Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Favorite

I can honestly say I’ve never thought the three of us siblings ever competed for the "favorite child" title. 

Laura was the ground breaking blue-eyed-blonde that stole both Mom and Dad’s hearts prematurely at just 4 lbs. and 14 oz.. She lead Luke and I into the right pew for VBS, taught Luke how to get to the elementary cafeteria and taught me how to do a cartwheel on the duck-tape balance beam in our bedroom (sorry for ruining the carpet, Mom - Laura actually laid the tape, I just stood at the top of the landing, and kept watch). 

Laura Elaine - 1984

Luke was a wild little toe-head that made everyone laugh with his courage and “out of the box” thinking; he also had a fetish with head-butting our goats when he was a small child - stay tuned for more on that: possible future blog. He has always been the visionary.

Aaron Lucas - 1983

I was the third child that looked just like the other two, but wouldn’t hold anyone’s hand and didn’t look back when I tried to run away. My legs just got tired and I was kind of hungry for Mom's grilled cheese, so I was forced to turn around and go home. 
Lindsay Jean 
(with sidekick Luke, whom I have 0 pictures without 
from 1984-1991. 
Go ahead and read "Third vs. First")

I can recall once, just once, in my life when I knew I was the favorite 
(clarification: Favorite of Dad’s, Least favorite of Mom’s).
I was about 4 years old when my Dad tore his ACL during a backyard adventure with a couple of our neighbors. I don’t really know how it happened, but for some reason I always thought it was during a kickball game. If you’re reading this and know my father, you know my distant memory is probably a very skewed one; the only “ball” he participated in was taking us to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers play annually at Three Rivers Stadium. This was kind of a big deal for Dad to get hurt. I’d never seen him take a tylenol, let alone go to the hospital
None the less, he was there - and goodness, was he miserable. Dad learned to watch TV during those couple days of recovery time.  Of course, Mom loaded Laura, Luke and I into the Grand Marquis to go see him everyday after school. The smile on his face was sheer joy when us three toeheads showed up - we brought the party with us! 
Note Laura's New Kids On The Block t-shirt

The first night of Dad’s brief stay, Mom asked him as we left if she could bring anything from home the next day. There wasn’t anything Dad needed, but he did jokingly mention they didn’t serve his favorite in the hospital: Budweiser.


They next day, when Laura and Luke got off the bus Mom loaded the three of us back in the car to go see Dad. Although, this trip, I was prepared

Before we left the house, I got my (favorite) hard plastic Popples lunchbox and put 2 cans of Dad’s favorite beer inside. 

When we arrived to Dad's hospital room I marched right up, proud as a four-year-old-blonde-hair-green-eyed peacock, and presented to Dad my lunchbox. He opened it - and there it was: The loudest laugh I’d ever heard come from his body. 

He was happy! 
He was grateful! 
He was impressed at my listening skills!
Mom, on the other hand, was not. 
I don’t really remember the words that were exchanged in the minutes that followed. Mom was embarrassed and before I knew it, we were strapped back into the car and heading back to the Fork
I also learned three things while I walked out of the hospital that afternoon in 1989:

1. From a young age, I've lived by the lyrics of my favorite song: 
"Just to see you smile, I'd do anything"
2. I was Dad’s new favorite. 
3. I was Mom’s least favorite. 
Even at four years old, you have to pick your battles, right?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Shoddy Advice

Can I share with you the worst advice my brave, admirable, amazing, handsome father has ever given me?

Dad and Laura
(total sap-heads)

