A Tribute to Honey Buns

Yesterday I bought a box of Little Debbie honey buns. Today I’m ashamed to admit there are none left. I didn’t eat all of them by myself but I came pretty close. I don’t usually slow down while going past the junk food on aisle four but I had to make an exception when I saw those honey buns. November 28 would have been my Granny’s 94th birthday and she LOVED honey buns. So it was as if that box of calories and satisfaction had to come home with me. I needed to celebrate my Gran. Here is her story:

Eltra Roberts and her husband Hershel met my parents when I was one. She was a recently retired cook at the Hindman Settelment School (where my dad worked) and we “took” to each other. Apparently that was a big deal because according to my parents, I didn’t really like anyone. I’m sure they were exaggerating but if I did despise most grownups at that age, I’m thankful Granny was my one early exception. She became my babysitter and then later took care of my brother as well. I don’t think she made much money but it was obvious she never took on the job for financial reasons. We called her Granny and her husband Papaw. They were family just as much as our blood relatives. Their house was our playground and we were spoiled.

Granny was a tiny little woman who loved to garden, cook, and play with children. She made it clear that at her house we were to behave but we would almost always get whatever we wanted. I went through a phase of only eating chicken noodle soup, orange juice, and six vanilla wafers for lunch each day. Granny never gave me a hard time. I still think the orange juice at her house was special. I’ve never tasted any as good.

Gran was a devout Christian woman who belonged to the Old Regular Baptist Church. I never saw her cut her hair or wear pants. She loved her church and rarely missed a meeting. One year she refused to vote in a local election because she had told two opposing candidates, both of whom she had attended church with, that she would vote for them. She felt so guilty that she stayed home.

Sometimes I would spend the night with her. I remember getting to stay up until 10 p.m. (gasp!!) so we could watch “Dallas” together. I thought it was all very scandalous at the time. I can still see her living room with the furnace in the middle of the room, the couch against the wall, and pictures of me and my siblings hanging from the walls. I can also still feel how hot it always was, year round.

My Gran died not longer after her 86th birthday, before she could meet any of my girls. Her last three years were tough and my mom made it possible for her to stay in her own home. She would take her grocery shopping each week and fuss at Granny for buying more honey buns. I think she was up to three boxes a week toward the end. Granny loved having someone who cared so much for her and even loved the fussing over her Little Debbie addiction.

I was so lucky to have this extra grandparent in my life for almost 27 years. I think every year on November 28 I will rip open one, two, or maybe even three honey buns and celebrate one of the greatest ladies I ever knew. Then maybe I’ll find some old episodes of “Dallas”. I have a feeling Granny will curl up right next to me on the couch just like she did when I was a little girl.

Advertisements

Richard Simmons, Jane Fonda, and Cassie Moses

What could I possibly have in common with Richard Simmons and Jane Fonda? I am kind of loud like Simmons but as far as Fonda goes, I’ve got nothing. The one thing we do share is our love of exercise. Okay, we share the fact that we exercise. I can’t say I exactly love to get all sweaty and gross and not be able to breathe. But I do make an attempt to stay in shape and take care of myself. Here is the story of my journey from couch potato to fitness goddess. (Wasn’t that a funny joke? Me as any kind of goddess is hilarious. I’m pretty sure that description does not include yoga pants so I’m not eligible).

A little over two years ago a gorgeous young mother of two named Diana moved back to Cynthiana while her husband was deployed to Afghanistan. She started a Zumba class and I really, really wanted to try it out. So I really, really thought about it for a week and came up with all sorts of reasons why I couldn’t go. Who would watch my kids? “I guess their dad will be home in time to take care of everyone.” Crap. But I’m SO out of shape. “Then you should try this and get into shape!” Dang it. I will look like an absolute idiot. “Don’t think so highly of yourself. No one will even notice you.” Ouch. (These questions and answers were all happening inside my own head). I finally hauled myself to the class and had a blast. I was dancing, getting into shape, and making new friends. It was awesome. For one hour four days a week I was no longer a stay at home mom, but a Latin dancing fitness goddess (sorry, I couldn’t resist). 

After going to Zumba for about 14 months I had to find something new. My husband’s work schedule and my kid’s activities made it impossible for me to get to a 6:30 p.m. class. I decided to try Jazzercise because a 5:30 a.m. was available. I don’t remember much about the first few classes. I don’t think I was awake. A year later I am still going and once again, I’m having fun (even if I don’t want to admit it), staying in shape, and making some more new friends. I try to make it to class four days a week but right now, I average three. 

After being brave enough to try two new things I was unstoppable. So when a good friend offered a sixteen week yoga class, I immediately signed up. It was hard. I thought I was totally ready for all of that downward facing dog stuff. Wrong. But I learned a lot and found that I actually enjoyed the challenges of the class.

My exercise routine has helped keep me sane during some difficult times and gives me something positive to focus on when the negatives in life take charge. As an added bonus, and pardon my bragging, my arms are awesome. Okay, maybe not awesome but not as scrawny either.

My hair will never be as sweet as Simmons’ and I can’t rock a leotard like Fonda, but if exercise can help keep my in my beloved yoga pants, sign me up for the next new adventure.

Good Grief

This isn’t a tribute to Charlie Brown. I feel like I should be honest about that from the start since my title is Charlie’s signature line. This post is about something I’m going through and will continue to deal with for a very long time as I mourn the sudden loss of my dad nearly nine months ago. This post might make you uncomfortable but I hope it will also help at least one person.

Grief is hard. It is exhausting. I don’t wish it upon anyone. Grief teaches you things you’d rather not know and in a surprising way, grief has reminded me how lucky I am.

I realize the words grief and good don’t really go together. Most of what I feel is really bad. But I’ve seen the good in so many others who love me and want to help me, that I’m being forced to acknowledge on my worst days, there may still be some good left in me too. You see, when you hurt, you start to feel like maybe you will never stop hurting. You feel in adequate. I am in that place right now. People tell me that one day I will find a way to think about my dad and while there will always be sadness, it won’t be with the deep sorrow I feel right now. At first I smiled politely but inside I was screaming, “LIAR!” These crazy people just don’t want to deal with this non mascara, unsmiling version of Cassie. They want me to be “normal” again. I have calmed down quite a bit and understand that no one was lying to me. Their honesty came from personal experience. They were feeling their own pain and grief again in an attempt to help me.

My friends have helped me keep my head above water and I would list every single kind gesture and person right now but I know I’d forget too many.  Being my friend has not been the easiest task. Let’s be honest folks, sad people are not fun to be around. We cry at the worst times and are self absorbed. We wonder how we are supposed to shop for groceries when we could less if we even eat. So in step friends and family with meals. Two very special friends would tell me what time to be at their house so our kids could play together and they could make sure I didn’t become a hermit. 

The good of others has kept me from crawling in a hole and never getting out. I’m not saying it won’t still happen. But at least the hope that there is more good than bad out there waiting for me will give me the strength to keep going.

 

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

You probably thought this post was about Christmas. Sorry. I love Christmas but the time of year I’m referring to is basketball season. The only basketball I’ve ever played was in my driveway and a few hellish days during physical education class my senior year of college (I had to guard a starting player for the Georgetown College Lady Tigers team. Thankfully we were friends and she didn’t kill me in the process). I did try out for the Hindman Yellowjackets in the fourth grade but I didn’t make the team. I was pretty disappointed but I was also pretty terrible.

I have loved basketball as long as I can remember. I’ve been to games all over the 14th region and now that I live in Central Kentucky I’ve covered a lot of the 10th region. Even though I wasn’t blessed with any athletic ability, I have always loved to write. My career as a sports writer began in the seventh grade and continued through college where I was sports editor and later editor. I was a stat girl for my high school team as well. I just loved being around the game. I got to be a part of the team without messing up my fabulous early 1990’s big hair.

I love high school and college basketball. But if I had to choose, I would pick high school. I think this is the sport in its purest form and here is why:

No recruiting. (Unless we are talking about some private schools, Scott County, and the glory days of Clay County)

Old gyms. They smell weird, have horrible bathrooms, and host the best games. New modern gyms are certainly more comfortable (and safer) but I appreciate a place full of tradition. A cavernous room that has held the hopes and dreams of so many young kids and also doubled as a dance floor, lunch room, and possibly hosted a family reunion or two.

Concession stands. A truly exceptional high school basketball game experience requires a cold Pepsi, popcorn that is not burned or microwaved, and a worker who knows when to cut a kid a break when he’s short $.50.

The state tournament. If we ever move to a class system like Indiana, I will be devastated. Yes, the big city teams dominate but there are also those special moments when a tiny school walks out of that Rupp Arena locker room. Then there are the crazy awesome times when a small school wins the championship game in front of their hometown because the whole town drove to Lexington.

I don’t know if any of my girls will be basketball players. If they want to play, I will encourage them and if they don’t, I’ll still feed them. But I do hope they will enjoy watching games with me. Maybe I’ll be a little too loud or tell the girls for the tenth time about that “game in Breathitt County where your Uncle Nathan got slammed to the floor and I was getting ready to whip somebody from Perry County…” I hope they can tolerate me. If they can’t, I’ll send them to the concession stand for more candy.