SEC for Dummies: a southern Mom’s cliff notes version

The old Colonel Reb Ole Miss logo

Image via Wikipedia

If you’re lookin’ for info about the Security and Exchanges commission, this article isn’t for you.

This Saturday, Georgia plays LSU in Hot-lanta for the SEC championship.  SEC means we’re talkin’ real, live football.  Football as religion, not sport.  Last weekend, there was the Iron Bowl.  Sound tough?  It is.  No wine and cheese crowd here; they get  And, as for tailgatin’– the Deeper South you go, the thicker the eyeliner, skimpier the sundresses, louder the voices and more likker in the hipflask.

Forget about game rules; we’re talkin’ pure pageantry here.  First, let’s talk about the ‘outfits.’  There’s a plethora of orange, red, purple, garnet, orange, white and black.  Why not wear aqua (pronounced ak-wa in these parts) uniforms for example?  You do love the mardi gras theme that LSU has goin’ on, but to complete the look, they need strands of beads thrown around their necks.

Mascots n’ such:  they got ’em–from hawgs to dawgs.  There are also a whole lotta wild tigers and wildcats, then you got your gamecocks, a bluetick dog named Smoky, some creature that looks like a mad armadillo or wild boar, some fiesty bulldawgs, some fierce snappin’ gators…and then you got your red elephant.   There’s also a Commodore and a Colonel who looks like Colonel Sanders’ son.    You hear tell that the Colonel is being retired and replaced with a Star Wars’ figure named Admiral Akbar… (shouldn’t mascots be at least a little intimidating?)

OK–back to the game.  There’s all manner of neck and spine wrenching, collisions and bodily harm.   You pure-tee cringe as players are thrown up into outer space like stuffed dolls, or trampled by a stampede.  Bulls running in Pamplona must be easier to watch. 

“Is that allowed?” you gasp.

Mom, it’s football,” your son sighs for the zillonth time, “What do you expect?”

Well, you have absolutely no idea; you grew up in deep basketball country.

 “Can their mothers at least be allowed to run out screaming onto the field when their sons are laying crumpled in a heap?” you demand.
Your son shakes his head, “Mom, Mom, Mom.  Whatta we going to do with you?”
Your son played football for two years.  After his last game, held in–not east, but west jesus-– you stood up in the bleachers and declared, “Hallelujah!”  He was spared his life, limbs and spine, to boot.  That spring, he went back to his beloved soccer, scored header goals n’ such, and then, a player ‘headed’ your son’s skull, instead of the ball, and broke his nose.  Go frickin’ figure.
All told, ‘best dressed’ goes to…Vanderbilt (the gold is a nice touch).  Best live mascot?  Can’t beat the War eagle.  Best song?  Rocky Top.  And who doesn’t get teary when they hear, My Old Kentucky Home.  Best cheer?  Woof, woof, woof, woof.  Let’s go Dawgs.
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Don’t. Speed. Through. South. Carolina. (tales from a former faux southern hippie)

Driver's License, 1972

Flashback, Summer 1972.  You and your cousin, age seventeen, are wearing tube tops, bell bottoms and flip-flops, with hair two feet straight down the back and parted in the middle and immense chandelier earrings you’d bought at the Gay Dolphin in Myrtle Beach.  With a swish of hair, you leap into the front seat of your canary yellow Camara and hot-foot it down Highway 17 like Super Fly.  You suck down cokes and crank up Eric Clapton.

Lo and behold, blue lights start flashing from behind, and you pull off on the sandy shoulder, cussing up a southern storm–using words such as dadgummit and dadburnit amongst choice others.

The trooper sidles up to you and asks for your license. It doesn’t help that y’all look like what they call, hippie freaks, which does not bode well with the trooper.  He is as cool as iced tea with his hat clamped around his forehead, and states that you were going 15 over the limit and that and you owe him $100. Cash.

You have no checkbook, no credit card, no cellphone.   You tell him that you have twenty-four dollars and thirty-two cents.  They didn’t cover this in Driver’s Ed.  Can’t they just bill you?   You and your cousin sit Indian-style on the hood, under live oaks draped with Spanish moss.  Bummer.  Man–you were gunning it to get home so you could meet that cute guy Kyle–winged hair,  jean jacket, Frye boots– at the Silver Dollar.

Then y’all get scared.  What’s that movie where hippies travel through Mississippi and never come back out?  Does it count that y’all are really just FAUX SOUTHERN HIPPIES and just dress like the real ones?  After a couple of hours, he gets out of his squad car, takes your cash, and peels off.  No points ever appeared.

Fast forward, 2011.  Age double-nickles, you climb into your old tan SUV to drive home from the beach.  J. Crew top, black jeans, hair  foot long and parted on the side, small chandelier earrings, flip-flops.  As you try to find the beach music station, you pass a parked patrolman.

No. frickin. way.  You’re not real speedy by nature, but this is the only state where you’ve ever been caught going over the limit.

You remember a sweet, nerdy lawyer friend, who’d just left her firm to drive back to her apartment one night.  Soon there was a flashing rack behind her on the highway; she got all nervous and searched for a well-lit spot.  She hesitated for so long that the patrolman in pursuit called for reinforcements, and by the time gentle Julia exited, she was surrounded by 3 squad cars in a Chic-fil-a parking lot, as she quaked in her perm and dark suit–complete with a bow tie blouse, supp-hose and sturdy pumps.

The gas station is chock-full of folks staring at you as you pull in, softly cussing up a southern storm–dadgummit, etc.   Face burning, you scrunch down in your seat like you are seventeen again. Even your children have never gotten tickets.  What are the rules now?  Will he search your car?  What’s in your car?  A humble chicken salad sandwich in tin-foil.  Duffel bag, stale snacks and bottled water, some shirts to take to the cleaners.  Quickly you try to look as Mom-ish and boring as possible.  You gather your hair up into a pony tail, fluff up your neck pillow, take off your aviators, and apply reading glasses.  You re-position your Diet Green Tea and packet of Nabs, and then pull out your license and registration.

He takes your cards and disappears.  With horror you realize your back window sports big fat decals of  South Carolina’s two major football rivals.  Hmmm.  Too late to rip those babies off.  To add insult to injury, your state license plate is their third biggest enemy.

He crunches back over and hands you a ticket.  You can mail in a check.  Your cell phone suddenly sings out, “Bell Bottom Blues,” and you hastily turn it off.  Easy.  Done.

You are the only one of  five sibs who has not attended traffic school;  you gotta hold on to that record. 

Missing that date with Kyle?  Thank God.

South of the Border

Image by J. Stephen Conn via Flickr

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Siri, Where Can You Find Nude Patent Leather Heels?

B-9 Environmental Control Robot ( middle ), in...

(That's Siri in the back) Image via Wikipedia

You just spent a mother-daughter weekend with your daughter…and Siri, the new virtual assistant iPhone app. You are the last. person. on. earth. to be on the scene when some new hip electronic device is launched, but you were desperate.  You were the oldest person standing in line to buy the new iPhone, because your old one died.  While you sat in plastic chairs outside of a strip mall, you all pondered questions to ask Siri:

Is there a restroom inside the AT&T store, because we all bought el-huge-o coffees at Dunkin’ Donuts next door in order to sit outside and wait to buy your services.

If we’d known we’d have to wait 4 hours to buy you, would we have waited 4 hours to buy you?

Can Siri pick up carpool?

Can she text my boss and tell him that I hate him?

At first Siri’s replies sound sorta like those old magic eight balls, that you’d roll over and peer at the bottom for the answer, floating in liquid–her voice being a combo of the robot from “Lost in Space” and Hal from “2001: Space Odyssey.”  It is decidedly so.  As I see it, yes.  Signs point to yes.  Reply hazy, try again.  Outlook not so good.

Magic 8 Ball

Image via Wikipedia

You picture Siri looking sort of pale like your Wii trainer–because they don’t get out much–but sitting erect  at a desk with a headset on, in a pencil skirt, sweater set and heels, as opposed to the ‘Ask Cha Cha’ dude, who you envision sporting a soul patch and wearing board shorts and Reefer sandals, plopped down in one of those round rattan chairs.

Note to Helicoptering Parents:  Here is your chance to pay extra bucks to boss someone around for the rest of their cyber-life.  She never loses her temper, never chews Jimmy Choos, nor slams the door or tells you to shush up.  She can act obtuse at times, although you know deep-down she isn’t.  And she can get a wee bit testy.

That night, your daughter asked Siri for a roasted chicken recipe.

“I do not know of rested chicken,” Siri retorted, suddenly  sassy.

“Where can I find nude patent leather pumps?”

“I don’t know what you mean,” Siri answered flatly,  “Strip clubs or attorneys?”

After you got lost the following morning looking for a breakfast place, you both got the giggles.  You asked Siri where a bagel shop was, and Siri started to feel left out, you could tell.  She issued a curt response: “SHAWTY, I do not know what you are talking about.”  (Your daughter admitted that she secretly told Siri your name was Shawty).

Later, your daughter thanked Siri for locating a museum.

“That’s nice for you to say,” she replied flatly.

“Siri, you’re wonderful,” your daughter laughed.

“Was it something I said?”

“We love you, Siri.”

“Oh, stop.”

Other questions:

Where is my Prilosec?  (senior moment)

“Here is your current location.”

Where has my girlfriend done gone.  (Gen X, Y, Z and  A.D.D.)

Here is a place matching ‘my girlfriend.’  It is not far from you.

Where are my car keys?  (senior minute)

I found 12 auto parts stores.

Where the —– are my car keys? (Gen X etc.)

I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that.

Siri has now far surpassed Google as your new BFF.

Siri, can you write a post?

Posted in Baby baby boomer, humor | Tagged , , , , , | 17 Comments

Mama’s Favorite Sayings: A Beginner’s Guide for Gen X, Y and Z

South Park Library

Image by libraryman via Flickr

The weather’s gotten a wee bit snappy in these parts, in your neck o’ the woods.  But not too chilly yet to sit on the porch for a spell.  Last evening, your friend, Elizabeth upped and said, “Well, I reckon it’s gotten cold enough to kill a hog.”

“Excuse me?” you leaned in closer in case you’d gone deef, as Mama used to say.

“Oh–well my uncle used to say that when it started to get cold,” she said, simply.

Southerners have always been wordsmiths extraordinaire. But y’all need to revive these adages, because they are quickly goin’ by the wayside:

Honey, she was always barkin’ up the wrong tree.

He was caught with his pants down, 

and furthermore, he just. didn’t. cut. the. mustard.

That bug was deader than a doornail.

Don’t just sit there like a bump on a log.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

Don’t put your eggs all in one basket.  (this is quite a popular one in your own household)

Well, he’s just dumber than a sack of hammers…

…but I could just eat him up with a spoon.

Well, she just pure-tee flew off the handle. 

He got the short end of the stick, 
And then he went hog wild. 
Then he went at it whole hog. (There seem to be several concerning bugs, dogs, hogs, horses and barns.  Sort of a farm theme, if you will)

Sugar, they got on like a house afire.

He always goes around his elbow to get to his thumb. (as mama often described an uncle)

Great day in the morning, great scott, and good night.   Heavens to Betsy, and (You have never heard a Gen X’er say one of these; nary a one.  Goodness, gracious)

I’m going to have a fit and fall in it.

I’m gonna lick the tar out of you, 

But I love the stuffin’ out of you.

He’s nothing but a Johnny Come Lately.

Truth be told, I’ve been running around all day like a chicken with my head cut off.

You scared the living daylights out of me.

There’s more fried chicken than you could shake a stick at.

Long story short, our cousin has gone and gotten as big as a barn.

Well, I wouldn’t do that to save my neck. (this saying alarmed a young, northern acquaintance one day, as she thought you’d had neck surgery)

It’ll only take two shakes of a lamb’s tail. (as she’d whip up a delicious breakfast of eggs, sausage and biscuits)

Katy bar the door, there’s trouble up yonder.  So if you ever hear any Gen X’ers and so forth making these utterances, please thank them from the bottom of your heart.  They have a lonnnnnng road to hoe…

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Back South


When an old friend from Denmark arrived in town with her new husband, you quickly gave them Mason jars of sweet tea and herded them out to the porch.  They miss being outdoors; they’ve had only one nice week of summer sun without rain and wind. You quickly made a list of what they’d like to do.  They had not visited the States in years.

“I’d like to see the old neighborhood,” Kristin sighed. She was your next-door neighbor when your children were little.  Some of your fondest memories are sitting out on Kristin’s front steps, sipping coffee in white mugs and watching her oldest son scale the top of the playhouse, while your daughter danced ballet barefoot across the cool fescue.  Meanwhile both of your toddler sons trawled about on a tiny trikes, making appropriate zoom noises.

“And go to the Gap,” she added, smiling.  “And Marshall’s.”

“I, myself, would like to eat a hamburger and a hot dog,” Jensen beamed.  “And Tex Mex.”

“I miss Krispy Kreme,” Kristin said.  “And Pop Tarts.  And is there a Bud Lite, please.”

Passing them a platter of pimento cheese and crackers, followed by shrimp salad, you promised them a trip to the grocery.

After a drive down memory lane past your old homes (the playhouse long gone), you strolled in the old playground where you spent hours gently pushing swings, next to the small green field where the children learned to ride their bikes–where they held ice cream parties with pony rides–past the duck pond where the weeping willows shelter a new batch of goslings.

Then, after more sightseeing, you drove them straight to Five Guys.  They clung to their greasy brown paper sacks to go, bobbing their heads along to  “The Sack Brown Band,” as they called Zac’s band.  You took them to the drive-in so that they could sample a hot dog.  Kristin had never been.

“You can sit in the car, and not go in?” they asked, amazed.  Our curbside host headed over in his jaunty paper cap to take our order.

“If you please, I would like a hot dog,” Jensen proclaimed. 

The car hop, Rufus, shook his head.  Sir, what’ll ya have, what’ll ya have, what’ll ya have?  You wanna red dog, chili slaw dog, mustard or naked dog?  It’s your pre-rog-a-tive.”   

Jensen looked at you in alarm..

“Naked dog,” you said.  “Chili slaw dog, rings and an F.O.”

“And can I please have a Diet, Dr., Pepper, Cherry?” Jensen asked.  The man looked at him as if he was pure-tee off his head.

“This is pretty much a Coke town,” you whispered over your shoulder, nodding at the Coke headquarters looming up over us.

“Rufus, make that a Coke Zero,” I said.  “And we’re good to go.”

Kristin loved her Frosted Orange drink.  Afterwards you headed home for a nap before Tex Mex.  Gotta fit it all in before they left the next day.  Kristin had asked where they should take a coastal side-trip while they were in the States.

“Charleston,” you said, simply, and then Mapquested them to Meeting Street.

(When they return, y’all will give them cheese straws and barbecue…and a Cheerwine for his Dr. Pepper fix…)

Posted in family, home, travel | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments

Feelin’ Lucky? Gotta Love Google Search

Google X, alternate interface to Google search

Image via Wikipedia

Last Friday evening, you plopped down to watch Food Network, and Paula Deen appeared on the screen, whooping it up with one of her sons.  Your hairdresser said that Paula had a fake Savannah-esque accent, and furthermore, that she was actually from PENNSYLVANIA.  Being a southerner born and bred, you whipped out your phone and began to type, “Where is Paula Deen from?” to get the lowdown.  You didn’t get very far.  The second you entered the word where, here’s the Google Suggestions list that automatically popped up:

Where is my refund (uh, oh)

Where is chuck norris (has he gone missing?)

Where them girls at lyrics (?)

Where them girls at (don’t know, but hope you are referring to the song above)

Where am I (aw, bless their lil heart)

Where the red fern grows (good book)

Where the heart is (good movie)

Where the wild things are (good book)

Where is monte carlo

Then, once you added the word is, you got:

where is the love (you hope they are referring to the song)

Where is my mind (bless their lil heart, too)

Where is ho train (goodness–is there such a thing?  Maybe that’s where some of them girls are at) 

Where is your appendix (poor thing; you hope they aren’t headed to the hospital)

You were captivated.  Then, after you dared to type the letters, “is P…:” 

Where is penn state

Where is patagonia

Where is prostitution legal (My goodness, is this the same person who’s looking for the ho train?  Dude has a more exciting evening planned than my sittin’ on the sofa watchin’ Paula)

Where is pit bull from (this you don’t want to know)

Where’s prague

Where’s persia (in Iran, you suppose?)

You then added the letter ‘a’:

where is pancreas (poor thing; there appear to be lots of concerns over various organs)

where is palestine

where is pacific time

And, finally, Where is Paula Deen from (in full)!!

Where is pauly d from

Where’s paul in the bible

Where is paula deens restaurant

Where is paul revere buried (interesting)

Only Google Search can group a cluster such as “Pauly D, Paula, Bible Paul and Paul Revere.”  Turns out that my fellow southerner, Paula, hails from Albany, Georgia.  (And the ‘ho trainis a scale of toy train, usually capitalized as ‘HO.’  Whew.)  Meanwhile, you are hooked on Google Search, or rather, on reading your fellow Googlers searches…

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Blaming Mom


Image by Dunechaser via Flickr

You spent most of the weekend trying to herd your children away from Lee.  Last week, your daughter called from further north to give you a heads-up that although a big, fat depression would be sitting on top of the gulf all weekend, she’d be fine with reading, shopping and going to movies.  Perfect—you had two books to finish.

You drove down to the beach early to set up shop.  Along the way, you picked up a huge container of your fam’s favorite chicken salad, and produce at your favorite roadside stand.  You spent the evening ‘fluffing up’ the house to get it ready, arranging shells, candles, flowers and books.  The following morning you bought boatloads of groceries and then you got on your iPad.  Instead of a sun/thunderbolt icon, the Weather Channel app showed a mean, scary storm cartoon for the entire weekend, and the storm warning now ranged to the neighboring beach–your rainy day ‘go to’ venue.  Your crystal ball held images of being stuck in the house for days with the wind howling.  This beach is isolated, and the evacuation route involved driving several hours in the middle of nowhere through floody areas, in order to get to the highway.

Hmmmm.  You look into re-routing the rest of the family in order to salvage the holiday.  This appeared to create some discord.   Your family did not think Lee was such a horrible dude.  Your daughter was very kind and said, “Mom, I know you have a strong maternal instinct which is something I don’t have yet.”  Which was a sweet way of saying, “Mom, you’re ruining my beach vacation because you believe everything the Weather Channel says.”

You started to get defensive–is it your fault there’s a storm?–and feeling like a huge ol’ depression # 13.  Then you thought about your friend Jane.  When she visited Seattle with her family, she attempted to navigate using a ‘real map’ instead of relying on her son’s gps in order to find a cool new restaurant.  Well, how dare she do such a thing; they got stuck in a big, fat traffic jam and all turned on her, their collective blood sugar plummeting.

“Why are we always blamed for everything?  Traffic, weather and whatnot,” she laughed.

Your family finally agreed (the thought of a power-less and wi-fi-less house did the trick) You ate all of the chicken salad, packed up the house and re-loaded the car (much to the bewilderment of the dog) while your sweet husband spent hours re-routing the children.  You spent the holiday back at home, sans sun-bathing.

Yesterday, when your son decided to drive back to school through tornado alley without your consent, you lost it.  How dare he make his own decisions and up and turn into a man before your very eyes.  Couldn’t he wait and drive back early the next day?  But Lee had caught up with us; the following morning looked rushed and rainy.  So you spent the remainder of the holiday tag-team worrying.  First, enlarging weather maps on your desktop to locate red blobs and tornado sightings, while the tornado siren sounded in your neighborhood.  Once he arrived safely, you gave a huge sigh, and then began wringing your hands over your daughter’s flight home, and enlarging the map on your phone to see where the pilot could possibly find an open window in the weather.  Then you got exhausted.  Let the pilot deal with it.  High time to muster up some faith.  You just finished Elizabeth Berg’s novel in which one of her Mom characters learns how to ‘stop trying to control’ everything.  So you said some prayers and went to bed.

Getting home safe and sound, priceless.

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Carpoolin’ with the Devil

Haven’t we all, at one time or another, indeed, carpooled with the devil?  Whether it be for work, play, or school?  You are enjoying one of the few Augusts ever, in the history of time, not to be carpooling, but you still remember.   You still have the occasional carpool nightmare.  Don’t we all.

During pre-school, there was the whole car-seat thingy, switching and swapping and who’s picking up whom, when.  You had one nervous mother hang up on you because you were not driving the day her son came over to play; he was delivered via your carpool.  She eventually delivered ten children and drove them everywhere herself. 

During elementary school days, the length of any station wagon, minivan or Suburban (nicknamed ‘bourbon barge’ due to the resemblance in size to a pontoon boat) exceeded the width of your starter home’s yard.  There was the usual infighting during carpool–siblings including a set of triplets and a set of sisters–all fighting over who got to sit next to your son–a tot in a car-seat.  The school bus in our new neighborhood was a godsend, (except the day it got stuck in a flood with your child on board).

During middle school you drove through hail and high water.   Literally.  Most of the girls were so kind and polite, yet one was an absolute BEAR.  And she wasn’t even in your carpool, but was instructed to stand out front and pawn rides.  Can’t I have a ride home?  Why didn’t you invite me home, instead of Catherine?  Etc. etc.  (That poor ‘child’ is still an absolute BEAR today at age 25, God bless her).

Carpool slowly dissipated after about 10th grade or so, but your last freshman guy carpool herd was very active. You well remember pulling off to a side street when the backseat boys would go totally ADD and have nuclear melt-downs.  WTH? (What the Heck).  Your laidback son would shrug and say that Tyler had too many Krispy Kremes in home room and too many Mountain Dews at lunch.  Then, slowly, circa the early 2000’s, they started to text–thank ye gods–a quiet activity.

You highly enjoyed most of the basketball, football, soccer and lax carpools–except for the constant mud on jerseys, shoes, balls and sticks.  (guys seem to be attracted to diving and rolling on sodden turf) After school, post-game, the team players were so very weary and humble–exhaustion had set in.

At one point, early on–you carpooled with an absolute nut.  When you first moved into your new house, your neighbors said to contact Delilah, that she had been in charge for years.  Oh, Lord.  When you phoned her, the Carpool Queen declared, “Oh, I just love the carpool the way it is, we will never change and add anyone else,” and hung up.  You were saddled with a four-year old and a baby, and needed to carpool to a pre-school intown.  You called her back and told her in so many words that her proclamation didn’t quite sit right with you.  Once she deigned to started to carpool with you, she was always late, her poor two offspring were never ready, and she insisted that you to drop off her children at various and sundry places.  Did she need her dry cleaning picked up along the way, perhaps?  When you pulled up to the ‘coop destinations,’ her poor children screamed and refused to get out of your car.

Then one day, Queen Nut pulled a no-show.  When you dashed over to her place (after she didn’t pick up the phone) she answered the front door at seven- thirty in the morning in her robe and blurted, suddenly grasping her jaw, “Oh–I just had a root canal a minute ago!” Later, Delilah had several various and sundry canals (all fabricated, you discovered).  She was later caught red-handed stuffing precious items for the school auction into her purse.  Carpool Queen was dethroned, and took to driving her own children in a spankin’ new BMW, top-down, clad in a tennis dress, visor and Jackie O sunglasses.

Meanwhile, would love to hear your carpool tales.  You have one buddy who had one member of her ‘driving group’ (as she called it) who favored Mike’s Hard Lemonade.  Every afternoon, she’d pop open a can and said that driving the group was a piece of cake–until your buddy informed her that Mike’s actually contained some hard substances.  Thank God–no accidents.
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TLC = The Loser’s Channel

Discovery TLC Asia

Image via Wikipedia

For years, TLC has been one of your go-to channels.  Although recently, you and your son have nearly finished watching back-to-back seasons of the Office…from a more major network.

Watching a series back-to-back is something that you have never done before.  Instead of a once a week imbibing, you entered full-force into the series itself–the fine nuances, the plots, the idiosyncracies of the characters.  You are both midway through the marathon and craving more.

Yet, when you mentioned that you wanted to Tivo, “What Not to Wear,” midstream, your son gave off a smirk.

“Oh, the loser channel,” he replied casually, taking a sip of coke.  He’s so slowly turning into Jim Halpert. He even kinda sorta looks like Jim.

