Thursday, April 20, 2017

A Bucket Full of Silver and Gold Coins

What if you possessed a bucket full of real gold and silver coins? Some of your coins are rare. All of them are valuable. Would you convert them to cash you could spend? Would you buy a new muscle car...diamond rings or tennis bracelets...designer shoes...beautiful clothes? Would you tithe your money?
What if you didn’t have to pay income tax on your bucket of money? Impossible, you say.

But it’s possible in my dream world. In the day of The Dream Bucket, which was 1909, income tax in the United States didn’t exist.  According to “Taxation History of the United States” in Wikipedia, the United States imposed income taxes briefly during the Civil War and again in the 1890’s. The federal government began collecting income tax on a permanent basis in 1913.
I enjoy reading about the early twentieth century because of its simplicity. While I sit in an airport and type on my laptop as I research a subject on my cellphone, I can dream of a time when life was simple. The air conditioning feels good, and I like eating nuts from a little package.

A family in The Dream Bucket had a tax-free bucket of money when the coins were worth their weight in gold and silver. They saved it and planned to take a trip on a train. I won’t spoil the story by telling you what happened to the bucket.

Back to you—what would you do if you saved a pile of money? You would pay your taxes.

I did.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

#Freebie--The Dream Bucket

One Day Only

THE DREAM BUCKET will be free as a Kindle book on Amazon.

Date of #Freebie: April 28, 2017.

Monday, April 10, 2017

What I Didn’t Eat—Food Left on the Table

One more time I’m trying to change my lifestyle. I realized last week that I’m running out of opportunities.

One method to reduce food consumption is to take a picture of all the food—plated or unplated—you eat in a day’s time. Near the end of the day you can calculate your food values, or maybe you can realize when you’ve eaten enough.

But I don’t want to....

My doctor strongly suggested I cut back on the consumption of carbohydrates. Another method to reduce my intake of food blossomed out of that suggestion.

I’m photographing what I don’t eat.

For example, in a restaurant I’m routinely served rice, potatoes, crackers, and bread I don’t need. I’ve decided to photograph what I don’t eat. Yesterday, Sunday, I ate lunch in a group of four. Two of us decided to leave off the bread. Here’s the picture.

Today my sweetheart parked his car 2000 steps away from the restaurant where we wanted to go for lunch. We walked, and when we arrived we had salads. The server brought me three packages of crackers. Here’s a picture.

I’ve tried to hide any brand identification because I don’t want to cast an aspersion on these lovely crackers—some of my favorites.

Calculating on my phone, I realized that if I walked 10,000 steps more than my accustomed 4,000 per day and omitted 300 calories of carbohydrates each day, I can achieve my ideal weight within one year.

I’d love for you to send comments here or to post on Facebook what you didn’t eat.


Mary Lou Cheatham and Sarah Walker Gorrell are the authors of Travelers in Painted Wagons on Cohay Creek.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Lost Collard Crop

What could be healthier than growing your own collards in the back yard?

Collard greens benefit the health of those who eat them. They’re loaded with vitamins and minerals. Constantly we hear that we should eat food grown close to home.

In the past years, I’ve grown wonderful collards in my yard—plenty of them.
 This year I planted collard greens in only two clay pots on the little two-feet-high brick wall on the edge of the patio.
  We’ve been watering them, and they’ve grown beautifully.

They had been free of any of the critters that like to feast on greens.  After I went for a three-day trip out of town though, the collards took on the appearance of blue-green Swiss cheese. Some worms or something seemed to realize the collards weren’t being observed, and they moved in destroying the crop.  

It would be interesting to know what other people do to keep worms and bugs from eating the collards before the humans have an opportunity.


(Mary Lou Cheatham and Sarah Walker Gorrell are the authors of  Travelers in Painted Wagons on Cohay Creek.)

Monday, April 03, 2017

Writer’s Block

Sunday afternoon, Matt, John’s dear friend... also my friend, came by for a chat and a cup of coffee. He asked me how my writing was going. I told him I have a wonderful book in my head, but lately I haven’t had time to put it on paper.

Then I trailed into a long explanation of how I’d been busy working on income tax, traveling, re-organizing my closet, blogging etc.

“I hope you get over your writer’s block soon.” Matt looked at me knowingly. “And I hope I start playing the piano again.”

“You play all the time at church and at your gigs,” I said.

“I am talking about playing for ME. And practicing too.”


“Mary, give yourself an hour of each day to work on the thing you love. Write your book.”
Writer’s block can be insidious.  

Travelers in Painted Wagons on Cohay Creek

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Travelers in Painted Wagons on Cohay Creek Trailer

Travelers in Painted Wagons on Cohay Creek

A Snippet from Travelers in Painted Wagons on Cohay Creek

Jeremy, a boy full of curiosity about the world, seems strange to some of his schoolmates. He has gone with his class to the library, and he’s hungry for the knowledge waiting for him between the covers of a book he checked out.

We lined up and started walking back to the classroom. I read as I stumbled along. The book riveted my imagination so much that I bumped into the girl in front of me.

“Stop it, you silly bookworm.” She turned around and slapped the book out of my hands.

“I’m sorry.” I was also mad, but I didn’t tell her.

“Serves you right to drop your stupid book.” She reached toward her spine. “That hurt.”

Math class followed library time. Back in my desk, I hid the library book—now open to an interesting picture—under my notebook. Glancing at it, I yearned to study what I wanted to learn about. Visions of soldiers mounted on horseback charging off to battle occupied my thoughts. Maybe Walthere’s ancestors rode along the ancient Silk Road. Men carried black tents. Women with babies tied to them held their small children’s hands. I wondered if it happened that way. It was so long ago. Who knew the truth?

“What did you get for problem number seven?” Mrs. Tetley must have called on me. “Jeremy, pay attention. Did you do your homework?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

My classmates snickered.

“How can you check it if you don’t pay attention? Tomorrow we’ll have to start exchanging papers because of this.”

Recess came. Breaking the rule against taking books onto the playground, I sneaked the library book under my shirt. I couldn’t wait to start reading. Hoping to avoid a discussion with the teacher, I slid out the door.

“Jeremy,” Mrs. Tetley, sitting at her desk and looking over her spectacles, called.

I turned back into the room. Maybe we could get this over with quickly. “Yes, ma’am.”

“How is your mother?” Teacher looked all dewy-eyed.

“She’s doing very well, ma’am.” I forced a smile so big it made my face feel tight.

“Really?” She raised an eyebrow. “I’m glad she’s better. I thought—”

“It’s almost like she was never sick.” I squirmed so she wouldn’t see my book. I didn’t want to waste a precious minute of recess. I valued my time, yet other people used my share of it.

One day when I’d become a man, I planned to find a way I could decide how I used my time. At school, the teachers took all of it. At home I had no spare time in the afternoon. At night I couldn’t sleep for the spooky things that went on in the yard.

“Son, you know if you need to be excused, it’s all right to ask.”

“I know.”

“Go on.” She stood and started writing assignments on the chalkboard.

“Thank you.” I stepped lively to the door.

By that time, I did have to go to the outhouse. Whew—another chunk of recess wasted.

Near the willow tree where Trudy and I planned to meet, I opened the book to look for a section I wanted to share with her. In the blinding sun, I squinted to read. My foot tripped on a rock.

The people who left India and became the Romani started emigrating before 1000 A D. I wondered whether some of them really did go with Abraham to Egypt. My Sunday School teacher taught us that Abraham lived about 2000 years before Christ. Could the beginning of the Romanies go back to such an early time?

By studying languages, historians determined the migration began before 400 A D. I found the book a little hard to read, but it seemed to say the people left in several little dribbles. It would be fun to tell Walthere something about his ancestors he didn’t know. Some of them left because of lost wars in the land, but these tortured persons didn’t need a war to send them away.

My reading was interrupted.

Meaty hands jerked the book from my fingers, ripped it along the spine into two pieces, each flying a different direction.

“You push my brother?”

With caution, I raised my eyes...I knew it. Those cotton-picking Felty boys showed up at school.

Why they ever came to school I didn’t know.

Junior Felty glared down at me. “I don’t take to no Gypsy lover pushing Little Joe.”

“I didn’t mean to.” I spoke in a low voice, with the hope not to start something.

“Watch where you’re going.” Junior pushed my shoulder. “I’ll show you how it feels to push somebody.”

“I’m sorry.” I lied.

My eyes caught Trudy running first to my left to pick up the piece of the book. A few seconds later, she dashed to the right and grabbed the other piece.

“And you can tell your Gypsy flunky he’s lucky my pa ain’t had him put in jail for shooting at under-aged boys.” Junior lunged at me.

Oh, so he called himself an under-aged boy. How could he brag about his pa sending anybody to jail when that was where Red Felty seemed to have taken up residence? In a few days he’d go to court for trying to kill my pa. I’d have bet anything old Red was going to Parchman.

For a time that seemed to have no end, I stood my ground, fists clinched but not moving. Then Trudy and Will, along with a row of boys who were my friends lined up beside me. One of the boys in the line called out, “Your ma’s a whore, and your pa’s a drunk jailbird.”

I felt sorry for the Felty brothers. I didn’t feel sorry enough to take up for them. No, sirree.

“Who wants to fight?” Will asked.