Thursday, December 29, 2011


At times, it seems as though Christmas has been going on for months, especially since it all began before Thanksgiving. The Christian community understands the meaning of the day, but even we become immersed in the commercial part of the season, too. And why not? It's a time for joy, sharing, caroling, food, and gifting. Even Santa Claus has a part in all the trappings. After a while, though, it all becomes wearying.

I must take after my daddy because he could not wait until it was all over. He always began trying to dismantle the tree to remove it from the living room as soon as the last gift was opened. In addition to the tree, he became tired of the rich food--abundant in my mother's kitchen--and begged her to cook a pot of pinto beans and make cornbread.

When I was in sixth grade, my older sister decided to marry her sweetheart on Christmas Day. Mainly this was due to the fact he was in the Army and wouldn't be home long, but also because our grandmother and grandfather--my daddy's parents--were married on Christmas Day. Daddy began to fume long before the day arrived, wondering how we could get that tree out of the living room so my sister could have her small family wedding in that same room.

On the big day, we got up earlier than usual to open gifts. Daddy kept saying, "Y'all hurry up, now...we don't have all that much time. So, rush we did, through the opening and oohing and aahing, with Daddy pacing and muttering. Soon, it was over, and Mother brought in big trash cans for the boxes and paper. She left the room to tend to the kitchen, Daddy went outside to do something, and my sisters and I went to our bedrooms to dress.

Then...we heard a crash and a tinkle of breaking glass. We all rushed to the living room. The big tree, now bereft of its presents, had fallen over across the living room carpet. Shattered Christmas balls lay about, and the icicles were strung out, and the lights had come loose from the electric plug, so those were dark and dead. So pathetic, this tree looked, as though it had become tired of the yammering about it being in the way.

So, the tree just up and died, falling on its face.

There are some who love to keep the Christmas trappings up and lit as long as possible. I've seen some homes that were decorated the first of November and stayed that way until March.
Halfway between San Marcos and Austin on Interstate 35 on the west side, Crumley's Grocery sat on a lot between a few older houses. The building was many decades old, and it was weathered and cluttered and really not too clean. The inside was absolutely stuffed with all kinds of vintage articles and stuffed animals. The owner was an icon of absurdity and eccentricity.

Most of all, Mr. Crumley outlined the front with Christmas lights decades earlier. Each year, he added more, and never took them down nor turned them off. It became an icon and was featured in the Texas Monthly magazine, a popular periodical filled each month with Texas stories. Just a few years ago, for some reason, it closed and the entire thing was bulldozed. But there was a man who loved Christmas.

On Ranch Road 12 from our house into town, a house sat off to the left. Long ago, the owner had created a peace sign on his roof, outlined with Christmas lights. Once it got it up, he left it... and although the lights didn't burn year round, they were turned on for a few months each year. 

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas             

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Skate 'Til the Sidewalk Ends

When I was a child, my little sister and I always got the same thing. We were very close in age, and about the same size--she grew to a nice height, and I remained shorter, so that we were about the same size. Mother dressed us as twins, same clothes, same shoes, same hair. Uh, no, not the same hair exactly. My little sister had naturally curly hair and I had naturally straight hair. In order for us to look more alike, then, by age four I had permanents on a regular basis. Otherwise, my short hair looked like Buster Brown, while my sister's short hair was all curly and cute. There is no justice in this world.
Christmas was always good, although we spent many of my young years moving about, transient, if you were, following oil camps. Still, my mother did so well on the one income, and managed to give us a good Christmas. I suppose we bordered on poor, but we sure didn't look like it and had everything we needed.
I remember getting a doll every Christmas, and what I got, my sister got. There were the bride dolls. Mine had blond hair, my little sister's had dark hair, and she proceeded to dunk her doll's head in mud so that it lost all its hair. I still have my doll to this day.
We got bride and groom dolls, baby dolls, Margaret O'Brian dolls, baby buggies, cap pistols in a holster, bandanas to wrap around our necks, jeans, but no boots. One year, we found tiny boxes up in the small Christmas tree that contained little gold lockets. Oh, I loved my locket. Whatever happened to it?
For years, we got packages of panties. Yes, those folded and wrapped tightly in a cellophane package, colored and slick and very pretty. As we got older, we always laughed about the fact we knew one gift we'd receive--a package of new panties.
All through elementary school, we wished for bicycles. We never got those, and I have thought perhaps they were too expensive. But would be difficult to move with two bikes, since everything we owned for all those years had to fit into the trunk of a 1940 Ford for the next move to another oil camp.
In fifth grade, though, we got skates. Remember those old metal skates with a key? I placed my foot on the skate, and used the key to tighten the clamps around the toes of my shoes and the heels. Now, I was mobile, and that began a new life of seeing the world on my skates.
There was a problem with that plan, though. I could only skate on a sidewalk, and the sidewalks invariably did not go very far in small West Texas towns. We had a big space of concrete behind the house where as many as four cars could park--if need be. I skated around and around there, then on the driveway to the front sidewalk. To the right, the sidewalk ended past the house next door. To the left, the sidewalk ended past two houses.
Oh, I loved those skates! Even though I fell sometimes and skinned my knees, I still adored them. I yearned to skate farther and farther, but one can only skate 'til the sidewalk ends. It was frustrating, stifling, even, and sometimes maddening that I could go no farther. I dreamed of soaring along a very long sidewalk, maybe across town! It was never to be.
 Maybe if we got everything we ever wanted, our yearnings and desires would diminish. Then we would stagnate, stop growing and learning, and become soft and lazy. And dull.
What was the best Christmas gift you ever received?
Merry Christmas to all!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Book Signing Adventure in San Marcos

On Saturday, December 10, I gathered my courage and had a book signing. It was like giving a party and fearing no one would show up. The venue was a popular coffee house, Mochas and Javas, a "home-grown business" owned by local resident Brian Carswell. He owns three MJs, and he is as popular as his businesses.
My writing group--The Write Girls--meet every Tuesday morning at nine o'clock at MJ at the intersection of Wonder World Drive and Hunter Road to discuss grandchildren, the weather, our families, the economy, congress, global warming, and yes, writing topics, too.

The book I sold was Wish For The Moon, a 1901 Texas story about Annie McGinnis, just on the verge of womanhood, whose life is changed when a stranger walks to the farm.
Available on Amazon in print and ebook
Please note the required attire for Saturday outings in San Marcos--jeans. Even I wore jeans, as did my husband. Jeans and athletic shoes and ball caps for the guys.

Rt. to left: Carolyn Goss, Celia Yeary, and Jini Etten
  You see why this is the perfect place to meet friends? Very cozy.
TapDa! The Girls! That's what we call these lovely young woman who run the place, the "Baristas." Aren't they pretty? And as nice, sweet, and polite as any southerner would appreciate. 
A vintage book, a vintage table, and a vintage author.

My soulmate, my life--Jim

I was pleased to sell 19 books here, and 5 the day after. If past experience holds, I may be lucky enough to have customers for all of them. I hope, I hope.
I think the book would make a good Christmas gift.
Thank you, everyone, who visited that cold day. You helped make it fun for me.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Clearing Emotional Clutter

These days, I find myself immersed and sometimes drowning in the busy-ness of the days. When I stop and reflect, though, I find that the unsettled, tense feelings are due more to Emotional Clutter than actual mundane, physical tasks.
Listing our priorities is one thing, but clearing out Emotional Clutter is another.

After all, I can look at my numbered list of "things to do" and carry through with least eventually.

But the emotional mess in my brain and heart is often more difficult to clear out. So, I find myself talking to myself more often.

How can we, as busy authors, mothers, grandmothers, wives, friends, and general community volunteers quiet the unrest in our souls, in our hearts, and in our minds?

And just what are these "emotional issues?"

Direction: Maybe I'm going in the wrong direction. Writing, editing, and promoting goggles up time. I do wonder sometimes if this is all worth the effort and the emotional turmoil it often causes. But if I were not writing, what would I do instead? Is there something more worthwhile? Or do I even need to find "something more worthwhile?"

Isolation: Generally I am a social person. But over the years, my social groups have disintegrated or they have merged into something else. As a result, I tend to stay home more, isolating myself from those I love and care about. Writing has filled the gap, yes, but it is an isolating type of venture, isn't it?  

Tension: I'm not an overly emotional person, tending to bottle up tense, unhappy, unsettling feelings. Some people cry, others throw something, and someone else might just scream. I don't do anything like that...but maybe I should.

Worry: What, me worry? I'm the world's champion worrier. I worry about my grandsons, I worry about the world economy, I worry about students and the loans they can't pay, I worry about all those hungry children out there, I worry about homeless people, I worry about everyone's health. No wonder I'm an emotional wreck at times.

What do you do to calm yourself in the midst of overwhelming duties and tasks, either self-made or something that barges in from outside your realm?

I can't claim to have any magic potions or spells, but there are some things you might do.

~*~*~My best calming method is to lie down, flat on my back, on my bed, cover up with a light quilt, and close my eyes. In those moments, I concentrate on breathing, and I may think of something lovely and pleasant...waves crashing on the shore, a slow walk through a dense, dark, quiet forest, or a very hot, aromatic bath. Soft, soothing music might help some, but me? I love complete quiet.

~*~*~I do like to write, so I might say, "Celia, you are having problems here. What is wrong? Write down your feelings, things that might be causing your agitation." I like this exercise because I often find myself writing something I hadn't even been aware of. When I do become aware of this thing, then I'm able to say, "Well, I can fix that," or, "Well, I can just forget that."

~*~*~Don't agonize over things you cannot control. Recently, I learned I can say, "I refuse to agonize over this." And you know? It worked fairly well. I'm in a small group that has the responsibility of seeking out persons for leadership. This is very difficult, but from the beginning I said to myself--"I'm not going to worry this to death. I cannot make something happen, so I'll carry out my duties and things will either fall into place...or they won't." Now, that removes quite a lot of stress.

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas