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Posts Tagged ‘Fear’

Dear Bob,

Listen, friend: We need to have a talk.

You were one of my favorite teachers in high school, and I’m thrilled we reconnected when I lived in Atlanta.

But you have scared the bejesus out of everyone with your recent emergency.

I realize that taking a group of students to the Galápagos Islands — a trip that included snorkeling — was too appealing to be denied.

However, when loads of people in the group got a stomach virus, did you HAVE to be an overachiever and get an extreme case? Of course you did.

This was your lovely wife Susan’s status update over the weekend.

Emergency surgery, scary-low oxygen levels, infection attack on numerous organs — that’s just a fraction of the issues you faced.

The good news is that you are awake and asking for sweet tea from Chick-fil-A.

So that means you are on the mend.

It’s about time.

Keep up the great work!

Love,
Beth

* Thanks, Toy Story.

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Dear Rep. Ann Kelley,

What — and I mean this sincerely — the f*** are you doing?

WHY would you propose a change to the Missouri House of Representatives rules that forces women to cover their arms?

And you are a woman. What the heck?!

Let me get this straight: You lost your mind over requiring people to wear masks a couple of years ago to stop the spread of COVID, but now you are forcing women to wear sleeves?

You claim it was to clarify language to be “equal” to men. (By the way, you really should hire a PR person or copy editor or SOMEONE to help you with your writing skills.)

Sure it was.

I can’t believe it was adopted 105-51. (Note that the House is made up of 116 men and 43 women. Party affiliation for reference: 111 R, 52 D.)

I can’t believe you wasted any time on this at all. Have you seen the state rankings? Just look!

30th in Education

42nd in Public Safety

42nd in Healthcare

I swear to God — you are affecting my healthcare: my mental health!

I really don’t know why I’m surprised at either of the things above. It’s so much easier to control women and what they do and wear rather than tackle big issues in all people’s lives. Right, Ann?

What an embarrassment this is for the state. You want to be in the international consciousness with this foolishness?

I’m so glad my representative didn’t vote for this nonsense. (Granted, I think he was absent that day.)

Pull yourself together, please. Focus on important issues.

Sincerely,
Beth, a Missouri resident with sense

Bare arms vs. bear arms (God forbid she wears a mask.) Photo credit here.

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Dear Friends and Family,

(You know the drill: Part 1, 2, 3 and 4.)

During my conversation with my father, he told me that he didn’t actually live at the address where I sent the letter. His ex-wife, Jan, still lives there with her son, my half-brother Brad. (They also have a daughter, Erin, my half sister.) Jan opened the letter, shared it with Brad, and he shared with David.

(After I asked Jan* about this part of the story, she said that when Brad called David, David talked about his crazy day. Brad said, “Dad, it’s about to get a whole lot crazier.”)

David now lives in Long Island in an apartment off my uncle’s house. (The apartment used to be my uncle’s dental office.)

Y’all. I mean. Can you IMAGINE Jan’s reaction? Brad’s? David’s?

I might have had to take some time to process, but David called me within 24 hours.

The call consisted of high-level catch-up, as you might expect. He seemed happy to know about me.

And Jan reached out to me on Facebook to welcome me to the family.

And Brad texted me to start a conversation.

How lovely is that?

David and I started talking regularly, and we decided we would meet when I visited New York for my annual birthday trip in December.

I flew into La Guardia and rented a car as the LIRR train schedule did not cooperate.

Brad: Have a good time! 
Me: Thanks. I'm on my way. Nervous.
Brad: So is he!

David was waiting on his porch when I pulled up. He said he felt like a kid at Christmas. I did too. (Add some flop sweat that Santa doesn’t usually get.)

He had a present for me:

I suddenly became very aware of my nasolacrimal ducts. Why? When I met Kathy, she gave me a present.

It was a gift David had given to her for her birthday when they were dating. She kept it all these years because it was the one thing that connected the three of us. And I had told him about it.

Oh Lord: There’s something in my eye. Hang on.

OK. Proceeding.

He took me to the main house to meet my Uncle Terry and Aunt Rosemary.

As it turns out, they and their family and David spent plenty of time in Savannah because they have a place in Hilton Head. Again, I could have run into them AT ANY POINT and not known about our connection.

Also, I would be staying the night in Uncle Terry and Aunt Rosemary’s house.

Y’ALL. These people JUST met me. I am a stranger. So this tells you a little something about how my existence was received.

The four of us went out to dinner and had a wonderful time. When we got back, David brought out a cake for my birthday.

I lost it (but tried not to).

He got me an ice cream cake (Carvel FTW!) without even KNOWING I am not a fan of regular cake.

It was … a lot. (I know I keep saying it, but cut me some slack. It IS a lot!)

The next day, we went on a drive to key places of interest for him and the family.

We laughed. We argued good naturedly. We got to know each other.

We went to the Long Island Aquarium.

As we were watching the sea lion show, I thought about how completely bizarre it was to be there with him. This is the kind of things dads do with their daughters when daughters are children. But here we were, making up for lost time.

Oh look: My lacrimal sac is acting up again. One moment.

I’m back.

It was bone-chillingly cold. My father doesn’t have any body fat (one area where I did NOT get his genes), so we didn’t linger at the lions.

We went back to his place to continue chatting. Before long, it was time for me to head into the city for the rest of the birthday trip.

I had plenty of thoughts to keep me occupied on the drive, along with a debrief phone call from a blogger friend.

I TOLD YOU it was a wild ride.

Just a little bit more to go if you want to join me. The final part is coming soon.

XO,
Beth

* Yes, I talk to Jan. Another weird and wonderful part of the story.

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Dear Friends and Family,

Buckle up: Mr. Toad has nothing on Auntie Beth’s wild ride.

(Here’s Part 1, 2 and 3 to get you up to speed.)

The next logical step was to contact my birth father.

Folks, this was easier said than done.

Not that he was hard to find. As soon as I had his name, I put my reporter experience to work and tracked down his address.

It was more that I wasn’t sure how to make this connection. The problem? He didn’t know about me. At all.

For a variety of reasons (including the fact that they had broken up), Kathy didn’t tell him she was pregnant.

So.

Do I call him? Show up at his house? Contact another relative I found (à la Cousin Laura for Kathy)? Eeesh.

I decided to go with the snail-mail route. It had worked before, so maybe it would work again.

But how do I start THAT letter?

Y’all, I’m a writer, but that was THE HARDEST LETTER to write. How do you announce your existence to someone who helped make you? That’s a big deal.

Kathy was worried about me and my plan. She told me she wasn’t sure how he would react.

Yeah.

For TWO FULL YEARS, I agonized over what to say, how to write that damn letter.

My friend Tyler (who cuts my hair) told me, “Don’t come back unless you have an update.” She was kidding. I think.

That was in March 2022. I pulled myself together.

The good stationery and penmanship came out again.

I chose the “rip off the Band-Aid” method:

I've wanted to write this letter for a while, but I didn't know exactly what to say or how to begin. I'm still not sure this is the right way, but I have to start somewhere. 

You don't know me or know about me, but I'm your daughter.

I planned for it to arrive by Father’s Day. 😬😉 The tracking indicated it took FOUR DAYS to leave the St. Louis post office. I was dying.

Then on June 23, 2022, I got a call from a number I didn’t recognize. It showed up as Columbia, MD, but I didn’t have my glasses on. I thought it said, “Columbia, MO,” so I assumed it was a work call. I answered.

“This is Beth.”
“Hi Beth, this is David.”

My people, I cannot express just how many emotions were vying for the top spot: happiness, surprise, nervousness, etc.

Gideon and Eddie saw my face. They were curious and concerned.

I mouthed, “My father.” Their eyes nearly sprung out of their sockets.

I went into another room so I could focus.

It was, in a word, unreal.

And clearly too much to explain in this one post. Get ready for Part 5 and 6. Thanks for joining me on this journey.

XO,
Beth

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Dear Halloween,

I love you so much. Still. As I’ve said. And this year, I feel like I’ve taken advantage of the opportunities you provide.

Decorating the house? Check.

Haunted Mine? Check.

Costumed cat? Check.

Six Flags Fright Fest? Check. With the boys, even, who had a bit they did for the occasion.

Carving pumpkins? Check.

The Darkness haunted house? Check. Although that wasn’t without risk.

I wasn’t moving fast enough, so Dominic moved me into a doorframe. On accident. So he says. 😉

Scary movies and fire pit? Check.

I’ve even seen “Halloween Ends.” (I would not say it was worth the time and money. Maybe I’m just a hipster when it comes to franchises.)

I’m looking forward to seeing if I get trick or treaters this year — my first year in my house.

Anyway, thanks for being you. I’m a fan.

Love,
Beth

*Alice, of course.

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Dear Beauty (and those with similar viewpoints),

I read your blog, posts, etc., because your beliefs are so different from mine. I’m really trying to understand. To find some common ground. It’s really hard, though.

And you clearly aren’t seeking dissenting voices. (I’ve mentioned before how you won’t approve comments that disagree with you. That’s your prerogative, of course.)

In your latest post, “The War For Young Minds” (no hyperbole there 🙄), you lament a part of “Hocus Pocus 2.”

Unpopular opinion: Your mistake was watching “Hocus Pocus 2” and not because of any drag queens. The original “Hocus Pocus” is unbearable.

But I digress.

Here’s the thing (and what I wrote in a comment that you deleted):

This doesn’t affect you. Drag queens do not impact your quality of life. A trans person living his/her/their life does not harm you in any way.

Let’s talk about the pejorative “woke.” Why is it so wrong to show people who are different from ourselves on TV and in movies? Why is representation threatening to you? Why does it bother you that a person wants you to use preferred pronouns in reference to him/her/them?

I know you are super religious, so let’s talk about a quality of God you’ve mentioned: never making mistakes.

You know what does affect children? The fear of being killed in school. There was a shooting Monday at a school three miles away from my house. That’s 40 school shootings this year, in case you are keeping track.

For someone who is so devoutly pro life, I would think you would care about that.

I have never once worried that a drag queen was going to kill me or children. In fact, drag queens have improved my life with meat prizes.

You know what else affects children? Predatory behavior.

I would think that Christian Republicans like yourself would care about that too. But no, that concern is selective, political, engineered and manifested for personal gain.

I have never once worried that a drag queen was going to molest my children.

So spare me your outrage. All I see is hypocrisy.

If you profess to care about children, you need to care about the children going to school worried about their safety. And children being preyed upon by grown men. And the ones who are LBGTQIA.

Some children may even grow up to be drag queens. If they are lucky. 😉

How do you explain to a kid why men are dressed as women? You say, “Because they want to.”

It’s as easy as that.

I mean, who cares?

Right. You do. Too much.

“Woke agenda.” Sigh. Drag is “harmful.”

Look. Listen.

Raise your children the way you want. Have the experiences you want to have. Surround yourself with likeminded people. Believe in and celebrate God. That’s your privilege. But know that it is YOUR responsibility to watch over your children, not Disney’s.

Someday, I hope your view of what’s appropriate, acceptable, “normal” and worth attention will change.

In the meantime, I wish you all the best.

Sincerely,
Beth

*Thanks, Aerosmith!

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Dear Victoria,

Thanks for going with me to the Haunted Mine at our university (aka place of business).

I know we are coworkers who barely know each other, but you came through. People I knew better begged off (because haunted, because mine, because both).

Even though I’m an Explosives Technology student, I had not yet been to the experimental mine. I read all about the prep, though.

“Scaring starts at 6.”

Too bad I live 1.5 hours away and couldn’t get in some hours.

I’m glad we met up at the Tater Patch. I don’t know what any of that means.
Sporting saucy hard hats!

We got the safety briefing (“It’s a mine. The walls are made of rock. If you hurt yourself, let a scarer know immediately.”). Then it was time.

It was genuinely terrifying, especially the bit with the clown with the chainsaw.

This is the photo that one accidentally takes when running from a clown wielding a chainsaw.

NO, THANK YOU.

I had to remind myself that the scarers were not allowed to touch me. (And I was not allowed to touch them either. Consent goes both ways.)

Huddled together, we screamed/laughed our way through it.

Well, the screaming/laughing was me. You were mostly laughing. At me. For good reason.

