Ramblin', Man

Hello All

Haven’t been down with the blogging lately, have begun to wonder if I was some one year wonder, or something. I’ve had tons of blog worthy thing happen, but I just haven’t been able to grasp onto a theme. So I’m just going to start typing and see where I end up.

I’ve been extremely proud of my baby, Mel, these past few months. She’s grown into a nice young lady, lately. She was on the verge of being one of those rebellious types and lemme tellya nerves was frayed. She suddenly pulled in her head out of her you-know-what-sis and has even become somewhat responsible. I said “somewhat”, don’t get all crazy in the imagining department. She’s not Ren from Even Stevens, but she’s not Darlene from Roseanne.

For Spring Break, Mel and I treated ourselves to a trip to Vicksburg. We are history buffs and we like to tour antebellum homes. That includes Chris, but Mel deserved a trip with Mom by herself, and Chris understood. She’s cool like dat.

We usually go to Natchez and we decided to go someplace new, but the same. We know a lot of the history of Natchez by repeated touring of Longwood, Stanton Hall, Rosalie and Magnolia Hall. Vicksburg, just miles north of Natchez, was a big focal point of the Civil War as the Siege of Vicksburg raged on 45ish days.

I thought it would be a nifty idea for us to stay in a bed and breakfast. We stayed in a suite in the carriage house of a palatial compound called “Cedar Grove”. After talking, in low tones, to some seasoned B&Bers, I learned that it was not all that great for the price. I think she paid more than me, cos she was in the main house, and I was in the stable.

I also thought a haunted hearse tour would be nifty. Mel was not as enthused as I, but she was a good sport about it. She did get kinda angry when I got the Hearse Tour Guy to give us the spectral low down on our home for the night. She was not able to sleep that night. Even if you take away the buzzing bed side table and the crazy buzzy alarm clock, you still have the creepy front room with one of those over stuffed mattresses made out of who knows what on that creaky old day bed that Moses probably personally slept on when he parted the Mississippi River on vacation.
And then…..the cable mysteriously went out and I had to turn off the tv, cos she hasn’t seen White Noise and she doesn’t know what can happen to static if ghosties are floating about. So then, in the silence, except for clocks and drawers randomly buzzing, we looked up into the top of our half tester bed and noticed it looked like the inside of a coffin. Good thing I had my reliable lap top and a DVD of Picnic. Old movies will put kids to sleep in seven minutes flat, five, if it’s black and white. Of course, first she watched the Hangover and couldn’t sleep for laffing out loud. I was in the Jacuzzi tub at 3am trying to figure how to turn the thing on. When I finally discovered this, the water was cold. On top of that, I’m reading a Stephen King book in a tub at a possibly haunted hotel, can you say Wendy Torrance? The Rebecca DeMornay version, not the Shelly Duvall, if you please.

I’ve had my B&B stay. Hotels from now on. I’ve had the experience, I’m good. Although…..I’d like to stay in the Myrtles.

I do not know what it is in my brain crevasses that make me love to shiver to a good spine chilling tale of ghostly goings on. It probably goes back to being a kid and listening to my mother telling of her other worldly experiences and retold tales of others.

Let me set the mood. Seven year old Vi is laying on the bed in Evil Ann’s duplex, between Evil Ann and Dot, listening to them recount their encounters. The window is open and the curtains blow gently in the still humid breeze. It’s very late at night, but we are night owls. Even though there is no one to disturb, Dot whispers her tales, too horrible to be spoken aloud. EA, who lived in Japan in the time of her other life, has Japanese ghost stories, and the internet has let us know how scary those are. Dot told her “visited by a person having an out of body experience” stories. A little kid gets goose bumps and is scared to even go to the bathroom alone. Or even worse, the dreaded, “run into the living room and get my cigarettes”. Oh man, you had to leave all cool and shit, as soon as you were out of sight, you ran to the living room, grabbed the smokes and ran back to the door way. Take a second to get your breath, you don’t want them to know you were a scaredy cat, afraid to go in the living room alone.

The big thing back then, to little Vi was…….Redbones!!! If I offend anyone with this story, I apologize in advance, it’s unintentional, I promise. Anyway, as I recall (and this info may be iffy, I was a kid, ya know) Redbones were half Indian (Native American, in these PC times) and half Black and were from Opelousas. That’s all I remember, except they were mean and you had better not say the word “Redbone” in their hearing…or…REDRUM REDRUM. Speaking of Opelousas, that was where I first remember seeing that little shadow out of the corner of my eye. You always have to do a double take and shake it off. If this has ever happened to you, you know what I mean. I was in the bedroom of some kids and we were playing around, it must’ve been late, we had pjs on. I remember the room had that old cowboy wallpaper from the 50s and the twin beds with the wagon wheel headboard. It saw it pass the door frame. Just a blur. The other kids didn’t notice and it was soon forgotten, these were FUN kids!

To make matters more intense EA and Dot became avid users of the Ouija Board. I would sit at the kitchen table and scrawl in my best second grade penmanship, the letters they called out to me. One never accused the other of pushing the little pointer thing. They asked it questions concerning their detective missions. Dot asked it questions about her married boyfriend that she quit to marry my step-dad. . It was he, Mr. Married, that she said appeared at her bedside in the early dawn of a Louisiana morning. She wanted to know had he appeared because he had died. Evil Ann asked it questions about George Jones, whom she claimed was an ex-lover of hers.

