I Don't Want to Make a Difference

That picture right there is of former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, a woman who did a lot of good in the world, unlike me, and at my age I don't give a dam*n what anybody thinks about it either.

She wasn't on a fixed income like I am and she liked going around doing things that matter, whereas I'm happy just going to the store and reading the labels on the cans, not doing anybody any harm, but not doing anything they'd write up in the papers either, at least not anything I'm proud of or would even own up to, though I'm capable of a lot y'all would never guess.

Penny who fixes my hair told me one time, she said, "Trixie, you are too a giving person! I've never left your house when you didn't shove into my hands a jar of pickled pears or chow chow that you've made!"

But what she don't know is that half the time I'll give her the jar of chow chow with the worst date because I'm saving up my better stock for when the world ends and all my kids and their kids and half the neighborhood end up here and I've got a whole house of hungry mouths to feed.

Now one thing I will freely give out and that is advice.

You have heard the saying "Advice is cheap." Well, it is, and that's what I like about it.

I guess word of my wisdom is reaching into the far corners of these United States, because I’m starting to get emails from as far away as Florida asking me for advice.

I got an email just this past week: “Trixie," this young gal said, "my kids are in school, my nerves are bad, and I'm spending my days watching Oprah and running around pulling out my hair, and I don’t know what to do with myself, and I could use some extra money."

So I wrote her back and gave her a bit of advice that you'd think would've sprung up natural as a weed from her own head. I said, “Honey, why don’t you get yourself a job? I've heard they are hiring at J.C. Penney's in the catalog department."

And she wrote back, "But I want to do something meaningful, Trixie. I want to make a difference."

So I right quick emailed her back and said, "Honey, you might want to make a difference, but I just want to go the store. They’ve got chicken leg quarters on sale and every time they do I buy up a bunch and stock my deep freeze."

I think what I say and I say what I think, about which fact my daughter Lou Ann says, “that’s all right mama,”---which sounds like the start of an Elvis song and now that I’ve thought about it, I can’t get it out of my head--“you’re at that age where the front lobe of your brain is getting hard, the place in your brain that governs your judgment and your impulses, and the doctors say that’s why you're always doing and saying inappropriate things.”

And I gave her to know that I said and did what I wanted to way back when I was not yet twelve years old and I stumbled down the stairs trying to walk in one leg of big fat Effie's bloomers.

Now, I have, on occasion, tried to do the right thing. The last time I remember was back when I was on the committee at the church where the members were supposed to take supper to Lola Maude Harkey, who was housebound. Well, when it was my turn, I fussed over what I took her, taking care that she had a meat, a starch, two vegetables, and some bread. Sometimes I'd make a pie when I didn't even want it, just so I could take her a piece.

But it didn't take long to figure out that she hardly ate a mouthful and whenever the ladies brought her a plate of food, as soon as their back was turned, she laid it down on the floor for that old dog of hers to slurp up.

The next time the committee held a meeting, I marched myself right in there and said I didn't think we should keep taking food down to Lola Maude Harkey's. It was wasteful, I said. And they all chimed in about how she was housebound and if we didn't take her supper, she wouldn't get the right nourishment, and I said, "But EVERY DAY?" And they said, "Well, Trixie, don't YOU like to eat everyday?"

And I gave them to know they might as well just fix up a plate every evening and take it down to Lola Maude's, and just lay it straight down on the floor for that dam*n dog.

One thing nobody has ever accused me of is being good for goodness sake.

So I hope whoever that was that wrote me that email--I forgot the dear one's name already--will email Dr. Phil or somebody next time, and just leave me out of it.


Dinner on the Grounds at a Leper Colony

Well, I got up this morning figuring I'd probably left y'all in suspense long enough about who I picked as the winner of our dirty pan contest. Some of y'all might think I took too long to get here to the point of announcing it, but that's because I'm old and I just learned to do the Google and I don't learn these things as fast as you all do, dam--t! So, as you young people like to say: Give me a break!

Remember, before Thanksgiving of this year, I had sworn off ever having a thing to do with the Google or with computer machines or cell phones, and with cell phones I still don't so if you happen to be one of my kids reading what I'm writing here, don't you even think about giving me one because I'll sling it right out the window first chance I get and you know it.

But I like doing the Google because it gives me a chance to have my say, though I don't like how it has brought me undue attention from the men, though that could change. You never know.

And I was going to do it yesterday, announce the winner, that is, but I kind of like that boy they put in the White House, the one with the ears and the funny name I can't keep in my mind, and stayed glued in front of the TV all day watching the inauguration and thinking about those little girls bouncing around the White House and what a fine couple he and that wife of his make, and I kept picturing them in the White House in bed having relations with her hanging onto his ears, though I expect they were too worn out last night for that.

So now that I've thrown a wet towel over the heads of those of you who didn't win the contest, and told Arlene to go throw her scrawny self off a cliff, we at last come to the last two pictures, which are of one pan belonging to Karen.

You see that blister in the upper right hand corner of the first picture? When my daughter Lou Ann (who I brought in to help me judge) saw that, she declared that Karen's pan would make a great buffet dish at an all day dinner-on-the-grounds at a leper colony.

In the last picture, which shows the whole pan, Lou Ann said she saw Tom Cruise jumping up and down on Oprah's couch, screaming and hollering about psychiatrists and the medicine they give out, and that the little white squiggle to the right--which you can't see too well in the picture up there, small as it is--was Brooke Shields holding high a butcher knife, riding a white horse, galloping toward Tom Cruise with the clear intent of shutting him the hell up.

Now, if you think what my daughter Lou Ann said does not reflect too well on her sense, you've got company and I'm it. This is not the only example of how Lou Ann seems to have climbed down and left her brain dangling up in the treetops, but I owe it all to her going through the menopause. When she said what she did, I just about snatched the job of judge right out of her hands, but I wanted to go to the store so I let her get on with it.

Well, Lou Ann decided that Karen's pan had the "added value" that contestant Hendersonville Epicurean's pan had, and by that I mean you could see things in it the same way some people claim they see the face of the Lord on a bedsheet, so we had a tie. I could see this going on for another month, so I chimed in and declared Karen's pan the dirtiest of the two.

So, as it turns out, plain ole dirt was the deal breaker, or I guess the tie breaker, and I hereby declare Karen the official winner of the Parade of Pans and the soon-to-be owner of what's called an "advance reader copy" of that book about my life, THE DAYS BETWEEN THE YEARS. Karen is a good picture taker of pretty nature scenes and mushrooms and goats, which you can see by clicking right here:

And for those of you who entered the contest but did not win, I want you to know that you did not send in your pictures of dirty pans in vain. To those of you who arose to the occasion but fell flat on your face, who fought the good fight, but got thrown out of the ring, I don't know what to give you for a consolation prize or what to say except keep in mind you're still in my will, although I have not a penny nor a pot to my name, but I've always heard it's the thought that counts anyhow.

Don't Come Home A-Drinkin' With Lovin' On Your Mind

And next in our Parade of Pans (you might have to look down there at the last thing I wrote to get the full effect of what I'm saying here) is O'Clara's witchy-looking pot, which you can see up close in "O'Clara Goes Potty" which is now under 2008 in that thing the Google People call "Archives."

O'Clara sent in some good pictures and had some good things to tell us about how she used her special pot, (and also sent us the facts on the difference between the sweet potato and a yam, which we will discuss later on in "The Truth Revealed,") so why, you may wonder did I not proclaim O'Clara the winner?

Well, O'Clara came awful close, but she did what they call anthropomorphized her pot, which I found out means she thought it was a woman, and that raised up my hairs and gave me the feeling that someone had walked on my grave and my daughter Lou Ann said it did her, too, although Lou Ann's one to talk, seeing as she is somebody who says aliens have been scooping out samples of her kneecaps for their experiments. So, it causes me a pain right under my old heart to shoot down your hopes, O'Clara, but like I've always said, and as I have so often been quoted by the press: "The race is not to the swift nor to the smart, but it never hurts to throw your hat in the ring anyhow."

And there's Arlene's old iron skillet. You can see the top view and the upside down view, and you can see it looks plenty crusty. And I'll allow that pan is handy in the kitchen and would be a good thing for any woman to have hanging on a hook for whenever the man comes home a-drinkin' with lovin' on his mind, or is just late. So y'all keep that in mind. But, here is what Arlene said about the pan, which turned out to be the words of her undoing:

She said, "Here is the pan. Look at that black cement stuff all over the outside of it. Someone years ago had to have done the cooking over a fire as that is creasote buildup and will not come off. It cooks wonderful cornbread. It looks ugly and dirty but it isn't."

Now, I want to draw y'all's attention to that very last thing she said, because it is right there that Arlene threw a boomerrang into her chance of winning the prize. Arlene, honey, I'm sorry, but if the pan's not ugly and dirty, it's not eligible for the prize. And if you hadn't told me it wasn't dirty, I never would have guessed it. Why did you tell me that? I don’t have to ask because I know the answer: Pride over-rode your good sense, and like I’ve always said, though I have seldom been credited for saying: “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit goes before a fall.”

Arlene, you have messed up. Go ahead and just throw yourself off a cliff.

The rest of y'all just stay tuned.


My Old Heart Runs Up in a Pile

That's an old saying for what happens when somebody makes your heart melt, and if y'all didn't know that, it's because you've got cell phones growing out your ears like a fungus, and you miss half what's worth hearing. Or either you're just plain ignorant.

Which one it is, is not mine to say, nor will I condemn thee because if I have said it once, I've said it two or three times: "Judge not lest you be judged," a saying much used, but for which I was never given credit and as old as I am now, I don't give a you know what.

Which reminds me of this: If I could do my life over, I might become a Licensed Practical Nurse. Then I could have LPN after my name and feel like a big shot. And maybe if I'd been an LPN, I could've been some real help to my neighbor Delores when she turned her ankle falling over a hoe after we tied one on New Year's Eve, which you can read about down there where it says "The Guilty Dog Will Bark."

But one thing I would not want to be and that is a judge. A while back, we started a contest, with the aim of giving a prize to the one who sent in the worst, the ugliest, the filfthiest pot or pan they had and still used. You can go down to where I wrote "Parade of Pans" parts one and two, for more information.

Some of y'all were good to send in your pictures, so many that the girl who helps me out with this blog told me I couldn't put them all up or else I'd end up having to pay the Google people for extra space, and as much as I've had to cuss the Google people, I sure don't want to have to pay them for the privilige. But all of y'all who follow my blog (in hopes of getting in my will, I know) and some of you who don't, were so good to help me out that my heart fairly ran up in a pile, as I said.

When it came down to it, I couldn't decide how to pick. Should I give points for dinks, dents, and dirt, like I said down there in "Parade of Pans" or just shoot from the hip and holler it as I see it?

After studying on it, I arrived at the conclusion that the pots and pans were just about evenly filthy--at first glance. (Remember that last part.) So I told that girl who helps me out to be the judge, and she just parked her arms across those big jugs of hers and said, "I am NOT going to get involved with THAT," so I got my daughter Lou Ann in on it, which was a mistake because she's going through the menopause and has seen some things and had some ideas lately I have called into question, such as seeing that alien at the end of her bed and thinking it had taken her aboard its plane and used her for some kind of experiment.

Well, Lou Ann took a good hard look at pan number one up there, that woman called Hendersonville Epicurean's pizza pan, which I talked about down there in "You Danged Ole Fusspot!" and agreed with me that based on that pan's level of grunge, if it was a dog and I was judging the show, I'd say it was pretty much in line with the breed.

What really got to Lou Ann, though, was that she thought she saw that alien's face in the middle of that pan. We called over my son Terry Wayne and asked him and he said the same spot she thought was an alien looked to him like an orangutan's behind or Homer Simpson's face.

I'd heard of that kind of thing where people think they see the Pope in a pizza or the Virgin Mary in a biscuit, but I would have never thought anybody kin to me, much less two of the children who sprang fully formed from betwixt my very legs, would have had such a gift, though with Lou Ann I think it very well could be the menopause. Anyhow, Lou Ann proclaimed that this feature of Hendersonville Epicurean's pan gave it added value, and made it a top contender for the prize, which may or may not mean it won the prize.

You'll have to find out next time. I'm going to keep y'all in suspense. Life has no meaning without suspense.

Stay tuned.