Tuesday, June 24, 2008

George Carlin

In Memory of the Best Comedian: George Carlin

Over many years his brand of in your face analogies of everyday life has amused me because he was so very real. Many relegated him to be an offensive speaker, but he was so much more than that.  I had the privilege of seeing him in Charlotte once and it will be remembered so fondly until I leave this earth too.  I loved his play on words and he always had such perfect timing.  George will be remembered for his insights as well as many a fart joke. The 7 bad words, big business customer service and people and their stuff are some of my favorite routines. He really saw so much and help open the eyes of so many. Thanks so much for sharing your life and many pictures of your animals throughout the years. You have given all of humanity something to smile and think about. You will be sorely missed.  An odd little coincidence is that George was born in 1937 and that was the last 4 digits of my parents phone number for many years.  He also died just 3 months after my son, so I lost two of my most favorite people that year.  To Georges family may you all have my deepest condolences and I know those words are so very inadequate. 

You Are All Diseased

It's Bad For Ya

Life is Worth Losing

George Carlin's Last Interview   

Thursday, June 12, 2008


You know I bought my first computer in 1998 brand new, off the shelf and nursed it through my ignorance 3 hard drive crashes and three windows upgrades. Toward the end it was limping gamely along trying to understand what to do with the new technology so we gave it the nickname Gertrude. At Christmas we bought a new desktop with a flat screen monitor but quickly realized that Windows Vista was not real friendly with other programs. Old Gertrude had given the dreaded blue screen with signals of imminent hard drive failure so there was no going back. I needed a laptop so off we go and buy one off the shelf again with Vista. And then it gets fun.
With a laptop you need a wireless router and printer. Add all the great software I wanted to all that I needed to make it run properly and I’ve spent a small fortune and time just setting everything up. Then I realize the need to set up our own network and add battery back up to the desk top so I have seen the cable guys more than I have seen my friends.
We upgraded to Windows Ultimate, Microsoft Office Suite, Mionet, Quickbooks, 3 different photo editing software not including Adobe and Elements, Reg Booster, Google everything, AOL browser and a password managing program to remember way to many passwords. It’s a blessing when shopping for graphics for myspace and other social sites. My experience has taught me that many of the free programs are just as good as the paid ones sometimes even better. I found one a little too late to save me some trouble but Photobucket really works well when you find a great graphic that you are just not ready to post.
For a long while all I used was Yahoo and that left a lot to be desired. Now the Myspace thing is a cool way off showing off who you are if you have an enormous amount of time to figure out what a layout is, where it goes and the myspace editor is not the best tool to do the job. Once you get the background set and add pictures, graphic, music and info about yourself, just wait, if myspace has a bad day everything you’ve worked on is out the door never to be seen again. And the kids use the bulletins as a constant reminder of where they are more often than not. But you can add a lot of pictures and blog, which is a whole new thing for me.
Although I also have a Facebook account I don’t use it as much but it is easier to converse with adults without all the drama and their applications work a little better than on myspace. But now that I have found blogging to help get things off my chest I come back to the Google Blogger because it is easier to use. They also have Orkut networking site but not many people seem to be using that yet. The HP care advisor and photo program haven’t worked right since we got everything else working right and now they tell me that I need to reinstall the restore disk and return the laptop back to factory setting and I have one question for them. Have they lost their mind? It would take me a month just to get back to some symbolism of normal and do they think we have nothing else better to do with our time and money?
So now I have 4 different email addresses depending on the sites I visit, 4 different social networking sites depending on my friends’ preferences, and 4 different photo editing programs. Maybe I’ll figure out Adobe one day. But on the bright side online banking is great. Now if I could just get dinner delivered from online sites I would never have to leave the house!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Poem for Trey

As dawn broke and the day began
I woke up all alone again
As I quietly came to and started my day
I wondered what I did to push you away
As you counted down the days to be free
I wondered how your future would be
We spoke by phone once or twice
The week before you lost your life
You were mad and I was too
At how the world was treatin you
But we had time or so I thought
For me to teach what needed to be taught

I saw the news and got mad as hell
Even before we knew you weren’t well
The news came in and just couldn’t be true
I had to see with my own eyes before I knew
As I kneeled down to touch your face
I knew you had gone to a better place
But what am I supposed to do
Left here all alone without you

The next two days were planned with care
So many loved you so many were there
After many had left mostly in a daze
I returned to your final resting place
It didn’t seem real it didn’t seem right
I have lost my vision and my inner light
You are my reason you are my soul
And now that you’re gone I may never be whole
Another tragedy and one great loss
What I wouldn’t give to be the one under the moss

As days go by and nights go on
I still wait right here by the phone
I know it may seem crazy or lame
But it is true just the same
If I could I would give every last dime
To hear your voice just one last time
You had no idea how loved you are
But now you can see from your own star
Your friends have stepped up to help with the grief
And I know you look down with pride and relief
You left to soon and will be missed by all
So until that time I’ll wait for your call

Shine Down's Simple Man

Eric Clapton's Knockin on Heavens Door

Tears in Heaven

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I consider myself a realist and by that I mean I am not an optimist or a pessimist but I strive for the middle ground. I live by the motto hope for the best but prepare for the worst and for those of you who know me or my family then you understand why. I always tried to examine situations and listen to people more than I talk to them. I am still prone to knee jerk reactions to things that impact my life or my close friends because it is natural to some extent. As long as I don’t act on those first impulses and step back from the situation to think about it in context, then things usually work out just fine. But it’s those times when I can’t step back fast enough to stop those knee jerk reactions that get me into a mess of trouble. Emotions run high with years of frustration from many parties involved because everybody has a different perspective on what’s best for each other and not themselves. Then you add the death of a high school teenager, my son and only child to the reality of life and I find myself wrapped up in a high school drama that I had prayed I left behind, only to find that I was just dreaming.

I am very used to taking care of myself without taking advantage of other people in the process. I know that if I set my mind to something I will finish it even if it has to be broken down to many baby steps taken one at a time. I may have an idea of what other peoples’ problems are or even a solution but I rarely offer advice even when people ask. The truth is hard for anyone to swallow and I believe people have to experience things for themselves so that’s why I rarely bother any more. The bad things is I’ve played dumb for many years and by doing so learned many things much quicker than I would have otherwise. It wasn’t very hard because people look at me and make that assumption on first impressions and I don’t try hard to change it. They way I deal with questionable people is to give them enough rope to make a swing or a noose and the choice is totally theirs. About the only thing that surprises me anymore is how fast some actually hang themselves. I over came many obstacles to get where I am today so I have very little in common with shallow people with a since of entitlement. My knee jerk reaction to those folks is… run!

The biggest problem I have in my life is when those people can’t take a hint and then try to play me for a fool sometimes repeatedly. When I was younger I would have sought vengeance and ended up embroiled in a cycle that took a long time to break. At the other end of the spectrum with age I began to try to do whatever it took to keep the peace because I learned the hard way it was easier. Over the years I have chosen my battles but now I don’t have that option because everything in my life is changed and quite a few not only don’t like the changes but are actively trying to maintain status quo. So now when confronted with the obvious button pushers I have found that I have no patience for games, tact and political correctness because there’s an explosion when the right buttons are pushed.

And to those people all I can say is God bless you cause you’re going to need it. I have been on my own for over 20 years and in addition to experience I am finally comfortable with who I am. I like solitude because I can work or be creative better without distractions and most importantly I can think. I don’t want control over others lives, just my own and just because I don’t play the games doesn’t mean I’m not paying attention. As much as I desire peace I understand you have to create it. Well hope for the best but prepare for the worst because it’s going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better.

Six Degrees from Home

1. Home to Contradictions, 2. Six Degrees from Home, 3. Welcome Back to My Therapy, 
4.  Lying, Cheating, Stealing and Intent, 5. Power of You, 6. One Split Second,
7. Marvelous Mistakes, 8. I made a choice to make a change, 9. Connections to the Farm,
10. Back to the Farm, 11. It's a small world after all, 12 Fair Weather Friends,
13. Ghost of Roommates Past, 14. You can never go to far, 15. Glamorous Life,
16. Double Standards, 17. Lazy? No Exhausted, 18. Crossroads of Life and Death, 19. One Last Time, 20. When Worlds Collide I, 21. When Worlds Collide II, 22. When Worlds Collide III   23. The Unwanted New World, 24. Means the Old World Must Go, 25. So Where was God in all this? 26. Where did you get that from?27. The Reason for My Season,28. Was Always a Little Rascal, 29. Pictures and Quotes of the Little Rascal and final chapter 30. Closing in Contradictions. ~Use these links to read in order (some chapters have songs, new added content, pictures or all:)  Volume 2 >>>>>      

Taken you back in time again to the days where MidnightStar called the Operator because of some Freak-A-Zoid.  Herbie Rockit down on Eddie's Electric Avenue and later Frankie said Relax before Duran Duran Come(s) Undone.  John and us were Living On A Prayer while Prince sang about When Doves Fly and some of us were still just a Swinging.  

During school I wanted to make friends just like every other teenager out there but I had a hard time.  Being the pudgy kid with braces and a crazy mother made it very hard indeed, but I did manage to make a few.  The two main ones we'll call Sally and Sam and these two girls had a lot more freedom than I ever had.  They knew I was a dork who got caught Smoking In The Girls Room a lot and after a while, went their own way leaving me out in the cold.  Back then I was so hurt and mad but eventually got over it.  Looking back all those things are so trivial now and I really was a weird kid.  It is so wild with the advent of Facebook to see them 20 years later and Sally's husband of 17 years is really good friends with my roommate and best friend of today but I never knew that until a week ago!  Both are avid car guys who specialize in the same things so it's really not hard to see that, but for all that time neither of us had a clue about the other.  The last high school friend I had back then was a girl we'll call Misty and she loved walking barefoot around the school.   We also took dancing lessons together.  She was a little bit of an outsider herself, although I am not sure why because she was pretty and popular enough but we became friends and saw each other a good bit after we got out of school.  I'll write about her a little later though because there is a lot more to this story.   

The only other girl who I thought was cool that talked to me was the one that introduced me to my school crush of 2 years.  I dated him for a summer then lost my virginity to him and was brokenhearted when it didn't work out.  But how many people get to be with their high school crush even if only for a little while?  He lived with his sister and her husband at the time and loved racing all over the country roads.  They were well known at the sheriff's department but they still had a good time.  We'll be seeing them again though so just hold on...  Back in the smoking area we all had a good time, well if I wasn't skipping school with my newer friends.  There was a small store just behind the school that had a pool table in the back.  When the assistant principle showed up to check for any truant kids we'd dash out the back door.  One time even my mom showed up looking for me and was really mad too!  Much later one of the kids that hung out in the smoking area knew Marvelous and I saw her when we were together the first time before she died.  Another girl from the smoking area who also rode the bus with me was later found murdered by Union Counties first serial killer.  Her son and my son also grew up together.  That whole area has seen it's fair share of tragedy and way too many people not just from the trailer park but Union County has seen way to many deaths of our young people... 7 kids just in the trailer park alone.  Trey's friend Brian died when he was 16 and I went to school with his dad too.  Trey's best friend Danny who was 2 years younger, died 2 years and 1 month later.. than him.  One girl we grew up with down the road but was more friends with the brat than me, grew up and had 3 wonderful kids with a loving husband.  She died at the age of 35 shortly after Trey died.  I really feel like that whole area is cursed!       

I was about 14 when mom put me in a group home for girls that was located on the other side of Charlotte.  My roomie then was the biggest girl there at the time and I made sure to make friends with her.  There was always a lot of chores and even there I was grounded because I just wouldn't follow the rules of the new houseparents we had.  They said no more smoking and I said kiss my ass!  It was all down hill from there.  I didn't sleep a lot at the home but would sleep through classes because I didn't want to be there and thought everybody could kiss my ass!  I was there for 7 months and the kids at that high school never let us forget that we lived in the home.  In English class I got picked on by this kid almost everyday until I picked up my books and hummed then at him while going off on him at the same time.  I had enough of that in Union County and had learned how to defend myself against big bullies.  After the big girl left I made friends with a beautiful black girl named Paris.  I just loved her name and she was the sweetest person in the whole place.  For Halloween we dressed up as each other, she going white and me going black.  The coolest thing about the place was a big olympic sized pool but we could rarely swim in it.  Go figure!  I met many girls from broken homes that had so many more problems than me and I was sad that I was taking up a bed that could be used by one who needed it so much more than me.  So I made up my mind if I wasn't going to get out their way then I would get out mine.  I really didn't mind breaking the rules there because they weren't my parents and that made it oh so much easier.

We had another arrival at our house and I got along with her fine, at first.  She was a Lumbee Indian and I really did like her until she started giving me grief and sucking up to the houseparents like she was a pet or something.  So I started to run my mouth right back.  The last week I was there I tried different things to get them to throw me out and nothing was working.  This one night she started to tell the houseparents I was watching TV and because I was on restriction, that wasn't allowed.  I started telling her rather loudly what a sorry sucky person she was and she got the old man to come to her aid.  He sat down with me in front of the TV when I refused to move and after he cleared the rest of the girls out to watch TV in their apartment.  He asked me what my problem was and I told him... YOU and that no good Indian!  She could hear me and I wanted her too.  I was not really all that mad at her and my goal was getting out.  She finally came out and we started to fight.  It really was kind of funny to see the woman parent try to keep the others out of the fight even though they weren't even trying to get in it... but my girl Paris was cheering me on!  I love her!  Well the man tried to keep us apart with little success but they finally separated us and put us in the kitchen on either corner.  They put me in the corner with all the house cleaning stuff so when the Indian started to run her mouth again, I just picked up a can and started humming them at her with pretty good aim.  It still didn't get me thrown out so I had to come up with something even better so when the director came over to see about the situation or me rather I threw a shop vac at him as he was coming in my room.  That worked and I was going home that night!  As I left I told them... see we could have avoided all this if you had just thrown me out earlier.  That's was a chilly ride home because there has been only a few times in which I pissed my mother off to the point of her not talking to me and that was one of them!  Much later I would see one of the girls from the home when she started dating one of my ex husbands friends.               

My girl Trixie and I had our ups and downs through out my time at my parents.  Usually it had to do with boys and we even stopped speaking for a while because of one.  Not because I wanted him but I thought he didn't treat her right and told her about it.  But she was in love and nothing I could say or do would make a difference.  She has recently started to date this man again but with much better luck this time around. At least I hope because I had no luck when I looked back.  She introduced me to several boys and one I dated for just a minute but he was too intense for me then.  I broke up with him and started dating his friend.  He was much more laid back and was headed toward the military academy.  Well we dated for a while and then I met Jeff who was almost 9 years older than me (yes I lied to my mother about his age or she would've had a cow) but he played guitar and had a beard.  ( I've always had a thing for guys with full dark beards.)  I had to tell the guy I was dating that I wanted to break up but he still wanted me to attend a military ball in SC with him.  I said sure I'd still go but didn't really think anything else about it because there was a long time before it happened and was sure he'd find someone else to go with.  He really was a great guy. 

Then Jeff and I started dating and when it came time for my prom he said he would go with me.  Jeff really was a good guy too and we never did anything too wild together.  The only thing that happened was when I was grounded as usual but left work early one night to be with him.  He picked me up in his green WV beetle and no sooner had we got on the road when mom busted me... again.  I just didn't know it until I got home though and no she was not silent this time. I wasn't sure she would let me go to the prom but she did and about that time the military guy had his mom stop by and tell me when the ball was to take place... two days before the prom!  I was honest with Jeff and he was very gracious about it so I went to both, wearing the same second hand dress to both.  Whew that was tough but I had a good time at the ball.  It was different with the prom because I knew those people and always felt like I couldn't measure up.  Jeff helped me through the night and we made it out alive.  The over priced dinner we had at a nice uptown restaurant didn't leave us full so we went out and had pizza afterward.   He was also the person I got drunk with for the first time when we were at a party.  I was so sick for the rest of the night and even mom knew when I came home that night!  We eventually broke up but I would still see him off and on over the years.  Many years later I find out on Facebook again that my cousin (close enough) who lives in SC was now dating the first guy Trixie introduced me to over 20 years ago. 

During drivers ed we really did have a teacher that was eventually convicted of DUI while in the drivers ed car.  It was the same man that told us when we see rail road tracks to floor it!  As long as a train was not coming that is.  Also my mom had rules.  Lots off them but when I turned 16 and shortly after they gave me an Escort it was as close to freedom as I had come.  Three of their rules were... Do not pick any of your friends up on the way to school... Do not skip school... And do not go to Charlotte and God help me but I broke all three of those rules on the first day.  I swear I couldn't help it.  It was like giving the keys to a prisoner and telling him to not open the door, do not walk out and do not go outside.  So they parked the car for a month and it was back to the bus.        

Thank God Trixie and I got over our problems for the most part because when I left home at 16 she helped find me a place to stay.  Well at least after that first night because I had to crawl in through a window at the brats house and sleep for a few hours before her grandparents got up earlier rather than later.  Now granted the house I moved to was with an old man who stayed drunk a lot, but it was better than nothing.  I was only there for 3 weeks though because I couldn't stand his drunk old friends banging on my door at night.  And that's when I ran into my old crushes sister out somewhere and told her about what was going on.  She said "Oh no!" and started to move me in with her and her husband right away.  I was thrilled even though my crush was long gone.  I slept with their two year old son but it was so much better than the drunk old mans place.  Until about a week later they told me they were about $750 behind on the rent and I needed to help pay it off.  What? Then they gave me a 10 pm curfew which I thought was ridiculous.  Later some friends and I went out and shortly after that is when I met my ex husband at a party.  After a few days of hanging out with him and meeting his family... I actually met the brother Greg first... I knew I wouldn't be in Union County much longer.  One night my ex was dropping me off at home and the sisters, husband was actually sitting outside in the car port on a lawn chair with a rifle in his hand.  It was 2 am and he was madder than a hornet so we just left and that's how I came to live with them.  Later when I went to get my stuff I found that much of it had been stolen and hocked.  I even went to the pawn shop and saw my jewelry but couldn't prove it was mine so I was out of luck.  

So with all that had happened, the first day of my senior year started and for most it was supposed to be the time of looking forward to the future but I was mad as hell and I still wanted to be free.  In the last days of summer I had to steal back my car from my mom because she wouldn't let me have it, which cost me my job at Burlington but I decided that it was in my name even though my grandparents bought it, so I took it back but not before a major fight.  When I got the car back to my exes house that day I left it right up front because I knew my mother.  She would find it and take it back just to teach me a lesson.  I was right and it was gone 24 hours later... but since it was taken from Charlotte instead of Union County,  I now had a legal leg to stand on when I called and reported it stolen and told them to look for it at my dad's work.  The police found the car rather quickly, called me, so I spoke with dad and told him he had a choice.  Give me the car, keys and title or go to jail.  I do know he was in an impossible situation but he did give me the car so I am sure he and mom probably had it out that night.  It was the first time in my life I had leverage and used it against my parents.  

It was the only way I could get them to do the right thing.  I mean when they threw me out I don't know if they thought I would come home in a few weeks with my tail between my legs or what but I knew that was not going to happen.  But why did they have to make it so very difficult just to survive?  So that first day of school I just couldn't bare to sit in that homeroom class early that morning and after a antsy period I just calmly gathered my stuff and slid out the side door to the parking lot toward my car as I had done so many times in the past.  I was done with school, at least this one anyway and I didn't look back. I had, had enough of Union County and it was time to go.  I knew we were just Another Brick In The Wall even back then.  In 91 while working at the bank I went to CPCC, completed an English and History course and got my diploma but no graduation or senior prom.  Years later when attending Trey's orientation for middle school I would see the man with the shot gun again.  I don't know if he recognized me but he sure did stare pretty hard.  I was so not worried about him at that point in time.  

   The cool kids in the smoking area including the late Christy Outz in the center.  RIP my friend!
Photo by Crystal Curlee

 My dad was taken pictures and I was so scared to even put my arms around him for fear of a heart attack!

3. So Welcome Back to My Therapy >>>>>                                        

Friday, May 30, 2008

Home to Contradictions

1. Home to Contradictions, 2. Six Degrees from Home, 3. Welcome Back to My Therapy, 4.  Lying, Cheating, Stealing and Intent, 5. Power of You, 6. One Split Second,
7. Marvelous Mistakes, 8. I made a choice to make a change, 9. Connections to the Farm,
10. Back to the Farm, 11. It's a small world after all, 12 Fair Weather Friends,
13. Ghost of Roommates Past, 14. You can never go to far, 15. Glamorous Life,
16. Double Standards, 17. Lazy? No Exhausted, 18. Crossroads of Life and Death, 19. One Last Time, 20. When Worlds Collide I, 21. When Worlds Collide II, 22. When Worlds Collide III   23. The Unwanted New World, 24. Means the Old World Must Go, 25. So Where was God in all this? 26. Where did you get that from?27. The Reason for My Season, 28. Was Always a Little Rascal, 29. Pictures and Quotes of the Little Rascal and final chapter 30. Closing in Contradictions. ~Use these links to read in order (some chapters have songs, new added content, pictures or all:)  Volume 2 >>>>>   


Since most of you don't know me, let me introduce myself. My name is Kristin Lynne and I am comfortably single. I say what I mean and mean what I say. If something causes me to be unable to fulfill a promise or commitment, I will be the first one to tell you. But that doesn't happen often because I have learned to say no a long time ago. My father is an alcoholic Vietnam War vet sliding into dementia now and my mom is a recovering control freak.  Baby steps.  Needless to say childhood was not a pleasant experience and yes I am an only child.  I spent a few months in a group home until I got them to throw me out.  The long and short of it was I was repressed, at least until I got thrown out at the age of 16 and then I let loose.

From small towns to big cities there is always a supply of interesting people around.  Sometimes you're kin to them and others you meet along the way.  Me personally, I am kind of boring.  For those who aren't familiar with Charlotte it has slowly but surely grown over time and spread out wide.  At one point it was and maybe still is the second largest banking center next to Wall Street.  Times change so that may not be true any longer but the point is this little bible belt city has quite a few people in it.  Over the last years many transplants from the north have settled here because the cost of living was fairly low compared to there.  In contrast Monroe is the smaller city south of here that many cut through going to the beach.  Out there John Deer rules along with big trucks, turkey or chicken houses are plenty with many of farms scattered through out and people still wave, even if it is only a small index finger raising with the slight head nod as you pass down the road. There is roughly 30 miles between the two cities and I grew up right near the county line dividing the two, landing on the Monroe side.  It got complicated because the towns changed and annexed land but Matthews was in both counties almost equally in size.  So to keep things simple we just refer to it as Union county.  A quarter mile up the road or so over toward the Charlotte side then things would have been so much easier but you are where you are.  The kids in our neighborhood spent 45 minutes on the bus to school and it was a lot farther away than the Charlotte schools.  I hated that growing up and mom didn't like going to Monroe often because Charlotte was more convenient.  They were completely different worlds and I never really fit in either one of them.

We lived in the trailer park but dad refused to call it that.  He would call it the mobile estates, like that made a difference...really!  The earliest memory I have is mom fixing her hair in the bathroom of the single wide before we upgraded to a double wide.  I'm pretty sure my granddad came to help with that.  The trailer backed up to woods and woods were also behind my friends across the street and we played in them a lot.  We had a grove of peach trees just down the road and would pick them right off the trees in the summertime.  If we were really bored we would go to the pond and throw rocks in it or ride our bikes to the store which took over an hour because of the distance.  I also sleepwalked a bit when I was young and would remember waking up doing things like placing my stuffed animals down the hall leading to mom and dads room.  The weird thing was I kept on going once I woke up.  My mom had me in a preschool in Charlotte which I stayed there until 2nd grade and then went to Fairview elementary school located on Hwy 601 in Union County.  I remember in 2nd grade being hit in the head with a pet rock by a girl and later on I stabbed another girl with a pencil.  

Yeah even then I was starting to be an angry kid and for the life of me I can't figure out why I did that!  All I can figure is I learned it was best to go on the offense than defense. Rest easy though because there was no blood and she did live to tell about it.  This was where I lost all my front baby teeth in a jungle gum accident too.  Since that time my mom and I have spent a small fortune on my teeth to no avail because I finally had them removed in 07.  I had a very bad teacher in 3rd grade and then 2 great ones for 4th and 5th.  Middle school was awkward to say the least but I made it through with out too much drama.  My 8th grade teacher was huge and when she paddled me she lifted my feet off the floor!  Both the middle and high schools sat next to each other surrounded by fields of corn mostly and not only did our football teams wear overalls, we even had tobacco spittin' contest back then.  Honest! I have a picture in my yearbook of a guy getting ready to spit!  (Well those are in storage at grandma's at this time.)  I think we were one of the last classes allowed to smoke on high school campus and the smoking area was the coolest place to be.  The few times I was let out of the house alone, some friends and I went to the logging plant in SC... I think, where they had square dancing for the older people inside while the younger ones stayed out side with their own kind of fun.  Pageland SC is also the home watermelon festival.     

If that isn't country enough for ya then we'll go a little further back to my grandparents place in The Boondocks of South Carolina and many other family members scattered around the state.  I remember my Aunt Annie May working out in the garden in her straw hat, cut off shorts and galoshes.  At her family reunions we kids would ride those huge old cable spools tuned on the side when we could get away with it.  She made the best chicken and dumplings I ever had in my life and her peach cobbler wasn't too bad either!  Grandma and her mom MawMaw both had huge gardens that always needed tending and there was plenty of corn to shuck and beans to snap.  The best part for me was when Granddad would let me ride the tractor with him or let me ride with him in his old pick up to check on his cows.  His favorite store was Family Dollar but he took me to Roses once and bought me a hola hoop when I was little. :) We all would go to the beach and stay at the Springs Hotel in the summertime but the only fun we had would be miniature golf or ice cream. These are just a few of my precious memories.  But I don't want you to think I was spoiled because that is far from the truth.  I did get a lot at Christmas when I was little but I didn't really have anyone to play with.  I would have rather had some fun toys like go carts and finger paints but mom decided one wasn't lady like and the health insurance didn't cover all the accidents I would have had.  As for the paints she didn't want to be cleaning up everything so there went that idea!  Mom liked quiet and didn't like anyone over to the house so when I did get to go over to my friends across the street it was only after all the homework and chores were done... and they were rarely done in time.  Thank God for my blue jean record player with my Disco Duck , Beethoven 5th Symphony Disco version and Leroy Brown records!   

On dad's side of the family I only saw my Aunt Mary and Uncle Lee because dad didn't have much to do with anyone of his 5 brothers and sisters.  One of his sister died when she was 15 in a car verses train wreck and her name was my mothers name.  And moms birthday was the same number as our house number back then.  Just another weird piece of trivia.  Dad didn't see his mom very much and I had only met her twice in my whole life but as far as I was concerned Aunt Mary and Uncle Lee were my grandparents on his side.  Uncle Lee used to be a pro baseball player in the day as well as a pool hustler later on in life.  While I never got the whole story because that's like pulling teeth with my family, I knew Uncle Lee had shot dad's dad because he was a low down sorry SOB.  Whether he lived or not I don't know but let's just say I don't think anyone of them was no stranger to the law. I remember we would go out to the lake for the weekends in the camper and that's where I smoked my first joint with a cousin.  Earlier in the day his brother got mad at me because I caught more fish with my little cane pole than he did with a rod, reel and assortment of tackle.  I don't even like fish but it was fun hanging out at the marina.  It was here and my moms parents where we spent most of our Christmases, in fact we had never had a Christmas in our house.      

Despite where I grew up I may shock all the country people by saying I hated country music and blue grass especially growing up.  It was crying in my beer music for the most part and I wanted stuff that fun to dance to (only when no body was looking!) and later found old classic rock like Clapton and blues like BB King which became my favorite.  I grew up with Elvis because mom loved him and Michael Jackson or the Bee Gees was the coolest dance music going back then... at least that I had heard.  It wasn't until later that country music became really cool and fun to dance to like the Boots Scootin' Boogie or just down right fun like Rough and Ready!  (And where was this guy when I was growing up?)  Even if you think line dancing is corny it's still fun to do and the best part is you don't need a partner for most of it. The most important thing is music was a constant companion and it was there for me when there was nothing else and through out this blog I will post some of my favorite tunes where relevant because I like all kinds of music as long as it is good and sometimes a song can say it better than I ever could. Like many of you I grew up with movies like Grease, Staying Alive, Footloose and Flash Dance.  I remember seeing Scarface when I was 11 years old and eating a potty meat sandwich which mom smuggled in, when Tony cut up that dude in the bathroom.  Top Gun was the greatest guy movie and made me want to fly planes but I knew that wouldn't happen because I already had a problem with Authority even at that age.  When the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High came out it was like a sign to the younger generation that it was okay to be a pot smoking smart ass.  Not that I needed a sign but it was cool nonetheless.  My mom was a child of the 60's but didn't participate in the them like I would have participated in the 60's!  What a shame.  Mom loved An Officer and a Gentleman and Dirty Dancing of course which was filmed in Lake Lure NC.  Most of the movies were seen at the old Regency theater... Photo courtesy of Native of Charlottean Group on Facebook.

