Sunday, December 4, 2016

Maniac's or Maybe Just Kids................by Diane Ogden

I was a thinking about having a very quiet relaxing weekend after cleaning FOURTEEN houses last week....  not to mention baking a few dozen cookies for my old bestie who had two brain aneurysms removed.  Shesshh I cant even spell those bloody things and that is just fine with me. I want no closeness to them whatsoever...  anyways...  I rec'd a text, no one calls anymore, especially if they are asking for favors.  It was my one and only daughter.  She told me my Granddaughter was begging to see me.  That merely meant my daughter was in dyer need of some respite.  Then I heard the typed words (yes you can hear typed words) reverberate in my head.... "Oh, Carson wants to come too!"  Okay, here's the deal.  Carson is my daughter's boyfriends son.  He is almost 5, so he is a 4. Said boyfriend has custody of that boy whose Mom left him and went off to California with her new boyfriend and her pregnant new child. I do not mean to be flippant.  It is serious for that young boy and ME if I am going to be a partaker of the situation.  Bottom line...I say YES!  No I type YES!  Really I am thrilled to have the kids yet a bit apprehensive.  To the point of calling one of my clients and asking what the heck I do with two 5 year olds.  You know, one almost 5 and one 5.  She gave me some ideas....not to mention it is freezing outside and I have donned myself in brown tights, brown boots with no lining, a pale peach light sweater (OMG, got it at Hells Gate, Wal Mart)meaning it is frail from China.  All this is saying, we are not going any of those outdoor activities she suggested.  I thanked her profusely and moved on.   It also entered my head that I had no kid food at my old grandma apartment.  Gawd, no mac n cheese, no candy, no caffeine poop, no pop...sorry.  No ice cream, no chips, no nadda nothin'.  Okay deal Nana D.  And so I did as I always do in this life.

I met them at a designated place.  They were so excited and so was I.  Was that dumb? Probably.  But we did have a blast.  We laughed the whole time except when they decide to "spank" Gma while she was preparing pancakes the morn after the day before. I say morn for a reason, see?  They hit my rear end with a force I had forgotten existed.  I tried to make a joke of it like I always do with all in life I don't like dealing with.  It didn't work. So I used the REAL VOICE.  Scared the bageebeez outta them. Little brats...

I did take them to the Christmas Light Show near Olin Park.  Carson, who has an issue with his bladder due to the issue with his mother abandoning him to California, had to pee.  There we were at a large park with  dog (Gracie) in the front seat, and two lil people in back seat,

one of which had to pee.  Shitski, so did I but as far as I could see we were screwed.  Then like a flash there they were....TWO BIG BLUE BUCKIES!

I squeezed through the orange barrels and parked.  Success I thought....nope.  LOCKED.  We walked over to the little booths where people volunteer to give out candy canes and doggie biscuits to the site seers.  No one told them the Buckies were locked...  some phone calls made and whalla I am standing behind a little boy who thank GOD and all his ANGELS made it.  I gotta say it was sooo cold in that Bucky I thought he would freeze it.  I also have to say how clean it was.  Heck I would have sat on that one without hesitation.  Probably because we were the first ones to use it all day. And then we drove away to the Grocery store for kid food.


What was I thinking?  They each grabbed a "customer in training" tiny cart and took off.  Need I say more.  I will say we did cause a lot of laughter as we "carted" thru Metcalfs West Town Mall.  We got Milk, organic mac n cheese, cheese, Orange juice, Ice Cream, and GUM.  I forgot what else.  We or I survived.

We arrived home.
 They threw things at each other in my little apt.  I took them to a Christmas Cookie gathering of the tenants I have never met as I have recently moved in here.   I was scared to flippin life they would mess up.  We went upstairs.....they were good.

Then they went into the bedroom with permission from another Gma and they proceeded to KILL IT!  We left with two choc chip cookies wrapped in poinsettia napkins never to return.

Actually it was a fun two days.  I miss them already.  Sort of.

Friday, December 2, 2016

My New Christmas Mittens....................by Diane Ogden

Sounds like the title of a Children's book or like I just got a new kitten named Mittens! No, I really did get a new pair of mittens.  And I got them off a Christmas Tree where I get my  nails done.....albeit, "My new Christmas Mittens. "

They are amazing....
$25.00..... very well made.  White fleece lined.  Sooo warm.
I will keep them in my vehicle at all times with my winter safety kit.  I better work on that kit considering I hear 2" are due by morning.  A little or a lot of snow would be nice for the season.  Then no more....
Feel free to email this wonderful lady for a pair of her Christmas Mittens...  that are nothing to do with cats or children's books.
When I wear them I feel like I am wearing one of those expensive hand knit sweaters from Norway.
No really!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Middleton, Wisconsin........"Coming Home!"

Okay, so I have moved twice in the past six months due to personal issues.  Before that I lived in the same place for thirteen plus years.

I found a place to call home in Middleton, Wisconsin.  I hated it before I ever arrived....but that had to do with the unresolved personal issues.  And to be honest I hated it or I should say I didn't feel I belonged here for quite some time.  (I would say sixty days from the day I stood in here staring at the lease for at least ten minutes plus with the most anxiety I have felt since I crossed the Mississippi Bridge thirty years plus ago)  But then as I started moving things in and residents came to me in hallways inviting me to coffee's and luncheons and Christmas Cookie affairs, as well as they came introducing themselves in the underground parking, outside dog walking, entrances, and elevator!  I began (duh) to notice the unusual friendliness.  I cannot say I have ever experienced that anywhere I have ever lived in my life...  I have experienced it at Corporate positive sales meetings.  But this was a far cry from that!  You only know what I am talking about if you have ever experienced it.  Sort of like a multi-level push team go go pep rally. No Seriously.  Maybe that means I am where I am supposed to be.  Ya' think?

A few days after moving in..... One of my neighbors who is actually a high school classmate who came by with two of the most amazing cupcakes I have ever eaten in my life from Blooms Bakery.  And now I will have to FIGHT off that desire daily for however long I live here..  In fact I eat less all week so I can indulge in at least two of them on the weekend.  I tell you its worse then when I used to smoke years ago...  Yup for real, my weakness is cake and cupcakes are itty bitty cakes.  I'm so screwed!


I am not sure I have ever blogged about my love of trains.  Well I love trains.  My Grandfather loved trains enough to have the HO set up right down to the grain cars at the Mill getting loaded with real grain. Not to mention real smoke coming out of the old engines.  What's my point?  The window in my office where I am typing this is a mere umpteen feet from the tracks where I get to hear the whistle and roar of the wheels a couple times a day. Add to that the view of the old train station is within a stones throw. It is all good and very peaceful.

Also, The famous POLAR EXPRESS happens about a mile from me here in Middleton.  You can board a train, go for a ride with the kiddos, receive Santa, Elves, and treats in a festive atmosphere.

I walked to downtown Old Middleton today which is a whole block away. Stopped at the local florist whose owner is Tiffany.  She also does Interior Designing.  She talked to me like I was her family. Gave me a rose on my way out when she learned I was new to town, not to mention lived in her back yard.

And then it was onto the Middleton Dress Shop.  And then to another...where the owner took the time to show me how to "DO" these new neck scarves the size of Alaska.  I think I will need to buy some of them soon.  I like them more now that I have the knowledge of how to wrap 'em.


Had some errands that took me to Middleton Ace Hardware, ALIAS: Wolfe Kubly and Hursig:  My Lord you can do some serious shopping there.  Also noticed a Community Pharmacy in the same strip mall where I just might be able to get some lactose free medicine! And a place called SAVVY.  They sell gently used furniture and clothing.  Fun place.

The most up to date (I prefer the old-town) shopping is at Greenway Station.  So many shops. Anything you need you can find except groceries. I did find a creative key hanger...  But I left behind something I have always wanted since mine broke as a kid.... A HUGE PINK PIGGY BANK....I may go back and get it.  Screw appropriate age issue.  I had it in my cart when I suddenly felt stupid...so I put it back. Ding Ding Ding wrong thought!


Did I mention they have a special little restaurant for Italian food, a special one for pizza, and a couple of little bars for the locals. Not that I would frequent.  Well I might.

What's my point?  I have to say I have never lived or experienced such kindness, such reaching out, such friendliness...such PEACE anywhere ever in my life.  I am home.

Oh, I forgot to mention.  My Grandma and Grandpa Jungbluth are buried at St. Luke's Cemetery less then a mile from my place.  And, my ancestors from Germany settled  here in the 1800's.  Half the family went to Nebraska and the other half right here in good old Middleton, Wisconsin. In fact my landlord has done business and is acquainted with my first cousin and my Father's God son, Richard Hinricks.  Imagine that!


Soo....  I am here to stay for  awhile.  I love it. I am at home.  I am at peace. I am happy.  I am Thankful. Now all I need is about a Million Dollars.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Meghan Kelly, Gretchen Carlson and Me..... By Diane Ogden

Sexual harassment is as old as time.   It moves swiftly unnoticed and is also as quiet as time.  You don't have to be beautiful to have it happen to you.  Although it happens more if you are. Sexual harassment or abuse began for me at age fifteen in my doctors office by my doctor himself.  No names.  And his harassment continued and or returned when I was in my early twenties.  Also, a local High School Principle.  A Jr. High History teacher. And most of the boys in school....and  Date raped later in teen years.  Who does a girl learn to trust regarding men?  Hit on by my bosses, (give (someone) orders in a domineering manner. A person in charge)  most of my life.  Cornered in elevators, cars, planes, boats, elevators, bars, movie theaters, under a tree at night by the groundskeeper.  And the list goes on.  And on.  With age, a lot of "aging".... I learned how to curb it, how to escape it, how to hit it head on, and how to live with it and through it.
                                                              (In this photo I was 14 or 15 years old)

Sexual harassment is someone exercising unwanted verbally controlling comments and or actions  over another.  In this blogpost, Me.   Some (usually men) would say we women put ourselves in situations that asked for such behavior. Or we wear/wore clothing that says it okay to be sexually harassed or abused.  Bullshit for the most part anyway.  Maybe some women do but most do not.  I was basically a child with no idea how to deal with such a strong force of nature: hormonal men. Was that love? Well, that was my initial meeting with the opposite sex now wasn't it.  And shame on them. A doctor, a H.S. Principle,(not the principle where I went to school) and a history teacher, the dentist, the leader of the band, the fire chief (Not from my home town)!!  In watching the news this week and Meghan Kelly on Dr. Phil.....And Gretchen Carlson on 20/20... GOD I was just a child compared to their stories.  Meghan Kelly was a strong woman in a strong position, yet she couldn't and didn't handle it properly.... or was afraid to.  Look at all the women, try like 50!! That Dr. Huxtable, alias, Bill Cosby crossed the line with!!  And he is getting away with it.  Then there is Trump the hump....and so on and so on.  All the way back to Thomas Jefferson and Bill Clinton.  Under the desk with a rubber hose...NO NO that was John Travolta and Kotter!  What was I thinking?  We all know what I was thinking..... Cigars and blow jobs in the Oval Office.

I tried to teach my daughter and Granddaughters that men need a home for "hairy."  Most will say and do anything to get that home for "Hairy!"  I have also taught them that every time they hear the roar of a Harley.....it is a man straddling a woman (his Harley) legs spread, sitting in a power position, revving the engine like it is the orgasm he dreams of... Loud and engaging and all powerful.  All the things he probably is not in true life.

I have also taught them about the other man.  The good man.  He may have a gay side....which simply means he remembers flowers, compliments, is able to think partially like a woman to an acceptable degree...  He understands her feelings, her decorating issues, her magazines.... and many of her why's and needs. He isn't ALL MALE testosterone...  Rather he cares, loves, feels what she feels more than most men and most of all if he doesn't he pretends to as he smiles and holds her tenderly.  The farther-est thing from sexual harassment on earth.

I wasn't taught that, but then most little girls from the baby boomer generation were not taught that. We were to cook, clean, love our husbands no matter what, tend the children, and clean the house and do the laundry and do not complain no matter what.  Then suddenly we were thrown into the work force where men ruled.  They thought they ruled us, and they did for many decades.  In fact those old cronies haven't all died off yet.  Nor have their old thoughts and ways. 

Do not let me leave out the religious freaks.  The ones that believe the man rules the roost.  Whether he has he sense to or not.  They used God.  Some, no most of those thought that gave them the right and freedom to do whatever they chose to their wives or women.  When the woman went crazy during menopause they would pray and that is all they would do!!  My least favorite of all men..... God would never treat his women followers as those religious husbands did and do.

My Point:  I have been sexually harassed all my life.  IT feels Unclean. Wrong.  Dirty.  Outofline. Ungodly. Intrusive. Overbearing. Controlling.  Abusive.  Ill- legal. Disgusting. Unhealthy. Frightening. And at my adult age now....Pissed off!!!  Why do they continue to get away with it....  ??

I have more I could share from my life experiences of sexual harassment  but it isn't necessary....  Too scary to share as our society tends to have become more gladiator type arena's then I could ever have imagined.  I don't wish to be stoned or put in the arena with a lions.  I have already experienced that with men...

Not that I have never met a few good ones.  I have.  Those are the ones that don't touch rather they FEEL with their hearts.  Girls.... watch for those men.  The Good Men with their heart and their head and their penis as one!!  Few and far between but they are out there.




Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Happy Birthday to MWAH!! by Diane Ogden

As we get older birthdays should be celebrated with "Huge-er" parties verses lessor.  Huge-er because we are still upright and not ashes or six foot under.  Thus the older the bigger. Parties that is.  But that is not the way it goes is it?   We tend to try to forget we are getting older and brush the day aside.  Not me....I am so darn thankful to be here in this mess of a world at present.  Messes are made to clean up and it will clean up again.  You see, nearly every day I pass the Regent Street Cemetery and the Cress Funeral Home where two are being buried and one is being dug for!   Sure makes me thankful no matter what.  Once I'm on the other side (you know dead) I cant eat watermelon or cake anymore.  And I bet I will still want to.  I will look at God with that bit of a "stink eye" and he will look back at me with a bit of a forgiving "stink eye," and say:
You had your chance!  And behind his words I would spiritually read his mind....it would be telling me I had had my chance at many a thing and I blew some of them.  Sooo.....  I have decided not to do that anymore.
Go for the gusto.  No not beer......the gusto of life.  Laugh.  Live.  Love.  But don't charge too much on your credit card to get those things done.

Most of my family, the ones I like anyway, have moved far away.  They left me the leftovers no one wants to deal with!  But again, I am upright and thankful. As well as I steer clear of the "leftover" relatives.

What's my point?  I'll tell you what it is.  It is opening an envelope today at one of my long time clients homes and finding a little card all sealed up tight with my name on the front.  Sometimes that is awkward for me as I am usually the giver and have had to learn in life to receive better.  This was one of those times I felt like I was in a classroom life session.  I wanted to tuck it away and open it later but I knew I shouldn't do that.  So I didn't.  I opened it with a vengeance....like a child on Christmas morning.  A present!  For me!  All I usually get are four or five phone calls from afar saying Happy Birthday Mom. (Don't misunderstand me, I love those calls!)  But this was a real tangible happening right in front of my face.  Isn't this the sweetest ever surprise.  It touched my heart in a way sometimes earthly words aren't enough.  And I wanted to share......
  Diane Jungbluth- Ogden  born 11-22-47  and still thankful for everyday I am given....Its a GIFT!
              Present day is a Present.  I am blessed and so are you if you are reading this!!!

"Major"

It was 1985 give or take a year.  We were a normal family as far as that word goes.  One Father, one Mother, and four boys.  Actually five considering husbands are, more often then not one more kid to care for most of the time.  And this summer was one of those times.  He had lost his job and our beautiful family dog was chasing the UPS man daily.  Obviously we had no fence and the 5th child was not overseeing the situation very well.  Do realize the date....1985 meaning he was not a mature adult yet. Okay we have been divorced for 32 years if my math did that correctly. But lest ye know I have never forgotten what he did that summer.  He gave our dog away.  I wont elaborate because it wouldn't be nice at all.  When I finally tracked down the people he gave  our dog Major to.....they have given him away again.  I thought I would die emotionally.  We had our family photo's taken with that dog.  And it never left my heart all these years.


And then I met Grendel, who resembled Major.  We became instant buddies and the year was 2007.  He belonged to a client of mine. We would play ball, and I would brush him every other Friday.  I'd wash his stainless steel bowls as if they were my finest china.  I think it may have relieved my own guilt more than anything.  Although Grendel loved me and I him.  He would climb in the back seat of my vehicle if I left the door open too long.  And always run out of the house to greet me when I arrived.  Surely not because I always brought a treat.  In the picture below I am trying to get him to pose for a photo for the back of my business card.... Obviously it wasn't working but we sure had fun.


As the years past he grew weaker as we all do.  Now when I arrived he would get too excited and lose control of his rear section.  His rear section would go down almost doing the splits.  My helper and I would have to lift him up and steady him for a bit before letting him go on his own.  He couldn't play ball anymore and brushing him seemed to hurt somehow so that was out.

On days I was scheduled to be at there home his owner would always text me and let me know if he was not going to be there so I wouldn't worry.  I always said he was my Major reincarnated.  Even though I pretty much knew he wasn't.  Sort of my own private Disney fantasy.  God I always and still do cry at Lady and The Tramp.

So the last time I was there Old Grendel, age 15 was on the floor and couldn't get up.  The vet said this was probably it but the owners decided to wait one more day.   He couldn't even go to the bathroom on his own.  We had to put a sling around his belly and lift/walk his back legs for him.  I sat with him on the floor and discussed some of life and a lot of love.  He let me.  We used to sit out back on the deck (see pics) in total silence and listen to the beautiful sounds of nature.  Life.  I was and am so thankful to have known Grendel.  He and Major were my best friends ever. Wait, there was Barney dog, and Daisy, and Gracie Allen too.   Below was his last day on earth....



On my next scheduled visit to my client I found a card on the counter with beautiful words for
me..... It read:  " Thank you for all your love and support with our sweet old boy the last years."  Along with a $50.00 bill.  Which wasn't necessary but such a nice gesture of love, almost as if it were from Grendel himself.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Ghosts of The Last Arboretum Farm..... by Diane Ogden

I was six years old riding in the back seat of my Dad's 1948 Chevrolet, no seat belts.  It was the longest driveway in the history of my world.  I had traveled that long driveway many times in my little life.  It was a turn right off the old Highway known now as the belt line at Todd Drive.  Arbor Hills holds the ghosts of the last old farm Bowman Dairy owned and where my Grandpa and Grandma Jungbluth lived and worked.  They milked for the dairy.  I also recall "Pa," the name he was known by, had two big workhorses he plowed the fields with.  Dark blue coveralls holding and steering a heavy metal plow behind those huge blonde work horses. And in my Grandma's eyes I could do no wrong. And then one day we moved away.  I was 7 and I never saw her again.  But I never forgot her ever.

We came back to Wisconsin for a vacation and drove over to the old farm up the long driveway to the place I remembered as my Grandparents farm.  It was deserted.  We walked over to the barn where tools lay strewn about in pieces of straw.  Above on makeshift poor man's hooks hung bridles and rope.  An old barrel, a pitchfork.  It was like time stood still and at any moment Pa would saunter in with his unshaven face, chew under his lip, and a half cocked smile always.  But he didn't walk in.

 On our way walking around the barn I stopped "dead."  There in the grass was my "Pa's" boot.  His boot he used to pull on every day to do chores and live his life.  It was empty but it was so ghostly touching for all of us.  My Dad's eyes watered up but he continued walking. He did not pick up the boot nor take it with us.  Me, being overly sentimental would have taken the darn thing home for some godly or ungodly reason.  Put a plant in it or something!!

Today I went on a business call to give an upcoming client an estimate.  My GPS took me into Arbor Hills exactly where my Grandpa's farm had been.  Where the outhouse sat 15 feet from the RR tracks and shook like the dickens when it passed. Not the outhouse, the train.  I recall! I had no idea this is where my possible new client lived until I turned off the frontage road Todd Drive.  My eyes started scanning the area.  Where is the long road?  Where are the RR tracks?  Who lives on the land I used to love and be loved at?

I pulled into her driveway and knocked.  We introduced ourselves and I couldn't contain myself a second longer....I asked if there was a RR track close by.  That my Grandparents lived on an old farm at the edge of the Arboretum and I think it is very close to right here.  She said yes.  The old RR tracks were removed a couple years ago and replaced with a paved bike trail.  She then told me a story her neighbor had shared with her about an old farm up in the woods with a very long driveway...where she had attended a couple parties in the past.  Seems a single man lived there for a time.  Why I could hardly believe my ears were hearing this.  I had walked into my past and was eager to hear more.  She told me she would get me in touch with her neighbor soon. Not soon enough I thought.  Even though it had been 50 some years since I last saw it, I was suddenly impatient.

Not only was this a time capsule moment but let me add her home was out of this world amazing.  Right out of Odana Road Antique Shop.  Everything used and from the earth.  It was not dusty, rusty, and old. Rather it carried an air of creative class along with a huge Bison rug in the family room.  They order bison meat and the coat comes with it. Don't ask!  All I know is I have to have one considering my maternal Grandfather had the first Bison Ranch in Texas.  I was getting all my time capsule bases met in one day... This one.

I walked out of her home telling her how special it had been for me to have met her and her home.  She responded likewise.  We exchanged facebook information and hope to talk again soon.  She gave me directions to the entrance of the conservatory where the RR tracks were and where I might find a Hawk feather like the two she found and displayed in her home.  I had told her after my Father passed away he came to me in a dream  as a beautiful Red Tailed Hawk....  Strong dream.  Since then I have wanted a Hawk feather.  I believe I will find it soon on the trail of he and his fathers old farm.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Dear Diane

Dear Diane,
I am you. The part of you that makes decisions. The other part of you that has to live with those decisions as well. And also gets to feel how they affect you, good or bad.  I do want you to know I try very hard to get it right because feeling what you feel when it doesn't turn out as I expected is no picnic for me either sister.  You always joke and cover my side by saying you have eyes in your "ass" because you cant see anything until its passed...  Thank you but it is the truth.  Sometimes I cant see it and when I do I think I can make it all good as your license plate reads:  "ALSWELL!"  Even when it is not.  I never like letting your down. I watch you work hard to cover up the flaws I sometimes create in your life.  And then I watch you make everything okay for everyone around you.  I have made decisions that have affected your life in a negative fashion more than once and I am not talking about hip high red boots obviously not age appropriate.... no, I want to tell you how proud I am of you for taking my ishie decisions and turning them around for good or at least dealing with them until they fade into the abyss.  You and I have a fairly large file cabinet of errors in the Abyss State. That is if the Abyss is a State or Country or maybe just another planet in the universe where we get to file (dump) our waste.  Waste of time, waste of energy, waste of spirit, WASTE as in manure.  Worse.  Manure is spread on the earth to help grow vegetation. In our case, "Human Weeds."  No good to no one.  Our manure is spread to hurt us and that is why we send it to the planet of Abyss to contain it.  We must keep our eyes open as there are always new crops around us with manure making there way to us.  I can only pray you have not lost faith in this part of yourself.  ME! No not the manure part....the YOU part.  The ME part.  Everyone has a me inside them that messes up and the older we get the more mess ups we have put forth into our own private Universe. Not to mention the spillovers onto others Universe's.  I am here today to tell you maybe it is time you and I took better care of you.  (Each other) I like you Diane.  And I only want the best for you. Allow me to apologize for any decisions I have made that have hurt you or those around you.  And allow me to thank you for working so diligently with me in this life.  I know I haven't led you to a winning lotto ticket, rather you have found your own way to work overtime instead. Nor have I prized you with the best partner as has been obvious to all.  I have had to take into consideration that on your side of this duo is a woman who life goal is to take care of others.  You are the epitome of a giving loving heart. I have watched you throw yourself into a deep well more than once to save someone rather then throwing them a rope or a buoy.  The good book says to love they neighbor as thyself.  I believe you love yourself in spite of my sometimes incorrect decision making processing in our/your book of life.   You save plants, children, elderly folks, animals, and sometimes others that have more needs then you have to offer.  In fact at times your energy gets drained and that hurts me and you.  So maybe its time we get together, you know, heart and head all in one place all at the same time... I have learned through you that is the proper way to make healthy decisions.  Not one way or the other alone. Not just me or just you alone.   That is like a pizza with no cheese. Or a hamburger with no meat. Somethings turns out missing and leaves a bad or off taste in the pallet.  Another example is an unfinished painting. A car with three wheels.. A massage with no masseuse. A lover with no heart.  People around you with harsh words.
So from this day on you and I are going to work much closer.  And with your sense of humor, reserved and loving heart, and my brains, we can go far sister.  Get your roller skates on its time to move this happy healthy couple of us who have now meshed into one glorious human being. Mwah!
God I love you.  Why thank you. Nice outfit too.  Love Diane


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

"Son of a Grass Cutter"

Soooo.  I was at the cemetery today sittin' on Mary.  My 6th cousin who passed away at Verona's classy Badger Prairie Mental Asylum in 1918.  She had a child out of wedlock in the 1800's which led to her "Father" taking her child away.   She fell into depression at which time he placed her in Madison's Mendota Mental Hospital...later she was moved to Badger Prairie where she lived out her life.

Today I needed to find a quiet place to do some serious life thinking.  I considered the zoo.....then I decided on the Forest Hill Cemetery and Mary.  I stopped at Metcalf's grocery and bought Mary a rose.  I debated on what color....  That is when I spotted the Melon colored one....that was it without any doubt.  Then I passed a barrel of sample wine bottles... Yup I also grabbed one of those for Mary too.  Bet she never tasted wine in her life.  I was toting my own lunch bag, a rose, a camera, map of the cemetery, a small bottle of wine, and a milk crate to sit on which I did not use due to unleveled ground.



I parked and headed for the plot in area 22 with a plain flat stone saying,  MARY JUNGBLUTH.
That is when I heard two horrendous motors starting.....and running directly for MARY JUNGBLUTH. and me.  Two huge yellow mowers disturbing my peace to say the least.  Not to mention the smell of fresh cut grass which is usually sort of nice but not this time.  Nope, I suspected I would have a lung full of green suet by the time this was over.  As I sat on Mary's stone with my large lunch bag on one side, the milk crate on the other, the rose, the wine, the map and the camera....I thought they would GO AWAY seeing I was a grieving cousin.  Well they did not.  They mowed up to 8 feet from Mary and me.


Had I been a more gutsy and creative today I would have started wailing and screaming in deep grief.  Maybe then they would have left us in peace and moved to another section.  I just sat there saying, "Jesus Crisis anyway."  Maybe the zoo would have been a better  option.  And if those two men on their boy toys throw one stick at me I will sue the sheit out of this place.  They "got" no manners.  Those sons of a grass cutters mother!

I cant eat my lunch. My nose if full of flying green pieces....and my ears are buzzing.  They have headphones on for noise reduction.  Notice no one was handing them out to me.  I came here to hear from the dead regarding my life direction which is bigger then grass cutting.

Finally the rude jerks left but not far enough.  They left their ripe grass odor clearly behind with me.  Terribly rude. 

I placed the rose on Mary's home knowing she probably never got a flower in her entire life.  I also knew the grass eaters would be back because they did leave a 5 foot patch directly at my and Mary's feet.  I just knew they and their yellow machines would blow her rose away.. They were now mowing in the next section but still very loud and intrusive.   I decided to say goodbye to Mary considering I couldn't hear her advice and mosey on down the way..  I stopped and watched the mower man come back and mow right up to Mary's neck.  The rose didn't move...  I knew Mary was hanging onto it!!


I decided to sit on the cement wall up the way from Mary, surrounding the Civil War boys.   I had my lunch, toasted the boys with Mary's sample wine, took some pictures of them and heard what I needed to hear.  Whether you believe me or not.  Doesn't matter. 

I asked them to show me a sign.  I took this photo and as you can see I got what I asked for.....
So.... when I find more Happy News I will be back.  Be well, Be Happy, Be Safe, and get Rich.  Makes it all easier.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Banana Bread II

I have not been writing on this blog for a long time..... I had taken a photo of the slimey banana snot...
Then I forgot to post it!!   Duh.
Here she is snotty nanas and all:


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Banana Bread?..............by Diane Ogden

Making banana bread has been a lifelong struggle for me.  Mostly because I gave up trying 45 years ago.  Lately I took on the  dreaded task of re trying.  Too dry, too moist, raw in the middle was the worst and finally I forgot the sugar once.  I haven't given up.  In fact for the raw middle I tried less banana so we didn't feel like we were eating snot.  You know that oatmeally texture eewww.    Raw banana bread in the center...so I Googled what to do.   It said less banana... I tried that and lost the flavor so I stopped at the Organic section of the grocery store and banana flavoring was $8.50 for a small bottle!!  I don't think so.  The next week I checked at my regular grocer and found the standard "McCormick" banana flavoring for $3.50.  Tennie bottle.  I read the ingredients of which were all ARTIFICIAL and bought it anyway. Next time I attempted to make banana bread I used the BRIGHT YELLOW ARTIFICIAL banana flavoring.  OMG is all I can say.  I cannot believe I used that crap...... much less we ate it.  Not to mention it brought back childhood memories of eating those soft banana candies at Aunt Berdie's house.  Ewwww!!
Well.....believe it or not it turned out pretty good.  A little dry.  So this week I tried it again.  I had frozen the banana's because I was sick of trying to make good banana bread. I even considered possibly never doing it again for 45 years.  But just in case I did, I froze those black buggers.  I played busy until they thawed.  Cut the ends off with a scissors and as I attempted to peel the ripe "thang" inside the black peeling. As I peeled, it ever so slowly slid down and out the other end as it folded itself in half all limpy like. (is that a word?) I tell you the truth it looked like I had murdered a living thing or at the least was viewing the birth of something sick and wrong and was going to eat it as well.  The only word that came to my mind was cannibalism.  My significant other was watching the entire show.  I looked up from the massacre only to see his face all scrunched.  He seemed to be sensing my same thoughts.
It was at that exact moment he rose from his stool and exited the room leaving me with the dead and dying.  I gagged a few times as I "folded" the snotty mixture into the bowl of good sugar and eggs.  I could hear  him in the background laughing or maybe he was crying as he realized we are too new a relationship for him to say no to the dead bread. 

I hit the timer and went about some better business such as changing  bedding and eating red ARTIFICIALLY sweetened strawberry twizzlers.  Cant believe I eat those dang things considering they use beetles to color them.  I am not lying.  Its called Carmine (/ˈkɑːrmɪn/ or /ˈkɑːrmn/), also called cochineal, cochineal extract, crimson lake or carmine lake, natural red 4,[1] C.I. 75470,[1] or E120.  See I told you!  Gag away...

     So the results are good.  Well, half good.  One is great the other might be a little snotty in the middle.  I wont give up.  But I will buy the organic flavoring no matter the cost next time.
Until then, be safe, be well, and get rich.  You can buy organic banana bread at $12 a loaf.




Wednesday, June 22, 2016

"Nightlights?"

Nightlights?........

It had been a very special day between my love and myself.  We spent a good portion of time that day walking along the rivers edge .  The sounds of nature had taken us away from the normal daily routine of cars honking, red lights, politics, and of course our jobs.  Somehow the earthly voice of a bird singing can compare only to the Angels we do not get to visualize.  And so it was that day we had regained a certain amount of peace amongst the living. 

We did the usual Jose and lime juice around 4 p.m.  Turned on the television only to turn it back off considering it was the new Jerry Springer now called Dr. Phil.  A young woman gang raped.  Her on one side of old Phil and the gang raper's on he other.  My guy hit the off button as I prepared dinner.

Then it was whirlpool time.  We are old-timer's, no not Alzheimer's.  Our bodies hurt on occasion.  Me with RLS and he with rotator cuff tear and upcoming surgery.  Neither able to sleep very well lately. I was filling the whirlpool with lavender Epsom salts when my significant other asked if I mind if he joined me.  Of course I didn't mind.  Once again we enjoyed a peaceful hour of roaring healing water rushing his shoulder and my legs.  I actually slept well after the Epsom's cleansed my body.  He on the other hand requires a more extensive fix.  An Operation. 

We watched one more show on the television considering we just got about a thousand Cable channels totally by accident along with a totally outrageous bill on purpose.  That took me an hour on the phone to straighten out.  But then we all know what Charter is like.

Finally time came to sleep.  It was dark with a ting of light from the parking lot cascading through the mini blinds of our third floor notsomuch a penthouse. We were cuddling, talking about this and that when I noticed a tiny light on the ceiling.   I didn't say anything to my guy, but I was mesmerized and continued to watch.  It would appear and disappear.  It moved over to the edge of the ceiling light.  Then to another spot.  It was then I swore to God and all his Angels and Mother that I saw a white ghostlike figure move in the hallway by the bathroom.  It was at that precise moment I decided to share the fear running up and down my body with my guy.  Not to mention my brain knowing for sure there was either an entity in the room or heavenly hosts.  I was not sure which.  My guy wrapped his arms around me as though he could ward off demons from other dimensions and I shrunk in his arms as though I believed he could. 

I started to pray.   I used the God given mad mother voice I hadn't heard from my larnyx in about 28 years or so....  I guess I suspected those alien visitors would respond.  I used the name of Jesus.  I used spirit talk, I bound and loosed.  They didn't leave.  We recited the Lords Prayer in unison like two scared little kids  in catechism class.  Or the Lutheran class I graduated from which was not offering up any sort of assistance in this case. Confirmation classes had taught me the benediction, some of the Psalms, the beatitudes and so on.  Not helping in the here and now of it all Pastor! 

Suddenly I said, "Is there a smoke alarm up in that area of the ceiling?"  My guy leaped from our duo fetal position, hit the bedroom light and whalla.  A tiny green light appeared ever so sweet and only now and then.  It then reflected off the ceiling light and other areas that even now as I write I do not understand. Nor do I "get" where the ghostly figure ran off to.  But then I still swear when I was five I saw Santa and ALL his reindeer one Christmas Eve out my bedroom window.  I mean it too!

We were very sad there were no Heavenly visitors to our bedroom that night.  You see when the little light didn't leave upon command of our God.....well that meant they were the good guys.  Almost wish I hadn't found the reality of it all.  We could all use a sign from the heavens now and then.....





Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Cardboard Box Part II Chapter 22 "Secrets Unfold" ....by Julianna Rowe (Property of Diane Ogden)


The Cardboard Box Chapter 22

“Secrets Unfold”

                If Tom, Duke, and I could get to the garage before whoever was coming opened the garage door we could escape out the secret door to the hillside opening.  We flew down the stairs and into the garage just as someone manually pulled up the old rusty wide garage door.  We were almost through the escape entry when someone said.

“Don’t move.”

                My ability to have rational thinking had left the building.  Tom and Duke had made it through the secret door but I was left with what was surely the last of my 14 cat lives.  I knew Old Tom would take care of Duke upon my passing. Yet I wanted to know why I had to give my life for this old run down mansion with a jail on the second floor and ghosts up the butt on the third floor.   I remained still as a statue while Joe Don Waller faced me with a pistol.  I silently told God, his Angels, his Mother, and all the saints I could remember considering I was Lutheran that I dang straight didn’t want to die at the hands of that low life scum bucket creep. I also informed God & Co. I believed hadn’t been bad enough for these consequences in all my twenty some years.  Pretty sure I was somewhat in silent begging mode.   Joe Don was taking steps closer when in the door came Tilton Boyer.  If I had not had a pistol pointed at me I would have shouted something like; “Why am I surprised?”  Guess it was bad timing for such behavior.   Then low and behold behind him came Timothy Haines.  At that point I did say a lot.  Hell I figured what did I have to lose besides my life. 

                The losingest loser of them all, Joe Don Waller couldn’t keep his mouth shut.  He stated rattling off in poor English how he couldn’t wait to watch all the blood from my stupid brain spill out all over the floor of that place.  

                Haines told him to shut up and take me outside to finish the job.  His next instruction was to dump the body in the nearby river where the current would take me all the way to the Gulf.  No it wouldn’t but what was the sense in arguing with ignorance.  My soaked ass would end up stunk in a tree branch a mile down river and Joe Don’s bullet would be traced back to all of them.  I would die in vain.

                I instantly threw up in my mouth but I didn’t pass out as usual.  My brain seemed to realize there was no time for that. Actually I had run out of time.  Even if Tom and Duke crashed through the door to save me they would be instantly shot.  No, it was over.  I had gone too far by not listening to Tom.  God I hoped he wouldn’t blame himself.  And that is when I saw Reed out the corner of my eye behind finkface Joe Don’s vehicle.  Was he their backup or was he there to help me?

                I said, “Well if you’re going to kill me at least tell me why. “

                Badass Joe Don spoke up saying they didn’t have to tell me anything. God he was nasty. His hair resembled a D.A. you know? Combed back on each side to meet in the back and resemble a duck’s ass. I hadn’t seen that style in Wisconsin before I left. Heard in these parts it was called a “duck tail.” To add to that he had a pack of Marlboro’s rolled up inside the sleeve of his white T-shirt.  And then Ratfink Uncle Tilton interrupted Joe Don by starting to “sing” the whole story.  He always wanted to show off, be the big man he never got to be as a kid, and so he did.  As he told me the story of a tangled family web I could see Miles Reed moving closer up the left side of Joe Don’s vehicle….. I decided not to divert my eyes from Tilton for fear they would catch onto Miles.  God I hoped Miles wouldn’t be killed. God I hoped I wouldn’t be!

