Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Shivaree





Back years ago when folks got married it was a lot different than it is today. They didn’t have the money for a big event so they mostly went to the Justice of The Peace and said the I Do’s and a lot of em Eloped to do it.

My daddy and mama and so many others had to do that. Daddy told how he managed to go buy himself a pair of Sunday go to meetin shoes but when he got em home and opened the box there was only one shoe in the box. He tried em on before he left the store but he never did know how the other one got lost along the way. It was to late to run back to the store so he put on his old shoes and he and mama went on and go hitched.
She said she wore her best flour sack dress and daddy was dressed the finest she’d ever seen. He had on his best britches and shirt. I can just see em both in my mind. My mama had long, black hair all the way down her back and I guess daddy was almost bald headed. I never did ask but all the hair I ever knew him to have was a little around the edges and slick on top.

Like most other folks back then, they went to Georgia to get married, which was just across the line from where we live now. They only paid the Justice Of The Peace a dollar or two. If they’d got married in North Carolina they’d had to have a blood test, etc. etc.

Back when I was a young’un and even before I was born, couples came walkin by our house along with the preacher and right out at the top of the hill from our old barn they’d get hitched cause they were able to step right across the line into Georgia. That’s how close we always lived to the state line and still do for that matter.

And there was an old timey tradition that always took place that night  after the ceremony called a shivaree. All the men folk would wait till black dark and show up in their ole, pick up trucks, some ridin  the back. They’d beat on old pots and pans to get the couple to come out then they’d grab the groom against his wishes and haul him off somewhere and leave him for a while and then  go back and pick him up and take him back home to his new bride and stand outside and serenade em for a while. A very popular song back then was, “Let Me Call You Sweetheart.”

Daddy and mama never had a shivaree but they told about this one couple that had just got married and settled in for the night.
 They grabbed the groom and carried him off and set him out and all the men pitched a big drunk and had their own serenading party. The poor, ole feller never made it back home till daylight. He was dirty, scratched all over after wadin barefoot through the briar thickets and plumb tuckered to say the least and mad as an ole sittin hen and so was his new bride. They both were fit to be tied with good reason. She started cryin again after walkin the floors all night and was ready to skin a bunch of hides. He said, “they ain’t no use in worryin about it none.” They went on with their wedded bliss and had a whole house full of young’uns.

 Like my mama always said, “ya don’t know nothing till ya got young’uns hanging around your neck and clingin to your dress tail.” I guess she would’ve known since she raised six of her own and plenty more that she claimed.

Daddy also told how another ole feller came out with his shotgun one night on a bunch of men when they pulled up and jumped outta their trucks. He shot straight up in the air and they high tailed it outta there and there was no shivaree to be had. Apparently he didn’t want to take any chances on fumbling through the dark tryin to make his way home.
It was usually done in fun and most folks went along with it but then sometimes it’d backfire when a city slicker came along. When that happened it was best left alone.

I asked daddy and mama why they didn’t get serenaded or have a shivaree. They said there wasn’t any use in it. I think personally, it was cause my grandma was already living in the house with daddy when they got hitched. Knowing her, she’d brought out a shotgun or a broom handle. I can just hear her now, “I’ll be rotten take (that was her by words) if I’m gonna put up with this stuff around here.” “Ya better get ya selves back home to your women folk or I’ll lay some buck shot in ya hide.” She’d a done it too, and they knew it. Everybody knew my grandma back then and she always said it was a bunch of nonsense. I can still hear her today, “Just a bunch of men folk lookin for a chance to pull a drunk.”

Times sure have changed since back then. There’s no shivaree or serenading going on. The old ways are fallin by the wayside to never be heard of again.
It’s kinda sad in a way.  I’d like to have been a part of the serenading but the shivaree is a whole different thing if ya know what I mean.

                                                            © Susie Swanson, 2015

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Flour Sack






1930 flour sacks
THE FLOUR SACK
BY COLLEEN B. HUBERT


IN THAT LONG AGO TIME WHEN THINGS WERE SAVED,
WHEN ROADS WERE GRAVELED AND BARRELS WERE STAVED,
WHEN WORN-OUT CLOTHING WAS USED AS RAGS,
AND THERE WERE NO PLASTIC WRAP OR BAGS,
AND THE WELL AND THE PUMP WERE WAY OUT BACK,
A VERSITILE ITEM, WAS THE FLOUR SACK.

