Friday, May 9, 2008

Packing Claxtons

Miss Etta, I HAVE been having a thoughtful day. Been having a string
of them, actually . . .

Somebody I love deeply was recently the victim of a crime. Let's be
real clear about this: a crime was committed against HER. And while
she struggles still to move forward and eventually leave it behind
her, there are these two local women who insist on, as my Daddy used
to say, kicking her while she's down.

Can somebody please explain to me why that is? Why is it that when a
woman is the victim of a crime, some folks insist on making her the
CRIMINAL, too?

I was talking to Janet Dunn the other day, you know, the editor of
FayetteFrontPage.com, and she said that more people subscribe to the
helping hands blog than any other blog. Now that's good: people are
wanting to help other people, and lord knows there are plenty of folks
needing help these days.

It's good to share food and clothes and household items with those in
need. It's fantastic to help folks put together a resume and find a
good job. But what about helping individual people you run into while
you're out and about? What about folks you know who might be in need
of something as seemingly simple as kindness - maybe a hug the next
time you see them, maybe a quick email to say thinking about you,
maybe just a genuine heartfelt smile? Random acts of kindness are
fantastic, and I encourage them, but let's don't ever, ever, ever lose
sight of DELIBERATE acts of kindness Let's never forget that some
folks, maybe even most folks we see on any given day are carrying
around some kind of emotional need.

I tell you what: I think when a woman is the victim of a crime, we
ought to hold hands, form a large circle around her and say to no-
gooders "How DARE you." and "Don't even think about bothering her
right now." and to her: "Sugar, is there anything I can do?" and "Can
I get you anything?" Maybe even take her to get her hair and nails
done 'cause we all know that makes a girl feel so much better.

Yes, I think we ought to do things like that, NOT take potshots at HER
and throw rocks at HER. So what if an attractive young woman was in a
restaurant/bar? So what if she was wearing a sun dress (not a halter
dress, a sundress)? So what if she was wearing black patent leather
pumps? So what if she has long blonde hair? So what if she is drop
dead gorgeous? Does that make the crime HER fault? Don't women (and
men, too, but I'm talking about women right now) have the right to be
safe when they go out? Don't they have the right to go to a public
place to socialize with friends? Don't they have a right to wear black
patent leather pumps and lipstick?

Woman's inhumanity to woman . . . where does that come from?

If I live to be 1128-and-a-half years old, I will NEVER understand
this, fellow julep-sippers. It's a language I have never and will
never, by golly, become fluent in, this women spitting and slapping
and backbiting and hissing at other women.

What ever happened to EMPATHY?

I have tried to be philosophical about this, girls. Really I have. I
understand that people like to find meaning in everything (though I
surely can't see how re-victimizing the victim finds meaning in a damn
thing), and I know that thinking is a dying art (don't even get me
started - another subject for another day, girls). I know that black
and white type stuff is preferable cause it's so much easier to think
about and move on, but really: how much of life is that simple? Gray
is a color near and dear to my Southern, Confederate heart, and let's
face it: most of life is lived in the gray. Gray is, in my never-to-be-
persuaded-otherwise opinion, a wonderful, delicious, rich color that's
filled with possibilities and room to think and be individuals.

You know, my mother had this sister who gave Claxton fruitcakes as
Christmas gifts every single year. She'd drive on down to Claxton and
fill up the back of her car during the After-Christmas Claxton
Fruitcake Sale. Then she'd bring them babies home and load up her
freezer with them. In her mind, it was perfect: she saved money,
finished her shopping way early, and she never once forgot where she
stashed the bought-early gifts. (Personally, I always wondered if her
husband - the DENTIST - didn't pay for them out of his marketing
account, thereby saving/making even more money. Did you ever bite into
a year-old frozen Claxton fruicake???)

Now, Miss Etta, I know you mentioned Claxton fruitcakes a week or so
ago, and I mean no disrespect when I tell you that over the past
several weeks, I have fantasized more times than I can count about
hurling some of those year-old, frozen Claxton fruitcakes at a couple
of local womenfolk in hopes of knocking some sense in their heads.

If only I were licensed to carry Claxtons.

But I'm not, so I'm going on back to the front porch to swing and sip
something a wee bit (okay, a pretty good bit) (okay, a LOT) stronger
than a julep. Helps me think.

Miz Vul

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