Wednesday, December 31, 2014

12/31/14... The Last Day of the Year, Part I

'Tis the last day of the year, and I am still thinking about the sound of that.

2014 is about to go. Some entered, and some will not be leaving.

I have been off from work since December 24th, and I have enjoyed waking up in the mornings and not being pressed to be anywhere by a certain time. But this morning, I took Lucy Jr. for an oil change. There is also a little shake in the wheel when I drive. It is barely noticeable, but I can tell there is something wrong. I thought I may need some brakes or some new tires.

I had the oil change (well, the 5K service), and it turns out I have a bent rim. It's not broken or bent up enough to cause a big problem or a flat tire, but it is noticeable when I look close. I hit a serious pothole a couple of weeks ago, and we think that's the culprit. So I need to buy a new wheel. I will do that when I buy new tires, which will be in June 2015 or thereabouts.

As for now, the tire rotation puts that tire on the back of the car. Hence, no more shakes. The ride is back to its usual smoothness.

From there I made a trip to the Farmer's Market. Being that this is the last day of the year, and with so many people having parties tonight, it was PACKED. It was butt-to-butt, breast-to-breast up in there. I was there for an hour, and I didn't even get much. Just trying to maneuver through the crowd was a beast. But I got what I wanted and that's good.

Then the interesting part of my day began. It was only half an hour. But... it was interesting.

I decided, since I was on the eastside, and in the neighborhood, that I would stop by my Aunt Ellen's house. She is my father's sister. I haven't seen her, or the family, since his funeral back in late September.  I've been meaning to go by, but... I keep putting it off. But I promised myself I would stop by and see her.

So I go by. And we sit and chit and chit-chat and smile.

Then there's a knock at the door.

Now I saw someone walk through the front yard of her house. I didn't know what that was about. You have to unlock the fence gate to do that.

Then someone knocked at the door. It was a middle aged dark skinned woman. She had on a big hat and some casual clothes.

I had no idea who she was. But I unlatched the door. And once she came in and got to talking good.

She was fond of the drink. 

And she had a brown paper bag in her hand. I didn't have to guess what was in it.

Aunt Ellen pointed at me and asked this lady, Ms. Marcy, if she knew who I was. She said no.

"I'm Milton's daughter," I said.

A big smile spread across her face. "Oh, you his daughter. He was my friend! He was my friend!"

After a few minutes of rambling (and me trying to keep up with her lingo) she pulled a tall boy can of Old
English 800.

"Ya'll grab a couple of glasses, and share this Old English with me... cuz tis the season to be jolly!"

She sang a couple of rounds of that for a minute. I must say I was amused.

I looked at Aunt Ellen. She said nothing.

"We could grab a few glasses," Ms. Marcy said when no one replied. "There's some here on shelf."

Aunt Ellen had four nice blue rimmed wine glasses on the shelf of the wood furniture in the living room. I could tell no one never drank from those glasses. Aunt Ellen may have special ordered them from a fancy catalog, the big JC Penney Christmas catalog, I bet.

Malt liquor was not gracing those glasses. Never had and never will.

"No thank you," I said. "I don't want any. And I haven't had any eight ball in a long time."

Her eyes grew wide. "Oh you know about this drank. You know about eight ball."

Lord did I know. That was my malt liquor of choice some 20 years ago. I got squeamish just thinking about it.

She rambled on, with me peering hard trying to keep up. Her thoughts were like a ball in a pinball machine, dashing to and fro, bouncing all around.

Then she suddenly said "Ellen, I think my stories is on! I gotta go watch my stories."

If you don't know what "Stories" are, then I don't blame you. You need to be 40 or above to know that. "Stories" is another name for soap operas. There aren't as many of those on now as there were on during the '70s and '80s.  They have been replaced by daytime talk shows.

I think she wanted to watch The Young and the Restless. She went into the small den located off the side of the living room, parked herself in a chair right a couple feet from the television set and watched her "

Aunt Ellen and I continued talking. And Ms. Marcy would get up and have something to say during commercial breaks. I had gotten to the point where I could decypher her slightly drunken lingo.

She really wanted to try on my glasses, because they looked like was a pair of "dem good glasses".

I was not really down for that. But since she was in the little den, I let her try them on. I had her cornered in just in case she decided to run. She tried them on, and had a overly exaggerated fit. My prescription is strong. I thought she was going to fall out on the floor. And she she could do that right after I grabbed my glasses from her.

She wanted my eye doctor's telephone number. I gave it to her, knowing she wasn't going.

Then she hit me up for some money. (She'd done that a couple of times earlier. I paid her no mind).

I reached in my pocket and gave her a dollar. She wanted more.

Too bad. I don't really carry cash.

"You sound like my niece, talkin' about 'I don't carry cash, I only got my card'!  What am I suppose to do when I wake up early in the morning and I want a beer? I gotta have cash to go get myself a can of beer!"

"I am sure you do," I said. "But people don't carry cash these days. You can now just swipe your cell phone at the cash register and pay for stuff."

Both Aunt Ellen and Ms. Marcy gasped.

"It is true," I said. "But I don't trust that yet."

Ms. Marcy, still in her state of surprise, asked "What they gonna do about the fraud. You can steal people's cell phone and use it as money!"

"I don't know," I said, as I grasped my cell phone a little tighter through the pocket of my hoodie. (She was making me nervous. "I pay with my card."

Ms. Marcy stared down at the dollar in her hand. "I'ma use this dollar to play the cash 3. Them triples came up last night! Gimme a number to play, Lisa."

"773," I said. "Them doubles, honey."

Her eyes went wide again.

Yes I know the lingo very well when I have to. She was quite impressed with me.

We talked a little more. Then she went back and parked herself in front of the TV.

When another commercial break came on, I went back to talk to her.

"It was nice to meet you, Ms. Marcy." I reached out to shake her hand.  "It's an honor to meet someone who was my father's friend."

She smiled her broken tooth smile and shook my hand hard.

"I wanted to come to the funeral. But they wouldn't let me come."

I asked why, but no answer was needed. She would've been a drunken mess at the funeral. No one wanted to deal with that.

"It was such an honor to meet you," I repeated. "You were someone who knew Milton. It was nice to meet someone who was his friend."

She smiled again. You would've thought I was Michelle Obama giving her a compliment.

As I was leaving, she said "Milt say you are a nurse or a doctor."

"Yes I am a doctor, but not a medical doctor."

"Well can you test me for the diabetes?" she asked.

I repeated what I said. I told her I had a PhD in Chemistry, and I couldn't help her medically.

She didn't understand a word I'd said. It didn't matter because I was on my way out the door.

I came home and put my groceries up. Did a little reading and cleaning.

And now I'm watching Watch Night service.

Oil Change.
Farmer's Market.
Aunt Ellen.
And the lively Ms. Marcy.

Oh my. This has been a most memorable last day of the year.

And I'm glad... and thankful for that.


  1. I am below 40 and understand full well what "stories" are. My Aunt used to tape them while she worked so they were playing every evening after Wheel of Fortune went off. I even got into them in high school. Amazing how just a mention of stories gives me fond memories of our routine growing up. Sometimes we meet people in life that remind us of where we used to be and how far we have traveled in life.

  2. Anonymous1:03:00 AM

    that darn malt liquor! it will kick your tail!
    mary jo


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