Memories Are the Key Not to the Past, but to the Future


The Hicks Sisters ca 1983

“Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future.” ~ Corrie Ten Boom ~

It had been a glorious, beautiful, brisk autumn day. I stood and breathed in a stunning panoramic view as I watched the sun lower into a captivating sunset. Faster than I realized, dusk took over, and then twilight swiftly took hold as I watched evening begin to dance alive in the streets below in Manhattan.

It was a wonderful magic show – partly Divinely created and partly man made. It was etched into my memory for the rest of my life.

I was standing in the observation deck of the World Trade Center.

Little did I know 18 years later the very spot I was standing on would topple to the ground in rubble and dust and become part of Ground Zero. My magical space would be destroyed by Islamic terrorists filled with hate, determined to destroy my country and thousands of innocent people.

I was a young lass on that magical day in 1983, the mother of a toddler, full of hope for a bright future. I look at pictures of my sister and me taken during that visit and I get chill bumps because I see us and I want to shout, “Look long and hard. Burn these memories into your mind because you will lose so much in the future!”

How could I ever imagine the terror that lay ahead for me personally and the terror that laid ahead for my country? How could I have ever imagined something like 9/11 happening in my country?

But, it did. And, it happened in a year that was one of personal turmoil for me. There were things that happened to me I never thought I would experience in my world – vows broken, trusts broken, violence committed. And, then in the midst of all that – September 11, 2001 happened.

I had just returned home the day before from a trip to Florida with a friend who had gone down to see her parents. On the trip I’d had a health crisis and spent time in the ER.

So, I was still feeling frail and in recovery mode on that September morning when I got a call that said, “Turn on your TV!”

As we speculated – was this an accident or an attack – the second plane plowed into the second Trade Tower. That pretty much settled it – we were under attack.

From that point on, I was glued in place in front of the TV just to watch the unfolding events. Since I had lived in New York for about a year, I knew how many people lived and worked in that area of the city and the numbers were massive. Small city-size massive. We could be looking at unbelievably high death tolls. I began to cry and pray.

Then, one of the most horrific things I’d ever seen in my life happened – one of the Towers began to crumble, to accordion down on itself. It was falling like a stick of hot butter in a microwave.

How could this be happening?!

I desperately wanted the other Tower to be saved – but in my heart I knew it more or less faced the same fate. And, it did. It fell, too, leaving a trail of cascading destruction and death.

And, then the aftermath began…mountains size heaps of debris, personal locators of first responders trilling constantly indicating a man down here…and here…and there…and over there…and here… It was a new level of hell.

It took this country a while to recover from 9/11 just like it took me a while to recover from the personal cataclysm going on in my life at the time.

But, recover I did. I did by beginning to move on. I married the man who should have always been my heart mate. I grew stronger inside and stronger mentally regardless of what my disabled body tried to tell me.

Every year when 9/11 comes around I remember. Some years are worse than others. This year was bad. My PTSD kicks in many years. Every year I have a man that stands by me with unyielding compassion and understanding.

I have a very growing concern that Americans are growing away from 9/11. They are forgetting 9/11 – the cause, effect and aftermath and how we were one Family after the attack.

Unlike the generation before who “Remembered Pearl Harbor!”, it’s deemed not very politically correct to “Remember 9/11” any more. Patriotism is almost view as “deplorable”. Some of our leaders like to play political footsies with the very people who financed the terrorism against us and are getting wealthy themselves from these relationships.

This is very unfortunate because history and the past are our teachers. If we forget our past, many times we are destined to repeat the past.

Corrie Ten Boom and her family were Gentile Dutch living in Nazi occupied Holland during WWII. The Ten Boom family saw what the Nazis were doing to the Jews in Holland and they made a decision to make a difference. They began hiding Jews in their home. Eventually the Ten Boom family was discovered and the Nazis rounded them up and sent them to concentration camps. Corrie lost family members in these camps.

After the war, Corrie understood the importance of putting the past into perspective. No, we don’t live in the past, but as Corrie said, “Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future.”

We must take the lessons of 9/11 and learn from them – for the sake of the future and so the death of the thousands lost that September day are not in vain.

© 2016 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.








Leave a comment

Filed under 9/11, Anniversaries, History, Islamic Terrorist, Life, Memories, New York, New York City, Photography, Picture of the Day, Quote of the Day, September 11, USA, World Trade Towers

Their Only Fault, Really…


He’s Got that Loving Feeling…

“Dogs lives are too short. Their only fault, really.” ~ Agnes Sligh Turnbull ~

It’s turning out that grooming day, or spa day, as we like to high handily call it in the Burch house, it becoming eventful. Eventful in ways I would rather avoid.

As coincidence would have it, the last two times “spa day” has fallen on each pet’s yearly physical. As I recounted in an earlier post, when we picked them up last time, we were told it was critical BabyGirl, our little Rain Man in a dog suit, have her teeth cleaned.

Boy was it ever critical. Tall & Handsome called me on the way home after he picked her up from her dental visit and broke the news, “They pulled 17 teeth.”

Now, those of you who know me really well will know the next sentence was the occurrence of a minor miracle – I was totally and utterly speechless. For about 45 seconds as images of a puckered face BabyGirl flashed through my head. You can read that post to see how BabyGirl and mom survived the outcome.

So, when we sent Watson and BabyGirl off for their grooming a couple of weeks ago we knew it was time for Watson’s yearly. No problem, just a formality to get out of the way.

Oh, wait – did you hear that shoe anvil drop? Yep, there was yet another surprise waiting when T & H picked our pups up after their “spa day”.

Now, for a little background let me preface with this – we rescued BabyGirl in 2012. She was about two years old at the time. As hard as it is to believe she will be with us four years this coming September. This makes her about six years old.

Watson, our Wonderkin, came to us two weeks shy of his first birthday in 2006. On August 30th he will turn 11 years old. As I type those words not only can I not believe it, but I have an overwhelming urge to go into denial mode because there’s a day in our future I can’t even begin to think about. I’ve even told T & H we need to start a Schnauzer Slush Fund to prepare for that day, because I just don’t know if I can survive without another Wonderkin.

So, T & H walks in the door with two transformed pups – all groomed and looking dog show quality. He on the other hand looked like a man searching for something, and he was.

The right words to tell me what he had to tell me. Oh, snap.

He said, “The vet wanted to talk to me about Watson before we left. Watson has a heart murmur.”

What I felt was indescribable. No, that’s not true. I wanted to rend my clothes, sit in sackcloth and ashes, weep and gnash my teeth and then sit Shiva – and I’m not even Jewish (well, maybe a tiny bit somewhere in my ancestry).

You see this little dog has been more to me than a dog. I know everyone says that, but he really has been. He’s been my friend, my buddy, my pal, my entertainer, my protector, my encourager, my confidant, my child and my angel unaware.

I had that once before in my Ladybug – my little English Cocker Spaniel. I never thought I’d have something like that again.

But, Watson has been that and in some ways has “gone where no dog has gone before”. He’s one of the smartest dogs I’ve ever known in my life.

T & H and I thought we were smart when we started spelling words to keep him from knowing what we were saying. Watson was smarter when he learned what we were spelling.

If I’m sitting on the bed with my laptop working on something and the timer goes off in the kitchen, he jumps down off the bed and heads to the kitchen ahead of me.

He’s crazy about Granddad, my Daddy and will greet him at the door with such excitement – screaming and carrying on like a teenage girl at a rock concert. And, then, they scuffle.

Like any “child” Watson has had his adventures and misadventures – many I’ve recounted here in this blog.

For instance, Watson is a chocolate bandit. Yes, I know! Chocolate is bad for dogs! Try telling that to the Jack Sparrow of the Schnauzer world. He’s managed to eat my one and only remaining Godiva milk chocolate and coconut truffle – and look punch drunk satisfied, sated, happy and not one iota guilty. He’d do it again in a New York minute. And, I’ve caught him mid-bite with a brownie bite in his mouth. He did have the good common German sense to let it drop out of his mouth. It was a pitiful sight.

But, like anyone with charm and charisma – you just can’t stay upset with him very long.

He’s the perfect companion for me, a person who battles chronic illness and disability. He helps me do it with humor, style and cuddles. He senses when I’m having a really hard time and then, like I tell T & H with humor, Watson becomes like a big hairy tick attached to my side.

How do you face the absence of that in your life? Roughly.

Right now Watson’s heart is compensating for the murmur and the vet said he should be fine unless he becomes listless or starts coughing a lot. For now, he seems as right as rain. We are choosing to enjoy each day as a good day, and so far it has been.

It is because of the men in my life I have a love for dogs. My Papaw had dogs and my Daddy made sure we had dogs when we were girls. T & H brought Watson home to me when Watson was two weeks shy of his first birthday.

I could extol the many wonderful qualities of dogs. I’ve always said there’s no mistake that dog is god spelled backwards – they are His ministering angels here on Earth. But, I am finding…”Dogs lives are too short. Their only fault, really…”

© 2016 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

Leave a comment

Filed under Animals, Babygirl, Daddy, dogs, Grief, Miniature Schnauzer, Pets, Photography, Picture of the Day, Quote of the Day, Tall & Handsome, Watson

Out Damn’d Spot!

“Out, damn’d spot! Out, I say!”  ~ Lady Macbeth, Act 5, Shakespeare ~

Feb 10 2014 copy ae edit

Look at this face! Could there be many things more adorable than this?! Innocence and sweetness oozing from those little dark windows into her soul.

Well, let me tell you something, to paraphrase Bette Davis, “Fasten your seatbelt, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!”

I have written about the journey Tall & Handsome and I began when we rescued this little pup back in September 2012.

I am totally enamored with Miniature Schnauzers and one day we had dropped by Pet Smart to pick up some pet supplies. A local pet shelter was at Pet Smart facilitating an adoption day. I saw a forlorn and quiet BabyGirl (the name she took to and adapted as her own after she moved in with us) pushed to the side.

She was pitifully laying in a cage. The only thing that would have made it more heart wrenching would have been a Sara McLaughlin song playing in the background.

I told T & H, “Honey, that’s a little Schnauzer.”

In a really loving and sweet way he told me I was crazy and she was a Benji dog.

She came home with us that afternoon and the bumpy ride began.

We discovered right away she had been so grossly mistreated it would be a while before we would gain her trust.

And, it was a while – a REALLY long while…

We discovered she had these little switches that turn on and off earning her the title “RainGirl zipped up in a dog suit.” Yes, a little canine Dustin Hoffman.

I was slightly vindicated after her first grooming, because, abracadabra, there was a Miniature Schnauzer!


She began to really take to me and “mark” on me. I was becoming her person. You have not lived until your adoring dog follows you to the bathroom EVERY time and sits and looks at you adoringly while you take care of business.

It can be slightly unnerving…

BabyGirl made it obvious she was not overly fond of men. But, she had just began to warm up to Tall & Handsome when one day he was walking her in the back yard and he bent down to pet her on the head.

Saying she spazzed out would be an understatement. It was back to square one for those two, and it’s still tenuous to this day.

She is getting better and we see many improvements.

But, sometime back we began to notice she was emitting this odor. When I say odor, I mean ODOR. Like in Shakespearean portions.

The kind that would drop a herd of cattle dead in their tracks.

We knew she emitted this funky odor when she was frightened – we called it skunk juice and wondered if she was part skunk – I know, I know – I told you it was a bumpy ride.

But, this was different. It NEVER went away. We could have her groomed, we could bathe her ourselves and the pall of that stench hovered over her.

We felt like Lady Macbeth, but instead of “Out d*mn spot” it was “Out d*mn stench”!

Then in late February she went in for a routine grooming and when we picked her up they told us they were running a special on dental cleaning and BabyGirl REALLY needed her teeth cleaned. So we scheduled it for March 10th.

Well, fasten that seatbelt! When T & H picked up BabyGirl they told him they had to pull seventeen (17) teeth! Yes, that’s correct 17 teeth were pulled.

Just like in humans, bad teeth can cause dogs a lot of problems. In BabyGirl’s case they said it could be genetics, lack of proper nutrition when she was young or any number of things that could have happened to set things in motion before we adopted her.

Unlike humans, the missing 17 teeth will not and has not affected her desired to eat. She still revels in the “room of food” also know as the pantry where their food bowls and water bowls await them (her and Watson the Wonderkin) daily and they each get treats and biscuits designed to promoted dental health.

So, FYI, if your furbaby ever starts smelling like one of the Walking Dead, and you feel yourself going Shakespearean – get the vet to check their teeth out. There may be something rotten in, well, doggie land.

© 2016 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.



Leave a comment

Filed under Animals, Babygirl, Dental Care for Dogs, dogs, Life, Pets, Photography, Picture of the Day, Quote of the Day, Tall & Handsome

Chapter 8 The BamaSteelMagnolia’s Diaries: Nobody Climbs Mountains for Scientific Reasons or Delectable Mountain

Source: Chapter 8 The BamaSteelMagnolia’s Diaries: Nobody Climbs Mountains for Scientific Reasons or Delectable Mountain

For the latest installment in The BamaSteelMagnolia’s Diaries check out Chapter 8 over at Around the Block with the BamaSteelMagnolia. The block is Delectable Mountain and the chapter discusses my love for mountains and how it’s shaped my life – evidently for generations!

Leave a comment

Filed under Life

Check Out Give Us Our Daily Health

I’ve written many times about the facts of my chronic illnesses and disabilities.  This is something I’ve dealt with a large portion of my life.

In addition, I’ve seen family members deal with some of the same illness, plus my youngest sister is mentally and physically challenged.

As a result health and health related topics are of great interest to me. I decided it might be time to devote some effort to developing content related to health, health related news and medicine.

And, so, Give Us Our Daily Health was born. Stop by and check out the new beginning. And then, read about Red Flags that might be signs you have an autoimmune disorder.

Leave a comment

Filed under Give Us Our Daily Health, Health

On the Menu at The BamaSteelMagnolia’s Bistro – Slow Cooker Cheesy Potatoes

Today over at The BamaSteelMagnolia’s Bistro I’m sharing a recipe for Slow Cooker Cheesy Potatoes. With weather warming up our minds will be turning toward warm weather foods and grilling. These yummy cheesy potatoes are perfect any time of the year, especially now, plus I took some steps to make them a little healthier.

Also, if you like what you see over at The BamaSteelMagnolia’s Bistro, stop by my Facebook page and give us a “like”. I’m looking to hit a new milestone and would really appreciate your help. You’ll find lots of cool post on the Bistro’s Facebook page. Thanks!

Cheesy Crock Pot Potatoes

Leave a comment

Filed under Cooking, food, recipes, The BamaSteelMagnolia's(TM) Bistro

Shiner Bock Beans at The BamaSteelMagnolia’s Bistro

Yesterday was National Bock Beer Day. I have a great recipe for Shiner Bock Beans, so in keeping of the day, I shared my recipe over at The BamaSteelMagnolia’s Bistro. Drop by and check it out. Who knows, you just might get a craving for a good pot of beans and cornbread.

shiner-bock-beans B

Leave a comment

Filed under Cooking, food, The BamaSteelMagnolia's(TM) Bistro

Check Out the Latest from The BamaSteelMagnolia’s Bistro

It’s been a long and cold fall and winter around the Burch household. Tall & Handsome had major life saving surgery. So, life has intervened and pushed aside my writing for a season.

But, man does not live by bread and water alone, so activity in the kitchen carries on.

So, stop by The BamaSteelMagnolia’s Bistro and check out some of the latest recipes.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cooking, food, The BamaSteelMagnolia's(TM) Bistro, YouTube

Death is the Key Which Unlocks the Door to Our True Happiness, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Sunrise on Simmon's Mountain 03 11 09

I thank my God for graciously granting me the opportunity of learning that death is the key which unlocks the door to our true happiness.” ~ Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart ~

When we look out our back door we hope to find tranquility, beauty, peace, refuge and a place of escape. Today’s picture is one my little Momma took back in 2009 from her backyard which makes up about 3 acres on a little mountain top in northeastern – central Alabama. Mom took this picture before macular degeneration really began dealing fits with her vision.

Nonetheless, this is her “back door” on one beautiful sunrise. I live “around the corner” from my parents and even though my view is different, I love my back door and front door views. They are a big part of why I moved here. I’ve made no secret this area reminds me of my ancestral home in east Tennessee at the foothills of the Smoky Mountains.

But, as we look beyond our back door, our view expands – our community and reasons for being where we are expand also. Think of it like the ripple effect in a pond.

My back door expands to my local community, then our county, nearest large city, then our state and then of course our Nation. Within those groups we have subgroups like our churches, work groups, school and so on.

I am a confessed “news hound”. I was this close to attending college out of state to major in journalism when I made the decision to marry my ex.

So, I have to admit there have been countless number of times I have sat in front of the TV horrified as I watched terrible almost epic tragedy unfold in fellow Americans backyards. We all know the names: Columbine, Pearl High School (MS) shooting, Sandy Hook, the Aurora CO theatre shooting, the Boston Marathon bombing and of course the 9/11 tragedy. While saying a pray for those in the embroiled in devastating tragedy, I would be untruthful if I didn’t admit I also said a word of thanks for the safety that had covered mine and my “back door”.

But, we live in desperate times and desperate times can bring tragedy, horror and unrelenting pain and grief to our own back door – our back yard when we least except.

September 23, 2014 was that day for my back door and it rippled through my community with pain that tore through the hearts of thousands of people. For on that day, a little after 9 AM a 45 year old man who was most certainly not in his right mind walked into a UPS distribution center and began shooting. When he was finished two men were dead and then he turned the gun on himself and ended his life.

Now, I am not here to debate his motives, what drove him to do what he did. There is plenty of information available concerning that. And, I will not debate second amendment rights. This is not what this is about.

This is about families – about a community – about pain and about how can we move forward.

Yesterday, I felt a tremendous burden for all involved. As the day unfolded and details revealed an anvil of pain fell on me for the shooter’s family – his wife and two young children. Law enforcement descended on the family’s home and began “digging” through the family home looking for a why. Local schools were locked down as a precautionary move – an admirable move to keep the kids in our community as safe as possible.

The more I thought of this family’s misfortune, I thought of the Amish school shooting in Pennsylvania in 2006. That lead me to post the following on Facebook:

You know I’ve been thinking about the family of the UPS shooter. Imagine how turned up their world is today. There is a wife and children that started their day today – kids who went to school, and a wife who maybe went to work. She might have already had the worries of making ends meet at the loss of one income on her mind. Now, the horror of finding out her spouse and the father of her children killed 2 men and himself in front of the whole world and that world is now digging into their home and life. These are desperate times we live in. No matter what mainstream media tells you, the economy is not better. Millions of Americans have given up on finding a job because jobs are hard to come by. But, what about this family – this family that is in OUR back door? I’m reminded of the horrific Amish school shooting in PA several years ago. A man not in his right mind went into an Amish school and slaughtered several young Amish girls. How did the Amish community react to that man’s family? With an unbelievable outpouring of God’s love. They took food to the family and when there were no mourners at his funeral (he had turned his gun on himself like the gunman did this morning) this Amish community attended to support the widow and family. You can only do that kind of thing through the love of our Almighty God. I hope in the upcoming days the UPS shooter’s family sees the sustaining love of God from our community. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Matt 5:7 NIV

The outpouring and response has been overwhelming. It has reminded me why I love this spot I have picked as my home. My sweet home, Alabama. There are good people here – people who realize that the tragedy of Sept. 23 ripples out and touches the families of the two men that were slain, but also the innocent wife and children of the shooter and for every ripple after that.

So this evening or in the morning, step out your back door or your front door breathe in your view – don’t be like Mozart and wait to let death be the key which unlocks the door to your true happiness.


Filed under Alabama, Current events, News, Photography, Picture of the Day, Quote of the Day, UPS Alabama Shooting

Life Gives Us Brief Moments with Others…by Beverly Hicks Burch

Life gives us brief moments with another…but, sometimes in those brief moments, we get memories that last a life time…” ~ Unknown ~

Daddy & Uncle Lee 5-28-2014

Say what you will about technology and Facebook, there is one advantage to both – reconnecting with friends and family. So, a few years ago I was delighted when I received a friend “invite” from my cousin Mel.

We hadn’t seen each other in years, and through Mel I was able to catch up on family members and enjoy pictures and postings of the latest “goings on”. I also learned my cousin had grown up into a warm-hearted woman who took very good care of her parents.

Mel’s father is my daddy’s last living sibling. Daddy and Uncle Lee have kept in touch over the years through calls and seen each other a few times, but during the last several years time had begun to intervene. They’re both in their 80s and have had to deal with respective health issues.

So, when Mel sent word to me within the last couple of weeks that Uncle Lee’s health was declining, I was crushed – especially for my Daddy’s sake. Uncle Lee is terminal and failing fast.

As a result, this Southern Daddy’s girl was on a quest – my Daddy had to see his brother one last time.

You see, when my beloved Aunt LaRue passed away in June of 2012 we had talked almost every day for years, but it had been sometime since I had seen her. I have regretted that every day, every minute, every second for the past two years. I didn’t want that for my Daddy when his brother passed away.

So, this past Wednesday we set off for back where I came from, and where Daddy came from – East Tennessee. As Daddy says, we were just a couple of ridge runners heading home.

Mel was going to wait and surprise Uncle Lee with Daddy’s visit as an early birthday present, because Uncle Lee’s 84th birthday was the next day, but they decide to go ahead and tell him Daddy was coming in case the shock might be a tad too much. When he heard Daddy was coming, Uncle Lee broke down and cried.

It didn’t make a whole lot of difference because once Daddy got there I don’t think there was a dry eye for a few minutes. At least for me there wasn’t.

That day my Aunt Van, cousin Jan, cousin Rick and of course cousin Mel came to the hospital. Aunt Bobbi, Uncle Lee’s wife was there, also.

Aunt Van and Aunt Bobbi are sisters and had married my Daddy’s two brothers. They both have had health struggles of their own, and on that day looked wonderfully strong and resilient. My lifetime memories of them will be their strength to survive.

I remember Aunt Van’s cooking when we visited them when they lived in Ohio where Uncle Jay was working at the time. I’ll remember Aunt Bobbi’s soft spoken inner strength and love for her family.

My memories of Jan are of us as young cousins who swapped letters as kids, shared a love of history – and one of my favorites – one summer when it was so darn hot, Jan and family visited us in Birmingham when we were kids. After we had been outside playing, we ran to the back bathroom, filled the sink full of ice cold water and took turns plunging our faces into that cold, icy water.

My memories of cousin Rick is of kindness he showed me as a young fellow when we visited his home.

And, of Mel, a soft spoken blue-eyed blond who grew up to be that hard working woman who takes such good care of her parents and honors them like the Good Book admonishes us.

But, my lasting life time memories was seeing two brothers visiting, probably for the last time on this side of eternity, knowing this and swapping stories of their youth. They each knew they were the last link to the first people they had loved the most of this earth – their mom and dad – my grandparents. The memories of Mawmaw are usually humorous, and the ones of Papaw so bittersweet they break your heart with longing, just wanting to see him one more time.

As Aunt Bobbi said, “He was a good man.” Everyone I know has always said the same thing about Papaw.

After we left the hospital that evening we drove up to the hotel, checked in, went to eat and then drove around a bit. Daddy was showing me his old “stomping grounds”. Places he and his brothers had grown up at and places some of the most infamous stories of his childhood had taken place.

They were memories that had lasted Daddy a lifetime…

Then, the next morning before we left we stopped by the Little River Railroad Museum in Townsend. My grandfather and great-grandfather both had worked at the Little River Lumber company. Papaw had been a clerk in the company store and my great-grandfather, Hughes had worked in the sawmill. The cousins had told us there were some pictures of Papaw in the museum. Unfortunately, the museum was closed. But, we did get a chance to look around outside at the train engine and log loader.

Daddy at the Little River Railroad Musuem

We head toward the hospital for our final visit with Uncle Lee. I watched as Daddy and Uncle Lee sang an old hymn they had sang together as boys – old Southern gospel harmony- and once again talked about their mom and dad.

Before we left we gathered around Uncle Lee and Daddy said a prayer and in that brief moment I was left with a memory that will last a lifetime – of two brothers just this side of eternity…

© 2014 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.


Filed under Brothers, East Tennessee, Family, Grief, Little River Railroad Museum, Photogrpahy, Picture of the Day, Quote of the Day, Tennessee, Townsend, Trains