Small Town News: A Christmas Eve To Remember

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I have been feeling a little “down in the dumps” lately. To illustrate that I have not completely lost my sense of humor, to restore your faith in me as a “humor blogger”, and to reward those of you who have stuck with me, I will tell you one of my most favorite “ripped from the headlines” stories. It’s a knee-slapper. I promise. It has gotten me through one or two dark moments.

I do not always read our little local newspaper, but when I do I always go straight for the “police blotter”. Not much happens here in our little piece of the Earth, certainly not much that is worth a headline. I discovered long ago that the most interesting things that do happen here are reported in the “police blotter”.

Sometimes, when I am in desperate need of a hearty laugh — which I have been lately — I think back to a tidbit that was featured in the “police blotter” several years ago. The events transpired on the 24th of December in the year 2011. I remember this because that date represented a milestone for me; I had been alcohol-free for a whole year.

Oddly enough I was not in a celebratory mood that year. I was anxious and feeling more than a little sorry for myself. Yes, I had gotten through the year and my first holiday season without booze. That was a good thing. A very good thing. Still, I worried about whether or not I would, could, or even wanted to get through the rest of my life (or the rest of that day) without it.

While my resolve is still strong and I fret less about relapse, there will always be that little part of me that wonders if someday I will fall off the wagon. And lose everything. It keeps me on my toes, but it is not an altogether comfortable feeling.

I was having a conversation with a friend a few days after Christmas about how I was dealing with life without my security blanket, how uncomfortable I was feeling. I was maybe even having a little pity party for myself.

She responded by telling me that my life could be a whole lot worse, that I could, for example, be in that week’s “police blotter”; that I should count myself lucky, not just for making it through the year without alcohol, but also, and possibly more importantly, for not having been one of the “roast beef people”.

She assumed that I was familiar with the story. She knows that I go straight to the “police blotter” when the paper arrives. I guess I was busy, you know, with my pity party in full swing and all. I hadn’t read it. And, so, she read it to me.

It took her about ten minutes to read me the seven-line piece. She had to keep stopping. To laugh. To catch her breath. To blow her nose. It was, in short, a great story.

I wish I had kept it, but I didn’t. It went something like this, though:

On December 24, 2011 officers responded to a call of a disturbance in the parking lot of The Local Market. Upon arrival, the officers witnessed the female beating the male about the head with a package of roast beef. A strong smell of alcohol was detected on the female assailant. The officers ascertained that the couple was known to each other and had, in fact, arrived in the same vehicle, a late-model BMW. Counsel was given and it was determined that the male, the driver, had not been drinking. The parties were discharged with a warning. The whereabouts of the roast beef in question are unknown.

I loved that she related to me this cautionary tale about the dangers of drinking, when I needed it most. Further, she made mention that she was confident that even had I been drinking, I would never have been caught in the parking lot of The Local Market beating dear, old Fang about the head with a roast beef. Green cabbage, perhaps, but never a roast beef!

I have always wished that I had been there. How often in life does one get to witness a meat fight in the middle of a grocery store parking lot? Alas, I have to satisfy myself with the visual of the scene that plays itself out in my head.

While this story is laugh out loud funny as written, it has always left me with a few lingering questions. Questions that, over the years, I have felt compelled to answer in a speculative and creative fashion. Like the Swiss cheese that often accompanies a fine roast beef product, I think we can agree that the story has more than a few holes.

First of all, I have always wondered what kind of roast beef the guy was being hit upside the head with? Was it a package of cold cuts? Or a whole roast of beef? It is unclear. I think that it makes a difference. Being slapped with a package of sliced roast beef could hardly kill a fly, let alone do any serious damage to a grown man. A slab of beef, on the other hand, could make a dent, not only to his pride, but to his noggin.

My money is on the cold cuts. Why? Because I think, it being Christmas Eve, she sent him in to purchase a roast beef — a whole roast beef — and he came out with deli-sliced roast beef. Also, I have to wonder if the police might not have taken the whole thing a lot more seriously, charged her with assault, even, if her “weapon” had been a five-pound roast of beef.

I have to say that in this scenario, the one that I long ago decided made the most sense,  my sympathies lie with her. Who hasn’t sent their husband the store to buy, say, a head of lettuce only to have him return with a head of cabbage. Who hasn’t wanted to beat him over the head with said green cabbage? Who hasn’t been forced, as a result of his inability to discern the difference between lettuce and cabbage, to eat a BCT, rather than the delicious BLT that one’s heart was set on? Who hasn’t been in this or a similar situation.Be honest, now.

Even drunk, I drew the line at battering anyone — with anything. I was never a violent drunk, though. No. I was a happy until I fell down and then couldn’t remember a thing in the morning kind of drunk. I was even, at times, a maudlin drunk; never was I a violent drunk. Still, drunk or sober, we all have our lines in the sand. This woman drew hers over roast beef. I can understand.

I am happy to report that “The Great Green Cabbage Debacle” did not result in Fang and I engaging in fisticuffs. I would hope that some of you might sympathize with me if it had, though.

I have always been intrigued by the part of the narrative where we are given the information that the parties were “known to each other”. Of course they were known to each other. I am willing to bet that they were married to each other — for thirty years!

While I would like to think that a trip to The Local Market taking on an air of danger might be fun, I don’t know that I would want to be mindful of strangers, armed with roast beef (of any variety), lurking in the shadows, poised to pounce upon the next person that they deemed worthy of a good meat-filled bitch slapping. It wouldn’t keep me away, though.

On the contrary, the idea of possibly being in a position to witness (or, better yet, to be the victim) of such a crime might have me camped out there. For eternity.

And what do you make of the “late-model BMW” detail? I have always found its presence intriguing. Was this meant to indicate that money was not an issue? That the argument had  nothing to do with the cost of the roast beef? (Which is high, let me just tell you!) Are we supposed to assume that they were, perhaps, German? If so, is this something that Germans engage in regularly, food fights in parking lots? Is this something the reader is supposed to know?

It is a mystery, the BMW detail. It is, indeed, far more mysterious to me than the fact that the whereabouts of the roast beef, the weapon in question, “remain unknown”. I am assuming, unless the attack shredded the packaging, that they took it  home with them. I would have taken it home with me.

I have always hoped that their relationship survived this incident. If it did, I also hope that he was never sent in to the store for cold cut turkey and came out, instead, with a frozen bird. Being knocked around with a frozen turkey would definitely smart a little.

I owe them, whatever their current relationship status, a debt of gratitude. Their story, which I like to think of as “A Christmas Eve To Remember”, has long been one of those stories that I harken back to when I need a laugh, when one drink seems like a good idea, when I send my husband out for lettuce, and, most importantly, when I need a reminder about how incredibly fortunate I am that my life is peppered with people who not only love me, but always know exactly what story I need to hear at exactly the moment I need to hear it.


Do you live in a small town? Do you have a favorite small town story? If so, I would love to hear it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Am I Wearing A ‘Kick Me’ Sign?

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Lately I find myself grabbing at the back of my shirt, in search of the “Kick Me!” sign that I am oh, so certain I am going to find there. What other reason could there be for people to feel that it is perfectly reasonable to do just that. Kick me, that is.

I spend far too much time while I am at work wrestling to get my emotions under control. Not bursting into tears, not coming apart at the seams, and not flying off the handle is, in fact, hard work. If you think it isn’t, try it.

I come in from work most afternoons looking like I have been in an actual wrestling match. My hair is all over the place. My feet and hips are aching. My hands are numb. My make-up looks like it was applied by someone who either uses or is in dire need of a seeing eye dog. In short, I look like I feel, which is like I have been kicked around some.

Sometimes I cry on the way home. Sometimes I am on the bus when I burst into tears. Sometimes a kind stranger offers the crazy, crying lady a tissue. Sometimes this restores my faith in humanity.

I dry my eyes. I vow to soldier on. To buck up. To stop acting like a child. To, at the very least, stop crying on the bus.

So what if I work two dead-end jobs? Who cares. At least I have two jobs. At least I can pay my kid’s tuition.

So what if my husband won’t pick me up from my second job and I have to take the bus in the pouring rain. At least there is a bus. At least there is someone on the bus who has the sense to carry tissues. As I signal a “thank you” with my crumpled Kleenex, I tell myself to stop being an ungrateful bitch.

And I try. To be grateful. I really do.

And then something happens that causes me to become unglued. Again.

Tonight it was my kid texting me to stop tagging her “constantly” in Facebook posts; to stop responding to the things she posts. Clearly I don’t understand social media. I thought that was what we were supposed to do. Engage.

Imagine my surprise then when my response of “LOL” to her posting of an article from “The Onion” — a publication near and dear to the both of us — caused her to text me (TEXT ME!) that I needed to “stop tagging her in all sorts of posts and to stop responding to her posts”.

For the record, I tagged her in three posts in five days, one of which was a status update that referred to how I was counting down the days until I would see her again. She responded with hearts. The other two were to draw her attention to things that I thought she would find humorous; I found them humorous. We do, in fact, tend to find the same things funny.

Finals are on the horizon. I know that she has been studying a lot. I was just trying to give her a chuckle or two. It was my way of letting her know that I was on her side, that I was thinking about her. Obviously, in addition to being an ungrateful bitch, I am also an insensitive asshat.

Just before I burst into tears I did manage to dash off a very mature text. It simply said, “Wow”. To her credit, she responded. “Im sry”. Yeah. Okay. Whatever.

I know she is sorry. She probably even thinks that saying it negates the hurtful thing that prompted the apology. It doesn’t.

I’ll get over it. I’ll soldier on. I’ll buck up. I’ll stop acting like a child  (although it would be helpful if people stopped treating me like one).  I’ll even try to stay on top of how much I engage with my daughter on Facebook.

And, once I stop crying,  I’m sure I’ll be able to forgive her. I’m sure I will.


(I know what you’re thinking. I ought to share this on Facebook and “tag” her, but I won’t.)

To be fair, my husband usually does pick me up from work… there was this one night, though… LOL!

 

 

 

 

So, You Want To Be A Bad Manager?

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Don’t say it!

Under no circumstances should you respond to a staff member’s “Good Morning, how are you today?” with actual words. A grunt and a dismissive hand wave will send the message that you would rather not waste  your precious time with the likes of them!

Pick one, anyone.

Each day be sure to choose one lucky employee to single out for inefficiency. That this woman’s biggest mistake may have only been that she selected a shade of eyeshadow that was a little too close to yours and that, unbeknownst to her, she is wearing better, is irrelevant. Single her out anyway. She, too, is irrelevant. After all, it is your world and she is just living in it.

Talk amongst your friends.

Be sure to discuss either this employee — or another, why not? — with your manager pals. Do it just out of earshot, but be certain, through pointing or other gestures, that whoever it is your are discussing is aware that he or she is being discussed AND, this is of utmost important, that the message is clear that nothing good is being said.

Overreact

If you discover that someone has done something wrong make sure that you behave as if he or she has just killed your beloved cat. On purpose. With their car.

Passively be aggressive.

Ask your staff silly questions while they are busy. When they indicate that they have no time to answer you in that moment, be sure that they understand that you have taken note of their inability to add a sixth thing to the five other things they were, as always, effectively juggling.

Wonder aloud.

In full view of clients and/or other employees (bonus points for both!), wonder aloud why this person or that person did not do this, that, or the other thing. Throwing your hands in the air and rolling your eyes always enhances this situation. For added flair, might I suggest a heavy sigh?

If you have nothing nice to say…

Regardless of what your mother told  you about saying nice things, choose, instead, to be harsh, mean, or downright cruel. Adopting an attitude of superiority while you sneer and snap at your staff is a step in the right direction. That promotion you so desire is, no doubt, right around the corner for a motivator such as yourself!

