Sunday, April 1, 2012

Thank God Ima Country Gal

Before I head out of town, I have this routine that consists of watering the plants, setting out the cat toys, writing a detailed “instruction list” to the cat-sitter, make those long overdue phone calls, dusting (Why the hell I dust before going on vacation, I have no clue.) I also clean out my spam folder. Deleting spam gives me a sense of organization, efficiency and control.  And somehow getting all these things done ensures that I can board that plane without a fucking care in the world. Today in my spam mail, I found 8 emails from Viagra companies,
3 from some group called Seniors Over Fifty and 6 emails from
Christian Mingle stating, “They have a match for me.” 

One time, space 19 (the park’s watch-dog) told me that Alexandra in 22 met her second husband on Christian Mingle.  Alexandra, btw, looked and acted the part of a washed-up roller derby queen from the ‘70’s.  She was big, bad and used Clairol every 6 months, whether she needed it or not.  She had the mouth of a truck driver.  I knew that first hand, as I was the recipient of many of her burly “uncorkings.”
One time, she let loose on me because I (the hippie chick manager) let in some “for sure gang members” in the space next to her and she was going to “sue my ass.”
She’s also the resident who chased me down the middle of the road, screaming and swearing, because I hadn’t trimmed some tree limb (that was actually growing on the property that backed up to our park) because it was “almost scratchin” her husband’s '64 Camaro.  That wench scared the shit out of me more than once, but evidently, the Lord told her that she and Gil were a match made behind the pearly gates of heaven. Christian Mingle worked for them.

Space 19 always let me know “the happenings” of the trailer park; who was into drugs, who was cheating on their spouse, who was staying in a unit but hadn’t filled out the required paperwork…
She was my “second set of eyes.” 
She was also the Florence Nightingale of all the park’s strays and then some; feeding every four-legged critter, stray or someone’s pet, including one of mine, just because she “knew they were all so hungry.” 
I called her the “Squirrel Whisperer.”  Sometimes,  I'd be out on my rounds and see her; hands filled with peanuts in the shell, outstretched to the skies, and I am not shitting you, there’d be a squirrel eating out of her palm.  Once, I saw her “playing” with the varmint. No joke.  She had her broom extended out and the little guy was laying on the bristles as she slowly turned round and round; bringing the broom up and down like a horse on a carousel.  That squirrel was digging the ride.  Once I said to her, “Hey, Penny, you know squirrels are wild animals, right?"  And she replied, “Yes. I know. That’s what I keep telling him.”

Over the years, I watched her feed the Steller’s Jays, crows and sparrows pretty much from her hands, or at least closer to her hands than you or I will ever come to feeding a wild bird. But the truth is;
I’m drawn to these kinds of things and these kinds of people.  Always have been.

I’m returning to Austin this week.  This time, I’m dragging along my partner and some of my gal pals.  There’s going to be a lot of dancing, drinking, and Wrangler shirts with snap buttons.
I dig this city and I hope to go where no trailer park girl has ever gone before.  With my camera, I hope to capture the “color’ of the people, the culture, the architecture, the food.  And I’m going to learn to two-step!
Yep, it’s on my bucket list and has been for quiet awhile.  You know my country roots run deep.
I’ve told you before that my immediate family all lived “the park life” at some point, but the real secret I’ve been carrying all these years is that my kin are all from the deep valleys, where the Bluebonnets blanket the fields: the great states of Oklahoma and Texas.

My mom’s side hails from Tennessee. I came out of the womb singing,  “Rocky Top you’ll always be home sweet home to me…”   Like many, my grandparents ended up in California during the Dust Bowl.  I know very little about my maternal grandmother. 3 things told to me by my mother were:
1.     She loved yellow roses.
2.     She was a vocal, staunch Republican
3.     She had large breasts.
I know a great deal more about my mother:
1.     She was also a staunch Republican.
2.     She had an impeccable work ethic.
3.     She loved football, Kent cigarettes, the color orange, and her children.
4.     She also had large breasts.
5.     Her last 2 homes she owned were pre-fabs; complete with fake wood paneling and gold shag carpeting.

I know less about my daddy’s side because there was lots of drinkin and feudin and other nonsense going on and no one was giving a damn about that side and even less about the genealogy.
But recently, I found out I have two uncles.  Yep.  Seems my dad had two brothers and like everything else in trailer trash families, it was kept secret.  Well, I found them a couple of months ago and to no surprise of mine; one lives in Bartlesville, Oklahoma and the other one in northern Texas up near Corpus Christie.
My “Deliverance roots” run as deep as The Duck River in Tennessee, which is a big sucker; about 284 miles long.  This is why, I suppose, I felt comfortable, most days, in the trailer park.

Tommy (space 7) listened to Cash and Cline; I could hear it blaring out of his CD player when he was out in his carport working on his “rig.”  I love Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash too and although I rebelled in a gigantic kinda way for decades, if you were to put on one of their albums right here, right now, I’d know all the words. 
My newfound relatives are welcoming of me.  They’ve sent me pictures of my grandfather and some of my greats and great greats.  They’ve written me very nice emails and we’ve even shared a phone conversation or two.  But there’s some big elephants in the room as you might imagine there to be;
big clues telling me I better not give them my Twitter page, blog link or pictures of who I like to kiss.
And let’s just say I didn’t tell them who I voted for, what petitions I've signed or the march on the Texas Capitol I’m going to attend next Tuesday for women’s reproductive rights.  No siree.
I may be a girl who likes cheap linoleum, but I’m not stupid.
We cleared up some things about some “sketchy” individuals in my lineage; misnomers of Texas and Oklahoma (mine) and of California (theirs) and I must admit, I want to know them.
I was pleased to know that I was not the first member of my family to go to college; that in fact, as hic as we all are, my paternal grandfather, Bert Agustus Clampitt, graduated from the University of Oklahoma and got his "teaching certificate" there.
As the conversation between us continued, 
I didn't get the sense they liked Austin; seems Texans refer to it as the “Ba-zerk-ly of Texas.” 
And that’s bad?
Naw...that ain't bad and I'll tell y'all about it soon!
Meanwhile, stay out of trouble and watch out for spam mail.

1 comment:

  1. Clampitt?? Really?!! Any relation to JED? You may own a whole lotta oil out there! Glad you're moving and gooving your way down the road, no moss on you! Have a great time, can't wait to hear! V2