Saturday, July 22, 2017

A French King, a War Hero, and Idella Arnell

Perhaps a little background on the lovely hamlet of Gallagher, home of the Q.G. Hampton Rentals and Housing Company. Gallagher is a sleepy southern bedroom community just outside of Mobile. Entering this historic antebellum town of 5000 +/-, one would think once they had passed I-65 they had entered a time warp. Gallagher was a combination of Mayberry, Petty Coat Junction, and New Orleans wrapped up in Spanish moss, and old families where nothing moved quickly but gossip.

The town had managed to survive due to its close proximity to Mobile. Many folks who worked in Mobile wanted a slower pace of life than the city. They found the 27 minute commute (without traffic) a small price to pay for life in Gallagher. Meanwhile the townsfolk were more than happy to smile and take their money. 

The economy on Gallagher ran on tourists, out-of-towners who rented and kept the business coffers flush, and The Blue Point Pen Company with a very generous federal government contract. No one was quite sure what was so special about these pens, to the common eye they were simple blue ball point pens. However they were not available for sale to the public. The town was also known for its famous Museum of Confederate Uniforms, Hats, and Paraphernalia. 

Originally founded in the mid 1700's by the French. the town was first named Petit. Not that its namesake King Petit  VI, Par la grâce de Dieu, Roi de France et de Navarre (translated as King Petit,  by the Grace of God, King of France and of Navarre, Most Christian Majesty) ever set foot in the town, or on the continent for that matter.  

However in 1866, the town fathers voted to rename the little hamlet "Gallagher" in honor of their fellow townsman, Col. James B. Gallagher, Confederate war hero, aide, and personal spy for General Robert E. Lee. Unfortunately Col. Gallagher failed to see the outcome of the War between the States due to his untimely death of an affliction we do not speak of out of  respect to his family. Let's just say it was a consequence of his frequent dalliances at Idella Arnell's House of Pleasures for the Lonely Man in New Orleans.   

But I digress. Wade's mother, Jesslynn, was a direct descendant of Col. Gallagher. He found the colorful side of his infamous ancestor to be quite amusing, much to the dismay and embarrassment of  his mother, bless her heart. He always promised his mother he was going to name his first daughter "Idella Arnell". This inevitably brought on the vapors for his mother and she had to send for her smelling salts. Luckily Wade never married and never claimed any offspring, so his mother was spared any humiliation.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Q.G. Hampton Rentals and Housing Co.

As one can imagine, a rental housing office has a regular cast of characters coming in and out. And Q.G. Hampton Rentals and Housing Co. was no exception. The characters included an 80 year old widow, "Miss" Ella, who is still living in the house that she and her late husband, Howard, raised their family. Wade promised her he would never tear it down or make her move out. He keeps it livable and comfortable for her, biding his time knowing that the valuable piece of real estate will be available at some time in the future.

There is Terse (as is Reginald Beauregard Jackson III) who drives a late model BMW, dresses as if he is out of GQ, and lives in the penthouse of one of Wade's newer fancy high rises. He is a regular visitor to the office around the 2nd of the month to pay his rent that is usually in arrears. Even though he lives on a trust account funded by his Dad (ie Reginald Beauregard, Jr.), obviously it is not enough to get him to the end of the month to pay his rent.

On this particular morning, being the beginning of the month the office was fairly busy. Buzz and Larry, the two maintenance men, had stopped by to get the daily list of work and issues that need to be tended to. 

The Eldridge twins were in to pay their rent, which they always paid in cash - in ten dollar bills - $450. These ladies Flora and Cora were identical twin sisters who still dressed alike. They had lived together every day of their 70 years, never marrying. Rumor was, they never dated. Quite a curious pair.

"Miss" Ella walked in thrilled to see that Buzz and Larry were still there. "Boys, the screens in my front windows have fallen out once again. Do you think you can find time to drop by? Maybe around noon?" Buzz and Larry quickly assured her they would be there, knowing she would have plates of her famous chicken salad sandwiches and tomatoes from her garden waiting for them on the kitchen table. "Miss" Ella always got good service from the maintenance crew.

As "Miss" Ella walked out, a blond haired slight thing of a young girl entered, no more than 25 years old. Everyone in the office, stopped and turned toward the door. "Hi," she started in a very southern accent, "I'm Maisy Ruth Jackson and I'm looking for an apartment. My brother Terse recommended you. I hope you have something." Naturally, Bunny stepped forward, introduced herself and offered her a chair in her office.

Buzz looked over at Della, the older lady who handled the front desk. "Lordly, Wade only has one Penthouse, where is Bunny going to put her?"

Della replied, "No sweat, you know Bunny always comes through."

It wasn't anytime before Maisy Ruth and Bunny walked out of the office. "Della will you pull out a rental packet, the keys, and a map for that unit on Spring Street. Maisy Ruth says that is where she would like to live."

Knowing they had Terse's habits in mind, Bunny just smiled before anyone could say anything, "We looked at everything available."

Maisy Ruth thanked Bunny, said good bye, and left the office on her way to the unit on Spring Street. Larry went to the window. "I've seen everything now. That there Jackson is driving what looks like a 7 or 8 year old Accord. What's wrong with this picture?" 

"Now y'all behave yourselves. You know families are made up of all sorts. I'm sure she will be a lovely tenant."

"Speaking of lovely tenants," Della said as the door opened and a gentlemen who only lacked a horse to look like the Marlboro man sauntered in. At the same time, Bunny and Della, both looking star struck said, "Why, what can I do for you sir?" 

"Well ladies, seems I need a place to live. And I was told this was the place to come."

"Yes sir we try our best to serve. Come in my office and let's find out what we might have that will suit your needs," Bunny said as she led the way. "Oh and I'm Bunny, I'm sorry where are my manners."

"Sam, mam, Sam Peters." Suddenly things were looking up. Why nothing this good ever came up as a match on her profile.

"Well Mr. Peters. . ."

"Oh, its just Sam."

"Well then Sam, what are you looking for in particular?"

Thursday, July 20, 2017

I'm Back .....Again

After a six month hiatus for which I can neither explain myself nor justify the time spent, I am back to my blog. Y'all having heard enough about my insane life, I thought I would share the trials, travails, and drama of a new friend I have met.  I can assure you all the names will be changed to protect the innocent, the guilty. and those who profess to be either.

Her name is Brunilda, one of those God awful southern names one's mother bestows upon a new born baby girl who is innocent until burdened with such a moniker she will have to live with  for life. All the while her mother, Anna Belle, bless her heart, thinks that in honoring her dear Great Aunt Brunilda Ethel by naming her first born after her, that her fate will rise in the eyes of Great Aunt Brunilda. So much so that her Great Aunt will see that the sterling silver tea set on the family buffet, that Anna Belle and her three sisters have been eyeing since they were just little ones should appropriately be bequeathed to Anna Belle to be passed on to Great Aunt Matilda Ethel's namesake, her Great Great Niece, Little Brunilda.

But, I digress. Luckily, like all loving southern fathers are apt to do, Brunilda's daddy picked a sweet name to call his little girl - "Bunny". Thank God it stuck and "Brunilda" was "Bunny" from then on.

Bunny grew up rather quickly, married a cute guy she met in college, Buck. Upon the birth of her daughter, she spared the agony of a dreadful moniker and named her "Anna". (Possibly hoping that would ensure the inheritance of the prized tea set.) Soon a son came along, who was named Doug. The family did well until Bunny learned of a few unfortunate indiscretions Buck had had with a young lady at the local pen factory. Buck and Bunny divorced. It was not pretty.

Several years later, they saw the error of their ways and remarried putting their family back together. Buck had a good job at that local pen factory. Meanwhile Bunny had established herself as a very valuable employee of  Mr. Quinton Gallagher Hampton IV's (known as "Wade" to most of the locals) office. Mr. Hampton aka Wade was the local landlord of most rental property in the area. The office managed the billing, rent payments, and custodial crew for all his properties which were scattered all over town. They varied from small tenements that should have been torn down a decade or two ago to large modern multi-story buildings with everything from a concierge service  to dog walkers to a gym.

After proving herself as a reliable and trusty employee, Mr. Hampton, or rather Wade, made a very generous offer to promote her to manager, she would get a small cut of the rents collected and also, a chance to  possibly purchase some rental property along and along.

Bunny was beside herself. Now both she and Buck had good incomes coming in and they could enjoy a very comfortable lifestyle with their little family. They were living the life and it was good.

Oh, but not so fast. Seems Buck had gotten religion (unbeknownst to Bunny). He was convinced that the Lord would provide. His faith was so strong that he quit his job and dedicated his life to serving Jesus Christ, knowing that while the Lord was providing a lot, Bunny's new salary would certainly cover any expenses the Trinity overlooked.

Needless to say this caused some unpleasantness at home. It wasn't long before the Lord's provision's did not come through in a sufficient fiscal manner to cover the bills. Bunny made a good salary but not nearly enough to support their new lifestyle. They lost everything, save the sterling silver tea set that she had given her daughter.

Once again they divorced and our Bunny found herself the mother of two children, who by this time were almost out of college. She was single again with a good job but living with her mother.

This is where I come in. I failed to mention a few details. Bunny is very good looking. She is smart and driven. But, unfortunately Bunny has a depressed immune system. Therefore she is apt to become ill, sick, or in pain, more so than the rest of us. However she is in tune with her body, is always aware of its condition, and thankfully due to the small pharmacy of medication she has accumulated over the many years of illnesses, ailments, sprains, broken bones, etc. she can also self medicate.

Stay tuned.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Not Sure What I Have

I dearly love my pups, Ellie and Marshall. For those of you who have followed me for years you know the stories of how they came into my life. But here is the rest of the story.

When I was first looking for a pup, I dearly wanted a Norwich Terrier. The breed had all the qualities I wanted - wiry coat, small, fiercely independent, affectionate, loyal, active, and a terrier. But when I started looking for one, I was amazed to find that there were only around 800 born each year in the country. Yes, that made them expensive. Yes, I had a budget. But I found that the breeders hired people to screen potential buyers before the breeders would talk to the buyers. You never spoke with a buyer, usually a person or a agency. 

Long story short, I finally found a litter in Dallas Texas. The price was something I could afford and the breeder had 2 pups left. My daughter at that time was living in Austin. She agreed to pick the pup up and bring it east next time she flew home. She wanted to be sure she knew what she was getting so I sent her pictures of Norwich puppies.

Ellie arrived and life has not been the same since. She is everything I always wanted or is she? Ellie was a tee tiny little thing when she arrived.

But then she started to grow, and became a grayish black, and she continued to grow.

What was supposed to be a dog no larger than 12 pounds with an almost square build - 10" tall and 10" from the tail to the bottom of the neck became 17 pounds and a good 15 inches long. Upon some research I found that Norwich puppies and Cairn (Toto) puppies look very much alike. My DH started calling Ellie a "Norwhat". I am pretty sure I have a VERY expensive Cairn Terrier.

For Christmas this year I received two Dog DNA kits, so soon the mystery will be revealed.

As for Marshall, he is a rescue. He looks somewhat like a Skye Terrier (with short hair). Some days he resembles a very large Yorkie, who knows? But soon we will.

So we await the verdict, as to what I actually have. Not that it matters, I will adore whatever they are.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Dealing with the Black Dog on a Blue Day

For those of you wondering where I have been, well it is a long story. In the mean time I writing on another blog "Dealing with the Black Dog on a Blue Day" I hope to get my life straight and get back to this Blog because it truly is a labor of love.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Charleston is Closed

The best thing a Chamber of Commerce can hope to achieve is becoming a destination city, a place everyone wants to come - and spend money. Well Charleston's Chamber should be giddy with their success.

An article recently came out in the New York Times  titled "36 Hours in Charleston". As with most travel logs it goes into the charm, the beauty, the food, and quaint boutique hotels Charleston has to offer. It doesn't really talk about anything new - but then what is new here other than all the recently opened houses of gourmet gastronomy. Yada, yada, yada.

It doesn't mention the facts:

  • Parking spaces are rarer than hen's teeth
  • Getting a table at one's favorite old ratty eatery is impossible -thanks to some article in Gourmet magazine that gave away how good the food was and how to find it
  • Locals plan out of town excursions the weekends of the Bridge Run, the Garden Tour, and the Tour of Homes when the peninsula is inundated with even more tourists - if that were possible
  •  Residents of the lovely homes South of Broad now feel like rare animals in a zoo - as tourists stand outside their homes peaking through the fences and windows
  • King Street is packed with unruly children, as well as visitors wearing fanny packs and cameras
  • Rents are sky rocketing because so many who visit decide to stay
  • Traffic is miserable even when not held up by a carriage full of gawking guests listening to guides telling Charleston lore and embellishing the history  (just exagerating a bit to keep their attention)
Only once I wish they would publish an article pointing out the little known facts - that the city has been infested with the plague. The Confederacy has risen again and all the residents South of Broad have armed themselves to defend their homes and gardens against trespassers. (There is a bounty on the heads of tourists, extra money paid for a trifecta - one with a camera, tacky t-shirt, and a map.) The hostelry beds are infested with bed bugs - OK only a rumor but it sounds ghastly. Tourists on carriage tours should be wary of bands of vigilantes lurking behind walls in the older parts of the city. And that the city is closed Monday, Tuesday, and Satudays.

OK, OK, yes Charleston is one of the most beautiful, graceful, and polite places. In the spring one can smell the heady scents of Confederate Jasmine and Magnolias in the air. Living downtown gives one the ability to just walk several blocks and find a restaurant or bar that has national recognition and James Beard Award. Walking the pups in the morning on small (one way) side streets lined with the well known single homes (even though the ones around me are in the process of being renovated) gives one a that wonderful feeling that wake up every day in this most special place

But I still wish the secret had never gotten out. I yearn for the days when Charleston was just the destination for history buffs and garden clubs. Oh, how I wish one could find a quaint carriage house south of Broad street that an older couple just wanted to rent for  a ridiculously low price just to have "someone nice" living there. 

Alas the Holy City has become a victim of her own success. The secret is out and like the Jeany who escaped, it is now impossible to stuff her back into the bottle, secure the top, and throw it into the harbor. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

All that is left is the Big Red Bow and the Trees

I have opined about the Season Noel creeping in before Halloween. However now that Halloween is in the rear view mirror, we are about to enter full Holiday Mode. We haven't yet reached warp speed but we are definitely in second gear.

Here is my check list of things that once checked off, it's all over but the arrival of the Big man himself.

  • The middle of the Costco store is full of toys
  • One can find Egg Nog in their local dairy case
  • The Hallmark Channel goes to Holiday Movies 24/7
  • Sirius/FM starts their Holiday music stations
  • There are those car commercials that show cars in the snow with a Big Red bow on top.
  • Christmas Trees arrive at Lowe's (the local stands come much later with fresher trees)
  • There is a display of Claxton fruit cakes in the grocery store.
  • You see colorful lights on that one house in the neighborhood that is always decorated first
  • You cannot watch TV with seeing a Toy-r-Us commercial.
  • And the tree arrives at Rockefeller Center.
By my count I am at 8 out of 10. The engine is revving and we just hit 3rd gear.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Newest Chapter in the Saga of the Trees

As many of you know one the ongoing feuds in our humble household has been over the color (or not) of the Christmas Tree lights. The girls and I favor white, while my DH thinks they should be multi-colored. If you have followed me through the years you no doubt remember The history of the Light Issue. And just when I thought it could get no worse, my DH found lights that twinkled and blinked and it became The Nightmare of Lights.

But just like Ground Hog Day all over again, each year we seem to repeat the same scenario. It always starts on the Friday after Thanksgiving with the annual Christmas Tree hunt. Agreeing on the type of tree we want is the first hurdle. Over the years most have been been Leland Cypress. One year we had a Blue Ice Pine. Then there was the year my DH decided we had to have a Noble Fir - the "It" tree that year, only to be bested by our daughter in Texas.

After the variety is settled we move onto the discussion of  our different opinions of size - I generally think it makes sense to have one that is lower than our ceilings - just saying. But eventually, we agree on a tree that has enough trunk at the bottom to fit into a stand, no "holes" in the side of it, is well shaped, and fits in the den.

That is the easy part. This is where the counseling and therapy comes in. First there is the annual debate over colored vs. white lights. Then there is the question of the number of strings. My DH has never met a string of Christmas Tree lights he did not like.

After we have survived the lights there is the matter of the balls and decorations. Even though we have copious quantities of lovely blown glass ornaments (that are always safely wrapped and stored each year so they will survive to see another tree) each year my DH always seems to add to the collection.  It may be a new star or he may replace the angel on top. Or there was the one year he went all out and I came home to find real glass icicles on each branch and a Geo Synchronous Orbital Satellite (Star) atop our Holiday tree.

This year we will add yet another change. Many years ago I got irritated at the rest of the family and got my own tree. I proudly placed it in the dining room and carefully selected the ornaments I wanted on it. That year I only used celestial ornaments, a few other glass balls, and then I added light colored organza that I wrapped loosely around the tree threading it through the branches. The effect was magical I must say. The rest of the family accused me of breaking rank and causing angst and discord. That was the last time I had my own tree. Well, it was until this year.

I have 10 foot ceilings. There are plenty of white lights for me to borrow from the treasure trove of decorations in the attic. Once again I can carefully go through and select ornaments I want to use. We have collected so many over the years, we never use them all on any one tree. I may even be able to pull the Peacock feathers I used one year or the organza (if I can still find it). 

So there will be two Christmas trees. This should bring peace to the world and joy to the family. When I go back home, I can enjoy the tree however my DH has chosen to decorate it - icicles and all. I will have mine. And, as a peace offering I will not even ask for the Geo Synchronous Orbital Satellite (Star) he so dearly loves.