Thursday, June 11, 2015

One Beautiful Sound

We stood on the porch of the singing church that was filled beyond limit. The rest of the attendees flowed to the porch where we waited  in our Sunday dresses: my cousin, my friend and me. We waited for our names to be called because we were there to sing.  Church singings were the place to be on a Sunday afternoon with your family—back then.
The name we gave to our singing group escapes me, but we had one.  When our name was called, we clawed our way through the standing people on the porch,  the large group inside the foyer and scooted sideways down the aisle between folding chairs shoved at each end of the wooden pews. When we finally stepped up on the platform, at the front of the room, one tween and two teens faced a sea of staring faces. 
What seemed like hours was only seconds as we waited for the pianist to start the song we would sing: At the Cross. To help my nerves, my eyes searched the room for my Grandma Sadie who had a seat inside. Some people smiled at us, some glared and others carried blank expressions. Finally, my eyes touched her sweet face and smiling eyes. 
Afraid we would miss our musical cue, I jumped in singing a little too soon, a little out of key and my voice cracking under nervous pressure. When a new confidence exploded in our egos, our voices sang out, blending into one beautiful sound.
After the song ended, we enjoyed the crash of applause but hurried back down the aisle to escape. On the way out, people patted our shoulders and said things like “You need to sing again sometime.” And, “Girls, you've got talent.”
As I remember it, we never sang together again. Probably for the better. We might have become famous, and well—you know.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Smuggling and Giggles

The word smuggle makes me giggle. I have no idea why except some words do that for me. When Hillary Melton-Butcher from Positive Letters…inspirational stories…. featured the word “Smuggling” as her A-Z alphabet word posted here, I giggled. Then this story popped into my mind.

I have a weakness for most sugary candies. When my kids were young, every Easter I bought candy to fill their Easter baskets. Halloween, I would buy candy to hand out to the goblins. Christmas—well the same, I bought candy to fill the Christmas stockings.

My problem was that this task turned into an expensive venture when I would buy the candy and then smuggle the candy (out of the baskets--sometimes) the “Easter Bunny” had prepared or from the stash of candy I had hidden and eat it.

Then off to the store again I would go to buy candy, all over again. Thankfully, my metabolism was much better then.

One day, my (then) husband said to me after my run to the store to purchase more candy, “I thought you'd already bought candy for the baskets.”

I grinned and nodded, then rolled the half eaten Easter egg with a hardish shell and creamy white middle, to the inside of my cheek. “I ate most of it.”

He rolled his eyes and left the room.

A few years later, I decided that I wouldn’t buy ANY candy for ANY occasion until the day before I needed it. This works much better for my pocketbook, my waistline and my smuggling weakness.

And let's not forget the story of smuggling a box of sugar cubes from my friend’s basement so we could eat the entire box, but when we couldn’t, stored them elsewhere for future consumption. It didn’t really work out. Read The Sugar War, if you haven't, yet.

Smuggling drugs, people and terrorists into any country is not cool, terribly wrong and criminal.

My type of smuggling gives me--yes, giggles.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Friends and Séances, Love and Regret

Hattie, Jewel, and I are spending the night at Katie’s house because we’re too young to cruise the streets of the small town, where we go to school, in cars we don’t own and with dates we’re too young to go on—officially. Instead, we play records and dance, talk about friends and enemies and 1971 fashion. Jewel changes clothes, under the clothing she’s wearing, like a magic act. I change in the only bathroom in the house, while Hattie and Katie strip down to dress in their PJs, in front of everyone.

As I walk back to Katie’s bedroom, I stop to stare at her brother’s vacant room. He’s out on a date with an older girl that I’m convinced stole him from me. My junior high crush is long gone, but not the memory of belting out, for him to hear, Loretta Lynn's song, You Ain’t Woman Enough to take my Man, with Katie singing back-up—a regrettable performance. Later I conclude that love is time consuming and heart wrenching—made of sweetness, until it sours and easily replaced with new love.

Back in the bedroom, the four of us occupy Katie’s full sized bed, crisscrossed, propped on our sides—talking again. That’s when I bring up the accident of my childhood friend. I tell them she had fallen off a hayride wagon and underneath its wheel. I tell them how I’d heard, that the wheel ran over her head, but how she stayed alive to call out for her mom and dad, when someone found her. Then she died. I say it’s sad that she won’t get to be with her family again, except in heaven, or grow up like we’re doing. No one says anything until Katie says, we should have a séance to see if she wants to talk to us. 
Someone says we need a candle so Katie sneaks one into the room along with matches to light it and places it on the floor. As if we’d done this before, we form a circle around the candle then sit with crossed legs and hold hands. Katie decides the lights should be off and leaves the ring of girls to flip the switch, then in the candle light, she joins hands again.

No one points out the waltzing shadows unleashed on the walls, by a single flame. With wide eyes we stare at each other, eyeballs dancing from friend to friend, chests heaving with anticipation—and fear.  For whatever reason, I take the lead and call out to my friend asking if she is in the room and to say something if she is. One of the other girls says something, but its muffled in my ears because there is a deafening pressure, and they need to pop.  
We’re still holding hands when the flame stretches upward, then flickers in an attempt to stay alive, but doesn't. The hush of darkness lasts only seconds before screams pierce the silence. Hysteria rouses us to race to the door, tromping each other until someone flips the switch and the lights come on.

“What was that?” Katie says, in spastic breaths.
“Who blew out the candle?” Jewel demands.

Each girl shakes her head—no, but we still challenge each other with raised eyebrows.  The  séance over.
*Names have been changed to protect privacy.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Frank Dugan Loved to Sing

"Songs of Inspiration"
My grandfather Frank Dugan loved to sing.

I sang in a band during my high school years, later--solo at church functions. Once I sang for 200 plus people at a church revival, other smaller revivals, a women’s (church) conference and a wedding.  

I love singing, too.

One Sunday after I had sang for my church, a man who grew up with my mom, told me that my voice reminded him of my Grandpa Frank’s singing voice. I knew that my grandpa loved singing, but no one had ever compared my voice to his. 
I have a songbook of his. This well worn songbook has his name written inside, in my grandmother's handwriting. 
Frank Dugan.

The first song in the book: There Shall be Showers of Blessings

I can imagine that he sang with zest and perhaps sang to me once during the six months we lived with him.  Someday I'll hear Grandpa Frank sing again--in heaven. Perhaps we'll sing together.

The last page.
Here's my post on and photos of Frank Dugan's family.

And.that's.a.wrap! My third A-Z Blogging Challenge has been completed. In the process, I've brought out of hiding family treasures to share with you. I hope you enjoyed my posts.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Yesteryear and Sibs

My blog posts wouldn't be complete without a mention of my own siblings and a couple of photos.

A long time ago, my dad and mother gifted me with…a little brother and sister, but not at the same time. (You thought I was going to say a puppy or pet chicken, didn't you?) They were thoughtful folks. And I didn’t even have ask for their gift.
First there was just me.
 (I can't believe I found the picture of me and my rocking chair after I posted about the rocking chair.)

After that, there was just me and my little brother.  He was okay until he learned how to talk and told me my clothes didn't match and other things.
Then it was just me, my little brother and a brand new baby sister. The day she came home from the hospital with all of her cuteness, my little brother told the parents to take her back. Although cowboys always know best, they decided to keep her anyway.

In time she grew on us, well she grew on me. Our brother liked gourds better.

About the time the brother accepted her, I was having second thoughts because she had better hair than me.
Joking aside, they're pretty great for siblings as long as they remember who remains number one.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Belva Dugan--extra special

Born and raised in Missouri, my Aunt Belva Dugan (on the right) lived in Texas most of her adult life. The oldest of eight children, Belva married once, but after a few years, her husband divorced her. They had no children. She was a career woman.
My aunt was a wonderful woman, sweet and easy to talk to. She sewed and crafted, but I remember her most for her faith in God.
She left behind a sweet devotional book. I am its caretaker.

This is Aunt Belva's Streams in the Desert devotional book given to her by a Sunday School Class.

I am so happy I have this book. Why?

I can’t even count the times; I’ve visited this book in times of grief and hardship. Somehow it gives me new things to think about each time and if a book can comfort, it does.   

Two of my favorite poems wait for me inside its covers. 
Belva Dugan as an infant. My ears stuck out like that, too.
Belva Dugan first born daughter of Frank and Sadie (Stafford) Dugan.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

White Bowl

No one ever left my Grandmother Sadie Stafford Dugan’s home, hungry—or at least I didn’t. With a house full of mouths to feed every Sunday after church, there was lots of cooking going on.

Three foods I associate with my grandmother’s cooking: pan of dressing, boiled oatmeal (never instant) and green beans from the garden. Can green beans melt in your mouth? Grandma’s did.
Grandma Sadie raised eight children with my grandfather Frank. She had a lot of practice cooking and not with modern food or conveniences.

The bottom Grandma's bowl is beautiful, too.

This is my mother's family of origin.  Little Grandma Sadie is in the middle of the photo. My mother's (Joyce) head is between her parents.
Grandma Sadie and I during the time we lived with my grandparents. Dog in background, photo bombing, name unknown.
A white bowl, green beans and a precious grandma. Enough said.