Take a whiff of Sista Smiff and you'll come back for more, that's fo sho!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

A Bluegrass Documentary

Since I got the new Beta version of Blogger, it doesn't appear to want to let me put You Tubes up so I'll just have to do it the old fashioned way and use a link.

As you are probably wo' out from hearing, Mr. Smiff and the Grascals have a new cd out this week. A mini-documentary was done on the making of the cd. It is very cool. Features Dierks Bentley, Lloyd Green, The Jordanaires and some guy named George. Go watch it. As usual, there's not enough Mr. Smiff but he shows up. So does that damn dog of Dierks'. I swear, Jake the Dog got more face time than Mr. Smiff. It was more the Jimmy Mattingly Show than anything.

The best part is when George is cutting his stuff and the guys reaction in the control room.

Pro Blogging?

Who wants to enlighten one almost unemployed blogger-type about the ins and outs, pros and cons of being a professional blogger?

Anything the WonderDawg and Lindsey suggest to me is worth checking on cause theys edjucated people.

Seriously, any of y'all that have knowledge about this...do shoot me an email.

Due To Restructuring....

It was not surprising, however, it was a little bit of a weird jolt to be informed about an hour ago that my position is being eliminated. I'm sitting there with the boss, his boss and the head of HR, and it's like in a movie where somebody's talking and you don't hear them. It was odd. It's not a reflection of my performance...blah blah....I know that....but I'm sitting there thinking "What in the HELL am I going to do?"

Now, I can go for the several months off with pay thing but I will have to find a job after that. They are actively looking to find me something else in the company, which is fine. I've been at this company for almost 10 years. It's not a perfect place and it's not the work I'd miss there, but, the people. You develop a family at your work when you've been there a long time.

So it's official that Sista Smiff is on the job market. Maybe I oughta look into that opening over at the Mothership.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Young Love

The gentleman lovingly holding the infant was announced this morning as one of the newest members of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
It is about. Damn. Time.
Sonny James is one of the bonafide greats in country music. Until Alabama came along and broke his record, he held the record for most consecutive number one records for years and years. (I think it was something like 21).
For the record, that is not me Sonny is holding. That is my sister. We have home movies of this particular moment and I wish I were technologically up to date that I could put it on the blog. It is one of the sweetest things you'd ever want to see. The film has him singing to her, rocking back and forth...very sweet especially considering how back in the OLD days, when this was taken, men didn't mess with newborn babies much and Sonny has never had children of his own. This was at my parents house in California in 1966. Whoops..told her age. At least she can't accuse me of putting a non-cute picture of her up here.

A Shout For Eddie

I'm sitting here listening to Sirius and their traditional country station, "The Roadhouse." They play good stuff, mostly. I'm intrigued that they are playing Eddie Rabbitt's "Driving My Life Away" and what's so funny is that in 2006, that is considered "traditional" country. When that thing came out in the early 80's, it played like crazy on Top 40 radio. Nothing traditonally country about it. Just funny to me how perspectives change.

I do like that song. I remember when it came out, my sister LOVED it. We used to record songs from the radio to our little tape recorder. This was before we had stereos and decent stuff to record to.

Eddie was probably the first and only Nashville country act that was born in Brooklyn, New York. His daddy was an Irish immigrant who played the fiddle. It's kinda sad to me that Eddie is one people seemingly have forgotten about. Eddie died of lung cancer in 1998 and he was not an old man. He had a string of hits a mile long...some I liked better than others. He really did nothing for traditional country music. However, he found him a formula and traditonaled himself all the way to the bank. I was always partial to his "Two Dollars In The Jukebox"...not bad country singing for a boy from Brooklyn.

For some reason, hearing him on the radio made me a little sad and I felt like remembering Eddie Rabbitt today.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Pardon Me, Mitch

I had the fun opportunity to get to visit and hang with part of the Channel 2 crew tonight at the Station Inn. I happened to see Mitch Roberts milling around and I said howdy and he sat with Yours Truly and the Smiff Kids and didn't seem to be too frightened by us.

That Mitch is a nice feller. He said he had been to Chuck E. Cheese earlier in the evening with his little ones and because he was somewhat shellshocked from that experience, he had to get out and hear some music. I think he made a wise choice in choosing to come hear the Grascals.

Being a quasi-singer/musician type myself, I think I have some sort of radar in spotting others who play and sing that you don't know play and sing. Mitch had that 6th sense thing about him that kind of tipped me off that perhaps he is a music guy and I was correct. Part of why he moved here from Las Vegas was to do the music thing.

Mitch isn't the first Channel 2 guy to be a singer/musician in their other life. Seems Davis Nolan plays and who remembers Brian Christie, who was the Singing Weatherman back in the 70's??? Brian ended up being on CNN and is in San Diego now, but, he had a little notoriety way back in his Channel 2 days when Lamar Alexander went into office a little early, tossing out Ray Blanton. He wrote and performed a song called "Pardon Me Ray"which I believe was to the tune of "Chattanooga Choo Choo."

Good times...great music. Crappy Governor.

Cruising With The Ceester

We know our buddy CeeElCee has just returned from yet another exotic trip...this time on a cruise. Turns out, my co-worker Andrea was on the very same boat with Uncle Cee. Apparently, she didn't run into him on this trip. CLC was doing nothing but business on this trip....and it's also understandable since Uncle Cee is an old guy of 40 and these are young, 20 somethings...they weren't exactly running at the same pace. CLC probably couldn't make it for the Midnight Buffet.

Still, it's a small world.

Stuck In Lodi Again

My pal, MaryE of Travels With MaryE, is a talented writer and photographer. She wanders here and there, all over the world and is good enough to share of her many adventures.
MaryE took this photo of Mr. Smiff this past weekend in Lodi, NY. Incase you can't tell (it took me a second) that is Mr. Smiff's face through the bridge of Mike Bub's bass. Mike is formerly of the Del McCoury Band and was playing with David Peterson and 1946 this weekend.

Very cool. Thank you, MaryE.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Sickly Governor

Did you see the Guvna's press conference? Bless his heart...he was looking right poorly still. He's very thin and pale...eyes sunk in his head. His voice sounded weak but he claimed to feel "great" today. Whatever he had or has...it has had him whipped. Poor guy. It makes me want to cover myself in tick repellent.

They were asking him all kinds of questions about why he didn't do this or that and he finally told them that yes, he's an elected official but everybody wants some sort of privacy. I was thinking he had something terribly wrong with him like cancer or Lou Gehrig's or something. They even tested our Governor for Parvo! Apparently, they still don't know what the exact problem was.

Remember when the news people talked about Jimmy Carter's hemorroid journey and Ronald Reagan's prostate cancer procedure? I wouldn't want Demetria Kalidomos or even worse, that homely Greta Van Susteren, discussing my latest pap smear and I bet CLC would not want Neil Orne or Katie Couric describing his recent testing experience.

The Governor's biggest concern was getting better in time for his son's wedding this weekend. I hope he'll be in good shape to toast his only child's marriage and I'm glad he appears to be on the road to getting better.

Shameless Plugs

The Grascals new cd releases tomorrow so there is a lot of activity and publicity going on surrounding that. I've been writing about them a lot lately and probably will even more this week so y'all bear with me. I don't get a paycheck from them or anything....

At 9 central this morning, you can hear them on WSM with Bill Cody. That's 650 on your am dial if you are local or you can go here to hear it.

The Station Inn is tomorrow night and I'm told you better get there early if you want a seat. They usually fill the place up and being tomorrow is the release party/premiere, it may be even more crowded. When so many get into the Station they have to lock the doors for fire regulations so if you want to come, get there early and let me know if you're coming so I can look for you. (That is, if I can get a seat).

The cd is getting some great reviews. Rich Kienzele gave it a whopping one and it's on the "reviews" part of their webpage.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Unadvisable Things To Say To Sista Smiff on a Sunday Night

A conversation was held in my home earlier this evening, about ten til 7... that went something like this:

#1 Son-Uh, Mom....we have this assignment where we have to make a car that's balloon powered with wheels made out of something other than wheels.

Mom-(In best June Cleaver/Carol Brady) Well, that's interesting, Son. When is this due?


Mom-What?!?!?!! Tomorrow?!?!?!?!

#1 Son-I told you about it today while we were at El Rodeo.

Mom did not recollect any of this conversation. I mean, a crowded, Mexican restaurant on a Sunday after church is not the best place to inform your mother of something like this....am I right here? I don't keep balloons lying around the house. We don't have many water balloon fights around these parts.

#1 must get this from his aunt who when in 2nd grade, waited until the night before to let my mother know she needed a turkey costume...the next day. Difference in that is she was in 2nd grade...this is a high school freshman who has his sights set on a Vanderbilt college education.

All the moms with little tots with their sippy cups and naps, feeling exhausted....I wish I could tell you it gets easier and you are less fatigued and worn out when they have their own razors and learners permits. I have found it to be the exact opposite. I didn't know how good I had it when they were little.

Plane Crashes-More Than Just Numbers

All the news outlets are reporting the Comair plane crash in Lexington, Kentucky, this morning. It's not really looking good as far as survivors go.

This is so reminiscent for me of the American Eagle crash of October 31, 1994, in Roselawn, Indiana. You might remember this crash. It got a lot of publicity. It was a similar kind of plane that went down in Lexington....commuter. The plane was circling, waiting to land in Chicago and ice got on the wings, taking it down, killing all 64 people aboard.

One of the people aboard the plane was my cousin, Mandy. Mandy was one of the flight attendants, having just completed her training, the illfated flight was her first unsupervised. She had just graduated from college in the spring of 1994. She was a beautiful, intelligent young woman who had her whole life ahead of her. She was also an only child.

It's a weird way to lose somebody. I remember the night the accident happened thinking they were going to find her. She was going to turn up on another plane somewhere and we would all rejoice and laugh how we thought she was dead, but, now she was alive. It didn't happen that way. It was so weird to have the scene on the television, them talking about how they hadn't recovered victims...knowing that our Mandy was out there in a field somewhere. It was a nightmare.

We see stuff like plane crashes and they'll tell us how many died, but, they're just numbers to most of us. Each number represents hundreds of family members, close friends, co-workers....my heart hurts for all of these families.

I often wonder what Mandy would be doing now. She'd be 35 years old...she had studied broadcast journalism in school, but, had a childhood dream of being an airline attendant that she had to get out of her system first. She was such a natural beauty, television would've loved her. I'm sure whatever she had ended up doing, she'd have been extremely succesful at. She had a diva-like quality to her...a hard headedness....yeah...she'd have done well at whatever she chose.

Twelve years later and she's still wildly missed.

Friday, August 25, 2006

A Piece of the Pie

The fine folks at TVLand have wonderfully seen fit to start showing "The Jeffersons." I love this show. It's just funny.

The Jeffersons theme song, "Movin' On Up" is, I guess, my very favorite tv show theme song. I used to think, when I was a kid, that it was Sherman Helmsley singing harmony part to Janet Dubois' (aka Wilona on "Good Times") lead, but, it isn't.

I love how George struts into the building. Ah...what a great show. They don't make them like this anymore.

What's your favorite tv show theme song?

The Post That Is Just Plain Corny

I received a rather interesting Evite in my email this morning, as did my fellow listers on the Bluegrass-L. It is an invite to a pickin' party and "Cornhole Tournament."

Now, I don't get out much. I go to work and herd my kids. I try to keep up with all that's hot and happening in the world, but, Cornhole is something that has not yet crossed my radar until this morning.

There is a website that explains the sport/art of Cornholing. It appears a bunch of intoxicated people try to throw a bag of corn into a hole.

I doubt I can coerce Mr. Smiff to go by with me and check this thing out. I might just have to run by there and see without him, if he won't go.

Have any of y'all any experience Cornholing?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Hey Sista...What's For Supper?

In July 1998, right after #2 was born, my dear friends, The Johnson's, being the good Baptists and all around good people they are, made us some Chicken Spaghetti. It was some kind of good. They also brought us some wonderful, garlic bread and salad to go with it. Ever since, I've been trying to find a recipe that was like Sarah's. Turns out, it was under my nose the whole time.

This particular recipe belongs to singer Chalee Tennison and it is featured in Hazel's cookbook "Hazel's Hot Dish, Cooking With Country Stars."

Even though the recipe is Chalee's, it reminds me of the lady who first made it for us, Sarah Johnson, who passed away last December. She was a fantastic cook and a fantastic lady that I miss a lot.

Speaking of Hazel's Hot Dish, she is on QVC, the next couple days selling the book. I don't know the times she's on. If you're into that, just look for her the next couple days.

Chicken Spaghetti
1 hen
2 7 oz packages of spaghetti
2 8 oz cans tomato sauce
3 large onions
1 cup celery
1/2 lb grated cheese
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 can cream of mushroom soup

Boil hen until tender. Remove meat from bone and cut up. Skim fat from broth and reserve. Cook spaghetti in 2 quarts broth for 5 minutes. Brown onions, green pepper, and celery in 3 tablespoons of skimmed fat. Add spaghetti, chicken, mushroom soup, chili powder, and tomato sauce. Cook on low heat very slowly for an hour. Mix in part of the cheese and pour into a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top and bake a few minutes until the cheese melts. This is SO good!!!

The Power of Suggestion

My friend, Sue, is a Pampered Chef consultant. She's very good at it. Probably one of the best I've ever seen at those types of things. Sue could've been a tv personality had she ever had the opportunity. She's a tall, slender, beautiful, blonde with this bubbly, but, not irritating personality. She's a delightful person. Even so, I'm pissed at her.

Yesterday, she was telling me I simply must see the new knives Pampered Chef has now. I told her that I would never use PC knives ever again. Those suckers should be outlawed, they're so sharp. My person bears a scar from one.

A couple years ago, I had gotten some stuff and one of the things was a knife. I was cutting carrots one morning and cut the dickens out of my finger. That thing bled like Dan Akroyd's skit of Julia Child..."I just cut the dickens out of my finger!" I knew I'd have to get stitches for it. Mr. Smiff, for whatever reason, did not deem that the laceration was serious enough to be dealt with by a medical professional (He usually uses the Bill Monroe method of first aid...duct tape). I disagreed with my husband and drove myself to the doctor, with bleeding right thumb. You don't realize how much you use your thumb til you try to drive with one bleeding profusely. I was a happy wife that day.

I got to the doctor and said "Um, I think I need stitches..maybe" and I started unraveling the makeshift, paper towel tourniquet I had fashioned. As soon as I took the first layer off and the girl saw the blood she says "Uh, yeah...you need stitches." Got five of them and have a nice little scar.

So, I told Sue the story of my unfortunate encounter with Pampered Chef knives and that I'd stick with the stoneware or something else. I do love PC stuff and own most of it. I was shocked to learn that Busy Mom has never used her stones!!! Totally ruined my image of her.

Last night, I decided to cook and I made this wonderful Chicken Spaghetti. Fantastic stuff...let me know if you want the recipe. Anyway, I had boiled the chicken and took it out to cut the meat off. Not using my Pampered Chef knife, but, rather a regular one, I start cutting the chicken off the bone and dangit, if I didn't cut the dickens out of my left index finger! Nothing like the Thumb Incident, but, it bled nicely. It bled so much, I had to ask Mr. Smiff to step in and finish getting the meat off the chicken.

I think it was the power of suggestion by Sue and her stinkin' knives that did it. I was going to get my nails done but can't til this heals up. Can't very well get nail polish remover on it.....OUCH!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Many Faces of Mr. Smiff

Producer J and some of her co-horts have this idear that Mr. Smiff doesn't smile much. Now, it is true he is not a Guy Smiley onstage. He is responsible for keeping the band in time. If he drags, then the whole band will drag. The truth is, he smiles a lot onstage when he and Bobo get to doing their thing, which mostly consists of inside jokes that are nearly 20 years old.

Anyhow, J has some pictures up at her place where this psychological evauluation has commenced.

One thing Mr. Smiff DOES do onstage is chew gum and play bass at the same time. It seems to be bothersome to some out there. (A cousin of his and a cousin of mine seem to have issews with it). I think it's part of his charm. Part of his Smiffyness.

And How Is Your Taste In Music?

Your Taste in Music:
Classic Rock: High Influence80's Rock: Medium Influence80's Alternative: Low Influence80's R&B: Low Influence90's Pop: Low Influence

This is fairly accurate. There was no boxes asking me how much I liked Lefty Frizzell, Dean Martin, 60's R & B, etc. though. Go see what your taste is.

Smiff Meets Schmitt

Odd to wake up early this morning and see Mr. Smiff on News 2 talking about Jake the Dog's, um, flatulence habits with Brad Schmitt at their thing at ASCAP yesterday. (The one I didn't get to go to and no, I'm not done bitching about that!) They got a nice little spot on Brad's page with video.

I'll get over Brad referring to what they do as "pickin' and grinnin'" here in a bit. Gah.

Here's the clip that has Mr. Smiff in it. They talk about Nicole Kidman first, but, then Mr. Smiff gets the punchline.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Open House # 15

I've done a bajillion Open Houses at the beginning of school years. I counted about 15 of them, counting all three children. I'm a little jaded by the whole procedure, I suppose. I know the drill and could probably conduct the thing myself.

Tonight was Open House in #2's third grade class. The teacher this year, come to find out, is a first year teacher. Besides that, she has just moved to Middle Tennesse from way up in Iowa, just got married in June and she seems slightly overwhelmed with the whole thing. My first inclination is to say "Egads...a first year teacher." Then, common sense takes over. I'm sure she will be fine once she gets her Zoloft prescription filled and settles into the routine.

I don't want to sound like those moms that every class has a couple of every single year....those semi-OCD type Moms who keep having something to say throughout the whole 30 minute orientation. The ones who are so freakin' anal and worried about meaningless things like, say, "I only want my child to use THIS kind of pencil sharpener. The one you have is not acceptable." This particular scenario did not occur, but, this one mom shot her hand up for EVERY-THING.

This mom is a Super Businesswoman kinda mom and is degreed out the ying yang. We know because she told us so. She had something to say about this and that and "They didn't do it like this when we lived in Florida. It was much better down there." (Sista Smiff was doing all she could to not holler "WHOOP TEE FREAKIN DOO" during these many interruptions.) She also shared with us that she and her husband aren't available to ever come have lunch with their child because they are quite important and have a lot of meetings at lunch. I'm not sure which kind of mother annoys me more, the Muffia type or the uber-business-head-up-their-ass mother.

Then, there was another mom who obviously did not have any sort of childcare for the evening (husband either working or like that idiot husband on "Wife Swap" last night who would not watch the kids if his life depended on it.) She had about a three year old little boy who was SOOOOO LOUD. His mouth never stopped the entire time and Dumb Ass Mom didn't even make an attempt to hush him up. The poor teacher was nervous enough as it was and there was Stillwell Angel, screaming and crying. Everytime the teacher tried to say something, she was interrupted by a scream or a yell or a "Mommy look what I did!" Then, Dumb Ass Mom's cell phone rang and it was a call for her third grader, who was also with her. Surely she will not give the phone to the child you say. Oh no. SHE GAVE THE PHONE TO THE LITTLE GIRL in the middle of the teacher trying to tell us her procedures and stuff. It was a joy.

This may come as a shock to some, but, I didn't volunteer to be Room Mother.

The Fishin' Hole

#2 had his very first ever fishing experience Saturday. Cousin Brent was nice enough to take him to Campbell's Pond. #2 proceeded to catch three fish, in rather short order. Brent was amazed that #2 caught three fish in about 20 minutes time when he said he'll sit out there for hours and not catch anything.
Get a load of this scenery, would ya? The yellow house behind the pond was built by Mr. Smiff's great-grandfather in 1908. Hazel was raised in that house (no electricity or running water then). Cousin Patti restored the home about 20 years ago and lives there with her family.

4 Generations of the family have lived, worked and played on all this land. The house on the other side of the old house was Granny's house. One uncle lives across the street there and another on the other side of the pond. The road they live on is named after the family. Quite a heritage in Caswell County.

Funny thing about Caswell and Rockingham Counties is that my ancestors also lived there. There are still Collie's and Nickell's roaming around that whole area, up into Virginia.
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They Said It Really Loud, They Said It On The Air....

Those of you who don't have XM radio can hear Mr. Smiff and crew on WSM Radio tonight. They will be on the air live with that wacky Eddie Stubbs tonight at 9:00 central time. If you aren't in the Nashville area, you can listen to it live right 'chere. Be sure to listen. That Eddie is known to get wild and crazy on the air.

Don't forget that you can catch them Grascals a week from today at the Station Inn (8/29) for a rare Nashville performance.
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G As In....

Of the many touching moments over the weekend, this one right here, to me, was one of the sweetest.

Everyone had gone back into the church Fellowship Hall and the grave people were at work finishing up. Nobody was at the gravesite, except 6 of the 11 great grandchildren. They were standing there, very still, very quiet (even #2!). These are some fantastic kids. They loved their great-grandmother dearly. It was almost like they were going to stay with her until the very last minute. She would've loved this.

True, the kids were probably curious about the whole burial process (#2 grilled the grave workers about every step they were doing. They loved it.) They stayed til the last clump of dirt was placed. It was sweet.

While they were watching, someone asked what the "G" in the masonic symbol on their Great Grandfather's stone meant. Cousin Danny is a mortician and a mason and he said he could not tell us what it meant. Now, my Dad was a mason and he always told me that the G stood for "God." Danny laughed when I said that. He informed me that my dad was saying that to pacify me because that's not what it means. All that masonic stuff is so secretive.

Kinda like Fred G. Sanford...the G stands for Gorgeous....or something like that.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The One Where I Complain About Stuff

So there's a shindig at ASCAP tomorrow for Mr. Smiff's new cd. Ok..Mr. Smiff and that band of hooligans he rides around the country with. Of course, it occurs just at the hour #2 gets off the bus and a little after I get off work. I thought I was going to get to go and be a showbiz wife, but, noooooooooooooooooooooooo....tomorrow night is Open House at Third Grade. If I go, I'd have to stay a few minutes at the party, fight traffic on 65 North, get home just in time to grab some sort of unhealthy supper for the Smiff Kids and skedaddle on off to the school by 6:30. Then I'll be really worn out afterwards.

I swear...I think whoever plans these things purposely says "Let's do it so we can make sure Sista Smiff can't come!"

Sometimes I wish I were one of those Stay At Homes, like I used to be. Working and school stuff interferes so with my fun.


We made it back to Music City in one piece. It was quite the whirlwind of a weekend and I have many stories to tell. I will break it up into a series of blogs so they won't be too long.

Thank you all for your sweet wishes and thoughts for us. I can't really put into words how thankful I am that it somehow worked out that the kids and I were able to be there for the visitation and the funeral. Besides me not being in fighting shape (and still not this morning) but the fact I'm not used to driving that far solo with no relief driver and the fact there wasn't time to get the car serviced....God had His hand on this whole thing and it was just meant for us to be there.

When we arrived at Camp Springs Methodist Church in the small community of Cherry Grove Friday evening, as we were coming down the road, before we could see the church, we could see cars. Cars everywhere. Please keep in mind that most 92 year olds' usually outlive all their friends and if you've ever been to a funeral for someone that old, it's pretty quiet. Not this one. They counted on the register that about 250 people came Friday evening to pay respects. It was not just older people...there were all ages there. The church is small, and you could barely make your way in. There was also very limited air conditioning. This does not work well with somebody fighting bronchitis. It was hot. Er. Than. Hades.

Much talk amongst those viztin at visitation about the gorgeous flower arrangements from Vince Gill & Amy Grant, Brad & Kimberly Paisely, Ricky Skaggs and all the Whites. That's not unusual for Nashville, but, Cherry Grove? Big stuff. Granny would've dug that.

The family stood at the front in a receiving line but there wasn't room for all of us. My #1 Son stood in for his Dad, who was working in Virginia that night. I was pretty proud of him.

Even though I've been in this family for 17 years, there's some relatives I had never met before. One, being Mr. Smiff's Uncle Penn. That is not a misprint. He has an Uncle Penn. His dad's brother. I met all sorts of cousins I've heard the Smiff's talk about through the years. I even met a lady they referred to as "Sugarfoot." Heh. Sugarfoot.

#2 was a little antsy through this whole thing. "I'm ready to go now" is what he told me about 5 minutes after we got there. At one point, I'm sitting there in the pew and #2 looks around and said "Now, is somebody going to be speaking?" I told him that somebody would speak at the funeral the next day. #2 looked away, as if in deep thought and then declared "I don't think I will be coming tomorrow." Like he had other plans and just couldn't make it.

#2 was so antsy, I said "Go play in the cemetery and see your ancestors." As a lot of rural churches have, there is a cemetery on the church grounds. When I told #2 to go see his ancestors, he sure enough could see near about all his ancestors on his Grandma Hazel's side. In this one cemetery rest, now, his great-grandparents, both sets of great-great grandparents and a set of Great-Great grandparents. That's not mentioning all the aunts, uncles, cousins and various other kin that my children are related to. It's really something.

I then realized I might have created a problem sending #2 to the cemetery when I remembered that Granny's grave had already been dug. I got to thinking, if anybody would end up falling into a not-yet-occupied grave, it would be #2. Can you imagine the therapy that kid would need???

Folks in the country still practice the ritual of having somebody sit up all night with the body. Here in Nashville, or in most metropolitan/suburban areas, the funeral home has a security guard do that. Not in Caswell County. A number of family friends volunteered to stay at the church all night.

