June 15, 2014
(I wrote this several years ago, but it’s one of my favorite memories of my dad, so… here you go!)
When I was 16 and used to cheerlead at the basketball games (Whatever. Like you hadn’t already totally figured that out about me…), we had this SUPER cute call-back cheer we did, you know, to encourage crowd involvement and overall school spirit and shizz? We would turn to the crowd and shout out, “Hey, Badgers! How do you feel?!” and they would stand up and shout back, “We feel good! Oh! We feel so good! UH!” with an exuberant hip thrust thrown in. It was awesome. Because an enthusiastic and well-executed community hip thrust is the ultimate in school spirit, y’all. It’s, like, cheerleading GOLD. No, seriously. A thing of beauty. And crowds of hyped-up teenagers LOVE that crap. Ask anyone.
Anywhos, my father, in all his cuteness, would sit in the crowd waiting anxiously for a lull. And when that lull inevitably came, as lulls inevitably DO, he would stand in the bleachers, cup his hands around his mouth, and shout out, “HEEEEEEEEEYYYY! CHEEEEEEEERRLEADEEERS! HOW! DO! YOU! FEEEEEEEEEL?!”
Well, of course, we had to turn to the crowd and shout back, “We feel good! Oh! We feel so good! UH!”– hip thrust and all. It was required. I mean, we couldn’t just ignore it. That would be sacrilege, right? And WAY rude.
My cheer friends would giggle as we turned back to the game and whisper to me, “You’re dad is so cute!”
A moment later, a familiar voice would again echo across the courts, “HEEEEEEEEEYYYY! CHEEEEEEEERRLEADEEERS! HOW! DO! YOU! FEEEEEEEEEL?!”
We would look at each other and shrug. Well, I may have rolled my eyes. Perhaps.
“We feel good! Oh! We feel so good! UH!”
After the fifth time my lovely padre would stand in the bleachers and shout, in, oh, say, a FIVE MINUTE TIME FRAME, my “Uh!” would be more like an “AAARRRGGGGHHH!” and my face would be burning as with the fiery hot flames of the damned and I would cheer– oh yes, I would!– whilst smilingly planning imminent retribution in the form of Chinese water torture or perhaps The Sneer.
Cute, Dad. REAL CUTE.
Thinking back, I guess I should just be thankful the man was not up on his pop culture and was therefore oblivious to the thrall of “We Will Rock You” or we’d have had him stomping in the stands screaming, “You got mud on yo’ face! You big disgrace! Kickin’ your can all over the place!”
Funny thing is, my friends honestly thought it was cute. They would often tease me about how funny and cute they thought my dad was. And though I would not have admitted it for all the Aqua Net and hair crimping irons in Prescott, nay, nor for all the fluorescent gel-strapped Swatch watches in Switzerland (or as many as I could cram onto one, thin little wrist, anyway…), truthfully? Though I would not have breathed a word then, it always made me feel happy– special– that he was there, watching. Paying attention. Being my dad. And though I often sneered, and was all, “Daaaaaaaaad! STOOOOOOOOOOOOP!!!” and wished for the earth to swallow me up the frickin’ TWELFTH time he would shout “Hey, Cheerleaders!” at us, I never loved him more.
So, Dad? When my children complain about me screaming, “Woo-hoo! You GO, girl! Drop it like it’s HAWT!” at their ballet recitals, or “Oh, YES! He got GAME!” at chess club tournaments, I will make sure they know that I only do it because I love them and it is ALL YOUR FAULT.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad.
May 11, 2014
I can never think of a good Mother’s Day gift for my momma. Ever since it stopped being cool to give her macrame owls, painted ceramic ashtrays, or gold-painted macaroni stuck to, well, anything, I’ve struggled to find the perfect Mother’s Day gift. So, instead of the annual Amazon gift card, I’ve decided to give something different. I’m giving her a memory. One of my favorite memories, in fact! It’s the memory our time together playing cards.
For a little perspective, you should probably know that for as far back as I can remember, any time there was a convergence of Heedum women expected to last more than, say, two or three hours, my momma, her sisters, and Grandma gathered around the dining room table, where a mysterious card game called “pinochle” was played and yummy food was eaten. And, of course, there was the laughter. The Heedum women? Are Laughers. Loud Laughers. And Loud Talkers, as a matter of fact. You know the type. So if you know me personally, please understand: it’s genetic, okay? You can’t argue DNA.
Anyway, I don’t know what a pinochle is, but I bet it’s something super fun. I’ve never been invited to play, you see, so I really couldn’t say for sure. Not that I’m bitter. I’m only saying I have NO IDEA what’s happening when they play this card game. Except for the trash talking. And the cheating. Those are pretty blatant.
I’m just saying the card games and the laughter of the women in my family- the Aunts, Grandma, Mom- it is IN me, and a part of me, woven into my tapestry like black thread, bringing it all together. So this is a memory I treasure.
Setting the Scene
Okay. Allow me to illustrate what a game of cards with my mother looked like. Imagine me around 16 years old– which shouldn’t be too difficult as I look pretty much the same, except my hair was much bigger in the 80s (not because it was full of secrets, mind you; mostly, it was full of Aqua Net). On any given summer day, you would more than likely find me or my sisters or brothers (or just about anyone my mother could wrangle into playing cards with her) upstairs in my parent’s bedroom, playing cards with Mom on her bed.
Memory, Part 1
Now, I say “wrangle” because you had to have pretty thick skin to play cards with my mom. Let’s just say she had a tendency to gloat when she won. Gloating which more often than not involved some variation of exuberant shimmying and jazz hands accompanied with “I WIN! YOU LOSE! LOOOOOOOOOOSER!” And if you had the luck to beat her? You were invariably subjected to “Best two out of three! Best three out of five!” and so on and so forth. You know, until she won.
So I remember us sprawled out on my parents’ comfy king-sized bed facing each other, and Mom would deal. Then she’d say, “Loser goes first.” Which meant, “Go, child. Don’t forget to check your self-esteem at the door because I am going to whoop your butt again and again and AGAIN! Mwah ha ha!” Or at least that’s what I imagined it meant. At the time. But still I played. Um, because I may be just a tad competitive, that’s why?! And beating Mom? That was an upset– a coup, if you will– indeed.
The competitive banter, the shimmying, the occasional ‘L’ to the forehead, the laughter. Yep. This is a memory of my momma that I treasure, for sure.
Memory, Part 2
One of my favorite aspects of the card playing tournaments was the music. If I was going to be cooped up playing cards with a parental unit when I could be, I don’t know, reading a book, writing emotional, angst-filled diary entries, or you know, perfecting my savage tan (or freckles! whatever! shut up!), then boy howdy, I would be selecting the musical entertainment! Am I right?! Can I hear a big, “Hell to the yeah!”?!
Occasionally, since my mom and I have a fondness for (okay, obsessive love of, whatever) musicals, I would relent and let my mother select some form of show tune or rock opera for our listening pleasure. We’d break out a cassette of her musical selection, slap it in the old tape deck, and begin to play cards.
But most days, I was the god of music. I’d blare my favorite tuneage and we’d sing along. Usually, Mom only belted out about 50 percent of the lyrics, but she’d make up for the parts she didn’t know with some enthusiastic dancing-in-place-while-lounging-on-the-bed-and-laying-down-cards moves. It’s kind of difficult to explain properly, but I assure you it was a thing of beauty. Hysterically funny beauty.
So now, thanks almost single-handedly to me (and a smidgeon of Kasey Kasem), my mother can identify any given song by such varied artists as U2, Prince, Van Halen, Def Leppard, INXS, The Scorpions, Depeche Mode, Bon Jovi, OMD, Erasure, Tears for Fears, Pat Benatar, Heart, the J. Giles Band, Boston, Madonna… Seriously, you name the 80′s band, she knows it!
You’re welcome, Mom.
And this is not even to MENTION the lyrics to Monster Ballads by every 80′s hair band in existence. Oh, and Jody Watley. (“Looking for a New Love” may have been on loop for a bit after an especially tragic breakup. Perhaps. Hey, the song gave me some serious feels, is all I’m saying! Hasta la vista, baby!)
Ultimately, my memory is of so much more than simply playing cards. The love and unconditional acceptance I felt during the time spent with my momma, singing, laughing, talking about the mysteries of life, and gushing about how beautiful Pierce Brosnan was on Remington Steele… well, you can’t buy that kind of happiness. No sir.
Mother’s Day Wish to My Momma
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I love you! And, hey, I’m glad you liked me enough to actually want to play cards with a teenaged me (I may have been a tad churlish upon occasion during my teen years), and pass on that tradition.
You know, upon reflection, I realize you probably would have really rather had that gift card.
February 12, 2014
So, on the one hand, I’m so very happy (yay!) that my awesome high-school-aged teens still enjoy my company enough to want me to accompany them to an actual theater full of actual people to see an awesome family-friendly movie they’ve been wanting to see (take that, TGIM!). Because that is awesome, right?! So awesome! The awesomest? (Yay?) Kids + Momma + Movie = Awesome!
On the other hand, I’m slowly being driven insane by the incessantly ebullient “Everything is Awesome” song lyrics that I CANNOT. GET. OUT. OF. MY HEAD. Yes. The most cheerfully awesome mind-numbing earworm EVER in the history of the known awesome UNIVERSE! I am not even joking. You think I am, but I am soooo not.
Damn you, Lego Movie! DAMN you.
(FYI: It was awesome.)
February 6, 2014
Wait. So it’s NOT Bring Your Doll to Work Day?!
Well. This is embarrassing.
February 5, 2014
Aaah! An ice storm created an ice skating rink out of our driveway. No WAY am I stepping foot outside until it melts, I tell you what! Hey. My ice fear isn’t completely irrational, if you know the whole story of what happened to me nearly 6 years ago, almost to the day:
Help! I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up! (Feb 13, 2008)
In my defense, I was pretty hopped up on drugs when I wrote that entry. I’m just saying I may have been a little loopy at the time. Perhaps. Probably.
Just so you know.