Pimp My Lent/Day 23

The Prompts:

Two-prompt day!

From zookeeper Doug Snyder, a selection from “Wigfield” by Amy Sedaris, Stephen Colbert and Paul Dinello…

“The phrase “sprawling ramshackle compound” is thrown around all too casually these days, but in this case it is the only way to describe the residence. Clearly he did not want for land, merely planning. A series of double and single-wide trailers had been hauled into an impressive maze of aluminum and connected in a haphazard fashion with sheet metal and button rivets. More than anything else, it gave the impression of a giant human Habitrail. Clearly this was the home of an important man….”

And from writer Sandra de Helen, an original poem…


It sure is dark in here

it sure is

yep it sure is

you okay there little sis?

you okay there in the dark?

okay now you let me know if

you need some light cause it

sure is dark in here

it sure is.

Little sis? you okay in here?

you sleeping? no? you crying?

well. That’s okay. You want

some light? no? okay. You

need a hanky? oh, you already

got one. okay then. I’m just

over here if you need me.

It’ll be light in the morning.

Oh now, I didn’t mean to set

you to crying harder. Sis?

child? Come here to grandpa.

Now, now, now. Your grandma’ll

be back directly, she’ll know

what to do. I’ll rock you till

she gets here then. Let’s light

a candle, okay? Okay. There

now. That’s better. It ain’t

so dark in here.

The Product:

Cricket writes….

Dear Aunt Ginnie,

How are you? I am okay. I got chigger bites real bad and a case of the green snots, otherwise I am good.

We we went to the cemetery with Mamie and Pops on Saturday to clean off the graves and the grass was too high. Mamie says Bud Woodman the old retarded man who lives in the mobile home park is always so good about mowing the cemetery and that is concerning her and Pops because he lives alone. Lexi and me mowed around the stones and were real careful not to take the corner off of none of them. Douglas can’t mow because of his allergies, plus he has so many sensations around the topic of dying, so he wasn’t going to come at all but Miss Q said oh yes he was because the cemetery was a Place of Art and that made him think about it another way so he came along. Pops made a crack about being concerned that Douglas was too “arty” and Mamie told him to “M.Y.O.B., Don! At least he’s not having hysterics!”

They were doing these art things like drawings but they’re called rubbings, maybe you already know what they are, but they took pieces of big paper and crayons and laid the paper over the stones and rubbed the crayon sideways across and there was a picture of the tomb stone. Some of the old ones are very very pretty and also very decayed, so Miss Q says that this is a good art to have as a record for when the stones just aren’t there any more. The very old white ones that have the lambs on top of them are my favorites but they also make me the saddest because they are kids and even babies. Mamie got real teared up when she put some violets on her baby brother’s grave he was only 16 months old and the flu got him and Mamie’s oldest brother too right close together!! It was long ago.

Pops’ people are buried up near Tahlequah, which means something like “good enough for me” in Cherokee and is in northeast Oklahoma. I would like to go there, he says it is real real pretty not like this part at all with hills and trees and a river where you can rent a canoe or float in a innertube. Plus he says it is where the Cherokees live and they are RIGHT THERE in town where you can see them!! Plus they have a place to go see their history but they don’t have the drama about the Trail of Tears anymore wich makes me sad because that is one thing I would love to see Pops said they had explosions in it when they showed about the war and it was sure good and loud!! Douglas knows Tahlequah because it is near Muskogee (which is the town that guy sang the song about being proud of) and he is dying to see Submarine Batfish which is not a fish but a sub that you can walk inside. I don’t care to go anywhere in a metal submarine because it is so hot here! But I would sure like to go up to Tahlequah (this is how you really spell it) anyway and Pops says heck maybe we will before the summer is out. He says it’s years since he’s been up home.

I am real real sad about not getting to write to Jeanmarie anymore because her mother thinks we are not Christian because I told Jeanmarie about going to the mountains instead of to church, and then also said what Douglas said about God better give us a a break because it’s been mostly unfair around here lately. Mom says “Let it go, Cricket, let it GO.”  but I feel BAD I could not even write her to say why I could not write her anymore! I don’t know what she thinks that I think and that bugs me a lot. Mamie cheered me up by telling me something real funny she’s going to say to Jeanmarie’s mother if we ever meet her, but I can’t write it without getting in trouble from Mom because there is cussing in it. If you promise not to get on to me or tell Mom the next time you’re around I will whisper it to you. It makes me laugh everytime I think about it and so I think about it a lot.

Dad is in the hospital, I know you know. It worries me and Lexi a lot. Douglas says he is not worried because the Army will take care of Dad because Dad has done a lot for the Army and the country. He is having trouble with controlling his pain is what Mom says. I am not sure exactly why Dad is there and I wish I did know!! I am worried a lot about him. Mom says not to and to JUST HAVE FUN while we can because we have to come home and start school in four weeks.

So we are trying to have fun but it is so hot here it’s hard to do anything except lay around and SWEAT TO DEATH. Ha, ha. We start to school in late August which is bad and good. Good because we will get to go home but bad because we will have to leave here and leave Mamie and Pops who are the BEST. There’s no telling if we will have a house either by then Mom says. She says don’t worry about it or anything and that’s an order. Ha, ha.

Lexi does not like that boy anymore. He was a jerk. I am so so glad she is not liking him now!! He made me mad the way he acted and I am glad Lexi finally does not like him either. WHOOBOY but Douglas is having a real big growthspurt! He is taller by two inches!! He has also filled out some so he does not look like a spider monkey any more, which is what Pops used to call him —– Spidermonkey Boy. Him and Miss Q go fishing a lot in the early early mornings right before the sun comes up because then it is too hot. Sometimes I go too but it is so EARLY it’s hard to do it. Lexi won’t even try. She reads a lot of books and some of them look kind of RACY on the cover I think, but Mamie and Mom said to me the usual. “M.Y.O.B.”

Miss Q has stopped laying out in the sun because it is just too hot to bear and plus browned up even more than what she was which is a lot. It’s kind of gross to see it but we love her.

Thank you for hoping my dreams are better now. They are some better. I still miss JR real bad and am very very sad about him being gone and lost to me forever. I am still having some nights where I see the foaming dog’s head floating and chasing me in my dreams but not as much. Lexi is real real good about helping me think different thoughts when if I start feeling scared about it getting dark, and Miss Q makes me keep my journal right by the bed and it helps to roll over and WRITE IT OUT, SISTER!! And on Tuesday Pops bought me a yellow and white camping lantern that is real cute and has a HUGE battery in it so it will last all night if I need it to. He said if there were plug ins in the bedroom he would just get us a lamp but the house is real real old as you know and there are no plug ins in the bedrooms at all!! And hardly any closets!! Mamie says that was just the style in those old days. They didn’t have need much room to put things because they didn’t have things to put!

I am real worried about Dad. I said it before but I am just real worried and Miss Q says WRITE IT, SISTER. He has not come to the phone in a long time. Mom says “Ben, come say hi but then he will not come to the phone. Mom says he is in pain all the time and that makes me so sad I feel like crying over it if I let that go on. But I don’t because Moms says what good does crying do?

Douglas hardly ever cries now, and that is SO GREAT. He is very busy right now this minute outside under the awning next to Pops’ shed building a boat out of some scrape wood and nails and such that Pops gave us. I like to do it too and we sail them on the stock tank but mine always sink!! Douglas is so cleaver that he figured out how to put a rubberband wind-up thing on his boat to make a motor.

It is Tuesday again!! I forgot I started this letter and just now found it in my notebook!! WOOPS! Sorry, Charlie Tuna!

On Friday Pops took me and Douglas down to the Canadian River side of Wanette, which is a real town that is only a few miles down from the farm. We went by to see about Bud Woodman because Pops called him because it is just not like Bud to let the grass get so high in the cemetery. Bud said he has got the gout real real bad so we took him to the free clinic in Lexington (which Lexi says is HER town because of the name and I told her BIG DEAL because it is so dinky!!)and then to get his drugs and then to the grocery store and whatnot. Including a trip to Dairy Boy which is NOT like the Dairy Queen’s son or anything but is a place in Lexington with real good ice cream. Bud is some character!! He is retarded and he is funny to boot.

