Sunday, May 28, 2017

A Man Worth Remembering.....

Celebrating Dick Peterson and others like him on this Memorial Day.....

He fought in WWII and he'll be 100 on August 10th..........Dick Peterson is definitely a man worth remembering. After interviewing him earlier this year, I wrote the following article for my "From the Front Porch" column, in our Taylorsville Post.


He was born in Broadland, SD in August, 1917 and just 4 months later his mother died during the Spanish Flu Epidemic. His father made the decision for his Aunt Clara (his father’s youngest sister) to take him and his two older sisters. The aunt, who later learned she was expecting a baby, decided it would be in the best interest of everyone if she kept his sisters, and he went to live with her sister, Mathilda. On April Fool’s Day in 1919 – when he was almost 8 months old, he went to live with Aunt Tillie and Uncle John who had two grown daughters.

He remembered that he always called her Aunt Tillie – never mom – even though she had taken him in when he was just a baby. Aunt Tillie wasn’t warm and loving, but she and Uncle John provided a good life.

His father remarried and had another family and he saw him only a few times during his growing up years.

Richard “Dick” Peterson will be 100 years old on August 10, 2017. His wife, Phyllis, with whom he’d been married 72 years passed away in December 2013. She had been his high school sweetheart……a Freshman when he’d been a Senior. He graduated and went to Iowa State University but continued to date Phyllis. In his words, “she was the pick of the litter and so was I.”

Dick is busy. He lives alone in a townhouse in Johnston, Iowa where he still drives. He was President of the Men’s Garden Club for 10 years and his yard is immaculate and beautiful, and he’s the one who does the planting and maintenance! The Gazebo in the Garden Clubs of America park was built, in his honor, and has a plaque with his name.

Dick is a wiry little man with a wonderful sense of humor even though he has Macular Degeneration and receives injections in his eyes. His townhouse has a basement and he amazed me with his agility as he hurried down the carpeted stairs. (He arrived at the bottom and I had barely begun my descent.)

I had gone to visit him and to see his WWII “Memorabilia Room” – but I received a tour of his home and saw so much more. In his finished basement, was a very neat room with a work bench and tools. In another room under lights, with timers, were plants that he was “wintering” and awaiting the coming of Spring so he could plant them in his beds. My favorite room held a table with notebooks of Family Data and hundreds of pages, typed by one of his sons, of “Richard’s Ramblings” and his poetry. The walls held family photos…..of him with Aunt Tillie’s family, of his father and his family, and the only photo that he had of his mother. 

Dick and Phyllis got married in August, 1940 and in August, 1941 he was “ordered” to active duty at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO. He had received his Commission at Iowa State as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers Reserve.

Just as we all remember “where we were” when historical events happened, in the world…..Dick remembers that he and Phyllis were in St. Louis, MO at the movies when Pearl Harbor was attacked.

Dick was at Normandy, and on Omaha Beach, and on Utah Beach. I want to know what valiant effort was recognized by the Bronze Medal he received. I want to know more about the WWII Memorabilia Room…..and I hope I’m here to help celebrate number 100….in August!!


Dick Peterson…..a man worth remembering!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Probed and Investigated

There are so many Telemarketers these days....I don't usually answer the phone if the number doesn't look familiar. However, having said that.....my son-in-law is in Alabama for a meeting and this was an Alabama number calling....so I did.
I KNEW it was a Telemarketer as soon as I said "Hello"...because there was a delay.
After a couple of "hellos" (I shoulda' hung up), he said..."May I speak to Sarah Gorrell"...and I said...."What is this about?"
He said...."This is a Probe and an Investigation."
"Well"....thought I....."this could be good. It might even be the makings for a story or even some good gossip...depending on who the Probe and Investigation is about."
And, if it 'twas about me...I certainly wanted to know why I was being Investigated...and no darned body is going to "Probe" me without my knowledge.
So, I says...."How can I help you?"
And, this foreign voice says...."we notice you won a prize and we noticed that you are just now claiming it"
Now, I know how people in Alabama sound (just like me). I know they've had immigrants flood their southern state...but I just doubted one was doing a "Probe and Investigation" on me and I doubted I'd won a prize....'cause I knew I wasn't trying to claim anything!
I hung up.  I'm so glad I finally learned how to block numbers on this Smart Phone!!!
Happy to report...I'm not being "probed."

Sunday, March 26, 2017

"Under dressed"

I’m not sure how long her white hair was -  she had it piled (I assume) atop her head under the “spiffy” little beige beret type hat, that had a short little bill. On the back, she had placed a rather large white silk flower that was edged in pink. I’m assuming it was to help keep her hat and hair, in place.

She wore some fancy black “jeggings” (she really needed a longer top to cover her fanny), but the jeggings had pockets that were adorned with jewels. I think she wanted those pockets to show and she was tiny so it really didn’t seem to matter.

Sticking out from under the jeggings, on her feet, were sheer black panty hose which she had encased in beige high heeled shoes. On top, covering her black top, she wore a short beige sweater that was trimmed in fur. Was it real fur? I'm no expert!

Her cheeks were deeply rouged in pink blush and when I got closer I noticed that when she painted her lips (with the same pink color) she didn’t quite stay within her lip lines. Her eyes were covered with huge black-rimmed sunglasses that had an amber tint.

The “writer” in me knew this was a story, so I had to speak to her! I commented on how pretty she looked (I was really stretching it a bit), and I asked if she was on her way to a party. She replied….”No, I had a coffee party this morning.” I realized that either her husband hadn’t gone…..or he wasn’t as “clothes conscious” as she was. In fact, in my mind, they were sort of a “mis-match.” However, she did tell me they’d “been together” 45 years!

Later, as we sat there waiting for our clothes to finish (we had gone to a Laundromat) the young man who owned the place stopped and said….”Isn’t this a great place to people watch?” I responded with….”You mean like that couple?” (as I motioned toward the older couple). He replied…….”She always dresses like she’s in a pageant.”

It was the first time I’d had someone make me feel “underdressed” at a Laundromat!
#jeggings #laundromat #peoplewatching 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

It was more than just a tree.......

By the old house – the house that we call “Granny’s House” – even though my parents also lived there after Granny passed away, stood an old Water Oak Tree.  Several years ago, on a very stormy and windy night lightning struck the old tree and several of the huge limbs fell across our driveway.

Joey Robinson, sweet neighbor that he was, came with his chain saw in the middle of the raging storm and cut the big limbs, and daughter Gale and I helped get the driveway cleared. Normally, the branches could have stayed until daylight but husband Bob had recently been diagnosed with cancer and we never knew if, or when, we’d be making a trip to the ER.

Later, Bob wanted to cut the rest of the tree down, but I begged (on behalf of the tree) to “let’s see if it will continue living.”  And continue living, it did!

We all know that everything is “in God’s time”….and I think God must have decided that the old Water Oak had lived long enough.
                                                                                                                                                             
During a recent storm, I’m not sure if lightning struck again or if the heavy winds took their toll, but most of the rest of the old tree fell. Once again, it was across the driveway. This time, there was no saving what was left. My son-in-law, Dan, cleared the driveway and cut down most of the remainder of the old tree.  

I’m sorry I wasn’t there to say goodbye, to a memory. Once, when the Southern Pine “Today” newspaper published instructions on how to measure a tree to find the age – granddaughter Olivia and I went through the steps. The old tree was at least 110 years old. I knew it HAD to be old – I’m over ¾ of a century and it had been standing there for as long as I could remember.

If the old tree could have talked, the stories I’m sure it would have told! Many children – grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews and friends had played under that old tree. We dug in the dirt with spoons and made pies in dishes (that Granny let us have). We used it as a hiding place while cousins searched for us. We sat under it in the heat of summer. 

Mistletoe grew in the top of the old tree and squirrels chased up and down the trunk .into the holes they had begun to call home. The acorns that fell from the limbs were tiny but plentiful and covered the ground, like fine carpet, that crunched under one’s feet.

It was more than just a tree – it was a part of my childhood and of my adult memories and when I sit, on my Front Porch, I’ll miss that old tree with its big roots. I’ll miss the sight of the mistletoe, in the winter. It was the only tree, in my yard, with that parasite.

I’ll remember, so many years ago, little cousins digging in the dirt under that old tree. I’ll remember that cousins shared secrets, under the old tree. I’ll remember that pictures were taken under the old tree. I’ll remember that the old tree with it’s branches and leaves shaded so many family members over the years. I’ll wonder how many stories it had stored in its limbs and branches.

