Thursday, April 28, 2011

Don't Roll Your Eyes at Me, Young Man!

A question was raised on facebook days ago about how to handle pre-teen eye-rolling.  Ahh.  I remember the season of lying in bed at night trying to come up with appropriate, meaningful, nonviolent consequences for what my mother used to call "impudent" behavior.  Oh, the hours I spent worrying that one of my boys would blurt out "poop" or "shut up" in front of a classroom filled with innocent, well bred preschoolers.

"Shut up" was a big no-no in the Lackey household.  We simply did not say those words to a loved one or, well, any of God's children on Planet Earth.  We Lackeys are civilized people.  Telling someone to shut up sounded just plain barbaric to my young mother ears.  Five year old Bryce proved to be my most barbaric child in the World of Polite.  He outsmarted me by coining the phrase "duh-duh" which he would mumble under his breath in lieu of shouting "SHUT UP"  at his older brother.  Touche, Bryce.  Now I confess that when I first heard your brilliant syno-homonym for "shut up," I called your dad at work and we both laughed at your sneakiness.

As a former elementary school teacher who was teaching parenting classes for our local schools, I felt like I had the whole parenting thing under control.  Soon I learned that while I could keep 22 fourth graders quiet and busy, my own flesh and blood was a whole other animal.  Staring down into the face of my screaming preschooler sent me into orbit slowly revolving around Planet Why-Doesn't-This-Child-Bow-Before-Me-in-Obedience.  I would float there helpless trying to figure out how to gain footing back on earth so that I could win the battle of Three Bites of Green Beans.  "With God as my witness!  My children will learn to love all green vegetables including Brussels sprouts!" I'd howl at the moon with each revolution.

As the boys grew in height and verbal skills, I read and reread my parenting books arming myself with ideation.

"You can't MAKE a child do anything.  But, you can make him wish he had."

"Keep calm and carry on!"

"You can do it, Carolyn!  I know you can do it!  You can do it, Carolyn!  I know you can do it!"

I needed all of the self talk I could muster.  My "go to your room and calm yourself down" forced through gritted teeth to Jonathan was met with a snippy "Mommy, you are RUINING  my self esteem!!" thrown over his shoulder as he marched to his room.  Ack!  An arrow into my heart!  How did this child know my Achilles heel?  Was it the stacks of parenting books on the guest bed?  The piles of handouts for a parenting class titled "Raising Your Child's Self-Esteem?"  I resisted the urge to run to him, grab him up in my arms, and assure him that he was an important person who would make wonderful contributions to mankind as well as the urge to barge into his room to lecture him on how he could nurture his own little self esteem with good behavior.  

By the time my boys reached puberty, I had toughened into a "C'Mon, Show Me Whatcha Got" shadow boxing champ.  My copy of Parenting with Love and Logic was tear-stained and dog-eared.  Bring on the eye-rolling!  Slam those doors!  Stomp your feet as you "triumphantly" exit the kitchen!  I fell back on a breathing technique that I learned from a birthing class sensei all those years ago.  She called it "Prepared Childbirth."  I called it "Prepared Parenting."  I went back to the place of "Heeee  Heeee Hooooooo" to bring my blood pressure down from the heart attack zone.  I centered myself emotionally by pretending to slowly exhale blowing out imaginary birthday candles.  I created a secret mothering game called "I-Scream-He-Wins-I-Stay-Calm-I-Don't-Die-of-a-Heart-Attack."

One day as Reed was rolling his eyes at me while taking out the kitchen trash, I had a huge epiphany.  Reed's rolling eyes were screaming disrespect, but his feet were humbly complying with my request!  It was a victory of Yes and No!  I won...unless, of course, he was secretly putting the trash sack in the back of my Suburban.  The next day as I was watching Dr. Phil deal with parents of a wild banshee teen, I realized that while my boys had slammed doors and rolled their eyes they had never once ever screamed profanities at me.  I proclaimed this a huge victory in the realm of parenting teens.  I fashioned a crown and scepter out of construction paper and stood at the kitchen window gently waving the back of my hand like Queen Elizabeth to the occasional dog walker.

