Sunday, July 27, 2008

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Right now I'm at MyFella's.

It came a storm last night. Pur-dee storm. Everything is wet and I'm sure the humidity will be high today.

Jamie just walked out wearing my clothes. He was wearing a pair of my boxers as shorts over his undies and a grey t-shirt of mine. He's off to his parents. He probably thought there was a better chance of breakfast down there.

Last night his mom made ribs in a pan, green beans in a skillet (they're kind of mushy over cooked but good), and both fried green tomatoes and corn meal fried squash and okra. It was all good, but kind of greasy. The squash and green beans and tomatoes and okra were from the garden. The black eyed peas were last year's peas. It's a whole different world here.

If I'm real lucky, his dad will make biscuits one morning this weekend. They rock. I'm sure they're not good for diabetes, but they're so good. I'm sure having as many as I do is bad for me too. I'll have one with buttermolasses, one withwhatever jelly they have, one with just butter, etc. And hot, fresh out of the oven. And often there's a jar of some kind of homemade preserves on the table.

I hear a distant roll of thunder and wonder if there's more rain to come today. I don't even have a book and MyFella has horrible television reception.

And it's not even 9a.m. yet.

2:00p.m. and MyFella is out there with his dad digging post holes for a fence he (MyFella, not his dad) knocked over yesterday in the truck. I tried my hand making some chicken salad today and kind of got stalled on it. I should have just run to town and bought burgers or something. I'm so not a cook.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Summer of 3rd grade

and if you're wondering, that should have been 1978. If I did that math right. But anyway, in the days when my hometown was beautiful, and full, and there were jobs to be had and things to be done, the local community college began a summer theatre workshop for kids in grades 3 through 6. My parents told me that we got a scholarship for me and off I went. It was Monday through Thursday from some obscenely early time in the summer (like 8a.m.!) through about 12 noon.

The kids were separated by class, and then went to a couple of different classes in rotation. All the kids in 3rd grade went together to the dance class on the great big wooden stage of the auditorium. Then we would all go together to the singing class, then to the art and pottery class.

And somehow, at the end of the workshop, all of your classes kind of matched up into one program that they snuck up on you. As an example, everyone held their own t-shirt while the screening thing sluced the ink over it, and voila! you had a t-shirt to wear the night of the performance where you sang and danced.

In all seriousness, it is a favorite childhood memory and I went all four years that I was eligible. The school still has the program. The name of the school has changed, but much of the buildings remain well kept, but essentially the same as they were when I went there in 1979, as well as when I returned to pursue an Associate's degree in 1988.

But I digress ~ in the summer of my third grade, I met Mary Lee. Mary Lee was spending parts of the summer with her grandparents. If we had been older, her grandparents would have lived within walking distance. They probably lived in walking distance anyway, but we were probably a little bit spoiled. OK, a lot spoiled. Mary Lee lived probably about 45 minutes from her grandparents in a town that was probably more of a community. But that's not relevant to the blog. What's relevant is, there she was, and there I was, and we became fast friends. Instantly.

My dad knew her grandad. I guess by then my parents had lived in town for 9 or so years and dad was a cop. Blue uniform, the whole thing. Anyway, dad knew her grandad. Which was a good thing because we were instant friends. Suddenly my parents were giving her a ride to her grandparents (the whole, you know, two blocks) and my parents were having to pick me up at her grandparents, etc.

Throughout school, we remained good friends, but we had to work the system. Her mother would play bridge some Sunday afternoons, and the bridge hostess lived halfway between my house and Mary Lee's house. It was a half hour drive, but it was a local call (remember the days of long distance?). So Mary Lee would get there and call me. Then I'd turn around and BEG my mother to take me down there. My mom would always say something like, 'It's a half hour drive!' but she would often do it.

This lady, the bridge hostess, she was farmer rich. (If you don't know what that means, I can't explain it to you. Except it's a lot more money than a policeman makes) and her home had 1 room that was a game room complete with pool tables, pinball machines, kitchen stuff, stereo with built in speakers, etc. There was another room with a gazebo inside it and a lemon tree metal ornament on the wall. The lemons were lights. I loved that tree, and I still occasionally search eBay for a white ornamental metal tree with lemon shapes on it. The house also had a very small atrium area that sort of existed between rooms. So you could walk out there, and it probably wasn't 6X6. But it was neat to me that they had this space just sort of there, so they made it into a little garden.

Anyway, Mary Lee and I went through years where our only contact was a letter or two a year. A real letter, every year for our birthdays. And that's about it. We hadn't seen each other in probably 10 years. And this past weekend, we were both back in town and had lunch. She brought her oldest child, a 15 year old son. And we had lunch. We mostly reminisced. And reaffirmed our committment. After all, we've been friends since 3rd grade. And we're, uh, ahem, much older now.

I can still hear 'little ditty, 'bout Jack and Diane. . . two American kids growing up. . . . ' playing in that game room.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Quote of the day. . . .

a friend of mine (who reads this blog) has a 15 year old son. Much to my delight, she shares with me the (many) agonizing stories of raising two sons approximately 3 years apart. She wonders, often, "what the problem is" and I reiterate that the stories sound often like something out of my background. "If I didn't do it, I'm sure my brother did!" or "Uh. Your problem is he's 15. And a boy."

Young man doesn't always want to bathe (eeeewwww!) and sometimes his face and hair get oily (sometimes as in almost before your eyes ~ remember the part about 15 years old. and a boy.) His mother notices a difference in his facial acne when he doesn't wash his face regularly.

So she says to him. "You're going to scar your face."
He replies, "I thought people who love you will love you regardless of how you look."
Her reply, "That's if you get burned in a fire or something!"

15 years old. and a boy.

P.S. 2 days later and I'm still laughing hard at this one!

Friday, July 11, 2008


I went with my mom to the store tonight to buy groceries. On the list? Latex gloves. For my dad.

I think we have issues.

Mirror mirror on the wall, whose the evilest of all?

If only I could snap a pic of this guy. . . . but that's probably pretty rude to take a pic of a co worker just to use it in my blog.

But you got to admit, it's kind of funny. Oh, and Kirk & Spock are kind of hot in this mirror universe.

P.S. Wikipedia's got some interesting tidbits where the 'mirror' universe beard shows up in references in lots of shows, including Stargate: Atlantis, Buffy, South Park, etc.

Friday afternoon mini-blog

There is a guy at work I don't know. Don't know him first hand or anything about him. But just like Jr. High, I don't like him "just because." Just because he seems skinny and handsome and is clearly a "company go-getter." He just looks and acts like the kind that is all about being seen and acting the way they want him to act, and knowing the right things to say, etc. He must have taken a few days off because he's shown up now with a goatee beard sort of thing. It's dark brown into black. Every time I see him, I think, "It's evil Spock." The geeks out there will know what I'm talking about.

I had lunch today with a friend of mine, we grew up together and she works for the same company I do, a few buildings away. We met at a little place that's started selling pizzas and we decided to split a meat lovers. I was well into my first piece when I realized, "I'm eating it with a fork."

I may have an issue.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


A cousin of mine has a child who has been identified as autistic. One of the giveaway traits, among several, was that he does not like to eat messy food, does not like to get his hands dirty. He will eat toast and pop tarts all day, but isn't interested in pizza, wet cereal, etc.

I didn't really think this is odd. But I also did not really think that I was odd, until I realized tonight that I'm sitting in my own home eating supper (pizza) wearing a clear plastic glove - the kind kitchen workers wear.

I don't do it in pizza parlors. But when I thought about it, I have been eating pizza with a fork. I did eat chicken wings the other night with my hands, but there's so little meat on a chicken wing it's hard to eat it any other way.

I don't think I eat all my handsy food at home with a glove. But I did tonight. Odd.

Poor Monkey's

I heard about a blues joint down near Cleveland, Mississippi called Poor Monkey's. Pronounced Po Monkey. They way they tell it, this is an "authentic" jook house, or jook joint. They say the proprietor, Mr. Willie Seaberry, has had the nickname Po Monkey most of his life, and he's been running this joint for 50 years. The story is that "way back in the day" houses were used on weekends for the "jook house." Someone on the farm would volunteer to let their house be the party house for the weekend, and that 'jook' is a derivative of an African word that meant "sin" or some such. They tell that Mr. Seaberry runs is place pretty much that way, choosing to live where he works, and using most of it for his party house, and saving a bit off to the back for his bedroom.

So I Went Saturday night down to 'Poor Monkey's' on Hwy 61 about 30 miles south of Clarskdale. They said it's not live music all the time, can't afford it. But I'd heard there was live blues Saturday and I had a wild hair to go. It was a good time. They said he has a d.j. most nights when he can't afford a band and the dj specializes in blues and r&b for him. Opens Thur, Fri, Sat. The door was $5, which I thought very reasonable for live music.

His bit of fun is to change into outfits all night long, but it was a slow night so he was just on his second set of clothes when we left. He's quite a character. The way they had talked about him, I thought he'd look way older and a bit crazy. But he was actually a very nice man, pretty fit and trim, with a wicked sense of humor. Don't go if you can't take a dirty joke. They say he's got over a dozen suits in his back bedroom that he changes into all night long.

If there was anything at all I didn't like, it was all the darned under aged college kids. I think I'm really just bitter because the guy at the door seemed to let them all in fer-free, and they were too young to even drink. And I heard him say something to someone else about not being able to afford a band all the time and I thought, 'Well, if all them darned kids had paid five bucks like me, that would be an extra $100 in the till for ya.' But it ain't my shop. And I don't know that those kids didn't . . . . I don't know. . . raise money at the school for the group, . . . or something. But if you take out that bitter moment of mine, it was great fun. The guy at the door was a guy from the blues foundation/delta foundation or whatever at a nearby college. So he knew all those kids.

The place is a shack. As my mother would say 'pur-dee' Just a pur-dee shack. (Pure, I'm not sure why the 'dee') It is as shacky on the inside as it looks on the outside. A hodge podge of tables, chairs, and a pool table, and the bathroom is, as they say 'for peeing, not pooping.' Plywood floors and a ceiling just covered with stuffed monkeys, old pictures, etc. Crazy place. Crazy.

Well worth the 100 mile drive from my house. I thought the blues band was real good and his beer was reasonably priced. Not trying to make a profit on the limited beer bar. There'a Smirnoff ice (normal red label) and Mike's Hard Lemonade for the girls, and probably 4 other kinds of beers. I think I saw Bud Light, Heineken, and something else, plus cans of Coke and Diet Coke. The bar is a half door looking into his kitchen with a plastic candy container nailed to the door frame for tips. They sell t-shirts for $20 and I wanted one real bad, but I just couldn't come off the $20 for it. I'd already budgeted a tank of gas for the trip and that was about all I could give to the cause.

They say on live music nights you have to get there early, but when we left about 10p.m., there still wasn't but 30 other people in there ~ most being those college people.

Po Monkey (Mr. Seaberry) had a lady running the bar, and his best friend from Marks, Mississippi was there. He's a white gentleman who makes some kind of iron artwork. And has a thick Louisiana cajun accent. At least to me he did. A friend of mine from Helena said she knew of the guy's artwork and had seen it driving through Marks.

On the way down 61, I can recommend stopping in Clarksdale at the old train depot and eating the ribs. They're delicious. Not really dry rub. Mose like smoked with a thick layer of black pepper corns rubbed in. I think the sauce on the side was just a KC Masterpiece or something. But the pork itself was delicious. The all you can eat rib buffet was $16 - the bones were big and meaty. If you don't make the mistake of filling up on cole slaw, you can get $16 worth of ribs easy. They brought them to you, didn't let you put them on your plate. But they brought them 'round as much as you could eat them. The cheeseburger was fine, as far as cheeseburgers go. You could tell the patty was handmade. I had the homemade chips. They were good, but I really needed something on them. But that's just me. The staff were all very nice, the waitress was just a doll. The owner, a Mr. Ledbetter, seemed very nice. He said, 'I've got the best cook in town' and I believe him.

The old train station his restaurant is in is pretty, too, in that old brick building sort of way. The institutional grey marble is original I'm sure. On the back, the brick porte co chere / patio is kind of pretty. The trains no longer run but the track is raised up on a levee. He told me the tunnel (chained off) was a walk throug tunnel and had two stairs leading up to the train. One for blacks, one for whites. Built in the 1920's. Mr. Ledbetter pointed out the window at the Greyhound station we had seen and said, "We used to have trains and buses. Now we don't have either." He also told me had to get away from blues because "locals don't come for the blues." So now he has karaoke on Wednesday nights and it's a full house. So he mainly gets live Blues during festival seasons for all the tourists.

The place is all rather too far from Memphis to go real regular, with the price of gas. But I think I'll go back, and it'll be worth the trip. It's just more of a save-up, considering the distance. But it's worth another trip.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Thursday night

The night covers a multitude of sins. . . like the way I was looking at my old neighbor on the patio tonight. (little smile).

Yes, I picked up a hitch hiker today. No, he wasn't dirty or smelly or a male prostitute. He wandered into my place of business, fresh off some transit but, looking for another to the big city. The soonest one didn't leave for hours. I told him if he was still there when I headed home, I would drop him off. He was, so I did. Dropped him off on Beale Street. He says his name is Scott and he's from Virginia ~ been hitching about 7 months. Cute as a bug (or why would I offer?). Wish I'd gotten a pic for my blog. Oh well. Hope he's happy on Beale tonight.