Monthly Archives: June 2013

25 things you dont know about me

I seldom look at People magazine or US unless one is sitting tattered and three weeks old in a doctor’s waiting room.  Or I am stranded at an airport. No really, I buy them at airports regularly and weekly at check out lines in the grocery store. It’s a guilty pleasure although I am sad to say as I get older, and the stars get younger, the celebrity news doesn’t thrill me as it used to. Still love the personal stories of the heroes of the Boston Marathon tragedy or appreciate the issue on the parents of the children who perished at Newtown Elementary. The fashion sections of do’s and dont’s are always good for a chuckle as well as the self-indulged star or starlet section in US called “25 Things You Don’t Know Me.”  As I mentioned, I usually don’t know who they are much less care to read a laundry list of the name of their first dog or their favorite food.

But I was thinking, for my purposes in this blog, a little self-disclosure might be fun, since I drone on and on about subjects or events I find interesting or feel may interest you.  Thought perhaps knowing a little more about me would lend that shared information more credibility.

1.  I am mortally fearful of thunderstorms.  Especially while driving.  Don’t know if my fears are based on being trapped in a second floor apartment, tornado sirens blasting out my window in the flatlands of the midwest the first week I was married.  Or perhaps it is just congenital, like it was for our old dog Trey.  (See, I’ve already worked in my dog’s name and didn’t even have to list it.) But dark clouds gathering or the weekly emergency broadcast test signal on TV sends chills down my spine.

2.  I am convinced that the fancy piece of plastic that pretends to keep toilet seats fresh and sanitary only goes in one big circle.  Same dirty cellophane cover, tucked around the lid like a shower cap, just circling the lid for fool after fool, bottom after bottom.  Never sat on them; never will.

3.  In the same germaphobe vein, I don’t drink after others, even my children or grandchildren.  No one, no matter who or how dear or special, do I want to share saliva backwash with.  Same with lip or chap stick.  My lips or no one’s.

4.  I accidentally on purpose wore a friend’s watch home from her house after school in first grade. Mom made me return it to her and apologize to her scornful parents.  Lesson learned.  Never wear a plastic watch with a black rubber band strap again.

5.  I can write my name in cursive or print with my toes.  And a writing utensil, of course.

6.  My brother called me Burl (he combined girl and boy; not sure about his spelling) from childhood well into college.  My dad called me Punkin’.  Dad wins alternate name category.

7.  In high school, I always felt like “Miss Almost.”  Lost cheerleader five times, student council eight and graduated number 11.  Of course the top ten were in the newspaper. A friend at my last high school reunion heard me tell that and said, “Yeah, we should get you a t-shirt.  On the front it should say, Miss Almost.  On the back it should say, Get over it.”

8.  I would leave my husband for Dennis Quaid or Andy Garcia.  At least for a night.  For Daniel Day-Lewis in The Last of the Mohicans, maybe a week.

9.  I love birds except those that walk like people.  You know, the ones that step one foot in front of the other instead of adorable birdlike hopping.  i. e. pigeons, mourning doves, grackles, starlings.  One exception might be any shore bird. Never saw a bird on the beach I didn’t like, walking humanlike or hopping.

10.  Sundays give me a sad feeling of longing and I love Fridays.  Just like in college.

11.  My favorite number is three. Except for martinis.

12.  I once contracted scabies ( an icky sort of body lice) after a fateful sit in a cedar hot tub.  I was newly married and when I told my mother she advised me to get rid of them and not tell my husband.   Which I did quietly until he called the next day from a business trip and said he thought he had lymphoma because of all the bumps under his skin.  He welcomed the scabies and his new bride.  I wouldn’t tell Dennis, Andy or Daniel about that though.

13.  I flipped from the back to the front seat of a convertible once in high school when the driver slammed on the brakes. Landed unharmed. Two things.  Should have been the driver since I was the only one not drinking.  And seriously, how did I not make cheerleader?

14.  My husband and I met on a blind date in high school.  We played miniature golf. I nearly aced every hole because it had been a long summer of putt-putt dates. He thought I was athletic and I thought he was the second coming.  Love, like our date, was also blind.

15.  I met Nelson Mandela on a business trip with my husband to South Africa in 1994, soon after his release from prison and election to the presidency.  Being in his presence was surreal, like meeting Gandhi or having an audience with God.  It was magical and indelibly etched on my memory.

16.  I won a set of World Book Encyclopedias at 13 by writing Ask Andy, a national science question column, and asking why it was so hard to swat a fly.  Had my picture in the paper and got my green and grey set of 12 books delivered to our door.  In case you are wondering, it’s because they take off backwards, so aim a half inch or so behind.  Haven’t missed one since.

17.  I’m pretty good on a pair of roller skates. As a kid, I once skated with Dallas Bias, the Police Chief, at the local rink.  We skated arm-over-arm, hand-in-hand, leg crossovers as we rounded corners.  Idol worship at its best.

18.  Mr. Deitrick had a garage near my two room grade school (See Martin School post March 13, 2012) and he had a pet bear in a cage that we walked past to get home each day.  Don’t know why I didn’t think it was strange or scary.  Maybe because my parents voted in that garage every election day, stepping behind cloaked booths right beside his pot belly stove. And the bear.

19.  I love Toby Keith’s American Soldier.  I crank it up every national holiday, road trip or whenever I need an inspirational kick in the butt.  Cry every time.

20.  I have never had a McDonalds burger.  Never.  Still waiting for Letterman to call to do a spot on that.

21.  I can sing and read music, but only when holding a Methodist hymnal.  I can harmonize with any hymn, great or small and do it loudly and with confidence, much to my children’s’ chagrin.  Especially on Easter morning or Christmas Eve.

22.  I always carry a tape measure in my purse.  I especially like the small leather one my sister gave me several years ago.  It comes in handy for a myriad of things: furniture at flea markets, dress length, inches to the finish line if my grandson comes in second.

23.  I am a slow reader and often invert numbers.  Unless it is the finish line and my grandson comes in second.

24.  I am addicted to lip gloss.  Must have it on my lips day and night.  Day on a dip-stick and night in a pot.

25.  I am convinced waiters spit on or do worse to food returned to the kitchen if it is too cold, undercooked or not just right.  I am sure it often happens to me since I always order at restaurants something like Sally in When Harry Met Sally.

Trina stories and the egg man

So we have this woman who cleans and generally looks after our house in West Virginia. (I know, don’t even get me started on the PBW of that.) She comes in before and after we leave and keeps the place in better shape than we do.

And she is one of a kind.  In all ways.

She is a watch dog for every man, woman, deer or UPS truck that steps foot on the property or darkens the door there.  We met through the former owners and it was love at first sight.  For me, at least, it was.

The interview went something like this:

Me:  So how did you get into this line for work–care taking, house cleaning?

Trina:  Well, I was carin’ for my mother-in-law and she died.

Me:  Oh, I am so sorry.

Trina:  Oh, don’t be.  It was time.  I’d been wipin’ her butt for fifteen years for free.  Figured now  it was time I got paid for hard work.

Can’t argue with that sort of pragmatism, I thought.  She was hired on the spot.

Trina started working with us practically the next day and when I am there alone, she talks.  We talk.

She climbed out her bedroom “winder” at sixteen to cross the border to Virginia where marrying her twenty-one-year-old Dean was legal.  Thirty years and three kids later, both their eyes twinkle when they are in one another’s presence. He gets up at 3:30 every morning to mine the coal he has for thirty five years and she gets up with him to make his coffee, serve him breakfast and pack his lunch.

Her married name is Trina Lilly Lilly.  “There are too many Lillys ’round here so I just divide them between the good ones and the  bad. Dean’s family was one of the bad Lillys, except for him ‘course.  We are definitely not relations.”

He has a hand-engraved tatoo inside his left wrist that is a simple crooked inky” TL.”  They are a great American love story.

But I digress.

The real stories are the ones that Trina tells as she is carrying out a trash bag or helping  me  change a bed. She usually starts with, “Did I tell you about…”  and it will entail some wild tale about her sister, Toots, or her other one who is “on the check,” Sharon, or some lady from the church she used to attend.  Her doctor visits are always good ones.  She had a pin put in her left foot and when she woke up she told the doc, “That were the worst screwin’ I ever had. ”  She swears he smiled behind his surgical mask.

My son thinks she should have a spot on David Letterman.  He can picture him saying, “And now it’s time for our segment called Let’s Talk to Trina,” as he picks up his cream-colored corded phone.  And Letterman should. Hearing her tell a story is as good as the story itself.  She could read the phone book and make you laugh.

Full of horse sense and good humor,  her perspective on all matters is honest and direct and uncluttered by pretense.

So today she called with a good one, as she says.

Trina:  Did I tell you about our friend who died?  The egg guy?

Me: No, you told me about the guy who died on an ATM.

Trina:  Now, Nancy, you know I meant ATV (all-terrain vehicle).  Was funny, wasn’t it?  I suppose if you got held up at an ATM you could die that way, though.

Me:  You have a point.

Trina:  So anyway, there’s this real good man we know, just the nicest kind.  Joe Smoot.  He’s  sold eggs ’round here for years. Well, the obits two days ago says he had died.

Me:  That’s too bad.

Trina:  Well, I know but the puzzlin’ part is, I’ve been searchin’ the paper everyday for the details. You know, of the service, his wife’s family name, the survived by names and all that.  And everyday–nothin’. And as I said, I really liked the guy. He was popular with alot of folks.  And I wanted to show my respects. So finally after three days of nothin’, I called Rose and Quesenberry, the funeral home, myself.

Me:  What did you find out?

Trina:  Well, a lady answered and I asked what were the particulars of the Joe Smoot funeral.  And she said, “It weren’t the egg guy. And there ain’t no funeral.” And I says, “What?”  And she said, “Yup, thars another Joe Smoot and he’s the one that’s dead.  The egg guy even called me yesterday to see if we could handle this confusion and I just told him. We are busy enough dealin’ with the deceased to worry about him bein’ alive.” And then she said the livin’ Joe Smoot said it was turnin’ into a terrible mess.

Me:  A mess?

Trina:  That’s what I said,  “What mess? ”   And the lady said, ” Yeah, the egg guy, Joe Smoot, said, ‘Can’t we do anything about this mix up? My front porch is a pilin’ up with food and flowers all over the place and I have no idea what to do with them!'” I told the lady he oughtent just send them to the funeral home for the dead Joe Smoot since no one seemed to care about him and all. But the lady didn’t take to that.

Me:  So did you call the alive Joe Smoot ?

Trina:  Now, why would I do that?  I don’t need no eggs.