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.

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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.

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – Guest Comedians D.G. Kaye and Linda Bethea


More funnies from the eagle-eyed D.G. Kaye Writer Blog 

D. G. Kaye – Buy: http://www.amazon.com/D.G.-Kaye/e/B00HE028FO
Blog: http://www.dgkayewriter.com – Goodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads

Thanks very much Debby and here is a joke to finish you off from the blog of the ever entertaining Linda Bethea

Farmer Brown had dozens of hens, but no rooster, so he goes down the road to the next farmer and asks if he has a rooster for sale. The other farmer says, “Yeah, I’ve this great rooster, named Rudy. He’ll service every chicken you got, no problem.” Well, Rudy the rooster costs a lot of money, but, farmer decides he’d be worth it. So, he buys him and takes the rooster home. He then sets him down in the barnyard and gives the rooster a pep talk, “Rudy, I want you to pace yourself now. You’ve got a lot of chickens to service here, and you cost me a lot of money. Consequently, I’ll need you to do a good job. “So, take your time and have some fun,” the farmer ended with a chuckle.

Rudy seemed to understand, so the farmer points toward the hen house, and Rudy took off like a shot. WHAM! He nails every hen in the hen house three or four times, and the farmer is really shocked. After that the farmer hears a commotion in the duck pen, sure enough, Rudy is in there. Later, the farmer sees Him after the flock of geese down by the lake. Once again, WHAM! He gets all the geese.

By sunset he sees Rudy out in the fields chasing quail and pheasants. The farmer is distraught — worried that his expensive rooster won’t even last 24 hours. Sure enough, the farmer goes to bed and wakes up the next day to find Rudy dead as a doorknob — stone cold in the middle of the yard and buzzards are circling overhead. The farmer, saddened by the loss of such a colorful and expensive animal, shakes his head and says, “Oh, Rudy, I told you to pace yourself. I tried to get you to slow down, now look what you’ve done to yourself.” Rudy opens one eye, nods toward the buzzards circling in the sky and says, “SHHHH, they’re getting closer…”

Linda Bethea, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Linda-Swain-Bethea/e/B01N5HA5C1
Blog: https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/

Linda bethea two51qb8fm4dqL._AC_US240_QL65_

My thanks to Debby Gies and Linda Bethea.. and I am always looking for new material.. so please send you favourite jokes to sally.cronin@moyhill.com and get your blog and books a mention too.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – Grassed up, Grandmas and Fried Rice.. served up with a bagful of talented writers.


Welcome to the weekly round up with posts that you might have missed the first time around. For us it was a milestone passed with the laying of our lawn yesterday. When we bought this house in June 2016 it came with an overgrown garden that had not been tended for several years. Trees to the front had grown so high their roots had spread both ways including under the garden wall to the front and cracked it badly. They were also too high for safety and had to come down. To the side of the house ivy and hedging had grown over the roof and it looked like a hobbit house.

The garden to the front was mostly carpeted (I kid you knot) there was a large play house with a bridge leading to a slide dominating the plot and they had laid lawn beneath and around for safety. However it had grown into the grass and we had to literally rip it out. Luckily David is an expert lumberjack (he was taught by his father as a young man) and had already taken down several dead trees in our Spanish garden. He took out all the dangerous trees last year and then spent three months over the spring and early summer, digging 6 foot deep trenches to dig out all the old roots by hand. He then leveled the area and raked it ready for the lawn man.

Then of course came the long hot summer and you can’t lay new lawn with a hosepipe in place. Finally after 9 months of preparation… it was laid yesterday and it rained overnight in celebration to make sure it flourishes.  Here are some photos showing what a difference a day makes…..

We are going to put some slabs over by the wall and have a bench and pot plants to create a spot to sit in the evenings as it gets the summer sunshine until 10 at night…

Anyway on with the week’s posts and as always very grateful for your support and generous sharing around the usual haunts….which is appropriate as we head into the Halloween celebrations. You are very welcome to drop in to the party here on Wednesday 31st.. I have 20 guests already who have shared their photos in costume or dressed up for a party, and really looking forward to showing them off.

If you drop in please bring your links with you for your latest blog post or your Amazon page.. Never waste an opportunity to showcase your work…

You still have time to get yours in to be shared… here is the party post with the details:https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/22/smorgasbord-invites-you-to-a-halloween-fancy-dress-party-on-wednesday-31st-october/

The Food and Cookery Column with Carol Taylor

On Carol’s blog this week, she has been sharing her views on food waste and I could not agree more. In her post this week she shares the recipe to make perfect (non sticky) fried rice, using up your left overs where possible to create a tasty family dish.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/24/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-food-and-cookery-column-with-carol-taylor-a-thai-cookery-lesson-friedrice/

Linda Bethea in her regular guest spot with more stories of her grandmas who sometimes overstayed their welcome… with humorous results.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/25/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-linda-bethea-the-letter-family-humour/

Short Stories

In the first story, Owen meets his great grandmother for the first time face to face.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/27/smorgasbord-short-stories-whats-in-a-name-owen-face-to-face-by-sally-cronin/

Patrick is a young spitfire pilot who falls in love but holds back..Love in a Time of War

