Thursday, April 29, 2010

HEY "NAKEY" LADY...bathing suit bottoms are NOT optional.

i want to begin this story by saying thank you, God, for not allowing us to see into the future! because it we could, then yesterday would have never happened. if i had even had an inkling of what was in store for me yesterday afternoon, i can assure you i would have never gotten out of bed.

the morning started out okay. i got up, dressed and swung by to pick up mama and daddy for our weekly Bible study that we go to on Wednesdays. just before we got there my sister, paula, called and asked me if i wanted to go shopping with her after lunch. now, if you know me personally, then you know that i am NOT a big fan of malls! i am claustrophobic and can not stand to be in crowds of people. especially when we are in an enclosed space. so usually, if i have to go to one, i will park outside of the store i want to go in, grab what i need/want and then hightail it back to my car. and then, if i need/want something else, i drive to the next store and do the same thing. it's a pain, i know, which is why i rarely do malls. but anyway, i said yes. i needed a few things. for summer. for the beach. so, after a nice lunch at Fiddlers with mama and daddy, i picked paula up and we headed to the mall. when we got to the store i asked her what she wanted to look at first...and my stomach started turning at that moment when the dreaded words spilled out of her mouth. (thank you again, God, for giving me the sense to have just a few small bites of a chef salad for lunch.) she wanted to go to the AAAIIIIIEEEEEEE...bathing suit department! NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! my good day was going to take a nosedive into depression. i absolutely DETEST shopping for a bathing suit. why, you ask? well, if you are a woman reading this, no explanation is needed. if, however, you are a man....well, i will try and explain.

i was practically raised at Ft. Myers Beach, FL. my parents have owned a condo there for many, many years. and before that, we stayed in a cottage on the beach, usually for several weeks in the summer. now, my parents go there for several months in the summer and the last two years i went with them. because they need someone with them. and that someone would be me. and my sister, terri. i remember a couple of years ago, when i was there with the middle aged man who would later leave me for greener pastures, and my two grandkids. we were taking a walk down to the point and letting them look for shells. we passed this couple, probably in their late 30's, laying out in their chairs, just 15-20 feet from the edge of the water.. she was was a rather large woman. i would say about 350 lbs. of large. and she had on a two piece bathing suit. and i was thinking to myself, "oooookkkkkk....she is very confident in her skin. she is telling the world that it's ok to be big and still put on a bathing suit. and walk down the beach. she wasn't concerned about what other people thought of her. good for her. and we continued to walk. on our way back the kids were walking just a little ahead of us. suddenly they turned around and started running back to us really excited about something. we thought they had found a "treasure" in the sand. but as they got closer they said, "grandmama, that lady up there is "nakey!" she don't have no bottoms on! WHAT???!!!!" we kept walking and we came up on the same rather large woman as she was coming out of the water and walking back to her chair. and she really didn't have on a bottom! because when she was out there swimming, the bottom of that two piece bathing suit had crept up and disappeared into her nether regions...and she had not bothered to try and find it. she just walked back to her chair and layed back down...ON HER STOMACH! naked as a jaybird on her backside. and this was a public beach. now, don't get me wrong. i applaud her for being brave. or confident. or whatever she was being. but exposing herself to other people who were just there for a nice stroll down the beach was just wrong folks! i didn't want my grandkids seeing her in all her glory! I didn't want to see her in all her glory! so, women need to be very selective when picking out a bathing suit.

first of all you must make the really big decision...which department do i head to? do i want to fantasize that i am still a 16 yr. old and head over to the JUNIORS section and pick out a really, really cute two piece that was designed for stick people and convince yourself that well, you still FEEL 16, and make stupid remarks to the salesgirl like "my daughter is about this small (making a circle with your hands) so what size do you think she would be? knowing all the while that SHE KNOWS you probably don't even have a daughter and that you are a 50 yr. old woman who wants to dress like she's still a teenager. and that she's looking at your 50 yr. old body and thinking to herself..."lady, there is no way on God's green earth that you are going to fit THAT into THIS! PUH-LEEEEEEEZ.

or, do you totally avoid THAT particular humiliation and head over to the MISSES section. where you fantasize that you are still a 21-35 yr. old and pick out a really, really cute "tankini." that was designed for stick people and ask stupid questions like "my daughter-in-law wears a size 6 in these suits run small?" knowing all the while that she is wanting to say, "get real are 50 yrs. old. you probably have grandkids. your daughter-in-law would NOT be having her MOTHER-IN-LAW in here picking out HER bathing suit! who are you trying to kid? go on over to the WOMENS section, where you belong. grow up. you had your heyday...a loooooong time ago. face reality. your prime passed you about 15 - 20 years ago."

or, do you just accept the fact that you ARE, indeed, a woman. with curves. in all the wrong places. and head on over to the WOMENS section. where you can now browse the limited number of "bathing skirts" or "bathing dresses" or, as my sisters and i like to call them, "parachutes." where every suit you see was designed for a stick people person, who is pregnant. or very, very small breasted and requires 3 inches of padding in the cups to make you look like the WOMAN that society thinks you are supposed to be. i am totally bewildered in this section. i don't wear dresses to church! why on earth would i want to wear a dress in a SWIMMING POOL? where when you get in the water the bottom of the "dress" floats up around your neck...and all the little kids in the pool jump in with their googles on so they can go underwater and see the "humpback whale...with a dress on!"

so, yesterday i considered my options. (and it was a rude awakening.) i finally admitted to myself that i will never ever again, in this lifetime, be a JUNIOR size. i decided to avoid the JUNIORS department altogether. the MISSES and the WOMENS sections were combined in this particular store, so i was able to look at both, while still feeling slightly incognito. i grabbed a few suits and made a bee line for the dressing rooms. and it was there, behind door #3 that i sunk into the deep, dark abyss of mortification.


first of all, the few times i have gone with my boys into a mens dressing room, i found them to be nothing at all like the womens. they have one mirror in a closet sized space. and one hook to hang your clothes on. because men usually take in one thing, try it on, take it off and buy it. they don't really care how big those jeans make their butt look. they don't seem to mind if their pants are dragging on the ground when they walk, or worse, have the crotch hanging down to their knees. they put on a shirt, button it and voila' it fits! to the cash register they go. their shopping is finished. they go home and watch the ball game and eat ice cream and popcorn. and double quarter pounders with cheese. super-sized. and spend the rest of the day flipping the remote back and forth and back and forth understand what i'm saying.
 behind door #3 was a good size room. with a chair. to put your purse on i was guessing. and 3 hooks. and THREE mirrors. so you can see yourself from every angle at the same time. now THAT alone is pretty alarming.) the lighting is bright. harsh white light. i don't like to try clothes on in a store. because i have always heard on these undercover stories they do on dateline and 20/20 that some stores have security officers watching you, behind two way mirrors. or  they video you trying on clothes, to make sure you don't steal anything. (right...i think somebody is either a) a pervert. b) likes to watch women make fools of themselves or c) have been forced to watch by their employer, who is twisted.but, in this case, i decided to try the clothes on because i did not want to have to come back to the mall. to return them. i wanted this horror to be over in one day.

