WelcomeIt is a beautiful day because you stopped by for a visit.
Weeks ago I ceded my three month fight to the squirrels.
I had a long talk with myself. I was not sent to schools to let some glorified rats with fur tails get the best of me. Their brains must be about the size of a walnut and mine the size of a muskmelon.
I seriously contemplated the base configuration of the “squirrel proof” pole. Those buggers were still enjoying the pounds of clean sand and concrete blocks. The happier the got the more incensed I got.
Between my Physics classes and spending years in commercial construction, I spotted another way to set all the concrete blocks, raise the pole and change it’s angle.
When I reset all mentioned, I noticed those buggers had chewed a connection on the bird feeder that made a porch for the birds.
Joy! Four days ago, I spotted one “lost” squirrel because it could not get to the bird feeder.
As I sat to write this, I saw a squirrel walking the back yard that reminded me of us over thirty-five years olds who go into a room for a number of things and can’t remember what the things are. It soon disappeared into the woods.
The bird feeder and pole were tested by a summer torrential storm with winds over thirty-five miles per hour and reported our community got over a tenth of an inch of rain in ten minutes as the storm passed over.
The lawns in our development are still covered with Spanish moss, broken twigs and lots of leaves.
I celebrate the beautiful birds that partake of the seeds in the bird feeder. Looking into the woods, I can easily spot the pairs of cardinals. Their developed plumage of reds and oranges don’t hide the against the deep greens of the trees.
The hummingbirds have returned to their nectar after I reset the bird feeder. The daddy cardinals cannot eat and view the hummingbirds at the same time. I’d like to see a hummingbird ping one of the cardinals bothering them as they are partaking of their nectar.
I plan to spend time studying tiny birds in months to come. There are some adorable little birds with green vests and others with yellow vests. How did we ever live without Google and comparable search engines? The old days of spending weeks in encyclopedias has disappeared with the dinosaurs.
Patricia Barbee © 2014
The Squirrels Win; I QuitYou’ve been reading of me and God’s creatures on my property because Noah’s Ark landed here and not on Mount Ararat.
I had a good week of squirrel free nonsense.
A few days ago, Tropical Storm Bertha was spitting rain into my East Coast area. Looking out at the intermittent rain and the soggy ground with glistening green grass was ethereal. No way was I going out to add seeds to the bird feeder. Tomorrow was coming and the forecast was for clear skies.
As the Storm was passing the yard was full of crows on the ground under the feeder and as if they were unionized, one would fly onto the porch of the feeder and flick seeds to the ground. They were taking turns flicking the seeds.
I am not superstitious, however I do enjoy the folklore of my ancestors. Crows are great. They were definitely welcome. And yes, a pleasant “omen” came to me from out of the blue in less than twenty-four hours.
I had moved the hummingbird feeder so the daddy cardinals would stop intimidating the little birds. Their red liquid formula must have evaporated because I’d not seen a hummingbird. I’d plan to clean and refill their feeder. I did. There was not a hummingbird in sight. Nor did I see any cardinals playing sentry around the new spot annoying the hummingbirds.
Ahhhhhh, morning. Beautiful sun. I’m looking out and no bird feeder rests on its squirrel proof pole. It was on the ground. I decided to let the birds and squirrels forage in the woods for a while. I had other things to do than rush out and add seeds to the feeder. I was not playing Mrs. Marple to investigate why the now THIRD feeder in less than four months on the ground.
Ahhhhhh, the hummingbirds have found their feeder and there are no birds in sight.
I did go out with a container of seed to put in the feeder. As I leaned over to get the feeder off the ground, I saw two of the clear panels had broken from the top. My guess is the night storm was the only way to dislodge the feeder. I returned to the house with seeds and the bird feeder. It got a good cleaning. I super-glued the panels back in place and taped over the repaired area with masking tape. I let it dry for hours in the garage.
The squirrels were so busy foraging they have dug a hole in the yard and the lawn area under the bird feeder that I have a brown space at the moment from their digging.
I was enjoying watching the hummingbirds sip the red nectar without the other birds annoying them.
Great scot! I saw a fur-tailed rat jump onto the concrete blocks holding the feeder pole in place. It ran up the “squirrel” proof rod as if it was of Scottish decent at the Games. It did not make it all the way up the pole and did a spin in the air and ran back down the pole.
I replaced the repaired bird feeder. I did not remove the masking tape from the top clear panels. I “repurposed” a plastic carrier as a deterrent to the squirrels climbing the pole. You know I’m wishing it works. If I could figure a place to grease the pole in our hundred degree plus temperatures and it stay in place.
This still beautiful feeder got a few pounds of seeds. The birds have returned and I saw only one squirrel. Yes, I saw some crows in the back yard.
Better things are to come.
Patricia Barbee © 2014
Pigs Do Fly
Cincinnati, your “Flying Pig” Park is not the only place that has flying pigs.
At the undocumented landing of Noah’s Ark at the back of my property in the USA In the ornithological books, my “flying pigs” would be called cardinals.
Some time ago, I mentioned as a child reading a book from Spain that to have cardinals in one’s yard is an omen for a Blessing.
