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Wild and Crazy!

Debra with pagan sculpture (she the one on the left)

Meet Debra  
She’s pretty close to a soul mate, even though I am almost as old as her mother.  I’d like to know how many miles we have been together, in the past 25+ years that I have known her (yeah, she’s 50 now!).  From New York to Santa Fe (where she cornered the excited dude above).  Colorado, Indiana, all over Georgia — where else?  Looking through some of my old career photos of time at Simon/Indianapolis, I find Debra standing in the background peeking out from under some groovy hat, blending in with my staff as if she belonged there!  I can tell you that the Paramount Hotel in Manhattan will n-e-v-e-r be the same after our stay there!  Nor will tea at the Palm Court at the Plaza!  Or perhaps the Russian Tea Room.

She’s way fashionable, in a funky kind of way.  Terribly funny.  Ever so pretty.  And wild as a ‘March Hare’ (GO TO definition).  We have gotten into about every form of mischief that two loco gals can get into … and some things twice!  I’d better stop here with that, to protect the innocent.

Seamstress ExtraOrdinaire
Did  I mention that she sews?  Only not like your mom used to sew.  We’re talking waaay cool stuff here — from nightgowns to ball gowns and everything in between.   In the old days, if I could dream it up or show her a picture, she could make it.  I had a wardrobe that would-not-stop when she was my next door neighbor!  And some of those things are in my cedar chest for posterity (well, also because they no longer fit).

A Great Mother
Debra’s girls (see Facebook album) were frequently our companions for trips around the country.  Merci could have been our surrogate mother, as she was usually serious and disapproving of our antics — however, Lea was game for anything/everything.  I always thought they were the cutest little girls … and now I think they are the most gorgeous women!

Posing in Santa Fe finery

I loved this old photo taken at the Wheelwright Museum in Santa Fe.  We really had the ‘costume’ down pat!  Long skirts and warm sweaters, tall moccasins with lots of fringe, trés elegante hats (usually of our own making), and the essential mini-pocketbook for an exhausted credit card or two.  Once we went to WalMart in Santa Fe (to buy extra suitcases for carting home our too-many purchases) and the place was full of Indians!  She and I were the only folks in the place wearing moccasins.  Ah, touristas!

Hondo at Mossy Creek

Cemetery(s) 3 – Hondo 0

cleve_almaMeet Cleve Smith and his lovely wife, Alma, who live in New Market, TN!  So how did they end up on the itinerary of Hondo’s visit to Georgia? Well, the story commenced about 146 years ago during the Civil War!

Lucy’s research of the Christmas 1863 battle at Mossy Creek (involving several ancestors) led to libraries in the Knoxville area, where it was learned ultimately that the author of several historic works on the battle at Strawberry Plains and Mossy Creek was “still above ground”.  Many phone calls and lots of persistence led to the address and phone number of 77 year old Cleve Smith.

The perceptive Hondo realized that Lucy really wanted to visit the historian and get one of the few remaining copies of his book, so he graciously offered to escort her to New Market!  At precisely 4:11am on the morning of departure for Tennessee, Hondo was awakened by someone who was too excited to sleep — and after many cups of java, he was poured into the Star Car and driven madly away into the fog.  Over hill and dale they went (via the instructions of Little Road Hunter, Lucy’s Indian scout) and finally arrived in New Market.

At the Smith residence, Hondo was a perfect gentleman — entertaining the witty, talkative and tobacco chewing Mrs. Smith, while lucky Lucy listened to battlefield stories from the author!  And then — lo!  there was a hands-on guided tour of three cemeteries and  battlefield venues, with Hondo at the wheel and Mr. Smith narrating!  The trip was a wonderful success, from Lucy’s perspective.

Ancestors of Cpl George W. Wood, CSA, thank Hondo for his generous contribution to the Branner Cemetery mowing fund … and for patience and forebearing in someone’s quest for knowledge.

Legend in his own Thyme

Sunday morning goin’ down …

HondoSmilesAgainst a backdrop of the Texas Revolution war map and a colorful stand of prickly pear cactus, Luke smiles at the photographer!

Sporting an authentic Hondo Slade shirt and warmed by many cups of Hawaiian coffee, he’s about ready to tackle another day of exploring in Georgia and listening to Lucy chatter.

Alice’s Journey

On Thanksgiving morning in 2008, I said goodbye to a special friend of more than 19 years … my darling Alice Wanda.

anniversaryAliceAlice was a tiny little mouse-like critter when I adopted her in Indianapolis.  Her Siamese mother had died before the kittens were weaned, and Alice was struggling for life.  She moved into my new office on the 16th floor of Merchants Plaza, office of the newest Vice President at Simon Property Group.  A heating pad and towels tucked into a wicker suitcase made a perfect home for her under my desk, and my secretary helped me feed her from a bottle for a couple of weeks!

We lived in a posh condo complex surrounded by lakes full of swans.  Alice adored running across the living room and leaping onto the window ledge to watch the activity of these magnificent birds!  One day, she hit the screen, it gave way, and she went flying down 1/2 a story into the soft grass below our windows.  Yikes!  As I looked out — I saw the big swans coming across the grass to investigate this “morsel”.  I flew down the hall and made a dash down the stairs, ran around the building in time to scoop Alice up before the cantankerous swans got to her!  What a close call.

As a tiny kitten, she liked to sit on the counter in the mornings while I put on lotion, makeup and perfume.  I had a particular hair conditioner that was spritzed on — and the only time Alice ever meowed was when I was spritzing my hair!  She adored having her own fur spritzed and would be busy grooming herself while I continued to dress for work.

My darling Alice had many quiet days in our Indy condo while I was busy with my career.  She never seemed to mind.   I could not wait to come home and find her sitting on the piano waiting for my special greeting.  She loved our evenings of reading by the fire, or doing needlework “together”, or just curled up beside me on the piano bench while I played.

During vacation time and for holidays, Alice would tuck herself into a little basket in the front seat of our Porsche and zoom to Marietta for visits with the Georgia cats, Smitty, PeterRabbit and Hawaiian-born JennyAnyCat.  And after five years of commuting, we moved back home to Georgia where life took a giant upheaval for us.

Through all the agonies of divorce, Alice lay beside me and licked tears from my face, purring all the while.  After cancer surgery, I was comforted by a black purring ball of fur that spent her days in bed with me.  Alice slept on the book shelves in my new little ‘office’ in the spare room — and as business grew and we took over the lower level of Hill House for a studio, she took up residence on the office sofa.  When her precious little life drew to a close, I laid her to rest in a shady spot out by the bird feeder with a little marble headstone nestled in the ivy.  Now chipmunks scamper across her grave collecting all the seeds dropped by the birds, and I like to think that she enjoys this.

Nineteen years is a long time to have such a friend and companion.  I am reminded of Rod McKuen’s poem, “Sloopy”.  Perhaps Alice “was the only other human thing that gave back love to me”.

Remember when …


Clipped from the Victoria Advocate published on September 27, 1966

Well, ok — so this is not really a school chum.  It certainly is/was the place where we school chums hung out on weekends!  The old menu brought back many memories …

The curb service area was two rows of cars parked side by side.  To cruise the K-ral, one would drive behind the rows and then around in front of them — being seen!  For young folks with lots of energy and spunk, I do not understand what the fascination was for us to sit at the Corral sipping sodas from a paper cup and watching cars circle.

Even more amazing to me are the prices of days gone by.  It appears that a family of 3-4 could eat a nice barbeque dinner for about $2.95.  Today, that hardly pays for a bottle of barbeque sauce from the supermarket.