The Thing About Grief…

The Thing About Grief…

My Grandmother died in February. One of the things that has been so strange about her death is that sometimes I forget that it’s happened. And I know that sounds so weird and maybe even insensitive but it’s true.

Like, I’ll have a few hours to kill on her side of town and think ‘I’ll go see Grandmom!’ and then I’ll remember.

Or when Hank had his end of the year program. See, he and his cousin Eli got a case of the big church giggles up on stage and I immediately thought ‘oh, I can’t wait to tell Grandmom about this. She is going to be so tickled.’

Or I think of a funny memory I want to remind her of and then, oh yeah, I can’t. Cousin’s Camp was hard without her this year. We were so lucky to have her healthy for as long as we did.

We took the kids to Greene Street Market this week. Greene Street is kind of the Pinterest version of the Farmer’s Market in town. It’s chock full of hipsters.

If the picture of us happily walking through the market buying fresh produce just flashed through your head just go on and let it go.

IMG_5038I mean, some people were happily doing that. My kids were too busy complaining about the oppressive MOTHER OF PEARL heat.

Stella was running from shade patch to shade patch, acting as if she’d melt if she stayed in the sun too long. And she was really selling this acting job. ‘Mommy, the heat….the heat…I’m going to splode from the heat!’ 

Look minions, we live in Alabama. This heat? It’s kind of our thing.

At the market we bought ice cream, cupcakes, lemonade, tea, bread, popsicles and bracelets. Nary a vegetable one came back with us. Whoops, our bad.

James waited in line for the Piper and Leaf tea. His tasted so good that I decided to try some too.

IMG_5037I took a different sample and…Well, I started crying. Like full scale, James patting me on the back, crying. It was ridiculous. I finally chocked out ‘that tea tastes just like my Grandmoms.’ And it did. It really did.

Grandmom Elmira Wilson

 

I felt awful for the guy working the booth. Poor man was just trying to sell his overpriced but oh, so delicious, tea and all the sudden a crazy woman starts crying at you.

It’s that grief.

It just sneaks up on you.

The Cure for Henry Fussy

The Cure for Henry Fussy

Sunday night my plane from Dallas got delayed and delayed and, just for good measure, delayed again. The wheels finally touched down in Huntsville at 1:30 in the morning. After talking to Billy and snuggling with various and sundry sleepy children I finally fell into bed.

That alarm clock Monday rang early! It was totally worth it, though, because I had the pleasure of going on a tour of Miller Farms in Snead, Alabama with some other bloggers. Sweet Tea in the South, Southern Plate, Cosmopolitan Cornbread and Southern Kissed all came. It was so beautiful and awesomely informational! As a side note Stephanie, the farmer’s wife, has a terrific blog. You should read it.

Absolute coolest part of the tour…

Ladies and Gentleman, I’d like to introduce you to…drum roll please…peanuts! Yeah, apparently they don’t grow in galvanized buckets at Logan’s Restaurant. Apparently, they grow in the ground. Here is Lance, the farmer, holding some he pulled up for us.

Miller Farms AlabamaAnd y’all, they have flowers!

IMG_5194

We learned all about these little suckers. How the nodules produce nitrogen and how…alright I’m getting ahead of myself…Let’s take a step back.

Miller Farms is a family farm that has been operating for over one hundred years. They grow cotton, soybeans, corn, peanuts, chickens, and on and on and on.

This guy was there.

IMG_5163The life of a farm dog is chock full of responsibilities. At least I assume it is because this guy slept a lot. He was plumb wore out.

What hit me on the farm tour over and over again was how much dang work being a farmer is. I mean, everyone has heard about how hard life on a farm is but it was different hearing the stories first hand.

For instance, when they first got married they’d be up at six harvesting cotton and only stop to eat lunch and dinner. Then, around eight pm, they’d go back out and harvest the peanuts until one or two in the morning. Whew! No wonder that dog is tired.

Peanuts need really sandy soil. That’s why they grow so well in South Alabama. But, even though we are in North Alabama, we just happen to have a big hill we call Sand Mountain close by and that’s where the farm is. Hence the great peanuts being grown. These particular peanuts sometimes get sold to Mars Inc.

Yep, these peanuts become Snicker bars. So, really it’s healthy to eat candy bars because they come from local ingredients. Yeah, I’m just doing my part to eat local when I have a Fun Size party.

The cotton was looking good too. I love cotton flowers. I love it even more in the Fall when the cotton bolls pop out and it turns the whole world white and makes me think we are living in the snowiest part of Minnesota. 

IMG_5182But for now the flowers will suffice.

Along with being in awe of how hard the farmers work I was in shock by how much technology is integrated into every single aspect of farming. They actually use a GPS to harvest the peanuts. It’s true – if they get off by as little as 3/4 of an inch they can lose a lot of money.

Now wait just a cotton pickin’ minute! How did Cosmopolitan Cornbread get to climb up in the John Deere? I like to pretend I’m a farmer as much as the next girl.

Cosmopolitan Cornbread Miller Farms

Okay, I just can’t wait any longer…

BABY CHICKENS!!!

IMG_5234Aren’t they the cutest little things ever? I can’t even about these things. They use radiator air conditioning in the houses just like in The Land at Epcot in Walt Disney World. It was amazing how much cooler it was in the chicken houses!

After we ate a delicious meal that looked like it was straight out of Pinterest…

IMG_5247

The farmer’s wife led us in playing Corno – yeah, you see what she did there. Corno instead of Bingo. Look at all the crazy things corn is used in.

Corn Bingo GameWe picked corn and got to take a lot home which I promptly put up in the freezer. Where’s my medal?

Hanging out on a farm felt good. Remember Henry Fussy, yes, the character I named my second son after, from Charlotte’s Web? He’s all uptight and worried all the time and then he goes and spend the summer at a farm and comes back a new kid. That’s what farms do to a person!

We live in Alabama. Farms are everywhere! It was so cool to get to go see what actually happens on a family farm. So, thanks to Miller Farms for letting us have an inside look.

______________________________________

Don’t forget to to enter to win a copy of Melanie Dale’s terrific book Women Are Scary. All you have to do is comment on the blog post, on Twitter, or on Facebook. Bonus points if you share the post on social media! I’ll draw for it on Sunday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Just Texas Being Texas

It’s Just Texas Being Texas

I was in Waxahatchie, Texas for my sweet Uncle Eddie’s funeral this weekend. He was a military man. If you’d asked me how tall he was I would have said eight feet but my Mom says it’s closer to six feet four.

He wrote an epic Christmas letter every year. I don’t mean he typed a letter and sent it. Oh no, that man HAND WROTE Christmas letters to people. LONG letters too! Although, truthfully I got booted off the list a few years back because I forgot to do something I was supposed to do for him. Meh, I deserved it.

The whole state of Texas is whackadoodle crazy. No offense, Texas. You know it’s true. Spellcheck thinks whackadoodle isn’t a word. I think that Spellcheck is whackadoodle. 

Everything really is bigger here. For instance, I hung out with Sam Houston yesterday.

Sam Houston Statue Texas

Bonus points if you understand why I called him ‘GBF’ when I texted Jamie, the twelve year old, about it.

Cowboy Church Waxahatchie Texas

We saw real cowboys going to Cowboy Church.

And I saw a real tall horse.

IMG_5140

See! Even horses are bigger in Texas.

My Uncle Eddie was also an artist. How fantastic are these?

IMG_5132

Except that one on the left. He’s clearly up to something. It’s those shifty eyes. He knows what’s going down.

My cousin Jennifer invited us to her house, a real Texas ranch, to look at old pictures. I now present to you the scariest birthday clown ever.

Scary Clown Birthday Party
Thanks for hiring that guy. Now I have something to use as fodder for my nightmares.

In the end it was SO nice seeing the family. My brothers drove me to the airport and every time there was a lull in the conversation I thought ‘Oh Paula, don’t waste this time.’ 

Being around each other – those I see plenty and those I never see – just reminds me how dang much I love everybody. Well, that and the meds I just took to calm my nerves for the flight. 

IMG_5146

 

So right now I’m at the airport wearing heels pretending to be a real business woman. A few minutes ago I made a mistake and made a frustrated sound. Another lady in heels (one that’s probably going to a super fancy city for a super fancy meeting) gave me a ‘solidarity sister’ look. I’ll take it.

This business woman fantasy – it’s just me being me. And all this BIG whackadoodle stuff is just Texas being Texas. And all this love that we have for each other is just us being family.

______________________________________________

Don’t forget to to win a copy of Melanie Dale’s terrific book Women Are Scary. All you have to do is comment on the blog post, on Twitter, or on Facebook. Bonus points if you share the post! I’ll draw for it on Sunday.