Archive for April 19th, 2009

Silent treatment

I am so mad with him I refuse to speak to him all day long.  I’ll not even give him a grunt. I don’t care what you say, no amount of arguing is going to change my mind. He deserves the silent treatment after what he did to me last night.

Tim was laying in the floor. He’d scooched down there after spending nearly an hour on his knees, bent over a chair. The most comfortable position he could find after yet another bout of vertigo hit him fast.

“Do I need to take you to the emergency room?” I asked.

“Maybe,” Tim muttered, his face pressed into the chair cushion.

We waited to see if the medication he’d been given last November during the last bout of vertigo would kick in.

It took nearly an hour, but when it did, Tim slipped to the floor. He couldn’t rise to get in the bed. I covered him with blankets then went to get my purse to take my own nightly med — a beta blocker.  Soon as he heard me in the kitchen, Poe came running, thinking, as all dogs do, that he was going to get a treat.

Thinking I had left my purse in the car, I walked out the door, pulling it too, but not shut. Next thing I know Poe is shooting past me like a toddler on the run.

I called him, but not too loudly, it was, after all, late in the neighborhood.

He turned, took one look at me, and in an act of complete and utter disregard and outright disobedience ran off. I followed, but could not keep up. I went back to the house, got the car and drove the neighborhood. No sign of Poe. I came home, took a jar of peanut butter and put it outside the door. I closed the door but did not pull it too. Then I went to bed, worried sick that I might have just killed Tim’s best friend by letting him out.

An hour later I heard a noise. I got up went to the top of the steps and could see the front door open. There was Poe, his snout in the peanut butter jar, just beyond the front door.

I stepped outside. He yanked himself free of the jar and took off again. Only this time there were neighbors about. They’d just gotten home from a party and were laughing and carrying on. Poe took off for them, barking like their house was on fire.

“Could you help me?” I asked. “Grab him if you can.”

It took five of us, cajoling and pleading but finally Poe approached one gal. She yanked on his collar and I picked him up.

He snipped at me when he realized where I was taking him — back home.

I was the kind of mother who spanked my children.

Get over it.

They turned out to be responsible adults for the most part.

I took a waded up newspaper and whopped Poe a couple of times.

“Bad dog. You are a very bad dog!”

That’s the last thing I’ve said to him.

He better not even come near me today.

I’m tired and crabby.

Tim, however, is feeling some better.

He has a follow up MRI tomorrow.

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You’ve all seen it by now, I imagine. Singer Susan Boyle on Brit’s version of the Idol show. Susan bowled over the judges and the crowd. The New York Times tells the story in a piece that identifies Ms. Boyle as an “Unlikely Singer.”

I don’t have a problem with the article. It does what a story is supposed to do — tell the facts.

The problem for me lies in the headline.

I think the headline tells us more about ourselves than it does about Ms. Boyle.

I am assuming the reporter didn’t write the headline, as is most often the case. It’s usually slapped on by someone at the copy desk. The question is why did they consider Ms. Boyle an “unlikely singer”? Because, like the judges and the audience, they didn’t expect that a rather plain woman could sing?

Not that one’s ability to pluck one’s eyebrows has anything at all to do with one’s ability to hit a note, any note.

Mama always taught me that “Pretty is as Pretty does.”

Ms. Boyle proved that.

One of the most beautiful women in my memory was my Granny Leona. Her skin was so transparent you could see right through it to blue veins popping.  She usually wore a hair net and a quilted housecoat in the winter and a floral cotton housedress in summer. I never once saw her put on her face in the mornings, though sometimes she would pop in her teeth if company was coming. Her shoes were that orthopedic sort, black leather with shoestrings. She never wore them out because she was crippled and spent most of her days in a wheelchair. She kept a snuff tin in her pocket and a wad of tissue to wipe up the spittle.  She didn’t speak ill of people, not within my hearing anyway. I never heard her cuss or be ugly to anyone for any reason. And, trust me, she had plenty of reason.  Sometimes I would hear her cry out the name of Jesus but it was a plea for help because she was in pain from her arthritis. There was no medical coverage. No means to alleviate her pain other than the tin of Bayer asprin she kept on her at all times and chewed up like they were homemade caramels.

I am sure to the casual observer my granny would be considered an “unlikely beauty.”

But they’d be wrong about that, too.

Maybe we ought to be identified as the “Unlikely Humans.”

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