“Hello, I’m Bob Ross, and I’d like to welcome you. First of all, let me take just a moment to thank you for allowing me back into your homes. If this is your first time with us, let me extend a personal invitation for you to drag out your oil paints and paint along with us each week. Let’s go over to the canvas here and get started (Bob Ross Remixed ).” Like many captivated home viewers, I watched Bob Ross paint for fun and free on PBS. “♪I believe, I believe, every day’s a good day when you paint (Bob Ross Remixed).♪ ” I believe painting and writing and music and drawing and cooking all overlap. Like, do you taste the bite of spicy ginger in that zinger? Do you hear the pattern in this song and the shape of that trumpet? In my writing you will read through some uncontrolled contrast, and some hard and soft texture. When I painted this story, I painted it red, cad scarlet red, Winsor Newton’s cad scarlet red, because red is about love, and I love Art. Art is about relationship and I have found much freedom in using it’s tools. I might also add that art is about procrastination. Procrastination is cerulean blue hue, Utrecht’s cerulean blue hue, like the sky, I could stay there all day.
I don’t know where to begin except to jump into, Some Story, locked up many years ago, the key thrown into a dark, dramatic abyss, as if it were my self-identity, my fate in this mysterious journey called life. I dreamed I would die from suicide, nightmares of homicide before I was 30. Thirty’s a good number, but instead I’ve been given a good life, and my mother would have been proud. I’ve walked through a lot she was not able to see, but given a few years we two would have done sobriety together.
I lean toward story, and my college thesis was, The Lived Experience of Appalachian
Women, exploring Heideggerian hermeneutic phenomenology qualitative research method, Sister Callista Roy’s contribution to Nursing Theory: Adaptation Model of Nursing, and much guidance from my dean of nursing, Dr. Ann Harley. Dr. Harley took me to the grand, enchanting city of Indianapolis, Indiana, to be inducted into Sigma Theta Tau’s International Honor Society of Nursing, and to present my thesis as a “Rising Star of Research and Scholarship.” It is in and through story and storytelling that I try to make some sense of life.
Rhonda Faye Summers (September 29, 1955 – September 14, 1986)
Marvin United Methodist Church Cemetery, Stony Point, NC
“On no subject are our ideas more warped and pitable than on death,” says the great naturalist, John Muir (1992, p. 140).
I would also add that on no subject are our ideas more warped and pitable than on sex, especially considering child sex trafficking facts and today’s Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage. A time came, when at the age of about seven or eight years my undeveloped body was commissioned as a nude model by a local, non-family pedophile. For undressing was not a serious affair, and I often speculated I had a good chance to get away from his intoxicated intentions. I was a smart runner, a fast runner, a pinch runner is what I was. His bribe of twenty dollars a peek show was deposited into my empty candy cane pockets. Often times, I surprised my single momma with a twenty dollar bill, and I became like Shel Silverstein’s, The Giving Tree (1964), dressed in lucky four-leaf clovers.
To test the naked truth outside with Mother Nature, I expressed an honest interest for membership into my nearest neighborhood street gang, the Skoal Bandits. They were the meanest of the mean, the coolest of the cool, and the fastest of the fast. Ambitious to prove my little skill, I had the brave boys line up and face backwards on their BMX bikes and then… I exposed my nude tokens for membership. The unamused boys screamed like pitiful little girls, threw pine cones and pine needles at me, and took off faster than rabbits on padded foot for their burrows. I took their loose candy, and I took their trick bikes. My future modeling career for cash, room, and board was forever dashed. I was now ~ Queen of Skoal Bandits.
>>>> I need a transition here between queen and beautician >>>>
I was dumb-faced when my Momma, a seamstress by trade at Beautymaid in Statesville, mistakenly asked me to trim her bangs with her original, orange-handled scissors, for I didn’t know the difference between “trim the bangs” and “cut the hair.” The trying Indian-Summer was so hot, I guess, that September was soon to perish and she instinctively knew it was time for a new ceremonial hair-do. Box fans set on high speed hummed out my every window, those resonating, reverberating boxes turned stale air into intimate waves of affection that would always, always permeate my life.
