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Number of posts: 18
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By Nancy Melton:
one less egg to fry
My mama loved the Lifetime Network. Back then it had the advertising slogan “It’s television for women.” Mama would eagerly tell me about the latest movie she had watched always leaning in at the end and saying conspiratorially “you know, it’s television for women.” She said it in that same lowered tone that was used to describe “down there.” Down there was her pseudonym for the entire area of the body contained in underpants. Thong underwear would have thrown her for a loop.
An awful lot has been written about getting older. There is also a lot of awful writing about getting older. There is information about failing vision and hearing but most of what is written is that “best time of life” crap. As far as I know there is no information out there on the sudden, instant onset of old age. I have found that you don’t have a lot of time to consider getting older, rather one just wakes up one day and realizes “Shit, I’m old!!” It does not always happen as a result of the years that have been accumulated because most of us think of ourselves as fairly young until the “Oh Shit” day. Then it happens. You start to notice that things that were never scary or intimidating or painful now give you pause.
carrie had it
A pack of snarling wolves, a jaw snapping pit bull, a charging bull, a fiercely pecking hissing goose; I have felt like all of the above at one time or another. My dad was the carrier. Perhaps not patient zero but he is as far back as I have personally witnessed. If you were born with the anger gene you know it. You have felt the rage take over. It washes over you like an ocean wave that is hot and blinding. It also reaches inside your head, replacing all rational thought with pure blind rage and the need to inflict serious pain. Those in your inner circle quickly learn to recognize when anger takes control. They back away, fervently battling conflicting feelings. First, hoping they are not the target; second, pity for the actual target; third, a guilt inducing joy upon discovering themselves not to be the target this time.
a lot of stuff
Write what you know. Has anyone ever given you that advice? I have spent some time thinking this over and wondering, just what did Madeleine L’Engle know about time travel? And what in the world provoked Ray Bradbury and that creepy carousel? So heck with the old chestnut “write what you know.” Today I am writing about what I don’t know.
I don’t know why people take to the couch or bed. Call me insensitive but no matter how down in the black books I get, a quick walk or a punishing hike seems to straighten my world out. Get off your ass and do something would be my advice. Not that anyone is asking.
Writing letters is almost gone now. It is just so quick and cheap to email or text or just to call as needed. But the cost of all the ease and efficiency of quick interactions is a loss of observations and feelings that were frequently captured in letters. Letters also provide a real glimpse of history. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians addresses everything from immorality to jealousy to the precious instruction that all gifts are worthless without love. Pretty deep stuff to put into a letter without backup files and spell check. Heck, I don’t think Paul even had carbon paper.
filled with magic
Can you read that title without humming a tune? I can’t but I can state definitively that I am not overjoyed by warm woolen mittens or snowflakes on my nose or eyelashes. In fact I hate the cold. But to answer the burning question at hand, Nancy, what are your favorite things?
Is there anything better than a full tank of gas? I still love that feeling of endless roads ahead when I pull away from the pumps.
I am plagued with strange compulsions. Some have been with me as far back as I can recall and I have added several through the years. Compulsions rarely make sense to others, but I often find that those folks who scoff at my compulsions usually have their own rituals that seem perfectly reasonable to them. I find it particularly galling when someone who jumps over sidewalk cracks or changes direction to avoid crossing with a black cat makes fun of my rituals.
reading between the lines
I read the obituaries. But I no longer read a printed newspaper every day and the obits just are not the same in on line versions of newspapers. So I am forced to catch up on weekends when my satisfyingly fat Sunday papers arrive. I do not turn to the obituaries first due to a compulsive need to read the paper in proper order. When I finally get there I read them all, savoring the details, cringing at those my own age, and grieving the brief, one sentence send offs.
spill your guts
I have a built in magnet. It works to attract people that I otherwise might not meet. My magnet can be depended upon to pull near to me the craziest, neediest, saddest, and loneliest people in proximity. Tales of woe, distress, illness, sabotage, conspiracy, and government plots all have been the subject of unprovoked sharing. Likewise I hear about triumph over adversity, evil corporations, and politicians. They approach in grocery aisles, department stores, ladies rooms, parking lots, and today in a crosswalk. What is it about me that says “Spill your guts, I can take it?”
the southern life
My husband is from Western North Carolina. That part of the state is kind of like one of those remote places along the Amazon where the natives live in isolation from the modern world and have their own customs and language. I am positive that it is the only place in the world where the word “They” is an exclamation of surprise or disbelief. Rather like the all too common “Fuck” is used today, “They” can be tailored to a custom response. Said very slowly, while shaking the head, “TTHHEEEEEYY”, means agreement. Tacking Lord on the end signifies extreme amazement, “They Lord!”
hairy legs and all
Standing before the array of shaving products made and marketed especially for women is astonishing. Who would believe that there were so many types of razors, not to mention the creams and lotions to be used pre, post and (I guess) during the shaving process. The products all claim to result to silky smooth legs and underarms, as well as keeping one safe from nicks and cuts. I stand before the expansive display and finally walk away without making a selection.
They were carefully clipped. All the edges neatly cut and then crisply folded along the columns. In the top margin, in that compact, neat handwriting that everyone must have been taught in the 1930s, was written in ballpoint pen “for Nancy” or “Nancy read.” I still remember how my blood would boil whenever I saw those clippings and that script. In my younger days it was stories of caution, teenagers killed in wrecks, maimed beyond recognition or perhaps that teen sex quiz from the always infuriating, holier-than-thou, Ann Landers.
Today is the 49th anniversary of the televised signing of the Civil Rights Act at the White House.
Leading up to the signing was the case of Brown v. Board of Education which was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court found that racial segregation of schools was unconstitutional in 1954. In the ten years that followed the case came the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955 and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s stunning “I have a dream” speech, symbolically delivered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., in 1963.
A friend sent me a video compilation of the 100 best movie insults. I enjoyed watching all of them but they all fell flat when compared to a few I have had the pleasure to hear personally. There are several types of insults, both intended and unintended. An insult can be delivered in anger, disguised in humor, masked as love and caring, or just thrown out like a fast ball. The preferred delivery is as personal as your fingerprints…
Last week I attended an initiation to a secret club. The admission criteria are tough. One does not choose admission but still must pass a rigorous selection process. No one asks to get in this club and no invitations are issued. If you meet the qualifications you are in. Forever.
The club membership consists of those of us who have watched, waited, cried, cursed, promised, loved, and hated a parent who suffers from Alzheimer’s.
In the days before a television was in every room in the house we listened to a lot more music. Radios and record players were in heavy use in those days. In my family we always had a radio in the kitchen. My mom, Doty, loved to listen as she cooked and later did the dishes. Unlike the moms of our friends, who liked Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, my mom listened to soul music. Most especially she loved to get down to some James Brown while scrubbing all those pots and pans.
Get Used To It
Girls are stunningly treacherous. They can cut other girls, adults, and especially boys to the bone with just a glance. I admit to having a touch of this myself and my own girls have been known to flatten more than a few egos. Raising my girls I saw the same brutality in their friends, calling boys by nicknames that were cunningly cruel. Teasing and plotting just seems to come natural to girls. I always viewed this trait as good preparation for the big mean world. Girls and women have to be strong and controlling to avoid being passed over or over looked or just condescended to.
Slays & Resurrects
First you boil the eggs. I like to avoid the outside of the yolk turning green which I vaguely recall comes from an over long cooking time. Then you stand at the sink and peel the eggs, simultaneously trying to keep the egg in one piece and not get one of those painful slivers of shell under a finger nail. Put the eggs on a paper towel and let them dry.
I learned what I know about making deviled eggs from my mother, Doty.