Passion That Can’t Be Denied

LaVerne Roxby, Contributor

We sank to the floor and gave in to the passion that had been building between us for weeks.  Yes, we knew it was wrong! We had tried to deny it, but, NO!  we couldn’t – the sexual tension was too strong. We became one as we yielded to our basic animal sexual instincts, all the time saying, “this can’t be happening, but it is” and other stuff like that.

After “it” was over, we went for hamburgers and cokes and never saw each other again . . . not for many years, and then we did. I looked up and said, “Ari?” at the same time he said, “Lola?” Damn, he looked good. Call it karma, call it fate, call it what you will, but there is no denying that when our eyes met once again, the fire that we had long ago extinguished had returned.  It was like a roiling boil on a hot stove.  My heart literally melted as I hit the go button on my scooter and raced across the dollar store to embrace him, flinging a great-grandchild off my lap as I went. He, wearing thick glasses and using two canes, ran to me, oblivious to the fact that he had knocked over a whole display of $1 a can peaches.  It was at that moment that I wished I wasn’t wearing a Depends, but I knew he would understand.  Love is like that;  never having to say you’re sorry. We met in the center of the dog food section, and it was there, on top of a 50-pound bag, that we took care of our long unfinished business as my granddaughter yelled at me for racing and for dropping HER child, and for not stopping to pick up HER child, and while the store manager called the police.  As we were being led away to separate police cars, I made the little sign with my finger that means “call me” and he blew me a kiss.  As the police car door was closing, I yelled to my granddaughter: “Don’t forget to get me that chocolate pudding that I like; you hear me now?”

Hurricane Crazies

The day of the “big” hurricane, the one we had always feared, was upon us. She was ‘a comin!! My in-laws, plus granny, descended on my house like a herd of migrant workers. The next thing I knew, granny was filling every bottle in the house with water; I’m not kidding – we had to clear a path to get from the kitchen to the living room. Next, she scrubbed the tub and filled it, too.  Oh, well – nobody was much interested in taking a bath anyway; plus, if this baby was as big as they said she was, we were all going to get plenty wet anyway. Suddenly, my mother-in-law started dragging blankets out of the linen closet – at first, I thought it was to pad the area where the sliding glass doors were (if you live in Florida, sliding glass doors are a must-have) but, no, she was settling in on the couch and my father-in-law was wrapping himself up and getting comfy on my loveseat. (Did I mention that we were in FLORIDA where blankets are only for show?  – you never take them out and actually use them.) About that time, my father-in-law yelled: “When are we going to eat?” Feeling the need to escape,  I ran into the dining room – that’s when  I heard a loud thumping noise against our  bay window – were we being bombarded by huge limbs from those high winds we were told were headed our way? NO, it was our stupid horse banging his head against the glass – even he wanted in!! I had a few words with him and then I shut the drapes. I yelled to my husband, “Who let the damn horse out – let me guess.” He said he had read in a book that that is exactly what you should do in a situation like this – let the animal run free.  I knew I was losing “it” so I took off for the family room (big mistake) where I came upon one of our two teenagers – the female one. She was walking around in short shorts and was barefooted (you can get away with that 24/7 in Florida, even when a hurricane is coming). She was pouting because we wouldn’t let her use the phone while it was lightning, and she said she was bored. I said, “Get me a gun so I can kill myself.” About then, I heard a loud thumping at the front door. I looked through the peep hole and, you guessed it – it was “the horse” only this time I was looking at his rear end (always a pleasant sight.) Upon closer inspection,  I realized that he was making a deposit, if you know what I mean. I yelled out, “Did you let the damn pig out so he could run free, too? I knew by the look on my husband’s face that, yes, he had. I was in a dad gum loony bin. I took off for my son’s room where I found him sprawled out on his king-sized waterbed (people are really into water down there) reading a surfing magazine, snacking and listening to a mellow Bob Marley song. Always Mr. Cool, he looked up and said, “What’s up, ma?” I said, “Move over and hand me the chips – there’s a bunch of crazies in the house.”

