All help All
If the mistakes we all make make and the regrets we all have were made into a game show, I think many people would stand in line waiting to be crowned king and queen. I think a large, shiny trophy to stick on a shelf as a conversation piece and dust collector might be a nice thing to have for all the time and effort we all devote to making mistakes and having regrets. I don't necessarily want to be crowned, but I want a trophy! Damn it! Wait a minute I do have a trophy. In fact, I have a few trophies. 

Once in awhile I stumble into doing the right thing. Although I truly didn't want to go back to Pensacola to give birth,  I did because it was the right thing to do. Changing my mindset to think of the life growing inside me FIRST before anything else didn't take long to accomplish. The remaining months of my pregnancy were spent getting healthy and preparing myself for motherhood. In my spare time, I couldn't help, but reminisce and wonder if all the abuse I put my body through would ultimately affect the child I was about to have. Everything I had experienced in the last few years was still fresh in my memory...sometimes too fresh! 

My mind didn't just linger on past lovers. I thought more often of my friends and the zany times we shared together. I can't help but smile when I think about the time Carol and I burned a cross in Gene's wife's front yard or how Carol would go topless on Panama City Beach like she was sunbathing on the French Riviera instead of on the Redneck Riviera. 

I couldn't help but smile when I thought of how we shamelessly flirted with Larry Gilley and Chip Coatney (one of many Coatneys in that area), but did so not because we wanted either of them. We did it because we could. We did it to give people something to talk about. And I guess we did it because we were bored and they always seemed to be around. One time we pulled them over just to mess with their heads. That act never required too much effort because it was like shooting fish in a barrel. I proceeded to rub myself all over Larry and told him I was getting him ready for Lana Carol (now, there's a great Southern belle's name) and believe it or 
not her last name was the icing on the cake. Lana Carol Duck lived conveniently directly across from the Cat's Eye and Larry Gilley "belonged" to her and Chip was her younger brother. In those days the  word "cougar" hadn't been coined just yet, but that's exactly what Lana Carol was...a hot mess who was an older blonde hussy with big boobs and a southern accent most Southerners would kill to have. When I used the word "foreplay," Larry looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language. Now, tell me how one goes about explaining what foreplay is with a straight face. At that point, the mood was gone and we sent them along their merry way while Carol and I laughed our asses off.

Two of my favorite Chip Coatney memories involved me playing strip poker with him and a group of people. Chip designated himself as being dealer and thought he was slick by cheating. I knew what he was up to, but kept my mouth shut. I just played along then told him I knew he had been cheating when I was sitting there as naked as a jay bird (how naked do jay birds get?). I earned his respect for doing that, but that respect was short-lived. Not long after Mr. Cardshark saw me without my clothes, he decided he'd annoy me one evening at the Cat's Eye. He kept razzing me until I had my fill. As we were told to take it outside by Leon Anderson, the owner of The Cat's Eye, Chip decided that calling me a "lanky-legged Yankee bitch" was a smart thing to do. It might have been a great strategic move for most people, but Chip wasn't a
fighter. Chip was a hemophiliac, and when I tackled him and we started rolling around on the ground in the parking lot outside, I told him I was going to make him bleed if he didn't apologize. Guess what? The thought of profusely bleeding and not being able to make it stop, made him apologize quickly. When in Rome, do as the Romans do! Be fierce! Be a gladiator! And never give up!

My list of doing stupid stuff included a trip to the woods one night to be shown an actual KKK meeting place. It was a small church stuck in the middle of nowhere and the inside was set up like a courtroom. The thought of white-hooded racists possibly showing up made it a quick trip. Being inside that place really did give me the heebie jeebies. Add going for a leisurely trip down the snake and alligator infested swamp (the local creek) with the sole purpose of shooting down hornet nests that were hanging from the cascading branches. The hornets were only part of my concern...what about the HUGE spiders, the water moccasins and the rather hungry looking alligators? All the rocket scientists I was with assured me that the swarm of hornets would fly the opposite way and not towards us, but to this day I don't know how certain they really were of that. To me that's called wishful thinking while being willfully ignorant. The odds were 50/50 at best and I guess that makes me a dumb ass for going along for the ride.

