Tuesday, November 30, 2010

groove

Our groove is 1am. It is when the music is played, when candles are lit. When writing, reading, playing video games, watching movies is done.

Work and school are done during the day.

1am is all out party.

I have said for the longest time we come from a genetic model of nappers, although it obviously skipped some previous generations since they were all very hard workers. Mom and Dad, was I adopted?

So I've wondered about this in regards to me being a parent. Was it right to just follow the regimen, teach the regimen to my child and fall into the line of the American workforce? No. I was taught different 'cause I had night jobs at hospitals. And met others like me.

I tell myself people simply sleep differently, and it's okay 'cause it takes all of us and all hours of the day to turn the wheel. And there is no right or wrong in this case, only what is. And it's nice not to judge something for good or bad or right or wrong. To say simply, It is.

Tonight it is groovin' to Ugly Casanova's Wave Goodbye from the 180 South soundtrack. More great picks from 2010.



Bob by Angie




Remember Bob?
Bob says, Remember summer?












Gratitude.










Monday, November 29, 2010

today



Back to work we go.

Gratitude.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

now

Now is a candle on my desk. A small flame down a cave of wax. The lights are off. Slater is here. There's sounds coming from a television in a new bedroom, new for me anyway. He is on the couch with his laptop playing games with people from all over the world. I like to think that at least a certain amount of online gaming has decreased the world's size.

Yes, I know bad messages, killing, sneaking, stealing, language, smack talk and on and on.

Maybe he needs to learn what is bad and good from me, and maybe he needs to see a little bad to know what is good. Like bad language. He will never hear anything on that game he doesn't hear from me. Potty mouth you could say. Like a Sailor (I always picture a guy in the Navy and aren't those good guys?). I think it is just a bit of the rebellious nature in me that owns those words. I like to view their power, laugh at it and then go on with my day.

Slater and I have had the swear word discussion. When he came to me about the same time I went to my Mom, around ten years old, I pretty much explained just as my Mom had.

Shelia Brady had said fuck in the fifth grade playground. I was putting on a performance of Xanadu (yes, I was the director, the female lead and I handed out everyone else's parts). Shelia Brady wanted to be the star and I had to explain to her, no, I am. What a dick I was. So justifiably Sheila Brady walked away from the production, which was only being produced during playtime anyway.

She walked across the softball field, turned back and looked at me and mouthed the words,

Fuck you.

I had never heard that word before in my life. What was that?

Looking back now it was something I deserved.

That evening the way my Mom explained it to me was, Shea, there are words you should not say.

To this I replied, Did God say not to say them? Is it in the Bible?

Well, no. It's just that people will think less of you if you say them.

I think my general thought established in that moment was, Fuck 'em.

And that's how I explained it to Slater. I said for me there were just times when it was okay and those times were when I was around people who knew me and knew those words did not contain the man made power some people gave them. I just told him there were people he couldn't say that word around.

Being a better parent was something I always struggled with, something that kept me trying to be a better parent. Here's where both Rick and Slater say, "Try not. Be."

But here's my argument to them. The debate I have with each of them.

What if try made me be?

Billy Sue is on her bed behind me. She is snoring.

Gratitude.


For those of you who have complained these have been too short lately I will try harder to make them longer. Thank you for reading.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

jam


WOODSTOMP

Friday, November 26th

8:30pm

Windy City Grille

Hernando, MS

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

collide

So I think he gets mad at himself 'cause in a flash of an instant he realizes you've been somewhere else. And yes, maybe he should already know that. You were. You were somewhere else. But he's been needing to tell someone stories, and he hasn't had anyone but the three dogs. And yes, they listen like crazy but they are no substitute for you. So right when you walk in the door he's trying to tell you a crazy story and you've just been dealing with a lotta craziness somewhere else and the two collide at the door.

That's when you do what you've always done, you go to your corners, work it out in your heads and meet later, over forty years later.

That's at least one of the reasons I'm glad I know you two 'cause you showed me how to come back and meet.

Gratitude.

Again, Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

personal

I figure we can get personal.

My favorite moment is with my dog when we can sit outside and watch the wind blow the trees but not so bad as to make the acorns fall. When the light from a lamppost out back shines against the leaves. A black sky with what seems like millions of fireflies millions of miles away.

And the music is distant back in the kitchen behind the rustle of leaves and the faint song of the rare cricket, the one that just won't stop, is heard.

It is good.

This is it. This is gratitude.

fancy

I think this may be called flights of fancy. Or let's say you and me, we call it that.

Was it yesterday I made a commitment to now? I think we're at the time of year where we can't help but look back. Maybe we were trained by all those commercials saying the best music of whatever year or decade. And wait, we're actually leaving a decade, aren't we. And yes, I know that by even writing this I am going against the resolution of now but like any other time I desire to do something I've told myself I shouldn't do, I always start by saying fuckit.

So fuckit.

And thank you, 2010.

You rocked with music provided by Woodstomp, The Black Keys, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, RL Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, Rabbit, Flogging Molly and surely there were more, yes there were, but you come first to my mind. Thank you.

You were all about some good movies that although they may not have been made in your year, they provided a particularly nice theme. Flicks such as King of Kong and Shawshank Redemption go down as your two top movies and The Office will remain the bright shining star of comedy television watched on the business of the year, Netflix. Yeah. Go Netflix.

The friends you brought into my life, returned to my life, maintained in my life were and still are completely amazing. Um, well, how do I say thank you for them? Yeah, well, thank you.

So I think you and me, we are on the same page 'cause of that guy, ya' know the one that graduated high school during your year. The 2010 Senior? The one that got into the University of Mississippi for prepharmacy 'cause he's brilliant. Him. Well, as you know, that guy and I, we won't be forgetting you soon. We have been happy to share you. Thank you.

And, well, how 'bout the blogging? Yeah, you brought that back into my life. Nice. I like it. Love it. Thank you.

Speaking of blogs. My 2010 list says Sarah, Michelle, Dooce and Pacing the Panic Room provided the storyboard for lives outside of myself. Beautiful lives. Without these four people I would be Tom Hanks in Castaway with a volleyball named Wilson. Thank you.

Yeah so you know my volleyball is an English Bulldog named Billy Sue. And she is all that. All here. She reminds me of now. Thank you for her.

Places of the year? Home and The Como Courtyard and Perdido Key, FL and anywhere Woodstomp is playing. Cool places. Thank you.

And my job, you know how I work with family and how important that is to me. Thank you.

Yes, certainly last but not least, is family. You know who they are. I've listed them here time and time again. Those names peppering the last few months as I started writing my way through life. If I were to name a theme for you, 2010, I would say it is family. And my heart swells with absolute gratitude. The kind that makes you catch your breath, feel a heaviness in your chest, your upper arms, your shoulders, your neck and you think, Thank you.

I know it's early, but I couldn't wait to say it.

Thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving, my most favorite of all holidays ever thought up.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

con

He finds this spot of which I had only read about in articles. Back when I read articles in magazines. A long time ago, another girl ago. Anyway, he finds it and it is miraculous, a surge of the most intense feeling of peace and love and happiness that I think this is it. This is world peace. If everyone in the world could feel this then it is world peace.

And he says he found that by study.

And I say no, it was a miracle.





And, I don't know, but I'm saying why not? why can't it just be a miracle? Give me that, damnit.

Gratitude.

Friday, November 19, 2010

boy

Two people have commented on photos they've seen in the past two weeks, Oh my gosh, Shea. Slater is a man.

And another two people have stated on two separate occasions, Shea, he's only going to be nineteen. He seems so much older. To which I reply, He was always the older one of us two.

I don't know how to describe to you what that feels like, especially when you look at the pictures and realize it's true. He is a man.

Yet I struggle with the pull of my heart which says he'll always be my boy.

Like you know you would go to the outermost lengths of the universe, fight dragons, battle beings from another planet, shoot down enemy airplanes, cross great rivers, stand in the name of something for this guy. This kid. He's always going to be my kid.

And I don't know how to thank him enough. There are no words to describe my gratitude for what he teaches me, still teaches me, about life and love and happiness and beauty and determination and perseverance and forgiveness and respect and kindness and it's insane. How much I love him.

Here's to now, November 19, 1991.

Here's to nineteen year old Slater Goff, young man, my boy.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

pictures

So I've entered a contest. An all out photographic competition. Stiff, fierce competitors.

It is given by a woman I read everyday, or at least check on every day. If you want to enter it, just go here. But please notice I've waited till now to tell you 'cause YOU could beat me, and I had to get a headstart.

