Monday, May 31, 2010


 Yesterday I found myself wondering about the strength of the convictions of my generation and those that follow, and today I am marveling at strength of character during adversity. On May 31, 1495, Cecily (Duchess of York) died after having survived grief that would destroy most of us. Let's look at her chronology: 

1415 - Cecily, the youngest of twenty-one children, was born to Joan Beaufort (the daughter of John of Gaunt) and Ralph Neville, the Earl of Westmoreland. 
 1437 - Cicely married Richard Plantagenet, the Duke of  York. 
1455 - Her nephew Humphrey, the Earl of Stafford was killed at the battle of St. Albans
1460 - Cicely's brother-in-law Stafford, the Duke of Buckingham was killed during the battle of Northampton. Her husband Richard was killed during the battle of Wakefield. Also in the battle, her nephews Sir Thomas Neville and Sir Edward Bourchier were also killed. Her brother, the  Earl of Salisbury, was captured and put to death after the battle. Her son Edmund, the Earl of Rutland, though only twelve years of age was captured while fleeing the battlefield and was murdered by Lord Clifford. Her niece Catherine's first husband, Lord Harrington, was killed in battle.
1461 - Her nephew Sir Henry Neville was captured.
 1469 - Her nephew Sir Henry Neville, after eight years in captivity, is put to death.
1471 - Her nephews Richard Neville, the Earl of Warwick, and John Neville, the Marquis of Montague, were killed during the battle of Barnet. Her great-niece's husband Edward, the Prince of Wales, was murdered after the battle of Tewkesbury. 
 1473 - Her daughter Anne's second husband Henry Holland, the Duke of Exeter, who had been exiled was discovered stripped naked and drowned near Dover.
1477 - Her son-in-law Charles the Bold, the Duke of Burgandy was killed during the battle of Nancy.
1478 - Cicely's son George, the Duke of Clarence, and his wife Cicely both died. Cicely was poisoned, and George was executed at Tower of London. Tradition says that he was drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine.
 1483 - Her son Edward IV, the King of England died. Her niece Catherine's second husband, William, Lord Hastings, was beheaded. Her grandsons King Edward V and Richard, the Duke of York were murdered in the Tower. Her daughter Anne's second husband , Sir Thomas St. Ledger, was executed in Exeter. Her great-nephew Henry Stafford, the Duke of Buckingham, was beheaded.
1484 - Her grandson Edward,  the Prince of Wales, died. His mother Anne Neville Plantagenet died shortly afterward.
1485 - Her son Richard III, husband and father of the above mentioned, was killed during the battle of Bosworth Field.
1487 - Her grandson John de la Pole, the Earl of Lincoln, was killed during the battle of Stoke.

How many of us could handle all of these deaths? Cecily lived 34 years after her husband's death and never remarried. She survived all of her children but one. She watched many of her "grand" and "great" generations die. The turmoil of her time period would be another enormous stress. I am in awe. If I were to live through all that she did, I believe you would find me in an asylum somewhere. 

I also remember searching a cemetery for one of my relatives. I never discovered the relatives, but I did discover a family of sixteen who lived and died during the early 18oos.  I had recently had two children in three years who were healthy and strong. The mother and father in this family had had fourteen children in fifteen years. The child to live the longest managed to reach two months of age before his death. Here again, I am not sure that I could have handled that much adversity. I know I would have gotten to the point where just finding out that I was going to have a child would be so depressing. 

What allowed both of these women to continue their sorrow-filled life that is missing in today's time?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Beliefs and Convictions

Joan of  Arc was burned at the stake on this date at Rouen in 1431. It made me wonder how many of us are as committed as she was in her beliefs. This led me to thinking of my Huguenot ancestors who left France because they refused to practice Catholicism. I have always been in awe of their courage and of their beliefs. Basically, they only had a few choices: convert to Catholicism and remain in France; remain in France worshiping in secret and die if caught; or migrate to another country where they could worship as they believed. I wonder what we would do if we were given the same  choices that they were given. I have a feeling that most of us would convert to Catholicism and not give it much more thought. Most of us probably would reason with ourselves that both religions believe in God, so it's okay. But is it? How many atheists are firm enough in their convictions to rebel and refuse to join the church? What has made the difference between the current generation and the generation of the Huguenots? I believe that few of us would leave our precious money, possessions,and family to escape to a fairly uncivilized country and start over. Is there anything that you are willing to commit to that completely?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Anne Bronte