                I interrupted Tilton.  “What’s the big deal? I don’t care who owns this house or anything else about Pam or Jake or any of you.”

                Tim Haines asked me what I was doing there if that were the case.

                I didn’t really have an acceptable answer so I told a big lie.  Told them I thought the old place was cool.  Like a haunted house on Halloween.  I added they could make a bundle of money taking people through it every October.  Of course they just stared at me as Joe Don once again repeated how he couldn’t wait to watch all my blood drain from my stupid brain.  I decided to put out what I knew to move this party on.  I told Tim I came back because he had told me the staircase was behind the fireplace when in fact it was in the pantry.  So I knew there was a secret in the fireplace.  But I didn’t find anything so now will you please let me go.  No wait, I would like to know when Pam Hawkinson lived in this place.  And why……

                Tilton told me for once to shut up.  Obviously he wanted the floor and he got it.  He told me how he was Pam’s adopted father Emil Boyer’s brother.  Pam was his niece by marriage.  He said Tim and Jakes Dad had an affair with Pam’s mother. Thus, Pam’s adopted father Emil killed Tim and Jakes father in a jealous rage and then drove he and his wife onto the highway into a fast moving oncoming rig right there on that property.  The continued stress drove their mother to the insane asylum near Ft. Worth where she resides to this day.  We all felt we had paid a terrible price for the wrong doings of their parents and my brother so we forged the WILL and took over ownership of all bank accounts as well as properties.  Upon the death of her parents Pam was sent to live with an Aunt in Missouri.  We figured we would never see her again until she showed up here all these years later.  Said her aunt had told her she was raised here when she was a small child.  We figured we had to get rid of her before she figured out who we were.  Townsfolks and their gossiping and all.  So we took her in as family, got her into using some drugs and falling for Jake until we could figure a way to get rid of her.  She would run drugs to the younger Amarillo kids while we ran the larger operation. That is when you showed up in town putting a wrench in our plans. 

                I said, ‘But Pam caught onto Jakes lies.  She simply decided she couldn’t handle one more lie in her life.  Not one more con she told me.  I see now there were many secrets no one told her about.  All you grown men took advantage of a young woman for what?  An old run down mansion and a Negro Church?”

                Tilton actually laughed at me.  Told me the real estate business, the church,  Timothy’s fake legal status were all cover ups for laundering big drug money out of Chicago and St. Louis.  They used the mansion for drug exchanges and a possible hide out if necessary.  The church was also a great place to deliver goods on a cheerful Sunday.  As for Pam, she didn’t know too much.  She thought Jake loved her and they would ride off into the sunset together forever. Tim told her he had fake ID’s made for the both of them to leave the country soon.  Told her they had family in France.  Of course it was all a lie. It’s her fault anyway.  If she had just stayed in Missouri she would be alive.  Dear God they just blamed her for all the shenanigans they put her through that led to her death.  Narcissist bastards. 

                Joe Don hollered that was enough of this talk as he popped the lid off a Pabst Blue Ribbon beer can. God he was a scum bag. Damned if a scum bag was going to take me out.  I just couldn’t stand it one second longer.  I instinctively lifted my leg with some unknown force other than my own and kicked Joe Don’s Pabst Blue Ribbon to the moon.  He was still in shock when I kicked again this time his pistol flew out of his other hand.  God he was dumb as a stump.  The secret door hatch opened and Duke came out with a vengeance.  He bit and pinned Joe Don to the ground not to mention the blood pouring out on the cement floor.  I almost laughed but I was too busy being terrified.  Tom grabbed me and held me as approximately sixteen FBI agents swarmed out of every corner and door in the area.  It was then I noticed Miles Reed walking very slowly away from everything he has just heard.  Walking away from the daughter he never got to hold. He had been waiting for just the right time to pull her from that nest of criminals.  He had put her on the payroll as an undercover agent but her love for Jake overrode it all.   I believe if she had known Miles was her father she would have left Jake.  Or maybe not. 

Pam’s aunt had contacted him the past year with the truth.  He had moved to Amarillo to find his daughter.  He found her but instead of a happy reunion he found she had gotten into a serious drug dealing ring.  Miles did his best to keep track of her up to her last day on earth.  He was about to tell her he was her father when she gave up on life.  He also knew Tom and Duke were being held captive on the third floor of the mansion.  He told me later he was very sorry for that but he had to wait until he had more proof but he had made sure they were as comfortable as possible.  I asked him why he had interrogated me so long regarding Pam.  He said he wanted to know as much as possible about his daughter and how to help her out of the pit she had dug herself into.

                It was quite enjoyable to watch the FBI take Joe Don dufus out of there crying like a baby.   As well as Tilton who would never see the inside of his fancy schmancy sports car again.  Nor would he ever again have a reason to read a book on how to invest “drug” money.   But I will add the saddest of all was the quiet Timothy fake attorney Haines.  He was oldest boy, then man always in the background quiet and scared as a church mouse.  And now his family was all gone, either dead or imprisoned.

                Tom and Duke and I piled into my beautiful Pink Cadillac and just sat there.  I felt like I had run fifty miles and swam two considering I couldn’t swim. Duke was still running on adrenalin.  Tom……

                He said, “Miss Julie, youse very important to me but I jis caint take no more of all dis.  I tink I will jis work at da Rice Motel and be done wit it. I tank you fer all youse done fo me and my family. Now jis take me home okay?”

                I thought I would cry a river.  I had gotten the old man kidnapped, shot at, and above all so excited about his new church.  No one sang or spoke a word all the way back to Old Tom’s shack. 

                When I pulled around the corner to let Tom off I thought I may never see him again and felt it was an awful way to leave things.   Instead, there was Miles Reed’s car waiting for us.  Not sure how he knew we would be there but then I wasn’t sure how he knew Tom and I had gone to the Mansion either.

                Tom greeted Miles with a strong handshake.  Me, I was more walking with my tail between my legs.  Duke he was happy to be anywhere but that mansion.   Miles asked if we could sit and talk a spell. Tom and I agreed and we all sat in the torn lawn chairs outside.  Shamika made a batch of good old Texas ice tea with fresh lemon.  Miles started to talk and I interrupted as usual.  He stopped and waited the gentleman he was.  I asked Tom to give Miles the papers we found in the fireplace.  Tom pulled the folded papers out of his top pocket and handed them over.  Miles asked what it was.  Told me if this was FBI business it could wait.  Tom and I shook our heads in unison while Duke looked at me then Tom then Miles and then again.  Miles just stared at the document and note.  A tear ran down his tanned face as he told us he waited too long to tell Pam she was his daughter.  He never knew he had a daughter until six months ago.   Then when he did find her she was already wrapped up in the drug ring.  He said he was trying to free her from it when she fell in love with Jake.  Said he shouldda killed him.  She’d still be alive if he had killed the bastard.  Then he told Tom he had no use for a Pentecostal Negro Church or even for God anymore.  He would be signing over the property to Tom Baird as long as I paid the back taxes and repairs per city codes. 

                Old Tom took Miles by the hand and told him he weren’t takin’ no church unlessin’ Miles promised to come at least twice in each month.   Told Miles God didn’t kill his daughter.  God tried every way to save her.  In the end she made her own decision.  That she be watchin’ down on her Daddy and he expected Miles to make her proud.  Miles looked up and smiled at the old man.  Shamika said a beautiful prayer of Peace for Pam Hawkinson and her Daddy Miles Reed. 

                It was then my brain came back to me full circle.  I said, “Whoa, wait a minute, how did you know Tom and I were at the mansion.  Damn we almost got killed!”

