The above two sentences might put me on the naughty list this year because I found out last night that I've been lying to myself and to others!
We were in a hotel and had already checked in when the little clerk said, "Oh, our Internet service has been giving us some trouble. The tech support is looking into it and it should be back very soon."
No, problem. I am not addicted to Internet. I can do without it for a little while. I will get all the components ready for my newsletter and do some editing. Besides it will be on in a little while.
Two hours later, my work was done, my brain was fried from edits and I wanted to check the numbers on my latest release to see if my publisher was going to kick me to the curb or buy more books from me.
I connected and got the message: No Internet Service.
So I took a nice long bath, rubbed in a little extra face cream on those pesky wrinkles and got into some comfy pajamas. That would do the trick for sure. My computer is not used to seeing me in "real" clothes. It only recognizes me in pajamas so I was sure the service would be up and running.
I sat down and hit the right buttons. Evidently, it did not like me in pajamas that night either. Maybe it was punishing me because I'd taken it from home without even asking if it wanted to go but I got: No Internet Service again.
Still no problem. I watched two reruns of Reba, ate both Twinkies in the package and didn't even think about the calories. If there is no Internet, there is no calories in my books.
Tried again: No Internet Service.
I still wasn't going to cave and admit that I was addicted. No sir! I just went on to bed an hour early and forgot about the thing.
I had nightmares about never having service again. When I woke up the third time sweating and crying, I hauled my fanny out of bed and tiptoed to the computer so as not to wake Mr. B...and checked it: No Internet Service.
By morning when the tech support still didn't have things fixed in that great computer chip room in the sky, not even the cute little Texas shaped waffles made me happy. I was ready to lay down in front of the hotel desk and pitch a pure old southern hissy, screaming the whole time that I wanted Internet. Forget about those lords a leaping and five gold rings. They could take them all back. Just give me the Internet.
So I was trying to find a parking place at the mall when I noticed a brand new automobile parked diagonally across two very choice parking spots. I fussed and fumed and said words that would guarantee me a spot on the "naughty" list. Finally I found a place to put my car and when I came out I found a smudge of black paint on my pretty red Chevrolet. Suddenly, that disrespectful and selfish driver looked pretty danged smart.
I was reminded of the story of Great Aunt Molly Jane. She was raised up during the depression and truly believed that when she bought something, be it a toaster or a pair of under britches that they should last forever. St. Peter did not allow people into heaven who did not take care of the things the good Lord gave them. (Her words and they were said so often they were engrained upon all her younger relative's little brains).
That being said, we were all amazed at what happened one hot summer day many years ago. It was the end of August and hotter than the furnace door in Hades. Summer sales were going on and Aunt Molly Jane was of the opinion that kids got too much for Christmas. She always bought summer clothing for them in a size bigger than what they wore--and they'd better take care of it and make it last all summer. Heaven forbid if they got a stain on the Barney T-shirt. (Remember this was years ago when that dinosaur was very popular.)
Her car was just a tad bit smaller than a shrimp boat. Her late husband bought if for her before he passed away, somewhere about 1959. She covered it with bed sheets at night even though it was kept in the garage, and there was no smoking, food or even gum allowed inside it. And your purse had to be wiped down before it was allowed to sit on the floor.
Anyway, she went Christmas shopping that hot July day and drove around the parking lot for fifteen minutes before she found a spot. She pulled her car up behind the lady who was unloading the supplies into the bed of her truck and waited patiently. Just about the time the truck got pulled out and Aunt Molly Jane put her car into gear, a little low slung sports car whipped into the spot that Aunt Molly Jane had been sitting in the heat waiting for. NOTE: You did not use the air conditioner in a car because is would wear the motor out!)
Aunt Molly Jane went to church three times a week and had the preacher over to Sunday dinner on the first Sunday of every month. She preached about the fruits of the spirit and how that patience was a virtue. But I guess the fruit on her spirit tree withered up right then and there in the parking lot.
