Sunday, May 28, 2006

Cokes Abroad

Paris, France

George Rodney, Anne, Beth, and I were in Paris, sometime around 1990. We had just visited the modern art section at the Georges Pompideau Center. We watched the street performers at the plaza in front.

I was thirsty and the others were, too, so I went in search of Cokes. The first street vendor wanted about $1 each. That was too much for that time.

Anne and Beth tried and reported the price they found was $2 and $3 a bottle.

We started walking down the pedestrian mall and George Rodney took us over and sat us at a sidewalk cafe. He went inside and brought out four Cokes. Man, they were good.

When we had finished, and were back walking, I asked him what he paid for the drinks. Four dollars each he said.

Florence, Italy

It's hard for a lot of Americans, including me, to do without a daily Coke but abroad it is very expensive.

In Florence, George Rodney found a vending machine that dispensed the drink for about half that of other machines. I don't know how he originally found it because it was in a police station. He had to go through a couple of rooms to get to it.

We enjoyed our daily Cokes. Then one day a policeman told him: You know, this is really supposed to be only for policemen.

George Rodney politely told him that he would not do it again.

It was our last day in Florence.

Beijing, China

Americans were not allowed into China until the 80s. Not many American tourists had been there when we went in the mid 80s. Trade also was minimal so anything Chinese was rare and prized.

Our friend Richard Henderson's mother is a collector. Among her collections she had a small one of unusual Coke bottles.

In China George Rodney decided he would bring back to her a Coke bottle with Chinese writing on it.

We still had stops in Hong Kong, Japan, and Hawaii before getting home. We carefully wrapped the bottle, put it in a carryon, babied it for another 10 days as we crossed the Pacific and the North American continent.

Then he proudly gave it to Mrs. Henderson.

She asked him what was special about it. He said because of the Chinese writing. She said she was smarter than she had thought because she didn't know she could read Chinese but she could the writing on the bottle.

We had painstakingly brought back one of the bottles in English.

She put it with her collection anyway and would explain to equally puzzled viewers that it was really in Chinese writing but it was hard to see.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I was outside mowing the yard but I had to come inside because a cloud came up.

"A cloud came up." I love that phrase from my childhood. I had not thought about it in a long time until Juanita used it in her column in the Independent. She writes about her childhood in the backwoods of Friendship Community. Now you may think that Friendship is the backwoods, but Juanita lived further in the backwoods.

My hand is up to my face and I can smell my Mother's Day gift from Beth, body mist spray in Pink Grapefruit, and it really smells like grapefruit. Why do I want to smell that way? Because scientific tests show that people who smell like grapefruit as perceived by other people as being younger than their ages.

I had been looking for grapefruit fragrance but hadn't found any. Beth found it at CVS. She sent it to me in a package with the address label:Best Mother in the World Mary Lightsey.

After dropping off Julia's granddaughter at the Nashville Airport, we went to Nolensville to the ballpark and saw George, Adam, and Emma play ball.

Emma says her parents don't have to worry about paying for her college education. She says she is getting a softball scholarship to play at Mississippi State.

The kids gave me lovely hanging plant baskets for Mother's Day.

Adrienne was visiting Julia for most of the week. She was between finishing the year at Vanderbilt and going back home to California. She will be a senior next year, majoring in French and biology.

If is a real treat for Julia and I to have Adrienne here. She listens to our stories. And she was actually interested in my telling about the Amazonian tribe with no words for tomorrow or yesterday or numbers.

Then she had to go home to her parents. My friend Richard Henderson refers to his son and daughter-in-law, parents of his granddaughter Katie, as "those other people." As in, Katie and those other people are coming. He says that in jest..........I think. So, likewise, Adrienne had to go home to those other people.

Besides the love of her parents, she also has a 7 year old sister Calista and she loves being with her. Adam once described Calista as "she's little and has hair."

Saturday, May 06, 2006

She then put the lasso around people and asked them questions. If the magic lasso is around you, you are unable to lie and must tell the truth.

She took it to the boys' game but a smaller girl there kept taking the lasso away from her.

Friday morning she finally got to change from ordinary girl to Wonder Woman. With her hair up in bands, she whirls around and the bands come off and her hair falls down. My girls did this with a cape which fell off to expose their Wonder Woman underroos.

When Emma became Wonder Woman, the boys were happy to shoot her with their guns and she was happy to use her arm bands to ward off the bullets.

I thought it would be nice for Emma to have a Wonder Woman suit and other things. I stopped at WalMart in Lexington and looked at pattern books. Then I got a grip. The crown and lasso she made for herself is better than anything I could ever make or buy. She used her imagination and came up with a way to get what she wanted. I don't want to ruin it for her which I would if I came through with bought things with no input from her.

Ken thinks that he and the boys should be able to watch The Dukes of Hazzard but Anne is against it. (He means the old tv show not the new movie.) He doesn't see any difference between their watching that show and Anne and Emma watching Wonder Woman. It is mainly my fault because I did not allow my children to watch that show. I didn't want to encourage bad driving. It seemed like a good decision at the time.

When they were little girls, Anne and Beth loved the Wonder Woman tv series. Recently Anne bought the DVD of the first year of that series. She and Emma have been watching them and Emma loves them as much as her mother and aunt did.

I showed her how to make "silver" cuffs out of aluminum foil the way my girls had done. She loved having them so she could ward off bullets. She made a crown for herself and a magic lasso out of pipe cleaners.

I helped Anne as she spent a lot of time working with them on their spelling words. All three had different words. Even though George and Adam are in the same class their words were not the same. George had words like than, through, whimper. Adam's words were all long and hard, such as unbelievable.

Then the boys dressed in their uniforms; this year they are Atlanta Braves. We went to eat at a Mexican restaurant in Nolensville. Adam got a hamburger but the other two got enchiladas. Emma does not like the rice but loves the refried beans so George gave her his beans.

We met Ken at the park there in Nolensville. Evidently since his promotion he has been putting in long hours. Later he asked if they were going to be doing anything Friday night. Anne told him they were going to his cousin's. He scowled and I asked Anne later if he did not like his cousins. She said he did, he just had wanted to work late.

The boys both went two for three. They both went against Ken's advice as to what bat to use and they paid for it. Ken was in the dugout making sure the right guy went up to bat.

Anne says Adam usually hits the ball hard but with the bat Thursday night he didn't. George was amazing in his first two at bats. He connected with the ball on every swing. He has a great sense of where the ball and bat are. He doesn't hit it very hard but if he can reach it he will hit it. The last at bat then he struck out. I was very surprised because he seemed like a different
hitter. Then we learned that he had used Adam's bat his last time at the plate.

Adam is always serious about his game. I am happy to report that this year George pays attention to the game while he is in the field. I did not see him with his back to the plate one time.

Emma had been playing off somewhere and when she came up she was filthy. Dirty from her head to her toes. The kids had been rolling down a hill.

On the way home Anne told her she would have to take a shower tonight. She was too dirty to wait till morning. Emma said she wanted to take a bath. Anne said the water would be too dirty; she had to shower. Emma said it takes x gallons of water to take a bath and y gallons per minute to take a shower. If I take a shower for 5 minutes, it will be 5y gallons. (She gave the number figures; I just don't remember what they were. Their memories are much better than mine.) Anne said she would just have to take a shorter shower and she did.

Ken and I talked after putting the kids to bed. Ken believes you have to be baptized to be saved. Anne and I don't think so but we don't think it hurts.

Friday morning Anne and Ken went to work and I stayed with the kids until time to take them to school. Emma had to try three times before Anne approved of her clothes. Not matching was the problem. The boys' clothes are more neutral and interchangeable.

I drove them to school and was sorry to see them go inside. They are great kids.

I went to Nashville on Thursday and picked the kids up at school. Usually after school they go to Anne's room and wait for her to finish her stuff.

They were so excited when I picked them up and I was, too. It was so good to see them.

Back at their house, they rode their bikes on the street. (They live in a cul-de-sac.) We played 1-2-3 redlight. Emma's white tires made long white streaks on the street when she slammed on the brakes. The boys were jealous as their black tires made no such visible marks.

Then we played basketball and finally went down to the back of the lot and played in the woods and boulders. Emma built a lean-to out of the brush; George hunted for interesting rocks; Adam dug up worms and played with them.

Anne got home about 5.

Friday, May 05, 2006

I just got back from an overnight trip to Nashville.

I got back about 6 rather than the 2 that I meant.

James's stepdaughter Brittney graduated from nursing school today. I meant to get back in time to go t that. Sometimes I get sleepy driving and have to sleep on the way. I was worried about that but the sleep problem came in an unexpected way. After I took the kids to school, I just piddled around for a bit and then decided to take a nap.

I slept till 12! Too late to get here for graduation. So I shopped for a while before coming home.

I am sorry to miss the graduation. I appreciate nurses so much and I enjoyed the ceremony when my niece Jennifer graduated. The emphasis is on the care of patients and the responsibility of nurses. Good stuff.

And I know that Brittney will make a good nurse..

Monday, May 01, 2006

Mary's Day in Court

There is a man, Mark Bonaquista, who has done a lot of work around my house. He has replaced rotted boards on the deck, replaced light fixtures, done plumbing work, and painted the outside of the house, including the garage, the decks, porches, and the railings. His work for me has always been excellent.

So, when last week he asked if I would be a character witness for him in a court case, I was happy to do so.

He had done an interior paint job for a woman who claimed he had done a bad job and refused to pay him. He was sueing her for the $400 for the work and she was sueing him for $1700 to have the work redone. i don't know the woman; she is in the process of moving from California.

I went to court this morning at 8:30. The Chester County court room is no longer the huge, ornate, and beautiful one on the second floor of the courthouse; that is the room where the trial took place in the movie Walking Tall. Because there is no elevator in the courthouse, beacuse of the Americans with Disabilities Act, court is now held in a nondescript room in the Public Safety Building across the street.

The cases prior to Mark's were interesting but some were heartbreaking. For example, poor people who had bought furniture but were now sick and out of work and could not make the payments. They would be sincere in their testimony. They tried, but they just had no money.

Then Mark's case was called. He had a lawyer, Lloyd Tatum; she represented herself.

Tatum first called Mark who told his version, then called her who gave an entirely different version. But she had pictures and video tape of the room.

Tatum decided to only call Patsy Bulliner as a witness and not me. That was fine. Patsy did a good job of testifying to her complete satisfaction with all the work Mark had done for her.

The audience did not see the pictures but the woman showed them to Patsy who conceded there were problems.

Lloyd Tatum thought he was going to win because he urged the judge not to split the baby and give no one anything because then Mark would not be paid for his labor.

The pictures must have been convincing because the judge ruled in the woman's favor and gave her $1200.

Patsy later told me that the pictures did look bad. Mark said they were taken before he was finished.

I am perplexed. Two people testified under oath and told completely different stories.

Mark has always done a good job for me. He has never made a mess WHILE the work was in progress.

The paint job on the house is wonderful. The house is one color; the deck and porch floors a second color; and the railings are a third, a lovely bright white. The paints do not bleed over to each other; there are no paint drops on the wrong place. When I drive into my driveway, I think how great the house looks.

So what happened here? I surely don't know. I would not like to be a judge, having to make a decision on conflicting testimonies.

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