Fifty Shades of Illegal....

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Liz-Sport in 1984.................by Diane Ogden


I visited my Nana in or around 1984.  She took me shopping as she had since I was seven. (On various occasions until I moved away.)   This time I was around thirty seven and visiting her from out of town.  (I cannot recall my exact age but that is very close)   We went to Dillard's, which is comparable to our Boston Store, North of the Mason Dixon Line.  Yankee's that we are.  Me, I'm a half-breed.  Raised half my life below the Mason Dixon Line and half above it. 

Back to Dillard's.  We had a lovely shopping excursion along with a fine lunch. 

My Nana passed away about twelve years later.  I had moved back to Wisconsin in 1988 and never saw her again.  But I still have the sweater she bought me that shopping day back when. 

The sweater is a Liz-Sport.  I am having it dry cleaned this month.  No need to frame it like some would the #4 Packer jersey.  It got a bit musty from the storage bin at my complex.  Not enough circulation.  I shall hand it down to a family member one of these days.  It is nice to have something tangible to remind me of what a fine woman she was.  She taught me what true class means. She was engaged to Gene Autry.  I know I shared that before.  But then I could have/should have slept with Buck Owens and sat on one of those swings on Hee Haw, but I did not.  God my Dad would have been so proud.  LOL.  I am laughing out loud too. 

                                                 Buelah (Pat) Morrison     Austin, Texas

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Cardboard Box Part II Chapter One "Good Bye".............................property of Diane Ogden

Chapter One:
Good Bye....

The limo stopped in front of 4202 Bradwood Road, the home of my Grandparents I had been visiting the past month.  James, the driver, stepped out of his ultra upscale daily living quarters where he ushered around some of the most well known political and social people of Texas and Oklahoma.  Me, I was out of my league and then again I proved to myself I knew when to hold 'em, I knew when to fold 'em, and I certainly showed I knew when to walk away.  I had held my own with the "big boys," and walked away at precisely the right moment.  Heck I should have been proud of myself when instead I was very sad. 

Billy and I had a short lived love story killed by mistrust.  Something he had grown up with.  I grew up with the same mistrust yet money triggered a false sense of confidence in him called pride.  That reminds me of the Oklahoma town I drove through last month called Pride.  I sure wondered why anyone would name a town Pride.  I suppose it's like lemons and lemonade.  Depends on how one thinks. 

Sitting in the back of such an elegantly upholstered moving vehicle should make even the finest of a lady happy.  But I was feeling quite empty.  I am sure it was the emotionally charged day I had just experienced.  I felt like my internal battery had died.  Or like a huge balloon someone poked a pin into and as I deflated so did my energies.  Just then James opened my door and extended his hand as an aid to my exit.  I reciprocated and stepped out of my once promised future now gone.  James walked me to the front door where Nana and Duke greeted us.  Duke was so excited he was crying and rolling around like a lost child had found its mother.  James got down on one knee and spoke to Duke with a gentle kind voice.  Duke responded by sitting quietly at James feet.  You can always tell a good man by how he treats an animal.  We both walked Duke outside for his evening relief time.   James turned to leave but before doing so looked into my eyes and said, "Miss Julianna, yousse juss give dat boy some time. Lets him grow some, den see hows yousse feelin' on da insides of yo heart.  You take care now." 

James was from deep in the heart of Louisiana where they spoke half French and half something else.  I think it is called Cajun.  I loved to listen to him speak for I had never heard such a combination of languages before.  Maybe James was right. Billy did need some time to grow.  But how would I ever get the sight of him on one knee extending that gorgeous ring towards me yet the tone was a beggars tone.  Desperate to right the wrong he had done to the woman he said he loved.  He was but a boy.   A long legged man.  I loved a boy.  Sadness overwhelmed me. Pity overwhelmed me for Billy and for me.  The Governor's Grandson and all that went with it was out of my reach because that was my decision.  Marrying Billy now would never have worked out in the end. 

Nana and I sat in the summer house off the main house quarters for hours that night. She sat quietly while I told her what had happened at the Governors ranch that day.  How Billy had set me up, not asking me where the million dollars had came from.  Rather believing I was hiding something from him.  I told Nana how Daddy Justice was there sitting all big and full of nasty southern pride.  How he and Billy and Governor Connally cornered me like three rodeo boys on steeds cornering a small calf.  How I came out fighting like Cassius Clay but also like a lady.  It was the three of them that ended up in barrels like rodeo clowns hiding from the charge of the bull.   Nana was sipping her usual Canadian Club laughing at my descriptiveness.  Cant say I didn't join her with a couple shots myself.  Duke seemed quite content laying very close to me picking up every tone of voice I expressed.  When my voice rose with intensity so did Duke.  We had to giggle yet appreciate his sincere loyalty to me.

The door to the summer house swung open and a voice said, "What in the sam hell are you two doing out here in the middle of the night. Why I searched the house over for you two."

Nana and I broke into deep laughter at Granddaddy standing there in his satin pajama's I know were made of the finest materials from Dillard's purchasing department store.  The best in the area.  Granddad asked if everything was okay.  Then shook his head and went back to bed.  And so did we.

I decided to wait until the following day to make any decisions regarding when to head north to Amarillo, catching Route 66 toward Los Angeles.  I was going to find my way back to my original travel plan after all that had transpired.   I was glad to be alive and glad to have experienced most of what went down.  Especially meeting and falling in love with the Governor of Texas's Grandson, Billy Connally.




Why Was I Born?

Sitting in my office late one evening, meaning like tonight, watching an old Netflix movie.  As it ended I had the revelation of WHY I WAS BORN.....  I have always wondered, which my mentor tells me not to do as she believes strongly that means I don't have enough faith in God.  I say hogwash.  Of course I do, its just that I believe in more.  God gives us MORE. I don't hide behind God.  Humm maybe I should.
I personally have had a football field life. In all honesty I have learned the common skills of receiving  which include passing, tackling, evasion of tackles, catching and kicking all sort of bullshit out of my huddle.  I could pull out a few positives and I do because I am the great pretender.  I could and do listen to motivational speakers to pull myself out of the quicksand I have feared and imagined since childhood. But the truth is .....my life has been a steady stream of bad plays.  All sort of matters I don't fancy. I could explain it by saying:  I have a life I watch happen while wondering wtf?  Yes wtf?  My physician sent me to a counselor.  The first appointment of ONE HOUR, I was told I deserve to say that f bomb word.  She also said they had no one available except a student to work with me.  I laughed.  The poor student.  How dare she do that to basically a child.  I left the building.  
I am a person born to love.  I am a nurturer, caretaker, lover of creativity, rhyme, and much fancy.  Glitz, fun, colored lites, jokes, singing and so on.  A person who has been hit with the baseball, crushed by the football quarterbacks, smashed by the tennis racket, hit with the hockey puc, thrown by the horse, run over by the truck, and last but certainly not least, hit with a family shotgun, and so on. 
What was my revelation before continuing my rant of a rough life.....? Wha Wha.
It is simply I was born for  a reason
Maybe it was the son who aspires to be a famous actor.
Maybe it was the son whose Dutch wife wishes seclusion from everyone and changed their names so no one can find them. And who sent me a funeral card stating my son was dead.  I still do not know for sure.                
Or maybe the son who thought I overstepped my boundaries. Don't all Grandma's?  At least once!
Or maybe the Granddaughter who cant publicly acknowledge me for fear her step dad might find out he paid for the wrong kid all his life.  Add I do not get to be a part of  her son's, my GGrandson's life due to that fact also.
Or maybe it's the step Granddaughter who believes she is a wounded soul and throws fits at every family gathering to the point there will no longer be any.
Maybe it is the son who is imprisoned who may change the life of another inmate .......
Maybe it is the estranged daughter whose daughter may be President someday or better yet a Senator....or even better yet, happy and uncursed. 
Maybe its merely the kids I fostered in 1990's....
Maybe its my mummie dearest who after my father died decided she needed a new whipping boy.  Don't worry, I got away from that quarterback real fast.
Like it or not, I get to live out a life so the big picture puzzle can be completed.. Yeah for me. Is that sounding like a martyr?  Nawh.
It is just fact.
Life is an intricate web, like semen and birth and the human body and brain and souls and spirits of animals and humans alike.   It is what you DO NOT SEE.   It is physics.  It is an equation that is far beyond my earthly understanding.
Therefore if I have to endure the body going thru things I'd rather not deal with and or the mind having to go thru all those quarterbacks and shotgun blasts for what must be a darn good reason. I say BY GOD when I pass this world I better get to know what it was. 
YET....now having this revelation, I might be able to endure all of it in a better frame of mind....
I will be able to draw on the positives knowing the negatives exist no matter what.. 
I can chose to live on the positive side even tho the negatives are out to kill my spirit and soul...
And knowing even if they do.....
There is one or more people I was born, to birth, that had to be.   I am a part of what had to be.
In the big picture.
I get it now.   Thanks Charles ...... 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

"My Sweet Willie".........a short story .................by Diane Ogden


"Sweet Willie" 

I was there.  I was there when the radio blared war in our kitchen. We were seated at the table about to say a blessing upon the thick, I think German, macaroni and cheese casserole Mom had prepared.  We, being my brother Jackson, and I, Julianna.
When Father held up his notorious hand it always meant, SILENCE!  That is when we heard the voice of the President of the United States coming across the radio airways with the chill of an icicle on each word he spoke. 
I kept interrupting saying, “Father, does that mean Willie, does it?  Will he have to go?” 

