Saturday, November 13, 2010

Flying Jet Skis of Death

Chris and I walked toward the bleachers that had been set up beside the ice covered lake. We were late, the competition had already started.

"You're going to love this," Chris said, "you've never seen anything like it."

At just about the same time the words came out of his mouth I saw 2 jet skis race over 2 snow embankments toward each other. They both flipped through the air at exactly the same time side by side and all 4 riders flew off their jet skis hurtling through the air!

"Watch!" Chris yelled excitedly! "They're going to switch!"

I watched as the airborne riders executed a turn in mid air and reached for the other jet ski. One of the riders deliberately missed and plummeted head first in the snowbank, His helmet made a sickening crunch as he impaled himself in the rock hard snowdrift.

"Oops, he's only paralyzed, he's disqualified." Chris told me. I had stopped walking. I was sickened by the display I had just witnessed.

"Disqualified? What do you mean, disqualified? It looks like he broke his neck to me!" I exclaimed.

"Yeah, you're right. If he would have died he would have won." Chris said unconcernedly as he tried to drag me on to the bleachers. I went with him because my knees were weak after what I had just witnessed. I needed to sit down.

They cleared the carnage out of the way with quick efficiency and I watched two more jet skis lined up. I watched in the same way you watch a train wreck that you know you can't stop. I couldn't look away. The two jet skis speeded toward each other and flipped in the air and all four riders executed a successful switch.

"Ah, they lose." Chris told me as he bought some popcorn from a vender. "Nobody died." He sounded truely disappointed.

"What do you mean, they lose? They all switched perfectly."

"I know, ain't that a bitch," he said. "The rules are simple. The judges are looking for a particular kind of handoff. The 2 in front and only one in back can live."

I just looked at him. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. The object was to actually kill somebody. Somebody was actually getting on that jet ski with the intention of dying.

"Chris, I need to leave," I told him. "I can't do this."

"What? I thought you would love this stuff"

"Well I don't. I want to go."

"Well go on then. I'm staying."

Just then I watched another set of jet skis line up. When it was all said and done 2 of the back seat drivers had broken their necks.

"Disqualified!" I heard a voice over a speaker yell as the crowd cheered. "Ladies and Gentlemen we have one more competitor. World champion, Lars Splenik from Finland and his partner, Jessa will compete against local favorites John Larson of Ottawa, Wisconsin and James Ferrell. This should be a doosy!"

The jet skis revved up and screamed toward each other. They jumped. The riders flipped. 3 of them successfully switched vehicles. One flew into a snowbank. Dead!"

"Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a successful handoff! We have a winner!" I heard the announcer say as I passed out completely.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Children Don't Turn Into Giant Spiders

"My baby! My poor, poor baby," I squealed in terror. I couldn't believe my eyes. My precious child was a spider again...

This had been going on for weeks. I didn't know how or why but I would go to take care of my beautiful little girl and a giant spider would be in her bed. Then magically the spider would disappear and my Emily would be back again.

I didn't know what to do. I was terrified of spiders. If my Emily was some sort of demon child I couldn't allow it. I know in the back of my mind this is impossible. Childeren don't just turn into giant spiders. I needed help.

The other day was almost too close. I went so far as to take a frying pan and swat the durn thing. Fortunately I missed because when I looked into her crib again there was no spiider - just Emily - crying. I picked up my child to soothe her. I wasn't one of those parents who let their baby lay and cry. No, not me. Not my Emily.

...there it is again. A huge, hairy, long legged, black spider sitting where my baby should be. A scary creature except for those innocent, big, blue eyes that followed me around the room.

Then it moved. I just about jumped out of my skin. I hate those furry little bastards and this was no ordinary spider. It was about a foot across from ene to end and it was in my baby's crib. "She's in danger! I can't let it hurt her! I can't see her. Oh gawd, she has to be underneath the thing! I have to save her!"

I gathered all my courage. I looked around for something, anything to kill that spider!

"Emily, Oh Emily, I'm coming baby, mama's coming." I picked up a newspaper. I rolled it up and I smacked the thing. I smacked it good. And then it was gone. It just wasn't there anymore and my baby, Emily was laying there crying.

Poor thing, I picked her up. She must be terrified having a spider on top of her like that. I cooed and I petted her. "Mommy will protect you Emily, don't you worry, that bad, bad spider won't hurt my baby."

I checked her for spider bites. She seemed to be fine except for a deep, red, welt along her chest and shoulder. What was that from? A spider bite doesn't look like that...

Horrified, I realized how that angry mark had got on my child. I had missed the spider. I had hit my baby. "I'll kill that spider," I thought to myself as I squealed in rage - "I'll kill it! Making me hurt my Emily like that."

I put Emily back in her crib. I started to tear her room apart. No stuffed animal was left unturned. " I'll find that damned spider! " I looked at Emily again.

There was the spider again.

That giant, hairy, black spider was attacking my baby again. She was crying. I rushed to her and yanked that spider. I had to get it off my baby. I flung it to the side of the crib! "Oh, no! What have i done? What's wrong with me?" I started to wail. Emily was lying to the side of her crib. She was lying there in a controted little ball. I was afraid to touch her. My baby's hurt. "don't move her, you could make it worse," I told myself.

I rushed to call 911.

"911, what's your emergency?" I heard a voice ask over the phone.

"It's my baby. She's hurt, please hurry!" I cried to the operator.

"You're baby's hurt mam? What's wrong with her?"

"I don't know, I'm afraid if I move her she'll get hurt worse. You have to hurry! You have to get somebody here to kill that damned spider!"

"Spider, mam?"

"Yes, she was attacked by a giant spider. I have been trying to kill a spider in her crib for the past week." I looked over at Emily. She was gone! There was that spider again.

"Oh, no! Not again!"

"Not again. Mam, what's happening?"

"Emily's gone I told the operator. It's the spider. It's back, It's on top of her again. I can't see my baby. I've got to save her!" I strode quickly to the side of the crib.

"Don't touch that baby!" A strong, booming voice stopped me as I reached into the crib. I looked up to see a policeman standing at the door of my Emily's nursery.

"Help Her!" I cried. "Get that spider off my baby!"

"Yes, mam, I'll help your baby. Don't you worry. That's why I'm here to help your baby."

I looked at the policeman. He was looking at me intently. Both of his hands toward me, palms down, talking calmly and evenly.

"It's ok, Emily" I said. "The nice policeman will help you." I looked back at her crib. The spider was gone again.

It was just Emily, in her crib, in a crumpled ball...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

People of Lee Terrace: Thomas from Aliquippa, Pennsylvania

Since the first of the year I have been doing a newsletter called "The Highriser" for the church here at Lee Terrace. Each month I feature a resident of the building and I do a little article about them. I put whatever they want in it. I am going to do a series of blogs featuring these articles.


Thomas from Aliquippa, Pennsylvania
Thomas is an army veteran. He says joining the military was the best thing he ever did. He was in the service in the early seventies. He was never married but he has 5 children and 3 grandchildren whom he loves very much.
He has several words of wisdom that he would like to share with others.
1. Don't take that first drink or that first smoke - some people can walk away and others cannot.
2. His family creedo: Education, Work, Charity
3. Without hope there is only despair. Try to give hope to others whenever you can.
He is grateful to the military and to all the charities around the city of Charleston which have helped him. They gave him hope. He is also grateful to Lee Terrace.

People of Lee Terrace: Necia Parr in 707

Necia is my eccentric best friend. in the building.

Moving from Charleston, WV to Cambridge, Mass. was a huge culture shock for Necia. As was going from attending WV State to Harvard University, but she enjoyed the experience immensely.

One happy memory was having coffee in a local shop while folk singer Joan Baez sang on a regular basis. What a delight! A world famous singer and a cup of coffee for a quarter.

People of Lee Terrace: Cleo Raon is Home from the Hospital...

The day she was released she had to travel to Ohio because of the death of her sister. She appreciates all the prayers offered for herself and her family.

Cleo was raised on a farm in Hamilton, WV. She was one of 12 children. She went to school in a one room schoolhouse and walked 3 miles each way to get there. Her daddy was a railroad man and her mom was a housewife.

She has married twice. Both husbands are deceased. She has one son and 2 grandchildren.

People of Lee Terrace: Betty Dawson (503) Citizen of the World

From childhood Betty had an interest in helping others and volunteering. She was born in Charleston but moved to live and work in NYC. She retired here in Charleston.

She still loves to help others. She wishes peace and love to all and gives her life to the glory of God.

Betty is a mover. She exercises everyday.

People of Lee Terrace: Lee from Logan

Lee and I are both from Logan, WV.

Lee Vaughn is from Logan, W.V. He was raised in a Coal Camp called Superior Bottom. He used to run to meet his grandpa when he came home from the mines. Grandpa always made sure that he left a little something in his dinner bucket for the kids. Maybe it was a snack cake or a can of "vieenies" but he always saved a treat in that metal dinner bucket.

Later the family moved to Monitor Hill. Across the creek was the drive-in theatre. Lee used to walk the tracks and lay his coat on the ground and kick back and watch the movies with his friends.

When Lee was a little boy he used to sneak over to Mrs. Mayberry's house. Mrs. Mayberry used to make corn liqueur and hide it under the house. Lee would go over at night and help himself to a gallon jug of "corn squeezin's". That is until she figured out what was going on and found another hiding place.

Lee graduated from the old Aracoma High School in 1962. That was the last class that graduated from Aracoma High. The next year schools were integrated and ALL the kids went to Logan High School after that.

Well, it was too good to last

Just last week I did a blog about how wonderful I was feeling. I spent the night in A-fib last night. It seems to be over now but I am worn out and feel like crap. Back to resting again.

Things NOT to buy at Dollar Tree

1. wrapping paper - I bought some beautiful paper once. The whole roll was about 2 1/2 feet long.

However gift bags are an excellent deal!

2. dandruff shampoo - if you read carefully it says that it washes the flakes away - that's all, there is no dandruff medicine in it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Today at dollar tree I bought...

1. a battery powered toothbrush

2. french fried onions for green bean cassarole

3. reduced salt, mushroom soup for green bean cassarole

4. a tumbler that is the perfect size and weight for me to drink from. I am buying one everytime I go in the store. now I have 3.

5. hair brush

6. colgate breath freshening toothpaste

Here is my estimate for what it would have cost at Walmart: $18.00.

dollar tree price: $6.00

Bethany Beach

That was the place I got into my first teenage trouble. I was 16 years old. I had my first kiss, my first joint and my first taste of running around partying with "the big dogs." We were on a family vacation with our family, my great uncle's family and my aunt's family. We had a huge beach house right on the beach and our parents were busy having their own fun and we had free run of the beach.

My first kiss was with a Maryland State football player. He was blonde and he was huge. I believe I kept my eyes open because I remember looking at the stars. (hehe) When one of his more responsible friends saw us together he spent the evening making sure he kept us apart. That was probably a good move.

Another night my cousin **** talked me into trying my first joint. We smoked it under the boardwalk with some beach waif that she was hanging with. I was tagging along with her like I always did. My little sister was there as well. (I feel bad about that part - she was too young to watch her big sis smoke pot) At first I thought it wasn't doing anything and the next thing I knew I was on my knees trying to crawl up my cousin (to stand up). I was completely stoned.

We went home and my sister immediately announced to all the adults including my parents that I was drunk. I started to sing, "how dry I am," (the old drunk song I had watched my granny use for her Lucille Ball impersonation a million times). When I did that everybody just thought my sister and I were clowning and we all retired to the bedroom to sleep it off.

The next day I told my cousin I didn't want to ever smoke pot again and she was fine with that. However as soon as we ran into more reefer I didn't hesitate. She gets no blame for my actions. She was just the magnet to get me into trouble, that's all.

We spent glorious days on the beach playing in the sun and surf and sand. We spent our nights hunting for trouble (Jersey Shore style) and we had no trouble finding it. We had a nicoboli from Nicola's Restaurant. These were what are known as calzones now.

I remember an uncle of mine commenting that, "Pam has an ass like a freight train," one day when I was walking away from the beachhouse in my swimsuit to go to the beach. I thought it was innappropriate then and I still do today.

Then we went home and I resumed my life as a bookworm. All my friends were amazed that I had behaved in such a manner. The only time I ever acted that way was when my cousin or my youngest aunt came to visit. Other than that I was a model child until I left for college.

All my high school friends were just as afraid to getting into trouble as I was. In fact I never skipped a day of school in my life. One time we all planned to skip together (as seniors) but when the day came none of them would do it. That was probably smart because if all 13 of us would have skipped the same day it would have been a definite tip off to our teachers.

It's like doctors and day care centers...

One time an aunt tried to make me feel uncomfortable about being a greyhound trainer. I was proud of the work I did with the dogs and the many homes I found for the dogs over the years. I had not seen her in a long time and when she found out what I did for a living she started to make references to the seedier side of the business.

I pointed out to her that the greyhound business was like doctors and daycare centers. Only the bad ones make the news. Since she had just made the news for a few of her activities (she was a doctor), she shut right up.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Excitement in Church Sunday

Actually it was before church. I don't go to church but I do go in sometimes and eat the food that the church provides. Usually if I do this I make some sort of dessert for them. I also do the monthly newsletter for them and let the preacher know if I think someone needs his help. He feeds the people of Lee Terrace a hot meal every Sunday (no church attendance required)and I know he buys people food when they need it. Also he shows a movie every Friday night with free popcorn and pop.

One of the residents came in to eat. I was serving him because he is in a motorized wheelchair. Just when I set his bowl of chili down he moved to position himself comfortably. He accidentally hit the switch to move it forward and rammed the chair into the table. This caused the table to ram into the table next to it and the table after that as well. The tables moved at least 3 feet before he was able to stop the chair.

I thought it was hilarious as 2 of the little old ladies watched their bowls of chili walk away from them. They started to cackle furiously as I started to laugh. The poor, little man was extremely embarrassed but fortunately none of the chili spilled so there was no harm done. Everybody just had to move their chairs over a couple of feet and resume eating.

It reminded me of the time I took my dad to eat at Shoney's restaurant. He was in a wheelchair. Along came a man in a motorized wheelchair and he accidentally ran into my dad's chair. Then when he tried to back away it caused my dad's chair to jar him again. Then the man started hitting the switch and he and daddy looked like they were riding 2 bucking broncos right in the middle of the Shoney's dinner rush.

Daddy didn't know what was happening to him, he was just kind of flopping around and people around our table were politely trying not to watch the show but it was hard to take your eyes off it. Finally I had to jump up, yelling for the man to stop. Then I disengaged the two chairs and the man apologized profusely but I assured him no apologies were necessary.

Daddy found the whole thing hilarious after the bucking stopped. He could appreciate the humor of being one of the people around him watching the two wheelchairs wildly gyrating around our dinner table.

No Republican Earmarks, huh?

The local news here in WV is reporting that Senate Republicans are offering newly elected Democratic Senator Joe Manchin a sweetheart of a deal to switch to the Republican Party. It is enough to make any blue blooded, West Virginia Democrat's blood to start running red!

Not only are they offering him his choice of seats on powerful committees if he accepts they are also offering him a ONE BILLION dollar coal to gas liquification plant to be built in West Virginia. It is a pet project of Manchin's that he has been trying to get for years.


Monday, November 8, 2010

The Water Buffalo

I won't get into the origins of the bad blood in my relationship with my brother. During our adult lives we had an unofficial truce because of my niece and nephew. We both wanted them to have a relationship with someone on our side of the family and I was the only one who was going around them. We had a very immature, adolescent rapport with each other that seemed to work.

My "pet name" for my brother was "water buffalo". It was my way of keeping him in his place, I guess, and not say anything out of the way in front of the kids. One day Billy, Arnie (my nephew) and I were sitting at the dining room table visiting. For some reason Arnie, who was around 5 at the time, looked over at his daddy and called him a water buffalo.

The look on my brother's face was pure devastation. He couldn't reprimand Arnie for calling him such a name because the child had grown up listening to me call his daddy by that name. I felt about two inches tall. I also realized that only I could repair the damage that had been done.

I took Arnie by both hands and looked him square in the eye. I explained to him that I was wrong for calling his daddy that name. I told him that if he promised to never call his daddy a water buffalo again, then I would never, ever call his daddy by that name either.

Arnie smiled at me with his sweet, little, elfin smile and promised not to ever say it again.

I also apologized to my brother for creating the situation in front of my nephew so he would know that I was truly sorry for what I had done.

I could see the gratitude in my brother's eyes as he accepted my apology.

I never called him by anything other than his name in front of his kids again. Also after that Arnie only called him "daddy".

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My home town of Logan, WV

In the very center is the Island. (yes it is an actual island). It was originally the settlement of the Cayuga Indian tribe known as Mingo. Chief Logan was the leader and Princess Aracoma was his daughter.

It is now the school complex for Logan County West Virginia. Off to the right is the town of Logan.

"I don't know what an end cap is, but I'll take it!"

That's what I told my boss at Fruth when he gave me the choice of taking care of the office supply aisle or being in charge of end caps. I KNEW office supplies would bore the life out of me so "end caps" won by default. I quickly learned that end caps are those shelves at the end of the aisle in the store. It was my job to make displays that would make people want to shop.

Turns out I was good at it. I even won a national end cap promotion for QC products. The prize was $500.00. With that win I sealed my fate, I was forever in charge of end caps for our store. My job also expanded to doing displays anywhere and with anything I wanted all over the store. Some of those, customers still talk about.

1. My friend Bob and I collaborated on an "area 54" end cap for Halloween. I put a three foot tall alien in the ice machine. We completed the display with a spinning warning light mounted on the cooler. We also had an alien embryo keychain exhibit and off to the side we had a life sized spaceship (an outdoor space heater). We mounted alien masks to the side and we sold out of them immediately.

2. My all time favorite, was an old english winter garden. I had a nighttime snow background which set off a beautiful display of porcelain dolls that we had had for years. There was even a musical ice skating Christmas display. We sold out of porcelain dolls that year.

3. My first major effort was an entire wall (12 foot tall by 9 foot wide) of Halloween products. It looked like a haunted house and at the door of the house was the cutest little trick or treater you ever did see. All the monsters were swooping down on her. That one got an honorable mention from corporate.

That was back when I used to work hard for my money at Fruth. Now I just hang out and pretend I'm the Walmart greeter. I consider myself the "Queen of Front One." If anybody else worked like I do now they would fire them. I am being rewarded for years of hard work (even though I took a pay cut back to minimum wage - but that's all I'm worth now). Customers like me and I like the job and I do my best. I guess that's all right.