Harper Valley P.T.A.

Jeannie C. Riley

I wanna tell you all the story bout the Harper Valley widow’s wife
Who had a teenage daughter who attended Harper Valley Junior High
Well her daughter came home one afternoon and didn’t even stop to play
And she said mom I got a note here from the Harper Valley PTA
Well the note said Mrs. Johnson
You’re wearin’ your dresses way too high
It’s reported you’ve been drinkin’ and
A runnin’ round with men and goin’ wild
And we don’t believe you oughta be a
Bringin’ up your little girl this way
And it was signed by the secretary Harper Valley PTA
Well it happened that the PTA was gonna meet that very afternoon
And they were sure surprised when Mrs.Johnson
Wore her miniskirt into the room
And as she walked up to the blackboard I can still recall
The words she had to say
She said I’d like to address this meeting of the Harper Valley PTA
Well there’s Bobby Taylor sittin’
There and seven times he asked me for a date
And Mrs. Taylor sure seems to use a lotta ice whenever he’s away
And Mr. Baker can you tell us why
Your secretary had to leave this town
And shouldn’t widow Jones be told to keep
Her window shades all pulled completely down
Well Mr. Harper couldn’t be here cause
He stayed too long at Kelly’s Bar again
And if you smell Shirley Thompson’s
Breath you’ll find she’s had a little nip of gin
And THEN you have the nerve to tell me
You think that as a mother I’m not fit
Well this is just a little Peyton Place
And you’re all Harper Valley hypocrites
No I wouldn’t put you on because it
Really did it happened just this way
The day my mama socked it to the Harper Valley PTA
The day my mama socked it to the Harper Valley PTASongwriters: Hall, Clement, WooleyFor non-commercial use only.Data from: MusixmatchFeedback

Jeannie C. Riley – Harper 

a bit of nonsense for Stream-of-Consciousness Saturday

My mind is full of ideas, so many things to do that I’ll never get half of them done. Go through stuff. Throw stuff away. Give Stuff to the Goodwill. Will stuff to the kids.

Never once have I ever passed on an item that I like…or want…hardly ever need. My collection includes ugly obviously handmade amateur pottery items. Why would anyone make a pottery vase shaped like a fire hydrant? And then as if the shape alone wasn’t bad enough, they painted it with tempura paint, the kind that never, ever shines…just sits there and looks, well, dull. Why does a fire hydrant have to be red? Isn’t it ok if the appliance was yellow? A vivid, canary yellow…not buttercup yellow…or yellow ochre. What the heck is “ochre” any way? Is it anthing like mauve? The word Mauve always reminds me of skinny old neighbor ladies who wear thick shoes. But once that sort-of-yellow fire hydrant vase…ok, I guess it IS more of a planter, you know, one of those things that a person puts a little offshoot of a plant into, taking a pretty looking cut of a end of a trailing plant that accidentally broke off…it has to be shoved into some kind of a Plant medium…why is it medium? Then water it for a few days, and as long as it stays looking sort of green-ish and the leaves don’t curl. Once the cutting is obviously dead, let it set for a few days then throw it out. Then there’s the problem of what to do with the fire hydrant pot with the dirt in it. Oh sure, the cat got into the plant…the cat probably killed the little sprig of a plant anyway…and it is more than likely that the cat is the one that digs dirt out of the pot and scatters it around on the floor.

Speaking of the cat. Or more accurately The Cat. Why do cats stare at you blankly as you discuss the mess on the floor, apparently staring at you as you scold the cat in what you hope is a disappointed voice, aimed at shaming the cat and appealing to its sense of regret. The Cat will gaze into your eyes for awhile, then her eyes shift ever so slightly in a sort of “glaze over” view. Then it will yawn and go somewhere to take a nap.

There are more stanzas to this post…but the appeal of throwing the planter away, or giving it to the Goodwill…who already has seven identical planters on its shelves. Or throwing it away…but then as you dig through the trash retrieving the yellowish planter when you remember that your mother-in-law had wrapped it in such nice gift wrap that time. Or give it to one of your kids…or even better, will it to them. They will be obligated to keep the thing indefinitely, shuffling it to the back of the shelf, or buried in the chest with other keepsakes…to be willed to their kid, and so on through the ages.

Don’t forget that when you do present the heirloom to the child…do it with as much fanfare as possible. You hate to get rid of…or, pass it on to the next generation…saying something like: I have always loved this fire hydrant planter…I’ve had it for years,, your grandmother inherited it from her mother, treasured and babied the thing throughout the years, finally gave it to me… and now—it’s YOURS!

updated adventure= Me and the BMV

Diehard followers of SOMETIMES may recall my dismay at having my old Toyota being rejected by the Ohio E-Check people, and need to deal with temporary license tags … complicated by the long waiting list at my chosen repair place. My 2003 Toyota Camry had to have work done, which eventually fixed the Check Engine light, and racked up a repair bill of about $1,,200. If anyone is interested, the work required involved repairs to the “vapor cannister” and a new vapor vent valve, and something called calipers. But then the brake things went out and had to have a day’s work done on the brakes.

Fortunately that crisis was solved (they almost always are 🙂 and we moved on to driving the car enough on the highway so she would pass the E-Check and obtain the registration process.

Happily, the E-Check passed with flying colors. The BMV (Bureau of Motor Vehicles) was not so packed that I had to wait my turn in the car, and after maybe half an hour waiting my number to come up, I was awarded my two-year sticker for my license plate upon paying the $119.00 Now I won’t have to worry about the E-check for two years.

A subtle comment from my repairperson reinforced the logic of avoiding possible situations like in the photo below… I hereby pledge to clear out the garage so Toyt doesn’t have to endure issues like this.

Never stop being a good person because of bad people

Here’s something to think about among the general meanness we read about every day. At the risk of sounding like a rather dumb Pollyanna, “…everything will be fine once the bluebirds return…” mentality, this post by PSYCHOLOGISTMIMI bears re-posting on my own blog. My new motto: just because someone is “bad” doesn’t mean they won’t take a moment to admire a kitten or another thing of beauty. (I know, it’s not much of a motto, but it’s all I’ve got this morning!)


On a lazy Sunday afternoon, I look and read the news wondering what is going on with us. I’m wondering in part about our collective sense of humanity. I read an article that said some businesses are closing for a day here and there to reestablish some semblance of humanity and kindness. Apparently, after a year of being locked down people are struggling to be nice and establish just general human to human connections.

Here is what I have to say about all this: Never stop being a good person because of bad people. Try to find your kind spot and “ooze” out from there.

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Ekphrastic poem written for Colleens weekly poetry challenge, based on photo by Annette Rochelle Aban.

I have decided that I need to get back to my poetry writing, which I dearly love but for some reason I have veered away from it, and it seems as though I am looking at enter these challenges as a stranger timidly seeking acceptance into the group. Really? Back to the drawing board, or more specifically: back to the blank page awaiting a poem.

I never heard of Ekphrastic poetry, but I like it. It just means describing a photo or art work in words, aside from the image. Often a picture has deep meaning which may have little or nothing to do with the actual visual picture. This is true of the photo by Annette Rochelle Aban, which features a collection of starfish and sea shells. The first notion that came to my mind was of a collection accented or contained within a border that is simply a string of beads. The meaning (for me) was one of a collection of personal treasures which remains private to me and unknown to anyone else. Those treasures of course may be actual things acquired sometime in life, or memories that have nothing to do with the sea or any things of the sea.

Here is my contribution, in the form of a Haiku. Although I am especially fond of free verse, Haiku is my go-to form when I want to poetize (is that a word?) a thought or a vision in a succinct and intuitive form.


my treasures abound
safely forever obscure
secured in my heart

(Sometimes, 2021)

I am Who I am, no matter how hard I try to be someone else

Here is a post I wrote in 2015 for a WordPress writing group. I thought of it just now and thought I would repost it now.


Yep, here I am in Blogging-101 again.  This time my intentions are good, but that is normal…and we all know what they say about good intentions.

It occurred to me once when I was embarking upon a “reality trip” to Mexico, that I would soon be meeting a whole new group of people who had never heard of me before.    “This is my chance,”  I said to myself.  “I can be anything I want to, change my demeanor, background, speech, and present an entire New Me.”

Right.  No dumb comments, no Shy Me hiding in the shadows…New Me could be sophisticated, well-spoken, and always in control of my cool personality.   In fact, I could buy a new jungle-adventure wardrobe, and wear head-bands, pretty flowing tops, and jeans with zippers instead of Mom-jeans.

Great ideas.

First, at the airport, I had to accept a stranger’s help in hoisting my backpack into position.  I could not…

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me and the BMV…who the heck goes there on a Friday afternoon?

So as usual I have to get an e-check on my old Toyota (2003,) and get new registration. I managed to put the procedure off until the last minute, thought I carried the paperwork around in my purse for months.

The e-check attendant was polite and sweet as he could be, until he announced that the <check engine> light that pops on and off…was on… and no amount of old lady charm could dissuade this public servant from his duty to reject the e-check.

I went from e-check place to my chosen mechanic, who does not have an opening for appointment until July 26. I had been there twice in the past year or so having them check the <check engine> light. Of course they never heard of me or my car, and the computer not only did not know me…it didn’t care.

Boot-stomping and hand-wringing would be counterproductive in this case, because the old-lady card doesn’t work on women who are themselves age-peers. So there was nothing for me to do but follow through on getting the check-engine light righted. To do that would take longer than the time before the current plates run out, July 13, it would be necessary to obtain a 30-day permit so the car could be driven legally about two more weeks.

Now here’s the thing. On the last visit my son and I went in (on an appointment) and waited in the little customer waiting room for a diagnosis of the infamous <check-engine> light. On that occasion, about a year ago, when the mechanic came out and announced that there was nothing going on regarding the light. He also stated, and I quote: “the check-engine light will come on and go off for numerous reasons, and unless there is something else wrong with the car it isn’t necessary to come back in every time the light is on.”

As fate would have it, although my son was with me throughout the rather lengthy wait, he had left the little room to visit the restroom. My daughter had not yet arrived to pick us up, had it been necessary for the car to be admitted to the shop, so I was alone to hear the diagnosis from the owner himself.

Well… the owner actually told me that he did remember me…but not my son. He reiterated the advice about not running back into the shop every time the light popped on, as long as otherwise there were no problems with the car.

However…no matter any of that, the two-week wait still applied.

(Please note: I know what my options were, but I want to deal locally, and I want to build a relationship with this dealer. Our former mechanic shop closed down a few years ago when the owner died or suffered other debilitating circumstances, and his son did not want to continue the business. OK, that is conjecture on my part, but the bottom line is that my old mechanic is no longer available. I refuse to go to the Toyota dealer in the next city, because I know the flashing “she’s backkkk” light will signal that the cash cow is back. My sister-in-law, who passed the car to me when she no longer could drive safely (94 or 95 at the time,) had the dealer on speed-dial, and her Toyota was legend.

Besides—I rarely drive anyway, daughter lives next door, so being without my wheels for awhile is ok.


So I went to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, where upon entering a person assigned a number and determined why I was there, and a page of instructions. Go back to your car and wait for a message on cell phone. Upon reading the instructions, I realized that I would need the title to the car, which was back home. Then I rushed home, (about 15 minutes drive,) grabbed the title, and returned to the BMV.

About two hours later I got a text message: “Go into the lobby and wait.” Another brief wait (about 10 minutes) they called my number…I proceeded to the window where a friendly, courteous county worker proceeded to give me my 30-day tag to put in the rear window until I could have the appointment with the mechanic. That only cost $20 and assorted extras.

P.S. In the event that the light is off long enough for me to get back to the e-check site, I will be able to finish the adventure relatively quickly.