Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Schemes of Atticus

My life has settled back into a routine. There is a routine for the week, to keep me on track. Decisions about this column have become part of the weekend routine. Atticus may be smarter than we realize, or he just senses when to capitalize on an opportunity to receive attention.

This past weekend as I attempted to decide what to write, he found a way to get my attention each time this thought came into my mind. He flopped down on my feet or hoisted his large body into the chair where I sat, demanding my time and attention. This may have been his way of saying that he felt that Atticus was the best subject for this week’s column.

Atticus seems to operate under the idea that the world was designed for him. There were things that needed to be done before his arrival so that he could live in comfort. The apartment we live in was built specifically for his arrival in this world. The central heat and air unit was created and placed there for his comfort. His brand of cat food and kitty treats were created for his enjoyment. The list is endless.

Atticus was named for a character in my favorite book, To Kill A Mockingbird. The character in the book was wise; I had hoped that my Atticus would be the same way. The character thought about others. My Atticus thinks about himself, as a matter of fact he is enamored with himself. My Atticus has been caught gazing at himself in the mirror numerous times. 

Atticus may not be as selfish as we think. Maybe his goal was to coax me into stopping for a few moments. He understands the importance of rest. Did he want me to understand this idea as well? Did he want me to rest? Was he concerned about someone other than himself?

No, more than likely that was not the case. He wanted to be held and couldn’t care less about what I needed to do. He wanted admiration and attention. He wanted extra cat treats. He wanted control of the situation.

Why does he appear to sit and meditate? Perhaps he is thinking about the things he has taken and where he has hidden them. Maybe he is planning to pilfer my purse again. Maybe I will never know and that gives Atticus satisfaction.


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

I Suwanee


Did you ever hear your Mama say “I suwanee”?  You may have heard that expression or you may have suwaneed too. My Mama was a suwaneer. Oh my word, did she do some suwaneeing. Todd and Brad are the cause of the suwaneeing and let me tell you, there was plenty to suwannee about. Mama also said “help my time” quite often; you can guess that they caused that too. 

It is a good thing for them that I didn’t write for the paper then. Its okay brothers, I won’t be telling the story about the little boy and the croker sack in the apple tree. Thank goodness for Granddaddy! Yall will just have to ask them to tell you what happened.

Suwaneeing is southern and comes from a different time. Ladies were expected to act like ladies and mind their words. When a lady used that term, she was exasperated. It isn’t often that we hear that phrase these days. Ladies don’t seem to use it anymore; it has been replaced by other unladylike words sadly.

My friend D uses that term often and isn’t afraid to do so on social media either. It made me think about the term and how we have neglected those old southern sayings, which may be amusing, but you don’t have to be ashamed that you said them. Maybe it would just take too long to explain it to younger generations. They don’t understand how or why to suwanee.

There are ladies that could teach others why and how to properly suwanee. That wouldn’t be such a bad thing in my opinion. You can’t help but hear the things people say in public, especially if they are on a cell phone. That seemingly silly phrase doesn’t sound as ridiculous now and isn’t as offensive as the things we can easily hear in public.

The art of suwaneeing may completely disappear. Oh my word what a tragedy. Is it possible to throw a good hissy fit without a suwanee or three? It is sad to think of these things disappearing from our lives not because of the tradition, but because of what they represent. It was a time when ladies and gentlemen were just that. It represents a time when the antics of little boys did not cause a Mama to act inappropriately. Help my time! There is no shame in a good suwanee.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Mama's Wisdom



This past Saturday my formerly faithful dryer refused to start. The only sound it made was a slight whine, or it could have been a whimper. Whatever the case, it would not be drying my laundry. I hung my head and wondered if I could reason with the stubborn appliance. 

Our time together has been short; 13 years can pass so quickly. Why had my friend deserted me in my time of need? Why did this have to happen on a Saturday afternoon?

There had to be options, but what were they and what about the wet laundry in the washing machine? This was a crisis because I am a working gal and I need my weekends to catch up on things that have been neglected during the week.

Mama would understand. Mama would offer sympathy, understanding and somehow manage to find a gem of wisdom to offer. Mama wouldn’t laugh until after she hung up the phone. Mama was the person to call!

Mama reminded me that this past Saturday was the day I was supposed to be moving away. It was the day my belongings would have once again been loaded up and hauled to a different location. This could have been happening in a different town, far from my home. My problem began to shrink to a realistic size. Mama was right again.

This was not the crisis it could have been if I were in a new place, attempting to unpack and find a trustworthy repairman simultaneously. There is always a reason to be grateful. My boss had called a few weeks ago with the news that I was being transferred to a different location. 

My heart broke with that news. This new location lacked the cotton fields, family and friends that have been a part of my life. Everything was about to change.

That change did not happen and I have been granted the opportunity to stay in the place that I have loved. A broken dryer is not the crisis I had believed it was. Mama gently provided the attitude change I needed. The dryer may have deserted me, but Mama didn’t.

This reminds me that a Mother’s work is never finished. Mama offers a different type of bandage for adult ouchies. Sometimes that healing bandage comes in the form of a paradigm shift. It’s my turn to offer my grown child a paradigm shift.



Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Musing Atticus Seeking Employment


The events in Atticus’ life interest some readers. These readers have never chased him up and down stairs to give him medication, or attempted to kennel him for the dreaded trip to the vet. They aren’t missing any items from their purse nor have they had the feeling that they are being laughed at by a cat. Their Christmas tree hasn’t been destroyed and they aren’t missing any ornaments. Those ornaments weren’t discovered when I moved. Perhaps they would feel differently if they had firsthand knowledge of these events.

Atticus has adjusted to his new life rather well. He sits in his favorite window and watches his new neighbors. They have gotten to know him and wave at him; I thought they were waving at me. They thought that was funny. He enjoys the fact that his admirers acknowledge his presence.

He will have new adventures in his new home. His current interest has been the AC return. What is behind that sound and why does his fur feel funny when he gets close? He watches as the filter is changed, making mental notes. My tiny tool bag is hidden for this reason. Can you imagine the scene? I would come in from work and find tools scattered, the filter shredded and the dog innocently wagging her tail. The AC unit would never be the same. His world may be smaller, but his desire for trouble hasn’t diminished. Atticus is always on the lookout for any opportunity to create chaos. He is the reason that I do not have a good tube of lipstick. I haven’t been able to find that same shade again, since he destroyed the last tube.

Perhaps Atticus and Sophie are really the smart ones. They sit at home in comfort, while I work. They demand food and I deliver. They do no housekeeping and they don’t pay taxes. They have their own toys, treats and a bed to sleep in. They create mischief and I clean it up. This makes me realize some things. I am really working for them. They are my bosses.

Maybe they should seek employment and they would have less time to cause trouble. Does anyone know of an employer willing to hire a cat with a desire for mischief and an innocent looking dog? Atticus isn’t concerned about this possibility, he remains the king of our apartment, Christmas ornaments beware!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Monday Musing - The Things We Leave Behind


Life brings many unexpected changes. These changes often send us in new directions. A move may cause us to leave things and sometimes people behind. A move to a different home means that it is time to clean out and get rid of unwanted things, and keep what is important. We carry our treasures with us. What about the people we are forced to leave behind? Do we really leave them where they are?

Their memory goes with us. The time spent with those people becomes a memory that grows sweeter; it is a treasure that we do not leave behind. Life brings change and change brings about growth if we allow it, much like a vine that has been pruned. The pruning may hurt, but the new growth can be lovely and life changing.

My life has been filled with change in the last year and there are more changes coming. Doubts and fears could control my thoughts and prevent the new growth. The people that are a part of my daily life may be changing, but their memory will remain with me. The lessons learned and wisdom offered become a part of me and create the person I will become. It would be sad to encounter people without learning from them and growing ourselves. What a loss!

Individuals each have their own unique story and will often share their story with those willing to listen. Each story could impact your life in some way. It is like searching for buried treasure and listening will bring a reward. These are people that impact our lives in a positive way. My life has been filled with this type of treasure. No matter where I have lived; those treasured and sweet memories go with me.

Change will continue to be a part of our lives in its various forms. We are able to choose how this change affects us although we are not always able to choose or control our circumstances. Sometimes the things we think we are leaving behind are actually remaining with us. Bitter can become sweet and the changes we dreaded can be the best thing that ever happened to us. A very wise lady told me that “a bright shiny day is coming behind that cloud”. She is one of my treasures and her wisdom will remain with me.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Late Monday Musing Atticus' New Life


Do you believe that cats have a sense of humor? I think so. The things that happen to me as I get ready for work are proof enough for me. My offspring would agree and she could probably tell a few stories that I would prefer that she kept to herself. She has seen me run in high heels. I don’t do that anymore, it isn’t safe for me or Atticus.

Atticus is now the one who watches with amusement as I get ready for work. He smiles and he probably laughs when I leave. Atticus follows me down the hall after my coffee, knowing that the show is about to begin. Atticus hops up onto the freshly made bed to get a better view. The phone will usually ring and if he is lucky I will forget to finish applying my make up or mess up. He hopes that someone will come to the door and he will watch me stumble down the hall with my hair half done while searching for my shoes and trying to recall who was scheduled for what this morning.

There is always the amusing scenario that should I change my mind about what to wear I may not be able to find the right accessories for the different outfit. Perhaps he will find something that he likes in my purse and will take it, or he could attempt to fit his massive behind inside of my purse, or maybe he will get a colorful bracelet or an earring to play with and hide.

A favorite trick is to lie down on something that I am looking for and innocently purr while I search. He knows what he is doing. I am glad that he doesn’t have a video camera; I don’t need the type of stress in my life. Maybe he would start writing a column for this paper describing his mischievous antics.

Atticus hasn’t realized that my job provides a comfortable place for him to live, cat food and his favorite kitty treats, it isn’t for his personal amusement. He is making his own brand of lemonade because he is now stuck with a dog for a companion during the day. Sophie doesn’t provide amusement and doesn’t have a purse to ransack. Atticus has adjusted to his new life rather well. His sense of humor has remained intact and his mischievous behavior continues. Now he must decide what he will do to my Christmas tree this year.


Monday, August 31, 2015

Monday Musing - Roses and Lemons


 

Daddy shared his wisdom with us; most of that wisdom was learned from his father. The wisdom that comes from old farmers is proven and sound advice. Life taught me that Daddy’s wisdom and advice could be depended upon.

Life isn’t always fair or kind. We must learn to accept the good and bad things that life offers. Daddy often told me, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade”. He taught me to make sweet lemonade when life offered you the worst, because you will need refreshment during those difficult times.

My life changed and the lemons overwhelmed me. It was time to make lemonade. There were so many lemons, that I had to make lemon pies, cookies and everything lemon that I could imagine. There were enough goodies that I am able to share the sweet.

Those unexpected and unwanted lemons proved to be a valuable gift. The opportunity to give away a treat is a blessing. Life’s lemons have a purpose and we are given the opportunity to choose how we will use them.

The roses that we encounter in life have thorns. These are uncomfortable lessons to learn. Parents attempt to teach these lessons early, but some lessons are best learned as adults.

My daughter was an only child and grew up with a pet. Katie decided that Bess would be the closest she would get to a sister, and she was. Katie gave her the nick name of Boopsie. Bess lived with us for almost 18 years and is buried in Mama’s flower garden. We planted a rose bush there.

The thorn of losing our pet is eased when we see and smell the lovely roses. The roses trigger sweet memories for both of us. We call them the Boopsie Roses. This was my attempt to teach my grown daughter a grown up lesson about thorns, as there have been more thorns since then.

Life will always offer more than enough thorns and lemons. Some will be easier to handle than others. Lemons and roses are seasonal and will not last forever. It is important to reap the benefits quickly. My lemons remain for a season, but the benefits will last a lifetime. That old farmer wisdom is still valid. It guides and often comforts me as an adult and has taught me to appreciate lemons and roses.