Friday, May 13, 2011

Random Rambling Rose

Caving to pressure, feeling her heart in her throat, she nervously dialed the phone.
After what seemed like an eternity, she replaced the earpiece on the receiver and drenched in sweat, walked to the bureau and started digging through her oh-so-prim-and-proper underwear.  Finding her hidden, long-lost friend buried deep beneath the mound of white cotton, she carefully lifted it from it's secret place.
Sitting down at her desk while slipping the tiny key in place, she gingerly unlocked it and thus with pen in hand began.

May 12, 2011

Dear Diary,


Remember me?  Yeah...I know.  I haven't visited you for nigh on 40 years, but I'm thinking it's way past time we got reacquainted. In were my first thought after the kids left this evening.

Speaking of the kids...I'm sure they have my best interests at heart, but deep down a part of me wonders if they are just tired of fooling with me.  I mean really I that much trouble?  I'm not in the need of changing...YET...nor do I require special feedings, but they do sometimes treat me as if I'm a doddering old fool, food on my chin and one step away from The Home!  I guess I never will learn what they are really thinking.

I tell you something I did learn tonight that I'll be needing in the near future Diary and that's new underwear.  I swan...I think mine have been around since Hector was a pup, but that's not the reason for my visit tonight.  What I desperately need at this moment is someone to just listen and let me sort things out on my own.

 Mother always told me not to write anything I wouldn't want on the front page of the newspaper, but I 've always trusted in you not to tell a soul what's going on in my head.  After never told anyone about the time at the lake with Jimmy P. or my sipping on snow-cone cocktails while cruising the drag.  Why, you even kept silent when I slipped out to meet Burt at "our place" even though it's considered bad luck to see the groom the night before the wedding.  To heck with bad luck, I'm going to be totally honest.  Wasn't nothing but good that night and a lot of nights that followed for 39 years!

(Note to self:  Steady're making yourself blush!)

So you see Diary, you can understand why I turn to you now.  You, who hold my past peccadilloes will now be entrusted with all my future ones.

But enough chit chat Diary, let's  just cut to the chase...or in the words kids use nowadays...let's get bizzy!

Over roast beef at dinner, the kids began their usual chant about me needing to get out people my own age...find a hobby...yada yada yada!  I know it's been tough on them, losing their daddy, but it hasn't exactly been a picnic for me.  How do I make them understand that living and loving one man for 39 years is more than just being married.  There's a part of me that died with him...our shared memories for starters.  I try my best to make them understand...but of course they assume to know better than me what I need.  I'm hoping against hope if I explain it to you, I'll find the words to make them see it takes time...and sometimes more than just a date on a know the right time to start anew.

There are certain sayings that drive me crazy.  For example,  I have no earthly idea what constitutes a pretty penny. I know I for one look postively green in copper and ol' Abe was never my idea of 2die4 good know what I mean?  Given that...what makes it pretty AND if it's so doggone pretty, why isn't it worth more?

Then there's the big ol' neon signs flashing "Live Topless Dancers".  EXCUSE ME?  Given the alternative of dead ones (after being rendered topless, I suppose) it would seem to me that any extra information is kind of a given.  I may have been out of the loop for awhile, but as memory serves me...all the guys I knew only needed to see the word GIRLS to have 'em lining up with dollar bills in hand.  Unless there's been some sort of scientific breakthrough I'm unaware of, I got me a hunch things haven't changed all that much.  Why, just imagine how many pretty pennies could be saved by eliminating just one of those extra words!

Since I'm on a roll with pet peeves and since we're on the subject Diary....let me pose this question.  Just what exactly is a "good right arm"?  Tell me my there such a thing as a "bad right arm" or would that be the left one.  I ask Diary, 'cause this is what I can't make my children understand.  For's the one that left me behind.

Point is Diary, because...or maybe in spite of...their constant nagging  relentless pushing loving concern, tonight I've taken the first step into the foray of what will soon be my new normal....but first Dear Diary...I gotta get me some new panties.

Good night for now, but as Arnold must have said to Maria...I'll be back!

P.S. One last thought Diary...unlike a pretty penny...maybe I'll turn up like a bad one!

I'm linking to Tricia's  Fiction Friday.  Again...feel free to offer advice and criticism, 'cause just like my heroine...I wear big girl panties.