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/28/smorgasbord-short-stories-whats-in-a-name-volume-ii-patrick-love-in-a-time-of-war/

Guest Joy Lennick with a poem celebrating her Celtic heritage.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/23/smorgasbord-poetry-guest-poet-celtic-roots-by-joy-lennick/

My response to Colleen Chesebro’s weekly Tuesday poetry challenge.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/24/smorgasbord-poetry-colleens-weekly-tanka-tuesday-poetry-challenge-no-107-etheree/

It is 1989 and David and I decide to go back to Houston to see our friends and then carry on to California to drive the Pacific Highway… fantastic reunion and managed to fly out the day before a hurricane hit.. only to be on the road when the San Francisco earthquake took place. The hit of the year for me was Bette MidlerWind Beneath My Wings.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/23/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-music-column-1989-america-trip-hurricane-jerry-and-san-francisco-earthquake/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/22/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-academic-curveball-by-james-j-cudney/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/23/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-abby-holly-series-book-two-unfortunate-circumtances-by-janice-spina/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/26/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-writers-mini-style-guide-by-editor-denise-ohagan/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/27/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-raimond-monsters-angels-by-anne-marie-andrus/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Update – Reviews

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/22/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-brigid-p-gallagher-mary-anne-edwards-and-daniel-kemp/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/26/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-jack-eason-claire-fullerton-and-mary-adler/

D.G. Kaye with Robbie Cheadle, Teri Polen with Jacquie Biggar and Cindy Knoke

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/22/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-october-22nd-2018-d-g-kaye-with-robbie-cheadle-teri-polen-with-jacquie-biggar-and-cindy-knoke/

Amy Reade, C.S. Boyack and Susan Nye

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/23/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-october-23rd-2018-amy-reade-c-s-boyack-and-susan-nye/

Sue Vincent with Robbie Cheadle, Teagan Geneviene and Hannah Sandoval

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/24/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-october-24th-2018-sue-vincent-with-robbie-cheadle-teagan-geneviene-and-hannah-sandoval/

Carol Taylor, Colleen Chesebro with Ritu Bhathal and Mary Smith.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/25/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-thursday-october-25th-2018-carol-taylor-foodwaste-colleen-chesebro-with-ritu-bhathal-and-mary-smith-poem/

Organic produce and reduction in Cancer rates.

In one of the largest studies of its kind in France, 70,000 men and women who stated that they only ate organic foods were followed and compared to the statistics for various cancers. The result after 7 years was revealing, as overall cancer rates were down significantly and the biggest impact was seen on non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma risk, which plummeted among those who only ate organic. This followed the recent law suit brought against the manufacturers of Round-Up by a cancer sufferer who was awarded $250 million.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/24/smorgasbord-health-column-food-in-the-news-organic-produce-and-reduction-in-cancer-rates/

A re-run of the series on common health issues updated with any new information or research – this week Acne and Skin Health.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/25/smorgasbord-health-column-rewind-a-to-z-common-health-issues-acne-skin/

Humour and Afternoon Videos

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/23/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-sock-therapy-decluttering-cought-linctus-and-a-joke/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/23/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-clairvoyant-mothers-day-band-names-and-mesmerising-the-elderly/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/25/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-extra-politics-to-acupuncture-and-every-pressure-point-inbetween/

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer – Linda Bethea – The Letter #Family #Humour


Time for another of Linda Bethea’s humour filled and heartfelt posts about family life. This week having a mother-in-law stay can be an adventure…. You can find Linda’s other posts Here

The Letter

Illustration by Kathleen Holdaway Swain

Grandma Holdaway came from Texas to spend a couple of weeks two or three times a year.

On arrival, Grandma was always in high spirits, delighted to see her youngest daughter and grandchildren after a long absence. She arrived, laden with gifts for us all, even including a pair of socks, ashtray, or coffee cup for Daddy. It was always clear she and Daddy were trying to get along for Mother’s sake, a woman they both loved. Their efforts wore thin as the days wore on, particularly on his days off when he couldn’t escape her questions about his personal business and his extended family. None of this endeared her to Daddy, an impatient man. Had he been an animal, he’d have made a fine bear. The grouchier he got, the moodier Grandma got. It must have been wonderful for Mother, being caught between them.

To start with, Grandma was clannish. She had no real use for those outside her own family. Accustomed to running her own family’s activities, she suffered in a situation she couldn’t tightly control. So did everyone else. Any or all of Daddy’s six fertile siblings were ever present on weekends. Visits were bedlam, with kids running wild, screaming, banging doors, and knocking little ones about, should a Mother be so careless as not to keep them in a defensible distance. Daddy’s Mother, Mamaw, was usually there, too, unless she lost her nerve and needed a sanity break. For some reason, if Grandma was there, Mamaw almost always came. In theory, they were friends, though sometimes they could have passed for sparring partners.

Grandma loved to go to town. She was always the first to the car, despite having mobility problems after a stroke in her sixties. She balanced her gait by carrying a huge black purse on her affected side. She said it kept her straight. Grandma got through a hellish Sunday with family by looking forward to a trip to town on Monday. All she had to do was somehow keep her sanity.

