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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Going Home con't.

Here's the rest of the post.

“Why don’t you put the two kids in here on this bed,” my husband suggested.
“Because,” I said as nicely as possible with visions of grasshopper guts still in my head, “the children might A) get a nose bleed from climbing so high to get into bed, or B) sustain a concussion from falling off during the night.”
“Then you and the kids sleep in the front bedroom and I’ll sleep in the living room on the sofa.”

While this conversation was going on the children had been busy turning the knobs on three radios on the dresser. One of the three clock radios was kept playing all the time to give the impression someone was actually living there. I couldn’t tell which one was now emitting static due to their knob turning, so I just hit all the buttons on all three until the noise stopped.

The kids and I took the front bedroom with one regular full sized mattress and my husband opted for the sofa in the Preacher/Insurance Salesman living room since they were not there at the time. Just then the phone rang. Why, I wondered, would they continue to have phone service in an empty house? Who would call? Who would answer? It was his sister calling and I answered.

“Hello?” I said.
“I was just calling to see if you have seen any more spiders.”
“You mean besides the 10,000 that were on the front porch?”
“No, in the living room.”
“Just a minute. Honey, your sister wants to know if you have seen any spiders in the living room.”
“No, not yet,” and he immediately began to slap specks of dust that could possibly be spiders and started to scratch imaginary bites.
:”None so far but I’m sure he will let you know if he does. Bye.”

Thus we all settled down for a good night’s sleep…well, we did, my husband was still slapping and scratching. An hour later the two-year-old woke up crying and wanting milk. I trekked off to the kitchen to get him some milk and sooth his anxiety about sleeping in a strange house. An hour later, the five-year-old fell off the bed. She managed to climb back into bed but now had her head at the foot of the bed. At one-thirty a.m. my husband, convinced he had spiders crawling on him, had to take a shower. The five-year-old must have heard him get up because she jumped up and ran smack dap into the bedpost. She started crying which woke up the two-year-old, who then immediately wanted more milk.

“Let me get out of the shower. I’ll get his milk; see if you can get her quieted down.”

My husband, taking pity on me, gave the two-year-old more milk and rocked him back to sleep in the old rocker. The sound was familiar. I comforted the five-year-old and hoped the bump would not turn her eye black. Everyone settled back down to sleep, that is, until at two-thirty a.m. when a clock radio alarm went off. One of the buttons I had pushed must have set the alarm. My husband tried to figure out which of the three clock alarms was going off and get it turned off before the kids woke up again…too late. He finally unplugged all three radios. He took the baby and got him quiet. I assured the five-year-old that it was not a “practice fire alarm” and she finally went to sleep. After thirty minutes my husband was so sleep deprived that he put the baby in the bed with me but with his feet right up my rear…and he kicks…a lot (the baby, not my husband). At that point I didn’t even care as long as I could sleep and then drink coffee in peace on the front porch in a few hours… well, two hours.

The sun came up at last. It was morning. I sneaked out of bed, made my coffee and padded out to the front porch, to sit in the swing and watch the cars go by on the highway and look at the hayfields. I was sitting there just being…at last…when I noticed a huge spider had built his web…overnight…right between the links of chain and about six inches from my head. I would have screamed but I didn’t have time because the two-year-old and the five-year-old woke up to continue their slamming door concert from last night. That sent the spider scurrying for the nearest crevice in the ceiling.

It didn’t matter anyway. The trees and bushes had forty-five years of growth since the last time I had sat there for any length of time and you couldn’t see the hayfields anyway. The soothing sound of the occasional car passing on the highway had been replaced with a steady stream of cars and eighteen wheelers whose drivers seemed to take great joy in honking their horns at every possible opportunity, or maybe they were honking their horns in response to the five-year-old jerking her arm up and down in that universal truck signal to blast us with their horns causing any hearing aid to squeal.

What was going to be a nice week-end at the old home place turned into a one-nighter. What was to be was not to be; we packed up everything and headed home that afternoon. I figured the whole week-end had been a bust, but later I began to think about how much fun the kids had had chasing grasshoppers and feeding spiders. They saw lightening bugs and played with the toys on the front porch that my husband had played with as a child. The five-year-old had found an old doll that belonged to her aunt and she dressed and undressed it for hours. They loved looking at all the old pictures on the wall and commenting “You were really pretty when you were little.” Even the slamming door concert sounded familiar. My husband had gone through his old dresser and found the Aladdin paper coupons he had saved as a child with the intention of buying a new bicycle. Even though he had never redeemed the coupons, his mother had kept them anyway. The house had seemed alive again.

While I didn’t get to sit on the front porch and enjoy the solitude of a summer’s day and just “be”, I did discover something. That day I sat on the porch all day watching a small piece of the world drift by is still there…a wonderful memory. Maybe the children will remember their grasshopper safari and feeding Charlottes, the sound of slamming doors, playing with the toy garage, and seeing all the old pictures on the walls. Maybe this will become a special day that, years later, they will remember.

I was thinking about all this the other day as I was sitting on my own front porch , watching the kids play in the front yard, listening to the sound of the wind rustling in the trees, and enjoying the smell of the gardenia bushes. Then, quietly, as if someone had gently whispered it in my ear, I heard…”Welcome home”.

Thank you, God, for my home and I pray for those without one.

Going Home

I recently wrote an article for Thankfull Homes TV. You can find it at This is the fourth time I have tried to get the web address right. The first time I thought the - was a _. The second time I put an extra L in thankful. The third time I forgot the dot between home and tv.
I need stronger glasses...or that Huval/Hubble/ the broken telescope thing. Please go to the sight as there are pictures that go along with the story and the work that the Dayton people are doing to provide safe and affordable housing for senior citizens and single parents is wonderful. In case I have messed the address up yet again, here is the text of the story.

Going Home by Jody Worsham
All rights reserved to buy a porch swing.

It had been one of those days, which makes “one of those days” the cliché that it is. First I had locked the keys in the car for the fourth time that month. Fortunately after the third time, I had another key made, but that, too, was now locked in the car in my purse. Rather than phone my husband to rescue me again, I walked to the nearby car dealership and got yet another key for the car. I guess I was so preoccupied with how forgetful I had become, that I left my purse in the grocery basket at the store and didn’t realize it until I had gotten home. I went back to the store for the purse which, amazingly, an honest shopper had found and turned in to the service desk. That evening at supper I tried talking with my husband.

“When did I turn into my mother?” I asked.
“About two months after you stopped your hormone replacement therapy. Why?
“Thanks a lot. No, I mean I just seem to be forgetting something all the time and then I start worrying about that and forget even more.”
“Could be stress.”

I thought about that for a moment. Let’s see. Stress. Humm, we adopted our one day old grandson and his three year old sister when we were in our early sixties. Could be cause for some stress. It had been nearly thirty-five years since we had adopted our first baby. We are now in our mid-sixties, the one-day-old has entered the Terrible Two’s with a vengeance, followed by the five-year-old’s demand for independence and attention. That’s stressful; plus, we are trying to make sense out of Medicare Part D. More stress.

“Yes, I guess it could be stress. Maybe I need a rest.”
“Want to go camping at the lake?”
“Camping is not a rest when you are packing the RV trailer for four people, cooking, then coming home and unpacking and doing laundry which somehow gets multiplied to the tenth power.”
“Ok, then, where?”
“Good question.”

I thought about the “where.” Where was I the last time I felt totally quiet and peaceful? Then I remembered. It was June, l962 at his parent’s farm when we were newly married. I had spent a glorious day there sitting on the front porch watching the farmers bale hay across the highway. It was a summer day with no thoughts at all in my head. I was just being, just sitting and watching the men labor all day long. His sixty-two year old mother let me sit there and do nothing that while time. I drank coffee in the morning. She joined me shelling peas. At lunchtime, she brought me a sandwich and tea and we sat and ate lunch. That afternoon, she came out on the porch and pieced quilt squares together as I sat transfixed by the activity across the highway. I remember my feet were propped on the porch railing and as I swayed in the old porch swing the cedar bush below tickled the bottom of my bare feet. The smell of honeysuckle was thick in the hot air. Bees were busy by the giant peach tree on the corner and the tall pear tree shaded the sidewalk. Birds were perched on the high lines and seemed to be observing me as I was watching them. It was a glorious day.

