Source: Little country store
Kentucky, like many rural places, is peppered with country stores. They were once hopping with business as travelers on their way to work, the next town or, the next state, would stop and get their fuel or fill their belly with a fried bologna and tomato sandwich.
I deterred from my normal stop at a modern gas station with it’s pay-at-the-pump impersonal convenience. With my gas gauge teetering on empty I was certain I wouldn’t make it the 8 miles to town. So I pulled into our neighborhood country store with their marginally higher fuel prices.
An older man with a white and gray beard came out to meet me at the pump. He was dressed in his work clothes complete with his stitched and worn name tag; his ball cap bill, slick with oil from countless adjustments.
“How much?” he asked.
I went inside with my youngest boy, his brothers already off to school for the day, he was sure to get a morning treat. A pack of donuts, maybe more.
We picked our drinks and he held his donuts like a prize and we walked to the counter. With each step the uneven wood floor creaked, worn by thousands of steps. As we waited on my sausage biscuit to warm up, my little guy struck up a conversation with the gentleman who pumped our gas.
“What’s your name?” Little guy said.
“My name? My name is Mark,” the man said.
He told the man his name and the man told us how he shared a first name with my son. He told us that he was named after his grandfather and also a famous writer. After our conversation we made our way back to my car and down the road to Nana’s house.
That encounter made our day a little more rich with humanity, something a a modern pay-at-the-pump convenience store cannot do. I will be stopping at more country stores and mom-n-pop restaurants in my travels because I enjoy getting to know the people who make these places unique. Do you have a favorite little stop? Have you ever been surprised by stopping somewhere you weren’t sure about at first?
I started this blog nearly five years ago as an outlet for my love of writing and photography. Circumstances happened and life changed as it usually does. I had loads of graphic design skills (ten years worth), a classified job ad and a little luck and I landed a job at a small newspaper as a reporter and page designer. There began a journey that would leave me unraveling my brain one day at a time.
I won’t go in to all the details. Why not? Partly because I live so close to that newspaper. I still work in that county and quite frankly I’m a little scared there isn’t still some sort of backlash waiting for me for my having left the job in the first place.
The photo on the homepage of my blog does not infer that I’m in some sort of legal (or illegal) trouble. My job at the paper never put me in danger at least not the kind that would result in a bullet hole though glass. There were times I was berated, run off the scene of a fire, yelled at and told all I care about was paper sales. I had a creepy semi stalker and a few inmates who knew me, because my name was in the paper. But I rarely felt my life was in danger.
Despite the lack physical danger I was in danger of losing my soul. I had been assigned to things that I would never imagine myself doing. I was put in a position I would have questioned prior to my becoming a community journalist. All in the name of news. When I stood up for myself or questioned the motives behind things, I would be made to feel like I was the one with a problem. Not only did I have to contend with covering certain things outside my comfort zone or even skill level, I was dealing with a narcissistic manager. Again, I can’t divulge too many details, just know when I say I never imagined one person’s behavior and toxicity could cause me to go down a path of self doubt and thinking I was the one who was crazy resulting in mental breakdown.
I wove a web of tangled mess in my head trying to figure it all out. I felt trapped. After months, doctor visits, conversations with family and friends and loving encouragement from my mom and husband I decided to leave. It wasn’t worth it anymore.
I had a hard time landing a position anywhere else. I only wanted part time work because I knew my soul needed some downtime for healing. Unfortunately, the places I knew would be great to work while I pieced myself back together weren’t interested in me, I was way overqualified at this point, to stock shelves in the big box stores or water flowers in the garden center.
Friends came through and I found myself working on their farm. The physical labor is exhilarating. I find myself too busy to think, which in my case is great. I’m home some during the week to spend time with my youngest child and do some of the things I love to do: baking, crafting, photography making music and writing.
Sometimes I feel I’m not cut out for the fast paced 70+ mph highway of a life many seem to be traveling these days. I prefer the old country roads, you know, the ones that make you slow down because the road is gravel and you’ll spin out and slide all over if you don’t. Out in the wilderness, just me, the road, dappled light filtering through an ancient forest.
After two years of dealing with a narcissistic manager, while I piece my life together and figure out what it looks like recovering from newsroom and narcissism I’ll write about it. Writing has always been my best therapy. If you happen to read it and like it that’s great. I’m not here to claim to help anyone, just tell my story and share my journey of flipping my world upside down and changing it from the inside out.
Yep, that’s right, that camera finds the best composition, focuses itself, it adjusts its own exposure, waits for the right clouds to pass in the background and just at the right moment it takes a great picture. At least that’s what I was thinking when yet again I heard that deplorable phrase from yet another close family member (my husband has been one to say this, but quickly learned the error of his ways). I just want to hand them my camera and say here have at it. I want to say that to a lot of people in a lot of situations; here take the machine see if you can produce the same result; here take the computer and the programs and don’t forget to check for typos. I don’t get hurt with comments like these, I just find if funny that people believe it is so simple and easy to produce something that looks nice whether it’s a picture, quilt, great piece of writing or what ever it may be. I admire photographers’ work, writers’ well written literature and all those beautiful things I know somebody has poured their soul into. To all my friends and blogging friends out there whose talents I so greatly enjoy, thanks for the hard work. 🙂
Pictures the camera took:
On a side note we have begun our house building. My husband is so anxious to start framing it. He is going to be working with his friend who is a builder to frame the house. Can you imagine the excitement of a man who loves building things and working tools I can’t name, when he knows he is going to be building his family’s home with his own hands, nail by nail board by board. It’s been like watching a kid before Christmas, he can hardly contain himself.
The other kids “at Christmas” with the giant toys.
Yes, I’m two days late, but the other day was the 236th Birthday of my country. Not everybody likes the USA and in certain aspects I can understand. One thing is certain, however, over two hundred and thirty years ago the odds were against a group of colonies, people who had left their homeland and everything they’ve ever known to make a new life and with a fresh start. Imagine the overwhelming feeling of taking on the most powerful military in the world in the Revolutionary war. Then the daunting task of creating a government from scratch with the sparring and debating involved, while the founders carved out what we now know as the Constitution. Through Faith, Perseverance, Divine Providence and a deep conviction that we have inalienable rights which cannot be denied, they succeeded and won their freedom from the most powerful empire in the world.
Being a great grand-daughter of immigrants, I am grateful my ancestors were able to come to America to be part of the freedom that courageous people had won. I am grateful that when my ancestors decided to escape oppression there was somewhere for them to come and there was hope for a new life. When I celebrate the 4th it is not just for pride in my country but for hope in humanity. Hope that someday it will universally be realized that ALL are truly created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The following are pictures of my great-grandpa Paul Jacobs. He came from Slovakia to America when he was 14. Years later went back to bring his parents to America who didn’t want to leave the grandmother (Bábuška in front of the house in a dark dress). They later left Slovakia after the grandmother passed away, I think in the 1940s. Beatrix Mana, my mom and author of the blog http://babydogogos.wordpress.com, will correct me if I’m wrong.
Great-Grandpa Jacobs (left) in front of his restaurant in Cleveland.
Great-Grandpa and Great-Grandma “Jake”
Great-Grandpa Jake with his two sons Leo (center) and Ray (my grandpa Jake) (left).
Along with countless other people like him, Paul Jacobs was given a chance to work hard and give his family a good life; a life that probably would have been completely different in his homeland. I am grateful that I am here today, an American with my own family to raise and make a good home for and celebrating the hope that American Independence means to me.
Black and blue berries that is. The grandma, the boys and I went to pick some berries at a local winery. Grandma is friends with the owner and they let us pick some (second crop) blueberries and blackberries. I am not one to rave about something if it isn’t worth the raving, so the fact that I am writing at all about their wine says something about the product.
McIntyre’s Winery makes some of the best blueberry and blackberry wine I’ve ever had. Established in 2011, they are a small winery just southeast of Bardstown in a beautiful little area called Botland. Tommy and Debbie McIntyre are the friendliest people and they truly enjoy what they do, it shows in their product.
The blueberry wine sort of dances on your tongue with a slightly playful hint of blueberries. The blackberry, a more robust fruit, has a fuller bodied taste. Anyway, both are really good, especially if you are looking for something a little off the beaten path.
Here are some pics from our latest berry picking adventures.
Grandma keeping watch.
I’ll just take some from your bucket, mine seems to have a hole in it or something.
Tommy McIntyre, the owner
Yard Sale. That’s what I’m doing this weekend. It’s a lot of hard work getting everything out and displaying my
junk goods in such a way as to make people want to buy them. When I have a yard sale my main objective is to get rid of crap stuff and eliminate clutter, freeing up some much needed space so I can bring in more stuff so that space can be utilized to it’s full potential.
I’ve always liked to observe people and their behavior. It gives me
much entertainment something to think about. So here is a compilation of the sort of people that you will see at a yard sale.
There’s deal hounds, they sniff out every deal, they look it over, pick it up, walk around it and if it suits their fancy they ask for a lower price. If you don’t oblige they walk away. There are those that act like they are getting away with stealing. They hold their goods in the crook of their arm, come to you to pay and the whole time they’re looking around like they are going to get caught. There’s people who can’t decide if they really want something. They dance around the item, they’ll even pick it up and walk around with it looking at other stuff. Sometimes these types make a purchase only to have yard sale remorse as they drive away realizing they didn’t need it after all. Sometimes they simply figure out they really don’t want/need the item before they leave and put it back making sure you didn’t see them (this used to be me, but I’m getting better). There are ones that are embarrassed to be seen at a yard sale and are continually dodging behind large furniture and trees or ducking under tables and hanging clothes when a car drives by. They make a quick exit when someone else arrives. I think these are also the drive by yard salers, see below.
There are ones that pull in your driveway look from the car, if nothing catches their eye they leave. Because they really want to make sure they didn’t miss something they are backing up still looking for something to make them stay and get out of the car, only to back over your carefully planted, fertilized, pruned and absolutely stunning rose bush that is now a stub, quickly speeding off before the angry yard sale lady comes running.
There are ones that get some sort of high from looking through your stuff and getting good deals, you could practically see their eyes dilate from the excitement when the pick up an item that’s priced well. They will then rush around the tables like they are on speed grasping at all sorts of things with no real regard as to what they are grabbing.
There are people that get competitive at yard sales too. They eye their opponents and carefully size them up as they walk toward the stuff. They are constantly looking over their shoulder to see what others are looking at and quickly grab up the semi-good item just so others can’t get it. I suspect that these people would be the ones that look and leave if there was nobody else around at the time.
The drive by yard saler will drive by slowly, turn around down the road somewhere and drive back by even slower but won’t stop because nothing catches their eye. I think these people really can’t stop unless there is a large piece of furniture calling to them or they could be the embarrassed ones as stated above.
You have the people who you can clearly see pick up an item read the sticker then turn to you and ask “How much for this?” You tell them what you thought the price was only to receive this exact reply: “That’s not what the sticker says!” Seriously? Also the ones that, I think, come just to see what kind of stuff you have with no intentions on making any purchases. This is especially true of neighbors.
My personal favorite, the die hard deal getter. They will haggle to the bitter end trying to talk you down. They absolutely cannot pay asking price for ANYTHING. To them paying asking price is a sin and they will be tortured for days thinking they could have gotten something for a better price. For example: an item is .25¢, die hard deal getter asks “Will you take any less?” What?!? Are you flippin’ kidding me? They don’t even make stickers with lesser amounts printed on them anymore! But I have one for you, deal getter, the stuff you are giving me money for—no matter how much you talked me down—was destined for the mission store anyway. Ha ha ha ha who has the last laugh now, yeah, that’s what I’m talking about!
I like the older folks that come to yard sales. They are friendly, they take their time, they ask how you’re doing and always tell you to have a good day. I’ve just said good bye to one of these types, a nun, who sat on our front porch rocking chair and talked with me and the boys like she knew us for years and left saying God bless to our whole family, and God bless our adventure in building a house.
PS if there’s typos and grammar issues, I apologize. I’ve read this thing 15 times and quite honestly I’m tired. Not to mention it is darn near impossible to proofread your own writing.