Happy Memorial Day


To remind everyone why we celebrate Memorial Day!

Barbie Perkins-Cooper

The weekend is here — Memorial Day Weekend, to some it is the beginning of the hot summer season. To others, Memorial Day Weekend is a time to reflect, to remember those who fought for our freedom, gave their lives and to remember them and what they believed in.

As the proud wife of a Vietnam Veteran, Memorial Day weekend is bitter-sweet. We were one of the fortunate couples of the Vietnam conflict. Why? Simple. My husband came home — a totally different man — fearful, easy to lose his temper and to be defensive. For me, the man I married is still over there — his innocent, trusting ways never returned. So, we celebrate Memorial Day  weekend – remembering the young, carefree soldier who returned as a soldier ready to forget Vietnam because, “It don’t mean nothing, man…”

As the wife, I cannot imagine what goes on in a…

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Finding Your Happy Place


Dearest Readers:

Yesterday, I walked over 14,000+ steps. Most of these steps were in the early morning while walking along the pier. How I enjoy walking, especially when a soft, coastal breeze kisses my face. I watched seagulls and pelicans gliding across the harbor waters. I saw men, and a few women, fishing. I noticed my silly right knee stopped popping. Normally, my right knee awakens me with a “snap…crackle…pop!” What a glorious morning to walk.

That discovery got me to thinking. Last week, while reading a book one of the characters asked another character: “Where is your happy place? That’s where you need to go, to put the past behind you. To help with your grief, and to find peace and happiness again.”

Humph. That really hit home with me. Where is my happy place? The character in the story said her happy place was the beach, when her family would travel as a family to the beach during the summer.

All week long I kept thinking Where is my happy place?

I could not answer. Childhood was a rough and sad time for me. My parents moved us constantly, thanks to my mother not paying the rent. Many times we were evicted, managing to move just before the eviction notice was posted. Needless to say, my father was furious with my mother. Who wouldn’t be!

My mother could not handle the finances of our family. Every year there were arguments, building into rage and fist fights. Shouting. Cursing. Pushing. The looks on their faces said it all. Many times, I served as the referee to my family, Just to keep peace. Once, I suggested one of them needs to leave before someone gets killed. My father moved out of the house the next day. Arriving home from school, my mother pushed me and shouted, “I hope to Hell you’re happy now. Your Daddy is divorcing me. You can consider that bastard dead. Do you hear me? Your Daddy is dead now!”

Never did I consider my father dead!

My happy place?

My happy place failed to exist until I moved with my husband to Charleston, South Carolina. We are only four miles from the beach now. How I cherish it; however, I haven’t been to the beach in three years.

While thinking about this, I realized when I’m at the beach, I feel calmness. Peace. The roar of the ocean sings to me. Walking along the beach, the warm ocean waters tickle my feet. Peace and happiness, all at the beach!

My husband asked me why I wasn’t going to the beach anymore. I failed to have an answer.

This summer, I plan to go back to the beach – my all time happy place. I planned to go this Friday, but my precious Prince Midnight Shadow – my giant schnauzer – has a surgical procedure tomorrow, so I will take care of him and maybe next week, I’ll find my happy place once again.

How about you, readers? Where is your happy place? Why not share it with me in the comments. I’d love to know — Where do you find your happy place?

Happy Easter 2019


Dearest Readers:

While I know I’ve been quiet for a bit, it wasn’t my intention. Let’s just say, sometimes life does require extra attention.

So many demands of life have truly left me overwhelmed; nevertheless, I had a serious talk with God and now, things are moving along.

I would like to take a moment of your time to wish you a Happy Springtime and a most special Happy Easter. Easter is a special time for me, remembering the times we spent with our grandparents at their small mill home, celebrating Easter by going to church. Grandma always made certain we had beautiful Easter dresses and shoes. Of course, my shoes were French heels, and when I became a teenager, I was allowed to wear nylons and heels. How special I felt.

At church, we celebrated the resurrection of Christ. Afterwards, there was a fellowship dinner with all types of homemade goodies, desserts and food. Then, the children had an Easter egg hunt. How special.

Now, older and wiser, I still celebrate Easter. This year, our neighbors invited us to an Easter meal at their house. I plan to bring a dessert. It will be so nice to sit around the dinner table, eating delicious foods and talking with our neighbors and friends.

I hope all of you will celebrate Easter with your family and friends. Let us all remember Easter is the resurrection of Christ.

Little children will open Easter baskets from the Easter bunny. Yes, no doubt, they will overeat sugar goodies, chocolate and I cannot forget those delicious Cadbury eggs and bunny rabbits. I confess, I haven’t eaten any Easter candy in years. Too rich and too sweet for my taste.

I look forward to visiting with neighbors and friends with my husband, Phil. Yes. It will be Easter Sunday soon. A time to reflect and rejoice about the resurrection of Christ.

Happy Easter, 2019!cropped-cropped-arthur-ravenel-bridge1.jpg

Beaumont, Texas – A Great Lone Star City with a Little Something Extra


HIT THE ROAD
Beaumont
Here in Southeast Texas, Cajun meets country, and celebrities abound

Beaumont likes to describe itself as “Texas with a little something extra.” West of the Louisiana border, Beaumont has absorbed zydeco music, with its unique washboard and accordion flourishes, and Cajun food. But just off Interstate 10, there’s no shortage of barbecue or country music—or its stars, such as singers Tracy Byrd and Mark Chesnutt, who live here.

The city also claims country singer George Jones, who was born in 1931 in nearby Saratoga. As a kid, Jones sang for tips on the streets of Beaumont.

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Before you tour the city, start your morning off right at one of Rao’s Bakery’s three Beaumont locations where you are certain to meet locals—and maybe some more celebrities, such as former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Duriel Harris who likes to drop in—enjoying a great cup of coffee, fellowship and fresh desserts. Established in 1941, this popular bakery, which also has stores in Spring and Nederland, takes pride in its cakes, especially the round, colorful king cakes associated with the celebration of Fat Tuesday prior to Lent. Cakes are baked on-site and shipped internationally. My favorite delicacy here is the Red Velvet Crumb Cake. Rao’s Bakery also keeps youngsters in mind and in the summer offers a Kids Bake Camp. This is the perfect opportunity for children to step into the kitchen to bake cookies or decorate a cake.

Downtown Beaumont features some great museums, including the Fire Museum of Texas, where you can see what museum officials claim is the world’s tallest working fire hydrant painted with Dalmatian spots. The 24-foot-tall hydrant leads to the museum’s entrance. The museum, which has an amazing collection of fire engines and equipment dating to 1856, is housed in the 1927 two-story Central Firee Station and shares space with the Beaumont Fire and Rescue Services administrative offices. The building is a Texas Historic Landmark.

The Art Museum of Southeast Texas features an exhibit made by the Voodoo Man of Beaumont. Felix “Fox” Harris created totem-pole artwork, collecting and sculpting junk with a ball-peen hammer, butter knife and other common utensils to create a spooky forest in his front yard. The museum rescued and preserved a portion of his artworks in its permanent collection.

 

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While strolling the renovated downtown district, take time to visit the Jefferson Theatre, listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The theater opened in 1927 and for decades served as a stunning showplace for entertainment in the community. The building’s Old Spanish architecture, complemented by sculptures and rich fabrics, creates a romantic setting. One of the theater’s biggest attractions was, and is, a Robert Morton pipe organ—the “Wonder Organ.” Complete with 778 pipes, the organ was built on a platform rising from the orchestra pit to stage level.

Operating primarily as a movie theater, the Jefferson Theatre closed in 1972. But today, after reopening as a fully restored theater in 2003, it serves as a cultural and performing arts center, providing opportunities for artists to perform on a preserved and professional stage. And the rich sounds of the pipe organ still mesmerize audiences.

Of course, any fan of Beaumont knows that the Spindletop oil field was discovered in a salt dome formation south of town, ushering in a new energy era in January 1901. The Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum, at U.S. Highway 69 and University Drive on the campus of Lamar University, and the downtown Texas Energy Museum, which is 7 miles from the Spindletop oil field, educate visitors about the amazing world of petroleum, energy and science.

If you’re hungry after all that learning, try the barbecued crabs at Sartin’s West. Or check out Fat Mac’s Smokehouse, which serves up slow-cooked, award-winning barbecue that melts in your mouth.

Rao’s Bakery, 1-800-831-3098, www.raosbakery.com

Fire Museum of Texas, (409) 880-3927, www.firemuseumoftexas.org

Art Museum of Southeast Texas, (409) 832-3432, www.amset.org

Jefferson Theatre, 1-800-782-3081, www.beaumont-tx-complex.com/jeffersontheatre.html

Spindletop–Gladys City Boomtown Museum, (409) 835-0823, www.spindletop.org

Texas Energy Museum, (409) 833-5100, www.texasenergymuseum.org

Sartin’s West, (409) 861-3474

Fat Mac’s Smokehouse, (409) 892-8600, www.dangbbq.com

Beaumont Convention and Visitors Bureau, 1-800-392-4401, www.beaumontcvb.com

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Barbie Perkins-Cooper is a freelance writer who lives in Charleston, South Carolina.

August 2009

This is a Test – Writing for 10 Minutes


Writing for 10 Minutes Daily – beginning this journey March 23, 2019rejoice-grotto-falls

Today, I give thanks for life, for a husband who loves me and for my family of friends, along with a sister who loves me, regardless of the situations of life. I share this because for several years, we were estranged. All to the credit of an abusive, self-centered mother who did her best to convince me no one would ever love me.

Engaged in high school to a man I absolutely adored, he broke my heart. My mother convinced me she was right. After all, she predicted he would break up with me. I’ve never forgotten that hurt. The ache within my heart. My mother’s hateful, destructive words telling me, “See I told you so. I told you no one would love you and that you ain’t nothing special.”

How those words stayed with me. Questioning why? Why couldn’t my mother love me, and why couldn’t she want me to find happiness and love.

After I accepted the break-up, I decided to move forward with my life. And so I did.

Now, in the Twenty-first century, I give thanks for recognizing I am the only person responsible for my life, happiness and success.

Many people define success via monetary rewards. I try daily to move forward, not focusing on success, just recognizing I am a good person and I awork hard to hold my head high with life and pride. Today, I am writing this for 10 minutes, focusing on writing. No corrections. {Wow, is that hard. I saw a typo and corrected it just a moment ago}. Nevertheless, I do my best to write the thoughts dancing inside my head. Supposedly, freewriting helps a writer to write. In all honesty, I find it difficult, especially when I hit the wrong key. Perhaps I need another cup of coffee!

Only six minutes left in this freewriting, and I must confess, I do correct the typos.

Lately, while reading books (non-fiction, fiction, romance and other genres) I discover typos or grammatical errors in these published books. Sometimes, I highlight them. Other times, I laugh, questioning why the editor did not correct the copy prior to publishing. I’ve discovered it is easy to overlook these errors, especially when there is a deadline and the editor is rushed.

Three minutes left. Seems like Father Time is ticking away and I’ll be honest, I do not know what else to write.

The assignment of Writing for 10 minutes daily, is a bit difficult; nevertheless, I’ll continue typing and writing for two more minutes. Not an easy task, especially when the brain says, there’s a typo. Correct it! Hush brain. I’m working to achieve 10 minutes.

What about you? Have you ever written for 10 minutes while not knowing what you will write about? Only one minute left and then, I can get more coffee!

Now, my fingers are sitting on the keyboard. Looks like 10 minutes is up. Thank you, God!

 

Here’s Looking At You, Kid… Is Cataract Surgery Really Worth It?


Dearest Readers:

Earlier this week, I had another cataract removed. This time, on my right eye. I was apprehensive about it, since my right eye gave me many problems, infections, lack of eye sight, etc. a few years ago.

If you’ve never had cataract surgery, and you know you’ve got cataracts I highly recommend it.

The procedure is quick and never did I feel any discomfort during the procedure. Although I was given a light anesthesia, never did  I go to sleep. I was told the doctor and staff did not want a patient to close their eye and sleep. Curious me – I asked why not? Well, according to what I was told, if the patient falls asleep, the eye will automatically roll back.

Humph. I did not know that.

Wheeling me into the operating room at the Physicians Eye Care Surgery Center, located in the West Ashley area of Charleston https://www.charlestoneyesurgery.com/

I observed just about everything. All of the staff are so kind, understanding and professional. The area is pristine, comfortable and nice. Music was playing and so I listened to it, focusing on the beat, while knowing I could not move my face or body. I was apprehensive when I had my left cataract removed, but this time, I was 100% relaxed while knowing my eye was receiving the best care.

My doctor is Peter Knowlton, M. D. of Carolina Eye Care. https://www.carolinaeyecare.com/eye-doctors-charleston/peter-b-knowlton-m-d/

Dr. Knowlton is a tall, thin red-head. Beautiful red hair. When he speaks to a patient, he takes his time with a kind, soft voice, explaining the procedure and his expectations for you. I must say, his expectations for me have truly made my vision better. So much better that last night while walking to the car from my dinner date with my husband, Phil, I glanced up to see the moon. Only this time, I did not see a blurry, disfigured moon I’ve seen for many years. Last night, although the moon was not full, I did not see a foggy, disoriented moon. Just a clear, bright moon with clouds around it. I was thrilled! I can see the moon again. It’s crystal clear! I probably sounded like a child. I was so happy to see such an improved vision.

For those of you who have wondered/anticipated, or feared having cataract surgery, please do not be apprehensive. The tools and equipment used are amazing. The eye is open, only the patient never sees what is happening, nor do you feel anything. All I did was focus on the music. After all, music is therapeutic.

After my surgery, I rested at home. My eye was covered with a plastic shield. I wore this all day long while watching the Hallmark Channel and Blue Bloods. Just had to have a bit of Tom Selleck nearby!

Although I wanted to read, I decided it was best to follow doctor’s orders and take it easy. I was a bit skeptical if the right eye would improve since it was so foggy after the surgery and I had so many infections in that eye previously.

Later, I took a warm bath, and thought I could see OK, until I noticed the leggings I wore the next morning were actually worn the wrong side out. I’m thankful I wore a skort over them! So much for first impressions!anatomy-biology-eye-8588 (1)

Oh well. I’m known for living life as well as I can, even if I couldn’t wear makeup and look my Sunday Best.

For three days, I did not wear makeup. One thing I learned is:

Be careful with putting moisturizers on your face, especially if you’ve done this BEFORE you tape the plastic shield across your eye. That tape doesn’t exactly like moisturizers!  On Wednesday, the shield kept falling off, so I taped up the majority of the right side of my face. Oh well. So much for first impressions! At least no one rang my door bell!

If you are considering cataract surgery and live within the lowcountry, why not give Carolina Eye Care a call, and request an appointment with Dr. Peter Knowlton! Well worth the visit. The time he spends with patients, and his soft-spoken demeanor is reassuring, and if you have questions, he always takes the time to listen and answer! You will not be disappointed.

 

If you are considering cataract surgery, or a thorough eye exam, please contact:

https://www.carolinaeyecare.com/

Visit the website: https://www.carolinaeyecare.com/contact-us/request-an-appointment/

to request an appointment.

 

Featured

Here’s to the “Good Ole Boys!”


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!