Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wizzywig ... or, "What you see is what you get!" as published in the Pickens County Progress on Thursday, July 14, 2011

The married couple next door hadn’t seen me in quite awhile. They were afraid that living alone had made me nuts, just because I talk to myself and kiss dogs square on the mouth.
So the husband rang my doorbell and said point-blank it was time for me to start dating. He told me to “friend” him on Facebook first, and look at pictures of all his “friends.” If I saw one I liked, he’d introduce us. My neighbor is a Fireman, so I felt pretty sure I’d like his “friends.”
Firemen are usually big, with big hearts and even bigger moustaches. The late, great Lewis Grizzard was having his own moustache trimmed when his barber explained why moustaches don’t bother most women: “They don’t mind going through a little briar patch to get to a picnic.”
 I agree. So I did what was asked and looked at all the pretty Firemen on Facebook. One had a particularly nice Sam Elliot vibe, so I messaged him. We met for dinner. At least, I think it was him. The man who greeted me at the door was completely clean-shaven. “Where is it?” I asked. “Where’s what?” He said. “Your moustache,” I answered. “Oh, that thing’s been gone for months!” He said.
I had a nice time, and he was good looking, no doubt. But he may have been disappointed with me. My Facebook photo was a quick self-portrait. I had to crop it tight to get the toilet bowl out of the background. So needless to say, Sam Elliot never called me again.
It’s awkward now, because the matchmaking couple next door is afraid to come outside. I haven’t seen them in quite awhile. We even take turns going to our mailboxes. One day, when it was my turn to go, the mail lady had left me a catalogue. Guess what the cover said? “L.L. Bean men … Summer 2011 … shipped for free … guaranteed to last … no minimum order.”
Well, heck. Facebook didn’t make promises like those. I began looking, but most of the Bean collection was too permanent-press for my taste: mama’s boys, all of ‘em, standing idle on front porches next to hunting dogs that won’t hunt.
Bean did have a ringer on page 9, with tousled black hair and sun kissed olive skin. He wore the summerweight poplin shirt in blue plaid. It hung on him to perfection. So I decided to hang onto page 9 and place an order.
Now my heart skips a few beats every time the doorbell rings. Soon the ringer from page 9 will be standing on my front porch, holding a picnic basket. I’m sure he’s on his way, because his poplin shirt got here yesterday.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Honeydew you love me? Yes, but we cantaloupe!

Ashley Banks, Amberly Brooks (sister of bride), and Tim Banks
June 25, 2011
photo by Bryan Abshear

Maybe you know this and maybe you don’t, but grocery work is grueling business. All that stuff doesn’t place itself on the shelves. My old job at the Jasper Kroger used to keep me covered in bruises and liniment. I didn’t know how the working students found the energy. But then I met Tim. He made our Produce jobs palatable with his sizeable imagination.
When we took the garbage, he pitched to the dumpster lid with rotten fruit and veggies. We discovered that pre-slitting the avocadoes yielded 75% more goo than if they remained intact. And he rolled the trash can funny, too … hobbling along like Igor, hunched over and dragging one foot. He invited me to “walk thisssssssss way …” So I did.
 It was Tim who first noticed sweet potatoes often look like seals and ducks. He drew faces on them and put them back in stock. Then he invented a new toy, the “Mr. Sweet Potato Head” using little pieces of broccoli and cherry tomatoes for eyes, noses and mouths.
When he assisted Crystal, the fruit cutter, Tim gave cantaloupes jack-o-lantern faces. If I was in a bad mood, he’d make me giggle flapping open a blueberry container and talking like Arnold Schwarzenegger: “put me in your muffin! Do it now!”
 Management soon tired of Tim and me, suggesting we find employment elsewhere. So we did. I completed the cosmo course at tech school, and Tim is on the cusp of college graduation to become a history teacher. I feel sure he’ll give it a spin that his students will never forget.
 Tim reminds me of other mild-mannered introspects like Bob Newhart; and even the loveable “Chandler” from Friends.
He’s so quiet at times it’s easy to forget he’s there, sitting on a pallet of bananas, eavesdropping. This is how he learned all about female hormones and the medicinal properties of chocolate. Such information helped him be a better boyfriend to Ashley, his then-sweetheart: who's a gorgeous blend of Pocahontas and Natalie Portman. She’s just as pretty on the inside, too. There is nobody nicer.
They were recently married by Tim’s eighty-something year old Grandpa, who wandered off-task a time or two, but effectively joined them together in the end. He asked, “Do you Tim take Ashley to be your wife? Now you say yes. And the smart boy did. Tim didn’t just fall off the turnip truck, you know. 


“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5: 22, 23