Tag Archives: angels

Trucks in the Sand

She ran through the woods, breaking through beams of sunlight as her laughter trailed behind her. In the exuberance of her youth she was never winded. Her feet moved from dirt to water to leaves without thought as she chased her dreams down the slope of the ravine. Miles away, he pushed his truck through the sand. The sounds of squeaking swings and children’s voices filled the air around him. His lips vibrated with the noise of a motor and he maneuvered his vehicle across the sandbox, planning his upcoming attack. They had never met. Their eyes had never locked in a glance. He had never heard her sing to her baby doll and she had never watched as he tried to be brave after falling and skinning his knee. Yet years later as she lay in bed, twisting to find the ultimate position of comfort then drifting off to slumber as gently as a summer breeze through an open window; he stood guard in the heat of the desert, eyes alert and mind racing; as trucks rolled by in the sand. He would protect her with his life, this girl he’d never met; now a woman with children of her own. He would not question her devotion, but persevere in his. He was bound by honor, by duty, by destiny; and giving up his freedom to protect hers was as natural as the blood that coursed through his veins. She would never know him. She would never know why he chose to serve her. Some days went by and she didn’t even think of him. But in her heart of hearts she knew he was there and she took comfort in it. She prayed that a gloved hand would never pause above an officer’s brow as his mother clutched a folded flag. And whenever she saw one of his comrades in an airport or a grocery or on the street, she would thank him; even though she knew her words would never reach them all. Miles away, she was the last thing on his mind, yet he continued to fight for her as if she was in his heart.

My Angel

When I was a student at Auburn University, I would often go to Birmingham to see my family. Rachel was very involved in sports, with four Varsity letters her senior year. I would sometimes take Anne or other friends, but usually I would travel alone. I took the Highway 280 route, because I enjoyed the scenery. (I’ve never been much for the interstate). I didn’t really feel comfortable traveling alone all the time, however, and was always happy to reach Waverly. Waverly, Alabama, is this town the size of a dime that sits right on Highway 280. I would travel at all hours, but it never failed, when I got to Waverly, my friend would be waiting. There was a man there. He was tall and thin. He had reddish hair and glasses and appeared to be mildly retarded. Whenever I passed through, he would stand at the road and catch my eye. He would smile boldly and wave. I would, of course, return the smile and the wave. On the way to Birmingham, it was toward the beginning of my trip and it would always comfort me for the rest of the drive. On the way back to Auburn, it was toward the end of the journey and would let me know I had almost arrived safely. It didn’t matter if it were six in the morning, four in the afternoon or late in the evening past midnight. When I went through Waverly, he would be there. I noticed after a few trips, that he was only there when I was by myself. I thought maybe I hadn’t noticed him, because I had been chatting or something, so I started to look for him. The pattern continued. He was only there when I was by myself. There he would be in the graveyard, or walking a dog, or mowing a lawn, or standing by the road, but he was always there when I was alone, almost as if he were waiting for me. After graduation I moved to Birmingham. I did still go through Waverly on occasion on my way to Eufaula, but I never saw the man again. I thought about him, however, every time I would drive through with my friends. I sort of missed him. I even thought about stopping and asking a resident what happened to him. But I thought it would show little tact, even for me, to stop and ask a perfect stranger if they had seen a retarded man wandering around. Two years passed. Shortly after I married, my great-grandmother passed away. Jay and I went to Eufaula for the funeral. I remember going through Montgomery to get there. It seemed like such a long trip. I wondered if it just felt that way because of my inability to deal with death or funerals was hanging heavy in the air, or if it was just because I hated driving on the interstate. After the funeral, I was out of sorts. It had come time to leave, and I requested that we please go home via Highway 280. I sat back in the seat and cried for the first hour. It was pouring rain and cold. I put some music on to try to sooth me, but nothing seemed to help. The road we traveled was so familiar, that I just melted into the journey. No words were spoken between Jay and me until we reached Waverly. We were driving slowly due to the hard rain. I was yanked out of my daydream when Jay said, “That man is smiling at you.” I just looked over at Jay, confused. “That man, he’s standing there in the rain just smiling at you,” He repeated. I looked up and saw the smile that had greeted me time and time again. I looked up just in time to see a tall, thin, red haired retarded man with glasses standing next to the road in a driving rain grinning at me and waving with enthusiasm. I turned quickly in my seat to watch him as we drove away, but he was gone. I have never seen him again. I decided he was my angel. He was always there to guard me when I traveled alone, and he had been there to comfort me after the death of my great-grandmother. I think about him standing there in the rain sometimes and get chills. Of course, I’m not sure it it’s ironic or fitting…my angel being retarded and all.

Episode 11, The Final Rose and Beyond

There really isn’t any reason for you to have missed the most dramatic rose ceremony ever last night on ABC’s the Bachelor. I mean, they drug the thing out for over three hours. But in case you missed it, here is my weekly re-cap.

I don’t know where you’re from, but I grew up in the South. And back in Sweet Home Alabama, as soon as a girl comes into this world she starts thinking about Football and Fantasy Dates. (She also gets excited about firearms, but we try to tone that down these days. It seems our love of guns has hindered us from advancing in the Fantasy Date department and we end up on an all girl tackle football team, not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

I had the distinct honor of watching the most dramatic rose ceremony ever with the Nashville Bachelor Fantasy League. This group watches the show religiously and makes their picks and predictions bracket style much like a Fantasy Football League. I’ve got to say, I haven’t been around this many crazed fans screaming at a television since my Alma Mater won the BCS Championship game back in January (War Eagle!). There was excitement in the air, and with good reason. This was the night that we would find out the outcome of the most controversial season ever of the Bachelor!

The episode began with the traditional summary footage of what has happened so far and Chris Harrison’s narration of what is about to come. Cape Town, South Africa got their money’s worth again with breathtaking views coupled with the Lion King soundtrack. Brad oozed about how important it is for his family to meet these women and we see Mom, his two brothers and their wives make it slowly up the mountainside through the lush vegetation. Luckily, there was a minuscule trail already there, so Mrs. Womack didn’t have to use a machete to make her way to her giddy son who stood on the balcony yelling for them to hurry up. Mom dressed the part in a leopard print sweater set and Brad started bawling like a baby as soon as he saw them. His twin, Chad, looked less identical to him this season, but I assume if I looked exactly like someone who every woman in America hated, I’d drop some pounds and change my haircut, too. The family rallies to express to the world that Brad is a changed man and that this time it is for real. He tells them that he is going to propose this time around and everyone just couldn’t be happier.

Chantal comes to meet the family first, and Brad foreshadows the Good vs. Evil theme when she arrives and he says “speak of the devil.” She meets the family wearing an odd, backless potato sack shirt and immediately tells them that she is in love with “Bradly.” She tells the brothers that she would marry Brad right on the spot if he asked her and they ate that up. They think that since she was married before that she must be taking this seriously. The brothers have a tribal semi-circle on the rocks below the house to discuss Chantal while she sits and talks with Brad’s mom. She tells her that she would rather be alone than with the wrong person. She said her favorite times with Brad have been their real world moments. Although everyone was drinking white wine before Chantal’s arrival, now everyone has switched to red wine – switching to the dark side. On her way out, she tells Brad that it’s over and he’s hers. He tells her “Easy, I don’t want to tell you that.” To which she responds, “Don’t then.” Whoa, personal foul, fifteen yards, still first down. If they hadn’t been smiling, that dialog would have almost seemed like two kids fighting in the sandbox.

Emily shows up in a very tasteful dress and Brad jumps up with excitement when the doorbell rings. It takes about four seconds for things to get awkward when Brad’s brother asks about her family and it comes out that she has a daughter. This is a game changer for everyone. Whistle blows; too many  men on the field, five yard penalty, still first down. Wes asks if Ricki’s father would mind if they moved to Austin and Emily shared with them that her baby daddy was dead, although the word dead has still never been said. It is always explained as “the plane didn’t make it there.” Emily gets extra points for courage and perseverance and has already won the game as far as Brad’s family is concerned. Back at the tribal rock, Chad points out that if Brad chooses Emily that it will be an instant family and that there would be no more quiet nights at home watching T.V. and Brad tells them he’s ready. His brothers are blown away that Brad lights up when talking about both Emily and her daughter. Emily and Mrs. Womack bond as mothers and Pamela slips into her Team Emily jersey as she cries in confessional about how great Emily is. As Emily leaves, the camera catches her bracelet with the letters JRH in diamonds. (Before you jump to conclusions that it stands for her boyfriend that didn’t make it there, Joseph Riddick Hendrick IV, her daughter’s full name is Josephine Riddick Hendrick, so I’m going to go with that.)

