Columns

Good Morning, Vietnam
Good Morning, Vietnam

Good Morning, Vietnam

My late father was a house prestidigitator. He could turn anything into a home. Looking back, I realize it was his presence and demeanor, more than anything, that made 4 walls feel like a sanctuary. To a little girl, however, it was just good old daddy magic. Most of us can live an entire lifetime and never know anyone who moved a house, releasing a house from its moorings and physically relocating it to a different place. My father did this twice. I entered the world in 1967 and waltzed into a used singlewide trailer on a 3 acre tract of land in an unincorporated Bermuda Triangle of real estate that was not quite anywhere. We lived in that trailer until I was 4. A couple of years prior, my dad was in Pleasant Grove buying supplies for the laundromat he owned. That’s how I remember the story. Maybe he was grabbing a burger from Griff’s or taking us to eat at his favorite restaurant, Charco Broilers. Regardless, while driving down Buckner Boulevard, he noticed a large sign tacked onto the front of an empty church: FREE – TO BE MOVED. Daddy had the brain of an engineer and the passion of an academy award winning actor. He had the church moved to our corner of paradise and spent 2 years morphing it into a home. Seven gables turned into 3. The stained glass windows were removed. Salvage materials were used on the interior. Who wouldn’t want red indoor/outdoor carpet or blue paneled walls? I don’t remember trailer life. I just remember the childhood that dreams are made of in that church turned house, with a mother who taught me to sew and a father who cast spells that made odd mismatched things look beautiful and new. The trailer became our own self-storage unit. I was terrified of it. “DD, that ____ is in the trailer. Will you go get it?” The trailer meant weird smells & mice. The trailer was where the failed magic tricks lived: broken hair salon dryer chairs & old commercial meat slicers from Daddy’s bacon slicing phase. I was not a trailer fan.

Article Image Alt Text

Maybe We Can

The Coronavirus has done quite a job shaking up education in our nation’s schools. In the unprecedented move to close schools 2 months early, what appears to be the lack of a national education disaster plan has forced education administrators to explore creative ways to ensure students are receiving instruction. The good news is, it appears we have discovered there are things we can do with and without in our schools in the COVID-19 season. The following are ideas that may need further exploration when we return to our post-virus normal, if there is such a thing.

Article Image Alt Text
Article Image Alt Text

Better Homes & Garbage

2013 was a banner year for us. We bought a ramshackle little bungalow with a 5” leveling issue from corner to corner, and I quit my job. I only knew I was tired of flying out on Mondays and flying home on Saturdays, only to get up and start the process from scratch. When I approached my boss about doing more work in Texas proper, she added Colorado and Florida to my Minnesota, Louisiana, Illinois, & Texas territory. What I didn’t know is that I would receive the blessing of getting to know my father again, shepherding him to the VA for doctor appointments, and losing him in 5 years. I became a SAHD (stay at home daughter). Every moment was cherished. You know what else I did the moment I stopped traveling? I watched every single episode of I Love Lucy, in order. Sorry, all you Friends fans. Monica, Rachel, and Phoebe may be funny, but they’re hen scratch compared to Ethel & Lucy. There is a Lucy episode relative to every stage of life. What’s my favorite episode? Vitameatavegamin? Madame X? The serial killer and the watercress sandwiches? Grape stomping? John Wayne’s footprints? I can’t pick a favorite. My life took a turn this week, though, in a 50’s parallel of unprecedented proportions. Remember the time Lucy was furious at Ricky because he wouldn’t pick up after himself so she staged their living room as a hillbilly haven complete with overalls, a chili bowl hairdo, and live chickens? Turns out that was the night Look magazine was coming to do the cover story on the Ricardos at home. Sometimes, you can’t win for losing.

Look at it This Way

Look at it This Way

As we inch closer to May and with the declaration that schools may be out for the year, many seniors are facing the reality that they will miss many traditional senior rites of passage like proms, dances, graduation ceremonies and graduation parties. Seniors, I have great compassion for you. You’ve worked to get to this point only to have a virus cheat you out of the grand prize. No matter how you slice it, that stinks. At the same time, I hope to encourage you to use this disappointing loss as part of potentially lifechanging lessons.

Pages

Forney Messenger

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 936, Forney, TX 75126
Physical Address: 201 W. Broad St., Forney, TX 75126
Phone: 972-564-3121
Fax: 972-552-3599