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

Saturday, April 29, 2006

All About Perspective

I was sad to see that Nashville attorney Charlie Williams passed away this week.

Years and years ago, I worked a temp job in his law firm over on Woodland St. in East Nashville. I remember being impressed with him because I was quite intimidated being in a law office for the first time and he was very warm and welcoming to me. I did temp work for about a year and it was not the norm for the Big Guy of the company to make an effort to say "hello" and chat.

The big thing I associate with Charlie Williams is that it was in his office that I first used email, Windows and a mouse. I thought it was the most far out thing I had ever seen. The email was only inter-office to send messages, but, it was totally different than filling out the standard office message. I had worked with computers some before that, but, it was the black background with orange letters. This was in 1990.

My 71 year old mother is today, taking a computer class and she was so upset with the mere fact she has to, in order to clock in at her work. She totally does not get the computer age. She also is still coming to grips with the fact that Ike no longer lives in the White House.

Her biggest concern about having to use a computer? Coming up with an 8 letter password.

I sometimes forget that Mom did not come up in the computer age and have to remind myself that email and the world wide web have not always been part of everday life. I can almost compare my first experience with email at Mr. Williams' law firm with how it probably was back in Mom's day when she first encountered that thing they call "television."

Friday, April 28, 2006

Jesus Take The Wheel

I think some of these big ol mega churches in the Greater Nashville area need to offer a ministry that would be most beneficial to their parishoners (as well as the heathen population) and that would be DRIVER EDUCATION. To my knowledge, there is no such bird, but, they oughta be.

Yesterday evening, I get off at the New Shackle Island exit in Hendersonville and nearly got run off the road by this big ol' van with a woman driving and her young son in the front. I recognized her as the wife of somebody I've known all my life..somebody I went to church with for many years. I thought it ironic that her oversized, gas guzzling, family roadster (that nearly pushed my sensibly sized mini-van off the dang road) had this huge bumper sticker on the back that announced "I Love Jesus!"

Last September, the week after Katrina hit, I was coming down I-65 there by Trinity Lane one morning and this big trailer that had something on it how it was New Orleans bound full of relief supplies, and imblazened on the side with "Heaven's Angels", just about did the same thing to me as the Jesus van had done.

My shishter, Sherian, tells stories, at least once a week, of a fellow employee who can't drive. It's the same scenario every time she tells it and she gets furious just telling it, she tells it better than me....

"it's always the same story. He gets over in the far, left hand lane...and then waits until the last 40/65 split (right beside the Worlds Largest Adult Bookstore) and then he swerves over. He has worked here over ten years, so he KNOWS that he has to get into the far RIGHT hand lane. Does he think that all of his pro-life and Jesus bumper stickers, give him a pass to cut people off? Does he purposely stay in that far lane, so that he is not tempted to look over at the dirty bookstore? I bet that's it! But I don't care what his reason is....it ticks me off. I'm ticked off, just writing to you about it! It's like he doesn't even check his mirrors before changing lanes. He will cut so close, that I have to stomp on my brakes. Ugh, I need a valium."

What is it about being part of the Family of God and you not being able to drive??? I love the Lord, folks, but, thanks to Him and that ol crabby B. Nelson and Coach Danny Chapman at Franklin High School, I have good driving sense.

I suppose people think that the "God Is My Co-Pilot" license plates/stickers mean they can just put it on cruise control and He'll glide them on in to work since they don't have brain one when it comes to being behind the wheel of a car. God's people can't drive!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

I Nominate For Mother of the Year...

The cute kids belong to Cousin Kelly down in Lafayette, LA.

Cousin Kelly had three babies in less than three years, is over 40, works full time and her husband, Joey, is currently working in Iraq. (Not military, but, working over there for a year). During all this baby making, Kelly also dealt with her mother's illness and death from cancer.

They are so fond of giving people like Katie Couric and Kathie Lee Gifford "Mother of the Year" awards. Mother of the year???? Give me a break. Anybody who employs a nanny should automatically be disqualified from being on the receiving end of anything like that is what I say.

I myself have three children. The first two were 20 months apart, but, when I had them, I was in my early 20's and stayed home all the time. It was easier having those two close together than the 5 years between #2 and #3. I don't think I could do it at the ripe old age of 37.

Three kids is a big change from 2 kids, as having 2 kids is a totally different thing than having 1. I think after 4, it doesn't make any difference. You have a housefull. These people that have these tribes of children on purpose is a mystery to me.

My grandmothers must not've known better or maybe they did. My one grandmother had 5 children and always regretted not having that 6th child. WHAT?!?!?!?!??!?! My other grandmother had 8 children...no Pampers, no microwaves.....no Prozac and other anti-depressants. How in the world did they make it?!?!

Put Your Sweet Lips A Little Closer To The Phone....

Sometimes, I'm just weird. I know this. I know I have some kinks in my personality and psyche that are hard for people to understand, especially me.

I used to have more moments like this when I was younger, but, praise God, they seem to get fewer and fewer as I get older. Moments when you do something, say something and you just feel so stupid later, kicking and hating yourself.

Mr. Smiff and the boys are recording their second cd. They have been looking for songs, which is not as easy as one might think. With a 6 guy band, pleasing everybody, plus the record company, etc. can get a little tricky. I should've been an A & R person or a songplugger...I love putting together songs with people and do it all the time, in my mind. I had the bright idea that they should ask Bill Anderson for some songs.

Whisperin' Bill, as most know, is an amazing songwriter and his string of hits are about a mile long; "City Lights," "Once A Day","When Two Worlds Collide" and the recently named CMA Song of the Year, "Whiskey Lullabye." Ol' Whisper's still got it. He's hip. He's happenin.

I've known Bill off and on for many years, although I can't claim to be a close, intimate friend of his. Now, he and my dad shared a nice friendship for many years so he knows me as part of the Biffer and now, as part of the Smiff's. I doubt he'd recognize me if he saw me at, say, Wal Mart or the Kroger. If I were to say "Hey, Bill, I'm so and so"...he'd be like "Hey Sista Smiff! How are ya...blah blah" (It kinda sucks always being somebody's daughter or wife and now somebody's Mom. Most of the greater Hendersonville area somehow knows #2. Everytime we go out, somebody says hi to him and usually, I have no idea who they are)

Anyhow, so Bill and Mr. Smiff have been conversing this week and Bill has a cd for the boys to listen to. Yay. Mr. Smiff calls me this morning and says "Bill can come drop the cd off at your work since he's down there right now. Call him, here's his number."

I can't call Bill Anderson!! He's...Whisperin' Bill! He's in the Nashville Songwriter's Hall of Fame....he's a member of the Grand Ole Opry, he's been on Family Feud, he's been on "One Life To Live", he's been on Tattle Tales! I'm too intimidated and skeered to call Bill Anderson. How lame am I? What is my issue with the phone?? I need therapy.

Mr. Smiff is laughing at me saying "Call him. He likes you." I just couldn't. As I said on my 100 Things, I am not much for phone calling no way, but, to call The Whispering One? I just couldn't. Why in the name of Roy Acuff did Mr. Smiff not give Bill MY number? This went back and forth for about 5 minutes and I was nearly in tears. (I told you I'm odd) Finally, Mr. Smiff says "I'll call him." I could tell he was irritated at me.

I felt like such a retard. Kinda like the time when I was about 10 and Willie Nelson called Dad (they had a wife in common; not my mother) and he wanted to put me on the phone and I refused because, dang...it was Willie Nelson! One of those neat opportunities but you're too nervous to jump at it. Kinda like Chris Farley telling Paul McCartney he wasn't really dead. "IDIOT!"

Anyway, everything turned out ok. Bill came by my work, making Betty, the Security Guy's day, and a few others. I had gotten a phone call a little after I returned from picking the package up and this woman says "I saw Bill Anderson downstairs!" Heh. Yeah, me too.

Bill is cool.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Crazy Kin

Everybody's got crazy relatives. I mean, a family just ain't a family without the resident wacko who's had one too many drinks in their time or just fell off the Psycho Truck and can't hep it. I've got quite a few of them in my family tree. (Of course, that description fits NOBODY in this photo!)

