An Orange Vest #Mondayblogs

I usually write my blog for Mondays on Sundays.  (Oh, that’s fun to say.)  This Sunday I spent three hours with an amazing group of coworkers who volunteered to pick up trash with me.  That’s right.  I asked people who spend their working ours being peed on, pooped on, vomited on, … you get the point… to pick up trash on their day off.

It’s my inner hippie.  I want to do what I can to make the world a better place.  I’m not a Ms. America candidate so I know world peace is out of my grasp.  Providing Virginia with a two mile stretch of clean roads three times a year?  We got this shit.

That’s how we got ourselves signed up for the Adopt-A-Highway program and that’s how we spent our Sunday.  Eight people, two miles, three hours and eighteen bags of trash later I have this to say:  People, stop throwing your dirty diapers out the window!  I know the cloth people hound you about how long it takes for them to break down in landfills, but that doesn’t mean the better alternative is to let them break down in ditches!

In lieu of a cake blog, I present you with these fantastic photos.  10728968_10152429070297129_1252126650_nYes, I have way too much fun playing with trash.  I know.  

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The gang :)

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That’s more like it.

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Plenty Of Pieces – A Tribute To Butch #mondayblogs

I have told many people over the years that those of us raised in Cape Charles (or anyone who hung out with us) do not seem to have a long life expectancy. People chuckle and think I’m kidding, but I wonder if they would still laugh watching me prepare to write a piece about the third ‘big brother’ to die in less than two years. I think about everyone from my old hood and how we lived life hard and fast. Laughter, tears, fast cars, slow walks, sand between our toes and cold beers in our hands.

Some of us have our lives together, some us of don’t.

Some of our bodies will forgive us for the years of abuse, some of them won’t.

And in those two sentences you have summed up a whole herd of people who in one way or another belonged to Cape Charles.

I want you to meet Butch, but I want you to meet him how I met him. Sure you can look at his online obituary and see a recent photo. You may even be able to check his Facebook page and find a picture of him, although the majority of his photos are of sons.

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When I met Butch, I was twelve. My parents’ divorce persuaded my father into what I will call a rough patch. As a recently separated thirty year old man, my dad worked during the day and then became a party goer at night. He had recently started working at a family junkyard and in this employment found a new friend in the twenty-one year old Butch. Some of my weekends were spent in my father’s custody and part of that time was spent at the junkyard and in the company of Butch. I’m sure plenty of men of that age would find a twelve year old wandering around his job site, talking to all the junkyard dogs and stray cats as a bit of an annoyance. However, Butch always was kind and never acted like I was a bother.

Eventually, my dad moved up north and started working on a clam boat out of Jersey. He’d come down occasionally for a weekend to get my sister and I for a visit. Most the time he told my mother that we were staying at a motel, which sometimes was true. I can tell you though, that kind young man who was in the prime of his life and should have been having house parties, opened his trailer to us so my dad didn’t have to spend money on a motel. Butch may have never gotten every detail of his life right, but he was always kind and did what he could for a friend. Even if that entailed letting a bunch of people camp out in his living room.

In the years to come, I moved in Cape Charles and became just another wild and crazy product of the town. Most parents of teenage girls frowned upon interactions between their daughters and Butch. Rightfully so, he was older and he was a stoner. As mischief teenagers go, we all still upheld our friendships with Butch anyways. I remember a particular fall day that I was riding my bike around town by myself when Butch pedaled up beside me on his. We stopped at the beachfront and talked. At some point, I asked Butch,

“How old are you?”

“I don’t know.”

“What do you mean you don’t know? When’s your birthday?”

He stared off into the horizon for a moment. “I can’t say that I remember.”

“Butch, how can you not remember when your birthday is or how old you are?”

“I guess I just got to a point where it didn’t matter anymore.”

I laughed because as a teenager you can’t imagine a time in your life when your birthday or your age isn’t important. I can admit now, Butch was right. There’s often times I have no idea how old I am.

I can close my eyes right now and feel the wind coming off the bay as we walked along the water one night. I can tell you it was either fall or winter because I was drinking a 40 oz of Colt 45 and not a double deuce. If you get a forty in the summer, it gets too hot towards the end of the bottle. And trust this, if you are drinking Colt 45 it is best enjoyed as cold as possible.

I was having one of those sad nights where I had parked my old Ford Thunderbird at the far end of the beach and just wanted to wander aimlessly in the dark with my thoughts and malt liquor. Somehow, he found me and I knew the minute I heard, “Hey girl,” in a slow draw that it was Butch.

“Butch! What’s going on, man?”

