“ADDIE” OAKLEY In honor of my Grandmother’s 115th. birthday

Being a Southern male I do hate to have to admit that when it comes to “shootin’” I can’t hit a “bull in the butt with a banjo…or a bass fiddle.” Because of my inability to draw a bead on the proverbial “broadside of the barn,” I choose to exercise my “God given” right to follow the second amendment using a double-barreled shotgun that sports the shortest legal barrel I can own. Loaded with bird shot, it will shred a mosquito at twenty feet. Loaded with buck shot it will blow a six-inch hole in a door at ten feet…not that I have done either. Man, I feel so manly just talking about it. When it comes to shooting my thirty-eight magnum handgun, you are as safe as a baby in its crib if I am aiming at you. I cannot guarantee your safety if you are standing behind me however. No matter how manly I sound or how Southern I am, I do hate guns. I shouldn’t.

Having a gun is a Southern rite of passage and, although we weren’t hunters, I grew up around my dad’s and grandmother’s twenty-twos and my grandfather’s hammered 12-gauge. That old-fashioned gun was a beauty with a thirty-six inch barrel. I remember him using it only once because, like me, he left the shooting up to his wife. That statement has to do more with my “rifle-toting” grannie, who could shoot the eye out of a varmint at one hundred yards, than with my wife, who has given up hunting due to my dislike of sitting in dark, cold and damp treestands. “Addie” Oakley, “Dead-Eye” Addie or “Sure Shot” Addie…you can take your pick of monikers because they all fit. I don’t know who taught her to shoot but she had a keen eye and a steady grip despite her odd way of holding her twenty-two rifle. Instead of jamming the butt of the rifle against her shoulder, she laid the stock on top of her shoulder turning the rifle to the side. Whatever worked I guess.

Some of my earliest memories of my grandmother include her twenty-two. She carried it everywhere not knowing when she might need it. Whether it was rats at the barn, snakes or a varmint attacking the livestock, she was going to be ready. I once witnessed her shoot a stray dog that was attacking our milk cow on a distant hill inside of our pasture. She yelled trying to “Shoo it off” but when the dog continued its attack, she calmly put a round through its eye while it was on the move…at one hundred yards if it was a foot. Nannie had tears in her eyes as she buried the old mongrel but she had saved the cow.

With her love for birds, snakes were fair game, but she did draw a line at cats. There was no such thing as a good snake and don’t try to explain to her that rat snakes eat rats. They also eat chicken eggs and birds and that was enough for her. King snakes were tolerated because they killed other bird predators so I was taught at an early age how to recognize them. I once saw her put sixteen rounds into a black rat snake that was attacking a nest. Every time she hit it, the snake would wrap itself more tightly around the limb until it moved enough for her to get a head shot. It was shot full of holes. Once returning from her garden through a tangled archway of out-of-control privet, she stopped and “shushed me” while placing the butt of her rifle on her shoulder. In the middle of a patch of iris under her bedroom window, I saw a snake. It was reared up, mocking a cobra without the cowl, its head moving side to side like a periscope. Nannie’s little twenty-two cracked causing me to jump and the snake fell from view. This she did despite it being silhouetted against her bedroom window. No broken glass but when we got there, no snake either. I remember saying in an accusatory voice, “Ya missed!” She pointed at a leaf and said no I didn’t. There was a small spot of blood on the leaf but I’m not sure I believed her until the next morning. As we made our morning trek to the garden, we found a dead coachwhip snake with a bullet wound under its jaw. It had hung itself on a privet root. Don’t mess with “Dead-Eye” Addie or accuse her of missing!

One of the oddest rituals involving Nannie’s rifle was the making of meals. It wasn’t a utensil but the kitchen windows gave her a view of a big cedar tree which had become a feeding station for her birds. Washing dishes or creating the best biscuits known to man, her vision was always focused on those feeders. Periodically, she would stop, wipe off her hands, pick up her rifle and fire a round through the window screen. She would try to fire through previously made holes but that was somewhat impossible and her screen had several twenty-two-sized holes. There would be a “bang” and then she would tell me that a copperhead or sick sparrow had gone to its maker. Nannie would then go back to her biscuit making waiting to move the body later.

So how bad is my marksmanship? As good as she was, I am that bad. Once I went squirrel hunting with a 12-gauge and the squirrel and dumplings ended up being filled with birdshot. Another time early in our marriage when Linda still had ideas about hunting, we were disturbed by what we thought was an intruder. It wasn’t; more than likely it was just one of our ghosts that traipses through the hallways of our old farmhouse late at night. Linda grabbed her Browning 243 while I picked up my baseball bat. Neither had to be used. That is a good thing because…come to think of it, I was never a great hitter either.

