Accent? What accent?

In  1999, the hubby’s company moved us to a strange new land.  “Virginia” they called it…….I actually had to get out my trusty atlas to see exactly where Virginia was on the map. Yes, Geography was another subject in which I failed to excel. We were nonetheless excited about this new adventure in a new place. I had never lived outside the Great State of Texas, but Mike had lived in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and last, but not least, Oklahoma. His company flew us out to look for a place to live, and we leased a beautiful new 2 story townhouse; then we checked out local places and the scenery. All the Redbud trees were in bloom while we were there in late March, so we could hardly wait until we got properly moved, in less than a month.

The beautiful town-home!
Outside of the beautiful town-home!

Mike had driven his truck to Christiansburg to get to work, and left me behind to oversee the movers, then he flew back and we drove the car to Virginia, stopping on the way to see The Grand Ol’ Opry in Nashville. We spent about a week in a hotel waiting for our belongings to arrive, and when they did, we started getting settled in the beautiful new home. Mike’s new store was to open in June, so he was busy hiring a crew, and I started looking for a job. Kroger was opening a new store in nearby Blacksburg, and due to my vast experience in the grocery business, they hired me right away. (Too bad the pay was not commensurate with my experience, but that’s a story for another day)

On the weekends, we drove all around, looking at the scenery, which was breathtaking. I loved the mountains, it seemed like you could literally see forever. We made friends with a couple who were happy to show us all the sights that we might never have known about. They took us on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which runs for 469 miles through the southern Appalachians of Virginia and North Carolina, linking  Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountain National Parks along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

View from The Blue Ridge Parkway…..stunning!

One of the most amazing places on the Parkway was Mabry Mill , a historic water-powered grist mill which was originally built in 1910. I snapped this photo below, and I swear, it looks just like a picture postcard. We visited there again when Mike’s folks came to visit us in September.

A perfect shot, if I say so myself!

When my parents visited us in August, shortly after we had moved there, we took them to Natural Bridge:

We lived in Christiansburg for about 7 months, then were transferred again, and moved again….whew, to central Virginia, and Mike’s next new store was in Lexington, which is a wonderful historic place, however, we couldn’t find any place to live, so we rented a house in Stuarts Draft.

Stuarts Draft, in the valley this time….

This was about 30 miles north, in the valley; there were a great number of beautiful Mennonite farms there, and the people were exceedingly friendly and polite.

Now, I say they were all polite and friendly, however, there was this teeny tiny misunderstanding about who actually had the southern accent….ME….or THEM! Of course, I have a Texas accent and Mike does not, since he was born in Alabama; so I’m not sure why they picked on me for MY “alleged” accent! The women didn’t carry “purses” they carried “pocketbooks” and I told them that if I came back to Texas and said “pocketbook”, I’d get laughed out of town! But, they still teased me about my accent…..and I had no choice but to take it in stride, hence my nickname  “Texas Twang Debi”……see, if you can’t fight ’em, join ’em!

Just across the mountain to the east of us was Charlottesville, home of Thomas Jefferson and the University of Virginia which he founded. We toured Jefferson’s home, Monticello twice while living in the state, and it was my favorite historical site. I learned so much about American history while living in Virginia because everywhere you turn, there’s another historic site.

Monticello

Monticello was amazing….

While in Stuarts Draft, I worked at the Kroger on Lew DeWitt Boulevard in Waynesboro, and we were just a few miles from Staunton (pronounced Stanton for some reason!) home of The Statler Brothers! We toured their museum and I got very up close and personal with gold records and Grammy Awards! The closest I will ever get, no doubt!

After about 8 months in Lexington/Stuarts Draft, we moved again….sigh…..this time to the less idyllic locale of Warrenton, about 40 miles from Washington D.C. The people were less friendly, the cost of living was much higher, and the scenery was not as pretty, although, there were several horse farms that we saw that were nice.

The house we rented was stuck in a 1970s time warp, but the rent wasn’t too outrageous. Plus, we were only 40 miles from our nations capitol. We went twice to DC….Mike’s favorite site was Kennedy’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery.

Me and mom….

In November of 2000, we had enjoyed as much of Virginia as we could, because we learned that each time Mike’s company moved us, our two years started all over again…see, they had said “go there and open this store, and in two years we’ll move you back to Texas”. He opened two new stores and then moved again to take over the top store in the district.

Hmph.

That’s all I’m going to say about that.

I was quite homesick by this time, so we made a joint decision.

Like I said, I was homesick……lol…..

We had a MASSIVE garage sale, even sold the truck…..loaded up what was left and headed home to The Great State of Texas. We didn’t have jobs to come home to, nowhere to live, but my sweet and practical brother said “y’all can live with us while you get jobs and find a place to live, 90 days ought to do it”…..LOL…… That 90 days evolved into SIX months, because we built a new house, and it took that long. Good thing they lived in a huge house……we had a blast staying with them, though and felt a little lost when we had to move out! (Thanks PK and KK)

Our new house!

Like I said earlier, the lovely folks in Virginia made fun of my accent, but I loved the time we spent there, and I think about it every time I grab my PURSE, not my pocketbook, but my purse and leave the HOUSE, not my “hoose”…..lol

Virginia may be for lovers, but when I die, I want to STAY in Texas!

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Midnight Lady

In 1985 I was playing with the band “Burgundy and Lace” in my hometown and having a blast, learning the ropes, learning to drink, etc. The drummer was a laid back guy named LaVaden (LV for short) Reynolds, and one night at rehearsal, he told me about a song he had written. He had a page full of lyrics with a good premise, the title was “A Midnight Lady named Sadie”…….I saw potential and asked if I could work with the words and see if I could come up with something. He was excited that I was willing to try, so that’s how “Midnight Lady” was born.

I tweaked the lyrics, condensing them to make them more cohesive, and came up with a melody and some chord changes that I really liked. The band learned the song, we performed it regularly in clubs and it was well received. Of course, it was sung by the lead singer, Randy, with me and Linda singing harmony. The version at the top of the page is mine, made with Band in a Box, with my vocals. I really think it could have been a great song in the right hands. I suppose we’ll never know.

LV died about 4 years ago, much too young. It’s a shame that he never got to hear our song on the Internet…….he would have said “wow, man, that’s really cool”. I can hear him saying just those words.

Midnight Lady

She’s a midnight lady, always on the go
sometimes saying maybe, sometimes saying no.
She’s always on the dance floor, at a local bar
living out her fantasy of being someone’s star.

She never goes home before midnight,
but always goes alone
running from the spotlight
never a diamond, just a rhinestone.

She’s a midnight lady, living all alone
looking out the window, listening for the phone,
but when the phone is silent and she cannot sleep
she remembers all the promises that he just couldn’t keep.

Now the midnight lady recalls a love gone by
but the memory is so faded now, she finds it hard to cry,
’cause now that she is older and wiser than before
she realized a broken heart doesn’t matter anymore.

She never goes home before midnight,
but always goes alone
running from the spotlight
never a diamond, just a rhinestone.

ooh..midnight lady
sad and lonely lady
ooh midnight lady
all alone…….

Nightlife

*When the evenin’ sun goes down

you will find me hangin’ round

oh the nightlife, it ain’t no good life

but it’s my life.

She sat in front of the mirror applying another coat of mascara to her lashes. Her dark brown eyes were her best feature, everyone said so, therefore she tried to make them look even more seductive. It was always dark in the nightclubs, and she wanted to be noticed. She wanted very much to be noticed over all the other single women vying to be noticed.

The garage apartment Jeannie rented was very small, furnished with hand-me-down furniture, odds and ends, but was very homey and comfortable. Her clothes hung behind a curtain suspended from the ceiling. Satin jackets, sequined tops, jeans, prairie dresses, cowboy boots and assorted high heels, most verging on stiletto. She was the shortest child in her family, at 5′ 4″…..everyone else seemed to tower above her, so the heels were a must have. Tonight’s costume would be the red satin camisole, black satin pants, black satin jacket with rhinestone adorned lapels, and heels in a silver/black pattern. She fastened the rhinestone necklace carefully behind her neck, and checked her reflection in the mirror. “Looking pretty good for 30-something” she thought.

“Don’t the girls all get prettier at closing time…. Don’t they all begin to look like movie stars… Don’t the girls all get prettier at closing time… When the change starts takin’ place… It puts a glow on every face….. Of the fallen angels of the backstreet bars”

It was the same routine she followed almost every night that she didn’t work. Jeannie sang with a local band, and loved being on stage, in the spotlight, it was a rush like none other. But, the nights that she wasn’t on stage, those were the lonely, empty nights that she tried to fill. She and her two best friends made the rounds between the two neighboring towns.

First stop was the club at The Sheraton Hotel because it was an early crowd, and happy hour included a buffet. She could kill two birds with one stone. Heads turned when the three women walked in together, they joked between themselves, that they looked like “Charlie’s Angels”, without the firearms, of course. They would stake their claim to a small table near the dance floor, and hold court while sipping slowly on their drinks. Next stop was a rabble-rousing country bar, full of good old boys, drugstore cowboys and more single women to compete against for attention. The “meat market” she called it, because the crowd of single women moved from one end of the building to the other in a well-organized throng, constantly moving, looking at every man as a potential dance partner, or more. Jeannie was glad it was ladies night here so she could drink for free. Last stop for the night, the other country bar in town, more of a couples atmosphere there. Not any good prospects there, because Jeannie was determined to never be a home-wrecker. Jeannie and both her friends had been hit on by many married men; it was just part of the nightlife, but having been on the receiving end of that betrayal, she swore she’d never be the reason another woman would lose her man. This was just the place to relax and have fun, the house band was laid back and would let Jeannie sit in on piano and sing later, so it was the perfect end to the night.

The waitress appeared at the table with a Colorado Bulldog, “complements of the gentleman at the bar” she said, nodding toward the man in the teal colored shirt. Jeannie caught her breath, and mumbled thank you to the waitress, all the while keeping her eye on the man. The man who once belonged to her, until some sweet young thing stepped in and took him away. Why was he here? She hadn’t seen him in over a year. Had it really been a year since she moved 700 miles to get away from the pain and memories of the two years they had spent together?

Alex started walking toward the table, and Jeannie began to panic. What would she say? How should she act? Offended? Hostile? Cool, indifferent? He held out his hand and led her to the dance floor. They began to dance like they had done so many times before, and everything seemed so natural and comfortable, but surreal all at the same time. Her head fit perfectly in the crook of his neck and the smell of his cologne brought memories rushing back into her head and her heart. At the end of the dance, he held her tight and asked if he could see her home safely. It would be so easy to say yes, to let him take over and be her protector again; it would be so nice to have someone to share her laughter and tears with. But, she could still feel the hurt, the pain, and she knew she could never forget.

The bartender called “last call” and the lights came on in the club. Nothing is worse than the harsh reality of fluorescent lights after being in a dimly lit building for hours, then you see the real person in front of you, the one you’ve romanticized over, danced and flirted with….and you realize, he’s just a man. A man who has realized what a mistake he made.

Jeannie looked at her reflection in the mirror as she removed her makeup. Her brown eyes were still her best feature, but now she noticed something new. Just a glimmer…….Self respect? Hope? Yes, maybe a bit of both. She had just discovered how strong she had become in the past year. She said “no” to the man who once was the center of her world, who she loved more than anything and who had hurt her beyond comprehension. She said “no”…..and walked away.

* Nightlife…by Willie Nelson

A New Life

My daughter is expecting a baby boy in early April. This will be her third child. Her others are 21 and 19. Yes, Mother Nature is laughing wickedly in the distance at this blessed event. And so were the rest of us in the beginning, but after the shock wore off, we began to get excited about the new baby.

It’s been a very long time since I’ve looked forward to a new grandbaby, so I decided to make a baby afghan for this one. I had visions of a beautiful blanket in several shades of blue. However….Kelly chose brown. I was not so sure about brown. But, after looking at all the nursery sets at the store, I could see why she chose brown. Of course, there’s also blue and cream in the color scheme, but she wanted the afghan in brown. I’m not very proficient anymore with crochet, so I stuck to my tried and true ripple pattern. All I have to do is count to seven going up and back down. Whew. At my age, even that is daunting!

I found this adorable little lamb at Kohl’s and he looks so sweet, that today, I went back and bought another one for ME…..lol….and also a bear and kangaroo for the baby.

I promise not to spoil this grandbaby too much.

Oh what the heck….I will if I want to!