Monday, December 26, 2011

A Kindle Fire and Other Gifts



A few weeks ago, my sister, Mrs. Dyson, informed me that she had bought my niece, Noir, a Kindle Fire for her birthday. Amazed and excited, I said, "Oh! I was thinking about buying one for myself! I've heard they are really nice!" After our conversation, Mrs. Dyson called again a few days later.

"Hey! I'm gonna buy you a Kindle Fire and Mom an electric blanket for Christmas. Do you think that will be alright?" asked Mrs. Dyson.
Slightly stunned, I replied, "Now, that you have taken the surprise out of opening presents on Christmas Day; I think it will have to be 'alright'."
"I can get you and Mom something else," offered Mrs. Dyson.
"No! No! No! A Kindle Fire and an electric blanket for Mom would be just perfect."
"I just don't want y'all to go out and buy one before Christmas," said Mrs. Dyson.
I replied, "Okay. So, I'm gonna forget we just had this conversation and will act surprised on Christmas morning."
"That sounds fine," Mrs. Dyson said with a laugh.

So, on Christmas Eve Eve (two days before Christmas Day); I baked my late Aunt Ellen's pound cake from scratch; drank some liquor and wondered if Mrs. Dyson had forgotten about the Kindle Fire. However, I wasn't above going to Wal-Mart to purchase my own electronic gadget. On Christmas Eve, I fried a turkey; drank some Jim Beam bourbon and fixed Daddy's macaroni and cheese.

Now, Christmas Day had finally arrived. I went to church, enjoyed a nice service and returned home to have a margarita or two or three for Jesus' birthday. There's nothing better than a few birthday drinks. Sitting around the tree with Mom, Mrs. Dyson and Noir with Daddy in heaven; we began opening our gifts. I opened the gift from Noir, first. I found a nice long sleeve shirt along with a leather tablet cover.

"Okay. I can use this cover for my notepad when I go to meetings," I said.
"You sure can," Noir said with a giggle.

Opening the gift from my sister, I discovered a Kindle Fire tucked snugly in a box. I was so glad that she remembered that I played with it for the rest of the day. Actually, I was so excited by the gift that I had forgotten to eat my Christmas dinner. I had wondered why I was slightly dizzy upon waking the next morning. It may have been because of low blood sugar from not eating or I had too many margaritas for Jesus' birthday. My Facebook friends believe that it was the latter.

My Kindle Fire was able to download all of my Yahoo contacts. It fits and feels nice in my hands, and it's easy to navigate with plenty of books, newspapers, magazines and apps to choose from. I can even check my email messages and save documents. It certainly is "the gift," and it has a nice price, too.

I know this post sounds like a product endorsement (perhaps, someone important will read this and pay me some money); but, I haven't been this excited about a Christmas present since I was around ten years old. I may share that story next year.

Speaking of gifts, my friend, Kathy, purchased two-hundred dollars worth of gifts from her friend, Marie, for a fundraising project. That's right - two-hundred dollars. After Kathy had carefully selected her items, Marie had a question.

"How would you like to pay for these gifts?" asked Marie.
"What are my options?" Kathy asked in return.
"Cash. Check. Money Order. Credit Card," replied Marie.
"Well, how about you use the two-hundred dollars that you owe me from five months ago to purchase my gifts," Kathy stated.
Marie, somewhat stunned, replied, "Oh, okay," and walked away with her head hung low.

And finally, my other friend, Roger, bought himself a brand new car as an early Christmas present. It is his new pride and joy. No eating and no drinking are allowed in his car. However, his young grandson is free to break the rules. One day, Roger had pressed a few buttons in the car and was unable to start the vehicle for a whole day - much to his wife's, Samantha's, amusement. She isn't allowed to eat or drink in the car, either. And, Samantha cannot understand why the grandson has free reign in her husband's car. After some time had passed, Roger realized that he did not properly hook up the GPS to this car which caused it not to run. Samantha is still laughing at Roger, his new car, and his use of Cialis. He is not amused, though. I'll share that story, later.

Until next week....keep praising His name,
and 
Happy New Year!

Sir Charles


My novels are available on http://www.xlibris.com/ - Charles Carroll Lee. They are now available on ebooks just in time for the holidays!!!

Check out my "What's Happening" blog at http://www.aroundtownhappenings.blogspot.com/. If you or someone you know are a new or local talent in your area, author, band, lecturer, church or organization, and would like to notify the world (or half of the world or the neighborhood) of your event; send me an email with the date, contact information, time, location and a paragraph about your event to cclee_06@yahoo.com. Then, share this and the "What's Happening" blogs with all of your friends. Your event will remain on the blog until the event ends. It's free - for now!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bourbon Balls - A Recipe

Bourbon Balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fine vanilla wafer crumbs
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • confectioners' sugar, sifted

Preparation:

Thoroughly combine 1 crushed vanilla wafer crumbs, chopped pecans, 1 cup confectioners' sugar, and the cocoa. In a separate bowl, blend the bourbon and corn syrup. Stir this bourbon mixture into the dry mixture; blend well. Cover and chill for at least a few hours. Sift about 1/2 to 1 cup of confectioners' sugar on a cookie sheet. Shape small bits of the dough into balls and roll them in the confectioners'. Store in refrigerator in tightly covered containers. Make these a few days in advance for best flavor, and roll in confectioners' sugar again before serving, if desired. These can also be frozen for longer storage.
Makes about 3 dozen bourbon balls.

From Southern Food - about.com.

I like to use a little more bourbon. You can substitute rum for bourbon and honey for corn syrup as well.


Sir Charles

Monday, December 19, 2011

Nobody Told Me: A Christmas Story


The famous carol "Christmas Time Is Here" that is sung so wonderfully by Charles Schultz's "Peanuts" choir generally makes me feel somewhat nostalgic. I usually begin thinking about my late Uncle Aubrey and my world famous or infamous bourbon balls. My uncle taught me how to ride my bicycle without training wheels. Actually, he took them off my bicycle against my better judgement.

"My Momma and Daddy are gonna get mad if you take my training wheels off, Uncle Aubrey!" I stated.
"I ain't scared of your Momma or your Daddy," he replied.
"Well, I am!" I said.
"Get up on this bike and pump that bike down the sidewalk," Uncle Aubrey commanded. "Pump that wheel, boy!" he yelled over and over again behind me as I tried to find my balance. After a few moments, I was now riding with ease down the sidewalk. Yahoooo!

Later that afternoon, I decided to tell Mom and Daddy what Uncle Aubrey had done just in case they had noticed that my training wheels had been removed. They both replied, "Oh, that's nice." Well, so much for snitching on my uncle.

Years later during the Christmas season, I stopped by my parents house so they could taste my annual holiday treat enclosed within a container. When I entered their house through the garage door; I found my mother with her brother, Uncle Aubrey, sitting on the couch in the family room engaged in some pretty lively conversations. If you didn't know any better, you would have thought that they were twins. I think Daddy may have been in the bedroom taking a nap or spreading some holiday mischief at one of his friend's house.

After I took a seat at the table and allowed Uncle Aubrey to catch me up on the latest family news and plans for the holidays; I noticed Mom studying the decorative container in front of me.

She finally asked, "What do you have in that container?"
"Bourbon balls. Would you like to try one or two?" I asked her.
"Yeah, let me try one," she replied as I handed her a napkin and the container.
"Uncle Aubrey, would you like to try one, too?" I asked.
"I think I will," he replied, reaching for a napkin and then a bourbon ball.

So, for another hour or so and after more lively conversations, I decided to return home with promises of seeing my Mom and her last living sibling real soon. Now, entering my house after running several errands, the ringing of the landline phone caught my attention. The caller ID indicated that the incoming call was from my parent's home. "I just left their house. Why are they calling so soon?" I thought aloud.

