Monday, February 27, 2012

this is not goodbye, it's see ya' next week

This guy said about this guy, The journey of him not knowing to knowing was his work.


And that quote let me know what I planned to do this week by going to see this guy was the right move. I have so much to learn, more than a week long journey's worth but at least it's a start. No cell phone, no lap top. It will be me, the road, my camera, some books and the teachers I meet along the way. Right now I plan to return to you next Monday.

Of course I'll bring you back a souvenir. Lots of 'em.

Until then if you find you are looking for something to read in the morning, before you go to work or before you get the kids up for school or your lunchbreak or in the evening when you've just had enough of what the day brought, you may want to glance at what this guy has done.

This.

I would go so far as to say I recommend it. Highly even.



I am grateful for opportunity, for people of this world who are willing to share their experiences and knowledge. I am so very grateful to receive it.





excuse me, you dropped something ten years ago



Some guy dropped a Mountain Dew can on my Dad's property. He pointed it out to me one morning when we were going to check the hotels the beavers had built the night before. I doubt I'll ever forget that conversation.

Dad: (stops and points at the can) You see this?
Me: That is a can. (with pride since I never know the answer to any of the nature questions)
Dad: Yes.
Me: You gonna pick it up?
Dad: Nope.
Me: Do you need for me to pick it up?
Dad: Nope.
Me: You just wanted to show it to me?
Dad: I'm telling you I am going to find who did this.
Me: You're gonna find who dropped that Mountain Dew can right there? Dad, we're in the middle of the woods.
Dad: Yep. I think I know who it is. I've been asking around.
Me: Seriously? Why don't I just pick up the can? (bending down to pick up the can)
Dad: Don't you touch that can.
Me: Geez, Dad. What are ya' gonna do when you find the person who did this?
Dad: I'm gonna bring 'em back here and watch 'em pick it up.







Grateful I don't have some bad ass looking for me.











Sunday, February 26, 2012

signal

Wyatt's Crossing          Sardis, MS



A ninety degree turn could take you to the second Graceland but let's not go all the way. We need to get out of here so we'll take a right when we've had too much of that road. We're long past city water and cable. Oh you forgot your cell phone? Left it at the house? Hopefully there's no signal out here anyway. Oops, I take that back. There is a signal, kinda like a gang sign but it doesn't matter your gender or color of skin or religion or what you do for a living or what you drive or what you wear or who you think you are or who you think you're not. All you have to do is the signal.

You don't even have to know the exact signal. You are welcome to have your own variation of it. I have my own, one I learned from my Dad when I was a kid. It's not as if he sat me down and said, Now Boog there is this signal you must know so people will know you came from me. Learn the signal, always use it, and then we started practicing. No, he just did it and now I do it.

My favorite way to do the signal is with the window down and music playing. Today it will be Brothers. I always take a left before I should and at the instant it's too late to abandon the decision. Oh well, we'll turn around up here, it's nothing that can't be corrected. We will just figure it was meant to be and keep going. It will take us five turns before I get to show you the true beauty of the signal. Before we do those turns you'll notice me do it but you may not see anyone else do it. There's nothing wrong with those people other than they're distracted. You know what I mean. We've all been that way before and will be that way again.

Five turns and a store to our left will show us our first and most beautiful display of the signal. There will be about nine people standing outside in small groups and you and me will be going at the most thirty miles an hour feeling like it's too fast and they'll look at us and we'll look at them and I'll do the ever so slight nod. Resting at twelve o'clock on the steering wheel my right hand will come alive slow like as four fingers lifted with the thumb staying tucked under the wheel. It is a hi, a hey, a this is a nice day, a whatup, a peace sign without the hippie.

Then you'll see it, the beauty of it. Eight of those nine people (studies show there's always one pissed off person in the bunch but that's okay 'cause we've been pissed off before too) will do their own version of the signal. And it's so cool 'cause it's not really a wave, more like a lifting of the hand with an ever so slight nod of the head. Eight strangers will do the signal in unison.

In that moment under one of the bluest of skies we've seen in a long time with some of my favorite music and the wind pushing through the open windows and we are here and people are kind in their acknowledgement of each other you are welcome to call me an optimist, a dreamer.

It doesn't matter what you say. I've seen it. It exists.






I am grateful my Dad showed me the signal.







Saturday, February 25, 2012

reflection

Upside Down Reflective 42nd in Sardis, MS



Billy Sue and I went hunting for a photo to celebrate my birthday.
I think we found it.

crazy love

Billy Sue just says, Thank God she is gone. Then she takes a nap.


But this dog. This dog really loves.

again with the secret

Sometimes the best thing about a secret is it's secrecy. The presence of a park bench at the very edge of a large state park, somebody is sharing a secret. An early morning walk, the dogs they know on the path, they are sharing a secret. They way they fumble with a camera and the relationships in their life, they never shout it to you. I think you must tell at least one person your secret. If you don't share your secret with someone then it is not worthy of the name secret.

The Shot I Didn't Get at John Kyle State Park in Sardis, MS



I am grateful to share a secret.

Friday, February 24, 2012

secret

If I tell you this you must not speak a word of it. This has to be between us. I'm serious. You can't say anything. Do not mutter a single syllable. Don't even make a funny face if we're in a conversation with others and something mentioned sounds like what I am going to tell you. As if we have our own little private joke and you look at me and smile while everyone else laughs, you can't do that. I will not look at you. This is not our personal connection, we do not share inside information. This is a secret of the top kind.

