Friday, February 26, 2010

Journal of a Living Lady #366

Nancy White Kelly

Leather and lace. Is that an oxymoron or an example of material incongruence? Probably both.

Guns and curls reflect my personality which can run the gamut from seriously somber to insanely silly. Today I perpetuated that persona. I got a permanent at the beauty shop and a gun permit from the court house.

I enjoy being a girl, but I learned early on to hold my own among the guys. I had three brothers and no sister until the month I graduated from high school.

My oldest brother Charles and I wrestled, spit watermelon seeds, threw rocks and exchanged blows frequently while growing up. Charles wasn’t going to let his closest sibling be too girly. It was the era that Daddies worked, Mamas stayed home, and the kids played outside until dark.
Charles kept me busy doing his favorites things: street skating, hide-n-seek, and cork ball. We even played backyard football. That was until my Daddy snatched me out of a touch game at the age of twelve. He threatened my life if he ever caught me displaying my quarterback skills with the boys again. I didn’t understand then. I do now.

Nevertheless, my macho brother taught me many guy things. Thanks to him I can ride a motorcycle, gig frogs, and yes, even shoot a gun. Charles has killed hundreds of deer in his lifetime. I married my dear.

While Buddy is not an avid hunter, he is adamant about being capable of defending oneself. Our older son Charlie had his black belt at the age of twelve.

It wouldn’t behoove any evil-doer to attempt doing me harm. While a baseball bat is my weapon of choice, Buddy insists I keep my gun handy in the Ye Old Coin Shop. He vigilantly watches customers via a remote camera. If I couldn’t shoot an assailant, assuredly Buddy would.

And if Buddy or Charlie were not around, I take comfort that Rocky, our German shepherd, would protect me. His teeth can rip through leather. Any attacker had better guard his throat. It’s nice to be so loved.

Here I am in my twilight years wearing gray-tinged curls and packing heat. Reminds me of President Theodore Roosevelt’s famous quote,” Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

I enjoy being a lady and living. I have waylaid cancer and escaped hospice twice. They don’t call me the Living Lady for nothing.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Journal of a Living Lady #365 (posted early for newspaper deadline)

Nancy White Kelly

Valentine Day has come and gone. We don’t celebrate that day anymore though I still have the first Valentine card Buddy ever gave me. It is sweet. He promised to love me forever.

When we were engaged, but not yet married, I would sneak into his empty mobile home while he was working and leave love notes under his pillow. Soon he got the idea to leave me notes under his pillow so that I would find his first. Those days were fun and romantic.

We still give cards occasionally, sometimes silly and at other times serious. The ones that Buddy likes best are those that I make myself with a list of 21 things I love about him.

When God made Hiram Edward Kelly, He threw away the mold. If it were possible to talk the horns off a Billy goat, Buddy could. Last month our long distance bill was for 868 minutes and only one call was mine. If he can’t find somebody far or near to engage in conversation, he will talk to the dog. Rocky pretends to never tire of an old man’s tales.

Buddy is not only a non-stop conversationalist. He is comedic too. I guarantee he can get a laugh out of the sourest soul. When he transformed from the shy, Mississippi country boy to reincarnated Johnny Carson on steroids I cannot say. In spite of the evolution of his personality, I am still quite fond of the man.

How many men are the first to get up, raise the heat, fix two cups of steaming coffee and then nudge his wife awake? How many men start calling friends and family in a panic if their spouse is five minutes later than expected? How many men come through the kitchen and stop to put up the dishes before snacking? How many men put the toilet seat down every time? How many men compliment the cook after nearly forty-five years of eating the same recipes? Not many.

Buddy is as practical as he is witty. This last Valentine Day I asked him what expensive place he was going to take me. Without missing a beat he replied, “the gas station.”

We didn’t go anywhere. Who need a fancy restaurant, a box of candy, or a dozen roses when you have my Buddy?