Queen Envy

My mother, Kathleen, has suffered from Royalty Envy her entire life. First of all, Princess Elizabeth was born two years ahead of Kathleen, giving her an unfair advantage. Seeing Princess Elizabeth featured in magazines and newsreels in gorgeous dresses surrounded by her retinue fascinated and frustrated her. Clearly the young royal had done no more than she to deserve this sumptuous life. To add insult to injury, Princess Elizabeth had beautifully curled hair. Kathleen suspected it was a much coveted permanent wave.

One or two fortunate girls of Kathleen’s acquaintance prissed about haughtily showing off their permanent waves. Kathleen knew every penny in her household had a purpose, so it never occurred to her to mention her yearning for a permanent wave. Periodically, her older sister curled her hair with rag curlers, but those curls paled beside the beauty of a permanent wave. Even worse, Princess Elizabeth’s hair might have been naturally curly. What cruel accident of birth would bestow curly hair upon a royal child and condemn Kathleen, a tow-headed, child of American The Great Depression, to struggle through at least ninety-four years of lanky, string-straight locks.

Kathleen avidly poured over any mention of Princess Elizabeth in newsreels, news papers, and magazines, alternately admiring and envying the girl unaware of her existence. Every time she visited to outhouse, she read and reread a magazine article about the princesses, fully aware Princess Elizabeth wasn’t reading about her in her dainty water closet.

Kathleen excelled at the tiny school in Cuthand,Texas, sometimes helping her janitor father clean after school, aware that Princess Elizabeth was educated by governesses, later attending the finest private schools. While the princess attended soirees, Kathleen picked beans, fed chickens, and gathered eggs. There was definitely nothing privileged about her rural life.

As time passed, Kathleen had less time to devote to her rival who was now queen, though she noted with satisfaction her own children were more handsome and probably smarter. She was a bit critical of the queen’s style; too many pastels and over-large hats., though it seems she would have been pleased that something that obscured the queen’s curly hair.

Some things never change. I mentioned the other day the queen might be schmoozing with the heavenly hosts right now since she’d beaten Mother to Heaven. Mother remarked snidely, “You don’t know that for sure, do you?”

I knew she’d say that!


Update on Mother

If you’ve followed me for a while, you may remember frequent posts about my mother. At ninety- four, she lives independently, manages her life and business, and still gardens. I see her several times a week and do her heavy lifting. She rotates her housekeeping on on a daily schedule, so her house is clean as a pin. Her neighbors call in for coffee, so she’s very social. The best of all is her good nature. Every morning when I call, she says, “I feel so good.”

Bad, Good,better

The day after his wife disappeared in a kayaking accident, an Alaskan man answered his door to find two long-faced Alaska State Troopers.

“We’re sorry Mr.Jones, but we have some information about your wife,” said one trooper.

“Tell me! Tell me! Did you find her?” Jones shouted.

The troopers looked at each other. One said, “We have some bad news, some good news, and some really great news. Which do you want to hear first?”

Dreading what was coming, an anxious Mr.Jones said, “Give me the bad news first.”

The trooper said, “I’m sorry to tell you, sir, but this morning we found your wife’s body in the Bay.”

“Oh my God!” exclaimed Jones. Stammering, he asked, “what’s the good news?”

The trooper continued, “When we pulled her up, she had 12 twenty-five pound king crabs and 6 good-size Dungeness crabs clinging to her. In all fairness, you are entitled to a share in the catch.”

Outraged, Mr. Jones demanded, “If that’s the good news, what’s the great news?”

The trooper said, “We’re going to pull her up again tomorrow.”

Photo by Summer Li on Pexels.com

Update on Mother


I have been AWOL for a while due to some family situations, so I have some updating to do.  First of all, I’ve always posted a lot about Mother.  She is fine at ninety-two.  We avoid getting out because of corona virus, so it was a treat to go blueberry picking a few days ago. We only saw a couple of other pickers far afield, as happy to avoid contact as we were.

The sky was a pure, crystal blue and mountainous, cottony white-clouds transformed above us.  Had I been nimble as a five-year-old, I would have stretched out in the grass watching clouds change from horses to gnomes, to a covered wagons. Six decades certainly interferes with the pleasure of prolonged cloud performance.  A slight breeze brought welcome comfort in the Louisiana heat as we lounged with lemonade at a picnic table shaded by a giant oak.

