Neighborhood has Turned into the Wild, Wild West

courtesy of freestock.com

courtesy of freestock.com

Howdy! I reckon I’ll share a tale about this here settlement. Way out West in the small county of Johnson, a township was prospering. The kinfolk were, overall, a good people.

When the children weren’t larnin’, they spent their time in the woods riding on trails and fighting off monsters by the creek. The townsfolk spent their days tending to the farm and worrying about the weather.

Summer was gone, so with the cool breeze of autumn and the drone of cicadas dying down, the townsfolk settled into a familiar quiet life.

Folks was encouraged until that sunny day when Cowboy Joe, packing his Smith and Wesson 6-shooter, roamed the main street…

The year was 2016 and life as we knew it was changing.

It all happened one beautiful August evening. After a big rain, the obnoxious temperatures finally lowered. Kids were in the yards playing, while parents gossiped over the 4-foot fences. So on the one day when the temperatures were comfortable and mosquitos were at bay, the home dwellers surfaced.

“Hi there, Sheila! When did y’all move in? Last year, you say? …Well, welcome to our perfect corner of the world!”

It’s a regular Pleasantville!

That evening, in order to trick my children into exercising with me, I suggested we search for Pokémon Go monsters in our hood. The beauty of this phone app is kids have no idea how far they are walking; and as long as they are doing with me, they won’t wander in front of traffic. It’s a win-win.

We had only walked about five blocks searching for funny critters, when an old man out for a walk appeared. I shouldn’t have assumed he wouldn’t know about Pokémon, but we had intentionally stalked into a yard to put the sting on Jigglypuff. I didn’t want this man screaming, “Get outta my yard!” So I cheerily approached to assure him we weren’t threatening, unless he were a Pokémon.

After our howdy dos, he abruptly changed gears ranting about politics in front of my children. I must have been wearing that face saying, “You are either crazy or an idiot” because he literally shamed me for the beliefs he thought I had.

Within 2.2 seconds he spouted off the Second Amendment, without caring or knowing how I felt about it. Just assuming I was “wrong,” he proceeded to lift up his shirt to show me he had a gun tucked into his belted jean shorts.

I’m sure the next sound was a panicked mom gasping for air, as I fumbled to protect my children. After all, I didn’t know this Cowboy Joe from a hole in the ground.

My daughter, staring at his shorts said, “You have a Taser?”

I yelled a panicked “No!” to stop her questioning, or to keep the old cowboy from drawing his pistol. Thankfully my outburst surprised everyone and everyone stopped talking.

“It was so nice to meet you, sir!” I said with as much sincerity as I could force. “But we have a whole lot of Pokémon to capture.” Then with a fake smile, I pushed my daughters down the hill and high- tailed it out of Dodge. That theater training of mine does come in handy, Mom!

After running home the back way, locking all doors and closing blinds, we crouched in the safest part of the house to answer my skeered babies’ questions. Just because trouble comes visiting, doesn’t mean you offer it a place to sit.

After a sleepless night and a trip to the police station, I found out we are living in the Wild West. Last I heard, we lived in a state where you had to conceal your weapon, not show it off to young children. Apparently, I was wrong. As long as Cowboy Joe didn’t threaten us with his drawn weapon, we couldn’t call 9-1-1. That makes a mom feel safer. That’s sarcasm.

Cowboy Joe, here’s some free advice: I don’t care if you own a six-shooter, but don’t be exposing it to my kids. Plus, exercising with a gun on your hip sounds like danger ready to happen. If you stumble off a curb one day, you could shoot yerself in the yippee-kayee.

Pleasantville, my hide.

Super-size me San Antonio

Many moons ago, when I was a petite, single Kansas City cowgirl, I hightailed across the United States loving life as only wild and crazy thespians (it’s a person in the theater – look it up! ) types can. I came to know through my travels, Texas always welcomed everybody with open arms and a slap on the rear – ‘cause Texans pride themselves on BIG…and I’m not talking about the size of their boots (and I’m not talking about my rear!) Texans just prefer everything BIG and this isn’t news to y’all who own a TV, computer or read newspapers.  It’s just how Texans’ saunter!

Now I haven’t been back to Texas in some 20 years, and since I haven’t changed at ALL during that time, neither could have Texas.  So I planned me a Spring Break trip for my hubster and me (sans chillens), so as to take in what the doctor ordered:  to kick off our Midwestern Birkenstocks, find some quiet and relax a piece in San Antonio, TX.

First off, I should remind y’all I’m no whipper snapper.  I’ve matured nicely. As have the strength of my reading glasses.  The state of Texas; however, was still crying out like a new calf on its first rodeo day.  During the weeklong party before St. Paddy’s weekend (which we shuffled through single file), scores of middle-aged green-wearing, stroller-pushing, slurring and stumbling tourists flocked in droves. And with the sidewalks right on up that bright green Texas-Irish river, that can only spell one thing…big, green, W-E-T cowboys.  Not that we got to witness one, but I betcha an Irish Lone Star beer that those sirens we kept hearing were people on the other side of the loop waking up resembling green Oompa Loompas.

When your drunk cowboy (Not mine. Really.) falls sideways out of his chair at an Irish pub, here’s a tip for his party gal, “Don’t holler, ‘One more round for Texas Tech!’”  You’ll only leave 2 minutes later with full supersized beers on your table, and your “drunken cowboy” has a darn good chance of becoming your “sunken cowboy.”

The most shocking observation I witnessed was the strollerfulls of babies and toddlers on the loose.  I personally wouldn’t think kiddos would be prime choice for a St. Patrick’s Day river sideshow.  But these parents thought ahead!  They had their 5 year-olds watching their babies so the adults could get their drink on!  Way to be responsible.

Alas, our vacation was finally done so we moseyed to the airport, praying not miss our jumbo jet aimed at Dodge.  But I guess I didn’t stuff enough food and drink in my mouth during the week because my non-Texas “abs of steel” caused me to be escorted to the frisking area of airport security.  This was a first for me and the sheer unknown up ahead was titillating!

So security had me put my right foot out (aligned on a photo outline of a Sasquatch foot) which I’m sure was loaded with foot fungus, but I bit my tongue asking for a squirt of Tinactin foot spray because these people are capable of granting a full body cavity search.

Then TSA had me put my left foot out, and before you know it I had my arms in the air and it took everything in my power not to “turn myself about” and start singing the Hokey-Pokey; but once again… image of the cavity search, stopped me in my Sasquatch tracks.

After my near “TSA tango” experience, I excitedly shared with my engineer husband of how I needed to get this story out of my head and onto paper STAT!  His left-brained response was, “You need to get out more!”  You saw it here in print!  My husband promised me another vacation!!  “Yeehaw!”

Next time, however, I’m taking my abs-of-steel to Mardi Gras for some peace and quiet!