Nightlife

*When the evenin’ sun goes down

you will find me hangin’ round

oh the nightlife, it ain’t no good life

but it’s my life.

She sat in front of the mirror applying another coat of mascara to her lashes. Her dark brown eyes were her best feature, everyone said so, therefore she tried to make them look even more seductive. It was always dark in the nightclubs, and she wanted to be noticed. She wanted very much to be noticed over all the other single women vying to be noticed.

The garage apartment Jeannie rented was very small, furnished with hand-me-down furniture, odds and ends, but was very homey and comfortable. Her clothes hung behind a curtain suspended from the ceiling. Satin jackets, sequined tops, jeans, prairie dresses, cowboy boots and assorted high heels, most verging on stiletto. She was the shortest child in her family, at 5′ 4″…..everyone else seemed to tower above her, so the heels were a must have. Tonight’s costume would be the red satin camisole, black satin pants, black satin jacket with rhinestone adorned lapels, and heels in a silver/black pattern. She fastened the rhinestone necklace carefully behind her neck, and checked her reflection in the mirror. “Looking pretty good for 30-something” she thought.

“Don’t the girls all get prettier at closing time…. Don’t they all begin to look like movie stars… Don’t the girls all get prettier at closing time… When the change starts takin’ place… It puts a glow on every face….. Of the fallen angels of the backstreet bars”

It was the same routine she followed almost every night that she didn’t work. Jeannie sang with a local band, and loved being on stage, in the spotlight, it was a rush like none other. But, the nights that she wasn’t on stage, those were the lonely, empty nights that she tried to fill. She and her two best friends made the rounds between the two neighboring towns.

First stop was the club at The Sheraton Hotel because it was an early crowd, and happy hour included a buffet. She could kill two birds with one stone. Heads turned when the three women walked in together, they joked between themselves, that they looked like “Charlie’s Angels”, without the firearms, of course. They would stake their claim to a small table near the dance floor, and hold court while sipping slowly on their drinks. Next stop was a rabble-rousing country bar, full of good old boys, drugstore cowboys and more single women to compete against for attention. The “meat market” she called it, because the crowd of single women moved from one end of the building to the other in a well-organized throng, constantly moving, looking at every man as a potential dance partner, or more. Jeannie was glad it was ladies night here so she could drink for free. Last stop for the night, the other country bar in town, more of a couples atmosphere there. Not any good prospects there, because Jeannie was determined to never be a home-wrecker. Jeannie and both her friends had been hit on by many married men; it was just part of the nightlife, but having been on the receiving end of that betrayal, she swore she’d never be the reason another woman would lose her man. This was just the place to relax and have fun, the house band was laid back and would let Jeannie sit in on piano and sing later, so it was the perfect end to the night.

The waitress appeared at the table with a Colorado Bulldog, “complements of the gentleman at the bar” she said, nodding toward the man in the teal colored shirt. Jeannie caught her breath, and mumbled thank you to the waitress, all the while keeping her eye on the man. The man who once belonged to her, until some sweet young thing stepped in and took him away. Why was he here? She hadn’t seen him in over a year. Had it really been a year since she moved 700 miles to get away from the pain and memories of the two years they had spent together?

Alex started walking toward the table, and Jeannie began to panic. What would she say? How should she act? Offended? Hostile? Cool, indifferent? He held out his hand and led her to the dance floor. They began to dance like they had done so many times before, and everything seemed so natural and comfortable, but surreal all at the same time. Her head fit perfectly in the crook of his neck and the smell of his cologne brought memories rushing back into her head and her heart. At the end of the dance, he held her tight and asked if he could see her home safely. It would be so easy to say yes, to let him take over and be her protector again; it would be so nice to have someone to share her laughter and tears with. But, she could still feel the hurt, the pain, and she knew she could never forget.

The bartender called “last call” and the lights came on in the club. Nothing is worse than the harsh reality of fluorescent lights after being in a dimly lit building for hours, then you see the real person in front of you, the one you’ve romanticized over, danced and flirted with….and you realize, he’s just a man. A man who has realized what a mistake he made.

Jeannie looked at her reflection in the mirror as she removed her makeup. Her brown eyes were still her best feature, but now she noticed something new. Just a glimmer…….Self respect? Hope? Yes, maybe a bit of both. She had just discovered how strong she had become in the past year. She said “no” to the man who once was the center of her world, who she loved more than anything and who had hurt her beyond comprehension. She said “no”…..and walked away.

* Nightlife…by Willie Nelson

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Funny Family Fotos

People often reminisce about  the “good old days”……and I’ve done it also, however….some of these photos make me appreciate the “here and now” for sure!

All of these photos came from my grandmothers photo albums, which I acquired a few years ago, because my dad knew I’d take good care of them. These photos are his family and ancestors, and most had no information written on the back. I’ve had to post these on Facebook so my assorted cousins across the US could help me identify them. There were but a few that we had no clue at all, they are a mystery.

Let’s have a picnic…deep in the woods….let’s take the kids…..grab your coats, axes and washtubs!

We were all “stumped” about this one for a while!

The subjects in the photo above were eventually identified as my grandmother (tall woman holding baby) my dad (in hat) at her left elbow, my two aunts Bea and Geraldine, and some neighbors. We narrowed down the year to 1938…..

“ROAD TRIP”! (apparently my ancestors loved to leave home for adventures?)

This is my dad, age 3 months 17 days, according to my granny’s handwriting on the back.

Oh, just put the babies down anywhere, they’ll be fine!

I know the baby on the left must be my dad, because it looks just like ME……

“Hi, I’m Larry, this is my brother Darryl and my other brother Darryl”

My great-grandfather and his sons who never married and never left home.

I think this little boy may be my dad, or his cousin Sonny-boy…..they looked about the same in every picture I’ve found.

Once again…..”let’s sit the baby out in the road or middle of no where and take his picture”!

They must have been trying to “capture the light”……..

My daddy….
This is the little suit my dad was wearing in the photo above….
This is the suit and hat along with the original tiny photo; I have put them into a memory keepsake box, hanging on the wall in my bedroom. So sweet….

Retail therapy????

The first yard sale ever?

Playing “let’s pretend”……

“Let’s pretend like we’re not really poor”……

on the back “to Beatrice Wilson, this is Mildred and her little friend in their play house” …. printed on the back “Finished by Nichols Studio Jacksonville, Texas”

Forget taking the kid to the woodshed……

CPS…..where are you? After very close scrutinizing, we have determined this to be one of my dad’s cousins, and there is someone behind her, holding her up on the woodpile!

“Life on the farm….PETA would love this, right?”

I guess they couldn’t afford to have a dog for a pet….???

Anyone up for some fried catfish???

We have studied this one and can only hazard a guess that *maybe* this was a scene on the Red River long before the Denison Dam was built to create Lake Texoma. I don’t think I’d want to eat the fish that came out of that water, though!

And last, but not least…….no wonder they were so destitute, the “lucky” horseshoe was upside down…all the luck was running out!

This one is my favorite! We believe this is my great-grandfather Charlie Wilson and one of his sisters, or daughters….

Now, I know all these photos are in black and white and are very old, but I sense there wasn’t much green grass around at the time. It looks very desolate….no wonder my grandmother loved plants and flowers so much, she needed color in her life!

Thanks for the memories, Granny K….

If You’re Happy and You Know It….

If you’re happy and you know it, then most likely, someone, somewhere else is unhappy. That’s the yin and yang of life. It would be ideal if everyone in the world, or in our own little world, could all be happy, all at the same time. Life doesn’t seem to work that way. Of course, it isn’t fair. When we, ourselves, are happy, it’s only natural to want to share our happiness with those around us, and we don’t want to see someone else in misery, because it infringes on our joy and makes us feel bad for being happy!

What do we do about this? If we are the happy person, do we try to uplift the sad, unhappy person? Or do we get down to their level and commiserate? If we are the sad person, do we look for the happy people to try and bolster our spirits? Having been in both places emotionally, sometimes in the same day, or same hour, even, I can say for certain, that I don’t have any answers!

Sometimes, if you are hurt, sad, mad, or unhappy, you just have to work it out, get through it, until you come out on the other side. Sometimes, it takes time. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter what others say to cheer you up, even though they are sincere in their efforts.

There’s really not a huge point to this post, since I am not a therapist or philosopher; just an observer. But, next time you are bouncing off the ceiling with excitement and joy, think about those in your orbit that are living with the equal and opposite feeling.

The world needs more kindness and compassion.

Peace.

~fear~

~fear~

august 22, 1986

darkness seems to follow me

no matter where i run

i turn my face towards the sun,

looking for the light

to save me from the shadows of my mind.

a rainbow can’t be found, on a cloudy day

so i just run away, there’s bound to be a reason why

i can’t play the game.

my tears won’t stay behind my eyes, my feelings never clear….

i wonder what my purpose is

should i still be here?

or should i give it up?

that’s my biggest fear.

fear of death, fear of life

afraid of not succeeding in either one,

afraid to face the consequence

for what i haven’t done.

but the darkest fear of all these fear

sometimes i wish, i just weren’t here.

(written during the el paso years)

Two Grandmothers

I was fortunate to have two very loving grandmothers growing up. My Granny Kimberling died fairly young but Granny Fletcher/Phillips lived into her 90s…..they lived only a block apart from each other from 1970 on, but they were as different as day and night. Both had many excellent qualities, some I cherished as a small child, others I cherish now that I am an adult.

Granny K. was a very hard worker, she was exceedingly thrifty, being a depression era survivor,

 

and as kids we used to laugh at Christmas at the recycled paper and bows that our gifts were wrapped in. Granny K. was “green” long before that word gained its current meaning. She could pinch a penny with the best of them. She was a devout Christian woman, never allowed playing cards in her house, never allowed games with dice (die?) so all the kids games had spinners. Granny K. wore dresses. House dresses, Sunday church dresses, work dresses, but never slacks or jeans. The horror! I do recall one time as a kid, when we lived in the country next door to my Kimberling grandparents, that we were all going across the road, into the woods to cut down a Christmas tree. It was very cold that day, and Granny put on a pair of my grandfather’s pants, under her dress. Only because it was so very cold ……and she still had the dress on. To my knowledge, that is the only time she ever wore pants.

At Christmas time, there were presents under her tree for every child, grandchild, and great grandchild….nearly always handmade. One year, all the girls got dolls that had dresses made of felt, tied together with yarn, that sat on the bed. Wish I had a picture of those. One year, everyone received clothes hangers that had been crocheted on, I still have a few of those. One year, we got crocheted house slippers, or dolls attached to a crocheted blanket. One year, I received a double wedding ring quilt, it is one of my most prized possessions. But, she never forgot a single child.

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Granny K. made so much food at the holidays, it looked like she was feeding a hundred people. She made: fudge, fudge with nuts, fudge with coconut, pecan pralines, divinity, chocolate covered peanuts and peanut brittle…she also had the ever popular gumdrop tree. Granny had a small Nativity set under the indoor tree and a 3 foot Santa that went outside under the tree. My brother now has possession of those items, and I know he treasures them.

Granny K. had toys for the grandchildren to play with when they visited. Dolls, trucks, books, etc. but what we all seemed to love the most, was the button box! It was actually a large round can, possibly a Maxwell House coffee can, but she would let us play with them, string them on thread, and we were fascinated. I have a few of the buttons that came from that can. Yes, I do.

Granny Kimberling’s funeral was held in the church, and the pastor at the time, read a poem he wrote about her, and we all giggled when he got to the part about the hangers “all wound with yarn” that she had given them for Christmas. We were sad that she was gone, but were at peace because she had suffered greatly in the years before, and we knew that she was pain free and living it up, but certainly *not* dancing, on the streets of gold.

My Granny Fletcher/Phillips was a different kind of granny. She loved all the grandkids, but we knew that as soon as we arrived at her house, that we would be expected to sit and be quiet, or go outside to play. Children made her nervous. This is the grandmother that I am the most like. Granny F had a storm cellar in the back yard, and that’s where we loved to play. In spite of the tiny snake we found in there one day, we’d play there for hours on end.

Granny F’s house was full of pretty antiques and dishes. She loved bowls, and scoured garage sales in her retirement years, buying up every pretty bowl she could find. I have 3 bowls that she gave me, and also a Fenton glass basket, that I love. My sister has a large collection of these bowls also, and keeps promising me a few more, I will gladly take them. I learned to appreciate antique furniture and fine dishes and glassware from Georgia Myrtle.

Granny F. was also a devout Christian woman, so she and my other grandmother are the first generation Nazarene’s in our family. They both set the standard to which some of us have failed to live up to, although we keep trying.

Granny F. was a proud woman, and once told me there was no excuse for being dirty, even if you were “poor”. She told me of the time they moved into a rent house when my mother was a child, and she took newspapers and papered the walls so the house would be clean. She said that anyone could afford a bar of soap and water. I wish more people in this day and age took that to heart!

Granny F. also loved to cook and bake. She made the best fried chicken ever, except for MY mother, who learned from her. She also made the most mouthwatering coconut pies, and homemade rolls. Holiday dinners at her house were quite elegant, we would put the protective pads on the dining table, place her best tablecloth over it, get the real silver out of the silver chest and we would enjoy a feast fit for kings. And, we kept our elbows off the table!

I loved it when we were all at her house for dinners, we never even minded that her house was only one bedroom and that we made it fairly burst at the seams. We enjoyed being there, and she loved cooking for us. It was a very sad day when she had to give up living alone in her little house, and we knew we’d never get to be together again with her like that.

When Granny Fletcher/Phillips died, her funeral, also at the church, was a joyous homegoing as we celebrated her entrance to heaven and we know she is watching over us, still.

Two very different grandmothers, but two very devout Christians, both hardworking, thrifty and proud……there’s a little of both in me now. I think of both of them daily. There are constant reminders in my home. Furniture, dishes, clothing items…..now, to some people, these are just “things”…but, to me, they are precious memories.

I love my memories. Thank you Beatrice Annabell and Georgia Myrtle.

Me and my granny Kimberling……

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I LOVED to roller skate….and constantly had scabs on my knees from falling so much…..

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my grandmother was probably about the age that I am now…..and look how matronly (old) she looks there……

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This was 1999….our 5 generation photo…..one of several that we took.

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