It was more than just a tree.....and I'm sorry I never took a photograph of the tree that was a part of my family history.

Monday, March 20, 2017

It's a Freebie!!!

Ever so often.....we (Mary Cooke and I) get in a "giving" mood.

Mary - who writes as Mary Lou Cheatham called and asked me....."how do you feel about giving something away?" She caught me on a day when I was in a Benevolent Mood! I asked, "what do you have in mind?"  And she said....."let's create some interest in our book.....let's give away some Kindle downloads of Travelers in Painted Wagons on Cohay Creek!"

"We really need to get people to write reviews," said Mary Lou "and .....well.....they have to read it first!"

So, it was said and so it was decided.....

We'd do a giveaway.....

People like to get "something for nothing"  ....and when that "something" is a good book,,,,,like Travelers in Painted Wagons on Cohay Creek........it brings a smile to so many faces.

So, from today through Thursday (3/20 - 3/23)....download to your Kindle. Did you know you can also download a FREE Kindle app to your laptop ....or your iPad.

Download Free Book to your Kindle.....or the App on your Laptop or iPad.

We ask that you leave a review, on Amazon, after reading our book.
You don't have to write much....just "I liked it"...."I didn't like it"  ....or more if you have more to say.

We are judged by the NUMBER of reviews...so please, please, please....after you've read it....write something!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

You Were Family

Strange how the death of someone, not in our immediate family, can affect us.

Charlie wasn't in my family - not really - but in a sense, he was. He was married to a distant cousin and he was the youngest brother of an uncle. I know that seems strange. If he was my uncle's brother....why wasn't he related? Uncle James was married to Aunt Alice....my dad's sister. Charlie was a brother to Uncle James.

They were both Methodist ministers and were both the sons of a Methodist minister. 

Our Walker family was close. Aunt Alice and Uncle James were like a second set of parents to me. Their 3 kids were like brothers and sisters to me. So, Uncle James and Charlie's parents were always called "Grandpa and Granny Nick," by me. And Uncle James brothers and sisters included me, as if I was family.

Of the seven children in their family (Grandpa and Granny Nick) five had Alzheimer's! Today, Charlie, the youngest son "finished his journey" here on earth. 

I have to explain that a cousin, by marriage on another side of the house, uses this term for someone dying....and I think it's beautiful. So, I've also begun to use the term "finished his journey" to explain when someone dies. Thank you Dora Hawkins Blakeney!!

Charlie was the last person with whom my husband, Bob, played golf before Bob was diagnosed with cancer in 2010. I hope there are golf clubs, in heaven, and they get to play another round!

Alzheimer's confuses me. We've always heard that keeping the mind active will help to prevent Alzheimer's Disease. However, some of the people who have been affected by this debilitating disease are those who have had the most active minds. Charlie was one of those people. He was a District Superintendent, in the Methodist Church. He had served at many churches and knew his Bible from front to back. Why, then, would he be affected? 

He and Dimple, who was a distant cousin, on my Walker side of the family had been married almost 60 years. They were a beautiful couple and they had a beautiful family. 

I lost a husband, so I can imagine exactly how Dimple feels, tonight. You've suddenly become conflicted. You're so thankful that your loved one is no longer suffering.....but now, you suffer because that part of you is gone. 

Alzheimer's has often been called "the long goodbye".....because suddenly that loved one looks at us with eyes of wonder. Who are you? Who am I?

Charlie (called Nick, by many) will be missed by so many people. People within his family. People to whom he ministered. People in his churches. People.

I grieve for those of us who will miss him....but most of all....I grieve for Dimple. I know how it's going to be. Her family will be there for her.....but she'll still feel alone. Because a part of her is now missing.

RIP, Charlie.....you made a difference in so many lives. You weren't family.....but you were!!






Monday, January 16, 2017



If you've not had an opportunity to read the latest book in 'The Covington Chronicles' ......co-authors Mary Lou Cheatham and Sarah Walker Gorrell encourage you to do so.

Both writers are extremely happy that awesomegang.com is featuring our book, today.

Remember, it's available on Amazon.com in either print or for download to your Kindle.
#travelersinpaintedwagonsoncohaycreek  #kindle  #awesomegang.com  #gypsies