Friday, May 6, 2011

Falling In Place

Why do all true love stories either begin...or end in a hospital?  Not in a daisy filled meadow or on a warm, white beach, but in a sterile, cold, white hospital room.  Perhaps it's because life isn't always about being beautiful, but more about remembering to breathe in...and out.  Remembering too that a candle-lit dinner, a dozen roses and sweet words are nice, but love is forged and strengthened in the day-to-day reality of burnt meat loaves, endless chores, and in the unspoken waiting for medical test results.

The October night was clear and crisp...its symphony a cacophony of her high heels on the pavement, clicking a staccato beat to the wailing sirens of an approaching ambulance and the hum of the hospital generators. Glancing down at the hand holding his, thankful Molly had given him one last chance, they walked across the parking lot of the hospital.  Feeling the soft familiarity of her hand in his, suddenly and without warning,  his mind raced back 40 years.  He remembered the first time he ever laid eyes on Molly as she stood outside the band hall that September morning of their freshmen year.  All of 14 years old...she was a pretty girl with a whispered promise of the beautiful woman she would become.  Casting a sideways glance at her, seeing the promise fulfilled, Jack felt ashamed.  Penitent, he remembered how foolish and callow he had been three years later at the start of their senior year. That fall he had foolishly let his false sense of male peacockery get the better of him.  He made the mistake of cheating more than once, believing it his due as BMOC, forcing her to walk away to salvage her pride.  How he had cried that June night when shortly after graduation, she married someone else...his only excuse for losing her being he was too young to know better....or at least that's what Jack told himself for several years afterwards.

"How is your dad doing?" she asked, her voice breaking his pensive reverie and returning him to the present.
"Dad's doing what the doctors tell him to, but I'm more worried about Mom." he replied.  "She's wearing herself out.  She won't go home, eats like a bird, and worries constantly.  Quite honestly...I can't remember them ever spending a night apart and even though Tim and I offer...she won't leave that stinking hospital."

Stepping into the elevator that would take them to the third floor, he thought about the second chance he had been given, once again feeling the past drag at his mind. Who knew a simple invitation to a high school reunion would provide the opportunity to try and right a wrong.  Swallowing his pride, he had called her and was jubilant to learn she was single again.  Apologizing for his stupidity 20 years earlier, he asked her to be his date.  He remembered the pride he had felt walking into the reunion with her...his high school sweetheart...on his arm.  But some how...some way...he had managed to blow it...again.  He was struggling, trying to remember what careless thing he had done at the Harvest Moon Ball that caused her to walk out of his life once more, when the door to the elevator opened.

As they stepped out of the elevator and started down the hallway, they were startled to see nurses streaming out of his father's room.  Molly motioned for him to run ahead, telling him "I'll catch up."

"What's happening?  What's wrong with my father?" he asked breathlessly...needing the answer, but scared to his core of what it would be.

"There appears to be a problem with one of his medications." the nurse replied just as the doctor stepped out of his father's room.

"An experimental medication we were trying with your father caused an adverse reaction akin to Alzheimer's.  This sometimes happens in Parkinson's. He was disoriented and hallucinatory with no recognition of his surroundings, but we have given him a sedative and are working to correct the situation.  He is stable, but we'll continue to monitor him through the night. Hopefully, Mr. Towns will be back to his normal self by morning."  As the doctor started to walk away, he stopped, turned and with a quick nod told Jack "By the've got one helluva mother in that room."

At that moment, Molly joined him and silently took Jack's hand, giving it a reassuring squeeze.  Puzzled, wanting to know more, but with the need to see his father first and foremost in his mind, they stepped into the room.  There would be time to take the doctor to task later, but for the time being...for now...he just needed to see for himself  his father was okay.

As they walked into the room, the full portent of what was to be unfolding before their eyes, they could only turn and stare at each other speechless.  Unable to believe what he was witnessing, his first thought was "Oh my gosh...this can't be real.  This only happens in the movies. In fact, this could be a scene straight out of The Notebook!"   It was too surreal to be true.  Both his parents lay on the small hospital bed, his father lying on his right side, moaning and shaking while Jack's mother lay beside her husband of oh so many years.  Her arms were wrapped tightly around him, holding on for dear life as he kept repeating "Don't let me fall...please don't let me fall!" and her promising back "I never have and I never will."

Molly, tears in her eyes, stopped and softly laid her hand on his mother's back as Jack walked to the other side of the bed to see their faces.  His tiny, frail mother, reading the confusion and fear in her son's eyes whispered "He's all right now Jack.  He was afraid of falling out of the bed or off a cliff...I'm not sure which. I just thought it might help if he knew I was here, holding him. Please don't fuss at me....your father needs me. Don't fret about me, hon. I'll rest better too, feeling him breathe beside me."  Giving him a weary, small smile, she closed her eyes and continued to hold the man she loved with no intention of ever letting go.

Looking across the hospital bed that held 67 years of love unfailing and seeing his own 40 years of missteps, his eyes came to rest on Molly's tear streaked face.  As Jack looked at her beautiful face, he fell into silent prayer.  "Lord, if it's true the third time's the charm, I only ask for one thing.  Please Lord, if it be your will, the next time I feel myself falling...let Molly be the one to hold me."

I am linking this story to The Domestic Fringe Friday Fiction. Take a moment to visit Tricia and read the other original submissions.  Please be honest, but kind with your comments and criticism. Don't be afraid...I/we can take it.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Green, (And I Do Mean) Green Grass Of Home

Cat Daddy and I did some running around this past weekend. We went to Carolyn Westbrook Home Summer Store and then made the drive up to McKinney to see Patina Green's new shoppe. Let me just say...if there is a recession...someone forgot to tell their shoppers. Both locations were slammed and we didn't get to visit a lot.

Kaci and Luann have done a fabulous job of creating a special place to shop. It has such an organic feel to it right down to Robert's fares. The smells...unbelievable! Coming around the corner to the entrance, my stomach started growling...and I had just ate brunch! Sure wish I had waited...his dishes looked spectacular. The bread and cheese was just 2die4 gorgeous. All the produce is locally grown and brought by daily. Talk about fresh....the only way to get it fresher is go pick it yourself!

The store itself is such a reflection of the girls and their vision. I loved all the natural fibers, the juxtaposition of rust against elegant and the "less is more" feel of it all. They have created a totally unique that is serene, but comfortable with a wonderful, muted color palette and just a smidge of European decadence.
'Course I have to mention that going to McKinney is going home for me. (Now bear with me here..I promise a caboose to this train of thought!) I was born and raised there. My mother grew up there and she and Daddy made it their home. McKinney was my playground as a girl.

Once we hit the Louisiana exit and turn off the freeway, I'm immediately transported back in time. Drives Cat Daddy bug crazy 'cause I start waxing poetic. I know every nook and cranny of the area east of the highway. The west side was just starting to develop when I left for Dallas. Leaving the new, slick, modern McKinney in the rear view mirror is a joy as the memories starting flooding my mind's eye! The stories I could tell and the people I could tell them on...but I won't lest y'all become as bored as C.D. when I talk about home.

McKinney is a postcard in time travel. Thanks to some clever folks who came in the early '70s and bought the older homes for restoration, it remains as it was. When businesses started closing down due to easy access to Dallas by that stinking highway, again clever folks stepped in to the rescue. The fabulous old buildings weren't razed, but reinvented for what is now a shopping mecca.
So many of y'all already know about this little jewel of a city, but for those who don't...make plans now to take a trip up there. Heck...just driving around the silk stocking area is worth the visit...BUT...while you're there, be sure and stop in to see Patina Green. You can thank me later! sure and wait to eat at Patina Green''ll really thank me later for that little reminder.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fool's Names And Fool's Faces!

How y'all doing? I thought I'd take a little moment from the hustle and bustle of the season and give y'all a laugh. Remember how I told y'all there were just some things I couldn't make up? Well, my oldest melon head found some proof positive that mine and Cat Daddy's rendezvous location wasn't some mythical locale like Camelot. Sometimes even I start to wonder as the years go by if it really did happen. Thanks to my eagle eye son though, I know it was alive and well back in the 70's and if you don't believe me, just take a gander at this Time magazine article. Be sure and look at the date!!!

SEE!!! Now would I lie to my little honeys???



Friday, August 28, 2009

Rope A Doping

Act III, Scene 3

Making the necessary adjustments and compromises in our marriage was just like the game of "Battleship"...a series of hits and misses. There were skirmishes and major battles, but in the end, a peace treaty was negotiated and a bond formed. Not that it was all smooth sailing or that we never fought again. He and I had some major differences to overcome and we both knew it would take time, but since we had both promised "till death do us part", we knew had plenty of time to get it right...hopefully without ending up on the ten o'clock news.

At the end of the movie, "Sweet Home Alabama", there is a scene where the wedding cake topper is replaced with "Rock 'Em, Sock "Em" robots. We quickly realized that's what should have been on the top of our cake. That would be us for the next 36 years battling it out until one of our heads popped up declaring a victor for that round and then getting to make up where the clinches really mattered. It got to where we didn't even see the arguing as necessarily a bad thing...just another way of communicating. We learned not to bottle things up until it festered into a ugly fight, but just to go ahead and say what was on our minds. This would take years of practice to get right and not be just a means of sucker punching the other, but a real way of expressing our needs. There would, however, have to be unspoken rules involved for it to work. There was never any hitting below the belt or going for the jugular...only constructive jabs to prevent irreparable damage to the marriage with a promise to never go to bed angry. Marriage is a fragile thing, tenuous in its beginning and to deliberately go for the other's vulnerable spots only speeds up the end of it. Cruel words can't be taken back or repaired with a band aid. Another unwritten rule was we never did it in the company of others. Public humiliation would never be forgiven either. If there is no mutual respect there is no marriage. Arguing with just a dash of humor, provided an outlet that kept molehills from becoming mountains. A disagreement is just as private as what goes on in the bedroom and should be treated as respectfully. To maintain a healthy perspective of who's right or wrong....there should never be witnesses to take sides...especially if it's a mother-in-law!

With the Marquess of Queensbury rules in place, the marriage was starting to take shape and we were able to settle into a comfortable routine. One night in early December, I came home a little late for work. He was sitting in his chair waiting on me. I thought he was put out with me for working overtime on a Friday night, but that wasn't the case at all. He was just anxious for me to get home and more than a little concerned about the road conditions. Seems he had gotten off early and had been doing a little shopping. As I sat down on the couch, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a jeweler's box. Talk about a sucker punch...I didn't see that coming at all! He didn't open it...just handed it to me. I opened it to find my rose wedding rings. Seems he had never stopped looking for them...or at me...not even while driving down the road.
(And they lived happily every after!)


Epilogue: In the 36 years of marriage, those two rings have only left my finger for hospital stays and I have the permanent indention to prove it!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Act III, Scene 2

After waking with a head as big as Texas and a backache from sleeping on the cold, hard floor, I managed to stumble out of the bathroom. He was waiting for me and immediately began apologizing for his lapse in good judgement. Not wanting the trip to be a total bust, I accepted his profuse apologies with his promise it would never happen again. My mother had passed on much of her wisdom through her "pearls" of advice and I remembered her telling me I would have to learn to pick my battles otherwise marriage was just one big fight. I decided this was not the time for a war since I couldn't have won a battle of the wits with my hangover. In the interest of brevity, I caved and forgave him!

When we returned to Dallas, we moved into the strangest little house. It was a rental and not much to look at, but at the time, I thought it had charm. Who cared if a quarter, dropped on the floor, would roll all the way to the back of the house in a minute flat or that all the closets were in the laundry room? That just made it easier to put away clean clothes! It was our first home and I was happy as a pig in sunshine!

I didn't return to school, but got a job instead. Between the two of us, we were bringing home $160 a week and thought we were stepping in high cotton. Neither one of us realized we were just a step above poverty level! I had failed to mention, and he hadn't asked, one little thing...I couldn't cook. Rather than starve, I quickly mastered five meals to get us through the week. I figured on the weekends, we could just eat out. I could make spaghetti, tuna casserole, scrambled eggs, tuna salad and of course, that culinary masterpiece...Wolf Brand Chili! Every week it was the same thing with just a little variance on the chili and every week he ate it without complaining. It was a good thing that I was proficient in other ways to use a dinner table or he might not have been so easy to please!

We quickly learned that in every successful marriage there is a period of adjustment. We're all unique in our daily habits and compromises must be made to get along. He had a hard time understanding my shoe fetish...I didn't understand his need to watch TV while in a prone position. Before marriage, we were out dancing every weekend...after the "I Dos" he didn' that is. Suddenly he was too tired or some other lame excuse not to go. I liked "order" in the house...he thrived on "disorder". I was a night owl and couldn't go to sleep before 11:00 at night. He had to be at work at 6:00 a.m and went to bed no later than nine. I was a chatterbox...he, a man of few words. I loved fishing and being at the lake...he was afraid of the water. He loved dirt track racing...I couldn't wear Candies in the dirt! My daddy had always taken care of things like the garbage, car repairs, mowing, etc....his mother had taken care of everything! That was the biggest adjustment for me. I had to break a lot of bad habits instilled by a mother who thought a man only had to go to work and the woman should do everything else!

Imagine a world where all that was expected of you was to get up in the morning, go to work and on Fridays pick up your check. Your clothes were magically cleaned, pressed and waiting in the closet for you. Your underwear neatly folded in a drawer ready to grace your royal butt. Meals on the table at five o'clock awaiting your return from a hard day of slaving. A refrigerator never empty...seeming to replenish itself on demand. Grass needs mowing? Not to worry...elves would take care of that while you are at work. What garbage...there was never any garbage to be disposed of when you were the king! What? Your mother called and she had made your favorite meal with chocolate pie for dessert. Why by all means, stop by and don't bother to call. As long as it makes you happy...the chili will wait. That's what I'm here make the king of the castle happy!

And so began the first "picked" battle!

(to be continued)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Party Of The First Part

I'd like to start by saying I am including a disclaimer with this post. I want y'all to remember that I was only 22 when I got married and I'm sure y'all did some dumb things when sowing the seeds of youth! Please do not judge me by what you are about to read...I like to think I've matured (and got even) over the years!

Act III, Scene 1

We were on the road early the next morning and when he stopped to fuel up, I was never so glad to see a Shell restroom in my life. Hallelujah, a door and it locked! We drove straight in to Crockett, but he wanted to stop by his uncle's ranch before getting a room. His Uncle Cecil was something out of a John Wayne movie. Picture Ben Johnson and Gabby Hayes all rolled into one. He had worked on a ranch his whole life and he was old! His skin looked like something sold out of jar off the Shell station counter we had stopped at. Bow legged didn't even begin to describe his walk. Too many years in the saddle prevented his knees from ever being on speaking terms again. He wore a beat up old cowboy hat, sweat rings and all, spurs tarnished from years of use. Grizzled and worn, with hands that could take a finish off a table top in 60 seconds flat, he had a smile that said he loved his life more than breathing. Never been married...a confirmed bachelor married to the horses he broke for a living. He was the baby of the family and his older sisters adored him...I did too! He served us up some coffee so strong that it stood on its hind legs and barked. When we told him we couldn't stay long, that we needed to find a room for the night, Uncle Cecil said he wanted to make arrangements for a special dinner that evening so I could meet the rest of the family and with a okay to that, we hit the road again.

This time, my cowboy found a nice modern place to stay for the night and I felt like things were starting to smooth out. Around noon, he said he thought he would run over to a cousin's and see if dinner was still on. He thought I might like a little time by myself to rest and get all spiffed up to meet the family. At one, I was enjoying my solitude, but by four, I was beginning to have my doubts. When five o'clock rolled around, I knew I would be dining out of a vending machine. That's when I noticed he had a "bottle" packed in his suitcase and I thought that would be perfect to wash down a Butterfinger supper...just a few sips to relax me...what would be the harm? By the time six arrived, I could have cared less what time it was or if he was even coming of one in room 126! I had managed to "sip" half that bottle down and was feeling no pain...chocolate and Jack make a really good cocktail!

When he came tooling back around seven, I decided to get even and hide! I went into my favorite room...the one with the lock...and did just that...locked it! When he couldn't find me, he tried the bathroom door. By that time I was half passed out on the floor in front of the door! He couldn't get it to open and I wouldn't unlock it. Even if I could have, I don't think he would have been strong enough to push the door open with my numb body blocking it. He started in apologizing about how time had got away from him. I didn't want to hear it and fell asleep! As he tried to explain it to me the next day, seems that his cousin had just made a pot of butter beans and he stuck around to eat his share. Oh well...Of course I could see how that would take precedence over a honeymoon! Nothing will deflate an ego quicker than playing second fiddle to a legume!

It also seemed that in keeping with the "party theme", ol' Cuz had made a quick trip to the local bootlegger for jugs of shine! Not wanting to appear ungrateful for not joining in the toast to himself, they must have toasted 'til all those mason jars were empty and they weren't!

When I awoke the next morning on the cold hard tile, at first I couldn't quite remember why I was there. Then it all came back!

Looking back now I ask myself two questions. One...I married him why? did we ever manage to have children?

(to be continued)