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twentypearls94
"There's nothing wrong with a little shooting as long as the right people get shot."
 
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The nEgRo hilLbiLly chronicles - January 29, 2013

This past week hasn't gone by without incident,... and has left a couple casualties in its wake. I think it came for me, but I pulled out my Wonder Woman bracelets and surprisingly managed to block everything it threw my way. Well,... almost everything 'cause my husband left this morning without saying goodbye.


*rolls eyes*


An entire month later, exactly 31 days, we are STILL moving stuff from one house, in the city, to our still-new hillbilly country home. This has not been fun. To top it off, the weather has been less than cooperative, like three-year-old God is standing over his fish bowl, watching his sweet little fishies swimming... going about their fishy day, perhaps singing a happy fishy song, when he gets an idea, "I wonder what would happen if I did this..." and then he sprinkles flour into the water. 


*shakes fist up at the sky*


Negro Hillbillies - 1.

Inclement weather - 0.



Soooo,... the trip between the old and new houses is approximately two-and-a-half hours long... maybe fifteen minutes shorter if you take the toll road, but... exactly who wants to pay almost eight dollars for fifteen minutes??... okay... yeah... I did... twice... okay... maybe... four times. I was tired.


The non-toll road goes from 495 north to 66 west, but if I miss the 66 west exit and have to get off and turn around... I get on 495... south? to back track and... oh... okay... it makes sense now. It didn't three nights ago, when I had Richard on speaker phone, following behind me in his car, "I get on 495 north?"


"Nooo. South." He replied.


"Why am I going south? I want to go north.... don't I?" He didn't respond. I slowly drove up to the light directly off the exit ramp. Richard followed. Bless his heart. He KNEW I was going the wrong way, but instead of saving himself, decided to join me in my madness. I made the left turn off the ramp, and then another left turn that put me on the entry ramp. "I'm going North?" I asked again.


"You're going south, Kelly... go south... South..."


"I'm not going north?" I still didn't believe him, but went south anyway and prayed for the best. He was right.


So 495... south,... back to the 66 west exit... and then I go past EVERY. DAMN. THING. on 66 west. Everything. Every. Thing. I've never really thought about where an interstate ends, or begins, and I marvel every time I ride I-66 until it just... stops. It actually just disappears into a fork and then it turns into another Interstate. So, I take a right at the fork. Now, this is not to be confused with the fork-in-the-road on 1-66. When I get to that fork, I-66 continues to the left.


Once I make the right at the disappearing-interstate fork, I ride the new interstate, interstate number three for this journey so far, until I get to the exit with the McDonalds. I get off there,... realize I've gotten off at the wrong exit,... again. Get back on the new interstate, and get off at the next exit. I turn left and cross a bridge, then ride that road until I see signs for Winchester and Romney. Scratch my head a bit, quickly jump into the right lane so I can get off at that exit... then, without turning left or right, drive from the exit ramp onto the entry ramp directly across the street, and get back on the road I just got off because that wasn't my exit either. I make a Note-to-self as I pass the hospital on my right, "I pass the hospital on my right be-FORE I get off," and then I make another mental note, "622, 50 and 522." I want 522.


Yesterday I learned I can actually take 50 to 29, which is the last road home, but I almost drove off a cliff while riding 50 from the county high school to I-81... south, so I think I will stick with 522... unless I want to go to WalMart, and, fortunately, WalMart isn't very far from the exit,... and IHOP... on February 7 for the FREE - All-you-can-eat pancakes.


At this point I have about forty minutes left before I am home... not sure how that translates into miles.


I turn left onto 522, ride past Apple Pie Road, assure myself I'm going in the right direction because... most certainly there isn't more than one Apple Pie Road on this trip. I notice all the street lights, sigh with appreciation and keep straight for another sixteen miles. 


"Are they measuring miles in a straight line, or is this sixteen miles because of all the twists and turns in the road? This very well could be a ten-mile stretch if they hadn't put all these crazy curves all over the place." By this time I've finally passed the Shell gas station on my right, which is my clue to get in the left lane because my turn is coming up in about... "well geez, that was quicker than I expected."


This last road is 15.8 miles of sheer terror... fear... horror... everything that is wrong with the world was laid in the foundation of this road and then offered up... down to Say-tan. I shudder, put my game face on, take a deep breath, and drive. The speed limit is 55. On a good day, I might try 60... until I hit a curve, and then I do 35... 40... 45 if I'm daring.


Remember, Katelyn rolled her car on this road.


We stopped at the "State Line Store" just across the, well... state line, in West Virginia. Every time we cross over the line on a return trip I always wave my right hand high in the air and say "We're in Vir-jih-Nee now!" in my best negro hillbilly voice, like we aren't officially there until I make the decree.


"How you do'n," Richard asked as I got out the car. It had started snowing somewhere around Front Royal, Virginia, which caused me to drive slower, as any carful person who loved her husband and children and life... and walking and the ability to feed herself and comb her hair... and brush her teeth on her own would.


"Not good," I said, trying not to let him hear the shake in my voice. 


"Are you going to drive 35 the rest of the way home?"


"Yes."


"Okay." 


I went inside, grabbed two more four-dollar knit hats and once again told the cashiers about how much of a steal these hats were at four dollars. "You could easily sell these things for... ten." They once again told me no one around these parts would by them for any more than four.


"One of the cashier's mother makes them."


"She could take these things to Eastern Market in DC and sell them for fifteen, easy."


"Well maybe you should buy up all her hats and take 'em to DC. They do that kinda stuff all the time, don't they?" the cashier replied. I immediately looked up at her to guage her expression. Was this a test for the city-fied negros? Is she trying to see if we really consider ourselves one of them? Would we stab a true hillbilly in the back for profit??? She was smiling, so I wasn't sure.


"I couldn't do that," I said with a shudder. "That just doesn't seem... right."