Do you know how you know know when you're truly fried? It's when you make a 14 year old drive a stick shift about 20 miles because no one else was able to do it. That same 14 year old tagged along most places with us because he was the younger brother of my current boy toy, Kenny Rowe. One night when all of us had our fill of Vincent, we made him go sit in the closet in my bedroom with the door closed. Everyone was surprised he stayed there and we all assumed he had fallen asleep. When Theresa came home, she went into my room to change her clothes. Let's just say Vincent feasted his eyes on seeing his first living breathing naked female and Theresa wanted to poke his eyes out for sitting in the closet with the door cracked open just enough to get a good look at her.  

Let's not forget the time Theresa thought drinking homemade moonshine was a great idea. What wasn't so great was how it took four grown men to get her out of the car. Moonshine will make you CRAZY and when you're already crazy to begin with, moonshine makes your inner redneck shine brightly.  Those four brave men (bless their hearts) got the shit kicked out of them and Theresa never remembered it the next day, but they did.

I remembered the toilet paper we would steal from the wayside park at the creek because when you're on a tight budget you have to cut corners somewhere. Sometimes it was either buy toilet paper or buy food (bologna.) Hmmm! It's not too difficult to figure out what we bought and what we ripped off. It was all good until we actually had to use the "free" toilet paper. Isn't it said that in life "you get what you pay for?" I kid you not that state of Florida spares no expense when supplying toilet paper for its public restrooms. Only the best for for our rumps. Let's just say the toilet paper was like wiping your backside with a course piece of sandpaper that had wood splinters attached to it, but thank goodness all of us became very skilled at removing sphincter splinters.

What story would be complete without it including someone who shoots any insects that find their way inside their house? Yes, you read that correctly. When it comes to oak roaches and if you live somewhere that oak roaches thrive, you know no matter who you are or where you live they will find their way inside. I think they like air conditioning! When it's 90+ degrees outside and almost 100% humidity, every living creature likes air conditioning. Now, you can cut down on the number of the little bastards that find their way inside by having an exterminator
service spray around the outside of your house, but things in Nub City aren't done that way. While visiting some people one night, we all were sitting around the kitchen table when an oak roach rudely made an uninvited appearance on the kitchen wall. The next thing I know, the resident gunslinger pulled out a handgun and blew a hole in the wall. I think the proper terminology for doing that is the word "overkill." 

Last, but not least, what story is complete without revealing a truly bitchy moment that doesn't paint me in a very favorable light? Yes, I know most of my stories don't paint me as Miss Pristine Princess. One day while we were "in town" we saw Gary Harris and Judy Wood just about fell over and most of the female in those parts chased after him. Yes, he was fine looking, but there was something about him that just didn't appeal to me. Maybe it was because he knew he looked good. The day before he had stopped me while I was taking a walk and asked me to ride with him out to Lucas Pond. His thinking was that the police wouldn't harass him between point A and point B if he had a girl in the car with him. He had a whole trunk load of weed to deliver, so in I got and away we went to Lucas Pond. I could tell Royce was surprised to see me with Gary even though I wasn't really "with" him. 

When Carol and I saw Gary the next day, Judy couldn't wait to invite him to the party we were going to have that night. I guess she thought by inviting him, it would give her exclusive rights to him and what I thought was that she needed a lesson in rules of the meat market. First come! First serve! When Gary showed up that night, I never gave Judy a chance to claim her prize. As he and I slid past her, I whispered to her, "Sorry, Judy. He's mine tonight." I really didn't want him, but for some reason I didn't want Judy to have him and he seemed more than eager to get me alone. What can I say? I was just smoother than she was and maybe she learned a lesson not to assume anything when it came to the meat market. Gary never spoke to Judy at all that night
and the next day she decided to go back to Orlando where she lived. Another one bites the dust! I hate when that happens!

For all of you who have made it this far...Part Ten is the last segment of this glorious year long tale of woe. At this rate,  it'll take me the rest of my life and then some to write my entire life story so my descendants can see the gene pool from which they come. 

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