Day Three-Camp Kay-Athens, Georgia-2015

In years past Camp Kay might last a week or even two weeks but now that I’m a big girl things have changed. We didn’t have Camp Kay last year. Everybody was too busy being busy.  I think the three day abbreviated Camp Kay we just experienced we can hold in our UGA hearts a long, long time. I’m not too sure about how long the memories will last for for Uncle Ben because I overheard him telling Aunt Kay he thinks he might not live more than a couple of more weeks. He called us the Precious “Princesses of Primp” and he said we were doing great at it because we took the obligatory two to three hours to get all that war-paint and Fuji-water splashed on this morning right before we ate two water melons, four pounds of tomatoes, a pound of boiled peanuts and enough grapes to make five gallons of good wine if you stomped on them hard enough (he said). Then we packed our bags in twenty-seven seconds flat and left.

FullSizeRender222As Uncle Ben later said, “All good things must come to an end. the Bulldog Lovers Club have packed up and are heading back to South Georgia in the sleek white “Escape-mobile” with the “Ego-Boost” tag on it. It was not quite like the old Western movies he said he used to watch where John Wayne got on his trusty steed and moseyed off into the sunset but it had to do. We blazed out of there in a cloud of dust and with one long honk on the horn we were out of sight. I’m pretty sure Uncle Ben hid all the chips and candy we took to Athens with us. I think he has to sneak around and eat chocolate because it isn’t good for him. He tells Aunt Kay he has a lot of trouble keeping his ‘weight up.’FullSizeRender225






We had a good time downtown before we left for home. I’m not sure what this rope we are swinging on in the pictures is attached to but we heard on the radio as we were leaving the Athens City Limits that a huge water tower had toppled over near Broad Street and rampaging water had washed away over twenty businesses that are now all stacked up together down on the campus on Lumpkin Street.

Oh well. As was said in the movies a long, long time ago, “Tomorrow is another day!”

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You should be able to simply click on the lovely blue shawl of this sweet old grandmotherly woman and be taken without further ado to where they just so happen to sell copies of this adorable little book. If you don’t know how to go “Click” with your mouse just forget about it. You won’t understand the book either.


Day Two – Camp Kay – Ken Ken and Mary John – Athens 2015

Aunt Kay took us in a neat little shop called Entourage. We decided to buy just earrings while we were there. Uncle Ben said the loop earrings were so big they looked like the kind monkeys used to swing on at the circus.

IMG_2764Then we went into town and we parked behind the Tate Center at UGA so we could visit the book store. We were surprised and delighted to see a large football type person we thought we knew from South Georgia. He came out of the Student Center and got in a van. We backtracked a few steps so we could catch up with him and say hello and tell him we were from Albany. By the time we got to the van he was already entering the side door and he spun around in surprise and gave us a totally blank look before we could even speak. Then the door took one of those embarrassing, unceremonious slides and clicked shut before we ever got a chance to say a word. The van drove off while we were still standing on our tongues. I was in a state of shock but once we got in the book store we realized how goofy we must have looked and we laughed and laughed and laughed.

IMG_2768Once we got used to the book store we tried as many ways as possible to find expensive things that had Bulldogs and UGA emblazoned all over them. We had a great time looking at all the good stuff you can spend a fortune on to prove you are a die hard Bulldawg lover. Then Aunt Kay made us put it all back on the shelf because, as she             IMG_2771

said, “We cannot give your fathers ulcerative colitis because you want to buy all the red and black paraphernalia in Athens, Georgia.

We went to The Off Broadway Show Warehouse. We tried onIMG_2773   over 200 pairs of shoes in 45 minutes. A nice young guy waited on us there. I was a little bit confused by him because when we first went in the store he looked like he had a head full of light brown hair but when we left I noticed there seemed to be places on his head that were bald. Maybe I missed something that happened while we were trying on shoes.

Last night we went out the Atlanta Highway to The Olive Garden. Mary John’s sister Marli met us there and so did Paul Swilley. Paul has a full beard that is three or four colors. He looks like he’s a lot older with that beard. We had a pretty good time. We had a waiter who speaks   IMG_2784IMG_2782English with a heavy Italian accent. Uncle Ben speaks English in three or four pidgin dialects that sound like a shepherd’s frantic plea when a wolf is attacking the sheep and the cattle are all dying….all at the same time. It was a Mexican standoff….I think. Uncle Ben says he won. Paul tried to referee but Uncle Ben sometimes gets excited and he wouldn’t let anybody else talk…including the waiter.

The waiter was a good salesman and he was trying to add side order after side order to Ben’s Seafood Alfredo. The waiter was going, “Dada,dada,dada,dada,” and Uncle Ben was going, “Nada,nada,nada,nada,nada.” Anyhow Uncle Ben says he won because he only had a few mushrooms added to his dish when he finally got it.

At last we got back to the house and Uncle Ben found peace in an easy chair where we probably should have filmed a historical first….a man who can snore from his mouth, nose and ears…..all at the same time.                                                        IMG_2776


Probably, maybe, and quite possibly if you click on the picture above it will automatically shoot you straight to and they can tell you how you can purchase this fine little, clean little, amusing little book for a mere pittance. That would be the picture of the lovely older woman in the beautiful blue shawl and you will magically find a way to buy this book so I will have more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches next year. If I don’t live that long I will get my wife to mail the peanut butter and jelly directly to you.


Return to Camp Kay – Ken Ken and Mary John – Athens July, 2015

Aunt Kay says to tell you she does have a few chairs around the house but we didn’t look like we had been using chairs. She thinks that is because They taught us at DW you can’t fall off the floor.

To my Mama –  Kim Cooper Brooks.

We blew into town on Monday afternoon in my beautiful white Ford Escape. Uncle Ben said Escape was a good name for the car because we looked like escapees he has seen in the past right before they are captured and returned to prison. He also said the little sign on the back of the car that reads “Ego-Boost” was appropriate for us because we looked like we could stand some ego boosting. I almost didn’t have heart to tell the old blind rascal that the little tag reads “EcoBoost.”

He said he was glad we didn’t roar into town in a Ferrari because he felt sure you and Daddy and Mary John’s folks would want us to be safe and well protected where ever we go and that might be tough for him because he gave away all his baseball bats years ago. He says baseball bats are best for knee-capping eager teenaged rebels who want to hang out around your door when pretty young girls are visiting. What does “Knee-Capping” mean?

Aunt Kay is taking us shopping this afternoon. I forget the name of the place but I think it is a French word for “Let’s see how much we can get in American dollars from these crazy women who obviously like to adorn themselves in baubles, bangles, bracelets, rings and other useless junk straight from China. Uncle Ben says that’s no real problem because girls usually bring home inanimate objects that are fairly harmless. boys bring home snakes and frogs and things that will either bite you or scare the hell out of you.


Uncle Ben says we are camera conscious lens hogs. The minute the camera came out we both turned and gave it a big winning smile.

Tonight we are going into town to eat at the Olive Garden. We chose the Olive Garden because Aunt Kay has a fist full of gift cards for the Olive Garden and Uncle Ben says he loves a woman who eats sensibly. He says he will clean up for the occasion but I heard him tell Aunt Kay he was tired so he was just going to shave the right side of his face. Then he’s going to sit to everybody’s left. If photos are taken his best side will be to the camera.

We are going to have our cameras ready tonight because Aunt Kay says she can use some good photos of him with just half his face shaved to show the judge when she’s having him committed. What does “Committed” mean? will actually sell you one of these totally self-immersible books. That means you can really get into it. It is not waterproof.



The Kensley Report #2 – 2013, Our Lazy Day in Athens.

We didn’t do anything constructive on Thursday after our wild plane ride with Uncle Mel the night before. Actually we had it pretty easy flying up there but we flew on the spur of the moment. That’s why we got there so late and the airport was locked down tight for the night.

We first decided we couldn’t fly because of the bad weather and then the weather cleared and we took off for the Dawson airport. We called Aunt Kay and said we would be there in one hour.

Aunt Kay and Paul and Uncle Ben had just sat down to eat in the Outback restaurant across Athens from the airport. They had to tell the waiter they couldn’t order because they had to leave and meet us at the airport.

After all that hustling around, we did not get to the Athens Airport and unload our baggage until 10:30 PM. It was too late to order from a restaurant so we grabbed a bag of Wendy’s burgers and took them back to the house.

We had no trouble getting back to the house. It was Uncle Mel, Momma and Cason who had all the problems because once they left the Athens Airport to fly back to Dawson the weather got worse. That’s why they had to spend the night in Dothan, Alabama and land in a cow pasture the next morning near Leesburg, Georgia because, once again, they were denied access to the Dawson airport.

