Archive for August, 2012

Post 74 – A Witch, Many Ghosts and the Wrong Kind of CRACK …

Posted in Family, nonfiction, relationships, true stories, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2012 by tenaciousbitch

After selling most of the furniture and such, I  spent half a dozen weekends over the course of five months emptying my parent’s house after Dad died in 2009*. My husband, Charlie, gave me a quizzical look when I snapped the photo below.

One of my teenaged hideaways…taken: May 2010.

Yes, it’s just a basement. A dirty concrete floor. Small, dusty windows. Nothing special, right?

“My parents bought this place when I was in diapers,”  I said with a sigh, “And I actually spent a good bit of time in this creepy cavern, believe it or not.”

My husband nodded and meandered into the adjacent room to help haul out Dad’s beer fridge, the last item to go…

When my brother, Ben, was in high school in the 70s, he played bass guitar in a band called White Lightening. They practiced in the spooky space pictured above, usually at night. When the wind was lashing about and rattling the windows, it was all the spookier.

Ben would often let me and my friends watch the band rehearse as long as we didn’t talk much. We were in Junior High at the time. Being a groupie, of sorts, for a ROCK BAND was a big deal – augmented by the occasional attendance of high schoolers was also WAY cool when you’re merely 13 or 14.

We all sat cross-legged on that cold, hard floor, listening to White Lightening play tunes from Supertramp, The Police, Peter Frampton, Cheap Trick and the like.

Then, there was the mysterious matter of Norma. She was beautiful girl with long dark hair, blue eyes and icy white skin. She was 19. She was dating Gary, the drummer. And she drank. A LOT. I watched her suck down seven rum and Cokes one night and never falter on the path out of the doom and gloom to the bathroom upstairs.

One particular autumn evening, a thunderstorm was crackling and booming in the distance. My blonde friend, Sophie, and I were swaying to the music along with Ben’s friend, Jenny, and a couple of her friends.

Jenny was 16. She was a tiny little thing, five feet tall, 100 pounds, sporting a brownish peasant blouse and a really cool pair of very tight, acid-washed Jordache jeans. I was saving my babysitting money for a pair very much like them at Anderson-Newcomb department store downtown.

“She’s a witch,” Jenny suddenly whispered beside me as she watched Norma sashay out of the basement, following the guys who were headed out back for a smoke.

“Who’s a witch?” I whispered back, trying not to laugh.

“Norma,” Jenny whispered, louder this time.

I studied Jenny for a moment, unsure how to respond.

“It’s true,” Jenny said defiantly, while twisting her long, red hair around her index finger. My friend, Betsy, actually went to her coven,” she said in a somber voice, her dark eyes widening in intensity. “She said it was pretty strange, sitting around a fire in the woods while chanting some sort of pagan prayer in Latin or something…”

“Really?” Sophie said with obvious sarcasm.

Ignoring Sophie, Jenny nodded again. “She said, they didn’t, you know, cast any spells or nothin’, just the prayers to the earth or the trees or some shit.”

“And where is this coven?” I asked.

Jenny shrugged, “Somewhere in Boone County, I think.”

I nodded, glancing sideways at Sophie, who grimaced and shook her head, which I took to mean she thought Jenny was full of shit.

“And witches can consume a lot of alcohol without getting trashed according to one of my sister’s books, All About Wicca.”

I nodded again, wondering if Jenny, herself, was trashed or bullshitting me, so she could laugh at my reaction. But her ardent expression didn’t change.

“I’m getting another beer. You want anything?”  Jenny asked, standing up.

I shook my head, taking a sip of my Stroh’s, stolen from my Dad’s stash. Occasionally, the other girls would share if I couldn’t snatch any myself. There was always a cooler of beer either in the corner or out back in the snow in winter.

On an extremely frosty night in December, all the girls were sitting on an old sleeping bag, huddled in wool blankets. It was so cold the guys fingers were too numb to play even with the heater set on HIGH, so they quit early. The band began packing up their equipment, and all the girls started filing out of the room when Norma pulled me aside.

“If he breaks up with you, don’t sweat it,” Norma said in a low voice – glancing warily at Sophie waiting for me by the door. “He’s not worth your time. He might claim to be a Christian, but he’s got a very dark soul,” Norma continued, her blue eyes darkening to a light shade of midnight.

“What’re you talking about? I don’t have a boyfriend.”

“Oh,” Norma said, a hint of surprise in her voice. “I guess you haven’t met him yet.”

“Is this part of…” I wasn’t sure how to ask Norma if her prediction or whatever was part of being a witch. If Jenny’s story was fabricated, I’d look like a complete idiot. “Jenny told me about, you know, Boone County.”

“Yeah,” Norma said, nodding. “Most people don’t get it, but the witches understand. I started having these awful dreams when I was 4 or 5 about things that haven’t happened yet, usually. You remember that bridge that collapsed in Point Pleasant like 10 years ago**?”

“I was really little, but I’ve heard people talk about it.”

“I kept dreaming about a white rabbit drowning in a car, a brown station wagon, when I was in second grade, and I’d wake up screaming.”

“That’s horrible.”

She nodded. “Then, all those people were killed on that bridge when I was 8, and I saw an interview with this woman whose little girl and her husband had died. She was holding her daughter’s toy rabbit that was all waterlogged and dirty. The brown station wagon was in the background.”

My spine tingled, and my arms rattled as if from a nervous shockwave.  Somehow I just knew that Norma was telling the truth, but my friends would never have believed it. I looked past Norma at Sophie who was beckoning me out of the frigid room.

Norma nodded. “Anyway, this guy, his name is Jarrod. I’ve had this dream several times, and I hear this sound like the crack of a baseball bat, so maybe you’ll meet him at a ball game or something, but I can’t see the source of the noise to be sure.”

And that was the last time I saw Norma. She and Gary broke up a week or so later. No one ever mentioned why, but I wondered if it was the whole witchy thing

Six months later, I was at a bowling alley in town one Friday night with a couple of friends when Ben walked in with several guys. The drinking age was 18 back in the day, and a few minutes later, Ben and his friends settled into a nearby table. Someone bought a pitcher of beer, and they all dove in :).

Ben introduced me to a guy named Jerry. He wasn’t a babe or anything, but he was cute in a Ritchie Cunningham sort of way. A couple weeks later, Jerry was hanging out with Ben at the house one night, and he asked me out.

I was doing homework at the kitchen table. Completely taken aback, I stared at him for a second.

“You know I’m only 14, right?”

Jerry was 17, a senior that fall.

“I know,” he said, smiling, sheepishly.

We dated for four months. He told me he loved me, one night when we were making out on a lumpy couch in his parents’ basement (always the basement, right? :))…I was stunned by his use of the BIG L WORD.

I didn’t say anything. He kept looking at me expectantly…then, covered the silence with a kiss.

He seemed more surprised than unsettled that I didn’t proclaim my mutual undying love. I liked him a lot…but LOVE? I didn’t FEEL anything when he sputtered those words most guys are terrified to say aloud, so I knew I couldn’t have been punctured by Cupid’s arrow.

On our next date, he tried to unzip my jeans. We were rolling around in a passionate embrace, our lips were locked again. But this time, we were in his bed. His parents were out of town.

I stood up and said, “Sorry, if you’re looking for a slut, then you’ll have to look elsewhere because I’m not going to have sex with you or anyone until I get married.”

At least that was plan when I was 14 …:)…and I was almost 18 before I shed my virginity..

Jerry’s dark eyes flattened in anger after my declaration of the no-sex clause. “I thought I’d earned at least 3rd base.”

I picked up my shoe and threw it at him. “Really?” I said opening my purse. I tossed a $20 bill on his bed. “I think that’ll cover our dinners at Taco Bell, Shoneys and Pizza Hut. I can give you the $5 for the movies after I babysit for Mrs. Connor this weekend.”

“I didn’t mean it like that,” he said, his eyes shifting nervously. “I meant since…”

And he never finished that thought. Guess he didn’t have the balls to lie and say it was because of all the MEANINGFUL nights we’d spent together.

“Whatever. Take me home.”

He broke up with me that night, sitting in his green Pontiac in front of my house. I bawled my eyes out for weeks. A couple months later, I met Krista, Gary’s new girlfriend. Funny thing, she went to Jerry’s church. Turned out, his full name was JARROD…

Norma’s warning ignited in my brain like petrol on a forest fire. “Oh, my God,” I mumbled, sitting on the same old sleeping bag, listening to the band play “I’m Just Waiting On A Friend”  by the Rolling Stones.

