Monthly Archives: July 2009

a note to sam

Dear Sam,
What I’m writing will not mean much to you right now, but just give it a few years. Not too many, but a few. After you’ve learned the joys of reading, but long before you’ve reached the age of proving and pushing away childhood years. Oh, somewhere in between the back-and-forth patterns of caring and not caring. Somewhere along the way, this might grow to mean something to you.
As you’ll soon learn, most people would love to be able to recall the day they were born. Through no fault of their own, however, it ends up being an impossible task. People are helped along, though, from the stories of parents, other relatives and friends. These people help piece together one of the greatest questions you or anyone else may have about life.
You will hear several different versions of the story from several perspectives. Here’s my story about the events that occurred one year ago today, or actually, let’s back up a bit and start with the night before the day you were born.
I was walking down the paved road leading to my house when I was suddenly jolted to awareness by a text message from your mom. It was around 8 p.m. and she told me she was getting ready to go into delivery and that pretty soon, you should be coming right on out. I told her to keep me posted and then contacted your grandparents and uncle and told them to do the same. We were all on baby watch and expected you to arrive at any moment.
Around midnight, sleep was still far away and I was very antsy. I had sent the message that I wanted to be contacted the minute you were born and I became paranoid that my watch group feared they’d wake me. My head hit the pillow around 1 a.m., but I never slept. I checked the phone constantly hoping I’d hear something.
When the sun came up and I still hadn’t heard a word, I panicked. I paced the driveway fearing something horrible had happened. I tried to will the phone to ring and finally it did. The person on the other end of the line was your grandmother. She started out with, “Have you heard anything?” to which I replied, “What? You mean you haven’t heard? I thought you were calling to tell me something.”
In a voice beginning to show fear and concern she admitted, “I haven’t heard a thing. I was hoping you had.”
So we immediately organized a plan. You see, we just weren’t going to wait on you anymore. Your grandma got the directions and packed the car, we stopped by Papa’s hardware store and we jetted off.
Not too far into the next county, your mom called and gave us the news of your birth. As any good mother would do, she spared no details and we were no longer driven by panic and fear. Our sails were now guided by an indescribable longing just to see you.
We alternated driving and arrived at the hospital in record time. I actually think that once we stepped off the elevator, we just floated to your room. Our hearts were pounding and it was almost impossible to breathe as we found the door with your name on it, pushed it open and saw you for the first time.
You were a long little thing. A baby WNBA player to be sure. You were wrapped up like a tiny cocoon and as you were passed around from person to person, you put the same expression of happiness and wonder on each face. Your mom and dad glowed through intense exhaustion. Your grandpa came, held you and you responded as if you already knew him. Your grandma expertly handled you and you knew her instantly. The camera already loved you and you knew it.
Your uncle called and I tried my best to describe every detail about you, but it was nearly impossible.
As I helped your dad bring in some supplied for you and your mom, I asked him what it felt like to be a daddy and he beamed some more.
Then your grandma and I slipped away. We decided we’d had enough magic for one day and we wanted you to get to know your mom and dad better in the first few hours after your birth.
One year later, today, I remember everything. I remember the worry, the wait, the fear and anxiety and ultimately the relief, the joy and the knowledge that I’d been a small part of something miraculous.
You are a miracle and I can’t wait to see the happiness you’ll bring to everyone in the future.
Happy birthday!

accepting Jo March

As 2009 quickly approaches the halfway point, I constantly stop and think of how just a few short weeks ago, I could’ve easily chalked up the entire first six months as a failure.

Oh, there were a small smattering of successes, but there were also disappointments seemingly lurking around each corner just waiting to take the place of those successes. And right away, I tried to throw my long-used  self diagnosis in the ring.

Quite a few years ago, I was stricken with a terrible malady of epic literary proportions. I, in fact, gave myself the deadly diagnosis of Jo March Syndrome. Jo March — the tomboy, writer, next to oldest sister in Little Women, dreamer, always longing for adventure, travel, etc. That one. Oh, trust me. I went through the list of Little Women characters and picked out traits I shared with each one, but Jo fit me to a tee. Never would I realize how perfect of a fit it was if events of the first half of the year hadn’t unfolded as they did.

