Friday, October 31, 2014

Give Me That Old Time Tradition

1974 and it was Josey and the Pussycats, The Jetsons, The Flintstones, Scooby Doo, or the old stand-bys:  Cinderella, Rapunzel,  Sleeping Beauty, Superman, Batman and Robin, or Frankenstein. Plastic, suffocating masks with holes for the eyes and mouth which would be attached to your face with a rubber string that pulled your hair from the roots, all night long. The masks themselves would be lifted up and down on the face most of the night, and then finally pushed onto to the top of the head or discarded all-together.

Kids of all ages from the neighborhood would walk in droves, many times unescorted, every porch light was on for miles, it was pitch black dark, and no one ever seemed to be scared. The loud rants of “Trick or Treat!” could be heard from pretty much wherever you stood. All the neighbors knew the children by name, and no one seemed worried or anxious about who would be knocking on their door or ringing the doorbell. We would all go home, dive into our bags/buckets full of candy without another thought about it.

1998 and my boys and I have moved to a new town and we live out in the country. All the houses are miles apart, and Hwy 65 is not made for door to door trick or treating. A friend tells me about King Street in Quincy, and all the avenues that branch off from it. It’s the perfect place to take your kids; it’s safe, well lit, and neighborhood friendly.

When we arrive, the streets are already swarming with The Powderpuff Girls, Pound Puppies, Smurfs, Barney,  little Madonna’s and Michael Jackson wanna-be’s.  The roads are blocked off by the city police to prevent driving and accidents, but now, parents line the streets as far as the eye can see as well. Sadly, the days of children trick or treating alone or with older children for guides was out of the question.  It’s even discussed quietly amongst the adults as to whether the candy needs to be taken somewhere to be X-Rayed for foreign, deadly objects. Scarily enough, this has become a common practice at all hospitals and emergency rooms every year, free of charge.

As each year passes, there are more Fall Festivals and recreational park events offering games, bobbing for apples, and face painting; home parties with adult supervision by people you know and trust which are safer ways for children to have fun and still celebrate the Halloween costume traditions.

It makes me sad when real life interferes with anything that has to do with innocence, fun, and what makes children happy. That you have to explain to a child why his/her candy must be checked before he can eat it; well, I don’t even know what those words should be. I expect by the time I have any grandchildren, trick or treating will be extinct. Instead, I’ll be trying to explain to them the pictures of their Daddy’s in albums, with the costumes, painted-on faces of Halloween’s gone by. How sad indeed. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

If Mama Ain't Happy......

I know I’ve talked about walking, my weight, and health issues; none of that has changed.  I’m still over-weight, my blood pressure still runs high, and I’m still walking on a fairly regular schedule. The weather has cooled down, the sun drops sooner, and the whole deal is more tolerable in these early months of fall.

But what I’m going to talk to you about today has nothing to do with any of that. How is your mental and emotional state of health? That’s what I’d like to know.  Are you happy where you work? Do you like the people that you work with? Because you know, you spend more of your waking hours with those people than you do your own family. And depending on how well you like all of the above, including your own family, is exactly what will propel your mind to be in the state it is at any given time.

Now I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have to talk about my feelings in order to feel better. The stresses of my job, my family, and just life in general; well, they just have to come out. To keep all that bottled up inside would cause a self-implosion for sure. I try and “share” my day with my family, and they “act” as if they are paying rapt attention to my every word; but ask them to repeat any of it back, and they would choke and turn blue trying to remember enough to recite it.

That’s what a good walking partner is for by golly, no headsets or ear-phones for me, no sir!  I want a live human being walking next to me, listening to my stream of struggles, my berating voice describing my horrendous day that started with me over-processing my curly, ratty hair, to hitting the huge pot-hole in my work parking lot and simultaneously splashing muddy water all over the side of my freshly washed truck. To dropping my too hot-to-touch lunch all over the break-room floor at work,  and finally, arriving home only to find out I had washed and dried my sons brand new pants with an ink pen in the pocket, which was now ALL over those pants, as he stood in the living room, holding them up for me to see.

Those are the things that walking partners share. Along with talk about husbands whose sensitivity gene is on the blink, children who never seem to have received a sensitivity gene at all, and both of who are only concerned with:  what’s for supper, when is it going to be ready, along with scrunched up faces to imply that’s not what either of them had in mind, as you come dragging in from work.

Walking is for my physical health first and foremost, but also for my mental health, because I’m sure jail-time wouldn’t allow me the hair products necessary for my “delicate” mane, or the Revlon Orange-Flip lipstick that would PERFECTLY accessorize with that outfit. Rational thinking? I’d say so. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Hunter's Heaven Begins

I hear his truck as the pipes growl onto the drive-way, his feet are making fast action across the concrete carport, and as the storm door bursts open, his long, slender legs strike steps past me and through the house like he’s been set afire. I tried to ask the basic questions: How was your day? What’s the hurry? Where are you headed now? I got muffled replies smothered in shirt-changing, along with the weird sound of clinking coming from his bedroom, a swift breeze as he flew past me again, hollering “I’ll see you later”; and I was alone again.

Several hours later I would exit the back of the house from where I had been showering for bed, hearing faint noises coming from my kitchen. Now everyone in my house knows I am a self-declared scaredy cat, and if they come home and I am not where I can see them, they are to announce their presence so as not to scare the begeezus out of me.  That had not happened, but I always lock down the house when I’m alone, so I could only wonder as I crept softly towards the noise who or what it would be.

A scene right out of Criminal Minds is the first thing my eyes set sight on as I rounded the corner
from the dining room to the kitchen. Lined up on my kitchen counter next to the sink are round hunks, of what appeared to be, red raw-looking meat;  standing next to that sight, is my youngest son still dressed in the camo gear he left in, standing over the sink with running water, placing one hunk next to another as he washed them off.

My face is scrunched in that crazy-looking face that weak-stomached people have when looking at raw body parts as I ask, “What IS that, and why are you doing that here in my kitchen sink?”  Now I asked “what” it was he was cleaning while my over-imaginative mind was hoping it wasn’t a “who”.  Because those red, round pieces of raw meat looked like they could belong to a human just as much as they could have belonged to an animal.

I don’t know what you think you eat from a Dove, but it seems  all that most people eat is the breast; which is what I had been looking at: 13 teeny tiny dove breasts that looked about the size of chicken livers you see in the grocery store; packaged up, not on your kitchen bar.

Hunting season is upon the Mims home again. Break out the bullets and the bleach by the gallon to clean off my counter tops, sinks, and utensils. Until the big hunt of deer begins in November for Florida, everything else under the sun and in-season doesn’t stand a chance. One day it’s dove, the next it’s squirrel; my son’s bedroom looks like a hunting camp full of gear and guns. Fair Game = Fair Rule in our home: you kill it, you eat it.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

And The Fight Continues.....

I sat on my front porch glider this morning, holding my hot/cold plastic coffee mug, full of energizing and hot to the tongue liquid; I was soaking up the much anticipated and waited on, coolness in the air along with the smell of early burning chimneys and remnants of night-time bonfires. 

The mug was a high school graduation gift for my youngest son from one of his customer’s aka biggest fans; but it, with its antler rack on the front, has become a favorite of mine.  It usually reminds me of my son and his joy of any reason to hunt; but today, it makes me think of my girlfriend who loves to hunt as much as any man I know, and whose season this year has been lost to one of the biggest signs of Satan that exists.

The instant message comes across the screen, wanting to know am I busy and can I talk? I sent an answer right back that I am free and ask what is going on your way? The reply is a simple, “can I call?” And somehow, I already know this call is not going to be a normal, everyday, what’s going on, call. I wait in silent anticipation for my phone to ring; and then it does.

We go through the same ordinary greetings but I have become an expert in that tone, the one that carries a tremble with it, and a multi-layered range of fear. We have known each other so well, for so long, she takes the dive and plunges in, the words all but gurgling for air as she tries to speak them. My ears immediately began to reject what they were being asked to receive as she began with: “I haven’t told anyone yet, but I am calling to tell you, because I need your help getting the word out to everyone; I had my first chemotherapy treatment today.”

My brain is screaming so loud the roots of my hair are hurting, “How many more times will I pick up the phone and hear these words? How many more women that I love will have to live this horror story?

There will likely be no tree stands, no freezing mornings blowing smoke as she breathes, or struggles to remain silent and still this year. She will spend her time in a room, her body now owning an installed port that will pour poison in, trying to kill/run deadly poison off. 

Statistical odds say one in three women will be affected by breast cancer. Ladies, make your annual appointments, get your Mammograms. I hear women say they have no insurance; the Gadsden County Health Department can give you free referrals for mammograms at the Women’s Imaging Center.  The same type of program is offered in Leon County. There are no excuses, and never be ashamed to receive the treatment you need in order to live, that you cannot otherwise afford. Take control. Choose to be a survivor, not a victim of this horrible disease. Choose to live. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

♫ Kansas City, Kansas City Here I Come ♫

For years my husband continued to say he was going to retire when he turned sixty-two years old.  In spring of 2013, the company where he was employed for better than 32 years closed down. As it turned out, he would continue to work until January of 2014 as an overseer while the building was torn down and nothing but dirt and memories would remain.

February and March would pass and come to prove that staying at home was not his thing. Being “almost” retired was boring and he was about to go crazy sitting at home every day. He would all but take over the washing and drying, the yard work, and errand running; but that would not be enough to keep him busy. He began to scheme in his mind something he had randomly spoke of doing from time to time; until one day I came home and he was putting his idea into motion.

His last job in life has become for him to be a pilot car / escort service; and if there was a man in this world made to do that job it was him. He has always loved to ride, drive and talk, and not necessarily in that order. He would get his truck licensed, his signs made up, his truck decaled and business cards printed with his business name; Kornbread Pilot Car and Escort Service at your service.

Word got around and he began to get job offers here and there. Some runs would take most of a day, and a few would turn into an overnight stay. Now it’s not that he hadn’t done this kind of traveling before, because even with his prior job he used to travel pretty regularly. He’d be gone three days here or four days there, sometimes even a week and occasionally two weeks at the time; depending on the problem at hand.

Last week he landed a job that would take him to Garden City, Kansas; the other side of the world as far as I’m concerned.  Before when he traveled I would miss him, but I still had kids at home who kept me running and of course my own job as well. I didn’t have time to sit and think about much other than trying to run the circus by myself while he was gone. Life is different now, we still have one child who lives at home, but he’s here to sleep and eat, and some nights, not even that.

This experience was very different. My routine was the same; work, walking at the track, then home and a sandwich, because who wants to cook for one? And how many loads of clothes does one person really wash? I have some girlfriends who live alone, some by choice, some, sadly not. This week I learned that although I am a very independent person, I’m certainly not ready to be alone, nor do I think I ever will be; and he doesn’t need another Kansas run for a long, long time.