Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Bowl Cut, a Boggin, and Barney

I laughed. The giggles kept me warm against the unfamiliar cold snap that invaded our typically mild Southern winter. Mama also kept me warm, her arms and legs pulled tight around me as we situated ourselves on the red plastic sled.

Our normally gravelly street was slick with fresh ice, and a sled that rarely saw the light of day was dragged from underneath the house and given a chance to reveal its true purpose. I had never seen so much snow. Later, the snow fall would earn its own name: The Blizzard of '93. But to me, a ten-year old with a bowl cut and a boggin, it was simply paradise.

Daddy tested the sled first, slipping down the hill fast and laughing like a little boy. Barney, our Basset Hound, was right behind him the whole way, baying at the top of his lungs. Looking back, I guess Barney was just laughing along with us, but it was us who got the last laugh when poor Barney couldn't make it back up the slippery hill. Daddy had to carry him back up, and after that initial sled launch, we learned that someone had to hold Barney's collar while the sled glided its way down the hill or else we'd be stuck carrying eighty pounds of Basset Hound up and down the hill all afternoon.

I laughed then. At the joy of sledding, the silliness of a family dog, the simple happiness of an afternoon with my family.

I laugh now. At my Mama and my sister's matching perms, my puffy lavender coat and ugly white boots, the memory of my Daddy carrying Barney up that hill.

I treasure the laughter and the memories of that Southern snow, now frozen in time forever.

Author's Note: This was written in response to the following prompt from Write on Edge. 
Everyone has a favorite photo of themself, whether it’s a childhood snapshot, a professional graduation or wedding photograph, or a close-up taken amongst friends.

Some say a photograph steals the soul. This week, show us yours: take us into the moment that photograph was taken. Show us who you were then and what the photograph means–in 300 words.

What memories do you have of sledding?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cats Don't Understand Sarcasm

The holidays are once again upon us, and for my family, the holidays mean food, fellowship, and fights over putting up the Christmas tree.

It's a tradition that stretches across three generations, beginning (we think, at least) with my Mawmaw and Pawpaw. Last weekend, my Mom and I witnessed just what my Pawpaw had to go through every year when putting up the Christmas tree. As Mawmaw sat perched (dare I say judgmentally?) in her recliner, Mama and I slaved over the decorating of the tree; however, Mawmaw was not totally uninvolved in this process. She gave us very explicit orders as we went. Her favorite criticism? "You need more ornaments along the bottom!" By the time we finished our task, Mama's tree was more-than-a-little bottom-heavy.

Mama and Daddy typically get along regarding the placement of ornaments. It's the getting the tree in the stand that's the kicker for them. One year, I fully believed my parents might divorce over that dang Christmas tree. The holiday spirit was alive and well that Christmas.

Jeremy and I continued the Christmas tree fighting family tradition this weekend in our own unique way as we "fluffed" our pre-lit artificial tree (something I never thought I'd have but that's another blog post for another day). I had been fussing at our cat Sushi, who was attempting to "help" with the fluffing by chewing on the tree limbs. As Jeremy joined me to help with the tree, he said to the cat: "Sushi, you're so helpful."

Annoyed, I glared up at him. "I've just been scolding her for being under there, and you come in and try to undermine me. We need to show a unified front to her."

He laughed, Christmas tree lights twinkling in his unreasonably merry eyes. "I was being sarcastic, Katie."

"Jeremy." Followed by a sigh. "Cats don't understand sarcasm."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Y'all Debate

We talk in a series of winding debates. We probably should've realized that we both had to be right about everything before we got married, but here we are anyway. And look at the bright side, neither of us can ever say our conversations are boring. Like the time we argued over the word "y'all." 

We were driving over to visit my parents; the car is a common breeding ground for our battles. I guess you just can't confine that much passion in that small of a space. You were behind the wheel. In that infuriating way of yours, you kept your eyes on the road, all while not-so-delicately navigating the waters of your wife's ire. 

How dare you watch the road while driving!
"I'm telling you the proper contraction is y-a-apostrophe-l-l. Anything else would be ridiculous."

Counting to ten stopped helping years ago. My hackles raised, and I snarled my response. "How in the hell do you figure that?"

"Because the contraction originates from the words ‘ya’ and ‘all.’ Obviously.”  The car remained steadfastly on the road. All I wanted to do was jerk the wheel over so that some of your composure was lost. Oh, well, if we wrecked.

“How is that obvious?! And don’t you think a Southerner would know the proper contraction of y’all better than some Northern California geek lord?”

You didn’t even hesitate. You jerk.  “Well, yeah, I would’ve thought so.”

The heat from my reddening skin burned. My palms itched with the desire to strangle you. My retort died suddenly in the flash fire of my passion. Given the time, I’m sure I could have thought of something brilliant, but as it was, I could only sputter and growl a response, toss my hair dramatically, and turn my attention out the passenger window. Irish temper 0, Jeremy 476.

Author's Note: Written for the Write on Edge Red Writing Hood prompt "Pivotal Conversations." We were assigned to write about a pivotal conversation from our memory. I'm not sure how "pivotal" this debate with Jeremy was, but it still lives on within the annals of our more memorable debates. I still bring it up from time to time, and he still argues that y'all is spelled ya'll. He's wrong. Now if I could only calm down enough to tell him why. Click the link below to read some great non-fiction:

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood

What do y'all think? Is it you all = y'all or ya all = ya'll?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Happy Hallothanksmas!

Time flies. Christmas will be here before you know it. It’s officially forty-six days until the big day, and we all know those forty-six days will fly by in a whirlwind of shopping, baking, and gift wrapping. We’ll all blink, and it’ll be Thanksgiving, and then, we’ll blink again, and it’ll be Christmas. The old cliché “as slow as Christmas” just doesn’t seem to apply anymore. Christmas is fast, folks, and with each passing year, it only seems to get faster. But where does the time go? It’s the great rhetorical question of the century and, apparently, one of life’s great mysteries.  

In an effort to not blink away this fleeting and rare time just before the holidays begin for real, I thought I would record some of my favorite parts of the moments in between candy binge and turkey binge, otherwise known as Halloween and Thanksgiving.  Without a doubt, this is one of my favorite times of the year.  The excitement for the holidays starts building early, and I find myself in a perpetual state of happiness for nearly the entire months of November and December. I’m pretty despicable.

Part of my happiness is due to the weather. In the South, the time in between Halloween and Thanksgiving is neither too hot nor too cold. As Goldilocks would say, it’s just right, just the right amount of fall breeziness mixed with just the right amount of beautiful golden leaves and vast and impossibly blue autumn sky. It’s the recipe for perfect weather: light-jacket weather, sweatshirt and jeans weather, football weather, homemade potato soup and chili weather. Don’t you just love it? You should probably stop reading this right now, throw on a light jacket, and go play in some leaves. You’re never too old to play in a pile of leaves, right?

Perfect weather aside, this time of year also brings us the underappreciated and often ignored in-between holiday of Veteran’s Day.  I really hate that holidays like Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day don’t get more attention than they do. They are, after all, honoring and memorializing the heroes and heroines of our country, but let’s face it; patriotism is not what it used to be. I only hope that as new generations grow up to lead our country that some of that lost patriotism is restored. To my brave father and my late PawPaw, I’m proud of all that you did to support our country and our freedoms, and at this time of year especially, I am reminded of the sacrifices you made, and others still make, for love of country, and I thank you.

Undoubtedly, there are a lot of things to love about this time of year: the weather, Veteran’s Day, oyster stew on Friday nights, soft blankets and cats to cuddle, dark and chilly nights with mugs of hot chocolate, and the first few glimpses of the joyful season to come. Speaking of that joyful season, my husband and I made our first Thanksgiving grocery store trip on Sunday. I stocked up on pumpkin and cinnamon and crescent rolls, gleefully planning my contributions to the family Thanksgiving meal. I can’t decide who is more excited: me about the cooking or Jeremy about the eating.

But as excited as we may be, we must remember not to wish away this precious time in between. Time already flies by, instead of wishing for Thanksgiving and Christmas to get here quickly, we should cherish the anticipation, the looking forward to family and friends and togetherness. Oh, and the food…we should never forget to look forward to the food. 

What do you love most about this time "in between"?

Author's Note: This was written in response to The Lightning and the Lightning Bug's "Time of the Season" prompt. You have until Wednesday to link up. Come visit us! 

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