March 31, 2015

Last trip to Massachusetts



Yesterday we returned from my youngest daughter Jill's in Attleboro, MA. The car trip there and back was uneventful. An 11 1/2 hr trip. Daughter, Susan, and I had lots of fun both ways. We laughed, joked, reminisced about the good and bad times of our lives. There was more good than bad. 

March 27, 2015

READ the small print.

Reently I ordered a miracle face cream for $4.95 and a serum for $3.95 online. When I clicked to order,  the terms of agreement between company and customer was written in such small print that I decided to forego reading and just clicked agree and ordered. Of course I gave my charge card number.

I tried the cream and serum upon arrival and a few days thereafter. Since I  couldn't see the expected miracle on my face and neck, I tossed the jars - which were tiny - in with dozens of other creams and potions that hadn't worked and forgot all about them.


A few weeks later, I was checking my charge account online. I nearly fell off the office chair when I saw that there were two charges --- $87.63 for each sample sized bottle. It seems I'd joined a beauty club and would be charged that amount each month.  Per our agreement.

After regaining the ability to breathe, I emailed my card company.
They checked and read the agreement. It was binding. The rep agreed to call the company with me on the the phone and see if anything could be worked out. Bottom line they refunded 50% for each bottle and cancelled my membership. They were not happy. I was extremely happy. I ended up paying only $87.63 for both bottles and my membership was cancelled.

The lesson I learned was to NEVER agree to anything without reading the entire agreement. If print is too small to read then do not order. SECOND lesson - something that sounds too good to be true IS.

Of course that's a lesson I've learned many times. BUT this time the lesson was more costly and will not be forgotten anytime soon.

Have you had an experience such as this? I'd like to know I'm not the only gullible person in the world. Would appreciate hearing from you. Thanks! Til next time - Barb




 

March 26, 2015

March 17, 2015

KINDLE: VIETNAM STORY FREE


THIS STORY IS FREE March 16 through March 20th. Here's a sampling. Hope you like enough to download from Amazon. Thanks!!! 



Dear Anne: Love Letters from Nam
By Barbara A. Whittington




                        Copyright © 2014 by Barbara A. Whittington

All Rights Reserved. No part of this story may be copied, scanned, or electronically transmitted
without the express permission of the author. For more information, contact the author at barbwhitti@aol.com. Check the author’s blog at www.barbwhitti.blogspot.com.

This is a work of fiction. All characters and names portrayed in this story, or the depiction of locales, are used fictitiously. Any resemblance of any character or person in this story, either living or dead, is purely coincidental.  Any references to specific names are mentioned only for the sake of providing a sense of reality to the story.



Dedicated to all who served in the Vietnam War; especially to my nephew, Mike Snodgrass, and to my brother-in-law, Paul Warren, who served in the United States Air Force, both stationed at the same time at Cam Ranh Air Base located in the providence of Khanh Hoa, Vietnam, and to David Hoffman, beloved friend, who gave his life, along with countless others in the Vietnam War.



Dear Anne: Love Letters from Nam


March 1965 South Vietnam
Dear Anne:
I’m sorry I didn’t write sooner sweetheart but it took awhile to get settled in here.
It’s hard to believe I’m finally in Danang. None of it looks real. It’s tropical with white sand and beaches. I expected rice paddies and bamboo, but not this tropical paradise. It's no vacation though, believe me. I learned that when the sniping started!
This place don’t look like home and the people sure don’t either.
We’ve dug foxholes, filled sandbags, and set up machine guns.
Right now, we’re camped just inside a fence at the airfield. My foxhole is banked by sandbags and machine guns.
The main line of resistance is held by the Army of the Republic of Viet Nam. Not much consolation as it’s full of Viet Cong.
I’m anxious to get started fighting so I can come home. Twelve thousand miles from home is too far for this old West Texas boy. Of course the luckiest trip I ever took was to West Virginia where I found you, beautiful Anne. I’m glad Buddy Worly talked me into taking that trip with him. Hope ole Buddy is as happy as me right now.
I can hardly believe my luck that a woman as beautiful as you would marry someone like me, a lowly Marine rough around the edges. The gold band you gave me is still on my finger. The guys here couldn’t believe it when they saw your picture. Oh, thanks for the pictures.
I never expected to miss you like I do, honey. I want to get this thing over and come home. The short time I’ve been here seems like months already.
“You musta held a gun to that pretty little girl’s head,” Mutt Jackson said, “to get her to hook up with an ugly farm boy like you.” He thumped me on the back and laughed. Me and him are both from Texas.
I can't believe it myself. I love looking at your pictures. My favorite is the one of you in the bathing suit with the little skirt. Mutt didn’t see that one. No sir. That one’s ALL mine.
Hard to believe that me and Mutt hit it off like brothers, him being colored and me white as a glass of milk. One difference - Mutt likes Vietnamese girls and I’m crazy about a girl named Anne back home.
If you were here I'd squeeze you tight. I'll be home before you know it to do just that AND MORE!
Your loving husband, Rob 
PS It’s hot as Hades here! And I have bug bites all over my body.



March 1965 
Darling Anne:
Benny Matthews died today. He was a short guy with a big smile. He had something called Blackwater Fever. Never heard of it, did you? Tim Rush, another guy I barely knew, has something called FUO - fever unknown origin. It starts with a sore throat and fatigue. This heat makes everything worse. The good news is I’m okay. Except for the bug bites.
There was a fire fight last night with grenades and mortars thumping. The VC are here just not showing themselves. The Vietnam Army took some hits. I’ve been praying hard since I got here. I hadn’t  prayed since I was a kid, at bedtime. Praying for you too.
I miss you more each day. Thinking of you keeps me going, beautiful Anne.
The other night after everyone was asleep I kept hearing someone sing, "Wake up, little Suzie, wake up.”  I thought maybe I was dreaming. Turned out Mutt had rigged up a radio so it would play. He was sitting there like a fool singing along as loud as he could with the Everly Brothers. I jumped up and made him turn it off. Nothing like whistling for the enemy. I couldn’t go back to sleep so I sat up smoking and staring out into the dark night thinking about you and our future. I was thinking of the evening we told your mom we wanted to get married. I was scared to death. I knew I wasn’t good enough for you. Your mom sure wasn’t happy. I guess she expected you to marry a local boy, someone smarter than me. Lucky for me, you didn’t.
I love you more than anyone else ever could Anne. You’re never going to be unhappy. I promise with all my being.
Hey, Mutt finally got himself a Vietnamese girlfriend and he’s one happy fellow. He slips away every chance he gets! Glad I don’t have to worry about girls. I have the best one in the whole world waiting for me back home.
I love writing your name. Anne. Anne Dunn. Mrs. Anne Dunn. I think about our life together and the babies we'll have someday. You'll make a great mom. I feel ten feet tall planning the wonderful life we’ll have.
I sent you a silk robe. It’s yellow with flowers painted on it. You looked so pretty in the yellow dress you wore for our wedding. Mutt said you could be the yellow rose of Texas in it. I told him roses were your favorite flower. I can’t wait to see you in the robe. Let me know if you like it.
Honey, do you regret marrying me so fast? I know it wasn’t a church wedding like your mama wanted. I was afraid to leave without my ring on your finger. I didn’t want to lose you. And I love the gold band you gave me. Is your mama okay now with you being married? I hope so! I don’t want us to start out on the wrong foot with her.
The chocolate chip cookies were great. Didn’t last long. I'm saving the pound cake for Mutt’s birthday and the brownies for later when I’m alone. The soap smells just like you. Springtime. Thank you for the box.
Oh, Baby I miss you!
Your Loving guy, Rob



April 1965
Dearest Anne:
I can't believe it, sweetheart. I’m going to be a daddy in October. I'm the luckiest man alive. When word got around here, a bottle of Jack Daniels appeared and we toasted you and the baby until the bottle was empty. I got the last drop and that didn’t take long!
We’re in the hills between Danang and Happy Valley where the heat isn’t as bad. The nearby village resembles a town out of a fairy tale. But it’s VC controlled.
Helicopters have been flying us into the bush without much ground resistance. Worst thing is the guys have been dropping in the bush from the heat. So far I’m hanging in.
On our last mission we were ambushed in a small village. We outnumbered them and burned huts and all. I don’t let myself think about what happened when we walk away.
Mutt says these people are tired after twenty years of fighting. First Japan. Then the French. Now Communist guerillas. Mutt is a walking encyclopedia. He says Vietnam is the about size of Missouri and has tons of farmers. Who knew? Who cared?
Well, sweetheart take care. I'll be home before you know it. Home to you and our baby. God has been so good to me I’m thinking I might just go to church with you and your mom. That would make her happy and maybe even make up for me marrying her only daughter.
I can’t believe we are going to have a baby. A baby? Me a daddy! Wow!
Love and miss you precious Anne.
Your guy, Rob



May 1965
Dearest Anne:
The VC wiped out the village where Mutt’s girl lived. Not a word from her since. He won't eat or sleep, just paces and smokes.
Honey, how are you? I'd love to hold you in my arms. You'll be in for some real loving when I get my hands on you.
This place is nothing like I thought it would be. It’s hell. When I say that I don’t say it lightly. I’ve never hated anything as much as I hate this place.
Damn! Mutt's causing a commotion with Red McCallister. They’ll end up in a fight if I don’t break it up. Gotta run. More next time!
God bless and keep you! Love love love you, Rob



May 1965
Darling Anne: 
You asked if we could live in a house near your mama. Honey, we can live in a refrigerator box as long as we're together.
In case you don’t know it, I’d go to the end of the earth to be with you. No matter where you go, I’ll follow. I love you and always will.
Poor Mutt. He's not himself and no sign of his girl yet. He still gives us history lessons though. We heard drums beating the other night and he said it was the Montagnard tribesmen. They’re people of Polynesian descent who the Vietnamese have driven up into the hills. They call them wild men. That was today’s lesson.
Gunfire woke us before daylight. A guerilla was spotted by a starlight scope. Afterwards it was quiet. No sleep for me. No sleep for any of the guys. Most of us sat up smoking but no conversation.
One of our guys mistook a tree for an infiltrator and fired some shots. Scared us shitless. I stayed awake worrying about myself, and about you, honey, and the baby. Are you sure you’re okay? Don't ever quit loving me. Please sweetheart. I couldn’t take stand it if you didn’t love me.
Take care of yourself. I love you and our baby so much.
Always, Rob.

February 9, 2015

Cards From the Heart...


I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day. What girl doesn’t want an entire day to celebrate love? “Oh, love, sweet love.” I’m a sucker for love songs too.

When I was a kid in grade school, we each decorated a fancy box with white tissue paper and hearts cut from red construction paper. A hole was slit in top of the box. Our classmates dropped in Valentine cards with all sorts of silly sayings on them. 
Some even contained candy hearts with sentiments such as Be Mine. Love You. Kiss Me. 


After getting married, my husband showed up the first few years on the love holiday empty-handed. He quickly learned that a Valentine’s Day without a gift or card did not a happy wife make. Especially when my friends got together the day after to share what they received. 

He got the message. He didn’t always buy a card. But he got it about the candy. After we had three little girls there were always four boxes of candy. Years later, he added red roses to his gift giving. 



And then as the years went by, shopping became difficult for him.

I told him it wasn’t necessary to express his love through gifts and cards. We had our share.

However he somehow felt he was shorting me.

He became adept at finding other ways to surprise me.

One year he drew a huge heart on white paper, colored it with a red pencil and wrote, “Happy Valentine’s Day, Dear. I Love you.”

Other years I would buy one card to share. I’d sign it adding a special greeting and then he would do the same.

I have several sweet cards that he made on paper napkins. He’d draw hearts and write his love message. A few times he wrote I love you in short hand which he excelled at and had to translate for me. 

I have a stack of cards from him tied with a ribbon. They’re all I have now to cherish.

I miss him every day. But I realize he did all he came here to do. Husband, Father. Grandfather. Those were his coveted roles.




So ask me now how important it is to have a store bought card. And I’ll tell you money can’t buy a card from the heart.

January 27, 2015

Winter, Summer, and Elvis




The long cold days of January have sped past with amazing speed. We’ve had a mild winter so far. Overnight it is predicted that we will get 4 inches of snow. I’m sure more ice and cold temps will accompany the white stuff!

When my three girls were little the best time of day during winter was when they were all home from school and daddy would build a fire in the fireplace. I’d have a pot of vegetable soup or chili simmering on the stove. Oh how I miss those days.

I loved when the girls went sledding and came back inside for hot chocolate all red faced and sometimes sweaty in the layers of jackets and snow pants and scarves.




Why does time go by so fast, especially now? When I was a kid the long lazy days of summer seemed to stretch out before me like an endless blank canvas. I got to color in each day with dress up, creek wading, swinging, walking to the store on the corner. Any number of things that made me love my life. 
I got up early and couldn’t wait to get outside. I’d be outside all day. I’d be called in for dinner and go back out for another few hours. I slept like a baby in those days. I remember going to the movies every Saturday at the small town cinema to see John Wayne movies. I’d sit through those shows at least twice in a row. All on the same afternoon. We’d stay all afternoon and eat our weight in popcorn and candy.

I remember when Love Me Tender was showing at the theatre with my beloved Elvis Presley. It was so crowded I sat on the floor with a bunch of friends. All girls of course. I can’t remember seeing any guys in the theatre that day! On any other Saturday there would be a good number of boys, some from different schools, and we would sit behind them and giggle. Sometimes a piece of popcorn would somehow leave our hands and hit some cute guy in the back of his head. When he turned around and smiled we giggled more. They were teens and we were still in grade school which made it even more exciting. Sure we had on Evening In Paris perfume - eventually I graduated to Tigress - and Tangee lipstick -  a tube of clear lipstick that turned orange when applied.



Well, enough reminiscing. It’s been awhile since I’ve written here. I’m still getting settled in my new condo and learning my way around town. It feels good to be in a new writer's group and women's study group. I look forward to hearing from you. What are you into? Is the winter getting to you? Or is it warm where you live?

I’ll be back with news about my next novel Sweet Baby James. I’m working on  the story again. Be good to yourselves until next time!


Be well. Leave a comment. Stay safe. Here’s to spring!

December 13, 2014

DEC. 12-16 FREE BOOKS

My three books are free from December 12-16. Click the links below to check them out.
Hope your holidays are the very best ever.

I have my tree up and the wreaths on the door.  Let the holiday festivities begin!

I was pleased to see that VADA FAITH was one of the books featured in the Pixel of Ink newsletter. Thanks POI.

Hope you decide to invest in a book as a gift for that special one on your list. If not then read the kindle versions free for the next few days.

Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year. Here's to a great 2015.



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Enjoy the romance, suspense, and humor in this collection of short stories. In award winning “Mabel and the Garage Sale,” Mabel’s house rests in the path of a proposed highway. As Mabel sorts her things to move, she recalls the colorful characters who’ve passed through her life. 
The story, “Delphine and Rainelle,” poses the question, is a marriage worth saving at all costs?
In “Joy Ruth and Minnie Hendrix” the ladies find more than arrangements for a funeral over at Miller’s Funeral home. 
Newlyweds, “Wally and Bun,” are set for life as they fly off in a hot air balloon, leaving their friend, Murphy, to figure out where he stands with the girl he left behind many years ago.

http://www.amazon.com/Ezra-Other-Stories-Barbara-Whittington-ebook/dp/B009NWLAY6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1418488534&sr=1-1&keywords=Ezra+and+other+stories




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Love letters from a soldier during his tour in the Vietnam War.
Dedicated to Veterans of the Vietnam War.

http://www.amazon.com/Dear-Anne-Love-Letters-Nam-ebook/dp/B00JZ5FBQO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1418488412&sr=1-1&keywords=Dear+Anne%3A+Love+Letters+From+Nam



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http://www.amazon.com/Vada-Faith-Barbara-A-Whittington-ebook/dp/B007G97Z60

Lee Smith said of Vada Faith, “...the combination of the tight, funny, punchy writing and the serious theme (surrogacy) make this an unusual and memorable novel. The sisters’ relationship...is wonderful as ever, and Mama is simply a dream....great characters and great narrative energy.” Vada Faith is the story of a young wife and mother with issues. She decides by becoming the first surrogate mother in Shady Creek, West Virginia, she will get the recognition she has longed for. Instead, the fight is on! Vada Faith, her family, and the townspeople draw up sides, leaving Vada Faith's life full of hurt and even more discontent. Read this novel about family members learning to love better, to accept and to forgive each other.