Dad just gave me that old angry I mean it eyebrow crunch, hand up signal. I sat in silence listening to the terrifying words.  My mind racing in so many different directions I lost myself to the place of tears.  Mom was standing behind  Jackson, her baby, crying in like manner.  At first I wasn’t mentally aware of what was happening.  The radio, Fathers anger, Mom crying, Willie, where was Willie?  And to hell with the macaroni and cheese dinner.  I suddenly sprang from my chair running toward the phone.  I lifted the mouthpiece only to find the operator telling everyone they would have to wait their turns. Then a sound that mimicked busy busy busy.  Running or even biking to Willie’s would be faster than waiting for the darn operator.  Once my wits were back I realized those phones would not be available for a month now that war had been declared.  That is when I heard the loud whaling voice of my mother behind me.  “Julianna, wait.  Wait.”  I ignored her and with one hard push I hit the pavement running.  Running to Willie.

Willie and I had been best friends all through grade school and into Jr. High School and High School. We had been through all the normal schoolyard games such as marbles, hoops, skipping, chasing's, hidings. Sometimes I would join the girls for hopscotch and jacks.  Willie would play ball and chase.  We even ate lunch together almost every day.  The other children made fun of us the first few years and then settled in knowing it was probably always going to be this way.  Willie and Julianna. 

Now I am not just running.  I am running scared.  Running for my life.  For Willie.  At the 4th Street Exchange I saw him.  I saw Willie running just as hard and fast as I was.  He had to have heard the news about the same time we all did and as usual we had the same thoughts.  Finding each other.  I fell into his arms sobbing.  We both knew he would have to go fight a war we were too young to know much about.  We would soon realize he was a direct part of it and I was a direct extension of it and all the pain that comes with war.  We walked slowly back to my house arm in arm and the closer we got, it became clear the shadow standing at the front door was my mother waiting for me.  Her remarks were swift and harsh.  She found my interest in Willie overshadowing the fact my own brother would also be leaving.  And possibly our Father.  She was right.  I hadn’t thought beyond my Willie. 
And then he was gone.  I would sing to my Sweet Willie for the next forty years until I would finally meet him in the great beyond.

 I'll be comin home to you Sweet Willie,
I'm comin home to you..

Please don't fear Sweet Willie,
The Time is near,

I'm coming home to you...
For the War is old and forgotten by many...

 It took you from me too soon..
So be patient dear and please do not fear...

I'm comin home to you....

 We have a love that's forever and deep as the sea,
With eagerness I await thee...

Be it death or life, be it you or me...
I'm comin home to you...

 Where the valley light meets the dusk of day,
I'm comin home to you....

 I will never stop till the day is nay...
Where I meet you on the other side...

Be it floods or famine or a gunshot wound,
I welcome the end in sight.

 For my love is like the ocean deep
For it brings us always for keeps....

I'll be comin home to you sweet Willie,

I'm comin home to you...

 When the grass is green and the fields are yellow..
I'll be comin home to you....

I’ll be comin home to you… Sweet Willie

(Photo from WWII The Huffington Post)  I wrote the above short story and the song.  I sing it often and have for many years.  I do believe I lived this story in my past.  And I do believe I will be going home to my Willie some day.  There is but a veil between reality and the typed words from my heart.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Fifty Shades of Illegal...............by Diane Ogden


How the system of bad-good guys uses people who have made errors to further themselves.
They take people who have made mistakes and turn them into money making monkeys.  Scientifically at times.  Put them in corporate concentration camps called prisons.  Give them menial medical attention.  Let them die as in Oushwitz, Germany as in Hitler..  The Corporations are nothing more than gassing people in  these prisons.  Horrible people run these places.  And where horrible people are horrible things happen.  Where troubled people are, trouble happens.  There is no rehabilitation!!  Only agitation and humiliation and degradation. The Warden that gets the job is the one that saves the corp the most money. He is truly the loser but that wont show until the hereafter because there really is such a thing as KARMA you sons of bad mothers..... 
To right the wrong system is possible.  :Merely costs big bucks only corps have.  So they win each round.  You can try to sue them but JUDGES let the cases sit on their desks forever.  THey laugh at the incarcerated.  They enjoy the medieval grandstands of killing and hate while they eat grapes and have sex with their women and drink wine.  We have not evolved from those times and as I see it never will.  We must use each other up the way we are! (As my Papa Joe always said)  Stay under the radar.....don't rock the boat of anyone more powerful that thyself....  Not so smart.  Seek the spiritual word is my only advice.  Don't type any key words Google can send to the government because they are doing just that, searching the key words..  I can type something in an email and the next day I get an emailadvertising of reference regarding it.  So I know they caught the key words. Scary!!
My point?   Prison system is horrid.  Avoid it like eboli virus!  Nothing is worse then being in a cage and no one comes with the help you truly need.  UNLESS YOU HAVE  ENOUGH MONEY.....  Don't say sad.  Just get the damn money and make it happen.  Go with the flow of fifty shades of illegal.....  Turn it around like the movie story did.  Turn it around.  Thank You God for opening the bars for my son Daniel R. Hull.  He is as wise a man as Paul.  Well maybe not quite, but a good man with much to offer on the outside in the name of Jesus AMEN.  Love you Charles.  (I call God Charles, it's more fun and he/God has a sense of humor)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Fixing all the errors.

I have taken some time off my blog to work on fixing all the errors in my fun little book.  The Cardboard Box.
And there were certainly a lot of them.   Sometimes I like to just sit down and write what comes into my head.  Later is the time to correct.  Although I dragged a few of you along with me this time. 
I'll be back, hopefully with some of my old humorous blog posts. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Cardboard Box Chapter 22 "The Ring" ..............Property of Diane Ogden

I did not inform Billy of the fact I had seen the two limo's peeking out from the side of the house. Why? What purpose would it have served. Although my female emotions were in serious need of a manual dial for fear of explosion.

Billy opened the car door for me as usual and I slid out as quietly as I had slid into it forty five minutes before. He held my hand gently as he looked into my eyes. Almost as a cross between an apologetic gesture and an uneasiness. And after the show we experienced that day I certainly learned why.

Billy opened the large heavy front doors of his families personal western ranch house. Being the gentleman was, he stepped back to allow me to enter in first. I was in awe of the huge fireplace to the left of the entrance as well as the two oversized tan leather studded sofas facing one another before the fireplace as if to speak to one another. A brown and white cowhide rug was placed between the sofa's under the leather upholstered coffee table. Only the top end portions were leather based, not the entire table as my memory serves me. As I scanned the room, I was in awe of the furnishings, paintings and just everything. Suddenly remembering I could have all this if I chose. Or could I?

I noticed Billy looking around awkwardly. I recall how he had taken on an odd shade of skin color. Something between pale green and pale pale green. I was beginning to put this ranch house limo paleface puzzle together rather quickly. But I didn't say anything. I was hoping for the best. But the best never came that day. God I needed my Granddaddy. I quickly realized that would make me as immature as I saw Billy that day. For some reason he needed backup and boy did it look like he had some serious back up.

I heard voices coming from a different part of the house. I asked who was in the house?

Billy commented, "We must have company."

