Thursday, August 13, 2020

Gotcha

For once I was in the right place at the right time.  I finally managed to get pictures of a

Monarch butterfly on the dwindling zinnias.  I took about a dozen shots to get one with the wings open.


Here's another chipmunk-planted safflower in one of the flower pots.  Almost makes me glad that I'm a slacker at weeding.


 

 There were tiny bees on the peppermint flowers today.  Little tiny bees.


 

 

 

 

This morning I went over to Zambaldi to visit DS and got to watch him filling kegs.  It smelled great in there because the hops have a citrus aroma.  Made me wish I liked beer better.

 

In the afternoon I finished the cast toe sock.  I meant to start another one before supper but I fell asleep on the couch instead.  Those little cat naps are so refreshing, aren't they?

13 August--Barbara Malcolm, Better Than Mom's. 

“Well, everyone loved him.  People went out of their way to tell me how lucky I was to be engaged to him.  I could not bear to disappoint them by saying I really did not want to marry Ham, that I wanted to change my mind.  So, I let him keep on pushing me around.”

 Fay reached over and took the sopping towel from Honey.  “Let me fix you a new one.  This is dripping all down your sweater.”  She dumped the unmelted ice into the sink, wrung out the towel and hung it over the stall wall next to her.  She shook out a fresh towel, loaded it with more ice from the bucket, folded it carefully and handed it back.  “When did he start hitting you?” 

Honey slowly and carefully eased the fresh ice pack onto her bruised cheek.  “Thanks, that feels better.  When did Ham start hitting me?  Let me see…on our wedding night.” 

“You are shitting me.” 

“No, I shit you not.”  She chuckled at the shocked look on Fay’s face.  “You are surprised that I said shit aren’t you?” 

“Well, yeah.”

 “Listen, Fay, everyone says shit, even real ladies.” 

“I suppose.” 

“Anyway, after our wedding reception, the biggest most lavish the country club had seen, we retired to our honeymoon suite in the grandest hotel in Atlanta.  Mama and I had shopped for weeks for my negligee and peignoir; it was a vision of white silk chiffon and charmeuse.  Ham barely gave me a chance to put it on.  He pulled me to him after carrying me over the threshold.  I thought he was going to kiss me.  Instead he grabbed the two halves of my dress back and ripped it.  Tiny pearl buttons flew in all directions.  ‘Get undressed,’ he growled.  I was shocked, too shocked to protest.  I just stood there, tears streaming down my cheeks, and took off my dress.  When I reached up to take off my veil he said, ‘leave it’ so I did.  I stripped down until I was wearing only my veil.  ‘Put your shoes back on’ Ham said.  I did.  Then he slapped my breasts, leaving red handprints on the white flesh.  After a while I did not even feel it.  Eventually he pushed me back onto the bed and leaped on me, stabbing his penis into me as if it were a knife.  I did not feel a thing.” 

Fay felt as if she would never breathe again.  She watched Honey’s face as she told her horror story and not a flicker of emotion moved across her face, perhaps a moment of wonder and regret, but no revulsion, no fear, just blank acceptance, as if it were her due.

 “He was very careful at first not to hit my face.  We lived only a few miles from my parents’ and he knew my mama had eagle eyes.  As the first few years of our marriage pasedt, Mama would look into my eyes and ask, ‘Are you happy?  Are you okay?’  I knew she knew what was going on somehow, but I was never brave enough to say anything.  We moved away, she died, I never told her the truth.”  Fresh tears fell, soaking into the towel to mix with the melted ice. 

“So what set Ham off today?” Fay asked, conscious that time was passing. 

“Well, it did not help that it was obvious you expected me to say something.  Ham likes to be masterful, especially when he is in a new place.  Then I said I would have preferred homemade toast.  That is when he slapped me.” 

“Oh, Honey, I am so sorry my behavior made him hit you.  I have been hit enough over the years that I know how it feels.  And not just the physical pain but the mental and emotional pain too.” 

Honey reached over and held Fay’s hand.  “Thank you.  You are the first person who has apologized to me since, oh I do not remember when.”  She removed the ice pack, stepped to the sink and opened it, watching the shards of ice tumble into the white porcelain basin.  She wrung out the towel as Fay had done and hung it next to the first one.  Then she dumped the remains of ice and water out of the bucket.  She dried her hands on a paper towel and used the towel to wipe up any water than had splashed out of the sink.  “There, that is cleaned up.”  She turned to look Fay in the eyes.  “I really appreciate you listening to me today, Fay.  Do not feel like Ham hitting me was your fault.  He would have found another reason before too long.  His business is not doing well so he is taking it out on me.  I can take it.”  She dropped Fay’s hand and hugged her.  “It is okay.  Really.” 

Honey looked at herself in the mirror.  She ran her fingers through her hair and tucked it behind her ears.  “I think Ham needs to see his handiwork in front of everyone, don’t you?” 

Fay stared transfixed at the transformation in the woman before her.  “Uh, sure.” 

Honey turned toward the door and laid her hand on the handle.  “Come on, perk up.  I will not die from one little slap.” 


Today's toss was a snowman teapot.  I have two more teapots to toss, well, carry carefully upstairs, wrap in newspaper, and gently put into the Goodwill box but I plan to do one a day for a couple days while looking for more things to toss.  I'm keeping Great-grandma Stephan's brown glazed teapot though.  Gotta have a teapot and it might as well be an heirloom.  She was Barbara too.  Aunt B commented today that soon my basement will be empty.  Not even close!  I'll be tossing one thing a day for the foreseeable future.  It's so satisfying.

Later in the afternoon I went over to see LC and OJ because they're going back to day care next week and won't be available for random visits.  Fingers crossed that things stay healthy at the college and the kids do too.  All the kids. 

--Barbara

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

A Knitting Day

 It was hot today and I didn't need to go anywhere (not that I need to go anywhere much these days) so I sat on the couch and knitted.  First I finished August Preemie Hat #5.  For the first time I'm not sure I like the way the yarn and the pattern turned out together.  Maybe because I always think of dark yarns as winter yarns?  Anyway, it's done and it'll look good on some baby.


Then I decided to cast on a cast sock, you know, to keep the toes warm of a person in a cast.  I got some from a friend when I broke my ankle a few years ago and they really helped keep me comfortable, plus they looked good.  I'll get it finished tomorrow and then will have to find something else to knit.  I can do it.



The orange bug (box elder bug?) was on the orange butterfly weed today.  Speaking of butterflies, there was one flitting around the yard today and I got the camera ready but the darned thing never rested anywhere long enough for me to take its picture.


And the Stella d'Oro lilies keep blooming.


I had high hopes that the butterfly would land on the zinnias today but it didn't so I took a picture anyway.


I picked two more almost ripe tomatoes today and ate the second ear of corn.  Man, that's good corn, sweet and flavorful.

12 August--Barbara Malcolm, Better Than Mom's. 

The man sat unmoving, his hands were clenched in fists, and his face and neck were blotchy red.  She could tell by the tension in everyone’s body as they stared in his direction that he was the cause of the sound she had heard.  There was no doubt in Fay’s mind where her next move should be.  She took off at a fast walk to the Ladies’.  She slowly pushed the door open.

“Honey?” 

There was no answer.  She entered the brightly lit tiled space and stooped to see if the woman was in a stall.  She saw a pair of shoes in the far stall next to the end wall and heard a faint sniff and rustle of cloth. 

“Honey, are you okay?” 

“I am fine,” came the muffled answer.  “Leave me alone.” 

Fay turned and took one step back toward the door and then stopped.  She turned around again.  “No, I will not leave you alone.” 

There was a pause, then the woman in the stall said, “Why not?” 

Fay took another step closer.  “Because I think too many people have left you alone for too long and it is time someone did something about it.  Looks like I am that someone.” 

The next word from the stall came out as a wail.  “Why?”  

Fay leaned on the cool tile wall and folded her arms across her chest and tried to answer her.  “I guess because today I am on a roll.  I convinced my boss here to give a friend of mine a tryout; she needs a job and he needs help, but he was too stubborn to consider a woman in her situation.  It was hard to convince her to come in too.” 

Fay kept talking to give the woman in the stall time to collect herself.  “Naomi, that is my friend’s name, has spent so many years down on herself.  She got herself pregnant in high school and her mama disowned her, then the father of her son ran off, so she has been on welfare for fourteen years.  She tried to get jobs, but she wanted to be home to make sure her son did not get into trouble or join a gang but could never find the right job.  Well, that is her story in a nutshell.” 

Fay straightened up and put her hand on the locked stall door.  “Naomi came into the diner this morning and it looks like she totally blew him away; those were her biscuits you smelled.  It looks like she has a job and I am the one who came up with the idea in the first place.  So, I am on a roll.”  She rapped softly on the locked metal door.  “Come on out of there and let me see what I can do to help you.” 

“Nobody can help me.”  But the door latch clicked open and the woman came out to cringe against the wall, her hand using a wad of toilet paper to dab away the trickle of blood from the corner of her mouth.  Her left cheek was all red and swollen; her eyes were swollen from crying. 

“What is your name, honey?” Fay said. 

“Honey,” the woman said, almost smiling. 

“No.  Really?” 

“Yes, really, my pop said I was as sweet as honey when I was born so that is what they named me.”  This time she did smile, but then winced at the pain in her cheek. 

“Just a minute,” Fay said, and she went to the door and hollered to someone to hand her an ice pack.  She waited, using her body to block the door in case Honey’s husband tried to come in.  Elmer walked to the door with a plastic bucket of ice and a couple of towels. 

“Is everything okay in there?” 

“Getting there,” she said.  “How about out there?” 

Elmer had a bemused smile on his face.  “Oh, it is interesting out here too.  You take care of that lady in there.  We are fine out here.” 

“Thanks.”  Fay set the bucket of ice on the counter, scooped a handful into the center of one of the towels, folded it into a nice package, and handed it to Honey.  “Here, this should help with the swelling and a bit of the pain.” 

Honey tossed her wad of toilet paper into the trash and eased the ice pack onto her cheek.  “Thanks a lot.  It has been a long time since someone took care of me.”  Tears shimmered in her eyes and her voice got tight.

Fay perched one skinny butt cheek on the edge of the counter and leaned back against the towel dispenser.  “So, Honey, how did you get hooked up with Lothar out there?” 

Honey adjusted the ice pack and said, “We met in college; Ham was captain of the football team and I was head cheerleader.” 

“Natch.” 

“He was wonderful, not a groper like the rest of the boys I dated.  He held doors for me and chairs too.  He walked on the curb side of sidewalks so I would not get splashed on rainy days.  He was everything Mama told me to look for in a man.” 

Fay shook her head.  “Of course, he was.  All of them are like that when they are trying to get into your pants.  It is only after they get what they want that they turn back into horses…well, you know.” 

Honey laughed a bit at that.  “Yeah, I do know.  It was exactly like that.  As soon as we were pinned, he started, well, squeezing a bit too hard when we petted.  And he would roughly grab my hand and put it you know where, even if I did not feel like putting it there.”  She shook her head at the memory.  “I have to confess, I kind of liked his roughness.  I mean I come from a very genteel family.  Papa was always courtly and polite to Mama and her friends.  He wore a tie at dinner.  Of course, Mama was a lady and kept a lady’s house.  We had linens on the table at dinner, cloth napkins, and real silver flatware.”  Her gaze was far away, as if she were back in her parents’ dining room.  “They had dinner parties, lots of dinner parties.  Mama wore frilly aprons, and no one would ever suspect that she had worked her tail off the whole day.  Every hair was in place, everything was perfect.  And they had poetry readings and music nights.  It was lovely.” 

Fay listened with amazement.  She had read about such lives in novels but never thought anyone actually lived that way.  “Tell me about you and Ham,” she said. 


Today's toss was a coffee maker for Goodwill and a basket of baby food jars that I threw in the recycling.  I looked it up and baby food jars and canning jars are recyclable which is good because I have a lot of jars I won't use again.

One good thing about not much rain is the grass isn't growing so I don't have to mow but the bad thing is that I have to keep watering my baby bushes and baby tree.  You just can't win.

--Barbara