“Oh, not much. Saw your car parked down there all by itself. Thought I’d come check on you.”

We were about to the pavilion when I headed to the dune grass to pee. He turned his back, which was uberly polite since it was pitch black outside. “You should be careful doing that outside,” he yelled to me.

“Why? You think the boogie man is going to get me?”

“No, I’m not worried about the boogie man. Raccoons. You know when they get rabies they’ll run right up and bite you on the bare ass.”

All rabid raccoon jokes aside, I think Butch was one of the few people who realized that I struggled with depression in my teens and early twenties. Everyone always saw me as that happy go lucky wild child, when really there was a bit of darkness always brewing below the surface. I kept it tucked in and hidden, but somehow Butch could identify it and maybe even sense it. I can’t tell you the numerous times he would show up on my doorstep, text me, call me, instant message me and say, “I thought I’d just check in on my old friend. Are you doing alright, friend?”

And I know I wasn’t the only one who received those kind of calls from Butch.

For the past few days, the beau and I have stopped and stood in silence with the stillness in the room only being broke by these words. “I can’t believe Butch is gone.” I’m going to try not to think of that anymore. He’s gone, but what I’m going to start thinking is I can’t believe I was lucky enough for Butch to consider me a friend.

And let me tell you this.  Butch is really not gone.  There are pieces of Butch everywhere.  It’s something I hadn’t thought of until the funeral as I saw his oldest son walk away.  I leaned over to Ernie and said, “Jesus, he walks just like Butch.”

It was all the evidence I needed.  Butch hasn’t left us for good.  Look around people.  He’s still here.  There’s plenty of pieces of him left behind for us.

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Facebook Updates From Butch Over The Years:

Life may suck now, it may suck tomorrow, maybe the next day too but remember that at the end of every tunnel there is a light! Find your light and make it shine – July 25 2012

Some people see mistakes as a bad thing but I see them as stepping stones that have to be taken, because the people that truly matter will be there at the end. April 22, 2010

Never be afraid to be AMAZING! – A message from Butch to me July 30th 2012

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From The Desk Of The Dog: How My Summer Flew Away #Mondayblogs

Doggone it.

Where did my summer go?

I can tell you where it went.

It went to the birds.

That’s right. The birds.

I was so excited that winter went away. I was ready to greet summer with my ears flapping in the breeze. There’s nothing quite like peeing on a blooming azalea bush. I was ready! But then summer came and I had to share it with birds. You heard me right, birds.
First came a baby mockingbird named Chuck-Wee. I’d beg Food Lady to go on a road trip to the beach. She’d say no. She had to feed Chuck-Wee every hour. There was no time for the beach. Finally, Chuck-Wee grew up and started eating worms on his own. Yipee! My summer is coming back.

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But then, my mom brought home another baby mockingbird! Baby-Wee! I waited patiently as Baby-Wee grew and grew. He was a sickly little fellow so it took a long time for him to start acting like a big bird. The time finally came and Baby-Wee moved on to be a real mockingbird.

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I was so excited! Beach! Here we come! Long walks on wooded trails with Food Lady! Yay, summer I love you!

There was no beach because there were baby sparrows…
Food Lady! I want to go to the beach!

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I had given up. I would never go anywhere fun again. Birds. Stupid, stupid birds.

And then it happened! Food Lady got me dressed up and we got in the car!
She rolled down the window and I got to feel the warm breeze on my face as it flapped my ears!

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We went to a new walking place called the Eastern Shore Of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge in Kiptopeke. It was amazing! There was a path through the woods that led you to a giant staircase that took you up to the sky! You could see everything! And then… and then we went to the marsh! Oh, the smell of the marsh was so good! We continued walking through the woods and we found a giant bullet on display!

I sniffed it cautiously and turned to Food Lady. “It’s okay, Cody. This was an Air Force base a long time ago. That’s just for show. Not dangerous at all.”

Whew, was that good news.

“Do you want your picture taken in front of it?”

Do I ever!

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It wasn’t all fun and games. Food Lady wanted to stop and look at birds. What’s with the birds Food Lady!

Once it started getting hot outside, Food Lady said it was time to go home.  I don’t know why she made me leave.  It wasn’t like I was tired.

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We did get to stop at Food Lady’s favorite place! The Machipongo Trading Post! She loves the ice cream! I keep hoping she’ll share with me, but she says I can only have dog cookies.

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I was so close to that Java Jolt goodness!

Summer is leaving us now and the days are getting cooler. I was certain that the autumn air would get us out on the trails more frequently. I was ready to explore in the crisp, fall air.

And now we have baby goldfinches.

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Food Lady says Mother Nature goofed up and brought a late bunch of baby birds. I wish that nature lady would stop goofing up. She’s really making it hard for me to enjoy the outdoors.

*******

Want to know more about Cody and From The Desk Of The Dog?  Follow these links:

 The Original From The Desk Of The Dog

From The Desk Of The Dog:  Tell Me Where It Hurts

Poop All About It

From The Desk Of The Dog:  My Crummy Christmas

From The Desk Of The Dog:  Goodbye Winter! 

That Dog Won’t Hunt

Yum, Plastic! 

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Drawer Dropping Estate Sale #Mondayblogs

Estate sales have become all that jazz in my family. If there is one in the area, you can be sure you’ll find three redheads there. Me, my mom and my sister. My mother will be firmly gripping an old wooden rolling pin pondering if the price is right. My sister will be going room to room, mumbling something about never finding the perfect bookcase. You’ll hear me whispering to a piece of pottery with a bird painted on it. “Aw, it’s a bird.”

Or if you are lucky enough to be there, you might catch me in an act of indecent exposure.

Yes, that’s right. This girl can’t keep her knickers under control. Surprise, surprise.

The estate sale in question was one a few months ago. It was the lovely house of an elderly man who had passed away. The estate sale website boasted of all the antique items, works of a local artist, and a kitchen full of gadgets. My big find of the day was this lovely set of dishes.

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My mother’s car was in a bit of a mechanical compromise at the time. It was on an early morning mission for me. Get up, feed the baby mockingbird, get ready, feed the baby mockingbird, ride to my mother’s house and retrieve her and my sister, ride back to my house, feed the baby mockingbird, head to the estate sale.

I wore jeans that day. I always wear jeans. It was going to be a scorching summer morning, but you weren’t going to catch this girl in shorts. A few nights before this Saturday morning, I went to an informal dinner meeting for work. I grabbed the pair of jeans I wore that night and slid into them that Saturday morning. What? I wore them for three hours at most. They were still clean! It was fine!

We finally found a parking spot on the typically quiet street and made our way to the house. This was my first estate sale. My mom and sister had one up on me since they had been to one before. I used them as my crutch and hoped to avoid embarrassing myself on my maiden voyage in estate sale land.

At the front door we signed in and then found a shaded area in the yard to protect our delicate Irish-Welsh skin. As the sun crept up the sky, we realized that we were soon going to lose any protective shadows. We moved back in front of the doorway and positioned ourselves to hear our names being called. The estate sale company was only letting a handful of people in at a time and we were way down on the list.

We settled comfortably in our usual inappropriate conversations such as but not limited to: what is that woman wearing, look at that man’s beer gut, is she wearing slippers, please shoot me when I get that old. It was during the discussion of one of those topics that my sister glanced down at my feet and said, “Did you drop something?”

The moment my eyes made eye contact with that ‘something’ I thought I was having a dream. You know, one of those dreams when you are at your locker in high school but you suddenly realize you are naked? Yeah, that dream. Except for in this dream, I wasn’t in high school, I wasn’t naked, but that was for sure a pair of my underwear sitting right beside my flip-flop.

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Now, I’m sure you are thinking what I was first thinking. How in the hell did my underwear come off and slide out of one of my pants’ legs? It seemed so surreal and impossible until I realized that it wasn’t the pair of underwear I had put on that morning. No, that was the pair of underwear I had worn nights ago to the dinner meeting. Somehow, when I stripped down that night, my underwear had hung up in one of the legs … and now was lying on the ground for the whole world to see.

“Shit!”

I pounced on those panties like a cat on a rat. I gathered them up quickly, unsure to put them in my pocket or in my bag. I decided quickly and stuffed them in my bag.

Oh, my family laughed and laughed. They laughed so much that I am so surprised I heard the names of the next people called in the sale. For better or worse, I did hear the names.

It was the names of the beau’s bosses who were standing unknowingly right beside us as the shimmied undies surprise was discovered.

For an added bonus, when I started pulling out cash to pay for the items I gathered inside my skivvies tried to make another appearance. “Oh look, it’s my underwear again. I can’t seem to keep those in the right place today.” The cashier stared, I giggled. I mean what else can you do at that point?

I squatted in front of a cardboard box and started packing away the dish set I bought. I tugged at the back of my shirt and said, “I hope I’m not flashing my britches at anyone.”

My sister came up behind me and said, “Wouldn’t be the first time today.”

“Funny, very funny.”

In the end, we all came out with some pretty good items. We headed home with all our new belongings, a good laugh and my reputation and underwear barely intact.

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