face full of cole

Meeting my match (4/15/2015)

Granny cursed me once.

In a moment of fire and brimstone fury, she locked her jaw, bulged out her eyeball at me and declared, “One day, you will have a little girl just like you!” she bellowed. “Hopefully, there’ll be 10 of ‘em – just to show you a thing or two!”

I was maybe 12 at the time and undoubtedly, I had angered the old gal to no end, which was an easy task given an off-course wind could infuriate her.

I was not entirely sure what I had done, but I am sure it was one of two possible transgressions. 1. I had back-talked Granny and Granny considered anything less than total agreement with her to be a sign of defiance, betrayal and family treason.

2. I had not done something she had told me to do, which was also considered a biological treason.

Either one could invoke her ire and wrath.

Given the velocity of her malediction, it may have been a combo of both.

Those words stayed with me throughout the rest of my young adulthood, as I lived in fear of what she proclaimed would maybe happen. So I tried to be a good girl. I did.

I tried to watch my sassy mouth, too, because usually, it was my mouth that got me in trouble. All I knew, the old gal had cursed me and I must have been a dreadful, awful monster if she wanted me to have 10 just like me.

I lived with this cloud hanging over my head through my early adulthood. When I was told at age 30 I couldn’t have kids, I was terribly heartbroken but momentarily wondered – had I avoided some terrible curse?

Medical science was proved wrong, and I thought I had dodged some Granny-sized bullet when I had Cole.

Little boys love their mama’s, and usually don’t have quite the drama little girls can have.

I remembered my own drama and angst. In hindsight, it was nothing. During the time of occurrence, it was enough to fill at least five different shows on the WB.

Besides, Granny had cursed me with girls – she made no mention of boys.

I had been coated in Teflon and shrouded in Kevlar.

Let me preface this by saying, Cole is an exceptionally good child. He is well-behaved. He is polite. He is tenderhearted and compassionate.

We even called the year he was two “terrific” instead of “terrible.”

Cole is sweet, like his father.
Lamar is a genuinely sweet and kind person. He may have a mean bone somewhere in his skeletal makeup that is well hidden by the fact he seldom speaks, but I think after a dozen years it would have surfaced.

But like me, Cole is stubborn and will argue his point until he feels satisfied he has been heard.

He can be quite the tenacious little taskmaster.

He will over-talk me to the point I forget he is just 10.

“Cole, you need to stop talking and listen for a change,” I reprimand him.

A look of fleeting defiance flashes across his face.

“You need to try listening for a change, too, Mama,” he said. “I am trying to explain to you but you are the one not listening.”

“And I was telling you the reason you aren’t. It is not up for discussion.”

He stammers and starts, spurts and tries to find verbal footing in the war field between us.

“Stop,” I caution him. “Just stop.”

His little chin goes up and he looks me in the eyes: “No, I won’t.”

He doesn’t, either.

He gets something stuck in his craw and he won’t let it go.

Our latest battles have included how he wants to get a go-cart, which I am against.

The worst part is, he doesn’t just defiantly argue with me, tossing demands and declarations at me – no, this child of mine has researched and Googled everything there is to support his position on the case.

He has to have the last word and he is never, not ever, wrong.

He can wear me out to the point there have been times I say: “Just go see what your Daddy says.”

I told Mama about Granny’s curse, something she was not aware of at the time.

“Granny cursed you?” she was appalled to hear this but not necessarily surprised. The old gal’s wrath could and usually included immediate family.

“She did. She said she hoped I had 10 little girls just like me – because you know I was pretty much the devil incarnate according to her.”

“She only thought you were bad when you stood up to her,” Mama said. “And you both are so stubborn and headstrong and had to be right -I am surprised the two of you didn’t implode just being in the same room together. I don’t think there is or was anything wrong with the way you were.”

Mama didn’t say, however, that 10 little girls just like me would be a blessing.

She probably knew that would be quite too much sassy mouthness to deal with.

To give herself a reprieve, Mama asked how Cole was doing.

“He is mad at me right now,” I told her.

“He’s not really mad at you; he’s crazy about his Mama.”

True, he is. But this time, he wasn’t calling me his “sweet girl.”

He had been shoving an opened lap top in front of my face to show me charts, websites and other substantiated evidence to support his claims.

Mama started a slow giggle that erupted into a full blown wheeze.

I frowned. I didn’t find it funny that my child was being what Granny would have deemed disrespectful and told him to go pick out his own hickory.

“You don’t even see it, do you?” Mama asked between her gasps for air.


The wheezing sounded like a gale force hurricane.

“You may not have had the 10 little girls; you didn’t have to,” she said. “You met your match in one little boy.”


The relativity of crazy (2/26/2014)


I am starting to think Julia Sugarbaker was right. This is the South, and we don’t ask if you’ve got crazy folks in your family, we ask which side are they on.

We know her answer was the same as mine – “Both.”

I am trying to define ‘crazy.’

I am not referring to people who have a medical diagnosis of some kind either; I am talking about those folks that are just, well, crazy.

They think the world and all the planets in the universe revolve around them.

It’s the obnoxious ones, the rude ones, the ones we all run from when we see them in the grocery store.

I know one so dreadful, my husband earned some extra brownie points by texting me to say “cray cray on aisle 4 – run!” I have never got out of a grocery store so fast in my life.

He got to ride his bike that weekend with no fussing at all from me.

I was talking about this epidemic of crazy just the other day when it was brought to my attention, I may be crazy too.

“You hate to go outside the city limits!” my friend Katie said.

True. I do.

“You don’t think you aren’t a little bit crazy?” she asked.

“I know I am crazy,” I said. “I’m just aware of my craziness and that’s part of why I try to keep my crazy contained.”

And I like to think that my version of crazy is really considered to be more along the lines of eccentricities.

But then I am reminded of a quote that crazy’s what you call average, every day folks and eccentric is reserved for folks who have old money.

So maybe I need to embrace crazy and just get down and dirty with it.

I guess I could qualify as crazy. But not your garden variety crazy, I want to do something really unique, like collect pieces of lint or maybe only eat one color of M&Ms. I do hide chocolate, does that help make me uniquely crazy?

I wish I could come up with something that strikes me as more one of a kind. I don’t want to be a normal run of the mill crazy. That would just be disappointing.

What if, after it was all said and done, I was really more normal than I thought?

This thought worried me.

Lamar seemed to think I had nothing to worry about. I think Cole was certain too, but he just patted me on the arm and gave me an “Oh, sweet girl,” before he ran off to play.

I asked Mama if she thought my eccentricities were not quantitative enough to warrant me being deemed crazy.

Mama told me she thought in a lot of ways, I was kind of normal.

She quickly added that, I had nothing to worry about; I had plenty of crazy running through my veins that would eventually take precedence.

“You sure?” I asked her. I was starting to think I was not living up to my heritage as a southerner.

“Oh yes,” she said. “Look at your family – we feed stray opossums, your grandmother keeps a shotgun under her bed -“

“Granny still keeps a gun under her bed?”

Mama ignored my question.

“Don’t worry about the definition so much; you are the type of person who would get a pet pig and ride it around in a convertible like Suzanne Sugarbaker did. You did used to take that evil beagle to the drive thru at the Chick-fil-A, after all.”

True, I did. Pepper used to bark her order into the machine and would get a chicken filet and a dog biscuit at the window.

“.., and I don’t even want to know what you think about me that qualifies as crazy.”

“Well, you did once eat a vending machine hot dog,” I said. It landed her in the hospital with food poisoning, too. I tried to limit my vending machine choices to 3 Musketeers and bags of Lays.

“Twice, I ate vending machine hot dogs twice; they were good, too.”

“I can’t believe you would think that. Who eats a hot dog out of a vending machine?” I questioned. Then it dawned on me. My own Mama would. She did. Twice.

“Kitten, I don’t think you have anything to worry about. I think you are safe.”

I may not be completely crazy yet, but I think I am close.