Sunday Morning Bliss

When I was a little girl, I went to church every Sunday with my parents. Church, for me, is pretty important for obvious reasons, but what I really love, is that every time I smell the inside of the church I attend with my husband, as I walk through the door, I am flooded by memories.

But not of this church.

Or my parent’s church.

But my grandmother’s church.

A little country church that my grandmother has gone to her entire life. A church where, as a little girl, she would sneak in and swim in the baptismal pool behind the church on scorching hot Mississippi summer days.

A church that my grandfather helped renovate and rebuild many years later.

A place where I feel closer to God than any place on earth, and can still feel my grandfather’s calloused brick mason’s hands as he would lead me inside. I can still see the mud on my little white, lace trimmed gloves, and I can still feel the weight of my little patent leather pocketbook that I would fill up with dozens of pretty rocks that I would find out in the gravel parking lot before the service.Screen Saver 427

I can still hear my sweet grandmother singing “Just as I Am” so terribly off-key that, even as a child, I knew those notes were definitely not right.

I can still hear Brother Floyd’s booming voice as he taught about Heaven and Hell from the pulpit, making me jump when his voice would get louder and louder as he was making his point.

And I can feel the hardness of the wooden pew as I would adjust and readjust to keep my butt cheeks from going to sleep. I am convinced people made those pews so uncomfortable simply so that no one would fall asleep during the service.

But church wasn’t always entertaining for a child, so I would find ways to amuse myself. I’d draw on the bulletin that was handed to my mother as we walked in the sanctuary. I would play “I Spy” with myself and try to go through the entire alphabet trying to match items with letters.

Or, as I did one particular Sunday morning, got up from the front pew and proceeded to do somersaults down the center of the aisle. My mother was mortified, and my grandmother, who was also the organist, just laughed.

Luckily, this was also a church where 99% of the congregants are related to me somehow because the town is so small, so no one was really surprised when I did that.

As an adult, I no longer do somersaults down the aisle (although there ARE a few rocks in my purse), but I have come to realize that no matter where I go, or what church I attend, I know my love for the church started there.

And that is a very good memory, indeed.

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When in Key West, Beware of the Gherkin Patch

I have a tiny bladder. It’s kind if embarrassing to admit this, but since it has to deal with the rest of this story, so be it.

I have to go so much that my brother-in-law, who is a urologist, thought I might be diabetic. Considering my love for sweets, all things mostly made of carbs, and the fact that I’m a self-called starchitarian (the bready sister to being a vegetarian), it made perfect sense.

The other reason could be because of how much water I drink a day. I drink a LOT of water.

Dale has gotten quite used to my pee-pee dance movements and knows exactly when he needs to help me find a place to go.

Today, we were by the pool at our hotel in Key West, when nature called. I had just downed an entire bottle of SmartWater (I’m not sure that stuff really works because I actually feel kinda stupid for paying $3 for a bottle of water) when I realized I needed to GO.

I was about to pop and the long walk back to our room seemed like the distance of a half marathon. I asked one of the ladies if there was a restroom nearby.

“Sure. It’s upstairs on the top deck”.

I jumped up, put on my flip flops and bolted up the stairs…completely missing the sign that said “Clothing Optional Deck.”

Just so you know, clothing is not optional for me. It’s actually pretty much a requirement. I mean, I even jump in the pool at least wearing a bathing suit – sometimes even with one of those sun shirts on. Clothing for me isn’t optional. It’s a necessity.

However, for the folks hanging out on the “clothing optional deck,” it was VERY much an option for them.

A couple of them giggled at my obvious discomfort as I choked on air when I realized where I was. Men who were clearly registered AARP members were letting it “all hang out.” The sheer amount of women’s boobs just flopping around put a strip club to shame. (Okay. Maybe I’m jealous because my boobs don’t flop. They are so small they don’t move at ALL) but that is completely beside the point.

Regardless, seeing boobs and everything else out in the open when all I wanted to do was find a bathroom really messed me up. I tried being discreet but ended up looking like Stevie Wonder while trying to open the bathroom door.

“My eyes! My eyes!” I thought, thinking I might have damaged my retinas.

After I did my business I sat in the stall a few more minutes trying to figure out how to get out of there without making another scene of myself. I pulled my hat way down over my face like the character “Dumb Donald” from Fat Albert, put on my glasses, flew out the door and beelined it towards the stairs.

Dale asked me where I had been for so long and I told him I got held up in the gherkin patch that doubled as a nude sun deck upstairs.

Dale doubled over with laughter. After a while my blood pressure finally returned to normal but the red in my face stayed…and it wasn’t from sunburn.

So even though I didn’t show my girlie parts on the sun deck today, I’m not going to be at the pool tomorrow. I think I’ll head on over to the beach instead.

Because I’d much rather my skin blister from running through scalding hot sand to get to the bathroom than have to ever witness another wiener roast.

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RUDE!!!

There’s one thing in this world that I absolutely will not tolerate…and that is rude people.

When I say hello to someone, is it really all that difficult to say hello back? If I smile, or say good morning, or just compliment someone, is it too hard to reply?

Or am I just overreacting?

We were leaving a store one afternoon when a gentleman and his wife were also coming out. He held the door for me so I said “Thank you!”

He looked at his wife, smiled, and said to me “That’s what I love about the South. We are from Boston and no one ever says ‘thank you.’”

I told him that generally if I hold the door for someone and they don’t acknowledge me, I will usually say “OH YOU’RE WELCOME!!!” as cheery and loudly as I possibly can. Most of the time they will reply with a very meek, “Oh, thank you.”

Many times they just ignore me.

His wife laughed and said that she did the same. I asked her if her husband got as embarrassed at her as mine does. He said he was worried she’d get in a fist fight some day because someone wasn’t going to take too well to her schooling them.

But sometimes it’s just too much for me to take.

Last night, for example, Dale and I went to Macaroni Grill to pick up some take-out. It was raining so he dropped me off at the front door so I could scoot in and not get too soaked. As I was getting out of the car I noticed a woman on the phone walking towards the restaurant.

As I would normally do, I opened the door and held it for her to come in.

SHE DID NOT EVEN LOOK AT ME. She kept chatting on her cell phone as she came on through the door.
Dale said as he sat in the car and watched her do this and thought to himself, “Oh no you didnnnn’t. You don’t know my wife.”

This particular restaurant has two sets of double doors going into the restaurant, and while I held the door for her on the first set, I did NOT on the second set.

Dale said that since she was gabbing on the phone, she wasn’t paying attention and walked face first into the door.

I, however, didn’t notice.

I was already at the counter telling the cook “thank you” for my meal.

Careful How You Hang Those Christmas Lights

In the South, you can always tell that Christmas is getting closer simply by the noticing the amount of Christmas lights on people’s homes that are actually turned ON, not just the ones that are usually left hanging on the house year round.

My husband and I were taking the kids and my in-laws to Lake Lanier Islands to see the “Night of Lights”, where you drive in your car, turn your radio to a certain station to hear coordinated Christmas songs, and watch the amazing light display that Lake Lanier is famous for.

We were all in the car, laughing and talking about the upcoming holidays, when we drove by a few houses that had lights all over, and several of those blow up decorations including Yoda decked out in a Santa suit and elves riding on a see-saw. (It’s just not Christmas without seeing something like that.) Multi-colored lights were thrown up in the trees; the owners clearly hoping for a beautiful, artsy effect with minimal effort.

As we drove by another display, however, our SUV to come to a screeching halt.

My husband and I saw it first. We looked at each other, kind of in shock. I choked on my diet Coke. He screamed out “Oh My God did you see that???”

My in-laws thought we had run over a small animal. They asked what was wrong so we did a U-turn in the middle of the road, drove 100 feet back down the road and did another U-turn.

Then, this is the display we saw:

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Okay, so I can reasonably imagine that you are having the same reaction that we did. (Thankfully, the kids just saw colorful Christmas lights through their virgin eyes and they just thought we were laughing at how pretty the lights were).

Was this a joke?

Nope.

This was simply a too-many-Budweisers-Christmas-light-throwing-in-the-tree blooper. To add to the visual enjoyment, the limbs were swaying in a light breeze giving it a nice life-like effect.

So people, please, if you are going to hang Christmas lights by randomly tossing them into the trees, do a quick drive by, so that people don’t think your home is a brothel.

But I must say that the entertainment value was priceless….and a year later, we are still laughing about it.

The South Is Getting A Bad Rap, Y’all

Recently, while resting at home after spraining my foot, I turned on the TV just in time to be sucked into the time warp that is known as “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.” Now for those of you who have not seen this new TLC show, it is a reality show following a very witty 7-year-old beauty pageant participant and her outgoing and hilarious family.

They are from McIntyre, GA (purely coincidental. No relation here). They live in a house by the railroad tracks. They eat pasta with butter and ketchup. They go muddin’ for fun. They are what I would call “country”.

And I have to admit… I absolutely love it.

I loved it so much I set the DVR to record every show so I could watch the entire season from start to finish.

I’m from the South, too, so I could actually understand what they were saying through the heavy drawls. I didn’t need the sub-titles that someone not from the South would need. I laughed at their antics and their family bickering. I loved how they don’t have much, but they laugh at each other, they encourage each other, and they clearly love each other.

It was fantastic, but it also made me start thinking. This is partially the reason that folks who are not from around here would think that Southerners are all rednecks. There are so many movies and TV shows portraying people in the South in a not-so-good light.

Think about it.

First, there’s “Deliverance”, which is about four city fellows who decide to go white water rafting and end up being chased and vilified by some freaky, banjo playing backwoods hillbillies. I am certain that this movie has deterred many city folk away from the thought of camping in the great outdoors.

Then you have “Gone With The Wind” which, of course, is a Southern favorite since Margaret Mitchell was from Atlanta. But it revolves around the Civil War, slavery, and spoiled Southern plantation girls who will do anything to get their way. Not a very good way to look at the South.

And what person came up with the idea to have a “Real Housewives of Atlanta?” Seriously? I don’t even know what to say about that show except that it’s about as real as saying that “Jersey Shore” is representing everyone in New Jersey.

I could go on and on, as there is a never ending misrepresentation of people from the South.

But I can tell you that if you’ve never visited the south, you’ve missed out on “Southern Hospitality”, sweet tea, Coca Cola, Spanish moss hanging from the trees, BBQ ribs and fried chicken, great music (and I don’t mean the dualing banjos) – Nashville is known for country music, and Atlanta is considered “hip-hop’s center of gravity” according to the New York Times. The cost of living is lower, and people say “yes sir” and “please”, and it’s really a nice place to be.

Many people can think that the South is backwards and redneck, and I have to say that a lot of that is true.

But at least we can say that we don’t have a Snooki.