The Mice and The Cattle Prod

Once upon a time, a girl was so in love with a boy, she would do anything to make him happy. Including move into a run down 1970’s mobile home just because the owner would grant the boy permission to hunt on the land surrounding the trailer park (which consisted of 5 trailers on a dead end dirt road in southern Missouri.)

So this girl (me) was from the city.  And I didn’t understand country living, much less country living in a run down trailer with a tin roof. We could hear the constant pitter patter of little mouse feet above our head at all times. It didn’t matter how many traps we put out, these were obviously intelligent mice who could avoid being caught in our simplistic traps. One evening, when the little prancing of mice like sugar plum fairies was more than we could handle, Phil got up from his comfy living room chair and started rummaging around the spare room, y’know the one with all the junk piled up that didn’t get unpacked in the move. He comes out with this long yellow rod.

“WHAT is that?”

“My cattle prod.”

“Why do you need that?”

He didn’t answer. Over the past twenty years, I’ve come to understand that he doesn’t always feel it necessary to answer me. Even if I ask like a kid, repeating myself over and over. He’s just silent. He doesn’t hear me. At. All.  He’s concocting or scheming or thinking or something. All I know is that it doesn’t involve me. And if it does, I think I’m supposed to be reading his mind, but I’m still not good at that yet. Maybe in the next twenty years I’ll get better.



Ta-ting. Ting. Tang.

Ta-ting. Ting. Ting.

Phil has got the cattle prod, business end to the ceiling, zapping the mice. They’re zipping around up there like a huge batch of popcorn. And Phil can’t stop laughing. And neither can I.


Ta-ting. Ting. Tang.

Ta-ting. Ting. Ting.

* * *

So one night while we were sleeping in our bedroom, far, far away from the kitchen end of the trailer, I heard noises. Like mice. IN my cabinets. I wake Phil up. He grabs his pellet gun.

We sneak vewy, vewy quietly to the kitchen.  He motions for me to open the cabinets. I tiptoe to them. Slowly reach my arm out. Before I grab the cabinet door, I make eye contact with Phil. He’s ready.

He nods.

I fling open the door.

pop. pop-pa-pop-pop.

“Got’em!!!” He yells.  And that he did. The mouse was dead. He walked over and grabbed it’s tail and flung it out the front door.

And then it hit me.

I am now officially a redneck. Not because we were mouse hunting in the middle of the night. Nah.  But because we were mouse hunting butt-ass naked in the middle of the night in a run down trailer in southern Missouri.

Butt. ass. nekkid.


The challenge word issued last week that is “due” today is: PERFECT.

I should’ve saved PERFECT for a fall day. But I thought of something. I’m cheating again and digging in the archives. It’s also not much of an artistic challenge. But it is perfect.

Click on it, if you so desire. It will open bigger.

It is a love letter from a few years ago from Phil, my perfect soulmate.

We met in a traffic jam.

We haven’t always had the perfect relationship, but we’ve always had the perfect love.

* * *

Next week’s word is: FRAZZLED

You have from now until next Monday to take your photo, post it and you’ll be able to link it next Monday. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

* * *

Also, since the word hope was so challenging for me, I thought I’d give you a head’s up on a month’s worth of words so that I you can have some more time to get just the right shot.

Week #10–Frazzled
Week #11–Adorable
Week #12–Lost
Week #13–Accomplished

pop?in?jay–noun–a person given to vain, pretentious displays and empty chatter.

In other words, blogging. 😉

Isn’t that what this personal blogging is all about? Me. Me. Me. For this photo challenge, that’s perfect. We’re going to dig inside of ourselves and do some “concept photography.”

I’m going to give you a word and you’re going to take a photo of something that describes the concept of the word.

  • You CANNOT take pictures of your kids or your pets for this challenge. Or anyone else’s kids or pets. I know they’re precious, but they make your creative bone lazy. Let’s get outside of the box. Let’s be challenged.

Please leave the link to your post (not the link to your website or blog.) For example:



So–Let’s see your photos for PERFECT
Link up and don’t forget to visit the other participants!

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First Kiss

First Kiss

August 07, 1994.

Exactly-to the day-14 years ago.  (Update: Now 24 years ago!!)


The air conditioning in my pickup was broke and it was smoldering hot.

I had stayed the weekend in Indianapolis with my friend, Jane, oblivious to the fact that the Brickyard was witnessing it’s largest crowd of NASCAR fans ever. Still today, there isn’t a race that has had as many fans in attendance as the first Brickyard 400.

I don’t follow NASCAR. I know some drivers. I’m not a fanatic. (Waving to the die-hards, I know you’re out there!) I know #3 and I get teary-eyed thinking of him and Dale Jr. and the whole story surrounding them.) I’m not a Jeff Gordon fan (sorry) and I’ve went to my brother’s Daytona parties. I could be a NASCAR fan, I’m just not.

I didn’t know it was the Brickyard 400 weekend in 1994.

I’m SO glad I didn’t know.



Afternoon. Sunday, August 7, 1994.

Exactly 14 (24!) years ago, Jane I and decided to drive home in my pickup with no air conditioning–but a working CB radio.

I’ve had CB radio’s since I was a little girl listening to Teddy Bear on the radio and playing with my daddy’s set up in the living room. Oh hell, I still cry when I listen to Teddy Bear by Red Sovine.

Then there’s my own Convoy story complete with C.W. Macall singing one of my favorite songs. And Alabama singing Roll ‘On. I cry when I hear that one too.

When my fourth grade teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I told her “the first female truck driver.”

“Wouldn’t you rather be the first female president? You can be anything you want to be.”

“Nope. I wanna be a truck driver.”

I’m redneck to the core despite my northern upbringing. God rectified his mistake of planting me outside of Chicago by uprooting me this fateful day.

Jane and I were on I-65 heading north for our 3 hour drive home. Except we weren’t driving. We were stopped in traffic. A dead stop. With no air conditioning. On the hottest day of the year. So I turned on the CB. Because I’m like that.


“Break one-nine.”

“Go ahead sweetheart.”

“I wanna get home, I don’t have a-c. Are we going to be in this mess forever? Should I just jump off and take the backroads?”

“The Brickyard was this weekend little lady, wherever you go you’re gonna hit traffic. Might as well stay here. It clears up after a bit.”

Jane decided to get in the driver’s seat. I shucked my shoes and stuck my pretty little toes out the window. The CB chatter was annoying so we turned it off and sang to the radio. We moved a little and then got going good only to come to another dead stop. I turned on the CB again and this time listened to some trucker telling jokes. He was flirting with another girl, too. We moved up a little and I saw her talking into her CB and I hit Jane’s arm.”Look at her! Her hair looks like a Q-tip!”

“She’s ug–uh–gly

“Well, he’s probably eight hundred pounds, buck-toothed–if he has teeth, and uglier than her. They probably belong together.”

She got off that exit. I hope she didn’t hear us. Her windows were rolled up. She probably didn’t. I didn’t think about that then. When I was sure she was out of range, I said, “Hawkeye, did you see that girl you were flirting with?”

“Aw hell, darlin, I don’t need to see her. Ugly girls need love too.”

I turned to Jane. “Hide the CB. Give me your purse. He’s got to be butt-ugly to say that.”

And I was one to know. I waitressed midnights at a truck stop. Told you I was redneck. You didn’t believe me, did you? You’re starting to now, though, huh?

Hawkeye told her what kind of truck he was driving. A maroon Prime, Inc truck witha “shiney hiney.” As we came up on it I tried my best to look like I didn’t have a CB and I wasn’t Mickey. I looked up into his window.

“Holy Shit!” I said. His window was up. I know he didn’t hear me. “Jane, look, it’s the Marlboro Man!” (and no. I didn’t steal that from Ree. But she got all popular and now it looks like I stole it. But you can ask Jane.)

And there he was. All decked out in his western shirt and his black cowboy hat. Dayum. Over the CB in my pickup I hear, “Holy Shit, huh? Well you’re not too damn bad yourself.”

I screamed. I swear I did. “He read my lips!! He read my lips!”

I composed myself for three seconds to answer him. And fake screamed to Jane. Who was leaning over in the seat to see him and telling me how cute he was. We talked for the next two or three hours, we were getting close to the exit for home and Hawkeye said, “Why don’t you follow me to Chicago. I got a load to pick up there and we can talk a little more.”

I looked over at Jane. Jane who always drove when I was too drunk. Jane who fished me out of potentially bad situations. Jane who was my only conscious at that time in my life. Jane said, “Sure. Y’never know. It might be fate.”

Stop for a dramatic pause. And my heart coming out of my throat and butterflies tripping on acid in my stomach.

“Okay. But we’re not getting out of this pickup,” I said, all of a sudden developing some weird maternal instinct. “We’ll stay in the truck and he can stand and talk to us. I don’t want to meet with some serial rapist or something.” Jane nodded in agreement. “But he is cute,” I added in my dream-like trance.

We ended up staying in Chicago for five hours. Five hours! We didn’t have cell phones or pagers and we didn’t see a pay phone. Really, even if I saw a pay phone what would I say? “Mom, I’m in Chicago with a truck driver I met on the CB and he’s really cute and…” Sure. I was twenty-two and old enough, but I did move back home after my divorce.

Oh, you really don’t want to hear that story–Jane’s fiance is still one of my ex-husband’s best friends. Yep. If I hadn’t have met and married and divorced Dingbat, Jane and I wouldn’t have been in Indy that day because my ex and I set Jane and her fiance up. They’re still married by the way. So for all the heartache Dingbat caused me, I thank him because I met my soulmate. Sorry. Did I get distracted again?


Sunset. Getting late August 7, 1994.

Jane had moved to the passenger seat and I was in the driver’s seat of my pickup talking to Hawkeye.

For hours.

Jane was asleep, or so I thought.

She sat bolt upright out of the blue, scared the life right out of me, looked at Hawkeye and said, “Would you just kiss her and get it over with?”

Hawkeye took off his cowboy hat, put it on the top of my pickup, and looked at me. He leaned in, grabbed the back of my neck ever so gently with his right hand and cradled my cheek with his left and kissed me.

What a delicious kiss.

I remember thinking, “I wonder what it’s like to live in Missouri?”

He backed up and stared at me again, “You’re eyes changed colors. They were just hazel a minute ago, now they’re green!”

Today. August 7, 2008

Some things never change. Jane and I are still as close as we’ve ever been. The air conditioning in the car I have now doesn’t work. Jeff Gordon is still winning races. It’s still hot in August. Hawkeye still drives a truck.


And my eyes still change color when I kiss my cowboy.

I love you baby.

Today, August 7, 2013

Jane and I are still close. Some improvements have been made, the air conditioning in the vehicle I have now WORKS!! I think Jeff Gordon is winning races, I can’t be too sure. It is still hot in August. Hawkeye is (thankfully) no longer driving a truck, he’s supervising truck drivers.

My eyes still change color when I kiss my love. I didn’t think it was possible to love him more than I did before, but every year it just gets stronger.





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Michelle (73)

Michelle (19)



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