

Standing outside on break this morning, around 8 AM, looking at the mountains against the beautiful blue sky, and I realized that the mountaintops looked like a heartbeat on a monitor. blip - blip - blip - A Pulse. This Earth is our mother, she shelters and sustains us. We yearn for her comfort, going to mountains and seashores and canyons to relax and reconnect. Right now she hurts. I have a vision of Earth, healed ... and through Love, not hate. A kind word, a helping hand, a heartfelt hug, a smile at a time.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Earth Weeps

The following was on my Facebook Memories from one year ago. Chuck was gay.

If you have a friend that has always been a friend to you - even when it meant calling you out when you were spouting bullshit;

If you have a friend that has known you long and well enough to see the laughter behind your tears and the tears behind your laughter;

If you have a friend that you can go weeks, months, even years without talking to and 30 seconds into a conversation it is as though you were just together yesterday;

If you have such a friend cherish them -
love them -
call them -
support them -
hold on to them tightly.

Because when they leave for good,
when they are dead and gone and you are still here
It hurts like hell,
and that hurt may hide for weeks or months at a time, but it never ever goes away.

Trust me - 
I know.

Waxing nostalgic this hot afternoon, and missing Chuck Goodwin - how I wish I could hear him say "Roberta Ellen!" just one more time.

It is hot here today - not blistering but hot enough, and the air feels heavy. Right now, the sky is overcast, and I suppose it may rain at some point. I believe there was a 40% chance of thunderstorms earlier today, but it has dropped to 20% now. The television has been on MSNBC all afternoon. I fell asleep a little after one, and when I woke up from my nap, the parade of prognosticators, haters, and so-called analysts were well into their grandiose reactions we have come to expect after any horrific event. Too many guns! Not enough guns! It's the Muslims! It's the Gays! It's the Christians! It's Hillary! It's the Donald! Liberals are to blame! Conservatives are decimating this country! I have muted the sound on the TV, and all of the waving hands and flapping mouths are sort of comical, were it not for the "news" scroll and the graphics.

First, I want to address the "gay" aspect. This was a hate crime, carried out in a gay nightclub, during Gay Pride month. If you have known me for any length of time at all, you know I try my best to be a loyal and consistent advocate for the LGBT community. I have more than a couple of friends that identify within that glorious rainbow acronym, and love them dearly. People should never be targeted, killed, humiliated, denigrated for having the courage and fortitude to be who they are in the face of the amount of hate and derision that is directed towards LGBT men and women consistently in this country - I cannot speak globally, because all I know is the way it is in the good ol' USofA, and that is distressing enough.

Second, I want to address the "Muslim" aspect. I do not believe that all Muslims are terrorists, but I do believe there are Muslim terrorists. There are also Christian terrorists, Jewish terrorists, and terrorists -extremists - associated with a plethora of identifiers.

Our beliefs can bring us together, but they can also tear us apart.

What is the answer? I don't have one.

no guns, more guns 
elect a liberal, elect a conservative 
pass a law, repeal a law 
have the death penalty, abolish the death penalty
build a wall, welcome more

All positions have their proponents, and detractors.

I will tell you what I do know. 

Something, somehow has to change, and not just in America. There are issues across the globe, and people are dying for no reason other than that they are. 

the elderly 
the weak 
the loud and proud 
the meek and acquiescent 
the rich 
the poor

No One is immune. No place is safe. There are no havens.

Something has to change. 
One person at a time.
The Earth is weeping tears of blood. 
We have to staunch the flow.

Not much of an artist, but I created this.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Another Trip Down Memory Lane

This picture is the one that was in the yearbook (annual) my senior year. I even wanted red hair when I was eighteen! We actually had our senior portraits made during summer break of 1976, so this is me 40 years ago.

I graduated in 1977 from Richlands High School in Richlands, Va.

June 11. 2016-1977=39. 

Thirty Nine. 

I was 18, and looking forward to life with all of the naivete and excessive confidence an 18 year-old can summon. I hosted a graduation party at our house that spilled out into the yard, the neighbors yards, and the street itself. 

There are many moments, memory slices, I can summon to the forefront of my mind easily, and that day was one of them. 

I had good friends, good parents, and big dreams. 

