Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Mama?

I've added weights to my twist board exercise routine and so I'm going to try to post without using any numbers, symbols or sentences that require exclamatory punctuation found on the top row of the keyboard as that would require me to straighten out my arms and, well, I'd rather not.  In this particular post, I'll also try to avoid using percentages, dollar amounts, or equations so that should completely eliminate any arm strain.


So, something happened, Sunday morning, that is probably pretty relatable for most of us, ladies.  We got to church a little late as "spring forward" Sunday is always a bit more challenging than all of the other Sundays of the year.  Half of our clocks were right and half weren't and we were just off our game.  We got there and were making our way across the parking lot when I spotted my friend, Susan, in the distance.  Susan is always a ray of sunshine....just one of my favorite people.  I hadn't seen her in a while so we exchanged waves and shouted a few greetings back and forth over the parked cars.  It was SO cold and my bare legs hanging out of the bottom of my dress simply wouldn't allow me to stop and visit.    


I continued on toward the church doors with my family when Carson pipes up, "Mom, you sounded like Grandma just then."  I knew it.  The thought had already crossed my mind right after I spoke and Carson had just verified my suspicions.  I don't know.  It was something about my wording and the fact that my mother's voice is kind of shaky and cracks when she tries to talk loudly like, say, across a parking lot and, well, mine does that, too.  Anyway, it was almost enough for me to want to look between all the cars calling, "Mama?" 
   
Most of you, ladies, can relate to the fact that your mother's voice can come out of your mouth at any given time and without one minute of advance notice.  You don't know how she got in there but you knew, when the words left your tongue, it was her.  You could hear it clear as a bell.  Your mother's voice projecting from your mouth.....like she was the ventriloquist and you were her little puppet. 


I'm not sure how old I was when I first heard her voice replace mine but it's happened on countless occasions.  More and more as I get older.  Sometimes, it's the choice of words that does it.  Other times, it's the whole package....the tone, expression, and delivery and, the first time it happens, well, it can be frightening for a daughter.  Not because it's such a bad thing but because you always knew you'd never become your mother.


 
I suppose it's bound to happen to all of us sooner or later.  I mean, is there any other voice you heard more than your mother's during the first 20 years of your life?  That kind of repetition has got to have some programming capabilities.  You start to sound like her and use her phrases. I thought of some of the things that my Mama told me and some she still tells me.  A few of them, I find myself repeating to my children with little evidence to back them up besides, "Your Grandma said".

- You need to eat something with that pill or you'll get ulcers.


- Go dry your hair or you'll get sick.....and put some socks on those cold feet. 


- Don't use sponges in your kitchen. They're full of bacteria. 


- At least once a week, you need to raise the windows and let fresh air in your house.
   
- You have to watch them at the grocery store.  They have one price on the shelf and charge you another one at the checkout. 
 
- You can pick up all sorts of germs in a filthy public restroom. 


- Always take a can of Lysol with you to a hotel.

- One day, I'll be gone and you're going to wish you'd paid attention when I was trying to teach you this.
 
- If you're bored, I have plenty you can help me do.
 
- As soon as you get out of a bed, make it up.  Do the hospital corners like I taught you.


- Always check the expiration dates at the grocery store.  And never get the one in the front.  Everyone's touched that one and that's where they put the old stuff. 


- Don't drink milk if you have fever. 
 
- Reading in low light will damage your eyes as will sitting too close to the TV. 


- You don't want your meringue to look like dog slobber.  Beat it until it has firm peaks. 

- The dryer is so hard on your stuff- it will just ruin your clothes.


- If you'll just iron a few things a day, it won't pile up like this.


- Always look in your backseat before you get in your car. 


- I'm going to close this door so your brothers don't catch what you have. 

- Don't forget to tell them you enjoyed it when you get up from the table and that you had a good time when you leave. 
 
- Quit turning that light on and off -you'll start a fire.


-  Don't rub your eyes, you'll get wrinkles.
 
- Turn off that television.  I can't hear myself think. 
 
- I don't care what Melissa's mother lets her do.  


-  One day, you'll have a family of your own and you'll need to know how to do this.        
  
- Never leave your house in a mess when you go somewhere. ( I always felt this was kind of ominous.  I suppose it was in case you never returned.  Bereaving guests finding out you're not only dead but also a slob would only serve to compound the tragedy)


I'm sure you have a list of your own.  Things you've heard your mama say a thousand times and when she starts the sentence, you can finish it for her like a pro and maybe even in her voice and tone, too.  Mothers are very influential.  They get in our heads and eventually start oozing out of our mouths. 


I'm beyond blessed in that department.  I could stand to emulate mine more.....not just in the way I sound or the way my voice projects or the sayings I use but in all aspects of my life.  My Mama's a beautiful soul.  I don't think I've ever met anyone as kind and pure in heart as her.  She loves with all of her being......with everything she has to give.  And quietly.  She wants nothing for herself.....just making someone else's life better is what makes her happy.  She's a whole lot like Jesus. 


So, I guess if my cracking voice and litany of expressions had to come from someone, I'd definitely want it to be from someone like her.  If I ever open my mouth and my mother comes out, I know I'm doing something right.




Happy Wednesday! 






  


    





Sunday, March 12, 2017

Deposits in the Ol' Memory Bank

Last Thursday, I'd had a long day at work and was officially not in the mood to cook that night.  I decided eating out was our destiny for dinner.  The weather was so nice and we opted to get a table outside at Newk's and everyone began to give a summary of their day.  Carson had his second golf game or meet or whatever you call a golf competition between schools.....so we definitely needed to hear about that.  Blair gave us an account of her sales day on the road.  Davis had been out of town working and I spent the day putting new merchandise out at the stores.  We were enjoying a nice evening meal together when I thought I spotted one of Blair's former teachers far off in the distance.  Blair turned around and verified that it was, indeed, her.  Just the sight of the teacher immediately brought to her mind an embarrassing memory. 


She was in this lady's class in elementary school and, one day, Blair was asked to come up and work something on the board. She got up and, on her way to the front of the class, a pair of her panties fell out of the leg of her pants.  You know how, sometimes, when clothes come out of the dryer, they get caught up in each other.  Well, it must have been Blair's unlucky day because, on the way to the board, the darn static cling decided to release its grip and a pair of her stowaway panties fell out right there on the floor. Of course, everyone giggled.  What elementary child wouldn't?  Sadly, the teacher even giggled instead of helping her out in the awkward situation.  I guess the only thing that could have made it worse would've been if my underwear would have come shooting out and, well, that would have really gotten some gasps going.  Even so, she was mortified and just recalling the experience made her cover her red face at the restaurant 14 years later.



That got me thinking just how long experiences stay with us.  Good or bad, some things affect us so much that just scratching the memory at its surface can make us feel flushed or crushed or a million different other ways.  It made me wonder why that is....why some moments stand out in our mind so.  Moments that are long gone and over and done.  Forgotten about by everyone else.  The good ones still have the power to give us a boost and the bad ones never seem to lose their potency to give us a punch in the gut.  Sometimes, out of the blue, an unpleasant memory can rear its ugly head and make us feel just as self-conscious or inadequate as it did so many years ago.  Like it just happened yesterday.     


Well, since we started out talking about Blair's unpleasant experience, I'll share one of her good memorable moments to counteract the underwear thing and to speak to the power of a positive memory.  One that comes to my mind would definitely be the vacation we took to Hilton Head and Savannah when she was about 11.  Well, we took a cooking class from Paula Deen while we were there and, lo and behold, she called Blair up to the front of the class.  Maybe it was so significant because she was at that awkward tweenager stage or maybe because she was singled out by someone she really admired.  I mean, after all, she watched her show all the time.  Every day.  Other kids her age were watching Nickelodeon and mine was tuned into the Food Network.  


Anyway, Paula called her to come up and she patted on her and played with her hair.  She complimented her and hugged and hugged and hugged her some more.  She asked her what she liked to cook and asked all kinds of 'get to know you' questions.  For about 15 minutes, Paula talked to Blair like she was the only other person in the world.  Like she didn't have anything else to do.  She turned a little red with intimidation but managed to carry on a delightful conversation with Paula even though she was obviously star struck.  




Well, she left there with all sorts of treats and autographs and recipes from Paula but the main thing she left with was an encouraging memory to store for her use later.  We all have a storehouse where we keep those and we can bring them out whenever we need them.  When we're feeling discouraged or insecure or just blue.  When life gets hard, we all have that place in our mind where we've saved up warmth and love and encouragement from the past that we can draw from when we need it.  It doesn't have to be from a celebrity.  We all have the potential to fill someone's memory bank with good.  Like the old saying goes.....we never forget how a person makes us feel when we're around them. 


Whether we like to admit it or not, our past experiences travel with us to the very end of the road.  Some can poke at our insecurities......leaving our panties in a wad right there on the floor for everyone to see.  Others can light a beautiful spark in our eyes......and inspire us to grow into a wonderful cook.  We have the power to do either of those things for each other.       


If you make good deposits in others' lives, they'll get a lot of return for your investment.   




Y'all have a good Monday! 




 


                   

Monday, March 6, 2017

Out With the Old

Well, I didn't intend to be gone for so long but, last week, I felt like a hamster on a freshly greased wheel.  I had so much work and other commitments waiting on me when we got home from our trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains and I have been non-stop ever since.  John Samuel was also home all week for his Mardi Gras break from school so I enjoyed having all 3 of my kids going in and out for several days.  Oh, and don't let me forget the week long preparation for the garage sale we had on Saturday.  Well, let me rephrase.....the garage sale that Blair, Carson, and John Samuel had on Saturday.  My body's clock doesn't really run on garage sale time and Davis didn't want to haul all the stuff out of the attic and so we told them if they'd handle it, they could all split the money and, I must say, they did quite well for themselves
.






Our attic was getting ridiculous.  Surely, you have a space like that.  Whether it's a basement or attic or storage building, there needs to be a purging every now and then.  Well, for us, when we don't know what to do with something, it gets sent to the attic.  It's kind of like a place of waiting for our stuff.  It's where things go that we're not ready to trash but we don't want to have to look at it while we work through the process of letting go.









Because I know you're deeply curious about my attic, I'll give you the layout.  I have the kids' old toys and books up there on one side.  I'm very sentimental about those and keeping them, hopefully, for our future grandchildren.  There was a whole section devoted to containers and supplies for decorating weddings/parties.....which I haven't done in 7 years so that section was becoming irrelevant.  There were all the things from Davis' office that were sent up there after he retired.  There is a big box of trophies, plaques, and medals up there....some of them -participation trophies as my children are from that era.  What's a mother to do with those?  There was the stuff from Blair's college days of dorm and apartment living.  Carson had some hobbies and interests that have fallen off his radar and those things were up there.  Of course, there are all the seasonal sections.....Easter, fall, Christmas and summertime/beach/camping must haves.  It was basically becoming a hot mess and it was time to separate the wheat from the chaff.  I couldn't think of a better time to do it than the week that John Samuel and Carson would both be here to get it all down.










We went through things and sorted and priced and laughed and formed quite a pile for the trash man. There were things that reminded us of different times and seasons.  Some things that seemed so important when we got them were just in the way now.  Most had served their purpose for a particular period but had since turned insignificant to us.  Some things we'd just outgrown.  Other things, well, we'd just changed and they weren't wanted anymore.  It's funny how time can do that. 
 
On the heels of our silver anniversary trip, I was thinking how in the first 25 years of marriage, we leave our parents.  The next 25, our parents start to leave us.  The first 25, we spend bonding with our children.  The next 25, our children are breaking away from us.  The first 25 years, we're busy acquiring things.  The next 25, we spend getting rid of things.  The first 25, we want to hurry things along.  The next 25, we scramble for ways to slow it all down.
    


I'm in the middle of this cycle of life.  Blair will move out on her own this summer and get married in the fall.  When she left for college, I always knew in the back of my mind that she'd be back home for summer breaks and Christmas vacations and maybe to get on her feet after graduating.  But, I know when she leaves this time, it will be for good.  And, oh, how I've enjoyed having her here for the last 10 months.....as a friend.  Carson will start his senior year in high school in the fall.  My baby.  I don't even know where the time went with him.  He'll be headed off to college before we know it.  And those are all really good things.  Wonderful things.  But, sometimes, even wonderful things pull at a mama's heart.
   


Just like there's no reason to hold onto the old things that we squirrel away in the attic, it's useless to try to hold onto any moment in time.  It's always moving.  Always changing.









But, there are new moments to come.









New seasons.










Filled with new joys.






 






Y'all have a good one!
              

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Twisting Away

Sorry I've been a no-show this week!  As the clock struck midnight, it officially became our 25th wedding anniversary (yes, the big, silver one) and we're going on a little trip so I've been busy getting ready for that.  You know how you have to work your tail slam off just to get ready to go somewhere?  Well, that's been me, the last couple of days.  I'll talk more about the anniversary in a little bit.

We've also made so much progress on the wedding this week!  Not that you want an update but I'm a list person and it will make me feel so accomplished to list it all out for you, so humor me. 

Minister✅
Hotel✅
Florist✅
Lighting✅
String quartet✅
Music selection✅
Photographer✅
Videographer✅
Hair/makeup people✅
Bridesmaid dresses✅
Wedding dress✅
Second Line Brass✅
Tuxedos✅
Caterer✅
Menu✅
Jazz Band✅
Guest list✅
Cakes✅
Bridesmaid gifts✅
Engagement picture appointment✅
Bridal portrait appointment✅
Mother of the bride dress

Oh, wait.  We seem to be missing a check mark.

So, my friend, Michelle, who is a two-time groom's mother, is going shopping with my friend, Valerie, and me on March 20.  Valerie, a soon-to-be groom's mother, and I are going to glean from Michelle's experience in this area of maternal dress as Valerie and I are just rookies. Michelle was my matron of honor 25 years ago today.  Bless her heart.....she didn't know that was an appointment that carries over to the weddings of future generations.   
So, since I have about a month to prepare my muffin top for this experience, I decided I have to get myself in shape.  There are some things you may not know about me......I have trouble with this thing called discipline.  And my favorite food group is carbohydrates.  The chance of me turning down something floury or potato-y that's in front of me, well, it's almost non-existent.  I try to do the right things.  I see my friends with these huge containers of water that they're always sipping on, but I have to be really thirsty to drink water.  Like if I was in the middle of the Sahara Desert, I'm sure I'd enjoy water a whole lot there.  Any other time, water just tastes like it's missing something to me.  Like tea bags.  And a cup of sugar. 

So, to compensate, I've been hard at work on my Simply Fit Board.  I know you've seen them on TV.  They were on Shark Tank and I thought they looked as if they were minimally miserable.  I like any form of exercise that can be done in front of the television in the air conditioning.  Look how much fun she's having.  You just twist, twist, twist away the pounds.  Well, so far, I've gained a pound, but I'm sure it's because muscle weighs more than fat.  I'm sure that's it.
 

I was determined to write something, tonight, even if it has turned out to be like buckshot.....going off in all different directions and hitting a lot of stuff.  But, I sat down to write and my head was pounding so I got in the shower to let the hot water run over my head.  I got out feeling better and then the Mississippi State and Ole Miss basketball game came on.  Which went into overtime.  At which point, I decided that 90% of basketball is shooting free throws but I couldn't stop watching it even though I'm only mildly interested in the sport.  So, I got a late start writing and from the looks of this post, I should have just written the week off as a loss and let you go on with your lives but, no, here I am babbling.

