My Peelings Are Hurt, Gotta Go To The Doctor

I asked the little boy, “What will you be when you grow up?”
He looked at me seriously and without actually verbalizing the “Duh”, he said, “an adult”. I think he even rolled his eyes.

Kids, ya gotta love ‘em. I know I do! ( Beetlejuice) Who doesn’t secretly love hearing funny stories about themselves as children? It’s a complement when someone has “a story on you”, as we say down South.

Let me see, some of the precious things I did are pretty cute I guess, I don’t really hate any of them. I don’t remember this, but my mother used to take Toddler Vi to this diner lunch counter-y bar type establishment. Apparently, I made the rounds of the patrons which consisted of I don’t even know what and came back with gum, dollar bills, change and the loot one gathers as the result of being an adorable child. This was the early sixties, I don’t remember this specifically, but I do remember diners and cafes. The Blue and White Restaurant in Tunica MS is a prime example of this. Speaking of this fine establishment, I have another pre conscious memory story that took place here, but that’s a story for another time.

Here’s one of my faves. A school bus driving girlfriend was driving her bus along one day and a pick-up, going on the opposite direction, swerved into their lane, then right back into his own lane. She and some of the kids on the bus were speculating what may have caused the driver to do that. Was he drunk? Did he fall asleep at the wheel?

One little girl pipes up and says “Maybe he looked down and counted to four”. It has become a catch phrase. Some of you may have heard me say it.

Now for the fun part, embarrassing my children.

X2 took Chris down to the local ice cream parlor and when they were leaving, she grabbed a toothpick and stuck it in her mouth. “Why do you need a toothpick,” he asks. “Sometimes I like to chew on ‘em like a tough guy”, is the answer.

Mel and I were riding in the car, listening to the radio. A commercial for Cats record store comes on and the announcer says “in ‘Cat’s all over Memphis’.” Mel looks out, all around and says, “I don’t see any cats.”

More random kiddie quotes from our little family tree:

Mama, isn’t technology a wonderful thing?

You gotta watch me, I’m sneaky like that.

You don’t hafta be married to have a baby.

What’s so so security?

What’s a serial number killer?

Mama’s at the booty shop.

I think I’m ‘bi-sexual”, I’m friends with girls AND boys.

Ow, my feet have bones!

Are you a dumb blonde?

Come git me, ah’m daid.

People shouldn’t drink and drive…..how can they see over the cup?

I love that band Bootie and the Ho Fish

Ah the times I’ve embarrassed my mother and aunt. I can remember this one: I was 6, spending the summer with Auntie Virg and UncaHoney, in Duncan MS, the year is 1967. There is a family cook-out going on and I pipe up and say, “Did my Mama make this potato salad?” No, Auntie Virg explained patiently, Dot is in Louisiana, she could not have possibly made the potato salad. “I didn’t think so, this is awful.”

The Awful Potato Salad in question was made by Auntie Virg’s sister-in-law, Jean. Jean prided herself on her potato salad, was famed for it, in the family. Auntie Virg was mortified for many reasons, not the least of which was that Jean was sitting right next to her. Jean never liked me, I guess I don’t blame her.

Here’s one I did to Dot. Like most kids, I could crank the vocal cords and be quite loud. “You don’t have to yell, we aren’t across the street,” Mama would scold. Elderly neighbor comes over, little old lady, hard of hearing. She’s a loud talker, most hard of hearing old people are. Five year old Vi admonishes, “You don’t have to yell, we’re not across the street!” Luckily, I think the old lady was too deaf to hear it, but I got the “glance of doom” anyway.

I get a call from the school, I’ve got to get there quickly, Kindergarten Chris has bitten a ring on her finger out of shape and it is cutting off the circulation. I run into the office and upon seeing me, she screams, “you’re not gonna beat me, are you?” Right there in front of all the elementary school dignitaries.

In the same vein, I remember this as clear as yesterday. I was two and I had wet the bed, my great-grandmother was sleepily grumbling as she changed the sheets. “You ain’t gonna give me to the people down the road, are you,” I cried.

And in closing…this isn’t about a kid. I have one of those faces, I guess, that encourages total strangers to approach me in stores and ask me to help them. I was approached by an older lady, not doddering, just older than me.
“Haave yew evah taken a leave,” she drawled, surely she was raised in the deepest darkest part of the tri-county area.
“Yes, I’ve taken a maternity leave,” I answered.
She wanted to know if I have ever taken Aleve.


Days of Road Trips Past

8 a.m. tomorrow, I am officially on vacation. Well, really, it’s a staycation, cos I be po’! No, no trip this year, but I remain hopeful that there is a Mardi Gras in my future. Anyway, it’s my mind that needs rest and travelling requires thinking and concentration.

So, in lieu of a road trip, I will regale you with memories of vacations past.

My first official vacation, by official I mean renting a camper and being gone a whole week to a place I’d never been before. Dot, Hardy (my step dad 65-71), his parents and brother and me. We took out in a Pontiac Bonneville, hauling a pop up camper, from Brandon, MS to the great Smokey Mountains. I was 8.

The next Vacation I remember was 1972. I was staying out in Alligator MS with Auntie Virg and UncaHoney and the cousins. We piled in the ol’ station wagon and just lit out, no destination in mind. We ended up in Muskogee OK. We had adjoining rooms, and the sliding doors opened out to heaven, to my 11 year old mind, that was a huge blue pool and a tiny kid pool. I had never been in an inground pool, prior to this, all my swimming experiences included sandbars of reservoirs, the Big Muddy and plastic pools, oh and a washtub at a very very young age. I thought it was the most beautiful ever, especially at night, after it was closed, and I would open the drapes and just stare into the calm blue depths. The lights in the pool walls glowing seductively. We stayed there at least two nights, we got room services and swam and shopped and sang “Okie from Muskogee” to the top of our lungs, till we were shushed, lest we disturb the other guests. From there we went to Missouri, went to a cave, went to Blythe Arkansas where Auntie Virg and UncaHoney fell in love with the lounge act at the Ramada Inn, a duo of singing sisters called “The Pedagogues” So we stayed there quite a few days. We went home with their album and listened to it constantly the remainder of the summer.

1987, Dot, Chris and I took out in a new station wagon and landed in Branson MO. We didn’t see any of the Branson sights, we went on through to Silver Dollar City, then we hit the now defunct amusement park, Dogpatch, in Dogpatch AR. We spent the last night in a little mom and pop hotel in Newton AR. The restaurant was awesome, it was straight out of the early sixties, I don’t think they had ever redecorated.

2003, I take my kids and cousin Brit to the thriving metropolis of Lake Arthur LA. We had rented a car, and since my car had no a/c, I kept the one in the Enterprize Saturn up on full blast and by the end of the trip I had the worst ear infection of my life from the vent blowing right into it for a week. It took me months to get over it, but before my ear tried to kill me, the girls and I toured the two state capital buildings in Baton Rouse, toured St, Martin de Tours, that little museum next to it that was once a college, the house out at Evangeline Longfellow Park, drove by my old places of residence and the ol’ Alma Mater. Leaving the Wainright clan and headed back east, we stayed in Lafayette where I poured over the phone book trying to find an emergency clinic open on a Sunday. I could have sworn when I left the city in ’86 that they had those, but they didn’t in 2003. We headed on to Natchez and by chance I decided to go another way, cos I try to avoid Baton Rouge as I always get lost there. So we left for Opelousas, turned right when we got there and in a couple of hours, found ourselves driving past The Myrtles. So, we toured THE MOST HAUNTED PLACE IN AMERICA…..(several places make that claim) then rounded out in good ol’ reliable Natchez. In one of the antebellum homes, Chris got stuck in a priceless antique hoop petticoat, that was pretty funny until we realized it was a priceless antique, then after we got it off, unharmed, it was funny again.