The young kid jumped out of his car and she got out of hers. He said, "Now that, old lady, is what youth and speed will do for you."
She nodded and crawled back into her vehicle, put it in drive and rammed into the back of the cute little red sports car. The young man was on his way into the mall when he heard the crash and from the story I heard, he put a six year old girl to shame in the screaming and weeping process. Before he could run back to his car, Aunt Molly Jane backed up a bit and let that sports car have another dose of her shrimp boat. Two more times and the trunk was sitting somewhere close to the steering wheel. And the kid was sitting on the pavement with his head in his hands, crying like a baby, asking, "Why, why, why?" between sobs.
Aunt Molly Jane got out of her car and patted the kid on the head. "Youth and speed won't ever stand up against old age and determination, son. Here's my number and my name. I don't expect my insurance will pay for the damage to your car since this was not an accident. I will pay for it in cash and next time tell your daddy to buy you something that will last. They just don't make cars the way they used to. I only have a few smudges of red on my chrome bumper and I can get that out with some polish and elbow greased. Now get up and quit actin' like a baby. Learn your lessons. Don't drive fast. Don't tick off little old ladies, learn to take care of what you have and go to church and learn some patience. And get a haircut. It's too hot to wear your hair that long."
She didn't blink an eye when she wrote her check for high risk insurance for the next three years.
It's a good thing that Santa Claus is not a self-proclaimed, life-time bachelor. Because I've got a sneaky little suspicion that Miz Claus has been taking trips with Santa since back when she was Miss Pole. She just lets everyone think she's staying home with her feet propped up in front of the fireplace and sips on tea, while she gets Santa's red long handles all toasty warm for him when he gets back from the toy run.
But she's really been right there beside him in that sleigh every year. If she wasn't, there would be no Christmas. After all Christmas is a big, organized, warm, fuzzy, nurturing social deal. That is enough to guarantee that a man could not pull it off all by himself. The only thing that makes gives them a warm, fuzzy feeling is the dinner and their favorite football team on the television.
And organized. Come on folks! Most fellers couldn't find a matched pair of socks in the dryer if they weren't pinned together. Finding Tommy a Nintendo, Christopher a BB gun, and Emily one of those Barbie Corvettes their brains out past the limits.
And the vast majority of the male population do not even think about gifts. "Here's the check book honey. Get a gift for everyone and keep each one under five bucks. And could you bring me another bag of chips before you go so I don't miss the next play."
Oh, yes, common sense tells us there is a good woman behind Santa and she's the one taking care of everything except eating the cookies and drinking the milk.
Another problem Santa would have is getting all across the world with his sleigh and reindeer--first of all the reindeer would be dead before time to hitch them up. Mrs. Claus is the one who either gripes at him to keep them fed or does it herself. Yes, ma'am! Mrs. Claus takes care of Rudolph and Dancer and Blitzen which tells me they wouldn't take a single leap in the air without Mama Claus right there in the sleigh with him.
And just who would shove old Santa down the chimney and then give him a helping hand back up if it weren't for his sweet wife waiting patiently for him to scarf down those cookies and milk? It's a cinch Rudolph and all the reindeer together couldn't drag the fat man back up the chimney.
Then there's the fact that men folks can't pack an organized bag. Tommy would get a BB gun and whine all day because he's marched at school for gun control. Christopher would get a Barbie Corvette and throw it in the trash and poor little Emily would get the Nintendo and she hates video games.
We won't even talk about stopping to ask for directions when he gets lost!!! We won't even go there!
The gossip around the North Pole water cooler is that Mrs. Claus had to promise him a thirty day vacation in Florida to get him to wear that hot red velvet suit this year what with this global warming stuff. Then there is the issue of genes...it's not in the male specie's DNA to write letters, much less answer them or to make lists of who's naughty or nice.
So this Christmas when you put out the cookies and milk, you might remember to set out a sweet little cup of tea or maybe even a tube of hand lotion for the lady who really takes care of this whole holiday!