At that moment, I realized that being psychic was possible, and that maybe, my parents DIDN’T know everything…though Mom always said that her younger sister was very “sensitive”, which is SOUTHERN speak for clairvoyant…

Standing there, looking at the empty basement, I remember that moment led to something rather significant. Two years later I told Dad that I wasn’t going to the Catholic church anymore because I believed in more than the Catholic faith had to offer…

“What’re you talking about?” Dad sputtered.

“There’s a lot more to the universe than what’s in the bible.”

“What the hell does that mean?”

I couldn’t explain it to him then, and I don’t think I could really explain it to him now…

However, fast forward to that sad day in May of 2010…as I turned to leave the basement,  I felt bad news was slithering toward me, just seconds after the photo above was taken…and…

When I strolled into my parents’ backyard for the last time, my cell phone rang.

It was Ben, now almost 50 years old, and living in California. He called to tell me that he’d  canceled the sale of Mom and Dad’s house because of all the debt our younger brother, Danny, had racked up illegally in Dad’s name. On the verge of tears, Ben explained that despite Dad having paid off the mortgage in ’97, the house was now going into foreclosure because of Danny’s misdeeds.

For the full story on that whole mess, check out Post #17  –  http://tenaciousbitch.com/2011/05/26/and-along-came-an-urn/

At that moment, I wondered if my childhood home were cursed but dismissed the thought immediately because it wasn’t like the house somehow caused Danny to become a drug addict. But I think several events that OCCURRED in that house shoved Danny toward his beloved crack pipe…

But all that will be revealed in my upcoming memoir called Stop and Smell the Crazy, which I hope to finish in late September.

And there you have it. Norma didn’t get the details exactly right. However, bowling pins crashing against each other sounds very much like the CRACK of a baseball bat.

So, the next time someone sneers at you for taking a photo of something insignificant to THEM…remember the ghosts that might be milling about, cuz there are definitely quite a few stirring around the image above of my former teenaged hideaway…

OVER and OUT from ANTI-CRACK central… 🙂

TenaciousBITCH and company

*For an awesome story about something amazing my dad did as a kid, check out Post #43 at: http://tenaciousbitch.com/2011/12/19/blog-42-the-kindest-man-who-ever-lived/

** Point Pleasant is a small town in West Virginia about 70 miles northeast of my hometown. A bridge collapsed over the Ohio River between Point Pleasant and Kanauga City, West Virginia. in 1967.

© Tenacious Bitch/Kennedy Smith 2012

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Post 73 – Dragging Nana outta the closet…

Posted in nonfiction, true stories, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on August 13, 2012 by tenaciousbitch

Every single day I dread eating lunch with my Grandmother, to the point that I often manufacture the excuse of being on deadline for a project in order to eat at my desk (an entire, blissful floor away from her, and she NEVER travels upstairs).  And, yes, the guilt pangs have made huge skid marks on the floor of my conscience.

Unlike the salad days pre-dating Nana’s arrival, I can’t watch any of MY favorite TV shows like Rizzoli & Isles or Suits during lunch because of Nana’s constant jabbering. While I love hearing her stories again, as in more times than your average politician lies – like the riveting yarn about her resignation from a surgeon’s office in Macon (Georgia) in 1979. She walked out when a young, smart-assed doctor dumped his secretary’s work on her for the umpteenth time, tasks which were clearly NOT her responsibility as the head of Bookkeeping.

Alternatively, if she doesn’t regale me with regurgitated tales from her past, she’ll SIGH rather loudly signifying how much she HATES my choice in television viewing.  If you don’t change the channel, the volume and frequency of her nonverbal protests (the sighing), increases exponentially to the point you’re certain that she must be hyperventilating…:).

Nana’s Plan C involves sucking her teeth in order to destroy my TV fix instead. And she vacuums her teeth so loudly, that I now have permanent grooves in my palms from clenching my fists every time I hear that excruciatingly annoying sound. And, btw, boys and girls, I often get to enjoy THAT sound over the monitor in her room* as well. I think she does it when she’s alone so as to foster the idea that sucking her teeth is an unconscious habit and not intended to send me screaming into the idyllic pastures of madness.

That said, the FOOD CHANNEL is the only channel she’ll allow day or night if Dancing with the Stars or American Idol isn’t on – lest we risk the death knell sighing. Yesterday, some reality show about a restaurant in Harlem was on at lunchtime. The owner had fired the head chef because he was late all the time. They were also losing customers because he’d removed some very popular dishes off the menu, and replaced them with entrees that the owner, Nicki, considered really BLAH.

When Nicki introduced the new chef to the kitchen staff, Nana said, “Wow, there sure are a lot of black people working there.”

??? Yeah, ALL of the kitchen staff were African American. The only members of the Caucasian persuasion were the hostess and one of the waitresses. So what?

However, at first, I laughed and said, “Well, it is in Harlem.”

She obviously didn’t hear me because she mumbled, “Must’ve hired them in cheap.”

AGHAST, you say? Um, yes, and FUCKING furious with a capital F! “Nana, she hired that black guy because he had a MUCH better attitude than the white guy she fired, and everyone thought he was a better cook. What would Lena think if she’d heard you say that, or Jasmine?”

Lena is a lovely black woman in her late 70s and a very close friend of Nana’s whom she’s known since the 60s. Lena has been the secretary at Nana’s church in Georgia for as long as I can remember.

Jasmine is another friend of Nana’s, who is also black. They worked together for almost 20 years when Nana worked in the credit department at Macy’s.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, do you think Lena got her job at the church because she accepted a low salary?”

“Why, of course, not, she’s a hard worker.”

“Then, wouldn’t she be insulted by what you said about hiring black people for less money?”

“I didn’t mean it like that.”

“Then, how did you mean it?”

“Maybe, the salary was lower, so white people wouldn’t apply.”

I rolled my eyes. “Why would you assume the salary was crappy just because there were more black employees than white employees? The guy she fired was white.”

A blank look. “I was just making conversation.”

“I see. Well, next time, maybe you should think about what you’re saying before you offend one of my friends or yours.”

“But Lena and Jasmine live in Georgia,” Nana scoffed.

“What does that matter? I have friends who are black, like Lila, and Jenny Cole, whom you haven’t met, but still, and Charlie’s friend, Trexler, and-”

“I don’ t know what you’re getting all upset about. There’s no one here but you and me.”

“That’s not the point. You have friends who are black. You’re always nice to black people, strangers, in public to their face, but you say such awful things about blacks or other minorities when they’re not around, which in my mind, means you’re prejudiced.”

“I am NOT!” Nana shouted, her face flattened in anger.

“Then, why in God’s name would you think there were a lot of black employees at that restaurant because the salary was too low for white people as if black people didn’t deserve more money?”

“That’s not what I said.”

“But that’s what you implied, and I clearly remember when President Obama was running you said, I don’t want one of THEM people running our country?”

“I like President Obama. I’m voting for him this time.”

“Yeah, NOW…but that’s not how you felt four years ago.”

A frustrated grimace began to twist and grind upon Nana’s face. A second later, she looked away and said, “Excuse me, I have to go to the little girl’s room,” and then, in a voice heavy on sugar, she said, “Would you mind getting me another glass of tea?”

I bit my lip, knowing no matter how hard I tried, I still hadn’t drug Nana out of the bigotry closet where she’d been hiding for decades. “Sure, Nana, no problem.”

She waddled away into the bathroom.

Later, I threw darts at a photo of her that I had tacked up on my office wall for that very purpose about a month after she moved in with us…

SIDE NOTE: Earlier this morning, Bruno Bailey, one of my cats, unplugged Nana’s speaker while I was on the treadmill. I didn’t have the heart to discipline the poor lad

Bruno Bailey, one of Sasha’s babies

because I knew it was a choice between suicide and the beautiful silence we heard when the Food Channel stopped squawking after he cut the power. I’m glad he chose the latter because he is such a damned adorable kitty as evidence by the photo over….

.<<<<<<<<<<< there…. 🙂

OVER and out from the headquarters of NIX NANA FROM THE KKK…. 🙂

TENACIOUS BITCH and her TRUTH SAYING lap dogs and cats…

*When Nana moved in with us, I bought a set of baby monitors, so that if she falls or has a heart attack or something, she can call out for assistance. Therefore, the speaker for said monitor has become an obnoxious umbilical cord that I so love carrying around with me as I go about my day…however, on the bright side, I can hear her walker rumbling down the hallway toward the kitchen over the monitor well before she comes into view, which is convenient, makes it easier to run upstairs away from her when that butcher knife gets a little too close to my throat some days…

Post 72 -The PROOF is in the PUDDING…in praise of WORDPRESS… :)

Posted in memoir, nonfiction, true stories, Uncategorized, writing with tags , , , , , , , on August 11, 2012 by tenaciousbitch

My first two novels, which were both sci-fi, were universally rejected by 30-40 different publishers and agents between 2001 through the end of 2002.

However, at least with the second novel, I did receive a good bit of encouragement. Four or five editors and an agent that I met at a conference in New York all really liked the book, particularly, the main character, Decker Zane. Unfortunately, they didn’t know how to market it because, like The Hunger Games, DZ had a very dark undertone.

Zane centers around the search for a child molester, but the main character is a 15-year-old psychic, and I felt it would’ve fit best in the Young Adult/Sci-F Thriller genre. Those who liked the book were hesitant to designate DZ in the Young Adult category because of the mature subject matter, and they feared that an older demographic wouldn’t be interested since the protagonist was 15. Therefore, everyone passed, thinking my sci-fi thriller didn’t have a home they could sink their paycheck into (grin).

However, obviously, there have been very successful books with teenaged heroes/heroines that adults in their late 20s to late 40s and beyond will read, i.e. Harry Potter, the Twilight series, and The Hunger Games. However, please note, I don’t think my novel is anywhere as good as any of the Harry Potter tomes or The Hunger Games. I haven’t read Twilight, so I can’t comment on that particular franchise of characters. But since the lead characters are all under 20 (at the beginning), and there are similarities in tone and genre, they all have comparable marketing issues to consider.

However, in the spring of 2003, I began writing a rather spooky sci-fi narrative called Becoming Kate, but it just wasn’t working as a novel because it was a very visual tale about a man who gets struck by lightening during a thunderstorm and can suddenly see his girlfriend’s alter ego as a living, breathing person (a.k.a. Kate). This naturally comes as a bizarre shock in general, but also because no one else can see Kate but HIM. And he didn’t know that his girlfriend, Kristina, had a split personality.

ANYWAY, I got stuck at about page 50 for a couple of months, then decided to adapt it to a screenplay, and the story totally CLICKED. I started posting my loglines and such on Inktip.com, and quite a few Hollywood execs read Becoming Kate, including one of the producers of the TV version of Friday, the 13th. While there weren’t any offers to buy Becoming Kate, I kinda got hooked on screenwriting. After that…

One thing led to another, and five years later I’d written 6 or 7 scripts, all of which have done extremely well in competitions*. Additionally, the screenplay of Decker Zane, which I re-titled Xander Zane, garnered a Quarterfinalist Prize in Francis Ford Coppola’s contest, American Zoetrope. Talk about feeling vindicated after receiving 30+ REJECTIONS! 🙂

That said, after so many publishers declined to publish my work, it was really gratifying when my third script, Dying for Emily (originally titled Saving Halli Weaver) won 5th Place (out of close to 18,000 entries) in Writer’s Digest Competition in 2005, and NOW, I’ve also been granted 5 Stars for a number of my posts on here. If that weren’t awesome enough, according to my WP stats, my work has now been read in 45 (YES, FOURTY-FIVE) countries, not to mention a pretty large following in America as well!!!

Our overlord/cyber lord (cyber landlord) and patron saint of all who joyously blog upon this site, a.k.a.WordPress, has renewed my faith in the power of the written word and my belief that the PROOF is definitely in the PUDDING, no matter how fucked up said pudding might be :)!

Thank you, to everyone who has digested my cyber-venting/posts and to everyone at WordPress who has helped me get my writing OUT THERE…even if I’m not paid for it (yet – except for occasionally collaborating on a book or screenplay, i.e. my consulting work:) :)…!!!

And that’s all I have to say about that!