I do believe this cloud was working up to the Pillsbury Dough Boy.



Mother still works in her yard almost every day.  She  comes from long-lived stock.  Her grandfather lived to ninety-six, before succumbing to stubbornness.  He might still be with us otherwise. He had a numb leg from a Civil War injury. An iron bedstead did him in when he hung a toe on his iron bedstead heading outdoors to the toilet, tripping  and cracking his head..  A brain bleed did him in four days later.

Evil Incarnate on a Pink Tricycle

imageMother gets pretty hot about a few things.  One of these is problems with mail delivery.  One day, she got to her mailbox to find her mail tattered,torn, and lying on the ground.  Worst of all, a government check had been ripped.  Somebody was going to pay for this crime!  Rabid with rage, she cornered a couple of kids who gladly gave up the perpetrator to save their own sorry hides.  They’d seen a little blonde-haired girl with pig-tails standing on her pink tricycle rifling through Mother’s box.  Mother gave the little snitches a five dollar reward after they located the child’s tricycle parked in front of a house two streets over.

Armed with this information, Mother called the Sheriff’s Department to report the heinous crime. Regaling him every shocking detail, the criminal’s description, description of the getaway vehicle, and last known address.  The deputy laughed, asking if she’d had the check back.

“Yes, but that’s not the point.  I want this stopped!  Tampering with the mail is a Federal Crime!”

“Lady, what do you want me to do, put out an APB on a little three-year-old girl on a pink tricycle?”

Horror Movie, Really

image courtesy of Wikipedia

We NEVER went to the movies.  I don’t mean rarely.  I mean never.  Sadly, the night in question didn’t do much to change that, except to let me know that the inside of the theater was dark and smelled like popcorn, a fact that didn’t change my feeling much, since I didn’t get popcorn.

Oh, well.  On with the story.  Mother decided we were due a treat. One fine August night, we were going to see a movie!   She’d saved up her pennies, dropped Daddy off at work at three, and took us to the ten cent movie at the Spring Theatre in Springhill that night.  If they planned to recoup low attendance with popcorn and drink sales to us that night, it was a bad business plan.  Mother smuggled peanut butter sandwiches and a communal jug of water for us to share after leaving no doubt she wouldn’t be buying snacks.

Any, we trooped in like a line of big dumb ducks, clattering about three-quarters down the aisle where Mother thought we could see best.  It was quite a parade.  Mother directed us toward the center of the row, sending Phyllis and Connie to be seated first.  Phyllis was a good sister and could soothe the restless toddler as well as Mother.  I followed.  Mother and Marion, a baby in arms, and Billy were next.  Billy and I couldn’t be trusted to behave in church, so she always sat between us.  I don’t know why Mother thought I couldn’t behave in a movie.  It would have to be way better than church.

Back the, there was no multiple choice in small-town movie.  Movies were rotated out once a week.  You got what you got.  As soon as the cartoons went off,  that night’s feature rolled: “The Interns.

I could see right off there would be no cowboys, Wonder Horses, ghosts, or monsters.  I was disappointed, but still, I was “at the movies.”  Sure enough, in about ten minutes, my ears perked up.  The scene opened on an obstetrics ward.  I was very interested in finding out all I could about sex.  Mother had always reacted with outrage when anything came on TV about pregnancy or to raise questions she didn’t want to answer.  It didn’t matter if thousands of Indians were about to scalp Custer, any indication that a woman might be in dramatic labor jolted her into action.  I was delighted when I heard the line, …”and I better not catch any of you young interns messing with my young mothers!”  I snapped to attention!  There was no way Mother could turn the movie off.  I was finally going to find out what happened when “my pains were two minutes apart.”

Mother was incensed! She’d led us right into the belly of the beast. Not only had she brought us to a “dirty movie,” now she was going to have to put with with questions. She was mad! For someone who went around having babies Willy Nilly, she sure was touchy!

She grabbed Billy out of his seat and pushed him to the aisle, sputtering all the way. He was all set to see a movie and now Mother was dragging him out.of corse he protested. I slid into the aisle, right behind Mother. Phyllis, a “good Christian,” mirrored Mother’s attitude.  All us kids were disappointed.  We didn’t even get to go to the “bathroom of sin.”  Mother wasn’t rising any backward peeks.

I don’t remember my parents having a good car.  The model Mother was driving that night was at least ten-years-old. The kids piled furiously in the car, having been deprived of a wondrous treat.  Furious herself, Mother threatened.  She wasn’t putting up with any hateful backtalk.  Mother has always been a doofus of a driver and hates parallel parking and backing up. Simply said,  she couldn’t drive nail in a fat hog’s rear. See, I’m getting mad again just remembering!  She can’t get out of average spots, much less, tight spots.  She had parked as near as she could to the corner, really close to the high curb, so as not to have to reverse.   In fact, she was so close we all had to slide out on the passenger side.  Remember, she was scared of backing up.   Sadly, she’d miscalculated and left just enough room for a car to back in front of her, boxing her in.  She’d also failed to notice a power pole left back bumper.    She was hopelessly locked in till that car’s happy owner finished watching the move we’d just been dragged out of. We finished the peanut butter sandwiches and jug of water  in record time?  It was hotter than a cowboy’s whorehouse on payday as we waited that hot August night.  I only wish I’d known these phrases while we sat in the hot car.  A good beating for a filthy mouth would set the evening off to perfection.

Does this sound dirty?  I pulled this straight from Wikipedia.

The Interns is a 1962 American drama film that starred Michael Callan and Cliff Robertson.[2] This film is a medical melodrama that presages many similar TV programs to follow. It centers on the personal and professional conflicts of young medical interns under the tutelage of senior surgeons, Telly Savalas and Buddy Ebsen. The film was followed by a 1964 sequel, The New Interns, and a 1970–1971 television medical drama series, The Interns, that was based on the films. The Interns was directed by David Swift.[2]

The Interns
Poster of the movie The Interns.jpg

Directed by David Swift
Produced by Robert Cohn
Written by Walter Newman
Based on The Interns
1960 novel
by Richard Frede
Starring Michael Callan
Cliff Robertson
Music by Leith Stevens
Cinematography Russell Metty
Edited by Al Clark
Jerome Thoms
Robert Cohn Productions
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
  • August 8, 1962
Running time
120 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $9,230,769[1]



A class of interns arrives for their first year in training at a public city hospital, which serves patients from many different ethnic and socioeconomic groups. Close friends and classmates John Paul Otis (Robertson) and Lew Worship (James MacArthur) plan to become surgeons and open their own clinic together. They are less than thrilled about their assignment to obstetrics, feeling that delivering babies is not very difficult.

Lew becomes romantically involved with student nurse Gloria (Stefanie Powers), while John becomes infatuated with fashion model Lisa Cardigan (Suzy Parker). Lisa dislikes the idea of dating a relatively impoverished young doctor, and is pregnant out of wedlock by another man. Although John offers to solve her problem by marrying her, she pressures him to illegally obtain pills for her in hopes of ending the pregnancy. He finally does so, and is caught and reported by Lew, ending their friendship and John’s medical career.

Sid Lackland (Nick Adams) aspires to serve wealthy patients so he can make a lot of money. Then he becomes attached to Loara (Ellen Davalos), a girl from a poor village in Southeast Asia, who is one of his patients. She has a rare medical condition and is scheduled for a serious operation. Loara resists his friendly overtures because she is sure she will die in the hospital. Sid is heartbroken when Loara dies during her surgery.

Alec Considine (Callan) wants a residency under eminent psychiatrist Dr. Bonney, and secretly cheats on his wealthy fiancee Mildred (Anne Helm) with Dr. Bonney’s longtime nurse Vicky Flynn in hopes of being introduced to the doctor. To keep up his medical duties and spend time with both women, Alec takes Dexedrine to stay awake. Although he does meet Dr. Bonney, who offers him a residency, Mildred discovers his affair and leaves him.

Madolyn Bruckner (Haya Harareet) aspires to become a surgeon under abrasive Dr. Domenic Riccio (Savalas). Despite her skills as an intern, Riccio discourages her because he is prejudiced against female doctors, assuming they will abandon their medical careers to get married and have children. Riccio later finds out Madolyn has already been married and has a child, yet is still pursuing her medical career as a single working mother.

At the end of the year, Alec, Lew, and several other interns come under suspicion when a terminally ill, immobile patient who has been begging to die is found dead of a barbiturateoverdose. None of the involved interns can accept their residencies until the source of the drugs is found, creating a risk that the residency offers will be withdrawn. Alec, strung out on Dexedrine, has a nervous breakdown at the thought of losing his residency with Dr. Bonney. Lew and the other interns visit the patient’s wife and find out that she gave him the drugs after being worn down by his constant pleas that if she really loved him, she would help him die. As a result, the interns are no longer under suspicion and can accept their offers.

Lew, having developed an interest in obstetrics after delivering a baby, accepts a residency at the same hospital, and convinces Gloria, who had planned to travel and see the world, to marry him, instead. Sid gets an offer from a wealthy hospital, but inspired by Loara, he goes to practice in impoverished Southeast Asia, instead. Riccio hires Madolyn as his resident assistant. John, now engaged to Lisa, visits his former classmates and tells Lew he respects him for his sense of ethics. A new class of interns arrives and Lew shows them the way to their dormitory, just as a doctor did for him the previous year.


Mother’s Garden

Mother built the little path herself as well as a stone patio using little-old-lady-sized rocks. She does all her own planting.  I dig the big holes for her.  She does the rest.  She does have he perennial “rose covered cottage.”  She twines pink climbing roses over her porch rails.  They are mean.  It cured the problem of free-range kids climbing on the rails. Her neighborhood is full of them.  She sprinkles flour over tomatoes and warns the kids they might get poisoned.  It works.  She never loses a tomato anymore.  The neighborhood kids used to pick them and her flowers, but now they worry about the poison.

It Couldn’t be Helped Part 12

Now for the poop part of the story, Once Mother gets a notion in her head, she can not be side-tracked. Mother and I stopped in at the grocery store one morning. As we made our way back to my vehicle, I spotted a dignified elderly gentleman hurriedly making his way back to his own car parked adjacent to mine. He seemed to be in some distress, so I slowed my place to stay out of his way. As he sidled past me, I got a whiff and realized the reason for his scurrying. I slowed my pace and acted distracted to give him time to get to his car and save his dignity.

Meanwhile, Mother was right behind me. She didn’t notice his predicament, only that an oldster was getting ahead of her. She is vain about being spry for her age and was determined not to be left in his dust. She picked up her pace, catching up to him. Getting into my car as the wind changed, she got a foul whiff of feces. They were standing back to back, almost touching as she inspected her shoe and announced. “Something smells awful. There must have been a dog running loose doing his business. Better check your shoe. I don’t have anything on my shoe.” Just in case I hadn’t heard, she repeated, just like I was five years old. “You’d better check your shoe! Something smells awful! Don’t you smell it!” By this time, the poor man was sitting in his car with the window open.

“No, Mother. I don’t smell a thing. Get in. Let’s go.” By this time, the whole town had to know what the problem was.

It seemed like an eternity before we got away. “Mother, that man had messed up his clothes and was trying to slip into his car. Of course, I smelled him. Dead people smelled him. I was just trying to avoid embarrassing him. You were just about backing into him.”

She was horrified. “Oh, My Lord! Did I get anything on me? Oh well. It couldn’t be helped!”

It Couldn’t Be Helped Part 11

First of all, I was born in the deep South in 1950, another world. Mother was determined to raise us to be above criticism. This was hard on me, a kid quite comfortable with criticism. Our language was subject to all kinds of boundaries. The first thing that set us apart from the great unwashed was that we “wee-weed” and “gee-geed”. I’ve met other prissy kids who “wee-weed”, but I have yet to meet another “gee-geeer”. (g as in go) See, there’s not even a right way to spell it. Being a “gee-geer” in a world full of “do-doers” is rough. On top of that, I grew up with a bunch of renegade cousins who were too bad to “pee-pee”. They “pissed, do-dooed, ka-ka ed, dookied,” and even worse, they “shat.” They said these words in public, in front of their parents! Mother led us to believe they were exceptions to the rule, bound for hell. Imagine how humiliated I was when I went to school with normal people, didn’t realize I was a weirdo, and said “gee-gee” the first time. Uhhhhhhh! She set me up!!!!!!!

Unbelievably, Mother had me convinced I would get caught if I said anything on the bad list. I yearned to cut loose, but, in the interest of growing old, curbed myself. Mother never specifically categorized forbidden words, but we all knew their rank. The F-word would have been an unforgivable sin. Besides, the first hint of its existence was in the sixth grade from my cousin Cathy, and she pronounced it “Funk.” Wouldn’t I have looked like an idiot writing that on a gym locker? I still avoid typing anything that starts with a capital F. Next in line, comes S-H-I-T. I did not say the word. I just spelled it. Mother even spelled S-H-I-T once to make a point. My sister Connie dropped a skillet on her toe and said, “Crap!!!!” Mother told her she might as well have said “S-H-I-T.” It was just as bad. Fortunately for Connie, she didn’t take Mother up on her advice or she wouldn’t be here today.

It would have been unthinkable to say “G—-Damn!” Lightning surely would have struck. It was saved for drunks, harlots, atheists, scientists, and other unregenerate sinners. You couldn’t have dragged it out of me.

We were fortunate enough to hear “Damn” occasionally. “Damn” did not put you entirely beyond the pale; just made your raising suspect. That was the worst thing about bad language. It put your mother in a bad light. Guilt was the best control. “You ought to be ashamed. You’re raised better than that! How can you talk like that? People will think we talk like that at home. We’re not the kind of people who talk like that. What if Daddy heard you talk like that? …………..” This could go on for a while, ending with, “ I’m so hurt!” It was okay to make Mother mad. I did that all the time. “Hurting” her put a kid beyond the pale. She’d drag herself around looking like a martyr till she was convinced you’d suffered enough or till the next kid really messed up. Nope. You didn’t want to “hurt” Mother

I did experience one miracle in my childhood. Daddy was a grouch, a nag, bossy, and impossible to put up with on his best days. He criticized all of us relentlessly. After knee surgery, he was in a cast, on crutches, and couldn’t drive. Whenever he had to go somewhere, we all took off in the opposite direction. Recovering from surgery did not enhance his sunny nature, no one wanted to drive him. It was a misery from the time you got in the car till you baled out. He was free to critique every portion of your being, from your personality, your behavior, your attitude, and most of all, your driving. One fine day, Mother got stuck with the job of driving him, and in his usual sweet way, he was torturing her. “Speed up, slow down, change gears, don’t ride the clutch……………!!!”

Connie and Marilyn were stuck in the back seat, listening to his incessant lecturing, when Mother finally got enough. She pulled the car over, killed it, clamped her teeth, and hissed at him, “Shut your damned mouth. I don’t want to hear another word out of you.” Stunned, he shut his damned mouth. She cranked the car and drove on. Connie and Marilyn were shocked beyond words. None of us had ever heard Mother say “Damn!” We’d all wanted to tell him to shut him damned mouth at least a million times, but hadn’t had the nerve.

When they got home, Mother stormed into the house leaving Daddy to struggle in on his own, instead of holding the gate, shooing the dogs away, and holding the front door for him like she had been doing since his surgery. It took him a while to manage the gate on his crutches. When he finally dragged in, he made a big production of collapsing into his recliner, raising his feet to a comfortable position, and asked for something for pain. Mother went on about her business, ignoring him. He asked me to make coffee. I brought him a cup. He called us all in; he had something to tell us. The last time he’d done this was when he’d announced they were having a new baby. I was pretty sure that wasn’t it as grouchy as he’d been lately. Once, he had everyone’s attention, including Mother’s, he put on a hurt face, looked around at us, and confided sadly.

“Children, you’re not going to believe what your mother said to me. She told me to ‘Shut my damn mouth’.” The room exploded. We were all laughing out of control, thrilled Mother had finally had enough and stood up to Daddy. It was a fine moment for the entire family. None of us shut our damned mouths for quite a while.

I’m not even going to talk about “titties!”