Friday, February 15, 2013

Wreck Collections by Little Willie - Women Trouble

I remember hearing my grandpa complain to my momma that her brother, Uncle Bobby, “had gotten another wild hare up his butt”, shook me up so bad. I hated fleet enemas.

I didn’t know how it coulda happened, and then I thought about how my mother would panic when I would run out of the house naked when I was younger. We had a garden full of wild rabbits.

I told that pesky Sue Ellen about it when she found me sitting on the porch thinking about my poor Uncle Bobby, only because she was bugging me and I’d hoped she’d go away. She did. But, I got in trouble because of her anyway.

She went and asked my momma if she could have the rabbit stuck up Uncle Bobby’s heinie after he was done with it. She promised to give it a bath. My grandpa laughed so hard his choppers fell into his lap. My momma liked to turn me into a rabbit pulling on my ears so hard. She told me I musta gotten my puh-verse mind from my father’s side of the family as she marched me into the bathroom and gave me my choice of Castile or Dial soap.

I wondered as I stood there making mouth bubbles if I would always be plagued by women troubles.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I Saw Her

In honor of my lovely wife on this Valentine's Day 2013. I would like to post something I wrote for her a few years back. It was my recollection of the first time I saw her transformed into a story. I hope you like it.

* * *
I saw her.

I saw her as I did every workday morning. She had become my internal sunshine and the best motivation to get me to work on time.

I did my best to be casual, trying not to gawk or stare. It's hard for me to hide my feelings once they sprout.

Did she ever see me?

The radiance of her smile scans past me. Did it stop if but for a moment and acknowledge my presence as more than just a placeholder in the long line of jostling customers seeking their fix of burnt coffee?

I smiled back as usual, praying for some favor, for just the chance to be more. She paid no notice until I stood directly in front of her. I feared my grin would show the truth behind it, the strain to contain my delight that sought to reach out and encircle her with my ardor.

She acted different today. She cocked her head as if I'd posed a question, one requiring an immediate response. Her pleasant manner and charm never ceased, and unlike my heart, never skipped a beat.

"Grande, right?" she drew me in with the deepest blue eyes I'd ever encountered. I was swimming in them and could only manage a clumsy nod. Oh how I loved to see the early morning sunlight seek her out, sneaking through the louvered window shades, slanting golden illuminating her with angelic glow about her  shoulder-length flaxen hair falling straight, framing her delicious fresh face.

The sweetness of her essence cradled my order. I should say her order. I never could finish such a large cup of coffee before it went cold. She must've assumed a hyper-guy like me needed the extra caffeine to keep me pumped. 

She doesn't know me. Would she if she saw me as I do her?

Our eyes locked together for the first time. I trembled at the thought of asking her out, but I did not even know her name. She never wore a name tag.

"Hey Cath, there's other folks in that line. Step it up," her supervisor said. His glare at me said to back off.

I did not blanch. He did not own her and at that moment I did not care about him, about the coffee, or the pushy people getting mouthy behind me. Screw them and their travel mugs they so piously clung to... I was talking to the girl of my dreams, the captor of my heart. I was talking to Cathie.

"That will be $2.50 please," her voice shattered my reverie.

Now it was my turn to cock my head.

"$2.50, doesn't a Grande cost $4.50?

I sensed an added warmth in her smile.

"Frequent customer point's just saved you two bucks."

Enthralled, I continued to stand there and I would have forever if the burly guy behind me hadn't pushed me and said, "Buddy, pay the girl and get the hell outta the line. I gotta get to work and I need my joe too."

His complaint was echoed in the chorus behind us. I snapped to and paid her.

Our fingertips brushed ever so slightly, a surge of possibility fluxed up my arm and tickled my brain stem. Cathie handed me back my change along with a new frequent customer's card.

I slapped the change on the counter. "Apply it to this guy's bill for his aggravation. I'll see you tomorrow."

I swore she winked as she smiled goodbye. The impatient guy turned away, probably embarrassed at my generosity in the light of his rudeness.

I strode out feeling much more alive than the mass of extras for a zombie movie lolling around waiting for their fix.

While standing waiting for the 7:20 A.M. city bus, I pulled out the new Coffee Rewards card Cathie handed me. I knew my old card was short a few punch holes and yet she gave me both the discount and a new card. I turned it over and almost dropped my steaming hot Grande because I instinctively wanted to grab it with both hands like it was a winning lottery ticket.

There, written in delicate feminine swirls, was her name... and more importantly, her telephone number.

Revelation came.

She saw me.

* * *

Happy Valentine's Day!

How appropriate that my first post for this blog be on a day that honor's passionate love. Besides my lovely wife, Cathie, reading & storytelling are my other passionate loves.

This being St. Valentine's Day of 2013, let me tell you about my best friend, my girlfriend, wife, and lover. I am most fortunate and twice-blessed of all men to have found and married my dream girl.

I met her a few years back when she was 19 and I was 23. She was pregnant and engaged to one of my best friends who practically grew up in our house. I was stricken by her beauty and fell for her instantly. I made it a point to say nothing to anyone about this as I thought she was in love with my friend. As it turned out, she felt trapped in her situation and her family had pressured her to get married to the father of her baby. Understandable for 1977. (Later on I found out that she was attracted to me because I was so kind. But, said nothing because I gave no indication that I was interested in her as more than a friend.)

I was raised to be honorable and to respect everyone, especially family and friends. Even though her soon to be husband and I had fallen out of intimate friendship years earlier, I still thought of him as a brother. We both entered into marriages that were doomed from the start, which ended in divorce at about the same time. It took us another few years to find each other. It was like a fairy tale story, some say. All that matters to me is that we did... and still do.

I mentioned in my profile that one of my favorite movies right now is the classic Christmas movie, "It's a Wonderful Life." I did so because late last year, right after Christmas, I was reading a wonderful book for writers by Lisa Cron (@LisaCron on Twitter), WIRED FOR STORY - (Writer or not, please check it out if you want to understand why people are so enamored with stories, no matter which media or means brings them our way. I promise you, you won't be disappointed.) - and it changed my life. I am being serious here. I get no compensation from her book and she does not know I even exist... but, her insight led me to an epiphany for which I will be forever grateful.

Let me explain: Ms. Cron used George Bailey, the primary protagonist (hero) of this movie as an example for discovering your characters inner motivation as opposed to their outer motivation. As she explained the difference between these motivations for George Bailey, I saw a correlation to my own life.

All his life, George Bailey wanted to leave his small town and go out into the world and build grand buildings, making a name for himself. But, things just kept happening that blocked him from leaving, and he remained tied to the town working in his family business feeling like a loser, like he was losing out and his life was being drained away. He felt this way so strongly that he wished he had never been born... and, for you who know, this is the basis for the story. In the end, in the midst of a very dark moment, he had a revelation, his pivotal moment. He discovered that what he thought he wanted in life was not what he needed, and that what he had was what he had internally wanted and needed all of his life... to be unconditionally loved and respected.

I started out as a portrait painter and cartoonist. I wanted to move from Gary, Indiana where I was born and for the most part raised and make my self a name in Chicago or New York City. I wanted to be a famous artist. As things turned out, I had to help our family because of tough financial times by working in a local steel mill. I thought it was only going to be for a summer. Then, I would attend the art schools I had gotten scholarship offers from. An invitation letter from Uncle Sam via President Richard M. Nixon supplanted my plans for a few years. When I returned from the service, I found myself back in the steel mill... but, for just a summer. That summer lasted 30 years. All during that time I resented my situation. Like George, I  held it within myself, most of the time. After I retired I worked as a mule in a local lumber yard until it shut down because of a greater financial downturn in the home building business in the area. I have been unable to find suitable work in the last 5 plus years. Frustrated artist that I was, I took up my second love, painting pictures  in people's mind via words. This led me to Lisa's wonderful book. That allowed me to see that like George Bailey, what I thought I wanted was not what I craved inwardly in my true self. I wanted to be unconditionally loved and respected.

I have all that and more in my lovely wife, Cathie. God bless her... she loves me in spite of myself. Knowing this I can now pass from this earth a complete human being. Should I never publish another story, or get acclaim for another work of visual art or any other accolade in this life, I lack for nothing. Her love has made me whole. I tell her and everyone else proudly that next to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Cathie is the greatest blessing in my life.

I know this is a long post... and, I thank you for reading it this far.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone, and I pray you all find what I have found in my best friend, lover, and mate.