Thursday, December 30, 2010

Help, I'm Stuck!

I went to Valley Point School for twelve years. The first grade was the hardest. I wanted to fit in with the other kids but it wasn't easy. Believe it or not, I was a little kid when I started to school at the age of six. I remember my mother and I visited the principal of the primary school before school started so that she could see that I was ready for school. I was a precocious child and she said she thought I would be fine starting to school with the other kids my age. It also didn't hurt that Mrs Brooker was a sturdy little petite woman who was no more than five feet tall.

I was in Mrs Owens room in the first grade and was in heaven. She smelled so good. She was a very sweet teacher and all the children loved her very much. We would gather at her desk at recess, and cluster around her, talking and laughing. Some of the kids started sitting on the rim of her grey metal trashcan and balancing on it. I saw different kids doing that. I thought I could do that.

One day I tried to sit on the rim of the trashcan but I didn't know how to balance like the other kids could do. I may have had a hard time because I was shorter than most of the kids and my arms didn't reach back far enought to help me balance. I slipped and found myself folded up like a Swiss army knife and wedged in the trashcan. When I tried to get up I saw that I couldn't get out by myself.

The kids whooped with laughter at my dilema. Mrs Owens tried to get me out but she couldn't. She and some of the kids had to tip the can sideways and pry me out. I was so embarrassed, but the worse was yet to come.

Mrs Owens was afraid that I had hurt my back so she made me lie down on the nearest little wooden table. She called the principal of the elementary school, who was at the building next door, and he came to check on me.

I remember lying on my belly, with boys and girls sitting at the table watching me, and waiting on the principal to come. When he did come in the classroom Mrs Owens explained how I had slipped and gotten stuck in the trashcan and what a hard time they had getting me out. Mrs Owens and Mr Davis were standing next to me beside the table.

Mrs Owens suddenly flipped my skirt-tail up over my back and showed Mr Davis my backside. I suppose they were looking for scratches or bruises but all I saw was a bunch of dumb boys grinning like a bunch of hyenas at me and my panties.

I was mortified. No amount of living would ever erase that shame from my memory and never again did I consider them harmless boys. They had leered at me with glee and I would never forget it. I suppose that was the first wedge that entered the relationship of all those kids that I knew throughout my school years. I always felt it was them against me. No wonder.

My back wasn't seriously hurt and the principal didn't have to call my moma but my ego was bruised. I can honestly say that I don't remember ever sitting on another trashcan again. The teachers in the primary school building put a stop to allowing children to sit on trashcans from that day forward.

That wasn't the only time I would be embarrassed in front of my classmates, or show my underwear. Being a kid isn't easy.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Lake Winnie

Picture courtesy of Paul Drabek at Negative-G

. . . or why mothers eat their young.

Like grains of sand in an hour glass, these are the days of our lives.

For joy, for joy! Long before Disney World, and even long before Six Flags Over Georgia, way back in the beginning of the TV era when I was young . . . long, long ago there was only one main attraction for all the amusement ride lovers in our area and that place still stands today. That place is Lake Winnepesaukah. The place has been here for eighty-five years and it is far better to spend the day there and ride all the rides you want to, than to drive all the way to Atlanta and stand in the lines for hours waiting to ride only a few rides. I hate waiting in lines.

Lake Winnie is the place that a lot of people got their first kiss as they rode the boat chute through the Tunnel of Love. It was reputed to have snakes sleeping in the rafters which sometimes fell into the boats of the helpless victims below. That story always had to be related aloud to some young person who was taking his first ride on the boat chute. The spooky tunnel is at the beginning of the ride.

We had some good times up there. I remember one time when we were young that my cousins Randy and Debbie and I rode to Chattanooga in our great uncle Cletus' white Cadillac. He drove below the speed limit because he believed the sign that said "Keep off the median" meant to drive below the speed limit. We all argued with him that it didn't mean to drive that slow but he wouldn't listen. Old people. Sheesh!

We had a family reunion up there that day. They rented a pavillion and the table was covered with food from one end to the other. Naturally the kids all took off to ride the rides after we ate. We lined up to ride a ride that goes across the lake. Two people to a gondola allowed you to ride high above the lake and you can look down on the people below you riding paddle boats and see all around the park. It was really high. And the water down below looked really dark and uninviting.

Debbie and I were in line behind her brothers, Steve and Eddie, but we could still talk to them. As we started across the water it became obvious that they were starting to panic. Steve was afraid of the height and Eddie was afraid of falling in the water. They kept talking about jumping off because the ride turns around at the other side and rides you back across the lake before letting you off the ride. The turn around is next to electrical wires and equipment working the ride. There are signs posted all over the place with "Warning", and "Danger".

Debbie and I tried to talk them out of jumping but they were determined not to ride back across the lake. We saw them jump. They cleared the wires and hit the ground running. We were stunned. What dummies.

By the time we got off the ride security, in the amusement park, was looking for the two boys who bailed out across the lake. Debbie and I denied knowing them. The rest of us wandered off and tried to distance ourselves from the search. We all eventually got together again and found out that Steve and Eddie had been dodging security and thought they had ditched them. Whew, that was some adventure. You wouldn't believe that years later Eddie joined the Navy and Steve joined the Air Force.

I also remember Debbie and Randy and I were playing when Moma told me it was time to leave. I wanted to stay a little longer and tried to get her to let me ride back home with somebody else. She said "No" but Debbie and Randy and I decided to run away and she started chasing me. We started running around the bumper car shed and would dart in the opposite direction when we saw her coming. This went on for a while and we were laughing and having a good time until Moma tricked me and jumped out and grabbed me when we ran the wrong way.

Moma was shaking with rage, mad enough to kill me. She had me by the hair and began shaking me by the hair of the head. I was tiptoeing and trying to get away. She was furious as she got close to me and said, "I ought to whip you right here and now but I won't, I won't . . ." and then she suddenly leaned toward me and bit me hard on the cheek. She drug me off and told me I better not talk back to her. How could I? She might bite me again. Sometimes it's best to leave well enough alone so I did. It was time to go home.

She was mad because people were watching me and my cousins running away from her and not minding her. She said one old man was watching us and laughing and that really made her mad. Oh well, I guess I learned a lesson there, about minding your mother, especially if she bites.


Friday, December 24, 2010

Did I See That?

Something strange is aways going on in Resaca. A few years ago I had a strange experience one cold winter morning. You won't believe what I saw while I was standing at my bedroom window. I had been watching the birds eat from the feeders hanging in a peach tree outside my window.

I saw some movement at the neighbor's. It looked like someone was going in and out of the house next door. There were bushes separating our property so I couldn't see who it was but I noticed that they kept walking off of the porch and, in a few minutes, they would walk back onto the porch and go into the house. I wondered why anybody would keep doing that and chalked it up to just another example of the bizarre behavior of the neighbors in our community.

I went into the livingroom and looked out the window and, you won't believe this, but there was a man standing by the highway at our driveway and he was wearing a pair of blue tennis shoes and . . . nothing else! He didn't have a stitch on, except for his shoes. He was just standing by the road like he was waiting on a ride. What the heck?

I slipped out onto the front porch to lock the outside door, and then the inside door. I was afraid that he might come over here and ask to use the telephone (another crazy neighbor story). While I was doing that, he pivoted around and headed back to his house. I never did see him again, and believe me I tried. I went back to the bedroom and could see a silhouette of somebody going into the house and coming back outside again, like before, but I didn't see him standing near the road again. He might have, but I missed it. Oh, and I missed something else, too. After he left I realized that I hadn't even checked him out! Can you imagine that?

Now there are a lot of rednecks in Georgia and sometimes you can see some dumbass running around without a shirt, even when it's cold, but this is the first time I've ever seen anybody, man or woman, running around without a stitch of clothing on.

The next day I planned to keep my eyes peeled and watch out for any more sightings. It had been really cold around here so, I thought, he better watch out or he might get frostbite. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you think about it, I never saw that dude again.

Don't you just love the south? We grow loonies by the bushels-full.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Back When I Was Young

This is me BACK WHEN I WAS YOUNG. This is probably about as HOT as I ever got. Note the cool feathered back wings around my face. I guess I was going for the Farrah Fawcett look. My three redeeming assets were my smile and my boobs. This is a picture of a picture so it's not so clear but I promise you I was a babe. At least, I thought I was. I liked to go out and party with my friends and go dancing. That's how I met Donny. He thought he was Fred Astaire or Bojangles or John Travolta or somebody. He was a dancing machine. To be quite honest with you, I'm not that good of a dancer and I would much rather watch everybody else dance. Donny would lead me tripping out to the dance floor and start some strange moves and try to twirl me around, quite unsuccessfully actually. I would try to pawn him off on some of my girlfriends who loved to dance but he always came back to dance with me. Well, our dancing days are long behind us now but we're still plugging along together. Donny is the most even tempered and loving person I know. Remember when people used to say "It's not easy being cheesy." It's not easy living with me so I think he deserves a gold star.

I wish I could go back in time and have a talk with the young me. I'd tell myself to take better care of my teeth, for one thing.

I was supposed to go with my cousin Donna to get the pictures made but she passed away suddenly. I decided to go get my picture made anyway. Kind of as the last thing I planned to do with her. I wish we could have gotten our pictures made together. She was like a sister to me. She was only twenty years old when she died suddenly.

Donna and I did things together all the time after I got a divorce. We grew really close. She was like my sister. She loved riding around town in downtown Dalton. Teenagers cruised the main drag up and down and around and around like mice in a cage. There was always somebody that Donna knew in town. She was the pretty blonde girl with the little blue Datsun. There was one more Datsun that looked like Donna's but that belonged to another girl.

The girl with the other Datsun was kidnapped and thrown in a well the summer we were hanging around town. Some of Donna's friends thought the girl in the Datsun was Donna but it wasn't. It was another girl. She was a real nice girl. We knew her. She was lucky because somebody heard her screaming and they got her out alive. Later on, I believe, she was robbed when she was working at a convenience store. That poor girl had a horrible life. I don't know what happened to her after that but life isn't fair, is it?

Donna and I rode around and she would talk on the CB with other people. One night we started talking to some guy who said he was the Grave Digger. Donna said she was the Lady in White. He said he was in the West Hill Cemetary. Donna and the boy kept talking and she tried to find him in the cemetary. He turned out to be a friend of hers that she knew from town. He was one of the boys that drove those huge jacked up trucks. We always had a ball back then.

Do you remember the fashions in the seventies? I used to wear those klunky shoes with the cork bottoms. I loved them. They made me three or four inches taller and I could stand up in them, unlike high heels. I thought I was cool in palazzo pants. Remember those? I thought the Eagles was the best band around.

I've come a long way from the sweet young woman in the picture. In that journey from young to old I have had a wonderfully boring life. I care deeply and worry alot. I have been very blessed and I guess it's okay if I never get plastic surgery. Wrinkle with dignity. Carpe diem!


Saturday, December 18, 2010

All About Christmas

My moma and her family didn't celebrate Christmas when they were growing up, partly because my grandparents belonged to a strict Christian religion that doesn't believe in celebrating Christmas and partly because they were poor. Gramma and Grampa had six little girls they tried to support on their two checks from the Crown Cotton Mill. Moma and her sisters talk often of the good times they shared when they were growing up.

Grampa was very strict and didn't allow them to put up any decorations or get any gifts for Christmas. Despite Grampa's decree Moma and her sisters wanted to celebrate like their friends and neighbors did. Moma said she always looked forward to seeing what her neighbor, Freddie Leroy, got for Christmas. She said Freddie had long beautiful curly hair and, for some strange reason, he always got a beautiful doll. He didn't like his dolls so he always let the Carter girls play with it.

One time the sisters decided to have a small cedar Christmas tree. They put the little tree in a coffee can with rocks in it to hold it up and decorated it with construction paper chains and white cotton balls. They hid the  tiny tree in the corner behind two doors that opened from two rooms that were never closed. Nobody would even think to look behind the two doors. They were so happy after their Christmas tree was decorated. Everyone was sworn to secrecy and everything went fine until Grampa got home.

When Grampa came in from work, tired and hungry, Jonnie Bell, the big mouth, ran up to him with utter delight and said, "Daddy! We have a Cheeta-Chee!" She was trying to say they had a 'cedar tree'. Poor Jonnie didn't realize that her great joy and excitement over their accomplishment would have dire consequences.

Grampa found the 'Cheeta-Chee' and quickly dispatched it out the door. That was the end of their Christmas that year.

Moma said she did remember Grampa buying them some presents a couple of times, though. She remembered one year that he got every girl a doll baby. Jonnie Bell didn't like her doll so she ended up getting Crick's dolly. Things weren't always fair when one child could cry so loud.

Although Moma and her sisters didn't get to celebrate Christmas, and Santa Claus never came to visit them, she never denied me a Christmas. Moma and Daddy always loved me and showered me with wonderful gifts for Christmas. Moma never actually told me that there was a Santa Claus but she never denied it either.

I loved Christmas when I was a kid. The Crown Cotton Mill gave out fruit baskets for Christmas. I only had eyes for the foot long 2" candy cane and all the candy bags of orange slices and chocolate drops. Since both sets of grandparents and my parents worked at the cotton mill there were plenty of goodies sitting around.

I remember some amazing Christmas's over the years. One of my favorite years I got a round wooden table with two matching captains chairs and a cooking set with little dishes and cake pans and mix. Moma and Daddy went back to bed and I mixed all my packages together playing with them. I didn't have anything to cook when Moma got up to help me. I also got an inexpensive set of finger puppets that looked like a barbershop quartet that year. I loved putting them on my fingers and singing with them and pretending like we were performing for a live audience. I had a big imagination when I was a kid.

Daddy and Moma built a house when I was seven years old. Daddy was working with the crew who was building it but they worked on it in their spare time. After he came in from work building someone else's house he would go down to the new house we were building and he would work on things he could do by himself to get it ready to move into. That was the year I asked Santa for a pony.

Every day Daddy would come home late from work and sit down to eat and rest for the day. He was stiff and sore and usually in a foul mood. I thought he was always late because he was working on the new house. I didn't know that he was really breaking a pony for me. He was trying to break it in by Christmas so I could ride it.

The pony was a beautiful black and white pony with a long beautiful mane and tail. Daddy bought a beautiful black studded saddle and bridle to match. The pony was beautiful when it was saddled up. The only problem was, it wasn't broke! The pony was willful and uncooperative. I didn't have any riding experience and I was terrified of the evil, biting and bucking beast. That was a bad idea! Daddy ended up swapping my mean little pony for a brown and white pinto that was supposed to be good with kids. I guess the magic wore off with the first little pony because Trigger and I never bonded like we should have. I was always afraid of him and he knew it. He would roll his eyes at me and I cringed in fear. He was a reminder of my stupidity and the fact that you don't always need what you want.

Moma hid my presents for years and never would answer me when I asked her to tell me if Santa Claus was real. By the time they finally broke the news to me I was in middle school. I remember that Christmas being the one that I got a pretty navy colored sailor's raincoat with white piping. I loved it, until the seams started coming apart and it basically disintegrated on me. I think I also got a crappy watch but I am notorious for killing watches. I think I am too electric, or something. Maybe that's what I Sing the Body Electric means.

I've never been comfortable with swapping gifts and I resent wasting money on crap that nobody really wants or needs. I'll be honest. I'm a Scrooge. When my boys were little I never taught them that Santa Claus was coming to bring them gifts. I felt it makes much more sense knowing that Moma and Daddy are playing Santa, not some fat stranger dressed in a red suit. I didn't want to lie to my kids. I think if you lie to them about Santa, and the Easter Bunny, and then tell them about Jesus, how are they going to swallow that? They might think everything is a lie. Maybe it's just me. I hate being lied to. I know some mothers used Santa as a threat to keep their kids in line. I laughed and watched their kids fearful looks. Whatever. I told the boys not to step on other people's beliefs, but there really wasn't a Santa Claus. They always got everything they ever wanted or needed so they were okay with that.

Every Christmas we enjoy lighting up our yard. We had a Christmas tree in front of the house we decorated, too. We have done this for years. A few years ago I found out that Colt had been telling a friend of his that rode the bus with him that we were Jewish! When the young man came out here he mentioned something about us being Jewish. Huh? Come again.  Colt thought it was hilarious that he had been scamming his friend Justin for years about us being Jewish. I asked Colt why he did that . He said that if Justin was too dumb know we weren't Jewish since we put up Christmas decorations every year he wasn't going to tell him any difference. What a guy! Who knew? We're Jewish. mazel tov!

I love Christmas. I love watching the Charlie Brown Christmas on the TV and, who doesn't love, It's a Wonderful Life? I love Christmas lights and holiday tunes. I love being with family and friends. I just don't love shopping for presents. I don't care if you say Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas, but wouldn't it be more honest if merchants changed their greeting to Come on in Suckers. Christmas is a marketing gimmick that has been going on for about a hundred years. The best part of Christmas is the decorations, if you ask me.

Now that my boys are grown I like to give them the gift that keeps on giving. You can fold it, you can break it, you can save it, or you can use it all up. No! It is not a gift card. A pox upon gift cards, too. I like GREEN. Who doesn't like green? If we must swap gifts lets put a limit (say $25MOL?) and if you swap gifts give gifts of equal value, all green. Wa-Laa! Now buy what YOU want, yourself. Scout says that doesn't sound like a very good gift. Probably because he'd be breaking even, unlike he usually does. Hey, maybe I am Jewish. Who knew?

I don't think Jesus came into the world to help merchants sell various merchandise to people who can't afford it for people who don't need it. But that's just me.

Oh, and did you ever notice that you can scramble the letters in Santa around and they spell Satan? How do you like that? Creepy, huh?


Thursday, December 16, 2010

What's the Poop?

Boys! You gotta love them. Although, sometimes it's mighty hard. I have two sons and when my oldest son was in the eighth grade he was a handful. He was always getting into trouble for little things. One day I was called to school because of something he had done.

Scout"s teachers assured me that he was usually a quiet and well behaved young man but they had recently had some trouble with him and were needing my help. I asked what he had done and they looked at one another sheepishly. The said they had found out that Scout had been concealing something in his locker. They confronted him and made him open the locker. That is where they found the "offensive" item in his locker. By now I was getting really worried and upset since I had no idea what they were talking about. It turned out that Scout had hidden dog crap in his locker. What the . . .? What a dummy!

I was stunned. "What in the world could he have been thinking?" I asked. They told me that they had investigated and found out that he had snuck the dog crap into school with the intent of putting it in another boys locker as a joke. I asked who the other kid was and they told me. It was a nice young boy who had been on the school bus on the field trip I had gone on with Scout and his class. But that's another story.

For some reason Scout had decided that he didn't like this boy and had intended on putting dog crap in his locker. I have no doubt that several boys were in on it. Some kid had snitched to the teacher, so the rumor mill was working.

I was really upset that Scout would do something so mean and malicious to another kid but I had what I like to call a "cartoon" in my head.  I couldn't help visualizing Scout creeping around the backyard with a little sandwich bag following our little dog all around the yard waiting for her to poop! I couldn't help it. I know it was wrong but I thought it was hilarious. I told him he shouldn't have been so mean and dumb. Every time he did anything at school somebody always told on him. I know he was wrong but this absolutely took the cake. He cracks me up.

It's fair to say that Scout was called on the carpet more than once and you don't know how happy I was when he got out of school but I have to say this was the funniest parent-teacher conference I ever went to.


Friday, December 10, 2010

A Spicy Hot Christmas

Look at all the lovely peppers that we grew this year. We got tons of peppers off of just a few plants. After we picked the peppers, I dried them in the dehydrator.

I crushed the peppers with the help of my food processor and then put them in the freezer until time to use them.

Guess what everyone is getting for Christmas this year. Humm? Can't guess? Well, come on by and get your packet of peppers, if you aren't afraid to try them.

This is the year of the pepper! Woo-Hoo! Yeah, buddy, they sure are hot. That should warm your old heart.

I like using my peppers on top of spagetti or in soup or chili. Since I have way more peppers than we can ever eat I am going to pass these out at our family get-together and share them with all the Strickland's, or anyone else who will have them. Yall watch out!

See all the peppers. There are red cayanne peppers and seeds, and green cayanne peppers and seeds, and red hot banana peppers, and green hot banana peppers all ground up and ready to be packed.

I had to buy a new dehydrator recently so I also bought a jerky kit, too. We can add our peppers to the beef jerky when I start trying to do that.

Oh yeah, while I was trying to ground up the peppers and put them in little packs, I started sneezing my head off. Did you know that ALL peppers cause you to sneeze? That is so funny. I couldn't talk for all the sneezing. I PROMISE I didn't sneeze on the peppers. LOL

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Burying the Baby

. . . in the backyard.

We've lived in Resaca ever since Colt was a baby. I made Donny fence in the yard when we first moved here so the boys could play and they would be safe in the backyard. When Colt was around two or so he was always following Scout around everywhere. The novelty of having a little brother had long ago worn thin and Scout grew tired of having Colt dog his every step.

Donny and I were in the house one sunny day taking a break and watching TV when Scout sashayed in the livingroom with a smug little smile on his face. He plopped down on the couch with us, grinning like a possum. We were talking when Scout proudly announced that he had buried Colt in the backyard.  That conjured up some unpleasant images. He told us he had "planted" Colt in the hole the old clothes line had just recently been removed from. We rushed to the bedroom window to see what was going on. Colt was buried up to his knees and was crying and begging Scout to come get him out.

Scout just laughed like any boy would do. I turned around to rush out there and save my baby. Donny and Scout followed along behind me.

Colt was buried in the fresh dirt from the hole, packed in well by my other son, the demon child. Like an idiot, I rushed up and didn't realize that Colt was truely stuck. I grabbed him around his chest and tried to pick him up out of the tightly packed earth. He yelled in pain. He said that his back was hurt and started to cry even harder. I thought, "Way to go, Mom. Just kill him next time." Boy, What a dummy.

Donny told me to leave him alone. He would get the baby out. He had to use a shovel and dig carefully until the dirt was loose enough to remove the rest by hand. We got Colt out of the hole and I asked him why he let Scout bury him. He said, "Because Scout wanted to." Well, duh!  At a statement like that I fastidiously replied, "And, what did WE learn by that experience?", which became an oft repeated phrase around here whenever somebody did something particularly stupid. His brother had conned him into standing still while he immobilized him. Then he had deserted him. I hope Colt learned not to be so trusting. Who knows?

Despite the pranks that Scout played on Colt, you couldn't meet any more loving brothers. Colt has always been generous, to a fault. Scout is Colt's big brother and best friend. Scout looks out for Colt and sometimes tells me not to be so hard on him. They stand up for each other. They have a very good relationship. I am proud of them both. They are both good boys.

I wrote this a long time ago but everything is still true today. Scout and Colt never got mad or fought with each other when they were kids. They always got along. I guess they figured they had enough trouble with me that they didn't need any more trouble. I was always "watching them".

I always made it a point to tell them how lucky they were to have a brother and they would always have someone who loved them and understood them for the rest of their lives. I wanted them to be close to each other. I never had any siblings so I was always jealous of the brother-sister relationships. My family is divided and nobody can get along with each other. I blame that on the way they were all raised. They were taught to be jealous of each other and weren't all treated equally. It caused a lifetime of hurt and angry feelings. I was determined not to raise my boys that way. I would much rather they gang up against me than fight with each other. Fortunately, for them, I made it easy.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Baby It's Cold Outside

 Today I'd like to reflect on this day 29 years ago when my oldest son was born. I had been Christmas shopping at the local Kmart the evening before I went into labor. I must have looked huge because somebody told me I looked like I was about to have my baby. Little did I know that I would be going into labor in a few hours. I felt pretty good about getting some shopping in before Christmas despite the stress of shopping with the fevered Christmas masses.

I stayed up late that night watching TV and piddling around. When I finally started to bed I felt something warm streaming down my leg. Crap! My water broke. There was no going back now. I woke poor Donny up and told him "it was time". He bundled me into the car and rushed me to the hospital as fast as he could go. I told him to "slow down". I wasn't in any hurry to get there. He was driving like a maniac. I was afraid we wouldn't get there alive. He must have been afraid I'd pop the baby out like a PEZ dispenser.

I hated being in labor. I was attached to all kinds of machines and they wouldn't let me go anywhere. Donny, at least, got to go out to the waiting room and talk to my family and let them know how I was coming along. I thought that was awfully unfair. I'd like to be able to get up and walk around, preferably right out to the parking lot and climb into my car and drive home. Did I tell yall I was scared to death? Whew. Well, I was.

After a while the nurses said that the baby's heart beat was slowing down and they were going to induce labor for the good of the baby. Well, alrighty then. Get that thing out of there and lets get this over with. I know that they had a big mirror angled at my nether regions. You would think that I would have seen everything and remembered this moment forever, but you'd be wrong. The only thing I remember was when someone said, "My, he has a head full of hair." and I looked up to see something disgustingly wet and cheesy with swirls of black hair. Yuck! If that's what it looked like, I'd pass, thank you very much.

The doctor let Donny cut the cord and the nurses cleaned the baby up a little bit and handed him to his daddy. Donny brought the baby over to me and laid him on top of me. Scout was mad as hell and didn't mind telling us. He had his face all scrunched up and was red and screaming. That's my boy.

I thought he was beautiful. He had hair. That was a bonus. I didn't want a bald baby. He and I had a little bit of trouble getting to know each other but after he figured out how to latch on and nurse he was okay. What was I going to do with a little boy baby? I didn't know anything about babies and I sure didn't know anything about little boy babies.

Scout was the first grandchild in my family so he was spoiled and adored by his grandparents. Although my parents spoiled him, he wasn't a spoiled child. Know what I mean?

Scout always loved working with his hands. He was always building things and using his imagination when he was a kid. After he got out of school he went to work as a framer for a contractor. He did that for a few years until Donald went out of business. He got a job putting up fencing and has been doing that ever since. He has also helped Bob build barns and gazebos and sheds. He likes working outdoors, summer and winter.

Donny's moma told me one time that she though I didn't love my children by the way I would talk to them. Sometimes I would tell them I was going to "whup your little ass" if they wouldn't mind me. I wasn't Susy Sunshine with them. Later, she realized that although I talked tough to them, I really loved them.

I guess that's why I am so amazed that Scout grew up to be such a good young man. He works hard, loves his family and friends, and is unpretentious and funny.

Happy Birthday Son!

Friday, December 3, 2010

That's Shocking!

Back when I was growing up we didn't have much to play with. I had the most toys since I was an only child but when me and my cousins all got together we didn't need any stinking toys. We knew how to have a good time and we didn't have to have any store bought toys to while away the time.

We could always walk up and down the creek looking for rocks or minnows or we could run through the plowed fields searching for arrowheads. We would troupe through the woods hunting snakes or blackberries. Sometimes we even snuck up to the top of the hill to sit and smoke rabbit tobacco where we could see all around and make quick our escape in case we were ever spotted. Fortunately we never were.

The most dangerous and the most fascinating game we ever devised was when someone told us about the electric fence and how you could touch it. At first we would take turns running up to the fence with one eye on the fence charger and the red light which showed when the power was on. We would try to touch it before the electric current came back on. After tiring of such game sport we decided there had to be more fun to it than that.

I have to explain that the group consisted of me and my couisins: Randy, Debbie, Stevie and Eddie. Stevie and Eddie were Debbie's little brothers. We usually picked on Stevie and Eddie because they were the youngest and the dumbest in the bunch so we devised a new strategy. We had been taught that the current could run through anything touching it and into the ground. That's why it was our job to go around making sure that there wasn't any grass or weeds touching the fence and grounding it. The electric fence ran around the pasture that was used to keep the cattle in and was only a couple of feet high.

I don't know who got the brilliant idea of making a human chain but I bet it was Randy because he was always coming up with some bright idea. We all stood in a line and joined hands and swore not to break the chain. After a few tries we decided it would be best to put Stevie and Eddie on each end of the line. The one on the end of the line would grab a 55 gallon metal drum used for burning  garbage. The first one on the line would grab the electric fence. The current would come on and pulsate through us all and then flash back off.

While our hands were joined it was hard to break the current so we immediately began fighting and squirming to let go when the power was off. We wanted to get loose before the second jolt of electricity struck us. If the chain was ever broken the last kid standing who was in the line got the full force of the electricity running through them directly into the ground. We never let go if we could help it. You should have felt our sweaty hands and smelled the fear. We were in heaven!

We didn't just play with the electric fence one time and forget it. Each and every time we all got together we made sure to show our courage and sense of adventure by testing our strength and daring with the electric fence. We were united in blood and bonded by our bravery. We were invincible! We were kids.

I still treasure my memories of those times we so foolhardily risked electrocution although I know that the current couldn't kill us now. At the time I thought we were risking our lives. I still wonder who the heck gave us the bright idea of shocking ourselves. It seems to me it was PawPaw or Daddy or my uncle, Bob. Maybe all three. I just don't remember. And I wonder what their bright idea really was. Was it designed to intentionally kill us? Now that I have kids of my own, I wonder. Humm . . .

Debbie reminded me that we also put Stevie and Eddie up to peeing on the electric fence. She said that was the best part. No wonder I though little boys looked like Vienne-Wienies. I guess anybody would if they were being electrocuted.                

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