For more Southern rural humor by Don Miller click on http://goo.gl/lomuQf

CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY-PEPSI COLA

This is an excerpt from the book PATHWAYS entitled “Pepsi Cola.” Because of “Separate but equal” and “With all deliberate speed” I had very few opportunities to interact with African-Americans until I graduated from college. Pepsi Cola would be the first African-American adult male that I would have the opportunity to meet and observe. I have heard it said that it was easy to fear what you don’t understand, meeting Pepsi Cola would provide the opportunity for one of those first steps toward understanding. Please note, I attempted to write this from the stand point of an eight-year old mind and in the language of the period.

“While I had seen African-American males I would not meet my first African- American adult male until the very late fifties when we remodeled our house. A black brick mason with the interesting name of “Pepsi Cola” Mobley was hired to add the brick veneer to our original home along with the two new rooms added onto each end. Not only would he add layers of brick to my home, he would add layers to my thinking and understanding.

“Pepsi Cola” was impressive, as were his two sons who served as helpers and apprentice brick layers. It was their responsibility to carry the bricks and “mud” to their father as he did the placing of the brick runs. I found the whole endeavor to be interesting but not nearly as interesting as the “colored” folk who were carrying out the tasks. The acorns did not fall far from the tree! Close-cropped “steel wool” hair over clear ebony skin; they possessed the whitest of stereotypical teeth below broad flat noses and wide cheekbones. They looked nothing like my friend Maw, who, though tall, had an almost delicate look compared to them. All three were powerfully built with muscles bulging and glistening with sweat from handling and placing the bricks. “Pepsi Cola’s” decades of brick work had given him shoulders so wide I doubted his ability to walk through a door without turning sideways along with hands beaten, scarred and as rough as the slabs on the side of my grandparent’s barn. All three started the day in tattered yet clean tees and denim pants that had patches patched over patches. As the heat of the day intensified, shirts would be discarded exposing broad, powerful chests that were covered in tight black curly hair. Curiously, whenever my grandmother or mother stepped outside, there was a bit of a scramble to put their shirts back on. “Pepsi” was gregarious, singing Negro hymns and laughing his way through the day or “holding court” for anyone nearby, which was usually the eight or nine-year old “little man” that was me. I found him to have the most interesting accent to go along with a lot of words that began with “dees” and ended in “esses.” His sons were the exact opposite – quiet and, I would say, somewhat sullen. In hindsight, my guess is that there was little way to wedge a word in edgewise with “Pepsi Cola” around.

I learned a lesson of the times during the course of the remodeling. Sent to carry a jug of water out to the workers, I asked Mr. Mobley, “Mr. Mobley, would you like some water?” “Eyes do, Eyes do, indeeds, Little Man,” he answered with his best grin. In turn, I gave the sons water and returned to my grandmother who informed me of my grievous faux pas, “You don’t refer to ‘coloreds’ by mister unless you use their first name.” Okay, “Mister Pepsi Cola!” “

If you would be interested in reading the complete selection “Pepsi Cola” and the book Pathways, you may purchase a paperback or downloaded a version using the following link: http://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM

THE DAY BEGINS

Excerpt from the book PATHWAYS. One of my pathways of life led into the textile mills of South Carolina. This excerpt is about my first shift working in the weave room of the White Plant in Fort Mill, SC at the tender age of fourteen.

THE DAY BEGINS…

If you are into “titles”, my first “position” with Springs was as a spare hand. A spare hand was, in modern parlance, a daily “at-will” employee. I would go in and wait at a specified work bench until the second hand came to us and sent us to do a certain job or if there were not a job, send us back home. I never got sent home even though after many year-long, eight-hour shifts, I wish they had.

There was an almost military type of hierarchy in the weave room and, I am sure, the cotton mill itself. The plant manager was the general; many “white shirts” in ties were the staff officers; the room managers the lieutenants or captains; and the second hands were the sergeants. Within the “enlisted” ranks there was a peaking order: weavers and loom fixers and over haulers at the top; warpers, battery fillers, oilers, blow-off hands, sweepers, and doffers at the bottom. Spare hands? If the mill had been a caste system, we would have been “the great ignored”…until we screwed up!

