Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Whose got the Golden Arm? REVISITED because Skinny reached out and POKED ME with her long, sentimental, and dirty little fingers!

I drug this out of the archives because SKNNY POKED ME! And reminded me, not just of the story, but of the way we all remember. A little bit different. A little bit tainted "our way". Same place. Same times. Same story. And how sometimes spooky little stories, do finally get to you. This Golden Arm was my gift to Kimbies a couple of Christmas's ago. Just another sibling POKE! Because she hated it so. Hated the story. Hated the punch line. Hated having to scooch in closer for the punch line, and 40 years later I can still remember her face, her eyes the size of mudpuddles WIDE OPEN yelping "Not me, Not me" She kept this tacky, but sentimental gift in the corner of her den CLOSED and hated it. And the fact that every time she walked by it, the damn latch was undone and it was open just so drove her mad. So finally Skinny toted it home in March. Ask her how she feels about it!


It wasn’t the story so much, as the hot salty air and the night sounds from the ocean, lapping at the open windows. And the candles, of course. Their luminescence creating yellow eyed spirits that crawled our skin and danced amongst us with the breeze. The setting was just too perfect. It always was. And it was tradition. The telling of the spooky summer story….over and over again…

We did it for years. A circle of barefoot youngin’s. Madden always the oldest. Me next. For years, and years, Kimilee the youngest. We’d pile into the terrazzo floored bedroom, dust off a spot to sit on ( Ahhhh, the gritty dry sand from days of tracking in could give your swim suited bottom a rash and a half if you just plopped down on it and then did all the carrying on a spook story required : crouching on your knees in anticipation, flailing arms to fight off the fright, spinning on your rump to hide your eyes completely from the storyteller’s gaze!) We’d light the coveted (taken without permission) hurricane candles and the circle would scooch in closer. But not before Kimilee would do her little Indian princess dance, tiptoeing high, arms fanning at the nighttime ceiling….. “Not me! Not me! Not me! Don’t make it me!” She’d plead, and beg, brown saucer eyes wide open and imploring us to just this once, leave her out of it. “SShhhhhhh” “It won’t be you, sit down and be quiet. Sit right here. It won’t be you.”

So little. So trusting. So scared.

And then Madden would start. And we would just fall into it. The so very familiar story that grew with each passing summer. He would braid a thousand scary stories together in a fragmented slide show, but this would always be “our” story….we’d lean in for certain parts, sweaty little sunburnt faces tightly knotted together. We’d wriggle back through other parts. With each passing summer, Madden grew taller, his voice deepened, and so did the story. While we had heard it a hundred times, each time was the first time. He never ever failed us on that.

“Whoooooooose got the golden aaaarrrrrrmmmmmm? Whoooooose got the golden arrrrrrrmmmmmm? Whose GOT the golden ARRRRRRMMMMM?” The words vibrated through the room, had an ethereal quality to them, that convinced you, all of us, it wasn’t Madden speaking at all. But her. The words were coming from some place deep, and damp, and were being whisked in by the night tides, a dirty little mist settling on top of us, a blanket, wet from the beach. Kimilee would sit with her knees up, holding her toes, burying her tiny little face, whispering “not me. Not me”. In perfect Catholic choir harmony, we would echo “Sssshhhhhhhhhhhh” .

And then, WALLOP! Madden would spring into the air and come booming down with a thunderous crash; his arm probing madly at the circle, obscenely pointing…… at the bearer of his punch line: “YOU DO!”

And poor little Kimilee would cry.

Over and over again.

Why are kids so cruel?
I don’t know. But today… this day… I can tell you that Kimilee, “not me, not me”, is one tough cookie. And she knows the punch line. And scary story, you don’t spook her. She’s hitting back. And we’re all scooching in closer. May the circle be unbroken.

For info on KIMBIES FIGHT BACK please visit our links to Kimbies hand me down levis, otherwise known as love letters to Kimbies and join the fight!

Monday, October 29, 2007


Once upon a time......
I wore green platform shoes and painter's pants
danced on table tops at Rosie O'Gradies,
drank champagne and skated in and out of ditches,
graffitied in midnight sand with barefoot toes,
climbed trees
and ladders
leaning on prickly holly bushes,
danced low
and slow
and to the Rolling Stones.....


The Cinderella Syndrome......

Sunday, October 28, 2007

There's got to be a morning after....

When the new neighbors saw the officer at the door, they politely turned their backs. "Police. Open up. Search Warrant" he cop-pounded on the door. "It's open" I bellowed back, "Come on in, you've been here before, you know where everything is! " When the disco light came on, they gave up and went inside, pulled their shades. Missing the rest of the Saturday night parade, they spent the evening with only their imaginations to fill in the blanks....and the grapevine to tell the story......"Ahhhh, the police were across the street again, you'll never believe what she did this time!"........

We marathoned the night. Toasting, boasting, twirling, dipping, moonwalking, laughing, swirling, clinking, drinking, and having a ball. Sometimes, you have "to fight for your right to partaaaaaaay!"

Friday, October 26, 2007

Room for rent....

It's raining. Not drops or drizzles or showers. Just silvery mist left over from the night before, still falling, drifting from the sky like weightless summer snowflakes. I raise my cup of coffee and we clink! to each other, hot steamy morning cocktails on the porch. My friend and I.

For the longest time, we don't say a word. Watch the children across the street tumble out the front door, on rollerblades, two wheeled spider bikes, and bellies-to-the-pavement on makeshift skateboards. Christmas morning all over their world.

We light cigarettes in sync, exhale into the mist. "Isn't if funny how we all met, came together......" she says. "Yeah.... it's weird" "And how much everything has changed" "And stayed the same" "We've watched a parade from this porch, down your drive-way, in and out of these screen doors" "Yeah....." "Its' been a good one", she said, snubbing out her 501. "I miss him" after thought in the rain. "Me, too."

I snub out my own cigarette, nod at the weeping sky outside the dusty screen...
"It's the butterfly"....
I know,I know, I know..... the endless butterfly effect"
"No, there she is.....dancing in the rain"
We watched her for the longest time, flitting from wet Iris blooms to the cool wet earth, and up into the palm fronds, doing adagio by herself in the morning sky.....

"I'm going home to my new husband now" she whispered, creeking the screen door open...walking barefoot out into the dampened sky....

I watched her, each step she took folding the wet grass into momentary footprints, ones that would rise and disappear when the sun came out again.

And I thought for the longest time about him. How blessed I was she married him, loved him, and how lucky I was. To have had him as my friend. And for a moment, I saw him. Standing there, leaning against the truck, smoking.... smiling, legs crossed, blue eyes cast into the rain....reminding me...

to believe....

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I married once...

He kept asking. Over pink champagne at New Years. Slurping raw oysters and leaning over pool tables. Doing the helicopter dance on Friday nights. He just kept asking. And one night, over steaks and an HBO re-run, I said OK and we picked a date.

Of course, it was a catastrophe. The pony-tailed redneck and I, but what the hell, we loved to dance, he was a great cook, I was a starving artist and....

he had her...."Baby Dumplin'".....And I fell in love with her hopelessly, and forever, and instantly. My first born daughter, seven, blonde hair ~long and tangled, cheese curl toes, and green eyes.

In the third grade, she had to draw a family tree for art class. The teacher called me. I still have it tucked away, it's roots wild and scattered, it's limbs heavy and old, and names hanging everywhere, like wild laundrey whisped from it's line.....the intricate scribblings of a child....connecting the dots between the people she was born to, and those she was fated to.

Tonight, I dug it out, and saw what she saw....the endless constellation of dots...

What is and what is meant to be....

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Red Velvet Cake...

“Have you ever been in love before?” he asked me, knowing full well, I was old….

And so I answered him,
With the tell-tale truth…
A very long time ago,
And forever”

We were sitting at the leather chair,
Me curled up, winter style , wrapped in the arms
And cushions.

Him, perched,
On the ottoman….
Blue eyes Morse coding…

“I wanna be him” he said….
“Who?” I whispered at the walls,
Twirling my hair in tiny spirals….

“Him. The one you’ve loved forever”

And I gave him that. That free for all, that tumbling, take-me-there.

But I believe In addendums…
So I hope he doesn’t think I wasn’t telling the truth,

I just changed my mind….

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Dunes

The dunes. Giant sugar covered bellies that we wallowed over like tiny pups with our eyes closed. From the time we could toddle, we were rolling in them, crawling up their shifting sides, sliding down their salty shins. From our house to the roaring ocean, the only fence standing was the dunes. The sun would rise and spray paint their peaks the color of mirrors. And so, we would climb them blindfolded. Chubby little hands folded over squinting eyes. And then swoosh….down the other side to the Gulf. The giant body of endless water that called our names out loud.

We played pirates there. Built Geronimo’s fort out of cardboard boxes and terry cloth towels. Pretended we were movie star cast-aways . We dug for buried treasures and found plenty of them….rusty beer cans, abandoned crab nets, Tiparillos. Mottled oyster shells were sudden jewelry boxes, and we filled them to the brim with colored periwinkles, fishing hooks, and adolescent shark teeth. Summer’s in my memories are measured by how we climbed the dunes. Eventually the cardboard walls of our forts were transformed into cardboard surfboards. We would drag the flattened A & P boxes up one side of the sandy mountain, and go flying, bottoms up, face first, clinging to the makeshift sea sleds down the other. We hauled the entire length of the clothesline up and over the Mother of all dunes, and played Man-of-war-tug-of-war. Which team would be pulled up the dune, heels digging in the scorching sand? Fingers sliced with instant paper cuts from the nylon cord? And which team, would be the winners, sent flying fannies backward by their victory ? We would all eat dirt eventually. Crashing headfirst into the salty earth.

And then there was the jeep. We were not allowed this carnival ride. Not by Mama , anyway. We stole it. Not the jeep, but the memory. Our Daddy and Mr. Bruce, daddy-sitting on a Friday night, piled us in the back, like sardines ourselves, and we were suddenly bobbing, leaping, lurching up the white hillside. The headlights flickered up and down, sideways, making fun of the stars as we struggled to climb the daring dune. At the top, with the tires spinning frantically in place, I was sure we would just topple off the earth. Instead we dove into the black night and landed, promptly, poooooossssssshhhhh , into the forest colored ocean: angry waves swatting at the windows like a drooling, rolling monster. “Sshhhhhhhhhh. Listen for the motor.” I watched peanut butter and jelly sandwiches floating by….Listened for my own motor. My heartbeat. Anyone’s heartbeat. I dug my fingers into Kimcam’s thighs and she never made a sound. We held onto Paiger and the boys like priceless Madame Alexander dolls. The Monster pounded at our doors. Slithered his rheumy arms over the canvas rooftop. His breathing was rhythmic. Splish. Splash. Gurgle. The jeep rocked slowly, the ocean was luring us with his lullaby. And then bam! Mr. Bruce shoved it into gear, and an upside down waterfall was spewing from the jeep, spitting at the stars…..and we were off again! Fishtailing it down the coquina sprinkled shoreline.

Last summer we dunerolled down the wet hills into the nighttime sea . Strangers stood on the crumbling seawall and hooped as we made our wreckless descent. Went face first to the ocean. To the kissing, glorious, arms of the ocean, calling our names.....

Feel the love....
Ride the wave....

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Peace, love, and here's my phone number.....

I had just gotten off the bus, my patrol belt, neon orange, wound into a wad in my right hand, and my denim notebook covered in blue inked grafitti (And a book cover because it was private school) tucked under my left arm, when he threw it out the window. The tiny football of blue lined paper thunked me on the head and pelted out into the road. The exhaust fumes from the bus camoflauged it, and then the next 17 cars whisped it flying, invisible quarterback at work. The love letter.

I opened it carefully. I wasn't crazy about this kid. In fact, I barely knew him. But his words were inked so carefully, so thoughtfully, and, well, who was I to read it carelessly? His heart, tossed out a moving window. Gangly legs flying, I wadded it up in a ball and hid it in my room...I never responded, in fact never looked him in the eyes again, and no, I didn't dial the number laboriously etched at the bottom. I hope he forgives me. Richard Hill.

I learned to write love letters well into late life. I wrote them to lovers, strangers, voices on the other end of the phone. And I wrote them well, but it was years before I ever recieved a love letter the likes of the one from Richard Hill.

He left one here. Propped up against a temple of all our keepsakes on the porch. I tore the envelope open and sped-read the words. "Chicken F'n Noodle Soup!" I belted. Stomping in circles, flailing the card. I showered and stewed, and put on my make up, made my mind up to never respond, when he showed up all gangly, skinny legs and arms smiling, "Wanna sit on the deck and have a beer?" "Are you kiddin' me?"

But we did, and he was devasted, his first and only love letter penned at 43, trashed and lonely on my kitchen table...."Save the last dance for me" he cliched at the end.....

And I was apalled,
that was apparent
and we clinked to even my
dismay because he's like
that and knows that
he doesn't know
what I'll

but the last dance
is the last chance
and i wasn't about to trade it

for prose.....

or promises

I'm gonna be a Macho Man.....

With one shoe on and one shoe off! Let the party begin! We're six and one and ready to rumble! Chey's got her chaps, and the newlyweds next door are collecting feathers and leathers, Theo is donning the blues.....

And out of the perfectly clear oceanside past, Persichetti shows up on my porch this afternoon, and our plea, for a few good men has been answered! Ta!Dah!

Trick or Treating is gonna be a blast.....
concrete boot and all......

And yeah, Cinderella did wear construction boots, just not in the made for TV version......

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Day I put my foot down.....

It started out all routine. In my sleep. But then I overslept, Deja pounced on the snooze and she did it again, and I guess again, because when I rolled over and clomped out of bed, I only had thirty minutes before I had to climb in the shower and race down the driveway. I need forever. Not to put on make-up or do my hair or anything like that. To drink my coffee. Stare out the kitchen window. Watch Georgia do round-d-rounds in the backyard. Blog a little. Day dream. And then I put lemon juice in my coffee instead of creamora. But it was all good. Not the coffee, just the fact that it was a new day....

I don't know what happened, but somewhere between Mickey Dolenz belting out "I'm a Believer" and Mick Jagger's throaty reminder that "Tiiiiiiiiiiiime is on my side, yes it is".... I started to stew. A good kind of, growing, gutteral, strengthy, kind of stew.

When I hobbled into the office beltin "Good Mornings" at 9:00 (yes, we have banker's hours) and Chey answered me in her raspy "morning after" voice, I pounded both hand's down on the counter (to get her quick attention) and then I started. "O.K. Enough. Enough of being exhausted, worn out, tired, and spending the day catching up on hell. Enough of being whipped, beat up, and ringered. Enough of growing old. Your boyfriend doesn't love you, he's addicted to you. Like Coke. He's gotta have it, and when he doesn't get it, or get it his way, his mad. Mean. And that's not love. I've thought about it long and hard (And I really hadn't, it happened sometime between just those two songs) and we're just not gonna do it this way anymore. We used to have fun. We used to laugh. We used to raise hell, not live in it"

She stared back at me in silence.

I started again. I ranted and raved and paced, watched the clock and the front door for the first patient.....watched the back door for the good doctor. It took all of seven minutes to convince her. Life was short and we were wasting it.

At lunch we took a cigarette break and lounged in the doorway. We watched the telephone repair man park under a tree for lunch. He ambled out of the van, put his parking cone in front of his right tire, and hiked over to the Dairy Queen for ice cream. It wasn't polite, but we stared. We kinda need a parking cone for Halloween. It's on our list. Chey took her right pointer fingered and motioned for him to come over. He smiled and shook his head.. "Nah".....he was enjoying his ice cream. She did it again. He did it again. She snubbed out her cigarette and started out across the black asphalt. I watched from the doorway. Silent movie conversations. He threw his head back in laughter and she lifted a fluorescent cone off his bumper and started our way. She set it gently in front of her truck, tossed a two fingered peace sign over her shoulder, and walked back into the office.

"Anything else we need?" she whisper smiled as she passed me.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

If "what's her name" can do it, so can I......

I've been in hand-me-down cut-offs, bell bottomed jeans, and stove pipe scrubs for 7 weeks now . All my left shoes are piled in a heap on the bedroom floor, a thousand steps older than the right ones. I'm sure I'm gonna walk with a permanent gimp to the left, like a mama that's toted too many chubby babies on her jutting hip.

So I did what any peace~lovin' hippie would do...drug out my dancin' shoes (well, one!) and a little black dress (And a little black magic) from the back of the closet.....And went dancing!

Yup, you can swivel in a cast. Swirl, twirl, go up and down, hoop, holler, spin, and do it again.

Clink! These boots were made for dancin'.....

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Now I Lay me down to sleep....

I remember when it arrived. Trucked down from Tallahassee. My Great-Grandmother's bed. My Mom tucked it into the "poker room" and started stripping the blackened mahogany stain, grape jelly, off it's grain. I was enchanted with the wood grain that emerged. Patterns, telling stories, in the old plank. The headboard and the footboard are each one slice of mahogany, not pieced together, one slice of greatness. The Mother Tree. And it was mine.

Handed down from one eldest daughter to the next, to the next, to the next, to me.......I touched it and remembered my Nana under the cotton sheets telling me stories....."When Monk and I eloped...." I felt the magic then, of her barefeet peeling out from under the crisp sun-ironed covers, the heavy blanket tossed back breathlessly, and her panic, at the sound the sunday~suit~quilt thudding on the hand tied mattress might of made. He was at the window. Two floors up. Waving the diamond ring he had just won in a poker game. She left in her flannels.

My Mother. At Jacksonville beach. On the second floor with the lights out and the four mahogony legs centered in gallon cans of water. So the rats couldn't crawl up. Sleeping on the salt flavoured sheets with the ocean spraying kisses through the windows. The third generation of blonde haired girls to sleep here.

And now it was mine. I slept on it, in it, for years. Lounged backwards with the phone cord twined between my fingers painting my toenails up against the headboard. Stuck wads of gum on the siderails. Dreamed here.

When I inherited my blonde haired 7 year old daughter, we bought a waterbed with satin sheets, and moved it into her first bedroom. Draped the windows and it's soul in white eyelit and puffalumps and she grew up here. When she moved out and said " I want a queen sized bed" I understood. It was the same year, her Father and I divorced and we traded.

I sleep here again. One day, this ageless hammock will go to Kyle, my precious blonde haired grandaughter. Until then, she's mine again.

I prop my cast~footed leg up on two pillows piled at the footboard. Georgia takes the right side. She huffs and puffs and chases her tail in circles until she's just~so comfy and then settles in. Deja tiptoes on the pillows. Around my head. Kneading in my hair. The moon peeks in under the window shades. Casts shadows on my chest. Rising. Falling.

Ahhh, the stories this wooden princess could tell......

Monday, October 01, 2007

Put your money on the table....

And feel the love.....

It's amazing what an army can do....

Sunday morning, the dirt parking lot of our corner bar was swarming, purring, boots, ponytails, bandanas, lots of leather, tattoos, and engines revved......a baby needed surgery, and the poker run began.

At 2:00 the masses came. The Indian, there, frying fish from all his early mornings out. Pink stuff has him whipped, but not enough to keep him down for this. The circle is in need. The band, after an early morning catnap, back again to play for love. And deep pockets everywhere. Smiling. Toasting. Giving.

One day.Two precious toddler twins. One in desperate need. Two parents. 60 bikes. 300 people. Ten thousand one hundred dollars by dark.

Two heads shaved: one male, one female. Sheared for the tiny sum of $3,300
Two locks of love....priceless.

One pair of 1970's men's disco shoes auctioned for $3.00. Price to watch the first guy they fit tap dance to Eric Claption: $300.00

Matching polyestor suit $15.00. Price to watch the tallest biker there strip down to his boxers and model it, $300.00

I have never felt so much love inside the same four walls in my life.

Perhaps, that's why, when the band climbed over the tables and shelves from the auction and started warming up....and a sea of arms and legs rushed behind them to clear the dance floor.....we all knew what the first song would be....

"And the house is rockin' tonight....."

May the spirit of yesterday carry on, the circle be unbroken, and the little one heal and laugh and play.....

Love grows.....