Making sense

Anne Lamott, on writing ...

"We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little. But we do. We have so much we want to say and figure out.”

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Prairie Thanksgiving

Tomorrow, there will be fifty of us, seated around rickety card tables and long plastic tables, borrowed from the Altar Society at St. Ann's. As always, the dinner will held in the unfinished basement in the house on Church Road, the one that wasn't there on a Wednesday but was on a Thursday. (The home had been moved fifty-plus miles, to the acreage settled in 1956 by the Stander boys, newly arrived from Germany.)
If it is cold, which it will most likely be, as winter in Nebraska comes early,  there will be two enormous kerosene heaters placed on each end of the vast concrete basement. I hate the smell, and I will complain four or five times to my husband, who grew up on this very land, and he will tell me to cut it out, that family is more important.
Of course he is right and I will head upstairs to retrieve a couple Tylenol (the smell of the kerosene gives me a headache) after I've stood out on the deck to get new air. Although I am Missouri-born and proud of my Kansas City heritage, I admit that the air in Nebraska out on the farm is unsullied and pure, cleaner. The wind that seems never to cease annoys me, but the air that comes with it is crisp and delicious, like a refrigerated Granny Smith apple.
There will be traditional Thanksgiving fare, only five kinds of stuffing instead of one, and one deep-fried turkey, one baked. Also, a spiral-cut ham and a huge pork loin. Feeding fifty people means lots of meat.

To be continued ~

Friday, November 1, 2013

Oh, Johnny ... Oh, Lindsey ...

It was one of those dreams where you wake up, pissed. Pissed because someone or something has awakened you before the dream reached its conclusion; or, in my case, before the dream reached its climax. It was one of those dreams that stays with you – through breakfast, through dinner, into the next day, throughout the week. It was one of those dreams that you must find time to write down, so it is guaranteed a proper shelf life.

Toast. That was what I'd eaten before I lay down on the couch in the hearth room last Sunday morning. I'd gotten up around five at my cocker spaniel's insistence ("Let me out now, or I'm going to pee on you"); I made coffee; I watched CNN; I thumbed through some catalogs; I made toast: two slices of gluten-free bread, slathered with deliciously fattening butter. Savored the simple breakfast, got tired shortly after eating ~ by this time it was probably ten ~ and since it was cold outside and the fireplace was warming the house and I had nowhere to go, I decided to take a nappy on the couch.
What happened next, as I snored softly on the sofa, is bawdy and titillating, and although there is no cursing, the dream is definitely worthy of an R Motion Picture rating. Just so you know.


Setting: Near dusk, an open highway, somewhere in Nebraska, maybe Iowa ... October of 2013

I am seated in the back seat of a sedan, nothing fancy, near the rear passenger door. I am wearing a black chiffon dress, Stevie-Nicks style. I am not wearing underwear, which is unusual for me, unless it's summer, bedtime, and I'm airing out my privates.
I am seated next to Johnny Cash ~ yes, THAT Johnny Cash ~ and he is of course wearing black: black-collared dress shirt, unbuttoned mid-chest; black slacks; black belt. I presume he is wearing black shoes but I do not notice this in the dream. Next to Johnny Cash in the backseat of this unremarkable sedan, is Lindsey Buckingham ~ yes, THAT Lindsey Buckingham, he of Fleetwood Mac fame ~ and he is wearing a blousy white shirt, somewhat pirate-y, cut to mid-chest; he is wearing dark denim jeans, some sort of belt. He is beautiful and looks how he looked on the cover of The Dance album (1997). I am placing him, therefore, at around age forty-eight (he was born October 3, 1949). He and I then, sitting in the dream car, are magically the same age: forty-eight. Cash, in the middle, looks very mid-fifties ~ age, not decade. (My husband is fifty-four, and I am highly attracted to him, so it is neither bizarre nor disgusting that I would find a mid-fifties Johnny Cash sexy and desirable.)
It is important to note that I dream realistically when concerning Self: I am overweight in my dream; I have cheese-grater hairy legs (Day Five of no shaving); I am cognizant of my ever-burgeoning upper abdominal fat roll. My bikini line is a laughable thought: I have not worn a bikini since I was ten; I have made no attempt at pubic grooming since July 4 of this year. In this dream, I am very much Who I Am right now, this very day, and although some would think I might have low self-esteem and hate my body and am embarrassed by its saggy boobs and stretch marks, the opposite is true. In my dream, I am sexy as hell. Cash knows it; Buckingham knows it. They both want me.
Most important, I know they want me, and so when I launch into reporter mode and begin asking Cash 95,000 questions, I am well aware of his attraction to me. I am well aware of Buckingham's faux interest in the leather notebook he is holding: I know he is listening to every word coming from my Revlon Champagne Ice frosted lips. I feel beautiful. I feel powerful.
My questions to Cash come quickly: “When did you know you had talent? What is your song-writing process? Any regrets in this life? Did you ever feel worthy in your father's eyes? Did the money and fame mean much? Was June Carter the musical love of your life, or the all-time love of your life? Why? What was it about June that got you all twitterpated and divorced from your first wife?”
Suddenly, there's a new voice: Reese Witherspoon pipes in. Reese, who's been sitting, silent, in the front passenger seat, turns her blonde head around, styled like she wore it in Walk the Line, and she shushes me. “Ssssshhhhh, Kathleen,” she admonishes. “Do not ask Johnny about his June. Girl, what is wrong with you?” Instantly, I stop my interview and pivot in my seat, where I stare forlornly out the window. (Have you ever been hushed by Reese Witherspoon?) Cornfields newly harvested stare back at me. I am annoyed; I turn my attention next to the driver, who on this day, featured in this dream, is James Taylor ~ yes, THAT James Taylor ~ and I notice the bald spot on the back of his head and wonder if the balding started while he was still married to Carly Simon. Taylor is driving at a snail's pace, and I am ready to ask him to please speed up when all of a sudden I feel Cash's big man hand reach up my skirt, where it settles softly into the warmth of my parted legs (my without-underwear parted legs). As I am processing what is happening to me (Ohmygod Johnny Cash is engaging in sexual activity with me!), Cash then takes my left hand and places it onto his crotch, the parts of which are now exposed, the rim of whitey-tighties apparent in the pinkish sun-setting light of the sedan. Apparently, while I was sulking in my corner, he had unbuckled his belt, untucked his shirt, unzipped his slacks, and ousted his junk. Without conversation, I turn in my seat for better positioning (his and mine), place both hands on his swollen and ENORMOUS appendage, and proceed to give him a rousing hand job, while Buckingham watches and squirms sensually in his seat. While Buckingham watches and squirms sensually in his seat: OMG. Best. Dream. Ever.
As I hold Cash in my hands, my palms are burning, as though there are a hundred fire ants consuming the flesh. (I am fairly certain that Ring of Fire is not about friction.) I am just about to freak out when Cash lets loose. What spouts forth is bubbly and frothy and the temperature of near-boiling water. I retract my hands – in amazement, not fear – and as I watch Buckingham unloose himself from the tangle of denim and boxers (navy blue; an unidentifiable print), I sense a tug on my shoulder. Johnny, no! I scream-think in my dream mind: You've had your turn, but the tugging turns to squeezing, and then annoying and rude prodding, and before I can switch positions with Johnny Cash in the now remarkable sedan, I am … awake. There stands my husband, dressed in his Kansas City Chiefs jersey and paint-splattered jeans. “Get up, Kathleen. The game's about to start.”