I mentioned the vast amounts of food in an earlier post. It was like Jesus feeding the multitudes and it was good, homemade food....cakes, pies, vegetables, casseroles, everything you can imagine. Granny always wanted us to eat a lot. She said she wanted us "fat and sassy." She should've never been concerned her family wouldn't consume enough food.

There were lots of tears Friday evening, but, they were usually followed with a funny story or remembrance. There were wounded relationships repaired. Lots of hugging. Granny would've wanted us doing exactly what we did...eat, laugh, maybe cry a little...

More to come....pictures later.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Live Blogging From Metropolitan Gobblers Knob

When you go to a funeral in Caswell County, North Carolina, that means you eat. Current count, according to Uncle Henry is 19 pies, 25 cakes. The current count on boxes of chicken, roughly 10.... This is no joke.

This is a small community and I think just about everybody that lives here showed up at the church for visitation. It's unreal. This is why I wanted to come. I wanted these kids to experience closeness with family and neighbors like they never have. We're all glad we're here.

More later.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Road Trip

At the drop of a hat, we decided that the kids and I are going to head out for North Carolina early in the morning. I may have some internet access. If not, I'll see ya all on the flip side.

The Leaning Post of Life

Her given name was Linnie, but, we called her "Granny." She was really everybody's Granny. She was not my grandmother by birth, but, through marriage. Still, I claimed her as mine.

I don't exactly how far Granny went in school. In those days in their rural North Carolina community, education was not the important necessity. Granny married in 1929, when she was just 15 years old. She had three children of her own, but, she also raised one of her grandchildren and cared for her father in law until he died. Her husband was a deputy sheriff and farmer. He died in 1967 when he was just 58 years old, suddenly. At the time, she was just 53...not very old, but, she never remarried and remained extremely devoted to her family. She looked after grandkids and great-grandkids, cooked and earned her rightful place as the family matriarch.

Granny not only worked in the fields, but, she had to cook for everybody. And cook she did. I never was much on country ham until I had Granny's country ham and biscuits. She could make the best cakes and her Chicken 'n Dumplings were the stuff legends are made of.

One time we were visiting, I told her I wanted her to tell me how to make biscuits and Chicken 'n Dumplings. She was more than happy to share how she did it, but, it took probably an hour for her to tell me how. She didn't use a recipe. She just did it. I wish I could say that I have worked and perfected the Boone Biscuits, but, I haven't. I wrote down the instructions and one of these days, I'm going to get them down to an art and make sure my daughter knows how.

I always loved to stay at her little house when we'd visit Caswell County. I don't know what it was about her that drew me to her. Maybe it was the fact that I didn't have grandmothers anymore. I loved to sit and talk with her in her kitchen and we shared many an interesting conversation. We covered just about everything from food to child rearing to how they handled birth control in the 30's. ("Oh, we had our ways" she said.) I loved to hear her tell stories of her childhood and what life was like in rural North Carolina when she was raising her children. She was just a joy to be around. She had a great sense of humor and loved to laugh. She was very motherly, always concerned about each of the Grands and Great- grandchildren, always interested in them as long as her memory allowed her to be.

The first time I ever went to her house was in the summer of 1990. It was hot and we went next door to her grandaughter's house one night. She grabbed a big stick before we left, incase we ran into any snakes on the way. She apparently was pretty good at killing snakes, when needed, and had done so many times. There I was, this suburban 21 year old, scared to make the walk and making really careful, calculated steps as we made our way next door. I'm sure Granny was thinking I was the biggest wimp. She wasn't scared. A potential run in with a venomous snake was no big deal. Just get you a stick and take care of it.

I think that's basically the principle on which Granny lived her life. She had lived through many hard times in her life. Even so, Granny was not a whiner. Life in rural North Carolina in the 30's and 40's was not easy. As my mother in law has said, she didn't see women wear anything but potato sacks as dresses until World War II when they were forced to go to work while the men were at war.

Granny never lived more than a mile from where she was born and raised until 1999, when she moved, by her own choosing, into the Masonic & Eastern Star Home in Greensboro. At that point, she could still care for herself, yet, she knew the day would come when she would no longer be able to do so. The fact she made that decision herself was such a blessing for her family. Granny was independent. I'm so grateful that in her making that decision, none of the family was ever faced with that painful intervention of having to tell her when it was time. She did it on her own terms.

My in laws are preparing to leave for Caswell County, NC this morning, to go and bury Granny this Saturday. My kids and I are tore up because it's not possible for us to make the trip. Mr. Smiff told our daughter "It's not like it's going to be a fun trip." No. Anytime you have to bury somebody, it's not fun. What makes our hearts hurt is the feeling of not being able to take part in her final tribute....to be there with the rest of the family, remembering, sharing laughter and tears in remembering this wonderful woman. I understand how my daughter feels. I was never able to make the trips when my own grandparents died. You feel disconnected at a time when you want and need to be connected. I know Granny would understand why I can't be there. Even so, it still hurts I can't be.

I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to have Granny in my life. I'm grateful my children have a clear memory of a Great-Grandparent.

Proverbs 31 says of a virtuous woman that her "children rise up and call her 'blessed'". So do her grandchildren-in-law.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


There's something about really talented kids that bugs me. Watching this "America's Got Talent" ....the two little girls....the Mini Janis Joplin and the Yodeler from Franklin. I'm sorry, but, this is so wrong on so many levels.

I'm really bothered by the Yodeler. She can yodel but her singing was horrendous. The Hee Haw Reject pigtails and the....oh gosh...I can't even say it......the HAYBALES.

It's wrong. It's bad enough seeing David Hasselhoff and Brandy judging talent, but, then having to endure these girls...Somebody, please make them go away.

Where's my Michael English medicine???

Just Breathe

Last night and this morning have been long. This bronchial thing got me a little scared last night. When I'd try to lie down, I couldn't breathe. Then I'd get all nervous and that made it worse. It seems to have broken up somewhat this morning but I still have that hit by a Mack truck feeling.

We did get word this morning that Mr. Smiff's 92 year old Granny passed away. Although when one is 92 and hasn't been the person we knew for quite awhile, death doesn't come as a shock, it's still a little jarring, especially for Mr. Smiff.

Things like this can throw us off guard, but, nice to know God isn't thrown off by it. It just so happens that Mr. Smiff and band are scheduled to be in North Carolina and Virgina this weekend so he will be able to fulfill her wishes that he sing at her funeral. Had this been last weekend, he'd have been in Michigan so...He covers the details for us.

I will write a more fitting tribute to Granny later when I'm not under the influence of narcotics and can do her justice. She is quite worthy of a good tribute, as she was quite the character. (I'm sure that's not a shock either seeing her daughter )

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

No Wonder They Think We're Hicks

I should be passed out, zonked in the bed, but, I can't sleep.

Instead, I'm pondering this. It puzzles me.

Troy Gentry , the better looking part of country duo Montgomery Gentry(or Tra-way as we say in Sumner County) was indicted. When I first saw that, I just assumed he was either:

a. drunk
b. high
c. propositioning male prostitutes in a park
d. getting in a fight at a girlie club ala Kid Rock

Why can't Tra-way be a normal country music person and get busted for one of those things?? No...Tra-way goes out and buys this black bear. Brings it home. Puts it in a cage or something. Shoots it with an arrow. Kills it to make it look like he caught it in the wild.

This, to me, is even more bizarre than Phil Bredesen getting bit by a tick and having to go to the hospital. Phil Bredesen gets ticks on his person, too? I thought maybe all his bazillions would act as some sort of repellent.

Could It Have Been Any Better? I Think So.

I am so bummed to hear that the ultimate in cheatin' song singer, Johnny Duncan, died yesterday.

If you are young or new to listening to country music, you probably aren't familiar with Johnny. He had a string of hits in the 70's and the topic of most of his songs was out and out, blatant cheating, short of coming out and saying "lets get naked and do it"...they were pretty steamy songs for the time. "Thinking of a Rendezvouz" and "Stranger" (the one where a then unknown Janie Fricke echoed him..."shut out the light and leave me") Country radio played the fire out of those songs back in the 70's and it made housewives all across America crazy cause Johnny had him a sexy voice. Sirius radio is big on Johnny Duncan. Their traditional country channel "The Roadhouse" plays a Johnny Duncan song about every 30 minutes.

Now, pipe down, Producer J....I know XM plays Johnny too, however, XM's favorite Johnny seems to be Johnny Bush. They play him every other song at Willie's Place. (What is with all the Texas native country singers named Johnny?)

I used to wait on Johnny Duncan back in my days at Huff's Food Town in Brentwood in the 80's. He was a nice guy and had a really nice wife. Johnny was also cousins with all those various Seals....Dan, John, Brady, Troy....all of 'ems kin.

Speaking of country music Johnny's, I'm glad that Johnny Rodriguez is doing better after being thrown off a horse last week in Texas. Poor Johnny was airlifted and spent some time in the ICU.

J-Rod is another seemingly forgotten and underrated country singer. He did get himself into a little trouble a few years back (seems like he may have gotten into a barfight that resulted in somebody getting kilt) and he even did some time as Willie Nelson's son in law. (I don't think that makes us related)

Some of my favorite country recordings ever are J-Rod songs....he had 15 #1 songs in the 70's......Pass Me By, Riding My Thumb To Mexico, Love Put A Song In My Heart, Just Get Up And Close the Door he cut a good version of That's The Way Love Goes.....all good stuff.

Both Johnny's are/were great country singers. Nashville is sure not nice to its has beens. I hope some of these Sugarlanders, and all these other acts with names I can't remember are saving their earnings and enjoying the spotlight while it lasts.

There was a time when Johnny Rodriguez was the top young act in Nashville. Now, not many can even name you one song he did. Unless I just couldn't find it, CMT.com didn't even mention his accident. That's sad. (I need to remember to scan a great picture of me and Rodriguez. I was really tanned when this picture was made and he and I looked like we could be related)

Music Row could do a lot with some of the Over 45 set. Pop and Rock music is kind to has beens. Gives them a shot to come back, and they often do (Tina Turner, Cher, etc) I bet J-Rod could still cut it. As long he stays away from bars and such. It would make a great reality show. Rodriguez is a funny little guy. Come on, CMT. Let's bring J-Rod back!

The Two B's-Bitchin' & Bronchitis

The Grascals have gotten themselves three nominations for the 2006 IBMA awards...Recorded Event for their participation in Celebration of Life: Musicians Against Childhood Cancer, Vocal Group of the Year and Entertainer of the Year. That's swell.

No, really, I'm not disappointed that Mr. Smiff didn't get a nod for Bass Player, and I won't rattle on and on about how he can play friggin circles around the same guys/girls that got nominated, and have been nominated every year for a decade. I won't rattle about how Dave Talbot should've been nominated for Banjo, Danny Roberts for mandolin, Jimmy Mattingly for fiddle and Terry Eldredge should've gotten a nod for Male Vocalist. I am above such petty whining. I will say I'm pissed and leave it at that. I'll get over it. The stuff they got nominated for is a big deal and I'm very proud of all of them.

The awards ceremony is September 28 in Nashville. Hopefully, I'll be able to get ahold of a laptop so I can help liveblog the awards for my pals over at The Bluegrass Blog.

You can see a full list of nominees here.

Until then, I will celebrate the nominations with my 4 prescriptions for Bronchitis. I'm hoping that cough stuff has some of that fabulous hydrocodone in it...or as the Mother in Law calls it "Them Michael English pills."

Tuesday Stuff

I broke down and called the doctor about my under the weatherness. Figured by now, I oughta be feeling some better, but, I'm not. I'm pretty sure I've got the dreaded "B" word, as in bronchitis. My coughs are resembling that of a very old person and my head is still full of gunk.

I had the option of a 9:45 appointment or a 10:45 appointment. I chose the latter. One reason is that when I talked to the doctor's office, I was about 10 after 9. My head has not seen the shampoo since Saturday (I'm ripe, I tell you). I'm not one that takes hours to get ready to go somewhere, but, figured after sickliness and all for that many days, I'd need a good rinsing.

The main reason I opted for the 10:45 appointment is that the nominations for the upcoming IBMA awards will be announced at 10. (It will be broadcast live on XM Radio's Bluegrass Junction). Mr. Smiff and the band won't be up for any recording awards, like album of the year since their cd doesn't come out til the end of the month. I hope they'll get some noms for Group of the Year and things like that.

What I REALLY am hopeful for, more than any of the other awards is that Mr. Smiff gets in the final five for Bass Player of the Year. I don't care if he wins it as much as I'd like for him to be recognized with a nomination. He's been playing bass since he was just a little feller in North Carolina. Marty Raybon says he's the "Cadillac of Bass Players"....smooth as they come.

Either way, I know awards are largely political. I'd still like to see my old man get recognized. I'm also hopeful that my brother in law will get a Song of the Year nomination for a song he co-wrote called " Echo Mountain" that did pretty well in the bluegrass world this year or for one of the other brilliant songs he's had cut lately.

We'll see here in a little bit.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Tales of Some Fourth Grade Bloggers

Because my priorities are in good order, even when sickly, I still must check NiT. It's just what I do.

I noticed on the ol' aggregator, a link from Volunteer Voters with the name "Bo Heyward". That's a name from the way back past I haven't heard in a long time. I figured it had to be the same Bo Heyward I was in the same 4th AND 5th grade class with and sho nuff, it is. Bo is a blogger and he's running for Senate.

I actually thought of Bo Heyward this week, no joke.

#2 is in a portable classroom this year and I was reminded of my 4th grade class, which was also in a portable at Lipscomb Elementary School in Brentwood in the 1978-79 school year. #2's portable is much nicer than ours was. His is landscaped on the outside, carpeted on the inside. Even so, walking inside it took me back instantly to 4th grade.

Bo was a rather humorous, witty kid and quite intelligent. Besides Bo, we had Murrey Gropp (a total, in a class by himself, character) and between the two of those guys, I remember that being the first school year I laughed a lot. That was the year I became known for laughing a lot. That was the year I got in trouble for laughing a lot.

4th grade was the first time I ever had a male teacher. I remember being all pumped up thinking it was quite cool to have a man teacher and he up and died on us just a couple months into the school year. That was quite a weird experience. The teacher is there on Friday and then Sunday we find out he died in the sauna. What wasn't explained to us at the time was that the teacher died of heart failure brought on by anorexia. We still didn't know what the term meant then and even weirder now, thinking about it, that a man had it. This was a number of years before Karen Carpenter died from it.

I don't know that Bo will remember me, however, I know he will remember all of the above mentioned circumstances, as well as the looney teacher they replaced the one that died. Poor thing. I don't think she ever taught school after that. I think we made her crazy.

5th grade brought us to Miss Hawkins class. Not only did we have me, Bo, Murrey, we also had Phillip Leverette AND Sam Huffman. Phillip was one of those kids who could've benefitted from some Ritalin way back when. Sam was just hilarious. He had one of those lisps like Sid the Sloth in Ice Age. He would cuss and generally try to shock some of us kids, but, he was not a bad kid and he never failed to get a laugh out of me. I believe Sam may have had the record for most paddlings at Lipscomb. Totally unofficial guess...he was a regular in Mr. Frank's office.

Sam saw my butt crack one time in 3rd grade and thinking about it to this day, makes me embarrassed all over again. We had to sit down in "group" time and I had these britches on that were a little too small and they kept sliding down. I was very aware of this and made a point to keep them pulled up. Well, ol' Sam saw it, raised his hand and said "Mrs. Johnson...I see Sista's butt!"

Fortunately for Bo Heyward, I don't think he ever saw my butt.

Before I Forget

I want to interrupt this sick day to make a little announcement.

I get asked a lot when The Grascals will be playing locally. They do the Opry here and there, but, other than that, usually they are found in other states doing what they do. However, they will be playing a rare date at the World Famous Station Inn on August 29, premiering their new cd. Mr. Smiff is pretty sure this show will begin earlier than the usual Station Inn start time of 9 or so. Being that the 29th is a school/work night, this is a good thing. Cover that night is the low, low price of $10.

I know lots of y'all are bluegrass fans so you will want to mark your calendars, or whatever it is you carry around with you, and be there. Lord willing, I will be there, along with the famous #2 and Daughter. #1 is sometimes too cool to be seen in public with us, but, he may end up gracing us that night. I promise you you will get a lot of bang for your buck.

Rock Your World

Still under the weather this morning. Now, I'm hacking up lungs. My head is still rather full of gunk so I don't have any meaningful, profound thoughts for the blgoworld today...instead, I'll give you a dose of Wanda.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

How I Spent My Sunday

This is what I've done the live long day. Add the red nose, snorting, coughing. I've faded in and out of sleep watching The Presidents documentary on On Demand. My daughter is demanding I take her to get her new backpack ("Come ON...Mommmm-ehhhhh")My eldest child informs me I sound like his grandmother, my mother, when I talk. (Think Lucille Ball in later years, Suzanne Pleshette)

A vision of loveliness, I am.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

On The Backroads By The Rivers of My Memory

John Hartford has been gone for 5 years this past June. He was probably one of the most creative and unique individuals I have ever known, from his music down to his beautiful, calligraphy handwriting.

I miss the New Year's parties at John and Marie's, that would last for 3 days. Marie would serve homemade vegetable soup, not in paper bowls, but, nice, china bowls.