Late, Sunday evening, Grandma got the news she wouldn’t be going to town with Mother on Monday. Mother had to take a neighbor and wouldn’t have room for her. Not only that, Grandma had already been visiting two weeks and was descending into gloom by the time she got a call from her son. She had expected him to pick her up in a day or so, but he post-poned his trip for another two weeks. It didn’t make her or my dad happy to know they had another two weeks to spend together. My dad was on strike at the time, throwing them together, even more. His family’s visit that weekend enhanced an already perfect storm. I expected them to kill each other!

I will transcribe for you.

Dear BL, Just time for word. Hope all are getting along all right. Sure hope your daddys neck is feeling better I don’t feel too good Such a crowd here last night Bonnie, Edward, their 3 kids & Geneva came Ester, Junie, and their 5 hienas. Cat Young & her bunch of Angel then 2 bunches of neighbors & their familys & it was so quiet it hurts my ears til yet. running & slamming doors. I thought they would never leave. Kack(my mother)is fixing to take Cat Young to Springhill she has to go to the bank on business & Arnold had to go help Edward finish his filling station today & use his car& he ask her to take her to the bank. I intended to go & found out Kack was going to take all her kids. I better close. O I talked to John yest he ask me if I’de mind staying here two weeks longer til schools out that he hated to come one day & go back the next.so I told him I’de wait they are beginning to make a little progress in their talks about settling the strike they are all hoping the mill will open after July the 4th Bill got to work 2 days for another construction job, he had to walk the picket line last night for an hour for two must close Kacks ready to start tell your daddy Bill is wanting to give away their big collie does he want him to go with Blue. Must stop now. Please write soon. Love to all Grandma

I had forgotten until I reread this letter that Grandma didn’t bother with punctuation, though she had been a teacher.

©Linda Bethea 2018

Linda Bethea brings humour to her stories that are usually set in what was a dire time in American history in the great depression. There is no doubt in my mind that Southerners are tough, resilient and have an amazing sense of fun.

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.

………...as you fall in love with Kathleen’s family.

Bethea’s style of writing as she recounts her mother’s memories has made her one of my favorite authors, and I couldn’t put this book down once I started it.

Kathleen (Kitten) takes us through her childhood growing up during the Great Depression by sharing her memories, and we find ourselves cheering for the little girl and her family while we get to know them. Vivid descriptions about unwanted house-guest’s habits are hilarious, while stories of sacrifices made by the family for each other brings tears to the reader’s eyes. We find ourselves cherishing the favorite stories Kitten hears from her Mama and Daddy while she snuggles next to them much as she did at the time of their telling. As Kathleen recounts the difficulties she faced as a young adult, we too want to return home to her parents’ warm home, full pantry, and open arms.

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.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – Book Launch, Fats Waller, Royalty and #Halloween recipes plus the usual #stars


It has been a busy week but highly enjoyable as I began the process of sharing my new book Tales from the Irish Garden. Not just online but getting prepared to send out to local media and radio stations here. It is 17 years since I published my first book here in Ireland and it would be lovely to make a bit of  a splash. We shall see how it goes.

In the meantime I am very grateful to some very generous friends who have hosted me in the last week with post on various subjects and also with their interviews and reviews.

D.G. Kaye posted her review of Tales from the Irish Garden with some questions to put me on the spot!

You can read Debby ‘s review and interview here: https://dgkayewriter.com/booklaunch-review-tales-irish-garden-sally-cronin-sunday-special-feature

And Colleen Chesebro posted her review of the book on Wednesday adding some of her fairy dust to the proceedings.

You can read the review here: https://colleenchesebro.com/2018/10/17/colleens-2018-book-reviews-tales-from-the-irish-garden-by-author-sally-cronin/

Author Jacquie Biggar kindly let me explore the subject of romance and some of the key elements that I feel stand the test of time.

You can read the post here: https://jacqbiggar.com/2018/10/19/keeping-the-magic-of-romance-alive-sally-cronin-sgc58-inspiration-writershelpingwriters

Lovely to have William Price King back again now that he has a little more free time as we have missed him. He will be back every two weeks with iconic jazz musicians and this week he shared the life and music of the legendary Fats Waller.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/16/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-with-william-price-king-jazz-musicians-fats-waller/

For those of us who have become fans of The Crown series on the British royal family, another reminder of how vulnerable members of any royal family can be, even before the age of the paparazzi. For some their reign came to a tragic end. Paul Andruss on Cabbages and Kings.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/19/smorgasbord-writer-in-residence-rewind-of-cabbages-and-kings-by-paul-andruss/

Carol Taylor shares some recipes for those trick or treaters who might get cold and hungry when out knocking on doors… Halloween warmers…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/17/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-cookery-column-with-carol-taylor-halloween-party-food/

Guest writer author and poet Balroop Singh, with what I think is a very relevant poem. We should all rise up and listen to the call….

