Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Day at the Pumpkin Patch

A family of scarecrows and a row of pumpkins greeted us.
We spent part of today at a Pumpkin Patch nearby in Tennessee. It's a real working farm with lots of things for the children to do.Last, but not least, is a ride on a tractor to pick out your very own pumpkin. With two small children and three pumpkins to carry back, my daughter and I had our hands full! The Petting Zoo was very popular with the children.

One of the goats in the Petting Zoo.

My grandson trying to feed the mules.

The piglets captured everyone's hearts!

"Which one should I choose, Grandma?"

Monday, October 11, 2010


            Why should I do it now?
Why can't it wait?
I'm in no hurry
I won't be late

I put it off yesterday
Now today is here
Tomorrow sounds better
What is there to fear?

But what if tomorrow
 never comes?
What if I had the chance
and didn't take it?
What if I dressed for the dance
but didn't make it?

What if I looked at my watch,
but time slipped away?
What if I waited...and waited
for yet another day?

 What if that day
 never comes
to right a wrong,
 to hug someone,
to read a book,
to sing a song
to go some place,
and watch the setting sun

So today is all we have
There is no guarantee
Every second is a gift from God,
a gift for you and me

(c) 2010 Anita M. Ashworth

Monday, October 4, 2010

Katrina Stories

Lighthouse on Biloxi Beach
It's been a little over five years since Katrina hit the Gulf Coast and changed lives forever. Most of my in-laws live in the Biloxi and Gulfport, Mississippi area. My television had just gone kaput the same weekend that Katrina was about to unleash her fury. My sister let me borrow her small, portable plug-in television to keep up with the news. Naturally, we couldn't get through on the phone lines, so we sat, anxiously waiting for any news from Mississippi. We saw the devastating videos of  New Orleans and could only hope and pray that family members were safe. On Wednesday my daughter received a text from one of my three sister-in-laws. "We're okay," was all the message said. They could text, but not call. When we were finally able to make phone contact, I made arrangements to drive down half-way to pick up my elderly mother-in-law and one brother-in-law (that lived with her). They had no electricity at their apartment complex and it could possibly take weeks before power was turned back on. Bridges were out, the coastline was gone, and people were in survival mode those first few weeks after the hurricane hit.  I loaded my car with bottled water, canned foods, cleaning supplies, batteries, extra gas cans, and anything I could think of that could be usable. People were waiting in line up to eight hours to fill up with gas, so one brother-in-law was going to bring as many gas cans home that he could. One sister-in-law lost her mobile home and another one had severe damage to her home. The second one stayed at a shelter during the storm and said it was horrific. Her husband stayed home during the storm. After it was over, with no electricity, everyone got together with their grills and cooked up whatever was in the freezer and shared with the neighbors.

One sister-in-laws works for the State of Mississippi and told us how hard it was to locate clients, because everything:  road signs, trees, landmarks, not to mention, homes, were totally obliterated. It took weeks, and in some cases, months, to locate many of the missing. My in-laws stayed with me for three weeks. I took them to the local Red Cross to file a claim, where many Katrina refugees found themselves homeless and with no place to go. My in-laws were some of the more fortunate ones, but they didn't get away unscathed.  Some lost jobs and had to find new employment. The damage to their homes took months to repair.  One sister-in-law lived with her in-laws, with seven adults and seven household pets, in a three-bedroom house, instead of the FEMA trailor they were loaned.
Slowly, the Gulf Coast recovered, but a part of the coast was gone forever. Many of the stately homes that sat on the oceanside, are no more. The casinos now sit on solid ground, no longer on the barges, as before Katrina. The lawmakers made that concession.  My husband's family still live there. One brother-in-law died the year after Katrina and I made the trip down for his funeral. He stayed with me the year before and I missed him.  I've been back a couple of times since then. A lot has been rebuilt, but there are still construction cranes everywhere you look. But the spirit of the people is amazing. Like my in-laws, they are all survivors, and with amazing grace, they go on.