Saturday, March 23, 2019

It's Mom's Birthday!



The year 1956 was a big year for Lora Keiber. She graduated and was the prom queen at Jefferson Township High School in Blue Creek, Ohio. She had 19 in her class which was about the same amount that lived in the city of Blue Creek. And most of whom were in her family. Granny had 11 children.

The first photo is her senior picture. This has always been my favorite photo of my mother. I love the short hair!

In the second photo, she is standing beside the prom king, who was Sandy Hamilton.



We'll probably celebrate like we do most things in my family and that's by going out to eat. Mom, just like Dad, likes a good steak. But sometimes, we'll change things up and go to Olive Garden or Red Lobster--just depends on what coupon we have.

Happy Birthday, Mom! I know I speak for the rest of those that know you: "You're the best and we love you very much!"

And you'll always be the prom queen!



Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Changing Bus Routes...A Cherry Fork Road Memory


Growing up on Cherry Fork Road provided me with many memorable experiences. One memory that stands out today is when the school system decided to change the bus routes. This wasn't necessarily a good thing. I had ridden the same bus, Number 7, and had the same driver, Don Vogler, for at least eight years. I knew what I could get away with and also knew when to shut up and get back in my seat.

Bus Number 7 and I had been through several harrowing bus rides together. It was on that bus that Sister and I had clung together while Don rushed us home to see if Brother had burnt the house down. You can check out that story here:

It was also the bus that sent me flying in the air and off to the hospital which was a really scary and cool thing when you're in the sixth grade. (I haven't shared that remembrance yet.) I liked riding that bus. I knew everybody and everybody knew where to sit. 

The bus that I was now assigned to was Number 23, driven by John Smiley, or Smiley as we called him. He was an older gentleman, kind of gruff and silent. He didn't seem to be too excited about getting a new route either. 

The first day on my new bus I was nervous. I was in ninth grade, a lowly freshman and I now got on the bus midway through the route instead of being one of the first kids on like I was on Bus Number 7. That meant that most of the empty seats were taken and I had to sit with the kid that nobody wanted to sit with. 

Not to be mean or anything but every bus had a kid like that: the nose-picker, the one that smelled like poop, the bed-wetter that hadn't bathed, the kid that always seemed to have shaved areas on their head because of frequent bouts of head lice, the fat kid, or worst of all, the empty seat where someone had just thrown up and now reeked of leftover puke and sawdust. 

I knew it was going to be a long year if I had to ride in the puke seat every day...

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Inadvertent Touching

Recently, I went back to my new hairdresser, P, to get a touch up on my newly fabulous hairdo that I've been sporting. I learned my lesson about going on Wednesday, thus avoiding the fumes that arose from the all-you-can-eat extrema burrito fiesta.

I believe it was on a Tuesday afternoon and the salon was hopping. It turned out that P had started teaching a class at the local community college and on that particular day he was teaching the new students in his salon. When he saw me at the front counter, he threw up a hand in greeting and squealed, "GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG, Hola`, chica. My goodness, what has happened to your coif? P did such a fabulous job on you last time."

"Hola`, right back at ya'll. That's why I'm here; the gray is coming back fast."

"Oh, chica, what is ya'll? It is just me, P. Anyway, you have come on good day. I am showing these P wannabes how to become a stud in the world of beauty and salon. Come sit here."

And with that, I was led to the first chair and then immediately surrounded by a gaggle of cackling old bitties, three young wide-eyed teenagers and one young ex-Marine with an "I love doing hair" tattoo on his left bicep that greeted me with a wide grin and a strong nod. "Howdy, ma'am!" he said.

Over the next few minutes or so I listened somewhat stoically as my favorite hairdresser launched into the story of our first meeting and of our mutual agreement that my hair was a complete disaster. I was a perfect example of what not to do if you wanted to do your own hair or were too cheap (or broke) to go to a professional salon. "Come closer," he said to the class as he whipped out an iPhone from his fanny pack. "This is chica before and this is chica after P has finished with her. See the difference of what a professional can do?" he said.

"Hey, I didn't know you had taken my picture," I said.

"Oh, bambino, you were too worried about my burritos and my snake. You wanna see it again?"

"Wait a minute," one old bitty said. "I don't wanna see ya 'all's snake. What kind of place you runnin' here? Honey, have you seen his snake before?" she said as she edged closer to the chair and nudged me slightly.

"Uh?"

"Whaddya' sayin?" she said and nudged me again.

I wasn't sure what I was nudged with the first time, but I became acutely aware of what it was the second: her boob. They were big and large and were laying straight out, almost in an upward direction. At least she had on a good bra I thought to myself...


...Yeah, she must have a really good bra on to keep those things up like that, I thought to myself. I was thinking about asking her where she did her undergarment shopping when I got nudged again. Stop touching me!

Now, I'm really a patient person and fairly easy-going but there is one thing that drives me absolutely bananas and that is being touched by someone's body part when it is not supposed to be there if you know what I mean. For that matter, I really don't like being touched at all unless I know its coming.

I've been that way my whole life. I can remember battles with Sister over control over the best end of the couch and rides in the backseat of the family car, stuck in the middle between Brother and Sister riding on the hump, hoping that neither would reach over and pinch, touch or even acknowledge that I was there. "Mom, Sister touched me," I would moan or "Mom, Brother keeps calling me Froggy," which would then result in either a headlock and a noogie or a flick of my ear.

I'm not sure which hurt worse.

Pedro gathered all of his students around him as he prepared the coloring mixture for my hair. "You must be very careful when mixing chemicals. You don't want to turn your client's hair green or blow somebody up. Hee Hee. All measurements must be exact and precise."

The group watched in fascination as P measured this and mixed up that, and finally finished with a flourish. "Bueno! It is finished. Come. Now, let us turn, chica, into a beauty once more."

The crowd gathered around me in anticipation, with Miss Triple Ds in the back row trying to see around the ex-Marine and a tall blond with even taller hair. "Mr. P, I can't see nothing from back here. Can I move up front?" she asked.

"Oh, yes. Make way for Dolly up front," he said.

"My name's not Dolly," she said.

"Oh, I am sorry, chica. You are all so new and P has not had time to learn your names, but it is because you look like Dolly, that I call you Dolly," he explained.

As she moved from the front to the back, nudging me in the process, she took her place behind the teacher and waited for him to begin. P turned around with chemical in hand and ran smack into the large, upturned chest that had been repositioned behind him. "Mos Dios! Aye, yigh, yigh!" he exclaimed as the mixture sailed out of his hand and onto the plastic cape that was draped over me. "Oh, chica, P is terribly sorry. Dolly, where did those boobies come from?" he asked.

"Oh, my goodness. What a hot mess this is. I am so sorry, bebe, but I have the super duty heavy plastic cape and it shouldn't leak through it. Even if it does, that shirt you have on does not suit you anyway."

I was too surprised to say or do anything except look in the direction of where the mixture had been tossed from. Somehow, I wasn't too surprised when I felt a now all too familiar nudge as the large-breasted lady busied herself with trying to clean up the hot mess that was splashed across my chest.

Nudge. Stop it!

I continued to sit in silence as Dolly and P now took turns dabbing at the spill on my chest. Dolly had grabbed the towel that was wrapped around my neck under the plastic cape and P had whipped out a few moist towelettes from his fanny pack. Meanwhile, Sgt. Hair had worked his way through the crowd of stunned onlookers and now stood off to my right side, almost out of my vision. "Mister P," he said in a heavy southern accent. "I've got some more towels here if you need 'em? All ya'll look like you done a fine job of cleaning her up if you ask me."

Pedro looked at the ex-soldier and smiled broadly. "Thank you, Sarge, but I think we have it all cleaned up now."

My hairdresser removed the soiled cape from me and began searching for a new getup to replace it. "Does anyone have a clean towel for chica's pretty neck?" he said with an extra ounce of sauciness.

"I do," said Sgt. Hair.

"Oh, good! Come and I will let you be the first student to place the cape and towel."

I smiled up at the ex-Marine with the cool tattoo and strong jawline and caught his smile as he leaned over my body to place the towel around my neck. Nudge. Holy Crap! Here we go again.

"Nice job!" said P. "Now for the cape. Make sure you do it with a flourish. It is all part of the experience, you see."

P handed over the new plastic cape to Sgt. Hair who now had moved in around behind me. I felt another nudge and then a whoosh as the cape sailed up and over and settled perfectly upon me. "Terrific!" said Pedro. "Class, don't you think Sarge did an excellent job?"

The crowd murmured in agreement with "Yes, great job" and "Awesome" and "I wanna try". Sarge remained standing behind me soaking up all the attention while edging closer and even still closer to the back of my chair. Nudge.

Nudge. "Great job!" said Dolly.

"Will ya'll stop touching me?" I said in exasperation.

"What is wrong, chica? Who is touching you?"

"Well, Dolly there has been beating the hell out of me with her boobs, nudging me every time she comes within three feet. And Sarge here has proven that he's carrying more than a loaded weapon and might just be happy to see me."

"Thanks, ma'am," said Sarge with a flip of his hair and a tug of his groin. "I am enjoying being amongst ya'll and I do apologize if 'Lil Sarge offended you in any way."

I was trying to recover from the 'Lil Sarge comment when I heard sniffling beside me. "Oh my, I am so sorry, being large-breasted has hurt me my whole life," said Dolly. "I thought I could do hair without 'em being in the way, but I was wrong," she said with a sad sigh.

"Oh, Dolly, it is okay," said my hairdresser. "We have just gotten starting in our training. I was so excited when I saw G walk in today that I forgot a first basic step in hairdressing, and that is where to place your junk. In my case, it is where to place my snake without offending the customer; that is why I wear a fanny pack. See, watch? I can nudge chica all I want and it will not bother her," said P as he nudged my chair with his fanny pack.

"But what about me? I don't have a snake and I think I would need a burlap sack to cover up my girls," said Dolly.

"Hmm, yes, you are a challenge but I think I have the answer. Your girls are very pretty and are standing upright, but I think we must get back to nature. You must free them and let them hang the way God wanted them to be."

With that, my hairdresser walked into the back part of the salon and came out with an armload of new smocks for the girls and a leather fanny pack for Sarge. "Here you go, everyone. Please put on your new accessories and let's practice not touching our client. You don't mind, do you, chica? I give you half price."

"Go right ahead. For half price, you can touch me all you want," I said. Soon, I settled into a half-sleep state as I tuned out the activity around me. I received a few nudges, one more visit from 'Lil Sarge and then there was nothing. I sensed the activity around me and felt the hands in my hair but I was no longer being knocked around by the various out of control body parts that had tortured me earlier.

"Very good, Dolly!" I heard P say as I became more alert. "You have done a fabulous job."

Dolly handed me the mirror nervously and I glanced at my reflection. My hair looked fabulous. "It looks great, Dolly!" I said. "And I didn't feel a nudge or anything. I think you found your calling."

Dolly had done a good job and other than the sight of seeing her braless chest as she removed her smock, I was quite pleased with the way everything had turned out. I finished settling my bill and exchanging pleasantries with P when I noticed Sarge giving Dolly the eye. "I love the way you did her hair, Dolly," he said as he continued looking at her chest. "You wanna go get a latte?"

Her answer was a wide smile and a nod of her head and I heard P giggling behind me. "Oh, chica, I think I let Dolly's girls go and they have captured Sarge's heart. Such is life at the hair salon. You be good and I will see you in six weeks!"

Monday, February 11, 2019

Got Pickles?...Part One

****Author's note****

This is a new story! I can't believe it, either. It's been ages since I've written here, but I felt this is one story that needs to be told and not shared in a Facebook post. It's a multi-parter, so be sure to check back for part two.

Here's the essay:

Do you have an iron stomach? Is your intestinal fortitude stronger than Fort Knox? How about expiration dates? Do they mean anything to you? In my family, we have a running argument about dates, and most of the time it's 3-1 against me.

I was hanging out at Mom's house (she says hi in case you don't remember her since it's been so long since I've written on this blog) for the weekend when she pulled out the daughter-do-list. It was a short list because neither of us likes to do chores any more than necessary.

The main task on the list was to remove the canned goods from the top shelf in the pantry, which is located under the stairs while standing on the second step of the stepstool. Mom produced the stepladder and placed it right in the way of where I was going to be standing.

Me: "I don't need the stepstool."

Mom: "Why not?"

Me: "Because I can reach the top shelf."

Mom: "Yes, you do. I can't reach the top shelf without the stepstool."

Me: "That's fine, but I'm taller than you and it's just in the way."

Mom: "You don't need the ladder?"

Me: "Can you just move it out of the way, please?"

Mom: "Watch it! Don't you get smart with me?"

Mom moved the stepstool out of the way and I walked into the pantry and started handing her the canned goods, which were covered in dust and marked with dates from the last millennium.

"This is from 1998," I said handing her a pint jar filled with amber-colored mystery matter.

"Oh, let me see," she said. "Those are cinnamon pickles I canned from your Dad's garden. Wow! I didn't know they were still up there."

After my father passed away in 2002, Mom decided to remodel most of her five-room house. Over the next few years, she enclosed the carport, gained an upstairs, a bathroom, and a new kitchen. The highlight: the carport is now a greatroom the length of the house and has 18-feet ceilings.

Somehow, the long-forgotten canned goods had made the trip into the next century to be forgotten again, only to be discovered again and then be disposed of so the jars could be put back into the canning rotation. Or something like that.

"I bet these are still good," Mom said....

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

It's My Lucky Day...Year XI

****It's the eleventh time around for the post. Can you believe it? How will I top anything I've done in the past?

That's easy: I'm writing something on this blog! It's a start, isn't it? I thought I would be posting more regularly, but I haven't. I don't know why---maybe, this is the beginning of a new cycle? It could happen, right? What better way to get started than to start something on my lucky day!


****It's the ninth time around for this post! Can you believe it? I don't know how I am going to top last year's concert to see Joan Jett, but I'm sure I will think of something. Maybe, a big bowl of mashed potatoes and some scratch-off lottery tickets will be just what I need. You can't go wrong with mashed potatoes and I just know that it is my destiny to find the winning one million dollar ticket. I am absolutely sure this is going to be my luckiest day ever!

****It's the eighth time around for this post! Can you believe it? What's really fun is that I am going to see Joan Jett & the Blackhearts at Harrah's Casino. I just know those slot machines will be spinning in my favor.

****It's the seventh 7! time around for this post. LUCKY NUMBER 7! This is it! This is the year I've been waiting for. Seven will be my lucky number. I think I'll buy a bunch of lottery tickets that all have the number seven on them. I just know that this will be my luckiest day ever.

****It's the sixth time around for this post. It's hard to believe I have been blogging for this long. I am absolutely positive that this is going to be my luckiest day ever. I sure have changed a lot in the last year. I'm not really a middle-aged fat woman any more. I'm still middle-aged but not nearly as big as I once was. (I'll wait while you tell me Congratulations!) Anyhow, I'll let you know how it all turns out.

****It's the fifth time around for this post. I'm incredibly excited about the whole month of August this year, not just my lucky day. Super things are happening for me right now so I just know this will be my luckiest day ever!

****It's the fourth time around for this post. I don't even remember what happened last year but I just know that today is my lucky day and the Pythagoreans believed that four was a perfect number. A perfect number for a perfect day!

****It's the third time around for this post. I just know that this will be the luckiest day of the year...Third time's a charm, right?

****This was what I posted last year on my lucky day. It didn't turn out as lucky as I would have wanted. So, I'm giving it another whirl. Maybe, better luck this year...year two!

Today, August 22, is the luckiest day of the year for me. If something exciting is supposed to happen, it usually happens on this day. I can't remember the specific events (okay, maybe I can, but a girl has to have some secrets) but I do know that it was on this date. I do remember that I got my wisdom teeth pulled on this date in 1989. I know that wasn't lucky but I did get to eat mashed potatoes for every meal for a few days. And luckily, my favorite food is mashed potatoes.

I think I am going to try my lucky numbers on the lottery this evening. The problem is that I have to pick five numbers and I only have two: Eight for August and twenty-two for the twenty-second. That means that I will only get two out of five numbers and you don't win anything with just two correct. But, since it is my lucky day, I might get the other three numbers as well. I'm a winner and I didn't even know it.



Now, what am I going to do with all that cash?

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Cock-A-Doodle-Do


****Enjoy this classic post from 2009****


I've mentioned before that my mom lives way up a holler, halfway up the side of a mountain. It's kinda out in the boonies, if you know what I mean. Anyhow, the men in my family have always had chickens and Mom has hated every one of them. She likes having fresh eggs but not the messes that they leave behind. Invariably, one always seems to get out of the hen house, scratch around in her perfectly manicured flower beds, and leave her a present on the front porch which she always steps in.

Damn chickens!

Over the past few years all of the chickens have died or disappeared. Or, maybe, they just flew the coop. Mom no longer has any chickens, and she's glad.

One morning the next door neighbor who shares part of a driveway with her, came over for a chat and mentioned his Grandma who lived up the next holler had too many chickens, and he was going to take a few and start him up an egg business. Dad always shared his eggs with the neighbors, and this fellow missed eating fresh eggs for breakfast. 

Before you knew it, those chickens had multiplied faster than ants at a summer picnic.

All of this would have been fine if he had built a chicken coop to keep those birds locked up, but he didn't. They were everywhere. In Mom's flower beds, leaving messes on both the front and back porches, crowing and clucking at all hours of the day and night. There's nothing worse than chickens that work on the third shift--up all night and sleep all day.

One evening the neighbor came screaming up to her house. "Fire, Fire! My house is on fire. Call 911..."

And before you even had a chance to go outside and make the comment, "Now, that's a fire," his house had burnt down plumb to the ground. About the only thing left was an old washing tub that had belonged to this fellow's grandma.

Anyhow, I'm not sure why the neighbor never rebuilt his house. Maybe, he didn't get enough from the insurance company. But, he put up a for sale sign and took off, and left his chickens behind.

Instant chickens!

Before you knew it, they had taken up residence in Mom's recently vacated chicken house and she wasn't happy about it. "More mouths to feed," she said, "more mouths to feed."

I guess there were about 12 new chickens in the family, and over the last two years, between nesting hens, red-tailed hawks and neighborhood dogs, the numbers have fluctuated from a high of 34 chickens to the current number of 4. There was four hens and one rooster left, but, somehow, the rooster ran afoul of the local chicken hawk and ended up dead.

But, that's not where the story ends...

My brother has almost recovered from his fight with a flesh-eating virus that nearly took his leg, and his life, last fall and has been staying with Mom while he recuperates.

He's gotten a little bored and decided  he wants to get in the egg business. Only one thing was missing: A rooster!

After scouring the local farms and the local paper, Brother decided on a Dominique (Dominikers) rooster who was gray and black, and just over eight-weeks-old. He shelled out five bucks for the prized cock and was now in the egg business.

Or so he thought.

That rooster is afraid of his own shadow. The first time Brother introduced him to the four hens, he freaked out. He started flapping his wings and making the most awful sound imaginable. Mom was looking out the back door watching the romancing of the hens, and before she could shut the screen door, that mini Foghorn Leghorn ran straight into the house, followed closely by Shadow the Cat, Brother, Betty the hen, who thinks she's a rooster, and Mom screaming "I'm gonna kill that bird..."

"KEVIN, GET THAT CHICKEN OUT OF THIS HOUSE NOW," yelled Mom. "You weren't raised in a barn."

After some careful maneuvering, and a little coaxing, Brother finally cornered the erratic bird perched on the side of Mom's recliner.

Of course, the rooster left Mom a black smelly present when Brother snatched him up by the legs and carried him outside, squawking the whole way. (Nasty chickens!) While I was trying to calm Mom down and clean up the chicken shit, I glanced out the door to see what Brother and the rooster were doing. Somehow, I wasn't surprised to see the chicken riding on the mower with him as he headed down to the garden to calm his nerves a bit. (You know men, they have to stick together!)

With each passing day, the new rooster began to settle in and become less afraid of himself and the hens. According to Brother, the hens were already beginning to lay eggs, and he had several orders lined up from the neighbors. (Now, if only he could get those hens to lay a golden egg or two.)

A few days ago when I went to help Mom with her yard sale, I noticed one of the rooster's feathers floating around outside. I didn't think much of it until I asked Brother where the rooster was? It's hard to describe the disappointment that flashed across his face.

"Damn chicken hawk got him, I guess. When he first got here, he was scared of everything, but he had gotten so tame, he probably thought it was a new friend or something," said my brother.

I nodded in agreement and we both shook our heads.

"That rooster was really nice, and he wasn't bothering anybody. Mom even started petting him, and now he's dead. You can't have nothin'," said my brother. 

My thoughts exactly. 

The nice guy usually finishes last. 

Even if it is just a rooster.



Monday, April 16, 2018

I'm Back...And I'm Wearing Clean, White Underwear

I'M BACK!

I've missed all of you!

Most of all, I've missed the enjoyment I had writing humorous essays.

I can't remember the last time I wrote something funny?

I just got back from a visit to the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop where I was made an ERMA Ambassador this year! (I KNOW!) Fancy.

Anyhow, the workshop always has a writing competition that I submit to, so I thought I would share my losing entry here:


Clean, White Underwear

The best advice I’ve ever received is “make sure you have on clean underwear.”  My mother uttered those words daily to her busy family whenever we left the house. Travelling to ball games, church functions and social activities, the mantra became so entrenched that I often preempted her farewell with a nod and a “got it” as I left the house. One afternoon before a basketball game, I’d been instructed to wear my dark uniform, but at the last moment, was directed to wear white. Moms were called and everyone’s uniform made it to tip-off, including mine, with only one small problem: I had on clean underwear, but it was bright and colorful, and glowed as bright as the midday sun.

 It was eighth grade. I was embarrassed. And mortified. But it was before cell phones existed, so no evidence exists other than that now two-fold advice: “make sure you have on clean, white underwear.”

Lesson learned.

Truth be told, it is advice that I continue to carry into my fifth decade. I take pride knowing that my clean, white underwear accompanies me everywhere. I flirted with Victoria Secret when I was younger. Who doesn’t want to look sexy? On occasion. But I’ve always been more about comfort and coverage than wedges and strings.

Mom, now 80, continues to be vibrant and full of life. We travel together, share dining experiences and watch Britcoms on PBS. One day, she overheard me offer a friend, her well-worn suggestion.

“That’s good advice,” she remarked.

It is good advice, but as can happen over time, could stand to be improved upon. We were enjoying a weekend together at my place, when I went brought a load of laundry in the living room to fold. “Let me help,” said Mom.

“Sure,” I said. “Dig in.”

“You sure have a lot of drawers,” Mom said holding up the last pair of underwear. “I guess you did take my advice.”

“Sure did,” I said.

“Why so many?”

“For the last two years, every time I sneeze, laugh or cough, I leak. Now, in addition to the clean, white underwear I’m always wearing, I pack an extra pair for just such occasions.”

Silent for a moment before motioning me close. “You know they make products for when that happens,” she whispered.  “But I really like your idea better.”

We spent the rest of the day laughing until time to say goodbye. “Here,” I said handing her a package.
She opened it and laughed. “Thanks!”

It was a pair of clean, white underwear in her size. “There’s one to get you started,” I said as she walked past.

“Got it,” she nodded.

Lesson learned.

I'm happy to have this first post out after a year away!

Thanks for reading!

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