Seriously, I’ve watched a pair of cardinals since late winter. On 22 March we set the new bird feeder with plenty of seed. Then the other smaller cardinals and birds found the bird feeder.
I will not enumerate the varieties of birds that have eaten at the feeder. Their colors show that The Great Spirit loves colors and has a grand palette to paint what we see.
During this time, I set a raised garden twelve feet by four feet. Forget it. I managed to get leaf lettuce a number of times. I got one scrumptious tomato. I made a sandwich using a flat bagel.
Then along came the “fur tailed rats” know as squirrels. I saw little bunnies, or it could have been the same one under the bird feeder. So adorable. It looked like it escaped from a petting zoo.
Later, I saw a huge rabbit and then a baby deer under the bird feeder. As I tipped outside to take the “bambi” photo, it had disappeared.
All during these episodes, the four squirrels had become “sand hogs” and dug under the new bird feeder and with a metal support to hold the slippery “squirrel proof” pole fell it to the ground. That was 22 June. I refused to let some animal with a brain about the size of a prune out do me. I’ve run construction sites for the world’s third largest commercial construction company. All the edifices built under me in the 1970s still stand.
I went to my local home improvement store where I’m guaranteed to get a warm greeting and a hug. I purchased items to add to what I had at the house.
It took three days to get the new feeder pole in place. It was set in a bucket of concrete with a piece of rebar for stability. I used the hole the squirrels had dug, set the bucket in place.
I set the pole and bird feeder. I shoveled more dirt atop the base and set a bag of play sand weighing about forty-five pounds. Ahhh.
The next morning, the bird feeder was on the ground. Those “sand hogs” worked during the night from the opposite side and I was boiling.
I had repaired the first bird feeder with the extra parts that came with it.
I returned to the store and bought concrete blocks. I bought a new feeder. It is hexagon with prisms. It appears to be a mountain cabin with an all-around porch. It was to hold five pounds of seeds. Yes, I put in five pounds of seeds.
The next morning, the pole was hanging low. Those squirrels had dug under the concrete blocks, the concrete with the rebar and the now loose sand.
Something had hit the new bird feeder so hard that the prism window had split. As I went to investigate, I got at least a pound of seed in my hair. Now, I was perspiring. I quit! I took off into my bathroom, immediately showered and could feel the seeds coming out as I shampooed.
“Wet heads ain’t dead”. I dressed and went back to Lowe’s. I was given another bird feeder.
I reset the concrete pieces. Doing so, I thought of the draw bridges and their mechanisms and that is how the pole now sits. The strangest sight was to stand at my post and see a blur at the base of concrete pieces. I went outside with camera in hand and saw a “bandit” known to most as a raccoon “pole dancing”. It was trying to dislodge about eighty pounds on concrete.
It had managed to get the feeder to dislodge and slide behind him. It saw me and disappeared into the woods. I’ve not seen it or the deer again.
I reset the feeder. It is still in place.
Two squirrels have been “missing” for weeks. Maybe they took a “Midnight Train from Georgia” to tear up some other part of the country. It is too early for acorns so Heaven help those who encounter these rats with furry tails.
I could not see any seed in the feeder from the house. I walked out to the feeder and there was about an inch of seed left.
The squirrel under the feeder scampered as I walked across the yard.
The price of bird seed dropped dramatically and I believe I bought enough to last the birds and scavengers a while.
Patricia Barbee © 2014
Your Scribe 3; Squirrels 2 and a Pole Dancer 1
I love the team at the local Lowe’s Store. It does not matter what door I enter, I am greeted warmly. They know I’m beginning or in the process of some project or I’m so furious I need a hug.
I’d purchased a new set of “pipes” to make a Patricia squirrel proof bird feeder. What I brought from the old residence was better than a dozen years old. The squirrels had a happy time with that old poles that make up them squirrel proof by digging them out of the ground.
Those squirrels must have almanacs in their heads. We set the squirrel feeder on 22 March the first day of our Spring. They began their destruction program on 22 June the first day of our Summer.
Over the Independence Holiday, the squirrels gnawed my last nerve! What was fine on 5 July was a disaster on 6 July.
The “rats with furry tails” had undermined the one-hundred ten pounds of concrete, rebar and sand I’d bought to deter them. I had to return to Lowe’s and bought and much longer pipes to deter the squirrels. The new bird feeder should not say it holds five pounds of seed. Great! I decided I was not going back to the yard every other day to fill the feeder. The next morning I saw where the new beautiful feeder does not hold five pounds of seed well. The squirrels had dug around all the concrete and got under the sand filler. I went out to check their damage and in trying to reset the pole I got about a pound of seed in my hair! One of the prisms had split. I was too furious to say a nasty word.
The parts that fell to the ground, the squirrels chewed a bit. The composite materials were tough on their teeth and I hope tasted horrible.
I quickly showered and with a wet head, I was in Lowe’s with it’s beautiful but weak, broken bird feeder. I bought another bag of bird seed. With the new replacement feeder I put less than three pounds of seed in it. Of course the squirrel proof pole is still set.
