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Category Archives: Memory Monday

Memories from my life.

Memory Monday-Cat Puke and New Cars

Memory Monday-Cat Puke and New Cars

Memory Monday-It’s a thing…

Some friends of mine were moving across the country and couldn’t keep their cat. They asked me for help to find it a home, and I talked Mom into taking the cat. I still lived at home then and was working midnights. I told my friends I would come pick up the cat after I got off work the morning they were due to leave. They agreed to save a box to haul the cat in, and they swore the cat had been spayed.

I arrived at my friends’ apartment and watched while they packed and loaded the last few things into their car. As I stood there watching, I noticed the cat was very vocal and very um…affectionate. Having lived on a farm all my life, I was sure the cat not only wasn’t spayed as promised, but was currently in heat.

“Are ya’ll sure that cat has been spayed?” I ask.

“Yes. Absolutely.” My friend looked me in the eye and lied.

“Really? Because I’m about 100% sure she’s in heat.”

“Nope, she’s spayed. She’s just upset and knows something is going on.”

“Where’s the box to put her in?”

“Well, we had to use all of our boxes, but we take her for rides in the car all the time. Oh, and here’s some medicine for her ears. She has ear mites, but this will take care of them.”

There I stood at 9a.m. with a group of liars who were minutes away from getting in their car and leaving. In that moment, I knew four things:

-My friends sucked.

-The cat was in heat.

-My friends didn’t take that cat for car rides all the time.

-If I left without the cat so would they.

Everything in me screamed “This is a bad idea!”, but I put the cat in my car and started the hour long drive home.

Half way there, the cat started to make a gagging sound. My car was about two years old at that point and was my first new car; purchased with my own, hard-earned money. The cat puked all over the front seat and I was pissed. I pulled into a parking lot and tossed the cat out of the car. I used every spare napkin in the glove box to clean my seat as best as I could. The seats were cloth and with no water on hand, it was the best I could do. I got back in my car to drive away with every intention of leaving the cat on the parking lot. Looking to make sure the cat was still sitting where it landed when I ushered her out of the car, I realized I was in a church parking lot. While I won’t claim to be an overly religious person, there was something that seemed inherently wrong about leaving a cat on a church parking lot in a fit of anger over a car seat. However, I learned I’m OK with cursing on a church parking lot as I mumbled every four letter word I knew as I put the cat back in my car.

Five miles away from home, the cat started gagging again. The narrow country road didn’t offer a place for me to pull over so I guided my car as far off the road as I could. Again, I was too late and the poor cat puked in my car. Repeating the scene from before, I tossed the cat out of the car and she crawled under the car. I was out of napkins, but found a pair of gloves in my jacket pocket to wipe my seat down again. With my mind made up to leave the pukey cat beside the road, I was going to climb back into my car. I looked for her and found she was still under my car. While I was beyond pissed at the little furball, I couldn’t pull out and risk hurting her.

I get down on the ground and try to coax the cat out from under my car. She wouldn’t come anywhere near me and I can’t say I blamed her since I had tossed her out of the car twice. I imagine in her little cat-brain, I was somehow responsible for the puking too. Finally, a loud truck came down the road and as it went around my car, it scared her. She ran straight toward me and I scooped her up.

We make it the last five miles without further incident. Mom greeted me from the porch and asked about the cat. I didn’t even say hello to Mom, I hand her the ear drops and said, “The stupid cat is in the car. She puked in my car. Twice! She has ear mites. Give her that medicine three times a day. They didn’t have a box for her. Oh, and she’s in heat. I’m going to bed.”

When I got up later that afternoon, Mom had scrubbed my car seat for me. She tried to put the cat up as best she could (we didn’t have indoor pets at that time) until we could get her to a vet to have her spayed. That plan didn’t work out very well either and a few months later, this darling cat gave us thirteen kittens. Yes, thirteen. My sister was allowed to keep one, Angel. The rest, including the stupid puking cat, were given away.

I wouldn’t go anywhere near a cat for years. Now I have four little darlings of my own. I clean up cat poop daily and cat puke occasionally. However, my cats are only allowed in the car if they are in a pet carrier…much easier to clean that way.

Memory Monday-Brett Gets Kidnapped

Memory Monday-It’s a thing…

Back in the Full House days at Granny’s, her door was open to everyone. Given most of the adults were living there because of a divorce, arguments weren’t uncommon.

Perhaps one of the ugliest divorces at the time was between Debbie and her first husband, Eddie. After Debbie moved back into Granny’s house, Eddie, who was living in Florida, moved back to this area as well. He had limited visitations with my cousin Brett. Still, he tormented Debbie and often threatened to kidnap Brett.

One Saturday, Granny and I were outside under the shade tree when Eddie arrived for a visit. Brett was still in the house, and Granny told Eddie he could go inside. A few minutes later, Eddie ran out of the house carrying Brett. Debbie was close behind him, screaming for help. Eddie tried to get in his car, but changed directions. Debbie was still in the front yard screaming. Grandpa tried to run out the door, but fell on the porch.

Eddie ran toward the branch and jumped across it. I guess he thought he could run to the main road. The next thing I remember was my mom bolting out the front door. She jumped over Grandpa and passed Debbie. Granny and I followed Mom. Mom crossed the foot bridge as Eddie passed it. She jumped off the bridge and tackled Eddie. He dropped Brett as he fell and Granny and I grabbed Brett. He cried and was saying, “I just want to see my Daddy.”

Eddie and Mom made it back to their feet. Eddie grabbed Mom and was shaking her while he yelled at her. My dad was also visiting that day too. He stopped to help Grandpa up, but he made it to Mom’s side about the same time Eddie started to hit Mom. I don’t remember my dad, who was twice as big as Eddie, hitting Eddie or anything. I remember Dad shoving Eddie back toward his car and telling him to leave.

After Eddie left and everything calmed down, the grown-ups were talking about the day’s events. The question they pondered the most was why Eddie didn’t get in his car and drive away.

Granny finally said, “He couldn’t. I took his keys. He left the car running and the door open. I knew what he was going to try, so I took his keys. When we brought Brett back to the house, I sent him and Marsha inside and I put his keys back in the car then.”

That was Granny. Observant. Calm. Smart.

Memory Monday-House Fire

Memory Monday-It’s a thing…

If I remember correctly, a few months after the barn burned, we also had a small house fire. During full house years, we used every available room and space in the house. We set up a twin size bed in the utility room which took up almost the entire room. Because of the bed, the door couldn’t be fully opened. Some of us were doubled up in queen size beds to make sure there was enough room for everyone. The two rooms upstairs were full as well.

For entertainment, we all swapped books and most of the bedrooms had some sort of radio. We had two TVs in the house; one floor model in the living room and a smaller table top TV upstairs. We were so far out in the country; we didn’t have cable TV and satellite TV required a lot of money and a lot of space because the dishes were huge in the early 80s.

One day, some of us were in the kitchen having lunch. Beverly and Bonnie had been upstairs watching TV before they came to the kitchen for lunch. While we were sitting there, Bonnie said she smelled smoke and followed the scent to the stairs. She ran up the steps and yelled out that the little TV was on fire. With the barn burning still fresh in our minds, all the adults took off running up the stairs.

I grabbed Brett, and half dragged him out the front door. I hurried him out to the little bridge away from the house to wait. After a fire safety lesson at school, I talked to my mom about a safe meeting point and we decided the bridge would be the best place. Brett and I waited to see what would happen.

Finally, Mom came and told us we could go back inside. Bonnie made it to the TV first and with some quick thinking, she managed to grab the TV to toss it out the window. Thankfully, she wasn’t hurt in the process. Other than a few melted spots on the linoleum, the house was undamaged. From that point on, we didn’t leave anything plugged in upstairs.

 

 

Memory Monday-Barn Burning

Memory Monday-Barn Burning

Memory Monday-It’s a thing…

I’m not talking about the William Faulkner story Barn Burning today. You should read Faulkner’s story, but since you’re here right now anyway, read my story first.

Living on a small farm, we had a barn across the branch from the house. The barn housed some of our animal, stored farming equipment, and protected our hay. According to the adults in the house, the barn was the pinnacle of danger. To us kids, it was the coolest hang out spot ever. The barn was off limits to me as the youngest and only girl. The older boys wouldn’t let me tag along when they would go up into the hayloft. I’m sure it was because they would go up there to look at nudie magazines, smoke cigarettes, and cuss.

My grandfather passed away in June 1984. Later that same summer, I woke one night to the sounds screaming and yelling outside. An odd glow lit up my room, and I pulled back my curtain to look out my bedroom window to see what was going on outside. Across the dirt road and branch, our barn was burning. Bright, orange flames stretched toward the stars. The wood crackled, and the smell was a mix of burning wood and hay. I could see outlines of people running in and out of the light cast by the fire. It took me several minutes to realize aunts, uncle, and older cousins were running into the barn to save whatever they could carry out.  I don’t remember us losing any animals that night. Granny sold most of the larger animals after Grandpa’s death.

I remember everyone at the barn coming back to the house covered in soot, exhausted, thirsty, and devastated. There was no hope of the fire department making it us in time to save any part of the barn. While I’m sure a fire truck must have arrived at some point, I don’t remember one ever arriving.

Watching the burn and my family risk their lives is one of the top five most horrifying moments of my life. We didn’t have much, but they were fighting to save what we had. What was most horrifying was the knowledge that we lived so far away from help. We had to be our own firefighters, our own medical services, and even our own search and recovery team.

Memory Monday-Debbie Made Me Late for Alabama

In 2002, the country music group Alabama announced they were breaking up and their 2003 tour would be their farewell tour. For a fan like me who grew up on Alabama, this news was devastating. My earliest memories of music are of Alabama songs. Songs like Dixieland Delight, Old Flame, Feels So Right, Love in […]

Memory Monday-Helping in the Garden

Memory Monday-Helping in the Garden

Memory Monday-It’s a thing…

Growing up on a farm, I remember Grandpa had a garden behind our house and I remember riding on the tractor with him. You know right up on top of the wheel well which is without a doubt the safest place ever to put a kid. I also remember helping pick beans, tomatoes, and other stuff. I helped in the garden when I wanted to and as I pleased.

Yet, according to Mom, Grandpa was not always so easy going about his gardening help.

She said the fields I had always known as hayfields were cornfields when she was young. The corn was planted by hand at that time. She and her brothers and sisters would make holes in the ground for the corn seed. Once they made the hole and seeded it, they had to cover it and water it. All by hand. The fields are big and there were at least three if you count the area around Aunt Bessie’s house. I imagine it would have taken days to sow the fields.

Once the corn grew a couple feet tall, they had to go back through the pants and thin them out. This meant going back over the huge fields to pull up some of the plants planted few weeks prior. Mom said Grandpa told her and her siblings to pull up two stalks, skip one, and pull up two more. My mom, being the stubborn person she is, pulled all the stalks out of her row. When she told me this story, she laughed even though she got spanked for her efforts. She also had to replant the row she destroyed.

Gardening isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. This was especially true for my mom and her brothers and sisters when they were growing up. On another occasion, the family hoed weeds out of the smaller vegetable garden. Mom said Grandpa criticized the way my uncle Grady hoed. She remembered Grandpa saying something like: “If I couldn’t hoe weeds any better than that, I’d just go in the house.” Mom said Grady dropped the hoe where he stood, turned around, and went in the house. Uncle Grady refused to go help in the garden from then on.

Memory Monday-Smoking in the Outhouse

Memory Monday-Smoking in the Outhouse

Memory Monday-It’s a thing…

I think I’ve mentioned I used to use an outhouse when I was a little girl. We had running water in our house, but no bathroom. Grandpa and his friends remodeled the house in the early 1980s and added a bathroom. Until the remodel, we used an outhouse near the edge of the back yard. In case you don’t know what an outhouse is: it’s a permanent Port-a-Potty built over a deep hole in the ground where you do your business. Ours had a tall seat for the adults and a smaller, lower seat for the kids. We had a detached building we called the “pump house” where we took showers. The pump house got the name because it’s where our water pump is.

Going to the bathroom at night could be an adventure. Plus, I don’t even want to talk about the spiders! While I remember using the outhouse, other members of my family have better memories of the outhouse. Here’s a story told to me by my Aunt Sue:

“We used to go out to the outhouse and smoke. We thought we were hiding, but the smoke would roll out of the cracks between the boards. Grandma gave me a coffee can full of water one day when some of the other kids were in there smoking. I don’t even remember who was in there, but she gave me the can of water and told me to go throw it on the outhouse. She told me to pretend like I thought it was on fire. I did and as soon as I threw the can of water on the outhouse, I ran back to Grandma so they wouldn’t whip me. I knew Grandma would save me.”

I asked Sue if she knew the smoke came out of the cracks why she went out there to smoke when she was older. She laughed and said, “Well, I don’t know. We just did.”

I talked a little about not being able to tell if a memory is a true memory or built on hearing a story over and over in Kurt’s Motorcycle.  This is another great example. I remember hearing this story as a kid, but always thought it was my mother who threw the water on the outbuilding. I would have written this as my mother tossing the water on the outhouse if I hadn’t talked to Aunt Sue. Still, I enjoy hearing stories about my great grandparents since I never knew them. The “grandma” Aunt Sue was referring to would be my great-grandmother Nora Adkins.

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