Some of my favorite memories, ever, were the Cluster Pluckers pickin' in the hot tub..

Mark O'Connor sitting on the bed, changing his fiddle strings, (and me swiping the old ones that I still have) while people like Roy Acuff, Bill Monroe, Grandpa Jones and others wandered in and out of rooms...

Grilling Harlan Howard about songs he had written, reminding him of some he had forgotten about...

Meeting my future mother in law for the first time, nearly two years before I met her son. Great times.

This has always been one of my favorite John Hartford tunes. The quality is bad, but, the beauty is still there.

Playing with him are Mark Howard, looks like Cowboy Jack Clement, on guitar, Jonathan Yudkin, Holly O'Dell and Ruth McGinnis on fiddles and the late Roy Huskey, Jr. on bass.


A Remake That Shouldn't Have Been Made

Saturday morning television is not so great. Every now and then TBS or TNT will show a watchable movie, usually something like "You've Got Mail". I liked YGM the first 2,000 times I saw it. I'm kinda over it now. It was on last night....two times in a row.

This morning, TNT is running The Goodbye Girl. Not the original movie with Richard Dreyfuss and Marsha Mason, but, the remake with Patricia Heaton and Jeff Daniels. The original movie is one of my all time favorites. I videotaped it off of cable in about 1985. Bad quality and all, I still have that video. Such a great play/screenplay by Neil Simon...a wonderful story with some great lines.

One, why did they feel like a remake of this was necessary? The dialogue is exactly the same as the 1977 one. Nothing has really been updated, nor did it need to be.

Two, I love Heaton and Daniels. Both are very capable actors, but, I almost feel sorry for them, especially him, recreating a role done so absolutely perfect by Dreyfuss. You can almost see it in Jeff's face..."Why am I doing this?" It's not that he's not any good. Had I not seen the first one and seen this, I would've thought "This is a good movie." I just can't escape the memory of Richard and Marsha.

Even the kid they used in this remake....Hallie Kate Eisenberg doesn't have the brilliant bite and sarcasm like Quinn Cummings did in the first one. I think Quinn got nominated for an Oscar for her performance.

I sound more and more like Mr. Smiff who is always saying that certain movies should not be allowed to be remade. This one definitely falls in that category.

I think I'm going to go dig out my old video and see the original. I'm also going to get caught up with Quinn Cummings, via her blog.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Golden Ring

I'm not feeling up to Whiff today and I have about 3, 432 loads of laundry to do. Instead of my own story, y'all need to read this one.

I do love a heartwarming story. I don't know what I was looking for, but, I happened upon this website for the Donelson High School Class of 1966, who had their 40th reunion a couple months back. It's not brain surgery nor will it bring and end to the war, but, it's pretty wild.

In a nutshell, a class ring was found by a nice guy named Stan, who has a metal detector, in New Jersey. The closest thing to a name on the ring were the initials "EHB". The person who found the ring did an internet search on Donelson High School and hooked up with George, who was putting together the upcoming reunion.

It was determined that the ring belonged to Drummer Extrordinaire Eddie Bayers. Apparently, the time he was separated from the ring, he was a starving artist, living under the boardwalk in Jersey. My guess is that he pawned it.

Anyway, it's a neat story and Eddie got his ring back. Go read it.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Blogging Germs

I am fearful that I'm coming down with something. I got really, really sleepy this afternoon and took a long nap (which I never do) and my throat is all scratchy and stuff. Maybe it's just my allergies and sinus issues, that never seem to leave me alone.

If I get sick, it's all CeeElCee's and Sara Clark's fault. All this talk about summer colds and such. I haven't seen Sara in over a month and it's been about a week since I last saw Uncle Cee. Still. I'm holding them both entirely responsible for any convalescing that may take place in the next couple days.

Yeah, We Tease Him A Lot Cause We've Hot Him On The Spot

There's a new assistant principal at the middle school this year.

Guess what his name is?

Mr. Cotter. Mista Cah-teer. Mr. Cot-tear. Heh.

All the parents will be cracking up about that and the kids will have no clue why we think it's funny.

Back To Skoo

The bus has departed with the middle schooler and now high schooler to deposit them at their respective schools. Wonder what #1 would do if I drove to the school and as he walks in, is met by me, camera in hand, to document his first day of high school?? Reckon how long it'd be before he spoke to me again?

He used to pose dutifully every First Day of School for the annual Clean and Shiny with Backpack picture. The last time he did that was the picture here, the day he started Middle School. He doesn't even bring his school pictures home for inspection anymore. I usually have to wait til the yearbook comes out to see what his picture looked like. Boys are so funny that way.

I have to tell this story....when #1 started 2nd grade, we had a brand new elementary school to go to. We go to the new school, not really knowing anybody there, to meet the teacher and fill out all the first day papers.

There were a lot of people in the room and we had to wait our turn to meet the teacher. I'm sitting at a little desk filling papers out, and #1 is across the room sitting.

I happened to look up and #1 is sitting in this chair, all lounging and comfortable with his hand in his pants...Al Bundy style. I got his attention and I said "STOP THAT!" No problem.

A couple minutes later, I look up again, just in time and as if somebody cued him "NOW" to hear #1 let out a hellatious fart. Right there in the classroom, people all around. Of course, he thought it was hysterical. I was mortified.

I'm quite grateful that #1 has since learned a few manners and am hopeful that he doesn't make quite the explosive entry into his high school as he did his new elementary school back in '99.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Shopping For Kids

We had to go to the dreaded mall this evening when I got off work. I hate malls. They make me sleepy.

I'm not an official predictor on The Staggering Prophets, but, I think Rivergate may be experiencing the beginning of the end. LOTS of stores are gone from there. Stores that have been there since the beginning of time...Pass Pets, Royal Doulton and others. I think it's a matter of time before it goes the way of Bellevue Mall.

The Daughter weasled her Grandmother Smiff to buy her some stuff at that horrific place....Abercrombie. That place should be outlawed. They play music (warning: old person alert) at a decibel level that surely must cause a hearing loss and they have tshirts that are made out of flimsy material that they charge $20 for. Then there's the $45 and up jeans with holes in them. I hate it.

We ran into The Daughter's best friend (the one who has been so sick with the strep in the kidney thing. She's doing better) and I was telling her mother, no, I was screaming over the loud music, saying how I hate going into that store. This grandfatherly looking man, accompanied by a boy of about 12, said "Amen!" and gave me a high five. Pretty funny.

The really bad part about it is #2 was along for this un-pleasure trip and even though he's 8, he's all about some clothes. He spotted a number of things he wanted and he ended up going home with a spray of the Abercrombie Guy cologne on and a polo shirt. Ugh.

#2 has several images he's working on at the moment, the latest include these black cowboy boots that were handed down to him through Grascal Jimmy's son. He wears them EVERYWHERE and with every kind of ensemble you can imagine.....shorts, khaki pants, jeans....you name it, the cowboy boots go with #2 everywhere he goes. The Daughter is highly embarrassed by the boots.."Does he HAVE to wear the boots?" she is often heard inquiring of late. I tell her "He's 8. If he were 15 and doing this, I'd be concerned."

Another "look" #2 goes for is the Steve and Joe look...the Steve and Joe of "Blues Clues." He's been perfecting these looks for a long time now. He doesn't want anybody his age knowing he still thinks this is the show of shows. He has a green and blue striped rugby shirt he wears with khaki pants, just like Steve and he found a blue, long sleeve shirt to wear to look like Joe. Even when it's 100 degrees out, like it has been, it's not unusual to find him in that long sleeve Steve shirt a lot of days. The only difference is I don't recall Steve or Joe ever wearing cowboy boots with their outfits.

#1 could care less about fashion. He likes the screen print tshirts with retro rock stars on them. He's the easiest kid to shop for, although I did go to White Bridge Rd. Target today trying to find him an ACDC Back in Black tshirt. The Hendersonville Target was out of them (of course, I've seen hundreds of them there and they are nowhere to be find when I need one) and all White Bridge Rd, had was tshirts that said "For Those About To Rock-1982 Tour" on it. He was happy. AND it only cost $12.99. I was happy about that.

Money For Nothing

I decided this morning that my eyebrows needed a little work. What started as a search for my tweezers ended up in me cleaning out my purse.

I didn't find the tweezers, however, I found something better. All that change on the bottom of my purse...I counted it and it added up to $16.78. That's not counting the quarters and stuff in my wallet. I've been walking around with nearly $20 in my purse that I was unaware of. I thought that my purse had gotten heavy.

Scoff if you will at my laziness and my lackadaisical habit of mine of throwing change in the bottom of the purse. That little unexpected goldmine will be lunch money next week for the Smiff Kids as they return to their places of learning.

Sometimes it pays to be totally disoraganized.

Phone The Neighbors, Wake The Kids

If you've been reading me awhile and heard me speak of Mr. Smiff and you are just dying to know what makes this Man of the Bass tick, well, today, will be your lucky shot to hear The Man speaketh. Today at 3 pm eastern, 2 pm central on XM Radio's Bluegrass Junction, you can hear Mr. Smiff, along with fellow Grascal, Terry Eldredge (aka "Uncle Bobo by the Smiff Kids) have a chat with the indomitable Kyle Cantrell about their upcoming cd Long List of Heartaches.

I can assure you, these two will not be discussing their opinions on the War, the recent primary elections or anything serious. My disclaimer here is I take no responsibility for the potential retardo-ness that may spew forth from their mouths.

Now, I know some of you are saying "Sista Smiff, I don't have XM Radio. I feel left out of this potential fun and frivolity. This is not fair." Ah...never fear, my dear blogging brothers and sisters....you most certainly can take part in this most auspicious occasion.

You can go to XM's website and sign up for a free, three day trial. That way, you can not only experience hearing the voice of my Babys' Daddy, but, you can also check out the rest XM has to offer, which is much. (Besides great the country stations, I'm quite partial to the 70's and 80's channel and "Frank's Place" which plays nothing but Frank Sinatra and his contemporaries)

I can't promise Producer J won't show up at your house making a sales call though. Just be on your guard.

If you don't catch it today, the rest of the airing schedule of this historic interview is as follows:

Wednesday 8/9: 3pm ET
Sunday 8/13: Noon ET
Tuesday 8/15: 9 pm ET
Saturday 8/19: 8 am ET
Monday 8/21: Noon ET
Thursday 8/24 Midnight ET
Sunday 8/27 5 am ET
Tuesday 8/29 10 am ET

This Meme Is Brought To You By The Letter "N"

I have been tagged by Flagpolesitta. I have been charged with coming up with 5 songs that begin with the letter "N".

Here goes:

1. Never Ending Song of Love-Delaney & Bonnie OR Patty Loveless and Dwight Yoakam.

2. Never Been To Spain- Creedence Clearwater Revival (Elvis did a bang up job on this one, too)

3. New York Mining Disaster, 1941 - Bee Gees

4. North To Alaska- Johnny Horton

5. Nowhere Man-The Beatles

He said 5, but, I thought of a couple more:

6. Nashville Cats-The Lovin' Spoonful OR Del McCoury Band

7. Norwegian Wood-The Beatles

8. Nightlife-Willie, Ray Price and a bunch of other people.

So, I guess this means I have to tag someone else...who will it be?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Image Is Everything

We survived High School Orientation last night with a few minor bumps regarding coolness and boundaries. Nobody got hurt and now #1 is pumped about starting school.

It dawned on me this morning....#1 has a thing about us (especially me) being seen in public with him. He's at that age where parents are most uncool and apparently, he's really wanting to give off the image that he's an independent guy. You know, like he has his own apartment and sees his parents on holidays, your average, typical 14 year old swinging, single dude. When they want you to drop them off, and ask you to drop them off a block away, do they want their friends to think that they drove themselves???? I'm beginning to think this is the way it is.

One thing sorta surprised me at Orientation last night. They gave the kids their schedules and let them find all their classes so they wouldn't be so overwhelmed Thursday morning. I was shocked at the number of mom's who were holding the schedule, looking for the class and telling their kid "That's where you go." Mothers...this is not a healthy thing.

#1 ditched me about the time he found his third period class because he wanted to run around with some of his friends. Fine. He claims he found all his classes, but, come Thursday morning, if he did not and he gets lost, it sure isn't going to be my fault. I'm sure he'll try to hang it on me, but, my purpose at the event was to provide, comic, snarkish relief. It is my spiritual gift after all, and what better place than to be snarky than a high school full of Popular Girls and their Popular, Muffia Moms?!?!?

Simply Shocking

I was flabbergasted to read this story about that guy who was arrested for a number of killings in Phoenix. How surprising it is that he was abusive to his first wife?

The first wife, Tracie Hazelett, says that Dale Hausner was "mentally abusive" and would talk about how he could kill her and get away with it.

"She said Hausner never hit her, but constantly belittled her. "I was really miserable," she said. "He'd tell me, 'You can't cook, you can't clean. You're ugly. No one wants you.'"
In a jailhouse news conference Monday, Dale Hausner challenged Karen Hausner's claims.
"That's just ex-wife stuff," he said. "That's just character assassination. She is just looking to get her ugly face in the paper."

Looking to get her "ugly" face in the paper? Yeah...I'm sure ol Dale was a peach of a husband.

Country Radio

If you like you some old time, traditional country music and are frustrated cause you can't hear it much on the radio (WSM, while great plays the same songs over and over, too) take you a listen to KKUS Radio in Tyler, Texas.

Mini Cee brought up the late T. Tommy Cutrer yesterday and there were a number of country DJ's from that era, like, Hugh Cherry, Dad, Joe Allison, Squeakin' Deacon and others, who were very important in their markets. Unfortunately, they're all gone, BUT, there is one who is still at it and has a regular show every weekday morning on KKUS and that is the fabulous Tom Perryman.

Tom has been around since dirt and was very instrumental in careers of people like Jim Reeves, Jim Ed Brown, Elvis...if you like that sort of thing, go listen to him live.

I don't know that XM or Sirius' traditional, old time stations ever play Patsy Montana's "I Wanna Be A Cowboy's Sweetheart", but, Tom does. How fun is that?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Shindig At The Hall

A few pictures from the Hall of Fame soiree last Thursday night. I didn't take enough photos. I put a few more on my Flickr.

I don't guess there's a way to tally up the miles these two have traveled between them the last 50 something years. Two living, breathing, legends....Ray Price and Earl Scruggs.

Quite a quartet with Hazel, nephew Smiff, Buddy Killen and Bob McLean

Ray Price meets Sista Smiff...."Is your mother Shirley?" (He didn't say that, but, I bet you he was thinking it)

Driving Lesson Gone Bad

Stuff like this makes me a bit afraid to start teaching my teens to drive. #1 will be 15 on his next birthday so I'd better get at it.

Seems that most people I talk to learned to drive as kids, including myself. I can remember being as young as about 7 or 8 and sitting in Dad's lap and we'd ride around the neighborhood. He'd have his feet on the pedals but I would steer. As I got older, I did the pedals and became the excellent driver I am today. (So far, I've never gotten a speeding ticket).

I think the teach them early method is better. Maybe we've just gotten so busy in our current society or too wimpy and helmet crazed. The public schools don't even offer Driver's Ed anymore. At least ours doesn't.

If any of my kids kill me while I'm teaching them to drive, I will be, as that great philosopher and Friend of Smiff, Raymond E. Huffmaster would say....pissed right ON off. I will refuse to speak to them in Heaven.


Out of the three Smiff kids, #1 Son gets the least amount of Whiffing. I don't know why that is, for he is certainly Whiffable. It could be that he's gotten to that age where he neither requires nor desires my presence as much as he used to. He is certainly, and has always been, how do I say it without sounding like a horrible mother, less demanding than either of his siblings.

Even when he was just a little bitty feller, a year old w when I was pregnant with his sister, he'd be content to stay in his playpen and watch CMT, nonstop, so I could rest. He's just always been easy to deal with. Even in the nursery at what was then Westside Hospital, now Centennial, a nurse informed me I had a laid back child. "He is low key", she said.

This is a big week for #1. He begins High School Thursday and will be headed over to Freshman Orientation tonight to get his schedule and have an idea where to go when he gets there later in the week.

Yes, yes.....I know what you're thinking... Sista Smiff is entirely too young to have a child in high school. I do agree. The years are a'flyin' by and it definitely leaves such a young mother, like myself, with some odd, mixed emotions about the whole deal.

I'm quite proud #1. I know he'll do well in high school. I know one thing...he shore as hell better hit those books and make some good grades so he can get some scholarship money in a few years. He certainly has the potential and the smarts. Get him going sometime on the history of World Wars I & II. He could be on one of those documentaries they show on the History Channel.

The timing is good for #1 to get a nice mention in his Grandmother's column on CMT this week. She tells the same story I told here last weekend. He'll get a nice kick out of it. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Concerning My Coif

This morning at church, a lady I've known for more than ten years, who is a hairdresser, and I were chatting. She reaches up and starts messing with my hair. Messing, as in trying to fix it. "I hope you don't mind me doing this. This one little piece just looked a little freaked out."