Everywhere we go there's Christmas music, from classical piano to chipmunks, piped into our ears. The mall, the grocery store, the car radio and even the restaurants--all falalalala and jingle bells.
We've heard it so long that we've become immune to the words, whether they come out in true chipmunk fashion, by barking dogs, chirping frogs or a fancy choir with eight million perfect voices harmonizing beautifully.
So there we were out shopping with kids, grandkids, a couple of great grandkids and even Great Aunt Gert. The song of the moment was that one about the partridge in a pear tree. The mall was jam packed full and everyone had a hold of a kid's hand so they wouldn't get snatched away. It wasn't the ransom we worried about but the poor kidnappers who would suffer at their hands before they could get them to break and tell them the addresses or phone numbers so they could bring the little darlin's home.
"Hey, what's a partridge in a pear tree anyway?" The orneriest kid in the lot asked Aunt Gert. "And why would a man give his true love a pear tree. Is a true love like your girlfriend? Yuk! I wouldn't even give a girl a dump old partridge, whatever it is. And ain't a pear tree something that grows outside in the yard?"
"Of course it is. It makes those little green things that we pick up of the ground and use for baseball practice. I sent one all the way over the fence." Another one answered.
"Every time I bat one, it explodes," a third one said.
"Not a one of you are getting a present from me. I make pear preserves out of those every year," Aunt Gert said seriously.
"And anyway," another one changed the subject. "A partridge in a pear tree is a new video game, I bet. I bet it's got something like an Angry Bird up in a tree that you shoot with a shotgun. Kind of like skeet shooting."
"You are wrong. It's a real tree like Aunt Gert's pear tree and a partridge is a beautiful bird. It is not a video game," I told them.
Big sighs of disappointment could be heard as the song started playing all over again.
"And that is the gospel truth," Aunt Gert said. More sighs! No one disputed Aunt Gert. She had been born on the day after God made dirt and no one, not even Methusalah, was as old as she was.
"What's a lordaleaping?" One granddaughter asked.
"It's a brand new line of jeans, right, Aunt Gert?" Another granddaughter looked up for confirmation.
Aunt Gert rolled her eyes. "It's three words. Lords A Leaping. The song was written at a time when little men in green tights and pointed hats made a young lady laugh as they danced around."
"You mean like that dancing show on television. I think it's boring," she said. "I'm tired of this song and I think you are kiddin' me. Let's go look at some Lordsaleaping jeans. I bet they've got lots of bling on them. And besides I'd rather listen to that falalalala song as this one."
Aunt Gert flashed one of her rare smiles. "Me, too. And if you find any of those brand new famous Lordsaleaping blue jeans, little girl, I will buy them for your Christmas present."
"For me, too!" Half a dozen other granddaughters forgot about the partridge and wanted to go with Aunt Gert into the clothing store.
"If you find them the answer is yes and I might even buy a pair for me if they come in plus sizes," Aunt Gert said as they followed her like kids behind the Pied Piper.
Christmas lesson learned: Never mess with the old folks!
Remember years ago when the Christmas catalog came in the mail a couple of months before the holidays. My brother, sister and I about wore the pages out looking at it but we treated it with the utmost respect. The only time a page got mangled was the year the tom cat sharpened his claws on the cover.
Mama pitched the cat out in the back yard and I don't think he got his ears scratched for a whole week as punishment. Then she turned around and gave his that look that said if we wanted to stay in the house we'd better take real good care of the Christmas catalog.
These days we get a least a catalog of some kind a day. Shop from your easy chair with a credit card and you never have to face the crowds, wear shoes or even fix your hair.
Since I'm not one for big crowds of noisy, rushing people, a few years back I decided to give this shop-at-home a try. I searched under the couches, in the magazine, on the back of the potty in the bathroom, stuffed down the side of the recliner, under the pillows on the bed, in the bottom of the sock drawer and on top of the refrigerator until I had ever catalog with Ho-Ho-Ho or a Christmas wreath on the front.
