Barbie Perkins-Cooper, Author

Living Life in the Country As A Writer, Photographer


Dearest Readers:

I suppose now is a good time for me to write in my blog about Weight Watchers…WW…or whatever else they change their brand to. I’m hopeful they’ll go back to “Weight Watchers.” It worked better. I suppose today is the day I am becoming a bitch, after all, there are two B’s in my name!

I’ve been quarantined since December 23, 2019. The day I broke my back. I couldn’t attend “studios” — as they call it, due to the inability to move much. Before breaking my back, TWO DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS, I finally tipped the scales with a 40-pound loss! I was ecstatic! Oh. So. Proud. Of. Myself! I managed to return to the workshops in early February or March – before the quarantine took effect. I really have missed Weight Watchers!

Now, I truly feel abandoned with Weight Watchers/WW!

In March, just when Corona Virus hit Charleston, SC, I received an email stating the studio would be closed for a while due to the virus. Believe me, this tourist trap of Charleston, South Carolina, became a city crippled. Suddenly shopping centers were empty—no parked cars. Highways were easy to travel in. No traffic congestion, just like it was in the early 1970s before everyone decided to move to the Holy City. Suddenly, Charleston and the low country was a ghost town!

Today, I phoned WW to inquire when our workshops would begin in Charleston. The party I spoke with placed me on hold and I waited impatiently for the answer. When she returned, I wasn’t pleased when she said: “There are no scheduled opening dates for the Charleston area. You could attend a workshop in Savannah.”

Savannah, Georgia has a workshop, but Charleston, the city famous for hospitality doesn’t have a workshop. Now, what do I do? Zoom doesn’t work easily in my rural area. I feel abandoned! Oh. My goodness, I’ve been abandoned by Weight Watchers!

I haven’t decided what to do. Still, I track my intake. Sometimes, I get weak, and that is when the temptations begin. I so need to be strong again. According to the doctor’s scales on my last check-up on the tenth of November, I’ve only gained one pound. Three months ago, that wasn’t a fact. My life is a roller coaster now, and Weight Watchers could be the blame; nevertheless, I am the one who opens her mouth and eats things I shouldn’t. I must be accountable. It isn’t fair for me to blame Weight Watchers!

Where will this saga with Weight Watchers/WW…or whatever they plan to change lead me to? Who knows. Every December they change things, but those changes are shared in meetings. Hell. They don’t even send us a print out of weekly readers. I can go online and print them. For now, I’m simply tossing my money to them. They’ve abandoned the Holy City of Charleston, SC.

I can’t give up. If I choose to give up, I am giving up on myself. I must be strong. After all, I am a woman who doesn’t like to lose. Losing weight and looking good, I love, and I must do it. This, too, shall pass! After all, this I do for ME!

I AM WOMAN. HEAR. ME. ROAR!

All of my life, I’ve loved bridges. Bridges have always given me strength and guidance. Sometimes I feel I have a bridge to God because He is always there to listen to me. Now that we’ve moved to the country, I sit on the bench by my serenity oasis and speak with God. He is always there. I must continue reaching out to my bridges.


Dearest Readers:

Early this morning, I stood by the windows of the dining room. I’ve developed this ‘habit’ since moving to the country, sometimes noticing deer on the side of the yard. As a child, I recall how I wanted to grow up in a metropolitan city, full of lights, people and charm. I imagined myself performing in Broadway, singing and dancing for a crowd. Yes. I’ve always had big dreams; however, some dreams do not come true. Never did I attempt to become a singer. Now, I sing and dance at karaoke — perhaps, I should say — before Corona came to town.

As a married couple, we’ve always lived in the suburbs. In the 1980s, the suburbs were popular. Full of children for our son to play with. Full of noise. We lived in the corner house, a ranch style home built in the 1950s. Never did we need burglar alarms. Our dogs barked whenever a neighbor or jogger rushed by. Yes. The suburbs were the place to live, although I was tired of living in suburbia. Our home was located in the Old Village of Mount Pleasant. A corner lot. Located by a road where people rushed by daily, especially during school hours. A realtor phoned my husband to discuss selling our home. Many of our suburb homes were being remodeled, renovated, or bulldozed for buyers to build monster homes. He said our home was a prime property and we could sell it for a nice profit. When we met with this realtor, I glanced at him, fearful of placing our home for sale. I did not want strangers coming to see our home, nor did I want to have to leave the house while they sifted throughout our home. I like my privacy! He suggested we might consider looking for another home to buy. I snickered. “I want to live in the country.”

Our home was listed in mid-September. Thus began our search for another home. This time, our search was a bit easier since I researched homes on Google and other internet sites. I must say, I learned a lot about real estate during September 2019 – December 2019.