My friend, Sherian, has a crazy cousin named Steven. Cousin Steven likes to keep in touch and a few years back while Sherian's sister, Angie, was serving as a missionary in Africa, he kept close touch with some rather humorous emails. Sherian's been cleaning out her email box this morning and thankfully, shared them with me. These are just random lines from various emails. I was wishing I'd have worn my Depends today after reading them.

Some of the funnier lines:

I forgot to wish you happy holidays in my last e-mail. I don't know yet if we're all going to get together in Pulaski or not. Our family will probably go out to eat and be done with it. I've been meaning to ask you, do they have beer in Africa? Ha. Ha.

I've been real busy here lately detailing cars and trucks at a car lot in [insert city name here]. A friend of mine works there and he's been getting me the work. They're not real demanding so they're easy to please. I took Dad out to eat Thanksgiving with the money I earned. What will you eat for the holidays, "rump roast of hippo?" Ha. Ha. That was a good one wasn't it?

I know I brag somewhat but I'm really good at house cleaning.

I'm glad you lived through the stampede. I imagine it was pretty scary not knowing what the situation was. Pretty funny though. I had a big argument at the convenience site on Shelbyville RD recently with two old goats (men)!

As far as the people go who have vices that interfere with them providing for their families, try to encourage them to try to be functional as possible. I drink too much but when there is work, I go for it. Plus I give Dad at least half of my earnings so I won't blow it all.

One draw back! I rode with a rap music loving redneck! My little nephew Chris, Donald's boy. I told him before I got in the truck that I wanted to drive slow and to keep the radio down. Just the opposite. I had such a headache that when I was a few miles from home I told him to stop so I could get out and I walked the rest of the way home. He was so disrespectful. I don't think I'll ever get in the truck with him again. I think he was intentionally annoying. It was that aggravating. Are you goin to preach when you get home or go into education?

***This one's my favorite**** Hey Angie! I think you're beginning to work on me with your religious work. Keep it up and maybe I'll be able to hold my head up higher and prouder some day. Even though I'm feeling better about myself more and more these days. After all, I haven't been before the local judge in years. Good boy Steven. I got distracted. My cat was playing these wind chimes I have hanging from a wall light in the dining room. I may have a 35 ft motor home to detail soon.

On the lighter side now. You won't believe what happened recently. No one had seen this elderly neighbor of ours for a while and I had been trying to call her for a week to no avail. Well anyway, I called the police and they kicked in her front door and the odor was so bad we thought she was in there dead. What we found though was a really stinking, nasty, house with garbage strewn all about. The police called human services and they came out and condemned her house. We found out she was in the hospital the whole time. For some strange reason, she didn't think it was anyone's business in the neighborhood to know she was in the hospital. The Department of Human Services got in touch with her son and told him that since he allowed his mother to live in such filth they would give him the job of cleaning the house out and up. So far he has hauled off at least four truck loads of trash out of the house. He has yet to begin cleaning the house on the inside! They're both made at me for right now but when she is allowed to move back in and she sees the difference they will probably realize that I was sincerely concerned about her wellbeing.

Picked up your latest e-mail today (9/3/02) and was trying to sneak a peek reading it while driving home, but I was all over the road and this cop was in front of me looking back. So I put it down and waited until I got home to read it.

Something to tell you. I was helping this city police officer down the road clean out his storage barn and he and I hauled his garbage to the convenience site out in the county. There's this stop sign that nobody ever stops for unless something is coming so I just went through it like it wasn't there. He asked what the sign back there said and I looked at him kinda funny and said it said stop and just kept on driving. It's a hundred and fifteen dollar ticket. And I said well there are no police around and I don't stop at them if it's clear. Well we unloaded the garbage and coming back I went through it again. I looked at him and said well I've saved $230 today. pretty good ain't it. He just shook his head and tightened his seat belt. My driving is pretty bad. I used to smoke that pot hot and heavy when I was younger and it might have slightly altered a few noggin cells. [You think??!?] But I'll live to tell I did so what the heck. Are you go to be able to have a Christmas tree of any kind this Christmas? I haven't seen anything in your pictures that resembled anything like that.

Tell all of your new friends in Africa we're thinking of them. I've got some trees to cut up back in the field.
Love, Steven

What's The Point?

I get my BellSouth bill this morning and you know, what point is there to even have a land line anymore? If we call long distance, we use the cell. I'm not one of these people attached to the cell but it seems to me, we're paying Ma Bell so our 12-going-on-13-year-old daughter can get calls from her best frien 53 times a day.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Quote of the Day

This is #2 Son. He is quite humorous. He is very much into cuss words of late. He doesn't really have a potty mouth but he is really learning about how bad words aren't good.

We've been lucky with the kids, considering their dad is a road musician, they've not ever been known to spew musician language around, although about a month ago, as #2 and I were leaving the church one night after an activity, he said to me "What time is it?" I told him it was 7:30, to which he replied "Oh shit....now I'm gonna miss my show."

A few minutes ago, he says "Mom, have you ever heard of a place called 'Old Hickory Dam?" Why, yes I have.

"Not the bad word 'damn', but, 'dam' like a fishin' place."

Seems he has in his head that Mom can, and will be willing to, make fish sticks out of whatever he catches.

HA! The only fish sticks that come in this house come in a yellow box with "Gorton's" on it.

Big Daddy O

Mr. Smiff has this knot in the palm of his hand. It's pretty tender to the touch. It turned up after he used the axe to chop some crap down in our yard on Good Friday. It's kinda bluish underneath the skin and also on the same hand he frets the bass with. I told him it looked sorta like the blood clot an old co-worker had in her hand one time so I called the doctor and sent him on to have it looked at this morning. Ewwww...I hope it's not a blood clot cause they're liable to do that little procedure where they suck it out. I don't know how Mr. Smiff would handle such a procedure. Mr. Smiff doesn't do sickly well. A cold pretty much renders him bedridden.

He did survive his vasectomy pretty well though, which I was quite surprised. This was right after #2 Son was born in 1998. I had originally planned to have my tubes tied, but, due to an unexpected traumatic birth (I'll tell that story come July on #2's birthday...stay tuned), Mr. Smiff announced that I would not go through surgery following delivery of a nearly 10 lb baby with no medication. (Good story...trust me, it's worth the wait)

When #2 was a few weeks old, I went ahead and called the urologist and made the appointment for Mr. Smiff's big day. When I told him the appointment was made, he didn't speak to me for the rest of the day. V Day was not something he was looking forward to.

V Day came and the urologist in charge's name was Dr. Little. I am not kidding. Mr. Smiff loved that. As he recollected later, Dr. Little was pretty chatty throughout the procedure, even shared that one of the doctor's in their rather large urology group performed his own vasectomy. I am of the mind that all urologists tell a similar story to their patients to calm them down because I've heard somebody else tell that.

Me and then baby #2 Son sat in the waiting room waiting for Daddy Smiff to emerge as the new man he would be. He came out, walking rather slowly and his hair was mussed and I have to admit, I felt a little bad for the guy. I didn't feel so bad that I wished I'd have gone ahead with the tubal ligation in his stead though. I think my body had sacrificed enough birthin' three babies and the pregnancies leading up to them.

I think even Mr. Smiff would tell any prospective vasect-tee that it was not all that bad. He was a little sore that first day (frozen peas are a great invention) but after that, he was doing his regular routine. I think he found the "follow up visits" to the urologist with his "gift" to them, a little tedious but almost 8 years later, I think he's grateful for those visits when he hears a crying baby.

No bloodclot for Mr. Smiff...apparently, it's some sort of cyst. The doc told him to get cornpads to put on it. The thought of Mr. Smiff going to get corn pads and walking around with them on his hand is more humorous than I can express.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

A Day in Franklin

I went to Franklin today.

Not THAT Franklin, but, the other one in Kentucky. I have never been in Franklin proper before today. Passed the exit and all but never been inside the city limits.

Franklin, Kentucky is a cute little town. They have the cutest town square and everything "downtown" is closed on Saturday afternoon. The happening place to be on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Franklin appears to be the Frosty Freeze. It was one of those old timey dairy dip places that has probably been there since God was a boy and there were people crawling all over that place. People in Franklin, KY sit on their front porches on Main St. Franklin has a Piggly Wiggly and a little cafe called the Sassy Lassie.

We ate at probably the only Mexican restaurant in town and it was great. I'm a bad blogger and can't remember the name of it, but, they have Quesadillas to die for.

We went along with Mr. Smiff and crew to the James Monroe Bluegrass Festival. There were dozens and dozens of wild bluegrass fans and my girl, Roni Stoneman didn't even show. (BUMMER!) I was so distraught, I didn't even stay for the second set. I opted for the quiet Smiff House all to myself for a few precious hours.

James Monroe is the son of the Father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe. James' claim to fame is....well, his late daddy. James has attempted many business ventures in his lifetime and every single one of them has failed. As Mr. Smiff says, he is consistent. I kinda think it's sad to be his age and never accomplished anything on his own merit, but, hey, at least he is a man of "vision" and he keeps on pluggin'.

Driving up towards Franklin, we passed I don't know how many billboards advertising James' new music hall up there and each one had his face on it.

We get to the venue and there are cases and cases and cases of water bottles....with James' picture on it.

The sound at the venue sounded like a bad a.m. radio. I swear, I think they went down to the local Baptist church and said "Hey...can we borrow your sound system and Bubba to run it for us?" The guys also reported that the stage bowed in the middle and they were somewhat afraid the sucker would collapse in the middle of "Shuckin' The Corn."

The good points? You could get a coke for .50; Lance Leroy and his runnin' pal, "Punkin" showed up; we got to see Mr. Smiff and the boys perform (don't get to often); Mr. Smiff got paid what he was promised; it was a beautiful day and I went to Franklin, Kentucky.

I seriously do hope this venture happens for James. It has potential, however, I don't think the folks are going to be clamoring for a seat at the upcoming Jean Shepard show.

Life ain't so bad, even if there are water bottles with James Monroe's picture on them.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Poop, Mexican Music & Nice Neighbors

I like to think I'm on top of things....semi-on the cutting edge of most that's hip and happenin'. Apparently, this is not so because until this week I had never heard of Chicken Poop Lip Balm. I drove past Walgreen's earlier in the week and on the electronic sign, it said "Chicken Poop Lip Balm 3.49." Apparently, all the middle school kids know about it. They probably just like it because it has "Poop" in the title and gives them an excuse to say "I want some Chicken Shit Lip Balm."

Another great discovery this week....two things tonight at El Rodeo in Hendersonville. They had a fantastic Mexican trio "Trio Vendeval" playing and singing for our listening pleasure. You hear little bands like that here and there and they aren't that great, but, these guys.....talk about sing! Fantastic. They took requests and did a bangup job on "Before The Next Teardrop Falls" and other songs in spanish.

FYI.... Didja know that asking a Mexican group to do "Selito Lingo" (aka "ay yi yi yi") is like asking a bluegrass band to do "Rocky Top?" They kinda roll their eyes and say "Oh....ok...if you insist."

Mr. Smiff, who even though he makes his living playing music, but, yet, never listens to music because he wants to, was so into Trio Vendeval's singing...especially their three part harmony. He was throwing requests at them left and right.

Also while visiting El Rodeo, one of the best Mexican restaurants out here, we met our cross the street and down a little neighbors, Rebecca and Bob. Pretty sad we've lived here for 10 years and just now met them. What an adorable little couple. Very grandparently and sweet. Funny how you can see somebody from a distance, mowing their yard and what not, but, never see them up close and still recognize them. Rebecca and Bob are the kind of people, you talk to them 2 seconds and it's like you've known them forever.

I had met a down the street neighbor some months back, who had lived here for like 27 years, right before they moved. Again, sweet, sweet people and I found myself thinking, "I wish I'd have gotten to know her". Maybe I need to get out and meet the neighbors more.

100 Things

I know the world has been waiting for this....Sista Smiff's list of 100....here goes....

1. I went to junior high with Ashley Judd.
2. Ashley Judd had no idea who I was.
3. I also went to elementary, junior high and high school with Jeff Cease, formerly of the Black Crowes and rode the same school bus (Bus 44)
4. I have no waistline. Never have. Even at 120 lbs.
5. I have naturally curly hair.
6. My hair used to be black but has turned to a frightening salt and pepper.
7. I think every home should have a pet of some sort (preferably a dog but cats are ok)
8. I had/have an aunt named Tee Wee an uncle named "Byee" and an Uncle Nootsie. (Not real names)
9. Mr. Smiff and I almost eloped after dating less than two months.
10. We opted for a "long" engagement of six months instead.
11. Mr. Smiff and I were divorced for a year and remarried.
12. We were remarried by the same judge who unmarried us.
13. I'd rather not have gone through that experience but wouldn't take anything for it now.
14. In a restaurant or other public place, I have to sit where I can see the entire room and everybody in it.
15. I have been an off and on again smoker since I was 16.
16. I quit for 4 years once.
17. I am a good cook.
18. I am a horrible housekeeper.
19. I am a hair under 5'4 inches tall.
20. I want every clock in my house and office to be the exact same time.
21. Mr. Smiff is 9 years older than me.
22. I love Elvis.
23. I worked as a personal assistant to a country star once.
24. I've never had a speeding ticket.
25. I have one sister who is 2.5 years older than me.
26. I sleep with the television on.
27. I am the youngest of many grandchildren on both of my parents' sides.
28. I have no memory of my maternal grandparents.
29. This has always made me sad.
30. I have written a number of songs.
31. I have performed at writer's nights.
32. I had a hold on a song by Patty Loveless once.
33. She didn't record it.
34. I still dream of writing a hit song someday.
35. I have written a play that was performed at the Ryman Auditorium last year.
36. I dream of writing a novel someday, totally based on characters I have known.
37. I have met a ton of famous people in my lifetime.
38. I could probably do a "100 Things" of famous people I have met.
39. I do not drink alcohol and am not comfortable with it in my presence.
40. Except that once a presidential term that I will indulge in a beer or something.
41. I have worked at the same company for going on 10 years.
42. I love to hear live music.
43. I didn't get braces until I was 34 years old.
44. I have run in 4 5K races.
45. I don't like Starbucks coffee.
46. I love Diet Dr. Pepper.
47. I like being by myself.
48. I have a very distinct laugh.
49. I have experienced natural childbirth.
50. I don't reccommend it.
51. I am against Homeschooling.
52. Politically, I'm in the middle.
53. But, really, politics are boring to me.
54. I can appear to be quite outgoing and extroverted, but, the truth is, I am quite shy and introverted.
55. I don't like people to sing "Happy Birthday" to me.
56. I don't like to talk on the phone anymore.
57. I prefer email.
58. I love rainy Thursdays.
59. I like just about every kind of music there is.
60. I had my first child when I was 22.
61. I'm not one of those PTO type of moms that lives to be in the middle of everything happening at the school.
62. I do not like shopping malls or shopping, except Wal Mart and Target.
63. I have a natural ear for harmony and a decent singing voice.
64. I can play the guitar and piano.
65. I get my nails done every two weeks.
66. I only have one purse at a time. I carry it til it falls apart, then it's back to Target for a new one.
67. I have never been to DisneyWorld, but, have been to Disneyland a number of times.
68. I love American History.
69. I should be wearing glasses but don't.
70. They make me feel old and I don't like contacts. (The nails don't mix with them)
71. I have thoroughly enjoyed every stage of parenting.
72. I don't miss having little bitty children.
73. I have a nice speaking voice and do readings and narrations very well.
74. I love classic television shows and know obscure facts about old tv shows and movies that nobody cares about. (When I say "classic" I am not speaking of anything after 1985)
75. I have been to the Bahamas and to Mexico.
76. I love to look at photo albums, even if I don't know the people in the pictures.
77. I hate to confront people.
78. I am very transparent. I don't hide my feelings very well.
79. I got my GED instead of a regular diploma.
80. I have a really good memory. I remember dates, names, and very small details of moments from when I was a toddler all through school.
81. I have a really close friend in Texas that I've known for 6 years. I think of her as one of my closest, true blues...yet, I've never seen met her in person.
82. I don't play cards.
83. I like reality shows.
84. I love Dr. Phil but can't stand his henpecking wife.
85. I am not a touchy, feely, huggy type of gal. That doesn't mean I never hug anybody, I'd just rather do it on my own terms.
86. I am a born again, Bible thumpin', yet, Disney lovin' Southern Baptist. (The aforementioned does not mean I hate gay people and love Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, neither)
87. I used to love roller coasters...big, huge ones, but, now they give me headaches.
88. I miss Opryland...the Flume Zoom, the Wabash Cannonball, the Tennessee Waltz and the Rockin' Rollercoaster.
89. I love the movie "Gone With The Wind" so much, I named one of my children after something in it.
90. I have never danced with my husband. (He can't)
91. I do a once a year flip on the trampoline by request of my kids.
92. I can still do the splits.
93. The recessional at my wedding was "Christmas Time's A' Comin'".
94. The processional was some classical song that I don't even know the name of. Alls I knew was I did NOT want "Here Comes The Bride" played. I wanted to walk in to "A Maiden's Prayer" but they played that before.
95. I can wake up without an alarm.
96. I don't think life is about achieving happiness, but, rather contentment.
97. I believe a pop on the behind does not harm a child or their self esteem.
98. I have rarely ever popped any of my children on the behind in their lives.
99. I think my three kids and Mr. Smiff are four of the funniest people on earth.
100. I'm a blessed woman.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

High Fives For All

Did you know today is a National Holiday?

