Tag Archives: California

Revenge

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After 37 years of marriage, Jake dumped his wife for his young secretary. 

His new girlfriend demanded that they live in Jake and Edith’s multi-million dollar home. Since Jake had better lawyers, he prevailed. He gave Edith, his now ex-wife, just 3 days to move out.
She spent the 1st day packing her belongings into boxes and crates.
On the 2nd day, she had two movers come and collect her things.
On the 3rd day, she sat down for the last time at their beautiful dining room table by candlelight, put on some soft background music, and feasted on a pound of shrimp, a jar of caviar and a bottle of Chardonnay.
When she had finished, she went into each and every room and stuffed half-eared shrimp shells dipped in caviar into the hollow of all the curtain rods. She then cleaned up the kitchen and left.
When Jake returned with his new girlfriend, all was bliss for the first few days.
Then slowly, the house began to smell. They tried everything- cleaning, mopping, and airing the place out. Vents were checked for dead rodents and carpets were cleaned. Air fresheners were hung everywhere. Exterminators were brought in to set off gas canisters during which they had to move out for a few days and in the end they even replaced the expensive wool carpeting. Nothing worked.
People stopped coming over to visit. Repairmen refused to work in the house. The maid quit.
Finally, they could not take the stench any longer and decided to move.
A month later, even though they had cut their price in half, they could not find a buyer for their stinky house. Word got out and eventually even the local realtors refused to return their calls. Finally they had to borrow a huge sum of money from the bank to purchase a new place.
Edith called Jake and asked how things were going. He told her the saga of the rotting house. She listened politely and said that she missed her old home terribly and would be willing to reduce her divorce settlement in exchange for getting the house back.
Knowing his ex-wife had no idea how bad the smell was, he agreed on a price that was about 1/10th of what the house had been worth, but only if she were the sign the papers that very day. She agreed and within the hour, his lawyers delivered the paperwork.
A week later, Jake and his girlfriend stood smiling as they watched the moving company pack everything to take to their new home…
Including the curtain rods.

Back Then

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depression2One of the readers of my book Dobyns Chronicles compared my book to “The Walton’s” and I have to say I really like that. I thought The Walton’s was one of the greatest shows that TV has produced for the family. I put it right up there with Little House on the Prairie and Highway to Heaven. I can definitely tell that I am ageing because nothing is a good as it was “back then”. That got me to thinking about how things were “Back then.”

depression3My dad came from a family where he had thirteen siblings and they lived in a three room house with a path plus a chicken house. He had to eat water gravy and biscuits many times because they didn’t own a cow. Mom would tell how she never had to go hungry because her grandparents had cows and pigs and everyone hunted and fished. Charley Dobyns took care of his family during those tough times but several members of his family left and headed to California because there was work there. Mom’s parents was part of that group that left Oklahoma. They worked in the fruit orchards or the canneries. Times were still hard but it was easier there than in Oklahoma.
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My mother always told stories of her family and the way it was “back then”. My sister and I were taught how to prepare and survive just in case there was another depression. Living through the depression left a big imprint on both my mother and my father. I truly believe that the underlying fear of having nothing made the need to work and save very strong. I think that’s why “The Walton’s” was such a favorite around our house because my parents could identify with the time. I could identify with it because of all of mom and dads stories.
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It’s Here

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dobyns cover Picture2I’m excited so I have to share it. My book, Dobyns Chroncles is now for sale on Amazon. Have you ever had something that nagged at you until it was finished? This book was that way for me. From the start it nagged and kept it up until I finished it.

This was a labor of love. It brought me much closer to my Great Grandfather, Charley Dobyns. This book is loosely based on his life. My mother told me stories over the years about her Grandfather. He was a man of pioneering stock. He was a horseman and enjoyed the country life.

I met him only once. I must have been about five years old. I can see him and my Great Grandmother telling us goodbye as we headed back to our home in California. It’s funny how one memory can result in a creation of a celebration of life.

I am giving away five Kindle ebooks today for the first five people who sends me their email address. Even if you don’t own a Kindle you may still read the book on line by downloading Amazon’s Kindle reader.

I now have a store at my site shirley-mclain.com that sells my books. I’m enjoying this process. Have a blessed day.

Slowly Swallowing Us

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English: A sinkhole in Oman Deutsch: Eine Doli...

English: A sinkhole in Oman Deutsch: Eine Doline im Oman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not going to write about the mechanism by which we ingest food. I want to spend a little bit of time writing about the earth opening up and swallowing us mere mortals. I feel so bad for the family that lost their son and brother down a sinkhole in Florida.

Sinkholes are one of the biggest fears my home town of McAlester Oklahoma has due to all of the mining that went on during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. The majority of the area has mine shafts running underneath. If one has occurred, I am not aware of it at this point in time.

I remember as a child seeing pictures of a house in Alaska in which the ground opened up and the entire house went down into a very big hole. You could at least see the roof. That was due to an earthquake. I think it was the late 1950,s when it happened. Growing up in California I was not surprised when the side of the road fell off due to the ground giving way because of so much rain.

The Bible even tells us in Numbers 16:32 KJV: “And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that [appertained] unto Korah, and all [their] goods.” From that verse it sounds like the earth was opening up and swallowing people and things back then. Science tells us that sinkholes are very common when the foundation underneath the dirt is limestone and it washes away over time. That’s a very non scientific interpretation of an action that can take thousands of years.

Some sinkholes are caused by nature, but many more are caused by man’s activity.

Decline of water levels –

drought, groundwater pumping (wells, quarries, mines)

Disturbance of the soil – digging through soil layers, soil removal, drilling

Point-source of water – leaking water/sewer pipes, injection of water

Concentration of water flow – storm water drains, swales, etc.

Water impoundments – basins, ponds, dams

Heavy loads on the surface – structures, equipment

Vibration – traffic, blasting

So as with most of our other problems we are contributing to them in a major way. Is there anything we can do to help ourselves? The obvious would be not to build houses over limestone, and stop doing everything I’ve listed above. Somehow I just don’t see that happening. I think most of us will stay oblivious to what is going on underground. I know I don’t think about the ground dropping out from underneath me, do you?

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Squatter Equals Headache II

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On Friday May 7, 2012, I posted a blog titled “Squatter Equals Headache.” Today I want to post and tell you what a whining, non-tolerant person I turned out to be. If you would go back and read that post you will have a better idea of what I am talking about.

Basically, we bought a house that we couldn’t move into because the man who had lived here for over ten years, was left behind by his geriatric girlfriend of eighteen years. She loaded her belongings and moved to California. Friends of their’s finally loaded this man up and put his things in storage. Since he agreed to it, we saw this as a good thing.

Long story short we made the man homeless. He is 87 years old and walking the streets of Sapulpa. He has dementia with a servere case of Sundowner Syndrome. It broke my heart to realize what was happening to the man. He lost everyone and everything in his world. He’d received  ten ousand dollars from his girl-friend for the sale of the house. He had that less than twenty-four hours before he lost it.  His truck was impounded by the police and he had no idea where it was.

My husband and I were fighting because I wanted to bring the man back to the house and take care of him but my family through a fit. They considered the man a danger to himself and others. Oh, did I leave out the fact he kept a pistol on him all the time.

I began praying that somehow the man would be helped. The wonderful news is he was.  I found out our neighbor called the girlfriend in California and told her excatly what was going on. I am thinking her own guilt got the best of her, because in two weeks she was here. She got the man, took him to the doctor and then back to California with her.  I have no idea what will happen now, but I know he is better off.  As far as all of his belongings, everything was auctioned off at the storage facility for unpaid storage.

You never know how something you do will affect another human being.  Never in a million years would I have thought I would have any part in making a person homeless. I can’t say that anymore.  All I can do now is thank God for answering my prayers, and leave the man in God’s hands.

Squatter Equals Headache

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Blatchington House, Firle Road, East Blatching...

Blatchington House, Firle Road, East Blatchington, Seaford Now a Retirement Home (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you want to know what frustration is? It’s having a new home that you can’t move into because the boyfriend of the previous owner will not leave. We got to close on our gorgeous country, retirement, home this past Friday 5/4/12.

Let me start from the beginning.  There once was a geriatric woman who lived in a house with her boyfriend.  She decided she wanted to move to California and sold her house and left her boyfriend behind, wanting nothing more to do with him.  He was supposed to have packed up his things and left, but to our surprise he didn’t.

I can hear the voice in your head saying, “I would call the police and haul his butt out of there.” Guess what I did call the police and found out there isn’t a thing I can do. That was his home and he can stay there until we legally evict him through the courts. I couldn’t believe it when I heard those words coming from the officers mouth.

Here we are with a house that has someone living in it and my entire family and a total of six dogs, two cats, are going to move in on this gentleman tomorrow.  So needless to say it should be a fun time for all.  I will not be posting for a while due to not having internet service.  As that famous line goes, “I’ll be back.”

It’s Short Story Day (The Red Shoes)

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This short story is nonfiction, and I didn’t write it for sympathy. I wrote it because I wanted to share a taste of what it’s like to live with the disease of alcoholism. It affects millions every day all over the world.  It’s been around since man began making wine many thousands years ago.

Alcohol is as addictive as the meth being manufactured today, except it’s legal. We all know prohibition didn’t work and as far as I can tell the war on drugs isn’t working either.  What is the answer?

I hope you like my story of  The Red Shoes.

I had reached my limit. Leaving was the only option I had. Standing up from the chair, I looked at mama and walked into my bedroom. Retrieving my coat from the closet, a headscarf and the new pair of red loafers mama bought me when we went to town that morning. I didn’t know what to do, but I couldn’t stay at the house any longer. I may have only been twelve years old, but I knew he would hurt me if I stayed.

There was snow and ice on the back steps. When I stepped out, down I went to the ground. Luckily, I wasn’t hurt in the fall. Picking myself up, I began walking down the road. Where could I go? If I went to Bob and Eva’s, he might find me there. I decided to go to my Uncle Charles’s house, on the mountain. It was about four miles north west of where we lived, up in the hills.

We lived fifteen miles west of McAlester on Highway 270 at a community called Cabiness. We ran a small country grocery store and Texaco gas station, called Blevins Grocery. My parents purchased the place before we left California. Returning to the area where mom and dad were born and raised was important, especially for my mother.

The one room store was actually the front room of the house. It had been converted to a store long before my parents bought it. The house now had one bedroom and kitchen, living room and a closed in back porch with a large window that pulled out and up, and hooked to the ceiling. That’s where mom and dad slept. My room was in the middle of the house without windows. It had two doors, one going to the living room and the other to the back porch.

There was a well and pump house sitting on the west side of the house. That water well was the catalyst for my problem. The well was terrible. The water smelled like sulphur, and tasted rotten. It didn’t furnish enough water to run the household. If you did the dishes, you couldn’t take a shower, or if you flushed the commode you couldn’t do the dishes. It was a constant struggle. I would usually go to Bob and Eva’s house to take my bath and do my homework. I would spend the night there at least once a week.

The store and station opened at 6 am and closed at 9 pm. This particular evening we were slow closing. Dad just returned home from spending time at a bar in McAlester. He was in the living room sitting on the piano bench watching me like a hawk. My cousin rang the bell to let us know someone needed gas. I went out and pumped the gas, and while I was talking to Eva, we decided I would ask mom if I could go home with them to spend the night. I asked mom if I could go home with Bob and Eva, and she agreed. I began to gather my clothes and schoolbooks.

”What are you doing, Shirley”? My dad yelled.

I walked into the living room and told him “I am getting my stuff together to go spend the night with Bob and Eva so I can do my homework and take a bath”.

“You sit down in that chair because you’re not going anywhere.”

“Daddy, mama told me I could go”.

“I don’t give a damn what your mother said, you are not going. You go tell them to go on and then get your butt back in here.”

I walked out to their truck and told them daddy wasn’t going to let me go with them. I was angry, but I knew not to say anything more to dad. When I walked back into the living room, he told me to sit down in the chair. I was angry and hurt. I sat very still and quit, while he tried to pick a fight with me. When I didn’t respond he started yelling at me. There was a pair of pliers sitting on the piano I’d left there earlier in the day from doing something that I don’t remember now. The next thing I knew he picked up the pliers and threw them at my head. God was protecting me because he missed by about one and a half inches, knocking a hole in the wall. That’s when I knew I had to get away from him.

Since I decided to go to my uncle’s house, I began walking down the dirt road behind our house. It would take me up the mountain. I had my headscarf wrapped around my head, and was wearing jeans and a long sleeve shirt. I never wore socks, and I didn’t even think about my feet when I left the house. I’d walked about two miles when I stepped in an ice covered hole of water. I knew my feet would freeze if I didn’t do something. I took off my headscarf and using my teeth to start a tear, I managed to rip the scarf in two. I put a half in each one of my new, red shoes to help keep my feet warm. I continued walking down the middle of the road. If a car came down the road, I ran into the woods and hid until it passed. I wasn’t going to let him find me. I didn’t have any intention of ever returning to that house.

I finally made it to the top of the mountain. It was after 11:00 when I knocked on Charles’s door. My Aunt Jerry opened the door after I identified myself.

“What are you doing here this late? Where’s your mama?” Jerry asked.

I told her the story while I sat wrapped in a warm blanket drinking a cup of hot tea. “Jerry, where is Charles? I can’t live there anymore. I want to stay here.”

“Charles hasn’t come in from town. I guess he had a date tonight, but I know you will be able to stay here as long as you need to.”

We heard the truck drive up to the front of the house. Jerry told me to go to the barn and hide in the hay. I took off out the back door towards the barn. I was almost there when Jerry yelled, telling me it wasn’t daddy, and to come back to the house.

When I got back in the house, there sat mama with a neighbor of ours, Donnie Elliott. Mama began to cry. “I tracked you in the snow. I knew you would either come here or go to Bob’s house. I want you to come home.”

“I’m not coming back to that house. I hate him; he is not going to hurt me. I’ve begged you to make him leave, and you wouldn’t, so now I’ve left and I’m not going back. I’m going to stay here, and if I can’t stay here then I’m going to go back to California and stay with Jim and Bobbie.”

“Please, honey, come back home. I promise you, it will be different, and he won’t be there. Come with me now and spend the night with Donnie. You can stay with her until he leaves the house tomorrow.”

Donnie sat there nodding her head up and down as mama talked. I loved my mama, and I couldn’t bear watching her cry and listening to her begging me to come back home.

“All right, mama, I’ll come home if he’s not there.” I got my coat and put on my new red, now wet and covered in mud, shoes. Jerry had given me a pair of socks, so my feet wouldn’t freeze off. Donnie lived about a half mile from us on the dirt road behind the store building. Mama promised me again that daddy would be gone the next morning.

She kept her word, and he was gone. I came home, and I was happy with my life for once. I could bring a girlfriend to the house and not be afraid of what dad would say or do. It was a peaceful time for me. Mom didn’t do so well, but that is another story.

Alcoholism is a terrible, terrible disease. It doesn’t just destroy the one drinking, but his or her family as well. It took many years for me to forgive my father, but I did. He is 85 years old now, and mama is gone. He doesn’t remember a thing about the trauma he caused his family. He and mom reconciled a year later after he had stopped drinking. That lasted a year and then it started over. That doesn’t matter now. He is a good man with a good heart and I can say I love him very much. He is and always will be my daddy. I survived and so did he.

Speaking My Mind

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Sacred Heart Catholic Church

Sacred Heart Catholic Church (Photo credit: enkrates)

When I clicked on  a story in the National Memo this morning, the story  lead-in was, ” Why Catholics don’t like Little Ricky.”

First I did not read one word about Catholics not caring about the Hispanics, secondly as a Oklahoma Catholic, that is not the case. The Catholic Church is championing the cause of the illegal and legal Hispanics in this country. We term it as social justice. When I lived in California and Texas it was the same thing there.

This nation was built with the help of immigrants from all over the world. I agree there needs to be some changes in our immigration laws, but I think we should be treating everyone as we would want to be treated. We have big problems in the justice  and immigration systems in this country. They will have to answer for what they do, as will each one of us.

I believe that amnesty should be given to all who are in this country now and a way to be found to stop the flow into the country. I know that’s easier said than done.  I also believe we should take care of our own but also help others in need.

No matter what political party someone belongs to, tolerance of something different has to become the norm. This country has done a very bad job at tolerance, but it is improving from what it was 40-50 years ago. I am better than my parents and my children are better than I am in accepting differences.  My hopes and prayer is that improvement will continue to take place in the future.

The Four Letter Word

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san diego chargers

Image via Wikipedia

I was reading an article today about a man who is suing the city of San Diego for the right to yell profanities at sporting events.  Apparently he was thrown out of a Chargers game for the use of the four letter word, which violated his freedom of speech.  Apparently the NFL has a ban on the use of profanity by the fans.

First off, why isn’t he suing the NFL since it’s their rule, but secondly and most important to me is the fact that the word has become so prevalent in use, that some people don’t have a problem with it.  I was raised being taught that was the filthyest word that could come out of someone’s mouth.  I saw my father knocked out of a kitchen chair one night by my uncle, because Dad was drinking and let that word pass his lips.  My Uncle laid him out because he said it in front of me.  The time was the mid 1950’s. That made an impression on a very young girl.  You know I never heard it again pass my dad’s lips.

My children were raised not to use that language around me or any of the family.  What my son said out of my earshot I do not know.  He is now 41 years old and curses with the best of them, but he does not use that word around me.  He knows I would be all over him. I used to be really shocked when I heard it in use, but not any more. It is so common  in speech and the written word, I guess I adapted.  I’m still greatly offended but I don’t flinch anymore.

Why should I have to listen to someone when I go to a public place because they was not taught the basics of good behavior in public.  Let me know how you feel about it.  Do you think the man in San Diego has a case, or should it be thrown out? (I know it won’t be, but I can hope.)

Head For the Closet

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The mushroom cloud over Hiroshima after the dr...

Image via Wikipedia

I have been reading Fish of Gold’s blog about natural disasters.  There have been some very good comments since she was Freshly Pressed.  There were comments about disaster drills for tornadoes and hurricanes.  I made the comment the only drill we had when I went to school was a bomb drill.  That was not true when I got to really thinking about it.  We also had the earthquake drill where we got underneath our desks, and also the usual monthly fire drill, where we left the building in a quiet, orderly fashion.  The 1950’s was a wonderous decade.

I had to bring home a note from school, so my parents could choose what I should do just in case “the bomb” was dropped.  It seemed everyone stayed on edge.  I guess after the war, they thought we were fair game to be “nuked”.    My parents decided  I was to come home if an alert sounded.  There was a siren system set up for the town to use in case of emergencies.  The town of Benicia was built on the rolling hills.  It sits right on the bay and is not far from San Francisco.

My parents worked at the Benicia Arsnal until it closed in 1960; because it was a military base, it made everyone very nervous.  Everyone knew it would be the Arsnal that would be hit.  I remember hearing mom and dad talk about what could happen.  They also had my parents doing drills on their job, on what to do if the atomic bomb is dropped.  How much time you would have, depending on the drop site.

The people in power wanted to make sure everyone was totally aware of all possibilities.  In the middle of the night, the sirens started going off.  I remember being woke and thrown in the closet head first, and my sister coming in right on top of me.  The sirens  woke my mom and dad; because of all the training, they knew the bomb had been dropped.  In less than a minute the house began to sway and things started crashing to the floor.  It was an earthquake, not a bomb.  I guess they forgot to differentiate the siren sounds between what was a bomb and an earthquake.

I don’t remember doing anymore bomb drills after that little episode.   It was fine with me, trying to run as fast as you could for six blocks to get home, was not fun.

Fish of Gold really provoked some serious childhood memories.  Those bomb drills had not been thought of for years.  I guess the war was over, but no one felt that it was “really” over.  I can’t even start to think, the closet would have protected us from anything. It might have taken a second longer for the blast wave to get to us, but it would have arrived.  Thank God, it never happened the way people thought it would.  That’s my two-cents for today.