Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Mrs. B

Mama called Monday and told me something that scared me. Mama had talked to a high school teacher of mine that reads my column. My mind raced and I began to sweat. I felt like I was in school again, my weekend date was about to be canceled because I was grounded and there would be no phone calls for me. What had I done all of those years ago?
Time passed slowly, milliseconds seemed like hours. What happened and did I really do it? Where were Todd and Brad when I needed them? Wait, they are younger and wouldn’t have been in my class, so I can’t blame them. My heart raced knowing that I was in trouble. How would I explain to the Home Office that I was grounded from the telephone? Would my boss understand? Would Mama call them and explain the situation? Would the mailman still speak to me? How will Atticus feel about me once the awful truth is revealed?
This was not looking good. My head hung and I drew a ragged breath, waiting for Mama to finish the story. Mama told me that my teacher was at Church for Homecoming this past Sunday, and they sat at the same table to eat, no good comes from your Mama talking to your high school teacher. Time stood still, the birds stopped singing, my office became silent, and the world was waiting to hear about the trouble I was in.
Mama told me that my teacher reads this column. My mind began scanning past columns searching for my misbehavior. Mama said that Mrs. B enjoys my columns. Relief washed over me and the lump in my throat disappeared. Maybe I wasn’t grounded and phone privileges remained. The realization that there is no date this weekend anyway and maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to be grounded from the phone brought me back to reality.

Maybe it is possible for good things to come from your Mama talking to your high school teacher. The thought of getting grounded and staying home for the whole weekend is appealing. Adulthood calls, reminding me of all the tasks that must be accomplished during those weekends.  Youth is wasted on the young; they simply don’t understand that being grounded is a privilege they will long for when they are older. It sounds like a mini vacation. Please Mama ground me now!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Bless Your Heart

Well bless your heart! Wouldn’t you like to have a nickel for every time you have heard that one? It is common to hear around here. You have probably heard it a number of times and may have said it.  We can all think of someone that needs a good heart blessing.
Bless your heart has numerous meanings. When someone has gone through tragedy or loss we say that to them to let them know we are able to sympathize or often empathize with them. We share those words in an attempt to console.

My Daddy often said “Bless your lil ol pea picking heart”. I heard that one a number of times and that is all that I have to say about that one. Sometimes it is a greeting when you haven’t seen someone in awhile, it is then used as a term of endearment. It is a cause for concern when someone says “bless their hearts” and “help my time” together. Mama said that often, of course my brothers were the cause, but y’all probably knew that. It was usually followed by an “I suwanee”.

Heart blessing is somewhat of a southern art form. The art of receiving the blessing is just as much of an art form as well. One must know the particulars of how and when to bless a heart as well as how to receive the heart blessing. Heart blessings should not be handed out for just any old thing! Mamas are especially good heart blessers and mine is no exception. She can bless a heart before you can bat an eyelash. Mama blessed our hearts numerous times especially after we had gotten hurt. She has blessed the hearts of family, friends, and those in need for as long as I can remember. Mama knows how and when to bless a heart.

Perhaps one day I will become a seasoned heart blesser just like my Mama and my Gran. They took the art form to another level, leaving the rest of us simply hoping to achieve their status. I can hope and try and then maybe one day I will be a seasoned heart blesser.

There are those that don’t understand that there are different meanings behind the phrase. These same people do not know how and when to suwanee. Seasoned heat blessers just simply look at them and say “bless their hearts, they just don’t understand”. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Schemes of Atticus

My life has settled back into a routine. There is a routine for the week, to keep me on track. Decisions about this column have become part of the weekend routine. Atticus may be smarter than we realize, or he just senses when to capitalize on an opportunity to receive attention.

This past weekend as I attempted to decide what to write, he found a way to get my attention each time this thought came into my mind. He flopped down on my feet or hoisted his large body into the chair where I sat, demanding my time and attention. This may have been his way of saying that he felt that Atticus was the best subject for this week’s column.

Atticus seems to operate under the idea that the world was designed for him. There were things that needed to be done before his arrival so that he could live in comfort. The apartment we live in was built specifically for his arrival in this world. The central heat and air unit was created and placed there for his comfort. His brand of cat food and kitty treats were created for his enjoyment. The list is endless.

Atticus was named for a character in my favorite book, To Kill A Mockingbird. The character in the book was wise; I had hoped that my Atticus would be the same way. The character thought about others. My Atticus thinks about himself, as a matter of fact he is enamored with himself. My Atticus has been caught gazing at himself in the mirror numerous times. 

Atticus may not be as selfish as we think. Maybe his goal was to coax me into stopping for a few moments. He understands the importance of rest. Did he want me to understand this idea as well? Did he want me to rest? Was he concerned about someone other than himself?

No, more than likely that was not the case. He wanted to be held and couldn’t care less about what I needed to do. He wanted admiration and attention. He wanted extra cat treats. He wanted control of the situation.

Why does he appear to sit and meditate? Perhaps he is thinking about the things he has taken and where he has hidden them. Maybe he is planning to pilfer my purse again. Maybe I will never know and that gives Atticus satisfaction.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

I Suwanee

Did you ever hear your Mama say “I suwanee”?  You may have heard that expression or you may have suwaneed too. My Mama was a suwaneer. Oh my word, did she do some suwaneeing. Todd and Brad are the cause of the suwaneeing and let me tell you, there was plenty to suwannee about. Mama also said “help my time” quite often; you can guess that they caused that too. 

It is a good thing for them that I didn’t write for the paper then. Its okay brothers, I won’t be telling the story about the little boy and the croker sack in the apple tree. Thank goodness for Granddaddy! Yall will just have to ask them to tell you what happened.

Suwaneeing is southern and comes from a different time. Ladies were expected to act like ladies and mind their words. When a lady used that term, she was exasperated. It isn’t often that we hear that phrase these days. Ladies don’t seem to use it anymore; it has been replaced by other unladylike words sadly.

My friend D uses that term often and isn’t afraid to do so on social media either. It made me think about the term and how we have neglected those old southern sayings, which may be amusing, but you don’t have to be ashamed that you said them. Maybe it would just take too long to explain it to younger generations. They don’t understand how or why to suwanee.

There are ladies that could teach others why and how to properly suwanee. That wouldn’t be such a bad thing in my opinion. You can’t help but hear the things people say in public, especially if they are on a cell phone. That seemingly silly phrase doesn’t sound as ridiculous now and isn’t as offensive as the things we can easily hear in public.

The art of suwaneeing may completely disappear. Oh my word what a tragedy. Is it possible to throw a good hissy fit without a suwanee or three? It is sad to think of these things disappearing from our lives not because of the tradition, but because of what they represent. It was a time when ladies and gentlemen were just that. It represents a time when the antics of little boys did not cause a Mama to act inappropriately. Help my time! There is no shame in a good suwanee.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Mama's Wisdom

This past Saturday my formerly faithful dryer refused to start. The only sound it made was a slight whine, or it could have been a whimper. Whatever the case, it would not be drying my laundry. I hung my head and wondered if I could reason with the stubborn appliance. 

Our time together has been short; 13 years can pass so quickly. Why had my friend deserted me in my time of need? Why did this have to happen on a Saturday afternoon?

There had to be options, but what were they and what about the wet laundry in the washing machine? This was a crisis because I am a working gal and I need my weekends to catch up on things that have been neglected during the week.

Mama would understand. Mama would offer sympathy, understanding and somehow manage to find a gem of wisdom to offer. Mama wouldn’t laugh until after she hung up the phone. Mama was the person to call!

Mama reminded me that this past Saturday was the day I was supposed to be moving away. It was the day my belongings would have once again been loaded up and hauled to a different location. This could have been happening in a different town, far from my home. My problem began to shrink to a realistic size. Mama was right again.

This was not the crisis it could have been if I were in a new place, attempting to unpack and find a trustworthy repairman simultaneously. There is always a reason to be grateful. My boss had called a few weeks ago with the news that I was being transferred to a different location. 

My heart broke with that news. This new location lacked the cotton fields, family and friends that have been a part of my life. Everything was about to change.

That change did not happen and I have been granted the opportunity to stay in the place that I have loved. A broken dryer is not the crisis I had believed it was. Mama gently provided the attitude change I needed. The dryer may have deserted me, but Mama didn’t.

This reminds me that a Mother’s work is never finished. Mama offers a different type of bandage for adult ouchies. Sometimes that healing bandage comes in the form of a paradigm shift. It’s my turn to offer my grown child a paradigm shift.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Musing Atticus Seeking Employment

The events in Atticus’ life interest some readers. These readers have never chased him up and down stairs to give him medication, or attempted to kennel him for the dreaded trip to the vet. They aren’t missing any items from their purse nor have they had the feeling that they are being laughed at by a cat. Their Christmas tree hasn’t been destroyed and they aren’t missing any ornaments. Those ornaments weren’t discovered when I moved. Perhaps they would feel differently if they had firsthand knowledge of these events.

Atticus has adjusted to his new life rather well. He sits in his favorite window and watches his new neighbors. They have gotten to know him and wave at him; I thought they were waving at me. They thought that was funny. He enjoys the fact that his admirers acknowledge his presence.

He will have new adventures in his new home. His current interest has been the AC return. What is behind that sound and why does his fur feel funny when he gets close? He watches as the filter is changed, making mental notes. My tiny tool bag is hidden for this reason. Can you imagine the scene? I would come in from work and find tools scattered, the filter shredded and the dog innocently wagging her tail. The AC unit would never be the same. His world may be smaller, but his desire for trouble hasn’t diminished. Atticus is always on the lookout for any opportunity to create chaos. He is the reason that I do not have a good tube of lipstick. I haven’t been able to find that same shade again, since he destroyed the last tube.

Perhaps Atticus and Sophie are really the smart ones. They sit at home in comfort, while I work. They demand food and I deliver. They do no housekeeping and they don’t pay taxes. They have their own toys, treats and a bed to sleep in. They create mischief and I clean it up. This makes me realize some things. I am really working for them. They are my bosses.

Maybe they should seek employment and they would have less time to cause trouble. Does anyone know of an employer willing to hire a cat with a desire for mischief and an innocent looking dog? Atticus isn’t concerned about this possibility, he remains the king of our apartment, Christmas ornaments beware!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Monday Musing - The Things We Leave Behind

Life brings many unexpected changes. These changes often send us in new directions. A move may cause us to leave things and sometimes people behind. A move to a different home means that it is time to clean out and get rid of unwanted things, and keep what is important. We carry our treasures with us. What about the people we are forced to leave behind? Do we really leave them where they are?

Their memory goes with us. The time spent with those people becomes a memory that grows sweeter; it is a treasure that we do not leave behind. Life brings change and change brings about growth if we allow it, much like a vine that has been pruned. The pruning may hurt, but the new growth can be lovely and life changing.

My life has been filled with change in the last year and there are more changes coming. Doubts and fears could control my thoughts and prevent the new growth. The people that are a part of my daily life may be changing, but their memory will remain with me. The lessons learned and wisdom offered become a part of me and create the person I will become. It would be sad to encounter people without learning from them and growing ourselves. What a loss!

Individuals each have their own unique story and will often share their story with those willing to listen. Each story could impact your life in some way. It is like searching for buried treasure and listening will bring a reward. These are people that impact our lives in a positive way. My life has been filled with this type of treasure. No matter where I have lived; those treasured and sweet memories go with me.

Change will continue to be a part of our lives in its various forms. We are able to choose how this change affects us although we are not always able to choose or control our circumstances. Sometimes the things we think we are leaving behind are actually remaining with us. Bitter can become sweet and the changes we dreaded can be the best thing that ever happened to us. A very wise lady told me that “a bright shiny day is coming behind that cloud”. She is one of my treasures and her wisdom will remain with me.