Sunday, March 06, 2011


About the only boyfriends that I had during my early teenage years were friends of my parents friends who let us loose long enough to run around in the bushes after dark.  My first (and only) date to homecoming was with the son of a Jewish family who sold couture clothes and shoes to the rich locals.  Times were good back for nothing and chicks for free.  My first Valentine came from none other than Jackie himself with whom I had smooched in the bushes a few weeks prior. We were maybe 11 at the most.   Tim was the other member or our tribe.  Our mamas played bridge together and all the daddies were friends, so why not bring the kids along?

I first met Jim in junior high school.  He and his sister Marcie had moved here from Chicago with their family.  I should have known that he would be the only one to walk all the way from town to my house just to see my face.  My parents were astonished to find this long haired hippie type dude showing up at the front door to our log cabin during strawberry season.  He was a drummer in a local band, and invited me to come see his group play over in Lauderdale county.  The grands said OK and I survived to lose him to some other hippier chick than myself.  Right after that is when I figured that I should probably straighten up and fly right so I could get a high school diploma.  Oddly enough, that happened as a result of my friendship with Sisa.  She and her sister were both dating stoners when their house burned and they moved out to the motel that their aunt owned.  It was nice back then....clean and not full of crackheads like it was before the flood last year.  Directly to the right of the former Plaza motel is the shell of a building that was once the Plaza food center.  It has been there all of my life, but looks like it needs a good bulldozing and some drainage work.  The heirs live in other towns so they're not much interested in preserving the history of Dyer County.  Don't own?  Can't defend.  Some things you just can't argue, no matter how much you want to.  I hear corporate is coming sometime in May to see how things look on our farm.  Guess I better get busy cleaning up the redneck shit in the yard, huh?

What fascinates me is how I have become friends with so many people by being myself and refusing to accept a label.  That is always a personal choice, and one that many folks take to an extreme.  Get over it ya'll.  All it takes is one look at the new and improved comedy and you just know that it's gonna be alright sooner or later.  Laughter is the best medicine because it beats the hell out of crying.  Anyone who who has any sort of faith at all will find a way to embrace joy when and where it happens.  Some days it's a rainbow....other times it's just a well timed hug or a bake sale just because times are hard.  Then again, it can turn up  as a smackdown with the devil over the most trivial seeming issues like freedom from tyranny and basic human rights.

I don't have any magic answers, and neither does anybody else.  All we can do is keep the faith.  Here's hoping you will do the same ^j^


Saturday, March 05, 2011

random acts of evil

I called yaya this morning to give her a heads up that we need some new makeup around here in the worst way. Everything we've got is staph infested and old as the hills and girls just need to look pretty sometimes.  She was online too and began to tell me the horrid tale about one of my co-worker's parents being murdered in a nearby county.  If I were a bettin' gal, I'd say it's some sort of addiction behind that but DAMN...why did you have to kill these people??  All over western Tennessee and eastern Missouri and Arkansas, gangs and meth labs do business just for the high.  Meth and crack are so addictive that, according to my only takes one time.   After that, you're just chasing a fix.  He's been sober for a long time now, thank you Big Ernie.

Compare that to pot use and you can plainly see that nobody on weed has ever done anything more violent than stab your hand with a fork over the last piece of fried chicken or doughnut.  It is a chill pill for many folks who are suffering through chronic disease and chemo yet the feds keep chasing the border like it's all about the Mexicans.  Eastern Tennessee used to be a hotbed for stills and later, for pot growing.   It could be the greatest cash crop in the USA if only Mike Huckabee would quit trying to get us to the Baptist church and leave precious Natalie Portman alone.  Get a life dude.

All in all, we have it good here our country, all things considered. I mean gah....we COULD be over there in north Africa gettin' shot at by the dictator.  Thirty years of tyranny is enough, umkay.  Even in biblical times stuff eventually got solved.  I think what is really cool about being a believer is that somehow you just know that there's a God that you totally believe in.  It doesn't really matter whether it's a he or she or even what color....just the faith that some spirit with a whole lot more grace and humility is in charge.  Some of the meanest catfights I've ever seen in church happened over controversial subjects like homosexuality and abortion.  It is not up to a church to make that decision.  By golly if somebody gets enough gumption in 'em to get up and get to church , they should be welcomed with open arms.  Back in the day, my momma was a greeter.  Daddy still sings tenor in the men's choir along with the other guys who range in age from thirtyish to a hundred.

There are so many people who have walked this road with me that I feel like their characters need to be fleshed out and dwelt upon.  Everybody at work says that when something really bizarre happens with no explanation other than bad karma, it's a Janie thing.  Unfortunately, babygirl got that gene.  I reckon all we can do is soldier on and all that.  The sun will come up tomorrow!  

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

prelude to the end

Today was a Monday....pure and simple.  The payback for a glorious weekend off playing and forgettin' about real life for brief moments.  That may sound easy to ya'll but it's been a loooooong time since I let go of living in struggle mode and began to celebrate the little moments.  It may or may not have anything to do with Joyce and Joel.  Time will tell, I suppose.  All I can say is if they're looking for money I'm the wrong tree to be barking up.  Pro-bono inspiration, if you will.  The Methodists ceased to think highly of me years ago when I quit teaching Sunday school to spoiled rich brats.  

Babygirl and I were sitting at the table talking about life today and I remarked that I feel like the heroine in some wild Janet Evanovich tale set in the south on a farm nestled within the boundaries of the mighty Forked Deer river.  Keeping my aging parents at home has been a joint effort amongst she and Bubba and I, a labor of love born from the sense of honor and duty that was instilled into us over the years by the both of 'em.  They worked hard all of their lives, raised children and had a lot of fun with their friends who had kids the same age.  Daddy retired from the federal government at 55, about ten years after mama walked out on her last "career" just in time to be a grandma who had time to play and make little biscuits with Lauren.  Oh...and play nurse.  When Daddy retired from the USDA he was so young that he continued to manage the farm that we live on until the dementia began to take its' toll.  That's when my brother stepped up and did a nice transition with the owner because....hey.  He knows every nook and cranny of this place.

The pecan guy just pulled up in his old blue truck and is on bended elderly knee picking up nuts.He is an inspiration to me of sorts....always coming to our lane in faith that October means some sort of crop and that you better be the first to get there.  A lot of money for Christmas presents has been cashed in with the buyers around here over the years.  Any traditional southern stocking was stuffed with nuts and candy back in the day.  We are a simple people for the most part....supported by agriculture for generations.  That was way before the big import frenzy that got us into the mess we're in today.  But that's another chapter for another day.



Tuesday, September 14, 2010

simple man

I was a married lady for over twenty years, a union that was just about to run its' course and then our daughter came along.  He worked third shift and I was kind of a swing shifter between all three.  Mostly I was days and he was nights for the years that Babygirl was in school.  His company shifted him up to days and that's when the trouble started for our marriage.   The economy was hot as a firecracker and the rubber plant was booming with orders.  My husband emerged from the darkness of those carbon black filled nights and days and got a shot to play with the big boys as in free meals and drinks with sales people.  That's about the time our gig was up. We have accomplished many things together, not the least of which is raising a beautiful daughter who always remembers who she is.  Because we remind her on occasion.  The door slamming thing I definitely DO NOT miss but other than that, we see each other about as much as before only her stuff is there and mine is here.  I have a feeling I'm about to embrace the beauty of texts.  Cheaper than minutes, ya know?  We are at a place, her Dad and I, where we appreciate who she is and what we had.  I know.....slow learners.  It has taken eight years and a lot of discipline on the part of all three of us to make it still a family.  Show me one that's not dysfunctional as the devil in some way and I'll kiss your ass.  Get.Over.It.

I am officially a senior citizen now, therefore I'm looking at options to dying on the concrete floors of my workplace and some corporate babyface stepping over my body.  The hunt for Sugardaddy has been rather fruitless thus far so I'm about to settle for a reliable roommate who knows how to fix stuff.  Send your applications to the blind box behind the big polk pile out front.  No lesbians please.....too much drama.  Makes me" tired as if I'd been ironing" as Lee would say.  He was one of our pharmacists and his wife Doris worked for the surgery practice across the street from the hospital.  Old Dr. Fred took my gallbladder out when I was seventeen, the old fashioned way with a HUGE scar.   Still got the stones somewhere!  I'll never forget the night in the hospital room with the IVs and such and me dragging the whole getup to the bathroom to smoke because my mama was there.  She was like "Please, girl."  Let's do this the easy way.  So there I sat in my hospital bed smoking a cig with  my mother's blessing on what was previously known as 3Main.  He also removed a fatty breast tumor that immediately came back because, well.  That's what fat pokes out!  At that point insurance was still paying for an overnight stay for that procedure and most other minimally invasive exams.

We were all family then.....bonded on a common mission of, if not SAVING lives, treating people with dignity   and respect while all of our worlds twirled together.  Sometimes it wasn't for long.  Other times it was too late and we cried together over something so tragic as a lifeless child or the trauma involved with a horrific accident...lives changed forever by fate and time.  For the ones who really care, it is a job not taken lightly.  I guess the rest of 'em are just there for a check or something.  Our lab had these old Cuban pathologists who grandfathered in from the Castro era.  AP was first, the one in charge when I arrived as a new tech in '77.  He and his wife traveled extensively on Medicare dollars and the girlfriend hung with him 'til the end.  EJ was next and he managed to get some new blood up in there.  Sonia followed Elaine as woman power within our ranks.  We worshiped together at the local Methodist church and formed a sort of bond at work that was based on empowerment of those who care enough to do the job well even when the bosses suck.   She died in her early thirties, the result of a random car wreck with her son on board.  He called his dad on the cell  begging for help.  Daddy was a radiologist  at our hospital  so it was a double whammy when Sonia died, leaving him with two young sons to raise.   Her funeral was one of the oddest yet most comforting services I have ever attended complete with Egyptian and American Christian ministers and lots of smoke and liturgy.

It was shortly after that when the PG moved in with an offer to "help" the old Cuban through his hard times.  At that point, there were probably ten of 'em, looking for business to grow their practice based in Memphis.  It was a corporate no brainer since they contracted with the company that owned us at the time, a not-for-profit church affiliated organization.  Between then and now, they've been bought out by some company on the other side of the world to direct lab activities in the Memphis metro market.  The first director that I remember was Barry the Cubs fan.  He and the little general could go on for hours about baseball and how bad the Cardinals can suck even in a good year.   Bound for me to fall for the little guy, the one who always wears a tie and whistles.  We won't go there right now.  Maybe later.

Shortly thereafter the church our company changed their vision and became a transplant center.  As a teaching facility for UT med students they focused on making a difference in healthcare and throwing glittery fundraising balls for benefactors.  I didn't feel the love very much after that epiphany.  That is when we got sold, en masse, to one of the most lucrative businesses on Wall Street in the healthcare sector.  Seven rural West Tennessee hospitals became a part of a network that spans the entire southeastern United States.  They do business by the letter of the law and ask for money up front, which...surprisingly...I don't have a problem with.  With 33 years in the business, you learn to know that enough is enough when it comes to a free ride off of your state or federal government tax dollars.

There are so many people with real health issues who get ignored because of abuse by those who really don't know any better than to take up valuable time in beds across the network of hospitals and ERs in our country.   Many patients don't understand that home care can save a lot of trips up and down the hallways of our facility.  I can't tell you how many times I've made a home visit just to catch up with an ailing friend or relative to get one more hug.  It's what we do.....the Stafford kids.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

procrastination as a virtue

Freud and all the psycho docs would say that I'm passive aggressive and channel my anger toward things that don't pertain to my overall happiness. As soul food, that is not a healthy way of living. That's why I adopted the motto long ago that goes something like live and let live. Period. Don't try smacking me in the head with your money and your prestigious church. Show me some freaking' miracles out in the hood closer to home and I'll jump on with both barrels loaded. I don't see much of that these days. Everybody seems to be blaming everybody else for all the sins ever committed by mankind and there you go. Like my daddy says "It has always been thus and so."

Anyway...back to that P word. It's not that I don't have great IDEAS and such I just don't have the organizational skills to put it all into place. Poops is not a multitasker. If I can focus on something uninterrupted for a period of time, I'll do it well. My problem is I start so many things that never get finished! Reckon that's the dreamer in me. I remember when I learned to sew as a teenager I was all into it until I realized that it was something you had to stick with from beginning to end. Needless to say, I didn't do much of that as an adult. I did, however, spend endless hours over counted cross stitch cloth on a hoop filling in x's and putting my eyes out. I don't care who you are...they're beautiful because they're made by hand.

The entire point of this ramble, if there is one, would be to clarify to myself that I am who I am and those who love me love me warts and all, even when I disappoint them or hurt their feelings. I have never intentionally hurt anybody. Sure I chased Bubba with a butcher knife but that was fifty years ago. Besides..I deserved it because I bet his ass in the barn.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

the shack

As long as I can remember that's where that family stayed when they visited the farm that I call home. There are four kids who jointly own the 1300 acre wildlife preserve...with a parcel to each of their children as well. Wonder who will win out in the end? I know several of them and have little respect for the way they have honored my father and mother. Oh yeah...they're giving them a lifetime dowry at the log cabin, all the while knowing that they'll be gone to glory soon. Not a one of the heirs has said thanks for a job well done.

They were born and raised in Traverse City. Scrub and Betsy and their girls came down often when the kids were younger but I haven't seen them in years. The older brother who has taken charge of the accounting paid us a visit in the fall. That was when I got on bended knee and cleaned out Daddy's home office...fifty plus years worth of faithful servitude to the lay of this land. Dude packed up all the papers and got on a plane back to Michigan as soon as he could. Strictly business.

That spot behind the dairy barn is the best view of the whole place.

Monday, December 14, 2009

searching for the star

The dogs are asleep on the couch and loveseat...that keeps 'em out of my bed until I turn in for the night. Faith is too old to care very much and Sam is injured so they're not in a real mood to mole hunt unless the weather is mild. Today wasn't jacket necessary nor umbrella. Not that I have those things close at hand when I need them. I never was prepared, even as a girl scout.

It is Christmas season one of the next family chapter...the one where we make amends and agree to stick together 'til death do us part. We all know the history and the coulda shoulda wouldas but that is the past and this is Christmas present. One of my favorite holiday songs is by Adam Sandler about Hannukah and I heard it today on Rock 92.3 while hanging out in the trusty Camry. In the parking lot of the sawmill. Where they love me because I'm such a hard worker and need the insurance. Doesn't that just warm your heart? It certainly does a number on mine. "And smoke your marijuanica". *snort* You go boy.

I haven't seen the news in a week or so which is not a bad thing. I know it's probably snowing like hell somewhere in the US and cold mostly everywhere except Florida, of course. Before I die I'd LOVE to do the Destin in winter thing. Bucket list: added. I think I'd probably enjoy a relaxed conversation with Clyde Edgerton about grandmas and graveyards and his tune "Walking Across Egypt." There's enough Paula Deen on TV to keep me hooked up until the next trip to Tunica. Too much grease just does a number on my middle aged gut, ya know?

Back when I was a kid, I always figured that there would come a time when I just knew when the right time was to make a move or a decision. My parents pretty much let me do my own thinking even though they didn't agree with a lot of it....especially the Vietnam part. Mama took me and several of my idiot hippie friends to see concerts at the Mid South Coliseum when we were pre-teens. Later, I went with others like my college boyfriend John. Linda Ronstandt. Elton John. James Taylor. Allman Brothers. As a semi-grownup with a husband and kid, we went to Mud Island time and time again just to enjoy the music. Most of those venues are gone now, or at least booking people like Brittney Spears or some silly shit. You can bet your ass that's Dubya's fault too.

Not that Obama is all that, by any means. They're a nice family and he has brought some very serious subject matter to the table. My dear and quite hyperactive friend Joe brought to my attention during last year's election that our country seemed to be mesmerized all Hitler like with the vision of something different. Heh. Go figure that one. Healthcare "reform" is a matter of fact the whole damn thing is just broke and if somebody can offer me a plan that fixes it with total respect for human dignity, I'm all for it...sign me up and pick me up to go vote. Historically, in this neck of the woods, Democrats will do that and buy you some whiskey too.

Anyway, back to the star. Sometimes I wonder about the faith of all those folks who wandered around in the night looking to believe in a miracle baby, born out of wedlock PLUS by immaculate conception in some guy's barn on the way to pay taxes to, you guessed it! The government. Same song next verse. As Daddy would say "It has always been thus and so."

I reckon it has Daddy. I reckon it has.