About msplayful

I am someone who finds life humorous and often share my views with friends and co-workers. Since I've been told I should be a stand-up comedian, I thought I'd see how well I could do at writing funny things that happen, or that happen in my head.

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day used to be so special to me. When I was in school, it was fun to trade Valentines with classmates.

As I got older, I enjoyed dining, dating, exchanging cards, sometimes getting candy or flowers.

My marriage . . . was bad. He would “forget” Valentine’s Day every year and the day after Valentine’s Day, when the candy was marked down, I’d go buy a box or two of candy for myself. He’d always eat some of the candy and talk about how good it was and how he should have bought me a box. The next year, was the same. Every year . . . 14 1/2 years . . . it just seemed longer.

When my children were young, Valentine’s Day was special because they enjoyed it. They drew cards for me and made hearts, and it was fun to help them address envelopes for cards for their classmates.

When I taught school, students would bring in candy and cards and roses for me and I enjoyed that.

I enjoyed buying for others as well. It was fun to sit and fill out cards for my students. It was fun to attach a lollipop or piece of candy to each card. It was also fun to give my own children gifts/cards on Valentine’s Day.

Now?

Now I still go out sometimes the day after Valentine’s Day and buy myself something. Sometimes now it’s a plant instead of candy.

I enjoy watching others celebrate, and there are commercials on TV to make sure i remember when it is.

Tonight is the night before Valentine’s Day. I went out to take a bag of garbage to the trash can. Tomorrow is trash day and the can is already by the curb. As I went out, I noticed a bag like you get from a store on the hood of my car. I didn’t remember putting it there, but at my age, that didn’t mean I hadn’t. I do forget from time to time. I wondered if that was a bag of trash I’d put there to carry to the curb the next time I went out?

So I picked up the bag and headed to the trash can with it and the bag of garbage I’d just tied up to take out. As I passed the front porch light, I glanced in the store bag and stopped. That wasn’t trash. What was that?

I took the garbage bag on out and then came in with the store bag to look in it. Oh. There was a card. It had my name on it. When I opened the envelope, the card was full of bright beautiful birds. It must be someone who knows I love birds. I feed them daily in the winter time. I have a birdbath by the bird feeder as well.

I opened the card and saw it was from my neighbor. There were two cans of Pringles and a large bag of dark chocolate covered peppermint patties. Wow! How did my neighbor know I loved both those things? I was touched that someone would go out and buy something for me and leave it like that.

I never heard him in the carport, or I would have opened the door. I must have been back here having dinner with my dog? Perhaps I was watching TV? At any rate, I didn’t hear him and obviously neither did my dog.

What a nice surprise.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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Religious Visitors

I used to laugh when the Mormons showed up at my grandmother’s house. She was lonely and she’d let them in, but wouldn’t let them out. ha, ha. I think two of them stayed for four hours one time. I kept wandering through the living room and she’d be listening and they’d draw pictures on this large board they had, and she’d tell them what that reminded her of and she’d talk, talk, talk and finally when they could say something else, it would remind her of something else and she’d talk some more, ha, ha. I loved it! One of them appeared to be sleeping with his eyes closed one time when I walked through and I asked her what was wrong with HIM??? and she shushed me and said he was in a religious trance, ha, ha. The Jehovah’s Witnesses wouldn’t come in the house, so she’d step out on her porch and talk to them and eventually they’d get away from her. I knew that lady’s daughter, She was a year behind me in school. She tried to talk to me one time and I told her Nanny (what I called my grandmother) had told me all about that, hadn’t you, Nanny? and Nanny said yes and proceeded to tell her what she’d told me. . . So when I’d answer the religious folks at the door, I’d tell them someone wanted to talk to them and I’d go get my grandmother.

Kaepernick

Today is Super Bowl Sunday. There are discussions about Kaepernick’s “taking a knee” during the National Anthem to demonstrate against treatment of people of color in the US – particularly police shootings of black men.

Many people don’t understand why so many American citizens find this so offensive.

I am one of those who has quit watching NFL football. I used to watch it wearing a shirt with my favorite team’s name on it. Now, because some others have joined into this demonstration and bought into Kaepernick’s idea that this is how to demonstrate against police shootings of black men and treatment of people of color in the US, I do not watch. I watched football for the same reason I watch TV or go to a movie. I want to be entertained. I want to forget about the cares of this world for a little while and concentrate on something else.

I also have a special spot in my heart for the National Anthem. It is a sacred thing to me. I do not want to see anyone take a knee while it’s playing, regardless of the reason. It looks like they are disrespecting the country where I live. You stand for the National Anthem. It’s one of the ways that all Americans come together.

To me, Kaepernick’s actions are as offensive as if he passed gas and said that was how he was protesting. He wants everyone to pass gas with him in protest. I’m not listening to his reasons for protesting because he has so greatly offended me with the way he is doing it.

I admire Rosa Parks who kept her seat on the bus. I admire Dr. Martin Luther King who protested and gave great speeches. The protester’s actions need to be logical to those s/he is trying to reach.

I don’t know the correct way for Kaepernick to protest. You would think with so many people offended and so much controversy and so much attention going to the way he protests, and not why he’s protesting, that he would know he “got it wrong”. His message is not getting across. And until he can let go of the way he wants to protest and find a way that does get in people’s heads that black men are being shot by police officers . . . and have the attention focused on his reason and not his actions, he’s wasting his time, if what he truly wants to do is draw attention to the why.

I actually had to research his reason to be sure I understood what he was protesting. I honestly thought it had to do with black inequality in America. I never realized it was about black men getting shot by police officers.

His message is lost in its presentation. I wish he and everyone who supports him would realize that and find another way to demonstrate so that their message does get across and not their method.

LGBT Insight

The following is a guest post by my oldest, Jordan W. Corbett.

I went to an LGBT nightclub last night, and a man stumbled up to me reeking of alcohol. He had three people much younger than him standing on either side and slightly behind him. He then leaned in far too close to me and just blurted out that his kid, who I assumed was probably one of the people standing around him, was trans.

He then pointed her out. The kid had a big black ‘X’ on the back of her hand, meaning she was under 21, but at least 18 since they don’t let anyone younger than that into this particular club. She just stood there, waiting to see what would happen like someone had just dropped a loaded gun on the floor.

I could have shoved him away. I could have berated him about how rude it was to out someone. I could have told him he was drunk and should go home. No one would have been surprised at me or thought I acted wrongly. But what I saw in him in that moment was a father trying to do the right thing, and finding it very hard.

I imagine his kid, who probably still lives with him, wanted to go to a nightclub as many young women do. So she asked her dad for a ride. And her dad took her. And went with her because nightclubs aren’t always the safest places for young women. He took her and himself and her friends, and likely paid at least part of the cost. He at least spent some money on alcohol from the way he smelled.

I’m sure most of this is new to him. Sure, he’s probably heard of trans people before. I imagine his child gave him at least the basics when she came out to him. But it says something that she was comfortable enough to even come out at all. Assuming she really was still living at home, he could have kicked her out, made her live on the street like so many parents of LGBT children do.

But he didn’t. He didn’t try to talk her out of being trans. He didn’t tell her, “Not in my house.” He accepted her. He even went out with her to the sort of place he had probably never been before. I doubt many straight men have gone to an LGBT club on anything other than a dare.

It’s not the sort of thing our culture really allows straight men to do. They have to be manly and tough. They have to pursue women. They are expected to be the straightest straights who ever straighted, even more so than women. They don’t hang out in gay clubs and drink fruity drinks. But this man, this father, did. For his daughter, which he likely only just learned he has.

I’m sure he felt the social pressure bubbling up inside of him. All of the cis-het messaging telling him what he was doing was wrong and perverted. That what he was letting his child do was evil and would only end in tragedy. None of that is true, but to someone outside the community, they really have nothing else to go on but the ignorant stereotypes propagated by the cis-het media.

So he had a drink. And then another. And another. He got really, really drunk to quiet those nagging little voices telling him the ‘right’ way to raise his kid. Telling him where he should go and how he should be and how his kids should be. Instead, he chose to listen to the love in his heart. And so he drank until that’s all he could still hear.

I could have reacted badly to this drunk man getting far too close and telling me things he had no business saying. But I chose not to. His kid was watching. She might feel awkward about this little exchange right now, but if I made a scene about it, however justified I might feel, her night would definitely be ruined. So I didn’t do that..

Instead, I appreciated that he was trying. Even though it was very, very hard for him.

In case anyone is wondering, I saw his daughter and the other young people I assume were her friends dancing and laughing and having a good time on the dance floor. The awkwardness clearly passed and she had a good night. I’m glad she had the opportunity.

Retirement

I quit work in mid April 2015. I didn’t really “quit”. My doctor filled out forms and said I was disabled and unable to work. Even though Social Security and a couple other doctors agreed with him, I didn’t believe it. I was sure I’d feel better soon and go back to work.

That didn’t happen. I spent many miserable days on the front porch with my little black dog and she sat there beside me while I told her all my problems. She seemd to listen intently and from time to time she’d lean her head against me as if trying to comfort me. Other times she’d get up and go sniff, sniff, sniff until I got up to see what was so interesting. One time it was a bug; another time it was a turtle under the porch . . . She could only take so much of my feeling sorry for myself and eventually I agreed with her. It was time to find things to do.

I used the computer to google “Seniors Activities” in my town. I read about a Senior Center that had Bingo games on Fridays and I went there. I won a nice pen. I went back most Friday mornings. I started going to church from time to time. When I was working, I was so worn out that I would sleep most of Saturday. Sundays I tried to regroup and get ready for the next week.

I found that I could easily contact my children (they’re adults)  through facebook messaging and email. Although I was a telephone operator eons ago for two years of my life and I enjoyed it, I have found I don’t like the phone for talking much anymore. My sons introduced me to texting. Who knew? I’m sure I should have, but all my energy was going into my job which I took great pride in doing well. Someone told me my reputation around the school was “If Corbett can’t teach them to read, can’t nobody teach them to read!” . . . I enjoyed working with struggling readers and succeeding (most of the time) where others had failed. Every child was a puzzle that was missing a piece. Perhaps they missed a few days when critical reading concepts were taught? Whatever their problems, I could usually figure it out and get them up to grade level. I loved my job.

But I had to quit and one day it dawned on me that I was never going to do that again. I did sign up to substitute teach, but I found that even a half day of that would often put me in bed in pain for the next couple days.

I am a writer. I’ve always been a writer and I’d had a few things published, so I began doing more of that. I did that on the computer.

I do a lot on the computer and I wondered today what older people did during retirement before we had computers? I can find out what the weather is going to be; I can look at a recipe; I can watch movies and tv shows on my computer. I email friends. My youngest son, who lives in China has introduced me to the joy of skype! Oh, I get to see him and talk to him like he’s in the same room with me! I love Skype!

I worked at a Magnet School of Technology and took many, many technology lessons and courses, so I know more about computers, so many of my older friends tell me, than they do. Well, all I know is I don’t know what I’d do in retirement without the computer. It’s the most wonderful machine ever invented!

What did people do without computers when they retired years and years ago?

I do plant a small vegetable garden every year. I do still sit on the porch. My little black dog passed away last June, but the younger one, who is eight years old and now a “senior” herself, goes outside with me. She won’t sit on the porch, but she does entertain me trying to catch the birds and squirrels that come in the yard. She tries to talk to my neighbor and will “bark-talk” at him when he comes home from work. He often speaks to her and waves and smiles at her. I go to the Senior Center. Sometimes I go to their parties. I (tried) to dress like Wonder Woman for Halloween this past year for their Halloween Party.

But my main bit of entertainment is the computer. I feel bad for older people who say they hate a computer! I wish they could see the benefits I see in using one.

Losing Two Pets In Less Than A Year

I lost my little black dog in June, 2018. She was almost 18 years old. I’d had her since the day she was born, since I’d also had her mother. Her mother only lived to be 12, but she was larger than Blackie.

This past Monday, January 7, 2019, I lost my beloved cat, Hunter. She was at least fifteen years old, maybe sixteen? Our cat, Fluffy, had a litter of kittens and an old woman was coming by to get one. We had two left. I told my son to hide the gray one, so the lady would take the white and gray one. I wanted to keep the gray one. For some reason, he showed her both kittens and she chose the gray one. I kept this one, but she wasn’t the gray one, and I wished she was.

She “grew on me”. She was born in Durham NC and moved with me to Wilmington NC when I quit work at age 55 to go earn a Masters Degree. It was one of the best decisions of my life.

When I found work in the Raleigh area, the gray and white cat moved with me again.

The black dog moved as well. We lived here for seven years before the black dog died.

After the black dog died, my old cat, Hunter, came in the room to look for her. I took a series of photos and will see if I can place them here to show her looking for Blackie and then appearing to accept her absence. This is Blackie’s bed that the cat, Hunter, is on.

May they both rest in peace. They brought me enormous joy and love and I miss them dearly.

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