Do it better!

Everyone knows that you can do everything better than they can. Show them anyway. Do this as often as possible. This endearing behavior, while it may not win you fans, is sure to  get you noticed!

Step it up a notch.

Daily and consistently take your demanding behavior up at least a few notches. Everyone loves a challenge. Luckily, your staff exists purely to make you look exceptional.

Gratitude is overrated.

While stepping on the little people to achieve your goals, be mindful that thanking them is a weakness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Have Evolved. Really. I Have.

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I do not have a short fuse. I have evolved. Really. I have.

I am aware that I complain a lot, but that does not mean I am angry. Frankly, the complaining is what keeps whatever anger I may be feeling from being bottled up and, subsequently, exploding.

Think of me, if you will, as a carbonated beverage. A guilty pleasure. Effervescent and sweet when stable. Put the contents under extreme pressure, shake me up, and I, like that bottle of Diet Coke, will likely exhibit what scientists call “volatility”. (I think that’s what they call it. What do I know? Do I look like a scientist?)

Sometimes working the bubbles into a frenzy is accidental. Like when you’re moving things around in the fridge to make room for the potato salad, and you inadvertently knock the bottle of soda to the floor. It happens. It is best, under these circumstances, if you want to avoid an all-out disaster, to release the pressure slowly, to let the bubbles out carefully. Cleaning up a  heap of sticky goo from between the tiles is time consuming and, let’s be honest, not a whole lot of fun.

Once in a while I find myself in a situation where my buttons are being pushed by someone (or, you know, a bunch of someones; a gaggle of someones). I feel shaken to the point of volatility.

Just the other day I was out shopping. In the course of my trip I began to wonder if some sort of strange magic dust had been sprinkled upon me as I entered the mall, dust that rendered me invisible to other consumers.

Why? Because several of my fellow shoppers, in a number of different retail establishments, either walked directly in front of me — like the woman in the shoe store who was eyeing the same pair of shoes as was I — or, in the case of one clearly deranged J. Crew shopper, actually pushed me aside in front of the chino display. (Pushed me aside! In front of the chinos!)

It is when I find myself in these situations that I must stop and make an assessment, that I must ask myself, as I feel the bubbles rising, as I sense the pressure building, is this behavior deliberately directed at me, personally? Or, is this woman in dire need of a pair of boyfriend-cut cropped chinos?

After checking to make sure that my fellow chino enthusiast was not pantsless, or that the other woman was not shoeless, I took a deep breath, unscrewed the bottle cap just a bit, and allowed the pressure to escape. I took charge of how I released the bubbles, slowly and deliberately, so as not to create a mess.

I decided that their behavior, rude and insensitive as it was, while aimed at me, was not, in fact, personal in any way. It was not sinister. Alas, I just happened to be the woman standing between them and what they wanted.

Reaching this conclusion calmed me. So did slipping the shoes into an empty slot on the Men’s Size 13 rack. If I decided to come back for them, I would know where they were; ill-mannered step-in-front-of-me-without-an-excuse-me-lady would have to commit herself to a long search to find them again. There was no need for petty subterfuge over at the J.Crew; there were plenty of chinos.

What then does a person such as myself, one given to volatility when mishandled, do when her bubbles are deliberately shaken? When there is no mistaking that the bottle of soda did not simply fall, but was pushed?

If  such a situation had presented itself a few years ago I would be telling you how the bottle erupted and I had to clean soda from every last nook and cranny in my kitchen, likely down on my hands and knees, which would have put me in an excellent, but unenviable, position to pray for forgiveness or beg for mercy, whichever was appropriate. In short, it — I —  would have been a mess.

Now? I just wait. For the bubbles to redistribute. For stasis to return.

Sure, sometimes I have to loosen the cap. I have to vent a little. Let some air out, allow some air in. It beats being down on your hands and knees, though. That’s for damn sure.

It can often be a delicate and, yes, uneasy process, but I have discovered that when I am successful at navigating the minefield of my emotions I feel at peace. I rest more easily. Realizing that nestling the soda behind the jug of milk, where it is less apt to topple over or go careening off the edge of the shelf, took me a shockingly long time to figure out.

Sometimes, though, I forget and I stick the damn bottle where it doesn’t belong. And I pay the price.

I am not suggesting that I have become a doormat, nor would I suggest anyone else should be (or become) one. Passivity is just as bad as overreaction. Sometimes you have to take a swig from the soda, say what needs to be said. It is simply that I have learned that not everything needs to be said; that it is perfectly fine to leave a little soda in the bottle, put the cap back on, and toss it in the trash.

Move along.

It is fairly easy to predict, and to control, how a bottle of soda will react in almost every set of circumstances. (It’s science, kids!) The science behind human behavior being far less exact than the science behind carbonation, it would follow that it is not so easy to predict or to understand how humans will react on any given day to any given thing.

We can change. We can throw a curve. We can also learn from our mistakes. We can be shaken, but choose not to explode. The carbonated beverage does not have any say in the matter. It behaves the same way every time. We do not have to.

What it took me far too many years to learn is that people have their own best interests at heart, their own motivations for their behaviors, which may directly or indirectly affect me, but which are hardly ever ABOUT me.

Most days I try to act like the sane grown-up person that I believe myself to be. If I find myself getting angry or frustrated by a stranger I can always do something a little loopy, like hiding those shoes. Because, you know, that was FUN!

If I find that I am getting fired up by someone close to me, I remind myself that there is a 99.9% chance that it is not about me. Because it hardly ever is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resisting the “No!”

resisting the nofbnotesIt is so easy to say, “no” to things — particularly “things” that require getting out of bed, schlepping somewhere, or putting on pants; in some cases, all three. Activities outside the home, particularly ones that involve other humans, require effort. More and more, as opportunities that involve these herculean tasks, specifically the donning of pants, present themselves, my initial reaction is to say, “Thanks, but no thanks!”.

I have a physically demanding and mentally stressful job that requires me to do all of the above AND to interact with people all damn day. Quite frankly, I am tired by day’s end and, more often than not, have had my fill of people. Thus, rationalizing the “no” comes easily at the end of a long shift.

Following the schlep home, all I want to do, all I feel that I can successfully achieve, is to take off my pants and to crawl back under the covers. Where I am safe. Where no one is making demands of me. Where no one is criticizing me.

I have learned, though, to take a beat before responding in the negative, to think about what, exactly, I am saying “no” to (or for). Once I have gotten over the hurdles that include, but are not limited to, leaving my bedroom, throwing on some clothes, and transporting myself elsewhere — and, really, sometimes “elsewhere” is just up the block! — I am always pleased that I resisted the urge to beg off.

Still, the “no” comes more naturally. The “yes” has to fight for top billing.

Recently, because I said “yes”, I was able to enjoy the latest incarnation of “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” on Broadway and, in the same week!, I was entertained by Chinese acrobats. All because I agreed to put on pants.

I enjoyed the play and the acrobats. Truly, Jessica Lange’s performance in “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” was mesmerizing; and those Chinese acrobats were something else! Even so, these outings were about more than just the events.

I enjoyed the company, the camaraderie, of the people that I was with. Because they were not just any old “people”, they were “my” people — people who I have chosen, people who have chosen me.

I am not in their lives to fetch them straws or to make them some cockamamie drink. They are not sitting in judgment of my job performance in light of the fact that I spilled a ramekin of butter on a guest. They appreciate my eye-rolling and sighing, welcome it, even.

When I am at work I feel as though I am the subject in the most recent installment of a little game show that I like to call “Let’s Build a Better Employee”. I am not sure which is worse: knowing that I am the subject or knowing that I am not the best possible choice of contestant.

There was a time when I would have been the perfect contestant. That time was not all that long ago, it may, in fact, have been last week. But, now? This week? It seems that I am getting so few things right.

Getting all of the answers wrong takes all the fun out of the game. I go home at the end of every shift feeling uneasy, anxious, and, defeated. When I have been made to feel like I have no value, slipping into a pair of pajamas and sliding into bed seems the best course of action.

It is not. Surrounding myself with “my” people; saying “yes” to them is, in fact, the better choice, the antidote, to all of the other bullshit that life throws at you.

What I have discovered is that when I am around “my” people, I am almost instantly transformed into a person who has value. I feel, not only valued, but truly loved and appreciated. For that feeling I will resist the urge to go to bed at 7:00 PM. For that feeling I will schlep to wherever I need to schlep. For that feeling I will put on pants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I CANNOT Vote For Donald Trump

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I cannot vote for Donald Trump. My reasons are not high-brow or intellectual. Still, I have put a great deal of thought into them. I hope my tribe of liberals can forgive me.

Putting Trump’s message and his demagoguery aside, my reasons have more to do with his hair and his love of self-tanner, than they do with his political beliefs. On the face of it, a person’s appearance may seem like a shallow reason not to vote for him. Stay with me, though, it will all make sense in the end.

His absolute insistence on maintaining a bad haircut says a great deal about him, both as a person and as a leader. His commitment to embracing something that is so clearly wrong, something that he could very easily change, does not scream “I like my hair and I am leaving it as it is!”. Rather it says, “I’m not taking suggestions from the crowd.”

This is a fine attitude for a rock band who does not want to play “Freebird” to adopt, but not the attitude that a person who wants to lead a country should embrace. Leading is as much about recognizing situations where compromise may be in order as it is about being in charge.

It has not gone unnoticed that plenty of dictators throughout the course of history were also in possession of bad haircuts. Hitler. Stalin. Kim Jong-Il.

We all have a bad haircut story. Bad haircuts are part of life. Most of us, though, have the sense that God gave a cow and we do something about it OR we, when we can, wear a hat. At the very least we explain our bad haircut. “I had a groupon” pretty much says it all.

Even though he is a billionaire, I would still accept the groupon explanation. Frugality is not a bad thing.

The very fact that he has failed to demonstrate any common sense where his hair is concerned has always troubled me. In fact, he is pretty resolute on the hair thing. Even prior to listening to his rhetoric this political season, I could not get behind anything he said or did because I could not get past the message his hair puts out.

I do not believe for a minute that his children, a couple of whom seem like sensible people, have never looked him in the eye and said, “Your hair is crazy, Dad!” I know mine would. I wouldn’t get away with sporting that look for a minute!

Are we supposed to believe that his daughter, Ivanka, a woman with a successful fashion line has failed to have any conversation with her father about his hair? The more likely scenario is that he has just refused to listen.

It is hard to fathom that a woman who puts her name on some very fine products—have you seen her shoes?—has not taken the opportunity in a quiet moment to have a frank discussion with her father about his hair. I would never expect her to go public with this information, though. I feel certain that she feels awful about her inability to convince him to make a change.

I know that I would. I also know that I would be shaking my head and telling my father that “it’s not a trademark, Da, it’s a hot mess!”

The Donald has fancied this bad comb-over with a mind of its own style for years. The self-tanner, though, that is more recent. I can understand a person who wants to have a healthy glow without subjecting themselves to harmful UV rays. I can understand a person on a budget who ducks into the local CVS and plops down the ten bucks for the self-tanner that she can afford. What I cannot understand is how Donald Trump, a billionaire who is running for President of The United States, thinks that the best place to cut corners, financially-speaking, is in the self-tanning aisle.

It is not. It is just not. His orange face in combination with that awful hair does not project self-confidence; it projects his inability to recognize bad decisions.

He has managed to be in out of a several marriages, though. He does not seem to have the same level of commitment to the women in his life as he has to the misguided belief that he looks fantastic.

