Monthly Archives: January 2018

Me and Mea


In the fall of 1984 my Mama took me to school for the first time. I was six years old and my Kindergarten class was inside one of four classrooms located across the street from Millport High School home of the Millport Jr. Tide.

I lived in the deep South where segregation was normal and at that time in my life I was innocent and oblivious to the reasons why I had to drink out of the “WHITE” water fountain when some of my friends and classmates had to drink from the “BLACK” water fountain. It just was what it was, and I was too little to know the difference.

I spent most of my first-grade year sitting at my desk just outside of Mrs. Junkin’s classroom door in the breezeway. I’m still not sure what all I actually did to earn that spot outside her classroom door, but I learned to really like playing with the bugs and the butterflies that I found in the dirt out there by myself.

In second grade something really big happened. I moved to a brand-new school three miles up the road from this one. It was huge and on our first day, all the second graders had to sit on the floor because we didn’t have desks or chairs yet. I remember sitting on the floor in Mrs. Jackson’s second grade classroom next to a girl I didn’t know. She said her name was Mea and she was from Kennedy.

Since I was from Millport she told me that she couldn’t be my friend. See, Millport and Kennedy were rival schools located only six miles from one another. For years and years, the schools hated one another and battled it out on the football field, basketball court, and baseball fields like it was a blood match. If you came from “Kennerdy” you stuck with Kennedy folks. Same for Millport.

So, the fact that the two schools were combined into a new school didn’t sit well with some people in our area. It wasn’t really malice that kept the two towns apart…it was tradition. As a second grader (and the oldest child in my family) I didn’t have a clue about tradition. All I knew was that I was excited to be in a new school.

Mea was the baby in her family. Both of her older siblings had gone to Kennedy and being that they were several years older than her, had taught her that “we don’t make friends with folks from “Milllllllllport”.

Good thing Mea never listens to anybody; especially her siblings! Since we were seated next to each other on that floor for what seemed like a long time, we just naturally learned to be friends. We laughed and played everyday and before long we didn’t even remember why we were not supposed to be friends in the first place. Her siblings learned that lesson too!

Our teacher was Mrs. Daffron in the third-grade. She had a baby that year so Mrs. Carroll was her substitute. Both of those ladies learned pretty quickly that me and Mea did not need to sit next to each other. With our desks on opposite sides of the classroom we still managed to get into trouble for talking or laughing out loud during class every day!

I don’t remember if we were in the same class during our fourth-grade year or not. Probably not since I can’t remember. But, we still played together at P.E., I do know that!

In the fifth-grade we both got a paddling from Mrs. Abrams for fighting. We decided we hated each other that year and did our best to make sure the other knew just how much! After that paddling though something magical happened. We formed a bond that to this day remains unbroken.

Our families have accepted over the years that there is an additional sibling that must be considered when there are major family decisions to be made. They learned during our Jr. High and High School years that me and Mea would be together most of the time. She wore my clothes and I wore hers. She got us into trouble and I got us out. We truly are Thelma and Louise.

Mea has always thought since she is the oldest (by less than 24 hours!) that she should be the one in charge. I guess being the baby of her family and me being the oldest of my family it was ok with both of us. We got to be what we never would have been otherwise when we were together. Thankfully, our mothers became friends and had each other on speed dial!

When we were twelve we made a bajillion trips to Florence where our love for the UNA Lions was born. When we were fifteen we had a small little birthday party together at my house. Our parents kinda freaked out when two-hundred and fifty kids from all over the surrounding states and counties showed up!

We took our first airplane flight together during high school when we flew to Dallas, TX with our Home Ec teacher. Mea freaked out and begged my Mama to go in her place. She even offered my Mama her clothes to wear! Instead of freaking out, I found my first true love: traveling!

After we graduated together, we would take short trips to the beach when we had the chance. One time, we watched our crazy Iowan friends go swimming in the ocean when it was 28 degrees outside! We wore the roads out between Florence and home. We hated one another’s boyfriends and told each other so many, many times.

Later we got married three weeks apart. I was her Maid of Honor and she was mine. Our sisters understood.

She had a baby a year after we got married and Meagan became my first child too. It took us six years before we had another one. I will never forget my sister Tracy calling me on Friday to tell me she was pregnant. My sister Diana called me on Monday to tell me she was pregnant. And, I was standing in the mall in Tuscaloosa the next Friday when Mea called my cell phone to tell me she was (finally) pregnant again. It was five more months before I called the three of them to tell them I was pregnant too.

