My buddy

In honor of the beginning of a new school year, an old post about a former student!

Dook is a senior in our high school.  He’s a character…a good old boy with a big old heart. He’s a hard worker when doing something he likes,  but NOT a big fan of academic endeavors. Dook and I have an interesting relationship.  Most mornings, if I’m out and about when he walks in, he says, Good morning, Mrs. Southern…I love ya. Sometimes he growls at me like a bear.

For the first few weeks, Dook took his time getting into the school groove and got behind in his work. At that point, I started laying down the law. We had a few rocky weeks. Finally one morning I was OVER it.  Dook loves coming to the office and that particular day he stuck his head in my door about 9 a.m. and declared, Mrs. S…I’m signing out at 1:30.  It was time for some tough love, so I turned in my chair and replied, You know what Dook, why don’t you go on and sign out now.  You’re practically a grown man and if you don’t WANT to do what it takes to graduate in May, I apparently can’t make you. 

He went back to class.

Two days later, my door was closed, so he went to my secretary and said, Will you please go tell Mrs. S. that I’m signing out at 1:00?  She came around the back way to tell me and I replied loudly, No he’s not! I heard a growling sound through the door, but he went back to class and we had four really good weeks.

Around noon today, Dook was at my door.  He started with, Mrs. S…you know I’ve been working really hard on my school work and I haven’t signed out a single time lately.  I’m going to leave now.

Dook, I said, I know you’ve been working hard and I am VERY proud of you, but it’s Friday and school is out at 3:00.  What in the world do you have to do between now and 3:00 that is so important?

Well, he countered pointing to his lower left jaw, these teeth have been bothering me when I eat anything hot or cold so I’m going to the dentist.

(Dook is not a good actor…)

Belle:  What time is your appointment?

Dook:  Well (pause) I don’t exactly have an appointment.  I need to call.

Belle:  Come on over here and use my phone. I don’t think you’re going to get a last minute appointment on a Friday afternoon but if you CAN, I won’t give you any grief about leaving.  I wouldn’t want you to suffer with a toothache all weekend. That would be TERRIBLE!!! I’d worry about you ALL weekend long.

(I, on the other hand CAN act…)

Dook:  Well (pause) I don’t have the number…it’s at home.

Belle (getting tired of the “wells”):  For pete’s sake Dook, what’s the dentist’s name…I’ll look up the number.

Dook (putting his hand on his upper RIGHT jaw):  Mrs. S…I know it’s hard to believe (he looks up at the ceiling) but I can’t remember the name of the dentist.  Besides, I need to make sure it’s OK with my mama if I go.

ME:  Come on and call her. She’ll know the name of the dentist. Get the good word from her and we’ll call for that appointment.

Dook: MRS. S….OK…PLEEEZE let me leave early because I’ve REALLY BEEN WORKING HARD!!!

Belle (all shocked like):  Dook, are you telling me that you do NOT have a toothache????

Dook (looking at the floor):  No ma’am. 

ME:  You almost had me there, pal.  Tell you what…let’s split the difference.  You can sign out at 1:30.

He growled.

I growled back, but I was really smiling inside.  Apparently, Dook has forgotten that, at 18, I can’t MAKE him stay if he really takes a mind to leave. 

At 1:30, I was standing in the hall as he blazed by on his way out of the door.

Dook:  Love ya, Mrs. S

ME:  Right back atcha, Dook. 

That boy is going to get a high school diploma on May 31, and I’m going to be the one handing it to him, probably through tears.  The only person in that room who’ll be more proud will be his mama.

Memory lane…tap dancing through life

I’ve been reminiscing my way through the old blog and there are some posts that I am going to share over here on the new blog. I started the old one in 2007 as Lorelai was starting her senior year in high school and Legare his senior year in college. I pushed through pretty well until both were done with school  If you’re an old blog reader, you may occasionally have a sense of deja-vous.

Back in the day, a dance teacher came from a nearby small town to our even smaller town to give lessons every Wednesday afternoon at the American Legion Hut. She had bright red hair piled up on top of her head and taught it all…ballet, jazz, and tap. As I recall, she wore leotards and bright caftans all the time. My friend, Karen (on the far left) and I (next to her) were in a class with two older girls, Melanie and Evelyn. This particular recital would have been at the end of our second year of lessons. Karen’s mom, our beloved Miss Helen, leaned over to my mother during our dance and exclaimed, “LOOK, Melanie and Evelyn don’t know what they’re doing…they’re not in step with our girls AT all!”

You’ve got to love Miss Helen’s faith in Karen and me…Unfortunately, my daddy had his camera at the ready and the evidence is pretty compelling that as tap dancing through life goes, Karen and I were destined to find another way through.


The tranquility room…

Get ready for next week’s BIG reveal of my tranquility room. If you know me then there is no doubt in your mind, I’m certain, that I could benefit from some tranquility on a regular basis.

My tranquility room rug is ready and my tranquility room chair was delivered on Monday. Just a few finishing touches and it’s ON!! Calm…peacefulness…SERENITY NOW!!!!



The baby girl is 26!


Lorelai had a birthday last week.  She turned 26 years old on July 26th and one of her best of the best friends, Amanda, flew down from New Jersey for stay few days.  Sweet Miss Amanda, even though born and raised in NJ, fits the bill as a Daughter of the South. She and Lor met at Clemson and I’ve no doubt that they will be life-long friends. Amanda was visiting with us during their senior year spring break and was with Lorelai the night that she and Butler met.

Senior Year Fun!



And of course, Amanda was one of Lorelai’s bridesmaids…


Lorelai, no longer merely a petite belle, is doing just what we always knew she would…she’s making a difference in this big crazy world of ours. She loves fiercely and cares passionately. She’s only 30 semester hours away from her doctorate in education but says that enough is enough when it comes to school for now.

She is her daddy’s girl for sure!

7-23-2009 9;12;05 PM


She also likes her own way…as evidenced by the photo below from when she and Butler visited Amanda and he was obviously not paying Lor enough attention.


She’s our baby girl. What a precious blessing!





Two weddings in two years…

Daughters of the South love weddings. Sometimes; however, it is possible…ever so slightly possible…that some of us get so caught up in timelines and the process that we get a little crazy when our own children are getting married. Yes. OK.  I got a little crazy. Two weddings, though, in 11 months and three weeks…Lorelai and Butler on June 13, 2015 and Legare and Robert on June 4, 2016. One a Charleton event and the other in the mountains of North Carolina. After two years of thinking of weddings every single day, there is a part of my mind all freed up to consider other things now. I like it.

We’ve just gotten the pictures back from Legare’s wedding and I must share a few.  (We DoftheS mothers  believe that everyone is as excited about our children’s weddings as are we.) Enjoy!

The WestglowR&M-004R&M-192

Butler, Lorelai, Legare, Yours Truly and HankR&M-120

Big brother and little sisterR&M-114

And Lorelai gains another brotherR&M-126R&M-128The two familiesR&M-125

The rain stopped for the ceremonyR&M-244

The pastorsR&M-375

It would appear that I am still trying to give instructions at the receptionR&M-410

Guests in the libraryR&M-596

The view you never tire of…beautiful still at dusk.R&M-597

Three cakes…coconut, chocolate and caramelR&M-428

The Furman friends. R&M-612

There are SO many pictures that I can’t possibly show them all.  More later, maybe.

Well, well, well

Piddling around with some paperwork this afternoon and logged onto the SC Retirement website to check my status. Turns out, I can retire in 9 months.  Less than a year.  Holy Moly.  Now…I don’t plan to retire for some time as I will ONLY be 55 on my birthday in October. Young.  Right?  YOUNG!

Even so…just to know that I COULD…

I’m smiling.  Chuckling really. My eyes may be welling up with tears…

Conferencing in Louisville

Miss me?  My friend and co-worker Ted…he made a few appearances in LoSB back in the day…are at a conference in Louisville.  It’s good to recharge the old professional batteries every now and again.  We drove up instead of flying so that we could stop along the way. The major stop was Asheville.  Malaprop’s Bookstore, Tops for Shoes, and French Broad Chocolates.  I had a chocolate milkshake for lunch. Hank was sad when I called to say I was walking into Tops for Shoes.  He loves that store almost as much as I do. Ted took a walk as he was not interested in shoes.

As we entered Kentucky, we began to talk about the Kentucky Derby…which somehow led to talking about the song, My Old Kentucky Home…which led me to the following YouTube video. Have you EVER heard such awful singing? I laughed and laughed.

Click to Listen to My Old Kentucky Home at the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby. 

You are going to laugh…watch the people who don’t know the words try to pretend that they really do.

Got to go to a session. Happy Weekend!


You may remember from LoSB that we generally vacation down at the Summer House. We’ve just returned home from a very restful trip. Just Hank,  Bowman and me. We ate and slept. Hank and Bowman walked early in the morning while I slept. We read. It was HOT.

One of the first things I do when we get down there for several days is to go into Beaufort to buy books from the fine folks at The Beaufort Bookstore. They have a fabulous section of local/southern authors, which are my favorites.  I particularly enjoy reading Karen White and Mary Kay Andrews in the summer for some reason.  Also Dorothea Benton Frank, although I took a break from her for a while as her books got a bit predictable for me.  I’m happy to say; however,  that I read her new book, All Summer Long, last week and it was very good.  If you live close by give me a call and you can borrow it.

Daughters of the South…UNITE and support your locally owned bookstores if you are blessed enough to have one in your area. IMG_1477

While away, we celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary. I was 21 years old when I walked down the aisle of the Baptist Church that summer Saturday in 1983.  Hank was 24. We were SO young. In the last two years, both of our children have gotten married…Lorelai at 25 and Legare at 30. They are settled and living their dreams. Hank is retired. I will be able to retire in two years, if I feel like it.

Life is changing. There’s been a shift…not saying it’s bad…it’s just different and is going to take some getting used to. I haven’t the slightest idea what I would do as a retiree!  Maybe take longer vacations?  That sounds appealing.

What are you doing this summer?


Have you EVER?

Other than your own puppy or your grand puppy or niece/nephew puppy, have you EVER seen anything so cute?

I did not grow up with pets as Mother was not a fan. Before Bowman came into our lives, I didn’t know it was possible to feel such love for an animal. Hank and I are both absolutely smitten with this sweet fellow. I think he loves us too.

The photo was taken on our way up to the mountains for Legare’s wedding back in June. It was National Donut Day so we just had to stop.  If Krispy Kreme is reading my blog they should consider hiring old Bo Bo here to be their poster boy.