Category Archives: Daddy

I Love the Landscape Because It Is So Sincere. It Never Cheats Me.

“I love nature, I love the landscape, because it is so sincere. It never cheats me. It never jests. ~ Henry David Thoreau ~

from-townsend-to-cove-w

Taken between Townsend, TN and Cades Cove, TN

Most of you know me as the BamaSteelMagnolia. And, there is a reason for that. For most of my life I’ve lived in Sweet Home Alabama, a state I love from the top of my head to the tip of my toes.

I’ve gone to school here, married one guy from here (big mistake, but not because he was from Alabama), birthed a child here, divorced here, remarried a Tall & Handsome southwestern cowboy here and battle twice non-smoking lung cancer here. I’ve lived more decades than I care to share here in this state I am passionate about.

In other words, I’ve done a lot of living, losing, loving and everything in between in this place I call home – Alabama.

What you may not know: on a cold January morning I was born to two young people in an East Tennessee hospital as the Great Smoky Mountains stood silently in the background, an ever present sentinel in my early life and childhood.

cominghome-day-1-7-1954

I’m the little head peaking out in the crook of Momma’s arm. My gorgeous parents.

So, what does that mean and why am I telling you this?

Well, it’s been a rough week for me and my family as we’ve watched the Smokies and Gatlinburg burn.

I don’t care how long you’ve been gone, it’s not easy to watch the places of your childhood and childhood memories, and the places of your ancestry go up in smoke. It’s a helpless feeling. And, if you still have family living in those parts, the helpless feeling is compounded. I can’t even begin to tell you what I feel to know these fires were started by arsonists.

I spent about the first 12 years of my life in or around East Tennessee with the exception of a year or so when I was two. My daddy worked in the engineering department of an aircraft company in the Dallas area at that time. But, you just don’t take a mountain boy out of the mountains and put him on the flat plains of Texas, and, so, back to Tennessee we went.

We eventually ended up in the central Alabama area and I think it stuck for a couple of reasons. Daddy worked for an engineering company started by brothers who were University of Tennessee grads (where Daddy started his college career), the terrain is similar to East Tennessee – we all ended up living on this little mountain top in Alabama because it reminded us of our roots – and the people here in Alabama are 24K gold.

But, oh, the childhood memories I have of those times and places in East Tennessee.

Walks with my Papaw as he pointed out the name of each tree. Watching him have his faithful hunting dog do all kinds of tricks for cornbread. MaMaw and Papaw letting us dig up peanuts or pick some cotton from the garden. This gal from the burbs thought she was a real farm hand then.

Weekend trips to the mountains taking in the fall colors, wading in the cold mountain streams, picnics with the grandparents, and my Aunt Ruthie’s house in Kinzel Springs. You had to walk over a swinging foot bridge to get to her house. It sat backed up against the mountain and even in the summer time, that house never seemed hot. As a matter of fact, back then, those mountains always seemed like the coolest place on earth to be.

It was just a “hop, skip and a jump” over twisting, hairpin two lane mountain roads to Cherokee, NC where we could see a Cherokee chief. My paternal grandmother was originally from Western North Carolina and it was said she was part Cherokee. She looked the part, but we’ve never confirmed the ancestry.

My PaPaw worked at the Little River Lumber Company back in the day. He was a clerk in the company store. My cousins tell me there’s a picture of him in the train museum in Townsend. He was also the fill-in mail carrier for Cades Cove and Daddy went on that route a time or two with PaPaw.

That’s my roots on the “quiet side of the Smokies”, my Daddy’s side. My little Momma is a different story.

Several years ago I started the journey into genealogy and it’s a journey I’ve loved and wished I had started sooner. Once I jokingly told Momma she was a half-breed. She was startled at first and then I laughed and explained.

Tennessee is divided into West Tennessee, Middle Tennessee and East Tennessee. Any good Tennessean knows that. Mom’s ancestry is Middle Tennessee/East Tennessee (on her mother’s side). Half and half.

And, it is that East Tennessee ancestry on Momma’s side that carries me back to Gatlinburg.

You see William Ogle and Martha Jane Huskey Ogle are my 5th great-grandparents. Martha Jane Huskey Ogle’s cabin was the first house built in what is now known as Gatlinburg. William and Martha had 7 children and I descend through two of their sons, William “Black Bill” Ogle and Isaac “Shucky” Ogle.

A few years back I went to Edgefield, SC to get a copy of William Ogle, the father’s will. That type of documentation is like the holy grail for a genealogist. The Ogle family was living in Edgefield and William went to Tennessee to prepare for the family to move. He laid up provisions and he cut and notched timbers to build a log cabin for his family. He went back to Edgefield to get his family for the move back to Tennessee, but before they could leave South Carolina, William fell ill and died.

Martha Jane didn’t go to Tennessee at first, but she eventually did and family members helped raise the cabin using the timbers William had prepared.

It was the first house built in White Oak Flats, a place that would become known as Gatlinburg. Over time other families moved in. You saw the formations of clans with names that pop up in my family tree. If you throw a rock into a crowd of locals there’s a good chance I’m distantly related to them – including a famous country songbird who shares a common ancestor with me named Henry Bohannon, my 5th great grand-father.

My family was founding fathers of an area I watched decimated by a historical fire this past week. I never thought I would live to see anything like this. I hope I never have to see anything like this again and I pray for more rain to come their way.

I listened and watched as I saw names like Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Chimney Tops, Clingman’s Dome, Newfound Gap, Wear’s Valley and others threatened and burned. And, each time my heart broke.

For me, it’s not only pride in the pioneer spirit of my ancestors, but it’s also love of the location and area. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth. When I go into the mountains, my heart sings and my spirit is refreshed. I feel at home.

Just like the people, this area is resilient. They survived the Great Depression and floods after floods before TVA. It will come back and they will come back. There will be regrowth and rebirth. Mountain folk are good strong people, just like the land around them. They have learned from the land. They need our continued support and prayers.

Thoreau said it best, “I love nature, I love the landscape, because it is so sincere. It never cheats me. It never jests.”

My birthplace is sincerely hurting right now, but it will be a beautiful landscape once again – and the people will be there with it – rejoicing.

© 2016 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Alabama, Birth, Cades Cove, Central Alabama, Daddy, East Tennessee, East Tennessee Fire, East Tennessee Heritage, Family, Gatlinburg, Gatlinburg Fire, genealogy, Grief, Home, Memories, Momma, Mountains, Nature, Ogle, Photography, Picture of the Day, Quote of the Day

Their Only Fault, Really…

He's-Got-That-Loving-Feeling-W

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.

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

Men Can No Longer Live as Strangers, by Beverly Hicks Burch

On this shrunken globe, men can no longer live as strangers.” ~ Adlai E. Stevens ~

Backyard view 1-28-2014

So, what does the “Great Snowing Dusting of 2014”, today’s quote of the day, the pictures of the day, my 81 year old Daddy and a love affair with my Sweet Home Alabama and my little local community have to do with each other?

Well, allow me to explain…

I’ve made no secret how much this East Tennessee born gal loves her Sweet Home Alabama and the spot where she lives in particular. In part, because the natural beauty reminds me of my ancestral roots. But, mostly you just can’t find better people anywhere – no, really.

For the past few days we had been warned of an impending winter storm headed our way. Yes, Virginia, not only does it get down right cold in the Deep South, but we do see single digit weather and even see the big “S” word. That unique white, frozen, multi-sided wonder called snow.

And, when we do, we are thrown into chaos. Not because we are bumpkin, Dilberts who think the sky is falling, but because it’s a fairly infrequent occurrence and therefore we’re not equipped to handled major events like our Northern cousins.

Now, the forecast was a strangely odd one. The most severe and heavy snow was going to be south of the Birmingham area to the coast – yes, the warm coast, the Gulf of Mexico where they were expecting two inches or more of snow. The Birmingham area was to expect a dusting of snow. Temps were going to be frigid everywhere – and this was our third or fourth blast of frigid, Arctic air.

Having been through this before, I had a sneaking suspicion the dusting could turn into something else if Mother Nature decided to turn just the slightest fickled – and she did.

Here’s what she graced us with at our house (that foggy look is actually snow still falling):

Front Porch C 1-28-2014

Front Steps 1-28-2014

Jeeps in the Back Driveway 1-28-2014

Sundeck 1-28-2014

Return of the Cold Schnauzer 1-28-2014

And, this was at the very beginning of the “Great Snow Dusting of 2014”. It “dusted snow” – heavily – from about 10:30 AM until 3:30 PM. Sooooo, it got pretty “dusty” around here – and icy. We were socked in with two Miniature Schnauzers, our electronics devices and no where to go. In other words, life was pretty good, until…

My little 80 year old Momma calls and after “momma” chit chat drops into the conversation my 81 year old Daddy went down the mountain at 10:30 yesterday morning to go to Walmart to pick up some groceries. This is a man with a pacemaker and meds he keeps on an Excel spreadsheet. (That’s the mechanical Project Manager in him.)

I wanted to say, “Oh, no, he didn’t.” But, as the first born daughter always trying to be the good daughter, I said, “He did WHAT?!”

She confirmed what I thought I heard, and then went back into to chit chat mode – while my brain starts doing wheelies – NO KIDDING.

Daddy was stranded at Walmart. He was planning on spending the night in his Durango and alternating time between there and inside Walmart. He was concerned the soda he had bought would freeze and explode in the back of his SUV so he was going to go out and warm it up periodically. Seriously, Daddy?! I’m sure there are endangered baby condors who aren’t worried about as much as Daddy was worrying about those groceries.

I am also the family tech support agent and certified techno geek. And, it just so happened a week or so ago I had joined a group on Facebook geared toward what’s happening in our community of Springville.

So, I hopped onto the Springville community page and before I knew it, a whole community was mobilizing to move my Daddy either home if possible or to a warming station. Mayor Isley and his wife, Lynda got involved and before I knew it Daddy was tucked warm and safe into the Methodist Church in Springville. He was provided with warm food and a cot and a hot breakfast this morning.

