My Cup Didn’t Overflow

Posted April 10, 2009 by Archer Pam
Categories: humor, Memories, Story

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Pam & Donna

Pam & Donna

Per your request, I will tell you one more dating story, and then I’m moving on to other subjects.

The attic of our house on the farm had a window at each end.  These windows served as lookouts for the comings and goings in and out of our long driveway.  I wasn’t old enough to date yet, but Donna was.  I was a brat!  Running up to the attic to watch for her date to arrive was great fun.  I would holler down the steps to her, “Donna, your prince charming is coming!”, or “Your pimply faced boyfriend is on his way up here to give you a big kiss, with his bad breath.”   Mother would be stifling her laughter as she reprimanded me, which only spurred me on. 

Any of us were allowed to answer the door, except the one who was going on the date.  After playing the Town Crier one night, I nearly tripped as I ran downstairs to get to the door before anyone else could.  Swinging open the door, I looked at the guy, turned around and yelled “DOONNNAAA…your RIDE’S here.”  If looks could kill, I would have been six feet under many times in my life.

Donna was miffed at me.  Brother (Curtis) and Judy weren’t amused either when I ran around them in circles singing, “Brother and Judy sitting in a tree. k-i-s-s-i-n-g.  First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Judy with a ba-by carriage.”    That little chant turned out to be a prophetic statement, because they were married soon after.  It still annoyed the heck out of them.

Advance about seven years.  I’m sixteen years old, and a lot more mature.  At least I thought I was.  I was fairly shy around boys, and very modest.  I had lived long enough to learn that a sixteen year old is easily embarrassed.  I was sitting on the couch with my boyfriend, having a nice conversation.  Suzanne, who is 4 1/2 years younger than I, pranced into the living room, carrying one of my bras.  “Ha.ha!  Look what size bra Pam wears. See how little it is?”  “Suzanne!  Get out of here!”  I screamed, as I rose to my feat and assumed a threatening stance.  It fell on deaf ears.  I glanced at my boyfriend and he was grinning, but not laughing.  How humiliating!  She continued her jeering.  “She can’t even fill this one up.”  she laughed, as she waved the bra in front of his face, like a hypnotic pendulum.  “Mother!  Would you get Suzanne out of here, please?”  Mother must have been outside.  The comments and giggles continued, until she finally wore thin, and I was silently vowing to gag her with that bra.

I learned from this experience that:

1. What goes around comes around.

2. That size does matter.

3. That your parents won’t always be around to bail you out.


The Curious Case of a Snooping Mother

Posted April 3, 2009 by Archer Pam
Categories: humor, Memories, Story

Tags: , , ,

Dating a Payne girl was not a venture for the faint of heart.  It took guts and considerable courage to ask us out.  The beginning of the dates didn’t always start as badly as my last post, nor did the endings, but there were enough red letter ones to merit attention.  There were plenty of rules to abide by, curfews to be kept, and judgment days to face in our dating years, but in these two instances the tables were turned.   

Upon returning from a date, our feet had better hit the ground before the boy’s car came to a complete stop.  If we weren’t out of the car instantly, one of our parents would turn the porch light on and off, indicating it was time to bring the evening to a close. There would be no parking and talking or any hanky-panky going on in our driveway! 

The driveway came up the corner of the house, only a few feet away from the back door.  The back door was the kitchen door.  Directly next to the kitchen was a bathroom.  Looking from the outside, you had the back door and then the window to the bathroom directly to the left of that.  The window was covered with Venetian blinds. 

Donna was madly in love with Bob.  She was about nineteen or twenty years old; a mature young woman.  Bob was handsome, could sing; a real catch.  Mother was keeping close tabs on this relationship, because this hunky young man could possibly be her future son-in-law. 

I recall many times when Mother and Donna would go into the bedroom and close the door, so Donna could tell her all the latest regarding her blooming relationship with Bob.

It was Sunday evening.  Bob brought Donna home after church.  The lovebirds had made their way out of the car and were standing outside the back door.  Bob planted a kiss on Donna’s puckered lips.  All of a sudden they heard the sound of clanking of blinds against the window pane.  Startled, they looked over at the window, only to view Mother in her bathrobe staring back at them in astonishment.  She had attempted to be discreet in her detective work, but when she parted the blinds to peek through, they fell, leaving her exposed, standing the bathtub, staring at Donna and Bob.  Mother was so embarrassed, but not nearly so much as she would be a few weeks later.

The scenario was similar, except that Donna and Bob had come inside and were sitting on the couch in the living room talking.  Outside the living room door was a small hallway.  Mother and Daddy’s bedroom was on the left.  To the right was the bathroom, and beside that, a door to the staircase that led to the basement.  There was a small apartment downstairs. 

Mother had managed to tip-toe across the hall to the staircase, and was making her way downstairs to go to the bathroom, as she didn’t want them to hear her in the upstairs bathroom.  She crept down each step, gingerly placing each foot so as not to make them creak. She reached the landing. AHHHHHHHHHHHh.  She was home free…she thought. 

The downstairs apartment hadn’t seen much use since Curtis and Judy had moved out.  The floor in the small bathroom had water damage.  Mother was a little bit overweight.  Just as she set foot into the bathroom, the floor gave way and down she went.  The thunderous thud echoed through the ceiling to the living room above.  In an instant she was surrounded by Daddy, Bob, and Donna.  They pulled her up out of the hole she had created for herself, nightgown and all. 

Bob didn’t come around much after that.  I suppose you could say that love had been blinded by a fall! 

From this experience I learned:

1. Mother really kept an eye on her children.

2. Do all of your kissing before you got back home.

3. Forewarn any  boyfriends about the potential embarrassments of dating a Payne girl.

Daring to Date

Posted March 27, 2009 by Archer Pam
Categories: church, humor, Love, Memories, Story

Tags: , , ,

The Payne girls had to be sixteen to go on a car date. Boys could sit with us in church, or we could go on group dates, like a banquet at church when we were fourteen, but nothing where we would be alone or unsupervised.

I had a big crush on a guy at my high school. I had been wishin’ and hopin’ and plannin’ and dreamin’ for this guy to ask me out. All those positive thoughts came to be when he invited me to a football game. I was so excited I couldn’t stand it! I counted the days until Friday night came.

Another rule was that we were not to answer the door when our date arrived. Mother or Daddy was to let him in and spend a reasonable amount of time getting to know him before we could make our entrance into the room.

Don knocked on the door and Mother invited him in, as I anxiously waited in the hallway outside the living room. After the introductions were over and the “What does your daddy do?” and “Are you planning to go to college?” questions were over, I knew it was safe for me to enter.

Nervously, I made my way into the living room, where my dream date was seated…also nervously. You can only imagine how mortified I was as I stood in disbelief at hearing the words that were escaping my father’s mouth. “Now son, I give you to understand that my daughter isn’t a salt block for any old bull that comes along to lick on. Have her home by eleven. You two have a good time.”

He did NOT just say that! You could hear a pin drop. “Dad-deeey!” I moaned. Don picked his bottom lip off of the floor and escorted me out the door. He didnt’ have much to say to me for a few minutes. It was an awkward silence. Even though Dad said he was teasing, it didn’t sound like it. I felt it totally unnecessary to make such a remark, and I was mad at him for days.

The date went well, but we didn’t date for long. Summertime came and since we didn’t have a telephone, it was hard to ask a girl out. I guess he figured it wasn’t worth the drive to see me if he was going to have to face the judge and jury every time he visited. I can’t say that I blame him.

Our cufew was always ten or eleven o’clock. That is until I agreed to go to Harry’s prom with him. Harry was a pitiful, ugly guy from church that noone would go out with. He had a crush on me. He asked me to the prom three months ahead of time. I didn’t have an excuse to say no, so I agreed. I dreaded going so badly. My parents knew this. Harry wasn’t a threat! When he came to pick me up that night, Daddy told me it didn’t matter how late he kept me out!! Again…mortified! I endured the boring date, and told him that I needed to be home by nine, because I had to study my Sunday School lesson. He bought it. Poor guy.

I can’t really fault my parents too much. I owe them a debt of gratitude in many respects, but when I was sixteen going on seventeed, I didn’t understand. I made a lot of the same rules for my own daughters, though I didn’t say things that would embarrass them in front of their dates. My daughters would tell you that they are thankful for the boundaries that we set. It showed that we cared. I agree that it did.

I learned from my dating experiences that:

1. Boys didn’t always have my best interest in mind.

2. That my parents did!

3. That the embarrassing your kids approach was not something I would perpetrate in parenting.

Come back for my next post, when I tell you about Donna’s mortifying experiences with Mother and dating. You won’t believe this one!

Drive-In Movies and Drive-Up Meals

Posted March 20, 2009 by Archer Pam
Categories: Food and Recipes, humor, Memories, Story

Tags: , , , ,


We didn’t have drive-thru fast food restaurants in the early sixties.  What we did have were drive-in movies and drive-up diners.

One of the main differences in these two establishments is that we were allowed to go to the diner, but never the drive-in!  Rumors had it, and most were probably true, that the attendees spent a good deal of time necking, and my parent’s daughters were not to go near this den of sin.  Mother took it to a bit of extreme, because when we would drive by the theater, we were told to look to the other side.  We were not even allowed to glance at the screen during a drive by!  It’s pretty hilarious, when I think about it.  When a parent puts that many restrictions on a place, it makes it all the more appealing to adventurous and curious daughters, like the Payne girls.


There was a drive-up diner directly across the street from the drive-in theater.  Malcolm’s was one of our favorite places to eat.  We often stopped there after church on Sunday night to get a Full House, which was hot tamales and chili, or the best hot dogs in the universe.  Malcolm’s had car hops that would come to the car to take your order; later returning to bring a tray full of food.   Daddy would roll down the window about three-fourths of the way, so that the car hop could attach the tray to it.    The only thing I had my mind on was sinking my teeth into the hot dog that Daddy passed to the back seat, where Suzanne, Jeneane, and I were sitting.  Suzanne had other things on her young, nine-year old mind.  She spread her napkins in the rear window of the car.  She sat on her knees to eat her food out of the car window…while she watched the drive-in movie screen across the street.  Mother and Daddy never suspected a thing, and never said a word about it.  It didn’t occur to either Jeaneane or me what she was doing, or I’m certain that one of us would have called attention to it.  We lived (The ‘i’ is not a typo.) to get each other into trouble.

I didn’t get off quite so easily.  One of my dates convinced me that it wouldn’t be bad if  he took me to the drive-in movie instead of the walk-in.  I really liked this guy, so I agreed.  Though we didn’t “neck”, he did kiss me.  He did NOT know how to kiss!  He latched onto my lips with his teeth!  He just about sucked my lips down his windpipe that night.  Nothing was noticeable until the next morning.  I got up to get ready for church.  I couldn’t believe what was glaring back at me from the mirror!  My entire mouth was encircled with a huge red ring.  My lips were so swollen, you could have wet them and stuck me to a window.  I was left shaking in my penny loafers, because I couldn’t think of a good enough story to explain it away.

Judgement was imminent.  There was nothing to do but to go straight to mother and pray that she would pave the way before Daddy saw me.  I came clean with her, mostly.  I did admit to the horrible kiss the guy had given me, but I didn’t tell her I got it at the drive-in. I will say I never went to the drive-in again without their knowledge.  I went out with the guy a couple more times, but didn’t allow him to put the jaws of life on me again.

I learned from this experience that:

1. We had all been conned by the youngest of the Payne family.

2. That one can weave a web of deception, but it generally unravels over time.

3. That my parents were usually right.

If you enjoy vintage pictures, check out I Do Weddings  today.

Hot Tamales and Chili

Posted March 13, 2009 by Archer Pam
Categories: Food and Recipes, Memories, Story

Tags: , , ,


Papa Haggard was my maternal grandfather.  In the mid-1930’s he owned a restaurant in Knoxville, Tennessee.  Mother worked in the restaurant.  When she was sixteen years old, she had to quit school to help Papa.  One of her jobs was making hot tamales.  She didn’t make them for us very often, because she said she had to make so many of them when she worked at the restaurant that she didn’t want to make them any more.  It was a real treat for us when she did make them, and a taste bud party I will never forget.

With the last days of winter nearly gone, and during the dogwood and blackberry winters of colder days, maybe you would like to try Mother’s recipe for hot tamales.  I only recently found it.  Mother dated a lot of her recipes.  This one is particularly special for me, because it is dated November 9, 1950, the day before I was born!


Milly Payne’s Hot Tamales

Meat Center:

3/4 pound sausage

1 pound hamburger or lean ground chuck

6 teaspoons chili powder – more or less as desired

1 teaspoon salt

Mix together well and form in rolls, about 3 inches long and maybe 1  1/2 inch diameter.  Place on wax paper until ready to cover with cornmeal mixture.

Outside of tamale:

8 cups white cornmeal ( you can use self-rising or plain)

1 teaspoon salt (even if you use self-rising)

2 cups buttermilk, or enough to make the mix a consistency to pat around the meat mix.

2 teaspoons chili powder.

Mix well with hands.  Pat around meat mixture until well coated, about 1/4 – 1/2″ thick.  Set aside.

Soak corn shucks in hot water.  Place around tamales and tie each end with a strip of the corn shuck.  Tie a strip in the middle of the tamale.  Cip ends.  Be sure the tamale is well-covered with shucks.  Cook in boiling water for 30-35 minutes. 

Remove tamale from shucks and cover with chili.

My favorite chili recipe is by Betty Lynch from My Country Kitchen.  I encourage you to visit her site, not only for the amazing chili recipe, but for all the other fabulous recipes she has there. 

I hope you enjoy the tamales and chili.  You many find it will be one of your favorite winter foods, too.

Love Lifted Me

Posted March 4, 2009 by Archer Pam
Categories: Blogroll

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We had a bookcase in our bedroom that held not only books, but our games, crayons and coloring books, and an assortment of other toys.    The old, white bookcase was homemade, like most everything else we had.  I was six years old and Nene was eight.  Our ages are relevant to the story. 

As I was looking on the shelf for something to play with, I found a small sheet of white paper.  It was Nene’s “Prayer List”.  This list included people that Nene was praying for, for various reasons.  I saw my name on that list and became very upset.  I went running to her, “Why is MY name on your prayer list?” I demanded.  “Because you aren’t saved.”  was her troubling reply.  “I am too saved!  I go to church just like you do, and I love Jesus.”  I was inconsolable.

Tears blinding my eyes, I ran through the swinging screen door to the back yard, banging the rickety door behind me.  Mother was sitting in the metal lawn chair resting.  “Mother!  Nene said I’m not saved.”  I went running to her and desperately poured out my heart.  My tears fell on Mother’s apron and mixed among the tell-tale stains of suppertime.  She gently pulled me onto her lap and into her arms.

“Well, honey, you aren’t saved.”  was her answer to my agony.  “But, I love Jesus, and I go to church every Sunday!”  I exclaimed.  “I know you do, but going to church doesn’t make us a Christian.”  she smoothed my hair with her hand.  “What do you mean?”  I wanted to know more.

In the Bible, John 3:16 tells us that “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him might be saved.”  she continued.  Romans 3:23 tells us “that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”  “We must each one make the choice to believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and ask him to forgive us of our sins.”  I was beginning to understand.  “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.” (Romans 10: 9-10) she concluded.

Childlike faith erupted from my six year old soul.  “I want to be saved!”  I was firm in my decision.  Mother said that I needed to tell that to Jesus, so I bowed my head and prayed to receive Christ into my heart.  It so happened that we were having a revival meeting that week at our church.  I couldn’t wait for the invitation to come forward.  I practically ran down to the front to tell the pastor that I had accepted Christ.  Mother later told me that she was concerned that I knew what I was doing, due to my young age.  “When we started to sing the hymn, Whosoever Will May Come, I felt like God was telling me it was okay.”  Mother affirmed me.

I don’t know why I feel compelled to share this with you at this particular time, but I felt it a most important piece of the puzzle that I call my life.

I learned from this experience:

1. That my sister loved me enough to pray for me.

2. That Christ loved me enough to die for me.

3. That He loves you and wants you for himself, too.

Daddy Cuts More Than a Rug

Posted February 25, 2009 by Archer Pam
Categories: humor, Memories, Story

Tags: , , , ,

Hardwood floors and linoleum were the floor surfaces in our house.  At a time when most people had carpet, we didn’t.  Our floors were swept and mopped daily, but in the Spring we had to get down to serious business.  Waxing the living room floor was mine and Nene’s chore.  We got down on hands and knees to apply the paste wax.  Once it dried, we had to go back over it and buff off the wax by hand.  It was a tiresome job, but the reward was in the beauty of the shine that remained for many weeks after.  We were allowed to rearrange the furniture, if we so desired.

Mother loved to rearrange the furniture.  I inherited this trait.  She was particularly bad to change around the furniture in hers and Daddy’s bedroom.  One day, she got into a fit of cleaning and furniture changing in the bedroom.  The main thing she changed was that she pushed the cedar chest to the foot of the bed.  She generally went to bed early, before Dad.  We were sleeping peacefully when we were wakened by a horrible squeal, followed by Daddy hopping around the room yelling “Oooooohhh Lorrrrrddy!”  My sisters and I scurried out of bed and ran to the bedroom.

Mother was laughing!  You see, it was Daddy’s habit to come to bed with the light off, so as not to disturb Mother.  It was also a habit to take a dive for the bed from the foot of the bed.  On this night, he took a dive for the bed, not knowing that Mother had moved that cedar chest to the bottom of the bed.  His long legs didn’t clear the chest!  He hooked his toe right on the latch of the chest.  I’ll never forget the sight of him hopping around on one foot, while holding the other.  I’m sure it was painful, but we laughed anyway.  Poor fella!

It’s nearly spring cleaning time again.  I will be doing some paint-up, fix-up things around my house.  Some furniture will most likely be repositioned.  The incident with Daddy and the cedar chest reminds me to make sure that everyone in the house knows how to find their way around in the dark, and the obstacles that might be in their way.

I learned that:

1. Hard work never hurt anybody, and the payoff shines.

2. If you are going to make big changes, it’s good to tell the people whom they might affect.

3. No matter how hard you fall, you can pick yourself up.

4. Sometimes we stumble around before we find what we are looking for.