The Ozark Sillies Wishing You All, that 2012 is The most joy filled, prosperous and healthy New Year of Our Lives!
Mary DottieBo Larry
*T’was the eve b’for Christmas in Ozark hill country
When Bervis came out with the box not so empty.
Opal was grinnin’ she knew it was time
To burn the debt history, in her hand, the boxed wine.
*The night was upon them, the neighborhood still
Bervis opened his moonshine and gulped a big swill.
The good and the bad, the ugly there too
had all been recorded, and now become due.
*The decade was over, the new in their sights
No obnoxious phone calls disturbing their nights.
The thoughts were all kept in their hillbilly heads,
of the children, the grandkids, and crowded bunkbeds.
*The only thing left now, the home that they live in
The furniture, groceries, and clothes they been given.
But this mattered not, on this evenin so cold
When Bervis and Opal declared themselves bold.
*They fear not collectors, old age or poverty
Or the junkyard which soon would surround their small property.
The two are together, no matter the weight
Of the financial future, or lack of, (their state.)
*You can’t take from nothing, that which aint there
And they grinned as their history rose in the night air.
*Bervis and Opal know the secret of life
This tired hillbilly and his darling sweet wife.
If yer breathin God’s air, and see the sunrise
There’s a good chance in heaven, you’ll meet with the wise.
*So don’t let this news they say of recession
Throw dark clouds across this here Christmas lesson.
If a babe in a manger can grow to be King
His great Father’s Love gives you near the same thing.
*A mansion or shanty, dirt streets or of gold
When you git to heaven, the young and the old
Will be there to greet you, like Opal and Bervis
And shout Hallelujiah!, in that heavenly service!
The night critters singing their high pitched songs, made the air tingle with energy. The autumn chill made the fire a hot attraction! It was their anniversary of nothing, and they planned to celebrate accordingly.
Pulling a plastic Adirondack chair closer to the warmth, Opal sipped her wine and grinned. “This is perfect,” she stated as if someone asked her opinion.
Bervis poked and prodded the fire pile to make room for more wood. The fuel was old newspapers, junk mail, bill collector’s threats in unopened envelopes, and the fallen branches of last winter’s ice storm collected in the yard for just such a night as this. The sparks rose high on the heat of the compiled elements, drawing oo-oo-oo-s and a-a-a-h-s from Opal like the fireworks displays on the 4th of July draws from the crowd.
This Ozark hills October night had been long awaited. Opal and Bervis had suffered through the summer months of heat and a declining economy, like many across the country, but refused to fall victim to the grief others expressed. Like those who think, “well I still have them checks, so I figgered I still have money in the bank!” , Bervis and Opal decided to burn those bills, in effigy, so they would owe them no more.
Call it hillbilly ignorance, stupidity, naivety, or hilarity, Opal and Bervis found great pleasure in burning their way to what they perceived as financial liberty and freedom.
Toasting the night away with cheap boxed wine, pretzels and occasional sighs of relief, Opal wondered why the country was out “occupying Wall Street”, when the answer was so simple. Bankers got the Bail Out; Opal and Bervis got the Burn Out!
Saturday night, July 16th.About 11:30 pm, the phone rings. I am at Moffit Cancer center in Tampa with Amanda.She is in the “conditioning” process, for her stem cell transplant. Her mother, Laurie stayed these past two nights, and now I will be here until Monday night when Laurie comes back. The plan is for me to come back again on Wednesday, the day they give Amanda her stem cells back… Day 0. But the phone call changes this plan.
Amanda hangs up and says, “You have to call Jeannette. Josh was in an accident and has a serious head injury.” From the chair I am sleeping in, I try to wrap my mind around what Amanda has just said. I feel the blood in my body turn cold. My heart beats, but I can’t really feel it. I begin to take deep breaths. I say to Amanda, “ I need a minute to get up. I can’t move yet. I need to breathe.”
I slowly get up and move toward the locker where my purse holds my cell phone. “I..I don’t know where I put my phones… oh here they are.”
‘It’s that job! That f#%^*ing job!” I really don’t know what that meant… I didn’t know yet, what kind of accident, or ANYthing. That was some sort of defensive attack on whatever it was that hurt my child.
Minutes later, Jeannette’s mother, Nancy answers the house phone. “Nancy, this is Mary.”
“I don’t know anything.” Were her first words.
“Was he at work? Was he working?”
“Well, he told us he was working, but he wasn’t.” She sounded disgusted.
“What is Jeannette’s, cell number? Where is she?”
“Suzy is picking her up and taking her to the hospital”, then Nancy gives me the number.
“Okay, thanks. Bye.”
Jeannette answers quickly, and tells me they are almost to the hospital. “He was on a motorcycle, and laid it over and a car ran over him. They are Life Flighting him to the hospital right now.” She sounded angry.
I was going to vomit. My mind started to see the image of the accident, and my heart screamed, “NO!”
Telling her to call me no matter what the time, as soon as they tell her ANYthing, I hang up with Jeannette to start the calling to Bo and my other sons. Numb is a very odd feeling.
Amanda looks at me with those beautiful big eyes of wonderment and innocence, and states with confidence, “He’s going to be fine. He is okay.”
I respond, “You have a direct line to God. I have seen His work in you. I need you to ask Him to make Josh okay.” She begins to pray, and cry. I dial the phone to Bo, begin to tell him what I know, the Nurse, Richelle, comes in and hooks Amanda up to her Chemo.
My nephew, Dan, has provided the way for me to go to see Josh. Along with Dan, and my oldest son, Jimi, I leave Ft Myers RSW at 7 pm. and arrive Charlotte, NC approx 9 pm. A late departure for Pittsburgh now, our 11:30pm arrival is actually a 12:30 am arrival. Jeannette, Halley and a sound asleep in the front seat Justice, AKA Buddy, pick us up and we go back to the house. An early morning visit to the hospital on Thursday will give me some answers the distance did not provide. Talking in the kitchen until 3 am settles nerves, and allows for some venting, laughing, and determination to get Josh on his feet again.
July 22nd early morning…
ICU waiting room. The faces tell the stories, minus the details. Each one is there for a traumatic reason. An emergency brought them together. No one else’s situation is more tragic than their own. Waiting while Jeannette and Halley go in to see Josh first, gives me time to try to prepare my reaction to what I am about to see in Josh’s face, and body. Jimi, Dan, and I are silent and in our own thoughts. I gaze around the room in mindless thoughts. Pillows, blankets, books, half empty water bottles, a box of baked goods, half empty, a phone on the desk ringing, a woman grabs it, and nods over her shoulder to a waiting man, and they go through the door where someone on the other side of it buzzes them through. This morning’s coffee has me edgy, and wide-eyed. My conversation with God is pleading, grateful, and apologetic. Is this the same thing He hears from everyone in here?
He is sleeping… or sedated enough to seem to be sleeping. The breathing tube holds his mouth in the open position, and his lips are dry. The head stabilizing brace, at first frightens me, but I soon realize it keeps Josh from injuring himself more. The small scrape on the center of his forehead right at his hairline is scabbed, and has an ointment glistening from it. No swelling in his handsome face, and no bruising either. “God, You held his head in Your hands as his body met the pavement, then encircled him with Your arms as the vehicle drove over him. You are merciful. Thank You.” This was a silent dialogue that would continue for me for days to come. I heard His comfort in a way which is difficult to describe or explain. The scraped and swollen right leg and foot were uncovered, and drove home the extent of God’s mercy, on the rest of Josh’s body.
Me and Ehmys adventure
Today Ehmy and I got up and got dressed, brushed our teeth, and ate breakfast. Then we got into the truck and went somewhere cold and snowy and fun! Its Seven springs mountain resort, theres snowboarding, snow tubing, and theres a hotel plus in the lodge my favorite restraunt is the buffet.Yummm!! Finally were there, we got tickets to the snowboarding, skiing, and tubbing. First were going tubing, theirs a big hill and a small hill, and the big hill has four sections and the small hill has six sections. Then we went snowboarding, and had an awesome time. They have a small hill (which is called the bunny hill). The big hill is for the professionals. After that we went skiing I fell a couple of times and so did Ehmy but after a while we got used to it.
Finally it was time for dinner, we went to the buffet and had wonderful food, such as steak, salad, spaghetti ,and a lot more.For dessert I had cheesecake ,ice cream, blackberry cobbler. Ehmy had a chocolate cake and ice cream with sprinkles. Then we went home and went to bed. That’s what we did that day. J
The White Doe
Today is our day… just Me and Halley. For a January 23rd, the weather is pretty mild. Upper 40’s for the high, with cloud cover to keep it from getting colder than that. The ground still has a bit of snow from last Thursday, but just enough for the evidence of presence. That would be the secret to seeing her.
We jump into the Expedition, and head off south of Melbourne on Hwy 69. We both have our hiking boots on with warm sox, warm pants, gloves, a scarf, and me with my down coat and Halley with her Camo jacket, and orange vest. Even though we will be on private property, it is still bow season here in the north central Arkansas Ozarks, and we don’t want to take any chances. My down coat is bright yellow, but we’ll stop at D&L, the discount “everything” store at the edge of town and get my orange vest too.
It’s a very good chance we will be driving back to the house after dark, and we just ate a BIG lunch, but we need a little heat for the adventure, so we carry along two thermos’ full of Hot Chocolate… mine has a splash of mint flavor… m-m-m-m-m-m!
After getting my vest, we climb back into the truck and head a bit farther south. Halley wants to know more about the adventure, and asks, “Ehmy, have you ever SEEN this white doe, or only just heard about her?”
“Yep! Bo and I were telling someone about her one night as we drove them back to their house in the woods, here. Then we headed back out to the highway for home, and just as we got to this house,” I say stopping in front of a house on the dirt road, “there she was! She and about a dozen other deer, grazing in that front yard!”, and I point to where we saw her.
“Bo-bo turned the truck toward them, and we saw them all very clearly, and she looked right at us, and very casually, stopped eating and then they turned and trotted up that hill, into the trees.”
Now Halley gets a bit more excited, to know that I had really seen her, and it wasn’t just a local fable. We drive on to the “Y” in the road called Rose Trail, deeper into the woods. The winter bare trees allow us to see where the ice storm two years ago, had bent and broken so much of the woods. We travel about another mile to the entrance to our friends, Jeff and Laura’s log cabin home.
Halley sees the feeders in the yard on both sides of the drive, and says, “Ehmy! Look at the deer around that feeder! Two of them! And there is another standing by the trees at the edge of the yard!”
She watches with a smile, as they look at us as we drive slowly by them, and asks if these were some of the deer the White Doe hung out with.
“I don’t know, Sac. Jeff and Laura have seen her on their property a few times, but I don’t know which other deer she was with. If it is these deer, then we have a great chance of seeing her!”
I park behind the house, and we walk together to the pond in the back yard. It has a bit of ice over it, but nothing thick enough for people’s weight. We talk very quietly about the fish Jeff and Laura have stocked in their three ponds, and how Laura likes to make sure they are fed, even in the winter. A coyote howl in the distance, and I tell Halley how those critters have been quite a problem this year for the livestock, and small pets. A red tailed hawk circles in the upper winds above the pines, and we se a bright red cardinal eating from the bird feeders Jeff hung on the trees around the pond.
Then suddenly, and very quietly, she appears. Across the pond from where we stand, she steps out of the woods, bends her head down to drink, then just as quietly looks up at us, as if to say, “ See, Halley, I am real. And now you have seen something very special.” With almost no sound at all, she turns and walks slowly back into the woods.
Halley and I both just hold our breath while we look at her, and now begin to breathe again, and just look at each other. We don’t speak a word, stay there for just a few more minutes, then knowing we got what we came for, slip back into the truck and drive home.
The following is a poem by my granddaughter, Arrielle. This morning we discussed an incident which occurred yesterday, in her life, which ended in a discipline of short term suspension from an activity for all who were in some or any way involved. "I was in the wrong place, at the wrong time." These are her words to me regarding the event. "Are you okay with the discipline you received?", I asked her. Her response amazed me, in the maturity she revealed; "I understand that everyone who had any part in this, had to be treated equally. My greatest regret, is that I have disappointed Officer N, by my involvement, regardless of how much or little it was." Taking a deep breath to regain my composure, I asked one more question. "Have you told her how you feel this way?" Arrielle replied, "No, I haven't had the chance yet, but I plan on talking to her Monday."