If you like photography the reason I recommend this to you is that it makes you start looking at your pictures more closely. Why do I like that picture? What is it about this picture that draws me?  are questions you'll be asking yourself. And you'll have to answer back. I think it is the lines right here. I like the light in this one. And you realize that you haven't gotten that picture of your Mom yet. You know the one, the one that shows her.

So you think, Hey Mom, how 'bout during Thanksgiving we have a photo shoot. I think I know how I want to shoot you. Low light. Outside, on the back porch. You wear whatever you want. And we have a conversation which turns into a story and is documented by that photo. What da' ya' say, Mom?

Dear Reader,

Tomorrow is this one's birthday. Oh.Good. Gosh.


Gratitude.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

pros

I love the way he says Shea.

And how he used to call me Sugar, like in that slow Southern let's make us some more syllables way.

The deep in space talks we have.

His need to always be right. And our struggle with that issue since I need that too.

I love how he treats me like an equal and respects my thoughts and wishes.

I love that he would take a yoga class with me.

That he would insist I eat better and it would be. I almost would since I would be eating with him.

I love that he would discourage bad habits because he loves me not because he wants to control me or change me.

He says it will be a lot of work. And I still hold onto something that says, No, it will be like floating on a cloud.

Then I tell myself, Samsara is Nirvana.

The beauty is there in all of that diligent work.

Gratitude.

Monday, November 15, 2010

foxfire

I pick up Willie at the Big Star in Holly Springs. He is donning a hat which will forever be a signature for him in my mind. That and of course the camera gear. His is compact and organized as his physique. He's thin and wearing slacks and a nice sweater. I don't look at his shoes but assume they are of the dress type. Willie presents himself well and sports a smile speaking kindness.

He had mentioned Foxfire Ranch when I met him at the Rendezvous. A couple, he said, had opened up their cattle and horse ranch to different musicians and their fans on Sunday nights. He explained it was in between Holly Springs and Oxford, a community by the name of Waterford, and they were talking of completing their season toward the end of November. That I should check it out. And, of course, I wanted to. Music draws me places but I must admit that even more than that I was pulled by the question Who does that? Who are the people opening their space to strangers?

Willie and I make the drive from Holly Springs to Foxfire in what seems like only moments since neither one of us can get a word in edgewise from the other one talking. I think it's a symptom of photography that you're always trying to say something, always trying to tell somebody something, a story perhaps. Willie and I are just trying to tell each other stories the whole way out there. Until we pull up to the driveway.

It is dark but the house is lit up. The dirt driveway curves into the land on the right, down and up to a, ummmm, a what do you call that? Willie, OH. MY. GOSH. Who has this place?

He gives me names, a couple in their retirement, him from the Army and she from the University, have built this enormous, gargantuan outdoor covered arena on their land. They share it. They bring in musicians and provide entertainment every Sunday evening.

I stop talking, listen to where Willie tells me to park and get out of the car. I grab the camera gear, Willie grabs his and we walk up to the place.

She knows Willie and welcomes him like homefolk. And although she doesn't know me I get the same type of greeting. She is behind a large concession area multitasking, telling the story of Foxfire to a young man who I can only assume is interviewing her for an article. I hear what she is saying. She is talking of her love of music and how it only made sense that she combine their place with what she loves. The Blues.

I look at Willie and whisper a wow.

He smiles.

I shake her hand, tell her I am amazed by her place, sign her guestbook and walk into a room on the left built for nights with less of a crowd and more of a need for warmth. A large room with tables and seating. It feels like home and everyone in the room seems like family. The band is at the far right and there is a woman belting out respect like all the rest of us do in our cars when Aretha is singing it. Except there is one difference, if I could sing it with the voice she does I'd never say or write a word. I'd just sing everything.

Willie and I find a table in the middle of the room, set our gear down and start moving in different directions. He is setting up video on a tripod in one corner, and I am going from one space to another trying to capture what this is.

The band. The dancing. The smiles. The people.

The where have I been?

It feels like worship. Like a true Sunday service. Like joy. Like gratitude.

I can't do it. I cannot provide you with a photograph that shows you the dream these two people, this couple had. This dream that with hard work and diligence became a place. A place which makes strangers feel at home so it seems for at least one moment there is no such word as strangers.