so i loaded one hook with shirts, one with bathing suits and one with pants and shorts. i tried the pants on first. mmmmm...ok, they fit. but i really didn't want to wear long pants all summer. because i get really, really hot. not just outside in the sun, but inside in the air conditioning. so, i grabbed a pair of shorts. they were looooong. somewhere in the middle of shorts and capris. nope. not for me. i tried on a shorter pair. cute, but i was pretty sure you would be able to see part of my cheeks when i walked. not pretty on a 50 yr. old woman. another pair, too big (wow on that,) another pair, too tight. i had one pair left. a really cute pair of jean shorts. they were just the kind that i like. but when i picked up the ones in my size i thought, good grief, these things must run really big! they looked ginormous. so i grabbed the next size down, thinking they would be a better fit. WRONG. i managed to get them up, and over my badonkadonk...but as far as the two sides meeting in the middle where the zipper was....ummm...NO! it wasn't going to happen. no matter how much i sucked in. or tugged...they were not going to cooperate. and now, you are probably thinking the exact same thing that popped into my head. OH MY GOODNESS...that means my butt must be even more ginormous than i thought. that means that ginormous pair i had picked up earlier in my size, WAS MY SIZE!!! the depression crept in. forget the shorts. i'll just get some cute shirts and wear them with what i already have.
i put on the first one. a really, really cute tank top that i just loved. bright, cheery colors. GASP! it fit so tight that it looked like it was painted on. you could see the freckles on my stomach if you looked close enough. and everything else...if you catch my drift. off it went. it was getting warm behind door #3. i was beginning to perspire a little bit. i tried on the next one. a gauzy white, button down the front, which would look good either buttoned, or open, with a tank underneath. you know, the layering kind of look that's so popular nowadays. it fit. i could wear a tank under it. but if i wanted to wear it buttoned, with a pair of pants or capris, WAS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. because while it DID button, there were gaps in between each button. large gaps. because these kind of shirts were obviously designed for those same stick people. who have no "girls" to speak of. the ones that need the bathing suits with the three inches of padding. not for women who have more than their fair share of "girls." not for women like me...who have more than enough natural padding of their own. back on the hanger it went.

i had a few left. the next three fit and i decided they were keepers. YAY.

then i was down to the last one. and it was the one i liked the best. it was a really unusual, funky type of shirt, but it looked so summery and light and i was really hoping it was going home with me. it had all these little cut out thingys on the shoulder and the back. you could dress it up or dress it down with jeans. it went on over my head and i had just the teeniest bit of trouble getting it down over my "girls." but i managed and once in place it actually looked really cute. i was a happy camper. i was feeling the depression lift just a little. i was going to go home with at least four new shirts! and then...everything went downhill. quickly. as i began to take the shirt off i began to realize that i had put one of the shoulder straps on wrong. i tried pulling the shirt up, back over the "girls," but it wasn't going back up. what is that saying...what goes up, must come down?. well, there is no saying, that i know of, that says once it is down, it must go back up. and this shirt knew that too. I couldn't get it off. and i started sweating. not just a little perspiration. BIG, HUGE drops of sweat. i started breathing hard. and i could feel the panic crawling up towards my throat. which i knew, being claustrophobic, would turn into a full fledged scream when it got there. i began tugging and pulling on that shirt and i started hearing little sounds come bubbling up out of my mouth. and at that point i didn't care if i ripped that fabric in two pieces...i was getting that thing off of me come hell or high water! i gave it a final tug and it gave up. i now understood what the chair was in there for. not to lay your purse on. it was there for people who were hyperventilating because they couldn't get free of their clothes! i collapsed on that chair and tried to breathe. and i found some kleenex in my purse and dried the sweat off of me. and i rested. all that was left was the bathing suits. and there was not a chance that i was trying those on in that room behind door #3. i could just envision the person who was stuck on security duty...watching the show that i had just put on. i feel the need to apologize to them for having to watch such...such... a freak show. and i also need to apologize to the lady who was behind door #2. i can't even begin to imagine what she must have thought was going on in the room next door. all the heavy breathing and the little noises that erupted from somewhere deep inside me. i was just mortified. and the depression had not only crept in. it decided it was going to stay awhile.

i paid for the things that i wanted to keep. and i told paula i was ready to go home. i was worn out.

after a long, cold shower and an hour of bed rest, i decided to try on those two bathing suits i had brought home. looks like i have to go back to the mall. to return them. and i came to a conclusion that i'm not happy about at all.

 it is going to be a very hot summer for me this year. because i'm going to the beach ...IN JEANS.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

once you've seen a BIG HEADED WOMAN...well...

when i was growing up in clewiston, fl,

one of those small, three traffic light towns, we lived in one of the only two houses out on the sugar refinery property about 4-5 miles outside of town. across the road was a piece of property that looked to someone passing by, like a big clump of woods. there were little dirt roads on either side, so the woods kind of sat in the open part of a V. on one side was sugar cane fields and on the other was a railroad track. we called it "ghost town." when it was daytime and it wasn't so scary to walk back there, you would find the remnants of an old community that had been destroyed by a hurricane in 1926.

there were maybe 8-10 tiny wood houses back there, all leaning and falling apart. there were even some old headstones in a small cemetery that were broken and scattered.

when we were in our teens and our friends would come over to the house (which in my case, wasn't all that often, because i spent the majority of my teen years...grounded. for life. my parents thought i was "wild.") we always liked to walk over there and scope things out and find "treasures." sometimes there were huge piles of trash and furniture, like someone had just emptied all the contents of their houses out on the side of the road. occassionly me, or my older brother or sister would have a party at night, in our garage, (always with my parents there, just in case you were thinking this was done when they were away from home. wild girl that they thought i was) and we would gather up our nerve and act all brave when one of the boys would suggest walking over to ghost town. but, we never got that far. somebody would inevitably scare a girl and we would all scream and go running back to the house. i think the boys did that because secretly, they were too scared to go back there themselves at night time. they eventually tore it all down after we moved to ga.

we moved to savannah in 1996. and soon after arriving, we began hearing all the stories that savannah is so famous for. they have alot of haunted tours in the downtown area, and ghost walks that take you down to the old historic cemeteries at night. by candlelight.

one of the tours is even done in an old, decked out hearse.

if you're downtown at night on riverstreet, there is sometimes this guy, all dressed in black, from head to toe that jumps out at you and scares the heebie jeebies out of unsuspecting tourists. all in an effort to get you to sign up for the hearse ride. it's really, really popular at halloween, as you can imagine. and downtown savannah, while beautiful in the daytime, can be downright eerie at night, with all the moss hanging off of every tree and all the old houses that look like they are centuries old. the cobblestone streets and all the town squares add to the spookiness. and the historic cemeteries...i can't even tell you. they have some of the most elaborate headstones known to man, and i cannot even imagine how scary it would be to walk through one of them at night time, especially by candlelight.

once, when my brother, ray and his wife, pat, came up to visit, we all gathered our nerve and decided we would go on one of those walking ghost tours. we all had our tickets and we met at the designated place..our guide had on this black, gauzy outfit and was holding a candle, and we were psyched. we were ready to see some ghosts. and wouldn't you know it, it began raining. hard. so instead they let us go on a tour of one of the famous "haunted mansions."

we were touring the downstairs parlor, when we decided we would sit down and wait for the rest of the group to come in. mama and someone else sat down on this antique couch and one of the legs broke completely off. and the front corner of the couch was now sitting on the floor. my brother was trying to prop it back up on the leg, discreetly, so the guide wouldn't see that we had broken it and make us pay for it. no telling how much money they could have charged us for an antique couch. we were dying laughing and to this day, we think it was a set-up. we walked up this huge staircase as the guide began telling us that sometimes, late in the night, you could hear marbles rolling down each of the steps, as a child played at the top of the landing. they said that lights would inexplicably go on and off, all by themselves and one thing after another, which of course, none of us witnessed. we began going through each of the bedrooms, looking at old clothes that were supposedly the original owners, (yeah, still laid out right where they left them over a century ago) and suddenly we noticed that all of the menfolk in our group had disappeared. we didn't see them leave. we didn't hear them talking. had a "ghost" gotten them? was this another set-up? we went down the hall to another bedroom, which faced a street that was lined with "row houses" and there we found all the men standing at the two windows, jostling each other to get a better view at something across the street. pat and i managed to squeeze in until we could see what had them so interested, and there, across the street, in the upstairs bedroom of one of those row houses, was a woman. an almost naked woman. who was soon going to be very naked! she lay down on the bed and she stretched and then got up and began bending over and removing every stitch of clothing she had on. and pretending that she didn't know that people were watching her. she got completely naked, like it was just the most natural thing to do, in front of an open window, at night, in downtown savannah, and then she walked over and closed her curtains and turned out the lights. we had just paid $15 a piece to see a stripper ...strip. and i have a hunch it was all planned that way. and us girls...we were ticked off. and our menfolk? they were scared... because they knew they were in trouble when they got home!

