Last Memories

IMG_1569-001This is the last photograph of my immediate family. It was made in May of 2001. My brother Lee, on the left was up from Austell, Georgia, and Larry, next to him, came by from Kodak. Our dad and mother and I lived together at the time. As happens, after documenting our group in early years, we hadn’t made one for  years.

Larry died in his sleep the night this picture was taken. It was unexpected and the shock was felt deeply because he was only 62, had not been sick, and was the first of the family to die.

My dad died in 2003 at the age of 94 and my mother in 2008 at the age of 96. Lee and I are the only two left. When talking to Lee recently it dawned on me that when either he or I pass on, there will be no one left with whom to share the exact recollections of our childhood, our upbringing, our family vacations, our steps towards adulthood.

Share what is important to you with kin and friends–write it down, record it, identify pictures. Reminiscing can make you laugh or cry and bring to mind the small as well as important happenings of the past. Memories can bring back a closeness that often has been lost over the years.

Do it while you can.IMG_1586




A Lingering Fall

It is December 1 in East Tennessee and today it was warm enough to sit on the front porch without a jacket. I guess it is the lack of freezing weather which keeps the fall colors hanging around.



Has anyone else noticed that the Bradford pear trees, usually one of the first to show fall colors, are still changing?

It’s nice to have color….especially with this rainy week.


When I moved into the house on Emerald Avenue over three years ago, I really did not like the tall tree stump in the front yard. Centered near the front porch at that point it was bare and the only “tree” in the yard. Because I do love our front porch, I found myself staring at the stump often.

As the yard became more personal with shrubs, flowers and a bird bath, the stump took on an aurora of its own. IMG_9431I filled it with dirt and planted sweet-william and phlox and ground cover. Around the base potted ferns sat, later replaced by flower seeds and even snow pea plants.

I added my black bear (model for the painted bears of downtown some years ago).

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He has stayed his post through all kinds of  weather.


Now he is sinking fast for the stump is in decay. The back side has broken off. IMG_9433The dirt and plants inside are in danger of losing their grip.

What I first thought was ugly and an eye sore I now treasure.  The patterns in the wood are detailed and full of character. It is soothing to study the IMG_9444swirls, cracks and textures.

Time and awareness sometimes change first impressions. I hate to think of the front yard without the stump.

Summertime @ 423 E Emerald Ave.

PicMonkey Collage

We have been running a bird nursery this summer! Mockingbirds, sparrows, robins, cardinals and surely some wrens. Robins in the tree nestled among honeysuckle vine with cardinals about two bushes over. The mockingbirds had the cedar tree with sparrows in a niche on the back porch eaves and another one is busy with the second brood in the front porch gutter.

When I was weeding one day, the baby robin perched on a flowerpot and then flew to a bush. I don’t know if he carried his old “house” with him. but it was on the step where he first stopped. I got my camera and walked towards him for a picture which set off the parents…not only the robins, but cardinals also. They fussed and watched closely till I left.

Day lilies just keep coming on, and Jayne’s tomato plants are going to overtake the house! Between them and my one pepper plant and one cucumber plant, we figure we’ll be hitting a Farmer’s Market by mid-July.IMG_7843

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IMG_7842Yesterday I saw this young raccoon at the side of our neighbor’s house. It was still daylight. He stopped when he saw me and when I didn’t move, he went to the trash can without a cover to check it out. He did decide to scoot away when I started snapping.

Musings About Sunset Beach

IMG_6969Coming to Sunset Beach isn’t coming to the beach.
It is coming to Sunset Beach.

It is being a Beach Bunny, a member of a diverse group of  smart, creative, don’t mess with me females who have been coming  here for twenty-three years.

It is coming before Memorial Day.

It is returning year after year to a favorite house.

It is exploring Mary’s Gone Wild Art.IMG_0844

It is accepting the BB mandate to do what you want to do during your visit.

It is connecting with, learning from, laughing with a wide variety of BB, some only once and others regularly.

It is posing fScanned Sunset Beach 011or the group picture taken each year.

It is discovering 40th Street and Madd Inlet.

It is visiting Orton’s Pond to see if osprey are nestingSunset Beach 2015 307

It is going to Southport and eating at the Provision Co. every year.

It is making trips to Myrtle to Dick’s Last Resort.

It is going to the Beach Quarters or a Southport shop and splurging on an outfit you wouldn’t buy at home.

It is learning new skills like crocheting flip flops or geocaching or felting.

IMG_0371It is laughing…sometimes at very weird stuff.

It is accepting the changes that came and will continue to come with the new bridge.pdf265

It is reading what you want to read.IMG_1071

It is catching up with those friends you just see one time a year.

It is joining in on the fight to preserve Bird Island.

It isSunset Beach 2015 131 finding quiet time for yourself on the deck or walking the beach.

It is repeating family history, job history, husband history, health history several times because with four people talking at once it takes awhile.

It is looking at the photo albums and wondering when the dark-haired beauties were replaced by the gray-headed lovelies–or how many shades of blonde there are.

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It is painting someone’s toenails for the first time in their life.

It is canoeing and kayaking and bike riding.IMG_0639

Sunset Beach 2015 281It is getting up in time to make it to the beach for the sunrise.

It is playing Scrabble, poker, Trivial Pursuit, Dominoes, Head and Foot and
Catan.Sunset Beach 2015 252

It is bird watching and keeping track and still not coming up with the name immediately or maybe having a small disagreement over which bird it really is.

It is walking to Bird Island, hopefully at least once during a visit.

It is writing in a notebook at Kindred Spirit, and it meaning something to your heart to read what others have left for Scanned Sunset Beach 027you to know about them.

It is riding back from Southport at night and listening to Patsy Cline.

It is knowing women who bring so much to your life                                                    just from the time spent here.Scanned Sunset Beach 026

Scanned Sunset Beach 025It is sharing this special  place with your daughter.

It is laughing a everyone’s stories BUT when Sara or Hurleen talk, you listen and you find yourself asking for a repeat of your favorite, like Sara and Roger and their two young children trying to get off the wrong airplane or the complications of your son’s girlfriend who has Tourette syndrome answering the phone in your home.

It is having a bet going on how many rolls of toilet paper 14 women can use int 3.5 days.

It is working a crossword puzzle or the Sunset Bridge jigsaw puzzle as a group.

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It is skinny dipping on a dark night

It is contributing money to save the old bridge house.

It is takingSunset Beach 2015 083 a gazillion pictures of the sunset each year.

It is seeing the fiddler crabs at low tide in the marsh for the first time.

It is the catch in your throat when you realize it is the last day.

It is hoping that God will be generous and you will return next year and the next and the next.