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Remember how you and your siblings grew up and went your separate ways? Most often to form new families? Biblically, this is what we are to do – cleave unto our spouse. However, somewhere after my late 30’s, I wished that I could spend more time with my siblings because they were interesting and I really liked them as people.

After Poppie died in 2015, my sister-in-law, Flip-Flops, made it possible for me to at least spend more time with my brother, Bubba. She suggested to him that the two of them move into the house that Poppie built on the two acres where Momma, Poppie and I had lived together since 1985. The property had been in Momma’s family for 132 years according to handwritten deeds dating back to 1884.

It took our lawyer a while to iron out a deed and agreement to address our current property issues and our hopes for the property passing to the next generation. Then Priss, our sister the architect, drew up plans for an 8-foot “room addition” to the end of the house because Bubba wanted a larger bathroom.

Retired, he worked on the house 5 and 6 days a week. Flip-Flops still works but he often had her on the weekend work schedule, too.

On the weekend of December 10 and 11, Bubba and Flip-Flops moved in with about half their stuff and numerous small, unfinished projects around the house. The following day, I had knee replacement surgery.

While Bubba is very good at construction-related tasks, he falls somewhat short as a convalescent caretaker. A few times, he had a momentary lapse about my knee. Like that day at the bank. The drive-in teller lanes were higher than the street. Bubba pulled up to the teller lane exit, looked to his left and gunned the motor. His SUV shot across 3 lanes of traffic in a northeasterly direction. Only when we came in for a brutal landing did he remember to holler, “Hang on!”  No less shocking to me was his rude eyeball rolling punctuated by loud sighing noises as if I were personally responsible for parts falling off my brand new two-wheeled walker.

This is Bubba in front of my porch. He was dogsitting Radar.

Bubba and Radar (he was dogsitting)

Walking around the Southern Rural Route, I often find in nature things I’ve never before seen despite having lived here thirty years. In mid-August, I found this on our camellia bush.


I figured it was a seed pod but it sure looked like fruit. Research indicated it was, in fact, a seed pod. It seems they ripen in early fall and I attribute our warmer Floridian weather to the late summer ripening.

When the pods are open, you can harvest the seeds but I did not harvest ours.


I think I may have hit the jackpot in the Neurotic Cat Department with my Siamese, Zorro.  When it comes to Siamese, I do have a basis of comparison. I once had a Snowshoe Siamese given to me as a kitten. He had enough “regular” cat in him to have the pretty, rounded head and his temperament was normal. Zorro has a pointed nose and, presumably, more Siamese DNA. Plus, there’s nothing normal about him unless he’s merely missing a few of his faculties.

Zorro in December 2014

Zorro in December 2014


Zorro in October 2016

Zorro in October 2016

I don’t want to overstate my case but he’s been driving me wonky and I don’t need a cat adding to my troubled psychology. In no particular order, let me give you a few examples of his neurotic behavior:

He is a 4 legged alarm clock. The wailing to be fed starts at 6 a.m. You have not lived until you have heard a Siamese cat wail with lungs more powerful than a horse.

He likes to burrow under the covers.

A few hours after I put a new Seresto flea and tick collar on him, he had bit one of the little amber pieces off. Two weeks later, he had chewed off so many of them I removed the collar.

I often clean receipts out of my wallet at the dining room table. If I wad up a receipt and drop it temporarily on the table, Zorro makes a flying leap for it and off he goes. Sometimes it takes days for a receipt to show up again.

Zorro holds me responsible for inclement weather. Every 10 minutes, he wants me to open the door so he can see if I have fixed the weather. Once he becomes deeply discouraged, he runs to the back door and wails because he wants to check the weather on that side of the house, too.

I returned from errands on a day we had a real monsoon. Whiskey was on the porch and Zorro was UNDER the porch, wailing piteously. I think he wanted me to crawl under there and get him so that he wouldn’t get drenched in the rain. Of course, I was unwilling to do that. It’s bad enough that I have to butler both the front and back doors because I allowed myself to become a cat butler. I am NOT adding porch crawls to my list of duties.

Periodically, he goes inside my office closet, climbs up a 3-step ladder to the top and sits there wailing about the indignities of his life.

The day I put flea meds on him, I threw him out of the house because I don’t want that stuff all over my linens. Zorro was not happy being tossed out of the house because he hunts at night and sleeps all day in my bed. Every time he snuck back in, I threw him out. After the tenth time, he was so mad he stood on the front porch steps glowering at me and swishing his tail.

He gets his annual shots at the mobile vet. Right off the bat, the vet wants to know why Zorro is missing patches of fur. I explained that he was enthusiastic about grooming himself. Immediately, the vet diagnoses him as “OCD” (obsessive compulsive disorder). You will be so proud of me. I did not collapse into paroxysms of unrestrained hootin’ and hollerin’. I waited until I got everyone in the car, with all the windows rolled up, and THEN I slapped the steering wheel and hollered “I knew he was nuts!”


Wild Things

As I have previously mentioned, I never know what kind of wildlife I might encounter when I step out my front door. Last week, I was sitting on my brother’s back porch when a coyote ran through the yard.

Last month, in early September, I caught this buzzard feasting on something at the edge of the woods. In Florida, we have two types of buzzards, the Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura, and the Black Vulture, Coragyps atratus. Although my photo is not the best because he was suspicious as I advanced on him to get the photo, this is a Turkey Vulture.

Turkey Vulture on 09/05/16

Turkey Vulture on 09/05/16

I am taking a detour from my usual nonsense to report on an important issue for Floridians and individuals in states that have not yet voted on legalizing marijuana for medical needs.

I was recently made aware, through interests I follow, that Carol Jenkins Barnett, daughter of George Jenkins, the founder of Publix Super Markets, donated $800,000 to Drug Free Florida to fight Amendment 2 in the 2016 election. This donation was made through the Carol Jenkins Barnett Family Trust to make it “personal” rather than on behalf of Publix. Regardless, Publix is answering customer inquiries on the subject. According to Erin at Healthnutnews.com, this response was given by an employee named Sasha:

“Carol Jenkins Barnett has long supported efforts to protect Florida’s families and children against the perils of drug abuse. As such, she feels that Amendment 2 would usher in an unprecedented era of legalized marijuana in Florida as opposed to only helping those who suffer from debilitating illnesses.”

Ms. Barnett first donated $500,000 in 2014 to Drug Free Florida who, in turn, spent $6 million on scare-tactic campaigns prior to the election. Amendment 2 fell two percentage points short of the 60% needed to become state law.

The 2016 Ballot Summary specifically prohibits non-medical use:

BALLOT SUMMARY: Allows medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating medical conditions as determined by a licensed Florida physician. Allows caregivers to assist patients’ medical use of marijuana. The Department of Health shall register and regulate centers that produce and distribute marijuana for medical purposes and shall issue identification cards to patients and caregivers. Applies only to Florida law. Does not immunize violations of federal law or any non-medical use, possession or production of marijuana.

Debilitating medical conditions were defined as follows: “Cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated, and for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.

Read the full text of Amendment 2 here:


One has to wonder if Ms. Barnett did ANY of her own research before writing that $800,000 check to Drug Free Florida. I particularly liked the YouTube video entitled “Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Weed – CNN Special Documentary,” published March 11, 2015.

Cannabis was actually prescribed by doctors and dispensed by pharmacies prior to 1937 when it became illegal because of our first drug czar, Henry Anslinger. The video barely touched on this history but I found an article adapted from Johann Hari’s New York Times best-selling book, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs.  In short, Anslinger knew cannabis was not a problem but after prohibition ended, the Department of Prohibition needed a new purpose and he sensationalized the dangers of cannabis to justify the existence of his department.

In the video, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, M.D., a neurosurgeon and an assistant professor of neurosurgery at Emory University School of Medicine and Associate Chief of Neurosurgery at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, interviewed numerous individuals and medical doctors. The most heart-wrenching of these was Charlotte, a 5-year-old girl who was “out of options” for treatment of epilepsy and finally found relief with cannabis oil.

In this video, marijuana was said to be made up of two ingredients:

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive component

CBD (cannabidiol) is the compound with no psychoactive components.

Both THC and CBD have medical benefits. It depends on the condition you are trying to treat. Ironically, at the time her donation was given to Drug Free Florida, Ms. Barnett, age 59, announced that she was leaving the Publix board of directors because of an early Alzheimer’s diagnosis.  She is now facing her very own “debilitating illness.”

The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease published a 2014 preclinical study about very low doses of THC slowing production of beta-amyloid proteins. These proteins are believed to be a key contributor in the progression of Alzheimer’s.

Additionally, the Salk Institute of La Jolla, California published a June 2016 article about cannabinoids removing plaque-forming Alzheimer’s proteins from brain cells.

With a net worth of $1.72 billion, Ms. Barnett can afford to chase down any promising relief for Alzheimer’s but the rest of us without such spare change need to do our own research before speaking out or voting against medical marijuana. A lot of people worked very hard collecting enough signatures to get medical marijuana on the ballot. I remember being approached in 2014 at the public library by someone collecting signatures.

Take the time to watch the thought-provoking video with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He has the background to express an informed opinion on medical marijuana. Ms. Barnett does not. Nor do the other top donors to Drug Free Florida – Mel Sembler, chairman of a retail space development company, and Sheldon Adelson, a casino owner.

I do not want recreational use of marijuana legalized any more than Ms. Barnett but I do not believe an “unprecedented era of legalized marijuana in Florida” would occur unless placed on the ballot and voted on by Floridians. You may one day need medical marijuana. Please don’t shoot it down out of ignorance.


Jacksonville natives, make plans to attend the Mandarin Garden Club Trash to Treasures sale this Saturday, October 1, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Furniture, glassware, household goods, toys, everything but clothing will be on sale inside their Clubhouse at 2892 Loretto Road. Stop by to nab an irresistible treasure, have a free cup of coffee, and visit the Garden Cafe for homemade baked treats.

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