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,...

One Hour, Five DUIs

The day didn’t go as planned. Some are like that. Most aren’t. It was 12:30 and our Wednesday was pretty much complete. Grocery-shopping done, senior citizen discount received. Leisurely lunch. All we needed were afternoon naps to top off the fulfilling lives of retirees. A call came from a friend we hadn’t heard from and had been concerned about since her recent divorce. “How’d you like to get tanked?” It wouldn’t have been my first choice for the day, but I knew there had to be more behind her question. I wanted to be a good friend. My husband’s motives may not have been so pure. Within an hour we were on the road. Our friend knew exactly where we needed to go, a joint she called TLETA. Seems it was over forty-five minutes away. Though I’m a non-drinker, I...