“Baby Darlin'” By Ayne Rhodes

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The great escape a drunken hitchhiking trip to Hope Ranch Beach. 5 years old and I was my cousin Billy’s road dog. Billy was two years older than me, very sneaky and full of “ADV’s”. He showed me how to chug Tanqueray straight outta the bottle with an A&W Root Beer chaser. Burned my throat, warmed my chest and made my head just foggy enough to remember Billy and I were on our own dropped off at Grandma’s where the Myers Curse resided at  the top of the hill on the edge of Via Hierba Drive. Foggy enough to forget my Momma was trying to manage her schizophrenia with Popov Vodka. The fire trucks would come about once a week to make sure she was o.k. when she was flailing on the ground while grandma pushed a spoon down on her tongue. Grandma told me she was choking on an ice cube.  If she started yelling they kept her cozy by putting her in a white coat. Sometimes she would get to ride in the fire truck. I would get to visit her at the hospital. The nurses gave me great snacks crackers and cheese with the red stick, red jello, hot chocolate. Momma’s new friends were weird, all bugged eyed and talked nonsense. Billy’s mom was running with her Colombian  drug smuggling boyfriend on some dumb airplane on route to get more “baby powder’. Why did they sniff that stuff up their nose with all this talk about Superman? Weird. Does it make you feel different? Like Supergirl? I  might have to try it!

Sneaking a few of grandma’s Coors before we started down the drive, just to make sure I felt like supergirl and could swim to the raft without Billy calling me a dumb snaggletooth broad. Grandma wouldn’t miss a few of her Kools every hour was “Happy Hour” for her and I wanted  to pretend I was the lady in Breakfast at Tiffany’s with the long cigarette thing while I ruled the beach.

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