Why I Love Publix

Today is a major milestone for my husband, Rick.

It’s the big 60!

Air, Balloon, Balloons, Birthday, Bright

July is birthday month in our family.  Hubby’s birthday is today, mine is 6 days after his, his mother’s is 4 days after mine, and our daughter-in-law’s is the last day of the month on the 31st.  To say that we get a tad bit burned out on birthday cake and put on a few pounds in July is an understatement.  By the time our wedding anniversary rolls around August 2nd, we are caked out.

This year, Rick and I decided we didn’t want big cakes for our birthdays.  So when we were in Publix the other day, our mouths watering from all the delectable goodies in the bakery case, we spotted the perfect sized cake.  A mini buttercream cake which was 5 inches in diameter which appeared to have about 4-6 servings.  I ordered his cake and told the bakery employee to put a blue icing border around the edge.  Since a five inch cake isn’t really big enough to write Happy Birthday Rick, I told her to just write Rick, and then underneath to put a 60 or 60th.  She liked the 60th idea.

We stopped off at the store this afternoon to pick  the cake up and were carrying it to the checkout when my husband said, “Did you check to even see what it looked like?”  Though I just about always do that, I had not on this one.  How could they mess up a little five inch cake with one name and a number?  They had the receipt taped over the little clear window in the bakery box.  I stopped and lifted the receipt.  There plain as day, in blue icing, was the name:



I stood there staring at that cake with furrowed brow.  I showed it to hubby, my brain quietly pondering who the hell Rick Goth was.  Hubby looked at the order form and realized the order taker had written 60th but made her 6 look like a G while making all the other letters the same size and running them all together.  For some reason, this just started getting funnier to me.  My husband and I walked on to the checkout, pondered whether we should take it back and have it corrected or just let it all go.  After all, we would soon be devouring it.  But then there was the matter of photos.   We decided to buy a small tube of blue icing and just fix the defect ourselves.  We found the icing and went to the self-checkout.

There happened to be an employee standing nearby who smiled at us and so I carried the cake to her and I said, “Ma’am, what does this cake look like it says to you??”  Without batting an eye, she said loudly, “Rick Goth.”  I laughed and said, “Okay, thank you, it’s supposed to be Rick with a 60th underneath.  She smiled, then laughed, and took the cake from my hands.  Laughing, and seeing our little tube of blue icing that we were about to purchase to fix THEIR mistake, she said, “Oh NO! They WILL fix this for you!”  She walked to customer service, and showed the cake to two different employees.  She asked them both what the cake said.  Both said, “Rick Goth” (of course)! When they realized the error, they laughed too.

And so back to the bakery it went.  They retrieved a man believed to be the bakery manager, from a back office who came out and donned a cap, put on gloves, and looking like he was about to perform major surgery, immediately went to work.  We heard whispers of “Rick Goth” and a few snorts of laughter.  The baker added an apostrophe “s” to Rick and scraped off the little “o”, replaced it with a big “O” and then underlined the th, extending the h below the line.  He didn’t really do anything to make the G look like a 6.  By this time, I was just finding the whole thing kinda funny myself and was ready to take Rick Goth and go home.  I’m kinda wishing now we would have left it Rick Goth.  Hubby and I were told to go to Customer Service.  The lady behind the customer service desk scanned our cake and said, “There will be no charge, and we hope you can forgive us for our mistake!  We are so very sorry!”  It appeared she was trying not to laugh.  We told her it was no problem at all and we were more than willing to pay for the cake.  But she would not hear of it.  And that right there is why I love Publix.  They always do right by their customers.


I sure wish I had a before photo but I don’t.
Rick Goth becomes Rick’s 60th…. well sort of? 

Needless to say, I’ve called Hubby “Rick Goth” all afternoon and all evening.  And now, I’m wondering, in six days, if we get my cake with my name and 60th on it (yes, it’s the big 60th for me too), if I will become Mrs. Gail Goth.  I’ll keep you posted.


Posted in humor | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

After the Rains

I took a stroll in the backyard just before dusk the other night after some late afternoon rain showers.  The frogs were creating their symphony chorus (and quite loudly I might add!) and the first few lightning bugs were starting to appear.  My hydrangeas are loving all this rain, and I, in turn, am loving them.


Posted in Nature, Seasons, summer | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Summer Reading- 2019

What makes for good summer reading?  Perhaps a little more romance?  Books about summer?  The beach?  I guess it’s different for everybody.  Normally, I prefer reading nonfiction.  But in the summer, I like to throw in a little fiction.  This summer, we have some home projects planned –  stripping wallpaper, painting, and installing hardwood flooring in a couple of bedrooms – so I’ve shaved down my list a little, thinking I’m not going to have as much reading time as I’d like.  But that’s okay.  Here are my choices.

The Confident Woman: Start Today Living Boldly and Without Fear– by Joyce Meyer 

A friend (who knows I like Joyce Meyer) gave me this copy she found at Goodwill.  I’ve never found a Joyce Meyer book I didn’t like and so far, this one’s no exception.

Tuesdays With Morrie:  an old man, a young man, and life’s greatest lesson– by Mitch Albom

This is a reread and a favorite book of mine.  I read this book many years ago and it was one I couldn’t stop thinking about.  After all these years, it’s still one of my top ten favorite books.  Looking forward to rereading it and enjoying it again.

Searching for Sunday: loving, leaving, and finding the church– by Rachel Held Evans

I’ve never read anything by Rachel Held Evans but a few of her books have been on my to-read list for a while now.  I know her recent unexpected death at the age of 37 shook up the Christian blogging world.  Rachel was a fellow Episcopalian and also a fellow Tennessean.  I’ve heard good things about her books and so this is one of two of her books I’ve picked to read this summer.

Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and loving the Bible Again– by Rachel Held Evans

The second Rachel Held Evans book to read this summer is a book that the title and cover alone makes me want to read.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time– by Mark Haddon

This is another book that I’ve had on my to-read list for quite some time.  It’s about an autistic boy who investigates the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog.  And that right there is about all I know about it.

Fahrenheit 451– by Ray Bradbury 

This is also a reread.  This book has been on our bookshelf since it was on our sons’ summer reading lists back when they were in middle school.  I think I read it with one of them but in all honesty, I don’t remember a lot about it.

Where the Crawdads Sing– by Delia Owens

Though I don’t usually like murder mysteries, I’ve heard too many good things about this book to pass it by.  I’ve had some friends recommend it and I’ve read a lot of good reviews about it.

Heaven- by Randy Alcorn

This book came out about two years before my mother passed away and I’ve wanted to read it ever since.  I saw it on sale recently at a LifeWay Christian store and decided it would be part of my summer reading.

What are you reading this summer?  Have you read any of these and did you like them?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and also recommendations for any other books you’ve read or heard about.  Happy reading! 


Posted in Books, Reading, Seasons, summer | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Father’s Day

My father has been gone for 25 years now (that doesn’t seem possible)!  He died in 1994 after a two year fight with colon cancer.  I still miss my daddy and always will.   He was a great man, a gentle man, a caring soul, and just a great dad.  Words could never express how much I loved that man or how much I miss him.  I’ve written about him here and here, and in scattered other places across my blog.  Today, more words just don’t feel adequate.

So here’s a few Father’s Day quotes I really like.

It’s only when you grow up and step back from him — or leave him for your own home — it’s only then that you can measure his greatness and fully appreciate it.  Margaret Truman

“A father is neither an anchor to hold us back nor a sail to take us there, but a guiding light whose love shows us the way.” Unknown

“I am not ashamed to say that no man I ever met was my father’s equal, and I never loved any other man as much.”  Hedy Lamarr

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person: He believed in me.”  Jim Valvano

“A father is someone you look up to no matter how tall you grow.”  Unknown

“The only thing better than having you for a husband is our children having you for a dad.”  Unknown

“Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance.”  Ruth E. Renkel

“I think my mom put it best. She said, ‘Little girls soften their daddy’s hearts.'”  Paul Walker

“A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.”  Billy Graham

“Daddies don’t just love their children every now and then, it’s a love without end.”  George Straight

“Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes.”  Gloria Naylor

Happy Father’s Day!


Posted in Family, Love | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Opening My Eyes

Today, I was thinking  about a beautiful spring day thirteen years ago when I was driving my mother home from an appointment with her oncologist.  At the time, she was battling three different types of cancer and she was at the end of her journey.   We had just been told that any further treatment would be futile.  She was losing this battle and she knew it.  We knew the time was drawing near to call in Hospice and I had been dreading that day.

The car ride home from that oncology appointment was one of the saddest times that I can recall in my life.  I remember I had a lump in my throat the entire way home as I listened to my mother, who was trying to be brave and stifle her sobs.

What do you say to your mother, who has just been told that she is dying, except to tell her that you are sorry?

My mother was looking out the passenger side window away from me and I was trying to be brave for her.  I was trying hard to keep the tears from spilling down my cheeks and I was failing.  My biggest memory from that day is the large lump in my throat that accompanied me on the entire drive home and how powerless and helpless I felt in my struggle with not knowing what to say to my mother.

As we drove, she was the one who broke the awkward silence, and in a soft and low voice between sniffles, she said, “I’m so glad that God let me live long enough to see another spring…  This will be my last.”  The lump in my throat grew a little larger.  I looked over at her and noticed she was admiring the view out the car window.  It wasn’t until that very moment that I even realized that spring had indeed come.

I had been too busy to notice. 

God’s beauty and splendor was all around me and I had almost missed it.  I was the busy mom to two teenage sons and my mother was dying of cancer.  I had been busy taking her to oncology appointments, laboratory appointments, and to the hospital for various tests and scans.  I was busy taking her to the grocery store.  I was busy cleaning her house.  I was busy thinking about hospice care and how I was going to survive losing her.  I was busy thinking my boys would soon need to be fitted for suits to wear to her funeral.  I was busy with my own therapy appointments and trying to deal with my own anticipatory grief.  I was busy feeling guilty that I was missing a lot of my oldest son’s senior year in high school.  And I was busy trying to figure out how I could still be there for my mother, yet not neglect my husband.

No, I had not even noticed that spring had come that year.  I had not noticed the beautiful pink cherry trees blooming.  I had not noticed the blazing yellow pop of the forsythias.  I had not noticed the pink peonies in my own backyard.  I had even missed my mother’s favorite:  Daffodils.  And I had failed to notice the lightning bugs had appeared – always a favorite of mine.






I learned a valuable lesson from my dying mother that day.  And I’ve never failed to notice the season of spring since.  I see, I feel, I smell, I hear.  I see the the blue skies with fluffy white clouds.  I feel the warm sunshine on my face.  I listen to the chorus of croaking frogs on a rainy night.  I gaze at newborn baby robins in a backyard bush, their mouths gaping wide.  I hear the mockingbird sing his magnificent tune.  I stop to admire all of God’s beauty.  I not only see the lovely irises blooming, but I stop to smell them too.  I notice the smell of the rain on warm asphalt and I delight in the feel of that rain on my skin.

A few nights ago, I stepped outside after dark and I watched all the lightning bugs as they lit up the backyard with their greenish-yellow flashes of light.  It was peaceful and quiet.


I stood there a while and just soaked in all that beauty.  A beauty that I almost missed thirteen years ago.

Gail ♥  

Posted in God, Grief, Seasons, Spring | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

God in Surgery

Before I became a veterinarian, I worked at a local veterinary clinic near my home as a veterinary assistant/kennel worker.  There are just some patients I will never forget.  One of those patients was a big ole very gentle and ever so precious dark tabby cat named Hugger.  He had a very fitting name because Hugger was the expert in giving feline hugs.  If you reached  your arms out to hold him, he would wrap his front legs and paws tightly around your neck and put his head on your shoulder.  And there he was content to stay.  And they say cats aren’t affectionate.  I loved sweet Hugger and I loved his hugs.  Hugger belonged to an A+ client who loved him dearly and who took excellent care of him.  Believe me when I say that Hugger wanted for nothing.

We saw Hugger a lot at the clinic.  He had one of the worst cases of feline miliary dermatitis I had ever seen, which is a skin condition in cats, often allergic in nature.  Hugger had to have frequent medicated baths.  Most cats hate to be bathed and bathing a cat can be a challenge for sure.  The majority of cats become little Tasmanian Devils at the sight of a tub and the anticipation of getting wet.  Though it wasn’t my most favorite part of my job description, I will have to say that I got pretty darn good at bathing felines, because I did so many of them.  I actually did not mind bathing cats and liked the days when Hugger was in for a bath.  Hugger was one cat who didn’t mind a bath at all.  But Hugger was an exceptional patient and was just an all around good cat.

Later, after graduating from veterinary school, I would join this same practice as an associate veterinarian.  I then became one of Hugger’s doctors.   Hugger’s owner also joined the staff as a receptionist.

The dreaded day came when Hugger got very sick and began vomiting.  A lot.  His appetite was off, he became lethargic, and he started losing weight.  Hugger was a chubby boy and loved to eat and so when Hugger didn’t eat, we worried.  And when Hugger stopped hugging, we really worried.  We drew blood and ran a battery of laboratory tests which were all normal.  His fecal parasite exam was negative.  We did abdominal X-rays and when they were developed and placed upon the lighted view box for evaluating, our hearts sank.  There, in his abdomen, was what appeared to be a large tennis ball sized mass which was near Hugger’s pylorus (the opening between the stomach and intestines).  Hugger needed immediate exploratory surgery and we feared the worst – lymphosarcoma.  Hugger’s owner was devastated.

We started Hugger on fluids and prepared him for surgery.   As I often did for my animal patients, I prayed for Hugger that day.  I assisted Dr. A., my boss, who had been Hugger’s doctor since he was a kitten.  We anesthetized Hugger, intubated him, and got him hooked up to the gas anesthetic machine.  We shaved his abdomen, carried him into the surgical suite, placed him on his back, and anchored him to the surgery table.  We hooked him up to the heart monitor and did a surgical prep on his big belly.  I said prayers through all of this.  I prayed for God to guide our hands during the surgery and to be with Hugger.  I prayed boldly that this would be a problem we could “fix.”  I prayed that He would also comfort Hugger’s owner and to help us all accept the outcome of this surgery, whatever it may be.  Most of all, I prayed for God’s will to be done.

As Dr. A. draped Hugger’s abdomen and began making the initial incision, he looked at me, and in all sincerity, confessed to me that he had said a prayer that God would let this mass just turn out to be a “big ole ball of fat.”  I smiled and said, “Yes!  Wouldn’t that be wonderful?!!”  Seems I wasn’t the only one praying bold prayers that day.

So imagine our joy, when we opened Hugger up to find what else but a big ball of fat!   The lipoma, or benign fatty tumor, was pressing on the pyloric area and keeping food from getting through the pyloric valve.  Lipomas, especially those inside the abdomen, are very rare in the cat.  The lipoma was successfully excised.  It was also noted that Hugger had a tight and narrow pylorus so a pyloromyotomy was performed (a procedure to widen the pylorus).

Hugger recovered uneventfully, the vomiting immediately ceased, and his voracious appetite resumed.  Hugger was hugging again!  He was placed on a special reducing diet and he went on to live a long and contented life.

God had without a doubt been with us in surgery that day and answered our prayers (quite literally in fact)!  I love happy endings and I particularly loved Hugger and his owner’s happy ending.  I’ll never forget the big grins on everyone’s face right after Hugger’s surgery.  We had a lot to celebrate that day.

God is good.


Posted in Animals, cats, Memories, Veterinary Medicine | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Out in Nature Hiking Bryant Grove Trail

Hubby and I recently returned to a trail we’ve hiked in the past, called the Bryant Grove Trail located in Long Hunter State Park near Nashville, Tennessee.  It’s a good trail if you like solitude while hiking (we do) as it’s very lightly traveled.  This there-and-back trail is an 8 mile hike if you choose to do the entire thing.  It’s four miles in and four back out.  The trail is labeled as a moderate hike but it’s very flat and not difficult at all.  The trail surface changes from dirt, to rocky, to very rocky, which perhaps is why it is given the moderate status.  That and the fact that eight miles is a long hike.

I’m not really sure why the park doesn’t allow pets on this trail.  It’s mostly a wooded path and not many people hike this trail.

We’ve hiked this trail twice.  The first time, we never passed another hiker.  The second time we passed one nice man out for some solo hiking.  We stopped and chatted with him awhile.  Turns out he had done part of  the trail the day before with his daughter and had returned on this particular day to hike the entire 8 miles.  I like Bryant Grove because it’s like doing two different hikes.  Part of it is shaded and goes deep into the woods.  It also goes along the shore of Percy Priest Lake.  It’s peaceful and beautiful and quiet as the trail twists and turns through the woods and there’s a few scattered wooden benches to rest along the way.  We just about always see deer on this part of the trail.  The other part of the trail takes you out in the open, through a not so attractive cedar glade.

the beginning of the trail which is rock-strewn

a young and quite thin spike buck

pregnant doe

Close-up of the pregnant doe.  Isn’t she beautiful?

The trail is nicely marked every half mile with wooden post markers.

Though not plentiful on this trail, the benches are nice, especially if you are hiking the entire 8 miles

There are signs warning that this is not a loop trail, but park rangers say you’d be surprised at the number of people who don’t heed the signs and don’t realize when they get to the end of the four miles, that they must now turn around and hike back another four miles to their vehicle.  Surprise, surprise!!

Off to the right is an old decrepit stone wall with a rickety old barbed wire fence in places.  I read in my book, 60 Hikes within 60 Miles Nashville, that in pre-park days, this area was used for livestock grazing.

The trail meanders by Percy Priest lake.  Occasionally, you will spot a Great Blue Heron wading out in the water.  It’s a very peaceful stretch of the trail.

There’s just something about a trail through the woods… Hubby said I must have hundreds of photos of wooded dirt paths.

Just past the halfway mark or the two mile marker is a wooden bridge that crosses over Bryant Creek.  As you can see, the creek bed was dry due to lack of rain (Never thought I would be saying that after all the torrential rains and flooding we had back in February).

From one side of the bridge, the mostly dry creek bed

Looking down the other direction of the dry creek bed from the bridge.  The last time we did this hike, it was in the fall and the creek was flowing with water.

Are you looking at me? Yes, pretty girl, we are.

We saw several of these black and yellow flat millipedes. They were huge and apparently harmless.  Yes, I googled them.

This is what I mean by the trail being rough in places. Watch your step!

A few scattered daisies. My favorite flower. Love them!

I love the color of lichen.

Towards the end of the trail, we entered the cedar glade.  Not much to see here except a large open rocky area and of course lots of cedar trees.  The soil here is not very rich and not much grows here.  The cacti seem to like it as do the cedar trees.  We saw a few turkey vultures circling overhead when we got to the open glade.  Hope they weren’t looking for exhausted hikers!

We saw this cute little shabby bunny who froze completely still when he saw us.

You can see how very dry the ground is here towards the end of the hike.  Dry, parched, cracked earth.  Kinda makes you thirsty, huh?

At the end of the four miles is Bryant Grove Recreation Area which has restrooms, a picnic area with grills, a swimming beach, and a boat launch.  Rest a while, eat a snack, get hydrated with a nice cool drink, and then turn around and head back out for the return four mile hike.

We took water on the hike but had plenty of this in the car waiting for us when we returned. And I was ready for it.

I will have to say, hiking the entire eight miles wears me out.  Halfway back, hubby and I got pretty tired!  My legs ached and the last two miles were exhausting.  I’ll also mention that when we first did this hike a few years ago in the fall, it was quite littered from where the lake had flooded the woods.  There was lake debris everywhere- plastic bottles, tires, and trash.  It was a little disheartening.  On our most recent hike, it was very clean.


Posted in Animals, deer, Nature | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments