Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck – #Family – Baby Blues by Linda Bethea


Welcome to the  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

Linda Bethea is a regular contributor here on Smorgasbord, but this time I get to select the posts from her archives to share with you… I am sure you will enjoy her stories as always. For her post I am going back to 2014 and Linda’s recollections of bringing her new baby home and the ensuing mayhem.. I am sure that many of you can relate!

Baby Blues by Linda Bethea

We were a good couple. Long before we got married, we agreed completely on important things…foreign policy, religion, life plans. Then we got married. Life was idyllic. We were both in college, working student jobs. Bud had saved over $500 and student loans covered my tuition.

Budgeting was easy. At the first of the month we paid our rent, utilities, bought some dried beans, rice, flour, meal, spaghetti, and coffee. If we had a couple of dollars left, we could buy a little gasoline for Bud’s old truck. We walked to class, work, and the grocery store. Carrying home our four bags of groceries (once a month) was not a struggle. Sometimes we fished in the afternoons. This doubled as a budget assist. If we caught fish, we ate them as soon as we got home. No luck…we had grits. Our social life was relaxed. We visited other impoverished students for entertainment and had a wonderful time, cherishing this poverty since we wouldn’t always be this poor and carefree.

A couple of years later, we started noticing other people’s kids, and decided to see what we could cook up. We were out of college, both working, and having a hard time figuring how to spend all that money after the poverty of college. Unconcerned that we were just starting out, I knew we could handle a baby just fine. I imagined a little guy with dark, curly hair, smart, sweet, and adorable. As smart as we both were, our child was sure to be a genius. It never crossed my mind that our kid was free to exercise the options of our genetic pools, with all their messy subsets. With all the sisters and brothers between us, we knew all about kids. Since we already agreed on everything, and got along great, what could go wrong? Our main goal was not to mess up like our parents had. We’d cooperate, back each other up, and never, never speak or act without thinking of the effect on a tender child.

Sure enough, before too long, that tender child was on the way. Pregnancy wasn’t too bad, but finding out we had to pay the doctor ourselves when Bud’s insurance didn’t cover was startling, but good practice for the many surprises to follow. Every one of our dollars had a place to go now. At a hundred dollars per pound, John was a quality baby.

I couldn’t wait to get home from the hospital and get the baby to myself. The new grandparents were waiting at the house, just dying to get their hands on him. I was miffed when they grabbed him up before I even got him settled in, passing him from hand to hand, just like I wasn’t there. Mother rushed to change his first diaper at home and he washed her face for her. I thought that was just right. They finally put him down after his first feeding. He looked so sweet in his crib. Eventually everyone left and Bud and I had him alone. I was exhausted and settled in for a nap.

Twenty minutes in, I heard the rustling of sheets and some grunting. It didn’t disturb me much. Bud knew what to do. I was right. In a minute and a half Bud and the baby came calling. It seemed the baby’s pooper had kicked into overdrive and overwhelmed his diaper, clothes, crib, and Bud’s clothes. Bud was literally in over his head, sliding the slimy, malodorous baby in bed with me and was racing for the shower. Stripping and gagging, he left a trail of dirty clothes and baby poop splatters locked outside the bathroom door. I was right behind him, trying to get the baby’s bath stuff.

It was hopeless, so John’s first bath was in the cold kitchen – not the relaxing, calm bath I had planned for tomorrow morning. No rubber ducky, no velvety baby bath cloths, hooded towels, or gentle baby soap. I dangled him awkwardly over the kitchen sink, bathing him with dish detergent and rinsing him with the pull out sprayer, running mustard-colored baby poop down the drain. I dried him with dishtowels, the only thing handy. Between the three of us, we managed to mess up all our bedding, our clothes, the crib sheets and blankets, six towels, a throw rug, and several dishtowels. I think that’s probably the first time I called Bud a Stupid A**hole.

By the time the baby was bathed, fed, and settled back in his nice clean crib, we had piled up two full loads of laundry. We were all exhausted and starving. Bud hadn’t gotten to the grocery store while I was in the hospital, so we had grits, fish sticks, and orange juice for supper, before passing out at 8:30, too tired to even put sheets back on our bed. Uttering “Please, God let this baby sleep till at least 08:00 in the morning,” I wonder, “What in the world have I done?”

Well, I won’t say God wasn’t listening, but if he was, the answer was , “Hah!” John was not concerned about stereotypes and didn’t care that babies could sleep for twenty-two hours a day. At 10:00 P.M. he howled, furious at our neglect. I was in another world and took a minute or two to realize what was going on. I grabbed him up and changed him while Bud fumbled to heat a bottle. He took about an ounce and a half, produced another impressive mustard poop, and was ready to go back to bed, totally unappreciative of his second cleanup of the night. Not knowing if refrigerating and giving him the rest of that bottle later would kill him, I pitched it.

The hospital had sent six four-ounce bottles of formula home with us. We hadn’t bought formula ahead of time, since we didn’t know exactly what to buy. One down, five to go. Bud was going to make a supply run in the morning, so we’d be fine. We settled in for the rest of the night. Short night! At 11:30, John was ready to go again. I had already noticed that he was moody when he first woke up.

Since the literature said babies only cried when they were hungry or wet, I changed him while Bud went for the bottle, even though it had only been an hour and a half. He took another ounce and a half, pooped, and nodded off. I was starting to notice a pattern. Next time we’d feed, then change. It didn’t occur to me that it might be a good idea to jostle him awake to feed a little better. Another bottle gone. We shared quality time again at 01:30 and 03:30. Two more bottles gone.

He was up for the day by 05:00…wide-eyed! I fed him, bathed him, in the nice warm bathroom with all the proper accessories this time. I rocked him again, and waited for him to start on that twenty-two hour nap I was promised. Bud was whipped and slipped back to bed while I waited. I thought about putting him in his crib, but thought he might die, so I rocked. By this time, the formula situation was getting serious, so I woke Bud to go find a store that opened early.

While living in a tiny town can have its advantages, access to well-stocked stores is not one of them. After checking three local stores, Bud drove eleven miles into the next town for formula. He bought one big can of Ready to Feed, and a case of the kind you mix at home, squeaking back in just before John was due a feeding.

Satisfied that he had the day going his way, John knocked back four ounces of formula and slept six hours. He woke up just long enough to feed and slept another six hours. Bud settled on the sofa and got a nice nap, too. Not understanding the situation I had gotten myself into, I cleaned up the bathroom, kitchen, remade our bed, and did three loads of laundry. I was exhausted, but got a nap mid-afternoon. Bud was a fast learner. He assumed I didn’t want to miss anything, and made sure to rouse me as soon as John woke in the early evening.

For the next three months, John and I spent a lot of time together at night. I had to entertain myself during the day while he rested up. I learned a lot about babies, Bud, and myself in the next few days.

  • John’s agenda did not include sleeping twenty-two hours a day.
  • Bud was a better critic, than provider of baby care and always knew just what I was doing wrong. He couldn’t stay up at night because he had to work.
  • I was in way over my head.
  • The person you married may bear little resemblance to the person with whom you share responsibility of an infant, deteriorating rapidly from “My Love” to “You Stupid %$#&^” in a few hours.
  • It doesn’t take long to get over wanting the baby “all to myself” once it actually happens.
  • I was in way over my head.

Eventually, things settled down and we figured it all out. John is sleeping all night now. We’re hoping to get him out of our bed soon. He will be forty-one his next birthday!

©Linda Bethea

Here is Linda with a little bit about herself.

Now that I’m done with the bothersome business of workday world, I am free to pursue my passion, capturing the stories I’ve loved all my life. The ones you’ll read on my blog are good old Southern stories, a real pleasure to relay. Here in the South, we are proud of our wacky folks. I’ve preyed shamelessly on my family, living and dead, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances, often changing the names to protect the innocent and not so innocent.

My mother illustrates my blog. I come from a rollicking family of nuts, hence the name of the blog Nutsrok Enjoy.

51qb8fm4dql-_uy250_About Everything Smells Just Like Poke Salad by Linda Swain Bethea (Author) with Kathleen Holdaway Swain (Collaborator & Illustrator)

Born to a struggling farm family in the deepest of The Great Depression, Kathleen enjoys a colorful childhood, enhanced by her imagination, love of life, and the encouragement of her family.

She’s determined to build a better life for herself, getting herself into hilarious situations all along the way. Distinguishing herself in school and the community, she never takes her eyes off her goal.

Just as she’s about to get started, she meets Bill, the man who is going to help her on her way. Everything changes. And then changes again. The true story of a remarkable woman who will inspire you, make you laugh, and see life from a new perspective.

One of the many excellent reviews for the book.

