Sunday, June 24, 2018


Have you ever relaxed and just looked at a tree? Admired the leaves, limbs, and bark? Looked at all of the birds who land on the branches and sing their songs? Watched as the breeze ripples across the leaves? Thought about all of the insects that live in the tree? Realized that the tree is giving off life-giving oxygen that you can breathe? Thought about the process that the tree uses to convert sunlight into food that helps it grow? No? Maybe you should slow down and give it a try. I guarantee that you can’t help but smile and feel at peace.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

I’m still here!

One day, I hope to be able to find the time to continue writing blog posts about the southwest Virginia region and about my childhood. Please feel free to leave comments. I still keep up with any comments made on my blog. I do have to approve your them before they will appear, but I am pretty good about responding within a day’s time.

Please enjoy!!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloweens Past

When I was growing up, Halloween was something that I always looked forward to with much anticipation.  I can still remember my first Halloween mask.  My mom took me to the Ben Franklin store in Hillsville, Virginia.  I got to pick out my own mask!  It was a monster with this horrible itchy black hair sticking out.  Do you remember those old masks back in the 70s that were very difficult to breathe in?   The whole inside would collect the moisture from your breathe and start sweating, so pretty soon, your whole face would be wet. Ick. And remember those stretchy little cords that went around your head?  That thing would always get caught in my long hair and make a tangled mess, pulling out gobs of hair.  But, it was so much fun!

I remember in 1973, mom and dad were having a bunch of remodeling work done on our house.  While part of it was going on, we were living in my uncle's little log cabin just up the road. There was no indoor plumbing!  When Halloween rolled around that year, it was a gloomy and cloudy, and it was blowing snow.  I can remember daddy telling me that he did not know if I would be able to go trick-or-treating because of the snow.  I remember the panic!  OH NO!!!  As it turned out, we did end up going.

Trick-or-Treating was always quite the ordeal.  Where I grew up, there wasn't really a street to go begging on, so mom and dad loaded me up in the car and drove from house-to-house. They would pull into the driveway and I would hop out of the car and run up to the door and scream TRICK-OR-TREAT!!  I can remember them telling me to never take off my mask and let anyone see who I really was because that was half of the the fun.  We also never started trick-or-treating until it was completely dark. That was part of the fun!

As I got older and started school, my friends and I would go together and each year.  Out parents would take turns driving us around. We always took great pleasure in going to our teacher's homes because we really did think that they would not recognize us.  Right.  I can remember one year going to my first grade teacher's home. Mrs. Ada Shelor greeted us at the door and invited us in.  Well, even though I had been told to not go inside, this was my first grade teacher!  She had an elaborate table set up with punch and CUPCAKES!  I always thought that cupcakes were just magical, so I was pretty excited.  She offered us a cupcake on a plate and a cup of punch. That is when it hit me!  HOW was I going to drink and eat with my mask on??  Impossible!  I tried to take the cupcake and punch and head for the door, but she was very insistent that we enjoy it there! Now what?!  Dad had told me to never take my mask off and here was my teacher telling me to do it.  What do you think I did?  I yanked that mask off so that I could eat that cupcake!

Another teacher's home that we all looked forward to visiting was Mrs. Pauline Cock's home. Her and her husband would do some elaborate decorations. (This was long before Halloween became such a commercial venture with everyone decorating.  Most homes back then just turned on the porch light, put a jack o'lantern on the steps, and maybe had a cardboard cutout skeleton or witch on the door.)  I can remember one year, as we were starting to walk back to the car after receiving our treats, a ghost came flying out of the woods straight at us!!!  AIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!  Talk about some little girls running back to the car! Hee!  Mr. & Mrs. Cock had rigged up a ghost (a sheet) on a wire and had a pulley system that would make it look like the ghost was chasing you!

Another house that I remember quite well, although I can't remember who lived there, was just past Mrs. Cock's home.  It was a big, white two story farmhouse. One year, there was a bubbling cauldron set up just outside the door and the lady that answered our call of "TRICK-OR-TREAT" was dressed as a scary, green-skinned witch!!!  She really did scare me!

Of course, as we got a bit older, we would all go to one of our houses and set up elaborate decorations and try to scare the trick-or-treaters. One year, we set up in our carport. We had a bubbling caldron and all kinds of spooky decorations. One of us would hand out the treats and the others would be sitting very still on the ground, covered by a sheet. When the children would get the treats, we would jump up and chase the kids back to the car!

One year, we all went to my friend Debbie's house and we did a similar setup, but after the trick-or-treaters, we started walking to neighbor's homes where we soaped their windows and toilet papered their bushes and trees. We were bad! As we were walking along the road back to my friend's house, some of the older boys in the neighborhood drove by and threw eggs at us. Of course, I was the unlucky one and got pegged right in the ear with an egg. Not only did it hurt, but have you ever tried to wash raw egg OUT of your ear?  No fun. The next morning, we did go back to the neighbor's homes and clean up the mess we had made. 

The trunk or treats that seem so popular now just lack the fun, excitement, and spookiness of real trick-or-treating.  It is a shame that our world has become so unsafe that children cannot experience the fun and joy of All Hallow's Eve.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Folk Saying: Crow

Yes, I know these are not crows, but I have been dying to use this photo!
Taken by Kimberly Burnette-Dean 10/28/14

Have you ever heard the saying, "I've got a crow to pick with you?" My dad used it all of the time and I also have heard many other people use it too. He used to say that to me if I had forgotten to do something or did something wrong. For example, I would come into the room and he would say "I've got a crow to pick with you!"  Then he might follow that up with I forgot to pick him up some Pepsi the last time I went to the grocery store. Basically, he was saying that he had a complaint against me.   If you have ever heard someone say "I've got a bone to pick with you", it means the same thing.

I finally found this in The Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (1898), page 254): on the Internet Archive.

 "I must pluck a crow with you; I have a crow to pick with you. 
I am displeased with you, and must call you to account.
 I have a small complaint to make against you. 
In Howell’s proverbs (1659) we find the following, 
“I have a goose to pluck with you,” used in the same sense." (p. 254)

Have you ever heard or used this saying?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Memphis Belle: A Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress


 I was sitting outside my house on September 1 and heard a loud rumble in the sky. When I looked up I saw the beautiful Memphis Belle flying directly toward my house!  OH NO! My camera was INSIDE. When I am sitting outside, I almost always have my camera with me. Dang. I ran in and picked up the camera and was able to catch this photo as it flew back towards the airport. I waited and waited for it to fly back by again, but it never did.


I later found out that it was going to be back at the Roanoke airport on September 6 & 7 for tours and rides. It must be amazing to fly in it, but the cost for flights was $450.  A bit beyond what I have to spend! Plus, I have to work both of those days.

 While at work on September 6, I kept on hearing a loud rumble. Finally, I went outside and the Memphis Belle was flying over the library.  Fortunately, I almost always have my camera with me at work, so I ran indoors and grabbed my camera. 

Such a beautiful machine and to think about all of the history that it has seen. 

 I love that you can see the glass nose so well in this photo.

 A beautiful plane!

To read more about The Memphis Belle go to: 

Copyright 2014--All Rights Reserved--The Wheel & Distaff by Kimberly Burnette-Dean