Good morning, boys and girls! My name is Ms. Wentz, and I’m here to teach you music while your teacher is out, and I’m so excited to see you all! And, this is my kindergarten class, is that right? Well, my goodness, you look much older than that -- you look as big as the bigger kids! We’re going to have so much fun today because -- Yes, dear?
Don’t you just love it when you’re traveling, and it’s 6 p.m. and you’re starving, and you’re on a country road, and it’s 92 degrees outside, and suddenly you come to a complete stop, seeing cars stopped for miles in front of you and there’s nothing around except an occasional cow and some trees, and for some reason the folks going the other way are zipping by, no problem, looking at you with gleeful smirks, and you don’t know how or whom to call to find out what’s going on?
I have been building a small volcano in my stomach in recent months, and unless I eat only white things like rice, bagels and plain pasta, it will erupt, involving anything from minor to please-shoot-me pain. The doctor says I have an ulcer (please, I raised two children alone from babyhood with no money and mostly no job, no car, no washer, no dryer and no air-conditioning ... I am WAY overdue). She gave me medicine, which I take reluctantly, because being Italian and a Scorpio, I believe I’d be fine if everyone simply did things the way I want them to.
Today, Oct. 6, is my granddaughter Gracie’s birthday.
She is four years old and adorable, with soft, light brown hair (normally in a ponytail with a big bow), chubby cheeks and twinkling, chocolate eyes. She walks with a determined march, she orders her big brothers around, she adores make-up and baking with Mama and she loves carrots dunked in peanut butter (although she mostly uses the carrots as handy spoons).
Her father calls her “the tiny terrorist,” but she just knows exactly what she likes, and she expects to get what she wants when she wants it ... not that she’s spoiled or anything.
To: Mr. Joe Rich, President of Bumpy Mountain Medical Center.
Dear Mr. Rich: I do apologize, I know your name isn’t really Mr. Rich. I know it’s Mr. Higgenbothamous, or whatever, but Rich just seems more appropriate somehow ... and a lot easier to spell.
I love my friends, I really do. They are sweet, funny, generous, good-looking and fun-loving women. You’ll notice I never said “smart.” Although they are without exception off-the-charts bright, some of them are, as my grandfather once said, educated beyond their intelligence. I’m talking about common sense, not SAT scores.
It began with 15 simple, naive words: “Of COURSE I’ll come watch the kids while you two get away for the weekend!”
There’s a poll our state leaders proposed on our willingness to pay a toll on some roads, in order to help with construction costs and maintenance of those roads. Sort of a toll poll, if you will. I understand the necessity of maintaining our highways, and the cost it entails, both in terms of money and inconvenience. But, you know the old saying: You can’t make an omelet without putting millions of drivers through hell on earth, sometimes for decades.
Good morning, and welcome back to school, folks! No, I’m obviously not Mr. Beaverhausen. My name is Ms. Wentz, and I’m substituting for Mr. Beaverhausen for a bit, as he and his wife move here from Boston and get acclimated to our please-just-shoot-me heat and this summer’s entertaining monsoons. No, I have no idea what he looks like, darlin’, but it can’t be any worse than I look today, having worked for a week now in this room with the air-conditioning permanently set at 83 degrees, trying to put books away, organize desks, mop the floor, and pin lovely borders around the blackboard ... sorry, I mean whiteboard, I forgot I was ancient.
If you asked me on any given day, really, where in the world I would least like to be at any given time, the mall – any mall – would rank right up there with a men's athletic locker room, and anywhere in Yemen. Give me an old-fashioned “shopping center” any day. In fact, if there were a shopping center with a grocery, a hardware store, a pharmacy, and a T.J. Maxx – oh, and an ABC store – that would be the consummate shopping experience for me. Sometimes, however, as hideous as it may be, I am forced to go to a mall with a friend who actually likes malls ... and who may have accompanied me to a bridal fashion show once, OK twice, like years ago, OK last March. (I adore all things bridal, you see ... like brides ... and grooms ... and cake.)
After all these years, all the lessons, all the ad-nauseum rehashing of every single stroke on every single hole by every single male member of my family – I finally get it. I can now appreciate a good round of golf.
I hate going to Walmart. Not that I hate Walmart itself; honestly, Walmart employees are usually the nicest, happiest, friendliest folks around. Especially that man or woman who greets shoppers when they come in, and bids them farewell when they leave. They really love their jobs!
I don’t watch much television news, for several reasons. First, call me crazy, but I just want the facts, you know? I’d like to hear something like, “Today, North Korea’s president gave a speech in which he said, ‘Neener-neener-neener, you can’t make me stop building nukes!’ while simultaneously looking into the camera and flipping off the United States.”
So, there we were at the beach, 30 of us, in a huge house together, having a helluva time. My generation spent most of each day at the beach under umbrellas and tents, yakking, catching up, arguing, laughing, and keeping an eye out for cocktail hour ... which seemed to be earlier every day. Grown children, nieces and nephews, though, decided that the clock was not a factor: Cocktails are appropriate from breakfast on, a lifestyle I frown upon outwardly ... inwardly, not so much.
So, here we all are at the beach in Corolla, on the Outer Banks, 30 of us, all in one house, granted one big house, but still ... one house. The oldest is Dad -- he’s 86. The youngest is James (named after Dad) - he’s 4 months.