Bonnie Blair, Michelle Kwan, and Me (Of course!)

photo by Sherlock77

Ice skating appears to be something that I do every thirteen years.  The first big event was for my thirteenth birthday, and the second looks like it’s going to be tonight.  Even though I’ll probably need the double-blade skates in the picture above, I’m excited about it.  I’ve even set a goal (because what worthwhile venture can be made without a goal?!).

The goal is to skate backwards with some semblance of confidence.  It’s probably a stupid goal, since there’s a good chance that I retained exactly none of the skill that I picked up the last time around.  But I think being twenty-six instead of thirteen will work in my favor.

Middle school isn’t known as a time of great confidence for anyone, so if I could merrily skate my way around an ice rink then, surely thirteen additional years of life experience and the mere fact that I’m not in middle school anymore will get me halfway to skating confidently backwards.

Then there are all of those hours that I spent as a child pretending that I was Bonnie Blair (on rollerblades, because I was in Texas).  And the hours that I spent perfecting a non-ice version of a single lutz.  Some of that time has to translate into awesomeness all of these years later.  If not, at least I’ll have a good time pretending that I’m graceful with all of the other Southerners who only see ice when the downtown rink miraculously appears for a few months each year.

And last but not least, I want to add a note about The South.  My mom was ashamed that I would even consider making a sweet potato casserole with marshmallows on top.  What decent Southern girl would let that thought cross her mind?!  I blame blogs with beautiful pictures, mostly, but I also blame my grandmother.  If asked, she probably wouldn’t have admitted to living anywhere other than Clinton, North Carolina for her entire life.  (There were in fact a few years spent in exotic locations like Greensboro, North Carolina.)  She was Southern in just about every way imaginable and proud of it.  And her sweet potato casserole had mini marshmallows on top of it.  That’s all I have to say about that.

Well, almost.  I’ll admit that the topping with brown sugar and pecans is better.  The marshmallows were just so enticing with their awesome symmetry and their slightly browned meltyness.  That’s really all I have to say about that.

Phone Phun

My family moved fairly frequently while I was growing up, so we were constantly acquiring new addresses and phone numbers.  My parents got pretty good at knowing exactly when to forward mail so that the least possible amount got lost in the shuffle, how to settle into a new home quickly, and all of the details that go with moving.  It seemed miraculous to me as a child. My mom’s mom was certain that we were running from the law.  To my knowledge, we weren’t.

One of the moves took us about an hour north of Houston, where we got a kind of high number of odd phone calls.  One or two of them could have been chalked up to run of the mill misdialed numbers, but they were a lot more consistent than that.

I was probably 5 years old, which means that my brother and I were home with Mom all day while Dad was off being a good breadwinner.  So the phone would ring (only during regular business hours), Mom would respond with her typical, “Hello,” and she would hear, “Hey, Darlin’!” at the other end of the line.   Mom is Southern, but being called “Darlin'” still caught her off guard sometimes.  It’s expected in line at the Piggly Wiggly, not from a stranger on the phone.

Sometimes there was an added, “How about 2 P.M.?” at the end of the greeting.  Hmm, indeed.  I didn’t actually think about that too carefully when I was 5.  I just knew it was weird.

Mom politely replied that she thought they had a wrong number.*  After we’d been receiving those calls for a good long time, she decided to ask a few questions.  Turns out that the nearby barber shop called “Charles and Darlene’s” had our same phone number with two numbers in reverse order (87 instead of 78 or something like that).  So they weren’t saying “Darlin'” at all.  They wanted to  make an appointment, and they assumed Darlene had picked up the phone.
I love how simple mistakes can turn into long-running mysteries.  These guys had no idea they were calling someone’s house and saying what would be really strange to a total, well, stranger.  They thought they were talking to Darlene, their friend who had been cutting their hair with Charlie for years and years.  I think my brother actually got his hair cut there, too.  Small mysteries and small mistakes make life so much more interesting.
The best misdial I ever got was probably when I flew into Panama and my phone somehow started intercepting lots of local calls.  It wasn’t nearly as mysterious as the Charles and Darlene’s incident, but it added some spice to my time in the airport.

*It’s probably important to restate that I was 5 at the time.  My memory could be completely wrong.  In Hannahland, this is how it happened.