Stories About My Family & Friends
First, I must describe my brother Michael in order to give a visual. Michael is about six-one; he has a bald head (by choice), very broad-stocky build and is covered in tattoos from head to toe.
He was with us one day when we stopped at a mall. My husband and son were unloading my scooter as the mall security passed by in a golf cart (at the time, I didn’t walk well and used a motorized scooter to get around in). There was a van parked at the curb by the entrance to the mall and it blocked the ramp I would need to use to go inside.
The security stopped by the van and asked them to move. He did move, but it was only like half a foot. His front tires did not even do a full rotation. The security cart rolled back around and asked him again. The van moved up a little further, about the same distance.
I turned to my brother and said, “Can you explain to him that I need to use the ramp? Maybe he didn’t understand or something?”
My tattooed brother walked up to the van, tapped on the window and said, “Can you please pull up? My sister needs to use…”
The driver took one look at my brother and sped off.
“What did you say to him?” I asked thinking I had missed something.
“Nothing,” Michael insisted. “He didn’t even let me finish what I was saying.”
My husband came up behind me and explained, “I think Mike scared him off. I would have run, too, if he had asked me to move a third time.”
It was hilarious. I still laugh when I think about how Michael scared the bejesus out of that driver.
The picture portrayed is of Tattooboy Holden and not of my brother.
When I was an eighteen year old girl, I worked with a girl, Linda. We worked in a fast food joint. During one of my off days, a friend of mine and I went to get some lunch. The cashier, Linda, took our order and leaned over to say to me very quietly, “The next time I catch you in town alone, I'm going to kick. Your. Ass.”
I turned to my friend and said, "Is she serious?" Then to Linda, I said, "Are you serious?"
Linda replied, "You’re damn right I am."
I had no idea why she was upset with me, but at that moment, I didn't care. I reached over, grabbed her by the collar of her shirt and began pulling her over the counter screaming at her. The girl was terrified. My friend kept trying to separate us as did the other cashiers.
Finally, when we were apart and as I left, I warned her, "Look for me. I'm coming for you!"
I later discovered why she was angry with me. It was because I had requested, and received, a day off from work that she, too, had asked for. Since I was getting the day off and she wasn’t, she was angry with me. Linda reasoned that it was entirely my fault and felt she deserved the day more than I did.
I've thought about that moment so many times in my life: the fear on her face, the ominous warnings we both gave, and wondered why she thought she was more entitled to the day than someone else. Truth be told, Linda was a very smart girl and quite articulate in spite of what others may have thought.
Over the years, I had run into her several times in town (alone) and some of those times, I tried to talk her into going to college, work toward some degree, anything! Instead, she lives from job-to-job as a cashier at grocery stores, fast food places and once, she was one of my staff when she worked as a CNA.
Again, I tried to convince her to go to college. She was/is such a smart girl. I didn’t think she drank and hung out in bars, I knew she didn’t smoke, and I could look at her and tell she was not a drug addict. All things considered, I felt she was worth trying to help, so I even offered to help pay for some of her schooling. We sat in the nurse’s lounge together and I talked to her about possibly becoming a nurse herself.
Linda shook her head and offered a sympathetic smile.
“Okay, no nurse then. Still, there’s a secretarial course at the college if you don’t like nursing,” I encouraged.
Linda shook her head again. “Nah. I don’t want to go back to school. Although, you can just give me the $20-30 thousand you would spend on me anyway. That would help me.”
I recalled the altercation we had at work and her reason for being angry with me to begin with. She felt entitled to that day off even though I had requested it first for a doctor’s appointment to find out if I were pregnant (I was). It still was not a good enough reason for her, though.
It was obvious to me as I sat in the nurse’s lounge talking to her that Linda had no desire to improve her circumstances even when someone offered to help. She just wanted someone to pay her way. I realized at that moment, Linda suffered from Entitlement.
Only days after that, Linda called the facility and I answered. She said, “Michelle, tell them I’m not coming back to work. I do not get paid what I’m worth. “
“What do you mean?” I asked, laughing into the phone.