Anne Bronte, the daughter of Patrick Bronte and Maria Branwell, was the youngest of six children and one of the three literary Bronte sisters (Charlotte, Emily, and Anne). She was born 17 Jan 1820 in Thornton, but in April of 1820, her father took a permanent position as curate at Haworth. This is the home that Anne would know and where all three Bronte sisters would write their novels. The home is currently preserved as a museum. 
Anne wrote a number of poems and two novels, Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.  Had she not died of consumption on 28 May 1849, she undoubtedly would have written more wonderful works. Below is a poem of Anne's:


POOR restless dove, I pity thee;
And when I hear thy plaintive moan,
I mourn for thy captivity,
And in thy woes forget mine own.

To see thee stand prepared to fly,
And flap those useless wings of thine,
And gaze into the distant sky,
Would melt a harder heart than mine.
In vainin vain! Thou canst not rise:
Thy prison roof confines thee there;
Its slender wires delude thine eyes,
And quench thy longings with despair.
Oh, thou wert made to wander free
In sunny mead and shady grove,
And, far beyond the rolling sea,
In distant climes, at will to rove!
Yet, hadst thou but one gentle mate
Thy little drooping heart to cheer,
And share with thee thy captive state,
Thou couldst be happy even there.
Yes, even there, if, listening by,
One faithful dear companion stood,
While gazing on her full bright eye,
Thou mightst forget thy native wood.
But thou, poor solitary dove,
Must make, unheard, thy joyless moan;
The heart, that Nature formed to love,
Must pine, neglected, and alone.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Alse Young, Witchcraft, and Thinking Before Speaking

Sometime during 1642, Connecticut made witchcraft a crime  punishable by death.  Their justification was taken from two Bible verses:

Exodus 22:18 - Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live

Leviticus 20:27 - A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death; they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.

In 1647 on the 26th of May in Windsor, CT, Alse Young was put to death for witchcraft, making her the first person in America known to be executed for this crime. Interestingly, her daughter Alice Young Beamon would stand accused of witchcraft in Springfield, MA, in 1677. Alice Beamon, unlike her mother, would survive.
I have a strange feeling that if someone had done some thinking before speaking, both of these cases might have been avoided. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

It has been raining now for two days, and I have found myself humming the old nursery rhyme "Rain, Rain." Mother Goose's rhymes, of course, originated in England and were often associated with an historical event. This particular rhyme celebrates the spectacular defeat of the Spanish Armada by the English fleet. They were aided in this defeat by the lovely English weather...rain, rain, and more rain. Thus we have the following rhyme:

Rain, rain, go away,
Come again another day.
Little Johnny wants to play;
Rain, rain, go to Spain,
Never show your face again.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Trees and City Places

Tree at Santee  Gun Club

Angel Oak
                                and Amsterdam

Sunday, May 23, 2010

An Alphabet of "Loves"

No, I am not copping out on this entry. It's a challenge to come up with things which I love (excluding people) that start with each letter of the alphabet. Word games and puzzles were always fun...

A - animals of all kinds
B- books, books, and books
C-cars, children, courage
F-frogs, flowers
G-gumption, gargoyles
H-horses, hiking
I-icicles, Indians, imagination
J-jumping, jewelery
L-lighthouses, lakes,lightening bugs
P-Paris, pluff mud
Q-quills (writing)
T-trees, tomato sandwiches,
Z-zoos, zebras

I might try this at a later date with dislikes; the task was much harder than I thought it would be.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses!

One thing that has really been bothering me for the last decade or so is the inability of mankind to take responsibility for its actions. It is never "my" fault or "our" fault; it is always "your" fault or "their" fault! Other common things that you will hear are I can't  help it because...

  1. I was born this way. 
  2. I didn't know
  3. everyone else does it
  4. I was made to do it
  5. all the ads on television and other media are responsible
  6. he said it was okay
  7. I have ADD or ADHD or Amnesia or any other medical condition
  8. I forgot
  9. I'm not very responsible
  10. I was drinking, doing drugs, or ...
Yes, some of these things may make your life more difficult, but you made a choice of some kind and that choice is where your responsibility lies. You chose to drink, or take drugs, or be irresponsible, or are forgetful, or listen to those ads, etc., etc.