Thirty-nine years later, I have good friends, a good family and still have dreams. 
I hope to never stop dreaming.

These are a few of the things I have learned over the past 39 years:

Seize the day.

Find and follow your bliss.

Wonder what would happen if ... and then try it and see.

Learn, Love, Laugh

Be kind. It costs nothing and means everything.

Read books, discover new music, know the space and people around you.

Get wet in the rain from time to time. 

Cry when you need to, then move on.

Tell those you love that you love them, and do it sooner rather than later. 

Take time to look people in the eye when you talk to them. 

Pay attention to the elderly, and the very young. 

This is a picture of me in my gown - I do not know where the cap is. I believe this was taken at the baccalaureate service.

If we are not aware of where we have been, and what it took for us to get to this point in our lives, we are missing such an opportunity. I see, hear, and read of so much turmoil ... if one were so minded, it would be so easy to don sackcloth and ashes and bemoan the state of the world, our society, the seemingly insurmountable tasks we perceive are ahead of us.  My very wise spouse is fond of asking, when I begin to panic at all of the "what ifs", what were you obsessing about two years ago? Five years ago? You made it, didn't you? 

The thing about life is, it keeps on happening. The happy, the sad, the distressing, the uplifting, the mundane, the sublime. They approach, they happen, then they are gone. We are left with memories, lessons, remnants that are like echoes and ripples that carry us on to the next triumph, the next heartache, the next ultimate experience. 

When I was 18 years old in 1977 I was so sure of the path I was going to travel. Where I am today is nothing whatsoever like that life I wove in my dreams. 

I am glad.

I am glad for each tear, each sleepless night, each leap into the unknown. I would not be the me I am today if I had not known betrayal, and ecstasy. The hunger and want make the feasts all the more special. The estrangements and anger bring appreciation of the loyal and steadfast. Hard lessons learned, some I am still learning. 

I occasionally get a glimpse of me as others see me, and the thing that amazes me is this: As unique and different as I may be, you are just as unique and different. As many struggles and doubts as I wrestle with, you have just as many, and they are just as distressing to you. As inconsequential as my public interactions may seem to me, they can have a lasting impact on another life, probably someone I do not even realize was watching, or listening. 

I feel assured of this, because people impact and influence me in myriad ways - people I may not even speak with. Sometimes as an onlooker I am astounded at a life lesson that jumps out at me. 

I remember so much of what the 18 year-old Ellen thought, and felt, and believed. The 57 year-old me is still that awkward, overconfident, brash teenager - and I am still excited at the path ahead. 

Thus concludes this meander through my memory lane, past - present - and most importantly, future. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Ghosts in my Head

From whence (and whom) I came, or at least a part. A photograph of some ancestors, the branch that travels back along my maternal linage ... Smith (nee Slade) > Slade (nee Cundiff) > Carter/Cundiff (nee Shufflebarger ...

I read that the reason people in older photographs look so somber was their concern that they appear serious. The peoples of the 19th and early 20th century were no more somber than people today. They may have possessed an idea of decorum that seems quaint to us in these times, but they were not always dour of expression and wearing formal clothing.  They donned their best when sitting for portraits, and looked serious with few smiles because they viewed portraiture as a legacy, a family heirloom if you will. 

I have always felt a connection with this particular branch of my family tree for a rather odd reason. My MawMaw Slade had an old dresser that had been in her grandmother's (Grandma Shufflebarger) room. Grandma Shufflebarger lived with her daughter (Grandma Carter) the last years of her life. There were bits an pieces in the drawers, and I used to love to rifle through them, weaving stories as I felt and smelled these remnants of a woman who had been my grandmother's grandmother. 

There were buttons, bits of lace, a handkerchief or two. Odd bits of metal, rusty and worn that were more than likely parts to benign objects. There was a faint lingering floral aroma, more than likely from powders or toilet water that had been used to scent and refresh garments. 

MawMaw pretty much left me to my own devices when I visited except for the times she had a chore that could be entrusted to a clumsy 11 year old Ellen. My meanderings through the farmhouse upstairs usually abruptly ended with the discovery of a book or pamphlet I had not yet read. I discovered Zane Grey novels and fear inducing pamphlets that had been left behind by a great uncle and aunt who were ardent Seventh-day Adventists.  

