Pimp My Lent/Day 19
From Christi Moore…
“She suddenly realized that what she’d longed for, fought for, and sacrificed for was actually destroying her; had, in fact, become her mortal enemy.”
Guess where I am for the whole rest of the summer? I did not put the return address on the outside of the envelope so you could guess! And also because by the time you get this and can answer, we will maybe or maybe not be back in Cache, Oklahoma in time to start school.
Here’s three hints:
1. There are cows.
2. There are no stop lights.
3. The roads are gravel and red dirt instead of cement.
THE FARM IS WHERE WE ARE!
Me and Lexi and Savannah are staying at the farm of Mamie and Pops where my dad grew up! It is a place near the city of Shawnee, but deep out in Pottawatomie County because of the Indians of that name. It is less than one hour southeast of Oklahoma City because the highways are small and there are not many highway patrols who watch the speeders so Uncle Spacey who is Dad’s sister’s husband just floors it and man IT IS FUN because the highway is so crazy up and down back and forth. FUN!! We don’t go to Oklahoma City much. Most of us here just call it The City because that’s just how we all learned it. We did go to see the Bombing Site with the chairs and the burned tree that just keeps living and living. It makes you feel like holding your breath the whole thing, not just the tree.
(One thing I did not like was there’s a statue of J**** across the street and not in the memmoreal but something somebody added outside. The person who made it made the statue turned so J****’s face is away like “Oh I can’t look! It is so horrible!” and that made me REAL MADE!! I told Mamie that I do not think J**** is going to be such a chicken as that!! She said I am right. Don’t you think so?? Oh my gosh but I do not think J**** would turn away on anybody, no matter what!! If he was there and saw the babies he would run to them and help, not turn and just cry!!!
I hope this does not make your mom mad. I am talking about the statue of J**** and not the real guy. I am real glad that your mom and my mom made up so that you and me can stay pen-pals. Mom says as long as I do not write about G**, or J****, or whether we go to ch**** or out to the m******** on Sunday mornings. Mom said I should say only that this letter, but from here on should not say much more but just drop it and go on. I hope your mom is satisified too. I don’t know what all they said or decided for sure. When I asked Mom she said “M.Y.O.B., Cricket.” (She always says this when us kids try to pry or evesdropp. It means “Mind Your Own Business”).
I guess you can tell that I am back to the typerwriter because of the mistakes. Mom needs to keep the laptop at home, to do things at home which is still Miss Q’s house because the Army is NOT LIVING UP TO THEIR PROMISES, and is not giving us a place to live on base like they said. Because of this Dad is having to stay on base too much by himself for the hospital visits every day, and it is NOT GOOD for him there alone. Mom is real upset because our car is crappy now and can’t make the drive every single day over to Fort Sill for his theripy, and Mom can’t stay with him in the guest house there because Douglas is on her now like white on rice because Douglas came here and had a walleyed FIT when they made him try to stay.
For two nights he cried like somebody DIED and could not stop and threw up, and ran a high fever even! It is always Capital Scary when Douglas can’t stop his self crying. Douglas needs Mom, and because she is a real good mom she will not make him stay here even though she is needing a good break away from all of us except Dad who she needs to be with more than ever because he needs her so bad.
HEY! I GOT A DOG! I got a dog! I got a dog! I got a dog! I got a dog! I got a dog! I got a DOG!
His name is JR for Jack Russell and he is a pure terrior. He is old like 70 years old in dog years, but he runs like crazy and can jump straight up in the air and look me in the eye, it is SO HILLARIOUS!! JR belonged first to my great-grandmother, and Mamie and Pops inherited him when she died when she was 98 years old!! (JR was just a puppy then). Mamie hates JR all this time, because he chews up everything or did until he got old and less into tearing up stuff but he still digs her flower garden up, and steals food off the table and counters, and barks like crazy at everything that moves. Mamie calls him the Jack Russell Terrorist!! Ha, ha, ha.
Mom says if I take care of him, food and water, every day, without anybody telling me what to do for him, and I do it all summer while I am here, then I can bring him home with me!!!!!!!!! But only if we have a house by then. Mom says we will by G** have a house because if not she will set up a teepee on the lawn of the Commanding General’s house and see what he thinks of THAT! Ha, ha, ha.
Man, my mom would be so mad to see my errors! Can you tell I am on summer BREAK! ha, ha, ha, ha Please don’t tell her, Jeanmarie, I mean it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ha, ha, ha
Savannah is staying mostly down the hill with Uncle Spacey and Dad’s sister Pansy who is the youngest and can keep up with her better. Uncle Spacey and Aunt Pansy lives in the house down the road from this one where we are staying. He is a farmer and a rancher (of goats which are adorable!!) and she is a mail carrier and drives over 100 miles a day.
Savannah goes with her all day delivering mail all over the place, and SHE LOVES IT. Sometimes me and Lexi go too. Aunt Pansy has TWO STEERING WHEELS IN HER TRUCK because sometimes the boxes are on the left side and sometimes they are on the right. The people in the country love kids and leave candy in the mailboxes when they find out you will be riding with Aunt Pansy that day! This one old guy was so happy to see us kids he made Pansy stop the pickup and get out and bring us to the barn to see his baby lambs that were just born. There is nothing cuter in the world!!!!! We could have hugged them all day long!!!!! We fed them with bottles!!!!!
Only the bad thing is that Lexi found out she is real, real, real bad allergic to their skin oil (called lanalin) which is what is used in lotions, which Lexi has never been allergic to it in lotions, so nobody knew until we were hugging those lambs and her eyes burned when she rubbed them and then they almost swelled shut!! It was not as scary as it made her eyes feel itchy and burning and sore, and made her nose stop up. She was MISERable and sad but Pansy said next time she will bring handywipes and an extra coat that Lexi can put over her own coat to protect her clothes. We all think that that should about cover it.
Aunt Pansy is alone on her route when we are not here, but she is not afraid because of a big crowbar under her seat, and her pistol in the glove compartment she shoots snakes when they come up on her porch!! If they are outside the yard she will not mess with them but when they come up in the yard or on the porch she shoots them because she does not want to go out and step on a snake!! Snakes are mostly not poisonus here, and Pops gets red in the face MAD when people try to kill the rat snake that lives in his barn you should see that thing it is HUGE because of all the mice and rats it eats for him.
The ones we are supposed to watch out for are the water mocks which are real bad news, also called cottonmouths, and will chase you and make you pee your pants Aunt Pansy says. Ha, ha, ha She is very funny and nobody you want to mess with, and her and Savannah get along like peas in a pod like ducks in soup, says Mamie. They have no kids of their own her and Spacey because of something I can’t write about but it’s something that it is not good to happen to women, but Pansy does not care if anybody knows it, she will tell you to your face if you ask, which I did, but she just does not care. But Mom says not to talk about it, because it is really not our business and that makes it strickly an M.Y.O.B, Cricket issue.
Oh G** if Mom saw this letter, she would be making me writ it all out again by hand. I hope you do not mind my mistakes I am typing really faster than normal because we get to eat whatever we want here and that means I am tanked up on ORANGE POP like all the time ! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!
This is four days later and I am here to tell you that Douglas is here with us now and so is Miss Quinette. Dad was not doing good in the hospital. He was so sad that he was not able to shake it off. He was not working much at all on getting better, and would not get out of bed to go to his therapy, so the nurse called Mom. Mom was coming all the way unglued she was so worried about him. Douglas was crying a lot too because, as Mom says, he is like a sponge he picks up everybody’s vibrations in the room. So they let Dad out for the weekend, and everything was a little better, but then Dad fell asleep on the couch and it was dinner time, so Douglas went in to wake him up.
Here is the thing everybody should know about that: DO NOT EVER wake up a soldier who has been in a war by touching them because they are jumpy and sometimes before they can wake up all the way and know what they are doing, they might hurt or scare you and not mean to. It is scary. Me and Lexi knew this becaues we are more experienced with it. But Douglas does not remember the last time Dad came home very well, so he did not think about it. He went to wake up Dad for dinner and instead of standing at the door and calling his name over and over until Dad wakes up like we all know to do, Douglas walked up to him on the couch and touched Dad on the shoulder and Dad jumped up and had Douglas on the floor before he even woke up to know what he was doing!! Douglas was fine, he was not even bruised, but Dad broke down bad and Mom had to take him back to the hospital that night, he was so upset and afraid because of what he had done to Douglas (even though he had not done anything wrong on purpose, and Douglas was not at all hurt only a little startled and cried a little but understood that Dad was not on him on purpose).