“Let’s go home.”
“To your house.”
“I thought this was my house.”
“No, I mean yes this is your house, our house. I mean go back to the farm.”
“But it’s been closed up for years.” His mother had passed away two years at the age of ninety-seven but the house was still in the family and empty.
“I don’t care. Call your sister and see if she will open up the house and turn on the water. I need to be.”
“Be what?”
“Be quiet, be still, be away, be on the porch, be whatever. Just call!”
“Be patient. I’ll call.” His sister agreed to dust, sweep, mop and turn on the water.

So it was decided. We were taking the two kids to my husband’s home where he grew up. Nothing was more fun than to go out to the farm even when were still teenagers. The reason? Well, for one, there were more kids out there than in the entire little town of Barry, Texas where I had lived. He had six brothers and sisters. Secondly, while his parents were always there, they pretty much left us alone…no bringing us cookies, tea, cokes, telling us what, when or where to go. Our kids could roam the farm and I could just be.

Forty-five years ago, I packed one suitcase, threw the beagle in the back of the truck, locked our college apartment, and we were off. Now, after three hours of packing diapers, clothing for four people, sheets, towels, food, cokes, rice milk, bug spray, swim suits, I was beginning to have second thoughts. However, the idea of spending another three hours unloading with no trip and no “be time” kept me going.

“Are you going to hook up the dual screen DVD players?” my husband asked without offering to do so.
“Of course. It’s a three hour trip.”

Not being a person of the electronic age, I struggled with the DVD player connections. The instructions were Greek to me. After seemingly hours of trying to interpret the instructions, I realized that, indeed the instructions were in Greek…and Spanish, French, Chinese, Swahili, and finally on the last page, English. Eventually, the connections were made, the children loaded and strapped down in car seats, and we were off. Just a few miles down the highway, the DVD player got stuck on the credits.

“Fix it!” demanded the two-year-old.
“It’s not playing. He broke it,” whined the five-year old.

My husband believes once the engine is engaged, you do not stop until you have reached your destination; therefore, I was forced to do acrobatics from the front seat in order to adjust the buttons on the DVD player. This was not a pretty sight and probably the cause for more than one oncoming eighteen wheeler to run into a ditch. Finally, the adjustments were made and we were able to listen to the same movie for three hours. I had only brought one movie.

When we turned into the driveway of the old farm house four hours later (potty stops were a must), it was exactly as I had remembered it that summer day. Well, except the porch railing had rotted away, the peach tree was no longer there, the pear tree was a gnarled stump, and the cedar bush was now a tree completely blocking the view from the porch. Ok, it wasn’t exactly as I remembered it. Still, I was anticipating windows open with the breeze blowing through the curtains and the smell of honeysuckle drifting through them just like in 1959 when we all came to hang out at the farm. Instead, it was 102 degrees, the air conditioners were running full blast, the windows were locked shut, the house smelled like it had been closed up for a year, and the honeysuckle bush had long ago dried up. Hiding my disappointment, I called out to the family (let them unload the car) I’m off to the front porch” and silently murmured “to be,” but first I decided to take a look around the old house.

As much as the place had changed on the outside, the inside had remained comfortably the same. The living room contained the same brown early American sofa. The old hard rock maple rocking chair that has soothed seven children and then twenty-two grandchildren to sleep was still in its customary spot by the front door. The cushions had been replaced and it had been refinished, but it was the same chair. The floor tilted slightly to the left as if the house was settling in and getting comfortable with age.

The kitchen was familiar. The Farmer’s Almanac calendar was hanging on the wall probably by the same nail used to hang the first one; only the year was different. There were notations written in the squares, rain gage full on the twenty-first, cows to auction on the thirtieth, call Billie on the thirty-first. Written voices from the past.

The yellow tulip McCall’s ceramic vase was still on the second corner shelf between the upper kitchen cabinet and the window by the kitchen sink where it had been for over fifty years. The plants had, of course, died, been replaced, died again, but the vase and its location remained constant. I opened the right upper cabinet doors. The shelves were lined with mismatched cups and saucers, some with chips and missing handles but still usable. Nothing was ever thrown away if it still had some use, lessons of the depression.

The wooden rectangle kitchen table with its scalloped edges and carved spindle legs was still standing, testament to early American craftsmanship. If it had ever had six matching chairs, I didn’t remember. The table had always been pushed near the back wall with a wooden bench the length of the table actually against the wall. The wooden bench seated more children than chairs could and had been polished smooth by the countless bottoms that had alternately scooted from one end to the other as children, then adults, then children again gathered at the “children’s table” for holiday meals and sometimes just everyday meals.

Overseeing the table, perched on top of the refrigerator was the cookie jar. The fat little ceramic pig with his faded red and white baseball cap had held cookies and goodies for four generations. I was glad that no one from the family had claimed it. It belonged right where it was.

Satisfying myself that all was as it should be with the old house, I made my way to the front porch and the swing. Time to “be.” That lasted about five seconds, just long enough for the kids to discover screened doors! It is now a proven fact that two children can run around the L shaped porch, through the two bedrooms, down the hall and back out onto the porch, slamming the two screened doors a total of thirty-two times in less than forty-five seconds.

“Honey,” I screamed sweetly.
“Ok, I know.” He halted the kids in mid-slam.
“Come over here and I’ll show you something I used to do when I was your age.”

The porch was covered with spider webs, well, except for those that had been destroyed by the screen door earthquakes. In the middle of the remaining spider webs were those large black and yellow spiders we called Cotton Spiders. My husband caught one of the two million grasshoppers in the yard and threw it into Charlotte’s web so the kids could see the spider quickly spin a web around the spider and suck out its guts. I was appalled; they were thrilled.

“Again, again!” came from the fascinated two-year-old.
“Catch another one. Throw two in there,” yelled the five-year-old ever hoping to instigate more sibling rivalry, even if the siblings were grasshoppers.

That immediately initiated a grasshopper catching frenzy. They wanted to feed all of the Charlottes on the porch. The two-year-old found a broom and started chasing grasshoppers and beating the )(*&*(#)*( out of one unfortunate grasshopper he happened to catch. So much for my peaceful time on the porch. Tomorrow morning I would get up early…before the kids…and sit on the porch.

` Nighttime brought on the quest for sleeping arrangements. The house had only three bedrooms. The middle bedroom had been his parents and was the central gathering place for everyone. It had the only TV and the dog had slept there for years. Now the room had only one twin bed and no dog…scratch that room for sleeping. The living room was reserved for the preacher and the insurance salesman when they came to call. I had planned to sleep in the back-bedroom but now there was only one full bed where there had been two. Three mattresses had been piled on top of the remaining full bed.

“Why don’t you put the two kids in here on this bed,” my husband suggested.
“Because,” I said as nicely as possible with visions of grasshopper guts still in my

Monday, June 28, 2010

No Aphabet was used in the Spelling of These Names

By Jody Worsham All rights reserved to purchase Spell Check.

One of the advantages of cruising is that you get to hear so many different accents and meet people from many different countries. Usually these are the people working on the ship. It’s like a mini U.N. or some international Survivor TV Show. You really get to know your waiters and your cabin steward as you see them several times a day.

As we sat down for our first formal dinner, our waiter introduced himself. I couldn’t repeat his name. First, because I have Texas ears and he was speaking without a Texas accent. Second, there were no vowels in his name. His name tag read UIIAUE; all vowels, no consonants. I asked what country he was from and he pointed to his name tag. I couldn’t pronounce it either, all consonants, no vowels. I guess all the vowels had been used up in spelling their names.

Our cabin steward came from a country that didn’t use vowels or consonants or even letters for that matter, just squiggles and wiggly lines. I was thinking what a difficult job it must be for the person who does the ships’ payroll.

Then I glanced at my dyslexic eight-year-olds’ journal, all consonants and only a few vowels. With her accent and unique way of spelling, she could work on a cruise ship. I wonder if I could get any good discounts if she did?