Very early in the year, well, in fact, late last year, my closest friend announced her forthcoming marriage inside the walls of a local florist/coffee shop. Amidst the wonderful caffeinated and inspirational smells and sights, I felt a dark, loneliness creep in. Sure, I was happy for her, but just as Jo finds it difficult to let her sister Meg make the leap to marriage, I found this difficult as well. Just as Jo longed for everything in her life to remain the same and she didn’t want to be left behind, I longed for life to go on as it had before.

Soon after, Jo, through no fault of her own, falls into restlessness, growing pains, dissatisfaction and discomfort. Over the next few weeks and months, I found myself shunning the things I used to enjoy. I stopped blogging. I cut out Twitter. I couldn’t stand reading about the successes and failures of others as they didn’t help me any. I longed for close friendship, support, empathy and concerned phone calls. Truthfully, none of this ever came and when in late March a beloved piano teacher passed away, a part of me died with her and terrible, unmentionable thoughts crossed my mind. To me, all hope and inspiration had suddenly vanished.

After I’d finally gotten the worst-case scenario out of my thoughts, I vowed to run away. During all this stress, turmoil and uncertainty, though, I failed to realize there were people — people not having the diagnosis of Jo March Syndrome — who were going through the process with me. My boyfriend suffered too. Having spent a month with my friend, he’d gotten to know her as another sister and ironically enough, my friend’s wedding was to take place just two days after his sister celebrated her 10-year wedding anniversary. As I fidged and pulled myself out of yet another bout of depression, his mother always reminded, “This too shall pass.”

And it did. In much the same way that all dreaded and feared events pass, it soared to new heights of perfection. One step came right after the other in a smooth and natural way and nearly six months of dread and worry culminated into one weekend of new memories and fresh snapshots of the future — a future not to dread, but to embrace.

Now, I’m writing about it which, I suppose, is satisfying another symptom of Jo March Syndrome.

But, as I was leaving the wedding reception and all  the events of the past weekend and months came back to me, I made maybe the most important realization of all. If I was, in fact, living out Jo March Syndrome, then I was nearing the end of it because after all my longing, writing, dreaming and depression, everything felt complete and all I wanted to do was go home and get on with life.

In much the same way many literary heroines realize — Jo March, Dorothy Gale, Scarlett O’Hara — I was ready to go home and start up the next chapter.

There’s much more to come.

Power pulpit packs pews, gives new meaning to ‘power in the blood’

By Eula Harkle

Story Teller

Since the installation of a revolutionary tool designed to bring long-absent church members back into the sanctuary and keep them interested and awake while they worship, the attendance of the Hogswallop Trinity Beautification of the Baptist Church has nearly doubled in the past month of Sundays.

HTBBC pastor Rev. K.K. Culvert designed and patented the device himself and, no pun intended, has seen it work miracles in his church.  The power pulpit comes equipped with a remote control zapper for all the back pews in order to make sure everyone sits towards the front of the church as well as several hidden mirrors so that Culvert can see all angles and make sure no one is napping.  Culvert got the idea to design the pulpit when a visiting couple slept through his famous Christmas sermon and managed to go for a sleep walk through the Christmas pageant during its most crucial moments.

“It was there, after that terribly embarrassing event, that I decided I’d better be doin’ something to keep my dignity and the dignity of the church intact,” he commented. “I built the new pulpit for the purpose of keeping everyone thoroughly alert throughout the course of an average marathon sermon.”

Allowing the PG to see a quick run-through of how the pulpit works, Culvert pointed out how each pew is wired with a microphone that detects snoring and the pulpit reacts automatically to any sort of sleepy-sounding noise coming from the church members whether it’s a snore, a yawn or even an ADHD-induced sigh. And tithing is a must.  A refusal to tithe when the offering plate is passed results in a quick slap on the wrist.  Culvert refused to comment on a recent attempt to sue the church made by a visitor who was stabbed by the tithe-maker-taker.  Overall, he’s very happy with the results and finds he can now preach longer and with more enthusiasm than before.

So, what’s next for this preacher who refuses to give up on his congregation and will use whatever means necessary to keep them “up and at em”?   Plans are now in the works to turn the baptistry into a hot tub complete with bubble bath for comfort and to ensure that all sins are completely washed away.

But, wait a minute…

I plumb forgot the resippie, didn’t I?  Hold yer horses. The resippie……..

will remain a secret fur now. Until I’ve perfected it, that is. You see, I made it directly as soon as we arrived home from Floridy and it sent RP and Grizelda to they sick beds for quite a while, so I really must do some major tweakin’ on it.

Also, the good pastor has agreed to write a column this afternoon after church on the efficiency of his power pulpit and how it improves the overall atmosphere of the church.

Maybe a little later on this week, I’ll have some serious additions to the paper as Scout will be writin’ about her experience in her friend’s wedding and the cascade of emotions she felt in bein’ a part of it. And mebbe, just mebbe, she might get brave and share some quite excitin’ information that should make all the readers happy.

Like I said, though, jest hold on about the resippie. Gotta work out the bugs. Those danged Japanese beetles….

What I done on my summer vacation

Now that my personal computer which doubles as my printing press for this here publication is back up and running proper again I can inform all you wonderful mass of readers of my trials and tribulations in the great state of Florida. Or I can scream like a mindless banshee into an empty room and tell my story. Either way, it’ll get told.

As I said before, my faithful assistant Rendered Posterior was gettin’ feedback from subscribers who said they’d like to see me leave the great area of Bell Bottom Creek and take on the wilds of somewhere else and if I lived to tell the tale, well then so be it. I gladly accepted the offer and waggoned myself, RP and Grizelda Jane out to the Sunshine State in search of the elusive and insidious rabid wrasslin’ croc. After much speculatin’ and arguin’ over where to set up camp, we picked a spot close to Disneyworld, a place Grizelda got all teary about seein’, and planned to go there to find our crocs.

Though it managed to rain everyday, we trudged through it and kept our eyes on the prize. The first day, we took the bus over to a Epcot. We found no crocs there, but managed to sink our teeth into some good eatin’ and visited many different places in the world within the walls of that one little park. Rendered Posterior gobbled up so many lime margaritas in Mexico, though, that he climbed all the palm trees and flung his extry large self down on poor, unsuspectin’ visitors, so we was throwed out with no success.

The second day, we headed over to the Magic Kingdom and Lord, did we ever hit paydirt with all those rides. For jest a moment, those rides took our minds off our main goal, but only for jest a moment. We saw many animals in the wilds of Africa, but still no crocs.

The next day brought us our biggest chance yet to spot the crocs — Animal Kingdom! We found a map and quickly pointed our areas that seemed like they’d give us the best chance to spot one of them fightin’ large lizards, so we split up and promised to meet back and share info if we found anything. Rendered Posterior quickly forgot his goal and beelined straight for the info desk to inquire about whiskey and goat cheese vendors, but Grizelda proved to be a little more helpful. She got sidetracked by several rides, but quickly hurried to my side when she spotted some evil lookin’ creatures confined up in little incubators. At first, she scared half the park when she claimed she’d spotted belly-crawlin’ dinos over at the north gate, but when I came over to investigate, I found the actual culprit to be not crocs, but gators. That figgers. Only in Floridy.

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After three long days of adventure plus two more of drivin’, the weary travelers headed back to the Creek, bearin’ no real stories of croc wrasslin’, but plenty of other things to tell and memories that’ll last for a lifetime. Of course, fur yer delicate ears, I only included all the good parts and left out the many evils of three cantankerous old crazies travelin together in the small space of a wagon and needin’ to go the bathrooms at jest about every rest stop on the path.

On an unrelated note, I was so ahopin’ that Pastor Red J. Plumwood could be entertainin’ all of you with his sermons on his new revolutionary power pulpit he purchased so recently, but as our press has been down for so long, that didn’t happen.

I’ll open the opportunity back up to him real soon.

In the meantime, keep your eyes out for wrasslin’ crocs and if you ever need to reach me, jest drop a line.