Girls Without Shoes

March 30, 2009

Confessions of a Motel Maid

This is not what you think, not that kind of confession. Definitely not an X rated confession, don’t even get that idea goin’ round in your head, I’m not that kinda girl. I had a job for a few summers at the local R.V. park/Motel Cabin place in our little town. It was called Shady Acres and had quite a few R.V.’rs and year long fifth wheels there . They also had 12 little cabin type motel rooms. Very clean, very cute in a 1940’s kinda way.

Since we were a river town, lots of tourists came through, and other than the K.O.A. , there was Shady Acres. It was their busy time of year and the owners needed part time help cleaning the rooms. That’s where I come in.

My husband John-Wayne (yes John-Wayne) had been out of work for a little while. After we moved down to the town from his folks’ mountain home, he had to look for an everyday job, rather than doing the stuff mountain families do for a living. He was in between jobs and we had run out of money, so our water bill did not get paid. The water of course got shut off.

For a while John-Wayne hauled water in a big old tank he had on top of his Chevy truck. I would fill the bathtub with some, to use for flushing the toilet, and store the rest for other uses. It worked, but I hated it. Mountain girl I was and could do laundry by hand in my tub if I had to, but dang this was not the dark ages. Action was needed here.

I walked down to Shady Acres and talked myself right into a job. I got the water turned on after a few days work as the owner paid me cash each day. Cool, I was a career woman. My next door neighbor Mimmi, babysat my baby girl Sally-O each morning for 3 or 4 hours while I cleaned motel rooms.

Each morning after dropping my baby girl off at Mimm’s house, I rode my bicycle down the couple of miles to Shady Acres to do the rooms with the owner’s wife Margie.

Margie showed me how to make the beds, tucking in the sheets and folding them down over the blankets so they looked nice. We did not always have to change the bedspread unless it was dirty, but sheets always. Nice to know that in case you ever stayed there, huh?

There was a certain way Margie cleaned the rooms, quickly and efficiently. She showed me her tricks, down to folding the end of the toilet paper in a little triangle. It made me feel that I was doing a little something extra and luxurious for people, kind of like putting the little mints on pillows. I should have made way more in tips than I did, as I put my heart into the job wanting everything to look perfect. Maybe the tourists thought that Shady Acres was not a tippin’ kind of motel. I mean there were no bell hops or room service, though we brought clean towels daily, made beds, and carried the trash out.

Margie and I would stop once in a while for a smoke outside of the laundry house. As we got to know each other, I liked Margie more and more. She was in charge of the motel rooms. Her husband Freddy was in charge of the R.V. Park. Every couple of months Margie would re-do one of the rooms. She would paint and change the curtains etc.. She always managed to keep the rooms fresh and cute with each one having a different color and sort of theme. I think No. 9 was my favorite, as it overlooked the river. I really liked the painting in that room also. It was of a huge pink flower. Later on I took No. 9’s painting home in my bounty of furnishings from their yard sale. I bartered by working for the furniture that I got from their sale. Me and John-Wayne slept on that old motel bed for about 10 years without a frame, right down on the ground. When we finally upgraded to a pillow-top mattress and frame we felt like we were sleeping up so high that we giggled about it. We had a lot of class John-Wayne and I.

Once when Margie and I grew tired of waiting for people to leave No. 8 cabin, she finally knocked really loudly on the door. The woman did not want to be disturbed. Margie finally knocked and used her key and later told me “that was really weird, she is so strange, I went in there and she was hanging upside down just like a bat”. I asked how in the heck she did that and Margie said she had a special kind of boots that made her do that for her health. I was just glad she wasn’t a vampire. The woman left behind a jug of Aloe Vera Juice and I took it to John-Wayne’s Uncle thinking maybe if he drank it his shingles would go away. All that happened was a bad case of diarrhea.

Still, there were some interesting things left from time to time in the rooms. Usually I was afraid I would find something gross or nasty like a condom. Thank God, not on my watch. One day someone checked out and left a brand new bottle of Mescal Tequila straight from Mexico. You know the kind with the worm in the bottle. Gross. I threw it in the dumpster, even though it had not been opened. John-Wayne and his brother Jiggs made me go back and fish it out. We all got drunker than a bunch of monkeys on that stuff. I can’t remember who ate the worm, I know it was not me though. Man those Mexicans made some dangerous booze. John-Wayne said it was ‘cuz they peed in it. I did not believe him.

Freddy and Margie had a little golf cart that I drove around from room to room with my cleaning supplies and linens and such. I loved driving that stupid thing as I did not have a driver’s license. I had driving phobia. Scared to death to drive a car. The one time I did drive, I got in an accident and got a suspended license. I did not drive for 13 years after that. I did like that little golf cart though. I would zoom around from room to room, cleaning, making beds, then hauling the dirty laundry up the hill in the cart.

One day when doing my rounds with the golf cart, the throttle got stuck. I don’t know why, it just stuck. I was zipping along one minute and then found I could not stop the darned thing. I went flying by the office yelling for Fred . “Help the brakes went out!” Luckily I pried the throttle up by leaning down with my hand and yanking it. I was very careful after that to not go so fast just in case.

Once in a while Margie would have a special job for me. Good chance to make extra cash. There was this long, older silver trailer. It needed cleaning badly. I got my friend to help me and we split the money. Margie forgot to mention that this trailer was from hell. The man that had lived there had chain smoked inside for 20 years and never once cleaned his oven. It took us days to finish. What a nightmare. Kenja and I could never look at one of those silver trailers again in the same way.

When we were done for the day, Margie would bring out a popsicle. She said it would cool us down. We’d talk a little more, have a smoke and I would head for home and my little girl. I’d pick up Sally-o at Mimmy’s house, pay her a couple of bucks and go fix Sally-O and myself some lunch. Then it was naptime. I always lay down with my baby girl. I would sing her songs and we’d both nod off. Ahhhhh, being a career woman could sure wear a person out.

March 28, 2009

Scrabble Love

He spelled out C  R  U  Z with his tiles.  She shook her head no and said it is not spelled that way, C  R U  Z , but rather C R U I S E .   The couple discussed this a little with much silliness and they decided that she was right.  They laughed and continued on………..

They had been through much together.  When they first met they were both suffering from love and life wounds.  Relief and healing were a long sigh away.

Beginning over again could be promising, but could also make one weary, oh so weary.  It could also make one scared.  Scared that their past would not let them begin again or would harm them.

She had felt fear, breath taking fear of her past knowing that that “climb inside of your mind and suck the soul out of you”  kind of love  was just that as twisted as it sounded  and not a sweet healthy love of the heart.   There was no peace in that kind of “love”, no rest, no comfort.  She was glad that it was over and continued on…………

Some men give you flowers but he gave her a Bible.  He gave her God’s beautiful words with her name engraved on the cover.  Very sweet, very touching, very life changing.

She found him to be a man of “dignity” with qualities that were important to her.

He found her to be “beautiful”  in ways more than just her physical attributes.

They went through Heaven and they went through Hell together.   They grew and changed and healed together, apart and back again coming into a place of rest and comfort and deep love.

He spelled out  “ M E R Y   M E   “ with his tiles.   She smiled and nodded and spelled back with her tiles  “ L U V     T U and they knew that it was right.   They kissed and laughed and continued on…………..

kiss-scrabble-letters

March 22, 2009

Cowboys, Not Injuns

“Nah, aah, I gotta be the cowboy and you be the injun  John-Wayne”  said my little brother Jiggs. Dang, I thought, here we go again.  If I told Jiggs the color black, he would say white. I know this to be true. He was used to getting his way.

“Okay, Okay Jigsy”, I said, then spotted some smoke over at the edge of our neighbor’s land. They were using their burn barrel to burn their trash. I got an idea ‘cuz I really wanted to be a cowboy, not an indian. The cowboys always wore white hats and chased the indians around. I got tired of Jiggs being the one to chase me around all the time, it got kinda boring, ya know? Besides, we didn’t have any toy bow and arrow, but we did have a toy cowboy gun and hat. Not that we could not make a bow and arrow, but enough with the indian thing already.

“Hey, Jiggs, we can both be cowboys today, see over there, see that smoke from the indian camp over there?”. Jiggs saw the burn barrel smoke and said, “oh yea! Let’s go get them injuns capytan!”

He kept the straw cowboy hat on and gave me the toy six-shooter and away we galloped our pretend horses to the burn barrel. Our neighbor’s who owned the cornfield, had quite a little fire going in there, you could almost see the indians dancing around the fire if you only imagined it. We snuck up quietly on their war party, planning on circling them first to see how many there were.

The flames shot up a little more, and Jiggs and I looked at each other and said, “Cool man!”. We forgot about the indians for a minute and went closer to the fire to check it out. It looked like a little cardboard was causing it to flare up , and toilet paper was trailing over the side of the barrel. Jiggs grabbed a stick and started messing around with the toilet paper. “Hey, be careful!”, I warned him, “you don’t want to cause a fire!”.

Jiggs of course did not listen and started flinging the toilet paper around with the stick, causing little sparks to drop in the dried grass. “Stop, Jiggs!” I yelled as I saw the sparks turn to tiny flames.

Too late as tiny flames gave way to a little bit bigger and snaked over to the neighbor’s cornfield. “Holy crap!”, I yelled as I started doing my own war dance jumping up and down on the flames trying to fight them and stomp them out. I kicked dirt on them, glanced wildly around for water nearby, none to be had. Jiggs’ hem of his jeans caught fire and I leaped on him rolling him in the dirt before he could get burned.

:He was scared, crying by now, “You stay put, don’t move an inch or I’ll clobber ya!” I was hollering at him now. I took off trying to stop the flames by beating it with corn shucks. The fire was bigger by me and I felt little burns on my body here and there happening.

The fire trucks came and put out the fire. About half the cornfield was saved, the other half, well, history.

Our mother tended to our burns, Jigg’s was not bad. I had blisters all over, but other than being scared to death, we were basically okay. That is , until the Old Man came home. He had over heard the news at the general store.

Our mother tried pleading with him, saying , “don’t spank them, they are burned!!”. He whipped me pretty good anyway, causing my blisters to break. We were in huge trouble, the neighbors would probably sue us for everything we had, that is what the Old Man kept saying.

We spent the rest of our summer doing odd jobs for those neighbors to try and make up for our mess. This was just one of the first of many messes that Jiggs and I got into……………

larry-rise-1951

March 17, 2009

The Bed Making Angel

Filed under: Uncategorized — girlswithoutshoes @ 5:40 am

That’s what my friend calls it,  my “bed makin’ angel”, as that’s what my angel helped me with, making a bed.  Sounds silly, call me crazy if you will.  I am not one of those folks who worships angels or anything.  Oh sure, I believe God sends angels to help out, just not sure how.  I believe there are angels all around us and they might come in different shapes and forms.  I do believe that when you “entertain a stranger, you might in fact be entertaining an angel”.  I believe, I just don’t think much about it, nor try to figure it all out.   For one thing, it’s not my business, it is God’s.

Now back to the bed making angel story.  My mother in law had passed away a few months before this happened, so somehow I felt it was to do with her.  Maybe she became my angel then, or maybe the angel came and helped me because of all of the stress in our family in loosing her.

It was an extremely horribly, sad and stressful time for us as I said.  My husband fell completely apart, darned near lost his mind, and almost made me loose mine after his mom died.  He really went off the deep end.  Did more drugs than ever before, and was just a huge mess.

I was a stressed out emotional mess myself, trying to work and take care of our 11 year old daughter and my elderly mom , who had moved in with us just a few months prior to my mom in law’s passing.  That alone was an adjustment for our household.   Add the husband mess and whammo, extremely exhausted woman was I, on top of all of it.

One night I was changing my mom’s sheets and felt like I was falling apart.  I felt like making this bed was such a huge tiring chore, I literally thought, “I can’t do this little chore!”

I reached to pull the sheets and covers up towards the head of the bed and then back down to make it look nice, and when I did, it seemed like I felt a pair of hands next to mine pulling them up and then down right along with me.   It was such a strange sensation that I actually turned to look behind me to see who was there.  No body there.  I chalked it up to my mother in law’s spirit trying to help me, as she used to many years ago when I was just a young woman.  She would come over and help me at different times. It was rather comforting.

That next summer, on my daughter’s 12th birthday, she started her first “woman’s time”.  That night I woke up and went into the kitchen looking for a snack and a drink of water and was standing at the stove snacking on something.  I thought I saw a whitish apparition-ish looking thing flit around the corner into my daughter’s bedroom.  There was a mirrored armoire facing her room and I saw the thing in the mirror first.  It looked kind of like a woman’s long white nightgown flitting by, kind of transparent looking.