One reason I give all this information is I am doing my own study of six degrees of separation because no matter how far I came out of the country the people I've met intertwine with one another with amazing regularity.  It may not seem so to you but there is a lot of land for people to pick from around here but from where I sit a lot end up in the same place.  As time goes on I will reveal more details about some of the people I grew up with but for now my friend across the street was my best friend back then and we'll call her Trixie.  The girl who lived sort of behind us came to play occasionally and she loved to pick weeds and talk to them.  The other girl down the street was a good bit younger than us but sometimes I would go down there because we both were in the same after school daycare.  We'll call her Little Bit because she is still so very short and she even chewed tobacco at that young age!  Many years later Little Bit's brother was kind enough to give me a ride home one night from the Old Folks Bar after I had a little to much to drink.  I hated that I hadn't seen either of them in a very long time and when I did I just about couldn't walk.  I have always been a lightweight drinker even when I practiced for a while.  I eventually gave it up completely because I just can't hold it together and got really tired of praying to the porcelain god.  The girl next door to my parents was a brat and her dad and my dad ended up feuding for the next 40 years.  

The neighbors to the right of us were a childless couple who I took to because they let me smoke over there and it was fun talking to adults that were cool.  Well at least the lady was, her husband was a few bricks shy of a load but I was so bored as a child I would even go with them to hear them sing at the church or wherever.  We used to go to auctions or fleamarkets and even though I never had any money, it was better than staying at home.  Mom let me go with them to Florida when I was around 11 but I was miserable because they left me in the hotel room when they went to the dog track.  After losing all the money we had to take a long bus ride home early and I was mad because I didn't get to do anything!  I mowed their overgrown lawn quite a bit and was always walking the roads then to pick up cans for recycle to make a few dollars. Back then dad generated a lot of his own so we'd spend hours crushing cans.  Then there was old man Quinn who lived next door to the brat and he would work his daughter like a indentured servant while screaming at her constantly.  You could always hear him and I felt so sorry for her because she never got to do anything fun. Much later though the old man's wife became Trey's bus driver but she was just as mean as the old man was.  Why she wanted a job like that, I'll never know because she was more suited for anything that didn't involve kids. 

Dad was a practical joker of sorts and he told me this story one time.  He and some friends of his found an old pocketbook somehow and located a snake or two.  After putting the snake in the pocketbook and then placing in on a sidewalk, they hid around the corner and waited.  Before too long a car load of people were seen slowly passing by and checking it out.  After a bit they decided that is was abandoned so they returned to quickly pick it up and get back in the car.  The car only made it a few feet down the road when it came to a stop and all occupants bailed from it screaming.  On the 4th of July one year he sat in the living room and shot the shot gun out the sliding glass doors toward the woods... Mom was not amused.  He would do things like this randomly so one day when he said there was a leaf out side with my name on it and I needed to go rake them up so I could find it.  Well I took a pen, went outside located a leaf, wrote my name on it and then returned it to him, telling him I am done!  He was not amused and so the raking began :)  

One last thing before you go... I was raised to respect my elders but learned over time that respect must be earned.  If you treat me well I will do the same for you.  If you don't then... well who knows what may happen.  I speak Redneck (woman) and crazy fluently but I am trying to translate them into as proper English as I can. Please forgive the mistakes and while I will keep the cussing down to a minimum sometimes you just gotta say it like it is.  I took a lot of pictures over the years but hated to have mine taken so there aren't very many of me after I got older.  Mom hates having hers taken as well and I have tried to no avail to get some of her.  I also will upload more photos whenever I get a new scanner/printer and later still I will go back and dress some of the photo's with the cool digital frames I love to do.  Until then enjoy your stay, kick your shoes off and have a seat.  And as always... Y'all come back now... ya hear!  

                                                               Young Dad

The famous green bomb aka the bat mobile with me in an Easter Dress and happy about it too. 

                                                        Mildred and Aunt Mary up at the lake.

                                                         My grandparents.

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