Tag Archives: Memoir-in-Progress

NaNoWriMo Day #12: Sounds like the Deep South

Word count for work-in-progress, “Dixieland,” en route to 50,000 word goal: 32,327.

My mom never cussed. At least not with curse-words that I knew were curse-words.

You know how we say, “Shoot,” or “Shucks?” (Wasn’t ‘shucks’ frowned upon in The Music Man?)

But I knew that Mom was exasperated, at her wits end or simply befuddled to the point of possibly saying something un-ladylike. Instead, she said, “Fiddlesticks.” Sounds funny to you, perhaps, but that word got my attention. It wasn’t used very often, which in my mind was further proof that it was a substitute for other words that we don’t say very often.

I love remembering that. It makes me smile. (Thanks for the smile, Mom).

Both of my parents were born and raised in southern Mississippi. Dad in Natchez; Mom in Florence, just south of Jackson. I suppose they lost their southern “accents” years ago, and I can’t recall detecting that in their voices very often. But I’m thinking now about my mother, a true southern belle, saying, “Fiddlesticks” in a down-south twang. (I’m smiling again.)

In my NaNoWriMo novel, Dixieland, I’m trying to employ as many southern idioms and other figures of speech that I can think of. I expect you’ll hear my main character, Edna Mae, utter “fiddlesticks” a time or two.

I’m not sure of the origin or frequency of use, but I remember Dad saying, “Well I swannie,” or “I’ll swannie,” used and said in the same manner as “Mercy sakes!” I only heard it as an exclamation; used once in anger and frustration.

My Aunt Sue will say, “Well good night nurse!” as an exclamation, along the line of “You don’t say?” or “Well, I’ll be dog-gone.” At least that’ the way I understand it.

I believe it was Mississippi comedic genius Jerry Clower who used the phrase, “Well switch my backside.” (As in, “Well, I shouldn’t have done/said that,” or “Give me a swift kick in the pants” to get my attention).

One of my all-time favorite expressions, which is the trademark expression of Dixieland’s Owen Nickerson, is “Heavenly days!” Back in my teen years I was occasionally part of a hay-hauling crew for Ernie Robertson and Vic Young. (Help me out here, readers. Was Ernie Vic’s son-in-law or brother-in-law?) Ernie was a wiry fellow but could out-work and out-muscle any of us young bucks, and Vic more than held his own. One time Ernie and Vic unloaded the hay bales from the wagon onto the conveyor that delivered the bales to the barn loft where Eric Palmer and I stacked the bales while we dodged yellow-jacket wasps and 120-degree heat. (If I was exaggerating, I’d say 140 degree heat).

Previously, I’d heard Ernie say, “Heavenly days, it’s hot.” Not exclamation point, because it wasn’t a forceful statement, just matter-of-fact. When we finished the hay-hauling day, we gathered around the Robertson dining room table where heaping piles of mashed potatoes, fried chicken and other mouth-watering delicacies awaited. In that moment, “Heavenly days” was almost a whisper with an exclamation mark – an intense, humble expression of gratitude and awe.

So there’s me and Eric in the stifling hot, alfalfa dust-choked barn loft, grabbing the bales as they came up the conveyor. One bale slipped off the conveyor and at the exact moment Ernie stepped toward the barn to retrieve the errant bale, the twine snapped on the very next bale that I grabbed from the top of the conveyor, sending a shower of fresh alfalfa hay onto Ernie.

Vic kept feeding the conveyor and Ernie brushed himself off. He never looked toward the loft – just looked toward Vic and said, “Well, Heavenly days.” There wasn’t an ounce of anger or frustration. Just “Heavenly days.”

I suppose that’s what everyone’s supposed to say when they get showered with hay on the most blistering hot day of the summer.

SEND ME YOUR Southern vernacular, idioms, figures of speech, etc. I’ll use them in my story.