Mom was getting ready to leave and take Dad back to the guest house to stay and Mom was very upset about leaving him there and worried about the car making the trip, and Miss Quinette laid down the law that enough was enough. She told Mom to stay at the guest house with Dad on post, and to don’t call or don’t come back home until Miss Q said it was okay. Douglas went crazy like he does, but Miss Q stayed with him and was nice (in her way of nice, which doesn’t always feel like its nice). She told him he could cry it out but that things were changing as of TO-NIGHT. And when he proved he was through throwing up, she gave him something that tasted like strong cherry medicine and he felt so sleepy, and he woke up in his own bed for the first time ever.
He and Miss Q went all over the place the next day, she would not let him rest at all, they walked and they painted and they made bread and they swam and they hiked and they went bowling and they made more bread, more than two dozen little loaves by hand for the soldiers in the hospital wth Dad, all of it by hand until Douglas dropped off at the table and woke up in his own bed for the second time in his life having slept all night long. They did all the activitty all over again and then that night Miss Q asked if he thought he needed the cherry medicine to help him to sleep, but Douglas did not think he did, so she did not give him more of it. He didn’t cry the that night either. That made three nights of him being able to be in his own bed! The next night she did not give him the cherry medicine again, and he did okay again.
And so now it has been over a week with only one night of needing the cherry medicine again because Miss Q has given Douglas has a GOAL for his advancement and success in not falling to pieces without Mom. Miss Q says that for every night that Douglas goes to bed without making histerics she will give him money towards what he wants most in his life and that is a Kwesinnart! He makes bread by hand every day now by himself and he LOVES TO DO IT. Man he pounds that dough down like you would not believe it for a little boy with two skinny arms!! We have hot crusty bread with butter real fresh every day so you bet we are loving THAT! Ha, ha, ha.
Mom got loud and crazy on the phone, freaked out about Miss Q giving Douglas cherry medicine sleeping aids and said DO NOT EVER DO THAT AGAIN TO HIM!! But Douglas really is okay and is so much calmer in his thinking. He knows there is something to help him if he really really needed help again which is probably a little strange if you do not have bad nerves, but think about it. He does not WANT to be histerical and crying when Mom leaves because it makes him feel like a baby, which makes him feel worse. If the cherry medicine helped him to understand like what it feels like to me and Lexi to not be histerical when Mom leaves, then I think it was a good deal. (I am in REAL trouble if you tell your mom all this because I only know it because I evesdropped on the adults when Miss Q and Mamie and Pops and Pansy and Uncle Spacey were in the kitchen the morning after Douglas and Miss Q came here.)
We have to work hard not to evesdropp in this house because it is very old and the rooms are all big and have two doors and the walls are thin and do not have insolation in them. We do not ever sleep late here because it is HOT in here almost as soon as it’s day time. We have fans blowing and a swamp cooler in the window of the living room that feels like it’s spitting cool water in your face which sounds gross but really it feels good even though it smells a little musty. It is a old house on a hill and there are windows gallore and a breeze almost always. The one thing you DO NOT DO here is drink the water from the faucet because it is very soft from minerals that 1) make your hair plaster down to your head, and 2) make you have the runs AKA the trots. Pops calls it the “green apple two-step”, which is something he thinks is hilarious. Dad gets his humor from Pops (his father).
Okay, it is the next day and this is so funny! JR ate three of Douglas’ green army men and it was hilarious because 1) it was okay because JR did not get sick or anything, and 2) Douglas was at fault because he had been dipping them in peanut butter and sucking it off so he should NOT have done that and especially should not left them down anywhere where JR could reach them! JR can reach almost everywhere because he is just about as bad as Savannah about pulling stuff down off things only he jumps and she climbs. She is still the Crazy Climbing Baby!