Like Adlai Stevens said – our globe has shrunken – even more so in this day of instant news, Skype, tablets, smartphones, texts, emails and social networking. We can let that consume our lives and let it isolate it from our families or, we can use it as a valuable tool and use it to do what Mr. Stevens said – to no longer live like strangers. I prefer to do the latter.

I also like the advice another Man gave us in the Good Book. He said, “Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no greater commandment than these.” Mark 12:31 NIV

Neighbors, here’s a really big thank you and a really big God Bless my neighbors.

Front Porch B snow 1-28-2014

© 2014 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Alabama, Daddy, Neighbors, Photography, Picture of the Day, Quote of the Day, Snow in AL, Springville AL, The Great Snow Dusting of 2014

Momma’s Day Lily Seen Through Daddy’s Lens, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Day Lilly of 06 06 2012

I’m a few minutes late, but in honor of Father’s Day I wanted to post a picture of one of Momma’s day lilies…

Huh, I know you’re asking? In honor of Father’s Day?

YepSmile 

As I explained a couple of weeks ago Mom’s been under the weather and in the hospital so Daddy and I have been doing “garden” duty for Momma.

Keep in mind Daddy was a mechanical engineer/project manager who retired and became a pastor, then retired again and now does freelance engineering from his home office so this gardening thing hasn’t always been at the top of his list. He’s like the Engergizer bunny despite having bypass surgery, a pacemaker, knee surgery…oh, and like his oldest daughter (yours truly) he’s a cancer survivor. (I’m not going to tell his age, because like me he’s very young for his age Winking smile)

We grow us mountain folk tough and resilient in East Tennessee, back where we come from…

So, now Daddy is also doing some Ansel Adams tinkering around the place  and cooking…and as I took a stroll around the yard with him today I could tell he was enjoying the finer details of the green and growing…it’s kinda like engineering from the dirt up, just with different dynamics…

I think they call that being a Renaissance Man…

A few days ago when Daddy was out in the yard, he took some pictures of Mom’s day lilies and he captured this gorgeous blossom at its peak. It’s just too pretty not to share

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy…I love you…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved

 

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Filed under Alabama, Backyards, Daddy, Day Lilies, Father's Day, Fathers, Flowers, Horticulture, Photography, Picture of the Day, Plants

Gerber Daisy, by Beverly Hicks Burch

gerber daisy

While my little Momma has been sick and in the hospital Daddy and I have had tending and watering duty for Mom’s various green thumb projects. She’s been sick for some time now, so there’s not quite as many as there normally would be. Tall & Handsome and I made sure she had a few herbs for the deck nearest to the upstairs kitchen. So, we brought her mint and basil.

Daddy has shuttled back and forth from the house and hospital until Mom could come home.

The Gerber Daisy was looking sort of puny with a lot of dead leaves, but I promised Daddy if we kept it watered it would perk up. Sure enough in a few days there were new green leaves and beautiful, happy, bright red blossoms.

They were also shouting, “Shoot me! I’m beautiful!”

So, I obliged…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Alabama, Backyards, Daddy, Family, Flowers, Gerber Daisy, Horticulture, Momma, Photography, Picture of the Day, Plants, Tall & Handsome

The BamaSteelMagnolia™ Diaries: Chapter 6–“Till Death Do Us Part…Well, Maybe” or The Wedding Ring Block, by Beverly Hicks Burch

The BamaSteelMagnolia™ Diaries: Chapter 6 – “Till Death Do Us Part…Well, Maybe” or The Wedding Ring Block

And the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. Mark 10:8 NASB

(*This post can also be seen at my quilt blog Around the Block with the BamaSteelMagnolia™ where I am blogging the whole project.)

Wedding Ring block

I started this chapter in February some time ago and it seemed a fitting month to start writing the latest chapter of The BamaSteelMagnolia™ Diaries. The block for this chapter is called Wedding Ring. It is a single wedding ring and not the double wedding ring we know so well. The block is a simple 6 inch pieced block and it represents the fact that I don’t know many in life who have not been affected by a marriage in some way or another…including me.

Being a genealogist I can see how all the “begats” or unions/marriages in our ancestry make us who we are. When you stop and think about the numbers in the equation of “you” it becomes pretty staggering.

For instance, for each generation you go back the number doubles to how many sets of ancestors, or marriages if you will, it took to trickle down to create the final individual you. Look at it this way…you are the starting point on the road backwards into time and your ancestry. Take those sets and multiply them by two and you have how many people it took to create the one special individual called you.

It works this way; you had two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, 16 great-great-grandparents, 32 great-great-great-grandparents, 64 great-great-great-great-grandparents and 128 great-great-great-great-great-grandparents and so on. As mind boggling as 128 may seem, your heritage and ancestry doesn’t stop there and it continues to double for each generation back. There are so many life lessons just in the formula of who you are and how you were made, but that is for another story. One missing link in that chain and you would not have been you…as a matter of fact you probably wouldn’t have been, well, here on Earth at all.

I would ask you to reflect on the marriages in your life, including your own that have affected you and what they mean to you. I’m sure everyone has different recollections and feelings and experiences.

The most immediate marriage that has affected me all of my life and is actually responsible for me even being here is of course the marriage of my parents. My parents have something that is rare to find in this day and age. That’s a long lasting marriage. For you see, on Feb. 28, 2012 they celebrated 59 years of marriage.

Oakley Hicks and Juanita McGee Early 1950's

Daddy and Momma early 1950s

Momma and Daddy were high school sweethearts. They were 15 and 16 when they met at a church function being conducted by my Momma’s daddy. Yes, Mom was a PK…a Preacher’s Kid. She was the shy quite one with big brown “doe eyes” as Daddy calls them. Momma and Daddy were a couple all through high school, for four years, so for all practical purposes you could say they’ve been together for 63 years and that is the biggest portion of their life. When they laid eyes on each other, there was no one else as far as they were concerned…that was it.

Daddy started the University of Tennessee with intentions on becoming a mechanical engineer. But, Momma and Daddy also had secret plans…yes, in their own quiet non-conforming conforming way they were rebels with a cause. They had plans to get married and I don’t mean a big church wedding with the wedding party, flowers, music and weeping mother of the bride (and in this case weeping mother of the groom, too). Nope, no way, no how. Momma and Daddy were going to make Hicks history…or at least stuff that would go down in family history. For you see, the shy lovely quite preacher’s daughter and the tall good looking guy from the foothills of the Smokies eloped…all the way to Ringgold, GA!

Now, the plan was to get hitched and drive back home. Mom would go back and keep quiet and live at home and Daddy would go back home and live with his parents and continue going to college. The slight hiccup in their little plan happened when Mom told her next oldest sister, Korinne, what she had done and swore her to secrecy…which of course was the very last thing that actually happened. Before you knew it the cat was out of the bag, the cow was out of the barn and the camel’s nose was under the tent or in other words, it was like telling Western Union and everyone found out. As Ricky use to say to Lucy, “There was some `splaining to do.”

Well, of course everyone knows you can’t keep true love apart very long anyway and by the time the parents (my grandparents) had time to wrap their heads around the events Momma let it be known in no uncertain terms she was living where Daddy was. And that was that.

Everything went along pretty good in newlywed life until about three months later. At that time Mom came down with a raging case of flu. Made her sick as a dog. She just could not get well. That was the “Beverly” flu. Yep, eleven months after they married I was born…and Mom’s flu was cured.

Cominghome Day 1-7-1954

Daddy, Momma and Bev – Coming home day

I was an only child for about three and a half years. During that time we moved for a brief time to Texas where Daddy worked as an engineer in the aircraft industry for Chance-Vought Aircraft. I celebrated my second birthday in Fort Worth, Texas which has always left me with a soft spot for Texas and branded me Daddy’s “little Texas girl”. And, as I have always said, some of the most famous and infamous Texans were Tennesseans.

“Oh, really?!” I know you Texans are saying… yep. For instance: remember Davy Crockett…♪born on a mountain top in Tennessee…♪ and also famous for the Alamo. Then there’s Benjamin and Henry McCulloch who both fought in the Texas Revolution and became Texas Rangers; Mack Brown head coach at the University of Texas and oh, yeah some fellow named Sam Houston. I think you might have heard of him, too. Sam’s time in Tennessee included time as a governor of that great state and time spent teaching in the town of my birth…a long time before I was born or course Smile

Being the true East Tennessee mountain boy that Daddy is, the Plains of Texas didn’t do much to lift the Tennessee boy’s spirits and heart. In other words, he got sorely and mightily homesick, especially when those Nor’easters barreled into the Plains faster than a New York minute without any warning. It wasn’t too long before we were packed up and headed back to the lush green climes of Tennessee.

Over the next eight or nine years Momma had two more cases of “flu”. And, two more baby girls followed those cases of “flu”. Pamella was next in line, followed by Yvonne. For a little Hicks trivia here: Mom named her girls Faith, Hope and Charity…in that order. I always teased her and said if we had been born boys we would have been named Matthew, Mark, Luke and John…

Momma and Daddy’s marriage has mirrored life in general…a road with ups and downs and bumps in the road. Almost every young couple starts out with the bare necessities and grows from there. Daddy was smart and savvy and his engineer career grew. We also moved several times following that career. We landed in Birmingham, AL (for the second and final time I might add) when I was 12 years old and the rest of that is history. That is why I proudly say, ♪…my home is in Alabama…♪ and one of my ringtones on my cell is Sweet Home Alabama…

My baby sister Yvonne, really Charity Yvonne, was born in Greeneville, TN when I was in the third grade. Mom’s delivery with her was fast. Like greased lightening…about 20 minutes. She barely had time to step off the elevator at the hospital before Yvon was born. When Momma & Daddy brought the baby home, they brought home another beautiful baby girl (Momma and Daddy had the reputation of popping out beautiful baby girls with long dark eyelashes and heads of thick dark hair. The nurses in the baby nurseries used us as baby dolls and hated to send us home. Back in those days they had about seven days to get attached to a baby before it went home.)