Entertaining  on November 5, 2018

Linda Bethea is a truly gifted story teller! I genuinely enjoyed reading the stories of her mother, Kathleen, growing up. My grandparents never told me stories of the Great Depression, so these stories provided me with much needed insight. The stories are told in a colorful, humorous tone that was a joy to read.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Everything-Smells-Just-Like-Salad-ebook/dp/B01IVUXROQ

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Everything-Smells-Just-Like-Salad-ebook/dp/B01IVUXROQ/

Also by Linda Bethea

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Linda-Swain-Bethea/e/B01N5HA5C1

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Linda-Swain-Bethea/e/B01N5HA5C1

Connect to Linda

Blog: https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Nutsrok1
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/linda.bethea.50

My thanks to Linda for allowing me access to her fabulous archives to share with you…

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer Linda Bethea – Pass the Chicken Please or Fowl Friends


Pass the Chicken Please or Fowl Friends

We went places and saw people that most people would never encounter. Daddy had heard of somebody who lived back in the woods about four miles off Tobacco Road who had something he might be interested in buying. He had to check it out, driving forever down muddy roads that looked like they might disappear into nothing. Finally we got back to Mr. Tucker’s shack. Mr. Tucker was wearing overalls and nothing else. While Daddy and Mr. Tucker disappeared into the tangle of weeds and mess of old cars, car tires, trash, old washing machines and other refuse behind their house, Mother and the kids sat in the car. It was hot. Daddy was gone. It got hotter. Daddy was still gone. We opened the car doors, hoping to catch a breeze. It got hotter and hotter. The baby was squalling. Mrs. Tucker, a big woman in overalls came out in the front yard and started a fire, never even looking our way. She probably thought our car was just another junk car in the yard. It got even hotter. The kids were begging for a drink of water. Daddy was still gone, admiring Mr. Tucker’s junk collection. Daddy could talk for hours, unconcerned that his family was waiting in misery. It didn’t matter that he didn’t know the people he’d just stumbled up on. We spent many a miserable hour waiting in the car while he “talked” usually on the way to visit some of his relatives.

Finally, in desperation, Mother got out of the car, introduced herself to Mrs. Tucker, and asked if the kids could have a drink of water. Mrs, Tucker turned without speaking, went into the house, came back out with some cloudy snuff glasses, called us over to the well, drew a bucket of water, and let us drink till we were satisfied. That was the best water I ever had. Mrs. Tucker pulled a couple of chairs under a shade tree and Mother sat down. We all sat down in the dirt in the cool of the shade and starting playing. Daddy was still gone but things looked a lot better after we got cool and had a drink.

Mrs. Tucker was interesting to look at, but didn’t have a lot to say. She had a couple of teeth missing, had greasy red hair that was chopped off straight around, and long scratches down both arms.

Mother tried to talk to her, but Mrs. Tucker didn’t have a lot to say. I couldn’t take my eyes off the missing teeth and long scratches down her arm. I started talking to her. She didn’t have any kids. It didn’t take long to figure out she “wasn’t right.” I was fascinated and wanted to ask about what happened to her teeth, but knew that would get me in trouble, so I asked how she scratched her arms. Mother told me to hush, but fortunately, Mrs. Tucker explained. It seemed she was going to put a rooster in the big pot in the front yard to scald him before plucking him and he scratched her and got away before she could get the lid on. Apparently she didn’t know she was supposed to kill him first. Just at the point where things were getting interesting, Daddy came back and I didn’t get to hear the rest of the story.

Mrs. Tucker gave us a turkey that day, teaching me a valuable lesson. Don’t ever accept the gift of a turkey. Ol’ Tom was going to be the guest of honor at our Thanksgiving Dinner. Daddy put him in the chicken yard and Tom took over, whipping the roosters, terrorizing the hens, and jumping on any kid sent to feed him and the chickens. We hated him. Mother had to take a stick to threaten him off when she went out to the chicken yard. He even flew over the fence and chased us as we played in the back yard till Daddy clipped his wings.

Before too long, we saw the Nickerson kids, the meanest kids in the neighborhood, headed for the chicken yard. Mother couldn’t wait to see Tom get them. Sure enough, Ol’ Devil Tom jumped out from behind a shed on jumped on the biggest boy, Clarence.

Clarence yelped and ran. The other boys were right behind him, swatting at the turkey. Unlike us, they didn’t run out with their tails tucked between their legs. They launched an all-out attack on Tom, beating him with their jackets, sticks, and whatever they could grab. They chased him until they were tired of the game. Tom never chased any of us again, but Mother never got around to thanking the Nickersons.

©Linda Bethea…

I don’t know about you but I don’t think I will ever look at turkey in quite the same way again… thanks to Linda for another entertaining family adventure….

Here is Linda with a little bit about herself.

Now that I’m done with the bothersome business of workday world, I am free to pursue my passion, capturing the stories I’ve loved all my life. The ones you’ll read on my blog are good old Southern stories, a real pleasure to relay. Here in the South, we are proud of our wacky folks. I’ve preyed shamelessly on my family, living and dead, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances, often changing the names to protect the innocent and not so innocent.

My mother illustrates my blog. I come from a rollicking family of nuts, hence the name of the blog Nutsrok Enjoy.

51qb8fm4dql-_uy250_About Everything Smells Just Like Poke Salad by Linda Swain Bethea (Author) with Kathleen Holdaway Swain (Collaborator & Illustrator)

Born to a struggling farm family in the deepest of The Great Depression, Kathleen enjoys a colorful childhood, enhanced by her imagination, love of life, and the encouragement of her family.

She’s determined to build a better life for herself, getting herself into hilarious situations all along the way. Distinguishing herself in school and the community, she never takes her eyes off her goal.

Just as she’s about to get started, she meets Bill, the man who is going to help her on her way. Everything changes. And then changes again. The true story of a remarkable woman who will inspire you, make you laugh, and see life from a new perspective.

One of the many excellent reviews for the book.

Entertaining  on November 5, 2018

Linda Bethea is a truly gifted story teller! I genuinely enjoyed reading the stories of her mother, Kathleen, growing up. My grandparents never told me stories of the Great Depression, so these stories provided me with much needed insight. The stories are told in a colorful, humorous tone that was a joy to read.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Everything-Smells-Just-Like-Salad-ebook/dp/B01IVUXROQ

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Everything-Smells-Just-Like-Salad-ebook/dp/B01IVUXROQ/

Also by Linda Bethea

WOMEN OF STRENGTH, FORTITUDE, AND BRAVERY

In this collection of six serials, Linda Swain Bethea weaves narratives of women through several centuries. The stories span from 1643 to 1957. Beginning in England in 1643, a young couple travels to Jamestown, Virginia, to begin a new life in the American frontier. The rest of the stories travel from West Texas to North Louisiana to the Texas Panhandle to East Texas.

Disease, death, starvation, and prison are faced with stoicism and common sense, and always, with a sense of humor.

The women in each tale stand tall and possess the wisdom and tenacity to hold families together under the worst conditions. Through it all, they persevere, and Linda Swain Bethea’s storytelling is a testament to the legacy they left.

Conversational and homey, you’ll fall in love with the women of Just Women Getting By – Leaving a Legacy of Strength, which celebrates the courage of those women who had no choice but to survive.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Just-Women-Getting-Leaving-Strength-ebook/dp/B072DZ5XTP

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Just-Women-Getting-Leaving-Strength-ebook/dp/B072DZ5XTP

Connect to Linda

Blog: https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Nutsrok1
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/linda.bethea.50

My thanks to Linda for another wonderful story of family life and as always we appreciate your feedback.

You can catch up with all of Linda’s guests posts in her Directory

Please note that due to ongoing issues with facebook about posting from my blog (not conforming to community standards), I have removed the Facebook share button so that you do not get an error message.  Going forward I will be only sharing my weekly round up to Facebook (hoping that it gets through).

I am joining a growing number of our blogging friends on MeWe and I invite you take a look… a different approach to users.  mewe.com/i/sallycronin

I would be very grateful if you could share where you can.. many thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer Linda Bethea – #Family Talk


I think we all have “family talk” that outsiders don’t get.

A much-used phrase in our family is, I don’t like what I wanted.

It was first uttered by my little niece, Chelsea. She had a quarter and spent the morning begging her mother to walk her to a nearby store to put the quarter in a vending machine for a prize. As soon as her afternoon nap was over, off they walked for her prize. Upon popping her quarter in, a capsule with a lizard dropped in her hand. She hated it and smashed it to the ground.

“Chelsea, you’ve been wanting a prize all morning. Why did you throw it down?”


”I don’t like what I wanted!”

That line comes in so handy. You can use it referring to a car, a man, a job, or the new shoes that cramp your toes. We use it all the time.

My cousin’s husband provided another great phrase. When he was frustrated with her, he’d pronounce, “Don’t go crazy, Sue!” We use that one on each other at least once at every family gathering.

“It couldn’t be helped.”

This one never fails to rile Mother. She used it often, usually after a big goof-up. It entered “family talk” after Mother made a ghastly mess hemming my brother’s new suit pants. It’s best to read that story in its entirety: https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/it-couldnt-be-helped/

Another is You’re gonna have to buy the coffee.

My dad worked with a gifted liar. The man’s reputation was so well-established that anyone who repeated one of his stories had to buy the next round of coffee.

On one occasion he came rushing by and one of the fellows called out, “Sam, stop and tell us a big one.

“I can’t,” he replied. “A man just fell in Smokestack 9 and I have to call an ambulance.

They rushed behind him to discover it was all a lie and he was just headed to the cafeteria.

“I just spent my last two bucks on toilet paper.”

This one originated with my husband Bud. We awoke in the night to hear water spewing from a pipe under the bathroom sink.

Sadly, over an inch of water was standing in the house. It was awful. We jumped into action, but floors and baseboards were ruined. It was obvious we’d be disfurnished for days till life was back to normal. After the initial water was syphoned and carpets removed we sat exhausted on bare concrete floors.

Bud sadly pondered the mess and remarked, “I spent my last two bucks on toilet tissue and didn’t even get to dookey.” Since then, that phrase describes utter disappointment.

”You should have done it already.”

My niece, Haley, kept straddling the new mailbox her father was trying to install, ignoring her father’s orders to stay off it. Finally exasperated, he warned her. “If you don’t stay off that mailbox, I’m going to have to paddle you.” It would have been a first.
She looked him straight in the eye, with all the wisdom of a four-year-old and told him, “You should have done it already.”

“The head’s as dangerous as the rest of it.”