I could have killed him. I had come this close to engaging in sexual activity with my longtime celebrity crush, my all-time favorite guitarist and contemporary male vocalist, Lindsey Buckingham, who, if I were to meet today, I would fall at his feet, pledge undying love, and kiss his calves. Also, I might try to undress him, but apparently that's another dream.

Immediately, I felt compelled to tell someone about this delicious dream. I don't know about you, but when something this exciting happens to me (real or imagined), my first inclination is to go forth and share. My husband, nearest in proximity, was first to hear. I told him exactly what happened, only I used real words, like penis and ejaculate. I might as well have recited my grocery list: My spouse didn't care that I committed an act of adultery with a dead country legend. He was not at all intrigued. What he did care about on this Sunday afternoon was the fact that the Chiefs were 7-0 and the kickoff was forthcoming. Next, I phoned my sister, but she didn't answer her cell. My adult daughter was home, but she certainly did not want to hear about her mother giving anyone a hand job, particularly a deceased person who sang country music, which she does not consider music at all. I have lots of friends, but none close enough to divulge every single detail. Thus, I was left with Facebook, but I had to be G-rated. Also, terse:

“Up too early, then fell asleep on the couch. Dreamed I was in the backseat of a car with Lindsey Buckingham and Johnny Cash (yes, I know he has passed on, but this was a dream). James Taylor was driving, and Reese Witherspoon was in the front passenger seat. I was annoying the hell out of Johnny asking him 95,000 questions, when all of a sudden he got a little randy. As FB is a family-friendly site, I will stop with the rest of the dream. Cash, however, did not stop. (Happy-face emoticon)”

What happened next was pleasantly surprising. A FB friend, one Jo Jacobs Self, of Boone, Iowa, is, wouldn't you know, in addition to being a life coach, a skilled dream analyst. She and I went to high school together in Kansas City thirty years ago. She was trustworthy, intelligent, beautiful, creative, and popular when I knew her then. Also, she had THE BEST feathered hair in the Class of '83. She must know what she's talking about now, right?

I'm an amateur dream interpreter,” she wrote in the comment section of my FB post. “If you're interested it might be fun to see what your subconscious has to say to you in this one. (Happy-face emoticon).”

Was I interested? Yes.

Jo: Yes, do tell!” I wrote back. “I will have to message you some of the (lurid) details!”

And so I did, and then we exchanged cell numbers and emails and before I fell asleep Sunday night, I had extraordinary knowledge as to why I gave Johnny Cash an explosive orgasm.

Disclaimer: At this point, I find it necessary to apologize profusely to any member of Cash's family who might stumble upon this blog post and feel unsettled, or angry, or litigious. I mean no harm; I am not making fun of Cash; there is no libel, really, as this is a dream, and is identified as a dream; I have never met Cash or anyone in his family; I have no ulterior motives; to the contrary, I have huge respect and admiration for the Man in Black's musical legacy. Which is, after all, why it is so cool to dream about him.

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