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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Advice from Cousin Earletta

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for rip and tear sheets.

I have a real treat in store for you.  My Cousin Earletta has agreed to be my guest blogger and share some of her advice.  Cousin Earletta self-publishes a newspaper called “The Sharp Pine Needle” which is delivered by Billy Bob on his bicycle.  It’s called “You Asked For It.”  Go ahead Cousin Earletta. Oh, and if you have questions for Cousin Earletta, just contact her at grinsandgroans (at)

“Well, thank you Cousin.  With everybody pussy footin’ around trying to be politically correct, no one is giving any advice worth taking.  So I am here to give you some honest, straight from the hip, no  ‘holes’ barred,  good common sense advice that only an older mature Southerner can give.  So remember “YOU ASKED FOR IT”.

To Lost in Seattle.  You must be in that generation that uses “Finding Myself” as an excuse to live off your mama or your uncle.  If you haven’t found yourself by now chances are you ain’t looking in the right places.  Get a map.  Better yet, get a job.  Your Uncle Sam is going through my money faster than I can make it.

To Benched.  Yes, God created everybody equal… in the beginning, but gene pools ain’t the same and yours might be kinda  shallow.  I know it’s hard sitting on the bench your senior year when all of your friends are in the startin’ line up, but let’s be real.  At 4 ft. 3 inches, you ain’t goin’ to be playing post on the basketball team.   You will get your chance when Donkey Basketball comes to town.

To Bearded Lady.  My Aunt Lulabelle had the same problem only with her upper lip. She could have passed as a direct descendent from Hitler.   Only her problem began when she was nine.  She tried waxing, shaving, electrolysis, plucking, and bought every known gadget that ever appeared on the TV.  Once she even tried a blow torch.  Well it wasn’t a real blow torch, just one of those little hand held butane torches you use to start a brush fire.  It did the trick alright, for a while, but the moustache grew back long before her eyebrows.  So I’m going to give you the same advice my Mama gave her.  Save those moustache cups you get for Christmas every year and one day when you get Wi-Fi, you can sell your antique moustache cup collection on e-bay for hundreds of dollars.  Course in your case that wouldn’t work.  Have you tried employment in the circus?

To Congress.  Quit.  Go home.  That’s the best advice I can give you for the good of the country.

To Johnny Football.  Yes, I think they are after your body so run, boy, run.  Oh, and hold out for the Sports Illustrated Male Swimwear edition. I know they don’t have one yet, but the women of America will be heard and soon.

To Confused in Utah.  Yes, yes, no, maybe and I don’t think that is legal even in Utah.  Try it in Nevada,

To Invaded by Blow-ups.  Some people call it yard art.  Yes, 65 Christmas blow-up decorations in the yard next door may sound like Darth Vader with a severe case of asthma but stop being a Scrooge and join the fun…or get a pellet gun.

Well, that’s all the advice I have for right now.  If I stepped on your toes, too bad, You Asked For It!"

Thank you, Cousin Earletta, I think.  Remember if you need advice just e-mail Cousin Earletta at grinsandgroans (at)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Rose by Any Other Name is Called Something Else

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for court costs for legal name change.

New grandmothers and grandfathers get to pick the name they want their grandchildren to call them or so I’ve learned.  My friends can decide to be Nana, Grandmaw, MeMaw, Big Mama (although I certainly would not pick that one for myself even though it would fit), Mimi or Pop, Gramps, G-daddy, PawPaw, Poppa etc.

I had several names picked out for myself, grand names for a grand mother…such names as Grand MaMa with the accent on the last Ma pronounced with a slight French accent.  It didn’t matter.  The first grandchild had her own ideas about what she would call me.  Early on I thought I would be forever known as BeeBee.  Then she got tubes in her ears and I became Mimi.  Then we adopted her and her brother and after a lot of confusion and explanation to their friends, I became just Mama which is what I had called my grandmother.

Recently, and with no indication we would be going into the Witness Protection Program anytime in the future, the seven-year-old has dubbed me “Heymama” as in:

“Hey!  Mama! Watch this.”

“Hey!  Mama!  Wanna see what I caught?”

“Hey!  Mama, can I have a Dr. Pepper?”

At some point “Hey, Mama” became “Heymama”.  Maybe my hearing is declining (duh,  really?) and he thinks he must first get my attention by yelling  “HEY” and when I turn toward the sound he follows up with “Mama”.

But I won’t fret about it.  It could be worse.   He could have called out “Oh, Mama!”

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Case of the Frying Squirrel

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for cremation

With eight kids, there was always something going bump in the night: doors, the occasional kid bumping into the wall or falling off the bed, books, toys falling from laps even tree branches hitting the roof.  We are now down to two kids and the bumps in the night are fewer and farther between.

That is why I was startled when I was awakened at 1a.m. with the bump-bump-flutter-scratch-scratch sound coming from the bedroom fireplace.  We haven’t had a fire in this fireplace in ten years.  Dang, must be a mouse that got into the firebox from the outside ash door.  That would account for the scratching.  Bump-bump-flutter-flutter.   Ok, maybe a bird.  Birds make that flutter sound when they come down the chimney and get trapped. But bump-bump?  And bump-bump-flutter-scratch-scratch?  Ok maybe a mouse, a bird, and a what?  A bat?  Time to wake up Dr. Hubby.

“There’s something in the fireplace.  Kill it!”

“If it’s in the fireplace, it can’t get out.”

“I don’t care.  Wake up, Daniel Boone, and KILL IT”.  At that point membership in ASPCA and PETA meant nothing.

Of course when he finally found the flashlight and investigated, the noise had stopped.  “Wait for it.  Wait for it” and yes bump-bump-flutter-scratch-scratch.  And there it was a flying squirrel.

 “I’ll get my gun.”

“Stop.  Gun, bird shot, metal firebox, ricochet.  No gun.”

“Ok, I’ll start a fire.  That should run him out.”

Like I said, there hadn’t been a fire in the fireplace in ten years but there was still wood in there.  He lit a match.  The fire started up and so did the smoke.

“Damper! Damper!”  I had read that in emergency situations short commands are best.

“Did! Did!”  He had read the same article.

“Not! Not!”

He finally remembered that up was open and down was closed but by that time the room was thick with smoke.  I opened the patio door and he turned on the central heating unit fan.  You could see the smoke hesitate and hang in the air as it was torn  between going up and out with the central fan unit, or down out the patio door, or retreating through the chimney. At that moment the gentle rain turned into a cloud burst and water was splashing onto the bedroom carpet from the open patio door.

He opened the fireplace glass doors to encourage the smoke to go up the chimney.  I remembered he said “it” couldn’t get out if the glass doors were closed so I armed myself with a broom in case the critter tried to escape.  More newspapers made for a hotter fire, less smoke, and more fluttering and flopping as the flying squirrel tried to avoid being the frying squirrel.  It must have been a male squirrel.  I was giving him directions on how to get safely out but he wasn’t listening.

After turning a weeks’ worth of newspapers into ash, the fluttering stopped.  In its place we were treated to the smell of burning fur, wet carpet, and frying squirrel.

After thirty minutes the fire died down, the bump-bump-flutter-scratch-scratch had turned into  sizzle-sizzle-fizz-fizz-oh-what-a-relief-it is.  I said a quick prayer for the deceased.

Then bump, bump, slam, slam.  Child number seven staggers from wall to wall down the hall into the bedroom.  “What’s all the noise?”  Bump, bump, thud, thud.  Child number eight wanders into the room, eyes wide shut.  “What’s that smell? Is it morning?  Is Mama cooking breakfast already?”

“Nothing to worry about.  Mystery solved.  Just the wind”….and the rain and the smoke and the previously flying now frying dead squirrel.  “Go back to bed.”

The Case of the Frying Squirrel was closed…and cremated.   

Friday, January 4, 2013

Over the River and Through the Grandma's Condo

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved so Currier and Ives can adopt Aunt Lurlean

If you are of the Boomer generation, pre or slightly post, you probably grew up seeing Currier and Ives Christmas cards displayed around the house or on the tins holding the ten ton fruit cake.  Christmas Eve or Christmas Day found you at Grandma’s with plenty of room to run around with all the cousins. Later you would be seated at the “kids” table for real mashed potatoes, string beans, and ham or chicken and dressing, before diving into the mounds of Christmas presents piled under a real Christmas tree.  At least that is how I remember it, but families have changed since Currier and Ives as my friends and neighbors will tell you.   

  “We had the grandkids for five days.  I’m plumb wore out.”

 “Glad this is over with.”

 “Why would you put people who don’t even speak to each other during the entire year together in the same room on the same day and expect them to be civil to each other? It is just stupid.”

 “I know there were only six of them, but it felt like a whole herd had moved in.”

 “Whee, I’m free!  No more cooking three meals a day for four days for twelve people in a kitchen designed for two!” 

“I hinted to my son-in-laws that the pine needles on my roof needed sweeping off…they agreed.” 

“We managed to get through it.”

 “Over the River and Through the Woods” kept playing in my head against a snowy Currier and Ives backdrop. Time to read between the lines and remind myself they didn’t have an Aunt Lurlean, at least that they would admit to.

 First, if you could get to Grandmother’s house in a horse drawn sleigh over snow without freezing to death, she must not live very far.  No five hour trips in a car.  Unless that sleigh was from “Back to the Future” there were no electronic games or DVD players in that sleigh so rather than bickering or aiming their blaster ray guns at each other, siblings would huddle together for warmth and encourage each other to cross the imaginary DMZ line drawn in the middle of the seat.  The one horsepower sleigh would get good hay mileage, so no thirty minute detour hunting for a gas station so Aunt Lurlean could save 2 cents a gallon on gasoline.  “The horse knows the way…” thus avoiding backseat driving or complaining from Aunt Lurlean that the On Star guy’s accent is not Southern.

The farmhouse is pictured as a two story job with a candle glowing in every window, obviously low maintenance.  Aunt Lurlean would require a generator as backup to avoid stress over possible downed power lines resulting in a semi-microwaved turkey.  The barn offers a place for the children to expend their energy.  Today Grandma may live in a condo and more than likely the pool and game room will be closed for the holidays forcing Aunt Lurlean to invent new games to occupy the children:  Monotonous, Scraping, Family Feuding, Twisted, Name that Dish, Repo Man, Dueling-in-laws, and Angry Bird-Brains.

Currier and Ives would have their family gathered around the Christmas tree and all would be able to trace their family tree with multiple branches down to one root.   Today’s family tree would resemble a stick with so many grafts that no one knows where the original root system began, well except for Aunt Lurlean and she’s keeping those skeletons locked in the closet ... temporarily.

 “Over the river and through the highway to Granny’s condo we go.   Lurlean knows the way to avoid the tolls through the gray and slushy snow, oh.”   Ok, so that’s not the words.  But we didn’t have Currier and Ives Christmases either. The only thing today that resembles a Currier and Ives Christmas is those tins with the fruitcake in them.  I think it is the same fruitcake.