Archive for the ‘Southern Fried Spirituality’ Category

Wall-Eyed Miss Green 

Rennie and I went to our first “public” school in Orange Park, Florida for junior and senior years of high school.   Our two-room schoolhouse on Wadmalaw Island for grades 4 – 7 was public, yet it was the strictest, most pristine and most academic of all the varied learning experiences in my career.   One dared not screw up.  Miss Merle or Miss Mary’s wrath was not to be ignited, nor were the many tomes of literature, mathematics, mythology, Greek or Latin through which we were forced to plunder, ignored.   Johnny Whaley, Punky Seabrook, Chrystal Epps, Rennie and me comprised fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh grades.  My Mom cooked hot lunches, I set the tables, and at recess we adjourned under the oak tree with the tire swing and watched Johnny fart on his hand and smell it.


Anyway, more about Miss Merle and Miss Mary later.  This is about Miss Green, the dean of Students at Orange Park High School, where Rennie and I were fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to be expelled our Senior year, for the unpleasant crime of cutting the testicles off our formaldehyde- preserved cat in biology lab and placing these jewels in the top drawer of our English teacher’s desk.  She subsequently screamed, had a heart attack, and ended up –  not dead –  where she deserved to be (so hideous was her language and grammar in this tacky, uncredentialed latrinae which tried to pass for a hall of academia); but she left the school, and good ole OP was sans an English teacher, and for that, we were expelled.


And the funniest part was not that Miss Green, whose right eye often faced the right wall with such tenacity that one could glimpse only a small whitish orb of what may have been left of a full brownish, blue or greenish pupil, but her left eye faced the left wall with the same grasping.  This left the unfortunate persons in her presence clamping down hard on their lips and anus when forced to be face to face with this gargoyle.  The laughter which invariably erupted at some point was going to be not only thunderous – it could also become gaseous.  Because when one twin tooted, the other twin’s toot wasn’t far behind.  And remember, we called them rootie toot toots in my family.  And rootie toot toots are not an average fart.  They are well – rootie toot toots.


When Miss Green sat Mothuh down in that way she had, we knew we were in for it.  Mothuh knew nothing about the wall-eyed bit, so Rennie and I waited primly, hands in our laps, legs crossed at the ankles, me to the right of our matriarch, Rennie somewhat behind the Green Lady. We waited for those eyeballs to begin traveling.


When Miss Green got going – parlance-wise, that is –  describing what we had done, forgetting that I had been the only student in the biology lab’s history to extract the brain  in one piece as we dissected these cats, Helen pursed her lips and started in on “Well, I told you not to put the twins together, especially as lab partners, blah blah blah,…” but suddenly, Miss Green’s left eye traveled in its socket a complete half-orbit.  We heard Helen gasp.  Then she swallowed.  Then she bit down hard on her bottom lip.  Rennie used this opportunity to titter.  This got Helen started somewhat.


I was always more serious, so I did not titter at this point.  I was to titter and guffaw a little later, because Rennie, once Miss Green’s right eye began its wandering also, started to mock-scoop God knows what from her vagina and into her mouth, eyeing our mother and trying, very successfully, to get her to laugh.


Mothuh, the great Helen, started to laugh.  She tried to stop, but the more she tried, the worse Rennie got.  Now Rennie started to mutter “panty puddin’” under her breath and scooped imaginary detritus with even broader strokes.  And this is when she let loose a rootie toot toot to rival the greatest rootie toot toot of all time.  She let loose a rip roaring fart unlike any I have heard now or since.  And we all lost it.  Miss Green had no eyeballs now.  Her eyes were rolled sideways into her head, and she was huffing and gasping and making astonished noises while we continued our ways.


What I do remember is that Mothuh asked, trying sincerely to stop laughing, that Miss Green NOT, whatever punishment she handed down to us bad, bad girls, NOT SEND US HOME.  ‘PLEASE, PLEASE, MISS GREEN, WHATEVER YOU DECIDE, DO NOT SEND THE GIRLS HOME.  HAVE THEM STAY AT SCHOOL AND DO DETENTION, OR SOMETHING.  PLEASE, DO NOT SEND THEM HOME.”


But, home we went, and we did not literally graduate from High School.  However, we both had already been accepted to colleges, both got graduate degrees, and both continued to mock -scoop panty puddin’ from our crotches and rip many rootie toot toots at inopportune, or opportune moments.


And Rennie and I both, I think, garnered extreme respect for our mother after that. 

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VI:  Helen Has a Hissy Fit


As mother’s go, Helen was okay in terms of the panicky stuff, but in this case she really didn’t have to go that crazy.  I know seeing a horse in your dining room can send one into a tizzy, but she shrieked and fussed and hissed so much, that Prince began to rear, his eyes rolled back in that way that horses have when they fear God Himself, and he reared back and actually chipped a side of one of the Chippendale dining chairs.  I don’t think that got her.  She seemed to know more than I did about the ease with which to get an ornery horse up some brick stairs and through the double screen doors and on into the dining room, and what I believe she was yakking about was how god-awful hard it was going to be to get the suddenly donkey-like beast to budge to walk back down the stairs.  That seemed to be the jump she was making suddenly when she saw my prized white horse in her huge dining room, with the ancestral mahogany table magnificently displayed in the center of the hall-like room – a room with a ping-pong table at one end.  This is where we picked crabs.


Prince would not budge.  He would not go down the stairs.  I had visions of mucking the dining room every day like his stall, as he bedded by the ping-pong table and we fed him his oats and hay while we were properly served à la table, my friends poking fun at me because I couldn’t go riding anymore except in the dining room.  I had visions that Prince might be offended as I was by the horrid smell of crab shells left on the floor after a good round of picking.


Then Dad came home.  That is when Helen had her for real hissy fit.  As if she hadn’t gone crazy enough, she yelled out to the driveway from the upstairs window in that voice that signaled real trouble:  “Dick, come up heah.  You won’t believe what Kathy has gone and done.  If Ah’ve told those girls once, Ah’ve told ‘em twice to leave those dayum horses where they belong….”  She actually said that.  As if this had happened before, or could be in the hopper as a plan.  I mean, in South Carolina in the fifties, didn’t everyone’s horse end up somewhere in the house?


The rest of the event is a blank, but I believe, Dick, the other half of the Original Dynamic Duo, somehow coaxed my horse down the stairs and back to the stables, and I probably was minorly excoriated for this infraction, because it was weird enough as to not be that bad, and we were Southern after all, and at least the dogs hadn’t got the ham off the table and gone off with the silver monogrammed fork and knife again. 


This was only a horse in the dining room, and Helen had only a minor hissy fit, as hissy fits go.  Nothing like the day after we peed down the furnace grates on the heads of the guests at Helen and Dick’s cocktail party.  That warranted one hell of a fit.  Helen almost got the vapors and I believe she may have fainted.  My best memory is of one ridiculously over-dressed guest, a soused woman in a brocade gown, standing innocently in the living room on the first floor of our old plantation house.  She seemed genuinely bewildered by the wonders of the heavens opening inside the house that evening:  “well ah nevah in all mah bow-un days!  Can you believe this?  How can it be rainin’ for God’s sake, and ya’ll aren’t getting’ wet ovuh theah?”  She stood like a stupid drunken mule as we urinated on her head and martini glass. I have never wanted a bigger bladder in all my life, and the fact that the kidneys and bladder in both Rennie and me were limited organs was a damned depressing fact that night.  Oh, yes, peeing on Mom’s guests through the furnace grate was up there.  It was up there with feeding shit to Mister. 


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