The Past Week Summarized

Their visit started with a harrowing drive through unfamiliar territory in driving rainstorms.  Most of the week–with the exception of Thursday morning–weather was perfect.  Discussion topics were myriad and any mean-spirited implications were in jest.

  • The $5000 mutt, changes to last will and testament being considered.
  • Trip to veterinarian by the 18th, before warranty ran out.  Since when did pets come with warranties?
  • New dog couldn’t be left alone–even on bathroom trips.
  • Kennel cough contagious to other dog.  Trip to vet–another $75.00.
  • Sibling rivalries–new dog problems were, alleged to be, all my fault.  Who was most popular in high school?
  • Childhood recollections: Playing in pig slop.  Mother’s cooking.  Favorite teachers? Who was most mischievous?
  • Discussed children, grandchildren–no great-grandchildren at this point.
  • Activities: Walked the new pier.  Visited Ft. Morgan historic site.  Toured scenic Bon Secour, Magnolia Springs.  Spent time at Dauphin Island beach and Sea Lab.  Visited National Naval Aviation Museum and Pensacola’s old town.  Stopped for ice cream–rainstorm struck while waiting under canopy.  Dined at favorite local restaurants. Bought pecans at a pecan farm.  Shopped for antiques and souvenirs.  Exchanged pleasantries and promises to visit each other in near future.

 

 

From the Sidelines

This week I will be entertaining first-time visitors to the area–my sister and brother-in-law.  Looking forward to their visit and showing them around.

My klutziness has been in full force this past week.  Starting with my dropping a jar of chili sauce in the supermarket.  Tonight, I accidently sprayed myself with mayonnaise at a local restaurant.

Maybe I needed to be put in “time out?”  In the meantime my posts will be sporadic.  I’ll be watching from the sidelines.

What Sisters Were For

Max is now seven.  He’s gotten a bit chunky, has slowed down; grunts when he rises or lays down.  A characteristic he adopted from his daddy.  Maggie, his canine sibling, is six–shows no signs of slowing down.  She goads him until he plays or grooms her.

Every morning we go for a walk.  Max isn’t as eager to go–especially in warmer weather.  Maggie is relentless, “C’mon brother, get up–it’ll be fun!”  She nudges-finally lays down beside him and rolls him over.

Max grunts, accented by intermittent snoring, “Let me sleep, please.”

He relents and out the front door we go.  Max rebels, the only way he knows how.  At the end of the driveway, he stops, sniffs the air; turns around.  “OK, I’m done, take me back to the house.”

When Maggie and I return, Max is once again ready to go.  So, I take him on a shorter walk, as time permits.  Maggie did her job by pestering her somewhat laggard older brother.  She’s mean to Max, but he still loves her.

“He Took the Last One–Part 2”

An updated re-blog from last January about kid logic.


Taking the last of anything held special significance.  An infraction among kids that deserved special punishment.

“Mom, Billy took the last chocolate chip cookie.”  It was even worse, if your sibling cried, and added, “I didn’t even get one cookie.”

“Sherry ate the last of the ice cream and didn’t tell anybody.”

How could the last of something be more important than the first of something?  It was a mystery of kid logic–like riding shotgun in the family sedan.  Window seats were also held in high esteem.

The proper procedure was to “call it” before anyone else.  “I got the window seat.”

“Bobby always gets the window seat.  It isn’t fair.  I don’t mind taking turns–but Bobby’s a cheater.”

Middle seat losers were subjected to pummeling from both sides, which led to parental intervention.

The worst was rearranged seating, with the complainer stigmatized by being forced to sit up front between both parents.

This could explain kid logic behind putting things away with micro-crumbs left in the package.  Being found out was too high a price to pay.

EVERY PARLOR NEEDS AN UNCLE BUBBA

victorian 3

When Aunt Gertrude and Uncle Bubba came to visit, the women went to the kitchen and talked about families, childbirth, and homemaking.  Uncle Bubba went to the parlor with Dad.  My sister, Grace and I, wandered between both settings.

Our parlor was Uncle Bubba’s debate forum.  There, surrounded by lace curtains, furnishings frozen in time from the Victorian era, Uncle Bubba held forth–starting with an inquiry as to the availability of home-baked delicacies.

Uncle Bubba was a big, guffawing, hulk of a man.  Aunt Gertrude was a prim and proper wisp of a woman–quiet and reserved.  Her salt-and-pepper hair was usually fixed in a bun.  Unlike her husband, Aunt Gertrude always saw the good in everything.

“It was on Merv Griffin yesterday–people depressed at Christmas, after Christmas, during winter, spring, and every other time of year.  Christmas blues, Post-Holiday blues, the “Boo-Hoo” blues, the “You and Me” blues–who believes that crap?  It’s just another excuse for people to not work and get on the public dole,” Uncle Bubba said.

“What’s everybody looking at me for?  Pardon me for being slow on the uptake. I get it, now.  If it was any of your dad gum business–which it ain’t; I injured my back at the meat-packing plant.  That’s why I can’t work anymore.”

“Nobody’s singling you out,” Dad said defensively.  “Uncle Bubba, who’s Merv Griffin?” Grace asked.  Dad’s stern expression said, “keep quiet.” But Grace went on, anyway.  “Depression is a serious mental illness.  Sometimes people fall into dark holes and can’t climb out without help.”  Grace was like mom–spoke what was on her mind.

“Drug companies are always looking for ways to make more money–that’s all I was saying.  Pretty soon, everybody’s going to be on feel-good pills.  Well, whatever–it was on one of them talk shows.  I don’t even try to keep up.  They’re all the same.  I mean, what other job is there–where you get paid for talking, and don’t have to know anything?”

Dinner guests meant kid shenanigans at the table.  Grace would stick a spoon on her nose; then I’d eat peas with my knife, until Mom or Dad gave us the “stink eye.”  We knew when and where, to not cross the line.  Then, Uncle Bubba concealed amusement with fake coughing attacks, excused himself from the table.

Uncle Bubba’s passion and rage was everywhere.  His lack of discernible skills, made drudgery last as long as possible.  It didn’t stop him from offering opinions on just about everything.  At least, it seemed that way to me, back then.

“Cream rises to the top.  Dregs sink to the bottom.  It’s that simple.”  Was I cream or dregs?  I always thought Uncle Bubba was talking about me.  Especially on the day, my foot slipped off the clutch of his old GMC pickup.  I hit a pothole so hard, the old truck bounced–Uncle Bubba’s head banged into the roof.  “Damn it, Son–you gotta’ be more careful,” was all he had to say.

He was my father’s brother.  They couldn’t have been more different.  My father was quiet and reserved.  Uncle Bubba was seldom, if ever, quiet.  My father was of average height and weight with a full shock of hair.  Uncle Bubba was portly, and bald as a billiard ball.  Could there have been a mix-up at the hospital when he was born?

I loathed working for him.  He was obstinate, stubborn, opinionated–couldn’t (or wouldn’t) communicate.  The only emotions expressed were frustration and rage.  I could never live up to his expectations.  It seemed, as if there were always better ways to do everything.  However, Aunt Gertrude was nice.  How had she ended up with him?

Sometimes the silence between dramatic pauses was too much to bear.  Then, I’d talk about anything and everything, just to break the silence.  Uncle Bubba never said anything about me being a “motor mouth.”  On those days, maybe he just didn’t feel like talking?

“You look like a polecat–with that white stripe in your hair.”  Uncle Bubba said, once, on Halloween.  I don’t think he ever knew or cared–that I was supposed to be Eddie Munster.

“Son, do you know Jesus?”  Uncle Bubba asked one day, right out of the blue.  “Yes, I learned about Jesus in Mrs. Hampton’s Sunday school class,” I answered.  I’d never known Uncle Bubba to be a religious man.  He threw around a few “damns” and “hells,” but never took the Lord’s name in vain.

“I want you to promise me that you’ll ask Jesus to forgive your sins.”  I’d never seen him so sincere–so, I promised that I would.  Was it because he never had a son?  He never said those exact words, but I think it was true.

George Henry Walsh was Uncle Bubba’s real name.  He was Grandma Mary’s son by another man.  The man’s name was never mentioned.  People in those days didn’t talk about such things.  Grandpa Joe raised him as if he were his own flesh and blood.

Uncle Bubba passed away on a gray November day in 1999.  There it was–inscribed in polished granite, plain as day: “George Henry ‘Bubba’ Walsh, Beloved Adopted Son of Joseph M. & Mary R. Walsh.”