Monday, January 7, 2013

Riding a Bicycle

Many a young’un has learned to ride a bicycle on a bicycle equipped with training wheels.  Carl’s first bicycle had training wheel. I don’t remember if Terrie, Sheila and Shawn started out with training wheels.  My learning experience was to say the least unique.

My paw and maw lived on what I thought of back then as a hill.  They lived at the top of the hill, my Uncle Curt and Aunt Ida Pearl lived at the bottom and just past their house was a short bridge over a creek then the road went up hill again.

There was an old bicycle in paw’s barn that didn’t have training wheels and it was missing a chain, too.  When my cousins Larry and Donnie Ziglar were around and on those occasions when Aunt Geraldine and family were visiting from Mobile, we would get cousin Danny Adams involved in our foolishness.  We were all within a year of being the same age and the same lack of experience with riding a bicycle.

Well, our goal on these occasions was to straddle that old bike and ride it down the hill past Uncle Curt’s across the bridge and as far up the other hill as we could. Three obstacles stood in the way of this accomplishment.  One, just before you got to Uncle Curt’s there was a deep gully (ditch to city folk) on the left side of the road that stayed full of mud (as young’uns we thought of it as quick sand).  Two, on the right side of the road was a briar patch that only Uncle Remus’ Br’er Rabbit would enjoy falling into.  Three, none of us had any real experience riding a bicycle.

When we were all there and ready to go, one of us would get on that old bicycle and head off down the hill.  If you lost control or started toward one of the road hazards (gully or briar patch) the only thing you could do was try to stop using your feet (no chain, no brakes).  There was a time or two when one or more of us almost ended up in that gully or briar patch.

We worked at it and eventually accomplished our goal.  We learned how to ride a bicycle and managed to get part way up the other hill.  We had fun, real fun!

Friday, December 21, 2012

More on Christmas

Christmas will soon be upon us and I have been dredging through my memories for my most memorable Christmas.

There is the one Christmas when I received a brand new bicycle, my very first adult sized bike. My brother Carl (by the way, I was six years old before I found out his name was Carl not Brother), also got a bicycle, but his was not brand new, it was recycled. My dad had taken my old smaller bicycle, repainted it and added what I would call a passenger rack on the back. He had also painted Carl’s name on the chain guard. I have to admit, I envied that bicycle, though mine was new, his was a lot nicer.

Now, my most memorable and favorite Christmas was the Christmas of 1973. That was the first Christmas I shared with my new bride, Vicky (by the way, that’s just the name she has been call all her life, her name is really Vilinda). Vicky and I became husband and wife on December 22nd of that year and will be celebrating our 39th anniversary tomorrow.

In those 39 years we have celebrated and enjoyed many memorable Christmases as our family has grown to include 2 sons-in-law and 6 beautiful grandchildren.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas, Christmas Time is Near

My mom tried to get her Christmas decorating done last week, but her doddering old man (my dad) and his cat Sam managed to nearly destroy her work.  She ended up taking the first tree down and replacing it with another.  She usually has a house full at Christmas time with my sister, Sheila, and family coming from North Carolina; my brother, Shawn, and family coming from Texas and of course me and my local family and probably my brother, Carl, whom I have written about previously, and his wife and youngest daughter.

Carl and I have the honor of having older married children and grandchildren.  Carl’s daughter Kime’ will be giving him another grandchild this coming year and his son, Donovan’s wife will also bring him another grandchild.

Vicky (my dear wife) and I have six grandchildren.  Our daughter, Robyn (the oldest) gave us our first, a beautiful little girl who has since grown into a beautiful young lady, her name is Hayley.  A funny thing happened shortly after Hayley’s birth, Vicky became pregnant with our youngest daughter Lilly and Robyn became pregnant with our second grandchild Dalton.  So Hayley is a year older than Lilly and Dalton is three weeks younger than Lilly. Cole, her last child, came as a bit of a surprise, but has been a blessing to us all.  I really had a lot of fun messing with people’s minds at our church after Lilly was born.  I would change out the kids on Sunday morning, so they never knew whether I had Lilly, Hayley or Dalton.

Jaime, daughter number two, also has three kids.  D’vante, from her first marriage and Elijah (Eli) and Chloe from her current marriage, we don’t expect any more from her since Chloe and Eli caused her some serious health problems.

We currently have a 21 year old son, Ethan, and, of course, 14 year old Lilly still living at home.  Ethan is enrolled at Enterprise State Community College and expects to transfer to Auburn to complete his degree.

Enough, this is supposed to be about Christmas.

I recently told a friend how I gave Vicky a box of Crackerjacks one Christmas.  When she unwrapped the box she just stared at it.  I told her to open it up and see what kind of prize she got.  When she opened the box inside was a pair of ear rings, all she could say after that was, “How did you do that.”  I told her that I slit the top of the box open and took the original prize out and replaced it with the ear rings, then sealed the box back up so that you couldn’t tell it had been opened.  I did the same with Jaime, but instead of a replacement prize, I left directions to her special prize.

There have been many memorable Christmas over the years and hopefully there will be many more.  We must all continue to remember that there would not be a Christmas without Christ.  Merrrrrry Christmas.

Til next time…..

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Adventures at Maw and Paw’s

It was just your average wood frame farm house, but it was huge to a little boy.  I speak of my Maw and Paw’s house.  A lot of memories were made there.

The House 2 - B&W

The house as it appears today.

It had the high ceilings.  One room had a fireplace and  it was in this room that I can remember playing underneath a large frame which hung from the ceiling.  The frame held the makings of a quilt and was surrounded by my Maw, aunts, cousins and other neighborhood ladies, busily sewing the quit together.