Lexi likes a boy who rides a horse. His name is Clay Briggs. He is not her boyfriend but she thinks he is cute because he showed up here yesterday and a horse when they were all heading out to work the cattle (which is gross and should not be told in a letter to a friend unless the friend knows exacly what is involved and really, it might just make your mother freak out!) Lexi wrote his name on her journal! PLEASE DO NOT THINK THAT I PEEK!! I AM NOT A PEEKER!! We have to write journals every day one page before we can play or do anything. Mom’s iron rule for us is no matter what we DO NOT INVADE OR PEEK!! What Lexi is writing about Clay Briggs is on the OUTSIDE of the pages of the book so you see it only when the book is closed, so that’s how come I can see it. (We learned to do this because on Lexi’s math book from Middle School last year someone had written “100% Junk” on the pages and while it was wrong for anyone to write on the book, even just on the outside of the pages, it was pretty funny to see it!) I have written in my journal every day, two or more pages, even though we have chores.
Mamie says she is proud of us how hard we work but she is not surprised because of how our mother is so she knows we always have PLENTY OF CHORES at home!! Mamie says Dad was not good at chores and she always had to keep after him because he was always dreaming up things to think deeply about, or him and Pansy were getting into trouble, like when he took her on a six-hour hike in the woods and did not telling Mamie that they were going and Mamie was TERRFIED because Dad was only 5 and Pansy was only 3!!!
We talk to Mom and Dad on the phone every night and it is much better lately I can tell. Dad was even joking a little. He laughed when I told him about JR pooping out body parts of green army men.
Miss Quinnette was not so happy about staying on here. She thought she could drop Douglas and go, but he begged her to stay. Even though he has not needed any more cherry medicine at all, he feels better if she is here so he can talk with her about things that bother him when it starts to be nighttime and he is feeling afraid of dying. Mamie and Pops would be good to talk to, but not at night because sometimes they are in bed before it even gets dark! Douglas says he can’t stop thinking about dying! Can you believe it? I did not know this!! We did not any of us know it!! He never told us before.
Miss Quinnette takes him and Lexi with her to the farthest pond most mornings early before it gets too hot and they paint. Miss Q does not ask me to go because she knows I would rather stick paint brushes in my eyeballs and fart America the Beautiful than do art.
Miss Q does not do chores or cook or help with cooking. Her and Mamie get along okay except Mamie rolls her eyes at what Miss Q says a lot of the time. And Miss Q is always sunbathing which is NOT gross as Lexi says. Mamie is soft and pretty fat which is probably why she does not sunbathe or even wear shorts. Miss Q wears a turqoise two piece under her clothes the whole summer long and uses baby oil and iodine for tanning. Mamie says Miss Q’s skin is the color of brown paper grocery sacks and I think that’s about right. Lexi makes gross sounds like her lunch is coming back up whenever she sees Miss Q in the turquoise bathing suit and says she will DIE if Clay Briggs comes back over here on his horse while Miss Q is laid out in the yard with baby oil and iodine all over her.
Time to work in the garden. Time to bring in the cucumbers! YUUUUUUUUUM!!!
(OKAY! Its bedtime and I get to write you this before I turn off the typerwriter and get ready for bed like I am supposed to. Mamie says I can take just long enough to type how JR stole a roast today!! Mamie was about to brown the roast in the skillet and before she could get it from the counter to the stove, he pulled it off her big fork and RAN as fast as he could, which was not too fast because the roast weighted almost as much as JR, so he drug it through the dining room and into the living room. We laughed so hard we were crying for real! Lexi and I we cornered him behind the rocker, and when I picked him up he snapped at me and BIT ME! It was only one punchure hole in the thin meat of my hand between thumb and first finger (left hand). It did break the skin but it bled only a tiny bit. But it’s sure SORE. I did not cry at all, and Pops says I would make a good wrangler if I am looking for work next summer, he will sure hire me.
Mamie took the roast and washed it real good. She said she would be (BLEEPED) if that little (BLEEP) was going to stop her from cooking a good piece of meat that’s too expensive to waste! So she washed it and washed it, and then and trimmed the outside and browned it and then cooked it. I didn’t even need a bandaid. I am not mad at JR because he was just doing what animals do to protect their food, he sure did not mean to bite me out of spite. He is a good old dog, even though he is CRAZY and does hilarious things!!!! OKAY GOOD NIGHT I AM GOING RIGHT NOW! Mamie says wait now, be sure to tell you SHE SAYS GOOD NIGHT SWEET DREAMS TO MY FRIEND JEANMARIE!!
Oh my god, it is a Friday night and I am so scared I feel like Douglas only unlike him I can’t cry about it. What I do is worry and shake. We are all VERY scared. We are forced to wait for two hole days for them to SEND JR’S HEAD TO THE LABORATORY somewhere away from here to find out if he had RABIES and if we will have to have the shots in our stomachs!! Me most of all because I got bit, but also everybody just to be safe because Mamie cooked that roast that JR had touched with his mouth, and we all ate it.
I have to write this down because I am so scared I can’t sleep but was just laying there and tossing. Miss Quinette got me up and told me to “Write it, Sister – write that out, work that out” so now that is what I am doing. It is 3:30 o’clock in the morning and I am the only one awake now I think so I am typing very slow and in the dining room with all four doors shut because I don’t want to make anybody wake up and them all to know how I am scared. Miss Q knows because she came into the bedroom when I was awake and turning over and over. The beds here make noise because they are old and made of mattresses on springs.
Here is what happened. It is very awful. We were playing in the yard and it was coming on nighttime but not quite nighttime, which is when Douglas has most of his nerves. So we all get a little tense because even though Miss Q says she has this Douglas situation well in her hands, it is still nerve racking because we have all been there done that with him. Or as Aunt Pansy says, we are all gun shy about Douglas and his frights. So we were playing but not to boisterisly in the yard and the adults were sitting and talking in chairs in the yard, catching the breeze.
Mom had called already. She did not put Dad on the phone, which meant Dad was having a Not Doing Too Good Day. His pain and his mental state is what makes him say hateful things to Mom and to us that he DOES NOT MEAN.
Me and Lexi and Douglas were playing Swinging Statues, and Savannah was standing on the sidewalk spinning around and around because she likes to be dizzy. And JR came around the side of the house and he was staggering like he was DRUNK. We laughed at first because he was going back and forth, and we could not see until he got closer that he had FOAM IN HIS MOUTH! Uncle Spacey yelled for everybody to get away, and he grabbed Savannah and got Douglas by the collar and yanked both of them halfway to Oklahoma City (not for real) before we ever knew what was going on.
Pops ran towards the house to get his gun, but before he could get even to the screen door, JR tipped over and fell down in the yard on his side, breathing hard and foaming, and then he was very quickly dead. Uncle Spacey got the shovel and put JR’s body in a tow sack and he put it in the back of his pickup and then Mamie poured out a whole bottle of rubbing alcohol on the shovel in case it had gotten JR’s germs.
Of course we were crying, me and Lexi and Savannah. We were crazy with crying and Mamie and Miss Q were so shaken that nobody told us to hush up. Douglas did not cry. We all went in the house, and I heard the adults talking after they’d called somebody that Uncle Spacey knows who is the vet around here, and the vet said to bring JR’s body to the clinic right away. I heard Uncle Spacey telling Pops that the vet said that they would take off JR’s head and send it in to check the brain for rabies, a disease which is so dangerous and always fatal and so you have to have many, many shots in your stomach.
Everybody was whispering, all the adults were, and we were too because it is so very serious. I don’t know how anybody got to sleep because once the lights went off tonight – and this house is DARKDARKDARKDARKDARK at night – and all I could do was lay there and see the head of the dog coming for me, just the head. I felt like Douglas, you bet I did, in that I could not any more stop my thoughts from scaring me over and over and over and over than I could jump up and smack the moon with my sore left hand.
So Miss Q got me up and told me to write it out, get it out of my head, and that will help. I think it is helping, though I am NOT wanting to get back into that bedroom. Miss Q is just around the doorway in the living room sleeping in a chair. I am thinking I will stay up here in the dining room with all the lights on.
I would like to call Dad. I wish I could. Dad is real good about getting me away from being mad or being scared. Dad knows how to make me think different, which is what I guess Miss Q does too only she does it with her art and things, and Dad does it with fart jokes and then hugs and cartoons.
I think writing this is working for me pretty good now. I do not feel as scared. I do not feel sleepy, but I do not feel so scared either.
I did fall asleep finally, but
Later on Saturday– quickly writing a little note to say that I am not feeling any kind of rabies sypmtums and that is GOOD, right? And I am so tired because I did not sleep much at all.
This is not at all a Fair situation! It is UNFAIR that it happened so that we have to wait to know! I am getting real mad about this waiting! Miss Q is making me go on another hike. She better not try to make me paint!!
I AM SO MAD ABOUT THIS!!! I FINALLY GOT A DOG AND NOW I MAY HAVE RABIES IN MY BRAIN!!!
MY DAD IS SO SICK!!!!! THIS IS SO UNFAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Okay, it is nighttime again on Sunday and tomorrow we hopefully will know what is happening with JR’s brain testings. I am praying here and in my journal that none of us will have it or have to get shots!!
Now it is Monday. I am so tired of taking hikes and writing about this, I am sick of it and hardly feeling any fear any more only TIRED OF WRITING ABOUT IT AND THINKING ABOUT IT AND HEARING OTHER PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT IT.
Miss Q told me to make “Fair & Unfair” lists. She said to crack open my journal to the center most pages and write FAIR on one side and UNFAIR on the other and write both lists OUTWARD towards the covers of the book. Whichever list is filled up first, whichever cover I reach first, that will tell us for sure whether my life is really FAIR or UNFAIR.
So I am making that list, and Lexi is too just to be with me together. She has been real, real good about being real nice since it is likely that if anybody has the rabies, it is me.
So far, my list goes sort of like this:
|Having a real good familyMiss Q let us live in her houseDad come home from war aliveDouglas learning to be calm at nightHaving a typerwriter
Having a computer at home
|Asparagus (hate it passionately)Dad going to war so many timesDad is doing bad and can’t be with usHim having bad nerves in the first place!!!Not having a house to live in that’s ours
Having to be away from it
Having to be away from Mom and Dad
Mom having to work so hard
No summer vacation like other kids
No movies or swimming pools here
No air conditioning in the house
Mosquitoes, June bugs and fire ants
My first dog ever and he dies in front of my eyes!!
Everybody taking shots in their stomach!!!
Douglas says he is also going to write his journal (which is mostly drawings and little watercolor paintings right now) also starting in the center, but he said whichever cover he reaches first, front or back, that is his evidence to show G** in case he dies, so that when he goes to Heaven he can show G** how mostly UNfair everything is, and tell G** that if you are stuck with more UNfair in your life like we have been that G** should sure enough cut you some (BLEEPIN*) slack. *Douglas does not cuss neither do any of us, but Mom lets us say BLEEP because it is real funny. Douglas was being very funny when he said this, so remember there is nothing serious said in here about G** here, not at all.
The phone is ringing. My heart is pounding. I am praying, praying, praying, PRAYING, PRAYING, PRAYING!!! I have to stopno
I AM NOT RABID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The vet says that JR died of a heart attack so now I am feeling like a ton fell off my chest and not like somebody’s got their arms around my body and is and squeezing!!!
MORE GOOD NEWS is that Mom is bringing Dad and coming for a visit tomorrow because he got a 24 hours pass from the hospital.
Let me tell you, it is sure a nice releif to have only things to write in the Fair colum today, let me tell you what!
I should be very sad about JR. I told Mamie this and said I felt bad because all I feel today is happy she LOOKED at me and she said “Good Lord child give it a BREAK WOULD YOU PLEASE?”
I am sure glad that I am still your crazy pen-pal!
I am sorry I have to close this letter. I am real sorry I did not ask you about your summer, or if you are going to keep up your guitar lessons, and if you Dad found another job yet. That is what happens when you have so much news – you forget to ask other people how was your day? SOrry!
Cricket, the Country Mouse