The Hillbilly Chronicles – Chapter 6

In last weeks chapter I told the story about when one of Donut’s sons (Darwin) caught me talking to a feline figment of my imagination.

Today I shall share the dialogue I wrote back in October, 2012, which is a fairly accurate representation of two separate conversations in which Dee, Donut and I participated.

It doesn’t get much more “country” than this.

~ ~ ~

Suffering From Cowlicks

October 10, 2012

Dee and I were sitting on her front porch late on this particular morning, enjoying the cooler temperatures of October in Texas, when Donut crossed the street to join in our conversation.

Donut – One of my husband’s relatives is stayin’ with us and I’m about sick and tired of her bein’ there!

Vicki – Is she homeless?

Donut – She’s havin’ some medical problems and needed somewhere to stay, so she’s stayin’ with us.

Vicki – What’s wrong with her?

Donut – She has crowsis.

Dee – What’s crowsis?

Vicki – Do you mean cirrhosis of the liver?

Donut – No, she has crowsis of the neck.

Vicki – Well, that’s a new one on me!

Donut – I might be sayin’ it wrong. I’m not good with these ternical terms. But she’s gonna have to get her neck replaced.

Dee – That doesn’t sound right!

Vicki – (Sarcastically) A neck transplant, eh? Science never ceases to amaze me!

Donut – Well, I can’t explain it. I can’t understand half of what the doctors say. She’s also havin’ a problem with her breathin’. She can’t get enough oxen in her lungs. And she has cowlickses.

Vicki – Cowlicks? Are we talking about her hair or something else?

Donut – No, it’s a health problem.

Vicki – Wow! I didn’t know cowlicks could be so dangerous!

Dee – Aren’t cowlicks when your hair stands up?

Vicki – Yeah, but I think she means something else.

Donut – Like I said, I don’t know all the ternical terms. All I know is she’s got a pain in her neck, she can’t breathe and she’s got cowlickses and she’s gonna have to go to the hospital to have it all fixed, but until then, she’s eatin’ up all my food!

Talking in Her Tongue

Donut went back home shortly after the above conversation and Dee and I went inside, as we would often watch a couple of afternoon shows when I came over to visit. Donut returned a little while later, apparently having enjoyed our company so much that she needed a second dose.

Dee – Where’d you get that big ol’ tattoo on your leg?

Donut – Oh, some guy my son knows gave it to me. It only cost me twenty dollars. He learned how to be a tattoer in prison. He also gave me this one, (points to other leg) this one (points to arm) and this one (points to other arm) and I got one on my chest, too. Have I ever shown it to you?

Vicki – No, but that’s okay. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all.

Donut – Do you have any tattoos?

Dee – No, I never got into that whole tattoo thing. My sons have some, but I don’t want all that ink in my blood.

Vicki – I don’t have any, either. My mother was very religious and she’d probably roll in her grave if I got a tattoo.

Donut – I used to be religion, too. My mother was very religion and she raised me to be religion, but I kinda got away from it. She was one of them holy rollers. She used to go ’round talkin’ in her tongue.

Dee – How do you do that?

Vicki – I think she means “speaking in tongues.”

Donut – Yeah, it’s just a suppression that means: “things nobody understands”.

Dee – Oh, that’s when it sounds like they’re talkin’ in a farn language, right?

Donut – Yeah, but she only did it when she got the spirit or when she got mad. I guess when she got mad, she got the spirit, too. I don’t know if it was a good spirit that she got or a bad spirit, but we always knew that when Momma started talkin’ in her tongue, it was time to run fer the hills!

Copyright © 2012 by Vicki Robison. All rights reserved.

Glossary

Cowlickses – Pronounced cow-LICK-siz – I never did figure out what this meant.

Crowsis – Pronounced CROW-sis – I never figured out what this meant, either.

Farn – Rhymes with “barn” – A shorter, one-syllable way of saying “foreign”.

Oxen – Pronounced as actual word – Oxygen is what Donut meant. Sometimes three syllables can tire out a Texan though.

Religion – Pronounced as the actual word – Donut’s way of saying “religious”.

Suppression – Pronounced as the actual word – A corruption of “expression”.

Talking in one’s tongue – Speaking in tongues.

Ternical – Pronounced TURN-uh-cul – Thought to be a corruption of “technical” and/or “medical”.

* * *

NOTE:

I’m going on hiatus after today but will return in a few weeks – no longer than a month – as long as I’m still alive and have internet access.

During this next month I will be keeping my Facebook page active with some scheduled posts and will still be posting my new “Brainy Babbles” feature, but I need a social media break. I also need to take care of my computer problems which have been an issue since December and have been making writing and posting a bit of a challenge. And while I’m at it I’ll probably take some time to think, write and ponder the mysteries of the universe.

See you soon! ~Vicki

The Hillbilly Chronicles – Chapter 5

In last week’s chapter I told the story about the time Dee and I caught Donut talking to the cable guy which caused Dee to contemplate leaving the country. (Thankfully it didn’t come to that!)

In this week’s chapter I will share the story of the time Donut’s oldest son, to whom I have just recently given the nickname “Darwin”, caught me talking to a clump of weeds, thinking it was a cat.

The Imaginary Cat

On the evening of June 17, 2012, I posted the following status update on Facebook:

Well, I’ve finally lost it! It would seem that I now have an imaginary cat to go along with my four real ones. That wouldn’t be so bad if the neighbor hadn’t seen me talking to it!

I didn’t go into any further detail at the time and by now – nearly five years after the fact – the details would have normally been so vague and fuzzy that I wouldn’t even attempt to tell the story … if it weren’t for the fact that Dee and I discussed this very topic in one of our recorded conversations about a week later.

We were sitting on her front porch drinking coffee that morning when I brought up the story.

“I was so embarrassed the other night!”

“What happened?” asked Dee.

“I was out on my front porch and I noticed there was a cat in the driveway peeking around the fence. I could only see his head and the front half of his body. The rest of him was behind the fence. I talked to him for a few minutes and tried to coax him a little closer but he wouldn’t move.”

“Was it that little white kitten you’ve been feeding?”

“At the time I wasn’t sure but I thought it might be. It was too dark to see any color – I just saw his shape. Anyway, after several minutes [Darwin], who was on the front porch, noticed me talking to him and asked, “Who are you talking to?” Well, I could only see half of the cat because he was on his side of the fence, so I said, “That cat! Don’t you see him? He’s on your side of the fence!” He looked really hard but still didn’t see it – and he had their porch light on so he had more light than I did.

“Maybe he was drunk,” suggested Dee.

“No, I don’t think so. [Darwin] finally agreed that he saw that cat but it seemed like he was just patronizing me. He went back in his house and I continued talking to the cat for a few minutes.

“He never came to you?”

“He never even moved! He was frozen in the same position the whole time. Never even twitched an ear! I started thinking something was wrong with him so I stood up and walked over to where he was. It turned out not to be a cat at all. It was a clump of weeds, positioned and shadowed so precisely to look like the front end of a cat.”

Dee laughed heartily.

“I don’t know what it looked like from Donut’s front door,” I said.

“I bet it looked a lot like a crazy woman sitting on her porch,” Dee surmised. “If I ever see that blue van again, I’m gonna worry that they’re here to take you away!”

The hillbillies have caught me talking to myself on numerous occasions. When I’m writing a story or simply have an idea for one, I often rehearse the scenes out loud, whether I’m in the house or standing on my front porch looking at the stars. I’ll often repeat a paragraph several times, rearranging the words, trying to find the proper word flow. Sometimes when it’s a particularly funny story I’m writing, I’ll get an idea for a funny line, repeating it several times, while laughing out loud. Just last week when I was writing about my experiences with sleep deprivation I was out on the front porch laughing hysterically over one of my lines. Unbeknownst to me, Donut was sitting out on her dark porch listening to every word.

I have no doubt that the hillbillies view me with as much fascination as I view them. I frequently sleep in the day and go out at night, I live by myself, frequently run inside to avoid interacting with them or their company, rarely have company of my own, I ride a bicycle, talk to animals, plant life, myself and on occasion, inanimate objects.

They probably think that I’m the odd specimen and may study me as intently as I study them.

The Wiggle-Woggler

Four months after the imaginary cat incident, Dee mentioned one morning that she had seen a wiggle-woggler in her yard earlier that morning.

A wiggle-woggler?” I inquired. “What’s that?”

“You know those toys they used to sell? They’re little egg-shaped people that won’t fall down, no matter what you do.”

“Are you talking about Weebles? ‘Weebles wobble but they won’t fall down?'”

“Oh, that’s right! I forgot they’re called weevils.”

The weevil she was referring to was Donut. For some unknown reason she had been lurking in Dee’s yard but as soon as Dee came out to enjoy the morning air, Donut left without saying a word. This prompted a discussion about the maternal hillbilly.

“She yells all the time,” Dee said. “I think she thinks I’m death.”

“I don’t think that she thinks you’re deaf,” I said. “She simply doesn’t have a volume control. She’s either quiet or very loud. There’s no in between. For that reason she can’t keep a secret! Everything that comes out of her mouth can be heard a block away.

“She sure can talk,” Dee agreed. “But she doesn’t listen worth a diddly! She listens about as well as a dog that doesn’t want to.”

“A dog who doesn’t what to what?

Listen!” Dee exclaimed. “Isn’t that what we’re talking about? I think you might be death, too!”

As rude as it may seem, I once asked Donut why she yelled everything that comes out of her mouth. She explained that the reason she’s such a loud talker is because her grandmother, who died over 30 years ago, was deaf. When they would go to visit her grandmother she would have to speak loudly so her grandmother could hear her.

“How often did you visit your grandmother?” I asked.

“Once or twice a month,” she replied.

“So you visited her 12 to 24 times a year? And those visits ruined your opportunity to have a normal speaking voice?”

“Well, we’d also stay with her all day on Christmas.”

“And in 30 years you’ve never been able to regain an inside voice?”

“Never saw a reason to,” she said. “Besides I like to make sure people can hear me.”

People can hear her alright! People can hear her two blocks down the street! Out in the country where sound carries, I’m sure Donut could address an audience from three miles away. If she’s ever hard up for cash, I’m sure the city would be willing to hire her as a tornado siren.

In next week’s chapter Donut has a house guest – a relative who’s recovering from cowlicks. The entire story will be in dialogue form, consisting of two highly amusing conversations between Dee, Donut and me.

Will Donut’s relative recover from the cowlicks? Find out next week in chapter 6 of The Hillbilly Chronicles!

The Hillbilly Chronicles – Chapter 4

In last week’s chapter I told the story of how my “Hillbilly” neighbors established a three-day bed and breakfast in their back yard. It was a neighborhood curiosity I’m not likely to soon forget!

In this week’s chapter I will share the story of when Dee and I caught Donut talking to the cable guy which sent us both into a mild panic.

The Cable Guy

In the spring of 2012, I started a Facebook page to share the amusing conversations I would have with my 70-year-old neighbor, Dee. I would visit with Dee from three to six days a week, always armed with pen and paper so I could take notes in the event she said something amusing … which she almost always did.

Dee was perfectly aware of our Facebook page. I wouldn’t have dared post our conversations publicly without her permission. In fact, even though she knew very little about Facebook (which she called Spacebook) she enjoyed the attention she received from the page’s followers, many of whom adored her.

On June 7, 2012, Dee and I were sitting on her front porch enjoying the morning sun. I have no idea what we were talking about when we noticed a truck from a local phone, cable and internet provider park in front of the hillbillies’ house.

Donut came out to talk to the cable guy as they both walked around the house talking, pausing, looking at the house and power lines and then talking some more.

Dee desperately wanted to know what they were saying and suggested I sneak across the street and find a hiding place where I could spy on them and report back.

I refused.

That’s when Dee told me about a “super sonic hearing aid” she had seen advertised on television. She claimed, “It’s so powerful you can hear a bird breathin’!”

I didn’t yet have the vaguest idea why Dee so desperately wanted to know what Donut was saying to the cable guy, but it was a valid concern, as I was to find out a few days later.

One morning, between June 7th and June 12th, I crossed the street to visit Dee who had not yet made it out to claim her throne on the front porch. I knocked on her door and let myself in. We greeted one another and I took a seat on the couch.

“There’s a truck over at Donut’s house,” I said.

“What kind of truck?” she asked.

“I don’t know. It has a blue and green logo on the side.”

The look on Dee’s face turned from pleasant to panicked as she exclaimed, “That’s the cable company!”

“What’s wrong with that?” I asked.

“We don’t want them gettin’ the internet!”

It had never occurred to me that they might be signing up for internet service. Phone service I could understand. Even cable would make sense. They seem like the kind of people who would spend $30 or $40 a month to watch Duck Dynasty or Honey Boo Boo.

I turned to Dee and said, “Wouldn’t it be funny if she discovered our page?”

“I don’t think that would be very funny at all!” she said. “They’d be liable to throw rocks through your window and I wouldn’t be surprised if I came out to feed my birds one mornin’ and there was a bunch of chicken heads hangin’ from the trees!”

Then she asked, “Do you think she’s smart enough to run a computer?”

“I’m sure she graduated from the eighth grade, at least. It doesn’t take a heck of a lot of smarts to double-click a mouse.”

“But you have to know how to spell,” added Dee.

“Maybe they’re just getting cable,” I said in an attempt to calm Dee’s nerves.

“I sure hope so! If she ever finds out that she’s Donut, we’re gonna have to move to a different country!”

To my knowledge, they never did find out. In fact, the week before and two weeks after this conversation took place, Donut gifted me with several bags of fresh produce she acquired from local food pantries. She attends every food giveaway at each of the local charities and as she tells it, “We don’t eat vegetables. They’re not good fer ya ’cause of all the poison they spray on ’em, so we just eat outta cans and boxes and we eat lots of meat.”

So in spite of their food pantry habit, the hillbillies aren’t all bad. At least she doesn’t want to see those “toxic” vegetables go to waste.

In fact, just today (March 23, 2017) Donut came by bearing more gifts of produce – cucumbers, sweet potatoes, eggplant and carrots.

When I opened the door, she was standing there with a look of disappointment on her face.

“They’re givin’ away vegetables again,” she said with a sigh. “They must think we’re a bunch of rabbits or somethin’.”

I thanked her for the vegetables as she left to go take stock of her food haul for the day. As I put away my treasured vegetables I couldn’t help but think that Donut must think I’m a rabbit or something.

In next week’s story the laugh’s on me when one of the hillbilly boys catches me talking to a clump of weeds.  As an added bonus I will also include Dee’s story of the “Wiggle-Woggler”, which also relates to my backward neighbors.

The Hillbilly Chronicles – Part 3

The Backyard Bed & Breakfast

Last week I told the story of how some mysterious stranger showed up in a blue van and took Donut, the matriarch of my hillbilly neighbors, to an undisclosed location and returned her a week later.

I ended the story leaving my readers in suspense as to what to expect in the next chapter because I am a disorganized writer with disorganized notes and wasn’t even sure myself what adventure awaited.

That adventure has since been made clear and requires us to travel from May, 2012, back to March of the same year, in a story I have entitled, “The Backyard Bed and Breakfast”.

It all started on March 13, 2012, when I happened to look out of my bedroom window into the neighbor’s back yard where they had a 19″ TV placed upon a rollaway metal TV stand. In front of the TV sat an old computer chair, next to which sat an upside down five-gallon bucket which served as an end table. Hanging from the clothesline was a set of queen or king size bed sheets which blocked out the early day sun.

I couldn’t make sense of the arrangement but at one point during the day I did notice one of their teenage sons making use of the makeshift living room.

The following day, to add ambiance to the setting, a potted plant had been placed atop the television. The bucket-table disappeared, possibly having found a new use elsewhere but was replaced with a microwave oven and a fold-up rollaway bed which had been set up to accommodate a backyard sleeping guest.

I’m not quite sure if they had an out-of-town visitor or if they just got tired of living indoors for a few days, but on the following day, March 15th, everything was gone except the curtains and rollaway bed. That afternoon I noticed the hillbilly patriarch, who I shall refer to as “Jed”, taking a backyard nap on the bed while Donut attended to some yard work while wearing a very tight pair of short shorts.

I don’t mean to be critical of Donut’s weight, as I’m a plus-sized gal myself, but one has to admire how a 250+ pound woman managed to wrangle herself into a pair of short shorts that were intended for someone two to three sizes smaller. I must admit that I watched in awe as she performed her yard duties … until she bent over and practically mooned me as all her private business started oozing out of the legs of the shorts. That’s when I could no longer allow myself to watch the show. I felt, at that moment, as if I had been watching hillbilly porn and decided that my anthropological studies in relation to this three-day affair must come to an end.

I still don’t quite understand the purpose behind the backyard bed and breakfast, but the one thing I did learn is that one can never unsee certain images, no matter how hard one tries. If nothing else a physics lesson was learned that day – one which I could have lived my life never having missed.

Next Friday we’ll jump to June, 2012 when I join my delightful neighbor, Dee, once again to spy on the neighbors in a panic-filled chapter of the Hillbilly Chronicles, entitled “The Cable Guy”.

The Hillbilly Chronicles – Part 2

Last week I gave the reader a brief introduction to my hillbilly neighbors, covering the time period of 2011 through May of 2012 and I explained how my neighbor, Dee, had given the maternal hillbilly the name of “Donut”.

This week, as promised, I’ll continue where I left off, in May, 2012, when someone took Donut away in a blue van, leaving Dee and me to blindly solve the mystery.

On May 25, 2012, Dee and I were sitting on her front porch doing what we did best – drinking coffee, griping about everything that annoyed us, solving the world’s problems and talking about our neighbors. It was the latter of the aforementioned topics that prompted Dee to broadcast her news report.

“Oh, I saw somebody take Donut off yesterday. They was drivin’ a blue Sunburn … a blue Suburble … a blurban … they was drivin’ a blue van. It wasn’t one of them van-vans, it was just a van like they drive nowadays. I haven’t seen her since.”

Dee’s news report, translates to English as follows: “Somebody picked up Donut in a blue SUV yesterday and never brought her back.”

And that’s how Donut became a missing person.

Dee and I were sure her family – the other hillbillies – must have known what happened to her because the police were never called, but Dee and I, in spite of Dee being in her 70s and I in my 40s, liked to imagine and pretend much of the time, so we pursued the theory that Donut had been snatched off the street by a blue van-driving, roving hillbilly kidnapper.

Five days later the following dialogue took place on Dee’s front porch:

Dee – I haven’t seen Donut in days!

Vicki – I haven’t seen her in about a week. I wonder where she is.

Dee – I think they took her off in that blue van last week and decided not to bring her back.

Vicki – Maybe they took her off to have her glazed.

Dee – I’m wonderin’ if she’s sitting in a little room somewhere wearin’ one of them shirts with the sleeves sewed together.

Donut was missing for seven days total, returning home on the evening of June 1st. The following day I reported to Dee’s so we could discuss the details.

Dee – Donut came back home.

Vicki – I know. She came home last night while I was visiting with Jackie.

Dee – I think she’s been in the hospital. She lost a lot of weight. I haven’t heard her yellin’, so she must not be feelin’ good.

Vicki – I’ve enjoyed the quiet but I hate that she’s not feeling well.

Dee – Now that she’s back, I need you to go to your house and get your hand saw so you can cut back the limbs on my tree. They’re blockin’ my view. I can’t even see Donut’s front door! I can’t tell who’s comin’ and goin’!

Vicki – They probably prefer it that way.

Dee – Well, I don’t! Go get your saw so I can see what our neighbors are doin’!

As it turned out, Donut had been in the hospital having knee surgery, but stayed a little longer than expected after a request was made for special psychiatric attention.

Anyway, I did as Dee requested and cut back the limbs on her tree so she could have a clear view of the hillbillies’ house. We actually had a relatively good system worked out. Dee was able to see what the neighbors were up to but from her perch across the street, but she couldn’t hear everything they said. That’s where I came in. Living next door to the loud-mouthed hillbillies allowed me to hear much of what they said but I wasn’t able to view their actions. So Dee and I would get together each morning and would attempt to piece together what she saw and I heard. It didn’t always make sense, but that wasn’t necessarily the point of our little game.

Next week I will present part three of the Hillbilly Chronicles. I would love to hint at what the reader has to look forward to, but unfortunately, as I write this, I’m exhausted and my notes don’t seem to be complete or in order. So for the time being next Friday’s story will have to be a surprise to all of us. I believe it will either feature the cable man, a Wiggle Woggler or something totally unrelated.

So make sure to check back next Friday for the mysterious missing plot of The Hillbilly Chronicles!

The Hillbilly Chronicles – Part 1

Myimg_20170303_014901 hillbilly neighbors have been a thorn in my side since April, 2010, when I first had the misfortune of meeting them.

In all fairness, our acquaintanceship started out fairly mild and has progressively worsened over the years. I don’t mean to imply that they’re evil.  They simply have no consideration for their neighbors regarding the noise they produce.  They fight constantly – whether at six o’clock in the morning or after midnight – and not a single one of them knows the meaning of an inside voice.  They’re all loud-talkers – screamers, to be more precise – and they even yell their secrets to each other and they’re stupefied by the fact that the whole neighborhood knows their business.

They were given the title of “hillbillies” by Dee, a dear friend and neighbor who departed this life five months ago. Although the “hillbilly” label stuck, they would be more accurately described as rednecks.

Theimg_20170303_014946 earliest documentation I have of my neighbor’s antics takes us back to a few 2011 entries from my Facebook page.  It has always been their constant fighting, swearing, loud music and other assorted loud noises which have threatened to have me committed.  Rather than being declared insane, however, I rant on Facebook believing this to be a preferential form of therapy.

Apr 11, 2011 – 8:16pm

My next-door neighbors have a screeching machine which they turn on every night. It’s driving me batty!

Although they never fail to annoy me on a daily basis, I was not able to find additional related entries until six months later.

Oct. 1, 2011  9:31am

My outside trash can was stolen a week ago.  Who would steal an old, smelly broken down trash can?

Oct 03, 2011 10:58pm

My next-door neighbors have had my trash can stowed away in their garage.  They just returned it, informing me, “It kinda’ stinks”.  So now it’s back home, half full of their garage trash.  I’m not sure if the guilt got to them or if the stink did, but it’s back home now … where it belongs!

Frequently the smell of marijuana coming from next door is stifling!  Although I personally don’t have a problem with marijuana or its legalization, I do have a problem in regard to having to smell it, but that’s irrelevant.  A few days after getting my trash can back, I made the following entry:

Oct 09, 2011 2:54pm

I told my neighbors about the great sale at Save-A-Lot this morning. They just came home with two bags full of pot pies. I didn’t have the heart to tell them! I guess they’ll figure it out as soon as they break through the top crust that the main ingredient has nothing to do with the name of the food.

In the late summer of 2011, I started getting to know Dee better.  We would sit on her front porch and talk about everything under the sun.  She was a joy to talk to but she was even more of a joy to listen to.  Her unique and somewhat backward take on life left me thoroughly entertained.  After a month of getting acquainted with Dee, I started documenting many of our amusing conversations … some of which were about our hillbilly neighbors.

May 17, 2012

“It sounds like your next-door neighbor is on the war path again. It sure was quiet when she was gone. Somebody needs to slip her a pill!” ~Dee

The following day Dee bestowed the name “Donut” to the maternal hillbilly because, “I can’t ever ‘member how to say her name, but it kind of sounds like “Donut” … and she kind of reminds me of a donut … the day-old kind.”

Donut is the loudest and most obnoxious of the hillbillies, but the others do give her a run for her money.  Her husband, who is loud but rarely noteworthy, is probably the smartest of the bunch … but that’s not necessarily a high honor.  Their two sons were teenagers when I first met them but are now both married, with children, and in their mid-20s.  Watching Donut in the role of grandmother has been an interesting case study in itself!

Next week I’ll pick back up in May, 2012, with “The Disappearance of Donut”, in which a mysterious blue van took away our loud-mouthed neighbor, leaving Dee and me guessing as to what happened.