The Great Quest For The Head Of The Possum or “I just wanted to poke it with a stick”

March 31, 2007

I used to live in town.  The entire world passed my door 3 times a day.  My front porch was one push-mower width away from the road.  Across the street was a small ravine with a creek running through it.  Just one of those little areas that couldn’t be built up.  Just behind the ravine was the local crack house.  It was empty except for the middle of the night when all the local crack heads used to come and use it. 

Now, I told you that story so I could tell you this story.(vague Ron White reference)  When we lived in town we had a cat named Psycho Kitty.  She lived outside.  Her food was on the porch.  It came to pass that several nights in a row Psycho Kitty would fight with something over her food.  In the morning there would be much loose fur floating around on the porch.  Some of it was NOT Psycho Kitty’s.  It was beginning to fret me.  But try as I might, I couldn’t seem to catch sight of what PK was fighting with. 

Then one night I got lucky.  It was autumn and I had left the inside door open and the fighting began.  I ran to look and almost wet my pants.  It was a possum.  Holy crap!  Do you know how big those jokers are?  The only ones I had ever seen before were about an inch and a half tall because they were dead in the road and pretty mushed.  This thing was alive and as big as a medium sized dog!!!!!  I couldn’t believe they were that big!  And my cat was fighting with it!  And winning!!!!!!!! 

Now, Mr. Possum wasn’t remotely concerned with me.  I stomped, I yelled, I banged on the door.  It glanced at me once,  gauged my sincerity, and dismissed me completely.  Hurt my feelings something terrible.  Mostly because at that moment he was right.  I wasn’t about to come out that door.  I was in too much shock about how big that rascal was.  It did however, set a wheel in motion.  When this happens, it’s almost never a neutral thing.   (see Haircut post)

PK took care of things, Mr. Possum ate what he could and moseyed away.  He really did mosey too.  Only time I’ve ever seen anything mosey in real life.  He came back several more times.  Taunting me.  However, the wheels were spinning now.  It was only a matter of time.  I was working out a plan.  And this time……..it was personal.

The night finally arrived to put my plan in motion.  The Great Quest For The Head Of The Possum began.(now, I realize that really this was a quest for the butt of the possum, but the great quest for the butt of the possum just didn’t have the same ring, so I used poetic license here)  The whole idea was this.  I was going to go sit on the porch on a high stool that we had.  With a big ol stick.  I would be very quiet.  I would wait for Mr. Possum.  Being a dumb animal he would never divine my presence.  Then, while he was happily eating PK’s food, I would poke him in the nether regions with said big ol stick.  Thus scaring the living bejesus out of him, humiliating him, and discouraging him from coming back, red faced, onto my porch to eat in future. 

However, I happened to notice in our previous meeting that Mr. Possum had some nasty looking little teeth.  So, along with my large stick, I also had a small firearm, just in case Mr. Possum took exception to being poked in the nether regions with a stick.  You know, he might get testy on me.  He might also have rabies or something.  And he was picking on PK.  And I was mad.  And I was me.  And he had pissed me off with that look.

So, My Dearest Husband goes for a boys night out, and I put my plan in motion.  The Great Quest is on.  I slide outside on the porch with all my paraphernalia and sit quietly. Waiting.  I’m patient.  I’m slick.  I’m cool.  I’m congratulating myself on my brilliant plan.  I’m chuckling to myself about the look of embarrassed horror Mr. Possum will have when that big ol stick is half way to heaven with me on the other end ………..when suddenly I hear loud banging and loud voices.  They seem to be coming from the house just past the crack house. 

Sure enough, there is a feisty gentleman outside of that house banging on it with much force while simultaneously shouting to the folks inside about a certain kind of mayhem he would like to perpetrate against them if they would just come outside!  Dang!  This just might put a kink in my plan!  He sure is making a lot of noise!  Then many, many police cars arrive with sirens and lights.  Policemen begin to issue from them in alarming numbers.  There are folks on megaphones.  There is shouting from the feisty gentleman.  There is shouting from the inside folks who have now come outside.

Suddenly,  the crack-house comes to life.  About twenty occupants decide that now is the time to decamp.  They all make a beeline for the ravine across the street from my porch, where I am sitting, patiently awaiting Mr. Possum with my big ol trusty stick. 

I find myself faced with a dilemma.  I fear that if the crackheads see me there, they will assume that I have alerted the authorities to their presence in the crack-house, thus wrongly developing ill feelings towards me.  Do I sit quietly hoping that they will not notice me?  Or do I haul natural ass inside the house, bolt the doors, and hope for the best?  As I sit there, frozen with fear, trying to decide what to do, the crack heads crawl out of the ravine one by one and scurry off into the darkness, until there is only one left.  I can hear him shuffling around down there in the dry leaves. 

Now is my chance.  I jump up, run into the house and lock the door.  But now……..I can’t see him!  What if he sneaks up on me?  I have to watch for him!  So I go to the dining room window, open it, put on my glasses, get down on my knees and peek out.  I’m watching across the street at the ravine.  Ha!  Can’t sneak up on me now!

And this is where My Dearest Husband’s headlights find me as they sweep across the front of the house on his way into the driveway.  He comes in the front door and this is how it goes:

My Dearest Husband😦in singsong voice modulated to calm lunatic) Hi Honey.  Whatcha doin on your knees lookin out the dining room window like that?

Me: Trying to poke a possum with a stick.

I think it sort of lost something in the translation.

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Introductions

March 31, 2007

I thought maybe it was time for me to introduce you to my family.  We are the typical blended family.  Well, we’re not so much blended as pureed.  (that word looks so misspelled it’s pitiful, but the free on-line dictionary assures me that it is correct so think bad thoughts at them if it’s not) 

First there is me, AKA Red.  We won’t go into the other things I’m called.  It would be way too easy and for the most part this is a semi family oriented site.  I’m the one in the “About me” page.  Click on it, I was being pretty honest that day. 

Then there is My Dearest Husband.  He is my first and only husband.  The only man I ever wanted to marry.  He Rocks.  He’s DA MAN!  He says he married me just to see what would happen next.  He is one of the last truly good guys left.  We are friends with the most of the rest of them.  Anyway, he puts up with me.  That would be past the limits of most men, but he seems to enjoy it most of the time.  Which probably brings his sanity or at least his judgement into question.  But that’s OK with me.  Cuz, if he was sane, he probably wouldn’t be married to me and then I would be all sad and shit and not nearly as amusing and you wouldn’t be here reading this and (we could go on and on here but you get the idea).  He is DROP dead gorgeous, incredibly intelligent, down to earth, fun, funny, and my very best friend in the whole wide world.  He is every other beat of my heart. 

Then there is Possum.  She is my husband’s daughter with his first wife.  I adopted her.  She’s 16.  She’s just coming out of that surly, angry, enraged, snotty teenaged angst.  She is also drop dead gorgeous.  She is growing more and more concerned about people and situations outside of herself.  She is very good at giving advise,  and the advise is usually very rational and down to earth.  She is smart, funny, fun, down to earth, snotty,(OK she didn’t come out of everything) and every inch an almost 17 year old girl.  I’m kinda proud of that.  I’m happy to have been part of every minute I got to spend with her.  And like every good mother, I’m already beginning to develop my selective memory regarding her teenage years.  (bless my mom’s heart, she tells me all the time what a good kid I was!!!!!  LOLOL  even I know better than THAT!)  She is rapidly turning into a beautiful, self confident, independent woman.  It makes me very proud.  It also makes me want to drop to the floor, grab her leg and beg her to stop growing up right this minute! 

Next we have Buddha.  He is my grandson.  His mother is my daughter with the man I lived with before I married my husband.  He’s 11.  He grew three pants sizes in two weeks.  You think I’m exaggerating.  I’m not.  One second he was a size 10 slim.  Five thousand dollars worth of groceries(ok, now I’m exaggerating) and two weeks later we had to go out and buy him all new clothes.  Size 16.  REGULAR!!!!  WTF????  I thought all that banging in his room was him pretending to be a rock star or something.  Turns out it was him growing!  He is very smart, with a sly, dry sense of humor.  He’s thoughtful, but if you tell anyone, he will deny it.  He is incredibly handsome, tall, built like brick shit-house but hides it under baggy clothes like all the other boys his age.  We laugh at the stoopidest things.  We make up stories like….Remember when we were kids and we lived in New York and our mom used to take us to Yankee games?  It’s crazy but we like it and it makes everyone else look at us like we’re nuts.  Makes it even funnier.  He is turning into a thoughtful, sensitive, caring, sweet young man.  I want to grab his leg and beg him to stop growing up too. I’m going to start sneaking into his room at night and rubbing Crisco on his head.  Why, you ask?  Because, it’s shortning!!!!! LOLOLOL  I crack myself up sometimes!

Then there is Bella.  She is my granddaughter.  Also my daughter’s child.  Different father from Buddha.  She’s 8.  She’s too smart for all our good.  She’s 15 steps ahead of all of us.  She is as beautiful as an angel, and mean as a snake.  We like to remind people that the devil was the most beautiful angel in heaven.  You have to keep your wits about you around Bella.  She is the sweetest child on earth, until you make her angry.  Then God help you.  She has no natural stops.  And no indicators of when she’s mad until you get to know her…..well.  She is remarkably helpful.  She helped me allllllllll day once.  When I finally stopped shaking, dried my tears and crawled out of the corner, I called my mom and apologized for helping her when I was little.  They call Bella Red Jr.  I’m not sure why.   >looks at ceiling all innocent like<  She likes to hear stories about the old days and what it was like when I was young.  She is interested in finding out about everything under the sun.  She writes songs and sings like a pro.  Bella is funny, and sweet, smart and tough, and her sense of humor mirrors mine.  Nuff said.

And last but certainly not least we have DeeDee.  Our puppy.  She’s an insane clown puppy.  She’s a nut.  She’s adorable and smart.  She covers her face with her paws if you say daddy farted.  She puts her toys away better than the kids.  Her toilet habits are far and away better than the kids’.  Except for that butt licking thing.  I’m trying to break the kids of that but……….lol  just kidding.  She sticks her nose in the air if you tell her she’s rich.  She thinks she is a kid just like the rest of them and can’t understand why she can’t eat at the table.  Kinda makes me feel like an abuser when I put her food in a bowl and make her eat on the floor.  I fully expect to see her on the commode one day. 

So that’s us.  We’re usually pretty nice.  Stretched so thin we’re transparent most of the time.  Probably pretty much like you.  Last night we set up all the empty plastic bottles we’ve been saving (fifty some at last count) and were bowling in the hall.  You do that too, right?  ……..Right????


Help!

March 31, 2007

I have this poem floating through my head and I can’t remember all of it and I have NO idea who wrote it.  I can’t find out what the rest of it is if I can’t remember the name of the poem, or the author.  Help me!!!!!!!  PLEASE!!!!  It’s driving me crazy!!!!!!  *sob*  This is what I can remember of it……..and I can’t guarantee that the words are even right but the gist of it is correct.

When you are home from the long road and the open sky

I wish it would be my house that you are passing by

I wish it would be my house where you would sit down

and tell your tales of the land and sea and the strange far town

Oh come you from the eastward, or come you from the west

Here’s good cheer to greet you and welcome of the best

Oh come you with your pockets full or come you home poor

Here’s a place by the fireside and an open door.

You’ll tell me where you’ve been since and the things you’ve seen

Up and down the wide world where so long you’ve been

………………That’s all I’ve got.  But there’s more….something about a storm……….criminy!

Anyone?  ANYONE????????????


OPC – Raising Other People’s Children or How to lose your mind in 20 ways

March 29, 2007

I still get a lot of hits on this post and from the looks of it these are serious inquiries from people looking for help on the internet search engines.  We live in a different world from the one I grew up in.  Good, bad or indifferent, I did most of my growing up with my mother and father together.  I don’t know what it’s like to be raised by someone other than my parents. 

When my parents divorced, it was difficult.  Even though I knew it was for the best, it was painful and confusing.  I’m sure it felt the same for them.  But I was still raised by my mother after that.  I spent a great deal of time with my grandparents but I wasn’t raised by them. 

So when I try to imagine what it must feel like for my grandchildren to wake up everyday without their parents, I can’t.  I know what it’s like for them to live here with me, but I don’t know what it’s like for them not to live with their core family. I’ve never been there. 

It must be incredibly lonely.  It must be incredibly painful.  And while I can’t understand what it feels like, I do understand why they wake up everyday wishing I was someone else.  If I was in their position I would feel the same. 

I was having a pity party in the last post.  Sometimes I have to do that.  When you are raising other people’s children, you must occasionally be selfish.  You must occasionally think about yourself.  Because it does get very difficult.  As much as they love you, care about you, need you, want you, you will never be their parent.  All of your thanks and appreciation will come in later years when and if they have their own children and they find out what it takes to say no when all you want to do is say yes. 

I have no advice to offer about how to do this successfully.  Our lives are a work in progress.  We learn everyday.  All I can tell you is to be honest about what is going on.  Don’t be judgmental about their parents, but don’t let them off the hook for anything they did to put the kids where they are.  It’s a tightrope walk over salted broken glass.  Without a net.  When it’s good, nothing could be better.  When it’s bad, nothing could be worse.  All in all, the good times outnumber the bad 10 to 1.  I’d consider it well worth it if they outnumbered them 6 to 5. 

Not long ago my grandson, Buddha, told me that I had no idea what it felt like to be him.  I had no idea what it felt like to want to be like everyone else and want to fit it.  I had to admit that I had absolutely no idea what it felt like to be him.  The world is a totally different place than it was when I was his age.  But that I did know what it felt like to want to fit in.  But by the same token, he had no idea what it felt like to be me.  He had no idea what it felt like to be standing there saying no when what I really wanted to do was say yes. 

We then had a discussion about how we had both been cheated out of our natural roles.  He was supposed to be my grandson, to be spoiled by me and then sent home to his parents.  I was supposed to be his grandma, the place he came to, to get some extra cash and some of those things that mom and dad were a little iffy on.  But due to bad decisions made by other people, we were forced into the roles of mother and son.  We were cheated.  And we are angry.  But not at each other.  At the situation.  It’s taken us three years to get to this point.  Like I said, we’re a work in progress.

I have taken to answering the “You’re not my mom” accusation with the obvious answer.  No, I’m not.  Then when they want to go somewhere, I suggest they ask their mom.  When they want some money, I suggest they ask their mom.  When they want to do something special, I suggest they ask their mom.  I don’t hear that one much anymore.  Usually only when someone is very upset.  It’s an indicator of how bad they’re feeling.  I usually perk up and start asking questions when this one pops back up. 

I just don’t know.  Send me an email, add a comment or something.  We’ll try to figure it out together.  It’s a hard place to be for everyone involved.  But it’s a more and more common place to find yourself.  You’re not alone.  When you feel like screaming, there are a thousand more of us out there right now feeling the same way.  When you feel like quitting, there are a thousand more of us ready to give up too.  When you feel like pulling your hair out, we are ready to go bald ourselves ( I don’t suggest this, as that look is most definately NOT for everyone).  

You think you’re going crazy and then one of them walks up out of the blue and hugs your neck for no reason and you start all over again.  Then you think that maybe, just maybe, you can show them a new way.  A better way.  Or at least just give them a better option.  And it makes it worth it.  That, and the occasional unguarded smile.


Dr. Seuss was just outside my house!

March 27, 2007

I’m having one of those days.  Those blah days.  Everything is slow and dim.  I’ve got no energy.  I can’t focus on anything.  I’m sitting in my lazygirl recliner when I happen to notice movement outside of the large window light next to the front door. 

For those of you who don’t know, window lights are those long narrow windows that flank the front door on older houses.  I’m taking poetic license here, using that term, but it’s my blog world and I can do that if I want to, so Nanny Nanny Boo Boo! 

I look outside and what do I see?  The truest Dr. Seuss stack of stuff I’ve ever seen in real life.  It’s all based on a rocking chair, followed by an ice chest on wheels, etc, etc!  It’s rocking back and forth, it’s teetering, it’s tottering, it’s dittering, it’s dottering!  And leaves are falling all around it.  Am I dreaming?  Am I hallucinating?  Are all those bad choices I made in the 70’s coming back to haunt me? 

I walk to the door, open it and look up.  At the very tippiest toppiest of the whole thing is my grandson,  gently weaving back and forth, pulling leaves out of the rain gutter.  I was actually surprised to see that he wasn’t wearing a red and white striped top hat. 

He was retrieving the tennis ball.  The ladder leaning up against the tree 10 feet away never occurred to him.  (insert screwball face here)  I swear sometimes when I’m having a bad day these kids are the only thing standing between me and a coma.


Haircuts

March 25, 2007

OK, let me preface this by saying that I might be just a little bit nuts.  Maybe more than just a little bit.  Maybe a lot.  Maybe a whole lot.  And maybe not just maybe.  It’s pretty much a well know fact. 

And I don’t like getting my hair cut.  I don’t like it at all.  It’s been so long since I got my hair cut that it’s gone out of style, back in style, out, in, out, and back in again.  Then it stopped being a style. 

When I got older I started pulling it up in a pony tail.  Not only did that get it out of my eyes and off of my neck, but it also had the added extra benefit of pulling those pesky wrinkles  laugh lines out of my face.  (This is also the reason I’m fat…..it fluffs out my face and smooths out those um……grooves) 

Well, I have recently become able to dye my hair again – another story altogether.   I always maintained that when I started to go grey no one would ever again see my natural hair color.  Did you know that hair dye doesn’t cover grey hair?  Me either!  (insert sad face here)  But the red dye worked out well and my dearest husband said that it suited my personality.  I chose to take that as a compliment about my spunky personality as opposed to a not so complimentary remark about my admitted tendency towards bitchiness. 

So, I dyed my hair red.  Then I hated the way it looked.  Not the color, but the fact that it looked the same as always.  It’s spring.  I feel kinda good.  Sap is rising in the trees, buds are popping out on the branches, and I wanted a change.  So I completely lost my mind – not a really large stretch here – popped out my trusty scissors, and started to destroy my hair.  Did a bang up job of it too!  Looked pretty much like most of the Barbie dolls laying around the house.  Except I have both legs and arms and I wasn’t naked.  I was laying abandoned on the floor for a while, but then I got up and put what was left of my hair back up in a hair-bow and debated on whether or not I could wait out the time it would take for it to grow back out. 

Not really.  It was pretty bad.  Even for me.  So I did what I usually do when I make a REALLY bad decision about something that I can’t take back.  I sat on it for about 2 weeks and let it stew.  Not my head, just the decision about what to do.  Although if I had sat on my head in the first place I wouldn’t have been in this pickle!  But that is neither here nor there.  I’m just not that limber anymore anyway. 

So for 2 weeks I kept telling myself and everyone else that I did it on purpose.  (yall knew I didn’t.  We’ve met.  You know me better than that.)  And I had to tell myself that I was going to have to get my hair cut.  Took me that whole 2 weeks and a couple of false starts to actually get it done.  Chickened out twice. 

Finally my dearest husband tricked me into going to Lowe’s with him and then kinda lulled me into the salon.  He knows how to work me sooo well!  I would be so pathetic without him.  Bless that poor stylists heart!  The look of shock on her face was priceless.  But she was totally up to the challenge.  I won’t even fault her for telling me that I really “gakked up my head”.  Gakking was the least of what I did to it.  She actually told me that I would have been better off letting my dearest husband cut it!  Little did she know how right she was. 

So I sucked up the fussing she gave me.  I let her cut lots and lots and lots of my hair off.  I felt naked and vulnerable.  And none of it was in the fun way either.  But when it was all said and done, it’s the first haircut I’ve ever had in my life that I liked when I walked out the door.  And I don’t even feel bad about having to promise not to tell anyone who did it until we get it fixed for real. 

Now,  if I could just do something about this spare tire I have………


Sunsets…Or Life’s a Beach….Or Reminiscences…Or Sumpin

March 23, 2007

We grew up on the beach.  When you get right down to it, the place we grew up couldn’t have been better.  We could sit on our front porch in the barber chairs our dad put there(they were awesome!) and watch the sunset over Lake Michigan every night.  It was never the same and it never got old.  I don’t remember any of us just passing it by.  No matter how young.  We lived across the street from a playground that took up an entire block.  It had one house on one corner.  The rest of the block was playground.  It had two swing-sets, monkey bars, merry go round, sand box, 2 slides, parallel bars, baseball diamonds, basketball court, blooper-ball field(if you don’t know what blooper ball is, that’s another story altogether), horseshoe pits, shuffleboard courts, tether-ball poles, and last but certainly not least………the greenhouse. 

Now the greenhouse was  not the kind of greenhouse that you grow plants in.  It was literally a green cinderblock building.  It had a boys’ and a girls’ bathroom and a storage room.  In the storage room was kept tons of board games, craft supplies, balls, gloves, cards, toys.  All the things you would need to play at the park.  Each summer after school let out the Parks and Recreation Department hired teenagers to staff the neighborhood parks.  All the neighborhood kids came and “signed up”,  then each day they came and played at the park.  There was supervision by the hired teenager plus the older kids always looked after the younger ones.  We signed out whatever we were going to use at the time and signed it back in when we were done. There was a break in the middle of the day for lunch, and at the end of the day we went home.

We didn’t tear up the toys and equipment because if we did, we didn’t have anything to play with for the rest of the summer.  We didn’t fight with each other because all the kids in the neighborhood played there.  If we fought we couldn’t come back and we would end up spending our summer alone.  We took care of each other. 

Maybe part of it was that the town we grew up in was a tourist town.  It was a resort town with a marina.  One of those places where back in the day the wealthy would come and spend the summer months in a resort hotel.  Vast gingerbread buildings with Caribbean colors sitting on winding streets leading to the creamy sand beaches of Lake Michigan.  Water so clear and clean you can stand up to your neck in it and see your toes on the bottom. 

And cold!  Good God a’mighty!  I remember when we used to ride our bikes down to the pier in the morning to see what the water temperature was.  They posted the water temp and the flag color on the side of a building near the pier every day.  When the temp got up around 74 degrees, we were in heaven!  We considered it warm as toast then.  Can you imagine?  That glacial water, freezing cold.  We used to get so cold playing in it that we would have to come out and lay in the sun to warm up, just so we could get back in it again! 

The flags told you if it was safe to swim.  Green flag was safe, yellow flag meant be careful, and red flag meant there was an undertow.  Even when we were very young we never even considered going into the water when the red flag was up.  And if it was yellow flag, we just played at the park.    

Anyway, strangers were part of our lives.  There were always strangers around.  So we had to be aware.  Not frightened but attentive.  Not because strangers were a bad thing, but because strangers were our business.  They might need directions, or help or something.  We answered questions all day long.  Where is the park?  Where is the river?  Where is the beach?  Where is the marina?  Where is the pier?  Where is the lighthouse? 

I’ve never known anyone else in my life who could spend time with Amish kids, German kids, Mexican kids, Danish kids and American kids all at the same time in one afternoon and it be a normal thing.  We did that every day of every summer.  From the time we could talk, we could talk to anyone. 

Within a few blocks of our park there was a Catholic Church, a Baptist Church, a Methodist Church, and a Presbyterian Church.  We all played together at the park.  We all sang each others songs to jump-rope.  We asked each other questions about our religions.  The Catholic Priest showed horror movies and Little Rascals for free in the basement of the church on Saturday mornings.  I used to love to go to the Nunnery across the street from the Catholic Church and talk to the Sisters there.  They always looked so pretty in their habits.  We didn’t have anything like that at the Baptist Church. 

And bless their hearts, no matter how many times I came knocking on their door asking them questions, they were never rude to me and they never threw me out.  Not even the time that I asked Father Berger if his housekeeper was his wife.  *giggle*  It sure did cause an awful lot of agitation though! 

I noticed that the sisters wore wedding bands once and asked them about it.  And when they told me that they were married to Jesus, I asked them if I could see that big ol bed they had in there.  I figured it must be awful big to hold all those sisters and Jesus too!  After that, we talked to each other on the front porch. 

At the end of the summer, all of the parks in town would get together at our park for what was called the Penny Carnival.  It was an all day event.  Each park had several booths that they set up and for a penny you could do whatever was done at each booth.  You could go fishing, get a kiss(not very PC these days but back then it was still ok), you could do all kinds of fun things.  My favorite was the jewelry booth.  Not because I liked the jewelry booth itself, but because I liked going around to all the big houses along the beach road and asking all those nice old ladies if they had any old jewelry they would like to donate to the Penny Carnival.  I did it every year.  Now that I think about it, I believe that they would go out and buy costume jewelry and save it for me every year, because all those lonely old ladies would keep me at their houses for ages talking and having tea and cookies.  I would primp and hold my pinkie up like I saw on TV.  If I got a really nice piece of jewelry from one house, I would real quick like put it on before I got to the next house and pretend I was rich or something.  I’m pretty sure it was quite entertaining for those ladies to see me coming every year.  They probably couldn’t wait to see what was coming next!

The jewelry booth was a big hit every year at the Penny Carnival because it was pure profit.  It cost them nothing for me to go out gathering it up, and we sold all of it every year!  You could play games and win tickets that you could trade for prizes that were all set up on the bleachers.  There were things to eat, games to play, prizes to get!  It was all the good things rolled into one!  Everyone in town came to the Penny Carnival.  It was a combination of all the parks in town.  It was HUGE!  It was exciting!  It was festive!

The only bad thing about it was……it meant the end of summer.  It was the last thing we did before the greenhouses closed down. 

All that was left was walking on the beach, watching the sunset, spending the last days of summer squeezing every last drop of fun we could out of them.  Spinning on the porch in daddy’s barber chairs until midnight.  Drinking our homemade sodas that momma got us from the Jewel Tea man.  Laughing, picking on each other, singing songs to the eight track, making chalk Z’s on everything in sight with our ever so cool Zorro sword, riding our mini bike at night, climbing trees, jumping off the roof(don’t tell our mom about this one or she’ll whip us good!). 

When we talk about these things with each other now, I sometimes think that it’s halfway done to convince ourselves that it was really true.  Because it couldn’t possibly be that way now.  Nowhere in this world could it be that way now.  As Roland of Gilead said…..The world has moved on.


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