By Rheta Grimsley Johnson
I take my calcium, make my bed, left click and read about another movie star’s divorce, the woman with the world’s largest breasts and the posthumous Paterno scandal.
I am learning, along with the rest of the recalcitrant world, how to read news online.
Bored quickly with all that, I realize that the older I get, the more I want to follow Voltaire’s sage advice and simply tend my own garden. That’s not a great trait to have in the column-writing game, but, who knows, maybe the few remaining newspaper readers are ready for less crisis and more garden observation. Certain days, it seems to be the case.
It’s easy to be seduced outside on a summer’s day like this one. The grass is still wet from a squall that blew through yesterday, leaving the world refreshed and the leaves “greasy,” as my friend Bailey White once described the look.
The bright-red oilcloth – real oilcloth, not cheap vinyl, mind you – that I saw in a store window in Flers, France, and had to have, is shining in its wetness on the round table by the branch. Even my dogs feel much relieved that, once again, we’ve been saved from becoming a desert. They frolic and engage in mock battle.
Is it selfish to want to sit and listen for the bullfrog that of late has been taking advantage of the pooled-up resources of my drying branch? It’s been a kind of last refuge for the minnows and frogs and creek critters. Now Mr. Bass Note has a choice of prime locations, but I’m wondering if he’ll remain loyal to the place that sustained him.
Some days I fear I’m becoming a dotty old woman sort who had rather commune with animals than people. It’s easier, that’s for sure. I long ago gave up trying to make chitchat at parties, because I never seem to have read the same books as others, my politics don’t mesh and even my favorite adult beverage seems inelegant as compared to the long-stemmed tastes of others.
Animals don’t judge. Boozoo and Hank only make me feel guilty if I miss their feeding time by one-quarter of a second, or if I don’t stay home with them 24-7. They understand me otherwise, and when the majority rules here, I’m always in it.
They also approve of my casual taste in clothes – yoga pants that haven’t actually been worn to a yoga class in two years, a denim shirt with racy rips, rubber clogs two sizes too big and a bandana to swat flies. I’d have to go shopping to look like a bag lady.
I don’t want to stop caring about some things. I want always to apply lipstick daily; it gives the most tired or washed-out face a little color. I hope always to mow the grass when it needs mowing; nothing spells surrender like a seedy lawn. I intend as well to keep a dog or two every day of my life, else what’s the point?
But I just can’t do much about the Big Picture, about the obscenity of college sports or, for that matter, sports in general. I can’t solve the budget problem, or even vote for a political candidate who delivers what he promises. I can’t fix poor Tom Cruise’s latest marital failure or figure out what his Church of Scientology believes.
And that poor woman with the world’s largest breasts is on her own.
Rheta Grimsley Johnson lives near Iuka. Contact her at Iuka, MS 38852. To find out more about Rheta Grimsley Johnson and her books, visit www.rhetagrimsleyjohnsonbooks.com.