One of the most common emotions to plague humankind since the beginning of time is this little thing we like to call fear. Fear, whenever it raises its ugly head, can take on a myriad of different forms. There are just about as many different forms of fear as there are different types of people in the world, and we learn about these fears almost from infancy. As children, we had an innumerable list of things and situations of which we were afraid. Some of the most common fears we experienced were fears of the unknown and the unfamiliar. There were a million ways in our childhood this one little emotion could materialize, and in many cases it materialized in the form of the “man in the closet,” or more commonly, the “monster under the bed.” I believe it was Eleanor Roosevelt who said that “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.” While this may sound enlightened and philosophical, Mrs. Roosevelt never had a conversation with Mavis and Frances. If she did, she would soon learn that in Mavis and Frances’ case, there was one scary little incident which proved that fear itself had good reason to be present at the time, and the “monster under the bed” can be more than simply a child’s imagination.
One mild October weekend found Thomas Flynn and his two sons, TJ and Benny, out on a hunting trip. This left Bessie alone with the girls to catch up on household duties that had been neglected during the week in preparation for seeing the boys off. After a day filled with doing laundry, cleaning house and preparing dinner, everyone was exhausted. All the girls went to bed early to get some rest before getting up the next morning and starting the process again. Bessie, however, stayed up a little longer doing some sewing and mending some of the children’s school clothes. After a while, Bessie decided she had enough for one day, and decided to turn in for the night. Putting away her sewing and getting ready for bed, Bessie checked on the girls to see if they were resting comfortably. Satisfied that all of them were asleep, Bessie then went to her bedroom and crawled under the covers. After a long day like that day was, she was sure to enjoy the sleep that was fast approaching. What she didn’t realize, however, was just as sleep was coming to visit, she had another visitor who was staggering up the front steps of the house.
His name was Ottaway Keaton. In his early-to-mid 60’s, Ottaway was a very polite black man who lived almost one-half mile away from the Flynn’s. Standing at 5’10”, 165 pounds with a stubble-like beard, Ottaway could be seen down at the general store gossiping with the older men who sat around the outside table smoking their pipes or cigars almost every day. One of the favorite pastimes of that era was the sharing of stories of who-said-what, how the crops were doing, what was going on in the community, etc. Along with every other person at these gatherings, Ottaway shared his knowledge of the latest information along with the others. Yes, Ottaway was a regular fixture, and everyone said they thought highly of him, which given the era and culture of the day, was considered a high compliment for a black man.
The one downfall Ottaway had, however, was his weakness for alcohol. You see, Ottaway was an alcoholic and drank like a fish, especially in the evenings. Most people thought it was a good thing he didn’t smoke, because if he did, he would have blown himself up years ago due to the amount of alcohol he consumed. He was married to Evelina, a very headstrong and stern woman who made every attempt to keep him on the straight and narrow. Much to Evelina’s chagrin, however, this job was almost impossible. Some even said they thought he drank so much because that was the only way to be able to live with such a stern woman in the first place.
That night as Bessie quietly drifted off to sleep, she started dreaming of being in church, much like the service that was to be held Sunday. She saw the faces of people in the community, the old pews, the pianist banging out the current hymn, and the minister standing behind the pulpit. After a quick prayer, they started singing an old hymn that wasn’t heard much anymore, titled “O The Blood’s Gonna Sign My Name.” As she listened to the old familiar tune in her dream, the voices of the congregation would rise and fall with each note, almost sounding as if they were united as one voice. Throughout the hymn, however, she kept hearing a thud in her dream which couldn’t be explained as coming from anywhere in the recesses of her dream-like state. All of a sudden, she heard a very loud thud in the middle of the song that sounded as if someone had fallen over one of the pews. This thud was loud enough to snap her out her peaceful sleep only to realize someone had fallen over, only they had obviously not fallen over a pew. There was someone on the front porch, and they had fallen over one of the wooden rocking chairs!