“I’m saying, they don’t pay enough there to be taking care of all of those people,” she explained passionately. “I need someone to be taking care of me, not the other way around.”
Years later, my son stopped to get a drink and went through the drive-thru. Linda was our cashier (at yet another fast food place). She stuck her head out the window and said, “You still got the money?”
“Are you ready to go back to school?”
“No, but I still need that money you promised me.” She laughed and pulled her head back inside.
I just recently saw her again. She was my cashier at the grocery store. Linda did not even acknowledge me. She rung up my few items, quoted the price and accepted payment, all without making eye contact.
It makes me sad when I see her now. I know it was her decision to live job-to-job and not aspire to be anything more than this. These are her life choices, which we are all free to make for ourselves. Still, it saddens my heart when I see her and I am entitled to that.
It was no secret that my grandmother did not like me. To understand my maternal grandmother, you have to understand the era she grew up in and knew most of her life. In her day and time, socially speaking, whom you knew was everything. A person’s financial situation was also very important. We did not know ‘important people’ and we were poverty-stricken.
Although, I do not believe she liked my mother very much, either, I do believe she loved her. After all, that was her daughter so she felt a certain amount of obligation toward her and tried to help with our financial woes.
I know Grandma did not approve of many of my mother’s poor life decisions, either. For instance, she could not stand the fact that my mother married my father, hence, her dislike for me. I was his child so she did not want to have anything to do with me. That fact was made very clear to me by my Grandmother early on. I grew up knowing that she didn’t like me so her disposition never made much difference to me.
I remember one time asking my mother, “Why doesn’t Grandma like me?”
We were in the car waiting for Grandma to come outside. She was going with us for whatever reason. My mother looked in the rear view mirror and said, “She does like you. She loves you very much.”
“It’s okay, Mom. I don’t like her, either.”
“That’s not very nice to say,” Mom scolded. “Don’t you think that might hurt my feelings since she’s my mother?”
“No,” I answered honestly. “She doesn’t like me. I don’t care what you say, I know she doesn’t and I don’t care. I only wanted to know why.”
It was years later, I learned it was my pedigree that she highly disapproved of. It’s okay. I disapproved of it, too.
However, that conversation ignited my mother’s desire to prove me wrong. She encouraged me to go over and visit with Grandma and spend time together. Grandma only lived a few blocks away and it was within walking distance so I went over to visit one afternoon.
I went into the house. She was in the kitchen baking gingersnaps; my least favorite cookie. To this day, I hate gingersnaps. I sat at the kitchen table and watched as she went about busying herself with pulling a fresh batch of cookies out of the oven.
“Do you want one?” Grandma asked.
No, I did not want one, but remembering my mother’s tutelage to always be polite when someone offered you something, I accepted. Slowly, I nibbled at the cookie until it was gone. To prevent her from offering me anymore, I made some excuse to leave and went back home. When I got home, Mom was just hanging up the phone from speaking with Grandma.
“What happened?” she asked, somewhat irritated. “I did not tell you to go over there and eat her out of house and home!”
“What do you mean?” I inquired. I really had no idea what she was talking about.
“Grandma said she was baking cookies you ate almost a whole batch by yourself! Those are for her church ladies. I cannot believe she offers you one and you made a pig of yourself,” my mother yelled.
“Mom, I did not eat all of her cookies. I ate one!” I said in defiance. “They were gingersnaps!”
With that admission, my mother started laughing. When I revealed the flavor of the cookie, she knew her mother had lied about me. It was determined from then on that I would just stay home and not visit my grandmother anymore, at least, not without someone with me.
I am usually reminded of that day whenever I see gingersnaps, but not in a bad way. I just fondly think of my grandmotehr as I chuckle to myself.
Not long after having my son, I felt my daughter needed a "me" day. So, we gathered some of her friends and headed to the water park. I invited my friend Bonnie and her little girl to come along with us since our daughters were about the same age.