It was such a severe strain on me and Uncle Ben for each of us to have to eat three hamburgers and three orders of fries so late at night that it took us all a long time to get to bed. The next morning Paul got up to go to work and Aunt Kay and Uncle Ben got up to drink coffee with him and see him off. I chose to sleep another seven hours because I was still tired and I didn’t want to spoil my first day in Athens. It would have been a disaster if I had exhausted myself two days in a row.

Aunt Kay finally woke me to see if I wanted to ride over to the campus area with Uncle Ben. Miss Anna had called and asked if Uncle Ben could meet a furniture delivery truck and sign for bedding being delivered to a student’s apartment for a friend.

Uncle Ben says it is much easier to find an address you are unfamiliar with if there is another person in the car helping you spot the address. He says you have to drive without running over brand-new UGA students who are all totally lost and, at the same time, you must avoid auto collisions with the rest of them who have been here a while. According to him, the ones who have been here a few months don’t know how to drive without tail-gating your car and having a cell phone permanently stuck in their stone-deaf ears.

He says I wasn’t much help because every time we passed a Volkswagen Beetle I would hit him in the arm and yell, “Punch Buggy!” It took us a while to find the place because he kept hitting me in the arm and yelling, “What’s the address on that house?” I kept punching him in the arm and yelling, “Punch Buggy.”

He said the last time he punched a girl in the nose he was five years old but I came as close to “Punch Nosy” as you can get on that trip.

Luckily I got back into his good graces by reminding him (about the time we got back to the house) that he was supposed to pick up Arnett’s meal and tomatoes and cucumbers for Aunt Kay. We had to turn around and go to a flea market for tomatoes and we could only find Arnett’s Meal at Piggly Wiggly.

The fancy, hoity-toity grocery stores do not carry Arnett’s meal because only old country people , the ones who really know how to fry fish, understand you have to have Arnett’s meal for frying fish. Anyhow that’s what Uncle Ben declares.

Uncle Ben told the ladies at the flea market that I loved tomatoes more than any youngster he had ever met and he wanted to know if they could bring in about two forty pound boxes of tomatoes the next day for me so we could be sure I didn’t feel deprived of one of my favorite foods during my Athens stay. He said their tomatoes came from Thomasville, Georgia and while they were really good tomatoes, the very best tomatoes came from Albany, Georgia. They frowned at him a little but they couldn’t say anything to such a good tomato customer.

Aunt Kay had made one of my favorite soups from Lima beans, sausage, corn and whatever else she puts in it. My Daddy loves it as much as I do. She also made, “to kill for,” lacy edged cornbread and we all ate enough soup and cornbread to kill half a dozen number one pigs. I don’t know what that means. Uncle Ben said that.

Unfortunately, my Daddy was not here to share in the soup and cornbread so, feeling sorry for him, I occasionally snapped a picture of the soup and the cornbread and e-mailed them to him.

After a while he sent me a message back that said, “That’s not funny. Cut it out!” I guess some people just don’t appreciate it when you you make a small thoughtful gesture of kindness to them.

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The Kensley Report – 2013- How not to Fly to Athens

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Getting to Athens was a little more than strange. Uncle Mel has an airplane and he can actually fly it. It has a real engine so you feel better about the trip when you hear the thing start up and you see the propeller start to turn.

Cason and Mom flew with us. Ten year old Cason was not his normal ebullient self and I think it was because he has always flown commercial in large planes. It was really unusual not having constant commentary from Cason who was relegated to the cheap seats and given a set of earphones that were purposely inoperable. He could hear us but we could not hear him. Some things work out perfectly.

The weather was good and the flight perfect. The big problem that we did not foresee was the thriving airport at the bustling college town of Athens, Georgia was shut down tight. There was just the flicker from an old Fourth of July sparkler to guide us. Paul had to chase down the runway waving the sparkler so we could see to land. We did catch the glint of Uncle Ben’s bald head in a helpful flash of light.

Paul and Aunt Kay had hailed a man on a small motorcycle who opened a gate for them so they could meet us on the runway. Uncle Ben kept sweating the TSA showing up and undressing them all. Uncle Ben is a very nervous person and highly resents being groped. If Aunt Kay and Paul had not caught the guy on the Moped we would have had a terrible time hoisting our fat fannies over the high fences around the airfield.

The big challenge occurred on the return flight to Dawson. We had no problem flying from Dawson but when Uncle Mel, Mom and Cason flew back toward Dawson they were not allowed to land in Dawson, Americus, Albany or Eufaula, Alabama because of heavy fog. I understand Cason grew quieter and quieter.

They finally were diverted to Dothan, Alabama to land and they had to get a hotel and spend the night in Dothan. The next morning they barely managed to fly out in front of a storm. There was a huge black storm cloud only moments behind them as they lifted off. Unfortunately they were once again refused landing privileges at Albany and Dawson.

Finally, Uncle Mel, who remained cool as the proverbial cucumber managed to set the plane down in a sharecropper’s back yard right near Leesburg ,Georgia and they called my Maw Maw (Barbara Cooper) so she could do what every lucky woman in the world would love to do on her birthday. She rode out to Leesburg into a cow paddy filled pasture to pick up her eldest daughter, her only son and her youngest grandson to taxi them back home.

It was a fantastic birthday present for Maw Maw because Mel got’em all back safely on the ground.

They actually set down on a crop duster’s landing strip on New York Road in Lee County. I thought saying they landed in a sharecropper’s backyard was a tad more romantic.

I understand Cason has once again found his voluminous cache of wild thoughts, words and crazy ideas and is now talking non-stop.

How Not to Fly to Athens?…………Drive your car!

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The Kensley Report #14 – 2012

 The Kensley Report XIV – To Kim Cooper Brooks from Ken Ken – I guess if you come to pick me up today this will be my last report to you from Camp Kay. I think Uncle Ben is just getting older. We could not get some of our projects off the ground like we did in past summers and I just heard him tell somebody that he only wears a sock on his right foot because his left foot doesn’t like socks. The sock he wears on his right foot is always the same sock and it is a pretty old sock. He said it is a lot older than I am. He also told the guy that he thinks he dislocated his shoulder this afternoon trying to get that old sock off his right foot.

The jewelry marketing scheme fell flat because Uncle Ben says the people at Etsy may be more mentally challenged than he is. Our jewelry pictures look like slides of rabid bacteria fried in bacon fat. He said he’s going to fire Etsy because if they propose to have a national or international presence they are absolutely going to have to teach their computers to talk Southern. We couldn’t understand their website instructions and he was afraid to call them because he gets tired of talking to people in India who get confused when they answer his call and he yells “Hey.” He always yells, “Hey” when he calls somebody and it really scares and confuses people in India. Anyhow, I am packing up the “jewry” as he calls it to bring home with me.

One of our projects is still pretty much a secret but we will continue to work on it as soon as Uncle Ben can explain it to Paul. Paul knows how to talk to people in India. Paul does not yell “Hey” when they answer the phone. We were going to make wind chimes from bamboo today but Aunt Kay made Uncle Ben mow the lawn because she got lost in a patch of tall weeds yesterday when we came home from town. She stepped too far out of the car. I never before noticed how short she is.
Uncle Ben did go check some bamboo growing out back but he hurried back in and said we shouldn’t go out there because he saw a green mamba crawling in the bamboo. He said they are a highly venomous snake and you can die from the bite. I said green mambas do not live in Southeast Georgia. They live in East Africa. He said, “I just saw one in Southeast Georgia.” So I said, “Let’s go out there and let me look at him.” After we looked around we saw the snake in the bamboo and I said, “Uncle Ben, that is a grass snake and he is harmless. He’s probably too scared to bite you and his mouth is so small he can’t bite you.” Uncle Ben just looked at me and said, You know Ken Ken, I liked you a lot more before you became both a teen-ager and a Googler.” I think Uncle Ben is not only feeling his age, he can’t handle the heat anymore. It makes him dizzy.
We watched “Four Weddings” on TV and Uncle Ben loves to comment on the wedding gowns. Yesterday we watched this extremely large girl in a sleeveless wedding gown and Uncle Ben said, “She should not wear a sleeveless gown because her arms look like the hams on a #1 Yorkshire sow. She should be listed in the National Swine Registry.” I said, “Uncle Ben, you are being ugly. She might not be able to control her weight.” Uncle Ben said, “You are absolutely right, Ken Ken, however, a woman with arms that large should fork out another thousand dollars and get some more fabric to cover up all that flesh. She could save a fortune by buying a used parachute for material.”
Then I asked Aunt Kay what kind of wedding dress did she have and Aunt Kay showed me their wedding album. My Daddy was the ring bearer and he had curly blonde hair combed over his ears. He was so cute. Uncle Ben and Aunt Kay looked young and pretty. Aunt Kay changed into a dress to travel in and I’ve got to tell you, it barely covered her bottom. Aunt Kay said girls wore miniskirts and mini dresses in those days and when I exclaimed, “Wow!” Uncle Ben said “Yes, yes wasn’t it wonderful?”
They told me that they had been married for about five years when, one evening, both families were together enjoying a bird supper, Aunt Kay’s mother (Granny) and Uncle Ben’s Mother (Mama Ro) discovered, in conversation, that they both descended from Henry Crawford Tucker who was a Colquitt County pioneer and whose claim to fame was he fathered 32 children by three wives. Mama Ro descended from one of Tucker’s first children by his first wife and Granny descended from one of his youngest children by his third wife. This means that Aunt Kay and Mama Ro had the same Great Great Grandfather Uncle Ben and Aunt Kay were speechless for a while and decided they were about fourth cousins, or so, and that it really didn’t matter at this point because they had been married for over five years. But then Paul came along and this meant that Henry Crawford Tucker is Paul’s third and fourth Great Grandfather. Uncle Ben said they worried for a while when Paul was born and just a baby because it looked like his eyes were sot to close together but after he got a little older, his head got bigger and now his eyes and his head seem to match up okay.

The Kensley Report #13 – 2012

The Kensley Report XIII – To Kim Cooper Brooks from Ken Ken – Today was the laziest day yet. Uncle Ben had a home appraiser come by to appraise the house. The appraiser was out in the wet grass in tennis shoes and then when he came in with dirty shoes, Uncle Ben said, “I’ll go ahead and hold that clipboard for you while my wife whips you for coming in here with those dirty shoes. She whips me even when she professes to love me so I know she’s going to give you a bad beating because she don’t even know you.” The guy looked kind of embarrassed but Uncle Ben told him, “Go ahead and take your shoes off because we have an elderly lady who lives one house over and I don’t want her to be scared by that ambulance coming out here to pick you up.”

Uncle Ben showed me pictures of a Great Blue Heron, he and the neighbor’s son, Andy, captured. The bird had a broken wing caused by an attack from dogs. The four year old girl named Addison who lives one house over said “what’s the bird’s name?” Uncle Ben said, “His name is Charley.” Addison said, “Charley is a girl.” Uncle Ben said, “Oh.” Uncle Ben and Andy took Charlie blindfolded in a big box about 70 miles toward Dublin to a woman who rescues animals but Charlie could not be saved because the wing bones are so thin and delicate they often will not mend after being broken. Addison calls him Umple Ben because that’s how she learned to say uncle when she was real small. She has a real uncle that she calls uncle but she still calls Uncle Ben, Umple.

The air conditioning people came out to service the air conditioning units. When they went up in the attic, Aunt Kay and Uncle Ben told me to get in an area of the house that was not under the section where the a/c guys were in case one of them fell through the ceiling. I thought they were kidding but Uncle Ben says he has a neighbor whose wife went upstairs and stepped in the wrong place and her whole leg came through the ceiling. She was a large woman and when she went to yelling and hollering that she was stuck, her husband and Uncle Ben were outside and in a panic they ran in the house and upstairs and her husband went crazy and was trying to yank her loose from the ceiling. Uncle Ben said, “Hold on, don’t let her go,” and he ran downstairs and grabbed a big pair of vice grip pliers and went down under her and stood on a chair. He said he clamped down on her big toe with those vice-grip pliers and he yelled upstairs, “She’s coming out, grab her!”

Uncle Ben said she snatched her leg out of that hole like a snake had her and her husband broke three of his ribs and her right arm trying to hold her down to keep her from going through the roof. He said they never did find these the pliers again.
We watched “The Patriot” on TV this afternoon. I told Uncle Ben it makes me nervous when you see those scenes where somebody gets shot or stuck in the throat with a knife and I want to twist my head or jump to one side so they can’t get to me. Uncle Ben said he was the same way and when he was a teenager, it got so bad for him that he would start jerking backwards and jumping around in his seat or sliding way down to dodge a bullet, then popping back up to watch the next scene that before the movie even got started good, the usher would come down the aisle with a flashlight and walk him outside and tell him to go home. He was banned from the Albany Theater until he was 21. He said it was all 3-D to him long before they ever invented 3-D.  Uncle Ben has a nice way of making you comfortable with your imaginary fears.

The Kensley Report #12

The Kensley Report XII – To Kim Cooper Brooks from Ken Ken – Today I worked our regular shift in the gift shop at Easy Georgia Regional Hospital with Aunt Kay. Aunt Kay’s Statesboro mothers, Miss Edith and Miss Moena, worked the information desk this morning too. They are right around the corner from the gift shop. The gift shop has a display case located in the Women’s Pavilion that is used for displaying baby clothes (because that’s where the babies are born). I mean in the Women’s Pavilion, not the display case. Anyhow Aunt Kay and I took some sale signs down there to put on the display case and as we were passing this one door, Aunt Kay pointed to the sign on the door and said, “Do you know what that means?” I looked at the sign that read “Morgue.” And I answered, “No Ma’am” and she said “That’s where they keep the dearly departed.” It took me a minute to figure out what she meant but it took her about two or three minutes to catch up with me after I understood. I could hear her footsteps running behind me and I could hear her gasping, “Slow down, slow down, they won’t hurt you!”

We ate in the cafeteria. Miss Edith said she wasn’t sure she wanted to walk down there with Uncle Ben because he made fun of how slow they walked. She said Miss Moena was the one slowing everybody down because she recently broke her hip and now she uses a cane with all kinds of psychedelic colors on it and when she looks down at her cane, she gets dizzy. Then we have to stop for a minute until Miss Moena’s head clears.

I was in line with Mr. Darell who is the head of the volunteer services and Uncle Ben. When they served my plate, I got rice and spaghetti and Mr. Darell kept staring at my plate and he said, “Kensley, you’re not going to get the meat sauce that goes on the spaghetti?” and Uncle Ben said, “Kensley is a weird eater. She is a carboholic. She eats rice and potatoes and pasta and bread on bread. Last night she ate five super-sized scoops of chocolate ice cream with about four ounces of chocolate syrup poured all over it and a half cup of chocolate chip morsels sprinkled all around. It took me a while to find a bowl big enough to hold it all.” We talked about buying groceries because Aunt Kay and Uncle Ben usually buy groceries after Tuesday lunch in the hospital. They see Miss Edith in the grocery store a lot of times and she always looks at their shopping cart and shakes her head and says, “You have entirely too much food in that buggy!” Sometimes they will run when they see her because they know she will scold them for being such pigs.
Uncle Ben regretted bringing up the subject of women reading all the labels on the products in the grocery store because he thought Mr. Darell was going to back him up. Mr. Darell said, “I can’t help you with that argument because I’m the one in my family who reads all the labels. He does a lot of the cooking in his house. So then Uncle Ben had to back track by saying “I guess that’s right. Today’s woman does not cook.” Then I said, “You’re right about that. I’ve got an aunt who has lived in her house for six years and she has never used her stove.” Aunt Kay said “Shhhhh, don’t be telling all your family secrets.”

Uncle Ben once asked Miss Moena about her name because it is unusual. It’s pronounced “Mo-wee-na.” She said she was named for a famous Georgian named Moina Michael but her mother spelled it with an “e” instead of an “i.”  Miss Moena did not know much about Moina Michael but Uncle Ben Googled her name and printed her story for Miss Moena. Uncle Ben said every girl and woman should read Moina Michael’s story because she was a strong, caring, enduring example of what women can do. Anyhow Miss Moina Michael was instrumental in beginning the national tradition of selling red poppies on Veterans’ Day each year. In World War One, she left her home and job at the State Normal School to go to Washington, DC to help in the war effort. She was too old to go overseas so she remained in Washington where she worked at the National YMCA helping with the war effort. She read the poem “In Flanders Fields” and was so moved by the poem that when the occasion arose she took the opportunity to campaign for the selling of red poppies as a fundraiser for helping disabled war veterans. Today hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised by the Veterans of Foreign Wars to help veterans in need and she is known as the “Poppy Lady.” Moina Michael is a Georgian. The State Normal School she left when she went to Washington is today known as the University of Georgia. She came back to the UGA to continue to teach. She wrote a poem, “We shall Keep the Faith,” in answer to “In Flanders Fields.”   She was honored as one of Georgia’s most famous women, a U.S. Postage Stamp was printed in her honor. A bust of Moina Michael is in the rotunda of the Georgia state capitol and a Liberty Ship was named for her after her death in 1944 during World War Two.

Uncle Ben said we probably never would have known about Moina Michael if we had never met Miss Moena.

After we got home Uncle Ben told me I should always listen carefully to older people because they didn’t get to be that old by being dumb. He said that although a lot of older people might  seem slow to me, they have lived a lot longer and they have a lot more experience in getting through life and almost everything we can learn from them is really valuable. Then he said, “Just look at Aunt Kay. She didn’t know that much when I married her but now she’s a lot smarter than I am.”

The Kensley Report #11

The Kensley Report XI – To Kim Cooper Brooks from Ken Ken – Today was a great day for volunteering. I worked five hours helping Miss Christina, the gift shop manager, mark down the prices on lots of merchandise and doing an inventory of some of the items. They are going to reduce the inventory and some of the price mark-downs I did were as much as 75% off the original price.  I heard the ladies in the gift shop mention the inventory needed to be reduced, so to help them out more, I went ahead and marked down everything I could get my hands on. Miss Christina is going to be so happy and proud of me for helping her to empty the place.
Uncle Ben said he could have helped by going around the hospital and giving the stuffed animals and teddy bears to the nurses. Aunt Kay said we were being too helpful and maybe it would be a good idea if I didn’t mention to Miss Christina that I got carried away marking everything down.

They have Jim Shore and Willow Tree merchandise in the shop. Uncle Ben wanted to know what Willow Tree manufactured and Aunt Kay and I told him they make lovely little figurines of angels and people in different situations and the figurines had no faces. He said it was bad luck to make little statues with no faces. He said,” I just don’t get a true sense of fulfillment if the thing has no face. It reminds me of when I was in high school and I never could get a date. The girls I asked to go out would always give me blank looks” He also said there is no way to tell if a figurine is lovely if it has no face. The little gal statuette might have a pretty good figure but she could look like a walrus in the face, if she had one you could see.

Aunt Kay and Uncle Ben left me in the gift shop and went grocery shopping. He hates it because he says most men can walk right in, buy what they want and go on home but a woman has to read every word on every label of every item she sees. He asked Aunt Kay if the wording had changed on any of those labels since last week and if it had he would speak to the manager about it for her if that would speed up the process any.

She said he is a real pain to go shopping with. He talks to everybody about any subject in the world. He saw a woman on her knees today trying to get a can off the bottom shelf and when she finally managed to stand up again he complimented her on her ability to get vertical without screaming. He said, ”Hey, that was great. I would still be down there tomorrow if I had to do that. I did hear your knees and hips popping a little bit but you made it!” Aunt Kay said the woman gave him a very cold smile.

Uncle Ben loves the little white dog in the Travelers Insurance TV commercials and he will start singing “Trouble” in the aisles of the grocery store. He sings really loud if he is in an aisle by himself and when he rounds the corner into another aisle with people in it, he acts as if nothing has happened and he was not the person making that racket. Aunt Kay tries to control him but he will sometimes stand at the end of one aisle and yell to her, “Kay! You want some more of that Tube Rose snuff this week? You’re about out of it.” Now his dog is in another commercial and the dog has got Uncle Ben walking around singing to Aunt Kay, “Oh, I’ve been good, I’ve been good, I’ve been good to you!”

Tomorrow, Aunt Kay and I work our regular shift in the gift shop and I get to see Aunt Kay’s Statesboro mothers, Miss Edith and Miss Moena. They volunteer at the front desk and they are very active. I say that because Miss Edith is 89 and Miss Moena is 90. Although they have a little age on them Uncle Ben doesn’t cut them any slack. Sometimes after our morning shift ends and we are all walking to the cafeteria, Uncle Ben, will say, “You girls are going to have to pick up the pace a little, I have to be home by Thursday“ or he’ll say, “You ladies need to slow down a bit before I have to get the fire hose out to keep y’all from burning up this floor.”

The Kensley Report #10

The Kensley Report X – To Kim Cooper Brooks from Ken Ken – I almost beat Uncle Ben out of bed this morning. He did not get up until eleven o’clock and I slept past noon. Actually he said he got up about 4:00 AM and did a wild goat dance beneath the pine trees in the cul-de-sac in front of the house. According to him it’s sort of a celebration of life for real old guys but it took its toll on his ability to remain awake past six o’clock so he went back to bed to replenish his energy. He talks funny sometimes.  He says he usually only does the wild goat dance on a Friday night during a full moon but something inspired him to dance early this morning. He said a voice told him to dance. I told him that was probably a stray thought and you don’t have to act on every stray thought you have. He said, “Oh.” Apparently he has never had a real thought before.
I watched “Storage Hunters” all day. It was hour after hour of “Storage Hunters.”  Uncle Ben said, I can’t believe you’re watching that rubbish. It’s all mindless junk and increases the “Dumbing Down of America” factor tenfold. He said none of the so-called reality shows are real and every little crisis is staged for idiots with a ten second attention span so they won’t switch channels. So I said, “Okay Uncle Ben, lets watch “Victorious” or “Good Time Charlie’s” and Uncle Ben looked stunned for a minute and then said, “Nah, lets watch a couple of more hours of “Storage Hunters.” I’ve got about five or six brain cells left and I need to salvage something out of this deal.”
We ate at The Olive Garden. Aunt Kay said, “Look, I’ve got a coupon worth ten bucks at the Olive Garden!” Uncle Ben says, “Well, why don’t we go there for dinner?” Then he says, “You know this is quite a challenge for me and Kensley and you are really putting us to the test because I’m sort of quasi-retired and Kensley is out of school for the summer and we don’t take lightly to having to just up and take a bath and clean up all of a sudden for nothing more than going downtown in Statesboro, Georgia. Besides, I’ve got a three layers of dirt on my feet that have kept them warm since Wednesday and Kensley took a bath last Tuesday.”
Aunt Kay said we were bathing and we were not going to talk about it anymore. Uncle Ben left the room because, as he says, since he has gotten older and he is not too sure that he can whip her in a fair fight anymore, he has chosen to become more obedient. He cleans up pretty well. Aunt Kay cut his hair and shined up the bald spots on his head until it looked as bright as a 1953 Hudson Hornet hubcap. I was going to watch her cut his hair but he had to remind us that he likes to get his hair cut while wearing a pair of old briefs and it would not be proper for me to stand around gawking at him in his unmentionables (whatever that means) and besides, he says, “This ain’t no spectator sport.”

When we got seated at The Olive Garden, Uncle Ben discovered a dead fly on our table. He said he was going to handle the problem discretely but when he brushed the fly away with his napkin, the fly stuck to the napkin and since it was a cloth napkin, I could see he was becoming a bit annoyed. He tried to control himself but when the hostess came over he said in a pretty good sized voice, “I’m not sure I can eat at the same table where this poor fly just fell over dead. You know, I think the fly was here first and it would be the right thing for us to do if y’all just gave us another table and that would give you time to properly dispose of his poor little body.” The girl looked really embarrassed and after they moved us way back to a table right next to the restroom I noticed our service became much smoother and quicker. I could see people poking their heads from inside the waitress’ station to take a look at us. I think they were hoping it wouldn’t take us long to eat.

I said, “Uncle Ben you were pretty hard on her weren’t you?” He said, “Not nearly as hard as I was on that gal in the new restaurant out on the Dawson Road who brought me an empty soup bowl to the table so I could get some soup from the buffet line and then she said, “Can I get you anything else?” I said to her, “Yes Ma’am, you can bring me another soup bowl and, this time, don’t put your thumb in it. Ken Ken, sometimes if it ain’t right you have to tell ‘em. I know you and I are not put here on this earth to educate every dumb jackass that comes down the pike but sometimes you have to let them know they are wrong.

Unfortunately, it took us a pretty good while to eat. I could see the wait staff was getting more and more nervous because Uncle Ben takes naps at odd times and his head kept bobbing over and bouncing off the table from time to time and I was praying he would not get his face stuck in his seafood brodette bowl. Finally Aunt Kay and I finished up by dividing a Triple Chocolate Strata dessert and Uncle Ben paid the tab. I could hear him muttering, “My gosh, how in the world can two little short women like that eat that much doggoned food?” As we were about to leave, Aunt Kay exclaims “Oh no, I didn’t use my ten dollar coupon!” Then we had to sit there on that bench near the cash register while the manager, the hostess, the waiter and two dishwashers tried to figure how to give us back our ten dollars. Uncle Ben began to make strange noises from somewhere deep in his body and I saw the waiter jerk his head in our direction and I could tell he was very alarmed because his eyes were getting bigger than the brodette bowls. He ran over to us and snatched a ten dollar bill out of his pocket, and said, “This ain’t going to be hard to figure out because you paid us in cash so just take this ten dollars and we won’t be holding y’all up any further.

Uncle Ben took the ten said, “Thank you my man,” and we walked right out the front door as Uncle Ben explained to me again, “Sometimes you just gotta let ‘em know if things ain’t right.