It seems like from the recollection of my child’s mind that it wasn’t too long after she was born that Yvon seemed to get sick and stay sick. So sick in fact that Mom had to take her all the way to Chattanooga for medical care and stay with family that lived down there. Papaw and Mamaw came to Greeneville to help Daddy take care of Pam and me.

I remember it as a tumultuous time. Yvonnie was sick. We didn’t quite know what was wrong and in the world at large, the Cuban missile was going on.

Over time Yvonne was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and for the last 50 years has lived at home. Do you know what the statistics are for marriages surviving for couples who have disabled children? They’re not very good. The divorce rate is very high and it’s usually the husband who takes his walking papers and goes on to create another worry-free life for himself.

It is a testament to my Daddy’s character that he is right where is started out 59 years ago, disabled child and all, and that is with my Momma and our family. As a matter of fact Daddy is pretty much the rock of the family and the three of us girls are Daddy’s girls. It is also like having a Jewish momma having him around, which is our way of saying he worries over us like a Jewish mom would…he just never learned to cook that chicken soup. Daddy’s remedy is to always take it to prayer…

I heard some place one time that marriage is a marathon not a sprint. My parents’ marriage would certainly qualify for the marathon…

Unfortunately, the first time around, I married a sprinter…

There is a lot I could write about my first marriage. My child is the issue of that marriage. And, sometimes I feel really badly because I feel I provided a poor example…a sprinter if you will as a role model for my child. I do not adhere to the current feel-good philosophy that divorce does not affect children. It does…no matter what their age. I think our society today reflects the side effects and ravages of decades of divorce. On the other hand I also believe that some parents can be toxic and I do not adhere to the theory that having a toxic parent around is better than having no parent around.

But, with that said, there are just times when divorce is unavoidable. Marrying that “marriage sprinter” is certainly one instance. Infidelity usually ends a marriage fairly fast or ends the chance for that marriage marathon partner. Another unavoidable instance is when you marry the type of person who ends up creating the “tragic love” scenario or as I wrote about a few years ago, the type of guy (or gal) that causes love to hurt.

If that is the case, I would beseech you to go back and read a blog I wrote a few years ago that addresses just that subject. Called When Love Hurts I address the rash of tragic stories in which women have chosen to stay and in the end unfortunately paid dearly for that relationship…sometimes with their lives.

The most recent example would be Susan Powell and her precious boys. Susan disappeared one cold December day in 2009 while her husband supposedly had taken their two very young sons camping in a blizzard. On Feb. 5th of this year her

husband blew up himself and those two precious boys as the police drew closer to lowering the hammer on him and his pedophile father. The coward and those poor children died in a burning inferno that should have never happened.

My love hurt story wasn’t like that, but it was traumatic just the same. Had I just opened my eyes and looked at the warning signs early on I could have saved myself sorrow and devastation years later. After 27 years of marriage my ex walked out because he was unfaithful. The summer he left I read my diary from the summer we started dating and as I did it was a real eye opener…he was the same back then…had cheated then and had not changed in 27 years. Leopards as they say do not change their spots. I just could not love him enough for him to change.

Bev & Momma on the Regrettable Day Nov. 1974

Bev & Mom – me as a young bride not paying attention to warning signs

And, unfortunately staying in a bad relationship hoping to make it functional only teaches children dysfunction. What did Susan Powell’s children learn in the end by her hanging on to a bad marriage? It cost her kids their lives. What a tragic shame… There is a saying…”The sins of a father (parent) are visited upon the children…” In other word the kids will learn from the father…from the parents. And, if you close your eyes to alcoholism, addiction, incest, abuse, violence and plunge ahead into that and choose that as a family center for your children…it will trickle down to them and affect them in one way or the other

For me realizing I could not love the ex enough to change who the core of him was, it was, well, the beginning of a new future, hope and moving forward…

So, even though I was scared to death when Gomez the Underwhelming abandoned me I began to have hope. Yes, I was disabled. Yes, he had wiped out the bank accounts. Yes, I had not worked outside the home full time in over 21 year. Yes, at one point he left me without health insurance. Yes, he assaulted me before he left and injured my back. Yes, I had hoped with everything in me that that he would have a change of heart and come home and things would go back to normal.

But, to have normal and a marriage that’s going in the same direction, you have to have two people who want the same thing. Without that, it’s just not going to happen and the only resulting by-product is going to be pain, sorrow, poor health, a bad example for the kids and low self esteem.

In the end the veil was lifted from my eyes and I was able to see there just might be someone out there who not only would help heal my broken heart, but became my marathon runner.

As the Rascal Flats song goes…God blessed the broken road that lead me straight to you…and that you is my Tall & Handsome…my southwestern cowboy.

Our story is unconventional at best. A sign of the times and a sign of what happens when a geek (me) comes into her geekdom and starts to revel in her life and gain self esteem once again. And a lonely, broken hearted southwestern cowboy who had given up on the hope of a loving nurturing relationship begins to hope again. You see we met playing an online MMORPG game. We emailed, talked and instant messaged for almost a year before we met face to face.

When I first laid eyes on my Tall & Handsome he was walking out of the Birmingham Airport. He had on tight blue jeans, a Western cut jacket and a Stetson. I got out of the Lead Sled (what I “affectionately” called my Park Avenue) and walked towards him. He walked toward me, smiled and said, “Hello, darling” and then kissed me under that cowboy hat in front of the Birmingham airport.

I felt 18 again! Wow! It was like living in a movie…a real chick flick. He really had me at “Hello, darling” and that kiss.

The kiss 12-30-03

The Kiss – my favorite of our wedding pictures

I have also learned words are cheap, but actions speak volumes and they do so loudly! Some of Gomez’ parting words were (referring to my illnesses and disabilities), “I didn’t want to take care of you, I hated taking care of you, but I did. So, there!”God help him when his karma comes rolling around.

I have never wanted to be a burden…to anyone. So, I was very up front from the beginning with T & H about the status of my health. The man did not tuck tail and run. He called me his wounded dove…

He knew I saw in him a heart that was larger than large…and he appreciated that.

I never felt secured and truly loved with a man I was married to for 27 years. I never felt “good enough”. I poured myself into him, body and soul. But my self confidence and self esteem was non-existent. There were episodes of suspect cheating from the beginning. He had developed hepatitis before we were married five years and I was so naïve back then I didn’t realize how hepatitis is contracted. Deep down inside though I knew something wasn’t right…

By the time T & H and I married, I felt loved, appreciated, confident and secure. I had found my muse. I wanted to create again. That is a huge gift any man can give to the woman he loves. My T & H does it effortlessly…

It has been the little things that some people would never notice. The time I lay dying in the back of an ambulance in Knoxville, TN my feet were bare. T & H dashed quickly into the house and grabbed a pair of sock and gently put them on my feet before the ambulance doors were closed. At the hospital ER, he refused to be separated from me and was by my side until I stabilized and was released.

When we moved from Alabama to Tennessee I was so sick I had to go through the ER first. When we got to Knoxville I was exhausted and slept quite a bit. I woke up one weekend afternoon to discover T & H had set up the deck furniture like a side walk café, bought flowers and grilled a luscious dinner. All I had to do was eat and enjoy him and the outdoors.

Another time when I was deathly sick and my stomach would hold absolutely nothing down, he cut up corn tortillas and made home-made lime-pepper tortillas chips and they were the only thing I could eat and not get sick.

Life may try to batter us, but we fight back together as a team.

We’ve taken care of a couple of bucket list items together. But, our greatest strength is being there for each other, understanding each other and appreciating each other. I love to see life through my T & H’s eyes. It is seeing life anew sometimes.

In the end, my greatest regret…our greatest regret? That we won’t have more years together and didn’t meet years earlier. If only fate had intervened when we were young…how many times have we had that conversation?

But, in the end, it is what it is…as much as we both hate that saying. We are thankful for what we have and for finding each other. It would have been awful to have never found each other. Neither of us can imagine a life without the other. I cannot imagine a day without his voice and his blue eyes and his sense of humor.

My Tall & Handsome and me at the Survivors Dinner in Savannah, GA (2011) celebrating 29 years cancer free non-smoking lung cancer (right lung) and 16 years cancer free non-smoking lung cancer (left lung)

And, in the end we resolve…`til death do us part…with the wedding ring block…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

**The BamaSteelMagnolia™ Diaries is a writing and textile art project I started a few years ago. It’s based on a concept started by Mimi Dietrich and a book she wrote about diary quilts. I was so inspired by the book I started my own and decided to accompany each block with a chapter. Everyone has always said, “Bev, you need to write a book!” Well, here it is…at least part of it!”

If you’re interested in catching up, here are the beginning installments:

The BamaSteelMagnolia™ Diaries Begin

The BamaSteelMagnolia™ Diaries: Chapter 1 – Cupcake Block or Happy Birthday to Me

The BamaSteelMagnolia™ Diaries: Chapter 2: Southern Belle and Yankee Puzzle or A House Divide Will Fall…

The BamaSteelMagnolia™ Diaries: Chapter 3 – Compass or Where in the World is Bev?

The BamaSteelMagnolia™ Diaries: Chapter 4 – Paw Print or To All the Dogs I’ve Loved Before

The BamaSteelMagnolia™ Diaries: Chapter 5 – How Green is My Thumb? or Grandmother’s Flower Garden Block

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Filed under Around the Block with The BamaSteelMagnolia(TM), Daddy, Divorce, East Tennessee Heritage, Family, genealogy, Gomez, Life, Marriage, Photography, Quilt Block, Quilts, Susan Powell, Tall & Handsome, The BamaSteelmagnolia(TM) Diaries, Wedding Ring Quilt block

Never Worked a Day in Her Life?! by Beverly Hicks Burch

Never Worked a Day in Her Life?!

Seriously?!

This week Hilary Rosen started a firestorm when she accused Ann Romney of “never working a day in her life”.

My first thought was, “Seriously?! Are you really dragging out that old insult? You must feel really threatened!” In life I’ve found the go to tactic is insult the opponent when you feel threatened.