As far as the facebook question regarding eye-rolling went, my response was met with some resistance.  I know.  I know.  Eye-rolling is the height of disrespect most 12 year olds can muster.  It comes on the heels of snuggling, cuddling, and "I love you, Mommy."  Young moms need to see eye-rolling for what it is - a barometer of maturity.  It's the outward sign of inward thoughts.  Ignore it.  Don't squelch it.  It can be your friend.  The eyes can shout "No!" if the feet and hands are saying "Yes, Ma'am!"  For when the eyes no longer roll, you will know that your child has reached Maturity Nirvana.  Your job is done.  You have succeeded in moving them from obedient, albeit eye-rolling, compliance to polite assistance.  Take a bow!  Bravo!

Did I ever scold my boys for rolling their eyes at me while protesting with a hearty, "Moo-om?" Heck, yeah.  Did it stop the rolling.  Heck, no.  Do they still roll their eyes at me now that they are college men?  Only when I totally have it coming.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Handset-less Phone

It's days like today that I want to grab the phone, call Kathy, and say, "This is a hoot!  Call Mom's number to see what the answering machine says!"

A lady from Lighthouse for the Blind in Fort Worth just called to ask about how to get in touch with Mom.  I told her the number, and she quickly said, "I just called that number twice.  A man and a woman answer the phone.  They can't seem to figure out what button to push to hear me, so I called you instead." 

I was intrigued.  I immediately dialed Mom's number.  The answering machine fooled even me.  I kept saying, "Mom?!  Leonard!?  Can you hear me?  Mom!?"  It wasn't until the answering machine beeped that I realized that they had recorded themselves while they were trying to figure out how to work the futuristic contraption we all simply refer to as the "answering machine."  I had to call the number again -  to take notes.

Ring.  Ring.  Ring.  Then, unintelligible mumbling.  Then, clatter, clatter, clatter.

Leonard:  That's not it either.  Whuzzat?

Mom:  I don't know.  What does it say?

Leonard:  It says "handset."  You don't have no handset.  I don't see no handset.  And, I still don't see no "play." 

Mom:  The one I USED TO HAVE was easy to use.  

[At this point, I listened very closely to see if she cursed my name.  I'm the one who helped her pick out this new-fangled, "no handset" phone.  She spared me.]

Leonard:  I don't see no "play," but I do see "volume," "record," "announce," "set up," "microphone" - you ain't got no microphone - "clock."

Mumbling followed by more clattering.

Mom:  What's that one say?

Leonard:  That says "answer only."  Maybe that means it'll take a message.  The light is on.

Mom:  Hm.

Leonard:  "Delete."  "Hold."  "Mute."  It's saying that you've missed 50 calls!  Fifty people done called you!"

Mom:  Really?!  50?!  [The excitement in her voice indicated that she wasn't thinking about 50 missed calls.  She was awestruck by her own popularity.]

Beeeeeep.  The unintentional answering machine greeting ends. 

The phone does have a handset.  I believe that in "corded phone" language it is referred to as the "receiver."  Mom has 3 phones in her tiny apartment.  The sci-fi, mysterious "no handset" phone and 2 good old corded phones that she brought from the "old country."

No, I did not leave a message.  Kathy would have.  And, it would have been heeeee-larious.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Lackey Easter

I love Easter Sunday afternoon.  We worshiped joyously.  
We ate sinfully.  We laughed heartily.  Then, I took a long Sunday nap.

It began at the breakfast table with one shared "Big Boy" Easter Basket.
"Big Boy" means "at least I got you some candy."
Bryce had to "show me teeth" before he filled his plate.  The chocolate milk is a holiday/birthday/first day breakfast tradition at the Lackey House.  It's Promised Land Midnight Chocolate.  Alan frosts the glasses in the freezer before filling it with the thick, rich ice cold chocolate milk.  Mm.  Mm.  Mm. 
Reed had a little bit of biscuit with his grape jelly.
Leonard joined us for lunch.  He asked the blessing.
Mimi wasn't satisfied with a lean-together-and-smile picture.
Lucky Reed.
I adore my little mother.
"Just take the picture so we can eat!" Alan said through his fake smile.  "Yeah!" echoed Bryce.
My grandmother served a huge lunch after church every Sunday when I was a little girl.  I miss those lunches.  That's why I love Easter Lunch so much, I reckon.
Dessert:  White Cupcakes with Fresh Sugared Strawberries and Alan's Famous Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
Happy Easter from my family to yours!
We miss you, Jonathan!  Can't wait to see you in May!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Peace and Love, Leonard

Mom's best friend, Leonard, likes to write old fashioned snail mail letters.  He buys 100 stamps every month.  He writes in beautiful, elaborate cursive.  To date, I think that Alan and I have received about 10 cards and notes from him.  Two weeks ago when I had a cold, he sent me a get well card.  Because he is a devoted patron of the United States Postal Service, I decided that I would send him some mail art.