The Virtues of Colon Cleansing

Being a person who is into rituals, on a glorious Sunday morning, I brewed my coffee and picked up my low fat granola bar before leisurely seating myself at the computer to check my emails.  I immediately saw where two high school classmates had left me messages on Facebook. I excitedly clicked on the link only to discover that their messages were the same:  both  were extolling the virtues of colon cleansing. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have that on my to-do list, but only in about 100 years.  In fact, colon cleansing is sitting right up there next to begging my dentist for a root canal. I know that my classmates only care about what is best for me,  and they certainly didn’t know that I would check my messages while eating my breakfast, but having a discussion about colons, period, is just not what I do on a social networking site. I prefer to keep it light out there – I mean, I have participated in discussions  about minor health issues, and the repairs that go with them,  but colons are something that I think are best kept as discussions between patients and doctors,  if a discussion is even necessary. In fact, my primary doctor doesn’t even ask, “how’s your colon?” unless it’s time for the dreaded, un-fun, drink that nasty drink beforehand, colonoscopy.  We have, I think, an unwritten agreement that she will not bring it up again for 10 more years because I recently went after she talked me into it.  I remember very well our discussion when I first agreed to undergo the  polyp check. She brought out a giant  (like 4 x 6 foot) diagram showing the large intestine and the path  the “see all” tube with the giant camera would travel  during the colonoscopy process.  Whoa! I had no idea of all the  activity that goes on in that area –  It looked  like a bustling little city. After 5 minutes of watching the path she was tracing with her long stick, I covered my eyes and said “ I really don’t need to see this – can I have the drug now that takes me out of this nightmare? “ Anyway, I am happy to report that I got an “A” on the colonoscopy experience and I now pretty much ignore anything that has to do with colons, except the punctuation kind. Now, if my former classmates want to start a campaign to cleanse the English language of that type of colon, I will jump right in and offer my opinion.  However,  I prefer to pick on the semi-colon because there’s only half as much to clean – and less chance of polyps.


Grudges

Some people hold grudges, and I don’t think it’s a good thing. “Get over it!” is what I say. Here’s one example: Fifty years ago (yes, 50!!) I did one small thing wrong and got my whole Girl Scout troop (Troop 354) in trouble. Even now, after  all these years, I can’t go home to Florida without having one of them say: “Remember that time when LaVerne got us all in trouble at the Coca-Cola plant?” They also usually bring up the other little incident, which happened at the local Air Force base, but that is another story entirely (definitely). Anyway, here’s what happened at the Coke plant: All of us were loaded up in the back of the troop mother’s station wagon – back then, you could do that – just tell everybody to climb in; if a few heads got knocked around, like up against the window glass, that was okay, it toughened you up for what life had in store for you later on. Anyway, we were merrily cruising along, with all the windows open, when the troop mother spotted a woman in another car that she needed/wanted (whatever), to talk to. She pulled over to the curb in front of the Coke plant (a big mistake) and so did the other woman. She left our car and, of course, told us to “stay right there.” Well, that was fine for about 5 minutes, and then it got HOT IN THERE. I suggested, in a sweet way, that perhaps we should go in and tour the Coke plant while she was busy talking and ignoring us. After all, we WERE wearing our uniforms. All of us formed a nice straight line (me in front) and marched in. I calmly told the receptionist that we were here for our tour. She looked in her little appointment book and said she didn’t see a tour scheduled for us. I looked at her and said, “There MUST be some mistake; we are supposed to be here NOW.” She asked where our leader was and I told her that she would be inside in a few minutes and that we had been instructed to begin the tour immediately as time was an issue.  The next thing I knew, we were on our way. I, of course, was leading the group. About 7-8 minutes later, as we were watching the bottling process (for you younger ones, this was back when Cokes came in glass bottles), and I was really enjoying myself,  I heard a small commotion, and then the troop monster (at this point, from the look on her face, I didn’t think she should be called “mother” anymore), had me by the arm and was  pulling me away from all the fun. She marched me, and all the rest of the troop followed, straight to the car. She was quite upset, and so was I – I did not get the free coke that I had been promised!!! Neither did the other girls, and that’s why they are still carrying a grudge today, I think. One of my troop members is now a psychologist. The next time I’m back home, I’m going to ask if I can lie on her couch and talk things out. It would really help me and, maybe her. You never know.