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Filed under "Dixieland", Family, Inspiration, MIP: Memoir-in-progress, National Novel Writing Month 2012, Old Time Religion, WIPs

The game of my life

Memoir-in-progress …

Belle High School, 1981 baseball team
That's me on the far right. I was the only senior on the team. I pitched, played first, some third and was the first choice for DH. I hit .540 for the season.

Tuesday, March 31, 1981, Belle City Park.

The opponent wasn’t much of a test and the score was laughable, even ridiculous. But offensively, it was the single greatest game of my life.

Final score: Belle 38, Chamois 0.

That’s right: Thirty-eight to nothing. I’d joke and say I scored five touchdowns, kicked five extra points and kicked a 59-yard field goal just for grins, except this was a baseball score. And Belle High School did not and still does not have football.

Here’s what I did.

First inning:  Triple on a 3-2 pitch, RBI, scored. Second inning: Singled up the middle, 2 RBI, scored. Third inning: walked on a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded, RBI, scored. Fourth inning …

Are you ready for this?

First at-bat: Led off with a walk, scored.

Second at-bat (of the fourth inning): The only time I ever batted right-handed in a high school game. With the bases loaded, I hit a line drive that almost killed the shortstop and the left fielder. From the swing of the bat to the ball hitting the fence in left-center, the ball never got more than about 4 feet off the ground. 3 RBI, double, scored. (And I had to slide head-first into second. A good throw would have nailed me. I hit the ball so hard that I didn’t have time to get to second without a little drama).

Third at-bat (of the fourth inning): The bases were loaded. I never hit a ball that far, not even in my wildest dream. Grand slam, 4 RBI, run. The ball probably traveled 400 feet in the air.

So let’s summarize: In the fourth inning alone, seven RBI and three runs scored. We sent 27 batters to the plate. I was stepping from the on-deck circle into the batter’s box to become the 28th batter of the inning, with two on and two out. Before I dug in for my fourth at-bat of the fourth inning, the Chamois coach called his players off the field.

I finished 4-for-4, 2 walks, 6 runs, 11 RBI. Oh … and I hit for the cycle.

That was the offensive game of my life.

But it wasn’t THE game of my life. That came in July 1977. A few weeks earlier my 13-/14-year-old Little League team went to Edgar Springs. I pitched and my first three pitches — literally, one, two, three, bang, bang, bang — were hit for tape-measure home runs. We lost 27-0. I’m still convinced those kids were 16 or 17 — maybe older.

Then they came to our place, the Belle City Park. I pitched. Struck out 15. We went to the bottom of the seventh tied 3-3. My best friend Kenny Shanks doubled with one out and stole third. I came up.

Kenny and I executed the squeeze play four or five times that season. Coach Rafferty knew by the look that Kenny and I exchanged that the squeeze was on. The only sign Coach Rafferty was giving me from the third base box was a militant head-shake that said, “NO!” I slapped the top of my helmet, the pitcher wound up, and I squared to bunt.

And Kenny took off. He was well over half-way to the plate before the pitcher realized what was happening. He stepped off the mound and fired toward the catcher, but Kenny slid and rolled across home plate — and the ball hit me squarely in the middle of the right thigh. (I think it’s still bruised).

4-3. We won!

But wait! The Edgar Springs coach was livid! It was a hit-by-pitch!, he screamed. “The ball was dead! Runner goes back to third!”

Our fans screamed back: the pitcher wasn’t on the rubber when he threw to the plate! He was throwing to get the runner, not throwing to pitch.

The losing coach grasped for anything and changed his argument, pleading for an interference call against me, except I stepped out of the batter’s box at the last moment to give Kenny a chance to complete his game-winning steal of home.

It was pandemonium. Our team was rolling around on the field like we’d beaten the ’27 Yankees to win the World Series, and I was simply rolling around on the ground because I thought my right femur was fractured. The home plate ump walked toward me, apparently ready to send Kenny back to third and call me “out” for batter’s interference.

“He was bringing the pitch,” I told the ump. “He stepped off the rubber.”

The ump called the infield ump over, I repeated to both umps what I’d said, and the infield ump nodded in agreement.

The home plate ump, holding his face mask in one hand, walked halfway toward the mound, pointed at the pitching rubber, and shouted, “BALK!”

End of story. End of game. Belle 4, Edgar Springs 3.

Dramatic enough, but I still like to say Kenny stole home to win the game.

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Catching up: If elected, I promise …

I know what went wrong.

Blame the time change, when we sprang forward an hour two weeks ago. I don’t handle change all that well. Go and throw a whole extra hour in the day – just like that – and poof!, I’m out of sorts. My doctor said I have SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder. But she also said I need to lose weight, so what does she know, right?

(Just kidding. Dr. Reust is the best).

But my blogging schedule has been off. I’ve missed entire days. It’s not like the earth will stop spinning if I miss a day or two, but I’m out of kilter. This little acre of cyber space is the bit of structure I added to my life about four months ago and, wouldn’t you know it, you don’t tend to the yard for a few days and it needs mowing.

So consider this mowing. Friday is supposed to be memoir-in-progress “80’s Day,” but I’m going to skip all over the place right now. Follow along.

The Chronicles of Me

March 25, 1991 – “Meet The Candidates” forum at the Belle High School vo-ag room. I was one of six candidates vying for two seats on the Maries County R-2 Board of Education. That was 21 years ago. And that’s me on the right.

Is anyone surprised that I was the only guy wearing a tie?

 

I didn’t win, mostly because my last name was neither “Ridenhour” nor “Lange.” In fact, I finished fifth, but I did win the Canaan precinct in Gasconade County.

What the hail?

March 15, 1982 – A cast from the Baptist Student Union at Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg was starting its third week of rehearsal for the musical, “The Apostle.” I played the part of Luke. (Yes, how fitting. The physician was also one of the world’s finest journalists). But the night of March 15 – it was a Monday night and we were rehearsing in the Lovinger Building gymnasium – a hailstorm busted out 3,000 windows on campus. Inside the gymnasium of the old building we were in, it sounded like the Apocalypse. (Whatever that sounds like).

What I remember most was how the streets flooded because the storm drains clogged up with golfball-size hail stones.

I was a staff writer for the Muleskinner, the campus paper. My front page story (just beneath the picture above) was “Regents pass dorm rate hike.” One sentence buried lower in the story noted that the university president asked the Board of Regents to authorize an emergency contract, “without competitive bid,” to repair the multipurpose building’s roof.

The good president called me to his office the day the paper came out (March 19) to tell me he was “perplexed” that I’d included that bit of information in the story. (My high school principal used to do the same thing). I asked, “Was it true?,” and he answered, “Well … yes,” and I wished him a good rest of the day and left.

That was 30 years ago this week. (What a trouble-maker!)

The Calendar Says …

March 23, 1982 – This notation: “75 days to go. Kelly.” Oh, yeah. We were engaged.

March 25 and 26, 1982 – Cue the lights! We performed “The Apostle.”

Fast Forward …

March 21, 1979 – “Shut up. I am going to KILL three or four of you! And I mean it!” That’s from my daily journal of my high school career at Belle High School, as spoken by English teacher Dale Mackey. Great guy, really – we often played tennis after school ‑ and I certainly don’t remember anything about his tirade, but apparently I lit his fuse that day. (Imagine that.) I laughed at his threat and he shouted some more. Me: “I think that’s pretty sad.” Him: “Well, your behavior is pretty sad, Jackson!”

The record is incomplete. I have no idea about the context.

From the aptly titled journal “My Senior Drear,” March 20, 1981 – “Had an emotional play practice last night. It’s all coming together now.” (I was Joe Keller in “All My Sons.” Intense.) “Kelly came over, we walked to school. She’s still sick, but we’re going out tonight.”

A little more …

“Cleaned out my moldy, rank locker. 3 bologna sandwiches, 1 ham/cheese, two Twinkies, 1/3 carton of milk. Carbon dating shows the provisions date back to September 1980.”

Got third quarter grades:

Journalism II – B

Astronomy – C

Study Hall – “I would’ve flunked study hall if there was a grading or credit system.”

Formal writing – A

Band – A minus

Yearbook/Publications – B

Speech II – A

Lunch that day? “Something that resembles congealed tooth plaque (allegedly ‘corn’).”

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Sunday ride and some random thoughts

I'm giving some thought to changing the header photo for "Jackson's Journal" to something like this. I'm also tempted to change the name of the blog to "Fork in the road." What do YOU think?

And now some random thoughts:

  • I took an unannounced and unplanned two-day break from Journal posting. A little out of sorts lately, but back on my game now. Today (Monday) is supposed to be the 70’s Flashback (memoir-in-progress), but I might mix up the themes a bit this week to get back on track. I’ve neglected to share some “this date in history” entries in a timely manner.
  • Why do parents, couples and families go to Wal-Mart to speak horribly to each other and to demonstrate their terrible parenting skills? Nothing gets my dander up more than the mom or dad telling the kid with them to “shut up” or “don’t be so stupid.” Hey, mom and dad? You’re in public! And what it tells me is if they’re being this verbally and emotionally abusive in public, what’s going on at home is certainly far worse. We’ve got lots of families, marriages and parent-child relationships in seriously deep trouble.
  • Some have suggested that our excitement and energy over the birth 4 1/2 weeks ago of Kianna Allene Brown — our first grand baby — will eventually wane. Don’t count on it. This Grandpa’s and Grammy’s devotion to Kianna and mom and dad Kishia and Darnell isn’t a passing fancy. Kianna isn’t a novelty that we’ll soon grow tired of. I had grandparents who were mostly inconvenienced by me and my family. I didn’t learn how to grandparent. Kianna’s mommy, Kishia, has some grandparents who are simply absent or detached and uninvested in her life — by their choice. How sad. I don’t get it. I’m a full-time Grandpa. For those who suggest the excitement will wane: I will have pictures to show you until I take my final breath. Even then … check my pockets.
  • Kianna has two great-great-great aunts and uncles. How cool is that?

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Filed under Bike Log, Family, Kianna Allene Brown

‘Let them truckers roll …’

It’s Monday. That means a memoir-in-progress of my youthful years of the 1970s. I incorporate “songs of the 70s” as often as possible.

“Breaker One-Nine, this here’s the Snake Man. Come on?”

Man, those were the days! Few things shout “Nineteen-Seventies!” louder than the image of a CB radio. 10-4? Or am I being too 10-1? (10-4, message received/agreed; 10-1, too much static or interference).

I had a few friends whose parents had a CB, and all of us perpetuated the myth that CB stood for “Citizen-Banned,” meaning us regular Joes were prohibited from having the incredible contraption that was the social media of the ‘70s. CB, of course, means “citizens band,” meaning it was intended for everyday folks. At first a license was required and there were all sorts of regulations about antenna height and frequencies that you could use. But when it became apparent too many unlicensed people were using CBs, Uncle Sam cried “uncle” and basically scrapped the regulations. (Don’t you love how government works?)

My “handle” was “Little Dog” and “Snake Man.” Cool, huh?

Nothing embodied the CB radio craze more than “Convoy,” a song by C.W. McCall (real name, Bill Fries) that hit No. 1 on both the country and pop charts in 1976.

I don’t think I’ve ever actually recommended a Wikipedia link to anyone – and Wikipedia is anathema to reporters, even though we secretly consult that source from time to time (much like some of us thought we were “secretly” using “citizen-banned” radios 35 years ago.)

But here’s a Wiki article on CBs and how politics made them part of the cultural landscape. The 1973 oil crisis combined with fuel shortages and rationing and a nationwide 55 mph speed limit – I remember the days – turned CBs into Smokey detectors. As in “Highway Patrolmen.” (Their hats resembled Smokey Bear’s headwear).

The Wiki article cites a source that said “the anonymity of CB encourages the monsters to emerge.”

And that was a few decades before Facebook and online chat rooms; another example of monsters emerging and “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

In today’s world of digital chatting, “pir” means “parent in room.” In the good old CB days, we’d say, “10-12, good buddy,” which meant, “visitors present.” (We said “good buddy” because it was a cool, folksy thing that everybody said).

I actually got to hear C.W. MCall perform “Convoy” on Aug. 8, 1977, at Royals Stadium (now Kaufmann Stadium) in Kansas City. The California Angels (now L.A. Angels) swept the Royals 6-4 and 7-2 in a doubleheader. McCall had a mini-concert either before the games or between games. I honestly can’t recall enough details accurately, and I’ve worn out Google trying to get answers. (I’m also going to say that K.C. and the Sunshine Band also performed and sang “That’s The Way (I Like It),” but I can’t swear to that. However, I have emailed the K.C. Royals public relations staff to find out how close my memory is to reality).

My family (at least some of us) were at the game for my 14th birthday which would come five days later. (Or maybe I just thought it was all about me. 10-4).

Incidentally, the first game of that doubleheader sweep by the Angels was a win for Nolan Ryan, baseball’s all-time strikeout king.

Call me a lifelong nerd – really, go ahead … I’ll wait – but “Convoy” is on my all-time Top 25 playlist, right behind “Thriller” and just ahead of “Piano Man.” Really.

Here’s a clip of C.W. McCall “singing” that classic on the Mike Douglas Show in August 1976. He’s even using a CB. I hear that song and I’m immediately transported to my friend’s house across the street (from where I lived in 1975), and I can hear the voice of an angry trucker telling us to 10-3. (Basically “shut up” in trucker, 10-code ling0: “Uh, this is Hammer Head, and, um, you little punks need to go on an’ 10-3.”)

This here’s the Snake Man, and I’m 10-7.

(Oh … that means I’m signing off).

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‘Hmmm: Where IS that lizard?’

It’s Friday. That means a memoir-in-progress flashback to the big hair and big dreams of the 1980s.

 

March 9, 1982: “Anthropology essay due. Don’t think Ms. Maserang-Hodge-McCoy will be humored by, ‘Why My Ethnocentricity Is Best.’ ”

On further review: My college anthropology teacher really did have a double-hyphenated last name. It had something to do with her white-hot hatred of men. As I recall — and I might be making this part up — each of her last names was based on her maiden name, her mother’s maiden name, and her grandmother’s maiden name.

And also, she did not “get” my essay. I got an “F.” I made a “D” in the class — the lowest grade I ever got in my life, except for that “I-minus” (equivalent of D-minus) in seventh grade math, but I have blotted most of that nightmarish seventh grade year in Jefferson City from my mind. The only thing that period of my life gave me were stories to tell someday to therapists and psychologists. 

I’m not kidding.

– From the pages of My Senior Drear, the day-by-day, hour-by-hour log of each day of my four years of tormenting classmates, teachers and administrators at Belle High School …

Monday, March 9, 1981 – Before school: picked up Kelly; mailed my financial aid form. … Second hour (astronomy): Saw a film about Alaska. What a bore. What the heck does that have to do with astronomy? … Had baseball practice after school …

Quick step back to the 70s, from my freshman year … Thursday, March 9, 1978 — Mostly boring and hot. First hour band: Played “Battle Hymn of the Republic” ALL HOUR! The brass section sucked today. Alto saxes? We rocked, of course, as usual. … Second hour: showed my pet lizard around the room. Got in trouble for showing my pet lizard … Fifth hour: PE. My lizard is missing. Check the cafeteria …

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What I want to be when I grow up …

Memoir-in-Progress

Before I take you back to March 1, 1979, for a peak at my “dreamlist” of future occupations, I refer you to the current and newest job of “Grandpa.”

During the great “Countdown to Kianna,” I speculated about what it would be like to make eye contact with our baby granddaughter.

I can’t describe it.

