Saturday, June 30, 2012

Bible Belt Church Zombies

A couple of days ago, we went to the community pool in our new town for the first time.  After we slathered ourselves with sunscreen, we got into the pool.  We were not in the pool five minutes, when we were approached by a man and his five and a half year old daughter.  He took the older parent approach.  "Looks like I'm not the only parent around who waited until I was older to have kids!"  So it began.  Pulled chatty me right into conversation.  I was in pool mommy mode.  Correction, WV pool mommy mode, back home where things are normal.  I disclosed we had relocated recently, and BAM! He went into zombie church mode. Before the third sentence came out of his mouth, he asked if we had found a church yet. Fell for it hook , line, and sinker. "no, we haven't," I replied. So he launches into his spiel, about how they were faithful church members to a southern baptist church with a Sunday attendance of 1200, until they moved, and now they go to a very conservative baptist church(insert church advertisement here)with a Sunday attendance of wait for it...400 members!!!  I don't know about you, but I would rather know my pastor personally!
   The next thing that happened was hilarious.  His precocious five year old asks,"What's that thing in your tongue?" I answered, "a tongue ring, it's a ring in my tongue!"  She then showed me her earrings. She said," these are my earrings, they are rings in my ears!" So sweet! The church zombie immediately drifted to the other end of the pool with his "conservative"self and his five year old.  My husband was trying his hardest not to burst out in a fit of laughter.
   A couple of things strike me.  The man did not ask us our names.  He felt free to ask all about our religion, but did not want to know our names.  Doesn't that strike you as a little zombie-ish?  Must find new church members.  Grunt. Smile.  Next they will be eating out eyes out. Bah ha ha ha!  Also recently on the rise spotting of Zombie Response Unit Vehicles in Kentucky.  And Zombie hunting permits.  THEY ARE EVERYWHERE!  Just like the overzealous church solicitors, they are all out to get you!
   After his shock wore off, the zombie church solicitor once again picked up his mission, and as we floated around the pool, could be heard going into his sales pitch at least three more times, while ignoring his child!  Who, by the way, had just learned to swim.  I don't know about you, but I am wherever my kid is in the pool, as she has not learned to swim completely yet.  He was with his child at the beginning, but as he got preoccupied in his spiel, completely lost track of his child.  I NEVER lose track of my child! My child comes first, period.  So again I ask you, seem a little odd? To me, and maybe it's just me, call me crazy if you want, but it seems a little mindless, church-zombie-ish to me.  That is all.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The 20 year High School Reunion

