I just have a lot to say.

Archive for the ‘MY FAVORITES’ Category

July 8th, 2014 by

A Perfect Pedicure, Mon

Briana gives pedicures. She talks all the time about pedicures. She points out how much you need a pedicure and hounds you until you sit still and let her paint your toenails. She does a great job. She is diligent and tedious in her chosen art.

In the summer of 2012, our church youth group took its biennial trip to Ocho Rios, Jamaica, to lead VBS for several local churches. In the mornings, we worked hard crafting about the Bible story and singing about Jesus and loving on delightfully accented children and sweating. In the evenings, we had a group Bible study and prepared for the following day and tried to get to bed at a decent hour. In the afternoons, we played. We went to market one afternoon and climbed a waterfall on another. Most afternoons, we stayed at our beachfront condo and swam or sunned or snorkeled.

In anticipation of this priceless time, I ran by Walgreen’s before I left Dothan to buy some new fingernail polish. I planned to surrender to Briana’s pleadings and get her to paint my toenails as I rested by the pool. I pondered over the perfect color and purchased a shade of orange that was fun and summery, yet subtle and mature. Walgreen’s was having a sale: buy 2, get one free. I picked up a hot pink and a glittery silver to give to Briana as payment for my pedicure.

On Monday afternoon, after VBS and lunch and probably a little nap, I met Briana at the pool.

“Which color do you want me to use?”

“The orange one.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes! I chose it especially for this moment in time. It is sophisticated and whimsical, like I am.”

“I think you want the pink.”

“I don’t want the pink.”

“Yes, you do.”

I took a deep breath. It’s only toes.

“I meant to say that I want the pink.”

“I thought so.”

I leaned back in my plastic lounge chair and closed my eyes. I felt the sun on my face and smelled the breeze from the sea. I heard our FBC kids laugh and play in the pool. Briana petted me for about a half an hour. In Jamaica. I was as happy as I’ve ever been in my life.

“Okay. I’m done.”

I looked up to inspect her work. Eight of my toenails were hot pink. The middle toe on each foot was shiny silver. I looked like The Rainbow Fish.

Rainbow Fish

I squealed and giggled like a school girl. The toenail artist had worked her magic.

Later that summer, my girls and I visited my aunt in the nursing home. She has had a stroke and does not talk much. It is difficult—even for a talker—to keep up a one-sided conversation for very long. Grasping for something to say, I looked down at my toenails. My aunt has always liked pretty nails, so I showed them to her and told her my story. She laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed.

I don’t think there is a moral or a lesson to this story. I’m not even sure there’s a point or a punch line. But when I need to think of a happy place or just need a chuckle, I can close my eyes and picture those sparkly silver toenails and hear the master say, “I think you want the pink.”



January 25th, 2014 by


As I’m prone to do, I spent most of the month of July at the lake. This year, all I did was sit.

I sat on the old vinyl couch on the porch and delighted in a Chilton County peach, entertained by diligent redheaded woodpeckers and Biscuit as she barked and barked and barked at whatever critter she had cornered up underneath the house.


I sat on the swing–but did not swing–and talked on the phone to Starla and Angie and Jordan and Aunt Jo. Cell service goes in and out when the swing goes back and forth and the clock on the phone changes from Slow Time to Fast Time (Central to Eastern) and back again.

I sat at the kitchen table with the laptop and recorded one notebook of Mama King’s treasured minutia–every single day of 1961, 1962, 1963, and 1964.

Mama King's diary 2

I sat beside My Favorite Son, oftentimes with his head (or his feet) in my lap, and read his summer reading out loud to him. (I know, I know, but it was Cold Sassy Tree, for Heaven’s sake, not Lord of the Frickin’ Flies. Besides, the seconds are TICK-KING!)

I sat on the back of the jet ski for long, late afternoon rides with that same Favorite Son. (He drives calmly when I’m on the back, not like an idiot as he does when Brett’s on the back.)


I sat on my huge sectional sofa piled high with Conners and Youngbloods for an inside cookout on a dark and soggy Fourth of July.

I sat another time on that sofa and watched The Andy Griffith Show and quoted every word uttered by Ernest T. Bass in “Mountain Wedding.” And, bless my soul, my babies can quote every word, too. (“I’m a little mean, but I make up for it by being REAL healthy!”)

I sat on the Ramsey’s porch and ate the pig that Henry cooked and drank a bottled Coke and llaauugghheedd.

I sat outside on a lawn chair on the night of July 6th and swatted mosquitoes and hummed “Stars and Stripes Forever,” once it stopped raining long enough for the Annual Lake Friends Firework Extravaganza and Near-Death Experience.

I sat in the lake and pulled those ugly water weeds near the lake’s edge that have consumed our beach. It is a losing battle, but I’m not surrendering. (Remember the Alamo!)


I sat at the game table and lost Every Stinkin’ Time to my daughters at Rummikub. 

I sat in my brand-new Cracker Barrel rocker and listened to the rain and caught up in my book journal and confessed to my prayer journal.

I sat cross-legged on the floor and listened to my almost-2-year-old friend Wiley as his vocabulary exploded. (“Op’n dat door!” “Abby’s house!” “Hi, Bliblup!” “’weet Bunny, Emmy!” “’mere, Bi’cuit!”)

I sat in and gripped the edges of the passenger seat when The New Driver and I went to Dothan or Eufaula to run errands.

I sat backwards in the front of David’s boat as he cheerfully tubed his 3 long-legged, ponytailed, squealing daughters, and then I saw his demeanor change when the 2 young men climbed on the tube for their turn. 

“May I have your permission?” he asked me.

I said, “Have a good time.”

The orthopedic surgeon had glee in his eyes as he unleashed his pent up testosterone on my sunburned son and his black buddy.

“You were never in any mortal danger,” he told them afterwards.

I sat in a folding chair at a folding table covered with a plastic red-and-white-checked tablecloth at the Byrd family reunion and cherished Isom and Lovey’s descendants and tasted the love that they brought to the potluck.

sittin 2

I sat again on the old vinyl sofa on the porch and made Angie laugh (that’s easy) and touched her to make sure she was really there and smiled because she was.

IMG_5891 - Copy

I sat at the picnic table and tapped my toes to some priceless picking of “Pow’r in the Blood,” while surrounded by Beloveds who helped us celebrate Chuck’s 50 years, and pondered the blessing of loving them.


I sat on my king-sized bed and snuggled all 3 of my teenagers at bedtime and shared the same old stories about when they were little. They still let me stroke their hair and kiss the tops of their heads.

I sat in the bathtub and sipped my sweet tea and took my own sweet time.

I sat on the worn-out dock and marveled at the sunset, thankful to have Biscuit to protect me from the geese.

Occasionally, I stood up. But only to move to a different seat.