A High-Low Day

Hello, Thursday Morning! Hey, is it raining much near you? Remember earlier this year when I was all, “woe is me” over the rainy weather? Yep, you guessed it. We are in a drought in the state of Kentucky.

That’s kind of the way it rolls, isn’t it?

I’ve just returned from a too-brief visit with Mom. She lives in Lexington and she’s within half an hour of some of the most beautiful countryside around. Even in its crispy state, it’s still beautiful.

This time, we visited Wilmore, home of Asbury University, and High Bridge, home of a Victorian-era railroad bridge and park. We stood above the Kentucky River Gorge and looked far below to the green puddle of a river. I’ve never seen it so low.

I have not included the picture of Mom. She made me pinky-promise not to share it, as she is due for a haircut. But really, these photos don’t do the park justice. It was absolutely beautiful out there, and so quiet, until the train went through. Yes, the old bridge (built in1877) is still in use.

While riding in the car, Mom told me how much she’d enjoyed Annabelle’s Joy. She loved being back in the small town and remembering the folks. She could almost smell the cookies baking, along with some of the other tasty dishes they cooked back then.

She also told me about one of her favorite scenes in the book. Annabelle is uncertain why the new woman in town rankles her nerves. For months, she struggles with guilt over it. Do you know anyone like that, who grates on your nerves and you either don’t know why, or you don’t really want to contemplate why?

Here’s the scene:

The pixie sat at the well-worn, upright piano, running a lacy handkerchief over the keys. Annabelle turned her gaze away. Why did the woman rankle her so? Maybe because she was everywhere, into everything. She’d already insinuated herself into the choir, taken the pianist’s position, among other things. Of course, Hattie Overton, the former pianist, was only too happy to give it over. At ninety-two, she was ready to retire.

Annabelle had stifled a twinge of disappointment when Rosella never hit a sour note. Every song, even the most difficult came out perfectly.

It didn’t help to hear such words as “effervescent” used to describe the newcomer. Effervescent. Made her think of those seltzer tablets you used for an upset tummy. Something Annabelle could use right about now.

Thankfully, Lillian slid in beside her as the music started. Everyone stood for the Doxology. Annabelle did her best to let go of her ill feelings toward the pianist. She managed to keep her thoughts away entirely. She did not want to contemplate the reason for her attitude.

I love that scene, too, and I know the reason for her ill feelings!

Do you love an imperfect character? Do you prefer to see their character changed by end of book, or would you rather not have all the ends neatly tied?

Click-to-Tweet: At High Bridge Park in #Kentucky, we stood above the Kentucky River Gorge and looked far below to the green puddle of a river. I’ve never seen it so low. #travel

Happy Derby Week!

Hello, Thursday Morning friends! Pour another cup and join me.

It’s Derby Week in my neck o’ the woods. Our town is in celebration mode. We have all kinds of cool activities that kick off with Thunder Over Louisville (an all day event that ends with a gigantic award-winning fireworks show).

Click this link to see some stunning pictures and a vast array of activities in our “unique” city of Louisville: https://www.gotolouisville.com/

It’s so much more than a two-minute horse race.

Do I attend any of these events? Seldom. Why? I’m not a “crowd” person, and the crowds are sizable. I have gone to Churchill Downs several times, but never on “the” race day. I love looking at the beautiful horses, so I still enjoyed the daily races.

No, on Derby Day you’ll find me at home. If the weather’s good, I’m working in my yard. At the end of the day, I watch the race on television. Many times, we’ve watched at one of our favorite restaurants. That’s actually fun, because the other patrons really get into the race. There’s a lot of shouting going on. This is when it becomes obvious–Louisville’s a little different.

I love its quirkiness. It’s a beautiful river city with a rich history. Yes, we’re known for bourbon and horses, but it’s a lot more than that.

So, I’m wishing my fellow Louisvillians a happy Derby weekend. May the best horse win.

By the way, I pronounce it Loo-uh-vull.

What the Flat Tire Taught Me

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello, Thursday Morning friends. Pour yourself a cup of your favorite morning beverage, and join me for “story time.”

They say experience is the best teacher. If so, my dad was a good instructor. He was the type who would toss you in the water to teach you to swim. That’s sometimes referred to as the “sink or swim” technique.

It didn’t work with me. I sank like a stone.

When I was twenty, I worked in the bookkeeping department of a small-town bank. I came out of work one day, to a flat tire on my car. No problem. Dad’s office was nearby, so I went back inside the bank and called him.

When he answered, I said, “My tire’s flat. Can you come and help me?”

Momentary silence. “No can do. You fix it.”

“I don’t know how.”

“It’s time you learned.”

Long pause, filled with heavy breathing (mine). “So, you’re not coming?”

“You don’t need me.”

Okay. Back at my disabled car, I waited. He was only kidding. He would come. He couldn’t really expect me to change a tire. Could he?

Half an hour passed. A big, long, empty half hour.

A lump rose in my throat, and tears gathered as I glanced down at my just above knee-length work skirt, pantyhose, and high heeled shoes. I spread my fingers. Newly manicured nails. No!

Once more, I took in the surrounding downtown area. People walking, cars passing. No Dad.

I stared at the offending tire. Even if I could change the thing, I’d put on a show out here, wrestling with a stupid tire in a not-made-for-auto-repair outfit like the one I had on.

Desperation filled my lungs, replacing the air. Panic cruised through my veins. I sucked in a deep breath and exhaled, chewed my lip and wrung my hands. What to do?

Reality set in. He wasn’t coming. My Dad, who was supposed to look after me and protect me, wasn’t coming. Anger took hurt’s place.

After a deep, cleansing breath, I unlocked the trunk and looked at the spare tire. OK, now what?

Behind me, a car slowed. I turned to see a handsome, young man smiling at me, possibly laughing at me. “You look like you could use some help.”

I decided he was just smiling, not laughing. I detected sympathy. I could work with that. This could be Prince Charming.

I nodded, and may have swiped at a tear. “Flat tire.”

He pulled into a nearby parking space. I waited.

When he joined me, I recognized him as one of the management trainees at the same bank where I worked. “Yep, flat tire.” He rolled up his sleeves. Then he lifted my spare out of the trunk, along with a couple of tools I hadn’t noticed before.

He didn’t turn out to be my prince charming, but he rescued me, all the same. Then he got back  on his white horse and rode away. Actually, it was a silver GTO, if memory serves correctly.

I drove home, feeling pretty good about the way things turned out. Dad was right, I didn’t need him. Maybe I hadn’t actually changed that flat tire, but I’d figured out how to get it done.

When Dad came in from work that night, he smiled at me. “I see you got that tire fixed.”

I nodded. Yes, I had.

“Well, now you know how to do it, don’t you?”

I thought for a minute. Should I tell him what really happened?

He patted my shoulder. “I could’ve come to help you, but I wanted you to learn how to take care of yourself. What if I wasn’t around? What would you do then?”

I smiled. “Thanks, Dad.” I had learned something that day. Being a woman had its advantages. I’d gotten my tire changed without making a spectacle of myself, or breaking a nail.

Years have passed, and so has Dad. And I have to confess, I never told him about my prince charming tire changer.

And so far, I’ve never changed a tire. 🙂

Click to Tweet: They say #experience is the best #teacher. If so, my dad was a good instructor. He was the type who would toss you in the water to teach you to swim. What a Flat Tire Taught Me from @batowens

Road Trip Dreams

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello, Thursday morning friends! I hope you’re enjoying a lovely morning. You’ve almost made it through the week by now, and we’re well on our way toward Spring. In the northern hemisphere, anyway.

I was scrolling through my posts when I happened upon one that I love—Midwinter Daydreams—filled with “not my shoes, not my feet” photos. It was a popular post. I thought I’d do another one and call it…well, you already know what I called it. 🙂 I hope you enjoy this latest version.

Pour another cup and enjoy!

These are not my shoes, and these are not my feet, but this is the perfect photo for spring. Any day now, we’ll see beautiful blooms in the landscape. This is definitely something I would love to do. Biking on a warm spring day, and I would not be alone.

These are not my shoes, and not my feet, but don’t you love those quirky boots! This is definitely something I would do. Take off the shoes and enjoy the feel of grass and blooms on my bare feet!

These are not my shoes, not my feet! But I love hiking through forests and fields, climbing mountains, finding new paths. One with nature. Observing nature, listening to the sounds, breathing the fresh air. I’m ready to go.

These are not my shoes, or my feet, but this is my summertime uniform. I LIVE in sandals. I’ve never really been a flip-flop girl. I buy walking sandals, because I go everywhere in them. I respect the health of my feet. 🙂

And red is one of my favorite colors! I could walk a lot of miles in these and look great in the process.

[Click to Tweet] Too often, we spend the winter months sitting somewhere. We may be hard at work, but our body suffers from lack of exercise.

We need to get out there and walk, run, bike, hike, and play. Spring sunshine draws me outside.

Where can we go this summer?

These are not my shoes, not my feet, but it looks like fun, doesn’t it? Wherever our plans take us, adventure awaits.

Ahhh…yes. Definitely my kind of spot to leave “not my shoes”. I hope you’ve enjoyed our little excursion. If you’ve managed to stay with me this far, I’d like to issue a little challenge, or maybe just a request. As you go out and about this spring and summer, snap a photo of your feet and/or shoes.

Share them with me on my Facebook page, or at Instagram. You’ll find the links below. Who knows, maybe I’ll feature them on another post. Hmm…what should the title be?

Facebook: betty.owens.author

Instagram: batowens

Mid-Winter Daydreams

Happy last day of January!

travel-1749508_1280These are not my shoes. This is not my view.

But I would like to be there, wearing those shoes, and enjoying that view. I think it would be nice to be sitting on a large deck, looking down on that. And I hope the deck is attached to a house with expansive windows and an oversized fireplace.

beach-1877070_1920These are not my shoes. This is a not my view, either.

But just looking at it warms me. And I can almost smell the salty air, and hear the sound of the surf. I wouldn’t mind a view like this one right now. A home by the sea would be mighty fine.

feet-1567104_1280Not my shoes. Not my view.

But I’m seriously considering buying a pair of cons. They look comfy, don’t they? I love this scene. I imagine it a pastoral one, with the smell of livestock, and freshly-turned earth filling the air. Birdsong and crickets are all I need to send me into a pleasant little siesta.

shoes-698533_1280By now, you know the drill: Not my shoes, not my view.

What I find most interesting in this last photo–the print of a bare foot above the shoes. My favorite way to traverse a sandy beach, feeling the warm, damp sand against the soles of my feet.

Daydreaming? Yes, happily.

But more than that, I think. Photographs, especially pleasant ones, can have a positive effect. Like enjoying fine art, it transports you, if you let it. And in the darker days of midwinter, when the sun often hides its face, sometimes we need a little inspiration.

  • Which of the above photos stir you most?
  • Are you a mountain person, or a beachcomber?
  • A hiker, or a swimmer?
  • Do you love the outdoors, no matter the season?
  • What’s on your travel bucket-list?