Written in Meat Loaf

I’ve gradually been reducing my dosage of the anti-depressant, Effexor over the past year and just last week stopped taking it altogether. There have been a few shaky, brain shivery moments, and a couple of emotional outbursts, but knock on wood, I’m finally done with this mind controlling drug.

Vivid and unusually scripted dreams have accompanied every step down in dosage. Several nights ago I dreamt that I was in my hometown of Floydada, Texas, for a reunion of sorts. There were a good many people present with whom I’d attended school, as well as several family members. All of whom are now deceased. 

Maybe that should have creeped me out, but I found their collective presence comforting. They all appeared to be having a good time.

At some point a former physical education teacher approached me, and we visited for some time. I hadn’t particularly cared for her, nor did she like me much back in my junior high school days. Our dream conversation was convivial, though, until she took umbrage at something I said and assigned me the task of writing an essay. 

“No problem,” I smirked, “I write essays in my sleep.”

So I composed a quick essay on the prescribed topic of the Joys of Exercise and submitted it to her. She refused to accept it, saying she’d clearly demanded it be written in meat loaf, and that I wasn’t free to return home until I’d accomplished that feat.

Painstakingly I etched the attention-getting introduction and overarching thesis statement into an unbaked meatloaf, followed by three supporting paragraphs, and a resoundingly strong conclusion. Then the meatloaf was cooked to perfection.

My words disappeared in the cooking process, but Ms. P. E. Teacher was satisfied and I was allowed to leave.

Now, my amateur dream interpretation skills have led me to conclude that my subconscious was dwelling on the temporary nature of all things. Or maybe I was just in Effexor withdrawal. You be the judge.

Peace, people, but wait, there’s more!

There’s meat loaf, and then there’s Meat Loaf.

http://youtu.be/rezC6AvMgvc
 

Shell Game

While giving the cats their treats this morning I looked out the window next to their respective bowls and saw this critter:

  
I wanted to get a closer look, so I threw some jeans and a t-shirt on and hurried outside hoping he hadn’t had time to hide. A turtle can be surprisingly fast.

Of course the closer I got to this guy the further in he drew his head.

   
    
   
Until finally all I could see was the very tip of his nose. He didn’t trust this giantess. Can you blame him?

In other nature news, one of our magnolia trees is working overtime.

  
I have to confess that until I had a magnolia I had no idea what they looked like. The blossoms are super-sized, and the leaves look like they’ve been sprayed with Pledge. And they make a terrific mess on the forest floor. The flower on the left appears to be ready to blossom at any moment. 

Studly Doright has begun working on the beautification of our front entryway. We have quite a bit of work to do and no clear idea of how we want to decorate this area. I’m not a gardener, so I’m not entertaining  thoughts of planting anything, except maybe a few container plants. Suggestions are welcome.

  
   
The neighbors across the road have been busy clearing trees out of their front yard. Like a little kid, I love watching the work being done.

  
Every now and then I pinch myself. How did I manage to end up in such a lush paradise with a lake in my backyard? There are more trees in my neighborhood than within the city limits of my beloved hometown in the dusty Texas panhandle. 

I hope you’re where you want to be this morning. 

Sad, but oh so True

 
I was born in Lubbock, Texas, and lived there off and on until I was four or five, then we moved to the small town of Floydada, just 55 miles northeast of Lubbock.
So, it is with a great bit of authority that I can attest to the truth of the quote featured above. And yet, I survived, with my sanity somewhat intact.

Peace, people.

Flight of the Flip Flips

Studly Doright and I just returned from a trip to Gruene, Texas, for a reunion of the Floydada High School class of 1975. 

Always on the lookout for bloggable material, I had the marvelous idea of posting photos of myself on a variety of stops en route to Texas from Tallahassee. 

I started out strongly:

Milton, FL rest stop
  
 

Unfortunately, I quickly forgot all about the idea after the second stop. I might’ve been sidetracked by the quotes on the booths. 

TA Truck Stop, Grand Bay, Alabama
   

 

Notice I was incredibly proud of my toenails. They’d been painted green to commemmorate Floydada’s team colors. 

Due to heavy rains and cooler temperatures in Gruene, Texas, not a single person got to see my toes at the event. Their loss, right?

The reunion was incredible, though, even without my toes on display.

40 Years of Looking Good

Peace, people.

Parade

She sat on the tailgate
of an old green Ford,
her narrow denim clad hips
wedged between an Igloo cooler
and a box of faded red rags.
Scuffed boots swinging.

The whoop whoop of a siren
heralded the coming display
of a starched color guard,
eliciting a respectful salute,
grandparents demonstrating
flag etiquette for the young.

Then came beauty queens smiling,
perching precariously on the
pinnacle of a tissue paper
decorated semi-trailer in gowns
of taffeta, satin, and lace.
Tiaras glittering in the sun.

She waved at those high school
princesses, pulling funny
faces to make them laugh.
That was her talent, after all.
Hardly anyone took her
seriously as the parade passed.

Marching bands from rival
schools vied for favor
as the sun heated the summer
Texas day; twirlers in spangled
shorts tossing batons inspired
ooohs and ahhs from the crowd.

Reaching inside the battered
Igloo, she dug deep, found an
icy cold Schlitz and disguised
it with a red rag. The Baptists
sitting at the curb on either
side would cluck if they knew.

A string of politicians came next,
esconced in the finest vehicles
the local car dealers could offer;
bright smiles plastered on their
faces as their well-coifed wives
wilted in the climbing heat.

Following close behind came tykes
wobbling on bikes, spokes decorated,
festooned with ribbons and crepe
paper and baskets overflowing
with flags or stuffed animals. She
called out each name as they passed.

Finishing her beer, she craned her
neck to see tractors and combines in
John Deere green compete with those of
International Harvester red in a show of
the latest in agricultural technology.
The parade’s low point, she thought.

At last she heard the clip clopping of
hooves on the WPA bricked street and the
bright clanging of a bell, as the old cowpoke,
Zeke, sang out. Smiling she popped the top
on another Schlitz, hopped down from the
rusty tailgate, and joined the parade.

Contemplating Pizza

When I graduated from high school in 1975 I weighed a whopping 115 lbs. At 5’8″ I was one skinny chick. I was also fairly shy and unassuming. 

Forty years later I’m proud to say, I’m still 5’8″ tall. Yep, I’m pretty proud of that. Plus I can still wear the same earrings that fit me back then, not to brag or anything. 

On a day to day basis I don’t give my weight much thought, but in late October the group of people I went to school with in Floydada, Texas, is having its 40 year reunion. I’m pretty sure I can’t get down to 110 (or 120 or 130 or…), but it’d be nice to lose 10 pounds or so. 

I probably should start working on that right away. Or maybe I’ll have another slice of pizza.

Oh, I’m not that shy and unassuming anymore either.

  

Peace, people!

Aunt Nanna

Every child should have a favorite aunt. Growing up, mine was my mom’s younger sister, Nedra, or as I dubbed her early on, Aunt Nanna. Only when an elementary school friend teased me about her name (Aunt Banana!) did I begin calling her Aunt Nedra.

Beautiful, teen-aged Aunt Nedra spoiled me rotten. She was the softer, more lenient, counterpoint to my strict mom and when I was with her I got away with all sorts of mischief. 

Of course once Nedra married and had children of her own our relationship changed. She had to act like a mom herself then, but her children were as close to me as my own siblings back in those days. We all lived in Floydada, Texas, and not much was off limits or out of bounds. My life was good. 

Then life changed. Nedra’s bunch moved away and she went through a divorce. All of us grew up, married, lost loved ones. And now, not a single living member of my mom’s family lives in Floydada anymore.

My Aunt Nedra married a wonderful man, my Uncle Richard many years ago and they settled in Canyon, Texas. I hadn’t seen them since my dad’s funeral in 2006. Until today. And what a happy day! 

My mother-in-law (Saint Helen) and I drove to Canyon to Nedra and Richard’s home. They knew we were coming, so Nedra was waiting at the door to welcome us. My Aunt Nanna. And there was Uncle Richard sitting in his favorite chair. Nedra had cooked lunch and we had a wonderful visit. It wasn’t nearly long enough, but two years’ worth of talk wouldn’t have sufficed.

We forget, I think, the important places in our hearts that have been claimed by these favorite aunts and uncles until we can see them and hug them and have all of those emotions and memories come rolling in and crashing over us. We have a shared history of family loved and lost, of experiences both profound and silly. Nothing can ever replace that. No one can ever replace these loved ones.

Love you Aunt Nanna and Uncle Richard.

Reunions

I attended two high schools back in the 70’s: Floydada high school and Dumas high school. Just three hours apart in travel time, but at that point in my life it might as well have been three hundred hours. 

I’d spent all of my school life in Floydada, Texas, population 4,000, until the end of my junior year in high school when my dad switched jobs necessitating a move to Dumas, Texas, population 10,000-ish. Eventually I adjusted to life in the “big city” of Dumas. It was tough, but I made friends and met my Studly there, and graduated from Dumas high school in 1975,  so all’s well that ends well, right?

Fast forward to 2015 and the epic forty year class reunion. I would love to attend the reunion in Dumas, and I’m even going to be in Texas the weekend it takes place. Unfortunately that’s the same weekend the the Doright Family Reunion is scheduled, and I’ll be unable to be in two places at once. 

Floydada’s class of ’75 is planning to meet in Gruene, TX, in October. I’ve already booked my hotel room for that event. After all, these are the grown-up versions of kids I went to school with from kindergarten through my junior year.

I was never “most beautiful” or “most popular,” but I always had a place among my class. And I was probably too busy dealing with my own insecurities to notice those who were more disenfranchised than I was. So I was caught by surprise when a member of the class became angry that she’d been invited to the reunion because she had felt disrespected and unnoticed during our school years.

I wish I’d noticed her more. I wish I’d been nicer, friendlier, more inclusive. I wish I’d known then what I know now–that it doesn’t diminish our own worth when we include others. Who knows how my life might’ve turned out if I’d known that years ago?

To all those who felt they weren’t included, you are loved and valued and I’m so sorry I didn’t tell you this years ago.

Peace, people!