Thursday, August 11, 2011


Many years ago, while raising our little 'copers' - soon-to-follow - I did freelance writing in different local publications and genres.  There were feature stories, medical-technical pieces and my personal favorite, a monthly column which appeared in a magazine, Hampton Roads Surroundings accompanied by the photo on the left.  (It was SUCH a favorite endeavor and popular, even, that I anguish daily over its title - clever yet not 'cutesy' - and TOTALLY evaporated from my memory.  And I'll thank you to scotch any rumors/thoughts of the notion of "early-onset Alzhimer's)  What was my point?  Oh, yes, this column.  Rhe charm/appeal of it seemed to be a sardonic brand of humor underlying the telling of real-life experiences - usually of other people - who may or may not have known that I wa referring to THEM/THEIR EXPERIENCES. 
(I'd LOVE, for example, to share with you the one about a young married couple who quarreled SO bitterly while on vacation, she attempted to end their relationship  -and HIS life - by poisoning a tuna/noodle casserole.  Her attempt was a total botch - so strong was his constitution - that ahe - clearly in a moment of reckless abandon - whacked him over the head with a bottle of Aste Spumante in the hopes of causing an oh-so-memorable, throbbing headache.  Unfortunately, the poor, unsuspecting - and apparently generically-flawed - rogue suffered a fatal brain bleed because 1) her aim was serendipitously accurate and 2) landed the liquid rocket encased in a thick, cheap, glass containersquarely on his unbeknownst kinked and weakened cerebral arteriole.  But that will have to wait for another day, another story, another black bleed.)
     I DO recall - on too many occasions, I fear - thinking, "Some day you'll eat these words, L."  Like the day someone actually recalled that couple from my foolishly adept description and inquired about the entire saudry mess.  However, those thoughts wer certainly NOT confined to my writing.  There were countless times in my own youth when I'd 'mouth-off', as the saying went, to my mother and would pay dearly - or not so. Mom had this uncanny way of snapping up a wet dishcloth, twisting it into an efficient projectile in a nanosecond and then flinging it at me - often across a room, the "Babe" having nothing on HER arm - and landing it smack on my lips.  She never looked but she never missed.  Got MY attention and verbal respect, I'll tell ya.  And, as is SO often the case, although I can honestly say I never struck my children, they are fond of reporting "that look" which I apparently saved for moments of "If-I-get-up-and-walk-over-there-you're-going-to-pay-for-every-step-I-take."
     (In ONE of my columns, I just could not rest until I'd shared a story of "just desserts" involving some neighbors - actually it was the MISTER - who got too much, too fast and took every opportunity to announce/display/brag about this largesse at any opportunity.  First THE landscape artist, next up, the interior decorator, the ADDITION, the ALL-NEW Country French kitchen - you get the portrait.  We were finally graced with a dinner invitation at which the many, expensive wines flowed freely.  THEN dinner - a true Cana affair, with the four of us seated and Spodrd and Waterfored, armed with enough sterling to re-stage the Battle of Yorktown.  And just as the MISTER stood ceremonially to pour the first "red" into our goblets - which were fine and fetching and footed on the imported Italian ecru "Holed-Marble" table, I began to feelan uncomfortable, unforgetably delicious wetness dripping languidly onto my skirt.  Seems, MISTER hadn't inquired re: porosity of "Holed-Marble" and HAD he, it would have been allowed as how liquids HAVE been known to ferret their way through the table tops - or so SOME importers had said.  SUCH a waste of fine red vino!  Rather the same hue, in fact, as my skirt and MISTER'S cheeks.)
      I was, as previously stated, NOT inclined to be physical with my children.  (Actually, Philip - to your right - was ONE of TWO exceptions.  At his seventh birthday party, I heard quite a eucus eminating from the den.  I entered and was met with the vision of Philip jumping - as high as he could - up and down while shreiking, on the sofa.  I yanked him down and SHOOK hin until he stopped - which he did in short order.  Then he just looked at me as if to say "Thanks." and went on to enjoy awonderful party.)  BUT.  when he was just starting high school, I encouraged him - as we did with all three - to work hard, especially during summers off.  He did just that.  He worked for the contractor who built our summer cottage on the Outer Banks.  I recalled seeing him a few times, slaving away in the hot sun, using electrical tools, standing alongside 'veterans' who appeared a tas unsteady for ten AM and disappeared altogether for a "dip" in a newly-constructed fountain.  Recalling my encouragement of Philip's sedulous application of himself doing manual labor during vacations AND THEN seeing his new comrades-in-tooks, I wondered if I'd 'eat those words one day.  Sure enough, after a few years, he found similar crews with whom to "temp" during breaks in nthe school year.  THIS crew, however, was kind enough to get him connected with fellow users of not-to-be-gotten goods.  The gods were good and this spate lasted but a few weeks but I still rue the day I spoke of this particular association.
   Julie had more of my temperament as a teenager.  BUT.  She was also blessed with an extremely strong work ethic.  Indeed, when she became old enough to work during summers on the Outer Banks, she had at LEAST two jobs - often filling in for someone at a third.  I felt it was becoming too emotionally/physically depleting.  So, I encouraged her to invite friends from school down; to relax and party more.  She did just that and when a Boston buddy from Georgetown drove all the way down, they went out after Julie got off from work.  Bree, buddy, tired-but-game, asked if they could get anything for me/the house on the way home.  I replied that yes, we could use colas and chips.  And, having read into the night, I fell asleep.  Suddenly aware of a screaming phone, I wakened and saw it was 3 AM. Running to the phone and barely got out "hello" because I was hearing: "Ma'am, are you Lorane Leavy. . . This is Officer Whomever of the Dare County police. . .have a daughter named Julie?. . .Please come to the parking lot of the Food Lion immediately. . .no one is hurt. . .careful, Ma'am."  I sped the 2 miles to the empty but for a sherriff's car and Bree's.  Approaching slowly, the cast revealed their places - Officer standing with Bree adjacent to the car; young man in rear seat; Julie, slouched down with baseball cap covering half of face in front passenger seat.  "Is that your daughter, Ma'am? I nod robotically.  "She's got a bit of an attitude."  More nodding.  It seems while Buddy Bree wan dered into open-all-night Food Lion for chips and soda, Julie and friend, bored, still in PARTY MODE had been blasting the car radio with all windows down.  Asked to get out of the car, "Attitude" replied that legally, her car was her home and cop needed a warrant.  Right.  "Well, I certainly apologize, sir.  I'll be giving her a ride directly home."  She followed me wordlessly until we were in her bedroom when she began beriding ME for letting that "A___hole cop talk to HER like that when she was only playing music!"  I was too busy chewing on "You should party more. . ." until the sound of poor buddy Bree dragging her suitcase down the steps brought me to the business at hand.  EVERYBODY to bed.
      Jennie - coiner of that "look" phrase - was never physically touched - whereas at about age 3, Julie got her bottom whacked for stepping off the curb, into the street on a busy NORFOLK street.  BUT.  Jennie's wedding was just turning out to be SO storybook - reception at the Old Cavalier Hotel in the very room where SCOTT AND ZELDA danced! ("Who were Scott and Zelda?"), I suggested, nagged even, to rent a quaint old vintage trolley to transport the wedding party to the two-cities-away church.  This, you may recall, netted us a burning trolley; on the side of a major highway; with a blackened-hem Vera Wang-clad Jennie climbing over the guardrail accompanied by eight maids, one flower girl and a ring bearer (plus parents, Mistresses of Ceremonies, etc. Please See "Get Her to the Church on Time.")  Word-filled mouth again but I DID manage to wash them down with enough bubbly to laugh.
(The are some delicious tales about the parents of this brood in my column-of-n-name but, alas, in the interest of decorum, delight and divorce costs, we'll just have to sit on them for now.  Otherwise, I'll  only be speaking to the dog for the next few days and she's VERY much 'Daddy's Little Girl'.  So, Later, Lorane. . . )