Our ultimate vacation (so far) came in 2006 when we drove from Memphis to Arizona. It was supposed to take two days but took four as we spent an entire day in New Mexico driving in a blizzard. The day before we were in Elk City Oklahoma enjoying a wonderful Route 66 museum, in summerlike weather. The horrible day of snow driving up mountains was worth it, when we stayed in the El Rancho Hotel in Gallap New Mexico. We went down the “Mother Road” stopping at attractions, including the giant rabbit in Joseph City, A couple of days in the old homestead, then we went to the Grand Canyon Railways Resort, where we swam in an indoor pool, then had to bundle up in coats to go back into the hotel through a snow bank. We rode a train to the Grand Canyon and had a bus tour of the rim. Back in Yavapi County, we toured the ghost city of Jerome and ate in a whorehouse.

All travel ends the same, you’re tired of being a tourist and just want to sleep in your own bed. The trip to your vacation destination seems to take forever, and the trip home is even longer. By the way, here’s a tip for Southerner’s traveling west. You ain’t gettin’ no sweet tea in the eatin’ places.


Well, Ah Deau De Clare

I’ve just re-read The Stand by Stephen King. The uncut edition.

I am a more careful reader than I was in my younger days. Back then I rushed through a book, anxious to get to the end. Now, I’ve lived more, I can relate to a book in a different way, it speaks to me, by experience rather than curiosity.

Another book recently re-read is Gone With The Wind. I know, I know, drippy Old South romance novel, racist, “I don’t give a damn, tomorrow is another day” stuff. Blah, blah, blah….yak, yak, yak .

When I read GWTW as a teen, I had lived with it all my life, because, my mother loved the book. However, when my mother read it, she was a teen. It was an “old” book even then, as it was originally published and made into a movie the year she was born, so I guess she had grown up with it too.
I was told that the first movie I ever went to was GWTW at the tender age of 2 months at a drive in. That viewing slips my memory, but I do remember seeing it at drive ins and dusty old theaters each time it was re-released to theaters, and Dot and I would always go together.

Before this new fangled VCR craze, you could see GWTW once a year on CBS, like the Wizard of Oz. It’s sort of a rite of passage to me, my mother loved it and I loved it, and it was something we always had in common. When Mimi, Dot’s grandmother was sick in bed, I remember trying to read to her, I tried to read GWTW to her, I was six years old. I got probably through the first sentence, maybe, I mean a six year old’s vocab in 1967 is somewhat innocent compared to a 2010 six year old. So, If I could stumble through the first sentence, as a seasoned 1st grader, certainly I had no idea what it meant.

My next attempt was age 12. I skipped through some parts, disappointed when I could not relate a passage to the movie.

I finally read it in its entirety at age 15. Mostly while I was babysitting the LeGrange kids, way out in the wilds of Broussard LA. That was a sweet gig, the Dad would pick me up on Friday night, and I’d sleep over Fri and Sat and stay till Sunday afternoon, when I would go home with a $20 bill, good wages in 1976. The Mom and Dad stayed out late and got out early on the weekends, we never saw them come and go. But, I digress, badly.

I read it here and there in the years hence. But, I got the most out of it this last time I read it, about 6 months ago. When I read it when I was young, it took me back to a place I had heard of my entire being, the grand and glorious SOUTH!, by cracky! It lets you imagine that you are the most popular girl at the barbeque, you find out about southern history and antebellum south’s customs and what was expected young ladies back in the day………waaaaaaaaaay back in the day.

When you grow up and read it as a 49 year old adult, it’s a whole ‘nuther ball game.
First of all, Margret Mitchell wrote an astounding novel, I’m not talking just the story everybody gets from the movie, I’m talking back ground things. You call it cinematography in the movies, I don’t know what you call it in books. She only has this one novel, but she poured herself into it and she deserved every award she ever got because of it.

After you’ve grown up and experienced some struggles, come to terms with yourself, warts and all, learn a few things about loyalty and dogged devotion and worry and developed your survival instinct, read it again. When you read as an adult, when you can relate to worrying about making ends meet in hard times. Forget the movie, just use it as a frame of reference for reading the book. So that you know where you are when you’re attending the Twelve Oaks Barbeque. Reading it as a teen, then as a seasoned veteran of life may be the best way to get the most from it, as the heroine is 16 at the beginning and 30ish at the end.

So, I started out saying I read one book and ended up giving a book report on another. Sorry about that, it just flowed along, I couldn’t stop it. I recommend both books. Next time, The Grapes of Wrath. Movie versus book. Class dismissed.