we heard about another story that had been brewing around savannah for many, many years. the legend of TIGER RIDGE. the stories had it that this was a community, about an hours drive from savannah, out in the boonies of effingham county. a community of big-headed people. two-headed people. people with twelve fingers and as many toes. people that would as soon shoot you, as look at you. a community of inbreds. you know. people that cohabitate with other family members. incesteous relationships and deformed dwarfs. people with extra eyes and other body parts. scary, scary people. people always said to stay away from TIGER RIDGE, if you knew what was good for you. the stories made it sound like there was a community of some kind of other worldly freaks living just outside the city limits. characters you would see in the freak show part of a county fair. where you pay $1.00 to see the "half man, half-woman." or "the head of a man on the body of a pig." don't go out there alone," they would say. or "make sure you have a gun with you, cuz those people don't like strangers coming into their community."

there was an article that came out in the savannah news about TIGER RIDGE.

it told about all the rumors and it debunked alot of them. and confirmed some too. it told about how the people that lived out there had decided to allow people into the community for the first time, i think to dispel alot of the rumors, by putting on a fantastic light display for Christmas. they were taking donations of old christmas lights and they would repair them and string them up and they just went nuts with all the decorations they started collecting. they claimed to have 10,000 or so lights up and were inviting people to come out and take a look and leave a small donation, or better yet, any old Christmas decorations or broken light strings. for the next year. this went on for several years and the display got larger and larger. people started coming from all over the country to see it. (or so the paper reported.) the paper made it sound like a spectacular light display that you shouldn't miss seeing at least once in your lifetime.

so, a few years ago, we started getting the itch to go. and see the big headed people. to see if it was really true what people said about them.

instead of waiting until Christmas and going in the dark, my mother and i decided one day, that since we were close to that area for other reasons, we would ride down there and check out the community. in the bright light of day. we vaguely knew the directions and we ended up on this really long road. in the middle of the woods. we kept going further and further, thinking that this was all just a hoax or that we were on the wrong road, when all of a sudden we came upon this old, ramshackle house. there were a bunch of old cars, all rusted and broken down, with car parts scattered from one end of the yard to the other. and there was a large group of men standing around one of them. the front door was propped open and there, sitting in a chair, right in the front doorway, was a BIG HEADED WOMAN!!!. we looked at the men. and they looked at us. and they started walking. towards us. and i accelerated. we were scared half to death. and praying that there was a road we could turn off on and get the heck out of dodge! as we got further down the road we both noticed at the same time that there seemed to be a "pall," a misty fog, like a curtain hanging right over the road and we were driving right into the middle of it. now i know you're thinking that it was just our imagination. but you would be wrong. it was like being in the twilight zone. and as we came out of the fog, we realized that we had come to a dead end. it struck us, then and there, that we were going to have to turn that car around and go back past those men and that BIG HEADED WOMAN!! there was no other way out. and we remembered the stories about them shooting people who ventured into their community to gawk. and we had definately come to gawk. and they knew it. as we got closer to that old house i told mama to "hang on" i might have to take that car sideways, but we were going to get out of there alive. we were not going to meet our Maker at the hands of these TIGER RIDGE big headed, multi-toed people. i floored that accelerator and flew right past them. and they were gawking. at us. at the two idiot women with terror written all over their faces, who were flying by them about to pee in their pants! I'm pretty sure that to them, WE were the freak show. it was totally ridiculous, but when you get caught up in "legends"...well, you start to take them as truth.

that same year, at Christmas time, my two older boys had come home for the holidays, and we decided that we would take the ride out there and look at the lights display. if the paper was reporting that it was ok to go out there, then surely we would come to no harm, right? i mean, people from all over the world were coming. it was me, the middle-aged man who left me for greener pastures, micajah and christian. i wasn't quite as scared this time since i had men with me, so we loaded up into the truck, this time with a "glock" underneath the drivers seat and our cell phones fully charged. we didn't tell anyone where we were going. we drove over and just before we got there, it began storming. i mean, like cats and dogs coming down. this time there wasn't a "pall." you just couldn't see two feet in front of you. we drove down that long, dark road and we finally came to a hand made sign that said turn here for the lights display. so we turned there. and we drove some more. and finally we came to the TIGER RIDGE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS DISPLAY. it was several old trailers on a cul de sac. out in the middle of the boonies. and there were more lights and gawdy displays than one human could fathom. it was pretty pitiful.

none of the big headed people were out taking donations that night. in fact, there was no one else out there in those parts at all. just us. so i got a notion to call mama and tell her where we were. when she answered the phone i said, "you won't believe where we are right now...TIGER RIDGE!" and right at that moment lightening struck and we all started screaming and my cell phone went dead. and back at mama's house i was pretty sure that mama was probably dying at that moment. not knowing what in the world had happened to us that would cause us all to start screaming out in the middle of TIGER RIDGE. a few minutes later when we got back on the main road i got service again and called her and she was still alive. breathing harder. but alive. she thought that maybe one of the big headed people had gotten us. but no, it was just lightening. we made it out alive and the glock never left its hiding place underneath the seat.

i started seriously wondering what all the hype was about. i mean, the Bible says, "judge not, lest you be judged." and we, like everyone else, were judging these people. without having ever even met one of them. is it possible that these were actually good people, just like you and i, and just misunderstood? i googled TIGER RIDGE to see what i could find out about the community. and it turns out that some of the rumors are true. just as many are not. the community actually started out many years ago, with one man intermarrying with a woman from his own family. they had children and some had deformities. over the years, they began staying within their own little community, to avoid people, who gawked, like we did. there certainly was alot of inbreeding and is to this day. but most people who have actually met some of them say that for the most part, they just like to be left alone. that they are really nice people, just a little different from most of us. and they wanted to put on a light display to show that to the rest of the world. they would spend hours and hours replacing burnt out light bulbs in thousands of strings of lights. they would paint large pieces of plywood with the words Happy Birthday Jesus on them. and it would take them several months to prepare for their spectacular light display. on nights when the weather was good, unlike the night we went, they all sit outside in lawn chairs and talk to the people that venture out to their little neck of the woods. they even have a guestbook for you to sign, saying where you came from.

it's a shame that we live in a world where anyone who is not like "us" is a freak, or is someone to avoid at all costs. that we get caught up in stories like the legend of TIGER RIDGE. Jesus loves those people, just as much as He loves us. if it sounds like i'm pointing fingers, i am. at myself. i'm guilty. but thank God he forgives my stupidity, when i ask Him to.

i've been to TIGER RIDGE. twice. i never did see multi-toed people or deformed dwarfs or anyone with extra body parts...just some lights, strung from one end of the community to the next. was scary. that part of the stories is true. and well, once you've seen one BIG HEADED WOMAN...truthfully, twice was enough for me.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

RUN....NO, WAIT...come back

hey there everybody! i've been absent for a little while...but...I'M BAAAAAACK! i know this just gave you a little thrill, didn't it?'s okay to admit it. you've missed me, haven't you? i've had alot of things going on these last couple of months...and truthfully, my humor has taken a backseat to everything else. i've missed writing, i've missed laughing...shoot, i've even missed peeing my pants...a little bit.

hang in here with me...i've got some stories coming! after all, my life is like a three ring circus...always something going on...and i'm more often than not, the CLOWN in the middle of it all.

thank you to those who "follow" me...i will try very hard not to lead you i did my friend in...just kidding. i was always the one led astray. BWAHAHAHA!!!!

stay tuned...