RSS Feed

Tag Archives: cousins

Memory Monday-Debbie Made Me Late for Alabama

In 2002, the country music group Alabama announced they were breaking up and their 2003 tour would be their farewell tour. For a fan like me who grew up on Alabama, this news was devastating. My earliest memories of music are of Alabama songs. Songs like Dixieland Delight, Old Flame, Feels So Right, Love in […]

Memory Monday-Kurt’s Motorcycle

Memory Monday-It’s a thing…

Memories are such funny things. With my family being so close, sometimes it is hard to know if I remember these things. Or if I think I remember because I heard the story so many times I’ve created the visual in my mind.

Mom tells a story about me going with Kurt for a motorcycle ride. She says she let me go with him because he promised to go slow. In her version of the story, she watched us from a window. She says all she could see was a blur going up the holler (hollow, if you’re into proper speech). Mom claims he was going so fast, my ponytail flying straight back behind me.

I have this image in my head of Kurt and I flying through the hayfield on a dirt bike as fast as it would go. In my mind, it’s a bright, sunny day and I’m throwing my head back and laughing. I imagine shouting at him to go faster. 

I don’t know if that happened the way I see it in my mind. I can’t remember getting on or off the motorcycle or where we even went. It’s like a snapshot in my mind of much younger versions of us sitting on a dirt bike in the middle of the hayfield. I assume it could have happened. Kurt and his brother David always had some sort of motorcycle or four-wheeler. I just can’t say for sure I remember that particular motorcycle ride.  It is just as possible I invented the memory based on hearing Mom tell the story.

Memory Monday-At the Movies with Olivia

Memory Monday-It’s a thing…

In the summer of 1984, I was spending some time with my favorite aunt and cousins from my Dad’s side of the family. Aunt Vicki took Olivia, Christopher, and I to see a movie. We went to see The NeverEnding Story. It was awesome! In case you’ve never watched the movie, I’ll tell you now the rest of this post contains spoilers. You’re welcome.

That movie has long been one of my favorite, go to, will watch it again and again movies. I own my own copy to watch when and if I please. It never grows old for me. It has books, imagination, an awesome luck dragon, trolls, danger, and so much more. As a child with a wild imagination there couldn’t have been a more perfect movie.

The movie has one very sad scene. Atreyu has a beautiful white horse for a best friend. He and Artax start the journey together and nothing could be more precious than a boy on a quest with a white horse. Then the duo encounter The Swamp of Sorrows. As they cross The Swamp of Sorrows, they have to keep their spirits high or they will be pulled into the gross, yucky depths of the swamp. Things go alright for a little while, but then Artax has a few issues. Then poor Artax stops walking and sinks. Atreyu pulls on the reins and tries his best to keep his buddy from sinking into a murky death. The horse sinks up to about his neck, the screen fades to black, and comes back to Atreyu sitting on the edge of the swamp crying.

Now, if you’ve followed my Memory Monday stories, you may know my family (Mom’s side) are firm believers in tough love. If we had a family motto it would be something like: Life’s Not Fair, Suck It Up. As a child and well into adulthood, I didn’t cry during movies. Afterall, they were just movies. So I’m sitting there thinking about how much it will suck for Atreyu to have to walk everywhere now. I was probably still munching on my popcorn too. Then out of nowhere, Olivia reaches over and pokes me in the eye.

“Ouch! What’d you do that for?” I whisper to her.

“I wanted to see if you were crying and it’s dark in here.”

I wasn’t crying until she poked me in the eye!

I will say that as I’ve watched this movie as an adult, I’ve often wondered how the heck Atreyu made it out of the swamp. Surely if he watched his best friend and beloved horse sink and die, wouldn’t he also feel some sadness. In The Swamp of Sorrows, sadness and giving up are what kills you so just how did he make it out? Maybe he didn’t like that horse so much after all?

Memory Monday-Ken Had to Die

Memory Monday-It’s a thing…

Growing up, I really didn’t like playing with dolls. My grandma Helen was a Barbie collector and insisted on buying me a new Barbie for my birthdays and Christmas. Most of the time, those dolls stayed in a cardboard box under my bed unless another little girl was at my house who wanted to play with them.

I remember having maybe three Ken dolls. One day, Mom was going through my dresser drawers for some reason and she happened upon those three Ken dolls buried under my clothes. With their heads torn off their bodies. Thank goodness I was a country child of the 80s or I would have surely ended up in endless months of therapy after this discovery.

“Marsha, what happened to Ken?” Mom asked waving the headless bodies at me.

“They’re dead. I buried them.”

Yes, if a child made that statement today, there would be endless therapy sessions and a rainbow of pills to “cure” the child. Somehow, my simplistic explanation was enough for Mom and she didn’t push the issue. I also never received another Ken doll or any male doll for that matter.

What I didn’t explain to Mom back then was why Ken was dead. She didn’t ask and I didn’t go into the reasons. However, if she asked, I would have told her, Ken had to die so he wouldn’t kill Barbie. Why did I think Ken would or could kill Barbie? My cousin Kimberly, who was older than me, found out that when people have sex, the man lies on top of the woman. The details after that were sketchy and my childish mind focused on the fact that men were bigger (heavier) than women and laying on top of them would squish them to death. That meant, to prevent Ken from killing Barbie by squishing her to death during sex, I had to kill him first. So I did.

My advice to parents: Talking to your young children about sex can be uncomfortable and difficult, but talk to them anyway and talk to them early! If you don’t talk to your kids about sex their older cousins will. Those conversations will be full of half information that leads to wildly inaccurate concepts of sex…and perhaps the death of three innocent Ken dolls.

Memory Monday-It’s Chicken

Memory Monday-It’s a thing…

When I was a kid, there were about four basic things I would eat. Everything else was gross and disgusting and inedible. I’m sure this made life so very easy for my mother and grandmother. For the most part, they gave in and fixed me the things I liked. However, there were times, like Thanksgiving, where stopping to fix a grilled cheese sandwich didn’t happen.

With the Thanksgiving holiday coming up, it made me think about one Thanksgiving in particular. I think it’s typical to shuffle the kids off to makeshift tables to eat while the adults enjoy sitting at the dining room table.

Anyway, as tradition goes, I was sitting on the floor around the coffee table at my grandmother’s house with my cousins, Arden and Jason. Our moms brought us plates of food and mine looked like my mother was trying to starve me. Arden and Jason had mashed potatoes, turkey, beans, a roll, cranberry glop, corn, etc. covering their plates. Mine had mashed potatoes, turkey, and a roll.

I pointed at the turkey, gagging, and asked Mom what “THAT” was. She told me it was turkey. Promptly, I declared I was not eating “THAT” and asked for chicken instead. Mom very calmly picked my plate up and went back to the kitchen. A few minutes later she returned and gave me the same exact plate.

“Is that chicken?” I pointed to the meat on the plate. It looked different, but I wanted to check.

“Yes.” She went back to the kitchen to enjoy her meal.

Satisfied that I was not eating something as gross as turkey, I took a great big bite of my chicken.

“You know that’s still turkey, right?” Arden asked me.

“Mom said it’s chicken.”

“It’s turkey.”

“No. It’s chicken. Mom wouldn’t lie to me.”

Boy was I a sucker or what?! Heck, yeah, my mom would lie to me and she did! I argued and defended her honor for nothing. She just tore the turkey up a little more and moved it around the plate before she brought the same exact thing back to me. Those moms sure are sneaky!

I love turkey now and I am so looking forward to Thursday’s dinner! Turkey…YUM!

Memory Monday-What a Drag

Memory Monday—it’s a thing.

My grandmother’s house was always full or at least it seemed that way as I was growing up. My cousins were my playmates and first friends. We had a huge yard to play in and when that became boring, we had several other places to explore. There were hayfields, dirt roads, hillsides, and a branch that flowed into the creek—all just waiting for us.

