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Monday, May 31, 2010

Mom's Side of the Mountain

Mom said she was tired of her own excuse that she didn’t have any time. Truth be told, she really hasn’t had any lately. But she always said if you want something done, ask a busy person. So Mom told herself, “If you can’t find time, make time.” And with that, she issued herself a dare.

For her, it was just as bold and daring as those bucket list things in life that require helmets, safety vests and waivers. She would spend a weekend completely alone, in her cousin’s mountain cabin, where there is no cell signal, no internet, no cable or other forms of communication, unless you go looking. She would have no other choice but be enveloped in complete quiet time and choose to spend it reading, writing or just being still.

With Shuga’s support, telling her he was proud of her, Mom left Macon in the rear view mirror for the mountains of North Carolina.

The Mini Cooper loved every turn as she climbed the mountain to where the cabin was nestled, her heart racing with every shrinking cell bar. When she finally caught site of its tin roof and welcoming screen door, all signal was lost. The solo mountain sojourn had officially begun.

Without a doubt the air was lighter the minute she stepped out of her car. The birds were louder than she remembered, and the cabin with all the care her cousin had invested, never looked so precious with its blooming flowers and cozy interior, decorated with folk art, vintage Macon postcards and music mementoes of Capricorn artists gone by.

Despite the instant serenity, Mom spent her first day antsy, as predicted. She wasn’t sure how to handle the quiet. She had to make herself not to turn on any music until it was at least dark outside. She read, she napped and she almost drove back to Macon at least once when she started missing Shuga and us mutts so bad. But she bucked up and went to bed early with the notion that tomorrow would be a new, full day, and she slept well knowing the baseball bat Texas T loaned her was by her side.

Life was different the next day. She opened the windows to the sounds of birds, got the tea kettle going and decided that was all the noise she needed. With the cool mountain air, she kept her long sleeves on, the tea always hot and a blanket over her lap when she read on the porch. Meals consisted of goat cheese, prosciutto and green onions and loved it. She brought along her Dolly Parton box set, but soon found she didn’t need it. Hours were spent writing beside the window, the breeze in the trees and the occasional rain shower keeping her mind focused and inspired.

Mom also prayed, but more than anything, she tried to listen. For once in a long time, her world was quiet and all she had to do was look at the view to feel the Kingdom of God before her.

While Mom was on the mountain, she read Erskine Caldwell’s God’s Little Acre. A friend of her Uncle Phil’s recommended it to her. Ironically, the main character is named Ty Ty Walden.

Mom finished the book on her last day at the cabin, on the porch as the rain was beating down.

“When you get God in your heart, you have a feeling that living is worth striving for night and day. I ain’t talking about the God you hear about in the churches, I’m talking about the God inside of a body. I’ve got the greatest feeling for Him, because He helps me to live. That’s why I set aside God’s little acre out there on the farm when I was just a young man starting in. I like to have something around me that I can go to and stand on and feel God in . . . All you boys seem to think about is the things you can see and touch – that ain’t living. It’s the things you can feel inside of you – that’s what living is made for.” - Ty Ty Walden

Friday, May 28, 2010

When a Man Loves a Woman

Especially his daughter . . . He'll trade the world, spend his very last dime and give her everything he has. Thank you, Mom's Pop Walden, for marking another year as a wonderful father. We're a little late with the birthday wish, but after 67 years . . . who's counting?

Pictured is recent birthday (May 23) boy Alan Walden with Jack Chisom and the ultimate balladeer Percy Sledge, who remains romancing couples everywhere as he tours today. The picture was taken the week "When a Man Loves a Woman" reached number one in Billboard. It was also taken at a party where Mom's Pop met a then-unknown guitarist named Jimi Hendrix and could have mistaken him for Johnny Jenkins!

There's a whole lot of living and legends wrapped up in those 67 years. Candy Lou loves and celebrates you!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Portraits of Former Pound Puppies

Thanks to photographer Chris Smith for these great "headshots" of me Candy Lou and my new little brother Boz Waggs. Just call us poster children for "Why would you ever want to shop when you can adopt from your local shelter?"

By the way, in case you can't tell, we've got new summer hair cuts!

Make tails wag everywhere by being committed to adopting and rescuing all of your pets. We sure are glad Mom and Shuga D always have and always will.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sister Love, East to West

It's been so crazy in Candy's Land catching up from Mom and Shuga D's first real deal, week-long spring vacation, that we haven't had time to recap it. Although old news now, it's been far from forgettable. From visiting her sister Georgie Girl and her drummer man Scott in Hollywood to driving through the desert to Tucson for visiting his sister Brooke and main man Steve with their beautiful toddler and newborn brood, Jackson James and Olive Jean, here are just a few of the highlights:

- The moment Mom saw her sister . . . and hugged her until they weren't the only ones in the Pig and Whistle with tears in their eyes. Georgie Girl has been an L.A. Woman for over a year now, and she looks more beautiful, authentic and TALLER than ever.

- Shuga D taking the crew to a L.A. Dodgers game against Arizona's Diamondbacks. Mom not only agreed to go to a sporting event, but she stepped out of her comfort zone so much so that she lost a few moments in outer space on Hollywood Boulevard.

- Hugging the neck of Macon's own crooner Mark Brooker and his beautiful Italian lady friend after meeting up at the place of 80's rock legends, the Rainbow Room.

- The strike at Lucky Strike, first try and several "Roy Rogers" drinks later while bowling with Shuga.

- The infamous $25 salad among the famous (or wannabe famous), poolside at the Roosevelt Hotel, Mom and Shuga's temporary home-away-from-home. Such salad is now a souvenir pictured here.

- Afroman's curse-filled, star-studded celebrity tour that made Mom blush and Shuga say, "The Southern gentleman in me isn't so sure about this."

- Pinkberry. Pinkberry. Pinkberry.

- Mom dipping her toe into the chilly Pacific ocean and soaking up the sites and sounds of the stunning cliffs of Malibu with Shuga, Georgie Girl and Drummer Man Scott.

- The Jewish waitress at Greenblatt's Deli who cursed when she burned herself and harkened the New Testament with a few choice words. And then there was the best bagel and lox (Mom's absolute food favorite!) ever had.

- Sitting amongst her Walden kin - sister and cousins in their historic deco home nestled in the hills above Hollywood. The West Coast seems to be treating the younger sibs of Waldens well.

- The breath-taking art and artistic view from the top of the Getty Museum that got Mom and Shuga behind schedule and stuck in L.A.'s Friday rush hour . . . for three hours.

- Windmills on the desert drive just before the sun went down and the lights of Palm Springs came on

- Figuring out the Prius rental car in Phoenix, then figuring how much money and little carbon footprint they really did save!

- Jackson James anticipating their arrival by waiting in the front yard

- Meeting, holding and cuddling newborn Olive Jean for the very first time

- Eating an orange, straight off a backyard orange tree

- Tucson's version of Bragg Jam . . . and Mom and Shuga taking notes!

- Mom's re-discovery of the desert's beauty, a decade since her last trip and the first time with the man of her dreams.

- The Sonoran hotdog: bacon, mayo, peppers, beans and bottomless bun. No need to say more.

- Fresh tableside (in their case, barside) salsa-making right before their eyes. More tomatillos, please.

- Seeing Shuga and his sister share that same wonderful Weatherford smile . . .

And that is just a start of Mom and Shuga's recapped adventure in the wild, wild west. The rest, as they say, is meant for the family scrapbook. Except for the poolside salad.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Funny Stuff My Dad Says

Many know that Mom's Pop is a retiree of the rock and roll industry and these days spends time with life in the slow boat in Bolingbroke. Instead of managing Southern Rockers and songs like "Freebird," he's happy tending to his free-ranging chickens.

There is no argument against farm-fresh, organic eggs. Mom loves it when her Pop passes her along a dozen, straight out from under his precious hens. But today Mom got more than she bargained for when cracking a few to poach . . . We'll spare you the details and keep the picture cute.

And the email to follow definitely made it funny:

Subject: No Extra Charge for the Meat!!

Sometimes a hen will push an egg down under the straw and it surfaces later on. After giving it some though,t I remembered I got two eggs that I thought had been laid on the ground.... Anyway, I won't charge you any extra........Be glad it had a baby and not just rotten.... Did you open it into a dish with the others? I have always told every one to use two dishes so if you get a bad one it will not go into the " keep " dish...... Love, Dad


Monday, May 10, 2010

Coming Soon to Candy's Land . . .

The return of me and Mom! Until then, happy belated Mother's Day! Pictured is Mom with me and all of my adopted brother and sister mutts - Bowen, Miss Kitty, Boz Waggs, me (Candy Lou) and Tybee. Thanks to photographer Ken Krakow and Amy for the very patient portrait.