You can never go back! Memories of my Mother

Her name was Alice and every day I look in the mirror and I see her looking back at me.  She was one of the strongest people that I have ever met.  I am proud to have known her. 

She was also funny, and smart.  If she had been allowed to continue going to school beyond grade school, she would probably have been a Doctor, or Attorney.  She beat me all the time playing Double Solitaire and Double Nine Dominos.  She could walk through a field of clover and reach down and pick up a 4 leaf clover without searching. She had to quit school to help take care of her 2 brothers and 4 sisters. 

I got some of her immunity to all childhood diseases, not so with by two older brothers; they looked like chipmunks or some horribly diseased people with mumps and scarlet fever. 

When she found herself alone in a small cabin in the middle of winter with 3 little kids, she managed to keep us warm, clothed, and fed by doing mens jobs.  She picked beans, peas, and potatoes.  If you know anything about picking potatoes, imagine this; she picked 100 barrels a day.  Each barrel holds, I think, 4 or 5 bushels, and she did this and still watched 3 kids.  The owners of the fields tried to tell her that they would pay her less than the men because she was a woman!  She challenged them!  She said “I will work for one day, and if I don’t beat every man you don’t have to pay me anything, if I beat them I get paid the same as them”.  She beat them all.  And from that day on she was paid the same as the men. 

When I was a teenager,   I could pick 20 barrels a day on my best day.

 I remember one day, she was walking back to the field, when one of the young men, who had obviously drank his lunch, came walking over to her saying “Hey, sweetheart, how about a kiss”? And as he swung his arm around her shoulders, she never lost her momentum, she coldcocked him, and he stumbled over three rows of potatoes and fell on his ass.  None of the guys approached her or us again. 

She loved to fish, fished every chance she could.  I think her favorite was Brook fishing, and I fished with her many time.  One time, when we stopped at a farmhouse, to ask the farmer, sitting on his porch for permission to cross his land to go brook fishing. He smiled and said sure and proceeded to hold the barbed wire fence up so Mom could go under. As she bent to crawl under he patted her on the ass, and I nearly fell over trying to keep from laughing out loud.  I also knew that my turn was next.  I was amazed that he didn’t get his head knocked off. 

The last times that we went brook fishing, I was about 6 months pregnant, and we got kinda got lost in the woods, I fell in the brook, and we had to walk about 5 miles back to the car.  We usually caught a few “pocket fish”, and lucky we never got stopped by a game warden.  When I laughed and told my Doctor about my adventure, he about choked.  I told him how much trouble could I get in, I was with my Mother!!!!

One day I told her that my teacher wanted to know how old she was, she was doing the washing and not in a good mood, so she said “tell her I am 104”.  So that is exactly what I did!  And no amount of talking from the teacher could convince me that she wasn’t.  If my Mother said she was 104, she was 104!!!

She met the love of her live when I was a very young child, and Lloyd was the best!  He took on the responsibility of three little kids and a wife without a hesitation.  He worked on the railroad laying, and repairing tracks.  It was hard physical work and he wasn’t a very tall man but he had a biggest set of shoulders and arms that Popeye would be envious of. 

They bought a 15 acre farm when I was in the 6th grade.  The man that sold it to them had sold it many times and had repossessed it over and over.  Well, they were the last ones to buy it, which I am sure disappointed him a lot.  We lived off that land!  Until that time, I was the smallest kid in class, during the next year I gained so much weight, I got stretch marks.  Mother had an acre garden, and we kept a cow, had chickens, and raised a steer for beef.  He hunted, and we always had Deer meat.  We also sold the Hay from the field.  We stored some of the Hay in the barn, and my job was to stomp the hay in the mow to pack it down to get more in the barn, because I was the only kid that did not have hay fever. 

The Farm house was over 100 years old and after I was married and had a daughter, the farm house burned down.  They put a Single wide Mobile home on the foundation and added a room.  A few year ago when I was in Maine visiting, I drove back by it, and was disappointed, that the owners had let the field grow up to trees.  

You can never go back!

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My first conscious memory of being alive

My first conscious memory of being alive, is playing in the front yard, with a couple of bottles and a tub of water.   I remember dipping water from the tub to fill one bottle with another.  I either, remember the house looking like it was a daylight basement of was built up from the ground.  There was a crude set of rough wood stairs to the small landing by the front door, as I remember or was told. 

I remember falling off the landing and screaming my head off.  In those days no one went to the Doctor, unless you were bleeding a lot.  I do remember lying across my mother’s lap while she pulled the edges together with adhesive tape to stop the bleeding.   I never had it stitched up and it healed with a big scar (remember I was little)!

