Archive for the ‘writing personal stories’ Category

Freedom on wheels

magic is in the movement

The story I wrote about my having been confined to a wheelchair at age three was mostly true.  In this post, I’m going to tell you the whole truth and a little bit more.

I was supposed to tell 4 bold-face lies as part of this writing project, but I told more truth than lies.

Below is a copy of my story.   I underlined the parts that are NOT true.   The whole truth is in blue.

I was confined to a wheelchair, as a result of a childhood bone disease when I was a toddler.  The doctors told my mother I might never walk again.  I hated that chair! My brother, who is ten years older than me, used to take me and my little chair on wheels to the top of our steep road, which was deep in the mountains.  My two older sisters would stand at the top of the road, holding my chair, with me in it of course, until my brother made it to the bottom.  He would count to some number, which was their clue to let me go.  I would fly down that mountain in my little chair!  It was great fun!  The best I can remember, my brother always caught me.  My mother didn’t mind this game. I wasn’t happy the day I put my foot on the floor and was able to walk again because I had to give up my little flying chair.

The truth:

“A little doll’s chair,” is what my mother says the wheelchair looked like.  “It was just so small.   It didn’t look like it was for a person.”

I had Kohler disease, which is a rare childhood bone disease.  It attacked my ankle bone when I was three years old.  The doctors did tell my mother I may never walk again, but they also told her that it could go away as mysteriously as it had appeared.

I didn’t hate the wheelchair.  I’m pretty sure I loved it.  My mother says that I had crawled around for several weeks before she, “put her foot down,” and demanded that I be taken to the nearest hospital for x-rays.

Putting weight on my foot was intolerable.  The little chair gave me freedom to go outside and play.  At three years old, I guess you live in the moment.  I was too young to understand what never being able to walk again meant.   I was also too young to know the danger of flying down that road, but then sometimes, our memories play tricks on us.

About ten years ago, my mother and I visited the place we lived when I was in that wheelchair.  There was a housing complex with relatively small one story dwellings that was turned into offices for the Juvenile boys home.  My dad worked there and we had lived in the complex, which was for the employees and their families.

Mother and I were both a bit shocked.  The metal fence surrounding the property surprised her.  It was one of those tall fences with thick rolls of barbed-wire on top.  The place hadn’t been fenced in when we lived there.

I remembered the houses being massive with tall and wide dark windows.

“There’s our house,” Mother said.  There weren’t any big houses and the windows were those small rectangular ones you see in beach houses.

I remembered front porch being high up off the ground.  I sat on the steps every day, weather permitting, with my three year-old boyfriend, talking and waiting for the school bus to drop off my older siblings.  I remember being happy when he was there.  We were the best of friends and had terrific conversations about life.

There were only two steps, very close to the ground.  I couldn’t believe how much bigger things were in my memory than they were in reality.

I looked for the steep road where I took the wheelchair flights.  Mother pointed out our road.

“That’s it!”  I was completely astonished.  It was indeed a hill, but didn’t measure up by any means to the one I recalled.

I told her about flying down the mountain road.  She says she didn’t know anything about that.  I sure remember it.  My sisters say they remember too, but oddly, my brother doesn’t and he’s the oldest.  I think he forgot many things he did to his younger sisters.  Like the time he put me in a garbage can and rolled me into the road, but that was later and it was a country road.

I remember clearly the day I put my foot on the floor, which I did every morning, and it didn’t hurt anymore.  The pain was gone!  The bone disease went away just like the doctors said it might.

I didn’t mind giving up the little chair, but I did think I should get to keep it for a souvenir.  I remember wanting it.  Mother says she didn’t think I needed it and donated it to another family.

My ensuing enthusiasm for using my legs was grand.  At age five, I led a large marching band in the Christmas parade because the band leader said I was, “the best little marcher they ever had!”  I took jazz and modern dance classes, but then we moved to the country.  Dancing the way I had learned would have been considered a sin.  This disappointed me, but I soon discovered bluegrass and clogging, the latter of which was a required class in the elementary school I attended.