He lived with his mama until she got real real old and died, and now he lives alone in the trailer park that his parnets started owning back in the 1950s when he was very young. He was not cleaning off the graves because the gout had got real bad suddenly. Gout is something wrong in his leg and it’s real real painful. It hurt some Bud to walk but he did walk us around his trailer park which nobody lives in but him now that his mother is gone. He took all the trailers that people rented and then left him with and he has taken them all and moved them around and added porches and little gardens between them all and turned them into one big long house of trailers like one of those things that hamsters run through. IT IS SO AWESOME!!!! There is a lot of cat pee smell in some of the trailers but it is REALLY AWESOME. He told us stuff to go find and me and Douglas ran through it all like a maze and brought stuff back to him, and that tickled Bud to death. Then we played hide-and-seek like it was a maze. It was SO HOT and Douglas sneezed a lot because of the cats but MAN we had A BLAST!! Pops told Bud he could make money and charge admission but Bud said he would not because people might steal his treasures which he says as “my tray-shures.” He smiles a lot, and most of his teeth are gone. Douglas and I love how he said “tray-shures” so we say it that way all the time. My tray-shures!

We are not making fun of Bud. We think he is pretty cool actually! I hope he is not too sick with his leg now. We are checking on him about every other day, us or Pops will call and ask “How is your leg today?” Bud has a cute dog named “Murt” that looks kind of like Toto only is blond instead of black, and is smaller in size.

Pops took us to get a pop (ha, ha!) and then to Laurent’s Hardware and get some dewormer for HIS new dog Bucko because he scoots across the grass on his butt all the time! It is hilarious and sad. Somebody did not take good care of him and probably beat him up because he is so scared of everybody but Pops. He will not come all the way up to me even if I sit real still with baloney in my hand for a half-hour!! Somebody dropped him off here last weekend. They do that all the time in the country is what Mamie says about it. Bucko is real real skiddish but he follows Pops like Pops is his mama. It is amazing how Pops can make that happen with animals, he is so big and loud but he is real gentle with them and they just can tell right away that he is a likeable man. Bucko got his name because Mamie walked out the back door to throw scraps out for the coons and possums and there was this skinny dog pacing back and forth and around the yard watching and wanting food but too shy to come up to eat and she said, “What the BLEEP do you think you’re doing here, bucko!”

I wish Jeanmarie had not told hermother about us going BLEEP. It is a joke we say. I wish I had not told her about it. If you see her mother and her, will you tell them it is a joke? Maybe if they heard that from you me and Jeanmarie start writing letters again.

This letter is being typed on the computer at the school in Wanette where Mamie’s been helping cook this summer. She is here with other people every day making lunches because the program that feeds the kids lunches who don’t get lunches or breakfasts regular in the summer is cut. People around here bring stuff up here to the school every day and people fix up lunches for the kids who come, as many as who come get food. Mamie dreamed this up and got people started doing it, so she is a hero to me I think and Lexi says I am SO STUPID to say that but that’s what I think!! Usually I help make lunches too but I have the green snots so I am not allowed and I was making Mamie crasy because I am very restless so she said to “Go find something to do and get out of my hair, Cricket!”  SO they are letting me us the computer as much as I want until they are done!! I dn’t like the green snot but this is not a bad deal at all!! Ha, ha.

Okay, I have to close now and to write a letter to Dad. I am trying to cheer him up by writing him a lot, and making him cards and such. One of these days I hope we get to see you again!! Mom says you and the boys might come visit at Thanksgiving. I HOPE SO!!! I hop we will be in our house by then too!!!


Your niece,



About Vicki Caroline Cheatwood

Writerly. Rebooting. Evolving. Searching for great chicken salad.
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One Response to CRICKET, Part 6

  1. dehelen says:

    I’m so honored that my prompt (along with Doug Snyder’s) sparked another Cricket letter! These are my favorite, and this one even has Talequah. I agree that this is a book in the making, fascinating stuff. Sure to be a huge audience for it, the material resonates…

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