Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Common Threads

As part of my October Halloween/Samhain indulgences, I listened to an Audible version of American Witches - A Broomstick Tour Through Four Centuries by Susan Fair. Fair covered the penchant for claiming mostly older women were witches to be feared, jailed, tortured, and executed reaching as far back as the ships crossing the Atlantic to come to North, Central, and South America. 

Set aside the common thread that many of the bewitched were young women who required physical examinations by a room full of soul-troubled men searching for witch markings in the swimsuit areas and that those same men found it necessary to examine the accused for teats and marks of the devil. Examinations required stripping the accused and rough handling to be sure. Boner material Colonial New England style.

Near the end of the book, Fair tells the story of how the phony documentary that created the framework and viral buzz for the mockumentary The Blair Witch Project turned things upside down for a small town in Maryland. 

After viewing the faux documentary, people converged on Burkittsville, Maryland, in search of the witch, hoping to solve the mystery of the missing college students, convinced that there had been a conspiracy to cover up the violence and horror alleged to take part in the Black Hills Forest, a place that didn't even exist.

A theme emerged among some of those who traveled to Burkittsville - the children. They were going to save the children. Just like the dolt who took a gun to Cosmic Pizza in Washington, DC, to free the child sex slaves in the non-existent basement, these people went to Maryland to rail at the residents of Burkittsville who dared to have children is such a wicked and dangerous place. Even though none of the story about the witch, the missing students, or murdered children was true.

It strikes me that from the witch frenzies during cross-Atlantic voyages to the internet-inspired nuttiness following the release of the Blair Witch Project, these events highlight a human desire to latch on to the weird, the outlandish, the illogical. No facts can get in the way of a good mob mentality stoked by conspiracy. Especially if the victims are children.

The Colonials who clamored for witch drownings and hangings are no different than the people who invaded tiny Burkittsville, Maryland, to save the children from the Blair Witch, and there's little daylight between them and the people driving around with QAnon stickers on their SUVs and F150s.

We love a good spine tingler made all the better for a number of us when you throw in "but the children." If you want to rally the laziest among us, you can usually activate them with a pitch involving children in peril - physically, morally, and/or sexually.

And let's not kid ourselves, there's an underlying racial element, as well.

Trafficking women of color? Meh.

Trafficking children of color? I'm listening.

Trafficking white children? GET ME MY AK, BABY! IT'S PEDO SEASON!

Grabs his gun and heads to his truck with the Come and Take It window sticker and set of balls dangling from the hitch because he's going to save the children.

Monday, November 1, 2021

November 1 and All Is Okay-ish

It's November first and I have committed to writing a ridiculous number of words. Why, you didn't ask?

I have no idea. I think I miss writing.

Here's what I do know. Sort of.

It's transition time. It is mid-autumn. Halloween is over. Thanksgiving and Christmas are on the horizon. The days are getting shorter. The time is going to change. Mornings will be brighter, but night will fall so much earlier.

This is Davey's time. He loves the shortening days, the lengthening nights. He could easily live without the sun. If I could ever get him to get a DNA test, we'd probably learn he's got a bit of the Land of the Midnight Sun in those genes. Even when the sun is out, he's holed up in his cave with the shades closed and maybe, just maybe one lamp glowing. He's a vampire without the fangs and cool clothes. Can a DNA test pick up a vampire gene?

Meanwhile, I'm scurrying around, trying to convince myself this is all fine, I can handle the short days. I crave the serenity of the long evenings where I want to be in bed by 8pm and there are enough candles to keep a semblance of hygge if I embrace it. 

Is it okay to drink decaf loaded with milk and sugar at 6pm? Is it time for me to finally conquer that rommegrot recipe? If I'm going all in with the hygge, I'm indulging in the sweets, I tell you what.

Halloween has been stowed away for another year. Goodbye spiders crawling up the exterior wall, the giant web, the ghosts hanging from the front porch, and all those delightful vintage Beistle cutouts. You pumpkins, gourds and mums can stay. 

And yet it's too soon for Winter decor. I mean, I still have to tidy up the garden and put my tender plants under cover so I'm not ready for winter. And what is winter decor anyway?

Well, if you look at my Amazon cart (yes, I'm a big part of the supply chain and economic problems), it's some kind of mashup between Nordic and lazy. Pinecones, a Rookwood ceramic tree, a macrame thingy, and da-da-da- CANDLES. 

What was I saying? Oh, yes. Decor. Okay. Okay. It's not decor. It's slapdash, whatever my mood is, what I can afford with a few dear pieces thrown in. I keep telling myself that I should get rid of the thrift store finds, and antique store purchases that no longer speak to me. A lot of what I need to get rid of (read: donate) are a lot of those mismatched, no joy-giving Christmas decorations we've collected along the way.

I have a glass turkey. That'll hold me through December. The turkey has no choice.

Friday, October 29, 2021

Warming Up

 Light a clove cigarette given to me as a gift for performing a wedding.*

Click the bookmark for an archive of MTV's 102 Minutes.

Select Fadeaway by the Bodeans and listen. LISTEN.

Lean back in my broken down office chair and think about my ex-husband. The one I met at a Bodeans concert at Jakes in Bloomington, Indiana, in October 1987.

No longer together, but still friends of a sort, we share three adult children and two grandchildren. I'm now married to another - a good man who has loved me longer than I can imagine. My ex is in a committed relationship with a woman with whom he has so much more in common than he ever had with me.

Consider if you will what relationships are like when you are more or less fully formed. Adult. Mostly finished with the messy beginnings of adulthood. 

Consider contentment. What an underrated emotion when  you're 25, 30, 35....

Smoke that cigarette down to the filter because this kind of procrastination feels so damn good.

Let the Bodeans songs roll one into another on YouTube. 

See that I can still blow smoke rings. Listen to another song that takes me to the streets of Chicago as I walk to my first office job, Walkman earphones wrecking my hair and so what? It's all ahead of me. That first job lead to a career in which I'm still working. 

Note that to really hurt my feelings I should go look at the childhood photos of our children. But not today. I remember why I'm sitting at this desk and there's work to do.



*The wedding is tomorrow. They also got me a pipe, but that's a story for another day. 

Monday, April 13, 2020

COVID-19 Diary - She's Gone

The hardest part of any writing assignment is how to begin. When the writing assignment is your mother’s obituary, it might be best to work backward.

Rosie Hewitt was special. A daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt, cousin, elected official, administrative professional, 4-H leader, home-ec club member, community volunteer, and friend. She’s been described as sweet, caring, encouraging, and kind.

To know Rosie Hewitt was to know her smile and her laugh. She loved to crack a joke.

An avid reader of mysteries, a watcher of cooking shows, a fan of the Cincinnati Reds, Rosie had the most beautiful penmanship I ever saw. She enjoyed quilting, crossword puzzles, and watching Rick Steves’ Travels on PBS. She loved taking drives as long as the road wasn’t too curvy because she was prone to motion sickness. But that didn’t usually stop her from going along for the ride anyway.

A few years ago, she was itching to get out of the house and volunteered to be my lookout as I drove around the countryside taking photos of barns. We had a nice drive through Switzerland and Jefferson Counties and stopped in Madison for lunch at the Key West Shrimp House. It was a lovely day. I’m grateful for the memory. I lived away from the area for many years and couldn’t spend much time with my parents, so these moments mean so much to me.

Mom loved food. She enjoyed cooking and baking and still possessed the same Good Housekeeping cookbook she used in the 1970s. Even so, she loved trying out new recipes and her Pinterest account was full of recipes to try. (Oh, how she took to social media once she got started!) She made delicious fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy. Her Texas Sheet Cake was legendary, especially when served with Dad’s homemade vanilla ice cream.

Rosalie (Rosie) Anne Lawson met Paul Hewitt at the Frisch’s Big Boy in Aurora in 1958. They were married on March 19, 1960, in Rising Sun, Indiana. Rosie followed Paul to France where he served in the Army. There they lived in Orleans until Rosie left in 1961 to return to the United States to give birth to their first daughter Denise.

Two other children followed – Lisa and David.

Rosie went to work outside the home in 1970 as Ohio County (Indiana) Recorder, an office she held from 1975 – 1978. She followed that position with four years as the Ohio County Auditor after being elected in 1979. Later she was the Office Manager and Bookkeeper for Paul H. Rohe Co. in Aurora, worked for the Dearborn County Division of Family and Children and served as the Executive Secretary to Rising Sun Mayor Mark Guard from 1995 – 1999.

Rosie was involved in her community and wanted the best for her adopted hometown. In addition to working at City Hall and for the County, she served on several committees throughout the 1980s and into the early 2000s. She was the leader of the Lucky Charms 4H Club in the 1970s and 80s and directed some of the best Share the Fun skits to ever happen in this corner of Indiana.

After retirement, Rosie spent time with her husband Paul catching up on all those years when they were both working and so busy. They enjoyed getting together with the graduates of Aurora’s Class of 1956 for monthly lunches. Early in retirement, they traveled. More recently, they stayed closer to home, but still enjoyed drives to Vevay for ice cream at Shell’s and trips across the river for lunch at Jewell’s on Main. And while Dad stayed home, Mom took part in her Home-Ec Club activities and loved a day out with her sisters Jan and Nancy.

Rosie pushed us to do better, be better. She wanted each of us to reach our potential. For me, that meant forcing me to enroll at Ball State against my wishes. I told her many times how much I hated her then, but how grateful I was for the push. Because of my mother, I got to see, do, visit, try, and be things I never would have imagined.

In 2019, our family suffered an unexpected tragedy when David died as a result of a car accident. He was 49. Watching one’s parents survive a child’s death is impossible to describe. But Mom and Dad endured and although I know they suffered privately, they put on a brave face and got on with it.

And now our father, Rosie’s companion for over 60 years, will do the same. It’s been hard to lose someone during the COVID-19 Pandemic because we’re not able to grieve or give comfort as we know it. My sister couldn’t spend some last moments with Mom. She has a chronic condition that leaves her compromised. The required physical distancing meant that Dad and I could individually see Mom for 15 minutes before she died. While I could be with her, it meant that I had to leave Dad alone in the car. It was bizarre and sad and frustrating. While we are not the most demonstrative family, it’s been hard to not at least give him a hug during all of this.

The staff at Highpoint Health in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, could not have been kinder. They gave me the opportunity to talk to Mom on the phone while she slipped away. For that, I am grateful, too. There are so many people who won’t have the chance to say one last I love you to their dying loved ones.

I had a text from a friend who recently experienced the death of his father in this time of quarantine. He wrote that it will seem as if Mom won’t have the funeral she deserves. For someone who touched lives the way she did and who provided a kind word whenever she could, it seems a shame that we can’t truly celebrate her life.

This is my small offering.

Here are the standard details….

Rosalie (Rosie) Anne Lawson was born August 3, 1938, in Milan, Indiana, to Carlton and Gertrude (McMullen) Lawson. She was welcomed home by brother Carly and sister Jan. According to an interview conducted by my daughter Sophia Golden a few years ago, she was named Rosalie after the song by Vera Lynn. Her brother Dan and sister Nancy came later.

Rosie graduated from Aurora High School in 1956 and went to work for a small bank.

Rosie married Paul Hewitt in Rising Sun, Indiana, on March 19, 1960. They had three children Denise (Russell) Taylor, St. Leon, Indiana; Lisa (David) Williams, Rising Sun, Indiana; and David (Donna) who preceded Rosie in death.

Rosie is survived by her husband and daughter, her sister Jan (Wade) Turner, Rising Sun, and Nancy (Bill) Parks of Aurora, and sister-in-law Betty Burgess.

She is also survived by her grandchildren: Kenny Orem, (Rising Sun, Indiana; Clay Orem, St. Leon, Indiana; Chloe Golden, Bedford, New Hampshire; Nathan Golden (Kade), Rising Sun, Indiana; Sophia Golden, Euharlee, Georgia; Olivia Hewitt, Vevay, Indiana; and Drew Hewitt, Vevay, Indiana.

Rosie was also blessed with bonus grandchildren. Also missing her will be Zach (Nichole) Taylor, Harrison, Ohio; Nick (Andrea) Taylor, Fairfield, Ohio; Haley (David) Core, Pueblo, Colorado; and DJ Williams, Rising Sun, Indiana.

A prolific bunch, she also had one great grandchild: Samson Golden, Rising Sun, Indiana; and great stepchildren Anna, Sadie, Oliver, and Ziggy Taylor.

Others who will miss her include a long list of nieces and nephews: Connie (Denny Baldwin), Doug (Cindee) Scott, Karen (Jeff) Chase, Andy (Theresa) Scott, Ed Turner, Lori Turner, Todd (Denise) Lawson, Curt (Amanda) Lawson, Megan (Charles) Dunn), Danielle Lawson (Ken) Miller, Chris (Brooke) Lawson, Bill (Michelle) Parks, Jr., Cindy Collins, Michael Parks, Veronica Foster, Douglas Parks, and Jeremy Parks.  And many great nieces and nephews.

In addition to her son, Rosie was preceded in death by her parents Carlton Lawson and Gertrude Lawson Heitmeyer, stepfather Horace Heitmeyer, brothers Carlton (Carly) Lawson and Daniel (Lynelle) Lawson, brothers-in-law Wade Turner, Jimmy Burgess, sisters-in-law Linda Lawson.

Donations in Rosie’s name can be made to the Ohio County Public Library in honor of Rosie’s love of reading.



Friday, March 27, 2020

COVID-19 Diary - Wall

I woke up angry this morning.

I received some bad news yesterday. As I wrote a couple of days ago, I'm one of the lucky ones - I still have a job.


I'm taking a pay cut. It's a pay cut that creates a frustrating and, frankly, insulting situation.


I learned today that the largest employer in our little town laid off most of its workforce. As the Rising Star Casino wrote in the letter to its unlucky employees, should the casino reopen, the employees will be able to reapply for a position.

Ah, perspective.

I lost a good job in the economic crash of 2009. I was without work until March of 2012. It was a hard time for our family.  We lost a house, a car and eventually, a marriage.

I have never regained the salary level I lost in 2009.

My heart goes out to the people who have lost their jobs as a result of this crisis. Unlike 2009 when it felt like I was watching one friend after another slide over the edge from employment to unemployment, this crisis showed us what it would feel like to slam into a wall.


This kind of thing is traumatizing. Trust me on this. These people, like so many others, have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. None. We didn't see this coming.

I fear that harder times are coming. Please be kind to each other. Watch what you say and what you post on social media about jobs, the social safety net, people in need (they don't need you to broadcast your generosity if you help them out), healthcare, unemployment benefits (no one wants to be on unemployment), who works hard and who doesn't, who is deserving and who isn't.

You might think you're being funny, insightful, or clever, but take it from me - that stuff hurts. It's pointless pain. Keep your opinions to yourself because no one needs your shame right now.

When I was out of work, the economy was so bad that the Administration had to keep begging Congress to extend unemployment benefits. Every quarter was a nightmare while I fretted that my benefits would end and there was no job in sight.

One day I was scrolling through Facebook, having taken a break from trolling all the job posting websites, and I saw someone I'd grown up with posting about how all the lazy people who wanted more unemployment money should "just get a job."

I'd spent hours every day looking for a job. I'd applied for hundreds of jobs sometimes having to complete applications requiring so much detail that it took over an hour to complete.  In all that time, after all those applications, I had two interviews. One place didn't hire me, but the other did.

At half my 2009 salary and a much longer commute.

And I felt lucky to have a job.

I'm telling you this so you don't hurt someone with your words.

Sermon over.

Stay home if you can. Tell someone you love them. Make a plan for hard times. Wash your hands. Remember the Golden Rule.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

COVID-19 Diary - Life During Wartime

We're all thinking about and talking about the Coronavirus. We can't help it.

On top of the worry about the virus, we're watching our economy come apart at the seams as people are forced to stay home and not work. Restaurants and bars are closed or are only serving food via delivery and carry out. Many states have banned large gatherings. Houses of worship are closed. Shows and concerts are canceled. Tradeshows, conventions, and conferences aren't happening. Schools are shuttered. Colleges and universities are closed for the year. People are told to not travel. Most stores are closed. Casinos across the country have shut down. College and professional sports seasons aren't happening or are postponed.

March Madness did not happen. The 2020 Summer Olympics have been postponed until 2021.

These are hard times.

I'm one of the lucky ones. I still have my full-time job and continue to work from home the same as I have since 2014. Our entire staff team is now working from home which requires some adjustment for those who are used to working in the office at least three days a week.

To combat that isolation some are feeling, we're doing creative things like having a virtual happy hour every Thursday. We all log in to Skype for Business, fire up our webcams and cut loose. I mean, cut loose as much as one should in a work environment. We're a pretty careful bunch.

From many conversations, I'm learning that I am not alone in what I thought were my weird and over-the-top concerns and newly-acquired habits.

We wonder how to handle the mail deliveries. Spray it with Lysol? Let it sit for 24 hours before handling?

We have detailed conversations about how long this sticky virus lasts on surfaces. We Google for answers.

We tell tales of madness involving bags full of takeout food, what amounts to a decontamination procedure with clean dishes, hand sanitizer, and a group effort to not bring potentially virus spreading Burger King bags into one's home.

The dirty hands/clean hands swap.

We whisper about wearing latex gloves in public.

The pushing of Clorox wipes onto loved ones and strangers.

A dog who got a bath because a neighbor petted it right after returning from a trip.

It's only been two weeks.

On the flip side, this struggle is also showing us some extraordinary acts of kindness. People are pulling together while keeping their physical distance. Social media is full of stories about people pitching in, helping out, and doing good.

I had my own taste of that last night when I walked into my parents' house to find that they were Facetiming with all three of my children. My kids never had the chance to live near their grandparents so this was especially touching.

My dad marveled at the fact that they were right there - dialed in from New Hampshire, Georgia, and from across Highway 56. Mom and Dad can see the roof of Nate's house from their front windows, a fact that still rocks me back in wonder. Who would have ever guessed that would happen?

My grandson Samson gained control of his mom's phone at one point. He displayed his new phrase "night night." Chloe turned into a frog, a mouse, a giraffe, a monkey, a rabbit, and a chicken.

"And she's the educated one," Dad said.


Be well. Stay home if you can and especially if you're sick. Wash your hands. Tell someone you love them.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

COVID-19 Diary - Bomb

It's here.

Indiana is now under a Stay at Home Order issued by Governor Eric Holcomb.

Just in time! Or too late? Our tiny county has its first confirmed case of the Coronavirus. I don't know who the individual is, but I hope they heal quickly and stay safely quarantined so our community spread stays small.

Because someone who shall remain nameless failed to stay home and I went into his house to drop off food, I now have to add more names to my tracking spreadsheet and do the math.

Seriously, people. If you read one thing today, read that link. Or this one.

Here's the takeaway:

Now, math was not my subject, but even I know what exponential means. More to the point, I know what explode and bomb means.

Be well. Stay home. Wash your hands. Wash them again.