FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Still Waters Run Deep

by MISSY BEATTIE

Go with the flow at the drop of a hat:

Since Erma doesn’t have invasive Big C, the four of us, including the kitten, left Baltimore’s cold for Georgia’s warmth last Sunday.  Sister Laura, the navigator, shut her eyes for a few minutes.  I’m the driver with no sense of direction.  We were rounding I-495 for I-95S and saw the Mormon temple’s golden spires.  When we met their sheen a second time, we knew we’d added another 40 minutes to the trip.  Dumb, Dumber, and Dumbest are we.  What goes around comes around.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush:

This house where we’re staying belongs to our brother.  When no one’s renting for a week or two or three, because it’s off-season, we can vacation, paying utilities and a housecleaning fee.  All’s well that ends well.

As luck would have it and as beautiful as the day is long:

This particular house is magical. Someone built an addition off the kitchen.  Two bedrooms, two baths, a great room, and laundry room.  This is where Laura and Erma put down their suitcases and the litter box.  So, each evening, after watching bad TV or working one of those cryptic crossword puzzles, Laura’s favorite (she’s Dumb and I’m Dumbest), one of them says, “I’m ready for bed.” I grab my computer and move toward the door that opens into the old section of the house.  Walking across the threshold onto wide plank floors, I enter a different era.  There’s an evocative aroma of wood burned to ash and a stairway that pulls me to the past.  I’m a pioneer woman on the prairie.  Hitch your wagon to a star. You can’t judge a book by its cover.

Look before you leap. When the going gets tough, the tough get going:

Today, I ran the path adjacent to the marsh.  Last trip here, I saw a sign that said, “Don’t feed the alligators.”  Hey, this is enchanted land and nothing bad can happen during a fairytale.  This is my personal dictate.  So, I pretend I’m Crocodile Dundee or Alligator Dundee—that I can stare into the eyes of a reptile and turn that frown upside down.  See you later, gator.

Where the rubber meets the road and when the dust clears:

There’s a truck.  Hiked up and smug.  From its rearview hangs a cross and on the bumper is a Confederate flag.  Paradise this isn’t.  All that glitters is not gold.

The buck stops here. Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies:

But I feel guilty.  Guilty when so many have so little. Guilty when so many are losing what little they have left.   Actions speak louder than words.

We’re not in Kansas anymore:

I think of the years, the stages.   I’ve lived amid love, laughter, sadness, and acceptance.  I have my children.  I’m lucky.  And the experiences—oh, the experiences.  I almost could preach salvation to the lost.  Because I know contentment can change with a phone call, the ringing of a doorbell, or witness to a final breath.  I’ve seen the path from the belly of a whale.  And I’ve emerged. Such is life.  Again, go with the flow.

I wouldn’t kick him out of bed for eating crackers.  Take the bull by the horns. It’s now or never:

The other day, my insignificant other who’s become more significant than I wanted told me his supervisor sent an email announcing cliché day.  Then his colleague wrote, “This will be as easy as taking candy from a baby.”  I related this to Laura and we began a competitive cliché-athon.  All hell broke loose as plain as the nose on your face.  The sky’s the limit.

Take by storm and pay an arm and a leg:

When I came up with what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, Dumber  (Erma) shook her head no and said, “war,” opening a litany of examples to support her point.  The recipients of US militarism.  The wounded, dead, displaced. The dehumanized.  Our troops.  Are they stronger because they’ve survived killing fellow human beings for empire?  Or do they die a little bit or a lot from committing what’s required of them?  Knock ‘em dead for crying out loud.  Sorry about that.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg.  I’ll leave you with something to chew on:

For the next couple of weeks, I’m interluding.  But never am I deaf to what’s being done in my name.   Once you know, you really know.   You can’t go back.  You can play stupid.  You can call each other Dumb, Dumber, Dumbest, and you can laugh, but beneath the surface of that mirth is truth. And right now there’s no exit that allows you to leave it.   An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Missy Beattie is cliché-ing till the cows come home.  Reach her at missybeat@gmail.com

 

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
Steve Horn
Under Tillerson, Exxon Maintained Ties with Saudi Arabia, Despite Dismal Human Rights Record
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
Brian Cloughley
What Money Can Buy: the Quiet British-Israeli Scandal
Mel Gurtov
Donald Trump’s Lies And Team Trump’s Headaches
Kent Paterson
Mexico’s Great Winter of Discontent
Norman Solomon
Trump, the Democrats and the Logan Act
David Macaray
Attention, Feminists
Yves Engler
Demanding More From Our Media
James A Haught
Religious Madness in Ulster
Dean Baker
The Economics of the Affordable Care Act
Patrick Bond
Tripping Up Trumpism Through Global Boycott Divestment Sanctions
Robert Fisk
How a Trump Presidency Could Have Been Avoided
Robert Fantina
Trump: What Changes and What Remains the Same
David Rosen
Globalization vs. Empire: Can Trump Contain the Growing Split?
Elliot Sperber
Dystopia
Dan Bacher
New CA Carbon Trading Legislation Answers Big Oil’s Call to Continue Business As Usual
Wayne Clark
A Reset Button for Political America
Chris Welzenbach
“The Death Ship:” An Allegory for Today’s World
Uri Avnery
Being There
Peter Lee
The Deep State and the Sex Tape: Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover, and Thurgood Marshall
Patrick Hiller
Guns Against Grizzlies at Schools or Peace Education as Resistance?
Randy Shields
The Devil’s Real Estate Dictionary
Ron Jacobs
Singing the Body Electric Across Time
Ann Garrison
Fifty-five Years After Lumumba’s Assassination, Congolese See No Relief
Christopher Brauchli
Swing Low Alabama
Dr. Juan Gómez-Quiñones
La Realidad: the Realities of Anti-Mexicanism
Jon Hochschartner
The Five Least Animal-Friendly Senate Democrats
Pauline Murphy
Fighting Fascism: the Irish at the Battle of Cordoba
Susan Block
#GoBonobos in 2017: Happy Year of the Cock!
Louis Proyect
Is Our Future That of “Sense8” or “Mr. Robot”?
Charles R. Larson
Review: Robert Coover’s “Huck out West”
David Yearsley
Manchester-by-the-Sea and the Present Catastrophe
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail