Archives 2010

Friday, January 29, 2010

Innocence and Wisdom

Tonight, Chris and I were watching The Taking of Pelham 123 when Harmony ambled in and crawled into my lap. It was an intense scene and I was distracted. Two armed robbers run into the middle of a busy New York street and as cars crash and police vehicles surround them, the robbers open fire, only to be killed during the return fire. It was at that moment that I belatedly realized I had a sleepy three year old in my lap, eyes riveted to the screen. I was mortified and when she turned to me, blue eyes wide and startled, I felt even worse. "I'm sorry, baby."

Thugs, gun toting ones, with prison tats, piercings, murderous eyes and hard faces and this is what she had to say:

"Mommy! Doze men shoulda been holdin' hands so dey didn't get run ober by da cars!"

Forever learning from my kids.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Only in Arkansas, #287

"We had a teacher in high school who had narcolepsy," Chris says.

"Mmm hmm," I grunted.

"He was also the driver's ed instructor."

I can't begin to make this shit up.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


I have been begging Chris to take me to see New Moon. My mom bought us movie tickets for Christmas and he agreed that he might take me based on how he felt about Twilight.

We just watched it. He sat in contemplative silence, absorbing the love story, the thrill of the rogue vampires, the humor throughout.

When it was over, I turned to him and asked him if we could now go see New Moon.

"I really don't have any interest," was his reply.

Virginia and I were shocked. As he was leaving the room, we asked in unison, "You didn't like it? Really?"

He turned, eyes bugging out. "THEY. FUCKING. SPARKLED."

It's cheaper for the smaller popcorn, anyway.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Don't Tell Him What I Put in The Chili

Devon wanted to go grocery shopping with me tonight.

Before having a teenage son, I would have thought that the highlight of their week was a date or the nights I go to bed early and he gets to watch Skinemax without all my troublesome meddling, but now I know it's grocery night. He literally does a little jig in the kitchen, throws open the pantry and declares to the barren shelves, "We'll have all kinds of food!" Last week, he even called his co-hort, Julio, and gleefully exclaimed, "Dude! You have to come over! We'll have pop tarts and pizza and...cereal!"

Now, to answer the two questions I know are burning in your mind: No, my son doesn't smoke pot. And two, I don't load up on junk food. I buy cereal and pop tarts for breakfast, but to my son, those are appetizers.

As he pushed the cart behind me at Wal Mart and we fended off EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN MISSISSIPPI (and as the fattest state in the nation, imagine all the motorized carts beeping their merry fucking tune up and down the aisles while you try to get out of the way lest they break your foot in their haste to get the last bottle of Ranch dressing. Good. Uh. Lord) I muttered my intended shopping list. "I think...bread crumbs. I need bread crumbs. Oh, and potatoes. Milk? Do we need milk?"

"Nope. Good on milk."

"Ok. I think we're done here."

We stood in the 20 items or less line and I suspiciously eyeballed the contents of the basket in front of me. "Why do people assume that eighteen of the same item counts as one? That's not the way this works."

"It's thirty seconds, Mom. Chill."

"For you it is. You're seventeen. You have all the time in the world. Do you know what I could do with thirty seconds?" He ignored me and I turned back to my scrutiny of her contents when one of her items reminded me I was out of spices. "Crap!"


"Can you go get...nevermind. You won't have time. Come on."

We left the line and he asked again what I was going back for. Without thinking, I answered, "Minced onion."

He reacted as though I had just told him I was picking up some dehydrated dog turds. He stopped dead in the middle of the aisle, ignored the surprised squawk of a girthy lady in a motorized cart behind him and demanded to know, "For what, Mom? WHAT DO YOU NEED MINCED ONION FOR, MOM?"

I lie to my kids about what I put in food. If I didn't, they would eat each other before they slowly starved to death. I cannot lie for shit. I looked him square in the eye and said, "I sprinkle it in the, um, garage. Mice. Are allergic. To the onion. Little, bloated allergy murdered mice."

"Liar!" he hissed. By this time, we have drawn quite the crowd of amused onlookers. "You've been putting that in our food! I knew that wasn't cracker crumbs! I told you! They don't cook clear, Mom!"

A very tired-looking woman in bright red pants sauntered past me and without so much as pausing, said over her shoulder, "Honey. Never tell them. I've been cooking turnips in my stew for thirteen years and telling my husband they're potatoes. He just gobbles it up."


For you NFL fans, my husband just stood up in the living room, grabbed me, humped my leg and did a ninja kick, all the while farting uncontrollably.

Take that, Saints.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Every year right before Thanksgiving, Chris and I have the same conversation.

"I'm going hunting this year, dammit," he will proclaim, bottom lip bobbing up and down.

"Oh, wow, not a good idea. They've been feeding the kids cookies at school. Holidays."


"So unless you want to come back and peel me off the ceiling right before driving me straight back to the Land of Longing for Shoelaces, it's just a bad idea."

Now, normally, he means leaving for five or six days. You might as well tell me you're bringing over triplets with ADHD and tourettes, oh, and they also have a dog who urinates on people when he's nervous. Can you watch them for seven months? because that's what it sounds like to me. Kids scare the living hell out of me and with mine, it's even worse because they've had time to study me and find all my weak spots.

This year, he actually had a decent idea. "I'll just go for the day."

I nodded and gave him a thumbs up. "Good job with the whole 'spring it on her the day before' tactic. You're learning."

He scampered away into the garage and came back with a giant camouflage duffel bag. He opened it up and began pulling various camouflage items out, and they kept coming, that thing was like a well-hidden fucking clown car, here comes some more!

I noted some of the items with growing interest. "Why do you have a camouflage boa? What do you really do out there in the woods?"

"That's tassels on my vest. Supposed to look like leaves."

"What's that?"

"Face thing. Balaclava."

"Aha! You Redneck Ninja Gaiden! 'Tread slowly, feller, that thar deer will be in harmony with me soon's I put this here buckshot in his ayse'."

"Shut it. I have to wash this stuff." I watched in utter amazement as my husband opened the washer and fiddled with the knobs like he had been here before and deposited all his gear. My washer looked like it was full of the forest. Very chamo.

He went to find one more thing and I added powder to the load. He came back and peered into the rising water, uttered one high-pitched girly shriek and started pulling stuff out and slinging water and half-clumped detergent in all directions. "Ahhh! Crystal! No!"

"No, what? Quit that! You slung goop in my eye!"

"Babe, I can't go in the forest smelling like fucking flowers and shit! That's what I went to get, the special detergent!"

"Special detergent?" We are both yelling now, him out of frustration and me out of confusion and the giant glob of moist detergent that is slowly eating my eyeball. "Do they make a Gain, Deer Urine Scented? Seriously! Shit!"

"No, they make a...nevermind. I'm just...shit."

"Chris, explain to me how you can not go in the forest smelling like flowers. There are flowers IN THE FOREST."

"Yeah, but this is fake scent. Deer can tell between real and this added scent and -"

"It's real lavender! Says on the box!"

"Lavender is not indigenous to Mississippi! It's from British or whatever."

I was stunned into silence. "Did you just say, "It's from British"?

"You know what I mean."

"I think you should call Margaret Thatcher right now and apologize for the entire South, all of it-"

"Back to the topic at hand. Can't have fake, perfumy smells."

"Ah. And this? Are you hunting or repairing the highway?"

"Safety vest. So other hunters can see you."

"It's day glo orange. You can't smell like a natural flower but you can wear a day glo vest. If I were a deer, I would be laughing at you."

"It's...they can't...UV...dammit, just give me my vest."

"I would if I could see it."

I cannot imagine why he wants to LEAVE ALL OF THIS FOR A DAY.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Sophia jumped up, ready to defend her child. "What he did to Ruby? Finley would never hurt anyone, he would never! He's just a baby-"

"Sophia," a voice called from the darkest corner. "Hush. No one said that what he done was harmful." Ruby emerged from the chair she had been sitting in. "Matter o' fact, he may have just saved my life."

"I don't understand."

"I know you don't. Sit back down. I'll tell you how I came to be a mother to two murdered children."

Sophia slowly lowered herself to the bed again and waited to hear this tragic tale.

Ruby took a moment to compose herself before she began. "I been a servant since I was fo' years old. I ain't been a virgin since I was six." She paused at the sickened look on Sophia's face. "When you a servant, nothin' you have, not even the body God gave you, is yours. I knew that goin' in, my momma and the other servants tol' me." She stopped to take a sip of the foul smelling amber colored liquid in a cup by her side. "By the time I was seventeen, I had lain with my fair share of men, some of them white, some of them black. One of them caught me. That man was like a poison in my blood and I had to have 'im. I loved 'im, I truly did. Only problem, he was married, and not to just any ol' woman. His wife was straight out of the bayou, Cajun, a voodoo witch, wicked woman. She had ways o'lookin' at ya, make ya tell the truth out of fear." Her lower lip trembled when she quietly whispered, "I got myself pregnant. Twin babies." The silence drew out as she sipped some more of her amber liquid. Sophia wrung her hands, knowing this story did not have a pleasant ending and powerless to change it.

After a few minutes, when Sophia thought that the story was at an end, at least for the day, Ruby continued. "I tole' him. He loved me, he say, but he scared to death o' that woman. Our plan was to have the babies in secret and leave when the time was right, when we had the money. I birthed both those babies breach and Jesus, I thought my time had come. Ain't never felt no pain like 'dat. But, Lord, when I saw them. They was perfect and loud and I ain't never believed that I did something right, and, this, this was so right it changed all my wrongs. I was they Momma and I didn't need no one else. I had a hard time birthin' 'em and I bled somethin' fierce. Had to be stopped and even then I was weak. I wasn't able to give 'em a lot of milk and they was starvin'. Here I was in this hole in someone's wall, secreted back there with two weak babies, babies who was tryin' so hard to live and who should come see me but Zelia, his wife. She tol' me that she could make a brew 'dat would feed them, keep them well until I was better and mo' able to tend to them." Ruby's face was covered in tears. She seemed not to notice. "I didn' have no choice. They was dyin'. God help me, I passed my two newborn babies off to a voodoo witch, a woman who had every right to want me dead, what with me laying with her husband. And I was so naive. I thought, she take care 'dem babies, it's the right thing to do."

She stopped talking and walked over to play with Finley. As she reached for him, Dola stayed her hand. "Ruby, finish it. Tell her the rest."

Ruby shot Dola a look of desperation, pleading with her to let it be.

"Go on," Dola urged.

Ruby opened her mouth and the words came out in a flood, as though she had been holding them for too long. "Zelia, she evil, that fucking devil! She take my babies, my innocent babies and cut they throats. Used they blood for only God knows what. When she was done wid 'em, she wrapped 'em back up, put them in they basket and brought 'em back to me. Tole me, 'Well, at least you don't have to worry about feeding 'em, now'. I ain't never wanted to kill another living being like I did her. She took they blood! My babies blood!" Ruby was shrieking now, tearing at her hair and sweating. "Blood! Lord Jesus, they blood!"

Dola pulled the woman down on the bed and much to Sophia's surprise and concern, plopped Finley in Ruby's lap. The effect was immediate. Ruby stopped clawing at herself and instead, picked the baby up and started smoothing his hair and telling him what a beautiful young man he was. "Yo' baby, Finley. He knew." Ruby looked up at Sophia and met her eyes. Sophia could see the pain and anguish that lived there. "He know dat I lay awake ever' night, wondering if my babies are together, if they happy. She didn' give dem no chance and I need to know dat they together and okay, you know? Twins, least dey have each other. Dey' be 13 years old now. And I never known if they together or scairt or hongry...until Finley."

Sophia was so confused. "Ruby, I-"

"Shh, Miss Sophia," Dola whispered. "She in a fugue, gotta let her tell it how she can."

"Dat day, he put his precious hands on the side of my face and I left this world. None of you was around me and I weren't in dat basement. I was standing in a field, a beautiful field. Sky was the color blue it hurts cos' it's so damned pretty, trees big and healthy and flowers all over the ground, flowers that ain't got no business growing together. I could smell 'em, you see. I could touch them. I was as real there as I am here, right now. And in the middle of that field there was two young people holdin' hands. I couldn't see 'em real good so I's start walking, just acceptin' that I'm in a new place and I have somethin' to see to. They moving toward me, save me some trip, and before you know it, we's standing face to face. I'm lookin' at dem and they's smilin' at me, but not in a mean, teasin' way. They's smilin' like they know somethin' big and I'm just now figgerin' it out. Then the girl says, "We alright, Mamma. We happy here and we wait until you come and move on with us. We'll be here." She lean over and take my hand and I know, sho' as I know the sun shines in the morning, that these are my babies. And they's okay. I'm so full of emotion I cain't even speak and 'den my son, he says, "You have to stay on fo' a while, help Finley. He real important, Momma," and he kisses me on 'dis here cheek." She rubbed the cheek as though she could still feel that kiss. "And then I blink and I back here."

Sophia hesitated before she spoke. "Ruby...maybe you had a hallucination. Your grief, I can't imagine..."

Ruby's eyes cleared and she turned to address Sophia. She held out her hand and opened it. Inside was a flower, pressed with sweat and the strength of fear and wonderment. "Dis' here flower was in my hand when I came back. Ain't no flowers in that basement and I sho' as shit didn't bring it wid' me. Dis' from my daughter when she held my hand. She wanted me to know it was real and my purpose here is real and that wallowin' over those babies is stupid when they happy and shit here ain't. I know my place now and I know Finley healed that wound."

Dola said nothing while Sophia stared at the mysterious flower. Then, she spoke. "Sophia, nothin' about this child has been anything less than a gift from God. Everythin' he do is a miracle. 'Bout time you started accepting that you got something here on earth maybe ain't supposed to be here. And figger out what you goan' do 'bout it 'fore your momma realize his potential."

"Potential?" Sophia was dazed by the possibilities.

"Yes, potential. Baby like dat, make a woman with no scruples rich."

What she was saying dawned on Sophia and as it did, the color fell out of her face. "Oh, my God. If she knows..."

"She know something ain't right. You just gotta figger out how to make her believe 'dat what she seein' is normal for a baby. In other words, you got some serious work to get to."

Sophia picked the baby up and hurriedly left the room.

Dola looked at Ruby. "You think she understands? You think she know what she up fo'?"

Ruby smiled, but it never reached her eyes. "I think that poor girl got her head buried and she don't come up pretty soon, someone goan' come along and bite that ass off."

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Virginia generously bequeathed four of her six Barbies to Harmony and now Harmony is compelled to methodically dismember them.

Once she realizes they're not nearly as much fun when they're in pieces, she brings me a basket of body parts and asks that I "put dese togedder".

This is what happens when you mistakenly assume that all bodies and heads are interchangeable.

No comments: