You see, Granny was a witch …

My most cherished memory of my Granny was her calling me to her so she might rub my warts. You might find it strange that a grandmother would want to rub her grandson’s warts, but it was nothing unusual, or even noteworthy, to anyone in our household.

For as long as I can remember, up to when I was in my early teens, I had warts on my hands, you see. When I say I had warts, I mean, I had LOTS of warts. On my left hand only, I’d venture to say I had over one hundred warts. The back side of my left thumb was near a solid mass of warts. I had warts on the palms of my hands. I’m telling you true! I had warts!

Shortly after their, Granny and Two-Daddy, arrival from the valley, and once she got settled on the couch, she would call me to her.

It was not uncommon for her to call anyone of her grandkids to her during her visit. So, I wouldn’t necessarily have thought she was eager to rub my warts when she called. It is only in retrospect that it comes to mind that she singled me out for this administration of healing love fairly promptly on her arrival.

You see, Granny was a witch. No, not the ugly kind, but rather the good, and pretty kind. The kind that can make camp fire smoke turn, and the kind that can make warts go away by rubbing them.

You might say, “pashaw!” and, I wouldn’t blame you one little bit, if you did. For it takes a believer to accept what cannot be put into evidence in a “right here and now” kind of way. And too, my warts did not diminish for many years. Having said that, from my vantage point of being wart free since my teen years, Granny rubbed my warts away.

While this was a great thing done for me by my Granny, and it is something personally unique between us, her gift of candy is her most notable contribution to our family. Rubbing warts was just witchy kind of day to day stuff. Oh, and the waving smoke away too.

 

Wint

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Cocoon of Love

No greater love exits in this world,

Than that of Mother for her little girl,

Yeah there is that little boy,

He’s more like Dad’s little toy.

 

At your own risk, say no way bub!

Walk between lioness and cub,

Or between my wife and daughter,

You’ll learn quick you ought not of.

 

When life gives her a push and a shove,

When fairness loses to just because,

Daughters live in a cocoon of love,

The only greater love comes from above.

 

Wint

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Scarred Old Bull

The old scarred bull now stays within his home range, moving less often and always with some degree of pain. He has forgotten the battles, but not the scars. His cow loves him and endlessly dotes on her mate. The grazing is good. No one messes with the old bull.

The familial unit of his youth still resonates within him, but the reverbs are muted and indistinct. One echo that still rings fairly clear is when his siblings first began showing signs a new order was emerging. Each were moving on, or had moved on, to creating their own herds. The bonds that previously held them close were loosened. For some time the old bull was drawn to shared feeding grounds and partook in engaging activities, but month over month, year by year, all drifted from their familial herd origins, and their bonds.

During this transitional period the bull took to bachelor groups for contests of heart and spirit. Bachelor groups tend to persist well beyond other groupings, even surviving through periods when bulls pair with a cow. Over time he found a cow and together they created their own herd. On occasion the old scarred bull feels a tug from his youth, but his days are his own and they are good, though less eventful. He sees not of his siblings. He heard Mustafa once say, “Simba, this is the circle of life.” At the time, he thought this was funny as all get out! These days, he finds no humor in such banal generalities.

 

(Well this is a depressing start to my day …)

 

Wint

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In Christ, May All Be Risen Today!

After sunrise service today, the following flowed from my soul …

Life flows, not unlike a river, or the wind. Rivers have disturbances in their flow, thereby creating eddies, falls, lakes and rapids. Wind, similarly, has its way of moving past obstacles. Life has all these, and more.

Remember when, as a kid, you put your hand outside the car window, subjecting it to the force of “the wind”? Who has not thrown a stick in moving water to watch its path? At times, life can feel like a hand in the wind, or a stick in a current.

An airplane must maintain an appropriate attitude to the forces of direction and wind in order to stay on track and not fall out of the sky. In order to remain upright, a canoe must maintain appropriate attitude to the current, in which its submerged parts are floating, as well as to the wind in which its upper parts are exposed. Both of these feats are facilitated by, indeed are dependent on, propulsion. In recap, successful navigation is dependent, first and foremost, on propulsion, and secondarily on proper attitude. Perhaps more simply put, propulsion and attitude are tools, whose usage must be learned and honed in order to maintain a proper course.

Life, my friends, is analogous to both of these, a flying airplane and a floating canoe.

What is providing propulsion in our lives? Are we subject to forces beyond our control, including forces put upon us by our fellow human beings? Or, might we identify within ourselves a driving force which may be harnessed, and to which a proper attitude might be applied? This is the case I mean to make.

Over the years, I’ve learned what drives me is companionship. For me to know where I am, and where I am going, I must have context. In Christ, I am never alone, or without context. Though I may at times proffer myself as “Christ-like”, especially amongst sinners with whom I so identify, I am not Christ and am very much human. As a human I am malleable, ever changing, am buffeted by forces beyond my control, and must be ever vigilant in maintaining proper attitude. On the occasion that I lose context, lose sight of Christ, it is important that I am surrounded by other humans who also maintain a proper attitude towards God, for it is they who might help orient me within external forces pushing me off-course, and help readjust my attitude. (“When we go searching for Jesus, do we look for Him in the tomb – or among the living?”) Without other living beings, I would be subject to prevailing forces and perhaps stay off course so long as to be lost forever. Best that I might never lose sight of Christ, but perfect steerage through this life is possible only by Him.

Each of us maintains a unique worldly context. For when God designs, or molds, a human life, using materials taken from both mother and father, he breaks each mold. In this I cherish my relationship with Christ, which is as unique as are we all. So by, I am not driven to church, synagogue, mosque or temple, but rather to a personal shrine in which I commune with Him.

Today, through Christ, my father is risen! He walks amongst us and his countenance reflects to me in the faces of those who gather with me today. In This Way, also with me are Betty, Granddaddy and Grandmother, Chalk and Sally, Granny and 2Daddy, Dube, Uncle Pete, and Douglas.

In THIS, I find peace, and am happy. My attitude, to the ebbs and flows of life, is so adjusted.

“Christ is risen!” “What a friend I have in Jesus!” “Praise God, from Whom all blessing flow!”

Love

Wint

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Throwing jabs, bobbing and dancing just like Ali …

Truth be told, Dad likely had ulterior motives when he bought me and Barb boxing gloves. Heck, it might have even been his idea! While not clearly remembering how we came to get the gloves, I remember quite clearly the bouts, which always ended badly.

Thinking back to my youth, there was nothing more satisfying than that moment when two or more friends agree to play. It matters not what was to be played, it was sweet anticipation when playing anything was agreed upon. It did matter how many would be playing though. When a group of kids agreed to play football, that was the ultimate! Of course it mattered whether it was to be tackle or touch. Ah, but that’s another story.

Me and Barb agreeing to put the gloves on also carried with it that excitement. Most times this came up, we were bored and no one else was around to play anything else. We would get all excited, find all the gloves, which was not always easy to do, and feverishly get them on and laced. Well, mostly laced. How two little boys both get gloves on and laced is a conundrum. All thumbs, you know? Once “ready”, we would get started throwing a few jabs and bobbing and dancing just like Ali. Well, about the time one of us landed an actual punch to the face, that’s when the fight really started. Generally this meant the boxing match was over and the wrestling match was on!!! Until later years, after I had put on a few inches and some pounds, this nearly always ended with me on my back, Barb kneeling on my arms, his face directly above mine, and drooling his spit, aimed squarely for my face. The key to this maneuver was to suck it back in after letting it stretch out a few inches. This was key because a man, okay a boy, that gets spit on is usually the winner by virtue of being the one with the highest degree of built up anger! The adrenaline rush here was astronomical! Yeah, “let’s box!” always sounded like a lot more fun than it actually turned out to be.

Back to whose idea it was to get boxing gloves …

When Barb and I got overly rowdy in the house, if we were only causing a slight inconvenience to Dad, he’d say, “Get out of this house and run around the block!” And you did. Of course you never ran the entire way round the block, but you ran at least ’til you could be certain you were out of his sight. If we were being particularly rowdy, he would say, “Get the gloves!” Holy crap! This meant we had to box fairly, box hard, and not stop when someone got hurt. I am here to tell you, that’s when I learned I was no real boxer!

So, whose idea was it to get boxing gloves in the first place? 😉

Love

Wint

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My Email About the Adult Diaper Market …

Long ago I fairly stopped emailing articles, but sorry, cannot help myself this morning … this is too relevant to the times to not.

Now the title of this article is kind of funny in itself … “any one of us, to either of our parents … please, don’t take them off!”  😉

Well, now we know where to invest some of that money we are sitting on … also, it supports the old  adage, “invest in what you use.”  😉

Remember the relief when you couldn’t hold it any more and you just wet in your pants?  (C’mon, don’t shame me … you know you do!) Well, now you can relive it, real time!

“Thanks folks … come back, I’m here all week …”  😉

I dun’t keer hoo ya’ r, dat rite deer is sum funny azz shit! (h/t: Larry)

OK, OK … on to the article …

The Adult Diaper Market Is About to Take Off

Thanks to the endless determination of parents to keep baby bottoms dry, Kimberly-Clark’s Huggies diapers brand has become a global powerhouse, with billions of dollars in annual sales. But the target consumers for one of the company’s latest diaper lines aren’t infants—or even their aged grandparents. Instead, ads for its Depend Silhouette line of disposable incontinence briefs feature laughing, long-legged models who look barely over 40. The personal-care giant has been aggressively running the fashion-style marketing pitches in mainstream magazines and on television, because adult incontinence is a market that’s recently become too big—and lucrative—to remain in the shadows.

“We’re trying to make the product more normal, and even fun, with real people in our ads saying, ‘Hey, I have bladder leakage, and it’s no big deal,’ ” says Jay Gottleib, head of Kimberly-Clark’s adult and feminine-care business in North America.

Growth in the adult-diaper market is outpacing that of every other paper-based household staple in the U.S. Euromonitor International forecasts a 48 percent increase in sales in the category, to $2.7 billion in 2020 from $1.8 billion last year. That compares with expected growth of 2.6 percent, to $6.3 billion, during that period for baby diapers. And in only a decade, sales of diapers for adults could surpass those for babies at Kimberly-Clark and rival Procter & Gamble. As birthrates fall and life spans lengthen, the companies figure there’s plenty of room for expansion, because babies grow out of diapers, but incontinent adults usually don’t.

Read more of this article here:

From <http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-11/the-adult-diaper-market-is-about-to-take-off>

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This is Who I Am, Really!

The fair Katherine works on her feet all day as a scrub tech. She has busy days for certain. It is not uncommon for Katherine to … gracefully, yes … that’s the word … ask for a foot massage. Which, she deserves on a daily basis.

Now to me …

Knowing that the fair Katherine deserves a daily foot massage does not equate to my making such an offer every afternoon upon her arrival home. The petty, little boy makes her ask. (There is an outside chance that’s a harsh judgement.) What a shit!

To bring this into focus for those merrit (“married” for you low landers) less than 24 years … this is how this little scenario plays out “real time”.

At some point today, Katherine was assisting on rolling a bed out of surgery and her foot was caught under the wheel at an angle such that the bed came to a complete stop. The pressure exerted by a gurney on a sudden stop with a foot? Don’t really know, but I’d venture it is a lot!

Whilst I was considering fair Kathrine … I thought how this afternoon would be ideal for a foot massage. Then I thought, “Oh, her foot is severely bruised and painful.” My immediate thought … get this, my IMMEDIATE thought … was, “Yes! Go to her now!” For I knew … have you guessed? … I knew, she would say, “Oh thank you! Not today though. My foot really hurts.”

Now THAT is who I am. A shit, but human. (Aye God … but I never thought I would see so far!)

Wint

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Betty, Betty heart of gold …

She brought gold to lives, one rock at a time,

Hope you value yours as I cherish mine,

Rags to riches stories to be sure,

Richer are we simply having known her.

 

Betty, Betty heart of gold,

When God made you he broke the mold,

Judgment may have crossed your mind,

But never have I met someone so kind.

 

Your son I’m not but you’re my mother,

Bob and Eddie are my brothers,

Mary and Jamie are my sisters too,

We cry for ourselves not for you.

 

Of all your gifts that I treasure,

One is greatest without measure,

Without your consent I’d not got her,

Blessed am I, you gave me your daughter.

 

For me … this is what I hope,

Ruth Rae plays marbles and you jump rope,

Maybe Margie and you playing with dolls,

While Granny and Daddy are watching it all.

 

Love

Wint (LeeBo)

Posted in Love, Poem | 5 Comments

On Christmas Eve, Katherine’s mama, Betty …

2015_12_24_Betty (1)

It seems I have not sent an update on Mama in a long time, though it has only been two weeks. But oh, what a two weeks it has been.

