Archive for November, 2009

Lunchtime Episode

I just had an enlightening experience.  I was sitting in my car in the church parking lot, eating, reading my book, had already had a nap and sat back up and was reading some more when this car pulls up in front of me with a black dude in it.  He parks right in front of me not five feet away.  A whole large parking lot and you stop there, I think.  He gets out of his car with a plastic bag.  Shuts his door.  Walks towards me.  I reach over and double check my locks and hear them click into place.  He heard it too.  I give him this, “What-you-think-you-gonna-do-Mister?” look as he walks towards me.  He says, “How you doing ma’am, I’m just here to pick up pecans” and bends over and starts doing just that. 

I am immediately embarrassed.  I open my door, look up, and sure enough, that explained all the thumps and thuds that kept hitting my car as I sat there.  I’d looked up once earlier and saw the round looking things up there and thought I was under one of those trees – Sycamore? – that has those little burry things that fall.  But I never did bother to look to see exactly what they were.  So I got out and started picking up a few, knowing there were people living right across the street that were home so I felt safe enough. 

 I admitted to him that he’d scared me getting out of his car with his bag.  He didn’t laugh, he just said, “Oh yeah?” in a tone of voice that I could tell he didn’t think that I was funny at all.  I know he was thinking it was because he was black, but seriously, had he been a white man, getting out of the car, holding a plastic bag which I at first thought might have a gun or some bludgeon tool in it, could he blame me for being a bit wary?   It was an old beat up car at that, and he wasn’t exactly dressed for success either –  but who is on their day off? 

 We got to talking about pecan pies and cakes, and folks in his family up north whom he sends them to, and come to find out, he works at the PCA mill on the northside– for 28 years – and I used to work there also when it was GP.   I tell him where I work now.  We share names and he laughs and says, “Which ‘M” boy are you married to?” and I said Tim.  He knows both the brothers.  Graduated from high school with Tim’s sister, Deb, he tells me.  A little short girl, yup. 

The thing is, the whole time we’re standing there, I kept thinking about how I thought he was somebody he obviously was not.  I feel ashamed of myself for giving him my “bad-ass look” as my brothers call it.  I know it’s better to be safe than sorry and I’d lock those doors again in the same situation.  This is what the world has come to though.  Broad daylight, right in public, and a person can’t sit in their car reading without some sort of fear; or another person can’t get out of their car holding a harmless plastic bag, without someone else thinking wrongly of them.

 When I think back to how safe I always felt in our neighborhood growing up, it saddens me that things have gotten so bad now.  We played all over the streets at night and our parents only called us in when it was time to go to bed.  We walked everywhere we went and we didn’t have phones.  We rode our bikes without helmets.  You get the picture…

 He is a nice man, he grew up in my era, and I immediately distrusted him.  He grew up in this town and I did not.  I hope if we meet again, we can smile this time and say a friendly hello. 

It’s hard not to ‘judge a book by its cover’ …but unfortunately…sometimes you just do.


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Stuck on Halloween

You want to know how to end a great Halloween night?  Take your grandkids, pile them in the back of the car with blankets and pillows and snacks and ride them down a long dirt road around midnight, during a full moon, just for the heck of it.  Then get the car stuck in the sand.  They’ll love it. 

We started off with a hayride through the neighborhood.  My niece, her two boys, and our three grandkids.  We had a blast!  Tim loaded a big trailer with hay, hooked it to the tractor, and off we went.  The kids loaded up with candy and wore themselves out climbing in and out of the trailer.  Halloween could not have come on a better night.  It was warm and beautiful and the moon was full and the people were generous with their candy.  My brother and his wife joined us, only they stopped at a friend’s house and stayed there to watch the Florida-Georgia game.  Go GATORS!!!  They said they have a better time watching the football games with them than they do with us.  Imagine that…LOL!!!! 

We all get back to the house, put on the music and dance around the pool and howl at the moon for a while.  Dana played the mouth harp, Tim played his guitar, the rest of us danced like fools.  Eventually, everyone leaves and the kids have taken a bath and Tim says, “Let’s go for a ride down the dirt road!”  You only have to tell me once, I’m always ready for dirt road rides on a full moon.

We took the pooch for good measure of course.  We crank up the music and we are all singing at the top of our lungs and we girls are taking turns sticking our heads out the moon roof and letting the wind blow thru our hair and acting like clowns.  At one point, I even climb up to the top of the car and sit with my legs dangling inside and pull my littlest granddaughter up with me.  She loved it as much as me.  Tim pulls over to step outside for a moment and that was when we got stuck. 

We all push and the tires spin and the car sinks right down to the frame in the front.  There is no moving this baby.  Luckily though, we see coming down the road a trailer full of people who are doing the same thing we are so they pull over and there are about 20 of them.  Everyone pushes.  The car won’t move.  It is down in wet sand and not budging.  It took a truck with a rope to haul us out of there.  I think the kids were getting worried.  They climbed back into that car pretty quickly once it got moving again.  Could have had something to do with the wild bear stories I was telling them, I don’t know…

We get home, pile up on the floor in front of the TV under blankets and I think we were all out within 15 minutes.  We sure had a good time. 

Kids make Halloween so much fun…I almost wish it came more than once a year.  Almost.

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