is the grass any bluer...

is the grass any bluer...
on the other side?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Island Girl. Not.

Sometimes we just need to forget about all the rules society insists upon us and just embrace our inner radish.  Right?

I'm not so sure, but it was a good opening for using the radish photo, which I found years ago and couldn't resist keeping it.  It is rooted in my subconscious.

I threw caution to the wind this past week and flew to Punta Gorda to spend time with my friend Dottie and to see if perhaps I wanted to move to a warmer climate, find a job polishing seashells or writing for an underground newspaper that seeks out manatee manglers.

I had a great time at Dottie's house, she has a sweet place on Kingfish Road off Stringfellow Highway - yes I called it Longfellow Highway -- on Pine Island.  Dottie has been encouraging me to visit, and heck, I needed to forget Kentucky, forget Mr. GuitarBoo, forget the winter of my cracked ribs and broken heart, and I wanted to see what the job market was like for an old granny like me, armed with a ukulele and five chords.  So I bought the first of the two magic tickets to paradise.  Allegiant Air.  Seems benign enough, the name, eh?  It's my friend, Allegiant is. Or so I thought.  Turns out Allegiant can be a frenemy if you're not savvy.  Oh, by the by, I am not savvy.  I always have to uncheck that on the list...

Spongebob~  "are ya ready, kids?"
So at any rate, you can buy tickets to Punta Gorda for $119 one day, and $379 the next.  Therein lies the rub.  I got there for $129, planning to buy a return ticket on Friday, but as Fate would have it, I had a senior blonde platinum AARP card moment, and forgot when I was getting paid, missed out on buying the cheap ticket back, and poor Dottie was stuck with me, a whiny grandmother who just wanted her Tempurpedic pillow and a Gold Star cheese coney.  I was so homesick within hours, it was incredible.  I wanted Johnny Walker, and all I could get was Bud Lite. However, Dottie ferried me around and showed me the cool spots on the island, we watched the most spectacular sunset I think I have ever had the pleasure to see, and she and I got to know each other, as much as someone can ever get to know Dottie. She has always been a quiet girl, but unapologetic about it.  There's something cool about someone like that.  Very cool. 

As it turned out, that phrase, "still waters runs deep" is not a shallow description of Dottie.  She realized something I had not ever featured last night, when we were at the Ragged Ass, talking to her friends Slammer (who smoked a wild boar for us), Spongebob (had to like that feller, he had no tattoos, believe it or not), ShitHead, Drunk John (there's one in every crowd), and others with names I don't think my fingers can type they're so horrendous -- I had been trying to find help to get back home, it was beginning to rain, and like a great broomstick in the sky, I looked at my friend with my mascara running like bad Alice Cooper night and said, "Hey, look up in the sky, it says 'Surrender, Dorothy!'"  and started weeping a little bit.  Poor Dottie had watched me go from ecstatic guest to panic-attack girl in no time flat.  She said, "Kim, this is really pissing me off.  You do all kinds of shit for people all the time, and damn it, look how hurt you are!  That really burns me up!  You're better than are!" 

Well, I know it's self serving of me to say so, but really and truly, I had been in denial about all that.  After exhausting all avenues of getting Kimmy back to KimmyVille before Dottie left for Key West to be with her man at the poker run down that way, I had come to a pretty dark point of desperation.  I was tearful, playing George Jones songs for goodness' sakes, but Dottie's words woke up the Lord's strength in me, and like drinking a wheatgrass juicer-thingie, it was a bitter pill to swaller, but it was the right medicine, the perfect wake up call.  It was the truth. It was my fault I was in that 'place,' but dammit it's okay for me to cry when I'm hurt. I'm human. I bleed. In fact, I can belch a whole line of Swanee River...but that's beside the fact. The fact is I am a redeemed and forgiven child of God, and dog gone it, it's okay for me to admit that I'm not perfect, and neither are my vacations...but they are good enough...and I am good enough when I am the best Kimmy I can be.

So right about the time I was about to cry everyone a river, the ever thoughtful soul and wonderful actress Kathy Swango wrote me and said, Kim, do you need for me to get you a plane ticket home?  I looked up in the sky, and I guess you could say I had indeed surrendered, and what happened after that was one wonderful event after another.  I sang with a guitarist and drummer who allegedly played with Pure Prairie League, they asked me to sign Knock, Knock Knock on Heaven's Door and Proud Mary.  Lol.  What a fabulous feeling that was, to have a great band backing me up and singing with such an appreciative crowd!   I had folks later in the evening stopping and asking me my name and asking for my autograph.  I thought I'd died and gone to Graceland.  We heard a fantastic duo called Gary and Carrie, and the lady sang Patsy Cline, spot-on, with no loud vocals, just caressed the song and always on pitch, it was a glorious way to end that part of our evening.

Dottie was always a quiet, shy girl 
hen we were growing up at 
Florence Elementary.  
A smart girl, but not one to boast 
about it (like me) - lol
"a wise man knows 
all he says 
but a fool says 
all he knows, 
  Confucius said that 
somebody told me he 
said that, I think.. 

The rest of the night was spent laughing with Dottie and enjoying her fine pork chops with Slammer's special 'rub' (he gave me a sample, goes really well with bloody marys)   I packed my purse with my pink bikini and little black dress and started dreaming of hot browns and scotch juleps.  Sure, it was a nice two day vacation, waking up at 7am and swimming in a private, covered swimming pool while little iguanas or geckos or whatever those things are crawled all over the screened in area. It was nice to have a friend welcome me into her home though we'd not seen each other in 40 years and treat me like a queen.  

It was cool to have pix taken with cleavage showing and my white skin looking like the creme brulee flesh that it is against the blue sea.  Indeed, the two days would have been idyllic had I not been a total head-up-me-arse and not remembered the money situation before I bought a one way ticket pair-a-guise.  The island may have not had any beaches, but the mangroves were looming reminders that all that glitters is not gold after all...but friendship sure as heckity heck is, and there's no fountain of youth or magic ticket that will buy you a trip to lifetime friendship-land.  It's better than Candyland and not as gimmicky as Farmtown.

I'm grateful not only for the fabulous actor from BCTC and ministerial friend Kathy Swango, but for Ryan Case, who absolutely knows the right things to say to make me feel calmer.  I'm thankful people like Dave Dampier and Ranada Riley and David Senatore and Kathy Hobbs give a shit enough to follow up and see if I am alright. I'm glad my room mate Ali was on the alert and always ready to figure a new way to make me feel safer.  I appreciate everyone who expressed concern and prayed for me and didn't trivialize my plight.  I'm eternally thankful for my sisters who keep me buoyant.  I am so happy my granddaughter texted me tonight and made me cry happy tears.  I am also very very happy that you, my lambchops, have read my meanderings this far, and if I have made any sense, well, then I'm thankful for that, too.  

Almighty God,
too often we forget your promise.
We live in ways that bring glory only to ourselves.
We bask in the false assumption
that we are in control of our lives.
Sometimes we want to tamper with the lives
of those around us for our own ends.
Help us to love our neighbors as ourselves
and to serve you more faithfully each day.

Amen, lambsies.
See you soon, (in landlocked Kentucky '-)
love love love,

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