You Don’t Get to Decide

In response to one of my Facebook posts about the increasing number of hate crimes committed since Trump’s electoral college win of the election:

I obscured the friend’s name to protect her privacy. I’ve known her since kindergarten and we’ve managed to remain friends even though we are on opposite ends of the political spectrum.

The thing is, I’ve gotten several comments like this, and my first thought is, how dare they?

I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone to get over something they’re feeling intensely. Maybe I’ve thought the words, but I would never presume to tell them that they don’t have the right to grieve or to feel something.

After my mother’s funeral, after everyone except my dad, my brothers and their wives, along with my husband and I had left the church Daddy pulled us all together in a massive hug and told us he loved us. As we all sobbed he reminded us to always tell our spouses that we loved them. We took a private moment to grieve as a family.

Later I received pointed criticism from someone outside my immediate family. Apparently it was inexcusable that we’d kept everyone waiting for a few extra minutes. You know what? Screw them. 

That time was a part of our grieving and part of the way we found the strength to move on. My family doesn’t always speak about its deepest feelings, and to have denied my dad that moment with us would have been a terrible mistake. 

No one gets to decide how I grieve. No one. Not a Facebook friend, not a family member, not a co-worker, not a smug acquaintance. I’ll be ok, but today, I’m still grieving. So back off. Seriously.

Peace? Yes, peace, people.

Note to Shop Owners

Dear Shop Owners,

On Saturday, November 12, as I wandered in and out of shops in Juliette, Georgia, I noticed confederate flags and merchandise featuring the flags available for purchase in several establishments. In a couple of shops I had amassed an armful of souvenirs, as reminders of the little town where Ruth and Idgy were brought to life in Fannie Flagg’s novel, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

As soon as I noticed the flags, symbols of the ugly racist history of our country, I returned the items to their proper places and left. I didn’t raise a fuss, but neither did I spend any money in these shops. 

As protests go, it was a small one, but important to me. Maybe I didn’t get to come home with a Towanda t-shirt, but the spirit of Towanda was with me.

Sincerely,

Leslie Noyes

Fight racism however you can everywhere you go. It’s as important now as it ever has been.

Peace, people

Whistle Stop Cafe

Studly Doright bought a new old motorcycle as a gift to himself for his upcoming birthday necessitating a quick trip to Atlanta, Georgia, on Friday evening. About 50 miles outside of Atlanta I saw a billboard for the Whistle Stop Cafe, made famous in Fannie Flagg’s novel, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe and the film, Fried Green Tomatoes. 


I’ve read the book more than once, and I’ve seen the movie enough times to be able to quote entire lines of dialogue from memory, so being something of a kid I began an earnest campaign for us to make a side trip to the cafe on our return to Doright Manor on Saturday.

“Please, oh please, oh please can we visit? I want to yell ‘Towanda!’ at the top of my lungs and eat fried green tomatoes!”

Studly, being the patient man he is grumbled something like, “Hmmmph.”

I took that to mean, “Certainly, sweetheart, whatever makes you happy!”

Of course he was driving in Atlanta traffic at the time, so my interpretation might’ve been off by a word or two.

We spent the night in Atlanta, picked up the motorcycle, which happily met Studly’s expectations, at 10 a.m., and then plugged the address for the Whistle Stop Cafe in Juliette, GA, into the GPS. 

Juliette is about 55 miles south and slightly east of Atlanta, nestled in the gently rolling farmland and forests of southeastern  Georgia. Turning into its main street felt like stepping back in time.


Studly and I arrived just in time for lunch. That’s his “new” ’72 Yamaha R5 in the photo.


For an appetizer we had the famous fried green tomatoes. So delicious!


The cafe isn’t large, so be prepared to wait for a table should you ever visit. Studly and I sat at the horseshoe shaped lunch counter. 

He had fried chicken and I ordered grilled catfish and a glass of sweet tea. Both meals were seasoned and cooked to perfection. The prices were reasonable as well.


I kept expecting Idgy and Ruth to come strolling in the door.


After lunch I wandered around main street for a bit, but I knew Studly was eager to get his purchase home to see if it would run. I did buy a brand new Brighton bag, retail price $145 that I bought for ten dollars before we started home to Doright Manor. That was my Towanda moment. Here’s Kathy Bates with hers:

https://youtu.be/lx0z9FjxP-Y

Peace, people!

Casual Car Show

Once a month our local Sonic Drive-in hosts a car show. Studly Doright and I stopped by on our way to see the movie, Doctor Strange, in Tallahassee on Saturday evening. 

I walked around snapping pictures and talking to car owners. Which is your favorite? Can you guess mine?

Car 1
Car 2
Car 3
Car 4
Car 5
Car 6
Car 7
Car 8
Car 9
Car 10
Car 11
Car 12

And then there was this guy…

Dog 1

Sonic drive-ins and classic cars seem like the perfect match. The cheeseburger and tater tots were a bonus.

Peace, people!

Exploring Mule Days (So You Don’t Have To)

Calvary, Georgia, is a small town about 30 minutes from Doright Manor. Once a year they celebrate Mule Days with a parade and crafts show. A friend thought I might find the celebration amusing, so I set off on Saturday morning to explore.

I began to wonder if Mule Days was my kind of event as I neared the venue. There were confederate flags aplenty on either side of the highway, and an ample showing of Trump t-shirts and hats on scruffy looking rednecks. I’m not easily intimidated though, so I kept driving.

Once at the parking area, I realized that Mule Days draws folks from many miles away. I spotted cars with license plates from Alabama and Mississippi in addition to those from Georgia and Florida. 

The walk from the parking lot to the actual Mule Days location was long, unpaved, and arduous. I was immensely proud of myself for having worn tennis shoes rather than my flip flops. 

What I found as I made my way around the acres and acres property was a random mixture of Flea Market, garage sale, crafts, and food vendors.


I tried gator on a stick today. Honestly, it did taste just like chicken. 


There was live music. ‘Nuff said.


I did find a small gem:


I’ll put chrysanthemums in this for my front courtyard area. 

Chances are I’ll never go to Mule Days again, but given the throngs of people in attendance I doubt they’ll miss me.

Peace, people!

The Fight Never Was About Me

Your fight is over, someone typed, how’s it feel to be a loser?

The fight, I say, was never about me,

My whiteness

My straightness

My middle class existence

My religion 

The fight was about the others who are also us.

For their rights

For their justice

For their well being

For their freedom to worship. Or not.

And OUR fight isn’t over.

A Death in the Family

She lived a good life
Protected and nurtured us
Now lost forever

Yet birds keep flying
The sun continues to shine
Heedless of her death


Our grief is immense
Life, though, continues apace
While this old world turns


I’ve been asked repeatedly today how I feel about Trump winning the election. Truthfully I feel like there has been a death in my immediate family. Ultimately I know we will be alright, but right now I’m experiencing a deep grief.

I spent a sleepless night in which my thoughts circled relentlessly like a dog chasing its tail, and I recalled reading Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s book, On Death and Dying, in which she introduced the five stages of grief:

  1. denial, 
  2. anger, 
  3. bargaining, 
  4. depression, and 
  5. acceptance

From my psychiatry courses in college (where a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing) I remember that one can cycle through these stages in a variety of ways unique to each individual. 

I ran through denial pretty quickly. The numbers were there. And while it was heartening to note that Hillary won the popular vote, Trump undeniably took the electoral college votes. 

Anger is my current companion. I’m not angry at Trump or his supporters so much as I’m angry at their willful ignorance. They don’t care that he has no real plans to implement his policies. They like him because he’s not a career politician, and he isn’t politically correct. 

I’m angry at the registered voters who just didn’t show up. I’m angry at those who used their votes to protest by voting for non-viable candidates. I’m angry at the subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle voter suppression tactics that were employed in several states.

I can’t imagine there’ll be much bargaining involved, but depression is anger’s little sister and I’m going to do everything in my power to avoid going down that rabbit hole. Today I smiled at everyone I saw and hugged a woman at work who supported Trump. Little steps.

Acceptance? That’s going to take awhile. But I won’t be like those conservatives who disrespected President Obama and actively rooted for his failure these past eight years. I’m going to support Trump as our president while continuing to fight for the rights of all those living in our country: health care, reproductive rights, racial and gender equality, etc. 

I know other bloggers have addressed this much more eloquently than I, but I think the healing starts when we lay it all on the line. This piece was part of my healing process. Maybe it will help someone else along the way.

Peace, people.