Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Having a Tiger by the tail

Jamie Lee Furney and Zachary James Wachter
 On the Day Jamie graduated from ENMU with her Masters Degree in Education
Do I have any brothers and sisters?  That is the question asked by the book today.  I'll say!  And she is the walking talking personification of all things a big sister is imagined to be.  She can and has beat the crap out of me on more than one occasion and then turned around and beat the crap out of others who attempted to do the same.  If that is not the whole sibling dynamic tied into a neat little bundle, then I do not know what is.  She has come to my rescue many times in the past and still does even to this day.  She has driven me to distraction many times in the past  and she still does to this day.  I can say this last part  knowing that she can and would say the same about me.  Our relationship has been tumultuous over the years.  Partly because of the whole sister connection and partly because we are like chalk and cheese.  Jamie loves a crowd, I love solitude, Jamie loves  spontaneity, I love ruts, Jamie loves sports and cars, I love arts and children she had the Bat Man birthday cakes and I went for the Ballerinas. Even our nick names tell the tale, She is Tiger and I am Kee Bird- names given to us when we were still in diapers and they could not have been more appropriate, Jamie ready to maul the world and me ready to fly from it.   If we were not sisters our paths would probably rarely cross if at all.   But we are sisters and  our shared past has entwined us permanently to each other, Her with my feathers in her teeth and me holding tight to her tiger tail because everyone knows that once you have a tiger  by the tail you cannot not let go.

Monday, March 25, 2013

My Grand and Great Grand parent's Names

James Baldwin Rhody, my Great Grandfather
This is a a subject I have visited before in my blog, and little wonder, its been a fascination or should that read "fixation" of mine all my life.  I have always wanted to know more about who my people were.   I get a deep feeling of satisfaction in knowing my history, knowing and I mean Knowing, not guessing, not suspecting, but knowing that I am German, Dutch, English Irish and French, and whats even better is knowing who by name contributed each nationality.  James Baldwin Rhody pictured above is responsible for at the very least some French and some Irish.  There is more I am sure, but he has been a tough nut to crack.  The question I am answering today was a simple one "Name your grandparents.  I decided to go one better and name my great grandparents too.  Years go my friend Kit told me a statistic that most people cannot name all eight great grandparents.  At the time I was among the many and could only name one or two.  I took it as a challenge to discover the names of all eight greats and I checked that line item off my bucket list years ago.  So here for the record, I want to name them once more.  My grandmother on Mom's side, Granny is Martha Bridget Rhody Bartley and her mother and father were Minnie Cummins Rhody and James Baldwin Rhody.  My grandfather on Mom's side, PaPa is Clarence Russell Bartley and his mother and Father were Susan Clementine  Lane, and Joseph Pinkney Bartley.  On my Dad's side his mother is Mary Gertrude Riley Furney  and her parents were Nell Banta Riley and Ezra Riley.  Daddy's Dad, Grandpa Sol Furney's parents were Rosa Lee Hook Furney and James William Furney.  So there it is entered into the record one more time.  If any of my descendants decide to trace their roots, I hope they raise a glass to good ol Kellie Ann who took the time to make their job easier.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Kee Bird in Key West

Kee Bird in Key West
 My nick name is Kee/ Kee Bird, Mom is the only one who really uses it, though once in a while Steve will call me by it.  I don't know when she began calling me Kee Bird, except that the bird part came via her English friend Sylvia who was our neighbor at Indian Springs where I was born, so I suspect it came along pretty early in the game.    When I was young I began to realize that she called me Kee Bird when she wanted me to do a small favor for her, and how could I say no after being so lovingly summoned.   Of course she and I both knew the truth, if she told me to do it I would have to do it or face the consequences, but if sweetly asked to do it I was far more willing to comply and we could both avoid the upset and drama of a domestic mutiny.
    I was stumped for a minute over what picture to use for this question.    How do you capture a nick name in a picture? I thought I should look for a picture that captures the "essence" of me, but that is a pretty subjective question when you think about it.  What I like to think of as "me" probably bears little resemblance to the me that other people know, and because I am the worlds leading expert on "Me" I decided that no one picture sums me up sufficiently.  I finally settled on the picture above even though I have used it in the blog before because it captures a part of me that I like, but think sees daylight too infrequently.  I like to think I am a fun loving, free wheeling, uninhibited life of the party, and once in a  while I can be, but usually I am a little too clenched for that. This picture captures one of those rare moments so I decided to go with it.  Plus  I could not pass up the see, it was taken in KEY West!   We drove down with our friends Jeff and Cathy Dull who always manage to coax out the better me, I think that is why I like being with them so much.  We had a great time and on the drive home as we were hopscotching up the keys I saw a fleeting glimpse of a Key Deer.  Cathy told me that they are very rare and that I was lucky to have seen one, and then she wondered allowed if it might be my totem animal.  It only just dawned on me today how appropriate a Key Deer would be as a totem animal for a Kee Bird...Maybe I should read up on totem animals and see if she is right.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

All The Dogs I've Loved Before


I am an animal Person.  I cannot think of a time when I was not.  I can remember as a child thinking that when I was grown up and could do what ever I wanted I would have any kind of pet that I liked.  And through the years I have had quite a variety of animal companions.  Dogs and cats naturally, but I have also kept tortoises, ferrets, a bird, hamsters, fish, a rabbit, a snake and even a crawdad, he was not a pet so much as a prisoner, but I was only 7 what did I know about crawdad husbandry?  If I had to choose one from the list though it would be a no brainer, Its dogs all the way for me baby, and Rat Terriers to be specific.  We got our first rat in Lubbock.  Milford was his name, and what a dog he was!  We had him for almost 14 years.  His life as a military dependant was not easy.  Though a house dog, he did enjoy the outdoors and for 6 years of his 14 he really did not have the opportunity except in a 6x4 kennel or at the end of a leash.  So when we moved to Alabama we gave him the yard to do with as he pleased.  He lived up to his breeding and actively hunted the small game on our property coming happily through the doggy door with his muzzle caked in dirt from hunting his prey.  I am glad we did that and let him pursue his bliss as they say.  When we got to Hawaii, the yard was a paved lanai.  By then he was was losing his sight, hearing and mobility so a warm slab of concrete was a fair trade for the wilderness of a yard he had just left, but he did have two good years doing as he pleased in Alabama.  When the time came that  we had to let him go we swore off dogs for a while but in a few years we were ready and we went straight for another Rat Terrier.  This time we found Winslow.  Milford and Winslow share the same breed, but that is where the similarities end.  Milford was an overweight chow hound, Winslow is  finicky and only a few skipped meals away from anorexia.  Milford was stubborn and intransigent, Winslow is compliant and easily over corrected. Milford would bolt every chance he got, Winslow stays in his yard and comes right back in the house when called.  Milford was a true feist, bold and fearless.  Winslow is far more skittish.  They could not possibly be any more different than they are, and I am glad.  I want Milford to always be Milford and Winslow to be Winslow.  Its easy to love Winslow knowing that he cannot possibly ever be thought of as a Milford substitute.   And one day I know we will bring home another rat terrier puppy and think how happy we are that he is nothing like our dear Winslow.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

"I had cast my lot with an Airman and where he was, was home to me."

Our current house in Columbia, SC
The tile of this post is a variation of a quote by Martha Summerhayes.  She had cast her lot with a soldier, but my life has been spent with Airmen.  First Daddy who brought me from Nevada to New Mexico and then Steve who took me everywhere else.  The question is "Do I live in the city or the suburbs?"   The answer to that depends on when you are asking!  My first home was in Indian Springs, NV and that does not even qualify for much of anything let alone a suburb or a city.  Clovis was most definitely a town boasting a population of around 35,000 people when I lived there.  I spent most of my life in Clovis at 921 W plaza, but also spent some time in Base housing on Market loop, short stints on Cameo, Ross, 10th street and Wright Street.  The first two when I was very little and the last two when I had grown.  Wright Street was where Steve and I had our first apartment and became friends with Lona and Dwight Waldo.  Lona interestingly enough had also been my first grade teacher way back in the day at Ranchvale Elementary.  I spent roughly a year in Amarillo living in the Nantucket Apartments with Cathy Clancy until a fist fight over a beer can pyramid brought the whole unhappy period to a close.  For the record I was the one who was anti-beer can.  Even back then I was a nester who wanted nothing more than a nice well appointed home.  Beer cans did not then and do not now feature in my idea of a well appointed home...let me amend that statement...EMPTY beer cans do not feature.
     Since then my homes have always been pleasant, and while I have lived technically in cities proper, it has never had that urban loft apartment lifestyle I think of when I think of urban dwellers.  I have usually lived in a detached or semi detached house with a lawn, though there were exceptions.  We lived in a  three story Dutch duplex  in Terschuur;  a small village in the middle of the farmland of Gelderland.  Then we moved into base housing in Soesterberg, The NL where we were stacked up like cord wood.  From there we went to a ranch house in Lubbock Texas, the first house we owned. Another military duplex at Offut AFB near Omaha Nebraska was our next stop.  Something we called stairwell housing in Kaiserlsautern Germany came after that.  That was as close to urban living as I have gotten.   Vogelweh Military housing are apartment buildings that have three stairwells each.  In each stairwell there are four floors and two apartments per floor so a total of 24 families lived in each building.  We lived on the the third floor on the outside edge of the building.  We had no yard, so taking Milford out for his potty brakes several times a day got to be a real pain in the butt, but we got fit doing it.  We even got in the habit of racing each other up the stairs...couldn't pay me to run up three flights of stairs now!  From Germany we went to our house in Alabama.  We bought it sight unseen off the Internet.  A risky move we knew, but the gamble paid off and we sold it at a small profit after only two years because we were off to Hawaii!  The house we rented there  was nothing to write home about, a standard dated 60's ranch house badly in need of updating, but it was in an exclusive neighborhood called Maunawili and our back yard looked straight up the Ko'olau mountains.  On rainy days silvery thin water falls would come down the green fluted cliffs.  I counted 20 one day.  It was a view we never tired of.  After a while you generally stop noticing your surroundings.  That never happened in Hawaii.  We treasured each day there.  Finally, the second to last house I will live in, or so I hope, is this house,  also secured sight unseen over the Internet.  We are only renting this time so it was not the okole clencher that the first one was.  We gambled and won again.   Its a perfectly adequate house that has served its purpose well.  Of all the houses though it has seemed the least like home and I know it is because Zach has never lived here. In about a year from now we will pack up the boxes one more time and move home for good, back to NM where I can finally spend all I want on flower bulbs knowing that I will get to stick around and watch them bloom.