                Miles actually laughed at me as he told the story of my Grandfather contacting Director Ferguson who contacted Miles.  He told us how Ferguson got him off his pity party and back into action.  You owe him a debt of gratitude Julianna.  Your Grandfather’s people discovered Tim Haines fake lawyer status as well as the property deed changes made illegally. Your Grandfather informed us you would not leave our fair city if this situation was not solved. That he feared for your life as this time you had gotten in a bit over your head.  We assured him we would not let you out of our site and we did not.    After a few laughs and a wish for a couple shots of C.C. I recalled something.  

“What were the jail cells for on the second floor of the mansion?” I asked.

  Miles said no one really knew for sure.   Talk from the old timers said it had something to do with the Spanish American War.  Then after that it was used during prohibition.  Said he'd seen pictures of Whiskey stills all over that property hidden in the woods. 

                “So Miles, do you think you might tear it down?”  I said.

                Miles smiled as he announced his plans to us. “No Julianna, I am going to renovate the old place and make it a home for wayward teens and young adults who have no family or have lost their way.  They will enjoy all the hidden staircases and tunnels.”

                In the days to come Miles received a new birth certificate from Pam’s aunt in Missouri.  It stated under Father:   Miles Reed. One would have thought he was just given a gold bar. I also got me a new pair of Pink boots while I did keep the old ones to remind me not to jump out of moving trucks ever again.  And a pretty pink western studded shirt to replace the one the bull may still have hanging on his horns out in that pasture!   

                I stopped by Tom’s on my way out of town the following Saturday.  In the yard of his old shack were at least thirty people from his congregation.  All ready to renovate the shack and his yard.  So many happy people in one place I wasn’t sure I wanted to leave.  Tom came over and gave me the biggest fatherly hug I had probably ever had.  He whispered in my ear he loved me and to keep in touch.  And then he said.

                “By the way, Miles Reed stopped by.  Told me to tell you he is naming the mansion, “The Pamela Reed House of Peace.” 

I was jumping up and down when old Tom stopped me and told me there was more. 

“The west wing will be named “Julianna Rowe West Wing.”   I bawled like a baby. In fact I think I bawled happiness almost all the way to Sante Fe.  And somehow I knew Old Tom would be right in there helping Reed with those kids. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Corrections!!

I spent the past week reading Chapter One thru Chapter 21. 
I also figure I must have been possessed at about 13 or somewhere in there.
Run on sentences by the score.  Even I got lost a few times. 
That said, I have corrected.  Sorry for the confusion but my mind takes off and my typing fingers
     cant always keep up.   I usually edit later. 
Working on the ending! 

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Cardboard Box Part II Chapter 21 "Whose Your Daddy" ..........by Julianna Rowe (Property of Diane Ogden)


Chapter 21   “Whose Your Daddy”

I dropped Tom off at his shack. Couldn’t much call it anything else considering the sight of it.  I knew when the church deal went through his church “flock” would make sure Tom and his family had more suitable living arrangements.  My goal was to leave that entire drug dealing business behind me and get the sale papers viewed by someone other than Timothy Haines so I could move on.  I certainly didn’t want the old preacher signing anything that could have gotten him into any shady legal matters.  No I was going to make sure everything was on the up and up before I headed West.

After a good night’s sleep Duke and I had breakfast.  I then made the call to Granddaddy in Austin with a request for his people to look over the legalities of the church I had found for Tom Baird.  The church I was prepared to purchase and repair for him that is.

Grandaddy’s secretary put me right through to him.  Of course he asked me where I was and when I said Amarillo he immediately figured something was wrong.  Probably because time wise I should have gotten to Los Angeles already, instead I was only a few hundred miles from Austin heading back to Route 66.  I assured him I was fine but had been waylaid due to some ratfink planting drugs in my Cadi.  I realized after I said it I should not have said it.   Granddad about flipped his grey comb over as well as I could hear the familiar sound of the bottom desk drawer open and the bottle of Canadian Club hit the top of the desk. 

“Grandad, I am okay.  Listen to me now.  I met an old black man name of Tom Baird whose family was down on their luck. I tried to leave them all behind and drive onto Santé Fe but you know I couldn’t do it Pops.  They live in a run-down shack where his son is disabled and his daughter has a three year old.  To make matters worse the old man lost his job too.  He’s a preacher man Granddaddy and I found him the neatest outta sight little church you ever saw with a ready made congregation.”

Granddad abruptly interrupted my running on saying he wasn’t helping me buy any church for any old Negro man.  Furthermore…..

I quickly intercepted before he could say anything further.  “Granddaddy, you are not buying a church for anyone.  I am.  I need the expertise of your legal team to look over the paperwork so Tom Baird and I don’t get hornswoggled amidst a bad deal.  That is all I am asking regarding the church deal.  On the other hand we have found ourselves in the middle of some sort of drug operation in small town Amarillo, U.S.A.  Tom and Duke were kidnapped, Miles Reed the FBI investigator's vehicle was run off the road and then he was hospitalized.  T hen I found him sobbing at the cemetery over Pam Hawkinson's grave after she killed her lover and then herself basically in front of me and her uncle, the realtor selling us the church.  And …..”

“For the love of God Julianna, how the hell do you get yourself into these situations?  I want you to get your dog and put the Cadi on the highway and get the hell outta there today!  Do you hear me youngin’? Just look at the mess you’re in again.  Another God Damn cardboard box you’re able to crawl out of but you don’t.  It’s a cardboard box Julianna and I don’t want to see it turn into damn coffin.”  That is what he said in a loud crackling voice that ran through me as if it were God himself shooting bolts of hot lightning all around me with their tiny tributaries hitting my brain.

I was silent for what seemed minutes but of course was only seconds.  I didn’t know what to say considering I had already said too much.  Probably a result of the special brewed ice tea I had for breakfast.  Whichever the reason it was too late whereas I heard nothing on the other end of the phone line.  It wasn’t like Granddaddy to hang up on me but then I had given him quite a bit of stress the past month or so.  And then the deep southern voice of my Grandfather spoke.

“Send me the paperwork!”

“I meekly said, “Thank you sir.”  And we hung up.  I could see in my mind’s eye Grandad’s next steps as though I were sitting across the desk from him.  He unscrewed the cap from the jug of Canadian Club Whiskey, took out a shot glass, filled it to the brim, downed it and smiled.  And then he did it again.  I was wishing I could get away with that but I knew better.  He could hold his liquor from the years of practice whereas I never indulged to that degree of which I was thankful.

I made my way to the local Amarillo Post Office only to find it closed for lunch.  Simply dandy I thought.  Federal employees get to close the building for lunchtime.  They had much more power than other business’s and they pulled that bully card whenever possible, especially in the federal legal system. I did some shopping while the Fed’s ate lunch then returned to mail the copies of the church legal papers to Granddaddy’s office in Austin.  I had no idea how long before I would hear from either his attorney’s or he himself.  Guess it was time to settle in for a bit of Amarillo sightseeing.  Although so far my sight-seeing days in the fair city were nothing to write or call home about.  Fact was they had been rather frightening.

I shopped at almost every store on Polk Street, then 7th and 8th Street.  The next day I went back downtown to the Paramount Theatre and saw “Party Girl.”   During my shopping sprees Shamika babysat Duke.  He loved it there as well as it always lifted Shamonta’s spirits to the moon.  And of course I would bring a Cadi full of presents for everyone upon my return.  Tom had gotten his job back at the Rice Motel Restaurant and all seemed to be going smoothly for everyone.  I hadn’t seen or heard from Miles Reed at all nor did I make it a point to search him out.  I was dang tired of talking, hearing, or seeing, anything to do with drug activity, murder suicides, interrogations, or kidnapping’s, in Amarillo. Nope, I was shopping, sightseeing, and waiting for news from Granddaddy and or his legal people.  I had been in Amarillo for Thanksgiving and now we were headed for Christmas.  It was way past time for Duke and me to hit the road again.  Granddad had contacted me once since our initial conversation to let me know he had a trickle of good information for me but it required a bit more time. He had also spoken to Tilton Boyer who placed a pending sale on the property.  I did wonder how Granddad made that happen but I did not question it for now.

On Tom’s day off we had gone out to walk the grounds of his new church home.  Our visit that day to Christ the King Pentecostal Church was for fun, future plans, and of course some serious prayer.  I told him I also wanted to make a stop at the mansion.  Dear God and all his Angels and Mother Mary I thought old Tom would fall dead on the spot.  Why his brown face turned pale.  Never had I seen anything such as that, but then I hadn’t personally known very many Negro’s who fainted. 

As he leaned against one of the beautiful tree’s he said, “Is youse bored missy Julie?  I is show we can come up wit sometin betta and safa ta doo wit our time and lives.”  And he walked away from me.  That was the first time old Tom ever spoke to me in such a fatherly manner.  I was embarrassed at my lack of sensitivity for what I failed to recall he had been put through at that evil place.  Even Duke walked off from me with old Tom. 

I said, “Wait, I’m sorry.  I just thought we could, um, find out, um, investigate, and get some answers.”  Neither Duke nor Tom acknowledged my intentions in any way.  They just kept walking. “Fine then, I will go by myself after I drop you and Duke off at your place.”

Old Tom stopped dead still never uttering a word.  Just standing there like a dang statue. Duke did his usual looking back and forth at Tom then me, then Tom then me. 

At that instant Tom said, “Use yoer head child.”

I suppose he was right in hindsight, but as we all know I rarely did that until after the fact.  We finished our church planning visit I seemed to have ruined for everyone.  I was beginning to wonder if the church deal was ever going to go through, although Tom was becoming more acquainted with his congregation as the days and weeks passed.  They would meet him every Saturday night and Sunday morning at the Church.  They brought lawn chairs, musical instruments, some of the instruments were homemade and folding tables full of food.  Tom would stand on the steps of the church and preach as well as led the people in song.  It was truly exhilarating to be a part of. 

Duke, Tom, and I piled into my beautiful pink Cadillac and sat there in silence.  Finally Tom said, “Fine, goes to dat damn mansion ifin’s youse must!” 

And so we did.  When Duke realized where we were he started whimpering like a baby.  I felt as bad as I guess I should have.  Tom was equally unhappy with me as he attempted to sooth Duke’s fears.

Tom said, “Now youse goin’ to take to breakin’ in?  Youse breakin da law Julie! Anyways da doors gonna be locked so let’s goes home girl.”

I told him I wanted to at least try the door and when I did it opened.  I was smiling ear to ear like I had won something big.  Tom on the other hand was shaking his head saying, “Shit!”  I learned that day preachers cuss on occasion too.  I pushed the creaking door open. Duke started barking and Tom was still shaking his head is frustration.  I think he had stopped saying shit by then.  I told Tom I wanted to see what was behind or around the fireplace.  Pam had told me the hidden staircase to the third floor was behind the fireplace but it wasn’t.  It was inside the pantry.  Dang place was almost as eerie as my run in with the Ghost of the outer edge back in Illinois or was that Missouri?  Townsfolk said the ghosts of Tim and Jake’s Father and Pam’s Mother walked the third floor for years.  And now Pam and Jake were most likely stuck up there also.  Tom drew the line on going to that floor. He said no way would he subject himself or Duke to that horror ever again.  And I agreed. 

We got to the main floor kitchen and I began inspecting the fireplace.  Tom sat at the table with Duke hugging his leg.  In fact if Duke could have he would have been in Tom’s lap.  I pushed every brick on the face of that fireplace wall hoping for a magical door to open or an entire wall to move aside.  Nothing.  Then I moved to the walls where I pressed spots where there was no reason to press spots.  I kicked the fireplace, hollered at it, hit it, and begged it.  All the while Tom sat staring at me like I was a spoiled child who didn’t think before she acted.   It was with that realization I stood very still and listened to my spirit.  I did not hear anything, but I saw something in my minds eye.  It was a coal black square with a small metal ring in the center.  I turned and looked at Tom with unspoken wide eyed intention. 

Tom said, “What?”

I didn’t respond, rather I laid on the floor as close to the fireplace opening as possible and reached inside.  Closing my eyes so I could use my other senses to find the black coal colored square, and then I squealed like a greased pig in a rodeo race!  My finger hooked the latch and I pulled.  Tom realized what was happening and sprang into action shining my flashlight into the black hole of a possible treasure find.  The brick fell out from the wall and behind it was a metal box. I was able to pull it lose from its captivity and it fell to the floor of the fireplace as though it knew I was freeing its hidden mystery.  Tom grabbed it and set it on the table.  We both starred at it with some unearthly feelings.  Like maybe this wasn’t real. 

I said, “Open it Tom! Hurry.”  Although old Tom never did much of anything in a hurry, because he was slow, steady, and thoughtful, unless he was preaching.  And so Tom unemotionally pried it open and inside the box we found folded papers.  Tom carefully unfolded the papers and once again his eyes got big as saucers. 

I said, “What, what! What is it?” 

His mouth was hanging open and his eyes were still way too big to look normal as he handed the papers to me.   I took them into my hands, shone the flashlight onto the typewritten paper and read aloud.

State of Texas Birth Certificate

Mother:  Agnes Hawkinson          Father:  Unknown

Child:    Baby Pamela Jean Hawkinson    Date of Birth:  1-22-1940 and so on as a legal document read.  And then I saw the note attached to the birth certificate.  The note was the reason for Tom Baird’s eyes to bug out like he’d stuck his finger in an electrical socket.  The note read:  Upon my death please notify my daughter Pamela J. Hawkinson that her birth fathers name is Miles Wilson Reed of Galveston, Texas.  And please forgive me for never telling you the truth my loving child.

Behind the note and birth certificate was the deed to the mansion and the little white church.  They had been left to Miles Reed and Pam Hawkinson upon the death of Agnes Hawkinson.  

“Holy Shit Tom!”  I said.

Tom agreed this was a lot. to take in.  It was big.  Someone we’d known had been hiding a very big secret. Tilton said the mansion was owned by Tim and Jake Haines.  No wonder Jake was going to kill Pam.  They wanted to inherit the property.  But why?  It’s a run-down old prison where ghosts live.  And the church is a Negro church.  Something is still missing I told Tom.  Oh my gosh no wonder Miles was beyond grief when Pam died.  He must have known she was his daughter.  And here I thought they were lovers.  He interrogated me so he could learn more about Pam and keep his eye on Jake whose father murdered Pam’s mother for having an affair with his father.   And all that talk about Jake being a Frenchman must have been a cover up to keep me out of the loop.  I was not sure Miles was aware he owned the properties.  I was zoned out inside my head with all this new information. When I came back to earth I looked up and noticed Tom’s face had saddened.  He suddenly realized he may not get the precious little white church after all.   Tilton and Tim Haines must know my legal team will find out they do not really own the church.   We could be in danger once again.

And then we heard a vehicle coming up the gravel driveway.  My baby browning was in the Cadi.  We could either go up to third floor or race to the Cadi. Neither was a good option.  That is when I heard Preacher Tom say, “Shit!”  And I prayed it wouldn't be the last time I ever heard him say it.