Hank and Me

I love Andrew Joyce’s work.

Andrew Joyce

I had just left an Apache Reservation in Arizona after having spent a night there. I was hitching west and had been picked up by a guy named Jimmy. I never did learn his last name. He was a full-blooded Apache and he invited me to crash on his couch. I didn’t get much sleep because we stayed up most of the night and talked … well … he did most of the talking. He told me of the Denéé—The People—as he referred to the Apache. I learned of their history, their medicine, or religion, as we would call it. I even did some peyote with him and spoke with God. But that’s another story. Today, I want to tell you about Hank.

Jimmy was still asleep when I left. I didn’t have it in me to wake him and ask for a ride back to the highway. The sun…

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Crazy Charlsie Part 10

It was  impossible  to stem the gossip that flew after Charley’s surgery.  The tittillating story excited the town’s small minds.  Charles’s prominent position in the community only made it more fascinating……….this misfortune on top of a crazy wife?  “Maybe that was what drove her crazy.” “Weird stuff like that runs in families.  “Dr. Evans acted interested in me for a while after his wife died.  I am so glad now I didn’t get involved with him.”  “My daughter always said Charley didn’t look at her right!”

A few good friends reached out to Charles.  Their sympathy was almost worse.  No friends came to see Charley.  Charles was glad Charley had requested no company, so Charley didn’t know no one called or asked to visit.  Geneva, Cora, and Charles took turns staying with till Charley went home from the hospital and worked hard to start thinking and referring to Charley as a boy, a difficult change to make.

Charley was thoughtful, but denied depression.  He lounged around with in Charles’s baggy pajamas for a week or so before approaching Charles.  “Dad, I need new clothes.  I’ll never wear my old stuff again.  Can we go to Dallas and get me some things? I don’t want to be stared at here at in a men’s store here in town.”

“We can go Wednesday afternoon if I can get someone to cover my hospital load.  I’ll get the office nurse to cancel my patients Thursday so we can stay overnight..  You can help yourself to the things your brothers left here in the meantime.  I could use a few things, too.  It should be fun shopping together.” Charles actually looked forward to the trip with the new Charley.

Marzell dropped by after school, bringing Charley’s books and assignments.  Cora was so glad to see her.  She showed her in without asking Charley.  “I didn’t want to see anybody.  I’m not the person you thought I was.  Didn’t you hear about me?”

“I heard. That’s why I came to see you.  I didn’t call because I didn’t want to give you the chance to say no.  You are still my friend.  Nothing changes that.  Your were the first person who was nice when I moved here.  I loved you like a sister then.  Nothing has changed for me.” Marzell said.

“Everything has changed,” Charley said. “I am a boy now.  I always thought I was but now I know it’s true.  Boys and girls can’t be best friends.  You can’t spend the night anymore. I always wanted to touch you in the wrong way.  Now, I know why.  I have a man’s feelings.  You need to leave me alone.  I am a mess!  I don’t know what’s going to happen to me.”

“I don’t know what’s good no to happen to you either, but I will still be your friend.  You are the aren’t the only person who has a hard time.  If I couldn’t come over here, I’d have to put up with Old Melvin learing at me twenty-four hours a day.  I’ll be by tomorrow to pick up your work and bring assignments.”  She left without saying goodbye.

“You don’t need to bring my assignments.  I am not going back to school . Everybody at school knows I am a freak.”” Charley said.

“They already thought that.  Big deal!  You only have two more weeks of eleventh grade.  I’ll take your work in.  You can worry about going back next fall.  See you tomorrow.”

 

 

 

Crazy Charlsie Part 9

“I knew it!  I knew it!  I always knew I wasn’t a girl!”  Charley felt like a prisoner freed from jail. Now at least I don’t have to pretend. Can you fix me?”

” We have to go in and explore your belly to free up that testicle and check the other side, but can’t change what’s on the the outside.”  Just want to make sure you understand before surgery.  If the testicle is healthy, do you want to save it?  The hormones are beneficial to men, and you’ll need it if you want to father a child.  Who knows what’s down the road for you.”  Dr. Farmer asked.

“Yes, I need it.  I want to be a man.”

“Do you need a little time to think about this?” asked Charles.  “It’s a big decision.”

“Dad, it’s not a decision.  I’ve had sixteen years to live with this. I have always known I’m a boy in a girl’s body.   Think of how had it would be for you to have to be a woman.   Now I don’t have to pretend.  It’s over.”  Charley looked relieved.

Charles felt awful for his part in Charley’s troubles, knowing his decision had and would cntinue to effect his child forever.  “Well Dr. Farmer, I guess Charley is ready to go to surgery.  I’ll be here when you get back, Charley.”

“Dad, you’ve always been here for me.”

“Okay, Charley, while I am in there, I’ll look for the other testicle.  We don’t want to have to put you to go through this again,”  Dr. Farmer’s positive attitude encouraged them both.

The two hours of Charley’s surgery were the longest of Charles’s life as he mourned the troubles he and nature were putting Charley through.  He prayed for guidance to be able to support Charley down this difficult road.  He’d never known anyone who went from female to male and knew it would be rough.

Charley was back in two hours, groggy but fine.  Dr. Farmer gave her a few minutes to rouse before visiting.  “Good news, folks.  Charley has two healthy testicles.  There’s also an undersized uterus, which I didn’t disturb.  I wasn’t able to examine the ovaries without making a much larger incision, so I left that alone.  If you ever have gynecological issues, we can take care of those as the need arises.

“So I can expect to become more male?” Charley asked.

“I’d expect so.  You already have a lean, muscular body type, much like your father.  I do see signs of a sparse beard sprouting.  The testicles are now resting in what was your labia.  Your vagina appears normal.  Your urinary tract in normal position for a female, so that here’s no change there.  Intervention would be a painful and the outcome uncertain, and I don’t have the expertise to do that.  I recommend you continue as you are.  To sum it up, you are a healthy male with a few female parts thrown into in.  It is possible you could father children, given what I see.”  This is a lot to think about, so feel free to ask questions as you think  of them. ”  Dr. Farmer shook hands with them both before leaving.

Charles turned to Charley, “That was a good feeling,” Charley mused.  “MY first time to shake hands, man to man.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lost in translation

Looks! Looky!

soulgifts - Telling Tales

TRH (The Retired Husband) bought a new tool on-line a few weeks ago. It arrived the other day – a Pyrography machine.

As with all good tools, there is a set of enclosed safety and operational instructions. They are usually in several languages.

These instructions are in two. Chinese and English. However, given that our main language these days is English, that is our go to default. And we cannot read Chinese hyroglyphics. Our bad 😦

Here is the English version (note: my photo quality is equivalent to that of the translation) :

1 Pyrography machine switch. when used to turn on the switch, when not in use, please turn off the switch, to avoid danger.

Oh, oh ! Warning bells are starting to ring.

2. Thermostat. regulating pyrography pen point temperature and normal temperature regulation in the light gray areas, the red area is high temperature zone…

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Crazy Charlsie Part 8

Charley had complained of vague abdominal pain for about three days before she awoke to excruciating right-sided belly  pain on her sixteenth birthday.  She refused to allow Charles examine her, so he asked a surgical colleague to see her.  Dr. Farmer did a quick exam of her belly and felt Charles’s diagnosis was spot on.  Charley was scheduled  for immediate surgery.  Charles was concerned, but not unduly alarmed as he waited..  Charles expected to see her back in recovery in about an hour.  The surgeon looked grave when he sought Charles right after takng her into surgery.

“Is she okay?  Had the appendix ruptured?”  he asked.

“She’s fine but it’s not her appendix.   I haven’t started surgery yet,  but there’s something we need to talk about.  Let’s go to a private area.”  They moved into Charley’s assigned room.  Sit down, Charles.  It wasn’t appendicitis.    I saw  no reason to do a pelvic exam prior to surgery, but when Charley was moved to the table, some  abnormalities were noted.    Charley has ambiguous genitalia, some male, some female.  She has a fully developed vagina with a very large clitoris or a small penis.  When erect, it might be three and a half inches. Her right labia has a partially descended testicle which is likely incarcerated. I have manually rotated it and returned the blood flow for the present, but it is likely the cords will twist again.  That is the cause of her pain and must be explored.  There is no obvious testicle on the left, but there could be one that hasn’t descended.  We need to let her wake up and  inform her before going ahead with surgery in this life-altering situation.”

“Dear God, that’s why she was so secretive.  She doesn’t know, but at birth, she had what I thought was an abnormally large clitoris and I removed it, thinking that would take care of the problem.  She looked like a perfect female in every other way.  What have I done to my child?”  Charles cried out his grief.

Dr. Farmer tried to comfort him.  “I might have done the same thing.  How could you know it would turn out this way?  That fact is, Charley needs to know the situation.  The penile tissue that’s left is healthy, just shorter.  She may choose to live as a man.  She should be awake in a few minutes  and we can talk to her.”

“Oh my God.  This willl be the hardest talk I’ve ever had.”

 

Crazy Charlsie Part 7

Charles was worried about Charley.  Her fifteenth summer, she topped six feet.  Though,  muscular, just like him and his sons, she was full-busted like her mother.  As he sat across her from dinner one evening, he noticed a fine blonde mushtache beginning to show.  Her voice was also deepening to tenor.  Not the only one to notice, the kids at school had started calling her girly-man.

Of course Charley was confused, having no frame of reference for the changes.  Fortunately, she enjoyed a warm friendship with Marzell who often stayed over at the Evan’s house, though she never invited Charley to visit her home.  Marzell clearly enjoyed time with the whole family.  “I can’t stand my stepfather. He just looks at me weird.  Mama married hm six months after Daddy died.  He gives me the creeps.  I try to leave Mama alone with her new family as much as I can.  II hang around, I have to help with Little Melvin, anyway.  Isn’t that a stupid name?  Melvin doesn’t fit a baby, does it?  I can’t wait till I graduate so I can move back to Dallas with Grandma where all my friends and cousins are.  I don’ know why Mama had to marry Old Melvin.  We were doing fine at Grandma’s.”

Marzell was a petite, very feminine girl, a marked contrast to Charley.  She was pursued by Roger, a grease monkey who worked at her stepfather’s filling station.  Though she flirted with him a bit, she refused to go out with him.  His sullen eyes followed her around whenever she had to go to the station.  Very fried chicken that Sunday,  Charley teased her about her sweetheart.  “You ought to marry Roger.  Y’all could raise a tree full of little grease monkeys.”

“I wouldn’t have him on a birthday cake!  You take him, ”  she snapped back.  “I ain’t ever gonna marry!”

“Ha!  You say that now!”  Charley laughed.

“I mean it!  I ain’t ever gonna marry.”

Hearing this exchange over dinner that day, Charles felt a little more  unsettled and hoped it was no more than teasing.

 

Brother Gobel and Lost Love

Nutsrok

roseJust days after Daddy’s death, Brother Gobel, a Pentecostal preacher, paid a condolence call to Mother.  A Bantam Rooster of a man, he was bow-legged, bald and not much taller than she,  a stark contrast to the tall, handsome husband she was still mourning.  He drank coffee, prayed with her, as ministers on visits normally do, and took his leave.  Thinking no more of it, Mother was shocked to get a letter from him a few days later.  Even more startling, was the fact that it included an epic poem of love telling of his devotion and hopes for their future together,  followed up with a marriage proposal, and some appropriate Biblical quotations about the role of wives, remarking that he’d always admired what a dutiful wife she had been, waiting on Daddy hand and foot.  Wisely, she pitched the letter in the trash.  Unwisely, she told me about it.  One of my great…

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Y’all got a Snake in Y’all’s Tree

It’s not everyday one hears a dynamic statement like this! Melvin was the ex-husband of Mother’s old friend, Maggie. A good man, he’d gone just a bit “off the rails” and Maggie, had reluctantly left him as a result of his increasingly fantical religious leanings. Mother and Daddy had long been faithful congregants of their church, only missing services if unable to attend. Melvin showed up to visit one day, not long after Daddy died. Mother wasn’t particularly anxious to visit with him but had no concerns about inviting him in for coffee, since the families had been friends for more than twenty years. She served him coffee, dreading what might be on his mind. She was wearing a faded jeans and a cotton shirt with the top button undone. Speaking pleansantly, he asked, “Would you mind buttoning your shirt and rolling down your sleeves?” She did as he asked, as though she’d been caught flaunting herself.

Melvin unfolded a hinged message board. Before starting his talk, he made another request. “Would you please uncross your legs?” She did. Back to the talk; on one side of the board was a crudely painted train, running off the rails in a mountain pass, on the other, a plane ascending toward a cross in the heavens. Melvin explained to Mother, that if she didn’t follow Christ, like the train, she was “off the rails” and headed for hell.

Without thinking she recrossed her legs. He caught her. “Uh! Uh! Uh!” Shamed, she uncrossed them. He continued. “If she followed Christ, she’d do like the plane and “go to Jesus.” She was anxious for this creepy talk to be over and have him on his way. He turned to stare out her front door, speaking in a monotone. “Did y’all know y’all had a snake in y’all’s tree?”

The hair stood up on the back of her neck!

He walked directly to the gun cabinet where Daddy’s loaded guns still stood, took one out, walked to the front door, shot the snake, returned the gun the its slot, and returned to his seat to finish Mother’s religious instruction.

She got her purse, told Melvin she had some business to attend to, instructing him to lock the door on his way out. He never visited again, his duty done.

Sweet Hour of Prayer

Nutsrok

imageMaggie married Melvin shortly after her first husband died.  Maybe she should’ve waited longer, but she was exhausted after her long struggle to support Ray through his illness and then Little Ray after he died, so she was glad to have Melvin’s companionship and support, even though he was odd from the start.  Things went well enough for several years, but by the time Melvin reached his late forties, he’d developed religious delusions that made him impossible to live with.

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