It’s mudslinging time people and the Obama campaign is shoveling it…

Of course Obama’s “advisors” are coming out voicing their “disappointment” in Ms Rosen’s comments. Yep, real loyalty there…

The jaw dropping disingenuous move here is that suddenly the Obama campaign is snatching back from the “war on women” tactic. Why do I say disingenuous?

Well, just this week I was emailed (I can’t for the life of me understand how I got on this email list) an email from the re-elect Obama campaign. The re-elect Obama campaign must feel the inevitable candidate for the GOP is Mitt Romney because the letter contained five (5) scare tactics ominous, treacherous things that will happen if Romney is elected in November.

Number one on the list? (1) Mitt Romney will declare a war on women.

Yep, as simple as that, that’s what Obama’s number one concern about Mitt Romney is and the big evil they are warning and agitating the American people with…and now comes Hilary Rosen…

Give me a freaking break!!

I feel qualified to speak on this subject from several levels.

First and foremost, I am a woman…a bona fide girly girl…a college educated girly girl…so take that… Furthermore, I have worked outside of the home and I have been a stay-at-home mom, been a stay-at-home mom who worked part time, a stay-at-home mom who help in home based businesses and been a stay-at-home mom who homeschooled. Honey, if it’s on the spectrum, I’ve probably been there.

And, let me tell you something, sister…being a stay at home mom is the hardest work I’ve ever done in my life. You scrub, clean, shop, cook, nurse to good health, budget, chauffer, recycle, garden, organize, structure and in many cases educate formally (if you homeschool as I did) or informally just in everyday life, teaching you children about life, love and morals…and those are just a few of the chores you do. Many times you do this on a budget stretched so thin it’s bare in places, but, it’s all about sacrifice for the greater good…in this case for your children and or family. (Sacrifice is a concept that seems to get little understanding in our society today. O Henry’s The Gift of the Magi would seem like a lame and stupid story to many, yet it epitomizes the gift of true, caring heartfelt, sacrificial love.) Most of the time a stay-at-home mom’s work is done without the aid of help…unless she has the help of a caring and loving mate. In that case, then she’s in a loving partnership which works much like a business would work at its best…like a well oiled machine.

Many moms who work outside of the home have the assistance of nannies, and cleaning help. Some have the luxury of personal shoppers, decorators and personal assistance. Notice, I didn’t use a universal statement like the ilk of Ms Rosen are want to do…I didn’t say all working moms have the above luxuries because I know many are living from paycheck to paycheck, especially if they are single working moms. I also do realize there are some stay-at-home moms who may avail themselves to the same luxuries and well they should if they can afford them because they do work hard.

A couple of years ago my sister and her husband adopted their first child. They are well into the middle years of their life. My sister has been an educator all of her adult life. She holds a Master’s Degree and education beyond that. I saw her work hard in her profession. But, since having her child and being a stay-at-home mom I have seen my sister truly tired. It is a blessed, fulfilled tired…with a heart full of love beyond reason. She does it well and she deserves it. She deserves the choice to stay-at-home. It does not make her brain numb, uneducated or clueless to the outside world and the concerns thereof as Ms Rosen would seem to think.

If anything a stay-at-home mom is avidly in tune to the world around her and the issues that affect her and her family. And, for Ms Rosen’s future reference, the economy and jobs are part of those concerns…or as the 1992 Bill Clinton campaign put it, “it’s the economy, stupid!”

I was raised in a conservative household. My parents raised three girls, one who was physically and mentally challenged from a young age. We grew up in the `60s and `70s and we never had to be liberated from anything when it came to expectations.

Our Daddy considered it a top priority we receive an education, respect ourselves and expect others to respect us. Daddy’s mantra was “Get a good education in case you marry some dope who leaves you. You won’t have to sling hash in a greasy spoon if you get an education!” (Yep, I was the one who married said dope who left years later…which is an entirely different story…but, acquiring computer skills helped me snag a job I would have never imagined. Knowledge is power people!) In Daddy’s eyes we could do anything we wanted…there was just some things he couldn’t understand why we would want to do them…I mean why be a ditch digger when you could be a writer, a teacher, a doctor or whatever?!

Let’s look at Ms Rosen’s target for a moment: Ann Romney. Ms Romney is a mother of five sons. Just that makes me tired thinking about it! Ms Romney is no “air head blond or bimbo”. Not only did she attend BYU, but she finished her undergraduate work at Harvard University. Ever heard of that little ol’ school? I’m sure somewhere along the line, if Ms Romney’s college education was like mine, she had to take an economy class or two. Ms Romney has also been involved in charity work with many organizations. Yes, that is work. Someone has to do it or it won’t get done! Also, take into consideration that Ann Romney has accomplished all of this while battling multiple sclerosis and breast cancer.

Let me tell you something: that in itself is no easy task. I can relate to that as someone with chronic and disabling illnesses and as a two time non-smoking lung cancer survivor. Sometimes just dealing with chronic illness is a full time job.

But, what it boils down to is this: Ann Romney is no hot house violet…

What Ms Rosen leaves out when she makes her disparaging remarks is this…choice! Kind of ironic coming from the party of choice, huh? Choice is okay if you are a Democrat and/or a liberal woman, but woe be unto you if you are in the GOP or consider yourself conservative or step out of line with the Democrat party line. Then your choices are invalid if they do not fall in line with the Democrat party and liberal women.

How totally hypocritical…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Ann Romney, Autoimmune Diseases, Current events, Daddy, Democrats, Economy, GOP, Government, Hilary Rosen, Mothers, News, Obama, Opinion, Politics, Stay-at-Home Moms

Happy Birthday, Daddy, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Jonas & Boys

It just so happens that the last few days I have been doing a little research on my East Tennessee and Western North Carolina “roots”. This picture celebrates two really big reasons I have those roots I love so much…my Papaw Hicks and my Daddy.

Of course, my Papaw is the proud dad of the three strapping lads and two of the boys are my Uncle JH and Uncle Lee. My Daddy is the youngest lad in this picture and today just happens to be his birthday and I thought what a happy convergence of timing…birthdays and genealogy research.

It is through my Daddy I’m related to the Walker/Culbertson, Dunn, Henry, Shields lines of Blount County in East Tennessee. Through his Momma those roots spread out into Western North Carolina and include the Allman/Lunsford, Killian, Whitner lines.

As I’ve explained in some of my blogs, East Tennessee was one of the places in the US that was as the Good Book puts it, “a house divided against itself”. That meant during that nasty scuffle called the War Between the States or the Civil War or just “The Wawh” there were members from some families that fought on both sides. I’m sure that cause some uncomfortable family get togethers…

And, being independent minded mountain folk that we were, that also means I have search hard, I mean really hard, and high and low to find me a bonafide CSA relative…and that’s on both sides of the family…and folks, we’re really Southern…no kidding! Just asked my southwestern husband who still has to ask me to spell what I’m saying sometimes because he’s still learning Southern…but, my search for that soldier in grey has been, ummm, I’ll put it this way for polite society…not fruitful so far…

Well, I can now say, thanks to Daddy’s Momma’s Western North Carolina roots I have now entered our name into the glorified and honored rolls of those who had kin that served the CSA. So, Happy Birthday, Daddy. And, all this time we just thought Mamaw was Indian…

© 2011 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Allman Genealogy, Birthday, CSA family member, Daddy, Dunn, East Tennessee Heritage, Family, Fathers, genealogy, Hicks, Killian, Lunsford Genealogy, Photography, Picture of the Day, Shields Genealogy, Walker, Western North Carolina Heritage, Whitner

I’m a Little Teapot…, by Beverly Hicks Burch

I’m a Little Teapot…

By Beverly Hicks Burch

I might have mentioned it before, but I have a shared “affliction” with my little Momma…one she actually passed on to me. That affliction is a love of dishes and a desire to “collect” dishes. As Daddy says we have a lot of plunder in that department, but boy can we lay a spread!

I have my everyday dishes and I have my everyday Christmas dishes we start using Thanksgiving. It’s a rule these dishes must be used every day until after my birthday which is shortly after the first of the New Year. Then there’s the good china…and the Christmas china.

And, then there are the teapots…another “affliction” acquired from Momma twofold and if I’m not mistaken shared with my middle sister. Twofold because it seems we all like hot tea…my favorite is a rooibos tea…yum yum…

Well, when Tall & Handsome and I married I added another “collection” to my burgeoning dish cupboard. Being the southwestern guy that he is, T & H had a few pieces of Fiestaware. The pieces in his collection were all white and being the lover of color, I couldn’t help but start adding a few colored pieces here and there. Of course the collection grew…and the surprising thing is the Fiestaware mixes and matches really well with my every day dishes.

A couple of weeks ago Momma called me after she and Daddy had taken a trip up to Boaz, AL. Now in its day Boaz was a thriving outlet town, but many of the outlets have moved out…a real shame especially for the local economy. In some of the empty retail spaces vendors have set up collectible businesses. One this particular trip Momma couldn’t resist browsing one such shop…and she came away with a goodie for me…a Fiestaware teapot in one of the colors I had been adding to our collection. I got to bring the little treasure home after a recent visit to my folks…and it’s a real cutie! I’d never seen one like it.

The other day when I was taking pictures of the Fiestaware T & H said, “Honey, you’ve done a good job a building up the Fiestaware.” Well, I’ll have to say…I had a little help…thanks, Momma…

Fiestaware teapot

Fiestaware Teapot from my little Momma

Teapot lid deatil

Detail – Teapot Lid…very cute…

Fiestaware pitcher & teapot

Fiestaware Water Pitcher and Teapot

Fiestaware salt & pepper

Fiestaware Large Salt & Pepper Shakers

Fiestaware rimmed soup bowl

Fiestaware Rimmed Soup Bowl

Fiestaware collection

The Fiestaware Collection

Teapots

My Teapots – The one of the far right is a reproduction of a Chinese hobnail (I’m not sure if they still make it in the black); the small blue teapot has a white version available currently

© 2009 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Collections, Daddy, Dishes, Fiestaware, Mothers, Mountains, Photography, Tall & Handsome, Tea