Aunt Bea Moves Out

28 May

Several years ago my husband and I moved to Arkansas with the intention of retiring there, but sometimes intentions collide with reality.  Our Retirement Plan A crashed when unforeseen medical issues led us back to Texas.

Rick and I shared four and one half years in the forests and mountains of the Natural State, experiencing the inspiring beauty and relentless wrath of nature.  In those woods I found pieces of myself I didn’t know existed, and unearthed passions I could have only dreamed.

The forest captured my heart, stirring instincts I’d never acknowledged, and inner strength I didn’t know I possessed as I surrendered preconceived notions to her mossy floors, and released the burden of loss into the canopy of her open arms.

Unity with the earth blossomed as I followed the umbilicus between us, and when I fell in love with my garden, I began a second blog at WordPress: Aunt-Bea-Me was born.

Growing was not Mayberry-eske but the delightful Aunt Bea character in the television series of the old Andy Griffith show was the stuff of my fantasies.  She was sensible and silly at the same time.  She was consistent. You could count on her for everything from a fried chicken dinner to common sense.  She laughed a lot and was never pretentious.

When the world was too harsh, I pulled Aunt Bea from the recesses of my mind and looked to her for comfort.  As an adult, Arkansas became my Aunt Bea.

Rick and I have been back in Texas for four years.  Texas is more than my state, it is the root on which I planted my seeds.  Once again I am living in the garden of my children, and am deeply blessed by their love and attention.  Surprisingly, I find my voice much stronger than before.  I have grown into an opinionated old bird and lost any fear I harbored along the way.

I’ve toughened with the times.

Months ago I considered abandoning the Aunt-Bea-Me blog, but before I made a final decision I did a little research on Frances Bavier, the actress who played Aunt Bea.  I was surprised.  Ms. Bavier grew tired then aggravated with the role assigned her; it turns out she and Mr. Griffith were never really friends.  They were much more adversarial than I could have imagined.  Ms. Bavier said she felt she no longer existed as an individual because people associated her with a single role she played.

She admitted to having a love/hate relationship with the character Aunt Bea; so in an effort to break away from something that seemed to own her, she shifted directions to save herself.  Ms. Bavier began to isolate herself from the world through a long, lonely process of withdrawal, and in 1989 she died alone.  In the presence of a dozen plus cats and a rundown dirty home, Frances Bavier made her escape.

We all are a bit like Frances Bavier.  Through my writing, poetry and musings I present various facets of myself to an audience of strangers who sometimes assign a single aspect of that voice as the ultimate and total truth of my entire presence on earth.

A year and a half ago I became aware I was expending a great deal of energy on Facebook.  The more “friends” I made, the more pieces there were to connect. I seemed to waste a lot of time explaining, defining or justifying myself to people I didn’t even know. It isn’t a polite world out there anymore, and I never stay too long in bitterness; so as difficult as it is for a writer to walk away from an audience, I decided I needed to.

Life’s amazing whirlwind sweeps us to corners or to the middle of the room.  Frances Bavier chose a corner.  I’ve moved closer to the middle of the room myself.  The fantasy of a dear, sweet Aunt Bea carried me through many a storm, but the reality of Frances Bavier’s life reminds me today that isolation can overtake the spirit if it stays too long in a corner.

My Aunt-Bea-Me blog is coming down.  It has served me well.  But the time to move away from my safe space has long passed, and I am moving on.

Because time is precious.  And because there is a season for all things.





Till dawn

29 Aug


These are perfect days,
not so much because I found peace
but more because I’ve made friends with stillness.
No more running in the rain for me,
today is a short stroll through tended gardens.
The wind plays flute and soft piano,
a porch swing remembers.
Clouds gather in the north and I
imagine the sea and horizon folding into one in
layered shades of black.
A child drops a seed into the earth,
each of us is watching.
In the distance, lightning strikes.
Rain breaks a seven year drought.
The preacher raises his hands in prayer.
Mourners disperse,
and I carry my father home with me to share
the rest of my life.

©Beverly Sweet/Scheidt 2012


sea storm BLOG


Directly in the path…

25 Aug

2 the bluff overlooking the pensacola bay at grandparents home  only constant in our lives

Category Five

It is both what you say
and how you say it,
marbles falling heavily
from your mouth hitting
the floor and shattering,
each word a moth made
of steel.

It is the way you clench your
fists, break only things that
belong to me,

and the way you move,
direct, calculated,

like the eye of
a hurricane before striking.

©2000Beverly Sweet/Scheidt







Social Media,the most powerful platform for hate

22 Jan


ice storm


The internet brings our inner selves to the surface and if you think that is a good thing think again.  A mob of nasty mouth pieces are chewing the world up like gluttons at a cheap buffet.  While bashing bullies, they bully.  While discrediting hatred, they spew hate.  While expressing an ability to love those who are different than themselves, they crucify half of the population for not agreeing with them.  They label, categorize, and pronounce judgment in the name of unity.

These are surely divisive times, but division only works if one side is willing to turn against or destroy the other.  It is no coincidence that critical thinking skills have been cut from school curriculum, or that students are pushed away from a central prospective toward wildly varying extremes in efforts to coerce blind obedience to one narrative or another.  There was, I promise, a time when our children were neither pawns nor targets.  There was a time we were not girded in hatred and suspicion.

There was a time we didn’t feel so terribly entitled or supremely knowledgeable.  There was a time we didn’t excuse bad behavior by insisting such behavior was a right.

Once I said and believed I would never lose a friend over differences in political or religious points of view, but that was before I understood people have grown to deeply believe reality is either black or white, never grey; that compromise is a sign of weakness rather than strength, and that one personal opinion far outweighs all of the other personal opinions in the world because it belongs to you.

I’m old enough to remember when it wasn’t cool to fall in love with the sound of our own voice, and rather than loving a rush that comes after having verbally slaughtered or shamed a perceived opponent, we would have ourselves felt shame.  So, in deed, I have lost friends as I stepped into the new world where perspectives are carved in stone, and everyone demands validation.

But I have to say I feel empty inside; in spite of the fact that I know I am not alone.  And as I pull away to rebuild, to light once again the inner flame of compassion and trust I’ve lost, I often find tears running down my face, and I am filled with disappointment and woe for what might have been.

I don’t want a trophy or special attention because I know I’m not special, and neither are you.  We are all in the same boat, rocky as it is, and God help us as we bicker like spoiled children to see which lie we want to believe.

And God save us from ourselves.


The symmetry of summer

16 Jul

summer flower for poem

Dirt cracking open in a spray of flowers

Seamless blue sky parting for a passing cloud

Lace petals falling from swollen trees, seeds

settling between blades of grass and weeds

A dog patiently watching a cat

A hen following a rooster across an empty street

The sound of wind opening and closing


The scent of rain teasing parched distance

Secrets shared between children

The arrogance of a train shattering silence


Women drinking sweet tea in the heat of day

Men working till dusk in barns

A murder of crow darkening sunrise, a blanket of

fireflies punctuating night

Front porches and screen doors

Embroidered curtains flowing from open windows

Homemade cookies

Cold milk

Hot dogs and good neighbors

Hope boiling below the surface like hot tar on a roof


Prayers and good intentions

Strong-willed men

Resilient women

Casseroles and hymnals

Heat lightening, and

stolen kisses

The slow steady beat of summer altering patterns and

habits of earth’s most predictable beasts


25 Jun
It’s no surprise that bad news depletes rather than fills, but a sense of helplessness is only an illusion. If you want to change the world, begin by focusing on issues closest to home.
Attitude makes a huge difference and no one runs before he crawls. Instead of giving up or in, simply think.
1. Practice humility.
2. Do not confuse what you want with what you need.
3. Respect others.
4. Practice kindness while keeping true to your core beliefs.
5. Before criticizing others, repeat the criticisms into a mirror; most likely you need to hear the message more than you need to share it.
6. Never force your beliefs or opinions on others.
7. Always refuse to join angry crowds.
8. Listen instead of speaking.
9. If you ask someone a question and he does not answer, accept his silence as a valid response.
10. Smile rather than frowning.
11. Speak well of others.
12. Never boast or intimidate; there is a fine line between arrogance and bullying.
13. Do not fall in love with the sound of your own voice.
14. Be sensitive and aware.
15. Be a strong but loving parent to your own needs.
Be happy! Life is too short for anything else.  
Dream-Wisdom stone feather balance

Staying happy

18 May

“…the courage with which we bear our darkness frees others from having to carry it for us…”

John Tarrant, The Light Inside the Dark


That’s a quote from one of my all-time favorite books. The title is fairly self-explanatory and jives well with my basic life philosophy that from all things, most especially the dark or challenging experiences we encounter in life, there is great potential for inner growth.  And inner growth, when used to its fullest promise, impacts not only the way we live our lives but the way we view and interact with others.  This, of course, opens us, prepares us to achieve the highest levels of empathy and kindness which, in turn, benefits the entirety of planet earth as the love rolls outward, playing it forward.

exercising old ladies

Sometimes I watch the athletically gifted, or merely inclined, with near envy.  I was never much at outdoor activities unless it involved walking on the beach collecting shells, or sitting under a tree studying insect activities in mossy/dirt-laden carpets beneath the trees.  Usually there was a pen and tablet close by where I recorded my most profound and dramatic perspectives concerning the universe.  I wanted to be athletic, but a slight heart defect kept me from participating in strenuous activities so it worked out well that I enjoyed being a word-nerd.

Had life been different I doubt that I’d be running marathons or taking dance lessons at my age; I’m too reserved to be comfortable being Outstanding at anything these days.  Whenever there’s one handy, I still love walking on the beach, although I admit I sit gazing at the horizon more often, pen and tablet still in hand.  I love the woods more than it loves me, (I’m a flea, tick, and chigger magnet), but I still venture in to study the miracles and viciousness of nature.  And take notes.

old lady on beach

The world is full of darkness and grief; every day we see, experience or read about one extreme tragedy or another, and it’s hard to imagine when faced with horror there might be light at the end of the tunnel, let alone a potential for inner growth.  But there is.

I’m not as optimistic as I used to be but I still expect good things to happen.  I’m realistic about it though.  So if ten bad things happen I can usually find hope in at least six or seven of them.

The most important thing to me is maintaining absolute honesty with myself.  I own up to my stuff, positive or negative.  If I feel I’ve let someone down, for example, I say it out loud.  I let myself sit with the weight of that statement for a while, then forgive myself and move on.  I don’t brood anymore, and I try very hard not to dump my pain on others, although I struggle with the fine line between sharing and dumping at times.

If it’s really ugly, you can bet I’m going to keep it to myself.  Well, except for my poetry; that’s almost always tragic.

Still, I’m going to keep striving to be as stoic and respectful of others as Mr. Tarrant is.  I really don’t want anyone else to have to carry my load.  You can walk beside me, come along for the trip, but that’s all I’m really be comfortable with.  I love having goals and my heart is still good enough that I can stretch to reach them without injuring anything.