The summer of 68, we moved back to Mississippi. We lived in a sprawling old house, surrounded by cow pastures. We had a ghost in that house, my mother talked about it. I don’t remember much about it, I must not have been scared of it, I stayed by myself after school for at least an hour. What I was scared of was all that open fields with nothing but cows. My mother would have to take my step dad out to his truck sometimes at night and I remember them leaving me there alone. I lay in my bed, not daring to move. I was scared someone would break in, but I wasn’t scared of the ghost. I had it cozened in my mind that the ghost was protecting me from the robbers. I also felt safe when planes flew overhead. I thought they were flying at night to make sure no one rustled any cows. (What do you expect? Gunsmoke and Bonanza were tv shows back then, not reruns) I was disappointed when Dot explained it was the nearby airport the planes were interested in, not cows at night. We only lived there 4 months. Dot was too scared to stay there. (Two of those months, for me, were spent with Aunite Virg and Unca Honey)

A couple of years later I went to a slumber party at that old house. We girls slept in the room that my great grandfather had slept in when he lived with us there. I could feel my Grandpa in that room, even though he had lived with us in another house after that, a little bit of him lingered here. I woke up after all the other girls. I came stumbling out and the dad of the house called me sleepyhead. The girls did not know how I’d slept in that room, they thought it was creepy. How dare they speak about Grandpa that way.

I also remember riding around in the boonies, looking for old run down abandoned buildings. We weren’t choosy; we’d investigate any building, even outhouses. In the late sixties, these old buildings half stood on weed choked plots, hidden by overgrown trees. You had to look for the remnants of a driveway, park and wrangle jungle growth to get to them, but the creepy goodness they exuded sent delightful chills down my spine. I never saw a ghost, but the possibility of a sighting was thrilling. My step dad would come up behind you and tickle you, making you jump and holler. He especially liked to hide around a corner and wait for my mother to amble up. He’d jump out with a big “BOO” and she would get mad and give him the silent treatment for a few minutes.

Well, that story just flowed on forever. Let’s see if there’s anything else wanting its story told.

Historic Mississippi River Flooding…OMG

My theory is that Mother Nature is pissed off. Ever since they stopped showing Parkay commercials, she’s been kind of in limbo, just doing her job and watching over Earth, but in the last few years she’s been increasingly testy with the weather. In Mississippi, the weather used to be reliable. A little cold, cool, spring, summer. HOT HOT HOT, Indian Summer and Christmas. That was your year. Now you may have a tropical heat wave one day and a cold snap the next. Hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding turn out violent performances with a vengeance. Tsunamis and earthquakes make frightening dents in the world’s populations.

I don’t usually keep up with what’s going on up river from Memphis. All I know is Memphis, and points south have new record levels, In Tunica Co, MS, a fishing camp with many permanent residents was underwater and the casinos closed. As a result, I had a month’s paid vacation. It was impossible to relax and enjoy it, as I was constantly worried about what was going on back at the office. It’s a weird sensation, looking at pictures of your workplace on the world wide web and it’s become an island in a rushing pond of river water.

I did get to spend some time out in the country, visiting my niecelet Diane and nephusel Bobby and their disgustingly precious baby boy Kyle. Bobby’s mother has recently passed and I like to be out there in a Matronly capacity, you never know when someone’s going to need a heartening word or a strong shoulder.

It’s a little unconventional, I know. These young adults I have been fraternizing with these days are actually the nephews and niece and their significant others of X2. When divorce papers are signed, especially if children are involved, extended family is kept as part of the divorce settlement. I met Hoss and Lil’ Joe 6 months before I became the OLDER woman in their uncle’s life. I got to know Bobby and Neecy after I was their aunt by marriage. I think Marie would be glad to know I am there for them and that I am keeping Mel in the big fat middle of things. Plus they are all such big goofballs, ya gotta love ‘em.

And….sigh….here I sit, Granchildrenless. I have to live vicariously through others. I spent the night with Diane and Kyle while Bobby was out of town and I let Diane sleep in while I took care of Kyle. I doddered around behind him a chilly May Sunday morning. Kyle had his second breakfast of dirt and expertly spit out the rocks and twigs, he’s a country boy, that boy. I pushed him around in his Little Tykes Pick Up. He’s all boy, that boy. I think of it as MawMawhood 101. Made me remember waaaaaaaaaaay back to my Motherhood 101 course.

My first Jr mother experience came during the summer of 1970. My cousin Kat was 9 months old when I arrived in Alligator and almost a year old when I left. (The school year started after Labor Day, man I miss that) I got up early, with Kat’s first sounds of the morning. I’m sure Auntie Virg enjoyed the extra hour of sleep, as I got Kat out of bed, changed her, dressed her and gave her breakfast. I had to be fussed at to let the child down to do baby things. DoodCuz, DrCuz and I would be shooed outside. We’d drag in in time to watch Bozo the Clown, on Channel 7 in Little Rock. Kat would be down for a nap by then and I would be allowed to get her up and change her.
My grandmother, Mama Lou, lived in Memphis, right around the corner from the big shoe house. We went there often for the weekend. My main activity was walking around the block, Kat on my hip, sometimes with DoodCuz and DrCuz tagging along, sometimes not. Ladies out tending flowers and men cutting grass would stop us and go on and on about Kat. I was proud and beamed like a light house at their compliments.

Now Kat and I are both mothers. It’s true, what they say, Motherhood is the toughest job you’ll ever love. For as much as I loved, and still love Kat, nothing compares you for the all consuming love you have for your own kids. Sometimes it is so overwhelming, it’s hard to breathe. I hear that is magnified by grandchildren.

Looking forward to that.

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