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A few Christmas Memories...

Losing Raymond recently has made me sit back and reflect on years gone by. I cannot adequately capture the best moments in photos but these are a few that meant something to both of us. And, they were the ones that were easy to find.

This photo was taken around 1957. My sister Sue looking adoringly at her favorite guy, James Browning "Brownie" Hoffman. Me with the monkey named Mr. Jiggs. Pretty sure I decorated the tree. Draw  your own conclusions as to my talents in that area. Writing on photos! Ummm, guess who did that?

Ray coaching grandson Steve on the art of making the best sugar cookies in the world. Or in our house anyway! More happy cookie makers in our kitchen!!!
Someone wants to join in the fun!
Party animal!
Let's all take a ride.
Where are those cookies?

Yummy!
Anyone for Nana B's Christmas Strudel???
Wishing you and yours a blessed Christmas and New Year. If not before, I'll be blogging again after Christmas! Hugs, B

Death of my husband

Raymond and I during happier times.







I'd known for a few months that Raymond was sick. He pushed himself all summer to water his beloved plants and trees, help our daughter and granddaughter cut the lawn, and ride his tractor at every opportunity. He started sleeping too much and having headaches that continued to worsen in September. He'd planned to attend our 17 year old grandson's first football game and wasn't able, I knew his health was not good.

It wasn't until the end of September that we rushed him to the hospital with an unbearable headache and nausea. He was diagnosed with a cerebral stroke. We were told it was a big one. He made a bit of a come back and came home a few days later, weaker but still functioning. In home rehab gave him some strength back in his arms and one leg but not enough. He was able to transfer from his wheelchair to bed or chair but not do much else. One day he did insist on vacuuming the kitchen with a new kitchen vacuum from his wh…

New Post of Sweet Baby James - Chapter One Continued and a book signing....

Another week has gone by and here's the continuation of my novel Sweet Baby James. Trying to get it finished by year's end. I have a book signing this coming Sat. Oct. 26th at Tamarack in Beckley, again. I love going there. It's fun to see all the beautiful quilts and crafts made by West Virginia artisans. I'm thrilled to have my two books in the book store there. Many people come through this center over a every day and I'm always fortunate enough to meet some lovely people who are touring the country, people going to or from vacations. People always in a festive mood. It's a fun place to be! Good food in the restaurant, by chefs trained at Greenbrier, and a great coffee stand and ice cream stand. So if you are near there, come by and say hello. Here's the continuation of Sweet Baby James. Remember, comments are welcome! Please! Hugs.                                       
SWEET BABY JAMES

“Albert Ray,” Mama said, gathering strength and partly rising in the…

Sweet Baby James - by Barbara A. Whittington

I've been away from my desk for too many weeks. First, the wonderful West Virginia Writer's Conference in Ripley, WV, where I went with good friend Jill S. My book Vada Faith was finally in the book store there and we had great fun at the workshops, renewing old friendships and making new. June also saw the publication of my second book Ezra and Other Stories, then there was the rush of summer, enjoying the long sunny days. The Null family reunion in August was one of the highlights of summer. Too, I had one great day at a book signing for both my books at the Tamarack in Beckley, WV. I talked to travelers from all over and sold quite a few books.

The highlight of September was a book signing at the Pickaway County Library in Circleville. Quite a crowd came. I gave a workshop on getting published, using my own experiences to hopefully make the pathway easier for someone else. Even sold a few books, which is always fun. I had a great time and so did the participants.
Recently, I …

The Spider Who Took Liberties...

This morning I was sleeping peacefully when I felt eyes on me. I shifted my weight in bed and turned toward the wall. My eyes popped open and I came eye to eye with a black spider. He was on the wall about a foot to the left of my table lamp. Sure, he was three feet from the edge of my bed. But still. He was in the house where I figure he did not belong. I mean, even if he’d been in the basement I would have given him some slack. But no he was in my space. And that called for action.
I lost no time putting my feet on the floor. I headed to the kitchen to find a weapon. I was no match for that fellow, Lord knows. I found a flip flop that seemed to be up to the job. Returning to the bedroom I noted he was waiting for me, same position, same glassy stare, same ugly black velvety body. 
Here is a photo of where the stand-off took place. No pictures of the enemy as I would then be afraid of the photo and convinced that he was living in my camera. Nada. Nope. No photos of him.





First - scream! …

My thoughts on Elmore Leonard and his rules...

Elmore Leonard — author of Get ShortyOut of Sight, and Rum Punch as well as other titles ---passed away August 20.  May he rest in peace.
He was an amazing writer!

This first photo below is the way I'd like to remember Elmore Leonard. Way back when. Hard at work at his typewriter surrounded by books and his own words.




Many people have already shared Elmore's rules for writing. But, I for one can bear reading them again and would probably benefit from reading the list before each writing session. I'm working my way through a second draft of a novel and struggling as if it's the first sentence I've ever written. Perhaps this review of his words will assist me when I return to my desk.
Pictured below is a more sophisticated and successful Elmore. Perhaps a truer image of him before he passed. But I'm a fan of the younger Elmore.



Without saying anything more, I hope  you get something from reading his rules for writing. I don't know but I would say he came up wit…

Eyebrows: The good, the bad, and the ugly!

Those of you who still have your natural eyebrows, please hold up your hands. Okay. Nice show of hands. Now, let’s see the hands of those who have eyebrows that are not the greatest but still in place and serving you well.  O-kay. Good count. Thanks! All those who had your hands in the air are now dismissed. Sorry. This class is going to discuss and dis-cuss (not really! well, maybe!) the lack of nice regular eyebrows. When I was a kid like most of you girls in the audience, I had normal eyebrows. Nice shape, nice color. It was in my teens, when I started to pay attention to them, that they began to let me down. I first learned to pluck and tweeze the hairs above my eyes from watching my sister Sue do hers.  She had black brows in a perfect arch over big brown eyes. Nice.  Nice wasn’t my experience. Far from it. I either took off too many or too little. I never got the hang of tweezing or plucking so I gave that up. For a few years I let my brows grow in a random patch over my eyes. They were li…

Wrinkles and Babies

My husband looked at me yesterday from his easy chair and said, “You have wrinkles under your chin.” “What?” I said. Did I hear the man right? Did he say I had wrinkles under my chin? Surely not. No man in his right mind would speak those words to his wife. And most assuredly mine would not because number one he wants to live and number two he loves me too much to say something that would hurt my feelings.  I asked him to repeat his comment. OKAY. I heard him right. I jetted to the bathroom where the mirror confirmed there were wrinkles under my chin. How had I missed them?  Had I been so busy worrying about the wrinkles on my face I’d completely forgotten my neck? After all it holds up my head - one would think I would have noticed it. I was good to my neck. I smoothed wrinkle cream on it when I did my face. I used a scrub, a mask, expensive creams. And still it lets me down.



All I can think about is my neck.  Of course I’m not speaking to my husband who has assured me since yesterday that he…

Crazy Daze of Summer

Can anyone believe it’s July already? I’m in shock. After going through a busy spring and with June passing by at lightening speed, I find myself on July 5th in a daze.  Where did the days go? Each individual day. Let’s see...
As I look back I see that we did some yard work. We, as in my daughter and husband, with me thrown in occasionally - well, actually rarely. The lovely mulch went down - without me involved. I was there for a bit of the weeding. But not for the edging.
I did choose a large Boston fern for the front porch to go on the wicker table between our two white rockers. My niece informed me Boston ferns are passe, the worst for shedding. Too late. It’s there and it’s staying til it dies. Which could be any day with my black thumb!



It still pretty much looks just as it did when I bought it. I'm holding my breath.


Then, I picked out a few potted plants for the deck, all of which are already looking sad. The red geraniums that were full of blooms with bright green leaves a mo…

Essay titled "Rain" by guest blogger, Jill Sanders

Rain
By Jill Sanders

    As she headed for her sister’s funeral three hours south and three days away Barbara said to me, “I hope it doesn’t rain.”
    Understanding the mood that rain sets, especially during a funeral service, I replied, “I hope it doesn’t rain for you, too.  I’ll be thinking of you.  Have a safe trip.”
    Three days later, near 2:00 pm – the hour of the funeral, I stepped outside to feed my cats across the yard under the portico of the unattached garage.  The sky overhead suggested rain may fall.  As I emptied the bag of cat food into their bowl, the rain droplets began.  “Oh, no,” I said as I thought of my friend; hoping that the rain had not traveled south.
    As I walked back toward my house I noticed the raindrops gently falling on my arms.  I remembered a saying that was shared with me, “Some people walk in the rain and get wet, others feel the rain and know joy.”  I realized that I had been thinking …

My Sister Donna Sue

 I haven't been on here for awhile because of issues beyond my control. BUT I've missed blogging and my blogger friends. Hope all is well with you!

I made a quick trip to Tampa recently to visit my sister "Sue" who was quite ill and in the hospital as well.

We were able to have five days together before I had to leave. While I knew she was gravely ill, we shared many light moments and many moments that we were just big sister and little, hugging and giving each other advice. She wanted to take me shopping while I was there, she said, "To buy you something pretty." My sister had perfected the art of shopping like no other human I know. She could tell you which was the very best mattress to buy. What household applicance would outlast all others and first and foremost she could tell you where the best clothes for women could be purchased in the very latest styles. She had one of each item in her closet.

I borrowed a beautiful white cardigan one day to wear to…

FREE FOR ST. PATRICK'S DAY - EZRA

FREE TODAY MARCH 17th. EBOOK. Click below. Collection of short stories. Enjoy!






Hoot and Marla --A story...

A popular story in Ezra and Other Stories is Hoot and Marla. Thought I'd share it with you here.
Ezra and Other Stories includes eleven stories and is on sale now for .99 at www.amazon.com.



                                                     Hoot and Marla

Hoot and Marla are on their way to Niagara Falls. Hoot's sister, Betty Sue, has talked Hoot into letting her come. She has brought along her boyfriend, Nick.
    Hoot is driving the black Monte Carlo he bought last week for $800. Everyone is to chip in on the gas.
     "All-my-x's-live-in-Tex-as," Hoot sings along with the radio, "that's why I hang my hat in Tennessee!" He taps his hand on the steering wheel in time to the music.
    Hoot loves George Strait. Not as much as he loves Elvis though. Hoot is an Elvis Presley look alike. He's never traded on it or anything. But he can sing and play the guitar, too. Marla nearly dies when he sings, "Love me Tender." He's that good.