Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Day After

I remember the sky the most the day after we sat in the hallway and sang our hearts out.

It was red....but the air wasn't hot. The sun was as bright as I've ever seen it, but it didn't hurt to look at it. I couldn't understand why that could be, but I didn't question it because so much had happened while we had fun inside.

The land was littered with branches, pine needles, wood, glass, and various other elements of debris. The trees had been picked clean. Some had fallen and were lying across our street. Some people didn't have roofs. Some families had water in their house.

We were one of those families. When you walked along the carpet, wetness squished between your toes, and your footprints were left behind. It made this sloshing sound that, if you stepped correctly, could tap out rhythm to your favorite song.

We had to pull our carpet up, which left us with cement flooring and carpet tack. We had to be careful around those strips of wood for they had tiny nails sticking up.

It was a new world. A sudden devastation I didn't understand. And it had a name. I thought that was odd, but at least when grown-ups spoke about the event, I knew what they were talking about.

Hurricane Alicia.

She came without consideration for us. She came without mercy. She came without slowing.

And she taught me a very valuable lesson....

Your life is not always in your control. Bad things do happen, and they can happen to you. And sometimes, the world needs a cleansing to remind us of that.

After that event, I told God I understood. That life was fleeting. That all that mattered was loving your fellow man. And I hoped he would never send another Alicia again.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Rowin' A Boat (In The Hallway)

I wasn't allowed to go outside one particular summer day in August of 1983. I about had a heart attack.

But my mother consoled me by inviting every neighborhood kid over to our house. Imagine my elation at having a big party instead of having to play school with Maria and Wendy.

Don't mistake me, I adore my sisters, but sometimes they picked the stupidest things to play.

Anyway, my mother organized us in the hallway for some strange reason, but I didn't argue because it was a funny thing to do, and my friends didn't seem to mind.

We have this really long hallway. No windows, carpeted. I imagine there was about 20 of us sitting side by side. We were stretched all the way down. I thought this was the coolest, oddest, best concession for not being allowed outside.

My mother decided we should sing songs. The one I remember singing was "Row, Row, Row Your Boat". We sang it loud. We sang it soft. We sang it fast. We sang it slow. We sang it in cannon formation.

This was enjoyable even though I didn't understand the point. Usually, if I don't understand the point of doing something, I have a difficult time following through. Since I am an "almost third grader", I usually didn't do tasks I found irrelevant. (Like Math.)

But that day, I didn't question her, or fight her, or be generally stubborn.

I'm sure she was thankful.

Because the next day, when I was finally allowed oustide, I discovered why I rowed that boat....

Friday, March 14, 2014


After Hide-And-Seek, kickball became my favorite game to play.

We didn't have enough people to make two teams, but who cares about that? Kirk and Scotty would play regardless. Maria would only play when it wasn't hot.

UGH!!! So frustrating....

However, it forced me to find my favorite time of day....

Texas burns hot. It can singe your flesh and make you sweat in seconds. I didn't mind it. Maria did.

She frequently told me, "I don't sweat, I glisten."

I hated that statement. Abhorred it like any normal person abhors cooked spinach. (Maria also liked spinach.)

Thankfully, when the sun disappeared behind the pine trees the air grew cooler, the light was enough, and the lightning bugs didn't bite. This time of day was acceptable for kickball and passed Maria's test. Scotty and Kirk were always ready to play, so after supper we'd meet in my front yard.

We used the area in front of my parents' bedroom window as home, the spot where the corner of our sidewalk met the yard as first, the edge of our yard as second, and a newly planted Sweetgum tree as third. There were no outs (not yet), no winners, no losers. Just kickball.

I loved it.

Friday, January 10, 2014

My Bo Duke

I have returned from the Armpit, well-read, well-fed, and appropriately attired. I am also assured that should I fall into the lake, I will not drown for Mrs. Rife's swimming lessons were superb.

I spend the rest of my summer at Roxi's house or Alex's house. We sing, we dance, we fight. We talk, and talk, and talk. Those are good days.

Another family comes into the mix. I'm pretty sure they were already there, but this is my first memory of them.

We are sitting on a shag-carpeted floor, playing Monoply. The boy to my left is younger than me, and he is a lot of fun. The boy to my right is one year older, but we're in the same grade. He's blonde-headed and blue-eyed.

He is very cute. And reminds me of Bo Duke.

This should give you an indication of just how cute he is. Because, really....Bo Duke? He was a dream!

My heart is now engaged. Even more so when it becomes clear that he doesn't mind when I try to play dodgeball with him.

He's pretty much perfect.

So, he will be Bo. Simply because he is worthy of the comparison.