All I can tell you is that this weekend, Sunday November 21st, is their last show of the season. Robert Belfour will be there at 70 years old to give us a taste of a life steeped in Hill Country Blues.

It only cost $10.

And she'll cook you up a good, hearty meal for cheap.

He'll be walking around making sure you feel welcome.

I'll be shooting, trying to improve over last time.

Slater'll be there.

Willie too.

Maybe Charlie.

Hopefully Rusty and Rebecca.

Maybe Connor and Cannon.

How 'bout it, D?

Come on, Kim. You'll love it!

I hope you'll be there. All of you. So you can see for yourself what type of generosity this is 'cause I can't even explain it.

Need directions? Just email me at sheagoff@gmail.com .

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Willie



It was preshow at the Rendezvous. I had scoured the place and photographed every inanimate object I could find, attempting to animate them. Cannon and I were out front, enjoying the cool air, wagering on absurdity when Willie walked by. I noticed the camera around his neck and said, Hey.

I think I startled him.

He seemed to be in a hurry but stopped and looked as if to say, Okay.

I see you have a camera. What is it? And, hey, look at mine. Well it's not mine, it's really my sister's but I'm getting to know it before I get one.

That is how I met Willie, and it is funny now to think about it. Consider how happenstance it seemed and how instantaneous it was 'cause from that moment forward Willie became my teacher, my mentor.

Willie Wilkinson is a sociologist. He is an anthropologist. He is an archaeologist, a philosopher. He is a reporter with well over 10,000 hours of study. He is a master photographer. He is a quite powerful videographer. His archived work is envied by the Smithsonian.

And I'm one damn lucky girl.

Because one of the most awesome things about Willie, which contributes to him being all those things above, is his generosity of spirit. He is a host of the South, a historian of Hill Country Blues and a grand purveyor of people.

And me? I didn't know what the hell I was doing. The lighting was dark and spots of light swam around the room, movement was fast, there was such music and celebration, distractions EVERYWHERE, all I could do was pray, meditate and shoot. Shoot as much as I possibly could since there was so much to shoot.

But Willie slowed me down. He told me what to focus on. He introduced me to Angie's camera. He told me where to put my hands on the camera. He said, Get on up there. Shoot the crowd. Get Duwayne. Get Little Joe. Get this. Get that. The whole time he was taking care of me he was also manning at least three cameras himself with tripods set in different areas of the room. The Italians were there. The Dutch. All with cameras but Willie took time teaching me.

And he became my friend.

And I'm living in gratitude.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

gig


WOODSTOMP

Huey's in Southaven, MS

11/14/10

7:30pm



What is it that Charlie says?

Come shake it like ya' back ain't got no bone.

human


I guess the question always comes down to what we want. In the most simplest of forms it is where we want to be. By increasing our choices it could be we dwindled our freedoms while becoming trapped in our own minds. The only thing we really know is that nothing truly matters yet everything is incredibly important.

Emily once said, When I was young I used to have to get all made up just to go to the store. The hair had to be perfect. Make-up just right. And I'd look at other people and think, why'd they just let themselves go?

I smiled. I think it's just what they let go, what is left is themselves which must mean they're clinging to something. 'Cause if you let go of everything, every fear, every expectation, every judgement toward yourself and others.....well, hell that'd be just damn scary.

I mean, we're human. We have to cling to something, right?

Gratitude.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

miracles

I call my Dad the other night. Mom has gone to Jackson, bright lights big city. It is dark and I know the sun going down will bring him inside. I also know that the phone conversation will be exquisite, rare, bursting with universal secrets, simple and profound all at the same time. Or maybe I don't know nothing.

Anyway, he doesn't answer the phone so I leave my voice on the answering machine, Daddy, I know you're screening your calls. I know you saw it was me, and you better pick up the phone. Then a quick hang up.

About ten minutes later there he is. Calling me back.

I answer the phone with, Uh huh, you wanted it to be Josh, didn't you?

No, Boog. I was outside, don't tell your mama but I was smoking me a cigar.

Sorry, Daddy. Mama now knows.

You having a baby, Daddy?

No, Boog. Why would ja' ask me that?

Cause you're smoking a cigar. I thought people did that when they had babies.

He laughs, a laugh which tickles your eardrums. He really does giggle like that four year old boy.

No, Boog. I was just sitting outside doing what you and I do. Looking up at the stars. Ya' know, just enjoying what I got.

Oh Daddy, I do know. That's good.

Yeah, Boog. Ya' know what I was thinking?

What were you thinking?

I was thinking that I don't know nothing.

I think that all the time, Daddy. Ya' know how as soon as you think you know something then life goes and tells you something else. Always at the end of that I think, Well hell, I don't know nothing.

Yeah, like that, Boog.

Then I tell him you better get in the shower 'cause Mom called me and she's about thirty minutes away. You better straighten your act up, Daddy. She could smell that cigar. Just don't make it a habit. Or do, I don't care.

And he laughs again. THE laugh.

It tickles me so I laugh too.

Then we do the I Love Yous and say Bye and Goodnight.

And all I can think is gratitude.

In less than a week Sarah will be making a similar but different call to Donnie. I think about her and say her name out loud at least once a day 'cause I think energy moves and somehow she's getting it.

And today is Rusty's birthday. I've decided that to truly call yourself a writer, which I guess I now kinda do, is to give your friends stories for their birthday. A story custom made for them. And, well, Rusty loves Bobby stories so Happy Birthday, Rusty. No, you're not getting a cake.

To the rest of you, beautiful you, friends, family, anyone who reads what I write.

Slater
Mom
Dad
Rick
Ellen
Kim
Pam
Angie
D (thanks for the help, D)
Willie (ditto)
Susie
Josh
Priscilla
Jason
Madalyn
Charlie
Shenna
Rebecca
Michelle
And you, you who I don't maybe know your name. Thank you. I'm smoking a cigar.

Not literally, Mama.

Thank you. For you, I have a story coming up called, I know a Cat named Way Out Willie.*
*Ken Russell. Johnny Otis.

Monday, November 8, 2010

writing

Sometimes the writing doesn't come, and sometimes it comes all at once. During the all at once at times I am comforted by Bill Murray playing Hunter S. Thompson in Where the Buffalo Roam.

""



Monday.


Gratitude.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

love


The place was ol' Willie Faulkner's homestead, Rowan Oak. It was an impromptu visit. A phone call, things thrown about, teeth brushed, camera battery charged, a questioning look from Billy Sue and then her excitement at the signs of a road trip.

I didn't have much time. Slater said yes, it was 3:30 in the afternoon, there was at least an hour drive ahead of me and well, you know, the sun. Timing. I didn't fret. Rather I stopped by the gas station, bought a coffee, ibuprofen and two packs of cigarettes, looked at the cashier and said I think this may be the perfect convenience store purchase. I wish I had brought in my camera. He chuckled but I ASSUMED he had his hand on some type of red button to push and call the paddy wagon 'cause hey, this bitch wants to take a picture of her purchase. So no picture, no paddy wagon. And yes, I assumed something. Damn it.

No, I didn't realize that the University of Mississippi was having their homecoming football game and the only way I knew to get to Slater's dorm was blocked. How dare they? So I stuck my head out the window and asked the two guys making some type of hand motions telling me to turn 'cause I didn't have a fancy sticker on my car, Hey, if I can't go this way how am I gonna get to my son's dorm?

You're gonna have to go that way. One of the nice men said while pointing in a general direction as if to say, Go East. Do people not know I am spatially challenged? Yet I didn't fret. Rather I looked at Billy Sue and said, We can do it. We'll go that way.

We did. We got there with a few minutes to spare.

People walked by the car as we waited and Billy Sue posed for their photographs until, that is, she saw Slater and Shelby. She had no idea that's where we were going. And everything about her smiled just as big as Slater smiled when he was walking up to her. Oh, sweet moments. Not captured by photography but definitely stored in the heart. Beautiful.

Anyway, we finally made it out to Rowan Oak after taking a few Mama may be lost detours.

With a short span of natural light what I felt was captured was young love. You know what I'm talking about, don't you? When you can't keep your hands off each other, those soulful looks, the nods, the playfulness.

How do I introduce these people?

He's my love.

He's her love.

She's his love.

So she's my love.

Slater and Shelby.

Gratitude.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

day

This is Saturday.

I can't even begin to describe to you all the assumptions I made on Friday because I don't want to simply type all day.

And it seriously would take me the entire day.

So I am saying this is a new day,

a whole brand spanking new,

shiny 24 hours.

A day without assumption.

Do you think I can do it?

Go one whole day without making one single assumption?

It sounds hard to me,

but I am going to try,

or wait,

just BE,

'cause it's Saturday.

Beautiful, beautiful Saturday.




Gratitude.

Friday, November 5, 2010

rockin'

I had a friend once tell me he liked Keanu Reeves even though he knew it wasn't cool to like Keanu Reeves. And that he wasn't going to be ashamed to admit it. For him Bill and Ted had been a fond memory and The Matrix overshadowed any seemingly less acting attempts.

I think I get it. I mean, seriously, I am a child of the eighties. I utilized the staying power of Aquanet to get my hair just the right height. Now I even wonder who that girl was and how many years she took off my life with those fumes. But I guess what I am trying to tell you is there are certain tunes from that decade which will forever, throughout all infinity, conjure up particular emotions in me.

Ya' know, music which makes you want to stuff a backpack with essentials, fill up the car with gas and say the hell with it. Bad attitude, I know, but I am not going to be ashamed to admit it.

Dude, the HAIR.

'>http://
I was going to embed the official video but couldn't stop laughing.

Sweet laughter.
Friday RULZZZZ.

Gratitude.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

mastery

Little Joe Ayers and Duwayne Burnside

In his book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell proposes it takes 10,000 hours of practice in order to master a skill. I wonder how many hours these men have.

I'm saying at least 10,000.

Gratitude.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

grapes

I mentioned back in these proverbial pages there were four books in my forty year history which had made my Four Greatest Books list. I could never rank them other than to say they stand alone, each being the greatest if I am talking about them or just remembering them.

It has been at least four years since I read Lonesome Dove, or maybe two or three. I don't know, but it kinda feels like it was forever ago. I miss them. I miss Gus and Call and Deet and Newt and Pea Eye and Lorena and Clara and yeah, I'll say Jake but he pissed me off several times. The thing is that McMurtry blew me away. He made me fall in love over and over again. Yet he spoiled me as well. I couldn't enjoy a book for a while after that one. It was as if any other writer was going to piss me off because I knew I wouldn't find Gus in their work. And I wanted to find Gus. I didn't want him to leave.

Yes, there are other books in the series. I could have delved into their past, went on another adventure with them but McMurtry had clearly pissed me off by taking Gus away. And when I attempted to watch the mini series I had to turn it off after two minutes 'cause those weren't the people I had loved in my head.

It almost sounds as if I am not recommending it. Hey, you! Read this book. It'll piss you off.

But I am. I am saying that there is a certain spirit in people, something so true and beautiful, that you must risk the tragedy of losing them in order to gain the knowledge of their existence if only in the pages of a book. And what if they rub off on you a bit? How bad would it be to pattern your integrity by that of Call or feel love and loyalty like that of Gus? To know the determination of Lorena and Clara? Possess a sense of duty equal to that found in Deet and Pea Eye?

I guess I could have done worse that summer for my vacation read, because it must be like Gus carved in the sign for the Hat Creek Cattle Company.

A grape is changed by living with other grapes.
Loosely translated Latin, I know.

Those characters were some pretty good grapes in my book.

Gratitude.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

change

It is happening naturally. A change. The nights are getting cold, not outrageously cold, just enough for me to question my sanity in regards to being stubborn about turning on the heat.I usually wait till I can see my breath before I turn on the heat.



Two more weeks. Friday, November 12th is my goal date, but Billy Sue has at times thought she would call the gas company, tell them to light the pilot cause she was turning that thing on. I tell her to be tough 'cause if she can make it through this short period of change, where she adjusts, then it's not so bad.





Once you turn that thing on you get downright spoiled.






Which leads me to my story.


I went home Saturday. Home is four hours south toward the ocean. It is a stop with red clay banks, enough pine to make you a living and some of the best people in the world. Beautiful, in fact.


But I didn't get there till about 6pm 'cause I didn't leave till about 2pm 'cause hell, it was Saturday and sometimes I enjoy having the opportunity to go back to bed. So that's what I did and that meant that my Daddy was standing up at the top of the driveway, or hill may we say, with his new Pit Bull, Ruby, sitting on the ground at his feet.


Backstory to say Ruby picked Daddy. About three weeks ago. On a dirt road where she was walking all beat up and battered Daddy had stopped 'cause hell, she had a collar on, she was somebody's dog and it wouldn't be right if somebody was missing their dog and here Daddy could look at the collar, give the guy a call and take him his dog.


But when Daddy got out of that truck he soon realized that the pit bull was a bit timid and didn't want him getting anywhere near her. What she did was run around Daddy and hop in the cab of the truck of which he had left the driver's door open. Daddy has a double cab so Ruby got in the backseat and stared at him. Whenever he told her that she needed to get outta the truck she responded in a low growl. So Daddy did what any sensible human would do in that situation, he got in the driver's seat and drove on home with Ruby seeming satisfied in her new ride.


I guess the big problem is Daddy already had two girlfriends at home, Susie and Josie. Black strays who have made their peace with each other and seemed to understand they had a good darn life with Patsy and Bobby. That is until Ruby drove up with Dad.


She has now made her claim to him after explaining to the other two girls she is the Alpha. Oh wait, excuse me, ALPHA. She is one bad ass dog. We all have dogs.





This is Annie, Josh and Priscilla's baby.








This is Susie, my baby. Bobby and Patsy's grandchild who got sent to the country 'cause she kept getting arrested in town. We have no idea how old she is, just that she's been around a long time.


Josie is not pictured 'cause she's a bit pissed and not as visible as she used to be. She was Daddy's main girlfriend and now Ruby is. Josie is finding that a bit hard to swallow.



Anyway, when I drive up at 6pm Daddy and his new girlfriend, Ruby, are waiting at the top of the driveway. His arms are crossed, toothpick in his mouth, solid stance with Ruby at his feet. They're both staring at my car. He's got this smirk on his face I recognize, and I already start talking to Billy Sue who has been so excited to be on a trip she hadn't sat down the entire ride.



I park, look Billy Sue in the eyes and say, Billy Sue, straight to the back porch gate. You understand me? Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Do not even look anywhere but at the gate. Beeline. Do you understand me?



You're seriously not going to believe this. Billy Sue looked at me and pretty much said, yes. Evidenced by the fact that when we got outta that car we both took off, not so much running say, but maybe rapidly walking the twenty or so feet to safety.



That's when Daddy started laughing, giggling like a four year old boy on Christmas morning playing with a toy he's wished for all year long.



And me and Billy Sue almost make it. We get so close, almost within five feet of the gate before Daddy gets his breath long enough to say one word. One word and not even loudly. Just a normal toned, Catch.



I hear him say it. My mind screams that no which starts like a ringing in your ears and gradually explodes into an outward, expansive, NO. STOP. DADDY! GET HER! GET HER!



I'm trying not to look but can't help myself 'cause I need to know if my dog needs me but I don't want to stick my arm down in a dog fight and I know I'm gonna have to if Billy Sue is bleeding, damn it. Damn Daddy.



So I finally look down and focus, the whole time screaming 'cause I think that maybe ole' Ruby hadn't ever heard a woman scream like that before and I could at least shock her into not killing Billy Sue. Daddy is running up to where we are, still laughing. I swear. We both at the same time look down to find Ruby directly on top of Billy Sue. Just standing there like, Look. I caught her.



Billy Sue ain't hearing of it. She's pissed so she's turning around wanting to kick some ass, but Ruby couldn't care less. He just told her to catch so she has caught. I am totally grateful and respectful of the fact she didn't kill my dog. She could have.



Daddy, out of breath from laughter then says, Come on, Ruby. And she turns and goes to him. I quickly open the backyard gate for Billy Sue, the only dog who ever gets to stay on Mama's back porch. Ruby immediately goes and jumps in the passenger seat of my car, and Daddy tells me I better not stick my hand in there.



That's when I walk up to my car, look at Ruby, she looks at me and I tell her, I guess you're going home with me now. Don't bite my hand off. Then I reach in there and get my cigarettes saying to Daddy, That was just mean. I hug him, give him a kiss on the cheek and walk in to see Mom. Of course, my intention is to tell on Daddy.



She's preparing my favorite meal, fried salmon patties, dried butterbeans and cornbread. I smell it when I walk in the door so I immediately hug her when I get to the kitchen while making my case, Do you know what Daddy just did? Did you hear all that? He put Ruby on me and Billy Sue. Told her to 'Catch'.



To which she smiles and replies, Welcome home, Shea.



And we both kinda giggle.






Gratitude.