This needs wider recognition

If you know anything about American country and folk music, you know the name John Prine.

He’s famous for, among other things, penning the lyrics to his early song “Paradise,” which I always sing when traveling to the western part of the beautiful state of Kentucky and across the Green River —

And daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County
Down by the Green River where Paradise lay
Well, I’m sorry my son, but you’re too late in asking
Mister Peabody’s coal train has hauled it away

You may not have heard this song, entitled “In Spite of Ourselves,” which he sings below with Iris DeMent. I hadn’t. As you’ll hear in Prine’s remarks, the song appears in the end-credits in the 2001 movie in which he co-starred with Billy Bob Thornton, Daddy & Them.

Fun fact about Mr. Prine: Along with Ed Wood, of “worst director in Hollywood” fame, we share the same birthday, October 10. Mark your calendars, now — and celebrate for a month of Sundays.

Lather, rinse, repeat

There are a few things in my exciting daily life that, with repetition, have worn me down. I’ve gone from puzzlement to perplexity, to what is now full-on minor annoyance.

Let me explain.

Take shampooing hair. The labels ubiquitously contain directions which nobody needs; that is, “lather, rinse, repeat.” This is something, I feel confident in saying, that most people could manage without taking the time to read up on it first. (The “repeat,” of course, is a separate issue; many people maintain it’s there just to sell more shampoo.)

Similarly, I am confronted daily by two completely superfluous painted arrows, imparting glaringly unneeded directions, in the parking lot of my son’s school. The first arrow points the driver to drive along the brick circular road behind the building, where the driver is currently driving.

Go here. You’re already here? Good.

This arrow appears on a new driveway, installed just a couple years ago when the school was remodeled. There are so many cars in the pick-up and drop-off lane now that they needed more space to line up all the cars. So behind the school we go, and then back out to the front, pick up our kids, and leave.

(The traffic jam caused by two other schools directly next door and across the street is, again, a separate issue that makes me want to slap 1950s Lexington city land-use permit granters.)

The second painted arrow is halfway around the circular drive. It clearly encourages the driver to continue driving around the circle.

You know what? There’s nowhere else to drive. You either go around the circle or you take off cross-country through the park behind the school.

“Oh gosh! Where do I go? Do I continue turning the wheel left? Or do I go across the grass and drive straight into Southland Pool? Oh, help!!! What do I do?? Don’t panic, don’t panic. Breathe.”

(Sees arrow.)

“O thank heavens. There’s an arrow. I keep turning. WHEW.”

Said nobody ever.

So there’s that. Arrows painted on what otherwise would be an unmarred, attractive, unexpected little feature of elementary-school design: a brick paved driveway solely for the enjoyment of the parents taking their kids to school.

Situation #2: Communion Crowd Control

At a parish I used to belong to, the ushers were very hands-on. I don’t know about Protestant churches, but many Catholic churches have ushers, whose main duty is to use baskets on poles to whack people when it’s time for the offertory shake-down … no, that’s not true.

They slide the baskets down in front of people sitting in the pews for them to place their offering in. Or, they supervise baskets that are just passed from hand to hand. Either way, this is a job that, sort of, requires personnel.

What churches don’t need, in my opinion, is ushers who do communion line crowd-control.

Communion is pretty simple process. Get up, get in line, receive the Body of Christ. Kneel down, pray. The end.

But no. In some places, the ushers think standing up and getting in line is too complex a task for your average Cradle Catholic who’s been doing it since the age of 7. They stand guard at the front pew, blocking the exit like a border collie to keep eager-receivers from storming the altar like sheep on steroids.

Then, when THEY deem it the appropriate time, they take a step backward to permit everyone in that pew ONLY to get up and get in line. After these sheep exit the pew, another step backward, and Pew Two is good to go.

And so it goes through the whole church. Don’t anyone get too frisky, now, and muscle your way out early. There’s that usher, making sure you keep to the line.

And to ensure that everything goes smoothly, they’ve got walkie-talkies to relay information to one another about the more suspicious communicants.

Well, maybe not actual walkie-talkies. But they look capable of it.

Mercifully, my current parish has deemed us trustworthy enough to get up and go to communion our own, and as yet, there have been no incidents. I just hope the ushers don’t start feeling useless and implement draconian changes.

But if they do, we could start something a childhood friend once daydreamed about — an Usher Olympics where we’d clock them on how fast they can race though the pews with their offertory baskets.

I volunteer to paint the arrows in the aisles so that they know which way to go.

Cow on Cooper: The day the Earth stood still

The news is still coming in, like all major news stories. At first you just hear what happened. Then slowly details emerge. Days later, a more accurate picture is revealed and we can see clearly the events, how they happened, and why.

Bahahaha. That’s totally a lie. Everything is instantaneous now, thanks to Twitter.

Today at around noon I was sitting at the pharmacy with my son, waiting for his prescription to be filled (how I wish there was a pharmacy called Chelsey Drugstore; that would have made this story so much more interesting).

Anyway, there we sat, staring off into the distance and/or looking at our phones. Suddenly, Christopher announced, “there’s a cow on Cooper Drive.”

A cow. On Cooper.

Here in Lexington, I work on Cooper. It’s a fairly busy road, semi-residential, and semi a major artery through the University of Kentucky (obligatory Go Cats!). Nearby is the football stadium, baseball stadium, tennis stadium, and a lot of new dormitories. Oh and the university pool.

And the old ag research station, and some sort of barn that has to do with agriculture.

So there Christopher and I sit, and the news that a cow is abroad on campus reaches us. I am in the middle of a text about Christopher and his illness with Christopher’s dad, who works at UK. He already knew.

 

Moments later I hear from my daughter, who is currently up the road in Louisville.

By now there’s a hashtag — #lexingtoncow. And an abundance of sorry puns.

There’s video.

I get to work, finally, and all I hear is cow, cow, cow. People on the street side of the building apparently went out and tried to round him up. I haven’t talked to them yet but stay tuned for updates.

And guess what. A COWboy is the one who rounded the cow up. Yessiree, pard’ner, a COWBOY.

 

And finally, folks, we have the ROPE that actually lassoooed the cow. I know this to be a true fact, too, because as I drove down Cooper Drive on my way in, I saw a news videographers (all three local stations were there) shooting this very rope for tonight’s broadcast.

I don’t think I’ve been this entertained since I had emu burgers at the state fair back in ’99.

Follow me @SoileauLite. For all the news that may or may not fit.

Three incorrect assumptions police will make at my murder scene

When you watch a lot of crime dramas, it’s inevitable that you’ll start to view your own surroundings with the eye of a police investigator.

Not a real detective, though. I have no idea how they actually do their jobs. I’m a trained flatfoot in the long illustrious tradition created by Arthur Conan Doyle; that is, clues are everywhere and you just have to notice them, and whatever you find has profound significance to the way the DB was killed.

See? I told you I watch a lot of these things. DB = dead body.

Now let’s take a quick look at my murder scene. There I am, dead. The circumstances are very suspicious indeed. Tras was in Venezuela so he’s not a suspect. All my children have airtight alibis as well. In other words, anyone that could legitimately want me dead is in the clear.

So let’s look at the evidence surrounding my person and see if we can find the killer.

  1. There’s a booklet entitled Pray the Rosary in my purse.

You know what that means. The victim is a Devout Catholic. Is there any other kind? Sort of like Observant Jew, the religions all have their built-in modifiers.

So naturally, since I’m a Devout Catholic, the killer must be someone from my parish. The priest is a likely suspect. Nuns are even better; after all the Beatles put “creeping like a nun” into our collective consciousness. So a creeping nun is a guilty nun. Case solved.

Keeping it real: I do have a copy of that booklet in my purse. I only vaguely remember how it got there. My mother may have given it to me, or I could have actually picked it up after Mass, where I go on Sundays. So give the poor nun a break.

An Enterprise to the jugular
  1. I was killed at home, and there’s a knife laying on the counter. 

It, therefore, must be the murder weapon. Test that thing for my blood (which has been wiped off, but you know they can still detect it). Because you know, a kitchen implement that’s out of place is a big giant clue that screams Murder Weapon.

Reality: There are very few knives, mixers or other kitchen implements of destruction that are actually put away in my non-gleaming kitchen. Any one of them could have killed me, according to this theory — even the bread maker. (It might have it in for me. Bread maker: I have my eye on you.) Anyway, in what universe does a home, especially with children, exist in a state of House Beautiful? Especially when its mistress is lying in a pool of blood.

  1. My car radio station was tuned to the local pop station.

This is practically definitive evidence that I’d been carjacked, held at gunpoint, forced to change the radio station off NPR, and brutally killed by a teenage terrorist.

After all, why else would my radio not be tuned to the news, which as anyone who lives with me, lives near me, or works with me knows, I never listen to anything else. If it’s news, I’m there. Also there for public radio shows, like This American Life, Fresh Air, Serial, or Invisibilia.

Oh I do occasionally listen to a couple of classic rock stations, which, shockingly, play songs from the ’80s, which as everyone knows, was just a couple years ago. (I graduated from college in 1985.) That stuff’s CURRENT, man. Sigh.

Anyway if Kanye West and/or Lady Gaga was blaring from the Prius speakers, somebody else was in the car. Case closed.

Reality: I’m currently obsessed with Uptown Funk. Every time I get in the car I turn to Your Pop Station in order to sing at high volume along with Bruno Mars. About 60 percent of the time I do. Don’t believe me — just watch! Heh.

Hot damn.

Another reality is that I’m most likely not the enigma I believe myself to be. Having children means you’ve got people to detail, in the most unflattering way possible, each of your habits, quirks of speech, how you laugh, how you answer or say good-bye on the phone, etc. Also to enumerate how many times you’ve told a particular story about your days in band.

So please, show this to the police when my lifeless body is discovered in one of the above scenarios. Contact my office, where I’ve got a current approved photo on file that can be given to the media.

This is totally true. I don’t want unflattering Facebook photos to be splashed all over the newspapers (are too still newspapers!) and the Action News.

What? I like to plan ahead.