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Posts Tagged ‘AR’

Big Willie The Catfish, Louella and Liz

catfishThe true story about the day my cousins and I caught Big Willie and I got my butt beat.

We grew up in Hot Springs, Arkansas and my family had a lovely 1960s condo on Lake Hamilton.

At seven, Liz was our beautiful, blond brutal dictator, I was the goofy looking six year old and Mikey was a scrawny tough ass five year old who would bow up on a bus or throw down with a bear. He was too stupid or stubborn to realize he only weighed fifty pounds. Mike thought he was Tarzan and Cold Stone Steve Austin rolled up in a taco with hot sauce.  At five he was a hard core bad ass.

We  were young but together we were formidable and frightening, full of really bad ideas and virtually unsupervised for weeks at a time. At my house the only adult who ever attempted to keep an eye on us was Louella, our friend and maid for more than thirty years.

There was a lady who lived at the end of our boardwalk named Mrs. Williams. Every day at four she would lovingly feed all her “pet” fish in Lake Hamilton. She tossed out hand fulls of corn and bread then watched as schools of fish appeared. There was one massive, elephant sized catfish who showed up every afternoon, named Big Willie.  He was nearly as long as a baseball bat and as fat as a foot ball. This guy was beautiful. And Mrs. Williams loved him.

Liz, Mike and I were not allowed to fish anywhere near her end of the boardwalk but one day…Mrs Williams went on vacation.

Brown and barefooted, wearing nothing but groovy swimsuits, we hauled our fishing gear to the end of the boardwalk ten minutes after Mrs. Williams backed out of her parking spot.

Mikey bounced up and down on his skinny little legs as we watched the fish circling under the dark water.  We threw in a hand full of corn and the fish went crazy. Lake Hamilton boiled with fishy action.

Liz packed a piece of hot dog and a bread ball onto a hook and dropped  the line in. Mikey and I  were lying on our bellies, staring at the fish. Then it happened. The line went taunt and Liz sarted saying, “Holy crap, holy crap.”  Reeling hard, Liz leaned back and Mike and I jumped to our feet.  Instantly,we realized she had hooked Big Willie on the first try.  It was unbelievable  She cranked on the reel and we saw the massive gray fish rise to the surface then pull back on the line. The reel screamed. We were no match with out K-Mart Rod and Reel. Big Willie pulled line like a yo-yo. Liz screamed at Mike, “get the net, Michael Clark get the damn net!”

The net was taller than Mike, but he snatched it up then stared into the water, waiting for his chance to scoop up Big Willie. Liz made an executive decision, we couldn’t wait any longer. She shoved five year old Mikey into the lake and started screaming at him.  “Scoop him up,  Mike. Catch him.”

I helped her hold the rod as the fish tried to get away from Mike, his net and kicking legs.  There was fishing line, splashing, screaming and then suddenly Mike yelled, “He’s in!”

Tiny Mike tried to hold the net up as he treaded water but the fish weighed too much.  Liz dropped the pole and stretched out on the boardwalk to grab the net.  She pulled the net and the gigantic fish onto the hot wooden planks while I helped 50 pound Mike out of the water.

Liz had Big Willie, flopping furiously in the net. His catfish mouth gaped open, he looked so angry and slimy.  His whiskers were at least three inches long and we had no idea what to do with the monster.  The hook poked though his cheek and the bread ball was still on the hook in his mouth. His eyes rolled in our direction and we all stepped back.

Liz pushed Mike. “Get the hook out.”

“Hell no. He’ll get me .”

“You get the hook out,” I said to Liz.  She looked at me as thought I was made of cat poop and stupid. Then she picked up the net, we had to help her. And we walked toward my condo as Big Willie flopped.

Finally, we got Willie back to the condo.  Liz looked at me. “We can put him in the bathtub right? He’ll be ok.”

I nodded stupidly.

Then we smuggled Big Willie into the condo, we made it upstairs to the bathroom.  I filled the bathtub with cold water and Mike leaned against the door so Louella couldnt’ push it open  Finally, it was full. Mikey held the net as Liz and I raised the fishing pole Big Willie was still attached to.

We got him out of the net into the gleaming white tub. And for a little while, we all held the pole and watched him swim slowly around the tub. The hook was poking out of his face and he was tethered to our pole but he didnt seem to mind

Ginally Mike stepped into the bathtub and started laughing as the big fish swam past his leg.  Liz and I got in too and we giggled like maniacs as Big Willie swam between and past our legs.  Liz had the reel, then let line out, we picked up our feet so the line wouldn’t get tangled. We laughed so hard Mike started peeing in the tub.  The we laughed even harder…until Louella walked in.

It was terrible. She screamed until my Mom arrived. We had to take Willie to the lake, cut the line and let him go. Then I got a spanking and I’m pretty sure I could hear Liz and Mike laughing in the next room.

It was a great day

PS

Recently my cousin had surgery and the tough ass woman is back! I love you cuz and Bubba too.

The Strange Truth About Burly Webb

grizzlyWeird things have always happened in my life, crazy coincidences that defy explanation.  But one of the all time greats is a Hot Springs story.

Thirteen or fourteen years ago I wrote a novel, Invisible Branches.  It’s the story of a pregnant bookie in Hot Springs who decides to break away from her horrific boss.  He’s a pretty nasty dude who owns a bunch of strip joints and runs numbers.

I based this dangerous villain on a local man named Burly Webb. Burly owned or ran a lot of local late night clubs in the 80s and 90s.   Because so many folks were, ripped off, cheated, robbed and  savagely beaten in his parking lots, Burly had a pretty terrible reputation.

But for some strange reason, Burly and I became friends. He helped me out a couple of times and never asked anything in return. People under estimated him, and thought he was just a stupid violent guy. It’s true, he was uneducated but he was anything but stupid. He was however a very dangerous and violent man. Even my own brother, who was a professional smuggler, didn’t like the fact that I was friends with Burly Webb.

In the novel, the character Hurley, only had one leg.  He lost his foot and half a leg when he stepped in a bear trap in the woods. It was a pretty gruesome scene.

Before the book came out, I told Burly I’d written a story and he was the bad guy.  He thought that was just great and bought ten or twenty copies to keep at the bar. I doubt he ever read Invisible Branches but he loved knowing he’d been immortalized. People told him how horrible and monstrous his character was in the book and that just made him laugh.

Then something freaky happened. Six months after the book was published Burly was out in the woods cutting down a tree.  The chain saw slipped and he cut off his own leg, exactly where his character lost his.

The real Burly recovered, he got around on crutches after that. he still thought it was funny as Hell that he’d done virtually the same thing in the book. He never got mad at me but our friendship wasn’t quite the same.  I think made him a little nervous. and who can blame him?

Burly died a few years ago.  The character Hurley died too in a pretty nasty way.  I think about this strange coincidence sometimes and it reminds me how much power the written word holds. Humans are the only animals on the planet who have the ability to write things down, so when we do, we need to be careful and get it right.

 

The Madam in the Whore House Saves Dad’s Day

dad-4-with-pistol-3I’m rereading Slaughter House 5 by Kurt Vonnegut and stumbled across a line I didn’t understand before.  Vonnegut wrote about being free after the war. He is sent to France where they feed the soldiers “malted milkshakes and other rich foods until we were all covered with baby fat.”

My dad, I Granger McDaniel, told a funny/sad story about returning from the War. I was little when he would tell this story so I’ll probably have great big mistakes in this tale. Good news…you won’t know about them.

Once again, I’ve realized I’m the last one who is still alive in my family so I need to write down as many stories as possible for my kids. Once I’m gone….so are the stories.

Dad had been in the German POW camps for four years when he was suddenly freed.  Obviously, he was frighteningly skinny because he’d been  deprived of food for so long. And as the war progressed the rations became more and more meager.

Once a Red Cross package was delivered and a crazed young man in the barracks grabbed a whole pound of butter.  He ate it all at once before the other prisoners could get it away from him. The boy died a few hours latter and Dad was never sure why.

Once he was freed, Dad was delivered to London. In just a few weeks the British fattened him up so much he couldn’t button his pants.  His body was too happy to have food and held on to every calorie. As a result, after four years in a POW camp, he was a roly poly fat boy when he got home to Hot Springs, Arkansas. He said he could tell folks were a little disappointed by his appearance. They were expected a lean, prison hardened war hero.

After a few days at home Dad flew up to New York to see mom. Remember, they had been in love since third grade.  Mom had graduated from Vassar and was working as an actress and model in NYC. But they had written to each other throughout his four year prison stay and were already planning on getting married.

Typical of my parents, after a few days they got into a HUGE fight! Dad was so mad he actually flew back to England, thinking he still had a job with the RAF. But the war was over so dad found out they really didn’t need him. Everyone he had known in London was gone and he had no place to stay.

Depressed and lonesome he wandered through the streets of London in uniform. He’d been through so much but was still just a boy of 21 or 22.  It started raining as he walked on the cobblestone streets then suddenly he heard a shriek. Someone, a woman, was screaming to him, “Irvo! Irvo is that you? Irvo…up here!!!”  He spun around, looked up and saw an old fat woman with a great deal of make up, leaning out a third floor window, waving and flapping at him furiously. Walking back he realized it was the aging madam of a whore house he’d frequented. She took him in for a few nights until he found a way to get back to the States.

For years my mom and the madam kept in touch. As a child I loved the elaborate Christmas cards she sent  every year. In the seventies, my Mom toured Europe and tried to find the whore house and madam who took Dad in. But they were all gone. Nothing was left but the dark cobblestone streets of London.

 

 

The Wisdom of Dawond Pickney

dawond pickneyWhen Dawond Pickney was ten years old he remembers holding a spit bucket in the corner of a boxing ring for his father Harold . “I was his trainer, his corner man, his cut man, even thought I didn’t really know that much about that.  I’d get him up in the morning and make him run and work out. But you know I was a young guy so he could run over me, I guess that’s why he used me as his trainer. He didn’t have the discipline, he liked to party and do other things a fighter’s not supposed to do.”

In the movie Knight’s Tale John Thatcher, a poor father tells  his young terrified  son to “Change his stars.”

Most of us  blame our stars for all the misfortunes and bad luck in our lives. Very few are ever brave enough to actually try to change our stars, to step out on faith and try something that’s probably impossible.

Dawond Pickney is a 35 year old MMA fighter in Hot Springs, Arkansas. As an amateur he was 7-5, as a pro he’s 1-1.

Thirty five is a little old by most people’s standards, but Dawond doesn’t see it that way, “I’m pretty sure I still have a few good years in me,” he said so quietly I had to move the recorder closer to his face.  But that’s Dawond. Despite his success  in the cage and his reputation as one of the most dangerous cage fighters in Arkansas, he is humble and unassuming… no chest thumping…no bravado.

When he’s in the cage it’s a different story.  There he has an almost laser like focus and intensity. He stalks his opponents as though the outcome is inevitable fight.  His hands are ridiculously fast, but there are professional boxers on both sides of Dawond’s family. His grandfather on his mother’s side fought Leon Spinx (who went on to be world champion) twice.

“My dad was a good fighter, a terrific fighter, but he just never had any discipline. But watching him, that’s how I figured out how to be a good fighter. From the time I was little, we’d watch his fight films every week, two or three times.

Several years ago Dawond’s cousin brought him a poster for what they thought was a tough man contest. He entered, not knowing much about MMA.  “That first fight I was nervous and I hadn’t trained.  I told my mom, “dog gone, I’m nervous” and she said ‘You better not lose”.

Dawond won with a first round knockout.

