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Posts Tagged ‘South’

While cleaning and decluttering my aviary, I discovered a wish list I had made back in February of 2002 while still in NJ. At that time my son was applying to college and my daughter was working at her first post-college job in DC. I was anticipating the dreaded Empty Nest syndrome. It was fun to read the 25 wishes; many have already come true! Though I do not have an agent or a cook…yet.

Strangely enough, the very first thing on my wish list is to get more organized! Which is exactly what I’m doing; I now know where every single utensil is in my kitchen, I have the perfect amount of towels, and I have thrown out all those files I kept of Rumson Borough Council meetings. I did however keep the random thank you note from readers. It’s always nice to know your copy was read, and not just used to line a bird cage. Newspapers, good stuff.

As you probably know I am NOT a list-maker. But I did pick up a book during the Cville Festival of the Book titled, “52 Lists for Happiness,” by Moorea Seal. Anita and I were talking about how we could have more fun during these Trumpconian years, how we could avoid being dragged down by politics. When I read on my Facebook feed yesterday that we had dropped the “Mother of All Bombs” on Afghanistan, during the holiest week for Christians and Jews, I thought it must be fake news. But I knew Gail, the person posting this, she is a devoted activist and feminist in her church and our community.

She held un umbrella over our heads when we marched in Cville to support Planned Parenthood. She helped organize our first trip to Richmond to march for women’s rights. Gail knows a thing or two. She probably makes lists because she knows how to get things done! Gail quoted a minister, Rev Emily Heath, who said:

Next time someone tells you this is a “Christian nation” remind them that we just bombed Afghanistan during Holy Week.

Specifically we did it on the day that Scripture tells us Christ said these words:

“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35

Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.

Number 9 on my wish list was to have a “writing room.” A retreat from the world that was not just a corner of the dining room. As I sit here this morning looking at the journal I bought that might prompt me to make lists, I am profoundly afraid for our nation. We have an unpredictable President dropping bombs with alacrity, because his daughter was moved by dying Syrian babies, but not by a dead Syrian baby who washed up on a Greek island. But no, we can’t let Syrian refugees into our country. God Forbid.

At least Assad has decided to move civilians out of their war-torn cities, Sunnis go to Sunni territory and Shia go to Shia. That’s a step, to get the proxy war moving along. The Russians must be just as worried as we are! “The meeting in Moscow on Friday between Russian, Iranian and Syrian foreign ministers was the first held between the three allies since the US launched a missile attack on a Syrian airbase in response to the alleged chemical attack.” http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-39597630

I am now packing up my home, about to start a new chapter. What will I carry with me, what about all the Flapper’s correspondence? Yes. The elbow noodle pictures from preschool? Probably not. Will we be welcomed into a new community? Will people ask us, as they do all over the South, “What church do you belong to?”

Well, I belong to the church of peace and love, to the people who don’t run their lives by dogma or dietary dictates. I belong to my family of all colors and faiths. I belong to the sisterhood of brave, smart women. I’m going to start my first list – The Things That Make Me Happy Right Now:

Classical Music

Ms Bean

Birds Singing

The Mountains

Spring

The GIF of Our 2 yr Old Grandson Dancing

Bob in the Buddha Garden

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We start school very early in the South. My daughter tells me that her neighborhood elementary school started today, so the Love Bug is waving “Good Morning” to her favorite school crossing guard and watching the big yellow buses roll by her front porch. And this week, the Bug had her first day at preschool!

The Bride packed her a lunch, strapped on her butterfly backpack, and brought her to school with the Groom for moral support. They had done their research; some schools tried to tell them what not to wear, some schools seemed more like daycare, but this school was just right.

Of course we had to reassure our daughter that the Bug was going to looove preschool. After all, it’s only two days a week, but still she worried. After all, except for her Nanny and her Grandparents, the Bug had never been left with anyone else. But much to everyone’s delight, she sat right down at the table with a few other children and joined right in.

When it was time for the parents to leave, she said, “Bye bye Mommy!”

They called me afterwards from the car and I heard all about it. School is such FUN! She loves her teacher Ms Kiki, she napped for two hours, and only asked where her Mama was once or twice. Ms Kiki told her that Mama and Dada go to work. The lesson that parents sometimes leave, and then they come back, has been successfully instilled in the Bug’s two year old brain. Yay!

In England it’s National Play Day today. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationopinion/11012833/Play-integral-to-childhood-development.html

During the early years, as children’s brains grow dramatically and they move rapidly from one developmental stage to the next, play remains central to their growth and development and is the primary means by which they build cognitive skills and begin to make sense of the world.

As an old nursery school Head Start teacher I agree. Play is fundamental to learning. And the Bug loves to play, and recount the highlights of her day to anyone who will listen. Like the time Ms Bean caught a bird in her mouth and Nana said, “Bad Bean!” She is no longer talking in sentences, we’re getting paragraphs!

So Happy First Day of Preschool my little Bug, and may your second day be just as much fun as the first, or maybe more. I am waiting for the call from your Mama. The one about Ms Kiki asking her to talk with you about not helping so many of the children with their art projects. Because I had to explain to your Mama when she was little that it’s OK to draw outside the lines, but it’s not OK to draw on your friend’s paper even when you are just trying to help!

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Since moving down South I’ve loved collecting Southern phrases, words that had no possibility of filling my Northern ears in the past. Lovely clerks will call me “Darlin” for no reason, and speak to a single person in the plural “Y’all” ALL the time. There’s calling a grocery cart a “Buggy” and “Directly” could mean soon or a month from now. You will hear me say that’s the “High Doller” restaurant, and I am partial to the word “Catawampus” but the funniest phrase I’ve heard is “Peckerwood Mayhem.”

Unlike Redneck mayhem, which if I watched that Duck Dynasty show I’d probably understand, Peckerwood Mayhem is in a class by itself. It found it’s way into our vocabulary by way of a Southern author, Julia Reed. She wrote “Queen of the Turtle Derby and Other Southern Phenomena.” http://www.gardendistrictbookshop.com/content/queen-turtle-derby-and-other-southern-phenomena In her book she talks about a shrimper in Louisiana who is trying to deal with an Austrailian giant jellyfish invasion that manages to eat the shrimp in his nets and yet elude capture. His theory for why this is happening in the Times Picayune is;

“They got some kinda sonar connected to ’em or somethin…that’s what I think anyway and it’s good enough for me.”

Anyway, she explains the difference between rednecks, who will “aspire” to things like nice watches and trucks and a house “…that looks like Tara” etc and “peckerwood.” The latter are people who are too pitiful to even aspire to much according to Reed. In her opinion, these are the people, direct descendants of the Celts, who leave their broken down washing machines and cars in their front yard. Makes me happy Bob finally fixed that John Deere tractor we had sitting out front for a week!

All this to explain my day at the hand therapy clinic yesterday. First of all, there’s a sign on the door that says “No Guns Allowed” and my first thought is “Nice” and of course my second thought is “What the #%*+ is wrong with Target?” Right? Then I realize that I’ve been in the South for almost ten years and the signs about guns no longer surprise me!

So they sit me down and stick my hand in a machine that blows hot corn husks at me. I’m sitting there pretending my hand is in some tropical HOT (really really HOT) Caribbean beach trying to catch sand blowing in a typhoon and I look over right next to me is a policewoman, with obvious guns and locks hanging all over her and she’s wearing a bullet-proof vest. Across the table from her is a policeman, decked out in much the same fashion. They are talking with the therapist about speeding tickets in a good ole Southern drawl. And right next to him is a nice looking man, quiet, in an orange jumpsuit with his hand in some painful contraption. And right out of my mouth loud and clear since all these machines are making noise I say,

“Are you a prisoner?” 

He smiles and says, “Yes,” and I say, “Well, orange is the new black!” And then we’re off to the races talking about that show which is my guilty pleasure on Netflix and those cops are totally oblivious since they don’t have Netflix and never heard of it. And I can tell they are uncomfortable… but the prisoner, he’s feeling good, like finally someone is talking to him, seeing him. Then he tells me they only have basic cable in prison and I could almost cry.

And in all my years on this earth I’ve never talked with a prisoner or been inside a prison, but now I feel like I want to know how this well spoken, thoughtful guy found himself there. I want to get all those non-violent criminals paroled and out of the feedback loop of our justice system, and get rid of “For Profit” private prisons which seem to be cropping up all over the South. Because we all know if you have money in America, you can OJ the system just fine.

Watching the woman cop place his handcuffs back on and sling a metal chain around his waist and shuffle the prisoner out of the hand clinic, I feel like I had a little taste of Peckerwood Mayhem, corn husks and all.

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