TENACIOUS Bitch and COMPANY~

*A complete list of my awards/accolades can be found on MY BIO page.

Post #71 – Can we REWIND, please?

Posted in fashion, memoir, nonfiction, true stories, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2012 by tenaciousbitch

Hello, all! By now, I assume you’ve gleaned from my posts that Nana Maude isn’t dripping with sweetness and/or logic, and she has NO FILTERS at all. In fact, she just prattles on all day long, her nonstop opinions tumbling into spoken words, willy nilly, without a thought as to HOW her comments might effect others. For those who are new to my Geriatric Hell, feel free to take a gander at:

https://tenaciousbitch.wordpress.com/2011/03/10/as-my-mother-lay-dying/

for a PERFECT example of Nana’s lack of sensitivity…

At any rate, dear readers, today I shall relay a story, which took place in July of 2009. We were at an engagement party in West Virginia*, for my friend, Erin, whom I’ve known since I was five years old.

Erin’s parents, Bonita and George, were very good friends of my parents. They’d all met in college during the 50s. When I was a kid, we saw Bonita and George at every wedding, funeral, tailgate party, and oftentimes at Christmas or Thanksgiving as well, and Mother played Bridge with Bonita and several other ladies every Wednesday at the country club for more than a decade before Mom passed.

Sounds like the backstory for a boring movie on Lifetime, doesn’t it? 🙂

Now that you have a sketch of the social genealogy going on here, please add Nana Maude to the scene.

Nana Maude and Dad at Erin’s Engagement Party in July 2008

Erin’s engagement party was in Bonita and George’s backyard. It was around 92 degrees (Fahrenheit) that day, and the humidity was around 62%. Dad, of course, had brought a cooler of Budweiser, which was parked beside him the whole time.

Upon arrival, we stepped out onto the back deck where everyone had gathered. George was grilling hamburgers, and Bonita was chatting with a group of older women. A moment later, Erin introduced us to several members of her fiance’s family.

“This is Kyle, my soon-to-be brother-in-law,” Erin said smiling and gesturing to a tall, handsome man with a beard, “And Carl’s Uncle Harvey,” she said, nodding toward a short, stocky man, sporting a goatee.

“Very nice to meet you both,” I said, shaking both their hands.

“Kyle, Harvey,” Dad said, smiling while also exchanging a handshake with Erin’s future relatives.

Hands at her side, Nana said, “Hello,” …quietly, without much enthusiasm. I rolled my eyes at Dad, who smiled…both of us knowing what was next. As soon as Kyle and Harvey wandered away after 75 seconds or so of polite chit chat, Nana mumbled, “Oh, those AWFUL beards.”

I held my breath as I searched the crowd for the two gentlemen she was denigrating. LUCKILY, Kyle and Harvey were about 20 feet away looking at Carl’s motorcycle on the driveway…out of earshot, THANK GOD.

Never mind this is the 21st Century where beards are a rather TAME choice in grooming compared to say, MOHAWKS, or whether they’re neatly trimmed or not, Nana is kinda surly on the subject of male facial hair.

Preparing ourselves for what we knew would be a LONG afternoon, Dad and I both let out a deep sigh. To-wit, Dad and I exchange a knowing smile, which Nana intercepted.

“What?” Nana asked…as if we’d ACTUALLY make Nana privy to the source of our amusement.

As FATE would have it, before I could answer, Erin waltzed over to introduce her future mother-in-law whose name was Abbey. She was an overweight, but very attractive woman in a white sundress with a bright turquoise-colored brocade at the hem.

I’d met Abbey several times the last couple of years. And I’d spent a good 30 minutes chatting with her at one of Erin’s bridal showers.

After the customary Nice to Meet You’s and the Nice to see you again, I noticed that same hint of disapproval flickering in Nana’s eyes. But this time, I wasn’t sure why because Abbey was a lovely woman.

After a bit of small talk with Abbey and Erin, Nana, Dad and I secured a small table near the deck, which had a large umbrella (i.e. seen in the photo above). It provided enough shade to keep the melting of our skin to a minimum.

As soon as we settled in, Dad popped the top on his first can of beer. Nana Maude glared at him, but, thank GOD, a tirade did not ensue. Um, yeah…she doesn’t take kindly to drinking either since she was raised Pentecostal, but my Irish Catholic father wasn’t about to mend his ways because of her at the age of 74… 🙂

Then, Nana leaned in toward me for the ZINGER of the day, “What do you think of the groom’s mother, that Abbey woman?”

“I think she’s really nice,” I said, taking a sip of my Michelob Ultra (which had also been hiding in Dad’s cooler). I sat back, just waiting for the look or a snide remark from Nana about my cerveza.

INSERT MENTAL EYE ROLL…

But she didn’t seem to notice. “Well, I think she looks like a scrub woman, Abbey does,” Nana said in a snooty tone.

Panicked, I looked around, but I didn’t see a trace of Abbey. However, I saw her sister, Grace, sitting about 18 inches away at the next table. Her dark, ANGRY eyes targeting Nana.

Oh, shit…I looked away, my face flushing hot, red embarrassment. But there was nothing I could do, short of conjuring up a time machine that would snap us up and REWIND to about 90 seconds ago whereupon, I could beseech Nana to think before she speaks for ONCE in her life and tailor her comments accordingly…

I glanced at Dad. His soft green eyes were splayed open wide. He stared, slack-jawed at Nana, as if waiting for some sort of retraction that never came.

With obvious annoyance, I said, “Abbey’s sister is right there, Nana.” I darted my eyes in Grace’s direction, hoping Nana would take the hint.

Nana just shrugged.

I shook my head. About 20 minutes later, Grace went inside, hopefully, heading for the loo and not in search of a voodoo doll with Nana’s name on it.

“Why did you say that about Abbey?” I asked in a loud whisper.

Nana buttoned up her lip as if suddenly encountering the smell of dog poo and said, “Look at her dress and those shoes.”

I scanned the crowd again, this time locating Abbey. She was sitting in the Gazebo talking to a tall, well-dressed woman in her 50s.

“Really, Nana?” I sputtered with a groan of exasperation. Abbey was wearing flip flops. They were patent leather and had a cluster of mother of pearl and turquoise inlays on the straps that matched the hem of her dress perfectly. “Those are Justin Carly sandals! They’re like $85 or $90 if they’re not on sale.”

Another shrug from Nana. “They’re still thongs and inappropriate for your son’s engagement party.”

Oi vey…it was 98 degrees that day when you factor in the humidity, and given that George, the bride’s father, was also wearing flip flops (a nice pair of Nike flip flops to be exact), WHO CARES! I daresay since George has been a Prosecutor in a neighboring town for 30 years that his choice in footwear doesn’t reduce his stature to that of a JANITOR.

“Nana, Abbey is a CPA. She started her own company about 20 years ago. She’s very successful, and she has like 28 employees.”

Dad nodded. “They did a great job on my taxes last year after Arnie died.”

Arnie had been dad’s accountant since the 70s.

“She’s your accountant, and she didn’t recognize you?” Nana snapped as if this further cemented Abbey’s less than favorable position on Nana’s ridiculous caste meter.

“I didn’t meet her. A junior accountant handles my account, Joe Anderson.”

“Oh,” Nana said, still grimacing.

At that moment, I made an important NOTE TO SELF: search the Internet RE plans to build a Time Machine… ASAP.

Why not? If there are instructions to build a PORSCHE or make bombs on the Internet…WHY NOT a device that would enable me to travel back in time, gag my Grandmother before she utters yet another narrow-minded INSULT to an unassuming, VERY NICE person, whom she doesn’t like for some stupid, superficial reason?

Nana told me later that she also didn’t like it that Abbey’s hair was in a ponytail! Egad…

And that, MY FRIENDS, is why I rarely invite Nana to social functions unless I have sleeping pills to grind up and sneak into her iced tea once we arrive…since I’ve yet to find a plausible design for my time machine**…. 🙂

Over and out from BUILD A TIME MACHINE CENTRAL…

~Tenacious Bitch and COMPANY

* I was born/raised in Huntington, West Virginia, and after short stints in Los Angeles and NYC, I moved to Columbus, Ohio, in the early 90s.

** NO, I haven’t actually drugged my Grandmother, but if anyone has some spare Ambien they’d like to donate to the cause, let me know (wink, wink)…