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Friday, September 26, 2014

Take Two Mornings & Call Me In The Aspirin

The small signage below the rear view mirror reads "Objects in mirror may appear closer than they are."  Wth??? Useless advice for a dyslexic depth perception suffering driver now isn't it?
Nothing against mirrors. I have them all over the house, leaning on walls, hanging, sitting on tables reflecting upwards. There are one or two in every single room. I view them as reflective portals to other realms, and — I like to see what's coming at me from all angles. Personally, mirrors are purposeful and perform mundane activities; The occasional glimpse of spinach in the teeth, teeth brushing, makeup application and hair combing and not much time spent there, just a few swipes with a Barbie comb is sufficient.  I am at least blessed with hair loss equality, it seems to be evenly falling out. And that's a good thing, because I can't tell left from right when doing the Donald Trump comb-over.
Decisions requiring; Up, down, left, right, backwards, forwards, or sequence may take a millisecond longer for me and because I am ambidextrous I can screw up even more with complex dexterity.
My kaleidoscope eyes have given me a substantial collection of goose eggs and escapades in life. More so if I am upset, tired or in a hurry.
I.e. After pulling a double shift at work late one night, I inched the car into my driveway to a stop. I was so glad to see the welcoming yellow glowing lights of home. Here's where tired dyslexic kicked in. I moved the gear shift down three notches on the PRNDL12 stick instead of up three notches to PARK.
Ok, we lived in NC , hills abound. A nice steep slope at the end of my driveway trailed off through a grassy knoll and into the woods. I was in the house giving salutations long before the roll started. I remembered that I left something in the car a few minutes later and went to get it. No car! I ran back into the house hollering "Omg, the car has been stolen. Don, call the cops the car is gone."  You would have to know how ugly my car was to get that joke.
The kids and Don ran outside in the dark. Don had a flashlight because it was super dark down the dirt road. We were heading back to the house to call someone when I sheepishly remembered that the keys are on the kitchen table. At that same instant Don's flashlight picked up a red tail light in the woods. At that moment I actually wished the car was taken. The "stolen" car had rolled off into the woods. Shaking his head the way he would do to this day, Don went into the woods to back the car back through the kudzu jungle and sappy baby pines to it's rightful place in the yard.
I would like to think that my escapades have subsided in frequency. But for precautionary sake I still do what I can to eliminate in- house confusion. I don't re-arrange furniture. If I sit something down in a spot I deem worthy, it will stay there forever.
But every now and then, the things that are pretty permanent will jump out and get me. As was the case this weekend. I came home with a few things from grocery store to a quiet house. Don is napping in bed after exhaustive rounds of Sunday football, all is well and predictably and happily normal. I opened the top kitchen cabinet to put stuff away. A can of fruit cocktail fell onto the floor. I reached down to get it, came back up and BAM!, caught my head with the cabinet door. Not the usual stars  this time—stars AND stripes. When I was able to reason, I went to the freezer to get some ice for the spongy knot growing out of my head. I gingerly walked to the bedroom. Don looked so peaceful in bed, I decided not to wake him with my latest faux pas.
I took the flashlight into the closet to check my eyes for dilation. I followed my finger with my eyes, whatever the hell that does when you are doing it to yourself. The phone buzzed on the counter with the busy chatter of my Ya Ya's. I decided to hook up with my people, so at least someone will know what happened.
I joined in the convo somewhere around a backyard get together with ice box tater salad. Rubbing my head I wondered, "Should I come on strong with prayer warrior request for my head or subtly drop the injury into text?
I'm greeted with "Oh yeah, nice of you to join us from your Sunday nap."
There are three close to middle aged Ya Ya's in this MMS text. One has spell check and double check's her spell check, one knows how to spell and the other is trigger happy and sends everything that spell check suggest.
Me: Ice bag on head. "Feeling a little nauseous."
Me: (Following a thread of getting together)  "I'm in if I live. I almost knocked myself out on a cabinet door."  (My hopeful plot is to suggest that I may need help or at least make someone aware.)
Ya Ya with spell check: "Have another glass!"
Me: "I'm scared to drink the first one now."
Ya Ya who trust's spell check: "Ice it Shasta an call it a day." (Note, Shasta means sister on spell check.)
Ya Ya with spell check. "A day? She's been sleeping all afternoon."
Ya Ya who trust spell check. "He, he he"
Ya Ya with spell check. "There was this story on the news the other day about a state of mind between sleep and awake called drunk sleep (insert two paragraph tangent here)
Ya Ya who trust spell check "BAhaAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaa"
Ya Ya with spell check:  "Lawd, (it now recognizes her slang) the directions our conversations head! From benches to tater salad to sleep to who knows where. I love it!"
Me: "If there ever were such a thing as extra terrestrial beings, they'd get together on a Verizon satellite to listen in on this group."
Ya Ya who trust's spell check is losing concentration here and has missed a few post‘s:  "I made baby white lima beans over rice and boiled baby ukons with butter and herbs an cheese corn muffins."
Me: "That sounds good."
Ya Ya with spell check: "Ukons? Have you totally disabled auto correct?"
Me: "lmao."
It goes full out rogue here.
Ya Ya who trust's spell check: "must have, let me check, Hispol oori sh."
Ya Ya with spell check; "Seriously lmao, I love y'all so much!!!"
Ya Ya who trust's spell check: "Live 6 to you"
Me: "Oh God, we need an interpreter."
Ya Ya with spell check. "Live 6 to you also, as I type through tears."
Me: "Bridge 105.5 out. How the hell am I supposed to determine if I have a concussion with you guys?"
Ya Ya with spell check: "You do have a concussion. Drink wine."
Ya Ya who trust's spell check: "Soon over ice box tater, salad. You are fine shasta."
Me: "I am not outing my wine over potato salad."
Ya Ya who trust's spell check:  "Want me to flute hit you?"
Me: "I'm not sure, never done that before, sounds like fun though"
Ya Ya who trust's spell check: "Come get you!! You want me to come get you??"
Me: "No, I will tell Don to wake me up and flute me every two hours."
Ya Ya with spell check: "Lord I love ya'll."
Me: "Yeth, me too!"
Which pairs well with a concussion. White or Red Wine? Yes, I think I will. Take three mornings and call me in the aspirin.

Monday, September 15, 2014

She's going up the ladder, I'm coming down. Or did I ever go?

During her summer visit my oldest granddaughter (a senior this year) told me that she didn't know what she wanted to be or do with her life. I answered "I don't either, isn't it exciting?"
As my mind skimmed through the plethora of occupations I've had over 4 decades, I briefly considered not giving ANY advice.

Bean picker: Had a darn good tan that summer.
Red & White cashier: Worked here about one year, ran away from home.
Waffle House: Two days, poured coffee on jerk and quit.
Manager at horse ranch tour farm in Florida: Two years, that was a fun job.
Carnie: For one night, on a hitchhiking trip down the Florida panhandle,  let me tell you when the Ferris Wheel turns off, get the hell out of there.
Tomato picker: One day, I was slow... can't remember if I quit or they fired me.
Shrimp boat mate: 3 years, my favorite job ever.
Wal Mart Inventory Receiving: About 1 year, manager was a biatch until she found Jesus, after I left…naturally.
Check printing factory: 6 monotonous months, I think I fell asleep while standing.
Sewing room: 6 monotonous months as well, put a needle through my thumb.
Country store clerk: Loved this little store, until a crack head robbed and tried to kidnap and kill me.
Waitress: 6 years, customers, management and co-workers. Still do!
Restaurant manager: Same restaurant, new location. Loved these people here too!
Herb shop owner: Second favorite career, unfortunately I was 15 years ahead of the alternative lifestyle curve.
Self employed start up answering service: Had 6 line switchboard. Before mobile phones. Too tied down.
Secretary auto brokerage: They went bankrupt and tried to tell me there was no money to pay me, I started packing their office equipment, they found money to pay me.
Group Home Hab/Tech. Job was great, pay and management not so great.
Artist: Floor cloth painting, love this. Starving artist.
Residential Paint Contractor: NC, economy wiped us out.
RSFH Mt.P: Food & Nutrition: I worked with some of the best people to this day I have ever met.
Starbucks barista: You can teach an old dog new tricks. 87,000 variations to be exact.
Residential Paint Contractor: I enjoy the cabinet painting, the paperwork gives me a reason to drink.
Artist: When I want to be.
Writer: Eternally.

Why all the jobs? Work really wasn't that important, living was. A good friend and employer had  a term for my malady. "Damn gypsies." he'd spout. Note: This philosophy does not a pretty retirement portfolio make. I may be living in a van by the river in the end, and actually, that may suit me fine. Although I may have walked a crooked mile with a crooked stick, I’ve seen a lot, met a lot of wonderful people and had phenomenal experiences.
So what do I wish for my granddaughter's career? Considering my own illustrious list above, should I even give her advice??  Let's see, what are some of the old standby's....

  • I just want you to be —Happy? Nope happy is overrated.  
  • Content? Well...sometimes. 
  • Adaptable?  No, too flighty and non-committal. 
  • Everyone starts at the bottom and works their way up. Uggh. I hate frig magnet philosophy.
  • You have to start somewhere...hmmm. I kind of like the last one, but let's just re-define somewhere.

So, I told her "You have to start somewhere, but don't let other’s expectations of age, sex or life circumstances define your starting point. If you feel like you have the capabilities to do better and KNOW that you CAN do it, bypass the protocol and start on the rung a little further up the ladder. Be true to yourself and aware that this is YOUR path and YOUR time spent sojourning here."
I was elated about a month later to get a text from Abby. “Grandma, I applied for a job at the veterinarians office nearby. They didn’t have a sign up or advertise. But, I knew that I would like to do this, so I went and asked them if they needed help. I start next week.”
Ummmm…proud grandma, mopping keyboard here.  
Advice is a tricky thing. But, I don't think a good lick of confidence and individuality ever hurt anyone. Plus, I'm grandma...I'll catch you IF you fall.
Now, about me? What do I want to be/do when I grow up?  Let me get out that kaleidoscope and look through it again.

She's Going Up The Ladder, I'm Coming Down | | Bold. Smart. Local. Now. | Charleston, SC

She's Going Up The Ladder, I'm Coming Down | | Bold. Smart. Local. Now. | Charleston, SC

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Hope Floats, Mt. Pleasant's First Families

I like graveyards. It's not like a morbid fascination, I just enjoy the stories they tell. Bravery, loss, love, hate, unity, respect, reverence and yes — sometimes a chuckle. It is even more fascinating when you can walk these sacred grounds with people who share their stories, put a face - an event to the etched names and dates.
Sharing, what an underrated commodity! Share — the first images I conjure are of generosity — the giving of money, goods or food. Almost as an afterthought I include knowledge and experience.  But, I think it's by far one of the most unselfish and valuable gifts we can give each other. I am richly blessed to have beautiful souls all around me that share their knowledge freely, enabling me to see and understand my world much deeper. Sometimes just making time and closing my mouth will create such an event. Such is the case on a recent jaunt with low-country historian Suzannah Smith Miles. What started out as lunch at See Wee Restaurant on Hwy 17 North concluded with this fascinating history lesson lying dormant a mere 500 feet behind the restaurant.
The sun spun fleeting shadows over the 325 year old grounds of the Wappetaw Meeting House burial site. If it had not been for Suzannah, the grave stones and serene landscape—albeit fascinating, would have only vaguely intrigued me as a passerby. I’d  have never known the history this 1 ½ acre plot holds — The intolerance of another shore, a shipwreck, kindness and true naturalization that led this group of people to mold and meld into our community.
Suzannah explains "Wappetaw Meeting House was settled in the 1690s by the original FFMP (First Families of Mt. Pleasant) who came from Essex County, Massachusetts. This was group of 52 who came from Salem, Ipswich and Boston. Some of their names you'll easily recognize (like Whilden and White) and another is very well known , Legare - who was a silversmith in Boston before he came south with the Wappetaw group. They were basically Puritans-cum-Congregationalists and one of the reasons they came South was the aftermath of the Salem witch trials. Interesting stuff. The churchyard is beautifully cared for now by the New Wappetaw congregation, the church that was built in McClellanville to replace this one in the late 1800's."
Suzannah pointed out that the gravestones that remain are smatterings of what was. The faintly inscribed dates and names reflect time periods of a mere 150 years. The first 175 years of the grounds are re-claimed by the earth now. Worms have since rotted wooden bell towers and crosses, fire and war have consumed structures, hurricane and elements crumbled the earthenware crypts leaving once beloved remains as tomb-less grass covered mounds that rise and fall across the terra firma.
The events of that walk through the graveyard lingered in my mind most of my evening. I thought of these settlers —what they must have felt when they trudged the surf to our shores from their shipwrecked vessel, how they were comforted, clothed, fed and accepted by the Quaker Governor Archdale (for whom Archdale St. downtown is named) and given this land to settle.
Suzannah explained "Before this group of 52 settlers arrived in the 1690's, there was no community at Wappetaw. There were however, Huguenots and Quakers in Charleston and other parts of the low country, also Congregationalists and Anabaptists and Jews. They made up about 50% of the population; the other 50% (generally) were Church of England (Anglican). Carolina had THE most favorable laws concerning freedom of religion than any place in the colonies. Those laws, called the Fundamental Constitutions, were written by the humanist John Locke and were later used when writing the Declaration of Independence."
I can't help but wonder how such a tolerant diversified group of peace loving people ever embraced the hell of slavery? Maybe tolerance is a curse as well?
Anyway back to this group that settled the grounds we walk today in East Cooper. These 52 shipwrecked Congregationalist escaped hatred and embraced acceptance. They thrived, molded, loved and lost here among-st our first settlers, they fought our battles and died here. Are our communities practicing the same today?  I ask myself. Do we welcome and nurture other cultures? Do we embrace difference? Of course I can point to instances where some cling to prejudice and lance the wounds of hatred and past injustices lest they forget. But more so  — I look to and am inspired by the generosity of the low country as a whole to work together unified to keep alive the spirit of oneness and community. I am so grateful for this venue, Moultrie News —which has enabled me to meet wonderful teachers, drink in fascination their knowledge and lastly - offer me the same opportunity to share freely.
I was able to get a sneak preview of a new map that Suzannah is creating. It is part of a program she's working on with the East Cooper Land Trust called "Mapping East Cooper History." Suzannah explains  "The point is to let people know that where they are living was likely a productive plantation at one time.”