Monday, June 21, 2021

Mamas House Site

Mama and Daddy's first farm in mountains was 13 acres that Mama named it "Our Few Acres". The property had 2 large fields, known as the Upper and Lower Pastures, one located up the hill from the other, separated by woods. The farm was known as "Tables" to all the locals.  

When we came up to the mountains, we still stayed at our house  which was just a mile or two from the farm. And, yes, I am taking liberties referring to 'Our Few Acres' as a farm, but in our world it was land, had fences, and had cows therefore it was the closest thing we had to one. Most Saturdays I spent just exploring, watching the cows, or riding around the area with Daddy.

Of course, Mama wanted to build on the farm. So she started looking for house sites. Daddy told her she had 13 acres to choose from. He would move his cows to suit her, once she chose where she wanted to build. She started down by the gate in a pretty wooded area, but soon decided that it would be too noisy by the road. The Lower Pasture was considered but it was small. Then she got to the Upper Pasture. This was the obvious choice. Daddy went back to his cows and told her to let him know when she made up her mind. About thirty minutes later she came back,. "I found it. It's perfect. Come see."

So we all followed her as she headed to the Upper Pasture. She walked toward the top and we followed. No surprise here, she obviously wanted a view. She kept walking into the woods. And, she wanted shade. We kept walking. Things were going well until she crossed the fence and we followed along. Next thing we knew we were standing on the top of this mountain with a 360 degree view of hills and valleys below. It was breathtaking. She walked to the highest point, turned around, looked at Daddy and said, "Here." 

"Right here? You've got to be kidding. You know when you crossed that fence you were past our property line?" 

"I figured as much. But this is where I want my house." He just looked at her, then looked around at the view and shook his head.

Eventually we all went back down the hill, across the fence, and returned to Our Few Acres. Daddy knew the discussion was not over. Mama was going to build her house on top of that hill. After some inquiries, he learned it was a nice family, Hoyt and Roland Jones. Hoyt's family, the Kerr's, had owned the land for generations, still worked it as an apple orchard. They were extremely well thought of. 

With hat in hand, Mama and Daddy paid them a visit. After some discussion, they agreed to sell them the two acres that would include the top of the hill and the land between that and our current farm. There was only one stipulation, they would have to purchase the remaining 198 acres of the tract.

There was no way Daddy was going to purchase 200 acres of land for my mother to have one acre to build a house on. Certainly, somewhere on their current 13 acres there was a suitable place. However, being a gentleman, and not wanting to seem rude, my father agreed to go with Roland to look at the rest of the property. Maybe he could convince him to part with only 2 or 3 acres after all.

They went up the road behind the Jones' home. As they got to the end of the road, Roland made a right turn through a gate. There was this unbelievably beautiful piece of property with rolling hills and meadows, pretty woods with poplars and other hard woods, and an apple orchard. Daddy was speechless. And, then they drove through the field to the top and there was that view. They started discussing money.

After a deal was made, that I think included free prescriptions for the Jones and their family for life in addition to the cash sales price, Mama and Daddy drove back up the road to take another look at what they had just purchased. Daddy looked around. "I hope you are happy now. This is a damn expensive house site." 

Mama's response was, "Well, I don't know. All I did was select a house site and somehow you finagled a cattle farm to go with it." That was the afternoon we went from Our Few Acres to High Acres and Mama finally had a place to build her house. And, Daddy had 213 acres he could call a farm.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Sweet Mash and White Lightening


Defined as “illicitly distilled or smuggled liquor”. Other names include: mountain dew, choop, hooch, homebrew, mulekick, shine, white lightning, white/corn liquor, white/corn whiskey, pass around, firewater.

My Daddy drank bourbon for years, then later in life he changed to Scotch. But, always included in his bar stock was a mason jar of sweet mash moonshine.

As a child, my family had a farm in the mountains of North Carolina. High Acres, as the farm was named was our haven. Daddy referred to it as his favorite tax write off. It was where he could play weekend farmer, which he found “relaxing”. He found getting up at the crack of dawn, mending fences, branding cattle, and anything else his farm manager needed help with, pure joy. 

This brings me to Stanbury Franklin, the farm manager. Now Stanbury was quite the personality . He resembled a version of the character that was on the old cans of Mountain Dew soda. He didn’t say much. However, when he did speak it was always pearls of wisdom. 

He was very dedicated to my Daddy. I’m not sure if that dedication came from his fascination with this pharmacist from the flatland who wanted to farm. Maybe it was Daddy’s odd projects - such as breeding Angus Cattle - years before many people did in the North Carolina mountains. Or those spotted horses (Appaloosas) that Daddy bought. Of course the fact that Daddy provided free prescriptions for Della, Stanbury’s wife, who had some health issues didn't hurt. She required a lot medication, which was pretty expensive and they had no insurance. But, I digress.

Stanbury always had a jar of sweet mash when Daddy needed it. He never volunteered where it came from, and I doubt Daddy ever asked. He would frequently bring us tasty things from Della's kitchen - including Rhubard Pie and Apple Butter.

Besides the cattle and the horses and goats. Truth be told, the goats were a fascination of Daddy’s, something Stanbury never understood. That fascination ended when the neighboring farmer called, for the third time, and complained that the goats had escaped and were found feasting on apples in his orchard. After much apologizing and payment of reparations, that was the end of the goats.

Stanbury had overseen the construction of the stables, the hay barn, the pond house (more like a glorified picnic shed), and the house, (but that’s a whole ‘nuther story). 

The hay barn was the first structure you came to after entering the front gate. It was usually full the bales of fescue and bags of sweet feed.  This was all necessary to get the cattle and horses through the cold mountain winters. To this day, I can remember that sweet smell of the hay and sweet feed when you entered the barn.

All was well until the Friday afternoon we arrived to find the hay barn burned to the ground. As Daddy and Stanbury stood there surveying the smoldering remains, Daddy said, “It must have been struck by lighting. You said there was a storm last night. No doubt the hay fueled this.”

Stanbury, shuffled his feet, and in his halting country voice added, “That and the still in the back.”

Daddy turned to him, “Still? What still? Liquor still, seriously?" Thankfully, Daddy was more amused than upset.

“Yep, and there was a full barrel sweet mash in there. Just finished it.” Stanbury looked at Daddy, “Where’d you think your mash came from? Like I would trust the Juston’s 'shine, second rate stuff from that still they kept hidden in the woods?”

Daddy just chuckled, “Well it was good stuff, but a bit expensive.”

“Why you say that, never charged you a dime for it.”

“Maybe so, but it cost me a barn.” Daddy smiled, shook his head, and continued, “Guess we need to rebuild it. This time without the still.”

Months later the barn was rebuilt. Stanbury continued to provide Daddy with a steady supply of sweet mash. And Daddy never asked where it came from. However, he enjoyed telling the story of his barn burning to the ground, the result lightening from the thunderstorm and white lightening from the still.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

To the Moon Alice

 I read this week that United Airlines plans to reintroduce Super Sonic travel in 2029 (which scarily is only 8.5 years away). This heartens back to  the hey day of the Concorde, the super sonic program developed jointly by France and Britain. Between 1976 and 2003 for the price of $7,995 a seat (equivalent to around $13,000 in today's dollars) one could travel at the speed of Mach 2 from London to New York. 

This means flying twice the speed of sound, in less that 3 hours (vs a bit less than 7 hours on a standard passenger jet), one could cross the Atlantic in pure luxury. Flying on the Concorde was more than just a fast way to get some where. Passengers enjoyed 3 course fine dining  with menus that may have included Angus beef, Scottish smoked salmon, caviar, lobster, guinea fowl, truffles, foie gras, and champagne, as well as high end cocktails and fine wines. Speaking of wines, the Concorde had its own wine 'cellar' stocked with fine French wines and champagne.

There were other offerings, such as Cuban cigars. Remember the days when one could smoke on airplanes - up until the late 1980's.

The experience started with the exclusive "Concorde Lounges" at each airport that serviced the super sonic jet and its passengers. Once on the plane, there was an understanding that anything not tethered down could be taken home (cutlery, luggage tags, cutlery, bottle openers, matches, coasters, and vanity kits). In addition, the price of the ticket included swag for each passenger such as Wedgwood paperweights and circular trays, Smythson of Bond Street notebooks, silver photo frames, letter openers, leather drinks coasters, hip flasks, and leather bags - each embossed, engraved, or etched with the iconic Concorde symbol .

Traveling at Mach 2 allowed passengers to actually see the curvature of the Earth. However that was a bit difficult given the windows were very small. One had to remember the super sonic Concorde was really a glorified fighter jet - that offered champagne and Cuban cigars. 

I love to travel and enjoy flying (even in today's trying circumstances). Flying on the Concorde was always on my bucket list . At least  until 2003, when the service was stopped. That was 3 years after the crash of Air France flight 4590 that killed all the passengers and crew aboard. After an extensive investigation, it was determined that the cause of the crash was not the super sonic jet but rather a piece of debris  on the runway that fell off an earlier passenger jet.

There have been several times I have flown 1st Class, always on an upgrade or using my airline points. And it was great, not worth the price of $1,000 plus per seat, but a more enjoyable and comfortable way to travel.

So thanks to United Airlines, I may be able to check this off my list after all. Good thing, I have 8 years to save my nickels and dimes for the $13,000 fare. Ironically, for that price, wouldn't one want the experience to last more than a mere 3 hours?

Friday, June 18, 2021

Saying What We Mean

Traveling with friends from the 4 corners of our great land often leads to comments about life in my part of the world. Funny, all the other parts of the country treat us (southerners) like we live in another country. Didn't they fight a war 150 years ago or something like that, ensuring that the South stayed in the Union? But I digress.

These conversations eventually come 'round to things we say. I don't think twice about the sayings I grew up hearing. Some call them 'colorful', I say they just spell out what we are trying to say . . . albeit usually in a colorful way. Here are some that come to mind (and may as well been spoken in Greek and written in Cyrillic to my friends from the rest of the country.)

  • 'Forty Going North'  
  • 'That Dog won't hunt' 
  • 'Nobody'll ever notice it on a galloping horse' 
  •  'Two bricks shy of a load', 'Their elevator doesn't go to the top floor.' 'She's not the brightest bulb on the tree'. '2 sandwiches short of a picnic' 
  • 'Good thing he had that one at home' 
  • 'He ain't got no pot to pea in'
  • 'He couldn't hit the broad side of a barn'
  • 'She's about as useful as buttons on a dishrag'
  • 'That ain't worth the powder to blow it to Hell'
  • 'Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit'
  • 'Cute as a speckled pup in a red wagon'
  • 'Snow ball's chance in Hell'
  • 'Argue with a fence post'
  • 'A bit light in his loafers'
  • 'Got the short end of the stick"
  • 'Like a stuck pig'
  • 'Bump on a log'
  • 'In a coon's age'
  • 'Chew'n the fat'
  • 'Well, I do declare'
  • 'Like white on rice'
  • 'He gets a burr in his saddle.'
  • 'Got her knickers in a knot.'
  • 'Why that egg sucking dog'
  • 'Lawd, people will be able to see to Christmas!'
  • 'She's as lost as last year's easter egg'
  • "I swan, you all musta pissed God off somehow"
  • 'We're off like a herd of turtles.'
  • 'He hasn't got the sense God gave a goose'
  • 'Hotter than blue blazes.'
  • Bless your pea pickin' little heart!
  • 'Barking up the wrong tree.

But the my favorite is 'Hissy Fit'. Who knew we had the corner on that market? My daddy used to say, 'That lasted about as long as Pat stayed in the Navy'. I never quite figured out where that one came from.

And, that's all she wrote.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

The Elusive Coconut Cake and the Truth of Moderation

I am constantly on a mission to lose weigh. And, I am proud to say, I am pretty dedicated to this. Well, that is until someone shows up with a homemade coconut cake - then the jury is out. 

My love for a good coconut cake brings back memories of my Grandmama and her kitchen - that magical place. I know most of us have fond memories of our grandmothers and the delight that came from their kitchens - especially that one thing everyone at the family reunion waited for with bated breath. In my case, that was her coconut cake.

Unfortunately the recipe for that cake went to the grave with her. I have never been able to recreate that perfect culinary creation. Oh, I have a recipe  (on a 3 x 5 slightly stained note card) in her hand writing, no less. Try as I might this luscious splendid gâteau, eludes me.

Even using the exact ingredients - down to her traditional Red Band Flour, I cannot recreate that light fluffy cake. But, I think with 10 - 12 more attempts, I can probably produce the lighter than air yellow cake as I remembered. The icing, however, continues to challenge me. Even using a traditional double boiler and hand mixer, I have yet to get it right.

Not that I am bragging, but I pride myself on my cooking - baking included. I conquered the Lemon Doberge cake,  if I must say, on my first attempt. Even though at first glance, the recipe of 5 layers of a rich white cake, each layer separated with sweet, yet tart, lemon custard, all covered with a very fluffy butter cream icing having just enough zest to give it a wisp of heavenly lemon flavor, was initially daunting.

But not Grandmama's coconut cake. Perhaps it is not to be. My baking days have been put on hold for a while - a long while. After all, who can seriously bake without constantly tasting each step to ensure perfection. Well, not me. 

Meanwhile, back to watching my weight.  And this does not include a coconut nor a Doberge cake, biscuits or gravy smothered doves. Oh, to what depths vanity will drive us! One desire (more like delusion) is that the success of my most recent project will be the ability to enjoy these delights once again. They say moderation is the secret to success. But seriously, does "moderation" mean the tease of a very small piece or just not going back for seconds?

Come to think of it, anything that is suggested to be consumed in moderation, must be worth more. After all, life is short, why moderate. One of my favorite quotes from the late Queen Mum was, "Wouldn’t it be terrible if you’d spent all your life doing everything you were supposed to do, didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, didn’t eat things, took lots of exercise, and suddenly, one day, you were run over by a big red bus and, as the wheels were crunching into you, you’d say, 'Oh my God, I could have got so drunk last night.' That’s the way you should live your life, as if tomorrow you’ll be run over by a big red bus."

Given she had a full life, was adored by everyone, and lived to be 101, perhaps she had it right. The secret of getting the most from your life may not be moderation per se, but being generous when you moderate. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Road Kill

Last spring, the first sign the pandemic was getting bad down here was the disappearing evidence of road kill. Especially prime meat like opossum and squirrel. And deer, now there's a prize if you bring it down with your dad's F150 instead of the 12 gauge - no buck shot to clean. And, the truck's so old no one can tell the dent is new. Everyone 'round here has a yard truck or a fishing car, the old vehicle that has so much sentimental attachment you just couldn't bare to part with it. Besides, it still runs and the duct tape on the front seat matches that darn gray replacement rear fender you never bothered to get painted.The left blinker doesn't work, but that's OK, it's not like it's NASCAR or something, just make right turns instead of left ones. 

I bet women up north don't have jumper cables in their cars (or trucks). When I was old enough to get my driver's license, my father would not let me go down to the highway department (the one next to the Bar-B-Que place) until I could do three things: change a tire, change the oil in my car, and drive a car with a clutch and the gear shift on the column (am I showing my age or what!) He wasn't concerned about my ability to safely maneuver the vehicle. I had been doing that for years on the farm.

I started out with a used blue AMC Gremlin. Remember those classic automobiles? It had no carpet, no AC, an AM radio, and manual transmission. You could safely say it was as bare bones as it got. For some reason my parents wanted to make sure I knew my place in life. And, let me tell you when you drive up to the Country Club every afternoon for tennis team practice in that jewel and park it next to the Mercedes, Buicks, and Cadillacs, let's just say, it makes a statement. It was humbling to say the least.

But, we still try to drive our cars for at least ten years. I'm not one that needs a fancy car to impress the neighbors or have that "itch" some folks have every time the new models come out. (Although I do not deny my passionate desire for a Porsche Carerra. We all can dream.) The idea is to have safe, reliable, comfortable transportation. Of course, it helps if it is well constructed so if you happen to hit that deer for dinner, you can easily throw it across the hood and bring it home. Otherwise your pickings will be limited to opossum, rabbit, squirrel, and the occasional coon. And, that's a lot of work.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

It Ain't Fittin'

For God's sake, will someone tell them, it's not "Cheesey Grits". If you want grits with cheese in them, you order, "Cheese Grits".  . .  y'all.

Honestly, you don't have to try to be one of us to get our attention, our affection,or our vote. Come to think of it, we would appreciate it, if you wouldn't try. Some folks can screw up a two car funeral.

Come on down, sit a spell, we'd love to have you. We'll serve you sweet tea, good bourbon, and BBQ that will make a tadpole slap a whale. We'll show you a good time on a Sat'day night at a juke joint down the road with some of the best music you ever heard. You can go with us for fresh oysters on the dock at sunset overlooking the marsh. We'll mosey under a mile long canopy of live oaks dripping with Spanish moss. You can go uptown to the high faluten world renown restaurants, down town to the local dive for collards and hot biscuits, or out back for pulled pork that has been slow cooking over hickory coals all night.

We love company and we don't ask for much. But, a little advice here, "southern" don't fit well unless you're from here. Like Mammy said: "It ain't fittin'... it ain't fittin'. It jes' ain't fittin'... It ain't fittin'."

Monday, June 14, 2021

Cured or Not

Cure  ( kyo͝or)

- to preserve (meat, fish, tobacco, or an animal skin) by various methods such as salting, drying, or smoking.

Call me behind the times, but I am always amazed by what I don't know, and worse, yet, how long it takes me to find out what I am missing.

In the grocery store yesterday I notice "Uncured" bacon. Now for those of you already enlightened about this, stay with me here. Like many of us, I was raised reared in a world of "Cured" meats. The salty and smoky flavor of cured ham is unmistakable. When you are cooking collards, do your throw pieces of sandwich ham from your Oscar Mayer package into the pot?  Oh, no. You want that a piece of ham hock from a cured ham to give that unique salty smoky flavor.

This brings us to the types of curing: salting, sugaring, and smoking. There is hot smoking, cold smoking, and smoke roasting. 

All this is based on chemistry, a subject  I avoided like the plaque once I got to college after surviving Mr. Allen's Advanced Chemistry class in high school. Centuries ago, man, in all his wisdom, concluded that spoiled meat contained something very bad (botulism) that would lead to death.  The idea of vegetarianism not being appealing, through trial and error (thanks to Harold's camp fire and Eric's salt seller) they found that by "curing" their meats they could both enjoy their kill and avoid botulism. 

All this brings me back to the meat counter in the market and the "Uncured" bacon. If bacon by definition is "cured meat from the sides and belly of a pig (ie pork belly)", does not that make the term "Uncured Bacon" an oxymoron? 

The official definition of “Uncured” bacon is "bacon that hasn't been cured with general sodium nitrites (salts), flavorings, and other things." Even as we delve into the belly of the issue, the semantics of  it gets murky. While "Cured" bacon is soaked in a brine of flavorings and salt - which contain nitrites, the definition of "Uncured" bacon continues as "[usually] cured with a form of celery juice, which contains natural nitrites, and plain old sea salt, as well as other flavorings like parsley and beet extracts". 

This all begs to ask the obvious - if it is still "cured" with sea salt..... 

I'll spare you an opus on nitrites and nitrates. The long story short - both "Cured" and "Uncured" bacon are cured (yes cured) with these "chemicals". The "Uncured" version can say that their process uses natural nitrites from celery juice and beets. But we live in a world of nitrites and nitrates. Many green leafy vegetables have more nitrates per serving than bacon (of any kind). Heck, nitrites are part of the powerful antimicrobial agent in our saliva. 

So much for all the hullabaloo about the nitrites/ nitrates in bacon. This new "Uncured" epithet looks to be just lipstick on a pig. Whether "Cured" or "Uncured", neither makes bacon more healthy. All this mess about curing aside, just start talking to the health nuts concerned about fat. Suddenly nitrites look like super complex mega vitamins. 

In defense of the real thing (not that I would take sides here), I did read a recommendation to buy and eat "Cured" bacon due to the rare chance of contracting trichinosis from the pork in "Uncured" bacon. But I would not worry about. After all, there are folks injecting botulism in their face daily. Who knows, in the future the rage could be capsules containing yersinia pestis (Bubonic Plaque) to ensure eternal youth. And, I don't think that can be cured.

Why mess with a sacred food, especially one of the southern trinity: Bacon, butter, and gravy?

Sunday, June 13, 2021

No Plastic Flowers - Please

On the back window of the car in front of me, in large script letters, read "In Loving Memory of  LaQuaChaniqua Jones, now with Jesus, 1966 -2010." (This is not an unusual sight down here.) It reminded me of some business I need to take care of. Not that I have any plans of going any where any time soon. In the case of my demise, it is very important that someone handle the following:

·   Before my body assumes room temperature, please go to my house and clean out my refrigerator. Short of condiments, just toss it all  and wipe it out. Don't worry, posthumously, I'll take the blame for not having any food in the house.  (Trust me, the church ladies will make sure my family does not starve in their time of grief, it is the south after all.) 

·  For God's sake, make sure there are no plastic flowers or silk arrangements involved. If some should appear, I would appreciate someone just anonymously seeing that they are delivered to some other bereaved family, it's the least I can do.

·   And, no daisies or carnations please, they are the dearth of arrangements. (I have gone out of my way to make sure all the arrangements we have sent over the years have not included them, and I damn well expect  repayment in kind.)

·  Yes, and one last request, needless to say, don't even consider putting my name on the window of your car.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

The Food Tells It All

Now, I read the other day that only a true Southerner knows instinctively that the best gesture of solace for a neighbor who’s got trouble is a plate of hot fried chicken and a big bowl of cold potato salad. If the neighbor’s woes are a real crisis, they also know to send over a large batch of banana pudding! Of course our friends in times of bereavement or stress are SOL if they are waiting on the hot fried chicken from my household, seeing that I don't fry chicken, but I do serve up a nice ham and fresh (tiny) butter beans. As for the bananna pudding, I'll put mine up against anyone else's, thank you very much.

But there is always the issue of how high regard you hold the distressed family. And, it's all in the food. This is especially true when there is a death and friends start bringing food to the house. Now you might think that the food is to feed the grieving family. And, true, it does serve that purpose. However, it has always been my theory that the primary motive behind sending food to the family was that we're all southern and that's what you do, but really it's our way of letting everyone know what we think of the family - like a secret code.

If you send a cake, then you think well of the family, as long as the cake is home made, and whole. Sending slices on a tray, just says "this is what we had left over - enjoy." Sending a store bought cake says one of two things, either you don't think much of the family or you're not from here and don't know no better. A basket of bread, shows you are being polite like your Mama taught you, but that's about it. A loaf of white bread is just an insult to the family.

Home made salad means a lot, especially if it is  chicken salad. Of course, if you use dark meat, folks will talk about you for weeks. (Everyone from a nice family knows better than that.) But, the highest compliment is bringing a platter of meat. Sending a ham, a  fried chicken, or platter of BBQ shows that this was 'show 'nugh someone you thought a lot about'. Posthumously, you have arrived when the neighbors start bringing meat. 

Now, the church ladies have a book back in the kitchen where they write down every dish that everyone brings to the family. You can rest assured that when folks come and drop their food off, their eyes are going to glance over that list to see who brought what. "Potato salad. Can you believe that Sally Jane just brought potato salad. I thought their families were pretty close.

"Well, look here. Margaret brought a ham. Just who do you think she is fooling? You know she never forgave Sam for his little indiscretions."  

"But, that was twenty years ago?" 

"She said he broke up her brother's marriage." 

"Can you believe Linda Sue brought a cake? A bet you a dime she bought it at the Piggly Wiggly?" 

"Well maybe this time she put it in her own container." 

"I don't know. Her mama was a Jenkins. She may not know any better. Bless her heart."

Friday, June 11, 2021

I'm Sorry If I Don't Like You

As Macbeth said, "Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." Stay with me here folks.

I have a love hate relationship with Facebook. Yes, I post a photo or a picture of one of my paintings  every morning or so. It is not unusual for me to post a candid shot of my pups with some witty comment about what they are thinking - like I really know.

So I have confessed my participation in the madness of this college social connection board gone awry. OK, hijacked by grandmothers posting pictures of their grandchildren, folks sharing photos of flowers someone sent them, gifts they received, or what they are having for dinner. The smart phone app "Four Square" will automatically post your location anytime you walk into a business that participates. (My favorite being the notification I saw one evening showing a friend of mine had just arrived at a funeral home.)

The site is now also flooded with ads that are "personalized" to what Facebook "knew" I would be interested in according to some confusing algorithm. Thankfully I found the drop down arrow where, after 3 flicks, I can tell those who think they know more than I do about my tastes that in fact they do not. "Friends"of mine and "Friends" of Friends post little sayings that are often quaint, sometimes religious, and a few times pithy. Unfortunately there is no drop down menu to notify Facebook that these posts are extremely annoying and I would appreciate their ilk not being added to my news feed. They just take up too much of my time as I scroll through pictures of my grandchild, surprise appearances of characters from my past, and updates on friends and family who are ill, dead, nigh onto to death, or just plain dying. (Ever since my Mama died and I lost her daily update on this last category, often Facebook is my best source.) But I digress - I simply scroll down.

But there are those posts that I strongly agree with. There are those posts where I want to show my support or that I shared their "chuckle". Sometimes I "Like" a post because it is a beautiful or unique photo. It may be someone's travel photo that I feel the need to show that I see they are traveling and am enjoying their pictures. The perfect example of this being a childhood friend of mind who recently got married. She and her new groom took a "Tour" of Europe for several months as their honeymoon. I traveled vicariously with them, albeit pea green with envy, looking forward to her daily post.

Speaking of the infamous "Like" button, unlike (no pun intended) many of my Friends, I use this sparingly. I do not "Like" every post I scroll by. As I mentioned above, many I could do without, but to each their own. When I "Like" a post, I am saying, "I agree, I appreciate, I am amused, I am impressed, I share your pain, joy, or loss." Not getting a "Like" from me does not necessarily indicate I am against your view, hate your post, don't think your grandchildren are the cat's pajamas, or not care.

As for my posts, I take any "Like" I receive to mean someone has considered my post and either appreciated it, agreed with it, are both. I don't expect a "Like" from everyone who sees a post of mine. A prime example of this is my photos. I never receive more than 15-20 likes on a given day, yet I cannot count the number of people who have stopped me on the street or at an event to tell me "I enjoy your photos on Facebook." And very few of these are included in the "Like" numbers. (I can see who "Like"s any given post.) So, no doubt, more people see my Photos and enjoy them than "Like" them.

All this rambling came to mind this morning when I came upon a post, rather a rant, from a grandmother very upset that not one person "Liked" her post yesterday about her granddaughter's birthday. How thoughtless, how rude, how could everyone be so remiss (according to her). In her mind one would think this incident had ruined the child's special day and thrown the child into therapy for life. Spare me.

Just because I don't "Like"you, doesn't mean I don't like you, care for you, or saw your post. It just means that I did not have a comment to make about it. To each their own. To Like or not to Like is a question I take seriously.