Christmas, Uncategorized

Merry Christmas 2016


Dearest Readers:

This will probably be the shortest blog post I’ve written in a long time. Today is Christmas Eve, 2016. This day has gone wrong from the beginning. Anything and everything that could happen, I do believe has. Phil was dizzy this morning. Fortunately, he rested and got better. As for the rest of the day, let’s just say — it hasn’t been a nice, calm Christmas Eve.

For all of you, my reading public, for you in the military — away from your families and loved ones, I would like to wish all of you a wonderful Merry Christmas. I pray for the safety of our military daily and at night. I still remember what it was like for me, a young newlywed, with a husband in a dreadful, frightening war zone. I did not have a support group while my husband fought a war. All I had was my faith in God, and I prayed constantly that he would return home safely. Silly me, I even prayed for him to return home as a normal  person.

After his return, I realized I would never know or see the one I kissed at the airport on that sad day when he left me for Fort Dix, and Viet Nam. Let’s just say, I knew he had PTSD before he was willing to admit it after his return. Yes, there are trying times when the slightest reaction will trigger another PTSD attack. Today, I’m proud of him. We were shouting at each other. This time, he walked away, so — as he stated, “We would not fight.”

Perhaps my prayers and his therapy are helping both of usimg_0165. Gone is the reaction and the trigger now, and I’m proud of him. PTSD can be a monster at times. Today, it is better. Thank you, God.

And so now, I would like to wish everyone a wonderful, peaceful Merry Christmas. To those in the military, I pray for your safe return. How can I pray for you when I don’t know you? I pray for our soldiers…our military…our officers in Blue…and I pray for our nation.

Tomorrow as you enjoy Christmas dinners and social events, please remember the reason for the season. Once in Bethlehem, a baby was born and he became the savior of our entire world. Let us all take a moment to give thanks as we unwrap packages, share drinks and social events, and let us all remember the true reason for the season. It isn’t Santa Claus. After all, Santa Claus has been around for every generation and he has never died. So, let us all give thanks and gratitude to Christmas, Jesus Christ, and all of our lives, religions, beliefs, and our freedoms. Without our military, the USA would not be a nation where freedom reigns.

May all of us enjoy a wonderful, happy Merry Christmas, and when you say your prayer at the dinner table, please include our military, our first responders, our Blue Bloods, and everyone who keeps us alive and well. Merry Christmas to everyone!

Family, Uncategorized

In Memory of My Father On His Birthday In Heaven…


IMG_0572THE PERKINS TWINS

 

Lewis and Walter – Identical Twins

Separated by death at age 26;

Reunited with God’s love at 84.

Holding the gates to Heaven’s Door.

Missing and Loving you both —

Walter’s Daughter – Barbara

Strolling in Memories Gardens

  WALTER W. PERKINS

Mr. Sandpiper, 1998

 

Born an identical twin on December 19, 1914, Walter W. Perkins will soon celebrate his 84th birthday and he is the only surviving family member left of his generation.  His identical twin brother was named Lewis.  The Perkins Family included a total of six siblings, three boys, and three girls.  Growing up as twins (Lewis and Walter) shared more than most siblings and they were inseparable — virtually impossible to tell apart.   Known as The Perkins Twins, they sang harmonically in church choirs while preaching the gospel.  They traveled to many cities, touring as The Perkins Twins and found this to be their calling in life; however, their future together, billed as The Perkins Twins, was short-lived.  Lewis became ill at the age of 26 and died suddenly.

 

Because he loves meeting people and does it so well, Dad chose the hotel industry for his profession while pursuing his dream as a writer and poet.  In the early 1960’s he wrote a poem titled, Living Words, based somewhat on Sir Winston Churchill.  Living Words was published and today is on display at the Winston Churchill Museum.  At the age of 65, Dad retired from the Rodeway Inn, Atlanta, GA.  He is divorced and the father of four daughters.  Before becoming ill, he lived at the Canterbury House in downtown Charleston and took daily strolls for relaxation.

 

Dad is a tall and proud man and he can recite poetry like a Shakespearean actor.  He is a lover of words and can paint a magnificent poetic picture while he recites the historical stories and events of times past.  An avid sports buff, he knows almost every popular football or baseball star by name, position and statistic and he can tell many interesting stories about sports, especially baseball.  If you do not care for sports, you will learn to find it an interesting fascination, just by listening to the stories Dad shares.

 

Dad has always loved the magic of words, and as a young man, he wished to make the family tradition of journal writing part of his daily activities.  He has an impressive collection of family diaries and his daily ritual includes writing the days events in his personal diary.  He started this ritual many years ago and has quite an invaluable collection of diaries.  He has researched our family genealogy, dating us back to the early 1600’s.  One impressive member of our family (distant but still very special) is the late Diana, Princess of Wales.  Our heritage dates back to the Spencer Family.

 

Today, Dad still believes in rituals and he records special things in his journal of diaries.  From historical moments, to births, deaths, marriages, and yes, even the sad times, are recorded as part of the Perkins History.  Significant events are recorded in “Strolling in Memories Gardens.”

 

As a father, he instilled many beliefs in me and I am proud to call him Dad!  He taught me to look inside of a person, to see the inner beauty and not just the face or the smile.  He encouraged me to believe in myself and to always “make it a good day!”  He has lived a wonderful and proud life and I have never been more proud of him than I have during this year.  Walter W. Perkins is truly my bright and shining star, my beautiful aromatic rose, and he is the most loyal and dedicated father, family and friend I have ever known!

 

 

Barbie Perkins-Cooper

December 19, 1998

 

Introduction

by

Barbie Perkins-Cooper

 

 

As a child, I could not understand the passion my dad, Walter W. Perkins, held for the study of genealogy.  I recall thinking and saying, who cares what happened in 1492 when Columbus discovered the ocean of blue…I wasn’t here!  How innocent and non-chalant I was!  Now, as a grown woman with a life, family and history of my own, I have grown to realize how cherished our family ancestry and heritage is.  After all, without the archives of those precious lives and the history contained within, we could not begin to understand what we are, or who we are.  Without our heritage, along with the records of our ancestors, we could not begin to grow or develop ourselves into the people that we are today.  We have much to thank our ancestors and mothers, fathers and siblings for; and I am proud of them and all the stories they lived.  As I continue to dig through the mounds of paperwork and history I am sifting through, I am amazed at the stories of these people.  I thank my father, Walter W. Perkins, for collecting all this material; and I compile it with warmth in my heart, knowing that on his 84th birthday, he will know how proud I am to compile this information in an enjoyable read for the future Perkins Family Tree.  Most of all, he will finally be able to understand how proud I am to be a descendant of the Perkins Family, along with his second born daughter!

 

Barbie Perkins-Cooper

November 30, 1998

Friendship, health, Holidays, Losing Weight, Uncategorized, Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers… Building A Bridge To A New Adventure


Dearest Readers:

Today, I will share a bit of my experience and dedication to Weight Watchers. I joined Weight Watchers in March, 2011. On the day I joined, I was mortified. Afraid. Horrified I would see someone I knew and they would share with the world that “Barbie was in Weight Watchers today…”

I’m certain some of you have acquaintances who love to spread gossip…the wicked and ugly truths some women love to share! Years ago, I referred to these ‘acquaintances’ as friends…I do not anymore! Friends do not spread ugly gossip. Friends accept you for who you are. True friends embrace you with love and acceptance, even when you are down.  I’ve known and lost a few ‘friends’ since in all total honesty — they were only acquaintances. They pretended to be your friend to your face, but turn your back and you almost feel the back-stabbing and the poisonous words they spat, and so — I keep my distance!

At my first meeting at Weight Watchers, I did not know anyone. I breathed a sigh of relief. I was apprehensive about the ‘confidential weigh-ins’ too. Approaching the desk, I did not see any curtains, or a doctor’s scale. You know the type. The weight measurements slide across until balanced, and the person who balanced the scale always leaves it to the latest weight. Everyone can see the weight of the person who weighed previously, and I cringe whenever I get on them. My newest experience with Weight Watchers was a scale sitting on the floor. I was certain others could stretch their snoopy eyes over to see how much a person weighed. That didn’t happen. The scale does not show anything, with exception of the person (a receptionist or leader) standing at the desk. Only she knows what the weight of each individual is, and they do not share the number to anyone! Believe me, the confidential weigh-in does exist!

Maybe this might work this time, I thought to myself as I approached the scales. Just maybe this time I will succeed.

I imagine you are thinking — what? Does she really think Weight Watchers works?

My reply to all of you reading this is a simple, “Yes! Weight Watchers, because it works!”

I recognize it has taken me five years to lose 35 pounds. And, in the past year, I have bounced back and forth, just like a yo-yo. Undoubtedly, 2016 has been one of the most stressful years of my life. In February, we had the roof to our home completely replaced. After that accomplishment, we searched for over two months to hire a general contractor to do the inside repairs on ceilings, walls and other areas due to the torrential rains we had in October 2015. On May 28, 2016, the repairs were completed. My husband had reverse shoulder replacement surgery on May 31. His recovery was a whirlwind of ups-and-downs. The summer of 2016 was so stressful, I found myself slipping away from Weight Watchers and everything I loved. No walking. No exercising. No writing. No dancing…No music or singing…Nothing!

Since the summer, I’ve found myself giving in to weaknesses. After all, it didn’t matter IF I gained weight. I’m happy to report, I did not put those lost 35 pounds back on; however, I have not met goal. I don’t even have a clue what my goal should be!

Today, while sitting at my meeting, I glanced around the room. Like most Weight Watchers meetings during the holidays, we had only a small group, including a 93-year-old woman and two men. Every time I see this precious, sweet and beautiful 93-year-old woman I am inspired. Many people would say, ‘at her age, why should she be so worried at her weight?’ I say, I think she is an inspiration to all of us. Yes, she uses a walker and maybe her shoulders slump a bit, but she is still full of life. To her, her weight is important. Today, she was furious with herself. She was baking cookies with her son this week, and that is why she gained a pound. Sitting in front of me, I tapped her on the shoulders. “Just look at how blessed you are to be baking cookies with your son.”

I’m so envious. During the Christmas holidays I do not see my son, even though he lives less than 30 miles from me. How I would love the opportunity to make Christmas cookies with him again. I suppose a mother can dream.

Every year since joining Weight Watchers, I tell myself the new year will be my year. I will break this plateau and achieve goal. No, I haven’t achieved my goal yet. At least I haven’t gained the weight back!

Not only have I kept the weight off, I have gained in confidence and self-worth, much to the credit of two wonderful friends I’ve made, thanks to Weight Watchers. Since I am a writer, my life is a bit isolated. I find myself spending too much time keeping to myself. Last year, before the torrential rain storms, and the storms brewing inside my home, I kept to myself. I quit walking. Now that I think about it, I realize those walks I took with my friends energized me by encouraging me to continue. Feeling the fresh air on my face, walking the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge, and enjoying the views, birds, flowers and freedom of walking, I found myself inspired. Refreshed. Now, I realize, I need to take a first step again to walk, to find that inspiration and motivation. Tomorrow morning, I plan to take that first step!

Today, at Weight Watchers, I gained. Big deal! I’ll get those two pounds off again. As for 2017, I will go on record to say, my journey and adventures with Weight Watchers will continue. I will walk. I will fill my body and my mind with new energy while telling myself:

THIS I DO FOR ME!

Although 2017 is only a few days and steps away, I will not fail. After all, You only fail in life when you stop believing…and trying…and moving.

I plan to continue my journeys, along with Weight Watchers! Tomorrow is a new day and I will embrace it!

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entertainment, Music Notes, Uncategorized, Workout

The Top 10 Workout Songs for December 2016


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

The Top 10 Workout Songs for December 2016

Fort Wayne, IN – December 4, 2016 – Dance tracks dominate the proceedings in our monthly workout music recap. While that sounds like the introduction to one-dimensional playlist, the tracks approach the genre from different avenues. Plus, there are a handful of pop singles mixing things up along the way.

The first batch of dance tracks are the remixes—where Top 40 favorites like The Weeknd and clubland stars like Flume both find their recent hits reimagined. Elsewhere, you’ll find David Guetta and Nevada each leading collaborative covers of a pair of ’90s, R&B singles. Finally, you’ve got straightforward pop tunes including a rousing send off to past loves from Little Mix and a contribution to the Sing soundtrack featuring Stevie Wonder and Ariana Grande.

On the surface, it might appear that the common denominator at work here is a steady dance/pop vibe. But, there’s a bit more variety at work than you might expect. Accordingly, the list’s true consistency lies in its lively, uncomplicated beats—which will make for excellent motivation on your next run. To that end, here’s the full top 10 list—according to the votes logged on workout music site Run Hundred.

The Weeknd & Daft Punk – Starboy (Kygo Remix) – 94 BPM

The Chainsmokers & XYLØ – Setting Fires – 105 BPM

Nevada, Mark Morrison & Fetty Wap – The Mack – 106 BPM

Calvin Harris – My Way (Offaiah Remix) – 124 BPM

Flume & Tove Lo – Say It (Clean Bandit Remix) – 130 BPM

Little Mix – Shout Out to My Ex – 126 BPM

David Guetta, Cedric Gervais & Chris Willis – Would I Lie to You (Extended) – 124 BPM

Stevie Wonder & Ariana Grande – Faith – 158 BPM

Sia – Move Your Body (Alan Walker Remix) – 128 BPM

Bebe Rexha – I Got You – 99 BPM

To find more workout songs, folks can check out the free database at Run Hundred. Visitors can browse the song selections there by genre, tempo, and era to find the music that best fits with their particular workout routine.
Contact:

Chris Lawhorn
Run Hundred
Email: mail@runhundred.com
###

 

Military, Pearl Harbor Day, Uncategorized

In Memory of Pearl Harbor


Dearest Readers:

I would like to take a moment of time, a moment of silence, in memory of Pearl Harbor Day. Today, December 7, 2016 is the 75th anniversary of the attack at Pearl Harbor, in Hawaii.

I’ve visited Hawaii twice. Both times, I wanted to tour the memorial; however, it was closed for renovations, improvements, etc. The military holds a special significance inside my heart. I remember studying about the Pearl Harbor attack in history class. One of my class projects was about Pearl Harbor. Although my teacher gave me an A+, and she read my project to the class, she refused to return my project.  This was back in the days of typewriters, not computers. What is a typewriter, you might ask? Before computers and keyboarding typing was a subject in high school. I am thankful I learned to type the correct way, not the hunt, punch, pecking order most people use now.

Reportedly, according to my husband, his father was stationed on the USS Arizona. He survived. Although I met my father-in-law, never did I hear him speak about Pearl Harbor Day and his survival. He didn’t speak much at all, that is, until he was so drunk one could not understand his speech. I honestly do not know what it was like to live at that time, or to see Japanese planes attacking, burning, and destroying beautiful Hawaii, the USS Arizona and other ships and killing so many of our military. Some of the family say my father-in-law drank so much because of Pearl Harbor. I have my doubts about that statement, simply because my father-in-law was quick to blame others for any of his betrayals, deceptions and life in general.

Posted below is a site I discovered while researching about Pearl Harbor. http://www.history.com/news/5-facts-about-pearl-harbor-and-the-uss-arizona

Reading that site, I discovered Elvis Presley helped raise $50,000 in funds for the memorial back in March, 1961. Truly a site worthy of reading, just to learn a bit more about Pearl Harbor.

Twenty-three sets of brothers died on the USS Arizona. One full set of brothers, Kenneth and Russell Warriner, survived the attack. You can read about them by visiting the site: http://triblive.com/news/editorspicks/7193335-74/harbor-pearl-kralik

There is much that is written about Pearl Harbor. One interesting topic is the fact that our military veterans rarely talk about their experiences. Reportedly, “The total number of military personnel killed was 2,335, including 2,008 navy personnel, 109 marines, and 218 army. Added to this were 68 civilians, making the total 2403 people dead. 1,177 were from the USS Arizona.” https://visitpearlharbor.org/faqs/how-many-people-died-at-pearl-harbor-during-the-attack/

To all of you who know about Pearl Harbor Day, especially those who had relatives you lost due to these attacks, I would like to thank you for serving your country, or for knowing someone who served during this time. Daily, we lose World War II veterans. Some of those veterans I have had the pleasure of meeting on occasions, and when I see someone wearing a World War II Veteran cap, I give them a hug and say thank you.

Today, I honor all of them by writing a bit about Pearl Harbor Day. On December 7, 1941 at 7:55am, the attack began. East coast time was 12:55pm. I have set my IPhone to alarm me at 12:55pm today. I will share a moment of silence and prayer for the day which “began in infamy.” http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5166

As we make plans to celebrate the holidays, let us remember Pearl Harbor…9-11… and all of the battles the USA sent our precious military to fight for our freedom, including Viet Nam. To our military, I pray for you daily. I thank you for your dedication to America. May we never forget those we’ve lost.

In memory of Pearl Harbor Day I salute and thank all of you. May God bless our country.

DSC_0431-001

DSC_0230-001
The evening sunset in Hawaii

 

 

 

 

Free Writing, Uncategorized

The Saga of Freewriting — Ten Minutes and Counting!


Freewriting again today. What is the subject? Truly the first thing coming into my mind.

For just a few years, I’ve worked on a manuscript, “Chattahoochee Child.” At first, there wasn’t a plot. Only characters. Now, I have the plot although I keep procrastinating about it. Here goes.

The story is placed along the coast of South Carolina, and the rivers of the Chattahoochee River, Columbus, GA.

Basing much of the story on characters I knew. For example, the protagonist is named Rebecca. All of her life she hungers for the love of her mother. The older she became, the worse the relationship with her mother developed. When Rebecca marries at 18, she moves away from her mother’s home, only to be told by her cruel mother that ‘she cannot take anything that belongs to her when she leaves, with exception of her clothes.’

Packing up her clothing, she asked her mother if she can take some of her childhood photos and her senior year picture.

“No. You ain’t taking nothing like that. I’m gonna burn all your pictures.”

Devastated at her mother’s cruelty, Rebecca leaves the mill village of Bibb City, refusing to look back. When her mother finds her, she realizes the relationship needs repairing.

Going back to her mother’s house, Rebecca is alone. Her framed senior picture is gone. When she asked her mother what happened to her pictures, her mother laughs a wicked laughter. “I told you I was gonna burn ’em and I did. Just a few weeks ago. There ain’t no pictures of you inside the house.”

Rebecca rushes outside. Tears pour down her face. She rushes to her car and leaves.

The soldier she married is fighting a war. Rebecca realizes it is time to bury the past and move on; however, when she sees her mother again, she is slapped, belittled and told she will never amount to nothing. Her mother claims she wrote a letter to her husband overseas, telling him Rebecca is sleeping around with every man in town.

“I hope he never speaks to you again. You ain’t never gonna keep a man happy.”

“Just like you, Mom. Right? You don’t want me to have any happiness. I suppose you want me to walk in your shoes, but I refuse to do that. I will have a life You will never destroy me!”

Leaving her mother’s home again, Rebecca decides that some people are not blessed to have a good mother. She vows to enter into a new journey while waiting for her husband to return home from war.

When he does, Rebecca discovers the man she married and waited for is a changed, tormented man. He loses his temper quickly, jumping almost out of his skin whenever a car backfires, or fireworks happen. At night, while sleeping, he straddles Rebecca, choking her while saying ‘Charlie is coming…’

Rebecca discovers her life is still not under her control.

This freewriting for 10 minutes is hard, but it is something I am forcing myself to do in hopes I will regain the confidence I once had in writing.

Life this summer was so demanding and unpredictable. My husband had surgery in late May. He is still struggling to regain his strength. The summer of 2016 was like a roaring, twirling tornado to me. All the plans for a summer of fun were changed, due to the demands of caring for my husband while struggling to keep the house and finances under control. Normally, during the summer I go to the beach on a weekly basis. My first visit to the beach this year was in September. Isn’t it strange how life is sometimes out of control.

Oops. Ten minutes is gone. That’s it for today.

 

Free Writing, Uncategorized

FREEWRITING — T Minus 10 Minutes


And counting. My writing assignment for today is to freewrite. What is freewriting? Simple. You get either your computer or a paper and pen and write. Whatever comes to your mind. You are not supposed to edit or correct. JUST WRITE.

Easier said than done. When I type a mistake, I always go back and correct it – just like now. What to write today?

Heck if I know. I’m simply allowing my fingers to dance across the keyboard. I’ve written 80 words so far.

About? NOTHING!

Freewriting. I suppose I’ll write about goals since that is the topic that is dancing inside my head. My goal is to complete the story I started way too many years ago. Did I say it was a story? More like a title without plot. Yes, I had characters, but did not understand what the real story was until my mother died.

My mother died suddenly on 9-11… That is, a year after 9-11. She died on September 11, 2002. The day after she died, I received a phone call from my estranged sister. Her son told me “Granny is gone.”

His next statement horrified me. Apparently my mother died with some concerns from his lips, and my estranged sister’s lips. Both wanted to know IF I thought there would be an autopsy.

You must understand. I was home in bed with acute bronchial asthma. I was taking Prednisone. Prednisone doesn’t do to me what it does to others. Prednisone does not make me want to eat everything within my reach, nor does it have other side effects. There are two side effects I experience with Prednisone and they are cognitive abilities and the ability not to sleep. Every time I take Prednisone, I cannot communicate or think with an articulate brain, nor do I sleep.

My sisters comments “Do you think they’ll do an autopsy,” left me wondering. At the time, I failed to answer their question, but I must say — that cold, uncalculated question left me horrified.

Oops. Ten minutes are up. I suppose I will write again tomorrow, since I have a challenge this week to write freestyle 10 minutes daily.

Did I catch your attention? More later! My freewriting time is up – for today!

 

entertainment, Family, Holidays, Uncategorized

Reflections on Thanksgiving


Dearest Readers:

Today is Tuesday, November 22, 2016. Two days before Thanksgiving. Today, I would like to reflect on the holiday of Thanksgiving.

As a young girl, my family of four girls, a father and mother, would celebrate Thanksgiving with our maternal grandparents. My father would either work, or celebrate with his mother until her death. Every Thanksgiving we were a family; unfortunately, extremely dysfunctional but together. My maternal grandmother did the cooking. I helped. Never could I make homemade biscuits like my grandmother, although I tried. I’ve decided the only dessert I can make from scratch are cookies and cake. Forget the biscuits, or the dinner rolls I attempted a few weeks ago. I used a ‘foolproof’ recipe. Foolproof, alright…definitely did not work for me. I baked those rolls in anticipation of having homemade dinner rolls for Thanksgiving. Tasting one after they baked, I decided the only way to enjoy these rolls was to toss them into the trash! Mission accomplished! My foolproof recipe certainly fooled me! If I serve rolls (and I doubt I do) they will be store-bought, not made from my hands!

After marriage, I made the Thanksgiving dinner at our home. By now, my mother and I were estranged. Twice, I attempted to have Thanksgiving dinner at my mother’s house, or apartment, wherever she lived at that time. My mother moved lots. Never was there a place for me to call home with her.  Both times, we had dinner together, we had words. Not kind words. Just words. She always wanted to tell me what to do. How to treat my husband…how to care for my child…how to live my life. She wanted me to walk in her shoes. I refused. After our last Thanksgiving together, I decided I would have Thanksgiving dinner at our home in Mt. Pleasant, SC. New traditions were made. My dad was invited to every Thanksgiving. For many years, he sat at the dinner table. His chair to the left of where I sat.

Although I didn’t think my dad noticed, every year our dinner table was sat for a formal occasion. Lace tablecloths on the table. Dinner napkins folded in a design. My finest china was used. The table was always dressed – formally. Forks to the left of the plate. Knives to the right.

Dad always said grace. We held hands while he prayed. On one occasion, he made the compliment to me: “Barbara. You really know how to cook and how to set a dining room table. I always look forward to dinners at your home.”

I was flabbergasted. Rarely did I get compliments from my parents.

On Thanksgiving, 2016, the table will be set for a formal occasion. My dad will not sit in his chair. Still reserved for him, I lost my dad on July 6, 1999. Our last Thanksgiving together, he struggled to swallow his food. How I miss him.

This year, my menu includes:

Roasted turkey breast

Mashed potatoes

sautéed green beans

Cornbread dressing

Macaroni and cheese

Gravy

Pineapple delight

Dessert:

Homemade Chocolate Pound Cake

Homemade Carrot Cake

Definitely not a Weight Watchers menu, but I will choose wisely. After all, this is Thanksgiving. A time to give thanks for life. Health. Happiness. Friendship. And many, many more moments of Thanksgiving.

No, I will not have my son, his wife or grandson at our dining room table. They have an open invitation to come, but somehow, it doesn’t happen. I really do not know IF my son celebrates Thanksgiving. I certainly hope he and his family do, but they are ‘busy with their lives…’ Oh, how they are missed!

To all of you reading this I wish you a joyous Happy Thanksgiving. If you are having dinner with your friends and family, remember to breathe. Inhale. Exhale. If they are doing or saying something you might not approve of, just breathe while giving Thanks you are together for this special occasion and holiday. Every year, I breathe while wishing my family could celebrate holidays together.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. If you have a loved one overseas in a combat, or military setting, pray for their safety. Happy Thanksgiving to all of us.

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ARTICLES, Uncategorized

Hiking My Dreams at Grotto Falls:


Dearest Readers:

A few years ago, I wrote this story, managing to get it published many times. I’m hopeful you will enjoy the story as much as I did writing it, and hiking at Grotto Falls. If you are ever in Gatlinburg, treat yourself to this fabulous hike.

Hiking My Dreams at Grotto Falls:

In June 2005, I kissed the corporate world of America goodbye. Tired of planning and coordinating events, answering to corporate rules and schedules, I decided it was time to follow my dreams.

So, off my husband and I go to Gatlinburg, Tennessee where I’ve scheduled my first research trip for my new career as a travel writer. While driving through the mountains, we discover a sign. Grotto Falls just ahead. I tap Phil on the shoulders. “Let’s stop and take a hike. Phil looks at my feet, still embraced in sandals. “Don’t you think you should change your shoes?” He asked.

Reluctantly, I rush to the back seat to get my socks and sneakers, furious that he is still telling me what to do. His controlling nature is about to get the best of me, but I take it in my stride. With digital cameras ready, we stroll up the mountain as a slight rain kisses our faces with raindrops. At first, we could stand under the trees and not get wet. The more we plunge into the falls, the wetter we get. Taking our time while gasping for breath, I shoot several photographs, continuing our ‘easy’ hike. Decaying trees, fungus and moss, along with the thickness of the woods make interesting images revealing a story my fingers itch to write.

heading-towards-grotto-falls-we-discover-the-first-tease

Our first tease of a waterfall at Grotto Falls.

 

What seems to be an endless walk going nowhere takes us at least an hour just to see the first tease of the falls! Stopping at this trickle of water, we are revitalized. With this first tease of rushing water, the falls can’t be much further! Now, the rain isn’t just kissing my face, I’m drowning, at least my face is, and I look more like a raccoon with blackened eyes than a human. When we started this excursion, rain was only a slight mist, refreshing and cool, now my hair is sopping wet and sticky from hair spray. I must look like a squirrel, but I dare not ask my husband. I wipe the rain pouring down my face. My hands are covered with black mascara. Phil stops to remind me to be careful; he was concerned I might fall. He knows what a clumsy woman I am walking on hardwood floors, or simply walking. My knees are weak from years of dancing on stage, but I was determined to show him, and I finally snapped if he didn’t hush, I’d make certain he fell, or slipped, or something—! Breathless, but determined, I refuse to go back. I enjoy a nice hike, but this was almost torture, not to mention, what would happen IF one of us fell, or managed to get bitten by wild animals on the prowl! My dream was to see a bear in the woods. We never saw any wildlife!

A family of hikers, dressed with back packs, sticks and bottles of water in their hands meet us on the narrow, slippery path. I look at the tiny boy drinking from a bottle riding on his father’s shoulders. I can almost taste the moistness as he gulps the water bottle dry. “Hello,” I say, wishing they’d offer us a bottle of water. We move closer to the edge. The softness of the path moves under my feet. I look down, thinking if I fell, the doorways of Hell would open up and swallow me.

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The second “tease” of an upcoming waterfall — or — is THIS the waterfall?

That’s when I realize rules are made for a reason, and some rules should be followed, like the rules of hiking. Be prepared – we were not. Carry equipment – like first aid kits, bottled water, and wear good hiking shoes. Sneakers are comfortable and they certainly beat sandals during a hike, but some rules should be followed! What would happen if Phil or I were bitten by a snake, or if my spaghetti like ankles give out? What if I broke a leg? Some rules, even those made by the Corporate World, should be followed!

Phil nods to the family asking, “How much longer?” The small boy atop his father’s shoulders whimpers, “A long, long, LONG ways!” His father snickers.

“Thanks,” I say, sarcasm spilling over. “Appreciate that.”

Phil scrutinizes me as I lean on a tree stump. “You okay?”

Huffing and puffing, wishing I had my inhaler I nod. “OK. Let’s go.”

“Take a break,” he responds, listening to the wheezing in my chest. “You’ve got your inhaler with you. Right?”

My look says it all. Knowing me as he does, I can almost read his mind. I’m certain he’s thinking, ‘Your inhaler is in the car. You should’ve remembered it!’

Furious with him, I think about the edge of the cliff, wishing to move him closer. The sarcasm returns to my voice and I ask, ‘Did you remember your cell phone?’

He pats his hip, removes the cell phone. “No service.”

“Great. Just what will we do if I fall, or get bitten by a bear?”

The endless path to nowhere continues as we plunge our bodies forward.

“I think someone lied to us,” Phil says cynically. There’s nothing ahead.”

“I’m not stopping. If there’s a waterfall here, I intend to find it.”moving-closer-to-the-falls

Another ‘trickle’ of a waterfall

 

Phil grows more irritated with me every moment. Perhaps he doesn’t like this determined woman I am now. Corporate America has changed me for the better in many ways.

I think about the conversation I had with the girls at the office on my last day of work. Phil had called numerous times that day, and I threatened to throw him overboard when we rode the rapids.

“Look over here,” I said, leaning over a bit. “If someone wanted to get rid of somebody, this would be the perfect place. I bet it goes all the way down to Hell. Who’d know?”

“Eventually it would smell. You trying to tell me something?” He asks, lifting his eyebrows suspiciously at me.

“No, just thinking out loud. Suppose it’s the writer inside me, asking those what if questions.”

“Whatever. Let’s go. Time’s wasting.”

Reluctantly I stretch my aching legs.

“You wanna go back to the car?” He smirks.

Another group of hikers meets us. I’m in hopes they found the falls. One of the ladies in this group holds a wooden stick.

“You’ve got a while still,” she says, inhaling deep. “About two more miles.”

The guy next to her punches her on the shoulder.

“You are kidding, aren’t you?” I ask.

The group laughs.

Phil and I continue the pursuit. Now, he’s gasping for breath too as we climb steeper, placing our feet carefully along the slippery mud puddles. The rain is torrential now, as if someone turned a water faucet on high. My hair no longer feels like cotton candy with syrup on it. It is soft, as if the rain has washed all chemicals and mousse away.

What seems to take forever, a stroll all the way to the Heavens feels like it was hours away. My arthritic knees ache, but I am determined. I will not be defeated, even if it is the last adventure I complete in my lifetime. I inhale, exhale, stretch my legs, and plunge higher. I hear the sound of water. “It’s just the rain running down the mountain,” I say to Phil. We hear the sounds of falling water and move closer. The falls are just ahead. I feel a sense of accomplishment! Glancing at my sneakers, I discover my legs, socks, and sneakers are covered with mud.

“Thank goodness we have a washer and dryer at the cabin,” I said. “My socks and shoes were white this morning.”

Startled at my determination, Phil sees the new and improved me standing before him. Excited to see the world as a new adventure, I’m energized, like the non-stop Energizer bunny. I grab my camera, zooming in to capture the pure, flowing, sparkling falls. This is heaven. I wipe the splashing water from my eyes, unaware if it is rain, or my tears.

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Our first view of Grotto Falls, Gatlinburg, TN

 

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Beautiful, breathtaking Grotto Falls, Gatlinburg, TN

IF YOU GO:

  1. Don’t break hiking rules. Carry a backpack with supplies, first aid.
  2. Be prepared for steep hills, slippery rocks, and tree roots.
  3. Wear hiking shoes. Sneakers work, but hiking boots recommended.
  4. Carry a camera. The view is well worth the hike.
  5. Bottled water recommended. You will get thirsty as you climb higher!

For more information about Grotto Falls, visit the web site: www.southeasternoutdoors.com/public-lands/national-parks/smoky-mountains/grotto-falls.html

Photo credit: Barbie Perkins-Cooper

Barbie Perkins Cooper is a talented, award-winning writer of travel guides, screenplays, fiction, non-fiction, plays, and numerous articles for regional, trade and travel publications.  In her spare time, she enjoys photography, boat riding, relaxing on the beaches of South Carolina, and listening to good music, especially jazz and hiking.

 

 

Election Day, Free Writing, On My Soapbox!, Uncategorized

Social Media Regrets…


Dearest Readers:

Yesterday, after quickly surfing on Facebook, I made a decision to leave social media for a while.

‘Why?’ Friends and readers ask.

Simple. I’m so tired of the racism, bigotry, and hatred discovered while reading some of the posts. I discovered the hatred and racism during the Presidential campaign of 2016. I hoped the hatred would disappear once the election was over. It hasn’t. If anything — it has intensified.

As all of you in America know, Donald J. Trump is our President Elect. Yes, he is a hot head. Yes, he has a toxic mouth, spitting cruelties out before he realizes what he has said or implied. Did I vote for him?

I will not reveal who I voted for; however, I will say, I considered WHO was the lesser of the two evils. Hillary Clinton vs. Donald J. Trump, or is it — Donald J. Trump vs. Hillary Clinton?

I have not missed any election since I was allowed to vote at the age of 18. I am proud to vote. I take the election seriously. All elections. I review. I research and I make a pro and con list for every election. When I walk into the polls to vote, I have my homework done, and I vote. No, I do not allow others to influence me. My vote is MY decision. No one else can change my mind.

Years ago, my husband and I talked about politics. During one election [sorry, I cannot recall which one] we had a heated dispute in a restaurant. My husband did his best to intimidate me, to make me change my mind, but on Election Day, I voted – for the person of my choice, not the party. After that election, we decided it was not a good idea for a husband and wife to discuss politics. This year, we did not discuss who the best candidate was. Why? Simple. Neither candidate was ‘the best.’

I will go on record to say I think the time is now for a woman to be President; however, after all of the lies, and most especially, how Hillary Clinton broke the law by not keeping government e-mails “confidential” I lost complete respect for her. Years ago, during her husband’s presidency, women wanted her to divorce Bill Clinton. I remember saying “Hillary Clinton will not divorce Bill. She has a mission planned.”

And what a mission she planned, only to lose the election. Reportedly, on Facebook and other Internet sites, there are many reasons she lost the election. Other sites had her winning the election. In fact, there is so much material flying across the Internet; I will not even attempt to list any of these sites. To quote Hillary Clinton during the Benghazi hearings: “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

I listened to the Benghazi hearings. When I heard her infamous statement, I turned the television off, remembering how frightened I was during my husband’s Tour of Duty in Vietnam. If I were one of the family members, her cold, uncalculated statement meant a lot. Lives were lost. Had the USA reacted, those words, “What difference, at this point, does it make?” were some of the most profound words spoken. How would Hillary Clinton feel IF those words or a similar story affected her daughter? http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2016/09/11/what-benghazi-attack-taught-me-about-hillary-clinton.html

After this discovery, additional lies and deceptions continued, especially how Hillary did not follow through with keeping her confidential e-mails ‘confidential.’ I will assume those of us who do live and vote in America, know about these stories. There are just too many to discuss here in this post. Hillary Clinton would not take responsibility for her actions, and that is why I did not think she is strong enough to admit her mistakes, or to serve our country as the next President Elect.

“Well, what about Trump?” You are asking.

I am aware of those accusations happening over 20 or 30 years ago. My question to all of those women who came forward is this – “Why has it taken you so long to come forward?” Isn’t it strange how those accusations occurred during the election debates? Because I respect myself, if any man said those words to me, it would not take me 20 – 30 years to come forward.

I was so tempted to write in a candidate for President. Mickey Mouse was sounding better every day.

Undoubtedly, the Election of 2016 was one of the dirtiest smear campaigns ever. It is so sad that this election happened during the time when a woman candidate attempted to make history and break the ‘glass ceiling.’ Now, with the election over I read disgusting stories and that is why I’ve decided to be quiet on Facebook for a while.

The media still reports about the protests after the Election 2016. There are over 28,000,400 sites on the Internet discussing the election. If you would like to read them, simply type ‘protests after the election 2016’ on Google. Yes, the news media is having a field day reporting the information. Now, I must ask, just how true are these sites?

The anger is horrifying. Yesterday, while reading Facebook, I read comments from someone [I shall not reveal the name – after all, “What difference at this point does it make?”] The words were chilling. Yes, the person was a ‘friend’ on Facebook, not anymore. I’ve unfriended this person, and earlier, when I checked the site, the person’s name is not listed with Facebook now. I do not know why; however, it might be related to the post listing about children will get raped now with Donald Trump as president(???) and the hatred this person felt after the election. There were so many of these types of posts it made me ashamed to be on Facebook, and to be active on social media sites.

This is America. We are proud of our country, and we are grateful and protective of our children. It is my hope and prayer that Facebook and other social media sites will get their act together to screen some of the posts listed by members who join Facebook. Hatred does not need additional feeding sites on social media sites. We can step out in America to see hatred everywhere. America was not based on hatred, although now, it appears that hatred is the fuel these people have to promote more bigotry, racism and hatred.

Some might argue – if this is done it is censorship. I think not. Facebook is a social media site. Just because you might read destructive things on this site does not mean the posts are true. They are opinions. While I do not know for certain, I imagine some of the listings on Facebook and other social media sites could be to seduce someone to click on to read, only to have a hacker inside the computer. I want to protect myself and my computer, and that is why for a while, I might jump on to Facebook, but the only way you will see my actions are when I post on my blog. For me, I am taking a sabbatical from social media…to rest…regroup, and recognize I need to find inspiration and motivation to write again!

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