Brooke Cox

Growing Girdle

This is not about people outgrowing their clothes or undergarments. This is about my Mamaw Girdle/Myrtle. She and my daughter Sara share a trait I don’t have: a green thumb.

Mamaw Girdle/Myrtle could grow any flower or plant. If she planted it, it grew. As far back as I can remember, she had flowers growing next to the carport. I think they were azaleas. They were lush and in many colors. She also had a flower garden out in the front yard. That’s the one where I always loved to dig up bugs and other icky stuff. She didn’t mind as long as I didn’t dig up one of her flowers.


My Southern Momma

“You’re so nice,” my friend Susan told me.

I shook my head and laughed. “No, I just have a Southern momma.”

My Southern momma began my training as soon as I learned how to talk and was able to communicate with others. It’s an old family tradition. My momma received most of her training from Mamaw Girdle/Myrtle.

Unfortunately for my momma, I didn’t take to my training as well as she did hers. I don’t know who was more frustrated: me or my momma.


All Fired Hurry

I don’t like waiting. At all!

A few years ago, we were driving south on I-75 to visit relatives in Florida. Being the history buff that I am, I asked Tim if we could take a little detour through Savannah. I was so excited when he agreed.

On the way in, we drove by the Talmadge Memorial Bridge. It’s a suspension bridge that’s absolutely breath taking. That alone was worth taking the detour.


Runaway Doggie

Before Sara or I could stop him, Little John darted out the front door. My heart went into my throat.

You see, I grew up out in the country on a farm. The dogs we had over the years were medium to large sized ones who stayed outside. Let me tell you, those dogs has road smarts. They knew to be leery of cars.

Little John was nothing like them. At all. He was a miniature dachshund who stayed in the house. When he went outside, he was either on a leash or he was carried. So, he had no road smarts whatsoever. And that was what scared me.


Which One What?

There’s a disease we all have, but some of us have it more severe than others. It’s known as Selectedhearingitus.

Here’s an example of its effects on my husband Tim. I’ll ask him, “Do you want green beans or pinto beans for supper?” He’ll give me the short answer, “Yep.” To which I reply, “Yep to which one?” Then he gives me his classic response, “Which one what?”

I guess you can say that I’m the one who truly suffers from it since Tim’s responses drive me crazy. Over the years, I have wondered if he does it sometimes just to have fun and aggravate me.


Rat Chips

“I want some rat chips Momma!”

My mom and I both were speechless. We had just walked by a vending machine. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have noticed it if Sara wasn’t pointing toward it and calling out, “I want some rat chips.”

“What in the world is she talking about?” Mom asked me.

I shrugged. “I have no idea.”

“I want some rat chips Momma!”


Looking Up

I don’t like to sit still. Never have and probably never will. Why? Because I am restless and I bore easily. This is one reason why I don’t like red lights.

One morning, I was sitting at the red light at the intersection of Emory Rd. and Maynardville Hwy. Being bored, I looked up. Scampering across the power lines above all the traffic was a squirrel.



I got my love of superheroes from an unlikely source: my Papaw E.O.

When I was a small girl, I loved watching “Underdog” with my Papaw. We both would laugh and sing along with Polly Purebred. I still treasure those memories. The article picture is of my papaw and me at his birthday picnic!


In a New Light

Her picture shed a whole new light on things. Literally.

The “her” is my step father’s granddaughter, Christine. She lives in Southern California. Last fall, she came out to our neck of the woods to visit and take in our beautiful East Tennessee.

And that she did.


Guiding Tail Lights

Originally, I was going to use the title “Guiding Lights,” but I thought it sounded too much like one of the daytime dramas. That being said, this article does have some driving drama in it.

My first driving drama happened in my early 20s. I was heading to work at Baptist Hospital. Thankfully it was a Saturday morning, which meant lighter traffic on I-75.



You would think I would have learned by now not to always be in such a hurry. Apparently I haven’t.

A few days before Christmas, I was wrapping presents in the basement. I had retrieved two canisters of chocolate covered raisins to wrap up for my husband Tim. Carrying one in each hand, I ran back down the stairs. Yeah, you read it right. I was running down the stairs. And since I was carrying the presents, I couldn’t hold on to the railing.


Creek Christmas Lights

As a kid, it was one of those times I actually wanted to help.

When I was growing up, my Mamaw Jo always put her Christmas tree up the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It was artificial, so she could do that. Of course, that excited me since I enjoyed decorating it.


In Every Cookie

As soon as it turns November, the craziness starts. I am bombarded with, “When are you going to make your cookies?” Or “Have you started on your cookies yet?”

I have even taken vacation days to make my Christmas cookies. Every year, I make hundreds of them by hand. Hundreds. No exaggeration.

So what is this wonderful cookie? It’s a Ritz cracker/peanut butter sandwich dipped in white chocolate.


Disaster Area

It was the crash that was heard around the world. Well…not exactly. It was the crash that was heard all over Tim’s parent’s house. After the crash, the next sound I heard was Tim’s mother calling out, “Oh no!” I jumped up and ran downstairs. While I knew she wasn’t hurt, I knew something was wrong and it was most likely my fault.

When I reached the kitchen, the first thing I noticed were pieces of a dish spread out across the floor. It had completely shattered. Standing next to the pieces was Tim’s mother.


Too Far Up

The day had finally arrived and I was giddy with excitement. I can still remember standing in the long line outside the Civic Coliseum as we waited to get inside.

It was winter 1977 and my parents had bought tickets to an ice skating show. It was a treat for me since I loved to watch people ice skate. It fascinated me how they performed all those jumps and twirled around on a thin blade as they glided over ice.

Being the klutz that I am, I have never attempted to ice skate. I had and still have no desire to wear a cast for a few weeks.


Dare I do it?

When I was small, the closest I came to a body of water was when we drove across the bridge over Bull Run Creek.
My mother was terrified of water, so I was surprised when one day she agreed to go to the Norris pool with our neighbor. I was 12 years old at that time. To this day, I remember clinging on to the side of the pool with one hand while peering into to the clear water. I wanted to overcome my own fear of the water so I could learn how to swim and join my friends playing in the pool. Who wants to stay on the sidelines and watch the world go by? Not me.


Garage Guest

When Mom and I pulled into my driveway, I knew something strange was happening. My daughter Sara was standing in front of my garage door and she was yelling at something and stomping her feet.

Unfortunately for me, I had already pushed the button to raise the garage door. I was riding with my mom and had the door remote with me.

“You shouldn’t have opened the door! I was trying to keep it from getting into the garage,” Sara yelled as I stepped out of mom’s van.