Things are difficult in the world today, and I know that people everywhere are just trying to stay afloat. I was driving home today and passed a little country church with a sign out in front that read “Count Your Blessings.” Some days that isn’t easy to do, but today, I thought first of my home. Then I thought about my family (and said a prayer of thanks that I haven’t been committed to an asylum yet!) and then I thought of my friends.
My parents always used to tell me that to understand other people, I needed to walk a mile in their shoes. I used to think that was gross, since they might have toenail fungus or go to one of those weird fish pedicure places, but I understand the meaning better now. I also know that I have it pretty good since many people are really struggling, so I think, all things considered, that I am very blessed. I do have my home and family, and I have many wonderful friends. And everyday, I learn something new about one of them.
I was taking a break at work the other day and walked outside with my friend Donna. She is a very dear and funny woman, and everyone at work is crazy about her. She is always perfectly coiffed, has a wonderful Southern accent and those lovely manners, and apparently also has a closet full of cute sweater twinsets. She even has cute shoes, like the denim clogs she was wearing this week. Cha-cha! We stood outside enjoying the beautiful fall weather and got to yakking about whatever. Then I mentioned, DANG! I forgot to pick up milk and eggs on the way home yesterday. I’ll have to stop at the store. Hmm…
Donna apparently lives in a town smaller than Kernersville (which I swear I did not think was possible) and said, “Yeah, I’m fixin’ to go to the store on my way home. And I just hate stopping here in Greensboro, ‘specially since it gets dark so early.”
I agreed. Anymore, it seems like it gets dark by noon. And I hate having to stop at the store or to get gas after dark. I mean, I am sure I’m safe, but you just can’t be too careful.
Then Donna said, “I just don’t worry. I always carry my Kel Tec 380 in the car and just put in it my purse if I think I might need it.”
Yeah, I have that CD in my car, too. I just love Celtic Women, they’re such great musicians.
“No. I mean my handgun.”
I’m sorry, your WHAT?! After I peeled myself up off of the pavement, I tried to reconcile this lovely, gracious Southern magnolia before me with my new vision of Annie Oakley in a Talbot’s twinset. My head was spinning. A gun? Donna? OMG, had I ever made her angry? Jeebus! Ooh wait….had anyone made ME angry? Maybe she would take requests! I just couldn’t get used to it. I went through the rest of my day humming “The Homecoming Queen’s Got a Gun!” It was rough.
I figured I should tell Markie, in case anything went wrong. More especially, since Markie is a bit of a practical joker, it was more of a warning. I told Markie, but she wasn’t a bit surprised.
“Oh I know all about it. We were going to Chrystal’s wedding together and there I was in a dress and heels and that damn thing was laying on the front seat of her car! I almost blew my butt off!” She laughed. “I guess she thought it was a shotgun wedding...bwuhahaha!”
Easy for Markie to laugh. She’s not a bit worried that our dear friend might suddenly flip out and go all “Donna and Clyde” on us.
It turns out that my friend Donna is quite the Steel Magnolia. She told me this week that she helped her husband dress a deer. As those of you who know me are well aware, I know nothing about guns and hunting. I have convinced myself (and have convinced Jenda) that meat comes from the grocery store. (Just go with me on this one. It makes me feel better and it’s all about my needs, ‘kay?) Anyway, I had to ask Donna why she would dress a deer. I mean, they’re already covered with fur. DUH!
“We were hunting and the deer was in the backyard, so my husband and I field-dressed it. You know, gutted it?”
Ooh, Jeebus! I could just see Donna wandering around outside in a precious cashmere cardigan and shell and some cute storm chaser boots from L.L. Bean shooting at wildlife! Ack!
“My husband got him with a bow and arrow. I didn’t shoot it.”
Oh, well, okay then. Sure, blame it on Clyde.
I could just picture it. I go over to talk to Donna. Hi, Dear!
“Deer? Where?” BLAMMO!
Later that day, I ran into two friends of mine who, like me, are Dallas Cowboys fans. They were going on and on about our win last Sunday over the Redskins. “It was a great game. Don’t mess with Texas…hahaha!”
I started to warn them…to Hell with that! Don’t mess with Donna! But I let it go. I mean, who knows. Maybe she’s a double agent. Or a Redskins fan. I’m walking a fine line here. But in truth, I like Donna very much. Of course, I try to be much nicer to her now. But I have discovered that while she is the epitome of a gracious Southern woman, there is more to her than meets the eye.
So I guess I have heeded my parents’ early advice. In learning about her, I have walked a mile in her shoes. And that’s a great thing, because she is armed and dangerous. So if I have made her angry and she decides to come after me, I’ll have a one mile head start.
And I’ll have her shoes!