Monday, January 30, 2012


This blog has been a reproduction of newspaper columns published in the Sentinel newspapers for many years. Unfortunately newspapers are failing daily and the Sentinel has fallen too.

Because of this, I will not be posting to this blog except occasionally.

Sorry. Thank you for following. If you want to go back to the original posts, go to

To order the book, send $14.95 to 6156 Southern Rd., Young Harris, GA 30582. It can be purchased at Amazon, but the service is very.....s l o w.

Nancy White Kelly

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Nancy White Kelly

            Being a newspaper columnist for more than thirty years, it is common to be recognized by strangers. Friendly folks often approach me in public places and comment about a particular column or just my writing in general. Positive feedback is one of the pleasures of writing. Occasionally there is a negative like what occurred last week.

            Buddy and I made a trip to our closest Wal-Mart. My list was shorter than his so I finished rather quickly. With my purchased packages in hand, I settled on a small bench next to a lady to wait.

“Honey, how is your daughter?”

            “I don’t have a daughter,” I replied with a half-smile, stretching my neck in hope of seeing Buddy.

            “Is your mother doing better?”

            I couldn’t help but grin. Obviously this dear lady had me mixed up with someone else or hadn’t read my book. My mother passed away several years ago.

            “She is in a better place,” I answered while watching the cashier lines for a glimpse of that husband of mine. It is usually him waiting on me.

            “Can I help?” she asked.

            I turned sideways to look more closely at the lady’s face. Did she know what Buddy looked like, I wondered.

It was then that I noticed that ugly bug-like attachment in her ear. An audible groan immerged from my innards.

Ma Bell’s famous mantra: “Reach out and touch someone” quickly came to mind. So did the old saying, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

This was my second embarrassing incident of phantom talking. My last episode of responding to someone on a cell phone was in a bathroom stall.

Buddy appeared out of nowhere and asked how long I had been waiting. I took a good look at both ears before replying. It was a silly exercise. Neither Buddy nor I own a blue tooth…or any other color ear piece. My red face is explanation enough.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Nancy White Kelly

Christmas, 2011, check. New Year’s Eve, 2011, check. New Year, 2012, in progress.

Buddy and I know we are getting old by the way we welcome each new year. When we first married and were very much younger, New Year’s Eve was a time to count the hours down. Most times we did it in church by eating and fellowshipping until near mid-night and then moved to the auditorium to pray in the next year. We don’t do that anymore and miss it. That might be the only event that would draw us from our comfortable beds. I know the often expressed reasons from our generation. “We don’t drive at night. “or “Too many drunks on the road.” For sure, we don’t have to be in church to pray, but it was nice to be together with friends of one accord.

 I keep reading and hearing that 2012 is to be a cataclysmic year. With the 2012 phenomenon spreading across the globe, each day brings a steady stream of emails, postings, books and movies, all containing at least an hint of negativity.

I am not a pessimist. Maybe the world will end as we know it. If so, there is another world and, if prepared, a much better one. That’s not a terrible scenario. If I am hinting at religious faith, I don’t mean too. Let me shout it. There is life after death. All that is within me clings to that belief.

Beetles fans will remember that George Harrison sung a song from his album, ‘All things Must Pass” entitled “What is Life?” As a single, it hit the top 10 immediately. The back side of that record was, “My Sweet Lord.” Surprised?

What will 2012 bring? Life? Yes, at least for us. Buddy and I are expecting our next grandchild in late spring. Death? Maybe. We have many friends and relatives who are aged or seriously ill.

No doubt there will be happenings this new year that are awe-inspiring, miraculous, tragic and sublime. Humans through-out history have lived and died through similar highs and lows. The year 2012 could be no less or no more than other year. When 2013 arrives, we will have travelled a road that was the start or dead-end for many.

James 4:14 asks and then answers, "For what is your life? It is even as a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanishes away"

So how do we manage today? Live in the moment, grateful for any opportunity to do good before our “poof.”

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Nancy White Kelly
It would have been a good week if Buddy didn’t have a cold and we didn’t have this peculiar smell in our house. Buddy is like many husbands in that when he is sick he behaves worse than a toddler. He is just plain grumpy and whiney. I have to put up with him for seven days while he blows and blows, coughs and coughs, and clears his throat with the most annoying volume.
Admittedly, I would not make a good nurse as I am unsympathetic to complainers. Good grief! It is only a cold. It’s not terminal. Get a life.
I don’t care for a lot of doting when I am sick so what kind of man did I marry? The most sympathetic husband in the world who can’t do enough for me no matter how minor the illness. If I have a rash, he dabs it with medicine three times a day. If my temperature is even a smidgen above 98.6, he brings me wet, cold rags, fixes canned chicken soup for breakfast and insists I see a doctor. Not a general practitioner. It needs to be a pulmonary specialist.
Buddy and I are living testimony to the fact that opposites attract. He is a Mississippi country boy and I am a highly educated Jill of all trades. He brags about being the only boy in fifth grade who had a driver’s license. At last count, I held six licenses of some type.
Thankfully we share a sense of humor though I am Abbott and he is Costello. You younger readers would better understand the analogy with living people like Jim Carey and Betty White.
Back to the Buddy and that smell. For once I found one thing about his cold for which to be grateful. He didn’t seem to notice that obnoxious smell.
This strange odor permeated our house for days. I burned candles, opened doors, dug into cabinets and drawers, and examined all closets trying to locate the source of that odd smell.
When I stubbed my big toe my eyes caught something peculiar in the floor vent. How on earth did a piece of old onion get in the bedroom vent? I threw it in the garbage and glanced at the vent in the kitchen. Then in the den. Then in the bathroom. Every one of those metal vents had a piece of raw onion forced into it.
I immediately knew the real culprit: Buddy the Gullible.
A few weeks ago he read me an Internet article about the therapeutic value of onions. One variance of the theory says that if you cut off both ends of an onion and put it in a jar next to a sick person, the onion would turn black by drawing bacteria and viruses from the air.
It is true that in 1919, 40 million people died from a flu epidemic. Supposedly a doctor came upon a farmer whose household was entirely healthy. The difference was that the wife had placed a peeled onion in a dish in every room. The doctor placed the onion under a microscope and found the flu virus in the onion which allegedly absorbed the bacteria.
A more recent story told about an Arizona hairdresser who, in the midst of a flu epidemic, hung raw onion around her shop. None of her staff got sick.
Buddy knew I would never let raw onion sit around the house. What would the neighbors think? I checked it out on Snopes, the Internet verifier of such tales that go viral. You can read the lengthy response too if you want to know even more.
The Snopes article ends with this pontifical statement: “If you choose to place a few onions around your home, the downside would be that your nearest and dearest will regard you as somewhat eccentric.”
Need I say more?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Journal of a Living Lady #410
Nancy White Kelly

Thanksgiving has come and gone. Our dinner was wonderful. Last year I cooked. This year Charlie’s in-laws did.

Tori’s parents retired last year and moved close-by. We have become good friends so our holidays have evolved into clan gatherings.

Charlie’s wife, Tori, is expecting again, a secret I promised to keep until confirmed. They have now heard that miraculous tick-tock and are hoping for a girl this time. They have two boys, Micah, 6, and Noah, 4.

Tori has had significant morning sickness, more like 24/7, and is porting an I.V. of anti-nausea medication to combat the serious up-chucking. She has already spent two stays in the hospital. Hopefully all will clear up soon and the middle trimester of the pregnancy will be much better for her than the first.

Tori did make it for Thanksgiving dinner which was a fun affair for us all. Well, not exactly for me. I woke up with excruciating pain in my back and right hip. As long as I laid flat, I was fine. The effort of getting on my feet was torturous. What could I have done in my sleep on a rainy night? Nothing I could think of.

Stubbornly, I insisted on being a part of Thanksgiving dinner, one of the highlights of our year. I paid a price. Getting in and out of the car was torment.

The Living Lady tried not to spoil the teasing and bantering that accompanies such family gatherings, but nobody could ignore the two elephants in the room: Tori with her I.V. bag and my piercing groan and grimace when I stood.

Buddy and I returned home late in the afternoon. I headed straight for the bed. Minutes later Buddy appeared in the bedroom doorway. He was pale, sweaty and in obvious pain, quite contrary to his comedic, hypochondriac personality.

He explained that after moving the car under the carport, a feisty neighbor dog charged at him. Buddy picked up a small rock and slung it toward the dog in an attempt to send him home. Pain raced through his right shoulder. He said he almost passed out.

Just when Buddy needed me, I could be of no help. My back pain was screaming for attention too. Two married senior citizens, painfully incapacitated on the same day is no small matter. Growing old is not for sissies.

Being a holiday week-end, our regular physicians were enjoying their families. We doctored ourselves with pills from the medicine cabinet. We both moaned through the night, occasionally laughing at the irony.

Today we still hurt, but maybe a tad less than on Thanksgiving Day. Life goes on. No matter what, we still have much to give thanks for which reminds me of the time I was teaching kindergarten many years ago.

I asked the five-year-olds to draw a picture of what they were thankful for. I walked around the tables, praising each of the pictures. Luke’s drawing was different. His turkey had a huge black X heavily scribbled on the turkey’s beautifully colored wings.

My curiosity took hold. “Tell me about your picture, Luke. What are you thankful for?”

The boy looked at me in disbelief. How could his teacher be so ignorant of its meaning?

“Mrs. Kelly, I am thankful that I am NOT a turkey.”

Me, too, Luke.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Journal of a Living Lady #409

Nancy White Kelly

There is a Ginny Winder in our front yard. Buddy built it recently for our grandkids. Unless you were born in the yon, pre-computer days, you probably haven’t a clue as to what a Ginny is.

Buddy and I have been amazed at the number of people who have pull into our driveway and inquired about our Ginny, modified slightly with a plastic chairs on each end. The original had sticks for grip handles.

This outdoor toy was a common yard adornment in our day, just like a hanging tire or rope swing. My dad frequently made us toys that took knee, arm, or leg power to propel. No batteries were needed. That was a good thing since we could not have afforded them anyway.

All it takes to make a Ginny is a sturdy tree stump and a long piece of lumber. Similar to a see-saw, children sit on opposite ends of the board. A third person controls its horizontal swirl with a repeating shoves. When he tires of pushing, one of the riders dismounts and trades places. We burned a lot of energy and calories while having fun.

I remember other childhood activities like marbles, hop-scotch, and Red Rover. However, not all my time was spent playing. I had chores.

As the only girl, I got clothesline duty which, according to my mother and grandmother, had to be done a certain way. The rules for our three clothes lines were unwritten, but indisputable.

Clothes were to be hung in a certain order. All the white were hung first. Shirts were hung by the tails. In order to hide our undies from the busybodies and peeping Toms, the towels and sheets were put on the outside lines.

Sub-zero winter didn’t matter. Clothes still had to be hung outside where they would quickly freeze dry. Many a wintery day I brought in clothes that were as stiff as the proverbial board.

For efficiency, the clothes were strung along so that items did not need two pins. The second pin shared the edge of the next item on the line.

An email friend sent a poem last week that stirred my nostalgia for clothes lines. Enjoy.

A clothesline was a news forecast
To neighbors passing by,
There were no secrets you could keep
When clothes were hung to dry.
It also was a friendly link
For neighbors always knew,
If company had stopped on by
To spend a night or two.
For then you'd see the "fancy sheets"
And towels upon the line;
You'd see the "company table cloths"
With intricate designs.
The line announced a baby's birth
From folks who lived inside -
As brand new infant clothes were hung,
So carefully with pride!
The ages of the children could
So readily be known
By watching how the sizes changed,
You'd know how much they'd grown!
It also told when illness struck,
As extra sheets were hung;
Then nightclothes, and a bathrobe, too,
Haphazardly were strung.
It also said, "Gone on vacation now"
When lines hung limp and bare.
It told, "We're back!" when full lines sagged,
with not an inch to spare!
New folks in town were scorned upon
If wash was dingy and gray,
As neighbors carefully raised their brows,
And looked the other way.
But clotheslines now are of the past,
For dryers make work much less.
Now what goes on inside a home
Is anybody's guess!

Not only are the clothes lines gone from our lives. Many of our neighbors have passed too. They went to their graves without ever knowing about Facebook, blogs and fancy phones.

Some would argue that these are the best of days with all our electronic gizmos. Not me. I would like to go back to the days of clotheslines and Ginny Winders.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Journal of a Living Lady #408

Nancy White Kelly

Buddy and I have recently returned from visiting our siblings. All live in the Memphis area. I have three brothers, one older, two younger, and a sister who was born the spring I graduated from high school. Buddy has an older brother and a sister. Two of my brothers are widowers and among the jobless. Three of our brothers are not in good health.

During the long drive, Buddy and I talked about bucket lists, those things you would like to accomplish before you “kick the bucket.”

The term “bucket list” was popularized by a 2008 movie with that name. It was a comedic drama about two terminally ill men who go on a world-wide trip with a wish list of things they wanted to do before they died.

I can identify. Probably you can also. If I were to die today, I have no regrets…a few wishes maybe, but nothing more. I have lived longer and better than I deserve.
There are some things I’d like to do for the first time and a few experiences I’d like to do again.

On this trip home, Charles Lester and I took a leisurely horse ride on his farm, just the two of us. We are four years apart in age and share memories of an impoverished, yet rich childhood.

I am glad there wasn’t a movie camera around when Charles struggled to heave me onto the saddle. My old knees don’t bend like they used to. We rode off into the sunset, laughing and talking about old times. The saddle slid sideways and I spent some of the time riding at a 45 degree angle.

Charles Lester and I are the oldest of the five siblings. I am labeled as the smartest. He is correctly labeled as the craziest.

Our parents never knew about the time he took me on a midnight ride when we were teenagers, not on horses, but on a high-powered motorcycle that belonged to his friend. I hung on for dear life as he sped the rainy streets. Helmets? No. I didn’t even have on shoes.

It took a while for me to forgive him for waking me up one night with a realistic, wiggly rubber snake the size of a python. He chased me throughout the house and out the back door. Fourteen-year-olds don’t usually have heart attacks, but I think I had one then.

I probably had another one the moon-lit night Charles drug me along on a frog gigging adventure through dark Mississippi swamps full of wiggly things that don’t croak.

None of the above is on my bucket list. Instead, they are on my unforgettable “never to do again” list.

Most folks, who have bucket lists either mentally or literally, would divide their unfinished dreams into categories. I would have one for travel. It would be nice to return to Bermuda where Buddy and I own property.

When we honeymooned there in 1965, we buried a long-necked coke bottle in the shifting sand. We have often wondered if it stayed on the island or drifted to Neverland. If you find such a bottle with a note pledging ever-lasting love, please return it to the senders.