Keep this in mind as I jump ahead to 8 years of age.  I think I was in the first grade, and remember complaining of a tummy ache a lot, to get the usual remedy, baking soda and water.  I guess I must have done this a lot because after a while no one paid a lot of attention, and just gave me the remedy.  This night I didn’t stop crying and complaining.  After they realized that I was feverish, off to the Doctors office I went.  The doctor examined me and immediately wanted me sent to the hospital.  I was scared to death!! I put it off by insisting that they take me home to wash my feet (we ran around barefooted all summer).  My dad used to tease me by saying “You’ve got diritfication on your feet”.

In 1948 people that have ruptured appendix did not always live.  Mine did rupture and I lived.  Tough!  In those days you were supposed to stay flat on your back in the hospital for two weeks.  I am sure that I gave the nurses several headaches as I sent back to bed several times a day.  When I went home I had the place of honor on the couch by the stove in the living room, while my brothers had to sleep upstairs in the cold.  We had a huge dog named Rex and I hitched my sled up to him and he hauled me around for hours. 

When I finally went back to school I enjoyed showing my scars to anyone that would look.  I also told them that “When the Doctor was operating on me his knife slipped and went right straight through me and he had to sew me up on both sides”.  And to prove it I showed the scar on my belly and the one on my back.  Kids will be kids!

 

REX

We got Rex when he was a small pup and he became a member of our family, that is, to everyone except Mother!  She would not let him come in side even in the dead of winter.  There was none of that dog sleeping at the foot of our beds, or getting up on furniture or even playing inside.  I don’t know was breed of dog Rex was, only that he had Light Brown long wavy hair.  I remember one winter it was snowing and we lived in a drafty old house behind the stores in town.   We begged to have him inside, we were sure he would freeze.  She declared that he had fur and would not freeze.  No amount of tears or begging by all of us moved her even a little bit!  So out he stayed.

When Lloyd came home from working on the railroad, he saw all our sad faces and went to bat for us.  I remember him saying “Now, Allie, look at their faces, can’t we just have Rex in for a little while to warm up”.  Wow!  She relented and said yes, with a Big But!  She said “He stays behind the stove, if he comes out from there, he goes out”.   So we got him in for several nights while it was below freezing.  We were thrilled. I’ll tell you more about Lloyd later.

Rex was with us for many years, and he traveled all over town, when we were in school.  All the store merchants loved him and used to give him scraps, he would come home with a bone nearly every day, which was a good thing as he only got table scraps.  I remember so many wonderful things about him.  He was so big that his back would scrape on the under-side of the table on the very few times he was allowed in, probably when Mom wasn’t home.

He was just a big friendly dog that we never gave it a thought about him defending us in any way.   We kinda thought of him as “The Cowardly Lion like in the Wizard of Oz”.  No matter we loved him anyway and he tagged along with us to the lake to go swimming.  In those days Mom would make my older brothers take me along with them, even though I couldn’t swim much and they were not a lot older than me.  Guess she figured, (wrongly) that they would take care of me!  There were two places to go swimming, one was a beach and the other was “the old swimming hole” which was, were the boys wanted to go so they could dive in.

I remember this day very clearly!  The boys were diving in and having a great time, I was setting on the ledge and crying as I wanted to go to the beach so I could go in swimming.  They finally had enough of my crying and told me to jump in or they would throw me in, and they would save me if I couldn’t swim enough to get to the shallow place to climb out.  As I was getting up enough courage to go in, sure enough they pushed me in.  I could tread water and dog paddle a little.  I cried for help!  They said “Sink or swim”.  I was panicked, and drank a lot of water trying to say on top, when out of nowhere, in jumped Rex and swam over to me so I could grab onto his tail and he pulled me in to shore.

On the way to and from the lake, by the store that rented boats, there was a mean dog that used to chase us all the way by his property and scared the bejesus out of us.   Rex didn’t always go to the lake with us, but this day Rex was with us and when the dog came charging out barking and snarling, Rex’s hair stood up on his back and as he growled, he ran at the dog ready to do battle for us.  He put the dog right back in his yard cowering and he never came back out barking at us again.  I swear Rex smiled and puffed his chest out as he marched us home.

I remember another day when after he got hit by a car, he crawled home, and that the Vet said there was nothing he could do for him and even though I wasn’t allowed to be there for him, I watched from a hiding place as the Vet gave him a shot and Rex went to sleep for the last time.

What Workampers want to see in Work Wanted Advertisements?

Our MotorhomeEmployers Listen Up

Even though we do want to know all the wonderful things that your park has to offer!

What we really want to see is specifically WHERE you are located, what are the hours that you are expecting us to work for trade-off for our site, what is included with the trade-off site i.e. water, sewer, electricity, propane, laundry stipend, and what HOURLY wage you are paying in addition to the trade-off, or for all hours worked. We also want your website address, the physical address, your telephone number, who to contact, and their position.  I prefer to not send out cover letter with “to whom it may concern”.

Be prepared for the questions that we will be asking.   Wi-Fi is important to us, as we want to keep in touch with relatives, and we will be looking for our next position, as most of the Workamper jobs are from 3 to 6 months.  Most of us follow the sun!  That is we want to go North in the summer, and South in the winter.

Don’t do the “your site is worth X dollars per hour bit”, as most of us are wise to that ploy.  Some of the Managers try to lump the “retail value of the lot rent, electricity, water, and sewer, along with their inflated value of the amenities and add the monthly pay to that and try to make you think that the value, is equal to what you are being paid.  NOT!  It is true that most of the parks have a specific place that they allow the workampers to park, not premium sites, but most of us do not expect that.

We will be asking if you have Wi-Fi, is it high speed and/or do you have repeaters throughout the park, and if everyone is on in the evening, can we still get on to check emails.  We KNOW, or should know, that streaming videos are out of the question.  We also want to know about the cell phone reception, even though we will be checking with our carriers, we still want you to tell us honestly.

One of the questions that I ask is “What are the good, bad and the ugly about your park and the position”? Maybe not in that actual form, but I will ask enough questions so that I will have a pretty good idea, however I have been bamboozled enough times, that I know that I am not even close to perfect.

For instance, we took a job that promised $2500 a month plus a FHU site, 8 people to manage, sounds great, right.  We got there at approximately $500 expense, and found that they were using ”the new math” and the only way we would actually receive the $2500 a month, was if we stayed a year. This was not going to happen with no one working for us, and none in sight, office not finished, no computer, telephone, and no equipment to do the job. The last straw was that we were responsible for mowing our own site.

Every day we were informed of a new task was our responsibility, so that we ended up working from 8am to 8pm every day.  We only got 2 days off when we quit the first time and stupidly relented to stay, only to be dismissed when they hired new managers.  We left the next managers well equipped, us a lot sadder, but wiser.  We are still smarting from that experience.

Remember, we travel to the jobs at our own expense!  We are pulling 54 feet total length and we estimate the cost to travel, at the current gas prices and several nights stay on the way, at 50 cents a mile. So, if we travel 500 to 1000 miles to the job we estimate the cost to get to the job at $250.00 to $500.00 and if we get there and you have used a lot of “poetic license” with the condition of the park, and what you actually expect form us,  please remember we are on wheels!  Do not think that just because we traveled a long distance for the job that we are so desperate that we will cave in and stay.  There are other places near you, most of the time that are also looking for workers.

There is a need for good workers and most of us have worked in other professional positions and are retired, but do not mistake that to mean that we will work for nothing. As a matter of fact most of us need to be paid in addition to our site.  Not all of the workampers are independently wealthy.  In addition to the expense of traveling to your part/resort, we are also responsible for our health insurance, and repair of our vehicles.

Many of you state in your ads to send a picture of us and our rigs,  work history, and references, but are reluctant to give us specific and honest information about your site and exactly what work you expect us to do.  That should be a two way street! Remember since most of us are “retired”, we are also not 21 anymore.  If the work is heavy lifting, please be specific about how much and how often we have to do heavy work.   Even though we are healthy we are not pack mules and may need to stop and rest occasionally.

Happy Traveling

Old Tunnel Wildlife Management Area

Bats emerging from caveOld Tunnel Wildlife Management Area

Last night we visited the Old Tunnel WMA to watch the Mexican Free-tailed Bats emerge from the old abandoned Railroad tunnel. It houses a seasonal colony of approximately 1 to 3 million Bats.

Everything that you have heard about Bats is not true, however they are wild mammals, and do nurse their young.  Since they must be warm, many bats occupy a small space. The females leave the tunnel in the spring and go south to warmer climates to have their babies and come back with their pups later in the season.

It was awesome to see them swoop out of the cave in waves in a vortex and fly high in closely knitted packs that looked a lot like black smoke as they got further and further away from us.  The Volunteers from the Department of Wildlife asked us to be somewhat quiet and not take lots of flash pictures, however I did get one picture from my small camera that shows them if you look very closely.  It looks more like a lot of foliage on the tree than bats because of the distance.

They have a lower viewing area that you pay $5.00 each for and you get a lot closed to them, which would have been great, and we would have done it, however, by 8:00 they were sold out.  We didn’t even think to bring our Binoculars! Duh!

To get to the Old Tunnel you have to come in from either Fredericksburg, TX or from Kerrville, TX.  We are currently staying in Comfort, TX so we took 87 south then East on FM (Farm Road) 473 which takes you underneath I-10 and then on a two lane paved road 5 miles,  then when FM473 takes a right turn to Sisterdale, go straight ahead on Old #9 Hwy for about 8 more miles.  You can’t miss it! It is on the right and there are signs.  When I said straight, I was kidding, the road is a typical farm road and twist and turns a lot, so if you don’t want to end up in the “pucker brush” take it a little slow.

Next to the Bat viewing area there is a Restaurant that has live music.  We walked over and listened for a few minutes, but decided to head back before there was a caravan of cars.  Well worth your time, if you are down this way, a must see.

 

Fuddruckers

Luby’s Fuddruckers Restaurants, LLC 13111 NW Freeway, Suite 600 Houston, TX 77040 Phone: 713.329.6800

To whom it may concern:

My Husband and I are full time RV’ers and sometime try new places to eat, however, while in Kerrville, TX we drove through the town and nothing looked inviting to us, however we spotted your Fuddruckers restaurant and remembered that in Phoenix, Arizona we have had many good meals.

We noticed on the Menu that you have Buffalo Burgers and decided to have them as we do not eat a lot of red meat, however, Buffalo is an exception, since while in South Dakota we had Buffalo Burgers, and Buffalo steaks several times and the local people told us to have them cooked “medium rare” because the meat is so lean and the Buffalo are not fed any additives. 

So we ordered two of them, paid extra for cheese, my husband ordered Onion Rings, he asked for his to be cooked medium and asked for mine to the medium rare.   We were really hungry, we waited for at least 20 minutes, were about ready to ask if they were having trouble catching the Buffalos out back, when our buzzer went off. 

I took two bites of my Burger and discovered that it was very close to “well done”.   We discussed whether to have another one cooked when the Staff Manager came by and asked how our order was.  I said ”Its not done like I ordered, I ordered it Medium Rare”; he said “Sorry about that, but the Buffalo meat is frozen and we have to thaw it”.  I showed him the burger and he agreed it was not cooked right.  So he said he would make me another one.  He started to take my plate and I asked him to leave the plate so I could at least eat the Fries.  So off he went! 

Twenty minutes later he came back with another Buffalo Burger with no cheese and asked me if I wanted a knife to check it?  I said no I will just wrap it up and take it home, because my husband by that time had eaten his burger (cooked the way he wanted it).  Of course, they put fries on his plate instead of the onion rings he ordered, but since they were not on our bill we just let it go.

To his credit the Staff Manager asked if I wanted a knife to cut it to make sure it was done right.  I figured that they would be “extra careful the second time” and just left the restaurant, while we were cooling down the car, I decided to take a quick bite, I discovered that this one was so well done that it would have been like shoe leather. 

We went back in and showed the Staff Manager that it was not even close to what I wanted; he asked if I wanted yet another one cooked.  I did not!  I asked for my money back!  I also said that if the cooks were trying to get even with me for sending it back, they did a great job!

For about 5 minutes both the Staff Manager and one of the other employees tried to figure out how to make the register put the money back on our credit card, finally in desperation, he just guestimated what my burger would be and handed the money to my husband. We left, very unsatisfied.

We both have worked in Sales and Customer Service for most of our lives and this wasn’t even close to what we would have done. 

First, you have a big sign in the lobby that says something like this “frozen? All our meat is fresh”.   Second, if you do not sell enough Buffalo Burgers to have some meat thawed, maybe you should not have it on your menu.  We should have been told up front that the Buffalo meat is frozen and has to be thawed! And we also should have been told of the wait time for our order, so that we could have picked another item that would have been faster.

 And what does fresh or frozen have to do with cooking it properly? 

6/25/2014 phoned corporate offices left message as no one answered the phone.   Left the following message “ This is Brenda Colbath, (telephone #) for your email address to send a letter of complaint, if I receive a call back within 24 hours will sent it to you, if not will put it on Facebook thank you the number is(telephone).

As of today, I have not received a return phone call.