I did need a candy bar and a Diet Coke when I finished but everyone knows if you drink diet soda pop with candy, it nullifies the calories. Even with all that effort, it sure beat searching driving 25 miles to the mall and searching for a parking spot in the pouring down rain.
I lined them up on the kitchen table by age groups. This pile was for the grandkids who still played with toys. That one was for the men who wore flannel shirts or heavy jackets. This one for the family members who had everything under the sun--except for a little fountain to set on their entry table that had a cute little wheel barrow at the base. It took a while to get them all organized but an hour wasn't too bad. It would take that long to drive to the mall and find the parking spot...in the driving rain. And it sure beat rushing from one store to the other looking for a scarf or a fancy box of chocolates for Great Aunt Gert, who I was sure would love that little fountain.
I felt right smug when I'd turned down all the pages (shhh...don't tell Mama...even though she's enjoying Christmas among the clouds this year, I still have nightmares about that cat) and made my lists.
This fantastic catalog system was available 24/7. The operators on the other end didn't care if I looked like a bag lady with PMS and a head cold on a bad hair day. If I could rattle off my credit card numbers without turning any of them around, that's all that mattered.
I poured myself a cup of tea and dialed the first number. If I talked to someone it would be more like checking out in a store. Ordering from the computer just didn't seem personal enough for Christmas. After listening to the Chipmunks sing all the Christmas carols in the world while I waited for "the next available operator", it was finally my turn.
"This is Sue. Credit card number first." She sounded like Mama the day she pitched that cat out the door. How in the world did Sue know I'd turned down the pages in the Christmas catalog?
I rattled them off without stuttering one time.
"First Item?" She said and I read off the numbers to find out that toy had sold out a week ago. So was the next one and the next and the next. Finally, I told her that I had turned down the pages and she hung up on me.
That's when I took it to the computer. At least there, it would show me exactly if the item was in stock. Twenty two hours later, my eyes were blood shot and my fingers stiff. I found out that there were nothing on my list would arrive by Christmas. Not even that ugly afghan with sequins sewn on it and the little wheel barrow fountain would arrive!
What was this anyway? It was only eight days until Christmas. I could go to the store on Christmas Eve and buy things.
I toted all six hundred catalogs to the dumpster and tossed a bunch of coffee grounds on them to hide the turned down pages. I still don't like waking up from a nightmare about sleeping under the back porch in an ice storm.
I got dressed, fixed my hair, put on shoes and drove to the mall to search for a parking spot. To fight with the crowds and hustle around the racks and to wait in a line that stretched from the counter to the first red light on Main Street. At least the teller wouldn't tell me that the item I had in my hand was "sold out" or that it wouldn't arrive before Christmas.
Have you got your shopping done? It's only eight days until Christmas!
This is for those folks who are out looking at used ice cream trucks this morning.
I was looking at the pictures of the sweet tea on the top of my blog and another idea for the big people's ice cream truck came to me.
Our culture is moving slowly toward the east. I'm talking about southern sweet tea so if anyone in the northern part of the state has found a truck and is reluctant to make it into a beer wagon (I do like the idea of George Strait music filling the air) or wine, and you live in the north/north east areas. Think about making sweet tea for your new venture.
The way the folks out there buy tea in gallons at the grocery store, I bet you could make a fortune with a Southern Sweet Tea Wagon and you could play Dolly Parton, Josh Turner and a whole medley of country tunes as you drive around the neighborhoods.
I saw a cute little sign this evening that said there should be a margarita truck that rolled around the neighborhood playing mariachi music. Then when the adults heard it they could all run out to the curb with a fist full of dollars and buy one from the vendor.
It got me to thinking about that big people ice cream truck and what all it could offer. You know an ice cream truck doesn't only offer vanilla, but they've got those red, white and blue bombs, and orange sherbet pushups and those waffle cone things with caramel and nuts on the top.
So why limit it to margaritas and mariachi music?
Each hour it could serve up something different and play different music. George Strait coming down the road could be the hour that they serve up beer. Your choice of cans, bottles, lite or full body. Men would tuck their remotes into their hip pockets, hunt up stray pennies and stampede to the curb.
Then there could be a middle of the afternoon hour that means the wine truck is on the way. The little sign at the top could offer white, red, watermelon, blackberry or even those fancy French ones that I can't spell or pronounce. Believe me, if you'd make the driver look like the guys on the covers of romance books, the ladies would gather up all their spare change and be waiting in line at the curb. AND you could make an extra hundred dollars selling those little white hot flash pills for a dollar a pop with each glass of wine.
The sky would be the limit. All it would take was a few extra signs to put up to go with the music of the hour. The idea might be partly mine but I'll give it to anyone who wants to go into business.
For your weekend enjoyment I give you Welfare Recipient Blues, written by Mr. B, sung by Mr. B, starred in by Mr. B. Produced by our nephew, Ryan. Special thanks to Dennis Brown for supporting actor and for allowing his dogs to make an appearance. Also to our great nephew, Leland, for his cameo role.
So I found this little survey on FB and it made me both giggle and delighted me because under books the sweet lady had written "Anything by Carolyn Brown." Now that is an ego boost for sure, let me tell you! But anyway I decided to take the survey and here's the results:
➖Snuck out: No, ma'am. I was more afraid of my mama than Lucifer. ➖Broken a bone: You betcha. Mr. B. moved about a pint of air from the living room to the kitchen several years ago and I stumbled over it. My arm thought it could support me...it's not real smart! So it popped right out there and attempted to keep me from hitting my head and I wound up with a compound fracture! ➖Cried myself to sleep: Yes, I have. The first time I remember was when Mama said I could not go to the ROTC ball at Murray State College. I was devastated because I really, really liked that college boy who asked me. The last time was when they called me and said my sister had passed away suddenly as in talking one minute, falling and being gone the next. I cried until there were no tears and then cried some more. I don't remember sleeping that night at all. ➖Been arrested: No, but only because I didn't get caught. ➖Felt lonely: Few times especially the year that both my daughters got married the same summer and I had a bout of acute empty nest syndrome. And then for a year after my precious sister passed away, I felt lonely. She was my best friend and we told each other everything. I still miss her. ➖Been depressed: Not very often WHAT'S YOUR: ➖Birthday: My birthday is 10/22/48. I don't mind telling my age but only God and my primary physician's nurse know my weight and the nurse has signed an affidavit in blood that she will never tell Mr. B. ➖Dream job: Exactly what I'm doing right now, writing full time ➖Dream car: I have two dream cars. I want a 1963 Corvette and a 1959 Cadillac Convertible ➖Dream house: a cabin on a lake DO YOU: ➖Like someone: oh, yes ➖Love someone: For the past 49 years I've not only loved Mr. B but been in love with him. That does not mean I like him every single minute of every day but I've never stopped loving him. ➖Have tattoos: I hate needles. I mean I REALLY REALLY HATE them. ➖Have piercings: Refer to the above ➖Party: If that means treating my self to an extra Diet Coke and watching a movie while reclined back in my favorite recliner, then yes, I do party. FAVORITE: ➖Artist: Probably Thomas Kincaid ➖Movie: Steel Magnolias ➖Song: That changes by the hour but I will always love "Crazy" by Patsy Cline ➖Netflix series: Don't use Netflix but I do like Justified ➖Book: I have two...my Bible and Gone With the Wind ➖Color: Red
So there you go, folks! How many things did I tell you that surprised you?
Take a scroll through the books on my Amazon Author's Page and you'll find more than 20 of my books on sale for $1.99 through this month. The complete five book set of The Love's Valley series is up for grabs at only $1.99 each as well as the Angels and Outlaws trilogy, and many, many more. Some cowboys and some stand alone titles. So come right on in the doors rightHERE and pick out your December books!!