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.