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Monday, July 30, 2012

A Winning Personality

Below is a story I wrote about my mother and published in my weekly newspaper column. After reading it in the paper, she scolded me: "People are going to think I have roaches in my house!"

The story is true. She did have a roach in her house. I told her that everyone who lives in Georgia has had a roach in the house. Anyone who pretends she hasn't can't be trusted.

Besides, her worry about what people will think is severely misplaced. She should really be concerned that now they know she's hording VHS tapes in her closet!

Shall We Waltz, Madame?

                As if it was not enough to slip and fall – THUNK! – hitting her head on a chair on the way down, the body was missing. When my mama skidded across the slick of Raid sprayed liberally the night before by her own hand, she noted to herself on the way to the floor that the greasy, hip-breaking film was the only evidence of the assault that occurred a brief eight hours earlier. An intruder had surprised her in the kitchen.
My daddy heard the thud and found my mother sprawled in a dazed heap, reviewing the events of the previous evening, paranoid that her vulnerability would draw out the vile creature. She clearly remembered startling and side-stepping and letting out a choked yelp of horror. It had been no figment of her imagination. She had snatched the can of poison from the cabinet beneath the sink and let loose with it before retreating at Olympic speed-walker pace.
                All of that said, there are worse things than a missing corpse. 
My mama, feeling generally defeated, hobbled to the bedroom to prepare for her day. There! At the foot of the bed! The intruder poised in an unsteady, unpredictable pause of zig-zagging, giving off the aura of brazen defiance coupled with triumph, and perhaps even an invitation to awkwardly waltz. Without hesitation she put her left foot on top of it with exacted pressure, pinning it down without squishing the life out of it, because she simply has no stomach for such ghastly scenes.
Maintaining her precision perfect stance, she waited for my father, who, ignorant of her predicament, busied himself piddling around the yard. All alone in this precarious circumstance with the unwelcome visitor, her posture faltering, she searched her options. If she let up, her tormenter would surely make a break for better ground. So she waited, confident my father would soon rescue her as he’d done when she wallowed unbecomingly in the residue of last night’s disturbance. He would valiantly collect the crawler and scuttle it into the toilet. Flush.
The strain in her legs neared unbearable, as did the idea that the day was getting away while she minded her prisoner. As time passed, it became painfully apparent that even though she put her foot down, the revolting specter beneath it still held all the power. From its pressed position, it rendered her helpless and immobile. Pivoting, carefully, she positioned herself to sit on the bed.
Determined to arise from this trauma unscathed, however, she surveyed her surroundings. An extensive collection of VHS tapes peeked out from the closet. As if steered by God to give testimony to the indefatigable argument that He has a purpose for all things, she rose and began a slow pivot to angle her right arm toward the closet while keeping her left foot securely atop the intruder. Sssstrrrrreeeeeeeetch, she reached and grabbed a short stack of tapes. Wiggling and waggling on her free foot with renewed hope, she returned to her seat on the bed.
Implementing the strategic second-stage attack on the adversary depended on elemental swiftness. Having put her foot down for so long, she now lifted it and . . . abruptly ceased the descent of the of VHS tapes to the back of the interloper. As if it was not enough to slip and fall – THUNK! – hitting her head on a chair, the body had cracked and oozed. The palmetto bug, to my mother’s horror, grotesquely reclined, victorious in a pool of its own spoils.
                When my mother puts her foot down on me for publicly romanticizing this morbid dance of death, I will not fare as well as the wretched roach. I do not possess its winning personality.
(Lucy Adams is the author of Tuck Your Skirt in Your Panties and Run. She lives in Thomson, GA. Email Lucy at and visit her web site,

Friday, July 20, 2012

Road Trip! Road Trip! Road Trip!

Today, I get my hair cut at 1:00.

Tomorrow, I embark on an epic journey with the four ankle biters. We're driving from Augusta, GA to Dallas, TX on the I-20 corridor. Good behavior in the car will earn a stop at Bass Pro Shop. Bad behavior will result in a tortuous tour of the antebellum Gorgas House in Tuscaloosa. Whether they're good or bad, we're definitely stopping off at Eudora Welty's childhood home in Jackson, MS and the Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum in Gibsland, LA. These two must-sees are on my bucket list, now that I know they exist.

If the kids aren't making me drive too fast and crazy by the time we reach Bessemer, AL, I'll treat them to a visit to the Hall of Culture to view Hitler's typewriter. Every good road trip should have an educational component.

The rules to my road trip are simple: If they fight in the backseat, we'll spend the entire vacation in art and history museums with me reading every word on every plaque out loud to them in public. My incredible tourist experience will be excruciating and punitive to them. If they play along with my little adventure and keep their eyes peeled for the next roadside oddity, we'll do the 16 minute driving tour of the National Military Park in Vicksburg, MS and take a side trip to see a big yellow rocking chair in someone's front yard in Ruston, LA.

This ill-conceived notion of good family time spent cooped-up in the car together may be the death of me. That's why I have a hair appointment today. It's important for a southern lady to look decent, even when, especially when, she's crashing and burning.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Guidelines for Naming a House

No plaque with an estate name has yet settled to the left of my front door just above the mailbox. For 100 years the bare brick has patiently waited for a pewter plate to light upon it and change the face of the house, to elevate it to the status shared by all properties known not by street numbers, but by descriptive words.

After thorough research, I've compiled a list of rules for naming a house. One guideline that is absent, but bears mentioning, is to never ask your close friends for brainstorming help, particularly if they've imbibed alcoholic beverages at the time of the asking. Everything they suggest will violate rule #1 below. If you plan to continue peaceably living in your neighborhood, do not violate rule #1 below.

1) One must act as a responsible citizen when naming his or her house/property. In other words, if the name is to be posted or used on mail, avoid tawdry, racy, suggestive titles, as well as expletives, even though you may not be able to talk about your old bag of nails without including them.

2) A house name makes a statement about the property or the occupants.

3) Make sure no other properties/homes in the local vicinity already have the name with which you want to christen your house.

4) House/property names can be historic, sentimental, descriptive, humorous or simple. Distinguishing features of the house, plants and/or animals within the bounds of the property, or the view from the property/house can be included in the name.

5) Choose a distinctive moniker, something memorable that sets the house apart from others nearby.

6) Remember, your house will be there far longer than you. Make the name about the house/property and not about the people.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

Eat some watermelon.

Play some baseball.

Shoot some fireworks.

Remember the men who boldly signed their names to a treasonous document to create a country that would have to be won by selfless sacrifice.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Relativity is Not a Theory

Relativity is not a theory in July, when temperatures in Georgia start topping out over 100F.

Theorum: Folks don't have to be kin to point out the relatives.

Proof: If 10 unrelated friends stand on my front porch at 9 o'clock p.m. on a day that the high hit 112, then someone will inevitably have his weather app open and be calling out the current temperature.

If someone calls out the current temperature at 9 p.m. and that temperature is between 94 and 98 degrees, then everyone will remark on what a pleasant, cool evening we are having.

If everyone remarks on the chill of the 97 degree night air, then someone will say, "It's all relative."

We learn to appreciate what we've got, because complaining would only make us miserable. That's the Theory of Positivity.