The Obituary of Bessie Buemiller

Bessie Buemiller passed away “Down in the Valley.” Bessie shall not “Pass This way again,” so “Count your Many Blessings.”

Bessie’s life could best be described as “God moves in mysterious Ways”. And Bessie was heard to repeat “Grace Greater than our Sin.” Under her breath when asked about her summer vacation.

Bessie Buemiller was a robust woman who often sang “Precious Memories” when asked about her younger years. She would sidle up to an unsuspecting male and whisper, “Just a closer walk with Thee.” But since all her attempts were in vain, Bessie was an old Maid.

She left specific instructions that she be buried “On a Hill Far Away,” and that all her pallbearers be female. Her explanation, “Since they wouldn’t take me out when I was alive, I don’t want any men to take me out when I’m dead.”

Bessie left hand written instruction for the mortician.  He was to try and “Revive us Again” just to be sure she was gone. 

Although Bessie knew she was “Redeemed,” she still “Longed to Tell the Story” of her encounter with the prohibition movement when they marched to have all alcohol thrown in the river. Bessie told how she led the church choir in singing “Shall we gather at the River” much to the prohibition’s dismay.

Bessie Buemiller will be missed. Her desire “Was to Work till Jesus Comes.” And in the last week of her life she was telling her pastor, when he asked for volunteers to instruct the new male missionary team “Lord Send Me.”

But, since the Lord was saying “Onward Christian Soldiers.” Bessie was content to stand on “Jordons Stormy Banks,” and yell “Go tell it on the Mountains” for when “The Roll is Called up Yonder I’ll be There.” with fork in hand, waiting on dessert…for I know “The Best is Yet to Be.”

Best Served Cold

Prissy looked around the room at the other contestants and her eyes came to rest on Samantha.

There she is again; if there’s one thing I know, Samantha is always going to show up.  I can, at all times, count on that. The hussy. She’s defeated me now three of the last four times we’ve gone out. What is it that the judges like so much about her? 

Her body’s all slick and shiny.  It looks like she used about a pound of oil.  I bet it’s Crisco.

Maybe, it’s that mop of long hair she has. Frankly, I’d like to wrap my fingers up in that mess and pull it right out of her head.

Perhaps it’s her eyes.  They are pretty, all blue and shiny.  I’d like to gouge them out of her flipping face.

Maybe it’s her lips.  All curved up like she’s smiling. I can almost hear the witch’s laughter passing between them.

Prissy tried to forget about Samantha and go about her own business of preparing for the competition.  She made sure every hair was in place and every eyelash received her personal attention. She practiced her strut.  The strut was of the up most importance, as you strolled down the run way.  Over exaggerated swing to the left, then the right and it always helped, if at the end of the walk you tossed your head while provokingly looking at the judges.

Suddenly, Prissy got an idea.  What if she somehow could put glue on the ramp so when Samantha walked across it, it would adhere to her feet and cause her to look very uncoordinated as she strolled/stumbled down the runway?

She’d have to be careful.  It had to be put down just before Samantha went on.

That shouldn’t be hard; they all were assigned the order in which they would appear.  If she sort of stood to the side and waited she could do this.

Prissy’s plan was intact. She went about finding some glue and then proceeded to the runway entrance, waiting.

The announcer called Samantha’s name and she glided to the runway entrance.  She looked so confident as she strolled forward.

Just before she took her first step, Prissy managed to put down a big glob of glue on the ramp.  Samantha stepped right in it and immediately started trying to lift her feet up to undo whatever had attached itself to her.  It was no use; she stumbled along and looked ridiculous.

Prissy could hardly contain herself. Laughter rose up inside of her until she felt she was going to burst out laughing, but somehow she managed to subdue it.

Soon, it was Prissy’s turn.  She glided down the runway with the grace of a queen.  Her eyes sparkled and her steps were sure. She knew she made a good appearance.  The fan blew her long hair in beautiful waves. She was happy and she was beautiful.

Now, it was time for the judges to announce their decision.  Prissy held her breath and finally that glorious moment when they called her name.  She was the winner!  She had finally outdone Samantha.   Her time of victory had arrived; it was her moment in the spotlight.

She took the victory stroll down the runway, smiling and nodding her head. When she returned back stage, she purposely walked by Samantha who was seated with her head down in defeat.

Prissy strutted by her and quietly whispered, “Feel my burn? Payback’s a bitch.  You thought you were the cat’s meow, but now you see who the real winner is, in the National Cat Fancier’s Association Contest.”

Childhood

Saturdays were a picture show

And sherbet ice cream cold.

It was amazing what a dime well spent

Could provide a ten year old.

 

Riding along with cowboys,

As I sat on upturned seat.

Adventures came a plenty

The Silver Screen could not be beat.

 

On occasion when the film broke

And hissing filled the room,

We’d laugh without stopping

Knowing the show would soon resume.

 

The smells of buttered popcorn

And orange drink would fill the room,

The sound of laughter flourished,

There was no time for gloom.

 

Alas, those days have long been gone

And some childhood ways forgot.

But, memory remains of beautiful things,

of lessons childhood taught.

My Jewel Thief Encounter

My first encounter with the dark underworld of crime and espionage, happened when I was fifteen.  I was a typical teenager given to bouts of gaudiness and out of the box dressing.  I took special pride in my collection of costume jewelry I had borrowed, begged and confiscated from willing aunts and cousins and what few bangles my mother owned.

One morning, I rose from my slumber to get dressed for a special outing.  It was the weekend and I had a special guy I was to go to the movies with.  I wanted to look particularly alluring that day, so I drug out my box of prized jewelry to pick a special pair of earrings I was sure would appeal to the boy of the day.

In horror, I stared down at my box of treasures only to see all the gorgeous stones were missing.  There was nothing remaining, but the shells that had held my lovely jewels.  I gasped in horror as the empty stone settings glared back at me and I screamed, “Momma,” to the top of my lungs.

When mother came in, she tried to control my sobbing as she looked at the pitiful remains of my prized jewelry.  She asked, “What happened?”

Between sobs I said, “I’m sure I don’t know what heartless person stole my prized possessions. Who would have stolen my jewels?”

Mother cleared her throat and said, “I’m sorry for your loss.  Let me get back with you after I’ve had time to investigate this horrible deed.”

I continued to get ready for my movie date and when I left the house, I slammed the door.

Later that day as the sun was starting its decent into its nightly bed, I arrived back home from my day of movie going.  I found mother and my little brother waiting for me at the kitchen table.

Mother said, “Tell your sister what you have done.”

“I stole your jewelry.”  He said with big brown eyes staring up at me.

I gasped, grabbing my heart. “You what?”

“I stole your jewels.  Here they are.” He said as he handed me a tobacco sack.

With desperate eyes I opened the sack and there, sparkling back at me were all my jewelry stones.

“Tell her why you took them.”  Mother said.

“Because, I want to be a jewel thief.”  He confessed.

I broke down into a teenage sobbing hissy fit.  I could feel the vapors coming on.  I shouted to the top of my lungs, “You are disgusting you spoiled little brat.”

Mother patted my shoulders to comfort me as I threw the sack of jewels back at the little monster who was my brother.

He sat smirking back at me, as I went out the back door to find comfort from my dog. Again, I slammed the door asking the powers that be, why I couldn’t have been an only child.  I prayed karma would soon pay the jewel thief a visit.  That seemed only fitting and proper to me.

As an adult, my little brother had a friend by the name of ‘Surf the Murf’. Now if you think that has connotations of perhaps a little dark side of the law,  you would be correct.  ‘Surf the Murf,” was a world renowned jewel thief. He made one of the biggest heist of jewels in New York City that has ever been made.

Of course my brother met him after ‘Murf,’ had paid his dues to the law and was traveling a much better road. But, I still have concern for my brother and often wonder about his choice of professions that prevailed years ago.  Thank God he didn’t meet a real jewel thief until years later when they both were working a Bill Glass Crusade for Christ. Whewwww that was a close one.

Lessons

As this school year draws to an end I am reminded of two teachers I had long ago.  I still think of them often especially when using a skill they taught me.  Mrs. Delay was my home ec teacher and she always said, “You’ll be a writer or a performer, maybe both.”  I guess I am.


Mr. Delay was the superintendent and his, ‘now don’t you know.’ Still rings quite loud and clear. May this poem serve as a tribute to all teachers everywhere, especially to these two.




Lessons

Oft when least expected memory taps with gentle wings.

It flies us back to yesterdays people,  place and things.

In memory we can visit school and teachers from long ago,

For me, two stand distinctive in my memory, ‘now don’t you know.’

Mr. and Mrs. Delay, you taught of books, games and life.

You opened minds to understand and cope with worldly strife.

You both are oft remembered by students perhaps forgot,

As they sew upon a curtain or boil a chicken in a pot.

Please accept my thanks, for memories I hold dear,

Please know I learned my lessons well, because your words still ring quite clear!

Johnnie B.

The sun glistened off the petals of the red zinnias and one lone dewdrop cast shadows of color as I walked by.  The old and well known flowers or plants called ‘flags’ by some were holding their own this hot summer day.

A lady by the name of Johnnie, had painstakingly planted these spots of beauty with loving hands and a prayer in her heart they would survive. All the flower seeds and flags had been given her by friends who wanted to share their gardens of beauty, with her.

I was carrying a pail of water and my job at the moment was to wet the pads of an old evaporative cooler, sticking out the bottom of the window.  I had to hand wet it because there was no running water available. My parents idea of running water, was, ‘Jimmy, run to the well and get some water and wet down the fan.’

My mother was recovering from a surgery she had and the house was hot.  I didn’t mind doing my assigned job because it helped Mom feel better.

As that thought raced across my mind these seventy some odd years later, it brought with it other things this lady called Johnnie had done in my life. Some of the things were victorious and brave and other things were just downright funny.

She was quite a lady.  Actually,  she was more like ‘Wonder Woman.’

When I was in high school and a typical teenager, Mom would make me beautiful dresses out of feed sacks the chicken feed came in. She was a wonderful seamstress and no one would know the beautiful dresses I wore had once lived the life of a lowly chicken feed sack.

The same ingenious brain, thought up the idea of nailing cardboard on the inside of the front porch, which she had previously made canvas curtains for on the outside. She said, “We will paint it the color you get to pick out, and this will be your room.”

I loved that I had my own room.  The house only had three rooms total and for me to have my own bedroom was really a work of art and an act of courageous, ‘out of the box thinking,’ on my mother’s part.

She did that a lot in my growing up years.

She saw that I had the same as the other girls even if she had no money to give me. She did it so well I never realized we were as poor as the proverbial church mice.

Mom made what little spending money she had from raising chickens and turkeys and selling their eggs.  She also milked an old cow and had butter to sell. On Saturday we went to town and she sold her wares. That’s where the money came from for the paint to paint my newly acquired bedroom.

One of my weekly chores was to sweep and mop the front porch.  This was prior to it becoming my bedroom.  The downfall was I would no more than get it mopped and here the big footed turkeys would come and march themselves all over the clean porch. These were free range birds long before we knew what to call them.  I hated them and swore I would never marry a farmer, regardless of how much I might love him.  I had no desire in carrying on, what I thought in my teenage mind, was a disgusting practice.

You can imagine the gloom the day Mom came in the house and announced her prized rooster was lying dead in the cow lot. I personally rejoiced because every time I went to the barn that rooster would ‘flog,’ me and his spurs would bring blood to my legs.  So one day I prepared for him and when he made his predictable run at me I whacked him over the head with a two by four I’d purposely carried with me. His murder was indeed premeditated, but Mom never knew what killed her prized rooster until years later as an adult, I confessed my deed. Mom’s response about the rooster was the same response she always gave, “I don’t believe it.”

There are so many tales I could share, so many memories both sad and funny about this courageous woman I called, ‘mother.’

As I shared previously, her name was ‘Johnnie,’ so she thought it fitting she name me, her one and only daughter, Jimmy.  I think the real reason was because this very smart woman realized it was indeed a man’s world and in order to make it you had to be able to match wits with the best of them.  I can’t commence to tell you how many times in the business world, my name got me in the door simply because they thought I was a man. Once I was in the door they were too embarrassed to ask me to leave.

I never felt I was being taken advantage of because I was a woman.  I just felt like it was business as usual and we’d see who won the battle.  Somedays I was the dog and somedays I was the tree, but most days I was just ‘blessed,’ by having such a smart woman that raised me to be independent and self-assured.

Momma has been gone a long time, but I learned so much from her by the simple act of ‘osmosis.’ Just being around her and observing what I later came to realize as an adult, her innate ability to face life’s challenges head on, without fear or intimidation.

I feel as though this ability in women has somehow become endangered.  Now, so many want to blame others for their hardships, when in reality it’s simply a matter of taking charge of their own life and willing to accept defeat or victory on their own terms.

I hope I’ve been successful in passing on that ability to my daughter and my granddaughters and my great granddaughters.  If so, then I’ve pleased the woman who gave me that inbred ability to pick myself up and carry on.

Thanks, ‘Johnnie B.’

I pray I’ve  learned the lessons you taught so well.

Words to express the appreciation and love I have for you escape this wordsmith, so I’ll simply say……….“I love and miss you Momma.”

Homemade Pull-Apart Bread

Homemade Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread

2 cans large biscuits

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 T. ground cinnamon

½ c. butter, melted

½ brick cream cheese, softened

½ cup powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees

Cut each biscuit into quarters.  Mix granulated sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Add biscuits. Toss to coat.

Place half the biscuit pieces in a fluted tube pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Pour half the melted butter over biscuits.

