Monday’s Question

Thought I would combine Monday’s Question with the daily prompt: Crank

Question:  Have you ever made/eaten homemade ice cream made with a hand crank ice cream maker?

My Answer:  

My family never owned a hand crank ice cream maker when I was growing up but our neighbors did. I remember many a hot summer day, usually around the fourth of July holidays, when the neighbors would pull out the ice cream maker and all the kids in the neighborhood (there were a lot of us) would take turns at the crank. It was hard work and seemed like it took FOREVER. But the reward was great and that hand cranked ice cream never disappointed!


Gail ♥  

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Sunday Glory



If you speak, you should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If you serve, you should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen

1 Peter 4:11 NIV


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Five Fiction Books I Could Read Again and Again

Some people don’t reread books. I’m one to read favorite books again and again. There’s something about rereading a book you love. It’s like meeting an old friend again. It’s fun to let the book take you away again, to places you love and to friends you’ve forgotten about.

I could list many more but for the sake of this post, I’ll limit it to five (and they are in no particular order).

1. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn– by Betty Smith


The beloved American classic about a young girl’s coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness — in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.

My mother adored this book. She was always telling me and my sisters when we were teenagers that we needed to read it. I didn’t read it until I was in my thirties and I fell in love with it. I will never tire of reading this book. As a side note, it’s funny sometimes what you will get out of books. The characters drink a lot of coffee in this book and it always made me crave coffee! They always used condensed milk in their coffee. Because of this book, I often use sweetened condensed milk in my coffee.   

2. To Kill a Mockingbird– by Harper Lee


Harper Lee’s Pulitzer prize-winning masterwork of honor and injustice in the deep south—and the heroism of one man in the face of blind and violent hatred

One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than forty million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the twentieth century by librarians across the country. A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father—a crusading local lawyer—risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.

I also didn’t read this book until I was an adult (unlike all my friends who seemed to have it for required reading in high school).  I read it a third time when the book club I was in chose it. I notice something different just about every time I read it. I love the movie too.

3. Gone With the Wind– by Margaret Mitchell


Since its original publication in 1936, Gone With the Wind—winner of the Pulitzer Prize and one of the bestselling novels of all time—has been heralded by readers everywhere as The Great American Novel.

Widely considered The Great American Novel, and often remembered for its epic film version, Gone With the Wind explores the depth of human passions with an intensity as bold as its setting in the red hills of Georgia. A superb piece of storytelling, it vividly depicts the drama of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

This is the tale of Scarlett O’Hara, the spoiled, manipulative daughter of a wealthy plantation owner, who arrives at young womanhood just in time to see the Civil War forever change her way of life. A sweeping story of tangled passion and courage, in the pages of Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell brings to life the unforgettable characters that have captured readers for over seventy years.

This was my mother’s absolute favorite book of all times. She was an avid reader and always said this was the best book she ever read. I can still remember seeing her sitting in her brown chair with this book in her hands. I got her first edition hard copy.  I read it for the first time in 2012 when I was home recovering from a painful surgery I’d had. I don’t usually like reading really long books but this was an exception.

4. The Help-by Kathryn Stockett

The Help

Aibileen is a black maid in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, who’s always taken orders quietly, but lately she’s unable to hold her bitterness back. Her friend Minny has never held her tongue but now must somehow keep secrets about her employer that leave her speechless. White socialite Skeeter just graduated college. She’s full of ambition, but without a husband, she’s considered a failure. Together, these seemingly different women join together to write a tell-all book about work as a black maid in the South, that could forever alter their destinies and the life of a small town…

I read this book for a book club I was participating in at my church many years ago.  LOVED IT. I’ve read it two more times since. I love the movie too and have watched it multiple times. It makes me laugh and makes me cry. A great story.

5. The Life of Pi– by Yann Martel

Life of Pi

The son of a zookeeper, Pi Patel has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior and a fervent love of stories. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes.

The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days while lost at sea. When they finally reach the coast of Mexico, Richard Parker flees to the jungle, never to be seen again. The Japanese authorities who interrogate Pi refuse to believe his story and press him to tell them “the truth.” After hours of coercion, Pi tells a second story, a story much less fantastical, much more conventional–but is it more true?

Life of Pi might just be my favorite book of all times. An employee at Barnes and Noble raved about this book to me. It was on one of my son’s school reading lists so I bought it.  The book club I was in decided we’d read it and man, did we have some good discussions about this book. I’ll just say it has a fascinating ending. We all interpreted the book differently and that’s what made it such a fun book to read and discuss. I can’t tell you how much I loved this book and love this story. When I heard a movie was coming out about this book, I just couldn’t fathom how they would pull it off. But they did. I loved the movie too and thought it was well done. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

Tell me, do you reread books?  What are some of your favorite books that you could read again and again? 


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A Mother’s Love is Never Forgotten

Today would have been my mother’s 92nd birthday. She died when she was 80 but it feels like yesterday. I miss her. I find myself wondering what she would look like at 92 and wonder how she would be getting around if she were still alive on this earth.

Today I think of things she loved. I think of red tulips, purple irises, colorful petunias, red geraniums. Her favorites. I think of Chantilly perfume, juicy red tomatoes, crossword puzzles and colorful Berets. I think of those silly bird houses that gave her so much pleasure and brought us all laughter in her final days at home. I remember thinking at first that a bird house was such a goofy Mother’s Day present, but what else do you get an elderly woman who has everything, wants for nothing, doesn’t leave the house much and who has multiple cancers?

I thank God for those bird houses now. How she loved them!



I think I miss her smile most of all. How it could light up a room. How she could make people laugh with her quick wit– a trait I wish I had inherited from her.  I miss hearing stories from her younger days.


I miss watching her stand in her 70s style kitchen complete with Avocado green stove and avocado green refrigerator. Even the tiled linoleum was avocado green. I never understood why she always told everybody her favorite color was yellow but everything she seemed to purchase for the house was green. Green couches, green chairs, and even the dryer was avocado green. Then there was the green Plymouth my father had adorned with a big red bow and surprised her with one Christmas morning. She unselfishly turned that car over to me when I went off to veterinary school. Even though she really needed that car, she knew I needed it more.

I remember when I went off to college, my mother decided to remodel her kitchen in a chicken theme. She had collected chickens for years. She got a chicken border and wallpaper, new cabinets, new flooring, a new refrigerator and dish washer and a new pantry, but she hung on to that double oven avocado green stove that she loved. I miss seeing her standing at that green stove and lovingly making meals for her family. How she loved to cook. I did inherit her love of cooking.

When her days were winding down and she was under hospice care, the time came when she was starting to accept that she was indeed going to die soon. It was hard. She wasn’t ready to go and she told me over and over that she didn’t want to die alone. I remember I was sitting with her in the den one day watching TV (probably Judge Judy) and I caught her staring off into the adjoining kitchen. Her eyes scanned the walls. Then she looked over at me, and she said softly and with sadness and pleading in her voice, “You girls please don’t throw all my chicken pictures and figurines away when I die.” I assured her we wouldn’t. And then she smiled. We divided the chickens up, my two sisters and I, even though none of us needed them, and we each have them in our own kitchens. They sit in my kitchen peppered among the pig figurines I collect.

pig and hen decor on top of bread boxAfter my mom’s death, I remember how painful it was for my sisters and me to go through our parents’ things and empty that house– a house we’d known for 47 years. There were a lot of happy memories there. I remember finding pictures of her dog, Buddy, who I gave to her right before she was diagnosed with cancer. Buddy was a big old mixed breed brown and black dog (I wish I could show you a photo but my darn scanner isn’t working). He had belonged to a veterinarian friend of mine and he was as sweet as could be. My mother fenced in her big backyard for that dog. But he scaled that chain link fence like it was nothing. I watched him one day and saw with my own eyes how he did it. He jumped belly first and clung to that fence with all fours like a Velcro doll, then he’d climb right over. I remember the day my mother called me on the phone and in all seriousness, she said, “Gail, I think Buddy’s a homosexual.” I fell on the floor laughing. Yes, I did. I composed myself and then said, “Okay mother, why do you think Buddy’s a homosexual?” “Because he keeps climbing the fence and going over across the street to Mr. Hamilton’s house and he cuddles with his dog. Sometimes they even get in the same dog house together and his dog is a male too!” I assured her it was okay and that male dogs could indeed be “just friends.”  I still laugh when I think about that phone call.

One day my sisters and I all met at my mom’s house. On this particular day we were going through jewelry, shoes, and cleaning out her old purses. We must have found a dozen old vintage rain bonnets our mother used to wear. The old cheap plastic bonnets that tied under the neck. The ones my mother never left the house without. My sister put one on and we laughed hysterically.


photo from


photo from

I remember the day one of my sisters and I went to do some final cleaning prior to the closing and we were going room to room and wiping down walls and cleaning the light switch covers. My sister looked at me and said, “You know what we’re doing?” We’re washing our parents’ DNA from this house. Something about that was so incredibly painful and sad. I felt like my heart was being ripped right out of my chest.

I walked through that house and yard one last time and thought it would kill me. I remembered all the birthday and holiday celebrations we had under that roof, family meals, family pets we loved and had to say goodbye to. I remembered parents who paced the floor when their daughters had their first car dates with boys. I remembered fights over who had the bathroom next, how my sisters and I hated when we were little and our mother would lean us back in the bathtub to wash our hair and scrubbed our head with the hard plastic spiky cream-colored brush. Mother always said she was just trying to keep our heads clean. I couldn’t part with that old tortuous plastic brush when I came across it while clearing out the bathroom closet. When I found it I smiled, and then went running to show my sisters. “Look what I found,” I said, as I waved the horrid brush in their faces. “God we hated that thing,” they confessed. It’s in a box in my basement somewhere. I walked through every last room rehashing memories in that particular room. I’ve never cried so hard. I was losing my parents all over again.

My mother’s favorite cake was pineapple upside down cake. I wanted to make one in her memory today since that was always what she requested on her birthday. I haven’t eaten one since she died.

pineapple-upside-down-cake-2442566_960_720I always love when people who knew my mother well tell me I sound just like her on the phone and in person. My mother had a thick southern drawl. I talk with a southern accent but not as thick as hers was. She often called people dahlin’. I’m sure she got it from her mother, who also used that word a lot. My mother called just about everyone dahlin’– her three daughters, the neighborhood girls (and boys), the check out girl at the grocery stores, her nurses, her three son-in-laws, her friends at the Grand Ole Opry. Not darling or darlin’, but dahlin’. It was sincere and endearing and came so natural to her. It was who she was. Even in my dreams she calls me that. I miss hearing it.

Gail ♥  

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A Frothing Death

When I saw the daily prompt word for today, Froth, I didn’t first think of frothy cappuccinos or foamy beer.

I thought of one of the worst cases of canine poisoning I’ve ever seen. It was many years ago on a Saturday morning. The veterinary clinic I worked at was only open until noon on Saturdays but we rarely made it out by noon. It seems Saturday was a common day to have an emergency at 11:45 pm and this day was no exception.

I was notified by the receptionist that a dog was being brought in on the stretcher by our technicians. It didn’t look good and was having convulsions. I ran ahead into the exam room as the technicians rushed the seizuring dog down the hallway.

Besides the violent continual tonic convulsions, I noticed fully dilated pupils, diarrhea seeping from the dog’s hind end, urine pouring from the penis. I also noticed a white frothy foam all around the dog’s mouth as well as copious amounts of saliva oozing from cyanotic mucous membranes in the mouth. All of these “liquids” were pooling up on the dark green vinyl animal stretcher. It’s like every single orifice from this dog had something oozing from it. Like multiple spigots had been turned on inside the dog and left on.

I had never seen so much saliva come out of one dog. It was unbelievable that there could even be that much.  

As I hurriedly reached for the diazepam, I asked the veterinarian standing beside me in the exam room if he had ever seen anything like this. He told me he hadn’t. I’d seen several strychnine poisoning cases which were similar, but nothing to this degree. The dog expired before I could even draw the diazepam up into the syringe.

I consulted with a veterinary toxicologist who told me we had seen a textbook case of metaldehyde poisoning. Metaldehyde is a common poison used in snail and slug bait. Ingestion of very small quantities can be deadly to pets. There is no antidote or treatment for metaldehyde poisoning, only symptomatic treatment.



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Monday’s Question

Haven’t done one of these Monday’s Questions in a good long while. Please feel free to answer the question in the comment section if you’d like to play along.  I always enjoy hearing what other people are reading!

Question:  What’s on your nightstand?

My Answer:  

I’m still savoring Watership Down.  I’m reading this one slow (and getting slower towards the end because I don’t want it to end).  It’s a fantasy adventure about rabbits. I love the little rabbit characters in this book and I’m going to miss them when I’m finished with the book.

I’m also reading Money 101. I found this book a few years ago at Lifeway Christian Bookstore for $1 y’all!  It was in the bargain section and I couldn’t pass it up. I actually was going to pass it on to my sons, but decided I’d read it before I do so. I guess I sort of forgot about it and found it buried under a pile of books on top of the bookshelf. It’s part of the Bible Guides For Life series and it covers budgeting, being a good steward, learning to save, investing your money, getting out of debt, teaching your children about money, paying for college, taxes, insurance, retirement, and avoiding credit card dangers.

I’m also still reading The Healthy Smoothie Bible. I’m learning about all the different greens one can use in a smoothie, their characteristics, the different fruits and veggies, choosing liquid bases, freezing fruits, and about detox and cleansing smoothies.  It’s everything you ever wanted to know about smoothies and making them!


I also read a multitude of various daily devotionals and am currently doing a bible study on The First Letter From Peter.

It’s your turn now! Tell me what you’re reading or leave book recommendations in the comment section.

Have a wonderful and blessed week!


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Thwarted Lies

Back when I was a neophyte veterinarian, I had a very strange phone call late one afternoon at the clinic.

A woman called who was not a client and who asked to please speak to the vet, that she had just run over her daughter’s dog. We had never seen or talked to this woman before. She had never been to our clinic. The receptionist got the idea after asking her a few quick questions, that she had no regular veterinarian.

I got on the phone, half expecting a hysterical pet owner. Instead I was met with a relatively calm woman who seemed a tad bit nervous at times, and who talked in such a fast and broken manner that it was difficult for me at times to decipher what she was trying to say.

She told me she had accidentally backed over her daughter’s dog in her driveway, killing the poor dog instantly. My thoughts immediately took me back to a time when I was a child when a neighbor across the street accidentally backed over the family dog in their driveway and killed it. It was terrible. The entire neighborhood was attached to and loved that little dog and we all grieved. I remember the pain, anguish, and guilt her owner felt.

I told the lady on the phone that I was so, so sorry. I meant every word and felt really bad for her.

It’s what she said next, that both perplexed me and angered me. 

She wanted to know if she could bring the deceased dog in to the veterinary clinic, us “do whatever we wanted with the body,” and she would then tell her daughter this huge fabricated story she had concocted– that she had taken the dog in to our clinic for a bath and that WE had let the dog get loose and escape from our clinic and that the dog had run out into the street and been hit by a car and killed. While in our care. She wanted me to collaborate her story with the daughter.

I sat in stunned silence for just a few moments in total disbelief that she was actually asking what she was asking, and then I said, “NO, MA’AM, I CAN NOT AND WILL NOT DO THAT!” She acted shocked and didn’t see the problem. “But it was just an accident,”she said. “An accident… YES EXACTLY,” I boomed. She still didn’t get it.


I asked her how old her daughter was. She told me her daughter was ten, almost eleven. Plenty old enough to be able to deal with the truth, as ugly as it was. And I told her so. I don’t know if I was out of line professionally (and I really don’t care if I was), but I told her in my opinion she needed to do herself and her daughter a favor and tell the truth of what happened to the dog. I told her it was an unfortunate accident and accidents happen in life. Her daughter needed to learn that lesson sooner or later. I told her I believed that honesty is always the best policy. And so no, I would not lie for her. It would not be doing her daughter any favors.

I asked her if she had thought about how this would affect her daughter’s life long view of veterinarians and veterinary clinics (had we gone along with her lie)?  There would probably always be a distrustfulness, hurt, and probably some anger issues on her part towards the veterinary profession. She hadn’t thought of that and really didn’t care. And if by chance, her daughter did later learn the truth, how would it affect her relationship with her mother? She hadn’t thought of that either.

No, I would not let my profession take the fall for this. The lady on the phone was not pleased with me. I had thwarted her lies. I often wondered after hanging up what exactly she told her daughter. I have a sneaking suspicion it wasn’t the truth. I hope that it was.


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