TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Pimping My Ride

 

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This month is the five anniversary of my receiving my “new to me” car. Believe me, I have enjoyed every second I’m in that car! My other car was a 1999 Mercury Sable LS with 176,000 miles on it, no air conditioning, and an oil leak causing me to feed it a steady diet of high mileage oil once a week.  When I got my 2006 Kia Sportage, it only had 67,000 miles on it. Best of all, for someone allergic to the sun and high humidity of east Tennessee, it had AIR CONDITIONING! In fact the air conditioning was so cold I couldn’t actually even run it full blast which was a wonderful problem to have…;~)

Riding in my car this morning made me think about all the different cars we had when I was growing up. My father never made a lot of money from the different jobs he had over the years so I never knew what car the two adults and four kids in my family would be climbing into next.

The first car I remember riding in actually belonged to my father’s mother. She died when I was about three years old, but I can still remember riding in her old black rounded-top truck to the grocery store. That thing rattled like bones in a graveyard but it offered freedom from home and a chance to maybe get a piece of candy at the end of the ride.

My sister tells me we had a blue and white Bel Air when I was a toddler. I remember it as a white car but maybe I just wasn’t tall enough to see the blue on it? Besides, it was more about the ride back then than the color of the transportation so she could have told me it was made out of pure gold and I probably would have believed her!

Then there was the tan Chevy Nova we took on our trips to visit my aunt and uncle in Oklahoma every summer. If I close my eyes I can see my father in the front seat, cigarette dangling off two fingers and dropping ashes into the ashtray on the dashboard. My mother sitting next to him with one of us between them. She liked to hang one foot out the window like a dog hangs out to enjoy the ride. That left the other three kids to pile into the back seat. I was the youngest so I would always have to sit in the middle. It wasn’t too bad…especially since it left me a soft shoulder to sleep against on the long ride from the swamps of Louisiana to the hills of Oklahoma.

That Nova was still in our family when my parents were involved in a serious accident while coming back from grocery shopping in another town. My father was going through an intersection when unfortunately they were hit on the passenger side by oncoming traffic. They returned home hours later with one side of our car crushed in and my mother nursing four broken ribs.

The last car we had while I was growing up was a green Chevy Nova, replacing the tan one that really couldn’t be driven any more. By this time my father was working on an offshore oil rig as a cook and that car spent many weeks at a time sitting at a dock just waiting for my father to return to land. When my father died three years after my mother the summer I turned 24, I inherited the green bomb as I was the only one in the family without my own transportation.

I kept that car for as long as I could. It carried me faithfully into my first serious relationship and back out again as well as across the miles to my new home in another state. It brought with it memories of my parents and a childhood I left behind as I stepped into adulthood and the next phase of my life.

Yeah, cars have carried me safely through different milestones in my life and I’m sure my Kia is up to the challenge of carrying on the tradition…

What was YOUR first car?

 

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donna

International best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy), is now available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: The Sounds of Home

 

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I’m a very visual person so I was quite surprised by the list I was able to come up with when working on this week’s bayou tale. Some of the sounds on my list I still hear today while others were only heard during my childhood and will live forever in the corners of my mind.

 

1. BONANZA THEME SONG…

 

My mother loved westerns. I  mean REALLY loved westerns. So I knew every week when Little Joe, Hoss, Adam, and Ben Cartwright was on the television I would be humming that theme song for days afterwards.

 

2. GRAND OLD OPRY music…

 

My mother also loved country music. I don’t mean the contemporary artists of today but ones like Buck Owens, Roy Clark, Minnie Pearl, Grandpa Jones…you get the idea. Why I didn’t even realize there WAS anything other than the Grand Old Opry style of music until I was way into my teens.

 

3. ACCORDIONS & FIDDLES…

 

My father was extremely proud of his Cajun heritage so if I wasn’t listening to old country artists, I was listening to what people these days call Zydeco music. My sister doesn’t care for it much but I LOVE the sound of accordions and fiddles when I’ve got the time to listen.

 

4.  CICADAS, GRASSHOPPERS & CRICKETS…

 

Summer nights on the bayou would be filled with those sounds…sometimes loud enough to drown out conversations but mostly more like white noise in the background of my childhood. I even had a funeral service for a grasshopper once but that’s a story for another time.

 

5. WINDOW FANS…

 

This sound is probably one of my favorites because Janet and I would play a game all summer long with one particular fan at our house. There was no such thing as central air conditioning back then so if you didn’t want to die from the sweltering heat and humidity, you had fans all around the house. One of us would stand in front of the fan on the inside of the house and the other would be outside. Just like the distorted voices you could hear through those childhood tin can telephones, my sister and I would take turns shouting into the fan blades from the outside and then fall into giggle fits as the rippling, distorted voice tumbled into the house from the whirling blades. You can do the same thing with a oscillating floor fan but there was danger involved in our game because there was no protective covering on the back of the fan so you never wanted to get too close to those blades.

 

6. TRAFFIC FROM THE HIGHWAY…

 

When my grandmother was still alive, I would sometimes visit her house that sat next to one of the two main roads leading through our little town. At night I would lie with the bedroom windows open and listen to the sound of traffic swooshing past Grandma’s house. I would wonder what faraway places all those people were traveling to and eventually be lulled to sleep by the big rigs passing by.

 

7. DINNER BELLS…

 

I grew up during a time of sitting on front porches on lazy summer days, knowing your neighbors by their first name, not having to lock your front door at night, and realizing when Mother sounded that dinner bell you had about 5 minutes or less to drop whatever you were doing and get home. She didn’t have to shout and beware the consequences for ignoring it but there was still a comfort in hearing the sound of that bell.

If I think real hard this list could continue to grow with the sounds echoing from my distant childhood. Some of the sounds are not ones I would care to hear again but we all have the freedom to choose how our past will be remembered. I choose to cherish the good sounds of my youth and let those memories shine a compassionate light on the darker days. After all, what kind of writer would I be if I can’t spin a positive tale for my readers?

 

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LUNADAR: Homeward Bound

Ruler by day, a reluctant pirate by night, 18-year-old Princess Ariana fights for her subjects in the waterfall city of LUNADAR. In a kingdom surrounded by fairies and mermaids, and ravaged by deadly Drundles, only a chosen few are trusted to guard her daughter, Candra, as the secret heir to the throne. But it only takes one ill-fated meeting for Ariana to suddenly be plunged into an escalating web of secrets found in her father’s journal, a deadly kidnapping, and an ever-weakening resolve to turn her back on the call of the merman’s song. With Ariana’s world falling apart and the future of LUNADAR at stake, how will she bring her father’s murderer to justice and fulfill a deathbed promise to protect Lunadar’s legacy?

$16.99

 

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donna

 

International best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy), is now available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers.