Category Archives: Humor

Did Someone Say Godiva?, by Beverly Hicks Burch

did someone say godiva

Before anyone says anything we do not make a habit of this and do not give him what I’m about to tell you on a regular basis…

…with that said, our dog, Watson thinks chocolate is crack. He can smell it though cellophane bags and goes nuts. If it comes into the house we go through maneuvers worthy of drug smugglers just to get it past his keen Miniature Schnauzer nose.

I discovered that quite by accident and I must say much to my chagrin. You see some time ago Tall & Handsome was the Senior Account Manager for Godiva Chocolate. I will admit there was an occasion or two when he gifted me with rather wonderful collections of chocolate because of this association. In one such gift I discovered my own personal Turkish delight…and that would be their coconut centered, milk chocolate covered truffle.

Now one day at work a very large box was open and inside was one of these yummy little jewels. T & H snagged it for me and brought it home that evening. Needless to say visions of Godiva sugar plums danced in my head looking forward to after dinner when said truffle was to be my after dinner treat.

I had taken this little treat and placed it on my night stand thinking what a safe place that could be and oblivious to the fact I was living with a closet chocolate thief. Oh, how I was living in such unknown naiveté. After cleaning up the kitchen after supper, T & H and I retired for the evening to the bedroom for some TV where I intended to enjoy my luscious Godiva that was causing mouth watering visions since before supper.

I stepped into the bedroom, walked around the side of the bed and looked at the strangely and glaringly vacant night stand. Yes, vanished! Gone, no where in site, no where to be found was my much anticipated Godiva truffle.

But, laying on the bed, snoozing, content, happy and in chocolate overdose happyland was Watson…

Believe me…no dog was hurt in the Godiva incident …just one very perturbed doggie Momma…

Today’s picture is what I call Watson’s “Did someone say Godiva look?”.

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Chocolate, dogs, Godiva, Humor, Miniature Schnauzer, Pets, Photography, Picture of the Day, Tall & Handsome

The Unkindest Cut, by Beverly Hicks Burch

The Unkindest Cut

By Beverly Hicks Burch

The Burch household recently went through unforeseen trauma of the medical kind. It’s getting pretty bad when even your dog has a medical “emergency” associated with male middle age…

One morning, Tall & Handsome mentioned to me that our little darling, Watson the Wunderkind seem to be taking an inordinate amount of time to tinkle. So much time in fact that he seemed to have been frozen in the “hiked leg position” by the White Witch of Narnia. Yes, we were afraid he would become a new lawn ornament.

Pressing down panic, I told T & H (who is the proverbial “worry wart” when it comes to the health of our ‘baby boy”) that it was probably a UTI (urinary tract infection). I did not tell him that the back of my mind was screaming possible blockage and prostrate problems…no, my dear T & H has fair enough complexion as it is. I had no desire to see him ghost white just in time for Halloween.

We observed that the situation was far more than “frozen hiked leg” syndrome. Instead of a steady stream of tinkle little drops were the ticket of the day…no wonder it was taking so long…and so often.

We knew a trip to the vet was in store and we truly dreaded it. We just weren’t prepared to hear any bad news at this point in time…

As we waited patiently for the visit, Watson waited not so patiently. Every dog he saw, he went nuts so over. Yet when he saw the house spawn of Satan cat he made a friendly approach and greeted it like a long lost friend with a wagging tail. Geez…

Once in the exam room, the vet comes in and he tells us what he thinks the problem could be: UTI, blockage or prostrate problem. (I really do think I missed my calling in life sometimes…). He wanted to take an X-ray to rule out stones, so off goes our little fellow for an X-ray.

They come back with good news and bad news. There are no stones. Fantastic! But, our Precious is full of poop! Literally. His little intestines looked like a big long sausage.

Sooo…Dr. J says, “We’re going to give him an enema and after that we’ll give him a prostrate exam.”

Enema?! You can do that to a dog? Really?!

So off they take my tiny little bundle of love and affection for the procedure. He was gone all of 45 seconds. Wow! I don’t know what kind of enema that was but it had to have been jet propelled.

He returned like a new dog with a spring and lightness in his step…until…all of a sudden he turned around to look at his little back side. He just knew something was wrong. I was sitting in a chair and Tall & Handsome was standing up, oblivious to the unfolding events. The “wrong” in Watson’s life was he had uncontrollable anal leakage caused by the enema…and it was leaking all over T & H’s black and silver tipped Western cowboy boots.

All I could do was sit there, point and mutter, “Uh…oh, no…your boots, your boots…” He got the point…

…especially when the room began to smell like a skunk that had been run over in front of a paper mill…

Then. Dr. J comes in for the next fun part of the visit. All guys…be prepared to flinch here. Watson had is first prostrate exam. He was not happy…

The outcome was his prostrate was swollen. That was causing the urinary problems and had cut off his bowel making that function difficult also. Our puppy was in a world of hurt.

So, he was sent home with an antibiotic, Prednisone, doggie Imodium and special food. He was to come back in 10 days to see if the prostrate had gone down and if not, we had to decide if we were going to proceed with that “operation”.

Well, of course when we went back you know the prostrate was still the size of an egg. It was time for Watson to let go as they say.

His surgery was done in a day. He came back home that evening tired and sleepy. He laid around for a couple of days but began to return to his old self with the exception of one thing. They certainly do these surgeries different nowadays. Let’s just say it looks like he had a reduction surgery from golf ball size down to dried up prune. I give him credit…his ego is still in tack…

That’s my boy!

Who me prostrate problems

© 2011 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under dogs, Humor, Miniature Schnauzer, Pet Health, Pets, Photography, Tall & Handsome

No, Lee…My Heart Did Not Stop Beating, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Well, Lee came through on Labor Day and caused quite a stir. There’s good news and bad news.

The good news? It appears the horrible sticky hot days of summer are gone! Hallelujah! As a matter of fact I don’t think the temperatures got out of the 50s today which meant we had our first pot of green chile stew. Posole may be next!

Now for the bad news…first no, Lee, I did not die…my heart did not stop beating…you just caused my heart monitor to stop working…

Tropical Storm Lee brought with his bad self F3 tornado strength winds. There seems to have been at least one tornado reported in the area. As we sat at my folks house, the wind was blowing, trees were bending, raining was driving and lights were blinking off and on. Had it been Oct. 31st it would have been really good Halloween special effects. The lights stayed on at momma and daddy’s.

When we left and turned onto our street (about a quarter mile as the crow flies) it was scary, pitch black. Yep, the lights went out in Alabama…at least on our street…

Our power went out about 6 or 6:30 PM on Monday night. At 11:09 PM last night when I called the Alabama Power customer service number I was told our power would be back on quote “today”. Hummm, that gave them 51 minutes.

Well, we woke up nice and early this morning and it was still raining…and there was still no power. I called Alabama Power again and this time the automated recording had been updated. The new messaged told me my power would be on by 10:15PM Sept. 10th. Yes, hand to God that is exactly what they said…I called back twice just to make sure I heard correctly. I had.

I then called Alabama Power and punched through the IVR or the automated menu from hell we get on sometimes…you know how those things work…we punch and punch and soon feel like we’re on hamster wheels in Hades. My persistence paid off and I got a voice. I told Ms Voice I was on a heart monitor and there was an urgent need to have my power restored. Ms Voice informed me Alabama Power no longer does priority restores and she advised me to relocate or go to a shelter. Wow, good thing I wasn’t in an iron lung or anything

This morning we learned on one of the major routes up the mountain there were quite a few trees down and with them power lines. And, just to sweeten the pie, some bozo in a Jeep thought he was infallible (of course a Jeep is like a Humvee or tank) and tried to drive over the downed power lines. End result? Looks like the Jeep is hung on one of those kinky sex swing things and in my humble opinion just what a numb nut like the driver of this Jeep deserves…

And just to prove idiots like this really exist, here are the picture to prove idiots walk among us

WARNING: do not try this…please!!

can you count the rings

Clearing begins…kinda…

wait til you see whats around the corner

Wait till you see what’s around the corner…


yes you ARE seeing what you think you are B

Yes, you ARE seeing what you think you are


looks like a crime to me too B

Looks like a crime scene to me…

this is what stupid looks like up close B 

This is what stupid looks like up close (I used a modesty patch over the tag…but, then again…really?!

lost cause for now B

Yep, a lost cause…

© 2011 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Alabama, Birmingham, Birmingham AL, Central Alabama, Humor, Idiots in Jeeps, Labor Day, Photography, Picture of the Day, Sept. 5, 2011 Storm damage in AL, South, Storms, Tornado, Tropical Storm Lee damage, Weather

Hot Enough For You? by Beverly Hicks Burch

I was driving the other day and my super smart Jeep told me it was 103 outside. Like I needed a Jeep to tell me that! All I needed was my soaking wet clothes clinging to my body and the conked out dog laying in the front seat beside me to tell we it was way too hot outside!

So a little reminder of what was…and hopefully what is to come…and maybe a little power of suggestion…

now that's cold

© 2011 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.


Filed under Humor, Photography, Picture of the Day, Weather

I Married a Serial What?! by Beverly Hicks Burch

I Married a Serial What?!

By Beverly Hicks Burch

In another life I probably should have been a detective or some sort of forensic specialist. I’m fascinated with crime stories, the CSI franchise (yeah, I know it doesn’t really work like that in real life) and love the Investigation Discovery channel.

One of my favorite authors is Ann Rule who has written about some of the most sensational crimes and some not so sensational crimes of our time.

Ann was a policewoman in the Pacific Northwest when health constraints forced her to give up her beloved career. Ann took her love for fighting crime and turned it into a career of informing the public of the evil that lives among us. One of her causes is violence against women.

Her big “break” so to speak in the field of writing came one day when she was asked to write a book about a handsome young man who was a serial murder that had murdered young women across the USA. The further Ann dug into her research on this person she made a shocking discovery. Ann knew the young man and had actually worked with him at a crisis hotline. She had found him polite, kind and caring. He would walk her to her car every night after work and tell her she needed to be careful because there were dangerous people “out there”.

His name was Ted Bundy! Ann wrote about Ted in her first really acclaimed book A Stranger Beside Me. I’ve actually turned my Aunt LaRue onto Ann’s books and we dread the day when there are no more Ann Rule book to be read.

Tall & Handsome sometimes teases me and says he married a gal that’s interested in axe murderers. I tease him back and say with a sweet smile on my face, “All the more reason to watch you ‘Ps and Qs’, Big Guy.” Of course we’re both yanking each other’s chain and it’s all in fun.

But, it’s like I explained to him, I find the workings of the criminal mind a fascinating subject. I mean, how can otherwise seemingly normal people disguise such evil and deception behind a façade of normalcy and the rest of us be oblivious to it?

One show on Investigation Discovery (ID) I find fascinating is called “Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry?”

Let me tell you, if you’ve had a relationship go bad or just had a plain ol’ bad relationship, you need to watch this show! I promise it will make you feel so much better!!

Take last night show for example. This poor hapless young girl meets a 22 year old that’s a sailor in the Navy. She’s 17 at the time. They date and by the time she’s 18 or 19 they marry.

Life starts out as a struggle for the young couple until the husband starts a career as a police officer and from there life seems to go now where but up. They have three kids; hubby is promoted to Sergeant and is name Police Office of the Year by his community. Wifey is proud, overjoyed and totally supportive of hubby…even though he has begun to exhibit some odd behavior. He’s become verbally abusive and he disappears at all hours of the night…sometimes to “walk the dog” because he can’t sleep and needs to relieve stress. Is that what they call it nowadays…?

One afternoon the wife and kids come home from the movies to find half the police force including the assistant police chief at her house. Being a cop’s wife, she immediately assumes the worse…something awful has happened to her beloved husband. Little did she know the boom was about to be dropped on her and the kids. Sgt. Good Cop had been arrested as a serial rapist!

Holy cow!

I didn’t see that one coming and have to admit I let out a large gasp with that reveal. I looked at T & H and said, “Don’t you find these stories absolutely enthralling?”

He said, “Well, yes, they are interesting.” (Keep in mind my T & H can be the master of controlled understatement.)

I said, “Honey, just imagine what she felt being told her well respected “law abiding” police officer of the year husband is a brutal serial rapist. I just can’t wrap my mind around that.”

He said, “I know it would be awful.”

“Awful?!” I said. “Let me put it to you this way it would be like law enforcement coming to me and saying, ‘Mrs. Burch, we hate to tell you this, but we’ve apprehended you husband on the charge of being a serial animal killer.’”

He looked at me, blinked his big blue eyes a couple of times and then gave me a good chuckle…he understood…

Yes, folks, that’s about the worst thing I could think of that someone could tell me about my T & H, especially since he’s such a marshmallow about animals.

That is why I find these shows so fascinating…and they help put life in perspective…

Reggie 7-19-10a


© Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Ann Rule, Crime, Family, Humor, Husbands, Investigation Discovery, Tall & Handsome, Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry?

Conehead, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Palm with pod

Palm with Pod B

I don’t know why, but these picture remind me of Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtain and the Coneheads on SNL…well, that and a really, big alien ear of corn.

© 2011 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Georgia, Humor, Palms, Photography, Picture of the Day, Plants

Chocolate, Godiva and Crack for Dogs, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Chocolate, Godiva and Crack for Dogs,

By Beverly Hicks Burch

I have a confession. I am not a chocoholic. I’m not a big sweet eater. If I do eat something sweet, I prefer something fruity, or a cup of yogurt. I am more of a crunchy, salty, savory type of gal. Give me hot popcorn or a bag of Wavy Lays and a carton a low-fat French onion dip and it’s stress-busting, movie watching, dream come true…no spoon and ice cream carton for me…nor sir!


I will confess to an occasional dip into chocolate. Yes, even me. I am not totally impervious to the dark allure of the cacao bean. Although in my case a little chocolate goes a long way…

…and over the course of the last year or so I have made a startling discovery. Chocolate is like crack for my dog! Sad, but true, especially since chocolate is considered poison for canines.

My enlightenment started with a shocking experience when I caught the little bandit red handed or I should saw, red-pawed or red gummed, last fall.

It started like this…I had discovered a product called “brownie bites”. I know, I know…but, at the time I was working from home, T & H was out of town and I thought, “Ok, quick and easy.” A couple of these tiny little gems (about an inch or so across) were just enough to satisfy any sweet tooth longing I might have and not be a calorie buster.

The first time I brought them home, Watson, AKA the Wonderkin who admits to being a typical Miniature Schnauzer in many ways, but is also like a little boy zipped up in a dog suit, went berserk. I swear the dog could smell the chocolate through the unopened plastic container. Knowing what I know now, I swear, he could be the first Miniature Schnauzer trained and used to sniff out contraband down at the local fat farm. But, at the time, I had no idea what that omen meant for me or that chocolate was the trigger until a few days later.

One evening after work I decided to try these little jewels. I was also going to have a cup of coffee. So, smart girl that I am, I took two brownie bites out of the plastic container, placed them artfully and neatly on a saucer. I turned on my Kuerig coffee brewer to warm up and then took my brownie bites to the bedroom where I intended to watch a good chick flick while enjoying my brownie bites and coffee while snuggle up under a quilt on my king-sized Select Comfort bed. Innocently, I sat the saucer down on the nightstand…way far from the edge and returned to the kitchen to brew my cup of coffee.

I then returned to the bedroom and the minute my foot crossed the bedroom door thread hold I knew something was wrong. Standing in the middle of the king sized bed with a HUGE guilty sign flashing madly over his head stood my 15 pounds of adorable, addicted Schnauzer. And when he saw me, something immediately dropped out of his mouth.

When I saw the dark brown blob my first reaction was a screaming brain shouting, “Oh my gosh Willy Wonka is back!” But, I calmed myself and with the heightened senses of a good CSI I began to take in the scene. As I glanced around the room, one of the first pieces of glaring evidence I noticed was a totally empty saucer setting on the nightstand…that’s right, no brownie bites. Then, when I approached the brown blob lying on the bed I saw what strongly resembled an almost eaten brownie bite…it was just kinda flattened, kinda damp (is that called biological?) and with the perfect imprint of doggie teeth smack dab in the middle. No need to make a plaster cast to see whose teeth the imprint would match… That and a very guilty looking Schnauzer equaled one thing…one little dog in deep caca…

But, being the good mom that I am, my mind quickly kicked into worry mode when I began to calculate the possibility of what was going to happen to my little angel who had just ingested doggie poison. Long story short, he was perfectly fine, slept like a baby and miraculously had no side or after effects.

But, from that day forward even the whiff of chocolate has been like crack for this dog. I swear on a good day in a down draft he can smell chocolate all the way from Hershey, PA…and we’re in the South.

Now, here’s where another little confessions comes into play. My Tall & Handsome kinda has an inside to Godiva. This year for Valentine’s Day he totally surprised me with their new bakery truffles which are like OMGosh fantastic. It was a pleasure I managed to share…and stretch out until just the other day. But, every time I took the box out of the fridge Watson went crazy and would attach to me like dust bunnies to Velcro. Needless to say, he just had to dream…no way would I knowingly be enabling his little habit…

Well, he got his well planned little revenge this evening.

Today when T & H came in from work, he brought me one special Godiva truffle…milk chocolate with a coconut center. I was delighted because this is one of my favorites and is kind of rare. I could hardly wait until after dinner…that truffle was my reason for getting through dinner. I could already taste it…

But, oh, how life like to play little tricks on us…and how short our memory is. Once again, I placed my precious little gem on the nightstand and went into the kitchen to prepare dinner. The truffle would be my special treat while I watched Castle…or maybe not…

After dinner as settled in for a little TV I reached over to pick up my special little chocolate morsel…taste buds anticipating heaven. Instead, there was an oddly vacant space on the nightstand. I didn’t even have to wonder. I knew the Godiva loving, chocolate loving, crack addict bandit had struck again…and he wasn’t even feeling guilty…or even a little queasy…he was snoozing peacefully at the foot of the bed happy as a lark.

Does anyone know a good rehab for a chocolate addicted, Godiva loving Schnauzer?

See mug shots below…

Who me guilty

Who Me? Do I look guilty?

Chocolate hangover

Chocolate Hangover

Poison who said poison

Poison? Did someone say poison?!

© 2011 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Animals, Candy, Chocolate, dogs, Godiva, Humor, Miniature Schnauzer, Pets, Photography, Tall & Handsome, Truffles, Watson

No Kidding, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Don't you wish you could buy one of these at every yard sale

Don’t know if you can read the sign, but it says “Yard Sale”. My question…Don’t you wish every yard sale had an ocean for sale? Really?!


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Filed under A1A, Atlantic Ocean, Beach Pictures, Flagler Beach, Florida, Humor, Photogrpahy, Picture of the Day, Travel

The BamaSteelMangolia(TM) Diaries – Chapter 4: Paw Print…or “To All the Dogs I’ve Loved Before…”, by Beverly Hicks Burch

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

By Beverly Hicks Burch

I had to include the Paw Print in my diary quilt. It’s a simple little appliqué block, but that isn’t why I had to include it. Animals and dogs in particular have played a very special and important part in my life. And, because they have been so loving and in my life for so many years, this may be a long chapter of The BamaSteelMagnolia™ Diaries…

Paw Prints

Paw Print – easy applique block 

I am unabashedly and without a doubt an unapologetic dog person… A little disclaimer here: I don’t wish to hurt my feline loving friends. Some of my favorite people, including my own Tall & Handsome and my Aunt LaRue have been cat people. Of course, T & H has just about converted to the canine way of thinking thanks mostly to a wonderful proselytizing tool called a Miniature Schnauzer (this is a really cool link to Animal Planets Dogs 101). A Schnauzer in the right situation could literally charm the skin off a skanky old snake, so put a Mini Schnauzer in the same room with a mushy hearted animal person like my T & H and well…poor fellow is toast.

A lot of my distancing from felines has to do with my allergies and the fur. Oh my gosh…it’s like the dust that use to creep into homes during the Dust Bowl Days…YOU JUST CAN NOT GET RID OF THE STUFF!! My frustration with cat hair reached critical mass one particular day because of one particular cat.

When T & H and I got married he had two cats. One was a big, orange furry tabby cat. Think Garfield on steroids. I called this cat the Big Orange Abomination or Big O for short…

Pretty Boy 11-5-2005

The Big Orange Abomination

One sunny fall Tennessee afternoon T & H and I had some errands to run. I had on a pair of black denim slacks. When we arrived at our destination, I got out of the Jeep…unsuspecting, much like a lamb lead to slaughter…and happened to look down.

From the other side of the Jeep, T & H heard me screech, “Oh My Gosh!” It was now his turn to be the proverbial lamb lead to slaughter because I said, “Just come over here and look!”

There glowing in the bright, glorious afternoon sun was the biggest, honking wad of glowing ORANGE cat hair…I mean almost neon…in the most indiscrete place! We’re talking that nether region we gals like to have some modesty about, that area coined by Anais Nin as the Delta of Venus…oh, heck, what I’m saying is right smacked dab on the crotch of my lovely black jeans hovered that glowing wad of orange cat hair! The irony of where the cat hair was did not escape me… T & H thought it was hilarious and guffawed while I grumbled, said some really bad things about the cat and plucked the offending cat hair from…well, that area…

That would never have happen with a Schnauzer…no, never…

I just love the adoration and total love, devotion and commitment a dog gives you…you are their pack and they love you for it. It doesn’t matter if you have a bad hair day or how much weight you gain, your dog will adore you regardless.

If you are sick, they will snuggle up beside you and watch over you…in protective mode and with empathy. And, if in your feverish sleep you should have a bad dream, they will gently nudge you awake to check on you and to let you know everything is ok. Yes, honestly, hand to God, a dog can and will do this. I know this from personal experience.

Sadly, though when I’ve been extremely ill those two aforementioned cats skulked around on the bed, perched on their haunches…and waited. In my fitful sleep it was like being watched by gargoyles that were waiting to pounce so they could siphon the air from my lungs and scavenge my body. Ok, well, maybe it was the meds “talking”, but it wasn’t a warm and fuzzy experience…

No matter what you do for them…clean, scrap, freshen their indoor outhouse called a litter box, feed or pamper them…a cat will at best tolerate you and maybe purr for you if you’re allowed to stroke their egos…errr, I mean fur.

I’ve written…at length about my shaky feline relationships. You can read about these rocky antics (mostly thanks to the big fat 21 pound Amazon felines T & H dragged with him from New Mexico) here, here (especially if you want to know what happens when a cat and a wax warmer tangle also involving the Big Orange Abomination), here and here. I’ll not go into detail about how my treasured furniture and heirlooms became kitty scratching post…and how I considered turning the cats into giant house slippers…or at least wall pelts. Just kidding…

Big O finally had to go…for more than one reason. My eyes were staying red and swollen and breathing was difficult. So, off he went to a better place. No! I don’t mean that…he went to live with a new family. Really!

The highly neurotic tuxedo cat with the sensitive stomach was left. Life just isn’t complete unless you get to hear a cat wretch and hurl at least once a day… Then, in July `09 we had to put the last resident feline down and even I had to admit it was a somber and teary event. I wish I could say I miss him, but…I think there’s a country song in that sentiment somewhere…


Winfield – the highly neurotic cat

I grew up around dogs…and to a much lesser degree horses, so that may account for why those are my favorite animals…in that order. And I think it must be generational. My Daddy had a dog when he was a boy named Ole Boss. That dog is rumored to have followed him everywhere…including to my Mom’s when Daddy was courting Momma.

My granddaddy Hicks, Pawpaw, as I called him, had his dogs, too. Pawpaw was a tall, quite East Tennessee mountain man and they do love their dogs in that “neck of the woods”. That might account for Daddy being a bit of a dog person himself, since he was Pawpaw’s son.

Pawpaw had a hunting dog, a blue tick hound, named Thunder. He was Pawpaw’s loyal and best buddy. Pawpaw taught that ol’ dog tricks, including how to roll over by using the down home delicacy of cornbread. (If you’d had my grandmother’s cornbread, you’d probably guess why Pawpaw used it for training treats for poor ole Thunder! Versie was many things, but a cook she was not.) Stashed away in Momma and Daddy’s “archives” are 8mm home movies of Pawpaw and his dog doing tricks. T & H had the privilege of viewing those golden grainy oldies over the holidays. He can vouch for the entertaining and performing Hicks duo of “Jonas Hicks and the Wonder Thunder”.

My grandmother was a one in a kind…and sometimes that kind could remind you of fingernails on a chalkboard. Whenever Pawpaw wanted a little peace and quiet from Versie, he’d grab his old Fedora and shotgun and off Pawpaw and Thunder would head for a good long walk.

So, in keeping with the canine heritage that came before us, when we were little girls, it should have been no surprise Daddy saw to it we had dogs. We didn’t just have dogs…we had dogs. I’m talking Collies, Boxers, German Shepherds…you know the perceived cuddly, toy dogs most little girls have…and we absolutely loved every one of them. They were all loveable gentle beasts that were part of the family. Lassie, of course was the Collie.

Butchie was our female Boxer. Her penchant was a taste for bumble bees and she went around with swollen doggie lips many, many times after one of her chosen treats. Nothing and I mean nothing would stop that dog from eating bumble bees…

Butchie also had a protective instinct and would follow me around the block when I rode my bike. If another dog approached in a threatening way, Butchie lowered her head and gave the offending dog a good head-butt…and sent them rolling… To paraphrase Barbara Mandrel, Butchie was head-butting before head-butting was cool…

When I was in the third grade we moved to a little East Tennessee town called Greeneville. Daddy was working for an engineering firm there. When we moved, Butchie moved with us. Down the street from us was this really sweet and very large Catholic family from Massachusetts. They were the most decent, salt of the earth kind of people…even if they were Yankees…just kidding!!

They were fascinated with our accents, especially Momma’s. I should interject here that Mom should give dialect and accent coaching in Hollywood. If she did there would be no more fake Southern accents in Hollywood…a bone of contention with many of us Southerners I might add… Our Yankee neighbors would call the house just to hear Momma say “hello”…or to paraphrase Kenny Chesney…she had them at hello…

I don’t remember how many kids this family had, but there was a passel…and these kids had a pet chicken. Well, folks, I can tell you right now…pet chickens and bumble-bee-eating Boxer dogs do not mix well. We made that unfortunate discovery one day when we went out into the front yard and there was this big ol’ pile of fluffy chicken feathers…and Butchie nearby. It was a dark day and a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth when the neighbor kids found out that was all that was left of their pet chicken. Poor Butchie had to go live on a farm after that. Later I often wondered if she thought she had received some kind of reward because you just know she had to have run into more chickens along the way on a farm…

After we moved to Alabama we added a German Shepherd to the family and a little fury bundle that was part Maltese and Lhasa Apso name Gidget. Gidget was a “tomboy”. She just didn’t want any part of being a house dog…she wanted to roam the big back yard with Major our German Shepherd. We had gotten Major from Daddy’s uncle (Versie’s brother) in Tennessee. Uncle Lum raised Shepherds from stock he had brought over from Germany after the war.

Gidget had two litters of the cutest puppies you could imagine. I even got to be mid-wife at one delivery…an eye-popping experience let me tell you for a young lass yet to give birth herself. Momma kept the runt of the last litter and named her Tori. Tori almost didn’t make it and had to be bottle fed. She was so tiny she looked like a little wind up toy and was one of the sweetest little dogs…gentle and sweet like her mother. But, also like her Momma she loved the great outdoors and being around that big ol’ German Shepherd. She wanted to run with the big dog…and be a yard dog…

When I got married I added dogs to my new family. We had Snoopy, a dog that I swear to this day was mentally challenged or at least severely directionally challenged, but a good natured fellow none the less. He was part Beagle, Basset Hound and Collie. He was the oddest looking dog. Short and long like a Basset, colored like a beagle and the coat, nose and tail of the Collie. I called him our Bagle, a new kind of Heinz 57…and the dog LOVED popsicles!

Bev with Snoopy puppy

Bev with puppy Snoopy

Snoopy got lost once about 2 blocks from the house. He was gone for months…and he just could never find his way home. We thought he was gone for good. Like dutiful doggie parents we searched high and low for ol’ Snoop but couldn’t find him. Just by happenstance, one day on the way to the store we saw him running wild-eyed in a yard 2 blocks from the house. Poor fellow just never seemed right after that…but, we loved him and took care of him anyway.

We had an Irish Setter named Rusty who was stunningly beautiful, but crazy as a loon. He was our “blond” dog…no offense intended to our fair haired friends…but he just was… Mostly high strung, but also clueless. That dog loved to dig…I mean really LOVED to dig and our back yard looked like a bombed out war zone while we had him. He also bullied poor old Snoopy around and somehow managed to break one of Snoop’s legs. We knew Rusty needed a bigger roaming space than our suburban yard and found a nice country home for him to live happily ever after in. I often thought he would have been happy digging foxholes for the military…

We adopted an English Setter from the Human Society. She was my first “Lady”. She was 3 days away from being put down. Lady was sweet spirited, loving, beautiful…and adventurous. She could scale our fence like Spiderman and then out she’d go. Once again we knew we had a dog that needed “land, lots of land…don’t fence me in…” And, she found a lovely new home with acres to roam on.

1st Lady

My first Lady an English Setter…she did have a head!

So, for a while it looked like I was adopting and fostering dogs until the right place came along…and that was ok as long as they were ok…

Then, when my son reach grade school…about first or second grade, my Daddy decided it was time for Jared to have a real dog…and when daddy does something…he does it big. For a while he had his heart set on getting Jared a Great Dane! I went around with my heart in my throat because I could just imagine the food bill for a Great Dane…combined with the food bill of a growing boy…and well, it would have been the grocery budget to feed the people of China… I also told Daddy that just a regular DOG and not a small pony would be fine with us.

Eventually Jared ended up with his own German Shepherd…kind of a Hicks tradition I guess. We named him Bruno and he was a hulking big dog and one of the most beautiful Shepherds I’ve ever seen which should have been no surprise since he came from championship bloodline. I was delusional when I took a box with us to bring him home in…he was that big. He took one look at that box and it was like, “Woman, are you crazy? There’s no way this puppy is fitting in there!” His paws were huge, about the size of a man’s fist, and we were told he would grow into them…and he did, eventually reaching 100 pounds.


Bruno & Bev

Bev with Bruno – he was just a few months old…and huge!


Bruno was a big ole playful puppy and he would wrestle with Jared…they were buds. Sometimes I would hear Jared yell, “Mom!” from the backyard just to look out the window and see Jared prone on the ground and Bruno standing over him wagging his big ol’ puppy dog tail.

I think Bruno thought we were his toys. Many times when I was in the back yard he turned me into his own personal push toy by pushing me around the yard by inserting his big ol’ nose in the center of my bum. You haven’t seen the world until you’ve been steered around by your German Shepherd…no wonder they’re in the “working group” at dog shows…

But, Bruno’s playfulness belied his protective nature and we saw it kick in more than once. When we sold our first house the buyers requested a home inspection. When the inspector arrived on the scene, Bruno was not happy to see him. I had to go out there (at the time I was a strapping 115 lbs.) and try and keep the almost 100 pounds dog off the inspector’s throat. Bruno made sure he kept his body between mine and the offending interloper. The hair was standing straight up on the back of his neck. I knew then he thought I was more than just a toy to him. I was his mistress to protect.

In the early and mid 1990s I was stalked…an experience I will never forget. The specter of the ordeal haunts me to this day and is in part why I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Panic and Anxiety Disorder. I still take precautions that are throwbacks to that episode. My home was vandalized on occasions and the stalker would lurk outside my home in the shadows late at night. Once he shot the back window out of Gomez’ pickup truck. A heartbreaking and devastating outcome from the ordeal was the cold hard fact that our noble and protective Bruno was murdered by this beast…this man has a judgment day coming. He finally left me alone when I got word to him I was toting a .38 and had no compunction of pulling the trigger if need be…

One of my favorite saying is “all dogs go to heaven”…please no theological debate here…it’s just my way of saying they are special, special critters, but I do believe in my heart they have a special place in God’s kingdom.

Shortly after Bruno went on to his Great Bone Reward in the Beyond, a special little angel was sent in exchange. Her name was Lady and she was a roan English Cocker Spaniel…

Lady came to us quite by accident. We had been out of state for one of Gomez’ work related job field assignments. One of his co-workers had asked Jared to walk the little dog he had with him while he was at work. They lived across the breezeway from where we were staying and he was offering to pay ten bucks a week. Kind of a no brainer for a growing boy…forty easy bucks a month.

During that time Jared would bring Lady over and that’s how I was introduced to this little eager, “I’m-ready-to-love-you” bundle of joy. She was a doppelganger for Lady from Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp”. We heard her story from her current owner. He had gotten Lady from someone else…who had found her…so she had been orphaned many times over in her young life it appeared.

When he found her she had been chained outside. That could account for her lifelong fear of thunderstorms. Whenever a good thunderstorm would blow up Lady would tremble like a leaf in a mighty wind. She woke me up many a night standing over me in the bed, terrified and trembling. Only when she became older and began to lose her hearing did that “fear” subside…and I suspect it was just because she couldn’t hear the thunder any more. I guess there are small blessings in aging…

When Lady was rescued by the kind hearted person we got her from he discovered a sad and life-threatening problem for her. Little Lady had heartworms! Please, people, treat you loyal, loving canines for this terrible problem! Mr. B made sure Lady received the treatment to remove heartworms. This treatment usually proceeds with a medication that contains arsenic and involves a certain amount of risk to the pet.

Well, the little Trooper sailed through with flying colors. I’m sure her youth worked to her advantage and it wasn’t long before Mr. B discovered why the former people who had found Lady had chained her (in frustration I’m sure) outside. Lady had wanderlust and as the Dixie Chicks used to say was “ready to run”!

You see in England English Cocker Spaniels are still actually used for what they were bred for…as working dogs…for the hunt. So, anytime Lady saw something that triggered that “hunt” instinct, off she’d go…almost without thought. Mr. B told us he’d let Lady out on his deck and if she saw something she thought she should chase down, she was out of the gate in a flash. That presented a problem for a single guy…that and the fact that she was also just a face in the crowd at his place. He had a veritable menagerie at his place…many, many, many furry friends.

He had brought her with him on this field assignment because he knew she need someone with her most of the time…companion dogs are just like that…that’s part of their job. He knew she needed to be somewhere where she could get that. But, he also had a big ol’ mushy heart when it came to animals and sometimes that doesn’t equal common sense. Her diet consisted of fried chicken livers from Mrs. Winner’s Fried Chicken and other such people food.

End result? Well, one day Jared came back from walking Lady and said, “Mom, something’s wrong with Lady. She acts like she doesn’t feel well and if I just touch her she whimpers.” Of course we told Mr. B who in turn took her to the vet. Little Lady had an old fashion case of pancreatitis. Luckily for her, she once again responded to the prescribed treatment.

By the time we were ready to return home after this field assignment I think Mr. B was beginning to see the handwriting on the wall. He asked if we would mind taking Lady home with us. That would give him time to see if he wanted to adopt her out and give us time to see if we were ready to adopt her in. I wasn’t quite sure at the time I was ready for an indoor pet…most of my pets had been predominately outdoor pets. But, I just couldn’t turn away that sweet little face.

As it was, Lady came home with us just a couple of weeks before the Blizzard of `93. Yes, folks I’m talking about an honest to goodness white-out, howling blizzard. I had 24 inch snow drifts in my back yard. We were some of the lucky ones. We only lost power about 12 hours. We were able to keep salvaged food from the fridge by setting it out on the deck in the snow and cold in coolers. Most of the rest of central Alabama and the South lost their power for a very long time. In some cases it took weeks to restore it.

Mr. B had gotten cold feet about giving up Lady and had decided to come and pick her up. I, on the other hand wasn’t ready to give her up so easily. I was really beginning to get attach to little “Red Dog” as I called her sometimes. As fate would have it, Mr. B scheduled the weekend the blizzard happened to hit and therefore was unable to get her. There weren’t any sled dog teams working in Alabama at the time and Lady was snow bound with us. After that it was a moot point…Mr. B decided Lady was better off where she was at…and the rest was history as they say. I must say though, she wasn’t too fond of that white stuff the blizzard left behind. We finally figured out that before she would potty she had to have a spot shoveled all the way down to the ground…through all 18-24 inches…it made for a very interesting few days…

I’ve often described Lady…or Ladybug as I sometime called her…as “love on four legs”. She was the gentlest, sweetest little bundle I had ever seen. Love just oozed out of her. She was playful and smart. She loved playing hide and seek and I could spend hours hiding in the house while she went from place to place looking for me. She was so proud of herself when she did find me. I was always the one who received the reward…usually uncontrollable, convulsive tail wagging and overall joy.

coy girl

Lady’s favorite place to try and not be noticed…

Lady in battle dress

Lady in full battle dress – her and Jared’s idea of “cute”


I’ve often heard about dogs that can sense when their owner is about to have a seizure or even able to “sniff” the presence of cancer cells on their loved one. I don’t know if Lady possessed these uncanny abilities but I do know this, when I had my last bout with lung cancer she became my constant little shadow. For months before I even knew cancer was growing in my left lung I was sick and felt lousy. Lady was by my side, even if I was in bed. I would drift off to a fitful sleep just to wake up to the reassuring feeling of this little warm presence curled up against my back. She was my little guardian angel…

After the cancer was found I had to undergo surgery to remove the cancer and a large portion of my left lung. I was in the hospital a week. I will never forget returning home and slowly walking up the sidewalk to my front door. There looking out the glass storm door was my teenage son and a very excited English Cocker Spaniel. It literally took two grown adult men and my teenage son to keep Lady from knocking me down from sheer delight and joy at my return home. After that, she never left my side. She seemed to sense I was still not doing well and was in recovery mode.

It was harder for me to bounce back after my second bout of (NON-smoking) lung cancer than it was the first time around. I was 13 years older for one thing, but in the ensuing years I had also developed autoimmune disorders. I would interject here that when you have this type of surgery you are almost literally cut in half. Well, let me put it this way…an incision is made starting on your back not too far from your spine and brought all the way around your body to under your breast. Your ribs are either cracked open or a section is sawed out of some of your ribs. Then they are pried open so the surgeon can access your lung. So, in addition to getting over thoracic surgery you have to deal with broken ribs. As a result I was more comfortable sleeping semi-sitting up for a while and would sleep in a recliner.

Now, Ladybug was never what I would call a lap dog, but one particular night she must have sensed I was having a particularly had time because she did something highly unusual…she jumped up into my lap, curl up and laid there in my lap until she felt I was ok. If she had been a cat she would have purred…

Lady was with me for many years. She even outlasted my previous marriage and husband proving that dogs can be woman’s best friend, too in the long run. But she also saw the beginning of my new life with Tall & Handsome. I have to say they took to each other rather well. He knew she was my baby and he also could see that age was beginning to take its toll on my little Red Dog. T & H made a lot of special concessions for Lady and I will always be appreciative of that. The day I lost Lady broke my heart. All these years later it still hurts and I still miss her. There are times I still cry when I think about her…

I was “dogless” for about 18 months and lived in the Fellini-like world of felines. After Lady I just didn’t know if I could ever have another dog I could love like I had Lady, but if I ever did have another dog it would be another English Cocker Spaniel…

Well, do you know what it’s like to eat crow?

My crow was served up in the form of a 15 pound Miniature Schnauzer…

I was still in semi-mourning from Lady and dealing with the two Amazon cats. The last thing I thought I needed was another pet. But T & H felt differently and he seized opportunity when it came knocking.

We were living in Tennessee when one day T & H came home from work with a report that a co-worker had a puppy he needed to find a good home for. This puppy was 11 months old and I had actually seen the little fellow with the owner one day in PetSmart when I was there with T & H about eight months earlier.

That depressing trip was to load up on my “favorite” pet supplies…cat food (in bulk for the hulking 42 pounds worth cat flesh sulking and prowling around back at the house) and for a large bucket of clumping cat litter. If PetSmart had a people pharmacy, I would have ordered a Prozac the size of a handball after that shopping order. My days was filled with listening to these cats fight. (They were like cartoon cats that fight and end up in a rolling, tumbling, screeching ball of flying fur and claws.) Their other choice sounds were hurling, scratching cat litter, tearing down window blinds, and then more cat fights.

I was wandering around PetSmart in a zombie like stage, looking at doggie “stuff” like mothers-in-waiting look at baby paraphernalia. It was sad… As I filtered the “white noise” out of the background noise, I became aware that T & H was chatting with someone an aisle or two away. I ambled over to see who he was chatting up…

As I approached I began to see a tiny little furry head…and my heart skipped a beat. It was a puppy…a tiny puppy at that…and I swear the puppy almost had a little halo glow over his head…it had to be a sign!

T & H introduced me to the young fellow (who later became like an adopted son) and I raved about the puppy. I was told he was a Miniature Schnauzer and his name was Watson. He asked if I wanted to hold him. Do I want to hold him?! Does a wino want cheap wine?!

I gathered up the warm little bundle of fur and began to walk around the store. It was the cutest four legged living thing I had seen in a long time! He was so cute I could have gobbled him up with a spoon. When he licked me on the nose, well, after I put back together my melted heart, I began to see if there was a way I could logically “doggie-nap” this puppy. In my heart I knew I couldn’t because he had an owner who loved him, but it was soooo tempting to tuck him in my coat and head to the car. I was smitten…

I returned the little fellow back to his owner. We chatted a bit and he could tell I was an unabashedly avowed dog person. He remembered that…

About eight months later, T & H came home from work one day and said that Watson needed a new home. His owner had a lot going on at the time and wasn’t able to be home much. Watson is such a “people” dog…he needed someone with him as much as possible. His owner wanted me to have him because he knew how I felt about dogs.

Well, by then I had decided I wouldn’t have another doge for a very long time…at least not until the cats where in “better places”. In my book, dogs and cats just don’t mix… At first I said no. But T & H and Dustin (the former owner) persisted and I finally relented with one condition: he could come on a two week probation period…just to see how he and the cats would work out.

Well, the day he arrived I was deathly sick…and was for about a week. So, I extended that probation period another week. The cats and dogs…well to just put it shortly…they didn’t…they didn’t anything…get along…stop beating up on the puppy, stop eating his food…you name it. I was constantly extending that two week probation. It actually became a joke.

Finally it became obvious that little dog had buried into our family and hearts like a tick on a hound and he wasn’t going anywhere. From that day on, he was my baby…

Babyface 2

Watson at about one year – such a Babyface

After the haircut 3 5-13-2007

Such a cutie…


I love my life...

I love my life…

That doesn’t mean every day was an easy day. There was of course the infamous “Willy Wonka Wanna Be” episode. One rainy Saturday Watson decided to gift us with what looked like Toostie Rolls in a most inconvenient place!

Watson has been a 15 pound bundle of joy in our life. Every day is a good day with him. He loves us, adores us, travels with us, makes us laugh, cuddles, plays and clowns with us and of course, belying his diminutive size, he is our watchdog. In his mind that is one of his jobs. He knows us as “Momma” and “Poppa” and my parents are “Granddad” and “Grandmomma”.

He is unconditional love. If one of us is gone and comes back to the house, his little back legs look like they are hooked up to springs of joy, it is hard for him to contain himself.

Some days when I look at him I think two things: “I’m so glad I found you.” And “My heart is going to break when something happens to you.”…just like it did with Lady and other dogs before her…

So, why do we keep doing this? Trust me my friend…the rewards of having a best friend like this far outweigh the tears that follow when they are gone…

© 2010 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Cats, dogs, Humor, Pets, Quilt Block, quilting, The BamaSteelmagnolia(TM) Diaries

Family Jewels vs. Childbirth, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Family Jewels vs. Childbirth

By Beverly Hicks Burch

This evening I read an article about a 22 year old man who went skinny dipping in New Zealand. He had left his shorts on the beach and when he got out he slipped them back on…without checking the shorts out I might add.

Now New Zealand is the home of the endangered katipo spider. The small pea sized spider is in the same family as the Black Widow Spider. Can you see where this is heading…?

Well, needless to say, the young lad was bitten by the poisonous spider on his manhood…

I was so stunned by this I had to share it with Tall & Handsome, so I began reading the article to him. After I finished I looked over at him. He was sitting there with his face all screwed up in agonizing sympathy pain…he was living the man’s pain and agony. The part about the swelling really got to him…

I couldn’t believe it. I have seen enough America’s Funniest Videos and seen enough crotch hits to know this…you can bring down a 295 pound linebacker with one strike of a Wiffle Bat.

I looked at T & H and asked, “What is it about you guys and your family jewels? Just the thought of some other guy getting hurt in his junk and yall winch and protect yourself. Heaven forbid if you accidentally get tapped down there…the world can expect a good old fashioned groan and double-over. How would you like to pop another human being out of your body that weighed anywhere from 5 to 15 pounds or say the size of a watermelon or Christmas ham?”

He looked at me a minute and pondered the thought and said, “I guess yall are just stronger than us.”

Score one for Team Estrogen…

© 2010 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Humor, Spider Bites, Spider bites man on genitals, Tall & Handsome