"Hello," I said into the receiver.
"Hi," Mom said in a cheery, upbeat tone.
"Hey. What's going on?" I asked.
"Oh, nothing much. How much liquor did you put in those bourbon balls?" Mom asked all at once.
"I dunno. The recipe calls for 1/4 cup. But, I used about 2/3 cups."
"Why did you use so much?" she asked.
I thought, "I didn't see you turning them away. You had two or three." I then said, "I wanted to be sure that people could taste the liquor."
"Oh, I don't think you should've used that much."
"Why?" I asked.
"Uncle Aubrey just called," she replied.
"And what did he say?"
"Well, he had to go home and put on his oxygen mask because there was too much liquor in those bourbon balls. It made him short of breath," Mom replied with a soft giggle.
Trying not to laugh, I asked, "Is he okay?"
"Yes, you know he doesn't drink anymore."
"Nobody told me. He's been drinking all my life," I offered.
"You know he has an oxygen tank and all," Mom offered.
"Yes, I do. But, I didn't know that he had stopped drinking. All those times he came over to the house asking me where Daddy hides the liquor...." Then, thinking to myself, "Mom, you knew those bourbon balls had a lot of liquor in them. You should've stopped Uncle Aubrey from eating them. And you were sitting right next to him, too."
Interrupting my statement and thoughts, Mom stated, "If he's on oxygen; you should've known that he had stopped drinking."
"Nobody told me," I repeated.
"Well, I guess he will be alright after he take a few deep breaths from his oxygen tank," Mom said with a hearty laugh.

The following Christmas, I whipped up my bourbon balls - once again. Actually, there was so much bourbon in them that they looked like little chocolate drops. Of course, I made a point of asking Uncle Aubrey if he would like to try some. The only response I received was a very harsh, "Hell No!" Normally, my feelings would've been hurt; but, considering what happened the year prior - it was completely understandable. I made Daddy the same offer a few hours later. His response was the same as Uncle Aubrey's. Obviously, Mom must have told him what had happened.

Well, Uncle Aubrey passed away a couple of years later with me crying almost uncontrollably at his cold, rainy day funeral. I probably thought that he had died too soon because of my Christmas bourbon balls. Plus, he taught me how to ride my bicycle without training wheels.

In case you are curious and have never tried bourbon balls before; the recipe is published under the post entitled, "Bourbon Balls - A Recipe." Feel free to add more liquor - if you desire.

Until next week, keep praising His name.

Merry Christmas to Each of You,
Sir Charles


My novels are available on http://www.xlibris.com/ - Charles Carroll Lee. They are now available on ebooks just in time for the holidays!!!

Check out my "What's Happening" blog at http://www.aroundtownhappenings.blogspot.com/. If you or someone you know are a new or local talent in your area, author, band, lecturer, church or organization, and would like to notify the world (or half of the world or the neighborhood) of your event; send me an email with the date, contact information, time, location and a paragraph about your event to cclee_06@yahoo.com. Then, share this and the "What's Happening" blogs with all of your friends. Your event will remain on the blog until the event ends. It's free - for now!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Alberta Royall

My friend, Alberta Royall, had a "thing" for the UPS man who made deliveries to her apartment complex. The UPS man always arrived at the complex at the same time practically every day. And, Alberta made it her business to be highly visible when he knocked on one her neighbor's door. She would smooth the back of her short, stylish hair with her manicured hand and check her lipstick in the mirror by the door. Exiting her apartment, Alberta would pretend that she was searching for something in her handbag and accidentally "bump" into him en route to her car. The UPS man would always display all thirty-two of his teeth to the giggling Alberta.

One day, Alberta had an idea. She decided to order some items from a clothing website and had them shipped via UPS. This would surely give her the opportunity to formally meet the UPS man. Unfortunately, when her shipment arrived at its appointed day and hour - conveniently on her day off from work - Alberta's package was in the hands of a female UPS driver. "Dang it!" she whispered when she looked out of the door's peep hole. "I done fixed my hair and painted my nails for nothing," she said aloud.

Opening her door, Alberta offered, "Hello, is this my delivery?" in her deep, feminine voice with a hint of a southern drawl.
"Yes, it is. Are you Ms. Alberta Royall?" the brunette UPS lady asked.
Alberta replied, "I sure am." She then asked, "Where is the other guy who normally makes deliveries?"
"Oh, he's off today and tomorrow. Have a nice day," the lady replied as she hurried to her brown truck.
"Dang. She could've mentioned his name. Oh, well," Alberta mumbled.

Several days had passed and there was no UPS man sightings. Alberta's heart felt as though it was breaking. She was beginning to miss the man in his brown shirt, matching shorts and toothy smile. After leaving work and noticing that the fuel gauge on her car's dashboard was blinking furiously; Alberta stopped at the nearest gas station. She paid for her purchase inside the small rinky dink store, returned to her vehicle, inserted the hose into the gas tank's opening and began pumping fuel.

Moments later, Alberta noticed a brown UPS truck pulling into the gas station's parking area. The UPS man jumped off the truck with his broad smile and instantly noticed Alberta. He trotted to her car.

"Hey! How are you?" The UPS man asked.
Trying not to faint and stutter, Alberta replied, "I'm fine and you? I haven't seen you in awhile."
"Yeah, they gave me a new route. What's your name?" he asked.
"Alberta Royall. Yours?"
"Michael Worthington. Can I have your number so we can go out over the weekend?"
"Sure," Alberta replied, as she continued to pump gas into her car.

After they had exchanged numbers and Michael had left to make his next delivery; Alberta quickly jumped in her car and drove toward her home. During her drive, Alberta noticed that pedestrians were pointing and yelling at her. She looked in her rear view mirror to check her lipstick and realized that it looked fine. As she approached a traffic light; a female driver in the next lane looked at Alberta and laughed, hysterically. Once again, Alberta inspected her image in the rear view mirror and rubbed the back of her head with her hand. "Why is everyone laughing at me? I wish they would stop it, and I look just fine in the mirror. And why is my car making funny noises? I don't have any money for car repairs!" she said aloud. Driving for three miles with the entire community laughing at her, a stately gentleman in a late model Buick caught Alberta's attention at the traffic light. He tried to contain his laughter.

"Excuse me, miss! You have a gas pump hose stuck in your car!"
"What?!" Alberta exclaimed as she looked in her side mirror and then out of the car window. "Well, I be damned! I drove off with the gas pump hose still in my car! I forgot to take it out after talking to Michael! That's what that noise was!" she said aloud.

So, Alberta exited her car at the traffic light and placed the gas pump hose into the trunk -  much to driver's and pedestrian's amusement. She then returned to the rinky dink gas station with hose in hand. The store attendant immediately informed Alberta that she will have to pay for the broken hose. She replied, "As high as gas is - I think not. You better be glad I brought the hose back. Y'all need to update your old gas pumps, anyway."

Alberta placed the long, black hose on the counter and quickly exited the store while the customers all laughed, aloud. Sitting in her car, Alberta said, "That was so embarrassing. Everyone laughed at me. At least I got a date with Michael. I wonder if I should tell Charles about this?"

Until next week....keep praising His name,
Sir Charles


My novels are available on http://www.xlibris.com/ - Charles Carroll Lee. They are now available on ebooks just in time for the holidays!!!


(Check out my "What's Happening" blog at http://www.aroundtownhappenings.blogspot.com/. If you or someone you know are a new or local talent in your area, author, band, lecturer, church or organization, and would like to notify the world (or half of the world or the neighborhood) of your event; send me an email with the date, contact information, time, location and a paragraph about your event to cclee_06@yahoo.com. Then, share this and the "What's Happening" blogs with all of your friends. Your event will remain on the blog until the event ends. It's free - for now!)







The Perfect Diet


My high school and Facebook friend came across the following story. Upon reading it, she immediately thought that I was the original author of the story. Unfortunately, I cannot take credit for it, and I wish I could. But, it sounds like something I would say and do.  Plus, it brought a smile to my face. Now, I did take some creative liberty to make it just a little more readable. So, here it is:

One cloudy Saturday morning, I was buying a large bag of dog food in Wal-Mart for my dogs. As usual, the superstore was packed with screaming toddlers as persons in hoveround wheelchairs weaved up and down the narrow aisles. Sales associates scurried about the store while others casually calculated their customer's purchases on the cash registers. The faint sounds of Christmas music could be heard over the PA system. While standing in the long check-out line and praying that I didn't forget an important item; a woman behind me asked if I had a dog. I thought to myself, "Why else would I be buying dog food?" After a quick thought, I decided to engage the middle-aged woman in conversation. Besides, the check-out line was at a stand still, and the bag of dog food was getting heavier and more cumbersome by the minute.

 I said to the woman, "No, I don't have a dog. I am starting the Purina Diet again."
"Really?" she asked in reply.
"Yes, and I probably shouldn't. I ended up in the hospital last time, and I had lost fifty pounds before I had awakened in intensive care," I said.
"You did?"
"Yep, and I had tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms,"  I replied as I readjusted the bag of dog food in my arms.
"Oh my!" the woman exclaimed.
Since I had her full attention, I continued, "Purina Dog Chow is essentially a perfect diet. All you have to do is load your pockets with nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry. I eat 'Beggin' Strips' for breakfast."
"Ohhhhhh," she replied with a look of hysteria. The woman placed her smooth hand near her neck as though she was clutching a string of pearls.
"The food is nutritionally complete with fiber and vitamins. Therefore, it works well. I can't wait to try it again," I offered.

During this phase, practically everyone in the check-out line was now enthralled with my story. The woman, now horrified, decided to ask another question.

"Did you end up in intensive care because the dog food poisoned you?"
"No, I stepped off a curb to sniff a French Poodle and a car hit me," I replied with a straight face.

I thought the guy behind her in line was going to have a heart attack because he was laughing so hard.  The woman glared at me in disbelief, rolled her soft brown eyes and continued through the check-out line without muttering another word. Go figure.

Until next week....keep praising His name,
Sir Charles

(Check out my "What's Happening" blog at http://www.aroundtownhappenings.blogspot.com/. If you or someone you know are a new or local talent in your area, author, band, lecturer, church or organization, and would like to notify the world (or half of the world or the neighborhood) of your event; send me an email with the date, contact information, time, location and a paragraph about your event to cclee_06@yahoo.com. Then, share this and the "What's Happening" blogs with all of your friends. Your event will remain on the blog until the event ends. It's free - for now!)

(My novels are available on http://www.xlibris.com/ - Charles Carroll Lee)



Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Past and Present

Thanksgiving Eve:

Weeks ago, I called and knocked at my cousin's, David, front door. The only response I received was a growl and some barking from the German Shepherd in the backyard. Last week, the ringing of the doorbell caught my attention.
I said, "Hey, I was calling and looking for you. I want you to bring something for the dinner on tormorrow," as I welcomed David into the house.
"Yeah, I know. I saw the note you left in the door. I was in Louisiana," David offered.
"How are you doing?" I asked.
"I'm not walking around too good,"  David offered. After a brief pause, he continued, "I had four knee operations."
Leading the way to the family room, I asked, "Four knee operations? How can that be? " in amazement. "You only have two knees."
Laughing at my questions, David replied, "Oh, I had some fluid drained off of them, and I'm on 100% disability, too. I was on 50%, then 60%, then 90%, now it's 100%. That's why I have this walking cane."
"Oh my," I said with a chuckle. "So, are you coming for the family Thanksgiving dinner on tomorrow?" I asked. "I'm frying a turkey, and I want you to bring..."
"No, that's why I came over  -  to tell you that I won't be here."
"Why not?"
"I'm going to my daughter's house in Maryland for dinner. I'll be back on Friday. My wife, Angela, is in Louisiana with our other daughter." After a brief pause, David continued, "Did I tell you that someone broke into my house?"
"Yeah, last year," I thought. Finally, I replied and lied, "No, what happened?"
David formed his thoughts for a moment and said, "Well, the burglar came in the backyard, walked passed my German Shepherd, Tiffy, and came in the house through a window. No one saw who did it, though."
"Was anyone home?" I asked.
"No," replied David.
"What did they take?"
"They took Angela's costume jewelry and the bottom plate of my false teeth. I don't know what they are going to do with either one of them," David said matter-of-factly.
Suppressing a laugh, I said, "I'm sorry you can't join us for dinner on tomorrow. But, had you planned to attend; I was going to make you bring caviar, champagne and some premium crackers."

David gave a blank expression to my dinner request; then, we exchanged phone numbers with promises of keeping in touch more ofter.

Last Thanksgiving:

So, I'm standing next to the refrigerator/freezer during the annual family Thanksgiving dinner and my cousin, Marcus, asks:
"Charles C.! Where is the ice?"
I replied, "I dunno. But, the freezer next to me would be a good place to start."

Thanksgiving Long Ago:

This was one of Daddy's favorite recipes for Cornbread Stuffing:

1 package of cornbread stuffing mix
2 onions
4 celery stalks
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons dried sage, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup of uncooked popcorn

Mix above ingredients and place inside the turkey's cavity. Cook until the popcorn blows the turkey's a*$ across the room.

Until next week...keep praising His name!

Sir Charles

( P.S. I have started a "What's Happening" blog at http://www.aroundtownhappenings.blogspot.com/. If you or someone you know are a new or local talent in your area, author, band, lecturer, church or organization, and would like to notify the world (or half of the world or the neighborhood) of your event; send me an email with the date, contact information, time, location and a paragraph about your event to cclee_06@yahoo.com. Then, share this and the "What's Happening" blogs with all of your friends. Your event will remain on the blog until the event ends. It's free - for now!)

(My novels are available on http://www.xlibris.com/ - Charles Carroll Lee)



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Thanksgiving Wedding


I was trying not to post anything this week. I figured that each of you were traveling and/or spending time with family and friends for Thanksgiving and would not have time to read my blog with a new name - Smile Network with Sir Charles. However, I couldn't help myself.

It's Thanksgiving Eve, and if Daddy were still alive; he and Mom would have been celebrating their wedding anniversary on tomorrow. Their anniversary always seem fall on or around Thanksgiving Day. During my daily travels, I began to remember when we moved into our new brick home years ago. I was more concerned about the yearly holiday dinner. So, I decided to asked Daddy about our holiday plans.

"Since we're moving into our new home during the holidays; will we have turkey for Thanksgiving?" I asked him.
Daddy replied, "No, we're going to be too busy moving. So, we will have liver, onions and mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner."
I gasped in a state of disbelief and immediately ran to Mom for the true and real deal. She replied, "We are having turkey and all the trimmings at Mother Gertrude's house."
"Thank God," was my reply.

Years later on the day before Thanksgiving; my niece, Noir, and I were looking at photographs of Mom and Daddy's wedding. Mom was a radiant bride and Daddy was a dashing groom - fresh from the U.S. Navy. My niece and I studied every detail of the wedding held at my maternal grandparents home. We recognized the entire wedding party and marveled at the gifts on the canopy bed.

Then came the reception photographs. I had mistakenly asked Daddy what was served for their reception.
"We had hot dogs for the reception and pork and beans," he replied.
"Hot dogs and pork and beans?" Noir asked.
"Yeah, hot dogs and pork and beans. We were too poor to eat anything else," Daddy replied with a straight face.
Giving Daddy my I don't believe you look, I asked, "Mom, what did y'all have at the reception?"
Mom replied, "We had finger sandwiches and scoops of ice cream for dessert."
"I thought so. Daddy, you always got jokes," I offered.

After some thought, I asked Mom (for an honest answer), "Listen, your wedding anniversary always fall on Thanksgiving or the day after. Did the two of you get married on Thanksgiving Day?"
"No," she replied.
"Did they celebrate Thanksgiving way back then? Had it been invented, yet?"
Shocked, Mom replied, "Yes, we had Thanksgiving back then. Daddy and I got married the Saturday after Thanksgiving!"
"Ohhhhhhh, okay!" I replied. "I'm assuming that Thanksgiving was on Thursday and not a Saturday back then, too."
"Thanksgiving has always been on a Thursday," Mom replied.
"I know right," I replied with a broad smile.

Fast forward to another Thanksgiving wedding anniversary, I asked Daddy, "You and Mom have been married for 52 years. How does it feel?" I began to regret asking that question.
"Like we've been married for 82 years," he replied, with a slight smile.

One year, Noir asked me how long has her grandparents been married. I replied with amusement, "Add one year to your mother's age, and that's how long they have been married. See, your Mama was a honeymoon baby."

Until next week....Keep praising His name and Happy Thanksgiving!
Sir Charles


( P.S. I have started a "What's Happening" blog at http://www.aroundtownhappenings.blogspot.com/. If you or someone you know are a new or local talent in your area, author, band, lecturer, church or organization, and would like to notify the world (or half of the world or the neighborhood) of your event; send me an email with the date, contact information, time, location and a paragraph about your event to cclee_06@yahoo.com. Then, share this and the "What's Happening" blogs with all of your friends. Your event will remain on the blog until the event ends. It's free - for now!)

(My novels are available on http://www.xlibris.com/ - Charles Carroll Lee)


Sunday, November 13, 2011

You're Doing Good

It was chilly and windy this past Saturday morning. Actually, it was downright cold - 32 degrees - to be somewhat exact. I was bouncing up and down trying to stay warm at the starting line ready for my annual Ntelos 8k run (which is five miles). This run is also a part of the Richmond Suntrust Marathon. The past two years, I ran the half-marathon; but, mile six proved more than enough for me. My body felt just fine during the run. My mind, on the other hand, began to wonder what kind of fool am I. Waiting for the official start, I began to recollect about my very first race.

Weeks prior to that first race, I ran at least three times per week as well as ate only heart healthy foods.  I had even gotten my total cholesterol level down to 186 and began calling myself a finely tuned athlete - or so I thought. Now, the day before the race; I ate a generous portion of meatless spaghetti, drank plenty of water and turned in early for the night. I felt like a little boy waiting for Santa to arrive on Christmas Eve.

The next morning, I donned my running outfit and made my way to Richmond, Virginia for the start of the six-mile run. The weather was cool and comfortable as I anxiously waited at the starting line with thousands of other runners. The very thin runners at the very front of the line were from Kenya and Ethiopia. Studying them very closely, I decided to take my place about a few thousand people behind them. Following the broadcast recorded version of "The Star Spangled Banner" and the sound of a gunshot; we began our run up Broad Street until we connected onto Monument Avenue. Minutes later and leaving out of mile one, the Kenyans and Ethiopians were now entering the last mile of the race on the opposite side of Monument Avenue. Watching the elite runners about to finish the race, I thought, "Okay. So, I'm not going to win this one." The excitement and energy had left my body after watching the career runners enter the finish gate; while I was puttering into mile two.

Running up the cobblestone street encircled by dozens of other runners, my heart began to pound and sweat poured from my body as more experienced runners passed me like I was standing still. However, I kept my pace for the next couple of miles. After some time had passed, I heard a clear and distinct voice in my head. And no, I'm not a psycho, either.

"Quit! Just quit!" the voice commanded.
"No!" I replied aloud, as other runners moved far away from me.
"You did good by registering for this race. That's more than enough. That's all you had to do. Quit," the voice said.
"No, I'm gonna run this race," I replied.

More and more runners were passing me while giving me a strange look. They may have thought that I was a bit "psycho."

"Why don't you just stop and get up on that sidewalk," the voice commanded.
"No! Why?" I asked.
"Your heart is beating too fast. You're sweating. Everyone is passing you. You came out here and tried to run - and that's good. So, now - just quit. Go to the sidewalk and walk to the finish line. Who cares?"
"I do."
Once again, the voice commanded, "Quit!"
"I can't quit," I replied.
"That's right! Don't quit!" a fellow runner offered, much to my amusement.

Later, with beads of sweat resting on my eyelashes, I looked to my right and saw a handsome blond lady. She said, "You're doing good. You have about a half of a mile left in the run," in the calmest and most reassuring voice.
"For real?" I asked.
"Yes, I wouldn't lie to you," she replied.
With renewed excitement and energy and with the speed of lightning, I sprinted to the finish line and made it well within my predicted time.

Waiting for my bodily functions to return to normal in the finishing corral; I thought, "Oh my! I was communing with Satan on my run, and the blond lady was an angel. I'm glad I didn't listen to him. Or am I just delirious and really a psycho, too?"

Now each year, everyone asks me how did I do in the race. My normal response is, "I finished behind the Kenyans and the Ethiopians....waaaayyy behind them. And, I didn't commune with Satan, either."

Next Wednesday is Thanksgiving Eve, and my cousins are coming over for Thanksgiving dinner. So, I may take the week off or if they are wacky, zany and funny enough - I'll post about them, anyway.

Nevertheless, keep praising His name.

Much love,
Sir Charles

( P.S. I have started a "What's Happening" blog at http://www.aroundtownhappenings.blogspot.com/. If you or someone you know are a new or local talent in your area, author, band, lecturer, church or organization, and would like to notify the world (or half of the world or the neighborhood) of your event; send me an email with the date, contact information, time, location and a paragraph about your event to cclee_06@yahoo.com. Then, share this and the "What's Happening" blogs with all of your friends. Your event will remain on the blog until the event ends. It's free - for now!  My novels are available on http://www.xlibris.com/ - Charles Carroll Lee)




Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I Just Can't Stand You

One Saturday afternoon, I felt badly for my college buddy, Dennis (a fictitious name). He was only in his early forties and was facing some pretty serious health issues. He stands at 5'3 or 5'4 and very much overweight. A few years prior, Dennis was diagnosed with diabetes. And now, I was visiting him in the hospital because of a heart attack and a stroke. Don't worry, I reckon it wasn't life threatening. Dennis was wide awake and alert when I entered his hospital room wearing a well-fitting shirt, loose fitting denim slacks, newsboy cap and sunglasses. I looked like the epitome of health and fitness, while Dennis's body entertained a host of tubes and needles in his hospital bed. I could've only hope to be an inspiration to him.

Entering his hospital room, I found his wife, Alicia; brother, sisters and some other relatives. We engaged in some lively conversations until they all had to eat dinner or go home for some much needed rest. After his family had vacated the private room, Dennis decided to ask me a few questions.

"Where are you coming from?"
"The gym," I replied with a hint of sarcasm.
"That figures," offered Dennis. He continued, "I'm getting hungry. What are you eating for dinner?"
"A salad," I replied.
"You know - sometimes I just can't stand you," Dennis said.
With a smirk on my face, I said, "I know right. I was trying to give some subtle clues to help you."
Dennis mumbled, "It didn't sound too subtle to me."

Days later, my college buddy was released from the hospital. I made my way to his house for another visit. Our mutual friend, Mike Boswell, wanted to come along for the ride. Now, sitting in Dennis's living room with Alicia in the kitchen frying chicken; I was greeted with a wet kiss from Sandy, the dog. Alicia yelled, "Hello!" over the sound of boiling grease. "She must be trying to kill him with fried chicken and grease," I whispered to Mike.

Moments later, Dennis yelled in return, "Hey Alicia! Bring Charles and Mike some fried chicken, bread and some cherry kool-aid, too!" 
"Charles, you look like you need some grease," offered Dennis.
"At least I haven't had a heart attack or a stroke," I retorted as Mike laughed, silently.

Interrupting our witty exchange, Alicia arrived with a plate of hot fried chicken, white bread and cherry kool-aid for Mike and me. It had been years since I ate white bread and drank kool-aid. I do love a piece of fried chicken, though.

After we had finished our snack and watched a television program, Dennis's mood became a bit more somber. He gathered his thoughts and made an announcement.

"Charles, you know I'm taking 'happy pills.'"
"Really? Why?" I asked.
"The doctor said that stress caused my heart attack and stroke from being on disability and having limited income," he replied.
"It wasn't because of your weight and height?"
"Hell, no!"
"Oh. Okay."
"So, you are gonna have to be nice to me. When you are not nice to me, I get stressed and then have to take those expensive 'happy pills,'" Dennis offered. He continued, "I don't want to keep taking those expensive pills every time we talk. I don't have that much money. So be nice, Charles."
"Nice? How long do I have to be nice to you?" I asked, drinking my cup of kool-aid. Secretly, I was hoping that Dennis had not poisoned my cherry drink.
"For the rest of my life," replied Dennis.
In shock and amazement and spitting out my drink, I asked, "For the rest of your life? How much longer do you have left to live? I'm gonna have to pace myself with this 'nice' stuff - if that's the case! It isn't my forte!" as I released a deep, guttural laugh. Mike decided to join me in laughter.
Releasing a deep and heavy sigh, Dennis replied, "I just can't stand you," as I continued laughing.

Now, Dennis's health has not improved over the last few years. And, after reading the local newspaper and Internet, it appears that Dennis has had a few "skirmishes" with the law. I may have to share that at some other time in the future. I have to wait until the judge bangs the gavel, first. It's sort of funny - in a weird, demented, twisted sort of way.