PILLSBURY'S BEST, MOTHER'S AND GOLD MEDAL, TOO
STAMPED THEIR NAMES PROUDLY IN PURPLE AND BLUE.
THE STRING SEWN ON TOP WAS PULLED AND KEPT;
THE FLOUR EMPTIED AND SPILLS WERE SWEPT.
THE BAG WAS FOLDED AND STORED IN A SACK
THAT DURABLE, PRACTICAL FLOUR SACK.

THE SACK COULD BE FILLED WITH FEATHERS AND DOWN,
FOR A PILLOW, OR T'WOULD MAKE A NICE SLEEPING GOWN.
IT COULD CARRY A BOOK AND BE A SCHOOL BAG,
OR BECOME A MAIL SACK SLUNG OVER A NAG.
IT MADE A VERY CONVENIENT PACK,
THAT ADAPTABLE, COTTON FLOUR SACK.

BLEACHED AND SEWN, IT WAS DUTIFULLY WORN
AS BIBS, DIAPERS, OR KERCHIEF ADORNED.
IT WAS MADE INTO SKIRTS, BLOUSES AND SLIPS.
AND MOM BRAIDED RUGS FROM ONE HUNDRED STRIPS
SHE MADE RUFFLED CURTAINS FOR THE HOUSE OR SHACK,
FROM THAT HUMBLE BUT TREASURED FLOUR SACK!

AS A STRAINER FOR MILK OR APPLE JUICE,
TO WAVE MEN IN, IT WAS A VERY GOOD USE,
AS A SLING FOR A SPRAINED WRIST OR A BREAK,
TO HELP MOTHER ROLL UP A JELLY CAKE,
AS A WINDOW SHADE OR TO STUFF A CRACK,
WE USED A STURDY, COMMON FLOUR SACK!

AS DISH TOWELS, EMBROIDERED OR NOT,
THEY COVERED UP DOUGH, HELPED PASS PANS SO HOT,
TIED UP DISHES FOR NEIGHBORS IN NEED,
AND FOR MEN OUT IN THE FIELD TO SEED.
THEY DRIED DISHES FROM PAN, NOT RACK
THAT ABSORBENT, HANDY FLOUR SACK!

WE POLISHED AND CLEANED STOVE AND TABLE,
SCOURED AND SCRUBBED FROM CELLAR TO GABLE,
WE DUSTED THE BUREAU AND OAK BED POST,
MADE COSTUMES FOR OCTOBER (A SCARY GHOST)
AND A PARACHUTE FOR A CAT NAMED JACK.
FROM THAT LOWLY, USEFUL OLD FLOUR SACK!

SO NOW MY FRIENDS, WHEN THEY ASK YOU
AS CURIOUS YOUNGSTERS OFTEN DO,
"BEFORE PLASTIC WRAP, ELMERS GLUE
AND PAPER TOWELS, WHAT DID YOU DO?"
TELL THEM LOUDLY AND WITH PRIDE DON'T LACK,
"GRANDMOTHER HAD THAT WONDERFUL FLOUR SACK!"

Friday, April 3, 2015

Old Rugged Cross




                                                       It stood on a hillside
                                                       An old rugged cross
                                                       The emblem of suffering
                                                       For sinners that were lost

                                                       His bloodshed was eminent
                                                       To crucify they were bound
                                                       He wore a crown of thorns
                                                       Destined for heaven's crown

                                                       They mocked and smote him
                                                       They placed thieves by his side
                                                       My God Why Has Thou Forsaken
                                                       He cried before he died

                                                       They wrapped him in linen
                                                       Placed him in a borrowed tomb
                                                       They rolled a great stone
                                                       In the doorway to entomb

                                                       On the third day they came
                                                       At the rising of the sun
                                                       The stone was rolled away
                                                       They could not hold God's son

                                                       On that old rugged cross
                                                       His bloodstains washed away
                                                       All the sins in this world
                                                       He surely lives today

                                                       Thank you Lord for that old cross
                                                       You made the ultimate sacrifice
                                                       Like the thief on the cross
                                                       I'll see you in paradise

                                                         © Susie Swanson, 2015

                                                  Happy Easter everyone and May God Bless!!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Antenna TV


No, that's not a bear climbing that tree. 


I remember back when we had antenna TV. To turn the antenna it was a task and always took three.

One in front of the TV, one on the porch and one to climb the tree.
The one standin in front of the TV is the one that played the biggest part and held the key.

I can still hear it now, TURN IT A LITTLE MORE, A TAD MORE. WHOAAA, GO BACK SOME MORE.

We had one brother that could climb a tree more fast than a squirrel.. He’d scare ya to death so bad it’d make ya hair curl.

We only got two channels and they were snowy as could be, except on a clear day and that old antenna was stuck high up in that tree.

And when it came a swiff wind it’d happen every time. That old TV was gone and we’d holler for him to take his daily climb.

One time we put daddy in  front of the TV and on the porch was my spot to be.

He hadn’t been in the tree long before daddy yelled WHOAAAA, COME ON DOWN.

On the way back down my brother slipped and hit every limb as he fell to the ground.

We all went runnin just knowin he’d broke every bone in his body.
He got up off the ground and seemed to be alright but he walked awfully slowly.

When we went in to check out the TV, it was still snowy as could be. Daddy was sittin there with his legs crossed and said son you’re gonna get killed yet climbin that tree.

That TV was blank as ya ole hat, couldn’t see a thing… All my brother could say was Daddy what happened to the dang thing.

My brother wouldn’t climb it again when daddy was in reign. He knew there was no use or he’d have to borrow daddy’s walkin cane.

Mama got upset and had plenty to say. She told daddy the next time to
get out of the way. That young’un could’ve broke his neck and you’d still be sittin here killin the day. Sanford And Son is not worth it at all to see a young’un climb a tree and take a death fall.

Daddy sure did like his favorite show and mama always waited patiently and the anticipation continued to grow. She wouldn't admit it but she sure did love her game show.

She actually had two she liked the best. Wheel Of fortune and The Price Is Right, was a joyful contest.

But when it came time for us to watch our favorite one of all, dog gone if company wouldn’t come to call.

Yep, just walk right in and make themselves at home. And it’d been a whole week since we’d seen The Waltons come on.

By the time they left we had to hit the tic and there’d be no TV and our wounds we had to lick and half the time my brother was using daddy’s walkin stick.

I’ll have to give credit where credit is due. When an old antenna is all you got, you learn to make do. Even if climbing a tree it takes a whole crew.

                                                    © Susie Swanson

Many thanks for all the prayers. Things are just about the same. I'm waiting to hear from my Endo and see what dosage he's gonna slap me on next.  Blessings to all. ~Susie

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

My Journey






I want to tell you about a very long journey I've been on. It started just after Christmas ,2013. 
I started having these very, strange symptoms that I'd never felt before. I would absolutely burn up without a drop of sweat off and on all day long. Then other things started happening. My body was in over drive one moment and the next I could barely walk. I went to my Primary Care Doctor for my six mos. checkup and I had my usual Labwork done before my appointment like I usually do on my Thyroid, Cholestrol, etc.. Since everything looked ok he brushed it off by saying it was my nerves. In other words I took it he meant all in my head. I've had Thyroid Disease (Hypothyroidism)  for 23 years and made sure it was always checked and over the years they've adjusted my meds. accordingly. I noticed in  my copy of the Labwork they had done my T3 and T4 was off some. I questioned him about it and he said it wasn't bad and not to worry. 
Meanwhile my symptoms got worse and worse to the point I was getting very worried. I called him and asked him to do more Labwork. He decided to send me to a Rheumotoligist to see if it might be some kind of Autoimmune Disease. The Rhumetoligist did his own Labwork and everything came out good except my body was virtually empty of Vitamin D. He said that can cause serious problems alone and he put me on 50,000 Units once a week for 8 weeks but nothing improved.
 During all this time I kept doing research on my own. I goggled every Web Page I could, trying to find a solution. By that time it was the middle of July, 2014 and I was getting more sick by the day and what I found about the Thyroid was very scary so I asked my doctor to do more Labwork on my Thyroid, Hormones and anything connected to it. He did the Labwork and uncovered that my Antiobodies connected to my Thyroid was extremley high and my hormones were showing I was in Full Blown Menopause. I said, "Hold it and back up here. I had a Hysterectomy 17 years ago, how can that be and further more what in the heck is Antibodies and why are they so high? " His answer was to send me to an Endocrinoligist and let her figure it out. I traveled 2 and a half hours to an Endo that checked the TSH only on my Thyroid and never even bothered to check the Full Thyroid Panel, FT3 ,T4, TSH, and the Antibodies, TPO (Thyroid Peroxidase), Thyroiglobulin Antibody, and Thyroglobulin. 
The only other thing she was interested in was my Adrenal Glands and she gave me several plastic jugs to collect urine in 24 different hour periods and turn them into my local hospital lab and they were to send her the results. 
I waited for results and all I got was that my Adrenal Glands were ok and my TSH was good but she was gonna lower my Thyroid Med. ,and for lack of a better excuse she told me that as we grow older it looks like we may need more Thyroid Hormone but we actually need less. 

Needless to say, I was back to square one and fired my Primary Care Doctor and hired another one. She did more Labwork and run an Ultrasound on my neck and finally I got answers. She told me I had one of three types of Thyroiditis and the worse being Hashimoto's . She sent me to another Endo and she confirmed it was Hashimoto's and there wasn't anything to be done. 
I took more matters into my hands and set up my own appointment with another Thyroid Specialist that I'd heard nothing but good things about and got in with him. He told me I had the worse kind of Hashimoto's and my Thyroid was so inflammed that it was burning itself out in my neck and had to come out. He said the TSH is your intake. That means how much meds. you're taking in and although most primary care doctors like to see it at a 5 and there should be enough meds. going in to support that crippled and diseased Thyroid. He said he liked to see it stay at a 3 and no greater than 4. He raised my meds. some more till he could get the surgery set up. I asked him how long it took to get balanced out on meds. after the surgery and he told me not to long. I came away with the best feeling of peace I'd had in a very long time. But oh my goodness what lay in store for me was torn out of the book. It seems another horrendous chapter had just begun..

I had my thyroid Gland removed November 6th, 2014 (Full Thyroidectomy). I was on 100mcg. Of Synthroid at the time of surgery and I went back to see him a week after surgery for my Post-Op and he raised my Synthroid to 150 and went high as a kite (Hyperthyroid)  I've sled down the ladder all the way to 50 and now I'm on my way back up the ladder and still feel nothing but Hyper. When you have your thyroid removed you're considered Hypothyroid the rest of your life but I've yet to feel Hypo (low) . My doctor that did the surgery and worked with me till a month ago gave up and sent me to another Endo and he's finding out he's got his work cut out .
To top all of this I was supposed to have my Gallbladder removed the 17th of this month and when I went for my Pre-Op my numbers were running extremely high and they refused to do it till the Endo could work with me some more. So now I'm dealing with that as well and wondering how on earth they'll get it out. The ones I've talked with that has had their thyroid removed tells me it can take up to 9 to 12 mos. and the rate they're going with me even longer.

So... to say this has been a journey is an understatement. I call it a Living Nightmare and ongoing. I never know what to expect from one day to the next. I know this post is awfully long and might not even be of interest to some since they don't have Thyroid issues. I've found out that well over half the population has it and doesn't know about Antibodies or what the Thyroid tests mean... But I wrote all of this for several reasons ... Many people have been praying for me and still many prayers being lifted everyday and they are being felt and answered. For that I'm humbly grateful to each one. The second reason is I want to let people know what this terrible, horrendous disease can do . It takes away so much of your life and you can never get it back. I tell everyone I come in contact with to be sure and keep a watch on your Thyroid. If you have Thyroid Disease make them check the Full Thyroid Panel  including the Antibodies every time they do your Labs and Educate yourself as much as possible. Look up anything and everything and read and more read. The best Website to go to is The American Thyroid Association... When the Antibodies go so high it means something has went wrong with your Immune System and it attacks that little, vulnerable Thyroid Gland. Maybe it's something as simple but yet so important as lack of Vitamin D.. For 23 years I never knew about Antibodies and they had never been checked. If I can help one person and keep them from going through what I have it  means the world to me. Take it on yourself to do what's right for your body, cause we're the ones that have to live in it. Doctors only do so much and you can never depend on them to tell you what you need to know.