"You and her could go into business together then. How about that?" and that's when I knew I'd passed the test. Two wins in one week!


Negro Hillbillies - 2. Everything else - 0


Short-lived victory party though. I still had ten miles 'til home.


I hopped back in the car. "I will follow you since you're going so slow," was Richard's way of complaining without actually feeling like he was complaining. And we were off again... slowly down the hill and to the left, past the country used-car dealership and then the sheep/cow farm on the side of a muddy hill... where I send up a prayer every time I pass, "Please don't let any of these muddy, dingy looking animals end up on my plate one day." The sheep sometimes look like miniature elephants when they're eating and all you can see is their butts... because they are just that dirty.


Up a hilll... down a hill... curve to the left, then the right... around, around, around, around... over, under... through. (And if you were a true Sesame Street fan as a small child in the early 70's, you just sang that in your best Grover voice.) He was dressed up like a cowboy and was using a saloon door as a prop.


Thoughts like that help me make it through those last ten miles. Don't judge me.


Once I pass the "Slanesville Unincorporated" sign, a 45 mph speed limit sign, and one more hill, the gas station/convenience store/restaurant/bank/post office are down at the bottom, cheering me on. Congratulating me for making it home once again. And while I use that term loosely at the bottom of the mountain/hill, "I am home," I'm not really there. I'm just done with that 15.8 mile crazy-ass road that starts off as 127 and turns into 29 at the very first fork in the road. And then I wonder why did they make 127 anyway? It can't be more than... wait... I can tell you exactly how long it is... 10.8 miles longs, because immediately after it turns into 29, there is a sign that says my hillbilly home is only 5 miles away. Why do they name a road that is only ten miles long? It spans two states... so, no. That's not the reason.


Again, it's thoughts like these that help me make it along my way.


We stop at the gas station/convenience store/restaurant/bank/post office building, where Richard and I switch cars. His car has all-wheel drive. Mine does not.


"I drove on roads worse than this, with snow worse than this, in mountains higher than this for four years in Germany," he always likes to remind me. So I gladly let him be the German snow plow man, by all means.


I make it to the top of the mountain/hill home and wait. I go inside. Five minutes later I still don't see the Vue... or its lights. Ten minutes, still no Vue. I tried to call Mister Germany and his phone went straight to voice mail... a fickle signal is yet another hill-side challenge. Finally he calls me on the house phone.


"I can't make it up the hill. I went all the way back to the gas station/convenience store/restaurant/bank/post office building to gain momentum for the mountain/hill, but I couldn't do it." 


In the end, he did make it to the fork in our driveway... lots of forks on our journey,... I'm sure there is a metaphor for life in there somewere... but I'll skip over that for now. He parked my car right in the middle of the driveway to the hay field. I drove down and met him there. He prefaced his defeat with, "If I can't do it, it can't be done."


And that, my friends, is the country road that takes me home.

 
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The nEgRo hilLbiLly chronicles - January 29, 2013

This past week hasn't gone by without incident,... and has left a couple casualties in its wake. I think it came for me, but I pulled out my Wonder Woman bracelets and surprisingly managed to block everything it threw my way. Well,... almost everything 'cause my husband left this morning without saying goodbye.

 

*rolls eyes*

 

An entire month later, exactly 31 days, we are STILL moving stuff from one house, in the city, to our still-new hillbilly country home. This has not been fun. To top it off, the weather has been less than cooperative, like three-year-old God is standing over his fish bowl, watching his sweet little fishies swimming... going about their fishy day, perhaps singing a happy fishy song, when he gets an idea, "I wonder what would happen if I did this..." and then he sprinkles flour into the water. "Will they sink... or swim?" 

 

*shakes fist up at the sky*

 

Negro Hillbillies - 1.

Inclement weather - 0.

 

 

Soooo,... the trip between the old and new houses is approximately two-and-a-half hours long... maybe fifteen minutes shorter if you take the toll road, but... exactly who wants to pay almost eight dollars for fifteen minutes??... okay... yeah... I did... twice... okay... maybe... four times. I was tired.

 

The non-toll road goes from 495 north to 66 west, but if I miss the 66 west exit and have to get off and turn around... I get on 495... south? to back track and... oh... okay... it makes sense now. It didn't three nights ago, when I had Richard on speaker phone, following behind me in his car, "I get on 495 north?"

 

"Nooo. South." He replied.

 

"Why am I going south? I want to go north.... don't I?" He didn't respond. I slowly drove up to the light directly off the exit ramp. Richard followed. Bless his heart. He KNEW I was going the wrong way, but instead of saving himself, decided to join me in my madness instead. I made the left turn off the ramp, and then another left turn that put me on the entry ramp. "I'm going North?" I asked again.

 

"You're going south, Kelly... go south... South..."

 

"I'm not going north?" I still didn't believe him, but went south anyway and prayed for the best. He was right.

 

So 495... south,... back to the 66 west exit... and then I go past EVERY. DAMN. THING. on 66 west. Everything. Every. Thing. I've never really thought about where an interstate ends, or begins, and I marvel every time I ride I-66 until it just... stops. It acutally forks and turns into another Interstate. I take a right at the fork. Now, this is not to be confused with the fork-in-the-road on 1-66. When I get to that fork, I actually go left.

 

Once I make the right at the fork, I ride the new interstate, which is the third interstate I've traveled on this journey so far, until I get to the exit with the McDonalds. I get off there,... realize I've gotten off at the wrong exit,... again. Get back on the new interstate, and get off at the next exit. I turn left and cross a bridge, then ride that road until I see signs for Winchester and Romney. Scratch my head a bit, quickly jump into the right lane so I can get off at that exit... then, without turning left or right, drive from the exit ramp onto the entry ramp directly across the street, and get back on the road i just got off because that isn't my exit either. I make a *Note to self* as I pass the hospital on my right, "I pass the hospital on my right be-FORE I get off," and then I make another mental note, "622, 50 and 522." I want 522.

 

Yesterday I learned that I could actually take 50 if I wanted to, but I almost drove off a cliff while riding 50 yesterday, so I think I will stick with 522... unless I want to go to WalMart, and, fortunately, WalMart isn't very far from the exit,... and IHOP... on February 7 for the FREE - All-you-can-eat pancakes.

 

At this point I have about forty minutes left before I am home... not sure how that translates to miles.

 

I turn left onto 522, ride past Apple Pie Road, assure myself I'm going in the right direction because... most certainly there isn't more than one Apple Pie Road on this trip. I notice all the street lights, sigh with appreciation and keep straight for another sixteen miles. 

 

"Are they measuring miles in a straight line, or is this sixteen miles because of all the twists and turns in the road? This very well could be a ten-mile stretch if they hadn't put all these crazy curves all over the place." By this time I've finally passed the Shell gas station on my right, which is my clue to get in the left lane because my turn is coming up in about... "well geez, that was quicker than I expected."

 

This last road is 15.8 miles of sheer terror... fear... horror... everything that is wrong with the world was laid in the foundation of this road, and I shudder. Put my game face on, take a deep breath, and drive. The speed limit is 55. On a good day, I might try 60... until I hit a curve, and then I do 35... 40... 45 if I'm daring.

 

Remember, Katelyn rolled her car on this road.

 

We stopped at the "State Line Store" just across the, well... state line, in West Virginia. Every time we cross over the line on a return trip I always wave my right hand high in the air and say "We're in Vir-jih-Nee now!" in my best negro hillbilly voice, like we aren't officially there until I make the decree.

 

"How you do'n," Richard asked as I got out the car. It had started snowing somewhere around Front Royal, Virginia, which caused me to drive slower, as any carful person who loved her husband and children and life... and walking and the ability to feed herself and combe her hair... and brush her teeth on her own would.

 

"Not good," I said, trying not to let him hear the shake in my voice. 

 

"Are you going to drive 35 the rest of the way home?"

 

"Yes."

 

"Okay." 

 

I went inside, grabbed two more four-dollar knit hats and once again told the cashiers about how much of a steal these hats were at four dollars. "You could easily sell these things for... ten." They once again told me no one around these parts would by them for any more than four.

 

"One of the cashier's mother makes them."

 

"She could take these things to Eastern Market in DC and sell them for fifteen, easy."

 

"Well maybe you should buy up all her hats and take 'em to DC. They do that kinda stuff all the time, don't they?" the cashier replied. I immediately looked up at her to guage her expression. Was this a test for the citified negros? Is she trying to see if we really consider ourselves one of them? Would we stab a true hillbilly in the back for profit??? She was smiling, so I wasn't sure.

 

"I couldn't do that," I said with a shudder. "That just doesn't seem... right."

 

"You and her could go into business together then. How about that?" and that's when I knew I'd passd the test. Two wins in one week!

 

Negro Hillbillies - 2. Everything else - 0

 

Short-lived victory party though. I still had ten miles 'til home.

 

I hopped back in the car. "I will follow you since you're going so slow," was Richard's way of complaining without actually feeling like he was complaining. And we were off again... slowly down the hill and to the left, past the country used-car dealership and then the sheep/cow farm on the side of a muddy hill... where I send up a prayer every time I pass, "Please don't let any of these muddy, dingy looking animals end up on my plate one day." The sheep sometimes look like miniature elephants when they're eating and all you can see is their butts... because they are just that dirty.

 

Up a hilll... down a hill... curve to the left, then the right... around, around, around, around... over, under... through. (And if you were a true Sesame Street fan as a small child in the early 70's, you just sang that in your best Grover voice.) He was dressed up like a cowboy and was using a saloon door as a prop.

 

Thoughts like that help me make it through those last ten miles. Don't judge me.

 

Once I pass the "Slanesville Unincorporated" sign, a 45 mph speed limit sign, and one more hill, the gas station/convenience store/restaurant/bank/post office are down at the bottom, cheering me on. Congratulating me for making it home once again. And while I use that term loosely at the bottom of the mountain/hill, "I am home." I'm not really there. I'm just done with that 15.8 mile crazy-ass road that starts off as 127 and turns into 29 at the very first fork in the road. And then I wonder why did they make 127 anyway? It can't be more than... wait... I can tell you exactly how long it is... 10.8 miles longs, because immediately after it turns into 29, there is a sign that says my hillbilly home is only 5 miles away. Why do they name a road that is only ten miles long? It spans two states... so, no. That's not the reason.

 

Again, it's thoughts like these that help me make it along my way.

 

We stop at the gas station/convenience store/restaurant/bank/post office building, where Richard and I switch cars. His car has all-wheel drive. Mine does not.

 

"I drove on roads worse than this, with snow worse than this, in mountains higher than this for four years in Germany," he always likes to remind me. So I gladly let him be the German snow plow, by all means.

 

I make it to the top of the mountain/hill home and wait. I go inside. Five minutes later I still don't see the Vue... or its lights. Ten minutes, still no Vue. I tried to call Mister Germany and his phone went straight to voice mail... a fickle signal is yet another hill-side challenge. Finally he calls me on the house phone.

 

"I can't make it up the hill. I went all the way back to the gas station/convenience store/restaurant/bank/post office building to gain momentum for the mountain/hill, but I couldn't do it." 

 

In the end, he did make it to the fork in our driveway... lots of forks on our journey. He parked my car right in the middle of the driveway to the hay field. I drove down and met him there. He prefaced his defeat with, "If I can't do it, it can't be done."

 

And that, my friends, is the country road that takes me home.

No people enjoying the feasts - Take a bite
 
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The nEgRo hilLbiLly chronicles - January 18, 2013

This morning the sun is shining bright on our little mountain-hill. Someone has turned on one of the ceiling fans in the living room, and I'm not quite sure why because, at nine o'clock in the morning it's still 25 degrees outside and 69 inside... Yes, that's farienheit. I took a nice hot shower to knock off the chill in my bones, so I'm good.... for now.

 

Natalie is still asleep, the kitchen wasn't cleaned last night, and the dogs are not out yet. I keep telling this child she is NOT on vacation. I do understand how she could be a little confused, but still.

 

Yesterday we all, Richard (who took the day off work in anticipation of the big snow storm that never came), Natalie and I, went up to Hampshire (county) High School to see WHY Natalie is still sitting at home... every day, watching tv, eating up all the food, leaving her shoes: multiple pairs of shoes, in the kitchen, and texting some boy who works every day but Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I also needed an excuse for Richard to meet Mr. Gayfully "Glee" anyway.  "Josh Miller used to be a cheerleader too! Explains a LOT, doesn't it," Katelyn said, as she gave us that devlishly suspicious side-eye glare.

 

After we sent Natalie back in the house to take off that blue Crips bandanna she had wrapped around her head, cover up her cleavage and dress like it was actually cold in West Virginia in January,... I did mention the almost-snow storm didn't I? We made the fifteen minute journey to the edge of Romeny. She still wasn't wearing socks and had her pants legs rolled up like she was about to go prospecting in the county creek. I just bit my tongue and prayed for peace of mind.

 

Mr. Miller was at the front office when we got there. "Hiiiiiiiieeeeee!!!," all breathy and sweet. I think he even had his hand on his chest while he shook Richard's and then hugged everyone else. "It's so nice to see y'all again!" We talked a little at the bottom of the stair that led up to all that is high school. Sitting on a bench, just behind the guidance counselor, were two Hampshire students, Katelyn and another girl. "Oooo, there's another black one for you Natalie," I nudged her as I attempted an excited whisper. Richard says I am not physically equipped for whispers, but I still try. Everyone around us was distracted with other conversations, so that helped.

 

We managed to eventually walk and talk our way to Mr. Miller's office. Richard and I stood outside the door and waited for the congregation of students to vacate.. their lounge. Apparently everyone loves Josh. A couple girls needed passes to class. "Do I have to go to Spanish?" It was Katelyn. She shook our hands. "Nice to meet y'all. I'll see you 'round Natalie!!" I swear I saw happy soap bubbles coming out of her mouth as she talked.

 

The next girl: "I'm just gonna punch him in his face!" She talked like she was wearing a hearing implant... like she really needed to swallow after every word.

 

Mr. Miller: "Don't do anything that will get you in trouble."

 

The next girl: "Oh, I'm sure my father will approve." I laughed until I started coughing. Still haven't completely recovered from whatever allergy antagonist we had living in our carpet. By the time I'd recovered they were talking about some girl who was trying to pick a fight in the cafeteria... or gym. Not sure which one. I thought I heard her say cafeteria, but then she started talking about bleachers. Last I remember, bleachers were in the gym.

 

"She was like... 'what you gonna do? I'm from Baltimore. I go hard'", and The Next Girl was waving her hands like, what-what, while she animatedly described Baltimore girl. "She's always talking about how tough she is because she's from Baltimore. We're all like, whatever."

 

"Someone has been watching too much HBO," I said through my coughs. The room got kinda quiet, and everyone looked at me with question marks. "I'm guessing none of you have seen 'The Wire'"? I asked, KNOWING they really had, they just overlooked the reference.

 

"Nope, haven't seen it." Mr. Miller replied. "What is that?"

 

Hillbilly indeed... perhaps... I don't want to offend. I'm using the word Hillbilly to reference a region... so different than any other region I'm used to, and disconnected from what I find familiar. I really am kind. Okay?

 

Eventually we did get around to discussing Natalie's class schedule. That was after Mr. Miller told us about the gay boy at Hampshire High School who sometimes "felt like wearing stilletos to school. Not all the time, but every once in awhile." Then we told Mr. Miller exactly where we lived in Slanesville,... then told him how Natalie almost sliced her finger in half moving a statue,... that we went to the Volunteer Fire Department at the bottom of the hill, and met the boy with only three fingers and a thumb. "Richard grabbed his hand and hollered, 'You're an AVATAR!!!!'" I swear all these white folk 'round here turn twelve shades of red when Richard speaks!!! The girl at the grocery store. That one real quiet boy at the Fire Department, and now Mr. Miller too.

 

"That's Daniel," Mr. Miller said, laughing so hard he had tears in his eyes.

 

About two hours later we finally left Hampshire High School to wait for Natalie's old high school to fax her transcripts to West Virginia. Hopefully she will be in class by... Tuesday?... Thursday??? Fingers crossed.

 

In the meantime we had to get a TB test done at the local Health Department, which just so happened to be on our way home... on the right, after the Augusta Fair Grounds and the Nationwide Insurance building... trailer. 

 

There was one person ahead of me at the front window. "Momma said I needed to... ", and I missed the rest of the conversation because I couldn't get past the "Momma said" part. These people here don't even have to use real names. Obviously the woman at the window knows this girl's mother. The girl turned around and... gasp... low and behold!!! I KNEW the girl!! It was Katelyn (because this place is just THAT small). Katelyn Turner, the girl who didn't want to go to Spanish class.

 

"Y'all are follow'n me aren't yooou?!!" She was getting her TB test results read. They put a big zero with a slash through it on her card. I know because the woman wrote it all out right underneath my eyeballs. I guess they know as much about HIPAA law as they do about "The Wire".

 

Natalie couldn't get her TB test done then.  We went yesterday, which was Thursday, but they need to read the results in two days; Saturday, but they aren't open then. They could've stretched it out until Monday, but it's a holiday... We could send you to... some small town about ten miles down the road that has a Health Department that's open on Saturdays, but... two days from tomorrow is Sunday, and they aren't open then, so just forget all that and come back here and get it done on Tuesday. They were really nahhss ladies though. When we come back, I bet we won't even have to explain anything 

ah-tall. "We are the Slanesville Negros on the top of that school-road hill..." and they will already have the TB test in hand.

 

We followed Katelyn to the parking lot, and out of all the empty spaces in the lot, we were parked right next to her red car. "You drive??" I asked a little nervous about a teenager... a high school teenager driving these winding, mountainous roads.

 

"Ahm a good driver, Mrs. Smith. Honest I am... except,... well... I rolled my car in December... but it wasn't my fault." It was raining. She hit an S-curve that had oil spilled on the road, and flip, flip, flip... she rolled into some trees. "My daddy banged out all the dents. Most of 'em." She said wearing her seat belt saved her.

 

And for the next hour... hour-and-a-half maybe, we stood out in the cold and talked with Katelyn. Oh my lord, what a delightfully sweet little girl!! 

 

She was a cheerleader since eighth grade. She's a senior now, but not a cheerleader anymore becasue the football coach is married to the cheerleader coach whose son is the captain of the football team and daughter is the head cheerleader... even though she's two years younger than Katelyn. "They asked me to be a JV Cheerleader my senior year of high school. I told them NO... I craahd and craahd, and craahd, but I'm over it now. A little. It's still very sad that I was a cheerleader for that long, and now I'm not one for my senior year."

 

We told her about the Avatar at the Volunteer Fire Department. She also turned red. "That's Daniel." Her ex-boyfriend is one of the twins, the skinny one. We met both of them during Natalie's minor emergency mishap too.

 

The ex-boyfriend is now dating her ex-best friend. Both of them are cheating on each other. Dillon is gay. "I don't know if his best friend knows it or not, but Dillon is in love with him. He better watch out. And well, everyone thinks Josh Miller is gay..." 

 

"Who is Josh Miller?" I asked.

 

"You know... the guidance counselor... "

 

"Ooohhh, Mr. Miller... the guidance counselor?"

 

"Yeah, Josh Miller." 

 

"We were at a pep ralley, and one of the girls who can dance real good, started doing her thang, and Josh asked her to teach him how to do the cupid shuffle. So she did it and then ended it with a..." triple/double hand spring flip something or another. Some kind of flip. "We all watched to see what Josh was going to do. He did the dance and finished it with the same flip, and we were all like...'well, Oh-kay!'" Then we found out Josh Miller used to be a cheerleader. Explains a LOT, doesn't it?"

 

Richard took pictures of Natalie and Katelyn together. Katelyn invited Natalie to go on a tour of some little college her brother attended and graduated. "I'm going there to study nursing. I just got accepted Tuesday." That's when I chimed in,

 

"You should come by and visit with Natalie some time. We live right up the hill from the gas station/bank/restaurant/convenience store/post office in Slanesville." Which was great because Katelyn works at the restaurant. Small town indeed.

 

"I can come by and get you sometime," Katelyn said to Natalie.

 

"She can walk," Richard replied, then explained that it was too close for rides... and she could only come get Natalie if it was raining or snowing... if she was stuck on the hill. Katelyn said she'd come get us all if we were stuck on the hill. A picture of her car flipping off the mountainside flashed across my internal screen. I gave a little nervous laugh and changed the subject. Which led us to the story of how her best friend, who was almost about to be her new boyfriend, died in her driveway... two days ago, yesterday.

 

He was a race car driver, going too fast and not wearing his seat belt on a one-lane dirt road. His car flipped too. "All the kids on the school bus road by and saw everything. I was here getting my TB test."

 

By this time we were all close to tears. It was cold, and I think I was losing feeling in my hands. We laughed a little more, exchanged phone numbers, asked Katelyn to help Natalie get a job at the restaurant, and then Richard said,"I'm freezing, and I'm getting in the car," and left the three of us standing out in the parking lot. That was my que to wrap things up. I hugged Katelyn... refrained from the kiss I really wanted to give her for being such a wonderful girl, and hopefully a good-influence friend for Natalie. We hopped in our respective  cars and followed Katelyn down the only road that led to home. She lives right at the state line and was blessed to be born on the "Wild and Wonderful" side.

 

No people enjoying the feasts - Take a bite
 
#
The nEgRo hilLbiLly chronicles - January 17, 2013

I remember lying in bed one morning, in Lanham, Maryland, thinking... what. the. hell. have. we. just. done??? And I panicked a little bit. Fortunately it was a done deal... the reality made me hot flash, again.

 

Nervously excited. Another adventure in the house of Smith-Mouzon. More suspense and drama; not the ghetto-Atlanta-housewives kind. We've had enough of that. But the good, wasn't-that-fun kind. More constructive challenges. A better day. That is our plan.

 

So here I sit, typing, while everyone sleeps, on top of a West Virginia... hill? Mountain? I'm still not sure. But we are dwelling at this high spot right now, both literally and figuratively. Awed by the view... that I cannot see. Natalie, afraid of all the abysmal darkness that overtakes the land come nightfall, closed the blinds to the morning view from where I sit at my computer. I do not know how to open them... the blinds. And I'm too lazy right now to go downstairs and try to figure it out...

 

Okay... shit... give me a minute....

 

There...

 

Have I told you about the Stink Bugs? Apparently they are the keepers of the living room blinds.  Little martyred leaders of protest. Falling, as I tugged and pulled this chain then that string... and dodged insect bombs. Five minutes later, and without screaming I might add, the blinds are open again.

 

All I can see, for as far as I can see, are mountains and hills and trees. Somewhere in the back of my head I hear whispers of cabin fever. Not now though. Hopefully not ever... the view will always change, every four months or so. Almost like rearranging furniture... Changing the upholstery. 

 

The clump of trees do a three-sixty around the house and makes us look like the man in the mountain has a bald spot. The branches look like a mesh of tangled twine that aggrivates my OCD. I need order. The trees whisper back, "It is here... Relax." I'm trying. I really am. Still, I'm annoyed, by the dead leaves all over my pretty carpet yard, the dirty dirt road, the fact that some of the dead leaves are still clinging to the tree limbs... fall off already. Geez. Mother Nature is kinda messy, I think. I hope she cleans up this stuff by Spring. Hmpf.

 

Today we may get a little more snow. Which is really pretty until you need to drive down the hill... to the convenience store/bank/restaurant/post office building, or you need to go to the Volunteer Fire Department right next door, that, for us, also doubles as the Urgent Care center. Once you've been there... to that corner at the bottom of the hill, your tour of Slanesville, West Virginia has started and is complete.

 

I'm not complaining though... that too is a part of our master plan... well, Richard's master plan for me: No thrift stores, no malls, no dollar stores, no outlet malls, no super grocery stores... Wegman's, no fast food spots, no real family restaurant where we'd feel comfortable walking in with our brown faces, and actually enjoying our meal... but that's just us and our insecurities, not the good citizens of Slanesville, at all. They've been nothing but kind and welcoming. The guidance counselor at Hampshire (county) High School even hugged me... and Natalie... real good. He was like... well... all I could think about while we were in his office was the t.v. show "Glee". He was gayfully "Glee".  In a heterosexual kind of way... but not really. The pictures of his wife and son confused me.

 

I saw one young, black guy in Family Dollar. He looked a lot like Kenny Smith. Richard didn't think so. I wanted to hug him,... Kenny, but he was with his white girlfriend, so I stifled the urge. Last night, about twenty miles away, I saw a black cashier at Food Lion. Last week at the Food Lion in Romney, twenty miles in the opposite direction of the other one, I saw a black man and his black son get out of a car and walk into the store. Maybe there is a twenty-mile radius negro allowance... Richard and I have filled the Slanesville negro quota.

 

Oh... just laugh... geez.

 

I was almost a little miffed when the stock clerk singled me out and told me greens were on sale, thirty-five cents for a bunch. "What, 'cause I'm black I automatically like collard greens?" I thought. I thanked him out loud and picked up two... and then they announced it on the overhead so all the white people could get in on the deal. Y'all pray for me... my mind ain't right.

 

 

People keep asking. Here are my answers: 

 

I LOVE it here!!

We are saving money.

Because the opportunity presented itself, so we took it.

Yes, we'd love to have you

 

"Green Acres, we are there."


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#
I'd Rather Have God As A Facebook Friend... Any day

I was talking to God one day, yelling and screaming... prayerfully, at the top of my lungs, mad as Hades about all the things that seemed to be wrong with my life then. I was mad at my family, mad at a lot of people who called themselves my friend, mad at the church, the entire universe and especially mad at Him, for sure. And I did my best to let Him know just how angry I was.  As I finger-pointed, tears and snot and spit and a lot of choice words, that I guess the Bible says Christians should not use, were flying all over the room.  My eyes were red and popping, my throat hurt from too much mean growling, and I'd managed to give myself a headache in the midst of it all. While I performed, God never yelled back,... or argued with me. He didn't gasp and clutch His spiritual pearls, or even get offended when i told Him I hated Him and thought He was full of shit. He didn't censor me or disfellowship me or make me leave His thrown of mercy and grace.  He just quietly stood there and listened as I struggled with a host of long-term, deeply-rooted-in-my-soul issues that I'd allowed to get the better of me. He didn't even frown. 

 

When the time was right, He just smiled and patted me on my head... laughed a little and said "Kelly... you're gonna be alright." And He didn't say it like He was trying to convince me everything was going to be okay. He said it like He knew. Have you ever watched a child fall down and look at his mother to judge what his reaction should be? If the mother gets all worked up, the child screams. If the mother makes light of the situation, the child sucks up the jolt, gets up without wailing and keeps it moving. When my kids would fall and start to cry, I'd pick them up and dust them off and tell them "You're okay. See. Look." And they'd shake it off and be on their way. I was their gauge. God in His dealings with me was like that second mother.  His words rolled off His tongue with a light and calming assurance, and it caused me to catch my breath and give pause... finally.

 

I eventually collapsed on the floor and sobbed the rest of my pity party into the living room carpet. Every now and then I'd mumbling something like "You're mean and cruel," and "You've forsaken me, and it's all your fault," and "I still hate you." whimper, whimper, Aaauuuugggghhhhhhh!!!!

 

Needless to say, when I woke up the next morning, I was a little surprised that I was actually still here... Was this some kind of cruel punishment... to still be here? Was I going to be involved in some freak accident later that day... that week? What? Why wasn't I taken in the night for insubordination or the unpardonable sin... or... something? I lay in bed for a little while... waiting... for... a heart attack or stroke maybe. Nothing. "I'm not taking anything back," I finally said. "I meant everything." And I did.

 

That weekend I struggled with whether or not I should go to church. The devil on my shoulder said "Why go? Go to the beach instead. You'll be unhappy, yeah, but you'll have a great view." The Holy Spirit said,

 

"You really need to go to church today."

"Why?" I asked. "I really don't want to go." I tried to argue. I came up with a couple excuses and decided to go to the beach.

"You REALLY need to go to church today." The Still Small Voice repeated, only louder this time. I have to admit, I got a little scared, so I went.

 

I'd managed to get there just in time for the introduction of the speaker, a guest. Some nondescript, tiny-'fro-ed man from Philadelphia filled the podium and began to speak. "Your season versus your time." were the first words I actually remember hearing him say, and about ten minutes after that I was crying so hard the woman sitting in the pew in front of me turned around and gave me some tissue. "You're mad, and you think God is cruel and has forsaken you..." he continued, and I cried some more.

 

After he finished preaching, for the first time ever... in my life, I went up to the front for alter call. "I'm not going to fall. I'm not going to fall. I don't want to embarrass anyone, but... I'm sorry... I'm just not going to fall. I want the blessing, but I don't have to fall out to get it, do I?" The prayer-warriors and the body-catchers went down the line of people at the alter, drop'n 'em one by one. I dug my heels in and waited for the hand. I don't even remember what he was saying because I was so focused on not falling out. "He's not going to make me fall out."

 

"HE... doesn't make YOU... do anything," that same voice, connected to nothing warm and breathing and tangible whispered to me once again. "You do what you do because you believe."

"Oh!!" was all I'd managed in response before my knees buckled and I was on the floor. Down for the count. And they moved on to the next person.

 

On my way home from church, God and I had another conversation. "So, you're not mad at me?" I asked.

"Why would I be mad at you?"

"Why??... you know why." I said. He laughed.

"Why would I be mad at you for being you?"

"Well,... I cursed you... and... I... said some really mean things to you... and about you."

"Do you think I don't know you curse?" I laughed. "Do you think I don't know how you really feel, even when you don't say it out loud?" And then, just like now, I started to cry. "I LOVE the fact that you are honest about who you are and where you are. It's a lot easier for me to meet you there than to try and find some one and some place that you're making up and lying about." And then He wiped my tear away.

 

So,... fuck you... prayerfully, if you disapprove of who I am, what I do, what I say, where I go or how I think. Jesus didn't shun the harlot because she was a trick, or the thief because he stole, the adulterer, the homosexual, the liar... or the regular, run-of-the-mill sinner either, and if anyone can honestly claim that pompous self-righteous bullshit some Christians sling around so quick and easy, I think He can. 

 

Quoting Paul loosely, he said "by the grace of God, I am what I am." Saved, lost, good, bad, right or wrong, we all are who we are because God has allowed us to be so, and I appreciate that... being allowed the freedom to be who I am without self-righteous judgement from the only one who really matters anyway. 

 

You're offended because you choose to be. "You're aiight. Get up."

 
#
Goodbye Fear

Gospel songwriter and not-the-greatest singer, Kirk Franklin has a new cd that came out a couple days ago, "Hello Fear". Curious about his title selection, I searched the internet until I found an article written on Gospelpundit.com, where Franklin talks about why he chose that name.  "I invite the listener to join me on the journey of letting this familiar 'friend' know that his time is over." While I get what he's trying to say about facing fear, I don't particularly care for his word choices,... "hello" and... "friend"? Just because you keep company with somebody... thing, that doesn't make them,... it your friend,... does it? I've been so very rude if it does.

 

And now this title has got me thinking about all the things I fear. Thankfully I'm a girl, so I'm allowed to be afraid of bugs and spiders and snakes and being home alone... sometimes, especially when it's dark outside,... and a little windy. But those are all manageable fears. I've actually touched bugs and spiders and snakes, some unwillingly and quite by accident, other times on purpose,... like... that time at the zoo or the other time when this guy at the park had his pet snake wrapped around his neck. I tried to warn him that that snake was just waiting for him to get too comfortable,... and then he was going to choke him until his eyes popped out of his head, but the guy said it was all harmless.  Right. Do you remember the story about the snake and the... frog... or was it an alligator, trying to cross a... river? Whatever the animals, there was the whole get-on-my-back-and-I'll-take-you-across-to-the-other-side thing, and the weaker animal was afraid the meaner animal was going to bite him and eat him. At the end of it all the one animal, as suspected, bites the other, and  while the victim animal lays there dying, he asks the alleged perpetrator of the dastardly deed, "Why did you bite me. You said you wouldn't?" to which the deceiver replied, 

 

"I'm still a snake"... or alligator... or whatever it was! 

 

And THAT was my point. It's still a snake... just like the pet snake that ate the baby in the middle of the night, or that "domesticated" gorilla who ripped off that poor lady's face or the "trained" show-slave tiger that got tired of Roy's evil whip and chair. Sometimes fear is just "Hello healthy caution!" And I'm a firm believer that a healthy caution will keep most people away from a lot of very dangerously uncomfortable and unforeseen things. Who knew there was actually a bullet in the chamber of that gun??? On some level you had to know there was the possibility of a bullet being there. Really. It's a gun.

 

I try very hard to avoid anything that might end with me sitting in a chair, at the bargaining table with death.

 

 "Hello Mr. Reaper. How ya do'n? Long time... never see,... (insert nervous laughter here)... at least not like this, eh? What can I do for you? Hope you're not coming for me now,... friend."

 

Yeah... no.

 

I did actually almost die once... maybe. I'm not so sure. If you really analyze it, I probably can't call it a near-death experience because my heart never stopped, my brain waves didn't flat line, at least I don't think they did, and I didn't stop breathing, but I lost consciousness and that has to count for something. It's like death was in the building, how unfortunately appropriate in a hospital, just not in my room. So we never got a chance to talk, and I never saw a bright light. Yay. But, ever since that... incident where I clearly remember myself slipping away, the doctors off in the distance calling my name and me too tired to reply, death has been more like this threatening bully, lurking in the shadows of my life... in a wheeze, a loose step, or chicken that wasn't cooked long enough, waiting to trip me up and steal... my breath. If I'm going to have any obscure, supernatural conversations, I'd rather have it with immortality instead. "You wanna show me the way to the fountain of youth, please?" 

 

And it's not just my death that I fear, it's all things and people death and dying and dead. When I was eight or nine, my grandfather, my mother's father, died. I didn't know much about him or his sickness, just that he... died. So we flew up to Rockford, Illinois for the funeral. Everyone around me was sad and sobbing and crying and carrying on. So, to fit in and follow suit, I worked myself up to a good cry as well, and then, when it my turn to view the body, I thought I'd go a step further,... and I'd kiss him... right on the cheek, in his casket, with his suit and tie on and his eyes closed. Everyone would be impressed with the eight-... or nine-year-old. So I did it. I kissed him, right on the cheek, in his casket, and I was never again the same. I sat in my chair and held my lip the entire service. My tears took on a new, real meaning. My grandfather was cold. No one told me he would be cold as ice or that his skin wouldn't feel like skin at all. Was that really him... really? Ahhh, I don't think me and death could ever be friends.

 

Tammy Robinson ended up dying young, in her twenties. And even though we weren't the best of friends growing up, and not friends at all as adults, I never really meant I wished she was dead after we fought on the school bus in seventh grade. I was just mad, that's all. She was someone I knew, and death doesn't really come after people I know. How rude for her to be gone *click* just like that. Too young. And then Mr. Simpson too, my ninth-grade homeroom teacher and my Physics teacher, killed in a car accident I'm told. He was a very unlikely candidate for death, I think. A young family man with a beautiful wife and two equally lovely daughters, young daughters, but death didn't care, it just comes and takes them all and leaves everyone else alive to try and sort it all out. 

 

My grandmother's friend, who we called Aunt Sarah because she and my grandmother looked so much alike their co-workers often got them confused in the office halls, lost her husband Sam to cancer. He died in the middle of the night in his hospital bed that had been set up in the living room because it didn't fit anywhere else in their apartment. Hospice is not where a dignified man rendezvous with his omega. He dies at home... where everyone in the house can be traumatized by the event. I'd rather go at home too. In an effort to help out anyway she could, while Mrs. Sarah bought a plane ticket to California for her and her husband's remains, my grandmother volunteered me to wash Uncle Sam's bed linens, I was okay until I saw all this dark stuff all over the sheets. Death vomit, and I screamed and did the get-it-off-me dance out the laundry room. It's okay for teenagers to be weirded out by stuff like that, so I got a pass. I thought the whole thing was a little sneaky and underhanded, but I was too young to protest at the time.

 

Aunt Jeanette, my grandmother's real sister who didn't look as much like my grandmother as Aunt Sarah did, moved to Florida to live out the final moments of her 92 years of life. For a couple months she didn't appear to be sick at all, just kinda off in her own space... unless she spotted something in the kitchen she wanted to eat, then she'd somehow manage to move from the couch to the kitchen and back with such speed and grace that no one noticed... except for the food smeared all over her hands and face. "Jeanette!!!" my grandmother'd yell at her like she was three. "Did you just dig your claws into my pie?" Aunt Jeanette, decked out in blueberry-face, would deny it all. She'd also come out and join the rest of us in the house when one of the big-bellied twins would toddle by, sticking out her hand and snapping her fingers.

 

"Come're baby. Come're..." then she'd smooch, smooch, smooch like they were puppies who needed to be petted. Aunt Jeanette, unlike Uncle Sam, was moved to Hospice where, as it turned out, it's a very dignified place for proper ladies to go and wait while everyone around them watches death slowly stake it's claim on what was left of her life. At the very end she couldn't walk or talk, and she could only eat chocolate ice cream. I sang to her, hymns for the good church lady. The other residents moaned along. "Why???!!! Oh God!! Why are you doing this to me??!" And I couldn't help but wonder the exact same thing. Aunt Jeanette clawed at my arm once while I sang, and I wished I could've helped her, but I didn't understand.

 

"Please tell your sister it's okay for her to go now." That's what the doctors told my grandmother to tell her. She'd... died... twice, and then came back like she was worried about leaving... maybe even scared. No one ever thought about scared. Neither did I until just now. Goodbye fear. My grandmother got the call in the middle of the night, and she was gone.

 

My dog had her second litter of puppies outside in the cold, in January, in Maryland. We figured the first two to come out must've been outside for about an hour before we knew what was going on. "I don't want it! I can't hold it! Here! Take it! Take it! I screamed as I choked back tears, not wanting to hold the seemingly lifeless puppies while Richard started barking out orders.

 

"Put a towel in the dryer!" He shouted at me. I could do that. That wasn't nearly as scary as holding a dead puppy. So I grabbed some towels and threw them in the dryer while he and one of the twins each took a little black ice cube and started gently rubbing it between the palms of their hands. I ran back with hot towels then stood on the fringes of all the activity, waiting for my next order. More towels. The puppies eventually started chirping for their mother's milk, and I saved the rest of my tears for another day. In another litter, the first puppy to ever die came into this world with his ticket to the next life noticeably tacked to his chest, too weak and too tiny to do anything but lay there and die. I grabbed the heating pad and a bottle and kept him in my bed, close to me, to make sure he was warm and protected... as much as I could not protect him from death, I tried. I stared at his lifeless body long after he was gone, wondering what I could've done different, knowing he could've lived if I'd tried... something... harder. His mouth was agape, like he was trying to say something, but it was too soft, and I never heard. We put him in a plastic bag and sent him on his way with Monday's trash. Now I've learned not to interfere.

 

As death goes, I've been lucky. Still...

 

"Hello death. Haven't seen you in awhile. Here's your seat. Looks like you'll be staying a day or two. Make yourself comfortable. I wish I never knew you."

 
#
Web Log... I just learned that today.
Maybe I've been gone too long, perhaps not long enough. Either way, it leaves me feeling not quite right about this whole thing... I think it's actually been too long. I'm procrastinating, trying to figure out what simple, meaning... ful... less thing I can do that will keep me from doing the things I really need to do... or better yet, figuring out what those things actually are? Not sure how many relaxing showers you can take until it just start to lose it's original intent and become something wrinkled and lazy. Hopefully this is the start of something good. How many times can I start over,... just in case?
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