Do you understand?
Can I trust you?

I don't know. It could be that you would get this information from me, find it to be the very best thing you ever heard and it would stick with you. Maybe you would be driving north on the interstate and you'd see something off to the right which would remind you of what I am going to tell you. Thirty minutes later you would be sitting on the patio of your favorite Mexican restaurant. You and your best friend would be chatting. It would be the first time in a long time so each of you would be trying to get in a word edgewise about what's been happening in your lives. She would say something about how the new yacht she got is hard to redecorate and how her live in stud who looks like whoever looks the best showers her with too much attention and you'll just break. Right there on that patio you would say it. You'd tell, wouldn't you?

I wouldn't blame you.
The information is that good so you can tell her. But only her, nobody else.

Wait. I know you.
You'd tell your parents,
that lady at the convenience store who is one of the coolest people you know,
your boss 'cause you want a raise,
your kid because you want them to think you're awesome.

You can't.
I shouldn't tell you.
I'll have to think about it.
Maybe tomorrow.





Grateful for your patience.











Thursday, February 23, 2012

looking down

A published photographer once told me, Never take a picture of a flower while looking down at it. Everyone has already seen that shot.



When Cameron Davidson looks down he shows me things I have never seen.
If only I could be in Ashland tonight.







Dear Virginia,


Mississippi is jealous.


Love,
Shea



history



It was the way things were done. If you didn't know that you weren't raised right or maybe you didn't have any better sense. There were things you didn't say, people with whom you did not associate, questions left hanging in a room with tall shadows.







I am grateful for John and his stories.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

tune

Yesterday I was reminded of this song.
It was nice to be reminded.

sunday's child



I could have owned a bookstore.
He could have owned a bar.

My bookstore would have been filled with first editions, collections which I would dust. I would have a long table by a big window where I would serve a couple of pots of coffee to a bunch of curmudgeons who would hold a writers' group at my place on Wednesday nights. They would have two ladies in the group, one a hairdresser by day a poet by night the other a published author of steamy romance novels.

On Wednesdays I would stay till nine always maintaining a certain distance from the group. I'd be at the cash register pretending to add while really listening to the assignments, the readings, the praise and the criticism. I'd take notes on the back of small white squares of register paper, put them in my purse and forget about them until months later when I would find them and use their advice in my private writing projects.

One day a week, maybe on Sundays neither of us would have to go to work. We would sleep in late on white sheets as a morning sun would warm a large room. We would nuzzle and talk and giggle and laugh. I'd make him read while I made pancakes. He'd put on black rimmed glasses and sit up in bed.

I'd come back without the food but with coffee and impatience, Whada ya' think? Whada ya' think? 

He'd smile, I'm not finished. 








Grateful for those who remind me of who I used to be.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

two kittens and a ball of yarn

I lost it.
I can't find it anywhere.
I've looked.
Yes, I looked there.
And there as well.
No, it's not there.
There is no way it's there.
I didn't take it there.

You're not helping.
These questions, they're not finding it.
I understand you're trying.
What I am telling you is I need you to stop.
No, I'm not mad.
Was that another question?
Now I'm mad.

It's okay. I don't need it.
I'll get another one.
I needed to learn to live without it anyway.
No, I'm not giving up.
I'm just letting go.
This is not what I always do.
I am not a quitter.
You're an ass.

What?
I'm changing the subject?
I think the subject is you calling me a quitter makes you an ass.
That is not a fact.
That is called your opinion.
And by the way, that is not a very nice opinion to have of someone you claim to love.
Oh.
Because you love me.
I see.

Oh look.
I found it.







Grateful for discovery.







Monday, February 20, 2012

Starlee Kine

There are so many things I love about Starlee Kine, not the least of which is her dog being named Oh Papa, a name taken from The Road by Cormac McCarthy, or her voice both in writing and speaking or her relationship with Jonathan Goldstein, of which the thought makes me smile.

One day I hope to make enough money to buy something equivalent to a cutting board created in the mind of Starlee. I would so use it to prepare those meals for which Leonard Cohen provided the soundtrack.

photo of a photo

Hughey Burchfield



It was that first night I noticed Hughey's work. We were hurried, late, I needed to meet someone. It was the worst way to walk into a gallery. Kim got ahead of me. I tried to scan the work, meet the only artist left, ask questions, apologize for walking in at closing and desperately trying to get home.

I made it down the first wall with anxiety. Here was Sharon's work, I knew I'd be back to it, to her, to the study of what she does. Next was a general store, followed by a barn, a quick glance at the artist. Oh, it was David, Sharon's husband. Wow, I thought, a historical artist. Someone who wants to show us the past. I thought of my Dad's stories. I would definitely be back.

I scanned paintings, names. Hurried. The center was Wyatt's Crossing, sold. Good for her, I tried to imagine where the collector would put him. If ever I had a huge entryway where people were first introduced into my home, massive with high tin ceilings and a shiny dark stained wood floor, I would put him there, under lighting designed by Teresa White.


It was the back right corner of the room where I stopped. A photograph stopped me. Who is Hughey Burchfield? I asked. It was a photograph, one of a natural texture you won't see here or at the website. It caught my eye, forced me to ask and find out he was local, a retired banker who sells photography internationally. The photograph seemed cheap, a hundred dollars. It was framed, signed. Keep walking, I thought, you must sell photography before you buy photography. I look at Kim, far ahead of me now, and kinda shout, Kim, did you see this Hughey Burchfield guy?

Yeah. Yeah, I saw that, she said.




Yesterday in the line at the grocery store I saw girl I knew and said, Hi.

Hey, she said. We've been needing to get in touch with you about getting some photographs made. We love what you did before. How much would you charge?

Ummm. Hm. Well. I've been thinking about that. I don't really know. I mean, it's you. Geez.

How 'bout? She named a price.

In my book nothing is mentioned about allowing the customer to name their price, to tell you what your work is worth. Imagine that except it is her and him and they are Slater's friends and it's work and someone wants my photography and why would I turn down grocery money.

Sounds fair, I say.



This is when, again, I think I need to get the World's Master Monopoly Player to handle my business affairs.



World's Master Monopoly Player




Grateful for that kid's face. And yes, his mind as well.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

question

World's first blogger?

creation





1. Her spawn tried to kill her several times. Unsuccessfully obviously.

2. She is from Mississippi.

3. An American with world travel under her belt, she represents well.

4. She once went to a spa in Arizona and accidentally began teaching classes for those that came for self improvement. She just went to relax.

5. She loves photos of babies 'cause she loves babies, for some she is crazy fond.

6. The master of socks. At Christmas she gives bags of socks, the best socks. Socks to not only keep your feet warm but ones that will make them warm.

7. She is always learning, always studying. If you took the teacher out of her, if you could, she would maybe go limp.

8. The heart of a capitalist with more common sense in her pinkie than the world has anywhere.

9. She is to be admired, respected, feared. On that last one, the fear thing, she believes in your capacity as she believes in her own. If you don't believe in yourself she'll give you two minutes to do so. One hundred twenty, one hundred nineteen, one hundred you get the picture.

10. Her kids, they're a lucky bunch.



One day when I was eight or nine years old some weaselly kid on the bus said, Your Mama. This was back in the day when people still used the letter r. I was so mad I could have fought that boy, wanted to. How dare he talk about my Mama. Rather than fighting I went home in tears, put my books down in the kitchen, looked up at her and told her I was going to beat up a boy.

What happened? she asked.

Roger Rich said 'Your Mama' and that meant that you are not a good friend 'cause he was not a good friend to Mokey Raspberry and I told him that he wasn't and he said 'Your Mama', all said between gasps of breath and the kind of it broke my heart crying only an eight year old can do.

She smiled then laughed.

It's not funny. Why are you laughing? The presence of laughter caused a break in the sobbing.

What does Roger Rich know about me? she asked all matter of factly.

He knows you're my Mama.

What else?

I don't know, between gasps but without tears.

He doesn't know anything else. Why does what he says make me something?

I don't know.

It doesn't.



Grateful for logic classes in my home school program which was conducted after my attendance in public school.

Grateful for my Mom who celebrates her sixty-first birthday today.





Saturday, February 18, 2012

Jamie and her food

This site makes me hungry and encourages me to cook so Slater likes it as well.

friday night fever




It wasn't but in my head the Pulp Fiction soundtrack would be playing when I walked in the door. I'd look more Selma than Uma and John Travolta would be sitting at the desk to my right. He wasn't. Sharon and David were there, the next best people to be doing so.

I'm fine that Avatar is flirting with another woman. He's such a scoundrel that way.


Anyway, for now let's stick with the dream. John would be leaning back in his chair and he would smile when I looked at him to say, hi. The smile would stick for just a moment which would seem like an eternity. Then in a whisper I couldn't hear but I could see his lips move though somewhere in his eyes is where I would be, he would say, hi.

I'd play it cool 'cause he's playing it cool so then I would ask if I could take pictures. He would chuckle and nod, leaning up and crossing his arms, You a photographer?

Wannabe, I'd say.

Be my guest, he'd lift his arm to present the room.

He would turn down the music as I sat down my bag and unzipped it pulling out the camera. I'd most likely be wearing something like Sharon wore. To be more specific I would have on a big black fro and big hoop earrings with Selma's body in Sharon's dress and boots.


Oh yeah, he'd have a dog too.


The dog doesn't have to be named Avatar. He just has to be Avatar.

I'd turn to my left and focus on the sculpture, take a few shots and check the lighting. Adjust as I hear him walk up behind me. Without auto focus this trip would be a waste, it would be all I could do to keep from trembling. Taking pictures would be the only thing there to save me from turning around and asking, You wanna turn off some of these lights, lock the door and dance? Cameras are good for the insane. They give us something to do.

I would bend down to look up at the woman in white, all naked.



He'd step up behind me and say, You like?

I'd say, Beautiful. Who's the artist? Does anyone else notice how cool I am?

You have good taste, he'd say. That's Sharon McConnell-Dickerson.

From around here? I'd stand and face him. I am the coolest of all cool. clearly.

She lives across the railroad tracks there with her husband David.  He is shown here as well.

Two artists in the same home? Wonder what that's like.

They work well together. You should meet them, see the way they he looks at her. The way they look at each other.


They're sweet like this,
and you know the world is okay for a moment because of the love you see surrounding Sharon.


And they have this awesome dog named Avatar. Here, he would touch my elbow, let me show you more of her work.

He would walk me to the front window behind the desk where he had been sitting.

I would see Sharon's view of herself. With John standing next to me I would pick up my camera and shoot.



She's quite sensual, isn't she?

Oh, you can't imagine, he would say. She has one of the most incredible stories and one of the most fantastic attitudes I've witnessed in a human.

Wow, deal art much?

He would laugh, I'm serious, and I volunteer here. I can maybe set something up for you if you'd like. You could meet her and David.

That'd be nice.

You'd owe me, he'd say.

Owe you, huh?

Yep.

What would I owe you?

A dance.

A dance?

Yep.

I would watch as he walked to the front door and locked it. He would turn, look at me and smile. Then he would reach and flip one switch cutting off half the lights in the room. I would have to giggle, cool out the window, as he walked over to the music and turned up the volume.

You better know how to dance, I'd say.

I would totally dance like Uma.




Seriously, my friend, check out Sharon's website, like her facebook page. If you can't make it to Como, MS I'll feel sorry for you but at least we have the internet.

I am grateful for the internet.




Also, I am grateful for dreaming and John Travolta and big back fros and music and Selma and Uma and Saturday mornings.

Friday, February 17, 2012

slow



The rock moved two inches in two thousand years. It was a mover and a shaker, quite the rebellious thing at best. Once, five hundred seventy three years ago, the rock got stuck in a crevice. Over and under in between two others. Yesterday a strong wind blew, a surge of water pushed up and to the right. There was a slight shift. If you had not been watching closely you would have never noticed but you were and so was I.

It might take a moment in the form of nine hundred eighty four years for such a rock to acclimate, this being a new place with fresh exposure to the elements. There may be times at first, during the initial three hundred fifty six years, the rock will miss the crevice. We will never know. It will be the rock's secret.





I am grateful for new places,




but sometimes I miss the old ones.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

film






Never delegate understanding. ~ Charles Eames




I am grateful for beautiful distractions.

in search of the elusive successful

He speaks in postcards and mails me a book.

He buys me perfume though I'll never wear it.

I tell him.
harshly.
I feel regret.

It is a matter of fact with an issue of feel.


It was the one part of the interview when there was a change in respiration, a didn't see that one coming. With all of that she said she was lacking but the lighting was so perfect and I really wanted to believe. I wanted to see, witness for myself, and it was. I promise you it was.

Until she mentioned she wanted to share it with someone.
She never dreamed of going solo.

Damn.

I did not groan in the interview though I could have. I have since. Maybe I smiled to cover the disappointment. I'm almost positive I tried to find a new subject. Let's talk about something other than your life is perfect but you need a man. Not in those words but maybe in a, Seriously!!!! You've got to be kidding me. followed by many expletives. No, not in those words. More like, What about this weather?



There was once this wedding and there was once this speech given by a father. Everyone loved the speech, made sure to say so afterwards. I went along with it, nodded my head when it was mentioned but for the life of me I couldn't shake what he said. He was just so happy that someone was going to take care of his little girl who was by then a woman in her late twenties.

It's just I couldn't help but wonder what happened that she couldn't take care of herself.


I am grateful for the teachers in my life and for that part of me (albeit small and stubborn) which is still willing to be taught.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

trendsetter



It's before all that.



Before anyone says otherwise.



Her hair looks just fine.




Again, so very grateful for Grace.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

moves

Oh yeah, I'm practicing this.


Thanks to Dooce.



pine trees

He walks into a room.
The room is dark and smoky.
There is slow jazz playing.
It is a live show.
The woman, she's already there.

The writer types to the same music but not there.
Again the room is dark and smoky.
This is her own little live show.
The man, he'll be there.

He gets off work, a job he had to take.
If only to keep the truck running.
A long drive home in the middle of the night.
He turns on the music, different.

Someone whispers in her ear.
A low breathy voice.
Hallelujah.
She wonders.
Pauses.

He sleeps until an arm slaps his face.
She even struggles in her sleep.
One a m, then two, maybe three since it's a weekend.
Though it'd be nice to go play golf.
Maybe.

She is getting ready for the world.
A full house, lots of play.
Clean sheets. Beds made.
We'll do this for lunch.
That for dinner.
Breakfast, always the same.

He prepares to see his child, all grown up.
That's the story anyway.
It seems that she has changed.
But of course she has.
It will always be that way, change.

Coffee made.
Candle lit.
Another day at work.
This is as good as it can get.
Until he gets there.
He'll be there.




Hi you,
I am grateful today to take a couple of days off, to go see a baby who is belly laughing now. I will think of you in the early morning and wonder if I should write. But I won't. I'll save whatever it is I find and I'll bring it back to you. I guess what I'm saying is you'll get a souvenir. Otherwise, may you see at least one really crazy miracle this weekend. I know you will.
Love,
me









Friday, February 10, 2012

visiting

Karen


Walter, No.


It is a home of exquisite lighting, all warm and inviting. Windows, windows everywhere. It is construction and projects and an art room to the right. Her own studio, it looks like heaven. An easel stands tilted in the top third of the room, three small canvases in varying degrees of finish within. It is clean wood floors with a shine, a large piece of patterned cloth placed. I tiptoe around it and say, This is incredible. Can I take pictures?

Sure, she says and leads me into a kitchen. A tall, wide, warm, I can't come up with enough adjectives room containing an adopted casted puppy in a box.

I can't take this so I drop to the floor and start harassing Walter with a camera. You know how comfort food feels? You remember Christmas morning? There is no way I am getting this shot. There is too much here, too much lighting consideration, too much to show you to even wrap my head around talking to Karen and taking pictures of Karen and what Karen has created. There is too much space of everything so I give up and have a glass of wine in front of a fire.