But I am absolutely certain that when Kianna has all the words to say it, she’ll ask her mom and dad, “What’s wrong with Grandpa’s eyes? Every time he looks at me they get all watery?”

Every. Single. Time.

The chronicles of me

My habitual note-taking, record-keeping and character-sketching isn’t something that hit me in my adult years. No, those traits go back much farther.

Sometime during 1974 — before my 11th birthday — I began jotting down my observations of hikes, fishing trips and similar adventures. I refer now to my Black Book of Great Adventures, no less important to me than the journals of Lewis and Clark.

March 1, 1975 – My turtle died. His name was Snaps. Had him since June 16, 1974. It died at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon. Found it dead in aquarium. Same day: Went fishing with Volund R. I caught 1. We discected it.

My note: Hey, even Lewis and Clark misspelled a few words. Great explorers can’t be bothered with trivial things like spelling, punctuation, etc. By the way, on March 2-3, 1975, there was this entry: “Blizzard conditions. 13 inches. missed School.”

Wednesday, March 1, 1978 – John G. had a problem and wouldn’t tell me because he was afraid I’d laugh. I assured him I’d listen and wouldn’t laugh. He tells me flatly, “My dad (stepdad) tried to kill my mom last night.” Now what kind of person would laugh at that? … His mom was unhurt. … Also, I’ve been evaluating my relationship with a girl I love very much, Kelly Drewel.

Note: Four years and three months later, I married that girl. Today I call her “Grammy.”

My March 1978 “life list” (professions I aspired to) …

1. Writer, 2. Major League baseball player, 3. Radio broadcaster, 4. Herpetologist, 5. Research biologist and chemist, 6. Woodsman, 7. Teacher-lecturer, 8. Preacher, 9. Zoologist, 10. Police officer.

March 1, 1979, “Dreamlist”

1. Writer, 2. Naturalist, 3. Major League baseball player, 4. Herpetologist, 5. Chemist/Researcher, 6. Conservation agent, 7. Microbiologist, 8. Director of Environmental Protection Agency, 9. Politician, 10. Entomologist.

March 1, 2012 – Here I am, a writer/reporter/journalist since forever. Just doing my job sometimes makes people angry. But director of the EPA? Politician? What was I thinking? That would have assured public hatred.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Doug C. and the Belle Drive-In

Countdown to Kianna

Seventeen. 18. 17. 16, 15, 14, 13 days away from the “scheduled” appearance of Kianna Allene Brown. And by “scheduled,” I mean planned, outlined and diagrammed – I’m not sure there could be more deliberate planning for a couple’s first child.

Check the Journal on Thursday when guest blogger and mom-to-be Kishia shares her heart and her own message to Kianna.

Kelly and I attended Sunday morning services yesterday with Kishia and Darnell, and when Kishia raced her hubby to our car after a powerful time of worship, I was astonished.

“What are you doing?” I asked my 8 1/2 –month pregnant daughter.

Her winded reply: “I’m tryin’ to get this baby out of here.”

Songs of the Seventies

Journal note: Mondays are dedicated to a memoir-in-progress journey back to the 70s. For the next four weeks, I’m sharing a 2,000-plus word story – in four installments – that weaves songs of the 70s and one particular 1980 hit with a look back at my encounters with Doug C. while I worked at the Belle Drive-In.

Continue reading

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Songs of the Seventies …

Countdown to Kianna

Twenty three, 22, 21, 20 days until I get to tell Kishia and Darnell’s beautiful newborn, “Hi, sweet Princess Kianna. I’m Grandpa.”

Memoir-in-Progress: The 70s

From June 1979 to October 1980 — from the summer after my sophomore year in high school to the fall of my senior year — I was a server and later assistant manager of the Belle Drive-In. Don’t get all excited thinking it was a movie theater (which would have been cool). It was a greasy-spoon, fast-food eatery and pinball/pool hall of sorts.

My starting wage was $1/hour. When I was promoted to assistant manager, my wage ballooned to a buck-fifty an hour.

Woo-hoo.