An unfortunate snake slithered into a gathering. Someone chopped it’s head off with a hoe, whereupon my sister safely announced. “Watch out for the head. It’s as dangerous as the rest of it.” You can’t argue with reasoning like that!

“You try to raise your kids right….. .” This is one of Mother’s favorites.

When she met her mother-in-law for the first time, Mamaw gave her a chilly look and pronounced, “You try to raise your kids right and then when they get old enough to help you out, they go off and get married.”

Needless to say, it foretold a poor welcome. Since then, when Mother jokes about neglect by any of us, she dusts this phrase off.

I didn’t want to be in the damn play, anyhow!”

A young relative as coerced by his teacher to be in a school play by his teacher.

“Johnny, you have to be in the play. Your mama and daddy are coming. Your grandma’s coming. Everybody else is in the play.”

Finally, Johnny reluctantly agreed to a one line part. All he had to say was, “Hark, I hear a pistol shot!

When his time came, he called out, “Hark! I hear a shistol pot!” He made a couple more attempts with no better luck.
Disgusted, he stomped his foot and proclaimed, “I didn’t want to be in the damned play, anyway!”
 
 
 
 


Thanks to Linda for sharing the expressions that have found her way into her family’s archives.  Have you any you can share…..

In our family my mother would often amuse by little malapropisms that still give us a giggle. On one particular occasion my mother announced to all and sundry, including those she met out shopping, that the mattress factory opposite our house was changing hands and being turned into a suppository (depository).

Here is Linda with a little bit about herself.

 

Now that I’m done with the bothersome business of workday world, I am free to pursue my passion, capturing the stories I’ve loved all my life. The ones you’ll read on my blog are good old Southern stories, a real pleasure to relay. Here in the South, we are proud of our wacky folks. I’ve preyed shamelessly on my family, living and dead, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances, often changing the names to protect the innocent and not so innocent.

My mother illustrates my blog. I come from a rollicking family of nuts, hence the name of the blog Nutsrok Enjoy.

51qb8fm4dql-_uy250_About Everything Smells Just Like Poke Salad by Linda Swain Bethea (Author) with Kathleen Holdaway Swain (Collaborator & Illustrator)

Born to a struggling farm family in the deepest of The Great Depression, Kathleen enjoys a colorful childhood, enhanced by her imagination, love of life, and the encouragement of her family.

She’s determined to build a better life for herself, getting herself into hilarious situations all along the way. Distinguishing herself in school and the community, she never takes her eyes off her goal.

Just as she’s about to get started, she meets Bill, the man who is going to help her on her way. Everything changes. And then changes again. The true story of a remarkable woman who will inspire you, make you laugh, and see life from a new perspective.

One of the many excellent reviews for the book.

Entertaining  on November 5, 2018

Linda Bethea is a truly gifted story teller! I genuinely enjoyed reading the stories of her mother, Kathleen, growing up. My grandparents never told me stories of the Great Depression, so these stories provided me with much needed insight. The stories are told in a colorful, humorous tone that was a joy to read.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Everything-Smells-Just-Like-Salad-ebook/dp/B01IVUXROQ

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Everything-Smells-Just-Like-Salad-ebook/dp/B01IVUXROQ/

Also by Linda Bethea

WOMEN OF STRENGTH, FORTITUDE, AND BRAVERY

In this collection of six serials, Linda Swain Bethea weaves narratives of women through several centuries. The stories span from 1643 to 1957. Beginning in England in 1643, a young couple travels to Jamestown, Virginia, to begin a new life in the American frontier. The rest of the stories travel from West Texas to North Louisiana to the Texas Panhandle to East Texas.

Disease, death, starvation, and prison are faced with stoicism and common sense, and always, with a sense of humor.

The women in each tale stand tall and possess the wisdom and tenacity to hold families together under the worst conditions. Through it all, they persevere, and Linda Swain Bethea’s storytelling is a testament to the legacy they left.

Conversational and homey, you’ll fall in love with the women of Just Women Getting By – Leaving a Legacy of Strength, which celebrates the courage of those women who had no choice but to survive.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Just-Women-Getting-Leaving-Strength-ebook/dp/B072DZ5XTP

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Just-Women-Getting-Leaving-Strength-ebook/dp/B072DZ5XTP

Connect to Linda

Blog: https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Nutsrok1
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/linda.bethea.50

My thanks to Linda for another wonderful story of family life and as always we appreciate your feedback.

You can catch up with all of Linda’s guests posts in her Directory

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer – Farm Life: Gotta Have Guts by Linda Bethea


Farm Life: Gotta Have Guts

Daddy loved home remedies and dosed us and the livestock readily. Mother ran interference on cow chip tea and coal oil and sugar, but did let him load us with sulphur and molasses for summer sores. We never got summer sores, probably because we reeked so badly we were rejected by mosquitoes. I do appreciate Mother for putting her foot down when his more toxic ideas. No telling what kind of chromosome damage she saved the gene pool.

The livestock weren’t so lucky. They got coal oil for pneumonia, distemper, to bring on labor, and as a tonic, should they be so foolish as to look puny. Daddy hung ropes with black oil soaked bags for cows and horses to rub against as protection against insects, which they gladly did. When an unfortunate cow bloated from green hay, he inserted an ice pick in her distended belly to release gas. She ceased her moaning and resumed cow business as usual, grateful for the relief.

Farm kids grow up with a lot of responsibility. In addition to our daily chores, Daddy left us other jobs to do before he got home from work and started on his farm day, expecting us to figure things out without explanation, not always the best plan. When my brother Billy was around eleven, Daddy remarked that the old hound dog nursing eight puppies was off her food. He told Billy to pour some syrup over her feed (country for dog food) so she would eat better. Bill got a jug of syrup and headed out the back door. After a while, he came back in, smeared in dog poop, shirt torn, scratched and bitten from head to foot. “Boy, what in the world happened to you?” Daddy asked, incredulous at the sight.

“Oh, I was putting syrup on that old dog’s feet and she tore me up. She dragged me through the dog yard fence and all over the dog yard, but I did finally get syrup on all four feet.”

As I said, Daddy frequently set us to tasks with inadequate instructions. On one occasion a sick duck foolishly allowed Daddy to spot him. The specific instructions to my brother were, “Go out there and get that green-headed duck staggering around out back, and knock her in the head. No wait, first pour a couple of drops of kerosene down her throat.” Billy picked up the kerosene and was gone a few minutes. When he returned in a few minutes, my dad inquired, “How’s the duck?” He was obviously surprised Daddy would even ask, knowing he’d sent him out to knock it in the head. Daddy didn’t mean to tell us to do anything twice.

Bill replied, “It’s dead.”

Daddy said, “You didn’t give it the kerosene?”

“Sure I did,”said Bill, “and then I knocked it in the head, just like you told me to.” Even Daddy had to admit, clearer instructions would have been better.

We butchered a beef late one Saturday evening after Daddy got home from work, finishing really late. Our place was the last house next door to a huge nature preserve. To Daddy, this meant, “not private property,” a perfect place to dump off guts. He told my brother to load the mess into the ancient farm truck and dump it near Peter Spring Branch, a couple of miles back in the woods. (Yes, Billy was underage for driving, but did drive the farm truck on the farm and in the woods. It was the sixties in the South.) It was way too late to haul it off that night. Then Daddy remembered the truck was broken down (as it often was) and left the nasty mess in a tarpaulin-covered wheelbarrow telling Billy to dump it first thing in the morning, not amending his earlier instructions, assuming Billy would understand he didn’t expect him to push a barrow of guts a couple of miles. Wrong!!

We got up early the next morning. Billy and the wheelbarrow of guts were gone. An hour passed…no Billy. My mother was furious when he was gone past time to get ready to church. She was trying to raise us right. We went on without him, much to my envy. Still not home when we got home after noon, Mother knew something was obviously wrong. He would never have voluntarily missed Sunday dinner. Mother was really worried now.

Finally, after two o’clock he came into view pushing the empty wheelbarrow, circled by flies and trailed by all the hounds in the country covered in congealed blood, guts, mud, and vomit. He had wheeled the guts the entire two miles over muddy roads, through deep ditches, and rough terrain, pestered by flies and dogs to the original site Daddy indicated. The trail was so rough and muddy, his load dumped several times, making a horrible job even worse. He didn’t dare not follow his orders, so he scooped the stinking guts up every time they dumped, fighting dogs and flies for possession of the prize, vomiting as he wrestled them back in the barrow.

He was sick the rest of the day, not even able to eat Sunday dinner. If he did fake misunderstanding as I suspected, just to miss church, he was welcome to all the gut-hauling he wanted.

©Linda Bethea

win_20160620_13_24_45_proHere is Linda with a little bit about herself.

Now that I’m done with the bothersome business of workday world, I am free to pursue my passion, capturing the stories I’ve loved all my life. The ones you’ll read on my blog are good old Southern stories, a real pleasure to relay. Here in the South, we are proud of our wacky folks. I’ve preyed shamelessly on my family, living and dead, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances, often changing the names to protect the innocent and not so innocent.

My mother illustrates my blog. I come from a rollicking family of nuts, hence the name of the blog Nutsrok Enjoy.

51qb8fm4dql-_uy250_About Everything Smells Just Like Poke Salad by Linda Swain Bethea (Author) with Kathleen Holdaway Swain (Collaborator & Illustrator)

Born to a struggling farm family in the deepest of The Great Depression, Kathleen enjoys a colorful childhood, enhanced by her imagination, love of life, and the encouragement of her family.

She’s determined to build a better life for herself, getting herself into hilarious situations all along the way. Distinguishing herself in school and the community, she never takes her eyes off her goal.

