Friday, September 30, 2005

Journal of a Living Lady

Journal of a Living Lady #258

Nancy White Kelly

Buddy claims that I am the most positive person he has ever known. True, I am by nature up-beat, but not always. While big things like cancer don’t overwhelm me, it is the little things that take a toll on my levity.

High on my pet peeve list are store owners who leave the open sign glowing in neon when the truth is that they left the building, along with Elvis, hours ago.

Of course, nobody can know the store isn’t open until they circle the parking lot a half dozen times before finding a parking place. Then the ritual begins. For me, it starts by ejecting the CD from the music player, unlatching my seatbelt, turning off the ignition, retrieving the keys, and pushing open the hundred-pound door. My torso practically groans as I twist my legs 90 degrees to the left before plopping my feet on the pavement. Then, with all the bodily thrust I can muster, I defy gravity and obtain a 12 o’clock standing position. My ritual is not finished until I close the hefty door, lock it, and place the car keys inside the zipper pocket of my purse.

A few feet away, I pull the stubborn store door handle. The resistance of the metal handle is undeniable. The store is closed. I utter a mild, non-cheerful bevy of disgust. If I were of a different gender and perhaps a sailor, my utterance would no doubt be profoundly profane.

Being a lady, I keep my lips sealed, but my blood is boiling and my face is red. I proceed to find my keys, unlock the car door and reposition myself in the driver’s seat. All, so unnecessary. Store keepers need to remember that signs are read and generally trusted. Don’t say you are open when you are not.

And then there is one other thing. If you are younger than me, please don’t call me darling, precious, honey, sweetheart, sugar or sweetie-pie. Believe it or not, I have been called all of these names within the last month. I know young people mean well, but I find such names patronizing. I am probably as least as old as their mother or more likely their grandmother.

While I may be a member of A.A.R.P., I am not senile and I don’t like to be spoken to as if a child. In fact, if you are a child, please do not refer to me by my first name. What happened to Mrs. Kelly? I am not your sand-box playmate.

I am not anybody’s darling. My parents died years ago. My former cat’s name was Precious. Buddy is the only one who can legitimately call me Sweetheart. I put sugar on my cereal and honey on my toast. I am not your sweetie-pie anymore than I am in love with the man in the moon.

Petty things, sure. With the world in the shape it is in, perhaps I shouldn’t even be speaking of such slights. Just humor me. Make your words mean what they say and don’t say what you don’t mean. It will be one small step toward rekindling the old days of mannerly society.


Friday, September 16, 2005

Journal of a Living Lady #257

Journal of a Living Lady #257

Nancy White Kelly

The Living Lady contest is past. Thank goodness. It was doomed from the beginning since the deadline for entries was inadvertently listed as the same date the contest began. Unfortunately, the only ones who knew all the right answers were ineligible. Nobody else even came close. Just goes to show I should have picked the questions myself. My friends meant well, all two of them. Me thinks I will stick to writing and forget about contests for a while.

Last Monday I had my monthly cancer treatment which includes a shot in the stomach that boosts my blood counts, one humongous injection in the posterior, and an IV full of fluid pumped into my implanted port. My body is more holey than Swiss cheese.

Not so many months ago I was in hospice. Since then, I have progressed from being a short-winded, barely breathing cadaver to a living lady thriving on spunk and prayer.  The reports from my recent bone scans and MRI’s were encouraging. No new metastasis. Even my laboratory sheet had far more normal scores than abnormal.

Buddy almost always accompanies me to Gainesville, Atlanta, or Gainesville for my treatments. For hours he waits patiently for me to complete my oncology routines. Never once has he complained. I insist that I can drive myself. He insists on coming anyway. He teasingly calls it, “Driving Mrs. Daisy.” If I had a dollar for every hour he has waited on me at a doctor’s office, I would be able to pay off the national debt. Husbands like that are hard to come by and I am most blessed.

Quite often I am asked to speak with somebody recently diagnosed with cancer. Yesterday I got a call and within an hour I was sitting across from two ladies I had never met. However, instead of  being the booster, I was the boosteree. What a pleasant surprise. These two ladies were determined to inspire me and they did. One was a cancer survivor herself. The other was a spiritual intercessor. I don’t even remember what we ate, but I came away knowing that this encounter was no accident. It was a divine appointment. The older lady spoke with great confidence. She told me that God had shown her that He wasn’t through with me yet and that even greater things lie ahead for me. I can’t wait to see what it is.

On the way home, I stopped by a babbling trout brook to reflect on the conversation with the women. Angels? I don’t know. Just maybe. They do exist.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Journal of a Living Lady #256

Journal of a Living Lady #256

Nancy White Kelly

One of the most popular columns last year was a written contest regarding events in the Bible. Frequently I am asked when there will be another contest. Believe me, people take this contest thing seriously. On the closing day for entries last year, a not-to-be identified friend showed up at our door before breakfast with his entry.

This contest will reward those faithful readers of the Journal of a Living Lady who have really paid attention. I know of a few folks who have every column bound in albums. They take my writing way too seriously. I predict that many years from now, those faded collections of the once Living Lady will become starter for the greatest fire since Chicago. But, for now, I live. I write. I create little contests.

If you are a newcomer and haven’t read the book, Journal of a Living Lady, you still have a good chance to win if you have lots of time and minimal computer skills. This address will provide all the clues you need to get started: If that doesn’t work, try this alternate:

There are ten questions. Answers can be found in one or more of the previous 255 columns. Each one counts 10 points. In case of a tie, there are three difficult bonus questions. Don’t ask Buddy, our sons, or me the answers as we are totally mum until the contest has ended. The closing date for post-marked entries is September 10th at 4:00 p.m.

Our goal is to publish the name and home town of winners on September 22nd. The first three people who deliver the correct or most correct winning entry will receive a genuine silver bar or round. Those who score 100% or more will get honorable mention. Please note that this is not a Sentinel-sponsored contest. It is meant as a fun event so please be delightful even if you don’t win.

Entries can only be accepted if sent to: The Living Lady, 6156 Southern Rd., Young Harris, GA. 30582. Neither Buddy nor I answer the door to strangers, so please don’t make a personal delivery unless we know you or you have phoned ahead. Caveat: Personal deliveries need to be accompanied by a home-made banana pudding.

  1. The original name of this column was, “Journal of a ______________________.”

  1. Big Red and the eight______________ are still missing.

  1. We have an adopted son. What is his name? _____________________.

  1. Buddy was born in the state of _______________________.

  1. At some point in my life the living lady was a ventriloquist, vermiculturist, pilot, school principal, rodeo rider, numismatist, professional tennis umpire, Sunday School teacher. Is it some or all of the above.____________________________________

  1. A generous reader gave Buddy and the living lady an all-expense paid trip to _____________.

  1. The Living Lady attempted to give Buddy what kind of pet one Valentine’s Day_____________

  1. Our son, Charlie, got his B.S. degree from which college?______________

  1. The Living Lady was a guest on the _______________show in Chicago.

  1. The mayor of what great city surprised the Living Lady with a plaque declaring “Nancy Kelly Day?” ________________________

BONUS QUESTIONS (tie-breakers):

  1. Though different years, both of my parents died during the same month, on the same floor, in the same hospital in Memphis. What month was that? ____________

  1. What word was engraved on our wedding rings, written on our wedding cake, and is to be inscribed on a ribbon to be placed on my casket?__________________

  1. Who was Lily Jean?______________________