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Happy Father’s Day, Daddy!


This picture was taken in 1997. It’s my Dad, Me & Momma. I usually pull out the picture on special occasions. Today is Father’s Day. This is the 4th Father’s Day without Daddy here.  I miss him terribly. Not a day goes by I don’t think of him.

I can’t begin to explain the dynamic in mine and my Dad’s relationship. I knew he loved us all but he rarely said it. I knew it though. Such an occasion was the day of my first marriage. It was a beautiful church wedding. Daddy gave me away. When the music started playing he said, “You know I don’t think you should do this and if it don’t work you can come home, but I’ll walk you down the aisle.”  He lowered my veil and down the aisle we went. Four months later when the marriage ended, I came home in a pool of tears. He said, “Hush that crying you’re better off without the bastard.”  That was how he showed love.  It was there, unspoken but present. Kind of like a force of nature, you know the clouds are up there even if you don’t hear the wind rushing by.

That is what made his passing so hard for me. He was always there. Quietly there, then he wasn’t. When I was a little girl I use to have these nightmares that I would wake up and be alone. He or Momma would be gone. 46 years later it happened and I wasn’t prepared. Of course we never are.  The last days of my Dad’s life were not physically pleasant for him and I know now that he is at peace. That knowledge that he is at peace comforts me.   

The last years we watched alot of TV together. He loved westerns. I can still hear him spit his tobacco and say, “watch this; he’s fixing to pin their ears back!”  Even today that still makes me smile.  It’s those memories I carry with me. Death can’t change the fact I’m Dad’s little girl.. I shall always be, Arleen Cornelius, Arley’s little girl. Happy Father’s Day Daddy, I miss you and love you dearly!

22 years later…

I remember May 9th, 1990, like it was yesterday. The day I gave birth to my baby girl, Amanda Kathleen. From moment one I have called her Mandy. It was the first thing I said when they held her up. She was the most perfect little angel I had ever seen and the only word to sum up that beauty came out of my mouth, Mandy.  The memory brings tears to my eyes as I type, but they are good memories, the best kind.

The first night they brought Mandy in and she slept in the bassinet by my bed. I was so scared to sleep,afraid this perfect little gift from heaven would be gone if I drifted off. I held her little hand, she wrapped her tiny fingers around mine and I made a promise that is still true to this day, “Momma will always be here for you, just put your hand in mine.”

Hard to believe she is 22nd years old. Where have the years flown? She has grown into a gorgeous, creative, beautiful woman. She has an inner strength that I is remarkable. Her wit is sharp and to the point hilarious. I have long told her her calling should have been acting, the camera loves her.  She my little Taurus baby that I danced around the house singing “My Girl” to. ” I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day. When its cold outside I’ve got the month of May.” I sure do!


If these walls could talk…

If walls could talk, the walls of my home would speak volumes and I would gleefully listen to ever word it said. They have seen so many memorable events. Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays. The room my daughter took her first steps is the same room my Dad took his last breath. How could I not be emotional about this place?

The history of our home is interesting. This house is an old 1920’s mining house. My Dad said that when he was a teenager he use to apprentice as a plumber. This house was one of the first houses he ever plumbed. That was years before we actually moved into it. Momma & Daddy bought this house in 1964. The deed says they paid $500 for it. That is $500 cash. Unheard of in today’s economy. They had to move it from the location in Klondike to where it has sit for the past 48 years. They purchased the 17 acres of land it sits on, after it sold twice before for tax issues. We moved here in March of 1964. I remember the first morning when I walked on the porch, looking through the banisters to see red dirt and trees. My two year old mind did not understand where our neighbors were. Momma said I looked up and said, “where Margie?”

A lot of memories lay within these walls. This is my home and I don’t think I could ever leave. I’ve spent a lot of time looking out my windows at the columns on the front. I remember the day Daddy and Momma put those columns up. I felt like I lived in a mansion. To this day people call this the “old Cornelius place”. Years ago, Coal companies (yes, more than one) moved in to mine around us and under us. Yes, we have damage from that, but to explain the evil dealings that occurred when lawyers got involved, well pisses me off to speak of. But the fact remains; we have damages to this day that were never remedied. I want to one day fix this house back up, depending upon whether the latest batch of coal barons’ does not knock us off the map. They are slated to begin soon and their property borders ours.

Inspiration can sometimes come from out of the blue. I get enamored with pillars, posts and whitewashed wood. Oh how I love arches and anything Gothic revival. I thank you Universe for renewing my resolve to “the old Cornelius Place”. I will fight on to keep this place, be it neighbors, termites, coal companies or time. Bring it on, this is my home.

Step One

It’s been said a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. So here goes, my first step to creating my blog.
So many questions flood my mind: How does this program work? How do I link it to Twitter and Facebook? These are the logistical questions. I can easily  find answers to those questions. The hard questions for me are: What do you write about to make it interesting for others to read? Man, that is a hard question. It is the main reason I haven’t written this before now. I suppose the answer is Ms. Arleen. I’ll write about my life.

Who is Ms.Arleen? Statistically I’m a 49 year old,white female. I live in Cordova, Alabama. That’s cold static facts though. I will be the first to tell you I am more than facts. I am passionate about everything I do in life, from Espresso in the morning,to my artwork. I do nothing halfway. It’s full tilt or go to the house. I love the simplicity of the country-life but enjoy the connection to life in the city. I strive for excellence. So many times, I have fallen so short,but I ‘ve never stopped trying. Life has the recurring theme of duality for me.

In 2000, I moved from my little studio apartment in Birmingham back to the rural country home in which I was raised. My Dad had Black Lung, Dementia and heart disease and it was becoming more than Momma could handle alone. I came home to help. Somewhere in all that 12 years, I grew stronger as a woman and an adult, bearing more responsibility than ever before. I was given the gift of time with my parents,something I shall always treasure but I lost time for me. I have never said that before,I always felt like I was being selfish to even feel it. It’s true though,the days become years.

That brings me back to never stop trying. I recently started back to college. I’m studying Surgical Technology. Its hard at any age but for 49,soon to be 50,well some days it’s exhausting,yet exciting. (There’s the duality thing again)  I graduate in a year and finally begin the career I always wanted. I will still paint but I won’t have that nagging worry about finances.

So in a nutshell, this is an overview of Ms. Arleen. I’m not much different than any other woman. I have fears, fits and fights like the rest of us. Maybe thats the answer to the second question: Why would anyone want to read this? This blog is about life. The struggles, the adventures, the projects. It’s about something we all do on a daily basis, living life.   I will talk about my house and the struggles with repair (long story I will get to), about my garden (a new experience, this should be interesting) and my family, whom I love very much.

Ms. Arleen