Barbie Perkins-Cooper, Author

Living Life in the Country As A Writer, Photographer


Dearest Readers:

Brace Yourselves, Readers. Yes. I admit it. Barbie Perkins-Cooper is stepping gently on her soap box once again, only this time with compassion, heartache and opinions that all of my regular readers {and those who know me personally} have been curious as to WHEN I would write about the subject at hand. It is true. I’ve been described as “an intense woman…opinionated and head-strong.” Yes, indeed, that is me — only Julia Sugarbaker style! Not a Southern Belle!

I’ve been quiet for a bit too long now due to the circumstances and issues steaming within our country, The United States of America. First, we have the quarantine with the Corona Virus, Covid-19. Now, after staying inside for much too long, tempers are flaring. People are angry. Angrier than I’ve seen them in a long time! Anger brews hatred.

After Memorial Day, 2020, I watched the video of George Floyd of Minnesota and the four police officers. I’m certain you’ve seen it too. Reportedly, the police officer placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Are we certain? Are there videos of the situation during the entire conflict? I saw one video where Floyd was handcuffed – hands behind his back like police officers do during the arresting process. I ask all of you — just WHEN did Mr. Floyd end up on the ground? Were his hands still handcuffed? I don’t believe I’ve seen any video indicating that while the police officer was holding his neck down with his knee Floyd was still handcuffed? When did he hit the ground?

Another question I have is this — why didn’t the three white police officers with the other officer stop this process? They had to know placing a knee on someone’s neck could result in severe injuries, choking or death. I don’t need a medical degree to have common sense.

Here’s another question I have. Yes, I’m full of them and ready to share a few. I will go on record again at this moment to say I am not a racist. Yes, I grew up in the Deep South of Georgia, but I have not, nor shall I ever be – racist.

To those who were recording the videos, I thank you; nevertheless, I cannot understand why someone didn’t approach one of the police officers to ask them not to hurt him, but to arrest him! Believe me, had I been there in Minneapolis, I would’ve walked over to the police officers and ask them to please stop. He’s handcuffed. What harm can he do now?

As a young girl, I lived in a mill village. One Saturday morning while I shopped with my grandmother, I saw two water fountains. One had a sign reading Colored People.

I walked over to it. My grammy called me to come back but I was curious! I wanted to know if the water fountains were different and if it was a colored fountain, why was it the same color as the other one?

Grammy placed her finger on her lips. She whispered, “Sh-hh, child. That’s for colored people. They’re not the same as us.”

“But the woman who cleans the homes in the village is black,” I said. I do not recall ever saying “colored.”

I shook my head. “No, Grammy. God loves all of us. We learn that in church.”

Grammy reached for my hand, turning me away.

I admired Rosa Parks, and Dr. Martin Luther King. I listened to his speech, “I HAVE A DREAM,” and cried. When Rosa Parks refused to give up her front seat on the bus, I applauded her. I didn’t understand why she couldn’t sit next to me if I met her!

To clarify, I’ve seen racism all of my life, and I’ve stood up to say something, even when I was a little girl. When rumors filled a high school declaring no colored people could attend high school there, I ask why. They deserve and need an education too!

My mother described me as a “trouble maker, too curious for your own good.”

My father said I was “quite the chatty child. She loves to be the center of attention and she’s always asking why!” Humph! Even as a toddler I liked to be remembered!

My husband says “I step into other people’s business and I should keep my opinions to myself.”

I laugh. I proudly say — Isn’t this the United States of America?

Mr. Floyd had a criminal record, serving time for pulling a weapon on a pregnant woman when he and other guys with him broke into her home. There were other police records too, including drugs, etc. He was not the martyr the recent riots and political movements are making him out to be. No one is perfect! We’ve had protests/riots here in Charleston. Downtown Charleston was attacked like a warzone — knocking windows out. Breaking into the Apple Store, restaurants, grocery stores and more looting. The anger and hatred was horrifying for a city known as the Holy City. I believe the protests are peaceful now, protesters chanting: “Say his name…George Floyd…Black Lives Matter, Silence is Violence,” over and over again while they walk along the pedestrian sidewalk of Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge, downtown Charleston, North Charleston and other suburbs.

Some of the chanting and demands include the abolishment of the police departments. I pray that WE, THE CITIZENS OF AMERICA, truly have a voice/statement via elections if this does happen. I do not agree that all police officers are good. Some are crooked. Some are probably racists, but I’ve known several police officers. I cannot comprehend how the USA could be a great society if we lost law enforcement. Wouldn’t that be a prime time for terrorists to attack us again?

Yes, I agree the protests are making statements. At first, a statement to spread violence. Hatred. Racism. Now, they appear to be a bit more organized. Less hatred. I do not understand the “Silence is Violence,” signs. I believe when people are silent they do not know a way to communicate what they are feeling. Perhaps they are afraid.

As for me? Afraid to speak up? Never! I’ve ALWAYS vocalized my opinions; however, most of the time I will vocalize with resources to back up what I am saying. I believe “Silence is Fear.” Fear of the unknown.

Racism is not a new emotion/hatred/whatever. Racism is negligence. I’ve always had friends of every color in the world. I’ve always stood up when they needed help of any kind. That is who I am.

I can’t help being a bit curious to this idea I’ve had for a long time. Whenever someone is critically ill and needing a blood transfusion does the family or the patient dare to ask “What color of blood am I getting?”

I’ve given blood before. I’ve never seen the nurse write “white” on the blood. To my knowledge I don’t believe it matters. Blood is blood! Red! It helps keep life going!

According to the Holy Bible: The Bible says “for the life of the flesh is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11); for it is the life of all flesh (Leviticus 17:14); …for the blood is the life (Deuteronomy 12:23).”

There are no descriptions regarding the color of blood in the Bible. While I do not claim to be an expert about religion, I believe God loves all of us, regardless of the color of our skins. We should treat others with respect. Love. Dignity. And now since we cannot give hugs (Yes, I’m definitely a HUGGER, and proud of it!) I send virtual hugs to anyone reading my blog.

I pray all of you will open your hearts and minds to help the United States of America end racism. Racism has been occurring since the 1600’s when slaves were brought to America along the landings and ports of Charleston. There is much history to be shared regarding slavery here in the port city. I’ve attended many events and I always ask why? Why did slavery happen? Why was it necessary to sell people simply because the color of their skin. I’m thankful it ended; however, in many ways, the racism of slavery left emotional scars that may never heal.

I pray our country will unite again soon as a country filled with LOVE AND RESPECT FOR HUMANITY!


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Dearest Readers:

Did you hear the storms last night? Did the lightning and thunder keep you
awake? Certainly affected me!  I walked around the house, glancing out the windows, only to discover the lightning and sheets of rain. My body jumped with each horrific lightning crash. All I could do was pray for God to keep me, the Bratty Boys,and my hubby safe.

I rushed back to the covers, covering my eyes with my sleep mask and quilt.
Rubbing Little Benjamin’s fur soothed me. He moved a bit closer. I suppose he
could fear the tension at my fingertips.

I turned the TV on and watched recorded episodes of MY LOTTERY DREAM HOME.
Funny. I always enjoy watching David Bromstad along with his Bubbly
personality. He has such a great demeanor. On this episode (an hour edition) he
was quarantined like the rest of the world due to the Corona Virus, so he discussed his fashions, furs, and bling. Oh, how I can relate!

One hour later, I am still unable to sleep or unwind. Finally, my body relaxed and I slept fitfully.

Now that I’ve mentioned MY LOTTERY DREAM HOME, I confess, I was hesitant to
watch it; however, the first episode I watched hooked me! I’ve had some people
say they would never watch his shows because he is “gay.” I say – so what! Some of my dearest friends are gay, and when I was a teenager, one of the guys I dated was gay — behind closed doors. Sad to say, Charles committed suicide when I was 16. I was devastated. I had no idea he was so lost within himself, he chose to end his life.

I suppose the fears I experienced last night during the storms reminded me how we must open our minds and lives to all journeys of life. Storms. Lightning. Thunder! The fears created.

Storms! Why do storms such as the ones in the middle of the night and at early dawn always torment me? Maybe it’s because I hear the words of my mother during my childhood – haunting me. Laughing at me while I shivered with fear.

“You stupid girl. I hope God lets that lightning strike you dead!” My mother said. Never did I tell my father. I was too ashamed and afraid he might laugh at me.

Years later, while he battled terminal esophageal cancer, I stood by his bedside. His eyes stared at me. He reached to touch my face, wiping the tears. Quickly, I turned away. I did not want him to see me crying. What if he thought I was weak and a crybaby when I cried?

“Don’t turn away,” he said. I moved closer, holding his hand. “Don’t think I didn’t notice how your mother treated you. I noticed how she laughed at you. Made fun of you and always called you a cry baby whenever you cried. She tried to turn everyone against you. Oh. The lies. She said. I knew you were different. I was proud of you. You always made a grand entrance. Yes. I noticed. Your mother bullied you!”

I squeezed his hand. “I didn’t know you heard her. Did you hear her when she said she hoped God would strike me dead with lightning?”

Dad shook his head yes. “I heard. God would never strike you dead. God is always there to protect us. I never said anything to her or you, but I heard every word she said to you.” He coughed, inhaled then said: “I’ve always been proud of you. You are my shining star. Don’t allow others to pull you down. Walk tall! Move forward in life. Don’t look back with pain!”

“I’ve never said this to you, until now, Dad but I’m so glad you divorced her.”

“It was the only thing to do.”

That afternoon, leaving the hospital, I thanked God for the discussion my father and I had on that date. After his death, his words remained with me. How I miss him. Now, whenever storms fire inside of my head, I try to remember the conversations with Dad. I can still hear his voice. His words remain tightly
bound within my heart where no one else can threaten me with storms. Thunder.
And. Lightning!

“Hold your head high. Don’t allow others to bring you down. Move forward with life. Don’t look back with pain!”

I am thankful I had such a wise and caring father. He is still inside of me and always shall remain!

 


“Unlovable.” That’s what my mother described. “She said I was a stupid girl. She said I’d never amount to nothing but a hill of beans. Stupid. Stupid. Just stupid.”

I’ve walked in these shoes even before my mother had a stroke and was released from life while her youngest daughter smothered life from her body. Never was she charged with murder, or any crime. I grew up believing I would NEVER be loved by a man. My mother would send me on a walk – to the grocery store — without any money. Her request/order for me was, and I quote: “I need you to walk to the grocery store. See the manager. He really likes you. Flirt with him and tell him he must let you get some things for supper. A loaf of bread. Pork n’ Beans. I ain’t got no money, so I need you to work it well. I know he’ll allow you to get something good for supper. Don’t tell your daddy I ask you to do this. I asked you cause I know you have a way with men. They like looking at you, when you smile those men melt. Get what you can out of them. Men like you.”


