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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

To the Tune of Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer - (And, Yes, This Did Happen)

Lucy fell into a sewage drain
Walkin' home from Charlotte’s Tuesday eve.
She kept from breakin’ her glass Santa.
As she plunged and dumped her purse into the street.

She'd been drinkin' a little eggnog.
And her husband said that she should go.
So she gathered up the children,
And staggered out the door into the road.

Her son called out a feeble warnin’,
At the scene of the attack.
She had asphalt on her knuckles,
And incriminatin' splatter on her back.

Lucy fell into a sewage drain
Walkin' home from Charlotte’s Tuesday eve.
She kept from breakin’ her glass Santa.
As she plunged and dumped her purse into the street.

Now Lucy’s awfully miffed at Charlotte.
She's not takin' this so well.
Charlotte built a front walkway,
That ends at a drop-off straight to Hell.

Lucy dusted off her daughter,
Whom she dragged down into the crack.
And Lucy just can't help but wonder:
Should she re-gift Charlotte’s present or send it back?
(Send it back)

Lucy fell into a sewage drain
Walkin' home from Charlotte’s Tuesday eve.
She kept from breakin’ her glass Santa.
As she plunged and dumped her purse into the street.

Now the note is on the table,
Accusing Charlotte of negligence.
And a lawyer signed the bottom,
Demanding Charlotte’s dollars and her cents.

Lucy’s warned all her friends and neighbors.
"Better watch out for yourselves."
Charlotte’s known to pull the trap door,
And your Christmas guests will all yell, “What’s that smell?”

Lucy fell into a sewage drain
Walkin' home from Charlotte’s Tuesday eve.
She kept from breakin’ her glass Santa.
As she plunged and dumped her purse into the street.
(Sing it Charlotte)

Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Lights of the South

As a kid, I never understood why my mother got so disgusted with my father and us kids at Christmas. We would stand back admiring the twinkling, giant, multi-colored bulbs strung across the front porch eaves. My mother would grit her teeth and clench her jaw. My daddy, I think, got special joy out of that part.

Because we only almost fit in with our surrounding rural neighbors, my brothers and sister and I wanted to take it to the next level and outline all the windows and the air conditioning unit with Christmas lights. We wanted a long, extra strand, with nowhere to go, to hang off the side of the roof. We wanted our daddy to pull the boat to the front yard and string it with lights, too. But I think he refused us because he knew he could go just so far in crossing our mama; especially during the holidays.

Last night I came home to my otherwise undecorated house to find two columns with garland crudely twisted around them. The garland had lights knotted in it and a thousand pastel pink, blue, and green shiny bells hanging from it. Someone had even collected a couple of sprays of nandina berries and plugged those in along the winding route.

My children met me at the door, saying, "Did you see? Don't you love it?" I tried to relax my jaw and managed a weak smile at my proud husband standing behind my brood, all of whom said, in unison, "Let's show her, Daddy!" They dragged me by the hand out to the front yard, and, as my legs hardly worked at this point, turned me to face the house.

"Ready?" called my groom. "Ready!" our offspring shouted. Suddenly the left side of my house lit up with the brightest white lights man has ever made. But they didn't twinkle. They shuddered and jerked and flashed and chased and did a routine that looked like an emergency SOS signal to overhead aircraft. "There are 13 options for light patterns," my husband explained. "We'll have to tweak it some."

New neighbors moved in down the street last weekend. By Sunday night they had their tree up, decorated, and lit in the bay window. The Jones' have got perfection. I've got two columns on the left side of my house that, during the day, look like debris caught on them in a heavy wind and, during the night, send motorists into seizures. I've got slow moving traffic coming down my street to view authentic lights of the south. And I've got an expression on my face that looks just like my mother's once did. And I've got a husband who hopefully knows it would not be a good idea to cross me much further during the holidays.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Just the Right Insult for the Occaision

As every southerner knows, male or female, insults must be tailored to the occasion. And as Thanksgiving is pecking at the door, I thought I would give you one to pack in your bags and take to your relatives, who by Thursday afternoon will have sufficiently annoyed you enough to break it out and leave on ice as you depart.

All good, decent, upstanding, moral southern women currently stand in kitchens, dining rooms, and butler pantries all over Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, the Carolinas, Arkansas, Kentucky, and other less desirable places to which they have been unfortunately relocated, polishing, along with their silver, their tongues. They rehearse, in private, how they will tell Uncle Bubba to smoke out on the porch, and Aunt Viola to stay out of the kitchen, and other things of that nature.

All good, decent, upstanding, moral southern men currently stand in driveways all over Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, the Carolinas, Arkansas, Kentucky, and other less desirable places to which they have been unfortunately relocated, with their leaf blowers revved, thinking how they will run interference between their side of the family and hers. They blow leaves in and out of the driveway for a very long time.

By Thursday at noon, extended families will have piled into cars and driven to the homes of hosts and hostesses, for the lunch to end all lunches. Some will cope by imbibing liquor squirreled away in secret stashes. Others will survive through psychological or physical withdrawal. At any rate, nerves will rub raw by 6p.m. and you, my friend, will have the ultimate survival technique, gleaned from these pages. You will have an insult tailored to the occasion:

Say, confidentially to the family gossip in hushed whispers, "Good heavens, can you believe ___________? She acts like a guest in her own home!" Then kiss Thanksgiving good-bye, because as all good, decent, upstanding, moral southerners know, Thanksgiving is a designated fighting holiday.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Georgia on My Mind

Last Sunday, my husband confided in me, after a long period of silence, "I've been doing some number crunching in my head, and a lot of things have to happen just right, but I think I've got it figured out. Georgia still has a chance to play for the NCAA National Championship." I nodded and smiled at him, like I was taught to do in my Abnormal Psychology class at the University of Georgia.

Last Saturday the Dawgs beat Troy State, and, more importantly, the Saturday prior to that, they whooped up on Florida. The residual euphoria still coursed through his veins, reintroducing the season of optimism, temporary, but welcome all the same. And as of yesterday's blackout in Athens, I believe we might well ride the tide of sagunity all the way through December.

Which leaves me wondering, as I enjoy the fringe benefits of my husband getting wrapped up in delusional happiness and excitement (forget the convoluted reasoning behind it), why so many women don't embrace football and all the black magic that comes with it.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Housewife Gone Missing

Whenever I hear about a housewife gone missing, I always wonder if anyone thought to check for her under the dirty laundry. I mean, seriously, tugging one white sock from the mountain of darks could easily cause a dangerous jeans slide. If I'm ever on the missing persons list, please alert my family to the very real possibility that the never ending clothes pile might have finally killed me, just like I always said it would. And make sure my children know it was the neatly folded, never worn, clean shirt shoved in with everything else that finished me off.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Almost There

I received the final proof for If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny from the publisher this week. Well, actually, it's the final proof before I get to proof a sample copy of the actual book with the cover and everything. Reading all these proofs has proven to me just how human errors are.

When I first wrote all of the material for the book, I thought it was perfect. When I compiled it into the initial form of the book to send to the publisher, I knew it was perfect. Five proofs later, and three red ink pens emptier, I'm still finding mistakes and wording that isn't quite right. I'm amazed at how If Mama Don't Laugh has evolved throughout the process. And I have discovered that true perfection is an elusive goal.

If left to listening to my own self-inflicted, self-critical internal voice that enjoys telling me how my efforts aren't good enough, how I could have tried harder, and how I don't know what I'm doing, I would never have a finished product. Thank heavens for editors and publishers who speak loudly in order to drown out writers' insecurities about their work.

But intuitively, I know that If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny will take my readers on a Space Shot of laughs, as they jump with me from throwing pre-adolescents out of the house, to getting on amusement park rides more suitable for 12 year-old boys than 30-something year-old women, to unclogging the vacuum cleaner hose by blowing in it. And it won't be long now, before we're both there together.

Thank you to my loyal and faithful readers, and to the ones who have recently come on board, for your continuous and genuine support. And thank you, as well, for forgiving me my imperfections.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Know When to Go

I am the reason that people print the exact hour a party will end on an invitation. My friends affectionately call me the hanger-on-er because I like to stay until the last pig in a blanket disappears. I can't help thinking that if I leave too soon, I might miss something more exciting than paying the babysitter and driving her home.

The key is not to hang on too long. Some good signs that it's time to leave the party:

1) Someone asks you to help clear the dishes from the buffet.
2) Your host is snoring in front of ESPN.
3) Your husband is standing over you jingling his keys in his pocket.
4) The wine box runs dry.
5) Your husband reports that there's no more beer.
6) A stranger asks if you can hold her hair while she throws up.
7) You haven't been seen with your husband in so long that women begin treating him like he's single.
8) People start talking about politics, religion, or how best to educate children.
9) The stereo goes silent.
10) The hostess releases the hound from the guest bedroom.
11) Another party-goer, too inebriated to drive himself home, calls dibs on the sofa you're sitting on.
12) Someone turns out the kitchen light, the living room light, the den light, the front porch light . . .

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Mom of the Year I am Not

Mom of the Year I am not, but please don't talk about me behind my back. Okay, so that does sound a little paranoid. Still, I know how people are, making comparisons between themselves and those of us parents who are, by nature, less than perfect.

Thursday, like a good mother should, I attended my 12 year-old son's middle school soccer match. His team played like the brainy-acks that they are. They lost. It didn't matter. I sat on the uncomfortable metal bleachers. I yelled. I cheered. I tried to keep up with my three other children who took the opportunity to get into mischief during my distraction. I patted the boys on the back after the game and gave them words of encouragement.

Then I snapped up my son, hustled all the kids to the car, and drove down the interstate like a blue-hair on Quaaludes. We had four more team practices to make that evening and my husband, the coach of two of the squads, kept calling to check my ETA.

In a ten minute break between pick-up/drop-off stints, I pulled out my calendar to check scheduling conflicts for the following day. My heart immediately plummeted like a rock kicked off the cliffs of the Grand Canyon. I forgot to provide drinks after the game for the my oldest son's team. Weeks before, I had promised the team mother I would do it and gushed about how thrilled I was to have the opportunity to support the boys in their athletic efforts. I had written the note to myself in my calendar in bright green.

Later that evening, I apologized to my son. "It's okay," he said. "We had drinks after the game. One of the parents realized there weren't any and bought some at the concession stand." Air whistled past my heart hurtling down toward the canyon crags.

"Who," I wanted to know. But being a boy, and 12, he didn't care or remember who.

My husband comforted me, "No one but the team mom would know it was you that forgot. Call her tomorrow and see if you can take care of drinks for another game." But my self-centered, inner voice, that thinks the eyes of humanity are upon me at all times, especially when I screw up, kept telling me that while I perched in the stands hooting and hollering, the other parents clustered together chattering about my parental deficiencies.

Again, to stop my ruminations, my husband reassured, "They didn't know it was you. They would have reminded you so you could go buy the Gatorade. Get over it."

The next day, Friday, I e-mailed my apology to the coach and asked if he could tell me who supplied the drinks, so I could make things right. It turns out, the team mom, who sat in the bleachers with that group of parents, and with me, noted my omission and rallied assistance from the other adults, but never said a word to me.

My heart splattered on the rocky riverbank of the Colorado. My inner voice rambled on about all my other flaws exposed to the world. And my confidence leaked like melted ice from a cooler drain.

Okay, I know. Mom of the year I am not, but paranoid, maybe.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

I'll Rewrite This One Tomorrow, So Read it While You Can

Why is it that people who smoke think the world is their ashtray? They carelessly flick their cigarette butts to the ground after that last lung coating drag. I have overlooked it all these years. I'm a good southern girl, driven by my genes and upbringing to generously fling warm smiles and kind words, even to people who have not extended the same courtesy to me.

I'm a good southern girl who does not indulge in confrontation, course language, or crude behavior. But whoa dang if I'm going to go to my grave without telling you I would like to thump the knuckles of the Gamecock fan who didn't even bother to stub out the glowing tobacco on the end of his cancer stick before dropping it into my flip-flop while I was walking up to Gate 6 at Sanford Stadium on Saturday!

That being said, I behaved like a lady and let not one vulgarity cross my lips while hopping around trying to shake free the fiery paper adhered to the soft skin under my toes. I heaped a pleasant thank you upon the Georgia gentleman who offered me his beer to pour on my foot to put out the flame. And even as I felt my skin blistering and swelling, I smiled broadly at my husband and father, and said, "I'm okay. Let's go or we won't make it for kick off."

It's bad enough that Georgia lost that game and I had to tolerate my spouse blaming the shirt he wore (one that I gave him) as I hobbled back to the car, but it's even worse that I will feel guilty all week, probably all month, for slipping into unseemly language here in this blog. And I'll likely edit it tomorrow to say nicer things about the jerk who torched my toes.

(If you're just now reading this, it is tomorrow and I have edited it. I couldn't live with myself, knowing I had not only used inappropriate language unbecoming to a lady, but I had also used it in print in a public place. I apologize to the young man in question. May God show him mercy for cheering for South Carolina. May the next cigarette butt he tosses out the car window blow back in and land in the collar of his burgundy shirt, as well.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Three Truths and a Lie

How well do you know me? Can you pick the lie out of the truths? Maybe the question should be, how well do I know myself? Can I tell the truths from the lies anymore? It all starts to run together, doesn't it?

Anyway, here goes:

1) I know which one of these, variorum or variorium, is a real word, but I had to ask a lot of people to find out; 2) I love alternative rock music, even though I don't really know what it is an alternative to; 3) One of my students told me she died her poodle's fur pink with Kool-Aid, thus making a punk poodle (she swears she stopped short of clipping it a mohawk); 4) Oysters on the half-shell make me swoon, or at least that's what my husband likes to think.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

"You're completely alliterate."

I'm in a marathon of editing one of the final proofs of If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny. This morning, I sat at one end of the kitchen table and my husband sat at the other. We both, with red pens in hand, marked up copies of the proof.



He broke my deep concentration with a low chuckle. I looked up to see if he needed my attention or wanted clarification on something. He stared at the pages, however, feverishly (a little too feverishly for my personal comfort), working his pen across the page.



Minutes passed. Again, my helpmate laughed out loud. This time I looked up to see him shaking his head back and forth. He took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes. I decided that for the sake of our marriage we may need to conduct these sessions in individual privacy. But for the time, I said nothing and continued with my work.



Suddenly, he belted out guffaws that brought the children running to see what was so funny. Knowing I had given him strict instructions to carefully search the manuscript for typos, misspellings, and other errors, and not to read the stories, I became very self-conscious. I bore my eyes into him until he raised his head to return my glare.



"What?" he asked.



"What are you laughing at?"



"Nothing. It's just that you're completely illiterate," he replied.



"Well, thanks a lot," I huffed, slamming shut my copy of If Mama Don't Laugh. "If that's what you really think, you can stop right there!"



Baffled at my intense irritation, he stammered and muttered a few unintelligible syllables. Then his eyes lit up with amusement (which, quite naturally, miffed me more). "No, no, no. I said alliterate, as in alliteration. You know. Lucy laughs long. Mama makes muffins. You have a knack for creative alliteration. It makes your stories so interesting."



Okay. Give me a compliment and all is forgiven. I didn't even fuss at him for indulging himself in reading the manuscript while he edited. I'll save that for later, when I need him to butter me up again.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Insomnia

This week I go back to the real world - my real job as a 2nd grade teacher. Yet, I'm still in the throes of book publishing here in my fantasy wish-I-could-do-this-full-time life. It's causing me so much overflow angst that my oldest son had to have his appendix removed last Saturday.

On top of that, I have insomnia. I lay awake mentally reviewing my book contract, and all of its intricacies, for If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny. I pre-worry that I will choke in interviews or that I will forget my best friends' names when they ask me to personalize copies of my book . I think about my classroom and my new students and whether or not I can prepare in time for the first day of school. I hope that I won't forget to show up for the first day of school like I did in a dream back when I could sleep.

From there I ruminate on grease fires in the kitchen, and escape routes from my house, and how many of my sleeping children I can carry out a window at one time. I fear I've lost the nail clippers, again, and that my toenails will grow long and gnarly and I'll end up in the Guines Book of World Records for an embarassing hygiene problem. I rehearse my Parents' Night speech. I think about my checking account. I chew on ideas for my newspaper column that I will never remember in the morning.

