A little love for the farmers and firefighters

It’s been a hot minute since I was called on to cover a story, photographically or otherwise.

Mostly, I handle the advertising and write this deep well of wisdom every week.

Last Thursday, though, it was reported that some cotton was on fire north of town and I was “It” as they say in the newspaper business, as well as a proper game of tag.

One of the Leader’s real photographers, Kevin, arrived as I was heading out so he hopped in the car with me and we followed the fire trucks out to the middle of a field I doubt would register on GPS.

We arrived at a cotton field that was already half-stripped, Kevin in cargo shorts because it was 89 degrees (on November 2nd), and I was in jeans because it is No Shave November and I’ve been in training.

I was willing to walk out a ways because it wasn’t my first rodeo in a cotton patch, and my legs were protected. But one of Iowa Park’s fire trucks gave me a ride to where the cotton was burning and even more firefighters were on hand continuing to spray it to keep it from spreading to the unstripped cotton.

As I write this, I have no idea if any of those pictures are even good enough to make it into the paper.  That won’t happen until Tuesday or Wednesday when the photo review takes place each week.

The cotton farmer and friend Kenneth McAllister told me the cotton first caught fire in the header of the stripper when a rock caused a spark. They were unaware of the fire until it was dumped into the boll buggy and stoked by a strong north wind. They quickly dumped the load into an already stripped part of the field so there was minimal damage to the equipment, and besides the one load didn’t lose any more cotton.

In the midst of all of this, it’s like a town reunion in the middle of a field, in the middle of nowhere – chatting up local farmers and firemen while they all stand in their natural habitat.

When it was time, Kenneth had another of his hands kindly drive me back to the road.

I want to remind people to thank a volunteer fireman when you get the chance. These guys were fully decked out in head-to-toe-fire gear and it was hot outside even without a huge mound of cotton ablaze. Also, they gave me a ride on the back of the truck and I felt like I was in a homecoming parade for a minute.

Also, if you’re a fan of underwear, towels and sheets (and food!) like myself, thank a farmer. In fact, if you see Ken out and about this week buy the good man lunch. He’s had a rough week.

Even if you aren’t from around Iowa Park, this is an invitation to do something good for your favorite farmer and volunteer firefighters.

Share Button

Travelling B.O.B.s : A Halloween Bedtime Story

When I said I had stories for years, I meant it.

In the 16 years we’ve been travelling as a pack, Jefferson, Texas, made it into our top three B.O.B. Girl’s Weekend destinations.

With the official title of the ‘Most Haunted Town in Texas’, Jefferson stole our ghost-hunting hearts years ago when we learned they also have an annual Mardi Gras celebration every year.

So, most years we went there twice – once for the ghosts and once for the beads.

The first time we travelled the five hours (10 hours if you are us) to Jefferson, we stayed in the famously haunted Jefferson Hotel.

We pulled into the town of 2,000 people with two goals: to hunt for ghosts, and to find the legendary Murder Alley where a murder had presumably happened, sometime in history. Nobody seems to know for sure, and anyone who might have is probably dead.

We accomplished one of those things. Murder Alley wasn’t the one, but we stand firm by the notion that we found the hounds that guard it.

It was about a month before Halloween on a full moon night when we went on our first guided ghost tour throughout the town, and it really was scary. In fact, by the end of the tour, we could have been the official spokeswomen for a Depends commercial.

Already primed by the stories surrounding some of the best stops on the tour – the Jefferson Hotel,  the Grove and the Schluter Home, to name a few – it was a natural that we decided in the middle of the night it was time to try and find this Murder Alley without the benefit of a guide, or even anyone who had been to the town before.

What could possibly go wrong?

So, so much.

We set out, all giggles and carrying flashlights and our Bubba mugs filled with liquid nutrition.

After finding some seriously fascinating historical tidbits – a 200-year-old church with a tree growing out of the baptismal pool in the back; an historical ghost giggling in Shawnee’s ear and some natural and very woodsy restrooms, we sensed we were close to finding Murder Alley.

We approached the suspected area which was marked by old stone fences on each side, and body fluids of ghost hunters before us. It was ominously dead quiet.

But that didn’t last long.

Out of nowhere came the words, “you are about to die.” Only it was spoken in loud, menacing barks from the frothing mouths of the hounds of hell that we could not see.

Without speaking a word, all five of us turned around and began running, the ice in our Bubba mugs sounding like festive maracas.

Lynda, the only B.O.B. who regularly works out, passed all of us high-stepping in a way that would make any marching band hire her as a consultant. She beat us all handily, mostly because the rest of us were laying on the ground winded from our first 10-yard sprint in 20 years. But we survived.

Happy Halloween. When you go out there this year, arm yourself with a workout plan, a flashlight, a Bubba mug, and a slow friend … just in case.

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

In honor of women, specifically funny women, I want to share with my readers my favorite blog of the week.

Click here, y’all! —->True Confessions of a Soccer Mom

This week’s funny woman is Kathryn Mayer, whose hysterical and socially-aware blog is entitled Writing Out Loud.

I met Kathy, a native and resident of Newtown, Connecticut, at an Erma Bombeck Writer’s Conference a few years ago. I am obsessed with her humor, her humanity and her grit. I encourage you to check out her piece on soccer moms, because really, there’s a soccer mom in all of us.

To support these writers, I ask you to share their work on social media, your own blog, email or here in the comments.

I’d love to hear your favorites, because we all need more funny in our lives.

Share Button

Traveling B.O.B.s: That time we babysat a horse

Well, it’s that time of the week again.

The time where I bang my head against stationary objects until I think of something remotely entertaining to write. Sometimes I even bang it on stationery objects, like a pen.

That is just the first phase of the process for a writer like myself. Eventually I move on to sitting down at a keyboard and typing, crying optional.

It’s not that I lack subject matter – my life is usually highly entertaining, just not reportable to the masses.

Still, I am surrounded by the most amazing women – every one of them – and I have stories for days, maybe years. With that in mind, I gave the stationary objects a break.

I have a group of friends I travel with every year, and we just returned from our 16th annual weekend away.

We call ourselves the B.O.B. Club, pay dues every month and use that money to fund the weekend trips.

In the past 16 years we’ve travelled through Texas and Oklahoma. We have seen and done things that prove real life is, indeed, stranger than fiction.

One of those trip was to the Fort Worth Stockyards a few years ago. We stayed at a hotel in the the middle of the stockyards, all five of us in one room.

For some reason, there was no hot water that morning for showers, which was noted by a shrill scream of the first one in and followed by four more.

We left the hotel around noon, looking like we hadn’t seen daylight since 1642.

After lunch, we parked ourselves on a large picnic bench in front of the famous White Elephant Saloon armed with a Michael Jackson t-shirt we bought on a clearance rack for $2 and a fresh Sharpie. We then proceeded to ask strangers to sign the shirt as their favorite celebrity with plans to give it to somebody really gullible or list it on Ebay next to the Virgin Mary cheese toast.


One of our celebrities

B.O.B. Lynda pets the dog of another celebrity

We had more takers than anyone could believe, and thought we were going to get Wyatt Earp for sure when a cowboy rode up on his horse and dismounted in front of our picnic bench.

Shawnee, the clairvoyant of our group, said, “I hope he doesn’t ask me to babysit his horse.”

So, he did.

A reasonable facsimile of the horse we cared for

We babysat a horse in the Fort Worth Stockyards while his chaps and spurs wearing owner went into the White Elephant Saloon for a cold one. I guess we technically horsesat.

While Shawnee charged a fee for people to pet the strange horse, the rest of us continued asking strangers to sign the t-shirt that was eventually lost anyway.

Things like this are why we keep doing it year after year.

These memories, and so many more, are the tapestry my highly entertaining life is made of.

B.O.B.s Shawnee and Janice during one of our more serious discussions

Share Button

Iowa Park – 48 years in our hometown

It was 48 years ago this week that my family moved to Iowa Park and started this newspaper, the Iowa Park Leader.

I was four.

You could say I grew up in the midst of all things journalism and  Iowa Park, and both are part of who I am.

In these 48 years, we as a family and staff,  have been honored to serve this beautiful, quirky and proud town – what we call our hometown – through some bright and beautiful times, as well as a few dark and desperate ones. The latter is always hard, but history has a right to have honest record of those as well.

In this almost half-century, we have made, and a few times sadly, lost, life-long friends. We have been inside almost every business in town, attended close to every public meeting, and have served on councils and boards to do our part to inform and be a part of the fabric of  Iowa Park. We have recorded Iowa Park’s history as it has heppened and is happening, and it makes us proud.

Like most newspapers, we’ve have had death threats – luckily, few – and we have seen people at their worst. That makes us sober and I think, pragmatic.

More often, we catch people at their best – this is what keeps us in the newsroom, and around the community. The generosity and spirit of our students; the outpouring of love, time and resources I have personally witnessed consistently in my time here when someone local or not needs a helping hand. Iowa Park has quite a heart, we are happy to report.

Both are what keep the balance, I’m just glad the good side of the scales are always heavier.

 

Because this is my space, I get to brag on our staff just a little.

The publisher, Dolores Hamilton, has been at the helm the entirety of our existence. As she is my mother, I have seen her during this time not only raise five extreeeemely well-behaved children, but also work the tremendously long hours required to keep a budding newspaper afloat and feed a family. I am proud of her for this. She has, in her career, done every single job in this newspaper and done them well.

Some other things most people don’t know, but I do, make me even prouder than this. When I was young, in the middle of all of this, Mom also took painting and piano lessons for herself. She planted the seed that made the Gordon Lake Walking Track project grow, and then continued to water it. I know because she made me help. I don’t know if she has ever known how much those things impacted my life.

Kevin Hamilton, editor, sports editor, photographer and another heir apparent of many hats, is always the guy in the background with a camera. But never in a creepy way. He captures the best moments Iowa Park has to offer and records them here, each week. He is, I say with great confidence, one of the best photographers in the state of Texas and has the hardware to prove it. During his time here, Kevin has covered meetings, banquets, assemblies and spent thousands of hours at sporting events covering our athletes all the way to state competition, much of that in his personal time. In addition, he is a helluva writer.

Also, he’s my brother and he didn’t pay me to say any of that. Seriously, Iowa Park, you are lucky to have him.

Last but not least is reporter and feature writer, Sherrie Williams. She is also a photographer and circulation manager. We have a small office with many jobs, and she has managed to be worth five times her weight in gold.

Sherrie has worked with us for 20 years and covers events, writes features, serves on the city council and some state boards. Over the years I regularly see her work all day at the paper, then work several evenings a week either for the newspaper, or for civic organizations to raise money to help other people. She has headed up 9/11 ceremonies, July Fourth events, and worked more Whoop-T-Do’s than anyone I know. She truly loves Iowa Park. She also has the best memory of anyone I know – it’s scary.

This week also happens to be my 33rd anniversary at the paper.  For those wondering, I got a brand new iMac on my desk.

But, so did Kevin, so … I’m still working out what that means.

I also publish these columns on my blog, www.onefunnybroad.com. I encourage you to check it out.

I mention this because I was looking at my stats for the year this weekend, and I noticed that I have readers from literally all over the world.

I’m not bragging, though. It was cool because some of my most-read blogs are those about Iowa Park, which means people from around the United States and  dozens of countries around the world have heard of Iowa Park, Texas.

My hometown.

Our hometown.

Thank you for a fun and heartfelt 48 years with you. It is a pleasure to be a voice for our community.

 

Share Button

Welcome to Iowa, Park in Texas (where commas are important)

Although I moved to the fair community of Iowa Park, Texas when I was a worldly four years old, I consider it my hometown.

For some people reading this, it will be preaching to the choir to lay out the logistical nightmare of ordering something on the phone when the town you’re from has the name of a state in it, just not the state you reside in.

When the early settlers from Iowa arrived in what is now known as Iowa Park, Texas, their first inclination was to name the town Daggett Switch, which had something to do with the railroad but sounds suspiciously in the same neighborhood as Possum Holler.

Ultimately, it was decided that a nod to their home state was warranted, and tacked “Park” onto the end because the original city plat boasted nine. Iowa Park today officially has 8.

The year all that took place was 1888, and how were they to know that more than a century later it would cause people like … us … massive confusion any time you have to order something over the phone and have it shipped.

My experience while ordering things to be shipped to our office in the past month has been:

Order Taker: City, please?

Me: Iowa …

Order Taker: No, city first please.

Me: The city is Iowa Park.

OT: Iowa Park?

Me: Yes.

OT: (Deep sigh) Zip Code?

Me: 76367

OT: But, that’s in Texas. I thought you were in Iowa?

That my friends, is why commas are important. As are patience and forgiveness for our town fathers and mothers, in my experience.

For instance, I want to scream my zip code right after I give the company name but decorum prevents that. They also won’t let you give your zip code first and work backward. I’ve tried.

I thought one time about pitching the current city council a few different ideas for memorable, yet un-confusing names. My favorite, yet unsustainable, name was “I’m From.” That way you can answer anyone who asks you where you live with “I’m From, Texas”. It’s efficient, right in your face and equally confusing.

It just won’t work because the next question will always be “Where in Texas?” It would be like Abbott and Costello’s* Who’s on First routine, only with a heavy drawl and weaponry. I’m getting old and I don’t have any more time for that than I do the original problem.

So, Iowa Park it is.

Salute!

Seriously though, we love visitors. Our official slogan is truly “The Town of Friendly Living.”

We don’t care where you park – Welcome to Iowa Park, in Texas.

In the spirit of give what you’ve got, your prayers, love and thoughts are sought and needed by those affected by Hurricane Harvey in the coast of Texas and Louisiana, as well as Puerto Rico, Haiti and Florida which is expected to bear the brunt of Hurricane Irma this week..

I have friends and family affected by both, and it is heart-breaking and life-changing. In that spirit, please give what you can of things people need. Lately when I’ve been shopping I’ve been asked if I want to give a dollar of my purchase to hurricane relief. I do, and I do. It’s not much, but if enough people do it, it adds up. And the need is great, and about to be greater.

Give what you can, when you can. It is showing me the good in this country in the midst of political discord. No questions are asked because people need help.

In that vein, I want to thank the people from Iowa Park who have worked to help people – some they might know, most they do not – in a time of dire need. There are far too many to name, and I would leave out a name (I know me), and they don’t do it for a pat on the back anyway.

Our city has given money, and generously. They have filled a semi-truck and more, and they have offered their homes for refuge, all of which is the primary spirit of this country.

Many communities are doing this, thankfully. But I don’t come from most communities,

I come from Iowa Park, Texas, The Town of Friendly Living. A town that is not in Iowa.

 

**** For six hours, everyone who read this knew that I don’t know my comedy acts from days of yore. My hero was Gilda Radner. Thanks to my now editor-at-large Richard for  setting me straight that it was not, in fact, the Three Stooges who did that brilliant bit. This isn’t the first time he has saved me from myself.

Share Button

Look for the helpers

With all eyes seemingly on the coast of Texas and Louisiana, I have been no different, keeping close watch on several good friends from high school who now live in Houston or the greater Houston area.

The historic hurricane Harvey made landfall Friday in Corpus Christi, and the result since has been record-breaking rainfall on United States soil, most of it in Houston and the surrounding areas.

News and social media coverage has made it much easier to get accurate news, and check on friends and family. Luckily, most of those I know have escaped injury and a significant loss of property.

Some have even been able (and more importantly, willing) to leave their homes and neighborhoods and help others deal with their losses.

We got word at the newspaper yesterday that several residents from Iowa Park left for the coast to aid in the rescue efforts. Some were sent with their jobs, and some went as private citizens and took boats with them. One of our locally-owned gas stations donated the fuel for the trip.

A locally-owned pizza restaurant, Ken’s Pizza, raised in one day $7,100 for the Red Cross to aid victims. Even more have begun collecting necessary items to truck south.

At tragic times like this it is important to look for the helpers, because it is far too easy to find the problems. There is still more good than bad, my friends.

One of my friends who lives in Port Arthur used humor to make it through the worst days, sending me a picture taken in her back yard of a croc … Seriously, a shoe – that Croc – that had ended up in her back yard,  and said, “some people might not find this funny, but …”

Finding a bright spot, something to smile inside about, in tragic times is a healthy coping mechanism, I think.

And because it is my lifelong vocation and passion, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the local media who are covering their respective communities, many of whom I’ve known most of my life.

Not only have several had significant personal and business losses, but they are also charged with accurately covering the damage as it is occurring. And they are doing it in many cases with no electricity and with their staff scattered all over the state, helping remotely. Their own homes will have to wait, but the newspaper will be printed for the good of the community.

With national rhetoric as of late tearing down this honorable profession, it’s important I think to cast a light on the importance of what they are doing.

It’s important to send prayers and love and thoughts to these people on the Texas coast, but if you can, send more.

Many reputable news organizations are publishing lists of what is needed by the victims – and what is not needed – with organizations all over Texas taking donations and getting them to the proper place. Check that out and do what you can, even if it is only $10, a box of diapers or some feminine hygiene products.

And to my friends and family who live there, or who have travelled there to help out, stay safe and keep making sure that love bats last. Your spirit is healing in many ways.

Share Button

My future may not have hair, but it has hope

Between the general foul moods of my countrymen and discovering recently that female pattern baldness is a thing, I needed a break. I needed unicorns and rainbows; and cotton candy and kittens.

Disappearing hair notwithstanding, national and global news seems to have everyone on edge this  week.

With no unicorns, rainbows, cotton candy or kittens handy, my relief came in a phone call about a little girl whose actions remind me that good always bats last.

The feature picture on  the front page of this week’s issue of the Iowa Park Leader is a result of the phone call that pulled me out of that funk.

Little McKyla turned seven years old last week and the only gifts she wanted for her birthday were those that could feed people who are hungry.

This week, she gathered up all the canned goods and non-perishable items she received for her big day and took them to the Iowa Park Food Pantry for distribution in emergency food boxes.

McKyla gets it.

Her mother tells us she has been volunteering her time to help distribute commodities to local families. She is a little girl with a big heart as it says in the photo caption on page 1.

And I pray she represents the future of our community and nation.

Only seven years into her stint of being human, she understands that other people sometimes need a hand up; and that other kids might not have the abundance of food in their home that she enjoys.

A little girl after my own heart, McKyla reminds me that good remains in the world and the best part is it is coming from her young generation.

It reminded me of last year when a young man named Tanner asked for money for his 10th birthday. While that’s not uncommon, what Tanner wanted to do with the money was.

Tanner took his birthday money to church and gave it as an offering so “other people learn more about Jesus.”

We need to learn how to act again, folks. These innocent, generous minds haven’t been taught to only take care of their own; or to judge the why of someone’s circumstance.

They each understood a need and filled it in the purist way they know. By giving, by sharing.

There is a book out there by Robert Fulghum titled All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. The first thing on the list is to share everything. The last thing on the list is to be aware of wonder, which is what I’m doing here because it is indeed a wonder to see that degree of selflessness.

We all need to read that book, twice.

If we took the book seriously, Facebook and Twitter would look different; our country would look different; and if we took the lessons to heart, we would look different.

I hear a lot of people griping about the millennials these days, and to be quite honest, the millennials are the people raising these children who are so generous in spirit. They must be doing a lot of somethings right.

If this is the case, we should all just act like children again, because these kids seem to have their act together, and they also still have their hair.

Share Button

Hang on to your spaceknickers

It’s not often you get news of global interest from a small blogger in north Texas, so hold on to your spaceknickers.

I’ve been watching the manned International Space Station (ISS) fly overhead almost every night since Saturday, and you can, too.

In fact, I encourage it and will tell you how.

I’ve been looking up more than usual lately, by design.

By looking up, I mean less social media and more engagement with what is going on around me in real time.

My sister, Kay, called me Saturday night to let me know the  ISS would be visible overhead in north Texas in just a few short minutes.

I watched for it, not really knowing what I was looking for since this was my first (but not last) time searching for this thing.

What I found was a beautiful light, steadily moving across the sky. Only this light was travelling 17,200 miles an hours had been in orbit 20 years, and was currently occupied by three American astronauts, one of whom is a woman.

In fact this woman, Peggy Whitson, is not only the commander on this mission, she is the first woman to command two expeditions on the ISS.

It took seven minutes from when I first saw the space station until it disappeared from sight, and according to an app on my phone, it travelled from Mexico to Michigan in that time. It took a while for that to soak in.

Monday night, Kay alerted me again, causing me to pause my Shark Week alien shark episode to see it the space station yet again. The flyover would be at 9:33 p.m.

I was already dressed for bed, which in laymen’s terms means I looked homeless.

Since this time the ISS would be flying southwest to northeast, I decided to watch it from my front yard which gave me a better vista. I don’t go out front much, and I’m not sure the neighbors would recognize me on a bet.

So, I sat on the curb in the dark wearing leggings and old t-shirt with no shoes and no makeup, just looking up at the stars.

I noticed a woman a half block away walking her dogs toward me. As she passed, she looked at me funny and said “Hi,” in that tentative way that says, “have you been approved by the home owners association?

So, in my quick thinking I said, “Hi! I’m not weird. I’m waiting on the space station.”

For some reason, I opted not to expound, which has probably made me public enemy number one in the home owner’s association. As if on cue, the lady hurried away and probably alerted the neighborhood watch on Facebook.

Since it makes 15.54 orbits around the earth each day, there are several opportunities for everyone to catch it. In fact, according to my research, the next time to catch a good visual will be at 9:22 Friday night, when it will be travelling from the northwest to the northeast.

Look up, y’all. I didn’t watchthis on Facebook, or even learn about it there.

Also, wave at ‘em. Even if you look homeless.

Share Button

The chickens didn’t deserve it

                                                                                                                                                 It always begins with an earworm, right?

“It” being impromtu concerts, questionable columns and insanity.

An earworm is a psychologically disturbing way to describe a song that gets stuck on terminal loop in your brain, until something even worse (preferably not by Neil Sedaka) replaces it.

Please dear God, not Neil Sedaka.

This week my personal earworm is a song called Hot Potatoes. Only the name of the song is actually Rock Me Amadeaus.

In this song sung by Falco back in the 1980s, the only recognizable words to me are ‘hot potatoes,” sung many, many, many, many (Lord God) times in a row.

Only, those two words are not actually in the song. I’ve known this for years, but when I hear the song today it is once again reduced to a song about a side dish that goes with beef.

Enunciation can be your friend, Falco.

It’s hard to believe that a teenager would accept that a song was specifically written about potatoes, but it was the 80s, which also gave us Xanadu and MacArthur Park, a song about leaving a cake in the rain, so cut me some slack.

Misunderstood lyrics have been a point of conjecture and embarrassment since the Star Spangled Banner was written by attorney and poet Frances Scott Key and first sung in front of  The Mrs., who promptly misunderstood the first line – “O say can you see?”   to say “Jose, can you see?”  Not having any mutual friends named Jose, Mrs. Key was understandably confused.

My cousin, Kevin Slimp, admits that as a young kid he was also confused about Jose’s role in this song. This kind of confusion has become a tradition, and expanded to other, more frivolous songs like Dirty Deeds (Done Dirt Cheap) and You Picked A Fine Time to Leave Me, Lucille.

What’s refreshing is to find out everyone has lyrical malfunctions and that makes for great comedy. My friends and readers are the most refreshingly hilarious, and they gave me a sampling of some of the best misheard lyrics this week:.

Lucille was over it, seriously

Everyone’s favorite seemed to be You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me, Lucille (circa 1977) by Kenny Rogers. I found it to be the most misquoted song lyric in my circle of beautiful people.

The line in the song that says, four hungry children and a crop in the field was misquoted by many of my friends in the following, fairly similar ways:

400 children and a crock and a seal, or my personal favorite version,

400 children crappin’ in the field.

In a logical sense, unless they lived in a hotel, where else would they go?

Even Rock Stars Gotta Sleep

My friend, Cindy, said her most embarrassing lyric failure was from Kiss, when they sang I wanna rock and roll all night (and party every day).

She thought they were singing, “I wanna rock ‘n roll all night, and part of everyday.”

We all get to that point right up until we hit the “sleep is so underrated” phase of our lives.

Howard is a fine name

Both a mother and sister of the same man told me this man grew up believing God’s name is Howard, because in The Lord’s Prayer, it says “Howard be thy name.” His sister candidly told me “I have no idea if he still thinks that. I’ve never corrected him.”

I bet their reunions are a hoot.

Rude, but kinda catchy

Another friend thought Phil Collins’ hit single Sussudio” was saying Sue, Sue, Sue you’re old. She also thought the song Duke of Earl was Duke a Girl. Both rude and unnecessary, the thought.

Fashion Don’ts and Poker Etiquette

Tracy thought the song, Desperado by The Eagles, went Don’t you draw the queen of diamonds boy, she’ll beat you with a bow tie.

Which is almost as brutal as the original lyrics “beat you if she’s able,” but with a little more panache.

Define ‘Dirt cheap’

Julie, Cyndi and I were driving around on a Saturday night in 1982 when we plugged an AC/DC 8-track tape into Julie’s state of the art stereo system in her classic Mustang. We were singing the song Dirty Deeds (Done Dirt Cheap) like we were at an arena show when Cyndi belted out Dirty Deeds and the Thunder Chief.

Another friend, Debi, remembers she and her sister floating in the pool and her sister singing  “Dirty Deed and the Dundle Cheek,”  in a German accent.

Dirty Deeds are notoriously difficult to understand.

Why chickens can’t  walk in paradise

I’ll end with my favorite.

Keith Vaughn, a DJ at The Bear 104.7, gave me what may be the best misheard lyric of my lifetime.

The same year Lucille left her 400 children to do their business in the field, Eddie Money was on the radio bragging about Two Tickets to Paradise, which may or may not have been a coincidence.

However, according to Vaughn, that is not what a few people heard. Instead, they thought Eddie Money had “Two chickens to paralyze.”

Jose, the chicken

I have the best friends. They give me earworms that aren’t even accurate and I’m highly entertained anyway. Even Jose can see that.

Share Button

Don’t feel guilty about your pleasures

I am the unofficial queen of guilty pleasures.

Unofficial because while I have the guilty pleasure thing down pat, I’ve never seen hard numbers on how others waste their days.

I have so many, it’s a wonder I find time to do anything. I like to think that since I consider much of my day full of guilty pleasures, I must have a pretty good life.

One of mine is Super Soul Sunday on the Oprah channel. A lot of people I know hate on people who watch that show. Those episodes are as essential to me as westerns are to my husband. We ignore that about each other, or at least one of us does.

Others  I claim include singing and dancing in my car (carcerts, y’all), the movie Congo, fountain Cokes so large I would be considered three people in New York City, and naps, so many naps – these are my guilty pleasures, at least the ones I will admit to.

Even though my recent discovery of Destination Unknown with Josh Gates reminds me that live local music has been replaced by the Travel Channel on Friday nights, I’m strangely content and not the least bit guilty.

But the very definition of guilty pleasure says it is something that other people judge you for doing, not the guilt you have for actually doing it:

guilt·y pleas·ure

noun

Something, such as a movie, television program, or piece of music, that one enjoys despite feeling that it is not generally held in high regard.

example: “everybody has a guilty pleasure—for me, it has to be mid 70s disco”

I copied and pasted this off some website and for full disclosure, the comment about disco is not my own.  Not publicly and not privately.

We all have guilty pleasures. Some we talk about, and some we don’t, both for wildly different reasons. We each have our shame.

Guilty pleasures are important, I think, because they allow us to relax, even for a few minutes, into what we really want to be doing without regard for someone else’s opinion.

In guilty pleasures lie our personal power, at least in some ways. It’s not impulse control issues, it is actually saying ‘yes’ to what makes you happy.

And if we really think about it much of our days are spent in obligation, which isn’t a bad thing but a fact of life.

I’m not ashamed to say, this girls needs breaks. I take naps when I want to and can on the weekends, without apology or shame. This might be one of my favorite guilty pleasures, mostly because I am unconscious for the judgement.

I’m addicted to the movie Congo and a few others. If that movie comes on any time of the day or night, I’m your huckleberry. I can’t not watch it.

Congo, I believe, has a whole one-star rating, and is about gorillas. I would tell you the setting, but you’ll have to watch it. This is maybe my most true guilty pleasure because I do feel kind of guilty about it, like I could be writing, doing laundry, cleaning the bathroom, sleeping, or spraying organic pesticide on the tomato plants I don’t have.

Actually, I only feel guilty about one of those things, which is why we’re here today.

I polled some friends on Facebook (yet another guilty pleasure) and found that we are more alike, than we are unalike.

My friends gladly shared their guilty pleasures publicly on my Facebook wall, and most centered around food, television and movies, music and pastimes.

Sherree’ and Gaye admit they read bodice-rippers, or what well-heeled people call historical romantic novels, as a palate cleanser between ‘respectable books.’

Gina likes drinking Diet Coke while eating Melano cookies, and also is a fan of Abba.

My friends are addicted to chocolate, peanut butter and fish sandwiches, entire boxes of cookies, Barry Manilow, Nickelback, singing in the car,  YouTube, fishing and provoking people on social media for their own entertainment.

It was like group therapy on a page and nobody cried.

I personally know people who watch Dr. Pimple Popper on YouTube more often than they floss their teeth.

People judge you for all of these things, and yet they have a guilty pleasure somebody else (who also has a guilty pleasure, by the way) is judging them for having. It is a vicious circle.

Embrace your guilty pleasure. Unless it’s bad for you or others, it is part of what makes you wholly human. Admitting those is essential in connecting because it’s a boon to the soul to say, “you, too?”

Like Maya Angelou so beautifully said in her poem Human Family, “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.”

Share Button