Fried Chicken and Dirty Dishes

Grandma’s kitchen.
Forgotten fried chicken.
Used, cold skillet.
Shimmering in congealed bacon fat.
Brown, yellow, orange matted carpet.
Clutter. Papers. Fly swatter. Plants.
Pepsi bottles.
Hum of the dingy fridge.
Greasy haze of low-light air.
Stale-flavored ice that can’t be cracked with mere teeth.
Dish upon dish.
So much that the sink disappears and one large dinner plate/utensil mound erupts from the countertop.
Dripping faucet plinking against tin.
Sad, somber, soft.
Dark, dirty, dull.
A small photo soaking in the developer of my brain.
Your watery image takes shape and fades quick.
You existed. I remember.

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Pee! The world’s on fire.

My only brother, 11 years older than me, used to sleep in late. As teens do. After being out late with his friends, he would sleep late. Also, at one point, I think he worked evenings or nights at a local gas station, so he might have been sleeping during the day for that reason.

Well, my father creeps into the hallway with an impish grin. He was in a goofy, manic phase and holds down the smoke detector test button.

BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!

Except, our alarm was louder and more terrifying. Enough to make you piss your pants.

At the same time, my dad hollers down the hallway, “Pee! The world’s on fire!” Laughing his country-ass off. (One of his favorite sayings was, “I work my country ass off!” I still say that. So does my husband. LOL My husband does a perfect impersonation of my father, even though they never met, mainly because I say it exactly the way my dad used to. Love it.)

My brother comes running out of his bedroom, his long, usually-perfect, feathered hair tousled from sleep and his eyes barely open. His eyes quickly narrow even further at the sight of my dad and the rest of the family giggling maniacally.

He did not pee. He was pissed though! I think my dad just wanted him up and out!

Good times.

Scientific Reclassification

Feelings are an assignment of blame or honor to chemicals.
Emotion is a name given to electrical pulses of energy marking time or torment.
Deconstruction of trauma is a math function. Word problem. Brain exercise.
Subtraction of pain.
Addition of love.
Multiply goodness.
Equals a whole person.
Powers to an astronomical degree.
Science is beautiful. Humans are sums.
Peace is knowable. Pain is a number. God is infinite.

Smile and Burn

Money does not buy happiness.
A smile can’t stop the rain.
But when you’ve confronted the past,
You can smile through the pain.

A smile isn’t an umbrella.
Peace isn’t purchased with cash.
Happiness is burning down hate
And rising from the ash.

So take this fire,
And beat those wings.
Fan these flames.
Embrace the change it brings.

candles

Summer on 20 acres.

Hooks and hay
Legs, arms, hair, feet
Pulleys and rope
Dangle like hope
From these loft floor cracks and old barn rafters
High on sunshine, shade and sugar
Wading through
Summertime sweetness
Ripples
Sparkles
Soft difference between water and air
Swaying, yellow grass grazing the crisscrosses on my overalled back
I won’t touch this ground again with my pink toes
Only with my mind

it only takes a second

from all the way back in 2013. a great reminder:

i just realized that all the pain and hurt that i have felt over the years is not in charge of who i am or what i will be. God is in charge and i will choose to live by his command of forgiveness and peace and live without fear, revenge or regret. to give my abuse a second life by holding on to the past is robbing me of my present and future. that abuse can no longer have any more of my life or health! to live in anger only causes personal suffering. i was driving down the road the other day and i crested the hill. there was a child in the street and my first reaction was to be angry. judge him for his actions, his parents lack of supervision or any reason to be upset with him. a child. and then, within seconds, i chose to put that down and wave and smile and be friendly to the kid. i shocked my husband and even myself. it only takes a second to choose kindness. it only takes a second to choose a better path.


Choosing a good path today! Good luck to you, too!

When I think as Ma

Photo credit: Sean Priest


Any scene that I do lately, when I’m playing Ma Joad, I think of the long line of strong women in my family before me.

The way I stand. The way I stare. The way I clench my jaw in contemplation. Tired, somewhat relaxed, but chewing on tomorrow.

These two women saw the 20th century in color.

gmas
Both of my grandmothers at my mother’s wedding in 1954.

They saw the blood. And the babies. And the dust.
They saw the first car in their town.
The first TV.
The first washing machine.
They watched tears roll down their children’s faces.
Wiped those tears.
Watched rivers rise and fall.
Husbands come and go.

I think of them as I play Ma. How they would hold themselves? Carry themselves? Present themselves to the world? What did they have to do for their families during the Depression?

I know that deep down, they were both scared for their families, wanted the best for their kids. Loved God. Wanted all the things good people want for their descendants. And they just went on. Did what they needed. Hoped they made the right decisions. Cried their own tears.

They are Ma.
I am Ma.
All women are Ma.