I didn’t have a bicycle though.  I’d had one when I was five, but then my brother got involved.  He let go of my bike before I learned to ride and I had a bad accident.  I was hurt pretty badly.  I heard my dad ask my mother if I would still be able to have babies.  I was confused.  She told him to shut up and get the car.

Because of that accident, my dad wouldn’t let me get near a bicycle for years, even though my brother always had one.  My two sisters never wanted one, which I always thought was weird and it didn’t help me when I pleaded for my own.  Finally, my dad gave in on my thirteenth birthday.

We went to the local bicycle shop, which was also an auto-parts and lawn-mower shop.  Everyone there knew my dad.  I’d been there with him plenty of times and they all knew I’d been begging for a bicycle for a long time.  I was often invited inside the owner’s house next door and his wife would give me milk and homemade cookies.  I loved her cookies and she made them the day I got my new bicycle.  It was a great day.  My dad let me ride it home, which was less than half a mile away.  You could throw a rock from there to our back door.

I loved that bicycle.  I could ride it fifty miles without thinking a thing about it and I did, often.  There’s a long story about what happened to that bike, but it is one sad story, so I won’t tell it here.

I grew up, had a son and bought us both bicycles when he was three years old.

His was a tricycle, but he begged me to take those two extra wheels off.  “Your bike doesn’t have them Mommy,” he said.

We took the wheels off, but I had a person at each end and several in the middle to catch him if he fell.  He did fall, but he didn’t have far to go and it was in the soft grass.  He didn’t get hurt.  He got up as fast as he could, before any of us could get to him and jumped back on the bicycle.  It was very funny.  I remember him looking back at us as he rushed to pick that little bicycle off the ground.  He never used those extra wheels and we had years worth of fun riding together.  We still enjoy riding together.  I like that.

I can’t go cycling like I could before being struck with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or fibromyalgia.

However, I do have a fun bicycle.  I call it my magic little bike.  It brings out the best in me when I ride it.   I absolutely love moving and feeling the wind on my face.  That’s part of the magic.  Being able to move without pain.  (The trick to that is being on a flat road.)

My little bike also has pink and white streamers and an awesome bell!

Occasionally, I’ll still take my hands off the handle bars and hold them in the air.  I like that too.

Thanks for visiting Dogkisses’s blog!


Memetastic True Story Revealed

I wrote five stories about myself in an earlier post, MEMETASTIC BLOG AWARD. Only one of the stories is completely truthful.

I confess –this does feel like a confession and one which I hadn’t expected — Story number THREE is the whole truth.

I have an authentic Mile High Club button.  I earned it in college.flying free a mile high, image of mile high pin, nightlights on a plane

I couldn’t believe I found the button, or pin rather, when I looked for it yesterday.  It’s a shiny little pin that one would wear on a shirt, but I don’t think I’ve ever worn it.

It’s as shiny as it was when it was given to me by the professor, who eventually became my long time friend and mentor.  We went on several flights together, but that was the only time we did anything like we did the day we earned our pins.

The only bold-face lie out of the five stories I wrote is number four“I love Comic Sans, Oprah, and Dr. Phil.”

I didn’t know what Comic Sans was until several days ago when I received the Memetasic award from Deb, at DorkyDeb.com.

I’ve never watched a daytime television talk show, unless it’s a PBS special or something of that nature.  I read an article in Oprah’s magazine a couple of years ago, which I enjoyed, but I never watched her show.

I didn’t know who Dr. Phil was until I saw his face on a magazine, while standing in line at the grocery store, which was around about 2004.  I asked my friend who was with me to tell me a little about him.  She was altogether shocked.

The other stories are mostly true.  I’ll likely write about the truth in those in a follow-up post.

About my little wheel-chair in story # 1.  I actually loved the chair because it was the only way I could get around.  And the day I could walk again, which I remember vividly, I was a very very happy little girl!

I have a history with pilots and airplanes.  I don’t know why.  As a result, I’ve flown in old planes, small planes, huge planes and a few in the middle.  A few times, I’ve flown the planes myself, but have never attempted to land one.

My dad took me on my first plane ride when I was about eight years old.  He and his buddy, Carly, who had a plane, but I’m not sure about a license, were quite the pair together.  We lived in the country and Carly had a landing strip on his land.  One time they took one of my sisters and me on what my dad’s friend called the, “roller-coaster in the air.”  We did, “donuts.”

I had great fun, but my older sister has since told me that she was scared.  I was surprised.  She says she didn’t want me to know when we were flying. She was always doing what she could to make me feel safe.

The best times I ever had in airplanes was with a man, Rick, whom I once loved very much.  Flying was a hobby for him.  Sadly, he died in a motorcycle accident not that long ago.  As you may have realized if you’ve read parts of my blog, there is usually an element of something hard in my stories.

The funnest flight I ever took with Rick was when he rented a Cherokee plane for my son’s eighth birthday.  My son is part Cherokee, so this was very special.

Shortly after we were in the air, we looked back to see my son sleeping in the backseat of the plane.  At first, I was afraid that Rick would be offended, but then, he was never offended.  He was the most peaceful human being I’ve ever known.  He laughed.  He knew my son fell asleep whenever he felt safe and relaxed.

“I guess he’s really enjoying himself,” my friend said chuckling.  We had a peaceful quiet trip.  We landed at a great little place where we walked across the road to a country southern home-style restaurant.  My son got to fly the plane for a bit on the way back home.  My friend laughed about my son sleeping on his birthday flight from then on.  He said it was the greatest compliment a pilot could ever receive.

I guess, looking back, I’ve had lots of fun in the air!

Thanks for reading my stories.  As always, thanks for visiting Dogkisses’s blog!


Interludes in reality

“What are you looking at?” I thought I heard someone ask.

I turned to see a middle-aged woman standing near us.  She was addressing my son, which is fine because he’s a grown man.

I knew this was going to eventually happen somewhere.  Staring isn’t acceptable in our society and personally, I too am generally uncomfortable with being stared at for any length of time that seems out of the ordinary.

The waiter had brought our menus and it was during this moment when I thanked him that the woman walked over to our table.

The hostess had given us a round table in the middle of the large open dining area.   I thought this was a mistake.  I asked my son if he would rather sit along the wall with a bit more privacy, but he said no.

People have always told me that I can’t hide my feelings because of my eyes.  I’ve heard it all my life.  I decided to harness this transparency trying to communicate with the woman standing by our table that my son had meant no harm.

I can’t be sure what was translated when I looked into her eyes.  Perhaps it was a plea for compassion.  It seemed as though we met briefly where words are unnecessary.

“I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to startle you,” she said.   “It’s just that he was looking over at us,” she paused, looking briefly at my son and then questioningly back at me, “but he was smiling.”

“He likes seeing happy people,” I told her.  “He gets very happy when people laugh.”

My son continued smiling while she and I chatted for a moment.   It was a gleaming smile, much like a child’s at Christmas.  The woman didn’t seem bothered.

She apologized again and invited us to join them.

“If you want to come sit with us you can,” she told my son.  “You too!” she added.

They were having a cookware party.  “We’re having lots of fun as he can obviously see,”  she remarked.

I think his smile rubbed off on her.  Her invitation felt sincere.  My son seemed genuinely interested in cookware.  I told my mom about it later and she said, “Well, he would have bought some, that’s for sure!”

We know him.  We know how enthusiastic he gets about things.  We know he laughs hard.  We know he laughs sometimes when it’s considered inappropriate.  We also know this is a way his brain is processing information.  Other people don’t know this, of course.

I thanked the woman, but declined the offer.

She walked away and for a moment my son looked sad.  I asked him what was wrong.  He said he was just trying to figure things out.

I felt bad for him.  Trying to figure things out and all.  I haven’t figured out too much myself.  He doesn’t understand certain rules that when I think about them, neither do I.  Things about our world and society that honestly don’t make sense or aren’t rational, but are nevertheless realities.

We enjoyed the rest of our meal.  Art literally covers the walls inside the restaurant.  In the corner of the room where we sat is a tall puppet-like man with a theatrical face whose head reaches the top of the high ceiling.  Most of their display includes Folk art created by the local artists.   It’s a very cozy place and the food is good.

My son and I were able to engage in a conversation, which is unusual when it’s just the two of us and we’re surrounded by strangers.  He usually seems quite distracted by his physical environment.  Times when his grandmother and aunts visit are the best.   He sits in the middle of us and has a wonderful time.  He must feel safe surrounded by strong loving women.

The occasional group laughs from our cookware neighbors made him smile, but the art captured most of his attention giving us something to talk about and honestly, something for him to stare at other than the group of laughing women.  The tuna also held his attention.  He likes good food as much as anything, but each time the women laughed, so did he.

On the way home I asked if he wanted to stop at the thrift shop with me.  Shopping is another activity he has a hard time with.  Most of the time he can’t stay in a retail store longer than about five minutes.

This time was different.  He enjoyed walking around and bought several items.

We had a good day.  I think the kind of day we had is a pretty normal day for most people.  It is for most people I know.

That night by the fire I realized I’d had several good days in a row lately.   The positive feelings from this experience are unfamiliar and I felt anxiety.

I’m used to stress.  I’m used to quarterly “mental health crises.”  I’m also used to being fatigued much of the time and feeling like life is passing me by as a result.  My point is that I don’t know what it’s like to have lengthy periods of time without serious stressful matters to deal with.

It’s like when the doctor asked me to take some pain medication and call him, “after twenty-four consecutive hours without pain.”  I laughed.  I thought he was joking!  He wasn’t.

I was altogether stunned the day I called him to report that I’d experienced a full day and night without pain.

Sometimes you get so used to something that you don’t realize what a large impact it’s having on you or your life, like the fear I felt when I imagined having more good days, or rather, not having them.

I felt scared to imagine life being easier.  Experience tells me that the next crisis is always lurking around the corner.   How can I dream or ponder on dreams when who knows what might come my way the next day?

If I start thinking about the things I could do if I didn’t have so many crises to deal with, then I get scared of being hit in the face with… I don’t know what.  Reality?

Reality it is!

Less than two days after my peaceful interlude, much has happened to bring me back.  Back to a reality that is pretty hard to deal with.

Maybe I expected too much.  Maybe I expected things to keep moving forward peacefully, without too many bumps in the road.

 

Thank you for visiting Dogkisses’s blog,

Michelle.

“Remember that there is nothing stable in human affairs; therefore avoid undue elation in prosperity, or undue depression in adversity.”

—  Socrates

kamama, Cherokee for butterfly

dreams of being in a cocoon and then, I was a milkweed!

Monarch Cocoon

Kamama, Cherokee for butterfly.

I once dreamed I was almost a butterfly– almost. The dream was ridden with  anxiety.  I felt trapped.  I wanted to be free but woke up before that happened.  I was glad to be out of that dream.

Shortly afterward I dreamed I was a milkweed plant.  Now That was an awesome dream!

dreamed I was a milkweed plant -- I was free

Milkweed in seed

I had several Milkweed pods in my freezer when I had these dreams.  I was studying and preparing to start a business planting butterfly gardens, which I did the following Spring.
It’s hard to describe the way I felt dreaming I was a milkweed plant.  It’s been many years and I still remember.

As a milkweed plant I could feel the process of pollination.  I knew that part of me was being blown by the wind around the field and touching the other plants.  I felt connected.  I felt healthy.  I felt free.

The life stages of a butterfly remind me of  starting and maintaining a blog.
The connections I’ve made with other bloggers is a similar experience to the way I felt in my dream of being a milkweed plant, which is a feeling of being connected.  There is an interdependence going on when we are writing our personal stories.  One person’s words touch me, my words touch someone else and then another might read a comment or find a link to yet another blog and it all goes round and round.

Like the wind in my dream carrying a part of me across the field of milkweed,  our written words travel across this place where we share our stories, giving birth to new growth in the form of knowledge and friendships.
kamama, Cherokee for butterfly, cocoons, milkweed and dreams of being free
“– a gift to my people the Cherokee, who honor the butterfly, kamama, in their daily lives as they honor and respect all things in the natural world.”  Geyata Ajilvsgi.

Resources:
Please click on the below links for specific copyright information.

Wikimedia Commons, File: Monarch Butterfly Cocoon 2.jpg,
by Greyson Orlando.
Wikimedia Commoms, File: Milkweed-in-seed2.jpg,
User Mdf.
IconDoIt, the blog, Butterflies are Free” by Leslie Sigal Javorek.

Butterfly Gardening for the South, (Absolutely my favorite book on planting a garden to attract butterflies), by Geyata Ajilvsgi, (Introduction, pg x1)

All content in this blog, including text, images and external links are subject to a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike 3.0 US license.  See Terms of Use in my sidebar for more information.
Thank you for visiting my blog.

Finding my favorite tree

“I’ve watched you since you got off the interstate Mam,” the highway patrol officer said.  His head was shaved and his cheek had a bulge from whatever form of nicotine he was enjoying.  “You seem confused,” he added.

I had pulled the little Chevrolet I’d borrowed to the side of the road.  Just as I turned off the engine the blue lights came on.

“I was looking for a place to use a restroom,” I responded, which was true, although I was actually looking for a place to find my favorite tree.  That’s what we called it when my son was a cub scout.  “I didn’t think I’d make it to the one in the grocery store and I saw this road.  It looks like an okay place.”  It actually looked perfect.

“You acted like you didn’t know where you were,” the officer said.  “You took a different exit out of the parking lot than the one you came in on.   That is suspicious behavior Mam and that’s really why I’ve followed you since you came off the exit ramp.”

I didn’t have such a good feeling.

“I saw this road and that sign says I can get back on the highway from either exit,” I told him, which would be the last logical sentence spoken during what ended up being nearly a three-hour long interrogation.

“Yes, the sign does say that,” he responded, “but most people know that the way you chose is the long way.”

“I’m not from here Sir,” I said.  “I didn’t know that.”

“Yeah, you don’t see many signs like that,” he added as he spit on the ground.   “The arrows are pointing in opposite directions that goes to the same place.”

Exactly I thought!

“You drove around in the parking lot before you decided which exit to take.”

I thought we had cleared up the, “confused,” part already with his confirmation that the sign was a strange one.  I was wrong.

“I need to see your license Mam,” he said. “You didn’t have your seat-belt on.”

I had a feeling it was the seat-belt, but I would soon learn it was much more than that.  My bladder was too full to have walked inside of the Food Lion to the back of the store where I assumed the restrooms were.   Wendy’s drive-through window was open but they said no when I stopped and asked if I could use their facilities.

I saw a side road behind the Food Lion, along with a patch of thick trees. Perfect spot, I thought. The parking lot exit was only about ten or so feet from the narrow darkened road.  I thought about my seat-belt, which I had taken off, but in my tired state of mind with a full bladder, I only wanted to find a tree and thought I’d be safe in that short of a distance.  I was wrong, again.

As he walked away with my license I leaned my head out of the window a bit.  “Sir, may I get out and go over there,” I pointed to the patch of tress. “

“No Mam,” he said firmly.  “You stay right where you are.”

So I did.  I waited as the lights flashed.  I was exhausted.  My life was crazy.  My son was not well.

The time was around 1:30am.  The place was a rural North Carolina town that was half-way between my hometown and where I was living in the mountains of the western part of our state.  My travels to visit family often included stopping there for a break from driving.  Once in a while we would eat or shop in the historic downtown district.

I was driving a car that belonged to my mechanic,  so of course, there were a few things wrong with it.   Some mechanics neglect their own cars.  My mechanic and dear friend, Sonny, always kept his cars running, but that didn’t necessarily mean keeping up with things like the inspection and license plate.

“Have you been drinking?” he asked when he returned.  “I thought I smelled alcohol.”

I’m like Jim Carey was in that movie where he couldn’t lie when I get  nervous, and this officer was making me nervous.

“I had less than a third of a beer in Chapel Hill, but that was with dinner around six or six-thirty,” I told him quickly.   I’ll take a breathalyzer now if you want me to.  I’m not intoxicated.”  I was happy to do it thinking I’d get away from him, possibly with a ticket, but then I could go somewhere to pee!

The officer was more than glad to give me the test.  “Come with me,” he said.  “I have to administer it to you in my vehicle.”

So I did.

I was wearing a short jumpsuit dress and flip-flops.  I sat in his car acutely aware of the length of my dress, which I noticed had not entirely missed his observations.   He prepared the test.  I’d never seen one before nor had I ever sat in a patrol car.  I kept trying to make sure my dress stayed put as I sat there getting more and more nervous.

He spit in a jar that he had a place for in his car.  I took the test and passed, without any trace of alcohol.

“There,” I said.  “I told you I’m not intoxicated.  I’m tired and I need to pee.”

“These things don’t always work.  Sometimes you get a false report,” he said.

I don’t know what I thought but being nervous triggered my essential tremor, which is a neurological disorder that makes you shake.  My entire body began to shake on the inside and I knew, within minutes, I’d be shaking all over.  It started in my legs.

“How about I give you another test,” the officer said.

I knew the test he meant.   I assumed I would fail because of the tremor.  He wanted me to walk straight lines with my arms out and touch my nose, etc…  Something I’d only seen on television.  I told him about the tremor and how it also affects coordination.  He ignored me.

I took the test.  It was difficult and I felt like I was completely failing due to the tremor.  Standing on one leg with the other up in the air and my arms and hands doing weird things at the same time, well, it was insane!  He said I passed with flying colors.  I couldn’t believe it!

I thought I’d be leaving soon.  I was wrong, again.

A female officer arrived about that time.  Boy was I glad to see her!  He told her it was a seat-belt violation and he could handle it.

“Sir, may I relieve my bladder while she is here?”   She appeared okay with this looking to the officer, obviously to see if it was alright with him.  I was hopeful.  He  said no.  Plain and simple.  “I’ll take it from here,” he had told her and she left.

“Let’s go back in my car and talk,” he said.

He told her to leave.  I don’t know why I didn’t ask that she stay.  My full bladder and essential tremor took over my ability to think clearly.

Back in his car, we talked and talked and talked! I explained why I was making the trip and why I was so tired.

“Have you used any other substances today Mam?”

He asked me this question about fifty times or more.  Over and over he kept asking.  I kept answering with the same answer, which was no.

“Your speech is off,” he said.

“Yes Sir,” I responded.  “The tremor makes my voice shake, especially when I’m tired.”

“It’s against the law to drive when you’re this tired,” he said.  “You should have stopped before now.  You could have checked into a motel.”

“I can’t really afford a room ,” I told him.  “I actually did stop two exits back but the motel was closed.”

“Yes I know the one,” he said.  He named the owners mentioning that they would definitely be asleep.  Thank God I thought.  He believes me so I’ll be on my way soon.  Well, I was wrong again.

We continued to sit there along the dark road, alone.  He continued with the same question, “What other substances (besides the small amount of beer I’d had seven hours earlier) have you used today Mam?”

“None,” I answered him, again.

There was a strange scent and I knew it was coming from my clothes.  I began to assume that if I could smell it, then likely so could he.

Perhaps he thought I was not a tired mother in a crisis at all and instead a good actress whose crimes would get him a promotion or something.

My friend, whom I’d had dinner with in Chapel Hill, along with his elderly mother-in-law, whom I’d drank the bit of beer with, had smoked some strong-smelling Ganja during our visit.  My clothes were dank with the scent.  I had not joined in, but I would have if I hadn’t had to drive home.   My friend’s mother-in-law smokes the best in the land and  I must say she sure seems to be healthy and happy.    Now in her nineties, she’s still kickin’ and still puffin’, although I think she has taken to drinking tea instead.

I think my bladder frozen.  I began to forget that I ever had to pee.

The interrogation continued.  Finally he said, “Can you say your ABC’s backwards?”

“No,” I answered, “I don’t think I could do that.”  I had never tried but I was pretty sure I couldn’t do it.  That isn’t how my brain works.  I don’t think I could do it in the best of my hours.

“Okay then, I’ll have you say them in order,” the officer responded.

I thought this was funny.  Easy breezy I thought.  I was wrong again!.

“Well,” I asked, “How did I do?”

“Not good,” he said.  “You failed.  You made three mistakes.”

“What!”

“You didn’t even end with a Z,” he said.

He held out a paper.  “Here, I’ll show you,” and he showed me where he had written my mistakes.

“Well I haven’t had to say them since my son was in elementary school and that’s been a long time,” I said.  I tried joking when I said, ” I could sing them because that’s the only way I’ve ever really said them out loud.”

He responded with, “What other substances have you used today Mam?”

“I haven’t used any other substances Sir”

We sat there.  He talked a lot about keeping the public safe, which included protecting them from people like me who were driving while tired.  It was his job he kept repeating, in between his questioning me and spitting into his jar, to keep citizens on the highways safe.

“It isn’t only the other people on the road,” he said.  “It’s also my job to keep you safe.”

“If I could use a restroom and then have a cup of coffee,  I’m sure I can make it home.  I only have an hour and a half to go,”  I told him, but I didn’t get any response.

I stood my ground.  I wasn’t about to tell the officer that my friend had smoked some herb.  He most certainly would not believe that I had not partaken, which I had not.  Would you believe it?!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I drove into the parking lot of the Waffle House near my apartment around 4:30am.  Finally, I got to pee.  I ordered breakfast.  My adventures were not over yet.

Two men with guns came in while I was there.  “We’re here to rob this place,” one of the men sheepishly announced.  The only employees working at the Waffle House were female.  The two men were obviously intoxicated. One went to use the restroom!

“The police are on their way,” one of the female cooks told the men.  They waited a few minutes.   No officers showed up.  “Their coming,” she said a few minutes later.  She continued to cook and serve the customers, while the men stood there looking around the place, which was another oddity.  The customers were all women around the same age, most likely in their forties.   I wondered what were we all doing at the Waffle house eating alone at a time such as 4:30 AM?

The cook said something like, “They’ll be in any minute now,” which sounded like a mother threatening a child with a father’s discovery of some wrong doing on the child’s part.   The men turned around and walked out the door.  One of them slurred out a few obscenities directed at the women, but not until he was outside.

“Why aren’t the police here?” I asked my waitress.

“Oh, we didn’t really dialed 911,”  she said.  “We get all kinds in here.”

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As I walked into the courthouse thirty days later, my tickets and cash in hand, there were four sheriffs standing there to search my handbag.

“Could you please dump the contents of your bag here Mam,” one of them requested.  They all looked the same, which was exactly like the officer who had interrogated me.  They were all chewing on something too.

I was traveling light.  My tickets, billfold and keys were all I had in my bag, I thought, until more than a dozen rainbow-colored condoms covered the table when I emptied it.  The sheriffs looked at one another.

“I give those to homeless people and teenagers in the town I live in,” I told them.  They all grinned at each other.

The health department where I lived always had a huge garbage can full of free condoms.  There were lots of hippies, wayward teenagers and homeless people who roamed or lived there.   I had gone for a doctor’s visit the day before court and filled my purse with the condoms on my way out.

Walking away from the Sheriffs on my way into the courtroom, they snickered and one said, “Have fun in there Mam.”

The interrogating patrol officer had finally decided to let me go with a couple of tickets, including driving without a seat belt, an expired inspection and expired tags.

Sonny!  He was so nice to let me borrow his car.  He filled the gas tank, checked the tires and oil and knowing Sonny, probably gave me twenty dollars for an emergency.  He didn’t think about inspections or tags.  Sonny, who passed away recently, could have probably driven anything he wanted to in this town.  He was a well-liked man.  Most of the county sheriffs knew him and I do believe they would have been hard pressed to have given him a ticket.  He had probably fixed their cars or their parents’ cars in the past or loaned somebody they knew money during a hard time.  Sonny was an awesome man and I sure do miss him.

Fortunately because it was a borrowed car, the judge dismissed the expired tags and inspection and I paid the fine for the seat belt violation.

“Have a nice day Mam,” the officers, who had apparently enjoyed the colorful contents of my handbag said to me as I was leaving.   They were still grinning —    and spitting.

I visited the elderly woman later but we hung out at her pool that time.  And that time, I’m not saying if I did or did not partake.  I didn’t drive.

This is a story from 2003 and it belongs to me, Dogkisses.

She neglected her apples

a curious girl, an old lady and an apple treeOf course I’d been told about stealing and the Ten Commandments.  I had also been specifically instructed, perhaps too many times for my rebellious nature, not to take, I mean steal, apples from the old lady’s yard.

“She’s stingy and mean,” my mother would say.  “She would probably come out and hit you with a stick or something.  There’s no telling what she would do if she catches you in that yard!”

The woman’s house was the last house on the road and beside of it was the dirt road that was beside the, “sewer.”  She lived on what we called, “Sewer road.”

About twenty or thirty feet from the curve, where Sewer road went straight ahead and our road took a sharp right, her house was on the corner.

You could smell the odor and most of the children in the neighborhood wouldn’t play on that corner of the block, which is what our neighborhood was; one block in a small rural town.  I guess the old woman was glad the smell kept us away, but I was curious and had a bicycle.

I’m not sure what it was that made me want to take those apples.  I didn’t understand why she wouldn’t come outside, be nice and give a person an apple.

I’d ride my bike around the block and every time I passed her house I secretly hoped to get a glance at her.  Sometimes I’d see her raking leaves and I would slow down, but she wouldn’t even look at the road.

There was another woman who had an apple tree in our neighborhood.  She was younger, but was still old in my young mind.  She was married and lived closer to the main road than to Sewer road.  Her apple tree was right there at her front door.

The lady’s house down by the sewer sat further back into the woods, leaving her unattended apple tree to a curious girl like me.

I would put on one of my older sisters’ bra.  I could stuff up to three of four apples in each cup.

My friends would dare me.  They couldn’t believe I was so brave and at thirteen, this was pretty cool I thought.  Most of them wouldn’t even walk that way, because of the smell, but they were also scared of her.  Plus, I had one of the few bicycles in the neighborhood.  I often rode alone.

I was taught that the best apples were the ones that had already fallen, but not yet eaten by worms.  I was also told that picking from the ground was simply the right thing to do.  My dad’s folks said that leaving the good ones on the ground, and that meant ones without worms or with only one or two wormholes, was being wasteful.

The old woman’s tree was quite abundant.  I don’t think she ever even used her apples!   Wasn’t she being wasteful?

My friends and I did enjoy eating the apples.  I think that matters.

My mom said that the other woman was stingy too, but that if I knocked on her door and asked politely, that she might give me an apple.  So I did.  I never wore out my welcome, which was at best tentative.

“Yes, I guess you can have one, but take it from the ground and only one,” she would say.  “I’m going to be making jam soon.”

Well I knew that I would never taste her jam.

For some reason, I liked better the apples from the tree down by the sewer.  Both trees produced red and crispy apples.  I guess hers were better because I didn’t have to deal with her like I did with the other woman.  Neither of them were pleasant people.

We didn’t have much to do in the town I lived in.  My grandmother always said, “Idled hands are the Devil’s workshop.”  I guess she was right.

Much laughter occurred when my friends saw me returning, apples bobbing around on my flat chest.  Sometimes one in each pocket of my shorts.   I couldn’t see how that woman ever missed any of her neglected apples.

I guess I shouldn’t have taken, I mean stolen, those apples, but I did, and much fun was had.

Gotta have a bike!

Thanks for visiting Dogkisses’s blog!

Apple Trees via Wikimedia Commons