Let me be the first to wish you and yours a blessed NH5D.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

All I Have To Do Is Dream

I don't know how I feel about dream interpretation. Sometimes I think dreams mean something and other times I don't. It's not something I really spend much time pondering, except for today.

I'm not much of a heel wearer. I don't know why I never got into wearing high heels. I admire them on other people, but, am not the most confident when I wear them, nor do I find them comfortable. I blame this largely on my mother who never would allow my sister or me to get a pair of Candies. Because of being denied the opportunity to be extremely hip in 1980, I'm doomed for flats and stuff. Life is tough.

I decided this last week, after seeing co-worker Andrea's cuter-than-cute wedges she was wearing that maybe I could pull off, not heels, but the wedge so I bought me some. I made it through Sunday without falling and felt ok in them.

Last night, in thinking of what I was going to wear today, I thought "Hey, I'll wear my new, cuter-than-cute wedges." Heck yeah, why not? I can wear wedges with the best of them.

Then, last night I dreamed I was at work (one of those dreams where it didn't look like work, but, I knew it was work...somehow). There was this huge flight of stairs and in the dream, I took quite a tumble and the last thing I remember is one of our facility guys, Larry, carting me off to the hospital. Then, my plight of not dealing well with the flight of stairs and my wedges was the featured cover story on the front of our weekly, company wide newsletter...full story, complete with pictures of the whole thing.

I took this dream as God telling me "Do not wear the cuter-than-cute wedges." I borrowed my daughter's new cuter-than-cute flip-flops instead.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

We'll Be Right Back

It's not too often we get bluegrass festivals around these parts. Why, I do not know, but, it's true. The Armistead's host a fantastic one every October up at Smiley Hollow in Ridgetop and that one's worth putting on your calendar.

Smiley Hollow is the coolest place. I had heard about it for years but never had the opportunity to go until this past fall and I went twice in as many weeks, once for the Armistead's festival and then a church thing. I think Smiley Hollow is one of the Nashville area's best keep secrets.

Anyway, there is a bluegrass festival this weekend up the road in Franklin, Kentucky, hosted by James Monroe. The Grascals will be there and a bunch of other people, including, Larry Sparks, Leroy Troy , Bobby Osborne and Roni Stoneman. Yes, THAT Roni Stoneman...one half of "The Naggers" on "Hee Haw". You know, the rather unkempt woman who beats her husband with the rolling pin. Mr. Smiff is somewhat looking forward to getting to see Roni again after working with her on an IBMA breakfast last fall. He said Roni is the only person he knows who talks about the Lord and sex all in one breath.

I thought I was going to go into cardiac arrest laughing today when he recollected Roni talking about the Lord and His will in one sentence, then picking up a sausage link she was serving and announcing "Now that right there wouldn't do me a BIT of good!"

Speaking of Hee Haw, we had a Kornfield moment tonight at the Cracker Barrel on Music Valley Dr. Mr. Smiff, Grandma and #2 had finished eating and I saw Grandma speaking with an older gentleman and I didn't know who it was until they started walking towards us and I recognized the great, most awesome-ist drummer ever in Nashville, Willie Ackerman. Willie was part of the legendary "A Team" of session musicians that included Charlie McCoy, Bob Moore, Hargus "Pig" Robbins, etc. AND he was the drummer on Hee Haw for years.

#2 is a Hee Haw nut, thanks to the dvd's we got for Christmas last year. This kid is just crazy about Roy Clark, Archie Campbell and Jimmy Riddle and Jackie Phelps (the eefin' and eyefin' guys). #2 has been known to run around chanting "We'll be right back" like Jimmy, Jackie and Willie used to do when they were going to commercial. Willie, who is not quite as hyper and mobile as he was back in the day, due to a stroke and is now white headed, was not immediately recognized by #2 until I told him "It's the 'We'll Be Right Back' guy". #2 lit up and and I thought he was going to melt when Willie shook his hand.

Willie got a huge kick out of #2's demonstration of "eefin and eyefin". Neat moment that I wished I'd have had the camera with me to snap a picture.

Nashville is so great...... I don't care who ya are.

What'd Life Be Without Homegrown Tomatoes?

It's officially spring for me when I get petunias. I absolutely love petunias...the colors, the smell. I don't claim a green thumb, but, I can grow some nice petunias at my house.

Somebody told me years ago the secret to good petunias is keeping them pinched back. I'm so obsessive about pinching back petunias, I find myself in public places, where they may not be so well tended like on Church St. in Downtown Nashville or at the YMCA where we swim every summer, pinching them back if they need it. People probably think I'm nuts.

Impatiens are another good flower that are as tough as they come. They like shade and lots of water. I've had years where I've had impatiens near about as tall as my youngest son. The dogs like the impatien garden too. Last year, they made it one of their favorite laying spots in the yard. Needless to say, my impatiens last year weren't that tall or quite as pretty as I've had them in years past.

Mr. Smiff thinks it's silly for me to bother planting anything in the ground because the dogs go right to it and either step on them, lay on them or dig them up, just for kicks. Even so, I feel the need to plant something every spring. It's kinda like what Ouiser said in "Steel Magnolias". She planted tomatoes every year because she was an "old, Southern woman" and we just feel the need to plant stuff every year.

One thing I will not be planting this year is tomatoes. We claim to love homegrown tomatoes at our house, but, they sit in the window sill til they rot and the gnats become a problem. We'll just get our Homegrowns this year from my brother in law's garden or Farmer's Market.

Guy Clark was so right when he said that the only two things that money can't buy are true love and homegrown tomaters. Well, you can buy them, but, there is something special about picking them out of your yard, bringing it in and making a tomato sandwich on white, Wonder bread and Hellman's mayonnaise.

On second thought, I think I will plant me a tomato plant or two.

Monday, April 17, 2006

I Could Write a Sonnet About Your Easter Bonnet....

It is with much glee and happiness that I can report, today, April 17, the day after Easter, 4 months after Christmas, green leaves on the trees.....

Mr. Smiff has taken down the Christmas/Valentines/St. Patrick's Day/Easter Lights.

I am a redneck woman, no more. No, it's back to the classy, uptown gal that I once was.

Don't EVER Say This To Me Again

Finally had a chance to talk with both of our next door neighbors about exactly how close the Big Tornado came to our house last Friday. (We're THIS close with them) I knew it came close but now just how close that sucker came to the house.

The lady to our right looked out the back window and her first thought was "What kind of birds are those?" Those birds turned out to be flying debris. Next door to the left, who is also chained to an oxygen tank saw it coming about 100 yards away, filled his tank and took cover in the tub.

Mr. Smiff is fond of saying to me, whenever tornado warnings are issued for the area, mocking the weather people, "The tornado is headed down the Vietnam Veterans Bypass, down [insert street name] for Sista Smiff!" I told him he better not EVER say that to me again because that thing just about did. His reply? "Well, the odds are against you now." I suppose that's probably true that the odds are quite slim that we'll have another tornado of that magnitude come through here for awhile.....hopefully.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Not Here

Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to see the tomb. Suddenly, there was a great earthquake, because an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and rolled aside the stone and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothes as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.

Then the angel spoke the women. "Don't be afraid!" he said, "I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn't here! He has been raised from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples he has been raised from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember, I have told you.

The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to find the disciples to give them the angel's message. And as they went, Jesus met them. "Greetings!" he said. And they ran to him, held his feet and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Don't be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there."
Matthew 28:1-10 NLT

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Big Bad Bill

Bill Hobbs, Bill Hobbs.....that's all I've been seeing on Nashville Is Talking the last few days. I even saw hiw picture on the news but I guess my attention deficit hasn't brought me to the point where I can actually listen and find out who in the Bad, Bad, Ivy he is.

Best I can gather, nobody much likes him so I suppose I am not missing much. He must be a political somebody or another and Sista doesn't play politics.

Friday, April 14, 2006

In Praise of Hendersonville

Boy, the people of Hendersonville are out in full force this beautiful Good Friday helping with tornado cleanup. One of the good things to see, through all of the difficult days of the past week, has been how everybody, in their own way, is helping out. I guess our city is doing what any other city/town would do, but, I'm proud to be a Hendersonvillian today.

A petition is circulating to try to get the Hawkins Family (the family where the young mother is paralyzed from the waist down after shielding her little boys from falling debris) on "Extreme Home Makeover." I can't think of any family more deserving of this than Jarrod and Amy Hawkins. So, Channel 2 News people, if you have any contacts with ABC, maybe ya'll can make a phone call.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Sista Smiff's Brag Book

My sister was none too happy that I had posted a rather unflattering photo of her on da blog earlier today. She emailed me and said "Are you ever going to post a flattering picture of me on your blog?" So, here ya go...as you can see, she is quite lovely as is her whole family. They aren't as pretty as, say, this family, but, then, who is?

Hippity Hoppity, Easter's On It's Way

Today is Maundy Thursday, tomorrow is Good Friday, Saturday is...well, Easter Egg Dyeing day (one of those things that we just do) and that means the day after that is Easter Sunday. Holy Peter Cottontail...what'm I gonna wear to church Sunday???

Being that I'm a good Southern Baptist Girl, there is an unwritten rule somewhere in the Baptist Faith and Message that "women must buy new Easter frocks every Easter, whether Easter falls in March or April."

We've been doing this for years. Look at that picture..Easter 1979.....My sister is the one with the rather, um, BIG hair and the shoes were by Yo-Yo (remember those?!?) She and I had a similar color scheme happening and I see I'm sporting my supposed "Dorothy Hamill" haircut. (It never did look like no Dorothy Hamill!) It seems to me that this was the first time I wore pantyhose. The other accessory I have there is our poodle, Jolie (who lived another 12 years after this).

My mother, as always, in her basic black, to create a "slimming" effect.

The best part is Dad's white suit (had to have been polyester) and apparently, he had stolen Pat Boone's shoes and as he always did, anytime he had his picture taken, he'd turn his head for the profile. Musta been his best side.

Perks and Coifs

Mr. Smiff and band played a rather uppity soiree at Chancellor Gee's house Tuesday night. Sounds like a swinging party, replete with booze, good eats and a special guest appearance by Shawn Camp with the guys on "I'll Go Stepping Too" that I hear was rather "interesting." The gathering was to honor all the artists who had played at the Kennedy Center Country Music Festival.

It dawned on me the next day when my sister asked why I didn't go to the above mentioned event. Yeah! I don't recollect anybody saying I could go and because I'm a nice girl, I didn't invite myself. I asked Mr. Smiff about it and he said I could've gone had I asked. ??????????

Ok, so they aren't huge stars, but, dangit, I'm ready for some perks of being a "wife." I've been a musicians wife for almost 17 years and I'm waiting for the perks to begin. Am I out of line to think maybe I should get some sort of little extry excitement from my rather mundane, matronly sort of existence of going to work every morning, wrangling my three kids? (Mr. Smiff reads this sometimes so I have to insert here that I'm just thinking out loud, honey...not trying to make you look like a bad husband.) I mean, they're gone a lot, just about every weekend and to be able to go to a swanky, outdoor doing in Belle Meade would be rather fun..maybe?

If I'm not worth a glass of wine on Chancellor Gee's lawn, then I AM worth a hairdo and color. So I went to the SA-lon yesterday evening and had the wonderful Samantha work my coif. I know you're wondering what a dumpy, matronly thing like me is doing going to a place like SalonFX. I mean, the hippest of the hip and beautiful go there and I certainly don't blend in. I certainly can't afford it but I go cause I feel good when I leave. Samantha made me look almost purty.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Lunchtime in Knoxville

My sister tends to provide me with some great blogaterial. I think today's beats 'em all.

"What is it about me that makes people do this to me.
I went to Stein Mart at lunch and made a new friend. I was in the BBW Dept (Big Beautiful Women) and I made a new friend. This little old lady – probably in her 70s. Didn’t look like she had brushed her hair in a week. Wearing slippers. Anyway, I’m looking at a rack of clothes and she gets up next to me and says (I was looking at a pretty shirt with long, flowy-like sleeves) "When you’re big through the middle like you, you shouldn’t wear shirts with sleeves with that much material – draws attention to your middle". She then goes on to explain why she likes to wear long shirts because it covers her stomach – and yes, she feels the need to lift her shirt and grab with both hands her belly flab.
She follows me around for about 10 minutes, commenting on what I’m looking at – pretty color, too busy – makes you look wide, sequins look cheap, etc. Then she said "You know, it takes work to look nice when you’re big, don’t you think?" Im just about to die, wishing someone had been there to witness this – you would have wet yourself.
Then I take my items and think I can escape her in the fitting room. But she has a shirt that she says "would go with my horsie scarves I got in Lexington. I paid a fortune for them. Do you think my horsie scarves would go with this shirt?" I’m just trying to get away from her. So she goes to the fitting room attendant and says "I want to try this shirt on but I don’t have time, I have a friend in the car" HUH???? If she had an old lady friend in the car, the last 15 minutes she spent with me didn’t bother her.
I was about to die! "

Usually, my sister is mistaken for Rosie O'Donnell ("You look just like Rosie McDonald!") or hit on by lesbians. She is coming along in this world.

A One and A Two

I usually take morning and afternoon break with about 7-8 others, both men and women, who work at the same company I work at. Most of us don't work in the same area, but, somehow, we manage to get together every morning at 9:30 and then in the afternoon at 2:30. As you can imagine, we cover a lot of ground in our little discussions and manage to solve the worlds' problems from our table. It's usually the same bunch: Kenny, Tim, Larry, Cindy, George, Melinda, Scott, me and sometimes one or two others grace us.

This morning's discussion floored me. Kenny told something so shocking, I kept accusing him of making it up. He swears it's the truth.

How we got on this topic, I do not remember, but, in the course of the chit chat, Kenny said that when you build a house, it is important that you put pieces of tin around the holes in your vents because construction people tend to relieve themselves on the duct work. He also shared that construction people will (I don't know any other subtle way to say it) sometimes take dumps down chimneys!!!

Please tell me this is not true and Kenny was just messing with us. He has done electrical contract work and swears this really happens.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Johnson's Old Grey Mule

This is a fun clip of mindless, clean fun courtesy of June Carter and Gordon Terry.

Gordon was a great musician and entertainer who worked with people like Johnny Cash, Bill Monroe, Merle Haggard and others. Gordon passed away this weekend after being sick for many years.

One of his credits is that he helped discover Barbara Mandrell. Depending on your perspective, we can either thank him for that or blame him.

Birthin' Babies

Seeing Jeff Ray's new baby and his precious little family and how stinkin' good Mrs. Ray looks got me to reminiscing about how I looked immediately following the births of my younguns.

Funny thing... I dont/won't show a picture of me after #1. (Think Roseanne Barr) Instead, I'll show a picture of Mr. Smiff immediately following the birth of #1. He kinda has the deer in the headlights look and oh...nice mullet too!

The second time around, I had my dawling dawta and I don't look exactly like I'm ready for a black tie affair here, but, not too bad. I felt better after she was born cause she was the easiest of the three. 2 pushes and there she was.

Now the one where I'm not facing the camera, the hair held up just lovely and you can't really tell the ordeal I had just been through. The doctor that delivered #2 Son was nicknamed Doogie Howser by me (and it turned out, the entire nursing staff of Centennial. Here I thought I was being original). Doogie Howser wouldn't let me have my epidural for a long time. By the time I got it, I was in mucho pain and they couldn't get it in. They were hitting nerves and all sorts of things. I finally told them to get thee away from me, I would birth drug-less.

What I DIDN'T know was that I was carrying a 9 lb 7 1/2 oz, 22 inch long baby. Look at the size of that head of his.

As Melanie said in "Gone WIth The Wind", the happiest days are when babies come. I'm just glad I won't be bringing anymore.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Tales From The Twister

Coming back to work today, hearing even more stories of survival and loss:

A guy in my company lost his home and almost lost his wife. She was home sick Friday and was sucked out of the house. Amazingly, she just had a bump on the head.

The guidance counselor at Knox Doss Middle School, David Delph, who spent Friday afternoon and way into the evening, comforting and entertaining the likes of my children, making them feel safe and secure, went home to find his home is not liveable.

Another co-worker's aunt's home was destroyed on Drakes Creek Rd. They say lightening doesn't strike twice but for this family it did. Some years back, their home was struck by lightening and burned to the ground. They rebuilt on the same spot, a nice brick home, only to have it destroyed Friday.

My friend Diana and her husband Bill were sitting in their Florida room on Drakes Creek Rd. just before the storm came. They managed to get to the bottom level, not injured. They were at church yesterday and just hung onto each other the entire service.

We know about William Lee Golden from the Oak Ridge Boys' beautiful old home on Saundersville being destroyed but his bandmate, Duane Allen, barely escaped becoming part of the debris himself. He had gone to get his grandson from school and was arriving home just as it hit his neighborhood.

The photo is by Zach Delph, taken in his neighborhood off of 109 in Gallatin.

Happy Dancing

I am just about to ingest my last Augmentin tablet, from my Strep Adventure of last week. As my friend Lois the pharmacist says....it's diarrhea in a bottle and I'm quite glad to be bidding it adieu.

I've never really appreciated Diflucan until this last week or so and am quite grateful for it.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Not Your Typical Saturday

I got a phone call this afternoon from #2's teacher. She was calling every student to make sure all was well and everyone intact. Unfortunately, not everyone in his class got through yesterday as easy as we did. Two children are without homes. A lady that I sing in the church choir with lost her home. I guess she lives about a mile from me.

I feel almost guilty that our biggest inconvenience was going a little over 24 hours without the internet or cable when lots of people close by are trying to figure out what to do next. People all over our city and county doing the same thing Diana and Bill did today; salvaging what they could, packing it into a quickly rented truck...some facing planning funerals.

I slept til 9:00, had my coffee, took my daughter to a friend's house, went to choir practice and to Wal Mart.

Yeah, I feel guilty.

Tornado Warning

I will tell the whole tale of the day later...we have no internet at home still and my nerves have still not settled down.

Bottom line...tornado came by the Smiff House. Thank goodness we have no damage. It moved on up the road apiece and touched down right by Knox Doss Middle School, where the older two kids go. #1 Son heard it but didn't see it since they corralled all the kids in bathrooms and the other "safe places." The area around the school, from what I hear is trashed. William Lee Golden (Oak Ridge Boys long, bearded guy) lives about 1/4 mile from the middle school and his gorgeous home is destroyed as are a bunch of others close by. Some of my kids classmates are homeless.

I never was able to get the kids from school and thank goodness Tammy and Lisa (mom's of the kids friends) took them home with them. I was sitting in the line of traffic to Gallatin. (Knox Doss and Station Camp schools are technically in Gallatin). #2 Son was finally picked up about 6:15 and he seemed pretty oblivious to the days events. Like it's not unusual to still be at school until 6. I asked him what they did all that time and he said they watched a movie but he got in trouble for bugging some kid and had to go to the office. That's my boy.

Got home at 8 and just as I pulled in, the power came on. Mr. Smiff is on the road and missed the whole ordeal.

I still can't bear the thought of the "what ifs" of yesterday...a few hundred yards more and Knox Doss and Station Camp could've had a direct hit. Scary stuff.

I'll tell more later. I need a drink.

Friday, April 07, 2006


Had a slight wind over Hendersonville today. My house is standing. Kids arent home from school yet. Hail hitting my window downtown right now.

Better git away.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Retrospective Brentwood

Reading Tony's blog today got me all nostalgic. I know it doesn't take a whole lot to get me in that frame of mind. I'm as sappy and cheesy as the day is long. I already got nostalgic this week remembering my grandfather on the 111th anniversary of his birth, but, thanks to Tony, I'm going to get nostalgic about where I grew up.

I was not born on Tennessee soil. I was born a couple thousand miles from Nashville in Long Beach, California, where my dad was a succesful radio disc jockey and my mother's family had moved to from Alexandria, Louisiana when she was a young girl. As I wrote earlier this week, my southern roots are deep, deep. I've always been grateful that my dad saw fit to move us to Tennessee when I was about 8 months old. He would've certainly continued with more lucrative and financial success had they stayed out there and I'd have been a happy California Girl, but, I'm glad it didn't work out that way. I'm a Tennessee girl to the bone (not to be confused with redneck) and am all about my rich southern heritage. I'm sure had my folks stayed in Southern California, I'd have loved that and felt as attached to the beaches of the Pacific as I do to the green, rolling hills that surround this beautiful area that I call home.

We hit the less than happening metropolis of Brentwood in the fall of 1969. My poor mother was miserable when we first moved here. After growing up in Southern California in the 40's and 50's, going to Disneyland the first day it was open, celebrating Senior Skip Day at Catalina Island, spending countless hours at the beach, having great shopping and a million things to choose from to do, the pickens for fun and entertainment were pretty slim in Brentwood, and Nashville too, in those days.

Those relatively new to the Nashville area who bask in the glow of Cool Springs and the splendiforous shopping should be grateful. Back then, Cool Springs was a the Southwestern Bible company and it's big, blue ball. (No pun intended. It really was a big, blue ball. Resembled a water tower, which may be what it was) The only mall was 100 Oaks (I could do a whole post on that), to go to McDonald's, we had to go all the way to Melrose; the only grocery store was Huff's Food Town, owned by the saintly Glenn Huff. (I could also do a whole post on Mr. Huff and his establishment, where I later worked and learned the art of Customer Service). Kroger did not come til about 1974; there was Carriage House Cleaners (still there last time I was there) with it's little basket of Super Bubble bubblegum, Little's Shell, which sat on the corner of Franklin Rd and Old Hickory Blvd, Pewitt Brothers Exxon, Barbara's House of Beauty; a big treat for kids was a trip to Baskin Robbins; if you needed a new pair of shoes, you went to The Shoebox, owned and operated by the Morrison's, and all the kids climbed up this little ladder and sat on this cool, treehouse looking thing to get fitted for your Red Goose Shoes; if you wanted pizza, it was the Red Geranium; if you needed a prescription filled, you went to Lee's Apothecary; if you wanted a convenience store, there was the Jim Dandy market down on Franklin Rd. just before you get to Concord Rd; Minnie Pearl had a chicken place; there were two liquor stores; the only sit down restaurant was Noble's and the only motel was the Traveler's Rest (I always thought that was THE Traveler's Rest, as in the Overton's place) Mr. Toadvine's hardware store was on the corner of Church St. and Wilson Pike Circle; Harpeth National Bank (later First Tennessee) with Janis Foster, your friendly neighborhood teller, who knew everybody that resided in town and all their secrets;

We played softball and baseball at Civitan Park, behind Lipscomb School. If you were lucky enough, you'd get to take a trip to "Flatrock", behind the baseball fields and make out. (Sadly, I never had that experience.) In the summer, we swam at the Dolphin Club (some went to Crockett Springs and later, Maryland Farms Country Club and a few to Brentwood Country Club. The Dolphin Club was where it was at though. The Reyes Kids ruled the diving team and you could suntan on the roof of the clubhouse. It wasnt until the early 80's that we had a skating rink and movie theater and who can forget the first fast food place in Brentwood....Delites. They claimed to be "healthy" because at that time, the city of Brentwood would not allow fast food joints in the city limits.

There was one elementary school, Lipscomb, (principaled in love by Jesse Frank and we were fed meals from scratch by Mrs. Reed) until 1977 when Scales was built. One junior high, then known as Northside Jr. High (Go Vikings), now Brentwood Middle, with the charming and charistmatic Bob Hardison (aka "Blow Job Bob" we lovingly called him) as principal. Brentwood High did not come along until 1983. Before then, everybody went to Franklin. Most of us were either Baptist, Methodist or Church of Christ. If you were of the Catholic faith, again, you had to go to Franklin to church.

Our neighborhood, Hallbrook, was the best. There were bigger neighborhoods-Carondelet and Brenthaven, namely, but Hallbrook could boast residents who later became household names in the state of Tennessee and beyond...Marsha Blackburn and some lawyer named Fred Thompson. We knew just about every household in the neighborhood: The McNamee's, The Kurek's, The Elliott's, The Comer's, The Dukes', every household, I could tell you who lived there. In this little slice of heaven, we even had a drug bust in one house and a mafia bust in another. (Believe me, those were exciting days! Better than a tv show)

We also had the beautiful WSM tower shadowing us. That tower appears in I don't know how many photographs and was just part of the landscape. That tower was almost like a neighbor and it also connected me to the Grand Ole Opry and WSM radio which I love dearly. To this day, a drive down I-65 and the first sight of her brings a lump in my throat. In the picture, which is an unusual view from the tower, my house is the white one kinda to the left, under the photographer's name...Concord Rd. Church of Christ, where I attended kindergarten, is to the right.

Yeah, Brentwood has everything now in terms of commerce and business, but, man....it was almost a little like Mayberry with most people knowing each other or of each other. We didn't have an official town drunk, but, I guess "Shufflin' Ed" would be the closest thing. He'd make his daily trek from Hardscuffle (now Church St) to the bank everyday. You could set your clock by it.

Brentwood is still indeed a nice place to live, however, I can't help but feel like those of us who lived there in the 70's were the really lucky ones. No, it was not that culturally diverse but it was the perfect community, in terms of being a loving and caring environment. That's what makes a community anyway is the individuals; not the prestige of the zip code or the designer labels at the shopping mall. It's the Glenn Huff's, the Hallbrooks, the Lipscomb Schools and Dolphin Clubs of this world that are signifigant.

Nothing Stops the US Mail?

A couple months ago, Mr. Smiff was waiting on his weekly paycheck to come in. It usually comes in on the same day every week, but, this particular week, it didn't show. He called the Check Lady and she had sent it, still it never showed. In one sense, we didn't think anything of it since it's not unusual for something sent through mail to take days to get across town. In the other sense though, being we are not independently wealthy folk with no large inheritances to fall behind on and we haven't won the Powerball (yet), we needs our paychecks.

So Mr. Smiff made other arrangements and got his pay, all was well, the Wolf ran away, for the time being.

Last night, I had choir rehearsal for our Easter program coming up this Sunday and my friend/neighbor/Sista in Christ/Detective Becky mouths to me that she has something for me. I couldn't imagine what she would have for me but I got to thinking of possible scenarios in this "something" she had for me:

Maybe she had some cool shoes she had gotten and decided they were too small/big for her and did I want them?
A gift card to Best Buy for $10,000??
George Clooney called her and asked if she knew how to reach me?
A Tiffany Lamp?
A plane ticket to Maui?
Maybe she had uncovered bazillions of dollars either in her backyard or in her police work and the Lord had laid on her heart to share the love with her friend/neighbor/Sista Smiff?

Unfortunately, none of the above, however, it was something that was found near her yard.

Seems Detective Becky had gotten a knock on her door the other night at 11:00. Scared the you-know-what out of her, which surprised me because she's a cop and packs a heater. Her next door neighbor had found a piece of mail stuck in the fence and thought it might be hers (our street numbers are one digit off of each others). She saw the name on it and knew it belonged to her neighbors, the Smiffs.

Guess what it was.

If you guessed Mr. Smiff's check dated February 12, you win!

How in the world did it get there and how had it survived, in pretty good shape, all this time? We've had rain since then, snow, wind...One theory is that #2 Son, who loves to get the mail, might've dropped it...it could've dropped out of the mail truck and flown over to Becky's. I dunno.

Rain, snow, sleet and hail may not stop the US Mail, but the mail carriers sure can interfere with an important piece of mail getting to the right place on time.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

No Pinewood Derby!!!!!

We are bad parents. That's all there is to it. Someday, #2 Son will probably haul us onto Dr. Phil so he can tell us how despicable we were in his upbringing.

Our church has a big Pinewood Derby sort of car race every year. It's such a boy thing. I don't know how racing cars teaches the young lads about the Lord, but, hey, it's fun and boys dig it. #1 Son participated in the same activity when he was a little feller. Mr. Smiff detests making the car. They give you the body of the car, the wheels and such but you have to sand it down and put it all together yourself.

Apparently, there is some secret to getting the car at just the right weight to have a winning car. Mr. Smiff has a bit of a competitive nature in him and the times #1 raced, he was furious because he didn't win or place. So, when we brought the car home about a month ago, we put off telling Mr. Smiff that it was coming up race time. We knew he'd be overjoyed.

So, we had about a month to prepare. Mr. Smiff has been burning up the road lately and he's not really famous for a git r done kind of philosophy and the day of the Big Race (today) sorta, well, crept up on us. Being I was sick with strep this last weekend, I honestly forgot about it. I didn't think about it until yesterday and #2 had also forgotten about it and has not mentioned it. Good. So, what can we do to keep him from total and utter devastation when he remembers.

#2 has been wanting to see "Ice Age 2" and talking about that the last couple weeks. Brilliant! Mr. Smiff can take him to see the movie during the time of the race. #2 even asked to speak to me while I was driving home, he was so excited about going to see the movie. "Can you come?!?!?!?" I have a long choir practice tonight to prepare for our Easter musical we're doing Sunday so I am skipping the movie but felt such guilt when I got home and they were about to leave he really wants me to come with them.

So, they're at the movie and I feel like Mommie Dearest. Bad Mommie Dearest. I forget about his car and don't go see the movie with him.

Wondering how long it's going to take #2 to realize he missed the race and bracing myself for the fallout.

Angels Sent Straight From Heaven

Fun night for my sister, the Deacon's Wife, last night. Her two children were full of quotes and questions for her.

Her nine year old son inquired as to what a "virgin" was. That's not really too far out. Pretty normal question for a kid that age, but, I do believe it caught her by surprise. I wish I could've heard her answer. This is the same kid who not long ago, tried his hand at writing.

That was soon followed up with the announcement from her soon to be 4 year old daughter that she would like a new dog and would like its name to be "Ass."

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A Rainbow After The Rain

I was a little depressed about the state of prime time, network television tonight. This was all because of tonight's "American Idol." Mostly, I blame Taylor Hicks, who is my favorite in this years competition, and his perfectly awful butcher job he did on "Country Roads." I love that song and I even have it on my mp3 player. Taylor is so good but tonight he just plained sucked. He could've laid such a hurtin' on say, a George Jones song or a Merle Haggard song, but, noooo..I'm sure everybody's favorite phone sex guy, Kenny Rogers, encouraged it. I mean, come on...Kenny IS the undisputed king of country music, after all.

So I'm all depressed at what American Idol did to country music and I flip the channel to ABC and watched a delightful hour of "Sons and Daughters." This is the best show I've seen on network television in a long time. We've been so friggin inundated with reality the last few years...this here show is like a touch of spring after a long, hard winter. It's gut busting funny but tender at the same time. Best of all, one of the actors in this ensemble is Max Gail, aka Wojo from one of the best shows of all time, "Barney Miller."

It may just be too good for network tv.

Carrying on an Old Family Tradition

We want to know...

Hank, why do you drink - obviously, to get drunk and do really stupid things while your daughter is in the ICU?

Hank, why do you roll smoke -for good measure

Why must you live out those songs that you wrote? Because life for you is so miserable?

Over and over everybody made my predictions and thus far, we are right on the nose, pal
If I get stoned and sing all night long it's a family tradition
Correct me if I'm wrong here, Hank, but, I don't remember any waitresses accusing yo daddy of putting them in a choke hold or kissing them. ( Although, thanks to Hank Sr's. irresonsibility, we are stuck with that irritating and painfully annoying illegitimate daughter, Jett. )

Too bad waitress Heather didn't read my post about Buddy Alan Owens before she went to work that day. You can't be nice to men. Especially famous ones who just assume you want them. You have to be snobby and rude or you end up in this kind of sitchyeeashun. Guys who play guitars aren't able to just smile, wave and say hi. It's not in their DNA. Remember that next time, hon.

Celebrating a Life

April 4, 1895-Grand Rivers, Kentucky on land that is now part of the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, a little boy was born to one Winfrey and Lena Nickell Collie. James Guthrie Collie...Guthrie to his friends and family, "Dad" to his wife, "Daddy" to his kids and "Pop" to his grandchildren and others....my grandfather.

Pop was born to a saintly mother and a father who was every bit devilish as she was holy. His father was an alcoholic and was known to be abusive to his wife and his 8 children, physically, mentally and emotionally. His father's method's of potty training were so abusive, that if he were around today, he would be in prison. By the time Pop was 12, the family had moved to Nashville (on a riverboat) and following yet another abusive episode, he decided he had had enough. He left the family home on Holly St. and spent his first night away from home in the Western Union office in the Stahlman Building. He took various odd jobs here and there, some taking him to Ashland City, some to Kentucky and Alabama to work for relatives. During one of his stints back in Grand Rivers, he was spotted by the local Methodist preacher's daughter, while he was eating a head of raw cabbage. I guess my Grandma liked the fact that not only was my grandfather a good looking son of a gun but had a stomach made of steel.

Pop joined the US Army, married the preacher's daughter and was sent off to France during WWI. He returned to the states and they began their family and lived a little like nomads, going wherever there was work. Each of their 5 kids was born in a different state. My dad was born in Little Rock, AR and when he was just a newborn, the family piled in their old car and drove towards San Antonio, where my grandmother's parents had relocated, to visit before going up to Chicago to take a job. One of Grandma's brothers mentioned that there was some work at a garment factory there in San Antonio for sewing machine repair. The nomad days for the Collie's were over and San Antonio became home. He later had his own sewing machine repair business with my uncle, that serviced a lot of factories.

Pop was not a wealthy man by monetary standards. He was a man of high moral integrity and adored by his children and grandchildren. He was not without his flaws, however, in a day and time where people use the fact they had bad childhoods to be screwups, Pop never did such a thing and would've never stood for that. He was a highly intelligent man, self taught and very well read. I can't imagine what he could've accomplished had he had the opportunity to go to college.

I love to listen to audiotapes of him telling about his life. I love to watch home movies of he and his brother throwing punches at each other. He had this great voice. He could write poetry and loved history. He had a beautifully twisted sense of humor. He was very stern when it came to disciplining his children but at the same time, he hugged and kissed his children everyday and told them he loved them, unlike his own father had done him.

I don't have the deep collection of memories my cousins have of Pop. I'm always so envious when I hear my various cousins recollecting this memory or that one. By the time I had come along, Pop had started to fade. He had heart trouble and most of what I remember is the old man sitting at the table, smoking his Salem cigarettes, his hearing aid box and the saccharin he used to sweeten his coffee and cereal. I was a rather shy and somewhat timid kid and I was scared of him because he had this deep, booming voice and some rather unconventional ways of showing affection to his grandkids. (He bit them. Don't ask)

He and I had this game. I never would kiss him. In this picture, we were playing that. I always thought it was a game until about a year or so ago, I found a cassette tape (one of the best parts of having a father who was a radio man, lots of audio cassettes with my grandparents voices) and on one tape, Dad telling his aunt how much it tore Pop up that I wouldn't hug or kiss him. I felt horrible. I was just a small child though. I hope he understood. I never did kiss him until the last time I saw him, lying in a nursing home bed the year before he died. I remember my dad thanking me for doing that. I was 9 years old. He knew that that was not easy for me to do.

I've gotten to know Pop since I've been an adult. Through those precious tapes and photographs, through forming close relationships with some of his extended family, I've been to his birthplace in Kentucky, walked the grounds where he no doubt, played as a child, been to the burial places of his parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents and other ancestors. I've looked out over Lake Barkley where he first developed his love of fishing and the outdoors. I've read some of his letters. I have a photo album of his. I get him. I understand him. I admire the hell out of him. I DO know him!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Like My Pie, Like My Puddin', Love That Gal That They Call Sally Goodin'

Mr. Smiff and crew have returned from their weekend of gigs: First Mamaroneck, NY then down to Winchester, VA and last night over at Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

Having never been to DC, I'm not sure how Kennedy Center is set up, but, best I can gather, there were a number of stages going on at once. The guys drew a nice crowd and after they got over their initial "Oh my gawsh, we're playing at Kennedy Center" the mood relaxed so much so that it took on the appearance of a regular bluegrass festival.

If you've never had the experience of a bluegrass festival, they are just plain fun. People are known to get up and dance, if the spirit moves them and that's just what happened last night. An older gentleman was moved, probably by "Sally Goodin" (which even makes me, the non-clogger want to kick it up) to get up and shake a tail feather. Those Grascals are known for their energy and for having a ball while they're onstage. They have all sorts of inside jokes going on and they're always likely to make comments about this and that while in performance.

While the man was kicking it up, Mr. Smiff, forgetting that he was inside a government building, in the nation's capital, got to doing his usual thing and hollered "He's got a gun"....meaning "he's smoking...he's hot...he's happening." Thank goodness the airport security people weren't there or my old man might've joined such luminaries as Uncle Ted Kennedy smack dab in the middle of the No Fly list today. In fact, security was so not tight, he compared the one security guard to one from an Andy Griffith episode (the one where Barney was trying to catch the robber of the department store.)

I can't be the most objective when it comes to this group of pickers, but, they are something to behold. They play great, sing great and entertain. They'll be on the Tuesday night Opry tomorrow night, April 4. You can go see them for yourself or listen to them here.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Be Not Dismayed What 'Er Be Tide.....

I hate nights like this. Me and storms just plain don't get along. I can appreciate their beauty and wonder, however, when they have to start calling Davis Nolan AND when they call Ron Howes in on a Sunday night, you know it's gonna be a rough night. I begin to envision myself as being the subject of a Jim (Mr. Forearms) Cantore interview on "Storm Stories" on the Weather Channel. Yeah, yeah, I know the chances are slim and as Mr. Smiff is so fond of teasing me saying "A tornado is headed straight for Sista Smiff in Sumner County!!" I don't have a basement to hide in and Mr. Smiff is headed back from Kennedy Center. Not that he could walk outside and pull a Jesus and tell it to stop.

Nights like this, I wish I had an organ so we could do what my dad's family used to do during rough storms. His sister would hit the organ and play "God Will Take Care of You" over and over. Since I don't have the old organ to rely on, I did do a quick search and found that very hymn, played on a piano here. It ain't the same as Thelma Lady's playing, but, it'll do.

Be not dismayed what'er be tide
God will take care of you
Beneath His wings in love abide
God will take care of you

God will take care of you
Through everyday, o'er all the way
He will take care of you
God will take care of you

My faith is strong, in big stuff and little stuff, but, when it comes to storms, I'm a little like Peter, I guess. "Oh ye of little faith."

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Let Me Hear A Big "Hell Yeah" For the Redneck Girls Like Me

If we are to gauge how red we are about the neck area by Gretchen Wilson's little ditty, then I guess I have to submit my admission that I am officially a redneck woman.

No, I don't drink beer (maybe once a presidential term), I only use the term "yee haw" in jest, I do say "Hey Ya'll" with some frequency and I know words to a lot of Tanya Tucker songs and only one of Charlie Daniels'....but what includes me in this exclusive club is the fact that it is April 1 and our Christmas lights still adorn the front of the house. Yes, it's embarrassing and this is the very reason I don't want them up, even at Christmas. Here we are, lawnmowers going all up and down the street, the trees budding out, tulips blooming in all their glory, but, if I wanted to get a hint of Christmas spirit, all I'd have to do is turn those babies on.

I'd take them down myself, but, I don't do ladders. The question, at this point, I guess, is, should we just play along and leave them up and turn them on for the other holiday celebrations this year?