Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dear Joe.....

You're right about the being scared part, you know? I can't explain it really, except that it's a lifelong habit resulting from having my heart handed squarely back to me whenever I say the magic words "i love you."

"Not that way" they say. You're my buddy and my pal but I never thought of you as anything but a friend. I suppose it's a start and sometimes new chapters are written like that. Truth be told, that was how I got the courage up to end that miserable marriage. I fell in love with Terry Lee and was stupid enough to tell it, even though nothing ever came of my schoolgirl yearnings for a farmboy. Whenever we talked, his parting shot was "later, girl."

He never called me like you was always me punching those numbers into the phone needing to hear his voice so I knew that somebody somewhere was listening to my pain. I reckon he felt obliged since we were friends and had been in the trenches together for so long. I pissed him off one day up at the bar and haven't had a conversation since then. I can't help it..he's worth more than some idiot user chick who gives him a black eye when he hauls her drunk ass out of a ditch in the rain. He always did have a thing for the crazy ass skinny bitches, bless his heart.

I miss you already, but I'm not afraid 'cuz I know you'll be back sooner or later.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

for whom the cell phone ringeth

Sometimes I try to remember what it was like before the days of 24/7 communication via cell and internet. My memory doesn't have to stretch very far back because both of these luxuries are things that I couldn't afford until a few years ago. My daddy, the ultimate cattleman and farmer who could never stand to waste daylight is spending his twilight years in a recliner with a cellphone in his pocket so he won't have to get up and disturb his marathon viewing of old cowboy shows. I have to give him this....he tries to help Mama in the kitchen for the first time ever, serving as her eyes as they work together to prepare their meals. When she tells him to cut the bananas in half twice for frozen salad, she never knows that he only made one slice lengthwise because she can't see what he's doing. It's all good, because the taste is the same.

Daddy's current state of mind can best be described as a mellowing and softening that comes with the return of long lost childlike behavior, and I must say that I adore it in the man who struck fear in my heart for many years. Oh, he never hit me or did anything mean like that. I learned much later on in life that his anger and frustration at the world came from growing up poor as a sharecropper's only son with three sisters tormenting him from sun up to sun down in the fields. All I ever wanted was to settle into his lap and fall asleep but he was too tired from working two jobs to support three kids and a wife. By day he was officially an agent of the plant pest control division of the USDA, tracking the evil Japanese beetle with colored pins stuck on a map of the southeast. The bulk of his time away from government work was spent raising cattle and managing the farm on which we lived. Some of us are still here to tell the story.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

what goes around.........comes around

As.I.type, presidential election circa 2008 is being tallied for all of posterity to remember as the day that Dubya decided to retire from his war mongerin' ways. It's too early to tell if that colored guy will win, but if I was a betting woman? I'd say we'll be okay if he don't. God promises that to the faithful ones who take care of mother earth.

It's been the damndest thing since 2000. There was a dictator over in Iraq who got caught in a hole by the mighty armed forces of the USA and then we lost a bunch of American citizens at the hands of extremists. Don't ask for the number....I've lost count but it's way too many. Then there was Katrina and the fucked up response to a monster storm that was on everybody's radar for a full week. Don't EVEN get me started on Terri Schiavo and Frist because, frankly? What I have to say might be pretty but it ain't politically correct. That woman will be the one poking him with a pitchfork in hell. I'm just saying that as the truth. Who the heck knows?

If you ask me we should have kicked their asses back in Fallujah when the effigies of contractors went swinging on the bridge. This particular war has been about making more money for the rich folks and diverting attention from our problems at home. I believe that the confidence of the American people at this point in time could be aptly described as at an all time low. Well, since the great depression anyways. My parents grew up during that era so they know of which I write.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Virtue of Humility

It's been one of those days like when you get up on your knees from the last hit, determined to soldier on and BAM! somebody smacks you right back down to ground zero. I've been there a hundred times before, but it always feels like the first time. Okay, so I give. You can kill me, but you can't eat me. Not just yet.

Sittin here on the eve of this historic election I have to wonder how the rich and pampered will survive if and when they ever walk a mile in our shoes. You know...we the people who pay for those who have and those who don't. The freakin' middle class that gets no breaks.

I suppose it was just the straw that broke this camel's back, but the online bank statement sent me into a frenzy. DirecTV took my debit card number and ran through 500 bucks worth of unauthorized charges for my "failure" to complete our contract. Gee..I didn't know we had one! That was almost as expensive as the divorce. To this day, I still have two last names because I failed to make it legal in the courtroom that fateful morning. Following a coupla' days of lay down and die sickness, I met the lawyer in court to say "I don't" anymore, and it was a done deal. Giddy from the excitement of being free I set out to reclaim my life and find the new me. Little did I know that the financial constraints of one income would rain on that parade.

Our daughter was graduating from high school that May and we sat on the bleachers in the gym together, grateful to have her in one piece and moving into the next phase. There was no anger at that point, just relief from the constant pressure of living together as roommates. He had his life and I had mine...but we would always be connected by our child and the life that lay precariously in front of her.

It was all good for the first year or two. I worked through the losses as they came, often with my babygirl sitting next to me...both of us in tears. Twenty years is a long time to spend together and walk away from. The truth is, the whole time we were married I felt the burden of his unfinished business hanging around my neck like a damn hundred pound weight. Our family was the fragile rope that kept him from going off the deep end and I felt the noose tightening every day. He had no money for moving expenses so I paid for that with the last credit I had available and that's where the financial trouble began.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Everybody! Mambo!

I don't know what it is about the drummers that always manages to catch my heart. Must be their desire to get jiggy with the rest of the band. My very first boyfriend was a drummer in a rock band, circa 1970 or so. Dude walked all the way from town out to mama's house just to have the pleasure of sittin' on the front steps with my teenage self. Gotta love that sort of devotion, ya know? As I recall, it was late spring and the strawberries were ripe for picking. His hair was down to his shoulders and he wore granny glasses like all good hippies did back in the day. I've still got the jewelry box. These days it's filled with my favorite things.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Feedin' Pride

Since Trapper passed on Pride has been finding his way in this world without his best friend to pass time with. That first day he whinnied like a colt in his grief. Slowly, he began to inch out of the barn back into the pasture where it's not so lonely and dark. I know that feeling, don't ya'll?

I got to thinking about Pride and his standoffish ways and it reminded me a whole lot of the men that I've chased after all of my know, the ones who can't be reached or coaxed into any sort of a relationship other than "Me Jane!" Untouchable, to the core. Extra fees on the baggage, so to speak. There's a hook there that feels like a catch who might want to fight a little but get landed in my boat in the end. Needless to say, it's been pretty poor fishin' lately even around the sunken cedar trees down in the slough. Most every guy I've ever been friends with sees me as a girl they'd love to call sis but wouldn't take out on a dime. I reckon that's what you get for being a nice girl in this day and time.

My angel twin only comes out when there's trust involved and I always seem to screw it up by caring first and blurtin' it out like a schoolgirl on Valentine's Day with a wild crush on the cute guy who says hey in the hall. Dude says "that's nice" and runs like hell back to the comfort zone of work or other such pastimes. A shrink would probably say I'm sabotaging myself because I'm scared of doing the work that real love requires. And she or he would be dead on right. Never been good at the casual sex thing or even the eyelash batting.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


I don't remember the first time that I actually met Coach Sammons. Through the years and my friendship with his little general, we became sparring partners. As an English teacher/football coach he earned the respect of many a high school student by calling just the right play at just the right time with properly placed punctuation to boot. It probably didn't hurt things that he listened to what they said and treated them as equals. Lord knows you 'gotta meet folks where they're at and respect the journey.

Coach is retiring soon from a career in education that has spanned the decades and counties of western Tennessee and Georgetown Illinois. The little general and their kids threw a party today in his honor and I must say it was a sight to behold what with all the old football players and family cuttin' up even with a slew of little kids in tow. As I watched from the kitchen, one by one, the speakers stood to tell how he had made a difference in their lives at a crucial moment. Family members worked long and hard on pulling together a celebration of his life and it was a success all the way around. Well, except for the water garden thing. Can't win 'em all.

Some time ago I spotted Big John as one who might like to play the fruitcake game. Rules are simple and if the fruitcake starts smelling, you can always buy a new one and it's safe because nobody eats them anyway. The whole thing started with my aunt and uncle back in the day. Both musicians, they taught me to play piano and took me camping over at Big Springs when we were all kids. One Christmas when I was momma and daddy's there was a present for me under the tree from the pair of them which was highly unusual. Inside the box, I found some flannel PJs with one lumpy leg that contained a poorly concealed Claxton fruitcake like the Civitans sell during the holidays. Ya'll know what they say...there's only one of 'em that gets passed around over and over.

That poor little fruitcake ended up in my 40th birthday cake and was accompanied by a loaf of homemade sourdough bread at work. Those Reaves girls tend to be mischievous at times like that. We tried for YEARS after Jimbo died to think of ways to keep the game going in his honor and memory. Eventually I had to give the Civitans three bucks for a new one because the original was beginning to stink to high heaven. Plus, the mice ate off all the Santa Claus paper. That's when I tossed the gauntlet to Big, so to speak. It was on like donkey kong for a few years. I never knew where that stupid fruitcake would turn up. Like on my freakin' front porch. Note to self: Never let a player know where you live.

