The Dukes of Hazzard: Good Ol’ Family Fun

Daily Foglifter:  “The Dukes of Hazzard,” a television show inspired by the movie Moonrunners, ran from 1979 to 1985.

The Dukes of Hazzard Birthday Cake

This is the cake I did last week for a little boy’s birthday.  It occurred to me while I was taking pictures that some of you may not know about “The Dukes of Hazzard.”  Or worse, you only know the Dukes of Hazzard from that piece of garbage movie that came out in 2005.  It was vulgar.  Of course, it had Jessica Simpson in it.  How could it not be awful?

The Dukes of Hazzard was a family show.  Ridiculous story lines, super awesome car chases and stunts,  no bad language, no real violence aside from fist fights, and no nastiness.  It was cheesy, but in a nice and entertaining way.  It currently runs in syndication on CMT.

The General Lee Cake

The Dukes of Hazzard Fun Facts

  1. The theme song, “The Good Ol’ Boys” was sung by Waylon Jennings, who also was the voice of the Balladeer.  The song was #1 on the American Country Chart in 1980 and reached #21 on the Billboard Chart.  It’s a great theme song.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0KBCnSEDGs
  2. Sorrell Booke (Boss Hogg) was fluent in 5 languages, had degrees from Columbia and Yale, and even conducted the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra on one occasion.
  3. Ben Jones (Cooter) was a member of the United States House of Representatives from Georgia (1989-1993.)
  4. The Celebrity Speed Trap, which Boss Hogg set up to catch famous singers passing through Hazzard County to “persuade” them to sing in his bar, The Boar’s Nest, was a regular feature.  The guest stars included:  Roy Orbison, Buck Owens, Johnny Paycheck, Tammy Wynette, and Loretta Lynn.
  5. The Kentucky connection (my homestate):  Former governor Wallace Wilkinson played an FBI Agent in the 2nd episode.

“So, you see, that’s the way it goes in Hazzard. Where the Dukes will even help out their enemy when the chips are down. That’s plum typical of the Dukes of Hazzard. Too bad it ain’t the same everywhere else, huh?”
~The Balladeer (the final narration)

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Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day, the unofficial beginning of summer.  Like most Americans, I will spend the day with family–eating and having fun.  As we enjoy the day, I hope we give a thought to the men and women who have given their lives in the service of our country.  We are forever in their debt.

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

~John McCrae (1872-1918)

The Test

This was absolutely the last time she was going through this.  This morning, carefully counting the days on the calendar, she had felt the familiar panic.  35 days between cycles.  Not completely out of the ordinary, but definitely pushing the boundary, even for her.  It was still too early to worry but she couldn’t dismiss the possibility from her mind.  Another child.  That was definitely not part of the plan.

Too early or not, she had tossed a pregnancy test in her basket at the grocery store.  As she loaded the groceries on the conveyor belt, the test was too conspicuous.  Three boxes of cereal, four gallons of milk, juice boxes, snack crackers, and the other products advertising the fact that she already had a large family made her self-conscious.  What would the check-out girl think when she scanned the pregnancy test?  Irresponsible. Welfare Mom.  As the girl scanned the test, she watched her face.  Nothing.  Paranoid.

When she got home, the kids were outside helping their father with the yard work.  She lugged the groceries into the kitchen.  It was a mess.  Cereal bowls with stuck-on dried cereal littered the counter.  The empty cereal box and gallon of milk was still out on the table and there were pools of milk on three of the five place mats.  The fourth was a sprinkling of crumbs.  Her coffee cup on the fifth.  A high-chair covered in baby cereal the consistency of concrete would fit right in. She started putting away the groceries, carefully avoiding the bag with the test inside.

That done, the laundry was next.  The kids were out of socks.  Again.  She headed to the kids’ bathroom to gather the whites from the hamper.  She found about 10 socks in the hamper, the rest were on the floor among the other laundry.  She also checked the kids’ rooms and found odd socks amidst the toys and books all over the floor.  There were always odd and mismatched socks when she did the laundry.  Tiny baby socks will be even harder to keep up with.

When the whites were churning in the washing machine, she sat down to have another cup of coffee.  Enjoy it while you can.  The pregnancy test sat in front of her.  She read the instructions, as if that were necessary.  One line, no.  Two lines, yes.  She wanted to do the test while she was alone in the house.  She went into the bathroom and carried out the unpleasant procedure.  Now all she could do was wait.  And think.

She cleared the kitchen table, obsessively glancing at the clock.  I was going to go back to work in the fall.  One minute gone.  She scrubbed the cereal bowls.  My body is almost back to normal after 3 kids.  Two minutes down.  One left to go.  She stood in the middle of her kitchen, watching the hands on the wall clock tick, too quickly.  We’re financially strapped as it is.  I wanted to take a few college courses, get my degree.  I’m already overwhelmed.  The bedrooms are full.  Where will she sleep?  I gave away all the baby clothes.  I can’t do this!  Three minutes.  It was time to check.

She took a deep breath and walked into the bathroom, her future waiting for her on the side of a sink.  One line, no.  Two lines, yes.  She looked at the test.

One line.

She exhaled. She could carry oot her plans for school and work.  She didn’t have to give up coffee or her newly toned body.  She thought she’d be happy.  Elated.

She was wrong.

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This post was written according to the following prompt from the red dress club:

Write a short piece – 600 words max – that begins with the words, “This was absolutely the last time” and ends with “She was wrong.”

Have fun with it. Think outside the box. Don’t go with the obvious.

Like Me, Tweet Me, READ ME!

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Daily Foglifter:  Twitter users send 1 Billion tweets each week.

I’m taking the plunge and joining Twitter–something I said I’d never do.  That was before I had a blog and thought Twitter was a bunch of self-indulgent morons and celebrities who thought “I just wiped my nose” was an important enough event to share with the world.  It is that,  but it’s also a tool to attract readers.  And I want more readers.  Now, I just need to figure out how to use it

I’m hopelessly lost when it comes to the “interwebs” and other such things.  Facebook used to baffle me.  It still does in many respects.  I managed to set up a Momfog page, but now what?  What’s it good for?  Right now it’s just a bunch of links to my blog and that is boring and lazy.  It needs character.  It needs people.  I guess I’m supposed to beg everyone to like it, but I hate that.  I always feel like I’m being pushy.  Timidity is not helpful in blog promotion.  Neither is annoying the mess out of people.  There’s a happy medium, but darned if I know what it is.

So, now I have a Twitter account just sitting there, waiting for me to do something.  I sent one tweet (Is there a more annoying word?) and I did that by accident. I mean, where did it go?  Twitter purgatory?  Did it go to my one follower?  What did she think when she got a retweet from me that has nothing to do either of us?   It’s embarrassing.  I’m glad she knows I’m a clueless idiot.

I was recently informed about hash tags, which is the first thing that makes any sense to me.  I’m going to use this newly acquired knowledge and see what happens.  I plan to spend the weekend Tweeting (or is it Twittering?) my little heart out.  I have about 80 posts I could tweet.  That ought to keep me busy and ensure no one follows me.

“A word to the wise ain’t necessary – it’s the stupid ones that need the advice.”  ~Bill Cosby

The Games of Life

I love games.  Not video games.  Real games.  Games that require thought, shuffling, rolling dice, spinning a spinner, turning over a sand timer, or leaning over to move a game piece.  It’s a dying pleasure I’m afraid.  Board games and cards have been replaced by Apps. The personal reaction has transformed from the physical face-to-face variety to a virtual world of screen names and avatars.  Don’t get me wrong, Apps are great and the ability to play with family and friends all over the world is awesome.  But it’s not the same as gathering together with snacks, music, conversation, and laughter.  Some of my best memories involve games.

From a young age, I spent the night at my grandma’s house with my cousins.  Apart from arguing about who would get the primo sleeping spot under the dining room table (I never won that argument), we would have so much fun.  We played Uno. The best games were the ones that lasted hours.  I still love a game of Uno, though I’m not keen on the new fangled versions that require batteries and shoot cards in my face.

Another game I used to like was Monopoly.  (I say “used to” because my husband sucked all the fun out of it.  He has great potential as a loan shark.)  When I was younger, I lived two doors down from my cousin and we’d play Monopoly during the summer.  One game lasted a week.  We had the patience and dedication to keep coming back to it day after day until it was finished.  I can’t imagine my kids doing that now.

My cousin’s family loved games.  I remember spending the night with her or going to the lake and the adults playing “Twenty Questions.”  They always laughed so much. I realize now that a lot of that laughter was at the suggestive nature of some of the questions .  A dirty mind is a terrible thing to waste.

That same cousin and I played a lot of games together, too.  We loved to play Scattergories, Trivial Pursuit, and Life.  The game of Life is especially precious to me.  I associate it with my great-grandmother who we called Mamaw.  Near the end of her life, she came to live with my grandmother on my father’s side.  My cousin and I would go stay with Mamaw when Grandma wasn’t home and I always brought Life with me.  My cousin and I would play in the floor while Mamaw sat in her chair and watched.  We didn’t talk much, and we felt a little guilty about it.  We were there for her, but we just sat and played games.  When we’d leave, she always gave us a little money, which only made us feel more guilty.  We were only about 12 and didn’t yet understand the concept of loneliness.  Most importantly, we didn’t understand the joy of children.

When I watch my children play, it takes me back to my childhood.  I remember what it felt like to have no other care in the world than who was going to win a game of Uno.  I remember how effortless it was to play Twister.  When I watch my children play, I marvel at their intelligence, their joy, their existence.  I delight in them.  My mamaw, sitting in her chair watching her two great-granddaughters playing games, laughing, and chattering probably felt the same way.  I imagine her thinking about her children, her grandchildren, and her great-grandchildren.  About her life.  We needn’t have felt guilty.  While we were playing Life, she was enjoying the fruits of hers.

This post is for the RemebeRED prompt from the red dress club.

The prompt was Let’s Play: mine your memories for games you played when you were young.

And So It Begins: The Dreaded Summer Vacation

Daily Foglifter:  The fear of children is called pedophobia.  The fear of adolescents is called ephebiphobia.

It’s the first official day of summer break for the kids.  What do we have planned?  Doctor’s visits.  Fantastic.  What’s the weather like?  98° with about 85% humidity.  In short, miserable.  Especially since we’re attempting to cool the parts of the house we have to live in (the living room, the dining room, and the kitchen) with a noisy window unit and a portable air conditioner that won’t blow on anything other than a low setting.  The bedrooms are hot, but since it’s summer the kids can camp out in the dining room floor, right?  They’ll love it.

The cooling situation, or the not-cooling situation, is only an added hassle to what is sure to be a crazy summer.  For the next 3 months, the 5 kids will be with me every second of every day.  At home, the grocery store, the doctor’s office, the bank–everywhere.  It is my habit to make several quick trips to the grocery store for the massive amounts of milk, bread, and everything my kids consume in a week.   I’m going to have to space these trips out as much as possible, as taking all the kids to the grocery store is an ordeal. For an example of a week’s consumption of groceries and the emotional toll of five kids at home, click here.  I’m sure some of you are wondering why I don’t do all the shopping for the week at once.  I try, but 6 gallons of milk just won’t fit in my refrigerator.

I have several ideas for the summer that I hope will help with the chaos.

  1. Operation Child Lock-Out  My kids spend way too much time inside, noses buried in video games and TV.  I’m going to take a note from my mom and boot their behinds outside and lock the door for a couple of hours.  Shocked?  Get over it.  They’ll be forced to play.  Oh no!  Not that!  If they get thirsty, they can use the water hose.
  2. The library Our library has summer story time, movie days, and books–lots of them.  They need to read more.  #5 is a voracious reader, but the others need encouragement.  As #4 says, “Books are boring, all there is to look at is words.”  Where did I go wrong?
  3. The Park  Being outside is more fun at a park with crazy playground equipment.  There are also covered picnic tables and a pond to fish in.  Although no one ever catches anything, there are also resident alligators to bolster the excitement value.
  4. Bold Bible Kids Our church has a children’s program consisting of games, music, food, and play time.  One day is an outing.  At the moment, I’m slated to help out but I’m searching desperately for a replacement.  If any of my church friends are reading this, You have any ideas?
  5. NetFlix  It’s going to rain.  A lot.  We live on the coast and the price we pay for that luxury is ridiculous humidity and almost daily afternoon showers.  NetFlix may be my only hope.
  6. Crafts  I know #2 won’t do crafts.  He lacks the patience and he honestly doesn’t see the point.   #1 creates things from cardboard, paper, crayons, and tape daily.  The other two will thread beads all the live long day.  It’s time I take advantage of this slightly obsessive compulsive propensity.

As for me, I’m taking an art class.  Watercolors.  I’ve never painted in my life (walls and cakes don’t count.)  The class is made up primarily of senior citizens which I hope translates into a quiet class with ample life-lesson learning opportunity.  If anyone could use the wisdom of the ages, it’s me.

“Insanity is hereditary – you get it from your kids.” ~Sam Levenson

The Jig Is Up!

Handcuffed Hands Vector Illustration

Life on the lam is pretty boring. I should know. I spent a year of my life hiding from the police. In the suburbs. There were no dramatic middle of the night fleeings, no aliases, and no fabricated backstories. I was simply raising my two kids (#3, #4, and #5 weren’t born yet) and learning how to make a young marriage work. It was easy. Too easy, and I got cocky.

It all came crashing down one Spring afternoon. My family and I were sitting around the house when there was a knock at the door. It was the Fuzz.

There were two of them and they were asking for me. The husband had no choice but to let them in. They said they were going to have to take me in. I was resigned. My husband, on the other hand, was not.

My hero said in a matter-of-fact, cold as ice voice, “You know I’m not gonna let you just take her?” Lord bless him, he was going to defend me, even if all he could hope to accomplish was to get himself tazed, maybe even shot. One of the policemen took a defensive stance. In that instant, I pictured our house on the nightly news, surrounded by reporters, flood lights, the SWAT team, and some schmuck yelling into a megaphone. Luckily, my arresting officers were level-headed.

“Now, sir, there’s nothing to get upset about. We’ll take her and if you follow her and pay the bail, she won’t even have to spend time in a cell,” the upstanding officer explained. My husband, intellect outweighing instinct, stood down. That’s when the kids toddled into the living room.

To say they were excited is an understatement. Kids idolize police officers, even when they’re taking their mother into custody. If they’d been older, they might have admired them all the more for it. As it was, the police officers took pity on me, despite my criminality. While handcuffing me, they graciously offered to cover my handcuffed wrists with a towel, in an effort “not to upset the children.” Suckers.

I was handcuffed and stuffed in the back of the police cruiser. The back of a police car is amazingly small and I was less than comfortable on the long ride downtown. En route to the station, the officers kept glancing in the rear view mirror to watch me. What they were looking for, I’m not sure. My head bashing against the plexiglass partition? Kicking and screaming? Maybe. More than likely they were expecting me to cry. Once again, they grossly underestimated the criminal housewife. I was trying not to laugh. The corners of my mouth twitched and I felt a giggle bubbling dangerously to the surface. Hardened criminal that I was, I suppressed it.

We finally arrived downtown and the officers escorted me into the building. I was sorely disappointed. I was expecting a cacophony of ringing telephones, clacking typewriters, and protesting prostitutes. What I got was a perfectly respectable office space, complete with comfortable chairs and hushed voices.

I was put in a chair outside the secretary’s office to wait for the husband to deliver the money. The secretary glanced my way and leaned over to one of my police officers and said in a gossipy, stage whisper, “What did she do?”

The officer glanced my way and said in an equally loud and conspiratorial whisper, “Unpaid Speeding ticket.”

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That’s right. I was taken from my home in handcuffs because I didn’t pay a speeding ticket I’d gotten a year before while on vacation. Why didn’t I pay it? I couldn’t afford to. Months went by and then I just forgot about it. Not very responsible of me but, at that time, the $350 fine might as well have been $8 million. We were newly married, broke, and had two kids.

The best part of the whole situation was that I told them when and where to find me. A couple of days before, I got an automated message asking when would be the best time to contact me. I pushed the appropriate button (option #2, I believe) because I hadn’t an inkling what it could be about, not being a habitual law-breaker. It was one of those “stupid criminal” moments. I wonder how many other poor schmoes they’ve caught that way.

The situation was made even more ridiculous by the fact that I’m almost 100% sure our next door neighbor sold pot. If I’d have been more savvy, maybe I could’ve cut a deal.

And I absolutely did not cry. I really did have to suppress laughter as I thought about someone I knew seeing me in the back of that police car. I’m law-abiding and straight-laced as they come. I’m pretty sure most of my friends have never been handcuffed in the back of a police car. Too bad for them. It makes for a great story.