Barbie Perkins-Cooper, Author

Living Life in the Country As A Writer, Photographer

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!

UPDATE — CORRECTION – Perhaps I allowed my emotions to kick in when this was originally published. The correct date of the Charleston Sofa Superstore fire was June 18, 2007 – not June 18, 2013. My apologies. The damages and vandalism was Thursday, June 25, 2020.

Dearest Readers:

About an hour ago, I arrived home ready to tidy up the house a bit, and to unpack more of the boxes that seem to grow, instead of decrease after our move.

Now, I’m angry! Anger is something I do my best to control, but I suppose today I’ve reached my limit! Yesterday while listening to the news, I heard a black guy say something to this effect – “If we don’t get our demands, then we’re going to attack and burn cities down!”

This guy should be arrested for threatening all of us. His words have echoed in my brain since yesterday. Yes. I believe “Black Lives Matter;” nevertheless, I say – ALL LIVES MATTER! Who is this guy to go on national TV and threaten America???

Today, I check Facebook while I have a bit of lunch, only to discover the Charleston Nine Memorial was damaged early today. To those of you not informed about the Charleston Nine, you might remember the story where the Sofa Super Store in Charleston burned to the ground on June 18, 2007, killing nine firefighters. Our city mourned.

We’ve had protests that should be called riots after the death of George Floyd, a black man in Minnesota. Monuments damaged,  painted, profanity written on them, and to add insult to injury, our Mayor announced the John C. Calhoun monument would be coming down. Well, it’s down now!

I suppose these rioters would say I’m a racist now. I say not. I believe in speaking your mind, standing up, not turning away when things go wrong. No. I will not protest by walking along with these angry rioters, throwing things at people, cursing, and damaging our city or other cities. However, these riots are getting out of hand!

While I understand the blacks are angry. Who can blame them? Well. I’m just a bit perplexed. I keep asking Why? Why? Why? My heritage says I’m white, so I suppose I should just keep my mouth shut because these scenarios do not affect me. I laugh. Oh, yes, indeed. These riots are changing America for the worst. We appear to be a weakened society now where domestic terrorists are doing all they can to destroy America.

What can be done?

I feel helpless. If I go somewhere and say something, then I’m part of the problem.

I’m beginning to think we are in a civil war now. Suddenly I’m thankful I moved from the suburbs to the country. I keep asking to myself – just WHAT are these rioters teaching the children with them? Will the future of America be filled with people who believe the only way to change things is to destroy things?

Yes. I’m. Angry. So angry my hands are shaking. Think I’ll sit on the porch and listen to nature, just so I can calm down.

Dearest Readers:

I imagine a few of my friends will be totally unhappy with what I might say here, but here goes — I have many opinions I will not share here on social medias regarding the racism issues. I’ve read about the riots in downtown Charleston and many of those rioters were arrested for destroying property, burning police cars, etc. Good! If you destroy property, burn it just because you are angry about the racial issues in America, well you are not alone. I was so pleased when the Confederate flag was removed. I’ve always believed the Confederacy stands for racism. But — there have been Too many situations to share and discuss over and over again. One thing I will say to my friends who have said to me, “well if you ain’t happy with Confederacy, then why don’t you move?”

I laugh! Let me just say, this is the United States of America. Lately, we are the divided States of America. I believe we need equality, hopefully to end the racism angers.

To those of you who are not aware, the South, especially Georgia and South Carolina, are managed by a system called the “Good ole Boys!”

Those Good ole Boys do not like it whenever someone disagrees. They want us to agree with them. Recently I saw the Good ole boys system in the works when I filed a complaint of sexual harassment and threats to my life at one of those ‘private good ole boys’ organizations. After doing all I could to get the situation resolved, I was told to have a ‘mediation’. Agreeing to this was my mistake.

At the mediation, I was belittled, degraded, and made to feel weak, especially after the person who touched me where he shouldn’t, was allowed to verbally abuse me during the ‘mediation.’ Never did anyone with any authority reprimand him! I was told to let this end tonight. After all, “ending this is good for the order….”

To those of you who’ve never been treated this way, you are fortunate! Seeing how the ‘good ole boys’ are allowed to do things for the ‘good of the order,’ is such an antiquated way to operate. I lost respect for this ‘good ole boys club’ that night!

I’ve held my head high. No, I didn’t fight it anymore. I was exhausted. I had the bulk of gossip because the issues were shared. I was told it would be confidential. It wasn’t! Many times, I had women approach me, asking my name. Then, quickly they walked away! No doubt, they were only a portion of the gossip clique. I refused to allow them to intimidate me. Trust me, if this situation ever happens to me again, I will call law enforcement. I will not go quietly into the night!

This is only one example of the ‘good ole boys’ club operation! They cover each other and don’t care when someone files a complaint that could embarrass them.

And now, here in Charleston, we have protests. Demands to ‘take it down,’ including the John Calhoun statue. I’m certain others will be removed too. Where will they go? Personally, I don’t care. I think it’s time for us to move forward — not look back.

Many historical issues are embarrassing. Yes, I’m from the South, but I’ve never been proud of the Civil War. Slavery. How women were treated. We were told we couldn’t vote. What women should do is – and I’ve heard this TOO MANY TIMES – “Women should stay at home. That’s where decent women belong. They shouldn’t complain. After all, men will take care of us, IF we OBEY them. We must keep the house. Have the babies, and keep our mouths shut!”

Once, I heard my husband actually say of those statements to me. Believe me, the Julia Sugarbaker and the Women’s Suffrage Movement kicked in to change his tune. I thank God I wasn’t born during the 1900’s time. I’m certain some ‘good ole boy’ would have done something to ‘shut me up!’

Incidentally, if you do not know about the women’s suffrage movement I would like to share a bit about the women’s suffrage movement, ‘a decades-long fight to win the right to vote for women in the United States. It took activists and reformers nearly 100 years to win that right!’

Yes, 100 years! The 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution granted women in America the right to vote, a right known as women’s suffrage, and was ratified on August 18, 1920, ending almost a century of protest.’

Nevertheless, women still have to stand up and ask why when we see the lack of equality we still have. I’ve had friends ask me why I’m “still a feminist.”

Trust me. I will never stand down or shut my mouth! My father encouraged me to stand up and voice my concerns. Yes. I. Am. A. Woman! And damned proud of it!

And now, I shall get off of my soapbox and get busy with a few things I must do — for me!

Dearest Readers:

Lately, every time I open a newspaper to read the local and world news, EVERY PAGE has something pertaining to the recent movements in the USA. For example — events for blacks. Events and discussions regarding abolishing law enforcement. Events. Subjects….While I understand the black community is finally having a voice regarding their recent movements, actions from law enforcement, protests and riots, I am curious. Maybe a bit angry too, but it isn’t an anger where I will go to the property or event and shoot into the audience. I’m not angry at the black communities. My anger is the type of emotion where I ask why. Why? WHY?

Why has it taken so long for the black communities to be heard? Why has the USA (especially the South) always chosen to sweep these issues under the rug? Why is it always an issue of: “he was black. She was black.” And so on???

Why? Isn’t it past the time to roll up the rug where these subjects of racism have been swept. I say it is too little too late.

Understand, I am not a racist. I am the one who stood tall when, as a teenager, I could not dance with ‘black soldiers.’ I didn’t understand. I was ridiculed and told if I returned to the USO, I must tell the ‘black soldiers’ no!

WHAT??? I questioned the President of the USO organization. After dancing with an amazingly courteous ‘black soldier’ the President tapped me on the shoulder. He requested that I meet him in his office. So, being the courteous young lady I was (and still am — up to a point) I knocked on his door. He sat behind his desk. I sat in a chair.

Clearing his throat he said: “It’s come to my attention that you were dancing with a ‘black soldier.’ ” He coughed.

I sat up taller. Perplexed.

“I danced with a soldier. He asked me to dance. I’ve been told black girls are not permitted to join the USO. I’ve never seen a black girl here. He wanted to dance. What’s the problem here?”

He cleared his throat. “He’s black. White girls in the South never dance with a black.”

I exhaled a deep breath. “Well. I did. I don’t see a problem. This gentleman who is a soldier is black. He wanted to dance. He conducted himself as a gentleman soldier. Let me get this straight? It is OK for him to fight for our country. And it’s OK for him to pay the five dollar fee to attend the dance; however, if he wants to dance, just who should he ask?”

“We do not allow white girls to dance with a black soldier. This is the deep South. We don’t allow this. Not while I’m the President here. You’ve disgraced us.”

I sat quietly for a moment. “Disgraced you? I disgraced No One! All I did was dance! And the dance wasn’t a dirty dance, nor did he get fresh with me.”

I did not like the descriptions of ‘black soldier’ or ‘white girl,’ but I was alone in his office defending my actions which shouldn’t need defending. By now, I was shaking.

“I never want to watch you dancing with a ‘black soldier’ again. Do you understand?”

I exhaled a long breath. “Then don’t watch me,” I said. “I will not say no to dancing with anyone.”

I excused myself. My hands were shaking like a leaf. Still, I didn’t understand what I did wrong. Little did I know what was happening outside of his office.

When I left, I went to get my handbag. I was leaving. Three soldiers (all white) followed me. They saw everything, they said. The dancing with the soldier. How he held me gently and respectfully. And they watched me being called into the President’s office after the music ended.

Without a doubt, they knew what happened. Larry, a soldier from Louisiana, spoke up: “What was the problem?” He asked. “Are you in trouble?”

I burst into tears, rushing out of the dance I said, “I’m all right.”

Larry knew me better! He and the other soldiers standing next to him followed me outside. “Did he reprimand you for dancing with Scott?”

Wiping tears from my eyes, I said Yes. “How did you know?”

“Don’t you worry. You’ve got lots of friends here who respect you. We know you will not go out with us. We’ll take care of this.”

The next afternoon, Larry phoned me, letting me know I would be getting a phone call from the President of the USO. Four soldiers met with him after I left. All of them were white, not that it mattered to me.

“Let’s just say, we demanded the President to make a few changes!”

I was shocked. Never have I had someone stand up for me after I asked why. I suppose I’ve always had the courage to stand up, never anticipating someone else would back my beliefs. Most people simply walk away. They ‘don’t want to get involved.’

I lost respect for the USO and their dances after that issue. The President phoned me, wanting me to return. He said I had lots of friends there. Little did he know I heard about the soldiers meeting with him. I attended a few more dances and at one of the dances, I met my husband. Shameful, aren’t I!

Over the years, I’ve stood tall for other issues regarding racism. While I do not understand why the protests happening on a daily basis become violent riots, I do believe in the freedom we in America have to voice our opinions. To those who’ve told me to simply walk away, I refuse. I find a way for my voice to be heard. I’ve written letters to my Congress, Mayors and the President. Happy to say, all of those letters received a reply. Not that it did anything to help the situations, but my voice was heard.

Whenever I’ve seen a man and woman in a domestic situation, I do not turn my head to look away. I speak up! This drives my husband a bit nuts, wondering just when I’ll ‘learn to keep my mouth shut.’

I suppose the answer to that comment is a simple – when I die!

I’ve seen changes happen, and I’ve held my head high while knowing we in America should be equal. During the feminist movement, I worked to vocalize my beliefs and when I asked a former employer why a guy doing the same job as I was performing was being paid more, the employer said: “He has a family to care for.”

My fingers tightened along with my body. “And so do I!”

Equality, that is truly what these movements are about. We want equality.

Incidentally, if you’re wondering if I’ve been a part of the protests, I will answer a big NO. For me, I find my strength in writing what I believe. I still remember what I felt like on the evening when I ‘disgraced the USO while dancing with a ‘black soldier.’

Never did I imagine a group of soldiers watched in awe what was happening after I was called into the President’s office. Never did I expect anyone to back me. I simply did not see an issue. I was dancing gracefully with a soldier, not disgracing ANYONE!

Sometimes I am curious if the guy I danced with ever thinks about that night in Columbus, Georgia. The night I recognized racism is not about the color of skin. Racism is about people. Beliefs. And most of all, equality.

I was hopeful all of these issues would be put to rest; nevertheless, it is now the year of 2020. The year of anger. The year of Corona virus quarantine. The year of fear that we are losing our rights if we don’t fight. The year of change. 2020 is a year of burning buildings. Shootings. Police brutality. Demolishing restaurants, and so much more. I pray nightly 2020 will become a year where we are all able to stand tall and see change in ourselves and our communities. Like the cliche says: “We are all in this together,” referring to the Corona Virus. I say: “Really? Are we all in this together?”

The subjects I read about in the newspaper shares stories of Black Lives Matter. Yes. That is true; however, I truly believe ALL LIVES MATTER. Yes, it is time to change some things within law enforcement. It is time to acknowledge our history records reveal too much about leaders who really did not deserve to become leaders, or monuments. It is time for all of us to pray and to learn we must improve our beliefs. Our lives. We must change what we learned in church and our communities. We need to love one another. We need EQUALITY!

The time is now. Equality. Respect. Dignity. Pride. And most of all to believe not only do BLACK LIVES MATTER. ALL LIVES MATTER!

Dearest Readers:

Good morning, or perhaps I should also say, Good afternoon! If you are a regular fan of my blog, you might remember during the morning of our move from suburbia to the country — December 23, 2019 — I fell off a three step ladder, fracturing my back. The pain I’ve endured is truly indescribable! At times, my back pain felt as if a train was rushing along the left side of my spine in such a hurry I could scream. Another description would be imagine an electrical fire inside your body, storms of electricity firing away, creating the most excruciating burning pain you could ever imagine. Labor pain is just a cramp compared to back fractures. Finally, on December 27, I asked Phil to please take me to ER or Doctor’s Care.

At Doctor’s Care, x-rays were taken. The x-ray tech wanted me to twist and turn into positions I felt were almost impossible to tolerate. I moaned and groaned, and prayed. Somehow I knew my back was seriously injured. When the physicians assistant entered the exam room, she informed me I had a compression fracture of the Lumbar, L-1. She encouraged me to rest and not lift anything heavy. (She was too late. While moving, I carried heavy boxes while screaming in pain.) She referred me to a spine specialist.

For a couple of weeks, I rested on the couch. Lumbar pillows tucked beside the aching back helped a bit. Still, the pain was so unbearable, when Phil was at work, I cried. Sometimes like a baby. I tried to unpack, attempting to bend down. Every time, I screamed in pain. I still have many boxes to unpack. All. In. Time.

In January, 2020, I went to a spinal surgeon. All he wanted to discuss was spinal surgery. I had researched spinal surgery of L-1. The information I read on Web MD, and Mayo Clinic horrified me. I refused to discuss or schedule spinal surgery. The surgeon referred me to a back brace specialist.

Later that afternoon, I was fitted for a back brace. Tightly hugging my broken spine, the pain decreased just a bit. I was prescribed Ibuprofen, when needed. The specialist said I would need to wear the back brace every day for at least three months.

Today is June 18, 2020. In five days, my compression fracture will be a six-month recovery period. On that date, I have scheduled a bone density test. Still, I am having pain; however, I am getting physical therapy now. I must say, it appears to be working!

Yesterday at PT, I decided to put my back to the test. I rode a stationary exercise bike for 10 minutes as fast as my legs would allow. Yes, it hurt. I’m determined to work this pain away! For one hour, my back was massaged, twisted into exercises including legs, sides and back. Over this time frame my back felt better. The knots located by L-1 disappeared!

Moments ago, I made an appointment for my bone density test. I remember having a bone density test in 2016. Much to my surprise, the hospitals, imaging specialists have no records of such a test. I remember going to Roper St. Francis for this test, although it appears my records have disappeared. If you are reading this, please note – when and if you have any medical tests, please get a copy of it for your records! A big mistake on my part.

Today, the back feels better. Later, I shall get on my stationary exercise bike for at least ten minutes! I must keep this compression fracture exercised so I will not ‘need surgery.’

Due to this injury, I am ever-so-slowly learning to ask others to help me. I’ve always been stubborn. Head strong. Hard headed. INDEPENDENT. All of those describe me! It hurts my dignity to ask for help, but —!

More later, Readers. Have a great day and please stay safe. As for me, I shall NEVER step onto a ladder again. EVER! When I need something I cannot reach, I will call my husband to get it. Yes, he is short too, although he knows how to stay balanced on a step ladder. Obviously, I do not. Silly. Dangerous. Clumsy. Accident Prone. Yes. That is Me!

Please stay safe. Healthy. And remember to wash your hands ALL THE TIME. When in public wear a mask. I have two masks now. Still looking for a mask that is stylish and has a bit of bling!

Dearest Readers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grammy reached for my hand, turning me away.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dearest Readers:

What’s happening to the Holy City? This morning, I awaken with news alerts on my Iphone. “Charleston Police chief expects more arrests, charges after last nights riots…” WCSC TV5.

Last night was a violent night of unrest, protests, hatred and the “Black Lives Matter,” chants. I get the message. Loud and clear. My question to those who decided violence and looting was the way to go is this — why are you destroying what the USA has worked so hard to keep going during Corona Virus and now the George Floyd situation. Does your violence, anger and hatred really help the cause for Black Lives Matter and racism?

I don’t think so! Yes, I believe you have the right to protest and the first protest in Charleston was peaceful; nevertheless, it turned violent. Destructive. What are you thinking? Did you even know George Floyd?

Now, Charleston is under a 11-7 curfew. Isn’t a curfew so late at night just a bit too late?
Those who looted, threw items and fought are disgraceful. This is the Holy City of Charleston, SC. Not a city filled with hatred and violence. When disturbing things happen to our city we unite. We do not fight. All fighting does is cause more anger, hatred, violence and destruction. Reportedly, several stores downtown were damaged. Broken windows and doors. Looting. And more violence.

I confess, I’ve never attended a protest. I don’t see the significance of crowds gathering to destroy or damage others, including buildings, churches and shops. I don’t understand how protesters can block the Interstate while screaming their chants. Fighting. Shouting. Attacking. What has happened to America? Why can’t we stand up with dignity, not anger?

Regarding the death of George Floyd – while I do believe the police officer should not have placed his knee on his neck, I’ve seen video showing how they had George Floyd handcuffed – with handcuffs behind him. Is there a video showing what happened prior to when he landed on the ground and the police officer chose to place his knee on his neck? Was that necessary? I think not; however, I wasn’t there. I’ve only seen a video, and in case you do not know, video footage can be edited to show a totally different story.

I’m not advocating police cruelty. I feel extreme pain for George Floyd and his family. While they grieve, maybe someone should share with the protesters how violence only creates more anger and hatred. While the chanting of “Black Lives Matter,” is understandable, I would like to say — ALL LIVES MATTER, BLUE LIVES MATTER, and so on, regardless of the color of skin.

I believe the City of Minneapolis, Minnesota will get to the bottom of the story, arrest all who are involved and see that justice is served. American cities are on fire because of the death of George Floyd. I can only imagine what it is like to live in Minneapolis now.

As for George Floyd, it is a sad state of affairs when his death makes him famous. Rest in peace, George Floyd.

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE

Dearest Readers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“It was the only thing to do.”

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

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

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


Dearest Readers:

As most of you know, on December 23, 2019 I fell off a three-step ladder, fracturing my back. Last night, I awoke to horrific pain by the L-1. Tossing and turning, I got up, walked around, noticing the rain. We’ve had lots of rain since moving to Ravenel, South Carolina, but in this early morning light, I could relate to the rain along with the pain in my back.

I turned the TV on to the Weather Channel. I must say, I knew there was a storm brewing, although I did not know this storm was considered a tropical storm. Her name is Bertha. Hello Bertha. Welcome to Charleston, SC. Bertha decided to make her presence known in a city famous for hospitality, tourism and culinary cuisine galore.

The Holy City of Charleston is considered a tourist trap, although since the Corona Virus Covid-19 arrived in Charleston, many tourist locations are either closed, or slowly coming back to life and business. The city was crippled due to the virus. No traffic jams. Everyone was supposedly staying-at-home. Shopping centers were closed. Once, we drove downtown just to get an idea what the infamous downtown of Charleston was like. No one walked on the sidewalks. Parking lots were empty. A ghost town! Many of the famous restaurants were closed, due to Corona. A few of these restaurants will not reopen. So sad. I confess, I am a foodie and hated to hear some of the restaurants I’ve written about were now history.

Now, we have Tropical Storm Bertha.

Reportedly, we are expecting a lot of rain. Nothing unusual here! Our pond needs the rain. The shore was getting a bit low, however now, the water is rising!

I will have more details about Tropical Storm Bertha later today. For now, I want to get my hair styled, put makeup on and welcome Tropical Bertha.

Just what we needed now that Charleston, SC is welcoming tourists again. Have a great day. More details about Bertha’s arrival later. As for my back, it still hurts with chronic pain. How I wish I could send a fractured back packing with Bertha.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


“What’s interesting?” I asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

%d bloggers like this: