Honeysuckle Air: Mother Hearing Things in the House

We hear many sounds in daily living. However, some just seem to come out of nowhere. And some we choose.

Bird in the House, Deer at the Window 

I had a reputation for being right in some uncanny claims around the house.

One day I heard a faint flapping. I hollered from another room, “There’s a bird in the house!”

I was immediately told NO way!

Yup, as I went down the hall I saw it, opened the door and gently ‘herded’ it out the door.

Another day I sat up straight from a deep sleep in bed and said, “There’s a deer at my window.” Of course, it seemed silly, but sure enough, on looking out there indeed was a deer right there, eyeball level!

She Went Out and Bought an Organ

Although I could have been called a rather traditional wife, I was aware of the “new” concept that women should have rights, etc.

The realization hit me in the mid-70’s when a doctor almost refused to treat my son’s ER visit since his dad was out of town. After initially refusing, I finally convinced the Dr. that there was no way to reach the father and I begged him to go ahead and help. He agreed as long as I’d get a written permission to carry in case it happened again.

On TV I heard about women who had no credit if they were married. Women were being advised to establish credit in their own name as protection against life’s possibilities. So I decided I needed to establish some credit in my own name.

Before long I had bought a lot in a lake community called Walden which gave the family rights to the amenities, pool, etc. This was the beginning of my establishing my own credit–a must for any web-informed woman, then and now.

But of more significance was the new organ I bought at the mall. I love music but was not a competent pianist. But when I discovered a keyboard which would play chords or background in the left side while I fingered the melody with joy right I was thrilled.

However, I soon found I had to stand in line since the whole family vied to take their turn with it. We kept that bench warm as family members found it hard to walk by it without having a bit of musical fun.

Of all the sounds this particular mother heard in the house, the sound of that organ was definitely the finest!

Copyright 2018 by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.

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Honeysuckle Air: The Amazing Day of the Wedding

Written in loving memory of my mother Erville Ethel Day who passed on just before the turn of the century.

I received a pretty invitation. It said Ronnie Day; I had a cousin with that name. I thought, wow, I’m from the Day family. I didn’t know there were some Days in Texas where I lived then. Wow, how exciting!

Upon further thinking, I remembered my Uncle Dex in California saying something about some relatives living in a small town in Texas, one I’d never heard of.

And then it said his daughter was Abigail! So appropriate since my cousin Ronnie’s sister was Gail. We used to call her Sissy when they came to visit us each summer in Oklahoma.

So we turned heaven and earth to clear our schedule, made room reservations, got up early on a bright Saturday morning, and made the long trek across Texas.

By mid-afternoon we were too close on time to find the motel so we stopped in a Dairy Queen to change clothes. But we were out of cash so we didn’t eat there. Yet I realized I needed food to assuage my low blood sugar so we found a cafe and of all things, I heard my name hollered across the room.

It was an old friend from a school where I used to teach. After a bit of visiting, and some unexpected twists in the conversation, it turned out she and her husband were in town to see the wedding of her grandson. He was a fine young man who worked for me for a while, and my son had worked for his mother across several years.

I thought two Saturday weddings in one small town must be quite a record.

The day felt so pregnant with possibilities of touching base with long lost members of the Days on my mother’s side of the family. I felt this sojourn would be a tribute to my mother, who was unable to communicate in a medical facility–but had always been proud to be a Day. I just knew my mother would have loved for someone to represent her Oklahoma branch of the Days.

And Ronnie’s mother Dorothy was my mother’s most admired friend as well as her sister-in-law. So I felt quite honored to have the pleasure of attending on my mother’s behalf.

Finally, I realized the invitation hadn’t come from the Days after all as I had assumed from the invitation, but from my teacher friend’s grandson Gary, the fine young man from our hometown of The Woodlands, Texas. I had just focused on the words Day, Ronnie and Gail. When my teacher friend and I visited at the cafe I had no earthly idea!

Then I noticed how many people I knew in the crowd. Not Days, but about half a dozen young people from my community.

Upon talking with several people in the Day family there, my mind began to cloud up since upon further questioning they didn’t seem to know the Oklahoma Days at all!  Eventually the groom’s mother came and chatted, indicating she, not the Days, had sent the invitation.

I had assumed when I saw my cousin Ronnie’s name and the name Gail that it was from my relatives who probably got my address from my California relatives. It never hit me that we should have been sitting on the groom’s side of the church, since it was his complete formal name and I was used to the shorter version–and I hadn’t seen him in several years.

Besides, I got so excited when I read the name Day on the invitation, I neglected to even read the rest carefully, being so cocksure it was a long-lost relative!

Nevertheless, it was a truly fine wedding, and I did enjoy meeting a whole different group of Days. However, I will admit I was abashed and embarrassed that I had let my own desire to renew long-lost relationships with my cousins cloud my vision!

And to think, I, a veteran teacher, read only the top part of the invitation! Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to believe:-)

Copyright 2018 by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.



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Honeysuckle Air: My Lucky Moment

A Lucky Moment

I was 17, alone in New York City. Summer jobs there paid well so I rode with 35 other college students traveling as a caravan to have an adventure and make money for my limited college budget.

Oh, and it gave me someplace to go besides home—since there was fear and abuse to be dealt with there.

I loved the pulse of the Big Apple. Having grown up in the country, a big city held excitement and promise. I relished my work as an “autotypist-receptionist” in a nonprofit. Our modern typewriter would type the same letter over and over, stopping just long enough for me to fill in the names and addresses.

Quite a gadget for over 50 years ago! When the whole idea of computers, etc. was only a speck in the eyes of true genuine nerds of the future we were on the cutting edge of progress by sending out mass but personalized communications.

I cherished the independence of living in an affordable young lady’s residence—bit like a college dorm with tiny bedrooms and a shared living and dining room. Having breakfast and supper prepared for me was also a pure delight.

So one of my favorite excursions was going all the way to the end of the subway line and back. What a thrill! I had heard you could go 180 miles on one subway token so I went for it. Also, I absolutely loved the museums and the cavernous library, stopping to admire the lions each time I visited there.

Toward the end of the summer I had relished my whole NY experience. I even attended an outside amphitheater concert to see Van Cliburn make magic of 88 piano keys, found my way to historic buildings, frequented Chinatown developing a lifelong love of Chinese food while studying Chinese, found calmness in the Little Church Around the Corner, and rested in the beauty of parks.

I especially loved watching an old guy in my favorite Chinese restaurant race the cash register with an abacus and yes, he always won with his deft fingers and confident grin.

Then one day I suddenly fell ill, horribly ill. I somehow made it to a hospital. (There was no 911 then so I was on my own.) Thank goodness I had an insurance card from my parents so they let me in the ER. I watched in horror as they refused to let several uninsured yet desperate people in the door. I cried as I found one had died during the night on the hospital doorstep.

As paperwork was being completed I took a turn for the worse, seeming to lose consciousness.

Someone rolled me into a tiny room, and the drama began to unfold. I couldn’t talk or move, but as I regained consciousness, no-one realized I was watching in a fuzzy fog of lonely awareness.

Several urgent voices began to work on me. Then someone said, “Good, here’s the doctor.”

There was a quiet spell, and I was hopeful as I  wondered what was happening to me as he examined me at length.

Then he leaned up close to my face and uttered the awful words, “Mother of God, she doesn’t have a chance!”

I will never be able to erase the sight blazoned on my heart of a white coat with a cross dangling close to my face, coupled with the ominous words of no hope.  Yet, I suddenly had some vague  intention of proving him wrong, since only I realized I was conscious.  I had been through times which could have stamped out hope in my childhood, so I had developed a habit of hope.

I did consider the dreadful import of his words, then came to a clear decision as the adrenaline focused my mind. I was not going to let go and die then and there. I understood that I knew something the medical staff did not know—I was conscious and aware, and wanted to know what life held in store for me.

A strange determination came over me. I still could not communicate, but I had a general notion of the words “critical condition.”  Somehow I calmly reached the conclusion that I had a job to do: My task was to stay alive, an assignment I knew only I could pursue, since they seemed to have partially given up on me.

Although I had no deep emotion or fear at the time, my resolve came like the carress of a cooling breeze on a hot day.

It took almost a month in the hospital, and several weeks thereafter, but I kept my commitment to myself. I didn’t make it back to college that fall due to long process of regaining my health. However I returned to my midwestern college by the second semester, more determined than ever to make something of myself, and to follow my calling to become a teacher.

From this view after over four decades of teaching, I am forever grateful for the lucky moment I had when I looked up and glimpsed that white coat, and heard those shocking words. I am so glad I added my vote to the medical efforts being made, and chose to stay alive! And what a long and lovely life I have had thus far.

Who knows what Lucky Moments lie ahead?


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Teardrops for My Country Video

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Summershines in the North Woods Forest

The many empty hours of summer offered countless possibilities for fun and adventure. Spending time outdoors with no deadlines meant imagination had free rein. Jumping through the sprinkler served us well as we had no pool anywhere near.

We did keep some schedules: sports, music and church. But many days involved 3 meals a day and TV at night, leaving hours of wide open space in our days.

The Sounds of Science

One year I decided to expose my sons to science fun. I got la chemistry set and a rock polisher. I was sure the boys would enjoy making smooth rocks like those found in nature.

Soon we all developed a clear understanding of insomnia when we spent several nights being forced to listen to the ear-splitting gritty grinding sounds of the polisher going round and round 24/7, infiltrating any remote possibility of sleep or even daytime calmness!

After a few days we finally moved it to the utility room, shutting doors to tone it down. The rocks were an adventure but we probably didn’t learn what I was hoping for. We did learn the value of quiet sleep!

However, when we later spent time tubing on the Frio River, we saw how beautiful the polished rocks could be in nature. They were much more fun in the river bed than inside the house.

Ax Swinging

Who knew playing down the street could be deadly?

One day a son came home unnaturally soon from playing with a friend. When I queried him as to why, he said he didn’t really want to be around the swinging ax. My mother gene clicked on and I checked in with the ax swinger’s mom.

She said she knew he shouldn’t be doing that but as a mother she didn’t know how to stop it. I replied that from my teaching experience she could lock the ax in the car’s trunk and talk with her son. She seemed to have no stomach for saying no to him, so we found other ways to have summer fun.

Spitting Lessons

My older son had a chance to babysit two neighbor boys. I was glad to be supportive since I felt I was a forward looking mother of the 80’s.

A day or two later I had second thoughts when their mother and I had a chat.

Yup, it was good to have a guy babysit. But, teaching the kids how to spit didn’t go over too well with their mother. Their father couldn’t help but smirk a bit. In the interest of honesty, it must be said the boys relished their new found skill!

The Cat House

My older son had a great love for working with wood. One summer he decided to build a dog house. Good idea…

He labored long and hard to get it just right. Then he painted it and came in for lunch. It hit him that all buildings need a table so he took some red paint from the shed and clearly printed DOG HOUSE on the front. It was a work of art.
The next day he began to realize our cat wasn’t being treated fairly. So he built Tigger Wigger a house. At lunch that day he told us how it was coming along. His visiting grandma was as proud as I was of his hard work.

I turned red as I explained the meaning of a “cat house.” His grandma chimed in saying to me, “I can’t believe your mind is in the gutter. There’s no such thing!”

Well, kids tend to believe their grandparents, and we were the only people in our neighborhood with our very own red light district in our backyard:-)

Then he dropped the bomb: “I think I have enough red paint to put cat house on the front.” I almost fell out of my chair, and started trying to talk him out of it, to his grandmother’s astonishment.

There is no doubt that summertime offered great opportunities for family adventures and making memories. I am grateful for those moments and will cherish them always.

Copyright 2018 by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.


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Of These My Children: The Yellow Rose of Taxes

When I hear the question “What do teachers make?” I am reminded of over four decades of teaching. I made memories with our future world–our children.

One week each student did a report on a state of their choice. This gal even brought a yellow rose to hold while she told us all about living in the state of Taxes. Her report was wonderful but her spelling wasn’t perfect.

Another week the students were supposed to find an older adult to interview. One guy went home and asked his dad to help him and his dad responded, “But I don’t work in oil and gas. Maybe we could drive up to see Grandpa this weekend.” It seems the eager young man had asked his dad to help him with oil history. The next day I reinforced what Oral History meant. But his dad had promised a trip, so the grandpa got interviewed anyway!

As part of citizenship training I try to expose the students to several patriotic songs. When the National Anthem started playing an excited student yelled out, “Oh, that’s the basketball song. They play it at the start of the game!”  

Another day in Music we listened to Pachebel’s Canon. A boy protested, “Doesn’t sound like a Rocket Bell to me!”

Since I’ve emphasized the importance of hand washing I sometimes get a response when a child returns from the restroom. One little gal confided, “I guess I used too much water ’cause it almost overfloated!” We discussed how she might adjust it next time to avoid causing the water to overflow.

Language class presents special challenges. We had a lesson on the stronger emphasis given a certain part of a word. One boy told us, “I see, it says right here in the book, the accidented syllable.”  It was no accident that we had a review of accents the next day!

Lunch and Recess are the seasonings that make the days go by faster. In fact, one boy even confided to his mom, “You know some days I don’t even mind coming to school.” Yup, I took that as a fine compliment!

We all enjoy lunch under the trees in the side yard. Some kids eat on the Chocolate Porch and others sit at picnic tables. One kid said his dad got a new TV that was so complicated he had to have a personal complication to set it up. It took a while to convince him that a consultation could help make it easier, not more complicated!

But there are those moments even during play time. One girl rushed up to me and said, “He called me shellfish just because I wanted another turn.” I consoled her by saying I knew she wasn’t selfish since I saw her share just that morning. But since they knew there was a time limit on recess, they went on back to their game.

It’s always an adventure when we learn about other places around the world. One young scholar said, “I bet you don’t know what language they speak in Portugal?”  An answer came quickly, “Pekingese?”  We were informed that only dogs speak that before I could clarify they speak Portuguese in Portugal.

Sometimes we read a story toward the end of the day. Make Way for Ducklings  seemed like a good choice. When it mentioned Beacon Hill in Boston one little fellow asked, “Do baby ducks like bacon?”  I decided it was time to make a picture of a hill, adding a sign identifying the town Boston, and oh yes, a family of ducks.

As the cars were coming to take students home one kid told me his mom would be late so he would like to “use the hearphones” while she was waiting. I just handed him the headphones and said no more.

I was through teaching for the day. The kids had learned a lot, and so had I. My student may live in the State of Taxes but now that I have my snack I’m living in a state of grace!  

Copyright 2018 by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.



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Fall in the Forest

It is fall in the forest, but spring in my heart
As I smell the air I live without a care!

I tromp in the leaves, and romp as I please.

It is fall in the forest.
Autumn colors my heart.

Copyright 2009 by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.

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