Tag Archives: community

The Rebel Cause

Child's play . . .

Child’s play . . .

“I’ve had all that I can take,” I told my captive audience as I outlined my plan to run away from school.  “School is too hard, and we need more recess time!”

This wasn’t entirely true.  School was a breeze, and we often raced around the playground until we wore ourselves out and were begging to get back in the warm building, so an increase in our monkey bar antics allotment might just be too much of a good thing.  But I was bored.  And I secretly suspected that my first grade teacher liked my classmate Heather better than she did me, because Heather never got in trouble for anything.  Just last week I had been reprimanded for using the wrong pencil on a standardized test because it might not be a #2.  Who were they kidding with all that Scantron machine talk?  This was a case of sheer discrimination, and it was time to show The Man that he couldn’t push me around just because I weighed under 40 pounds.  And that went double for Ms. Hinton, the tyrant of the 1st grade.

So I lifted my fist in the air and cried, “Who’s with me?” only to be met with blank stares and serious misgivings that hadn’t been voiced the day before when I had hatched the broad strokes of our flight from oppression.  Now that it was time to execute the plan, the troops seemed lacking in morale.  And if there was one thing I knew, the last thing you wanted when fleeing a hostile prison camp was a bunch a crybabies weighing you down.  So I struck off alone as any good martyr should.

I made it over the elementary school borders with ease.  The sentries were busy sipping their coffee on the wooden bench in the dead center of the playground, leaving the perimeter unguarded and easy to breach.  The only question now was my destination.  Since infiltration deep into the woods in order to form a new nation of six year olds was out of the question, I opted to visit my dad down at the feed store instead.  Looking back on it, I’m not sure why I expected such a warm reception from the patriarch of my clan.

The hike was less than a mile, but even three laps around a football field seem interminable when your legs are less than 30 inches long.  I huffed my way up the loading dock and plopped into one of the few folding chairs scattered around the office of the feed store, while Dad confronted me with a “What are you doing here?” salutation that seemed lacking in ceremony for a heroine who has just tackled an unjust dictatorship and overcome.  Of course, I barely had time to explain my presence before Mrs. Clair, the lady who worked with the smarty-britches fourth graders on their reading skills, came roaring up in her Oldsmobile and proceeded to extinguish the glory of my triumph with words such as “runaway,” “ringleader,” and “ulcer-inducing shenanigans.” I’m sure every great leader has felt misunderstood at some point or another, but my father used his belt to remind my backside that future coups instigated against the local elementary school government would be subject to extreme penalty of the law.

Extradition was also part of my rehabilitation program, and within 15 minutes my father and I sat before the principal who seemed more amused than furious.  Thank God for that.  I was returned to my containment cell as the focal point among the 24 other inmates, since I now bore a scarlet R on my chest.  Ms. Hinton was a hard one to read that day, and she kept one eye on me for the rest of that year.

Years later, whenever my dad would chuckle about the time his daughter ran away from school, he always added what the principal had told him when I departed for class that day.  He told my dad that he probably should whip me, but he just couldn’t.  “You see, James,” he said with a smile, “I ran away from school six times in one year.”

So I guess I had a fellow renegade in high places.  We rebels have to stick together.

© 2014 – Traci Carver


Trash Day


This is for all of you who have ever encountered a guest on your blog who was – how shall I say this? – less than encouraging about your post.  Allow me to recount just such a time and give you the pep talk you need.

My blog was still in its infancy, not even enough miles for an oil change, when a woman stopped by to comment on the four posts that comprised the entirety of my work.  I was journaling a trip to Maine in segments, and I was having a blast reliving the moments and adding the pictures.  Sure, I had read through the anecdotes before posting them, but I had also determined that if I had a typo in them, the world could still go on spinning on its axis without causing serious damage to populations in other countries.  I was wrong.  And this lady felt compelled to show me the error of my ways.

My crimes were twofold: first, I had mistyped has for had; and if I had checked the grammar handbook for bloggers, I would have realized that this is a capital offense punishable by flogging.  And if a cat o’ nine tails isn’t available, then you get really nasty comments instead.  Second, I had used the term tranq gun, and this really ripped the lid right off of Pandora’s Box.  Because of these flagrant indiscretions against humanity, this lovely woman tried to lead me gently back to the straight and narrow by stating the following:

  1. I give Southerners a bad name because of my inability to navigate the English language.
  2. She was thinking of calling my school and demanding my job since I have no business teaching children.
  3. Someone of my inferior intellect does not deserve to marry anyone unless the groom is an absolute idiot.

She left four comments, each one more uplifting than the last, until the warm and fuzzy feeling I had inside made me want to sing the Coca Cola song while swaying with a lit candle.  Not that someone with my meager IQ can be trusted with fire.

Sometimes I like to stare at the pretty flames ...

Sometimes I like to stare at the pretty flames …

So as I sat there looking at my blog that was barely a fortnight in age, I wondered if I could expect this level of insightful criticism from all of my readers.  But then I thought that this person must surely be a cutthroat editor who, not having enough to edit during the day, must surf the web at night and offer her skills to those in sore need of literary attention.  But imagine my surprise when I found her on Facebook (she included particulars in her comments) and learned that she was a 68 year old grandmother.  Yikes.  I suddenly had a vision of what it must have been like growing up in her household as one of her children.

“What do you mean you want to try out for cheerleading?  Do you really think they’ll choose someone as ugly, fat and clumsy as you, Linda?”

“You want to be the treasurer of your class, Henry? I’ve seen thumbtacks with better budgeting sense.”

You should see these guys with a calculator and a spread sheet.

You should see these guys with a calculator and a spreadsheet.

I’m sure that life with her as a mother was one big Smile-n-Hug fest.  One of the first things I did was call my own mom and thank her for being an encouragement in my life.  Second, I decided that I wouldn’t publish her scathing comments for two reasons.

  1. I felt a sense of pity for her.  While I expect maturity and a sense of human decency from someone who has marked time for almost 7 decades, I was saddened to see this willful exposure of pettiness and malice.  I felt like an emotional flasher had stumbled upon my blog and tried to expose her naked nastiness, and my choice of placing her comments in the trash was an act of kindness that provided a shield between her worst parts and the world.
  2. This is my blog.  Let Cranky Britches get her own.

So allow me to wrap up this trip down memory lane by saying that this is the only time I’ve encountered such raw bile in a reader.  There may be others out there, but if they appear on my blog, I’ll simply move them and their comments into the rubbish pile along with the rest of the porn.  I enjoy writing; I’ve had a blast blogging.  And if you have taken any such hits, then be encouraged.  Go back to doing what you love.  Don’t let Grandma get you down.

© 2014 – Traci Carver

Snow Daze


I had to look through my window yesterday to make sure the four horsemen of the apocalypse weren’t galloping this way. I swiveled my head in every direction and even listened for hoof beats, but once I was sure I didn’t need to stock up on bottled water, beef jerky and flashlights, I gave thought to the matter at hand. School was being canceled for the next two days. The reason? Snow days.

For those of you who live north of the Mason-Dixon Line, I’m sure those two words are part of your winter vocabulary. Not so for those of us who are still slathering on SPF 45 during the month of December. When we hear that particular grouping of syllables together, the effect couldn’t be any more magical than a UFO sighting or any more mysterious than the high ratings of the Kardashians’ show.  When you say “snow day,” you might as well say, “particle accelerator,” for all the hands-on experience we southerners have. And as for “ice on the roads,” we don’t even waste a brain cell on figuring that one out; we just close the front door and fire up the DVD player. Who needs tire chains when you have hot peppermint tea and Season Seven of Burn Notice?

All the supplies you need to survive a bitter snow day

All the supplies you need to survive a bitter snow day

But while adults are squeamish about this concept, children are still innocent enough to embrace its purity. Snow days mean vacation to them, and no amount of wet blankets in the form of pending assignments or an extended school term in May will smother their enthusiasm. When the students at my school learned that they were being allotted two extra days midweek to sleep in and snuggle under blankets, they greeted the news like the second coming of Christmas. Heralds raced up and down halls delivering the good tidings of great joy, and shouts of glory rang out as more and more worshiped at the altar of precipitation.

Their unadulterated glee reminded me of my freshman year in college. As a native Floridian on a Kentucky campus, I was holding my breath in anticipation of a blizzard and was disappointed to learn that big snows only blew in once every few years. Light snowfall, though, was still within my four year plan, and as soon as I heard the word “flurry” one December afternoon, I tore out the side door of my dormitory and stood on the lawn with all the other Sunshine State halfwits, trying to catch snowflakes on my tongue and my mittens. Life was bliss until I encountered my first ice patch on the sidewalk and nearly broke two bones standing up. My infatuation with frozen air has never been the same since.

But as I watched the teenagers and children racing towards the parking Tuesday afternoon, book bags flailing and grins arching across their faces like inverted rainbows, I remembered that childlike hope of snow days. And I hoped for their sake that dreams would come true.

And here's what a snow day looks like in my part of the world.  Notice the glaring lack of snow . . .

And here’s what a snow day looks like in my part of the world. Notice the glaring lack of snow . . .

© 2014 – Traci Carver