Yes Billy man-boy Connally you have company all right, I thought. And then I thought again, we might as well get on with the show. I didn't need my Grandfather, or anyone. I had not done anything wrong.

Once again Billy took my hand and led me to what appeared to be a conference room where the voices were coming from. And didn't I already know and wasn't surprised to see Daddy Joseph Justice, my favorite person, on the left of the table. At the head of the long wooden table was the esteemed Governor of Texas. Both men stood up as I entered what felt like Cassius Clay's boxing ring. Everyone had a corner but me and there was no referee. Imagine that. Imagine those big shot southern "gentle-men" about to squash lil ole me. I felt like I was back in second grade the day my teacher Mrs. Bergman blamed me for something I had not done. She took me to the front of the classroom, lifted up my dress, bent me over and paddled my butt showing my underware to the entire class. Then she took me into the bathroom and left me in a corner alone and crying. It was at that point during my memory trance I heard my name being said over and over. I am surprised no one said, "Earth to Julianna!" Because I had left the room and gone back to second grade for sure.

I sort of shook my head gently and responded with a strong centered voice saying, "Hello Mr. Justice and Governor Connally, how are you this beautiful day? "

They answered politely and asked if I would like to have a seat. Of course my brain was screaming at my mouth to say no thank you, but instead my other brain took over, thank God and all his angels, as I said of course and sat down. Knowing full well something dreadful was coming but I didn't know what. I should have known what was coming considering I had just gone through the drill with my Grandfather regarding the million dollars. But why was Justice there unless he wanted his million dollars back. Cold day in Hell my mind was saying and my mouth was open and ready for similar verbage. Danged if I didnt deserve every penny of that money for what I experienced, no, for what I went through at the hands of Mr. J.B.Justice bad daddy. But if he didnt want his money back, why was he there? And why the Gov.? He already knew about the money from his background check into my bank account and from information from Justice. It was the Gov. who went to Grandad and got him all stirred up thinking I was a liar. And then the lightbulb came on bright as the yard light at my Pa's old farm. My Dad's dad that is. Farms had to have bright yard lights to be able to get to the barn at night if necessary. Well my yard light was on. I felt like I was in the barn surrounded by maneur and I had all I could do not to leap out of my chair, jump on Billy man-boy and beat the tar out of that son of a son. He had set me up. He didnt come to me like a man and ask me about the money. Nope the ratfink ignored me for two days, then ordered me into his car where he drove me to my second grade spanking in front of everyone present. I was hacked off bad. About to lose my cool. Have a cow, and then possibly faint from sheer sock it to me pressure. Was this for real? After all I had been through, was this for real?

I purposefully turned to Billy and asked him why he had brought me to his parents home without telling me where we were going. I knew how to pull the cats tail also.....and it worked.

"You did not inform Miss Rowe you were driving her to our regular home?" Daddy Gov. said.

Billy studdered like a Catholic school boy about to have his hands wacked with a ruler. "Uh, well, you see.......umm."

Daddy Gov. interupted the man-boy by saying. "William, did you or did you not tell Miss Rowe why and or where you were driving her today."

Again, the Mel Tillis studdering coming out of "William" was almost break out laughable. His Dad was a true southern gentleman and had manners accordingly.as I suspected. He didn't abuse women nor disrespect them. Although he did know how to manuever them. Con, twist, tower over, but not what Billy had done to me that day. To the girl he said he intended to marry. To love, honor, and cherish. He should have simply asked me why I had not told him about the million dollars and how I knew Joseph B. Justice. Instead he not only set me up, but he held my hand as he walked me into a fighting ring with two very powerful men hoping to have them teach me a lesson to never lie to him again. Problem is I had not lied. Billy might as well have been holding a shotgun that backfired.

I found strength rising up from my toes to my nose. I stood up, facing Billy's Dad and Mr. J.B.J. daddy rich britches and I spoke from my heart.

"Mr. Justice, Governor Connally, Billy. I had a meeting with my Grandfather yesterday regarding a meeting he had with you, Governor Connally. A meeting that you had set up with him to inform him what Mr. Justice had informed you regarding myself and the million dollars you, Mr. Justice, deposited into my bank account without my knowledge. Payment for babysitting your son Roger Justice while he was a federal fugitive from the law, unbenounced to me. I was told you informed me of your million dollar payment to me during our last conversation at your ranch near Tulsa. That is after you told me the truth about you. Mr. Justice, I was so upset after you informed me you were behind my going to jail twice, having my car impounded, my dog taken away, hospitalized after a concussion. Then add to all that you hired a hooker, a cop, paid off a judge, scared me to near death by putting me in your limo where I passed out. Then you hired a nurse to care for me until I regained myself from the concussion and the passing out in your limo when I thought you were the mafia. I attacked you figuring why not if I was going to die anyway. Not to mention your Uncle Biggs and your brother Becker, the truckers I thought kidnapped your spoiled son. It was brought to my attention by my Grandfather it was at that point you informed me of the money transfer. I was so upset with you I never heard you tell me anything about any monies. Probably because all I wanted was my car and my travelers checks you had summoned your wife to get for me from the safe. I just wanted away from all the pain and heartache you caused me. That is when Becker gave me Duke because Duke was happier with me and he saw that. I am sorry for being rude to you that day. I can only hope for your understanding as I have tried to also do for you.

I lost my parents when I was young. I can see know I that I didnt fair so badly not having a close family like all of you do. I learned to be independent, fair, kind, and honest. I have not lied to anyone. All of you came to your own conclusions without ever asking me one question. To top that you all made my Grandfather believe me to be a liar when in fact I was no such a thing. One more matter I would like to address this court about.

The Governor interupted me. "Now Miss Julianna, this is no court."

"Governor Connally, indeed it was set up to be." I said as I turned to look at Billy who wasn't standing so proudly anymore. I turned back toward the conference table, I mean the galley.....and I continued.

The matter I aim to bring forth is the fact Billy never asked me to marry him. Rather he introduced me as his fiance at his best friends fathers nego funeral up in the hills. He also told you of his intentions therefore in understand why you would do a background check on me . I was not only not asked but never presented with a proposal ring. In my heart I wonder what was all this was for? My friend always told me if I was ever to wonder it meant things were not for sure. And this is not a sure thing from my point of view. If you wouldnt mind Governor, I would like your driver to take me home please.

Billy jumped up and piped in. "No wait, Julianna, I was going to ask you, I had it all planned out. Music, dinner, wine, fireworks. Me and Duke we were going to do it right. I have the ring." He quickly pulled a small blue velvet box out of his pocket, opened it to show all of us the most beautiful diamond ring I had ever been that close to. He got down on his knee at which time I looked over at his Daddy who realized I was in need of assistance.

"Boy." He said. "Get up! This is not the time. We will talk, but right now let Julianna collect herself and you do the same."

Billy stood up. When I looked towards him, tears were falling down his face.

The limo ride home gave me some time to reflect what had just happened. One thing I knew for sure. I was totally exhausted. Yet I was proud that the half breed in me came through on both ends. She stood up for herself respectfully. And she hushed her southern mouth by not telling the lot of them to go to hell.

All of this because I picked up a thumber on Route 66 somewhere in Illinois.
I will be glad to get back on the road again. This time meeting new and interesting people with kindness in their hearts, laughter on their faces, and good words to share. And the million bucks? I think I might share that with a few on my way to L.A. via Route 66.

The End.....

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Chapter Twenty One (I think) "He Loves Me he Loves me Not" property of Diane Ogden

I hadn't heard from Billy for two days.  I'd left messages, but after the third one I decided it was time to refrain.  You know, step back.  Grandaddy told me Billy was making a bad attempt at teaching me a lesson, at which time i stopped dead in my tracks, turned toward my grandparents who were sitting at the dinner table, and of course inquired what sort of lesson that might be. All the while they were attempting to enjoy a quiet meal that once again Billy Connally was ruining because of his need to control my life from afar.  And I said as much.

Grandad looked up from his T-bone steak square into his wife's eyes and said as he wiped his chin with a newly ironed white linen cloth napkin, "Pat, will you talk some sense into that girl?"

Her response was to address me with an invite to go shopping the following day.

Grandaddy slammed his fork down obviously  showing the  lack of masculine control going on inside his head.  Then in a sharp southern drawl said, "Jesus Christ Pat, the girl has a million dollars in her bank account. You don't need to take her shopping."

Nana and I burst into laughter while Grandaddy just sat there knowing he was  out numbered.  He downed another shot of Canadian Club, smiled at us, and then turned back to finish his steak.  He had taught me to know when to fold 'em.  He was folding.

Nana was not my maternal biological grandmother, but she was my favorite.  Maybe because she wore the finest clothes, and never left her master bath before having her hair done and her makeup on.  She could ride a horse, shoot a bear, fish, and be a
lady all in the same day.  She taught me how to dress, what face creams were the best, and how to scoop a spilled tossed salad off the kitchen floor before the guests saw what she had done due to her overindulgence of the drink.

Once when I was something like six, she shaved my eyebrows off. To this day i have very blonde eyebrows. Her intension if I recall was going to be to stroke them back on thinly with the latest dye product.  But after one more cocktail or so, she used a wide brush similar to liquid shoe polish applicators, and applied one wide near black strip above each of my eyes.  I do remember this but not the details of the dye removal process.  Must have been traumatic is all I can figure.  For who you say? Both of us I presume.  She did the dastardly deed because I appeared to have no eyebrows. Meaning she meant well but once again under the influence.

Morning came and went. It was spent visiting an old old Jr. High School friend I had not seen in years.  She was attending the University of Texas earning a degree in philosophy.  I figured good for her.... but in my head I could have told her and others what I'd learned in my life so far, which surely could have been enough to present me with a paper called a degree. Or so I thought.  Of course I kept that little tid bit to myself.  I had learned what a good southern girl should do. It was called "hush yourself. " Listen and smile. And so I did which made for a glorious afternoon of ice tea and gossip.

I found myself gladly driving back towards My grandparents home after such a superficial luncheon with my old friend who had fallen into the clutches of "Yes sir southern belle with no brain or say of her own."   Southern belle was an action not included in my mid-western brain activity.

My mind was on how Duke was doing and how I would miss my Grandparents when I finally decided when to head west.  A part of me was still sitting in that southern royalty bullpen. The one granddaddy wanted me to jump onto and ride for a lifetime called 8 seconds. You know?  In Texas terms that is how long the rodeo bull rider has to stay on the bull to win the prize. I had fallen in love at first sight with the Governor of Texas Grandson, Bill Conally, but I wasn't sure I could stay on the ride, or if I would truly love the forever prize.

When I arrived at 4202 Bradwood Road there was Billy.  Sitting outside in his fancy sportscar.  The butterflies were flying overtime in a sudden flash of butterfly stomach flooding.  In fact I thought I might barf.  I did not barf....I did the deep breathing or you'll die that I always did on bridges over water so I wouldn't pass out, go off the road into the drink and die. I pulled my car into the parking area out back of the house and slowly walked up the long driveway towards Billy Connally, my fiance who never properly asked me to marry him. Nor had I been presented with a ring of any sort. Not a plastic cigar band, or even a dime store fake. Nothing. Rather he introduced me as his fiance at a negro funeral up in the hills overlooking lake Travis.  Maybe that is how the rich and privedged did things. You know, believing they could and would have whatever they wanted.  Like they had a magic wand full of fairy dust they could sprinkle over someone, and then that someone's eyes and heart would only see the good in them.  Well my eyes did not conform to Billy Connally's magic rich and royal Texas dust. No... being the half breed I was, I had strong Midwestern old fashioned values as well as a mind I called my own. To be shared not controlled.

Billy was leaning on his car with his arms and legs crossed.  I could see he had closed himself off.  God he was a handsome creature of God's making.  God must have gotten up real early to have perfected that specimen of a man.  The longer I stared at him on my walk up the long driveway the more I realized I was losing mental and emotional ground regarding my decision to leave him.  His eyes were looking directly into mine.  Surely he could see and or sense my trembling.  Just as I had trembled that day in the hills overlooking the beautiful lake where I laid on the blanket naked, the sun glistening off the tiny beads of perspiration on my body showing evidence of the deep sensual lovemaking that had just taken place.  I felt as though I might faint as I relived it in its entirity.  Every gentle kiss.  The movement of his soft hands and mouth over my entire body until I cried out in total surrender to this man.  God he was beautiful.  And then, there I was, standing before the tall handsome cowboy Billy.  All I wanted at that moment was for him to take me in his arms and hold me forever.  But he didn't.  He stared at me for what seemed an eternity.  His eyes were not the warm caring eyes I had come to know nor were they the eyes of the man I had just made love to in my mind.  They were cold.  Maybe even a bit angry.  Oh fudge I felt like a child who had misbehaved.

And then he said sternly, "Get in the car Julianna!"

I responded in a rather timid whiny voice,, "But I have to take Duke out."

Billy slowly turned back toward me and once again said sternly, "Get in the car. We have unfinished business Julianna. Duke will be fine."  And then he stared at me until I slid down onto the leather seat at which time he closed the door.  Rather forecably I noted.

We drove to the edge of the city on the main Expressway. All the while in awkward silence.  And then onto some backwoods Texas country roads I was not familiar with.  I had begun to feel uneasy. Like I was riding with a stranger.  That is when I got the courage to speak up.

"Where are we're going Billy?"

He answered simply, "To the ranch."

As I look back I recall my brain feeling like Humpty Dumpty after he fell off the wall. My thoughts were steadily unraveling as my imagination took off.  How well did I really know this man?  Could he be crazy mad and murder me out in the wilderness of central Texas?  No one would ever find me.  And Duke, what about Duke?  That is when I started to cry.  I tried to hide it by looking out the window but Billy knew.  He pulled the car over to the side of the road and shut the engine off.  I thought surely he wouldn't kill me right there out in the open.  This was almost as bad a situation in my head as crossing the Mississippi River on the dreadful draw bridge.

He looked at me and said, "Stop it."

I sat up proudly, looked at him and said like a child, "You stop it!"

And as usual we broke out in momentary laughter.  I hoped the curse was broken but I was wrong. Billy started the car and peeled gravel as we fishtailed back out onto the old country road.

My mind was back.  Somehow it had put Humpty Dumpty back together again and he was mad.  So mad Humpty and Julianna screamed at Billy to pull the car over, they were getting out.

Billy said, "Oh no your not."

My response was if he did not stop the car and let me out I would jump out, at which time I reached for the door handle.

I was shocked at his response.  He ignored my threat to jump out and began ranting and raving about Roger, Joseph Justice, his Grandfather, politics, and how could he ever marry a lying woman, even if he loved her to the moon.  Why did I not tell him his Grandfathers best friend and hunting buddy deposited a gift of one million dollars into my bank account. Did I have any idea what a fool I had made of him with everyone?  And so the rant went on.  All about Billy Connally and his Texas manhood.  The manly man rant seemed to be winding down a bit  when we came to a wooden framed gated entrance to the Connally home ranch.  Billy got out, unlocked the wide security gate, opened it to the side, got back in, but not before I once again was taken away by his near perfect physique.  I had to stop doing that to keep a clear head.

His car bounced over the cattle grate onto the long gravel road toward the ranch.  Dust was flying behind us like a Kansas dust storm.  Sometimes I think that makes men feel powerful.  Kicking up dust like a stallion or straddling a motorcycle like its his woman.  Billy was on his home turf and it was obvious.  In my mind he might as well have been out in the yard territorialy pissin' on all the trees showing me whose boss. I might have laughed but I knew this story wasn't over yet.  I would explain it all to him when he settled down some.  Mostly I was concerned about Duke.

Just then I looked up and there was the most beautiful two story white colonial ranch house with four white pillars.  The yard was landscaped to perfection.  A few hundred yards away was a guest house resembling my Grandparents home.  There were bunkhouses for the ranch hands.   Horse barns, cattle shoots, and cowboys on horses all about the place.  I was beginning to think I was out of my league.  And then I recall coming back to my senses.  That is when I saw two black limos parked on the opposite side of the house.  My nightmare had just begun once again.  How could Billy do this to me?  He could because he hadn't learned to think about the feelings of others.  He was still a man-boy.

I had to decide which half of the Julianna half breed was going to be present at the confrontational judgment ring between Joseph Justice, the esteemed Governor of Texas, his Grandson Bill Connally, and in the other corner, me.  Would I be the Northern Wisconsin speak your mind girl. Or the apologetic hush your mouth Southern belle.

Billy opened the front door, and we walked into the ring.




Monday, June 23, 2014

Chapters messed up...

I know I have my chapters numbers off. 
Decided not to make a Part II.  Just haven't fixed it yet.
One more chapter to end Part I.......Working on it!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Cardboard Box. Part II Chapter ............."The Secret" Property of Diane Ogden

As hard as I tried no sleep came for me. Only heavy thinking. At one point I got up quietly so not to wake the Grandparents and snuck out to the porch where Duke was and brought him quietly inside through the living room onto my room to sleep with me. He was always a comfort. If my Nana knew I put Duke in that expensive satin covered bed she would tell me how tacky I had been. But then Nana was a true southern woman and I was only a half breed. Meaning I was raised half my life in Austin and half in Northern Wisconsin. I locked my bedroom door just in case the Grands might open it to check on me and see the Duker on the pink satins. They might lose their cool.

We woke up in the early morning hours to Nana's knock on the bedroom door. Freak me out or what. I told her I would be out after I washed up. She then asked me where Duke was. Freak me out twice isn't nice so early in the morning! I told her I had gotten him in around dawn when I heard him whining. I was sorry but I was afraid he might be sick and wanted to observe him. Nana said she didn't want any dog throwing up in her house. I assured her he wasn't drueling. She seemed satisfied or just gave up and moved on past it to her kitchen.

While I was washing up the smell of bacon in the air called my name loud and clear as it always had at the Bradwood Street home. That time the bacon had to wait as Duke needed to find a new grassy area to relieve himself. I swear he sniffed half the blades of grass and every tree in the yard plus the monkey grass that edged the entire house which seemed the size of a plantation by the time he finished. And then he would start that process all over searching for a poo spot.

I had been unusually impatient that day because I was apprehensive Billy would show up as usual brown nosing my Grandparents..... before I could make my escape. I truly was in need of some solitude. Some soul searching time. Some peace for a change.

When Duke finally finished his podie poo maze about the yard I raced tback to the kitchen, Duke at a close pace beside me, downed a piece of bacon while standing without so much as a glance at Duke who was staring at me with hunger in his eyes. All I could think of was running away. Anywhere Billy wouldn't find me. As I darted past Nana toward the door, she stopped me with a gentle but firm hold!

"What is going on with you child? Now come on back over here and have a sit down and tell me the truth." She asked in that deep southern Texas drawl.

I told her everything as I cried breathlessly huge crocodile tears. I used to think that wasn't possible. That is was an old saying, but I truly whaled some Texas size teardrops as I belted out everything that had happened to me since I left Northern Wisconsin. I told her Granddaddy was going to think I was the dumbest blonde in the midwest and the south. He had his sites set on my marrying the Governor's grandson and living a life of luxury.

She said, "Don't you worry darlin, I'll handle your Grandfather."

I dried my eyes, ate more bacon, then Duke and I left in the Cadi. I wasnt sure which direction to go but soon intended on the quiet nearby Shopping Center. There was a Henderson's Grocery Store, a Camera Shop, a soda fountain, a small dress shop I had purchased a number of nice Ship n Shore blouses at, and a Cafeteria. I parked the Cadi in the shade when I noticed off to the side, sitting on an old bench in front of the camera shop were two elderly men. I had some films that needed developing from my trip so I mosied on over in that direction. I greeted the old fellows with my usual smile, hiding all the noises trapsing through my brain cells no one could hear but me. I asked if they would mind tending to Duke while I took my films inside for developing.  Those old fellows were so taken by a pretty young girl in white shorts and pink cowboy boots they're eyes twinkled like stars as they graciously agreed  to watch the ole boy. Duke seemed equally happy to be in their charge.

After entering the camera shop I found myself alone. No one in sight.  I wandered around for some time looking at all tne different sizes and shaped cameras.  Then a man came out from the back of the store pologizing for me having to wait. He told me he didn't hear the bell on the door ring.  He took my films and carefully placed them in envelopes with my name and address on each. He told me when they would be finished for pickup and we exchanged thank you's. I was almost out the door when the man, Mr. Litchfield, who turned out to be the owner, asked me if I had seen the new polaroid instant camera's. I stopped, turned around surprisedly to give him my undivided attention. I presumed Mr. Litchfield had a reason for striking up a new conversation with me considering at this point I was on my way out the door, not in the door. He asked me if I would mind if he took a picture of me with the new fangled camera Kodak was marketing. I recall wondering if he might be a bit on the wierd side, but then I figured what could it hurt. I smiled as he clicked the photo button. The boxy camera made a strange mechanical sound and then out came a small square piece of paper from the camera's belly.

I said, "Whoa, now that is nifty. I think."

He then put the small square piece of paper between his legs. Again my mind took off with the instantaneous word wierdo. I did ask him what he was doing and he responded by telling me it was in the instruction book to put the paper in a warm place which would enhance the development process of the photo.  For instance,
Under your arm, between your legs, or to sit on it. Within about sixty seconds or so he pulled out the paper from between his thighs, rubbed a stick of oil on it and showed me a perfectly developed photo of myself. I was giddy and giggling. I told Mr. Litchfield I would have to have one of those fancy smancy Polaroids. Then he asked me if I would mind him taking some shots of me and the old fellows out front of his store. And so out we went. Those old fellows had one of the best times of their lives smiling and laughing with me and Duke and Mr. Litchfield. He ran out of room between his legs to develope all his shots. I followed him back into his shop like a puppy dog chasing a bone. I wanted to see all those fun immediately developed pictures. And I did, and they were wonderful. They exuded sheer happiness and fun. Mr. Litchfield reached under the counter bringing up a piece of paper and setting it on the counter. He asked me if I would sign a release form for these photos to be used in a nationwide advertising campaign for Kodak's new Polaroid Camera. I did not hesitate a nono second. I signed on the dotted line as did the older gentlemen. I also had to sign one for Duke being his owner.

Mr. Litchfield told me he would be working on enlarging one of the photos to be presented to the Kodak people and if I would like to return later in the day he would have it ready for my viewing. I was so excited of course I said yes. I figured he must have his own developing room. Most camera shops did. And then I realized how hungry I was.

Duke and I went to 2J's Hamburger stand. As I was standing in line I noticed Duke looking at me with a different look then his usual. It was then that I realized in my fit of overwhelming stress that morning, I had forgotten to fill his food dish.  Guilt racked me for a minute or two until I ordered us each two hamburgers, fries, a Dr. Pepper for me and cup of water for Duker. He was one happy dog needless to say. We sat under a big old tree a ways away from the picnic benches full of people. I was yet to find that place I needed called alone.  My brain needed a rest.

When we finished eating I stuffed the hamburger and fry wrappers inside the bag and stuck it behind my back as there was no way I would be rising from this spot for a while for any reason other then a fire. My tumbelly was full, Dukes was full, and we had finally found a quiet spot in life under a tree. I fell sound asleep sitting up leaning on that tree. I had never fallen asleep in public before. I may have done other things under a tree in public, but not that one.

I was woke to the sound of a man's voice saying, "Maam, is this here dog yours?"

I rubbed my eyes and apologized for falling asleep. Who apologizes to a stranger for falling asleep under a tree? Me! He proceded to tell me he was afraid Duke might run off or he wouldnt have disturbed me. Once again I apologized and thanked the man even though I knew Duke would never run off from me. Actually he just went off to pee. Again I thanked the man, got up onto my feet, threw our trash in the can marked trash, and checked my watch. I had slept a long time. Its a wonder no one called the authorities to check to see if I was dead. It was because most people don't imagine a person sleeping under a tree might be dead, like I do.

We drove back to the camera shop, stopping for a gas refill for the Cad. The young man that filled my tank and washed my windows was decked out handsome. I couldnt beleive I was staring at another man when I should be planning a wedding that no one asked to me to be in. If I hadn't stopped my mind right then and there I would have lost my cool and taken to bawling as I had with Nana earlier in the day.

I pulled into the shopping center not far from the Grandparents, parked the Cadillac, got Duke out, and as we walked over to the Camera Shop I saw my smiling face, the old men, and Duke's picture all blown up big in the front window. I started screaming and running to Mr. Litchfield camera shop door. He heard me coming and greeting me with a big hug.


He said, "Do you like it dearie?"

I said, "Are you kidding, is this for real?"

"Oh yes, Miss Julianna, and I have a sneaking hunch Kodac will pick this photo for its nationwide advertisment promo for the new polaroid camera."

I screamed again. Duke was dancing around trying to figure out whether to be scared or happy. He hadn't ever seen me act like that before. Maybe I hadn't ever seen me act this way before either.

Mr. Litchfield handed me the initial polaroid photo for my keeping. I could hardly wait to get back home to show Nana and Grandad. But when I arrived no one was there. Nana had left me a note saying Grandad was waiting for a phone call from me as soon as I returned home.

I called and when he answered I could hardly contain my good news. He listened but his demeanor was off. He hardly responded at all but added he would be picking me up shortly. To get myself ready.

I said, "For what?"

He did not answer before I heard the click of the receiver.

He arrived and told me we were going down to his office. He opened the car door for me and I slid onto the leather seats of his new Oldsmobile which he traded every year for anther new one. On the drive he was very quiet. I told him about the ad with Kodak and the only thing he said was, "What are they paying you?"

I told him I had signed a release for Kodak to use the photo.

He said, "Humph. Figures."

I could not understand the coldness in the air. His sudden detachment from me. Maybe Nana had told him everything and he did not take it well. What was I in for?

We arrived at the office. I had always enjoyed going there. The smell of the leather chairs, the imaculate walls and floors. Fireplaces in the waiting room and his executive office. The western theme was a theme I had always preferred.  My childhood bedroom wasn't a princess room, rather it was six guns, teepees, and cowboys and Indians.

Duke laid down quietly in a corner as if he knew to pretend to be invisible. Grandad pointed to a burgany wingback chair across from his desk for me to have a seat.  When he sat in his  very much larger brown leather office chair, he seemed to tower over me. Personally I believe that was an intentional interior forethought design to maintain his power and authority.  Basically it kept him in control.

We sat. And when he opened his mouth in his firm southern gentleman's way,  what came out would forever remain in the cells of my brain's life memories.  A more condensed version could be summed up in one word.  Shock!   My Granddad, as he towered above me in his big leather chair, while looking into my eyes more deeply then  I had ever experienced, sternly asked why I had not told him about the million dollars in my bank account.

I said, "WHAT. Where did you ever hear such nonsense?"

He told me Governor Connally came to him with this news earlier that day.

It was at that point that I stood up and he firmly ordered me to sit down.

I said, " How would he know such a thing, if I dont know such a thing, even though it is not true."

Granddad said, "Because he was doing a background check on you after his grandson, Billy, shared his intention to marry you."

I said, "Granddaddy, he didn't even ask me! He introduced me as his finace at a Negro funeral of his best friends father yesterday. I havent even known him for but a month or less."

I could tell what I had just said hadn't sank into my Grandfather's head yet.

"Okay. fine. But don't sit there and lie to my face about the million dollars Julianna."

I squeeled, "But Granddad I don't know anything about a million dollars."

"Well apparently Joseph Justice deposited a million dollars in your bank account for taking care of his son Roger. Maybe that will ring a bell in your head." My Grandfather informed me coldly.

That is when I broke down sobbing while blubbering the entire story through tears and a half a box of kleenex tissues. I told Granddad how I picked up a thumber in Illinois who turned out to be what I thought was kidnapped, helped him escape from two truckers named Uncle Biggs and Becker, ran into a ghost from the "Outer Edge," passed out from fear, crossed a horrible bridge and you know I hate bridges over water Granddaddy, and then I got arrested and put in the pokey with twelve hookers. Bambi took care of me but I fell and got a concussion trying to see out the window at the big city lights. They took me to the hospital and impouded put my Pink Cadi in a big car cage. The judge saw all those girls and let them go but kept me for a long time. It wasn't legal but Rogers dad paid them all off to keep me away from Roger because he was wanted by the feds for fleeing from Michigan or Minnesota because he is spoiled and refused to wait for his family to pick him up. That is when I picked him up and all that happened to me plus a lot more. I even stayed at the JBJ Cattle and Oil ranch in Tulsa until I recovered from passsing out again because the concussion wasnt healed when JBJ picked me up in his limo while I was on my way to get my car out of the impound. And I didnt want to disappoint you by not marrying Billy but I dislike being controlled by him. I cant think for myself, dress myself, have any time to myself. And all this has made me very nervous."

He reiterated what a good life I would have if I married Billy. I reminded him of his life. How Nana could have married Gene Autrey, the moviestar and singer, and had an amazing life. But she chose him instead. Him who didnt have two plug nickels to his name. But who had an amazing sense of humor and explicit manners. And probably a few other things I wouldnt know about or even want to.

Granddad quietly apologized for his demeanor and mentioned how he thought I had signed off Kodak because I knew I had million dollars. After a momentary understanding giggle, I told him how I enjoyed making people happy. Laughing and meeting all sort of new and different people. Just like he did. I got a laugh out of him at that one.

Then I stood up again, at which time he let me and I spouted off asking how can people just get into my bank account? Then I sat down and said nevermind as long as they are depositing and not taking out I guess its fine. And we laughed again.

Granddad unlocked the bottom drawer of his desk and pulled out his fifth of Canadian Club. Poured us each a shot and we toasted to the end of the confusion and the beginning of the end of Billy. As the whisky went down I could feel the burning cleansing of all that had tried to take me down. That is when Granddad poured another shot for himself and a half a shot for me.... I looked over at Duke who sat up and groaned as if to say enough now. Grandad and I laughed til we had tears. Then we toasted to the much earned one million dollars in my bank account.

He then added, "Although I will miss not being part of the Texas royalty honey."

I told him he was the King in my world and always would be no matter who my Prince charming ended up being.

Now all I had to do was face one more difficult task. Telling Billy who never listened.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Cardboard Box Part II, Chapter 9 - "In the Name of Jesus."................property of Diane Ogden

Harper Rutherford II and I never road a moped into the mountains, or over a hill or ever road anything but his car to a movie.  No Harper was a dud to say the least.  Sometimes I wonder why I even have thoughts of him.  The books say it could result from some sort of comfort zone feeling from the past. But Harper was never comfortable.  Or was he? 

Holding onto Billy while riding through the mountain roads was something I shall treasure for all my lifetime.  Hugging his waist with my head resting on his strong shoulder was better than the best ice cream, or the prettiest dress ever.  It was like two hearts beating in unison which they did once again early that afternoon on a plaid Pendleton blanket overlooking Lake Travis.  That beautiful blue sky that led us to our destination seemed like it was there just for us.  The same clouds that we followed up the winding roads stood still as though they were watching over us for a time.  After a while a gentle breeze took them onto their next set of lovers somewhere. 

Did I fall in love that day?  Did I do what most women do when a man enters within their soul.  Their space.  I knew better than to do that.  When the majority of men make love its an extension of themselves.  You know, a dangling penis outside their body.  Not close to their heart. Actually not even attached to it. 

With a woman it is a total invasive act of becoming one.  Hearts beating in unison.  Nothing dangling anywhere out there far from her heart.  And so it was.  He dangled and I took him in with deep breaths of love from the blue sky above.  Wanting sounds of love that I am sure summoned the critters of the hills to watch and feel the massive vibrations of good energy being sent into the Universe.  And then it was over.   Not to say "it" hadn't left me with a sensation of fullness of love.  Billy Connally was in love with me.   Every breath and movement told me of his love.  His heart and his dangly had come together meeting my every expectation.  I actually thought of Harper momentarily.  Harper couldn't hold a candle to this man on any day of the week.  I was diggin' this and had thoughts of a lifetime with more. 

We packed up the picnic basket and headed down the hills toward Austin when I noticed Billy took a turn off the road.  I shouted, "Where are we going?"  

"To Church," he said.

"What?"  I shouted.  I have no clothes for church.

"I came prepared,"  he commented as we pulled off the road to a roadside cafĂ© and gas stop.

The moped had a medium sized satchel beneath the driver and passenger seats.   He lifted the seat and out came the prettiest pale pink chiffon sheath dress I had ever seen. And a pair of matching heels in my size.  Of course.   I was giggling like a school girl before the Friday night dance.  He was watching me dance around in circles holding my dress to my waist and neckline. 

"Wait, what are you going to wear Billy?  I said. 

He reached in and pulled out a rolled up jacket and slacks.  One belt and one tie. 
We both laughed like kids.  Then inside to the bathrooms to change.  We went in looking tousled and come out quite the opposite.  In fact, danged if didn't look royal. 

That is when I asked where the Church was....  He said, "You'll see."

We pulled up to a little country church out in the hills.  Not much of a building I thought.  That is when I heard the voices loud and clear.  As well as a whole lot of pretty cars parked along side our little moped.

Billy put his arm around my waist, looked down at me and said,  "Get ready baby! Here we go!"
Suddenly I see about a hundred and fifty Negro people singing and dancing in the pews.  I mean whoa.....what's going on H E L L O! And they were all so pretty!  Let me say there were hats and white patent  leather shoes and suits of every color like you don't see everyday anywhere. The children looked like models. That is when I turned my head a tad and saw the body!   Its a funeral!  My eyes got as big as humanly possible although I was in no way being disrespectful.  I could not even get turned around to leave there were so many dancing people. Truly all I wanted to do was laugh.  Not at the death, but at the shock of it all.  How could Billy have thought being funeral crashers was alright? As well as he had not even warned me. That is when his buddy Shakila walked over and thanked him for coming.  I learned Shakila was a lifelong friend. Billy introduced me as his fiance.  After the congratulations and hugs I about had a cow at the funeral in the Negro church out in the hills.  Why did he do that? After I got over the initial shock of his not so formal proposal I decided to laugh it off .  That was just another example of a Southern "Gentleman" taking over what he thinks is his rightful place on top of me.  Get it? 

Regardless of Billy, I gotta say I received quite the show because those folks know how to do it up right.  They dress better then  us white folks.  They sing better, they dance better, they show their emotions better.  All the while we white folk are trying to darken their skin and keep the Negros in their separate churches, schools, and eating places.  We should at the least show such emotion at our funerals.  Or maybe not.  My mind likes to take off chattering to itself much of the time.

After another hour of celebrating Shakila's Father's life it was time to leave and join the funeral procession.  As we walked out of the church, I realized how ridiculous we were going to look riding a moped in the funeral procession.  Or maybe we weren't going to be in the procession.  Wrong again Julianna.

We actually rode in the limo with Shakila, his Mother, Genevieve, and a driver.   Out of respect I kept my thoughts quiet and inside my head.  Like the one that kept saying, "How do I get myself into these limo situations?"  And the other thought, "Shakila, I would like you to meet my fiance, Julianna Rowe?"  Wait until I tell Billy I'm keeping my own last name if I even agree at all.  I started to giggle out loud, of course not realizing it until I felt a definite jab in my side from Billy's elbow.  Cant say I didn't deserve that one.

When we finally got the procession going and neared the main road......there he was.  Big Daddy, A fancy dressed Negro man directing the traffic on a main highway thoroughfare, as well as maintaining the line up of the 150 cars with little white flags.  Who do you know that would have the nards (and they are probably restin' in gold plated undies) to take that on.  The procession meant to stay together and if it took him getting out of his fancy Lincoln and directing all traffic, who obeyed his commands might I add....so that family could drive to the cemetery as one.  What one of us white folks would have done that?  Bout none that I know.   Another tidbit is, in the South it was proper to pull your car over to the side of the road to show respect for the deceased and the family in any funeral procession.

I will say this.   If you ever want to see a real Jesus Sunday, visit one of the Negro's fine church services.  Having done this was uplifting for sure.  Well except when they throw themselves (a select few) off the pews and wiggle around in the spirit.  Absolutely no offense intended because I believe everyone has their own Jesus and responds to him each to their own.

After the shaking and crying and falling down at the church and the cemetery we were given a ride back to our Moped which we returned to the rental place at dusk and picked up Billy's car.  Another different car.  

I was very quiet to the point of it being noticeable.  Naturally Billy asked me if everything was alright.  I affirmed and was then silent again.  All in one day Billy had taken me on a moped into the mountains after I said I wanted to be alone for awhile, made love to me,  surprised me with  a change of clothing and no warning by taking me to a Negro Church funeral, procession, and cemetery rights, introduced me as his fiancĂ© although never asking me to be such, and then wondered why I was so quiet.  I finally responded by saying I was just tired, thank you.  That is what was expected of me and I knew it.  And at that moment I also realized I wasn't sure I could play the game. 

When we arrived at Granddaddy's Billy put the car in park and started to get out.  I put my hand on his arm and said, "No.  It's been a long day and I thank you but I need some quiet time with Duke. He has been alone all day. Good night Billy."  And I got out and ran to the house. I never even thought of kissing him. 

I had gotten myself into another box.  And those box lids felt like they were wood pieces folded down and nailed shut.

I should have been so happy. 
























Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Cardboard Box Part II Chapter 8: "Take it or Leave it?".............. Property of Diane Ogden

I recall waking up in my princess bedroom at my Grandparents home the morning after the exquisite nite out with the Governor of Texas, his wife, and grandson.  I was fairly sure I had died and gone to heaven having experienced most of what I had ever dreamed necessary.  But no I wasn't dead.  I was alive and getting my face licked by Duke who needed to be taken outside.  I grabbed my shorts and away we went.  I was surprised to see Grandad sitting on the front porch watching me.  He was usually up, dressed in his white shirt, nice slacks, western hat, and out the door to work.

 Grandad owned Morrison Painting and Decorating Company in Austin.  He had many employees whom he treated like family, or so he told us anyway.  I strongly doubt that was true.  The company made bids on jobs as far away as Brownsville, Texas which sits on the Mexican border.  They bid a lot of school jobs.  All of the schools in Texas were segregated making for even more schools and job availability.  Actually all I recall regarding segregation is that I accepted it as normal for this part of the country.  It was different in Northern Wisconsin for sure.  

I found this old photo of Grandad's business when it first started way back when.  Grandad is the one in the hat with the white bibs.  As the years passed he would become the bossman overseer never to be one of the laborers again.  The business served he and his family well over the  years until his death.  I heard tell from Nana that he wasn't so good with money.  She took care of the money although gave him whatever he needed.  Turned out one day she took him out to the Utility Room,  the room out the back door of the kitchen, through a breezeway.  She opened one of the freezers and took out a fairly large beige bag of money she had been saving.  Fact is it was enough cash money to pay off the mortgage on their home.  That was Nana!  From that day on my Grandfather worshipped the ground she walked on even more than he had before.   

I finished walking Duke around the yard when Grandad got up off his bamboo porch sofa, walked over tot he screen door and summoned me inside.  I got somewhat nervous that something might be wrong.  Then he smiled and asked me to have a seat in the matching bamboo chair across from him.
Oh boy, I could tell this was going to be a lecture of some sort.  And not to prove me wrong he began. 

"Julianna, I have lived a long life.  In life there are times when you come to a crossroad and making the right decision can affect your entire lifetime.  Personally I made a few errors at those same crossroads you are at presently.  Those errors muck up the fresh waters of life.  Cleaning the muck out can be a struggle leaving people hurt in its path of destruction.  Mud is mud honey. With Billy you would be a woman of luxury.  Never having to worry about anything monetary ever again.  And just imagine the people you could meet.  You know what the old saying is!  You are who you are with."

"I know, Grandad, but...."

"No buts."  He said.   "When opportunity knocks, answer the door. For if you don't it may not come back and knock again." 

I sat in the chair with my head down.  Grandad could see I was struggling with this decision.  I had met a sweet cowboy who turned out to be the next thing to a Prince.  No frogs in sight let me tell you.
He was a millionaire.  All I had was my Pink Cadillac, my savings, and Duke.  Well that is all I thought I had.

Grandad left for work after giving me a big hug.  I didn't remind him regarding Nana's story.  I think possibly his male ego didn't allow it to surface or he had merely forgotten it over the years.    My Nana was engaged to Gene Autry when she met my Grandaddy who was by the way a "bad boy!"  Let me rephrase that.  Granddaddy was a bad boy with manners and the best sense of humor Nana had ever come by.  As well as he may have had other things I was not aware of and rather to not think on.   She ditched the rich and famous Cowboy movie star Gene Autry and married my Grandad who didn't have two dollars to his name.  I knew he just wanted me to have the best.  He always thought of himself as the best which is why the old Gene Autry story didn't come up from either of us. I should have guessed that one. 

I just wasn't sure the hippie in me could play the princess game.  All around me I was learning how the South was run.  Southern men weren't always honest.  Hell look at J B J daddy rich britches.  They smiled and put on a good front when all the while they were calculating their next moves with their own son.  Me, I was an honest what you see is what you get flower child.  I would have to succumb to the male in my southern household.  The men ruled the women.   Men could do anything and get away with it but women were not allowed such luxury.  Then there were the unspoken rules of the rich.
Never wear white shoes before Easter or after Labor Day except is if it is a bride.
Thank you notes are a necessary component of being gracious and appreciative.
 Never chew gum or smoke on the street.
 Never show anger in public. Smile and act like a lady.
 Act helpless and confused when it's to your advantage; never let them know how clever and capable you really are...
 Charm, Charm, Charm.
 Be elegant and graceful.
Add to all that the unspoken rules of the being in the political arena.  Television.  Traveling the political circuit. I wasn't sure I could play the game.  I needed a shot of Granddaddy's Canadian Club.  And that is exactly what I did.  One jigger and I was out. 

I woke up to Billy standing over the top of me with the weirdest look on his face. 

I said, "What's the matter?"

"You smell of whiskey darlin!"   he said.

"Yes I do Mr. William Connally!  I had me a shot of Canadian Club. No rocks, no mixer.  Straight up and down the hatch!"

"Might I ask what the occasion is?"  he said, a bit sternly.

"Maybe later we can discuss the matter.  Right now I would like to be alone if you don't mind."

"I do mind," he said.  "I have rented us a moped, packed a picnic basket, and intend on taking you up into the hills around Lake Travis and bed you down ma'am." 

"Oh really...." I said in total shock.  "Bed me down as in cattle?  Or bed me down as in making love??"

Then we both broke out in serious laughter.  We were back on track.  I gathered myself, left Duke in the care of Nana and rode off on the moped with the heat of the sun breaking my coldness of heart, the wind gently blowing away any thoughts other than beautiful ones, and the blue sky full of the most beautiful puffy clouds as I headed toward the mountains for a picnic and who knows what else with Billy Connally.  Was I home? 


http://ashlandbelles.com/Belles.html







Friday, April 11, 2014

The Cardboard Box Part II Chapter 7............... Is this Real?............by Diane Ogden

The limo ride was quiet.  Formal.  Governor Connally asked me a few polite questions but I knew he had security do one hell of a background check on me and my family before ever allowing me to step one foot into that limo much less be escorted to the function.  I answered each of his questions as politely as he had asked them.  Then in an off the cuff tone, Governor Connally made a statement that nearly caused me to faint.  I had been to the"fainting in a limo rodeo" before and darned if I was going to ride that one out again.  His near death experience off the cuff comment was directed toward his wife and Grandson. But there was no doubt it was specifically spoken for me.  He said, "Nellie, Bill, I'm not sure you are aware of the fact our good friends Joseph and Auggie Justice are attending the gala this evening." 

Here I was all decked out and about to have a cow in the back of the Governor of Texas's limo. All I wanted to do was flee the scene.  But considering that was not an option, I decided not to lose my cool.  Was that comment meant for me personally or was this an out of the ballpark coincidence?  Hang lose Julianna.  You been through worse.  And so I did.  I did not utter even an inkling of a noise nor was there any show of emotion about my being.  I got that gift from my Grandad thank God.

We arrived a short time after the announcement telling me I might run into Daddy J Bar J rich britches.  God help me if they had dragged Roger along.  I might have had another cow or two.  I mean for real?  What are the odds! I had to get hold of myself and fast.  We were about to be announced. Oh great, if the Justice's were already there they would get a front row viewing of lets sock it to Julianna!  How could this have happened? I knew it was because I had accidentally run into the rich Grandson of the Governor of Texas.  Now I had to deal with this, and I would, dang it.   I recall so wishing my Granddaddy were there to tell me what to do.  He was so good at this sort of thing.

And then I heard the words.  "The Grand State of Texas announces the arrival of our esteemed Governor John Connally, his wife Nellie, and their honored guests, Julianna Rowe escorted by William J. Connally.  

I was radiant in my perfect pink satin gown.  It's tight bodice gave reference to my body's perfect curves.  34-24-34.  Sleeveless and tight to the waistline with a matching satin wide belt with one large pink fabric rose toward the side.  The skirt was long, lean, and straight to the floor.  Sleek. Elegant. Not to forget the size seven and a half matching pink satin pumps.  My hair was pulled up in an elegant French twist with a large blond wave swaying to the side.  My gloves were formal arms length with tiny covered buttons on the underside, over the wrists. I was breathtaking and I knew it.  All eyes were on me, including Mr. Joseph Justice's.  I commanded the room.  God I wished my Granddaddy could have seen me.  I wished I could have seen me. 

We were led to our large round table adorned with the most stunning centerpieces I had ever seen.  I recall pinching myself to see if I were dreaming.  Sterling silver pedestals held bouquets of roses while above the tables chandeliers were covered with hundreds of flowers.  Among the hundreds of flowers ten crystal teardrops dangled as they enhanced each of six glowing lights, making that a grand total of sixty glimmering pieces of glass that sparkled almost as much as my dream of the big city lights. Or almost as much as the fairy dust I dreamed was real as a young child.

My secret visions came to a screeching halt as Billy nudged me with a nudge that said earth to Julianna, come in please.  I giggled a girly giggle as he pulled the chair out for me to be seated.  I had been gone so long on my little private mental journey I hadn't noticed the others surrounding me at our table. There they were, sitting directly across from Billy and I.  Mr. and Mrs. J B J rich cattle and oil ranchers. My rat fink hitchhiker Roger's parents.  Thank God and all his angels Roger was not there.  Or was he?  I found myself looking all around the room to the obvious notice of Billy who said.

"What are you looking for, may I help you?" 

I told him no I was just taking in all the elaborate decorations and stunning gowns. That is when he told me I was the most beautiful in the room.  That no one or nothing could compare. 

Jesus Crisis!  Yes this was a crisis and I was being sucked under.  But was it clean water or canal water?  These rich folk from the south scared me.  These southern men liked secret control of their women.  I was a free spirit.  A hippie sort of.  I wasn't sure I was ready for this sort of life.  I might end up like Nellie, the Gov's wife.  Or like Auggie, the cattle and oilman's wife.  Wait a minute, what was so bad about that? I was decked out to the max and loving it if I could just shut the noise in my head off.  And just as I was trying to shut that noise off, I wondered what was happening back at the ranch.  The ranch near Tulsa.  Who cares, I said to myself.  Let it go.  Why are you drudging up the past? Yeah right, the past of only eight days or so.  That was the mental conversation I had going on while sitting at the round table.  I deducted that I was still angry at Roger's father for putting me through so much.  He could have stopped all the horrible things I went through with the drop of a pen, or one phone call.  But he didn't.  And there I was, and there they were once again sitting at a table across from each other, but this time a formal dinner party at the opening of the biggest covered convention center in all the south. Why they can have rodeos inside this place.  And baseball games and so on.   This is a big deal.

The limo dropped me off at my Grandparents home on Bradwood Road.  The Governor and Nellie expressed their appreciation of my attendance and of course offered compliments on my attire and dignified manners during the event.  Before leaving the limo I extended my elegant long white gloved arm toward Nellie, squeezing her hand, smiling graciously as I thanked her for the lovely evening.  Then extending the same gracious hand to Governor Connally, gently squeezing while thanking him also. Billy moved outside the limousine and turned to extend to me his hand.  I stepped out and we walked to the front door of my Grandparents home. It was then we heard Duke barking.  Oh lord, it is late and he is going to wake the dead.  Billy and I threw the formal aside and ran to the door for Duke, like normal kids in jeans.  We were too late.  Grandad was standing there in his robe with a slight frown going on.  I apologized as we removed Duke to the yard for his relieving himself session.  As we waited for Duke to finish, the Governor got out of the limo and came over to Duke.  He got down on one knee and by gollie he and that dog bonded like for real.  No way! I thought. Come on!  You people are digging me a rich ditch I am not sure I can get out of.  Stop already.....  But they didn't. 

I was inside the house.  The limo was pulling away.  I stood there with no thoughts other than....
the fact I was so cool and proud of my ass.  I had overcome the unimaginable. 

(Grandad found a photo in the Society section of the Austin Herald Newspaper showing one of the tables  from the gala.  I cut it out and decided this was a good time to start a scrapbook of my trip.) (Photo from www.mywedding.com)