My twenty year high school reunion is upon me.  At first, I was really excited to go and see everybody that I went to school with.  Then a couple of months passed, I have moved out of state, and find myself questioning whether I want to go or not.  I do want to go, but then again, I see all the people I love and care about from high school on a regular basis anyway.  I asked several friends if they are going to go.  One of my guy friends said he was going to see who got bald and who turned out to be losers.  One of my girl friends commented that she was not excited about going, she had RSVP'D and sent her money in, but was not sure she was going to show up.  So the age old question looms; Why do we want to go to Reunion?
     I hung out with a little bit of everybody in high school.  I was not an "in-crowd" kid, nor had any desire to be.  I marched to the beat of my own flute(literally).  I hung out with some jocks, band geeks(I was one), kids that weren't involved in anything, exchange students, kids that were older, and kids that were younger than me.  Some of my best friends were from other schools. I love people.  Even at that young age, I was a lover of all people and their differences.  We all get wrapped up in high school clique politics, and as you grow up, all of that no longer matters.  It didn't really matter that much to me then either.
     I was involved in a youth group, the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls, which taught me lessons that shaped and forever changed my life.  This was the organization which taught me to appreciate differences. I have lifelong friends from this organization. The girls from this youth group  are some of my best friends to this day.  I was fundraising for and hanging out with crippled children from the Shriner's Crippled Children's hospital from the time I was thirteen.  I was also visiting the sick and distressed in Masonic homes, and nursing homes from thirteen.  I was learning  to give to and do for others while most people my age were deciding what boy was cute, who they liked, and who their friends were.  What pool they were going to hang out at this summer. I went through these same things, but I was focusing more on learning and growing in this early, new found sense of purpose.  Or as I would learn later, social responsibility.  I was a late bloomer.  I did not drink, smoke, or have sex in high school.  While lots of people were partying and hooking up, I was still enjoying slumber parties with my girls from the IORG.  I was going to District Rainbow meetings and serving in different offices, up to and including District President, and also doing the same thing on the state level of the organization.  It was a family thing for me.  My grandparents and parents were both involved in the sponsoring parent organizations, The Order of the Eastern Star and the Masonic Lodge.  It was family time, and time with friends.  When I became too old to remain active in the organization, I became an adult advisor, following in my mother's footsteps. 
     I had a IORG reunion at the state wide meeting last week.  I wrote my mother's memorial service, and had one of my girls read it.  It was a very emotional twenty four hours, as you can imagine.  My mother meant so very much to so many girls in this statewide organization, her memorial service, as you can imagine, left not a dry eye in the room.  Mom's girls went to lunch after her service.  We laughed and cried and remembered her.  I had the best time.  The looming high school reunion pales in comparison.
     My true friends were all at my mother's wake.  There were five of my dearest friends there from high school.  These are the people I love dearly.  I will never forget the fact that they were there for me.  There were many beautiful comments I received on Facebook from many people I had not heard from in a while.
   Which brings me back to my original point.  High School Reunion.  To go, or not to go...that is the question.  We live in the age of Facebook.  One can exercise their voyeuristic or stalker tendencies online these days, why pay money to go and see people that you mostly do not care about?  Is it to take us back so we can relive past relationships and shared experiences and feel young again?  Is it so that we can see how far we have come?  Is it because like my male friend said, to selfishly see who got fat, bald, drunk, and haven't amounted to anything?  Some of my friends are nervous about going, because going back and being around this group of people brings up mixed feelings straight out of high school.  I think we feel the pull to attend because we have a shared history.  Shared memories, shared events, shared dreams for the future, shared loss, shared everything from our teenage years.  For some that is a good thing, for some that is a bad thing.  Some people never want to relive high school, while some dream of reliving their "glory days".  Some just want to see how people are doing, and where life has taken them. Everybody has good and bad high school memories. Me included.  Not everyone has a story about being the most hated individual in high school(for a month at least) for ratting on and almost getting a starting football player suspended for setting her pants on fire in History Lecture one day.  Not everyone has a guy come up to them in a bar ten to twelve years later, and confess he always wanted to tell them he had nothing to do with the pants burning incident, because he always liked them, and felt bad about. Not everyone has a story about getting her flag corps uniform skirt stuck on her flag for the first third of the song, right in front of the boy she had a crush on.  Not everyone has a story about good friends from high school, becoming lifelong best friends.  Not everyone has found out about a secret unrequited love from high school that has evolved into a great friendship.  These are my memories.  Everyone has their own set of memories from high school.
     I want to go to Reunion to see my friends.  The ones that are still in my life that I love, as well as friends I had in high school, that I no longer have any contact with.  I want to go to see the kids that I spent eleven of my formative years with.  Reunion is a time to revisit our shared history.  Reunion for me, will be a time to laugh, smile, and make new memories with my best friends, reliving old memories, as well as seeing people I grew up with.  After all, we've made it twenty years, right? We will never have this chance again, so if your undecided, just do it! Just go!  You can always leave, your an adult now you know?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Observations From My First Kentucky Derby

