Graham’s posting while in Ms

These are the FB posts of Graham during his visit Nov.16-18 of 2012

DAY 1. I have had 6 hours sleep and am probably gonna doze all day , but just to say I am so glad to be back in the US. Klara and Terry met me at Jackson Airport and on the way back to the Nursery as Terry had to concentrate on driving we kept quiet and let him talk and talk and talk about the five times he has been abducted by aliens, which is something I have yet to experience, but Terry assures me it happens regularly around here. That’s the truth and it is not true that Klara and I were so keen to catch up we nattered incessantly all the way here and Terry had trouble staying on the right side of the road because of the constant chat chat chat. That didn’t happen… we’re clear on that aren’t we πŸ˜€

DAY 2. This morning started with Terry telling me how when out hunting once he’d happened on a bear and after wrestling with it for a while for fun he had knocked it out with a single punch. He’s promised to show me how it’s done tomorrow after church as well as the art calming wild wolves just by staring them down. Impressive. As the morning progressed we filled pots with dirt in the nursery. In the afternoon we had the pleasure of Brenda’s company and this evening I’ve been to Brookhaven to see the new Twilight movie. A good time was had by all… and I don’t just mean myself, Stacie, Ana and Shandi… but the whole movie theater. There was a cheering and a groaning and a laughing and a gasping as the plot unfolded. Now it’s time for bed. Catch ya later.

DAY 3. The day started with pancakes. Then on to church. After Sunday school during the service the preacher unexpectedly asked me stand up and introduce myself to the congregation so everybody knows me now. The sermon was about thanksgiving and the joy of being a christian on the path of life. When we got back Terry decided that instead of teaching me how to calm wild wolves he would show me how to cut bread with a chainsaw and then toast it using a blow torch. I nearly blew my head off with too much hot sauce this lunchtime. I must remember just a drop and mix well in πŸ˜€ After this I part watched the first NFL game of the day and part sketched Ana’s portrait from a photograph. If I can get it scanned and uploaded I’ll display it soon as long as Ana doesn’t mind. Next NFL game saw the Saints winning, which keeps up a 100% record for them winning when Terry and I watch them. They are gonna need that if there is any chance of them reaching the Superbowl at their home stadium this year. Next NFL game starts in 35 minutes.

DAY 4. Perhaps I should finish day 3 first. Last night we feasted on southern fried Jalapenos with mustard mayo. This was followed by peach Margaritas. Oh yeah… ya gotta try these πŸ˜€ Terry told me that if he has two of these he can stay awake all night without a problem. Talking of Terry he also told me about the times he goes fishing and the secret of catching bucket loads of Catfish. The fish bait has to be soaked before hand in Jim Beam whiskey. No other whiskey will do. Guaranteed 100% success… only there are some counties in Mississippi where you are not allowed to serve up fish caught this way to those under the age of 18… sooooo… just keep that in mind. This morning we breakfasted at MacDonalds and shopped… and shopped… and shopped. This afternoon I took more pictures and started preparation of my new creation ‘Walthall County Trifle’. Pictures to be posted later and recipe if we survive the experience πŸ™‚

…. and we survived eating it!!!!! The recipe ingredients were: Yellow cake; Lemon, orange and margarita (non-alcoholic) jello; pineapple tidbits; mandarin oranges; vanilla pudding; whipped cream; sliced almonds and sprinkles. Now this how we went about it. Bake your yellow cake… let it cool… cut into bite size chunks. Take a bowl and fill the bottom third with the chunks of cake. Make up margarita jello. Pour onto cake chunks and allow them to soak it up. Now make up lemon and orange jello. Place pieces of pineapple and mandarin on top of cake to form second layer and pour on to this orange/lemon jello. Stick in fridge for four hours to allow this to get more solid. Take out and make a layer of the vanilla pudding. On top of this add the top layer of the whipped cream and add the almonds and sprinkles as in the picture. Put back into the fridge for another half hour and then serve.

DAY 5. It is so much easier to post in the afternoon so I will be going back a day most of the time. Last night we feasted on chicken wings with creole seasoning, sausage and red bean stew as well as my ‘Walthall County Trifle.’ Oh boy… heaven! We started watching more NFL, but seeing as the Bears were getting stuffed by the 49ers we decided to watch NCIS Los Angeles instead. Now… it would appear that Terry has a tendency to exaggerate according to his family. This was the topic of conversation at the meal last night. It seems he did not punch out a bear…. no… in fact he had a tussle with a raccoon and it was the one that floored him. Also the nights of the alien abductions were the same nights he kept himself awake with margaritas. Thankfully he also cleared something else up last night that he told me. It was only a rumor he had heard about people using dynamite to fish the lakes with (something I hadn’t mentioned to y’all yet) and was not something he himself had actually done. OK … so I guess not everybody’s perfect when it comes to telling the absolute truth and nothing but the truth. Perhaps I shall have to restrict what I say about Terry to things I have witnessed with my own eyes….. like… for instance…. when I was here last time we went to meet his mates at a place called the shed. Terry ate 99 ‘ghost’ peppers. He would have got to a 100 if he hadn’t breathed out a little too hard and incinerated the remaining peppers, the bowl they were in and most of the table top. This morning and afternoon we have been cleaning up here ahead of thanksgiving. Tonight we are heading for Colombia for shopping and other things.

DAY 6. Off to Columbia…. firstly we deliver some plants to a lady at the frozen custard and ice cream store. Next we head to Fox’s pizza… one pizza wedgie, fries and three cup refills later we head to Klara’s alanon group. Met a number of people and heard a conversation about the dangers of working the oil rigs and platforms in the Gulf of Mexico especially with regard to static electricity. Providence meant a man there had some mustard greens that Klara had to be looking for so that can be ticked off the thanksgiving requirements list. Then off to Walmart… I am having problems finding Suzy’s Cinnamentos, however I am now buying up a range of Cinnamon flavored sweets in the hope that one will be OK. Hmmm :-/ OK I bought two tee-shirts, one shirt and a USM cap (strictly MS wearing only as I know Tracy and Suzy will give me hell if I wear it when I get home :-D). Today Terry is doing more bush-hogging for the County, which means he gets first pickings on any roadkill going. Mostly it is usually deer, rabbit and squirrel. His brother-in-law Robert will be arriving this afternoon and will be looking to fix up his famous Squirrel and Rabbit pie with Monster Truck and Gas flavoring. Oh Boy! Sometime today I have to cut more wood for the wood burner, but every time I swing an axe at the logs it gets embedded and I can’t get it out. I’d like to use Terry’s chainsaw, but he’s too busy cutting bread with it. There are always some square blocks of wood out there near the logs and Klara tells me these come from square trees. Now I was a bit skeptical, but before we went to Columbia last night Terry had to go back to his depot to get a jar of syrup he had forgotten to bring home and he showed me a field where they were growing square trees. Now Momma always told me…. "Boy if you keep watching this much TV you’ll end up with square eyes." Well in this field, surrounding all these baby trees, were all kinds of old TV sets each with its own antenna…. all showing the Disney channel 24 hours a day. Ya gotta hand it to the Americans for ingenuity and crazy thinking, but if it works… it works. Catch ya’ll later.

DAY 7. Yesterday Robert and Judy arrived along with the delightful Nicole. After Robert and Terry had set up his RV we spent some time just sitting and chilling while Robert related the extra special deals he gets on trucks. By the way this RV and truck are like palaces on wheels, but I understand in about three months time he will have gone and sold them to upgrade again to an even better one. When Terry tells me that he’d probably sell it to me for a few dollars and the shirt off my back I’m hoping a down payment of $10 and IOU will do just fine. OK next… it’s off to church to join the kids on a tour of Tylertown park to see the Christmas lights. We took the Magee Creek Baptist Church van down to town, a hot chocolate, a photo with Mr and Mrs Santa Claus (not me of course… hope ya’ll not disappointed πŸ™‚ ) and a mile walk (I have photos and will post tonight during free upload time) later …well it’s off to Randy’s mother’s house for drinks and cookies. After the kids had enjoyed themselves doing the things kids do when they are all together it was back home. This morning I was last up… again! Anyhow I wished everyone a happy thanksgiving and I am truly thankful that all my friends here and back in the UK are the wonderful unique people they are. I luv y’all…. and "don’t go changing… to try to please me…." as the song goes. Well perhaps just slightly… but not a lot… OK! The smells of breakfast are reaching me as I type. Now it turns out Nicole has problems with the idea of eating deer. Terry and I having been talking to her about that. First up Terry confirmed what I told her that the cutest deer have the best taste. In fact the best Bambi burger recipe consists of….. 30% hog, 60% Bambi, 5% mosquito and 5% ladybird. Make sure to garnish with sliced jalapeno, cheese and as much mayo as will help you stomach it.

DAY 8. Yesterday was fun! We had a fantastic thanksgiving dinner. Beans, cut beans, mustard greens, chicken with dumplings, cornbread, cornbread dressing, mexican cornbread, ham, turkey and devilled eggs. Also there is something that was mint flavored and had cottage cheese in it. OK ten pounds extra weight on me later…. the afternoon we spent chatting on the porch, watching NFL and playing cards….. BEFORE… OK Nicole needed some new boots, new shoes and was kinda in the market for a new purse. Now perhaps my friends in the UK won’t be familiar with this, but the day after thanksgiving is known as Black Friday. It is sales time and it starts at 12 midnight. So we get in Nicole’s nifty Ford Fiesta, which is of course a lot bigger than the Ford Fiesta we are used to in the UK, and off we head to Belk department store in McComb. We arrive at about 10.30PM and we get a position pretty much near the front of the queue. We did get pulled over by one kind officer on the way who felt we were driving a little too close to the car in front. We thanked him for his kind consideration and advice. Well…. at midnight the doors open and in we go… more dignified than I had been led to believe… except for some jack-ass who pushed his way by Aunt Brenda causing her to get a nasty bruise. Hope you are OK today Brenda. Well Nicole got her shoes and we checked out all the bargains (didn’t find anything myself sadly) then we head back to get home just after 2AM. This morning we have started the day with scrambled egg and ham sandwiches. Robby and Troyanne have arrived. I’m here typing. At the rate we are eating we may run out of turkey soon, BUT… Terry has a plan. We have wild turkeys out the back and I have been persuaded to put on my fluorescent bright lime green teeshirt I bought on Tuesday. Now what I am supposed to do is stand in the middle of the field. Since I will look like some huge human firefly… glowing away… the turkeys will apparently come a running toward me. Now Terry and Robert will then be able to pick them off, being the ace shots they are, before they reach me. I have been told not to worry if they get real close as it helps with the aiming. Hmmmm :-/ Hopefully I will be posting tomorrow!!!!

DAY 9. Well I left y’all yesterday with Robert and Troyanne arriving. The rest of the morning was spent talking although Robert, Robby, Terry and Troyanne’s son James also were fixing things outside too. Then everybody began to leave until only Klara, Terry, Ana and myself remained. Early afternoon we headed for Columbia. Ana got the cutest orange hat and I got myself a new belt. We stopped by the frozen custard store and I tried a frozen custard sundae called sunburn. Made the mistake of ordering a medium… couldn’t finish it. Anyhoooo… I guess it’s time to tell you how I came by my cowboy hat. In the evening Terry took me to a place they call the shed. How to describe the shed…. well I suppose it is like a partly open sided barn-size ‘shed’ full of farming, hunting and fishing stuff. They’ve hooked up a big screen TV and there’s a radio there as well. Just outside is a ‘skidder rim’ in which they burn logs whilst sitting around talking about the state of country. Charles brought Buck stew and rice for us to eat… also they drank Miller lites or coca-cola. Well things have changed a bit since seven years ago. They was a lot of talk about aches and pains and medical issues. Seems they are all getting older. Anyhow at one point… somebody… and I am not sure who said … "ya know I think we all ought to give up the hunting and leave it to the women!" Oooooh… it takes a lot to shock me and you could have cut the atmosphere with a knife. It was Bruce who first spoke… "Ya say what!" Well Terry stepped in before punches were thrown. "Ya should be ashamed. Look Graham’s here from England. What kinda men do ya wanna make him think we are. Tell ya what. Let me show ya summit that will inspire ya’ll. Graham… we’re gonna show ya wildfire." OK wildfire is a horse and like his name suggests he is …. wiiilllllld!!!! The five men cornered him in a field and he’s a snorting and a prancing and a shaking his head like ya wouldn’t believe, but ya gonna believe this… aren’t you. Wildfire wasn’t half beautiful though with his deep red/brown color and a white stripe on his nose the shape of lightning. Terry comes up to me and says…. ‘now just ya remember what I taught ya son." I gulped… but I stepped forward. I fixed that horse with a stare so hard the muscles in my face started hurting. I stepped closer…. and closer…. and closer…. when I was close enough I let out a howl like the most lonesome coyote and dang! ….. didn’t wildfire just drop onto his front knees as tamed as tamed could be. I spent the rest of the evening feeding him bits of orange. Later Charles came up to me, gave me his cowboy hat and boots…. he said…. "Son ya sure gone and earned these and boys… let the word go out… there’s a new Sheriff in town!" It was touching.

DAY 10. Down to the coast. First stop… where else, but a mega outlet mall near Gulfport to shop, shop, shop. On the way there we stopped for gas and… I found… Mentos… cinnamon flavored… this has to be what Suze was after. It has to be…. I have four of them πŸ™‚ In the outlet mall I got another Saints top… this time with a hood, two LSU teeshirts and another hat.. striped. Klara and Ana spent a long time looking, but also bought some clothes. Klara also got some cooking equipment and Terry some new reebok trainers. Talking of Terry…. oh …. no… I can’t. Seems I have been gone telling you the wrong things. Apparently I have to watch what I say now or I am gonna be living on hog’s head cheese until I come back… whatever that is! Then Terry goes and tell me that that is too good for me… I’ll have to eat the food the dog’s eat. Then he goes and decides that even that is too good and I will have to live on cricket and grasshopper droppings. Sooooo…. I would like ya’ll to know. Terry does not exaggerate! He does not tell tall tales. He is not a pathological bullshitter. If Terry tells ya’ll it is my fault….. then it is my fault. IF… ya get out of bed in the morning on the wrong side it is my fault. If ya trip over accidentally it is my fault. If a hurricane comes back here it is definitely… go on guess…. MY FAULT! It will be my fault whether I am here… on the way back… or thousands of miles away back in England. It is a heavy burden I will have to bear, but my pa has always said to me… "son… you got broad shoulders." Now that’s all settled… on with the day’s events.. after the outlet mall we went on to a Rodeo shop. My big vacation present to myself is… a seriously nice cowboy hat and a proper cowboy buckle. Cost a bit, but something I can keep and know I have got some serious fancy dress clothing now πŸ™‚ Then on to Treasure Island Casino for their buffet. Then down to a pier to walk off some of the buffet. We did the vacation photo thing as posted already and then it is time for the long drive back. Big thanks to Terry who did all the driving.

DAY 11. The day started with waffles. After the waffles came church. Today’s service was all about spreading the good Lord’s word. So… read the bible… there ya go I have done my bit πŸ™‚ Anyhooo…. the cowboy evangelist came home and did what any cowboy evangelist would do on a Sunday afternoon… he watched the NFL. Unfortunately the Saints (what other team would a cowboy evangelist support) lost, but nevertheless it was a good day with Terry keeping me informed on what would have been allowed in college football and some of the rules of the NFL that I am still unclear on. Tomorrow is Terry’s birthday. It is really another day of thanksgiving because I am blessed to know such wonderful people. I felt honored that Terry has asked me to play a central part of the celebrations. He showed me a candle, about six inches tall, that must be valuable because he was holding very carefully. This candle is going to be placed in the middle of a cake tomorrow. There is a special ceremony that is local to these parts. About six o’clock I will stand in the driveway and light the wick. It is very important that I wait 30 seconds, not 29 or 28, but exactly 30, then I bring the candle inside. Terry says it will be a big surprise. Just in case anybody wants to buy one of these candles for their own birthday party it is a red color, it has a longer than normal wick and is made by a company called ACME. I am so looking forward to be involved tomorrow πŸ™‚

DAY 12. Yesterday it rained. Shandi hasn’t been well these last few days, but had got worse and Klara will be taking her to see somebody for it as we speak. Yesterday we had to bring her home from Tylertown school. It is some kind of throat infection. We stopped by Fred’s (dollar store and chemists) as well as Piggly Wiggly’s (a supermarket). It gave me a chance to get Terry’s birthday present. When we got back I read a few chapter’s of Calico Joe… a Grisham novel. For the moment I have given up on Cold Mountain as the language is proving ‘too fancy’ for me πŸ˜€ Anyhooo… as the day progressed we had more rain and we have had thunder and lightning as well. Klara’s internet is provided by satellite and unfortunately the signal gets weak when it rains. However Terry told me how it gets boosted if someone gets on top of the shingles and keeps a hold of the dish. Everybody looked at me. OK… so through the worst of the storm I was up on the roof, but it wasn’t so bad… I had company. There was Pepper (the dog) and Pocohontus (the cat). We all huddled together for warmth. After six hours I came down to find everybody was in bed! OK…. I feel the need for a sense of humor now soooo… how about a joke Klara told us. A man entered a monastery and made a vow of silence. After five years he went to the abbot and uttered the words "bed hard". After ten years he went to the abbot and told him "food bad". After fifteen years he went to the abbot and said "I quit". The abbot said "you may as well do…. you’ve done nothing but complain for the last fifteen years." HAPPY BIRTHDAY TERRY!!!!!

DAY 12 continued. Roy (Ana and Shandi’s father) arrived today. Stacie had bought him a freedom bell. Now’s a good time to read the note that came with it… posted separately as two photos. OK… so a bell for motorbikes that is supposed to ward off evil spirits? Oh… and those evil spirits cause the pot holes in the road? Not for the first time I tell Terry how skeptical I am about something, but he assures me that there is some truth in it. Not only that he adds… "I wish more people had these frikkin’ bells on their bikes so I didn’t have to spend my day filling in those damn potholes." Fair comment. Next up… well I spent a lot of time out walking… at least an hour and a half. Klara spent the afternoon baking a chocolate cake for Terry’s birthday… the piece I had was real nice. This evening we went to Fox’s pizza place again… gonna miss it for sure when I get back…. pizzahut is not the same. Then it was on to Klara’s weekly alanon meeting before heading home. Oops… I nearly forgot… this evening I bought myself a Du-rag πŸ™‚ I got it because you can’t look like a proper bad-ass biker dude without one… and… well I sometimes get caught without a handkerchief. Which prompts another thought… looks like Shandi is going to have her nose pierced. I don’t know exactly how these things work, but if she doesn’t have a ring or something in when you visit then I wouldn’t stand to one side of her when she sneezes. OK…. having re-read I think I misunderstood when explaining this freedom bell thing to Terry. The evil spirits only create the potholes if they fall off the bike, which happens if the bell is attached and they are driven insane… sooo… in fact for Terry’s sake it would be better if people didn’t buy these here freedom bells. I know they sound cool… hey my initial reaction was "I gotta get me one of those", but we’ve gotta think about those hard working people like Terry looking after the county’s roads. OK?

DAY 13 – the last day in Mississippi. This is not going to be easy. Knowing that I have to leave behind such good people… such good friends… and not sure when I will be able to return is heart wrenching. If that was all… well… life might be easier to cope with… but there is something else. Oh how to write this… well… ya know sometimes people think that they have truths that are gonna shock people. I listen to them and know that nothing compares to the secret I carry close to my heart. However I guess if I write it down here… no one will need to know… and it will remain… forever a secret. Now… in the summer of 1995… seventeen years ago…in a hospital in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, a baby was born. It was not an easy birth and the little baby boy needed a transfusion. A nurse went to get some blood, but due to a mix-up the packet she picked up was not blood. The contents were red that much is true. The contents… the hottest of hot sauce… and in those days not as much was known about the power of the habanero. The effect of the transfusion on the child was dramatic! In fact well beyond dramatic! In the space of a few hours that boy aged thirty years and lost most of the hair off the top of his head in the process. The parents had to be sedated. Over the next few days the doctors decided the best thing for the parents is that they be hypnotized so that they would never ever remember that the whole sorry affair ever happened. Then a priest was called for. The priest said he was sure this was the devil’s work. Now these were not enlightened times and the nurse who had made the mistake knew that the boy would probably be strung up by the neck and so she came up with a plan. In the middle of the night the boy was smuggled out of the hospital and spirited out of the country to spend the rest of life with adopted parents far, far, away. However… there’s more…. far, far, away the child seemed out of place and unhappy… in his new home he stood out…. whilst everybody else said ‘yes’… he always said ‘yeah.’ He took to liking to wear a baseball cap, which other people frowned upon considerably. Eventually his adopted parents told him the truth. Well… it took a little while, but using a new gizmo called a home computer and ‘the internet’ he struck up a dialogue with his grandmother. Something clicked and they got on really well. I think the boy knew that in her heart of hearts she knew the truth. The same seemed to be true of both his sisters, but his mother never seemed to catch on. His parents had not found it easy over the years and their life seemed to be like a stand-off at the OK Coral. The boy felt he must be to blame. Was it repressed memories caused by them being hypnotized that had led to this? It did not help when his grandfather kept telling him whenever anything happened that is was… ‘his fault.’ So that is the story…. my story… yes I am that boy. I believe that Klara, Ana and Shandi certainly have an inkling as to the truth, but I will leave again tomorrow only wishing that I could see the look on Stacie’s face when she hears Roy utter the words….. "Graham… I am your father" (tears are streaming down my face as I type this)…. I cannot write anymore (sob sob sob)… Pa I only wanted one picture of us with Santa Claus… that’s all. Was that too much to ask?

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