Seeing, nature is just fascinating. About the fifth grade we studied that squirrels created all the trees in the western part of the United States. I know of four, I’d like to hop a freight train heading west!
My Ortho likes to hunt small game. His old hunting ground was across a rill from my kin’s once ten thousand acres. [I sold my wee acreage to a distant Cousin.] I warned Ortho to never cross that stream. The Forest Rangers or Sheriff’s Deputy would get him. That’s how the kin have the property protected. I saw my Ortho and promised to catch four squirrels, bag them and bring him “eight squirrel nuts”….. don’t get upset. He almost fell off his stool.
Yes, he is getting “Squirrel Nuts”. The NECCO Company of Boston/Revere makes a candy by that name and, when one of the kids I grew up with slows down at a candy store, she is buying and shipping me a package of that candy for my Ortho.
In the meantime, two of the four squirrels are missing, Hurrah! Every morning I open the blinds in the kitchen to see the antics of the beautiful birds. Yikes, the bird feeder is missing.
I saw a blob against the concrete blocks. I quickly dressed enough to go into the yard with my camera. That blob was a “bandit” better known as a raccoon, “pole dancing”. He heard me and the camera click and flew into the woods.
That bandit had been rubbing its furry body against all the weight holding the feeder pole. He was so busy rubbing his body against the pole, he did not notice he had dislodged the bail and it had slipped up and out of its spot and slid behind him. He was an old bandit. From his neck to his hind legs was about twenty-four inches. He was bigger than any of my neighbors’ “ankle biter” dogs.
Unbelievable, everything has been in place for a solid week.
I’ve not been to Lowe’s for stuff to work on a project. I think I’m having “hug withdrawal”.
Patricia Barbee © 2014
The Best Auto for the Driver
For those who have known me a long time, can repeat, my mantra, “Buy American. That keeps the cousins working. Then they won’t be seen at the door, asking for a loan, they have no intentions to
Weeks ago, I got an invitation to post a valuable message on MoveOn.com.
It did not take me long. Since early 2011, I began to search the internet for the auto makers based
in Detroit for autos with bench front seats. There is nothing wrong with my 2001 Buick. I was
planning a budget when one day I may have it worn out. To date my problems have been so slight,
I don’t worry. A piece of driver’s door rubber gasket about three inches tore off. I stopped at a combined GM dealer to check the price. I was told $80 plus labor. As long as I have a piece of construction insulation and black duct tape, I do not have a problem.
This is what I posted to MoveOn.com:
The American taxpayers bailed out the American auto companies. What do they do? They have designed the vehicles to not be driven by many.
First think of our Hero Veterans and Angels of Mercy with bodies that suffered in unbelievable events. As a teen I volunteered at a residential VA Hospital. A number of Heroes of WWII and Korea had their vehicles.
I observed them enter their cars. Depending on their dexterity, I saw some enter from the passenger side and slide and pull their wheelchair in to “ride shotgun”. Pull a rope and close the door. The autos had hand controls and off the driver went.
Others I watched would get in on the driver’s side, slide toward the center of the bench seat and with the left hand grab the wheelchair and it would collapse. Then the driver would lean forward and place the wheel chair behind him in a two door car. Then the driver would place the right leg over the hump and the left out of the way and operate the hand controls and drive off.
With the new cars, none of the above can be done with those bucket seats and solid center consoles. Heaven forbid a woman has to exit the vehicle in an emergency, how does she get out without causing injury to her anatomy? ***
I have a handicapped card. I was chairing a meeting at a retreat center. An inconsiderate driver placed a huge SUV beside my driver’s side. It was faster for me to slide from the passenger side than return to my room and await the concierge to arrive in a golf cart. That driver left me the width of an eight by eleven sheet of paper to enter my car.
Yes, my pain pills came in handy. Because of an already suspended drunk driver in another’s car with no insurance, I have suffered. I stopped counting surgical repairs at fourteen some are metal parts. I wear braces on both hands. How am I to operate the center console control knob and not endure pain each time I must touch it?
My American-made bench seat car is a gem! On cruise control on the Interstate at sixty-five miles per hour, I’ve seen it roll on fifty-one miles to the gallon.
Yes, as an individual I have contacted the maker of my auto and explained my concerns. They listened. Sometime later I was sent a questionnaire. I answered the questions and never heard from them again. My buying one auto will not make them or break them, so why care?
[***If you are teaching your child to drive, how do you grab the steering wheel and take the child’s foot off the gas pedal? What happens if the adult driver collapses? How does the passenger,
safely stop the vehicle?]
Someone let Buick know my intentions and I got this in an e-mail from them.
We would like to thank you for your feedback regarding our vehicles and the technology we use. Everything that we do regarding our vehicles is dependent on the market place. Customers provide feedback to us regarding our current vehicles, future vehicles, and the different components on them. From the information provided, we, in turn, make decisions and changes towards our product. We will document your suggestions and comments and we hope our future products will be able to suit your needs.
Friends, I ask you and yours to sign my Petition. I have dedicated it to an American Hero you will never meet and except for me will never know. I’ve not told his Family my intentions. I’ll call him by his initials. “AM” He was one of the strongest Firemen and EMTs in this Country.
On “infamous” “9/11” as the Twin Towers in New York City, his Unit was ordered to “Ground Zero”
to assist the Mercy Angels already there.
He went. He and his God can be the only ones to tell what was experienced that day.
His health began to fail. He had to move South near a great hospital for care. His family members
had begun to move South over the years. So he and his bride were never without company. Their
grown children stayed North.
He went through amputations; diabetes; renal failure, sores and other ailments. Fathers’ Day the Angels escorted “AM” from this orb where his new body parts were waiting.
Our hearts aches. Our cheeks have salt burns from the tears. We rejoice to have known a Great
I am posting the Petition link. If it is removed, blame our robot.
Patricia Barbee © 2014
"Squirrels -9, Your Scribe-1
For three months the new squirrel proof pole and new birdfeeder was fine.
I have mentioned that I believe Noah’s Ark landed in my back yard and not
on Mount Ararat.
Birds, cardinal families; tiny blue birds; birds with green vests and birds with
yellow vests have graced the yard. I can hear mockingbirds, giving off “wolf
whistles”. Some neighbors have chickens and others geese that I can hear
from a distance.
The tortoises have been seen and you’ve seen a photo of one mean “Mrs. T”.
I’ve seen baby rabbits and a grown one that was moving a mile a minute from
the back toward the front driveway.
I’m inside a city limits and I’ve had a baby deer under the birdfeeder. That
deer, I wanted to photograph, but disappeared before I could.
I noticed the birdfeeder listing. The weather was too bad for me to do anything
about it. When I could, I reset the anchoring pole. The next day, it listed more.
The ground was damp and I tamped down the dirt around the pole with my
rain boot heel.
The next morning the birdfeeder was on the ground and the second bail I
had fashioned to hold it onto the pole had been twisted. The top had been
popped and chewed.
The first set of rungs at an feeding spot had been chewed off and the plastic
of the feeder tube had also been chewed.
I am a keeper of things until I have not figured a use. I had ice cream buckets
in the garage. I had been to Lowe’s [they have me spoiled] I had bought sixty pounds
of Quikrete for an art project. [It turned out fabulous.] What I had left I mixed and
put in the old ice cream bucket with a proper support. As it began to set, I put
a piece of rebar construction rod in the center of the support and braced the
rebar. It cured for three days in the garage.
I slid the bucket with rebar to the hole where the birdfeeder pole should stand.
What the “rats with tails” had done was to dig a couple of gallon buckets of
dirt from around the feeder pole. I used their hole and more dirt to anchor
the bucket with rebar in the hole.
The next morning, the pole was listing again. Those squirrels had dug under
the bucket with rebar until it listed toward the ground. Yes, the birdfeeder
was feeding the birds and the squirrels were cutting more holes in the
I took my cultivator and pulled about forty-five pounds of play sand and “counter
weighted” the rebar bucket and the larger hole made by the squirrels.
The next morning, the pole was listing and the squirrels had dug a larger hole
in the front of the rebar bucket. I grabbed the cultivator and repositioned the bag of
sand to the front of the now empty bird feeder and noticed the squirrels had tried
chewing into the reinforced plastic bag holding the sand.
I took the bird feeder into the house, and cleaned it well then using parts of a water
bottle, tools and the extra parts that came with the bird feeder were screwed in place.
This morning, Independence Day, I looked out and saw the squirrels and birds under the
bird feeder about two feet from the ground instead of eight. I took a piece of conduit
pipe, the right length, placed it over the rebar and replaced the squirrel proof pole
and re-positioned the bag of sand!
So far so good. I hate the thought of paying more for a birdfeeder on sale in a few
months that costs more than I’d pay for a pair of shoes. Those over the fifty dollar
price points are squirrel proof and hold less birdseed. So I give up one for another.
Patricia Barbee © 2014
Beaten by a Squirrel
You’ve been keeping up with me living in the City where I really think Noah’s Ark landed.
Let me tell you my favor spot to see God’s beauty is from my window at my kitchen sink.
As the days got longer, I’d open the blinds so the sun would activate my solar toys. I’ve
daisies that sway and a tiny chick that one could say “twerks”.
I have chickens in all shapes and forms around the house including on the kitchen window
valance. If you know the words, “kiri, kiri, kiri” you know why I love the birds.
Four days ago, I had errands to run and was away from the house for a while. I partially
closed the blinds.
Upon my return, I see the squirrel-proof bird feeder on the ground with about a cup of
seeds and at the bottom and some small bird was feasting.
The day was getting late and we were still under a heat advisory. Years ago, all of us
kids would have said, “ what heat advisory”, drank more water and kept playing.
I grabbed an open bag of birdseed. I pulled the feeder from the ground, inspected it
and could not imagine how the bail could be removed from the holder. I filled the
feeder, set it in place and got out of the sweltering weather.
Friday morning, I had my same morning routine. It was also a busy day of errands.
I partially closed the blinds and was off. We were under a weather advisory for
pop-up showers. There TV screens were showing heat advisories too.
I open the blinds and again I see the squirrel feeder in the same position as the day
before. I rushed out with more birdseed and a tool to tighten the bail.
Pow! From the sky came a pop-up shower not on the TV screen for my area that
lasted about ninety minutes. Afar, I could hear thunder. The house lights were
flashing. I knew to take a “chill pill”.
Saturday morning, I knew I had “nothing” on schedule. Nature let me sleep late.
I was in my leisure stance. My “favorite Number One Son by another Mother”,
rang to make sure I was awake. We’d spoke of him aiding me with a project.
We also had to discuss another project, I’d done a rude sketch. Rude or draft perfect,
My Son is brilliant and always does a fantastic job. My friends love the daylight
out of him too. I was spinning like a top to dress and look decent.
I’d not opened the blinds at the kitchen sink. My Son shows up faster than he
always tells me. We both can see the bird feeder on the ground after I opened
the blinds. Now this is three days in a row. While my Son does his project, I
went out and got the bird feeder. I removed the parts and made another bail
with flex wire that whatever was moving it could not. I do have a nickname
within the Family and we don’t speak it in English…on purpose. The closest I’ll tell
you is that I’m “off my rocker”. I bound the flex wire from the exterior with the
inside pulls from orange juice cartons. I throw little away. When I do, I’ve not
figured a way to use it. Daily I thank The Great Spirit for my Physics instructor,
Dr. Dullea, who is probably instructing the Angels.
I refilled the bird feeder. I put it in place. All done. HA!
Today, Sunday morning, I inch my way to the kitchen, open the blinds and see
“mama cardinal” sitting atop the bird feeder. Yeah!
I go about the usual Sunday routine. I opened the front door to see if I had a
free Sunday newspaper. I refuse to buy one. Before I moved here I used to
pay by the year for papers seven days a week. I lived in the Family Forest and
no daily delivery, no postal delivery, “going to the forest was not economically
feasible for the U S Post Office.” So for my mail and paper, I had a daily five
mile trip. However, Sundays I used to get delivery. Then that stopped without
notice. I had to call about the sticker on my paper and they pro-rated the money
I had coming to me. I got cheated. Easy, I won’t spend another penny and read
the paper for free, via the internet.
I did not see a free newspaper today, but a squirrel sitting on my front lawn. I
startled him. I went back to the kitchen and he is sitting under the feeder filling
I looked and saw that I did not see “mama cardinal” sitting atop the feeder. The
top had been moved!
I was dressed and went out. Only a human or strong animal could have undone
one side closure of the top. Then I noticed the strong base has been dug around
and was covered by a few leaves. The feeder instead of being eight feet from the
ground is now at four feet.
Whatever or whoever is in for a big surprise. The bird feeder’s metal base will
be set in Quikrete tomorrow afternoon, depending on the weather. After the
cement sets and becomes concrete, the entire form will be buried in the hole
the critters have dug!
Home Team, ONE……….. Visitors, The Critters, zero
Patricia Barbee © 2014
Modern Day Noah's ArkI’ve had the key to my house since 25 July 2011. I called it my “Christmas in July” present to
myself all with God’s help.
Because I’d trouble walking since 1985, because of a licensed-suspended drunk driver in
another’s vehicle with no insurance. Jumping forward, believe me asking God for something,
gets one a “No” at times. I was leaving this State in four days when the drunk tore up my
body. I never got home to live with all I was familiar and my friends and close age relatives.
This house is nice. Now remember, the Angels were in charge of all of this. From the time
I saw the house, up for auction by the bank, until the time I got the key was twenty days.
However, the house, I’d learn months later was put in my name on the 22nd by the bank.
When I signed up for water, an elderly man in bib coveralls said, “Lady, you have the best
piece of property in Xxxx.” I thanked him. He personified the caricature of a farmer of the
I’ve been chastised by distant relatives for living in this community. Their memories are
decades old. Subdivisions were not on the planning boards of most communities. I’ve been
teased by others for living here. I have the best. “Ground-bound angels” are my neighbors.
The City. A sylvan piece of property and as the crow flies, less than two miles from one
Interstate and two miles from another.
This year 22 March, was the first time I ever walked into any of my back property. I was
Blessed to have a “family of my heart” spend the day and do a favor for “Mama”.
I learned there is a tiny swamp bog is in the back and snakes were in it. I missed seeing
the snakes. Yeah, better believe it.
For almost three years, I said, I’ve only seen squirrels, birds, frogs as small as raisins and
saw a whole skin of a snake in front of my garage door. Of course there are nuisance lizards
that eat bugs so my potted flowers can exist on the patio.
The butterflies are really free and are all over the property. The dragon flies are almost as
Since Spring came in I've seen a tortoise I named, Mrs. T. She has a mean attitude. I found
her under the squirrel proof bird feeder. I was looking out the kitchen window and knew what
I saw was too large to be a snake and too small and wrong shape to be a dove. Two days
later, I found a baby tortoise on the front porch.
I'm thinking Noah's Ark must have landed nearby. Forget Mt. Ararat. My mini-garden with some 300 bulbs bloomed about 30. I saw odd shaped impressions in my raised garden. Something ate my caliente peppers and nothing was touched again. I’m sure those hot pepper plants and tiny peppers gave whatever another attitude. My missing lettuce I blamed on the wind which has blown at thirty five miles per hour in a number of storms.
Recently I saw a small rabbit under the bird feeder. Then I wondered if the bunny had gotten into
the lettuce. My neighbor noticed that hummingbirds were around me as I was working in the yard.
A week ago, I bought a hummingbird feeder and the package of red nectar. That feeder now hangs
about eight feet from the squirrel proof bird feeder.
I’ve not seen a hummingbird near the feeder. From the kitchen window, my favorite viewing spot
in this Southern heat and humidity, I spotted a daddy cardinal sitting sentry about a foot from the
hummingbird feeder. I do not walk on wet grass. It has been raining here and the sun is shining
A few days ago, I saw a larger rabbit high-tailing from the back woods across the lawn towards
the driveway. I have not seen “Hoppy-long Cassidy” since. Running that fast he needed a name.
I looked out again to see if the rain had stopped. It had and from the woods emerges a young deer.
No way could I take a photo of the deer and not scare it. However, I was going to try. Every door
opens with chimes and a voice announcement from the burglar alarm system.
Because of the tinted windows, never can I get a photo unless I’m outside and am free to snap
the picture. You see, Mrs. T was not happy in the above photo.
For years, I could put my hand in my purse and touch the camera. It was missing. I was a tornado
in the house trying to figure where it was. The idea bulb went off. The last time I saw it was the
day before. My car was in the driveway. Sure enough, the camera had slid from my purse. I peeked
around the house as quiet as I could be and the deer was gone.
Had I heard the noises for exiting the house from the burglar system; the car door opening, not closing it, I’d have disappeared too. Noises in the silence of the day would scare “Casper the Ghost”.
I ate “deer meat” before I saw Bambi. Then I learned the word, “venison”. I refused to eat “Bambi’s”
relatives. As an adult, I still see “Bambi” when I see a deer.
That deer in my yard is on safe ground.
Patricia Barbee © 2014
Respected by Presidents; Rewarded by Royalty; In Death Dastardly CalledLady, Maya Angelou had her wings attached early in the morning this week and flew from her figurative “cage”. Forever, 28 May will bring tears to my eyes and left a hole in my heart that will never heal.
My Beloved walked into the Philadelphia Airport in a rainstorm, 28 May. I didnot know then, that it was the Angels crying. I was bawling and soaking the interior of my car. Darling was en route to Okinawa, Japan to work the Marine Corps Brig and return to me the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.
Our dreams and plans never were to be.
In 1957, my Dad’s Mom was on her last days with cancer. She begged my Mom to leave Boston so she could see us one last time.
I have nothing good to say about Dad’s Mom. I refused to go. My Boston Nana about five foot one bent down to my maybe thirty inch body and gave me a “nose to nose” order. “You will go. You will be on your best behavior and will not dishonor the Family name.” Nana ruled. Mom had no trouble out of me.
Mom decided for us to take a Greyhound and leave Boston at night so we’d begoing through Baltimore and Washington, DC in daylight so she could pick outsites she knew from her years of living in the area.
We had only one change of buses and that was in New York City. Greyhound had toilets on the newer buses and Mom being tall chose to sit at the back of the bus.
Ah, Mom could stretch out and sleep. I was on the seat in front of Mom waybehind the driver. I too could stretch out and sleep in comfort.
The last time we were in the area was by train and I was too little to see outthe windows seated. Kneeling in a seat on a moving train I knew I did not want to do.
I was in awe of all the sites Mom picked out for me as the “dog” left Washington. Sure, I’d read about the places, now I’m seeing them in person. Today, the only sights one sees around Washington, DC are highways, traffic and super tall buildings that dwarf the historical places, never again to be seen from the highways.
We went to Winston-Salem, NC. I was hit with racism. The layover was to be about ninety minutes. Mom lifts me off the bus because I was too little to get off the bottom step without jumping.
I was following the line to the waiting room. I was stopped at the door before Mom could grab me. “This waiting room is for White People only”, I was told. Mom grabbed me by my coat and the talking head said, “You Coloreds walk the two blocks down and take a right and you’ll see the ‘Colored Waiting Room’. “
In my years of life I’ve traveled but never to Third World Countries and have never seen a Greyhound Waiting Room so horrible. The “ladies” room was a dirt floor that had a once clean white porcelain toilet, now brown and black. I had to tinkle. Mom held me over the toilet. Of course, there was no paper to be seen. Mom always had a big supply of tissues in her purse. She kept many employed at Kimberly Clark. I turned my back and Mom was done in seconds as she straddled her tall body over the toilet. Maybe now the toilet has been flushed. It did not work.
With a tissue she turned on the water to wash our hands. There was only cold water. Mom had a large sliver of soap in her bag and we washed in cold water.