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/16/smorgasbord-poetry-guest-writer-the-land-of-the-dead-by-balroop-singh/

The Music Column – We head to New Zealand but encounter plane drama, but go gold panning and jet boating and dinner in the treetops.. request this week from Adele Marie Park and music from Kylie Minogue

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/18/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-plane-drama-new-zealand-kylie-and-request-from-adele-marie-park/

It is that time of the week again, when Colleen Chesebro challenges us to get our syllables and synonyms lined up… and I am going out on a limb today with my first Etheree….You can participate Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 106

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/18/smorgasbord-poetry-colleens-weekly-tanka-tuesday-poetry-challenge-no-106-ghost-hollow-synonymsonly/

The first story is about Martha.. who is a personal assistant who goes above and beyond for her boss.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/20/smorgasbord-short-stories-whats-in-a-name-volume-ii-martha-the-system-administrator/

The second story is about Norman... a former soldier who has been moved from his home into a block of flats where life in in a downward spiral.. can he bring the community together.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/21/smorgasbord-short-stories-whats-in-a-name-volume-ii-norman-an-old-soldier

I am sure that you  have seen a number of reports on the shutting down of Google+ social network following its cover up of a breach in March this year, resulting in the exposure of the personal data of up to 500,000 internet users. They say that no sensitive data such as bank details or other private information was at risk, but any exposure of private information such as name, address, date of birth, past employment history, photographs or current activities, lends itself to identity theft and fraud.

However, this process according to the tech reports is going to take ten months, and from my perspective the rot has already set in.

In this post I show you how to minimise your exposure in your settings and the ones here on WordPress.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/17/something-to-think-about-google-shutting-down-and-your-blog-connection/

Cafe and Bookstore New on the Shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/15/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-frolicksome-women-and-troublesome-wives-wife-selling-in-england-by-barb-drummond/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/16/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-cheerio-and-thanks-for-the-apocalypse-by-ian-hutson/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/19/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-the-emissary-2-to-love-somebody-by-marcia-meara/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/21/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-atonement-in-bloom-by-teagan-riordain-geneviene/

Cafe and Bookstore Update #Reviews

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/15/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-paulette-mahurin-annika-perry-and-jan-sikes/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/19/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-judith-barrow-jane-risdon-and-christina-jones-teri-polen/

Blogger Daily

The Book Designer, Leslie Tate and Robbie and Michael Cheadle.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/15/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-monday-october-15th-2018-the-book-designer-amazon-reviews-leslie-tate-with-kendra-olsen-editing-and-robbie-and-michael-cheadle-with-james-j-cudney/

Anne R. Allen, Shelley Wilson and Sharon Ledworth.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/16/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-tuesday-october-16th-2018-anne-r-allen-with-rachel-thompson-twitter-shelley-wilson-review-sharon-ledworth-with-hl-carpenter/

Mae Clair, Jill Dennison and Teri Polen

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/17/smorgasbord-daily-blogger-october-17th-2018-mae-clair-with-robbie-cheadle-jill-dennison-teri-polen-with-collen-chesebro/

Stevie Turner, Seumas Gallacher and Katzenworld.

hhttps://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/18/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-meet-the-reviewers-stevie-turner-with-robbie-cheadle-seumas-gallacher-and-katzenworld-petsafety/

Pamela Wight, Geoffrey West and Traci Kenworth

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/19/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-october-19th-2018-pamela-wight-ballet-geoffrey-west-short-story-and-traci-kenworth-reviews-stephen-king/

It is time to update the bed bug post from last year, as this longer and dryer summer has resulted in a rise in reported infestations in the US and in the UK.

Here is a look at some of the statistics on Pestworld.org for the US compiled from the  2018 Bugs Without Borders survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/17/smorgasbord-health-column-time-to-revisit-the-bedbug-infestations-unwanted-bedmates/

Humour and Afternoon Videos

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/16/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-english-like-what-it-is-spoke/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/18/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-lost-in-translation-sometimes-advertisers-bloop/

 

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer – Linda Bethea – It was a wonder to see my two Grandmas in combat.


I am delighted that Linda Bethea is going to be joining us on a more regular basis, sharing posts of family, humour and words of wisdom….

It was a wonder to see my two grandmas in combat.

Mettie Knight Swain – Mamaw

It was a wonder to see my two grandmas in combat. Daddy always dreaded seeing Grandma Holdaway, my maternal grandmother, from the start. In his defense, she was inquisitive, intent on getting all the latest on his folks as soon as the pleasantries were done. By way of explanation, I have to admit, Daddy’s family gave her plenty to be nosy about. “How is your mama? Is she still living with Ola Bea?”

Mamaw moved house more than anyone else I’ve ever seen, rarely living in a place long enough to even have to dust the furniture. It was not uncommon for her sons to move her into a place, then get the news she wanted to move again before the rent was due. I was always impressed with the little places she’d find: little duplexes, rooms in houses she’d share with a friend, garage apartments, and tiny cottages. It’s hard to imagine how someone who didn’t drive nor have a telephone could find places so readily. In the event she didn’t move out on her own, she’d move in with one of her daughters or Uncle Parnell, whose wife Julie was like a daughter to her. Uncle Parnell even built a house for her on two places where he lived. She’d eagerly anticipate moving into her new house, then get discontented after a short time and decide to move elsewhere. If he was frustrated, he never complained and moved her back in her little house as often as asked.

  My maternal grandparents Mary Elizabeth Perkins Holdaway and children. The little blonde girl is Kathleen Holdaway Swain, my mother

When the two old ladies got together, they moved in for a hug, but held each other at a distance. After a few brief pleasantries, they got to the veiled insults. They took turns with insults recycled from their last visit.

