Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sometimes I Just Call It The Church Of The Batshit Crazy

I don't know about you but the elementary school I attended was in what, looking back, I realize was a poverty-stricken area where the main sources of income were fishing and citrus-growing. We had some real poor kids, y'all. There were kids who had teeth black from decay and kids who had one outfit and kids who lived in homes where they made Kool-Aid only on special occasions like birthdays and they didn't have the money to buy the sugar to go in it. Have you ever had Kool-Aid made with sulphur water and no sugar?
Good for you. That's one little bit of nasty you've avoided.

Anyway, it was not unusual to see kids with what we called "dirt necklaces" which was where dirt had accumulated in areas of the neck because I guess some of those kids didn't have running water or if they did, probably no soap and maybe no mama or if they had a mama, one who was too drunk or out of it or too just plain weary and underfed to make the kids take a bath. And guess what? I just looked in the mirror and I have a dirt necklace.

Does this tell you what I did today?

No, I did not get a mani/pedi and no, I did not go shopping and no, I did not go to a movie.
We won't even talk about Cozumel.
I was overall-wearing dirt woman. I weeded in the garden and truthfully, it was pretty much a joy, pulling weeds with the chickens surrounding me making their soft little bawks of discovery and scratching away, scratch, scratch forward, step back, examine, repeat.
Elvis came right up to me as if to demand I hand over the worms but I didn't have any to give him so he drifted off to more fertile areas to explore. The hens seem to have no fear of me whatsoever in the garden. We are all ONE, digging in the dirt, they with their toes and me with my fingers.
It's soothing and meditative and I can listen to the NPR or a book on CD and I could hear the children at the church next door rehearsing a song outside.
Which all goes to say that once again, I was completely happy to stay at home and be in my overalls in the dirt.

I did laundry, too, of course, and a little bit of sweeping and I read some Vanity Fair, specifically the profile of Obama by Michael Lewis and if you want to read it you can find it right HERE. 
Lewis was interviewed on Fresh Air and I'd heard the interview last week and then listened to it again today on Fresh Air Weekend and it all makes me love our president even more and respect him even MORE and wonder why in the fucking world anyone would want to be president.

So it's been a pretty terrific day for me, here in Lloyd. A little mild exercise, some subtle communication with my chickens, some good reading, and to top it all off, I got to talk to May on the phone and we always make each other laugh and I love her so much and so that just gave the day an extra special shine of glory.

I went to collect the eggs and here's what I found all in one nest:

I do believe Miss Baby has laid me an egg. Miss Baby, for those of you who may have drifted here very recently (and I always wonder what people just coming to this blog think it's about and honestly, even I don't know what it's about) is my tiny banty hen, half wild, half domesticated, and a very strong little gal. That dark brown freckled beauty next to it is probably a double-yolker and is too big to fit in a regular egg carton and the green and paler ivory colored egg are about normal-sized. 
It's funny. I'm not even using more than two or three eggs a week right now but I still feel like I've been given treasure every time I go out to the hen house and find eggs. Brown, blue, green, ivory. They are all jewels to me. If I could, I'd probably just keep them forever and fill up rooms with them. They are that beautiful to me. If there is anything more perfect in shape and form and function than an egg, I don't know what it is. Each hen's egg is specifically hers and no two hens lay exactly the same color or shape egg. 
I tell you what- being able to keep chickens is a gift. Hell, it's nowhere near cost-effective for us, the way we do it, but you can't put a price tag on what those birds bring to me. Gibson is beginning to notice them and be fascinated by them and Owen, of course, knows them intimately and helps me feed them and collect their eggs and he's seen chicken sex (as recently as yesterday) and some day, he'll look back on all of this and he'll laugh. I bet. I just bet he will.

So here I am with my dirt necklace although hopefully, I do not have the worms like the kids I knew at Sebastian Elementary School had. Okay. Let me admit it. I had worms too. We all did. Pin worms and hook worms both. Yeah, I was a wormy kid but at least my mother took me to the doctor for treatment. Old Dr. Kip Kelso, and and he was raising his kids by himself because his wife was gone. I don't know where. To the graveyard or Miami, could have been either one. No one talked about that. At least in my presence. I just googled him and his life was even more interesting than I knew and I knew about his involvement with treasure hunting. If you have absolutely nothing to do, go read his obituary HERE.  They don't make 'em like that anymore, I'll tell you. And now there's a hospital where his office was and my old elementary school is a museum and I've been there and it was odd and strange and bizarre to see it. A museum where I learned to read and where I learned what poverty was and where I found solace for the horrible things that were happening in my very own home in the cafeteria's kitchen where I worked scraping plates under the watchful eye of Aunt Flonnie, our cook and bus driver, a woman with a bosom like a figurehead's and a hand that was as light with yeast rolls as it was as sure with the wheel of the big yellow bus. A place where I saw what happens when a kid's head and a delivery truck meet- my first view of a dead body, and then the place where I saw the truck driver walking in circles, smoking, for hours outside my fourth-grade classroom after he had completely and inadvertently killed that child and that child had been in my own mother's classroom as she was the third grade teacher.

Lord. How did I get from a dirt necklace to that?

Honey, it's nothing in time. Nothing. One breath in, one breath out. 

What's my blog about? All of it. Nothing. Everything. Chickens and eggs and gardens and child abuse and rivers and oceans and depression and joy and grandkids and marriage and cooking and aging and hippies and Keith Richards and the South and politics and religion and birth and death and bras and agoraphobia and anxiety and complete and utter satisfaction and existential yearning and despair and admitting (this may be the key!) that I don't know shit.

If you're new here, welcome. And if you've been here for awhile, I apologize for the interruption in our daily conversation.

And I thank you for the conversation. You know I do.

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. "I'd probably just keep them forever and fill up rooms with them"... you are so loved. You know that don't you?

    The way you speak of beauty and pain, sorrow and pleasure all in the same breath. You are a poet, an orator, a storyteller and a confessor all in one. You speak what's in our hearts and we love you so for it. That was simply beautiful. Thank you and sleep well tonight.

  2. My favorite blogs are the ones that tell what's happening in the writer's life with regard to how they think and what they're thinking. Of course, you're one of those favorites.

  3. Ah yes, but how did those kids get rotten teeth from not eating any sugar? In Kentucky, they're rotting out because of too much damn koolaid and mountain dew, and so much so that when I was a little girl, I had to take flouride mouthwash while sitting at my third-grade desk. When the teacher turned away, I spit it out. I got in terrible trouble once when she saw me.

    I tried explaining this to someone here once, and I said in all seriousness -it was for the kids who lived up the mountain. They cracked up.

    I didn't know how to explain that I was serious. It's not funny when it's you.

  4. liv- It is very hard for me to accept compliments. But. Thank-you. So very, very much.

    Rubye Jack- And you. Thank YOU!

    SJ- I think it was probably from the mother's poor nutrition and back unto Eve. You know? And who bought kids toothbrushes? That was money no one had. I really am not sure but I tell you- there were kids with black pegs instead of teeth. I bet you they are all dead by now, those kids. My own age. I bet.

  5. I bet, too. You and I grew up different, but similar too in alot of ways. By the time I was a kid though, there were things like flouride mouthwash after lunch paid for by the state. Isn't it the damndest thing?

  6. I know what you mean about country schools. I went to one in the small town where I grew up. Some of the kids had lice and bad teeth. Some needed to be in special ed. But it was at a time when things were not as sophisticated as now. Although this is probably still happening in some places. Still....

  7. SJ- I see that as improvement. There was nothing noble at all about children trapped in abject poverty with absolutely no resources for help.

    Syd- God. There was no such thing as special ed where I grew up. Six grades, six teachers. Corporal punishment was the norm. If the teacher couldn't paddle you hard enough, you got sent to the principal who surely could. It was fairly brutal. No library. There were one or two incredibly gifted teachers. The rest were either not too damaging or abysmal.

  8. I had a dirt necklace today, too, after three hours of weeding. I wish Elvis had been here as I saw four worms and one was so long I thought it was a small snake! My back and neck are aching but it's a good, got something accomplished, ache.

    Your chicken's eggs are GORGEOUS. Isn't it funny how the organic eggs I buy are all the same size, same nice brown color? Makes me wonder...I want some small blue ones, larger green ones, etc. Your chickens sure do lay some beautiful eggs. I'd want to keep them, too.

    Beautiful post:)

  9. Dear Cracker Girl,

    I would follow you to the ends of the earth.

    Apostle Elizabeth of the Church of the Batshit Crazy West Coast Satellite

  10. I love everything about you and your blog Ms. Moon. I hope I can say that and that you will know that you are extraordinary. Sweet Jo

  11. Your chicken eggs are gorgeous.

    Reminds me of my Dad's nanny, who raised him and his brothers and sisters, a sweet eyed black woman in Jackson Miss whose house we went to when I was a child, and she had chickens in her backyard, and they were not happy to see me.

    I am always happy to see you.


  12. I had no idea there could be so much variety in chicken eggs. Why are the eggs we buy at the store all so identical? Another product of factory farming, I suppose.

    I remember kids with dirt necklaces, too. In fact, a friend of mine came to school with a dirt necklace one day and the girls from the fancy subdivision near us were appalled. I think he must have been mowing the lawn that morning or something. I would not have gone to school like that, personally, but to him it was no big deal.

    I love the way your blog wanders from topic to topic, and yet it all seems so natural and conversational and connected.

  13. Those eggs are some beauties, love the matt soft color of them.

  14. Oh those eggs! The pale ones look seashell pink, from here.

    That poor truck driver, poor child, poor you. Horrible story.

  15. SJ- Amen.

    Lulumarie- Funny. Yesterday I was gung ho to get in the dirt. Today, I care not at all for the idea of it.
    The reason those eggs are all the same is because all of their hens are of the same breed. My chickens are mutts. Owen wouldn't know what to do if he saw a WHITE egg. Isn't that funny?

    Elizabeth- And you do an amazing job tending your flock. I adore you.

    Sweet Jo- You are pure sweet. Yes.

    Maggie May- And I am always happy to see you. My chickens love Owen because he has fed them his entire life. Some of my best memories of him will always be us sitting on the back steps, sharing a snack of one sort or another with the chickens.

    Steve- I do tend to ramble, don't I? Well, as long as there is some thread, I guess...
    Those factory hens are all of a breed. That's why their eggs are all the same. And they are a breed which lays white eggs.
    Which seems to be the standard. Maybe it's a most-prolific breed. I do not know.

    Linda- I know! They knock me out, those colors. And the yolks are golden when I do crack them open to eat. Welcome to you!

    Jo- Yeah. That was definitely a formative experience in my life. I will never forget it. And I feel almost certain that my mother who was that child's teacher (and thus, in a way, responsible for him) has blocked the memory entirely. She went into a horrible depression after that death and who could blame her? And yet, she denies ever having been depressed, too and that was hardly the only bout she ever suffered of it. These days she would have gotten counseling. Then? It was your job to go on and forget as best you could.

  16. Miss Baby is fast becoming my favorite ;)


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