Anyway, it was great, and I appreciate you going with me. Thanks again!

Happy Halloween!
Beth

*A great Duran Duran song and a terrible pun for this post

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Dear Bob Cassilly,

My guy, WHAT were you smoking when you created City Museum? Whatever it was, it was some good stuff. City Museum is like nothing I’ve ever seen in my life — in person or in movies/on TV. Not even “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” comes close to this crazy place.

When I moved to St. Louis, people kept telling me I needed to visit. However, I don’t like museums. (It’s true. I’m sorry. But I don’t think you do either.) Finally, my friend Kate said that it is not a museum in any traditional sense of the word. She tried to describe it, then basically gave up.

“You have to see it,” she said. “It’s … sensory overload.”

So I went. And she’s right.

City Museum is like a museum in the way that I am like Beyoncé: barely any resemblance in form or function.

It is a building that houses artifacts — artifacts presented in chaos. It’s a 10-story fever dream.

I’ve now been four times.

Why?

You created notable features such as:

• An actual school bus cantilevered on the top floor over the street

• A Ferris wheel on top of the building

• A 10-story slide

• A five-story slide (that has not been open any of the four times I’ve been)

• A cave system

• The world’s largest (maybe) pair of underpants

• Two airplanes

I can’t even begin to summarize what is there. And every time I go, I discover something new.

Dominic and Gideon were in town, and I said we were going. They, like me, are not into museums. I said, “Hold that thought.”

Neither of them could believe what you created. Dominic lamented that, at 6’2″, he is too big for some of the tunnels.

“I wish we had come here when I was a kid.”

I fully agree. This could have entertained them for HOURS, and they would have slept well. (Every parent knows a day that wears out the kids is a good day.)

Here is just a sample of what we got into at your creation.

A seagull disgorges Dominic.
Gideon finds a tunnel under the first floor. No, thank you.
Dominic goes where I won’t.
This is the entrance to a slide. Seriously.
The caged bird yells, “Take my picture!”
My hips don’t lie, nor do they fit in this opening.
Dominic makes it to the top of one of two castles.

Speaking of the castles:

I’m sorry, TWO WHAT NOW?

There were a few moments where I worried about their safety and mine. I was right to worry. From the actual City Museum website:

The do-it-yourself, trying-anything nature of the museum led, not surprisingly, to injuries and, also not surprisingly, to dozens of personal injury suits. Mr. Cassilly’s response was to post telephone numbers of lawyers at the door.

The kids and I developed the habit of them going first into some cave/tunnel/hole to do reconnaissance then reporting back about the viability for me.

This tunnel was not for me.
But this one was ok.

Yes, I used my own children as canaries in a coal mine.

I make no apologies. They were willing participants. And had a fabulous time.

I’m sorry you died an untimely death — a death that turns out not to have been a bulldozer accident. L’esclandre!

And I love that people who love City Museum can also live there.

It’s not for me (not enough windows or, you know, standard amenities), but I recognize the appeal.

So thanks, Bob, for never growing up. For creating a place so outlandish there is no equal.

Your fan,
Beth

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Dear Coronavirus:

Why are you still here? I hate you so much. I’ve managed to avoid you for more than two years (safety first!), but you finally got me.

How? I don’t know. You tell me!

Having an incubation period of 2-14 days makes tracking source difficult.

All I know is that I got my second booster Friday. By Sunday, I had a sore throat. I took two tests from two different companies. Both negative.

See? Negative.

On Monday, I felt like crap: headache, body pain. I was already scheduled to go to a new doctor to establish care.

Me: I got the second booster Friday and feel terrible today.
Her: That’s the booster. I wouldn’t have recommended you get the second one so soon.
Me: They recommended after six months.
Her: Yeah, but you don’t have comorbidities.
Me: Right.

The cough started Tuesday.

The runny nose started yesterday.

I decided to take another test.

Uh oh.

And then another from a different brand.

I was furious and mortified.

I spent my weekend living my best life as the infection vector I apparently am: garden tour and antiques fair with neighbors, dinner with a colleague, handyman direction on wall patches, “Stranger Things” with my sister, card games with neighbors.

So I had to issue various and sundry mea culpas.

It’s possible I was exposed to you on my flight home from Savannah: Two hours on the runway (weather delay), an hour at the gate (more fuel), an hour in the air. I was one of only three people wearing a mask (because, of course, you no longer exist 🙄).

I don’t know.

I do know that I had another busy week/weekend planned, including lunch for about 15 family members at my place. But now, thanks to you, I will spend the next 5-10 days on my own with just Leo Richardson to keep me company.

Leo, who also is not feeling well.

Leo, the cat who (likely) got COVID.

Gee, I wonder how he could have caught COVID. (Note: I am not kissing the cat. He was sleeping on my shoulder, and I turned my head for the pic.)

So thanks SO MUCH for your continued presence in all of our lives.

(Sarcasm is my love language.)

Your new BFF,
Typhoid Mary
‘Rona Beth

*Manic Street Preachers’ ninth studio album. Worth a listen.

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When Vladimir Putin isn’t being an international jerk, he’s at Market Tavern singing “Sweet Caroline.”

Dear Hanley Market Tavern Regulars:

You sure know how to make a girl feel special. A little bit too special in a zoo exhibit kind of way.

When my friend Nick told me there was a “rough” pub in town that featured karaoke on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, I was agog.

Afternoon karaoke at a “rough” pub?

Yes, please.

Jesse’s Divide was opening for Nashville Pussy in Hanley, so I decided to go.

As they were playing on a Wednesday, I made a little trip to Market Tavern before I met my friend Hannah at the show.

I walked in to someone warbling a song I didn’t recognize. Then I realized it was supposed to be “Let It Go” from “Frozen.” That’s a bad AND good sign. It’s a good sign of bad karaoke.

Perfect.

I got a drink and chose a seat at the back of the bar where I could sit alone and not draw attention. Smart move.

It was in front of the men’s room. Not a smart move.

My first gentleman caller was a man with a fully tattooed face. Think knockoff version of The Enigma.

He asked me if was going to sing.

At least, I think that’s what he asked me.

He could have asked me if he could dismember me in the Gents, and I wouldn’t have known.

He was 102 and drunk with a very thick Stokie accent that was hard for these American ears to understand.

My view from the hostess stand for the men’s room.

My next new friend was a man with four teeth and four iron cross tattoos. Delightful! He also sported a Confederate flag wristband.

He wanted to know if I had a boyfriend.

I toyed with the idea of saying, “Yes. He’s a Jewish man of color from Poland.” I think I could have made him explode “Raiders of the Lost Ark” style.

An older woman at the next table came over.

Her: Are you alright on your own there?

Me: Oh, yes. I’m fine, thank you.

Her: You’re American!

Me: Yes. What am I doing in the middle of Hanley, right?

Her: Well, yes.

She went to the loo, and I checked my phone for word from Hannah. I suddenly felt hands touching my shoulders. I yelped and turned around.

Creepy George: I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you.

Me: Well, you did. Please do not touch me.

Didn’t mean to startle me? Someone who doesn’t know you and has her back to you? What did he expect? “Hi handsome! Please come back to my temporary accommodation for stranger boning.”

When I went to the bathroom, I took my drink. Women know why.

Meanwhile, the show went on. It was definitely a crying-in-your-beer kind of vibe.

I Recall a Gypsy Woman” by Don Williams (!) was about the peppiest thing.

I knew it was time for me to leave when I heard what sounded like Fozzy Bear singing “Love on the Rocks.”

Leaving was cemented as a plan when my last gentleman caller insisted on a conversation:

Him: You’re an American.

Me: Yes.

Him: You’re drinking Guinness.

Me: Yes.

Him: I’m going to get you one, and I’m going to talk to you.

Me: (checks watch) I’m leaving in three minutes.

Him: Then I’ll take three minutes of your time.

My lady friend heard this exchange. “It’s because you’re new in here,” she said.

Yes. It was like Fisher Price: My First American.

I waved goodbye to her and the insistent fellow getting our drinks and headed out the side door.

Thank you all for giving me fodder for this blog.

I’ll be back.

Your new American friend,
Beth

* No one sang anything by The Carpenters, sadly.

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