Sunday, October 30, 2011


The blog is temporarily ailing.  I don't know what is wrong but I am not able to post any pictures.  Ron will come to my rescue if needed but not until Monday so I may not be back before then.  Please check back and I'll get it working ASAP......Toni

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Aunt Pauline--Expert Quilter

I wish that i had taken pictures of all of Aunt Pauline's quilts--there are dozens of them and all are incredibly beautiful. I slept under the one above.
She also makes dolls and paints amazing pictures.

Tinker loves flamingoes so Aunt Pauline did a wall hanging to go with the quilt.

Meet Talon Spivey

Tinker Spivey and her very cuddley and unbelievable pet, Talon.
I bet you think Tinker is giving him daily doses of Creme ala Cat Morsels. I personally watched her give him scant handfuls of diet food in a bowl that is designed to take him a 1/2 hour to eat every tidbit. She has monitored every bite of food he eats for over a year now and he managed to gain another 4 pounds! His sister Moira weighs less than a third of Talon's weight yet she eats twice as much.

So how does he do it? I knew it all the time--diet food is secretly loaded with calories! The more you gain, the more you have to keep buying diet foods. It's a Weight Watchers Conspiracy!

Some days it just isn't worth walking to the food bowl for that diet food. Bring on the Ice Cream!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Springhill Cemetary

It is not a myth that southern women like to go to cemetaries. I am no exception. The gravestones tell me stories--some romantic, some sad. The history of wars, influenza, immigration, struggles of the depression, and struggles with survival are all told on headstones.
Tinker and I went looking for a particular cemetary and some long gone relatives. We went first to this very nice man's house who was the keeper of the records for the cemetary. He also had a great yard and this wonderful bottle tree.

I am so sorry I have forgotten his name but he was so accommodating. He found the records we needed, gave us a map of the cemetary and then a tour of his garden.

Tinker with map in hand. The setting was so lovely--we should have brought a picnic lunch.

This is my Aunt Billie. I spent many a summer plus two school years with her when Mother was working and going to business school. Aunt Billie was way too young when she died--57 years old--and there are many things I never got to know about her. The main one was 'how did she get the name, Billie?' If there is a relative out there reading this that knows then please let me know.

We also found the graves of two great uncles and my great grandparents on my mother's side.

Piney Woods country

The first day at Aunt Pauline Spivey's and we went to Faud's Restaurant--another Mom & Pop that is 'World Famous' in Ball, Louisiana. Aunt Doris and Uncle Joe Maxwell drove into town to have lunch with us.
From left to right: Tinker Spivey (okay, so her real name is Elizabeth but she will always be Tinker to me), Aunt Doris and Uncle Joe Maxwell, me, and Aunt Pauline Spivey.
The meal was great--my first taste of gumbo in many a year. Catfish & fried shrimp--oh, my!! I know why this little restaurant is the favorite in town.
Here are the cooks! Mother and daughter. Mom rules the roost but the daughter made the gumbo. The customers just kept rolling in--and most of them knew the family. If you look to the back on the right you will note the tickets hanging with clothes pins. Back to work, folks!
Later we drove out to Uncle Joe's place in the piney woods. Above are Aunt Doris and cousin Patsy. I was so sorry there was no more time to spend there--It is so quiet and peaceful. But it was wonderful to see these folks again.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Getting Lost

Ron named the GPS 'Elizabeth' and I have come to believe that she is mischievous and sometimes spiteful. If I decide to get off the freeway and take some of these wonderful little backroads that wander through the swamps and along the rivers then Elizabeth reverts to this scolding voice and insists over and over that I take "the first available u-turn". And when she won't shut up then I mute her voice and continue on my merry way past old antebellum homes and oak trees that date back to the earliest French settlers.
However, lately she has been leading me into right turns that develop into peoples driveways and one road that stopped very abruptly at a river bank! Six more feet and I would have dropped off the end of an old ferry dock! Elizabeth either wants to drown me or she did not get the message that a new bridge had been built across the river.

Fortunately, they built the bridge high enough that I spied it some 3 miles away across the tops of the trees. Elizabeth kept telling me to turn around but I perservered. I think I am going to turn in Elizabeth for one of the newer models with less nagging voices--Like the one that features Obi-wan Kenobi very gently saying, "May the force be with you" when you stray from the regular path.

The new bridge that crosses False River. I think that is where I am--but it doesn't matter. I have the time to get lost.

These beautiful old plantation homes are no where near the freeways but they are not to be missed. There are so many that have been lovingly restored and cared for and the country roads sometimes pass right by the front doors. And there was not a Walmart or a Subway for miles around!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Life on the back roads

The trip becomes so much more interesting when you get off the freeway.  I passed this house on the way south.  In an instant I came to a screeching halt and did a boot-leg turn on a two lane windy road to get a better look...

I think that guy is getting baptized.  Or maybe he's getting slung out of the yard by his ears for trespassing and taking pictures.

I walked around for 15 minutes taking pictures but never saw anyone--except the cat that shows up in the bottom picture.  He followed me the whole time.

Not only is there a cat in this picture but also a concrete dog.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Knack-A-dish, Louisiana

It was right at 5 pm rush hour when I drove into downtown Nachitoches and this is what I found! Here is the main street that runs right along the river and it is as quaint and charming as any town I have seen so far. Please note the wrought iron balconies and the fire brick street.

If you look closely you can see me parked under a very spectacular hanging basket of begonias. There were these iron benches everywhere. If I did not have to get to Aunt Pauline's before dark I would have stayed a while and explored. This is a town I will definitely return to sometime in the future.

On one side of the street are the shops and on the other side of the street is an enbankment that drops down to the river. I could just imagine men loading bales of cotton on barges that were heading to the markets in New Orleans.

That egret is real! He posed very nicely for the photo.

There were flowers everywhere! And pumpkins.

Many to Nachitoches and Kenny White

First off (is that a Southern expression?) Nachitoches, La is pronounced "Knack-ah-dish" and Nacogdoches, Tx is pronounced "Knack-ah-doe-chis"

Second off (?)--Overheard by two guys in a restaurant in Many. They were sitting at tables side-by-side:
     "Are you from here?"
     "Nope,  Springfield, Missouri.  Just visitin' friends.  Where you from?"
     "Here.  But I know someone from Missouri.  You ever hear a' Kenny White?"
     "Yeah, I know a Ken White from somewhere in Missouri.  I can't remember the town though.  Boy, was he a character.  (the man then tells a fish story about his Ken White).
     "Yep, that sounds like Kenny alright.  One time we was at a BBQ place and ol' Kenny.... 20 more minutes of stories before they shook hands and said,  "See ya around."
      "As one of them leaves he gives a parting shot..."Say Hello to Ol' Ken for me next time you see him."
      "Will do.  Enjoyed talkin' to ya."

I had the distinct feeling that neither of these guys actually knew a Kenny White from Missouri but that  probably wasn't important anyway.

At the risk of becoming political on this blog, a friend sent me the following post.  I am so depressed at the condition of the small businesses (especially the lack of mom & pop restaurants) in this country that I will do anything to champion them. Please take a minute to read this article and check out the blog....
                                     This is the actual fund address................

The flowers were beautiful all around Many and Robeline.  I promised to photograph lots of flowers for Aunt are a few...

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I stayed for two days in an RV park next to a casino in Bossier City. The casino was noisy and smelly but a large river ran right next to the park and I needed to feel there was still water out there somewhere--in lakes, rivers, ponds. I was looking for anything lush and green and wet. The sign above seemed to speak for much of this part of the country (Texas and Louisiana) where stressed trees and dry lakebeds are everywhere.
Then I found this RV park in Toledo Bend State Park. Wow! The tallest pine trees I have seen outside of California. The park is on a large lake that has dried up so much there is no way to launch a boat or fish from a pier but .....
The trees were beautiful and smelled green and fresh. Ahh! the sleeping was heavenly! Sigh Me watched the squirrels, cardinals and jays for hours in total fascination. I rode my bicycle around and around the park--we stayed for two days but I could have stayed for a week.

This was my view looking up through the windows of the van.

Monday, October 10, 2011


First I said a tearful goodbye to Aunt Louise with lots of promises to come back to Ft Worth about this time next year.
Then it was on to Dallas and the 'elephant barn' (above) for one last time to say goodbye to Hal & Chloe. However, the saddest of all was hearing about the death of their 8 week old great grandson, Sebastian....
Sebastian was born to Hal and Chloe's grand daughter, Paige. He was born missing some very vital body organs and, even though there was every effort made to save him, it finally came down to a decision to disconnect the machines and let him go. His mother, Paige, is only 22 years old and this was her first child. I remember Paige as a sassy, giggly little 10 year old full of energy and promise. This will be very hard for her to bear but she has lots of family that love her and will be there for her.

The weather has cooled way down and as Sigh Me and I left Texas we both could feel the change in the air. Nights have dropped into the 60's and the days are in the 80's. The brisk winds tell us that fall is just around the corner.

Wow! We are beginning to see water everywhere! And the trees are not so brown. This river, just after leaving Texas, was full of turtles.

And the trailer park was full of .......! I may have left the stuffed heads and gun shows behind but that proudly displayed confederate flag is even more uncomfortable.
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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wedding of Mike & Alicia Jerome

The wedding was held at dusk in a lovely garden in Plano, Tx.

The Groom and Groomsmen in their suits and tennis shoes.
The pair of legs on the right will remain anonymous.

The Bride and Groom with the Bride's family--Grandparents (Harpers) on the left and parents (Browns) on the right.


Mike and Alicia Jerome.

I regret that I was unable to get a picture of the bride and groom at the alter--too many heads in the way.
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