On Christmas Eve, Katherine’s mama, Betty, died unexpectedly. Betty was also my surrogate mama. She was such an integral part of our lives, the void we feel will be long in filling with retelling of stories of Betty and the impact she had on so many.

Betty was a true southern belle. Possessing classic beauty and grace, she demonstrated command of her environment raising five children on her own while also impacting her community to a degree, and in ways, rarely seen.

As the county health nurse, nurse and head nurse of the local hospital, and retirement center nurse, she vaccinated a large swath of children through the years and medically treated an even broader set of folks from the remote rural setting she commanded.

I use the word “commanded” here because Betty commanded the stage wherever she was. She commanded not with a pushy way, but rather with natural leadership and compassion.

Betty was the mold, which will remain unbroken in the form of her children and in the countless lives she helped mold. Those carrying forward the “shape and essence” of Betty was evidenced at her viewing, church service and graveside service. So many tears, so much laughter, so many folks.

There is so much more to say about Betty, and say it I will. For now, as a way of acknowledging Betty’s impact on me, I add her now as dedicate to this poem, written in memory of Christine (Winnie) Winston and Hoyt Hudgens, Residue. (I am copying this poem at the end of this post for easy reference.)

Wipe away the tear and take the next step in a life filled with bold intent and laughter. Betty commands it!

Mama was in fine form yesterday and I kept the entire room in rapt attention, even garnering a few comments from the gallery. Aye Gosh! I may have missed my calling as an orator. 🙂

Love

Wint

RESIDUE

Where in the world do we go when we die?

Can you really swallow it’s up in the sky?

Maybe it’s hot if below we go.

Does it really matter? Do we really need to know?

What will you change? What will you do?

If I tell you now about residue?

Residue you say? What does this mean?

After living your life, residue is what you leave.

Residue in the lives of those you have touched,

Thoughts in the minds of those you have loved,

Pain and sorrow for those who love you,

Eased by the presence of your residue.

Residue spreads through service you have rendered,

Into the lives of those you have tendered,

Reflected in the acts of those you inspired,

Is residue from a life touched by God’s fire.

(Written in memory of Christine (Winnie) Winston and Hoyt Hudgens.)

Love

Wint

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Granny’s Candy

One of my most vivid memories as a boy is Granny’s candy. Not only may her candy be some of the greatest candy ever made, it is tied to Christmas, giving it perhaps the strongest synapse connection that could possibly exist in a young boys mind. While my parents were creative thinkers when it came to surprising us at Christmas time, showing a willingness to buck tradition for the sake of childhood excitement, one thing that would be unchanging throughout my childhood is Granny’s candy.

Granny’s candy is actually three different kinds of candy. Divinity, Date Nut Loaf and Aunt Bill’s Brown Candy. Aunt Bill’s Brown Candy. That sentence right there, in the words of Augustus McCrae, says itself with no explanation needed. You either know it or you don’t. If you don’t know it, woe to you, you are bereft of the ultimate goodness. If you know it, it says so many things, and the memories that flood your mind are as the candy itself, which floods your mouth with slobber producing ooey, gooey sweetness. Aunt Bill’s Brown Candy must be experienced to be understood. It is the “beyond words” kind of good. If, like me, you don’t mind, and actually kind of enjoy, a good fart, it is also a physical good feeling generator. Few are the fart stimulating foods in this world more effective than Aunt Bill’s.

If Aunt Bill’s seems to have crowded out Divinity and Date Nut Loaf above, it is not due to their lack of admirers, or their like goodness. It’s just hard, really hard, for anything that goes into your mouth to beat out Aunt Bill’s.

So, there is the setup. Two boys conditioned like Pavlov’s dogs to respond with gastro delight to even the idea of Granny’s candy, especially Aunt Bill’s.

My mother’s parents, my grandparents, Granny and 2-Daddy, lived in McAllen, near the border with Mexico in the valley. It was not uncommon for them to travel to Houston and, as is often the case with young boys, regularly my brother and I would be surprised to find them in the house upon our arrival from school. Such was the occasion on the afternoon of “Granny’s Candy”.

On this deliciously fateful afternoon my brother Barb and I came into the house accompanied by Tommy, our lifelong childhood friend.

A bit of an aside is called for here I believe …

As a child, every family I was aware of was something. Either Protestant, Catholic, or suspect. Our house was fairly representative of our neighborhood in that we were Episcopalian and the neighbors on each side were Catholic. Our house included five children, the house on the left nine, and the house on the right thirteen. Tommy was older than me, but younger than Barb. He was best friend to us both. The three of us would go on to do great things together, much to the chagrin of our mamas. Tommy was well acquainted with Granny’s candy.

So, Barb, Tommy and I came into the kitchen through the garage door to be greeted by Granny, who was, as was common for her, busily washing dishes at the sink.

“Hello boys!”, Granny greeted us.

The surprise at finding her there, the air filled with wafting goodness, the love glowing within Granny’s countenance, all spurred Barb and me to jump to Granny, throwing ourselves in her welcoming arms.

“We didn’t know you were here?!” we cried with excitement.

It’s hard to remember why Granny and 2-Daddy elicited the level of excitement from us that they did. Granny didn’t play with us. 2-Daddy seemed always to be on the golf course, reading a book, or watching sports on TV. They did however provide a great distraction to our parents, freeing me and Barb up for doing things our parents otherwise would not have tolerated. I simply don’t remember much direct interaction with them. What I do remember is their love. The manner in which they did interact was, well … loving. My most cherished memory of my Granny was her calling me to her side so she might rub my warts. You see, Granny was a witch. Not the ugly kind, but rather the good, and pretty kind. The kind that can make camp fire smoke turn away, and the kind that can make warts go away by rubbing them.

“You boys want some candy?”, Granny asked.

“Sure!”, we all cried in unison.

Turning to the kitchen counter, Granny lifted a tray of candies offering it to us with a smile of pure sweetness, as was the promise from the candy!

Looking back on this event, I cannot say with any level of certainty, but at least in my mind’s eye, she wore a witches smile at that moment. Imagining the anticipation and humorous excitement that must have been raging to explode within her mind, knowing how “set up” these three boys were by the memories of Granny’s Candies past, she had to be ready to burst! She pulled it off though! Red Skelton could not have pulled it off any better! Her timing was impeccable. For me, this will ever remain the most surprising thing any adult would ever do.

Like gluttonous pigs we reached for pieces of ultimate goodness. Of course, Barb and I grabbed a piece of Divinity. Tommy grabbed a piece of brown candy that looked like a coconut ball.

Barb and I had intuitively grabbed for the Divinity, for its inherent and known goodness, and likely avoided the coconut candy due to unfamiliarity. In hind sight, that should have been our clue that something was amiss. A tray of candy from Granny that included something other than Divinity, Date Nut Loaf and Aunt Bill’s, is suspect under any scenario.

Each little piggy tossed candy into maws and set to ruminating.

Barb and I immediately ran to the garbage can and began spitting! “Good God! Mother of all things good! It was not Divinity! It was Dove soap!”, my mind screamed!

In between spits, Barb hollered at Tommy, whose face reflected total confusion and disgust, “Spit it out! It’s not real!”

Tommy, incredulous as he was, seemed unable to understand what was happening and continued delicately chewing on his cotton ball, which had been rolled in some kind of coconuty melted sugary kind of stuff. I can only imagine, as I did not venture a taste myself, that the coconut balls did not so much taste bad, as they felt … just wrong! Chewing a cotton ball must scream at the mind, “spit it out!”

Finally, sheepishly moving to the garbage can, Tommy shamefacedly began spitting out his “candy”.

Meanwhile, back at Eastwick and the witch’s lair, Granny was about to split a gut laughing, laughing and laughing. She was not laughing at us though. She was seemingly laughing at something unseen, and with such delight as though to discount our very presence. It was like a laugh from a demon in your dreams, except this one was filled with delight and happiness. Probably it touched on something from her past, tickling her funny bone in a very unique way that only she had the possibility of recognizing. Something like residue from an earlier life episode.

“My God!”, I thought. “This is not my Granny! My Granny couldn’t do this. Wouldn’t do this! Who … what … uh … why … what just happened?!”

Barb and I discovered something magically new about our Granny that day. Granny had a deviously funny side to her that we never suspected! She was an absolute hoot! She was the very definition of “hootness”! This episode lives as residue within my soul, and will forever, long as I draw breath.

To the end of my days I am blessed by this occasion in my life. If a person had only this one memory, their remembrance would be rich with goodness, humor and love. Yes, our Granny loved us and delighted in our presence.

Oh, Granny, I miss you so.

Love

Wint

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