Little did I know my good ole Southern mama was training me. Training me to get men to treat me well. She wasn’t training or teaching me LOVE. She thought I could use my looks, personality, charm and sexuality to get what I wanted in life. She said, “Men like you, Barbara Jean. They always have. Now is the time for payback. I produced a pretty girl. Maybe an actress with Southern charm. They’ll pay you lots, just to get what you want. Don’t you forget that you stupid child, Barbara Jean.”

I was 15-years-old at the time. Mama would give me old clothes and hand-me-downs from one of my cousins. The cousin who never wore the same outfit twice. Mama told me to wear the off-shoulder blouses and shorts. “You got some nice-looking shoulders and legs, Barbara Jean, and you’ve got the right amount of boobs. Men like that!”

Funny, I never realized my mother was encouraging me to become a hooker and I cringe, refusing to respond to anyone who calls me Barbara Jean.

When I was 30, my marriage to Garrett was choking me. Depression left me so unhappy I thought my entire world was crumbling. My therapist, a lovely, tiny woman who always wore her hair in a twisted bun with a sparkling comb, and a bright red rose tucked inside her blazer pocket, wanted to know about my childhood.

Looking at her, my mouth quivered. “My childhood? It was awful. Never did I feel loved.”

“What about your mother? Didn’t she embrace you and tell you she loved you?

“No. All she did was tell me to flirt with men. They liked me. I could get anything I wanted from a man, if I ‘worked it.’ She said if I dressed nice and showed my cleavage, men would follow me to the ends of the earth.”

“Interesting.”

“What’s interesting?” I asked.

“Your mother was encouraging you to become a hooker.”

“No. She wouldn’t do that. Good mothers do not teach their daughters to hook.”

Covering my mouth while choking back tears, I realized something I never thought as a young girl. My hands were shaking. “Oh, my God. You’re right. My mother thought I could become a hooker.”

My therapist scribbled on a pad. “I find it interesting you never think of your mother as abusive, cruel, or a bad mother.”

“She said she wanted the best from me. Only her best was not what I wanted to become.”

“It sounds to me like your mother wanted you to dress like a hooker. I always see you dressed as a lady wearing cultured pearl necklaces and earrings. Your hair and makeup immaculate. You don’t show cleavage. When you sit, you keep your legs together. Like a lady, or royalty.”

Glancing at my posture, I realized she was correct. My legs were together, not exposed. Sitting with my ankles crossed, I realized she was right. I’m sitting like a lady. Funny. I’ve never considered myself a lady.

“Can you share more of what your mother taught you?”

Covering my face momentarily with my hands, I mumbled yes, sharing the stories my mother taught me. Sharing how she wanted me to use my sexuality to get what I wanted from men. “She said men would want to be with me, and she said I would never find love from any man. She said Barbara Jean was unlovable and a stupid girl. Nothing more than yesterday’s trash. Never to be loved. Never!”


Dearest Readers:

I have a funny Friday experience to share. Are you ready? Here goes:

Friday afternoon, our pedal boat arrived. Excited to finally do something on the pond, we hopped in and started riding around our pond. Such fun seeing the turtles watching us as we glided softly around our beautiful pond. I left my phone inside (thank goodness). You must remember I fractured my back on December 23, wore a back brace for three months and chose to take a spin around the pond. It was easy to slide into the boat. Not so easy getting out!

We docked the boat, wrapping a rope around a tree for me to get out easier. Phil was worried I might hurt myself again. Imagine that! Struggling to get out, the boat decided to move while I’m stepping out. I had one foot on the bank. The other in the boat. The boat continues to move while Phil struggles to keep the boat still. Silly boat – it has a mind of its own! I grabbed the tree, holding on to it while the boat continues moving and Barbie is doing an ungraceful split!

This scenario is definitely a Lucy and Ethel moment, with one exception – I am starring as Lucy!

My back is hurting so I move my right foot off the bank and splash! Now I’m in the water with one leg still in the boat. Moving it as quickly as I can, I discover I’ve had my first initiation in our pond. I am soaking wet, struggling to get on shore. Phil doesn’t think I’ll be able to pull myself out due to my back injury.

“You just watch me,” I said. “Nothing stops me!”

Silly guy. He just doesn’t know me when someone says I cannot do something. You just watch me. No. It wasn’t graceful, but ever so slowly I slid my body out of the pond, doing a graceful low crawl I wasn’t aware I could do! The water wasn’t deep. Only to my waist. When I am finally out of the pond, I am covered with mud!

“Excuse me,” I say to Phil. “I must take a bath and get this mud off of me!”

He’s laughing and so am I. As he struggles to get out of the little pedal boat, he slips and gets a bit of his body into the pond!

Finally, both of us are out, safe, headed straight to the back porch. I peel the muddy clothes off, knowing no one will see me! I live on five acres! I glance at my wrist. I’m missing my activity tracker. Oh well. Maybe the turtles will find it and play with it!

So, what did you do on Friday during this “social distancing” quarantine?
I imagine it wasn’t as exciting as our Friday!

Sorry I can’t provide photographs! My phone was inside – charging!

Just another funny moment during the quarantine. If this quarantine doesn’t end soon, I can only imagine what my next scenario will be. Maybe swimming in the pond to find my activity tracker? I doubt it!

Remember – stay safe and healthy. Covid-19 is out there and I pray soon it will disappear – never to return – just like my athletic tracker!


Dearest Readers:

With all that is happening within our communities, nation and the world, I had an experience with our local Walmart that really annoyed me!

My husband and I drove to Walmart to get sanitizing items. I stopped one of the managers, and I describe him as a sorry manager at that! I asked him if they had any sanitizing products. His reply, “No. We sold all we had last night when we got them.”

“Do you have any idea when you will get some more?”

He cast me a smug facial expression. “Well, it’s like this. When we get them, we sell out immediately.”

“I suppose you are not limiting the items?”

“Nope. First come first serve and customers can buy all they want.”

“In other words, you permit them to stockpile or hoard?”

“Lady, we can’t tell the customers they can only buy a few.”

I approached him closer. “Oh, yes you can. I worked in advertising and we limited products all the time.”

“Not at this Walmart.”

“Never did I say I worked at Walmart. And now, maybe I’ll shop elsewhere.”

Moral of this story – stay away from the West Ashley Circle of Walmart, Charleston, SC. They only care about the hoarders. NOT THEIR CUSTOMERS! Management only cares about how much they sell – not customers who need these products too!

Perhaps I’ll shop elsewhere! That manager needs to get another job!


Dearest Readers:

By now, I suppose you’ve heard about the Coronavirus? Believe me, it is a hot topic, especially on social media. Here’s a warning – please do not believe the information/news on social media, or the Internet. Just because a link pulls up for you to read doesn’t mean it is true. Have you heard the expression “Fake News?” Believe me, it does exist! Please check your sources! Visit only reputable sites such as: the Center for Disease Control – https://www.cdc.gov/ or the World Health Organization – https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 for the latest information regarding this virus. PLEASE – ALWAYS CHECK REPUTABLE SITES TO GET THE LATEST INFORMATION.

I live in the vicinity of Charleston County, SC. You are probably aware of how so many people are freaking out regarding this virus. Yes, I’ll admit it. I’m a bit concerned since I have asthma; nevertheless, I am following the guidelines from the CDC. I wash my hands constantly. I have toiletries available, including tissue, toilet tissue, and handwashing soaps. I’ve overheard people saying, well that information shouldn’t discourage us. We live in Charleston!

Yes. True. Nevertheless, travel, tourism, culinary, hospitality are all a major part of Charleston. SC! My concern is for those the media chooses to address as the “elderly” and for those who could not get the necessary supplies – in the event the virus arrives. No, I did not rush to stockpile any of these items. They are my basic stock items.

Last week, our Governor announced we had two reported cases of coronavirus in South Carolina. One in Charleston. Now, I discover after reading news alerts that Charleston, SC is allowing the cruise ship, Carnival Sunshine to release 3000 guests to our city. Keep in mind, Charleston is known for tourism and hospitality. This news disturbs me just a bit since we’ve had several people who have the virus within our communities. I suppose $$$$$$$ mean more to the City of Charleston, SC than the safety of our citizens. Isn’t this a shame! For more details, read the article below:https://www.live5news.com/…/thousands-arriving-charleston-…/

According to the State Newspaper, there are more cases in South Carolina now. Every morning there appears to be additional updates as the numbers increase. https://www.thestate.com/news/state/south-carolina/article241030266.html

While I am concerned, as a writer, I want to make certain I get the most informative information that isn’t embellished, or — FAKE! People do have the tendency to embellish stories, but not me. I go straight to the sources.

I’m still a bit discouraged that our Ports Authority is permitting the cruise ship to dock here. If I’m correct, Carnival Sunshine does have a home port established here; nevertheless, this contagious disease will decrease tourism and hospitality within our beautiful city. This will impact our economy.

What I found interesting and disappointing in this article is the following comment “City of Charleston officials say they have no say in cruise ship arrivals. The Port of Charleston is a state port and falls under state authority.”

What? The State has the authority? May I ask why?

I suppose I’ll continue following the stories regarding Coronavirus. Stay tuned. To date, I haven’t met anyone who has Coronavirus or an illness, but I’m cautious. As a woman born with asthma, I must be careful. I believe it’s only a matter of time before this outbreak in our beautiful city burns like a wildfire, and that is why I am staying inside. Whenever I get ill with a respiratory illness (acute bronchial asthma) or a severe case of asthma where my oxygen level drops, I stay inside my home using my nebulizer, washing my hands and resting.

I pray this Coronavirus fear will decrease soon, and those who are ill will remain where they should remain — either at a hospital or at home caring for their illness. I pray all of them will survive.

Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge – an Amazing Landmark, Charleston and Mount Pleasant, SC

Meanwhile, I pray. Let us all remain healthy!

Angel Oak located in Johns Island, SC


Totally forgot to take a photograph of Better Than Sex Cake. Chocolate is just so tempting!

Dearest Readers:

To those of you who do not know, Weight Watchers is now called “WW.” If you are a regular reader of my blog, you must know, I am a Weight Watcher, or “WW.” I’m proud to say that!

Today was my weekly weigh-in. Like everyone, I dreaded it. I knew it was time to face the music…to be accountable…responsible, …and so on!

