Sixteen Hallowed Acres 9/11/13

Originally posted on Laurie Kendrick:


PREFACE: I wrote the following blog post on the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks last year. I wanted to pay tribute to the seminal anniversary by digging deep in order to answer questions I had developed over the previous ten years. This isn’t about conspiracy theories or any of that buffoonery; just all that transpired in the seconds, weeks…months and years after 19 religious zealots hijacked four American-owned planes and by slamming three of them into two buildings, and one in a field in rural Pennsylvania, killed just under three thousand people.

In past 12 years, I’ve learned what happened; how it happened; the order of events. I even know more about jihad than I ever wanted to. We all know what happened, why it happened and and how hatred and the skewed ideology that perpetrated it. But there’s still much to learn about that fateful day, such…

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A Friday Night At The Burger Despot

I currently enjoy being of  a certain age when the impetus to go out and see and be seen is no longer alive or kicking in my system.   I look forward to quiet weekends.     I have all I need:  my beloved cat, my dog and an iPad and I keep fingers crossed for good weather,not for gardening or because I have something to do outside.  No, I like cloudless days because means stellar satellite reception.    Any combination of those things plus a lack of noise,  make for a delightful evening in Laurieland.  laurieland

Now, that’s not to say I don’t enjoy the occasional rip in my personal space/time continuum.   My balance is thrown off from time to time and I welcome it, especially when I’m called upon to babysit my four-year old great-niece, Emily, when her parents, who are in their early 30′s will on occasion, give in to that youthful need to go out on a Saturday night.  She is no bother at all and I love having her as a guest.

She’s a typical Kendrick–lovely platinum blond hair that won’t see a L’Oreal box of Lightest Blonde (Shade 9A) to keep it looking  that way for at least 14 more years.     She has big blue eyes and a smattering of freckles–cute as a button.   Smart too.   I’ve already gotten her fixation started with tornadoes.    Yes, she too is fascinated  by nature’s terrorists.  I plan on introducing her to paramecium over the Fourth of July weekend.

Her favorite thing to do when she visits me  is to eat yogurt and then go to Burger Czar, in that order.    There’s a play ground there.  She’s like every child;  going there to combine play with eating a kid’s meal consisting of chicken strips, a Sprite and some lame ass prize  is like Mecca to them.

Usually, the  fast food place isn’t that crowded on Friday nights but it was on this particular evening.    There were five young boys already playing on the plastic Jungle Gym with its slide, netting to climb, tubes to crawl through and conjunctivitis to contract.     She had more guts than I did at her age.  She walked right up to the contraption and started playing.  Soon, she was fully involved in the boys’ game which combined tag and hide and seek.     They got along well, except for one tyke who I feel sure has an undiagnosed issue somewhere within the Autism Spectrum.     I’m no specialist in the field of childhood behavior, but I know different when I see it and every time Emily approached this boy, he shouted “NO!!!”, as loud as he could while holding his hand in her face, palm up.  Then he’d run away.    He didn’t do it to the boys, just with Emily.        I watched this scene repeat several times.   It was like he’d taken some kind of a kiddie self-defense classes or had one of those Bean Sprout/sugar-free moms who give their kids time out  when bad behavior rears its head.   She also restricts access to certain TV shows, monitors use on the computer and stresses the importance of ‘their own space”.      Sure, all these things are vital.   I would imagine my life would be quite different had I understood the relevance of imposing my own spatial restrictions.

But I didn’t,  so this was rather odd behavior to me, especially for a child.

Emily wasn’t phased by it all.    She looked him over then promptly overlooked it him.   It didn’t affect her playtime.    Take the possibility of autism or Asperger’s out of the scenario and  Emily didn’t care if he was different in look or actions.   She was there to have fun;  she shared the kids’ motto:  join in if you want, but if you do, be prepared to laugh and play.     “Just say no” will come in handy right around their Freshmen year of High School.

She was a joy to watch.  Laughing with the other kids who made up a delightful ethnic salad.     Two white kids, two Hispanics, Mr.  No and Emily.   None  of the kids did seemed to even notice.   It wasn’t about the amount of melanin in the skin–or the lack thereof, as was the case with the two pale-skinned Lebensborners.   They played with kids, as kids, untarnished by the race and gender issues of their elders.    Fun was the order of the day.     As long as you could play, you were welcome to join in.    Kinda like life.

I loved watching it all unfold amid the smell of grease and feet.    You see, shoes are verboten in the play area.    odors aside, Emily was a  delight; strong and happy,  independent yet she played well with others.  She was, “Sheena, Queen of the Jungle (Gym)!!

When it was time to leave Burger Shah,  all the kids said goodbye to each other.    We went back to my house to look for snails in my front garden.   They’re very large here in Texas this spring.   This past weekend,  I found a two single incher making dinner out of a Caladium.

Like any good hostess, I keep candy in a dish in my foyer.   York Peppermint Patties are the current culinaire du jour  and Emily LOVES these things.  She grabbed one as she went out the front door to go snail hunting.     It wasn’t long before we found ( in Emily’s words), several mommy snails, daddy snails and baby snails.      I watched her pick up a tiny one to examine it.    She was holding a mint in one hand, exploring the slimy underbelly of a snail in the other one.

“She’s so smart”, I said to myself.   “Further proof of those wonderfully superior Kendrick genes!   She’ll go far in this world.”

I went back to my search for more daddy snails, when I heard her give out this combination scream and laugh.     I turned around to  see if she was okay and she was making a face.  Apparently, she absent-mindedly put the snail in her mouth in stead of the mint pattie.      She spit it out, informing me even though she didn’t bite down on it, it did indeed, “taste like doodoo”.     I did nothing but laugh along with her.   At four she was too young to understand an escargot  joke.

She ate the mint,  we continued our snail hunt and I uttered to myself a familiar, but now slightly modified rhetorical,  “Further proof of those Kendrick genes.”

We Railed It Eastbound

I have always loved the notion of train travel.  I rode on my first train in 1972, but even before that, I’d spent years romanticizing  about it.    It seemed so glamorous.  Remember the movie, “Double Indemnity”?    The Barbara Stanywck/Fred McMurray 40′s flick which was the “Body Heat” of its era?     You know the one—he plays a romantic lead and calls  Babs “baby” incessantly.    It’s about her desire to exit her marriage while keeping her wealthy hubby’s estate intact.  Guess he didn’t trust the bitch either because he’s  got  some weird ass, über specific clause in his insurance policy  which states his widow can recover in full, providing he  accidentally dies on a westbound train with gold carpet  in every other car, with a porter named Henry,   on an August morning  between 9:18 and 9:29 while wearing a grey tweed suit with a half  pack of Lucky’s in his left coat pocket.

Did I also mention  that his body had to be recovered  while dressed  in pink silk panties with a severely chipped maxillary second molar (left side) that he affectionately called “Ernest”?

All the movies involving train travel….especially the old ones… always made this mode of transportation to be intriguing and classy.    Even a mid 50′s “I Love Lucy” episode made their trip back to New York from Hollywood where Ricky filmed the movie, “Don Juan” which according to “Variety”, was supposed to be (and I quote) “A three million dollar color spectacle” which to the best of my recollection, was never released.     Al the passengers seemed so polite, well dressed and yes, clean.

So rcently, I treated my niece and her four year old daughter to trip to Houston to visit another niece.  I did it for the experience.   No one knows how much longer passenger rail will be around.  My baby girl behaved beautifully, but to be honest, we were a bit afraid for here.

I type this with some remorse.        Here’s why:

We had three coach seats reserved but luckily, we were able to sit where we wanted.     It was a morning trip and the only one that was Houston bound.    The cars were barely a quarter full.   Empty seats were everywhere.      Amtrak’s schedules are infrequent in this part of the world.    You see, in Texas, the internal combustible engine is king.   We love to drink a V-8 while driving one and if we can’t drive, we fly and if fiscal matters necessitate, we take buses     Train travel is an afterthought.     The reasons are many.    It’s inconvenient in a way that air travel isn’t.    Apparently, rail travel started its decline in earnest,  after the Korean War.     Then in the 80′s, it damned near died.    We all know the airlines have hammered the nail in the coffin….we flew more and steamed less, but I feel train travel also started its downward spiral because  some people remembered its advent.   Many held grudges against the old robber barons.    Tycoons.    Future monopoly game pieces.     These were financier industrialist types with last names you’d recognize.  They broke the law while creating it, by forming huge monopolies and made millions as the railroad became the principle mode of transport for cargo, human and otherwise.     Yes, it unified the nation with a mesh of steel beams and wooden ties, but it also took capitalism to an extreme.   As a country, we were young;   we didn’t know any better.   Industrialization was unfolding.     We thought Anti Trust was married to an uncle.  We played it by ear and learned as we went along.

A lot has happened since then.  Times have changed.   In an effort to cut costs and remain competitive in the transportation industry,  costs had to be cut across the board.     The train runs specific routes at specific times on specific days;  Monday, Wednesday and Friday and that’s all.    It also ditched the good china and tuxedo clad wait staff  in the dining car and replaced it with plastic and cups with short shirt sleeved “rail hosts and hostesses” for which I still seek appropriate adjectives.      They were nice enough and helpful in their capacities,  but there was something amiss.    I suppose I can sum it up by saying there were quite a few staffers who were obviously unhappy in their current career track.PetticoatJunction-39

Pun completely intended.

Another reason that was patently  obvious?     The damn thing is filthy.    And not in a the kind of  cute train dirty that greeted us each week when  Charley Pratt and Floyd Smoot, the conductor and engineer respectively of the conductorsThe Hooterville Cannonball (from TV’s “Petticoat Junction”) rolled into view.    These guys were covered with soot and coal dust, but that was okay.   How else could one get from Pixley to front veranda of the Shady Rest Hotel without their labor?

As for our experience, most of the time,  the three of us sat in the observation car with wall and ceiling windows.    Great view–I think–the windows had phlegm on them.     If Mother Nature could hock loogies, invariably they would land on these train cars.  You could write your hemoglobin count in the dirt.   And if you want to keep a normal hemoglobin level, I strongly suggest you refrain.

The seats and floors were no better.   If there’s a housekeeping staff, we didn’t see them or really, any evidence this exists.   My niece found a fingernail lying the on seat beside her.   It was a painted in a shade that Sally Hansen discontinued in 2003–which was probably the last time the car was cleaned.    The restrooms?    I’ve been in nicer kennels.

We had breakfast and I’ll admit this much: the food wasn’t altogether hideous.    We rather enjoyed  being able to eat and watch the variations in landscape between Central Texas and the state’s east side

I knew it wasn’t going to be the Orient Express, but I didn’t expect it to be as unsettling as it was.   I assure you, I’m NOT a snob, but I do believe in hygiene.    I can’t cut it slack just because its mass transit.     Based on the number of empty seats, I feel its’ safe to take the word “mass” out of the equation.

Where does the fault lie?    I guess it begins and ends with Amtrak.    Yes, I know you’re cheaper than flying and for those with little to help them  finance a way of getting from Point A to Point B, thank goodness for the Iron Horse, but must you smell like one?

I would travel by rail more often  as would other passengers with whom I spoke, but it’s going to have to clean  its act.    The staff was nice  enough and we got to our destination in one piece.     We did have to stop on several occasions for reaons I know not.   Perrhaps to yield to a freight train or for cows on the tracks.

Maybe  the Amish.

I know those you along the east coast will have diffent experiences. Train rides are daily affairs for many of you, but please keep in mind I report from a completely diffrent perspective and I lament that my point of view is what it is.