What I wanted to say was "Don't. Touch. My. Hair." I didn't remember it being "freaked out" before I left my mirror an hour or so before. Even if it was sticking straight up like the Cowlick From Hell, still. I thought it was a little rude of her.

This lady is a good hairdresser. I used to go to her about ten years ago. She knows her way around some scissors and can fix you right on up. She owns her own hair place in Hendersonville and has a large clientele. The reason I stopped going to her was because she was slightly condescending. For example...I had gotten a perm at Castner's (remember when Castner's was a good place to get your hair done?) a couple months or so before I started going to her. It was not a bad perm. I didn't look like I had stuck my finger in a socket, nor were the ends breaking off in pieces. It was a perm. It did its job.

She began to refer to that particular perm I had as a "Home Perm." She didn't do that once. She ALWAYS referred to my "Home Perm" every single time I was in her chair and it pissed me off. I'd correct her and say "It wasn't a home perm", but, she never failed to insult my chemically induced coif. I'm of the mind that it's a little on the non-professional side to badmouth whoever did your hair before they did. Right?

She has complemented me recently on my hairdo and claimed "Whoever is doing your hair does a good job." Yeah. At least I've stopped getting those HOME PERMS! Gah.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Bless This House

I just ran up to Kroger's a minute ago for a couple things and just as I was telling #2 that no, he could not get that Sponge Bob coloring book, I see this figure whizz by me. I look up and it was none other than Jarrod Hawkins, who just returned yesterday from Disney World to his brand new dream home, built courtesy of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. He was buying paper towels and he had something of a deer in the headlights look on his face. I imagine he was was moving so fast because he didn't want some well-meaning person to stop him for a chat. Either that, or those chilluns have done spilt something on what is sure to be a pretty new floor and he had to skedaddle for the Bounty.

I got to thinking that that poor guy's life has totally turned topsy turvy the last 4 months. I bet he never dreamed this time last year that his family would go through all they've been through. Besides the obvious...his wife becoming disabled, losing their home and everything in it, now they're having to deal with becoming instant celebrities, which I'm sure is attention they probably didn't want.

Last night, I noticed that Hendersonville's Finest still had the road their house is on blocked, I'm sure to keep curiosity seekers away so the family could enjoy their first night in their new home. My daughter noticed tonight that the police cars were gone and asked if we could ride by and see the house. I said no because I'm sure that little road has plenty of traffic and we don't need to add to it.

Can you imagine what it would be like to one day to be living your life all normal, doing your thing, then something awful happening, like what happened to them, getting tons of local media coverage and now the Extreme Home Makeover happening, and being thrust into the public eye? As if coping with the physical and emotional trauma of what they've been through isn't enough. No wonder Mr. Hawkins looked a little wigged out. It's been quite a week.

I'm sure the buzz will die down, but, until it does, going to eat at Jaybirds or Texas Roadhouse or even going to the grocery store will be a major ordeal, with the nice people of Hendersonville stopping them to say howdy and telling them they prayed for them and all that.

At any rate, I'm happy for them and wish them well as they move on with their lives. I bet they're enjoying that amazing swimming pool.

Breakfast In Bed.....sorta

#2 did a sweet thing this morning. He made me breakfast. He sure did.

Lots of Fridays when Mr. Smiff is on the road, #2 will hang out at Grandma's and one of their usual outings is to the Kroger. There's always a bag of groceries that #2 has chosen. Most contain large amounts of fructose and other things ending in "ose." Yesterday, he bought stuff to make S'mores, along with his favorite, chocolate Cookie Crisp cereal and Pop Tarts.

So, this morning, #2 tells me he's making me breakfast. He said these Double Berry Pop Tarts were the bomb..."You will LOVE them" he said, very confidently, as if he had discovered a culinary secret. Now, I like Pop Tarts ok, but, I prefer the less, shall we say, painfully sweet kind,not the ones that cause instant tooth decay. I dared not tell this to my youngest boy because he was quite proud to "fix" breakfast for me.

"Do you like it??!?!?!" he said in his best "He-likes-it-hey-Mikey" voice. I told him that this was indeed, by far, the best breakfast I've ever had. "I KNEW you'd love it!" He was quite proud of himself.

The generosity did not stop there. He and I went to the Y to do a little swimming and sunnin' and along about noontime, he said he was hungry and I gave him some money to go over to the little food trailer they have (Skyview Diner, they call it). A few minutes later, I'm laying there and he comes back, I thought he was done and I told him I needed to reapply his sunscreen. "Oh, I'm not done. I just wanted to bring you this" and he presented me with an ice cold can of my favorite beverage, Diet Dr. Pepper.

I thought that was sweet.

Do You Remember Paul Eels?

I don't know how I missed the news this week that former Channel 4 sportscaster Paul Eels was killed in a car accident in Arkansas. Those of us who have been in the Nashville area for awhile will remember his tag line of "Holy Smokes!" from his years at the sports helm of WSM TV from 1967-1978. Paul was the first sportsguy I recollect ever in my life.

Paul went from Nashville to Little Rock where he became the Voice of the Razorbacks. Arkansans loved Paul Eels so much, Governor Mike Huckabee ordered flags to be flown at half staff.

You can see pictures and video about Paul here. Terry Bolger did a wonderful piece on Paul that you can see from that link.

I just told CeeElCee not long ago that he made me think of Paul Eels. I'm not saying he could pass for his twin, but, his demeanor and the fact he makes you think of a smiley face is what made me think of him.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Birthday Salutations

I must pause to give Whiff to Nephew Smiff, who today is celebrating his 20th birthday. True, he is my nephew by virtue of marriage to his "Unc", but, I claim him just the same. I've had the pleasure of watching this young man grow from a 2 year old in training pants through his school years to now, a young adult.

We took the party down to Fuji at Rivergate. The food there is quite good and not as expensive as you will find it at it's more fancy schmancy counterparts. Because it's a little less expensive, the clientele is rather...well, let's just say Jeff Foxworthy talks about them often in his act. (Don't want to come off as the snooty princess everyone assumes me to be..heh)

For example, the people sitting at the table next to us....a couple with a little girl about 2. The mother, a very bleached blonde with a low cut top on. Listening to her talk was something akin to a cross between Anna Nicole Smith and Brittney Spears. As I was pondering her redneckness, she confirmed this when she took a nice, long sip of her margarita (or whatever it was...it was green in a martini glass). The little girl motioned and asked for the cherry. Brittney Nicole reached in the glass, got the cherry out and I'm thinking "She's going to wipe it off before she gives the cherry doused in alkeehol to the youngster) and put it right in that baby's mouth!!! Yes, she did!

Now, maybe it wasn't enough alcohol on it to cause any intoxication, but, am I crazy or ignorant to think that one doesn't give their two year old kid a cherry from a alkeeholic beverage?!?!?
Blue Ain't The Word For The Way That I Feel

The shindig at the Country Music Hall of Fame last night, celebrating the new Ray Price exhibit was fantastic. Even more fantastic was the fact that Sista Smiff met and chatted with The Cherokee Cowboy himself. (I will have a photo to prove it here in a couple days)

Ray is one of those legends that when you are face to face with, you are kinda speechless and in awe, at least I was. He lit up, as much as Ray can light up (very low key, that Ray) when he found out whose daughter I was and reminisced a bit about how far they went back.

The exhibit itself is really nice, although I must admit, I didn't experience the whole thing because it was hotter than hades in there, but, I saw some great clips of him singing, some outfits and all the regular stuff they have in those sorts of things.

I saw old friends like Jay Orr, Alan Stoker, John Rumble, Leigh Anne Wise, Charlie Douglas, Jo Walker-Meador, Earl Scruggs, Bob McLean, Kyle & Becky Cantrell; sat at the table with Hal Ketchum and his wife; chatted with Kirt Webster, Chet Flippo, Robert K. Oermann and his wife, Mary Bufwack; my blog/email pal Producer J from XM Radio; John Carter Cash and his wife Laura; steel guitar great Don Helms; I could've sworn that Irving Waugh was no longer amongst the living, but, apparently, he is, because he was there. Same with songwriter Danny (Long Black Veil) Dill. Coulda sworn he'd done gone to Glory, but, no. Charlie Dick, widower of Patsy Cline was also there in all his glory. Heh. Charlie Dick. How'd you like your last name to be "Dick?"

'Twas a fun evening. I was thrilled to get to chauffeur my mother in law to the gathering. I was thrilled to be able to leave #1 Son in charge of #2 so I could get out for a bit.

Even happier I got to stand next to greatness like Ray Price. Do enjoy this classic clip from the mid 50's of Ray, along with the most awesomeist twin fiddling by Tommy Jackson and Dale Potter.

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