Today, arriving in an airport an hour and a half south of me: Monica, for a visit that's been in the making for several years now.

It becomes difficult to explain a friendship when you realize that you can barely remember why you became friends in the first place. A quick bit of mathematics tells me that we were off just a bit when we did some phone calculations the other day; we were fourteen when we met. She might have been fifteen. She had the neatest handwriting I'd ever seen, had far curlier hair than I did, and she knew the worst puns in the world. Loved them. Gloried in them. (All these years later, I still remember the punchline "Kicks are for Trids!" even though I cannot remember the joke itself.)


We all have holes in our psyche to fill, you see. Holes that sometimes we talk about, and holes that sometimes announce their presence because we can't (or won't) bear to mention them. Sometimes, given the fortuitous combination of personality and circumstance, another person comes along. Another person with holes in their life. Given the right time of day and phase of the moon (or kindly guiding force, depending on how your world works) their emptiness lines up with yours.Sometimes the holes of one cancel out the holes of another, forming a stronger fabric.

for whom the bell tolls

Storm season is back amongst us again, blowing through in a succession of muggy afternoons and dark-grey clouds. It's later than usual this year, having decided to wander in and get revved up only towards the end of spring. Several nights this week, Jeff has had to shut off the weather radio multiple times.

Say goodnight, Gracie

Lot A was for the newer cars. Lot B was for trucks, vans, ATVs, SUVs, and anything that didn't quite qualify as a "car." Lot C was for older cars.

We were the sixtieth car in Lot C at tonight's auction down in Cullman. While waiting for the first fifty-nine cars to be processed, Jeff and I had plenty of time to talk over how much we wanted our reserve price to be. We knew we wouldn't get a lot of money for the car—it was, after all, an eight-year-old Sundance—but we wanted to see if we could do better than the trade-in offer we'd received.

On the drive down to the auction, I found myself laughing as I thought about all of the places this little car has taken me since 1994. Nine states: Arkansas, Missouri, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois.

Truth is stranger than fiction

Did you ever have a family member whose antics were guaranteed to liven up any holiday gathering? Someone whose particularly-skewed ideas of fun and amusement were the subject of dinner-table conversations for years to come?

I wouldn't be posting if I didn't have one. Truthfully, I had several, but the one that comes to mind is Clint.

In my family, "mudding" is a verb. As in, "Clint's gone mudding. Who's gonna pull him out this time?"

He wasn't the first member of my family to get addicted to this particularly-rural pastime. My uncle, Keith, was the one whose antics that most of us remember most vividly. My sister, when asked to describe, said it this way: "On every holiday, Keith would take the biggest vehicle he could find and go out to the bluff and sink that sucker up to the axles in mud, and then we'd all have to go pull him out."

Clint was the same way.

Stubborn, just like her

What I know is so much smaller than what I don't know.

She was a teenager when she married. From her pictures, she was never a particularly pretty girl. I know nothing of what her personality was like. I only knew her later, after years and circumstances had had their way with her.

Because of family disagreements and her death during my childhood, I never knew her well. To say that she never got along with my mother would have been a bit of an understatement; the knowledge that they never agreed on much of anything was common, yet unspoken, knowledge—even to me, the youngest—when I was a child.