Kids Do (And Say) the Darndest Things!

(Above photo courtesy of Colourbox)

Although my three daughters are adults now with children and families of their own, I oftentimes find myself reminiscing about the days when they were small, their antics, the things they said and did, so I decided to compile some of my favorites.  Try not to laugh too hard!

One of my favorites involves my oldest daughter, Courtney.  When my children were small, one of my favorite things to do on a Saturday morning was pack them up and drive to the Palm Beach Mall.  I didn’t have a dime to spend, but it doesn’t cost anything to look.  With the twins in their stroller and Courtney on a harness, I’d walk from one end of the mall to the other.  One of my all-time favorite stores to go in was Wicks & Sticks, a specialty candle shop.  Imagine, if you will, a bowl of multi-colored, various shaped wax pieces that, in the eyes of a 5-year old, looked just like candy.  In fact, if you poured a box of Nerds into the palm of your hand, the likeness would be the same.  After looking around for a bit and smelling all those wonderful scents, we exited the store and I noticed that Courtney was awfully quiet, which was extremely unusual.  When I looked down at her, she had the funniest look on her face like she’d just bitten into a lemon.   I asked her if she was okay, at which time she proceeds to spit out a mouthful of those wax pieces.  I have never let her forget about that…and I never will.  That’s what she gets for trying to be slick and steal a handful of “candy!”

I was sitting on my front porch with my granddaughter, Jayda, discussing the way things were in school when I was a child, how we started our days, the fact that I really did walk to school every day, and other general conversation about me as a child.  Jayda looked up at me, an extremely serious look on her face like she was in deep thought.  “Grandma?” she says.  “Was everything in black and white back then?”  Sure, Jayda, just like we were filming an episode of Leave It To Beaver!

Another one involving Jayda was a discussion about music and how I used to “spin my vinyl,” and dance.  (In fact, I still have 2 record players, 45’s dating all the way back to my childhood, and albums that I still play.)  She didn’t know what the term “vinyl” meant, so I told her, “it’s a record.  Do you know what a record is, Jayda?”  “Yep,” she answered.  “It’s a big, black CD.”  Close enough for me!

If you know anyone who has twins, then I’m sure you’ve heard stories about how close they are, that if one feels pain so does the other.  As the mother of identical twin girls, I can tell you with certainty, those facts are true.  But I’m going to take it a step further and tell you that I have no doubt that they also have a secret language (before they actually start talking) that only they understand, and in the case of my twins, they were masters at conspiring!  On more than one occasion when I had them in their playpen while cooking or cleaning, I could hear them speaking gibberish and laughing.  When I would check in on them, I would watch them for several minutes to see what was up.  What I heard was “goo-goo-ga-ga-blah-blah…laughter)  Translation:  “Hey, will you hand me that toy?”  “This one?” “No, the other one.” “Okay, here you go.” “Thanks!”  I’m telling you, they KNEW what each other was saying.  They were like little aliens speaking in a language that was indecipherable!

My nephew, Shane, contracted encephalitis as an infant, and at 3 months old, underwent major brain surgery to release swelling on his brain.  The outlook was grim and the doctors didn’t give my sister much hope for his recovery.  What they didn’t’ take into account was the fact that Shane belonged to a family of Christians where prayer came as second nature.  Every member in our church was praying, every person in our community was praying, our Pastor came to Miami to visit.  The specialists told my sister not to get her hopes up (don’t EVER tell that to a Christian that serves a mighty God!), and that even if Shane did recover, he would be a vegetable for the rest of his life and would never be able to do the things that “normal” kids his age would do.  So, let me tell you about Michael Shane Peacock.  Not only did he survive, he is not a vegetable, he played baseball, rode a bike and even had a bad accident and busted his face up pretty good, graduated high school, attended School for the Blind (he is legally blind from the illness), learned how to take care of himself and live on his own, is now 37 years old, works two jobs and has a precious wife named Tami.  I tell you all of this so that you can fully appreciate the story I’m about to tell you.

When my niece and nephews were little, there was no place they loved going more than to my house.  They were there practically every day and on the weekends, especially Shane.  He was extremely close with my girls, and him and Courtney are only 2 months apart in age.  Shane loved his PB & J’s, so I had to make sure I always had peanut butter at my house.  But Shane was particular and would only eat Peter Pan.  Well, I wasn’t financially able to afford the finer things, like name brand peanut butter, but I did have an empty Peter Pan jar and filled it up with a cheaper brand.  Sure enough, Shane asked me to fix him a PB & J, so I did, cut it in half, and placed it down in front of him.  “Ummm, what kind of peanut butta you put on it?”  “The kind you like, Shane.  Peter Pan.”  “Nuh-unh, you ain’t got no Peter Pan, Gwenna Kay.”  “Yes, Shane, it’s Peter Pan.” “Show me.”  I did.  He was a happy camper when I showed him the jar and proceeded to eat every bite of that sandwich.  As I said, Shane is now 37 years old, but I don’t think he’s aware of this…I certainly never told him!!

My life is filled with precious memories like this.  These kids, mine and my sisters, are what made my life whole.  I miss those days quite a lot.

Do you have any funny stories to share about your kids or grandkids?  I’d love to hear them!

Until next time…take care and God bless!!

Glenda

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Who’s the REAL Enemy of the People? (Hint: It Isn’t Journalism!)

Over the past two years or so, the terms “fake news” and “enemy of the people” have become prominent in even casual conversations.  There are many people who believe that the news and the journalists that bring us the stories, are biased and one-sided.  In some instances, that might be true.  However, it’s not true as a general principle.  They chose their careers because they were interested in learning and relaying the truth to the general population.  And let’s admit it, without them, how would we know what’s going on in the world around us?

If we want to be honest with ourselves, news outlets such as papers, television stations and talk shows are NOT the real enemy of the people – SOCIAL media is!  You know, those places in cyber-world where faceless, sometimes cowardly entities sit at their computers pounding on their keyboards, posting and sharing memes that aren’t real, pictures that have been photoshopped, and dishing out their judgment upon others that they don’t even know, all in the name of personal, political and religious beliefs?  Something my daughter, Courtney, likes to refer to as “keyboard warriors.”

It will never cease to amaze me at how quickly some are to share items without fact-checking first, all because whatever they’re posting aligns with their own tenets.  Wouldn’t it be much easier to use one of the vast amount of fact-checking sites to verify before sharing?  In my opinion, this is how hatred continues to grow and spread, because while it may please some, it angers others and results in hateful exchanges of words between them.  From personal experience, I have learned (and not so kindly) that some are so preoccupied with shoving their own system of opinions and beliefs down one’s throat that they fail to consider that the other person also has an opinion and their own set of beliefs, they’re simply not interested in hearing it.  Not once has anyone ever asked me why I feel the way I do about certain things or why my opinion differs from theirs, and when I have on rare occasions offered my opinion, the attacks were akin to that of hungry piranhas engaged in a feeding frenzy.  I have made the mistake of commenting on posts because I honestly thought that’s what the poster wanted me to do, only to immediately regret my decision.  While I love, and will engage in, a healthy debate any time, any place, what I will not participate in is name-calling, belittling, debasing, bashing, or anything else that would make another human being feel anything less than human.  When that begins, I take the advice of Snagglepuss, and take an “exit, stage left even!”

Let me give you a couple of examples that I’ve seen as recently as this week.  I may not get all of the words ver batim, but you’ll get the general idea.  One went something like this, “I voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and will vote for him again.  Will you?”  Another one I saw was, “Charles Schumer and Nancy Pelosi both need to be impeached.  Do you agree?  Share if you do?”  My conclusion to something of this nature is that they’re hypothetical questions and don’t really want you to answer.  Unless, of course, you share their opinion.  Take my advice….DON’T answer!!!

Social Media can be, and usually is, a wonderful tool.  It allows us to stay connected with family and friends, view photos of loved ones who live states away from us, use funny face filters to change how we look, resulting in laughter, even at ourselves.  But it can also be, and has been, a weapon, and a lethal one when used in the wrong hands of someone with malfeasant intentions.  School-aged children have been bullied into suicide after mass sharing of hateful vitriol against them on social media platforms, falsehoods and not-so-true stories have also been spread, as well as photoshopped photographs depicting someone in compromising positions, nude when they’re not, or changing the lettering on a T-shirt to make it have a negative impact on the viewer, inciting even more hatred and venomous words and behavior.  This is behavior that, no matter how hard I try, I will never understand.

Facebook is the only social media platform that I use and I do that mainly to play my farming games; however, if it wasn’t for that purpose, I’d most likely give it up altogether.  Not a day goes by that when I log onto Facebook, the thread is filled with posts pertaining to political opinions, hypotheticals like what I mentioned above, disrespectful comments due to differences of opinion.  Once a great place to connect and interact with family and friends, it has become nothing more than a political forum for users to post their own opinions and dare others to comment on them.  I no longer comment on anyone’s posts when it’s about politics or religion, and I scroll past anything that I’m not interested in seeing or reading.  In some cases, I have resorted to unfriending/blocking because I got sick and tired of constantly seeing the hateful things certain people posted.  While I will admit that there are some who don’t mind engaging in a debate, and do it diplomatically, there are twice as many who do not and will not see beyond the tips of their own noses.  That’s when I know it’s wise to keep a safe distance, monitor what they’re saying and posting, then decide whether to rid myself of them.  Honestly, I don’t even want to be associated with anyone who spreads nothing but fear, hatred and bigotry.  I wouldn’t allow anyone like that into my personal life, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s no different by eliminating them from my Facebook friends list.

Unfortunately, until posters learn how to fact-check before sharing certain articles, photographs and memes, the spread of hatefulness isn’t apt to cease any time soon.  In fact, I only see it getting worse as more and more people join these platforms on a daily basis and participate in this type of activity.  And as long as there are social media platforms to use to assist in their mission, those seeking to cause dissension, spread hate, engage in cyber bullying and cyber arguments, the tools are readily available with a click of the mouse and the strokes of a keyboard.

I choose peace and harmony, and posting pictures and videos of precious animals, cute kittens and puppies, and occasionally, a news article that I think others might find interesting.  I refuse to be a part of any type of group or activity that does nothing but tear others down.  We all have opinions about many different types of things, but sometimes, it’s best for everyone involved to keep those opinions to ourselves.

Until next time…

Take care and God Bless!

Glenda

 

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Let’s Go Back

Time travel is possible, and anyone can do it.

The only machine you need is a memory, and a willingness to allow yourself to remember.

In fact, I did it just two nights ago when I was driving home from my daughter’s house.  The temperature outside was a cool 40 degrees and I had my windows cracked to allow some fresh air in and my radio station tuned to oldies, and then suddenly…

I was 17 again, on my way home from a softball game, windows down, singing along with the songs playing on the radio while the wind blowing in through the windows air-dried my sweat-soaked jersey.  It felt wonderful to recall such good times and I also believe it enlightens the heart because it feels good to feel young.

While it is true that there are some memories that we’d prefer not to recall because it’s too painful to do so, they are there nonetheless, stored forever on the original data storage chip called the brain, and sometimes they pop up without being summoned, because that’s what memories are.

Many times I have had flashbacks, recalling my youth and the trials and tribulations I’ve encountered in this thing that we call life.  Some were good, some were not, but all were lessons learned.

Personally speaking, I prefer to remember the good things, like being able to go into a five and dime store with a quarter and come out with a bag full of candy, curling up on the couch with a blanket and watching Creature Feature, riding my bike all over town, trick-or-treating with a group of friends, tater tots from Biff Burger, and walking home from school.  I love recalling my “firsts.”  First kiss, first love, first viewing of music videos on MTV, and the birth of my first child and the overwhelming joy I felt getting to hold her for the first time.

While I have suffered a broken heart on more occasions than I care to remember, I never have been one to dwell on the bad or the negative because it’s impossible to grow and move forward when you deny yourself the ability to do so.

How often do you recall memories of your childhood, your adolescence, your teen years or any other era of your life?  Remembering the good with the bad are the essence of what has shaped and formed us into who we are today.

I invite you to take the challenge.

Close your eyes, take a deep breath…..and remember.

Let me know how it goes!

Until next time…

Take care and God Bless!!

 

 

 

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Snow! (from a Southerner’s Perspective)

It snows in South Florida.

Large, black flakes that fly through the air and then land on everything in sight, leaving a black film of ashes everywhere.  On clothes, in hair, on clean laundry hanging on the clothesline.

It happens every time the sugar cane fields are burned.  While I was always mesmerized by the sight of the glowing orange flames and the sound of the sizzling and crackling fire, it can’t hold a candle to the sight of fresh, white snow.

For years I dreamed of seeing snow and even went as far as requesting tourist packages from multiple cities just to see the pictures of the pristine scenes of snow-covered trees, fields and country cabins.

Every year I took my vacation in December so that I could visit Courtney and the grandkids in Kentucky, hoping every year that my dream would finally come true.  But alas, it never did.  In fact, it never failed that the snow would come after I had already returned to Florida, leaving me to wonder if the day would ever come when I would finally see snow with my own eyes and not in magazines.

When the opportunity came for me to leave Florida and relocate to Indiana, I was elated.  I knew I was leaving behind a lifetime of friends and memories, but I was ready for a change, for a fresh new start somewhere different.  I have never regretted my decision, nor have I ever looked back.  I am living my dream.

Now, when snow is in the forecast, I don’t have to worry about missing it because I have to go back home.  I am home.  And if the snow does fall, I am there to see it and take it in with fresh eyes every single time and experience the same feeling that I felt seeing it for the first time.  It truly is a sight to see.

I am always amazed at the silence.  Snow makes no noise when it’s falling.  I love sticking my gloved hand out and letting the flakes fall onto the fabric so I can see the majestic patterns, no two being alike.  When everything is covered, it looks like marshmallow creme, solid white and smooth.  When I know that snow is on the way, I plan my “comfort food” meals, dishes like chili or chicken and dumplings.  There’s something special about eating those foods when it’s cold and snowing, and it makes me feel all comfy inside.  The moon’s reflection on fresh fallen snow lights up the darkness, appearing as though lights are shining.  Flakes shimmer like diamonds in the sunlight.  It crunches under the weight of shoes/boots.  Touching it with a bare hand is the equivalent of sticking your hand to the inside of a freezer.  It is soft…and cold.

If you’ve ever seen snow, touched it and played in it, then you know what I’m talking about.  If you’ve never seen snow, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Here are some of my favorite shots of a winter wonderland.  Hope you enjoy them!

(My neighbor’s garage, our tool shed, me making a snow angel)

(My backyard and patio table, the oak tree in my front yard)

(These are all from our snow on January 11, 2019.  My front yard, Bruce the Spruce, my hand print, a heart I drew in the snow, the front of my house, the oak tree in my front yard)

(These are all from my first time seeing snowfall in Indiana.  Me “battling” the cold and snow, kids and grandkids building a snowman, the road leading into Lapping Park, a snow mound in Lapping Park)

Would I give all this up to go back to Florida?  To the land of endless sunshine, beaches…and hurricanes?  Not on your life!

Until next time…

Take care and God Bless!

Glenda

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It’s Me, Glenda…And This Is Who I Am

2017-04-26 15.04.51

 

Whenever I read a story, whether it’s a short one or a novel, I always enjoy finding out as much information as I can about the author.  What kind of person they are, what makes them tick, where they get the ideas for their stories.  With that thought in mind, I wondered if any of the readers of my stories were curious to learn more about me, so I decided I’d write sort of a fact page and fill you in on some things that you may, or may not know, about me.  So, here goes.

 

  • If you’ve read the first chapter of “Seeing,” then you’ve read about the head injury sustained while playing softball.  That’s true.  I really did suffer that injury and it happened while playing softball, and the goose-egg I received as a result truly did grow to the size of an orange.  However, I did not start seeing ghosts as a result of the injury, but I did (and still do) get horrible headaches on occasion.  I continued to play ball, including in a women’s league, and I was a mean third baser, not a right-fielder, and definitely had that strong throwing arm.  But now, I probably couldn’t throw a rock across the street!

 

  • Pahokee is a real place in south Florida. It’s where I was born and raised.  And yes, it is on the map.  Pahokee is mentioned multiple times in my novel “Seeing,” and many of the places listed are also real, although many of them no longer exist.  The Prince Theater was my go-to place on Saturdays.  Fifty cents got me into the movie and bought popcorn, soda and candy.

 

  • The idea for “Animus” came as the result of a recurring nightmare that plagued me for over a year. I will not go into details because I do not like talking about the circumstances.  I simply took the idea and ran with it.

 

  • I got my right big toe cut completely off when I was 4 years old.  My oldest sister, Linda, was towing me on the back of a bicycle and ran over a palm frond, causing my foot to hit the spokes, and VOILA’, no big toe!  I didn’t even feel it and didn’t cry until I saw all the blood – then I screamed bloody murder!  The doctor sewed my toe back on and the scar grew as I did.  On occasion it’s tender, and I can’t wear any type of shoe that sits atop or rubs on the surface of the scar.

 

  • I have no fingernail on my left middle finger, the result of my hand being slammed in a thick wooden door. The injury crushed the nail matrix, preventing further growth.  Although I’ve had 3 surgeries on it, my finger still remains without a fingernail.  At one time, I was completely embarrassed by it and went to great lengths to keep it covered by using a fake nail or a band-aid.  Finally, I said to heck with it, it’s an injury and it’s part of me.  Now, I wear it like a Ninja!!!

 

  • I grew up in a housing project.  One of the biggest misconceptions of project life is that whoever lives in one is trash.  That’s simply not true.  My mother raised three daughters all alone after my dad left us when I was only 5 years old and living in a housing authority was the only rent she could afford, and worked 2 and 3 jobs to do that.  But I’ll tell you this much.  Our house was spotless and the floors so clean and shiny that you could have eaten off of them.  Our clothes were always clean and so were our bodies.  Living in a project doesn’t make you trashy, it just means that one is poor.  I think about the many friends I had back then that accepted me for who I was, not where I lived.  They could have easily ignored me or avoided me, but they didn’t.  And I can honestly say that the parents of those friends always welcomed me into their homes and treated me like one of their own.  So, to all my friends and your parents – thank you!

 

  • From a very young age, I dreamed of becoming a veterinarian.  My love for animals runs deep and is quite passionate.  I knew that to become a vet, I must do good in school and maintain good grades, so I did.  I graduated high school with a 3.9 GPA and golden honors for being in the top ten seniors of my graduating class.  It was also the year that my dream of becoming a veterinarian died.  College tuition was way out of reach for me.  I didn’t receive any scholarships and didn’t qualify for a grant, and there was no such thing as financial aid.  I can still love animals and help them in my own way, which I’ve always done and will continue to do.

 

  • Every year I feared that Santa Claus would overlook me because of our financial status, but somehow, he never did.  One Christmas in particular that will always remain a cherished memory is the year that all I wanted for Christmas was a Mrs. Beasley doll.  That’s all I could think about.  I had never wanted a doll so badly in all my life, but I knew that I wouldn’t get one.  To me, it was nothing more than a dream.  But lo and behold, when Christmas morning came, and I looked under the tree, what did I see?  Yes!  Mrs. Beasley!  Santa Claus truly hadn’t forgotten me!!  It wasn’t until several years later that I learned that it wasn’t Santa at all, but my oldest sister, Linda, who had bought the doll with the money she had earned working at Pahokee Army Store, and instead of spending it on herself, she made sure that my dream came true.  When Linda had her daughter, Stacy, I gave her all my childhood dolls, including Mrs. Beasley…but the story doesn’t end there.  Several years ago, I received another special gift from Linda and guess what it was???  By the way, I still have her!

 

  • I almost died several years ago due to an undetected illness.  Although I went to many doctors and specialists, none of them could figure it out.  I heard everything from “it’s psychological,” to “try biofeedback” to “maybe you should consider talking to a psychiatrist.”  I was ready to give up because I knew my attempts were futile, but my husband refused to let me.  It was recommended that I see an Endocrinologist, so that’s what I did, and doing so saved my life.  Turns out my thyroid gland wasn’t functioning at all and was attempting to shut down my vital organs.  I thank God for Dr. David Mordes every day.  Not only for listening to me, but for taking the time to find, and treat, the problem.  I will be on Synthroid for the rest of my life and will suffer from minor secondary problems as a result, but you know what?  I’m alive, and I’m healthy, and that’s all that matters!

 

  • I’m an excellent cook and baker.  I can bake just about any kind of cookie or cake you want and will do it from scratch, but I absolutely cannot, for the life of me, make a pie crust or biscuits!  Go figure!  I cook with a southern flair, well, because I am from the south…South Florida.

 

  • I hate eggs, except for when they’re in cakes or cookies.  I will not eat them in any way, shape or form, except (see my note above).  They’re gross, stinky and disgusting.  I hate bananas because they make me gag, but I love banana cream pie, banana flavored popsicles and banana moon pies.

 

  • I’ve loved writing since I could hold a pencil.  While I can fabricate a storyline from here to eternity, I do not tell lies in real life and have no use for a liar.  My philosophy is, if you can’t speak the truth, then don’t speak.  When I’m writing, my characters may, on occasion, use foul language because I want them to be believable.  Yet when I speak, I do not use profanity.  I feel I can carry on a conversation without it.  I’ve been published several times in magazines and newspapers, but never pursued it wholeheartedly because it was tough to do that while working a full-time job, raising kids and maintaining a household.  “Animus” is the first novel that I’ve written and completed.  I’m currently attempting to secure an agent.  I’ve got my fingers crossed!

 

  • I chose a career in law enforcement with my first stint being with the USDA.  But the call didn’t really get into my blood until I went to work for the Florida Highway Patrol, and from there, probation/DUI school and juvenile corrections.  I was nominated for Employee of the Year by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice because of a tracking system that I created to monitor allegations of abuse reports.  I didn’t win it, but it was an honor to be nominated.

 

  • I worked at a juvenile correctional facility for 11 1/2 years until the State of Florida closed the facility, resulting in more than 300 people losing their jobs – including me.  It’s a horrible thing to lose a job like that, because you don’t just lose a job, you lose your investments, your insurance, your income, and perhaps even a piece of yourself.  I went from making $40K a year to making less than $300 every two weeks in unemployment, then to a big fat zero when that ran out, never able to secure another job.  When we moved to Indiana, within the first two years I applied for over 300 jobs, got called in for 2 interviews, but didn’t get hired for either.  So, when someone says they’ve lost their job, show compassion and concern, because it truly is a horrible thing to go through.

 

  • There isn’t much that I’m scared of, but big spiders rate #1 on the list, with flying cockroaches, or palmetto bugs, coming in second. Those suckers are like B52 bombers and will fly right into your face and hair!!!!  On more than one occasion, I have nearly beaten myself to death trying to get one off me.  I’ll spare you the gory details of the aftermath when a giant Florida spider jumped right in my face when I sprayed it!!!

 

  • As a kid, I used to catch lizards and keep them in the old tin coffee cans. Sometimes I’d take them out and clip them on my earlobes and wear them as earrings.  Fear not, none were harmed, and I always released them back into the bushes.  To this very day, the smell of an empty coffee can still reminds me of…..lizards!

 

  • I bowled competitively for many years and traveled all over the state of Florida to compete in tournaments. I have won hundreds of awards in the sport and was the second woman in the history of the St. Lucie County Women’s Bowling Association to bowl a 700 series and did it during a county tournament!  Alas, I had to give up the sport when degenerative arthritis prevented me from being able to grip the ball.

 

  • I was a young, single mother of three small children for several years before I met and married my husband. I know the hardships of struggling to make ends meet.  At one time, I received welfare, food stamps and Medicaid because I was unemployed for a year after giving birth to the twins because I couldn’t secure a job that would pay me enough to be able to afford daycare.  That all changed when I was given a job at the Florida Highway Patrol by a man who put his trust in me to do a job.  I will forever be grateful to Lt. Richard Helton for giving me the chance that no one else would.  This job enabled me to be able to have better living arrangements, give up the food stamps and Medicaid.  One of my biggest pet peeves is to read or hear people who criticize those who rely on public assistance to help them in their time of need.  There are times when circumstances are beyond our control and we need help.  Choosing to better oneself is a personal choice, one which I opted for and didn’t give up until I did.

 

  • I’m a clown and I laugh a lot. It’s good for the heart and for the soul.

 

  • I’m a people lover – all kinds, all colors, all religions. I love hearing stories of different cultures and ways of living.  I was taught from a very early age never to judge a person by the color of their skin, but by their character.  I live strongly by that rule.  As one of my daughters told me once, “Mom, love don’t come in colors!”  Amen, Candi!

 

  • In our hometown of Pahokee, people who knew us referred to us as “the Enda Sisters.” Linda, Brenda, Glenda.  Wonder what mom would have named a boy had there been one?  Charlenda????

 

  • My favorite color is red / my favorite food is Italian / my favorite movie EVER is Jaws / I love reading anything by Stephen King, Dean Koontz and James Patterson and have a huge collection of their books / my eyes are green / I’m right-handed / I love all animals but absolutely adore tigers.

 

 

Do you feel like you know me better now or would you like to know more?  Have any questions or something you’d like me to answer?  Don’t ever be afraid to ask!!!

Until next time….

Take care and God Bless!!!

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Let’s Go On A Fall Hayride!

One of the things I love most about living in Indiana is enjoying Fall festivities and admiring the fall foliage.  I had the opportunity to do them both at the same time when my husband and I attended the Fall Harvest Hayride in Clarksville.   I’ve loved hayrides ever since I was a kid, but going on one in Florida simply cannot be compared to going on one when there’s a crisp coolness in the air and the trees surrounding you are on fire with reds, oranges and yellows.  The laughter of children and conversations between adults filled the atmosphere around me, giving the ambience of the evening a special, magical spark.

So, grab your jacket or coat, whichever you prefer because you’re going to need it, and come along with me while I take you on a hayride through Lapping Park!!!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!!!

Our Ride

This was the hay-filled trailer we rode in on!

By the Campfire

Time for some folk music while we roast marshmallows and make s’mores over an open campfire.  It was hilarious watching my husband try to make a s’more because neither one of us had ever made one before…so, the graham crackers were broken, the marshmallows burnt and the Hershey’s chocolate bar cold as ice, but it was still good.  Gooey and messy, but good.

Guitarist and vocalists, Mike and Molly, who provided the music and encouraged the audience to sing along!  One of the many fire pits that were burning inside the square.  Fear not….volunteers were standing by in the event that flames jumped the rails!!!

Endris Lodge

Endris Lodge, where hot chocolate, hot dogs, chips, sodas and s’mores kits were being sold.

Lonely Bench

So peaceful and serene.  If you could sit on this bench for five minutes and talk to someone, who would you choose?

A Path To

A path to….?  Look at all of those beautiful colors!

Fall Foliage Lapping Park

Some of the foliage along the path that leads down to Silver Creek (where the bench was).

Fallen Leaves

Some fallen leaves…I didn’t want them to feel left out because they’re no longer on the trees..:)

Monarch Waystation

The Monarch Waystation.  They have butterfly gardens at the park now.

Into the Woods

Into the woods we go, following the lit path that led to the Amphitheater where the live animal show took place.  I saw a baby alligator, a baby skunk, a Eurasian Eagle Owl and a giant bullfrog…ribbit!

There were also cordoned off areas that had games and activities for small children, in addition to the playground that is directly in front of Endris Lodge.

We had so much fun and totally enjoyed ourselves and we also plan on attending again next year.

Did I tell you how happy I was to get back to the car where it was nice and warm so that I could thaw out my fingers and toes???

Until next time.

Take care and God Bless!

Glenda

 

 

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Flight of Fancy – A Short Story

NOBODY MOVE!” And then the distinct clicking sound of a gun hammer being cocked. “EVERYBODY STAY IN YOUR SEATS, DO AS YOU’RE TOLD AND NO ONE GETS HURT!”

Fancy raised a flap of her eye mask and blinked groggily, the effects of the sedative she’d taken for the flight lingering heavily, creating a thick fog that enveloped her mind. She had no idea how long they’d been airborne because she’d taken the pill before boarding and fell asleep before takeoff. At first, she thought the man’s voice was coming from the big screen television inside the cabin, but seeing him standing in the aisle armed with a shotgun clearly brought the situation into focus.

“What’s going on?” she asked, sitting upright in her seat. “What’s happening?”

“You!” the armed man barked, pointing his gun at her. “Keep your mouth shut. All you need to know is that there’s been a slight change to our flight plan.”

Fancy began to stand, but quickly reconsidered when the man took a step towards her. “Not a smart idea, Red.”

Fancy glanced around at the other passengers on the small private jet.   She didn’t recognize any of them, but judging by the fear on their faces, they were just as scared as she was.

“Okay, everyone, listen up,” the man announced. “See that man back there?” he asked, pointing. All heads turned to see a second armed man at the rear of the plane that appeared to be an exact replica of the first one. “In case you haven’t figured it out yet, he’s my twin brother. He’ll be collecting cell phones, tablets and any other communications devices you good people may have. We certainly can’t take any chances of having our mission posted all over social media now, can we?”

“Why are they doing this?” Fancy wondered. “They’re obviously Americans, with that southern accent, for Pete’s sake!   Since when did an American hi-jack an interstate flight?”

“That means you, too, Red,” the gunman ordered.

Fancy’s hands were trembling as she picked her purse up from the floor.   Desperately trying to retrieve her phone, she dropped the purse, spilling its contents into the aisle at the gunman’s feet. Reflexively, she squatted on the floor to pick them up.

“Nope,” the gunman said, shoving her backward with the gun barrel. “Get back in your seat.”

Fancy did as she was told.

“What do you hope to gain by doing this?” It was one of the other passengers, a man of about thirty sitting to her right.

Instead of answering, the gunman struck the man on the side of the head with the butt of the gun. The injured man yelped in pain as he grabbed his head, then turned away and stared out the window. She could see blood streaming through his fingers, leaving bright red trails as it ran down the back of his hand.

“Why did I let you talk me into this?” Fancy asked herself, recalling her conversation with Lori, one of the three actual friends she had. “I should have stood my ground when I said no.   This is what I get for giving in.”

Fancy reflected back on that debate now as she sat helpless and unarmed on a flight going to God knows where, while two armed gunmen held her and the other passenger’s hostage.

“Fancy, I have a ticket for a charter flight to New York City, but I can’t use it. I want you to have it and go in my place.”

“Why would I want to go to New York?”

“Have you ever been?” Lori asked.

“No.”

“You’ll love it! I really wanted to go, but something came up and I can’t. I don’t want the ticket to go to waste.”

“Give it to someone else.”

“No, I want you to have it.”

“Why me?”

“Because you never do anything fun or exciting. Don’t you get tired of the same old mundane routine day in and day out?”

“No,” Fancy answered. “I don’t.”

“Look,” Lori pleaded with her. “It’s just a one day thing. You fly there, spend a few hours shopping or sightseeing, whatever you want. Then you get back on the plane and come home.   I truly think you’d enjoy it.   So, what do you say?”

“I don’t know, Lori,” she’d told her hesitantly. “I’m not really fond of flying. It scares me.”

“Then ask your doctor to give you something specifically for the flight, or I can give you one of mine.”

“So you’re scared of flying, too?”

“A little maybe, but it’s the only way to travel. Beats driving any day.”

Fancy sat quietly as she pondered the thought of seeing New York. It had never really been a desire of hers to go, but it might just be fun afterall.

“It’s only about a two hour flight,” Lori told her. “You’ll be there before you know it, especially if you take a feel good pill. And I promise that you’ll have so much fun you won’t even think about it.”

Lori was right about one thing – she didn’t lead an exciting life. Some may even find her lifestyle quite boring.

“Tell you what,” Lori prompted. “You do this one thing for me, and I’ll never ask you to do anything else.”

“I’m not sure, Lori,” Fancy said, shaking her head.

“Please, please, please,” Lori begged. “The ticket is already paid for and it’s non-refundable. All you’ll need is money to spend on yourself.”

Fancy took a deep breath and exhaled through her nose. “Okay,” she said, sounding reluctant. “But you owe me big time.”

As she sat stiffly in her seat, staring down at her money scattered on the floor, she longed for that boring life she loved. What she wouldn’t give at that moment to be at home curled up on her couch watching an old movie while listening to Pokey purr.

“Well, well, lookey here,” the gunman said, picking the bills up and placing them in his front pocket. “Thank you for donating to the cause. It’s greatly appreciated.”

Fancy opened her mouth to protest, reconsidered the possible consequences, and then sat quietly as she stared straight ahead.

The gunman remained by her side, hovering as he held the shotgun tucked beneath his arm.

“What’s your name, anyhow?” he asked her.

Did he seriously expect her to engage in casual conversation while he held them all at gunpoint? She remained silent.

“I asked you a question,” he said, his voice hardening. “And I would like an answer.”

“Fancy,” she answered without looking at him.

“Say that again,” he said, chuckling softly. “I just want to make sure I heard you correctly.”

“Fancy!” she spat, this time making eye contact with him. In the midst of such peril, she hated to admit to herself that he was quite handsome, and appeared to be of Greek descent with his dark hair and eyes, and olive complexion. She looked away and stared out the window when he began laughing.

“Are you serious? Your name is Fancy? Well, fancy that, Miss Fancy. What kind of drugs was your momma taking when she named you?” he laughed heartily.   “My name is Danny, and my brother back there is Randy.”

Fancy did not acknowledge his statement.

“Fancy,” he said, shaking his head. “Now I’ve heard it all.”

“Can I please go to the restroom?” Fancy asked without looking at him.

“Well now, seeing that you just gave me…” he paused, reaching into his pocket and retrieving the wad of bills. He immediately bent down to pick up a round lapel pin that had stuck to the money and quickly shoved it back into his pocket, glancing furtively around the cabin as if he was making sure that no one else saw it. Unfolding the cash, he counted, “One, two…five hundred dollars, I suppose I could let you do that.”

Fancy’s legs were wobbly as she stood up, slowly making her way toward the back of the plane, where Randy had remained the entire duration of the flight.   He wasn’t holding his shotgun, but it was nearby, propped up against the wall where he stood.

Fancy turned on the faucet and splashed her face with cold water. She glanced around the small cubicle, assessing the possibility of obtaining a weapon. There were no phones on the plane, other than the cell phones, and those had all been confiscated, so the chance of making a call was out of the question. The paper towel dispenser was built into the vanity of the sink; therefore, there were no metal racks that she could rip from the wall. She could break the mirror, but the sound of shattering glass would send them running, and they’d more than likely tear down the door before she could retrieve a shard and hide it inside her shirt. She was helpless. There was nothing she could do to defend herself, so she did the only thing possible – she returned to her seat and sat back down.

Once again, she replayed her conversation with Lori over in her mind, hating herself for being so spineless and giving in to something that she never wanted to do in the first place.

As she sat with her arms folded across her chest, staring out the window, she became lost in thought.

Why had Lori been so adamant about making sure that she got the ticket?   She had plenty of other friends that would have jumped at the opportunity for a free trip, and she had suggested as much, only to be told no.

And how did Danny and Randy get those huge guns onto the plane without anyone noticing? She had been the first one on board and had immediately fallen into a heavy sleep, but surely the other passengers would have noticed and said something, wouldn’t they? Come to think of it, the sedative that Lori had given her had worked much too well. For a pill that was only meant to calm her, it had knocked her out completely, so anything could have happened and she wouldn’t have known about it. That would certainly include armed gunmen boarding the plane after her. And why weren’t they wearing masks? Did they not care about being identified? Unless…Fancy was suddenly struck by a horrible thought, feeling a panic stir inside of her. Unless they were planning on killing all of them once they reached their destination!

Why were none of the other passengers conspiring to overthrow the gunmen?   Other than the one gentleman who had been struck in the head, not a single one of them had said a word. How could they all sit there so somber as though nothing were going on? The eight of them could easily overtake the two gunmen if they worked together. Of course, someone might get shot in the process, or a stray bullet might penetrate the fuselage and cause the air pressure to destabilize, which would then cause the plane to crash. On the one hand, she could understand why no one was eager to be heroic. They were probably as terrified as she was, but by doing nothing, they were all sitting ducks simply waiting to see what their fates held in store for them.

For two men who were hi-jacking a plane, why had neither one of them attempted to storm the cockpit? Afterall, the pilot would play a major role in getting the aircraft to their desired location, unless the pilot was in on the plot, too, and the flight plan was pre-arranged.

Fancy took a deep breath, closed her eyes and laid her head back.

Instantaneously, she opened her eyes and sat upright. “Wait a minute,” she thought, remembering the pin that had fallen out of Danny’s pocket, and how quickly he’d retrieved it, but not before she saw the DAC logo that was printed on it. She knew that symbol quite well. In fact, she had seen it on numerous occasions and couldn’t believe the thought hadn’t occurred to her until that moment.

Fancy immediately knew what was going on – and who the person was that was behind this whole charade.

What she didn’t know was why.

Drawing on her sudden realization, she made a decision and hoped that her instincts were right. If they were, this ordeal would end without injuries or casualties. But if she was wrong…

“I’m not afraid of you,” she said, standing up to face Danny. Wielding the nail file she’d taken from her purse, she lunged at him, the sharp tip of the file pointed at his left cheek. He seemed genuinely surprised at her sudden show of bravery, taking a step backward and away from her.

“Sit down,” he told her, keeping an eye on the weapon she held while waving it back and forth as if she were competing in a fencing match.

“No,” she stated firmly. “If you’re going to shoot me, then go ahead and do it.”

Danny sprang forward, grabbing her by both wrists and forcefully put her back in her seat. “Stay put, I mean it,” he instructed her, making his way toward the rear of the plane.   Keeping his back toward her, he began conversing with Randy, who was obviously agreeing with whatever Danny was saying because he was nodding. She could hear them whispering but couldn’t make out what they were saying.

“What are the two of you discussing,” Fancy asked, standing up and turning to face them.

“I told you to sit down,” Danny said, pointing to her seat. Randy took a cell phone from his pocket and dialed a number. Danny remained directly in front of him, preventing her from being able to read his lips while he talked.   The conversation only lasted a few moments, and when Randy put his phone back in his pocket, Danny returned to the front of the plane.

During the entire exchange between Fancy and Danny, all of the other passengers remained in their seats as quiet as a church mouse, stealing only a glance at her when she spoke, confirming her suspicions that they, too, were involved in whatever was going on.

“Ladies and gentlemen, there’s been a change of plans,” Danny announced, looking at Fancy while he spoke. With a remote control in hand, he turned toward the big screen television and turned it on. “Stay tuned for a public service announcement,” he said.

“Fancy, Fancy, Fancy,” came the voice from the television.

Fancy stared at the screen in shock. “Lori?” she asked, frowning.

“Yep, it’s me,” she said, smiling. “This part wasn’t supposed to happen so soon, but we figured it best to end it before someone really did get hurt.”

“What part?” Fancy asked, alarmed when she heard a loud POP! erupt from the rear of the plane, thinking it was gunfire, but was stunned when she turned around to see Randy holding a bottle of champagne, foam spilling over the top and onto the carpeted floor.

“What’s going on?” Fancy asked, turning back to the television.

“I’d like you to meet some of my friends,” Lori said. “Ladies and gentlemen, please stand and take a bow.”   And they did – every single passenger.   “They’re all members of the Drama Actors Club. You know, Fancy, the one I belong to. You’ve been to several of my plays.”

“Yes, but…”

“You want to know why?”

“Yes, I do.”

“For starters, I thought you could use some excitement in your life,” Lori explained.

“So you staged a fake hi-jacking? Don’t you think that’s somewhat extreme?”

“Perhaps, but I, we, would have never let anyone get hurt for real.   It was all in good fun. How many times have you told me that you would love to be in a play with me? So, congratulations, you had the starring role.”

“You call nearly giving me a heart attack fun?” Fancy exclaimed, her voice cracking. “And what about him?” she asked, pointing to the man who had been struck in the head.   “He got hurt.”

“Fake blood sac,” he answered, standing and facing her. “See?” he said, holding up his hand. “It was glued to the palm and ruptured when I hit the side of my head,” he explained, reenacting his movement.

“And the guns?” Fancy asked.

“Props,” Danny answered. “From a play we did a few months ago.”

“But I heard you cock it,” Fancy protested.

“Like this,” one of the female passengers said, shaking her phone up and down. “Sound effects. I had to turn the volume up and cue it several times to wake you up. That pill Lori gave you really did the trick.”

“Oh, Fancy,” Lori said. “I’ve been planning this for months. I thought it was all going to fail when you gave me such a hard time over the ticket.”

“I wish it had failed,” Fancy said. “I’ve never been so scared in all of my life, and I still don’t understand why you did it.”

“Tell her why, friends,” Lori said. While Randy poured the champagne into plastic wine glasses, the group began singing Happy Birthday.

“Lori, my birthday isn’t for another week,” Fancy said when the singing was over.

“I know that, silly, but I’ll be out of town then. I wanted to give you a special birthday, one that you would never forget. How’d I do?”

“Well, you got the ‘never forget’ part right,” Fancy answered, taking a sip of champagne.

“Good,” Lori said with a laugh. “If you think your flight was exciting, just wait until you see what I have planned once you arrive in New York.”

“Goody,” Fancy said with a frown. “I can barely wait.”

“Okay, everyone, I’ll see you when you get here. Great job, guys!”

Danny turned off the television and extended his hand to Fancy. “No hard feelings?”

Fancy stared at his hand momentarily, then shook it. “No, but someone has a lot more explaining to do.”

“I’ll leave that up to Lori,” he said smiling. After returning her cell phone and money, he joined his brother at the back of the plane.

Fancy stared out the window as she sipped her champagne, wondering what else Lori had planned for her, hoping that whatever it was didn’t include bungee jumping off the Empire State Building.

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