Just as she’s about to get started, she meets Bill, the man who is going to help her on her way. Everything changes. And then changes again. The true story of a remarkable woman who will inspire you, make you laugh, and see life from a new perspective.

One of the many excellent reviews for the book.

Entertaining  on November 5, 2018

Linda Bethea is a truly gifted story teller! I genuinely enjoyed reading the stories of her mother, Kathleen, growing up. My grandparents never told me stories of the Great Depression, so these stories provided me with much needed insight. The stories are told in a colorful, humorous tone that was a joy to read.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Everything-Smells-Just-Like-Salad-ebook/dp/B01IVUXROQ

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Everything-Smells-Just-Like-Salad-ebook/dp/B01IVUXROQ/

Also by Linda Bethea

WOMEN OF STRENGTH, FORTITUDE, AND BRAVERY

In this collection of six serials, Linda Swain Bethea weaves narratives of women through several centuries. The stories span from 1643 to 1957. Beginning in England in 1643, a young couple travels to Jamestown, Virginia, to begin a new life in the American frontier. The rest of the stories travel from West Texas to North Louisiana to the Texas Panhandle to East Texas.

Disease, death, starvation, and prison are faced with stoicism and common sense, and always, with a sense of humor.

The women in each tale stand tall and possess the wisdom and tenacity to hold families together under the worst conditions. Through it all, they persevere, and Linda Swain Bethea’s storytelling is a testament to the legacy they left.

Conversational and homey, you’ll fall in love with the women of Just Women Getting By – Leaving a Legacy of Strength, which celebrates the courage of those women who had no choice but to survive.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Just-Women-Getting-Leaving-Strength-ebook/dp/B072DZ5XTP

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Just-Women-Getting-Leaving-Strength-ebook/dp/B072DZ5XTP

Connect to Linda

Blog: https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Nutsrok1
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/linda.bethea.50

My thanks to Linda for another wonderful story of family life and I do feel for dear dedicated Billy –  and as always we appreciate your feedback.

You can catch up with all of Linda’s guests posts in her Directory

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer – Linda Bethea – Grandma and the Coat from Hell


It is time to catch up with Linda Bethea and her extended family…and this week her well-meaning Grandma and her sometimes unwelcome gifts.

Grandma and the Coat from Hell by Linda Bethea.

Since there were five kids in our family, Grandma did her best to help out when she could.

Sometimes I still hate her for it. Once she went to the Goodwill Store and bought me the ugliest coat in the world. I didn’t have a problem with Goodwill. It was ugly that bothered me. It was a knee-length brown hounds-tooth wool dress coat of the style not seen since movies from the 1940’s, trimmed with brown velvet cuffs and collar and huge brown buttons with big rhinestones in the middle. I had hoped for a parka with fake-fur collar like the high society girls in my class. I turned to Mother, hoping for salvation. Mother was ecstatic, probably because she’d wanted that very coat when she was little back in the 1930’s. She made me try it on then and there. Mother’s joy was boundless when she noticed it had plenty of growing room!

Mother wasn’t faking her ecstasy. As soon as we were out of earshot, I whined that I despised that ugly coat and wasn’t going to wear it. She shut me down before I got too far and told me it was a beautiful coat which I’d wear as long as it fit. Truer words were never spoken. I was stuck with it. I slipped out without it whenever possible, and if caught, I took it off as soon as I got out of sight of the house. I sat down and flipped it over the back of my desk and a kid pointed out a large rip in the lining. This coat humiliated me even when I wasn’t wearing it!! I tried to lose it, but Mother was ahead of me. There was no hope for the ungrateful. I drug that abomination around for two years, until the cuffs were far above my wrists.

Finally, finally, it was time for a new coat. I was heartsick when Mother read us Grandma’s letter saying that she’d been back to Goodwill and gotten me a another “beautiful coat.” “I believe it’s prettier that the last one.” were her exact words. It would be hard to be uglier. I managed to put it out of my mind.

We loved getting boxes from Grandma. They were always full of wonderful things: animal shaped erasers, pencils with our names on them, wind-up toys, cars driven by cartoon characters, jumping beans, sticker books. She sewed well and always included something made especially for each of us. Grandma always packed the best at the bottom to build suspense.

This box was no different. Mother unpacked it dramatically, examining each article fully before passing it around to be admired. I knew she had to be at the bottom when she held her breath and said, “Oh, this is just gorgeous!” When she finally pulled it out, it took my breath, too. Grandma had somehow managed to find the exact replica of the nightmare I had abhorred for two years, but if anything, it was worse, in green hound’s tooth, “with plenty of room to grow!” That was when I realized that even though Grandma looked and acted like a sweet little old lady, she was the devil incarnate.

That wasn’t the worst of Grandma’s Goodwill gifts. When I was in the eighth grade and anxious to fit in, she hit the mother lode and stopped by Goodwill just after Shirley Temple cleaned out her closet. Grandma sent me several party dresses. Mother was overjoyed. They were exquisite and probably just what she had wanted twenty years earlier. Mother held up the worst of the worst, and reminded me, just in case I had gone into a coma and forgotten that I had a band concert coming up and needed a new dress.

I had been praying for a miracle, a box-pleated wool skirt with a pullover sweater like the popular girls wore. Hope died. She held up a disaster in sheer lavender with a wide satin cummerbund. Mother made me try it on right then. It was so sheer, my ugly cotton slip (which Grandma had thoughtfully provided earlier (all the other girls had lacy nylon ones) was perfectly showcased. It looked like a horrible joke. Better yet, its low cut back that showed off my pimply back perfectly. However, as sheer as it was, a high back wouldn’t have hidden anything. It fell a good three inches below my knees.. Mother explained it was tea-length, just what I needed in a fancy dress, and cut me off when I suggested hemming it. It would ruin all that beautiful embroidery around the tail of the skirt. I was heartsick. “Mother, I can’t wear this. It’s embarrassing. Nobody wears stuff like this!”

Mother went straight for the big guns…guilt. “Well, I’d wear it if I could. I’ve never had anything this nice. I haven’t even had a new dress since…” She got teary-eyed, suffering the dual pain of an ungrateful brat of a daughter and not having a new dress since the forties. I knew when I was whipped and slunk off to ponder my upcoming humiliation.

I decided the best plan was to be sick. On Thursday before the concert on Friday, the band director shot me down. Anybody missing the concert without a doctor’s excuse would fail band that grading period. Fat chance of getting a doctor’s excuse. We only went to the doctor for resuscitation. I prayed for a miracle. I got a nightmare. I tried to getting out in another dress, but Mother caught me and sent me back to put the lavender nightmare on. “It was so beautiful.” As I turned for her inspection, my ugly cotton slip looked especially stunning under sheer lavender. Every pimple on my back pulsed with excitement at its chance to shine. Mother was enchanted.

“Oh, don’t worry about your slip. Those little bumps aren’t that bad. Let’s just put a band aid on this big one.” I realized she didn’t lack fashion sense. She was just insane.

I don’t know why I didn’t have the good sense to sneak out another dress and change after I left the house.

Ignoring the fact that it was a hot May night, I grabbed a heavy pink sweater, need taking precedence over temperature. When I got to school, I rushed to the bathroom and tied a string around my waist, pulling the long skirt up and bunching it under the cummerbund. It might have looked a little better. My pink sweater hid the sheer bodice, ugly, old cotton slip, and my pimply back. I buttoned the sweater from neck to the waist, so it looked like I had bad taste in skirts as well confusion over the season. It was still an improvement over that lavender humiliation. I sweltered through the concert in embarrassment and moderate anxiety, instead of total the social annihilation I had dreaded.

As we filed out after the concert, I could feel the fabric bunched up under the cummerbund in back slipping free of the string, but I got to the bathroom before the entire skirt attained tea length. Only the back of the skirt trailed unevenly below my knees. All in all, the evening was a success. No one saw my ugly, old slip or pimply back. They only laughed as I walked off. I accustomed to snide remarks from mean kids, so two out of three wasn’t that bad.

Grandma, I hope God forgave you for getting me that awful stuff. I’m still working on it.

©Linda Bethea 2019

win_20160620_13_24_45_proHere is Linda with a little bit about herself.

Now that I’m done with the bothersome business of workday world, I am free to pursue my passion, capturing the stories I’ve loved all my life. The ones you’ll read on my blog are good old Southern stories, a real pleasure to relay. Here in the South, we are proud of our wacky folks. I’ve preyed shamelessly on my family, living and dead, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances, often changing the names to protect the innocent and not so innocent.

My mother illustrates my blog. I come from a rollicking family of nuts, hence the name of the blog Nutsrok Enjoy.

51qb8fm4dql-_uy250_About Everything Smells Just Like Poke Salad by Linda Swain Bethea (Author) with Kathleen Holdaway Swain (Collaborator & Illustrator)

Born to a struggling farm family in the deepest of The Great Depression, Kathleen enjoys a colorful childhood, enhanced by her imagination, love of life, and the encouragement of her family.

She’s determined to build a better life for herself, getting herself into hilarious situations all along the way. Distinguishing herself in school and the community, she never takes her eyes off her goal.

Just as she’s about to get started, she meets Bill, the man who is going to help her on her way. Everything changes. And then changes again. The true story of a remarkable woman who will inspire you, make you laugh, and see life from a new perspective.

One of the many excellent reviews for the book.

Entertaining  on November 5, 2018

Linda Bethea is a truly gifted story teller! I genuinely enjoyed reading the stories of her mother, Kathleen, growing up. My grandparents never told me stories of the Great Depression, so these stories provided me with much needed insight. The stories are told in a colorful, humorous tone that was a joy to read.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Everything-Smells-Just-Like-Salad-ebook/dp/B01IVUXROQ

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Everything-Smells-Just-Like-Salad-ebook/dp/B01IVUXROQ/

Also by Linda Bethea

About the book

WOMEN OF STRENGTH, FORTITUDE, AND BRAVERY

In this collection of six serials, Linda Swain Bethea weaves narratives of women through several centuries. The stories span from 1643 to 1957. Beginning in England in 1643, a young couple travels to Jamestown, Virginia, to begin a new life in the American frontier. The rest of the stories travel from West Texas to North Louisiana to the Texas Panhandle to East Texas.

Disease, death, starvation, and prison are faced with stoicism and common sense, and always, with a sense of humor.

The women in each tale stand tall and possess the wisdom and tenacity to hold families together under the worst conditions. Through it all, they persevere, and Linda Swain Bethea’s storytelling is a testament to the legacy they left.

Conversational and homey, you’ll fall in love with the women of Just Women Getting By – Leaving a Legacy of Strength, which celebrates the courage of those women who had no choice but to survive.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Just-Women-Getting-Leaving-Strength-ebook/dp/B072DZ5XTP

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Just-Women-Getting-Leaving-Strength-ebook/dp/B072DZ5XTP

Connect to Linda

Blog: https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Nutsrok1
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/linda.bethea.50

My thanks to Linda for another wonderful story of family life and as always we appreciate your feedback.

You can catch up with all of Linda’s guests posts in her Directory

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer Linda Bethea – The Pink Cupcake, the Hussy and the Promise


The Pink Cupcake, the Hussy and the Promise

The Houston sun baked the wide sidewalk before me as I sat spread-eagled in the shade of second floor balcony. I’d yet to recover from the injustice of being denied access to that wonderland where the gentian-haired old lady and her purple poodle lived in the apartment above Grandma. I liked the lady’s purple hair and poodle and practically salivated over the pink cupcake she offered from her bottom step. Grandma refused it on my behalf, declaring, “She don’t need to ruin her dinner.”

I wanted nothing more than to follow her up stairs and devote the rest of the day to ruining my dinner and breakfast the next morning, if possible, but no. Grandma busted that up, dragging me by the hand into her back door. “That hussy needs to tend to her own rat-killing,” Grandma told Mother. “I don’t like the looks of her company. No telling what you catch from her.”

“But I’m hungry!” I wailed. “I want a cupcake.”

“Here, eat this bacon-biscuit left from breakfast.” Grandma snapped. “Supper’s in ‘bout an hour. Go back and play on the steps.”

Grudgingly, I took my lousy biscuit and returned to my toys on the front walk. I quickly tired of them and left to wander a bit. I figured I had a minute before Grandma missed me. Out of the blue, I was soaked with water from above just as Grandma rounded the corner. I rather enjoyed the refreshing bath, but Grandma, who’d taken it all in , was infuriated. Apparently, Miss Purple Hair, the upstairs tenant had chosen just that moment to dash her mop water off the balcony as I strolled below. I was delighted at the cool surprise. Miss Purple hair was horrifically embarrassed, and Grandma was enraged!

“You heifer! You threw that on her on purpose! That nasty mop water’s got Clorox in it! You might’ve blinded her!” Grandma was hot! Fortunately for the hussy, Grandma’s concern outweighed her need for vengeance, and she rushed me in for a bath. The hussy soon came down to apologize. Mother beat Grandma to the door, so the whole thing blew over,. I never did get my pink cupcake.

I wasn’t surprised at all when the murder Grandma had been promising finally materialized.

My only experience of death, up to that point, was of people being shot on television. It happened regularly on “Gunsmoke.” No big deal. The next day, a huge crowd gathered at a stately building directly across the street. Despite Mother’s best efforts to prevent it, I was able to eavesdrop and overhear the gory details of a suicide murder in the neighborhood.

Mother was devastated and feared I’d be too upset to ever sleep again. She could have saved her worry. Of course there was a murder! It held no more interest for me than a television drama and was exactly what Grandma had been promising ever since we got to Houston.

©Linda Bethea 2019

win_20160620_13_24_45_proHere is Linda with a little bit about herself.

Now that I’m done with the bothersome business of workday world, I am free to pursue my passion, capturing the stories I’ve loved all my life. The ones you’ll read on my blog are good old Southern stories, a real pleasure to relay. Here in the South, we are proud of our wacky folks. I’ve preyed shamelessly on my family, living and dead, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances, often changing the names to protect the innocent and not so innocent.

My mother illustrates my blog. I come from a rollicking family of nuts, hence the name of the blog Nutsrok Enjoy.

51qb8fm4dql-_uy250_About Everything Smells Just Like Poke Salad by Linda Swain Bethea (Author) with Kathleen Holdaway Swain (Collaborator & Illustrator)

Born to a struggling farm family in the deepest of The Great Depression, Kathleen enjoys a colorful childhood, enhanced by her imagination, love of life, and the encouragement of her family.

She’s determined to build a better life for herself, getting herself into hilarious situations all along the way. Distinguishing herself in school and the community, she never takes her eyes off her goal.

Just as she’s about to get started, she meets Bill, the man who is going to help her on her way. Everything changes. And then changes again. The true story of a remarkable woman who will inspire you, make you laugh, and see life from a new perspective.

One of the many excellent reviews for the book.

Entertaining  on November 5, 2018

Linda Bethea is a truly gifted story teller! I genuinely enjoyed reading the stories of her mother, Kathleen, growing up. My grandparents never told me stories of the Great Depression, so these stories provided me with much needed insight. The stories are told in a colorful, humorous tone that was a joy to read.

Read the reviews and BUY the book: https://www.amazon.com/Everything-Smells-Just-Like-Salad-ebook/dp/B01IVUXROQ

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Everything-Smells-Just-Like-Salad-ebook/dp/B01IVUXROQ/

Also by Linda Bethea

About the book

WOMEN OF STRENGTH, FORTITUDE, AND BRAVERY

In this collection of six serials, Linda Swain Bethea weaves narratives of women through several centuries. The stories span from 1643 to 1957. Beginning in England in 1643, a young couple travels to Jamestown, Virginia, to begin a new life in the American frontier. The rest of the stories travel from West Texas to North Louisiana to the Texas Panhandle to East Texas.

Disease, death, starvation, and prison are faced with stoicism and common sense, and always, with a sense of humor.

The women in each tale stand tall and possess the wisdom and tenacity to hold families together under the worst conditions. Through it all, they persevere, and Linda Swain Bethea’s storytelling is a testament to the legacy they left.

Conversational and homey, you’ll fall in love with the women of Just Women Getting By – Leaving a Legacy of Strength, which celebrates the courage of those women who had no choice but to survive.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Just-Women-Getting-Leaving-Strength-ebook/dp/B072DZ5XTP

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Just-Women-Getting-Leaving-Strength-ebook/dp/B072DZ5XTP

Connect to Linda

Blog: https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Nutsrok1
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/linda.bethea.50

My thanks to Linda for another wonderful story of family life and as always we appreciate your feedback.

You can catch up with all of Linda’s guests posts in her Directory

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Christmas Guest Post – The Most Dependable Fight of the Year by Linda Bethea


The Most Dependable Fight of the Year

Daddy took his hunting very seriously. This was a man’s sport, an entitlement. Real men hunted and fished. A man’s outdoor gear was a reflection of his manhood. Daddy would have sooner worn lace panties than not follow the unwritten rules. His hunting gear was a necessity, not an extravagance like a dependable car, bills paid on time, and clothes for the family. Daddy always had money held out of his paycheck weekly for the Christmas Club, but Mother never could remember that deer season came around the same time as the Christmas Club checks were issued. By early December, both had long unwritten lists in their heads. A day or so before the check was to be issued, Daddy would be in an unaccustomed jovial mood, sitting at the table with one of his buddies drinking coffee, and casually mention his plan to purchase a Manchester #1108 Rifle with a scope. Nearby at the stove, steam rose from Mother’s ears. The Manchester #1108 Rifle cost about the same as her Christmas list.

The Annual Christmas Fight was on. Daddy’s manhood was at stake. He couldn’t emasculate himself by backing down on his purchase after bragging in front of his hunting buddies. Mother completely misunderstood a man’s needs and considered him selfish, hurting his feelings. “When I was a kid was I only got an orange for Christmas, and was proud of that. Besides, you should be able to get everything you need for about $12.00. You just need to go through the store, pick out what you wanted, take it up to the register, and haggle with the manager. That’s the only sensible way to shop. That’s what I’d do if I had to handle the shopping! Do I have to manage the house and make the living? And besides, where are the clothes and toys I bought the kids and those three nice dresses I just bought you? You just didn’t take of stuff right or you’d still have them! Blah, blah, blah. You must think I am Santa Claus!”

Mother snidely pointed out, “well, you’re supposed to be. It was over ten years ago you bought that stuff you’re talking about. Besides, how would you know how much things cost now? You haven’t put a toe in a store, paid a bill, been to a bank, or handled any business since we got married. Don’t you think anybody besides YOU might want a nice Christmas!” Suggesting he might be selfish was the final insult! It was on!

Eventually, they would both develop battle fatigue and go about their business. Daddy would go off in a huff and buy his rifle, but tone his pride down a bit, and make do with a cheaper model. Deeply offended at Mother’s demands, he would hand over $30 or $35 dollars left from the Christmas Check. Once she recovered from her rage at his everlasting selfishness, she would shuffle bills, frantically put us all to gluing in trading stamps, put us kids to selling coke bottles, feed us more meals of beans, potatoes, biscuits and gravy, and canned vegetables, less with meat and fruit. She would make some homemade gifts and check Goodwill out. Grandma always sent a huge box of Christmas gifts, her sister Annie would send money, and Mother would manage to pull together a wonderful Christmas.

On Christmas morning we would wake up to find gifts piled all around the Christmas tree. Mother would be relieved to have manufactured a miracle once again. Once it was all laid out on Christmas morning, Daddy enjoyed seeing his children enjoying a bounteous Christmas and was reassured Mother could do well with a little money when she half tried. Maybe next year he could save back enough to get that……….

I think he sincerely believed in Santa Claus.

©Linda Bethea

win_20160620_13_24_45_proHere is Linda with a little bit about herself.

Now that I’m done with the bothersome business of workday world, I am free to pursue my passion, capturing the stories I’ve loved all my life. The ones you’ll read on my blog are good old Southern stories, a real pleasure to relay. Here in the South, we are proud of our wacky folks. I’ve preyed shamelessly on my family, living and dead, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances, often changing the names to protect the innocent and not so innocent.

My mother illustrates my blog. I come from a rollicking family of nuts, hence the name of the blog Nutsrok Enjoy.

51qb8fm4dql-_uy250_About Everything Smells Just Like Poke Salad by Linda Swain Bethea (Author) with Kathleen Holdaway Swain (Collaborator & Illustrator)

Born to a struggling farm family in the deepest of The Great Depression, Kathleen enjoys a colorful childhood, enhanced by her imagination, love of life, and the encouragement of her family.

She’s determined to build a better life for herself, getting herself into hilarious situations all along the way. Distinguishing herself in school and the community, she never takes her eyes off her goal.

Just as she’s about to get started, she meets Bill, the man who is going to help her on her way. Everything changes. And then changes again. The true story of a remarkable woman who will inspire you, make you laugh, and see life from a new perspective.

One of the many excellent reviews for the book.

Entertaining  on November 5, 2018

Linda Bethea is a truly gifted story teller! I genuinely enjoyed reading the stories of her mother, Kathleen, growing up. My grandparents never told me stories of the Great Depression, so these stories provided me with much needed insight. The stories are told in a colorful, humorous tone that was a joy to read.

Read the reviews and BUY the book: https://www.amazon.com/Everything-Smells-Just-Like-Salad-ebook/dp/B01IVUXROQ

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Everything-Smells-Just-Like-Salad-ebook/dp/B01IVUXROQ/

Also by Linda Bethea

About the book

WOMEN OF STRENGTH, FORTITUDE, AND BRAVERY

In this collection of six serials, Linda Swain Bethea weaves narratives of women through several centuries. The stories span from 1643 to 1957. Beginning in England in 1643, a young couple travels to Jamestown, Virginia, to begin a new life in the American frontier. The rest of the stories travel from West Texas to North Louisiana to the Texas Panhandle to East Texas.

Disease, death, starvation, and prison are faced with stoicism and common sense, and always, with a sense of humor.

The women in each tale stand tall and possess the wisdom and tenacity to hold families together under the worst conditions. Through it all, they persevere, and Linda Swain Bethea’s storytelling is a testament to the legacy they left.

Conversational and homey, you’ll fall in love with the women of Just Women Getting By – Leaving a Legacy of Strength, which celebrates the courage of those women who had no choice but to survive.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Just-Women-Getting-Leaving-Strength-ebook/dp/B072DZ5XTP

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Just-Women-Getting-Leaving-Strength-ebook/dp/B072DZ5XTP

Connect to Linda

Blog: https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Nutsrok1
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/linda.bethea.50

My thanks to Linda for another wonderful story of family life… and we would love to hear from you about any memories you have of Christmas as a child.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Christmas Guest Post – Flease Don’t Come Home for Christmas, Willie Tharpe by Linda Bethea


Flease Don’t Come Home for Christmas, Willie Tharpe

Daddy wasn’t just a magnet for strange characters. He beat the bushes to flush them out. If that hadn’t worked, I believe he’d have up tacked up posters. Mother had no way of anticipating who he might drag in for supper, overnight, or until further notice. I never did understand why she didn’t murder Daddy. He must have slept sometime! Willie Tharpe was a holdover from Daddy’s childhood.

Daddy came in late from work one evening a few days before Christmas about eight-thirty, after one of his rambles, as he so often did. Though he worked shift work, Mother could never anticipate his arrival. As the “Man of the House” his time was his own. Making the living was his only responsibility. It was up to Mother to handle the rest. That evening, Willie Tharpe creaked up behind him in an ancient truck with a shack on the back; not a camper, a shack.

About fourteen dogs piled out of the truck windows and shack as he coasted to a stop in a place of honor, right in front of our house. Eventually, Willie emerged, swatting dogs with his hat and cursing inarticulately, in the style favored by the toothless. Mother was appalled, knowing anyone Daddy dragged in this late, especially anyone from such an interesting position on the social scale, was likely to be a houseguest. This was especially concerning a day or two before Christmas, when we’d be having company. In an expansive mood, Daddy ushered in Willie Tharpe and as many of the dogs as could squeeze in before the door slammed on them. The dogs, unused to houses, ran around jumping on us, knocking over end tables, and peeing on the Christmas tree, till Daddy had us shoo them out. Daddy was clearly thrilled to be able to show off his home and family to Willie, an old and valued family friend.

The house had looked pretty good till Willie’s dogs ransacked it, but it was a wreck now. Mother had “waited supper” for Daddy, since Daddy insisted we all eat as a family. We’d been starving for hours. We scurried to the table as Mother served up the reheated beans, potatoes, and gravy, just serving the fried chicken and biscuits cold. Though Willie’s toothless mumbling was impossible to understand, Daddy interpreted for us as Willie loaded his plate time after time, after first reaching for the liver and gizzard with his hand. The liver and gizzard were such favorites that we took turns at getting them, a matter of such import that Mother managed it herself. He ate with his knife, wiped his mouth on his sleeve, and spewed food as he mumbled. We stared in fascination. Mother never even noticed his terrible manners.

After supper, he poured his coffee in his saucer, blew on it noisily, and drank from the saucer, smacking loudly after each slurp. It was repulsive. He burped without covering his mouth. When all the chicken was gone, he reached for the platter and scraped all the “scrambles” onto his plate. The “scrambles” were the crunchy bits left on the platter at the end of the meal, the prize Mother divided among us children. My mouth flew open to protest, only to catch Mother’s dirty look to “mind my manners.”

A meal with Willie did more to reinforce the importance of manners than a hundred hours of instruction. Mother should have thanked him. When it came time for bed, Daddy explained Willie would be sleeping in Billy’s room. Billy could bunk in with Phyllis and me. Mother looked fierce, but didn’t say a word. She pursed her lips and left the room. In a minute she was back with Billy’s night clothes. “Where are the dogs going to sleep?” She spat at Daddy. Daddy had always prided himself on never allowing dogs in the house until the mishap earlier that evening. “Oh, the dogs will sleep in Willie’s truck.” He was jovial, obviously not unaware of Mother’s malevolent mood and his longstanding rule on no dogs in the house. Willie looked surprised and pained. It was late December 22 and really cold. Willie muttered the first thing I’d understood that night. “I allus’ sleeps with them dawrgs. Thas’ the onliest thing that keeps an old man like me from freezing. We all pile in together. We sleeps good thataway.”

Daddy was clearly torn between his principles and his old friend. “Willie, I ain’t never had dogs in the house and I can’t start now. The dogs can’t sleep in the house.” He was saved. Willie didn’t argue, just mumbled and went off to the back bedroom. Mother was still furious. While Daddy was at work the next day, Willie hung around by the kitchen heater, smoking his smelly hand-rolled cigarettes. He was in Mother’s way all day, as she sputtered around baking and making her Christmas preparations. He smelled like his dogs, becoming more rancid smelling by the hour. The odor became more nauseating combined with the scent of cinnamon, candied fruit, orange slices, and vanilla. Mother periodically opened the doors and windows to air the kitchen.

Her mood was black by the time Daddy came rolling in at three thirty. Uncharacteristically, he’d come straight home from work, probably concerned for Willie’s safety. He took Willie off gallivanting. For once, we didn’t have to wait supper. Mother’s mood improved with Willie out of the way. We made popcorn and sang Christmas Carols. Tomorrow was Christmas Eve! Santa would be coming! Mother sent us on to bed.

The next thing I knew, Daddy was yelling, “Get some water! Get the kids out of the bedroom!”

As we flew out of our bedroom, a wet, naked old man made his rickety way into the kitchen, followed by a swirling pack of panicky dogs. Meanwhile, Daddy dragged smoking quilts out to the back yard. As the story unfolded, it seems Willie had been smoking his hand-rolled cigarettes in the comfort of the nest of hounds he’d slipped in after the house was abed and drifted off to sleep. Alerted of the burning covers by one of the dogs, he’d called out for help, getting Daddy in on the action.

Not surprisingly, Willie moved on the next day. Wisely, Daddy didn’t protest. We enjoyed a lovely Christmas. It was a few days before Willie’s Christmas gift to us became apparent.

The house was infested with fleas. Deprived of their host, they attacked us with abandon.

Happy Christmas…..

©Linda Bethea

win_20160620_13_24_45_proHere is Linda with a little bit about herself.

Now that I’m done with the bothersome business of workday world, I am free to pursue my passion, capturing the stories I’ve loved all my life. The ones you’ll read on my blog are good old Southern stories, a real pleasure to relay. Here in the South, we are proud of our wacky folks. I’ve preyed shamelessly on my family, living and dead, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances, often changing the names to protect the innocent and not so innocent.

My mother illustrates my blog. I come from a rollicking family of nuts, hence the name of the blog Nutsrok Enjoy.

51qb8fm4dql-_uy250_About Everything Smells Just Like Poke Salad by Linda Swain Bethea (Author) with Kathleen Holdaway Swain (Collaborator & Illustrator)

Born to a struggling farm family in the deepest of The Great Depression, Kathleen enjoys a colorful childhood, enhanced by her imagination, love of life, and the encouragement of her family.

She’s determined to build a better life for herself, getting herself into hilarious situations all along the way. Distinguishing herself in school and the community, she never takes her eyes off her goal.

Just as she’s about to get started, she meets Bill, the man who is going to help her on her way. Everything changes. And then changes again. The true story of a remarkable woman who will inspire you, make you laugh, and see life from a new perspective.

One of the many excellent reviews for the book.

Entertaining  on November 5, 2018

Linda Bethea is a truly gifted story teller! I genuinely enjoyed reading the stories of her mother, Kathleen, growing up. My grandparents never told me stories of the Great Depression, so these stories provided me with much needed insight. The stories are told in a colorful, humorous tone that was a joy to read.

Read the reviews and BUY the book: https://www.amazon.com/Everything-Smells-Just-Like-Salad-ebook/dp/B01IVUXROQ

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Everything-Smells-Just-Like-Salad-ebook/dp/B01IVUXROQ/

Also by Linda Bethea

About the book

WOMEN OF STRENGTH, FORTITUDE, AND BRAVERY

In this collection of six serials, Linda Swain Bethea weaves narratives of women through several centuries. The stories span from 1643 to 1957. Beginning in England in 1643, a young couple travels to Jamestown, Virginia, to begin a new life in the American frontier. The rest of the stories travel from West Texas to North Louisiana to the Texas Panhandle to East Texas.

Disease, death, starvation, and prison are faced with stoicism and common sense, and always, with a sense of humor.

The women in each tale stand tall and possess the wisdom and tenacity to hold families together under the worst conditions. Through it all, they persevere, and Linda Swain Bethea’s storytelling is a testament to the legacy they left.

Conversational and homey, you’ll fall in love with the women of Just Women Getting By – Leaving a Legacy of Strength, which celebrates the courage of those women who had no choice but to survive.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Just-Women-Getting-Leaving-Strength-ebook/dp/B072DZ5XTP

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Just-Women-Getting-Leaving-Strength-ebook/dp/B072DZ5XTP

Connect to Linda

Blog: https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Nutsrok1
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/linda.bethea.50

Another wondeful story from Linda Bethea and we would both love your feedback.. thanks Sally.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Buy a Book for Christmas #Short Stories Linda Bethea, Sarah Brentyn, Eric Halpenny and Gregg Savage


I love reading and writing short stories, so in the next couple of Christmas book promotions I am going to share some of the collections on the shelves of the bookstore.

The first author I would like to feature is also one of the regular contributors to the blog. Linda Bethea has been entertaining us on her blog with stories of her extended family and their adventures going back to her mother Kathleen’s childhood in the 1930s.  You can find examples of her stories on her blog Nutsrok and follow her on Twitter @nutsrok1Now 

About the book

WOMEN OF STRENGTH, FORTITUDE, AND BRAVERY

In this collection of six serials, Linda Swain Bethea weaves narratives of women through several centuries. The stories span from 1643 to 1957. Beginning in England in 1643, a young couple travels to Jamestown, Virginia, to begin a new life in the American frontier. The rest of the stories travel from West Texas to North Louisiana to the Texas Panhandle to East Texas.

Disease, death, starvation, and prison are faced with stoicism and common sense, and always, with a sense of humor.

The women in each tale stand tall and possess the wisdom and tenacity to hold families together under the worst conditions. Through it all, they persevere, and Linda Swain Bethea’s storytelling is a testament to the legacy they left.

Conversational and homey, you’ll fall in love with the women of Just Women Getting By – Leaving a Legacy of Strength, which celebrates the courage of those women who had no choice but to survive.

One of the reviews for the collection

I Loved it! I just finished reading this book and didn’t want it to end…then I realized it hadn’t. The characters in Bethea’s book are so real, so captivating, so powerful, that their stories will stay with me even though the last page has been read. If you are looking for great humor, stories of perseverance and triumph, wisdom, and above all, love, this is the book for you!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Just-Women-Getting-Leaving-Strength-ebook/dp/B072DZ5XTP

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Just-Women-Getting-Leaving-Strength-ebook/dp/B072DZ5XTP

Also by Linda Bethea

51qb8fm4dql-_uy250_About Everything Smells Just Like Poke Salad by Linda Swain Bethea (Author) with Kathleen Holdaway Swain (Collaborator & Illustrator)

Born to a struggling farm family in the deepest of The Great Depression, Kathleen enjoys a colorful childhood, enhanced by her imagination, love of life, and the encouragement of her family.

She’s determined to build a better life for herself, getting herself into hilarious situations all along the way. Distinguishing herself in school and the community, she never takes her eyes off her goal.

Just as she’s about to get started, she meets Bill, the man who is going to help her on her way. Everything changes. And then changes again. The true story of a remarkable woman who will inspire you, make you laugh, and see life from a new perspective.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Everything-Smells-Just-Like-Salad-ebook/dp/B01IVUXROQ

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Everything-Smells-Just-Like-Salad-ebook/dp/B01IVUXROQ/

Connect to Linda via her blog: https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/

The next author is Sarah Brentyn with a great review for her collection of short fiction Hinting at Shadows. You can connect with Sarah via her Blog and also on Twitter – @SarahBrentyn

About Hinting at Shadows

No One Escapes Life Unscathed

Delve into the deeper reaches of the human condition and the darkness that lives there.A girl haunted by her sister’s drowning. A boy desperate for his father’s affection. A woman forced to make a devastating decision. A man trapped by his obsessions.

Experience tales of love, loss, murder, and madness through this collection of flash and micro fiction.Take a peek behind the smile of a stranger. Get a glimpse inside the heart of a friend. Scratch the surface and discover what is hidden beneath.

These stories will open your mind, tug at your thoughts, and allow you to explore the possibility that, even in the brightest moments, something is Hinting at Shadows.

One of the recent reviews for the book

A real treat!  on October 31, 2018
An explanation on good micro-fiction written by Stephen Hastings-King, begins as follows (this is only a section of the quote): “There is a flat white fog. It is everywhere. There are birds. You can hear them. There are binoculars. You pick them up. You cannot see what you are looking at. You look at another thing to see what you are looking at…” Many of the pieces in Ms. Brentyn’s collection echo the above words. A real treat!

Read the rest of the reviews and buy the Collection: https://www.amazon.com/Hinting-Shadows-Collection-Short-Fiction-ebook/dp/B01N0DVWKO

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hinting-at-Shadows-Sarah-Brentyn-ebook/dp/B01N0DVWKO

Also by Sarah Brentyn

Read the reviews and buy the Collections: https://www.amazon.com/Hinting-Shadows-Collection-Short-Fiction-ebook/dp/B01N0DVWKO

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sarah-Brentyn/e/B01N410987

Read other reviews and follow Sarah on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32998449-hinting-at-shadows

Connect to Sarah via her blog: https://sarahbrentyn.wordpress.com/

Now time for a short story collection of mixed genres by Eric Halpenny –  Thread and Other Stories. You can find out more about Eric on his Blog and also follow him on @dragonswordbook

About Thread and Other Stories

Thread and Other Stories is a multi-genre collection of short stories (single author) that includes science fiction, fantasy, urban fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction, and espionage. There are seven stories in the collection.

Prudence and her older brother Yannick face extreme poverty and hardship in Thread. They live day to day on the wages they earn at low paying, difficult jobs. They face hardships that seem insurmountable for two young children. Isidore, an impoverished boy trying to survive on his own, enters their lives with even greater needs than Prudence and Yannick. They integrate him into their family life even as their world begins to crumble around them. But, there is an ominous backdrop to these events as strange entities take a keen interest in the lives of the three children.

A military psychologist evaluates a Vietnam war veteran who has experienced psychological damage in Shrink. The veteran’s fellow soldiers and friends must support him as the psychologist attempts to uncover the reasons behind his trauma.

Emil, Annie, and their three children—Zona, Owen, and Abner—struggle to stay safe in a steampunk-inspired fantasy world in Chance. Abner finds himself in trouble as a powerful magical being terrorizes the family farm. Only Zona’s quick thinking along with her parents’ knowledge of magic will give them a chance against the dark sorcery of the enemy.

John and Greg, bound by friendship, embark on a journey of trial and tragedy in Conflict, a 20th Century historical fiction. They must deal with death, loss, and grief as compatriots fall in battle during this poignant snapshot of the Canadian military in World War I. John and Greg show a contrast in the ways that these soldiers adapted to the psychological effects of war.

Veera, an astrophysicist, begins to experience recurring déjà vu, the source of which she cannot determine in Oversight, a science fiction adventure. She is unknowingly set on a collision course with Misha, who challenges Veera’s perception of the world as she struggles to determine what is real and what isn’t. Misha must deal with his own psychological demons as he tries to salvage a failing mission that will either end in glory or in his own death.

Dmitry is a hardened spy in the Cold War who has no mercy for his adversary Olyesa in the espionage thriller Deception. Olyesa and Dmitry navigate their way through the murky waters of agents and double agents while simultaneously struggling against each other for survival. When their divergent plans collide, it threatens to destroy them both.

Explore a metaphysical debate in the literary short story Conversation, which is woven between each of the short stories in this collection. An unnamed protagonist and an unidentified and secretive entity discuss the metaphysical and spiritual meaning behind science and what it means to gain knowledge.

One of the reviews for the collection

Thread and Other Stories” is a short story collection that ranges from historical to science fiction. There are seven stories that I’d have a hard time picking my favorite from because they are so different, but they are all well-written. I was involved in each story with the characters and outcome for different reasons. “Conflict” the tale of two friends in World War 1 was the one that touched me the most with their friendship and the horror of war. In “Thread” I was immediately drawn into the story of two poor orphans and their struggled to survive—I was rooting for them. The most interesting though was the story “Conversation” that was weaved around the other stories in six parts. I thoroughly enjoyed the different genres and the mystery of “Conversation” in this creative collection. I look forward to reading more from this author!

Read the reviews and buy the collection: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B072KDWLZS

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Thread-Other-Stories-Eric-Halpenny-ebook/dp/B072KDWLZS/

Three of the stories in Thread are also available separately.

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Eric-Halpenny/e/B072NKQTMN/

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eric-Halpenny/e/B072NKQTMN/

Read more reviews and follow Eric on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16951705.Eric_Halpenny

Connect to Eric via his Blog: https://www.erichalpenny.com/myblog/

Now time for a short story collection for children by Gregg Savage. Gregg committed to sharing a story a day on his Daily Tales and is now up to 236… He also has published ten of the stories in a collection which would make an amazing gift this Christmas.. for an adult to read to a child.. .of for slightly older children to read for themselves. You can also follow Gregg on Twitter @greggsavage

About the collection.

First Everything, Now This is a collection of the 10 most popular short stories taken from The Daily Children’s Tales of Gregg Savage. Combining humour, philosophy and imagination, the tales are designed to entertain you while encouraging a fresh perspective on your daily experiences. Each story takes place in a world where things may not work out for the best and where the mundane can become the extraordinary in a matter of minutes.

A new tale is written daily and posted on greggsavage.net to allow the audience to interact with a story that was written only moments ago. Immerse yourself in the world every day by visiting the website and joining in the conversation.

One of the reviews for the collection

Chris Graham 5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended for kids of all ages (no upper age limit applies). 9 June 2018

I have been following the progress of this author’s quest to write a short story on his blog, each day, for one year since 22nd October 2017, and was delighted when he decided to publish some of them.

This book is only a very small sample of the range and variety of tales he has told, so I sincerely hope he publishes more (preferably all) of them, for the wider world to enjoy.
If you (and your little ones) have enjoyed these ten tales as much as I have, I recommend you visit his blog to read the other tales posted to date.

Head over and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/First-Everything-Now-This-October-ebook/dp/B078GTXZX9

and at Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/First-Everything-Now-This-October-ebook/dp/B078GTXZX9/

Connect to Gregg via his website: dailytales.com.au

Thank you very much for visiting and I hope you will find one or more of these books perfect for Christmas gifts… or for yourself. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer #Family – #Houston Fire Ants and Murderers by Linda Bethea


Time to catch up with Linda’s family adventures… and having arrived safely in Houston on the back of a flat bed truck… time to get settled in. Also an opportunity to meet the neighbours… not all as welcoming as would be hoped.

Houston Fire Ants and Murderers by Linda Bethea

Grandma slipped out the back door with a laundry basket as I awoke. Naturally, I followed. Though I was only five, I already knew she was short It took her several tries to heave yesterday’s dusty quilts over the clothesline.

She sputtered with frustration as she whacked them with a broom. Red dust flew “I didn’t put all this work in my quilts just to have ‘em pitched up on the back of that beat up old truck!”

I left her to her business to investigate a large conical mound just outside the back door. It looked so appealing, I couldn’t resist kicking it. As I stood in the ruins admiring my work, I was introduced to the world of fire ants.

My blood-curling screams interrupted Grandma’s quilt-beating. She whirled to find the evil beasts pinched on to my legs. As she tried vainly to brush them off, Mother rushed out to see who was being murdered. They rushed me in to the sink to wash them off, they both got numerous fiery bites, reinforcing Grandma’s prediction that Houston was a bad move. I did learn a valuable lesson about kicking anthills, though.

Once the fire in my legs cooled down, I investigated the house. They’d rented the first floor of a huge, old home. Its high ceilings and tall windows cooled the room. Its polished hardwood floors gleamed. Best of all, it boasted two stairways to nowhere. The first descended straight into the plaster of the ceiling that blocked it off.

I only got to slide down the bannister once before Grandma put a stop to my fun. She must have thought there was a murderer at the bottom. It was a couple of hours later before we discovered the second enclosed in a closet. Having no bannisters, Grandma didn’t offer objections. It was great fun to play on those steps in the dark closet.

The house had once been part of a gracious neighborhood, though now Houston streets had
gobbled its yard, leaving it just feet from busy streets in the front and on the left side. A large
lawn stretched between it and the house to its right. A deep porch wrapped the house on
three sides. Before Mother even had a chance to broach the subject, Grandma kicked in.

“Do not step off this porch! Houston is full of murderers who will snatch you right out of the yard. Don’t talk to anybody! See how close that street is! A drunk driver could run right up on the sidewalk and kill you! Even the ants here are crazy! Maybe you’d just better come back in the house.”

She must have been serious if she was ready to be shut in with an eight, five, and a couple of toddlers as she unpacked and settled in. I had to agree with her about the ants, though!

The kids got busy investigating the house as the men set up beds and Grandma and Mother
cooked breakfast and sorted out the kitchen. Cookie’s nerves were shot after her terrifying drive so we had to play quietly while she slept off a headache. Back to breakfast. One thing I always admired about Grandma. She had a proper appreciation for bacon. She didn’t cook one or two measly pieces apiece like Mother did. She cooked a platter full. There was always bacon left after breakfast. Now, that’s a fine cook!

After breakfast, Phyllis and I ran wild on the front porch, banging into the rails at the end of each lap. We were desperate to get further out. Double width sidewalks stretched temptingly to the busy street.

Country kids admire sidewalks, accustomed to bumpy grass and dirt surfaces. I was sure that those grass-covered yards were all that stood between me and speed-skating or smooth bicycling. Never-mind that I’d never owned a bike or skates. Even though Barbie was only two, she had a fine tricycle and skates. Like I said, she had it made.

©Linda Bethea 2018

Thank you Linda for entertaining us again…I got fire anted when I was an adult and it was nearly the end of me… so I do sympathise… good thing Grandma was around.

win_20160620_13_24_45_proHere is Linda with a little bit about herself.

Now that I’m done with the bothersome business of workday world, I am free to pursue my passion, capturing the stories I’ve loved all my life. The ones you’ll read on my blog are good old Southern stories, a real pleasure to relay. Here in the South, we are proud of our wacky folks. I’ve preyed shamelessly on my family, living and dead, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances, often changing the names to protect the innocent and not so innocent.

My mother illustrates my blog. I come from a rollicking family of nuts, hence the name of the blog Nutsrok Enjoy.

Linda has captured the essence of her family history in her book Everything Smells Just Like Poke Salad

51qb8fm4dql-_uy250_About Everything Smells Just Like Poke Salad by Linda Swain Bethea (Author) with Kathleen Holdaway Swain (Collaborator & Illustrator)

Born to a struggling farm family in the deepest of The Great Depression, Kathleen enjoys a colorful childhood, enhanced by her imagination, love of life, and the encouragement of her family.

She’s determined to build a better life for herself, getting herself into hilarious situations all along the way. Distinguishing herself in school and the community, she never takes her eyes off her goal.

Just as she’s about to get started, she meets Bill, the man who is going to help her on her way. Everything changes. And then changes again. The true story of a remarkable woman who will inspire you, make you laugh, and see life from a new perspective.

One of the many excellent reviews for the book.

Entertaining  on November 5, 2018

Linda Bethea is a truly gifted story teller! I genuinely enjoyed reading the stories of her mother, Kathleen, growing up. My grandparents never told me stories of the Great Depression, so these stories provided me with much needed insight. The stories are told in a colorful, humorous tone that was a joy to read.

Read the reviews and BUY the book: https://www.amazon.com/Everything-Smells-Just-Like-Salad-ebook/dp/B01IVUXROQ

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Everything-Smells-Just-Like-Salad-ebook/dp/B01IVUXROQ/

Also by Linda Bethea

About the book

WOMEN OF STRENGTH, FORTITUDE, AND BRAVERY

In this collection of six serials, Linda Swain Bethea weaves narratives of women through several centuries. The stories span from 1643 to 1957. Beginning in England in 1643, a young couple travels to Jamestown, Virginia, to begin a new life in the American frontier. The rest of the stories travel from West Texas to North Louisiana to the Texas Panhandle to East Texas.

Disease, death, starvation, and prison are faced with stoicism and common sense, and always, with a sense of humor.

The women in each tale stand tall and possess the wisdom and tenacity to hold families together under the worst conditions. Through it all, they persevere, and Linda Swain Bethea’s storytelling is a testament to the legacy they left.

Conversational and homey, you’ll fall in love with the women of Just Women Getting By – Leaving a Legacy of Strength, which celebrates the courage of those women who had no choice but to survive.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Just-Women-Getting-Leaving-Strength-ebook/dp/B072DZ5XTP

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Just-Women-Getting-Leaving-Strength-ebook/dp/B072DZ5XTP

Connect to Linda

Blog: https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Nutsrok1
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/linda.bethea.50

My thanks to Linda for sharing her story and she would love your feedback. Thanks Sally.