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  • Writer's pictureHazel Lee


Updated: Mar 30, 2023

I wanted to share this story with you today, from my book, “Sweet Tea & Jesus.” I hope this brings a ray of sunshine and humor for you to enjoy. My beliefs remain the same. The best things in life are not things. These sweet memories linger in my soul. I understand now; we don’t appreciate some things in our lives until they are gone. I speak from experience.

Sweet Tea & Jesus is filled with similar stories.

I don’t enjoy shopping at the grocery store. In fact, I don’t enjoy shopping at any store unless it is at a nursery with lots of blooming roses and perennials. My closet is lined with traditional clothing, perfect for my professional life. Some people refer to such clothing as timeless, never out of style and they would be right. I don’t care for trendy anything.

Why would I purchase more? I will let you ponder that thought. After-thought - I do love antique stores, old book stores, anything with a history.

Let me share some thoughts on changes in my life and their effect.

Technology continues changing. WALMART now offers its customers online grocery shopping, which is great for people like me. How convenient! In less than an hour, while sitting at my kitchen table, I can enjoy a cup of coffee, order, pay, and schedule a pickup time.

My mama would have been all about this kind of shopping. She did not drive. I can manage my food budget and at the same time eliminate wasteful spending. I don’t end up with two ketchups, two mustards, and gobs of salad dressings that have expired. I am sure you get the picture.

Surprisingly, I discovered WALMART offers CASKETS ON LINE FOR PURCHASE! Really? That is just plain morbid to me. Where on earth would you store one if you purchased it on sale? How do you tell the funeral home you have picked out a casket from Walmart and it’s stored ayour house? My son walked by, heard me talking to myself, and laughingly said, “Use it for extra company to sleep in, mom,” he shouted, “just put it in an extra bedroom!” I can’t even go there.

Sometimes, going to the grocery store empty-handed, with no list, can be a form of freedom. First stop is the ice cream station. Next the bakery, and lastly the junk food aisles. I usually end my shopping picking up Little Debbie snack bars, drinks, potato chips, bean dips and popcorn. Our great Pyrenees, Tebow, loves Cheetos. Have to grab a bag for him. Talk about a smacking-good time! I do this very seldom. My weight is fineand I want to keep it that way.

Just notice all of the healthy choices we have in today’s grocery store. Fat-free, low-fat, no-fat, no-sugar, zero calories, all natural, organic, vegan and on, and on. I become anxious, trying to decide what to purchase. Another reason I don’t like shopping in stores.

Okay, get ready. Small purchase goes viral in my small world! I made a trip to a well-known chain store, to purchase 60-watt light bulbs. I guess they are still called light bulbs. I swear, I was a nervous wreck. The building itself is so huge - high ceilings, miles of aisles, loud noises, and loud music. It turned into a disaster!

Remember the movie, Hoosiers? When the coach took the basketball team to see the HUGE stadium, where they would be playing the basketball state championships? He took them inside, had them measure the size of the basketball court, only to find it was no larger than the basketball court at home. He wanted to calm their nerves; the stadium was so overwhelming. It worked. That would not have helped me.

When you walk into the store, someone usually greets you, offering assistance. Typically, you are sent to the correct aisle to find items needed. Not so this day. The checker gave me directions to my aisle. After walking for what seemed like days, I arrived.

If you can’t find what you want, have a question, or need someone, you can’t find them,

Really? Do all of their employees take breaks, or eat lunch at the same time?

One of my closest friends told me she had stood in this same building, screaming, “DOES ANYBODY IN HERE WANT MY MONEY?” I counted over 70 different light bulbs, including

soft white, incandescent white, white-white, soft pink, psychedelic pink, soft blue, soft yellow, clear, I am sorry, I can’t remember all of the latest energy-saving bulbs.

My brain had a melt-down, and I felt a horrible panic attack coming on.

All I wanted were 60-watt light bulbs. I never got any help. So frustrated, I went home, got on my computer, and ordered them from Amazon.

I will never go to that store again, unless they are having a huge sale in their gardening department.

I now shop at a much smaller hardware store nearby. I love this store. It’s easy to park. You don’t have to walk a mile. The employees are extremely courteous, and there is free popcorn when you enter.

I am sure I looked like a deer in the headlights. The employees either scattered like a covey of quail, or they felt sorry for me, taking turns helping me.

I remembered going to the hardware store with my daddy.

He went to the Western Auto Store for practically everything, including duct tape. I tagged along. If it were 60-watt or 75-watt incandescent light bulbs he wanted, that was it.

Our trips were short. His philosophy was simple. Get in, get what you need, then get out.

Otherwise, you would spend too much money.

Afterward, my daddy would head over to the “filling station” to gas up his ‘57 Ford Fairlane. He loved that old car. It was sky-blue and white, with white wall tires. It was a beauty! He paid 29 cents a gallon for gas. After checking the tires, oil, and cleaning the windshield, it was time for a treat.

He loved getting an ice-cold Coca-Cola, before heading home. you, I did not say coke. Drinks were kept in large, steel bins, covered in ice. My arm and hand were almost to short to reach down into that old bin, while pulling out an icy cold, coca-cola. I can remember how cold my arm and hand were!

He had a special way of drinking Coca-CoHe would grab two bags of salted peanuts. Popping the lids off, he would down a big swig. Now, the good part. He would pour the salted peanuts into the bottle, all the way to the top! Of course, I did the same thing. It was “chow down” time. On a hot day, it would hit the spot, unless it was an ice-cold watermelon.

Finally, he would talk shop with his buddies. We lived in a small rural town. Seemed like everyone knew everyone. He called most of his friends, “captain.” Time felt like it had stopped in that little town. I guess that is why I love Mayberry R.F.D. Southern thing I suppose.

We usually grabbed a moon pie for the road, then off to home. All of these places were within two blocks of each other. Where did those days go?

If I were lucky, daddy would let me drive home on the dirt road to our house. Sweet Jesus, no telling how many times I gave him whiplash. He was a patient man. I was his only child and his little girl. “Hazel Lee,“ he yelled, “take your foot easilyoff the clutch, then accelerate slowly on the pedal.” Bless his heart.

He had to deal with a couple of tickets I had gotten in high school from speeding. Imagine that.

In fact, I had a local policeman follow me home, after a Friday night football game. He kept the SIRENS AND RED LIGHTS ON THE ENTIRE TIME! If any of you remember guinea hens, you could not sneak home at night. Imagine a blaring police siren and guinea hens! Not funny.

It was past curfew, but what did daddy do? He came out, saying, “Go in the house, baby, I’ll take care of this.” He did. Of course he knew our local policeman. They were good friends. ‘Just watching out for your little girl, Jessie,’ the officer said.

“Thank you, captain, I’ll have a talk with her,” daddy replied. I got my usual good night hug. “Hazel Lee, you go to bed, and don’t be scaring me like that again,” he angrily said. “I won’t, daddy,”I tearfully replied. He was trying to protect me, and so he did.

Philosophers say our past determines our future. I agree. All of those times, sitting in church as a little girl, listening to the teachings and singing old gospel hymns, would become my backbone, anchor and love for Jesus. Snuggling next to granny, well, I guess I did because if Jesus called granny home, He surely

had to take me.

I can assure you, as a little girl, I wasn’t always polite, courteous or kind. Being bad had a way of catching up with me, sooner or later. I was the “Scout” in our family, much like the character, Scout, in the movie, “TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.”

I wondered why I would get caught, or get into trouble, and no one else did, so it seemed. The Golden Rule, yes ma’am, no ma’am, tell the truth, be kind to others and do not ever forget your manners; those were staples in my daily life.

On one occasion, while speaking with a lady on a business call at my office, I happened to call her sweetie. That was it. Complete silence. I thought she had hung up.

Suddenly, she began screaming, “Do not call me sweetie!” “My name is Karen!” Startled I immediately apologized. Before I could catch my breath, I nervously said, ‘I’m so sorry, sweetie,’ ‘I won’t do that again.’ She hung up on me. I didn’t call her back. Sometimes it is better to leave some things alone. I did say a prayer for her.

To this day, I say ‘yes ma’am, no ma’am, yes sir, or no sir, regardless of age.

It is ingrained in my soul.

I graduated from high school in 1966. I ultimately left that little town. I went on with my life. Soon afterward, mama and daddy were gone.

Looking back, you can’t buy these teachings I learned as a child, in a store or on a computer. You live them everyday. It becomes second nature; part of you.

“Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Proverbs 22:6 I would hope I am living out those precious words of our Heavenly Father. Reat assured I have not achieved all of His goals set for me in my life, or who I should be in Christ. He knows that. I would like to think I am trying, by pressing forward.

ISN’T IT WONDERFUL all we have to do is ask Jesus to forgive us, tell Him we are sorry for our sins and just like that, it is done!

Simple. I do simple.

PLEASE DON’T BE SO HARD ON YOURSELVES! If you mess up, be quick to apologize. I’m having my own issues trying to get through these challenging days.

HIT THE PAUSE BUTTON, when you are frustrated. God knows we are

under great pressure. Take time for yourself. Read a good book. Go for a walk in your neighborhood. Go to your garden and dig in the dirt. Don’t put gloves on. I love the feel of dirt on my hands.

It’s the same feeling I had watching mama make her famous buttermilk biscuits. After scrubbing my hands sometimes twice, mama would let me put my hands in the flour. I tried to duplicate her making biscuits. It never happened. It, too, is an art, much like ironing a shirt. I loved putting my hands in the flour and squeezing it between my fingers. I don’t think that was invented yet.

Watching her roll biscuits in the palm of her hand was mesmerizing. Usually she was singing, totally absorbed in her task at hand. She patted them down, with one more must-do task before going into the oven. She dabbed a little lard on top of each one. They came out of the oven golden brown! Home-made butter, fig preserves served with her buttermilk biscuits, and iced tea, there are no words to describe the taste.

I do Pillsbury Hungry Jack biscuits these days. That is a sin. Just kidding. I am making myself hungry! She would sit her flour bowl, covered with a dish towel, in the pie hutch, until the next time. Memories. I am sad I can’t duplicate her biscuits. No telling how many she made in her life time. However, I feel I am honoring her by sharing her many talents, I somehow did not inherit.

I will write about how she cleaned her wooden floors, on her hands and knees. Another time. Spotless! You could eat off of them.

Watch Fried Green Tomatoes your 30th time! It’s ok. If you can’t cook dinner, bring out the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Get some good ice cream. I have a great brand. It is Lemon meringue ice cream by Yarnell. Sinfully good! Try it! My sweet neighbor brought me a container last week, just out of the blue! There’s a thought for you. How Kind of her was that? Check ahead, stores are having a hard time keeping it.

Before long, you will start feeling better. Keep your eyes on the cross, and your feet on the ground! He has His eye on the sparrow and you too.

As I write, I see household chores needing to be done. They will get done. Reaching out to others right now is far more important. These are two of my favorite Quotes from Mr. ROGERS:

“I find out more and more every day how important it is for people to share their memories.” How true.

“I would like to tell you what I often told you when you were much younger; I like you just the way you are,” from his book, ‘The World According to Mister ROGERS.’

Do you see what I see in his beautiful statement? From childhood to adulthood, continuous, kind words!



Peace, love, joy, kindness, patience, goodness, self-control, against such things there is no law! Galatians 5:22-23. Fruits of the spirit!

If you look even further into Mr. Rogers’ quote, you will see Christ! Have a peaceful and restful day. Tomorrow will take care of itself! God will be there in the midst to help each one of us, PROMISE!

Readers, thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

If you're interested in my other writings, my book, Sweet Tea & Jesus, is available on Amazon

I hope you were inspired as I took us down memory lane again. If you notice, you hear no mention of money, stuff and more stuff. Money was not plentiful. But just know, best food ever, blessed with a beautiful prayer before eating, still lingers in my heart.

I didn’t think people would care about such times, and my writings. God proved me wrong. I share from my heart. It seems He wakes me often.

Keep love, peace and joy in your heart. Be still. Wait. Listen. Promise you will hear a little voice deep in your heart, “I am with you always.” Matthew 28:20, and He is!

If I have blessed your day, I have accomplished what I feel my Heavenly Father would have me do! I must go clean my house now!

until take time to smell the 🌹 roses! Peace be with you, Hazel Lee

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08 de jun. de 2021

Good morning, Hazel Lee... What a refreshing spot. Stuck in the 50's. Thank You. Robert Berry

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