Archive for the The story behind the story Category

Dear God, please don’t let me puke

Posted in The story behind the story with tags , , , on February 26, 2010 by cwgala

GRIN # 33

I thought of something else I don’t do well with: scary stuff.

The carousel at Tweetsie Railroad makes me sick. Criminal Minds gives me bad dreams.

And yet I pitched a story, called “Will fly for pig” about a barbeque restaurant in Carthage, N.C., the Pik N Pig,  that’s located on an actual airstrip. My friend Denny Mercer, an 80-year-old man who’s been flying since he was 16, agreed to fly me there in his single-engine plane from Apex, just a 15 minute flight. And that sounded like a great idea, for some reason.

Denny was a great pilot, and he explained why we had the turbulence we did. I can’t really remember what he said, something about hot air meeting cold. I wasn’t listening because, frankly, I wasn’t feeling so hot. When we got there, I made peace with my stomach with a plate of pig, a big Diet Coke and a piece of chocolate pie.

When it was time to go, I steeled myself for the ride back. I could do this. Denny was telling me all about the make and model of the plane, an acrobatic plane, meaning it could do flips and such. Right in the middle of his speech, Denny flipped that damn plane, and I came face to face with the grass and trees of North Carolina.

It’s hard to describe the sound that came from me–something between a belch and a screech. My stomach took up residence in the back of my throat and threatened to come out and introduce itself. I prayed harder than I had in a long time. Please, please, God, don’t let me throw up on this nice 80-year-old man in this tiny plane. Please, please, please. I found the air vent and popped it wide open, hanging my face in front of it, panting like a dog in labor.

“You don’t look so good,” Denny said. “Are you sick?”

“Pretty much,” I said.

“Are you going to be sick?” he asked.

“I hope not,” I said, praying some more. Please, God.

And I wasn’t. Not until I got home. Then I was sick for a good long time. My husband laughed. The bastard.

But I didn’t put any of that in the story. Puking does not a happy ending make.


The lights are off..and everyone’s in bed

Posted in The story behind the story on February 15, 2010 by cwgala

GRIN # 22

We lost power the other night for about three hours. And now I remember why A). I hate camping and B). People used to have so many children back in the “olden” days.

Tyler was elated at this turn of events, caused by howling winds. Me and my husband, not so much. It took me about 45 minutes to find a lighter. Tyler had a mining light strapped to his forehead that he wouldn’t relinquish for anything.

Jerry, eager to try out his generator, brought it home from the shop and hooked it up. Suddenly, we were at the fair. “Don’t they have quiet generators?” I asked.

“Nope.” He didn’t elaborate. I sensed I was being somewhat of a wet blanket.

The generator powered the heat, the fridge and, for some odd reason, the microwave for about three minutes. Our neighbor called.

“What are ya’ll doing over there?” It was that loud. Clearly, we couldn’t run it all night. I resisted asking, “What’s the point of this thing if you can’t run it all night?”

We turned it off. It was quiet. It was cold. I was missing my shows. I couldn’t check email. Tyler was getting on my nerves.

Some people find silence soothing, but I guess I’m not one of them. It was like watching paint dry. After about an hour of watching Tyler work on a puzzle by firelight, Jerry announced, “Let’s go to bed.”

Now, that’s what I’m talking about. It was the best idea I’d heard all night, although it was only about 8 o’clock. A little romance by candlelight. I could so get into that.

I started up the stairs, carrying a candlestick and feeling like the mom on “Little House on the Prairie.” All I needed was four kids tucked away in a back bedroom and a prairie skirt to hike up for Pa. Suddenly, Tyler shot past me, his mining light leading the way and catapulted into our king-sized bed. He was stripped down to his undies.

Propped up on the pillows, Tyler’s mining light nearly blinded me. “Mom, the power is totally out, even the lights. The heat, too–everything.”

“Thank you, Einstein.”

“I have to sleep with you guys tonight.”

Huh. Just by looking at him, I knew I wasn’t going to talk him out of it.  I walked down the hall with my candle, checking the thermostat: 63. It was too cold for skirt-hiking tonight anyway. Maybe next time.

Bowl with it, baby

Posted in The story behind the story with tags , , , on February 10, 2010 by cwgala

GRIN # 17

Okay, okay. I have a confession to make.  While I’ve been taking pictures of people’s recycling bins and chronicling what resolutions they’ve already given up on, I want to admit that I’ve given up too.

Instead of my usual New Year’s resolution to lose weight (the one I make every year) I decided this year to become a better bowler. The 52 I’d bowled with friends right before Christmas was downright embarrassing. All during January, I practiced. On the Wii. That does too count.

A few days ago we went for real. My husband, Jerry, bowled a strike right away (it’s so unfair, he doesn’t even TRY), and my six-year-old was doing great too, thanks to the bumpers. So everybody’s happy. I’m just focusing on my swing–or is it roll? Jerry tells me I’m turning my body too much, among other things, so I’m assuming a Gumby-like position as I run up to the line. It feels like I’m wearing diving flippers.

As I get ready to hurl the ball toward the lane, because I really do slap it down, my fingers slip out of the holes. Backward it goes, my nine-pounder heading straight into the stands. A man gallantly jumps up to retrieve it and hands it back to me. My husband rolls his eyes. Another man laughs, “Am I safe back here?” Hardy, har, har.

It’s all good until people you don’t know start laughing at you. Even the snack bar guy is laughing. My own son is laughing at me.

That’s it. I’m quitting. I don’t care anymore about being a better bowler. I’ll have to add this to the list of things on which I’ve given up, including: math, singing, sewing, checkers (yes, checkers), neat handwriting, road maps, ironed clothes, whiter whites and political conversations.

I’d like to think my motto is “Try, try again.” But if I’m honest, sometimes it’s simply: “If it’s too hard, quit.” Inspiring, maybe not, but it sure is easy.