Honest Confusion Part II

Hello folks, let’s chat… I’m sitting in a hotel room in Waxahachie, TX, having just spoken at the Ellis County Cowgirl Church. I had a blast! We laughed, we stacked up stories, and we celebrated the joy of a Nekkid Faith. You can get a bit of that message in this week’s Southern Comfort. Right now, I need to hit send on the old newsletter here and try to get some shuteye so I can hit the road again in the a.m. So, here’s the thing…

Last week I told y’all how surprised my man was when I explained to him that some people are using words like “sick” and “bad” to describe something they actually think is good. Phil found this so interesting he even made a few attempts to incorporate the new lingo– but it was mostly for comedic value. The truth is, my down to earth solid as a rock fellow flat out doesn’t understand why folks don’t just say what they mean and mean what they say.

The good news is that Phil’s honest confusion has reminded me of another great story that was stacked up in the back of my mind about the challenge of communication. I hope you’ll enjoy it half as much as I do. Oh, and for the record, I’ll be cleaning up the dialogue just a tad bit by substituting a southern expression I learned from my own dear mama.

Meet Mr. Wallace. He’s a good friend of our family and a really funny fellow who is loved by everyone who has the privilege of knowing him. Mr. Wallace turned 85 a month or so back, but he’s still going strong, and he continues to light up a room with his great big personality.

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One day Mr. Wallace and his sweet wife had gone to the Country Club for lunch. And, as is his custom, Mr. Wallace had greeted everyone in the club before he and Mrs. Wanda finally took a table beside a young man Mr. Wallace has known all of his life. It was during the ensuing conversation that Mr. Wallace noticed Captain Jack, Jr. was wearing a handsome new watch with a beautiful gold face.

“I like that watch, Jack,” Mr. Wallace said. “What is it?”

“Guess,” Jack replied.

Now, that answer didn’t set so well with Mr. Wallace and his reply has been fondly recounted in the parts ever since.

“H, E, Double L, Jack,” Mr. Wallace said. “If I had wanted to guess I wouldn’t have asked you!”

 

Hugs, Shellie

 

On Nekkid Faith

Should you have a hankering to stand nekkid in the open doorway of your own home, you may do so– at least in Charlotte, North Carolina where one resident has been proving this theory several times a week for the last decade. According to officials, Nekkid Man is within his rights because he is technically exposing himself in the privacy of his own home and not in the public square.

Nekkid Man’s neighbors are not happy with that verdict. They continue to lodge their complaints with the authorities, who are looking into other ways to address the issue. I particularly enjoyed how one Mrs. Pecolia Threatt expressed her frustration to the local television station, and I quote, “I was rolling out the trash can Friday morning and I just happened to look over and there he was, buck naked.”

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We here at All Things Southern realize some will question whether he was, in fact, butt nekkid or buck nekkid, but I don’t have time for that age-old debate. I’m on a different mission.

Longtime listeners know I habitually break in when nekkid news breaks out because I simply don’t understand people wanting to prance around in public wearing nothing but a smile and the whole thing just amuses me to no end, but I’ve actually brought the subject up today to make a serious point.

Would you be surprised if I told you I’ve been using the word nekkid quite often in my prayer times? It’s true. I’ve been thanking the Good Lord for stripping me down spiritually and giving me a nekkid faith. Indeed, I come to you today full of prayers, passion, and good intentions, but I no longer trust any of those things to enjoy the abiding friendship of God, provided me in Christ Jesus. I have a nekkid faith in God’s son, and I’m always asking the Father to remind me anytime I try and find confidence in my confessions or in my self-efforts to please Him. I stand in the doorway that is Christ the Lord, meeting place between God and man and it is a perfect rest.

Beloved Hubby’s Issues with the Evolving English Language

Hello folks, let’s chat… The English language continues to evolve. Whether we like it or not, definitions change over the years. I’m a word person. I get that. I’ve been trying to explain it to my darling man. Phil’s having a bit more trouble, and in some ways, it’s getting Phil into a bit more trouble.

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Exhibit A: We were watching one of the singing shows the other night. My man and I freely admit that neither of us can sing and aren’t the best judges of musical talent, but we still like to watch the process of new talent being discovered and developed. That particular night one of the contestants had just done what we both thought was a fine job crooning a good old country hit. “He is good,” Phil said. No sooner did he get it out of his mouth when the song ended and the camera turned to one of the celebrity judges, who looked at the budding singer and said, “Man, that was sick.”