This train reminded me of a  sad story you’d see on an episode of E! True Hollywood Story.   A once beautiful actress with  so much promise, learns a life lesson the hard way and then, responds to her own tragic nature by adopting 12 cats, gaining 65 pounds  and  “takin’ up drinkin’” while all but living in a soiled T-shirt she’d gotten free during a neighborhood’s  auto repair shop’ s promotion for discounted brake line flushings.      It was sad.   I don’t like trashing the grande dame with wheels but I can’t praise her either—not in the way I’d like to talk her up .   And perhaps  I might travel this way again–I think—later on,   but it would be minus the child and with  far more boxes anti-bacterial wipes in my purse.

It was THAT bad. In
fact, All I wanted to do once I stepped off the train was to get what we here in Texas call, “a good scrubbin” and then take a little restorative nap.     The shower felt great  and the nap would have been stellar, but damned if I didn’t dream about being chased by a large fingernail painted in bashful rose, while attempting to dodge fecal smears on a track made of  Cornelius Vanderbilt’s beard.

I’m Bored

Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo is seen here taking a break during filming of his most recent bestial porn flick.

Like their bipedal adult film star counterparts, sexy marsupials actually enjoy a little testicular aeration between takes.  Gives new credence to the term “jumped”

Coming up next on DYI, fey detectives  explain how Luminol can be an exciting abstract  decorating tool












The cheerleaders of Pearl Hessemen Stiener Junior High stress the importance of  facial expressions when rehearsing for their new play, “Wombs With A View”.

Man, that is one ugly ass dog!!!   And how ’bout that Mastiff?

I love watching boys at play…even anorexic ones with an extraneous right fist and forearm growing out their chins.     I suppose growing up  in Love Canal has had its challenges.

I know that things are always bigger, longer and what have you in the Lone Star State, but the exceptional cigar that former Texas gubernatorial candidate, Kinky Friedman is smoking, defies even Texas standards. His stoagie breaks, then immediately goes into this 136° obtuse angle.

Either that or this ex-hippie musician/politician/author is now into fellating stair railings.

Impressive just the same.

Sometimes the back of a guy’s neck needs love, too!

backs of neck

In 1925, Polio and hemorrhoids were the two biggest health issues confront the children of  Grodno.


Next up on Maury….Brad Pitt finally consents to a paternity test. Is he in fact, the biological father of Angelina Jolie’s children?

When chimera twins attack!!’


Found in a circular in Vlad the Impaler’s hometown rag, The Daily Transylvanian.

It’s been alleged that every other Saturday during  Oktober back in ’42, it was Drag Night at at Berchtesgaden.  That’s when potatoes were used as Adolph’s Meat Tenderizer.


But on special today for pritty laydee fer  zhust  sex dollar!!!!!

Wow, someone just got laid!!!!!


From the realm of the obvious.   This is like someone in the Kurdish town of Halabja in northern Iraq back in ’96, asking  if anyone can smell Mustard Gas.

It’s Halloween.

You’ve got a big costume party to go to and you want to go as Gort, the giant, menacing robot from the famous 50′s sci-fi flick, “The Day the Earth Stood Still”.

But you’re broke; nary a cent to your name.

Well, holding a harmonica over your eyes will work in a pinch.

Meet the Tubaligators…


They’re lawyers who can make women sterile

At Dung World, children have fun while learning about the inner workings of an elephant’s inflamed, prolapsed rectum.


As the children’s tale goes, there was an old woman, who lived in a split level Doc Marten…

And finally…

Opening a restaurant was actually the dream of Klindt’s late wife, Clarice.

We hear it cost her an arm and a leg.

There’s A Special Place in Hell For:


  •  People who refuse to corral their shopping carts after offloading stuff to their cars and trucks.   They just leave them in the parking spaces.  The front bumper of my car had intimate knowledge of such a cart this morning.     I suppose I’ll be levelled with the eresponsibility for supporting any cartlette by-products from this unholy encounter
  • Those who insist Dane Cook is funny
  • The current writers and musical guest bookers on Saturday Night Live.   While I can  still comprehend most  the zeitgeist in the sketches, I have no idea who the majority of the hosts or the bands are.    To hell they must go for reminding  me I’ve aged.     And heave one in my direction for still trying to watch that damn show
  • Nicholas Sparks who writes stories that only fuel  the hopes of all hopeless romantics
  • Whoever wrote the scriot for the movie, “Jerry Mcguire”. He/she introduced us to thee schlockiest  line in all of filmdom:  “You complete me”.   If I hear that uttered in one more wedding vow or in a conveyance of one’s own love story,  I shall wretch on the person seated to my right with Vesuviun velocity.   There will be consequences and it will have texture
  • Sellers who don’t disclose the little annoying things that are wrong with the house they’re trying to sell
  • Shoppers who change their minds about purchasing that half pound of liver, so they leave the stuff wherever they happen to be standing.   The aisle isn’t important;  returning  it back to the butcher section would require “effort”.   I fully intended to buy a box of  cheese crackers this morning.   Instead, I reached to the back of the shelf and  pulled out a vile smelling  Styrofoam tray filled with shrink-wrap covered bovine cirrhosis specimens.
  • Tiny penised man who insists on putting huge tractor tires or whatever they are, on the axles of a basic pick-up
  • Thirty to mid forty somethings–gender unimportant–who go to bars and order Pina Coladas
  • Those who don’t mouth the words “thank you” or wave in gratitude when you either let them pass in a single lane or allow them into traffic from a drive way or parking lot
  • People who insist Scott Baio has been annually robbed of the “Best Actor In A Comedy Series” Emmy since 1977
  • Justin Beiber.    Why?   I’m not sure.
  • Madonna’s ego
  • Madonna’s stylist
  • Former presidents who can’t stand the stillness of their lives once out of office.  After a certain point, the limelight only exacerbates one’s wrinkles and blemishes
  • D-list celebrities who compete in crazy reality shows just to keep their names in the trades.         “Celebrity Circumcisions on FOX” ….Gennifer Flowers on “Celebrity Natural Gas Fracking”….The surviving cast members  of “Gilligan’s Island on “Easy Celebrity Urology:   Detecting The Presence of Nitriuria  and Coliform Bacteria In Random Urine Specimens  Donated From Willing Participants of The Black Panther Party (Members Circa 1968)””  on ABC  Thursday at 9:00 PM Eastern/8:00 Central …..and….. Kathy Garver , TV’s Cissy from “Family Affair” on “Celebrity Wheat Harvesting”, tonight on RURAL-TV
  • People who blithely break other peoples’ hearts
  • People who refer to terrorists as hooligans 
  • Certain members of a certain family made famous by infamy who insist on using the word “like” in every sentence.    The whiney, nasal-infused monotone in which they speak, doesn’t help matters.  HINT:  One member of this glitterati’d klan is ripe with fetus and from all appearances, carrying it in her ass
  • Stress fractures
  • Visible moles and/or sebaceous cysts large  big enough to include their own Black Diamond Ski trail
  • People who drone on and on about how happy their family lives are  in the open display case that is Facebook
  • Boring Chinese Food
  • Bloating
  • Nazis
  • Napoleon’s tailor
  • Visigoths
  • Baloney burps
  • Three out of  the last five of my boyfriends.  They know who they are.

And after my new book is published, the world will too!!!!!!!!!!

The Past Is Prologue

boston bombgingI was watching previews on one of the Pay-Per-View channels recently and saw this movie that based on the number of palm trees and Cuban restaurants in the background, had to have been set in Miami.   It’s called “Step Up Revolution” and it stars a whole bunch of people I don’t know and focuses  on a premise for which I DO NOT care.     As best I could tell the gist of it concerns young agile, coordinated and choreographed kids, perfectly coiffed and wearing the latest fashions worn only by the most  discerning  of 21st Century militants…

With rhythm.

Apparently, the movie would have us believe that some  big hotel developer wants to build the granddaddy of all hostels on some land that’s so important these dancers decide that performance art  which entertained the city with flash mob demonstrations in the damndest of places, simply isn’t enough….they need ‘protest art”.   And as best I could tell, this involved various impromptu stagings of the cast of “Fame”, dancing atop taxi cabs, bike racks, marquee signs and on my last nerve.

Protest art???????

MEMBER OF THE  ESTABLISHMENT:   “What was that move you just made, young man?”

MILITANT HOOFER:  “Well Sir, thank you for noticing my interpretive angst.  That was, if I say so myself,  a perfectly executed  grande jété with a healthy dose of  anger and just a  soupçon of belligerence thrown in.  You know—-for good measure!!”   

Explain a furious  fouetté jeté to David Rubin,  Abbie Hoffman, Bobby Seale or  the late Jill Johnston.     I don’t think these very involved Yippies would compare the burning of the University’s admin building,  the takeover of a major college’s ROTC’s HQ or disruption of the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago with any of your moves.    Back in the Sixties and early Seventies when the war was raging in Southeast Asia, these guys made points with Molotov cocktails, causing an explosion here or there and inciting riots–serious riots—-the kind which resulted in brain damage for some unlucky few.  You know, the real rebels who believed in The Cause so much, they  “throwing their heads up against” a policeman’s  billy club repeatedly.

I don’t condone this behavior, but I completely understand the need to be heard, the need to express oneself and think in some misplaced  narcissistic way, that your actions can help change the world.     That said, castigate me if you will, but I can wrap my head around what the Brothers Tsarnaev did at the finish line of the Boston Marathon last week.     I get hate, anger, bitterness and revenge, regardless of the miscues it appears to those who don’t share the terrorists mindset.     I can understand how those feelings, especially in a young person can be idealized, then radicalized.    Argue if you care to, but these are basic human emotions that we all have; the ones that can and do rear their ugly heads from time to time.   Save for the training and intent to randomly murder civilians.

What I  DON’T understand is how that line gets crossed.     I seriously wonder how anyone can take these raw emotions to such an extremely dark place and keep them there so long and so well fed, that the concept of exploding pressure cookers filled with nails, ball bearings and a body count can become normal thinking; a  natural goal for which these mean and women can aspire.   Maiming, death, spilled blood is what matters to them and its best if that blood is red, white AND blue.     What we as a nation have done, are doing and no doubt, what we’ll continue to do, will always be the scarlet elephant in the room.     We do are civilian take downs it under the guise of wartime.     We do it to defeat any one who things differently and threatens said mode of thinking.       And if some unintentional uh…..well, collateral damage happens to be part of the end result???   We all know that old saying:   all is fair in love and war.

The Vietnam war ended in 1975 with the fall of Saigon to the Ruskies.    “Good lord!”, thought the war hawks, “The dreaded Communist hun will take over  and the domino effect will happen after that.    Other countries will  fall and go the way of Larry, The Left Leaner.”

But that didn’t happen.

What took hold of this tiny little country whose populace can create culinary magic with fish heads, was a fairly rapid rise in capitalism, as Communism fell.     I do believe the country still considers itself Marxist or Leninist  but it sure welcomes capitalization.   It now has its first millionaire…or that would “dongianaire”.   Vietnam’s currency is known as the dong (liberation dongs post 1975)  and you betcha things are a hoppin’.      We’re talking  capitalism of the meaty Westernized variety.   These days in Ho Chi Minh City (which was once called Saigon) you can see the same  Starbucks, retail shops and  fast food joints that dot almost every American city, large and small.   There’s even a Louie Vuitton boutique.   Now, that’s a lotta dong for a little bag.

Protest art, bombing civilians with pressure cookers or high-flying unmanned drones,  trying to strong-arm a well-armed cop in the name of peace with your long hair and love beads proudly blowing in the tear gas are efforts that just don’t make sense to me.   No, I’m not getting more liberal,  it’s just that I’ve gotten old enough to see the folly in many causes that once seemed so purposed.     Peace, I’m beginning to think, is really a frame of mind.

I just wish more of us could manifest it.

Beyond that, I don’t understand why we didn’t learn the lessons from September 11th.

And last week, it was like watching  mini-reprisal of that dreadful…one on a non-stop, continuous loop.   Just as I did 12 years ago, I watched in horror the raw, unedited video taken minutes after the bombs exploded in Boston last week.     One of the very first images I saw and will always see when I close my eyes, is that of Jeff Bauman being taken by wheel chair to the race’s First Aid tent.   Both legs beneath the knees had been blown off.    I saw two jagged and bloodied tibias, with no sign of fibulas attached, no sign of muscle tissue either;  .just tattered flaps of skin, gently waving in the breeze created by the movement of his transport.

There were other horrific sights, too; all ghastly images that ‘had’ to be created to prove a point, loudly and clearly.  Dzhokhar  Tsarneav claims that he and his older brother Tamerlan  did it because of their intense faith in the Muslim Brotherhood and for America’s involvement in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and all those civilian deaths in those war-torn regions.     This “protest” killed four people altogether and injured nearly 200.     This was revenge on a small, but effective level.

It’s all immensely tragic, no matter what you call it and yes, there will be those who’ll have the temerity to  call the dead and wounded “collateral damage”.    It’s interesting—Gitmo prisoners were always referred  to “casualties of war”.    I’m


sure they were considered “victims” from the Taliban’s perspective.

Those who died in the towers, at the Pentagon and at the field in rural Pennsylvania on that balmy September morning 12 years ago victims to us; “casualties of war” for anyone  who applauded the events of that day.

Just words, I know, but try telling explaining either definition to Todd Beamer’s wife,  Barbara Olsen’s husband, the Kurdish woman cradling her dead brother, gassed by rebels.   Say this to the father of Martin Richard, the Boston  bombing’s youngest victim, the little boy with the charming smile who  wouldn’t live to see his ninth birthday.

Perhaps the specific term to be used here  depends on which side of the detonation device you’re on.

Goddamned Semantics. 

The Toenail

I often take my octogenarian mother to lunch.    We like to try different places, which is quite an effort since we now both  live in the same small town.    But huzzah for me and all the other former big city dwellers who had to get away from the insanity of the asphalt, San Antonio is a mere 20 minute drive away.   Still, my mother–an armchair Keynesian–likes to keep the local economy thriving, so she tries to keep her money flowing on the home front.    I humor her and we stay in town.  On this particular day, we decided to dine at a lovely sandwich locale that’s frequented by the Ladies Who Lunch set.    Some red hats, other are  red hots, but all affluent with tremendous amounts of free  time to shop and spend and fulfill the lonely, dark crevices of their lives with material shit.

You have to enter this bistro through a gift shop which sells ridiculously overpriced sundries.    Artsy crap that no well-heeled housewife and/or dowager should live without.

Mother lead the charge inside and as she passed a large, solid wooden stump–approximately 30-pounds– with some elaborate carving on it, she pushed it back to get it out of her way and when she did, it fell straight back and slammed down on the four inner toes of my right  foot.

I try not to make a habit of shrieking and wailing in public, but on that chilly January day, the people of this Teutonic burg I now call home, were audience to an up close and personal performance of my banshee impersonation.   It hurt like birth in reverse.

The wait staff ran out to my rescue, as did the manager who was more concerned about tort than my toes, but I assured her through tears, that my mother did it.   It was no fault of the restaurtant, other than offering horrible art in it’s venue.    My mother stood there, confounded by what had happened.   I looked at her face.  Try as she might, she simply couldn’t resort to her standard M.O.    She couldn’t find a way to blame this one on me.

She actually looked repentant and somehow found the words to say, “I’m so sorry!”     This made me cry even more because my mother rarely ever apologies.

When my shoe came off, my toes were red, starting to swell, but it was obvious the second toe had taken the brunt of the impact.  It had been flattened some…it was longer than the other toes.   It had the appearance of a wide egg noodle after seven minutes in boiling water.

A waiter handed me a Baggie filled with ice and I sat there a minute, but it was too little, too late.    My foot hurt like hell and I couldn’t move my toes.   It’s broken.      My mother and I drove to the nearest  Emergency Clinic, where I explained what had happened as I was being wheeled in the X-ray room.

A few minutes had passed.

“No breaks”, said the milk moustached doctor, four months out of med school.    “But you’ve  sustained a severe bruise.   This is going to be a painful recovery process, but take these pain pills and  this anti-inflammatory and keep off your foot”.

“Thanks Doc, but what about my mother?”

“What about your mother?  Was she injured too?”

“No, but isn’t this something that should be reported to Child Protective Services?”

He looked perplexed.

“Miss Kendrick, how old are you”?

“I’ll be 54 in April.”

“And your mother?”

“She’s 83.”

“I think you just answered your own question.”‘

I smiled and said, “Oh, I was just joking around!”

But I wasn’t  really.  I was already planning what I would wear in court for the lawsuit hearing, but the mind quelling wonder of a decent opioids banished any and all litigious afterthoughts.    My mother, for now, was in the clear.

Well as for my toes, they stayed red and swollen but for the second one,  in terms of width, it still looked flat in length.    A bruise formed down my foot, almost to my ankle and  there was bruising on the bottom of my foot, too.  Within a week, a blood blister appeared on top of the second toe and grew larger each day.     After a few weeks, it finally popped (with a little help from my digital prodding;  you know we women are)  and that’s when my skin started peeling on both sides.

The other toes recovered nicely, but not the second one.  It still hurt three weeks after.   The toenail was a lovely purple/black color.   Then during  the fifth week, post accident,  I could finally put  some weight on toe  and while it eventually went back to its original width, it was still red and longish.    How long?

  • While lying in bed, I could feel the top sheet with my now longer second toe, something I couldn’t feel before.  And even that hurt.
  • I could put that toe in my bath water to check the temperature.  I could submerge it for two seconds, long before the other toes could even get damp.
  • While sitting outside one afternoon, a bright red Cardinal swooped  down on it, thinking he had found supper to feed his family of five.
  • A random monkey approached me, looked at my toe and in fluent Simian screamed “Long lost sister!!!”

I could go on.

After some time had passed, I went in for a pedicure thinking a little toe rub would be nice.   Quan looked down at my foot and asked what happened.  I explained everything and included the timeline and then he said, “You gonna lose nail”.

At least, that’s what I think he said.

I went home and did some research and yes, my Vietnamese foot  fetishist was correct.   Very often traumatic toe injuries can result in the loss of a nail.  Well, I was floored.   This had never happened to me before.    Broken bones, internal injuries, smashed dreams and arrears of faith–yes, but losing a toenail??????


Three weeks later, my dog Bixby stepped on my toe while playing  “pull the chew toy”.    Talk about painful!!!!

The banshee is back, or so thought my fellow villagers.

I examined my toe and the nail was loose on one side.   I pulled it to get a better look and what did I spy?     A tiny fragment of new toenail growing along the base.    A few days, later it fell off.

What does one do with a toenail one’s body has deemed refuse and discarded?

I had no idea, so I did the only thing that seemed logical when things Mother Nature deems that certain things must be removed from the body.    I put it under my pillow that night with the hopes that the Toenail Fairy…or Dr. Scholl would magically sneak in my room under the guise of darkness,  take the nail and replace it with a crisp new dollar bill.

Or maybe a $20 if adjusted for inflation.

I awoke the next morning and immediately looked under my pillow.    The toenail was still there, as was a strain of foot fungus.  Don’t ask me how I knew that my sheets itched, but I knew it.

I washed the bedding in  hot water and as it was drying, I  painted a tiny purplish pink square on the skin where the old nail had been, you know—to match the other toes.

I’m nothing if not a fuss-budget about continuity.