We went to the counter to see what was edible. I gave Mom a stare of “NO WAY”. Mom ordered a milk for me. We knew the contents of the carton had to be clean unless it was sour. The milk was good. The carton still had the pull up top not the familiar pouring spout. Mom got a coffee. I could not ever recall her drinking coffee. Mom paid the cashier and we walked out of that horrible shack.
We talked about it as we went back to our bus. I told Mom, I remembered, Pa’s chicken houses were built better than most residences in the town we were headed. Mom, told me to keep my mouth shut and we’d talk later.
We saw our fellow White travelers entering the bus. The drivers had changed. There was a trash receptacle near the bus. Mom dropped in the paper coffee cup and my milk carton.
We walked to the bus and the driver looked us up and down and used a word, I’d only hear the first day of each school year. “All you niggers to the back of the bus.” I started to give him my speech and Mom clamped my mouth and lifted me to the step. I was burning hot and Mom said I could not say a word until we got to Savannah, GA.
In my all girls’ schools at the elementary level, the first day of school, the rules were outlined. The most memorable: “The word “nigger” means ignorant. If one uses it to call another “nigger” that means the one using the word is ignorant. We have no ignorant girls in our school.”
I stared out the window all the way to Savannah. My mental wheels were turning. I was trying to think of a way to tell the Greyhound driver he was ignorant. I knew Mom would give me another memory for opening my mouth.
I promised myself that never would I set foot in Winston-Salem, NC again.
5 June 1985, I’d been residing in Georgia near my Dad’s relatives and hated it. I flew home to Boston on that day. My “bestest” friend was to pick me up at the airport. I was coming home to visit and find a job and residence.
My luck, a strong storm caused the pilot to land at the nearest airport. He sat down in Winston-Salem. When they got word that the storm had passed, we taxied and took off. We took off and as we started to climb, lightning struck that plane. Back to the tarmac, now we have fire and emergency crews paralleling us back to the gate.
We were allowed to make calls informing those awaiting us we’d be late.
The storm was over. Another plane heading to Boston was diverted to take the few of us who were determined not to spend another moment in the community boarded and I got home some four hours late.
Sure, we who loved Dr. Maya Angelou and the trials and tribulations she’d overcome and was still a lady are heartbroken to know that whoever called the 911-mercy center heard that same derogatory word in the background when the call was for mercy assistance was for Dr. Angelou.
Now, we know it was a supervisor at 911. If this accomplished Lady can be called names in death, what did he call her in life?
One thing for sure she has brought people to the table to create love and understanding around the world.
Winston-Salem, North Carolina has ignored love and understanding if a person in authority could speak so freely.
Some things never change.
Patricia Barbee © 2014
We Don't ForgetMay 29, 1917, a baby was born to Rose and Joseph Kennedy in Brookline, Massachusetts. He grew up in a Catholic family which meant he got a few more brothers and sisters than the average family. He did the usual things expected for his generation.
He went to college. He enlisted in the United States Navy. He served in WWII and books and movies have been made of his trials of war in “PT 109”.
He came home to Boston a figurative foot from Brookline. In time he became our United States Senator for Massachusetts. John F. Kennedy, the Senator ran for President in the United States in 1960. He won the hearts of the voters and was elected President.
The Boston School Committee refused to let us school kids have the day off to see OUR neighbor sworn in. The Great Spirit had other thoughts. We got one of the biggest snow storms in years that began on 19 January. The next day was the legal date to swear in the President. Probably every house in New England was having an all-day pajama party.
I do not recall hearing our elevated trains running. I know the buses were snowed in. I did not know a soul with a color television in 1961, so we watched in black and white. Besides seeing all the Kennedys in one place at the same time, instead of being all over Boston was quite memorable.
New England’s adopted son, Robert L. Frost read his poem, “The Gift Outright”. Ironically our Poet died two years and nine days later. For those snowed in that great day may have been the first time some had paid attention to a poet and a poem.
That snowed in day did not forecast our American future with a man from our community. Having Presidents’ Day in February will never negate our memories of our JFK and the tears we’d share in a “thousand days”. Mr. President, you are remembered on your birthday, today.
Patricia Barbee © 2014
Memorial Day was initiated to clean and decorate the graves of those who gave their lives in the
War Between the States. I refuse to call it “Civil War”. There is no civil war.
I’ve noticed a big push for sales of new automobiles. If it is not American made, I do not want it.
My favorite Detroit based vehicle maker has offered special prices to the active duty; retired; and
national guard military. I am happy for them.
I’ve given the auto maker my thoughts, “What about the “spouses of those Killed in Action? Don’t we
count? Why are there no more vehicles with front bench seats? It is not good for those with health
problems or amputations to sit in those bucket seats. You don’t consider the paralyzed drivers and
needing vehicles. For those with problems with their right hands how is the driver to handle the shift stick? In an emergency, how can a woman climb over the shift knob and not hurt herself. Where is your sense of female Physiology?”
I do not expect to hear from them. They’ll know the next time I buy a car.
I’ve many distant relatives in Germany. Many closer kin stateside never know where they want to live. They have grown up, married and birthed children in Germany and all are citizens of both countries. So if my kin are building German cars, I’ll think long and hard.
The German kin in the States only drive German autos.
We wonder why children have no personal ethics. Their parents have not taught them to respect the
people who made the Country and those who were here and were sacrificed to make this Country
Home of the “Free—for some and the Brave—for even less”.
Don’t go shopping Memorial Day, join some local groups cleaning the cemeteries long neglected.
I wrote about not shopping on Veterans’ Day last year.
Say Prayers for those who are long gone and forgotten. We are here because they lived.
Patricia Barbee © 2014
Years ago, I was in Cincinnati days before Christmas for a Board Meeting of a special Program
I was a part. I know how to make the best of a dime when it comes to travel. My Dad’s Aunt,
a wonderful fun loving woman lived in that City. Two blocks of that street were my Dad’s relatives.
Dad’s Aunt and a slew of Cousins would travel and stop in NJ to visit me.
When I knew I’d be in Cincinnati, we’d plan ahead. They’d pick me up at the airport. For
days we’d visit with the relatives. We’d shop in a special fabric store I was surprised to see in
Cincinnati. I’d only seen one on my trips to Sacramento visiting family in California. I went
bonkers in that Cincinnati store. I guess you can tell I sew. I was put on their customer list.
The mail would come; I’d get on the telephone and order whatever and give up the plastic
Never did I have to question the quality of their goods.
That December visit was over and I was taken to the site of our Board Meeting. So many
times had my Aunt and Cousins been there, they were greeted by name. We’d leave each
other with hugs and kisses and , “See you next time.” Never would we say “Good bye”. I’m
happy we had our days together. I’m the only one still alive.
That December meeting ended with a nice luncheon on the Twenty-Third. My plane was
not to fly until five. A dear friend at the meeting site but not on the Board volunteered to
take me to the airport, but give me a tour of the City’s wealthy neighborhoods to see their
I won’t give you their names but those two families are known for their soap and cleaning
I was shocked to see these understated mansions with just a wreath on the door. One
had really broken their budget with a wreath at every window hanging from a red ribbon.
Another house had the wreath on the door with a big red bow and a single electric candle
in each window.
One house was over the top. It had the wreath on the door and had decorated the wrought
iron gate frame that held the power box for the vehicle entry. That frame had one string of
mini-lights glowing in the daylight.
On the way to the airport as we left the rich neighborhood and passed through the lower
economic neighborhoods, the more we saw of all the stuff available and sold by the stores.
I call it all “yard clutter”.
My friend’s open question that had no answer, was, “I wonder if, these people have their bills
paid and food for the table for more than one day? When will they be able to pay off their electric
bill for all the stuff we are seeing?”
That drive and his words have never left me. Yes, we arrived at the airport save and sound.
I decorated for Christmas once for my late Darling. He traded duty with some Navy guy with three children.
He “forgot” to tell me. He said it was a last minute thought and I’d understand. He’d be out of the Marines
and we’d be home with our “little dolls”. [I could not get angry with him.] I ate Christmas dinner with Darling
on the USS Wasp. I left him and returned home and looked at the tree as wasted time and money, but the
love for him overrode the irate thoughts in the recesses of my heart.
Darling came home just after midnight, looked at the tree, and unplugged the lights. He prepared
for bed. I heard the water flowing in the bathroom. Morning came soon. He thought he was
to roam the house in his robe. No way. He’d forgotten we had been invited to an early Hanukkah dinner
at one of my co-worker’s home.
Yes, that was a new experience for my Darling. I gave an early excuse to leave. Darling was
exhausted. He needed some sleep. When he awoke, it was time for him to return to the Wasp.
The only tradition, I follow that was in our Family from Mom’s experience. Always leave the
outside light on for Christmas Eve. We never know who may ring our bell for help or to bring us a Blessing.
I know that the one who puts up all the decorations is the one who takes that stuff down and
packs it away.
My denuded oak tree with its silver moss and Yellow Ribbon is solar lit all year long. It has five clear lights.
Now it has three large solar orbs that rotate in colors. Decorating takes a full thirty seconds. I will expend a
bit more time to un-decorate because, I’ll remove the batteries and pack all away.
Celebrate the Season as your heart dictates.
Patricia Barbee © 2013
The Pledge of Allegiance
An OPEN LETTER to businesses having sales on Veterans' Day and Memorial Day. I will do my best to encourage all I know to boycott your business those days.
YOU have not stood at Arlington National Cemetery by the bier holding the Love of one's life.
You have not heard the volley rounds of gun fire.
You do not have some of the brass empty bullet casings, once warm when handed to you.
You have not heard Taps played over your Beloved.
You have not received the tri-corner folded flag with words of "Thanks from the President and a grateful Nation....."
You have not had the Chaplain escort you away from the burial spot.
You have not left your dreams as they are lowered into the dirt of Virginia.
You have not sat alone at your dining table because the Best Half of your life was Killed in Action.
Yes, he gave you the freedom to be the fool you are and the 363 other days of the year, you'd never say, "Thank You" for your husband's service to our Country. Here's a ONE percent discount card for life. That is the least we can do.
Patricia Barbee (c) 2013