Monday, May 27, 2013

Spider in the Shed

Was grabbing some tools from the shed today when I came across this magnificent creature! Would have missed it completely, but I noticed the blue reflecting from it's eyes as I passed by.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Going to try this again...

Lightning - 2013 - Photo taken by K. Johnson
It's been quite some time, but I'm going to try to get this blog up and running again. Not that anybody comes to it anymore.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Helen Jean Phelps a.k.a. Nan 1923-2006

This post is very long, but please take the time to read it all the way through

It’s still very hard to swallow that I have lost my Nan. I’ve known it’s been coming for a long time now, but I always put it in the back of my mind and kept telling myself it would never happen. What hurts the most about Nan dying is the fact that I feel I’m losing all the family I’ve got.

Oh sure, I’ve got family scattered throughout the United States, but this is different. It was only Nan, Pop, Uncle Gordon, Mom, Dad, and my two sisters and I down in Florida. Occasionally my grandmothers brother and wife (Uncle Albert and Norma) would come down and stay for the winter, but they usually stayed to themselves.

Uncle Gordon died (unexpectedly) a few years ago, Uncle Albert died earlier this year, and now I’ve lost my Nan. See what I mean about losing my family?

It’s hard to take it all in. These three family members are gone in only a matter of a few short years. I’ll never ever get another chance to say hello, hug them again, or even introduce them to my son Clint. They’ll never get to be a part of my son’s life as they are to mine.

I’m still completely heartbroken that my Nan has died. I’m happy in that she is no longer in pain, but I’m angry that she had to go. I thought I’d never lose my Nan. In my eyes, she was immortal.

Anyhow, enough of my moaning, I’m going to tell you a little bit about Nan in my life. These little tidbits are not in chronological order. As I think about them, I write them.

When I was little, I used to always stay the weekends at my grandparents house in Foxwood. I loved it! I honestly think I spent more weekends at their house then my two sisters did. Nan always had all the good toys ready for me. Little die-cast metal cars, a blue snake toy (hard to explain what it is), and my all time favorite was the huge bucket of legos she kept under the Television. I would spend hours building things with those little plastic blocks! In fact, now that I think about it, I bet she still has those damn legos under the Television for me!

Nan was one hell of a cook! Nobody, and I mean nobody could top Nan’s cooking. The heck with Betty Crocker, she’s got nothing on Nan. There is one recipe that she made that I couldn’t get enough of. Stuffed cabbage or something like that. I hope she has the recipe in her house still, because I want it!

Speaking of food. A funny thing that I noticed, but never gave much thought about until recently was the fact that Nan would never eat supper with us. The men and grandkids that is. She would always wait till we were done eating our fill before she got hers. I’ve always thought this to be odd, until I read a book recently about people who grew up during the depression. Looking back now, I think she did this because of a mentality along the lines of “Feed the men and kids first. Kids need the food to grow and men the food to be strong for work”. It’s just a theory I’ve been floating around. It’s really the only way I can explain to myself why she did what she did.

On another note, there were occasions when Nan would eat with all of us. Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, birthdays, and at restaurants. But that was it!

Speaking of food,...again. Nan started to get crazier with her food as the years went on. No not the food she fed us, but what she would eat herself. I swear to you that when I was really little she would eat meat. Then all of a sudden she stopped eating cow and chicken altogether and would only eat fish. Then Nan stopped eating anything that had a head on it at one point in it’s existence. It’s weird because she would cook and feed us meat, but she wouldn’t dare eat it herself.

Sunday mornings before church was always awesome for me too. Whenever I was at Nans, she would cook me sausage, eggs, and bacon for breakfast. And if I was good all weekend, I’d be lucky and get a bowl of grits! I love grits (can you tell I’m Southern?). Nan said I was just like Uncle Gordon, always wanting grits for breakfast.

For my tenth or eleventh birthday (can’t really remember what one), Nan got me the best present of all my birthdays. A Transformer! You know, “Robots in disguise”! It wasn’t just any transformer though, it was the Decepticon Space-shuttle transformer!

When I spent the summer with Nan and Pop in their cabin in N.C., Nan made me go to the Peacock Playhouse and try out for a part in Alice in Wonderland. I was to be a card soldier. I’m not exactly sure what happened, but at some point I was no longer going to rehearsals. It’s a huge possibility that I embarrassed Nan by doing something crazy and then lying about it like Huck Finn. At that point in my life, I was known for spinning a tale or two. Punishment, no Alice in Wonderland for Jug!

Whilst in N.C., Nan made me do something that I absolutely dreaded. Oh, I hated her at the time for making me do it, but I can’t give her enough thanks now. She made me go to the library and check out a bunch of books. Oh, not just any books. Sure, I tried being sneaky and picked the picture books, but she wouldn’t have it. No, I had to read books beyond my level. I know for a fact one was the story of Hiawatha, another was Buck (some kind of dog book), and a whole slew of others. She would make me sit down at the supper table and read for a whole hour, and if I had made her mad that day she would make me read aloud! Anyhow, she started a passion in me that hasn’t stopped. I love reading. I kept it a secret for the longest time though. I didn’t want any of my friends back in Florida to know I had become a book worm. If they’d of known I liked books, they would have called me a homo and never talked to me again (You have to understand that until the Canadians took over our little town, things were real redneck, and reading was not a respectable thing for a boy to be doing)! Reading was truly an ass-whooping offense!

Here’s a funny memory. This was also in N.C. for the summer! Out back of Nan and Pops cabin was Tusquitee Creek. It was fast running water where their cabin was, but just down a ways was a calm, deep part of the creek. The swimming hole! Now, at the time, I considered myself to be a pretty awesome swimmer. My mother on the other hand didn’t think so. She made my grandmother make me wear a life-preserver vest whenever I would go swimming, just in case I got sucked out by the rapids. And you better believe Nan made me wear that little orange devil! I was so embarrassed about it. I looked like such a dork. I’m sure Nan has a picture of it somewhere.

Another funny thing about the creek, is for about the first couple of weeks in N.C. I wouldn’t go in the water. Nan would get me all suited up in my life-preserver and take me down to the swimming hole, and all I would do is stand in the ankle deep water. Oh she would get livid with me! Hey, I’m from Florida and you don’t go swimming in the freshwater unless you’ve got a death wish. How the hell was I suppose to know there were no alligators in the Smokey Mountains? Finally, Nan got so fed up with my not going beyond ankle deep water, that she got Pop to come down to the creek and strong arm me into the deep end! I was scared shitless as I was swimming around, scanning the area for anything that could be eyeing me up for lunch. Eventually I got over my fear of freshwater, and Nan eventually let me swim without the damn life-preserver!

Nan also took me to the Cherokee Indian Reservation in N.C. too. I got to meet with the chief! I have a picture somewhere at home of me and the chief. I’ll have to dig it up eventually. I also got to watch the Cherokee Indians making a canoe the old fashioned way. Being on the reservation was a truly cool experience, and led to me reading a whole lot of Cowboy and Indian books.

Nan always got me a 50 dollar savings bond for my birthday. Without fail, I would always receive one in the mail a couple of weeks after my birthday. Last year was the first time I didn’t receive one for my birthday. Pop just wrote me a check for 25 bucks instead. Nan couldn’t write much anymore, so she couldn’t get one for me. I’m going to miss not getting one for my birthday anymore.

Speaking of savings bonds, my first savings bond ever was from Nan!

When my father was hit by a drunk driver and almost killed, Nan was the one who took care of us kids while Mom was at the hospital. Nan always took good care of us. I don't think anybody could ever ask for a better grandmother.

Anyhow, I could go on and on and on about Nan in my life, but I just wanted to show you some of the more special moments in my memory banks. She was a wonderful lady, and an even better Grandmother. I will miss her always, and I look forward to seeing her again in Heaven.

Friday, May 20, 2005

The First

So, this is my first post. Just testing it out, trying to get used to using this program.