Haunted tales from many years ago (a.k.a A hillbilly haunting) (10/30/2013)

 

“Mama, do you believe in ghosts?”

“Mm hmm,” was my reply.

“Have you seen a ghost before?” was the next question.

I didn’t want to scare my child, so I tried to deflect the subject.

“What are you wanting to be for Halloween?” I asked.

This got him to thinking. It’s hard to come up with good, original costumes that aren’t gory or inappropriate. One of his friends told me he was going as a pimp. The child was 9. The fact that child announced this with such aplomb frightened me.

“What was the scariest thing you encountered when you were a child?” he continued.

That was hard to say; I grew up with my Granny and while that woman was meaner than old Scratch himself, I saw her once wring the neck of a chicken. That chilled me to the bone.

I thought of how Aunt Sadie, Granny’s oldest sister, would spend the night and recount tales of the Dacula nightriders – what they were exactly is still a mystery to this day but the tales Aunt Sadie would tell me would keep me up all night. She loved to tell me stories of things that went bump in the night, of haunts that roamed the halls of homes long departed and spirits that rose from the cemetery.

“You don’t believe me, sugar, you watch out that window and look at that cemetery across the street … you’ll see those spirits start wafting above their grave and they will start looking for another soul to take back to the grave with them,” Aunt Sadie would proclaim.

Not cool considering we lived across from a cemetery. And for some fool reason, when Aunt Sadie would visit, I would stay in the guest room with her, even though I knew she loved to scare me within an inch of life. As long as I would listen, the old gal would fill my head with her stories until she drifted to slumber, her snoring hopefully frightening off any vengeful haints wanting to carry me off.

“Now, I mean it, watch out that window, you will see those spirits start to rise, like floating wisps of smoke above their graves. But don’t let them catch you, no, ’cause if they do, you will be the soul they take next.”

I don’t think it was necessarily appropriate for my great-aunt to be telling me that my tender soul was going to be taken if a supposed spirit across the street in a cemetery saw me watching but hey, this was the ’70’s before there was any parental guide lines for content. Her intent was to spook the shamrocks out of me and it worked.

Those were too scary to share with Cole; he took things quite literal and I didn’t want him to be staying up late, scared over the tales I heard. I had forgotten all the details of Aunt Sadie’s horror stories from my early years but they would have still been a bit much.

“Well?” he pressed on. “What was the scariest thing you faced as a child – Granny doesn’t count, I know what you’re going to say.”

He knows me too well. Granny loved to scare me silly too, but unlike her sister who only visited once or twice a year, I lived with this mean old woman.

“You better behave, missy,” the old woman would caution as we would head to Athens. I am not sure what I was doing wrong, maybe questioned the old bird as to why she was doing something. Maybe nothing and she was just getting her pre-emptive strike in to set the stage of fear. “If I have to, I will leave you at the witches’ house. They eat children you know, especially mean, sassy little girls.”

The witches’ house was this big rock house that was on Athens Highway. It looked creepy and desolate, supposedly abandoned for decades but I swear, I saw a ghost or a witch or something in the window on the top floor on more than once occasion. Perhaps Granny picked up on that fear and wanted to capitalize on it as only she could – manipulating a small, sassy child’s fear and overactive imagination.

“You wouldn’t drop me off there would you?” I would ask, feeling a sense of dread sink into my bones.

“In a New York minute,” she would reply. “That’s what they do to little girls who don’t mind and backtalk. They drop them off at the witches’ house. Sometimes, if you are good, really good,” she cast a doubtful glance my way, “you come back out. But if you ain’t, you are put in the pot where they make sassy girl stew and eat you up.”

I would ride all the way to the Classic City in complete and utter silence, my eyes watching the rock house until it was safely out of sight and I was safe from the cauldron of the witches.

Until one day, Granny gave her warning as we headed towards the downtown, threatening to drop me off at the house.

“No one that has ever gone in has been seen since,” she said.

“Then how did you get out?” I asked.

I am surprised I am still breathing.

“Was Granny one of the witches?” Cole asked, his eyes big as saucers.

“No, Cole, she wasn’t. She is something far meaner than that.”

She is – she’s the benevolent looking old grey haired lady wearing a sweater with kittens chasing yarn on it.

“Did Granny ever try to drop you off there?”

Oh, she threatened all the time but never stopped.

Cole digested all this, I’m sure wondering how his own great-grandmother could be so mean as to threaten to drop off his mother, a mere child, at a witches’ house.

“Mama, is the witches’ house still there?” he asked.

No, like most fairy tales the witches’ house had a happy ending and one day, after years of Granny using the old rock house as a tool of manipulation, the house had been destroyed, knocked down and was replaced with a shopping mall.

