Choosing Sides

A situation with Floyd during the 2017 Basketball Finals made me think of repentance.  Repentance means to turn from sin and turn to righteousness.  Floyd was sitting in his favorite stuffed chair, with snacks on the table, waiting for Game 5 of the NBA Read more

What is the Reason for the Season?

As a child, only once, did I question the honesty and integrity of my maternal Grandma. Even then, when I reflected on all the facts, Grandma was absolved. I remember the incident as clear as if it were this morning. I was playing in the front room (living room) and our German neighbor, Mrs. Raymond, came up on the enclosed Read more

Faith Means Action

The six weeks between June 22nd and July 30th 2013 were loaded with change, chaos, miracles, and a lot of stepping out in faith. For two years, Floyd and I had been hoping and praying that Yehovah would make a way for us to move from Alabama to be near Charlotte, NC. We wanted to be a part of the Read more

Pet Enticed into the Arms of a Neighbor?

In the fall of 1995, Floyd and I (before children) purchased a home on 5 acres in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The house needed cosmetic work: vinyl siding and repairs to the upper porch. Early one morning, a construction worker found two abandoned kittens on the road and brought them to me. I immediately took them in and gave them food Read more

Secrets in the Buffet Drawer

My father's mother, Grandma Berry, as we called her, was born in 1909. Grandma was divorced when my dad was about five and later married Gerald Berry. He was a kind, easy going man that worked at one of the Ford plants in Detroit. I remember his metal lunch pail. It was black on the outside and shiny metal gray on Read more

Who had the greater FEAR? Me or my children?

In every parent's life you come to the point of deciding when to take your children to funerals. Sometimes this decision is made for you if the deceased person is a close relative and the child needs to go in order to have closure. Sometimes the choice to take the child to the funeral is optional; the deceased is not Read more

The Saga of Trying to Have Children–Part 3 of 3

Read The Saga of Trying to Have Children – Part 2 of 3 here

Aunt Mamie (Southerners pronounce it Ain’t Mamie.) hustled the four of us into Uncle Richard’s car and we headed down in the country. Now, I already thought we were in the country. We went down some dirt roads and stopped in front of a dilapidated house that was leaning at least 60 degrees to the right. For non-mathematicians, it was worst than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It was nearly covered with brush, vines and kudzu. I sighed heavily at the thought of going into that house, but I had kinfolk in there and my curiosity was overwhelming. Besides that, Aunt Mamie was on a mission and she would have pulled me in there at my least hesitation.

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Aunt Mamie

Inside was Rev Sam (short for Samuel; he was a former preacher) and his wife, Betty Mae. They both were 90 something. Rev Sam was dressed in an insulated hunting outfit that went from his neck to his ankles and he had on long johns underneath. He was sitting in front of a kerosene heater that was on full blast, talking to his 70’s something brother. I was about to pass out from the heat because the temperature outside was at least 95 degrees. Betty Mae had Alzheimer’s and was sitting in the kitchen while a neighbor was combing her hair.

This is my cousin with Betty Mae in 2005; she’s 103 or 104. She lived in the Greene County, AL Nursing Home. Rev Sam had died some years earlier.

When we left, Aunt Mamie started in on me.  “That’s what happens when you don’t have children to take care of you. Rev Sam’s brother is the one who comes to make sure they have food and he’s old himself. You better have some kids, or you’ll end up the same way!”

I was too stunned and respectful of Aunt Mamie to start explaining the reasons why I didn’t have children. I just agreed and said I’d better get some kids soon.

When I returned to Floyd in Detroit, I remember sitting on his knee, crying and stressing out about how we were going to end up like Rev Sam and Betty Mae.  Floyd, the poor man, couldn’t do anymore than he was already doing. And I know he was probably making a mental note, “Last time she’s going to visit those crazy relatives!”

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Shar and Floyd.

Well, miracles of miracles, I got pregnant the next month.

After six weeks of elation and lots of doctor ordered bed rest, I miscarried at 10 weeks. That was the last time I got pregnant.

A year or so later, my Mom and I went to visit some elderly friends, Edgar and Emma. I hadn’t seen them in years. We were all sitting around the kitchen nook and Edgar started with the questions.

Family friend, Edgar

You married?”

Who did you marry?”

How many children do you have?”

No children!! What’s the matter?!! He can’t pitch, or you can’t catch?”

I laughed, and in a flash I answered, “He pitched, I caught it, but I couldn’t hold on to it!”

We all laughed!!

Looking back on the highs and lows of our journey, I am so grateful to have had the experience of pregnancy. I wanted so much to feel the unique blessing of a woman to carry life inside of me.

Some years later, Floyd and I adopted two children. In 1989, Joel, at 5½ months old, became a part of our family. We brought Ruth home from the hospital at 10 days old in 1999. 

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Ruth and Joel!

I love my children and our family is whole.

 

Mama, Aunt Mamie and Ruth in 2006.

 

 

 

 What was your favorite part of this story?

Shar

 

“Is she your real daughter?” they asked me. “Real?” I questioned. “What do you mean real? She is a child not born of my flesh, that’s true. But she is a child truly born within my heart….within my soul. Yes, she is real.” An adoptive mother

Posted on by Shar in Children, Marriage 5 Comments

SQUANTO — Part 1 of 2

When we moved from Michigan to Alabama in 2008, the auctioneer ran newspaper and internet ads for us that said:

Everything for sale: real estate, art work and a three-legged goat!”

 

It all started the first Saturday in November, 2006. We were just about ready to leave home, in Morenci, MI, for the two hour drive to Detroit for the annual Family Harvest Dinner for my mom’s side of the family. In previous years, this dinner had been held on Thanksgiving Day. However, there were a number of relatives that couldn’t come or didn’t arrive until late because they had to attend Thanksgiving Dinners with their in-laws, cousins, and kinfolk on “the other sides” of the family.

Before the Family Harvest Dinner was changed to late October/early November, Thanksgiving was an excruciatingly long day for our immediate family.  The routine started with a roasted duck breakfast at my dad’s mother’s house on the west side of Detroit.

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Mom and Dad at his mother’s house for Thanksgiving Breakfast, circa 1990.

Then we went to the Family Harvest Dinner that was about 35 miles north. Then back to the west side of Detroit to Floyd’s (my husband) mother’s house for a family dinner with her siblings and then to Janet’s (Floyd’s sister) house for another dinner. Janet’s husband, Alfred, always insisted on her cooking a full dinner at their house…for the leftovers! THEN, we traveled another few miles to  Frannie’s house (my father’s cousin) for another dinner – mostly desserts; Frannie’s husband, Lester, could throw-down on 7-up cake, and sweet potato pies. When the day was over, we were as full as a ticks and very tired.

Deer tickI never paid much mind to the phrase, “full as a tick”. However, when we moved to Alabama in 2008, we all got bit by ticks; the cats and dogs got bit too. The fattest ticks were on the animals because they couldn’t readily get them off. The ticks looked to me that they had swollen 10 times their normal size when they were engorged with blood.

Now back to the story.

 I was the last of the family remaining in the house. I heard commotion outside and then I heard Floyd yelling, “Shar, Shar! Come quick! Squanto is down!” I hurried through the kitchen and out the back door. I could see our white Nubian goat, Squanto, in a heap on the ground. Joel (eight years old) and Ruth (seven years old) were upset. Floyd was perplexed, wondering what to do.

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These were some of our goats playing in the pasture.

 I was the “country” person among us. Floyd and I were both born in Detroit. We moved to the country because we wanted an open safe place to raise children. Floyd was still “citified”. I had embraced the country life totally. Before we knew about eating according to Bibilical instructions, I had even approached Floyd about getting on the local police’s “road kill” list. Floyd was horrified, “You must be mad! You don’t know how long that meat has been on the ground!”

 We’ll only take meat in the winter time, that way if it’s on the road for a while, it will be frozen. We could get it ground up for hamburgers and meatloaf.”

 Shar, you’re crazy! I wish I would eat some meat off the road!”

 You get the idea.

 OK, now back to the scene with Squanto. I looked at Squanto and saw that his right hind leg was bleeding. Floyd and I went back in the house. I exchanged my faux fur, heels and “Sunday-go-to-meeting” dress for work clothes. We slid Squanto onto a tarp and lifted him into the back of our van. Squanto was a full size, heavy goat. He probably weighted about 120 pounds.

 Joel and Ruth were very attentive to their beloved goat. Ruth kept Squanto calm by rubbing him and scratching him behind his horns.

Ruth, 8 years old; Joel, 9 years old.

The Vet said it looked like an injury from trying to jump over the fence and getting his leg caught. She gave him an injection and sent us home with four more daily injections to be given under the skin on his neck. She also instructed us to change the bandage daily.

 If you have been following this story, you know who was giving the shots and changing the bandages.

 Well, we had to cut our trip to Detroit short. We had planned to stay for three days, but now we had to be back after only one night.

The shots went well and the leg began to heal. After the last shot, I left the bandage on for two days instead of the daily dressing change. Well…, when I came to look at the leg on day six, it was turning black and had an awful smell. I yelled for the troops to come and put Squanto in the van. We had to go back to the Vet.  

When I went into the house to get my purse, I hurriedly called the meat processor. I wasn’t intending to let all that meat go to waste. I wanted to have my ducks in a row if gangrene turned out to be localized and not running all through his body. By the time I got to the van, Joel  and Ruth were pleading, “Mama, can we get a leg for Squanto?” I tried to be calm and realize that this was their pet, but no way was I going to pay for a goat prosthesis!

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Goat Prothesis?!! I remember Mr. Tom in Jenkinsville, SC that had a “peg-leg”. He is standing with my Great-Uncle.

 I had bigger concerns on my mind…trying to convince Floyd to eat Squanto. I calmly and quietly said (so Joel and Ruth couldn’t hear), “I wonder if gangrene is localized or systemic? (PAUSE….) If it is localized, I already called Pettisville Meats. They said they could process it , if we shoot it first.”  

Floyd spun around in his seat with a wild look like he couldnt believe that he was married to me or much less know a person such as me. “You have lost your mind! I ain’t eating no gangrene goat.”

 “We don’t know for sure that gangrene is running through his blood.”

 “Listen, gangrene or not, I’m not eating that goat!”

 The decibels were at a crescendo; Joel and Ruth were panicking. “Mama, Mama, we can’t eat Squanto!!”

 Floyd lowered his voice and said with a citified finality, “If you take that goat to Pettisville Meats, I will never eat your ground meat again as long as I live!!”

I sighed, it was hopeless with Floyd .

Now to deal with the prosthesis, I told the kids that it would probably be too expensive, but we would see what the Vet had to say.

The Vet came to the back of the van and examined Squanto. She confirmed Squanto had gangrene. And yes, it was running all through Squanto’s body. Floyd looked at me like I was a nut case and he was the only sane person in the family.

Floyd had never said so, but he never would have purchased a “goat prothesis”. He had remained quiet and non-committal and let me take the heat from the kids.

Well, with some reservation, I asked about the prothesis. I exhaled deeply with relief when the Vet said there were no goat protheses. The kids were sad. She also said there was no guarantee that amputating the leg would solve the problem. She had known cases where the gangrene continues up the leg and several operations would be required with no hope the goat would survive.

I see that goats can get a “peg-leg”!!

I asked how much it would cost to put down the goat and dispose of him. The kids were yelling some nonsense about taking him home for burial. The Vet said $35.00.

Read Part 2 here

Shar
Posted on by Shar in Animals, Courage 6 Comments

The Saga of Trying to Have Children–Part 2 of 3

Read The Saga of Trying to Have Children – Part 1 here

I spent a day at my sister’s house, and then we took a train to San Francisco.

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My sister, Laurie.

My sister and I have very different outlooks on life. (If you have read any of my stories, you are probably saying, “Yeah, I know you do… unless Shar’s outlook runs in the family!”)

For instance, when we got settled for the 45-minute train trip to San Francisco, I suggested we pray. She was in agreement. I started off, “Dear heavenly Father, thank You that I safely arrived in California to visit Laurie. Please give us a safe trip to and from San Francisco. Help us to have a great time. Help us to meet some nice people…

 “Hold it! Hold the prayer!  We aren’t meeting anyone!”

OK. OK”.

So…you get the picture.

 We had a grand time walking up and down the streets, walking the wharf, buying maternity clothes and just having a good sisterly time.

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This photo was taken at Pier 39 in San Francisco a few years after this story happened.

 However, after the wonderful trip, I returned home and miscarried at 6 weeks. My uncle said, “She had no business going to San Francisco. She walked that baby out!”

 Well, it was back to square one. We started with the temperature taking all over again.

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Shar and Floyd in the early 90’s.

Trying to conceive is an emotionally draining business. For half the month you are in high expectations that “this is the month”. And for the other half of the month, you are depressed because it turned out to be “not the month”. The highs and lows were nerve racking.

 In May 1992, my Mom and I went to visit relatives in Dollarhide, Alabama. It was so named because the early settlers, my maternal family, sold animal hides for a dollar. Mom and I stayed with Uncle Richard and Aunt Mamie (my grandfather’s sister).  I hadn’t seen them in 20+ years.

Upon arrival, I was questioned:

 “Where you live now?”

What kind of work you do?’

You married?”

How many children you got?”

 “What!! No children?!! Girl, I’m gonna take you to see what happens to old folks that don’t have no children!”

 READ PART 3 HERE!

Posted on by Shar in Children, Marriage 4 Comments