the 10 commandments

Many years ago when Kent and I were dating, we, along with his roommate William, watched The Ten Commandments. To be truthful, I don't remember too much about it. I remember Moses' famous scene standing with his arms outstretched at the Red Sea as the Israelites crossed on dry ground, the walls of water on both sides. (That was an impressive scene). Aside from that, I only remember one other scene. It made an impact on me, although not a thoughtful contemplative impact, rather a let's-reveal-how-shallow-we-are impact. It went something like this: The death angel had just come. People were gathered, mourning the death of the eldest child. Someone sang mournfully, and I do mean MOURNFULLY. The words sung were, "Death Cometh To Me." Quite possibly, since the beginning of time there has never been a song sung so slowly or so mournfully. It must have taken all of 15... Read more →

house for sale

Over the past two weeks, we've toyed with selling our house. We've decided against it. Thinking about selling, I recalled when Kent and I lived on Hastey Street. You may remember the story of the carpenter - I think I called him Ralph in a previous story - we hired to re-do our master bathroom. It wasn't a good experience. Ralph was very, very poor at carpentry. My friend Carolyn was an absolute hoot. Our friendship was usually localized to school and work, but one time she came over for a swim. We had just put the house on the market and the new For Sale sign stood beside the road. When Carolyn pulled up, she promptly asked why we were selling. As we started inside, I changed our course from front door to back door because something was wrong with the front door. (I can't recall what was wrong,... Read more →

a re-made bathroom

(Our house on Hastey Street, Mena Arkansas 1985) When Kent and I lived on Hastey Street, we got a man to redo our master bathroom. He was a "professional," yet out of work. He made a royal mess out of it and charged us 2 1/2 times his estimate. To complicate things, the man was a member of our church and a preacher on the side. All the signs were there, but we didn't see them. We thought we would all be winners in this arrangement. Let's call the professional Ralph. He was about five feet tall, at best 5.2. Ralph worked on our bathroom for days. We looked at it daily, looking forward to it coming together and being a bathroom we could be proud of. We got less and less optimistic as the days went by. I was ready to throw the man a bone and be done... Read more →

a fish net memory

Years ago... (Stephanie, me and Kent, 1987) My husband and I were celebrating our 2nd or 3rd anniversary. It was in August, coinciding with the Polk County Rodeo. As with everyone in Mena, when celebrating or eating out, we went to Fish Net, practically the only restaurant in Mena at the time. Fish Net waitresses had an annoying custom of singing to birthday and anniversary people. Since my sister-in-law Lawana worked there, it traveled through the waitressing ranks that it was our anniversary. What they didn't know was that we were eating quickly so we could attend the rodeo. When Kent and I finished eating, much ahead of the waitresses estimated time of completion, we made our way toward the exit. During our exiting stroll, I saw Brother Vanderbilt, an 80-something-year-old gentleman from my childhood church. When I reached his table to say hello, I simultaneously noticed the waitresses scrambling... Read more →

sexual development

This morning Hannah came into the living room carrying Frodo. With her nose wrinkled and her lips turned down, she grimaced. "During the night, Frodo's penis got really hard and something pink came out. There were two balls on it too. It was gross!" I smiled and said, "I guess our little Frodo is growing up." Although we had lots of dogs growing up, I never paid any attention to the male dog parts. When Kent and I married, we went to Eureka Springs for our honeymoon. As we walked the streets enjoying the quaint shops, we passed an older gentleman walking his Bassett Hound. This Bassett was the Bassett that made me fall in love with Bassets. Although barely off the ground, he was massive. Kent and I laughed that his "thing" nearly dragged the ground. (This is our Bassett Hound Granny. She was already named when we got... Read more →

house-boat issues

Funny are the twists and turns, ups and downs, bumps and bruises life deals us and funny how we move on, get over, heal. Best of all is when you can smile and laugh at what once was. Nervously, I will share one of my funny stories from my life with Kent. I have hesitated to write it down because it is definitely a "you had to be there" story. I want so desperately to share the full impact but I know I will fall far short. When Stephanie was about 18-months-old, Kent, Stephanie and I took a vacation to California. We were going to stay on a boat belonging to one of Kent's customers. When we arrived at the boat, I was disappointed to find only single beds. Even the "master bedroom" had single beds on opposite walls. I am uncomfortable sleeping with a small child in a queen... Read more →

island girl

(1986, Stephanie and me. This picture was made about a month before my Island Bar experience.) Many years ago when I was a young woman deeply concerned with keeping up my image, my husband and I took a little vacation to Florida. I was new to travel, a farm girl from a small country community Kent checked us into an extravagant hotel. Toward one direction was the Gulf of Mexico. In the direction we faced was a massive pool. It seemed big enough to be the Gulf of Mexico to this country girl. It was gigantic. The water was as blue as I’d ever seen. In the middle was a bar. Its palm trees and a thatched roof made it look like a perfect little island in the middle of a clear blue sea. I was mesmerized. I stood giddy-like at the window watching the people play. Lovers frolicked in... Read more →