He looks orange. He looks weird.

He looks very much like the crazy person that he has turned out to be.

Still, even had he not proved himself to be an authoritarian, hate-spewing, violent reactionary with no real qualification for public office, I still would not be voting for him. Because of the hair. Because of the self-tanner.

Shallow though my reasons may be, I think I have a point, don’t you?

 

Photo Credits:

Trump Looking Orange

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It Won’t Be Like This For Long

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I awakened in the dead of night in a cold sweat. I dreamed that I could not find my daughter. It felt so real. So much so that I was, momentarily and, quite literally, panic stricken.

Once I had convinced myself that it was just a bad dream I made a few vain attempts at getting back to sleep, but the images from the dream continued to haunt me every time I closed my eyes.

I finally fell asleep. It was a very deep sleep. When I woke up this morning I had only a vague recollection of the frightening middle-of-the-night events and, thankfully, a sense of relief.

In the light of day I laid there for a time and tried to sort out the message that my subconscious had been sending me. Upon reflection, the message was not scary at all.

Why my dreams, and this one was no exception, often have the feel of a 1920’s speakeasy — illicit, hazy, and filled with shady characters — I will never understand.

Regardless of its overall mood and the strangeness of its setting, images of my daughter, not as she is today, but as she was as a child, were a large part of the dream and, upon conscious reflection, its overriding theme. They were not only memories, these images; they were also actual snapshots; photographs — happy photographs for the most part — taken by me or by someone else; real, tangible items that I have held in my hands.

Her on a swing in the park. Her, with her father’s assistance, putting the angel atop the Christmas tree. Her at an ice cream shop on a long ago vacation. Her dressed as a Pilgrim. Her playing field hockey. Her, in her prom dress, with her head thrown back and her arms akimbo, laughing. Her face on a baseball card. Her, as an infant, sleeping in her father’s arms.

Mostly, though, there was the one of her in her purple hat and matching coat. She was six years old. It was late Autumn. The Halloween decorations on the front lawn can be seen in the background. I must have had film left in the camera. Likely there were pictures of her, dressed as Tinkerbell, on that roll. I remember taking that picture.

That little girl that I was relentlessly (and unsuccessfully) searching for in my dream no longer exists. I have to let her go. I know this. Of course I know this. It is not easy, though.

On some level I blame Hootie for the dream. Yes, Hootie, from “Hootie and the Blowfish”. To be fair, he goes by his real name now — Darius Rucker. Last night, which was, incidentally, my daughter’s first night back at school since mid-December, I was watching a PBS program which featured Mr. Rucker.

As I was laying there, missing her, thinking about the fact that I may not see her until April, he began to tell the story of one of his most popular songs, “It Won’t Be Like This For Long”. While I have heard that song countless times, I guess that I never really listened to the words. Last night, I listened to the words. And I burst into tears.

Thankfully my husband had already fallen asleep. While he has developed a taste for “Downton Abbey”, “Mercy Street” may not have been his cup of tea. So, there I was, feeling alone and vulnerable, trying to decide whether or not “Mercy Street” had been my cup of tea either, when this music program came on.

I like Darius Rucker. I figured that listening to him sing would be a nice way to end what had been an angst-filled week.

The last week before she returns to school is always bittersweet. That, combined with the fact that I hit the bad job jackpot — I now have two jobs that I hate, aren’t I a lucky gal? — and an ill-timed decision to paint my kitchen (don’t ask!), left me longing for some mindless entertainment. Enter Hootie.

And THAT song.

Yeah. It won’t be like this for long. I know. Still, I would give just about anything if today I was posing her in front of the pumpkins in her little purple hat and asking her to smile and to say, “Cheese” instead of sitting here thinking about how she is 300 miles away.

On the other hand, it won’t be like this for long.


 

To hear “It Won’t Be Like This For Long”, copy and paste this link:

http://www.vevo.com/watch/darius-rucker/It-Wont-Be-Like-This-For-Long/USCN20800069