CHRISTMAS DOWN SOUTH. It's Chri stmastime in the south. I pulled my Christmas box of decorations out this morning, then sat on the...
The Craziest Experience of My Life
I had one of the craziest experiences of my life on the same night I graduated from high school. Therefore, at every high school reunion or when I run into someone who witnessed the event, they tell me about it as if it happened to someone else. In fact an old friend did just that the other day. Except, this buddy suggested I write about it, hence, here is my article about the craziest thing that ever happened to me on the night I graduated from high school:
Aside from my weird experience, the evening I graduated from high school started out magical; the weather was breezy, and the sky was as dark as the deepest part of the ocean.
Although, I did have a case of graduation jitters. My stomach felt ticklish and jumpy, like it did when I was a child and my parents drove our car over a steep hill, or when I rode certain rides at the fair.
Hence, as a result, I held my hand on my abdomen throughout the ceremony, and thought about how close I was to graduating from high school. In addition, I couldn't wait to leave and listen to the radio in the car with my friends.
Because, after all, it might be the last time we would all be together for awhile, since some of us would be going to college out of state. I thought about the future and daydreamed about the past throughout the ceremony...
In my minds eye I remembered the things we did...
We drove down the Mississippi River road to our states capital building nearly every week-end during our high school years. The courtyard that surrounded the capital building was full of rolling hills, azalea bushes, and moss covered oaks- It was our home away from home, stomping ground, pop-stand, cool place in the shade, or nice place in the sun-
On dark nights, we imagined the trees shadows were ghostly southern belles dancing in moss stitched dresses; the sight of which sent shivers down our spines. We decided the shadows were the images of Southern belles who refused to leave the ball. My friends and I created characters from the shadows at night, like a clown shapes animals from balloons during the day. There were so many shadows from the giant trees, because there were so many trees on the capital grounds. Therefore, at night, a vivid imagination could shape the trees into an array of images, much like you can with the stars on starry nights.
On the week-ends we couldn't wait to drive to the State Capital grounds. The minute the car stopped in front of the courtyard, we flew out of the doors, jumped the well kept hedges, turned cartwheels on the clover, played touch football, rested under the trees, and kissed under the stars until daylight.
Then, I was shocked back to the present when I heard our class presidents shrill voice over the microphone.
Thinking of the years that passed, I began to get misty eyed with nostalgia, but I managed to hold my stomach in place through the rest of the ceremony. Although, afterward, my stomach felt wrapped as tight as a ball of rubber bands. I guess I had a bad case of graduation jitters, and I was worried about what would happen to all of us in the future. I wondered how the world would react to our southern accents, moody undercurrents, and muddy water attitude, but I quickly shrugged it off like a typical southern girl; who had an evening to enjoy in spite of it all.
After graduation, we piled into whatever car the ferryboat captain wouldn't recognize, (my mothers) and headed toward the river road for one last ride on the ferry, before it was our generations turn to conquer the world.
But, as I drove down our driveway, my eager foot pressed the accelerator too hard, and I smashed my mothers car into her well nurtured apple-pear tree, knocking apples and pears onto the windshield.
Our house sat on a tiny hill, therefore, it turned out to be the most dramatic setting in our household. The driveway tempted you to zoom your car up or down it, depending on what direction you were going, and the speed at which you traveled illustrated your mood to others, a lot like a mood ring.
Truly, others could tell when you were mad, happy, excited, scared, or, in our case, in a mad dash to get out of there, by how fast you drove up or down the driveway. Whereas, in the case of a mood ring, your mood is determined by the changes in color.
Anyway, we borrowed my mothers car in an effort to fool certain ferryboat captains, who may not have let us board the ferry if they recognized any of our cars.
Because, for some reason, when it came to us, the captains had a short fuse. Maybe, because we had a tendency to get out of the car and ride the ferry all night, or because I used to stand on the front of the boat and sing the Barbra Streisand song On A Clear Day. I sang my heart out, imagining I was on the boat in the movie Funny Girl.
In retrospect, I don't blame the ferryboat captains for having a short fuse, and kicking us off the ferry, but you did have to admire our ingenuity when it came to showing up in different cars. I remember one of our parents saying, "But, honey you have your own car. I don't understand...you. But, you will not borrow my car, not under any circumstances." Actually, when I think of it, I'm not sure how we managed to get down my parents driveway in my mothers car either-
Anyhow, after hitting my mothers apple pear tree, singing and getting kicked off the ferry again, we pulled the car over, parked and climbed to the top of the levee to get a better view of the river. From the levee we could hear the river wind howl through the trees, but it was gentle; the wind from the river sounded like the roar of a mighty lion, when in fact, it felt as gentle as the whiskers on a kitten.
I watched my friends lean against the barbed wire fence with their faces to the sky, and their arms out to their sides, like the wings on a plane; I could hear the sleeves of their jackets clap against the speed of the wind, as if the river were returning their farewell embrace.
We stood speechless as the generous Mississippi sashayed beneath the silver stars and honey colored moon, sharing its amenities with humans, tug boats, barges, ferries and teenagers, year after year, again, and again, and again.
Standing there as we did on graduation night, I think we realized how small we were in the grand scheme of things, and how little we knew about ourselves and the world. It was the first time in all the years we spent on the banks of the Mississippi River that we felt in awe of its presence. It's funny how we take what we loved the most for granted, especially the most precious to us...I will always wonder why?...
In conclusion, it began to get late, so we rode down the river road, like we had a million times before, singing and talking on our way to the State Capital grounds, only this time we listened to my boyfriends eight-tracks, instead of the radio. He had a ton of them, but he was bossy about what songs we could play.
His eight-tracks were a big thing then, and listening to them was something I hated to interrupt,(a lie) but I needed to use a restroom. Hence, I asked my friends, and Mr. Congeniality, if they would mind waiting in the car when we stopped on the State Capital grounds, so that I could pee under one of the Oak trees-
Hence, my southern gentleman began to drive around the grounds looking for a place to park, where he could keep an eye on me in the huge courtyard.
I remember asking him to play I’m a Believer by The Monkees, over and over again, but he kept saying he lost the tape. The conversation went something like this:
"I know you didn’t lose the tape, Steve, because I saw it in your glove compartment last week," I said, while the rest of my friends laughed, including him.
"Annie, you've heard that song at least a thousand times, will you please give it a rest? You are the only person I know who would listen to a broken record-" he said, with a smile that I didn't think was cute at the moment.
Then, a friend of ours interrupted the conversation:
"Oh, Steve, she’s not the only one who wants to hear that song, and you know it. Stop picking on her and play the tape."
"I’m telling ya'll the tape is gone and I don’t know where it is," said the most generous man on earth.
At which point, I said, trying to give him a dirty look-
"Oh, for crying out loud, I know I'll find it, and I know you hid it...but at the moment I don't care,(I lied) because I have to go to the bathroom, so will you please stop and park? Like I said, I know where the tape is anyway...and I'll show you when I get back..."
Steve smiled and said, "Don't count on it."
Rolling my eyes, I spouted back, "I'm going under the oak trees in the side yard. I’ll be right back, mean jerk man."
Then, off I went into the same dark night, that didn't seem as kind as it had earlier. Therefore, my pulse quickened as I searched, and then found, the perfect spot beneath an oak tree branch to do my business...(like my golden retriever.)
As I started to pee I could hear The Monkee's tape playing from the car. That jerk, I thought, then I heard what sounded like birds chirping in the branches.
They were chirping loud and it was nighttime... I thought, this is bizarre, what kind of bird chirps at night? I sensed they were flying close to me and around the tree...then the chirping grew louder...thinking I felt something close to my face, I put my hand on my head, and began to pull up my pants, while the chirping got louder.
I couldn't tell if they were in the tree or literally flying around my head...and I still couldn't wrap my head around birds that were so jolly in the middle of the night. I kept mumbling to myself, while I looked at the car parked for my safety, "golly, these birds are too friendly." In addition, I could hear them chirping bird talk in the trees branches, then pieces of tree limbs started falling on me-
Okay, this is it, I said to myself, and at the same moment I sensed the presence of something over my head- My hands started shaking so bad forgot how to pull my pants over my knees, which obviously made one bird really mad. Because I heard a shrill chirping over my head that sounded like an aggressive shriek for a bird, even a really mad bird.
By this time, I was so petrified I tried to run, but I'm not sure if I even moved, then I put my hand on my head and something hard and feathery was fluttering around in my hair, so I started running straight to the car, pants down or not-
I kept trying to put my pants on, but something was still on my head, and when I tried to hit it, I fell down...so I just picked myself up and ran, in addition, to screaming to the top of my lungs with my pants around my ankles.
I believe I made a mistake hitting the mean bird the first time, because after I tried to slug it, the monster was so furious it started zooming around my head like a bully with wings. I could feel it zoom past my ears, like a gigantic fly, screaming its earsplitting squeals.
I was afraid it was going to grab a chuck of my hair, or poke my eyes out, like in the Alfred Hitchcock movie The Birds.
I looked in the direction of the car, and I saw Steve and my friends laughing...and I couldn’t understand why... It didn’t occur to me at the time that I was running with my pants to my knees and bats, yes BATS, chasing me-
I dismissed their laughing, because I didn't have time, what with birds chasing me and all, plus, I felt like I had cobwebs on my face, so I kept wiping my face as I ran.
I couldn’t coordinate my legs with my pants to my knees, so I ran like a penguin until I fell, that is, until I saw the bats shrieking and encircling the sky above my head, then I managed to get one leg out of my pants and wobble without my pants at all.
Then, I was free to run faster, even if I was dragging one pants leg behind me, to the safety of the car. Nevertheless, the bats were still encircling me from the sky and screaming these awful otherworldly calls for help from their bat friends in the trees.
While my human friends stayed locked in the car laughing...and every time I approached the car door, Steve drove a few feet forward, hoping the bats would fly away...(or so he said...)
In the meantime, I could see my friends in the car laughing hysterically, because I was trying to grab the car door with my pants down, and every few minutes I could feel a bat zoom past my face.
After the incident was over, and I had calmed down, I told Steve not to feel bad about driving forward the way he did, because I understood he was thinking about their safety. After all, I knew they didn’t want the bats to get inside the car-
Well, he smiled and said, "Annie, the bats were long gone by the time you reached the car. We just thought it was funny watching you try to catch the car with your pants down. We were laughing so hard we couldn’t tell you that what you were feeling were the small branches that were still on the top of your head."
"The bats flew off a few yards before you reached the car, well...that is, after you beat the daylights out of the one on your head. We could see you waving your hands trying to knock the branches off after that, but we couldn't stop laughing. I'm sorry honey, I thought you knew, and I hate to laugh, but that was the funniest thing any of us have ever seen."
Well...it was the craziest thing that ever happened to me, but I'm glad my friends got a kick out of it. We still laugh about it to this day...And I suppose that's a good thing, right?
And after writing this I guess the second part of the night is a better story...but the next time someone tells me about it, I'm going to say, "Oh, you thought that happened to me? Oh no, are you kidding? That happened to Steve, and it was the funniest thing I've ever seen in my life. "
Authors note: This article was originally written in blog form for Bobbarama's Humor Carnival in 8/07, so it was a little shorter. However, when I rewrote it for a local magazine I wrote a longer version, so I apologize for the length. I think it's probably too long for a blog post, so bless all of you who are reading this note. Because, if you're reading this, you either skipped a few paragraphs to find out what the 'Craziest Experience of my Life' was, or you read it all the way through. Thank you for doing either one.
I decided to post this version after accidentally deleting the one I wrote for the Humor Carnival and posted on A Nice Place In The Sun. Plus, to be honest, I've been busy being ill for so long, I wanted to post something for you to read. My apologies to those of you who have already read the other version, but I'm hoping you'll forgive me, because at least the story is a little different... :)
Thanks to all of you for your patience and support. And I promise, I'm working on publishing a brand new post soon.
All of you are the greatest...:))
The Boogeyman Man From Planet-Lackawanna-
Motherhood is an art impossible to explain, one which requires a vast sea of love, devotion, compassion, and understanding, unmatched by any affection we will ever know again.- Ann Clemmons
Words are the core of our souls, without written, vocal or lyrical expression we lose sight of one another or worse, ourselves. Words bring forth the essence of the human spirit; so express yourself without abandon.
Beatrix Potter’s Journal, 17 November 1896, from the National Trust collection.
Alone in her world
of make believe
weaving her stories
of magic and light
She brings joy
to the eyes
of innocent minds
less jaded and free
For only they know
what's in her heart
holding the secrets
she guards so well
Life's hidden mysteries
belong to those
whose wisdom and truth
shine on in imagination
Written for Ann
Of The Horoscope Junkie
Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”'
F. Scott Fitzgerald. (Lines from The Great Gatsby)
"A Southerner Talks Music"
"A book must be the ax for the frozen sea inside us."
An author values a compliment even when it comes from a source of doubtful competency.
- Mark Twain in Eruption
"I like a good story well told. That is the reason I am sometimes forced to tell them myself"