Add remaining biscuits and repeat with butter.  Finish by sprinkling sugar and cinnamon mixture over biscuits.

Bake until biscuits or done.  Test by inserting toothpick. When done and brown pull from oven.

Let pan set for five minutes then place plate over top and invert.

Finish by mixing powdered sugar and cream cheese together and add about 5 T. milk at a time until desired consistency has been reached.

Pour over warm biscuits.

Yummy!

If you want just plain pull apart bread, roll biscuits in garlic and then add garlic to the butter and bake as you would the Cinnamon pull apart bread.  Both are delicious.  And you can add shredded Cheddar Cheese between layers of biscuits for an even more tantalizing treat.

What Makes a Rooster Crow?

What makes a rooster crow? Why does this sentinel of the barn yard, believe that it’s his duty to trumpet reveille with his cock-a-doodle-doo each and every morning?

This trumpeter of a new day’s dawning, may have plumage of many colors or he may have only one color. But, every rooster has a crown atop his head, causing some to call him a king. Maybe that’s why he deems it necessary to awake everyone each morning. He wants you to know that the king is awake.

Actually that crown atop his head is called his comb. Maybe that’s because the tip resembles teeth in a comb?

There is a fable told in Asia that their land once had nine suns. Because there were so many suns, their land grew parched and dry. Everything burned up due to the excessive heat from so many suns. The people decided to hire the best archer in the entire kingdom to shoot all the suns out of the sky.

One, two, three and so it went, each sun falling out of the sky causing the land to grow dark. One very alert sun, raced behind a mountain to hide from the archer. While the sun was hiding, the people suddenly realized that their land had grown dark and cold. Nothing would grow unless it had sunshine.

“What shall we do?” They questioned. “We have made a terrible mistake! How can we coax the sun out of hiding?”

A rooster with bright plumage and much self assurance pranced before them. “I will bring the sun back to you for a price. My price is that I will be given a crown and recognized as a king.”

The town’s people agreed they must have the sun. If this rooster could coax the last remaining sun out of hiding, then to give him a crown and call him a king would be a small price to pay. So they told him to get on with his plan. What he had asked would be granted.

The rooster flew atop a fence post and turned in the direction of the mountain the sun was hiding behind. He took a deep breath, shook his feathers out until he looked like a plump pillow and crowed his loudest, cock-a-doodle-do.

Suddenly, the shy and frightened sun peeked from behind the mountain. Slowly, it began to show itself and with its appearance came the beautiful sunlight.

The grass limp blades started to erect themselves and the flowers closed petals started to open. The earth came alive as the sun’s light covered it with warmth. The people cheered for the sun and for the rooster who had coaxed it back to them.

However, the people had a problem. They could find no crown that would fit the head of the prideful rooster. What could they do?

The sun offered a suggestion. “Let me give him some of my sun rays to wear as a crown,” the sun said.

“What a wonderful idea!” the townspeople agreed.

And so it was done.

The sun kissed the top of the roosters head and thus the pointed ends of his comb serve as a reminder of the suns bright rays, and the day the rooster saved the country from certain doom.
The proud rooster, however, is afraid he will lose his crown if he doesn’t continue to remind the sun that he is a king. So, each and every morning, he crows just so the sun will remember.

Of course modern man says the rooster crows just to show everyone that he is claiming his territory and telling all that will listen that the hens in that chicken yard belong to him. Sometime he may crow as a warning to the chickens in his charge that danger is near. Some say he often crows out of boredom.

But each morning, as the sun starts to rise in the east, the roosters all over the country proudly puff their feathers and trumpet a loud cock-a-doodle-doo!

Actually, a rooster may crow at anytime day or night and the comb, or crown, is nature’s way of making the rooster attractive as a potential mating partner. There are many fables as to why a rooster crows. It might be interesting for you to look up “fables of roosters,” and see which one sparks your imagination and gives you a new appreciation for this king of the barnyard.

Part of the Asian Fable was taken from “Grit” magazine. “Secret of the Roosters Crow.” by Jennifer Nemec, assc. Editor.

Where Have All the Children Gone?

Where have all the children gone?
I can’t hear their happy song.
Where have all the children gone?
Time’s carried them away!

Time with his cruel hand,
Took the children from the sand.
Carried them quickly out of sight,
Made men and women over night!

Rocky horses, paper dolls, toys upon my floor.
Yesterday a rag doll was lying by my door.
Ice cream cones, puppy dogs, gum behind the bed,
Torn jeans, dirty socks and prayers being said.

But today,
Where have all the children gone?
I can’t hear their happy song.
Where have all the children gone?
Time’s carried them away!