When I was a kid, I was like a lot of young'uns; I liked to plunder through drawers and things to see what I could find.  It was during one of these plundering's that my plundering came to a complete halt.  I pulled out the drawer of an old dresser in a back bedroom and a snake stuck its head out, thus ending my plundering days.

That was not my only encounter with a snake.  On another occasion I was simply sitting in front of the fireplace when a snake poked its head up through a hole on the edge of the brick hearth.

On both occasions the snake was a harmless king snake, so there was no chance of harm, but they definitely scared the living daylights out of a young Ronnie.

My aunt Marie Anderson, my late uncle Mutt’s (Lloyd) wife, lives in the house now.

Til next time….

Monday, December 3, 2012

Oh, Brother

As a young boy growing up I spent a lot of time around my maw and paw (mom’s parents). We lived with them for a while during the mid-fifties, after my dad was drafted into the army. It was during this time that the following incident occurred.

On this particular day in my life, paw was having trouble getting his old car to start, so he and mom tried starting it by pushing it off. They pushed it down the hill toward my great uncle Harvey’s house, but it still refused to start.

While they were doing all the work, my brother Carl and I were in the back of the car. Carl was not quite 2 years old at the time (I believe that’s right) and had the bad habit of drinking just about anything. He happened to find a can of lighter fluid in the floor board of that old car and before I knew it had taken a swallow of it. The minute he did, he went out like a light. I let out a yell and got mom and paw’s attention. Mom grabbed him up and they went to work trying to get him to wake up. Mr. Miller, the area mailman, happened along at about that time and wasted no time getting mom and Carl into his car and off they sped.

Needless to say, there were some tense moments after that, but mom and Carl returned home safely later that day. Mr. Miller had gotten them to the hospital on time and the doctor pumped Carl’s stomach out and got him revived. Mom told us that Mr. Miller went through Opp running every traffic light, blowing his horn and flashing his lights.

Thanks to Mr. Miller’s quick action and the doctor and staff at Mizell Memorial Hospital, my brother Carl survived his life threatening ordeal.

This event happened because Carl was young and didn’t know any better, but there is one other incident that was pure stupidity. Til next time…

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Down Memory Lane

I haven’t written much about my dad’s mom and dad, mainly because I didn’t get to know them like I did my maw and paw.  My dad’s mom passed away several years before my birth and his dad, who we all called Popper, died when I was only five years old.  So about all I know of them is what I have been told by those who knew them.  But, not really knowing them does not keep me from sharing about the rest of the family.

There is the occasion when some of the family decided it would be nice to get everybody together for a cookout/picnic down at a local river.  Several family members and their children came, chicken was fried over an open fire and we had a good old time.  Some of us young’uns thought that we might get to go swimming in the river, but that didn’t happen.  We had failed to take into consideration that the cookout was in the late afternoon and it was after dark before we ate.

After all the food was eaten and the adults were sitting around talking and us young’uns were playing, the fire began to die down.  A suggestion was made that all the young’uns go out and gather up some pine cones and wood for the fire.  A stick of wood was pulled from the fire and given to the oldest young’un to use as a torch and off they went.  The gathering was going just great until a loud cry came from out of the darkness.  Suddenly there was a great stampede of young'uns headed back toward the safety of the fire and family.  With the oldest holding the torch leading the pack.

Once they were all back to safety, everyone heard laughter coming toward them.  Out of the darkness came the father of the oldest young’un, he was tickled to death at how he had scared all us young’uns and particularly tickled at how the oldest one had totally forgot about the light he was holding.  That was an embarrassing moment for me, not just because it was my dad that did the scaring, but because I was the one with the light.

It’s nice to be able to look back at memories like this and really see the fun in the moment and how much family can mean to you.  Til next time, enjoy life while you can.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Fond Memory

The building had its own unique smell. The first thing you would smell upon entering the front door was freshly popped popcorn. The smell of popcorn combined with that of the interior of the old building cannot be found anywhere else.
The place I refer to is the old Royal Theater, that was once located in downtown Opp, Alabama. The building is still there, currently occupied by a florist shop, but the theater is but a memory.
The Royal was owned and operated by my great-uncle George Owen and his wife, my great-aunt Ida. Aunt Ida was my grand paw’s sister. The Royal was not the only theater they owned. At one time they owned three drive-in theaters: the Opp Drive-In was located on U.S. Highway 331 South on property now occupied by the Pizza Hut and Norris Used Cars; the Dixieland Drive-In on U.S. Highway 84 East on the current site of the Country Cathedral Church; and the Midway Drive-In, which was so named because it was midway between Opp and Andalusia on U.S.Highway 84 West, now a site mostly owned by nature.
I can recall going to the movies with my mom and dad at all three drive-ins and falling asleep about half way through the movie. But the Royal holds the biggest part of my movie going memories, because I got to go by myself.
It only cost twenty-five cents for a ticket until I turned twelve, then it went up to fifty cents. Of course, there were a few times I got in for twenty-five cents after turning twelve, Aunt Ida sold the tickets.
I can remember watching Godzilla fight numerous monsters and Frankie and Annette romping on the beach. There was also the time my brothers, Carl and Terrie, went with me. A monster movie was playing and Terrie spent most of the time sitting in the lobby.
Television eventually brought an end to the drive-in theaters, but the old Royal struggled on into the mid-sixties. After the Royal closed Aunt Ida and Uncle George retired. Uncle George kept himself busy by opening a small gun repair shop.
I still attend an occasional movie, but the fancy new theaters with their high backed seats, surround sound audio and 3D projectors, can’t hold a candle to my memories of the old Royal Theater.