My goal for this meeting was to lose one more pound. Yes. One. More. Pound. If I accomplished that, I would be able to say “I’ve lost forty pounds.” Ten pounds of sugar, since sugar comes in four-pound bags now, not five! Or, I could say, I’ve lost forty sticks of butter. Eight five-pound bags of potatoes!

Perhaps you get the picture now. Last night was another lack of sleep night for me. Awakening at 10 pm… Midnight 2 am. 4 am. 6 am. Ah to heck with it. I’m getting up I can’t sleep – AGAIN! I’ve watched so many Hallmark Christmas movies; lately I think I’m running out of the good ones!

So, this morning I’ve decided I needed to get to the meeting. No, I did not anticipate a loss. Not. After. Thanksgiving!

On that holiday, I cooked dinner for my husband, Phil. The pups got to eat a bit of turkey. As for me. Yes. I. Ate. TOO MUCH. That is – I ate too much chocolate!

I’m convinced – chocolate IS an aphrodisiac! This Thanksgiving, I served my infamous Better Than Sex Cake. A thin layer of crust. A layer of cream cheese mixed with Cool Whip Light. A beautiful, plump layer of sugar-free chocolate pudding, topped with a thick layer of Cool Whip Light. I will share my recipe below!

On Friday, my husband returned to work. I stayed home with the dogs. Since we are moving soon, I chose not to fight the Black Friday sales. I brewed a fresh pot of coffee, opened the fridge to get my Coffeemate French Vanilla creamer, only to cast my eyes at a dish covered with aluminum foil.

Better Than Sex Cake. Oops. Look Away! Close the fridge. Ah. Go. Ahead. Just one piece won’t kill you or make you gain weight.

I grabbed a bowl and a spoon. Quickly, I scooped up a BIG piece of this delicate. Delicious. Aphrodisiac. To say it was delicious is an understatement, especially for me. I LOVE chocolate!

Throughout the day, that dessert called for me. Each time, I listened and weakened. Before the evening was over, I ate almost all of it while wondering why am I doing this? I’m sabotaging Weight Watchers and my goal to lose one more pound.

Just before bedtime, I finished off the dessert. The next morning, angry with myself for not tracking and eating only what I should, I chewed myself out.

I started tracking again while imagining that dessert one more time. Sure wish I had one more piece of Better than Sex Cake. No…Nothing is better than ___!

This morning, I got on my scales at home, anticipating a significant weight gain.

Dressing to go to Weight Watchers, I decided to weigh all of my clothing. The black tights. My short gray skirt. My black turtleneck and my Christmas vest of high heels, and my black knee boots! I wanted to feel good about myself, even IF I gained a pound or two.

Yes, I LOVE HIGH HEELS. Anyone who knows me recognizes my walk. How I swag. One foot in front of the other. My heels were clicking against the pavement, as if to say, “Barbie’s here!”

Arriving at WW, there was a long line. Slowly we moved, and when I counted only three ladies ahead of me, I started to remove a bit of clothing and boots.

Unzipping the boots, I kicked them off, placing them near my handbag. I removed the Christmas vest, still anticipating a weight gain – all to the credit of my weakness for delectable aphrodisiacs of chocolate dancing in my brain. Still furious with myself while recognizing I had no one else to blame, I was convinced I had gained.

Moving slowly on the scales, I stretched over to see if I could read a loss. Since WW has “confidential weigh-ins,” I could not. Mindi calculated my weight.

Did I lose anything?

“You’ve lost 40.6 pounds now!”

I squealed. All the ladies at our Thursday morning meetings know I’m not shy. They heard me say: “I did it? I LOST 40 POUNDS?!”

So, for me, today was a celebration! When I joined Weight Watchers, I told only myself I wanted to lose 40 pounds. Now accomplishing that goal, I’ve decided to make another goal – lose another five pounds. And another. And another! This I can do for me. Only for me! After all, I am woman. I can eat something delectable and still convince myself I can lose. After all, This I Do For Me!

Here’s the recipe!

Bon Apetit!

BETTER THAN SEX CAKE (SO SIMILAR TO MISSISSIPPI MUD PIE, BUT SUGAR FREE!)

2 cups flour

2 sticks of margarine (room temp)

½ cup chopped pecans

8 ounces of whipped cream cheese (fat free) (room temp)

whipped topping (Cool Whip Lite)

2 large boxes of Sugar Free Instant Chocolate Pudding (Jello Sugar Free works well)

4 cups milk

Hershey Bar (rarely do I use this)

Chopped pecans for garnish

Make a crust from flour, butter and the chopped pecans. Mix well and press into a 9 x 12 inch pan or a baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow this to cool.

Mix cream cheese, 1 cup of the whipped topping.

When crust is cool to touch, spread the creamed cheese mixture lightly on the crust.

Prepare sugar free, instant pudding with 4 cups of milk, as directed on carton of box. Layer this on the dessert. Top with more whipped topping and decorate with chocolate curls from the candy bar (if used). I prefer to garnish with chopped pecans. Refrigerate at least two hours before serving.

Submitted by: Barbie Perkins-Cooper


Dearest Readers:

Today is Day Two of Hurricane Dorian anticipation. Are we ready? Of course!

We’ve been on this roller coaster before, and I confess, I do not care for roller coasters! During Hurricane Hugo, I stayed with 60 students at the college where I was employed. Yes. 60 students! Most of them I knew. Believe me, during the hurricane, I got to know many of them! What I discovered is the stronger the students acted, the weaker they were, and the most horrified.

Today, I have the Weather Channel on, listening to when the prediction of Hurricane Dorian is predicted to arrive. Although I haven’t confirmed the news, I’ve been told that Charleston is basically a ghost town. No traffic to fight! Also, reportedly, a few of the Cracker Barrels are closed. It will be interesting to see if and when Waffle House closes. I’m certain you’ve probably seen the signs posted on highways previously saying “Waffle House is open,” on Christmas Day.

Perhaps later today, I’ll hop in the car and drive around, just to see how Mount Pleasant is preparing for Dorian – a feisty female hurricane with a strong breath of wind.

We have water. Food. Fruit. Doggie treats. We’ve been on this roller coaster before. We will survive. Reportedly, Dorian will be a category two when she dances into Charleston. We have been home since Saturday. Today is Tuesday. I think I’m ready to get out of this house and tour Mount Pleasant without traffic.

Perhaps I do need a break. There’s much too MUCH stress in my life now. Perhaps I’ll share a bit of that news when the stress breaks and all decisions are finalized. As for now, I need another cup of coffee, in preparation of Dorian.

Have I said I detested “hurricane season?” Looks like additional storms are brewing in the Atlantic too. Hurricane Juliette is brewing somewhere.

Someone yesterday stated they always name hurricanes after women. I set him straight on Facebook rather quickly, letting him know that during the Feminist movement, which I was a part of, it was decided that hurricanes should rotate the names between men and women. Isn’t it about time? Men are just as unpredictable as women. Hugo is a male name and he pounded into the Charleston Harbor as a Category Four!

As for Dorian, I think she needs to simply fade away! More later, readers!


Dearest Readers:

I suppose most of you are aware Weight Watchers is now called ‘W-W!” A new branding for a wonderful organization. Still, I refer to it as Weight Watchers, and “WW” since my friends and I have referred the lifestyle organization as WW since we joined.

I confess, I believe I joined in 2011. I still remember my first meeting. If I could’ve found a brown grocery bag, I am convinced I would’ve entered the meeting with it over my head. Why? Simple. I have a web presence as a writer, and I still wasn’t convinced the weigh-in meetings were confidential. Still, I remember the meetings I attended for only a short time years ago. A beige curtain covered the scales. These scales were the antiquated scales we still see occasionally in doctor’s offices. I was convinced that every time I weighed someone, probably the next person in line, would see my weight and tell others how much I weighed.

For those of you who’ve never had a weight problem – how blessed you are. For those of us who constantly dread weighing, we simply cannot understand how great it must be to never have to be concerned about weight.

The day I joined Weight Watchers — this time — was when Jennifer Hudson was the spokesperson. She claimed she lost 80 pounds with them, and I must say, she looked gorgeous. So, I checked the Weight Watchers website, hoping to learn new information. I read about “confidential weigh-ins, Confidential weigh-ins, I whispered, Just how confidential is a beige curtain?

I knew I needed to lose weight. After I lost my father, I was so devastated, I gained weight. I detested shopping for new clothes – in a larger size. I despised looking in the mirror. Let’s don’t even discuss posing for a photograph, or wearing a swimsuit. Disgusting! I kept telling myself I would lose weight, but the scales refused to move to a lower number.

Entering the meeting, I completed the necessary forms, staying after the meeting to discuss the program.

Carefully, I ate. The challenge was eating out with my husband and friends. I did not tell anyone I joined Weight Watchers. It was my secret! I was ashamed to share!

Silly, foolish me. The next week, I stepped on the scales, convinced I’d lost at least three pounds. Surprise! I looked at the card the receptionist returned to me, and I screamed — Six-tenths of a pound. Six-tenths of a pound?

On that date, I became the founder of the Six-tenths Club! Today, I lost eight-tenths! Guess what? I’ll take it!

I grabbed my handbag and headed towards the exit. Fortunately, the leader of the meeting came after me. “You know, any loss is a loss. Please don’t get discouraged. Give us a chance, and yourself a chance!”

Almost in tears, I strolled to a chair and sat down. I stayed for this meeting too and discussed what I might’ve done wrong.

I have to consider: 1) I was a Type 2 Diabetic. 2) I kept to myself, not letting my husband or anyone know I joined WW. 3) I failed to believe in myself. 4) As an asthmatic, there are times my doctors prescribe Prednisone – a steroid…Steroids do not like me! Each time I take them, I gain weight! Did you know, after taking steroids, it takes about eight weeks to get them out of your system! It’s no wonder I jump on a roller coaster at these times, and I do not like roller coasters!

Ever. So. Slowly. My weight is dropping. Even when I have gains, I tell myself to get back on the wagon and continue this journey. Don’t. Give. Up!

Now, a few years later, I am devoted to my Thursday morning meetings, and I attend every week, unless I have a doctor’s appointment, have a migraine headache, or simply do not want to face the music, or scales!

What have I learned?

*I’ve learned to like myself.

*I’ve learned to focus on the positive, not the negative. Years ago, I thrived on the negative and it came close to destroying me. I grew up in a family filled with hatred, fights and negative thoughts. I was told not to love myself. Fortunately, I broke away from the toxic family environment and chose to make myself a better person.

*I’ve learned food is not our enemy, but our friend. After all, we all have to eat food to live!

*Another important lesson I’ve learned is – we must be accountable for our actions and behaviors. Weight Watchers, aka ‘WW’ teaches us how to become stronger individuals and we focus on how we can become better people by working towards our goals in life. Whatever those goals might become. Also, we learn to treat ourselves well. Years ago, I would practically beat my head against a brick wall while telling myself what a horrible person I was. I focused on the negative from my childhood. Now, I’m proud to say, I’ve discovered I am a nice person and a great friend. Imagine that!

Just look how far I’ve come! All to the growth, (and the loss) I am living as I adventure into a wonderful life with Weight Watchers…the friends I’ve made, and the life I am living now.

Today, while at the meeting two ladies thanked me for all of the experiences in my life that I share. I am more open-minded now, not dwelling in the clouds of darkness I lived for much of my youth and early adulthood. These two lovely ladies said I inspire them!

Now, when my friends ask me If I am STILL DOING WEIGHT WATCHERS, I correct them, saying: Actually, I am still doing WW, and I will never quit! WW is a part of me. A proud part of me!

I still need to lose about 30 pounds. At least, that is the goal I’ve chosen for myself. Will I achieve it? Of course I will! Since April, I’ve lost six pounds! And so, the story goes, along with my journey. Weight Watchers, aka “WW” — This I do for me!


Sunset Party Key WestIt’s All About the “Good Ole Boys”

Dearest Readers:

Today, I am writing to you to share a few isolated, heartbreaking experiences I’ve endured while standing up for my rights and the rights of all women.

While I will not name the organization specifically I’ve fought with and lost, I will say, this organization is nothing but a group of “Good Ole Boys,” who will do nothing but stand tall for the “good of the order…” Whatever that means! The phrase “for the good of the order,” relates to parliamentary procedures, or “Robert’s Rule of Order.” Even the women who have been ‘allowed’ or should I say, “permitted to join” these organizations as a member do believe in the “good of the order.” In the beginning, these women had to make a lot of noise, including a lawsuit, just to join these organizations. Yes, for the “good of the order!”

But? What is a good ole boy? Simple. Perhaps some of you have never heard the expression, “Oh, he’s a good ole boy!” We hear it lots in the South! When I was a child, I didn’t understand the terminology, until we moved in with our grandparents and I could see, my grandfather was most definitely a “good ole boy!” Papa, as we called him, was extremely protective and supportive of his male friends and relatives. After all, “good ole boys” are birds of a feather, and they flock together. Women aren’t appreciated or respected by the “good ole boys!”

Good ole boys believe that women are ‘second-class.’ Women belong in the home. Having them babies and taking care of the house. We were supposed to cook and clean and be quiet!

Although Papa tried to train me in the belief of the “Good Ole Boys,” I chose to be my own woman! I had big dreams. After all, I’m a feminist and so proud of it! Lots of Southerners still believe in the terminology of “Good Ole Boys.” As for this household, we do not practice “Good Ole Boy” terminology.

I should share, I’ve dealt with “good ole boys” all of my life. When I was 15, a “good ole boy” a maternal Uncle, wanted to get a bit friendly with me. He was a Deacon in the Pentecostal Church. He thought it would be fun to go down a dirt road with me and pick blackberries. This road was deserted. No houses. No farms. No one around. How convenient for my uncle. He stopped his truck, moving his hands all over me. I screamed. I cried. No one heard me. Then, I hit him hard right between his legs. He screamed. Cussed. Is this the behavior of a “good ole boy” or a deacon in the church?”

Suddenly his strength was gone. He grabbed himself and moaned. He was hurting.

Good. If you touch me again. I’ll hurt you again!

I jumped out of his truck and ran down the red clay roads. My asthma got the best of me due to the dust flying in my face as I ran. My uncle caught up with me and pushed me into the truck.

“If you touch me again, I’ll hit you harder, exactly where I did before.”

He kept his hands on the steering wheel.

That day, I suppose you can say, a 15-year-old, innocent girl won! My uncle agreed to drive me home, and he said he would not touch me again.

Before I jumped out of his truck to run into the apartment, he said: “If you tell anybody I touched you, they won’t believe you. After all – I’m a deacon in the church!”

If you ever try to touch me again, I’ll hurt you. I wear high heels to church now and I’ll kick you with my high heels! No one’s ever gonna touch me like that again! One day you’ll be gone. I hope you burn in Hell!

Those were the last words I ever spoke to that uncle. Never did I share with my family what he did to me until the day he died. When he died, my mother phoned me, letting me know he was dead and I should come home.

“Home? I’m already at home. I’m not coming to his funeral. I hope he burns in Hell,” I said to her, “And if you are asking me to send flowers, I’ll send black roses!”

I must say, when a woman is touched or groped in a certain way, she never forgets it.

I’ve remained on guard. Never wanting to make a scene.

 

GOOD. OLE. BOYS?

I must say, these organizations organized and managed by a bunch of men, or shall I say, “good ole Southern boys,” probably know I am a writer, well-seasoned and professional. I speak my mind, and I research passionately to know what I communicate. On three occasions I’ve been asked if I would consider writing and editing their newsletters. I laughed. Shook my head and said: “I will not consider doing it as a volunteer, nor will I join “the good of the order,” to be “permitted to write your newsletter. I will only consider it for $600 — monthly, payable in advance.”

Of course, those “good ole boys” laughed. They’d never pay anyone $600 just to write a newsletter! Such are the actions of these antiquated, good ole boys organizations. A woman writing a newsletter? Scandalous isn’t it!

For eight years I’d written newsletters for “good ole boys” organizations. Those newsletters won many awards. I never received anything, with exception of knowing those publications shared important information, keeping the non-profit ‘good ole boys’ clubs well informed. After one decided to censor my newsletter, I resigned. I saw one of their newsletters recently and I laughed. Only two pages, filled with too many typos and grammatical errors. Yes, they needed me to write for them, but I refused to share my talents for free.

I should mention I am a freelance writer and editor, but the “free” in freelance does not mean I am free! While I guarantee I can improve newsletters, especially grammatically, I would not consider ever writing for free again. Not even as a volunteer.

On one occasion I had an experience where one of the men at this “Good ole boys” fraternity wanted to get just a little too close. He spoke to me while running his hand down my right side, just a little too close for comfort. How I regret not making a scene on that night. What I should’ve done is to push him away from my body, and I should’ve screamed so everyone in attendance could see and hear what he was doing. Regretfully, I did not. I conducted myself as a lady. May I never do this again. The next time some drunken man approaches me to get a little close, I plan to hit him exactly where it hurts! This action will no doubt drop him to the floor! And then, he will never attempt to touch me again.

While I’ve had these incidents happen before, my husband has always jumped up and knocked the guy to the ground. While he might be short, when he is angry and sees me threatened, he becomes The Incredible Hulk. He’s knocked many guys down. After this incident, I asked Phil to let me handle it. How I wish I hadn’t! Deciding to file a grievance – a sexual harassment complaint. The good ole boys were not exactly happy with this complaint. Oh well! What I really regret not doing is calling 911 for the police to arrest the culprit on sexual assault! Then, I could file a lawsuit! Sometimes, it just doesn’t pay to conduct myself like Julia Sugarbaker! If this scenario ever happens again – WARNING – I will hit him exactly where it hurts!

Meanwhile, when I was in attendance for different events, each time with my husband, suddenly everyone wanted to know who I was. I smiled, introduced myself to all of those gossipy women and, dare I say it again – “good ole boys,” and I exchanged pleasantries with them. Yes, I noticed people whispering into each other’s ears, and I saw fingers pointed at me. I simply smiled and waved. It was obvious I would get nowhere with my complaint. After all, the “good ole boys” seem to laugh it off and cover their butts. I had nothing to be ashamed of, and I was determined to stand my ground.

Unfortunately, no one would come forward as a witness to what happened. No one wanted to get involved. You probably know the type. My philosophy is – if You see something, you say something, but there are many women who allow their husbands to make those decisions for them. Thank God I am a woman who stands her ground, refusing to allow my husband to make my decisions! My husband supported my complaints 100%, BUT – in the “good ole boys” world, since there were no OTHER witnesses, it is just a He said…She said…and in the ‘good ole boys’ antiquated world, I was treated as second-class!

On another occasion, the same ‘good ole boy’ – drunker and nastier, not to mention obnoxiously LOUD, attempted to humiliate me and a few of my friends. Yes, I filed another complaint!

I was told he would be suspended for a year. He wasn’t. I was told I had to meet with him personally to ‘hash this out.’ I did. All he did was deny. DENY…AND DENY AGAIN! He called me a crybaby.  And he screamed at me so much, verbally abusing me. I crumbled. Yes, I cried. How I wish I hadn’t. I lived with verbal abuse as a child. Anytime someone verbally abuses me, I crumble.

I was told if we did not settle the matter on that night, then I would have to file another complaint with the same committee I filed the ORIGINAL complaint. A vicious cycle! Regretfully, I agreed to disagree.

If I heard it once, I probably heard it about a million times. You are not a member. You do not have the right to file a complaint!

Gee! I was under the impression this was the United States of America.

Not where the “Good ole boys” reside. Yes, the “Good ole boys,” won, only because they are an archaic fraternity who will not step into the 21-First Century. After all, they’re “good ole boys!”

Perhaps I’ll share more about these incidents later, in my blog, or maybe I’ll pitch a few ideas to national women’s magazines! Now, that’s an idea I should consider!

While it is true, I agreed to move forward, I did not agree to stay quiet or to shut my mouth. That is not my style! I shall continue standing up to share my story with others. After all, I am a feminist and a proud woman who will always voice her opinions.

As for the “good ole boys?” Let’s just say; they’re still stuck in the 19th Century!

 

 

 


Late one evening while watching TV with my husband Phil, I reminded him to check his glucose level. His reply was the usual, ‘I’ll do it later.’ Knowing him as I do, I was frustrated. He has the tendency to procrastinate, so I chose a different approach. “Why don’t you check mine and let’s compare.”

Never did I expect my little psychological game to backfire. Pricking my finger, I waited in anticipation. When the meter flashed 468 on the screen, I laughed. “Something’s wrong with your machine. I do not have Diabetes. I do not have any symptoms. I’m fine.”

“You’re always tired,” my husband said.

“Isn’t everyone? If someone else walked in my shoes, they would be tired too.”

While it was true I was always tired, I suffered from insomnia and never felt rested. I worked ten-hour days at work and at home, working as a professional and moonlighting at night pursuing my writing career. My fingers were not numb, I didn’t suffer from increased thirst, and I certainly did not have unexplained weight loss. My mother had Diabetes so it does run in the family. Unexplained weight gain? Could that be a symptom?

The next morning I visited the doctor’s office, confirming the diagnosis of Type II Diabetes. My glucose level at Dr. Knepper’s office was 362. When he opened the door to discuss my condition, I was in tears. How could this happen to me? I ate properly, at least I thought I did. I did not exercise, and fast food was a part of my weekly meals, due to my crazy work schedule. Dr. Knepper reassured me I could recover and he encouraged me to learn all I could about Diabetes.

“I’m a writer,” I said. “I can become an advocate, if needed.”

Soft spoken and kind, Dr. Knepper nodded. “Let’s take it slow for now. We can get this under control. I want you to focus on your food intake, and what you are eating. Watch carbohydrates, increase your water intake and exercise. Check your glucose level at least three times daily and keep a record of it. I want to see you in three months. We’ll do blood work to see what your A1C level is.”

I had a lot to learn about Type II Diabetes. Leaving his office armed with a handful of prescriptions, a meter, booklets, and a fearful look on my face, I chose to learn all I could about Type II Diabetes.

That afternoon, I performed a Google search, typing in the key word of Diabetes. The wealth of information was informative, especially the web site of the American Diabetes Association, http://www.diabetes.org/home.jsp. I was able to click on information about Type II Diabetes, condition and treatment, a listing of resources, and so much more. Recognizing it was time for me to make a lifestyle change; I started building a plan of attack.

My New Years resolution for 2005 was to join a gym and lose weight. After the diagnosis of Diabetes, I was motivated and determined to change my life. I stopped visiting fast food joints for lunch, choosing to eat fresh vegetables and healthy snacks, instead of chocolate, or desserts. After work, I drove to the gym, worked out, and learned more about proper nutrition. I attended a nutrition class with a Diabetes nutritionist, asked lots of questions, and changed my diet, discovering the art of portion control.

Much to my surprise, I learned that sugar was not necessarily the enemy for people with Diabetes. Portion control, monitoring glucose levels, and limiting carbohydrates were the keys to success for Diabetes management.

Checking my glucose levels three times daily encouraged my husband to monitor his levels. He was diagnosed with Diabetes in 1992 and he rarely monitored or practiced portion control. My determination to get my Diabetes under control encouraged him; however, when his levels were higher than mine were, he was defiant.

“I don’t understand. You had the same thing for dinner that I did, and your levels are lower. It’s not fair,” he said, shaking his hands.

“Portion control,” I teased. “You had seconds. I never clean my plate. You go back for seconds, and you always snack late at night.”

“Whatever,” he grumbled.

Our competitive game of Diabetes management was underway and this time, I was the winner!

Three months later, my doctor was amazed how quickly my A1C level had dropped from 8.5 to 5.4. His goal was ‘6.5, but that could take a year,’ he said to me in February 2005. ‘Now, you’re my new poster child for Diabetes.’

Pleased with how quickly my eating and Diabetes management habits changed, I was still a bit annoyed that I was not losing weight. Inches were falling off of me. In three months I dropped two inches from my chest, four inches from my waistline, and two inches from my hips. My weight failed to drop at all.

“It’s hard for a Diabetic to lose weight, especially if you have insulin resistance,” Dr. Knepper said. “Don’t get discouraged. Your A1C level is great. I’m amazed how quickly you got it under control.”

“Insulin resistance,” I moaned. “Is that why my glucose level is so much higher in the morning?”

“Probably. Keep doing what you are doing, and don’t get discouraged. I’ll see you in three months.”

In June 2005 my position at the university ended when the campus relocated. With the closing of that door, I chose to open a window to my writing career. Now I had a bit of freedom to do what I wanted to do. I walked my dogs every day, worked out three to five times a week, and my weight decreased. By August 2006, I had lost a total of 26 pounds, and many inches. A1C levels were averaging 5.9, cholesterol levels were decreased to a healthier level, and I had more energy and self-confidence. Dr. Knepper was amazed and so proud of me. He had no idea how proud I was. Meanwhile, Phil’s A1C levels continued on a dangerous roller coaster ride. His doctors prescribed additional prescriptions and insulin injections. His reluctance to change his eating habits with portion control inspired me to continue monitoring my eating habits and glucose levels. Horrified of needles, I was determined not to join him. Each time he reached for his injection, I left the room.

Controlling Diabetes is now a lifetime commitment for me. My daily routine is a personal allegiance to educate myself and the public about the proper steps to Control Diabetes. My doctor is pleased with how quickly I was able to get my Diabetes under control. As for myself, I am proud of my new willpower. Before Diabetes, I procrastinated about life, my health, and my writing career. I made excuses for everything. Now, as a Diabetic, I want to do all I can to educate others, while educating myself. Diabetes is not a death sentence, but a way of life. A condition that can be monitored and managed through exercise, proper eating habits, portion control, and modern medicine. I plan to live my life as a healthy diabetic. So can you.

Daily Rituals to Monitor Type 2 Diabetes

  1. Seek professional care. Follow your doctor’s advice and learn all that you can about Type 2 Diabetes.
  2. Monitor glucose levels. I check my levels every morning, afternoon and evening.
  3. Exercise. Take daily walks. You will learn to appreciate the little things in life again – like hearing a chirping bird, saying hello to neighbors, and enjoying the freshness of morning air.
  4. Change your eating habits. Instead of going back for seconds, do not. Learn to eat slower, while enjoying the taste of food.
  5. Get regular physicalGulf Shores, AL 2008 082s. I confess, I did not, until Type 2 Diabetes knocked on my door. Now, I follow the advice of my doctor, and myself.
  6. Do not get discouraged if you have difficulty losing weight. Keep active and have a daily exercise routine.
  7. Visit the web site http://www.diabetes.org/home.jsp and learn all that you can about Diabetes. Knowledge is power.
  8. Diabetes is a lifestyle change, not a restriction of distasteful meals and social restraint.
  9. Think of portion control. Working as a professional photojournalist, there are times when my willpower is put to the test, especially during luncheons or special dinners. When dessert is placed before me, I eat one or two bites and leave the rest. Portion control is the key, not a constraint.
  10. Monitor. Your food intake. Your glucose levels, and your weight. Even a small reduction in weight is better than an increase.

Dearest Readers, tomorrow, May 9, 2021, is Mother’s Day. Like every Mother’s Day, I reflect on my mother and the estranged history we shared. I am so envious of those who had such wonderful, caring mothers. Never did I. As much as I tried to make peace, we could not. In 1978, I visited my mother, only to be shunned by her once again. She told my son I was a drunk and a whore. Such a lovely, pleasant fabrication for a grandmother to tell her grandchild. When I approached her, she screamed at me. In 1988, another attempt was made for us to make peace. Arriving at her apartment, I hoped she would hug me like I’ve seen other mothers hug their child. I opened my arms, anxious for her embrace, instead, her toxic tongue started shouting again. She was angry that we arrived in a camper, not staying with her. In all honesty, when I saw how filthy her house was, I knew we could not stay there. During the fall of 1992, I revisited her, finally tracking her down in Warm Springs, Georgia. My youngest sister, Savannah, was staying with her after becoming homeless. Savannah glared at me.

“You think you’re something, don’t you,” she shouted. “Walking in here just like you own the world. Just look at you. You bitch.” Her right hand slapped my face hard, stinging and leaving a bruise.

Mom watched. Never did she reprimand Savannah.

“I think it’s time I left,” I whispered. “I didn’t come here to be mistreated or abused.”

“Oh. That’s right, Rebecca Sue. You go ahead and run away from a fight. I reckon you do think you’re better than us. Ain’t you? Just go. I never want to see you again.” Mama turned away.

Yes. I walked away, refusing to lower my standards to Savannah or my mother. I wanted to make peace. All they wanted was a repeat of the history we shared. The fights. Verbal attacks and intolerance we shared. I chose to stay away, recognizing the reality that some families can never make peace.

Perhaps this essay will be another chapter in “CHATTAHOOCHEE CHILD.” [My latest work-in-progress]:
Mama wore her best house dresses when she was in a good mood, which wasn’t often enough. Those days, it felt as if the sunshine from the window kissed the living room with colors of the rainbow, at least for me.
Mama would smile at me and say, “Honey, can you curl my hair?”
After I shampooed her hair, I curled it with jumbo rollers. My fingers shook as I rolled her hair. If the curl was too tight, she’d get a headache. She screamed in pain while her hands slapped my face. If it was too loose, the curl would flop, and she’d remind me I had no talent to style hair or do anything right. Her actions spoke volumes about her lack of love for me.
Sometimes, she smiled into the mirror, nodding with delight when finished. During those special moments with her, I took the time to make my Mama up with makeup. Her skin was olive, as smooth as a baby’s behind—no wrinkles or age spots. When I lined her eyes with black velvet eyeliner, she could equal the beauty of Cleopatra or Elizabeth Taylor. I never understood why Mama failed to make skincare and makeup part of her daily routine.
Mama never believed in routines. She lived her life only for the moment and the next handout from someone else.
“It don’t matter to your daddy or me if I fix myself up,” she said. “He don’t care about me. Why should I?”
Never did Mama hug or kiss me with her acceptance. I dare not ask if she liked her hair or makeup. I knew better. The sting of her palm on my face told me when I was not meeting her approval. I prayed she wouldn’t notice my anxiety or my trembling hands. When I asked how she wanted her hair styled this time, she looked in the mirror, scratched her head, pulling the gray strands out.
“Stupid girl, you should know how I like my hair styled! Cover the gray roots,” she said. “Tease it high. Don’t let nobody see how gray I’m getting. I don’t care how it looks, as long as the gray roots ain’t showing.”
She refused to get her hair colored, afraid the chemicals would do something to her brain. She said, “Cancer runs in our family. We can’t take a chance to get that disease ’cause it kills. My great-grandmother had head cancer. She had such bad headaches her mind was gone. Don’t you put no chemicals in my hair. I don’t want my brain or my head fried with Cancer. You listen to me, Rebecca Sue. Don’t let nothing fry my head.”
May 2002 was the last Mother’s Day I shared with my mother. Reportedly, she suffered a fall at Savannah’s apartment in early April. Savannah shouted at her, shoving her down the stairs. She was in a hurry, and she was tired of taking care of her ‘old lady,’ so she chose to leave our mother suffering on the floor. That afternoon a home health nurse came to check on our mother, discovering her lying face down, her clothing soiled from body fluids and feces. Her face was pulled down to the left side, left lip bruised and battered. When she struggled to move, she could not. The nurse documented her condition, diagnosing a possible stroke.
The home health nurse phoned me. “I suspect your mother has suffered a stroke. She’s at E-R now.”
“I’ll make arrangements and leave later this afternoon. It will take at least eight hours before I can be there,” I said. “Where’s Savannah?”
The nurse hesitated, suggesting I should speak to the doctor on call when I arrived.
I knew something was questionable. This was not the first time my mother had injuries while under Savannah’s care.
On Mother’s Day, Mom was still in the hospital. On that morning, I arrived early, placing a pale blue gift bag on her bed. Her eyes opened. She glanced at the bag, struggling to speak.
“B-Blue skies,” she muttered. Her right arm moved to touch the bag. I reached inside the bag, removing a blue gift box. I opened the box slowly. Mom’s eyes blinked as she struggled to smile, admiring the cultured pearl earrings inside the box.
A few minutes later, I placed the pierced earrings in her ears. Mom sighed, touching the right ear with her right hand. She slurred ‘thank you’ and fell back to sleep.
I stayed with my mother all of that Mother’s Day, feeding her and making her comfortable. That Mother’s Day was the last Mother’s Day we shared.
On September 11, 2002, my mother died under ‘questionable circumstances.’ Savannah spent that night with her at the hospital. When Savannah phoned me in the late evening of September 12, she appeared intoxicated. Her last slurring words to me were, “Do you think they’ll do an autopsy?”
Two years after her death, Garrett and I drove to Columbus. We dropped by the cemetery to see my mother’s grave. The years of mental and physical abuse from my mother were buried with her. I placed a bouquet of red roses on her headstone, kissed it, and whispered, “I know we were never close, but I hope you’ve found peace now. May you rest in peace, Mom. I loved you.”
Thinking about my childhood, the physical and mental abuse, I found it strange that Savannah was repeating the vicious cycle of physical abuse. In contrast, I found peace, refusing to allow violence or abuse of any kind within my family.
On Mother’s Day, 2015, I reflect on my mother, our estranged history together, and the questionable circumstances of her death. Savannah buried her in a closed casket. Due to another bout of acute bronchial asthma, I was unable to get to the funeral. Perhaps there was a reason for an autopsy to be performed, but now, my mother rests in peace. I hope and pray she died peacefully. Mother’s Day is always a day of reflection, sadness, and curiosity, and I pray that all mothers will have a wonderful day enjoying motherhood.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!


copyright: Barbie Perkins-Cooper

Childhood is a time of great joy and remembrance for most people. The carefree days of laughter, hope, freedom and pride is only a glimpse into what the future holds. Most people can reflect on childhood by looking back at preserved photographs captured during birth, a first haircut, loss of the first tooth, taking that most important first step, birthday parties, and so many innocent events during the journey of life. For me, that is not the case. My childhood snapshots were tossed away by my mother when I left her home.

            I have no idea why she tossed me away, like yesterday’s spoiled, rotten trash. One of my cousins said she grabbed all of my pictures and threw them away in a fit of anger when I left home. She yanked my senior picture off the wall, throwing it into the trash. “I never want to hear her name again in this house. She’s gone – forever,” my mother shouted in a fit of rage. I pictured my mother, rushing about, rummaging through my empty dresser drawers, and closet, while she swept photographs and all memories of me away, like yesterday’s trash. “Out of sight, out of mind,” she said, tossing the images of me into the trash.

            The only picture I salvaged is a tattered black and white 8 x 10 photograph of me as a five-year-old. My hair was long, golden blonde locks of ringlet curls. I wore a lace dress with a ruffled collar. A pink bow was in my hair. My eyes glistened with brightness for what the future held for me. Little did I know this picture, preserved for many years in my father’s scrapbook collection, was the only image illustrating my existence.

            The lukewarm water of the Atlantic Ocean tickles my toes as it rushes to reach high tide. I inhale the scent of ocean air, salt and sea delicacies, crabs, shrimp, sea turtles and the humid dampness of the ocean.

            Later, as the sun is setting, I stroll along the shore, watching the warm salt water cover my toes and I am so thankful to be here, along the shores of Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina. Station 27 oceanfront is the place where I feel home. I have love and acceptance and such pride to be alive and accepted. Although people speak to me while I saunter along the shore, they recognize me as ‘one of the regulars here,’ but they do not know me. Yes, they know my name and they know I live nearby, but they do not know who I am or what I believe in. Nor do they know I came from the shores of the Chattahoochee River and the mill town of Bibb City. They see a reflection of success and envy in me and I must laugh when I hear them whisper my name. She’s a travel writer, they whisper.

            Continuing my stroll, the Sullivan’s Island lighthouse is only a stone’s throw away. Standing over 140 feet tall, in the shape of a triangle, the lighthouse is a signature landmark for the community and was designed by the Coast Guard in 1962. Stopping to gaze at this amazing concrete structure, I recognize this is where my roots are planted. My foundation for home and life are here, along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. Here, I feel safe, bonded in the arms of God along the shores of Sullivan’s Island at the beach at Station 27. The lighthouse stands as a beacon of light to guide me home, and that is when I realize, I have finally found home, here where my heart and soul are one.

            “Home is where the heart is,” my mother said to me as a child and as a newly married woman. “I’ve never had a home,” I spat back at her, realizing I held my love back, protecting it because my life was always filled with ridicule and criticism. No one had really loved me until my husband came into my life.

I said goodbye to my mother in 1988, the morning after my high school class reunion. On that morning, my son interrupted my sleep by asking me what a whore was. I rubbed my eyes, stumbling awake to ask where he had heard the word.

“Granny called you a whore. What’s a whore, Mommy? It’s something bad, isn’t it.”

“It’s not a nice name and it’s a word you should not speak again, at least until you’re grown.”

“Why would she call you that word?”

“That’s a good question, and I will ask her in a minute. You go back to sleep.” I kissed Michael on the cheek, tucking him in with his father. I slipped on my robe, and headed to my mother’s room.

I knocked three times. She opened her eyes. “Why did you call me a whore?” I shouted.

“I did no such a thing.”

“Yes, you did.” Michael stood next to me. “You said my mommy was a whore and a drunk.”

The argument continued for an hour. Garrett awoke to the shouting. Recognizing this conversation would be an eternal shouting match of two stubborn women who butted heads all the time, he said we were leaving. I grabbed our luggage and stormed out of the house, refusing to look back. I cried an endless ocean of tears from Columbus, Georgia to Charleston, South Carolina. Michael apologized for starting the argument. I responded that he was not the problem. My life as a child of the Chattahoochee, the daughter to a woman who could not show love at all, was the problem. The only solution was to build my life with my family, Garrett and Michael.

I made the decision to leave Bibb City after my marriage to Garrett. I never looked back when we drove away. My head remained high, a happy smile on my face, my husband squeezing my hand. 

Although I felt compelled to look back, to wave goodbye to my mother and the city of my childhood, I remained strong. I would not cry. I would not glance back one last time. I was taking one final giant step to freedom and my journey as a woman, laying a corner stone to a new life built with love, strength, and a solid foundation. I did not want to unlock the door to my skeletons, nor did I want the ghosts to follow me. If I weakened, if my face quivered, or if a tear slipped down my cheek, my new world would crumble. I wanted to grasp that new world, to build a solid groundwork to a new and better life. The decisions I made were the right decisions for me. Yes, I was paying a price. My mother would never forgive me for leaving her, and if I allowed her to, she would manipulate me, finding a way to destroy everything good in my new life.

When new friends asked about my mother, I changed the subject, afraid to express the bitterness she demonstrated by her actions. Once at a dinner engagement, a lanky auburn haired woman inquired about my family.

“They’re in Georgia,” I said.

“You never speak of them.”

“Did you cut your hair?” I asked.

“You’re avoiding the question, aren’t you?”

“There are some things in life better left unsaid.” I excused myself and walked away.

I realized home is where the heart is. My heart was in Charleston, not Bibb City, or the Chattahoochee. My life in Charleston was filled with suburban roots, and a solid brick foundation, not a detour route of housing projects, endless moves from one place to another during the school year, mill villages, hatred, physical and sexual abuse, and nothing to refer to as home. The windows to my world reflected love, pride, and ambition. I pinched myself to bring myself back to reality. I did not wish to remember the disturbing disconnections I shared with my mother.


Dear Readers:

Earlier, I posted a review on the BBB web site regarding our nightmares with Blue Raven Solar. You may read it below.

My review of Blue Raven Solar is DO NOT BUY FROM THEM! We signed our documents in August, 2020. November 30 was the first day scheduled to install our solar panels. The office of Blue Raven Solar sent me a text prior to the November 30 scheduled date telling me we needed to reschedule our installation due to the fact Blue Raven had lost one of their teams. The earliest date to install our solar panels would be December 28, 2020. I called them, letting them know this was not acceptable. I wanted the scheduled date of November 30, not December 28. On November 30, the techs arrived. Well, the solar panels were not on the property on that day. The next day two teams showed up; however, The Columbia, SC team was not trained. All they did was SMOKE cigarettes on our property. It has taken November, December, January, and February to get these solar panels in a working stage. Now that they are ready to turn on, we cannot do this until the inspectors finalize the installation.

Believe me when I say:

  1. Blue Raven Solar is anxious to assist you when you apply for service. Afterwards? They could care less!
  2. Blue Raven Solar rarely returns phone calls. I’ve had to call so many times that they know who I am!
  3. Blue Raven Solar makes promises that NEVER happen! EXCUSES? Blue Raven Solar finds all types of excuses. EXCUSES…AND MORE EXCUSES!
  4. I could continue listing all the issues we’ve had. I’ve documented every one! The file I have looks like a manuscript! When someone from their office contacted me last week, he (and MANY other team PLAYERS) assured me they would get to the bottom of this. He apologized for my being so displeased, and he reassured me I would be happy with them soon. THAT IS DEFINITELY SOMETHING I CERTAINLY DO NOT BELIEVE.
  5. What exactly are the issues we’ve endured with Blue Raven Solar??? We failed to receive our 2020 Solar Energy Property Credit since our solar panels are not working yet! Due to the improper installation/scheduling delays — NOT DUE TO OUR ELECTRIC COMPANY — BERKELEY ELECTRIC, but due to the lack of scheduling at Blue Raven Solar! In all honesty, it appears that Blue Raven Solar makes promises to customers; however, they fail to honor those promises!

Please, do your due diligence before you sign a contract with them. Undoubtedly, BLUE RAVEN SOLAR has the worst customer service I’ve ever dealt with. They fail to return phone calls. They fail to answer emails. One email I sent to them requesting updates and service on December 23, 2020, NEVER GOT A REPLY. They blamed the holidays. Excuses. EXCUSES. E-X-C-U-S-E-S! On December 28, I called Blue Raven Solar requesting a response from the email I SENT ON December 23, 2020. I spoke with Melissa. She assured me Jacob would reply. “He wasn’t there…” Imagine that!

Later, we heard from Southstar Electric in response to the electric issues we had. Blue Raven Solar approved the electric issues at their expense but the permit could take two days.

January 8, 2021 — again I phoned Blue Raven Solar since no one returns phone calls, or phones to let the customer know WHEN and IF Blue Raven Solar would schedule the work. Melissa said she would contact the field manager to get this scheduled.

On several dates, we had no knowledge of Blue Raven scheduled to work on our property. They simply SHOWED UP!

Now, it’s February, 2021. Still WAITING!

Earlier this week, Blue Raven Solar phoned me to let me know they had been in contact with our electric company to get this inspection completed. He assured me he would phone me Thursday to let me know the date and time. LAUGH. LAUGH — LAUGH. We never heard from him!

Friday, a tech from Blue Raven Solar arrived. Apparently, the inspection hasn’t been scheduled. With the ethics and customer service lacking in the Blue Raven Solar organization who knows what will happen and IF we will EVER be able to have WORKING solar panels! Yesterday, the tech said our solar panels SHOULD be working no later than NEXT FRIDAY! FEBRUARY 19, 2021. I have my doubts! Meanwhile, our electric bills continue rising. Oh. Blue. Raven. Solar. Your entire corporation needs major customer service skills. Your techs need training. Your management NEEDS TO KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING AND BLUE RAVEN SOLAR NEEDS TO ANSWER EMAILS AND RETURN PHONE CALLS AND THEY NEED TO TRAIN THE CREWS NOT TO SMOKE ON THE CUSTOMERS PROPERTY! I imagine IF I drained my pond, I would find cigarette butts. All to the credit of Blue Raven Solar!

I pray this nightmare will end soon. If ever you speak with Blue Raven Solar about solar panels, DO NOT SIGN ON THE DOTTED LINE! If you do, you will have NIGHTMARES! Do YOUR Due Diligence and run away from them!


Dearest Readers:

My husband was in the military, including the U. S. Army and the National Guard. He was trained to sleep in the woods, on bunkers, in war zones and other poor areas while away from the United States. Never was he sent to a parking garage. A few days ago I read where the 25,000 National Guard troops serving and protecting the Biden inauguration were sent to a parking garage to rest while in Washington, DC. I was appalled! Photographs of this scenario show troops piled almost on top of one another while attempting to sleep.

PARKING GARAGES???

While I understand soldiers are trained to survive and protect in dreadful conditions, these soldiers are in the United States of America, protecting the safety of the Biden inauguration. How dare Biden, or anyone else, to send these heroes to a parking garage. Have you ever walked inside a parking garage? Ever smelled the scents of a parking garage? The fumes. The staleness, and the lack of care. The lack of bathrooms. Not to mention, how everything smells! In Charleston, SC, parking garages have limited bathroom facilities. Just what do soldiers do when Mother Nature calls?

To say the least, I believe someone failed to show these soldiers just how much our country appreciates them. Sending them to rest in a parking garage is shameful! I imagine they were given MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) for their nutrition. Have you ever tasted a MRE? They are disgusting. How do I know? Simple. I was a volunteer for the SC National Guard years ago. We were given a MRE to taste during one of our training sessions. Worst meal I’ve ever tasted. Even worse than Nutri-System meals!

Reportedly Biden has “apologized” to the troops. Why couldn’t he get them hotel rooms? Placing soldiers in a parking garage is unforgiveable. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/22/us/national-guard-parking-garage.html

Biden has served as President of the United States for four days. He should’ve taken a step to get the soldiers appropriate places to rest — complete with beds and restroom facilities, not a “parking garage!”

Yes, he apologized. I believe he should’ve assigned someone to get these soldiers places to rest, eat, and live until they could go home. Fortunately, some governors are requesting their soldiers to come home.

The actions of sending soldiers to rest in a parking garage says so much about how we treat the military. Biden’s actions of “apology” are not acceptable.

Incidentally, I did not vote for Biden and I never will. Democrats should be ashamed, including Pelosi!

https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/21/politics/national-guard-capitol/index.html


Dearest Readers:

Yesterday, January 6, 2021, I listened to Fox News while reading a book. Suddenly, there was complete chaos in the United States Capitol as rioters broke windows, rushing inside to where the final electoral votes were posted. In a flash, all the lawmakers were gone, overtaken by rioters. The news media called them Trump supporters. A woman was shot, later dying. Her name was Ashli Babbitt.

https://cbsaustin.com/news/nation-world/woman-killed-at-us-capitol-was-air-force-veteran-from-california-01-07-2021?fbclid=IwAR11VPA0xuMsg4FpgyxUI7oMbDyz0cRrBlbyWoyYLwv0Z5QHkpkBiAaEBvE

I watched these horrifying events overtake our country while the news media continued to call the actions of hatred — demonstrations. Let’s face the facts here. If this was a demonstration, the ‘rioters’ would not have overtaken the area — storming into the building interior and exterior like warriors ready for battle. One guy sat at the desk of Nancy Pelosi. Windows of the U. S. Capitol were broken. This building is supposedly ‘secure’ — with the exception of yesterday.

In less than two weeks, Joe Biden will become the President of the United States of America. No. I did not vote for him. I voted for President Donald J. Trump. I can only imagine what will happen on Wednesday, January 20, 2021 while Biden takes the oath of office.

I’m horrified there will be another Civil War happening in 2021. Antifa is supporting these movements. Read all about Antifa at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/01/07/antifa-capitol-gaetz-trump-riot/

Years ago, I believed we had the right to protest; however, my belief has changed significantly. Meanwhile, I pray for the United States of America. We need to come together as a Nation. Under the administration of Joe Biden, I do not believe that will happen. The Biden family has a questionable history. He has ties to China, the Ukraine and other countries. I am horrified he will smugly lead our country into socialism. And. We. As. Americans. Do. Not. Want. Socialism.

America, let’s stop the hatred. Let’s say prayers, asking God to guide us, not Biden.


Dearest Readers:

This morning we awaken to a new year. Hopefully, through prayer and faith, all of us will have a healthier, happier, and safer 2021. Last night, at the strike of the new year, I opened the back door, kicking 2020 good riddance! Then, I opened the front door, watched a few fireworks, blew my breath into the wind, welcoming 2021.

Today is my oldest sister’s birthday. I hope her birthday will be as special to her as she is to me!

How about you, readers? What did you do to rush 2020 out of your life while making resolutions to welcome 2021.

Here’s a toast to all of you.

Here’s to you and here’s to me.

May 2021 be the year to be.

Let’s all find happiness. Health and Love, while guardian angels keep us safe from above.

May Corona blow her nastiness away

While 2021 fills our hearts with goodness — EVERY DAY!

HAPPY NEW YEAR, 2021!


Dearest Readers:

If you are considering hiring a company for the installation of solar panels, please reconsider. The epistle below might enlighten you just a bit.
These issues started in August, 2020. On December 28, 2020 — WE’RE STILL WAITING!

By now, you’re probably aware of the RUNAROUND, and LACK OF PROFESSIONALISM WE’VE ENDURED — just to get definitive answers regarding our installation of solar panels. Now, it appears we are LOCKED into waiting. AND Waiting…AND WAITING  — AGAIN! 
To say I’ve tolerated enough of this is an understatement. I should mention the property I’m referring to is our home.
After the Charleston crew finished installing the solar panels it was discovered we need conduit installed under the house. Wes suggested an electrician would be contacted. We’ve waited for over two weeks for someone to contact us, only getting a response from an electrician after I sent a sarcastic email to Blue Raven Solar demanding a reply.
The email I mentioned was sent on December 12, 2020,at 5:41 PM. A reply was sent to me by Jacob Johnson December 14, 2020 at 7:58 PM. Now, it is December 23. Christmas is only TWO DAYS AWAY! By now, I imagine your office excuse will be “IT’S CHRISTMAS!”
Bah Hum Bug! 
I should mention, I’ve done my homework and research recognizing our mistake was signing a contract with Blue Raven Solar. I am a reporter. A well-seasoned writer and author! Are you aware of the non-complimentary reviews Blue Raven Solar has received? THERE ARE MANY!

My biggest concern now is getting the Solar Energy Property Credit for 2020. According to Form 1350 SC SCH.TC-58 State of South Carolina Department of Revenue SOLAR ENERGY PROPERTY CREDIT:
‘The credit is earned in the year the property is placed in service…”
When we met with Isaac Jacobsen of Blue Raven Solar, he assured us we WOULD RECEIVE A REBATE FOR 2020. For our household, it appears to be due to the lack of proper installation/scheduling — including the delays in getting scheduled (NOT DUE TO BERKELEY ELECTRIC – BUT DUE TO BLUE RAVEN SOLAR) AND THE MANY ISSUES WE’VE ENDURED – I IMAGINE ONE OF YOUR CREWS OR MANAGEMENT WILL TELL US THIS INSTALLATION CANNOT BE FINISHED UNTIL 2021. 
I am holding Blue Raven Solar 100% responsible for all of these issues. And, I anticipate Blue Raven Solar will give us a $2000 rebate from your company since it appears we will not have the conduit done before Christmas (two days from the date of this email) nor will our solar panels be activated to lower our electric bills.
Your company is a disgrace. All I wanted to know was a definitive DATE for all of this to be scheduled and completed. No one, I repeat NO ONE HAS CONTACTED ME TO GIVE US A DEFINITIVE ANSWER.
My next move will be an attorney – UNLESS I GET A DEFINITIVE ANSWER – NOT THE RUNAROUND!
The only way you, BLUE RAVEN SOLAR, can resolve this is to verbalize the dates. I EXPECT TO HEAR FROM SOMEONE WITHIN 24 HOURS FROM NOW – DECEMBER 23, 2020 – 7:08 PM EST.
No excuses for the holiday or Covid-19 are acceptable. I’ve tolerated this B-S long 
Regards, Barbie Perkins-Cooper

UPDATE – December 28, 2020. Of course no one has bothered to contact us, so I phoned them again. I’ve lost count as to how many times I’ve had to contact this company JUST TO GET AN ANSWER.

According to the pleasant lady on the phone, after checking with someone – PROBABLY A COMPUTER – “our electrical conduit installation has been approved, and someone will contact us today.”

I ask you, my readers, would you dare to hold your breath until they phone?

I THINK NOT!

THIS SAGA WILL CONTINUE. UPDATES TO FOLLOW!!!


Christmas, 2020

Dearest Family and Friends:

Perhaps this year of 2020, has been an unpredictable year where children and spouse are home 24-7 instead of at school or work. Suddenly, a toxic, contagious virus has invaded our lives. Some of you have suffered with the Corona Covid-19 Virus, and some loved ones lost their loved ones to this dreadful disease.

Phil and I have followed all of the guidelines, managing to wear masks when we are grocery shopping, running errands or visiting doctors. Arriving home, I rush to wash my hands until one would think the skin is washing away.

The other day I rushed to the mall to pick up one of Phil’s gifts. I was shocked. Christmas decorations were at a minimum. An occasional Christmas tree and ornaments. No Santa signs. Santa Claus wasn’t anywhere to be seen. Maybe that’s a good thing though. Everyone always encourages children to visit Santa and let him know your wishes. I find it sad that children always dream about the toys they will receive from Santa. The true meaning and spirit of Christmas is the birth of Christ. We must focus on this meaning while realizing this has been a year where political issues are striving to steal elections, almost convincing me to never vote again. I haven’t missed an election since I was 18! Will I vote in 2024. That depends. I pray we will have a new leader then – that is – IF the USA still exists! As for our President-Elect, I will go on record to say I will not watch that election. It appears the 2020 election was bought. I cannot believe voters in the USA would stoop so low to vote for someone who doesn’t have the strength to lead our country. As for Kamala? I’m a feminist, but definitely am concerned what will happen WHEN she takes over. What has happened to our Country? President Trump (in my opinion) is one of the strongest leaders we’ve EVER had! He gets things done – just look at the medical miracle he worked diligently to ‘make it happen!’

For this holiday season, I’ve fought depression. Missing my father so much I find myself bursting into tears. Our last Christmas with Dad was in 1998. Twenty-two years ago! I imagine he would be telling me to “let him go. Move on with life!” Easy words to say, hard words to live by.

So, starting today, I will make myself focus on Thankfulness. Happiness. Family. Love, and the true meaning of Christmas – the birth of the Christ child.

Tonight, two hours after dusk arrives, I shall look into the Heavens to see the “Christmas star,” shining brightly – according to a reputable site I’ve read – “For the first time since the Middle Ages, Jupiter and Saturn will become so close to each other in the night sky that they’ll appear as a brilliantly bright “double planet.” The only magnificent thing I shall see in 2020 is the star that shone so brightly after the birth of Jesus Christ, along with the medical miracle of a vaccine that will save people.

Merry Christmas, Everyone. May God bless us, everyone!

Barbie Perkins-Cooper


This is a post for my “Family and Friends for Christmas.”


Dearest Family and Friends:

2020 has been such a depressing, unbearable year. At least I have life, a warm home, health, a husband, and of course my “Bratty Boys,” my schnauzers.
In five days, December 23, 2019, to be exact, will be a year anniversary of breaking L-1 of my spine. Believe me when I say, if you’ve never broken your back you cannot imagine the excruciating pain I’ve endured for almost one year. Just imagine someone, or something twisting your spine, beating and squeezing it constantly. Imagine doing this on the day you are moving from a crowded suburb to the country. I’ve told some of my friends this: “Imagine the worst labor pain you can. Only this pain never goes away.” I’ve been asked, “Why don’t you have surgery?” Simple. When the spine surgeon said, “It can go either way.” Meaning: “You could be paralyzed, or in a wheel chair..”

I chose to request a prayer chain and core exercises. Now, I’m able to walk. Sometimes, I must stop. Other times, like yesterday at the mall, I was able to walk the entire length of the mall, and back to my car. Stopping only once! I felt like a young child taking her first steps! At times, I limp from the pain. Other times, I still have my infamous swag, and now I can wear boots again. Only three inch heel styles. All of my really high heels are going to Goodwill and other charities, including the Kidney Foundation and domestic abuse shelters.

If you are on my Family and Friends Christmas Card List, 2020 will be the second year I will not be able to send Christmas cards to you. Remember, this is the year of having my husband home 24-7, working at home. He constantly demands my attention, plus I haven’t finished unpacking the remaining boxes from our move to Serenity Oasis, our new home. Time has just about kidnapped me. Every time I think I finally have time for myself, something interrupts me. In November, Election Day, I drove Phil to the VA Hospital (Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center) to have his blood pressure checked. I was not permitted to go inside with him, so I waited…And waited…AND WAITED! For about two weeks in November, including Friday, November 13, I waited outside of the same hospital. Due to Covid-19, I was told to remain outside, although I had not been exposed, had no temp, and was and still is, his wife. Honestly, I wanted to scream at the nurses, but what good would that do??? I do understand the questions and hesitance of allowing someone with the patient; however, I am still furious how I was treated. I had to ask police officers to allow me to a restroom??? I have another story regarding those incidents at Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center – perhaps I’ll share after the holidays!

So, now I’m hopeful you get a bit of an idea about my 2020. Personally, I’ll be thankful when Phil and I can listen to the ringing on the New Year, 2021. No doubt, we will be at home. No Christmas, New Year festivities for us this year. We wear masks everywhere we go – grocery store, Walmart, and on an occasional dinner out. For many years I’ve said “I do not cook on Fridays…” Those of you who’ve heard the story know what occurred when Phil refused to ear the dinner I cooked, so after his arrogance, I said: “That’s it. From now on I will not cook on Fridays again!” I’ve eaten bitter words many times this year. Isn’t it strange how a contagious Corona Covid-19 virus can change our world?

It’s been a depressing year. I had hopes people would learn to slow down and appreciate life, but that hasn’t happened. If anything, many people are more short tempered and dangerous than ever. All of us need to appreciate one another, and believe in God. After all, our lives can disappear in only an instant.

From our household to you and your family, I wish you a Happy and Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year 2021. I will do my best to continue my Christmas tradition of sending Christmas cards next year. Perhaps our lives will be better when the Corona Virus is eradicated under Operation Warp Speed and President Donald J. Trump.

As for the “other guy,” I’m hopeful his son will take care of the situation and they will both go to prison. Of course, we all know, money talks, doesn’t it! I suppose it will be another year where the fake media rule. Thank God, I’m not a member of that media!

Merry Christmas with My Love,

Barbie Perkins-Cooper, Author


Dearest Readers:

I respect the privacy of my friends, acquaintances, family, and myself. Every day, I pray for all Covid-19 victims and their families to get well. Nightly, I pray for a miracle so Covid-19 will be eradicated. I wear masks everywhere I go. I social distance and for the most part, I stay at home.

Do I have cabin fever? Of course, I do.

A few days ago, I learned that one of my friends has Covid-19. To protect their privacy, I shall not reveal a gender. Male. Female. Transgender? It doesn’t matter!

I haven’t seen my friend since all of this began. Like many, I’ve become a hermit. Remaining at home unless I must go to the grocery store, or complete errands. Last week, my husband and I went out to eat a few too many times, so I reminded him we must stop eating out and remain at home where we are safe. Hopefully!

My friend has done everything carefully too. Working at home. Staying home, unless he or she had doctor appointments…….Etc!

Now, my friend has the virus. I am praying for a simple case of Covid. I will touch base daily with my friend.

I’d like to request a prayer request, I suppose a silent prayer request for my friend, family members and for all Covid-19 victims.

Since I’ve followed reputable information regarding Covid-19, I discovered the symptoms sound so familiar to me since I’ve had asthma all of my life, so I know, I am considered high-risk. Symptoms similar to bronchial asthma include:

coughing

fever

loss of taste, smell

fatigue

difficulty with breathing

congestion

burning of the chest

loss of appetite

All of these symptoms I’ve experienced whenever my asthma kicks in. Fortunately, I haven’t had asthma problems after moving to the country. The air is fresher here. Less traffic congestion, and my breathing has not been as short-winded as it was in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. Coughing? Occasionally, but nothing specific.

So now, I worry about my friend. When I spoke with my friend, I mentioned I would be happy to do anything I can to help with the illness.

I am convinced the germs of Covid-19 are everywhere. My friend has no idea how Covid arrived. I can picture the cells flying through the air. I confess, while walking outside to my mailbox I haven’t worn a mask. Maybe today I will.

I pray soon the disease that has stolen lives, incomes, livelihoods and the health of many, will be eradicated. It has changed the United States of America. People are quick to blame our President, Donald J. Trump. I do not blame him and I feel he jumped to the occasion to assist America. Reportedly the disease came from China. That, I do believe. I suppose for many, it is easiest to blame our President. Looks like Biden, tentative President-Elect will walk in those Presidential shoes, IF he is proclaimed President-Elect. I can only imagine WHAT will happen under the Democrat leadership — that is IF there is a leader in the Democratic party. But. That’s a political issue.

Today, please take a moment to pray, asking God to help eradicate this dreadful disease.

I haven’t found any Christmas spirit this year, mostly due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the depression that captivates me at times. I’ve found myself having meltdowns when thinking about how I will miss my father this holiday season. I miss looking at the chair he sat at when he visited us in Mount Pleasant. I miss having him here with us to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas. I miss hearing his voice and singing with him. How I miss his laughter. Soon, the tears rush from my eyes. My father’s last Christmas dinner attendance was Christmas, 1998, while he battled terminal esophageal cancer. He would be so proud of Phil and I this year as we celebrate the first anniversary of our moving to the country. I know he would love sitting on the bench by the pond to watch the fish jumping and turtles swimming around, anxious to get a strawberry. Yes, my father would be able to walk around our five acres of beautiful, natural land. I am so thankful my father changed for the better and because of Covid-19, I am thankful he isn’t here to see how our country is changing for the worst. The hatred, spreading like a vicious, constantly expanding volcano spreading fire and abhorrence until it burns into the depths of Hell.

Let us all come together for five minutes just to pray for the eradication of Covid-19. Soon, vaccines will arrive. I pray the vaccines will be the exact prescription the USA needs. May this be a Merry Christmas, even in the worst of times in America.

And now, I pray for my friend. I imagine I have additional friends with Covid-19. This disease I would not wish on my worst enemy. Sending prayers for God to bless America and eliminate this disease. Please God, help our friends heal from this disease and let us all come together to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!

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