Boston Marathon Tragedy

Although the date of this editorial is April 23, 2013, my heart still breaks for the tragedies at the Boston Marathon. When I heard the dreadful news my response was, “Who could do this? Is it another terrorist attack?”

I suppose everyone in America thinks similar thoughts since September 11, 2001. Nothing in my lifetime has touched (and scared) me so much since that tragic date. Now, in 2013, we have grown accustomed to being searched at sports, music, and other events. Never do I question why I am being searched — it is now the American way of life. No, I don’t like it, but if it helps to preserve our safety, then by all means – search me. I think the Boston Marathon has changed things — again.

Last Friday, I had the TV on, listening to it barely while writing. When the Breaking News interrupted, announcing that the City of Boston was in lockdown mode, my heart raced while thinking of the people I met while visiting Boston many years ago. How must they feel? I imagine they were horrified. Just how do you entertain children when they are told that they cannot go outside, or to school. I suppose with this scenario, the only way to entertain them is to allow them to play games with phones, Ipods, computers and other technical devices, with exception of the television. Many local channels were broadcasting the events as they flowed into the television screens. Just how do you convince children that they are safe in the City of Boston with police cars rushing by, barricades. home searches, and lockdowns?

I’ve never experienced such. The only time I was told to stay in my home was during a hurricane, after I decided not to fight the parking lot of traffic along the highways of Charleston, SC.

I confess, I was glued to the television now. At first, I watched Fox News, but when they continued to speculate and broadcast personal opinions, I changed the channel to MSNBC. While watching I wondered just when a movie about the events would be written and I imagine that would be really soon – but that is my personal opinion as an aspiring screenwriter.

When my husband arrived home from work, I asked him if he heard the news about the Boston Marathon and the lockdown of the City of Boston. He was in meetings most of the day, so he wasn’t aware. As he listened to the news, he asked questions about the suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev (deceased) and his younger brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. I shared the information while still listening to the news.

Later, that night, while singing at karaoke, the news broadcast reported Dzhokhar, suspect #2, was in custody. Before singing, I announced it to the crowd. Everyone applauded.

What a relief, especially for the residents of Boston and Watertown, Massachusetts.

Now, we in America are forming our opinions. I’ve heard many horrible comments about what should be done to Dzhokhar as he fights for his life. Reportedly, he has a gun shot wound in the throat and has lost a lot of blood, so his condition was serious. I haven’t checked on his condition today. I have heard reports on Good Morning America that he is answering questions by writing his response. Let us hope he is answering these questions truthfully, sharing the information that is so needed to help officials build the case for his trial. His mother stated that her children would never do this, and so on…she knows her children and they would never do this. Perhaps she KNEW her children; however, one was 26-years-old, the other 19. Let’s face it, we can teach our children to be good and to have respectful values; however, once they leave home and socialize with others, who knows what will happen to them???

Personally, I do hope that if he is found guilty, and I fully believe, according to the evidence on video and the evidence collected in his dorm room, etc. he will be found guilty. I hope they will prosecute him with the death penalty.

No, I do not wish death on anyone, although in this case, he took the lives of three innocent victims, including the life of a precious eight-year-old child. I cannot help wondering why our world has become such a violent world, filled with terrorism. To the people who thought that terrorism would end with the death of Osama bin Laden, I say, I fully believe terrorism is in America, and all over the world. The death of one terrorist only leads to others becoming active. It is so sad, and horrifying.

America, I encourage all of us to be pro-active. If you see someone place a bag, suitcase, or any object down and walk away, please SAY SOMETHING. There have been several times I have seen someone drop their luggage while waiting for their next flight, only to walk away. Quickly, I approached these people, reminding them they cannot leave their luggage. Their reply, “I’m only going to the restroom.” I smile, and respond, “Take your luggage with you.”

I probably don’t wish to know what they think as they take their luggage. It doesn’t matter. We must speak up to protect our nation and ourselves. We cannot be shy about this. We must speak up!

To the City of Boston, I congratulate all of the officials, public servants and professionals, who worked so hard to capture the suspected terrorists while working so hard to protect all of the residents. You truly made America proud — BOSTON STRONG!!!



AT&T Actually Kept Their Word — IT’S ABOUT TIME!

Dearest Readers:

Yesterday was truly a day where my normal cool, calm and collective persona almost exploded. The morning started with another complaint to AT&T to let them know the scheduled technician never arrived on the evening of April 16. Of course, they suggested rescheduling…I blew a fuse. To make a most frustrating day complete, I reluctantly agreed to a 12-4pm schedule, letting the customer service person know IF they did not show this time, there definitely would not be another time and I would cancel my service with the wonderful (???) AT&T. Let’s just say, all Hell broke loose when I was driving and answered the cell phone. I was told by the service tech assigned that I needed to recall and request a service technician since I did not have service thru UVerse. That was news to me!!!

Arriving home from my errands, I phoned AT&T again. The customer service rep assured me that I DID have Uverse and the tech must be a bit confused. Duh! Ya think!!!

Again, the tech was rescheduled. I phoned my husband, almost pleading for him to come home to take care of these people/situation. Long story short — the tech arrived a little after one. He did not leave until about 4pm. Apparently the lines were needing replacing, rewiring…or something and we needed a new modem. Duh again…that is what we requested previously…I suppose those techs simply thought I was a dumb blonde and they could B-S their way with me. This time…I was ready. I spoke to the tech and allowed my husband to supervise.

So far, the phone is working…the modem has all of the green lights working which it did not have prior. The computer is moving faster and I am not getting those “This page can not be displayed,” messages anymore.

So, to bottom line this story — if you have AT&T — and you are having UVerse difficulties, just let your — excuse the expression — bitchy ways kick in. No more Ms. Nice Lady for me with AT&T. I can assert myself, and they do not want to mess with me anymore! Isn’t it sad that in America we still must tolerate customer service reps who do not believe, or understand what a woman communicates. If I heard, “I understand your frustration,” once — I must’ve heard it a thousand times while on the phone with them. I have their names, but I’ll keep those names to myself!

How I hope AT&T learned something yesterday! Now, let us pray I’ll not have anymore difficulties with my telephone system.

Makes me wonder — does AT&T really train their ‘service technicians?’ I still have my doubts, but I pray this scenario is over, done and will never occur again! I don’t like being a bitch, but I certainly know how to when necessary, and I can be kissy sweet, but oh so persuasive. Lesson learned — don’t mess with a Steel Magnolia!

AT&T — Another No Show!!!

I suppose all of my FB friends are curious as to what happened during the ‘scheduled appointment with AT&T’ yesterday. I reported ‘the technician is scheduled to arrive between 4pm – 8pm,’ according to the text sent to my cell phone at 9:02am yesterday… Well, the plot thickens. We waited from 4-8pm… I had a headache and exhaustion from three nights of no sleep. The clock ticked away…finally at 8:15pm I simply gave up…so, AT&T STRIKES AGAIN! There were no phone calls made to us to inform us when the technician would show…No follow up…Nothing! The customer service rep is supposed to phone me today to inquire about how the repair went…I can’t wait… I shall fill his ears full with my complaints.

So, FB friends, who should I contract with to end this joke with AT&T…I’m simply tired of tolerating this form of customer service. I’ve had AT&T thru several name changes for my home phone, better known now as a landline. Let’s see, at first it was Southern Bell, then Bell South and now, AT&T… Whatever happened to customer service in America…has it been outsourced too? When they phone me today I WILL GET A CREDIT ON MY PHONE BILL, and I will not book another appointment with them. I’m tired of AT&T! It is now “America’s Terrible and Tumultuous” phone service — perhaps AT&T’s new name! Can’t wait for their phone call today! Don’t mess with me, AT&T!

Welcome to Bibb City / Columbus, Georgia

Chattahoochee Child
Barbie Perkins-Cooper
Copyright April, 2013

Arriving in Columbus, Georgia on Wednesday, April 10, 2013, I struggled not to allow depression to overtake my mood. Exhausted from an eight hour drive, I plopped on to the tiny sofa, attempting to relax. “How can I relax,’ I whispered to myself. ‘This is the city that struggled to destroy me.’

Phil watched a CSI marathon. I chose to bathe. Remembering those troubled years of my youth, when sadness captivated me, I practiced the art of positive thinking. ‘So much of Columbus has changed. This is a different time, a different setting, and now, my mother is gone. She can’t hurt me now…’

Exhausted, I went to bed, praying silently that this week all will be fine. ‘It’s a new day,’ I said. ‘A new journey. A new chapter.’

The next morning, Phil and I drove to Bibb City. Phil touched my hand and face and kissed me on the cheek. “It’ll be OK,” he said. “Today is a new day.”

I smiled. “Those are the exact words I told myself last night.”

Driving on the roads leading to Bibb City, I exhaled deeply. Wanting only silence, I turned the radio down. My mind drifted back to my childhood in Bibb City.

The Village my grandparents called Bibb City is framed by the setting of The Bibb Manufacturing Company, a tall brick building with a clock edged into the masonry work. The tiny brick houses in Anderson Village looked the same, with exception of the clutter on many of the porches and around the small lots. The white houses in Bibb City were now painted a variety of colors. Some of the houses were attractive and well cared for; other homes still looked the same, with exception of junk in the yards and the porches cluttered with boxes and other essentials the residents could not store or put away.

Serving as the focal point of Bibb City during the textile era in America, the Bill Mill dates back to 1920. The Bibb, as elders called the mill, is located on 38th Street and First Avenue.

The tranquil, close knit mill community called Bibb City encompasses north from 35th Street to 44th Street, and west from Second Avenue to the Chattahoochee River. The streets are narrow and winding. Mill houses consist of approximately 247 dwellings, located within walking distance of the mill. Most are constructed of wood, painted white, landscaped with magnolia trees, sweet gum trees and other varieties, some laced with Spanish moss.

Bibb City includes the mill acreage along with a smaller area called Anderson Village. The houses in Anderson Village are brick with interior walls of stucco. According to elders who still live in the Village, Bibb City is one of the best planned mill villages ever built, because of the quality of the residential developments and how they were maintained for mill workers. In the 1960’s the mill chose to sell the homes to mill workers. My grandparents jumped at the chance to own a home.

The dwelling my grandparents bought was located in the middle of Walnut Street, a solid brick structure, containing two small bedrooms, a living room, one miniature bathroom, and a kitchen. The house was less than 1,000 square feet, total living space. Mill workers were accustomed to living in small settlements. ‘We made do with what the Good Lord provided us,’ according to Papa and Grammy.

The car approached the monstrous skeleton of the remains of Bibb Manufacturing Company. Staring at the entrance, the mill was vacant of mill workers. What remained now was the front entrance standing alone. The mill closed its doors in 1998, leaving fingerprints and footprints of mill workers. In October 2008, the mill burned to the ground.

I replayed my grandfather’s words when I was a rebellious teenager desperate to break away from Bibb City.

Papa said, “You stay here. Marry a mill kid and if you want to work, go to work at the mill. Bibb Mill takes care of its workers. All you have to do in life is marry and have babies.”

My reply, “Bibb Mill makes you a slave…and I don’t want to live my life here. I don’t want to be a baby machine. I want to sing…”

Papa laughed, placing a piece of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum in his mouth.

As a child, I was already a feminist!

I parked the car, grabbed my Nikon digital camera, inhaled…exhaled… My fingers were shaking. Phil remained in the car, downloading software on to his Ipad.

Clicking my camera, I took several images, recognizing some parts of Bibb City while realizing I had blocked most of the memories away. Gone was the white house where I spent the hot summers with my grandparents. At the site, was an abandoned parking lot. I did not see anyone walking along the sidewalks. Images of mill workers, dressed in Bibb overalls, danced in my mind.

‘Bibb City is a ghost town now,’ I whispered. ‘Like the mill, gone are the memories of my youth. I glanced up, wiped a tear while glancing at the Bibb water tower. ‘All that is left are the charred remains of a building where workers strove to make a better life, only to discover the mill controlled and dictated their lives and future. Now, the mill is a ghostly, charred remnant of their hard work. Gone are their footprints and fingerprints.

The Journey of Cleet…Cleet Continues…

Good morning, World. It is a beautiful, sunshiny day in Charleston, SC — a beautiful day where I can see clearly now! What a relief! Thank you, God. To all who have asked, my foster child, Sweet Little Cleet…Cleet… is doing well with his new family. The moment I met them, I knew they were indeed the perfect family for him. His new name is Buddy and every day he takes a ‘baby step’ to his happiness. Truly, he was the hardest foster for me to let go of…but I learned something significant with him…I learned how to communicate with an animal. Occasionally, I will hear his bark and he and I will chat a bit.

Yesterday, he told me he was getting better…The confusion of my giving him to another family is easing, and he recognizes that he was loved by me, but he had to find a true, forever home. My mission was to teach him that humans are trustworthy, and many are loving, wanting only the best for him, a well deserving, gentle but fearful foster child. He said he was sad for a few days, and he watched the actions of his adoptive family, seeing many of the behaviors he saw in our home…the gentleness, kindness, the sweet, soft stroking of his skin…the soft whispers…no shouts…the encouragement. He said he still missed me, but he understands that he needed to go to another home where he could continue his journey to love and trust ‘humans.’ I am so happy for him. Tears drip down my face when I remember how dreadfully sad and terrified he was of me and my husband…at first…and that is probably why he chose to run away. When he saw the posters with his picture on the poles, signs and every location we could post, he recognized that someone actually cared enough to find him…to search and show that he was worthy of love. And when he returned, three weeks later, that is why he was different to us. No longer did he pull his face away, and he learned to look into my eyes! From a dog’s perspective, looking into a human’s eyes is a significant sign of trust! To quote the adoptive mommy, “Baby Steps!”

Today is a beautiful day for us, and for sweet little Buddy. Continue your journey while knowing that you are loved by many…and you are indeed worthy of L-O-V-E!

The Eyes Have It – Contacts, Eye Infections, Losing Sight

Dearest Readers:

It is a late and wet morning for me within the City of Charleston, SC. Originally, my plans for today were to walk the dogs, afterward, I planned to walk the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge. The dampness of such a wet day has dictated that I cannot honor my plans. Deciding it is the perfect day to clean my home, I sprinkle carpet deodorizer on the carpets and relax while eating strawberry Greek yogurt and another cup of coffee. Time to write in my blog, I decide…and so…here we go!

Today, I will discuss an important issue. A frightening experience I recently had, giving me a major scare! In early February, I awoke with a pink eye in my right eye. Strange, I thought, Before when I’ve had pink eye, aka Conjunctivitis, I’ve had pink eyes — in BOTH eyes, not one! I used eye drops. I removed my contact, tossing it in the trash. I rested my eye, covering it with a satan facial mask. I doctored it with ice cold packs. Nothing helped. Two days later, with the right eye a bit swollen, and the inability to look into anything bright, I recognized that my diagnosis of Conjunctivitis needed to be confirmed professionally, especially since now, I could not stand bright light of any type hitting the right eye. The pain was unbearable.

Phil drove me to Nason Medical. Their diagnosis was I might have an infection in the retina. They referred me to an ophthalmologist. Early Monday Phil drove me to Mount Pleasant Ophthalmology. After many tests, the diagnosis was an eye virus. For many weeks, I returned to them twice weekly, using a variety of prescription eye drops. At first, the eye appeared to get worse. Testing my eye with the eye chart, all I saw was a blob — a white, foggy blanket, nothing more. I could not see an image at all! I was horrified. Additional prescription eye drops were prescribed. Now I was taking four eye drops throughout the day — four to five times daily. Reluctantly, I stopped wearing eye makeup.

Due to the condition of my eye, I remained at home, afraid to go outside since the sunshine felt as if it exploded inside my right eye, and I was horrified to drive anywhere simply because I could not see properly. I managed to drive to the eye doctor visits — carefully and slowly.

Depression sat in. During the day I cried, recognizing the tears would only aggravate my eye more. I tried to read, to catch up on a collection of magazines on my desk…how could I read them, when I really could not see the words or images? For the first time in my life, all I did was sit around and rest. No wonder I was depressed…my life was not my life anymore.

Finally, the eye virus cleared up, only to have the cornea irritated from some of the eye drops. Still, I struggled to read the eye charts. Forget the contact, or independence now…I felt my life was that of a wilting vegetable. Cooking was a struggle since I could not see to chop vegetables… On one occasion, I almost burned the pasta. “How is it you burn pasta?” I screamed. Simple. When you cannot see what you are doing, anything can happen!

I confess, I have taken the luxury of eye sight for granted, but not anymore. Every time I saw the doctor I asked her “when can I wear my contact again?” Her reply wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but I decided it was best to follow her advice. On one visit, she mentioned that my cornea looked like sandpaper. This condition sounded a bit too serious. I drove myself home, researched on the Internet, deciding that the information I was reading would only horrify me more. I walked to the bedroom, spoke with my dogs, threw myself on the bed and I cried like a newborn baby. My pups moved closer to comfort me. I prayed, and prayed. Dear God, please don’t let me lose my eye sight. I have so much to do and say. Please God, touch and heal my eye.

On the next eye visit, my doctor removed me from all of the prescriptions, deciding to use natural tears, rest and a lot of TLC. Today, I am happy to report, my eye is much improved. The cornea is ‘healing well now.’ Natural tears are helping so much. My last checkup was on Monday and I’m happy to report I could actually read the eye chart! What a relief. Over the week I tested my eye, covering my left eye to see if the right eye could actually see something besides a blanket of fog. Like a little child, I recognized the beauty of green trees. Even the pollen blowing in the wind looked inviting, until I sneezed! What a relief. I could see again! Trees. Flowers. My dogs. A TV screen. The sky. The beauty of life. My eyes could see! I danced a happy dance…I CAN SEE AGAIN!

I must see the eye doctor in two weeks, and I’m happy with that. As for my contacts? They are still in the package. I haven’t opened my last box for fear that I would weaken and let temptation get the best of me. For now, I have reading glasses on my desk — two pairs are inside my handbag…one pair is in the den. One pair in the kitchen…and one pair by my bed. Yes, I’m vain…I don’t like wearing glasses. I find them uncomfortable and a bit difficult to walk in. The strange thing about this experience with my right eye is this — since the eye is able to focus and see things again, occasionally I can actually read something without glasses, or contacts. Isn’t that strange…maybe the eye exercises I’ve been doing are helping me, along with the eye vitamins and the sheer stubbornness of this modern day feminist who refuses to allow something to knock me down for long. Funny! My Julia Sugarbaker style has returned!!!

Eye health.

The Top 10 Workout Songs For April


The Top 10 Workout Songs For April

Fort Wayne, IN – April 1, 2013 – Collaborations reign in this month’s workout playlist. Justin Bieber lent Will.I.Am a hand on the latter’s latest. Italian super producer Alex Gaudino turned the mic over to Jordin Sparks. Lastly, Pitbull and Christina Aguilera urged folks to seize the day–while seizing, for themselves, the hook from ’80s classic “Take On Me.”
Here’s the full list, according to votes placed at Run Hundred–the web’s most popular workout music blog.
Alex Gaudino & Jordin Sparks – Is This Love – 129 BPM
Miranda Lambert – Mama’s Broken Heart – 112 BPM
Of Monsters and Men – Little Talks – 107 BPM
Will.I.Am & Justin Bieber – #thatPOWER – 129 BPM
Kylie Minogue – Timebomb – 128 BPM
Afrojack & Chris Brown – As Your Friend – 128 BPM
One Direction – One Way or Another (Teenage Kicks) – 163 BPM
Pitbull & Christina Aguilera – Feel This Moment – 137 BPM
Avicii – Silhouettes (Syn Cole Creamfields Mix Radio Edit) – 128 BPM
Macklemore, Ryan Lewis & Ray Dalton – Can’t Hold Us – 148 BPM
To find more workout songs, folks can check out the free database at Visitors can browse the song selections there by genre, tempo, and era—to find the music that best fits with their particular workout routine.

Chris Lawhorn
Run Hundred