What It Meant to Me

“I am sooooo not in the mood to be nice to anybody who’s callin’ my house at this unholy hour of morning,” I snarled at phone where it lay on the kitchen table. Now, it may be, that in your world, 10:00am is not considered an unholy hour. But in my world on that day, it was positively blasphemous. Too much caffeine, twitchy arms and legs and an insomniac Little Dog had made it impossible for me to fully participate in that ever-popular nighttime ritual known as sleep the night before. By the time my body parts had worn themselves out and the dog had finally found the spot on my feet on which to sleep, the alarm hollered, letting me know that it was, in fact, time to get up.

With every chromosome in my body urging me to stay right where I was and let the day go on without me, I struggled (and it was a struggle) to stand beside the bed. I patted blindly around the bookcase for my glasses and groped my way to the bathroom, where I somehow managed to do little girl things, wash my hands and brush my teeth without drowning. Amazed that I could actually put one foot in front of the other, I trudged down the hall to the kitchen and began the morning performance of the Bee Family Circus.

I made JD3’s coffee. I made his lunch. I let the cats in and fed them. I took Gracie out and waited for her. And waited. And waited some more. (She won’t go unless I’m there to say, “Good girl.” That’s why I have to wait.) Just when I was about to rudely awaken the entire neighborhood by bellowing, “Will ya pee already?!” she found that elusive, only-one-in-the-whole-backyard, perfect spot and did just that. We went back inside and I let the cats out. I let the Little Dog out. I let the cats and the Little Dog back in and gave all furry critters their morning treats. I let the cats out again. And back in, again.

When JD3 gathered up his coffee mug and his lunch box, I opened the door for him, kissed him goodbye and sent him on his way. As I turned back into the room, I heard growling and hissing. And it was scaring the dogs and cats. It was clear to me that if I was going to make it through the day without biting somebody, I needed more sleep. So, I put the cats back out, dangled Puppy Cookies in the dogs’ faces so they would follow me and I went back to bed.

Two hours and a trip to The Twilight Zone later, I woke up with a dry mouth, a full bladder and a headache. For the second time that day, I tumbled (and it was a tumble) out of bed and zombie-walked to the bathroom. After I brushed my teeth, I put the toothbrush back in the glass and just stood there trying to get both of my eyes to open. When it became apparent that tea was not going to come to me, I hobbled down the hall to tea.

I was taking that first, life-giving sip when the phone rang. Clearly not understanding that I wanted it to Just. Shut. Up. it rang again and again. I side-stepped Gracie, stepped over the Little Dog and scooted a cat out of the way. Thinking nasty, evil, mean thoughts about the nasty, evil, mean person on the other end of the line, I answered the phone.

It was Mama. “Guuuuuuud mornin’! What’re you doin’?” she sang in that voice. The voice that used to irritate us out of bed on school mornings. The voice that woke us up at six o’clock on summer mornings asking if we’d like to go pick peas and butterbeans with her. (As if we had had a choice.) The same voice that, then and now, had me wanting to break Commandment 5 by breaking Commandment 6.

“I’m drinking tea and trying really hard not to step on the zoo inhabitants. What are you doing?”

“Well, he’s gone uptown and I need you to come over here. I want you to see my curtains. Can you come right now?” Immediately, a heated debate broke out between Bad Bee and Good Bee.

Bad Bee put her hands on her hips, cocked her head to one side and said, ‘You can’t go. You haven’t even finished your tea yet, for Pete’s sake. And even if you had, just how do you think you’d get there? Walk?! Remember, JD3 took your car to work because his has that funky bump thing in the right rear tire. And girlfriend! Have you looked in the mirror? I know you’ve brushed your teeth, but you haven’t washed your face and your hair looks like an unraveled pot scrubber. It’s, uhmm, actually kind of scary. Besides, he might come home early.” (He is my mother’s husband and we are having some issues and find it best to avoid each other for the time being.)

Good Bee shook her head, sighed in exasperation and looked at me over the top of her glasses. “You have to go. She’s your mama. You can finish your tea while you’re getting ready and you can always have another cup when you get home. JD3 said it would be all right to drive the car if you needed to. Just don’t go over 50mph. Heck, the speed limit for most of the drive over isn’t even 50! Now, go wash your face and pull your hair up into one of those sloppy casually elegant twisty things. Put on a bra and some shoes and get on over there. And don’t you let him keep you from visiting your mama!”

Darn that Good Bee. “Ok, I’ll be there in a few minutes,” I told her. “But I won’t be pretty.”

I sloshed down the rest of my tea and headed off to get ready. I washed my face, brushed my teeth again and manhandled my hair into a ‘do that wouldn’t scare small children. I even put on a bra AND shoes. Back in the kitchen, I asked Gracie to please not eat any of the furniture while I was gone, grabbed my purse and keys in one hand and the door knob in the other.