The following year, we all got pregnant together again.

For a lot of years, Mea and I went to church together, played in the pool together, planned parties together, and went crazy together. Our kids have grown up with two sets of siblings and two sets of grandparents on their Mama’s sides. We breeze in and out of each other’s homes like they are our own.

We have literally faced every one of life’s storms together. We both lost spouses: me to death and her to divorce. We walked the lonesome trail of infertility; the broken years where we had no money and too many bills to pay; the fake friends who did not understand that we are not merely just friends and tried their best to tear us apart; and our girls were even baptized on the same day! We’ve lost husbands and houses; worked the same jobs; traveled the same places; spent the same money; fed each other the same food; and cried the same tears for thirty-two years. Not too many people can say that they have had a friend for literally their whole life, but we can.

Today, we are facing a new hurdle. Macy Jewel…Mea’s second child…her clone…and Maggie’s best friend since birth…is facing a medical issue that came out of the blue. This past week she started having seizures. She has never had a seizure before and we don’t know what is causing them now. Please pray with us that the doctors will be able to find a reason for the seizures and be able to treat them easily. Seeing Macy lying there so sick with no explanation is beyond hard to bear. We know that our God is a good God and that even in our darkest hour He is there. We are confident that He is the ultimate healer, redeemer, and savior. Through HIM all things are possible.

One-day way down the road, when our kids have us committed to the crazy ward or the nursing home…we will be those old ladies you hear about who dance in their wheelchairs, flirt with the male nurses, and flat refuse to leave each other’s sides. Until then, we will continue to do this life together come what may.

Charlotte’s Story


It’s a rainy, messy wintry day. I have the flu…and pneumonia! In case you were wondering…it stinks! Anyway, I decided that my mind needed a little break from reading other people’s stories, so I decided to write one of my own. Sometimes the only way to tell it is to just get on with the tellin’…so without further ado…I give you Charlotte’s story:

On January 11, 2015 I received a phone call from my mother in law. She asked me if “the girls” were home and I told her we would be soon. She said she was almost to my house and would be there waiting for us when we arrived. Twenty minutes later, we pulled into the driveway and the girls jumped out of the truck to go see what Momo was up to. When the van door opened, I heard squeals of delight coming from Maggie and Linnie. Greg and I approached the door to see what the squealing was about and to our GREAT surprise we saw a tiny, white, puppy.


Yes. A puppy. No warning. No clue. No…hey do you want another puppy? Just, a puppy.

I guess I should tell you that this new puppy was number four for the girls. Momo was being sweet and thought that number four would be helpful. She was correct.

In August 2011 Greg and I went to the World’s Longest Yard sale. We had a great time and ended up coming home with a cute little Bassett Hound puppy we found along the way. He nor I had ever been “animal” people, but that puppy was so cute! Greg said it had to come home with us to live with the girls. We promptly named him Rosco and he became an instant member of our family.

It wasn’t long before we decided that Rosco needed another dog with him. We didn’t realize that Bassets were social dogs and they do not do well alone. Greg was adamant that we only have another Bassett.

So, after asking around we found one in Millport. We went to pick up this one on the way home from the farm one day. Bosco, formally known as Rosco, was a full-grown male who could be surly and mean if he felt so inclined. Thankfully, he was never mean to the girls.

At the time we lived in the trailer on top of the hill. We didn’t have a fence and the dogs pretty much just roamed wherever they wanted to go. We could always count on them being in the yard when we got home though.

One day on his way home, Greg saw a bloody heap lying in the road. He stopped and sure enough it was Bosco. Rosco was right beside him, but only Bosco had been hit. Greg ended his misery; came in the house got an old towel to wrap his mangled body in; and then lead our sad little party down to a spot under a tree beside the pond. That’s where we buried him.

Losing Bosco was also the girls’ first experience with death.

Greg and I decided that we needed to find another Bassett for Rosco. So, we called Momo and had her look for one. (She is the animal person in the family!) It wasn’t long before she called and said that some she knew was gonna have puppies. After they were born and ready to go, loaded the girls up into the minivan and set off for Hamilton with Momo in tow. We met the lady at Bevill State and put our claim on the runt of the litter. Her name was Rosie and she was adorable.

Rosco and Rosie were two happy peas in a pod for a couple of years. They played well together and seemed to love each other until the day we came home, and Rosie was alone. We looked and looked for Rosco, but he never appeared. The girls were so sad. It didn’t make sense why Rosie was home, but not Rosco.

I was on the way to the farm the day I found him. He was sitting on the side of the road just outside of Belk and I noticed him immediately. I pulled the car over and jumped out. When I called his name, Rosco ran over and jumped up on my leg. I think he was glad to see me! So, I loaded him up and took him home.

Rosco was home for about four months. Then, he disappeared again. He still hasn’t come home. Rosie was alone, and she did not do well alone! That dog was the most pitiful thing you have ever seen! She would whine and cry and crawl around begging you to pet her. She hated not having her partner to play with and would just sit and watch the girls play in the yard instead of joining them like she had always done. That’s when Momo decided that the girls (Rosie included!) needed another dog.

The day Charlotte came to live with us I declared for all the world to understand that IF anything were to happen to either one of those dogs we would NOT be getting another one. I was over the love ‘em and lose ‘em part of being a pet owner. Especially when I knew that there was an illegal dog ring being run in our area. Several people I knew had full-blooded dogs that had gone “missing” in recent months and the word on the street was that they were being taken to Mississippi and resold in an underground pet shop. (Insert my intense anger here.)

Anyway, now that Charlotte had joined our family we enjoyed playing with her and Rosie every day. They were nearly identical to one another (even though they came from completely different lines) and it was funny to watch them run around together. As much as they looked alike, they acted totally different. I have laughed many times over how human their attitudes were. Rosie was a pleaser and all she wanted was to be praised. Charlotte is a bit high and mighty. She would always spit out her medicines or eat the ham and leave the Heartgurard laying on the ground. She would literally gag if you tried to force her to eat anything. Greg and I laughed many times because Rosie was just like Maggie and Charlotte was just like Linnie.

It was the end of May or the first of June (I can’t really remember exactly) of 2015 when both Charlotte and Rosie went missing. We came home one afternoon, and they were gone. They didn’t come home that night or any of the next nights either. At the time, my grandmother was very sick. My great-aunt had moved in with her and she was also not doing well. It was the end of the school year and my whole family was doing what we could to try to help with Me-Maw and Aunt Martha. During that time Greg also started having more problems with his heart. With so much going on, the loss of our dogs was kind of put on the bottom of the list. I didn’t have time to focus on where they might be, and I was more than a little pissed to even have to be thinking about it to begin with, ya’ know?

About two weeks after the dogs “went missing” we lost Aunt Martha. Three weeks later we lost Me-Maw. Two months later we lost Greg.

A week after Greg died, I gave his turkeys and chickens away. There are really no words adequate enough to describe the level of grief we all reached. I guess I should admit that I was a little bit relieved to not have to take care of any animals; I did good to keep both of my children alive.

One day I was reading in my bible and I came across Jeremiah 33:10-12. It said:

 “This is what the Lord says: ‘You say about this place, “It is a desolate waste, without people or animals.” Yet in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are deserted, inhabited by neither people nor animals, there will be heard once more 11 the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord, saying,

“Give thanks to the Lord Almighty,
for the Lord is good;
his love endures forever.”

For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were before,’ says the Lord.

12 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In this place, desolate and without people or animals—in all its towns there will again be pastures for shepherds to rest their flocks.”

That’s when I claimed those verses as my own. I decided that one day, God would restore my land. He would bring a man and animals back into my life. And, I believed it with my whole heart.

Fast forward to November 6, 2017.

Amazingly, I am now re-married…living in the house that Greg and I built…and I have two step-children. It was our weekend to have “the kids” and three of the four were not feeling well.  On Monday morning, I had to take Abigail to school while the other three stayed home.

We were driving up the county road we live on headed towards school that morning when I saw her lying on the side of the road. I looked at her and thought, “Nah, there’s no way”.  As I got closer I looked over at Abigail and said, “Abi, that’s our dog!”.


If you know Abi, you already know she is not real perceptive. Like, most things just go right over her head. So, she was really, really confused by me saying that was our dog considering the fact that she didn’t even know we had a dog!

I pulled the car over to the side of the road and jumped out. I immediately recognized Charlotte. It is weird to me how I knew her as soon as I saw her. Dogs must be like kids. When you get them as a puppy, you don’t forget who they are! I leaned down and called Charlotte’s name and she perked her head up, sat up, then ran to me and jumped up on my leg! I rubbed her head and talked to her all the while in complete shock! This dog had been gone for two years and four months!! Honestly, it was like seeing a ghost!

It didn’t take me long to get her loaded up in my car. Abi was still in total disbelief and she asked again, “Whose dog is this? She STINKS!”