So, I'm really looking forward to our trip.  I still have a lot to do before we go!  I've been married to Davis more than half my life and I want to write about that when I have the time and mental energy to do it justice.  But, for now, I'll just say there are a lot of things we wish we could go back to in this picture sitting in the back of a limousine with birdseed in our hair.  Like our trim figures.  Our smooth, young skin.  Our whole lives in front of us.  And even more significant at this point......the day when catering was $10 a head. 

Sigh.
         

Happy Anniversary to my sweet Davis!


We'll see y'all next week! 







    

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Most Beautiful Gift

This afternoon, I worked at one of the stores to help with the anticipated Valentine rush.  Every Valentine's Day, there's always that one customer that sticks out in my memory and to celebrate this holiday of love, I'll tell you about this year's winner.

Much of the day, we'd helped men select gifts for their sweethearts.  Most of the guys weren't in the store very long as men usually make up their minds about this type thing very quickly.  Let's just say that there wasn't a whole lot of thought put into most of the selections.   

Well, right about the time school was getting out, a young boy came in the store all by himself.  That's a sight we don't usually see at the pharmacy gift shop.  I guess that he was about 10 or 11.  He came in with his hands in his pockets and looked a little intimidated about walking in alone.  I mean, 10 or 11......that is the time of life when our confidence isn't exactly what you'd call soaring. 

Well, Bonnie and I, being the southern women that we are, spoke warmly and tried to make him feel comfortable.  I mean, if you work at a store, it becomes like your house.  Like your home, you don't ever want anyone to walk in your store and feel ill at ease.  We asked if we could help him with anything.  "Oh, I'm just looking for a Valentine present for my Mom," he said shyly. 

Well, I'll just stop right here because I'm a big ol' sucker for a boy who loves him mama.  A real big sucker.  He reminded me of my Carson and so he plucked at my heartstrings kind of like Jimmy Hendrix.     

So, Bonnie and I pointed out some lower priced items in the store that we thought a mother would like.  We didn't know what his budget was but assumed that a 10 year old boy wouldn't have a lot to work with on Valentine's Day.  After showing him a few options, we backed off and let him look.  He went back and forth across the store studying all the choices.  I got busy with another customer and when I got done with her, I walked over to the counter where Bonnie was ringing up his selections and I asked if I could wrap the gifts for him. "How much does wrapping cost?" he asked.  I assured him it was a complimentary service and he was very happy to hear that.  He had two small candles for his mom and another item for his dad and Bonnie announced his total of $23 and some cents.  He nervously shifted and rifled through his money and admitted that he only had $20 and that he'd put one of the candles back.  I winked at Bonnie and told her I thought $20 was enough and, after a little polite protest from the boy, he finally conceded and I took the gifts away to the wrap room.

I picked out the fanciest wrapping paper and scattered handfuls of "complimentary" chocolates around the candles before closing the box. I would've given him the whole store if I thought I could've gotten it all in there.  I finished the wrapping and passed the gifts off to Bonnie to give to him.  I looked out from the back room because the boy had stolen my heart at that point.  He kept looking down at the two gifts but especially the one for his mom.....the box wrapped in silver leopard print paper with a hot pink bow.  You could tell that he was just beside himself with excitement.   His face was beaming like he was holding the most valuable treasure in his hands and my heart melted right out onto the floor and there I stood in a puddle of heart juices. 

They say love doesn't come from a store but, today, it did. 

The boy didn't spend as much as most of the men who shopped with us today. The gift wasn't nearly as large or impressive as some of the others we sold.  But, a son's sweet, innocent love for his mama embellished with silver leopard print paper and tied with a pink bow......well, it was the most beautiful gift we've wrapped in a long, long time.       
 

Hope you witnessed a lot of love today, too.     
               

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Happy Birthday, Dear Motherhood and Muffin Tops


Motherhood and Muffin Tops has turned 3!  Three years ago, I nervously typed out my first little blog post.  I'd never been so apprehensive about anything as I was the first few times I clicked "Publish".  I have to say, though, that the last three years have been a joy.  Sure, there are days when I have ample time to write and days when my wagon is just downright overloaded. Sometimes, I have a mind full of topic ideas and, sometimes, I feel like I've already written about every subject under the sun and anything from this point on will just be redundant.  Sometimes, I get so frustrated....like I'm in a rut.  Other times, I'm energized and feel like I have a purpose.  It's one of the most challenging and rewarding things I've ever done.               

