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Sunday, December 25, 2016


Christmas Eve has always held its magic for me for my family always celebrated Christmas then with the opening of gifts and a then we ate sumptuous dinner. The next day on Christmas was a day spent together and one of reminiscing along with relatives that would stop by.

But in 1980 a woman that lived up the street from me named Chris, called me and said she had an idea and asked if I’d participate. Her idea was for everyone in the neighborhood to place white bakery bags with sand in them on each side of their driveways and put a lit candle inside but just on Christmas Eve. She asked if I would call my nearby neighbors and I gladly said I would; she called the rest and the rest involved three streets. That phone call came three weeks before Christmas and gave us all time to purchase bakery bags, sand and candles. None of it was costly.

All of us lived close to a hardware store, a bakery and many places to buy small candles. Everyone I called thought it was a great idea and looking back, everyone that Chris called thought so as well.

The day before Christmas Eve that year, came a cold snap and it was so cold outside that it made anyone’s teeth shake. The supplies for the luminaries were ready at my house and the next night it was bone chilling. I will never forget going outside with my then-husband, my two young sons and the supplies and of course, they wanted to put sand in each white bakery bag and so it was back in the house to retrieve two huge spoons.

Sand was shakily put in each white bakery bag by small gloved hands, while my then-husband and I placed a small white lit candle inside each bag. Our driveway was illuminated on both sides and it was one glorious sight.

But even more glorious was to look up the street about half an hour later and see nothing but glowing white bags in rows of two as far as you could see. As no one then had very few outside lights, it made our neighborhood aglow. Chris’ idea had worked its magic for it made all of us feel connected all the more: The lit bags shone bright and created a feeling of peace and love.

Every year thereafter, we took Chris’ idea and lined our driveways with the sand filled bakery bags and lit candles. With the advent of some young couples moving away and new neighbors moving in, the idea slowly faded into near oblivion but Chris still did it as did other neighbors including me. And then like all good things, it came to an end sadly.

Looking back, her idea was not costly but the feeling those lit bags gave out was one of oneness and I miss it. The neighborhood changed and changed, Chris passed away and now no one does it. Peace and love can come from small gestures and come this Christmas Eve, rest assured I will line my driveway, as I did in the  past, while hoping others do the same.

One idea can make things magical as Chris’ did and it’s time to carry on her tradition all over again. She gave us much that Christmas Eve and it will never be forgotten and I owe her.

Sherry Hill
Published today in my local paper

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Until the age of 11, Thanksgiving dinner was always held at my grandparent's house and the anticipation of it was hard to suppress
for the table was beautifully set but it was the food that all of us looked forward to devouring.

Those that sat down at the huge mahogany table with its linen tablecloth were my parents, me, my mom's sister, her husband and their two children [my cousins,] my grandfather [my grandmother was like forever coming and going out of and into the kitchen throughout the entire dinner] and numerous relatives that would just stop by--to eat of course.

My cousins were a boy and a girl; I was two years older than my male cousin and four years older than my female one.

And so imagine three men sitting around a huge table and one boy when the turkey was placed on the table and the question was asked "Who wants a drumstick?" I kept quiet for I certainly didn't want one and would never but my male cousin whined and whined until my grandfather, the turkey carver, gave in and handed him one. After that it was a toss up between my dad and my uncle as to who would get the other drumstick and believe me, they were civil if the other one didn't get it for there would always be next year.

As for my grandfather, he despised dark meat and would never say he wanted a drumstick and my mom, aunt,grandmother, my female cousin and I most certainly didn't want one either.

Year after year my male cousin would whine and whine until he got a drumstick disregarding the fact that it would leave his dad no chance of getting one but in reality, my dad and his dad were civil about it all--they took yearly turns.

It's funny how such a memory can come back to me for that was so long ago. Of everyone that sat at the table yearly only two are left--my female cousin and me which is in itself sad, but come Thanksgiving, trust me neither of us will say "I want a drumstick" but someone will. It's inevitable.

Sherry Hill
© Sherry Hill
All Rights Reserved

Sunday, September 4, 2016


Labor Day is a day to celebrate the workers of our country or perhaps yours. In the US and Canada, it is celebrated on the first Monday of September. Some people consider Labor Day to be the unofficial end of summer but ah it’s really not for summer has several more weeks to go here in the United States.

In the late 1800’s there was a movement to honor and celebrate workers. This movement was promoted by the Knights of Labor and the Central Labor Union here in the US and the first “Labor Day” parade was in New York in the year 1887--organized by both unions.

Oregon was the only state that officially made it a federal holiday; it wasn’t until President Glover Cleveland designated it as a federal holiday in 1894 for all of the United States but there were only thirty states at that time that celebrated it as a federal holiday.

Later on all fifty states here celebrate Labor Day and it is a federal holiday. In Canada, it is called “Labour Day” and is celebrated on the same date as it is here in the United States—the first Monday in September.

Perhaps where you live it is called “International Workers’ Day” and you celebrate it on May 1. Other countries have decided upon their own date for a workers’ celebration and perhaps your country is one of them. For whatever reason, it is a time to celebrate, lay back and enjoy the day for many but there are those such as hospital employees or the like that must work on this day despite it all.

Enjoy your own Labor or Labour Day; if you’ve had your International Workers’ Day, you know it was a day of rest from work. It took a long time for union workers to fight for a holiday for most everywhere and to them we should be grateful. And so if today is your Labor Day try to take some rest and enjoy it for at least you have a day off from work.

Sherry Hill
©Sherry Hill

All Rights Reserved

Friday, September 2, 2016


I cannot believe that it is September at all for just yesterday it was June or so it seems. The older I become, the faster the months seem to whiz by and it leaves me wondering what happened to all of them. No sooner do I put my fall things outside does it become close to December. It wasn’t like that when I was little and onward: Months seemed to drag by like watching the hands on a school clock which never seemed to move at all.

Summer’s last hurrah is still here with us but it goes by too fast and fall seems to want to hurry more each year. And in between it, September seems to be fighting for its short lived life. 

Why can’t September linger just a little longer? It’s a month that has been celebrated in poems, songs and movies but it isn’t now and does that mean that others feel it passing by too fast as well? I can’t help but think that they do too. It’s also a month of the start of football games as well as many other events that so many look forward to with much excitement.

Commercialism in stores doesn’t help matters much for right now not only do Halloween items abound but so do Thanksgiving ones. And both mean that within a matter of weeks, Christmas items will be staring at all of us and it’s just September! I haven’t put my fall things outside yet but feel the rush to do so for I know darned good and well that it will be November in a flash.

Not long ago I thought of combining all months into one big display to put outside and why not? The months just fly by and no sooner has September left us, when all of a sudden it’s Easter. But I know if I were to do that someone would take a picture of it and I’d be a laughing stock and so I nixed that idea really fast. Still it does linger in my mind because putting seasonal things inside and outside takes its toll on me and it seems as if that’s all I get done.

I remember older people telling me that time passes by too fast when one gets older and I didn’t believe them but I sure do now. They were telling the truth.

But as for September might as well enjoy its brief stay for that is what it has become: Brief. Really I liked it a lot better when I was younger because it was endless and it wanted summer to stay just a little longer while pushing fall into the background.

Did commercialism make it go faster? Partly is the answer and partly is an age thing where everything goes faster and there’s no stopping either at this point and no going back but oh I wish it would slow down because September is special. It’s the month that my now grown younger son was born as well as too many memories of school starting when I was young and then when I became a teacher for school used to start in September.

I can only say to enjoy this quickly paced month while you can: I intend to for what will seem like within minutes, it will be gone. Dried leaves are appearing on my sidewalk and in my yard, days are getting shorter and whoosh this month will leave us and much too quickly. September—couldn’t you stay just a little bit longer? And if this month could answer, it would say “No because I am rushed.” Well true words there for it is.

Sherry Hill
© Sherry Hill

All Rights Reserved

Friday, August 12, 2016


There was no way of not knowing that my uncle liked to drink on the weekends. I’d been around him enough as young girl to notice that: He was married to my mom’s sister.  And I spent a lot of time at their house in St. Albans for my parents and I lived there as well and our house was pretty close to theirs.

I knew my parents knew that he drank; they even knew that his brothers did as well. But he never drank on a work day or evening—he saved drinking for the weekend.

My aunt and uncle had a son and a daughter: I was two years older than their son and four years older than their daughter.  For some reason on a hot summer Saturday I was in my uncle’s car:  Two of his brothers were in the front seat and my male cousin and I were in the back. I was nine and he was seven: He kept pinching me and I kept telling him to stop it but it did no good; even my uncle knew that his son was doing that and hollered at him to quit. Didn’t work.

The day was as hot as all get out and at that time no car had air conditioning—you just suffered and prayed that the car windows were rolled down. And they were.

My uncle pulled up in front of a bar that was near a movie theater that I knew really well: I had seen that bar but certainly had never been in it that is until that moment. He parked the car, I watched his brothers get out, my cousin get out and so I followed them all inside. It was almost pitch dark inside with a few lights scattered here; the long bar had a lot of lights behind it and bar stools were in front of it.  My uncle and his brothers sat down on stools as did my cousin so I figured I’d better do the same.

They ordered cold beer and Cokes for my cousin and me. That cold Coke was wonderful to drink and most of mine was gone; I looked over and he was not drinking his Coke but was drinking some leftover beer out of a bottle that had been left by someone on the counter. I heard my uncle scream at him but it didn’t do any good for my cousin kept drinking out of someone else’s beer bottle. Seemed about an hour or so that we were in there and luckily it wasn’t far from my aunt and uncle’s house. Of course my uncle and his brothers had glass beer bottles in the front seat and were drinking out of them.

How was I supposed to know that was illegal? But it wasn’t illegal to take kids in a bar at that time:  I’m not sure if I ever told my parents that day what had happened but the next day I would have to tell them because that was the day that my cousin got trench mouth. My aunt called my mom and told her that his lips were so big that they were turned inside out! She went into hysterics, called the local doctor and jerked him into the car so my mom told me and he was given some kind of medicine.

It wasn’t nice to think but I thought that it served him right for pinching me all the way to that bar and not minding his dad. I’d never seen anyone with trench mouth until I saw him that Sunday evening. His mouth was so big that it went up to his nose and seemed to stretch across his entire face.

As he was prone to do, he had a crying fit and although I’m sure his mouth hurt, I reasoned that he should never have drunk from someone else’s half empty beer bottle. Both of my cousins [as well as me] had been taught to never drink from someone else’s bottle or glass and seeing him made me realize why we had been taught that lesson.

And I had to explain to my parents how he got it and where we were which did not go over well for let’s just say that was the first and last time that my uncle ever took me into a bar with his brothers and with his son.

And trust me, I was terrified of getting trench mouth for seeing my cousin with it was a horrid sight but don’t blame me when I didn’t feel sorry for him—he did it to himself I reasoned as much as a nine year old could. And he didn’t listen to his dad. Of course my uncle could have gotten off his bar stool and taken that bottle away from him but he was pretty far gone beer-wise and was more interested in his own drinking.

Maybe my cousin wanted to be like him and his uncles. Who knows? His mom was furious at my uncle for taking us there in the first place and even more furious at her son.  All I know is that he had a horrid case of trench mouth and that was the first and last time I ever witnessed it for I never saw another person get it --other than my cousin.

Sherry Hill
©Sherry Hill 2016

All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


Sometimes a story comes into my mind and I can't let it go which then leads to my having to either write it or make it into a book. Sometimes my E books are lengthy while other times they're not.

This latest book ,of the three I've written in several weeks, is non-fiction: It really happened. It's told in the narrative by me. Perhaps I could have done it a different way and yet regarding Mike, it had to be that way.

I noticed yesterday that there is now another author with the same name as mine--it's even spelled the same. Hopefully, you will look at my profile and realize which books are mine and not hers.

This is my latest E book and the title is: "A Man Named Mike"


Thank you for looking and I sincerely hope that you find time to read this short book.

Sherry Hill

Sunday, August 7, 2016


I’ve always loved Art Deco in architecture, home furnishings and jewelry and knew of three buildings here in my city, that are of that style. Imagine my surprise to find eight more and the photos keep piling up!

By the way this font is “Broadway” and it may be a little hard to read so I’ll switch to a more readable font. Art Deco looks great when it’s large or on a building.

Now this font is much easier to read for both you and me hopefully. And if the Art Deco font didn’t show up above, forgive me.

Wherever you may live, Art Deco elements may be there for they were borrowed from many cultures such as Egyptian, Greek, Aztec and many more. From reading about how this art wave began to seeing it here in my town is pretty amazing. It started in 1920 and by the end of the 40’s seemed to dissipate leaving us with Deco influenced buildings, furniture, light fixtures, jewelry and on and on.

The good thing is that there is a resurgence of Art Deco for although considered “flamboyant and too decorative,” the lines and shapes are unique and back in style.

What do you look for when researching Art Deco? You look for curves on buildings, lines going upward, stacks of three in layers on a foundation or an item, chevron shapes and there are many online sources for examples of this art form. Probably the best known Art Deco building is The Empire State Building in New York: Google it and you’ll see the fabulous downstairs doors, the shape of the building and designs.

Just the other day Turner Classic Movies showed the old movie “King Kong” and in it at the end, as you may know, is King Kong on top of the Empire State Building clinging onto the female actress Fay Wray. I didn’t watch this movie as I’ve seen it time and time again but there are times when I want to see it.

As a former elementary teacher, every year I taught a Native America unit and taught the symbols that were used by them for at that time they only had three way of communicating: Drawing symbols, smoke signals or doing gestures. Yes, they spoke in their own tribal language but each tribe had a different one making it hard for other Native Americans to understand words at all. And none of those languages were written down until much later when someone decided to challenge it and do just that but it was in his language.

The reason I mentioned Native Americans above is that they  used
 the chevron shape in their symbols—a shape that is dominant in Art Deco. Although I became very familiar with this shape as teaching the symbols year after year became ingrained in me, it wasn’t until I read Dan Brown’s book “The DaVinci Code,” that once again there were those chevron shapes. Amazing I thought.

A chevron shape is a V or sometimes an upside down V. Think of the stripes that an Army serviceman or woman have on their uniforms…and those V’s are in essence Art Deco or maybe I should say Art Deco influenced them.

As of today, I have now located over ten Art Deco buildings in my town alone and know full well that there are more as I seemed to shove this design in the back of my mind until the other day.

You may or may not like Art Deco but should you like it, there are many online resources from the Deco font to architecture to you name it.  As I wrote: “Some people play Pokemon Go while I play Art Deco building search.”  And the latter is a lot easier and more fun—at least it is for me.

See what you can find in your own town wherever you live and look for the Art Deco elements: I’m sure that some if not all will be there in plain sight. And enjoy.

Sherry Hill

©Sherry Hill 2016
All Rights Reserved

*I took the photo above: The two Art Deco vases are mine. They're tall, made of wood and each has a top that comes off of them. Notice the shape in the goldish-tan on each, for it is Art Deco as well as the stack of 3 on the bases.

Sunday, July 24, 2016


Hot weather used to never bother me ever but it most certainly is now and with a furor. Yes, I’m blessed with having A/C and several box fans to move the air around but the air inside seems to hang like a huge blanket that someone has decided to put up for enclosure. It’s stifling.

Opening the door to go outside is not a favorite task at this point for once the hot humid air hits me, it makes me gasp for breath and yet I have to go outside to water what flowers and herbs that are left out there. Yesterday, early in the morning, I did just that and to tell you how horribly hot it is here, when I watered them, steam came off of each potted flower or herb. Now that’s just not a good sign ever.

And I had to fill up the birdbaths for not only birds but squirrels, deer and other animals for they depend upon water just as we humans do. By late afternoon, all of the water I had put out was gone –it was either drunk by them or evaporated. And so there I was again with the garden hose filling up the birdbaths as quickly as I could so that I could run back inside.

If you are experiencing unusual high temperatures or if it’s the norm for you, you know how listless it makes you feel—you feel like doing absolutely nothing but exist. If I were near a water source, I’d be there and two rivers are quite close to me but it wasn’t worth the effort to get into a steaming hot car and be out in the heat. It was worth it when I was a lot younger for I loved hot weather, loved swimming in a pool or sitting out in the sun. Eight years ago was a huge turning point for me for one hot summer morning, I decided to go outside and trim back shrubbery with electric hedge trimmers—not realizing how blasted hot it already was or how high the humidity was until sweat started running into my eyes and that sweat stung.

Grabbing the hedge trimmers, I rushed inside to a cool house but cool I could not get. Felt dizzy. Felt faint. And I couldn’t get cool no matter what I did and that was drinking cold water, sitting in cold water and using rubbing alcohol on my arms and legs—the latter helped briefly—and it took three days to feel cool again. Googled my symptoms and yes, I’d had a mini heatstroke but I didn’t need Google to tell me that. I knew it. It just confirmed it.

And so after that incident, whenever the weather reaches scorching temperatures, I cannot take it. It means being stuck inside which can be good or bad depending upon how you look at it. There are so many events going on right now but sadly most are all outside and there is no way I’m going to any of them.

Glad groceries had been bought last week, glad that food can be ordered and delivered and ever so glad for my A/C and those box fans. My pets are glad as well for my dog sits in front of the fan whereas my cat heads for the bathtub—she’s not dumb in knowing that it’s cooler in there. Would my dog do it? No. He thinks that it is bath time and he runs down the hall as if he has wings on his feet.

Today is it supposed to reach 98 degrees with high humidity and today will be another day spent inside with the exception of putting water outside for plants, herbs, flowers and birds, etc. Maybe you don’t agree with me or maybe you do but at least when it’s cold, you can get warm with layers and layers of clothing but when it’s scorching hot, there are very little options. And very little gets done.

And in reality, who would feel like doing much anyway with it being so hot? I’m thankful that my job as a teacher kept me inside most of the time for I could have had a job that required working outside day in and day out. And if you have a job such as that, I hope you do everything you can to stay cool and hydrated. Hot weather gets to me more than it should but there’s nothing to do but deal with it in any way possible.

Take care of you, watch for warning signs health-wise and stay cool. As for me, I’ll just vegetate inside doing as little as possible until the weather changes in several days hopefully. At least there is social media right? And for that we should be grateful as well as being able to watch television and/or movies to pass the time. Meanwhile, hot weather gets to me.

Sherry Hill

Copyright © 2016
Sherry Hill

All Rights Reserved

*Photo from Microsoft Word

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


Truly I wasn’t aware of “cubbyholing people” but saw it in the first grade at age five when my teacher put “smarter kids” she thought into a reading group with some dumb name like “The Bluebird Group.” Sat in my seat feeling so left out and wondering why I wasn’t in that group: I could read just as well as they could. That stigma existed all throughout my school years even though the group names went by the wayside.

It was in high school that I realized that what one teacher saw as “smarter kids” was not what I saw at all. Again, it was putting people in those cubbyholes and why for what one teacher saw was not what others saw at all. Did those that were in a cubbyhole feel different than others? Of course they did. They felt smarter even if they weren’t. And on the other hand, many teachers would cubbyhole students into a low group and I thought “Well how special is that? Everyone in that group will not only feel low but act low.”  And they did and their learning seemed to go nowhere for how could they compete with each other without looking weird?

I felt sorry for those that were labeled “low or slow” when I knew darned good and well that too many were not. It was all in perception of how teachers saw their students. Perception is everything and a lot of it is so twisted and wrong when some of it was downright good. No one sees a thing the same way.

In college I saw it as well but not quite as bad as it was prior and yet it still existed—no names of groups but the stigma was there.
Forward in time to when I first started teaching and lo and behold, there was that “Let’s cubbyhole students.” I heard from another teacher “Oh you don’t want him as a student: He has bad behavior.” Didn’t say much at all for first of all, I was the youngest of the staff and second of all, I wondered about this teacher’s perception. Well I got that boy as a student and yes at first he did have bad behavior but it wasn’t till I saw him struggling to write on paper that I asked him to stay after school and talk to me.

“Is there a problem with how you’re writing?” I asked him. There was a long pause before he answered me and what he said floored me. “I’m left-handed but my parents made me use my right hand: I can’t do it.” Right there and then I knew why he had bad behavior for first of all, why would any parent make a child switch a dominant hand? And I knew that from what I learned in college, that a dominant hand indicates the dominant side of the brain. “You’re confused aren’t you?” I asked him. “You have no idea.” “Can I ask your parents to come and talk to me?” I asked him. I could see a twinge in him as he stared at me and thought maybe he’s afraid for me to do that. “Guess so” he replied.

Called his parents, they came for a meeting with me after school about a week later and although they were nice, they were on the defense. Trying my best to explain how a dominant hand is also a dominant part of the brain helped a lot. “Well I guess you can let him try” said his father. His mother was not so reluctant but finally agreed to let me help her son use his right hand.

It was a struggle for him as well as for me but lo and behold, once he started using his right hand for everything, not only did his behavior improve one hundred percent but so did his grades and most of all—his self-esteem.

From that year on, I never wanted to hear another teacher cubbyhole a child. I had to listen for how could I not? But to believe one without much documentation was doubtful.

Not teaching anymore but see this act of putting students in cubbyholes is absurd and rampant. What one perceives in a person is not what others may see at all. People are put in cubbyholes by those who perceive them in their way and to that I say “Don’t.”

Sherry Hill
Copyright © 2016
Sherry Hill
All Rights Reserved

Sunday, July 17, 2016


All right I’ll admit it: I love going through other people’s stuff whether it’s an estate sale, a garage sale or a pile of stuff on the sidewalk. It’s the thrill of the hunt. Always has been; always will be. You have no idea of the incredible things I have found or maybe you do if you’ve seen my house—or if you are a “picker” as well, I’m sure you are overcrowded with found treasures.

My habit started at age three and I remember it well: I was in my grandparent’s dining room pilfering through the drawers in the huge buffet that almost took up an entire wall. Who knows what I was looking for but I kept pilfering until I heard my grandmother say “Don’t plunder in those drawers.” “Plunder” was a word I didn’t know but I knew the tone of her voice—the not good one that any kid recognizes. Instantly I stopped and resumed doing something else but from that day forward, I was the forever seeker of hidden treasures.

By age eight, I had a collection of rocks underneath my bed much to my mom’s disdain. They were ones I had found and to me, each one was simply beautiful. Kept those rocks forever until too many moves by my parents and me and who knows what happened to them for they were never seen again. The answer to my problem was simply to collect more rocks—and of those, I still have some plus many more.

My impulse to be a picker never did quit: I went from rocks, to handkerchiefs, to boxes, to old buttons and to whatever I spied that was either free or sold at a cheap price.  When I got married the first time, I had some collections or “dust catchers” as my mom called them but not much. It was on a trip that my then-husband and I took a trip to Tennessee to stay with a college friend of mine and her husband that I caught the “picker fever” big time. My friend Carrie had a house full of things that I simply lusted after and she knew it. We went to several auctions but I bought nothing for my then-husband would not pay the shipping fee on big furniture. So much for that but when we returned home, I was on the search for what my friend had and I found it all right—I found an overload.

I will never forget an antique dealer friend of mine saying upon surveying my house “You need a box room.” Ah, she knew me too well for boxes of any kind have always been my weakness. Can I explain it? Of course I can’t: I just liked boxes. My box fetish went on to much bigger ones—the wardrobe type. At one point, I had fifteen that I had picked, refinished and sold most but five are still here.

Many male friends of mine have bought things from me and with each thing gone, I felt regret but the money I made went to buying something else for the house, for my sons or for another treasure. Years ago now, I found that thrift shops were a great place to pick for I would know the layout and seek what interested me but the problem is I still have so much of that and yet it’s hard to let go of so much of it. Do I need a lot of it? No. Do I like a lot of it? Of course I do—why would I find or buy something I didn’t like?

My grown sons seem to have no desire to take half of what is in my house even though much of it is things that have been passed down through my family. To me, I know the story behind each piece but to them, they don’t. If you’re reading this, I’m sure you are facing the same dilemma—of what to do with treasured things. I have sold a lot in the past when life was normal such as being able to put an ad in the paper and have semi-honest and sincere people stopped by but as for now? It’s an entirely different world in which it’s hard to trust strangers for too many reasons.

In the last seven weeks, I haven’t bought one treasure and maybe it’s the knowing that there simply is nowhere to put it but last week while driving around, I spied a chair on the sidewalk underneath a piece of rotted trellis. Parked my car, got out and pulled back that trellis to see a metal chair with a padded seat and back rest: The material on the seat had a big gash in it and I stood there hesitating for two reasons: I couldn’t fix that gash and I had no place for another chair either inside or outside of my house. But sometimes common sense goes out the window when a treasure is seen that can be redeemed.

Yanking back the trellis, I lifted that chair into the backseat of my car and it had to be the heaviest straight back metal chair I ever lifted. Got in my car and as I headed off, I knew I’d made a huge mistake and so I drove by a friend’s house thinking that she and her husband would like it but they weren’t home. The only decision I had was to bring that chair home, which I did, and set it on my sidewalk. It took about five minutes of looking to know good and well I didn’t need it or want it. Again, I lifted that heavy chair into my backseat and went back to the very place where I had gotten it. Stopped my car in the middle of the street, attempted to drag out the chair when a woman in front of me came to my rescue by saying “Want me to lift that out for you?”

I was never so grateful in my life as I watched her drag that heavy chair to the exact place it had been as I held back the rotted trellis. Thanked her and headed home.
The very minute I got out of my car, I felt something in my hair: It was dusk and there was no way I could see what it was and so I used my right hand and flicked it off of me. Instantly my right ring finger was on fire—it felt like a thousand fire crackers were going off in it. Never had I ever felt pain like that and had no idea how to stop it and so I asked people. Finally someone said “Maybe a hornet or wasp was in your hair:” “One of those?” I asked. “It felt papery” was all I could say about it. “Then it was a hornet in your hair” said a friend of mine who had been a science teacher.

All because of a worn out chair I got stung by a hornet: Go figure. I had no baking soda but remembered that using toothpaste can do the very same thing for a wasp, bee or hornet sting and so I ran to the bathroom, opened the toothpaste with my left hand and smeared my right ring finger with it. After one hour, the pain decreased and I sat here thinking how totally stupid the whole thing was. One friend said “You should have just kept the blasted chair.” “Don’t I know it” was my reply.

Two days later while driving around, I spied the trellis but guess what? Someone had taken the chair again and it was not trash pickup day either. Maybe that person also got stung by a hornet for the chair could have held a nest inside—but I will never know. I don’t want to know.

But aside from that totally stupid episode, I will still be a picker—a gatherer of this and that and one that seeks treasures for it is innate and who knows what treasure is lurking around the corner? I just hope that whatever it is, it is devoid of hornets. Rest my case.

Sherry Hill

Copyright © 2016
Sherry Hill

All Rights Reserved

Monday, July 11, 2016


My whole life I wanted freckles. Did I have them? That would be a no. Do I now? Another no. I remember when I was about ten, I got my mom’s eyebrow pencil and made brown dots on my face—thought it looked cool and that people would think I had freckles.

Suppose some people did but relatives and friends who knew me, knew that I had “faked” those freckles. And I had to wash them off before my parents got home from work.
Kept hoping that freckles would appear on my face but alas and alack, they never did.

Funny thing is that I know some people who have had them all of their lives and hate them.
Neither of my sons have them nor do my grandchildren but I was hoping. Maybe they are glad that they don’t: I never quizzed them on this mundane fact. And I never told them about my secret desire to have freckles and would they want to know? Doubtful.  Absurd at this point.

Now I am getting brown spots on my face but trust me, they are not freckles! They are age spots and why couldn’t they be tiny tiny tiny? Doesn’t work that way in life does it? But there is no way I will take my eyebrow pencil and make little brown dots on my face—that would only make things worse. And who wants worse?

If you have freckles, I wish I had them.  We are never happy with what we have are we? And so my olive skin will just remain that along with those “spots:” At least they blend in sort of. But they aren’t freckles!
Sherry Hill

Copyright © 2016
Sherry Hill
All Rights Reserved


Monday, July 4, 2016


A week and a half ago, my state West Virginia, had so many counties that were flooded: The torrential rain was relentless and it fell and fell. Imagine over fourteen straight hours of rain—it’s unimaginalbe to grasp that much. Along with the rain were severe thunderstorms. I watched the rain pour as I looked out my kitchen window off and on; my front yard looked like a small lake. Guess I should say that where I live is on top of a giant mountain and that in itself is a good thing as far as flooding if it were to happen. But there are numerous places here in my city that have high mountains where people live and too many times, nearby creeks have overflowed and flooded too many areas.

By late afternoon, the weather channel had warnings for flooding as well as for posible tornadoes. Thankfully no tornadoes spawned here but by time for the local evening news, everyone could see imminent devastation just waiting. People were frantic about whether or not their loved ones were affected and yet in too many cases, they could not be reached for power was out in so many areas that reaching anyone by a landline phone or a cell phone was impossible.

At 11:00 that night, everyone [that had power] could see the flooding on TV in too many areas here. Some areas were not known about for cameramen or women could not get to those places. And the wait began—it went on all night long.

I couldn’t sleep for fear of what was happening for although I live high up, far down below is the main river that flows through my area. Its tributary was no doubt at flood stage and yet it would take until daylight to see that the tributary river had overflowed its banks while the main river reached an all-time high.

When dawn came that morning, what I witnessed on TV was mindblowing—the devastation in cities nearby me and those far away were in too many cases, under water. In one city that is about two hundred miles from me, the main street looked like a river for water was gushing down the street so fast it looked surreal.  There was no way I could get to any of those areas for too many were flooded. By mid-afternoon, so many counties here were completely devastated.

By evening, I watched the local news channel and there was more bad news: Many lives had been lost as they had been swept away in torrential water and/or drowned. And like others here, I learned that this flooding hadn’t happened, such as it did, in one hundred years. And then came photos of flooded areas that were unreal to witness on TV—houses gone, businesses torn apart and flooded, one city completely submerged under water and worst of all, was seeing people so distraught that they were utterly dumbstruck. Watching it, I was as well. No one could imagine such horror here and yet it happened.

Today is the 4th of July and more relentless rain is on the way. No one can deal with it. No one wants it. Everyone fears another flood.  As of yesterday, the death count was twenty three—twenty three too many. One that died was a four year old boy who got swept away from his grandfather; another was an eight year old boy who got caught up in the rushing waters. At this point in time, a family is still hoping that their fourteen year old daughter is alive but three of her family members were flood victims. Hope is what so many are holding onto.

We have been blessed with an outpouring of help in the form of volunteers from non-flooded areas as well as out of state volunteers—all helping the flood victims out in any way, shape or form. So many businesses chimed in with TV stations and started a drive for non-perishable foods, bottled water and cleaning supplies. As of now, the donations are still coming in and are greatly needed.

Thoughout this time frame, like others, I have been on edge worrying about relatives that got stranded or friends who hadn’t reported to anyone. Luckily,  I found out that they were safe or at a shelter but so many here are still not sure if their loved ones or friends are all right.

I wish I could show you the devastation but I can’t; however, you can google what has happened here in West Virginia and see the horror of it all. Perhaps you live in a state or country that has a lot of floods and if you should,  you have my prayers for living with that is beyond the realm of thinking. But it does happen and when it does, there’s no stopping it. Water is the source of life; it’s inside of us, we need it to survive and yet water can be a dangerous thing—dangerous when it rains relentlessy causing creeks, streams or rivers to overflow and touch anything in its way. It is the strongest force in the world when it becomes such as that.

And yes, it is something that in too many cases, people have had to deal with, live with or be affected by it. Any force of nature can be bad—even here we had a horrendous tornado in 1991 [which had never happened prior,] another one not quite as bad three years later and then a horrid storm that took out trees, houses and did incredible damage. But this flooding here has been so massive that in some places, it will take years to repair, rebuild or to completely redo streets, highways, electrical systems and most of all, infrastructures.

I felt compelled to write this for you to read; you may already know all of this information and if so, feel free to dismiss it. Healing will happen but it sure won’t happen overnight for those that lost every single thing that they ever had—and worse feeling the pain of losing loved ones will take a long time to recover if it happens.

One thing that has been and still is that West Virginians are strong: They have always helped their neighbors out in dire circumstances and they still do. I know that all too well for I am one: I was raised that way to help others. From one generation to another, this looking out for each other has been passed down and it’s a strong trait here. But I want to say a huge “Thank you” to anyone and everyone that has come here to help for you are so appreciated for all that you have been doing. May you be blessed ten-fold.

Sherry Hill

Copyright © 2016
Sherry Hill

All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Creeks. I really love them--always have and
always will. You can sit by a creek and all of
your problems seem to vanish even if only briefly.
So many childhood remembrances from being in
a creek or just looking at one. 

My favorite one is
really hard to get to and it's in Blue Creek here in WV: Getting
to it means a long downward climb as you have to
hold onto every single tree limb and pray you don't
slide down. But once you're down and see the sand
and the creek, it's breathtaking. I've been in that creek
so many times: Have swum in it, when the water was
high, have fallen in it and have taken a lot of friends
there. I know the big rocks well. My late mom spent a lot of summers with her dad's
mother at Blue Creek and knew this creek well.

She passed her love of the creek to me and to my sons. I haven't
been there in for what seems like forever and yet I need
to go because it's a place where I can empty my soul--if
you know what I mean because a creek can do that for you.

The sound of a creek is so relaxing, the sights of the many old rocks that water has flowed over for hundreds of years leaves me breathless
and and sticking my feet into a creek on a hot summer day is wonderful.

If you live near a creek or know of one nearby, I can only hope that you share my feelings about it. It cost nothing to see or be in a creek but the pleasure of it is ten-fold.

Sherry Hill

Copyright © 2016
Sherry Hill

All Rights Reserved

Sunday, June 5, 2016


4 mins

About the age of three or four, I remember the first time ever seeing lightning bugs and I just stood out in the yard in wonderment. Had no idea what they were at all but the way they shot this way and that with their lights left me in awe. I wasn’t alone for my mother was with me and I remember not wanting to come inside. But ah, I had to—no choice there.
Two years later, I became a constant lightning bug watcher and catcher. Caught them in my hands like most kids did and had no idea what to do with them and so I had to let them go. Wanted to keep them: Didn’t all kids?
By the age of seven I had learned how to catch them at night and put them in a glass jar [yes back then there weren’t any plastic jars] and have my dad poke holes in the metal lid—that way the lightning bugs could breathe. There weren’t many kids around me in this neighborhood for we had moved—there was a girl next door who was about twelve and as mean as snake and a boy who lived sort of beside me the other way.
I chose the boy of course.
He and I spent many an evening catching what seemed like hundreds of them and we had jars and jars full of lightning bugs. The best thing was his idea to let them all go at once after he counted to five: It was like tons of sparklers going off to see them shoot out of our jars! It was one of those awesome moments that a kid never forgets—ever.
The next year another move and this time it was in a big neighborhood with tons of kids and tons of lightning bugs to catch. Nirvana. For six years I had such happiness in that place with the joy of friends and lightning bugs.

Teenage years set in and I could have cared less about them and this feeling stayed with me into my adult years---until I became the mother of two sons.
They were taught to catch them the same way that I was only they got to use plastic which was a lot safer because those broken jars of the past that left me with cuts and scrapes. And not only did my sons experience the joy of those shooting star-like bugs but so did I, once again.
When my sons grew up and moved away, I tried to quit looking at lightning bugs for it made me sad—sad that not only my childhood had been long gone but also my sons.
Just when you think things will stay status quo sometimes miracles do happen. I became a grandmother and my first grandchild was a boy. He was about two or so and I took him out in my yard to see the lightning bugs: He went haywire running this way and then that way trying to catch them. I laughed when he said, “More over there!” Well, there weren’t but it looked like it. We caught some and put them in a plastic bug keeper—but that didn’t last long for I had to let them go.
The older he got, the more lightning bugs we chased and caught! By this time, he had a little sister and she was in on the chase and they wore me out! But it was such fun! Add another grandson and the three of us became lightning bug catchers and chasers—experts of sort. We no doubt caught hundreds upon hundreds and always let them go –but not till we had a lot to let go at once. [I remembered that boy who had counted to five long ago.]
The other day I saw my first lightning bug of the season and my heart lept up in wonderment just like it did when I was little. Funny that such a little bug with incredible light can evoke such a childhood memory—but it did. And for me, lightning bugs will always be little miracles. Go outside some evening and let yourself go and see if you find any: I’ll bet that little child in you will come out just as it did with me.
Wonderment still exists: All we have to do is to look at those lightning bugs.
Sherry Hill
Published in The Charleston Gazette