This is the back of the mail art I sent to Leonard.

I'm not sure he quite knew what to make of the whole mail art thang.  Here is his reply:

I love that Leonard has been saving this McDonald's postcard with stickers for "just the right occasion." I love that Leonard is my best friend AND my pen pal.  But, the messages he leaves on our answering machine are what I love the very most.

"Hello, Carolyn and Alan!  I'm calling to wish Carolyn a blessed and happy birthday!  May God bless you and your family today and throughout the entire year of 2011.  You are a blessing to me and all who know you.  So, have a happy birthday!  This is Leonard S_____, at Raider Ranch in Lubbock, Texas, at 2:00 in the afternoon Central Standard Time."

When the mailman brought the mail at 4:00, I also had a "Have a Blessed Birthday" card from Leonard.  Schweet, schweet Leonard.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

God Bless Mom's New Best Friend - Leonard

About  two months after Mom moved into Raider Ranch, I asked her if she was already making friends.  

"Yes, there are a lot of nice people at Raider Ranch - Mamie Sue, Virginia, Betty Jo.  I can't see their faces [macular degeneration], but I recognize some of their voices.  I always know who Betty Jo is because she wears pretty turquoise necklaces.  My best friend is Leonard."


"Yes.  I eat with Leonard and Mr. Pruett every day."  (She can't remember Mr. Pruett's first name.)

God bless Leonard.  He is so patient with Mom.  He can tell you what size Chico's pants she wears and what size she used to wear.  He can tell you how many pounds Mom wants to lose and how she keeps gaining weight by eating sausage biscuits and gravy at the "free" breakfast buffet.  (I think that when you call a meal "free," seniors eat like they will never have another meal this side of the pearly gates.)

Last week, I took Mom to Chico's to help her find some white crop pants.  After trying on about 6 pairs of possibilities, - in the size she used to wear, the next size up, and the size that she's about to need if she keeps eating sausage  biscuits  -  she decided that Talbots' pants usually fit her perfectly.  Off to Talbots' we went.  She tried on various sizes in petite pants.  Then, she sent me to fetch the same sizes in "Missy" pants (regular people pants).  We left Talbots empty handed after she had filled the saleslady in on all the sizes she had worn over the years.  "I used to fit into Chicos' zeros!  Now, I'm at Raider Ranch, and the food is really good!"

The next day, she called me in the late afternoon to tell me about her excursion to the South Plains Mall in search of white crop pants at Dillard's.  She was so proud of herself.  Raider Ranch transports people to the mall once a week, and she had signed up for her little white crop pants adventure.

"You went on the shuttle all by yourself, Mom?"

"Leonard went!"

"What did Leonard need at the mall?"

"Oh, he didn't need anything.  He went along to help me find the ladies' department in Dillards."

"He's a SAINT!  Did he pull sizes for you?"

"Oh, no.  The saleslady did that.  He just waited for me while I tried the pants on.  Then, he took me to Bath and Body so that I could get some lotion."

At this point, I am envisioning Leonard leading Mom around in the mall like a seeing-eye dog and regretting that I hadn't been there to take pictures of the whole experience.  I felt tears welling up in my eyes.  If Leonard only knew how much I hate to shop for clothes!  It was then that I fully realized that Leonard was actually MY best friend.

Leonard's birthday was Tuesday.  He turned 85.  "Now he's the same age as me!" Mom chirped at Red Lobster during his birthday dinner.  Alan let Leonard pick the restaurant.  He likes Red Lobster because they have crab cakes.  Leonard moved to Lubbock's Raider Ranch from Baltimore.  He really misses his crab cakes.

We feasted on crab cakes and coconut shrimp.  "You can get coconut shrimp at Raider Ranch.  You just can't find any coconut on their shrimp," Leonard explained.  Several cute waiters brought Leonard's dessert and sang Happy Birthday to him.  The manager came over and gave us a small stack of $5 off coupons for our future visits to Red Lobster.  