I didn’t get very far. “Crap! These are the wrong keys. I need JD3’s.” His key didn’t like the crowded conditions on my key ring, so it doesn’t live there any more. Instead, it hides out in a black hole that is suspended between 2 brown leather straps; a really scary place known as My Purse. When I couldn’t seem to grab the slippery little boogers by merely reaching in, I turned said black hole upside down and shook my very important stuff out onto the counter where I could see it. Aha! There it was, under 3 weeks worth of grocery receipts, 2 flashlights, an Almond Joy wrapper, a pair of scissors, and some random dollar bills. “Ok, here we go.”

As soon as I opened the door to step out, Gracie, thinking that “Ok, here we go,” really meant we, slinked out around me and trotted off into the back yard. How a 75lb dog with a chest like a bulldozer can slink anywhere is beyond me, but she did. So, I waited. And I waited. (Can you tell where this is going?) Finally, she finished and I took her back in the house, again told her to be a good girl, walked out and closed the door behind me.

Before my foot hit the bottom step, I thought, “Just hunky-dang-dory! My cell phone is in there on the counter!” Back up the steps I went. I unlocked the door, walked in and grabbed the recalcitrant little piece of electronic technology and, after giving Gracie the look, the play-nice-with-the-others-and-don’t-eat-my-socks look, I left the house.

At long last, I sat down in the driver’s seat of the car and heaved the 3-ton door shut. After buckling my seat belt and adjusting the rear view mirror, I slid the key into the ignition and started the engine. It was then that I heard it. JD3 had left the radio on and the haunting, dulcet sound of a flute spilled out of it and poured itself all over my very bad mood. Along with the music came the lyrics; words that I loved but hadn’t heard in years. ♪ ♪ Snot running down his nose. ♪ ♪ It was Jethro Tull! It was Aqualung! Suddenly in a very good mood, I rolled the window down, put the car in reverse and backed out of the driveway.

I know. Aqualung is most definitely not a happy little song. But it didn’t matter what the song meant; it mattered what the song meant to me. For just a few minutes, I was no longer a grumpy 51-year old woman with messy hair driving a limping, old vintage Volvo to visit her mother because she felt guilty. For just a few minutes, I was a happy 16-year old with wind-tousled hair driving the ‘bu across the causeway to the south end of the island. There, I would spend my days babysitting and my nights sitting on the dock star-gazing and listening to great music. ♪ ♪ Feeling like a dead duck! ♪ ♪ Life was good!

I know I’ve unwrapped my musical moment on a Saturday morning. But I’m still going to send y’all to Tuesdays Unwrapped over at chatting at the sky. A lot of nice people unwrapped some of their own special moments and managed to actually do it on a Tuesday!

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12 Responses to What It Meant to Me

  1. Chris says:

    Dear Bee,

    That is so precious! I'll bet every one of your readers has had a morning like that. I'm so glad it got better for you. I must admit, your distress was an enjoyable read…

    How were your mama's curtains?

    Chris

    Like

  2. Doodles says:

    you my friend are just very special, very special indeed.

    Like

  3. Ditto what Doodles said. And you just made my day! Just in case you can't see it, you're getting a standing ovation here

    Like

  4. Dawn says:

    tuesday? saturday? anyday… i am happy to “see” you. and in the midst of such a scary morning, i'm glad you found your moment. course it coulda come earlier if that almond joy wrapper had been FULL!

    Like

  5. This hit so many of my happy buttons. The Good Bee vs. Bad Bee. The repetition of Gracie and the cats. The formatting! The formatting with the strikes and the italics and the ellipses…I'm a dork, but it made me really, really happy.

    Still say you're the best writer around. Love you!

    Like

  6. Becky says:

    I love your writing all over, but my favorite parts are the Gracie bits. That child has personality plus. By the way, thank you for putting the way I feel some (read: most) mornings into words.

    Like

  7. Loved your story – recognized myself and bits of my life in there – but could never do with so many needy animals!

    Like

  8. deb says:

    Oh you have a very good Bee that I should borrow sometimes. I probably wouldn't have answered the phone :).

    What a great read…

    Like

  9. Joycee says:

    Great insight in this one! Good Bee, Bad Bee…that's funny!
    joy c. at grannymountain

    Like

  10. Yes, I laughed out loud at the Good Bee vs. Bad Bee line…..um hum, I have that inner struggle too, as you've read about today in my perspective post. Thanks for coming by, and actually God was so busy working on me that I couldn't pick up the phone when He called me about you!! LOL…..you're so funny.

    Suzanne

    Like

  11. deb says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Bee!
    giving thanks to these amazing blog friends like You

    Like

  12. deb says:

    and here I am again…..wishing you a Merry Christmas.

    Like

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