Well, until next week, keep praising His name!
Much love,
Sir Charles

( P.S. I have started a "What's Happening" blog at http://www.aroundtownhappenings.blogspot.com/. If you or someone you know are a new or local talent in your area, author, band, lecturer, church or organization, and would like to notify the world (or half of the world or the neighborhood) of your event; send me an email with the date, contact information, time, location and a paragraph about your event to cclee_06@yahoo.com. Then, share this and the "What's Happening" blogs with all of your friends. Your event will remain on the blog until the event ends. It's free - for now!  My novels are available on http://www.xlibris.com/ - Charles Carroll Lee)





Wednesday, November 2, 2011

You're Soooooo Smart!


Standing in her mother's living room one Saturday afternoon, Tammy announced to Juanita, "Hey, I got an email from Jada's teacher. The other day, the two of you only did sixteen science vocabulary words and definitions and not twenty-nine. And she needs help with her science project, too."
Juanita asked in a boisterous voice, "What? Dang it! I should've read the instructions more carefully. Why didn't you say something, earlier? Science project?" She was not expecting an answer.
"So, um...can the two of you finish the assignments?" asked Tammy.
"Jada is your daughter! Why can't you help her? Dang!," Juanita replied.
"Because, you're soooooo smart, Ma," offered Tammy.
"Don't try to charm me." Juanita demanded. She then shouted toward the kitchen, "Jada, get your books and come here to the living room!" Juanita thought, "I'm getting my granddaughter into Harvard - if it's the last thing I do!
Entering the living room, the eight-year-old Jada asked, "I gotta do this, now, Grandma? What about basketball?" with her books in tow.
Juanita replied, "You can play basketball for one-hour and you better be back in this house at 5:30. I mean it."
"Okay," said Jada.
Tammy asked, "Can I help you with her homework, Ma?"
"No, you dizzy blond," Juanita replied. 

Sometime later, after the grandmother and granddaughter had completed the vocabulary words and definitions while Tammy was engrossed in sending and receiving text messages on the recliner, Juanita asked, "Jada, we are doing a whole lot of work on this science project. Isn't this supposed to be a work group effort for your class?"
"Yes, but the kids in my work group live in the projects, and I know they don't have a laptop like I do," she replied.
"Jada!"
Studying her grandmother for a moment and leaning into her, Jada continued, "Well, if they do have a laptop; they don't have printers. And, I ain't trying to get a "F" on my science project because of them."
"Jada!"
"Oh, I forgot to tell you that I have to write the script for my drama class, too," offered Jada.
"Why didn't you tell me that earlier?"
"I dunno," replied Jada.

Reaching for Jada's homework calendar on the coffee table and studying the contents very carefully, Tammy read the entries aloud, "Jada, you have a math test on next Tuesday and an English project due on next Friday...."
Interrupting her daughter, Juanita said, "I'm sure you are reading that stuff so I can help her."
"No, I'm not," Tammy replied in a high-pitched voice.
"Whatever," Juanita offered.

So, after the duo had finished the vocabulary words along with definitions, the science project and the drama script, Jada returned to the comforts of her home with her mother, Tammy; while Juanita's head throbbed from an evening with her daughter and granddaughter.

Late that evening, Juanita's nap was interrupted by the ringing of her cell phone. She answered on the third chime.

Jada said all at once, "Thank you for helping me with my homework, Grandma. I was just thinking. When I go to college, I'm gonna have to take you with me. We can be dorm mates. I'm not gonna to be able to do my college homework without you, either. I don't know how I'm gonna tell the college people that I need to bring my Grandma with me and let you live in the dorms. You are sooooo smart! Oh, Mama said that she's bringing my best friend, Tiffany, over tomorrow so you can help her with her homework, too. She's not as smart as I am. I love you," as she quickly terminated the call.

"Dang it!" Juanita said after the call had ended.
Until next week, keep praising His name,
Sir Charles

(My novels are available at http://www.xlibris.com/ - Charles Carroll Lee)


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fireplug



(Fireplug - a hydrant for a fire hose. The fireplug mentioned in this post was attached to a building - O.P. Hare Drug Store in Petersburg, Virginia.)

Year: 1970

"I can't," I said to my mother.
"Why can't you? Your daddy is picking us up in a few minutes! Now, c'mon here, boy! I'm not gonna tell you again!" Mom demanded as she waited for her husband to arrive in either direction from the street corner.

My teenage sister, Belinda (a.k.a. Blenda) was crying in agony from her visit to the dentist office. Mom and I had just accompanied Blenda to her dreaded appointment.

Displaying my best puppy dog eyes, I repeated, "I can't," as the warm, summer breeze rushed over us.
"Why?!" Mom shouted as she continued to wait for Daddy to arrive.
"Umm, I'm stuck," I replied with great hesitation.
Screaming aloud, Blenda said, "Momma! Charles C. got his fingers stuck in the fireplug!" as she began to cry.
"What?" Mom asked as she finally turned her attention to her young son. "What have you done?!"
"I got my fingers stuck in this fireplug," I replied with crocodile tears.
"Why did you do that?" she asked, bending over to inspect my latest predicament.
"I got bored waiting for Daddy to pick us up, and Blenda was doing all that crying from the dentist."
Releasing a heavy sigh, Mom said, "Belinda, go inside the drug store and call the fire department to come help your brother."
"Okay," she replied through teary eyes. "Crazy boy!" Blenda offered.

A few moments later, men who were shooting pool next door came to offer me some assistance. A few of them pulled and tugged at me as the fireplug increased its grip on my young fingers. "Ouch! Stop it!" I yelled as we began to hear sirens in the background. Blenda's crying became heavier. (Today, she claims that she was in pain from the dentist appointment. But, I think she was worried about her baby brother.)

Speeding red fire trucks carrying firemen dressed in full uniform parked in front of the drug store. The firemen ran toward the building and me with axes in hand along with two dozen curious spectators.

Screaming at the top of her voice with tears flying everywhere, Blenda shouted, "They're going to chop his arm off! Oh, no! Charles C. ain't gonna have no arm!"
"For real, Momma?!" I asked in a state of terror.
"No," she replied with grace and assurance. "Oh God, I hope not," Mom thought to herself.

After several minutes of  poking and prying, my fingers were finally free. We thanked the firemen for helping me as they tried to refrain from laughing aloud.

Daddy finally arrived and asked from the driver's side of the car, "What happened?" as he noticed the fire trucks, firemen and mobs of people.
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you," Mom replied. Pointing to the drug store and taking her place in the green Chrysler, she continued, "Charles C. got his fingers stuck in that fireplug over there."

Now, anxious to learn my fate, I asked Mom and Daddy from the back seat, "Am I on punishment?"
"You ought to be," Blenda replied. "You crazy thang! All of those people were looking at us!
Interrupting, Daddy replied, "No."
Mom offered, "Getting your fingers stuck in that fireplug; and the firemen coming after you with axes is more than punishment enough - not to mention the pure embarrassment of it all."

So, later when my grandfather, Papa, learned of this story; he laughed and coughed, as usual. His new nickname for me changed from "Head Doctor" to "Fireplug." Sometimes, Papa used those nicknames interchangeably - much to my amusement.

Fast-forward years later - All of the fireplugs in the city are now well-secured.

Until next week - Keep praising His Name,
Sir Charles

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Head Doctor

So, it's a Saturday night and I'm watching "The Dick Van Dyke Show" 50th anniversary marathon on the TV Land Channel. The episode is entitled, "Never Bathe on a Saturday" in which Laura Petrie manages to get her big toe stuck in the bathtub faucet. I love to hear Laura whine, "Oh, Rob!" when something comical happens. Anyway, Laura's current predicament brought to mind a time in which I had a similar situation.

Let's picture it: I am 5 years old and had just arrived at my grandparents house from kindergarten. Papa had just finished fixing me a peanut butter and peach jelly sandwich. He always toasted the bread before spreading the peanut butter to help soften it. Mother Gertrude was doing some housework for a friend of the family. Mom and Dad were at work and my sister, "Blenda" (a.k.a. Belinda) as I pronounced it back then along with my cousins, Tommy and Tee Tee were at school. Aunt Ellen was also working as an elementary school teacher.

After I had finished my warm and delicious sandwich, my childhood friend, Lillie Bee, rang the door bell. She always rang the bell at the same time so that we could have our usual afternoon play date. This particular day, we decided to sit on my grandparents massive front porch and poke fun as passerbys. Once we became bored, Lillie Bee had a great idea - or so I thought. She jumped off the porch glider and kneeled in front of the wrought iron railings that enclosed the entire smooth, brick porch.

"Look, I can get my head in and out of this railing," Lillie Bee offered as she poked her small head between the railings. "Why don't you try it?" my friend asked.
Forgetting that I have a large head, I replied, "Okay," as I placed my head between the railings.
"Now, take your head out," Lillie Bee, commanded.
Struggling to free myself, I replied, "I can't. My head is stuck."
"Huh? What?" she replied.
"Go get Papa in the house and tell him that my head is stuck," I said.

Seconds later, Papa appeared on the front porch. Standing behind me, I'm thinking that Papa was laughing hysterically as he told Lillie Bee to ask her grandmother, Big Mama, to help him free his youngest grandson. Papa normally coughed and laughed at the same time - especially when he was extremely amused. And that is what he was doing behind me - laughing silently and coughing aloud.

Within a flash, Big Mama rushed to the front porch; stood in front of me and with the strength of an Amazon, pulled the railings apart until my head was finally free.

Now, all of this happened before the advent of cell phones, emails, text messages, computers and all of our other modern technological conveniences. So, I'm still a little puzzled as to why Mom, Dad, "Blenda," Mother Gertrude, Tommy, Tee Tee, and Aunt Ellen all laughed at the very first sight of me - not unless Papa couldn't contain himself and called everybody at work and school while he coughed. From that day forward, Papa's new nickname for me was - "Head Doctor."

This story isn't the only time I got stuck somewhere. I will share that one on next week.

As usual, keep praising His name.

Much Love,
Sir Charles

(I have a photo blog at http://www.ccl3.blogspot.com/ and my novels are available at http://www.xlbiris.com/ - Charles Carroll Lee.)




Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Take Me To The Water

One Sunday during baptism at church, I watched the candidates enter the warm pool, confess the Lord as their personal Savior, and experience a quick dip in the water. I immediately began to wonder why the immersion was so lightning fast. My baptism seemed liked it could have set a Guinness Book of World Records for the longest baptism immersion.

The year was 1976, and I had completed my required new member classes at church. For some reason, I was more interested in how long I would have to stay underwater as opposed to learning stuff that had already been discussed in Sunday School. The pastor, the Reverend Doctor Grady W. Powell, Sr., who is well known throughout the region, stated that it will last for only a few short seconds - much to my relief. "I can handle that," I said to myself.

Weeks later, baptism day had arrived. It was a cloudy February morning at 9:00 a.m. Mom, Dad, my sister, grandparents and other relatives were all in attendance. I was dressed in my required white shirt, white slacks and white socks. If one didn't know any better, they would have thought that I was "Gabriel the Archangel". The only things missing were my halo and wings. Some people may say that I was missing my horns, pitchfork and tail. However, that is another blog post.

Patiently waiting for my turn to confess the Lord as my Savior and wash my sins away (all two of them); I heard the choir sing  a very moving hymn, "Take Me To The Water To Be Baptized." Now, folding my hands in the prayer position and descending into the very warm pool; Reverend Powell folded my arms across my chest.

He asked in a voice that could be heard throughout the sanctuary, "Do you Charles, confess the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?"
"Yes," was my reply.
"I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost," he stated while immersing me into the warm and comfortable water.
Beneath the water, I thought, "One one thousand, two one thousand...I should be coming up by now...three one thousand...four one thousand. How long is Reverend Powell gonna keep me under this water? Now, I know he's not shaking me like he's trying to wash me clean!....Five one thousand...six one thousand...oh, I'm coming up! Oh, thank God. We're done! That was longer than a few short seconds."

Returning to dry land and catching my breath, the choir continued with its rendition of "Take Me To The Water To Be Baptized" as Dad led me to the changing room. If I had known that I would have to stay submerged that long; I probably would have joined the Episcopal church around the corner - at least they just sprinkle you with water.

Later that day, Mom had baked a turkey with all the trimmings. It seemed like all of my living relatives at that time had arrived at our house to eat and celebrate my baptism. Mom and Dad had presented me the Holy Bible as a gift, and they wanted to share one more surprise.

"What's the other surprise? Ya'll didn't have to do anything else," I offered.
"Oh, we wanted to!" Mom said.
"Well, what is it?" I asked.
"Swim lessons at the YMCA," Dad said with delight.
"WHAT??? Swim lessons???? After what I just went through getting baptized! Reverend Powell just tried to drown me! And the two of you want me to take swim lessons?? Hell No! Ain't! Make me! I wish y'all would!" I thought to myself - of course. Regaining my mental faculties, I offered, "The two of you really didn't have to do that. Thank you."
"You're welcome," Mom and Dad replied in unison.
I thought, "My life is ruined."

One year later, Mom and Dad began to wonder why I refuse to put my head in the water during swim lessons. Go figure.

Until next week - Keep praising His name.
Much love,
Sir Charles

(Check out my photo blog at http://www.ccl3.blogspot.com/. My novels are available at http://www.xlibris.com/ - Charles Carroll Lee.)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Thump!

"What's your name?" I asked my new neighbor as we shoveled snow from our respective sidewalks.
He replied, "Ernest J. Pegram," dressed in a pair of think overalls, wool hat and gloves.
"Okay. My name is Charles."
"Good to meet you. I have problems with my back, sometimes. This snow is heavy. Want me to finish shoveling the snow for you - for a small fee?"
After a quick thought, I replied, "No, I think I can mange it. Thanks anyway."

Later that morning, after I had shoveled the driveway, front porch and steps and part of the sidewalk; I returned indoors to fix myself a glass of Jim Beam bourbon - to warm my bones from the harsh winter storm - of course. The ringing of the door bell interrupted my private time with my favorite drink and television show. Peeping out of the window, I noticed Ernest J. Pegram standing on my front porch still dressed in overalls with a wool cap and gloves. I opened the front door with glass in hand and gave him a warm greeting.

"Hey! I noticed that you didn't finish shoveling the snow from the sidewalk. I can still do it for a small fee so I can buy some food," Ernest J. Pegram offered.
Now, standing on the porch and feeling my pant pockets with my free hand and sipping my bourbon with the other hand, I retrieved a few bills and handed them to my next door neighbor. I said, "Here, take this and don't worry about the rest of the sidewalk. The sun will melt it."

Turning to enter the house, I suddenly heard a loud, "Thump!" Shocked, I noticed that  Ernest J. Pegram had fallen off of my front porch - face down into a foot of snow - with shovel in hand. I tried not to laugh.

"Oops! Are you okay?" I asked, taking another gulp of bourbon.
Bringing himself to his knees and then to his boot covered feet, my neighbor replied, "Yeah, I'm okay, Charles."
"This is the first time someone has fallen off of my front porch," I offered.

So, Ernest J. Pegram stumbled to his house never to be seen again until months later. Rising early one Saturday morning, I opened the living room draperies for the day and saw several cars parked in front of my house. I said aloud, "I haven't seen this many cars in front of the house since Daddy died." Moments later, Ernest J. Pegram was escorted to one of the unmarked police cars with head hung low.

"I wonder what happened?" I asked myself. "He may have tried to press charges against me and the cops came and found drugs in his house - or he didn't pay his child support," I mumbled toward the picture window. Well anyway....

Until next week. Keep praising His name.
Much love,
Sir Charles

P.S. I now have a photo blog at http://www.ccl3.blogspot.com. Check it out and let me know your thoughts. And, as always - my books are available at www.xlibris.com.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It Must Be Planting Season

 I usually have some things that I like to do on Saturday mornings. After I wake up and eat a light breakfast, I leave home for a strength conditioning workout at the American Family Fitness Center. Then, I travel around the corner for iced coffee at Starbucks. The barista's usually fix my coffee when they see me walking across the parking lot. Sometimes, I can hear them yell, "It's a grande iced Charles!" - much to my amusement. After drinking my a "grande iced Charles" and reading the local newspaper; I mentally make a grocery list as my most important errand comes to mind. The liquor store. Some people call it the "licka sto."

Sometimes, things can hinder you from accomplishing your tasks. Personally, it's always a funeral processional on an early Saturday afternoon. While traveling to the liquor store, I began to wonder if everyone had died on the same day and if their survivors had decided to hold the funeral service on Saturday. However, I guess it is a popular day for weddings and funerals. "Every Saturday, there is a funeral. It must be planting season," I said aloud.

Over the next few Saturdays, I repeated my weekly routine complete with waiting patiently as all of the cars creeped passed me at the traffic light or stop sign. There are at least two funeral processionals that interrupt my trip to the "licka sto" each week - well almost.

One early Saturday afternoon after experiencing a long and draining week at work and ready to finish my final errand for the day; a 75 car processional interrupted my travel route - yet again. So, as the old saying goes, "If you can't beat them join them." Trying to think on my feet, I decided to turn on my vehicle headlights; turned off the noisy radio; reached for my handkerchief to wipe my fake tears; and then I eased behind the last car in the processional.

It was refreshing and exhilarating. I had the experience of running all of the traffic lights (somewhat legally) until I reached my final destination. I hadn't been in a funeral processional since Daddy died months ago. Plus, a bottle of Jim Beam bourbon was waiting for me in the far left corner of the "licka sto."

Now, I make sure my headlights are in good working order, and I always keep a handkerchief in the front seat - just in case. As I told my Facebook friends, I may purchase two funeral flags and a yellow flashing light for my vehicle. I will just use them on Saturday afternoons - of course.

Until next week, much love and keep praising His name,
Sir Charles

(My novels and ebooks can be found at http://www.xlibris.com/)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"I'm finished!"

(Disclaimer: The following is a true story. The names have been changed to protect the innocent and the guilty. The first time this story was told to me; I giggled all day long. I hope you do as well.)



"I'm finished!" Liv's six-year-old daughter, Angelica, yelled as she turned off the shower.
"No, you are not! You just turned on the shower two seconds ago! You can't be finished! Turn that water back on and wash your hind parts, girl!" Liv retorted.
Hearing her cell phone ring on the downstairs coffee table, Liv traveled down the steps and grunted as she studied the caller ID.
Sighing, Liv said, "Hello, Gloria."
"Do you know what your sister-in-law, Althea, just did to me? Huh?" Gloria shouted.
"Lower your voice. No, I don't," replied Liv.
"She called the police on me!"
Hating herself for asking the question, "For what?" Liv asked.
"Stealing her cheap jewelry. The police detective just left my house and asked if I had stolen her diamond cocktail ring. He said that Althea thought I went to her house to steal from her. I told him that I was over Althea's to help her clean that nasty ol' house of hers. I then told him to go back to her house and look at her left ring finger. That ring was on her finger when I left her house."
Trying to contain her laughter, Liv asked, "Then what happened?"
"The police went back to her house; looked at Althea's finger and asked her what was on it. That ditsy broad said, 'Oh, I meant to call and tell you that I found it.' I get so tired of her sometimes," Gloria stated. "She's been a dingbat since she was five-years-old. I wish Mom and Dad had brought home another baby, instead," she continued.

Yelling from the upstairs shower, Angelica asked, "Ma, am I finished, yet?"
"No!" Liv, yelled in returned. "I need a few minutes to myself," she mumbled.

Ending her conversation with her husband's sister, Liv reflected on one of Althea Mavis Brooks' escapades.

"I'm filing a class action lawsuit, and I should have my claim money within a few days," Althea told the car salesman, Steve Luckett.
"Well, Mrs. Brooks, why don't you drive this 2012 Cadillac XTS home. Keep it and then bring us the money after you get your claim," Steve offered.

A week later, the claim money still had not arrived. Althea was totally oblivious to calling the car salesman, and she had been driving the luxury vehicle to church, on out-of-town trips, to the doctor's office; the grocery store; to breakfast, lunch and dinner and to the movies. So, Steve decided to take the initiative.

"Mrs. Brooks, how are you enjoying the car?"
"Oh, I just love it. The check still hasn't arrived, yet. It should be here on tomorrow."
"Okay, just come on in and let's settle everything then."
"Will do," Althea replied.

Realizing that it's time to check the mail, Althea opened the front door; waved at her neighbors and slid her hand into the mailbox. Retrieving the single piece of mail, Althea studied the small envelope; ripped it opened at the perforations and noticed that her check had finally arrived. She rushed to the phone to redial Steve Luckett.

"Hello, Mr. Luckett. This is Althea Mavis Brooks, and my check has arrived!"
"Oh, that's great! What time can I expect to see you?" Steve replied.
"Well, there is just one thing. My class action lawsuit check is in the amount of $6.48. So, what I'm willing to do is to pay you $25.00 per month from my retirement check until the car is paid for. That is all I can afford."
"What I suggest is that you bring that 2012 Cadillac back to the dealership before I call the cops on you," Steve offered.

Liv thought aloud, "I guess Althea Mavis Brooks will have to continue driving her 1992 Buick." Her thoughts and laughter was interrupted by, "Ma! I'm really finished - this time! I'm turning into a prune!"

Now, that really is a true story. Althea Mavis Brooks has a few other escapades under her sleeve. Next week, I may share those in a post or some interesting quips on Virginia's recent earthquake and hurricane. Make sure you notice the new buttons at the bottom of this page and the graphic at the top of the page. I'm trying to get high-tech.


Much love until next week and keep praising His name!
Sir Charles

(My novels and ebooks are available on http://www.xlibris.com/ - Charles Carroll Lee)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Jello and Fried Fish with Eyes

Thinking back on my previous post, "This is good eating!" and the toast concoction Daddy used to make me eat on Saturday mornings; I quickly thought of my maternal and paternal grandmothers. They were both interesting church ladies who seem to have some sort of fondness for making me eat their latest masterpiece at their kitchen tables. On hindsight, perhaps I should have reported them to social services for some type of child endangerment or traumatizing a young child with food. This post probably has more of a "Wow" or "Ewww" factor than humor.

Mother Gertrude

Looking in my grandmother's refrigerator, I asked, "What's this pink stuff in this container, Ma Gertrude?"
"Oh, that's brains. I can scramble them up with some eggs. Want some?" she asked.
"Good God no!" I thought to myself. I continued, "No, thank you."
"Want some grape jello? It should be ready," she offered.
"Yeah, that would be great," I replied with glee.

Taking a seat at her kitchen table, Mother Gertrude placed two spoonfuls of jello in a bowl and placed it in front of me. Excited, I reached for the spoon that was beside the bowl and took aim and the shaky dessert in front of me. My grandmother quickly interrupted me. "Wait a minute. I got something else for you," she said.

Appearing out of no where, my mother's mother stood over me with a pot and a heavy spoon. She then drowned my jello with what seemed like a ton of a white, creamy sauce until the jello was buried deep within the bowl.

With eyes wide open and mouth agape, I stuttered, "What is this?"
"Custard. You like custard," Mother Gertrude replied.
"Like hell I do. I never had this crap before," I thought to myself. I continued, "No, I haven't."
"Well, eat it. It's good," she said, walking toward her bedroom to watch her stories.

Years had passed; and I was still sitting at her kitchen table. Actually, it was probably more like a few minutes. But, looking at a bowl of custard with small peaks of grape jello made my young life seem like it would last forever. So, the french poodle, Zsa Zsa, walked into the kitchen to check on me. I lifted the bowl from the table and placed it in front of her on the floor. The poodle looked at the bowl, then at me and returned to her hiding place.

Papa arrived moments later from the outdoors. I was sure my grandfather would help me. "I can't help you with this one," he said. My Aunt Ellen and Cousin Tommy both delivered the same response. Then, my teenage cousin, Tee Tee, arrived.

"Please, help me," I pleaded.
"Ugh, what's that?" she asked.
"Custard with jello. I don't want it," I replied.
"Let's dump it in the trash and cover it over," she offered.
"Really? That's all?" I asked.
"Yep."

Later, Mother Gertrude asked, "Did you enjoy the custard and jello?"
"I sure did!"

Crisis averted!

Mother Sadie

(Setting: Friday night dinner at her house)

Menu: Fried fish with the head and tail attached. Canned spaghetti. Hash browns and corn bread.

There is nothing more unsettling than trying to eat a piece of hot, fried fish while it is watching you.

Noticing that I wasn't interested in eating the fish, Daddy said, "This is good eating!"
"Not that again! This is worst than that toast stuff you made me eat last Saturday!" I thought to myself. "You really think so?" I finally asked.
"Yeah, it sure is. You don't want it?"
"Heck no! I'll suffer through this yukky canned spaghetti, first. Jesus, help me," I thought. "No, I'll eat the spaghetti. You want my fish?" I asked him.
"Give it here," Daddy commanded.

So, Daddy ate the fish along with the head and all that it contained - much to my amazement. Mother Sadie must have noticed the exchanged between her son and me and decided to fix fried chicken the following Friday. "Thank God!" I mumbled at her kitchen table. I'm sure she thought I was saying my grace.

Until next week...

Much love to each of you and keep praising His name,
Sir Charles

(My novels and ebooks are available on http://www.xlibris.com/ - Charles Carroll Lee)

It Will Last Forever - The Conclusion

Last week, I shared with you in my post entitled, "It Will Last Forever" some birthday gift ideas for my sister, Mrs. Dyson. After much thought, I decided to purchase a brand new Verizon android cell phone. I had imagined that this would put me in the running for the "Brother of the Year" award. However, I am Mrs. Dyson's only brother. So, I win by default.

Selecting a new cell phone for my sister was no easy task. The local Verizon store was extremely busy, and I didn't receive any help from any of the sales associates. Later that day, I called the 1-800 customer service number and asked the brazen sales associate about how to purchase a phone. She promptly informed me that I was not authorized to view her account - which I understood.

My next question was, "What is the best way to purchase a phone for her birthday?"
"You can purchase a Verizon gift card, and she can go to a Verizon store and purchase her own phone. That is only because you are not authorized to view her account, and I can't let you do that."
Agitated, I replied, "You told me that already. Do you think I'm a freaking idiot? Huh?"
"No, sir. Just get her a gift card....because I really cannot open her account to be viewed," the sales associate replied.
"If you say that one more time...I swear....I will....", I said, stopping mid-sentence. Continuing, "Thanks for nothing," I finally offered.
"Is there anything else I can do for you, sir?"
"Hell no!" I replied, pushing the "end call" button on the phone.

After all of that anguish, I purchased a Verizon gift card and presented it to Mrs. Dyson on this past Sunday, which was her birthday.

My sister took one look at the gift card with a note that read, "For a brand new cell phone"; placed both of her manicured hands on her cheeks and released a loud pitch wail as tears streamed down her face. If I didn't know any better; I would have thought that she had won the Miss America Pageant complete with a crown, sash, roses and cape along with $75,000.00 in scholarships, cash and prizes. I could almost hear Bert Parks singing, "Here She Is, Miss America...." Okay, she didn't do all that stuff. I just took a little creative license with her reaction to the present. Actually, Mrs. Dyson was very thankful, gracious and surprised.

As I type this post, Mrs. Dyson and my niece are selecting a new phone at the Verizon store. Mrs. Dyson mentioned that she likes my iPhone and is leaning toward getting one just like it.

My work is done and my weary mind is rested - until it's time to buy her a Christmas present.

Much love to each of you and keep praising His name,
Sir Charles

Peach/Apple Cobbler

As I promised last week, here is the recipe for Peach/Apple Cobbler. I have received lots of compliments on this recipe. It's really easy to fix. Just make sure you use the Lucky Leaf brand pie filling.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
3 or 4 cans of Lucky Leaf Peach and/or Apple Pie Filling
1-2 packages of Pillsbury rolled pie crust from the grocer's refrigerated section
Sugar
Cinnamon
Butter or margarine
Vanilla Extract
Allspice
Lemon juice

In a round, greased (Pam Cooking Spray) casserole dish, place half of the rolled pie crust on the bottom of the dish, poke all over with fork and bake until brown. (Make sure the entire dish is covered. You may need to use part of the other pie crust roll.) When done, rub some butter or margarine over crust.

Add peach and/or apple filling over top of cooked pie crust.

Generously sprinkle cinnamon, sugar, allspice and a capful of vanilla extract and lemon juice to the filling.

Stir with wooden spoon until well blended.

Add pats of butter or margarine on top of the filling.

Add the other pie crust (and part of the other rolled pie crust, if necessary) and cut about four slits with a  knife.

Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees (approximately 1/2 hour bottom shelf - 1/2 hour top shelf)

Rub butter or margarine over the crust and generously sprinkle with cinnamon and a little sugar when cooking time is almost complete.

Enjoy,
Sir Charles

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It will last forever

This week, I thought that I would be late posting in my blog. You should know by now that Virginia experienced an earthquake, and Hurricane Irene has battered the east coast that has left 1 million Virginians without electricity. So, my plan was to go to Starbucks, plug in my laptop and write this post. However, at 11:50 p.m. Monday evening; the power returned. Now, last week I had promised to share with you Daddy's macaroni and cheese recipe and my birthday gift ideas for my sister, Belinda. Normally, I call her Mrs. Dyson because when I pronounce her first name it sounds more like "Blenda" or "Blen" instead of "Be-lin-da." Referring to my sister as "Mrs. Dyson" just seems to roll off of my tongue.

There are four gift ideas that I am pondering:

Number 1: A Grave Marker - If you are my Facebook friend, you may know this story, already. When Daddy died last June, the United States Navy provided his grave marker. Mom was so impressed with the grave marker that she had me to purchase a matching one for her (minus the date of death - of course). Last year, on one August afternoon, I traveled to the cemetery office to deliver Daddy's grave marker and to ask, Barbara Daughtry, a life-long friend of my sister and family to order one for Mom.

"Charles C, I'm so sorry for your loss," Barbara said as I entered the office. "You have my condolences. How is your mother doing?"
I replied, "Thank you very much. Mom is doing just fine."
"Make sure you tell her that I asked about her," Barbara continued.
"Okay. Here's is Daddy's grave marker, and Mom wants one just like it for her."

I gave Barbara my mother's full name, date of birth and an inscription to read: "Beloved Wife and Mother."
"What's your Mom's date of death?" Barbara asked as she furiously took notes on a pre-printed form.
"I don't know that, yet?" I replied with amusement.
"You now what? I'm so crazy," she replied with a slight smile.

Suddenly, I thought, perhaps I'll buy Mrs. Dyson a grave marker for her birthday next month. It will last forever. "Beloved Sister" would have been the inscription since I was paying for it. Her husband and daughter can tape a sticky note to it that says, " ...and Beloved Wife and Mother."  Needless to say, my sister wasn't crazy about this idea. This year, I still think it's a great present. Plus, Daddy bought a family cemetery plot years ago for the four of us. Of course, we should have matching grave markers. I will get one in 10 or 15 years from now. And since we will be buried right beside each other; I reminded my sister during a recent visit to the cemetery to do not bother me during our eternal rest.

Number 2: A brand new Verizon Motorola Android - It looks like the cell phone she currently uses is about 5 years old. I'm sure it is the first pre-generation slide phone. In order for her to read her text messages, Mrs. Dyson places her eyeglasses on her pretty, young looking face; draws the cell phone close to her eyes and slightly move her lips as she reads her messages. Actually, it drives me a little crazy. In addition, it looks like it is scratched around the edges - my pet peeve - a scratched up cell phone.

Number 3: A Macy's Department Store Gift Card -  This gift will be real easy to purchase. It's always the right size, color and fit. Macy's ~ Where Dreams Come True! (I wonder if Macy's will pay me for that free advertisement?)

Number 4: A Homemade Peach or Apple Cobbler - Some years ago, Mrs. Dyson taught me how to make peach and apple cobbler. We had even entered our cobblers in a cook-off contest at church. Unfortunately, we tied. I would swim the deepest ocean and climb the highest mountain for my sister. But, I make my cobbler to WIN.  Just so you'll know, after all of these years, Daddy wouldn't even admit as to whose cobbler he preferred.

During his last few days on earth while in the hospital, I asked, "Daddy? Whose cobbler tastes better - mine or Belinda's?"

He took a deep breath, heaved his chest toward the ceiling, released a loud exhale and collapsed. I guess he really did want to take that secret with him to the grave. No, he didn't die right then. I think he wanted to tease me one last time.

So, the present that I decided to give her is Number __!! Actually, Mrs. Dyson is a regular reader of my blog, and I don't want to ruin the surprise. Since her birthday is Sunday, September 4th; I will let you know on Wednesday, September 7th during my next post. Stay tuned.

If you would like the recipe for peach or apple cobbler; send me a real nice comment on how much you enjoy reading my blog and email it to a friend. Look for my other post/recipe entitled, "Macaroni and Cheese" that I promised you. It has already been published.

Speaking of food, I may tell you what my maternal and paternal grandmothers used to make me eat at their kitchen tables or I may post about my interactions with others during the earthquake.

Much love to each of you and keep praising His name!
Sir Charles