While I am indeed sorrowful for all that transpired on That Day; this week holds a lot more personal grief for me. This is not meant as any sort of detraction from the exceedingly awful losses that occurred twelve years ago. Instead, I am just grateful for the loves, family, and community that I had and have found.
Never forget to hug your people. Any time, for any reason.
Never forget to let them know how much you care, and how much joy they bring to you.
Never, ever forget to say “I love you” at the end of a phone call.
I know that we didn’t always get along. Our stubborn, stubborn tempers would clash and voices would be raised. We argued, or didn’t speak, or just passed small talk back and forth for a long time. In spite of all that, I never ever thought or belived for a moment that you didn’t love me. Sometimes, there wasn’t much like going around. But love was always there. We eventually reconciled, for which I am grateful.
I hope that you knew that as a wee tot, I idolized you. I pretty well thought you hung the moon, standing on a step-ladder and laughing that big laugh of yours. Nobody knew as many jokes as you. Nobody was as giving or as willing to help anyone through a rough spot. Nobody could listen as well you.
You had faults – like all of us. Humans, eh? We are what we are. Still. You were a pretty good egg.
I guess I just wanted to say that I still miss you. That I wish you were here, to see The Girl growing up, to see the Twinlings and the Bear. I wish that I could sit and chat with you about things, again.
I wish I could hear you laugh.
As I previously mentioned, I was up at my Mom’s house in DFW this weekend. We were supposed to work on her garage, do some packing and sorting for her upcoming move.
And we did.
Mostly what we did was gab and eat, though. Boy howdy did we eat.
Saturday afternoon we went to a place called Babe’s Chicken Dinner House. Have y’all heard of this place? It is a bastion of chicken-fried _meat_ with the appropriate side dishes served alongside. You don’t actually get to order the sides. There is a process, you see.
The waitperson comes to your table, gathers your drink order and asks if you want biscuits. When she returns, she brings the drinks and biscuits – whether or not you actually said “yes” to her previous query. At this point, you are asked to “pick yer meat” from the list that she belts out. Believe me when I say “belts out.” Our server was a teeny little college coed, maybe 85 pounds (sopping wet with rocks in her pockets.) She was equipped with lungs that would have made any Hells Angel weep with gratitude. In spite of the overwhelming noise, I could hear her just fine. I couldn’t make out a blessed thing she was saying because she was yelling so fast, though. Her diction was like a train rolling through a small Texas town at 5 AM. Loud and picking up speed as it went along.
“First, you pick out your meat. All your sides will get served when it comes out. The sides are mashedpotatoes with gravy, greenbeanscorn. OH! And you get a green salad. The meats that you canchoosefromare friedchickensmokedchickenfriedtenderspotroast (*deep breath*) or catfish.”
Bold equals yelling. After the third run through of her spiel, I gave up and ordered the chicken fried steak. It was the only thing in the meat list that I could make out.
The whole meal was an exercise in delicious excess. The steak, when it came out, covered the entire plate. I’m not kidding. That thing was bigger than some pizzas I’ve ordered. The side vegetables come out as if you’re eating dinner at your country Grandmother’s house. Everything was set on the table to be communally shared. Every last bit of the food was so high in fat that I could feel my arteries slamming shut, just looking at it.
I’m pretty sure that the smashed potatoes had more than their fair share of heavy whipping cream beat into them. The green beans were swimming in bacon fat, the corn was swimming in butter. The biscuits were hot and flaky and pre-buttered. The salad was chopped up iceberg with some sort of oil & vinegar dressing already on it. And they bring the gravy in a huge bowl with a spoon in it.
I would say that if your blood pressure can stand a once-in-awhile grease fest – go and see Babe’s Chicken Dinner House. The décor alone is worth the price of dinner.
Eventually, we did do a little work. I got some things off the high shelves (Mom is all of 5’2” when she stretches) for her. We sorted out a large pile of Moll’s old clothes – The Girl made out like a well-dressed bandit. Best of all? We went through the bookshelves. In the process of streamlining her library, I *may* have brought some books back with me.
Many of those are old favorites. Some are hardbound copies of books that I already have. But there are lots of new words that I have yet to read in there. Thousands of new words for me! I get to put my slimy eye-trails on them first, too.
If you’re looking at that last sentence, wondering just what the hell I am talking about – well, chances are that you didn’t read race with your folks. When I was growing up, my Dad & I were a touch competitive. One of the things we did was read a novel at the same time to see who could read it the quickest, and still retain information from it. We’d usually finish within a week or two from each other and then the quizzing would begin.
“Who’s the protagonist? What’s his full name?”
“What was the climax of the story? When did it happen?”
“Did you think the underlying theme was yadda yadda yadda?”
I don’t remember how it got started. What I do recall is my Dad buying books and telling me “Don’t read my new book! You’ll get slimy eye-trails all over my words!” Over the years, I guess it stuck. It remains one of my very favorite things to do. As an aspiring writer, I sincerely hope that people enjoy putting slimy eye-trails all over my words.