“~M~o~m~m~a, ~I’~m ~a~ M~o~n~s~t~e~r~,” I claimed in varied strain as my twelve year old voice began to change. “You’re a m~u~d~f~a~c~e, t~o~m~b~o~y,” she laughed, her Moulin Rouge make-up caked two inches thick upon my face. I shall never forget that corky haircut I punished my momma with, and how beautiful she looked to me that evening, both of us smiling into her beautiful eyes, framed by her straight, black, Indian hair in the reflection of her bedroom mirror, how vividly I remember, and how I long to hold her close, so I write…
♦ Mother’s Mirror ♦
funny, I woke up this morning disoriented and wondering
why the past never felt so present
and now she’s staring back at me holding up a mirror
becoming fully woman in over my head pleasant
>>>> I need a transition here between lighted mirror and sun kissed strawberries >>>>
My half-brother, Bryan, would visit my momma and me in North Carolina for a couple weeks in the summer. My mother and I enjoyed the scenic route over Black Mountain, NC, into Strawberry Plains, TN, for the child to parent exchange. I delightfully imagined all the sun kissed strawberries ripe and waiting for a quarts picking and in which fashion I would devour each one, my favorite being rolled in a bowl of sugar.
The first days of Bryan’s arrival were doubtless full of fun and adventure, but I’m not able to recall any of them. Bryan’s visit expired after one day on the frontlines of domestic violence between my momma and Junior Smith. Bryan’s ambition was to kill. Mine was to run close by my mother ’til the first hint of autumn chill.
Very few weekends passed without raising a fist to fight, like two twisted, tortured souls, both bodies a black and blue battlefield, bewildered by Sunday. My pleading prayers were drawn into a four year world war, between God and Satan.
“…fighting went on without the slightest abatement, like natural storms; for no punishment less than death could quench the ancient inherited belligerence burning in our pagan blood (Muir, J. p. 36).”
No less than death struck, typed in black and white and read all over, “Murder”, she wrote. Sixty seconds : tick : tick : tick : ticked by and I felt I must scream, another minute went by and the sensation was too much for self possession. My throat closed up. Denial pounded in my head. Rhonda was running with a pair of scissors in her hand. There was a struggle. The scissors passed into a man’s hands that could never mend, and then …through the base of her chest wall, through her ribs, through her lung, with that dreadful pair of scissors, her every breath of air soon saturated with gloom. He was guilty. She was doomed.
>>>> I need a transition here between she was doomed and don’t let it end like this >>>>
Rhonda’s RIP headstone hit me pretty hard, and I lay still as if without feeling, as one whipped with a switch every day, for I had already imagined her mercifully dead, out of pain and bad company she dated, a cruel stitch in my side I hated. I would simply evaporate.
Here I will quote John Muir’s most sensible description of death (1992, p. 140).
Instead of the sympathy, the friendly union, of life and death so apparent in Nature,’ Muir says, ‘we are taught that death is an accident, a deplorable punishment for the oldest sin, the arch enemy of life, etc…Of death among our own species, to say nothing of the thousand styles and modes of murder, our best memories, even among happy deaths, yield groans and tears, mingled with morbid exultation; burial companies, black in cloth and countenance; and last of all, a black box burial in an ill-opened place, haunted by imaginary glooms and ghosts of every degree.
>>>> I need a transition here between punishment and I believe God has a long distant love affair with the guilty >>>>
No psychiatrist was called for my idol worshiping, Sabbath breaking, stealing, cheating, lying soul, though I filled the heavy pain scripts my parents handed me, and so I became a self sufficient, self-determined orphan, capable of climbing the highest pedestal, for I sat upon an all-sufficing discovery that performance and accomplishment excited the love to any required degree*.
During the Brickyard Home investigation of domestic violence and it’s devices, I studied Rhonda’s open suitcase on her bed, and I labeled her, my momma I had so long loved, as weak and worthless, my anguished soul encased by “…a hundred forms of fear (Wilson, p. 62),” worn into single hand combat with strained relations and unfinished business only a flaming arrow from God could possibly penetrate. The house of the Lord was the last house on the block. Would you still worship our Lord if heaven was non-existent? Such a sad fate for women of worth, but what Satan planned for evil, God turned out for good.
♥ Hold Gentle ♥
I hope you hold gentle
the progressive truth I have entered
into your own heart unquenched
every hour, every minute
my heart cries, “lub-dub, lub-dub”
love the morning dove
~ Stacy ~
Muir, J. (1992). John Muir: The eight wilderness discovery books. London: Diadem Books
Bob Ross Remixed | Happy Little Clouds | PBS Digital Studios. (n.d.). Retrieved June 26, 2015, from https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YLO7tCdBVrA
Silverstein, S., Silverstein, S., & Row, P. (1964). The giving tree. New York: Harper & Row.
Wilson, B. (1939). Alcoholics anonymous (4 ed.). New York City: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.