Birthday Greetings

My husband, George, and I are very unlike each other. An example is in the way we sign letters: I tend to close with, “Love, Karen,” whereas he’s more likely to sign, “Sincerely, George K Curran,”—even when it’s a letter to one of our children. He’s a bit more formal than me. I recently called our daughter-in-law to wish her a happy birthday. She wasn’t available so I left a message on her voicemail. Of course the message was done my way: I sang the Happy Birthday song, then said, “We love you, Jen, and hope you’ve had a great day!” George, overhearing, proceeded to tell me the sort of message he would have left: “Jen, I’m calling in regards to your birthday. Please be advised to have a happy one.   Should you have any questions about this birthday wish, please...

Alphabet Soup

I can’t carry on a conversation with music playing or the TV on since the sounds pull my attention away from anything being said. I think I must be ADD, though never formally diagnosed. When I suggested this condition to my husband, he called me a bowl of alphabet soup. George’s analogy prompted me to think through the many letters associated with my name, and I found that I might, indeed, be a bit soupy. There’s the BS, my college degree. Then I earned the CPA designation, which involved membership in the AICPA. I was employed for ten years by the IRS, for which I worked as an IRA. I should mention my diagnosis of OCD, which, fortunately, is an asset for a CPA. God used the PCOS and RA I developed as a teen to change my life by making it impossible to follow my...

Alabama Women

My friend, Betsy, and I drove to Ethridge, Tennessee, to spend a day with the Amish. We paid our $10 to ride in a horse-drawn wagon along with eight other women, all of who happened to be from Alabama. Alabama women. Interesting. They were in two separate groups; one, a group of three that seemed to be related and the other, a group of five that confirmed they were related. Sisters, sisters-in-law, or such. The group of three was a little back-woodsy, what with their missing teeth and all. The other group, though, put on a show of keeping up with the times. All five shouted, “Roll Tide!” as they climbed aboard the wagon. The one who sat beside me repeated the sentiment right in my face, so close I couldn’t help but breathe in her words. She noticed that I drew...

Hope

I was glad to be alone when I encountered Christy on my evening walk. Her two boxers don’t get along with my dog and it was a relief to avoid the usual struggle of restraining Prince’s aggressive ninety-five pounds. Christy, always cheerful and talkative, seemed hesitant to speak when I asked how she was. Then she broke the news: she had buried her father just that day. A hard thing, I know, having buried both my parents. She spoke of what a wonderful man he was, loved by everyone, and fought back tears as she reminded herself that his was a happy, well-lived life. My heart ached for Christy and I hugged her on that street corner. We then went our separate ways since she was too emotional to speak further, and as I walked, I thought about this thing...

Bitten, Part 2

A month after I was attacked, the dog’s owner, Kathryn, appeared at my front door. I had thought it odd to not hear from her sooner—she is, after all, a very nice person. It turns out she didn’t know who her dog attacked. After another neighbor told her my story, she came bearing flowers and profuse apologies. I was grateful for her kindness. The night of the attack, the police didn’t interview me in the ER until after they had secured the dog and had conversations with the owner and Animal Control. The investigating officer told me that Kathryn would be charged criminally for what her dog had done and would have to go before a judge (for a fine, I presume). That bit of information surprised me, but I think Kathryn was even more surprised when she reported to the...

Dark Socks

It was 6:30 one morning in the new school year and kids were already out waiting on the bus. We saw the boys as we were taking our morning walk, two standing and talking on one side of the street and one by himself on the opposite side. My heart hurt for the one standing alone. “I hate Middle School,” I said to my husband, George. “Kids can be so cruel.” “I noticed the boys, as well,” George said, “but I was thinking something else.” I looked a question at him. “Dark socks,” he said. “Dark socks?” “With shorts,” he added. “Dark socks with shorts?” “It’ll get a guy left out every time.” Who knew? Something to add to the list of things I never learned in Junior High.

Bitten!

I was headed up the hill on one of my loops around the neighborhood when I saw the dog sitting in his front yard. Kathryn’s dog is usually in her house, barking and tearing up window blinds when I pass by. I’m always glad there is glass between us. A red flag waved in my mind when I saw him out, owner nowhere in sight, so I crossed to the other side of the road a couple houses before I reached his. No need to make him feel threatened by being too close. Sadly, I was not far enough away. Just as I drew opposite his house, the dog charged me. I immediately yelled, “NO!” thinking I could scare him away or that Kathryn would hear and stop him. Her car was, after all, in the driveway. No such luck. The dog took one vicious bite of my left leg, just behind the knee,...