My second hand was Coley Spinx.(Sp?) At the time I believed that if I needed to look up the word “intimidating” in the dictionary, a picture of Coley would accompany the definition. A friend of my father’s, the former World War Two Marine had Popeye-sized forearms that sported the requisite Marine Corp Eagle, Globe and Anchor tattoos that all Marines are so proud of. Built like a rain barrel, with arms and legs to match, it was easy to visualize him in his fatigues and wearing a jaunty but useless “tin hat.” With a half-smoked cigar jammed in his teeth, I imagined him defending his squad with a fifty-caliber machine gun clutched in one ham-sized fist and a bazooka in the other. You should probably remember that this was the fertile mind of a fourteen-year-old growing up in a period when kids still “played” war games. I am still in awe of old Marines…and young ones, too.

Fourteen sounds young to be working in a cotton mill…it is, but we did, in fact, have child labor laws in the summer of 1964 – just not like those of today. It had not been that many years removed from ten-year-olds or younger spending ten or twelve hours doing the mind-numbing and body-breaking labor in our industrial plants. As I studied the Industrial Age or prepared lesson plans to teach it, I could not help but contrast the mills of the late Nineteenth or early Twentieth Century with the first mill where I worked. Springs provided their employees with a well-lighted and clean (if any cotton mill can be called clean) working environment that had large restrooms and a cafeteria that produced full course meals, if desired, and if you had the time to eat one. I would find out later working in other mills that these amenities would be the exception and not the rule.

An ill at ease, nay scared, fourteen-year-old “Donnie” awaited his fate in his now sweat-soaked tee shirt and jeans. Eight hours later, the tee and jeans would still be sweat-soaked and anything but clean. Lint, rust, oil, grease, and general dirt combined with the blood from a first hour on the job accident and eight hours of sweat made my clothes look like I had spent the day in a coal mine before being dragged home behind a horse with a terrible case of diarrhea. Come to think of it, my clothes smelled the same way and my body wasn’t in much better shape. I knew what I was going to buy with my first paycheck. A radio? A movie and a meal for my girlfriend? A vacation to Disneyland? Come on… I was only fourteen, had no girl friend and was making minimum wage which I think was a buck twenty-five an hour or about seven bucks an hour in today’s money. No, tee shirts in any color other than white and several pairs of pants made from the lightest cotton duck I could find would be my first purchases. While jeans were fine in the fields where the air tended to dry them and contact with briars required them, the eight hours of constant sweating and an unhealthy intake of salt tablets had left me galled from waist to knees. Baby powder and lighter, softer trousers seemed to be a ticket for the destination known as “on-the-job” comfort.

If you enjoyed this story from PATHWAYS, you may download or purchase it or Don’s other books at the following links:
Inspirational true stories in WINNING WAS NEVER THE ONLY THING by Don Miller #1.99 on #Kindle
http://goo.gl/DiO1hcX

“STUPID MAN TRICKS” explained in Don Miller’s FLOPPY PARTS $.99 on Kindle http://goo.gl/Ot0KIu

“Baby Boomer History” in Don Miller’s PATHWAYS $3.49 on Kindle http://goo.gl/ZFIu4V

SUMMER OF LOVE

This is an excerpt from a story, “Summer of Love,” that can be download with the book PATHWAYS using the link http://goo.gl/ZFIu4V

How did I react? I was pretty much oblivious. I knew about the war and did not want to go fight in a distant rice paddy. The Summer of Love decade in San Francisco, however, was nothing like the summer of love decade for me in Indian Land. From 1964 until 1969 I was so in love I could not think about anything that did not involve my raging hormones. A little blond girl had me by the short hairs and would not let go even when we weren’t seeing each other. For five years we drifted into and out of each other’s lives until I figured out the dynamics that were at play and managed to end it for good. Even then she may have contributed to a divorce in 1978, despite the fact I have not seen or spoken to her since 1969. I was a late-blooming baby boomer who was primarily a blooming idiot. The day we met, in the late summer before our freshman year in high school, I was walking up the dirt road from the river to my home after an afternoon of hay hauling. Not exactly dressed to impress in hay and mud-covered blue jeans, a tee shirt covered in sweat and grime, and “s@#$ kickers” that got their name honestly. I might have had on a straw cowboy hat but it would not have been described as “jaunty.” I am sure I did not make a great first impression. I am also positive when I stammered a greeting of “Hey, how y’all doing?” her first estimation of me was even further reduced. Sharon Leigh Busch, however, made my heart stop or, at least, flutter. Already “full-figured” in a Rubenesque way, fourteen-year-old Sharon Leigh had the attention of the fourteen-year-old me, even though she was dressed quite sedately in her longish shorts and fully-buttoned oxford cloth blouse. With short blond hair and blue eyes to go with the clear, alabaster skin poems are written about, her lips were red without benefit of lipstick. Not fully understanding why I was attracted to those lips, I am sure I was a sight standing there with jaws slack and agape, acting like the country hick that I was.

Don Miller has also published two other books

Inspirational true stories in WINNING WAS NEVER THE ONLY THING by Don Miller #1.99 on #Kindle goo.gl/DiO1hcX

“STUPID MAN TRICKS” explained in Don Miller’s FLOPPY PARTS $.99 on Kindle http://goo.gl/Ot0KIu

All books may be purchased in paperback.

COTTON FIELDS…FROM “PATHWAYS”

As a five or six-year-old I did follow along with the plow as my grandfather furrowed out rows to be planted with cotton seed on a small red hill patch located near my home. I also followed along when he plowed his more fertile fields for tomatoes, corn, squash and beans. Sometimes he even let me try to handle the unwieldy plow but my rows were not very straight. I was his number one field hand…his only field hand until my stinky little brother was born when I was five. The cotton field field had so much red clay I honestly don’t know how anything other than broom straw and rocks grew there. “Little Donnie” would follow along as my PawPaw “geed” and “hawed”, keeping his horse on his path while attempting to create straight rows. My job, in the early spring of the planting season and my life, was to hand water the emerging cotton plants breaking through the dry clay crust on that hill. A bucket would be dipped from a nearby stream and carried to each plant and ladled, a cup at a time, until the process had to be repeated when the bucket emptied, which was much too often. Later as the season turned with the leaves, I would help pick the same cotton when it matured, a very painful process for my young fingers. After filling my small but heavy “poke”, I would follow my grandparents down to the cotton gin located across from Pettus’s store just a hundred yards or so from my house. Here, our cotton would be weighed and graded before being placed with like-graded cotton. The cotton bolls were “ginned”, or seeded, and the remaining fluffy and dirty raw cotton was pressed into five hundred pound bales, wrapped with a thick burlap cloth to be transported by the truck load to the cotton mill. After my grandparents were paid off, I would be rewarded with a trip across the road to Pettus’s store and given a “Sugar Daddy” for my trouble. At the time I could not have been paid better.

A Southern boy comes of age in the Sixties in PATHWAYS Download on #Kindle today at http://goo.gl/ZFIu4V

A PIRATE LOOKS AT…THE MOUNTAINS

An excerpt from the short recollection “A Pirate Looks at…the Mountains.” The complete story is found in “PATHWAYS” and may be downloaded or purchased through Amazon at http://goo.gl/v7SdkH

Springs, my parents’ employer, was truly a family-oriented employer who wanted to give back to the communities that provided the labor and raw materials for their mills. Springs Park on the Catawba, golf courses, bowling alleys, and my favorite, Springmaid Beach, all were provided by the benevolent owners of Springs. The facilities at Springmaid were primitive. Bring your own…everything. Built in the late fifties, Springmaid Beach reflected Col. Springs’s military background, austere and Spartan. Concrete block buildings built with concrete beds with mattress thrown on top. You brought your own towels and sheets and were responsible for cleaning during your stay and before you went home. There was a large dining hall that provided family style meals at breakfast and dinner. You were responsible for providing your own mid-day meal so we ate a lot of fifteen-cent hamburgers. After a day of sun bathing, body surfing or fishing off the pier there were evening softball games, volleyball, shuffleboard or badminton that provided a family experience.

In the summer of my fourteenth year I discovered that family beach experiences were not necessarily what teenagers wanted to do… but I was stuck. It was just the nature of the beast. I had also discovered the Beach Boys along with Jan and Dean and their songs about surfing, hot cars and most importantly…tah, tah, tah, taaaaaah, GIRLS! Well I had my driver’s license but was armed with a four door Galaxy 500 that would not spin its tires in dirt. I swam like a rock and had never been on a surf board, so “how you gonna get girls?” You have to dress the part! White cotton ducks, starched white shirt with vertical wide blue-gray strips and a black nylon shell jacket if it was a little cool in the heavy night time sea breezes. Accessorized with oxblood penny loafers and no socks, I was too cool for school! Dang that flat top!

The cool thing, and a prayer answered from heaven, was there were other teenagers near my age who were not happy about family beach trips either. One was a fifteen-year-old guy from Lancaster who had access to his parents’ shiny burgundy 1964 Chevy Impala Super Sport. Got wheels! Hot wheels actually with a 327 V8 and a four-speed that would spin its wheels on anything. There were also two teenaged sisters who we found would happily ride in it, one fifteen and one thirteen. The thirteen-year-old was a slender and athletic brunette who wore her sedate two-piece like any other prepubescent teen girl. There wasn’t much to cover up. What has happened? Girls didn’t look like women fifty years ago. Beef hormones?

Can you sing, “Little surfer, little one, made my heart come all undone, do you love me, do you surfer girl, surfer girl, my little surfer girl?” There was no real “pairing up” but to actually be near a member of the opposite sex…who seemed to want to be near me…. “Heaven, I’m in Heaven…” for five days until her family took her home to…I don’t remember. All I remember is sitting on a bench that last night feeling the electricity of our touching shoulders. There was a very sedate goodbye kiss but it WAS A KISS NEVER THE LESS!!!!!!!!!!!! Finally, something to write home about. That was a stupid statement.

Don Miller has written two other books reflecting a life spent teaching and coaching. They, along with PATHWAYS may be downloaded on Kindle or purchased in paperback at Amazon.

Forty years of coaching and teaching in “WINNING WAS NEVER THE ONLY THING….” http://goo.gl/UE2LPW

An irreverent look at FLOPPY PARTS http://goo.gl/Saivuu

RITE OF PASSAGE? from the book PATHWAYS

Behind my grandparent’s home was the beginning of a small valley that ran from my Uncle Hugh Wilson’s place all the way back to the river…if you had guts enough to make the trek through an overgrown and somewhat marshy snake infested hay field. I know it was snake infested although I don’t ever recall having seen a single snake there. Once past the hay field the land would turn into a mixed forest which was easier to traverse and was much less infested with imaginary snakes. Later our trail would be blocked by an over flow from Bower’s big lake. On our side of the valley there was a bluff overlooking a year round stream. It was surrounded by a hardwood forest and was a wondrous place to play.

These were the days when it was still okay to run amok shooting imaginary Indians, outlaws, and Japanese or German soldiers…with imaginary guns I might add. I don’t know what kids do for fun now but later we turned to corn cobs and acorns in order to make our battles a bit more realistic and painful. One day we even employed artillery with sharpened, very limber, tree saplings used to throw sour apples very long distances. Forts were built with downfall and later we went so far as to build a tree house out of scrap lumber that might have been five feet off of the ground. It was our castle keep, pirate ship or B-24 dropping out of the clouds to attack and drop our stick of bombs. We had been watching way too much TV. In one of our running acorn battles Charlie McCorkle tried to make a quick get away by sliding down a bank not seeing the lone rusty strand of barbed wire impeding his escape. He probably should have had stitches to close the bloody hook shaped gash under his chin that later became a hook shaped scar.

The end of this story and the book PATHWAYS maybe purchased or downloaded using the following link: http://goo.gl/v7SdkH
Don Miller has also written two other books, “WINNING WAS NEVER THE ONLY THING…” and “FLOPPY PARTS” which may be downloaded or purchased at http://goo.gl/m2ZicJ

“SNAPSHOTS” from PATHWAYS

SNAPSHOTS an Excerpt from Pathways.

As I stare across my computer screen I can see my backyard framed like a photograph through the French doors leading out to our, for lack of a better word, patio. My wife has turned our backyard into a cluttered and jammed wildlife preserve–accent on WILD—and it is inevitable that I would think of my grandmother. Her “rock garden” was just as jammed with flowers of all types and sometimes with wildlife, too. All were thrown together in a helter-skelter manner. My favorite flowers were her tall and colorful hollyhocks. I have tried to grow them all but with not nearly the same success. Her backyard was just as tangled with privet hedge that had grown so high it had formed a canopy which seemed to form secret rooms. I think if I were to try, I probably could write a book about my grandmother and never run out of material in the lifetime I have left. I consider myself very lucky to have had her for as long as I did – almost forty-nine years as she died just a few weeks short of my forty-ninth birthday. I’m also greedy because I would have liked to have had her even longer.

As jammed as her rock garden was, her vegetable garden was not. Every morning she went out to the garden to chop down any weed before it could get a foothold or to hand-pick any critter that might chew on a leaf. This devotion is something I have a high regard for as I have moved toward organic gardening. Everything was quite orderly but her flowers were not. This difference was just one of several contradictions. One of the wisest and most well-read people I have ever known, she attended public school only until the eighth grade. She seemed to crave information but only if it didn’t interfere with time better spent in her garden. Even then, on rainy days, I would catch her gazing wishfully out the window. Most of her reading material revolved around her “Classics” – plant catalogs, crossword puzzles and religious materials including, but not limited to, the Bible. Despite being one of the most religious people I have ever known, she rarely set foot inside of a church and I wish I had taken the time to ask why. For some reason a belief the church might be filled with hypocrisy comes to my mind but that is my own cynicism showing. It might have just been she just didn’t like being cooped up. When we “stayed the night” due to our parent’s work schedule, she did not tell stories to put my brother and me to sleep. Instead, we played “finish the Bible verse.” To this day when I hear a parent tell a child to “Be Still”, I have to add, “…and know that I am God.”

Pathways can be downloaded on Kindle or purchased on Amazon using http://goo.gl/v7SdkH

IF YOUR SNUFF’S TOO STRONG, IT’S WRONG…

The following is an excerpt from PATHWAYS, a book about growing up Southern in the Fifties and Sixties.

A strange pathway I follow. Despite having imbibed no distilled spirits of any type, I find myself following a mental path involving snuff, Arthur Smith, my Great-Grandmother Griffin and trying not to lose my cookies on a sideline in Spartanburg. Where do memories like this come from?

I grew up with Arthur Smith. Anyone remember Arthur Smith and the Crackerjacks? I would understand if you had never heard of him but you need to do a little research…look up Arthur Smith. I always thought he was just some old guy with a country group who sang through their noses. He hosted a radio program on WBT in Charlotte Carolina Calling and later the first country-western television program to be syndicated nationwide for thirty-two years. Smith hosted a morning show first on WBT Radio and then on WBTV. Through this medium I was forced-fed “old time” country music by my grandmother and parents. They listened as if it were a religious experience. Country music of the Fifties included the likes of Red Foley, Ernest Tubbs, Bill Monroe, Hank Williams along with Arthur Smith and the Crackerjacks. It is as far from what we call country music today as liberals are politically from conservatives. What I believed to be a “regional” country music “wannabe” celebrity was actually quite successful on a national stage and even helped to pen “Dueling Banjos” from the movie Deliverance. What do I remember about him? A commercial tune for Tube Rose Snuff. “If your snuff’s too strong it’s wrong, Try Tube Rose, Try Tube Rose.” For some reason all I hear in my mind’s ear is Arthur, Brother Ralph and sidekick Tommy Faile singing the commercial. Later on in the very early Seventies, I sat on a quilt at an open air “hippy fest” listening to Sweet Baby James Taylor humorously singing the same tune. Weird what you remember…

Should you desire to read the end of this and other stories PATHWAYS maybe purchased in book form or downloaded using the following link http://goo.gl/6yB5Ei

PATHWAYS by Don Miller

Some thirty years ago the seed that would grow into this book was planted in my head when my wife Linda and I took pre-school daughter Ashley, now a mother and wife in her own right, to play in one of the many streams that cut our property. Frogs and their pollywogs, crawdads and minnows were in abundance along with a watermelon that I had placed into the dammed up stream to cool …just like my grandparents had done many, many years earlier. I had warm memories of picking red, vine ripened tomatoes and eating them whole for lunch before having a stream cooled watermelon split open for a sweet and refreshing mid-afternoon snack. I wanted Ashley to have some of the same experiences…without having to hoe the tomatoes or watermelons. Later as I struggled to get the watermelon out of the stream she pointed out, “Wouldn’t it been easier just to put it in the refrigerator?” Yep, and she doesn’t eat raw tomatoes either. Are you sure you are mine?

Closing in on my autumn years I find that my own footprints seem to wander back to the same paths that my parents and grandparents laid out for me…no matter how much I have resisted following them These are stories of my youth and reflect the era that I grew up in. They are what shaped and define me. American Exceptionalism of the Fifties, cotton fields and textiles mills, Civil Rights and “with all deliberate speed,” the Cold War and our involvement in Viet Nam in the Sixties. These are stories of a time now past that still affect us today. I hope if you take the time to read PATHWAYS that it will trigger the memories that you hold dear.

You may purchase PATHWAYS at the following link http://goo.gl/QsTE8r both through Kindle or Amazon.