“Miz Holdaway, you’re looking mighty healthy. Looks like you might’a put on a few pounds.” Mamaw might remark, slyly.

“Lord, no. I’ve taken off weight. I was gonna bring you my nice navy church dress but I run off and left it. It just about falls off me now. I know you could use it.” Grandma retorted. “You’ll probably need if Jenny’s girl gets married. Sure looks like she could use a husband.”

Mamaw changed the subject. “I brought Willie a fresh apple cake. He does love a good cake. I guess Kathleen tries, but she just ain’t much on making cakes. I raised my girls up in the kitchen from the time they was knee-babies. Every one of ‘ems a fine cook, yes, ma’am.”

Kathleen is a fine cook. Bill don’t look like he’s missed any meals. Did Ella May and her husband ever get back together? He seems like a good man. She needs to try to get along with him.”

Me with a gaggle of my first cousins. I am the messy girl in back row standing next to woman holding baby. This was taken on Christmas. That was a new outfit Mother made me for Christmas. It didn’t survive the cousin football game. I got home missing three buttons and most of my skirt hem. Mother was not pleased.

Daddy’s family gathered together most weekends, either at our house or one of theirs. It was a madhouse of raucous adults and screaming, door-banging children, since I had more than forty first cousins. Mamaw was very casual in her affection for the herd of banshees, most concerned about getting trampled or knocked in the head by flying objects. I can’t say that I ever saw her cuddle a baby or hug a child. Please understand, I don’t mean this as a criticism, there were just too many of the little heathens to keep up with. At least she didn’t smack us when we ran by, which probably required a bit of restraint. On the other hand, Grandma only had six grandchildren that she doted on. She showered us with beautifully handmade clothes and whatever inexpensive gifts she could afford on her meager old-age pension, seventy-seven dollars a month. Though Mamaw also got by on her Old-Age Pension, Grandma’s life was probably financially easier since she and my grandpa, who had his own pension, had always lived with family, avoiding the expense of running a house.

However, Grandma did earn her way by keeping house, cooking, doing laundry, and caring for a grandchild. Though Grandma did not get a free ride at all, Mamaw was envious of what she perceived as her “easier life.” I suspect most of Mamaw’s money went toward her frequent moves. According to Grandma, Mamaw wasted a good deal of money buying Cheerios and tiny cans of Green Giant Niblet Corn. I always got the lowdown after Mamaw left. Grandma said it made a whole lot more sense to buy oatmeal and family-sized cans of corn, preferably store-brand. I was with Mamaw on that. Had I had any purchasing power, I would have gone for the Cheerios, assuming I couldn’t get Sugar Smacks. I definitely admired those tiny cans of corn. By the way, I never got a taste of either. Mamaw had way too many grandchildren to be passing out food.

©Linda Bethea 2018

About Linda Bethea.

Linda Bethea brings humour to her stories that are usually set in what was a dire time in American history in the great depression. There is no doubt in my mind that Southerners are tough, resilient and have an amazing sense of fun.

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.

………...as you fall in love with Kathleen’s family.

Bethea’s style of writing as she recounts her mother’s memories has made her one of my favorite authors, and I couldn’t put this book down once I started it.

Kathleen (Kitten) takes us through her childhood growing up during the Great Depression by sharing her memories, and we find ourselves cheering for the little girl and her family while we get to know them. Vivid descriptions about unwanted house-guest’s habits are hilarious, while stories of sacrifices made by the family for each other brings tears to the reader’s eyes. We find ourselves cherishing the favorite stories Kitten hears from her Mama and Daddy while she snuggles next to them much as she did at the time of their telling. As Kathleen recounts the difficulties she faced as a young adult, we too want to return home to her parents’ warm home, full pantry, and open arms.

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.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – Book Launch, Birch Maidens, Sausages and Spies by the Sea..


Welcome to the weekly round up and for me it has been an exciting week with the launch of my latest book. And also from a renovation perspective…the weather stayed dry enough for David to paint the outside wall of our garden facing the road. The lawn goes down this week and work will begin on the back patio… it has been two and a half years, so you can see why this is a watershed moment.

I know we are only just into October but I have been making plans for the Christmas promotions starting November 12th.. Primarily to make sure that every author in the Cafe and Bookstore is included, and to that end if you are not in the Cafe and Bookstore yet… here is a post to get you started.  Also if you are in the Cafe already, please let me know if you have a book out in the next few weeks so I can set up your New on the Shelves promotion.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/05/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-free-book-promotion-have-you-a-new-book-available-before-christmas/

As always I am very grateful for the amazing contributions of talented writers who spend time and a great deal of effort to put together posts for us.

Paul Andruss is on a sabbatical at the moment so I am sharing some of his earlier posts from 2017 for you to enjoy. The Birch Maiden is a wonderful legend, and in this post she is brought alive by the illustration by Donata Zawadzka who is the illustrator for my latest book.

picture1

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/05/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-rewind-writer-in-residence-the-birch-maiden-by-paul-andruss/

Last week Carol Taylor identified some of the unexpected ingredients to be found in some brands off hotdogs. So that you don’t go off the delights of sausages totally, this week she gives us the recipe and spices to make our own.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/03/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-food-and-cookery-column-with-carol-taylor-homemade-sausages-and-spice-mixes/

Delighted that Jessica Norrie is back with us after the summer break with a post on novels from 1903 to the present day, which feature spies and criminals in a coastal setting. Some classics from authors such as Agatha Christie, Erskine Childers, Graham Greene and in a modern vein…Ian McQuire.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/06/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-literary-column-with-jessica-norrie-coasting-with-spies-and-criminals-1903-2018/

Linda Bethea shares the last of her Mixed Nuts family stories… and the good news is that we will see Linda here on a more regular basis as a guest writer.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/01/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-mixed-nuts-part-3-by-linda-bethea/

Esme gave us her predictions for the coming month….

Hi everyone and I hope you are looking forward to the month ahead. One of the main events, is that Venus is retrograde from this week until mid-November. People assume this means that love is going to fly out of the window… but in fact, what it does, is highlight areas of your relationships that could use some TLC.

October for me is an interesting month, in that I find it a ‘buffer’ month, between late summer, early autumn and winter in the Northern Hemisphere and spring and early summer for the heat of high Summer in the Southern Hemisphere.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/01/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-esmes-predictions-for-october-2018/

This week – what I was up to in 1985, music from Foreigner... and a request from Darlene Foster. This week 1986 and more requests.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/02/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-the-charts-1985-and-darlene-fosters-request/

A highlight for me….

This week was very special for me and my latest book was launched with some beautiful illustrations from Donata Zawadzka. I am very grateful to everyone for liking, reblogging and sharing across their social media. It was amazing and I cannot tell you how delighted I am by the response. I was also thrilled to find my first review for the book and that was wonderful. My thanks to Paul Andruss for creating a gif with the new cover and a selection of my other books which I share with you here and it includes some of the illustrations.

And the book’s first review

Appreciative reader 4.0 out of 5 stars Escape from the real world 6 October 2018

Fairy Queen Filigree moves her court from the dry Spanish plains to the Emerald Isle, where she and her courtiers soon need warm tweed clothing and fortifying amber nectar. But romance is on the cards to warm things up too. If you want a gently paced read full of enchanting detail, soothe yourself in the author’s carefully imagined world of fairy feasts, storytellers and ever so slightly petulant princesses. Like going back to childhood… This isn’t my usual thing but made a welcome change from real life – and there are some beautiful illustrations too.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/03/booklaunch-tales-from-the-irish-garden-by-sally-cronin/

Other personal ‘stuff’

I responded to Colleen Chesebro’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge with a haiku.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/04/smorgasbord-poetry-haiku-colleen-chesebro-tuesday-poetry-challenge-rose-hips/

This weekend’s short stories from What’s in a Name – meet Jane and Jack.

Jane – The Surprise

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/06/smorgasbord-short-stories-whats-in-a-name-jane-the-surprise-by-sally-cronin/

Jack – A VIP Visitor

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/07/smorgasbord-short-stories-whats-in-a-name-jack-a-vip-visitor-by-sally-cronin/

I am catching up with my reviews on the books that I have read over the summer… slowly but surely

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/06/smorgasbord-book-reviews-psychological-thriller-lies-by-t-m-logan/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/07/smorgasbord-book-reviews-the-glowing-pigs-snort-stories-of-atonement-tennessee-by-teagan-riordain-geneviene/

Part two of my interview with author Leslie Tate… childhood memories of jungles and monkey poop…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/03/smorgasbord-magazine-reblog-part-two-of-my-interview-with-leslie-tate/

New books on the shelves this week.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/03/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-pre-order-offer-son-of-the-serpent-fantasy-angels-series-by-vashti-quiroz-vega/

Cafe Update – Reviews and News.

 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/01/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-colleen-chesebro-jacqui-murray-and-sacha-black/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/05/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-covers-and-reviews-shehanne-moore-janet-gogerty-and-c-s-boyack/

If you are a regular visitor you will know that I consider Vitamin D to be one of the most essential nutrients for our health. More and more research is identifying new health conditions that improve with an increase in Vitamin D through absorption of our skin (Sunshine Vitamin) or in diet in combination with supplementation.

This article appeared last week which would suggest that migraine sufferers could decrease the number of attacks by supplementing with the vitamin.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/02/smorgasbord-health-column-nutrient-in-the-news-vitamin-d-could-reduce-number-of-migraine-attacks/

Starting to appear in the headlines across the media is news that following last year’s high death rates from the flu, and the ineffectiveness of the 2017 vaccine, a new maxi-strain format is going to be available this year.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/04/smorgasbord-health-health-in-the-news-flu-season-vaccination-alert-new-mega-vaccine-available-in-uk-and-boost-your-immune-system/

Humour and afternoon Videos

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/02/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-a-few-funnies-and-a-joke-or-two-its-a-dogs-life/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/04/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-its-a-dogs-life-funnies-and-a-joke/

A selection of blog posts each day that I have read and enjoyed. Sorry not to mention all that I have visited but I hope I have shared most on social media.

Debby Gies, Leslie Tate, Carol Taylor and Teagan Geneviene

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/01/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-meet-the-reviewers-monday-october-1st-2018-d-g-kaye-reviews-leslie-tate-carol-taylor-exposes-hot-dogs-and-teagan-geneviene-illuminates-the-1920s/

The Story Reading Ape, Claire Fullerton, Christy Birmingham and Jennie Fitzkee

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/02/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-tuesday-october-2nd-2018-the-story-reading-ape-with-claire-fullerton-christy-birmingham-40shealth-and-jennie-fitzkee-reading-preschool/

Sue Vincent, D.G. Kaye and Annette Rochelle Aben

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/03/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-wednesday-october-3rd-2018-sue-vincent-d-g-kaye-and-annette-rochelle-aben/

Charles E. Yallowitz, John W.Howell, Teri Polen, Mae Clair and Beaton Mabaso.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/04/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-thursday-september-4th-2018-charles-e-yallowitz-with-john-w-howell-teri-polen-with-mae-clair-and-beaton-mabaso-on-websites/

Jenny in Neverland, Pamela Wight and Noelle Granger.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/05/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-meet-the-reviewers-friday-october-5th-2018-jenny-in-neverland-onlinefriends-pamela-wight-shortstory-and-n-a-granger-review/

Thank you again for dropping in and your ongoing support… it is much appreciated.. Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts From Your Archives – Mixed Nuts Part 3 by Linda Bethea


Linda Bethea’s family stories always has me in fits of laughter or shedding a tear. I hope you will also head over and buy the books that Linda has published. Here is the link to part one of her mini-series: Mixed Nuts part 2

image

Mixed Nuts Part 3 by Linda Bethea

When you are dealing with family, it clarifies things to have a scale. You don’t have to waste time analyzing people when you have a ready reference. This one works pretty well for us.

1.Has a monogrammed straight jacket and standing reservation on mental ward.

2.Family is likely to move away without leaving forwarding address. Has jail time in the past or the future

3.People say, “Oh, crap. Here comes Johnny.”

4.Can go either way. Gets by on a good day. Never has been arrested. Can be lots of fun or a real mess. Relatives usually will invite in for coffee. Likely to have hormone-induced behavior.

5.Regular guy. Holds down a job. Mostly takes care of business. Probably not a serial marry-er. Attends church when he has to.

6.Good fellow. Almost everybody likes him or her. Volunteers for Habitat for Humanity. Manages money well enough to retire early.

7.High achiever. Business is in order. Serves on city council.

8.Looks too good to be true. What’s really going on?

9.Over-achiever. Affairs are in order. Solid citizen. Dull, dull, dull. Could end up as a 1

We had plenty of other interesting relatives, too. Dogs were off limits inside our house. All we had were hunting dogs, dogs with a purpose. People with house dogs were considered silly and weak-minded. Cookie and Uncle Riley (#4 People say, “Oh, crap. Here comes Johnny.”)never came to visit without bringing a couple of fat, shiny, little house dogs. You can guess what category this put them in. Daddy grudgingly tolerated their dogs as long as the dogs didn’t bark or mess up the house. They chattered endlessly about their dogs. Uncle Riley frequently assured us his dog, Jackie, was, “just like a person.” Daddy agreed the dog was as smart as Uncle Riley.

Unfortunately, Jackie got some kind of skin infection. Cookie and Uncle Riley showed up for a visit with poor Jackie, bald as an egg, the skin on his entire body irritated and red. Uncle Riley had been too cheap to take him to a veterinarian and concocted his own home remedy. He would dip Jackie in a Lysol and pine-oil mixture, reasoning it would kill any bacteria. The best we could tell, Jackie was bacteria and hair-free, but itching miserably with blistered skin. Uncle Riley felt badly about his medicine gone bad, and lovingly coated Jackie with Calamine Lotion several times a day. While Uncle Riley told us of Jackie’s troubles, he was unaware of Jackie sitting at his feet, licking his wounds. Not surprisingly, the harsh home remedy inflicted the most damage on Jackie’s sensitive nether portions. As he licked his little doggy privates tenderly, Uncle Willie reminded us Jackie was “just like a person.” Three-year-old son, John, watched Jackie’s ablutions intently and remarked, “I never saw a person do that!”

Uncle Charlie , another #3, was a compulsive liar. It didn’t concern him that no one believed him. He just lied because he was so darn good at it. Uncle Charlie would climb up on the roof to tell a lie instead of stand on the ground and tell the truth. If Uncle Charlie told you it was raining, don’t bother with your umbrella. He worked at the paper mill with Daddy, and had such a reputation for lying, that anyone repeating one of Charlie’s stories had to buy coffee for the group. One afternoon on coffee break, Charlie came rushing by the fellows in a big hurry. “Charlie, stop and tell us a lie!” one of them called after him.

Charlie never looked back, “I can’t!” he called over his shoulder as he rushed on. “Ray Pierson fell in Smokestack #2 and I’m going to call an ambulance!” They all rushed to see about their buddy and found Ray Pierson in perfect health at his usual work station, Smokestack #2.

Cousin Vonia #5 and her husband Joe #4 (Oh, Crap! Here comes Johnny) came to visit a lot, bringing their three little kids. Joe was “disabled” and didn’t have to get up early, so he just wouldn’t go home. Mother sent us on to bed, but Joe wanted to sit till midnight, even on a school night. Their little kids would have been drooped over asleep for hours. Finally Daddy started telling Mother, “We’d better to go to bed so these good folks can go home.”

Joe would look disappointed, then get up and shuffle toward the door, saying, “Well, I guess I better get my sorry self on home.” Vonia would trail behind him, carrying two sleeping kids and guiding the other staggering kid to the car. Joe couldn’t carry kids. He had a “bad back.”

Joe had a few other quirks. He had been fortunate enough to hurt his back at work and land a nice settlement and a monthly disability check so invested in a few cows and took care of them from then on. For those who know nothing of cattle farming, it is extremely hard work. Joe and his disabled back spent many hours building fences, making hay, stacking hay in the barn, unstacking that same hay later and loading it on a trailer, then taking it off and feeding it to the cattle, herding cows, wrestling soon-to-be steers to the ground and helping them become steers. He spent hours on end driving a tractor. Hard, hard, hard work.

Joe had a strange quality for a farmer, eschewing all healthy foods and existing on a diet of peanut patties, banana pudding, and milk. He also smoked like a smokestack. This careful attention to diet paid off for him. He didn’t have a tooth in his head by the time he was thirty five. He refused to get dentures. He just dropped peanut patties from his diet. He said he didn’t need dentures for just milk and banana pudding. The smoking finally killed him when he was seventy-eight. He dropped a cigarette down the bib of his overalls and pulled out in front of a train.

Even though Great Uncle Albert was only a #4.5 – 5, he had given Daddy a place to stay and let him work for his keep during the terrible times of the 1930’s when Maw Maw was struggling to feed seven children alone. Daddy appreciated this and was loyal to Uncle Albert all his life. Old, grumpy, and hormone-depleted by the time I knew him in the mid 1950’s, it was hard for me to imagine him in his younger, randy days. He was dull, and full of good advice, a habit he’d developed since he’d gotten too old to set a bad example. Aunt Jewel wasn’t his first wife, and frankly, was on pretty shaky ground as a #2, but as far back as they lived in the sticks, there weren’t any airports, so she was hanging on. I heard whispers she had broken up his first marriage to Mary. Even more shocking, Uncle Albert was entertaining her when Mary tried to force her way in to the marital bedroom. Uncle Albert slammed the door, breaking his poor wife’s arm. Mary got the hint, took the baby, and left. Smart girl.

I had trouble envisioning this. I had never met Mary, but she had to look better than the Aunt Jewell I knew. I had heard Aunt Jewell used be really pretty, but she had gotten over it. By the time I knew her, she had smoked over forty years, had nicotine-stained fingers and teeth, wrinkles around her mouth from drawing on a cigarette, and her mouth pulled a little to one side. She had a thick middle, thin hair in a frizzy old-lady perm, and bird legs. She wore stockings rolled to her knees and cotton house dresses. She wheezed constantly and never spoke except to whine, “Albert, I’m ready to go now.” Or “Albert, give me a puff off your cigarette.” Oh yes. One time they came to visit after she’d fallen and broken a rib and she started crying and said, “Albert, I want a puff off your cigarette, but I’m too sore to cough. “ That was kind of interesting, but I couldn’t imagine a man choosing her over anyone else.

It was interesting to see my father treated as a kid. Uncle Albert felt free to give his opinion about whatever Daddy was up to. He arrived for a visit one day before Daddy got home from work and was inspecting the place. Daddy aspired to #8 or 9 (8. High achiever. Business in order.

9.Looks too good to be true.) despite struggling to maintain a #6 (Regular guy. Holds down job. Mostly takes care of business. Probably not serial marrier. Attends church when he has to.)

Uncle Albert kept all his stuff organized and in perfect repair. Daddy’s barn was a disorganized mess. He tossed things wherever he got through with them. Uncle Albert walked around, examining items and commenting. “This is a good old singletree. It just needs a new chain.” “This is a good rasp. It just needs to be cleaned up.” “This is a good axe-head. It just needs to be sharpened and have a new handle put in.” Before too long, Daddy came striding up, delighted to see his uncle. He was smiling broadly and thrust out his hand.

Uncle Albert looked at straight at him and pronounced, “Bill, you need to get the junk man out here and get all this #^%$ hauled off.”

I’m pretty sure I can pass for a #5 most days.

About Linda Bethea.

Linda Bethea brings humour to her stories that are usually set in what was a dire time in American history in the great depression. There is no doubt in my mind that Southerners are tough, resilient and have an amazing sense of fun.

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.

………...as you fall in love with Kathleen’s family.

Bethea’s style of writing as she recounts her mother’s memories has made her one of my favorite authors, and I couldn’t put this book down once I started it.

Kathleen (Kitten) takes us through her childhood growing up during the Great Depression by sharing her memories, and we find ourselves cheering for the little girl and her family while we get to know them. Vivid descriptions about unwanted house-guest’s habits are hilarious, while stories of sacrifices made by the family for each other brings tears to the reader’s eyes. We find ourselves cherishing the favorite stories Kitten hears from her Mama and Daddy while she snuggles next to them much as she did at the time of their telling. As Kathleen recounts the difficulties she faced as a young adult, we too want to return home to her parents’ warm home, full pantry, and open arms.

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 via her 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 please share and leave your feedback. Thanks Sally