Holding Onto Memories of the Past

Today is a memorable day for two different events two years apart. Ten years ago today I moved to the big city of Nashville, Tennessee. I had just received my bachelor’s degree the day before and I was looking forward to new adventures. I remember packing the U-Haul early that morning, saying my good-byes to the girls and driving out of town. Because I would need some man power when I got there, my son and his friend followed me in my car. We finally arrived in Nashville around 9:00 pm. We had to unload everything that night because I had to have the boys at the airport the next morning to send them back to Tallahassee.

Now it was time to unpack and get settled into my new home. Not only did I have to unpack, but I had to find a job and fast. It didn’t take as long to get those boxes unpacked and get settled in. It felt great to be able to start fresh after all that I had been through the previous two years. Getting a job was another issue and took a little bit longer to get accomplished. It would be March 1st before I was able to start my new job.

My first place was on apartment off Edmonson Pike. It wasn’t too far off I-65 so it made it quick to hit the interstate to go back home or get just about anywhere I wanted to go. My son bought me a GPS for Christmas so I could find my way around town as I had never lived in a big city before. I was looking forward to learning my way around and finding all the good places to shop.

My apartment was on the 3rd floor. Not sure what I was thinking when I agreed to the third floor. It wasn’t bad until I made the trip to my parents to bring my dog home. She was a 10-year-old miniature dachshund, Annabelle. Those poor little short legs hated all those steps, so mommy carried her, to not wear her out. She was used to peeing on pee pads too, so sometimes I cheated and let her do that to avoid the steps, but mostly only on days it was raining or snowing. She hated the rain. She was only with me for a couple months before I re-homed her. I didn’t think it was fair to leave her in a house all day with nobody at home as she was used to someone always being there with her, so I found a lady who had just lost her baby and give her another baby to love. Oh how I miss my Annabelle.

On this day in 2007, we got the best call we could have ever received. My husband, Brian, was going to get the transplant he needed. He had only been on the transplant list for a couple weeks, but he was at the point that if he didn’t get the transplant soon, we would most likely loose him by the end of the year.

I can still remember where I was and what I was doing when the call came in. We had just moved most of our stuff into storage, only taking our essentials with us, to live with his mother. Brian was needing to be looked after 24-7, so the family decided this was the best option. I had returned to the apartment to clean when the call came in that we had a possible donor. I was standing in the dining room, trying to hurry up as I really needed to be by his side. Once I got the call, I called him and told him the news. He wanted me to summon all the kids to the house, so he could see them before making the drive to the hospital, which was at least two hours away. We had been told without a transplant he would surely die and with a transplant he could still die, so we were trying to prepare ourselves for the worse, but you can never prepare yourself for losing a loved one.

No sooner had I called him, and the kids and I received another call from the hospital telling us to wait. They needed to run more test on the donor organ. They would call us back. Frustration and fear swept over me like a ton of bricks. I quickly finished what I was doing, turned in the keys and got home right away. By the time I got there the children had arrived.

He took time to speak to each one individually. He wanted to give some fatherly advice to each and give them their Christmas present that he had picked out himself. After about two hours since the original call we received the second call telling us to get to the hospital. The girls were staying behind as well as our oldest son, although he came later in the night. The youngest son rode with us. That seemed to be the longest drive we had ever made from Tallahassee to Gainesville and believe me I wasn’t going the speed limit, so it shouldn’t have taken too long to get there. Not sure why I was in such a hurry, probably just the adrenaline as we were told to take our time and just come as soon as we could get there.

Once we got there, it would be a few hours before the surgery would start. We were told everything was going according to plan. The oldest son arrived before surgery was over, so the three of us were there to greet him when he came out of recovery. He looked great and he said he felt great. We thought we had received our Christmas miracle.

The next 24-48 hours would be critical as they needed to make sure the body wouldn’t reject the new organ. Because he was a diabetic, they also had to stabilize his insulin which seemed to be a little tricky at times. The first 24 hours was good. The boys ended up going home on Saturday. The youngest daughter was at a church event that her daddy insisted that she go on so she would not be there until Sunday.

When I arrived at the hospital on Sunday, things had taken a turn for the worse. The organ was still doing good, but something wasn’t right. He was in and out of it. Sometimes he knew who I was and at other times he didn’t. They said if things didn’t change, they might have to put him into a medical induced coma. I didn’t want that. At one point I was told to call the family. All the children, but our oldest daughter made it in time to see their dad one last time before our world shattered yet again. The oldest was in the parking garage when Brian slipped into a coma that he would never come out of.

It took six weeks before I could convince the doctors to let me take him home as the transplant team didn’t want to give up although the neurological team said he was brain dead. They claimed that a stroke was what put him into a coma. I still have my doubts about that.

I seldom left the hospital as I wanted to be there just in case there was a change or if he woke up. It was the most grueling six weeks of my life. He was my world…my rock. How could I go on without him?
Every year at this time I can’t help but think about all the events that took place on this day and how it affected my life so much. There are so many times that I wish I could go back to 2007 and relive those days over again, but this time with a different outcome.

The lives of my children changed so much that year. The person who held us together was gone and none of us would ever be the same again. Our family dynamic had changed, our goals changed, our futures changed, everything changed in the blink of an eye.

Trip to Florida for a birthday

Took a couple days off to make a trip to Florida to see my grandbabies. We were all coming together to celebrate Madison’s sixth birthday. I can’t believe how fast these kids are growing up. The trip was uneventful for the most part.

We decided to stay in a cabin on the lake in a campground that we stayed in when we lived in Tallahassee a couple years ago because my husband wanted to take the boat so he could do some fishing while I was visiting with the kids. I think he took the boat out of the slip one time and that was it. The weather was hot and humid. The cabin had the worse bed I have ever slept on and was only a full-size and we are used to sleeping on a king. There was not enough room for one of us much less all four (the dogs sleep with us). He slept on the couch one night and his chair the next and I slept on the bed one night and the couch the next. After that we decided we had had enough and left a day earlier than we had planned.

The trip wasn’t a total bust as I got to see four grandbabies and my daughters, plus my Mom. I can’t believe Madi is getting so big. Courtney had rented a bouncy house and water slide combo thing and the kids loved it. It was the perfect way to keep them cool. We played corn hole for the first time. She had a pinata filled with candy that the kids loved. She got way more stuff than she needed, but don’t most kids? The kids had treat bags, food, cake and so much fun which made everything else small in comparison.


All in all, it was a great trip and I enjoyed my time seeing everybody. Not sure when I will make it back to Florida as the next trip needs to be to Louisiana. Speaking of Louisiana, Jackson’s birthday was going to be the next month, so I took his presents with me and let him have an early birthday. That’s one thing about kids, they don’t care when they open presents as long as they get them.

Bass Fishing on Lake Talquin

Currently we are spending the winter months on Lake Talquin at Ingram’s Marina in Quincy, Florida. Lake Talquin is a reservoir located on the Ocholockonee River between Gadsden and Leon Counties in north Florida near the Florida capital in Tallahassee. The lake is located south of Interstate 10 and bordered on the east by State Road 20 and on the west by State Road 267.

My husband and I love to fish and could spend every day on the water. When we arrived at Ingram’s back in October we did not own a boat; however, within two weeks that changed after we visited the local BassPro Shop and bought a Bass Tracker 175TXW. Now we’re able to go out on the water anytime we want.

Tracker 175TXM

Tracker 175TXM

You can find many fish species on Lake Talquin including striped and largemouth bass, crappie, bream, speckled perch, shellcrackers,  striped pickerel,  catfish, gar and bowfin. I prefer to fish for bream as they are easy to catch, usually, and I can catch using either worms or crickets.

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My husband (Greg) on the other hand is a bass fisherman and a pretty good one, if I do say so myself.  People who choose to bass fish must learn about different types of tackle, which can be purchased at many stores including online.  Bait and tackle come in many sizes, shapes and colors and after trial and error you will find what works for you.  Part of Greg’s research included asking others who had fished this lake to get their opinion as to what worked for them.  One person swore that he would never catch a bass on a crankbait, which is what he has had success with before on other lakes/rivers. Instead, he was told to use the Carolina Rig with dark colored worms.  Sometimes it’s best to use what works for you, not what others tell you, as all the bass he has caught have been on a DT6 Rapala Crankbait.

Largemouth bass caught on a DT6 Rapala Crankbait

Carolina Rig with dark worm

Carolina Rig with dark worm

On our last escapade, in the last 30 to 45 minutes we were on the water, he caught four largemouth bass ranging in size from 2-3 pounds. He has also caught a 4 pounder on this lake. A sampling of what he has caught below.

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass

Come spring we will be back on the road traveling and one of our goals is to find a lake that we will one day settle down on. We are looking for either an RV park or a piece of land that we can put our RV on and still live in it on the water. We are not limiting our search to any particular area, although we do like Lake Fork, Lake Guntersville, and Lake of the Ozarks. If you know of a place that we should check out, please leave us a comment so we can check them out.

Lake Talquin is also a good place for bird watching.  In addition to the birds, you can find alligators, squirrels and deer, just to name a few. Something I enjoy as much as the fishing is the is the beautiful sunsets. Here are a few of my favorites!