short stories, short story

Tennessee Trees


So, Tennesse was a strange place to me, when I moved here, less than two years ago.

Here are some lovely Tennessee trees, at sunset. I took these outside of the Dollar General Store last week.

I am originally from Baltimore. Maryland. I grew up there, went to college there, and lived there till my 30’s.

In Maryland, the locals like to say that Maryland counts as a southern state, because after all “we are south of the Mason Dixon Line.”

Funny thing is, since I’ve actually been living in the south,  I’ve never heard any real southerners stake their claim to being a southern state, based on being south of the Mason Dixon Line !

In fact, I’ve never heard anyone mention the Mason Dixon Line at all, since I’ve been here. They don’t feel the need to justify being in the south.

And no one down here thinks Maryland is a southern state. Only Marylanders do, apparently.

The accent is funny here, in Tennessee,  but I don’t notice it as loudly as I did, when I first arrived here.

There is basically no “long I ” sound at all. If you want to say the word “eye” …it is “Ahh”….like in the word “sonic.”

It’s basically a short “o” vowel sound (like box, fox, or socks) , in place of any long “I” sound that should be in like, bike, sight, might etc.

So you end up with …Ahh mahh-t  get a mahh-t to eat.”

Or you could write it as “Ahh  mot go get a bot to eat.”

Rather than “I might go get a bite to eat.”

I had more trouble understanding people than my daughter did. A few times I had to ask her what in the world someone had just said to us, after thet had walked away.

Once we were in the hospital for some nasty flu, and the triage nurse was weighing my daughter and getting her height, like they do. That nursing assistant kept saying something about “sonometer”.

And I thought she was trying to say sonogram or something. I had no idea why we would need a sonogram for the flu. I was thinking maybe the poor girl just wasn’t too smart.

After we were in our room, my daughter leaned towards me and whispered,  “Mom, she was saying “centimeters.” She was telling you how many centimeters tall  I am.”

I was like “what? Seriously ?”

She was like,  “Yep. She was saying centimeters. But it sounded like sonimeters ”

So that was pretty funny, and it’s a funny memory for us now.

I have had a Baltimore accent, for most of my life. When I moved to New Jersey 12 years ago, people there often didn’t understand me, especially over the phone. But eventually, I ended up adjusting my accent when I was speaking to people I didn’t know; trying to filter out the Baltimore vowels and the way I was used to pronouncing “DR” like a “J”…..

Examples  of Baltimore pronunciations –

Drink is Jrink

Dresser is Jresser

Drunk is Jrunk

Drip is Jrip

So, after over 13 years living in Jersey, I kind of had a “half – Baltimore/ half – Jersey” accent.

So you can imagine how I must have sounded to the Tennessee folks !

They didn’t know what to make of me. ….except for that cool lady that works at my local gas station , that’s originally from Wisconsin !

That would be Shannon.

I think I may be the less strange accent to the Tennessee locals , than hers is ! I’ve gotten to be friends with her, and she loves when I come up to the little gas station hut to chat with her.

Anyway, so now I’ve been in the Knoxville area of Tennessee, for coming up on 2 years. I think October (around Halloween) will make 2 years.

I remember our first Halloween here. My teenage daughter was afraid the Halloween scare house and haunts would not be as good as Jersey. (New Jersey did have awesome scare houses) .

And she was sure no one was going to like her, and that she would not fit in.

But I went online and found a haunted attraction , called Dead Man’s Farm. She reluctantly agreed to go with me.

We ended up having the best time ! It was a really cool haunted farm and barn. She loved it. They had a bonfire in the big open , grassy area.

Not only that, she immediately made friends with the group that was behind us, in the line to go into the haunted barn.

One of the 20 year old girls was scared to go into the barn.

My daughter held her hand, and kept track of her all the way through. I think the girl may otherwise have made a run for it, out one of the windows.

Afterwards, we took pictures together , with that group. My daughter was chattering all the long ride home, about how much fun she had and how the people just included her.

Even some of the actors, that were working in the haunted barn, got into some of the pictures with my daughter.

No one even mentioned her Jersey accent. They were more concerned with a farm zombie jumping out with a hatchet!

When it gets closer to Halloween, I’ll locate those pictures from that night and share them with you.

Let’s hope the haunts will be open this year, so I can get new pictures to share.

Happy 2020. Hang in there ! We’ll make to the other end of this tunnel, one way or another !!



life, non-fiction stories, short stories, true life stories

My Crazy Ride Home from the Hospital

This is the funny story about how I got home from the hospital. Actually I probably should not think of this as funny but at the time I had two choices that I could think of. One was to be in  utter terror and mental upset. The other was to try to see the situation  as if I were watching it on a sit com on the tv and to be the viewer who was laughing because the situation was so wrong.

If you notice, many of the situations in the Situation Comedies are really not funny least they would not be funny if you were actually in them. But it is the absurdity of the wrongness of the situation that makes you laugh in sympathy for the character and there is a feeling of relief that it is not you !

So, I originally went to the hospital that is across the street from my house for obvious reasons. They did some tests including a CT scan and they decided that they needed to admit me to the hospital. The problem was that they had no beds and there were going to be no beds available in the foreseeable future.

So they called over to their sister hospital which is about 20 minutes away, up the road. I did not want to go to this hospital because my car would be left at this one and I had no idea how I would get home. The nurse that was talking to me was standing about 15 feet away from me.

She was very loud and did not seem to see this situation as being worthy of a more private conversation. She stayed standing in the middle of the main area and did not come up to my bed to talk to me. She was telling me that all I had to do was tell one of my friends to pick me up when I was released from the other hospital. They were going to take care of the transport to get me to the hospital.

I told her that I had no one who could pick me up at that hospital. I was afraid to get stuck there with no way home. Could they please check again about the beds here and maybe I would have to stay in the ER for the day.

“All you have to do is to get one of your friends to pick you up” she insisted.

“I have no friends,” I told her , “and no family members that would want to help me”

I further explained to her that I had one person that usually would help me with this kind of thing, but she is not in a position to do that at this time. My ex sister in law is the person who would normally help me. But she has a baby that was born premature. This poor little baby has been in the hospital for months.

She has been going back and forth to the hospital to nurse the baby and hold the baby every day for three months. Now this baby had grown stronger and had gained weight.

The baby was due be released from the hospital to come home for the first time within the next couple of days. This means she would be going to get the baby around the same day I was going to be released from the hospital. Then the baby would need around the clock special care because it was still a premature baby and needed extra care.

So this nurse said , “But it is only 20 minutes away!”

I tried to explain to her that 20 minutes was 40 minutes round trip and that did not count putting the baby into the car and out of the car. The baby needed to be home and not going inside of another hospital where it could pick up germs, since it was still weak.

But she kept talking loudly,”You must have a friend who can pick you up”

“No I have no friends.”

“But they only need to drive 20 minutes up the road, The hospital is just up the road!”

“I have no friends right now.”

“But it is only just up the road. It is not a big favor.”

“I have no one to help me and no one that really cares about me right now, except for my ex sister in law who cannot help me this week because of the little baby”

“But it is only 20 minutes away”

This went on for a while…longer than you could believe. I must have said “I have no friends” at least 7 or 8 times to her, and each time I was getting more teared up. She did not even notice and must have just thought I was being difficult or lying. Besides I was in pain from the infection and about to burst into tears.

Somehow the concept of someone not having any friends in the area and that did not have family that gave a shit, just did not click with her. She must have a very supportive family and lots of friends and just did not believe me. It must be nice !

It never occurred to her how embarrassed I was to keep saying “I have no friends and no family that will help me” out loud where everyone in the ER could hear me.

Eventually I gave up out of embarrassment. Everyone in the ER could hear about how I had no friends and that the nurse did not believe someone could have no friends that love near them, that had a car and were able to drive at the spur of the moment (they always tell you at the last minute that they are releasing you. They do not let you know the day before or even several hours before).

So I get put into an ambulance and drove me to the hospital that was 20 minutes away …in good traffic but not during rush hour. This is a main road that fills up and slows down during rush hour.

Three days later, they gave me absolutely no notice that they were releasing me.

One doctor had come in about 20 minutes before and told me that they were keeping me for another day. So I made  no effort to call anyone that might possibly pick me up…which would be my ex husband…and that was only possible if I gave him reasonable notice.

So then another doctor came is and said he wanted to release me right then. I told him I had no way to get home right then. I would need until the next day and that is if I was lucky enough that my ex would get me.

Then he offered to call me a cab but I did not have money to cover that long cab ride which would have been over 30 dollars plus a tip.

So they called social services who actually did arrange a ride for me. She said that medicaid would cover a ride under the “logistic care” part of the insurance. There was a van or something that was paid for by medicaid that transported people back and forth to appointments and hospitals etc. This sounded okay and I agreed.

A few times different people came to my room to tell me what vehicle would be picking me up and what time it would come. Each time the vehicle changed and the time changed.

Finally someone came and said to pack right now because there was an ambulance that would  transport me back to the other hospital where  my car was.

As you remember this is across the street from my house, so this was good. I had some trouble getting things together quickly and the some guy came up to my room with a wheelchair to take me downstairs while I was still scrambling to pack my stuff and make sure I did not leave any cell phone chargers or anything.

So this guy wheeled me down like we were in race. I almost dropped my stuff out of my lap because he was going so fast. Then we were waiting by the window  looking for an ambulance to show up. There was none.

There was a call that came to my cell phone.
I could not get it out fast enough but they left a message. This was a voice that had an accent and spoke quickly. The message sounded like “I am running late”.  I even let the fast wheelchair driving guy listen to it and he was not sure what it said either.

In the mean time this guy was enjoying himself by looking down my shirt, which no matter how many time I tried to adjust it higher, he kept looking. He was not very good at disguising the fact that he was trying to look down my shirt. He was standing about three feet right in front of me and I was sitting in the wheelchair. 

Most guys at are at least subtle when they look at your breasts. I asked him who he was as far as working in the hospital and he said he was a volunteer. Maybe it was his way to get close to women. Who knows…

So she called again and asked where I was. I asked where she was. She said I have been waiting for you outside. I have been waiting for 10 minutes.

I told her that I did not see any ambulance outside. Of course she was not in an ambulance, She was in a regular car, and I am not sure how she thought I would know which car was hers out of hundreds of cars in the lot.

So the guy that had been looking down my shirt got on my cell phone with her. She gave him directions to where her car was parked and he wheeled me out to the car. I got into the car and now the fun began….

This was a young girl who seemed nice, but when she started driving she was crazy. She drive like a taxi driver in New York City. She flew. She cut people off. She weaved in and out of the cars like she was weaving a tapestry.

The funny thing was that she actually used the blinker each time she changed lanes. She just kept grabbing that stick for the blinkers.

I was sure that the entire stick was just going to snap off at some point because she was abusing it so much. She just kept snapping it back up and down. I could not believe it did not snap off.

So I held onto whatever I could grab into in the car and held on for dear life. The whole time I was thinking about this character in a movie I saw once. This was when I found it funny.

This movie was called “Ghost Dad” and starred Bill Cosby. Have you ever seen it? There was an insane cab driver in this movie that Bill Cosby’s character ended up in a cab with.

This scene was so funny because you were not the one in the cab. So as I was in this cab with the girl, I pretended I was just watching this movie.

And the funny part of it was that this was the service provided by medicaid to get people home from the hospital safely. So  medicaid paid this huge hospital bill to save my life and then they sent me home in this cab with the crazy driver. Holy hell!

family, funny story, life, mishaps, non-fiction, parenting, short stories, short story

If you Can’t Find the Ice Scraper…Stay Out of the Kitchen !

My teenage daughter and I got into a conversation about her driving soon. She is 18 and I have to take her to get her learner’s permit soon.

I began mentioning safety rules and things like that. It was raining outside, which made me want to talk to her about rules for driving on slippery roads.

Somehow this conversation went into funny stories about what NOT to do with the car.

I told her that my mother once could not find the ice scraper. She was late for work so she decided to improvise.

She went into the kitchen…yes the kitchen… What do you think her tool of choice was?

No. you didn’t guess it. A butter knife! Yes, she scraped the windshield of my step father’s black cadillac with red interior with a butter knife.

Needless to say, he was not too happy with all the scratches all over the windshield.

But then….my daughter said she could top my story!

She said that a few winters ago, her grandmother (my ex husband’s mother) did something worse than the butter knife to the windshield.

I thought..what could be worse?

My daughter said “It was MUCH worse !” 

Well, I was in suspense.

So, the story starts the same way that my story did. 

The windshield was full of ice. She could not find the ice scraper.


She went into the kitchen….yes the kitchen..

Nope, not a butter knife.

She got out a pot and boiled some water. Yes….here it comes..

She poured boiling water all over the frozen windshield !

Yes, it cracked. It cracked all over the place. It made a terrible noise, which is what she noticed first and then a little crack that just kept going. Then more cracks.

Needless to say,  Grandpa was not happy when he came home.

So, both of my daughter’s grandmothers wrecked their windshields when they could not find the ice scraper, and decided to seek tools from the kitchen. .my mother and my ex husband;s mother.

So, the moral to the story is one of the following.

1. When you think you have the best story about your relatives….someone can top you !

2. If you can’t find the ice scraper….Stay Out of the Kitchen !