Tag Archives: mom

A Letter to Momma

Dear Momma,

It’s been a while since I wrote last. I just wanted to drop you a quick line and wish you Happy Mother’s Day!

I hope you’re having a nice day. I’m sure the weather is beautiful up there in the mountains. Spring is upon you there, for sure. Everything is turning green; the crickets are chirping, the butterflies are flitting about, the bees are buzzing over the feast of nectar in all those wildflowers up there on the hillsides. I’m sure Bear is running here and there behind the cabin chasing whatever comes within his view. Daddy’s probably sitting on the deck watching it all.

The kitties are fine. I’m sure Patches misses you. Your prediction of her becoming a “lap kitty extraordinaire” turned out to be right on the money. Precious is a big girl now. I also have a little black kitty now. Her name is Li’l Black Kitty. Original, huh? They’re all doing fine, Mom. The kitties were probably the most important things you left me when you went away. They’ve brought me much joy over the years.

I’m still your “biker” son, Mom. I don’t have a motorcycle at the moment, but I did have a really beautiful one for the past few years. Steve bought it for me. Some gift, huh? He rode it from the dealer into my driveway one evening and handed me the keys. Can you believe that? I never had new motorcycle in my entire life. This one was brand-spankin’ new. Sadly, I had to sell it; ironically, to help him out of a jam. He’s my brother. He’s helped me out of a few. It was my turn.

We’re both hurting a bit from this “housing bust” and the resulting economic meltdown in Florida the past few years. You don’t worry none about either of us, ya’ hear. We’ll pick ourselves up and dust off and be on top of things again sometime soon. Don’t you worry! We’re doing OK for the moment; hopefully, back in the upswing. There’s food to eat. We’re in OK health. You and Daddy raised us both well. We’ll survive. You can count on it!

I had to sell your little Subaru Brat a couple years back. It developed a transmission problem. I just couldn’t justify spending any money on it. I know you’ll be sad to hear that, but the good news is a collector bought it from me. He intended to take it home and make it his #1 project for a few months. He wanted to restore it to original. He was a nice man. I believe he might have just done it, too.

Gotta’ close for now, Momma…

I just wanted to let you know that all’s OK with me and Steven. A lot of things have happened, good and bad, over the last decade or since we saw you last, but we persevere. Life is for living. Tell Daddy that Steve and I miss him, too. Rarely a day goes by that we don’t think about y’all. Give Bear a hug for me. I’ll try not to wait so long to write next time.

I love you,

~Eric

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On a warm summer’s eve in June of ’99, my mother left this world for her mountain retreat in the sky. I’m an atheist, but if I’m wrong about all that, I sure would wish something like that for her. She loved her cabin in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

You folks reading this right now… if your mother is still with us in this world, I URGE you to go to her, give her a hug, and tell her how much you love her. There are those of us who cannot do that anymore. Do it for us… for yourselves… and especially for you moms.

Have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

~Eric

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Ummm… GOOD Burger!

Sort of a restaurant review, but really just a story of a nice evening out with family.

About a year ago at one of my aunts & uncles’ every Wednesday afternoon coffee clatches, my aunt Irma mentioned a really great new place to get a burger. It was called Five Guys Burgers and Fries. And they do mean FRIES… and LOTS of ’em; we’ll get to that in a minute, though.

Time went by… I kept meaning to get to this place and try one of their burgers, but just never got around to it. This past Wednesday, at the coffee clatch again, I mentioned that if I had 20 bucks, I’d go to Five Guys for dinner. My same aunt said, “Rip (my uncle) and I will pick you and Steve (my brother) up tomorrow at 6PM and take you guys for a burger on us!” COOL! Of course, as soon as she mentioned this, two of my other aunts and one of my uncles chimed in that they would like to go, too.

The coffee clatch caravan met at my uncle Pete’s house (couple blocks from my house) Thursday night. We left there and went over to Five Guys for some burgers and fries. There were nine of us. The aunts are my father’s sisters. Uncle Pete is my father’s brother. My other uncles there are husbands of my aunts.

When I was working, I was usually off on Wednesdays, so I’ve been participating in the coffee clatch with these folks for a few years now. My brother and I are both retired sans income (unemployed) at the moment, so we both are usually at uncle Pete’s on Wednesdays these days.

OK, so we get to the place, which is only a couple miles from my house. We go up to the counter and place our orders. I ordered a bacon double cheeseburger with mayo, mustard, catsup, and onions… oh, and a large order of fries. We get our drinks and take a seat. In a few minutes, they call our number. My uncle Rip gets up and gets our orders… served in big brown paper bags.

