Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Letters from Home - Gerald Wayne's Pit Stop

I am always amazed at how seemingly harmless events can, in an instant, truly make or break someone’s day. The latest letter from home is a perfect example…

Dear son,

It’s been awhile since I wrote you last. How have you been lately? We’re doing pretty fair here. Daddy’s doing real well and I’m feeling pretty good, too. We even went to a Sunday school potluck reunion at Maynard Park last Sunday. It sure was a lot of fun. We saw folks we haven’t seen in years. Some of them we thought were already dead. I’m trying to remember who all was there… well, we saw Frank and Selma Jean Burgess, Jo Lynn Carney (she’s 58 and still single, poor thing), Chester McCarthy and his new wife Clara, Virgil Stutes, Raymond and Earlene Betts – oh, and Mary Beth Sizemore was there showing off her new artificial hip. She was prancing around in the ugliest mumu-looking thing, bragging about how it was some kind of fancy Italian silk (Dupont, I think she said) and how her son bought it for her in Milan. I don’t know what she thinks the big deal is. We’ve been to Milan a hundred times or more. Your daddy and me go to the flea market next to the Tennessee National Guard armory up there almost every weekend. Anyway, she hugs everybody she meets whether she knows them or not so they’ll feel like they have to stay and talk. But they don’t ever get a chance to talk. They just have to stand there and listen to her tell that awful story about how long her hip operation was and how she had to go through all that physical therapy and then find out that her female therapist Jolene was a Lebanese (you know, she likes women instead of men). Norma Faye Sprague was doing her best to avoid her but Mary Beth just loves her to death. Norma Faye can’t stand Mary Beth but she doesn’t have the heart to tell her. You know how she hates conflict. Norma Faye would walk a mile to avoid an argument. She said to tell you hello, by the way. She’s still teaching piano up at the community center. Bless her heart, I don’t know how in the world she does it with half a liver.

Anyway, she had her nephew Cleavon and his boy Gerald Wayne with her. Cleavon is Norma Faye’s brother Harland’s middle boy. He works in his daddy’s septic business, but he can’t drive on account of he’s got that necrophilia, where you just fall asleep all of a sudden. Anyway, Gerald Wayne’s a cute little thing. He’s about four and he had just gotten one of those play tattoos to match his daddy’s NASCAR tattoo. Lord have mercy, that boy loves NASCAR. Knows every single driver and everything about them. Well, we were standing there talking and Gerald Wayne started pulling on his daddy’s jeans saying, “Pit stop, daddy, pit stop!” Well Maynard Park tore down all their bathrooms years ago after those high school kids got in there and wrote nasty words on the walls in poop. Norma Faye told Cleavon to take him across the way to the Pic Pac Grocery. But Gerald Wayne was hollering, “I got to go pit stop now!!” So Cleavon pulled a 7-11 cup out of the bed of Norma Faye’s truck for him to go in and stood him up right there on the tailgate. Let me tell you what, that boy did need a pit stop. We kept hearing the cup getting fuller and fuller (and it’s real hard to have a conversation when that’s going on) and Cleavon started saying, “Son, stop… stop, now… stop, stop, STOP!!”

The next thing we heard was a great big splash. Cleavon hollered like he’d been shot, came staggering around the side of the truck, and said some words I don’t care to repeat. Apparently he panicked and tried to back up and let go of the cup, but it hit the edge of the tailgate, splashed up and covered him from head to toe in pee. His shirt was wet, his jeans were wet, and he was white as a ghost. You’d think a fellow that traipses around and other folks’ poop all day wouldn’t be bothered by a little pee, but just between you and me, Cleavon’s a few sandwiches short of a picnic. Anyhow, poor little Gerald Wayne was still standing there peeing off the edge of the tailgate with his britches down around his ankles. He looked like one of those fountains you see in fancy hotel lobbies. Norma Faye told Cleavon to go over and get some paper towels from the end of the food line while she took care of Gerald Wayne. He went stomping off and I helped Norma Faye get Gerald Wayne cleaned up and get his little britches pulled back up. We were washing his hands when we heard a scream. We turned and saw Mary Beth standing in front of Cleavon and she was wet all down her front. She figured she’d tell him about her new hip and her Lebanese therapist, so as soon as he got close enough she grabbed him and gave him a big old hug. I reckon she didn’t notice he was covered in pee until it had soaked into her fancy new Dupont mumu. Let me tell you, Mary Beth like to have come unglued right there on the spot. She was hollering and fussing at Cleavon, then she came over and hollered and fussed at Norma Faye, and then she just busted into tears, got in her car, and took off like the dickens. I was glad because I figured this meant Norma Faye would finally be shed of her, but do you know she’s already wanting to buy Mary Beth another one of them mumus since the pee smell wouldn’t come out? I guess we’ll take her and Cleavon and Gerald Wayne with us next weekend when we go to Milan and see if we can find her one up at the flea market. Well, I’ve about talked your ear off so I’ll say bye for now. You take care, and we’ll see you later on.


Mom and Dad