I spent time with my Granny Smith as well, but she was much more strict with what I messed with, so most of my curiosity when at her house was satisfied with being entertained by tales of my father, aunts, and uncles when they were children. 

I now have a button box that once belonged to my Aunt Zelma. She is sitting beside my Granny Smith in the picture above. There have been times in the recent past when I sat with it, looking at the bits and pieces she squirrelled away, and much as I did as a child, I weave stories of a past I feel so connected to but one whose details are created whole-cloth from my imagination. 

These ghosts that live in my head, weaving their magic and transporting me to times passed and unexplored, have been with me for many decades. I am rather fond of them.

I have a vision of Earth, healed ... an Earth that is healed through the lessons learned from the real, and imagined, ghosts of our past. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Art of Living

I believe 
all we do 
and say
all of our interactions 
and observations
occur through a perception filter  
our cumulative experience
and collectively 
I believe the art of living 
is the ability 
to acknowledge that filter 
not allowing undue bias 
or prejudice 
as a result
part of human compassion is 
putting oneself emotionally 
where others are and 
acting accordingly
the dark side 
to this empathy 
not all people are kind
not all interactions are positive
not all reactions are altruistic

... and remember, I have a vision of Earth, healed...

Be kind

Sow smiles to reap joy

Look for a path to peace when war seems the only option

We are all made of stardust, so there is more than a bit of heaven and magic in every human you know, meet, or see - regardless of race, creed, religion, or nationality

~ Ellen Apple 06/07/2016

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Sunday Sojourn

Do people still go visiting on Sunday? Or take Sunday drives?  

When I was a young girl, Spring, Summer, and early Autumn Sundays were special times. 

Early on Sunday morning, (but not too early !!!) were all about getting ready for church. We would have bathed the night before. While Mom fixed breakfast, we got dressed. We always had a 'big' breakfast on Sunday, usually either pancakes, sausage, and bacon or biscuits, sausage gravy, and eggs. Mom would pin a towel around my and Carol's neck, like a giant bib, so we wouldn't drop food on our church clothes. 

Often, Mom would also put a roast in the oven and a pot of green beans on to cook so the food would be ready when we got in from church. If you really want to appreciate the amount of work that a wife and mother performed on a daily basis, think back to the sixties and seventies when most of the convenience foods and restaurant options we take for granted today were not readily available to most US households, not to mention microwaves. 

We left for Sunday School at about 9:30, and were home usually by 12:30. After dinner, and the dishes were washed, we would get in the car and go. 

Daddy loved to drive around the ridges and mountains, and through the verdant valleys, on days when there was good weather, no rain, not too hot or too cold. He familiarized us with most of the county we lived in (Tazewell), as well as Buchanan and Russell Counties. Some of my favorite meanderings were through the Cove, to Breaks Interstate Park, across Big A Mountain, up Jewel Ridge and down through Jewel Valley, and through Baptist Valley. This is not one trip! There are five separate Sunday drives represented in that list. When the riding was over, a favorite treat was either Ice Cream at Wilson's in Raven, or a chocolate dipped vanilla custard from King Kone in Richlands. 

Going visiting was often a drive to my mother's parents, and would mean that Mom did not cook Sunday dinner, because we would eat at MawMaw and PawPaw's house. There were always a wide variety of people around the table there - aunts, uncles, cousins, friends ... inlaws and outlaws as PawPaw used to say. After food, and cleanup, there were rockers and chairs on the front porch where even if it were raining you could sit and enjoy the desultory conversation that ranged in topics from the sublime to the ridiculous. 

Other destinations for a Sunday visit were to catch up with Uncle T and Aunt Connie, or Claude and Lyda Mutter, or the Hamptons. If we stayed home, we could walk up to Granny and Granddaddy's, or around the hill to see Aunt Ger and Uncle Cricket. Daddy sat in a lawn chair out front frequently, and Uncle Calvin would stop by and sit for a bit while they talked about things tht bored us kids but we had to listen in anyways. It was not uncommon for people that knew my parents to see us in the yard and stop to visit for a few minutes, 

I wonder what ever happened to Sundays like that?