Bear in mind, I still had baby weight and I was, back then, a smoker. I had to weigh close to 250 lbs. - if you ask me, all of that was baby weight. My doctor, on the other hand, would say I was just fat but, what does he know? He's never been pregnant before, right? The point is, it was a little harder for me to get around than it was for Bonnie, who weighed a grand total of 125 lbs. (she adopted, further proving my assessment of baby weight).
We followed the kids around all day long. We did not allow them to run off by themselves, but we did allow them to ride the slides alone and "do their own thang." Where ever they wanted to go, we traipsed behind like a couple of tag-alongs.
We had to beg for a ride in the lazy river, "Just one, puhleeze!" Then we had to bribe them with lunch (because we had the money, they didn't) just to spend one hour of their busy schedule in the wave pool, designed to look like a cement beach. What was this, role reversal? We were grateful they agreed. Okay, they were hungry and I won't deny promises of a delicious greasy hamburger, with equally greasy fries, didn't hurt our cause any.
When our hour was up, my daughter, who was the time keeper, decided it was time to move on. We'd had our hour and more importantly, they had their lunch. There were slides that needed repeat sliding on. I noticed Nicky was gone (he was the neighbor's kid). "Where is Nicky?" I asked.
"He's out on one of those tubes in the wave pool," Bonnie answered as she gathered our things to leave.
"I don't see him."
Bonnie stood up and sun-vised her eyes scanning the cement beach. "There he is," she pointed. "He's way in the back, in the far left corner of the pool. G'head and fetch him if ya want. I'll stay here with the kids and won't let anymore get away."
Fetch? Did she say "fetch him?" What am I, a dog? So, there I went, swimming without an inner tube, to go "fetch" Nicky.
About half way out there they turned the wave machine on. They did that periodically, alternate the waves on an off, and when I had started my jaunt out there, it was off. However, it slowed me down greatly. For every six inches I'd swim, the waves pushed me back twelve more, not to mention, this pool was packed!
I stopped swimming to check my location in comparison to Nicky's location. These three young boys, in their early 20's, were to my right and chattering away like a couple of prepubescent girls when all of a sudden, they stopped talking. It was like noise and then nothing. I looked over at them and saw one of them pointing at me; neither of them saying a word, just pointing. I looked down and saw "my floaties" were floating without coverage.
"Excuse me," I said as I tucked them away. They were filled with milk, what did you expect?
I continued my search for Nicky while keeping my milk-filled floaties under control and getting beat in the head with a bunch of rubber tubes. I couldn't find the little snot anywhere. I looked back toward Bonnie to see how she was making out with keeping the rest of the brood in line when what did I see, Nicky. He was standing there with Bonnie who was helping him dry off as if nothing was happening while I was out there getting beat in the head and unleashing my big perky floaties on unsuspecting impressionable young men. I realize they were only perky and not saggy because of the milk, but they didn't know that.
Swimming back was easy. As I said, the ratio of inches was 6:12 so; it was pushing me to the shore in a relatively short amount of time. I didn’t bother to regale anyone with my tale of woe; instead, I just helped to gather things together so we could move on.
Bonnie, observing what I was doing, said, “Oh, are we going now?”
Did I mention she’s blonde? A true blonde - in other words, the drapes match the carpet. “Yes, Bonnie, we’re going.”
And so we did. We followed the children around the rest of the day until my blonde ambitious friend says, “You know what I’m going to do? I’m going down one of these slides before we leave. Are you with me?”
“Which one?” I asked hesitantly. I already knew things were going to be a little more dynamically different for me than for her because of the “baby weight.” ’Less we forget, I had perky floaties and she had flat eggs.
Bonnie pointed to one of the slides that resembled an old fashion potato sack ride. It was wavy and big. You can see it from the highway, even now. I thought, okay - it’s not enclosed like a tube where I would be thrashed about getting beaten and bruised inside of it. Instead, I would be, gravitationally speaking, safely glued to the ride all the way down. It was a win-win for me. “Okay,” I agreed.
