Monday, April 30, 2012

Who’s a Klutz?

So, people have asked me when I realized I was such a klutz.  It always makes me laugh now, but at first, I had to stop and think.  The conclusion I came to was that I believe I was born this way.  My dearly beloved, my Prince Charming, of over forty years, has always said he thinks I am just clumsy because my vision isn't all that great.  I used to heartily agree with him, because, after all!  That is really a great excuse!  In my heart of hearts, I know the truth.
It started at birth.  I have always believed that I was so homely that Dr. Gamse, in confusion, smacked the wrong end. Dr. Gamse would play an important role in my life until I was eleven, when we left Miami.  I think he was probably not sad to see the last of me, which really!  I mean...he DID earn a whole lot of money off of me, so he should have been heartbroken to see us go! 

The honest truth is just first memory is of an accident.  My family (my mother’s side) was having a family get together in our first little house, and my cousins, my sister and I were in our bedroom.  My oldest cousin, Dooley, decided it would be great fun to bounce on the beds.  This was a strictly forbidden action in our home, but the utter delight of doing the forbidden struck us as a really great idea.  After all, it wasn't our idea!  If there was any trouble to be had, Dooley would be the one to go down for it!  There was just one itsy bitsy little problem.  That would be...ME!  I was itsy bitsy, Dooley was a good bit bigger and he bounced me really hard.  I flew up and I flew down... right slam bang into a brick window sill.  It put a nice size hole in my head at the hairline.  So, it was off to the doctor to get my head sewed up.  Those were my very first stitches (heavy sigh right here), but certainly not the last.  Honestly, if my mama had been a baby book type person, like I was, all the "firsts" would probably have come across looking like child abuse...I being the abused child, abused by mine own true self!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Odds and Ends

You know, even if you go North to South or East to West in the States, there are going to be major differences in people, lifestyle, going to another country was the same thing.
When we got here, we learned that the customary greeting is what the French call "la bise."
Now, la bise custom changes with where you live.  In the Paris area, where we started out, it was 4 times, alternating cheeks twice.  This could wear you out on a Sunday morning with, say, 80 or more people in church.  That is minimum 640 kisses, because you do it when you say good-bye, too!  Think about it! 

In the Paris area, men don't really do the bise with other men except for family.  So when we moved to northern France, on the Belgian border, imagine Don's shock the first Sunday when our first guy attendee, gave the bise to him!  Thankfully, up here it is maximum of 2, one on each cheek!  From then on, when Don saw a guy coming, his hand shot out really know, the old "a handshake is better than a kiss!"

When you are invited to dinner, it is customary to bring flowers or wine; champagne, if it is a celebration or a business dinner.  We don't drink, so on occasion this caused some funny things!  We were dealing with a man, trying to buy his building for our church, so we invited him over for a Mexican dinner.  In those days, you couldn't find Mexican stuff like Old El it was all homemade!  Anyway, he showed up with 2 bottles of expensive champagne.  We explained that we didn't drink and he was okay with that and as he was leaving, we tried to give the champagne back.  It was very expensive champagne!  He refused and said to keep it as a souvenir.  I didn't know what to do with it, so I shoved it in the back of our under the stairs storage closet.  Spring cleaning time rolled around, and there was that champagne!  So I said to myself, "Barbecue season is here!  Maybe this would be good to use on the meat!"  Not knowing a thing about alcohol, or its containers, I nearly blew my hand off when I finally wangled that cork out of the bottle!  Champagne spewed everywhere!  It was dripping from the ceiling and running down the walls.  When we finally got the mess cleaned up, I set to barbecuing, and it was really good!  Smoked that meat and made it tender and tasty! 

There is more to that story, but will save it for another day!  May God bless you all!  Have a great Lord's day!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Laughable Language Oopsies

We knew very little French when we arrived, so even shopping was an experience.  A few weeks after we arrived, we had promised the little ones a pastry treat for breakfast on Sunday.  Saturday we scoped out the delectables in the boulangerie/patisserie shop catty corner to our house.  Lyndee and I were going to share a chocolate éclair and Don and Cris were going to share a jam filled pastry.  We had scraped together enough loose change to afford this little treat and we were all excited.  Don came in and 2 little shining faces were smiling as they waited at the table.  I cut the pastries.  No surprise with the éclair, but the one Don had picked looked…strange!  He took a big bite expecting sweetness and got something quite different.  I asked him what he had gotten.  He said he’d gotten the one that said, “Jambon!”  Bon means good, and he had assumed that since the word for jelly was very similar, so must the word jam be similar.  Thus he assumed it meant good jam!  Jambon is the word for HAM, though we hadn’t known that.  He had gotten some kind of minced ham thing.  He looked so disappointed, and we knew Cris would be disappointed, so I let the 3 of them share the chocolate éclair.  The upside is, our vocabulary increased to include the word ham.

Later, we had obtained a very old, very tempermental Volkswagon van.  It only had the driver and front passenger seats.  We literally packed the people in every Sunday, usually making 3 trips to get everyone there.  The rest of the time was another story.  We had to be careful with abrupt halts, because the 2 older children would go rolling, and Shan’s little carrier would come sliding all the way to the front.  Looking back, I know God was watching over us in an especial way!  So many dreadful things could have happened, but didn't!

At that time, there was a billboard clothing ad with a naked (backview) family ; dad, mom, and small child.  It was everywhere you looked.  One day as Don gently slid to a stop at a traffic light, the billboard was directly in front of us.  We heard this heavy sigh come from 4 year old Lyndee as she said, “There they are again, Crissy!  The 3 bears!  Mama bear, Papa bear and baby bear!”  We both nearly strangled trying not to laugh out loud!  I have wondered ever since what other kids think when they hear that story!

Another time, Lyndee was just convinced her friends mom, who was in her late 30's was going to run a race with another neighborhood mom.  I asked her why.  She said she had heard them say, "Nous allons faire les courses!"  That actually means shopping, but course is also the word for a race.  I tried to explain it to her that that phrase meant shopping, and to faire une course was a race!  She puzzled over it for a second and then shot back, "Oh well, they'll shop first and race later!"  I think it might have been funny to really see those 2 women tearing off down the road trying to outrun each other!  But, non!

Eventually, we got it all down, and now we have difficulties in English!  Can't win!  Hahahaha!

Have a great weekend!  Hope it is one shared with He who loves you best!

Friday, April 27, 2012



When we arrived in France, Lyndee and Cris were very young.  Cris wasn't yet 2 and Lyndee had just turned 3 a few months before.  They were actually very good children, but as I said, we only brought one toy each and our container took way longer than expected.  There was no money to spare with which to buy toys.  Plus, as we didn't own a car, even getting someplace to buy a toy was a problem.  Around the corner from our house was a Librairie.  That is NOT a library, but a small shop that sells paper goods, school supplies, magazines, etc.  They also sold a few small games.

During deputation someone had taught Don to play a French game called Mille Bourne.  He thought he remembered how to play it, but...  Of course, the rules were in French, which neither of us understood enough to figure out.  It is a sort of complicated game!  It had all these mile number cards (you were travelling a distance to get there first) and then there were penalty cards, of which one was a turtle, and there were bonus cards, of which one was a rabbit.  Of course the game was way to complicated for toddlers, so we played "The Rabbit" game.  We would draw cards from the little draw/discard tray. If you got the turtle you lost, but if you got the rabbit you won!  It was a hit!  The kids loved it.  We played the rabbit game until I thought I would never want to see those cards again!
Young as they were, they had inherited their parents competitive natures, and one day, things got a bit hot between them.  They started sticking their tongues out and making ugly faces at each other, which, of course was not acceptable behavior.  They were forbidden to do it anymore under penalty of punishment.  Later that day, they were still showing signs of being angry with each other, but there were no mean faces or tongues sticking out. 

We were at the dinner table that evening and all of a sudden they both had their faces sideways to each other, each with a protruding cheek.  The protrusions were wagging violently.  Don and I looked at them, wondering what ailed them.  Then we figured it out!  They couldn't stick their tongues OUT, so they were sticking them out at each other inside their cheeks!  It gave a different meaning to that old expression "tongue in cheek!" 

Have a good day, ya'll!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

So French life begins!

I mentioned that the day we arrived, we were in for some big surprises.  Things were not as modern as we expected.  After the nerve wracking ride to our little house in Bry-sur-Marne, Lyndee and I were about desperate to find the little girls room.  When we walked in the door of the house, I turned to Paul and asked him where the bathroom was.  By now Lyndee was dancing a jig and I wanted to dance one but being an adult...
Paul looked at us oddly, and told us the bathroom was upstairs.  So we made our way up there, and found the bathroom.  Oddly, there was a very heavy table sitting over the only thing that resembled a toilet.  I was too embarrassed to ask for help, so I started tugging and pulling until that table was practically leaning into the high, claw-footed bathtub.  As I looked down at that "toilet", I truly had to fight the feeling of fainting.  It had faucets, and a drain!  My mind screamed out, "This just isn't going to work!  I can't deal with this kind of toilet!  I felt like crying, but sat my little girl down on it and when she was done, I turned on the faucets.  Still reeling from the shock, I took her back downstairs and whispered to Don what I thought about that toilet.  When that word came out a bit louder than I had planned, Paul piped up.  "You wanted the toilet?  It is right there behind you!" Embarrassment and relief swept over me, and I opened the desired door. 2nd shock!  The toilet tank was about 6 feet in the air and the flusher was a chain!  The toilet paper was like brown oilskin paper and actually crackled!  "Lord, make me strong!" Was my prayer.  This is getting stranger and stranger!

Life did go on, and one day when Shan was about 2 weeks old, I went to rinse out his double night diaper (only us older folk know about using cloth diapers!)  Well, that 6 ft. high tank had a pull like you wouldn't believe!  It snatched those 2 diapers right out of my hand and down they went, never to be seen again!  I lost it...totally.  We were so poor and I didn't know who we would have to starve to afford a plumber!  I felt like it would have to be me, since Don HAD to go to language school...but then, who would take care of the babies!?! 
When Don came in, I burst into tears! "I'm sorry, hon, really" I wailed!  He held me as I explained.  He was so sweet, but I could see the worry on his face, too.  He went in and pulled the chain 3 or 4 times and all worked smoothly!  We decided the pull of that flush was so strong those diapers were probably half way to the ocean by then!

Cris was my curious child.  That chain fascinated him!  We potty trained him by always holding him up to pull the chain when he was done (yes...we did stoop to such bribery!)  At all other times, we kept the door shut and the kids were not to mess with it.  One day, I heard a small, scared voice crying out, " me!" With fear clutching my heart, I looked here and there and finally opened that WC door to see my little 2 year old swinging madly and hanging on for all he was worth to that chain.  I hollered, "Hold on baby!  Don't let go!" and I ran to put baby Shan down and caught Cris in my arms, thanking the Lord for His watchcare over my disobedient little man.  I just knew if he had let go, as strong as that suction was, Cris would have been down that toilet...gone...never to be seen again.  I knew from tha moment on, we were going to have to find another house; if Cris was gonna survive!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


When we got off the plane in France, we truly thought things were as modern as they were in America.  We never realized that it was still recovering from WW2. 
We landed at CDG airport and it was really modern looking, so when we pulled out of the parking and got on the roads, it was!  First thing, we passed a Citroën plant and there were all these ugly little vehicles sitting there.  We learned they were called 2 cheavaux (2 horses), I guess in reference to their power abilities.  They looked like odd shaped tin cans. 
Next shock was the traffic.  During rush hour (which really is an oxymoron) it can take up to an hour to go one block, but on the autoroutes, at that time, there were no speed limits and they dodged in and out of traffic like they were a hockey team in vehicles chasing the puck!  I think I aged 10 years just getting to the house that morning.  In those days, car seats were rare, so, in the back seat,  I hung onto my babies for dear life, while there father nonchalantly chatted with Paul up front!  I did a lot of praying in the hour or so it took us to get where we were going.
We finally arrived at the house! It was very tall and narrow and behind a rock and iron barred fence that was at least 7 ft. tall.  All the others were fenced in similar manner.  It sat in a slot on a rounded intersection which had five busy roads dumping into and speeding out of it.  Just crossing the road (any of the 5) was a major feat. In Europe, you had alternate parking.  One week everyone parked one one side of the street, the next, on the other side of the street.  When it was our side, it was okay...but, when it wasn't...well, it was pray, look both ways and run
One day, I went out ahead with the 2 little ones and my soon to be delivered baby!  Melynda was missing her cousin, Melody, who was Stateside.  She had been given one of those realistic, life size dolls and in lieu of her cousin, that doll went everywhere with us.  This particular day, I carried the doll, dressed in real baby clothes, and Cris was holding my hand and Lyndee' was holding his.  We heard a sudden screech of brakes and saw a car, front end to a utility pole, with a distressed, obviously swearing man behind the wheel!  Don, 2 steps behind us, had seen what happened.  The man was staring gape-jawed at the kids and me.  He evidently took the doll in my arms for a real baby, and it was obvious I was about to explode with another one!  He was so busy staring, he went over the sidewalk and nearly smashed the pole.  You see, in those days, the average French family had 1.3 kids, and they married much later.  I was 24 and looked much younger.  SHOCK!  hahaha!  From then on, we always went out together, Don held one childs' hand and I held the other, and Lyndee carried her doll!
Tomorrow, I will tell you the fun stuff about that crazy house!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

French Adventure (part 2)

The doctor gave me a stern look for taking up his time by being so long behind the curtain, and then told me to sit down in the chair.  "What!" my mind was screaming.  He proceeded to note the necessary data, to establish that the due date I had given him was accurate.  When I told him how big, and how late my other babies had been , he took out a measuring tape (not lying, here!) and measured my tummy and said, "Your in France now!  That won't happen.  This baby won't weigh over 6.6 lbs!"  I already knew this baby was bigger than the other 2 had been.  I could feel how big he was!  My other 2 had been 8 lb.12oz. and 8 lb. 8 oz, respectively!  I am only 5'3".  I was praying the doctor was right and that THIS baby would be on his due date!
The time passed, and we acquired an insane poodle (I think WE were insane to get the poodle, but the children needed a playmate!) and Don started language school.   That devil dog ran between my feet as I was going down the stairs. I fell from the bend to the bottom.  I was ok, but...
I carried all my babies extremely low, which meant my lower muscles were under a lot of strain.  The fall finished the job.  I struggled to get to my feet, but could hardly walk. 
From that point on, I could no longer get up and down on my own, nor turn over on my own.  One night Don said, "If this baby is as late as the others, I don't think I will survive!"  I thought, "Me either!"
We were worried, because our container hadn't arrived yet.  The 4 weeks were now 2 months, and apart from one sleeper, all the baby's thing were in that container.  It arrived about 10 days before the baby!  Thank you, Lord!
On 23 April, I went to the clinic becuase I was bleeding.  The Dr. made me stay.  He said the baby was coming.  Now in those days, you took all your own stuff to the hospital.  I got my nightgown on an climbed on the table, they started a drip to make the contractions come, broke my water, and the Dr. said, "It will only take about 2 hours!  You are in France now!"  I laughed to myself!  When four hours had passed, with contractions less than a minute apart, peaking off the machine reading, he said, "I guess you're right!  Nurse, put her in a room!"  They did...and left me there.  At 8PM, they made Alexis and Don leave.  I laid there all night, in agony, and finally, I felt the baby begin to push.  I rang for the nurse, but no one came.  After about 30 min., I could feel him pushing really hard, and I let out a scream!  A nurse came in and checked and started babbling, and running at the same time.  They wheeled me down to delivery and called Alexis.  Don and the kids were at their house, as we lived a good deal farther away and had no car.  They got there in time, and the ordeal began.  They would give me nothing for pain!  It was going to be a little 6 pounder!  I wouldn't need it.  Nor would I need an episiotomy!  Little babies come easy!  Well, when he finally came, he weighed in at 8 lb. 15 oz. with 16 inch shoulders.  Now if there are guys reading this, STOP here.  Ladies, you know in the States, they gently sew you up.  That crazy Dr. walked in with a surgical STAPLER...and with nothing for the pain, he proceeded to staple the tear I had from not having an epsiotomy!  Alexis said, "If looks could kill, that Dr. would have been dead!"  I told her that it was a good thing I was strapped to that table or I probably would have used that stapler on his face!  But we all got through...alive...our beautiful baby boy was finally in our arms and only 2 days late!  He was born 24 April, 1976!  Oh, hey!  Today is his birthday!  Happy birthday, Shannon Dean Williams!  You are a wonderful son!  May God give you an extra special day!
Bye to any readers.  Trying to shorten this, as I am new at this and tend to be toooo long...
PS.  I thank the Lord, Shan was only 2 days late!  Can you imagine how big he would have been!

Monday, April 23, 2012

The French Adventure

     So, if you read the first 2, you know a little bit about our family.  Up to this point in memory, we have 2 precious little ones.  When baby Cristofer, was 2 mo. old, we were approved as missionaries to France.  Anyway, we went into a phase called deputation, which is basically travelling to churches to raise support for our ministry.  Don was constantly on the road and we had moved once more, this time to Kansas, where my Dad pastored in a suburb of Wichita.  Don was in and out as he visited different churches every Sun. morn./eve.and Wed. eve.
     I was home with 2 babies and sometimes going a little crazy, but enjoying them.  Our support increased and we began to talk about leaving for France.  We went back to Alabama to see Don's family and visit churches there, and I loaded up all my baby clothes and things to give to my youngest sis-in-law, who was due any time.  We had a good visit, and as we pulled out of Carla and Butch's driveway, I moved and I got a catch in my back.  This time I felt like I was holding the C4 !  We had lost a baby when Cris was 10 mo. old, and they had put me on the pill for 6 mo. and I had finished them that month.  Everyone had told me after the pill it took forever to get pregnant!  NOPE!
     Don's first reaction was, "If you thought you were pregnant, why did you give all the stuff away?"  I just gave him a look!   Then I said, "Because I didn't think it until just this second, when I got this catch in my back!"  We both had the C4 look, then, because we KNEW!
     Because our paper work was already being processed and we didn't want to rock any boats with gov't officials, we decided, "Hey!  We will just have this baby in France!  Didn't they invent Lamaze?!?  Everyone says how great that is!"  So we packed up the little bit of stuff we had, got a shipping co. that assured us it would get there in 4 weeks, and we took barely 3 yr. old Lyndee, and 22 mo. old Cris off on the great French adventure.
     Suffice it to say, we were quite shocked to find out that even in January 1976, France was still in recovery stages from WW2.  It was NOT this ultra modern country that we had studied.
     Anyway, I was only 2 1/2 months out from my due date, so we weren't worried.  Our stuff was due in 3 weeks, little as it was, but all the baby cloth diapers, bottles, and the few clothes we had for her/him were in the container, and it would arrive before Baby. 
     We had each been allowed 2 suitcases of 70 lbs. each plus a carry on each so we had packed the basics including a favorite toy for each child.  Those toys becaming boring after the first couple of days.  We didn't have a television, nor a car, so we explored on foot.  Thankfully we had a stroller.
We had to rely on the other missionary to get to the OB,and also to serve as translator.  Alexis is American, married to a Frenchman.  She was our official translator, and took me to my first doctor's appointment.
    I will tell you this!  There was something definitely WRONG with that guy!  He scared me, but, I didn't really have other options.  Alexis said all the ladies at church went to him.  Anyway, the first huge shock was being sent to take off all my clothes behind a little curtain.  I waited, shivering, for someone to hand me a covering of some kind, and then I heard the doctor and Alexis talking, and she said to me, "He wants to know if something is wrong because it is taking you so long to come out."  I calmly replied, "They forgot to put a gown in here for me to put on."  Alexis got deathly quiet, then she a-hemed and squeaked out, "They don't do that here.  You just have to come out."  Talk about freaking out!  I am the kid who got a D in gym because I refused to take gang showers.  I am the girl who wears bermudas and t-shirts to swim.  Modesty is not just my is ME!  As I was walking out trying to hide my huge self, cringing every step, I heard this music in my head
I will tell you the rest of the story tomorrow!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Now There Are Two

When Lyndee was 9 months old, Don's oldest brother asked us if we would come to help him with a church he had just started.  We prayed about it, and God seemed to lead us in that direction.  This time, instead of $50.00 a week salary, we were going to zero a week salary.  Don would get a job, and would also help build the church.  But we had learned FAITH, remember?  So, we packed up a few possesions, sold the rest and off we went to Alabama.

Did I mention I am married to an Alabama boy, born and bred, as the song says?  He is from a long line of Alabamian's.  Me...I was born in Miami. I tell Don I am more southern than he is, but he says Miami people are either Yankees gone down for sunshine or Cubans who went north, and since I'm not Cuban I must be a Yankee.  I am not a Yankee, having lived my whole life in the south and my family roots are southern. (Nothing against Yankees here...just saying...)

Well, even being married to an Alabama boy, NOTHING had prepared me for actually living there.  I mean, that is TRULY deep south...deep, deep, south.  

On our way there, we stopped over night in a hotel, and as we got up the next day, my back locked.  It did that from the very beginning of my pregnancy with Lyndee, and stopped when I had her.  I looked at Don and said, "Honey!  I think #2 child is on the way!"  He gaped at me like I was holding a handful of C4 and he wanted to run!  "How come you think that?" he asked when his speech capabilities returned.  So I told him.  His reply was kind of an "Psssh!  Is that all?"  We finished the move and arrived in hot, humid, summer Alabama. 

Don's brother had obtained a rental house for us.  It looked nice, was affordable (if Don got a job!) and we moved in.  Now our precious little Melynda was about the best baby as far as disposition goes, but she never slept a night until she was 15 months old.  She didn't cry or fuss, she just never slept longer than 2 or 3 hours at a time.  Then she wanted a bottle.  I say this, because that first night, I got up to get my baby her bottle and mice were skittering here and there playing with all the roaches.  Let me make this clear...2 things I absolutely can not stand are mice and roaches.  The thought of them curdles me inside!  And here we were, living in their playland!  I screamed hysterically, scaring Don out of at least 10 years of his life, and then I jumped on a chair...causing a roach to hastily depart from said chair.  I was telling myself, "This is a nightmare, this is a nightmare!"  But the wail coming from Lyndee's little room (I scared her, too) told me it was for real.

Don finally got us both settled down and we started dozing back off, when the most horrendous cacophony of sounds brought us upright in the bed.  Did I mention the train that passed within 3 yards of the house?  No, I didn't because, well, we didn't notice the tracks as we were hastily trying to get our few possessions in before total dakrness fell.

It was a very rude awakening!  No wonder the house rent was so cheap!  The main loading dock for that train was about a half mile away.  It would load a car, advance and then slam on its brakes causing all 1001 cars (I really do think there were that many!) to slam...WHACK WHACK WHACK WHACK...all the way down the line.  It went on forever, it seems!  But, finally, it did stop.  We started to doze again, and a donkey started braying like a mad thing.  Did I mention there was a farm veterinarian right next door? was something else!  Alabama!  Gotta love it!  Can't even say the word without those memories.

We had been there about a week when I made an appointment with an OB to verify my suspicions of a new edition.  Sure enough...#2 was officially official!  When I talked to Don's mom, I mentioned the name of my OB, and she said, "That was the name of the doctor that delivered Don!  He was head of the clinic way back then (24 years earlier).  I was convinced it couldn't be the same doctor, was!  Yikes!  That guy was no spring chicken!!  Anyway, we couldn't afford to change doctor's, so...
Don had had time to get used to the idea, and he had found an all night job in a denim factory, of all things, and life resumed.  Sort of...poor Don would barely get in each morning, drop into the bed, when the train started loading.  I wasn't sleeping because of my fears the mice or the roaches, or both, would get my baby, and possibly carry her off, since they were so numerous!  You can imagine what it was like around there!  Plus, you know how tired you are in early pregnancy.  I was 21, expecting our second child, alone all night in my idea of an earthly hell...ya!  It was fun!  NOPE!

The months passed, and once again I was enormous, and once again people were staring.  When I was about 5 months along, a sweet old man from the church said the baby should be there any day.  I laughed and said, He's not due until 17 February...4 months away.  He said, "No way!  That can not be!  We will have to get you a wheelbarrow to carry that load around!"  He said this all the way until my due date...which came and went..again! 

We moved to another house on the same highway, but in town, just at a stop light.  This house was a lot bigger, brighter and we loved it.  It was the typical old southern house with the big, covered veranda porch.  We had a porch swing.  Lovely!  Except...we had a tenant.  Don had gotten a new job, this time making gaskets.  He would leave around 7:15 every morning, so we would usually go to bed around 10 PM.  One night, we heard the scurry of little feet tearing across the bedroom carpet.  Oh NO!  I was thinking mice, again.  The next day, I heard this crunching, chewing sound coming from the little extension off of our room.  I went to see, and there was a hole chewed in the wall.  Not a little hole, either.  My blood froze!  I snatched Lyndee up and closed the bedroom door and we stayed in the LR and kitchen all day.  That night, again, we heard it chewing and then scurrying across the carpet.  We decided to move into Lyndee's room and keep that room closed off until we caught the beast. 

A friend told us it had to be a wood rat.  They are common in Alabama, and the woods were right behind us.  So, Don bought a huge rat trap, baited it and we waited.  The next night we were having family devotions when we heard the trap snap and heard all this crashing and banging around and then silence.  We went back to see and, to our horror, though there were a few spatters of blood here and there, it had managed to shake off the trap.  Then we put out D-Con.  Nothing happened.  It still lived on. The unwanted tenant had now taken on gigantic proportions in my mind! 

Don got home about 4PM, bathed, dressed in his good clothes, ate his dinner and took off for door knocking, to invite people to church.  So, again, Lyndee and I were pretty much alone.  One day, I could hear that rat chomping and stalking and I think I cracked a little!  I put Lyndee in her little chair and grabbed the broom, ready to do war for my home turf.  I actually saw the beast!  It was as big as a rabbit!  I swung with all my might and that thing hissed and charged me!  Big as I was, I went flying, screaming out of there.  Call me a sissy, but hissing, rabbit sized rats are just NOT my cup of tea!

Anyway, some kind soul finally told us rats have to drink water to activate the D-Con, so we obligingly put water out for the tenant, and shortly thereafter, he was no more!  Peace settled on our little world until the day we had an electrical storm and scared starlings flew down the chimney  into the living room, flying crazily at us as they tried to escape.  That was easy to fix...we opened the door and they were gone.

March arrived warm and bright. Still no baby, so the doctor said, "Take a spoonful of castor oil every morning until it makes you go into labor."  A SPOONFUL!  I wish someone had told me that before I drank the whole bottle with Lyndee!

The 8th of March I decided to take Lyndee out in the yard to play.  It was truly a gorgeous spring day.  I spread a quilt and we got down on it and were playing.  I suddenly realized our yard was steep, running down to the highway.  I thought, "Hmmm...if Lyndee playfully took off running, she could fall down that hill to the highway.  I decided we should go back in, but I hadn't counted on the fact that I was so huge and getting up wouldn't be easy.  While I was trying to get up, rolling around like a beached whale, a pain hit me.  I finally got rolled over enough to get up on my knees, and pushed myself up, took Lyndee's hand and we went back inside to wait.  Don came in very tired and I hated to tell him I thought I was in labor.  It was a Friday, and he didn't work his job on Saturday's, but was supposed to work on the church building that was going up.  So, I thought I would just wait  to say anything since Lyndee had taken so long.  About 2 AM, the contractions became intense.  I woke Don up, and off we went.  Don didn't learn from the first time, and again, we made it in record time.  And again, we waited and waited.  At 1 PM, they came in and said, "This is taking a long time, so we are going to give you something to knock you out.  They did, and I was out cold.  Our precious little boy, Cristofer Shawn, was born at 6:25 PM.  He was healthy, beautiful, but we didn't see his eyes for 4 days.  Remember me saying the same doctor delivered Don?  Well, he was old school.  Even though I was barely conscious they gave me gas so I wouldn't wake up during the delivery!  Ya...old school!!  I didn't even know I'd had a baby or what it was until about 9PM that evening!  But he was safely delivered!  Unlike his sister, he slept 12 to 13 hours a night, from birth.  I wonder why????

Wow!  This was long!  Sorry!  If you managed to stayed tuned until now, the next walk will be our French adventure.  God bless you all, and have a great Sunday!

The Beginning

So, my daughter Lyndee, (Melynda Fleury to a great many, but still Lyndee to me!) set this up and we shall see what we shall see.  I guess the first "walk" should be HER story, right?  Since she was so sweet to do this for me….

 When we found out Lyndee was on the way, we were in the last semester of our college years.  We were overjoyed and not worried...Don worked a union job, so we had insurance.  About a week after we found out we were expecting, Don was put on a lay-off.  Technically, they had worked themselves out of a job!  Work hard, work more job...sounds right???  NOPE!  But hey, we were young and trusting in God's provision and His perfect will.  Then the car broke down!  Still trusting...and walking...lots and lots of walking.  Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I walked approximately 6 miles going back and forth between campus locations (one was right across from our apartment and the other was a mile away).

 We counted that as GOOD exercise because, hey!  They tell you walking a lot makes for an easy delivery!  We also found out that our insurance would no longer pay, even though, technically Don was still an employee.  Plus, he still had to call in every day and see if there was work that day. 

 We had to wait 3 weeks before we could apply for unemployment.  Meantime, we had NO income, and a bunch of school bills, doctor bills and a baby on the way.  Don tried to get another job, but due to the fact we would be leaving in May, another job was not forthcoming. 

At last, when we had exactly one dime left to our name, I watched with tears in my eyes as Don inserted it into the pay phone to find out if there was work that day.  I saw Don's face drop and new before he told me, that the answer was, "No."  Don and I started our walk home.  We knew that there was absolutely nothing at home to eat.  I cried most of the way home and railed out my grief to God, asking Him why He was allowing this.  We had always been faithful to Him; we were preparing to be what had we done to deserve such a fate?

 We got home, sat down at the foodless table and held hands and prayed.  I will not say I felt better when we finished.  I was still not a happy camper!  I went out the door and went to the mailbox hoping there would be a letter from home (yup...snail mail was all that existed in those days!) to cheer me up.  Oddly, my 85 year old grampa had decide we needed our graduation present 2 1/2 months early!  I was so excited!  I ran back to the apartment and waved the check at my beloved!  Wow!  Didn't expect THAT to happen!  We tithed, gave our missions, paid the rest of the rent, and bought a couple of dollars worth of food. 

 A week later, we were back in the same position.  This time, I was walking as fast as my legs would carry me, and I didn't stop at the apartment.  I went straight to the mailbox…and there was another letter from a lady in my Dad's church who said God had laid it on her heart to send us some money.  Here's the one knew what we were going through except the Lord.  Now,  in the words of Paul Harvey, "for the rest of the story!"

 We sat down, once again, to our foodless table, to pray and thank the Lord for His provision.  As we finished praying, I looked up and saw a station wagon pulling up.  It was Don's preacher's wife from Alabama.  Don's folks ran a Rescue Mission and they had filled the entire back end of that large station wagon with food!  We were astonished!  A few days later, we were alloted $12.00 a week of food stamps for a month.  Then Don's unemployment kicked in, and God allowed us to get the apartment upstairs that was a lot cheaper.  We shared the food wealth with friends who were in as desperate a situation as us, and we finished our college years after all.

 We then moved to Oklahoma to do our internship in a church.  We were promised a furnished house and $50.00 a week, which, even then, was not much.  But, we had learned FAITH by then and so we started out on the journey.  Unfortunately, the house wasn't furnished, and the roof leaked abominably.  They did go buy us an old used mattress and boxspring.  We kept our cold food in the refrigerator at the church.  Then, there was the toilet that overflowed every time it was flushed, so the preacher asked us not to use it.  I would get up 3 or 4 times a night, and creep out, scared silly, and unlock that big empty church building to go to the bathroom.    The worst was that the house was aluminum sided, but wasn't air conditioned.  If you have ever been to Oklahoma in the summer, you can imagine what that was like!  It was, on a typical day, 113° F in the house!

 Having no insurance, we went to a public health clinic for the final months of my pregnancy.  Now, I was only 20 and looked younger.  Don was 23, but he, too, looked younger, so we often got looked at like we were 2 kids who’d gotten “in trouble” as the expression went in those days.  I was normally a thin person, but was very, very big pregnant!  So big people stopped and stared.  More than once they actually gawked.  One man insisted I must be having triplets.  Again, in those days, you didn't know ahead of time.  You waited until they were born to know!

 Lyndee was due a few days before our first anniversary, which was 14 August.  Don had to go down to Alabama for his brother's wedding the week before my due date.  We were worried.  Since mid-July the doctors at the clinic were telling us the baby could come any was down, pushing and I was already some dialated.  So, with great trepidation, Don flew to Alabama.  He came home in a car his parents had sold us, which was a blessing.  A few days later, his dad showed up with a van load of furniture from the mission.  We were ecstatic!  And now we were ready for our baby. 

 We were going faithfully to the clinic every Tuesday, week after week, each time to be told that it would be any day.  We walked every evening when it cooled down and every Monday we went to the mall and walked until Don and I both thought our legs would be worn down to nubs.  Still no baby.  Finally, they did x-rays...something they now know should never be done.  They said the baby was past full term and should come any time.  Another week went by, and they did sonograms.  I was only the 2nd woman in Oklahoma to ever be sonogrammed back then.  They said the baby's fontenelle was closing, so they must one more week...if I hadn't come in by then.  This was now the 5th of September. 

 I was upset all the way home.  As we came up on the grocery store, I told Don to go in and get me a bottle of castor oil.  All the older ladies of the church had been telling me to do that.  He slipped into and out of that store in high gear, because we didn't want anyone to know we had resorted to the dreaded castor oil. 

 Here is where the story gets crazy.  The old ladies told me to take the stuff, but they didn't say how much to take.  Understand...I was alone, far from my mama, far from my mother-in-law, and in those days, long distance calls were outrageously expensive.  So...I drank the whole bottle.  Believe was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  I kept gagging, and Don would say, "Stop!  You're gonna make me puke!"  And I kept thinking, "AND???"  Because I was the one gagging the stuff down!

Won't go into details, but it worked!  We hauled off to the hospital about 3 AM, Don driving like Mario Andretti!  That was on Wednesday.  We watched the sunrise, in between the less than minute apart contractions.  Because it was a public health clinic, they didn't do epidurals...only saddle blocks, and those, just as the baby was coming.  So all that day and all that night, the contractions went on and on and still no baby.  Finally, on Thursday, after 35 hours of contractions, Melynda Dawne Williams made her late, but very wonderful appearance.  She has been a joy to us always, andwe thank the Lord to have her as our daughter.  For Melynda followers and friends…I will get back to her again…this time with the FUN stuff!

Love to all and remember…God loves you soooooo much!