Thursday, January 31, 2008

Moving Out

Tuesday night, Gary and I finished moving our wordly belongings, wanted and unwanted alike, out of the house I'd been living in since November of 2003.

I had a lot of memories at good and bad there...mostly good. My kids called it their home, even after the separation that happened there. Every weekend I had them, they were still comfortable there. And so was was a comfortable home. My dad told me that my grandfather built the house for Charles Graham in the 1960's. That made living there pretty special, even if I was renting it.

We threw some excellent parties there; Labor Day, Wintereenmas, St. Patty's Day...eventually it became known as "the frat house" because it was so evident that only guys lived there full tiem after my separation. I guess all in all, I'd say that the reason I don't miss the place any more than I do is because of something I grew up knowing. A house is not a home. It's a vessel for a home to be built in. All the memories I have of that house, I thank my friends and my children for. They are the ones who helped me make those good memories...and one day, we'll make new memories in a new house (that I own this time, I swear it!)

So here's to Seth, Willow, Gary, Stephanie, Curt, Matt, Samantha, Becky, Erin, Jon, George, Dave, Cosmo, Duane, Christina and all the rest of the crew who made my time at "the frat house" so special.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Remembering Nana

As of Wednesday at 2:20 pm, I have no grandmothers left on Earth. My Nana (pronounced "nah-knee"- my maternal grandmother) passed away. She lived a long, full life, but neither that knowledge nor my mental preparations for her death (she had cancer) or my excuses for not visiting her enough at the nursing home, etc., make her passing any easier.

I was sitting around and thought maybe the best way to honor Nana would be to write about that's what I'm doing. Nana was a demanding mother to my Mom, but a giving sweetheart of a woman nonetheless. She was an extremely loving (as well as beloved) and devoted wife, mother, sister, aunt and grandmother.

Nana always kept an immaculately groomed mane of black curly hair, and I rarely caught a glimpse of her without her makeup in place. Any time she left the house or company was over, she was dressed to the nines. She liked to have nice things, and took a great deal of pride in the things she had, as well as herself and her family.

Due to some childhood ailments, I was spoiled rotten by Nana, who made me buffets (or "bus-says" as my baby sister later called them) to eat at my leisure in her living room as she watched "her stories." She also regularly took me to TCBY, a long-dead retail chain, to purchase me the more-than-occasional He-Man or G.I. Joe or She-Ra (the He-Men needed girlfriends...heh.) I remember many days listening to rich foreign men breaking up with ditsy blondes as I played contentedly with my Castle Greyskull action set, safely tucked between a cushy chair and a cushy couch as Nana relaxed in her chair, intent on said scoundrel and hussy.

This was, of course, after my brilliant toddler years, when (after watching far too many butt lube commercials between soap operas and "The Price Is Right") I would ask enthusiastically for "Pepper, H and H." Even then I was a victim of advertising.

Nana helped raise me. I lived most of my young childhood life at her house. This setting - an old white farmhouse, complete with red barn and surrounded by fields - was one of the things that I thank God for as an adult. I'm thankful that I had a place like that to run around in. I'm thankful that it was an idyllic picture of Southern life. It's one of the reasons I will always love South Carolina and the Pee Dee area, so matter how much I complain about artists not making enough money around here...

Nana's house was a huge one story house, with a seemingly huge attic that I never saw. Honestly, I was terrified to go up there; I was certain that some sort of ghoul or antebellum confederate ghost lurked up there, waiting to eat any unwitting children who took the time to climb on the bed in the guest bedroom, pull down the attic door, and climb up (this was well before everyone started expecting meowing Japanese children to jump at at them in attics.)

There was a little white tool shed in the front yard, a huge tree, a fake deer, and an old black metal bench. The front porch held a plethora of white rocking chairs and an old white swing, which I loved to sit in and watch the trees on the other side of the road.

The backyard was massive, leading to fields and forest (all of which I spent my youth exploring.) A tall, split cedar tree stood in the backyard, which I used to climb and play with all the time. A little white stone bench sat at its base. To this day, I still think of it first when I think of Nana's house. Then I think of the warm, comfortable den, with its painted green walls, and the bookshelves, cabinets and fireplace that were built into the right wall.

Just like the lady herself, Nana's house had a great deal of warmth, a unique style and character. I will never forget my time there, or the woman who made that time possible. A woman who loved me with a free and easy devotion, as every child should be adored by their grandparents. And it should be returned by those children as well.

I love you dearly, Nana, and we miss you terribly. I hope (and somewhere, deeply and firmly I know) that whatever you're doing right now, you know that. I hope there are lots of coral colored roses. I hope you're laughing that infectious, wonderful hooting laugh of yours for someone. Goodbye for now, Nana. I'll be seeing you later. ::blows a kiss::

- Shane

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Thunder Years

I've been asked many a time why it is I wear dark colors so much, as well as long clothes during the warm summer months. Well, friends and neighbors, I suppose it's psychological. Comfort of a sort, if you will.

It all started when I was a very young elementary school lad. Fresh as a rose, I was walkin' in the line from recess, mindin' me own and admiring the scenery. I do believe we'd had that funny square unidentifiable school pizza that day. Ah, yes. The days before the school system finally realized they were turning us all into blubber butts.

Our gorgeous movie star of a teacher (yes, even then I could appreciate a well-turned heel and a rack of steel ::wipes eye:: ...what was I sayin'...) strides up with her luscious gams and points the finger o'doom upon each of us in turn...

"Now I don't want to hear one peep out of any of you until we get back to the room!" she growled menacingly...dear Lord...had I but been capable of an erection at that age...the beauty...the larger than life rage...she was my dark queen...I loved her and despaired... I kept my little hobbit mouth shut. Unfortunately, my blow hole was not as amiable as my pie hole, and chaos did in fact, my children, ensue.

So I'm in a long line of munchkins, dressed likely in neon "jams" shorts (as was the fashion in the days of stock market suicides, forgetful movie star presidents and fashions inspired by Beelzebub's ugly sister) when suddenly I feel the call of an old, hated enemy - and the push against the olde anal sphincter. I knew there was a flood a'comin', lads, and my good and fluffy Lord had nothin' t'all to do with it.

I grab me sweet little cheeks and start shimmyin' and a shakin', movin' and a groovin', tryin' in vain to keep them squeezed shut (after all, I must not offend my lusty dark queen). My classmates are starting to look at me; halfway amused, halfway bemused with that "oh-my-dear-sweet-God-no" look of building terror on their cute little innocent faces.

I should have known better; after all , this was not my first bout with fanny rapids. I should have remembered the eye of the whale eye; the time of calm before the final unstoppable explosion - that terrible, no good, awful, very bad force of nature that nearly rips your posterior in twain...and thus did the unamable square school pizza wreak it's awful revenge upon my neon "jams" shorts.

A geyser of hot, rancid poo torpedoed from my boiling bung as I screamed out in anguish and pain. Almost as if in slow motion, the children around me overcame their fear of movement and ran in all directions, screaming and vomiting, asking their own fluffy lords why...why.

Why indeed. I stood there, my shorts now dripping pungent turdwater into my innocent high-top Chucks. Silent tears trickled down my poor, blundering little face as I held my head low, my eyes wide and bulging from shock and exhasperated horror.

Among the whispers of "gross" and "ewww" I heard the words, "Oh, God," and my shoulders tensed. My dark queen had discovered me at the most embarrassing point in my young life. Suddenly a gentle hand was on my shoulder, and she began carefully leading me to the classroom bathroom.

Once there she helped me strip down (again, shut your birdfeeders, fucktards, it was innocent on her part) out of my shadden rags. My shoulders must have appeared slumped to my waist as I stood there silently weeping. I finally let go. I bawled like a newborn.

Again the warm, beautifully manicured hand was there on my shoulder. (I wish to emphasize here that if anyone finds this sick or inappropriate, also take into account that this was a happier time beofre bullshit lawsuits and hottie teachers who fuck kindergartners. Before it became illegal for teachers to spank some little bastard, much less innocently try to clean and emotionally mend a poor child who had just shat his entire lower half rather than disobey his kindly war goddess of a teacher. Naughty bastards.)

"Why didn't you just run to the bathroom?" she asked, perplexed.

"You said not to move," I said weakly, fighting back adding, "my lady" or "I would die for you"...yeah, you might say it was a crush. Unhealthy? No argument here...

She tenderly cleaned me from head to toe, except for the private area, which she left for me as she stepped out to check on the rest of the class. After a while, my mom showed up with a change of clothes, and to make sure I had cleaned me long shanks properly - a fact which totally (and healthily) destroyed the enchantment of the situation for me. The only clothes she had been able to get her hands on in the rush of things was a spare outfit that my aunt had kept for just such an emergency for her kid...a black long sleeved shirt and a pair of jeans.

As I dressed in the long, dark uniform, it felt as if changing into a protective suit of armor. A shield from the hyenas who would no doubt bombard me with witty puns of my pootastic exploits the moment my swollen bum hit my desk. And then I heard my dark queen say from the classroom:

"If ANY of you so much as MUTTERS anything about what happened to that poor boy while in my class, or jokes, or lets him hear anything mentioned about what happened to him today, you WILL be punished!"

And no one did. Thank you, my dark queen. ::bows::

A Hulking Holiday

Several Holiday Seasons ago (maybe 2003 - definitely before my divorce and my fortunate rediscovery of Curt & Gary - or perhaps they rediscovered me - anyway), I had a group of friends over for a big holiday sleepover party. All the kids were there as well.

My friend Becky bought my son Seth a Hulk voice-changing mask and huge foam Hulk hands that act as EXTREMELY noisy green boxing gloves. well, Seth threw on the gloves and immediately became a little green menace, bouncing his new foamy fists of fury against the heads of his little sister, Willow, and best friend, Sedric.

The "adults" of course, were busy playing with the voice changing mask in the den. There was much giggling and picture taking.

Well, a few hours later things calmed down, and we were all sitting around talking. Seth was sitting in the middle of the floor, now decked out in his Vader-like Hulk mask and gloves, enjoying listening to himself answer questions in the monstrously deep robotic voice.

All of a sudden, Willow runs into the room at fulls speed, launches herself at us, and stops to talk to us. Unfortunately, the little beauty did not realize (or did she?) that she was standing solidly on her brother's crotch (which, I might add, was not protected by green foam or hard plastic.)

Seth started throwing his huge foam arms around wildly, screaming, "Guys guys... get her off me... GUYS... GET HER OFF ME GUYS... GUYS GUYS GUYS!!!" as if appealing madly to all the men in the room, who would surely understand his plight and gallop immediately to his aid.

Now I don't know if you've ever imagined Darth Vader or the Incredible Hulk yelling at the top of their lungs as an unwitting toddler stomps on their exposed nads...but it's hilarious. Poor Seth. We were all rolling on the floor laughing, trying our best (between spasms of explosive, hyena-like laughter) to reach the completely confounded and upset Willow and give little Seth some relief. However, we were all hitting the floor like rag dolls, unable to stop laughing at the poor boy's zany misfortune.

Well finally one of us got to the now-crying Willow and comforted her while the rest of us checked the moaning, disgruntled Seth for serious testicular injury.

I am pleased to say, the crown jewels are intact to this day.