I thought, on this birthday, I'd give you some useless and unimportant facts about the blog. Yes, everything you never wanted to know about Motherhood and Muffin Tops and more. 

1)  The most read posts to date are:
          1) There's this Lady I Know
          2) Dear Family Feud Contestant
          3) A Time to Mourn
          4) Somewhere Along the Way
          5) Recollections of Letting Go
          6) Call Your Mother, Kids
It was interesting to me that half of the all time top six posts were about death.  Maybe that's just because it's something we all experience.  We've all had people we loved to leave us.  I'm not sure you ever get over missing them.  Maybe we just need to know that there are other people who have the same feelings that we have.  Maybe we just need to hear that it's ok to be sad.      

2)  The top 6 countries from which the blog is read are:
           1)  United States
           2)  Russia
           3) Canada
           4) UK
           5) Ukraine
           6) France
I don't even know what to say about that except "Hello" to our friends across the pond.  All I can imagine is that I must have relatives in those places and my mother called them and told them about the blog.    

3)  To date, Motherhood and Muffin Tops has published 311 posts.  A few worth reading and the rest......just a whole lot of nonsense. 

4) This is the view from where I write.....unless it's Christmas time and the tree goes where my chair sits and so the change of location and scenery really throws me off during the holidays.  I write from my chair with my feet propped up on my ottoman and usually don't start until, at least, 10:00 pm.  I stay up until 12:30 or 1:00 or even 1:30 as I am a creature of the night with only the sound of a couple of ticking clocks and a snoring dog as my background noise.  I can't write with the TV on or music.....unless it's instrumental.  I've tried writing during the day but it's just not my productive time.  There's just something about the dark for us, nocturnals. 
5)  I find it easier to write about serious topics.  I guess because it just takes more effort to write something humorous but it is my favorite.  I've enjoyed making attempts at funny writing since my friends and I made high school note passing a lettered sport.  I also really enjoy telling a story......like the time when the cat got in my car.  Stories are the easiest to write.       

6)  I love feedback from readers whether it's by comments, or text messages, or in person.  I feel like I've made friends here.  Some of you comment regularly and I feel like I know you.  It's so encouraging to me to know that I'm not talking to myself because, well, that would be kind of embarrassing.  It humbles me when someone tells me they read the blog.  That is such a gift to me....that you would give me a sliver of your day. And, on the flip side, I'd be lying if I told you it didn't hurt my feelings when some unknown person in internet land unfollows me....usually after a patriotic or "overly" Christian post.  

7) My biggest fear about blogging is that I'll run out of things to write about.  After three times around the ol' calendar, I've found myself saying, "Oh, I've written about that a few times already."  It's challenging to think of some different things to explore.  I've really been struggling with that but hope to jump the hurdle soon.

8)  The top 4 ways the blog is read are.....
      1) Windows
      2) iPad
      3) iPhone
      4) Macintosh 
I know this one was super interesting but I'm trying to get to 10, people.

9)  You may not know but I am easily distracted and the least little thing can get me off track.  I'll shut the laptop and call it a night if a good episode of Everybody Loves Raymond or Frasier comes on or I'd even say if a moth is flying around a lamp.  Oh, look......   

10)  My goals for the blog from this day forward:
         -  Provide a place of lighthearted and uplifting posts in this world full of bad news which seems to weigh so heavy on us.
         -  Provide a place where we can laugh without using profanity or vulgarity.  Just good clean humor.  It is possible.  My mother has corrected me for using the term, birth canal, on the internet but that's about as raunchy as we're going to get here on Motherhood and Muffin Tops, my friends. 
         -   Write about subjects that we all struggle with and, sometimes, just need to know we're not the only one. 
         -   Honor God and give glory to Jesus, my Savior, and point others to Him with my words. 


In Him, there is purpose, worth, and pure joy. 

And who doesn't need more of that? 



Thank y'all for three years! 










          

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

R is for Random and Rambling

So, my friend, Michelle, who I talked about in my last post, was in town on Tuesday.  I enjoyed lunch with her, her son, and "her Carolyn".  We were seated at our table and she told me she had something for me as she reached down in her purse and came out with this.  So precious!  She said I could share with you all.....
Over the last few days, I've run into quite a few people around town who've wanted to talk about their Type 1 or Type 2 mothers......or how they hover or don't......or their preference or disdain for the automatic toilet.  I've even had a few to tell me that they have thought about me while using a public restroom, this week.  How touching that was.....to know I was thought of in there.  The bathroom post seemed to strike a chord.  Apparently, it was way past time we spoke publicly about these things and came together as one around the issue of the public throne.  

There were terrible storms all over the South on Tuesday, too.  Sugar, our phobic dog, spent most of the early morning sitting on my head and hyperventilating.  It seems she's under the impression that in order to achieve maximum closeness to someone, she must situate herself atop their skull.  Sometimes, when that's not quite close enough, she will attempt to "dig" into your head with her front claws so that she can get even closer as in.....to your brain, your inner most being.  I'm sure some of you can relate to a dog with storm issues. 
When I found out that there had been tornados in New Orleans, my first thought was, of course, if my son-in-law-to-be was ok.  He was fine and then when I learned there were no fatalities, my mind went to the 300 year old trees under which the wedding will take place but when the plantation posted that they'd been unaffected by the storms, I was relieved.  The mighty oaks have stood proud for over three centuries and we just need them to, at least, hang on for a few months more.    
 
Blair and I ran in Dillard's, last night, because there was this dress she wanted to buy.  When we got done in there, we walked down to Bath & Body Works.  I don't know if you've tried their aromatherapy shampoo but I absolutely love it!  The orange ginger and the eucalyptus spearmint are the best.  Anyway, while we were in there, two men stumbled in and then they kind of backed out like they weren't sure that was where they needed to be.  But, it was too late.  They were immediately greeted at the door by one of the zealous saleswomen.  "Y'all come on back in here!  I know two strapping men like you are sure to need something for Valentine's Day!"  They kind of turned the color of a valentine and then laughed about being called strapping as it certainly wasn't an adjective you'd use to describe these two. I have to insert here that I am fascinated with watching men shop for their significant other.  I suppose it comes from years of working in retail and the floral business but it is a hobby of mine.  Some people study the migratory patterns of the ruby-throated hummingbird while I prefer to observe the special occasion shopping patterns of the man. 

Well, before you knew it, one sales lady had one of the poor men in the corner by the foaming soaps and the other guy was with another associate and she was spraying body sprays into the air for him to smell.  They bounced around the store with the men and, every now and then, I would hear one of the women say something like, "Oh, if you get her this, you'll be THE MAN!  She will LOVE you!" or "I don't know ANY woman who doesn't love a candle!"  At one point, I heard one of the gentlemen ask in his southern drawl, "Is she supposed to bathe in this or what?"  He was in the aromatherapy section and so Blair and I gave an unsolicited testimonial for the shampoo. 

Well, I made my little purchase and, as I was leaving, I looked over and the men had their bags full and were being talked into some impulse items near the register.  I thought, "Now, won't their ladies be surprised when they come home on Valentine's Day with enough soap to bathe the inhabitants of the seven continents?"  

So, listen, there will be a couple of Mississippi ladies out there whose men will present them with a Valentine gift of an unusually large quantity of random fragrant items.  Just know that if it happens to be you, next Tuesday, that he was just walking by when a saleswoman told him he was strapping and that, my dear, is how you're going to end up with whatever it is and for how ever long it takes to use it all.  I saw the whole thing with my own eyes. 

I guess we never really know what our guys are told when they're out shopping for us.  Just know that whatever he gets you, he probably just wanted to be THE MAN. 

Your man. 

And isn't that sweet?     


Y'all have a great weekend!