Monday, May 13, 2019

In Through There


I talk a lot about my family and the adventures that we have. I've mentioned several times about growing up on a small farm on Cherry Fork Road and the struggles that Mom and Dad had to keep us clothed and fed. I can't say that I remember every little detail because I can't. Sometimes, at family gatherings, one of us will mention a story that we had long forgotten, bringing us to tears and cracking us up at the same time.

Our family likes to tell stories. Nobody could tell a story better than Dad. And every time he told a story each important part would be punctuated with the saying "in through there". I don't know why he said that. He probably didn't realize he was saying it. Maybe, it was how he collected and ciphered through all of those tall tales in his head. One such story might go like this:

"Back when I was a kid, in '43 or in through there, there was a boy lived up the holler that we scared so bad, that he lit up a tree and didn't come down for three days. Damn, chicken shit, what he was. See, one night we was coming home from coon hunting and he got distracted, in through there and got left behind. Us fellows decided to teach him a lesson and hid behind a rock down there on Island Creek. You 'member where that is, don't you? Shit, he come around the corner, in through there, and we all just jumped out at him and he jumped back, screamed and took off a running, straight up the holler and up that big old oak tree, pissing his pants and carrying on like a girl. That was the funniest damn thing I ever have seen."

I've heard this story many times and I still get a laugh out of it. Besides being a great storyteller, here are some other things, in through there, about Dad:

He got drafted into the Army in the 50s and saw Elvis over in Germany.

He was scared of heights.

He loved watching Westerns on television.

He taught all of us how to play poker and shoot pool.

He could cuss a blue streak like no other.

He got up at 3:30 AM every morning without an alarm clock. (We never knew why)

His nickname was Diddy.

He planted a garden big enough (we all helped) to feed our family and still have enough left over to give away to family and friends.

Both of his pinky fingers had been cut off due to accidents as a child.

He liked Hudepohl beer.

He was a pattern marker for the Hercules Trouser Company in Manchester, Ohio, for 25 years.

He could outrun anybody in the neighborhood, including Sheldon, the boy from Hawaii.

He loved his family, deeply.

Sadly, he left us 17
years ago on this date.



Wherever you are, in through there, we miss you very much.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

It's My Birthday!





It's my birthday!

Don't forget to send me a card!
Buy my book!

Or you can leave a comment!
Why not do all three?


Anyhow, I'll have an extra slice of cake, just for you!


Gianetta

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Crotchety Old Man Yells At Cars...A Tribute



One of the first friends that I made when I started blogging was Joe, otherwise known as Crotchety Old Man Yells At Cars. Back in the day, circa 2008, blogging was a relatively new thing, and humor blogs were extremely hard to find. After an Internet search one day, I stumbled across a website called Humorblogs.com, and if you wrote humor, this was the site you wanted to be a part of.

It took me a few weeks of reading the various other blogs before I left a comment on Crotchety's "Caption This" contest. It was usually an odd picture of some kind and whoever left the best caption won a few Entrecard credits (that used to be the big thing) and the coveted zucchini award (which was very stylish). It was all in good fun.

Crotchety Old Man had another blog, too, and that was Diabetes Destroys. I think that was one of the reasons that we connected so well and that was our shared opinion on Diabetes. It does destroy, and it had wreaked havoc on Joe for many years. At one point he spent almost an entire year in the hospital and still tried to keep up his blog. When he felt well, his posts were frequent, and you always knew when he wasn't feeling up to par because it could be weeks or months before he would post again. But he always came back.

Joe stopped blogging a few years ago, but we stayed in touch. We spoke on the phone a few times a year, and I always called him on his birthday which is April Fool's Day. I thought he was joking with me when he told me that the first time but he wasn't.

I had lost his phone number and did a search online hoping to come across it, but I found something that I wasn't prepared for: his obituary. He had passed away in October 2014.

I hadn't known, and it was very upsetting to me.

A phone number was listed, but I didn't know what to do so I called it anyway. I thought it might be disconnected. A female voice answered, and I asked for Joe. She asked who was calling and I told her, and she told me the terrible news.

Nicole, if you ever read this, I just want you to know that your father was a very funny guy and loved by many in the blogging world. I know he went through a lot but he was always positive, and I'm glad I got to be friends and share a few laughs with him along the way.

He will not be forgotten.

Lastly, and this is for you, Joe: I really believe the Yankees are going to win it all this year. Go Yanks!

Monday, April 1, 2019

Tough Times All Over...Part 2

"I don't know who that woman is, I've never seen her before today and I'm certainly not paying for her groceries," I replied.

"Well, Ma'am, she said she knew you. You were being very friendly towards her. Are you running some sort of scam? If you are, you could be charged with shoplifting or as an accessory."

"I don't know that woman, and I am not running some sort of scam. Why do you let people walk away without paying for their stuff? You better call security. Where did she go? She's gonna get away with it if we don't go find her. Come on, let's see if she is still in the parking lot."

At that moment, the cashier, the security guard, the manager and myself went running outside to see if the lady was still in the parking lot. As we looked over the parking lot the Walmart employees began to look at me suspiciously. They thought I was a part of this lady's scam. All I had been doing was being nice--lending a sympathetic ear. I had been taught to be polite to my elders, and now, I might end up in jail.

I really didn't want to go to jail. I know they provide three hots and a cot but I got this thing about confined places. They make me a little edgy. I was surveying the parking lot and there putting the last of her bags into the trunk of her 2013 Cadillac SRX was that nice old lady that was trying to stick me with her grocery bill. The nerve of that woman--telling me such a sob story about her finances, her handicapped son and paying a thousand dollar a month for insurance premiums.

I pointed to her car and all of us went running over to where she was parked. "Lady, what are you doing? What are you trying to pull? You almost got me arrested for shoplifting. I've never seen you before today. I didn't want you to think I was being rude, so, I listened while you went on and on about all of your troubles, and here you are driving a Cadillac. Would you kindly tell me and the others here what kind of scam you are trying to pull?"

At that, the lady took one look at the cashier, the manager and the security guard and her shoulders just slumped in surrender. She looked past them and began to shuffle her feet as she fought for the words to explain this situation. "I bet you're wondering what this is all about," she said.

We all nodded our heads in unison and waited patiently for the answer. "All of that stuff I told you in the store...about my finances, raising my kids, losing everything I had because of those high insurance rates...Well, I was just pulling your leg just like I'm pulling yours now.

Gotcha!

I told this story last year and I liked it so much, I told it again, with a few updates!

Happy April's Fool Day!

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Tough Times For All

I had to go to Walmart the other day to pick up a few things I needed and took my cart over to the checkout lanes when I finished. Of course, all of the lines were extremely long so I just settled into line behind a little old lady that closely resembled my late Granny.

"Oh, my goodness!" she exclaimed. "I don't know how these people can get away with charging three dollars for a loaf of bread. I'm just a little old lady on a fixed income and I can't afford these prices. I stayed at home my whole life caring for my husband and my children only to be left nearly penniless by some fat cat insurance company in New York. Health Care reform, I think that's what they are calling it. A thousand dollars a month for health insurance, who would pay that? I was hoping to have an easier time in my Golden Years and now I can barely afford food for me and my handicapped son. I had to leave him out in the car because I upset him when I get to complaining about these prices. I don't mean to, but I'm doing the best I can."

"I'm sorry to hear that," I said. I felt sorry for the lady, I really did. Times are tough all over. I knew exactly how that lady felt about those astronomical premiums, I've been paying them myself.

It was finally her turn to begin placing her items up on the register belt and she began talking to the cashier and pointing to me in a friendly manner. I wasn't really paying attention to what they were talking about. I had just discovered a copy of The Global Wacko News that had Tim Ruse on the cover saying that he was the reincarnation of Lon R Cupboard and was trying to convert the world into his new class of Cosmetology that would be opening new centers worldwide whenever he had another hit movie and earned enough money to do so. (Good luck with that.)

The little old lady kept gesturing and smiling at me. I didn't want to be rude so I gave a little half-smile and nodded in agreement to whatever they were so animated about. You know what I'm talking about. When somebody tells a joke and you laugh along anyway even though you don't get it.

By now, there was enough space on the belt for me to begin placing my purchases alongside the lady's items. My first item was a huge 16-roll pack of toilet paper that was on sale and it separated my things from hers. It also separated me from her as she gave another wave and headed out the door.

"That was awfully nice of you," said the cashier. "Your Great Aunt said you was going to pay for her groceries. That will be $88.32."

"Excuse me..."

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....

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin