Saturday, December 21, 2013


by Sara Jo Holan
“Home sweet home!”  My mother said cheerfully. 

I rubbed my eyes and looked out of the car window.  Sure enough, there it stood; our new home. 

From our apartment in New York City to this old white farm house in rural Georgia, I was experiencing a little bit of culture shock.  I suddenly felt sick, missing my school, my friends, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Just a month before, my father sat mother and me down in our kitchen and told us he quit his job as a stock broker to pursue the job he had always wanted: open his own museum.  That being said, he was also tired of the city.  My father and mother unanimously decided to relocate and start a new life in Dawson, Georgia. 

Enter the begging, bargaining, crying, screaming, slamming doors, threats to run away, and eventually, acceptance. 

Once the move became decided, my father happily set out looking for Civil War memorabilia and antiques that would make his museum a sensation.  My mother basked in his happiness and ease, elated that he was for once at home with her. 

As soon as we pulled up, I got out of the car and grabbed my Louis Vuitton purse.  My mother walked up to the U-Haul that my father had driven, and started unloading our essentials.  Because it was almost 10:00 p.m. the real moving in would happen in the morning. 

I got my suitcase and sleeping bag and headed inside after my parents.  The house was quite old.  Specifically, it had been new in 1869, 4 years after the Civil War ended.  The first owner and builder of the house was Mr. Thomas Kelly, a Northern business mogul from Vermont.  He moved to Dawson with the intention of starting a company that gave freed slaves the opportunity to make better lives for themselves.  Although they had been technically freed, most slaves had no choice but to look for work with their previous owners.  The freed title required former slave masters to now pay their workers to do what they had always done, which they did.  The pay the newly freed received, however, was barely enough to feed their families, making it impossible to break free from their new “jobs.”

Knowing this, Mr. Kelly started up T.G. Kelly & Co., a company that specialized in growing the best produce around.  Because no one in the South embraced that kind of new thinking, Mr. Kelly’s business came from Northern grocers and farmers who loved the way T.G. Kelly & Co. did business.

Mr. Kelly built his beautiful 3 story farm house with a wrap around porch on 300 acres, started up his business, and paid his workers handsomely.  As his workers made enough money for nice houses of their own, many built on Mr. Kelly’s land.

Not long after, though, Mr. Kelly was met with resistance from the locals.  One summer night in 1872, minutes after Mr. Kelly left the house of one of his workers; Mr. Kelly was met by a lynch mob and hanged from the branch of an oak tree in his own back yard.  He was found the next morning by the daughter of one of his workers, who had been sent out to the water pump by her mother to do laundry.  When little Lucille saw the lifeless body of Mr. Kelly swaying gently in the breeze, she screamed, then fainted.  There were “investigations” and some of the locals were tried in court, but it was ruled a suicide.  Everyone said that Mr. Kelly was an unstable man, tired from the stress of running a company with former slaves.  Though his faithful friends tried to keep the company, new regulations and taxes made it impossible to do.  The houses were sold, the property was parceled up, and many of the T.G. Kelly & Co. workers took the little money they had left and moved north. 

Now, as I looked at this house, I could see that it had been well cared for.  Granted, there were some cosmetic changes to be made, like the 70’s style wallpaper in the bathrooms was peeling, and the counters were cracked.  But all in all, the house was sturdy and, though I hated to admit it, charming. 

I set my things in the foyer and went to explore the house.  I climbed the stairs and went into the first bedroom on the right.  It was very large, much bigger than my bedroom back in New York.  It had a large bed that looked to be made of oak with a vintage oak chest at the foot of it.  There was a large window with white lace curtains that overlooked the backyard and pastures.  I suddenly felt excited to explore outside when the morning came. 

There was a large walk-in closet, and a dresser right next to it.  The floors were hardwood, and I noticed that they could benefit from a sanding and polish.  I loved the room, and decided it would be mine.  Although I missed the city and the life I was used to, I also shared my father’s appreciation for history and antiques.  If I was going to live here, I might as well try to make the most of it. 

I ran to get my things, and began setting up camp in my new room.  My parents had busied themselves unpacking in the master bedroom down the hall.  When we all met in the hallway famished, my mother brought up the cooler in which she had packed sandwiches from our favorite sandwich shop, iced tea, pita chips, and a Tupperware container filled with glazed melon.  After we finished eating, we all got ready for bed and said goodnight.  

It was a really warm August night, and my hair was sticking to my neck and forehead.  I opened my windows, which took some prying, and let the cool night air in.  I unrolled my sleeping bag out on my new bed and lay down on top of it.  I heard crickets chirp outside and the breeze blew the curtains.  It was too quiet.  I was used to the sound of traffic and people while falling asleep and the peaceful country commotion outside just didn’t do it for me.  I checked the time on my phone.  It said 1:30 a.m.  I was just starting to fall asleep when I suddenly felt incredibly cold.  I got up to shut the window and closed the curtains.  I went to lie back down and fall asleep when I heard someone by my doorway.  I couldn’t see in the dark, but I figured it was one of my parents checking on me when they heard me shut my old window.  I softly said “mom?” but as I said it I heard footsteps walking away.  Exhausted from the long drive and resisting sleep, I closed my eyes and slept peacefully.


The next morning I awoke to my mother opening my curtains and window.  Sunlight streamed in, and I grumbled.  I sat up and looked at my phone.  It read 10:00 a.m. so my annoyance at my mother melted away.  There was a lot to do, and my parents had mercifully let me sleep in.  I got out of bed and unzipped my suitcase. 

“Mom, did you or dad come to check on me in the middle of the night?” I tugged on an old pair of Levi’s. 

My mother looked at me confused.  “No we didn’t.  We were both so exhausted we slept straight through the night.  Why do you ask darling?”

“Well I closed my window last night because it got too cold in my room, and when I got back to my bed, I heard someone come by my door.  I figured it might have been one of you two coming to make sure I hadn’t decided to run away.”  I said the last part sarcastically.  When I saw the slightly hurt look on my mothers face, I regretted saying it. 

“Well, it was windy last night and this house is old, so it was probably just the house creaking.  Let’s go grab some breakfast so we can start unpacking.”  We both headed downstairs.  In the kitchen my dad had donuts ready on a plate and fresh squeezed orange juice in a glass pitcher on the table.   I grabbed one of the donuts and a glass of orange juice and headed to the porch.  I sat down in a wooden rocker and bit into my donut.  It was still warm and it left frosting on my upper lip.  When I finished my food I dumped my dishes in the sink and went back outside to explore.  As I got to the East side of the house, I marveled at our backyard.  It had a large green lawn accompanied by a large oak tree and a couple small willows.  I suddenly felt like Scarlett O’Hara, living in my very own Terra.  I wondered if when we got settled my parents would let me get a horse. 

I heard my mother call my name for me to come help move in, and quickly ran back to the front of the house where the U-Haul was parked.

My father spotted me and handed me two boxes stacked on top of each other.  The boxes said KITCHEN UTENSILS in my mother’s messy scrawl. 

“What do you think of our backyard Munchkin?” My father asked.

“I have to say, dad, it is pretty nice.”

My dad smiled at me with pride.  “There is an old rumor that Mr. Kelly, the man who built this house, still roams around at night, looking for the men who hung him from that old oak.”

Curiously, I looked at my father.  “You mean that one right there?  That isn’t the same tree dad.  That was almost 150 years ago! The tree would be long gone by now.”

Dad shook his head.  “Now, munchkin, does that tree look to you like it was planted in this century?  That is the exact tree.  It even stated that in the papers.  But you needn’t worry; Mr. Kelly has been long laid to rest.”

I watched as my dad left with some boxes.  He was right, I knew.  But I didn’t believe in ghost stories.  That the tree Mr. Kelly had swung from by the neck stood just below my bedroom window didn’t even faze me.  I picked up the kitchen utensils boxes and carried them inside. 


Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Birthday Gift

A wave of tenderness washed over John as he watched his greying wife and marveled at her beauty. She worked too hard, but he had never been able to slow her down. She was always there to provide for all the family’s needs. Now as her 45th birthday approached, he was determined to do something very special for her.  If asked, she would probably say she wanted a new vacuum or a new garden tool.  He knew the ring was extravagant. He knew she’d be surprised. He happily waited for the day he could present it to her as he saved a little bit from each pay check.  Since she did all the bookkeeping, it had taken him over a year to accumulate the $1,500 he needed for the ring.  Now, with only two months left, he was still short about $500.   Suddenly, he remembered his Cal Ripkin Jr. rookie baseball card.  He hadn’t thought about that for years, but when he dug through his box of cards in the attic, there it was.  Why not trade in this piece of cardboard from his teenage years, for something special for the love of his life?  He tucked it into his pocket as he left for work.

After work, he stopped by the memorabilia shop near his workplace.

“Do you buy baseball cards?”

“What do you have?”

He pulled the card from his pocket and handed it to Roy, the proprietor of the shop.  He hadn’t checked the card in years.

“I can give you $2,000 for it.”

John was ecstatic.  “Sounds good to me!”  He left the shop with a check for $2,000, and immediately headed for Key Bank, where the check was drawn. 

“I’m sorry, sir, there are insufficient funds for me to cash this check.”

“How can that be?  I just got it!”  He said with dismay. 

“Well, it’s not that short – maybe tomorrow it’ll be good.” The teller said sympathetically.

John spent the evening trying to stay cheerful and optimistic that the check would cash the next day.  However, after several days of finding short funds in the account, he returned to the store to confront the owner.

“This check is no good – I want you to exchange it for cash.” 

“Sorry, I can’t do that.  I’ve been a little short, but it’ll be good next week, I guarantee it.”

For the next month, John called the bank, growing more desperate by the day, always finding the account just a tiny bit short to cash the check.  As he lay awake worrying, he had an inspiration.  The next morning, he checked to see if a check for $1,800 would cash, and found that it would.  He filled out a deposit slip for Roy’s account and put two hundred dollar bills with it.  He drove through the drive-thru window and made the deposit.   Anxiously, he parked and entered the bank with his $2,000 check.  When it cleared, he scooped up his cash and headed for the jewelry store.  

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Many Faces of Facebook

The Many Faces of Facebook
by Rosemary Rains-Crawford
My sister calls it “Fakebook”.   I can see why as I page through my “friends” and try to categorize them.  Oh my, I don’t even know some of these people.  What happened here?  Oh, that must be that person I played a game of Scrabble with one day.  Or, maybe it’s someone from an author forum?  So just for fun, here is my synopsis of friends on Facebook (in no particular order).  Although I am listing main categories, some people cross from one to another frequently and I’m not sure where I fall on the spectrum.

  1. Family.  We all have family members and some we have learned a lot about since the advent of Facebook.  Sometimes way too much.  Distant and shirttail relatives start to become more familiar as we follow their posts.  It really is a great way to keep up with family with photos and notes.  If not for family, I surely would have given up Facebook many moons ago.
  2. Exhibitionists.  You can expect to see at least one new sexy picture every week from these people.  Some of the pictures look like they might have been taken many years ago, but who’s judging?
  3. Braggarts.  “My child is an honor student at….”  “I just won {something} of the year”  “Damn, I’m good.”
  4. Crusaders.  These people hold rigid beliefs in something.  It might be religion, it might be guns, it might be anti-guns, it might be a political party, it might be atheism, or Buddhism, purity in food, etc.  If it is possible to convert the masses with posts from their favorite cause, they are on it.
  5. Dead people.  Oh, I know, I should delete people that have the audacity to die, but it seems so final and like such an act of abandonment.  Besides, no one is ever dead to Facebook.  That record will remain until we are all buried and turned to dust, so why should I remove them from my list?
  6. Animals.  Oh my, how did this happen?  I have a mule, two dogs, and a hamster that somehow wormed their way onto my friend list.  Oh, and one of the dogs is also a Number 5, above.
  7. Imaginary people.  Yes, I do have one of those as a friend.  It is kind of an inside joke, but Olga just doesn’t fit into any other category.
  8. Whiners.  Letting us all know how they are suffering through a bad job, a bad marriage, a bad relationship, etc. 
  9. Do Gooders.  Urgent requests to help cancer victims, find children who have run away, notify people of kidnapped or lost children, sexual predators moving into an area, etc.
  10. Guilt Trippers.  If you don’t share their post, you don’t care about your (son, daughter, mother, father, sister, friend, Jesus, etc.)
  11. Entrepreneurs.  People trying to sell you something.  No explanation needed here.
  12. Ghosts.  These are people who had a Facebook account set up by a well-meaning friend, relative or colleague.  I am responsible for at least one ghost.  My husband had an annoying habit of looking over my shoulder as I played Scrabble, offering suggestions, etc.  So I set him up with his own Facebook account to play his own Scrabble games, which completely cured him of Facebook and Scrabble both.
  13. Comedians.  Passing on the very latest in jokes, cartoons, and pithy sayings.  I personally enjoy a good laugh, so appreciate having a minute of mirth as I scan the latest on the Facebook timeline.
  14. Philosophers.  Like comedians but with a more serious purpose. 
  15. Game Players.  Oh, so interesting to know that {someone} had a rush on Candy Crush, or won a $50,000 hand in Texas Hold ‘Em.  I play Scrabble and Words with Friends, but I try to always remove the “Post” (default) option after every move.  It’s easy to miss, so for anyone who was notified of a “Bingo” I got in Scrabble, I apologize. 
  16. Lurkers. They’re there, but it’s easy to forget that.  They never post anything.  They just watch what everyone else posts and form opinions that can’t be reciprocated.
  17. Stalkers.  Keeping track of people anonymously.  Watching their every move, looking for an opening. 
  18.  Gossip Mongers. Like stalkers and lurkers but with a specific goal – find the interesting tidbits on mutual acquaintances so they can be first to pass on the “news”.
  19. Spies.  These are the worst.  They report on every post or “like” to the paranoids that don’t have their own account.  Often out of context, their goal is to create angst outside of Facebook. 
I’m sure there are other prototypes.  But one thing is certain:  If you have a “friend” on Facebook, even if you never knew them before, over time, a portrait of them emerges for you and one of you emerges for them.  Random likes and posts really do start forming into a picture, so be careful out there!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Driving Lessons

Driving Lessons

By Rosemary Rains-Crawford

Today, there is a name for every mental ailment – nearly everyone I know seems to be bi-polar, a name unknown when I was a teenager.  However, I have yet to see “inappropriate laughter” in the blurbs I read about mental health issues.  I can attest to the fact that all of my sisters and I suffered through a childhood with a tyrannical father with that affliction.  While it doesn’t seem to be life threatening on the surface, when combined with a mercurial personality running the show, we knew it could be.  Never was the affliction more hazardous than when Daddy decided to teach someone to drive.  Daddy had strong ideas about everything, and he had nothing but scorn for the new-fangled invention of an automatic transmission.  So all of his driving lessons were in a car with a stick shift.  To the younger generation, unfamiliar with this type of automobile transmission, it will be hard to understand the serious difference it presented to a new driver.

My first observation of Daddy’s Driving Lessons, occurred when I was about 10 years old.  He had gotten a new car and it was his pride and joy.  For the first time in his life, he owned a car that was only eight years old.  The 1946 Ford sedan even had a custom paint job – white on top with a big black strip along the bottom.  The upholstery had yet to see its first tear.  Anxious to show off this wonderful machine, he decided it was time for my grandmother to learn to drive.  Why everyone involved acquiesced to this plan is still beyond me.  Grandpa took good care of Grandma and couldn’t imagine a time when she would need to drive, Mama knew Daddy’s short temper and limited patience, and Grandma had never liked Daddy at all.  We all watched in wonder as Daddy and Grandma set off in the new car with Daddy at the wheel, explaining the operation of the clutch, the brake, the gas pedal, the turn signals, and all the various switches on the dash.  Grandma’s face was glazed, but she refused to show any weakness to  Daddy, so off they went.  My sister, Molly, and I sneaked off to the fence where we peeked out to watch the lesson on our little private road.

I can still see Grandma as she took the wheel, her head held high, eyes staring straight ahead, ignoring Daddy as he began to swear at her.  She refused to acknowledge anything he said when he was shouting, which caused the shouting to accelerate.  Grandma finally got the car started.

“Put your left foot on the brake and your right foot on the clutch and push it all the way to the floor, and move the gear shift to low!”

The moment Grandma depressed the clutch, she forgot about the brake, and the car began to roll.

“PUSH THE DAMN BRAKE!” Daddy shouted.

Grandma held both pedals with both feet as hard as she could.  Both of her hands gripped the steering wheel.

“Now gradually let up on the clutch while you take your foot off the brake.”

Grandma immediately took both feet off the pedals, and the car lurched forward, rapidly jerking Daddy’s head back and forth.  As they disappeared around the corner, Molly and I dissolved into helpless laughter. 

About a half hour later, Daddy returned alone. 

“Where’s Mildred?” Grandpa asked.

“She got mad and got out of the car and refused to get back in!” 

“You left her out on the road somewhere?”  Grandpa asked incredulously.

“It wasn’t that far, and the walk will do her good!  She just can’t follow any damn instructions!”

Shortly after that, our family moved out of our Grandparent’s home.

As Molly and I reached our teenage years, we saw driving as an important step in our journey away from our childhood home.  Tired of being under Daddy’s thumb, we were highly motivated to learn to drive, and we had forgotten the episode of Grandma’s lessons.  So when Daddy suggested teaching us to drive, we both jumped at the chance.

Since Molly was the oldest, she got first crack at the wheel.  Suddenly Grandma’s lessons came roaring back into my head as Daddy screamed and Molly cried, and we lurched down the road.  In spite of the gravity of the situation, I found myself laughing uncontrollably.  Fortunately, Daddy was too involved yelling at Molly to notice, and Molly was too miserable to see.  Molly, like Grandma, eventually refused to take any more lessons.  When she married, her new husband gently taught her to drive his Ford Fairlane with an automatic transmission.

“That’s not driving,” Daddy insisted, “That’s just steering!”  Nevertheless, I was impressed that Molly had her driver’s license, and I once again asked meekly if Daddy would teach me to drive.

In spite of his classroom techniques, he eventually pronounced me ready to get my license.  The car I learned in was a 1951 maroon-colored Nash.  It had the appearance of an upside down bathtub.  We all knew it wouldn’t pass even the most cursory safety inspection, so Molly generously offered to let me use their car to take my test.  Although she worried that I might hurt the car and she would have to answer to her husband, she accompanied me to a nearby town and gave me a few instructions before my driver’s license appointment.  Somehow, I managed to pass the test on my first experience with an automatic transmission.

It wasn’t long after that that Daddy traded in the purple Nash for a brand new Mercedes sedan.  The auto dealer gave him a trade-in allowance for the Nash with the proviso that he remove it from the up-scale Mercedes lot immediately.  Daddy saw the benefit of having me drive the younger siblings to their school events, so he turned the purple Nash over to me, and the door to freedom opened for me just after my 16th birthday.




Monday, July 29, 2013

The Mirror in My Dream

Walking down the hallway it seemed like all the doors opened into empty rooms.  As I enter one empty room, I spot a full-length mirror on the wall.  The mirror flashes back my image and I recognize my red skirt with the two black pleats on the sides.  It advertises my slim hips as it molds itself to my body from waist to knee before flaring out at the pleats. It’s my favorite skirt.  As I walk closer I slow to admire my tall slim image in the mirror.  My dark hair falls to my shoulders and seems slightly unkempt, so I reach to smooth it with my right hand.  To my horror, the hands on the image in the mirror remain at my sides.  

I wake from this nightmare quaking with fear.  I lay still trying to calm my thoughts with logic.  Of course, it was only a dream.  But did I have a split personality that had just exhibited itself to me in my dream state? Why didn’t the mirror reflect my actions as I stood in front of it?  Was it really me at all?   I force myself to think logically. It was just a dream.

To calm my emotions I begin my counting routine – one of many I have adopted over the years to cure insomniac tendencies.  “Conjuring up dead people,” I call this one.  Thinking of all the people I have known that are now dead. I attempt to concentrate hard enough to receive a message from one of them from the grave.  I use my right hand to count each person I meditate about until I reached five.  Then using my left hand, I start my count of groups of five, still using my right hand to count each new person.  Usually I can count to about 55 before I fall back to sleep.  Rarely, I find myself searching for additional dead people and can sometimes reach 70 before I totally run out of even casual acquaintances.  “Nobody answers when I call your name.”  The country western song comes to mind as I seek my dead people with no response. 

Time just has to be lineal – an argument I often have with my husband, who thinks time is more liquid.  As I ponder that concept, I’m distracted from my dead people, and fall into a deep sleep.  I wake in the morning with the dream still clear in my mind.  This is unusual; most of my dreams are fleeting, remembered for a few minutes when I first awaken, lost forever as soon as I’m distracted by anything at all.   

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


by Rosemary Rains-Crawford
Headline:  Atlanta Journal Constitution, March  18, 2007

Church Vandalism Puzzles Authorities

Two elderly women arrested at site of sign desecration

Motive Unclear

In the early hours of March 18, 2007, two grandmothers were arrested as they vandalized a church reader board in a rural area of Randolph County, GA.  The women had not damaged anything, but had instead rearranged the letters on the sign belonging to the Mt Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church.  The sign had originally said “Eternity – to long too be wrong” but the women had revised the sign to read “Where ignorance is bliss,’tis folly to be wise”.  The women refused to talk to police until they had a chance to consult with their husbands.  Sheriff Don Butts said “These Yankees have no respect for our Southern values”

One bright sunny day in my 62nd year and my sister’s 53rd year of life, Mona and I finally got into trouble after a lifetime of pranks.  The day started innocently enough with a tour of the countryside and a stop by the flea market in Dothan, Alabama.  We were chattering in our normal fast-talking way about anything that crossed our minds.  The rural area where we have our winter home has a Baptist church any place where two roads meet.  We have long been fascinated that so many churches could flourish in such unpopulated areas.  Both of us are pretty logical, and therefore, fairly cynical and we observed with amusement the billboards in front of every church.  Some of the messages were just dumb, most were predictable and probably came from a periodical that all ministers in the South subscribe to that gives friendly suggestions for their weekly billboard message, but some actually offended our purest views of language and grammar.

“Oh my God, look at that one,” I said as we passed a billboard that read “You can feed the hungary with your pocket change”.  “Just what in the Hell does that mean?”

“Maybe they have missionaries in Hungary” Mona responded laughing.

“Well, I certainly hope so, otherwise they are sure displaying their ignorance” I huffed.

Neither one of us could stop ourselves from correcting typos we found in the books that we read constantly.  When we saw a SIGN with typos, it was very hard to not stop and immediately fix it. 

Of all the siblings in our big family, Mona and I were the most irreverent.  Our mother had pushed religion on all of us most of our lives.  Her life with Daddy and all of us kids would have driven her crazy without the solace of religion.   The religious influence had polarized us kids, leaving us either totally immersed or totally cynical.  The unfortunate combination of two cynics, the rural South, and opportunity must have become star crossed that day.

“There is a good one,” Mona pointed out.  “Eternity to long too be wrong”   “I hate it when people won’t take the time to figure out the proper use of two/to/too” 
“Maybe we should fix that one – that is too egregious to leave,” I said. 

At that fateful moment, we both noticed the box of letters sitting beside the waist high sign.  WELL, why not put up one of Daddy’s old sayings that had some REAL wisdom in it???  The thought came to both of us at the exact same moment and we looked at each other and started laughing.  Then we started quoting the pithy sayings we had often heard as children:

“A rolling stone gathers no moss”  I said.
“A stitch in time saves nine” she responded.
“It is better to have loved and lost than never have loved at all”
 “A fool and his money are soon parted”
“Down to a gnat’s ass”
“You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink”
“Don’t state the obvious”
“Many hands make light work”
I can’t is a sluggard too lazy to try”
“A penny saved is a penny earned”
“You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear”
“Pretty is as pretty does”
“Tell me something I don’t already know”
“That is like feeding strawberries to pigs”
“A dog will return to his own vomit”
“Birds of a feather flock together”
“People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”
“A bad penny always turns up”
“The devil finds work for idle hands” this one sets us off laughing.
“When ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise” –

That’s it” I said, “Let’s do this for mankind. This is a perfect sign to change…it is out in the country and we can wait until midnight and come by and fix it.” 

“It will be a perfect prank,” Mona adds, egging me on.  “These church members will think it is the real thing – it isn’t obscene or anything – and it may even make them think.”

We were still laughing when we got home and talking about the prank we both knew we would never really do.  However, as the night wore on, and we had a couple of glasses of wine, neither one of us could quit thinking about the perfect prank and just how easy and safe it would be.  Finally, we decided to go over there and just see if we could really reach the sign and if the letters were still in the box by the sign. It would be an omen if they were gone and we’d have another good laugh and go home and go to bed.

The box of letters goaded us as we drove up.  We took the three-step stand out of the trunk and headed over to the sign……and, as they say, the rest is history!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Medical Marijuana and Me

Medical Marijuana and Me
By Rosemary Rains-Crawford

            After my sister told me marijuana could help with arthritis pain in my right wrist and left knee, I decided to investigate.  I had managed to avoid exposure to it as a recreational drug through my childhood, adolescence, and my adult life. I decided that if it indeed had medical properties, I deserved all that saved usage for when I needed it as I suffered aches and pains in my geriatric years.  Since I don’t operate heavy machinery, work for wages, or even drive myself much anymore, I couldn’t see how it could hurt anyone else.
Even though marijuana for medical use had been legal in Washington state for several years, I had no idea what that involved.  Was it a license through the state?  Was it just a prescription from a doctor who was willing to write it?  Where did I get the product once I had the authorization?  Was it possible for me to grow it myself?  The last question was of most interest to me as I have a large garden, love plants, and didn’t want to be involved with the druggie type people who had it for sale.  My only source of information on marijuana was my younger sister who had used it since she was a teenager for recreational purposes.  She lived in a different state, so she had no idea how to make me legal with the State of Washington.  I had seen ads in the “Little Nickel” throw-away newspaper for “guaranteed marijuana license”, but that seemed like just another way for recreational users to get their drugs.
“I am going to grow a marijuana plant or two.” I announced to my husband, Ron in the spring.  “Luna gave me three seeds, and I am going to try to grow them.”
“Doesn’t that put our whole life at risk?” he asked reasonably with some alarm.
“I don’t actually think so.  I may not even be able to make them grow, and I will make sure they are hidden in the far reaches of the garden if they do grow.”
“Well, I don’t think it is a very good idea.”
“If they grow, I promise I will figure out how to get a license.”
He reluctantly agreed to that, and I immediately put my three seeds into a wet paper towel to see if they would sprout.  Four days later, they all had nice sprouts, so I potted them in a small flower pot and left them in a sunny window, where I tended them carefully as they poked through the soil.
Within two weeks, the plants were becoming a bit ungainly and the weather had warmed.  We were past danger of frost, and the soil felt good in the garden, so I picked a sunny spot that was shielded by the grape arbor inside my garden fence.  Soon, the plants were growing literally “like weeds”.  I knew I had to figure out the license thing.
Coincidentally, an old friend from high school and I reconnected and began to share our love of plants and all things do-it-yourself.  I finally felt I had someone I could trust to show off my beautiful plants.
“I just have to figure out how to get a license.  Ron is getting anxious having them on our property.”
“You know, I have a friend who has a license.”
“Really?  Do you know how she got it?”
“I’m not sure.  We were up visiting and Lonnie saw a plant when he was out looking at something in the barn with Bob.  Bob told Lonnie that his wife Sandy had arthritis really bad and she had a license to use it and to grow it.  Do you want me to see if they will give you some information about it?”
“Oh, boy, do I ever!”
A couple of days later, Karla called to say she had set up a meeting with her friends at their place up by Mt. Vernon. “We can go on Tuesday morning, but Sandy has a doctor’s appointment in the afternoon, so they have to leave the house around noon.
“Let’s ride together, and we can go out to lunch after we meet them.”
Tuesday morning found us on the road to Mt Vernon, and we arrived at Lonnie and Sandy’s farm around 10 a.m.
“Want to see my operation?” Bob asked as soon as introductions had been made.
“Yes!”  None of us realized they had an “operation” going on.  Lonnie had seen only one plant and assumed that was the extent of their growing.
“This used to be our kiln,” Bob said as he unlocked the door of a square building with no windows and only one door that had been fastened securely with a padlock as well as a door-handle lock.
The first thing that struck me as I entered the brightly lit room was the smell.  Even with my limited experience with marijuana, I immediately recognized the overpowering spicy smell that hung over the room like a blanket.
As we walked through the aisles between rows of plants, Bob expounded on the virtues of each different type of plant.  My head was spinning – partly from the smell, but also with the amount of information we were getting.  In my naivety, I had thought all marijuana was the same.  Some plants had much darker leaves than others, some were even variegated in color, some were much taller, some had purple buds and some white, and so on.  In retrospect, I guess I should have realized that marijuana had as many varieties as such things as roses and dahlias, but it was a bit overwhelming as we walked through the building.
“This area is our cloning area,” Bob explained as we entered yet another building that was also full of plants.  These plants were smaller – some only four or five inches tall in small clear plastic drinking cups, some in 12” pots, and the largest ones in 24” pots. 
“The biggest ones are ready to move into the budding area,” he continued.  “There we control the light and ventilation to maximize their fruition.” 
I had lost track of all the stages of development, but clearly, this was a scientific growing operation. 
“You can see our authorizations on the wall of every building,” he explained.  “Each licensee is allowed to grow 15 plants.  We have the maximum five licensees allowed by the law.  My wife and I both have licenses, and our three children are also licensed.  The patient has an authorization for using marijuana, but can also identify people who are her suppliers, which gives them a license to have plants.” I wondered if the kids all had pain and were users or if they were just suppliers for Sandy.  I realized they had to have user’s licenses because even with a bunch of providers, I thought the law only allowed Sandy to have 15 plants.  This was really confusing.  I had a sudden wish for a copy of the whole law so I could study it.
“Do they all work here?”  It was sort of a dumb question, but the best I could come up with as my mind swirled with all the new information.
“Well, it is mostly mechanized, and Sandy and I can do most of the work, but they do come by and help occasionally.”
We didn’t even ask the most obvious question:  “What do you do with all of this?”  Surely it was way more product than any five people, even five people in considerable pain, could use in a lifetime.  Politeness forbade us asking, but it was certainly on all of our minds.
“Here is the information about my doctor,” Sandy said as we walked back to the car.  She had thoughtfully made up an envelope of stuff – a card for the doctor, a couple of recipes, and a sample doctor’s authorization.  “Be sure and mention that I recommended her because she gives me a discount when I send patients to her.”
“I am really worried about Bob and Sandy.” Karla confided after we thanked Bob and Sandy for the tour and drove away.
“That is quite an operation,” Ron stated the obvious for all our benefit.
“I had no idea they had all those plants.”  This from Lonnie.
All of us were a bit shell-shocked and almost at a loss for words.
We weren’t far from one of our favorite restaurants, “The Conway Pub”, where I like to go for an oyster burger and Ron likes the fish and chips.  I had noticed in the car every now and then a little waft of marijuana odor, and smelled one just as we walked through the restaurant door.  We had all been immersed in it for over an hour, so who knew how much stronger the smell would be to someone else?  Fortunately we sat outside so our little group of old people reeking of marijuana wasn’t too obvious to the other patrons (I hoped).
When I asked the others if they could still smell it, they all started sniffing the air. Just then, the waitress came with menus we all burst out laughing like we had just heard the funniest joke, and all of us wondered if we could have gotten silly from all the fumes.  For sure it was a lunch where we giggled a lot.

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Bird Woman

The Bird Woman
By Mona Rains

Not long after I returned from my trip, Min (el Viejo) went out to get some new fish for our pond. I was still rolling around the la la land of the long drive recoup, recovery and recon with Min and was only vaguely aware that he was off with his bucket to buy some fish.

He returned with twelve fish bright eyed and excited. Not a normal condition for Mr. Unflappable Min. He went on and on about this really neat woman, and described her as the “bird woman” complete with a bright bird tattooed on her face…

He said, excitedly,   “You just HAVE to meet her!”

My inner woman reared and as I pondered this new Min attitude.

“Is she pretty? Are you attracted to her” I asked calmly, but interested.

His face took on a look of mild exasperation as he closed his eyes. Even this much information was too much information for Min.

“Nooo.. it is not like that. You just have to meet her,” He answered.

I felt my own exasperation at his lack of words as I pressed on.

“You have to tell me SOMETHING more than THAT”, I pressed.

“She’s just this interesting, hippie chick and has these birds that I think you might want.”

“Birds? What kind of birds. You know I hate caged birds” I responded.

“They are not caged. Well they are, but she has this huge cage that is really beautiful and interesting and she opens the doors and they fly around and then come back. She has a white dove and three others, I can’t remember what kind.” He said.

A lot of information but not enough, just enough to make me ask more questions.

He described her as “Becky with a smile” which was both shocking and interesting to me -  to get this much information from Min, about anyone, and including one of my oldest and dearest best friends.. I did not know he saw Becky like that, but for Min to be excited about anyone was just plain weird. He hates everyone, and has no use for most people, so for him to be so animated and interested in this woman was very, VERY unusual.

Min was interested in both the birds and the cage, but as usual passed it off to someone else, as in,   “Mona may be interested in the birds” he had told her.

Min and I had decided to move back to the old place with the swimming pool and the large yard where there was more room to garden even though the place was way too big for us.

AND Min had decided that we should start a hippie commune, or an “intentional community” and he was sure that this woman would be a perfect candidate, and set up a time for us to “meet”, which was at her place.

It was so strange to hear this coming from the mouth of el Viejo, my husband, Min, the quiet man with the brilliant mind, who I had said many times in the past couple years,

“I am seriously worried about Min. I think he may be mentally ill”.

Mostly I said this to myself and maybe my closest girlfriends.  But since he actually seemed excited about this, a new project, and agreed to move back to the old place where my swimming pool missed me, and just possibly I may manage to live in the desert.

I embraced this woman totally with eyes wide shut, purely on Min’s reaction to her.

When we went there to meet the birds and we sat down and I stupidly began talking about this idea of community and that we wanted her to see the place, etc, not knowing anything about her.

The first thing she asked was,

“Do you have an open marriage?”

We looked at each other and both said, “no” at the same time. Julie is 53 and a large woman, with bulging arms, chins, baggy front and back, and very much a hippie, with the bright bird tattooed on her left cheek. Not a person that either of us would have dreamed of bringing into our marriage. Not that we would bring anyone in, and Min laughed and said, later,

“yeah, Me, in an open marriage, I don’t think so”.

Min is a shy person and doesn’t get close to people. I must be special.. or something.

Julie lived in a rented shack, with a tent and a bed which the giant bird cage sat beside in a very small yard, and two small but smelly dogs, and she was moving somewhere. Now, because of me, or let’s say MIN, she was potentially moving in with us.
She showed us inside her small house as she extrapolated on about her “last gallery” in “Patagonia” (south of Tucson) and how she had fallen off a scaffolding and broke her foot, thus having to move HERE.

Her house was a treasure of metaphysical and buddistic stuff, with Indian prints and lovely hippie retinue, much like stepping back into the early 1970’s. The art was interesting and I asked her,

“Is this your’s?”  to which she replied, “NO no, THAT is and artist that is quite lovely and her work is extraordinary, she is a raven goddess who incorporates the very essence of everything into her work. See how the swirls of life revolve to the cosmic pull of the moon?”

Each and every piece was like that, none of which were her art. This is always interesting to me and I began to realize that I really should have taken some time to get to know her before inviting her into our “homestead” or “planned community”. She can talk circles around everything and anything, explaining everything away with perfect brush strokes of linguistic nature, never really saying anything.

One of her rambles was about raw food, to which I could see Min visibly wilt.

She had her yard sale going on, and I did buy a rather cool dummy, which I would come to recognize as myself, later, after I left her to her diatribe, a couple weeks later.

As we left she grabbed a DVD video for us to “borrow” called GARBAGE WARRIERS, which Min and I had seen before, but we took anyway, which would lead one day to the unraveling of this nightmare.

I did plan on picking her up several days hence and driving her to the old house and back. Both of her cars were in the process of being given away and I had the audacity to ask her why, upon whence she launched into.

“I am here to set an example by walking. This neighborhood is so materialistic and so dull that they cannot even see the impact they are making on this earth. The garbage they throw away, OMG I cannot even believe that they would NOT recycle or EVEN take the perfectly good stuff they throw away and donate to the needy because they are TOO lazy”.

As I worked a word in edgewise and asked her what state the cars were in, after she told me in 800 words about placing an ad in Craig’s list to just “give them away” for the sake of the planet, whereby she was bombarded with Mexican’s calling her and she had quit answering the phone, the very reason that Min had such a hard time reaching her about the fish, which were BTW in a four foot kiddy swimming pool of water when he rescued them for $30.

“Well, the van is shot, it has no a/c and the Geo only needs a battery and licensing”

To which I replied,

“Then I think you need to keep the Geo and give the van away. How can you live without a car?”

To which she replied,
“THAT is why I CHOSE to live close the bus line, and WHY I chose to set an example to these pathetic people who HATE me”..


We drove to our big house, which was empty at the time and listed for sale on the market by Coldwell Bankers, on a day that sported 106 temps. She was dressed in a long flowing skirt, and a long flowing shirt, cosmetic clothing to cover her bulging body, long grey hair pinned atop her head with the bottom and sides shaved.

She also brought a rock for Min, a piece of lava, that she insisted on carrying to the fish pond, even with her broken foot and excessive baggage and clothes in the heat of the day wanting to place it into the fish pond. I asked her to leave that to Min as it was his creation, that pond.

It is a 20 minute drive during which time she talked non-stop, making me increasingly more anxious. Her evaluation of our place, which most people love, was that it was a “fixer upper” and “a lot of work”, and she smelled a packrat in the closet of the guest room. I pulled all my rolled up rugs that were leaning against the wall and laid them out, with no signs of packrat. She witnessed this, ready to pounce, only saying,

“That is ODD that there is NO evidence or droppings.”

The house WAS musty after a summer of three months with triple digit desert heat and a/c turned off. I had been gone for 33 days on my road trip and el Viejo had not been diligent about opening up the windows, or even watering much for that matter as he was busy completing the landscaping here at the new house, which was finished by the time I returned, thus prompting him to want to move back to the old place.

It was so hot that I took off my clothes and jumped in the pool, which I do in front of nearly everyone that I am sure not to offend. There was really no time for the prettiness of bathing wear. She opted to remain in her huge get up and just soak her feet, her horrible damaged foot, which had happened almost three years ago. It occurred to me that was an awful long time to heal, but I guess if you have to walk everywhere, as opposed to driving, to set an example, well, then.. it is still a long time to heal anything.

By this time I was worn out and had decided not to bring her up to our newer house to show her all my cool stuff.

I asked her how long she had lived in her present location.

“two and a half years”, she replied and continued her never ending rhetoric about the state of the world, that particular community, blah blah blah… while I contemplated her energy and felt like I wanted to crawl out of my skin.

She smiled slyly as she told me how much she approved of open marriage and how her last lover this and her last lover that as I shut my mind off and pondered how fast I could wrap this up.

I drove her home and SHE suggested that we ALL get together this Thursday, and meet for happy hour at a place “in our neck of the woods” purely because they have organic wine. I agreed. I would have agreed to just about anything by that time. I was feeling stunned. Stunned like I felt when I agreed to tango dancing with Peter after coming off a long road trip. Only worse. There is power over and power within, one of my favorite things to say and that I understand at a molecular level. Power within is much better than power over and I do not like people who yield power over me. I usually don’t let it happen, and I am rarely leveled to “stunned”. I am also polite and do not like to hurt people’s feelings, and do not like confrontation. I will keep my opinions to myself rather than fight. I will walk away. I had to ask myself, “how did I get here?”

I was hopelessly lost when I left her house and only had the urge to buy beer and cigarettes, return to the old house with pool, drink a couple beers and smoke a couple cigarettes. I think I told her I like to smoke in some kind of hidden agenda way, which I am not a fan of, to distance myself from her. Having a strong personality myself I have learned to lighten up, let other people talk, listen to them, hear what they have to say, and not be right about everything. I can’t think of a single person that could drive me to such distraction, with the exception of Peter and his tango dancing, which was not nearly as beguiling begrudging or bewildering.

I was also a bit pissed, peeved and perturbed at Min, his thrusting this woman on me. When I finally came home to the new house, he was home from golf and asked me,

“How did it go?”

I proceeded to unravel her positions, posturing and platitudes along with how she made me feel, what I did afterward, honestly, I had to. As much as he hates smoking he hates more people that make me want to smoke.

There were also the birds. She had picked out the spot she wanted to put them behind the orange trees as the cages needed to be washed twice a day. She was scared to death of the “wash” (drainage ditch in AZ for monsoon rain) and the hawks, YIKES! AND she wanted to move in the end of September on a trial basis for three months, to the best room in the house where she could “keep an eye on the birds” to which I asked,

“for FREE?” trying not to sound too alarmed.

“Oh no, for $500 per month” she replied. Sigh!

There were still several days until Thursday and we still had triple digit heat. I settled into my desert routine, going to the other house to swim, water, open windows and do general upkeep. About this time my adopted daughter came through, screaming out of Mexico with her truck and trailer and two adorable daughters, on their way to northern California.

This was a sudden and unforeseen piece of business, which was wonderful for me. I set up in the old house with the swimming pool where we passed two nights and two days in a wonderful reunion, to reconvene, and a reprieve for me from the bird woman blues.

As the days rolled on Min and I rolled this problem around and around and came up with nothing. Thursday arrived and nothing. He felt that she should call us, since she was taking the bus, after all, and it was 105 degrees still. She did not call, but every time the phone rang we flinched. Thankfully she did not have MY cell number.

A week or so later he got a letter from her. Her email address is I found out later. Julie had never married nor had children, so she was also one of THOSE!

The following email exchange between Min and Julie transpired:

Creating working relationships can be a threatening experience.
After meeting for a few hours with Mona, you perhaps felt that we should step back a bit and evaluate before continuing. So you did not make contact on Thursday for the planned “happy hour”.
We thought of calling you, but there are some differences of philosophy that I sensed from Mona’s recap of your conversations that pushed us back a bit as well.
 You seem to be very rigid in the abandonment of materialistic detritus. We do not understand the ability to function without the means to travel. Tucson is not NYC. Or Frisco. When I first met you in gathering the fish, you spoke of your reason for simplifying as to get ready for travel to the Northeast. Something does not gibe with the abandonment of all your vehicles.
 I believe in omnivourousness to the extreme. What does not kill me makes me stronger. Mona is a bit less flexible, but we both learned on the streets of Mexico, eating vendor food, that after the first few food poisoning incidents we could be out there with eclectic abandon. The raw food, organic wine, etc…. is not a practical lifestyle for us, however pure it may seem.
When you told Mona that the bird cages needed to be cleaned twice a day,  that was a deal breaker for me. One of the reasons I like fish is that the proper ecosystem cleans itself. I clean the filters in the pond system maybe once every two months, and never add any chemicals. Aside from the pleasure people get from feeding them, the fish do not need to eat either. The birds appear to require a much more dedicated owner then I could be.
I guess the type of shared space that we envision is a bit like the pond environment, where there is independence with synergy.
Let me know your thoughts.

Dear Min,

I was hoping to get together for an organic happy hour or not. Philosophy is a large landscape and in our brief meetings I mostly felt a degree of compatibility and meeting Pi cheered me immensely. You have quite a work in progress on your homestead. I bring a lot to the table and have put together a folder of information for your perusal to allay your fears and allow what seems threatening to a more novel experiment. My vehicle situation has everything to do with being near the bus line while having a home base and being able to do my small bit in boycotting the war for oil. At this point in my life I prefer to be home in the garden. This is different from folks that run a travel agency. I venture out into the racy world twice a week. Does Mona still want to convert the Geo to an electric car? Depending on the variables I may tow the Geo behind a motorhome or a small U-Haul for my upcoming changes. I am extremely considerate and not at all rigid. Differences can lead to insight and understanding. AS for the deal breaker, the bird cage gets a quick spray down once or twice a day using 2 gallons of water per time which runs into adjacent flora providing them with a nurtrient rich watering. You have a lot on your plate and the birds would just be one more thing and they deserve to continue to be treasured. Either they will stay with me or some other St. Francis will text and all will be well. Thank you again for adding my fish to your school. As Meher Baba said, “don’t worry, be happy” love, Julie. Ps what did you make of the poems?

As you can imagine Min and I briefed the letter, which seemed to sink in on itself from joining us to moving somewhere else, and we still had her DVD and her poems.

And this email.

Hi, I hope all is well in your whirl. I'm hosting a yard sale this sat. thru mon. 8a-11a. This might be a good time for you to return my DVD Garbage Warrior. I have 2 Blue Globe Buddha Lights that change electric pulse patterns when touched. Mona might like them for her collection. Hope to see you here. Did you like the hunk of Lava? I'm  meeting a fellow next week that is excited about the pigeons. Hallelujah!  Julie

Min was relieved as he never had to talk to her again, so the next morning I did my best to do my morning dog walking and get over there by 8am. This was further complicated by the fact that I had finally made an appointment to give blood that same morning at 9:15.. which I also felt gave me a good excuse to not stay long. It is hard for me to keep appointments with my non-organized life, and I was determined not to let down the Red Cross.

By the time I got there she had everything out for sale. I returned her DVD and poetry which she had put prettily in a folder with mystical symbols on the front, picked especially for us I am sure, to show her worth as a poet.

“How did you like the poems’, she asked.

“Ah good, even though I don’t understand them really. That’s how poetry can be and I have written quite a lot of poetry also, it can be very subjective”, I replied grimly.

Which only set her off… OMG blah blah blah to the blah blah blah squared!

I wanted to talk to her, calmly, but I already had the idea that she was bona fide crazy, nutzo, cuckoo, at the very least, but I also pulled out my hidden agenda.. I wanted to find out how she survived to go on like this, condemning everything, everyone, everywhere, not realizing that she alienated, abdicated, abjured even the bravest among us that could listen to her, without ever having input. I secretly felt that she must have an “inheritance” a “stipend” or a “trust fund” of some kind. The only people that I have ever met that were as delusional, deluded, or demented did HAVE some kind of something somehow, somewhere putting money in the bank for them.

About this time the gate opens and in comes this beautiful Indian, with long black hair down to his waist and big pearly white teeth that were his own. I can tell. He appeared to be about my age, middle 50’s to early 60’s, and was with the very skinny, very plain, very white woman, who very obviously “with him” as she picked out treasures and they discussed money. I stood by, interested, but also gazing around at the treasure trove of trapclap in the small yard around me.

The two Buddha lights were set aside, and she had not given me the price. She had also set out a game that was oriented around marijuana that she said was for me, as well as a blue tie-dyed dress that you would buy in Mexico or Bali, that she said was just my size. I began to accumulate things and had my eye on another lamp that was in the shape of a brain. I thought of my friend Alice who was forever buying us brain cactus that promptly died. Julie was going on and on about how “interactive lights” create energy and when you touch them they change. The Indian emoted a fine energy that I felt inclined to touch and he was obviously a shaman. He spotted the Buddha lights and we began to talk

“I collect Buddhas”, he said.

“So do I”, I replied.

“I have one from Korea”, he said.

“I have a traveling Buddha, deep red with a knapsack, big smile, you rub his head before you go out the door, from China”, I smiled to compare teeth.

I did not mention that I had bought it at a Dollar Store for $69, not in China.

I asked him if wanted one of the Buddha interactive lights. They were plastic and looked like they came from Walmart, and she wanted $10 each for them. I wasn’t sure about them and wanted the brain light for Alice, and she also had a cool storm light. And so the bargaining began. I like this kind of stuff! But Julie had lost control and began babbling about how the Buddha lights really needed to be a pair as it raised the energy, blah..

Then he asked her if she would take $8.00 for the brain light instead of $10. I piped up

“I will give you $10 for it”  and then.. “but you can buy it, you wanted it first and I am not trying to buy it out from under you, just saying that if you don’t want it I will buy it for $10.” And Julie gave me a dirty look.

“I’ll flip you for it” he smiled his perfect white teeth.

“OK”, I grinned.

He took a quarter out of his pocket with his beautiful hands and showed me both sides but all I could see were those long, beautiful shaman fingers and then the palm.

“Just so you know it is not a trick”, he said. I looked at him astonished. I did not care, I just wanted to touch him. He was magnetic. And the woman he was with was such a drag, with her tiny little glasses hiding eyes behind a terrible hat with short hair poking out the sides ignoring us completely but I was feeling her cold shoulder.

Then he said to Julie, “here, you flip it” and she took it.

I said to him, “you call” and he closed his shaman eyes and called “tails”

And she flipped it and it came up tails. I could not tell if he was happy or sad, not sure if it was about the money or the light, and then he said,

“Maybe I will trade it for the storm light, is it the same price?”..

I could see Julie’s brain going full on, $$$$ dinging in her eyes as she sprung to it,

“NO, that one is MORE, it is $15.”

Egads, what had I started! Once again I offered the Buddha lights to the shaman who once again politely refused and took the brain light as he and his plain white woman counted their money and laid it across Julie’s hand.

I had to go! the Red Cross was waiting to mine my blood. I assessed my pile and asked her how much and would she take a check?

“No, just CASH” as she pointed her finger into my chest. I hate that! Is that the first time she did it? Did I only just notice it? The energy has shifted and from that point forward everything she said to anyone she was pointing her finger at their chest. EGAGS to the power of ten.

Julie popped into her shack to get paper and pencil so she could make a list of my shit. People began to arrive and I had to leave. She said she would store it inside for my return.. eeek EEEK I had to come back?

“How much money do you have for a deposit?” she asked.

A deposit, she wasn’t kidding. I opened my wallet.

“Twenty dollars” I said, saving a five and a one, in case of emergency, like I always do so I am not flat broke.

“Stop by Trader Joe’s and get a box to move the Buddha’s”, she ordered.

“I will stop at the other house and get a tote” I said, as the control shifted more.

Darkness began to gather over her head, just a little, as the control slipped and the finger came out. Every time she did that finger pointing I thought to myself that thing about three fingers pointing back at you, but did not bother saying it. Especially after things got hotter, literally and figuratively on my return, when it became even harder to get a word in edgewise and she became more frantic in her bumbling bogus blabber.

I left feeling shaky and confused but energized by the shaman and knowing that I was keeping my appointment with the blood bank. I was still not so rattled that I could not handle this, plus I had to go to the cash machine, and I still wanted to see if I could get her to tell me if she was the Oscar Myer heiress, Queen of Rope, or Post-it note Diva?

All went well with the blood bank, however archaic and futuristic it is, my blood is of the valuable type and I feel my civic duty to give, since I can.

On the way back and by the bank I gave a dollar to the man on the hot street corner selling newspapers. There are a lot of homeless people and more and more guys on the streets that I don’t recognize selling newspapers in the triple digit heat. I have given them money, jackets, food, beer and cigarettes. Why not share? And why be judgmental?

Arriving back at her house around noon, she was a sweaty, stinking mess and had a long list of shit for me to buy, picked out by her mostly. I had a growing fear that a lot of stuff had been pulled from the dumpsters, but honestly, I just wanted to go home, but first.. the problem of my curiosity.

I came in the gate with my tote and she was talking to this man, pointing her finger at his chest, and I could not help but hear her as she talked at him..

“It is JUST like when Clinton was in office, and he had this PROBLEM with Monica.. what’s her name.. and well, they country needed SO much then but instead they CHOSE to focus on THAT’..

They? Is she not part of this country? I wondered silently.

I could see the poor guy look down, just wanting to get away from her and then he said,

“I hope the next person that moves in here we don’t have the so many problems with”.

Ah Ha! Ah Hem.. maybe there was a reason she smelled so toxic.

The area where she lives in this little shack is right next to the dumpsters is in a community called “casitas”, a common housing for southern Arizona snowbirds that wants something cheap for their extended stay retreat from dread winter climates somewhere else.

“I know these people ONLY by their garbage” she tells me, again with the finger.

“I believe we create our own reality” I say, desperate to finish my thought as she pipes up

“YES, THAT IS TRUE”, she say angry.

“If that is the case how do explain this” I said, sweeping my hand around the area of the community?

“Two and a half years here and there is not ONE person you have anything good to say about?” I asked her nicely.. Quietly, gently..

“If you alienate people it is hard to teach them anything or even set an example, and.. ah..  You have a powerful personality and I just want to say this to you because I have one too, and well, other people have pointed this out to me and as an evolving person it is part of the process don’t you think?” I asked happy to have completed one thought.


I am going to wrap this up here but I do want to list a couple of other things that she said that further convinced me that she is a raving lunatic.

1)      she NEVER gives money to beggars, when I mentioned I had given the guy a dollar when I went to pay her the $90 she racked me up for shit I did not want, and could not find my fiver, thinking I may have given him that by mistake.

“FOR  example” she said, matter of factly, “WHEN I was PACKING water bottles AND fruit for the food bank AND had my arms full this pan handler did not EVEN bother to hold the door for me OR tell me a joke, but wanted money” she explained after saying,

“I am WAY too intimidated to EVEN stop or roll down my window when I see those guys”… WTF?? I thought she was a humanitarian?

2)      We HAD to get the snakes out of our house. Packrats attract snakes and she was scared to death of them. AND she would NEVER live that far out there alone, next to the wash with no other houses around. WE live in the city, folks and anyone that has ever been to that house can tell you it is NOT farmland where we live, and it is not that isolated.

3)      She is really bothered by “moneyed people that do not buy organic” meaning US. I mentioned that Min had a doctorate in BioPhysics and he does not buy into the whole organic thing.. to which she replied, finger pointed at me,

“I KNOW!”, she screamed and launched into a whole thing about supporting the planet, the farmers, the earth, the markets.

4)      She extrapolated at length every time I saw her, a total of four times, about “kindness” and how important it was, how we are a war minded nation and everyone just wants to fight, filled with malevolence, as those three fingers pointed back loudly into her heart.

5)      I got a whole load of information about carpet and how bad it was and that the guy that invented it is now speaking out about the dirty business he created. Not totally, because of the money, which led me to believe she was the carpet heiress.

When I finally asked her how she made a living, somewhere in the mess, she said,

 “well, for ONE thing I do NOT worry about money” to which I replied,

“you must have an inheritance” which stopped her cold.

 She looked at me sideways from her yellow eyes, as if I was privy to private information about her, before she launched into a whole other diatribe about the working class cretins, to which I replied,

“well, somebody has to work” and now she was really riled up.

 “NO THEY DON’T”, she screamed.

6)      her attitude about “privileged slaves, which IS an oxymoron” is further proof to me that she is a privileged mental case, supported by who knows what, but we thankfully dodged a bullet with her in our “intentional community” which we have decided is to scrap.

Did I mention that my reason to her, for us deciding against the intentional community  was because we ourselves did not know what we were going to do, and that it was too hot to think?

And on that note as I left her I told her that Min and I were splitting up and that she was free to pursue him as her next lover, just to pay him back for all this nonsense.

And when I left with my box of junk minus ninety dollar, which I did not try and dicker on, she said, “see ya around the block”.