FRESH YARN: The Online Salon for Personal Essays//Current Essays FRESH YARN: The Online Salon for Personal Essays//Contributors FRESH YARN: The Online Salon for Personal Essays//About FRESH YARN FRESH YARN: The Online Salon for Personal Essays//Past Essays FRESH YARN: The Online Salon for Personal Essays//Submit FRESH YARN: The Online Salon for Personal Essays//Links FRESH YARN: The Online Salon for Personal Essays//Email List FRESH YARN: The Online Salon for Personal Essays//Contact


Little Dogs Humping: Buckets of Love
By Paige Bernhardt

So Mom' s in the Army and Larry's shooting anything that moves and I' m racing back and forth on the porch barely clearing the buckets.

Mom found what she was looking for in the Army. She married a handsome Green Beret from West Virginia. And she stayed married to him for twenty-six years. They had my sister who I used to hate but now don' t.

In their 25th year of marriage, Mom started singing with a country gospel music quartet led by a guy named Gordon. In the 26th year, the Green Beret made her choose between the glamorous life of a professional country gospel music singer and twenty-six more years of doing secretarial work for free. `Kay, bye.

She married Gospel Gordon (the guy who puts his fingers up in rabbit ears behind somebody' s head in any picture he' s ever in. No, it' s really, really funny. Every time.) The gospel quartet broke up and so the newlyweds became a duo called "See the Light." Which, in their web address could be interpreted as "Seethe Light" but Mom didn't have a problem with that. I still don't quite grasp what it might mean, but I'm certain the implications are cosmic.

They bought an RV and started driving. They used to have a regular gig singing at Wal-Marts around the country. Usually at openings of new Wal-marts or when, say, a Division One store would upgrade to a Super Store. They' d be there. This gave them an income, supplemented by love offerings at various churches along the way. A couple of times they set up a fireworks booth at this one place outside Austin. Things were pretty sweet for Mom and Gospel Gordon.

Then the Wal-Mart gig dried up. I guess Sam Walton thought it might be too inflammatory for a middle-aged couple to be singing, "Have a Little Talk With Jesus" right next to the Britney Spears cutout and the rifle display. But they' re still out there, spreading the good news. (If anybody needs a W.W.J.D. bracelet or some Screamin' Petes firecrackers, I can hook you up.)

The Good News Truck and Trailer Show travels mostly in the South between West Texas and Florida. But they've driven up as far as New England and Canada in that thing. I can't figure it out. The damned RV keeps dropping parts along every major interstate. Every time I talk to Mom something new broke or fell off. One time it was the septic system. It leaked down under the floor of the RV, you know, between the floor and the bottom of the vehicle that sees the road. See? Like the worst S' more ever. Not to mention Mom occasionally just falls out of the thing altogether. When the door opens, a little step's supposed to automatically come out under it. Sometimes it doesn't. Mom just tumbles out onto the pavement. They also have a little schnauzer dog they' re trying to breed. Just take a moment and try to imagine a Saturday night in that RV. KOA campground on the outskirts of Baton Rouge, the Happy Goodmans playing softly in the background, Gospel Guy lovingly icing the wounds from Mom' s latest fall while they cheer the tiny dogs humping on the driver' s seat.

So, back to Christmas. (ha-HA) On Christmas Eve Mom calls. Gives me a complete rundown of her schedule for the next two weeks, which I immediately forget. Then her voice gets all soft and she says she needs to share with me something really, really important. Okay, shoot. (That' s me sounding casual.) Gospel Gene had a dream about me. Me. He dreamed I was drowning in the lake of fire. Sputtering and flailing and going down for the last time and all that. And she sounds really serious. Not casual at all. I resist the urge to tell her she' s a lunatic, hoping that on some level she already knows this anyway, and I tell her it' s just a dream. I ask her if she likes the new microphone I got her for Christmas. She says yes. Good. Gotta go. Love you. Love you the most (whatever that always means) and we hang up. And I don't give another thought that night to Mom, the humping dogs, or to Gospel Gordon' s dream until I wake up at five the next morning hot as fire with this weird burnt feeling on my tongue.

PAGE 1 2

-friendly version for easy reading
©All material is copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission

home///current essays///contributors///about fresh yarn///archives///
submit///links///email list///site map///contact
© 2004-2005