Tag Archives: friends


Sometimes people have to make decisions. At seven I was a wide-eyed 2nd grader joining Brownies and my mother was the leader. It was fun. After my “flying up” ceremony that sent me into Girl Scouts I lost my wings, literally. It was an omen for things to come.

Our Troop leader was a mean, fat lady who didn’t encourage us to do anything at all, except not to bother her. I worked on my first badge, sewing. I knew nothing about it and my mother didn’t help me. When I finished my project I showed it to the Troop leader and she laughed at me. She then called over all the girls and they all laughed at me. I was mortified.

I stayed to sell cookies, back in the day when the girls went out in their neighborhoods and rang strangers’ doorbells. I thought it would be a lot of fun, but it was not. So I quit Girl Scouts and never looked back.

This morning I ran into a neighbor who was also in Girl Scouts as a youngster. Her friends started leaving, not because of a cruel Leader but for their own reasons. She stayed on because she didn’t want the Leader to feel bad.

After my story she asked if that incident had marred me for life. I said no, not at all, but I still remember it and have always been kind to fellow misfits (for whatever reason) throughout my life.

She did what she did because that’s who she is, some sixty years later. She’s the kind of friend anyone would be lucky to have. We see each other at neighborhood events and walking outdoors with our dogs.

I don’t think there was anything I could have done as an eight year-old about my situation. Today I would have responded differently. I’m not a quitter, but there was no “win” for me at that time and place. Thank goodness for the Sandys in the world! Cheers, Dee


Talking About…

Food. Yes, food.I was eight. All my younger siblings and cousins were doing cannonballs off the diving board at mid-point, to be determined, between our residences.

I was with the adult ladies discussing what to do for the next meal and who would prepare what dish.

Years later, Dad said “all you wanted to talk about was food.” “Dad, all you wanted to talk about was work.”

Why food? I met a lady this morning who grew up along the Mississippi River and ate whole hog, shrimp & grits, corn and potatoes and she has kin up north who keep up the hog fest up to this day in the yard.

Food brings people together. It solidifies families and makes new friends. Yes, if someone purposely treats me badly, I can have an acid tongue for a moment but that passes. I would rather bring folks together than tear them apart. Many years ago I and my boss were voted last to be by the punch bowl at the end of an office party. It was my punch bowl! Of 62 people on staff I was the only one with a punch bowl and ladle.

I had to dispense of the punch in the restroom sink, rinse the bowl and trek it home to wash. Why? because it made my extended work family feel like family. When not planning or doing, I feel like a geek at these events because I’m new and don’t know anyone in the room. Having a family atmosphere makes everyone feel comfortable.

Our living complex includes a revolving door. It is, for residents. Someone you met last week may be gone this week. We have pro athletes, doctors, et al. They have parties to reward us for being residents. Staff wear name pins. I’ve asked for cheap name tags for first names because I can’t remember the lady I met once while picking up a package.

Better yet, if you’ve a dog, add that as well. I’m more than likely to remember the dog’s name. “Sandra/Buddy” would work for me.  Dee/Zoe says “Oh, Zoe loves Buddy!”

Dad never understood my preoccupation with food, thought it foolish. I never did. In later years he did learn to cook Italian food and took pleasure in it. I did other things with my life, used my brain to help others instead of brain and hands. My husband was quite thin when I met and married him. His grandmother was worried about him in the hands of another woman. A year later, she saw him and said “I see you’re being fed well.” He can make spaghetti and meatballs but still not a grilled cheese sandwich “Oh, so that’s how you do it!” Really? Cheers! Dee

Yellow and Blue

There was a dear neighbor I’d known for years and even shared care-taking responsibilities for rescuing a lost cat before we got George adopted. Our old dogs were buddies.

She got mad at me for something I didn’t do, and a couple of years went by. One morning her dog dragged her to my door. I petted the dog and my neighbor said hello. Her dog died the next day.

I received a note at my door. Immediately I went out and bought a vase with yellow and blue flowers and delivered it to her. She invited me in and we became friends again.

A month later my old dog passed. I left her a note. She responded with a new vase and different yellow and blue flowers. We’ve lost touch over the years but I like this story for many reasons.

We were, were not, then were friends. We loved our dogs and they loved both of us. Her dog was persistent to get us back together before she died. A month later my dog knew she was dying (died the next day) so brought a huge teddy bear to the Park, a new thing as for ten years she’d always brought a ball to chase, and said goodbye to all the dogs, their owners and all the kids in the tot lot who always called out her name and ran to see her.

Blue and yellow do not signify death to me. They mean life, love, friendship. My husband is en route home and now I buy him flowers every week. He got them for me for 15 years so now everyone laughs at me for buying them for him. I guess most wives don’t do that. Less time meticulously buying flowers for me means more precious time with us. Plus, the gorgeous flower place where I go is half-off on Fridays!

Today I bought yarrow (yellow), blue/purple thistles, a reminder of our time in Scotland and its’ national flower, and yellow alstroemeria. Yellow and blue. Life, love and friendship. Cheers and have a great weekend! We plan to chill out and make a couple of dry aged NY strip steaks. Dee

Quid Pro Quo

I liken it to what goes around, comes around. Usually it’s a negative version as for years I’ve given without asking for anything and they’ve taken and when my mother was in hospice care no-one I had helped over the years would take care of my dog for the first time. They were all too busy. Four years of me taking care of everyone and when I asked once I was told no by all. That’s telling. I never “volunteered” for them again.

No-one ever paid me for this, it was supposed to be a barter system but it did not work in my favor. In a new city I’ve volunteered occasionally but was leery of what was to come.

We’ve two towers here and we lived in one with corporate furniture for three months and got to know our neighbors while we searched neighborhoods. Of course you know our old dog Zoe by now. We moved to the other tower with a view. Yesterday, a new neighbor’s brother questioned how we knew each other so well over a week. Answer was we knew each other years ago.

Last week they became our neighbors in South Tower. Their dog was scared and I knew he and Zoe got along so I took him in for a few hours. The next day my eye was bleeding so she insisted on taking me to the ER and stayed with me a while. I made her go home and took a taxi back because she had boxes to unpack. When I arrived home my dog was making herself at home over there so I took her out and we went to bed.

A week later I had eye surgery (today) and after resting a while they were moving the rest of their things in. I took their dog for another few hours. She took care of me and my eye. I took care of their dog, who is blind. Quid pro quo. Oh, I got them tulips as a welcome gift before all this happened.

There are good things and good people. They just need to be found. My friend M was kind to take me to surgery and back and she and her brother are going to come over for some delicious dinner and a bottle of private estate Tuscan wine I got for my birthday a few months ago.

I helped take care of their dog as he was dying. I’d walked him occasionally for a couple of years then we helped to lift him. He died at home. Now I take a cup of water, walk out to the park and pour it on a favorite tree of Jake and my friend Wurli. Now Jake’s “aunt” took me to the doc today. That’s how it goes. There’s no money involved. It’s heart, and if you don’t have it I won’t help you. Cheers! Dee

A Gift

There’s a lady here ready for a birthday, turns out she is six weeks younger than me.

I’m making a parfait for her in special bowls with crushed graham crackers, vanilla non-fat Greek yogurt, blackberries and strawberries. She deserves it.

Cheers to my little sister! Dee

ps I do love Christmas and Rosemary Clooney songs, D


I would like to thank Harold for being a good friend to my father-in-law for many years. I’m just a gal but he has been a wonderful gift to our family.

He is such a thoughtful and meticulous man, whose home is being claimed by government to flood for a reservoir. He knows every tree, every inch of the land and will lose all of that as Dallas needs water.

Was I afraid? Yes. But he took us out to get two wild hogs. They caught them, we transported them and I wrote down the weights as they ran them through a scale. Then he went inside and was paid.

Those hogs were taken to Forth Worth TX then to France where wild boar is a delicacacy. Chingiale. Italian for wild boar equals delicious. I love that we’re sending France something and not the reverse but wish Texan chefs would feature wild boar. They eat crops. They know how to steal and eat well.

We have not had a close relationship but he did do something spectacular. At age 12, our nephew’s birthday, Harold surprised him with a deer hunting license and a trip. My brother-in-law had a license already and all three went out early the next morning.

There is a documentary that gives Harold’s and my father-in-law’s views on the flooding and destruction of the river. It has cost our family 500 acres. They’re now renting it for cattle but will have to give it up due to methane, yes cow patties.

Harold, I can feed a baby calf. I’m too old to do much else than cook for y’all and keep stuff up for your dogs. You gave this city gal some chops on the ranch. Thanks for being such a good friend to our family, Dee

Seems Like Old Times

I love that movie with Goldie Hawn, Chevy Chase and Charles Grodin.

This is about something else. I don’t care about the medal, which is very special, but I approve and applaud it being given to a person who cares so much for Chautauqua. My Dad.

In 1978 an older gentleman came up to me on the street and called me by name. I was new but knew his name so said “good morning, sir,” I was young and very shy. He said “I’m not sir.” I said good morning Mr. F and he said “everyone calls me Shorty.” He was a peach and always spoke his mind. He is in my mind and heart forever.

The former editor of the local daily newspaper is also, I’ve heard from excellent sources, a recipient. She was a mentor to me at that time and when I veer, even though she’s gone now she corrects me, as an editor should.

That Dad joins this small neighborhood of honors is a tribute. Now let’s talk about art. Now that I think about it I hope it’s not a death sentence!

Alfreda Irwin, editor, took a photo of a creek I grew up on, catching crayfish and swimming in the pond. I bought it at an auction to benefit Chautauqua in 1982 and it was dated that year. Two years ago I framed it and it is a focal point in our home. I’ve sent a photo of it to her daughter and am leaving it to her.

Dad started painting at age 80. I’ve three of his works, all beautifully framed by me and my framers, of course. His art is also featured in our home.

Chautauqua sticks. I’ve met so many great people there. At its best it is a coalescence of heart and mind and such wonderful things that can be done. Dee

Knock and Run

That’s tough to do around here. There are seven families per floor. Our neighbors are having people knock on the front door and leave. They need an elevator to do so. I know everyone on the floor so it’s not any of us.

Backstory is that this neighbor’s young grandkids show up a couple of times a year and at their age all they want is to see Zoe, our old dog. Sorry, Grandma and Grandpa! They sometimes stand in the hall and just whisper “zoe” and she rushes to the door to see them.

I ran into Grandpa the other day and he told me of this issue, something I never did in my youth and would certainly never dream of in adulthood. I did knock on their door the day they moved in and gave them pasta and sauce and pots so they wouldn’t have to order in or go out for dinner.

He said “I thought Zoe might have learned to knock on a door. She would never leave, though, she’d always stop to say hello.” I replied “yes she would, and especially if your grandchildren are around!”

Ah, neighbors. As it is, our bedroom is way in the back and even Zoe, lifted by Otis The Elevator (me) to the bed at night, is unaware of hallway sounds so we can’t help find the culprit.

I find it hopeful and helpful that neighbors are so kind and watch out for each other. Another neighbor, when my husband is out of town on business, checks on me and Zoe at least once per week. It is so sweet of him to do so. No, he doesn’t knock and run. He’s usually off with his recycling or to an appointment somewhere and just checks in to see if we’re OK.

There is something to be said for neighborliness and camaraderie. A Swedish neighbor taught me Kottsbullar (Swedish meatballs) and in return I taught him true Texas Chili (Pedernales a la the great Lady Bird Johnson) circa 1962.

The neighbor who checks on me is also a Swede. Are they taking over here? Now there’s Irish. I’ve been given several packages that belonged to someone with the same Irish name I was given at birth. I introduced myself to her today, and her kids. Now we know when packages or drycleaning goes to the wrong Dee, where to send it.

We’re up in the air right now, things happening and in flight. This certainly will not be our final destination but it’s good to know we’ve friends around. I need to get a dinner party together before my husband is off for a while. I think I’ll do a pork roast with hard cider gravy and apples stuffed with corn bread. Southern, I know. I’m smelling and tasting it now, in my mind. That’s how I cook.

I’d actually rather bone out and butterfly a leg of lamb and marinate in a sauce from Jacques Pepin, one of my culinary heroes. Roasted potatoes with garlic, green beans with salt, pepper and a touch of butter and all we need is dessert!  I’m thinking fresh vanilla ice cream with a berry coulis and fresh raspberries and blackberries. Let me call our neighbors on another floor. I used to help take care of their dog who died last year, perhaps the new additions would like to come along as well. Zoe has friends and has been termed, by me, a “cougar.” She only flirts.

Y’all take care. Y’all means you, dear reader, in Texas-speak. All y’all means the mess of you who just got together for real BBQ. Just so you know. Cheers! Dee

A Brief “Date”

Yes, our dog Zoe likes every dog she meets but, as a flirtatious “cougar” who was spayed at five weeks has two favorites and just flirts. She does not date.

I know that if we are threatened in any way I can call upon Miko and his dad J. Yes, I made J an interesting quesadilla of pork, cheese and my homemade salsa after Zoe and my “last chance” walk.

Miko is an imposing dog, huge and with gravitas. So is his owner. I feel safe here alone with Zoe and thank my neighbors, all, for checking on us while my husband is away on business.

Now Zoe and I just have to teach G, a Swede how to make Texas chili! I’ll have to issue a challenge. But I have to pass my final exam first, Kottsbullar, Swedish Meatballs he taught me. Then we make Texas chili and I test him. Then we toast, I guess, there are no wagers on this as yet.

I’m enjoying making a different homemade salsa every time and making menus for my husband and for guests. I change things, pizza for young kids as they get to make dough (for us, tomorrow) and roll out my dough and choose toppings. What they choose is so interesting as it tends towards personalities. One is brave, the other just cheese. That might be a great study. Fr. Cap and Fr. Murphy would have liked that. RIP Fathers. To friends, cooking, safety, Dee

My Priest

He is near death. We have known each other for nearly 40 years and I’d hoped to see him before now. He has been a savior, my savior teaching me to learn and believe in myself, and to help others. He helped shape my life.

I wanted him to marry us 12 years ago last week. He wouldn’t until my husband became a Catholic, and perhaps me as well. I did miss Confirmation because we moved in a small town and had to go to mass elsewhere. It was a small town so confirmations were only done every other year and I missed it. I was also a rebel on issues regarding women in the Church. In other ways as well like women in sports. I think he liked my enthusiasm, not necessarily the message.

I awakened the other night with a very strange entire body feeling I’ve only had when someone close was dying. Immediately I thought of him and reached out to my alma mater. Hours later I received confirmation from another priest that he had just been moved to comfort care, aka hospice and expected only a few days of life.

Fr. C will always be in my heart. He deserves Heaven, and to meet St. Francis, who brought us together. Many people love him for his faith and actions and that love is deserved. I will miss my teacher, my mentor, my friend. With sadness and love, Dee