Thursday, June 26, 2008

Friday Cemetery Blogging

Pearl Pickrell was a twin.

Her brother Percy was the black sheep of the family. He ran off to join the Merchant Marines a couple of days after a young lady and her father drove over from Mobeetie to speak intensely with Pearl and Percy’s parents. The ladies sewing circle was abuzz with that news for several weeks thereafter.

Pearl didn’t have her brother’s gregarious personality. She and her twin looked an awful lot alike, which didn’t do Pearl any favors. What came across as slender and alabasterish in Percy manifested itself as skinny and sallow in Pearl. Percy was scholarly. Pearl was bookish. Percy was earnest, Pearl was desperate. She never quite measured up.

After the unpleasantness which resulted in the banishment of the prince of the realm to watery parts unknown, Pearl blossomed slightly. It was nothing really noticeable – Pearl never really came out of her shell – but she threw herself into her job at the local bank with renewed vigor.

Having graduated from high school the year before, Pearl had landed a position as one of two tellers at the local bastion of high finance when Mrs. Montbalm retired after 39 and one half years in the job. Pearl was diligent, pleasant and generally uninspiring and slipped effortlessly into the chair that Mrs. Montbalm had previously occupied. Customers congratulated the bank manager on his hiring prowess because, with Pearl in the job, it was as if nothing had changed and they could look forward to another 39ish years of pleasant inanities while feeling secure that their deposits had been properly credited.

Pearl spent her weekends in trivial household pursuits. Being only barely of age and as yet unmarried, with – let’s face it – few prospects on the horizon, Pearl continued to live at home with her parents. Her great pastime was going to the local theater to sample the weekly Hollywood fare. She was a student of films in all their glorious manifestations – Romance, Mystery, Drama, Westerns and Adventure. Her favorites were the noir pot-boilers: romance, crime, drama and adventure all rolled into one. She especially liked anything with Claudette Colbert or a leading man with a decidedly foreign air.

Her mother attributed the later tragedy to the lack of judgment that she and Pearl’s father showed in letting their daughter expose herself to such heady nonsense.

It was 1931 and Pearl had worked at the bank for a little over a year, when, one sultry afternoon in early autumn, a gentleman in a white suit walked into the lobby of the First National Bank.

Folks in town later reported they knew he was up to no good. None of the people they knew would have been caught dead in a suit like that. And he wore his fedora pulled way to low over his eyes. He had ‘convict’ written all over him.

When he stepped up to the counter of the First (and only) National Bank, Pearl thought he had ‘swarthy South American Casanova’ written all over him. She almost swooned dead away right then and there. He demanded, in a guttural voice, (Pearl would have called it ‘husky’) that she hand over the contents of the till.

Pearl didn’t move. He thought she was being resistant. In reality, she was just smitten.

He growled at her – repeating his demand. Pearl was certain the sweep of his eye wasn’t at all meant to ascertain the location of the silent alarm button, but rather his way of declaring his approval of her rigidly slim frame and the stark white prettiness of her lace cuffs – a concession to frivolity in an otherwise somber working girl wardrobe.

She took the burlap bag from his hand, her fingers dancing lightly over his hot Latin skin. She almost giggled. He scowled. She shivered.

She filled up the bag with money then held it out to him. He reached out to take it, but she held it fast for just a moment longer than necessary, causing his gaze to meet hers and she batted her eyelashes daintily at him, just like she’d practiced countless times in the bathroom mirror.

He yanked the bag free and ran for the door.

Pearl took one look at Mrs. Easterhouse, the other teller, then stood up, closed her till and promptly jumped the counter and ran after the bank robber.

He was already in the car by the time she made it to the curb. No doubt heartbroken because he interpreted her hesitancy to follow as a lack of interest on her part. No worries, she could convince him otherwise once the car stopped and he rescued her from the passenger side running board. She clutched desperately at the car door and smiled serenely at her paramour, as she was already starting to think of him.

He glanced over at her, registered her presence with wide, wild eyes (no doubt overcome by passion) and yelled at her. She couldn’t understand what he said but it didn’t matter. There would be time for endearments later. For now they had to concentrate on getting out of town.

The Model A Coupe sped around the courthouse square on two wheels and took off on the southbound road. The sheriff peeled out of the courthouse parking lot and followed behind. Her love reached inside his coat and pulled out a gun. He started firing wildly behind him. The sheriff replied in kind.

Nobody ever bothered to determine for sure who killed Pearl - the lawmen or the bank robber. It didn’t really seem to matter.

Thanks to C. Wright for the pun and some of the other details!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

If you build it...

...they will hit the ball too darn hard and have to go look for it in the corn field.

I think it's gonna rain.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Mostly Plants

Here are a few pictures from Phoenix. One drawback to digital photography is the ability to take waaaay too many pictures. I hate to delete any of them. Even the crummy ones. I think I took almost 500 photos on this particular trip. Don't worry - there are considerably fewer than that in this slide show!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Conversation

Setting: A Burger King in Brownfield, Texas (yet another aptly named west Texas town) at an ungodly early hour of the morning.

Cast: Me -not quite lucid due to a night of fighting with insomnia and occasionally Jackson, who had the unmitigated gall to flaunt his prodigious sleeping ability while I was reduced to watching infomercials; and Jonboy - he who recently cut off all his hair. He claims it was because he couldn't keep it from slapping the side of his face when driving his truck with the windows down. I think it was because his long hair made him look too much like Other Brother, my parent's dog.

Me: "I hate country music." (eyes musak speaker malevolently)
JB: (shrugs) "See a bumper sticker, write a song."
JB: (singing) "My boy is an honor student at school..."
Me: (singing) "I prayed to Jeezus 'don't let him be a fool'..."

JB eats a tator tot. I pepper the ketchup.

Me: "What rhymes with troops?"
JB: "Just use troops twice. It's more patriotic that way."

curtain falls.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

...and we're back.

Phoenix was a lot of fun. The temps were just thinking about becoming hellishly hot, and the weather was pretty darn perfect while we were there. And they have NO MOSQUITOES! Jackson wants to live there.

Of course, he wanted to live in Colorado the year we went there. And New Mexico every time we go there. And... However, he's actually been offered a job in Phoenix. That's always a plus. Unfortunately, although it pays well, it doesn't pay enough for me to quit working and become a faineant, feckless artist. Or even just a kept woman. So we shan't be moving anytime soon. (Probably not for ten years, eleven months, and eleventy-ish days.)

This was Katie's first trip on an airplane. She white-knuckled the arm rest a time or two, but over all she thought it was great. While we rode the shuttle between the airport and the rental car terminal in Phoenix, she was curious about the large, heavily padded golf bags standing up across the aisle from us. She asked what they were.

I told her they were cases for transporting dead bodies. That's how you get back home if you die somewhere else and they have to ship your mortal remains back to Hoboken or wherever. She was shocked, but seemed to believe me - for about thirty seconds. Then we turned a sharp corner and the bag in front teetered slightly, and fell over into the aisle.

"Ohhhh. That's gonna leak...."

She hit me.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Friday Cemetery Blogging

Annie has an interesting post this week which showcases another of the way cool "thangs" she does. The particular piece she posts is especially poignant and it reminded me of something I've seen on several tombstones lately.

"A golden heart stopped beating, hard working hands put to rest. God broke our hearts to prove to us he only takes the best."

It's only shown up on newish tombstones and I don't know where this not-so-lovely sentiment came from, but it intrigues me. I cannot for the life of me understand how such a platitude could be even remotely comforting. To me it says 'too damn bad your god is such an evil, rotten jerk'. He broke our heart to prove he only takes the best? Why does God have to prove anything? And if he does need to prove himself, how does killing your child or grandma engender your love and respect?

Every time I see this, I'm struck by the sadness of it. This is desolately bad theology. I hope these people managed to somehow find better comfort than this.


We're headed to Phoenix this weekend. Of course we're going to Tombstone while we're there! See you again sometime next week!