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)