Afternoon Delight

Studly and I married in 1976. We were young, oh, so very young, and so very broke. We spent our wedding night at The Camelot Inn in Amarillo, Texas, but had to move to a less expensive motel for the rest of our honeymoon. The only thing less expensive than The Camelot Inn was a Motel 6, but none of that mattered. We were in loooove!

We had rented a tiny two bedroom house in Dumas, and thank goodness we’d paid our first month’s rent in advance, otherwise we’d have been in serious trouble. I’m not sure what either of us thought marriage was all about beyond the fact that we could now sleep together legally.

To commemorate this wondrous new development, we adopted as our song, “Afternoon Delight,” a one hit wonder by John Denver’s backup singers, The Starland Vocal Band. To this day when I hear the lyrics, “Gonna find my baby, gonna hold her tight…” I get all tingly inside. Of course nowadays I generally dismiss that feeling as menopausal in nature and wait for it to pass.

Peace, People!

Tequila Mockingbird

Remember the old antacid commercials where an actor would say something along the lines of, “I like tamales, but they don’t like me?” Then the camera would show said actor’s face turning green and his tummy rolling in that special effects thing they do. Well, that’s the relationship I had with tequila. Except that tequila felt more than a dislike for me. It was more of an “I hate you, stupid old woman, and you should die a painful gut-wrenching death” kind of emotion.

I’ve had several run-ins with tequila, but one of the most notable occurred the year I turned 50. To celebrate my milestone birthday I decided to embark on a solo motorcycle trip from our home near Champaign, Illinois, to our son’s home in Dallas. Now, to me that was a big deal. I know other women who have made major solo trips, but I’m not an adventurous woman. I’m a “stay home and read a good book about adventurous women” woman.

It took all of my courage to mount my bike and head down the interstate that summer morning in 2006, but I did it and soon relaxed and enjoyed the ride. I’d divided the route into a three day/two night expedition with the second of those two nights to be spent in Fayetteville, Arkansas. My cousin is a singer/songwriter who was living there at the time, and I planned to spend an evening at a restaurant listening to him perform.

The restaurant served good Mexican food and even better frozen margaritas. I sat with my cousin’s wife and daughter, and we chatted while listening to the mellow music as we ate and drank and then drank some more. I was feeling happy. So very happy. And so glad I’d taken a cab from my hotel to the venue. At the end of the evening we parted ways and my cousin dropped me off at the hotel. Good times. Until, they weren’t.

I knew I was in trouble when the automatic doors at the hotel seemed to be moving up and down instead of back and forth. Whoa! That was a new one. Somehow I got them to hold still long enough for me to lurch into the lobby and on to the elevator, even though the lines in the carpet kept rising up to greet me. I successfully found my room and slid the key card into the door. Always a stickler for cleanliness, I washed my face, brushed, and even flossed my teeth before falling into bed. In retrospect, such a waste of time.

Anyone who has ever had too much to drink knows exactly what happened next. Whee! The bed started a raucous spin, less like a carousel, more like a tilt-a-whirl. Oh, and I knew the worst was about to happen. Frantically I scrambled out of bed, one hand clasped over my mouth. I made it to the bathroom, but then the dam broke. And it was Hoover Dam. A damn big dam.

The worst part was my dam burst onto my toiletries bag, and I spent a good half hour cleaning it up. I took a shower and went to bed which had been tamed considerably by then. When I packed up the next morning I felt like I’d been in a wrestling match with a large, scared skunk. I stuffed everything into my bike’s storage compartment and headed down the road.

The last leg of my trip from Fayetteville to Dallas was brutal. I was riding severely hungover in 104 degree heat through dusty, dirty, windy Oklahoma. Think blast furnace. At one point I called Studly and confessed my sins. I desperately wanted him to say, “honey, you stay right there and I’ll come get you.” Instead, he laughed uproariously, called me a knothead and said something about hoping I’d learned a valuable lesson. He was right of course. ;#^;@$%#!

At the end of that very long day, when I unpacked my bike, the smell that rose from my corrupted toiletries bag had me gagging anew. It seems that drunken cleaning is little better than no cleaning at all. Oh, the humanity!

I’d like to say I never had another drink of tequila ever again, but I’d be lying. I can truthfully say, though, that I don’t drink it anymore. Maybe wisdom does come with age. Yes! Finally something about aging to celebrate. I’ll make another solo trip one day, maybe to celebrate my 60th birthday in a couple of years, but neither Jose Cuervo nor any of his ilk will be invited to tag along. Good riddance.

Oh, here’s a clip of my cousin Effron White, singing one of my favorite songs, “Yankee Dime.”

Peace, People.

Tequila Mockingbird

I reworked this a bit. It’s amazing all I’ve learned since starting this blog back in July.

Praying for Eyebrowz

Remember the old antacid commercials where an actor would say something along the lines of, “I like tamales, but they don’t like me?” Then the camera would show said actor’s face turning green and his tummy rolling in that special effects thing they do. Well, that’s the relationship I had with tequila. Except that tequila felt more than a dislike for me. It was more of an “I hate you, stupid old woman, and you should die a painful gut-wrenching death” kind of emotion.

I’ve had several run-ins with tequila, but one of the most notable occurred the year I turned 50. To celebrate my milestone birthday I decided to embark on a solo motorcycle trip from our home near Champaign, Illinois, to our son’s home in Dallas. Now, to me that was a big deal. I know other women who have made major solo trips, but I’m not an…

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Monticello, Florida

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Yesterday I drove 50 miles northeast of Tallahassee to administer tests to tiny tots in Madison, Florida. On my way home I stopped in Monticello, Florida, for lunch.

I’ve passed through Monticello before. It’s a quiet little community centered around a lovely courthouse (pictured above). I have a fondness for courthouses. In my hometown of Floydada, Texas, the courthouse (pictured below) once housed the library where I enjoyed much of my well-spent youth.

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I understand that the library has been moved from the marble-halled courthouse. That just makes me sad. I loved climbing the stairs to the third floor, running my hands lovingly along the bannister until I reached the pinnacle where my precious books were waiting for me.

Was it the place that made me revere books, or the books that made me love the place? Heaven knows the Floyd County Courthouse wasn’t beautiful like the one in Monticello, FL, but it was heaven to me.

Peace, people!

Side note: there are 16 towns named Monticello in the U.S., but just one Floydada.

Bigot

He says he is no bigot
Yet each and every time
There is a but behind his
Phrase and a smirk beneath
His eyes.

“I’m no bigot, but there’s a
Place for folks like them. The
Poor, the immigrant, the
Black, the brown.
There’s a way for them to
Have the same rights as we,
Just follow our rules, believe
Our lies, jump through our
Hoops, and if they survive
We might let them in to the
Whites only club,
But, then again,
They won’t ever be one of
Us.”

He says he is no bigot
Yet each and every time
There is a but behind his
Phrase and a smirk beneath
His eyes.

This was prompted by a Facebook conversation with a friend of a friend of a friend who always maintains he’s no bigot–right before he rolls out evidence of his bigotry. He’ll never read this, but I needed to get it out.

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Things I Love: My Hometown

Floydada, Texas. Legend has it that Floyd married Ada and that coupling produced the name of a small Texas town. Located roughly 55 miles northeast of Lubbock, Floydada, the county seat of Floyd County, is primarily a farming community, known for its crops of cotton and “punkins.”

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My parents and both sets of my grandparents are buried in Floyd County, so part of my heart will always reside on the dusty plains of the Texas panhandle. Compared to Tallahassee, Floydada is plain, a scruffy sparrow next to a pink-hued flamingo, but my hometown has its own charms, like the Palace Theatre (below) where I enjoyed my first real kiss, and discarded my two imaginary friends–not in that order.

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And Arwine Drug, where my brothers and I stopped for sodas after hiking to the library housed inside of the county courthouse.

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Floydada also claims country singer/songwriter Don Williams as a native son.

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Floydada, Texas, nurtured me. Toughened me. Made me an independent soul. No, it’s not the prettiest place on earth, but it’s my hometown, and I love it.

Peace, Y’all!

Dean Martin and Love: I’m Somebody

My parents were huge Dean Martin fans, so I was introduced to the music and comedy of the handsome half of the famous Martin and Lewis comedy team early on.

I’d forgotten just how appealing Dean Martin was until I went on a hunt for one of his songs, “You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You.” I hoped to find a You Tube video of him singing, so I could share it here for my Love Month theme, and I wasn’t disappointed. His charm and good looks transcend the decades.

Now the lyrics to this song always bothered me a little. I wasn’t a particularly lovable kid: taller than average, skinny, and bookish, not much to look at and even less to talk to, I was afraid, seriously afraid, that no one would ever love me. And if no one ever loved me, did that mean I was a nobody?

Then, in my typical analytical fashion I began to observe other people. There were some less attractive than me, and they’d found love. There were a few weirder than me, and they had someone. So maybe, just maybe there was hope for me.

Of course now I know I was always somebody. My parents loved me, Studly loves me, my kids and grand babies love me, but most importantly, I learned how to love myself.

Peace, Somebodies!

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I Am Convinced

Love is the best
Four letter word.
I can tolerate
F-bombs and
Damn, hell and
Dang and S-H-I-T.
But hate, no doubt,
Hate is the worst.
Hate robs and steals,
Lies and deforms.
Hate starts wars and
Ends compassion,
Hate aggravates,
Exacerbates, harms,
Defeats.
Is it fair to say I
Hate hate, or is
Hate too strong a
Four letter word?

Castles

Hallways grand, roughly chiseled
Stone walls, tapestried, still allowed
Chill to seep into bones grown cold.
Flames sequestered in recessed
Walls burned day into night with no
Pause inside the draft-filled keep.

Lute played softly, backdrop for a
Feast served in trenchers. Crusty
Bread sopped in juices, shoveled
Indelicately, scraps left for serfs and
Canines to scrabble over long after
Feast’s end. Snarling dogs compete.

Lords, ladies, retreat to chambers
Above the hall, met by servants in
Rooms kept warm for master’s use.
Candles extinguished, madame
Feigns exhaustion sending her liege
To the dressing room, adjacent.

Silently, love’s scented mimic slides
‘Neath brocaded bedcovers worn
Soft as new-shorn sheep, seeking
Warmth as much as lust’s touch.
Whispers a welcome, shivers from
Pleasures greedily anticipated.

How’s that for an innocent poem about castles turning into a bit of lustful folly? When I started writing I had no intention of taking the poem to the bedroom. It wandered there all by itself. Naughty little thing.

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