Many thanks for reading and most of all for your prayers and understanding. I will be back to visit ya'll soon as possible. I can't stay on the computer for long periods of time and it has taken me several attempts back and forth to write this.

 May God Bless each one of you. ~Susie




Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Echoes





                                                 The steeple stands so proud
                                                 The echoes are still there
                                                 When I listen very close
                                                  I hear singing in the choir

                                                 And preaching was a plenty
                                                 The Sabbath was its day
                                                 That old alter was the key
                                                 Most humbly they did pray

                                                 Those old weathered boards
                                                 Oh what stories to be told
                                                 The congregation was all there
                                                 And the bell chimes were gold

                                                 They came from far and near
                                                 Parked under trees with shade
                                                 In the dirt where they sat
                                                 Many wagon tracks were made

                                                 The mules were so content
                                                 As they grazed on green grass
                                                 Slightly peaking their ears
                                                 When a big Amen was passed

                                                 Plenty of shouting and rejoicing
                                                 Still hangs in every crack
                                                 No memories will ever be lost
                                                 Nor echoes will it lack

                                                 Such a big part of history
                                                 And a grand, old Godly place
                                                 It touched so many hearts
                                                 With beauty, dignity and grace

                                                 That old door is still open
                                                 Just like it was before
                                                 Calling, calling to someone
                                                 Come on in there's still more

                                                 Listen closely to each sermon
                                                 There's many left to hear
                                                "Amazing Grace" still echoes
                                                 Through the wooded path so clear

                                                 © Susie Swanson, 2015

The picture above is an Abandoned Church in Lincoln County, Wisconsin. Built in 1907.

A little update.. I am very sorry I haven't been around to visit ya'll lately and read your wonderful posts. As most of you know I had my Thyroid removed this past November (Complete Thyroidectomy) and they've been trying to get me balanced out on Thyroid Meds. Well, I've had a terrible setback. A week after surgery they raised my meds to high and I've been in what they call a " Shocked Hyperthyroid Stage". That's when it runs to high and they can not get it to come down. I went back to the doctor yesterday and I'm now being lowered to a very low dose which is very dangerous without a gland but they can't take me off of it all together and start over due to the dangers involved when there's no Thyroid Gland. To top all of this I'm scheduled to have Gallbladder surgery two weeks from today, 17th of March. If it was out now it wouldn't be to soon. It's stocked full of stones and I can hardly eat anything at all. But God is in control and I will get through it just like I always have. Without him we can not make it. I have laid it in his hands a long time ago. I know ya'll are sending up prayers for me and they are most humbly appreciated. I felt that ya'll deserve to know and I will be back soon as possible. God Bless , ~Susie

Sunday, February 22, 2015

That Little Backyard Spring



Our family was so blessed when we were growing up in so many different ways. We came to appreciate what we had more everyday. We didn’t care if there wasn’t any indoor plumbing, we made do with what we had. And unlike so many people that didn’t have well water like us and had to tote their water all uphill, we had a little spring in the back yard. All we had to do was grab the bucket and step off the back porch and walk a few feet. That was the best drinkin water in the world and we always had a little dipper hangin on one of the hedge bush limbs that grew out over the top of the spring. We also kept one in the house as well. Those were the handiest little dippers and the water even tasted better.
 Every time one of us came through the back yard we’d grab a cold dipper of water. After workin in the garden we felt like drinkin the spring dry. But we never had to worry about it going dry cause as long as I can remember that spring stayed full all the time, even in the hottest part of the year.

 It run out down the side of the yard as a little branch and we liked to catch spring lizards in the summer.
We also loved to wade that little branch and play in it what time we wasn’t playin in the creek. Sometimes mama would pitch a bar of soap at us when we headed towards the creek and say while you’re at it take a bath. We didn’t care that the creek water was just as cold in the middle of the summer as the winter like the little spring. We’d lather up good with the soap and throw it on the bank of the creek and keep on playin and splashin till suppertime. We’d go in home wet and wrinkled up like a prune and the first thing mama’d say, “did uns wash with that soap like I asked uns to.” She sure did believe in being clean.

That little spring came in handy for many things. Back before we got a frigerator we’d put our milk in the spring to keep it cold. We even put our homemade butter in there too. Mama would put it down in a glass, milk jug or bowl with a lid and stick it in the spring. That cold, spring water sure took care of us in more ways than one.

And the many buckets of water that we carried, I could never count in a million years. Come wash day we’d carry so many our arms felt like they’d fall off, some to heat outside in the big black pot over the fire in warm weather or on the wood cook stove in the winter. And there was plenty of rinse water to carry as well. It’d take the whole day cause we had so many clothes, bed linens, etc.

In the summer we’d carry buckets after buckets to fill up the wash tubs and sit em in the yard in the sun all day to warm so we could get our weekly baths that evening in the bedroom or the ole smokehouse. In the winter the tubs were placed in the kitchen by the wood cook stove. We had to heat our bath water in big pots on the cook stove in the winter.
 We took baths in between too, the only way we could in a wash pan.

Mama made sure we never went dirty to school, church or anywhere for that matter. Her motto was, “there’s to much soap and water in the world to go dirty.” And the one I liked the best was, “rags are honorable long as your hind end ain’t shinin and they’re clean.” She always made sure we washed behind our ears and she’d tell us to be sure and clean them rusty ears. I don’t think there was ever any rust behind our ears, except for the boys and that was cause they‘d been out playin in the dirt and runnin through the thickets.
I do recall her scrubbin some of the younger ones ears before with a wash rag and soap. I heard her say one time, “if I catch that rust on them ears one more time I’m gonna scrub em till they’re raw.” She’d even tell daddy the same thing. I heard her tell him one time, “you’re worse than a youngun to let your ears go rusty.” He must of remembered it cause later on in life after we all were about grown and we had indoor plumbing he hollored at me one day to come and check his ears after he’d took a bath. I inspected his ears and he looked like he’d scrubbed em raw they were so red. I told him they were clean as a whistle and he said, “ I just don’t know about your mammy anymore, she sure is bossy.” It was all I could do to keep a straight face.

Yep, that little spring was a life saver. Before dusky dark every evening we’d grab the water buckets and carry in the night’s water, come morning they’d be empty again. My name became,” Go Fetch.”

We all had our own share of chores to do and tried to take turns but sometimes it fell on the one that was the most handy. The boys helped daddy chop, split and carry in the wood. In the winter time it was worse. They had to keep both wood boxes filled, one for the heater and the other for the cook stove. And there was always plenty more water to be carried from the spring.

That little back yard spring sure was a God send and kept us going for many, long years.  Times have changed and I admit I wouldn’t want to carry those buckets of water again unless I had to but back then it was a necessity and I’d do it all again if I had to. And we never know just how much water we use till it’s gone. Water is a precious commodity and having it close by is an even bigger blessing.



Back when times were different
Water was a most useful resource
And carryin plenty of buckets
There was never any remorse

The dishes needed washin
Clothes were hung out to dry
And washin those dirty ears
Was a rule to always comply

Havin water nearby and handy
Was something to be admired
A cold dipper of spring water 
Is something to be desired

And fightin over the dipper
With plenty of glasses around
Was worth every drop of spring water
There’s none better to be found

Awe, how useful that water could be
And bath time was worth it all
Even if those big wash tubs
Held so much ya had to crawl

 The branch was an added bonus
With quite a runnin spree
It felt so good on bare feet
Flowin to the next stream or sea

Even catchin spring lizards
Was such a joy and thrill
Just to make a few pennies
To a kid is surely a big deal

I still miss that little spring
And will forever be grateful for
The many buckets I carried
And my go fetchin chore

© Susie Swanson, 2015