“WHAT???” you cry.  “Where did you hear that?”  This struck close to the heart.  You so heart TLC; always have, always will.  Over the years you’ve gotten a kick out of Randy from the bridal store and the Duggars and Kate’s Eight (not Kate), but when they yanked Cyrus the Pageant King off of their network you were peeved;  he taught all of the girls in Columbia how to be pageant queens.  Although when you have an extra five minutes you tend to turn on the Food Network or Weather Channel (believe me, there is always plenty of CNN and ESPN going on in da house).  And maybe TLC is a lil girly, but so are Lifetime and Oxygen–and you heart those, too.  (Sometimes a woman just wants to plonk down and watch Richard Gere and Diane Lane kiss during a hurricane, for cryin’ out loud).  Every young female student I have, writes down, “The Notebook,” as their fave film.  This completes us.  So just let us be.  What possible wrong can it do?

And you have to admit that during the summer of blockbuster films, TLC knows how to kick it up a notch.  No lamester, their ads too frequently show one-liners that are quite out of context, to get a boost, especially in the case of Toddlers n’ Tiaras…OML.  (Oh My Law) And who can resist their show titles?  Well, your husband can.  He’d been trying to rope you into watching Deadliest Catch, Pawn Stars, Swamp People and Ice Road Truckers.  Once he sat through an entire “Say Yes to the Dress Marathon,” over the holidays with you and your daughter, you vowed to give his shows their due.  They are gripping and now you are hooked.  It’s all about Mars and Venus–not about loser channels.

And no one is more creative than TLC with show titles, you must admit:

And you’d like to add, after being inspired by the blog, “Stuff Southern People Like,” another TLC title should include, photos of “Your Mamas Being Dropped Off at Wal-mart, in Order to Observe those Folks, Close-At-Hand…”

John Krasinski as Jim Halpert, along with Dwig...

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Carolina Summer Family Reunion

Time for your annual ‘family of origin’ reunion.  First night’s always a blast from the past.  You five sibs all chip in and get catered food, your brother hosts at his grand beachfront rental–porches with green wooden rockers and a long joggling board–and you all loll about and crank up old beach music tunes–Get Down On It (Get Your Back Up Off the Wall!)Jimmy Mac, Sixty Minute Man, and Shame (courtesy of Evelyn Champagne King), and your all-time fave–(I’m Just Thinking About) Cooling Out.  (You’ve always loved the fact that Jerry Butler’s just thinkin’ about coolin’ out, instead of just simply, coolin’ out).

You all tell old stories and laugh (the older you all get, the more it sounds like cackling), we Whoop Dere it is (shout-out to Tori) and then some of us get up and try to dance, and then some of us just hunker down on the pleather.  Adorable grandkids and great-grands get their knees and elbows into the crab dip and play Spoons and Spit and then you all go home happy and sound.

Next night (it’s measured by nights–days are spent on the beach, riding waves, yolo-ing, sunning, reading, ipods in or out, sand castles built or not) it’s Eat-out Night.  For decades we went to a beachy fried fish place that offered their signature “Waccamaw platter,” (pronounced  platt-ah).  After two or three of us channel their inner Mussolini and have a lil fit over who sits where (oh, snapnot you!) you plop down at long wooden tables, order umbrella drinks and such and stuff yourselves silly.  That place closed, so you now go to Frank’s OutBack and sent outside under a white tent and eat stuffed flounder.

Honey, the following night, all heck breaks loose.  Once you read, that after 78 hours, folks return to their own childhood and–yikes–act it out.  After wine charades, watch out!  No more semblance of adulthood, honey, Sistah is gonna take somebody out, because all the rest of us sibs were born!  (You often remind her, that ‘dude–we did not have any say-so whatso-ever about being conceived, much less being born, so just chill and have some decaf’).

Day 4–OK–time to pack.   Leave early, on a high note– while you still may be missed, and you’ll miss them even more, and perhaps want to return next year.

Interesting to see, that it’s the first year we’ve conducted our Stewfest with our parents.  Will we misbehave?  Oh, yes.  Wish me luck.

Our father died at the beach 18 years ago, 24 hours after we kids left.  God Rest His Soul.  Sometimes you all wonder if you plumb wore him out.

Lunch on the way home:  Cheerwine in a glass bottle, pimento cheese sandwich from Kudzu Cafe in a sweetgrass basket–priceless. 

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