One particular day, my cousins and I decided to go fishing. My cousin, Jason, took the lead since he was the oldest. My cousin, Crystal, was with us and our tag-a-long baby cousin, Brett, insisted on going with the “big kids.” We set off with our bucket of dirt and turned over boards, rocks, logs, and anything else we found that could hide a few worms. With all four of us fishing, we would need a lot of worms.

In the pasture near the barn, we found the a very promising worm hideout. Back before my grandfather had modern farm equipment like a tractor, he used horses. The horses would pull the different implements to flatten, till, or plow the garden. Even though he hadn’t used it in years, he still had an old drag, once used to smooth out his fields. It was probably about five feet long and maybe five or six feet wide and made of some extremely heavy wood. It hadn’t been disturbed in years and we just knew we would find all the worms we could ever need under that drag.

Our plan was simple. Jason, Crystal, and I would lift one end of the drag up while Brett crawled underneath to grab up all the worms. Afterall, he was the youngest and the smallest. The three of us grabbed one end of the drag and managed to lift up that end. Just as planned, Brett scurried underneath and to grab the worms. Being a little kid, he was pretty slow gathering the worms and we were straining to continue holding up the end of the drag. Jason started feeling pretty confident that he could hold the drag up by himself and he started telling us to let go. Crystal let go pretty quickly and I argued a little, but in the end, Jason was older and in charge. I let go.

I could tell Jason wasn’t able to hold the drag by himself. I could see the drag start to fall and I was telling Brett to get out from under it. He happened to be close enough to me for me to grab and pull as the drag fell. As I pulled him out, a nail sticking out of the side of the drag caught the back of Brett’s head and left a gash about an inch long.

Brett screamed and cried. I was sure we had just killed our little cousin. The adults on the porch took notice of us and met us halfway between the house and barn. There was a lot of screaming and crying, my aunt yanked Brett away from me, and before we even made it to the house, Brett was in his mother’s car and on the way to the hospital. Hours later, he came home with a concussion and a few stitches. I don’t remember us older kids being punished, but I think the gut-wrenching worry was more than enough punishment.

Today, September 15, 2014, is Brett’s 34th birthday. Happy Birthday, Bubby Brett…I hope it’s a great one. Don’t crawl under any drags…

Memory Monday-Family

Memory Monday…It’s a thing.

I had another memory picked out to write about this week, but I’m going to hold on to that one for a little while.  Since I’ve started doing Memory Monday, I also started a list in my journal of stories I could tell.  Memories of my childhood pop into my head at random times and jotting them down seemed like the best way to remember them for posting later.  My list has grown which is great.  As I look over the list, I like that almost every single thing I jotted down involved time with another member of my family.

Recently, a few things have come up in my life. that while not done intentionally, made me feel as if others were dismissing me because I wasn’t a blood relative, married, or a biological parent.  As an unmarried, childless by choice woman, I’ve often faced co-workers and bosses that felt I should have the less desirable shifts, work weekends, work holidays, and be available at a moments notice.  There seems to be a perception that I’m sitting around with giant voids in my life that can only be filled by working until I’m lucky enough to get married and pop out a few kids to fill those giant voids.

Well, I call bullshit on all that.  As I look at my list of stories I can share for Memory Monday, the reason for calling bullshit is clear.  I have a family.  It might not be the same as your family, but I have a family that I love.

I have a mother, step-father, sister, step-brother, step-sister, a niece, two nephews, aunts, uncles, a whole bunch of cousins, friends that have been in my life so long I’m closer to them than I am some blood relatives, a boyfriend, and my boyfriend’s son.  There are older family members that might not be here next Christmas.  There are babies that are just having their first holidays with us.  There are cousins that live 3000 miles away that visit.

I remember summers of catching lightening bugs, playing in the hills, riding bikes, and my Granny watching us all.  We had a family reunion over Memorial Day Weekend and seeing some of my cousins was a blast.  Some of them have their own kids or grandkids that I don’t know very well and to hear comments like “My daughter reminds me of you.” made me smile the entire weekend.  There were so many common threads in interests and experiences; I felt like I was part of something…a family.

Thanks!

Marsha

%d bloggers like this: