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Welcome to the Summer 2006 issue of the Dixie Dispatch!

Editor: Angela Gillaspie
Assistant Editors: S.D. Youngren and Leeuna Foster

This issue of the Dixie Dispatch is dedicated to Marta Martin.

How hot is it? Well, not only is it hot enough to cure tobacco - it's just plain stupid hot! And to prove it the half-baked Southern Humorists have hot tales, cool recipes, and leisure advice that'll turn your tickle-box over.

Thanks for readin', y'all!

Make sure y'all visit http://www.SouthernHumorists.com for more Southern Humor!

| Southern Humorists Know How It Is! | Fate-Worse-Than-Death Valley | Three-Bowl Party Salsa | Cat Nippin' | Suggestions for Summer | Pickin' Berries | June Buggin' and May Flies | What Summer Means To Me | Thighway Robbery | Cletus is So Hot | Vacations Not For Everyone | Summer Passing | Aviation History | Camp Weenie The Pooh Pooh | Gertie's Got Answers That'll Make Y'all Go, "Hmm." | Angel's Granola | Fishing Shows vs. Fishin' Shows | My Best Summer Picnic | Not Fit for Hermit Crabs or Robots | I Want a Real Dream Vacation | Scorched | Gertie's Got Melon Recipes |

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Southern Humorists answer ... "How hot is it?"
By: SouthernHumorists.com © All Rights Reserved

SHEILA MOSS started off the conversation about heat, "Hottest day in 6 years here in Nashville. Record use of electricity today. Heard they are having rolling brown-outs in the East. WOW! Here's a few tips to beat the heat from some research I'm doing for something else."

TOM LYNN said, "I second everything you said except the part about no beer. How am I supposed to write anything without beer and baloney?"

MIKE BAY said, "Beats me, Tom. Everything I write usually winds up baloney. I just have to buy cheese and bread to achieve the logical culinary conclusion. I beat the heat hyar by living in the freezer. The waffles aren't amused, but they're short term neighbors anyway."

AL SPEEGLE said, "Same heat problems here in Texas. Nine days of over 100 degrees. It's suppose to cool down this weekend, 95. Ways to cool down? A wet towel around the neck, then get in car and head for Colorado."

LEEUNA FOSTER said, "It's so hot here I fried my eggs on the driveway this morning. Got a pan of cornbread out bakin' on the back porch right now. Oops. I think it may be burning..."

PAUL VINCENT said, "Dealing with the heat - No beer!? My goodness. The key with beer and avoiding dehydration is just to keep imbibing. That way you stay one step ahead of the heat prostration. Up here in the southern part of the northern mid-west it's been very hot and very dry. The annual farmer caterwauling has begun - more water, less heat, at least that's what they're saying here, though in other locales in the region, the call is for the opposite. Of course, you know the subtext is always "and don't forget the beer." Oh yes, and wasp season has officially begun. They're fairly tame now, but come mid-August, when the wasps start to get a little crotchety (probably form the heat and dryness and no beer) - watch out - the war is on."

LEEUNA said, "Here's wishing everyone a pleasantly cool day."

TOM said, "Right back at y'all, Leeuna. "Tis a beeutiful day in Atlanta altho the weather guru promises hot hot hot later in the day. I am sitting here near nekkid with the AC on and a glass of lemonade at hand, so I am well prepared. Hope you are too. Well prepared, that is."

LEEUNA said, "My stars and garters! Talk about information overload... {snicker, giggle, blush} I have my air on too, only I'm still on my coffee. Lemonade will soon follow."

S.D. YOUNGREN asked, "I told my husband that we were supposed to have a "Hotter than a..." discussion here, and he proceeded to volunteer several ideas...all of them, for some reason, involving bikinis. Just to "fix" him I suggested something that normally would never have even occurred to me: "Hotter than a habanero enema." "Good," he said, unperturbed. "Use that." Then a couple of days later he directs my attention to the "Yankee Brow Mopper": http://www.lileks.com/newsphotos/bathing/9.html Any advice?"

TOM said, "Loved the bathing beauty photo. Wonder what happens to her paper suit when it rains."

BILL FULLER wasn't satisfied; he asked, "But just how hot is it?"

GERTRUDE BUTTERBEAN sighed, "It's so danged hot my hot flashes cool me down, Lord have mercy."

NEWT HARLAN said, "Bill, it's so danged hot in this part of the South my walkin' around boots have blisters on the bottoms. I hear tell that that the watermelon farmers are losing their crops because all the water inside the melons is turning to steam and they're exploding out in the fields. I didn't see it myself, but talk around the waterin' hole has it that Cowboy Zeke Culpepper broiled a 3 lb. T-bone on the hood of his truck, roasted marshmallows on the dashboard and baked a half dozen biscuits in the glove box yesterday at noon. Now that's pretty danged hot, I don't care who you are."

ANGELA GILLASPIE added these, "It's soooo hot....."

PAUL asked, "So, how hot is it? The only time it was hotter was when the earth first formed. It's so hot I'm thinking of buying beach front property on the arctic ocean."

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Fate-Worse-Than-Death Valley
By: S. D. Youngren © 2005 All Rights Reserved

It's hardly unusual that the summers of my childhood held barbecues, watermelon, and lawn sprinklers. The lack of rain was a little more unusual, but unlike the sight of my dad actually cooking over a real live fire, it wasn't something I really thought about. In California summer is the dry season, and I still have a hard time comprehending that it isn't like that everywhere, that in some places it actually rains in the summer. What a concept. Isn't the mental association hot and dry and, on the other hand, cold and wet? Outside of the kitchen or the shower, "hot and wet" makes no sense to me, unless the wet happens to be perspiration. I remember trudging home from school in the heat, a distance of about two blocks which seemed, on especially brutal days, to stretch on for miles. I'd have to stop in the shade sometimes and rest; I never really got along with heat.

Then somebody threatened to take me to Los Angeles. To live.

And he was serious.

My husband grew up in Santa Monica, not too far from the beach--not that he's really a "beach" person. I mention the beach because it's usually quite cool in Santa Monica, due to the ocean breezes. It is not so cool inland. It is frequently cheaper, but not as cool.

I didn't know about this. I ran into a freshman-year college friend I hadn't seen for a while, and found that he and his wife had spent a year or two living in Southern California. I told him about our planned relocation, and about our financial state, and he recommended the area in which he had lived, the San Fernando Valley.

When my husband heard this, he went apoplectic. Not the Valley! Never the Valley!

But Jim lived there, I protested weakly. He said it was pretty affordable.

Not the Valley!

It sounded like some kind of snobbery to me, but I'd never been there. A situation that was shortly to change. We found an apartment that was not in the Valley, but I was not, as it happens, off the hook. I was still sort of in college; I had enough units to graduate save for a single term paper--my only-ever Incomplete. For reasons I can't recall I decided to take a few more classes in the meantime. Innocent that I was, I enrolled in a San Fernando Valley college under an odd program which allowed me one semester as a "guest" student. My units would be transferrable, and I would graduate from my "real" school, up (if you'll pardon the expression) North. As a "guest," I had a weird, special status and it was stressed to me that I was allowed only one semester at my new host school.

It turned out to be more than enough.

I was there for the so-called Fall semester. Actually this was Fall in the sense of a comedown, not in the sense of autumnal, a fact that the school, if anything, did its best to rub in. This particular campus featured, as many campuses do, a central lawn with a large focal point. The school I'd been attending had a fountain and a tower. This school had a giant thermometer. When the school year started, Southern California's hottest month, August, was already over, but the thermometer showed a three-digit temperature. I looked at that thing every day. I didn't see a two-digit display until mid-November. As the place had, shall we say, an attitude problem anyway--they not only had an official policy of not printing enough Schedules of Classes to go around, forcing one-third to half of the students to either borrow from friends or stand in a long line for a peek at the single copy kept in the Admissions office, but they admitted to this policy freely--I couldn't help but suspect that the thermometer was put there as a brag. "Look at us! A hundred and three degrees in October! Is that `cool' or what?"

It was miserable. And the smog didn't improve matters any. My husband has a family story about how his mother, newly arrived in Pasadena--in another Southern California valley--opened the curtains one morning and screamed. My father-in-law came running. "What is it?" he asked, to which she replied, "There are mountains out there!" It had finally rained, and the air was washed clear enough to reveal the neighboring San Gabriel range, which my husband describes as "a mile-high piece of granite." She hadn't even known it was there. I'm told that the air had been cleaned up some by the time I arrived, but I was hardly unscathed. I rode the bus to school, which is supposed to simplify matters but which left me with a daily dilemma. Cresting the hill on my approach every morning, I'd take one look at the grey-brown muck I was about to descend into and it was all I could do not to claw open the window and hurl myself out. I wasn't driving, after all; if I landed off the road no one would have been inconvenienced. I might have broken a leg in the process, but I could have spared my lungs a layer or two of grime.

Then there was the humidity, or lack thereof. I thought I knew about dry summers. Didn't all the native grasses in Northern California go brittle and yellow every year? Didn't the hills go gold, and the fields, and vacant lots? In Northern California it just doesn't rain for a few months, that's all. It isn't really dry. Southern California is another matter, especially during the legendary Santa Ana winds. Strong hot dry winds that somehow manage to move in and be present in a way I would never have believed. You can feel them from inside--not necessarily their force, though they often make a gale-like whooshing sound, but their nature. The humidity, never very high, prowls around in single-digitland. The barometric pressure and ionic whatevers go berserk. These are the winds that are supposed to make you homicidal. For me they bring a pervasive feeling of dread--that plus a burning throat and near-vertical hair. If I ever do kill anybody on a Santa Ana's account, it'll be somebody who said, "At least it's not hot and humid." I've had hot and humid, visiting Wisconsin. I'd never felt so alert and strong in the heat as I did there. It's much easier to function when you can't actually feel--among other things--the moisture being sucked right out of your body. (I'm thin, with a high surface-area-to-innards ratio, and easy to desiccate.)

I haven't ventured into the Valley very often since my semester in A Very Hot Place Indeed ended. It's a long time ago now, but memories of the heat there remain vivid. (Most of the campus later fell down in an earthquake; I don't know what happened to the thermometer. Just desserts, I hope.)

A while back, a West L. A. friend of mine commented that he was planning to move to the Valley, for the same reason Jim had cited: low rent. We all agreed that West L. A. Friend could save some money that way, but I couldn't work up much enthusiasm.

"I have one word for you," I told him. "One word.

"August."

He went visibly pale.

S. D. Youngren is the author of the fiction web site "Rowena's Page," http://sdy.org/rowena/. She was born and raised in San José, California, and now lives with her husband and cat in Los Angeles, where she would set a cool-ocean-breeze trap if she only knew what to use for bait.

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salsa

Three-Bowl Party Salsa
By: S. D. Youngren

INGREDIENTS:

  • Eight or so homegrown tomatoes, depending on size and on how much salsa you want (if you can't get homegrown, use the "vine-ripened" ones; make sure they smell like tomatoes)
  • Nice big onion
  • One or two habanero peppers, depending on whatcha like
  • A little cilantro, fresh or dried
  • Some lime juice

    Mince cilantro if you're using fresh; put cilantro in small bowl or cup and pour an ounce or so of lime juice over it; stir. Set aside. Chop tomatoes into cubes and put in large serving bowl. Chop and mix in as much of the onion as looks "right." Remove and discard seeds from habanero peppers (wear gloves when handling these peppers!). Mince some habanero peppers very very finely and add a little of this to the tomato mixture. Pour lime mixture over and mix well with hands (leave your gloves on) and taste. Add more lime juice if it's not saucy enough. Add more habanero and mix until the salsa falls in the "medium-to-hot" category. Remove about a third of the salsa and place in a medium serving bowl; label the large bowl "Medium" and set aside.

    Add more habanero to remaining salsa, tasting and adding more until the mixture qualifies as "hot." Now remove a small quantity of the salsa and put into a small serving bowl. Label the medium-sized bowl "Hot" and set aside.

    Add remaining habanero, or as much of it as you dare, to the salsa in the small bowl. Mix well; do not taste. Label the bowl with a skull and crossbones, plus the name of the one guy at the party who will actually try it.

    Variation: when using tomatoes with a very strong or earthy taste, I like to use cayenne (ground is fine) instead of habaneros. The flavors compliment each other very well.

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    Cat Nippin'
    By: S. D. Youngren © 2006 All Rights Reserved

    Catnip Festival Big Success
    by Bugle Staff Writer Taylor Twitchett angel's kitty

    High summer in Louden Flat means just one thing: Catnip! The annual Louden Flat Catnip Festival saw good weather and a good time for almost everybody. Catnip Queen Timothea "Tipsy" N. Hale presided over the colorful event, including the parade, for which she was joined by Catnip Princesses Fifi Line, Tabitha Katz, and Tabitha's sister, Kitty Katz. Sharing the spotlight and the parade float with them was Catnip King Tom K. Att, who had no court of his own as no other young men entered the Catnip King contest. In their special costumes, with long fluffy tails and whiskers made of what Bugle Fashion Editor Vera Spiffey described as "rainbow pipe cleaners," this year's catnip royalty waved to the enthusiastic crowd from the dais as Mrs. Cat R. Wall's kindergarten class meowed in harmony below. After a brief twenty-minute introduction by Mayor Les Ismore, the King and Queen together cut a rhinestone-studded pink ribbon to begin the festivities, Att almost managing to stifle what some took to be a snarl of distaste at the color scheme. But by the time he was wending his way through the cheering town on the float--a fluffy white-and-grey cat-shaped confection called "Purrfectly Content"--in the company of his Queen and her Princesses, he looked entirely content himself.

    He wasn't the only one. "This is my absolute favorite holiday, and I don't care who knows it," announced one celebrant, who declined to be identified. "I just love it, even all the puns about 'purrfection.' Everybody loves the catnip festival." It certainly seemed that everyone does, with the large, happy crowd consuming quantities of catnip tea, catnip ice cream, catnip stew, and catnip juleps.

    Mia Ow, who came all the way from neighboring town Pratt Falls to witness the event, said it "really did justice to catnip." Ow, who claims to have twenty-three cats at home, says she "wouldn't know what to do without the stuff. Some people say I'm just keeping them doped up," Ow went on. "But is it any different than what my boyfriend does with his beer and TV? I love it, my cats love it, and I'm here to celebrate."

    And there was much to celebrate, according to Buck Biggs, CEO of catnip supplier Frenzied Fresh. "Catnip production in Louden Flat was up twenty pounds over last year," he said. "That's a lot of happy kitties." This despite the well-publicized mishap earlier in the year, when a still-unknown person or persons smuggled a number of cats into one of Biggs' catnip patches, resulting in many squashed plants. "We still don't know who was responsible," admitted Biggs. "Whoever it was was snuck in like a panther or something." Asked about current catnip stock prices, Biggs said, "Who can think about money with all this catnip around?"

    Catnip Transplanter Wooton "Woozy" Digger fittingly took the cake at the cakewalk event. The cake, which boasted catnip flavoring and a cat's face decorating the top, was admired by all. "I don't know whether to laugh or cry," an obviously grateful Digger said. "Here I am, crawling around with my trowel all day, all bent over, transplanting catnip and getting followed home by mobs of cats every night, and now this." Digger's coworker in the field, Claude Turner, won the grand ring toss prize: a giant catnip-stuffed stuffed cat. "I don't know how long this is going to last, though," Turner said. "I have three cats at home."

    There were, of course, minor mishaps. Harry Ball choked on a wad of catnip-flavored cotton candy, but did not require medical attention. Catnip King Tom K. Att, roaming about after the parade, got into a scuffle with Frank Exchange, who felt that Att had been "a little Frenzied Fresh himself" with Exchange's wife, Farrah.

    "I didn't mean anything by it," Att growled. "I was just having a good time. Isn't that what you're supposed to do at a festival? He shouldn't have hit me anyway. I'm the Catnip King. That's as close to royalty as you get around here."

    "You better hope you have nine lives," Exchange retorted.

    And late in the afternoon, five-year-old Fleur "Fluffy" Tailor, reported missing by her frantic father, Bob Tailor, was found ten minutes later, curled up fast asleep in the shade of the town's giant cat statue.

    "She's pretty little still," said her father. "And this is a lot of excitement for her. I guess she just needed a catnap."

    "We didn't have too many problems," said police officer Nick Umall, after the festival closed. "It's a catnip festival; everybody's pretty happy. But we did have a few cases of public intoxication."

    --

    S. D. Youngren is the author of the fiction Web site "Rowena's Page," and of the paperback Rowena Gets a Life, which is comprised of stories from the site. She was born and raised in San José, California, and now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their cat, who indulges only in moderation.

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    Suggestions for Summer
    By: Sheila Moss Copyright 2005-2006


    With winter over and summer on its way, people are beginning to plan exactly how they will spend the long, lazy days and enjoy their favorite season. As usual, I have a few suggestions for you:

    EXERCISE:
      This is easily accomplished without fuss while mowing grass. Grass, as every one knows, grows one inch per minute in the summer.  That means that if you run as fast as you can while pushing the power mower in front of you, you can finish the yard at least 30 minutes before it is tall enough to mow again.

    PICNICS:  Picnics are a wonderful way for the family to spend time together in an unstructured manner.  If you do not have time to prepare a picnic basket, feel free to stop at a fast food place and grab a bag of burgers. Food just tastes better when enjoyed in the fresh air.  The ants, bees, and flies also enjoy eating outside where they can enjoy the food without hazardous obstructions, and they don't eat very much.

    PARKS:  Parks are a favorite way to enjoy the outdoors with a variety of different activities.  There are often hiking trails and playground equipment for the kids.  Be certain to pick up a tube of lineament on the way home to ease the aches from too much walking, band-aids for the kids knees,  and some ointment for mosquito bites.

    VACATIONS:  Most people try to plan some time off work during the summer season.  This gives a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the traffic jams while trying to reach your destination.  Further more, you can spend a fortune to sleep and eat and see numerous interesting sights, such as other tourists doing the same thing. You will have an opportunity to visit destinations far different than your home and to push, shove, and sweat with strangers.

    SWIMMING:  This is a favorite activity for summer because it keeps you cool during the heat and provides healthy activity at the same time. Water activities can be great exercise and you can have fun in the sun while getting a healthy tan.  If you do not have a tan to show off, cover those white legs with a towel and wear a jacket and sun hat and maybe no one will notice. If you do this correctly, only your ankles and the back of your neck will be sunburned.

    COOKOUTS:  Different foods are more readily available in the summer months, and a variety of foods can be prepared out of doors. Cooking over a charcoal fire gives food a taste not obtained with other types of cooking.  Be sure to watch the food carefully, and keep your cell phone handy to summon the fire department if the deck catches on fire. Dont worry about the charred and dry meat, just slop on the barbecue sauce and eat it anyhow.

    CAMPING:  Many families enjoy getting back to basics by spending time living in the great outdoors and enjoying getting back to basics.  Spending the night outside is far more enjoyable, however,  if it is not raining.  In the event of rain, we recommend moving to a motel.  While this is more expensive than camping, it is also much more comfortable than soggy sleeping bags and squishy tennis shoes, which tend to spoil the outdoor experience in a hurry. It also helps immensely with keeping the raccoons out of your food.

    SPORTS:  There are many summer sports that can be enjoyed by individuals or as team activities.  If tennis, golf and organized team sports no longer hold your interest, try some of the more extreme sports such as rubber rafting and bungee jumping.  You will have an experience to remember and the hospital bill will be worth every penny.

    And there you have it, suggestions for fun ways to spend your summer at home, on the road, or at far away locations. 

    Have fun...  And be sure to remember to send a postcard so we can see what we missed while setting in front of the TV under the air conditioner complaining about the heat.  

    Copyright 2005 Sheila Moss

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    going for a blackberry

    Pickin' Berries

    By: Angela Gillaspie © 2005 All Rights Reserved

    Summertime in Alabama brings a bounty of berries. You can see some of the best tasting blueberries, blackberries, huckleberries, dewberries, gooseberries, strawberries, raspberries, and many other kinds of berries growing wild on roadsides, clustered in wooded areas, climbing fences and in Uncle Clifton's garden.

    You'd be hard pressed to find anyone - child or adult - that never went berry picking. Could this be a remnant of our hunter-gatherer past or just the irresistible draw of plump delicious berries that grow right next to your driveway?

    I believe that berry picking is an important rite of passage for younguns. Only a mature person can go alone to fill a poke with berries and return unharmed because berry picking has a few risks.

    Picking blackberries, for example, can get you a painful bite or sting, plus the thorny vines hide snakes. Bees, ants, and chiggers lurk around every plump cluster of sweetness. I always took along my collie Chippy so that he would scare off all the creepy crawly critters. If Chippy was somewhere chasing chickens, I found that singing loudly while picking berries run off snakes (and other berry pickers).

    When I picked blackberries, I had a good two miles of red clay packed ditches to choose from. Berry bushes that grew on the side of the road didn't have as many snakes as the berries that grew in the woods. The berries were always fat and I couldn't resist sampling every fourth or fifth handful. I learned the hard way that I shouldn't just blindly pick berries and stuff them in my mouth. Stinkbugs taste awful and ants can really hurt your tongue when they sting.

    Picking blueberries is much different than picking blackberries. You have to pluck one blackberry at a time, avoiding thorns and being careful not to squish the fruit. Although blueberries grow near poison oak, it's much easier dodging poison oak than thorns, plus you can grab a handful of blueberries at a time because blueberries grow in clusters.

    What I hated most about picking blueberries were chigger bites. Chiggers are tiny larval mites that bite you in the most tightly clothed, sweaty, and unmentionable places possible. Chiggers love hanging around berry patches where they can feast (and torture) any mammal, amphibian, and reptile that comes to feast on berries.

    Wearing pants (tucked into boots), long sleeves and high collars and sweating to death deters chiggers from dining on your armpits and other areas. But I never bought into that and wore nothing more than my bathing suit top, shorts and flip-flops. In light of my flimsy clothing, Momma dusted me with sulfur powder before I set off berry pickin'. You could smell me a mile away.

    The most fearsome predator I encountered when berry picking was the one associated with strawberries. Since strawberries are usually grown in patches on someone's property and rarely found in the wild, the owner of the berry patch can get pretty nasty when he catches you poaching his berries.

    Berry poachers might be met with weapons, taunts, threats, and sometimes law enforcement, so if you get a hankerin' for strawberries that ain't yours, your best bet is to just go to the danged store and buy some.

    There were two reasons I picked berries: 1) for me, and 2) for Momma. When I picked berries for myself, I did it for a quick berry fix or to earn money for wax lips and atomic fireballs. When snacking, I'd only need a few handfuls and the size, shape, and appearance of the berries didn't matter. But if I were picking berries for profit, the berries had to be pretty, big and plentiful.

    I cut the top off an old plastic gallon-sized milk jug then headed out to fill it full of berries. A gallon of blackberries went for anywhere from a dollar to five bucks - big time money for a kid back in the 70's.

    When Momma wanted berries, the size and shape didn't matter, but the amount and ripeness did because recipes called for specific amounts and berries that weren't ripe were too sour. Sour berries made a sour Momma, and sweet berries made a sweet Momma. Blueberries went into pancakes and muffins, and blackberries were for cobblers, jam, and jelly.

    Now I'm blessed with wild blueberry and huckleberry bushes and blackberry vines on my property, along with Mulberry trees, black cherry trees, and muscadine vines. I'm planning on planting strawberries too, just so my kids will be well-rounded berry pickers - heaven forbid one of them being a berry poacher.

    Welsh novelist Richard Llewellyn best described blackberry flavor in this quote: "O, blackberry tart, with berries as big as your thumb, purple and black, and thick with juice, and a crust to endear them that will go to cream in your mouth, and both passing down with such a taste that will make you close your eyes and wish you might live forever in the wideness of that rich moment."

    Whether you pick berries from the side of the road or from Uncle Clifton's off-limits patch, it's hard to beat that great taste of danger, hard work and sweet sunshine all wrapped up into a thumb-sized berry so plump that it's about to burst with dark juicy goodness.

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    Cletus is Hot
    By: Angela Gillaspie © 2006 All Rights Reserved SouthernAngel.com

    cletus

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    June Bugs and May Flies
    By: Angela Gillaspie © 2006 All Rights Reserved angela gillaspie

    Groucho Marx said, "Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana."

    This illuminating quote is true for some, but I like to say, "Time flies when you're having fun; May Flies scare sisters."

    Time flies when you're having fun and while this is true for birthday parties and clearance sales at Wal-Mart, it seems to me that time travels fast for old fogies and slow for younguns.

    When I was small, time crawled by. School days were dull and endless, but summer break was exciting and endless. Each summer day I took my sweet time playing outside, collecting bugs, and irritating my sisters, but on the other hand, the time it took to do my chores and endure lots of punishment for irritating my sisters lasted forever.

    I had two sisters and as the middle child, I used sibling rivalry as a weapon - I could drive the fleas off a goat. It was a gift, really. Momma called me creative but my big sister Sherri called me something else I can't say here - maybe that's why she was often the target of my, um, creative talent.

    Every June, neither sister appreciated the painstaking effort I took to make them May Fly jewelry. My younger sister, Traci, was a baby, so I made her a bracelet, and made Sherri a necklace. I foraged for May Flies around porch lights, sorted out broken bugs, and then glued them on a string. Did I get a thank you? No. I only got crying from Traci (after she ate part of the bracelet) and yelling from Sherri.

    Momma hated it when we fought. She was an only child and couldn't understand why we pinched, threw forks, and pulled hair. She'd cry, "If I had a sister, I NEVER would've called her names or put peanut butter in her hair brush, and Angel! Why, why, WHY must you touch bugs? Stop bugging your sisters!"

    Sure, Momma, you would've flung cups and sharpened your fingernails into points just like your three precious daughters. Daddy never said much, but he understood the situation - he too caught bugs, and had nine sisters and two brothers to irritate, after all.

    One sizzling July day, Sherri went outside to sunbathe. With nothing pressing for me to get into at the moment, I followed her - just in case she fell or did something that I could tattle about. She smoothed out her towel, turned up the stereo, then sat down and lubed up with suntan oil. I ran and put on my swimsuit and headed to my favorite sunbathing spot out in the orchard. Sherri couldn't quite see me, but I could spy on her.

    She sang along to 'Muskrat Love' enjoying the oppressive heat and never sweating. This annoyed me because Momma said Southern Ladies didn't sweat - they glisten. I wasn't glistening out there amidst the fruit and bugs - I was sweating like a pig and swatting bugs like crazy. Southern Ladies didn't touch bugs, either. There was no way I could ever be a Southern Lady like Sherri - I enjoyed touching bugs! Since I couldn't be a lady, I might as well go June Buggin'.

    For those unfamiliar with June Buggin', it is the sport of capturing a June Bug (a big greenish beetle that doesn't bite, but stinks to high heaven), tying a thread to his back leg, and then laughing hysterically as it buzzes in circles, landing on anything close by, be it a shoulder, tree limb, or open mouth.

    The items needed for June Buggin' are a jar, strong but fine thread, and lightning-quick agility. Having only one of these, I ran back to the house and scavenged an empty mayonnaise jar and a spool of Momma's thread. I returned to my spot, chased down some June Bugs and put them in the jar. Then, like a pint-sized cowpoke, I used thread, my two big toes and a lot of bug mojo to get the bugs roped and tied. I went one step further and tied the June Bugs to a stick so handling them would be easier. It always tickled me to see those freaked-out June Bugs bobbling around. I laughed until I was belly-cramped and snot-clogged.

    I clamped my hand over my mouth, biting my finger trying to stifle my giggling so that Sherri wouldn't hear me. Ouch. Peeking down, I saw her flipping her hair back and forth to Elton John's 'B-B-Bennie and the Jets'; I knew she didn't hear me. I also wondered how she avoided hurting her head.

    I tended to my June Bug rodeo and waited for the right moment. As soon as Sherri went inside, I ran down to her sunbathing spot and wedged two June Bug sticks next to her suntan oil. Then I dashed back to my spot.

    Sherri returned sipping a Coke and plopped down on her beach towel. Moments later, two big green bugs attacked her Coke. She waved them off and they began buzzing around and fell right smack dab on the middle of her belly. She jumped up and screamed, saw strings and knew whodunit.

    "ANGEL!" she roared. For a second, I weighed the pros and cons of acting innocent versus running off. How'd she know I did it? More importantly, why didn't she laugh? June Buggin' is fun! Unfortunately Sherri wasn't appreciative of my bug wrangling and she came after me. I took off like a shot. After a good quarter mile, I climbed to the top of an oak tree and began laughing until I almost fell out of my tree.

    Being banned from playing with my sisters was a minor setback to my snail-paced summer. I had much creativeness to share, like when I went next door to visit my grandparents, Meme and Pappaw. They didn't have much money since they were on a pension, so instead of a private phone line like we had, they had a party line - which is a phone line shared by a bunch of different neighbors. Sometimes you could pick up the receiver and hear a couple of neighbors discussing so-and-so's explosive diarrhea or Uncle You-know's bad back and hemorrhoids.

    When a call came in through the party line for Meme, it had a different sounding ring than the ring that sounded when someone else got a call. I couldn't distinguish which was Meme's ring, but I helped her out as much as I could by answering the phone each time I heard it ring. It was so funny making raspberries and burping sounds while the neighbors talked. It wasn't very funny to Meme later on when her neighbors asked about the gas coming from her phone.

    As expected, I was banned from Meme's phone, and time barely moved when I had to face every party line person and apologize to him or her knowing that they knew that I was the community belcher.

    Fast or slow, time keeps on moving - never stopping, and nowadays when I see one of my four kids standing in a doorway, unable to decide whether he is coming, going, or trying to cool off the entire neighborhood, I'll try not to holler, "Shut that door, were you born in a barn?" But try to understand that he's in his own time zone, just scheming what trick to try next because time flies when you're having fun, May Flies scare sisters (not as bad as June Buggin', though).


    Angela Gillaspie is a programmer, writer, soccer coach, official bug catcher, and proud Southern Momma. When she ain't in front of the computer, she's cooking, avoiding housework, or on a ball field looking confused. She lives in Alabama with her husband and four younguns. Visit Angela's web site at www.SouthernAngel.com

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    What Summer Means To Me
    By: Bill Fullerton Copyright 2005-2006

    Summer means no school.

    Summer means having to mow your yard instead of going fishing or swimming. And to make matters worse, my tightwad father don't hardly pay me a thing for all that work. He claims riding around on a John Deere for a couple of hours isn't some kind of cruel and unusual punishment. And he also says he won't pay me time-and-a-half for hazardous duty. Someday I'm going to turn him in to the Federal Wage and Hour people like that ad I saw on TV said to do.

    Summer means fishing with the other guys, whenever I can sneak off that danged John Deere. Most of the time I go fishing with just Freddie and Mike, but sometimes Mike's kid brother Jerry tags along. He's a real pest, if you know what I mean.

    Jerry is an okay kid I guess, but like I said, he can be a real pest. Like when he scares all the fish by kicking the bait bucket or when he falls into the pond, accidentally on purpose. To tell you the truth, his falling in the pond is not that bad a deal. You see then we all have a good excuse to jump in, clothes and all, to save him.

    Then when we get home and our Mom's start yelling about getting our clothes wet, we can tell them the gospel truth, that we were just trying to save poor little Jerry from drowning to death in the pond. Boy if they ever find out Jerry swims like a fish, they'll kill us all.

    Summer means swimming. Sometimes we swim in the pool in Bob's backyard. That's okay except Bob's folks never want you to play King of the Hill on top of the diving board, or Bull-a-Gator tag in the pool.

    It also mean's having to be careful whenever you go into Bob's house so his Mom won't get mad at you for tracking in water or making some other mess.

    Swimming in the pond is more fun. There's a rope swing and the bottom's not really that muddy. The only problem is nobody's parents wants them swimming in the pond on account of how they're afraid we'll all drown or something. So we always have to stop at the filling station and rinse all the mud off before we go home.

    Summer means playing baseball, and playing baseball, and then playing some more baseball. Most of us don't really care for it that much, what with all the rules and coaches and umpires and all. But for some reason, our parents seem to get a kick out of the whole thing.

    All summer long they keep coming to game after game after game. And about all they do is sit in lawn chairs and talk to one another while swatting at mosquitoes and sweating like a bunch of rushing racehorses. Maybe they keep coming because they enjoy yelling at the coaches and umpires. They also do a lot of that.

    Summer means there's nothing to watch on TV except for reruns. There's also the Atlanta Braves and the Chicago Cubs, or even worse (if that's possible), golf. But personally, I'd rather watch the reruns.

    My father took me with him one time when he went to play golf. There's only one word for that game, BORING! I mean, all that happens is a bunch of grown-ups hit a ball, ride after it a long ways, and then hit it again. It was fun getting to drive the golf cart, but when it comes to the game, who cares?

    As for the Braves and the Cubs, well as the girls say, gag me with a spoon. The Cubs are all losers, except for Sammy Sosa, and the Braves are even worse.

    Sometimes my father gets me to watch a real baseball game with him, like say the Dodgers against the Giants. That's not too bad. Dad's no pro, but he seems to know a thing or two about baseball. And it's kinda fun sitting with him, drinking Cokes and talking baseball, even if he does keep kidding around and calling the teams the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants.

    But usually before the game is over, Mike or Freddie have come over, maybe with Bob and Jerry, and I tell Dad I want to go with them. Dad always says it's okay to leave, but sometimes it seems like he gets this funny, kinda sad look on his face.

    Summer means no school.

    The End


    Bill Fullerton has been a country store clerk, oil field roustabout, infantry soldier, paper pusher, out-of-work, a newspaper columnist, and is now trying to add published novelist to his resume. Check out how he's doing at: http://billsbilge.blogspot.com

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    map legs

    Thighway Robbery
    By: Leeuna Foster

    Yesterday the temperatures were in the mid-ninties, so I decided to shed my jeans, put on my bathing suit and go for a dip in the Nolichuckey River that winds its way past our front door.

    That's when I discovered that a horrible crime had been committed sometime during the long winter.

    When I looked at my reflection in the mirror I screamed like a panther. Somebody had stolen my legs!

    They had been replaced by a pair of legs that, I swear, belonged to a chicken at one time. The thighs were all lumpy, like cottage cheese and there were tiny blue and purple lines running every which way. It reminded me of a page out of a road Atlas.

    I ran screaming to my hubby and he immediately began to map out our vacation on my left calf.

    "These aren't my legs!" I sobbed. "I'm calling the Sheriff. Somebody broke in the house and took mine while I was asleep."

    "Now, calm down," Hubby advised. "they'll look fine once they're tanned."

    (The man never gets excited! I could tell him the house is burning to the ground and he would say, "Okay, let me get my shoes on and I'll go have a look.")

    "But honey, I can't walk around all summer with these lumpy, blue veined, chicken legs. There's no way that I am going outside until winter!"

    I pulled on my ragged sweat pants and slunk away to the kitchen, feeling like a scolded dog.

    My daughter would be back from the beach in the morning. I couldn't wait to tell her what had happened. I knew she would be sympathetic! She knows all about legs and how important they are. The next morning I was waiting on the porch when she drove up.

    I noticed it the moment she got out of the car!

    I should have known!

    She was wearing a pair of Daisy Duke shorts and MY LEGS! I recognized them right away 'cause they were tanned and shapely and there was nary a vein in sight! And not one lump of cottage cheese could be seen anywhere!

    Kids! Why do they think they can just take anything they see lying around, without even asking?

    I was all set to give her a good shaking and demand that she return them immediately and then I noticed how happy she looked. So I just sighed and decided not to let on that I knew she'd taken them.

    And, after all, the children WILL inherit everything we own, once Hubby and I are gone. Oh well! Might just as well let her enjoy her inheritance while she is young.

    And I'll have to admit, they did look great on her!

    Like Hubby says, these legs might not be all that bad once they get some sun.

    © Leeuna Foster, 2006

    Leeuna Foster has been writing for two decades. Her fiction and poetry have won several awards. She is also a regular contributer to StoryTime Tapestry and a syndicated columnist for ezinearticles.com. Her latest book, Hangin' With the Rednecks is now available in print. Contact her for deatils on how to purchase your copy...don't wait for the movie!

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    jes chillin'

    Vacations Not For Everyone
    By: Thomas Lynn Copyright 2005-2006

    Most people look forward to vacations. It's a kind of reward thing. They work hard all year, pay their bills, go to church on Sunday, and then take a week off to do whatever they want with no obligations or questions asked. No fuss, just pack the car and head out.

    Not so with writers.

    First of all, writers do other things besides write. They work hard, pay their bills, go to church on Sunday, and then try to steal a few hours each day to write their little verses or another chapter of the great American novel. Usually, early in the morning when spouses sleep and children dream. That's the quiet time, before the first rays of sunshine gently nudge nesting birds into song and a writer can collect his thoughts without distraction.

    An ideal vacation for a writer is one week alone with only pen and pad or computer for company. Bundle the family off to some exotic place.

    The writer will gratefully stay home, thank you.

    "But dear," says an anxious wife, "are you sure you'll be all right here by yourself?"

    "Of course I will, honey. Just go on up to Ohio and enjoy yourself and don't worry about me."

    "My sister, Agnes, could look in on you."

    "No, I don't want your sister, Agnes, looking in on me."

    "Suppose you get hungry."

    "I know where the can opener is, and I can always find a McDonald's if I run out of pork and beans."

    "Well, if you're sure you'll be OK."

    "I'll be fine."

    People, especially loved ones, often find it difficult to understand the need for a writer to commune with himself (or herself but let's concentrate on guy writers here.). To rattle around in an empty house at any hour of the day or night is a real treat, and to sit before a keyboard engrossed in a developing story plot, sometimes barefoot or just simply . . . bare, can be sheer ecstasy. Especially if a protagonist is able to work out of a knotty literary tangle and THE END appears appropriately enough at the completion of another masterpiece.

    Striding to the imaginary podium to accept his award, our writer will offer the usual thanks to his agent and publisher but most of all to the wife and kiddies for their vacation in Ohio.

    But what happens when vacation time rolls around again and our guy writer does not have an ongoing project, no manuscript in progress, no publication deadline and no creative thought buzzing around in his beehive? There's no way out! He must accompany the family to that exotic place for an entire week away from home.

    "You'll love it, dear," the wife coos. "You can swim or fish or just lie in the sun and relax."

    "Suppose I don't want to swim or fish or lie in the sun and relax?"

    "Now, now, don't be a grouch. It'll be good for you." And with that pronounced edict, he realizes no choice in the matter. It's off to the beach for a week in the sun ... swimming, fishing, relaxing.

    "Not if I can help it," he grouches. Old habits and routines are not easily abandoned. So while the family packs the tanning oils and inflatable toys, he gathers his lap-top, the latest Writer's Digest, and a pair of U.S. Air Force Rayban sunglasses. "I might have to sit in their sun, but it'll be on my terms."

    Of course, there are places where writers may pursue their craft while simultaneously retaining a certain amount of privacy and seclusion. Writing colonies abound from Vermont to Key West and even California providing lodging far from the hubbub of intruding civilization. Facilities range from rustic log cabins to cabanas and modern lodge retreats amid serene surroundings, complete with living necessities. Unfortunately, a certain amount of suspicion exists on the part of some wives at the prospect of their husbands residing in solitude for an entire week, unchaperoned.

    "I'm not sure it's a good idea," she will say. "I've heard there are all sorts of carrying-on in those places."

    "What kind of carrying-on? Everyone goes there to get away from people."

    "Just the same, I hope you won't be exposed to a lot of smut."

    "If you're thinking about that writer's conference in Tampa, it wasn't my fault. How was I to know that Trixie Hottotrot had been elected poet of the month by the Florida Poetry Society?'

    "All I know is, four girls from my Red Hat Society saw that newspaper photo in the Gazette. I still may have to resign from the Chapter."

    Now, this is where our writer must keep a low profile and assume the attitude that he really doesn't relish the idea of spending a whole week alone much as a hermit. It's actually more of a duty than pleasure but it could greatly benefit his writing career and enhance his literary reputation.

    I don't know. She might buy it.

    If not, there's always the beach . . . swimming, fishing, relaxing.


    Tom Lynn is currently retired and thus unemployed. He writes from Lawrenceville, Georgia, and currently pens a humor column, Dear Bubba, for the Oxford So And So, a southern magazine from Oxford, Mississippi. More of his work may be viewed on his website www.thomaslynn.net.

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    foggy morning

    Summer Passing
    By: Thomas Lynn Copyright 2005-2006

    When once-green leaves turns to yellow and brown
    And the late-blooming blossom slips into its gown,
    The temporal reign of summer winds down.

    Forest paths rustle in the rushing wind
    To gather its frocks before the season end;
    The lyric sounds are fond farewells to bid a passing friend.

    Summer passes like a shadow slipping by.
    From mountains, plains and seas, the cry
    Is heard and all wingéd things do southward fly.

    Lovers pause to share embrace amid the changing scene;
    And little note that dandelions are nowhere to be seen,
    Nor bluebirds sing a cheery tune as in their old routine.

    Crawly things that creep beneath the brittle aged reed
    Must needful be cautious and of tremor take heed
    For hummers and hunters abound in the weed.

    The fruit and harvest grain lies safely in the till
    For man and beast alike throughout the wintry chill;
    Frosty castles glaze each window with abandoned will.

    Despair not for that which will surely come and go;
    It is the fading of the lily that tends to hurt us so
    Yet somewhere lies the breath of life beneath the fallen snow.

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    Aviation History
    By Carson Cockman

    We all know and revere the name of the Wright Brothers - Those fearless pioneers of Aviation without whom the invention of the stewardess would never have occurred.

    No! Not Orville and Wilbur! I mean Bart and Cletus, their cousins from North Carolina.

    It is a little known fact that Wilbur and Orville had two cousins that lived on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

    We, here in the Tar Heel state, know the truth about the fact that the history books do not mention the REAL inventors of the flying machine. I think it is high time to make these facts known. My crack research department has uncovered the REAL TRUTH and we have the crushed empty beer cans to prove it.

    Let us return to yesteryear when men were men and women were women and income tax agents had not been invented yet.

    The year was 1899.

    Young Wilbur and Orville had been sent to visit their Uncle Freemont and Aunt Pearl on the outer banks. Their parents had sent them there because the two brothers had been caught playing with their propellers in their tree house, with a couple of local Dayton girls. It was deemed best if they got out of town for a while, until the local Judge and father of the two sisters cooled off.

    It was here that the fateful meeting between the cousins occurred.

    Bart and Cletus Wright were two highly inventive boys. They were also bored out of their ever-loving skulls because if you lived at Kitty Hawk in the 1800's you pretty much watched the sea gulls and dreamed of getting the heck onto the mainland. The barrier islands were desolate places with more wind than Congress but with even less to do...much like it is today.

    It was Bart and Cletus who introduced Orville and Wilbur to the beauty and elegance of the graceful dips and doodles of the seagull in flight. It was Bart and Cletus who introduced them to the simplicity of wing warping by teaching them how to build a kite from some driftwood and some waxed paper. It was Bart and Cletus who introduced the two Ohio cousins to the Skiveyton twins.

    Unfortunately, Orville and Wilbur were caught with them getting their kite twine wrapped between the dunes.

    However, the die had been cast. Their fates had been sealed. They were set upon the path of their destiny. They were shipped off to their other Uncle's home in Tennessee.

    Fast forward to 1903.

    The Dayton boys returned to the islands to try their bicycles. They had become bicycle mechanics and brought their contraption to the beach to try to renew their respective relationships with the Skiveyton twins. They pedaled their hearts out up and down the beach in a vain attempt to attract the attention of the two girls.

    Unfortunately, the twins knew how to play "hard to get" and were blatantly unimpressed.

    Enter our two young men of True Destiny.

    Bart and Cletus had been so bored for all those years; they had built the world's biggest kite from driftwood and waxed paper. The two knew they had the inside track on the race for the Skiveytons.

    Orville and Wilbur discovered their secret invention and stole it. They took it to the top of Kill Devil Hill where in a desperate attempt to pick up chicks, they flung it and themselves repeatedly off the crest of the dune.

    Finally, on the twelfth of December nineteen hundred ought three, they thought to actually do those two things TOGETHER and history was made.

    In a truly ironic twist of fate, Wilbur and Orville's plan actually failed.

    While they were getting sand packed into bodily crevices by sticking the landing, so were Bart and Cletus and the Skiveyton twins.

    We will learn more about the TRUTH of Aviation history next time, when we uncover unknown details about Leonardo DaVinci's Air Screw.

    "I think, if this screw instrument is well made, that means from linen starched (to block its pores) and is turned rapidly, then this said screw will find its female in the air and climb upwards." With this brief description, Leonardo da Vinci had envisioned the forefather of the modern helicopter and garnered a date with a chick named Mona.

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    carson cockman

    Camp Weenie The Pooh Pooh
    By Carson Cockman

    There are campsites for normal humans resting on the end of a steep shored peninsula of the park. These campsites have all the amenities. There are 33 fine pea-gravel areas with each their own grill. The well-maintained drives are large enough to accommodate 38-foot recreational vehicles as well as smaller campers and tents. There is drinking water available and the bathrooms and showers are centrally located near the vending machines.

    As you can see, there are all the comforts of home. Friendly deer come to nibble goodies from outstretched hands. Eager camp supervisors welcome you each evening when they come by each campsite to register you and get the five-dollar fee. There is a very well appointed boat access area, a large pond with fishing, paddle boating and swimming. They even supply kindling. There is another camping area for Scouts and church groups. It is much larger. The group areas are more separated. The bathroom facilities are smaller and further away from the campsites. I call this area Camp Weenie the Pooh Pooh.

    We camp in the group area because my wife and I are not quite your normal human beings. We disdain comfort. We thrive on adventure. We only live five miles from the park and know the secret ways to escape after closing time, should things go wrong or we need emergency rations of ding-dongs.

    Please do not misunderstand me. I enjoy the state parks, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the beautiful mountain peaks and the cascading roadside waterfalls of the Carolinas. However, if you are a camper of my skill and quality you may run into a Camp Weenie the Pooh Pooh, yourself.

    Our adventure began with our arrival at the parking area. We saw a small group of adolescents worrying a harried camp leader like a pack of dingoes after a prime iguana. They were heading for a site that would surely keep them from even knowing we were there. Great! We could pretend we were Daniel and Rebecca Boone spending our first night in the newly discovered country. Do not try to tell me you have not done something similar. If you have not tried it, you should.

    We packed in our supplies. I say "we" but by the time I loaded up my wife Debbie, she looked like Festus' mule on Gunsmoke. Debbie weighs a hundred pounds, soaking wet. I know this because after I loaded her, she asked for a swig of water from my canteen. I casually unscrewed the cap and as she lifted her head to drink, the canteen slipped and I nearly choked her. She was soaking wet. Whoa, mule!

    I, of course, carried the important equipment. I trekked in the portable television (one would not want to miss the important sporting events), the reclining lawn chairs and the cache of staple supplies that every experienced camper knows to bring into the wilderness:

    Ranch flavored Doritos, two liter bottles of Mountain Dew cola, Cheese Whiz and hot dogs and all the fixings.

    We surveyed the area until Debbie could not go any farther. Our campsite was two hundred feet from the bathroom. She had cleverly led us in a circle until she was sure she had just the right spot. She has the real pioneer spirit.

    I can envision those hardy pioneers who crossed the high Sierras in Conestoga Wagons. Those frontier men who had to stop the wagon train every mile and a half to find a suitable rest area for those small-bladdered frontier women. That is why they ran out of food and resorted to cannibalism at Donner Pass. It is a wonder that California isn't still inhabited by tribes of Wild Indians.

    Camp set up was uneventful, except for the fact that I drove a tent spike through my Air Jordan Basketball shoes. I spent the next several hours walking to a sound like this:

    Clump ... phooosh! Clump ... phooosh! Fortunately, I did not lose any toes.

    As daylight waned into twilight, we started the fire. I scavenged all our wood from the kindling shed. Why waste effort in the wild? Survival means using your resources most efficiently.

    Next, I cut limbs from a nearby bush and poked the end through some hot dogs. Little did we know it was a small unassuming bush that was thinking in its small unassuming way about revenge against the human who lopped its limbs. We had baked potatoes in tin foil and chili warmed by the glowing embers. We looked forward to playing the pioneer newlywed game later.

    The hot dogs had a piquant, yet subtle outdoorsy taste upon which we both commented. I ate all but one of the franks. Debbie is a light eater as well as knowing the meanings of the words "Gee" and "Haw".

    After watching the wheeling stars for a while, we retired to our canvas boudoir. It was very dark. The only sounds we heard were the sounds of the dying, crackling fire and the slap of our hands as we fended off the mosquito equivalent of the taking of Iwo Jima.

    Just as we were cuddly, it struck. My stomach cramped like it was in a sleeper hold by Bubba the Barbarian.

    There is nothing that says I love you so much as a raging urge to dance the Texas two-step. I frantically exited the tent. Into the dark night I staggered with my pigeon-toed gait. Every two steps . . . clump . . . phoosh! Clump . . . phoosh. I groaned the groan of a truly desperate man upon whom Montezuma was about to reek revenge. So quickly I had left the tent that I lost my bearings. The bathrooms were surely just over . . . Thunk!

    I never saw the low hanging limb that knocked me flat on my back. I saw stars, then ground, stars, then ground as I rolled downhill and flopped like a carp into the cold waters of Lake Norman. Fortunately, cold water tends to tighten Montezuma's sphincter muscles. I dragged myself from the water and began crawling back up the hill. Slowly I inched my way up until I saw a dim light among the trees. It must be the bathroom! I also noticed a muttering almost monotonous droning. Just as I stepped through the bushes, a particularly painful cramp occurred. I ran screaming toward the bathrooms.

    At the climax of the ghost story that the camp leader told the children. I burst from the dark bushes screaming like Homer " the madman" Stigpicker.

    I charged through their camp wild-eyed and looking like the Swamp Thing. Yells of terror erupted as children and camp leader vanished into the woods like Bambi's mother teaching Bambi and Thumper to run from Mad Mister Bear.

    Again, fortunately for me, none of them were armed and the bathrooms were just on the other side of their camp.

    I guess you can see that I tend to find the silver in every cloud lining. It is a character trait I have developed due to the opportunities in which I frequently find myself. Most people who found themselves in the opportunities I have would likely carry rabbits' feet, horseshoes and religious icons blessed by the Pope himself. I just shrug and count my many blessings ... Like the blessing of having a Doctor who met me at the Emergency Room in the early morning hours who just happened to know what remedy to use on a man who had eaten seven hot dogs from a poison sumac branch.


    Carson's bio: "By the Grace of God, I am 52 and from the South and have been married for thirty-four years. I am not buck-toothed, uncouth nor inbred. However, my wife says I am as clueless as any man can be. It logically follows that my work should reach fifty percent of the possible worldwide audience."

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    gertie

    Gertie's Got Answers That'll Make Y'all Go, "Hmm."
    By: Gertrude Butterbean © 2006 SouthernAngel.com All Rights Reserved

    I got an email the other day with a list of questions that folks didn't rightly know. Well, since I know everything, I got all yer answers. Just sit right back and read on, now.

    Q: Why do people constantly return to the refrigerator with the hopes that something new to eat will have materialized?
    A: Because they're men, bless their hearts.

    Q: On electric toasters, why do they engrave the message 'one slice'?
    A: Because many years ago, this hungry feller thought that he'd cut toasting time by putting two slices in each slot, well, at least that's what the fireman said afterward.

    Q: Why do people keep running over a string a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, then reach down, pick it up, examine it, then put it down to give their vacuum one more chance?
    A: They're just curious ... and too lazy to walk into the next room and throw it away.

    Q: Why is it that no plastic garbage bag will open from the end you try first?
    A: It's just another one of them right wing conspiracies, doncha know.

    Q: How do those dead bugs get into closed light fixtures?
    A: Like most politicians, they crawl out from the dark blindly following the light (hot air?) and then end up too close, thusly dying with other invertebrates.

    Q: Considering all the lint you get in your dryer, if you kept drying your clothes would they eventually just disappear?
    A: Yes, if you wore the same clothes every day. This ain't likely because we get too fat/thin/old and buy new clothes, putting the old clothes back in our closets to wear when we lose that 5/30/50 pounds or when rhinestone studs come back in fashion - just in case.

    Q: When we are in the supermarket and someone rams one of our ankles with a shopping cart & then apologizes for doing so, why do we say 'Its okay'? It isn't okay, so why don't we say, 'That hurt, you stupid idiot'?
    A: Because it ain't good manners - no self respectin' Southerner would dare do such a thing. Besides, we normally would get their car tag number to find out where they live, and then send our kids over to their house three times a day selling school fundraiser crap.

    Q: Why is it that whenever you attempt to catch something that's falling off the table you always manage to knock something else over?
    A: How else would you get any exercise?

    Q: In winter, why do we try to keep the house as warm as it was in summer when we complained about the heat?
    A: Because y'all are snow birds. No one in their right minds would keep the house 98º. We Southerners have a layer of bacon grease fat to keep us warm in the winter when it gets down in the low 60s ... brrr.

    Q: Why do women always ask questions that have no right answers?
    A: Because men don't understand big words. Duh.

    Q: Why do old men wear their pants higher than younger men?
    A: Older fellers fear gravity - plus they usually have the "double bellies." One belly is above the belt, while the other is below. Pulling their britches up makes them think they appear slimmer, I reckon.

    Q: Why are the needy only thought of during the holidays? Aren't they just as needy throughout the rest of the year?
    A: Of course. There's just more guilt during the holidays.

    Q: Why is it that men can react to broken bones as 'just a sprain' and deep wounds as 'just a scratch', but when they get the sniffles they are deathly ill 'with the flu' and have to be bedridden for weeks?
    A: Because they usually break bones and have deep wounds around other men, and when they have the sniffles, they're around women.

    Q: How come we never hear any father-in-law jokes?
    A: Because most of them are at the golf course, bar, or office and no one notices them long enough to make a joke.

    Q: Why do men forget everything and women remember everything?
    A: That's a fairy tale. Just ask a man the score of the Auburn vs. Alabama game back in '93.

    Q: Do Chinese people get hungry an hour after they eat American food?
    A: Nope, but they do get a nice musical bout of gas, though.

    Q: If at first you don't succeed, shouldn't you try doing it like your wife told you to?
    A: Of course, and if that fails, then read the directions.

    That was real educational - glad I could help! Y'all take care now, ya hear?

    Click here to subscribe to Gertie's reminder!


    Angel's Granola (Recipe)
    By: Angela Gillaspie

    If you use unsalted sunflower seeds, then add 3/4 teaspoon of salt or so to taste. This makes about 10 or so servings, but I never counted. This is great to put in a big bowl and munch on while watching Hee Haw reruns. You can also put it on top of ice cream, yogurt, and fruit salad. Make sure you look at the end of this recipe for all the ingredient idears you can try.

    3 cups rolled oats
    1 cup slivered almonds (or sliced)
    1 cup salted sunflower seeds
    1/3 cup light brown sugar
    1/4 cup toasted wheat germ (un-toasted is fine, too)
    1/3 cup honey or maple syrup (pure maple syrup, not Aunt Jemima, now)
    1/3 cup vegetable oil
    1 cup dried cherries, or your favorite dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, blueberries, cherries, etc.)

    Preheat oven to 250º. In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, and brown sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together honey and oil. Pour over oat mixture and stir. I mix the ingredients by hand, squeezing them together to make sure all the nuts and oats are covered. Pour granola over one large cookie sheet or two small cookie sheets. Toast for one hour or so, until granola is *GBD (*golden brown delicious). Stay close and don't start playing on the computer and lose track of time because you will need to stir the granola every 15 minutes to achieve an even golden brown color. When the granola has achieved the GBD stage, remove it from the oven and transfer to a large bowl. Add dried cherries and mix until evenly distributed. Store in airtight container.

    Now that you got the basic recipe, here are some idears to make it jes' right for you!

    Try adding a dab or two of these flavors to the dry ingredients before mixing. You are welcome to add more - it's your granola!
    * Ground cinnamon
    * Ginger
    * Nutmeg
    * Lemon, orange, or lime zest
    * Any other old spice flavoring you got a hankerin' for.

    There's a whole lot of dry ingredients you can add, too, namely these. Start at 1/3 cup and add more as you go:
    * Substitute dark brown sugar for the light brown for a sharper molasses taste
    * Flake coconut
    * Sesame seeds
    * Shelled pumpkin seeds (or unshelled - it's your choosin'
    * Pecan pieces (or halves)
    * Pine nuts
    * Walnut pieces

    And yup, there's some wet ingredients you can add to the honey/oil mixture - make sure you go easy on them and start a 1/2 a teaspoon at a time:
    * sorghum molasses
    * vanilla
    * lemon flavoring
    * almond extract

    You can leave out the wheat germ, too. I add it 'cause it's rich in protein, B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, carbohydrates, and fiber - plus I got a house full of younguns.

    ***Big IMPORTANT Note***: if you go crazy and add a lot more dry ingredients, then you may need to add a bit more honey and oil.

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    gone fishin'

    Fishing Shows vs. Fishin' Shows
    By: Newt Harlan

    I occasionally watch "Fishing Shows" on television, you know the ones where some professional fisherman or some other kind of celebrity goes out fishing all over the country and catches a bunch of fish while the camera records everything.

    They show up freshly showered and clean-shaven wearing $200 sunglasses and starched and ironed fishing uniforms straight out of the Cabella's or Bass Pro Shop catalogue. They each have 4 or 5 of those $400 bait-casting reels mounted on $300 custom rods and a couple of boxes of high dollar lures. Then, they take off in all kinds of weather and always seem to head directly to the right spot. It makes no difference if the wind's blowing so hard that there's white caps in their live wells and a pouring rain or the sun is shining down on water that looks like a picture post card. When these guys pull up in their boat and cast out, wham - they get a big strike on the first cast and land a near trophy fish. Then they turn that sucker loose. And they do it over and over for the whole thirty-minute show - well thirty minutes less about fifteen minutes for the commercials - making a perfect cast every time, never missing a strike or hooking up with some kind of trash fish, and never even taking time out for a cold one or Vienna sausage and crackers.

    I'll bet y'all are like me and for the most part, find all this about as believable as Alice In Wonderland or professional wrasslin' ... I guess that's why they call them "Fishing Shows" instead of "fishin' shows."

    Now if these were fishin' shows, folks like you and me would show up after just getting off work or nursing a bad hangover, wearing a three day beard and a pair of Wal-Mart special sunglasses and wrinkled old pants and a ragged tee shirt or old work shirt (what we usually call fishin' clothes). They'd probably have one Ambassadeur 6000 or other reel that cost around $75 mounted on an All Star rod (their "good" rod) with a $30 Zebco 808 on an Academy Special rod for a backup.

    If the wind was too strong or it was raining very much, these real fishermen would adjourn to the beer joint to reminisce about past, more successful fishin' trips.

    If the weather was right, they'd take off and then remember the ice chest of beer they left sitting on the dock and have to turn around and go back for it. They'd start out again and after stopping to retrieve a blown off cap and having a big-assed argument over which fishin' spot to try first, they'd finally decide on one and eventually pull up to the spot to fish.

    One of them would cast out and hook up with a fish and the other would get so excited that he'd sling his rod too hard and end up with a backlash (professional over-run or bird nest in fishin' talk). By the time he got the backlash untangled, his partner would have 4 or 5 fish in the boat, measured as legal and on ice. Of course none of them would be trophy class, but you'll notice I said, "on ice" - catch and release don't apply here - these boys are after meat. By the time fisherman number two got cast out, the fish would have quit biting and they'd have to crank up and move to another spot.

    On a good day they'd manage to catch their limit of keeper fish and find time to have a cold one or two and a snack along with some good camaraderie and male bonding. On a bad day they'd make a "water haul" and wouldn't catch a damn thing, get into a fist fight back at the dock over who's fault it was and wind up not speaking to each other for six months - That's the difference between "Fishing Shows" and fishin' shows.


    By Newt Harlan, who's writing appears through special arrangements with the Luflin Home for the Aged, Infirm and Bewildered.

    Newt isn't allowed to have a website or blog, but if you'd like to read more of his drivel in a newsletter form, send your e-mail address to: "newt281 at earthlink dot net". Of course, you should use standard address form unless you are a spammer and the use the address as printed.

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    all this and a bag of chips!

    My Best Summer Picnic
    By Cathy Gregor

    As I think back for a wonderful summer experience as a child to write about, there were none. No wonderful memories of catching lightning bugs, going to a fishing hole, picnics or anything else that other children have fond memories of doing.

    We had a very different upbringing, rigid, religious and unforgiving.

    I remember when I was four years old and left a bag of chips out side and my father made me get out of bed and go outside to retrieve them. I was terrified of the dark and begged to wait till morning to find them in the light. Daddy said "no", opened the door, put on the porch light for me and said not to come back till I found the chips and I had only two minutes to "do so". As he slammed the door I heard my mother crying for me, and my brother screaming "let me go because I left them out there".

    Afraid to even step off that lighted porch into that vast darkness, I cried with every step I took. The tears flowed because I could not remember where my brother and I left the bag of chips and I was petrified to go into that darkness by myself.

    I took another step hoping that my Daddy would relent and go with me so I would not have to do this alone, but when I started back to the door it was closed and I heard Daddy yelling inside that he was teaching me "responsibility": what ever that word meant.

    It felt like hours to find the bag of chips; eventually I did and ran so fast to the porch light. I felt so proud myself, even though I had the hiccups from being so frightened of the dark, but doing what my Daddy wanted.

    When I ran up the cement steps to the light I fell and scraped my knees, but held on to that bag of chips with my little hands with all my might. Bleeding and crying I ran to the door to get inside the house, but my Daddy said "it took you over two minutes so you have to sleep outside tonight". He then shut off the porch light and I was left in total darkness.

    I was crying so loud and screaming to please "let me in", that the next door neighbor came outside and called to me. I ran to her sobbing and told her what happened and that I had the chips. Mary took me inside, wiped my tears and made up a "picnic" for me right on her living room floor. She fixed me all sorts of goodies and we played games and I had the best summer picnic of my life. Mary also called the police who came (which I found out years later) and kept me busy with our picnic. I slept over with her and she tucked me into bed and gave me a big hug and kiss -- but I still would not give up my bag of chips cause I had to show Daddy the next day that I found them.

    Note: Mary is still alive with Alzheimer's in a home; I go read to her even though she doesn't remember that child she helped long ago. But I will always remember and love her.


    Cathy Gregor's writing appears through special arrangements with the Luflin Home for the Aged, Infirm and Bewildered.

    Cathy has a website www.sexandthekitty.com to promote adoption of older animals with hilarious stories of their escapes. She writes humor and also real life stories as well.


    Not Fit for Hermit Crabs or Robots
    By: Mark Berryman

    The summer is upon us, and with it comes certain inherent risks and hazards. Those hazards include the possibility of heat stroke, heat exhaustion, sunburn, and having to see lumpish people wearing skimpy bathing suits made of microthread and gauze. The biggest hazard for Southerners, of course, is having to listen to people utter the phrase "It's not the heat, it's the humidity!" which will be used approximately 4,000 times daily throughout the steamy summer months.

    But just who was the first person to use that line? According to pop culture, the line "It's not the heat, it's the humidity" can be attributed to Warren Hymer in the 1939 movie Mr. Moto on Danger Island. The primary reason that statement is a hazard is simple. After hearing "the phrase" countless times, many sweat-soaked and irritable Southerners are a walking time bomb waiting to explode on the next person who uses it.

    In sunny Arizona, it's just the opposite. You are more likely to hear, "It's a dry heat. It will sneak up on you before you realize it." There could be something to it because while living in Arizona, I hardly remember sweating at all, unlike here in Georgia where I sweat in my sleep. I do not, on the other hand, ever remember the heat "sneaking up on me."

    So both too much humidity and too little humidity will kill you, but not all humidity. It must be something like cholesterol. Some cholesterol is necessary but too much or none at all is a bad thing. Then they tell us there is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol but no one really knows which one is which because the medical field changes its mind about cholesterol about every other week.

    This takes us back to the question "Just how much humidity is a good thing?"

    According to the Hermit Crab Association a proper level of humidity is 75-80 percent, which would seem to make this area an ideal place for hermit crabs. This fact in itself is odd because current census data shows very few hermit crabs actually residing in the northeast Georgia area.

    If you are reading this column, but you are not a hermit crab, the news is not so good. The recommended humidity for humans is somewhere between 30-60 percent. In Georgia, the humidity actually falls into that range approximately 1.3 days per year. The remaining 363.7 days the humidity is somewhere in the "sticky car seat cover sweat" range, which could explain why the hermit crab population is so low. The humidity is actually too high for them. Humans are not the only ones who prefer humidity in the 30-60 percent range. Robots seem to prefer this range as well.

    According to information on the InTech website, when the range is between 30-60 percent relative humidity, it acts as a lubricant and minimizes the formation of microdebris in robots. Robots last longer at low humidity but are less effective because of wobble and degraded performance.

    While wobble may be good for Weebles, it can wreak havoc on robots. The Bureau for Reporting Robot Accidents and Fatalities has reported robot wobble as the number two cause of robot fatalities in America. The number one cause is Terminator reruns. Humidity is also bad for making divinity- that white but sometimes food colored poofy candy seen only at Christmastime which gives you a three day sugar rush after eating just one piece. At least that's what my mother, the world's authority on making divinity, says.

    Of course, weather experts also say the humidity makes it feel colder in the winter. Mother Nature really must enjoy playing cruel tricks on those who reside in the south. What I want to know is how she knows when to make the switch? When the thermometer turns all red during those 95°+ days of July and August, relax. You have nothing to fear from the heat. After all, it's not the heat, it's the humidity.


    A staff writer and humor columnist for a small weekly newspaper in Northeast Georgia, Mark Berryman writes about life, relationships, odd news stories and just about anything else that comes to mind. His website can be found at markberryman.com, and he also has a new blog (although not always humorous) at marksworld.markberryman.com.

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    I Want a Real Dream Vacation
    By: Brenda C. Birmelin

    I have the greatest vacation idea ever. Next summer I'm going to spend my vacation in a nudist colony. My plan has nothing to do with looking at anybody's naked body or having someone ogle mine. It's simply a matter of logistics and making a vacation be what it should be--a vacation.

    I'd get rid of one chore: pre-trip shopping. Instead of spending two weeks loading up on new sneakers, sandals, drip dry clothing, and luggage, I'd stop by Wal-mart and pick up a pair of sunglasses, and a giant-sized bottle of sunscreen.

    Packing would be a snap. Any grocery sack could hold two towels and my sunscreen. I've been chewing over whether I'd need makeup. Since the other happy campers are going to have to endure my wrinkles from the neck down they might as well put up with the ones from the neck up.

    For years I've come home from vacation with a trunk full of fermenting laundry, including mildewed sneakers that have to marinate in bleach for a week before I can bring them into the house for scrubbing. Since the clothes fermented in the suitcases, I have to drag all the luggage out to the yard to air in the sunshine. By the time I've caught up with the laundry, my vacation is a washed out memory.

    The best part of this glorious dream vacation would be my homecoming. Imagine! Just two towels to wash and an empty sunscreen bottle to toss in the trash or drop in the recycling basket. If I jet to my vacation destination, I'll really be a sure winner in the airport security check and luggage identity lottery.

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    Scorched
    By: John Brazell © 2005 All Rights Reserved

    My lovely and long suffering wife was born into the wrong family.

    When the outside temperature exceeds eighty degrees, it's too hot for her. The stork should have dropped her off at a north Anchorage igloo, named her Icy Ann and left a two-year supply of frozen Pabulum.

    If Michael Moore wants to do an honest piece of work, he should make a film entitled, "Steamed at Fahrenheit 90º - The hot times of an Eskimo trapped in a Texan's body.

    She'll gladly come out of the closet - assuming you've got refrigerated air and an icepack.

    After the last hot and dry spell, our AC hiccupped several times and screamed, "Stop kilowatting me!" We make as many trips to the thermostat - my move, her move - as the water closet. Well, almost. The adjusting thingamabob has her sweaty palms and my frozen finger prints etched in the cheap plastic. It changes directions more often than the Texas legislature.

    We were both born and raised (yeah, raised) in Texas but I don't recall when I first felt hot and sweaty. She noticed it when she first got diaper rash.

    It's not that I like hot weather. But I've adjusted, somewhat. As an eight-year-old I pulled off my shirt and shoes, played in the sun, and assumed the entire world was like Texas in August - scorched earth. Life in THE south was like boiling frogs - put them in a pan, turn up the flame a little at a time and they're well done before they have time to react. SB always refused to get into the pan.

    Yesterday morning at 7:30 or so, we went for a two-mile walk. The temperature hovered around 85 degrees - silently working its way to triple digits - with humidity contesting for the same score. Each of us met the minimum dress requirements for decency on the golf course and in most public places.

    Afterward she hurried into the house, placed a cold wet towel around her neck, and got (un)attired in something more suitable for Hippy Hollow, a full body-tan beach just up the lake. I went to prepare for the loco tree trimmers scheduled for later in the day.

    The happy trio of Mexican tree-acrobats arrived in mid-afternoon when the sun was firing rays through the ozone like a laser cutting through steel. I sat in the shade wearing my summer uniform - ugly cap, t-shirt, shorts, flips (or flops) and a pint of sunscreen - pointing and grunting instruction to the indefatigable hombres.

    Clothed in jeans, long-sleeved shirts and ankle-high boots, they laughed, chattered and cut their way around the yard. Fifteen minutes into the job they appeared to have just swum the Rio Grande, again. Enough moisture (sweat) dripped onto the lawn to grow the grass another quarter inch.

    SB joined me toward the end - in the shade of course - and we watched and (I) talked.

    "Si, senora, my dear hot-bloodied lovely, look out there. That's the way Mother Nature intended us to stay cool - with sweat. We should wear more clothes and turn up the thermostat. We should do what the Mexicans do."

    She stared and shrugged.

    "Did you hear me? We should do what the Mexicans do."

    "Yeah sure, go make a pitcher of frozen margaritas."

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    gertie and clyde jr love watermelon!

    Gertie's Got Melon Recipes
    By: Gertrude Butterbean © 2006 All Rights SouthernAngel.com

    It's too hot to cook and you got all them purty mushmelons (cantaloupes), watermelons, and honeydew melons just sitting there on yer counter. Well, get yer knife cuz I got some recipes that'll fix you right up!

    First, let's try: Gingered Melon

    3/4 cup water
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel (set aside)
    4 teaspoons lemon juice
    1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
    4 cups watermelon, cantaloupe, and/or honeydew balls
    1/3 cup flaked coconut

    For syrup, in a small saucepan combine water, sugar, lemon juice, and ginger. Bring to boiling over medium heat; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in lemon peel. Cool to room temperature. Strain, if desired.

    Pour syrup over melon balls. Stir gently to coat. Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours. To serve, spoon melon balls and syrup into 6 dessert dishes. Sprinkle with coconut. Makes 6 servings.


    Next, I got something real fancy: Antipasto Platter with Prosciutto and Melon (in redneck lingo this is the same as: "not pasta platter with smoked ham and mushmelon")

    For different but good twist on the classic prosciutto-melon (smoked ham-mushmelon) paring, try puttin' together cantaloupe (mushmelon) and honeydew melon balls.

    8 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto (or smoked ham)
    Lettuce leaves
    2 cups melon balls or cubes
    1 cup pineapple cubes
    1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
    2 tablespoons olive oil (I used bacon grease)
    2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (I used seasoned rice vinegar)
    2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese (this made it smell kinda like a fart, but Clyde just loves it)

    Roll up each prosciutto/ham slice and arrange on a large lettuce-lined serving platter. Place fruit and nuts around prosciutto/ham. Combine olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Drizzle oil-vinegar mixture over all. Sprinkle with blue cheese. Makes 12 servings.

    Tip: Put together prosciutto/ham, melon and nuts on a lettuce-lined platter as directed. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 2 hours. Just before serving, drizzle with oil-vinegar mixture and sprinkle with blue cheese. Now you can impress Uncle Earl.


    This here is a fat-free dish: Watermelon Sherbet

    Serve this sherbet (I've always called it shur-burt) as an appetizer or dessert or just something to smear on your head to cool yourself off.

    2 cups cubed, seeded watermelon (that means take out the seeds)
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 envelope unflavored gelatin
    1/3 cup cranberry juice cocktail

    Place watermelon cubes in a blender or food processor bowl. Cover and blend or process until smooth. (There should be 3 cups of the mixture when ya get done blending.) Stir in sugar. Next, in a small saucepan combine gelatin and cranberry juice cocktail. Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir mixture over low heat until gelatin is dissolved.

    Stir the gelatin mixture into the melon mixture. Pour into an 8x8x2-inch baking pan. Cover and freeze for 2 hours or until firm.

    Break up frozen mixture and place in a chilled mixer bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed or until mixture is fluffy. Return to pan. Cover and freeze for 6 hours or until firm. Makes 8 (1/2-cup) servings. Make ahead directions: Pack in airtight freezer container; seal, label, and freeze up to 1 month.


    Next is a real delicious thang: Melon Sorbet (By the way, sorbet is pronounce sore-bay, just so you know and it's like a fruit icee you get down at the Golden Gallon)

    A tidbit of orange flavor really gives the melon (whichever melon you choose--watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew melon) a kick.

    1-1/2 cups water
    1 cup sugar
    5 cups cubed, seeded watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew melon
    2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel (don't be a dork - wash it first)
    1/2 cup orange juice

    In a medium saucepan combine water and sugar. Cook over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Cover and chill until cold.

    In a large mixing bowl combine melon, orange peel, orange juice and chilled sugar mixture. Place one-third to one-half of the melon mixture in a blender or food processor bowl. Cover and blend or process until smooth, stopping and scraping sides as necessary. Place pureed mixture in another bowl. Repeat with remaining melon mixture.

    Freeze in an ice-cream freezer according to manufacturer's directions. (Or pour the mixture into a 9x9x2-inch baking pan. Freeze about 3 hours or until frozen around the edges. Spoon into a large chilled bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed until smooth, but not melted. Return to pan. Cover and freeze several hours or overnight.)

    To serve, let stand at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes. Scoop into dessert dishes. Makes 8 servings.


    If y'all want a quick and cool late Sunday lunch, try this: Swiss and Melon Salad

    1-1/2 cups large bow tie pasta (about 6 ounces)
    2 cups watermelon (or mushmelon, if you prefer) and/or honeydew melon chunks
    1 cup cubed Swiss cheese (4 ounces)
    1/3 cup bottled nonfat poppy seed salad dressing
    1 to 2 tablespoons snipped fresh mint (I have peppermint oil and I use this instead - it ain't pretty like the mint leaves, but it's good!)
    2 cups watercress, stems removed (the only time I've used this is when I was able to pick some fresh from Momma's creek)

    Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Rinse with cold water; drain again.

    In a large bowl toss together pasta, watermelon/mushmelon, and cheese. Combine salad dressing and mint; pour over pasta mixture, tossing gently to coat. Serve immediately or cover and chill up to 24 hours.

    To serve, stir watercress into pasta mixture. If desired, serve salad in melon shells. Makes 4 servings.

    Make-Ahead Tip: Prepare salad; cover and chill for up to 24 hours. Serve as directed.


    This last recipe is the kids' favorite! Fresh Fruit with Frozen Melon Dressing

    Believe it or not, this salad dressing is frozen in scoops like ice cream. As the dressing melts, it coats the fruit.

    1/4 cup orange juice
    1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
    1-1/2 cups very ripe cantaloupe (or your favorite melon) chunks
    1 tablespoon honey
    2 teaspoons white grape juice
    1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I usually leave this out)
    Lettuce (optional)
    5 to 6 cups assorted fresh fruit such as sliced nectarines and pears, peeled and sliced kiwi fruit, berries, grapes, cherries, and melon balls

    In a small saucepan combine orange juice and gelatin; let stand for 5 mintues to soften. Stir over low heat till gelatin is dissolved; set aside.

    In a blender container or food processor bowl blend or process the 1-1/2 cups cantaloupe, honey, grape juice and cinnamon till smooth. Add orange juice mixture; process till combined.

    Transfer melon mixture to an 8x4x2-inch or 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Cover; freeze for 4 hours or until firm. Break frozen mixture into small chunks. Transfer melon mixture to a chilled mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium-low speed till smooth but not melted. Rinse and dry the pan; line with plastic wrap. Return mixture to loaf pan. Cover and freeze till firm or for up to 2 weeks.

    To serve, arrange lettuce on a serving platter. Place the desired fruit atop the greens.

    For dressing, use a melon baller or scrape a spoon across the top of the frozen melon mixture to make small scoops. (If too frozen to scoop or scrape, let frozen dressing sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes to soften). Place frozen scoops of dressing atop fruit and serve immediately. Make 6 side-dish servings.

    Make-Ahead Tip: Prepare and freeze orange juice-cantaloupe mixture up to 2 weeks ahead. Before serving, arrange fruit on kale or romaine and top with scoops of frozen dressing.

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    ~*~*~

    dixie dispatch

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