Monday, August 8, 2016


     "Do you want  your Aunt Nell to cook some fried okra tonight?"  Uncle Ralph asked this question about 2:30 in the heat of the afternoon, while I was scraping weeds out of the okra and beans and tomatoes and anything else he'd chosen to grow that summer.  I figured I was earning me a trip out on the lake in his boat to catch some fish that Aunt Nell could also turn into a religious experience.  I didn't know I was placing my vote where supper choices were concerned. 

     "Yes sir, that'd be good."

     "Use 'Sir' when talking to your daddy.  I don't need that.  If  you want some fried okra, look on the porch, get a bucket and come back out here and pick some."

     Okra - for those not afraid of hot weather and home-grown anything- tastes like someone picked heaven, cooked it and served it up fried, boiled or pickled.  To this day I not only enjoy its taste but realize it's part of what makes me, well,,,,,ME.  It has much in common with the way I pronounce certain words and love hot weather. 

     I ran to the porch, grabbed a bucket and picked as much as I could.  "If it ain't as long as your middle finger, don't pick it"  he said.  I cheated several times and picked some way short.

     "That's enough for supper...go back there and wash off unless you and Alan are going  swimming after while..."   ("After" probably being pronounced "Atter" and Alan a reference to the cousin I spent most of my formative years following around on lakes and in woods and anywhere else he went.)  

     But before I made it to the shower, Aunt Nell stopped a shirtless me and screamed at her husband "PA!  You didn't tell him to wear a shirt before he went out and picked okra???!!!"  I had welts up and down my chest, stomach and back where I'd been picking.   As was par for the course, my dear uncle just laughed and said "Well, he won't do that again."  Okra, you see, has this fuzz on it that's very much akin to the  insulation we use to  secure our houses from the elements.  If you're not careful while picking it, you'll soon need a bath of Witch Hazel or Calamine Lotion (I vote for Witch Hazel because Calamine makes you look like you took a bath in Pepto Bismol)  I didn't care if acted like battery acid upon my skin.  A taste of okra is worth any hardship that you have to endure to get it on a plate.

     I see a lot of commercials these days dealing with "What do  I feed my kids??!".  There's great mention of chicken fingers because they're so easy..  The women that I grew up around would've said "chickens don't have fingers....what do you want for supper?"  I know times are different.  Both parents have to get out and make a living.  So I reckon 2:30 p.m.  inquisitions about "what do you want for supper?"  are as antique as turntables and VCR's.   This makes me sad...and also makes me want okra for supper....


Friday, August 5, 2016

Where you are and what you are........

Dear God, I hate the word "Settle."   It sounds like things didn't work out and, well, this is the best I could hope for. I'm beginning to believe that's NOT what "settle" means at all.   I had a long conversation yesterday with someone who's been dealt a hand she didn't ask for, but is quite content that, if this IS the final hand she's been dealt, she's ok with that because her life has been more than she could've ever hoped for.  MY hope is that it's not her final hand and she's here to tell me to quit taking life so seriously for many more years to come.  I get the feeling she wishes people would start treating her like HER instead of defining her by the battle she's fighting.  (Then there are others who need to quit pitting their own travails against hers, trying to compete in the "I've got it so hard department."  That's a one-sided pity party so just cut the crap, please.  Never, EVER will I understand the need for some folks to beg attention by bringing attention to the "daily unadulterated crap" that we all suffer.)

Back to the issue of "settling."  WHERE I am makes me happy.  A beautiful wife, a good old dog (who's slowing down considerably and I fear you'll soon be hearing me deal with her move on to wherever it is dogs go when they leave us.)   I married into a great family that loves me and treats me like their own. I want for little and the change of seasons (you know, from baseball into college football) keeps my simple needs met.  But realizing there's another side of me doesn't mean I've settled for married life and old dogs and sports.  It means that life is made more interesting because I have the perspective of being a working guy who finds more loose hair in the sink by the day....but is also governed by the very long-haired guy who really enjoys banging on stringed instruments and playing loud music and living on the road that exists on his inside.  Those who know me well can hear certain songs (an example of which is displayed below) and know "that's a Tim song."  They knew me when I aspired to be someone sharing that type of art with the world.  Now it's been deemed planet earth is better served by my life taking place between 9:00 and 5:00 so that I can take care of the people I love when they need it.  From here, I can better relate to nieces and nephews who are still exploring the thousands of options life has to offer.  If me living normal gives them the opportunity to explore EVERYTHING, I'll "settle" for that every day of the week and twice on Sunday.  Most importantly, from there I can fall asleep every night looking at the sweetest face God ever put on earth and listening to an old dog snore at our feet.  I've not "settled"  I won....
Now, for some "Tim music"