Category Archives: Tall & Handsome

Their Only Fault, Really…


He’s Got that Loving Feeling…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2016 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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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

Out Damn’d Spot!

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

Feb 10 2014 copy ae edit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

It can be slightly unnerving…

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

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

She is getting better and we see many improvements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2016 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.



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

The Blossoms of the Heart No Wind Can Touch

“Blossoms are scattered by the wind and the wind cares nothing, but the blossoms of the heart no wind can touch.” ~ Yoshida Kenko ~

Cherry Blossoms 2014 D

What do April 1st, a visit to my doctor, cherry blossoms and my Tall & Handsome have to do with one another? A day and week I won’t soon forget.

I was long overdue for a check up with my rheumatologist. I’d been scheduled to see him back in January, but I was actually too sick (imagine that!) to drive down to see him – the round trip is about a 75 to 83 mile trip depending on the route you take.

I had rescheduled but, that appointment just happened to coincide with one of the snow apocalypse that hit our area this winter. We had two, yes, count them, TWO here in the Deep South this winter. So, strike that appointment.

The next appointment was set up for April 1st. That’s when I should have said no way, uh huh, not in your lifetime sista. NOT ON APRIL FOOL’S DAY. But, fools tread where angel dare…

So, I went to said appointment. Going there I navigated one of the most treacherous and accident prone stretches of roadway in the great State of Alabama. That would be the boon daggle called US Hwy 280.

But, there was a pay-off going on April 1st. As I pulled around into the back parking lot of the doctor’s office, I noticed a glorious cherry tree in full bloom. A breath of fresh air – spring had sprung.

Could it get much better than that?

As I am prone to do at times, I’d tucked my camera into the Jeep when I left the house. I made a mental note to snap some shots of the cherry blossoms before I left.

When I finished taking those shots, I decided to take the “scenic route” home hoping for more photo ops – and that, my friends is where things went horribly wrong.

I was about three quarters of the way home and was once again in an area of traffic. Let’s call it rural/suburban traffic. Nothing like what I’d navigated  earlier in the day. I’d stopped and picked up something for dinner because it was getting late and was heading home.

I was approaching an intersection known as “The Crossroads” which has seen its fair share of accidents. On this day it was not destined for me to pass through that intersection unscathed.

I was cruising along well within the speed limit, not tail-gating the vehicle in front of me. I took a split second to glance to my side and when I looked forward again the vehicle in front had suddenly stopped.

Oh, snap!

I applied my brakes…and kept moving forward. I realized I wasn’t going to stop in one surreal moment.

And, I didn’t, until I rear-ended the vehicle in front of me.

I felt a teeth rattling jolt, mostly in my head, left shoulder and chest and heard a very unimpressive “thump”. I remember thinking, “That’s it? That’s what an accident sounds like?”

I was stunned and in shock – I’d had the breath knocked out of me. I began to take stock: air bag didn’t deploy, felt my head and didn’t feel any blood and the windshield wasn’t broken. Good.

But, oh, the pain…

I knew I needed to call 911. A bystander stopped and called. Next, I knew I would need a ride home. I’d seen smoke rising from the top of the hood and had a suspicion my Jeep wasn’t going anywhere but the back of a tow truck – and, I was right. I couldn’t reach Tall & Handsome at work, so I called the next best person every Southern gal would call – Daddy.

So, long story short, Daddy arrived on the scene to pick me up. On the way home my aching mind was racing. So many thoughts.

“We just paid that darn Jeep off in November.”

Thank God I didn’t receive a citation or ticket – that’s a good thing.”

“Thank God no one in the other vehicle was hurt.”

But, guilt flooded over me. I had reached this stage of my life, my age and had never been in an auto accident before. Well, there goes a pristine record. T & H and I have had enough to deal with – not with each other but, with the challenges life throws at us. I had just laid a big one on us.

I started thinking about the cherry blossoms I had taken pictures of just a couple of hours before. So beautiful and full of hope – much like life. I’d also noticed some individual petals had fluttered to the ground and were laying there fragile, bruised and unprotected – much like we feel we are sometimes with life’s challenges.

Cherry Blossoms 2014 F

But, when I got home, my Tall & Handsome was home and the first thing he did was to rush to my side, wrap his long, strong arms around me and comfort me – no incriminations, no chastising – just a safe harbor, because like those cherry blossoms the blossoms of the heart no wind can touch…

…He who loves his wife loves himself.” Ephesians 5:28 NIV

© 2014 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Alabama, Auto Accident, Birmingham, Cherry Blossoms, Photography, Picture of the Day, Quote of the Day, Spring, Tall & Handsome

To a Cup O’ Kindness, My Friend, by Beverly Hicks Burch

And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet…” ~ Robert Burns, Auld Lang Syne ~

Horton Mill Bridge K2

Some years are just better than other years. I think we can all agree on that. Some years are a mixed bag, and then some years are what I call a mountain top year – those years where everything is golden.

The last few years Tall & Handsome and I have almost decided to call ourselves Mr. and Mrs. Job. As in the tornado has hit, the livestock are dead and we’re waiting on the boils and what’s next – literally.

You know you’re having plum years when your Miniature Schnauzer develops prostrate problems one Christmas and the next Christmas he develops life threatening bladder stones. In the interim you’ve rescued a female mini Schnauzer who turns out to be Rain Main in a dog suit.

And, that’s just the canine “issues”…

We won’t talk about health, jobs, crazy people, insurance, thieves, hardness in people, the economy…


The world at large lost some irreplaceable people. Many of us lost good people this year. People we loved very much, people who left gaping holes in our lives. I lost my aunt in June 2012 and I still haven’t recovered. If anything, this holiday season was worse than last year. She was that important to me.

Back in the spring Tall & Handsome and I drove up to Blount County, Alabama to visit the Horton Mill Covered Bridge. He’d not had the opportunity for a visit. It was a lovely spring day and I took advantage to grab some shots while there.

I was going through those photos and today’s photo of the day caught my attention.

A bridge. For those who have passed on from us to better things. To time we can’t get back – and may not want back.

A bridge. To better days. To the future. To the ones we love.

A bridge. To a cup o’ kindness, my friend…

Happy New Year and a golden 2014!

© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.


Filed under Alabama, Bank of America, Blount County Alabama, Covered Bridges, Holidays, Horton Mill Covered Bridge, New Year, Photography, Picture of the Day, Quote of the Day, Robert Burns, Tall & Handsome

The Rest was Left Up to Nature, by Beverly Hicks Burch

“The best way to travel…is in a balloon. In a balloon, you can decide only when to start, and usually when to stop. The rest is left entirely up to nature.” ~ William Pene de Bois, The Twenty One Balloons ~

The Glow G

The Glow I

I love the month of October – for many reasons. The weather turns cooler, the leaves begin to take on their autumn color, you can stoke up the fireplace on a crisp evening and the food for fall and winter is just so hearty and comforting.

But, October also brings back a fond memory. Back several years ago when Tall & Handsome and I met, he was living in New Mexico and I was in Alabama. Yes, we met in an unconventional and nerdy way – playing an online game. So, that meant we “courted”  in an almost old fashion way – long distance. We actually didn’t meet face to face until after we had been courting for almost a year.

There is a definite advantage to getting to know someone in that manner. You really get to know them as a person, putting aside all that heady rush of close proximity and infatuation stage. Like strong drink, that rush can be intoxicating, and sometimes can blind you…almost like the proverbial “beer goggles”.

But, we took the time to get to know the person. We emailed, talked on the phone, instant messaged and soon T & H discovered we could talk to each other over the internet. All that was needed was an internet connection and a headset.

After we decided to meet, we determined he would visit Alabama first and meet my family. Some of the gals I worked with at the time were concerned I was allowing an axe murderer to visit me and take my head as a trophy. I tried to explain to them that if he was indeed an axe murderer, he was the most patient one in history because he waited almost a year to wreck mayhem.

Our next appointed meeting was a visit I paid him in New Mexico. He planned well and with the aim to knock my socks off.

One adventure was VIP passes to the Albuquerque International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. It had been a bucket list item for me and doing it up on VIP passes, well, let’s just say he scored big points.

An event he made sure we attended was the Glow one evening. At this event the balloons are tethered and inflated. As you walk among these glowing, gentle giants, you would swear you were in an enchanted wonderland.

It was a memory of a lifetime for this Southern gal…

This past May we discovered Alabama had its own hot air balloon event. So, last Memorial Day weekend we headed up to Decatur, AL to attend the Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic. While not as large as its counterpart in New Mexico, it was still a fun event and brought back lots of wonderful memories for us.

Today’s pictures of the day were taken in May at the Alabama event. Yes, this event has its own version of the Glow and we made certain we stayed and caught the event.

I look back over the course of my life and think about events that have changed my life. Some changes it took wild horses to drag me into – yes, it was like leading a horse to water, or more appropriately a stubborn old mule.

But, I have learned – there is a purpose for everything – whether we see it at the time or not.

Take hot air balloons…20 years ago, who would have thought hot air balloon would have been a beloved part of my heart and history?

So, two visits and one special balloon event and history was made, my life was changed…I guess you could say, it had been left up to nature…and Divine intervention…

© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.


Filed under Alabama, Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic, Hot Air Balloons, Life, Love, Photography, Picture of the Day, Psalm 1:3, Quote of the Day, Tall & Handsome

You Can Sit on a Mountain More Comfortably than on a Tack, by Beverly Hicks Burch

“Sometimes the littlest things in life are the hardest to take.  You can sit on a mountain more comfortably than on a tack.” ~ Unknown ~

Horton Mill Bridge flower

There is an old adage about “thriving where you’re planted”. I think that pearl of wisdom is based on Psalm 1:3 that says: “He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” (NKJV)

Last April Tall & Handsome and I took a drive up to Horton Mill Bridge near Oneonta, Alabama. It was a glorious spring day and there was new life sprouting every where.

Once there, I happened to sit on a stone wall that looked like it had been standing there for a while keeping watch over the old covered bridge.  As T & H wandered down the embankment and explored a little I had planted myself on the old stone wall.

By happenstance I looked down along the wall and I saw a remarkable thing – call it a weed, call it a wildflower, but whatever you call it, there was new life thriving where it had been planted – in the mortar and crevice between the stones of that old wall.

Not only was this green wonder surviving in the most unlikely of places, but it seemed to be thriving, blooming forth tiny delicate purple flowers.

That unlikely little plant gave me a lesson in life. So many times we are planted in places we dread and even hate. We beg and bargain to be moved from these areas we consider wastelands.

We may be surviving, but are we thriving? There is a big difference.

We can survive like this little plant, which granted may not have deep roots and a long life span, but we can also thrive, blooming if you will, even if it’s the tiniest, most delicate of blossom.

I promise, it is sure to touch someone…

I have been planted many places that weren’t exactly “prime real estate”. I was dropped into non-smoking lung cancer twice, autoimmune disorders, a stalker and the end of a long time marriage brought on when the ex decided he wanted to marry his co-worker girlfriend.

During many of those times, I didn’t even feel like my roots were as deep as the little life on the stone wall. Surely, they were too shallow and would not tether me to this earth. Forget about having roots planted like the mighty oak. Sometimes my roots felt like they were buried in quicksand and I was sinking fast.

But, one day I came to a decision. Wallowing in my misery was not thriving – it wasn’t even a life. I made the decision to move on and plant my roots where they could latch on to something worthwhile – starting with a decision to thrive as best I could and not just survive.

I decided it was definitely more comfortable to sit on the mountain than sit on a tack.

And, when  I did I began to blossom again, with things I had long put away out of “duty” or because I thought they didn’t really matter in the grander scheme of things. But, they did, my muse told me it mattered.

My mused, by the way is my Tall & Handsome…

© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.


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Filed under Alabama, Life, Photography, Picture of the Day, Plants, Quote of the Day, Tall & Handsome

That Curious Emotion called Homesickness, by Beverly Hicks Burch

“It is a curious emotion, this certain homesickness I have in mind. With Americans, it is a national trait, as native to us as the roller-coaster or the jukebox…” ~ Carson McCullers ~

There are certain times of the year I know Tall & Handsome develops a case of that curious emotion called homesickness. I know it is for the southwest and parts of New Mexico.

A particular time of the year he becomes homesick for Hatch green chilies – fresh chilies. I wrote about this in a food blog recently. I was surprised to discover one day our local Whole Foods was roasting Hatch green chilies New Mexico style in front of their store. I called T & H and he picked some up on the way home from work. Only he got the raw ones and roasted them himself. I guess he was homesick for that aroma only a roasting chili has.

Then, in October he comes down with a mild case of homesickness. Every year in October Albuquerque hosts an international hot air balloon fiesta. He was a yearly participant. One of the things he enjoyed was trading balloon pins with the crews of the attending balloons.

T & H’s pins fill the front of a denim vest. I can’t tell you how many hangers that vest has broken and wire hangers it’s bent. Yep, it’s that heavy. And, he has pins running over and in containers everywhere.

So, this past May when I mentioned the hot air balloon event here in Alabama I think he was finally psyched up to go. It also helped we had out of town company.

T & H made sure he wore his balloon vest – all 598 pounds of it…

I saw smiles on his face and looks of “knowing”. I could tell the outing was the cure for that curious emotion called homesickness…

2 balloon guy

The infamous balloon vest – all 598 pounds of it

dreaming of abque nm

Looking westward

for those that think young

A contemplative guy – Albuquerque on the mind

© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Alabama, Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic, Decatur AL, Homesickness, Hot Air Balloons, Photography, Picture of the Day, Tall & Handsome

Diamond Bridge for Sure, by Beverly Hicks Burch

“Golden bridge, silver bridge or diamond bridge; it doesn’t matter! As long as the bridge takes you across to the other side, it is a good bridge.” ~ Mehmet Murat Ildan ~

Horton Mill Bridge E

I have a confession. I have a phobia about bridges. Ever since the Silver Bridge collapsed over the Ohio River between Ohio and West Virginia shortly before Christmas 1967, bridges have been objects of torment for me. I think the fact I never learned to swim may play a teeny, tiny factor in my phobia.

It’s very hard trying to go through life avoiding bridges. As a matter of fact it’s almost downright impossible. I am proud to say there have been times I have handled it remarkably well.

But, we cross so many bridges in our life without even thinking about it…there’s the bridge to nowhere, the bridge of no return, the bridge of friendship, we bridge the proverbial gap and I’m sure you could think of a zillion more clichés.

We cross circumstantial bridges daily in our life. We cross from crisis to calm, illness to health, confusion to clarity, turmoil to peace. And, the conduit that allows you safe passage from one side to the next is a God-send in more ways than one. That bridge is our passageway to the other, hopefully better side.

There are several covered bridges here in Alabama in a nearby county. I have wanted for sometime to take Tall & Handsome on a day trip to this particular bridge in today’s picture.

I have seen this bridge off and on since I was a child. It is Horton Mill Bridge in Blount County, Alabama. Built in the early 1900s, a few years ago some maniacal  clown used a wench or something and actually pulled part of the bridge apart. Just pulled timbers away from the old girl. She needed TLC at that point and was shut down for several year while repairs were done. This happened while we were living out of state and I just recently discovered the whole ugly story. The bridge had reopened in March 2013 and we just happened to take a trip up there in April. Lucky happenstance!

When I see a covered bridge I can’t help but think about T & H. You see, I was reading the book The Bridges of Madison County about the time I met him. It had been a difficult year. My ex had walked out months before, 9/11 happened and I had some health problems. I was wondering if I’d find the warmth of love again while I was reading this book about a guy with some silver in his hair and blue eyes.

And, then I meet T & H…or as he was known by his nickname, Silver Fox. Yep, silver hair and blue eyes.

Oh, my…

So, my T & H was my bridge to the warmth of love I speculated still existed.

And, if I had to eenie, meeney, miney, moe if he was a golden bridge, silver bridge or diamond bridge, I would have to say, diamond bridge for sure.

© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.


Filed under Alabama, Blount County Alabama, Bridges, Covered Bridges, Photography, Picture of the Day, Tall & Handsome

Still in the Air While the Earth Flies Past Underneath, by Beverly Hicks Burch

“The balloon seems to stand still in the air while the earth flies past underneath.” ~ Alberto Santos-Dumont ~

away they go 4

Many of you may not know hot air balloons are part of the BamaSteelMagnolia and Tall & Handsome lore. It’s like Bev and T & H: The Early Years…

I think I’ve divulged a time or two (much to my little Southern momma’s chagrin) how T & H and I met. We met over the internet…yes, now pick your chin up off the floor and hear the rest of the story as Paul Harvey would say. We didn’t meet in any sleazy chat room or on a dating website. No, we were even more unconventional. We met playing an online game (to those in the “know” a MMORPG).

So, for about a year we “courted” by playing the game, using instant messaging and eventually chatting on the phone. A date would go like this: we’d go to Blockbusters, rent the same DVD, fix the same thing for dinner (I taught him how to make low fat Rueben sandwiches over the phone), pop the DVD into the player and on the count of three, press “play” at the same time. We’d even have popcorn at the same time for intermission or between movies. Now how’s that for original thinking?!

I know, I know…every one usually goes, “Awwww, how sweet!”

Finally, T & H said, “Don’t you think it’s time we meet?’”

I agreed under one condition…T & H had to come to Alabama first to meet my family. I may have already been married once before and had a grown son, BUT I was still a Southern girl…and, that’s just the way you do things.

So, T & H made the trek to Alabama. I was working at the time and when I got off work my girlfriends from work thought I was crazy. They just knew I was letting an axe murderer into my home that evening. They just couldn’t understand how this grown woman was on the cutting edge of “relationship development’”…

I talked to T & H on my cell all the way to the airport that afternoon and once there hopped out of the old “lead sled”, that Park Avenue I hated, to welcome T & H to Alabama.

And, it was there in front of the Birmingham Airport that T & H kissed me under his Stetson. I felt like looking around to see if there were cameras hidden somewhere because I just knew I had to be living a Lifetime movie…if you are female you know what I mean, and you will also know what I mean when I say, I felt like I was 18 again!

It was a wonderful and whirlwind several days…and then, it was time for T & H to return to New Mexico. We didn’t know when we’d see each other again and it was a sad parting at the airport.

Then, T & H came up with a great idea. He invited me to the Albuquerque International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. It was an event near and dear to him. He had attended for several years and had been involved with the event. While working at Gateway Computers he had launched a successful drive that resulted in Gateway having their own cow spotted balloon that flew in the event for several years. T & H was on the Gateway balloon crew.

So, when I attended T & H had set up VIP passes and my Fiesta experience was done in style. It was an event that had been on my bucket list for years but, I never dreamed I’d be able to attend it as a VIP. Thanks to my T & H, it was a time I’ll never forget, down to the last night we were there and the fireworks display.

So, after T & H moved out here, there have been little opportunities for him to attend hot air balloon events…until this past Memorial Day weekend that is. I had discovered the Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic is held yearly in Decatur, Alabama at the Point Mallard Park on Memorial Day weekend. And, this weekend we had an extra special reason to go and celebrate. Dustin, our sweet “adopted” son was visiting. We were all ready for a new adventure.

It was a wonderful day for all of us!

Right before the “glow” that evening, many of the balloons inflated and tethered so people could queue up for a ride. Dustin jumped on that one and took advantage of it. I would have until I realized the gondolas didn’t have doors for entering and exiting. Oh, snap! If only they had stepping stools or something for those of us “physically impaired”. Well, guess what? No sooner thought than seen across the field, several of the balloons with steeping stools tethered to the gondola for just that purpose! Next year, another bucket list item will be marked off for me!

riding high

Dustin on his balloon flight

T & H didn’t queue up for a ride this year. He had taken many a flight in years gone by. He’s even experienced a bad landing when the gondola had a rough touchdown and was dragged for some distance…a landing you don’t soon forget according to him.

But, the hot air balloon flight is one you don’t forget so easy either. According to him since the balloon is going the same speed as the surrounding air current, you feel suspended or standing “still in the air while the earth flies past underneath”…

© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.


Filed under Alabama, Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic, Decatur AL, Dustin, Hot Air Balloons, Photography, Picture of the Day, Point Mallard Park, Quote of the Day, Tall & Handsome, The BamaSteelMagnolia and Tall & Handsome Lore

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.


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