We got the children situated and made them promise to be still and “watch mommy make an ass out of herself.” I’m sure the threats of closet confinements didn’t hurt either. Maybe it was the promise of another greasy hamburger?
We climbed 14 stories up. Being a smoker, I was gasping for air after the first flight. By the time I got up to the 14th story, I was crawling on my hands and knees and wheezing a merry little tune called “The Air That I Need” out of my lungs.
I got to my feet and grabbed a mat. The attendant informs me I need to put my hands over my head and fold them. Really? Was she serious?! O-M-G!
I looked down the slide and began to have second thoughts about this being a good idea, especially for me. Forget Bonnie; I was worried about me! I glanced over at Bonnie and apparently, my concerns registered on my face because Bonnie says, “Oh don’t be a party pooper! Let's do this!”
I sighed heavily and along with Bonnie, I took flight. I realized, because of my baby weight - or was it my big ass - one of the two was going to cause me to go underwater and so I reached to pinch my nose. I quickly forgot that little plan when my legs flew open showing everyone on Highway 17 everything I had between them.
I quickly forgot my legs being gaped open when I realized, I’m a 250 lb. speeding bullet and my floaties had floated out and were repeatedly smacking me on both sides of my cheeks, stinging my face. There was no way those puppies were getting tied down now, I can tell you that!
I hit the water with so much force that my bathing suit rode up my ass at about 60 MPH. I swear, I thought I had lost control of my bodily functions my pants! I looked around just in time to see Bonnie come whishing down her slide.
I look over at the kids and noticed half the water in my pool was over by them and they were giggling about it. Bonnie is jumping up and down squealing about how much fun that was while I tried desperately to confine my floaties. I was in such distress. I cannot begin to tell you how upset I was.
I tried to gracefully exit the pool as Bonnie runs over to me, still squealing in delight, and hopping up and down. “That was great! Wasn’t it? Do you want to do it again? Let's to it again! C’mon, just one more time before we go! Why are your cheeks so red?”
I glared at her and said, “Because I just slapped myself with my boobs all the way down the &(S# slide!”
One day, a friend of mine, Glenda, sent me a text saying there was something wrong with her dog, Dee-Dee. She’s not able to get around very well so she asked me if I would come over and check on her. Unfortunately, the answer was no. I was in Myrtle Beach at the time the message came through.
She called me right away. “When will you be back?” she asked with worry in her voice.
“I don’t know, we just got here,” I answered. She had called her son, but he wasn’t able to leave work and come home. Like many times before, I heard a little voice in my head offering a suggestion and so I told her, “I’ll call you back.”
I sent a text message to another friend of mine, Sheldon Butts, and told him my friend Glenda was in distress, needed help, and would he please go over there and check on her as I was in Myrtle Beach.
“No problem,” he answered right away. “I’ll be there in 10 minutes.”
I sent Glenda a message and told her help was on the way. About thirty minutes later, Sheldon text back that the deed had been done and he was glad to do it. I called Glenda back after I received the text.
“Is everything okay now?” I asked.
“Yes, it’s fine now. Dee-Dee had diarrhea that’s why she was acting so funny.” With a laugh she added, “I didn’t know you were sending the city councilman over. I felt out of sorts with Sheldon walking my dog. I wasn’t sure how to feel about that.”
I assured her that Sheldon was fine with walking her dog. After I hung up I thought about it. How often is it that you can call a city councilman and asked him to check on a friend, or ask him to walk the dog, or do anything that most feel is beneath them?
I reminded myself about Sheldon Butts and how he projects himself. With Sheldon, he’s a wholesome Christian and he shows with his actions, not just his words. Instead, with him, it’s not about gender, race, or political beliefs: it’s about being a Christian, being a part of a community, and helping one another in their time of need.
It truly touched my heart that Sheldon did that for Glenda. There are no words that can express my heartfelt gratitude. Thank you Sheldon for being you. I love you dearly for that.