Friday, September 12, 2008

Ron meets Kerri's parents

For those of you that keep up with my blogs and writing. This is a sample chapter of a new book that hopefully will be coming out soon. It's the sequel to my first book " If I'm Waiting on God What Am I Doing in a Christian Chat room?" Warning..this chapter is not for the faint of heart. Read at your own risk...then enjoy and remember..I don't make this stuff up!
I remember when I first brought Ron home to meet my folks in Georgia. He had already talked to them on the phone. When we were first dating he even wrote my Italian father a letter asking for permission to date me. It was pretty cute. I mean who does that these days? Ask permission of the parents to date their daughter. It impressed the heck out of my dad. I remember telling my parents about my feelings for Ron in great detail when we first got together and my dad said "Kerri, I can tell this guy is different." I never got some huge explanation from Dad on why he thought that. But in all my years of dating guys and bringing them home my dad never once said anything overly positive. He was smart enough not to say anything negative either because my mother took care of all the nagging in that department and that only made me date them longer. The more my mother hated the guy, the closer I got to running off to Vegas and marrying him.

But over the course of a couple months I would call them and update them on my adventures in datingland. I had been on a dating hiatus before Ron so I think they were excited about the prospect of me actually making it down the aisle before they died. My mom always joked" I'm going to be so old at your wedding. They are going to have to roll me down the aisle in my wheelchair!" The older I got the lower her standards got as well. It really got a point when I was 29 and single that my mom told me" English was optional!" Poor Barb! Her one dream of having a wedding for her daughter was not materializing fast enough. But Ron showed her new hope.
So it came time to have Ron go down to Georgia to meet "The Parents!"

Anyway, my mom said on the phone to me, "I've invited a few friends over from church to meet Ron."

"How many?" I asked.

"Three, four, five, 50," she said. "I don't know Kerri, just bring him home! There will be pie!"

I was happy she was so excited to meet him. When I first called her and told her I had a serious boyfriend, all she wanted to know was, "Is he a doctor, lawyer or pastor?"

When I told her he was a comic, I think she stopped breathing. "But hey, he's Korean-Irish!" I told her. "Our kids can go to any college they want! And they'll be really good at math!"

My mother, being the politically-correct southerner that she is, regained her composure and said, "Well, I do have some Oriental rugs he might like to see. And tell him I spent a year in Vietnam, honey!"

Yeah well, to this day I'm not sure what either of those things had to do with Ron being Korean, but I've at least trained her not to say "Oriental" unless she's talking about a type of rug.

The day finally arrived. We pulled up to my southern home in Greensboro Ga. It's a replica of sorts of my mom's dream home from Gone with the Wind; everyone calls it Tara Two. I saw about 50 or so of my mom's closest friends standing outside our house, all wearing nametags and all waiting to meet my suitor. In true southern tradition, there were many types of pies and desserts, so Ron seemed happy, not scared. I had been down this road with ex boyfriends meeting my family but never to this grand degree. This was like some war veterans home reunion with all the people standing around waving us in!

We made our way through all the introductions. Everyone from the town barber to mom's pastor was there. It was more than awkward because we weren't engaged so all people could think to say was, "Congratulations on your, um, dating! Have you set a date for your next, uh, date?"

We just laughed and smiled and made the rounds. Ron went straight for the homemade southern pecan pie and strawberry shortcake. I was thinking of how to get through the evening without killing my mother. Then we decided to capitalize on the opportunity, as I had some of our comedy CDs in the car. We starting selling our CDs at the party and even got some of my mom's girlfriends to help. Ginger who knows everyone went around saying all the money would help the "Starving comedians fund" and secretly telling them Ron was saving to buy me a wedding ring! Whatever works! God love Ginger! We ended up making over $100, so all in all, it was a successful night and we were stuffed to the hilt. What more could you ask for and desserts?

The next day I went to tell Ron that my mom and I were going into town to do a bit of shopping. I knocked on Ron's bedroom door. He barely opened it and had this weird look on his face. All he said was, "Great. Go ahead I'll stay here! Bye!" and he ran back inside. I knocked on the door again, but he seemed to be busy in the bathroom so I just went downstairs and out with my mom for an hour or so. I thought this might give my dad and Ron a chance to spend some quality bonding time together. Ron might even get up the nerve to ask for my hand in marriage. After all we had survived the party. We might as well get onto planning the wedding. I wasn't getting any younger and neither was my mother!

When mom and I got home from a fun day of shopping, I went up to Ron's room. He was reading a book. I said, "How did things go while I was gone?"

In this totally manic voice, he said, "Fine. Fine. Everything's fine. Why do you ask?"

"Well because you look a little pale and my dad didn't say much about your time together, that's why!" I said.

"It's better we not talk about it," he said. "What happens at Tara Two stays at Tara Two!" He turned away and kept reading.

I went downstairs and found my dad in the recliner chair watching some John Wayne flick. I said, "Hey Dad, is everything ok? Did you and Ron spend some time together getting to know each other today?"

"Well, honey, we did do just that. He's a good kid but not too handy with the plunger if you know what I mean!"

"No, I have no idea what you mean."

He said quietly, "It's better we don't talk about such things, dear!" My family always had a strict code about discussing such things that happened in the bathroom...we didn't! As far as I'm concerned none of my family members even goes to the bathroom!

Turns out Ron had been upstairs in the guest bathroom using the facilities, and he had an issue with the toilet not flushing. And as luck would have it, he'd been binging on southern food for the past two days.

When he hit the flusher lever, the water came rushing upwards and outwards overflowing onto the bathroom floor! It was a total Meet the Parents moment of sheer terror for poor Ron. So he did what any good man would do; he backed away and prayed vigorously. "Please Lord make it go away. Make it go away." All of a sudden he heard a knock at the bathroom door and my dad's voice saying, "Ron? Ron? Son, is everything alright in there?"

"Yes Sir," Ron replied.

My dad said, "Just checking because there seems to be some sort of leak coming from your bathroom onto the laundry room floor downstairs. Just wanted to see if you have everything under control in there."

"Oh, it's under control alright, sir."

Ron then proceeded to pray harder for the rapture to come at that very instant. As he was praying, more and more "water" (use your imagination, or don't) was overflowing onto the floor and rug that he knew my mother cherished.

Ron had no choice but to open the door. My dad saw the shocking site. He immediately went into action, grabbing every towel, even the good ones that he knew would never be used again in that house and throwing them down on the floor. It still wasn't enough. My dad sprinted for the plunger. Ron insisted he give it a try first to save my father from dealing with such a disgraceful predicament, but Ron was like the little engine that couldn't. He tried and tried but to no avail.

As the situation got worse, my dad stepped in, and with a few well-placed plunges, was able to rectify the situation. They worked furiously as a team to clean up the crime scene and dispose of the evidence before the girls got home. They didn't exchange any pleasantries or make eye contact, so I'm told.

After it was over, they gave each other an awkward manly punch on the arm and parted ways. All my dad could manage to mutter on his way was, "We don't have to talk about this ever again, son. Don't worry."

Well, some might call that crisis bonding. Ron calls it God's payback for all the stupid things he's done in his life. We're both convinced there are no comedy clubs in Heaven; God and the angels just gather round and watch us all the time. It's like their heavenly version of Candid Camera.

I didn't hear all the details of what went on that day until after we had returned to California. I should have suspected something when mom's stolen Ritz-Carlton towels suddenly disappeared from our guest bathroom back home in Georgia.

I'm not sure I've mentioned this before but my mom is a total kleptomaniac when it comes to hotel stuff. She not only steals the shampoo, she displays it all in a basket in our guest bathroom; but only the fancy ones. !

So it was an eventful first parental visit for poor Ron, but he survived nicely. He particularly liked all the buffets of good old southern cuisine where "ambrosia and mac and cheese are considered vegetables." He got to see my family's roots and how we live, breathe and eat. Mostly eat. Well, there was some outlet shopping in there too, but really, it was all about the food.

I found out later that even after all the mania from the bathroom incident, Ron got up the courage to tell my Dad he was going to propose to me and ask his permission. He told him he'd do his best to provide a good life for me and honor me for the rest of our lives . My dad was overjoyed because those two were kindred spirits from the start. God really knew who was meant to join our family. It is true that you don't just marry the person you marry the family and in our case we both were getting a great deal. We were going to be one big happy Korean Irish Italian Southern family! God help us!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Fannie Mae's Birthday Outing

Hi guys
This is an excerpt from my mom's next book..if you like this check out her first one "Adventures of the Quarter Slot Sisters" at
It was the end of July and time for another "sisters" birthday outing. Fannie Mae was turning ???? and we thought she deserved a lunch and movie day. The movie "Mamma Mia" was playing and since most of the sisters (except me) had seen the Broadway play and since we all love Abba music we decided it would be a fun movie to see together. Bettie Sue volunteered to plan the outing and as rarely ever happens all the sisters were in town and could join in the fun. Another added surprise was that my daughter Kerri and granddaughter Lucy were visiting from California and Kerri wanted to join the sisters to see exactly what happened on one of our outings. Of course she had read all about our adventures, but that's not like a firsthand experience. Granddad Billy Ray jumped at the chance to have Lucy to himself all day so everything was set for our big day.

Since there would be nine in the group, we had to drive two cars so I volunteered my car as did Fannie Mae. Dixie offered to drive and I was only too happy to let her have the pleasure of driving my new Ford Lincoln. Trixie rode in our car and the other sisters rode with Fannie Mae. We were going to Athens (Georgia, not Greece unfortunately) and were to meet at The National, a restaurant recommended by Trixie. Now you would think that since Trixie had been to the restaurant that she would know how to get there, but as sometimes happens with the sisters, our sense of direction isn't always right on the money. We knew the address, but when we got to downtown Athens, we couldn't find the street. Most of the streets are one way so we had to be careful not to turn the wrong way as Dixie has been known to do on several occasions. Finally after a few wrong turns we saw the street and the restaurant and needless to say were relieved as we could imagine the other sisters sitting and waiting for us.

Now Trixie had told us that the restaurant was kind of eclectic (that's a big word for different) so we were anxious to see what she meant. To our surprise the other sisters were not at the restaurant when we arrived so that was a relief. The hostess showed us to our table and gave us menus to peruse (read) while we were waiting. About that time the rest of our group arrived and said they had no problem finding the restaurant and were just sitting in the car waiting when they saw us go inside. We secretly thought they were probably lost and riding around like we were but being the sweet sisters that we are didn't contradict their statement. After all the sisters said hello to Kerri and chatted a few minutes, we started seriously scanning the menu to find some delicious entrée to order. Well to say the items on the menu were different than anything I had ever seen is an understatement. Just to give a few examples: grilled Greek romaine heart with creamy feta dressing, red onion, tomato, kalamatas, banana peppers and oregano oil
manchego cheese with quince membrillo
jamón serrano thinly sliced with Spanish olive oil
pimientos de padrón Galician green frying peppers, sautéed with olive oil and sea salt (most mild, a few hot)
grilled baby octopus skordalia, parsley & paprika
Atlanta Wolf Fish
with creamy Calasparra-saffron rice, asparagus a la plancha, piperade and tahini
grilled flank steak (certified angus beef) punched red potatoes, arugula, fried piquillo pepper and salsa verde

Vegetable Plate
chickpeas and okra with yogurt and harissa, asparagus in a pistachio viniagrette, watercress tabbouleh, eggplant tagine with feta over couscous, and sugar snaps with a tomato-fenugreek sauce 17.00

Grilled Ashley Farms chicken breast & thigh
piri piri sauce, rice and black-eyed pea salad, okra,
yogurt and almonds 20.00

Tybee shrimp and Eggplant Tagine
herbed couscous, Split Creek feta, sugar snaps,
cilantro & sesame 22.00

Atlanta Wolf Fish
with creamy Calasparra-saffron rice, asparagus a la plancha, piperade and tahini 24.00

Pork Shoulder Steak
roasted Yukon gold potatoes, zucchini with smoked pepper, and a Serrano ham-buttermilk dressing 22.00

Flank Steak (Certified Angus Beef)
red wine marinated with punched red potatoes, arugula, caramelized tomato butter, horseradish cream and sautéed pimientos de Padrón 23.00

Now I ask you? Whoever heard of grilling lettuce and charging $8.00 for it? What in the world is a wolf fish and why would you want to eat it, especially with it covered with items we couldn't pronounce much less begin to guess what they were. We had to ask the waitress to explain most of the other items on the menu and even after an explanation we still didn't know what we would be eating if we ordered some of the courses. Now I will clarify that we were sitting at a long table and Miss Kitty, Dixie, Kerri, and I were at one end and couldn't hear the conversation at the other end so those sisters may have known what they were ordering, but the four of us just picked something and took a chance. Kerri and a couple of other sisters bravely ordered the grilled lettuce and most everyone else ordered some variety of what was described as chicken salad but did not resemble anything close to any chicken salad we had ever seen before. I will say that when our plates arrived, the food looked beautiful and the presentation was nice, but then we had to taste and see if we could determine exactly what we were eating. Kerri said the lettuce was tasty and our chicken (if indeed that's what it was) was pleasant enough and we all seemed to clean our plates so I guess we enjoyed it or were just hungry enough to eat mysterious foods. The waitress asked if we wanted desserts, but it was getting close to movie time so we decided to forego (that's skip) the sweets and maybe find a Krispy Kreme shop later. I mean how could any fancy dessert with unknown ingredients compete with a chocolate covered Krispy Kreme donut. Maybe for Fannie Mae but not for the rest of the sisters. So we paid our bills and left the restaurant with everyone commenting on a very unique dining experience and some of us realizing that we needed to take courses in a few foreign languages if we were going to be frequenting more gourmet restaurants. It's not a bad idea to keep the brain sharp by learning new things.

Miracle of miracles we found the theater without any delays and they were actually showing matinees. That was the same theater where we had attempted to see two previous movies and when we arrived the theater was closed and there were no matinees even though the phone message had given an afternoon time. We surmised (concluded) that it must be because school was not in session and they showed matinees during the summer. At any rate we were happy to know we could see "Mamma Mia" without having to drive across town to another theater.

We purchased our tickets and Kerri wanted popcorn (I guess because her grilled lettuce wasn't filling) so I bought a small popcorn and small coke and forked over $9.00. Wow that was almost as much as two movie tickets. We found the theater and walked in and were surprised to find that we were the only people in the theater, but just thought that was good that we would have a private viewing. After we sat for a few minutes chatting, we realized that it was five minutes past time for the movie to start so Lullabelle said she would go find out what the problem was. With our luck they might decide not to show the movie to just 9 people. She came hurrying back in a few minutes to say that we were in the wrong theater even though the sign over the door said "Mamma Mia". Apparently they were showing the movie in more than one theater but hadn't bothered to tell us, but
"sisters" are never upset by small mistakes so we just hurriedly exited and found the right theater. Actually there was no need to hurry as we then sat through 20 minutes of previews or trailers as they are called in the modern world.

We all enjoyed the movie and decided that if Meryl Streep and Julie Walters could sing and dance at their age which isn't so terribly much younger than most of our ages (which we will never tell) that maybe we should try our skills at those exercises. We also agreed that even though Pierce Brosnan's voice needed some help, we didn't care because he was so delicious to look at. As I said we love ABBA music and the scenery in Greece was breathtaking so we decided that maybe we should plan a trip to that country instead of Athens, Georgia. But we would pick a location closer to the water so we wouldn't have to ride donkeys up the side of a mountain to get to our hotel. We didn't ride donkeys in our twenties so certainly don't want to experiment in our retirement years. Oh, and our hotel would definitely have to have more amenities (that's private rooms with baths and room service). I'm not sure if you need air conditioning in Greece, but the "sisters" don't like to sweat so if it's hot we would need that service as well. So after fantasizing a few minutes we decided to divide and conquer the sales at nearby stores.

Since Kerri had left little Lucy with granddad we didn't want to be too late getting home so we told the sisters we had to leave in about 45 minutes and Miss Kitty, Dixie, and Bobby Jo opted to ride home with us. We said our goodbyes to Trixie, Lullabelle, Fannie Mae, and Betty Sue and thanked Betty Sue for planning a very fun day. After a hurried foray (search) through Stein Mart and T J Maxx where Kerri and Miss Kitty made purchases we piled in the car for the ride home. We were all thirsty so made a quick run through the drive thru at Chick fil A. Sadly the Krispy Kreme was not on our way home so that stop would have to wait for another day.

Our drive home was enlivened by Miss Kitty relating yet another disaster that could only happen to her. She and Buddy had recently purchased a beautiful home in the North Carolina Mountains much to the "sisters" delight since we were looking forward to spending time there during the hot months of the southern summer. It seems that Miss Kitty had left Buddy on top of the mountain and driven his big pick up truck down to the local grocery store. The parking lot was crowded and the only empty space was right next to the grocery cart return. As she pulled into the space she misjudged the size of the truck and somehow managed to go in at such an angle as to wedge the side of the truck so close to the cement post that she couldn't get her door open or back up without scraping the paint off the truck. Her first thought was to call Buddy to get him to come help, but then she realized that he didn't have any transportation. What to do??? About that time she a spotted a man and little boy in the truck next to her and rolled down the window and asked the man if he could help. He got out of his truck and came around to her driver's side and looked over the situation and said something to the effect of "lady you're in a real tight spot here" which she already knew. He then went back to his truck and got out a tool chest (how handy was that?) and proceeded to unscrew all the bolts holding the post in place and literally lifted it out of the ground and moved it over so she would have room to back up. Since she still couldn't open her door wide enough to get out she had to thank him through the window. He said "you're welcome" and was kind enough not to add anything else about her driving capabilities. She said the little boy was watching the whole proceeding and looking at her like, "how did that lady get a driver's license"? She quickly backed up with the man watching and waiting so he could replace the post after she was far away. She found another spot where she had room to open her door and get out without any more attention getting episodes. Buddy of course was not at all surprised when she told him the story as he is used to the unexpected happening to her. He was however thankful that she was able to get groceries so they he could have dinner that evening.

After relating that adventure, Miss Kitty said "you know I think I knew early in my childhood that unusual things were going to happen to me". We all responded with "why is that"? She said when she was about eight years old she and a friend bought two of those huge lollipops that we called "all day suckers" since it took all day to finish licking them. They were walking down the sidewalk in the little Arkansas town where she lived when an old white haired lady passed by. Somehow Miss Kitty's sucker got stuck in the lady's hair and the lady started screaming and pulling at her hair but the sucker only gathered more of her hair. Then she started yelling unpleasantries (that's putting it nicely) at Miss Kitty who didn't know what to do. She had always been taught to respect her elders and not talk back but she really wanted her sucker. She tried to pull it free of the lady's hair but it wouldn't budge and the lady screamed louder. Finally the lady jerked the stick out of Miss Kitty's hand and took off down the street with the sucker still stuck in her hair. When she was out of sight Miss Kitty and her friend started laughing hysterically at the sight of the old lady running down the street with a huge sucker in her hair. Of course Miss Kitty still was upset to have lost her treat. Thankfully the lady didn't know who she was so couldn't report the incident to her mother.

After hearing that story the "sisters" agreed with her that that was probably the first of the many adventures in her life which we had either witnessed or heard about during the days of our friendship with her. She certainly had entertained us for many hours over the years and we all loved hearing her stories.

By the time Miss Kitty finished relating her tales of woe we were back in the parking lot where the sisters had left their cars. We hugged and said our goodbyes and they all said how nice it was that Kerri had joined us for the day and Kerri responded by saying how much fun she had being with us. Kerri and I then drove home to find that Lucy and granddad had enjoyed a wonderful day of visiting everyone in the shops in the small town near Magnolia Plantation, our home. I think Lucy was more tired than her granddad. So it had been a fun day for everyone and Kerri would have stories to tell her friends when she got home to California. After all it isn't every day that you can travel with the "Quarter Slot Sisters"