It scared me a little, I thought of poltergeists, but instead felt it may have once again been my mother in law’s spirit trying to be close to my daughter.

I will never know, nor will worry too much about it.  I don’t sit around thinking about ghosts or spirits or angels as I said before.  I have never had any experiences such as this at any other time either.  Just these two isolated incidents.

As time went on my bed making angel and daughter’s protector became a comforting presence to me, in that I felt the love of my mother in law somehow through it all.

I just wish that bed makin’ angel would do the dishes too.

March 15, 2009

Maybe That Was A Cowboy

Filed under: fiction,short pieces,Uncategorized,Yarns — girlswithoutshoes @ 5:52 am

That might have been a cowboy that I just talked to.  I mean you never know, do you?

He was in his early-sixties but looked older to me.  Well,  he looked to me what I once would  have considered an older man to look like.    It could be because I was catching up to him in age, well or at least a few miles back.  So that could have been it, or he could have been “weathered”.   That was probably it.  Not that he was not good looking.  He was in a rugged sort of way.

He wore a western type shirt.  I had the sense that it was quite aged.  Jeans, of course the jeans were there.  I did not get a good glimpse at his feet to see if there were boots or not, but, my instinct says yes, the boots were there too.   I did not spy a hat on his head or in his hand, but still……………

His eyes were a deep blue, so  blue that you could swear your saw the ocean in them.  Oceans with ships that carried men far far away from their loves, sometimes never to return.    There was something about his eyes.   You could see the story was there, you just had to look hard enough……..

If you ever really got to know him, you would know his walk, how he kind of swaggered when he was a young man, like he had the whole world at his feet.  He definitely wore cowboy boots then, well broken in.  He also worked with horses on a ranch.  But that was not all.

He once called himself, “Buffalo Mic” and collected women like some folks collect charms for bracelets.  He had a particular fondness for redheaded women.  He loved those redheads.  Fiery temptresses he called them.   He would also call them the Devil’s Lovers.

He had the “gift of gab”.  He would speak and people would gather around him, wanting to be close to him, to touch him, to talk like him and walk like him, and if you were a woman, to be loved by him.

Married women stepped out on their husbands with him.   Very young women were had by him.   Older women adored him.  They would seek  him.  Not one was immune to his charms, but one was wise to him,  and only one.

Her name was  Jean and he was her first and her last love, forever and ever.  Even though he hurt her with his many infidelities, she continued loving him through his lifetime, clear through to the end of it.  She had had a couple of other men whom loved her, had even had children with them, but she only loved  Buffalo Mic.  She had known him since she was 15 years old and they fell madly in love.

Eventually, after years of loving him and being loved back in Mic’s “way”, she had had enough of his unfaithfulness.   She could not share him anymore and left the state, raising her children away from him, far away, though she never stopped loving him.

After Jean left, Mic spent 2 months in solitary in his mountain cabin, brooding, hurting and tripping on LSD.  He did so much acid and peyote, that it was a miracle he lived through it.  He did not have any great revelations as he had expected.

Jean was  his other half, but he was a man who would never be faithful . He and she both knew it, but he could not imagine his life without her always there, his comfort, his heart.

Finally, Mic emerged and went back to the world, continuing on with his womanizing and wicked ways.  Still, people wanted to be near him.

As he grew older, his marriages left behind him like broken vases, he spent more of his time alone with many frivolous relationships in between.  He still liked women, loved women, just felt like he had to put out too much effort, and frankly just was getting tired of all of the effort and the game, the game he had played for so many years, so many many times.  No surprises left for him.

When Mic died, not many were there to mourn him as he had wanted it that way.  Two of his sons and two of his step-children were there.  A handful of  friends whom were close to him 30 plus years prior.   None of his former girlfriends, or wives were there.   Except one.

The one who had loved him in spite of it all, through thick and through thin, through happiness and heartache.  The one who had continued loving him from a distance was the one who spread Mic’s ashes and wept her love out, her tears of sorrow and love mixing with those ashes that were part of her heart.

Yes, that may have been a cowboy that I had talked to.  You just never ever know……..what stories people hold if you look hard enough. ………………………

Secrets of a Mountain Woman

Filed under: fiction,Humor,John-Wayne Stories,short pieces,Yarns — girlswithoutshoes @ 5:14 am

0803090952191secrets_sSecrets? Hmmmmm, got ya goin’ don’t I? Let’s see now, secrets. Oh yes. Well, everyone has to have some secrets, ya know? And just because I am a mountain woman, does not mean I am any different than the rest. Some secrets we take to the grave. Some we share only with our Friends and Sisters. Some even with our Mothers. There are those only between us and our God. Finally there are the secrets between us and the Devil…… those are the ones that we really did know we were doing wrong and went ahead anyway.

Women have secrets about their age, their weight, their jean size and their hair color. Some even keep these types of secrets from their closest friends. No big deal, little white lies, white secrets, no one gets hurt. Dumb if you ask me. Who cares? I cannot imagine having a friend that I could not trust with this type of secret, I would not even want to hide such a silly thing from her. A true friend can be trusted with all of your secrets. Now, I would not go and wear a t shirt or anything stating, “Hi I am Ireney and my current weight is __________”, oops, sorry that is a secret! No sir, more important secrets than that kind.

We share secrets about our feelings, hopes and dreams with our friends, sisters, maybe if we are lucky enough, our husbands.

We hide secrets about how much our telephone bill is, how much we spent on clothes, or that new Mary Kay makeup that makes our skin look so good. Usually this information is kept from our husbands. It is just too bad we could not keep this info a secret from our bank also. Darn those overdraft fees.

I believe you are pardoned for not sharing your underwear size, especially if it goes up past the two digit mark, man alive, don’t tell anybody! Sacred stuff, that there. Be sure and cut out all of the size tags just in case you get in a wreck. That is something your Mama forgot to tell you.

Recipes are something that can be kept secret, even an old family secret. I mean look at Colonel Sanders, his recipe is still a secret and he got rich from it! I probably would share my fried chicken secret with friends and family, no problem, am honored to be asked.

There are definitely the secrets you keep from your Mother and with good reason. Number 1 reason, you do not want to go to hell for breaking your Mama’s heart when she finds out you were in the back seat at the drive in movie with Billy Boy. No, no, don’t go breaking your Mama’s heart.

Now your Father is another one altogether. You would keep the above secret from him also, but for the protection of yourself and Billy Boy. You would hate for Billy Boy to wake up to your Daddy’s shotgun in his face. Ugly way to wake up in the morning.

Speaking of ugly, I would keep a secret if I had plastic surgery, not that I would. Again, I would not shout it from the mountain tops. “Hey, everyone! I got a nose job, come see !” Nah, don’t think so. Now a boob job might be kinda nice to show off.

Your income is kept a secret, at least from the I.R.S. The last thing you would want is the Tax Man coming after you.

A Mountain Woman will not usually keep a pregnancy a secret. I suppose there are some that have had a baby out of wedlock, or by someone other than their husband that has kept it a secret, but usually not. Not this woman. On our mountain it is usually a time for great rejoicing. A new baby is considered a gift from Heaven.

When I was first pregnant with J.W., John-Wayne and I had been living in sin for a few years. We were going to get around to getting married, but you know, it was the 70’s and all and shacking up was cool. I would not do that part of my life over in the same way if I could. I believe in the holiness of marriage. We were dumb though in those days. Secretly I really wanted to be married all along, but didn’t want John-Wayne to think that I had “trapped him”, so did not push it. I was waiting for him to get down on one knee and ask me.

We did keep the pregnancy a secret from the Dukes’ family for about 4 months. John-Wayne decided to wait until Polly was in the hospital recovering from the “woman’s surgery” to tell her. He had a lot of class. He did not mean any harm, but his mother was so sick from infection, I think he was afraid she was going to die without knowing he was going to be a father. We were visiting Polly in the hospital where she looked like death warmed over, if there could be such a thing. John-Wayne announces the baby . Polly just looked at us and said weekly, “Are you going to get married?”.

I don’t remember what John-Wayne answered, but we did get married. A few years later. We finally sent j.w. over to Polly’s house and called the Justice of the Peace in. We got married in our living room, no frills. Well at least J.W. was legal. Years later he jokingly said, “I was a bastard”. For crying out loud. At least it was not in the days where it was a scandal.

When Salli-O came along, we had been married for years. She was quite a surprise as we were a little older than most folks having their 2nd child. She was a gift from heave. We were pretty excited. J.W. just said, “If it is a boy, don’t name it nothing dumb”. We said we would not name it nothing dumb.

So, secrets………………., nothing so bad, nothing so scandalous, just a semi- secret pregnancy, and secret underwear size. Nothing too big up here on my mountain. Funny thing is, I realized later that J.W. should never have been kept a secret at first either, as both of my babies were truly a gift from above.

March 11, 2009

Smokin’, New Undies!

Have you ever bought 12 new pairs of undies all at once?  It is so………..refreshing, that is the word for it.  Well, have you?  There is nothing like it, especially when you have been wearing the rattiest darned undies.  It does something for your self esteem.   Even if they are not a nice small size 5 anymore!   A person can only avoid buying new underwear in a larger size so long.  Eventually, they will pinch you and make you mean. 

I finally broke down and went in the plus size woman’s store and bought clothes.  Somehow, if I did not shop in the plus store, in my mind, I was still a svelte size.  Denial.  Denial in double digits. 

There has been a steady influx of weight these last 10 years.  Maybe some of you can identify, hopefully most of you will not.  I could not identify with a “weight problem”  most of my life.  Oh, yeah, I remember when I was a teenager saying my thighs are too fat.  Not!  Wish, I was  fat like that again.  Hindsight you know. 

I grew up eating anything and everything that I wanted without any problems.  Still was thin, still had a cute butt.  

That lasted about 40 years into my life, and them whamo, everything changed.  Many things prompted “my problem.”  The first was  the dreaded woman’s surgery that I fought against, leave my parts alone please.   That did not work, had to go through it.  Hormone imbalances abounded, along with an evil shrew that lived inside of me being unleashed.  I frightened myself. 

I worked through that, then had a thyroid problem.  Of course it was the type that weight gain went along with and the shrew  in me came out again.  So, I worked through that with medication.

Then came another big one.  After 30 years of smoking and inhaling cigarettes deep down to my toes, and loving it mostly, I quit.   I became a MONSTER BITCH!  Pardon my expression, but there is no nice way to put it.  Monster bitch, crying and griping, complaining, praying to God for help.  I stayed on nicotine patches for 6 months, not kidding and wellbutrin for 6 years!  Hardcore smoker, that was me.  Eventually, the monster part went back into hiding.  Well, mostly. 

I’m glad that I quit for many reasons, can’t stand them now.  It was the hardest thing I ever did in my life!

I started substituting food for the hand mouth thing.  That took some time to break, and here I am 7 years later, and 80 lbs larger!   Dang, it crept up. 

Part of my avoidance in buying bigger clothes is also due to my fear that I will get comfortable in them, and grow up another size, no no can’t have that. 

Sigh………….. heavy heavy sigh………………….. well I am determined that I will never give up trying to get healthy, even if I repeatedly fail, will perservere. 

Will also buy pretty new undies until then.  Lace is always a good thing.

 

blooms

March 8, 2009

Queen of the Thrift Store

Yes, she is becoming the true Queen of Thrift Store shopping and getting quite good at it,  even a little obsessed with it.  That is ok, it is not a bad thing.  She could be obsessed with more harmful things, so, thrift store shopping is actually a very good thing when you think about it.
She trolls the aisles looking for a Classic at just the right price.  Nothing ratty for her, no no.  Vintage clothing is her passion. The 1930’s & 40’s  particularly were  great eras for women’s clothing.

Boots are extremely important also.  Good quality name brand used boots in grand condition with their soft supple leather.  Boots, ah boots,  that were originally more than $100.00 easy some years back.  Boots that will never go out of style.  Now those are a find.

Leather Vests and Long Mohair City Coats are on her mind as she searches and picks through item after item, aisle after aisle.   That perfect something is there somewhere, hiding out, waiting for greedy fingers to come upon it.

There are necklaces, bracelets, old rings and costume jewelry galore.  She picks and sorts with a keen eye, then spots a nice string of pearls and sets them aside for purchase.

Ribbons, old lace hankies and doilies are plowed through, ah ha!  She snatches up some beautiful pale lavender evening gloves, vintage  for sure.   Silk ribbons that once adorned some little girl’s pig tails are also gleaned, along with a little velvet clutch.

She gathers her treasures and takes them up to the counter and greets the girl whom she has come to know through her many trips to this particular store.  “How are you today Gracie?” she asks, and they engage in some small talk.

On the way home, she grabs a sandwich and coffee and can hardly wait to spread out her finds and look them over, ahhhh,  not bad for a day’s work.

She cleans, irons and polishes all, then tries on the evening gloves with a rhinestone bracelet admiring herself in the mirror.

Her visions are of a young woman wearing a lovely evening gown with the gloves making a grand entrance into a nightclub of days gone by.  She imagines the woman and a handsome gentleman waltzing and fox trotting to the sounds of the band.

The music ends and she is in the present again surrounded by her wares.  She lets out a contented sigh, applies her price stickers and puts everything away.

Tomorrow she will take all down to her shop and arrange the beautiful evening gloves and lace hankies along with the clutch and jewelry on top of an antique dresser whose open drawers spill forth more lacy garments of  other times.

The Queen of the Thrift Store dresses for bed in a long silk nightie and climbs into her soft, high four poster bed.  She snuggles down under her coverlets and lets out another sigh dreaming of  plumed hats, diamond rings and shoes from the 40’s.

More important, she dreams of the handsome gentleman with his coat of tails and the lovely young woman dancing and spinning, waltzing around the room and out to the balcony.

The gentleman lowers his head and draws the young woman closer for a lovely long kiss as the music from the band fades softly into the background  ……………………

March 1, 2009

Call Me Mrs. John-Wayne

Believe it or not my name really is Mrs. John-Wayne. You heard me right. It is Mrs. John-Wayne Dukes to be correct. Every one always called my husband John-Wayne, like it was one name. I Guess Mr. and Mrs. Dukes really liked John Wayne or something. I know my husband idolized him, good thing since he kinda shared his name.

We met through a mutual friend of ours named Daniel. We teasingly called him Daniel Boone. So Daniel Boone introduced me to my future husband John-Wayne. How do ya like them apples? Life is sure funny sometimes. Especially if you see the humor in nearly everything, like I did.

Me and John-Wayne got married young and moved up to his folks’ mountain home. We didn’t have kids for a few years , not for lack of tryin, just didn’t happen right away. That was okay by me for now, plenty of time for kids later on.

We had crazy fun in those days. We once had a little blue falcon for our vehicle. We were driving down the road on a Saturday night, smoking joints and listening to country music on the radio, just relaxing and driving to nowhere in particular. We were pretty comfortable with each other at this point. We did not feel the need to talk all the time, we could just be quiet and it was okay.

Small raindrops began to hit the windshield. “Hey looks like rain comin’ our way,” I say, and then “I thought our windshield wipers don’t work?” John-Wayne just glanced over at me and the corner of his lip curled up Elvis style. He said “Don’t worry, see that rope over there?” He pointed to the corner on the passenger side of the car. “Grab it and hold onto it.” he told me , which I did. He then grabbed for a rope on his side of the car kind of by the wing window and yanked on it. Then he looked at me and said “Okay now pull on your side.” I obeyed and watched as the wiper on my side of the car moved some. For crying out loud, I thought, I married a freakin’ genius!

John-Wayne pulled his side of the rope a little harder and instructed me to do the same. “You gotta get a rhythm going to it.” He tells me. “Yeah, that’s cool, that;s working good!”

We continued on down the road with John-Wayne letting out a whoop of glee every so often at his invention. I was not sure whether to be impressed or embarrassed, then got myself so tickled at the idea of what we must look like, going down the road pulling the ropes to make the wipers move. I started to giggle, (remember I was kinda stoned yet), and the giggles got louder until I was laughing so hard my belly hurt.

John-wayne joined in with his bigger voice sounding a little like a jack-ass braying to me, probably because he was loaded too. I laughed so much harder that I could barely keep hold of the rope and the tears started pouring down my face. We were so hysterically laughing that he had to pull the car over for a minute so we could catch our breaths.

I looked at my husband and he looked at me, and I said, “You are a bona-fide inventor sir and you are the man of my dreams!”. We kissed and sat there enjoying the rest of our Saturday Night, just sitting there with our arms around each other listening to the radio and I knew if I was ever stranded on a desert island, this was the man I wanted there with me.

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