Thursday, October 4, 2007

Mayberry is Where I Want to Live

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I just recently read a news story about "Thelma Lou" from the Andy Griffith show. Do you remember her? She was Barney's steady girlfriend. The actress, Betty Lynn, recently moved to Mount Airy, North Carolina....the real home town of Andy Griffith. It's rumored that the fictional town of Mayberry is modeled after Mount Airy. Betty Lynn is almost 81 years old now and has travelled to Mount Airy over the years to speak at conventions and sign autographs and has fallen in love with the town. I think that it's very touching that she wants to spend the rest of her life living in a place that reminds her of the TV show that she was on so many years ago. Another character from the show moved to the Mount Airy area and lived there for the final years of her life. Frances Bavier lived there and even let some of her fans call her "Aunt Bee" . I find it very touching and fascinating that these two Andy Griffith actresses moved to the "real Mayberry". You can read the CNN news story at this link.

Here's a question for you! Is there a movie or TV show that's set in a place where you would like to live? :)

Friday, August 31, 2007

Caring for Our Grandparents

This may be more of an "old fashioned" memory than a Southern memory. I'm not sure! When I was a little girl, my mom used to sometimes take my great grandmothers to the grocery store. We used to visit them several times during the week and do little things to help them. Neither drove, so we would take them places. One of my great grandmothers used to babysit me from time to time. I have good early memories of knowing my great grandmothers and having a special closeness with aging family members. I felt awe and honor towards my aging relatives. We took care of them, and they in turn helped us. They cooked delicious old fashioned meals for me and told me stories that I never want to forget.

I feel that this is such a contrast to how things are today. It seems that growing old is looked down upon. At one time elderly people were so loved and revered. Maybe part of it is that families used to stay in the same area of the country. We lived one mile away from one great grandmother, and probably ten miles away from the other. Before we moved away from my home state, my hubby and I used to spend a lot of time with my paternal grandmother. When we moved away, she used to write long lonely letters to me because her children who lived nearby did not visit her enough. Some of her letters broke my heart and made me feel sad that I moved so far away.

I know that we are a busy generation of people who are always on the go, but it's so very sad that so many of our elderly people are so lonely and left behind. In my job, I get many elderly customers who call with a question. Many times, they are lonely and want someone to talk to and will not let me end the call. It's so important to listen to the oral histories of the way things used to be. We have so much to learn from aging people who have experienced so many of life's battles.

I've been thinking about this issue especially because I think that many people see growing old as such a negative thing. Youth is revered and people want to cling to it. People don't want to grow old. Many want to have surgery so that they can look young forever. It's interesting that there are so many wonderful health opportunities that can extend a person's life span, but nobody really wants to be old even though we want to live a long time. There's the irony!

These are some special things that I learned from my great grandmothers.

1. How to make the best meatloaf by adding vegetable soup. :)
2. How to be especially sweet to little kids.
3. How to enjoy life at any age.
4. How to show others your love through actions.
5. The importance of family.

And a little poem...
I Can't Be Young Forever
Will you know me when I grow old?

When all my long chocolate strands of hair turn gray
And my smile is toothless?
When my children have grown up and moved away
And the wrinkles on my face and hands have deepened.
My soul will still be my own
Alive within the aging girl.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Southern Celebrity Sunday is back!

Featuring Elvis...Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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I like Elvis. I also share two things in common with him. He was born in Mississippi and then his family later moved to Tennessee. Me too! Although, I was just under a year old when we moved to Tennessee. Elvis was 12 or 13. I'll share only a few things about Elvis, and I have a couple of questions for you to think about.

What is your favorite Elvis movie? Mine is "Viva Las Vegas"
What is your favorite Elvis song? I like almost all of them, but especially like "Suspicious Minds" for some reason.

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I once read that Elvis always wanted to have more serious roles in movies rather than continue making the chick flick movies that seemed to get sillier and sillier. Try watching "King Creole". He has a serious role in that movie. The role was originally written for James Dean, but he died and Elvis got the part. It really is a more serious movie that will surprise you despite the picture on the DVD cover of Elvis with the Banana Girl.

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Elvis is such an icon and there are so many stories about him especially focusing on his extramarital affairs and drug use. You've got to read this interview done in 2003 with Elvis' younger half brother David Stanley. It really paints a clearer picture of Elvis as a person and his role as a big brother/father figure. David Stanley used to be a preacher, and I heard him speak when I was a young girl. I don't remember too much about it except that he seemed quite negative towards Elvis back then. Now he has changed and really talks about his special relationship with Elvis in a very positive way.

I just found this web site about a local store and small museum near us here in Maryland. There's an Elvis store in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania called "The Kin of Rock and Roll" featuring Elvis memorabilia and historical information about Elvis' ancestors who fought in Gettysburg during the civil war! Isn't that funny? I think there might be a little Elvis worship going on there. The next time we go to visit Gettysburg, I think that I'll have to stop by this store! What a hoot! Check it out.

The one thing that I don't like so much about all the Elvis hoopla today is that a lot of money is being made off of a deceased person. That's a bit sad in some ways. Then there's the dorky Elvis impersonators. Maybe it would be OK if you were a good Elvis impersonator, but I saw some extremely ugly pictures of some of the impersonators who converged upon Graceland last week. I know that during the white jumpsuit era of Elvis' life, he got a bit chubby in the middle and grew those mutton chop sideburns, but he never seemed corny or gross.

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After forcing you to look at that picture, I'll leave you with some pictures of Elvis during his final performance. Take care, and I hope that you've enjoyed my grand reappearance on my Southern blog. Thank ya very much!

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Sunday, July 8, 2007

Coming up later today... for Southern Celebrity Sunday...

This Southern Celebrity is famous for his role as one comedian in a two man team. He is from Georgia and led a very interesting life. I'll write more about him later. Who do you think it is?

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Featuring Andy Griffith

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Andy Griffith was born in Mount Airy, North Carolina. Recently we have been watching Seasons 1 & 2 of "The Andy Griffith Show". I loved it as a child, but now it is even better because I understand all the jokes and references. I also love listening to their Southern dialect. It sounds just like my TN dialect.

Andy Griffith has had an interesting life. He has been an English teacher, stand up comedian and trombone player. He began his studies in college to be a minister, but switched his major to music. has a great collection of articles about Andy Griffith. Here is the link!

Did you watch "The Andy Griffith Show" or "Matlock"? I grew up with "The Andy Griffith Show", but never really got into watching "Matlock".

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Howdy! I'm taking an itsy bitsy mini-break from blogging. I promise to post my Southern Celebrity from North Carolina next Sunday. Want to guess who it is? He is so funny in his old fashioned tv series from the 60s!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Growing Up in the Bible Belt, Part 1

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I grew up in The Bible Belt and mainly Southern Baptist Country. As a young child, we went to church every single Sunday. Some of my earliest sermon memories are of the "fire and brimstone" style of preaching. Have you ever heard an old fashioned preacher use this style? I suppose the premise behind it was to scare the hell out of people in order to make them turn their lives over to God.

When I was five years old, I got in trouble for laughing at the preacher during a sermon. I just couldn't help it. His face was red and pouring sweat. He was screaming at the top of his lungs while jumping up and down and slapping his knees. You would think that this would have scared me, but I laughed out loud. My dad took me outside and gave me a spanking. Another incident happened when I was attending a different church. The preacher was preaching on the evils of believing in Santa Claus and the easter bunny. Many mothers covered their kids' ears when he belted out "There ain't no Santy Claus!"

I think that this old style of preaching has pretty much fizzled out even in the bible belt. What a relief! It was just so distracting to see someone acting in such a bizarre manner. Oh, and sometimes a preacher would have one of these types of sermons during a funeral!

I have a lot more to say on the topic of growing up Southern Baptist. I've been thinking about my beliefs alot lately. I can't blindly believe everything that I was taught as a child in the Southern Baptist Church. I am thankful that I was raised in church, even though I do question some things. I guess that's one reason I have trouble deciding what kind of church that I want to go to now. I found this interesting "what's your theology world view" quiz that actually helped me to think about what I really believe.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Southern Daddies

Enjoy these memorable moments from movies and tv shows set in the South...

In "To Kill a Mockingbird", Atticus Finch teaches his children to do what's right through example. A quote from the movie...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket "If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it."


Who can forget the opening theme to "The Andy Griffith Show" where father and son are on their way to go fishing together? Did you know that there are words to the them song? We usually hear only the whistling version.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketWell, now, take down your fishin' pole and meet me at The Fishin' Hole,
We may not get a bite all day, but don't you rush away.
What a great place to rest your bones and mighty fine for skippin' stones,
You'll feel fresh as a lemonade, a-settin' in the shade.
Whether it's hot, whether it's cool, oh what a spot for whistlin' like a fool.
What a fine day to take a stroll and wander by The Fishin' Hole,
I can't think of a better way to pass the time o' day.
We'll have no need to call the roll when we get to The Fishin' Hole, There'll be you, me, and Old Dog Trey, to doodle time away.
If we don't hook a perch or bass, we'll cool our toes in dewy grass,
Or else pull up a weed to chaw, and maybe set and jaw.
Hangin' around, takin' our ease, watchin' that hound a-scratchin' at his fleas.
Come on, take down your fishin' pole and meet me at The Fishin' Hole,
I can't think of a better way to pass the time o' day.

Music by Earle Hagen & Herbert W. Spencer Words by Everett Sloane
The "The Waltons" TV show featured family relationships during the difficult time period of The Great Depression.
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Every episode ended with each character bidding the other goodnight until the last goodnight from John Walton, Sr. to his son: "Good night, John-Boy."
"Because of Winn Dixie" is a movie that I've seen recently. I love the father and daughter relationship that is told through the eyes of a little girl named Opal. With the assistance of a funny and sweet stray dog named Winn Dixie, Opal and her father learn to talk through their pain of being abondoned by Opal's mother. The gain a better understanding of each other.
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Happy Father's Day !

Sunday, June 10, 2007

BOTH Onions?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketSometimes when I'm tired, I start talking Southern. In this case, I said something very Southern Appalachian and my daughter didn't understand what the heck I was talking about. Both of my young'uns were being extremely wild, so I said "Both of yuns need to settle down! Both of yuns!" My little girl was fascinated and asked "Both onions, Mommy?" She kept repeating it like it was a question. "BOTH onions?"

Have you ever heard anyone say "yuns" or "young'uns" ? Both of these terms evolved from "you ones" and "young ones" ....terms used in the dialects of the Scotch Irish ancestors who settled in the mountains and valleys of East Tennessee, long ago. Yuns is one word in my vocabulary that had really stuck around.

Muhammad Ali is today's feature for....

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"Champions aren't made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them - a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill. " Muhammad Ali

Just this week Muhammad Ali was awarded an honorary doctorate of humanities from Princeton University to honor his humanitarian efforts and his athletic achievements. He is truly an amazing person! He was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. I chose a Kentucky celebrity because Kentucky is the second Southern state where I lived for four years.

Did you know that Muhammad Ali was named Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. at birth? He was named after his father who was named for the 19th century abolitionist and politician. This is especially interesting to me because I attended Berea College which has ties to the abolitionist Cassius Clay. I'll do a post about that sometime.

In addition to his athletic accomplishments, he has devoted his life to helping people worldwide. Plus, he gives back to his home community as well. Please take a moment to read about the many ways that he has provided assistance to others.

His daughter is one strong, beautiful woman. She has followed in her father's footsteps with boxing! She was recently a contestant on the show "Dancing With the Stars".

** Instead of my Sunday Celebrity Post, next week will be dedicated to Southern Daddies**

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Obesity in the South

Last year the results of a study on obesity in the United States revealed that the highest percentage of obese people live in the South. I'm not sure if it's true, but I've been thinking about this on day two of my big diet and exercise plan. The study states that a number of factors cause Southern people to be chubbier including their foods. This is a map done by showing the percentages.

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Even though I love Southern foods such as biscuits & gravy and fried chicken, I certainly don't eat them all the time. My diet is probably partially to blame for my chubbiness, but lack of exercise is an even bigger part of it for me. It's been difficult to find time to exercise like I should, but I have started an exercise routine that I can do inside the house with the kids.

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Did you know that Richard Simmons is from the South? He's spent his childhood in New Orleans.

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I really love his exercise videos because he has real people of all sizes doing the workout with him. It's not a bunch of perfectly shaped people doing complicated routines. Once I checked out such a video from the library and it just discouraged me, and I couldn't do it. Richard Simmons makes exercise fun, and you can laugh while dancing those pounds away. Add in the extra hilarity of seeing an 18 month old little boy trying to do it too, and you've got it made! Both of my kids think it's the funniest thing.
Another aspect of healthier living that I hadn't thought about till now is drinking plenty of water. Check out Barbara's post with an article that will really open your eyes to how important it really is... especially when you're dieting!
Take care, and have a great weekend!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Southern Celebrity Sunday Delay

*****I'll post my Kentucky celebrity next Sunday. My kids are feeling under the weather now, so I'll post after this darned stomach virus leaves our household!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Coming up...Southern Celebrity Sunday!

Tomorrow I am going to post about a beloved Southern celebrity from Kentucky! In addition to being a legendary athlete, he has been an activist dedicated to helping people worldwide. That's probably all I need to say for you to guess who it is! Well, I will say one more thing...he has a daughter who has been on one of the popular reality shows recently. Want to take a guess?

Monday, May 28, 2007

My Southern Memorial Day

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As a young child, we would drive over to my great-grandmother's house on Memorial Day morning...only we called it Decoration Day. She would be outside cutting huge bunches of her Sweet William flowers. We already had big beautiful white peonies in brown paper bags sitting in the car. We would pack them all into the floor of the back passenger seats in brown paper bags. I could smell them and peek into the bags at the pretty colors on our drive to the mountain church graveyard.

That's where our ancestors on my mother's side are buried. We had empty milk jugs with the tops cut off to place the flowers in to make beautiful bouquets for each grave site. There was my great grandfather's grave and several others. I was always curious about the tiny little grave that my great grandmother so lovingly placed flowers on...her child that died during infancy. We also brought along water in milk jugs to water all of the bouquets to make them last longer.

After that, we sometimes took a picnic lunch up to Cades Cove or Metcalf Bottoms Picnic areas. A memorial day picnic definitely signified the start of summer for me. I remember my great grandmother always made her delicious old fashioned banana pudding with vanilla wafers in it. She was a quiet lady and would always take me aside and quietly smile and claim that she made it especially for me because she knew that I liked it. I think that she did!

I think that because of the way we celebrated memorial day, I do not get scared in graveyards. I find them to be beautiful and peaceful places. The graveyard in the mountains that I visited as a child is especially beautiful. My father is buried there along with my mother's family members. I wish that I could take some flowers there today! The following is a link that talks about the origins of Memorial Day and why it used to be called Decoration Day. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Dolly Parton is today's feature for...

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Dolly Parton spent her childhood in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. I admire that she gives back to her home community in so many ways. She has a compassionate desire to help make sure that the children in her hometown get a good start with early learning through access to books. Her foundation "Imagination Library" provides books to preschool children until they start kindergarten. Every preschool child living in Sevier County Tennessee gets a free age appropriate book every single month until they start kindergarten! In addition to this, she gives several scholarships to students at the local high school each year. Her theme park is a huge employer for the area as well.

I like some of her older music the best. I think her original version of "I Will Always Love You" is very pretty. Do you remember watching her tv show that was on during the 70s? I remember my mom disapproving of her attire which showed lots of cleavage. She would be swinging in this swing and singing which looked like fun. I also remember that my best friend had a Barbie sized Dolly Parton doll that we couldn't fit into any of Barbie's tops.

I'll leave you with some interesting Dolly related links.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Stay Tuned For....

On Sunday, I'm going to start featuring a different Southern Celebrity each week. I'll pick one famous person from each of the Southern states. The first one will be about someone whom I've actually met. This person is from my home state of Tennessee and is very charitable to her home community. Her life is a rags to riches story. Can you guess who it is?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

State Song Embarrassment

I did a bit of research tonight to find out that Tennessee has five official state songs (big sigh of relief). I grew up knowing only the one... Rocky Top. I like the music to the song, but the lyrics are embarrassing. could it be adopted as a state song? Doesn't it put the picture of stereotypical hillbillies into your mind when you hear the lyrics? I remember singing this song at school in music class, but never did we sing the other official state songs. I won't force you to read the lyrics because you may be one of those people who gets the song going over and over in your head. Now I can't get it out of my head! Here's the link if you want to read the words. Are their any other state songs half this goofy?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Southern Themed Books

There are a few Southern themed books that I love. Some of the books have been made into movies, and I've read the book and watched the movie for all of these. I prefer the book versions of Christy, Divine Secrets of the Ya-ya Sisterhood and Where the Heart Is. I prefer the movie versions of The Color Purple and Gone With the Wind. I love both versions equally of To Kill a Mockingbird. Do you like the following stories, and which do you prefer...the book or movie version?

Christy by Catherine Marshall

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The Color Purple by Alice Walker

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Divine Secrets of the Ya-ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells

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Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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Where the Heart Is by Billie Lets

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