Articles written by Lois Stephens


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  • One of Those Days

    Lois Stephens|Feb 16, 2022

    We have a habit of blaming Monday when we experience one of those bad, rotten, forgettable, terrible days, those days when nothing seems to go as planned or expected. About the only good comment a person can make about such a day is that he or she made it through to the bitter end. Poor Monday, always getting blamed for these sorts of days. “This is my Monday,” a colleague will declare when nothing goes right, regardless of what day of the week it may actually happen to be. If such days always occurred on Mondays, we could just take that day...

  • What's in a Word?

    Lois Stephens|Jan 19, 2022

    It is amazing how the same word, with its simple meaning, can have totally different suggestions and implications to us as we age and continue onward in our lifetime journey. I’m thinking here of the word ‘senior’. This word of course means ‘higher in rank’, ‘holding a high or authoritative position’, ‘longer in service’, ‘more experienced’, and of course ‘older.’ We elders unfortunately recognize that in our individual cases, senior means older. But think about it for a moment. Remember being a senior in high school? We were ecstatic to be ca...

  • Holiday Dinners

    Lois Stephens|Dec 15, 2021

    Holiday dinners at my house have certainly changed throughout the course of my life. When I was a youngster, holiday meals were true extravaganzas. Three generations of family sat down at the same table, which itself was overburdened and groaning under the weight of a huge turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, a variety of salads, candied sweets, stuffed dates and olives, and several cranberry dishes, just to name a few items on that table. We stuffed ourselves until we could barely move, and then the pumpkin and mincemeat pies made their...

  • Giving Thanks

    Lois Stephens|Nov 17, 2021

    Research suggests that one way to a happier, more peaceful life is to count our blessings every day, to realize just how fortunate we are, and to appreciate the many small joys and pleasures we experience on a daily basis. I know how lucky I am. I may fail to remind myself on a daily basis of all the goodness I enjoy, but I know that I have so much to be grateful for. I’m healthy and always have been; I have been able to make my own way with honest work, I have received the gift of fabulous friends and neighbors throughout my life journey t...

  • We Have All Summer

    Lois Stephens|Oct 13, 2021

    People differ in their work habits. Some of us like to roll up our sleeves and get the job done as soon as possible. Perhaps we make lists to assist and remind us of what all we must accomplish, how quickly these tasks need to be completed, and we then plan accordingly. We make sure we allow plenty of time to finish up whatever chores or projects lie ahead of us, and then we breathe a sigh of satisfaction whenever these jobs, be they large or small, are finished, particularly when they are done in a timely manner, without rushing or stressing...

  • The Perfect Day

    Lois Stephens|Sep 15, 2021

    We have experienced an odd summer. The temperature turned torrid too early and stayed August hot for weeks. Gardens balked at the idea of growing and producing tasty veggies. As I write this, I have had five tomatoes that ripened so we could enjoy them. The plants grew like weeds, but the fruit hung green on the vine for weeks, refusing to turn red and luscious. Other garden plants took the hint from the tomatoes and bolted in the heat, grew slowly or not at all, and in general produced one of...

  • Improving with Age

    Lois Stephens|Aug 18, 2021

    Sometimes, after watching some feat of daredevil antic performed by a youngster with more muscles than brains, we older folks fall into the trap of believing that as we age, we no longer excel at anything. We aren’t as strong, we can’t climb as high or as fast, and it often takes us somewhat longer to accomplish tasks now than it did in our younger years. Too many abilities diminish as the years stack up. The list of lessening aptitudes seems to increase on a weekly basis. Fear not, however. I have discovered that certainly there are act...

  • Whacking Weeds

    Lois Stephens|Jul 21, 2021

    I detest using a weed whacker. I call these monstrosities instruments of the devil, and have always waged a losing battle with them when trying to encourage them to perform, as they ought to perform. I resent the way they do not run properly for me, the frustration they cause, and the job they often do not do very well. I think these evil creations feel the same way about me; they seem to work efficiently when others handle them, but I place my hands on them and they rebel. These contrivances behave erratically, they quit for no reason...

  • The Specialist

    Lois Stephens|Jun 16, 2021

    People who read my column know how much I delight in all aspects regarding outhouses. My husband built me a double decker outhouse last fall, and I have a huge collection of outhouse items in my house. Over the winter, my neighbor friend gave me a small booklet written in 1929 by Charles (Chic) Sales entitled “The Specialist.” It turns out the specialist was a skilled hand at building privies in all shapes and sizes, and since he excelled at every aspect of building such structures, he had advice for people on every step of the con...

  • Behind the Wheel

    Lois Stephens|May 12, 2021

    Many decades ago when I was 15, I couldn’t wait to get my driver’s license. I figured a license would give me freedom; I could join the world of responsible drivers and transport myself hither and yon without the embarrassing need to have my parents or an older sibling chauffer me from place to place. The thought of driving filled me with glee. Well, after nearly six decades of driving, I am cured of that particular itch. In the last 50+ years, not only have I driven thousands of miles to get to and from a workplace, but I’ve also driven cross...

  • Oversized Mailbox

    Lois Stephens|Apr 14, 2021

    Our neighbor enjoys all his toys in king size. He owns one of the largest side-by-sides (after passing the smaller one he owned off to his wife), he traded off his pint-sized tractor for a more powerful upgrade, and he enjoys puttering around in a shop as large as his house. I mention these few examples to illustrate just what I am talking about. He will purchase an item, and generally end up replacing it with something that is just a bit bigger and that features more bells and whistles than his original, smaller model. This penchant for...

  • Moody March

    Lois Stephens|Mar 17, 2021

    I am happy to say that I am surviving anther month of March and its unpredictable weather as we transition from winter to spring. In my opinion, March provides us with the most fickle weather of the year. Its unpredictable days may give us a massive blizzard, along with bone chilling cold, and in that same 31-day period we can enjoy balmy spring-like days that allow us to work outside in a T-shirt. Both extremes mean March, neither is unusual in the least during the third month of the year, and we accept these wild rambunctious swings as part...

  • Wacky Neighborhood

    Lois Stephens|Feb 17, 2021

    Our neighbor lady has quite a few talents. She has imagination, a sense of humor and artistic talent to boot. She excels at creating posters, cards and other graphic materials. Three years ago, she produced a collage as a memento of the first year the four of us had spent in our respective mountain homes. The collage featured many of the humorous and unexpected events our two households encountered over the course of that first year. This past Christmas she gifted us with a new collage, one that totally captured the year of 2020; logging in a...

  • Walking Barometer

    Lois Stephens|Jan 13, 2021

    Years ago, before I underwent a double knee replacement, I got quite adept at predicting weather changes. My knees would ache abominably a day or so before we would see the weather turn; whatever that shift happened to be. Depending on how badly my knees hurt prior to this weather downturn, I realized a particular kind of painful knee meant wind. Strong, gusty winds, to be precise. I would know a day in advance that we would experience windy weather, so I made sure I had outdoor odds and ends put away so the wind didn’t carry them into the n...

  • New Year, New Beginnings

    Lois Stephens|Dec 16, 2020

    Yikes, what a year we all saw in 2020. To say this past year proved itself a most unusual year qualifies as an understatement, as nearly everyone I know can’t wait to look at 2020 from his or her rear-view mirror. 2020 provided us with situations and experiences we’ve only read about in books. Experts have warned for years that the world was and is ripe for pandemics, but we humans always feel these events will happen in another time and place. Scientists have also cautioned that we will endure more frequent hurricanes and turbulent wea...

  • The House of My Dreams

    Lois Stephens|Nov 18, 2020

    Some of you may remember a story I wrote several years ago about outhouses. In that little tale I explained how fascinated I have always been with these outdoor potty rooms. I have outhouse paraphernalia everywhere; coin banks, tree ornaments, calendars, towels, pictures, an outhouse quilt I made years ago, a night light, knickknacks, you name it. If it is an outhouse item, I have it or want it if I don't happen to own that particular trinket. I am not sure why I have such an interest in these...

  • Left In The Dark Again

    Lois Stephens|Oct 14, 2020

    When life flows along as we expect, we take electricity for granted. The refrigerator hums along on its own, a flick of the finger lights up a room, water splashes out of the tap on demand, and we enjoy hot showers whenever we require them. Coffeepots perk up their amazing brew each morning and our satisfaction knows no bounds. However, when the power flickers out, we are jolted out of our complacency in half a nanosecond, especially if one gets caught in the shower, or heaven forbid, the power goes off about the same time my husband expects...

  • Sirens Seductively Calling

    Lois Stephens|Sep 16, 2020

    I have always loved baked goods. Especially as a youth, I could never resist any tempting concoction placed in front of me. Pastries, cream horns, cream puffs, pie, chocolate cookies laden with coconut and nuts; you name it. If it wasn’t good for me, I really enjoyed indulging my decadent tastes. Fortunately, as I have aged, I have become a lot more discriminating as to what I place in my mouth. I can easily separate out the excellent pastry from those that ought to be left in the store, as the majority of baked goods today truly are not p...

  • Tombstone Rock

    Lois Stephens|Aug 12, 2020

    Madison County has a regulation that requires a property owner to clearly mark his or her 911 physical address at the entrance to the driveway so emergency services can find the property if called to the site for any sort of emergency. We have lived on our little abode on the side of a hill now for the past three years, and although we have the road name clearly marked, we have never managed to put the actual road number at the entrance to our driveway. We have talked about completing this little task multiple times, but somehow other projects...

  • Cowboys Had It Right

    Lois Stephens|Jul 15, 2020

    Cowboys knew what they were doing, in more ways than one. Remember those oversize bandannas they always wore around their necks? Just think, that big kerchief served a multitude of uses. Cowboys could use those fabric neckpieces as a cooling cloth on the neck when they wet the material, they could fix the bandanna over their faces as a shielding mask in a dust or snowstorm, wipe noses, mop up blood from scratches obtained riding through sagebrush, stem bleeding from a gunshot or arrow wound, or use it to disguise themselves when it came time to...

  • Lumberjacking With The Neighbors

    Lois Stephens|Jun 10, 2020

    My husband loves to spend time in the woods. He’ll travel several miles to reach our BLM ‘big timber’ country, where he enjoys the scenery, the hushed solitude of the forest, and the search for firewood. Logging puts him in a good mood as well, whether he fells standing dead trees or cuts up deadfall. He enjoys chopping trees into manageable pieces, loading the chunks on the pickup, and hauling them home for future winter use. When he takes a cruise in the side-by-side, he always carries a chainsaw, gas, oil, and assorted tools with him on th...

  • From Rubbermaid To Old Clunker

    Lois Stephens|May 13, 2020

    I used to be made of rubber: elastic, stretchable, and just about indestructible, or at least that is the way I felt. When I was a child and even still as a young adult, I could leap over tall buildings in a single bound, tumble down stairs, bounce like a rubber ball on the way down, and get up laughing when I hit bottom. I could ride horses all day long, try the preposterous stunts I’d watched cowboys perform on TV, fall with a crash to the ground over and over, but get up, climb back on, and try the trick all over again. I never did master a...

  • Fumbling in the Dark

    Lois Stephens|Apr 15, 2020

    Owls have amazing eyesight and night vision. They lurk in trees at night, look below them, see a dark rodent running across equally dark ground, swoop down, and unerringly make a catch. Wow, talk about the ability to see in the dark. I wish I had it so good. My eyes have never provided me with crystal clear sight. My daylight vision leaves a lot to be desired, never mind navigating at night. I can’t blame this on older age, because even as a child, I never saw particularly well whatever the time of day. Darkness and shadows really presented p...

  • Saying Yes When I Mean No

    Lois Stephens|Mar 18, 2020

    Most of us were raised to be respectful, to offer help in times of need, to make ourselves useful, and to say yes when someone asked a favor. We were taught to do what we could to help and assist someone when asked or needed, and to try hard not to hurt anyone’s feelings. I’ve decided I’ve mixed up a few of those directives along the path of life. I know that when people ask me to do something or they want a favor of one sort or another, I have mistakenly decided somewhere or other along the way that to say no would upset them, put them at a...

  • The Case Of The Disappearing Snacks

    Lois Stephens|Feb 19, 2020

    My husband and I enjoy snacks. We like our cookies, crackers, nuts of all shapes and sizes, candies, and other assorted treats. When we have such delightful goodies in the house, we keep them in a specific spot so we both know where to check when the snack monster strikes. My husband also has a special cupboard in his shop that he reserves for tasty tidbits of all description. He calls his cupboard his ‘secret stash’, which in my opinion happens to be the worst kept secret on the mountain. The neighbors know about his so-called ‘se...

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