I watched him today, surrounded by family and friends, and knew without a doubt that he is loved and respected for what he has done with his life so far. That is is the greatest compliment that one can receive when leaving a lifetime profession to enjoy the golden years with a small partner who loves him from here to next football season.

And if I'm not mistaken, the game is upon us very soon.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Raw Courage

Lord, girl. Where in the world has the time gone since I was laying in the labor room trying to change my mind about bein' a momma. Almost 24 years have passed since then! You were one great big pain in the coochie for about forty eight hours, give or take a contraction.

When I watched you leave this afternoon with JW, I knew in my heart that were you safe and happy and enjoying the equal sort of relationship that can be explored and grown into comfortably. That's what gave me the guts to turn his ass back toward Memphis before he ever got to the 'burg. You know...HIM. I can't say that he's ever been mean to me or anything other than totally attentive when there's a chance to get laid. It's been a whole lot of fun with the four-wheelers and dogs and stuff. Something clicked today though. My thoughts were exactly this:" Why the hell would I pass up beer on the porch with my dogs just to be your bootie call?" That was all she wrote.

I think that you and I are looking for the same things in a relationship and I think that they are very realistic expectations for a gal to have at both of our ages. "Drop the baggage at the door or at least give it the old college try." "Pick up your shit." "Pay half the rent." High maintenance, we ain't.

I guess I just wanted to tell you that I love you more than ever and that I'm so proud of who you are that I could bust a gut. You are taking what's been given to you as a gift and using it for the common good. I like that in a kid that I lived with for almost 24 years.

Now. Put on your jammies and go to bed.


Because I said so.

Love ya. Mean it. ^j^

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Girl Power

Today was very special at the day job. Everybody and their brother that we've ever worked with has showed up with a present of some sort to celebrate our special week. I filled in at the front desk for Jo. Her daddy died last week after a long bout with being lost after his wife left him for greener pastures and lots of harps. It's a whole 'nother world up there ya'll. Trust me.

I'm usually the blood bank lady but we rotate jobs and get 'er done when shit happens. Lord knows, everybody hates to see somebody die...especially sick and alone. My ministry started up there on the conrete floors that I walked as a younger woman. I remember walking into Tullos' room and his wife was beside herself because she knew he was gonna leave her. He was struggling hard not to die and cause grief to his wife and kids but it got to be too much for his little smartass self. She told me later I was an angel, and by golly I believed it that day.

My friends Yaya and Pam are in Margaritaville right about now over in St Louis Missouri and enjoying some live parrothead action with Jimmy and company. Redneck Friend is at home shoveling mud out of the back of her house. Me? I'm just ready to go to sleep and eat some more. We're having a cookout at the bosslady's house tomorrow to wrap up the weeklong celebration of OCD folks who work in a lab near the Forked Deer river. Sounds like fun, huh?

Haven't talked to Mama in a few days so I figure all is well. Bubba came by earlier in the week and we talked out in the front yard about the state of our union. It's all up in the air which ain't a good place to be when you're our age. I love that boy, 'ya know? He would drive that John Deer to hell and back just to help a girl out. I'm about to think that this global warming thing might be for real, only I haven't figured out who's lying the most about where the money is. Stay tuned for early updates from the mainstream.

Just now, when I let Butterean in, I heard the train rolling by in Southtown. I thought about my friend the Eagle who has a shop close to the tracks where he makes signs for businesses. DeSoto county, I believe. His momma passed away a year or so ago and he hasn't shed a tear since then. Or so he says..sometimes guys lie about that shit. He's kinda cute but has that Catholic guilt thing going on and I'm way too tired to deal with all of that. Me and him used to ride four wheelers with brown dogs on our heels back in the day when he loved me enough to travel. Gas is expensive now.

Sue came back to work today and brought us lunch. It was heavenly to see her again, especially with great food in tow. She cried and we all hugged a whole bunch. Can't beat that with a stick! She gave me this book one time about porches and how much wisdom gets born there on a swing or in the dirt, diggin' for dear life. Don't ask me for the numbers because I'm not a math me on that one.

My babygirl is working her ass off to get a break and I so admire that in a woman. Bitch better bring me a Santana t-shirt is all I'm saying about that. Mother's Day is coming up soon :) The reason I know this is that the peonies are about to bloom and Hallmark says so, in no particular order. We're working on the menu for the big dinner early next month. So far the house is lookin' a lot cleaner, thanks be to buckets and mops and a large dose of faith.

There are sooooooooo many other women people who have taught me to be strong. This seems like a good place to tell the story of us.