During some family time, after meeting both women, Brad tries to be nice and say he has his work cut out for him, but it’s clear that the Womacks are all on Team Emily. The women like that she’s a mom and on their level. Chad gets two points for calling Emily poised and Pamela says that Emily is the whole package and says that she thinks Emily is the girl that he’s going to marry. Even though Brad says that his family has made it clear that Emily is the girl for him, we still have over an hour left so it’s time to go on some dates.

Brad decides to take Chantal’s fear of water up another notch and plans for them to swim with the sharks. By swim with the sharks, he means get in a wetsuit, climb in a cage secured to the side of a boat and have somebody lure a shark over to them by dangling a giant fish head on a hook in front of them. None of this was dangerous enough to make it to Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, but they act like it was the most amazing thing since the invention of fire. I’m sure they had some typical lovey dovey conversation afterward, but I couldn’t focus on anything but Chantal’s cleavage. I haven’t seen that much boob protruding from behind a single zipper since Tara Buckman and Adrienne Barbeau got pulled over in their Lamborghini Countach in Cannonball Run. That night they share some wine and Chantal gives Brad a little map she made charting their journey together. She gushes the whole time about how amazing everything is and how she loves Brad. It is so over the top desperate that I’m surprised Brad doesn’t break out into hives. Penalty, intentional holding, ten yard penalty, still third down. As Brad leaves the date, his body language makes it pretty clear that Chantal will not be getting a after the half time show proposal.

Emily arrives for her date with a pair of boots and the world’s shortest shirt-dress. Not only is this the windiest day in the history of South Africa, it is the first recorded partial lunar eclipse in the middle of the day as Emily jumps out of the helicopter and exposes her right butt-cheek. Offsides on the shirt-dress, penalty is declined, the play stands. Brad continues his streak of ho-hum dates with Emily and they spend their time chatting on the side of a cliff. Brad sits awkwardly to the front of Emily so that the camera man can film her without being exposed to her Southern Hospitality. (That looked like blocking to me, the refs must have missed it.) That night, Brad goes to Emily’s room for some more conversation. It’s at this point that I notice that Emily constantly tugs up the left side of whatever top she is wearing. Is her left boob larger than the other? What is the deal with this? She did it earlier with Brad’s mom in the purple dress. She does it later in the white dress. She does it at the After the Final Rose show. She has done it every single episode in every single outfit. She does it constantly. Oh my goodness, Oh my Lord, I just missed half of what they were saying because I was so concerned about the size of her left boob. Brad tells Emily that he’s all in and wants to be a real father to Ricki. He all but gets on one knee. Emily wants him to make sure that he is serious and points out that it will not all be fun and games and that it will not be coming home to watching football every night. Brad starts to have a panic attack and excuses himself to get some water. Emily fears she may have screwed the pooch (as they say back in her neck of the woods) and everyone in the Nashville Bachelor Fantasy League breaks into mild hysterics. Look, I’ve got kids. I see where she is coming from. Plus, isn’t this the same thing that Chad said to him back in the tribal semi-circle? What’s the big deal? False start, proposing without really proposing, fifteen yard penalty, fourth and long.

We’re getting close, kids! Brad spends some time at his favorite place, the balcony and the recap with Brad’s voice-over begins. We see Emily wake up like a fairy princess in her sleeper set with little hearts all over it and then we see Chantal heave open her curtains in her sports bra and wife-beater. Their journeys unfold before our eyes and the voice-over is edited in such a way that we think Chantal may have a chance after all. All the while, Chantal soaks up the sun with a stout beer, Emily stares up into the heavens and Brad walks around taking a lot of really deep breaths. Neil Lane shows up with some pretty impressive bobbles and Brad selects one of the most fantastic engagement rings in the history of man. Brad tells Mr. Lane about the first time he went through this and about how he didn’t pick anyone. The jeweler just looks at him like, “Dude, I’m just here for the free air time, I really don’t care,” and then Brad heads back to the balcony for more heavy breathing. Chantal spends her afternoon crying in her room to the camera, while Emily spends her afternoon thinking about possibly trying to cry, but tugging at the left side of her dress instead.

Brad puts on one of the most impeccable suits I’ve ever seen off of the red carpet and heads to the rose ceremony site. Chantal and Emily finish up their make up and slip into their dresses. Chantal picks out a devilish, black, one shouldered number with a feather flower detail at the top. One of the NBFL members, pointed out that this was a good choice since black is slimming. Emily chooses a creamy white, draped dress suitable for the Greek goddess of goodness that she is. Even though white is not slimming, she still looks like a million bucks. As Brad waits at the ceremony site we listen to more voice-over and wonder who it will be.

Chantal is the first to arrive, and although they certainly can edit this anyway they want, it’s pretty clear by the look on Brad’s face, that she isn’t getting the rose. She walks down to Brad thinking about how thin the black dress is making her look, completely unaware that the hangar strap is protruding out of the top left side of her dress. Brad is trying his best to smile, but all he can muster is a grimace at best. About four seconds into it, it’s pretty clear that Chantal can just hang it up. Luckily for her, the hangar strap is just about completely out of her dress now, so hanging it up will be relatively easy. She cries her eyes out as Brad tells her that he loves someone else more. She is gracious enough and says that Emily is a lucky girl and he walks her back to the limo. Once in the limo, she has a complete come apart; partially because she just got dumped and partially because the Spanx she’s wearing make it impossible for her to breathe. Whatever brand of  mascara she’s wearing is some serious stuff, because she’s got tears under her nose, below her chin and rolling down her cleavage and that stuff hasn’t run a bit.

As soon as Chantal has left, Emily arrives in a cloud of love and light. Rainbows burst into the sky and little bunnies hop along the walkway as she makes her way to Brad. Butterflies dance about and birds sing as Brad stands at the end of the walkway waiting for Emily. He cannot contain his happiness. He tells her how wonderful she is and how great she makes him feel and asks her to spend forever with him. As he drops to one knee and pulls out the ring, he asks for her hand and she says yes. The both get caught up in kisses and I love yous, and the fans go crazy! It’s Emily for the win! It’s Emily for the win! It’s Emily for the wiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnn! And with one final highlight reel of Brad and Emily’s best plays, we are ushered into the post-game wrap up show, After the Final Rose.

After the Final Rose:

The audience is all a flutter as Chris Harrison welcomes everyone to the show. He wastes no time in bringing out the first guest, the girl who didn’t win, Chantal. The girl must have taken her heartbreak out on the Treadmill, because she looks amazing. Break-up’s been very, very good to her, as it looks like she’s dropped about thirty pounds.  It takes her about 2.4 seconds to start tearing up and express that she still doesn’t understand why she wasn’t the one. But she says that she doesn’t have regrets at all. They bring Brad out to join the interview. I haven’t witnessed anything more awkward on a sofa since Tom Cruise jumped up and down on Oprah Winfrey’s back in 2005.  Chantal pushes Brad to tell her when he knew he didn’t love her. He told her he didn’t want to hurt her and was as respectful as he could be, but she kept pushing the issue until he basically told her that he just didn’t love her. Late hit, unsportsmanlike conduct, fifteen yard penalty, and you’re out of the game. Brad realizes that Chantal is crying and not laughing and they hug it out. Next Chantal reveals that she has a new boyfriend anyway, and that if not for the process through the Bachelor, she probably wouldn’t have been in this new relationship. Wait a minute. Why is she sitting here scrutinizing game footage when she has moved on to another sport? If you watch this later on video, this would be a good time to fast forward. After a commercial, The crowd gasps as they find out that Brad and Emily have broken up, gotten back together, set a wedding date, changed a wedding date and may or  may not still be engaged. After small talk with Brad and another commercial, they bring out Emily (sans engagement ring) and she glides across the stage and sits next to Brad. She has taken a makeover cue from Ashley H. and her hair is the slightest bit darker. She has transformed from Barbie Fairy Princess to Grace Kelley. They discuss how the media has blown things out of proportion or in some cases just made things up. Brad expresses that he is in love with Emily and that he will marry her. Emily says that they are still engaged as she tugs up the left side of her dress, however, she is not ready to get married right now. Delay of game, half the distance to the goal, first down. She tells the world that Brad has a temper (Although it doesn’t seem to be as bad as Jake Pavelka. Of course, in Jake’s defense, that Vienna chick could make Mother Teresa want to punch somebody.) Emily talks about how hard it was to watch Brad go through the motions with the other girls on the show. She also pointed out that she seemed boring on T.V. because she had dates that consisted of flying kites and having picnics instead of jumping from cliffs and swimming with sharks. Chris Harrison brings up that perhaps she is once again trying to sabotage this relationship (like she has confessed is an issue with her) and Chris brings out some past Bachelor couples. Am I the only person that feels like the Bachelor just did a crossover to that Intervention show? Holy crap, it’s a live intervention for Emily right here on ABC! Pass interference, five yards, spot is at the goal. Chris asks her what it is that she questions and has the other couples try to talk some sense into her.

Jason and Molly point out that bloggers (such as myself), the media and even the shows as they air don’t really matter and that they should focus on each other and Ricki. Since Jason had a child prior to doing the Bachelor, and since he was once “the most hated man in America” after “the most controversial moment of Bachelor history,” they certainly are qualified to start off the intervention. Ryan (of Trista and Ryan) says they need to move forward together. He brought up some analogy about being in a row-boat together and paddling toward the island of utopia. Alli shares how Roberto always reminds her that it’s “just us” and that no one else in the world matters, nor do the things they have to say. Roberto shares how seeing things on the show really confused him, but that he had to just trust that in the end he is with his soul-mate and the show didn’t matter. Chris points out again that the Bachelor contestants of the past are really a family and that they are always there for each other.

After the break, Emily and Brad get to watch the footage of their proposal, which they have not yet seen. They utilize the screen in screen option so that we can watch Emily melt into Brad like butter on hot toast. (Kudos to one of the NBFL members who pointed out that in the show footage, the ring box carried the Neil Lane logo inside, but in this footage the rig box did not.) Emily seems to have come around and Brad pulls out the amazing Neil Lane ring (that has been properly sized) and slides it once again on her finger. Everyone is smiles and giggles and it seems like the Bachelor franchise is back on top in the Championship of Love. Chris Harrison thanks everyone, reiterates that the couple are indeed engaged and does a quick plug for the upcoming Bachelorette and Bachelor Pad.

But wait, there’s more! Flash forward to Jimmy Kimmel Live!

I have to say, I was secretly hoping they would choose Madison as the next Bachelorette. They could film it in Forks and the winner would not only win her heart, but they would get to become immortal. But I guess the producers at ABC figured there would be a bigger draw for plates of cheese fries with gravy and free dental work. That’s right, Jimmy Kimmel announced the next Bachelorette is Ashley Herbert. (You know, she’s from Madawaska, Maine, up there next to Canada where there is a huge French influence. She told us that on her hometown date. So try to remember that her name is not pronounced as the American Herbert, but the French way, with a silent H and a silent first R and a silent T: like “A Bear.” Here, I’ll use it in a sentence. “Don’t poke a bear.”) Ashley walked out in a foil embellished swim suit cover up and took a seat next to Jimmy. Apparently Ashley didn’t get the memo that you only highlight either leg or boob and never both simultaneously, or she just figured that since her boobs are not yet fully developed that it didn’t count. Jimmy clarified that she was not yet a dentist and asked her how many dates she’d been on since birth, but honestly I was in such a state of shock from being exposed to her nether-regions as she tried to unsuccessfully sit in a lady-like fashion in her beach-wear, that I could hardly pay attention. If Scotch brands wasn’t backstage after the show to film her for a commercial for double stick tape, they missed a golden opportunity. She was taped into that outfit like J-Lo in that green Versace number she wore to the 2000 Grammys. Who dressed this girl? Isn’t this considered part of a press junket by ABC? Doesn’t she have a stylist? Good grief, she looked like a ten-year-old choir boy in drag! Jimmy had her swear on a People magazine to say “amazing” eight million times and to not pick any cry-babies or total jerks, and then officially pronounced her the nest Bachelorette. Immediately after the interview, Guillermo brought out a wheelbarrow filled with long-stem red roses. He quickly gathered them up while trying to look away and handed them to Ashley. I’m still not sure if it was simply a nice gesture or if he just wanted her to cover up.

And that’s what you missed on the Bachelor.