Mom and the Birthday Boy

I know what you're thinking.  And, no.  There is no romantic interest between these two besties.  They walk arm and arm.  They look after each other.  It's a beautiful thing.

Now that Leonard is our best friend, I'm sure that there will be many more trips to Red Lobster.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Couch to 5K and Back to Couch

I'm sitting here in my workout clothes mentally churning out excuses for being lazy.  It's a little game I play I like to call "The 1000 Ways the World Needs Me So I Can't Possibly Workout Today."

I'm on Week 1 - Day 2 of the Couch to 5K workout.  It lured me in with its simplicity.  Walk a minute and a half.  Run for 60 seconds.  For a total of 20 minutes.  Walk for a minute and a half.  Run for 60 seconds.  For a total of 20 minutes.  I downloaded the app onto my iPhone.  I love apps.  They lure me in like movie theater popcorn.  For some strange reason, a workout app that fits into my little iPhone is less daunting than the list of workout classes at Bodyworks.  How rigorous could it possibly be?  It's tiny.  Walk a minute and a half.  Run for 60 seconds.  For a total of 20 minutes.

Before I even put on my tenny shoes to conquer Week 1 - Day 1, I spent an hour in this exact chair in front of this exact computer scrolling through my iTunes in search of good "walk" and "run" songs.  My selection process looked a little like this - Scroll down list.  Click on song.  Sway in computer chair with the beat of the music determining if the song is a "walker," a "runner," or neither.  Walking music was easy because I walk around all day long.  Running music was tricky because I generally avoid running except from, say, my car into a building when it's raining.  It NEVER rains in Lubbock.

Next my attention turned to earbuds.  Earbuds...earbuds...where did I stash my good earbuds?  I'm very earbud specific.  I have teensy tiny ears.  The round earbuds that come with iPods pop out of my ears with the tiniest bit of head movement.  I needed the green earbuds with the little squishy buds that I can cram way down into my ear canals.

Armed with my iPhone, the green squishy earbuds, and a water bottle with ice and lemon slice floaties, I headed to Bodyworks to perform Week 1 - Day 1 on the elliptical machine.  At my age, pounding the pavement sends magnitude 6 shockwaves up my legs to my hips inflaming the bursae which, in turn, leaves me tossing and turning all night long.  I looked up the Richter scale.  Magnitude 6: This earthquake is strong enough to badly damage average buildings.  My "building" is very, very average.

Taking my time to place my keys, water bottle, and iPhone on the elliptical machine just so, I mustered every tidbit of my weak determination and summoned the Couch to 5K app to lead the way.  It told me to begin with a 5 minute warmup.  My warmup song is Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror."  Oh, yeah.  Oh, yeah.  I began to glide back and forth on the elliptical.  IF YOU WANNA MAKE THE WORLD - A BETTA PLACE - TAKE A LOOK AT YOURSELF - AND MAKE A - CHANGE!!  By the time Michael climbs to the key change, I'm on top of my game.  Yeah, baby!  I'm here on this elliptical to make a CHANGE.  I've got this!

The C25K timer counted down 5 minutes, then, a man's voice calmly said "run."  I began to glide with long silky strides in time with my first "run" song.  SOME BRIGHT MORNING - WHEN THIS LIFE IS O'ER - I'LL FLY AWAY!  TO THAT HOME ON GOD'S CELESTIAL SHORE - I'LL FLY AWAY!  I closed my eyes and began to long for that celestial shore.  I challenged myself not to look at the timer.  A minute isn't that long.  I kept my eyes closed for what seemed like an eternity.  Isn't this song about half way over?!  It's about a 3 minute song! What if the "run- walk" guy forgot me?  I opened my eyes and looked at the timer.  Forty seconds had lapsed.  Twenty more seconds?!  Kill me now!

At last, the man dispassionately told me to walk.  Ahhhhh.  My walk song.  Stomp - stomp  - CLAP!  Stomp - stomp - CLAP!   Stomp - stomp  - CLAP!  Stomp - stomp - CLAP!  BUDDY YOU'RE A BOY - MAKIN' BIG NOISE - PLAYIN' IN THUH STREET - GONNA BE A BIG MAN SOME DAY! - YOU GOT  MUD ON YO' FACE - YOU BIG DISGRACE - KICKIN' YO CAN ALL OVER THUH PLACE - SINGING WE WILL - WE WILL - ROCK YOU!