Hazel Brooks

As I got up to leave, she said: “I wish we had known each other when we were younger. I think we would have been the best of friends.”  Her name is Hazel Brooks and she is 80 years old. We sat next to each other  on my recent flight from Grand Junction, Colorado to Dallas. I had been up since 2:00 am and had planned to sleep, but she and I ended up talking the whole 3 hours. She told me she lost her husband of 62 years this past April – she said they had a wonderful life. I love the story she told me of how they met. She was working in a restaurant in Texas and a lady came in and asked for a table. The lady said she was expecting her son who was home on leave from the war and asked Mrs. Brooks  to look for him – she said he was tall, dark and handsome and would be wearing a uniform.  Mrs. Brooks said he came in, she directed him to the table where his mother sat, and their romance began that day. They married 2 years later. They had three children – two daughters and one son. She also has 8 grandchildren and 10  great grandchildren.  While we were talking, she opened her wallet and showed me  photo after photo – the first one was of her handsome husband in his uniform. She knew the name of each person and age he or she was when each photo was taken.  She also told me where each one of them lives today.  She said she now lives with one of her daughters, who is blind, near Houston.  Her own home is up for sale – she and her husband lived there for  over  50 years.  She said it was hard to move out.   I told her I understood.

As we talked, she told me about her life. When she was a young girl, and her father was ill with cancer, the family went in two covered wagons from Texas to Arkansas and back – a trip that took 3 months – so her father could soak in the hot mineral springs in the hope of a cure.  He died a few weeks after they returned home – he was in his early 40s. She also told me about her oldest brother, nicknamed “Son.”  She remembers him being in horrible pain for several days before he died at 16  – it turns out that his appendix had burst.  Her eyes misted over as she told me about her brother and her father, both dead all these years. I thought about my own father, who died at 52. There was no miracle cure for him, either.

I listened as she told me about her crazy aunt – the one who had a daughter who couldn’t stand up straight so she put her on a table and ironed her back. She told me the hot iron caused horrible blisters and holes in her back and that her aunt then poured kerosene on the whole area, which also brought terrible pain.  I asked her what the family did when they found out – she said they tied the aunt up in the barn. We moved on to another topic so I found out little more except that her cousin grew up with a straight back.

I wish we had known each other when we were younger. I think we would have been the best of friends.

On Bass Tournaments

I love to talk. Sometimes I say the wrong thing, at the wrong time, to the wrong people. My husband, Al’s, big bass tournament was no exception. Here’s what happened: We went to Charleston, SC for a MAJOR tournament – we’re talking big names in fishing. There were 12 fishermen on each team from seven southern states. Anyway, I was milling around with at least 80 other women as the men were coming in on the last day of the 3-day tournament to weigh their fish. I was “lookin’ for muh man” just like the other wives – I was there to support him because he was “muh man.” One of the big sponsors of the tournament, chewing tobacco producers, was handing out samples (as in whole boxes) of their product to all wives.  I politely declined when I was asked if I would like some “for muh man.” Anyway, the crowd was getting larger all the time – the anticipation was building – we were about to have ourselves “a champyon.” The next thing I knew, a microphone had been stuck in my face and I was asked: “Little missy – have you got a man out there on the water today?” I answered, “yes.” The man then said: “What’s his name and what team is he on?” I responded, “Al Krakatos – Alabama.” Next, he said, and I’m not making this up: “Why ain’t you got yourself a box of that ‘baca for yur man?” I said, “Because it causes cancer and there are lots of children here today who see these tobacco-chewing bass fishermen as their heroes.” Well, you could have heard a fishing rod drop – they had a very good loud speaker, and I have a very big mouth. The large crowd suddenly got really, really quiet. About that time, “muh man,” he done come in, and I reverted to being the quiet little wife I was supposed to be but, funny thing is, we were totally ignored at the hoedown that night, which was sponsored by the tobacco people – imagine that. When we got back to the motel later, Al  whined, “The least you could have done was get me one of those brass spittoons that they were giving away with the chewing tobacco.” Knowing now what I didn’t know then (about the future state of our relationship), I should have gotten him at least five boxes of that ‘baca, and encouraged him to chew it. Live and learn.

No More Chubby Cheeks

Like many others, as the last new year approached, I decided to make some major life changes. You know the ones: eat better, eat less, exercise more, drink more water, etc.  I decided to work on all four at once because that’s the kind of person that I am. I hopped out of bed on day 1,  ate three grapes, drank a gallon of water, and prepared for the exercise phase. 

Step 1 is to dress for it. I found my exercise clothes in a large bag from the 1960s, dusted them off, and put on what still fit, which was basically the bag. (I have heard that simply putting on your exercise clothes will automatically cause you to lose 1 pound, and I believe it.) Once I was dressed, I headed to the gym. 

Step 2 is to go into the gym and actually use a piece of equipment. I entered the gym trying to appear as if I had been in one before, and casually surveyed the equipment.  Some of it looked like it belonged on an X-rated website, not that I have ever visited one.  I finally found a machine that looked like a bicycle, except it had a special torture gear. The minute I started pedaling, my legs began to tingle. Because it was such an unusual, uncomfortable feeling, I decided not to overdo it and hurt myself. I only pedaled until I had burned 10 calories and then I stopped to rest. After 5 minutes, I decided to go again. I pedaled to burn 10 more calories and then I knew I needed a major rest. I decided to lie down on the carpet by the bicycle from hell until I felt well enough to walk. While I was down there, I rose up on one arm and looked around. What I saw was a sea of chubby cheeks (both kinds) and some hairy armpits (mostly on men).  The cheeks motivated me to get up and head to the weight room while the hairy armpits motivated me to get up and move, period.  Once in the weight room, I approached a piece of equipment that had a sign stating  that I needed to use enough weights to equal my actual body weight. Well, there was a good-looking guy standing nearby so there was NO way I was going to use the correct amount of weights. I fudged by 30 pounds as he looked on. However, after I grabbed the overhead bars and put my feet on the lower bar, the jig was up: my whole body slammed down and the weights hit the floor.  He was kind enough to turn his head the other way.

Step 3 is to face reality. As I hurriedly left the weight room, I told myself that it was ridiculous to think I could look like a Hollywood starlet after only one gym visit – I needed to pace myself.  I therefore stopped in the lounge area and watched a little TV.  After a couple of shows, I felt re-energized and I completed my exercise regimen by watching other people work out while I drank a frappuccino.  All in all, it was a good first effort to get in better shape. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Fun at Grandma’s

Sometimes, when I was a child, I was downright evil – not evil like Linda Blair in The Exorcist where her head was spinning around as she was spewing out green split pea soup, but evil nonetheless. Take the incident with my cousin, Samantha, for example, when we were both about 12 years old. It was summertime and we were at our grandparents’ home in North Florida. They had an outdoor shower located a good 20 feet from the back of the house. The shower sides were covered with tarpaper and it was open at the top. Samantha decided to take a shower in the middle of the day, and this is where the evil side of me took over. Knowing that she was deathly afraid of “rain frogs,” (small green frogs that sort of stick to your skin when they make contact), I decided to take full advantage of the situation. Once she was inside the shower, this is what I did when the bad LaVerne took over:

           1.  Locked the back porch door

           2.  Grabbed nine or 10 frogs and put them in a Mason jar

3.  Quietly removed her clothes and towel from the top of the shower where they

     were hanging

4.  Climbed up on a ladder and poured the frogs on her.

Approximately 5 seconds later, all hell broke loose. Samantha ran screaming out of the shower, buck naked, and headed for the back door which was, as I said earlier, locked. She then threw open the lid on the wringer washing machine on the porch and grabbed some dirty towels, which she used to cover herself. I, meanwhile, ran around the side of the house and hurriedly got up on the front porch and sat in a rocking chair. All the adults were busy running to the back porch to see what the screaming was about so I felt sure that I was in the clear. Little did I know that one of my other cousins, a little brat about 6, had seen what I had done and he ratted me out. My grandfather, a wiry little man, gave me a few good swats with a hickory switch, and then all the adults went back to doing whatever it was that they were doing before.  What did I do? I calmly went back outside and beat the crap out of that bratty little cousin. This time, I made darn sure there weren’t any witnesses.

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