Friday, February 1, 2008

Mr. and Mrs. Congeniality

Warning! Political Content Ahead!!! (scroll down for the "gossip")

Watched the Democratic debate just now. You all knew I would. It was pretty interesting. Hillary and Obama were both on their best behavior. They talked about the issues and even when they split hairs they did it gently. Since they mostly agree, point for point, with one another, it is rather difficult for them to make a distinction one from the other without fabricating or taking things out of context. Since the more I listen to them the more I realize that there isn't a pennyweights difference between them as far as their policies go; my vote is still going to Hillary. I mean, if you can't tell the difference between them by reading their position papers, then... what have you got to go on? What is the deciding factor? What do you base your decision on? Since I have to make a choice, and since I basically like them both and think that either of them would make a good President... my deciding factor is just going to have to be gender. That's the only real difference between the two. One is a woman and one is a man. True, one is white and one is black (well, a nice, toasty brown color, anyway). But since I am essentially color blind when it comes to choosing the right person to do a job, that difference doesn't matter to me. So... do something really different: vote for a woman. We've always had male Presidents. Let's do something really wild and wonderful. Let's elect a woman and see what kind of screw ups she can make. I bet they would be really different from the screw ups men make. At least it would be interesting, eh?

I also watched some of the after debate analysis from the so called "experts". Not two minutes into the after debate show and they were already misquoting the candidates, taking their comments out of context, leaving things out, miss-characterising them... I think the media are just really stumped on this one. A black man and a woman. They tried to get the race issue onto the front burner and failed. They tried to get the gender issue on the front burner and failed. They tried to get the "they really don't like each other" issue going and that didn't pan out for them either. Just this morning they were all saying that the campaigns had gone too far and caused a schism in the Democratic party. There was too much animosity between the two camps for them to ever come together enough to beat a Republican. This morning all the major news outlets had basically written the Democrats off. The Repugnicant mouth-pieces were practically licking their chops with glee. "The Democrats have lost the White House for themselves". "The Republican candidate, whomever he may be, is going to be the winner in November". I saw one actually giggling and wringing his hands in anticipation! He looked like a cartoon character. And now Obama and Clinton have held what has to have been the single most civil debate in the history of debates. Even when Barack "got tough" on Hillary, he was almost diffident about it, almost apologetic! And she was the same when calling him on something. The last question was something about would either of them consider joining the other on the Democratic ticket in the VP slot. Of course neither would say "yes" but then, neither would say "no" either. It would be an unbeatable ticket, I think. I'm not sure either likes the other well enough have him or her as first choice for a running mate, but it would be a historical event for our nation. Historical and hysterical. I'd like to see the Republican nominee try to run against that. How would they without mentioning race and gender. How would anyone want to vote for the same tired old men that the Republicans have put forth when they could vote for an exciting ticket like Obama/Clinton or Clinton/Obama. They'd have to run against the good times of the Clinton years and the vigor and newness of Obama. I don't think they could beat that.

Herstory Chapter II

Let's see... we left off in Chapter I as Mama, my sister and I arrived in Florida. I was two and a half years old. Needless to say, I don't remember everything and the things I do remember are mostly impressions and feelings with a "dreamlike" quality about them. I remember living in a little bitty camper trailer beside my Granny's house. It had a gas oven. That scared me. I never could figure out why until just now. Wow. I wonder why it never struck me before. I knew that Mama was scared of the oil heater in the house we lived in later, but it never hit me until just now, writing this... I was scared of that oven because Mama was scared of it. All those years ago and I barely remember it except the feeling of fear, and now I know why. I suppose that's why I'm afraid of gas appliances to this day. I can deal with a gas stove, but I would not bake at all if all I had was a gas oven.

Another thing I remember about that camper trailer was the bedroom. It was such a tiny little trailer. There was a living room/kitchen/dining area in the front; then there was a tiny little room with a potty in it. No tub or shower. We had to go to my Granny's house to wash up. There was a closet sort of a thing opposite the potty room and then a sleeping area. Since that was all the space we had, Mama had all the stuff she could get from Tennessee in there with all our clothes and toys and stuff. (How did she get all that stuff if we left Tennessee with nothing but the clothes on our backs, you ask? Because my uncle Buddy, my mom's oldest brother, drove up to Keith's house and told him he would break him into little bitty pieces if he didn't hand it over. That's how. I learned that much later.) Anyway, the point of remembering that little bitty sleeping area (I won't dignify it by calling it a "bedroom") is this: we didn't live in it for long, but it was winter when we did. And it was cold. I know, I know, it was Florida. Well, it gets cold down there, too, once or twice a winter. Even 40's and 50's feel cold if you don't have any heat. Anyway... there was all this stuff in there and Mom's clothes and our stuff. And there were two dressers stacked one on top of the other and I was always afraid they would topple over on us while we slept. Our bed, mine and my sisters, was a little folding cot underneath the hanging clothes kinda behind the dressers. And when we got cold we would lay with our heads at opposite ends of the cot and put our feet and legs inside each others nightgowns and overlap our gowns for added warmth. Don't laugh, it works. When it got really, really cold, like below freezing, we would go sleep at Granny's house. Lots of times we slept there anyway because Mama worked nights at Deep South Foods. She worked days at GE and sometimes she would also work at the packing house, packing carrots and radishes and what not for transport to the stores. I don't know how she found the time or the energy to go to nursing school. But she did. And she sang a lot, though she couldnt carry a tune to save her life. The whole family sang. We all sang in the church choir. We sang while we played. We sat around the tv and sang with the musicians on Hee Haw (I liked Roy Clark better than Buck Owens). We'd hang out on the front porch of my Granny's house and sing (I Saw the Light and Jesus is Coming Soon, being two of our favorites, along with the Elvis stuff, of course). Sometimes we would have a fish fry in the back yard and one of the boys (my uncles) would drive the car around to the back and turn on the radio. If there wasn't a race on we would listen to music. Country mostly, but also a little rock n roll, if one of the boys was in control of the tuner.

I have some idea, now, of how hard it must have been for my mother. Keith didn't pay child support and Mama worked all the time, and after my Papaw got sick and after he died, she tried to help her mother out. My Granny still had three minor children at home when Papaw died. Tina, Donnie (my favorite uncle to this day) and Charles. But we had fun. We were too young to realize just how poor we were. And anyway, we lived in a little community out in the sticks (back then it was) and everyone around us was just as poor as we were, if not more so. My uncle Donnie taught me to play cards. Crazy 8's, Go Fish, Rummy... all those kinds of "age appropriate" card games. He also taught me how to write my name before I ever started school. He was my hero. The father figure I never had, I suppose, although he was just a few years older than me. He and Charles had the responsibility of watching us girls after school and boy did they hate it! But they were good to us nevertheless.

Shortly after that first winter back in Florida, my uncle Buddy helped my mom buy a regular sized trailer house. A 14x74. It had a big living room, a eat in kitchen that was big enough to have a real table. It had a long hallway with a small bedroom first, then a full bath, and at the very end of the trailer was a bigger bedroom. Me and my sister got the big bedroom cause you could fit two twin beds in it. We still mostly slept in one together, tho. Did that until we were teens and each had our own room.

I think that I will wrap this chapter up here. Chapter three will deal with going to school, my first crush, and Mama's marriage to Wendell Weiss. It's late and I think I want to sleep now.



pamwax said...

Your Momma deserves alot of credit for saving her girls and working so hard to take care of you all. You have led an interesting life but it has made you the wonderful person you are today.

Some Kinda Wonderful said...

It is true, Mama was an exceptional human being. As I've said before, we didn't like one another, but I did love her. I think we were too much alike in our personalities. Both of us are/were quite "bossy" and that often leads to resentment.

Of course, there is that small matter of nurturing and caring for my sister and leaving me to sink or swim on my own. That kinda makes a person feel a little "un-loved", but I won't go into that here. I'll save it for another chapter.

I respected my mother, loved her, admired her, was intimidated by her, but I love her, too.