Driven mad by my own musings, seeking a way to stop the thoughts from coursing through my brain at bullet train speeds, hoping to find relief, I decide to pray. I start out well enough, asking for help with my anxiety, requesting assistance with achieving balance in my life, pleading to be soon lost in sleep. Thanksgiving for a thousand enumerated things follows: my children, my husband, my house, my car, my dogs, my cat, the fish, the bird, flowers, rain, clouds, pillows, porch swings, parakeets, friends, my job, creativity, corkscrews, doormats, sofas, shag carpet, the color green, dice, my health, frozen pizza, ice cream, elevators, electricity, mice . . .

Before I know it, my mind wanders and I'm on a tangent, wondering if I left the rice open, or a door unlocked, or forgot to turn on the dishwasher, or if someone will try to break into my auto to get the dollar bill I may have left on the front passenger seat, or did I put the dollar in the pocket of my pants which are now in the washing machine, or did I put washing powder in with the clothes, or what if I trip on my husband's shoe on the way to the bathroom and fall and break my ankle in the middle of the night, or if I set the alarm.

But, oh yes, praying. God bless the insomniac. Amen.

What will the children want to be for Halloween? I bet there are no hair appointments available at the salon next week. I should check my eyebrows in the morning . . .

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Book and its Cover

I never knew how difficult and complicated getting a book published could be. I thought I would land a publisher and wha-la have If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny out in print. But there's so much more to it. Like getting a decent book cover, for example.

The other day I met with the cover artist, Stan Mullins (http://www.stanmullins.com/), to wrap up the details of the cover art. As vanity would have it, I'm on the cover of my own book. So we had to discuss things like facial expressions, clothing selections, hand gestures, and very important technicalities like making sure he rendered me without any wrinkles - artistic license, you know.

Anyway, while we hashed things out, periodically he would leave and come back with an example of other work to help me understand the process and visualize the final product. In his absences I found my eyes wandering around his studio, the walls of which featured huge oil-painted canvases. One particular theme struck me as nearly universal - women's breasts.

There were probably paintings of lots of other things, but since I have a unique, but unintentional, habit of finding reasons to feel uncomfortable, all I saw were breasts. So when he eventually got around to asking me about that particular aspect of my persona on paper, embarrassingly, all the blood rushed to my face. I have no idea what he thought I was thinking, but he remained professional and plugged along at the task.

"Do you want them to be full, large, petite, what?"

Inadvertently my gaze shifted to the walls, sifting through the options like thumbing through a catalogue in a plastic surgeon's office, and I found myself thinking, "Well, hers are nice. Or those over there could be good."

In the end, I stupidly stammered, "No artistic license. As is." Flat as the paper they're on.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What Really Irks Me

Okay, so I'm pushing my buggy through Wal-mart, aggravated that everybody in my house ate all the food from my last grocery run, two (possibly three) weeks ago. They go through it like I plan to go shopping every week. They're insatiable locusts. If it were up to me, every person would have his own IV hooked onto a little stand with wheels.


But it's not up to me, so there I was in Wal-mart, pushing my cart, minding my own business, except for stopping to talk with Charlotte about her eyebrows, waving to my daughter's old pre-K teacher, explaining to someone how to generate a master shopping list from his computer, and saying, "Yes, I know my cart is overfull. I haven't been here in a while." (And my husband always wonders why it takes me so long.)


I could have finished much sooner, except he called me four separate times on my cell. Once to remind me to get the AA batteries, once to tell me never mind about the 2" paintbrush, once to try to sell me on checking out the Manager's Specials aisle, and once to engage me in a half public conversation about our son's little problem.


But what you want to know is the thing that really, really, really, really irks me.


What gets me riled, burns me up, sets me off, boils my blood, is seeing shelves packed to the hilt with school supplies, in JULY! JULY! It's diabolical. Evil. Completely unacceptable to remind us of the inevitable before we're good and ready to consider it again.


My gosh, at least wait until my ears quit ringing from the fireworks.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Grits Cookies

Cooking is not my forte. My kids call my kitchen "Mama's Smokin' Restaurant." And although a real, actual fire (not one I will admit to, anyway) has ever broken out, I have on many occasions stood over the kitchen sink with a butter knife scraping the surface of blackened toast. My husband blames it on ADD (Aimlessly Dawdling Disorder), so he cooks a good deal. Just goes to show how well things work out, in the end.

Nevertheless, I sometimes, against the better judgement of others, make up my mind to whip up an amazing culinary delight. It always excites my ever optimistic children to see what I will desecrate next. Yesterday, it was the all-American chocolate chip cookie; because of course I can make a good thing better.

I decided I could elevate the chocolate chip cookie to a whole new level by giving it a southern twist - grits. In my mind, where everything is as blissful as a Christmas Carol, the fresh baked cookies steamed with the aroma of homemade oatmeal desserts, minus the befoulment by raisins. Completely sucked into my self-delusional fantasy, I stood in the grocery aisle faced with a momentous decision - exactly what type of grits should I use?

Instant or regular? Whole or cracked? White or yellow? Impulsively, I bought every kind displayed. The cashier eyeballed me with a sideways glance, but seeing the feverish focus in my face, made a wise choice not to comment.

At home, whipping up my secret recipe sure to win me the blue ribbon at the state fair, I had a new dilemma. In what form should I add the grits? Cooked or dry? Runny and hot or cold and clumped? I can't tell you exactly what I did, mostly because it was sort of a combo of all of the above and I didn't write it down.

Finally, I pulled a batch from the oven, scraped the black edges off and fed them to my four lab rats, who, oddly enough, feigned joy at receiving my gift. Standing back so as not to pressure the critics, I watched them chew. And chew. And chew. And chew.

At last, the six year old's lips parted. I waited with bated breath. She bent her head into her palm held close to her mouth. Oh no, I thought and grabbed the trashcan. But then she lifted her head, grinned, and held out her hand. "They're a little bit crunchy, Mama," she said, handing me her front tooth.

Back to the mixing bowl.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Germ Repellent

I think babies come with germ repellent built in, like those shirts in mail order catalogues that repel mosquitoes. It's part of the birth package. How else can we explain how they can go around putting everything in their mouths, from rancid Cheerios that rolled under the refrigerator in 1999 to unsanitized shopping cart handles that have been in play for the better part of the last five years. If I put my mouth on the shopping cart handle three things would happen: 1) I would get thrown out of the grocery store, 2) I would contract a horrible disease like hepatitis or tuberculosis, and 3) The store manager would immediately sanitize the cart handle.

My daughter, during the potty training years, loved public restrooms; still does. At age 2, nothing said, make my mother convulse, quite like running her fingers along the edge of the porcelain toilet bowl or getting on the floor on all fours to peer under stall doors. Running with a cascaded strip of toilet paper, looping out of the trashcan, made her giggle like a banshee, while I, on the other hand, sounded the alarm: Eewww, stop that. That's gross. Put it back in there. Wash your hands, again; to which more elation erupts.

Thankfully (or maybe not), like those mosquito repellent shirts, the germ shield, after so many baths, washes off. My daughter, now six, and a complete success of my masterful conditioning through exaggerated repulsion and squeals of disgust, is finally getting it that public restrooms are no place for learning braille.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Look out Red Hat Ladies

After thinking about the diving granny more, it occurs to me that the Red Hat Ladies have nothing on her. They certainly aren't wearing red hats with their bathing suits. And it doesn't take too much courage to wear a purple dress to lunch.

But a diving granny, well, you never know what she might do next. She's unpredictable, out on a limb, risky, adventurous. She's who we all want to be when we get old, not a woman who dresses ridiculously for shock value.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Grandmothers Come in All Forms

My children are at the pool right now with my mother. They haven't quite reached the age, yet, when they have good sense enough to be embarrassed by us adults. They still see the world through chlorine induced rainbows around lamp posts. So, it doesn't bother them that their 62 year-old Poppy still wears a bathing suit in public. It doesn't phase them that she swims, gets her hair wet, and lets it air dry. And they haven't seemed to notice everyone nudging each other and whispering, "Look, here comes the diving granny."

All eyes, hidden behind sunglasses and visors, rivet on the diving granny as she peels off her baseball cap, steps out of her shorts, approaches the side of the pool, swings her arms down by her side, then up over her head, and . . . swoosh, gracefully swoops under the water, head first. She surfaces with her grayish-blondish hair plastered to her head.

Secretly, the moms, with fresh manicures and styled hair, who infrequently enter the pool, and when they do walk gingerly, avoiding splashes and pushing the water out of the way with their fingertips, watch. In their hearts, they cheer her on for her bravery. Because, of course, we all want the courage to be diving grannies, too, someday!

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