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Afternoons with Puppy by Dr. Aubrey Fine and Cynthia J. Eisen

HeavyGlow Flash Fiction Anthology Edited by Stacy Taylor

Blue by J.D. Riso. Also available at lulu


postcard from the parents

well, here i sit in ft. smith by god arkansas, having stuffed myself full of my momma's dumplins (psst, netter, that's one of the recipes i'll be sending you).

it was an interesting trip over, to say the least...tennessee seems to go on for miles and miles and miles and miles. north carolina is just as long, but thankfully, i only had to travel half that state. z-man manned the cd player, nice little cross mix of everything (damn, we did a good job with him musically) the traffic was horrible in tennessee...horrible. through the mountains i hooked up with three other cars and we rode the far left lane (slower traffic keep to the right lanes, and trucks keep to the far right lane) i hate driving the mountains, and so oddly enough, i push through them as hard as i can to get over them as fast as i can.

but it is a lovely time of year to go through the smokies...all the autumn leaves spitting fiery colors as the noon day sun peaked over the ridges. wish i would have had time to snap some pictures, but i didn't. (as it is, i only had the rental car for 24 hours, and when i turned it in, the lady had to ask if the milage was right...987 miles in less than 24 hours)

ibrihama used to tell me when he drove a truck through arkansas all the time, "laurie, arkansas stinks. like chickens."

i'd never noticed it when i lived here but sure enough, after we left memphis in our rear view mirror and crossed the line half way over the mississippi river, the smell hit me.

as i wasn't sure if i'd get into town in time to stop at the liquor store, i stopped in morrilton, arkansas, just before russelville. arkansas has a series of "wet" and "dry" counties. the one that russleville resides in is dry (arkansas tech is there), but the county before, where morrilton is, is wet. so we stopped (ok, every town has a bathroom somewhere).

i walked in the liquor store and a familiar smell hit me. it felt so familiar and i felt so at home. i had to think a quick second before my brain zeroed in on exactly what the smell horse feed. they tried to cover it with "air freshener" but i knew what it was and immediately said, "oh man, it smells like feed in here." the girl behind the counter gave me a quick "that can't be good" glance, and i assured her, "on no, that is a GOOD thing." i love the smell of hay and feed and horse's sweat.

so i guess, it's true what they say, you can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl.

so my dad is on my mom's last nerve. after breaking his hip when my grandmother was initially hospitalized, when mom got him home he fell again and broke his femer (on the same side) between him and my grandmother's problem, my mom is at her wit's end.

so it isn't a pretty site here. and as we loaded up this morning to head to my middle sister's house for thanksgiving dinner, my mom, already quite frazzled from, well, everything, locked the side door (my father is a nazi when it comes to making sure everything is "locked up") and locked her keys inside. wasn't pretty (50 years these two have been together)

z-man got a quick lesson on breaking and entering, tho he could only break into the outside storage, where both mom and dad swore there was an extra house key...there wasn't. so my brother in law showed up and saved the day. they were supposed to be in possession of an extra house key, but they couldn't find it and so he managed to break into the house. problem solved.

but thanksgiving feast was nice (and b-i-l had a nice stash of crown royal...bless his heart)and even tho our dysfunction is that we're not a close family, it still felt like "family" nevertheless.

so tomorrow, early, we head to okla city. there is a public viewing of the body, which i will be missing because i think that is a truly morbid and outdated custom. i remember viewing my dad's father's body before the age of 10. i didn't know where i was going as i walked down the aisle, and it was quite a shock when i reached that destination. no one ever looks in death like they looked in life, so i don't think death is how we should remember one.

saturday morning will bring another "viewing" before the grave side service. and it will prove to be a chilly one (it was in the 70's when we arrived but has dropped in one night into the 40's-50's)

mom and jayme (my sister) have been going through some of my grandmother's things. one thing mom stumbled upon is a letter my grandfather (who died the year i was born) sent to my grandmother 4-6 months before the married back in 1930.

on deteriorating paper, in sloppy handwriting, i read my grandfather constantly refer to my grandmother as "sweet heart" he missed her everyday and after each time of being with her, he only wanted to be with her more. he couldn't wait to once again kiss those sweet lips.

it was amazing, and surprising, to see grandmother in a new light. a personal one that in life, she would be embarrassed for us to see.

it was an emotional day, i always thought grandmother had two of her sisters left. but yesterday, mom informs me that, no, both the other sisters had died in the last two years (neither my oldest sister or i was every informed of that). my grandmother was the oldest girl (second oldest child) in a family of eight and she had outlived them all. that realization, really hit me hard. how sad to have outlived them all (including a son)

anyhow, i must be going. the butt crack of dawn (6:00 a.m.) comes early. the next two days will also prove to be emotional ones.

and after i return to charlotte late sunday night (really monday morning) i will then have to begin packing up my stuff for z and i's move to florida.

i'm thinking that by the end of the second week of december, i will become rip van winkle.

hope one and all (americans) had a lovely thanksgiving and managed to stuff themselves to the gills.



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