Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Y'all have a joyous and safe Thanksgiving. I'm driving to Dallas. Wish me luck on I-20. It's the nearest you can get to the Daytona on a public highway.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

What would Jesus drive? He would drive a Hummer. Israel is rough country.

Friday, November 22, 2002

The retail brigade has come home. Broke.

Saturday, November 16, 2002

We didn't expect to win against Alabama this year, but we've been surprised at how lame the LSU offense has been

Lyman is now saying that Alabama needs to take Tyler Watts off the field with 6:30 left and the game won. He said the same thing about Matt Mauck in the Florida game. Get that boy off the field!

These troops of the retail brigades are going forth. I am not vain enough to think that my family has kept the building industry afloat for the past three years, but, by gosh, we have done our share. In this modest house where we live, we have used at least 80, eighty, 8X10, gallons of paint. We have taken out walls. We upsized our kitchen. We have examined every kind of building material from stainless steel to willow wood and used some of every one. We have kept producers busy from Elkhart to Thailand. We return tomorrow to the Big Water to survey the results of plans made in September. Good Lord, I hope it's worth the price.

Friday, November 15, 2002

When I ordered the cage for Lucy, the maker suggested, no, told, me to subscribe to the magazine BirdTalk. Its articles offer tips on feeding, health, behavioral problems, play and other bits of interest to bird owners. So I'm thumbing through this month's magazine and I stumble across this letter:

"I really enjoyed the article "Chew On This". It was really helpful because my cockatiels Sweetpee and Bebby are sometimes let out to wander around, and even when they're in their cage they are always looking for something to chew. I was a little upset with the article "In Memory of September 11th". I am a Jehovah's Witness, and I don't pledge allegiance to the flag. I would rather holidays and other things not be mentioned in this magazine if you don't mind. -- Amber Marie Doucet, Age 14, Mississippi
Miss Doucet, as I understand it, the only way to obtain an issue of BirdTalk magazine is to purchase it at a newsstand or by subscription. Unlike TV or video, you can safely page past articles you find offensive. You know, as a critic of your sect, I get a little upset when members of your religion knock on my door. I would rather y'all stay off my front porch, if you don't mind.

UPDATE: The article young Amber objects to is a four-page spread of photos of owners' birds variously posed with American flags. The pledge is nowhere mentioned. I have limited tolerance for teenagers. I was one myself.

Monday, November 11, 2002

It's Veterans Day, and I'm picking through a pile of stuff that my mother-in-law dropped off last night. Here is the New Testament she bought for her husband of two months to carry in his breast pocket to protect his heart against gunfire. Here is the prayer book for soldiers and sailors. Here is a booklet addressed to the transportation corps in the European theater. Ah, the manual of transportation rules of the military railway service. The basic field manual, a page describing British Guiana, a booklet on Brazil titled "Homeward Bound".

"A barber shop, featuring a first-class haircut for 15 cents, is open during daylight hours, and a nickel will get you a super shoe shine to the rhythm of 'Tico Tico.' Only suckers pay more."

This young man returned home after three years' separation from his young wife. But he did come home.

Thanks to all those who have served our country. Thanks to the friends and families of those who have lost their lives in service to this country.

A special thanks to my gay brother Charles, who, of five boys, was the only one to serve in war. That was Vietnam. They didn't ask and he didn't tell.

Friday, November 08, 2002

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

The election is over and my girl lost. So let's see, husband, job, crop, election. Not a cheery prospect.

Yesterday my post was at the Old Courthouse here in Vidalia. The poll workers were all women I knew well. Two of them were neighbors. Of course, in a town of 4500 I guess all of them were neighbors. William Yarbrough, one of the already defeated candidates for judge, was there poll-watching for a senatorial candidate. He should have won the judge's race.

It was pouring down rain when I arrived. I got wet and the hall was chilly. Nobody had told me that I needed to provide my own chair. Luckily, Kathleen had a folding chair in her trunk that she let me borrow. It was a hard chair. So I shifted and shivered for nearly ten hours, marking off incoming voters in my three-ring binder with a yellow highlighter when names were announced to the poll workers.

I hadn't realized just how social a process voting is in our town. "Hey, how are you? I haven't seen you lately.""Oh, I had a couple of mini-strokes and I've had sinus problems so I haven't been out much.""Well, you're looking good.""Oh, I don't feel too bad, it's just been a little hard.""Well, we're glad to see you today.""Thank goodness the rain let up.""Hasn't it been awful lately?" Yada, yada, yada.

Voters were remarkably well-prepared. We had a slate of 12 amendments to the state constitution and both the congressional races had large slates of candidates. Most people had studied the issues and brought written lists with them, so spent little time in the booths.

While touch screen voting machines are being introduced in Louisiana, our town will be using lever machines for years to come. Most people are happy with the lever machines and see little reason to change. They are familiar and easy. Parents bring their children with them and take them into the booths to show them how voting is done.

Anyone who is convinced that the south is insufferably racist wouldn't have found any evidence of it at our polling place yesterday. While that precinct is mainly white, poll workers were equally friendly and helpful to blacks who approached. Such problems as blacks had usually hinged on their confusion as to which precinct they should vote in. Those problems were resolved by calls to the registrar's office. Whatever their personal attitudes toward blacks might have been, all the workers were firm believers in every registered voter's right to vote.

After 4:30, I dropped my materials off with the campaign workers, came home, changed into sweats, picked up my husband and went to our polling place in a mainly black precinct. The black workers there were equally cheerful, friendly and helpful to me.

All aside, it's a magic thing to come home tired, sore, cold and hungry and have a little bird say, "Hey, Yanis!"

Monday, November 04, 2002

The election is tomorrow, so it's back to the telehones tonight. I am not particularly good with phones. I use them to keep in touch with my family across the country and make appointments. Thirty calls this evening is a dreaded task to me.

My job tomorrow is more suited to my temperament, if I can get over waking at about 5:30 am, absorbing enough coffee to get my neurons firing, voting at 6:30 or so and staying awake all day while I mark off voters.

We have an 80% chance of rain tomorrow, so turnout could be depressed, which bodes ill for my girl Madaline.

I wouldn't be surprised if voters don't turn up. We have been laboring under a heavy cloud this week that has dropped over 6 inches of rain, destroying local crops and casting a general pall over everyone's spirit.

In the old days, before I had Lucy and Lyman I would have gone to the public library and buried myself in bed with sleazy novels for the past two weeks. Or nineteenth century English novelists. Nothing like a Thomas Hardy to bring you into sync with such grim weather.

I need some soup. I don't dare make any because the new refrigerator won't be delivered until Wednesday and leftovers will just spoil - - like all the crap that is spoiling in there now. Besides, Lyman doesn't like my soup, which I consider his taste problem, not mine. He likes his mother's soup. Push it, Prince. I have myself heard his daddy try to teach him better than that.

You probably fall asleep too early, or you don't watch much television, so you wouldn't have seen the ad for the Elvis Presley furniture collection brought to you by Vaughn Bassett furnishings. Just in time for Christmas!

Saturday, November 02, 2002

OK, who in the @$#%$^%&^*&( was Jack Welch sleeping with when my $1200 refrigerator was made. Big GE boy, it lasted all of five years.

Friday, November 01, 2002

Farm Outlook Turns Dreary

The Concordia Sentinel reports:

Any hope of a good farm year was dashed as over five inches of rain fell over the weekend in Concordia Parish.

County Agent Glen Daniels said Monday the heavy rainfall from Friday through Sunday would cause the soybeans to rot and the cotton to lose its grade.

[...]The October harvest was brought to a halt earlier in the month with hurricane weather that produced rain and wind. Until then, the harvest in the parish promised to be one of the best in many years[...]

So not only has my candidate lost her husband this week, but she has also lost 5,000 acres worth of soybeans.