Phil looked at me as if to say, “Did you hear him? That was rude.”

“That means he’s good,” I said. “Sick means good these days.”

Phil rolled his eyes and we went back to watching the program. A few minutes later one of the judges told a contestant right to her face that she was bad.

Phil looked back at me. “Good,” I said. “Bad means good.”

I got zero response that time.

Several days later I was all dressed up and headed out of town. Phil was in the kitchen going through the mail when I walked through and commented that I didn’t feel so good. My sweet man looked up and smiled, “Well,” he said. “You look sick.”

“Excuse me?”

“You know what I mean.” Phil said. “You look bad.”

“Excuse me?” I repeated. I finally realized what was happening when Phil sighed deeply and asked, “Just tell me. How many tries do I have left?”

Hugs, Shellie

On Nerds and Overgrown Toddlers (or Death Do We Part)

Hello folks, let’s chat… My man and I have been going through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University with a group from our church, facilitated by our number one son. Confession? I’m finding it surprisingly enjoyable. Who knew Mr. Ramsey was so funny? Okay, obviously a lot of people, but it was news to me and it sure helps the money medicine go down. By the way, this isn’t a paid advertisement, though I’m not “agin it” as the old farmer would say. (Dave, have your people call my people. I’ll even toss in some tips for your next seminar.)

Seriously, I’m learning a lot, like why money issues are the leading cause of divorce in this country and how my initial reluctance to the program can be traced to what Dave calls my financial personality. Yeah, Mr. Ramsey identifies two types of financial folks, money nerds and free spirits. Money nerds love budgets and spreadsheets, free spirits are allergic to numbers and planning. Dave says money nerds can come off as control freaks and free spirits as overgrown toddlers. For what it’s worth, I’ve noticed that money nerds aren’t interested in free spirits leaving them cute little stories on their check stubs, either. (That’s free right there, Dave. I threw it in to sweeten the deal.)

My classmates and I agree that it gets interesting when nerds and free spirits marry, and by interesting we mean carrying the potential for violence.

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At least that’s been the takeaway from our small group discussions. We’re convinced Mr. Ramsey is doing more than rescuing budgets. He’s saving lives, as evidenced by one charming couple, whose names I’ve hereby changed so I won’t have to go into the witness relocation program. In the first session, Dave prompted us to introduce ourselves to the group along with our reason for taking the program.

The husband went first. “My name is John Doe,” he began. “I’m here because my wife made me come.”

To which his spouse added, “My name is Jane Doe– and I’m here so I won’t kill him in his sleep.”

Hugs,Shellie

More on the Fiery Phenomenon

Hello folks, let’s chat… Men people, you may be tempted to skip today’s chat when you hear the subject matter. Don’t do it. This could be educational to you in a prepare yourself sort of way. For my girlfriends listening, brace yourselves…

The latest medical findings suggest that many of us will experience hot flashes for up to fourteen years–twice as long as previously believed. Oh, joy. This is neither here nor there, but it’d help my feelings if we could all at least agree that this fiery phenomenon is woefully misnamed. Hot flash sounds warm and brief. These are neither. By the way, this isn’t an invitation to flood my inbox or blow up my Facebook wall debating Bioidentical versus Synthetic Hormone Replacement. If you do that I’ll be tempted to pull your fingers off.

As you can see, I’m happy to report that this stage of life is not affecting my disposition. I’m still my same sweet self. But speaking of dismembering people does remind me of a story.

I was giving a speech recently to several thousand women.

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To stage right stood a woman tasked with translating my message into sign language. If you’ve ever heard me speak, you know that I can get, well, into it. I was told afterwards that watching that dear lady keep up with me was entertaining in and of itself. So much so, that many in the audience who didn’t need her services found themselves watching her, too.

At one point during my remarks, I mentioned a prank I played on my best buddy that made her want to pull my arm off and whoop me with it. After a brief pause, the translator took her left hand and performed a sawing motion at her right shoulder. Then she took that imaginary severed arm and began beating herself around the head with it. They don’t call those folks sign language experts for nothing.

On the other hand, she could’ve been drawing on personal experience. Men, if you’re still listening, don’t be skeered. Just be careful.

Hugs,
Shellie

Best Friends and Billy Clubs

Hello folks, let’s chat… The scientific community has big news. They’ve concluded that the brain stores practically every experience– including the most trivial memories– in something like cold storage, where they can be accessed later. Supposedly, this is why a skilled professional can help a crime witness remember details during hypnosis. If I’m understanding this right, everything’s there if you know how to retrieve it.  

Excuse me while I go all eighth grader, but duh? Selective storage and involuntary recall is the story of my life. I rarely lose my train of thought permanently, but I spend a fair amount of time waiting for it to wander back through. Dear scientists, tell me how to access my brain’s top secret file while it’s bent on spitting out related stories faster than Entertainment Weekly and you’ve done something.

For example, here’s how my brain storage works: When I mentioned crime earlier, my brain skipped to a story about Best Friends and Billy Clubs. And since I do love a good story…

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Several years ago, a friend of mine accompanied me on a book tour. For anonymity’s sake, I shall refer to her as “‘Red”. The two of us were well armed against all potential bad guys, thanks to Papa. He gave me a Billy Club, put mace on my key chain, and placed Wasp spray under my seat– because it shoots further, and off we went.

I remember the moment well. We were traveling a long stretch of practically deserted countryside when Red began thinking aloud. As she stared out the side window, Red began telling me she was convinced she could really hurt someone if they hurt her family.

In detail, my BFF elaborated on how she could tie their hands over their heads to a tree limb and whoop them down to their knees until her strength gave completely out. Yes, really.

When Red finally concluded her violent monologue, she looked my way and found me with mace in my hand and Papa’s Billy Club on my shoulder. Let the record show, this is one story I have zero problem recalling. It’s labeled and filed, right there under self-perseveration.

Valentine’s Day and Cockroaches, Methinks Not

Hello folks, let’s chat… California, our East Coast friends are at it again.  A zoo out there is offering a Valentine’s special, but not to celebrate your Sweet Thang. Oh, no, this special was created to celebrate your recent break-up. You can adopt a giant hissing cockroach or scorpion, name it after your ex, and mail them a picture of their namesake. This is just me, but I wouldn’t do that unless I was absolutely, positively sure you don’t want to get back together.

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As for me, my darling man and I will be celebrating 33 years together! We’ve learned a lot over the years about what makes our relationship work. Granted, Phil’s the private type, so I don’t expect he’ll be sharing his hard-won information with you guys, but never fear ladies, I have a ton of Bubba Communication tips in my book, Sue Ellen’s Girl Ain’t Fat, She Just Weighs Heavy. Here’s a free one just for you: Give your man a heads-up when you’re about to communicate. Using cue words like “hunting club” or “football” will get his attention and it’s a lot better than raising your voice. That can get either gender in trouble.

For illustration I give you the story of my friend’s Aunt Sarah, Uncle Houston, and their golden anniversary party. The older couple was overcome with emotion at the big shindig as they looked around at all of their family and friends gathered together. So much so, that Uncle Houston turned to Aunt Sarah at one point and said, “Dear Sarah, I want everyone here to know that you’ve been a wonderful wife to me and an excellent mother to our children. For fifty years, you’ve been tried and true!”

Everyone smiled, except for Aunt Sarah who was hard of hearing. “What’d you say, Houston?”

He repeated in a louder voice, “For fifty years you’ve been tried and true!”

Aunt Sarah frowned, “What’s that?”

Uncle Houston got louder. “FOR FIFTY YEARS, YOU’VE BEEN TRIED AND TRUE.”

Aunt Sarah’s face registered shock first, and then offense. “Well, Houston,” she said. “After fifty years, I can get a little tired of you, too!”

Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all! Stay classy~

Hugs,
Shellie

It’s a Party, Kinda

Hello folks, let’s chat… We’re just hours away from Super Bowl 49 and I’m not all that excited this year. (At least not about the match-up– I’m thrilled about the company. Thanks for the invite, Red!) Not having a favorite team has the potential of draining the drama right out of the big game and makes for a not so exciting Super Bowl party. I mean, my Saints didn’t make it and neither did my Manning boys.

Bummer.

On the other hand, I won’t have to peek between my fingers or sweat out a single third down. So, there’s that. In my experience, it’s easy to be impartial when you don’t have a dog in the fight.

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For illustration, I give you an unrelated but unfortunate story from my high school days. All these years later, it’s still hard to talk about it, but the truth is that one sad day I hit a dog with my car.

Accidentally.

In my defense, I was in a curve when the poor thing came out of nowhere and lunged at my tires.

The whole thing was unavoidable.

These are the things I found myself saying moments later to the father of one of my friends. I hadn’t known the family very long at the time, but their house was nearest the scene of the accident so I pulled into their drive in my emotional distress and knocked on their door.

Friend’s Daddy listened as I sobbed out my story. Friend’s Daddy was full of compassion as he patted me on the shoulder. Friend’s Daddy was very concerned about my distraught state– right up to the moment when he asked me what kind of dog it was and I told him it was a big red dog.

“Wait a minute!” Friend’s Daddy, said. “That’s MY dog!”

And just like that, he was anything but impartial. I think it remains one of the fastest times I’ve ever seen a southern gentleman go from “Bless your heart” to “I know you didn’t.”

Hugs, Shellie

Cullen the Angel Boy

Hello folks, let’s chat.. Before we officially file Christmas 2014 away, I feel it’s important for us to gather up any loose stories from the season. Remember, if you don’t capture the funny, it gets away. I can’t let that happen to Cullen the Angel Boy, as seen here with my granddaughter, Carlisle Mae! It simply begs to be told.

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My BFF, is an actress, set designer, director, extraordinaire. Over the years she’s written, produced and starred in skits at our home church that have become the stuff of legends. Christmas 2014 didn’t disappoint, not in the actual production, and not in the rehearsals that led up to it– which brings us to the merry moment I have in mind.

One Sunday morning leading up to the production, my husband and I found ourselves helping the talented Miss Foster teach the 3-4 year olds their own special routine. These wee ones were destined to be angels in the nativity scene. They wore long white gowns with beautiful feathered wings and each of them held a tapered candle in his or her wee hands.

Miss Foster took her place in front of the cherubs so they could practice their routine by mimicking her motions. Cue the music. As Phil and I watched, Miss Foster made a large sweeping motion to the right. The angels followed suit, sort of. Then she made a grand sweeping motion to the left, most of the angels mimicked her, except for Cullen the Angel Boy. That’s when we first noticed the gleam in his eyes. Granted, we never once considered that he was thinking to himself, “I know where I can put this candle.”

For there, directly in front of young Cullen was the backside of Miss Foster and it was all just too tempting. In the twinkle of an eye, Cullen the Angel Boy introduced Miss Foster to that candle and we have video footage to prove it.

For some of us, Christmas 2014 will forever be remembered as the year Cullen the Angel Boy added his own verse to that sweet children’s classic, “This little light of mine. It’s going where the sun don’t shine.”

Who You Calling Fruitcake?

Hello folks, let’s chat…I almost made it through the Christmas season without mentioning the controversial fruitcake. I’ve been resisting the temptation because I didn’t want to fuel the great fruitcake divide. However, a fruitcake funny fell in my lap and y’all know I can’t resist a good story, right?

By the way, the aforementioned divide is no myth. I’ve poked gentle fun at the fruitcake only a few times over the years because the response is always dicey. We anti-fruitcake people underestimate the passion of the pro-fruitcake people. Case in point, someone just paid $7,500 for an old piece of fruitcake from Prince William and Kate Middleton’s April 2011 wedding. That’s four going on five years, but who’s counting? Fruitcake people are curiously proud of the dessert’s shelf life. And now, my story…

I’m married to one of the sweetest people on the planet. Last Sunday Mr. Nice Guy and I were at my parents. I was putting some soup on to simmer for their supper when I heard Papa offer Phil “some of the best fruitcake he’d ever put in his mouth, guaranteed.” This man and I have been together for over three decades. I know he’s not a fruitcake fan, so I couldn’t help but grin when I heard Phil agree to try a slice. And I had to laugh when Papa served Phil a generous slab of fruitcake and added, “Eat all that and I’ll get you a bigger piece.”

Some time later, Phil and I were driving home when I asked him if he’d like to call in something for our own dinner and pick it up on our way through town.

“That’s fine,” Phil said, “but I’d rather get back out for it later, if it’s okay with you.”

I assured him I didn’t mind waiting.

“Good,” Phil said, “I’m not hungry. I had to eat fruitcake.”

And then, almost like an afterthought, Mr. Nice Guy added under his breath, “I don’t like fruitcake.”

That’s my man, y’all, healing the Fruitcake Divide one slice at a time. From Mr. Nice Guy, the Belle of All Things Southern and our immediate family, we hope y’all had a very Merry Christmas and we wish each of you a Blessed New Year~

Hugs,
Shellie

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Standing left to right, daughter-in-law Carey and our son Phillip holding Baby Weston. The two of them are on either side of DeeDee, the lovely young lady they brought into our family during her teen years. My husband Phil is holding their two young belles, (left to right, Emerson Ann and Carlisle Mae.)

Standing right to left, our daughter Jessica with our son-in-law Patrick. I’m holding their two young beaus, (left to right, Grant Thomas and Connor Phillip.)

 

All Things Southern Holiday Travel Advisory and or Alert

Hello folks, let’s chat… Just a few days ago, while some of us were getting ready to slay the Turkey and others were camping out in anticipation of Black Friday, a combination of both Straight Running Crazy and Nekkid News appeared and disappeared on the national radar.

It happened in the Boston airport where the occupant of a ladies’ restroom was surprised by the sudden appearance of a nekkid man who fell through the ceiling and into the stall. Without so much as a “Pardon me, is this seat taken?” Nekkid Man ran out the door and assaulted an elderly fellow before the police could arrive to restrain him.

What with everybody making plans to go to grandma’s house for Christmas, I thought you should know, but let’s all remain calm. There could be a perfectly reasonable explanation, like he was in a hurry to get through security, that sort of thing. Or, he may have been part of a flash mob. What? Oh, okay, never mind that. The thing is, there’s no indication that this is anything more than an isolated incident, but because I have your collective back, I convened a select group of family and friends to come up with a plan should something of this nature happen to you and yours.

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What we have here is the first annual All Things Southern Holiday Travel Advisory and or Alert– and quite possibly the last. In no particular order of helpfulness, here are their suggestions.

Should a Nekkid Person suddenly appear while you are in transit, Mama says you should “Remind him that he is going to catch his death cold.” I don’t know.

Bubba says, well, I can’t tell y’all what Bubba said. Mama would have my hide.

I can give you Paulette’s suggestion. Paulette says, whatever you do, maintain eye contact.

Yeah, you’re welcome. Y’all be safe out there and Merry Christmas!

Hugs, Shellie

I’ve Been Afraid of This

Hello folks, let’s chat…Week in and week out I do my dead level best to try and keep y’all entertained, informed, inspired– and protected. Towards that end, I’m here today with a SRC medical alert.

Longtime listeners will remember that SRC is the acronym I created for Straight Running Crazy, a condition whereby one is no longer detouring from more lucid positions, hence they’ve gone straight running crazy. New listeners can read more about this dangerous condition in my humor books and join our SRC foundation on Facebook. But, I must move on, research has come in to support what I’ve suspected for quite some time. Apparently, stupid really is contagious.

Scientists at John Hopkins Medical School and the University of Nebraska contend that they’ve discovered a virus that makes you stupid. They say it challenges the brain’s thinking functions, affecting spatial awareness and visual processing. And get this, they tested volunteers and found a high percentage of ‘em had the stupid virus lying dormant in their throats.

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I’d love to know how they selected these volunteers and how they broke the news to the poor souls who flunked out. There’s only so much you can do with that good news/bad news trick.

Don’t freak out on me, y’all, but this explains a lot of what we’re seeing on the evening news. Exhibit A, ripped straight from the headlines: A giant solar plant in California that received a government-backed $1.6-billion dollar loan has gone belly up. So, what are they doing? Applying for a government grant — to help pay off their government loan. Somebody’s not covering their mouths when they cough.

Lookahere, I have some hair-dos in the eighties that would suggest I’ve carried this virus a couple of times myself, but that’s beside the perm. I mean the point. We need to raise awareness and fast. Our struggling job market can’t take another hit. If news gets out, this could be yet another blow to work productivity. I can hear it now. “Sorry, boss. I can’t come in today. I’m feeling stupid.”

Are y’all with me? Let us race for the cure.