Archive | October, 2013

Mangling a Monday with Memories

28 Oct

His hands were rough and worn. He often sat with pocket knife in hand doggedly attempting to remove the paint from beneath his nails. His hazel eyes were warm and loving when they turned in my direction. His belly was big, his legs sticklike beneath. His shoulders were broad and always available when life’s little hurts brought me to tears. His bald head was a source of mirth.

Often he would grab my hand and we would engage in a kitchen butt-kicking contest, reducing me to helpless giggles.

He would quietly leave the house when things got too hot in the kitchen, when Mom’s temper flared a bit higher than normal or simply because a neighbor needed a hand

We had a huge vegetable garden and he worked tirelessly. Then we would can and freeze the harvest, seek out berries and fruit from others an, make jelly.

Life was good.

We had a party line on our telephone. It was a rotary dial. There was no air-conditioning, only a big fan on one of the windows that drew air in. There was a trick to it. More air pulled through slightly opened windows, so we closed all the windows except for a few critically placed ones. Sometimes the humidity would make the sheets feel damp in those hot Southern summer nights. The frogs and cicadas, those things we called katy-dids, serenaded us with their lovely music.

There were scary things. The cat cruising across my face in the middle of the night scared the dickens out of me. The snake the cat brought in. Seems the cats were always up to something. There was the lady down the road that spoke in tongues and freaked my little 9 year old ass completely out. There was a fire. Matches were sun lit in a bathroom window. I put it out with a bucket of water. There was another fire in the yard. It spread and the volunteer fire department had to be called. My great-grandmother and I were beating the fire with a wet mop, the tool at hand.

There were occasional disagreements. There was always the friction between my brother and I. He hated me from birth. He was eight years older. I couldn’t fix it. I finally understood that it wasn’t my problem to fix. It took years. One day an epiphany. Amazing. I was well into my forties.

There were calves and pigs and rabbits and dogs and cats. There was a horse.

I watched soaps in the summer on a black and white TV with Grandma Sumler. I watched her comb her hair out and put it back in a bun and clean her comb, winding the stray hair into a little circle before discarding it. What an odd habit it was.

I learned to cook. I did dishes, although I complained and tried to escape to the bathroom as often as possible. I promised to stop complaining when Daddy bought a dishwasher.

That promise was rather short-lived.

We spent time with grandparents. Family was important and holidays were gatherings of aunts and uncles and cousins.

And it all subsided.

I miss it occasionally. I miss the sense of timelessness I had as a child. It seems the more tools and time-saving devices we invent, the less time we have.

It’s hard to focus with so many new toys to experience!

Waxing nostalgic? Fond memories? Both?

Of course.

Worry, Work, Write

26 Oct

Worry works.

The first time I heard that, I laughed.

It isn’t funny anymore.

Let’s face it, you worry and nothing happens, your worry is justified.

You worry and it does happen, well then you knew it all along.

Bob worries.

And he worried about the heating and air going out until it did.

We is seriously poor now.

I will have to work until I drop dead because now he’s obsessing over the septic system.

And you know his worry will work.

——-

On a lighter note, I’ve finally taken a baby step toward my version of a Hess/Evanovitch style light read novel. I’m working on the Snowflake method. Seems to be simple and organized;  the former plays into my preference for following the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principal and the latter gives me a focus, which I lack in spades.

The first step in the Snowflake (thanks Randy Ingermanson) is a one sentence summary of the novel, trying for fewer than fifteen words:

The death of a second-sighted citizen wreaks havoc with the eccentric inhabitants of Armageddon, Arkansas.

Ladies: would you pick it up based on that one sentence? A light read? A weekend of entertainment?

Step Two expands that sentence to a paragraph. I’m working on it. My notes are beside me: a page of scribbles that does have a complete sentence here and there, an editor’s nightmare that makes sense to me.

There are also character notes in the briefcase, index cards with scenes that have played in my head.

As shopping is no longer a viable activity, writing can now become a great substitute.

——-

The push of time toward the winter solstice, the morning darkness, and the anticipation of a dark drive home soon, instills a certain melancholy in all of us I suppose. I find myself experiencing emotions I cannot name, almost a ‘missing’ of something….a curious sense of nostalgia, perhaps? Ah, and yes, my birthday approaches. Sixty is a number, I remind myself. It is not a death sentence.

No…we receive our death sentences at birth.

I’m sure most will find that a rather morbid statement.

Humans. We are all in this together. We share the same sort of entrance and the same sort of exit, and can’t agree on much of anything in the in-between.

Now you know why I’ve been MIA. A cluttered mind can often lead to ennui.

February Had it to: Ennui

MIA and a Tangled Tuesday

22 Oct

I’ve been MIA…missing blogging, but still in action. We’ve traveled to Northwest Arkansas for War Eagle Craft Fair, come close to fisticuffs, shopped, and considered much.

Weariness is a familiar word and feeling.

Recently Falon discovered the six word memoir. I was intrigued. At breakfast one morning over our travel weekend, we chose ‘Grandma’ as the topic of the six word memoir. I thought to share a couple of them. So here’s to Grandma Effie.

Cake-muffin making trailer park queen. by Falon

Married to the same man twice. by Falon

Pig eating, greens picking, cornbread gourmet. by Kathy

Practically deaf but not quite dumb. by Falon

Falon was on a roll.

Snuff dippin’, spit can totin’, grandma. by Kathy

Grandma was definitely a character worthy of a memoir.

Dressing With Eyes Closed

9 Oct

I walked out the door this morning wearing a sweater and black slacks.

There was the sweater. Looked down. Saw black.

But there was also an interesting breezy feeling somewhere just north of my socks.

Looked a little further down.

There, shining brightly was a section of leg visible between capri and sock.

It wasn’t pretty.

Turns out the slacks were in the laundry.

I settled for boots.

Wicked, Wednesday, Not Much Wit

8 Oct

This is a quick post so if spelling and grammar suffer, please forgive.[

Saturday night, Falon treated me to a touring company performance of Wicked.

Loved it. Loved it.

The performances were outstanding and the company played so well together. It’s been a long time since last I saw a musical onstage, perhaps too long. I was charmed.

However, I was not charmed by folks seated near us who felt compelled to discuss the play and sing along with the cast. What? Are? We? Raising? Folks if we pay that much for a ticket, it isn’t to listen to you. Shoot, if it’s free I don’t want to listen to the folks around me chatter. Manners? I turned at one point and just said please to the worst offender. Falon asked them to stop singing. At intermission she was accused of talking through the first act by one of the singers.

Needless to say we’re the bad guys in all this.And I’m not sure I get it.

Please, tell me the appropriate action to take in such a case…I woke up clueless again.

Beatlemania Revisted, Arkansas Women Needed

8 Oct

Sunday, this piece was finally published to the Arkansas News Bureau. I don’t think any of the subscriber papers have picked it up yet, but having it out there is a step in the direction I would like to take. Freelancing or book writing anyone? At any rate, the best part of this story was hearing it and meeting the lovely lady who owns this story.

An Arkansas Herstory: Carrie Mae Snapp

WALNUT RIDGE — It was the biggest thing to ever happen in this small county seat town in northeastern Arkansas. And Carrie Mae Snapp was there.

She tells her story with the eloquence of one who has repeated it often. There is a gleam in her eye as she speaks of the tears she shed that night. It was 49 years ago when her father picked up the receiver on the black rotary-dial phone in their living room at 3 a.m. Her life was forever changed.

Even at 14, she knew a call that late likely meant someone had died. The whole family was awakened and had gathered around to hear the news.

She listened intently as her dad muttered a few “un huhs.” She was surprised when he handed the phone to her.

It was her friend, Gene Matthews. And he was excited.

Voice raised, he told her that earlier that evening, Jack Allison, owner of the local teen hangout, the Polar Freeze, had heard a large plane fly over. That was unusual in the small town in 1964, so Allison sent Gene, Bobby Cole and Richard Thomas to the old World War II training field to investigate.

They found the large plane on the field and they watched from a distance as the Bill Black Band exited the plane. They didn’t know it was the Bill Black Band at the time, but they recognized the next wave behind them. It was the Beatles. Black’s band was fronting the Fab Four on the concert circuit.

It was Sept. 18, 1964, and the world’s most popular entertainers since Elvis Presley were on a landing strip in the Lawrence County seat, ironically not that far from Presley’s hometown of Memphis.

As Carrie Mae listened to Gene, the tears began falling. Just like every other teenage girl in the country, Carrie Mae and her friends were besotted of the Four. As she tells the story she points to a friend seated at the table in her shop, Imagine; Judy Turnbull was there, she says.

Here’s what happened:

Reed Pigman Sr. operated the charter service flying the Four on their concert tour. He also owned a dude ranch at Alton, Mo. John, Paul, George, and Ringo were looking for a brief respite after the concert in Dallas that night. Reed offered them the dude ranch. Walnut Ridge had the only landing field close to the ranch that would accommodate an aircraft of that size. They were to set down in Walnut Ridge, then fly a smaller craft on to Alton.

But there was a problem.

As Carrie tells it, Paul refused to fly in a smaller craft. No puddle jumpers for him. So there was time to kill while waiting on transportation to arrive. Gene and his friends engaged the famous ones in a real shoot ‘em up with cap guns to while away those minutes.

Carried Mae was devastated. She had missed the Beatles.

Her mom was pragmatic. If they landed here, they would have to take off here, she said. And she promised Carrie Mae a Beatles experience.

It was the morning of Sept. 19, and Carrie Mae’s mom, not averse to a brush with fame herself, dressed carefully, applied her make-up and woke Carrie Mae. Soon they were on the way to the restaurant the family owned to find the pilot of the Beatles’ aircraft.

Carrie Mae says it was pretty obvious he was the pilot, being the only man with wings on his shoulder among the few guests there.

Mom picked up a coffee pot and sauntered over to offer a refill. She engaged him in a bit of conversation and finally asked when the Boys were coming back.

He couldn’t tell her.

She asked again after a bit more conversation.

He couldn’t tell her, but eventually the crying Carrie Mae and the persuasive Mom with the coffee pot were told they really shouldn’t go to church the next morning.

Mom put down the coffee pot, collected Carrie Mae and headed for the landing field.

By this time the word had spread all over town. The local teens were pretty much camped out on that landing field. Carrie Mae found a few friends to scream and cry with as they ogled the plane the Beatles flew in.

One of them noticed a side cabin door ajar.

Could they get in the plane? Touch the things the Beatles had touched? Find a souvenir of the visit?

Carrie Mae believes she levitated that afternoon. There’s no other explanation for her sudden ascension to the wing of that aircraft. Friends appeared with her. They jimmied the door and eventually stuffed and pushed one skinny little girl through the crack.

She searched and could only find the four little pillows the airline had provided John, Paul, Ringo, and George — four little pillows upon which their heads had laid.

Carrie Mae had treasure. And she was determined to spend the night at the field. But Mom refused to allow her to be out all night.

Carrie Mae’s eyes were tear-clouded all the way home.

Once there she showed Dad the pillow. Carrie Mae says he gently accused her of theft, but eventually conceded that the little paper throw-away cover was a keeper.

Early the next morning the family returned to the landing field to wait with the rest of the crowd. They were not disappointed. George and Ringo appeared in a small plane and John and Paul arrived in a red Suburban.

Dad Snapp urged Carrie forward and insisted she reach out and touch George Harrison. She did. She reaches toward the photo of George as she relays this bit of her story — a photo her father had taken with a little Kodak Instamatic and now enlarged and mounted — and touches his arm with her index finger. It was the same place she had touched Harrison that day. There’s that smile playing about her mouth again, the memory clear and happy in her eyes.

Carrie Mae has the best of Dad Snapp’s Instamatic photos mounted to show when anyone asks about the day the Beatles came to town. She also has the camera.

September marked the third annual Beatles Fest in Walnut Ridge, a festival that is small and growing. You can get there on the Rock ‘N’ Roll Highway and don’t miss the Beatles on Abbey Road. Next year, she says, they hope to greet Ringo and Paul again. It will be the 50th anniversary of their landing. They’ve begun the process of contacting the two living Beatles, but have gotten no response yet.

Carrie Mae is writing a book about the experience that changed the residents of her small town forever.

As a note to Carrie Mae’s adventure, she recently lost a friend who was there with her, one of the four who kept a little paper pillow cover. It was bequeathed to Carrie Mae for safekeeping.

———

For Beatles Fest information: beatlesattheridge.com. Arkansas women with a story to share should contact Kathy Satterfield at arkansasherstory@att.net.

As a side note: Sandy…I’m getting there!

 

Complicated Rules and Congress

3 Oct

I  had Cspan playing in the background all day yesterday. I’m still trying to figure out what I was thinking. What a horror. All the little Repubs shared their horror stories and blamed the Dems. Then all the Dems shared their take on the House fiasco and blamed the Tea Partying faction.  I think the Dems are onto something.

We really need to deal with each issue individually, on an up or down vote and stop attaching pet projects to everything. KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid. Folks, we ain’t accomplishing anything here.

And all you white guys are coming across like petulant children.

 

You can’t get your way so you’re gonna take your toys and go home?

Seems to me like mama needs to spank some ass.

 

They keep saying Americans don’t want Obamacare. Maybe they didn’t…Maybe, like me, they wanted Universal health care, Medicare for all. I didn’t get exactly what I wanted, but am I causing a hullabaloo in Washington? Am I acting the fool on national television spinning stories to scare the general populace?

 

I swear.. all these grown men throwing temper tantrums cause they can’t screw the poor a little more and get their way.

It’s already becoming somewhat apparent that corporations are searching for the best way to do just that. You can hear the little mice rolling around on their little wheels in CEO heads across the country… trying to figure out how to meet the minimum health insurance requirement for the least cost to them and the max cost to their employees.

Really. Is that a benefit? When my out-of-pocket is gonna eat my lunch? You corporate assholes out there really should consider doing right by your employees. If there is a Hell, there’s a special place in it for greedy types like you. In fact I think we should build Hell just for you guys.

I gotta say, Misbehaved Woman posted this great vid calling for massive civil disobedience on Nov 5. I have a feeling the peons may revolt sooner rather than later. Hey, I’m all for it. There has to be some way to change the status quo…if no one has an employee to do the work and make the money, perhaps they’ll figure out they owe us.

Senator Mark Pryor, D-Ark, called for an end to hyper-partisanship. Now those were sensible words. Let’s hope he can find a few more and get himself re-elected since the remainder of Ark. has embraced the Red so thoroughly. It’s becoming an embarrassment to mention that I live here.

They keep passing state laws that are not constitutional and doing their best to preserve the good old boy state to the detriment of all women. Like I’m gonna walk behind a man! Keep up if you can, boys. That’s my motto.

And here I am again, randomly wandering through the jello of my brain, trying to make a complete sentence and sense out of all the nonsense.

Oh, heck. Maybe a nap will help!

In the meantime Misbehaved Woman, please carry a sign for me!

 

 

It Really IS That Simple

1 Oct

There has been some discussion of the new health care laws among my peers lately. It would seem that corporations are determined to scare the hell out of us. The spin they are placing on it and the decisions they make in regard to it, are CHOICE$ peeps. It is very simple. Either the company you work for takes care of its employees or it doesn’t. And let there be no mistake, most of them WON’t  take care of you unless forced to do so. And in the forcing, the will find any loophole they can to make the company more profitable and to screw you.

The wealthy will either develop a social consciousness and care of the people who work in the trenches to create their wealth…or they won’t.

It really is that simple.

All the cussing and discussing is basic bullshit.

All of this ideological nonsense is a cover. As long as you are discussing guns and abortion, you are not fully focused on the many ways you are getting screwed.

And most of us, the 98% are getting screwed in one way or another, in this beautiful U S of A.

I know you don’t want Medicare or Social Security reduced or eliminated.

I know you don’t want to file bankruptcy over a medical bill or have to wait until you are so diseased that the emergency room is your only option and the bills will be thrown into the trash as you worry over them knowing there is nothing you can do. You can’t get blood out of a turnip.

I know you don’t want government services and offices to shut down just because house Republicans want to defund the Affordable Care Act for ideological reasons for the 43rd time.

It is the law. Move on.

I know you want to see that those 48 million people, who have no preventative care or can’t take their kids to the doctor when they are sick, released from the medical stress they live under.

You are sympathetic to their needs. You are better than the 2%.

Remember that 2% profited from the wars that killed your sons and daughters. They profit from your labor. Their success may have begun with a great idea, but you made that idea a reality. They should pay more taxes and make sure we all have health care and a secure retirement.

It is their responsibility.

That’s how it should trickle down.

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