Friday, November 30, 2018

They Call The Wind Mariah

You know how I come here and rant and rave?  You know how I go off on tangents?  I know my readers, all three of you, are saying, what?   Gladys goes off on tangents?  NEVER!  I know I rant and ramble.  According to my precious Aunt, I have always rambled.  Evidently, I used to sit and talk for hours and she would nod and smile and have no clue as to the nature of my oration.  Oh, who am I kidding?  People still smile and nod and have no clue as to the nature of my diatribe.  And, there I go again, digressing.

I am curious, where did politeness and common courtesy go?  Is it hiding under the bed?  Perhaps, it’s on the top shelf of the coat closet which no longer holds formal coats and jackets but instead is stuffed fuller than Fibber McGee’s closet with junk.  The one which when opened expels everything from hockey sticks to hobnails.  (Quick rush to Google and look-up Fibber McGee and hobnails, I’ll wait).  It is all but extinct, common courtesy that is.  Every once in a great while, a stranger will hold a door or greet you on the street, but it is a rarity. 

When the wind blows in my little neck of the woods, it wails.  It whistles and winds through the trees leaves scattering and swirling.  The dust puffs and paints the pavement with a coating of ever moving impressionistic paintings.  Harv Presnell, sings about it moving the stars around.  It was on one of those days that I was reminded of the loss of decorum and niceties.

Kahuna and I have been talking about buying a couch.  Not just a couch but a sectional.  Not just a sectional but it has to be very specific dimensions, fabric, and construction.  You see our last couches were purchased the year we were first a couple.  We bought two matching sofa’s that we made sure were long enough to nap on and when the back pillows were removed two people could sleep side by side.  We had the made specifically.  I mean you never know when a nap could overtake you.  As the boy scouts say, be prepared.   Alas, those couches are no longer ours having gone to a younger couple who can now have years of side by side naps.   We decided on a sectional so that we can seat enough people without needing a bunch of other furniture.  Honestly, if it were up to Kahuna, a bean bag chair and an orange crate would be fine.  Thank goodness it’s not up to him. 

Again, I digress.
We don’t have a lot of furniture stores in Itty Bitty City, heck, we don’t have a lot of stores of any kind.   I have been shopping for couches on-line.  The problem with shopping for couches online is you can’t sit on them.  I guess you could sit on your laptop, but, I’m afraid that would not be a good judge of it being a nap-able sofa.  There is nothing worse than a sofa that is not nap-able.  It has lumps or dips or isn’t wide enough or soft enough.  I decided to bite the bullet and stop by our local furniture store, Ye Old Furniture Shop. 
I pulled my little car into the parking lot as the wind whipped the leaves here and there, sand shifting on the asphalt.  The wind caught my door yanking it from my hand.  I stood just as a gust hit and flipped my hair over my face only to reverse and blow it back again.  I was pushed to the door by another errant gust, coat flapping, hair flipping, sand shifting pushing me all towards what might be the perfect napping couch.  I grabbed the door before the wind could bluster me back into the parking lot.  I took a deep breath of wood, leather, and foam as I entered the store. 

Waiting just inside the store, the proprietor, Buford, eyed me up and down, then glanced at the flapping door.   He scratched his beard, shut the door behind me and said: “Girl, comb your hair!”. 
Now, I have entered many an establishment to a variety of greetings.  How are you?   Can I help you?  It’s a great day at….   I can honestly say I have never been greeted with a disparaging remark about my hair.  Look, I have no illusions.  I know I have wild hair.  Some days it is wilder than others.  There are times it is so out of control all I can do is have a Shaman sage it and call it good.  Honestly, it has a mind of its own. I know the wind had whipped my hair.  It might have looked a wee bit out of place.  Did it warrant a greeting of “Comb your hair”?  I don’t know.  I just know that somewhere between women burning their bras and men not wearing fedoras and ties, we lost our sense of decorum.  We lost the finesse that once existed in civil social interactions.
How hard is it to say, Good Morning or Welcome to Sofas to Nap On?  I don’t understand.  What happened to be nice and polite?  What happened to civility?  I really couldn’t tell you.  Maybe it’s better this way.  Maybe we should all just say whatever comes to our minds.  Do away with our filters and just blurt out whatever pops into our minds. 
There I stood, windblown in his furniture store.  A customer there to search for the perfect napping sectional.  There to support him by patronizing his store, a local merchant.  I was stunned.  I was gobsmacked.  I was not speechless.   I closed my mouth, swallowed hard and replied: “and you just lost a sale”. 
I turned and grabbed for the door.  The wind grabbed it from my hand and yanked it open.  I walked out leaving Buford standing in the middle of some nice sized couches covered in dust and leaves with his hair blowing in the wind.  As I walked out whistling They Call The Wind Mariah.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018


When I was a kid my favorite time of year was summer.  It stayed light until ten.  I loved the smell of newly mown grass and sneaking down to the creek with my siblings to fish, hang out or just explore.  The cicadas would sing their songs and we would gather their exoskeletons and attach them to our ears like rare jewels.  The nymphs would crawl from their holes in the ground, attach to a surface and emerge as an imagoe to sing their song and live their short lives looking for a mate.  I loved watching the sky, a bright blue accompanied by big cotton candy clouds billowing in the afternoons with the promise of a cooling shower.  Summer rains were the best.  The sky would darken and open up to pour a cool liquid on the steaming pavement and the thirsty lawns and fields.  It was a magical time of year, lazy days that seemed to go on forever.  We went on trips to the lake and swimming pools.  We made our own fun, invented games and made up our own stories.  We were free range kids. 

Houses would open up and young tanned bodies would explode into the street after bowls of sugary sweet cereal and glasses of Tang.  We would ride bikes, build forts and in the heat of the day hiding in and under big Mulberry trees napping and reading comic books.  Our knees were skinned and our faces dirty but we were content. 

Then came the early vestiges of fall.  Leaves dropped like tears on the tired brown lawns as the winds became crisper.  The rain came in the form of spitting cold razors cutting through sweaters.  The days were shorter and our time of being free range children came to an end.  We were cooped up in a classroom with the paste eaters and silent flatulence emitters.  Instead of foraging and exploring we were forced to sit by the window as the rain fell or the wind blew keeping its own company.  Walter Cronkite and Chet Huntly spoke of the protest taking place on faraway college campuses as the street lights illuminated the near-empty streets. 
The days started cool and crisp, frost shinning on the still green blades of grass.  We ran from our houses in sweaters with our Buster Browns laced up tight.  Our mothers packed lunches of bologna sandwiches and thermoses of Campbell's chicken noodle soup.  Room mothers invaded our classroom with ghost-shaped cookies and orange and black Halloween taffy and in an instant, we were making turkeys from the imprint of our hand and brown and yellow construction paper.  Then the time would crawl as we prepared for the annual Christmas program.  We learned our songs and routines while mothers sewed red and green felt outfits.  Our excitement palpable

            As an adult, I have come to appreciate those days when the leaves turn and the wind changes.   I love that the green begins to morph into yellow, orange and brown.  The crispness on the kiss of the wind is refreshing and the chill is an excuse to bundle up and wrap my hands around a warm mug.  I watch the squirrels desperately gather their acorns for their winter stash with fascination and feel the need to fill my own cupboard with hearty comfort foods. 
            The light fades earlier and once again I find myself sitting watching the rain fall on empty streets that glisten like diamonds.  It is the putting to bed of the summer, giving it a good rest so that in three short months it can once again rejuvenate and give birth to a new, brighter world and free-range children.