Category Archives: Mothers

The Great Vacationless Class, by Beverly Hicks Burch

“By and large, mothers and housewives are the only workers who do not have regular time off. They are the great vacationless class.” ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh ~

Mother's Day roses 2013C

This morning while I was in the kitchen fixing Tall & Handsome a cup of coffee for his second birthday in less than a week, he quietly disappeared downstairs. When I came back to the bedroom I knew what he had done…he had gone to the kitchen downstairs where he had secreted these roses for Mother’s Day. There they sat in a vase with a wonderful, beautiful card next to them. That’s a great way  to start a day!

(I know you’re wondering about that “second birthday in a week” thing. A few years ago T & H lost his social security card and unbeknown to us the Social Security Administration changed his birthday by three days! So, now, officially, his birthday is three days earlier than he has celebrated for all of his life. But, once the government tells you when you birthday is, you just say, “yes, sir!” No arguing, regardless what your birth certificate says…) But, that is definitely a different story for a different time…

The last few Mother’s Days have been hard around here. T & H lost his mom in March 2011. I lost my beloved Aunt LaRue in June of 2012 so, this is my first Mother’s day without her.

Miss an aunt on Mother’s Day? Yes, she was so much more than an aunt. Friend, big sister, second mom sometimes, travel companion, late night phone companion (I can’t tell you how many place over the world she accidently called trying to call me…they always loved her Southern Tennessean accent and hated for her to hang up), fellow autoimmune warrior and the list could go one…

And, she was Mom’s last living sister. So, I know this Mother’s Day is hard for her, too. So alike in many ways and so different in many other ways, but you could tell they were definitely sisters. They were the oldest and the youngest.

But, I am blessed to have my Momma still with me this year.

Today’s quote stuck a note of familiarity with me. I am a mom and a step-mom; I have worked out side the home, and been a stay at home mom or as Anne Lindbergh said, a “housewife”. I prefer the term homemaker.

I’ve always said being a mom is the hardest, most important job in the world. As the home goes, so goes a nation…or so “they” say…

At this stage in my life, I feel like the filling in the Oreo…I’m in the middle. I can reflect on moms before me and moms coming up in today’s culture behind me. The common feature good moms of all generations share is: unconditional love and devotion for their kids.

I have a sweet young friend who is the mother of three precious young girls. My friend in her own right is talented, sweet, beautiful…an awesome person. She is like the daughter I would like to have had. When I see her girls, well, I know what an awesome mom she is. She is doing a great job! I know she has many vactionless days…but, she delights in her children…and I delight in her sweet presence…

My beautiful step-daughter is a single mom. She works incredibly long hours. And, she devouts equally long hours to her kids, supporting their endeavors and being a great mom. Yes, she is part of the vacationless class, but I know she wouldn’t trade her kids for one day of vacation. Knowing her, she’s find a way to arrange a vacation day with the kids…

Juanita, Korrine & LaRue

When I look at each of these three awesome ladies, I know how young they were and from my place in time I can look back and see what wonderful, self-sacrificing moms they are and were. And each one of them had a profound effect on my life…mainly by loving me and believing in me.

The first beauty on the left is my sweet little Momma. She raised three daughters. One still lives at home and has profound disabilities. Mom has had many vacationless days in her life. But, she impressed upon us to be classy, yet have our own brand of spirit and spunk. When the ex walked out she encourage me to move on and not let what had happened to hold me back. When I found T & H, she recognized his qualities and said he was head and shoulders over a certain someone from my past.

She encouraged individuality, creativity and along with Daddy, education. Both my parents are voracious readers, so I had my own “library” before I could walk. We were never “baby talked” and my parents swear I started talking in sentences. T & H loves the fact that he has a wife that not only knows how to cook, but does it well…and he owes that to my Momma who found a way to teach me to cook and make it fun. Momma was the “artistic” sister.

Momma was like a lioness when it came to her “babies”…she would have fought the devil himself for her kids. So, any “time off” Daddy could talk her into…she has deserved.

My Aunt Korinne is the second beauty in the picture. She was an elementary school teacher and every little boy fell in love with her. She was a single mom in an era when there weren’t many around and there was very little support for single moms. That is really vactionless times! She had a son she was devoted to, yet she had time for her oldest niece…from the day I was born. I spent at least two weeks every summer with her once I was about middle school age. We had great fun. She took me to see Gone with the Wind at a theater, took me to my first pizza parlor, stayed up late night talking to me like a best friend, encouraged my writing and warned me about the wrong type of guy…I wish I had paid more attention on that last topic…

Of course, the last beauty in the picture is my Aunt LaRue.

I tend to agree with Anne Lindbergh. She seems to have been a wise woman. If you are a mom there are carpools, fevered headed, meals, groceries, laundry, diapers, school and everything else that goes along with raising your child. Even then you will never stop worrying, never stop caring and never stop loving…even after they are grown…

No, there is no vacation from being a Mom…ever…we are the great vacationless class…but, we have really big pay-off…

It’s called love…

© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Aunt LaRue, Aunts, Children, Family, Kids, Momma, Mother's Day, Mothers, Photography, Picture of the Day, Quote of the Day, Roses, Tall & Handsome

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

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

Welcome to B. F. Burch’s…or

Welcome to B. F. Burch’s…or “Let

us” Wrap It Up,

By Beverly Hicks Burch

Who you may be asking is B. F. Burch? Well, me of course!

You see when my mother was a young slip of a thing, she decided she would name three daughters Faith, Hope and Charity…I’m the Faith of the bunch and the sisters are Hope and Charity. I’ve teased Mom for years and said if we had been boys we would have been Matthew, Mark, Luke and John…

So, am I writing about names today? Nope! Read on…

From time to time Tall and Handsome and his co-workers participate in dinner after work with the client. And being the thoughtful, sweet hubby he is, he usually calls and brings me something home for dinner…his dime, of course. He’ll tell me where he’s at and if the place has an internet menu I’m able to look it over and decide what I want as if I was there.

Not too long ago T & H, a group of co-workers and the client went to a fairly well known Chinese eatery. They have an internet menu, so I was able to pick what I wanted and T & H brought it home.

On item he brought me was something I’ve wanted to try for some time…lettuce wraps. I have one word to say…Yum!

Well, of course that sent T & H and me on a quest…to make lettuce wraps at home…but, just not any lettuce wraps. We wanted great lettuce wraps. T & H found some pre-packaged filling at the store and it wasn’t bad and it will do in a pinch…but, we still wanted something with that extra oomph…

Research hound (me) went into mode and I found a recipe and “Bevized” it and we prepared in Sunday night after a weekend of unpacking and shaping up the house. There was enough left over for dinner Monday night. We are a team of course and all of the above is done with my favorite “team mate”…Tall & Handsome…

Most of the “work” in the lettuce wraps is in the pre-time, but after that they come together in a breeze. One of the “Bevizing” additions was to add walnuts for the added health benefits and added crunch.

In 1980 I took a Chinese cooking class with my sister at UAB (University of Alabama at Birmingham). I purchased a bonafide wok at the beginning of the class, and the addition of our pot rack has given me easy access to this old friend…it is well used and shows it. If you don’t have a wok, you can stir this up in a large skillet.

B. F. Burch’s Lettuce Wraps

By Beverly (Faith) Hicks Burch

1 tablespoon oil – you can use a vegetable oil like canola or a peanut oil which would add an extra Asian touch

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 teaspoons – 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 pound ground chicken

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon ground pepper

¼ cup finely chopped fresh mushrooms

1 teaspoon minced garlic

¼ cup finely chopped bamboo shoots

¼ cup chopped walnuts

1- 8 0z. can water chestnuts, finely chopped

¾ cup Hoisin/chicken broth sauce (see below)

2 – 3 dashes hot Chinese chili paste/sauce

Lime wedges

In a wok or large skillet heat oil on high until hot. Add onions and ginger and cook until the onions are translucent.

Next add the chicken and cook until the chicken is lightly brown. When browned, season with the salt and pepper.

Add the mushrooms and cook them until they are tender.

Add garlic, bamboo shoots, walnuts and water chestnuts and stir fry about 1 – 2 minutes.

Add ¾ cup Hoisin/chicken broth sauce and 2 – 3 dashes Chinese hot chili paste. Cook until mixture boils.

Serve with cold, crisp lettuce leaves. Spoon desired amount of mixture onto the center on a lettuce leaf. Spoon some Hoisin/chicken broth sauce over the filling and squeeze some fresh lime juice onto the mixture. Roll up the lettuce leaf and enjoy!

Sauce:

4 tablespoons Hoisin sauce

4 tablespoons soy sauce (I use low sodium)

4 tablespoons dry sherry

4 tablespoons oyster sauce

4 teaspoons sesame seed oil

4 teaspoon cornstarch

1 cup chicken broth, you can use low – fat, low – sodium, etc.

Combine all ingredients and mix well. ¾ cup will be used in cooking the chicken filling and the remainder will be used for dipping sauce or to spoon over the filling of the lettuce wraps.

Enjoy!!

© 2008 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Chinese Food; Lettuce wraps, Cooking, food, Life, Mothers, recipes, Tall & Handsome, University of Alabama at Birmingham

The Last Widows of the Confederacy, by Beverly Hicks Burch

The Last Widows of the Confederacy

By Beverly Hicks Burch

It happened on the Friday before Labor Day 2007. Tall and Handsome and I were driving back to Knoxville from another lovely Southern city. We’d been in this city for about two weeks…well at least Scoot, AKA Watson the Wonder dog and I had been in this city with T & H for that long. Tall and Handsome had been there since about the first of August working. We’ve been checking things out for a possible move.

Anyway, the Friday before Labor Day we’re heading back to Knoxville to take care of a few things and check things out at the house there. Before we leave this quintessential Southern town, Tall and Handsome pulls into a gas station to fill the tank up before we hit the road. He pulls up to the pump, whips out his card and reaches for the nozzle and faster than you could say ♪ “Oh, I wish I was in the land of cotton…”♪ an attendant appeared and said…

“I’m sorry, suh, but this is full serve. Self serve is on the other island.”

Whoa! After I did a double-take, cleaned my ears out really well and watched a stunned, wide-eyed, disoriented T & H mumble “Thank-you” and stumble back to the Jeep…I mean this had seriously broken his stride and routine…I made the comment to him when he got back in the Jeep…

“These pumps must be for the last widows of the Confederacy.”

I must have intoned some special incantation, because, I kid you not, within about 45 seconds a little blue-haired lady in a little car pulled up to the full serve island and had her gas pumped. You have to admire her…and the Confederate pension she receives must be substantial because the dang stuff on that side of the station was impressive…well over $3.00 a gallon…approaching $4.00. The petrol on our side was much more to our liking…almost a dollar a gallon less…well under a $3.00 gallon. I can say one thing for her, she had full command of that little wagon she was driving…I truly admire her moxie!

Well, we have a running joke in my family with my Momma…about pumping gas. When I saw this full serve gas, I picked up my cell phone and called her while T & H was out there slaving at the pump squeezing that handle, pumping the gas into our Jeep.

“Hey, Momma.”

“Hey.”

“Well, I have a reason you’re going to want to move where we might be moving.”

There was alarm in her voice. I guess she though this was some kind of new sick prank phone call…you know like, “M’am, is your refrigerator running?” or “Do you have Prince Albert in the can?”

She responded with, “Is this Bev? Who is this?”

“Mom, yeah, this is Bev and I have a really good reason you’re going to want to move where we might be moving!”

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

Now I must explain that my momma and Daddy are in the midst of moving themselves. It’s the first time they’ve moved since the middle of the 1960’s when I was 12 years old! Needless to say this has been a very stressful time for them. They are moving into a really great home up on a mountain top not too far from my home in Alabama. They’ve had a fantastic home built, but it’s been a stressful process none the less.

They’re having to move because their current neighborhood, an extremely nice and stately neighborhood in its day, has become increasingly dangerous. Not too long ago their front doorbell rang, Mom answered the door, and an unknown young man was standing there…sweating bullets…and quicker than Momma could think “Toto, were not in Kansas anymore” the police came up behind him and apprehended the unknown young fellow at my parents’ doorstep!

Sadly, this isn’t the only alarming occurrence to happen to them lately. One fair day, after hearing a rather loud commotion outside, they looked out their front window to discover that a drug dealer’s car had rolled down the hill and landed in their dogwood tree. Hum…I feel like I should be playing the theme song from Cops here and I guess it kind of looked like it that day.

So now, they’re in the midst of this move and I’m hundreds of miles away caught up in a transition of my own…a stress of it’s own for the oldest daughter who wanted to be the perfect daughter all her life…

So, back to the phone conversation…

“But, Momma, wait till you hear why! They have full serve gas here!”

She just chuckled and said, “I looove full serve gas!” As she put in one time, “I’m worth the few extra pennies.” Spoken like a true magnolia and GRITS! But, don’t let that fool you…that was in the days when the difference was a few pennies and not almost a dollar! My Momma knows a deal when she sees one.

I’ve always said Momma was born out of her time…she should have worn a hoop skirt and sat on a veranda with a mint julep in her hand. To be fair though, she would have given Scarlet, Rhett and the Yankees a run for their money, especially when it comes to her family.

Momma did her future daughters a really big favor when she picked out their Daddy…she picked out the best in the world and then set the example of how to honor him and love a guy with balance. They have been married for over 50 years. Daddy still calls her “my little sweet thing” and Momma worries over him when he’s sick like there’s no other in the world…and there’s not…they are a life long love story.

Mom taught us about loving sacrifice everyday in how she loved us. When her baby daughter was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and doctors wanted her institutionalized, Momma said her days version of “No way, Jose!” and kept Yvonne at home…a decision light years ahead of its time.

Momma was housekeeper, chauffer, cook, accountant, nurse and all the other hats a stay at home mom wears. In the 1970’s she was the youth leader of the youth group at church and she gave us a place on Friday nights to hang out and have fun. Most of the time Momma and Daddy provided the money for the food out of their own pockets…but, they wanted to make sure the kids had a safe, fun, loving place to hang out. We all had a blast.

When Gomez the Unremarkable walked out six years ago, I was distraught. My little Momma (and Daddy of course) made sure I saw my worth and that my life would go on. It was not uncommon during that time and when I’d come home from work to have something in the mail from Momma…usually a word of encouragement or Scripture…handwritten.

I get impatient with Momma when she doesn’t realize how smart, talented, valuable, bright, savvy and great she is…so Momma, know this you are wonderful! I love you Momma. Enjoy your new home big time…you deserve it!

Back to Labor Day Weekend and that gas station…to be fair, I admit I looked over at the full serve island and saw a young guy…a big ol’ galoot…in a gi-normous SUV having his gas pumped and his tires kicked and checked by an attendant. I guess it takes all kinds…big ol’ galoots, the last widows of the Confederacy, and well deserving Mommas…not everyone is self serve in this day and age…

© 2007 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under AKA Gomez the Unremarkable, Family, Fun, Gomez, grits, Humor, Life, Mothers, Photography, Southerners, Tall & Handsome