  1. Hats are optional.  Not! There will always be hats, and the glorious hat contest! The gaudier or bigger the better! And we thought it was men who were obsessed with size!
  2. There will be a traditional southern specialty know as Burgoo served.  In spicy and regular.  Burgoo? What the heck is Burgoo you ask? It is a southern delicacy akin to vegetable soup, with lima beans, some form of meat, and vegetables. (I did not ask about the meat! Husband said it was gross!)
  3. Even in dry counties, alcohol is served at derby parties.  The house liquor is whiskey, served in traditional mint juleps, and beer.  So I did try a mint julep.  Disgusting.  I am not a whiskey girl.  I also do not understand the point of putting a hairy leafy plant stem into the whiskey.  Eeeww gross. Can't there be microscoopic bugs on that stem? Shiver.
  4. Why do Kentuckians not stand at the playing of the national anthem?  But stand at the Kentucky State song?  I am told that Kentucky is a commonwealth akin to Texas and Virginia, and even though they are recognized by the federal government as a state, they still regard themselves as separate from the union.  This practice is also upheld at all UK games.
  5. Door prizes are given away.  We won an adorable little gardening bag organizer, filled with supplies! My favorite was the plant watering globe!
  6. Baskets are raffled off.  I was amazed at the huge pasta basket that was raffled off for the winning bid of $65.  All of which could have been purchased at your local walmart for $21.95.  But it was to benefit the historic mansion we "partied" in, so it was for a good cause.
  7. Did I mention hats? There will always be a lady with a horse(s) on her hat.  The horse hat will always win a prize!
  8. The pre-race festivities are fun.  The post race collecting is fun.  The race lasting less than 3 minutes, definitely anti-climactic. 
  9. The auctioneer needed to take a lecture in auctioneering skills.(Having served as an auctioneer several times in the past, I can officially say he sucked!)
  10. If you are so attached to the big screen, high definition television you watched the derby on, we can get you in touch with the furniture company who provided them for our use today, and you get a discount!
  11. If you are attached to the big screen, high definition television you watched the derby on, we can get you in touch with the furniture company who provided them for our use today, and you get a discount! Okay...
  12. Scrumptious food!  My favorite were the chocolate covered strawberries.  They very kind we were supposed to have at my wedding many years ago, but the caterer skimped and brought a bowl of strawberries and a bowl of chocolate goop to dip them in.  Sensing a little animosity?Yes, I am still pissed about that 8 years later!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Kentucky Observations Part 3

  1. Driving is crazy in Kentucky.  Parking lots, stop signs, traffic signals, right of ways, and one way roads are so confusing and weird.
  2. Kentucky Drivers are crazy.  Of course with Ohio drivers mixed in, it's REALLY crazy!
  3. There is such a thing as a Zombie Hunting Permit in Kentucky.  It was on the car beside me at a convenience store, I swear!
  4. The movie theatre has missing chairs and caution tape.  No really.
  5. We have friendly neighbors. REALLY friendly neighbors.
  6. Apparently no mexican restaurant can obtain a liquor license.  Whether it is the required seating occupancy of 100 or the plumbing, you decide...Oh, and I almost forgot, I fell in love with the waiters prison tats, especially the one of the machine gun with initials!
  7. Your friendly neighborhood cable man doubles as your Harley Davidson repair technician.
  8. For birthdays and anniversaries, Kentuckians buy 2 foot high individual letters, to post in their yard, spelling out happy birthday or anniversary.
  9. Permed mullets are tres chic.  We did move to Flatwoods...the home of none other than the world famous Billy Ray Cyrus, King of the original mullet.
  10. Big hair is everywhere!
  11. UK gear or get out!
  12. No one goes anywhere without makeup. I mean NOWHERE!!! Going out of the house is a social event!
  13. Everyone has those stick people van/SUV family stickers, and the kids cheer or sports sticker with their name.  Proud parents.  Kinda makes it easy on pedophiles and kidnappers though, donthcha think?
  14. There is a weekly neighborhood contest to see who can mow their grass the shortest.  With prizes given for frequency of mowing! Hah!
  15. I am actually beginning to really like Kentucky! Now to cultivate a certain twang to my speech patterns...
  16. Vitamin-C boosted rainbow colored cauliflower(orange, purple, and green!)
  17. Kentucky Schools apparently have something called super donuts...packed with vitamins!