Thinking one of the girls had gotten up during the night and hurt themselves, she jumped out of bed and rushed toward the front door, only to hear the familiar verses of the hymn she had just been dreaming about. She then realized she wasn’t dreaming, but was hearing Ottaway Keaton on her front porch singing that old hymn all the while being so drunk he could hardly stand. When she opened the door, she looked and saw Ottaway trying to get back onto his feet after falling. She looked at him and said, “Ottaway, what in tarnation are you doin’ on my porch this time o’ night? Are you drunk? Don’t you know Evelina’s probably worried sick about you and wonderin’ where you are?” All Otttaway could do was look at Bessie and say, “Mrs. Bessie, I’m so sorry to be a-botherin’ you, but I was lookin’ for Benny. Is he home?” Bessie breathed a deep breath, noting the smell of alcohol from that distance and said, “No, Ottaway, he’s not home. He’s gone huntin’ with his daddy. Now you need to get on back home and get to sleep!” “Yes ma’am, I will,” said Ottaway, “but do you by chance have a match I could borrow?” Bessie hastily replied, “Absolutely not! You don’t need a match in your condition right now, you might catch yourself on fire or something. What do you need a match for anyway? Now get going before Evelina starts looking for you!”
With that, Ottaway decided it would be best to at least get off the porch. “Yes, Mrs. Bessie, I’ll be leavin’ now. You take care, y’hear?” “Goodnight, Ottaway,” Bessie said as she closed the door behind her, wondering if Ottaway would really make it home before running into some fallen tree, or falling into a ditch and hurting himself. She was crawling back into bed when she heard Frances and Mavis frantically call for her. Bessie jumped out of bed and walked to their room. As she opened the door, she saw both children sitting up in bed with a worried look on their face. “Girls, what’s the matter?” she asked, noticing how scared they both looked. “There’s something bumping under the floor, mama!” Bessie raised an eyebrow and wondered if they both weren’t having a bad dream. “Now girls, you know there ain’t nothing’ bumpin’ under the floor. You both were havin’ a bad dream. Now go back to sleep.” If she thought this would ease their minds, Bessie was wrong. “No, mama, we heard it clear as a bell,” Mavis said. “There’s somethin’ under there.” Just as Bessie was about to tell them nothing was there again and put them back to sleep, she heard it too. The was a small thud sound coming from under the floor as if an animal had gotten caught in something and was trying to get free. She looked at Mavis and Frances and said, “You girls stay here, and I’ll see what it is. It’s probably nothing but a stray dog or somethin’.” Bessie went outside to check to see what was making such a noise late at night, and as she looked under the house by the bedroom the sound was coming from, all she could do was roll her eyes and shake her head. All of a sudden she screamed, “Ottaway, get the heck out from under that house! You’ve done woke the girls up and scared ‘em!”
Ottaway crawled from underneath the house like a scolded child. Once he had emerged, he looked at Bessie with a long face and said, “I’m sorry, Mrs. Bessie. I don’t right recollect how I got under there, all I was doin’ was lookin’ for a match.” By this point, Bessie had heard enough out of this drunk man for one night. “Look here, Ottaway, I’m gonna say this only one more time. You get your hind-parts back home to Evelina and don’t let me catch you coming around here in the dead o’ night no more! You’re drunk as a skunk. Now get!”
“Yes ma’am, I’m a goin’. I’m so sorry to had woke you up, Mrs. Bessie,” Ottaway said. By this time Bessie was ready to carry Ottaway home herself and tell Evelina exactly what he had done. Not being able to leave the children, however, she said to Ottaway, “Look, you’ve already woke Frances and Mavis, it’s a wonder the rest of the girls are still asleep. You get down that road right now and don’t come back ‘till you’ve sobered up!” Realizing he needed to go, Ottaway looked at Bessie and said, “Yes ma’am, I’m a goin’. I’m so sorry.” He started walking toward the road, and Bessie went inside to calm Mavis and Frances. When she reached the children’s bedroom, she told them Ottaway was drunk under the house, but he was gone now. The bumping they heard was Ottaway bumping his head when he was trying to stand up. Having settled them down again to get them to sleep, Bessie went back to her bedroom and crawled back under her covers.
No one is really sure what happened after Ottaway left, but after about thirty minutes, Mavis and Frances awoke to the sound of something scraping around in the old cast iron wash-pot by the house. This wash-pot resembled more of a witch’s cauldron you would see in children’s storybooks than anything else. Bessie used it for canning vegetables, and other things one typically did in those days. Frances got up and looked out the window in the direction of the wash-pot to see what was making such a noise. There in the moonlight, she saw that Ottaway had returned, and this time he was standing there trying to figure out why he couldn’t get the water to boil. The fact that there was no water in the pot and no fire underneath to begin with would make sense to most sober people, but to someone as inebriated as Ottaway, it just didn’t make sense why it wouldn’t work for him. Frances leaned back and said to Mavis, “Ottaway’s back, and this time he thinks he’s cookin’ somethin’ in the wash-pot. We’d better go tell mama he’s back.” Mavis replied, “No, I think we’d better let mama sleep. She’s done told Ottaway to go on home, if we wake her up now, she’s sure to be mad. Just let her sleep, and he’ll go away on his own.” “No, I think we ought to tell mama,” Frances said. Mavis replied, “No, if we go wake mama up, she’ll be mad at us for still bein’ awake. You know he’s harmless, he’ll go home in a minute.” Seeing some truth in Mavis’ argument, Frances went back to her bed, but neither of them slept until they knew for sure Ottaway was headed home for the night.
After a while, things quieted down outside, and neither Mavis nor Frances saw any sign of Ottaway. It seemed reasonable that the coast was clear to let their guard down and go back to sleep. With Mavis in her bed and Frances in hers, both girls pulled the covers up to their chins and started to peacefully fall into a restful sleep.
All of sudden they were startled awake by the loud banging at their window. Both of them jumped simultaneously out of their beds screaming, thinking something was after them. As they were cowering towards the door, they looked at the window to see the silhouette of a man trying to get in their room through the window. They both let out a blood-curdling scream, awaking everyone in the house. Bessie burst through the door to ask what in the world was going on, when she looked and saw the man in the window.
Bessie Flynn flew into a rage.
She stomped to the window and yelled, “Ottaway Keaton! Turn your tail this minute and get it back home! You’ve done woke up the whole house!” She stormed out of the bedroom into the kitchen, grabbed the broom by the door, and went outside. The next thing that Frances and Mavis saw was their mother beating Ottaway over the head with her broom, running him toward the road and toward home. When Bessie came back inside, she made sure the children were okay, put them all back to bed, and told them Ottaway wouldn’t bother them like that anymore. Everyone eventually went back to sleep, except for Mavis and Frances. After what had happened, they were too frightened to go to sleep and ended up staying awake until dawn.
The next day, Bessie was sitting on the front porch relaxing when she saw the figures of two people walking up the road. She watched as they got closer, and knew as soon as they passed the old magnolia tree in the curve that it was Ottaway, this time obviously sober, and Evelina, his wife. She stayed in her chair and kept watching. Ottaway and Evelina approached the porch, Ottaway with his hat in his hand as Bessie was looking at him with a cold glare in her eyes. She spoke first as she nodded and said, “G’ afternoon Ottaway, Mrs. Evelina, what can I do for you?” Ottaway was staring at the ground the entire time. Evelina spoke up and said, “Mrs. Bessie, I brought Ottaway up here this afternoon ‘cause he’s got a lot of apologizin’ to do. And I want to tell you how sorry I am he acted like such a fool last night.” Bessie let a small smile cross her face. “I wouldn’t give it a second thought, Mrs. Evelina. I know he was drunk and wasn’t in his right mind. But I do have to say it’s a good thing Thomas wasn’t here, or he’d probably have shot Ottaway before he realized who he was.”
“I would’a deserved it, too, Mrs. Bessie,” Ottaway said. “I don’t know why I acted like I did last night. Please forgive me. Bessie looked at Ottaway and said, “I hope you learned your lesson, Ottaway. You really need to quit all that drinking, it can’t do anything but bring you trouble. Poor Mrs. Evelina here probably worried herself half to death last night about you.” Ottaway looked at Evelina, who was giving him a look only a disapproving wife could give a husband who had infuriated her. “Yes, ma’am, she gave me a stern talkin’ to when I got home last night. I can assure you it won’t be happenin’ again.” Bessie and Evelina glanced knowingly at each other, then Bessie said, “I’m sure it won’t Ottaway. Let’s just forget about it. Anyhow, sometime last night you dropped this.” She pulled out a gold pocket watch she had found by the old wash-pot earlier that morning and deduced it was Ottaways. Ottaway saw it and a bright smile came over his face. “Why thank you ma’am,” he said. “That watch belonged to my granddaddy before he passed on. I don’t know what I’d do without it.” Bessie walked over to Ottaway and placed it in his hand. “Don’t worry, it’s safe and sound,” she said. With that, Bessie embraced both Evelina and Ottaway. She invited them in for coffee, and the rest of the visit that evening was enjoyable for everyone involved. Mavis and Frances were apprehensive at first, but once they discovered Ottaway was his usual self, they warmed up to him and soon forgot all about how, at least for one night, he made those scary things that go bump in the night all too real.
It’s that time of year again: the time of year we take a moment to think about what New Year’s resolutions we’d like to make, and try to map out a plan to make those resolutions a reality. Some of us are great at keeping our resolutions and seeing them become reality. Some of us, well… not so much.
Unfortunately, I happen to fall in the latter category. This past year, I had resolved to lose weight (which, by the way, seems to ALWAYS be at the top of my list), win the lottery, try to do my part to usher in an era of peace and goodwill, read more, write more, sharpen my brain and others that I can’t even begin to remember. While I did lose 50 pounds this past year by joining Weight Watchers, somehow I lost my willpower along the way and gained most of that back. Obviously, I didn’t win the lottery because I’m still working. Peace and goodwill? Let’s not even go there. I did start reading a little more, thanks in no small part to my partner, and I have written more, evidenced by this blog you’re now reading. Sharpen my brain? Well, let’s just say I still think someone is feeding me amnesia pills behind my back, but I can’t remember who it is that’s doing such a thing.
I’d like to say that this year will be different, although I’m sure I’ll be making some of the same resolutions. Number one, once again, is to lose weight. I’m going to try to redo all the things I learned in Weight Watchers all over again. Hopefully, I can remember where I put my willpower and get back into the groove. I resolve to try to write more. After all, the more I write, the more I enjoy it. The problem is coming up with topic ideas, and getting started. I’ll work on that, too.
One thing that jumped out at me after I came home today from work, is this idea of a “jar of awesome.” A friend of mine on facebook that recently published a picture on their timeline I just noticed today about an idea I found completely intriguing. They had the idea of taking a simple empty mason jar and filling it with notes of good things that happen to you during the year. Then, on New Year’s Eve, you empty the jar of the notes you have accumulated over the year and review all the good things that happened to you. If nothing else, it should definitely help keep things in perspective! Maybe, after reading about all the good things that happen to us during the year which I’m sure we’ll forget, we all would become more grateful for the year and the things we experienced in it.
As each of us decide what our personal resolutions for the next year will be (and admit it: you know you do it), why not give serious thought to the “jar of awesome?” You never know how it will enrich your life a years end!
Usually when I sit down to write something, I’m trying to write something comical in order to give the reader at least a chuckle for the day, if not a legitimate laugh.
But I don’t feel like laughing. Not today.
Today is a day full of sadness for me, and I’m sure for anyone who has seen the news.
After hearing about the news of this tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, I can’t begin to describe the sadness I feel for these innocent little children and their families. While I don’t have children myself, I have a niece and nephew who I love as though they were mine. When something like this happens, I can’t help but think of them and think how grateful I am to have them in my life, and how utterly devastated I would be if something like this happened to take them away from me. I’m sure if you’re reading this and have children in your life, you know what I’m talking about.
As I hear the news and read new reports coming out, I find myself thinking about these poor, innocent children whose lives ended before they really had a chance to begin. What hopes and dreams did their little imaginations have for their futures? Future firemen, presidents, astronauts, artists, all having their lives ending abruptly today. And what about their parents? All the hopes and dreams that their son or daughter would grow up to have full happy lives facing that devastating end today.
As much as my heart aches for those little children and their families, I can’t begin to fathom the utter pain and heartache they must be going through at this moment. The sadness, anger, hurt and a plethora of other emotions sweeping over them have to be too much to bear. I’m sure they’re replaying their little ones life all over again in their memories, thinking back to when they were born, when they took their first steps, uttered their first word; all those milestones in life we cherish as our children grow. They probably remember the first time they scraped their knee, cried over a small cut, felt the apprehension and fear of their first day of school, and looking into their fearful eyes and reassuring them that everything was going to be okay. They’re probably remembering the joy their little ones experienced as well. Those Christmases full of joy and excitement running to the tree to open their gifts, seeing what Santa brought them, playing with their friends in the playground, even things as simple as the joy on their faces as they ate a bowl of ice cream that sadly, they’ll never experience again.
For these families, there will be no Christmas this year. There will be no joy as they sit around the table for dinner. For these families right now, there is nothing but pain. It’s a pain no one should ever have to bear. Yet, as unspeakably horrible as this is, here these poor souls are having to live this nightmare.
Words cannot say how sorry I feel for those involved, and how utterly devastated I am for them. I pray that, somehow, they can find a tiny bit of peace tonight. I pray that, somehow, they can remember the love shared between them and their little one and hold on tight to that love. I pray that, somehow, there is a silver lining in all this for them that they can cling to.
I also pray for all of us tonight as well. That, even though we might have been untouched by this tragedy in our own lives, we can hold onto our loved ones extra long and extra tight tonight, knowing that they could be gone in an instant. I pray that we can show more love to those around us, even those we sometimes find unloveable. I pray that we all remember those little ones we lost today and their families, and say our own prayers tonight for their well-being.
As we muddle through these coming days, I’m sure various emotions of love, sympathy, anger and vengeance will all play a part in our psyche. More information will come out, more pieces in the puzzle of why this happened will be put together and more pundits will talk about what could have been done to prevent it from happening. Even so, let us not forget the most important thing in all this is to be there for the families of the victims, showing love to them and those around us. In a world such as ours that is as messed up as it seems to be, it still has the hope of love. We can’t change what has happened, but we can go from this point forward knowing our life, however long it may be, is short. In this short span, let’s fill it with as much love and understanding for others as we can!
Honestly, I have to admit that I’ve enjoyed watching the political banter this year in the American elections. I even engaged in a friendly little “war” with a certain friend of mine, bolstering all the wonderful things about a particular candidate she was vehemently opposed to voting for just to watch her reaction and enjoying seeing her have, what my Grandmother would call, a “hissy fit.” Never having been one to actively engage in serious political thought (well, American politics anyway) I found it quite interesting to see how people felt about candidates, issues, ideologies and practices. Some of the things people said were awe-inspiring, and some were, well – not. In any case, it was interesting to me so see how people based their opinions on various issues.
Since the election season started, it seems we’ve been continually bombarded with messages about certain issues and how it affects our lives, as well as how certain politicians feel about those issues. Whether it be abortion, gay marriage, rape, or even whether you should build a ballpark or not, it seems like everyone has a long list of opinions on an even longer list of subjects.
Much like previous political seasons, we’ve seen many people espouse their support for a particular candidate based on their personal faith. As a person of faith myself, I have to admit that I’ve often found it refreshing when someone took their beliefs seriously enough to consider how it may play a role in their decision-making process in political candidates, or in any other aspect of their life. Too often, we find people in our society concerned about only themselves, with no regard for how their actions or decisions affect society as a whole. To find people concerned about “the bigger picture” is definitely a breath of fresh air.
As much as I appreciate the role faith plays in a person’s decision-making process, there comes a point where I begin to feel uncomfortable with it. We’ve seen an increasing number of people lately who would advocate the belief that God would endorse one particular candidate over another. While I understand that someone might feel compelled to believe one person to be better suited to some sort of political office based on what they believe about God, I think to blatantly state that God wants this or that person to be President, Governor, etc because of what amounts to their personal belief system is pushing the envelope a bit too much.
Let’s look at a couple of examples. I’ve heard quite a few people go on complete rants about how President Obama is a socialist, a Muslim, a tax-and-spend evil liberal, and all sorts of other labels you could throw at a person. Some of these people have even gone so far as to try to accuse him of being the Anti-Christ and tried to use the Bible to support their view. Surely, God would never support such an evil person to lead a country. Therefore, in their view, things are about to get a lot worse for everyone in the United States.
Others have attacked certain social issues such as gay marriage, stating how anti-Biblical they believe it to be. I personally have heard of more than one person sermonizing until they’re blue in the face about how God is going to destroy their country for letting this happen.
On the other side of the coin, I have heard people of the same faith admonish President Obama as a Christian, someone who believes in a democratic way of government, and all other kinds of positive adjectives one could use to describe a person. In their view, God would surely bless him and their nation. In the matter of gay marriage, you’ll find others who will tell you that they believe God to bless unions based on love, regardless of the gender of those entering into those unions.
So which side is right? Is one side right over the other, or is there a sense of right on both sides of the issues? Is there really a black-and-white answer to all these questions in our faith that would dictate how these issues should be dealt with? I’m of the opinion that, no, there isn’t one right answer to any of these issues, most especially when you attempt to apply them to politics.
To me, admonishing faith as the answer to a political quandary is about as dangerous as letting a balloon loose in a needle factory. No matter where you are, you’re bound to get pricked. While using my faith to decide on my personal stance on an issue or a political candidate is one thing, it’s quite another to attempt to use it to sway others to hold my same opinions.
