Archive for the ‘Memories’ Category

Eastertide

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Easter, '76

Eastertide
We wake, search in Holly Hobby nightgowns.
Daddy says, “I’m gonna bite his head right off.”
Chocolate bunnies are hollow.

Real chicks, pink, purple, green.
“Your sister is allergic to rabbits.”
Green plastic grass sticks to feet
As the dog sits in pastel tinfoil pieces.

Azalea, Forsythia, Dogwood
Lenten Rose and Daffodils.
“Jonquils,” Mama says.

Yellow Easter dresses, white tights.
No white before Memorial Day.
Scrape those black patent-leather soles.
White plastic straw hat, elastic itches

Dorothy Hamill shags
and gap-toothed grins
Smiling for the picture
Sisters side by side

Here is the church and the steeple.
Voices rise together.
“Raise your joys and triumphs high.
Sing ye heavens, and earth reply.”

Gaze, girl, up at sanctuary lights
like wrought iron gazebos.
One day you’ll be sixteen.
One day a mother and take home a lily.

Out into the light
Squint in the sun
Prismatic technicolor Spring
Too brilliant to last.

The Bear Went Over the Mountain

Friday, September 19th, 2014

It has all come full circle. I have become my parents.

 

Tonight we watched Forrest Gump with the kids. I do not recommend this movie for 8 and 11-year-olds. Sure, Forrest is sweet, but bullying, child abuse, racism, war, death, amputation, implied nudity, sex, drugs, cancer, AIDs. This is not a kid’s movie. We watched it anyway. We had some good discussions and a lot went over their heads. They actually really liked the movie, and of course they think it is funny when I cry. Which i do, pretty much the whole movie.

 

So, there is this one scene, where Forrest goes to see Jenny at her all girls’ college, and she takes her bra off (but you don’t see anything, but Forrest does), and Forrest ejaculates. And when that scene came on, and we realized what was about to happen, Todd, sitting between Tiller and Rollie on the couch, put his hands over Tiller’s eyes, and he told Rollie not to look, and Rollie wanted to look, so I did exactly what I was taught to do in that situation.

 

I sang “The Bear Went Over the Mountain” at the top of my voice, distracting the kids from the TV and drowning out the sound of the movie. Todd joined in, as if my father passed down this little coping mechanism to him the day of our wedding. And then we acted like nothing much happened.

 

Yep, as a kid, my father sang “The Bear went over the Mountain” during any romantic or sex scene in any tv or movie. Until i was at least sixteen.

 

Oh. Except that time he took me to the theater to see Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan. It’s hard to sing “The Bear Went Over the Mountain” at the movie theater at Roswell Mall. So, instead, there was 12 year old me, sitting next to my Dad, who was lusting after Andie McDowell the whole time. (Pretty sure he still does.)

 

The Bear Went Over the Mountain: Because it’s easier than talking to your children honestly about sex.

 

(Footnote: When Forrest is sitting on the bench in Savannah, waiting on the bus, and he gives Jenny’s address to the lady next to him, it is Henry St. Where my grandparents lived. Pretty weird.)

Even 20 Years Later

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Yeah, long week. And yeah, that was me walking up the street in flip flops, my shorts, pj top, no bra, carrying a bottle of wine i mooched off my awesome neighbors because I went to the store to get wine, came home with US weekly, bad red box movies, and ice cream, but forgot the wine. Watched HORRIBLE movie with my sis, and I guess it was the borrowed wine, because it tugged at all sorts of sad, cliched heartstrings that I guess I could blog about but it would just be sad, and cliched, and also, I’m just not ready to talk about it, even 20 years later.

Dang. And I have to leave at 7:05 pm for kids’ county swim meet. That should be fun.

Wait. It’s 10:45 pm on a Friday. 20 years ago I would have gone OUT at 10:45 pm.

Oh, the irony.

Simplicity

Friday, April 12th, 2013

I fight to keep my kids away from the tv. Even when we are at the lake, with all of nature around us. So today, I finally said, turn off the tv. We’re going fishing. We did it old school. We walked around the whole cove. We stopped to poke sticks in ant hills. We saw a snake and just watched it. We talked about the birds we saw. We untangled fishing lines from trees. I stayed patient. The dog followed us and laid down and rubbed his face in things that smelled dead. We laughed at a startled turtle flopping off a log into the water. We talked about the old outhouse and what it was for. We peeked in a deserted house. I showed the kids how you could use a vine like a whip and how cool the sound is. We poke more sticks in anthills.

We didn’t catch a thing.

We walked back home. We sat on the dock. I made them bait their own hooks. They did it and didn’t cry, poke eyes out, or let the dog eat a hook. I drank a Moscow mule as the sun set. We laughed.

We came in, took a shower and heated up leftovers. We ate them on the screen porch, by candlelight. We talked.

After dinner, we went down to the dock. We had left the lights on for night fishing. We caught three fish. (Not exactly a mess o’crappie, but enough to keep’em interested.) tiller brought her blankie. We watched the poles, and we looked at the stars. We talked about Jupiter, and life on other planets. We talked about the moon.

The kids got cold. Rollie grabbed my hand to hold as we walked back up to the house. He’s 9. Almost ten. He might not reach for my hand next April.

We had a really perfect day. The kind that I think I’ll recall 20 years from now.

Or maybe just on a Thursday afternoon next week when I’m sitting in a cubicle, wishing life were more simple than it is.

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Still Mouse

Friday, February 1st, 2013

When I was a little girl, my nickname was “Annie Mouse.” (Lisa was “Sport Model.”) I wanted to be Annie Horse, because I loved horses so much. I’m not sure where the Mouse came from – maybe mom or dad will chime in with an answer to that. My Grandma Smith called me Annie Boo. And even when Grandma was in her eighties, she called my Mom “Baby.” And now I’m a parent and i understand why grandma called her 40 something daughter “baby” until the day she died.

Not sure where I’m going with this one, except that I know I’m still their baby, and now I understand why.

So, it was really cute when I got this card from mom and dad for my 41st birthday. I think it would be kind of hard to find a birthday card for a grown child that doesn’t sound hokey. Mom was super excited – she said she was so excited to find it because it is perfect for me. And I have to admit; it really is. Pretty much sums it up. Mom knocked it out of the park. (Cash is still good too, though, Ma.)
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Sorry about all the times I worried you sick; I know payback will be hell. And it’s still not that easy to get me to wear a dress, but good job – I survived! Thank you for reminding me that you always loved me, despite the tomboy ways, the explosiveness, the skinned knees when I did wear a dress (and this was well into my 30s!), the times I just had to see for myself; Y’all were more often right than not, but thank you for not resenting that I didn’t believe you until I tried it anyway.

I know it’s just a card, but it’s nice to know I’m loved for who I am. I’m gonna try my damnedest to do the same for my own Boos.

This is 41

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

A week ago yesterday, I turned 41. It was a Tuesday. Why does it seem like birthdays always fall on Tuesdays? It fell on Tuesday. I got up at 6 am at my mom’s house, put on my Dad’s underwear*, and went to work. My own mother forgot to wish me happy birthday before I left. (No hard feelings. I don’t remember that stuff either.)

I worked all day. Got home at 5pm or so. Started my period. (HAPPY-BIRTHDAY-TO-YOU-HAVE-CRAMPS-AND-BLOOD-AND-WANT-TO-EAT-YOUR-YOUNG-AND-CHOCOLATE-ITS-AWESOME.) Turned back around and got back in the car to go to the Japanese steakhouse, because that’s what you do when you are middle-aged and it’s your birthday. I’m not saying that it didn’t taste good, but sometimes after a long day at work, you are tired and you just want to have your cramps and wine in peace without someone throwing shrimp at you or singeing your eyebrows.

