Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I don't mean to brag but . . .

I can still fit into the same earrings I wore in high school. :-))

The earrings on the left were among the first ones I ever bought. I hadn't had pierced ears very long. I was in the 7th grade.
I had been bugging my parents for a long time to let me get my ears pierced. The answer was always the same: No. Even though "all the other girls" were doing it, I wasn't allowed to have holes in my ears. I think I must have finally worn them down because one day, to my surprise, the answer was different. They told me (knowing how squeemish I was) that if I did it myself, I could pierce my ears. It wasn't the answer I wanted but it was permission nonetheless.
I finally got up the nerve to do it when they were both gone. I gathered my supplies: sewing needle, thread, alcohol, and ice cubes. I threaded the needle then sterilized both needle and thread with alcohol. I held the ice to my ear lobe, first the front then the back, until it was numb. I stood in front of the mirror and took a deep breath. I stuck the needle into the center of my ear lobe. Blood! Not much though so I didn't faint. I continued pushing the needle but it wouldn't break through the back side.
Nervous, in tears, and with a needle sticking out of my ear, I was not about to be outdone. I put more ice on the back side and gave the needle another shove. Success!! I pushed it all the way through then cut the needle off the thread. I tied the thread ends together so it made a loop. I proceeded to pierce the other ear. After both were done, I realized the holes were not exactly even. No matter - it was done.
When my parents came home, they were both shocked. Daddy said, "The only reason I said you could was because I never thought you'd have the nerve to do it!"
For the next several weeks, I changed the thread periodically, wet it with alcohol daily, and pulled it back and forth through the holes so they wouldn't get infected. By the way, I did not get strange looks at school because there were several of us who had to pierce our own ears.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sunday Morning Coming Down

I waited on the porch early Sunday morning at Daddy's while he got ready to go to Hardee's for his favorite biscuits and gravy breakfast. I sat in the same chair that Papaw had used many years ago when he chewed tobacco so he could spit into the yard or when he taught a kitten to climb the leg of his overalls and sit in his lap. It was the same chair in which Mom had sat as she broke beans that were freshly picked from the garden or bounced a grandchild on her knee. Daddy sat in this chair late in the evenings while playing his guitar and singing cowboy songs such as "Patanio the Pride of the Plains" and "Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie." It's where I sat on weekday mornings and watched for the school bus to pass so I'd know it was time to go wait at the road for its return.

The air lay thick and heavy in the valley on this Sunday morning. Wallens Ridge was almost obscured by the dense fog and I could feel the mist against my arms. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of something moving. I looked to my left and saw a deer grazing alongside the road. Oblivious to the human just a few yards away, she lazily continued up the hill, enjoying her morning meal before turning and disappearing into the woods. My attention returned to the front of the house where I saw a rabbit come out of the weeds across the road. His cotton ball tail stood out against the green and brown grasses as he circled a fence post and scampered back to his hidden home. A leaf loosed its hold from the oak tree in the corner of the yard and began its descent, twisting and turning before finally landing in the grass. The silence of the morning was broken only by the occasional call of a crow.

For a few moments, I was transported back in time to my youth. I was home.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cookie Crisis

I hadn’t eaten since 1:30 and dieting leaves me constantly hungry. I am accustomed to eating something every three hours. I snack on fruit or yogurt between meals so the lengthy gap was taking its toll. I got Daddy a dinner at Long John Silver’s on our way through town. I stopped at Subway to pick up something for me. I opted for a 6” ham and turkey sandwich. As I approached the cashier, I picked up a bag of Baked Lay’s. They’re baked . . . that’s healthy, I reasoned. The perky little cashier asked if I wanted a meal and I told her no. She rang up my purchase and cheerfully noted, “Did you know that for one penny more, you can get a meal?” No, I did not know that. I had a freshly mixed bottle of Crystal Light water in the car so I didn’t need a drink, however Daddy didn’t get a drink with his meal. Oh, why not? I paid her, got a cup from the dispenser, and filled it with Sprite. I wrestled with the lid to the drink cup, running my fingers around the rim in an effort to get it to fit.
“What kind of cookie do you want?” asked the cashier. Cookie? The word got my attention away from the lid. “It comes with the meal,” she continued. I heard myself ask, “Do you have Macadamia Nut?” She reached the tongs into the display and retrieved a golden brown cookie. My eyes followed as she placed it in a paper sleeve and then slid it into the bag with the sandwich and chips. I hoped it wouldn’t get broken as she lifted the bag and handed my supper to me. I put the bag into the back seat of the car. I planned to eat the sandwich and chips on my way home. I was unsure about the cookie.
After Daddy was settled at his house, I got back in the car and brought the Subway bag up to the front seat beside me. I opened the chips and unwrapped the sandwich before pulling out of the driveway. By then I was starving. It was dark and I could barely see what I was eating as I drove toward home. When tidbits fell from the sandwich onto my lap, I just picked them up and plopped them in my mouth. If you’ve ever seen a movie where a king is depicted sitting at a table laden with meats, fruits, cheeses, and wines, remember the part where he picks up the nine-pound drumstick and gnaws at the meat. I imagine I looked very much like that king, minus the beard and crown. I had scarfed down the sandwich in time that would match any pie eating contest champion. I finished off the chips by turning the bag upside down and shaking the crumbs into my mouth. That left only the cookie.
Why was I born so weak? There was a cookie in my car and I was helpless against it. I tried to resist, honestly I did, but to no avail. As I pulled the cookie from its paper envelope, I knew I was about to sin but the little red devil on my left shoulder had beat the socks off the little white angel on my right. I took a bite and, as the sugary sweetness swept over my taste buds, they jumped for joy. I chewed slowly, holding onto each morsel of macadamia nut mastery. I would have closed my eyes had I not been driving. Bite after delicious bite I continued, savoring the flavors for as long as possible. Then it was gone.
My taste buds shouted in unison, “More! More! More!” I had nothing with which to appease them. I could stop at the supermarket and get a bag of cookies, I thought. My mouth watered as my salivary glands were whipped into a frenzy with anticipation. No! I had to get a grip on myself. I bared my teeth and passed the grocery store without stopping. I took a drink of raspberry water hoping it would satisfy my taste buds’ cry for sugar. It worked . . . for a few moments. Then the craving started again. There was a convenience store just up the road. They would have little packs of cookies. I clinched the steering wheel then took another drink of water as I tried to clear my head. Water – if I drank enough water, it would drown those evil taste buds. I continued on, taking a drink each time I got the urge for a cookie.
The water bottle was empty by the time I got home. Let me say that in another way: I drank a pint of water right before bedtime. I was up twice during the night but the cookie crisis passed. I was able to stop after just one cookie. It may be a small accomplishment to some, but it was a giant victory for me.