Finishing our conversation with the idea of expressing feelings through writing, and this venue for posting, so we can learn from our own experiences expressed, I opened my email hours later to find this...
by Arrielle Smith
Lightning Strikes When Least Expected
Nothing Can Prepare You for the Pain of a Broken Heart
But the Night is Darkest Just before Dawn
And if You Just Keep Holding On
Hope Will Never Be Lost
Because Hope Will Live Within You and You Alone
Because No One Can Bring You Down
Once Lightning Strikes
You Will Be Strongest In Who You Are
Never Letting Go, Never Looking Back
No Mistakes, No Regrets
The Only Way to Know For Sure
Is to Try
“Hey girlie, happy birthday!” Ehmy said.
“Hey Ehmy. Thank you.” I said.
“Do you remember the time that we went to the Shell Factory?” Ehmy asked.
“Of course I do, didn’t Halley come with us and Bo too?” I reply.
“I think so, and we went to the fish place for lunch, and Bo told you the joke about the scientists who thought that they could make their own people without any help from God, and they had to use some dirt, which was made by God, so in the end, they had to use God’s help.” Ehmy explained.
“Yeah, I remember that. And then he put vinegar on his French fries, which I thought was really weird.” I add.
“Yeah, so I was thinking that we could do that again for your fourteenth birthday. Do you think that that would be okay?” Ehmy asked.
“Of course that would be okay. I’d love to go.” I reply.
“Awesome, then let’s go right now!” she insisted.
“Really? Okay, sure!” I exclaim.
So, there we were, on our way to the Shell Factory. I know, I know, just running off like that without even asking my dad, pretty irresponsible and impulsive, but when we got there, we called him and we told him where we were, and he said that he was fine with it.
“So what do you want to do first?” Ehmy inquired.
“Can we go see the shark’s mouth in the front; I want to take some pictures so we have them.” I reply with another question.
“Whatever you want to do, it’s your birthday,” she tells me.
“Alright then!” I pleasantly reply.
We then proceeded to run amok in this house of shells and miscellaneous objects for the rest of the day. When we got home, we were so tired that we fell asleep on the couch and the rocking chair. I guess we really know how to have fun with just us.
Me and Arrielle and the Mighty Mississip Trip
It was a beautiful spring morning when Arrielle and I took off for our unknown adventure. We had packed overnight bags, and a cooler with enough food for 4 days. We figured we would drive away from home two days, taking in as much as we could see and do in that two days, then turn and come back, taking in as much as we could see and do in those two days.
She was as excited about just being on an adventure as I was. We left Bo, My husband, and Jimi, Arrielle’s Dad, back at the house in Arkansas to hang out together while we did our ‘girl’s days’ trip, and sort of on stand-by in case we needed rescued from car trouble , or that kind of emergency. Cell phones and road maps in hand, kisses and hugs and promises of text-ings and phone call for updates, we were off.
We headed southeast where the mighty Mississippi touches Arkansas on one side and Mississippi on the other. Tunica. No, we weren’t going to the Casinos… or maybe we would! With an adult, Arrielle could probably get into some of the entertainment, and …. Well… no better not go in that direction….
Anyway, we were enjoying the sunshine, warm air and thought of such a day being perfect for our trip. This was the first time we had gone anywhere without the guys, like an overnighter, and we gave it no thought, when we made the plan. It was kind of weird though because almost every time I said “ hey Bo! Look at that…”, or she would say, “Dad, when are we…”, we would laugh and then get quiet… and think about those poor guys just hanging out at the house missing out on all this good stuff we were gonna do and see.
By the time we got just one hour’s drive from the house…we were both thinking the same thing, so I just said it. “Hey Arrielle! Would you mind if we went back and got the guys, and maybe just shortened the adventure to one overnighter? Maybe they would like to go with us to spend the night someplace on the Mississippi River, and see all the things we were gonna see, and do all the things we were gonna do, and we could all be together?”
When I saw the big smile on her face, I knew she felt the same way… so that is what we did!