I laughed and said it was Maggie and Linnie’s dog…and now it was her dog too! Abi is kinda like me…she’s not really an animal person, but she put on a good front. Except for the stinking part. It was drizzling rain, but we rode the rest of the way to school (and back home) with the windows down! Of course, Charlotte throwing up on the ride home had a little something to do with the windows being down, but whatever. LOL

When I got home, I couldn’t wait to show the girls. I knew they would be just as shocked as I was…and I was correct! They were so excited, and Sam didn’t quite know what to think. I did manage to remember to call Heath and tell him that “our dog was home” to which he replied, “We don’t have a dog”. I assured him, that yes…yes sir we sure did have a dog and she was home!“>

After I posted the video of the kids seeing Charlotte on Facebook it wasn’t long before my inbox starting dinging. A friend of mine named Emily (coincidence?) saw the video and said that Charlotte looked just like her dog “Maggie” (um, do you see where this is going?!).

After several minutes of texting back and forth and comparing pictures it became clear that Charlotte was Maggie…and Maggie was Charlotte. And both Emily’s were stunned!

In the meantime, another friend was texting me from the animal shelter. Apparently, Charlotte had been at the shelter off and on a couple of times. She had even been adopted by another family before my friend, Emily realized that she was at the shelter. When I asked where she had originally gotten “Maggie” she told me she had gotten her from someone in Berry the day of Johnny Nichols’ funeral.


Why is that significant? Well, Johnny Nichols is the man who bought the store from us when we sold it. He was the fire chief at Lawrence Mill Fire Department and was one of Greg’s best friends. He had died suddenly from a heart attack (just like Greg) two days prior. The fact that Emily found this dog on the day of his funeral is just plain out weird.

It is also weird that Emily lived close to the store the whole time that we had owned it. (Like, when we got all four of our dogs!) Emily and her little family lived less than a mile from the store. Emily’s family had only recently moved to the county road where we now live on the opposite end! She had known Greg and Johnny most…if not all her life! She had also known the girls their whole life! We literally passed her old home place every time we went to church on Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, and Wednesday nights! So, I knew that she didn’t have “Maggie” while she lived at that other house. Considering we passed that house a lot over the course of two years it stands to reason that we would have seen “Maggie” at least once if she had been there. Knowing that Emily didn’t take our dog was a no-brainer.

It just seemed really weird that some of the pieces that fell together…fell together! Charlotte has had quite the journey!

From what I have been able to piece together she and Rosie were kidnapped on the same day. I don’t know who took them or where the next stop was for them, and I still do not know what happened to our sweet little Rosie. Emily found “Maggie” in Berry. We have no idea where she had been or who she had been with before that (the story that Emily got didn’t add up when we figured out that Maggie was Charlotte).

I do know that Charlotte spent a good deal of time in and out of the pound. She was picked up numerous times by my friend, Phil before she was adopted by a family who paid to have her “fixed”. When I was questioned about having her fixed before she went missing, I couldn’t remember. Then, I remembered that we had planned to have her “fixed” but she was not old enough to do so before she was taken. Thankfully, the animal shelter requires that animals be “fixed” before they are adopted. I asked Phil if I needed to pay for the vet bill, especially since someone else had already paid for it and they didn’t have “their” dog anymore. Phil assured me that everyone had been reimbursed and that I didn’t owe anyone anything. He was really glad that now Charlotte was HOME.

That night I just had to laugh at how amazingly CRAZY this whole story was! I don’t know how, why, or if there is even a reason that so many of the details are so intertwined. What I do know is that Charlotte is without a doubt, home. I am a huge skeptic about a lot of things…but when you see an animal recognize its home after not being there in two years and four months…you don’t easily let it pass from your memory!

Heath’s first text after seeing Charlotte’s homecoming video on Facebook was: “Out of the House”. That night he and the kids built a dog house for her out of the molding I had torn down in our kitchen. The molding Greg had put up in that same kitchen eleven years before when I was pregnant with Maggie. I sit here today (in my chair!) and just laugh. I mean really, does this blow anyone else’s mind as much as it does mine?

Oh, one more thing. Charlotte spent two months moping around because she is a Basset Hound…and Basset Hounds are social animals who hate being alone right? Right. So, now we have Gypsy who is not a Basset Hound and who…as far as I am concerned…is the caboose for this crazy train!


Now you know the whole story or at least as much as I can remember in my current dazed and confused condition!