Fribble's Blend

My Photo
Location: Jefferson City, Tennessee, United States

Published by: Hard Shell Word Factory ( and Awe-Struck E-Books (

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fall Chores

Yesterday Husband and I had a brilliant idea at the same time. (Actually, he told me that he'd had the idea a day earlier -- I wondered why he was so cooperative.) We have a large forsythia bush (you know, those yellow bushes that come out early in the spring) that is overgrown, a tangle of stems and branches. Since there is a walnut tree across the walk from it. it collects walnuts -- which may or may not sprout in spring. One thing we don't need is another walnut tree. I suggested pruning the forsythia -- Husband grabbed the pruners. I manned the extra large wheel barrel.

He whacked -- I collected the whackings.

Now, the people who had lived here for many years, perhaps back as far as 1840, had a rather strange philosophy. They returned everything to earth. metal especially. Look under any bush and you are libel to find strange things. We long ago discovered that there was a long piece of iron under the forsythia. Long, complicated, obviously heavy. Roots had ground around it, through it. What a mess! It's heavy. It's rusty. And we have no idea what it is. It looks at one end as though it is a vice.

So it's lying in the yard, waiting for the roots and dirt wedged into its gaps, nooks and crannies to dry out so we can get a better look -- which may or may not tell us what it is. We may just put it in a prominent place as lawn art.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

It'll Take a Miracle!

Each of the eleven summers I have lived here, there has been a surprise in the garden -- I think I've had enough surprises, but they keep coming.

Last summer, or perhaps the one before, I spotted a pink lily down by the road, and subsequently found it in a plant catalog, listed as a Miracle Lily, I spotted some on the road to the bread store -- yep! Same thing.

Well, when it finished blooming, I marked the place where it was, and today I went looking for a bulb. It's under a low-hanging branch of a tree slated for removal, and surrounded by English ivy, a wild grape vine, grass and bugs.

I have a short-handled shovel for such tasks, but I had to go back to the shed to get a heavy-duty pruner to take care of the grape vines, both above and below ground level. I had to press Husband into service -- but he's given up on it for the time being. I'm pooped.

Wonder if I have enough energy to find that plant catalog. . .

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Golf, Not Politics

I am no good at golf. I took about four PE sessions of golf back in college -- I'm not telling how long ago that was -- and I was dreadful.

I'm a huge fan of Tiger Woods -- even considering his occasional deletable expletives. There's good, and there's "how the heck did he do that?"

I watched every bit of the Fed Ex Cup matches that I could. Watched the scoreboard -- used the colors to mark the players I was really interested in. Aside from Tiger, I watched Rich Beem -- who lasted only two rounds, but he was worth watching. Where other golfers have stern faces, dog-eat-dog attitudes, Rich Beem is just so darn happy to be where he is, he sparkles. Love the ad where he won a car for getting a hole-in-one. He climbs up the back of the car, hugs it, then sits there laughing. He has a great laugh.

Now, Tiger has a great sense of humor, has a winning smile. He might chuckle. He rarely laughs on camera so we can hear it -- but I bet he has a great laugh when he cuts loose.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Still Political -- BUY AMERICAN!

Mr. Fribble was trying to do me a favor, I know, but he ordered some dish towels and tea towels from a catalog. Twenty-five pieces for less than seven dollars. Ah, you're already nodding, huh?

If they had all been white, I would have been happy. Some were white, some were beige and some were -- dark red! I washed them all together. Some are now beige, dark red and PINK. They bleed pink into the dishwater. The fabric isn't all that great. They were made in Pakistan.

I told him I would rather spend three times as much for fewer AMERICAN towels. Why? Because so many jobs have gone overseas. Around Knoxville, there used to be a place called American Knitting Mills -- long gone. A Levi factory -- gone. A sock mill --gone to Mexico. The list could go on and on. The farms around here used to produce some cotton, but other states depended on it. The working mills in the South are now few and far between.

I'm a quilter, and in the past I've used a lot of bleached and unbleached muslin. Roclon was my favorite brand, and I got it by the bolt at Jo-Anne's. The last bolt I bought was labeled in very small type "Made in China" and it was not up to my standards. But there is NOTHING else available!

I'm going to be looking long and hard at labels from now on. I'm going to think many times before buying goods from other countries. I want our jobs back! I want our quality back! I don't care if it costs more, I'll just do with less.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Fribble Gets Political

I've been holding my breath on several subjects for many years, and I just have to break my silence about one of them -- the No Child Left Behind program.

I was trained to be a teacher. I never taught school except as a substitute, and I didn't do much of that. The event that turned me against substituting was having an explosive device thrown into my classroom. The less I remember about that, the better. We'll move on to topic.

I have three children, all of whom are bright, personable and good citizens. But the brightest had trouble with school. Not that he couldn't learn, but that he was way ahead in so many ways. He taught himself to read before the age of three.

He scared teachers. He scared other kids. He got picked on, sabotaged, shifted off into corners, ignored when he wanted to learn something. In many ways, he was left behind. In retrospect, I wish I could have home-schooled him, but school districts hated that idea at the time.

I think No Child Left Behind suffers from the name of the program. I think the name should have been Every Child Can Learn. Lumping all kids together into a rigid, standardized-test aimed program is as big a mistake as not helping the very bright or the handicapped to reach their individual potential.

Taking the individuality out of our teachers and their students is a huge mistake, and I'm glad I'm not involved in it.

Thinking back to the kid who tried to shatter the eardrums of all the people in my classroom, I wonder how his individuality was compromised in that classroom by his regular teacher. This is the first time I've ever asked myself that question. I'll never know. But we'll get nowhere trying to fit square pegs into round holes. We need the oval pegs, the round pegs, the eccentric pegs, because we do have holes for all of them.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

One of the great treats I had when I was a kid was soda pop. There was a bottler in my hometown -- Oil City, PA -- named Gowdy's. Once in a while, my father would get a case of soda pop -- 24 glass bottles in a rough wooden case, all which would be returned for deposit (a concept long lost, to society's detriment) . Father always insisted on an assortment of sodas -- Cola, of course, grape, root beer, ginger ale, orange and my favorite, the very rare birch beer. Sometimes where would be a substitutions -- soda that was red or green or yellow.

We never took the last of any one flavor without asking permission. And if the last one was cream soda, I suddenly wasn't all that thirsty.

But Gowdy's set the benchmark against which I have judged all other sodas in my life. Now we get soda from a cut-rate grocery store, twelve flimsy aluminum cans, all the same flavor, no exotic choices except diet or "high test." My favorite now is root beer. It compares favorably with Gowdy's -- good color, good flavor, nice froth when poured over ice. It wins my seal of approval.