Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Miss Gloria's latest: The Age of Aquarius

The Age of Aquarius

Like many people I like to allow my mind to wander back to the past, the “good ol’ days”. Yeah,
I know, not all of them were good. I was listening to a CD I’d burned for myself and “Age of
Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine” came on and I started to think about what it meant. I realize the
lyrics of this song were based on the astrological belief that the world would soon be entering
the "Age of Aquarius", an age of love, light, and humanity, somewhere the near the end of
the 20th century. (Boy, I don’t remember that happening!) I’m sure there were other, more
complicated, more “new age” meanings but to me it was simply representative of the times.

It was hippies, flower children with fringed vests, long flowing dresses while wearing a garland
of entwined flowers in their hair, great music, young people just starting to “find themselves”,
Woodstock, a man on the moon, and “Make Love-Not War”.

It’s been said that the sixties was the decade that brought America’s innocence to an end. It may
be true because there was the dark side of the decade as well. The Manson directed Tate and
LaBianca murders, “Hell no, we won’t go!”, “Hey LBJ, how many babies did you kill today?”
Then there were lots of protest songs. “War! What is it good for? Absolutely NOTHIN’!” It was
a time when our soldiers returning from Viet Nam weren’t treated with banners and flowers;
instead were spit on and called “baby killers”. That shames me about our American society more
than many other things.

It was a decade when I was a teenager walking around with Ben Franklin style rose tinted
glasses. Even though I’d been raised mostly in the Air Force, I didn’t “get it”. I was too wrapped
up in the music, teen angst, the idea that aliens were going to come down one day and grab all
the girls with pierced ears (where the heck did we get that idea??), and my biggest concern was
whether or not I could talk Mom into letting me have her hot pink Rambler with those fin tail
lights for at least an hour to cruise up and down through LaFollette.

So what can I do about it all? Nothing. I can apologize to the veterans (though I’d never shown
any disrespect) and appreciate the fact that today’s war heroes are treated much better. I can help
try to educate my children and grandchildren so they’ll have an open mind and a kind heart. I can
also look back with fondness on the good memories of that decade, and I have many.

But for now, I’m going to crank up the volume and let the 5th Dimension tell me all about
the “Age of Aquarius” for the millionth time.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Gloria Teague

Christmas Eve was my favorite holiday. Unlike most families, Santa Claus always came to our house first so we got our presents before we went to bed. He would just open the door and walk in (even I knew he couldn’t come down a chimney with a roaring coal fire going in the stove)carrying a big red bag filled with presents. Good thing, too, because I just don’t know how anyone could fall asleep knowing there would be presents when they got up the next morning.
Our house was always full on this night. All my aunts, uncles and cousins would be there. Well, my Uncle Don always got there late, after Santa Claus had already come and handed out our presents. I guess him being a preacher was the reason. Maybe some of his church family needed to talk to him the night before Jesus’ birthday. I always thought it was sad that Uncle Don never got to see Santa Claus but he said that it was okay, he didn’t really mind.
“Glora Lynn, hold up your present so I can take a picture.”
“Yes Momma.”
“Ted, what’s that you got? Oh, a cap gun! Hold it up and let Aunt Midge take your picture.”
Only after all the kids had opened their gifts would the adults open their own. The women would be oh so gentle with the wrapping paper because Mommy and Mamaw said “Save the paper! We can use it again.” The men were like big kids, ripping the paper off and throwing it in the floor until their wives or mother told them to stop it.
Well, I guess that as far as Santa was concerned I’d gotten both things I’d asked for but he was wrong. Not that I’d ever point that out to him next time I saw him. Hey, I might’ve been slow but I wasn’t stupid.
In my letter I’d written that I wanted a cowboy suit. I asked Momma to write that I didn’t mean a cowgirl suit, even though I was a girl. I just knew that Santa would understand the difference and I’d been proven right when I opened my last gift.
The one thing that Santa had gotten wrong, and I could understand how it could happen, was that he gave me a nurse’s kit instead of the doctor’s kit I’d asked for. I suppose that Santa just got that all mixed up. But it was funny how he got the cowboy suit right but not the doctor’s kit. Oh well, I’d work with what I had. I’d use my medical knowledge on my family using the nurse’s kit but I’d know in my mind I was doing it as a doctor.
It was as I was checking Benny’s throat and looking in his ears with my stethoscope (wasn’t too bright, was I?) that Mamaw told us the soup was on. The soup was vegetable beef, my favorite, with macaroni as big as my finger.
After we ate supper, the women talked about what all they were doing for Christmas dinner. As they talked we kids ate a piece of apple pie. It wasn’t my favorite like chocolate was, but it was pretty good.
The men ate quickly then loaded the cars with each family’s gifts. With the last bite of pie each father said, “Let’s get going. It’s beginning to snow again and the roads will get worse.”
The women never drove in bad weather, leaving that in the capable hands of their husbands. “Oh, we’ll have a white Christmas!”
I didn’t get a chance to give Benny his diagnosis before they left to go home. Too bad since I was pretty sure he had malaria. Not long after they left our branch of the family tree was in bed.
“Momma, will you tell me a story?”
We both had on flannel nightgowns and warm socks. It was a little hot now since we’d put all the shredded gift paper in the stove but we would wake up later with our teeth chattering if no one got up to stoke the fire and bank it with coal.
She turned to me in the bed and even though we were sweating, she draped her arm across my body. Because Mamaw and Papaw were already asleep in the other bed, she put her lips close to my ear and whispered.
“Once upon a time there was this beautiful little redheaded girl and she…”
The stories always started this way, with the little girl that was me, involved in some wondrous adventure. Sometimes I was fighting a big, bad wolf, other times I saved the world. No matter the circumstances, the tale always ended with the little redheaded girl victorious. This may be the reason I grew up to be a writer.
But it wasn’t the story that was most important to me. Truly, I can’t even remember any of the stories now. It was her holding me close, the love in her voice, the tender touch of her fingers as she’d stroke my face that last in my memory. This was the time of my life that I loved Momma the best.
So who cared if Santa gave me a silly ol’ nurse’s kit instead of a doctor’s bag when God had given me such a wonderful mother?

Gloria Teague-LaFollette girl

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Killer Wedding a story by Gloria Teague

No one knew how to turn on the heat for the tiny building that had been
commandeered for a chapel and the four sets of snowy footprints had already melted
by the door. The dim light of the outdoor holiday decorations played across the strained
faces of the minister and his wife and emphasized their fear as they kept glancing toward
the back of the church. The bride and groom's smooth faces were yet unlined by life’s
tribulations but their shadows stumbled across the empty lawn chairs being used as pews.
The cold room reflected the meaninglessness of this hastily assembled ceremony. No one
in their family yet knew of the travesty that was taking place.
The groom clinched his hands by his sides, not touching the tiny female hand held
just as stiffly mere inches away. She gritted her teeth as she heard the one beside her
mutter, “I don’t want to do this. You just wait and see. I’ll get you for this.”
She turned her triumphant smile up to his hostile grimace. Her stoicism was more
than a match for his fury. “Shut up,” her hissed words were loud in the tiny room. “This
is what happens when you murder…”
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to…” The anger emanating from the couple in
front of him caused the minister’s words to falter, and then lose stamina. Just as he was
regaining his footing, the bride broke into tears.
“You’re the one that killed my baby!”
“You’re crazy. I didn’t kill your baby!” He turned to the minister. “C’mon, get this
over with so I can get out of here.”
The ministerial wife stepped up beside the bride and put her arm around the bride’s
trembling shoulders and glared at the groom who stared back at her without blinking.
The preacher's monotone continued, "Uh, if anybody can show why they may not be
married, speak now; or else for ever hold your peace."
All of them turned abruptly when they heard a hard step by the front door. The frigid
storm that blew into the room wasn’t merely the winter weather swirling around outside.
“What are you doing?” The people at the altar began to tremble. “I’ve been looking
everywhere for you!” Thunderous footsteps moved up the aisle faster than the young
people had dreamed possible.
“David? What are you doing with my good suit on? Justin, you’re wearing my new
tie? Oh girls, your mother’s going to kill you for wearing her high heels out here in the
mud and snow!”
“But Daddy, David broke my baby doll!”
David’s head hung low. “Yeah, Stephanie made me act like we was getting married.
She said she’d tell on me if I didn’t. Then Justin and Amber wanted to play and they got
in a fight ‘cause they both wanted to be the preacher.”
Jim walked to the window as if seeking guidance from the stars. When he had
regained control of his expression he turned a stern look back on his children.
“Well, that’s it. Boys, you walk with me, slowly, and maybe you won’t get any more
dirt on my good clothes. Girls, I’ll carry you back in so you won’t do any more damage
to your mother’s shoes.”
A warm cinnamon and vanilla scent blanketed them when they stepped into the
kitchen. As Jim closed the door behind him he told the children they were going to their
rooms, immediately.
Diana put her magazine down and raised an eyebrow at her husband.
“There was a murder and a sentence was handed down. Because of that, all guilty
parties have to go to bed without their usual milk and cookies.”
David crossed his arms and his lip jutted out.
“Yeah, I already got in trouble and had to play that stupid weddin’ game. How come I
got to get punished again?”
With four sets of feet pounding up the stairs, Diana laughed. “Yeah, count on a man
to believe getting married is punishment.”
Jim’s eyes rounded in innocence when he retorted, “Well count on a woman to hand
out a wedding as a life sentence.”
Jim laid his head on top of his wife’s curls.
“Tell me again why we have so many children?”
He planted a kiss on the end of her nose, causing her to giggle.
“Just lucky I guess.”

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

USA's First Admiral of the Navy

How many of us are aware that the first admiral of the US Navy was born in the land-locked, new state of Tennessee?

"David Glasgow Farragut (July 5, 1801 – August 14, 1870) was a flag officer of the United States Navyduring the American Civil War. He was the first rear admiralvice admiral, andadmiral in the United States Navy.[1][2]He is remembered in popular culture for his order at the Battle of Mobile Bay, usually paraphrased: "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" by U.S. Navy tradition.[1][3]"  (Wikipedia)
Admiral Farragut2.jpg

Read More HERE

Curently there is a controversy as to where a commemorative marker of Farragut's birthplace will stand.  After residing at the actual birthplace on private property since 1900, the marker has been removed to Texas.  Read MORE

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Introducing Ms Gloria Teague

When LaFollette had its homecoming celebration a couple of years ago I read something in the local papers about a homegrown author, someone named Gloria Teague. I mistook her for another person, but soon realized this was not the same Miss Teague I knew from high school. I stopped paying attention along about this time. I was under the impression that this was just another Vanity Press poet with questionable talent.
Through Facebook I became slightly acquainted with Ms Teague and heard about her soon to be released, latest book. I decided to check it out and found instant gratification through the Amazon Kindle Collection (gotta love technology which allows you to shop from a spot in the woods without even a telephone connection or a television signal yet books are delivered in less than a minute via a satellite hovering 250 miles above).
Ms Teague’s writing is not what I expected. There are few people who can truly tell a story. I can write and even share a tale, but I cannot WRITE. If ever LaFollette has produced a top notch story teller that person is Gloria Teague. I predict you will hear much more of her if she keeps going. Buy her books; you will not be disappointed.
I am delighted to announce that Ms Teague has consented to submit an occasional article to Here is her story of Thanksgiving. Enjoy.

The Good Ol’ Days
Okay, so I live in the past most of the time. My kids might utter that old standby, “It’s a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.” I’m a bit ashamed to admit I wouldn’t mind one bit living there. After all, it was the good ol’ days!
Another Thanksgiving just flew by me. Wow, these holidays are coming faster all the time, or is it just me? Growing up, my mother wouldn’t allow us to eat anything, and I mean anything, until Thanksgiving dinner was served, blessing requested, and her gentle nod to “go ahead and dig in!” My parents divorced with I was two so we lived with Mamaw until Mom remarried when I was six. For several wonderful years my grandmother would sneak me a biscuit with a slice of fatback on it or a stealthy scrambled egg sandwich, all while Mama was sliding the turkey into the oven or peeling what seemed to be 20 pounds of potatoes.
Food wasn’t the star attraction for us on those days; it was family and friends who had traveled for hours, just to be with us. The excitement of waiting for the sleeping familiar strangers to awaken made it difficult for a little girl to be quiet and someone would whisper harshly, “Let them sleep, Gloria, they’ve been driving all night!” I remember scampering through the house, so excited about having my family with me, the aroma of dinner wafting through the entire house, enticing my sleepy relatives from their cozy beds. When the first tousled head of hair emerged from one of the bedrooms, my holiday began.
It wasn’t just Thanksgiving, though. It could’ve been Christmas, or the 4th of July, or the third week of May…it didn’t matter the date on the calendar; just the fact that “they” had come to visit made it a holiday for our family.
Then when my mother remarried, to a man in the Air Force, webecame the familiar strangers that drove for hours (or days) to be “home” for special events. Sadly, as the years passed and everyone got older, the special events were more often funerals. The two generations before me, the very ones that made my life worth living, slowly but surely joined each other in a celestial home, waiting for the day when we would have a holiday for eternity.
So yes, I sometimes live in the past. It’s such a gentle, kind, innocently fun place to dwell. And if you want to hang out there with me, go sit on the porch swing and I’ll bring you a glass of tea.
Gloria Teague, award-winning author of Saturday Night Cocoa Fudge (about 1950s LaFollette), Beyond the Surgeon’s Touch andSafe in the Heart of a Miracle (true stories of medical miracles)