Lost and Bound

by Jody Worsham June, 2010 All rights reserved for purchase of GPS

In my infinite wisdom after raising six children and now as a Medicare Mom raising two more, I knew there was a logical and strategic advantage for having all of us wear identical tee-shirts when boarding our ship for the Seven-day-I-deserved-this-twelve-hour-free-baby-sitting-Cruise. One, it identified us as a group of four. Two, it made it easy to spot one of us among the 3,500 guests on board. Three, it would be easy to locate our Welcome Aboard Picture the next day.

I did not count on the swimming pool and giant three story slide being open while the ship was still docked. I had packed the children’s bathing suites in our carry on so that wasn’t a problem. The problem was the sun screen was in the checked luggage. Not to worry, I told the children they could wear their identical-tee-shirts-with-the-map-of-the-USA on them to protect them from the Texas sun.

After about an hour of swimming it was time for the youngest and the oldest to take a nap. The eight-year-old changed into dry clothes and we went exploring.
As we passed the ice cream machine she asked if she could stop and get some. I said “Sure” as I headed four feet away to get some iced tea. It could not have been more than five seconds but somehow we missed each other. I was furious. “She has got to learn to stay with me. Serves her right if she panics for a few seconds,” I said to myself as my heart rate rapidly increased and my breathing became fast and shallow.

Two minutes and thirty seconds passed and no child. “When I find her I’m going to beat her with a big stick or at least a towel,” I mumbled incoherently.
Three minutes and ten seconds passed and still no child. An active imagination is a good thing for a writer, not for a Medicare Mom with a missing eight-year-old. Suddenly every pervert from Serbia to the Philippines was hiding out on this ship and one of them had kidnapped my child and was holding her behind one of the thousands of Crew Only Doors.

I forced reason to prevail. She couldn’t get off the ship. I found the nearest female with a gold name plate.

“I’ve lost my eight-year-old,” I said, wondering where that high pitched screaming voice was coming from.
“What does she look like?”
“Shoulder height, blond pony tail, (and silently wished I could say ‘Wearing a soaking wet tee-shirt like mine) a print tee shirt and blue jean shorts…just like every other eight-year-old on this ship.”
“Well, she can’t get off the ship,” and she walked away.

Reason and logic told me to stay put by the ice cream machine. Panic and terror told me to run like a crazy woman around the deck screaming her name. I gave in to panic and terror temporarily.

Sweat was pouring out from under my big white floppy hat but I didn’t dare take it off. I’m only 5’3”. She would need that hat to find me.
Five minutes and thirteen seconds have passed and still no child. My husband had already turned off his cell phone and I didn’t dare leave the ice cream machine again to locate a phone to call the cabin. All thoughts of towel beatings had been replaced by urgent prayers. In all four previous cruises, we had never lost or luggage or a child.

Finally, after the longest twelve minutes in the history of the world, I saw her coming toward me with two cruise officials in tow. We hugged and hugged and hugged. I asked her what happened. It seems I had not said out loud that I was going for iced tea and she panicked when she didn’t see me and ran out looking for me. I looked around for a big stick for self-flagellation. Then she found a cruise official and told them I was missing.

“Did you tell them I was wearing our special tee-shirt with the USA map on it?”
“No, I forgot. I looked for a white floppy hat. Do you know how many white floppy hats are on this deck?”

So much for identifying tee-shirts and white floppy hats. Maybe I’ll wear a hat with a big orange arrow pointing down next time. Anyway, we didn’t have to worry about losing each other for the rest of the cruise. We were now bound at the hip. What a way to begin a seven day relaxing cruise!

Friday, June 18, 2010

He Knew What He Was Dealing With!

He Knew What He Was Dealing With
By Jody Worsham, All rights reserved for a brain June 2010

I got a new cell phone today. It was time for an upgrade. Translation: Time for AT&T to tell me all the latest things a phone can do and get more of my hard earned money.

I will say the young salesman was superb. He was very patient. I told him I wanted a phone just like my land line only one I could put in my purse.
He helped me find a phone with large numbers and loud volume. He transferred all my numbers for me.

He showed me how to turn the phone on and off. He even put two of my most used phone numbers in the quick dial. He showed me how to retrieve missed calls. Then he had me go through all of that to be sure I was comfortable using the phone. He warned me that if I used the phone for e-mail or internet, AT&T would charge me. I asked him to disable that part and he did. My eight-year-old could figure it out even if I couldn't.

He even sacked up my charger, box, headset, holder etc. He carried it to the door for me and then held the door open for me as I left. I was beginning to wonder if my gray roots were showing too much or I needed a face lift worse than I thought.

When I reached my car, I realized he must have been watching as I drove up. I had gotten out, opened the back of the suburban for a bottle of water, locked the car with my beeper and came inside...... leaving the driver's side door wide open the entire time.

He knew what he was dealing with.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Blueberry Blues

Blueberry Blues

By Jody Worsham, All rights reserved to search for actual blueberries.

Every year we have a Blueberry Festival. I use the term blueberry loosely as you are more likely to find an abundance of festival and very little blueberry. Last year we missed blueberry pancakes on the square because the line was three blocks long when we arrived at 9a.m.

This year I promised the kids that we would be first in line. We were at the festival at 6:30a.m.; of course the line hadn’t formed yet and none of the vendors were set up but it was a cool 88 degrees.

I remember when there was a blueberry cooking contest, a blueberry pie eating contest, and even a blueberry costume parade. They even crowned a Miss Blueberry; no scholarship or prizes but a lovely bouquet of blueberries and a crown.

Now, unless we are importing blueberries from China, or the vendors once ate a blueberry or touched one, or sat next to one, that’s about the only connection I see to blueberries.

I did see dozens and dozens of food booths. Lots of turkey legs, funnel cakes, and soft drinks were for sale. At the least, I was expecting the food to be wrapped in blue paper. It seems that the carnival people have abandoned the carnival and joined the festival circuit.

I heard various vendors talking as we waited for the pancake line to form.

“Hey, Beaudroux (of Beaudroux’s Trash, Treasures, and Egg Rolls) I missed you at the Sassafras Festival last week. Are you going to make it to the Black Eyed Pea Festival next week?”

“Depends on whether or not my shipment of guaranteed-to-break-in-less-than-five-minutes novelty items makes it through customs. The Wong-G-Ten-Fat factory is slow.”

Finally the pancake line was open.

“Do you want plain pancakes or blueberry ones?” the pancake maker asked. Why would I come to a blueberry pancake festival to eat plain pancakes?

“Blueberry, please”.

I was expecting a special mixture of pancake mix, even blue. Instead, I got plain pancakes with a handful of blueberries thrown on top. I was hoping for blueberry syrup on the table but only found plain old artificial maple flavored.

As we sat there eating our pancakes, the five-year-old meticulously picked out all the blueberries from his pancakes. It wasn’t hard; there were only five.

We headed back to the car at 8:30a.m., temperature 95 degrees, we took the free blue balloons being offered, signed pillow cases destined for our military troops, and passed on the blueberry lemonade.

On the way we passed a friend who was just arriving. She asked us “Are they still serving blueberry pancakes?”

I smiled and said “Depends on what you mean by blueberry pancakes.”

Maybe next year I will just have my own festival. I'll make plain pancakes, add blue food coloring, and have my own Blue-minus-the-berry Festival at home with the air conditioner running full blast.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hear, Hear! Where's the Ear Plugs?

Hear, Hear! Where’s the Ear Plugs?
by Jody Worsham,
All rights reserved for disposable ear plugs.

As most of you know I have been fighting the I-can't-hear-out-of-my-right-ear-and-I-sound-like-I-am-in-a-well syndrome since February. It seems as we were all waiting for the Swine Flu virus to hit, the ICHOOFREAISLIAINAW (see above) virus hit leaving many of us with the above mentioned syndrome.

To solve this problem, I had an ear tube inserted in my right ear. While everyone else was recovering from said syndrome, I was still half deaf and still in the well. Four months and another doctor later, it was discovered that the ear tube (weighing .00000000000000000000001 of a mill-a-kilogram) was too heavy for my delicate little ear drum. Why is the only delicate part of me an ear drum?

Once the ear tube was removed, I was out of the well and hearing.....everything! You know when a car horn sticks and it just goes on and on forever? Then it stops and just for a split second everything is silent? When I got home, I didn't even have that split second.

"It's my turn?"
"She pushed me!"
"Did not!"
"Did, too"
"Where's the remote?"
"But wait, if you buy now, we will triple the offer. That's three multi-pants hangars, three veggie choppers (if the veggies are the size of grapes), and three inflated tush cushions. CALL NOW!"

Ah, the sounds of family. I'll be back. Just got to make a run to Wal-Mart...for ear plugs!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I-Phone, U-Phone, We All Moan the Cell Phone

I-Phone, U-Phone, We all Moan the Cell Phone!

by Jody Worsham, All rights reserved to purchase Text Abbreviations Book

In the seventies we complained of a communication gap, a failure to communicate. That cannot be the case today as we seem to be a generation of strangers in constant communication with each other.

Look at any shopping mall, concert, or just people walking down the street and chances are they are on a cell phone.

At recent writer’s conference human beings were texting each other from one table to the next. I watched as blueberries, blackberries, and the next generation I-phones were whipped out in response to every texted question.

“Where do you want to go eat?” from the I-phone.

Blackberry response “I just made a reservation at Rudy’s”.

“I see Carnival has enough cabins for all of us at a reduced rate if we book now,” from a Palm Pad.

“What’s the life span of a duckbill platypus?” queried from somebody’s hand.

“Wait and I’ll Google that” from another kind of berry.

Texting is equal to writing notes when I was in school, I guess. Shorthand in high school ruined what spelling skills I had. Texting would eliminate them all together. Texting will produce a whole generation of non-spellers but will also produce a whole new written language of hieroglyphics ...LoL, OMG, lof, Those of us taught to write in complete sentences will never be able to afford to text unless we have unlimited minutes for texting.

None of the new phones are Boomer Baby friendly except for Jitterbug. Jitterbug is capitalizing on the boomer babies with their big numbered cell phones with the extra loud speakers and a real human support person who can dial that number for you or add it to your address book. They just need to go one step further and make the phone voice activated.

Phone-on-a-string would also be a nice touch. You could wear it around your neck so you wouldn’t constantly be searching in your purse or trying to ascertain if that twitching on your backside was your phone or a muscle spasm.

Until the new technology accommodates the older generation, we will have to rely on land lines…or having an eight-year-old handy to unlock our phones, download our numbers, and interpret our text messages. Fortunately, I have one at my house! I am sure we can negotiate a rent/lease agreement if you need an eight-year-old on a part time basis. Until then, we will just have to moan the i-phones!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Swan Lake/Shrek or Duck Duck Goose

“Swan Lake/ Shrek” or Duck Duck Goose
By Jody Worsham, All rights reserved to buy camouflaged tights!

My four-year-old has taken ballet all year. His dance instructor wanted to infuse some culture into our little community so rather than do the customary recital of disjointed dance numbers, she chose to introduce them to an actual ballet, “ Swan Lake”. Swan Lake is the story of a beautiful princess who has been placed under a spell by an evil countess who is afraid the princess will be more beautiful than her daughter and thus win the heart of the prince. To prevent this, she turns the princess into a swan each morning at sunrise. Only at night can the princess be a real person.

“What’s a swan?” asks the four year old after hearing the story line.
“It’s a big white bird”, I replied.

At first he seemed confused; then his eyes lit up. “Oh, I get it, like in ‘Shrek’ only she’s Big Bird during the day and a pretty princess at night!”
His teacher cast him as the squire to the prince. “Like Donkey in 'Shrek'. I’m the donkey.”

"No, you are not Donkey. You are a squire. You carry the bow and arrows for the prince”, I quickly told him.

He told everyone that he was a squire and he was supposed to shoot all the baby swans with his bow and arrows. His father was thrilled! The mothers of the baby swans were in a panic! I was disappointed that after paying for all those lessons, he wasn’t going to get to dance. To please me and reassure the swan mothers that no swans would be harmed during the ballet, she put him in the Russian Dance, very athletic and not gender specific to appease his father.

Rehearsals began, and costumes were ordered. Obviously the Chinese do not recognize our system for sizing. Every costume for one class was the same size, only the labels had been changed to read XS, S, M. L. I took three of the costumes home, cut them in half, and added two inches to each one so they would come close to fitting. The other set of costumes must have come from Overstocked Midget Strippers. To bridge the plunging bodice gap for the no-cleavage five-year-olds, I took nine costumes home and sewed scraps of green boa feathers across the front of each costume. My sewing room looked like a flock of green parrots had molted there.

At least his costume fit; I had made it myself in January, but by May he had grown two inches and gained two pounds. His trousers became knickers. I spray painted pink ballet slippers black. He drew the line at wearing tights so I told him they were really soccer sock-tights. He was ok with that.

Dress rehearsal arrived. There were 95 assorted swans, ladies of the court, Russian dancers, prospective brides, a prince, and his little squire. The majority of the dancers were under the age of seven. It was like herding ducks. Feathers were flying everywhere as the swans swooped and twirled. After the first scene, the stage looked like we were doing Dr. Zhivago, all white. I was recruited to help change scenery and sweep away any loose feathers between acts. Amazingly, everyone remembered their entrances and their dance and most of the feathers were still attached to the costumes by the time the rehearsal ended.

The full length “Swan Lake ” usually takes about two and a half hours. We were doing the Cliff Notes Version and with three intermissions, it only took an hour and fifteen minutes. To their credit, everyone danced their best. My four-year-old danced the first part of his Russian dance with great confidence. The second half of the dance was a lot faster with much slapping of knees, heels, and hands. He ceased looking at the audience and stared at the feet of the young lady on his right as he followed her every move, and just one beat behind! This, of course, made him the last person still moving after the others had stopped. His own solo at age four! The audience was most impressed as evidenced by their applause, hoots, and shouts as he finished.

The curtain call had been carefully rehearsed but the excitement was too much for the Russian Dancers, still heady from their almost standing ovation. The Red Menace charged the stage to take their bow early and was only briefly halted when the dance instructor grabbed a little Russian Dancer under each arm and bodily blocked their way. Not to be stopped, the remaining Russians made an end run around the teacher and took the stage and bowed, and bowed, and bowed. And my little Russian was right in the middle. Move over, Baryshnikov, you may have competition from one little Texan!

Our “Swan Lake / Shrek” with overtures of Duck Duck Goose may not be Bolshoi quality…yet, but we are getting there! Merde! And on to next year’s ballet.

I wonder if a five-year-old is too young to play Romeo?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


The Season Final…ly!

by Jody Worsham All rights reserved for Preparation H

Our last game of the year…finally! No more hard aluminum benches. No more scrubbing red clay out of white baseball pants. No more watching our child pick flowers in the outfield. No more after game drinks and snacks.

You would think by the end of the season, there would be improvements and there have been. Our coaches can catch the wildest ball coming from any direction including from the other team. They have lost ten pounds chasing balls erratically thrown by four and five year olds.

Our team, however, seems to be regressing. They no longer fight over who’s going to get the ball in centerfield. Now they hold their position and watch the ball as it makes its way to the fence and stops. They seemed to have forgotten everything they learned. Of course, they haven’t played a game in two weeks, crazy schedule, so it is possible that they did forget everything they had learned. Now, as soon as “last batter” is called, the entire team heads for the dugout even before the last batter bats. There’s no longer a song played on the aluminum bats and it has become increasingly harder to keep the team in the dugout. Parents are chasing kids out from under the bleachers, from on top of the bleachers, and from the other teams’ dugout.

The little guy, who seemed to run in place, is still running in place. Our child decided to be a switch hitter and bat left handed. He didn’t realize that he had to switch sides of home plate. I will say that he did deliver a smashing left handed would-have-been-a-home-run right into the home plate backstop. The three-year letterman that plays “all-time-pitcher” finally gave up on the hope of any of his teammates ever catching the ball and just started chasing the other team to get them out. He managed to get four players out at one time by racing to first, second, third, and finally to home base…as his fellow players cheered him on.

Maybe it wasn’t by accident that our team was sponsored by a funeral home. There was certainly no life in this final game…well, except from the parents.