It is not long before Karen joins me with her own glass of wine and a tray with cheeses and olives and I don't know what all because I have been overcome with a diagnosis of attention deficit disorder, severe and crippling. Who could eat with all this going on? She sits diagonally across, on the left of the fire. She talks, asks questions, moves around in her chair, crosses her legs, uncrosses them and the power goes out. It blinks first, three or four times. Then no more electricity but not dark. We are not spooked, and Karen tells me so. There is orange from the fire and white from a lantern. I bend her ear for two hours. There is not enough time. She is fascinating and creative and lovely and single and intelligent and beautiful and she refuses to mow her lawn or color her hair. There's a book she's working on, contacts she's made, projects she's done and everything she's thinking. Why do I not own an audio recorder? Why am I not taking pictures? Why am I not taking notes? My yellow notepad has some scribbles but I am in awe.




Later I sit in my living room, trying not to write down everything I saw but my mind is filled with it. Go to sleep, I say. You'll have to write in the morning, just let it be. Slater walks into the room to tell me about his day and I listen and he smiles and paces and laughs and so do I.

He finishes and I say, You would not believe Karen's place, Slater. And I try to tell him everything, even with my hands, but there is no way so I finally give up and say, If that is a glimpse, any kind of glimpse of my future then oh man, it looks great.


Walter, stop it. I'm taken. I can't love you this much.

Signage

Dear Karen's Life,
I couldn't even imagine until now.
Thank you,
Shea


Here is Karen.






Grateful for dreams in reality. Grateful for people who walk this Earth with open hands.












Thursday, February 9, 2012

evidence

Kim forgot her ankle weights. I should have gotten back in my car.

Remember how we, you and me, decided we would perform clinical trials on the effectiveness of acupuncture and there would be weekly updates found on this here where people come to find all their healthcare needs blog? Yeah, that was a month ago. I know. It's just that Kim's updates were so horrifying. There was clearly a risk I would be sued by the entire acupuncture industry if I relayed the information. Mom always said if I didn't have anything kind to say then I should just keep my mouth shut. Until now keeping Kim's experience under wraps seemed like the most prudent thing to do.

It was that needle in the tip top center of her skull which made my brain scream, Never. Never do that, you who carries me around in your head. Now I have to wonder if it was that one needle which didn't exactly get rid of Kim's homicidal ideation but changed it. A month into acupuncture and our friend Kim has gone through a type of transformation.

Seriously. I saw it yesterday.

She looked the same, all cute and shiny and yes, still short. I started wishing I was short 'cause it goes well with bubbly and happy and not talking about killing anybody. On the outside it looked as if acupuncture could wipe out the entire murder industry and get rid of all those shows on television where everyone is finding more creative ways to kill each other. It wasn't long before I realized it was only going to give murderers and their shows more material.

Before acupuncture Kim would have bludgeoned someone to death. After acupuncture she will just take them on a walk. The latter I found to be more evil with all the smiling and talking and laughing. It wasn't funny, and I almost died on that mountain she called a hill. That one over there, X marks the spot right at the top and she just kept on and on and I realized she was enjoying it. My friend of thirty years was enjoying watching me die. Loving it so much she was giggling.

Way to go, acupuncture. Way to make death worse.


Dear Reader,

Please keep this as evidence just in case I don't come back from attempted murder next week. That is unless I can find the fitness protection program Debi joined. I am willing to relocate.

I always loved you,
Postmortem Shea

Post Script. If you can't find my body I am almost certain she pushed me off the top of the second mountain (hill my ass) into the woods on the right. Yeah, that'll be how she does it.





Grateful for friends, especially the evil ones.




Wednesday, February 8, 2012

so stubborn




Godworks

Concrete blocks for steps stack to sturdy boards. What is left of a screen door hangs crooked and scrapes when opened. Knocking on this door produces a throaty bass and tells you it is solid and thick. I hear her voice after three quick taps. It is slight, Come in.

I take a breath and bust in with a smile.

She is at the sink across the room, putting water into a pitcher to take care of a plant that's almost died. She shows me a peace lily that someone gave her the day Mike was born. Mike is twenty. This simple fact, that a woman has kept a plant alive for twenty years, is enough for me to claim worship. Yet that is the very smallest of who she is. She tells me, I was going to call you. I'm not feeling good today. I put on my shoes fifteen minutes ago but I don't know if I can go walking.

I laugh,  So glad you didn't call me 'cause you're going for a walk.

She pauses quick, looks me in the eyes and notices how big I'm smiling. I know, she says then wipes down a counter.

Admittedly I did use God on her yesterday. Sometimes it takes some God to exercise. She and I both need God to exercise so it only makes sense that when I called her yesterday to find out when we were going for a walk she hemhawed, stuttered, hesitated and I went ahead and moved my queen in a diagonal attack with a bishop on her first row king as my castle covered the second. I said, God talked to me yesterday. You wanna know what he said?

Silence then, I know he did. What did he say?

He said, 'I got some fabulous plans for you and Debi. It's gonna be awesome. You can't even imagine how great, that's how fantastic it all is. But you gotta stop killing yourselves'.


I know, Shea. I know he told you that 'cause that's right.


So what time?


I can't do it on Tuesday morning 'cause of the weekly church meeting.


What time do you get out?


I'm usually home by twelve thirty.


Then two.


Well. she loses her turn with any more than a three second pause and knows this. It's supposed to be cold.


We have clothes. Remember God?


Yes.


He also said, 'Shea, if Debi doesn't want to go you will have to smoke cigarettes until she does', Nonstop smoking, Debi. I will die and it will be your fault.


Okay, two.




It is today and two and we are walking across those sturdy boards, down concrete steps, onto grass then gravel until we are maneuvering a broken sidewalk. We are doing it for each other and are okay with the side effects our own bodies may suffer though good health is pretty damn scary. I mean, what's to come?




Gratitude, that's what.















Tuesday, February 7, 2012

stubborn










the falls of kramer

It was the one place we were not to go. Go anywhere. Just don't go there, they said.

Why not there? we asked. What's so great about there? we wondered.


The bigger kids go there. You don't need to be hanging out with them. Go anywhere but there.

Why do the bigger kids go there? we asked. What's so great about there?  we wondered.

Just don't go there. Now go.

We could go anywhere. Anywhere, that is, but Kramer's Falls. For the longest we went everywhere but there. Months even. Up and down paved roads, by each other's homes, by other people's homes, the long way, the short way, this side and that. Sometimes we would ask again, Why not there?

Because we said so, was the reply.

We began talking to each other about there, without because we said so around. Then we would go there and stand at the entrance. It was down a dirt road by a house of someone we knew. Just to stand there felt wrong, what if someone we knew told? We'd chicken out. Turn around and go everywhere else but there.

We soon became more brave. We would go just a little piece down the dirt road, past the entrance into the woods where the road became a path. Then again we would get scared and turn around. And again we would go everywhere else but there but everywhere else got boring. We had already been everywhere else but there again and again.

We got frustrated with everywhere else but there. As time passed our curiosity grew. What was there got better. Was it a swimming hole? Did they have a bank we could slide on, a rope to swing? What was so great about there? Would it be so great that we would never want to come home? Even for supper, that great? Why else could we not go there?

We got further and further down that road onto that path. Before long we only went there, nowhere else but there. Until one day the further we went finally got there. The path which had long since become a trail finally ended and there was it. Here we were. It. Us. There was nowhere else to go. We looked for something else, some place better than everywhere else. There was nothing.

No place better than everywhere else.








Grateful for the presence of early lessons even if I wasn't listening.















Monday, February 6, 2012

shaking it out




It is four a m on a poorly lit street. She hears him first or hears it, we should say. It comes from behind.

She had never been able to wear any type of earphones or earbuds or ear anythings on those early morning walks. Paranoid logic had led to the conclusion that when sight was limited hearing became more important. Although the neighborhood seemed relatively safe, this routine (maybe routines were unsafe) put her on the outside of locked doors and made her vulnerable enough to the unknown of which she had heard known could be horrid.

For this reason she hears the bike first but it is so close so fast that she kinda bends to the right, her head tucked in. She throws her arms up and to the left before she recognizes the sound. This reaction is split second and there is only a slight pause in her pace which is already quick.

She has had limited problems on this walk. A couple of mornings ago an old man kept showing up on her route. He had seen her first in the middle of town, across the road. He was clearly not one of the joggers she sometimes passed. He looked at her, she at him. She whispered the courteous Hi. About half a mile later she was in the park on her second lap and there he was. This time he was sitting on a bench in the darkest corner. She whispered Hi again, finished the lap, left the route and jogged home. It startled her but not so much that she abandoned her routine.

At the very moment the bike passes she slows and turns to see very little but hear a voice of what sounds like a young male in his early twenties. He is on a kid's bike, that much she can tell. He says in the most normal tone and volume which seems eerie for this most abnormal of situations, Where are you going?

She mumbles and he chuckles. Then it is done. She is left with the impact of the passing, of the what the hell did he mean. She is left with the relief which can only be felt through a narrow escape. She is shaken. Enough so that she quits taking those early morning walks.



Years later she is sitting at a desk when a friend walks into her office. The friend is stopping by to chat and she has brought some magazines. Thought you might like these for the pictures, the friend says. It is casual enough.



Now she realizes how grateful she is for easy lessons and casual direction.






Sunday, February 5, 2012

confession no. four hundred thousand two hundred thirty eight

I am in love with Moss.

So in love with Moss.

I love Moss.



You will too when you watch The IT Crowd. Hint: It is on Netflix Instant.



My advice: Take it slow. There are only four seasons (series).

contagion {self}

Stay







Before they leave she turns to him and says, I can't wait till we get back home.

We haven't even left yet, he says.

I know. It's just so good to come home so I am looking forward to it.

We are only going to dinner.

Yeah.     I know.




*********




A saint addicted to excessive self abnegation is a dangerous associate; he may infect you with poverty and a stiffening of those joints which are needed for advancement - in a word, with more renunciation than you care for and so you flee the contagion.
Victor Hugo



***********


He says, Pathetic.
She says, Okay.


************


In a little blue car on the darkest of nights she leaves.
He awakes the next morning to never miss her. or maybe sometimes he does but not for long.


*************


Ten years later she turns to another and says,  I can't wait till we get back home.

We haven't even left yet, he says.

I know. It's just so good to come home so I am looking forward to it.

We are only going to dinner.

Yeah.     I know.





He says, Pathetic.
She says, Okay.



****************


In a little silver car on the brightest of days she leaves.
He comes home from work to never miss her. never.


*****************


Fifteen years later she turns to another and says,  I can't wait till we get back home.

We haven't even left yet, he says.

I know. It's just so good to come home so I am looking forward to it.

We are only going to dinner.

Yeah, I know.





He says, I understand.
No, surely not, she says and winks at him.
Yes, I love coming come. One of the best things about home is being able to come back to it.
She smiles, You sir could get lucky tonight.
Already am.


******************


Healed, she is perfect to stay.
And grateful, she does.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

a review of I don't know what I'm talking about

It was Kim's fault we showed up to the opening after it had closed. It's just that she has that paying job in where might as well be Canada and they kept her late. Then there was the traffic of a Friday when the world gets off work. A change out of her scrubs into proper Kim going out attire coupled with a bad decision on my part (imagine that) put us at the six to eight show at eight forty. I don't know what fashionably late is but figure forty minutes crawls out into the darkness of unfashionable territory where you can dance to the music of awkward silence which is kind of the way I dance anyway. So we just walked in while mumbling to each other, Do you think we can go in? There are people in there. The door is unlocked. We won't stay long. We didn't stay long 'cause that's just rude, inappropriate, downright unconcerned with others when you think about it.

Due to our neglect I didn't get the photograph. I saw it. Knew it when I saw it. A synapse of that is what I want to show you fired in my brain. Kim and I had just walked out of the Como Green Grocer after Slater and Shelby had walked in to say, The gallery is closed. You're too late. Then I had a slight panic attack while Kim bought out the store. Then she finished and then decided to buy a cookbook and then we said, Bye, and then we walked out the door and I turned to the left. There it was, the photograph. There was Sharon.

She was alone on a sidewalk in the dark in front of a yellow glow. It was the perfect light. It hugged her from behind, came over her shoulders and softened around her face. She stood small but distinguished there. Any photographer worth their salt would have taken the camera out of the bag, knelt down, steadied the camera vertically on the ground and snapped. I instead said, Sharon, and saw her face as she looked to register my voice. Then I remembered, She is blind. She is trying to recall where she heard my voice and we've only talked briefly once. No photograph because I immediately said, It's Shea.

You don't get the photograph because she smiled relief and I hurried to hug her. Hugged her because she is so brave and lovely and strong and her smile draws you into a world where horses are made of driftwood. I said, Sharon, you look beautiful tonight.

She touched my shirt with her palm and said, You look beautiful in red. That is red, right? I think I see red.

Yes, and for a moment I felt beautiful in red.








I have stood in the Louvre, a Mississippi girl at age eighteen directly in front of The Sunflowers. Before Josh told me of Vincent and Theo I was critical of that series of paintings. From a stop sign on a back road taken to the Causeyville General Store all the way to one in a crowd around a highly secured Mona Lisa I didn't understand all the ado until Josh talked about Leonardo. I was unaware of Picasso until Josh gave me The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. He may have actually said, Shut up and read this.

 I guess what I am trying to say is I never fell in love with any art until I fell in love with the artist's story.






Maybe I am saying I am grateful for beautiful stories.






Friday, February 3, 2012

her

Kay was truly the only person I knew from Como. Funny now I can't tell you the first time we met. All I know to say about Kay is that I hope someone somewhere says they hear from me,  What you are doing is important. Continue. I have several people in my life who say that to me, Kay being one of 'em.

Kay introduced me to Karen Ott Mayer. I, of course, had heard of Karen. She's kinda like a local superstar. If you are into writing and/or photography and are from this area you have heard of Karen. I'm shy around celebrities and everyone else so I had only read and seen her work. On the cover of an issue of the Desoto magazine was a photograph she had taken of the Causeyville General Store. I took a look at the issue, read the article and thought, Damn, she was ten miles from where I grew up. I loved that store. In that article she told me things I never knew about that place. I should really be ashamed of myself but I'm not. I was just honored to meet her.

You can meet her too.

Saturday night between 5:00 and 8:00pm
in Como, MS
at the Main Street Gallery.

She owns a farm in Como.

She quit her corporate job ten years ago.

She hasn't regretted a moment of it since.

She's awesome. Go meet her.

She sent me this.




Como, Mississippi Loves the Arts During the Month of February

Main Street Gallery Winter Show Opens Friday, January 3rd Following Town Event to Welcome the Alan Lomax Collection to be Permanently Housed at the Como Library

Como, Miss, February 2, 2012 - The Como Arts Council announces the opening of the Main Street Gallery Winter Show celebrating the works of local artists.  Works include life-sized driftwood horse sculptures by Como artist Sharon McConnell-Dickerson (sharonmcconnell.net) as well as the works of contemporary painter Annabelle Meacham of Senatobia, Miss. (annabellemeacham.com), among other artists.

The Winter Show is the first of four shows scheduled for 2012.  "We are tremendously excited about all the activity happening in Como and the growing membership of our arts council," says Como Arts Council President, David Marsh.
The gallery will be open from 5 to 8pm with a reception to be held at 6pm during which the public can meet the artists. (Like Como Arts Council on Facebook!)

Como has also gained national attention for its musical heritage with the repatriation of the Alan Lomax Collection to the Como Library (New York Times article).  Musicians, dignitaries, the Lomax family and locals will gather Friday, February 3rd at the Como Library for a dedication and celebration from 4 to 6pm.

And before the month ends, Mississippi native Felder Rushing, host of NPR's The Gestalt Gardener, will entertain audiences on February 28th at the Como Methodist Church. Author of over 16 garden books, voted by Southern Living Magazine as one of the "25 People Most Likely to Change the South" and featured by national news media, Rushing charms with his earthy humor and solid horticultural knowledge. $10 now on sale at the Como Green Grocer, Como Lighting and Mimi's on Main.  For more information, megjbartlett@gmail.com.


About Como
Located 43 miles South of Memphis just off Interstate Highway 55, Como boasts an original charm and authenticity rarely found today.  With a Main Street lined with historic storefronts, Como has gained popularity for the renowned Como Steakhouse, Mississippi Blues Trails markers, its nightlife, unique bed-and-breakfasts and original shops like Como Lighting.  A town of less than 1,500, Como nonetheless makes a big impression with its large personality.







Coming from out of town? You can stay here.

Remember Sharon's work? It will be there or should I say here? Right here in Mississippi. Como, even.

Want to stay in touch with the work they are doing? Like their facebook page here.

That's all.



Other than I am grateful.


glass, looking




Slater: I wish I could be more like Shelby.

Me: ?

Slater: Just how she's so focused.

Me: Oh my gosh, I totally understand. (emphasis on the totally)

Slater: ?

Me: (sneer) Those people infuriate me. She's just like Grammie. (groan)

Slater: ?

Me: Ya' know, they always get everything done. Drives me crazy but I think I have it figured out.

Slater: ?

Me: You and me, we wish. They do. Dammit. Just makes you mad, dun't it?

Slater: (nods and laughs)




Billy Sue looks up at both of us and wonders what we'll do next. She wants to go for a drive.




Should we be scared about this weather or should we just be grateful?
Let's just be grateful.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Carl Jung left a note on a napkin

We cannot change anything unless we accept it.





But Carl, why are we always wanting to change things?






Oh yeah, it's just a note on a napkin.

nerd

Josh did this to Avatar.




Wow.

a week at Cottonwood Gulch

Most know what I should do. They think of ways for me to get busy, earn an income, pay into the whole. And I get it. I understand. I have worked/been employed since I was fifteen. That first job at Fred's Dollar Store was the best decision I had made up until that point. Oh wait, I did take that initial year off with Slater.

I burned him.

Right on the arm.

When he was a baby.

Yeah.

It was just that he was sleeping on a baby blanket on the floor and we (I) had a humidifier in the room, down there, steaming, at the edge of the blanket. He had gone to sleep so I walked around the corner into the kitchen and I left him there. There were things to do, ya' know supper, cleaning, his dad may come home for lunch, he was napping on his stomach cause that's how he napped then. He had rolled over maybe one or two times his whole life, if that, or maybe more. It's just that he wasn't big into rolling over so I wasn't worried.

I should have been.

I should have been smarter.

It was an accident but it felt like a mortal sin.

I heard him, even had a baby monitor. you'll never be that scared in your entire life or I should say I had never been. and shamed, amen. His Nan was the first person I called. She was the mother, still is, of her small town. Was a Nana for a local family, had kept the church nursery, was besides my own Mom and Mrs. Sue Parker (Kim's Mom) one of the best women I had ever met.

I burned my baby and I had to call her.

My baby was burned and I had to call Nan. She was in town, maybe at the pharmacy by that point, yes I'm sure at the pharmacy. That's how we got the Silvadene. almost twenty years later we still have it. I know, I need to throw that away, huh? Anyway, I called Nan on the phone and I said, screamed, went insane, lost my mind,

Nan, I burned Slater.

What? Shea. Calm down. except it was in all caps.

Nah, I wasn't calming down. Yes, he was in my arms. It was the humidifier. He rolled over. He was asleep when I walked into the kitchen. I wasn't gone long. I promise. Yes, it's blistered. It's a bad burn. Oh Good Lord, what do I do?

You know how they say there are no atheists in a foxhole? I am here to attest to that fact. Amen.

Nan said go to the doctor, straight there, thirty miles, the clinic for the kids where Slater's doctor resides.

Car seat.

Seat belt.

Drive while having a stroke and wondering how long you'll spend in prison. How old will Slater be when you get out?

Thirty miles, going fast, isn't this what the hazard lights are for? Cotton fields of casinos were not even noticed. I was blinded by the fear that I had hurt my child. Worst feeling in the world.

You must have nerves of steel to become a parent.

I promise, swear.

Can you believe that that doctor did not call DHS? It was most likely 'cause he thought that I was having a heart attack. In the courtroom of the doctor's office I was declared mentally insane and got to keep my child. Thank God. Amen.

He lived, has the scar, knows the story and laughs at me.

Well, that was funny. not really, but sometimes you have to laugh. I mean, he survived.

Here, Lucky Shirt, posted this. He is cute, the father of two children with a beautiful girlfriend named Julie and living in California. He is quite artsy, possibly a teacher and young it seems. He and Julie ride bikes in beautiful weather. Or he's an old homeless guy living in Florida disguising himself as all those other things and taking great pictures. All that matters is that he is smart and funny and he seems to know at least something about being a good Dad. So there you have it. Click on the link 'cause that stuff is funny and sometimes when you are a parent you need funny.




Grateful for funny and that Slater says he doesn't ever want me to delete this blog before telling him. Maybe one day he could read some of it to his kids or grandkids. I love to hear my parents' stories which means that my Dad is most likely going to have to write for the book. you hear that, Dad?


Grateful that Slater survived.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

sweetness

Coal's Buddy, Avatar

This is the moment only moments before he mauled me with kisses.




This is a writing about Avatar and Sharon McConnell-Dickerson. Sharon's work will be featured this Friday evening at the Main Street Gallery in Como, MS. A reception will be provided by The Como Arts Council from 6:00 - 8:00pm.









This is me being grateful.