My faith is a personal thing. It is my guidepost for my own personal relationship with God, not a guidepost for what I believe another’s relationship with God should be. Having said that, I’ve always believed that if I feel God is leading me to support a certain candidate or feel a certain way about an issue, that is between God and myself. It is the same for others as well: I shouldn’t have any place to say what I believe God should be leading another person to feel or do.
I’ve come across people on those sides of issues lately that believe God is leading them in the direction they are leaning. Both sides firmly believe their side is the correct side because “God told them it was.” This leads me to believe one of three scenarios: One, God is severely schizophrenic; two, someone is wrong as to what they believe God is saying; or three, they are using their religion to mask their prejudice. Since the first option is the most unlikely scenario to a believer, I would most likely say most people would fall within the second and third scenarios.
Let’s be brutally honest here, however. Vast majorities of people out there use their faith to mask their prejudice. Why do I feel this way? I think if someone truly believes God is leading them to certain position, there wouldn’t be as much strife and contention among others in order to get there. Maybe I’m wrong, but I believe if a person felt as if God genuinely led them, their journey to that place wouldn’t be a continual fight with others of supposedly the same faith. Why do I feel most use religion to mask their prejudice? It could possibly be because they personally don’t believe in an idea, and their selfishness doesn’t want anyone else to believe in it either. They may be fearful of something they don’t understand, and use religion to mask that fear.
Regardless of why a person believes what they do, each of us has a responsibility to respect another’s spiritual journey and core set of beliefs. Simply because a person believes same-sex marriage is wrong, I don’t believe it gives another person the right to force another to believe the same thing. This is why I’m continually dumbfounded when people professing faith are so adamantly opposed to same-sex marriage. I’ve heard arguments about how they believe it to be wrong, and how it will undermine the fabric of traditional marriage. I, however, believe that if two people genuinely love each other they should be allowed to marry regardless of their gender. After all, it is a commitment between these two people, not others. As to it undermining traditional marriage, I think traditional marriage itself has done plenty to undermine itself on plenty of occasions, thank you very much. Besides… if two people of the same sex marrying each other somehow undermine your traditional marriage, your marriage is obviously nothing more than a sham, and a pitiful excuse of one.
There are those who proclaim that America was founded on Christian principles. That’s all well and good. But if I remember my history lessons correctly, it was also founded on the principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Liberty to decide for oneself such personal issues as who to marry, who to vote for, or any other highly personal life choice should be able to be made freely, without fear of oppression or retaliation by those who claim to be their spiritual brothers and sisters. Who knows… maybe I’m wrong in my thinking. If I am, however, let it be God to reveal it to me, not an angry mob who somehow is so weak in their own faith the slightest thing different from their ideologies could spiritually destroy them. If there is a different way for me to believe, then show me in how you live, not in what you say.
Lately, I’ve been having this recurring dream. It’s not exactly the same dream each time, however, but moreso the same theme in the dream. It involves one of my deceased aunts who passed away of Alzheimer’s disease about five years ago. It’s hard to remember exact details in each episode of having the dream, but most of what I remember is the feelings associated with the images conjured up in my mind.
Aunt Belle, one my Grandmother’s sisters, passed away in what most people in my family consider less than ideal circumstances. In her last couple of years, she was confined to a nursing home after breaking a hip. We believed she would only be there for rehabilitation and would return home afterwards. Her son, it seemed, had other plans. To make a long story short, Aunt Belle never received the care any of the rest of her extended family believed she was entitled to, and eventually passed away there from her worsening Alzheimer’s. During the last year of her life, family relations became strained, and her son and his wife would forbid certain family members from visiting her. To this day, relations between them and rest of the family are, shall we say, strained.
I’ve been having dreams lately where she would show up looking for us. Why she’s looking for her family in these dreams, I’m not exactly sure. I do know, however, that each time she’s looking for us, there is a deeply depressing and heavy cloud that seems to fall over the dream. Most times I remember having this dream we’re out in a forest on a foggy night with little to no moonlight. I remember that I’m reaching out to help her, but she can’t see me and doesn’t know I’m there. At times, other members of the extended family (cousins, nieces, nephews, sisters, etc) are there, but my memory plays tricks on me as to if they are also reaching out to her or what exactly they’re doing in the dream; I do, however, know they’re sometimes there.
Unfortunately, there’s never a resolution to the dream. I’ll either wake up or all of a sudden start dreaming something else. I’ve never been one to put any confidence into dreams having meaning, but I can’t help but be overly curious if this one actually does have some meaning, and what it might possibly be. Sometimes when I’m awake during the day and think about it, I’ll find myself start to cry from the same dark feeling overtaking me.
So for those of you reading this… have you ever had any experiences with dreams such as this? How did you feel, and did you ever find a resolution? Do you believe dreams have meanings? If so, what do you think the meaning to this dream is? I’m very interested to hear about what you think.
Wilmington drivers. Those two words have been known to strike fear into the hearts of even some of the most experienced drivers. If you have to ask why, well my dear, you’ve obviously never driven on my streets, or ridden with me. We’ve been accused of being one of the most dangerous towns in North Carolina for driving a motor vehicle. I’m not exactly sure why this is, but I’m sure someone out there would be more than happy to give you a long list of reasons why this might be.
I freely admit that I’m not the best driver in the world. I’ve had numerous people express their fears to me about having to be a passenger of a car where I’m behind the wheel. I, personally, have never been afraid of my own driving. Who knows, maybe I have nerves of steel. David will usually tell people when asked about how he handles my driving, “Oh I don’t mind it at all; I actually LOVE roller coasters!” I remember someone once asking after riding with me if I liked NASCAR, and two very dear friends of mine refuse to get in the car with me now that they have a child.
Even with my evident lack of skill, I have to wonder about this new phenomenon that is taking place on the roads of Wilmington lately. It isn’t the licensed motorists per se, but a movable obstacle I’ve begun to see almost everyday – people driving hoverounds in the middle of the street!
You remember the ones I’m talking about – those motorized wheelchairs that were once advertised on television during almost every commercial break with some senior citizen exclaiming that “it didn’t cost me a penny!” They even had a series of commercials with these two old ladies, Joy and Bernice, who traveled the world in their hoverounds. Heck, they even went to the Grand Canyon!
Well, it seems a few people around town have taken to imitating Joy and Bernice, and letting their hoverounds take them anywhere they want to go. Unfortunately, they’re using the streets of Wilmington to get there. After what I can only imagine is the adrenaline rush after watching a “Fast and Furious” marathon on pay per view, these Joy and Bernice wannabe’s are out in full force in the middle of the streets. I’m not talking about quiet residential neighborhood roads… I’m talking major thoroughfares such as Carolina Beach Road, Shipyard Boulevard, and other three-to-six lane roads with heavy traffic!
There is one man in his hoveround I’ve almost run over on more than one occasion. I’m sure you’ve seen him – scraggly hair and beard, potbelly, baseball cap, and no legs. He’s usually driving down the middle lane of the street – THE WRONG WAY. What really gets me, other than the fact that he’s in the freaking middle of the highway, is his expression like I’VE done something wrong whenever I almost run over him, or blow the horn at him to get his Thelma-and-Louise-wannabe-rear-end out of the road. One day he’s not going to be so lucky, but I hope I’m not around to see it.
I’ve also seen his female counterpart crossing six lanes of traffic on her hoveround during rush hour traffic to get to, of all places, McDonalds. Maybe you’ve seen her as well – long stringy blond hair, all of three hundred pounds, missing most of her teeth, always wearing what looks to be a tea party shirt with a large antenna on the back of her chair with some kind of flag. One thing I can say about Big Bertha is this – the woman has determination! There is obviously nothing that can stand between this woman and her Big Mac, because no matter how heavy the traffic is at rush hour, she is there- defying anyone to get in her way.
Obviously, my first question is – is this legal? Can these people operate these things on the highway? If so, why would you put your life in jeopardy by being in the middle of the road with these things? Secondly, if it isn’t legal, why aren’t the police handing out tickets to these reckless rascal rebels? Perhaps the world will never know.
While I may ask what might be wrong with these people, it could be nothing more than their mental status. Heck, we might have an epidemic of crazy hoveround owners. Could it be something in the electrical system that has affected their brains? Could it be the fumes from oiling the wheels that has given them a certain lack of good judgment? Who knows. What I do know, however, is that they seem to be driving me crazy right along with them. I suppose I should count myself lucky they aren’t driving actual cars. As bad as Wilmington drivers might be, it could possibly be a lot worse with these poor people behind the wheel.