Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Words of Christ in Red















When I was a wee one, I had a lovely babysitter named Betsy, a grandmotherly figure who watched me, my sister, and my friend Kurt on many Friday and Saturday nights. Our respective parents would drop us off for the night at Betsy's house, a falling down two bedroom on the other side of town next to the Church of the Nazarene. We'd all sit around and watch Dukes of Hazzard or Hee-Haw (Hee-Haw ran back to back with Lawrence Welk) and eat pancakes with Karo syrup for supper. Betsy could be persuaded at times to read us Bible stories out of the King James, not the kiddie Living Bible and we'd all have a good laugh over all the sex and violence in the Old Testament. We were less interested in the Words of Christ in Red portion of the New Testatment. It was, in a word, ideal.

No rose without thorn, however, as Schopenhauer might say and alas no Betsy without her touched grandson Leland, a true wonder to behold. He'd entered his teenage years and had become more and more frightening in his efforts to terrorize us kids. One night we were watching Lawrence Welk before dinner, and I kept calling him Dick Clark, which sent us into the predictable giggles. Kurt decided we should all give speeches before dinner on a makeshift podium that was a pink plastic flower suspended in water in a huge pickle jar. Betsy had these jars all over the house for decoration. After our speeches, Leland breezed into the tv room from God knows where and asked what we little fuckers were doing. We told him and he said, You want to see Dick Clark, here's Dick Clark and pulled down his pants. We ran to tell Betsy, he left the house in her old Pinto, and that night we sat down for our meal and thanked God for his many blessings. You have to forgive him, Betsy told us. He's not right in the head. Forgive them Lord, for they know not what they do, I thought, and then I thought, that asshole knows exactly what he's doing. The night loomed ahead of us, nobody with a clue what surprise might happen next.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"Gloom, despair and agony on me!/Deep dark depression, excessive misery!/If it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all!/Gloom, despair and agony on me!" Hee-Haw chorus, sung by Buck Owens

After Hours

1 part raspberry vodka
1 part orange juice
champagne floater

Benedictions and Maledictions

In answer to Robin's question -- Gauguin did try to kill himself, but wasn't successful. He died a a long painful death due to syphyllis (good times!). I think artists and writers have a bent toward self-destruction because of a lot of factors -- brain chemistry, the difficulties of becoming successful, the difficulties of dealing with success once it's happened, and on and on. Also, there's always the fear of having nothing left to say. That's driven many to literal or slow suicide. Of course, I think that's also part of the romantic mythology of creation. There are many creative types who don't drink, drug, go crazy with love, or do anything destructive and work better for it. That said, I always think that art brings painful and exciting ideas and emotions close to the surface.

13 comments:

Sheila said...

oh my god I love that picture!!

Anonymous said...

Michelle, I pray for the day that you preach to me, one on one, in your special, down home way. The preachers around here have the spirit of the Word knocked out 'em. But you have the true zest. God bless you, honey chile.

Anonymous said...

Is that Bozo, Clarabelle, or Milky?

Anonymous said...

"Professor Plum did it in the library with a lead pipe"--from the game called "Clue"(today's "Quote of the Day")

Anonymous said...

Beautiful tongue, Michelle. Not too deeply grooved. Excellent regularity of papillae. Excellent color. Yes, it's a beautiful tongue. A true French tongue. Quite.

paul said...

Cajun Queen that klown gives me some willies but you are one Rockin' FoxyFineLady R2 C2!

Cheri said...

Haha babysitter stories! Oh my mind is tickled.

At our old house my parents left us in the care of Tara, the girl across the street, a few times. After paying her one night my mother asked me how it went. I told her that Tara ate the cake and threw it up in the toilet then "rearranged" all the drawers in their bedroom. Turns out Tara was a bulemic with kelptomania and never sat for us again.

The girl two doors over used to watch me as well, when my brother was sick and in the hospital. I'd play with my Barbies in her frilly pink room while her boyfriend snuck in through her bedroom window and they'd have sex on her princess bed with the lacy curtains. I told my mother that they wrestled a lot and that ended that babysitter as well.

The worst babysitter was my crazy grandma, who would have paranoid fits and scream and chase us as fast as a 400 pound woman could chase six kids, and we'd lock ourselves in the back room. For escape we jumped out the window and hopped the fence to the old lady next door who fed us cookies until my grandma calmed down and came to collect us. It was during one of these psychotic fits that my cousins and I learned how to smoke cigarettes.

Oh, the memories.

R's Musings said...

Great post and photo, Michelle. Love the Hee-Haw song--takes me back to my childhood, watching that show at my grandma's house. No Leland around to spice things up, though!

Wow, Cheri, you could write a book of strange babysitter adventures!

Wichita-Lineman said...

Crazy story. Leland didn't by chance have Truman Capote's initials on his whoohaa did he?
I'm not sure why I ask, the only possibility is I think you told both stories (Capote initials & Leland) in the same class one day. It's obvious where all our minds were at. I always hated that name: Leland. It's probably because I've been called it so many times in my life. "What’s you last name Leland?"
I don't like today’s picture, clowns are just plain creepy. Your expression is priceless.

Cheers!!!!

Lee......not Leland

John Ricci said...

Dear Michelle,
That is a frightful clown, but a lovely expression you have and post. I dearly hope you are of the champagne and drinks only school of artists. I would not want to lose you prematurely. I always look forward to your next posting. Bravo, dear artiste. You are simply lovely.

JR's Thumbprints said...

Hey Michelle,
I don't own a boat. Nor do I intend to own a boat. Nor do I intend to have someone else's boat trailer parked in my yard. With that said, my grandfather's name was Leland.

You got to laugh over it all.

Babysitter posts are always interesting. When my wife and I first met, she worked under a secretary that used to babysit my brother and I.

Bonnie said...

Hey honey,
Ravishing as usual. So sweets, what is it in your mind that makes a good photograph or picture? I've always been curious. Whatever it is, it's working. But then, as you well know, I've always been curious about my women friends -- especially from the waist up. Your sexy legs have helped me reconsider.
kiss kiss Bon

Jason said...

My childhood baby sister used to make me and my younger brother dance to bon jovi. Even at eight I could tell how lame Bon Jovi was.

She would have two children before 19.

Oh yes. there is a correlation.

I don't know what is scarier, the clown or Dick Clark.