Besides having access to all the Coke I could drink and all the nasty cheeseburgers I could eat, the only real perk was that after closing time on Sunday night, my boss, E.J. Banks, emptied the quarters out of the pinball machines and the jukebox, but left the machines open for me to play to my heart’s content.

Imagine my glee when he acquired the Drive-In’s first video game: Space Invaders.

Nothing takes me back to that time more than the music, so I offer one of my all-time favorites: “Babe” (Styx, 1979).

http://youtu.be/jKbIBb1Z6Z0

Grandpa’s message to Kianna, #17: Some people have wondered whether I’ll run out of messages for you. I scoff at those people. Just ask your mom or Mrs. Grandpa: There’s never a time when I have nothing to say.

See you soon!

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Countdown to Kianna: Grandpa eats crow

My brain is best wired for blogging/noveling at 10 o’clock at night. The main drawback to that schedule is that Kelly is usually deep in slumber by the time I finish the next Jackson’s Journal entry. That makes it hard to ask things like, “Hey, honey, I should remember this, but how long were you in labor with Kishia?”

My last JJ post mentioned that Kelly was wheeled into the delivery room on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 1985, to end 20 hours of labor. If I had said, “Twenty hours of labor that day,” it would have been closer to accurate, because Kishia was born at 9:30 p.m. That was the end of 22 1/2 hours of labor that day.

Kelly let me know (see her comment on the last post) that she’d been in labor for a period that covered five days. The Friday before Tuesday’s delivery, her ob/gyn, Dr. Philo Su, did something during an exam that caused Kelly to go into labor. (What few details I remember about that “something” makes me feel faint and queasy, so I offer no further explanation). She went into labor late that day, through the weekend and into Monday, and then finally delivered Kishia a few hours before midnight on Feb. 26. “Labor” meant consistent, increasingly more intense contractions and probably dilating, but let’s not get into the faint-and-queasy details, shall we.

One of the biggest concerns about Kishia’s arrival was how late it was — by as many as three weeks late.

I also want to convey a more accurate “Countdown to Kianna,” so we’re going to include two days of counting with this post. As I said, I normally write this at night and my dedicated followers/subscribers get it via email right away, but probably don’t read it until at least the following morning. That means that if you’re reading “Countdown to Kianna, Day 28,” which was Sunday’s post, you probably read it on Monday (today), which was actually Day 27. (We’re counting down, remember?)

So here’s my solution: I’m scheduling email release and public posting of JJ for 6 a.m. each morning, which means that the Countdown chronology will match the day of release/posting. For instance, I’m writing tonight (Monday) for Tuesday, so when you see this on Tuesday, the Countdown will be on track with Day 26.

So here we are: 28, 27, 26 … days until Feb. 19 and the arrival of Kianna Allene Brown.

And here we are, probably more confused with my time-element explanation than by simply continuing as I was.

You can expect Jackson’s Journal to (loosely) follow this schedule, with Countdown to Kianna taking priority at least until the countdown is over and I begin overwhelming you with photos of Kianna and stories about how she’s the best baby ever.

Monday: Memoir-in-Progress, “Lost in the 70s.”

Tuesday and Thursday: Guest posts. (Except for today/Tuesday).

Wednesday: Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting

Friday: Memoir-in-Progress, “Big hair, big dreams: The 80s.”

Saturday: Living Write. (Geared toward my fellow fictionistas and writing/journalism followers, and eventually a way for  you to get a glimpse of my novels-in-progress, “Chasing The Devil” and “Gone.”)

Sunday: No set topic at this time.

Grandpa’s message to Kianna, #11 …

You’re going to hear it or see it soon enough, so I’m just going to tell you: I’m a little bit quirky. For instance, I have a little-kid-at-Christmas fascination with snakes and lizards, but I’m terrified of spiders.

Other than that, I’m really normal.

(All comments on my claim of “normal” will be heavily edited).

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Filed under Family, Kianna Allene Brown, MIP: Memoir-in-progress