It was actually really nice, and my husband gave me a lovely necklace and my kids were good. (Okay, one was kind of a jackass, but he at least contained it until the end.) So, we came home, and the kids went to bed, and then Toddler and i decided we should watch “This is 40.” I totally didn’t get what people liked about this movie. Other than Paul Rudd is cute. That wife’s voice makes me want to jump off an overpass after about ten minutes. It didn’t really matter, because I ended my birthday by promptly falling snoringly dead asleep in the middle of the movie. Todd woke me, i wiped off the drool, thought “Huh. So this is what 41 feels like,” and went upstairs to fall asleep in my own bed in order to be able to start all over again at 6 am the next day.

So, I woke up and kind of felt. . . a letdown. I felt old. There’s a lot more to it than suddenly turning 41 and feeling old – aging parents, bad stuff happening, marriages around me on rocky ground, a general feeling of being tired all the time, change, change, and more change, and not having DONE anything with my life – more than I can recount here. But i woke up feeling old.
(Happiest wake up feeling old song ever.)

So, I finished out my week, with this . . . oldness. . . hanging over my head. I wanted my sister to have drinks with me on Saturday. She didn’t feel like it. God, I’m so old, i can’t even get anyone to go have a drink with me on a Saturday night. So, she says, “You and Todd should go.” And todd heard her, and suddenly, he is hellbent on going to see Camper Van Beethoven that night. And i was like, okay, i guess I’ll go. And my husband, when he decides he wants something, he is damn well gonna go after it. So, he managed to procure one precious ticket, which he just about wrested from the jaws of a giant EAV possum, and we went to the Earl, thinking, well, at least you have a ticket, and if I don’t get one, you can just take a cab home. But for some reason, i got out, and I sat at the bar, and i thought it would be a good idea to hang out there while he went to the show. So, i sat there, and I only had a couple of drinks, and I talked to some guy who knew about ten people that I know, and I talked to a few folks I hadn’t seen in a long while (we used to live in the n’hood, you will remember), and then I talked to some young people from out of town on a road trip who had just been to the Clermont for the first time. One of them thought i was a Crip. This was the funniest thing i ever heard. I actually think he might have been serious. And then the show was over (never did get a ticket) and then suddenly, i was heading off to the house of a friend of my friend Terri, and then we were drinking beer in a basement and listening to records. We were all of an age, and we listened to Beastie Boys and The Pixies, and the Meat Puppets, and I had to listen to this TV on the Radio song:

No idea why i love that song so much, but it always makes me feel good to listen to it. And one of the guys there, whom I didn’t know, told me as he was leaving that he thought i was “a rocker” and maybe he was making fun of me, but I took it as a compliment.

And then there were four of us, and I’m pretty sure that Terri and Todd were completely ready to go, but me and the vinyl guy were geeking out on Bowie, and we listened to my favorite Bowie song twice in a row:

And I got home at 4 am. And then it took me like two days to recover, but it was totally worth it. I didn’t really feel old anymore. I felt tired, but not old.

So, I already had plans to go see Ty Segall with my sister on Tuesday. I have turned into a person that listens to music all day long, at home or work or in the car, but who never has the time or energy or money or babysitters to go see music live anymore. I had mentioned in passing that I loved him and wanted to see him live, and that we should go, and then she kind of twisted my arm. I don’t usually go out and see bands on school nights. It’s just too painful to stay up til 1 am, and then get up at 6 am and then . . . think . . . for a paycheck. (It’s really the getting up that’s hard – not so much the thinking.)

So, there I was, downing coffee at 8 pm on a Tuesday night, one week after my 41st birthday, in hopes of being able to stay up until 10 or 11, or whatever time these young whippersnappers go on stage these days. And then we got there, and . . . wow. It’s been a long time since i’d been to see a “current” band. I usually go see bands, and there are some young people there, but it’s mostly people in their 30s and 40s. Let’s just say that I almost cried at how good the people watching was. You know when we were 20? I am pretty sure we were stupid. We looked stupid, we acted stupid, we acted cool, we thought we were hot shit. We were not. We were stupid.

I was amazed at how they all looked so much like people i knew. People I knew in 1991. You know. When they guy I was going to see play was about five. There were people wearing shirts for bands whose albums were released before they were born. There was a guy wearing silver sequined pants. The only things different were that you couldn’t smoke inside the establishment (Terminal West, by the way, which is a GREAT venue – i thought it was nice and the sound was great, and it was a really good size. Kind of 40-Watt-sized, actually.) and that they had craft beer. In cans. Tons of craft beers in cans. And when you’re 41, it ain’t that easy to pick out what beer to order when you can’t see the cans across the bar. Also, no bottles? In my day, you drank out of bottles and chanced the glass breakage! Oh. And in my day, we just watched the damn band. I wanted to shove everyone’s iPhones down their throats, what with all the video and camera flashes. Don’t get me wrong. I love my iPhone. But it stayed in my pocket.

No, seriously. All I could think was Everyone. Was. So. Young.

Then I ran into this guy, and i was like, oh, awesome, you are old too, and he was like, “you’re never too old for rock and roll!” and i loved him. Also, he was like ten years older than me. And he was right. Because as soon as the music started, I was super happy, and it was loud, and it could have been 2013 or 1993 or 1963. I wasn’t tired any longer, and people were stage diving and it was so fun to watch, even though they just seemed a little . . . weak. I mean, it just seemed very safe compared to ye olden days. It bordered on polite. Someone through a beer at a guy in the band and Ty was like, “Please don’t throw things at us; we aren’t a punk band.” And he was so polite. Mom me took over a little, because i really don’t want my babies being thrown around over concrete floors, and these kids, the ones around me, who were born when I was like 20? They have moms too, and I might have gone to college with them. But then I decided that hey, my sister was there, and she’s a nurse, so we were all fine.

It was something like this, but a lot less people.

And then I let go and i rocked out. I did that awesome thing where you watch live music and you just get lost, and sometimes it’s so loud that it almost affects your vision for a few seconds. I had forgotten that if you hold an empty beer can to your chest while the music is loud that the drum and bass will make it vibrate in your hand. And I smiled. I couldn’t wipe that damn smile off my face if I had tried.

And after a while, it ended. And I was sad. But also happy.

And I did not feel old. I remembered what it was like to leave a show all sweaty and feel the cool air outside, and feel complete and total release. I remembered that I can sleep when I’m dead. Or at least the next night. I felt like I should go see more bands I love. I felt like maybe I should learn to play guitar. I felt inspired to write again, because I’m happier when I write.

When you grow up, your heart doesn’t die. It just gets really tired.

And then I was thinking tonight, I am old. I am tired. But I should write. Because I did fall asleep on the couch on my birthday. And I did rock out last night. And Saturday night. And I don’t get enough sleep. But I need to seek out the things that make me happy. I need to love them and nurture them, even if I feel too tired. You know. To keep my heart from dying.

And so that I will remember, when I’m 60, that this is what it is like to be me now. That this is my 41.

*Follow me on Twitter, and I make more sense.

Never Forget: What is your 9/11 Story?

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

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I sit here every year, read a few news articles about folks who lost their lives, families whose loved ones never came home that day, and heroes who saved others, but lost their own lives. I never quite know what to say. It is a sadness that will never go away, and as someone I know said (and I apologize for not remembering who), the whole “never forget” thing is patently ridiculous. As if anyone could ever, in a million years, forget what that day was like. It was one of the most emotional days i have ever lived, full of anger, relief, disgust, horror, fear, disbelief, confusion, and a heartwrenchingly deep sadness. It is a waking nightmare that I take out like a worry stone once a year, just to remind myself that it was real, it really happened, and it happened to us all. A mass consciousness nightmare from which we will never quite awaken.

It also gives me one ray of hope . . . We have it so easy in our country, in so many ways, that we don’t know true day-to-day horror. I never want to experience something like 9/11 again, but I also never want to forget that given the right circumstances, our country might once again come together and stand undivided. It happened in those days after 9/11 and it might one day happen again.

Never forget. Here is what i wrote about my experience on 9/11 for the 911Digitalarchive, back in 2006. (OMG, i have been blogging for too long, i think!) I often revisit what 9/11 means to me and how my views about it have changed over the years, but i always come back to the story of what happened, of the event itself, and what it looked like from my little corner of the word. I always come back, like a stone that I worry in my palm and fingers, always studying it, but never quite figuring it out.

What is your 9/11 story?

The Boy Who Smashed My Snow Globe

Monday, August 27th, 2012

At about 5:20, nine years ago today, this little guy came into my life. He totally picked it up like it was a snow globe, turned it around, shook it up. Really, i think the globe just busted wide open, and shattered into a million pieces, catching the summer afternoon light as they skittered across the floor.

He really did absolutely change everything: Who I thought I was, who I am now, who I wanted to be, how I saw everything. Absolutely, irrevocably altered forever. It was the most awesome (in the true sense of the word) thing that has happened to me before or since. That is not to minimize the impact my daughter has had on me, or to say that she is any less important to me. But when she came into my life, I was already far different than the person I had been three years before her birth.

Rollie has become such a boy. No longer a baby. He swims, and dives and spends the night out and runs and goes to the bathroom by himself and buys things at the cashier without me. He likes a girl. He won’t tell me who. He is sweet and sullen. He has stickers and a keep out sign on his bedroom door and he likes The Beatles and Beyblades. He is mean to his little sister in the most malicious and puckish ways – It makes my sister and i laugh to see him torture Tiller as I tortured Lisa. And yet, he will still burst into tears and fly off the handle like a toddler. He will still sometimes hold my hand, or ask to sleep with us, or climb up on the couch next to me and put his sweet head on my chest. I understand now why I will always be my Mama’s baby, why her Mama called her “Baby” until the day she died. My boy has shot up in size, and looking at the pictures of him, I just don’t understand how nine years went by so fast. NINE.

The rest? Unless you are a grandma or aunt, you probably won’t care. It will just be some kid, pretty decent-looking kid, but somebody else’s boy. To me? He is The Boy Who Smashed My Snow Globe.

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Todd and Rollie at Johnson's

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Rollie Reading

Rollie Loves Trucks II

Built To last

Us at the Park

Alvin, Simon, Theodore, Rollie

Rollie with Mailboxes

Cool Dude

The Wedding Suit

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Rollie at Waverly 280 Boogie

Boy Loves Tractor

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Rowdy Rollie Rodeo

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Rollie From Above

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Rollie Cut His Own Hair II

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Would It Kill You to Smile?

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Rollie

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Cousins!

First day of school, 2012. 3rd & 1st. Sniff.

I Really Wuv Ken Burns

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Well worth the short five-minute watch.

I love his 1+1=3 analogy and the thought that his work is an attempt to wake the dead. I have often thought that bringing back the dead inspires me to write, or often the desire to hold on to life, because it could be gone in a moment.

I’m heading to Chattanooga tomorrow, and it is a place where I really hear the echoes of the dead. I might be waking the dead a bit. I’m thinking of Grandma, and Uncle Charlie, and Aunt Dot, Margaret and Mary, and even little Gretchen. And Jane, sweet Jane. There is something sweet about walking where others walked and making new memories that mingle so closely with the old. Bittersweet, but mostly sweet.

Thanks for sharing, T2.

Quint

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

This past Saturday was a year since I lost Quint. Luckily, I was at the beach, I shed a little tear and moved on. But i have been thinking a ton about him this week. I love Brody, but they are not the same dog. Quint was smart and funny, and the biggest waggie butt I ever saw. His whole body wagged when he saw me. I still miss him every single day.

I am still going through my old photos to pull some out and post them. It’s taken me this year just to be able to look at them. Also went through some old videos that had him in it. This is one I took of him with Todd and the kids, the first time the kids saw snow. We were still in EAV then. Quint was so spazzed out by the snow.

We had Q for 12 years. 8 of those years, i worked from home, and he was right at my side the whole time. It doesn’t feel like someone ripped a limb off anymore, but damn, i still miss my buddy every day.