Monday, August 07, 2006

The Thing I Feared Is Upon Me


My grandfather on my mother's side kept a pistol underneath his pillow and one in his truck at all times. When he was riding around the back streets of Granbury, Texas, he would brandish it out the window and yell, Does anyone want to take Charlie on? Anyone? No one, shockingly, wanted to take on a drunk, violent fiftysomething guy with firearms. During the times I was left in his and my grandmother's care (and those times were few as I was good at faking stomach ailments to get out of visits), he'd ride around throwing glass beer bottles on the side of the road and yell, Motherfucker! as they hit the ground and shattered. The people who weren't terrified to utter his name said he was quite a character, the only assessment that seemed neutral. Behind closed doors, I heard someone once call him a rattlesnake, a hanging offense had he hearing enough to comprehend. All that hard living had left him partially deaf.

My mother, while terrified of her father, loved rattlesnakes. She saw nothing strange about having them as pets or freezing them for decorations. The decorations served as a tremendous source of income -- they were very popular in Texas about the time everyone was hanging up photographs of oil derricks at sunset in their homes. That, I thought, was some fucked up shit, the snakes and ugly oil derrick shots. I vowed that after I left the house, I would never deal in snakes again. I was wrong, of course. You run away from things to find that they are you in the end. Why else would you have to run? The last time I saw a rattlesnake in the wild, I thought the world had stopped and for a moment it had. The thing I feared is upon me, I thought, and smiled. I clutched my chest so hard that I left claw marks right near my heart.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"Lies began to coil in my heart and call it home." Raymond Carver, "Wenas Ridge"

Break from weekend drinking book suggestion: The Glass House by Jeanette Walls

Benedictions and Maledictions

Today's poem was written by the late Hank D. Ballenger, Poet Laureate of Mineral Wells High School (I kid you not, that was his official title during and after high school)

First published in Pearl:

Out With An Ex-Girlfriend

"What you and I need
is a good woman . . .
Well, a bad woman.
Here's to a woman
good at being bad."

I agree with her
and offer a toast
to professional
heartbreakers. "Amen.
No more amateurs."

The rules are simple:
No talking about
the ones we're with now
but no being nice
about ones before.

I'm not really sure
why the two of us
do this to ourselves,
this session of Truth
and Consequences.

I asked her one time.
She bought us two shots.
And said, "Well hell, Hank,
I'd marry you, if
I weren't so damn queer."

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Quite a photo layout. To say the least. Snakes are SSSooooooo symbolic, intentional or organic or, for that matter, frozen--or queer--not that there's anything wrong with that.

Anonymous said...

Today's triple-header "Quote of the Day" is a "Best of AP":#1: Wear leather pants, like Ugis Pinka;#2: "Yes, boss?" "Herve, call Scarlett,er,Michelle, and find out what she's doing Friday night. I think she likes fine Corinthian leather, by the looks of those boots." "Yes, boss.";#3: Cindy Cobb: "Didn't your mother ever tell you what would happen to you if you did that?" AP: "I am blind."

Anonymous said...

Today's 2nd "Quote of the Day": Even if Hank is dead there with Michelle at her place, she's always said: Don't think of being dead as a handicap.--Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

My,my,my. What big eyes you have.

Anonymous said...

I could really go for a cigarette. Marlboro Lights, please--box.

Cheri said...

Gosh Michelle, I do love these posts of yours. =D

Hanks poem, so damned true.

Anonymous said...

And how about some Krug--'90--top drawer. Bravo! To you and yours!

Sheila said...

Michelle,
I'm back from my vacation and just finished reading all your posts I missed. They are, as always, beautifully written. Loved the pictures as well. You have one of the best wardrobes I've ever seen! Sorry about the dog shitting on you. ;o)

Albuquerque, New Mexico said...

I think it was Dom Perignon who said, "Come quickly, I am tasting the stars"--the first and best description of champagne. Getting things exactly right the first time is a talent you and the old monk share.

To the last rattlesnake!

paul said...

O mighty Isis, your Grandaddy and that snake gives me the willies, but the poem's fine and you are as Foxy as can be oh my Cajun Queenie if it's a slow song that'll make it and if it's good you can sure shake it Mama R2! C2!

JR's Thumbprints said...

Yes, you're absolutely correct! We run away from the things that actually define who we are. I'll never escape "The Big Three" Stigma, even though I quit engineering school a long long time ago. Thanks Michelle, for periodically checking my blog. As always, I like you writing style--especially anything to do with family. --Jim

John Ricci said...

Dear Michelle,

Lovely post and view, as always, with a Catholic twist. AP is not blind, he's just dumb. Re: Alb., NM, surprised they know how to read proper English or have a coherent inkling of refined things like champagne out in the dusty impoverished territories.

To the last man standing -- in Detroit!

Albuquerque, New Mexico said...

Mister Ricci,
Did your mother not teach you manners? Insults always say much more about the person delivering them than the person or, in this case, entire region being disparaged. You've just betrayed yourself as the ass you are, pilgrim.

John Ricci said...

Dear Michelle,

Sorry for the mishap in words. To the feisty one in ANM, Bravo! My deceased mother, God rest her soul, must be smiling from Heaven.

R's Musings said...

Great post, Michelle! Are you ready for "Snakes on a Plane?" And has anyone ever actually been "scared to death?" If not, I might be the first! lol --R

Anonymous said...

Lions' exhibition season starts Friday. Then I can start blogging with the guys. Moet and Chandon(White Star, '72)--to you and yours! Bravo! This is JLCGULL signing off. Screeeeeeeeeeeeee!!Awaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!

Michelle's Spell said...

hey Miss R,

Certainly ready for Snakes! God, it will be scary. I heard that Samuel L. Jackson wouldn't go near anything but a fake snake on set. Wise man. I'm guessing I'll have a few bad dreams from that one, but well worth the campy fun!

Trouble Man said...

Dear Michelle's Spell,

May I ask a personal question? What are your guilty pleasures? Trouble Man