The 20 minutes plodded along to the sounds of DO YOU HEAR THE PEOPLE SING - SINGING THE SONGS OF ANGRY MEN - IT IS THE MUSIC OF A PEOPLE - WHO WILL NOT BE SLAVES AGAIN and ANOTHER ONE BITS THE DUST!  Then, the man benevolently declared the workout over and the 5 minute cool down began.  I slowed to a short-step-snail's-pace to the the voices of WE ARE THE WORLD - WE ARE THE CHILDREN.  The 5 minutes sped by leaving the one minute run timer in its dust.

Stepping down from the elliptical, I looked around at my fellow gym-mates expecting some cheering.  Nothing.  The guy on the row in front of me continued to pound the treadmill in a race of one to nowhere.  The cute blonde pony-tailed girl in spandex beside me continued to tromp on her elliptical as if it was doing all the work lifting her pretty little feet up and down.  I stopped myself short of dramatically drawing attention to myself - "HEY, PEOPLE!  I'M AN OUT OF SHAPE 54 YEAR OLD WHO HAD TO TEAR HERSELF AWAY FROM LIFETIME:  TELEVISION FOR WOMEN AND A JAR OF PEANUT BUTTER TO WORK OUT TODAY!  I JUST COMPLETED C25K - W1D2!"

I've dawdled the first 2 hours of my morning away on my computer with emails, fb and blogging.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Lackey Vocabulary Words

liv er ing room [liv' er ring room] noun
1.  the big room in the center of our house
2.  room with the biggest TV
3.  large room with enough open space to build a fort out of all of the blankets in the linen closet
Who left legos scattered all over the floor in the livering room?!

zer age [zer' ahhhzh] noun
1.  place where cars are supposed to be parked
2.  place where bikes, trikes, Little Tykes car, balls, swords, and toy guns litter the floor leaving no room to park cars
If you boys don't move your bikes over to one side of the zerrage or the other, they will get run over!  And this time, I really mean it!!

maz a gine [maz uh geen']  noun
1.  periodicals which the mailman delivers monthly which are rarely read by the busy mother
2.  dog-eared, crumpled periodicals in a pediatrician's office which are covered with germs that no flu shot or vaccination can conquer
Mom, will you read me this mazagine? [child holds up a 3 year old copy of  Parents magazine with "Potty Training in a Day!" jumping off of the mangled cover in big red letters]

tuck le [tuck el] verb
1.  to shove one's shirt tail down into one's pants
2.  to arrange the sheets and blankets over a non-sleepy child while kissing him and assuring him that if he leaves his bed before the sun rises, there will be consequences too severe to even utter aloud
Moo-oom!  Will you come tuckle me in again?  All my blankets fell off, and I can't sleep!
Moo-oom!  Will you tuckle my shirt in?  It's too hard for me!

the broth ers [thu bru' thurz]  noun
1.  older male siblings who have later bedtimes, get to go to school every day, and sometimes physically abuse the youngest male sibling
2.  older male siblings worshiped by a younger brother who longs to be just like them someday because they can run fast, jump really high, and climb over fences
How much longer until the brothers come home from school?  
The brothers won't let me be a member of their club because they think I'm a baby!

I am missing my boys today.  My little boys.  My little sweaty, giggling, rowdy little boys.  So, I began to think of the vocabulary words that they coined all of those years ago.  The words first fell upon our ears as cute mispronunciations that became bullet points in the lists of "How Cute is This?!"  Phone calls were made to Daddy at work and grandparents afar.

"Hey, Sweetie, guess what Jonathan just said!"
"I can't guess.  What did he say?"
"He asked me if his beach ball was in the 'zerage' - not garage - 'ZERAGE'!"
"Zerage?!  That's so cute!  What's for dinner?"

Some of the new words were so catchy, they became a part of the Lackey vocabulary.  

"Alan, can you tuckle Reed's shirt tail in tighter?  I usually tuckle it into his big boy underwear before pulling his pants up."
"REEEEED!  Come here so I can help you tuckle in your shirt!  It's almost time to go to Sunday School!"

We won't see Jonathan until May, but Bryce and Reed will be home this weekend for Easter.  I will kill the fatted calf and make Easter cupcakes.  Then, I will sit out in the front yard facing West in the shade of the red oak watching for Reed's little white car to round the corner onto 84th Street.  When I see it, I will shout, "The brothers are home!  The brothers are home!"
The Brethren

Friday, April 15, 2011

Busy Hands are Happy Hands

I have trouble sitting still.  My hands need to be busy all the time.  

If I'm on the phone for more than about 45 seconds, 
I doodle.

Mail Art has become my newest adventure.  I love to create while I watch TV.

It takes me longer to wrap a present than it does to get in the car, drive to a store, pick the gift, make the purchase, and drive home.  Wrapping the gift is the best part.

Making cupcakes is pretty entertaining.

Then, there's this little lovely that I've been working on here and there for years.  
For no apparent reason.

The next thing you know, I'll be knitting business suits for Alan.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Calamity Kathy

"Don't call me a girl!  I'm a boy-girl!" she bellowed turning on her heels.  "I like BOY stuff.  They have better stuff than girls!" she ferociously fired over her shoulder.  Stomping out of the house in her fancy new cowboy clothes she headed out West in search of cattle rustlers and Indians.  Yep.  She was a boy-girl.  My sister.  Calamity Kathy.  Dr. Smith delivered her on August 27, 1960, and announced, "She'll be the meanest kid on the block."  If he made any sort of pronouncement over my naked newborn body, he most assuredly used the words "princess" and "poised" and "Future Miss Panola County."   

Kathy's hair was pale, lemony blonde and straight as a board with jiggety jagged edges that tattle-tailed a singsong, "Someone's been playing with Mo-om's sewing scis-sors..."  Her pearly cat-eye glasses sat precariously on the tip of her little nub of a nose smudgy from being pushed up all day long by a cowgirl riding the range of E. Neal Street in search of missing steers and wayward dogs.  The toes of her wrong-footed cowboy boots pointed outward as they clomped a hollow beat down the driveway.

She and I could not have been more opposite if we tried.  She would meet an invitation to play beauty pageant in the living room with spitting on the ground and grandiose eyerolling. 

"Geee-awww, Cure-lun (her version of 'Carolyn').  NOBODY likes to play pageants.  That's stupid!" she spat with complete disgust.

"I won't make you wear eye makeup or lipstick!  You can wear one of Mom's silky nightgowns instead of a scratchy party dress!" I pled wheeling and dealing with Boy-Girl.

Then, I sweetened the deal by offering up the ultimate sacrifice, "I'll let you WIN this time!  I'll crown you Miss Panola County!"

Oh, how I longed to hold her down long enough to brush her hair and clip a pink plastic barrette on each side of her part to control the wild bits of hair that constantly cascaded down her face!  I was even willing to go as far as telling her that we were playing cowboys and Indians so that she wouldn't struggle too much when I tied her to a chair.  I cunningly tried Grandma Kinzbach's famous scare tactic by reminding Kathy that a girl with hair in her face could go permanently and completely cross-eyed. 

While I played quietly with my Barbies in the air-conditioned comfort of our bedroom, she was outside whooping and hollering with the neighborhood boys.   The Christmas that she got the cardboard Barbie Dream House, I just about went into a midwinter rigor - wild with jealousy.  I tried to discreetly slide it over to my side of the closet one "scooch" at a time, but my mother was wise to me.

"Santa Claus brought that to Kathy!  You can play with it, but you have to ask her if it's OK first," Mom scolded.

"Yea, but Santa Claus doesn't know her like WE do!  She HATES Barbies!  She'll just tear the Dream House up with all of her GI Joe junk," I whined.

"Well, it's hers to play with as she pleases!" Mom reminded me as she headed towards the kitchen.  "Make sure you ask her if it's OK to play with it!"

Taking a deep breath and sucking in all of my older sister pride, I gave Kathy a saccarine smile showing my gritted teeth and sweetly asked,  "Kathy, is it OK if I play with your Dream House?"

Grinning a wicked, crooked-toothed smile she quickly came back with "No!" and skipped out of the room scuffing her heels on the hardwood floor.
Like her brother, Kirk, Kathy loved to parade
around the neighborhood bare-chested.
Much to my dismay, my mother embraced the cowboy side of my little sister.  She actually ran outside with her Brownie Instamatic to waste precious film taking snapshots of my catastrophe of a protege.  On the back of this picture my mother jotted these words:  "This is how Kathy likes to dress at three years old - Summer 1964."  I would have written "We are still working on this child.  She is a very slow learner."  As her older sister, I felt gypped by a little sister who dared to walk away from my attempts to turn her into a swan.  

Just when I thought my mortification was complete, Kathy decided to join the band in Junior High.  I was a drill team girl.  I had taken dance most of my life.  Kathy hadn't so much as taken a piano lesson.    I was sure that as Kathy matured into a teenager, she would seek my beauty secrets in earnest.  Nope.  To spite me, she chose the gawky trombone over the precious, feminine flute,  and swore that she would never, ever, ever, EVER wear makeup.  

Turns out little Kathy grew up into a blonde beauty with a dimple on her right cheek that charmed the hearts of all those who knew her.  She no longer swaggered around the neighborhood looking to join in a sweaty touch football game or a hearty pinecone war.  She began to color coordinate her clothes and became more careful about wearing her shoes on the right feet.  She slowly transformed from a boy-girl to a man-lady.  She took life by the horns and jumped in for the wild ride laughing through the twists and turns with her arms thrust high above her head.  That tangly-haired, six-shooter-firing scalawag became my hero.

The very next time I get together with Penny and Kristy to reenact one of our famous living room Miss Panola County pageants, I will eat fire and throw knives during the talent portion of the competition while singing "Whatever Lola Wants."  Go, Cure-lin, Go!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

At a Loss for Words

A week ago, I left Bible Study with a yucky sore throat.  The sore throat became a nasty cold which became coughing and laryngitis which turned into writer's blaaaaaaaaahk.

My fingers miss my brain.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The New Crop

We moved to Lubbock during the summer of 1991.  Jonathan turned four that August and Bryce was two.  I spent the majority of the summer "frokin' up," as the boys put it, while my belly swelled with pregnancy.  After spending seven months in a duplex while our house was being built, we moved into our home in the nick of time.  Reed Alexander Lackey was born a short three weeks after we settled onto 84th Street.  The walls were still bare, and there were boxes stacked to the ceiling in the garage.    The pictures of his homecoming show a dirt yard with no trees.  (In West Texas, you have to buy your trees unless you'd prefer to grow cotton in the front yard.)

During this season of the little men, there were about 11 boys on our block ranging in age from infancy to upper elementary.  Over the 19 years that we've lived in this house, the natural attrition brought on by moving away or growing up slowly cleared our street of children.  No more block parties with Easter Egg Hunts.  No more front yard football games.  Nowadays, I don't know many of the trick-or-treaters who come ringing my doorbell grinning from ear to ear.  This year for the first time, I had no offers to buy Boy Scout Popcorn or Girl Scout Cookies.  Sitting in the front yard in the cool of a summer evening is more peaceful, indeed.  Too peaceful.  I crave the parade of bikes with training wheels and barrage of wildly flung frisbees.  I haven't heard anyone yell "headache" signaling the meteoric fall of a baseball in years.

I had begun to accept the fact that we had become a street of "the old ones" - empty nesters with readers propped on the tips of our noses who discuss health care and cooking for two.  Then, a breath of fresh air breezed down the block as new, young families slowly began to migrate to our section of 84th Street.  The population of children is on the rise.  Our newest neighbors have three precious little girls who wear bows in their hair and matching Sunday dresses.  When I first met them, I almost felt like crying.  I wanted to scoop the girls into my arms and ask them what took them so long to get here.  

A few days ago, I told Alan that the time has come for us to pass this house on to a young family with children.  That's what the house was built for.  One room was measured out to specifically house a set of red metal bunk beds.  Another is small - the size of a  cozy nursery.  Then, there's the "visiting grandparent" bedroom that was placed across the house away from the ruckus that little boys can generate.  Three lonely guest rooms do not fulfill the purpose of a house that was built for action and noise and three little superheros.  Alan didn't go with the whole "time to move on" theory.  He's still working on the "educate the 3 sons" project. 

Welcome to the new crop of 84th Street children!  I am so happy that you are here.  And, I hope that you love to eat cupcakes as much as I love making them. 


Meems had a very special visitor this weekend.  Our friend, Laura Ard, flew down from DC to spend time with her.  Laura lived next door t...