“If it’s free, take two”
No, Dad.  
But because I took this shoddy advice, I have an entire drawer in my bathroom dedicated to the Holiday Inn. Soap, shower caps, shampoo and conditioner that WILL break off your hair, if you give it the opportunity - trust me. When I was very young I thought we were rich because we had towels with an “H” on them. What did the “H” stand for? I had no idea, I never questioned it - I just knew the H was there - and the H was on the soap, too...Fancy!!
I also have, under my spare bedroom bed, a Beck's Hybrids bag full of goodies. Oh yes, all the good things in life: key chains, nail files, pocket tablets, dried up ink pens and solar calculators with buttons so small I’m not sure I could have navigated them when I was four years old. You better believe there is at least two of everything in that bag that I still hang on to from the 2000 Farm Science Review. Why? Because it was free, so my genetics tells me it’s worth something. 
In my basement is a box I scored (fact: there was no winning involved) from the last auction I went to. It was the last box left on the block and no one wanted it...which makes it free....so of course I grabbed it quicker than those crazy people from Mississippi who reach Walmart at 12:30pm the day before Thanksgiving just so they can get their grubby hands on the 5-inch portable DVD player made by Xechi-tron-tastic. 
It contains two garden hose nozzles that spray every direction but north, a toaster oven lacking an electric cord, a framed photo of a small child (sex: questionable) that has likely been dead for 80 years, a creepy figurine of a man sitting in the moon smoking a pipe and three limbs off an artificial Christmas tree. 
In my defense, I’m always looking for a good sprinkler, I think I know someone who can put a cord on the toaster oven, I could hang the dead child photo up in my hallway and act like it was family (if I wasn’t afraid it would haunt me) and you can always use extra tree limbs to fill in the bare spots in an artificial tree. Except, some idiot thought it would be nice to hot glue fake Cardinals to each limb.
Don’t misunderstand, I’m grateful for Dad’s advice, kind words, tough lessons and big hugs over the years.  I’m just saying, had he not told me “If it’s free, take two” when I was about five, I would have a lot more space in this tiny house. 

On the other hand, I would have had additional expenses my frugal, freshman year at Purdue: 
Shampoo, Conditioner and Soap. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Truth Comes Out!

There are few times in my life when I’ve felt like I’ve been living a lie:
1. When I first saw a teacher off school property. I’ll never forget seeing my second grade teacher, Mrs. Lieberman, at the local grocery store. I stood there in awe, thinking, “She has a life outside school? Does she live in a house?! Where is her teacher pin with the apple on it? Why does she have fruit roll ups........are those for us tomorrow? Why does she have a magazine? I thought teachers only graded papers and came up with craft ideas??” Not only did it make my hands sweat, it made me question everything I ever knew. 
2. Santa Claus - being the season it is, this topic bothers me a bit too much to go into detail. Come April, perhaps I’ll have more to say...
3. When I learn real song lyrics. 

Oprah: The Queen of Frivolous Give-Aways
Martha Stewart: The Queen of Folding a Fitted Sheet
Lindsay Bowman: The Queen of Misinterpreting Song Lyrics

Not something I’m proud of, still I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ll learn the real meaning behind a song 3 years after it's released. 

Let’s start with Dust on the Bottle in 1994:

Creole Williams lived down a dirt road
Made homemade wine like nobody I know
Dropped by one Friday night and said can you help me Creole
Got a little girl waitin' on me and I wanna treat her right

I got what you need son, it's sittin’ down in the cellar
He reached through the cobwebs as he turned on the light and said

There might be a little dust on the bottle
But don't let it fool ya about what's inside
There might be a little dust on the bottle
It's one of those things that gets sweeter with time
I always thought Creole Williams had dust on his Bible, bless his heart. Being a person that doesn't question one’s religious practices or beliefs, I didn’t even wonder why he kept his Bibles in a cellar. I also didn’t question why David Lee Murphy was stopping by this guy’s house to get biblical advice on a first date. I just assumed he really was that nervous.
Secondly, in 1998 I thought Mark Wills had serious problems as a controlling boyfriend when he sang these lyrics in “I Do (Cherish You)”

All I am, all I'll be
Everything in this world, all that I'll ever need
Is in your eyes, shining at me
When you smile I can feel all my passion unfolding

Your hand brushes mine
And a thousand sensations seduce me 'cause I

I do, cherish you
For the rest of my life
You don't have to think twice
I will, love you still, from the depths of my soul
It's beyond my control
I've waited so long to say this to you
If you're asking do I love you this much, I do
I thought he sang, “Your hair brush is mine, and a thousand sensations seduce me ‘cause I...”
Listen bud, if you think it's alright to control your girlfriend to the point where even her hair brush is yours, you have major issues. 

And to Mark’s gal pal: Run, don’t walk. I never understood how he could sing such a beautiful song, then slip in that creepy line and act like everything in their dysfunctional relationship was perfect. 
I was in 8th grade Health, where we learned the warning signs of unhealthy relationships. Sorry about that, Mark. 
 Another classic line I misconstrued was in Tracy Lawrence’s 1998 hit “If The World Had a Front Porch”:
If the world had a front porch like we did back then
We'd still have our problems but we'd all be friends
Treating your neighbor like he's your next of kin
Wouldn't be gone with the wind
If the world had a front porch, like we did back then
I’m certainly not proud of this, but I always sang this line as, “If the world had a front porch like we did back then, We'd still have our problems but we'd all be friends, Treating your neighbor like he's your Mexican, Wouldn't be gone with the wind”. 

BACK THE FORK UP - How could this guy get away with saying that? This time I certainly did question Tracy’s ethics and his idea of putting a reference to labor sourcing in a song.....and no one feel uncomfortable about singing it, but me. I sang that version for a long time, until the day Mom and I went to Richmond - she definitely set me straight (right after she nearly ran her Ford Taurus off College Corner Rd. because of what came from my mouth). 

In 2008 I had a chance to spend time with Tracy after a show he did for us in Reno, Nevada; That night I couldn’t help but tell him about my terrible misunderstanding; after choking on his beer, he just laughed it off - but I’m pretty sure he’ll never look at me the same way again. Probably because I’ll likely never see the guy again in my life. 
Perhaps the biggest misinterpreted song in my itunes collection is Garth Brooks’, “That Summer.” With out you laughing out loud at me, can I tell you I thought this was about a kid who went to Kansas for the summer on a meteorology internship? Bear with me as I (desperately) try to convince you to see my point of view. And yes, after growing up I do realize this song is not about any kind of field-based college education. 
I went to work for her that summer 
A teenage kid so far from home (Kansas is far from everywhere)
She was a lonely widow woman 
Hell-bent to make it on her own 
We were a thousand miles from nowhere (Kansas is far from everywhere)
Wheat fields as far as I could see 
Both needing something from each other (college credit and help in the field)
Not knowing yet what that might be.

'Til she came to me one evening 
Hot cup of coffee and a smile 
In a dress that I was certain 
She hadn't worn in quite a while (the dress was noticeably tight - see last verse)
There was a difference in her laughter
There was a softness in her eyes 
And on the air there was a hunger (see last verse)
Even a boy could recognize (he had been taught well - Purdue?)

She had a need to feel the thunder (meteorology - Check!)
To chase the lightning from the sky (meteorology)
To watch a storm with all its wonder (meteorology)
Raging in her lover's eyes
She had to ride the heat of passion
Like a comet burning bright (meteorology)
Rushing headlong in the wind (meteorology)
Out where only dreams have been 
Burning both ends of the night.

That summer wind was all around me (meteorology )
Nothing between us but the night (meteorology)
When I told her that I'd never 
She softly whispered that's alright 
And then I watched her hands of leather 
Turn to velvet in a touch (I assumed she took off her work gloves? Likely to cook the intern a nice, frontier dinner)
There's never been another summer 
When I have ever learned so much (I just hoped he earned the college credits he needed?)

We had a need to feel the thunder (meteorology )
To chase the lightning from the sky (meteorology )
To watch a storm with all its wonder (meteorology)
Raging in each other's eyes 
We had to ride the heat of passion
Like a comet burning bright (meteorology)
Rushing headlong in the wind (meteorology) 
Out where only dreams have been 
Burning both ends of the night.

I often think about that summer 
The sweat, the moonlight, and the lace (I will admit, the lace always threw me off)
And I have rarely held another 
When I haven't seen her face 
And every time I pass a wheat field
And watch it dancing with the wind 
Although I know it isn't real 
I just can't help but feel
Her hungry arms again (her dress was tight (above)....now I get it - - she was dieting!)
In my defense, I was in second grade when this song came out. I had a lot on my mind (like seeing Mrs. Lieberman at Miller’s IGA) and it certainly wasn’t the true content of this song. Admittedly, I was far past second grade when I realized (in major shock) the real meaning. 
Misinterpreting songs is, in some ways, fun because I view learning the real song lyrics the same as hearing the song for the very first time, ever. 
But friends, don’t even get me started on Reba’s, “Fancy”.