July 30, 2012

To Chick-Fil-A or Not...That Is NOT The Question!

My sleepy little town doesn't have a Chick-Fil-A. Closest we got was when McD's had their version with the Southern Breaded chicken sandwich, which was sort of like marrying the ugly brother...You got something, but it wasn't what you wanted.  Chick-Fil-A was a short trip up the road to the big city.  Ahhh, and how I loved those rare moments. Steamy buns, just-the-right-amount of greasiness, and pickle flavors.  (I don't like pickles, but I love the flavor. I always get them, but then take them off. I think it's a texture thing....or a weird thing.)  And waffle fries!  And the coolest ketchup packets evah!  And lemonade! And ice dream cones...oh, the soft serve.  Mercy.

It seems that as of late, the president of Chick-Fil-A, Dan Cathy, has started a little bit of a shit storm.  One more facebook status update about it might just put me over the line.  It would seem that he and his company have given quite a large sum of money to groups who are against gay and lesbian humans being able to get married.  I'm sure there is a more inflammatory way to say this, but my point is not to stir anyone's oats.  Amazon, on the other hand, along with companies like Google and Starbucks, have given money to the opposing team.  

Here's a little food for thought (pun intended 'cause I'm cheesy like that.)  In my world of facebook, I've had friends posting support both ways.  Some are screaming they'll never eat at Chick-Fil-A again.  Others are ready to commit to it 24-7-365 for a lifetime of chicken-y goodness and support.  Whatever.  No, really.  I could care less.  Wanna know why?   Opinions are like assholes...everybody has one (I've not tested that theory, though.)  That's why.

Before we go any further, I'm not telling you which side of the fence I'm sitting on.  (I'm sticking my tongue out right now.)  It's not important.  What is important is that we live in a country where anyone is supposed to have the right to speak his/her opinion and, if he/she chooses, to support that opinion financially.  Not everyone on our Earth is so lucky.  

So, my point?  If you disagree with what Chick-Fil-A supports, don't ever bite into one of their sandwiches again.  Ban those waffle fries and decree that lemonade.  It's okay.  If you believe as they do, then eat there every damn day of your life.  If your meal is $4.87, pay with a $20 and don't ask for change.  Leave it as a donation.  Either way, it's all good.  Have an opinion.  It's okay.

What eats me is people who are calling for the collapse of Chick-Fil-A.  This is a huge company (okay, it's not McD's, but there are still a lot of people employed there) and its financial ruin would make our already crappy economy even crappier for some people.  How acceptable would it be if there was a huge outcry for the collapse of a company because they supported the opposing position?  People would scream about hate and discrimination and bigotry and whatever else would grab a headline.  Then there would be the injustice and how-dare-you's.  Because Mr. Cathy's position is what it is, it seems okay to wish financial harm upon the company.  I'm not sure that's the road we want to travel.

If you want someone to listen to you and consider changing his/her mind, then you have to treat him/her like a human being.  You can't go all Jersey Shore and "Come at me, bro" and expect someone to listen to your words.  I like to think of it as civil discussion.  We talk...not scream.  We respect each other.  Maybe one of us plants a seed in the other's mind. Maybe we still give our money to our own causes and silently hate each other.  But.  But what if one conversation changes one mind.  We should treat each conversation and interaction with another human being as if it could change the world...cause it might. 

Wonder if McDonald's has improved that chicken sandwich any????  

July 26, 2012

Get Out The Map...Love In An Uncommon Place

In the summer of 1989, I sat in a cramped little room with a high ceiling and long narrow windows.  It was white with a faux (cause that sounds better than fake...which is what it was) cherry table and lots and lots and lots of law books.  Every morning my aunt and I drove to work into the big city of  Hot 'Lanta (um, you know, Atlanta?) and she bought me a lemon poppy seed muffin and a Coke.  It was a very big girl thing to do, especially since I was still trying to master this teenager thing.  My job was to update the law books while drinking copious amounts of Diet Coke and singing along to the little radio/cassette player the boss had let me borrow. I don't think my pay included all the Diet Coke I was drinking from the office fridge, but it's too late to worry now.

My cassette of choice that summer was the Indigo Girls. (Stop for a moment and digest the fact that I just referred to a cassette player.  Some kids don't even know what those are. Wait till I break out my mix tapes.)  I sang it and breathed it and lived it....or so I thought.  Really, I was just another girl working my way through the Hell we call adolescence. I mean, c'mon, I couldn't stop by the bar at 3 am to seek solace in a bottle or possible a friend. That was at least seven years away.

On a perfect summer night many moons ago, I got to see them live.  It was akin to magic.  It was on the lawn at Biltmore and I was with my bestest friend, who also happens to know all the words. We had a great dinner and then sang our happy little souls out late into the night.  We came home happy.  

Tonight, many years beyond the first time, I got to see them play live again.  It was magical, but even more so than the first time.  

The Bijou is small...sort of like what it would be if I invited Amy and Emily over for a spot of tea and then they just happened to break out some music to say thank you for me being such a lovely and gracious hostess all the while I'm sitting on the couch.  They were amazing, but what I saw in the audience took my breath away and brought tears down my cheeks.  For real.  

There were two women in the section next to us.  They were about five or six rows down on the end seats.  Judging by their solid white hair and affinity for the Alfred Dunner collection, I'd go out on a limb and place them in their 60s.  They were cute as buttons.

As the song "Get Out The Map" begins, I notice these women for the first time.  Not because of anything you might think.  One of the women was looking intently at the other.  The other woman was bobbing her head and singing along.  What one might miss were her hands.  Her hands were animated butterflies dancing around in front of the first woman's face.  They bobbed and weaved...They swayed side to side and bounced off her face and chest.  She was telling the story of the song to her partner who could hear nothing.

People who are deaf can feel the vibrations of music.  I think it would be like sitting behind a low-rider truck with several 12" speakers and about 10,000 watts of amplifiers at a red light.  I don't know what freaking song is playing, but HOLY CRAP! DO YOU FEEL THAT BASS?!!  The lady who could not hear could feel all the sensations of the music, but could also 'hear' the words because someone loves her enough to sit beside her for 3 whole hours and sign every.single.word to her.  That?  That's love. 

I don't have a witty ending for this...just happy knowing some people do love each other to the moon and back.   

July 12, 2012

Don't Mess This Up, Okay?!!!

If you live your life right, people will smile when you're gone.  Not because they're glad you aren't here anymore, but because they have a bus load of memories to share...war stories of good times.

I went to a memorial service tonight. It wasn't a funeral by any means, really.  No sad hymns.  Not much tissue although I cried and snotted all over my sweater.  There was bluegrass music and smiles and laughter.  It was what a gathering to honor someone's life should be.

When I try to bring these things up with Better Half, he informs me I'm morbid and he just doesn't want to talk about it.  I have enough time to hit the high points, but then he moves on to something else.  So, I'm gonna let you know what ya'll need to do...just so no one screws it up. (This is assuming I don't live to be the last of my friends and family...if that happens, I'm gonna be pissed. I don't wanna be first, but I don't wanna be last, either.  I'll be happy with somewhere in the middle, thank you.)

First, should Jeffers Mortuary still be going strong, I'd like to go there.  Richard had the place spruced up and it looks nice.  The building is all old and full of character, but not musty and yucky.   Cremation wouldn't be bad, but I'm not sure what would be done with my ashes.  If they can be spread into the ocean, that would be great...Might be a law against that, though.  I'll think on that...If not, I want a pretty silver casket.  Brown just isn't my color.

Ya'll are going to sing "Amazing Grace" because that song makes me think of my nana and always makes me cry happy tears.  Then everybody needs to share a little.  You don't have to talk about me.  Talk to each other.  Tell each other how good it is to see each other and how you all wish it was under better circumstances.  Do me a favor, see each other more often under better circumstances.  Don't lose touch, okay?

When everybody has had enough time, sing me "Brokedown Palace."  Make sure you print copies of the lyrics so everybody participates.  Ya'll gotta sing me out, okay?  As you're leaving, "Shady Grove" would be nice, too.

When ya get done singing and chatting, go somewhere and have a drink.  Here's the drill:  Everybody orders a shot.  Get juice if you don't drink.  I don't really care.  Get one empty shot glass for me.  When the shots are done, flip my shot glass upside down.  That's how we toasted my grandpa.  Don't send flowers or anything.  Give money to Shriners or something near to your heart.  

So, that's all.  Just have a good time.  It doesn't matter if we're all old...like our 70s or something.  Bring your ass in on your walker or whatever and celebrate.  Hug somebody you haven't seen in a while.  Tell an embarrassing story about me.  Talk about how crabby I was.  It's all good.  Just don't be sad...never sad.  Eat some Wanda's Stripper Dip and have a good time.  That's how I want to go out, okay?  

P.S.  You don't have to wait until I'm dead to start visiting with each other.  Matter of fact, this weekend you should call someone you haven't talked to in a while and catch up.  We both know you have 10 minutes you waste doing some other mindless crap.  Go make it count.  Much love to you peeps.  RIP, Phat Papaw.  I'm better for having known you.

July 4, 2012

Marty McFly, Tribal Armbands, and Disappointment

I need to be able to travel in time...like Marty McFly.  Apparently my mother, as smart as she is, is confused about growing up.  She seems to remember a childhood where she never misbehaved or stressed her parents.  She seems to believe she was the perfect child and never went against her parents' wishes.  I, however, counter that this is a load of horseshit and her memory is skewed.

All I need is a DeLorean and a Flux Capicitor to prove it.

Remember the 90s?  Nirvana? Flannel? Barbed wire tattoos encircling the (not so much) muscular bicep? Tramp stamps? Ankles wrapped in tribal bands?  You know where this is going, right? 

The heart of our debate revolves around tattoos.  Essentially, she doesn't get it and I do.  I've tried to explain it.  I've tried to convey to her what I think.  I get that she doesn't like them.  How do I know this?  "Pardon me, I don't get it," was a recent text message. (I'd put a screenshot, but my phone ran away from home and hasn't come back yet.)  I think she's pretty clear.

So, I'm going to try to explain it here...cause we totally rock on family communication!

I got a tattoo when I was 18.  It is a most lovely design with lots of color.  It hurt.  But, I have no regrets about it and I still love seeing it. There was no deep meaning behind it, but I still remember standing in a little hippie store and picking the design out.  Sort of takes me back to that time in life, ya know.

There are two are below my ankle bone.  One is a gecko and the other is the Proctor & Gamble symbol.  I know, I know. Why?  At this particular time in my life, I loved that little gecko for no explainable reason. The other one was a nod to my sarcasm.  People have claimed for years that the symbol represented the company's ties to satanism...but it's not. Duh. Face value is not always the true value,eh?

My ribcage has a quite lovely young fairy girl with a long green dress and golden wings.  I chose her because I had been told by my (then) doctor that I probably wouldn't/couldn't have children. Obviously she was wrong, but I had no idea at that time how this would play out. She was my girl, the one I thought I'd never have. I am grateful to have two beautiful and amazing daughters now, but I'm still in love with my fairy girl.

My back started as an ode to my firstborn.  It is a mother and child with her name below.  There is abstract water below and flames surrounding.  She is an  Aquarius, if you're into that sort of thing, and this is known as the water bearer.  Get it? Water bearer...water.  I'm a Leo, so...tada!  Fire for the fire sign.  I added my son's name in Hebrew.  His name is interpreted as held by the heel...ironic considering his nerve damage affects this area of his body.  Sometimes we know what we don't know we know...know what I mean?

Today I added Baby Girl's name.  It is a perfectly sweet daisy with a hurricane symbol at its center.  It is the culmination of who she is.  Pure and sweet, some days...Daisies are also known as 'thunderflowers' because they bloom in the summer when thunderstorms are common.  She is this, too.  Thunderous and loud and demanding.  The hurricane is a nod to her nickname.  We have called her the hurricane since she was about 18 months old.  She sort of has that way about her.  You certainly know when she has been around.

Each one of these is a permanent memory of a particular place and time.  I remember the idealism I had with my first one, thinking anything was possible in my life.  My parents saw the gecko at my dear, wonderful, and amazing aunt's funeral.  They saw the P&G symbol nine months later when we buried my sweet Papaw.  My fairy was all the hurt and disappointment I felt thinking motherhood would elude me.  My back is what keeps me going...these souls, unjaded and limitless, trusted to me and captured in images of how I see them.

I know my parents, who are phenomenal, don't 'get' it.  My brother, who also has a few tattoos, and I have had this discussion.  We both feel like we've let them down in some way.  Yet, both of us have nothing that doesn't carry a an important memory or meaning for us.  It's not the decision I'm sure they would've wanted us to make, but it is by far not the worse thing that could've happened to either of us.  We're good kids...we're raising good kids...neither of us have a rap sheet (Bratsy, I'm assuming you've disclosed anything to the contrary, right?)...They did a good job.  Nobody failed parenting.  It's all good.

P.S. I'm guessing Papaw wasn't good with you drag racing your car, Mom!  :)

July 2, 2012

She Went To The Chapel...And Got Hitched! (No, Not Me)

So, there was this girl I met a long time ago...like barhopping, waiting-tables-to-get-by, no-retirement-fund long time ago.  It's kind of funny because we really didn't like each other too much as teenagers, but I realize now we sometimes dislike the people we are most like.  After a short time, I realized she was the grape jelly to my peanut butter.

She's good stuff, too.  No matter what I needed, she would take care of it.  She still would.  

There was a time, though, when things changed with us.  My life was in one place, but her's was in another. One wasn't better than the other, just different.  At a Christmas party, she got upset over something unrelated to me, but I spazzed and left.  It would be over a year before we spoke again.

One night, as I listened to a new CD, I thought how much she would like it.  Then I thought how much I missed sharing those things with her.  On a whim, I sent a short email...an olive branch.  I must add that apologies are not my strength.  Truthfully, I suck at them.  I hoped the words conveyed half of what my heart was feeling.  I guess they did because she called and we talked until almost 3 in the morning.  We picked up right where we left off.

Sometimes we don't talk for a few days...every now and again, we'll go for a week or so.  There are no hurt feelings or jealousies; we just catch up and move on.  I love this about us.

After years and years of being just fine and dandy on her own, she met a boy (well, re-met the boy....he's a redo.)  There was a good, old-fashioned whirlwind romance and a ring.  Last week, I sat in a breathtaking garden and watched as they promised all the world to each other.  He is a good man, and I know he appreciates the gift of her.  I sometimes think he understood before I did.

This post is not witty or funny or sarcastic or intriguing.  It's just me letting her know how much I adore her.  She's funny and amazing.  She's honest and strong. He is lucky to have her...as am I.  Love you Jilly.