We found a home in Hollywood, SC. A gorgeous brick home, meeting all of our needs, or so, I thought! We toured this home three times, checking it out. Located in the middle of a less-populated area, there were no homes next to it, or across from it. The home had spacious rooms, an ‘open concept’, and was on one acre of land. I walked all over the property, hoping to find water, a pond, or a creek. All I found were spider webs, then, I heard a gunshot. Oh No! I don’t want to live where people are shooting guns.

I asked the realtor about the gun shots. He reassured me it was deer season.

After a discussion, Phil and I decided to place an offer on this house. We did all the necessary steps to move forward with this gorgeous home, contacting our banker and we waited for our offer to be accepted. Because I have a tremendous amount of faith, I prayed and prayed that we would get this house while something within my mind said no. I asked God IF THIS IS THE HOME FOR US, PLEASE LET IT HAPPEN. I fully believe in listening to the words from God when He speaks to you, so we waited, and I researched. About a week later, we received a phone call from our realtor. Unfortunately, another couple outbid us.

It wasn’t meant to be.

Disappointed, I looked at Phil. You do know how I always ask God if something is meant to be to let it happen. Well, I believe this truly wasn’t what God wanted for us, so we have to continue searching so we will not be homeless when our home sells.

One morning, I logged into my computer, still researching country homes anticipating that it would be over our budget if I found something. I clicked onto a country home. A yellow farmhouse, located on five acres of land with a pond! The price was within our budget!

I phoned our realtor, excited to make an appointment to see the house. That afternoon, we drove to the country. Turning on to a gravel road, the driveway to the farmhouse was long and winding. The closer we got, the more excited I became. The pond was located in the front, so it was considered waterfront property. We parked our cars and three dogs rushed to greet me. One was a huge mastiff! He jumped on me. The owner of the home shouted at him to get down. She was surprised when I greeted him. She apologized. I love animals, I said. He’s fine. Dogs can always tell when they are welcomed!

Quickly, she got the dogs inside her car and drove off. We entered the house. I knew I wanted hardwood floors and no carpet, so every room I examined met that request. The kitchen was smaller than I wanted. I’ve always said if we ever sold our home in Mount Pleasant the next home would have a gigantic kitchen. This wasn’t the case. I did a pro-con list in my brain, checking off the features of the house. The master bedroom was spacious! The connecting master bath looked like a spa. A laundry room, with cabinets and a sink, were located by the back door mudroom. The kitchen is not so bad. It’s spacious.

I walked around the perimeter of the back yard. Fenced in with enough space for our dogs to play and chase each other. My pro list was getting longer, while the con list was shorter!

The home was located off of a busy highway, but since it had forest around, the home was not visible from the highway.

Meanwhile, our home in Mount Pleasant was still on the market with a few interested parties touring.

I suppose this story could continue, complete with the issues and pains of selling a home while finding another home. We placed an offer on the farmhouse, agreeing to be an active contingent. What is an active contingent? Glad you asked. We agreed to buy the farmhouse after our home sold.

Early December 23, 2019 — exactly two days before Christmas — while I packed a few things in the kitchen, I fell off the top step of a three-step-ladder, breaking my back. The pain was excruciating. I refused to go to the ER. I didn’t want anything to happen to jeopardize the sale of our home. Our realtor phoned in the afternoon, letting us know our home had sold, and we could sign the final contracts for the farmhouse.

That evening, after taking care of all the business related to selling and purchasing another home, we rushed to Walmart. Our furniture was in storage until the 26th of December. We had the keys to our new home and needed to purchase air mattresses to sleep on until our furniture arrived. We bought two queen size air mattresses. That evening my pain was almost unbearable. As I looked around our new home, I felt comfortable, even with the pain in my back.

On December 27, Phil took me to Doctors Care to see exactly what happened to me when I fell. The Physicians Assistant diagnosed a compressed fracture to the L-1 Lumbar. My back was broken.

To anyone who’s never had a back fracture, please consider yourself fortunate. Compression fractures are painful. I’ve tolerated this pain for ten months now. Hopefully soon the pain will ease and I will be feeling better, stronger and more able to do the things I’m accustomed to doing. Gardening. Walking a good distance without stopping. The little things in life that are taken for granted. At least now, I can go outside and sit on my porch while enjoying this peaceful, quiet, nurturing country life. I haven’t missed the suburbs at all. As for my former home in Mount Pleasant. Now, it is a vacant lot. The house was bulldozed in anticipation of someone buying it. That hasn’t happened – yet!

Country Life? I think I’m loving every moment of it. I can feed the fish and turtles in the pond. I walk around the property, stopping whenever I need to, and I breathe fresh air. Country life is the GREATEST!


Dearest Readers:

Today is a beautiful day in the country, now. Earlier, the sun peeked out, only to be covered as rain poured. While writing this, I’m looking outside from the windows of my office. Sometimes, while writing, I’ll see a deer walk along the back of the pond. Not today. Later a group of six deer will run to the front meadow, anticipating their food.

Weeks ago, they hesitated while the king of the deer group, a four-point antler variety, would approach the deer feeder. He walked tall, holding his head high. The female deer hesitated until he marched to give his approval they could join him. Now, it is deer season. We haven’t seen “Rudolph, the King” in weeks so I suppose he was killed, either by an insensitive hunter, or a car. I’ve had several acquaintances mention hunting on our property. Of course, I said No! As an advocate for animals, I do not understand why we must have “deer season.” I believe it is a fact of life that deer were here first. We invaded their territory! Aren’t we wrong to want to kill them, hang their antlers in our homes, or taxidermy them?

I feel so blessed to have this beautiful property where deer feel safe to run and eat. Birds fly around, flapping their wings while enjoying their seeds and fish and turtles listen to me singing before feeding them. At the moment, there is an occasional wind gusting around, forcing trees, lantana, azaleas and lots of greenery to dance around, doing a beautiful, swaying ballet. Leaves are falling now after the arrival of fall. My red maple tree is naked. A lone duck swims gracefully in the pond now. Normally, I see two ducks. Today, only one. A beautiful blue heron loves to fish here but it isn’t time for him yet. About five o’clock he will arrive. When the deer rush by to have their dinner, he quickly flies away.

Funny. When I was a teenager, I conversed with a guy named Neal after meeting him at a restaurant. He lived in the country in (if my memory is correct) in Blairsville, Georgia. We became pen pals for a bit of time. For Christmas of that year he sent me a beautiful Holy Bible. I still have it! In one of his letters he asked me if I would love to live in the country, as his wife. He said I would be a farmer’s wife. To be honest, I confess, I never wrote to Neil again after sending him a thank you card for the beautiful Bible. I suppose he got the message. If he was searching for a ‘farmer’s wife’ I would not be the candidate!

During those days I had big dreams, never wanting or wishing to live in the country, on a farm! I believe I was about 14 at the time. I wanted to be a singer and live in a big, metropolitan city. Now, just a few years later — I am the one who stated I wanted to live in the country when we discussed moving from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. Never did I imagine we would find a five-acre country setting that could easily serve as a farm. Never did I imagine I would have the desire to plant vegetables and have my own garden! Yes, I still sing, although lately, simply car karaoke! Thank you, Corona!

Every day while sitting on my porch, walking around my property, or enjoying the pond, I thank God we were blessed to buy this beautiful Serenity Oasis. For me, it is truly a little piece of Heaven.

Although I wasn’t able to plant a vegetable garden this year due to my fractured back injury, I’m hopeful early next spring, I will be able to plant it, along with daisies and perennial flowers. How I wanted to work in the garden this year but I had to recognize, my injury dictated what I could and could not do. This year, I’m looking forward to the holiday and Christmas season. Still, I desire to have a party so my friends can see our new home; however, due to Corona Virus threats, we’ve placed that idea on the back burner. My life consists of staying home at the moment since I’m considered high-risk due to asthma.

Tomorrow is another day, and now, I must get my curio cabinet ready for the items I plan to display in it. One day at a time is my philosophy now while attempting to dance around just a bit as I step into life in the country!

Today is just another beautiful, quiet life in the country. If only Neal knew I’m enjoying this country life!


Dearest Readers:

Today is Friday, September 25, 2020. The day to give special respect and thanks for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. An impressive, strong, determined woman who made her mark in American history. Some people do not respect her because of all she did for the Women’s Movement, Women’s Rights, Equality and so much more.

I respect and admire any woman who will stand up to men and the world to simply ask “why,” or “why not.” I remember how difficult it was for me to break into broadcasting, film, writing, and other venues — simply because I’m a woman!

I planned to write in my blog on Wednesday, September 23. Nine months since the day we moved, and nine months since I broke/fractured my back – L-1 early in the morning while we were packing up trucks and cars to move. For a few hours we were homeless, after our former home sale closed. I remember driving around, praying we could close on our new home and not be homeless. Just where and how would we sleep on that night if we didn’t close and couldn’t move in? It isn’t a good feeling to feel homeless. We could make a reservation for a hotel room; however, our dogs were with us. Not many hotels in Charleston allow dogs! I confess, our dogs are barkers, although they do not destroy things, nor do they potty in the house, but this was a different day. A day to move, and a day to almost scream from the pain in my back.

At four o’clock in the afternoon, we closed on our new property. Since the furnishings were packed and in storage we could not get our furniture delivered on that date, so off to Walmart we go to buy two queen air mattresses. Now, my back is hurting so dreadfully I can hardly move. Phil wanted me to go to ER. “No,” I said. “If we go to ER, I’ll spend the entire night there. Just what will we do with our pups?”

We left our pups in the new house! Four days later, I went to Urgent Care to get my back checked. Somehow I knew I’d broken it. After it was confirmed, I made an appointment to see an orthopedic doctor. When I met him, he said I had osteoporosis.

My response was “How do you know I have osteoporosis without checking my back.

“I’m a surgeon. I know what it looks like and you have it.” Then he wanted to book a date for surgery.

Not on my back!

I’ve gone back to that doctor’s office several times for checkups. I met with a physician’s assistant. She ordered a bone density test. Much to their surprise, combined with a feeling of “I told you so,” the bone density test confirmed I did not have osteoporosis!

Thank God I am a stubborn woman who isn’t easily influenced by others! Although it has taken my back about nine months to feel better, I am happy to say, I’ve had eight good days now with very little back pain! Finally. Back surgery? Not even an option!

Now, I am working hard to empty boxes and get my home ready for the holidays. Yes, I know, it has taken me over nine months to unpack and get the rooms ready for company. Never did I imagine it would take nine months. I still have days where the pain is almost unbearable and when I do, I sit down to rest. Wednesday night I was actually able to cook a meal and not ache with pain! I’ve cooked more in this home than I was cooking in Mount Pleasant!

Finally!

This morning, I sat on the front porch drinking my coffee while the freshness of rain danced in the pond. Now, the sun has returned. There is something so different and amazing while learning to live in the country. I’m thankful for every beautiful day, and every rainy day. I love looking out to see hundreds of trees along my five acre property, to see the changing colors as the leaves fade to yellow, then orange and fall into the pond. Later in the day, I might see a deer walking along the garage, turning into the thickness of the woods, while ever so quietly heading in the direction of our deer feeder. Geese fly over, glide into the pond for a quick swim and head in the direction of the deer feeder to steal the corn. Wildlife is so precious and beautiful here. My favorite is the deer I’ve nicknamed “Big Ears.” Her coat is darker that the other deer, and she does have some distinctive big ears, hence the name, “Big Ears.”

While writing this, the seven geese have arrived. They are circled around the deer feeder while one of them reaches high into the bottom of the feeder to steal the corn. Just another delightful day in the country!

Now, I must open two boxes and continue finding a spot for everything, or placing in the donation boxes.

Have a beautiful weekend, readers. May you enjoy glancing into your neighbor’s windows while you are in your home. Homes in subdivisions really are built close together now. A bit too close for my comfort! As for me, I’m enjoying watching that silly, bossy goose poke his nose down while demanding the other geese to leave the food alone. They scatter away as if they are afraid of him! He, or she, is the one stretching his neck to steal the corn. I don’t believe he likes to share it. Silly geese! They are quite funny. Messy, and bossy! I haven’t learned geese language yet. Still working on deer body language, but I do know “Big Ears,” knows who she is!

Enjoy the weekend!


Dearest Readers:

When I awoke this morning, I turned the TV on to hear the early morning news of Fox. Immediately, when I saw the date of ‘9-11’ my heart paced. Yes, today is ‘9-11’. A day we shall never forget.

No, I did not lose anyone on the day the twin towers were destroyed by terrorists. Nor did I lose anyone at the Pentagon, or in Pennsylvania; nevertheless, I remember 9-11 as if it was a movie playing in my brain. I awoke, poured a cup of coffee and went to my computer. Losing interest in the computer, I read the first page of the infamous Post and Courier newspaper. I don’t recall anything commemorative in the headlines. I confess, I read the ‘newless courier’ to find errors, poor grammatical structure and syntax, and of course the typos!

The telephone rang. My husband said good morning then he asked me if I was watching the news. “No,” I said, “I’ve lost interest in the news so I don’t turn the TV on.”

“Well, you might.”

“Why?”

My husband knows how I always pay attention to current events.

“One of the twin towers in New York City was hit by an airplane.”

“What?” I reached for the remote and turned on the Today Show.

“How can this happen? Was this a pilot error?”

Dreams/Visions

I hung up the phone, curled my legs on the sofa and listened. I remembered the dream I had about three nights before. Those who know me realize I have visions. In that dream, I was sitting at the airport waiting my plane’s arrival. I noticed three tall Arabian men walking around wearing trench coats. Two of the men stopped to look outside at a window. One sat down behind me. The others joined him. One of the men had a thick, unkempt beard. He wore a black hat, I suppose to match his black trench coat. It was hot on that date and I wondered why they were wearing trench coats. Charleston is known for its humid heat, even in September.

Two of the men read newspapers. “Listen to this,” the freshly shaved young guy said. “The G-O-P. What is the G O P?”

The bearded guy said, “It’s the Government Opposed movement here in this United States.” All three laughed.

I turned around to correct them, “No. G O P stands for the Republican party in America. Not Government Opposed.”

They ignored me and laughed.

My dream continued.

One of the guys nudged the bearded guy sitting next to him.

“Today shall be a day to remember…”

They laughed.

I awoke, shaken from this dream. I never shared it with anyone, but on the morning of 9-11, I wondered if it was a vision of importance to me. Was my dream really a vision of something to happen soon? I must be insane to dream such events.

All day on 9-11, I was glued to the TV, following the news as it poured into the newsrooms like a tsunami.

Such a horrifying day in American history. Thousands of lives lost as people fell to their deaths inside the Twin Towers, or lost their lives in Washington, DC and Pennsylvania and inside the airplanes. Today, 9-11-2020, many anniversary ceremonies will happen.

Yes. Today is a sad day of remembrance as America recalls the thousands of tragedies on that date. Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, we were at war with terrorists. Soldiers were sent to fight the wars, and many are still fighting. I call it the ‘endless war,’ since there appears to be no end to it.

9-11 changed America in many ways. How I wish and pray the USA would unite as one. I pray the domestic terrorists attacking cities now will stop and realize we all need to join together to save our country and the lives of those who are so filled with hatred. Together, we can do amazing things to help our country and one another.

May God bless America. President Trump. Our Armed Forces. And may God fill the hearts of all of those filled with hatred. Together, we can move mountains and build a NEW UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. We must all reach up to find and feel God’s presence within our hearts and lives.

Remembering 9-11!

https://www.videvo.net/video/reflecting-pool-at-new-yorks-9-september-memorial/520313/

#9-11


Dearest Readers:

My husband and I enjoy dining out, like most patrons within the Charleston community; however, since Covid-19, I must say, I’ve cooked more than ever. Nevertheless, there is one restaurant in Mount Pleasant where we feel most welcome and safe.


Longhorn, located in Mount Pleasant Towne Centre, is our ‘go-to’ restaurant of choice now. Arriving, we are greeted by hosts wearing masks. Masks safely covering the mouth and nose! All tables are marked to let patrons know what tables are open to guests, and what tables are closed for service. Menus, salt and pepper grinders, and other items normally sitting on tables are not available unless a guest requests these items. When requested, I’ve noticed, before bringing these items to the table, they are sanitized!

Menu items are listed on photocopies of the menu, and after we ordered, the server destroyed them!

Glancing around the restaurant, we noticed every server wears a mask. Normally (before Covid-19) Longhorn was a popular restaurant, and many times, guests had to wait a few minutes for a table. Guests could sit to the left of the entrance. Not now! That area is populated with chairs, upside down. Guests are not permitted to sit there for a table. Longhorn encourages the “6-feet” space rule. The area is blocked off with ropes so no one can change the rule or remove a chair!


Management is hands-on! On two occasions, the manager on duty, Chris, has greeted us and found a proper area for us to dine. If large groups arrive, they are seated with six people to a table, spaced apart to provide safety! Never did I see any server without a mask. Once, I encouraged a server to cover her nose better and she did!

Regarding food, I must say, the food is as delicious as ever. If there is an issue regarding cooking, the management is quick to ‘make it right.’ As Chris has stated, “we want your dining experience to be as pleasant as ever.”

We haven’t been disappointed!

https://www.longhornsteakhouse.com/locations/sc/mt-pleasant/mt-pleasant-towne-center/5152


Dearest Readers:

This will be a short post, due to getting the house ready, in the event the hurricane strengthens. So many people freak out when a hurricane targets their area. As for me, I survived Hurricane Hugo. Hurricanes are lots of rain, wind and destruction. I’m certain I can survive this one. My fear is worrying about the wildlife that come to eat dinner in our pasture. Will they be AOK?

At the moment, we have 12 geese in the front yard. TWELVE! The most we’ve had before was nine. Then seven. A few days ago, only six. Today, I suppose they shared hey, follow us. We know where there is food and we are always welcomed.

Silly geese. Yes, their feathers are always left behind, and they can make a mess. I feel God provided us this new home in the country with five acres of land, including a large pond, for a reason. Maybe it’s to help the wildlife. All of the geese. WE had baby raccoons, although I haven’t seen them in over three weeks. Every afternoon, we see the deer. Fawns. So far, we’ve counted four fawns! We must not forget the fish in our pond. Catfish. BIG catfish! Brem. Baby fish. Bass. And of course, those precious turtles. We have several baby turtles too. They are so funny. They will not come near me until they hear me singing. All of the wildlife on our property LOVE to hear me sing! Isn’t that funny!

Did I mention I found a baby frog in the trash can inside earlier. When I tried to catch him, he jumped away. Now, he’s inside. Just where inside is the question? A baby frog inside my home? What’s next? Deer or fawns ringing the doorbell?

That philosophy definitely proves to me that animals, including wildlife, love doorbells and music. Years ago, when my precious Sir Shakespeare Hemingway (my beautiful schnauzer) was alive, he loved to hear me sing! Every time I rehearsed a song, he would sit nearby and look up to me — to watch and hear me singing. When I stopped singing, he tapped my leg with his paw, as if to say don’t stop. I love to hear you sing! How I loved when he watched me. I certainly miss him.

Now, with Corona virus, Covid-19, I no longer sing. There are bars that provide live music and karaoke, however, I am not willing to use anyone else’s microphone. Now, I sing at home, or in the car. Still, I’ve quarantined myself.

I suppose I should end this post for today to see what is the latest with Hurricane Isaias.

Here’s the latest. https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/2020-08-03-hurricane-warning-tropical-storm-isaias-forecast-east-coast

We are definitely staying. Perhaps I’ll cook crab legs for dinner. Yummm. Can’t wait for them! And so, the waiting begins! Reportedly, Hurricane Isaias will arrive in the night. Oh well. I have several books to read!


Dearest Readers (and WW too):

While I know and understand about social distancing, quarantine and the lack of being able to attend my weekly workshops at Weight Watchers, aka – “WW,” I am getting more than perplexed about losing weight.

Why?

Simple! I miss the ability to see others and share our stories. Unless you’ve ever had the issue of weight gain, you probably cannot understand how much Weight Watchers has helped me — that is — until now!

I suppose I am getting accustomed to doing WW online, not at meetings; nevertheless, I’m beginning to feel as if I am wasting the monthly fee to attend meetings. Plus, online is cheaper!

Yes, I know – those of you reading this who are WW members will say – “you can do a studio meeting online now, thanks to Zoom. I’ve done that. Twice! Although a bit inspired, I’ve continued to gain weight. Starting this week, I’ve decided to weigh every day. While it’s true Weight Watchers only wants us to weigh-in once a week, during this Coronavirus mess this week – I’ve lost 1.8 pounds, instead of gaining!

Perhaps I will call WW later today to discuss switching my membership to online only. I’ve had to tighten my budget significantly since this pandemic. I must say, I’ve never been as sick from hearing the infamous subject at hand (Coronavirus — Covid-19 — as I am now.

Gone are the days of socializing with friends, including our date night. Lately, I’ve cooked dinner on Fridays. Yes, my friends, those of you who know me truly know why since 1977 I refused to cook on Friday. What would you do if your husband came home from work and you’d rushed to have dinner ready. Only to hear him ask, “What’s for dinner?”

When I replied beef pot roast, he responded, and I quote: “Oh, Hell no. I ain’t eating that ##$# tonight!”

I grabbed the pot, opened the trash and poured dinner into the trash can. How dare him. Who does he think he is?

He opened the trash can. “What did you do?”

“You’re right! We’re not eating dinner here tonight. Maybe never!” If I recall correctly, we ate at Burger King that night!

And thus I became a feminist after that evening! I chose to stand up to him, and the next Friday when he came home, I shared that I would NEVER cook on Fridays again!

Regarding Weight Watchers, how I wish they would open our workshop meetings again. But — I’m only one! I’ve lost 40 pounds, gaining seven pounds since WW closed workshop meetings.

After fracturing my back, I wasn’t able to workout; however, thanks to Physical Therapy, and core exercises, I’m happy to say I am active again. I was walking daily. We’re having such high heat indexes in the low country, I am hesitant to walk until the early evening hours so now I am riding my standard exercise bike twice daily, inside where it is cool!

I have no confidence that I can lose weight alone, but I’m very tempted to either stop paying WW monthly fees. Quitting, or maybe just using etools. After all, that’s what I’m using now, and if I continue my practice of weighing daily — then, maybe — just maybe the strong, feminist I’ve become can continue this pursuit.

Maybe I’ll go phone WW to discuss. More details later! Wish me Luck!!!


Dearest Readers:

Exactly 21 years ago today, Tuesday, July 6, 1999, I lost my father. Rushing to Sandpiper Convalescent Center in the late afternoon, I was pleased to show him his checkbook. He will be so proud of me to know he did not have to ask for his checkbook. Today, I have it balanced and ready for him.

Parking at the side entrance, I grabbed my bag and rushed inside. It was dinner time at the center so I knew Dad and Dudley would be in their room eating dinner. Dudley was weak. He could not move his arms properly due to Multiple Sclerosis, so a nurse would be feeding him. As for Dad, he would be sitting on the side of his bed, eating. The umbilical cord feeding tube still attached to his body, although not in use. Dad insisted on eating food, not something dripping into his stomach for nutrition. His doctors had told him if he eats food, he will aspirate it and choke to death. “I’ll take that chance,” he said. “After all, most of my independence is gone. I want to eat, and I WILL EAT!”

Walking carefully along the path to my dad’s room, I knew it was only a matter of time before Dad would breathe his last breath. Medical professionals told me to ‘be prepared.’ To which I responded: Just how can I be prepared? I’ve done everything I’m supposed to do. I don’t want to lose him, but I know soon this nasty, horrifying esophageal cancer will take him away.

Dad was 84 years old. Once a tall, dignified man who sang gospel songs and quoted scriptures from the Holy Bible, no one would suspect during his marriage to my mother, he was an angry man. He and my mother spat words of hatred daily from their lips. Never did I ever hear them share any love for one another, or for me. In the public eye, no one saw the hatred they shared. The volatile fist fights. Shaking. Screaming. I cringe each time I think about the Domestic Abuse I saw so much within my family. At times, I wanted to run away, but where would I go? I stood as the referee — stretching my arms wide to stop their fights. Fortunately, after their divorce, Dad change his demeanor. He hugged me, and once I heard him say: “I love you.” I looked around. Shocked to hear him say those words of affection directly at me.

Never did I see his anger after their divorce. Now, my Dad was a calm, loving man. So welcoming and kind! As for my mother. She changed — for the worse!

Strolling along the corridor of the nursing home, I saw residents in wheel chairs, walkers and canes. One wrinkled gently woman with gray hair held a doll baby wrapped in a pink blanket in her lap. I had been warned if her baby slipped from her lap do not assist her. Let a nurse or a CNA (certified nursing assistant) help her. The woman suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease. She remembered a baby girl she had lost years ago. Now, she was caring for her.

Such a heart breaking scenario just to walk inside a nursing home. The lonely, isolated residents are trapped inside what once was a productive and perhaps happy lifetime. Working hard to build a good life for their families, suddenly left to either be alone, or unable to care for themselves. Now, alone — many never receive family or familiar visitors. I made certain my father was not one of them. I visited daily, even when Dad would shout at me to “leave. I don’t want you here.” The only dates I missed was whenever my acute bronchial asthma left me weak and ill.

Regardless how cruel he could be as he shouted for me to leave him, I stood firm. Dudley struggled to tell me he was ‘mean’ to me. I laughed. “Dudley, it’s ok. I can take it. He’s my father.”

I loved him. I wanted to visit with him, to embrace him and his love for one of his four daughters. I was only one. My sister, Dolores, and her family, came to visit regularly from Georgia. The other two sisters were “Too busy. They had lives to live.” How I wish they could see what I saw after we moved him to Charleston. Gone was the hatred. Violence. Shouting, and anger. Replaced by a man who smiled, laughed and told me He loved me. How I cherished hearing those words.

He welcomed my oldest sister, Dolores, giving her a hug. This was our father. A new man who was struggling to live as esophageal cancer threatened his body.

Today Dad will be so proud of me. He won’t ask for his checkbook. I’ll give it to him quickly so he can see, his money is safe. I’ve paid the nursing home. I’m not like my mother. I’ll not spend his money.

Headed towards his door, I met one of the nurses. She was pushing an oxygen tank in the direction of Dad’s room. “Uh-oh.” I said. “That isn’t good for someone.”

She didn’t answer me. Placing my hand on Dad’s closed door, I noticed her hand met mine. She shook her head no.

Oh no. Not today. Please God. Not today. I screamed. Someone placed an arm around my waist forcing me to turn away, leading me to a chair.

Where’s my phone? Oh. I left it in the car. I need to call Phil. He’s on his way home from New York.

I placed my face in my hands, to cover the heartbreak of my tears. I knew without a shadow of doubt, my father was dying. I could do nothing to stop it. I prayed. Please God. Give me strength to let him go with dignity. I cannot and will not disobey his wishes. Years ago while we dined at a restaurant, Dad looked at an elderly man walking with a walker, struggling to remain upright.

Dad told me when the time comes, please let me go with dignity. Do not allow them to resuscitate me. Promise me, you’ll let me go with my dignity.

I looked at the man. His son helped him to move. A tear danced in my eyes. “Dad, I promise.” I touched his hand, squeezing it with loving gestures.

Moments seemed like hours as I listened to the nurses begging my father to come back. “Mr. Perkins. Mr. Perkins. Breathe. Your daughter is here. Breathe…”

Someone touched my shoulder. “Barbie, if you say the words, we can bring him back.”

“No.” I said. “I promised him. He’s a DNR. I cannot let you resuscitate him. Just let him go. He’s at peace. Let him go!”

“Your husband just landed. He’s on his way here.”

When Phil arrived, I fell into his arms. A nurse wanted to know if I wanted to say goodbye to my father.

“Yes,” I muttered.

I remember walking into the room. Dudley mumbled, “I’m so sorry.” Dudley and I had developed a way to communicate. I walked over to him. Dad’s curtain was pulled so his body would not be seen.

I patted Dudley’s bare head. “Thank you,” I said, tears pouring from my face. “You were such a great roommate and friend. Truly the odd couple. Thank you.” I kissed him on the forehead. He laughed.

Dad’s body felt like dry ice. Clammy. Cold, almost frozen to the touch. I kissed his bald head and his cheek. I love you, Dad. I will never forget you. Go in peace to see your family and your identical twin brother Lewis. I love you. I love you and I will miss you, but you will always be in my heart. Always.

Exactly 21 years ago to the date, July 6, 1999, I recall everything on that date as if it was yesterday. Words cannot describe how much I miss him. His laughter. His Shakespearean, boisterous voice. His singing, and trying to teach me to harmonize and yodel. The compliments he gave me during the holidays. He enjoyed our “fancy dinners” and fun. I focus on the good times. The times he and I traveled to Georgia to see family. The moments he shared with me about how much he missed his identical twin brother, Lewis. Until Lewis’ death, both of them were inseparable.

Such good memories. Yes, I could focus on the domestic abuse I listened to in fear, serving as the referee, telling both of my parents If you want to hit someone, or hurt someone, just do it to me. Not each other.

Years ago, Dad and I talked about those times. He hoped I would forgive him. And forgive him, I did. After all, I loved my father. He was the one who gave me strength. He taught me courage, and he always said for me to stand tall and voice my concerns about the world. “Don’t look back on life,” he said. “Move forward!”

One thing I will always remember is the day he was on TV, being interviewed after he was elected Mr. Sandpiper. The TV announcer asked him if he was a writer. Yes, he was. He was a poet and biographer. He laughed. “No. I’m not the writer in our family. My daughter, Barbara…now she’s the writer!”

Walter W. Perkins, my father, although today is the 21st year of you leaving this earth, I want you to know, you are still in my heart, even with the tears pouring down my face. I love you and miss you terribly.

In memory of my father, Walter W. Perkins, December 19, 1914 – July 6, 1999.


Dearest Readers:

Happy Independence Day.

Tomorrow, Saturday July 4, 2020, is Independence Day for the USA. For those who are not aware, Independence Day – The Fourth of July—”has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941. The tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution. On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence…”

For many people July 4th is the day for them to raise Hell. Get drunk, and make total fools of themselves, especially during firework displays. My dogs do not like the sounds of popping, noisy, frightening fireworks. My husband, a Vietnam Veteran, doesn’t like them either since they remind him of war. As for myself, I cuddle close to my dogs, sharing love and soft voices to soothe them, and my husband. Normally, in the evening when fireworks begin, lasting until the early morning hours, I recognize I’ll not sleep much. I suppose the sounds of fireworks reminds me of lightning. Those of you who read my blog regularly know how I practically jump out of my skin whenever I see lightning!

This year, Independence Day will be a bit different for all of us in the United States as the Coronavirus, Covid-19, continues to peak. In South Carolina, according to a press release via The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control [DHEC] we have 1,629 new confirmed cases and 3 probable cases, and 19 additional deaths. In South Carolina, the total number of cases is 39,587. Ouch. Not exactly something happy to hear if you are visiting South Carolina, especially Charleston!

While I detest having to wear a mask, I make certain I have masks in my car and my handbag. Every time I step in to public areas I put that cumbersome mask on and keep it on, unless I’m eating dinner in a restaurant.

To say I’m horrified of this deadly disease is an understatement. Lots of people appear to be convinced they will not get it. “After all, I’m young. Young people are immune.”

I hope those who believe that statement have done their homework, although they appear to be — shall I say “Clueless!”

It will be interesting to see how many people celebrate July 4th without social distancing, or wearing a mask. As for my hubby and I? We will celebrate at home. Grilling burgers. I plan to make my infamous baked beans and perhaps today when I shop, I will get a July 4th dessert. I have wine chilling in the fridge so I can celebrate at home.

For me, this July 4th will be a calm celebration due to the fact that my back is getting stronger every day. I broke my back on December 23, while we were moving! The pain I’ve tolerated for almost seven months has been excruciating, to say the least. When we were quarantined, due to Coronavirus, I didn’t have a problem staying at home. I’ve been in isolation, it appears, since breaking my back. Wearing a cumbersome back brace was not exactly a fashion statement! Sometimes the pain felt as if it was taking my breath away! Now that it is better, I’ll exercise, riding my stationary exercise back and work on core exercises. So exciting, isn’t it! Yes, I will enjoy a quiet July 4th – with my pups, hubby and our new home. Yes. This will be a fourth of July to celebrate — quietly! I’ll sit on the front porch to admire our pond. The fish. Turtles. Deer. Perhaps I’ll find some decent Hallmark or Lifetime movies to watch in the late afternoon. How about you? Stay safe America. Wear your masks. Social distance, and try not to get so intoxicated you lose track of taking care of You! Happy Fourth of July! Independence Day!

%d bloggers like this: