WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND

About books, movies, cooking, and advice
Decorating, shopping, and finding the best price
Life, love and raising kids
Along with do-hickeys, what-cha-ma-call-its, and thing-a-ma-jigs
We’re just two Texas girls
Straight from the sticks
The only thing we won’t gab about
Is religion and politics!

That’s Grandma on the left

Susan: I’m what my grandmother used to call a clothes horse. I love colors, styles, and different fabrics. I come by it honest. My grandmother once spent a whole month’s salary on a skirt from France when she worked as a telephone operator in 1918.

me (left) my sister Kim (right)

I remember the dress Mama bought for me when I started school. A plaid shirtwaist with a white lace-trimmed collar. Maybe because it came from Sears. Most of my clothes were homemade. My grandparents had chickens, and the feed came in sacks with print material on one side that Grandma and Mama used for everything from dresses to kitchen towels to underwear.

When I got older, bobby socks were all the rage. And Poodle skirts. So were petticoats and full skirts. A few years later, I took a seam ripper to them and used the material to make fitted skirts and A-line dresses.

It’s incredible how the styles have changed over the years. But one thing I have learned. What goes around eventually comes around again. I never thought I’d see the day when girls wore bellbottoms, or tie-dye, or madras plaid again.  But guess what? Never say never. You should see the look on my daughter’s face when she finds out her new outfit is just like one I wore years ago.

Ann: When I think of fashion, what stands out in mind are the three inch heels I talked my mother into buying me for my 8th grade graduation, the sacks of hand-me-downs I’d get twice a year from older cousins, and the borrowed formal I used when I was a homecoming princess my sophomore year. It had a boned strapless bodice with a full skirt of layered netting and a bustle-like tiered satin accent on the back. Talk about making your butt look big!

Well, three-inch heels are all the rage, and now we have all sorts of re-sale shops where you actually pay for hand-me-downs. I no longer wear high heels, but I’m a frequent shopper of thrift/used clothing stores. As for the formal wear, I’m not sure if and when the big, big, skirted formals will make a comeback, but since big behinds are now in vogue, the bustle just might reemerge.

Susan mentioned wearing clothes made from feed sacks. I have a similar fashion history. My mom worked for Olive & Myers Manufacturing Company where she made mattresses. Yep, you guessed it. I had clothes made from mattress material. Talk about making your bed and lying in…I wore mine.

Do you have a fashion memory you want to share? OR, maybe a photo of you wearing one of your faves? If so, post it in the comments. We’d love to see it!

Find out more about Ann Everett/Emma Ames: https://www.anneverett.com

It’s About Time Series

2nd edition now available on Amazon – on KINDLE and IN PRINT for the first time ever!

https://amzn.to/notlongago

I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of traveling through time. Visiting another time. Getting up close and personal with characters and places in history. Seeing things the way they were or the way they will be someday. Just think of the possibilities. And what if you could decide whether you wanted to stay or go back home? What would you do?

Erin has met the man of her dreams, but it’s complicated. She’s in one of those long-distance relationships, and the man she loves is a little behind the times–somewhere around 600 years. 

Along with her employer, March, Erin is transported to a time where chivalry and religion exist alongside brutality and superstition. Something is not quite right at the castle, and they are certain mysterious Lady Isobeil is involved. But Erin must cope with crop circles, ghosts, a kidnapping, and death while searching for the way home.

Posing as March’s nephew, she finds employment as handsome Sir Griffin’s squire. From the start, she’s attracted to him and grows to admire his courage, quiet nobility, and devotion to duty.  Yet, she must deny her feelings.  Erin misses her home that’s in a world centuries away, but she can’t stop thinking about her knight in shining armor.   

From there, the story could have gone anywhere. Turns out, it did. I never planned for Not Long Ago to become a series, but when my daughter insisted there was more to the story, I realized she was right.  

 Coming Soon!

From Now On takes up where Not Long Ago left off. Some of my favorite characters are back. Arvo, the tall, gangly young man with a disreputable shock of red hair who becomes Erin’s good friend and confidant. Sir Edevane, Griffin’s fellow knight and friend, and Kateryn, Griffin’s feisty little sister.

Griffin travels to Erin’s world and brings her back to his, but before they can begin their new life together, Isobeil sends him on a mission to a strange island. When he doesn’t return, Erin assembles a group of his friends to search for him. Followed by his strong-willed sister, Kateryn, they travel to Swansea and secure passage with the notorious Captain Akin.

Erin discovers firsthand how the island has earned its dark reputation when she battles freakish weather, encounters a race of little people known as “Prowlies,” and experiences ghosts of the long departed.  She discovers there are “ley lines” crossing the island’s mountain peak, creating all sorts of strange phenomena. And Erin uncovers a secret while trying to rescue the man she loves.

Coming Soon!

If you love a time travel adventure with a twist (and a love story) and haven’t read Not Long Ago, please do. You can continue Erin and Griffin’s story in From Now On. The third book in the series is To The Past. As the relationship between the two love birds grows, they encounter even more obstacles to overcome while they’re dealing with the caves in Wales, blood moons, and more ghosts.

The It’s About Time series is available on Amazon and Goodreads. If you read it and like it, tell your friends. please post a review. You’ll make this writer happy! Visit my blog at susanaroyal.com and feel free to comment. Email me anytime at ssn_royal@hotmail.com I love hearing from my readers, and promise to answer my emails.

4th of July

However you chose to celebrate this day, whether it be out at the lake, at a cookout with family, or enjoying fireworks with friends, I hope it’s a safe and happy holiday. Sometime during the day, please stop and take a moment to remember what this day should mean to all of us.

Red Skelton was always a favorite of mine. Never failed to make me laugh, and sometimes brought me to tears. This was one of those times.

Dinner and a Movie Monday – Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes is a 1991 film based on the 1987 novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flag. Directed by Jon Avnet and written by Flagg and Carol Sobieski, it stars Kathy Bates, Jessica Tandy, Mary Stuart Masterson and Mary-Louise Parker. It tells the story of a relationship between two southern women during the depression, Ruth and Idgie, and a 1980s friendship between Evelyn, a middle-aged housewife, and Ninny, an elderly woman. The centerpiece and parallel story concerns the murder of Ruth’s abusive husband, Frank, and the accusations that follow.

Released December 27, 1991, the film received a generally positive reception from critics and grossed $119 million worldwide. It was nominated for two Oscars at the Best Supporting Actress (Tandy) and Best Adapted Screenplay. 

One of my favorites. If I’m channel surfing and I come across it, I have to stop and watch. Jessica Tandy movies never disappoint. It’s a story about loyalty, friendship, and always being there for those you love, something we all need in this world.

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES

  • 4 large green tomatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 quart vegetable oil for frying

Prep : 5  m   Cook : 15  m   Ready In : 20  m

Directions

  1. Slice tomatoes 1/2 inch thick. Discard the ends.
  2. Whisk eggs and milk together in a medium-size bowl. Scoop flour onto a plate. Mix cornmeal, bread crumbs and salt and pepper on another plate. Dip tomatoes into flour to coat. Then dip the tomatoes into milk and egg mixture. Dredge in breadcrumbs to completely coat.
  3. In a large skillet, pour vegetable oil (enough so that there is 1/2 inch of oil in the pan) and heat over a medium heat. Place tomatoes into the frying pan in batches of 4 or 5, depending on the size of your skillet. Do not crowd the tomatoes, they should not touch each other. When the tomatoes are browned, flip and fry them on the other side. Drain them on paper towels.

DEAD AS A DOORNAIL. NEKKID AS A JAYBIRD. HAPPY AS A LARK.

About books, movies, cooking, and advice
Decorating, shopping, and finding the best price
Life, love and raising kids
Along with do-hickeys, what-cha-ma-call-its, and thing-a-ma-jigs
We’re just two Texas girls
Straight from the sticks
The only thing we won’t gab about
Is religion and politics!

DEAD AS A DOORNAIL. NEKKED AS A JAYBIRD. HAPPY AS A LARK.

Is a nail only dead if it’s in a door? Since a jaybird has feathers, how can it be naked, and, is a lark always happy? We’ve grown up hearing and speaking these idioms, but what do they mean?

First, let’s define idioms. According to https://www.thefreedictionary.com/, they are the characteristic vocabulary or usage of a specific human group or subject. So, each country and region have their own idioms. In the US there are more than 25,000. I figure the south will claim a fair amount of those!

In book three of the Sweet Thangs Mystery series, Pretty Bows and Turned Up Toes, Sheriff Dan McAlister describes the body of Jay Roy Hobbs as dead as a doornail, nekked as a jaybird, and looking happy as a lark! Long after writing that, I decided to find out what those old-time sayings meant. You may be surprised by some. I was.

forged nails letters – old rusty bent nails in shape of letters, isolated on white

Dead as a doornail

One explanation is that back in the day, doors were built using only wooden boards and hand-forged nails. They needed to be long enough to attach vertical and horizontal wooden panels together so they wouldn’t pull apart. The nail was pounded in and bent-over which made it difficult to pull out. The technique was known as dead nailing—thus dead as a doornail.

Naked as a jaybird

In the 1920s and 30s, upon arrival, new prisoners went straight to the showers and then walked from there to their cell, naked. J-bird was slang for jail-bird. And all this time, I thought we were talking about a bird without feathers!

Illustration of a Cute Nightingale Belting Out Notes

Happy as a lark

Okay, this one was exactly what I thought. The lark sings a lovely melody which makes it sound mighty happy.

Crazy as a loon

Even though, the bird is known to have a haunting cry which is compared to the howls of the insane. The second theory I found for this idiom makes more sense to me.  It’s short for lunatic.

This next one is what got me to wondering about idioms in the first place. As I turned onto a street, there was a bucket in the road. I thought, someone needs to kick that out of the way. What? No. No one should kick the bucket! I couldn’t help but wonder why we say that. Why would kicking a bucket have anything do with dying? Maybe I’m the only one in the world who didn’t know. But, now that I do, it makes sense.

A boy kicking the pail on a white background

Kick the bucket

A common theory is that it refers to hanging…execution or suicide. You stand on a bucket and the pail is kicked away for the noose to do its job. Another theory is that a goat, after milking, may kick the bucket and spill the goods creating a ‘bad ending.’ The origin of the phrase might also refer to a Catholic custom of using holy-water buckets to sprinkle the blessing upon a deceased.

Well, that’s five I’ve grown up hearing. That leaves 24,995 more to check out! Let’s take a look at those Susan comes up with.

Susan: I grew up hearing all these sayings and more. I thought everyone knew what they meant. But sometimes I come across people who’ve never heard of them and give me a strange look. Most of the ones I’ve shared today are pretty explanatory.

I wouldn’t trust him any further than I could throw him

You couldn’t pick up someone and throw them very far, so you’d put very little trust in what they say. I always imagine someone trying to throw someone much bigger than they are.

So dry I’m spittin’ cotton

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Especially when you’ve been out in the Texas sun during June, July or August. If you have, you know what I mean.

Got to get back to my rat killing

You use this phrase to end a conversation with someone when you’ve got to get back to whatever it is you were doing when you ran into them in the first place. I used this phrase one time in a conversation with a writer friend from up north and he didn’t know what the heck I meant.

I didn’t just fall off the (turnip, tater, watermelon truck)

In other words, I’m not naive. I know you’re trying to fool me, and I’m not falling for it.

This ain’t my first rodeo

Don’t be giving me advice. I’ve been in this situation before. I can handle it.

If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

 Hang out with the wrong crowd and you’ll end up in trouble.

I love idioms. I think they make a conversation so much more colorful. Especially when you can picture them.

Tell us some of your favorites. Leave them in the comments.

Find out more about Ann Everett/Emma Ames: https://www.anneverett.com

Some images purchased from Deposit Photos. Nails taken by: @Tamara_k, singing bird taken by: @lenmdp, kicking the bucket taken by: @blueringmedia

My Heart Still Surrenders

I read a lot of different genres. Lately, it seems I’ve been drawn toward historical romances. When the author does a good job, I feel like I’ve been transported to the era where the story takes place. My Heart Still Surrenders, by Robbi Perna is a lovely example.

Navarre is a mercenary employed by King Francis II of the Two Sicilies with a less than stellar reputation with the ladies. When Carolina, the Contessina DeSimone, is disinherited and disowned by her ruthless father, he comes to her rescue. Their love story was enchanting as was the author’s descriptions of 19th century Italy.

You’ll find yourself drawn into the story and feel as though you are watching it unfold through your own eyes.  

DRIVE-INS AND JESUS

About books, movies, cooking, and advice
Decorating, shopping, and finding the best price
Life, love and raising kids
Along with do-hickeys, what-cha-ma-call-its, and thing-a-ma-jigs
We’re just two Texas girls
Straight from the sticks
The only thing we won’t gab about
Is religion and politics!

Drive-in movie theaters have started to make a comeback in recent years, and in light of the coronavirus outbreak, it could be a good thing. They were the brainchild of Richard Hollingshead. The idea caught on, and drive-in theaters popped up all over the country. Their popularity spiked after WWII and became an icon of American culture and a typical weekend destination

Susan: Music to my ears when I was a child. We’d put on our pajamas and grab our pillows because it was going to be a long night. Daddy and Mama always went for the double and triple features. During the summer it got dark so late we’d be there most of the night.

I can smell the popcorn now! A cool summer breeze, the smell of the hot dogs on the grill, the crunch of gravel as cars pulled in. If we were lucky, we might get to go to the playground located in front just under the movie screen.

The advertisement for the snack bar flashing on the screen made my mouth water. (Too expensive, Daddy always said so we brought our snacks with us) The concession stand sat in the middle of the lot, along with the restrooms (which we avoided like the plague because Mama had a thing about germs).

When my husband was a teenager, he’d go to Floyd’s Dairy Bar (5 burgers for $1.00) and buy a six-pack of soda on his way to the show. He also told me the story of parking behind a kid who sneaked in a trunkload of friends (must not have been Bargain night)

My fondest memory is the time my uncles took a carload full of kids to see Cat Ballou. They took us to the snack bar and let us get ANYTHING we wanted. I thought I had died and gone to heaven! It’s a wonder I didn’t make myself sick.

I remember Cool Hand Luke, The House on Haunted Hill, Planet of the Apes, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, Shenandoah, and a whole lot of John Wayne movies. I saw a whole lot more, but those stick out in my mind.

Ann: Well, Susan, my parents never took us to the movies…drive-in or otherwise. And, once I was old enough to date, I wasn’t allowed to go to a drive-in.

However, I remember two exceptions to the rule and they stand out in my mind. Not because I was at a forbidden place, but because something memorable happened.

Drive-in visit number one: I went with a friend and her mother. I don’t recall what movie we saw, but I do remember the Lunar Eclipse that night! We spent our time watching it instead of the movie.

My second experience was the first date I had with the boy I would later marry. We’d gotten special permission to go…a one-time-only deal. Again, I don’t remember the movie, but I remember what I was wearing—a purple and white seersucker full skirt and sleeveless top. It was summer and even seersucker didn’t help.

Tom, my date, had a church hand fan in his car. Remember those?  To my surprise, you can still order them as promotional products. They’re about the size of a sheet of typing paper mounted on a paint stir stick. Most of the time they had a picture of Jesus on them.

Well, Tom, being a gentleman, gave it to me so I could stir the air…which I did. But my hand got tired after a while so I laid the fan in my lap. When I raised it to fan again, it caught on the hem of my skirt, and pulled it over my head!

Find out more about Ann Everett/Emma Ames: https://www.anneverett.com

Bridey’s Stranger

Available soon on Amazon

Sixteen-year-old Bridey lives in a medieval world off the shore of Manx Island. The sea holds a special place in her heart. Ever since she was a babe in her father’s arms, watching the tide push the waves inland. She slips away from the cottage every chance she gets and makes her way down to the beach, spending hours along the shoreline, gathering treasures and exploring the caves.

One day Bridey finds a stranger on the beach. A young man nearly dead from exposure. She hides him in a cave nearby and nurses him back to health. She doesn’t know who he is, where he came from, or who’s after him, but she falls in love with him anyway. And her life is changed forever.

This novelette is a companion piece about characters who appear in the It’s About Time Series. Included are excerpts from the other books in the series, including a brand new book which will hopefully be in eBook and print before the end of the year.

My thanks to all of my readers who have patiently waited for my books to come out in print. This has been a long learning process for me. I’ve been in collaboration with my wonderful cover artist, Suzannah Safi and Sheryl Lee, the fantastic lady who does my formatting, and together we’ve worked hard to give you new and improved versions of all my books.

Stay tuned. There’s more to come!!!

A BLAST FROM THE PAST

About books, movies, cooking, and advice
Decorating, shopping, and finding the best price
Life, love and raising kids
Along with do-hickeys, what-cha-ma-call-its, and thing-a-ma-jigs
We’re just two Texas girls
Straight from the sticks
The only thing we won’t gab about
Is religion and politics!

A Blast From The Past

Ann: While doing some spring cleaning, I came across a book I’d bought many years ago, The Verse by the Side of the Road, The Story of the Burma-Shave Signs, by Frank Rowsome, Jr.

Some of you will remember this clever advertising campaign, which lasted from 1925 until 1963. The rhyming jingles for a brushless shave cream were displayed on a series of small wooden signs spaced 100 feet apart along roadways across rural America.

The company, Burma Vita Inc., was operated by Clinton Odell and his son, Allan, who suggested using the roadside idea. For the first three years, Allan and his father wrote the jingles, but when their poetic muse ran out, they sponsored a nationwide contest, awarding $100 for each of the 25 best. Some of the annual contests received more than 50,000 entries!

Some were naughty and never made it past the first round of judging. Boy, wouldn’t you like to read those entries! By today’s standards, I’ll bet they weren’t that bad!

Here’s one of the most the popular:

He had the ring

He had the flat

But she felt his chin

And that was that.

Burma-Shave

Wanna take a stab at writing one? We’re not paying any money, but it might be interesting to see a modern take on the jingle. And we’ll share the one we like the best on our next blog!

Here’s Ann’s offering:

His cheeks were covered

In five o’clock stubble

Canoodling with him

Was too much trouble.

Burma Shave

Here’s Susan’s:

Short, balding, chubby

And missing teeth

But with cheeks like baby.

He couldn’t keep the girls away.

Burma Shave.

Susan: Talking about seeing these signs reminds me of road trips I’ve taken through the years—no fun when I was growing up. Three girls crammed together in the backseat of a mustang with black interior and no a/c. You either sat behind Daddy and got singed by flying ash (he smoked) or in the middle (with him yelling at you to duck your head because he couldn’t see) or behind Mama. He didn’t play the radio. And we drove for hours without a bathroom break. If I didn’t have a book, I read all the road signs. I knew exactly how far we were from the next Stuckey’s, Dairy Queen, or souvenir shop. (Not that we ever stopped) Things changed when I got married. My husband and I used to drive up in the hill country—nothing more relaxing than traveling down those back roads, listening to music, looking at the scenery.

Don’t forget to try your hand at writing a Burma Shave jingle. Leave it in the comments!

Winner of two eBooks from a previous post is Cindy Bright! BIG congrats, Cindy, and thanks for taking the time to read and comment on our blog.

Find out more about Ann Everett/Emma Ames: https://www.anneverett.com

AT THE VIETNAM WALL

Memorial Day – a day we honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military



because i never knew you
nor did you me
          i come

because you left behind mother,
father and betrothed
and i wife and children
          i come

because love is stronger than enmity
and can bridge oceans
          i come

because you never return
and i do
i come

          DUONG TUONG Washington, D. C., November 21, 1995

The older I get the more I think about our country and the sacrifices some have made on its behalf. Especially on days like today. I came across this poem, wtitten by Duong Tuong, a Vietnamese writer after visiting the wall in l995. I love its touching simplicity. A child of the 60s, I witnessed daily casualty count on the evening news and saw college students protesting while others burned our flag.

The thing I remember the most was the day my high school principal came over the loudspeaker and requested a moment of silence for a former student who’d graduated only months earlier and had enlisted. He was killed shortly after he arrived in Vietnam.

I remember seeing him in the halls at school. A nice guy. Always smiling. Barely 18. Just a kid. Gone in a minute. Someone I knew. Someone my age. That’s when I realized the US was at war. And it was real.