When I ask him to tell me about his mother he leans back, “My Mom, she’s a good good woman, beautiful woman. She supports me, she’s at all my fight. She goes crazy. They video taped her once running up and down the isle yelling ”you better not lose, you better knock him out.”

dawond 2If you tell most people a young man is training in mma or cage fighting they assume it’s a bad thing, that mma breeds punks and thugs, like pit bulls.  For Dawand, it was the opposite and everyone around him realized he needed to be focused on something. “People who knew me coming up, well I was wild, so they knew it would be good for me it helps me stay focused and determined. I was really wild, but this helps me, it grounds me in a lot of ways. And I like the discipline. I love the discipline.  Martial Arts is a discipline and to be a good fighter, whether it’s boxing, kickboxing, JiuJjitsu, you gotta be disciplined. ”

With that in mind, Dawand trains two or three times a day, five or six times a week.  In the morning it’s an hour or more working on stand up skills and cardio. During his lunch break at work he goes to the gym and focuses on strength, cardio or circuit training and every night, Monday through Friday he’s at the gym from 6pm-9pm training with his team. And he works full time 40-50 hours a week.

“If you read about the best at any sport it’s all about the discipline and drive. They other day I watched a video on Arnold Schwarzenegger  and he was talking about “the drive” and  what it takes to the be the best. You can’t say “maybe I’ll do something” you gotta say “I’m gonna do what it takes to accomplish my goals.”

“You gonna have failures, get whooped, you might get dissed, but you gotta have that drive. I remember one day I got knocked out, really knocked out and I ain’t gonna lie, my dad was in my corner and he said, “now this is what it’s gonna take to see if what type of fighter your gonna be. Are you gonna quite or are you gonna hit the gym and try to be a successful fighter? I said “I ain’t no quitter”. And that’s why I’m here today right here. I don’t know how good I’m doing but I’m gonna reach my goal…to be the best fighter.”

Other fighters and his coach, Bob Edmonds, are blown away by his skill and technique.  But it’s the man’s attitude, discipline and work ethic that are awe inspiring and set the standard at Off The Chain MMA. When I mentioned to one fighter I was writing about Dawond, he just smiled, shook his head and said, “man Dawond is awesome.”

MMA is plagued by stereo-types.  Lots of fighters jump on top of the cage after a win, they scream and flex up. It’s easy to assume humility isn’t part of the mixed martial arts world. But Dawond destroys that misconception. “I read about George St. Pier and he said “every time he goes in a gym he’s a white belt. Ever time, and me too, I’m the same way, especially when I go cross train. I go everywhere but when I walk in the door I never voice my opinion. I’m there to learn.”

Since the dawn of time some men were born to fight, some were born to watch. And when Dawond tells me he’s not afraid of anybody and he’d be willing to fight anyone….I believe him.

“It’s like my daddy used to say ‘You see me fighting a bear you better help that bear’

Dawond loves to fight, he loves the discipline and he loves his family and daughter. He brags about her and  she motivates him to do other things, not fight, but to be a great dad. “My little girl she loves to fight, but she’s a good girl, she walks past people,  and says excuse me, she’s a good kind girl.”

What drives a man to push himself so relentlessly? It’s hard to say, but some men have the drive, the discipline and the guts to change their stars. And it seems, Dawond Pickney’s stars have already started shifting.

 

 

 

 

Big Willie The Catfish, Louella and Liz

Earlier this week I wrote  about my cousins, Liz and Mike, and the day we caught a monster catfish. But I didn’t tell the entire story….

We grew up in Hot Springs, Arkansas and my family had a lovely 1960s condo on Lake Hamilton.

At seven, Liz was our beautiful blond brutal dictator, I was the goofy looking six year old and Mikey was a scrawny tough ass five year old who would bow up on a bus or throw down with a bear. He was too stupid or stubborn to realize he only weighed fifty pounds. Mike thought he was Tarzan and Cold Stone Steve Austin rolled up in a taco with hot sauce.  At five he was a hard core bad ass. 

We  were young but together we were formidable and frightening, full of really bad ideas and virtually unsupervised for weeks at a time. At my house the only adult who ever attempted to keep an eye on us was Louella, our friend and maid for more than thirty years.

There was a lady who lived at the end of our boardwalk named Mrs. Williams. Every day at four she would lovingly feed all her “pet” fish in Lake Hamilton. She tossed out hand fulls of corn and bread then watched as schools of fish appeared. There was one massive, elephant sized catfish who showed up every afternoon, named Big Willie.  He was nearly as long as a baseball bat and as fat as a foot ball. This guy was beautiful. And Mrs. Williams loved him.

Liz, Mike and I were not allowed to fish anywhere near her end of the boardwalk but one day…Mrs Williams went on vacation.

Brown and barefooted, wearing nothing but groovy swimsuits, we hauled our fishing gear to the end of the boardwalk ten minutes after Mrs. Williams backed out of her parking spot.

Mikey bounced up and down on his skinny little legs as we watched the fish circling under the dark water.  We threw in a hand full of corn and the fish went crazy. Lake Hamilton boiled with fishy action.

Liz packed a piece of hot dog and a bread ball onto a hook and dropped  the line in. Mikey and I  were lying on our bellies, staring at the fish. Then it happened. The line went taunt and Liz sarted saying, “Holy crap, holy crap.”  Reeling hard, Liz leaned back and Mike and I jumped to our feet.  Instantly,we realized she had hooked Big Willie on the first try.  It was unbelievable  She cranked on the reel and we saw the massive gray fish rise to the surface then pull back on the line. The reel screamed. We were no match with out K-Mart Rod and Reel. Big Willie pulled line like a yo-yo. Liz screamed at Mike, “get the net, Michael Clark get the damn net!”

The net was taller than Mike, but he snatched it up then stared into the water, waiting for his chance to scoop up Big Willie. Liz made an executive decision, we couldn’t wait any longer. She shoved five year old Mikey into the lake and started screaming at him.  “Scoop him up,  Mike. Catch him.”

I helped her hold the rod as the fish tried to get away from Mike, his net and kicking legs.  There was fishing line, splashing, screaming and then suddenly Mike yelled, “He’s in!”

Tiny Mike tried to hold the net up as he treaded water but the fish weighed too much.  Liz dropped the pole and stretched out on the boardwalk to grab the net.  She pulled the net and the gigantic fish onto the hot wooden planks while I helped 50 pound Mike out of the water.

Liz had Big Willie, flopping furiously in the net. His catfish mouth gaped open, he looked so angry and slimy.  His whiskers were at least three inches long and we had no idea what to do with the monster.  The hook poked though his cheek and the bread ball was still on the hook in his mouth. His eyes rolled in our direction and we all stepped back.

Liz pushed Mike. “Get the hook out.”

“Hell no. He’ll get me .”

“You get the hook out,” I said to Liz.  She looked at me as thought I was made of cat poop and stupid. Then she picked up the net, we had to help her. And we walked toward my condo as Big Willie flopped.

Finally, we got Willie back to the condo.  Liz looked at me. “We can put him in the bathtub right? He’ll be ok.”

I nodded stupidly.

Then we smuggled Big Willie into the condo, we made it upstairs to the bathroom.  I filled the bathtub with cold water and Mike leaned against the door so Louella couldnt’ push it open  Finally, it was full. Mikey held the net as Liz and I raised the fishing pole Big Willie was still attached to. 

We got him out of the net into the gleaming white tub. And for a little while, we all held the pole and watched him swim slowly around the tub. The hook was poking out of his face and he was tethered to our pole but he didnt seem to mind

Ginally Mike stepped into the bathtub and started laughing as the big fish swam past his leg.  Liz and I got in too and we giggled like maniacs as Big Willie swam between and past our legs.  Liz had the reel, then let line out, we picked up our feet so the line wouldn’t get tangled. We laughed so hard Mike started peeing in the tub.  The we laughed even harder…until Louella walked in.

It was terrible. She screamed until my Mom arrived. We had to take Willie to the lake, cut the line and let him go. Then I got a spanking and I’m pretty sure I could hear Liz and Mike laughing in the next room.

It was a great day

Culture vs Cowbells….Hear that Bell Ringing?

No, I don’t want a lovely glass of Merlot, instead I think I slug down this warm paper cup full of Gatorade.

That’s my life right now.

I’m too busy with happy redneck/family stuff and never have time to take my kids to any of the brilliant, quality, cultural events in my hometown.

Hot Springs, Arkansas is a magnificent spa city with music, art even hot air balloon festivals, galleries and countless affordable cultural events. I read about them, I drive past them and I think how wonderful it would be to take the kids to the Friday Night Gallery Walks. They would have fun and learn about fine art.

But there’s not a snowballs chance in hell we can do that on a Friday night. We’re not missing the Fountain Lake football games. I even have a purple cow bell to ring violently when we make a few yards. And more importantly, I’m not missing the amazing Cobra marching band at half time show or the chance to win a smoked pork butt, courtesy of the FFA.

This weekend Hot Springs hosts the 20th Annual Documentary Film Festival. film makers arrive from all over the planet and a day pass to watch all sorts of stunning and fascinating films is just $20. But we have to work the PTO Carnival ring toss booth and Sandor has his third grade football games on Saturday. Around four I have to start the “laundry train”. Every weekend I do at least ten loads of laundry to get us all caught up, because there’s no time during the week.

After church on Sunday morning I really wanted to take a hike with the National Park rangers. They were going to teach us how to find arrow heads, but that’s when I have to do the two hour killer “Wal-Mart/Kroger, get some more Little Debbie Snack Cakes” shopping run, then take Lexie to do her knee workouts.

Sometimes, I feel as though I’m missing life as it whoooshes past. But that’s not true. This is my beautiful cowbell ringing, Hot Pocket eating “Mom can you help me get my cup in my pants” life. Good thing I kind of like warm Gatorade.

I Miss Louella

This is not Louella, but you get the idea

Louella Thomas was a black woman who worked for my family for twenty or thirty years. Well, she worked for my family but Louella was actually my family.

Everyday when I came home from school she always had a peeled apple and a cup cake waiting for me. Then she would sit on the couch and watch Lets Make A Deal and I’d take a nap with my head on her thigh.

Louella would get mad at me because I’d go fishing but I hated throwing the tiny fish back in the lake. So I’d get all her pots and pans, fill them up with lake water, then put the fish in there to swim around. She would find me on the dock, surrounded by pots and pots of sunfish and brim.

I never learned how to make a bed because of Louella, and that problem still haunts me today.

One time, when my mom was crazy mad she sent me upstairs to get a hair brush so she could spank me. I then asked if Louella would come in the room.
“Why?” my mother demanded.
“Because I know she won’t let you beat me to death.”eight year old me said.

Louella also worked for my grandmother, Ruth Stell, on Prospect Avenue.  And one day Louella suddenly announced she was going to the Holy Lands with her church.  She’d been saving her money for more than two years and was heading to Jerusalem for a week.  My grandmother was stunned and  indigent and secretly jealous because Louella was making the trip of a life time before she was.  Louella brought me back a straw camel from her trip but told me not to show it to my grandmother.

When I was an 18 year old debutante Louella was invited to the Ball.  The committee asked my mother to un-invite her becasue she was black. But my mom loved a rightious fight and the committee back down. So, Louella was the first black woman to attend the Debutante Ball.  She sat next to my mother and I gave them both a rose during the ceremony. 

There was a party after the ball and I remember I begged Louella to say. I didn’t understand why she wanted to leave so early because I was, apparently a moron at eighteen.

I remember Louella just hugged me and said, “I think we’ve done enough for one night, baby girl.”

Yeah, she was pretty smart.

We Watched A Man Get Beat To Death

Saturday night Lex and I went to the fights(boxing) with her boyfriend Ethan. It was an outstanding fight card, every match was full out. Lots of the technique was beautiful, there was very little clinching and most of the fighters were in great shape.

And then there was the Quincy Palmer/ Anthony Jones fight.  They were two great big guys. Anthony Jones obviously won the first round but both the big men were  breathing hard when the bell rang.

The tables turned in Round 2. Palmer was all over Anthony Jones until he was knocked out.  Then we all cheered and screamed and clapped.  Jones tried to get up, he crawled to one knee then went back down. Palmer jumped on the ropes and flexed up, he pounded on his chest as the the fight doctor worked on Anthony Jones.  And I took pictures of both the fighters, Jones surrounded by medics and Palmer screaming and pointing at the crowed. 

For at least ten minutes Jones stayed down, then they put a neck collar on him and tried to move him to a back board.  His legs flailed and jerked when they moved him and I was unnerved becasue it was exactly the same way Apollo Creed jerked and spazed after Ivan Drago knocked him out in Rocky III.

Anthony Jones died a few hours latter in the hospital and I’m still not sure what to think. Lex and I cheered and clapped as a man was beaten to death. It was an awesome fight. And I’ve got lots of pictures of the dead man being beaten to death. I’ve got close pictures of the doctor staring into his eyes, I’ve got pictures of Quincy Palmer on the ropes while Anthony Jones is dying in the ring.

And we cheered and clapped because we went to the “Benton Beatdown” to watch some good fights. 

The thing that confuses me so…why do I love watching fights, MMA or Boxing?  Why do I find that so enjoyable and interesting? But man has always loved watching violent conflicts, gladiators, sword fights, gun fights boxing…it’s all the same. We all loved it. But we are the only animals that organize violent events just so we can watch. It’s not our opposable thumb, music or memory that sets us apart from other creature, it’s our love of violence.

We cheered and clapped as we watched Anthony Jones being beaten to death. It was a great fight.

Working Moms With Lots of Kids Should be Paid Less

WORKING MOMS  SHOULD GET PAID LESS THAN SINGLE FOLKS.

That’s right, I just wrote those words and I’m the mother of four children. Throw kitchen implements, like can openers and boxes of Mac and Cheese at me if you need to, but I speak the truth.

Every week I lose hours, lots and lots of hours, of productivity because of my children. There are the phone calls and texts, Facebook messages and IM. They need money, they need love, they need an idea for a paper, they need a copy of their birth certificate, a bunch of boys on the high school football team got caught with a beer bong and are suspended from the team, their best friend just lost her virginity to a super creep. The reasons for the conversations go on and on and I love them because I’m a good mom. The truth is these calls  are the highlight of my day.

Then there are the secret trips for  the kids. The ones I take when I’m supposed to be out working, selling things and making money for my employer, but I’m actually at the doctor’s office because one of them has a funky wart. Or I’m buying sophies or tennis shoes so she can work out with the volleyball team. Or there’s the legendary and desperate message on my cell phone, “Mom, I left my report at the house. If I don’t turn it in I’ll get an F, can you go get it for me? I have to have it by noon”.

There’s time spent on Facebook stalking my children. It’s really important so I can figure out what’s going on and who I need to ban from the house (probably the 14 year old boy with huge swoopy hair who appears to be smoking a joint the size of a cigar).

And when my child wakes up with a 103 degree  fever and needs to stay home, I make that phone call to my boss in a heartbeat. Nothing at work is more important than my child’s health.

And finally, I spend time every day staring at pictures of my kids, thinking about how much I like their faces. Sandor’s buck teeth and freckles, Lexie’s joy filled eyes and dress that’s waaaayyy too short, Mary’s splendid arching eye brows and her funny duck face and  the way Jack puts his arm around me when we take pictures and his porn star mustache. I just stare at their pictures and sigh, all the time. I bet I spend ten minutes everyday doing that, almost an hour a week.

I suspect most good parents are just like me. We have to put our kids first, and do what’s necessary. I think an employer would be totally justified if he decided to pay me less.

But who needs money more than a good parent? We have to buy stuff for our children, we want them to have an instrument so they can march with the band, we want them to go to football camp so they can start next season.   There are prom dresses and crappy cars and insurance. College text books ($300 for biology) and orthodontists.  We have to pay all those doctors to look at their weird warts and moles, we need money, lots and lots of money so we can take care of the children we love so much.

So, maybe good moms are the best employees. Maybe we are the most motivated and driven…maybe moms should actually  be paid more!

I have to go now, my boss is texting me because I’m late getting back from lunch and the nurse just said it’s Lexie’s turn to see the dentist.

*Guys, men, fathers: I did not write about you because I don’t know what you do during the day. Do you Facebook stalk, do you look at pictures and sigh? I’m not so sure. But if you are a good dad and do the “work day run around” for your child…this piece is for you too. Keep up the good work.