I have a life-long friend.  His name is David.

He died in August 1986. But I will never forget him.

Today would have been his fiftieth birthday. August 16th.

David. 50.

That concept is so hard for me to fathom.

My friend David was so dear to me. He and I knew each other from childhood; we were classmates from first grade all the way to seniors in high school. After that, David would always make it a point to come home and see me. When he was away on his adventures, he'd write. He travelled the world, but he'd always check back with me.

I just wish there was someone - anyone - who could make me laugh the way that David could!

So far, no one has.

Happy birthday, David. I love you very much. I've never forgotten you...and I suspect if I haven't by now, I never will.  Dern you.




Just an ordinary every day moment, with Stephen and his mom discussing things at her kitchen table. No special occasion...just a visit with her.

Miss Dorothy has been gone now for awhile, but I think it's these ordinary moments with her that Stephen misses most.






 Betty Jo has died, and I could relate to what her friend, Lisa Nally-Martin, said about her on Facebook tonight:

Lisa Nally-Martin

Lisa Nally-Martin is so moved & honored to have known Betty Jo!!!She is truly a reflection as how we should all live our lives. She touched SO MANY people in her short time here. I think about her mission of letting everyone UNDERSTAND Autism, the children she touched at LES, but most of all what she has TAUGHT all of us adults. Her courage, strength, zest for life, compassion and LOVE for others was truly BEAUTIFUL and AMAZING!!!!



Betty Jo Higdon fought a long and brave battle with cancer.

I can relate to Lisa's sentiments, and I recall so vividly a political forum where Betty Jo spoke locally to the candidates for state office regarding her concerns about autism and the funding so needed to help those families affected.

She was so well prepared and earnest in seeking answers for her cause that it threw the candidates and many who thought they were attending just another political forum for a loop! It made such an impression on me, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who remembers that evening.

 Rest in peace, Betty Jo.




Daddy and I took another trip together today. We had lots to talk about, but quite naturally the conversation soon turned to Catalpa Worms! haha

Honestly, I am still very interested in this new discovery in my life and he could tell I was still ALL ABOUT the Catalpa Worms - so on the way home, he decided we should make a small detour so he could show me the biggest Catalpa tree he knows of in our area.

It was a HUGE tree. I was impressed. I even wonder if it could be the state champion of its ilk.

Daddy told me that once he went by there when the worms were coming down and there was a big group of people from Louisville there...some were up in the trees, shaking the limbs so the worms would fall to the ground. Others were on ladders, picking the worms from the leaves. They had coolers there, and were filling them up with hundreds - thousands - of worms! They were taking them back to Louisville to sell to the bait shops.

I found on the internet yesterday that some places sell those worms for $6.00/dozen! That's amazing to me. But apparently, the worms are that much in demand to the serious fisherman. Some say they are like "catnip" to a cat fish! The best natural fish bait, ever.

Here is my dad under the HUGE Catalpa tree at the undisclosed location (though local people will easily know where this is!) <Excuse my fogged lense - humidity.>


 Of all things...we had only been there a few minutes when Betty Kelty came across the lawn with her little official Catalpa Worm holder, hoping to snag a few worms for her family's fishing trip tonight! Gotta admire a woman with her own worm holder. Some day, I will be like Betty!

But seeing her come across the lawn in search of Catalpa worms REALLY made me feel I have been out of the loop all my life! Here I am just learning about all things catalpa, and my dad and I get interrupted within minutes of our arrival in a dang off the beaten path country cemetery by someone else with catalpas on her mind! Below, Betty and my Dad engage in Catulpa Worm talk.


We helped Betty find a few worms, but there really weren't many on that tree. Betty is holding one out for the camera in the photo, below.

With slim pickings at that huge tree, she came back with us to check out Daddy's tree, but those were very sparse as well. About the only ones left were those that had been infected by the predator wasp and they had those cocoons on their backs. And they were very sluggish.

So daddy went in the house and brought her a box of his fat freshly frozen ones so that Betty could have plenty for her fishing trip. I thought that was mighty neighborly of him!

I am definitely a Catalpa fan now. And I am just getting started. Look out!





  I still canNOT believe a country girl like me had never heard of Catalpa worms --- until my dad clued me in on the phenomenon today.

He off-handedly mentioned that the Catalpa tree just behind the funeral home was stripped of all foliage and the worms were "coming down". He had already "harvested" enough Catalpa Worms for at least eight fishing trips. And Catalpa worms are the very best natural fishing bait, especially for catfish...and they're the most expensive bait if you have to go out and buy them.

Honestly, when Daddy started telling me all this I immediately thought he was pulling my leg. I thought he was taking me on the proverbial "snipe hunt".

But when we got back from our trip to Louisville, I wanted to know more about all this Catalpa stuff. So Daddy took me to the tree, and sure enough - he was telling me the truth.


 As you can see, the usually heavily folliaged tree (that tree has large lavish green leaves and very long bean pods, normally) is barren, having been totally stripped - in almost no time at all...


 Here, Daddy is pointing to one of the Catalpa worms, on his way down after a hearty feast.

 And the picture above shows a number of the worms on their way down the tree. They were everywhere! There was nothing left to eat there, so they were moving on!

Daddy harvested his worms by simply picking them off the tree as they were on their way down. He preserves them for future fishing trips by putting them in a syrup solution and freezing them. Totally fascinated, I read more about Catalpa Worms this evening and think an even better way that is used by some is to put the worms in corn meal in an air-tight container and then freeze; amazingly, the worms come back to life when thawed when this method is used! I guess it puts them into some sort of temporary dormant state. Forget the Karo syrup, Daddy - corn meal's where it's at!!!

 Now this is interesting...see the "eggs" on the back of that worm on the left? I assumed they were Catalpa worm eggs, but NOOOO! They are actually coccoons of a certain predator wasp that uses the special worms to further its own species. The wasp inserts into the Catalpa worm's skin and deposits larvae, which stay inside the worm and grow and take all the nutrition that should be going to the worm. Soon, the larvae seek light and burrow their way through the worm's skin (ouch!). They piggy-back on the unfortunate host as a little white coccoon. Catalpa worms infected with this interloper never live to adulthood. Mr. Worm, RIP.

I can't tell you how fascinating it was for me today to learn about the Catalpa Worm.

Mother Nature never dissapoints.