Monday, November 2, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I vividly remember the day. It was the big day of the Mooreland Hunt Ball in Huntsville. Proudly wearing their Colors, my veterinarian husband David and son Dee in their rich, red coats and daughter Lindsey in her royal blue-collared black coat, had left before daylight for the biggest fox hunting event of the season. Their well-groomed hunters and jumpers (horses) with tails proudly braided, trailered over behind them. In those days, horses were a big part of our family life.

It was mid-afternoon and I was bustling about in the kitchen, getting everything ready for the baby sitter and looking forward to getting myself all dressed up in my new white crepe jump suit trimmed in gold sequins and ready for the Hunt Ball that evening. I happened to glance out the window and to my amazement watched a purple Corvette sports car turn slowly into our driveway. To my further amazement, I saw that it was pulling a matching purple horse trailer.

Let me explain that for people like us who were already "horse poor" the sight of another horse trailer in my driveway, from my perspective, meant nothing but trouble. And no on had mentioned anything at all about the arrival of a new horse. By the time the door bell rang, I had worked myself into a tizzy. I jerked open the door to one of the handsomest young men I’d ever seen. Turning on all of his charm, with his black cowboy hat in his hand and a smile on his face, he asked, "Ma’am, where do you want me to put the jackass?""JACKASS? WHAT JACKASS? WHOSE JACKASS?" I shouted.

Quickly assessing the situation and seeing the humor in it, he said, "I guess Doc forgot to mention anything to you about George, huh?"

"GEORGE? GEORGE WHO?" I groaned.

Eventually, I guess you can tell, I too came to see the humor in the situation, became friends enough with the handsome young man in a purple Corvette and a purple horse trailer to laugh together with him about our story. Eventually, I forgave David for forgetting to mention to me that Dewayne Webb had graciously offered to share his pet jackass, George, with our young children for as long as they enjoyed having him around, which I recall, was quite a while.

What we were not told about George was that we, and in fact our entire neighborhood, would no longer need alarm clocks. We soon discovered that at first light, George welcomed each new day with a few joyful moments of the noisiest braying ever heard by man or beast. I probably should forgive the nice young man in the purple Corvette for omitting this important information from George’s resume`. And surely I should forgive George for waking us up (even if it was at first light) to simply invite us to join him in welcoming ... for a few joyful moments ... the wondrous new day.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Why and When I Wrote Potluck, Postscripts & Potpourri

Perhaps it would help to know why and when I wrote Potluck, Postscripts & Potpourri. The why has to do with my ninety two year old father who was living independently until he fell, broke his hip, suffered a massive stroke, and spent the final months of his life in a nursing home. I was devastated. This was not what I had planned, nor what I had promised. At the proper time, Daddy was supposed to come live with our family, and we would lovingly care for him the rest of his life. But sometimes best laid plans fail, and loving promises are broken.

When I could not find the necessary home care for Daddy, I sat down in frustration and wrote a business plan for a company that could. I pondered all of this in my heart, and then eventually decided to retire from a twenty year career in school social work to pursue my dream. I dusted off my business plan and founded ElderCare Services. I was, after all, a helping professional who knew first-hand what it was like to seek and not find home care resources. Today, I am comforted by the fact that with a full staff of care givers, I can now provide the kind of home care for others that I was not able to find for my own father. I am gratified that, as a Geriatric Care Manager, I can offer counsel and direction to families struggling with the complicated issues of aging. I am blessed that my eldest son Dee joined the staff early on, committed himself to ElderCare Services, and will someday take over the management from me.

Back in 1986, grieving my father’s death, I realized that as family matriarch I was also the keeper of family stories. I reminisced, recalled, and wrote down some of these stories. Daddy would have been proud, hearing the stories of his family he so loved. I discovered that writing was therapy and that it gave me peace.

As a Christmas gift that year, I presented each of my children a copy of this “first edition,” inspired by Daddy and dedicated to them. My first book effort circulated among extended family and friends, and many made suggestions on what absolutely must be enhanced, changed or added, and, yes, subtracted. I got a lot of, “Did you remember to tell about the time ...” or “Where is that story about ...?” or “Gee, I never heard that before!” One time, my brother Rivers approached me at a church gathering and demanded to know, “Did you remember to tell what a great story teller Mother was?”

I soon discovered it was much easier to start the book than it was to stop the book!

Of course, I could not posibly have fit into my book all the wonderful stories that have been and still are part of my life. We have so many stories in us. Life is a rich fabric of stories. So with this weblog, I will add some stories that you will not find in my book. Nevertheless, I hope you will read Potluck, Postscripts & Potpourri!



Jean Gay Mussleman