Sleeping with the Enemy

Hello folks, let’s chat…My friend Tanya started it. She posted a news story on Facebook about a New Orleans woman who tried putting a bullet through a flying cockroach that was trespassing in her living room. The article said the woman’s aim failed so she was compelled to burn her house down instead. I was all over that story before I realized it was satire. Someone was just funnin’. Color me gullible, but I was feeling girlfriend’s pain. My aversion to roaches is matched only by my hatred of spiders. And snakes. I hate snakes.

Every year around this time people post pictures on Facebook of headless snakes who scared the beejesus out of the wrong person. And then they ask, “What kind of snake was this?” all innocent like — when they’ve got to know they’re stirring up a fight between those who identify good snakes as dead snakes and well, everybody else.

Snake people have tried converting me, but it ain’t happening. Even the Good Lord said snakes and I would be at odds. Course, He said my foot would crush their heads and I prefer a sharp hoe but I’m hoping He’ll let me pass on the technicality. It’s not like He doesn’t have a sense of humor. Exhibit A:

The morning after I read Tanya’s little funny I found a hairy legged spider in my bed, beside my pillow.

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Yes, he was dead but that’s beside the point, people. I’m gonna need y’all to focus. At some point, he was in my bed alive. I posted a picture of his dead self on Facebook and soon learned more than I cared to know, like how we eat around 8 spiders apiece during our lifetime, mostly when we’re asleep. I needed to lie down when I heard that, I just wasn’t sure where.

Some of my more understanding friends suggested we move. My man felt that was an over-reaction but he did say he was glad I didn’t discover the thing in the middle of the night while all its legs were still kicking. I don’t know, something about friendly fire…

Staycations, Nacations, and Stranger Danger

Hello folks, let’s chat…We’ve got tons of nekkid news to cover. For starters, the nacation is replacing the staycation. Staycationers have had their lips run out ever since it hit ’em that staying home and sleeping in your own bed is not a vacation, regardless of what you call it. As they said in their news release, “We were born at night, but it wasn’t last night.” True.

Supposedly, this summer is gonna be all about the multi-million dollar industry known as the nacation. Yep, nekkid vacations. Nacation lovers gleefully report that you don’t have to stress about what clothes to pack and those high-priced baggage fees are a non-issue. Granted, you do need to pack extra sun-block, which brings us to our next nekkid news story.

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Recently, a man from North Carolina was all set to fly to Jamaica when he was told that his flight had been overbooked and he was officially grounded. He responded by stripping nekkid at the gate. I remain confused as to how that spells relief in these types of situations, but hey, at least they could see he wasn’t armed and dangerous.

Besides, he was headed to Jamaica. Perhaps it was a nacation and he decided on the spot to blend it into a staycation? One must consider all the angles. I learned that from Mama. She’s an expert at considering every possible scenario. Most of ’em fall in the “Someone is going to knock you in the back of the head if you don’t pay attention” file.

For instance, it worries Mama when I’m flying to a speaking engagement where I’ll be picked up by a stranger holding a sign with my name on it. She’s concerned that it could be a trap and no one will ever hear from me again.

“What exactly are you saying?” I asked her. “That someone would go to the trouble of finding out where I’m headed next and what flight I’m on, all to make a fake sign and kidnap me?”

Mama raised her eyebrows. “That’s exactly what I’m saying, Shellie Charlene. Stranger things have happened.”

She had me there.

Hugs, Shellie

It’s All in the Family

Hello folks, let’s chat… The experts say our attention spans are shrinking and our ever present smart phones are partially to blame. They warn that the common goldfish now has a greater attention span than the average adult. I’m not sure what a goldfish has to focus on, but I’ll move along on the outside chance that I haven’t already lost y’all.

The thing is, I found that news quite interesting in light of a condition I’ve recently identified. I’m calling it Squirrel Story Syndrome and I’ve been using myself as a test case. It’s really quite simple. People with Squirrel Story Syndrome have difficulty finis­­­­hing one story in light of a hundred more they feel compelled to tell. I suppose one could conclude that my Squirrel Story Syndrome and your diminishing attention span doesn’t bode well for my storytelling career, but did I tell y’all about Uncle Rod and my prayer garden?

Uncle Rod’s daddy was my late Papaw, Reverend Marvin Stone. Remember Papaw? I introduced him on this porch as a fun-loving Baptist preacher with a penchant for pranking. agoodblogWell, many years ago Papaw built an altar of twelve large stones in the woods behind his house and the memory of that hallowed place is very special to me. When I discovered that not only was Uncle Rod in possession of those stones, but he was willing to let me have one of them for my own prayer garden, I was like a goldfish on caffeine. I couldn’t focus on anything but getting by Rod’s house to collect my stone.

Later that same evening Rod called to remind me not to try and get the heavy rock out of the car by myself. I promised him I was waiting on Phil to do that.

“Good,” Rod said. “And. by the way, you do know the meaning behind the twelve stones, don’t you?”

I told Rod I wasn’t sure if they represented the twelve tribes of Israel to Papaw, or the twelve disciples.

“The twelve disciples,” Uncle Rod replied. And then, because he is his daddy’s son, he added, “I gave you Judas Iscariot.”

Lessons from a Fighting Rooster

Hello folks, let’s chat… That was some bear story out of California last week. Did you hear? A Chihuahua found himself facing down a hungry bear who had clearly mistaken him for an hor dourve.

Fortunately for Purse Dog, his owner, a 73 year old ex-Marine named Carl, came to the rescue and punched the bear in the face. It must be true. Carl’s buddy said he saw the whole thing. Hmmm…So, I’m not saying it didn’t happen, but yesterday I wrestled an alligator out of the lake and painted his toenails bright red. Ask Dixie. She was there.

I understand wildlife officials said something like, “All’s well that ends well but we do not recommend punching a bear in the face.” Duly noted. You could get more than you bargained for, which reminds me of another story. This one, a family favorite.

Papa doesn’t have farm animals anymore but I remember when he had a barnyard of chickens and roosters, along with a baby pig, and a proud turkey. They were all getting along well enough until someone gave Papa a Banty rooster. As we say around here, it was on chicken bone.

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The other roosters began ganging up on Banty Rooster. Seemed everybody wanted to whoop the newcomer. Day after day, Papa found the little fellow in the corner of the barnyard, wet, roughed-up, and dazed. Papa felt sorry for him, but it never failed. Soon as Papa would finish dressing the rooster’s wounds, Banty Rooster would jump back in the fray and take another licking. Even the turkey got in on it, grabbing the little fellow by the throat and slinging him around like one of those Championship Wrestlers.

Well, what no one knew is that Banty Rooster had himself a Rocky Balboa game plan. He was wearing ’em down. One day Banty Rooster jumped up and took Mr. Turkey out with a mighty peck to the temple! And then he picked off the other roosters, one by one.

The moral of my stories, should you need one, is never give up. Today’s prize fighter might just be tomorrow’s turkey dinner.

There’s This Odd Little Thing I Do

There’s this thing I do that some people find odd. To be clear, I do a number of things that fall into that category, but for today’s discussion, we’ll go with one that concerns my trusty GPS, Mary Elizabeth III.

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I’ve told y’all stories in the past about our relationship. We have our ups and downs, mostly because Mary Elizabeth gets really snippy if I fail to take her every suggestion And, I mean this in the nicest way, she can be a tad vengeful. I was in a construction zone in downtown Dallas a while back and I literally thought she would implode under the pressure. I may have laughed at her in the middle of her technological meltdown, but it was all in fun, and she was wrong for leading me to the wrong address in Waxahachie TX the next day, seeing as I was almost late for my speaking engagement.

And yet, I chose to let bygones be bygones on our return trip because that’s how Mama raised me and because I wanted to do that strange thing I was telling y’all about before I digressed.

I told Mary Elizabeth to take me home, and I left her little snippy voice for the duration. I’ve had friends ride with me before and they laugh when I let Mary Elizabeth continue to bark orders even after we’re in familiar territory. I understand. I suppose it is strange, but I love that moment at the end of a road trip when I reach my long driveway leading to Home Sweet Home on the banks of Lake Providence, and I hear her say, “You have arrived at your destination.”

However, as sweet as those words are, I’m anticipating a day when they’ll be eclipsed by a far greater glory. I live with the peace of knowing that heaven is my final destination and one day I’ll be welcomed there through my faith in Jesus, God’s only begotten son. That assurance can be yours, too. There are plenty people just like me that would be happy to show you the way.

Hugs, Shell

Me, Mama, and Vladamir Putin?!

Hello folks, let’s chat…You know you have a real Southern Mama when you get a handwritten note from her in the U.S. mail, expressing appreciation for the food you prepared during her most recent surgery– and it covers all the rules for proper thank you notes: name, exclaim, and fame. I have photographic evidence of such a note that I recently received from Mama, the Queen of Us All.

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I also expounded on those rules in my book Suck Your Stomach In and Put Some Color On. But you’ll have to look that up if you need a refresher course. I want to talk about Baltimore Mama.

For the most part, Baltimore Mama’s fifteen minutes of fame have come and gone. So, for those who missed it, I’m talking about the woman who was watching rioters throwing rocks at police on her TV when she recognized her only son among the lawbreakers despite his attempts to go incognito in a mask and hoodie. Baltimore Mama marched down to the riot, whooped her man child around the head, and promptly found herself making the talk show rounds before Baltimore Boy could say “Peace out” to his fellow hoodlums.

Baltimore Mama’s language was a tad blue on the video, so if you’ll permit me to translate it into southern speak it was something like, “Throw another rock and see if I don’t knock you in the middle of next week!”

I’m really not interested in rehashing the debate that followed that very public chastising, but I will say that I appreciate anyone who stands against the steady eroding of civil society. Strangely enough, this position recently gave both Mama and me cause to find an isolated point of agreement with Vladimir Of All People Putin and his fellow commies. Crazy? Read on…

Did you know that last month a Russian court sentenced several young girls to jail time and heavy fines for starring in a dance video that featured them twerking in front of a World War II memorial? Twerking. In front of a war memorial. If you don’t know what it means to twerk neither Mama nor I are prepared to describe it to you but suffice to say we both felt the court’s ruling almost warranted a thank you note to the evil empire. Almost.

Hugs, Shellie

 

He Just Said What He’s Saying

Hello folks, let’s chat… This just in. Scientists have located the area of the brain responsible for interpreting sarcasm. It’s on the right side and it’s called the sagittal stratum. There was no evidence to suggest the majority of men are missing this sarcasm section. At least, no conclusive evidence.

Still, I think we girls can agree that we use our sagittal stratums far more frequently. As I told an audience of women recently, it’s easier to understand men when you realize that what they say is usually what they mean. Rolling your eyes at your Sweet Thang and asking, “What are you saying?” rarely advances the conversations and usually confuses him because he just said what he’s saying. What’s interesting here is that the article said this sarcasm section is the same area of the brain responsible for logic. Really? Are we talking male logic or female logic? In my experience, there can be a great gulf between the two.

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For illustration, I give you a story I picked up while road-tripping in the Big D. I witnessed the following exchange in one of those big box decorating stores between a couple who were clearly operating from different ends of the male/female logic spectrum. Our test subjects were thirty-somethings, she stylishly underdressed in a “I just threw this on and I’m adorable” kind of way. Her man, looking like he was set for a day of golfing with his buds, which may explain his impatience with how long it was taking her to select a wicker basket.

“I don’t want to be late,” Mr. Golfer said to Cutie Patootie.

“You have time,” she replied as she continued browsing.

Mr. Golfer held up a basket. “How about this one?”

She shook her head, “No.”

“It’s got leather handles,” he told her. She shook her head, again.

“You like leather,” he insisted.

“I said no.”

Desperate now, Mr. Golfer resorted to reading the label, “But, it’s approved for residential use in California.”

“Honey,” Cutie Patootie said slowly. “We live in Texas.”

Is it just me, or was there a hint of sarcasm there?

Hugs, Shellie

Do It Yourself, Straight Running Crazy Style

Hello folks, let’s chat…Here’s something interesting for you. Many British citizens are resorting to Do It Yourself Dentistry. DYI Dentistry. Yes. Really. Reports are that 250,000 DIY cavity-filling kits are being purchased in jolly old England every year, under the ingenious advertising slogan, “What Could Possibly Go Wrong?”

Ok, I’m joking about the ad but those funny Brits really are into DIY Dentistry. Apparently they’re trying to avoid the long waiting lists and high fees associated with their socialized medicine. I’m glad we don’t have to worry about that! Oh. Yeah.

Well, anyway, I’m not necessarily blaming the following story on the Brits, but we all know these things have a way of making their way across the big pond… Apparently, a professional wrestler living in Tampa FL has recently employed his own unusual method of DYI Dentistry, using his son as the test case. Robert Abercrombie, aka Rob Venomous, yanked a loose tooth out of his eight-year-old child’s head by tying one end of a string to the tooth and another to his Chevy Camero. Daddy Venomous hit the gas and VOILA! Of course, he videoed it. And of course it’s gone viral.

Daddy Venomous explained his behavior by saying his son was excited about the idea and that it went very smoothly. To make matters worse Mama Venomous was apparently filming the incident. Thanks for nothing, Mommy Dearest.

I would just like it noted that my sisters and I can be eternally grateful our dear Papa didn’t hear about DIY Dentistry back when we were growing up on Bull Run Road. As it was, he fancied himself something of a doctor. I once walked around with a broken arm for two weeks because I could still wiggle my fingers. I’m not sure where Papa studied, but he held to the theory that as long as the parts are moving, it’s all good.

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Okay, so I’m just having a little fun with Papa, y’all. There’s no way he would’ve used a Chevy Camero to pull our teeth out! Papa’s a Ford man. Always has been.

Hugs, Shellie

On Jumping off the Bridge and Extenuating Circumstances

Hello folks, let’s chat…Ah, Spring! According to Tennyson, it’s “When a young man’s fancy turns to love.” I would add that the young man has all kinds of company. Did y’all know an African Moon Moth recently landed on the side of a reporter’s head during a live television spot and laid two eggs in the man’s ear? In broad daylight. That I know of, no one has called for a congressional investigation or anything. I’m not okay with that, but moving right along.

I actually have another lovesick story to tell y’all about today, coming to us all the way from China. It concerns a young man named Wu who found himself in a straight running crazy love triangle. I think we’ll call him Romeo for fun.

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Poor Romeo was torn between two lovers. His ex girlfriend wanted him back. She was basically harassing his current flame and making all their lives miserable when Romeo applied some deep male logic to the situation and decided that inviting both angry women to a meet and greet on a nearby bridge would fix everything. It did not go well. Imagine that.

Things went from bad to worse quickly when Romeo’s ex up and jumped in the river, and demanded that Romeo save her. Not to be outdone, his current Sweetie jumped in, too, and called on Romeo to prove his love by saving her instead.

Choices. Choices.

I don’t know about Romeo’s raising, but this is the type of extenuating circumstance my Southern Mama didn’t cover in the “If everybody else jumps off the bridge, are you going to jump, too?” speech.

The article didn’t not say how long Romeo studied the tricky situation but in the end he dove in and pulled his Current Sweetie to safety. Well played, Romeo. Let the record show, however, that he also asked his brother to save the other woman– via a phone call… on the couple’s way home.

And they say chivalry is dead. Take heart, single girls. Chivalry’s not dead. It’s just limping here and there.

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