The “large” fries order comes in a 28 oz. paper cup. They set it in the bottom of the paper bag and then pour a huge scoop of additional fries in on top of that. GREASY! YUM! I was warned by my aunt Irma about the amount of fries they serve you. I didn’t care. I LOVE french fries… and these are the real things, not frozen; they are real, live, had-to-peel-’em taters, folks. Damn! They were good, too.

The burger had a really good charbroiled flavor. Everything was fresh and hot. Even the iced tea was tasty! All in all, I’d have to say this was a worthwhile night out. Not everyone was impressed, but then you can’t please everyone all the time. My brother and I both enjoyed our dinner.

From there, we went back to uncle Pete’s for some after dinner coffee and donuts from a local donut shop where my aunt Sandra stopped on the way back to Pete’s house. We laughed and reminisced about fun times… mostly about trips that my aunts and uncles had made to North Carolina years ago to visit with my mom and dad. They were good memories. My mom and dad are both gone from this world. It’s nice to sit with my aunts and uncles and my brother and remember the old times.

If you have a Five Guys nearby you somewhere, stop on in for a burger. Don’t forget them fries!

Until next time, folks…

~Eric

My First Car… 1977

It was the hot summer of 1977. I was 15 years old and dreaming of hot rods, motorcycles, and girls… probably in that order, too.

I was in between 10th and 11th grades that summer. I was sporting a cool set of “Elvis” sideburns and had a tape box filled with the latest and greatest Rock and Roll 8-track tapes. All I needed was some wheels. No. Not a bicycle. I needed some big boy wheels… a car, a motorcycle… something with a motor. I dreamed about a ’57 Chevy or a cool Harley-Davidson raked out chopper, like Cap’n America’s bike in the movie Easy Rider.

That was also the summer that my mom and dad let me know that I was going to be getting my very first (official) car in September, once I passed my operator’s license test. I only had a restricted license up till then. My mother was in a hurry for me to get my license and car because, as she said then, “I’m tired of carting your ass around.” Mom was a plain-spoken country girl from Avon Park, Florida. She usually told you like it was; no BS from momma.

I say “official” because my first “unofficial” car was actually a 1963 Pontiac Catalina Safari station wagon real similar to THIS tank. It was originally our family car, but my dad sold it to his and mom’s business a few years earlier. It was recently retired and sitting in my yard. I adopted it. I started working on it and tinkering with it till one day when my father asked me what I was doing. He and I had a bit of a round and round over that car. He was for selling it. I was for keeping it. He won the debate. That was the end of my hot rod station wagon dreams.

So anyway, September rolled on by. I passed my operator’s license exam. And within a couple days, was driving my first “official” car, a hand-me-down (from mom) 1969 Plymouth Valiant. It was just like the one pictured here, but mine was monkey puke green. OK, it wasn’t no cool hot rod. It had a six cylinder; not a speed demon. However, I actually wish I had that car nowadays. That 225CI slant six Mopar engine was one of the best plants to ever come out of Detroit. It got 35mpg on a bad day. I installed some coax speakers in the back deck and a hand-me-down 8-track tape player and off I went… a 16 year old with the world in the palm of his hand.

I didn’t drive that ol’ girl for that long. I was into a real hot rod shortly thereafter. The Valiant was given to my uncle Aaron, my mother’s brother. He drove it for about  a month till some idiot turned left in front of him one day. The ol’ girl was totaled. Uncle Aaron was alright, though… just car-less again. A sad ending for such a great little car. Oh well, that’s the way it goes sometimes.

That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!

Till next time, folks…

~Elvis, er… I mean Eric

Dreaming of Simpler Times

The oak trees in the neighborhood have been spending their days generating pollen profusely the last few weeks.

It looks like they’re nearly finished with their springtime ritual. My oaks, all eight of them, are beautiful and fully loaded with fresh green leaves. The yard still has tumblin’ tumblepiles of pollen dingleberries blowing around. That will be gone after a few more good rains and some stiff breezes, though. In the meantime, the poor folks who are allergic to this stuff are still rubbin’, scratchin, sneezin’ and wheezin’.

I love this time of year in my area. It’s not quite hot enough yet to be considered uncomfortable and everything is GREEN and coming to life again after the long, dark wintertime (very facetious comment regarding “winter” in Florida). Anyway, looking out the window earlier today at the old oak tree out in my front yard, reminded me of a story I wrote about that tree a few years ago. I hope you enjoy reading it. Maybe it’ll bring back some fond memories of home for you also.

The Oak Tree^

There’s a big old oak tree out in my front yard that’s probably almost 100 years old. It was there when my father bought this property and started building this house. That was in 1953 or so. The tree was old then. It was probably a sapling when Coolidge was President. Of course, at that time the tree had many brothers and sisters around to keep it company because this whole area was woods back then.

Please read the rest of my story at my Cabin In the Woods board. By the way, below is a relatively recent picture of the old oak tree.

*click for larger image

Until next time, folks…

~Eric

^The Oak Tree is protected by copyright.

The Easter Egg Hunt

It’s been sort of a tradition for me to post this at one of my favorite forums each Easter. I’ll post it here this year. Some of you have read this; some of you haven’t.

Enjoy!

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The Easter Egg Hunt

Earlier this morning shortly after I awoke I realized it was Easter Sunday. Once this thought settled into my groggy, just awakened brain I began to think of Easters past. Actually, I was only thinking of one Easter past. It was many years past, probably near thirty-five of them. I believe I was around four years old for this Easter I’m writing of here.

I remember being awakened by my mother early that morning. I was in bed with my father. I must have crawled into bed with him sometime that night or early in the morning. I seem to remember doing this occasionally. I’m not sure where my brother was at the time, most likely in his own bed in our bedroom. He was about fifteen at the time and would not have been partaking in Easter egg hunts, I’m afraid. More than likely he was dreaming about the homerun he had hit playing Little League Baseball earlier that weekend, or some such adolescent thoughts which were years away yet for myself.

Mom ushered me out of bed quietly so as not to disturb my father who had most likely been out late the night before partaking of his favorite hobby, Greyhound racing. I remember her helping me to get dressed in my little jeans and sweater outfit. It was early April and there was still a bit of a chill in the air in the early mornings here in central Florida, where I grew up and still live.

This Easter event that my mom had planned was totally surprising to me. I had no prior hints that she was planning on doing anything like this. After getting me all dressed up, which she use to refer to as, “dressing a limp noodle”, she motioned me through the house and out toward the backdoor. The hunt was to take place back there, and the game was already afoot.

Upon stepping out onto the back porch, mom informed me that the Easter Bunny had come in the night and placed candy and other goodies all over the backyard. My mission, should I decide to accept it was to determine the whereabouts of these goodies and take the booty for my very own! Arrrr, matey! And so the hunt begins in spite of my mixing of metaphors.^

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Please follow this link* for the rest of this story. Thank you!

*Note the link will lead you to my Cabin In the Woods board @ ProBoards.

^This material is protected by copyright.

I Live With Three Beautiful Ladies

I love them dearly.

Back in ’98, my mom was dying. She was living here with me in Tampa at the time. She was too sick to stay in her beloved cabin in the North Carolina mountains anymore. One day mom told me she wanted a little kitten. I was incredulous, to say the least. What was I going to do? Tell her no? I said, “Sure, mom. Whatever you want.” She was going to find one in the newspaper. Alright. That was that.

About a week or so later, a friend who worked with me at the Sears Service Center here in Tampa came running into the shop at work one morning. He was in a frenzy. “Eric! There’s a tiny kitten out in the back parking lot!” Well, the back parking lot was also where 20 or 30 service vans came and went about this time every morning. That kitten didn’t have a chance. We ran back there to check.

She was really tiny… about 5 or 6 days old. There was a feral colony in the woods behind the service center, so I figured one of the mama cats was moving her litter from one place to another and dropped this one along the way. I could tell it was a little girl because it was a three color cat, also known as calico. Calico cats are almost always female. I gathered her up and clocked out and took her home to my mom.

She was so little, though, that she wasn’t eating solid food yet. I had to become a substitute cat mother for her. With a little help and training from my then girlfriend, Sherry, we learned how to bottle feed and take care of the little one. I wanted to name her “Sears the cat”. My mother was having none of that. She said, “This kitten is PRECIOUS.” It stuck.

What I didn’t know at the time I brought Precious home from work was that my mother had already found a kitten in the paper. A lady was bringing it over in a couple days. Oh my. So, that’s how I ended up with Precious and Patches (another calico). Sadly, my mother didn’t live too long after this. She never really got to enjoy the kitties’ company. However, they’ve been the absolute best thing she could have ever left me.

A couple years after mom died. I brought in a little feral black kitten that was living in my backyard. Her name is Li’l Black Kitty. Original, huh? She’s a sweetheart. And Li’l Black Kitty makes three. That’s how I ended up living with three beautiful ladies. Here they are… Precious, Patches, and Li’l Black Kitty.

Yeah… Yeah… I know what posts like this do to my burly biker reputation.

Until next time… ride safely!

~Eric