Say That Again

Hello folks, let’s chat… Calling my parents’ house and getting Papa on the phone can feel like you’ve wandered into a comedy routine.  Mind you, Papa and I both know he’s looking at the caller ID when he answers the phone, but that doesn’t stop him from clowning.

“I’m sorry,” he responds when I say hello. “You have the wrong number.”

“Papa, it’s me. Shellie.”

“Well, hey Shellie. How are you?”

“I’m fine. How are you?”

Papa usually reports that he is “finer than frog hair split nine ways and sanded down” or “better than he was before he got so good.”  Either way, after a bit more small talk, we go into the second half of the routine.

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“So, how’s Mama feeling?” I might ask.

“She feels pretty good to me,” he might respond.

Too much information. I’ll try again. “Papa, is Mama around?”

“Nah, she’s pretty tall.”

And yes, I laugh in spite of myself. “Papa, is she nearby?”

“Oh, not near enough.”

“Papa, may I speak to Mama?”

“Why, sure, baby, all you had to do is ask.”
Indeed, Papa loves to misunderstand me on purpose.  Most misunderstandings, however, are more of an accident. Like the following story sent in by one of your fellow porchers. At the close of his Sunday morning sermon, the pastor invited anyone who needed prayer to come forward. Bubba was the first one to the altar. The preacher asked Bubba what he needed prayer for.

“My hearing,” Bubba replied.

With that the preacher put his hands on either side of Bubba’s head covering his ears and sent up a beautiful prayer that surely had the angels weeping. Many parishioners raised their hands toward Heaven as tears rolled down their cheeks. It was such a super charged moment the whole church felt sure God was honoring the prayer immediately, as did the preacher.  As soon as he finished praying he removed his hands from the side of Bubba’s head.

“Bubba,” he said slowly, “How’s your hearing now?”

Confused, Bubba spoke just as slowly, “I… don’t… know… Preacher. It… ain’t…’til… Monday.”

Hugs, Shellie

On Uniquely Redneck Roadtrips

Hello folks, let’s chat…My family and friends encourage my love of story by sending me all kinds of tales, from the funny to the bizarre to the uniquely redneck road trip. Enter Kellie, stage left.

Kellie, together with her man and their three kids, recently set out on a long-awaited beach vacation. On the morning of their trip, Kellie removed a white bag of jumbo shrimp from her freezer that she’d been saving for just the right occasion. With visions of enjoying an ocean side feast of grilled shrimp with her loved ones, Kellie carefully iced the seafood down and off they went!

The second leg of their journey found our merry vacationers in Mississippi where they picked up several members of their extended family. While there, Kellie dutifully checked the cooler and added extra ice to her shrimp.

Fast forward to Florida. Having placed the bag of shrimp in the sink to thaw, Kellie was stretched out by the water watching her offspring when her daddy called from the condo. He asked Kellie to send her husband back to the room.

“Why,” Kellie asked.

“Just send him,” her daddy said.

Kellie repeated, “But why? He’s helping with the kids.”

Her daddy was equally insistent that she send Lance.

Exasperated, Kellie said, “Just tell me what’s wrong.”

“It’s your shrimp,” her daddy explained. “They sure are hairy.”

Kellie and family dripped their way back up to the condo. There in the sink, in the opened white bag my friend had oh-so-carefully iced down and transported for hundreds of miles and several states, lay a dead raccoon– teeth bared in a vicious grin. (That’s called adding insult to injury.)

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The ensuring investigation revealed Kellie’s fourteen-year-old son as the party responsible for placing the raccoon in their freezer back home, preserved in an identical bag to that of the coveted seafood.

Mark Twain once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”I imagine that applies to grilled coon and beach vacations but the jury’s out. It was sandwiches all around.

Hugs, Shellie

 

On Good Friends and Evil Pranks

Hello folks, let’s chat! Every other Friday I write for a blog called Southern Belleview. Perhaps you’ve been visiting with us there. We have ten authors and speakers who blog regularly about this, that, and the other, and as our tag-lines puts it, “We are down write southern.” (Tricky, huh?)

One of my good friends who also happens to be a Southern Belleview belle was with me in the studio last Monday for my radio show, ATS LIVE. It was a jam-packed hour of fun and information. (Joneal brought us up to date on what’s going on with Heartfelt Ministries, her Titus 2 ministry.) Big stuff, as in an opportunity for her to share her heart on Focus on the Family!) I’m hoping to have that podcast up at Shellie Media soon, but well, life, right?

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Among the many topics we covered and the stories we told was one I thought y’all might enjoy here. It has to do with my BFF. She and I are well known among our family and friends– not to mention our Facebook circles– for the pranks we play on one another. Of course, my pranks are sweet, endearing bits of nonsense– like making Red think she’s about to be arrested on charges of domestic terrorism. Harmless stuff like that.

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Red and I actually prank so well, so often, that my mother is always cautioning us to be careful. “I’d hate to see one of you girls take this too far.” I should’ve listened. Mama is so smart like that.

To tell you about Red’s latest evil escapade, I’ll need to give you some back story. Rhonda is a blue-eyed redhead. I am a brown-eyed brunette. Got that visual? Good! Perhaps you can explain the ongoing mystery that has people mistaking us for each other, everywhere, all the time, which brings me to our story…

I was at home, minding my own business, when I got a text from Red. “So,” she wrote, “I was checking out at Wal-Mart when a somewhat familiar lady pulled her cart up behind me. I smiled. She smiled. And then– in a flash of recognition, she grinned really big and said, “Well, hello Shellie!”

I know you’re thinking Red kindly corrected her. That would’ve been nice. Alas, I give you Red’s own words, “And well…buddy, I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help myself. As I continued unloading my shopping cart I dug in my nose and flicked it on the floor, mumbling about this heat drying everything out. And then I begged her pardon as I released some gas, blaming it on the new high fiber diet I was on. Finally, just in case she was beginning to doubt that I was you, I laid a bag of dog treats on the counter, smiled and said, “For my sweet Dixie Belle.”

Rhonda closed her text with a joyful note that the whole thing was big fun. “I like playing you!” she typed.

I hope she did. Standby for news.

Hugs, Shellie

Do you prank? Have you ever been the recipient of a good prank? It wasn’t until days after I jotted that story down for my listeners that Red admitted she had not actually done those things. She had wanted to, but she hadn’t. Whew…I’m still gonna get her for letting me think she had…

It Be Powerful All Right

Hello folks, let’s chat…It began innocently enough. I was investigating one of the latest trends that has women, young women, dying their hair gray on purpose. I understand going gray naturally, although as I’ve said in the past, they’ll have to pry Miss Clairol light neutral brown from my cold dead hands before I give in, but I admit to being intrigued as to why young girls would be interested in accelerating the process.

That said, dear ones, the choice of whether or not to go gray isn’t all that bizarre, at least not when you’re talking about your crowning glory, which brings me to the straight running crazy topic I stumbled across in my research. So, here’s the thing. I have learned that there are women the world over letting their armpit hair grow out so they can dye it in various attention getting shades.

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Yes’m, as in pink, purple and green. I do not recommend googling this for verification. Trust me. You can’t unsee this stuff.

Once I recovered from my initial shock I called the Golden Girls to get their reaction. That would be Mama and her sisters. I’d love to quote Aunt Marleta’s response in particular, but Mama would have my hide. ) Let’s just say the Golden Girls won’t be jumping on this particular bandwagon.

I also conducted an informal Facebook poll to see just how far reaching this armpit movement is among the women in the All Things Southern community. I’m pleased to report that it has not caught on with our fellow belles. With the exception of that one sweet thang who noted the cost of upkeep and how difficult it would be to color-coordinate the look to her summer wardrobe– and I do believe she was just funnin’– to a southern soul, none of the girls were interested.

Not even when I told them that the feminists report that letting your armpit hair grow out is powerful! As Paulette noted, “It’ll be powerful all right. Powerfully stanky.”

The girl’s spot on this time. It be hot down here.

Hugs, Shellie

On Elephants and Donkeys and all things Straight Running Crazy

Hello folks, let’s chat…I don’t pretend to be the sharpest knife in the drawer and I’ve never claimed to be the most politically astute person, which may explain why I am totally confused by a news story I just read out of Arizona. Perhaps y’all can help me out. Here are the high points.

The Arizona Daily Star is complaining that a certain section of the fence built on their border is too high because illegal immigrants are injuring themselves when they try and jump off of it. The paper has joined with other open border proponents to demand that the offending fence be, wait for it– lowered. Yes, their solution is to lower the fence.

So, I realize I’m meandering around where donkeys and elephants fear to tread– with the exception of Mr. Trump, and neither side knows what to do with him– but I’m thinking this belongs in our Straight Running Crazy file.

The fence at the center of this particularly ironic debate is fourteen foot tall, people. Papa’s tractor shed was taller than that and my sisters and I jumped off it on a regular basis from the time we were knee high to a grasshopper. Granted, we never got up the nerve to ride our bicycles off said building and stick the landing like some kids in our community, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t think about it.

But, really, that’s neither here nor there. If I’m following this story correctly, we’re talking about whether a fence designed to keep illegal immigrants from crossing our country’s border should be low enough to allow it to be illegally crossed, safely. Hello? Anybody?

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Again, I’m not saying I have all the answers, but if y’all are worried about those folks getting hurt, y’all might want to rethink that revolving door. Take it from me. My BFF and I got caught in one of those revolving doors a couple weeks ago while visiting the Big Easy and the blame thing almost took my foot off!

What’s that? There isn’t an actual revolving door? Well, you could’ve fooled me…

Hugs, Shellie

On that infamous line, “Hey Y’all, Watch This!”

Hello folks, let’s chat…My sisters and I did some dangerous things back in the day, just to see what would happen. We touched an electric fence. We walked the side rails of a bridge. We even shimmied along a cable above the churning Mississippi River because the massive rope was anchoring a barge to the elevator and we wanted to explore the vacated vessel. Yes, I know. Brilliant. We didn’t share that last one with Mama until we were grown and married with kids of our own and she still liketa fainted. (I ask you, do we not look like a Wild West gang in this pic?)

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My point? To some extent, I understand the infamous line, “Hey y’all, watch this!” What I don’t understand is how my fellow southerners got the exclusive rights to it.

For illustrative purposes I bring you the true straight running crazy story of a Colorado man. To protect what is left of the poor man’s privacy we are going to call him Mr. Smith, as in Mr. Smith and Wesson.

Mr. Smith recently shot himself in the foot. Twice. It’s that second shot that brings him to our attention here at All Things Southern.

The police report said that Mr. Smith was in his garage when he shot his bare foot with a .22 semi-automatic handgun. I can understand that. Stuff happens. However, his next move was to put his boot on the injured foot and shoot it a second time. Yes’m.

When the police arrived on the scene Mr. Weston explained that he hadn’t accidentally shot himself twice. He had shot the same foot two times on purpose– to see how different it would feel with and without the boot. His words, not mine.

As stated earlier, my sisters and I were curious about a lot things growing up country in rural Louisiana, and I remain curious about a lot of things today. So, perhaps you’re wondering why someone who once did something as dangerous and ridiculous as shimmying across a heavy cable high above the Mighty Mississippi could have the audacity to place poor Mr. Smith in our Straight Running Crazy file.

It’s simple, really. Once is an experience, twice is a trend.

Hugs, Shellie

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.

spider

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.

nude

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