“So the house is gone forever?” he asked. “Granny couldn’t scare you anymore then?”

“The house is gone forever,” I replied.

But the thrill, the possibility of being scared and knowing there is something a little bit spooky out there, will always remain.

 

http://www.dawsonnews.com/section/30/article/13196/

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No one likes a bully (10/23/2103)

     
 
 

No one likes a bully. But bullies have been around forever.

I can remember the bullies when I was a little girl. I am not even sure what happened to me would be deemed bullying or if it was just kids being kids and exhibiting Darwinesque traits of picking on the weaker, chubbier one.

“Fatty fatty two by four, can’t get through the kitchen door,” they would taunt as I walked down the hall.

Before you feel sorry for me about that, think of all the horrible things that can rhyme with “Sudie” – and my maiden name gave them even more fodder, lending itself to comparisons to products used to treat hemorrhoids.

But I survived. I learned that when these little monsters saw my pressure points and which buttons to push, they did. They fed off my tears, my embarrassment, my shame.

Once I developed the ability to laugh at myself and not let them know they were hurting me, the taunting and fat jokes subsided.

Well, that and I had about a decade long battle with eating disorders. Guess when you look like frighteningly skinny, people can’t make fun of you for being a fatty.

When I grew older, I thought maybe being bullied had me stronger in some way – had made me more compassionate to the differences among us, had taught me how to stand up for myself and other underdogs, how to deflect and more importantly how it felt to be mistreated.

Maybe it did make me stronger, but I never got that “thick skin” I have been told I need, and if anything, it makes me angry to see someone bullied.

But boy howdy, when it’s your own child, you really get upset –like unleash the locusts mad.

And that was the point I had reached.

There had been children that had picked on him, that had hurt his feelings, said things that made him upset. Typical mean kid things.

But then my child had mentioned things, little snippets, of how another child was acting. I listened and thought, incorrectly, that Cole was being his tenderhearted self.

See, unlike me, who got to the point my mouth outgrew me and usually came back with something that could silence a politician, my child does not want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Even when they are destroying his.

He finally broke down and told me what was going on and I was in shock.

Not my child.

Some really bad words came out of my mouth. I don’t think they were all in English either. I am sure there was some languages I didn’t speak at all that came out.

I wanted to cry, scream, punch something but more importantly, I wanted to protect my child.

How could someone do something like this to my child? How could another child be so mean?

We wonder what makes a bully, what makes a child want to inflict any kind of harm to another child.

We tell children to tell someone – what if that person does nothing?

We tell children it is wrong – and yet, it still happens.

It happens on a daily basis, no matter what steps we take to inform, educate and prevent it, bullying still happens.

As a parent, I tried to see the other parents’ perspective. How would I feel if the tables were turned? I would be shocked and upset but for different reasons.

But when it’s your child, it’s hard to be objective or see beyond their hurt.

I felt conflicted – I have raised my child to choose kind over right, to think of the other person and to do the right thing, but not everyone else shares those ideals.

Sometimes, they may try to but it doesn’t stick. It had stuck with mine and he didn’t know what to do.

On the other hand, I was furious.

“I’m so mad I could spit fire,” I told Mama.

Mama was ready to spit, too.

“What are you going to do?” she asked.

I had been fortunate that we had been able to intervene and get Cole moved to another class and steps and measures had been taken to keep him from the child. But why did my child have to be the one made to feel in the wrong? Why was his schedule and life turned upside down when he had done nothing wrong?

“I hope this works, Mama,” I said.

I was more worried about my child and how he felt through all of this. He didn’t understand why someone would do this when he had done nothing wrong.

We talked about it, a lot. It would randomly come up in conversation when we were enjoying ice cream cones in Dahlonega, or when we were walking at the park.

I worried about him. I wanted him to be safe. I wanted him to always know he always was loved, protected and he could come to me with anything. And that I would listen, really listen to what was said and what was inferred.

But my child was worried about the bully.

“Mama, what happens to bullies?” he asked.

I bit my tongue and refrained from saying the outcome I hope befell them. “I am not sure,” was my truthful answer.

“I don’t know why he did that to me, but I worry about what made him do that,” Cole continued.

Here he was, worried what made a child want to bully someone.

“Do they grow out of bullying?” he asked. “Do they stop bullying when they grow up?”

I thought about that and said, “No, Cole, usually they grow up and they don’t change, they just become your co-workers or your boss and you have to still deal with them.”

He thought about this for a few moments. “Then what happens, Mama? If they are grown and still bullying, what happens to them then?”

I smiled gently at my son.

“It will be just fine, Cole,” I began. “Because then, they will be an adult and Mama can deal with them.”

In fact, I’m already making a list.

 

http://www.dawsonnews.com/section/30/article/13144/

There’s something about Halloween (10/31/2012)

Halloween – the night that begat all fun-sized candies is upon us and with it, the magic and lore of that night.

“Mama, did they do trick or treating when you were a kid?” Cole asked.

“Yes,” I replied. “It wasn’t that long ago.”

“Did they do it like we do now?”

No, they didn’t.

When I was my son’s age, Granny took me to friends and family that lived nearby – we didn’t think it was ‘right’ to go trick or treating in neighborhoods we didn’t live in. And where we lived, we never had the first trick-or-treater, ever so our neighbors didn’t either.

So that meant instead of a Hershey’s bar, I got half a box of Little Debbies dumped in my pillow case. I think once I even had a biscuit tossed in there.

I was glad as long as it wasn’t a box of raisins or an apple. Who gives that stuff out on Halloween anyway? I’ll tell you who. Someone who wants their mailboxes egged and their houses rolled.

A stop at my Aunt Winnie’s was always my favorite stop and Granny would save that for last so she could sit and visit.

I loved it because I adored Aunt Winnie and she also made popcorn balls. Big huge popcorn balls that were set out on her dining room table, waiting. I could only get one per Granny’s directive, but Aunt Winnie always snuck me an extra one or two.

My bag of candy was usually raided by my uncle and grandfather the minute I walked in the door.

Yet, I was ordered I could only have one piece of candy when I got home, which like any kid does on Halloween, I ate a dozen and hid the wrappers under the bed.

I’d beg Granny to let me sleep in my costume so Mama would see it when she came home from work and Granny, who usually was an unrelenting old gal, would tell me I could.

She’d also scare the jeepers out of me by telling me to keep an eye on the moon because at midnight, I could see the witch fly over it on her broom.

What if she saw me, looking at her? What was she going to do?

I asked Granny and said she wasn’t sure, I’d have to see if I could spot her.

I wasn’t going to stay awake long enough to find out.

When I outgrew trick or treating – or was told by Granny that I was too old to go any more – a new tradition evolved.

My friend Tanya and I took over candy duty at her house, which also meant the front yard had to look like a mock cemetery and final resting place for the undead.

We dressed in costume and took great pride in shooting the trick-or- treaters with Silly String or scaring the living daylights out of them.

I made our own popcorn balls from Aunt Winnie’s recipe and we had full access to the candy bowl so we were able to eat the good candy out and just disperse the bite sized Hershey’s Special Dark.

We were more sugared up than any 8-year-old ninja in the neighborhood.

We did our Halloween tradition until Tanya went off to college and I finally felt like maybe I had outgrown Halloween. Or didn’t have an excuse to trick or treat.

“Is Halloween your favorite holiday because you get candy?” Cole inquired as he tried to decide what superhero he would be this year.

“That’s a big part of it,” I answered.

He doesn’t know about popcorn balls, I am ashamed to say.

It’s because October’s my favorite month of the year – there’s a chill in the air in the morning, there’s bonfires and apple cider.

It’s because we can all get to play make-believe for a night, have an excuse to get together with our friends and tell tales like you may see a witch flying across the moon.

And who knows, if you stay awake long enough, you just may.

http://www.dawsonnews.com/archives/10713/

How Mama gets things done (11/7/2012)

     
 
 

I am a simple girl really, I don’t need to have to have a lot of fancy things. I would definitely enjoy them and be giddy if I had fancy, but I don’t have to have a lot of bells and whistles.

Case in point: When we moved to the mountains years ago, our cabin didn’t have a dishwasher. I swore after spending the first 25 years of my life without one, I would never, not have a dishwasher again.

But my husband – in love with the idea of being able to ride Six Gap whenever he wanted from our front door -promised he would wash every dish that was used if we moved into this cabin. I sighed and caved.

Lamar just didn’t realize I have an audiographic memory and can remember, with about a 99.99 percent accuracy rate, everything I have ever heard.

That included the “I swear, I will wash the dishes every day. You won’t have to wash a dish ever.”

Unless of course, Six Gap’s calling on a weekend morning and he leaves a sink full of dishes as he pedals off into the sunrise.

So I have lied to myself and said I have a dishwasher – it’s just my husband.

But the one thing I cannot live without is plumbing.

God bless the person who invented plumbing and double bless whoever came up with the idea for a hot water heater.

One of my last remaining escapes is a long, hot shower.

At least, until I got in one Thursday night and found the water lukewarm.

Lamar must be washing clothes on hot, I thought.

I checked the washer when I got out.

Nope, cold water.

Had he just washed a lot of dishes? Yes, but it had been hours ago.

This was not sitting well with this gal.

The next morning, the water was almost chilly when I stepped in at 6 a.m.

I shrieked.

That had to be the fastest shower in my history of showers.

Later that day in the grocery store, Lamar announces: “We are out of milk, and I think our hot water heater’s dead.”

Just like that.

Just as nonchalant as ‘we’re out of milk,’ he breaks this news to me.

I stopped pushing the buggy and said: “What? Are you sure?”

He nodded.

“Yes, I am sure. That’s what happens when you buy too much cereal. I can’t decide what I want to eat, so I eat a bowl of each box and the next thing you know, a gallon of milk’s gone.”

The thought of assaulting him with a pack of chicken crossed my mind. It really, truly did.

“Not the milk. The water heater. Are we gonna need to replace it?”

“Probably,” was his droll reply.

The next morning, I glanced at my shower, frowning. No hot shower for me that day. And I am one of those people that if I haven’t had my shower, I can’t go anywhere. I feel too icky.

“What are we gonna do about the hot water heater?” I asked Lamar as he walked in the kitchen.

“I’ll take care of it,” he said.

“When?”

“I will. Don’t worry.”

Keep in mind, Lamar ‘fixed’ our bathroom sink; to this day, the thing does not have hot water. He’s a paint contractor; not a plumber, and definitely not an electrician.

And then, he sauntered out of the house and pedaled down the driveway in search of a mountain to climb.

I gritted my teeth – I couldn’t even wash my cast iron skillet to cook Cole some turkey bacon. I think I said some really bad words.

I called Mama and pitched a hissie and then did what any strong-willed Southern woman would do. I called an electrician.

To my surprise, they called back on a Saturday. I told him the problem and he gave me a pretty dang-close estimate over the phone.

“Can you wait til Monday?” he asked.

“How much is it if you come out on a Saturday?” I inquired.

“It’ll save you $20.”

The thought of having to wash my hair Sunday night with cold water and then facing Monday without my hot shower made $20 seem like the deal of the day.

“Call me when you’re on your way!”

Lamar pedaled down the driveway, seeing the truck a couple of hours later.

“You called someone? Who did you call?”

I didn’t say a word. He went inside.

After the electrician left, Lamar looked at me forlornly.

“I was gonna fix it, you know.”

Sure he was. But this is how Mama gets things done.

 

http://www.dawsonnews.com/archives/10751/

If Mama ain’t happy (10/16/2013)

Happy is such an intangible. You hear catch phrases regarding happiness daily – “happiness is a choice,” “do what makes you happy,” “you can’t buy happiness.”

I am not so sure about those statements. I am not entirely sure if happiness is a choice – there’s been plenty of occurrences where I would have gladly chosen happy but didn’t see it listed as an option. I do try to keep a positive attitude for the most part. Doesn’t mean I am happy though in that given circumstance, I just try to smile and get through.

If I did what made me happy, I am fairly certain it would render some other folks very unhappy, because they would be poked somewhere delicate with a spork.

Instead of saying what would make me happy, I normally bite my tongue and don’t say what is running through my mind.

Again, it would make me delirious happy, but probably wouldn’t make the other person very happy. May make them cry a little.

As for money not being able to buy happiness, it may not buy the emotion but it could buy shoes.

Delete – Merge Upbodycopy

And shoes equals happiness. Or chocolate, or cheesecake, or makeup, maybe a Mercedes. All those things can be bought with money and they make me happy. At least, I perceive that they will.

“I don’t know if you have ever been happy,” Mama pondered one day.

Again, she believes I think too much.

“Even when you were a child, you worried about stuff. You over analyze stuff that you don’t need to. I just don’t think you had a happy childhood.”

I don’t know why she thinks that. I had a joyous childhood. I had a grandfather and uncle who thought the sun rose and set on my tater. Even though Granny was mean as a rattler, she made me good cakes. Those buttery layers made up for whatever vitriol she spewed the rest of the time. Frosting made from a can of Crisco can absolve the old woman from a dozen of her sins. And Mama loved me more than life itself. I was happy.

“I was happy, Mama. I just wonder why ‘happy’ is so hard to define and how we can know if it’s true happiness or not. We are told what happiness isn’t, and all these rules but what makes one person happy may not make someone else happy.”

“You are thinking too much again, Kitten. Why can’t you just be happy?”

“Maybe I am happy – and don’t know it because someone hasn’t told me I was yet” was my reply.

I knew certain situations made me happy – being with family, the dogs, extra-long bubble baths after a tiring day, good wine and cheesecake. My fuzzy robe fresh from the dryer, smelling of Snuggle made me happy too.

Catching reruns of my favorite shows in the middle of the night, heavy whipping cream in my coffee, heck, coffee in general made me happy, a favorite song on the radio I haven’t heard in a while. Those things made me happy.

Seeing Cole play, or bring me a flower he picked for me made me happy, as did all the pigs of Piglandia. For some reason, those pink plushes make me seriously happy.

It just made me wonder because we are always chasing happiness, that next big thing to make our lives better, more fulfilled, more complete. And we wait until we have confirmation from some external entity to tell us we’re happy.

“Mama, are you okay?” Cole asked from the backseat one day.

I nodded, deep in thought. The list of things going through my mind was long and varied. “You sure? You look angry. Do you need an angry wig?”

I assured him I was fine and didn’t need the angry wig. He sighed. He didn’t believe me. “What did Daddy do?” he asked.

Nothing, I mumbled, but I was sure he had done something. He had always done something. “I’m just thinking, Cole,” I told him.

“You’re forehead’s all mushed up like you are upset about something,” he continued. “That’s how I look when I am thinking,” I said.

“You need to get your happy face on,” he said. “This one is wadded up.”

I laughed. Maybe all this thinking was making me un-happy and wrinkling me at the same time. As he slipped out of the back seat once home, he leaned up and wrapped his arms around my neck and squeezed.

“Don’t worry so much, Mama. I want you to be happy. Because if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,” he squeezed me again. “And that means Cole’s not happy!”

“Well, I want you to be happy, of course,” I said, squeezing him back. “So I will unwad my forehead.” “Yay!” he squealed. “Everybody’s happy – you’re happy, so I am happy. Being happy is contagious!”

Maybe he was right.

Maybe it was as simple as not worrying about the little things, but just being happy. Maybe happy was contagious. All I knew was seeing him happy made me happy.

And when Mama’s happy, everybody’s happy.

http://www.dawsonnews.com/section/30/article/13124/

The Ex Facto Ex (10/9/2013)

By nature, I am not a jealous person. Never have been, and don’t really see that changing in the future. I believe it to be a supremely petty emotion and the only thing that has ever given me a near pang has been a sassy pair of shoes I spotted on a lady once.

Now that I have clarified I am not the jealous type, I need to explain I am one who can be easily annoyed over things I consider reeking of impropriety and obnoxious. Or as Mama would say “your Irish is being stirred up.”

Mama claims the cause of this is that I think way too much about things. “Stop that,” she will say.

But here I was one day, all in my happy spot looking at puppy pictures when there she was: Lamar’s ex-wife in my Facebook news feed.

We aren’t friends in real life. I never met her. Probably wouldn’t know her if I was standing behind her in the grocery store.

But there she was, cluttering up my news feed talking on family’s posts.

Heck, she was even added in a “closed family group” a couple of summer’s ago – a group, I quietly exited upon that knowledge.

I could understand, I argued, if they had had children and she was wanting to stay in touch with family for that reason, but nope.

“You are not the jealous type,” Mama reminded me as I fussed.

“I’m not jealous. I think it’s annoying -she’s acting like she is still in the family and all up in their Facebook grill,” I said. “And it annoys me, because when I got divorced, one of the things that jackwagon got was the few members of his family I liked.”

It wasn’t right. I had been friends with one of the ex’s cousins before I knew him. She, I mis­sed. Him, not so much. I lost custody of her in the divorce. The rest of the family, I was glad to get rid of.

But here this woman was.

“You know what you need to do?” Mama began. I knew this was going to be a doozy, she was using her favorite phrase: ‘What you need to do.’

“Stay off that silly computer,” she said.

There’s a reason people get divorced. Usually, it’s not real amicable, it’s not pretty ­- it’s a bitter, sad, ugly process.

It’s not one that usually ends up with family being ‘friends’ with the other party afterwards. That can be awkward, uncomfortable and just be too all-around weird.

What I found ironic is that my ex-sister-in-law is often one of those ‘friend suggestions’ I get occasionally. The first time I saw that, I nearly jumped out of my Spanx.

“You aren’t friends with her, are you?” Mama asked when I told her about that.

“Mama, I am not friends with her off the computer so I am not going to be friends with her on the computer,” I said.

Plus, she probably has some fat photos of me stashed away somewhere out of spite.

Why would I be? I am sure when we divorced, battle lines were drawn and people chose sides: the ex had his family, and I had mine.

He kept his friends, I kept mine.

We didn’t speak or have any reason to after the “big D” was final.

When I found some of his family Christmas ornaments mixed in with mine, I didn’t call him to tell him ­- I carefully packed them up and mailed them to him. There was an ending, a resolution and it had come after well over a decade together, a growing up and growing apart.

And eventually, realizing an ending meant there was no reason for us to be in each other’s lives anymore.

Granny used to talk to his grandmother until recently.

“Leave her alone,” I would reprimand the old woman.

“Why do you do that?”

Who needs the computer, when you’ve got the world-wide Granny? She’s usually more accurate than any search engine.

“I liked her. We was friends,” she said.

She’s lying of course; Granny didn’t care for her, she’s just trying to keep her nose in their business so she can find stuff out and slip in tidbits about how I am doing.

“Stop it, old gal,” I warn. “There’s no reason for you to do that and you know it. You are just being nosy and you know it.”

But maybe my boundaries were a little more clear.

/www.dawsonnews.com/section/30/article/13078/

Man walks into a grocery store alone….(11/14/2012)

I am not sure what it is about men and grocery stores, but those long mysterious aisles seem to present a conundrum to a lot of men. Or maybe it’s just my husband.

I joke that his idea of Friday Night Date Night is taking me to the grocery store, where we spend ‘quality time’ together.

Me, pushing a buggy, weighing produce and wondering why they don’t put prizes in bran cereal for the grown-ups. For my husband it means disappearing to the magazines, where he stands, reading about guns or cycling.

Cole stays by my side, helping with the buggy duty until he spots a free sample, which if there’s a food sampling in a store, Cole will find it.

When I finally make my way to the check out, I am frantically searching for Lamar. Where is he? Why can’t I find him? He’s MIA, as usual. He somehow appears as soon as I head the buggy towards the door.

The festivities continue when we get home and I get to put up everything after he brings it in. He digs out the turkey and makes himself a sandwich to partake in the entertainment of me stacking cans of green beans and putting Eggos in the freezer.

Not my idea of a Friday Night Date Night exactly. I grit my teeth and feel my blood start to boil.

“You know, you could help me put these groceries up,” I mutter under my breathe to the back of his head.

“I don’t know where you want that stuff.”

That’s his excuse for not folding laundry, for not putting up the dishes – he doesn’t know where I want ‘that stuff.’

It’s not that hard to figure out. The canned goods are on one shelf, the cereal and breakfast food another. It’s not rocket science, it’s non-perishables.

I feel like my efforts are unappreciated. I feel like my desire to be a happy little homemaker is being grossly taken advantage of. So I of course, say something.

“I’ll get the groceries then,” Lamar said.

So he went to the store the next week to get the groceries.

First, he left the list at home, so he had no idea what we needed.

So he called me from the store so I could verbally give him a list.

“Are you going to be able to remember this?” I asked, knowing the truth despite his answer.

“Yes.”

A few minutes later, he called. What aisle is the coffee on? he wanted to know. I told him. “Where’s that?” he asked. I told him next to the cereal. He wanted to know what aisle the oatmeal was on; I told him that. He still wasn’t sure.

“Tell him how many aisles over it is from the magazines,” Cole suggested.

A few more minutes went by and he called again.

This time, it had to do with the kind of yogurt I wanted. Namely, they didn’t have it.

“Then get this brand,” I advised. Another call. “They are out of that too.”

“Then get whatever kind they have as long as it’s not strawberry banana flavored.”

An hour later, he returned home.

He had a 50-pound bag of dog food from the pet store; a gallon of milk, a box of Little Debbies – because Swiss Cake Rolls are a meal into themselves, a box of pasta, a jar of sauce and a box of Life cereal. Nothing on the list.

Nothing I can eat, having celiac either.

I told him of this.

“Well, I figured you don’t eat at home a whole lot anyway. Just dinner, so I can get you a chunk of meat somewhere. But the rest of us have food for the week.”

And a gun magazine with a shiny pistol on the front for reading entertainment, which is probably what made him take nearly two hours.

I looked at my child, who was already putting on his jacket to go with me to the store.

When I gripe and complain about my Friday Night Date Night being spent in the grocery store, I remember it could always be worse.

My husband could offer to do the shopping for me.

http://www.dawsonnews.com/archives/10793/

Man walks into a grocery store alone….(11/14/2012)

I am not sure what it is about men and grocery stores, but those long mysterious aisles seem to present a conundrum to a lot of men. Or maybe it’s just my husband.

I joke that his idea of Friday Night Date Night is taking me to the grocery store, where we spend ‘quality time’ together.

Me, pushing a buggy, weighing produce and wondering why they don’t put prizes in bran cereal for the grown-ups. For my husband it means disappearing to the magazines, where he stands, reading about guns or cycling.

Cole stays by my side, helping with the buggy duty until he spots a free sample, which if there’s a food sampling in a store, Cole will find it.

When I finally make my way to the check out, I am frantically searching for Lamar. Where is he? Why can’t I find him? He’s MIA, as usual. He somehow appears as soon as I head the buggy towards the door.

The festivities continue when we get home and I get to put up everything after he brings it in. He digs out the turkey and makes himself a sandwich to partake in the entertainment of me stacking cans of green beans and putting Eggos in the freezer.

Not my idea of a Friday Night Date Night exactly. I grit my teeth and feel my blood start to boil.

“You know, you could help me put these groceries up,” I mutter under my breathe to the back of his head.

“I don’t know where you want that stuff.”

That’s his excuse for not folding laundry, for not putting up the dishes – he doesn’t know where I want ‘that stuff.’

It’s not that hard to figure out. The canned goods are on one shelf, the cereal and breakfast food another. It’s not rocket science, it’s non-perishables.

I feel like my efforts are unappreciated. I feel like my desire to be a happy little homemaker is being grossly taken advantage of. So I of course, say something.

“I’ll get the groceries then,” Lamar said.

So he went to the store the next week to get the groceries.

First, he left the list at home, so he had no idea what we needed.

So he called me from the store so I could verbally give him a list.

“Are you going to be able to remember this?” I asked, knowing the truth despite his answer.

“Yes.”

A few minutes later, he called. What aisle is the coffee on? he wanted to know. I told him. “Where’s that?” he asked. I told him next to the cereal. He wanted to know what aisle the oatmeal was on; I told him that. He still wasn’t sure.

“Tell him how many aisles over it is from the magazines,” Cole suggested.

A few more minutes went by and he called again.

This time, it had to do with the kind of yogurt I wanted. Namely, they didn’t have it.

“Then get this brand,” I advised. Another call. “They are out of that too.”

“Then get whatever kind they have as long as it’s not strawberry banana flavored.”

An hour later, he returned home.

He had a 50-pound bag of dog food from the pet store; a gallon of milk, a box of Little Debbies – because Swiss Cake Rolls are a meal into themselves, a box of pasta, a jar of sauce and a box of Life cereal. Nothing on the list.

Nothing I can eat, having celiac either.

I told him of this.

“Well, I figured you don’t eat at home a whole lot anyway. Just dinner, so I can get you a chunk of meat somewhere. But the rest of us have food for the week.”

And a gun magazine with a shiny pistol on the front for reading entertainment, which is probably what made him take nearly two hours.

I looked at my child, who was already putting on his jacket to go with me to the store.

When I gripe and complain about my Friday Night Date Night being spent in the grocery store, I remember it could always be worse.

My husband could offer to do the shopping for me.

http://www.dawsonnews.com/archives/10793/

A hillbilly Thanksgiving (11/21/2012)

My ex had a lot of complaints when it came to my family and how I was raised.

The primary complaint being how we were not the refined, cultured caste of people he thought his family was.

His family had the big sit-down dinner at Thanksgiving, where they went around and reflected on what they were thankful for, the blessings they had received over the year. It was a very serious undertaking, like something out of a made for T.V. movie or a grocery store commercial.

The first time I was a part of this, I was a little shell-shocked. That was not how my family celebrated. Didn’t make one right, or one wrong, at least not to me. It was just different.

Granny did all the cooking, starting her turkey the night before. She fussed about it too. We all heard about it as did anyone with a telephone that she knew.

Granny would have to call and tell everyone how much she had done and how cussed tired she was.

“I’m so thankful that’s over with. Now – to get through Christmas!”

She was irritated because she had to make two pans of dressings; my uncle and I required dressing without the onions. Two sweet potato pies had to be made too; Granny was infuriated when she saw Mama and I peeling off the meringue with disgust.

“The only reason I am making you a pie without the egg white is because it’s a special occasion,” the old woman would tell us. “So you be thankful for that.”

When it was all on the table and ready, there was no gentle calling to the table but a raucous yell to come eat.

At our table, there was no sitting around saying what we were thankful for – I guess country folks, or self-proclaimed hillbillies, don’t have to set aside one day out of the year to be thankful. We had already said our thanks as the moments occurred.

Some days, it was gratitude for Pop being with us another day; other days it was gratitude that whatever was wrong with the cat wasn’t that serious.

We gave thanks as the moments of thankfulness occurred, quietly, humbly and with the reverence each one deserved.

There was watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade while eating a pre-dinner turkey sandwich. There were football games followed by talk of how badly Georgia was going to beat Tech in a few days. There were leftovers that never seemed to end no matter how many table treats the dogs and cats received. There was usually a vet visit the day after because Pepper the beagle had indulged a little too much.

For the ex, the day was a chance to see relatives he only saw one day a year. So that was a holiday we often spent with his family, much to my mama’s chagrin.

“Guess you aren’t coming this year?” she would ask wistfully, with only a twinge of guilt being poured in her question.

“You probably like the way they do things better anyway.”

Truth be told, I didn’t.

I thought it was a bunch of hoity-toity put-on nonsense.

Give me Granny yelling about how we forgot to get cranberry sauce or how she was going to instigate a ban on football over a forced air of family cheer any day.

We may not have had the elaborate sit down affair. Granny had quit using her good plates – that we doubt were even fancy China but just dishes she liked – for paper plates long before the ex came to be. Tablecloths always got something spilled on them and were one more thing to clean. Not much different than any other day, except we had a big turkey in the middle of the table, dressing and pies minus meringue.

It was just an everyday day, but a day of togetherness.

It was not fancy smancy like the ex’s family did. But it was the way mine did it.

We didn’t need one day to appreciate each other or what we had. We did that every day, in our own way and we knew that no matter what, we may not be the most refined, or have those made-for- T.V.-like moments, but we loved each other.

And for that, I am very thankful.

 

http://www.dawsonnews.com/archives/10845/

Going the way of the Twinkie? (11/28/2012)

Mama’s been worried. Really, really worried. More so than her usual worried-about-nothing – except-she-has to worry anxiety.

“Have you heard anything about how the world is supposed to end next month?” she asked recently.

Oh Lawd. I had been hearing about it for a while now, but had hoped Mama had somehow missed it between worrying about her celebrity tabloid romances and if Drew Carey was going to last on “The Price Is Right.”

“I have but I don’t think it’s anything to worry about,” I tried to console her.

But Mama is a professional worrier and she has founded facts to back up her fear.

Just about every headline in the news is another ‘sign’ that the Mayans were right and the world is ending next month, 12/21/12 to be exact.

“I think it has more to do with the fact that I am turning 40 a few days before that,” I told Mama.

She did not appreciate my humor. She was worried.

You would have thought that she heard from a reliable source like Sylvia Browne.

“Mama, I don’t understand why all these people get upset … if you know where you are going in the great hereafter, it should be a hallelujah moment instead of an uh-oh!”

Then, it happened.

Twinkies are ending.

Not just Twinkies, but the whole Hostess company.

They also make several other delectable little sugar-laden treats, but none that are supposedly the first line of defense in a zombie apocalypse.

I was starting to get worried myself.

Even more so, because Twinkies are a childhood staple my own child had not yet tried.

I once tried to get Cole one when we were on a road trip; he opted instead for a Sno Ball because of the lovely coconut.

I was more of the chocolate Cupcake girl when I was a kid.

Not that I would turn down a Twinkie, but if I had my druthers, chocolate won out every time.

As long as I had a Twinkie or a Cupcake and a Nancy Drew, Mama didn’t hear from me.

“No!” Cole had exclaimed when he saw the news. “I have never even had a Twinkie! How could something like the Twinkie be going away?”

But was this, the demise of the Twinkie, the sign that the Mayans were indeed right?

I thought of all the things I had told Mama to console her: No one knows the exact time or date the world will end; all the Bible verses I had researched; the factoid sound-bites I had pulled off the Internet.

Now I was the one getting a little worried – and couldn’t find a dang box of the yellow sponge cakes on a shelf anywhere to later sell on Ebay.

“I remembered something,” she announced in the middle of conversation the other day. “Your father said once that the Mayans measure of time was different than ours. So I think that’s wrong. I think we are looking at the date wrong and it’s not going to be next month after all. I think we’ve got a long, long, long time.”

I am not real sure my father had mentioned a whole lot about the Mayans, or the world ending in 2012 since they were married in the early ‘70’s and folks weren’t thinking about that then.

Things like zombies, fiscal cliffs and Mayan calendars were not on anyone’s radar back in the good old ‘70s. It was bellbottoms, disco and God-awful shag carpeting.

At least Mama was satisfied with that theory though. She had quit worrying about 12/21/12 and had decided to stop listening or reading so much propaganda.

I, for one, didn’t know if her hypothesis about the Mayan calendar was true or not.

And if it is, and we’ve got a long way to go, can we truly make it without a Twinkie?

http://www.dawsonnews.com/archives/10915/