Monday, August 24, 2009

The gift that keeps on giving . . .

He bought me a flat bed trailer. Diamond cut metal, you know what I'm talking about. "It tilts," he said. You know, so when you back up your 3 wheeler, it tilts down so you can back off. Then when you want back up, someone pushes the back end down for you so you can ride up then it levels itself with gravity and weight. (Probably something the Egyptians thought of first).

He even wants to paint it red. My response? "No. We're not putting a hitch on my brand new car, even if you paint the trailer to match."

It's a little bit like buying your Mom a vacuum for her birthday. It's slightly better, I suppose, because I'm going to read into it that he's planning on me being around that spot of land enough to need a flat bed trailer.

But I'm not hitching it to my new car.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mrs. Ruby got her rings.

Which is a euphimism for Mrs. Ruby died.

Mrs. Ruby lived down the street from us growing up, in our little 1970's cul de sac neighborhood. She was as good hearted and enjoyable a lady as you could ever want to know. She lived in a modest sized 2 bedroom, 1 bath house that was built on the same floor plan as several of the houses on that street before they took one-by-one renovations. Her yard was always neatly mowed.

Mrs. Ruby had two sons older than us, I never really knew them except to know they were her sons. I don't recall them living there, so if I'm 40 they're . . . well, older.

Mrs. Ruby was also quite lively. Her living arrangement was the product of a divorce from a gentleman in town who had a fairly decent reputation. Mrs. Ruby once told my mother that the minute he turned 60, she was at the social security office filing off of him. Because you know, she could. So she did. I think Mrs. Ruby found special joy in knowing that his wife knew she'd done it. I love that story about Mrs. Ruby.

Our neighborhood was cut into a hill and a deep (or so it seemed) ditch ran down the back property line, with a board across it some places so the kids could access the hill. Behind Mrs. Ruby lived Charlotte and there was a board there. One day I was walking across the board and walked into a blue racer snake. It went one way and I went the other. Mrs. Ruby tried to catch me but I didn't stop til I was near home.

Mrs. Ruby also had a score of house helpers. It seemed perfectly normal at the time, and I think it helped everyone out. Mrs. Ruby took to a young lady, I don't know how she met her, but the young lady started coming over after school and helping Mrs. Ruby cook and clean house. I think Mrs. Ruby eventually employed several young ladies from that family. Looking back, I think the family was not well off financially. Not that I think Mrs. Ruby had much money, but I think the bit she paid them helped them more than it did her. And in doing so, helped her.

Mrs. Ruby in her later years went into a nursing home and her body failed her long before her mind. I think of myself quite poorly for failing to visit her. I'm not quite sure when she went in there, when the calls to my parents home stopped. Somehow I just never went. I should have been better for that, for a lady who watched out her open door on the children of the neighborhood for two decades. I should have made the time to go and see her. I was a good kid, I should have been a better adult.

If it crossed her mind when she got to heaven, she probably forgave me. But still I tear up. Thinking about the cooking fragrances in her home,her well kept yard, the sound of her voice on the phone, how Mom really borrowed "a cup of sugar" from her in a coffee cup.

She was the best.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Once a SPO brother, always a SPO brother.

I'm going to mull over 3 different titles in my head for this one.

"Don't be ashamed of what you've done, be ashamed of what you're doing"
"The gift was in the hour, not in the gift"
"The gift of brotherhood, 20 years later"

So 20 years ago I was in a fraternity in high school. That is probably a full post or three on it's own. But today's story is about this one guy with the initials D.G. So, D.G. and I were friends and he was a bit younger than me. Great guy, lot of fun. The kind of guy that always had a beat up truck and drove it hard, had a pack of smokes and beer. The kind of guy that would stand with you in a fight. . . and probably started more than one. Just your good, redneck kind of small town guy.

I probably haven't laid eyes on D.G. in at least 10 years, and even then just in passing at W-M. Some months ago I ran into his wife and she gave me his digits, but I did something with them and then couldn't really remember who she was - knew she had been related to him, but couldn't for the life of me remember how.

So this week he finds me on F.B. So we exchange a few posts and he tells me he has something from the frat days he wants to give me. So long story short, we exchange some messages, etc. and then today before I leave my hometown we meet up. It's the cover to a scrapbook we made for a contest one year with our national convention. All the pages out of it are gone. So I'm not really sure what to do with the cover. Honestly, I was a little let down by that, I had hoped the whole book would be intact. It was a perfect record of a year long since past. A year of brotherhood, friends, growth, etc. (like I said, a couple of posts on it's own).

But then the most amazing and wonderful thing happened - we stood there in the street in front of my brother's house and talked. And talked. And talked. And talked. In the sun. For an hour. And I found out things about D.G. that I hadn't known (or had just forgotten) in the past 20 plus years. Some old things, some new things, some scary things, some wonderful things.

It's hard to describe, but it's easy to describe, you know? I mean, all the stuff he told me about, that's his. That's not mine to post and blog about. But the experience of him telling, sharing, one on one with me. That's why 24 years ago I pledged that fraternity in that small little home town of mine.

And all these years later, there was an hour when the friendship was as strong as it was then, but this time between two adults. It was a really great hour.

So, what to title the post?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

"maybe it was Mobile"

just doesn't have the same ring as Memphis. But there we were.

I was able to attend a work related convention and MyFella was kind enough to take off a few days and go with me. I was very thankful because, with all being about me, I did not want to make that drive alone. 6 hours there, a couple of days, then a drive to Biloxi and then a drive home from there. Gosh, Wednesday, the last day was a long freaking day.

If you find yourself in downtown mobile, pop in 3 George's. It's a locally owned ice cream and chocolate candy shoppe. You can see the big table with the marble slab where they roll out the chocolate. And you can sit at the bar and watch her scoop your ice cream into a metal cannister before putting it in the whirley thing.

Thank you, MyFella, for taking time off just to make me happy and ride along.