There are also legitimate reasons that somethings happen, but let's all quit making excuses!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

George Washington Cable

The GrandissimesGeorge  Washington Cable (1844-1925) is an author I discovered in college when required (Thank you, Dr. Mott) to read his novel The Grandissimes:  A Story of Creole Life. One of the prettiest lines that I have ever read, and my favorite line of all times, is from this novel:
For summer there, bear in mind, is a loitering gossip, that only begins to talk of leaving when September rises to go. 

Cable is referring to New Orleans but the same can be said for Charleston and Johns Island, SC. Perhaps that's why I like that sentence: it resonates in a deep part of me that was bred in coastal South Carolina and remains here.

Having fallen in love with Cable, I began to read all that I could find that he had written: Old Creole Days in 1879, the aforementioned The Grandissimes in 1880, Madame Delphine in 1881, Dr. Sevier in 1884, and John March, Southerner in 1894.

To my delight, the local library has a copy of his Strange True Stories of Louisiana, published in 1889. I just returned from the  library with treasured volume in hand. Cable's preface is 22 pages in length, but if the rest of the book is as interesting as those pages, this volume will be as entertaining as the others! My afternoon is going to be spent reading!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


My daughter Liza-Anne has been
waiting patiently for me to blog about her! I still have not had time to do that, but I did decide to quickly post a few pictures of her. She is now 22.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I Am Nujod, Age 10 and Divorced

Normally this is not the type of book that appeals to me, but having had the book recommended by several people, I decided to give it a try. This book should be read by everyone! Nujood is a very brave and courageous girl, or should I say, woman. She was the first child bride to win a divorce in Yemen and this is her story. It is a horrifying tale which is repeated too frequently around the world, but very young girls are still being placed in arranged marriages. Upon their marriage all education stops, and as a result, approximately 70% of the women in Yemen are illiterate. Nujood has won her battle, but there are many who are not. Please read this book.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


From the yard:

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Death and Sadness

Yesterday I accidently discovered that someone who had been very dear to me had died eleven years earlier in 1999 and I did not know it. I also discovered that his ashes had been scattered at the foot of South Holston Dam. I am desolate and I am amazed at the intensity of my sadness. Someone who was once a big part of my life was gone. I had not seen him since 1976, but he called my parents out of the blue in late 1998. He wanted to see them and he wanted me to be there also. It was good seeing him, and I thought he was happy. He had not seemed to change that much. Now I wonder if he knew something that I did not know and that the phone call and visit were his goodbye. 

I am desolate because I do not know the circumstances of his death, but I do know that he left a young daughter and son behind. I cannot imagine growing up without a father. I know he loved them dearly and I'm sure that he was a wonderful father and would have made a wonderful grandfather! My heart breaks.

My thoughts on cremation and the scattering of ashes has changed due to this. I feel like I need to say goodbye to him and cannot. Yes, I know what is in your heart is always present and never dies, but I want that "place" to go to say goodbye and God speed. I will go to South Holston Lake and say goodbye, but I'm not sure that it will be the same. I want something I can touch.

A belated goodbye, my friend. Missie will miss you.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Versatility, Awards, and Blogging

A huge thanks to Peggy who writes Look at it as an Adventure where I vicariously enjoy her grandchildren and writing. Check out her blog if you have not already.

Now as I understand it, there are a few rules for this reward:
  • Thank the person who gave you the award.
  • Share seven things about yourself.
  • Pass the award along to up to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic (in no particular order)
  • Contact the bloggers you have chosen and let them know about the award.
Seven things (in no particular order):
  1. I was raised in Pawleys Island, SC, which is the most wonderful beach in the world!
  2. I have two children, a son born in 1985 and a daughter born in 1987.
  3. My daughter says that she keeps checking my blog to see if I have written about her yet. She would find this a positive thing, not a negative thing!
  4. Some people are surprised by everything that I have done in my life, but I believe in living life to the fullest (usually). As the song says, "I chose to dance."
  5. The best job that I have ever had has been teaching English in high school. Middle school was wonderful also, but very trying! The best experience was taking a group of Juniors and Seniors to London and Paris.
  6. I still wear my hair very, very long, and my children say that I am still a hippie.
  7. Six horses have called me mom during my lifetime: Waccamaw Lady, Brandywine, Sully, Haley, Thunder, and Sunny. Hmmm.....they'd all make good blog entries. 
I am presenting the award to these fantastic blogs:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

You Have Mail! (and the National Debt)

I have figured out how to pay off our national debt! 

It's really quite simple. Every day I receive a number of requests from lawyers telling me that a long lost relative has left his estate to me, from people who wish to offer me business opportunities which will bring me millions, and from people who just want my password to forward me money. I propose to accept these emails and give these funds to the government to pay down the debt. I may not be able to do this entirely on my own. At least one or two of you have to volunteer to do the same. Could you imagine that? No more debt. At that point, we could spread this movement to even more people and then we could start paying off the debts of other countries. No more debt in the world.....and it would only take several people and several days worth of email. Oh, yes, I also have some ocean front property in New Mexico to sell you...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Another Horrid Creature

After discussing my favorite neighbor and his fire ants, I thought I'd bring up something else that bothers me at this time of the year. Ticks are everywhere! I am currently removing an average of two ticks every single day.

These are the ticks that I have been removing, but there are several types of ticks which cause lyme disease. Remember the bull's eye rash is only one of the symptoms. You can contract the disease and not have this symptom. Do an internet search and identify the lyme carriers in your area! Know the different symptoms!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

For the Love of Animals?

Okay, I take in stray cats, dogs, horses, and any other creature that needs help. Water moccasins are welcome to stay on the property as long as they do not get in my way, but there are some animals where I just have to draw the line. I have a neighbor who lives down by the mailbox who has a heart of gold and who would not hurt a flea (literally). Each week he goes dumpster diving for food for himself and animals. One thing that he has always done which both irritates me and fascinates me is his feeding of the fire ants. Carefully check the picture above. You will see a potato that he has not only given them but peeled and cut for them. Near the top of the picture are several banana peels next to the unopened bag of dried beans. I am surprised that he did not cook or at least soften the beans for the little creatures. In case you are worried, he does bring spoiled deli items to our yard for the dogs and cats and tries to put rotten apples and other fruit in with the horses. Of course, these are still in their plastic containers and bags. I just bite my tongue and pick up the garbage! Does anyone else know someone who feeds fire ants?

Thursday, May 6, 2010


According to, impatience is defined as "annoyance because of delay, opposition, etc." or "restless eagerness to do something, go somewhere, etc." Thunder is the epitome of impatience. There is not a patient bone in this horse's body. From the moment he awakens in the morning until he settles in for the night, he spends his time thinking about himself, his comfort. and how quickly his needs and desires are being satisfied (and I am never quick enough). He paws the ground and fence while waiting for his morning and evening food, while being groomed and tacked, and while being asked to stand still. Thunder has to be the first one to go out in the pasture, to be brought in from the pasture, and to get his food. If the horses are in a group, Thunder cannot stand to see you paying any attention to another horse; he will push and shove his way until he is in the front and his desires are being met. If he gets the opportunity, he will literally push himself into the feed room to inform you that he is still waiting for his food (even though only six seconds have passed by).  I have often thought that I could loan him out to help teach others about how irritating their impatience can be. 

Saturday, May 1, 2010

It's May Day

Today is May Day, a holiday and tradition established before the birth of Christ and continuing today. The first celebrations were by the Druids in what is now Great Britain and were the second most important holiday. May 1 was the half-way point in their calendar year and on this day, they celebrated the festival of Beltane. When the Romans conquered the area, they brought with them their tradition of celebrating this day in honor the goddess of flowers, Flora. These two traditions merged and continued to change through the years.

Many people and cultures celebrate in different ways. The most well-known is probably the dancing of the May Pole which began by the Middle Ages. Other areas crown a May Queen. May garlands began as a way to designate the advent of spring and summer and were hung on door knobs.In my area, Pawleys Island, SC, the Girl Scouts and EYC would weave baskets out of construction paper and fill them with grass, flowers, and small bits of candy. On May Day, we would hang these baskets, without a note, on the door knobs of the elderly women and men in our area. I loved that tradition!