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Pirate night

April 1, 2015

“Load up the cannons, me mateys!” I shouted to my crew, Calico Jax and Madman Moose.

It was pirate night, the first Friday of the month, and the little Beans and I were in our PJs and pirate hats on the couch eating popcorn by candlelight.

The smoke detector in the hallway beeped at annoyingly close intervals because the batteries were low.  And Daffy, the dog from hell, lazed on her pillow at my feet chewing on a rawhide.

Daffy DogSuddenly a black water balloon came hurling through the window and landed with a splat spraying water all over the dog from hell. The canine sprang into action barking her head off, and I followed behind her, looking none too formidable in my nightgown and bare feet.

“Billy!” I shouted at the window that was slightly ajar.

Billy is my boyfriend of 10 months. He’s a 42-year-old juvenile delinquent with shaggy salt and pepper hair and a slow, sexy grin. In the street light he stood wearing faded Levis and his old ratty Fish Naked t-shirt. He’d tied a navy bandana kerchief style around his head, presumably in honor of pirate night.

“Billy!” The little Beans hollered right behind me, delighted that he was crashing pirate night. I flipped on the overhead light.

Billy had been expressly told to stay away from pirate night this month.  Billy is a ne’er-do-well, and he’d stood me up the week before to drink beer and play poker with his buddies. I was still hacked off, which is why he’d been banned.

The problem with Billy, though, is that he wears those Levis so fine, and I’m a sucker for a stud muffin.

Jenny in love lust.

When he was sure that the only weapons present were the plastic sword I was holding and the dog from hell, Billy hoisted the window up further, tossed a rather large bag of M&Ms at the little Beans and then effortlessly slid in. He handed me a bottle of Mer Soleil and gave me a scratchy kiss on the cheek.

“Dude,” I said, pushing him away, “you’re still on my shit list…  But this is a good start.”

In the kitchen I uncorked the bottle and poured the wine into stemless glasses and turned on Van Morrison.  I handed Billy a glass.  A fracas in the living room over the M&Ms escalated, and I sighed.

Madman MooseJax had dumped the M&Ms into the bowl of popcorn, and Moose, who has a strict code of order, was none too pleased.  He was pelting his brother with chocolate and popcorn missiles.

“DESIST!” I bellowed in my mean mommy voice.

In the brief silence that always follows the mean mommy voice—as if they are shocked that I have it in me to make that much noise—the sound of Bernie’s old Ford Pinto could be heard rumbling into the drive of Maison Bean.

Bernie is the night manager at the Ladies Club, and if he was driving Papa home, it was a slow night and Papa was soused up on martinis.

When I opened the front door, I saw Papa in his kilt stumbling up the walk with Bernie ambling behind him.  Bernie, who is amazingly spry for someone who is old as dirt, was in his usual Hawaiian shirt, clashing madras shorts and flip flops.

“Billy,” Papa said through the gin fumes.  “What are you doing here?”

Moose threw an M&M.

“I invited him, Papa.”

“I can take you,” Papa said, ignoring me.

Geez Louise.

Papa and Billy looked at each other and nodded and sat down facing each other at the coffee table.  Papa flexed his fingers and then put his elbow on the table.

Unimpressed, Jax and Moose, who’d seen Papa and Billy arm wrestle more times than they could count in the last 10 months, resumed their missile war.  The dog from hell, who has an iron stomach and an unending appetite, was busy trying to clean up the mess.

Gloria began to play on the stereo and almost immediately Bernie’s cell phone sounded You Give Love a Bad Name, which meant that Mrs. Bernie was calling.  Mrs. Bernie is perpetually on the warpath with her spouse, and since Bernie refuses to wear his hearing aid, the rest of the world knows EVERY LAST DETAIL.

A siren rang from outside in the distance and the tempo of the smoke detector beep increased.

Bernie was shouting into his phone, and M&Ms and popcorn flew.

And suddenly in the midst of the uproar, everything went into a silent slow motion, and we all watched in horror as a blue M&M flew towards Papa’s head, going right into one of his big ol’ Grandma Bean ears.

Papa’s eyes got wide, and then he fell to the floor.

We all ran to him.  Daffy was licking his face.  Bernie had dropped his phone, and we could hear Mrs. Bernie shouting.  The little Beans were shaking him, and Billy had dropped down to check his pulse.

And then almost as quickly as he had fallen, Papa sat bolt upright and announced, “April Fools!”


No, I did not fall off the earth. I’ve just been busy. Hyacinth is in doggy heaven with Rooster. Evidently, she calls Moose on his toy cell phone. He says he’s going to build a rocket and go get them. That’s about all I can say about that. The bitch’s ashes are still on top of the refrigerator because I can’t bear to part with her yet. Daffy the Dog, aka Princess Daffodil Bean, is a 5-month-old mini Goldendoodle. She was a gag gift from Santa Claus. Her mother was a 60-lb golden retriever and her father, Romeo, was an 8 ½ pound toy poodle. And to answer your question, no, I do not know how that works.  Everyone is well—it’s just that life is careening forward insanely fast, and I can’t ever seem to catch my breath.  I miss blogging.

P.S.  Bernie is a figment of my imagination, and, unfortunately, so too is Billy.


Rest in peace, Grandma

April 1, 2014

“She was a good Christian woman and a pillar of the community,” he said.

The Methodist preacher was a small man sporting a bow tie and a bad dye job and an even worse eyebrow job.  He looked like Moose had taken a Sharpie to his face.  The saint to whom he was referring was Grandma Bean.

I nudged Sissy and whispered.  “Is he talking about our Grandma Bean? Are we at the right church?”

Sissy giggled. 

My Aunt Lilly shot us a look.

It was 5:30 in the evening.  We were in Montgomery at a sprawling modern Methodist church for Grandma’s memorial service.  I was certain Grandma had never stepped foot in the place.  And it was probably a first time for the dozen or so of her poker-playing cronies who’d come to pay their respects.

It was Dewey, Grandma’s 96-year-old boyfriend, who was the Methodist.

The morning started out at 6:00 when Sissy and I left Charleston in the Honda in blinding rain that was so loud that we couldn’t hear to make hotel reservations.  We’d had to text Papa to find us a hotel in Columbus, Georgia, so that we could get ready for the funeral.

The Shady Grove Inn sounded quaint. 

It turned out to be the Shady Grove Family Motel and Trailer Park, and by the time Gertie (we were bored; we named our GPS) got us there, we were 15 miles off the interstate and the beaten path.  Ma and Pa Kettle ran the place.  There was a console TV and a jury-rigged Betamax with free bootleg movies.  There were two sagging beds with old faded chenille bedspreads.

The place was a dump, and Papa, the cheap SOB, who couldn’t even make it to the memorial service because of his sorry gimped up hip, really had some nerve. 

We changed clothes so fast that I ripped the only pair of tights I’d brought. 

“What are you gonna do?”  Sissy asked, looking at my scary-white legs.

“Gertie can find us a Walgreens, and while she’s at it, she can find us a bar.  I need a drink, and Papa’s credit card needs a lot more damage than the Shady Kettles can do.”

“Bar first.” 

Sissy has her priorities in order.

We drove to Montgomery, found a bar and got happy.  By the time we were happy, we were running late, but we’d spied a department store without Gertie’s help and we ran in and grabbed a pair of tights.  Sissy took Papa’s credit card to pay and I took the tights to the dressing room.

They ripped.  In the nether regions.  It was not a good day.

“Come on,” I hissed to Sissy who was still standing in line.  “Let’s go.”

“But I haven’t paid yet,” she said.

“The tights are defective, and we don’t have time to deal with this.”

Later in the Methodist ladies room, I discovered that the tights we’d absconded with weren’t actually defective.  They were simply crotchless, and I was a thief and a skank sitting in church with ho undergarments, slightly drunk.

“MJ Bean was a virtuous example for us all,” the bow tie preacher droned.

I nudged my cousin Star on my left and Sissy on my right.  Star nudged Cousin Adele on her left.  We giggled. 

Aunt Lilly glared.

“When her beloved husband JR passed away in 1974, MJ married Glen.”

“That’s not true.” 

Oops.  I’d spoken out loud.  (Note to self:  don’t drink and do funerals, or, for that matter, crotchless tights.)

“I beg your pardon?” the bow tie preacher said.

“Grandpa and Grandma got a divorce in 1974.  Grandpa didn’t die until 1985.”

Aunt Lilly looked like she was going to have a coronary. 

“You are mistaken, Miss Bean.  I have my notes from my conversation with Mr. Cromswell [Dewey] right here in front of me, and it clearly says that your grandfather died in 1974.”

“You know, I think you’re right, Jenny,” Ida, one of the cronies, chimed from her wheelchair.  “Reagan was president when JR died.  And ol’ JR never got over the whole Watergate deal.”

The bow tie preacher was turning red.  Star and Sissy were giggling.  “Out of respect for the deceased,” he started before he was interrupted by a loud clap of thunder.

The lights went out.  Somebody screamed.  And then a bright flash of lightning lit up the sanctuary.

Then Grandma’s voice boomed, sending us all into shock.   “You know this is an April Fool’s joke, don’t you?!”


  1.  Sissy and I got a room at a Hilton.  We don’t trust Papa to make overnight accommodations.
  2. It really did rain like hell, and the part about the crotchless tights, is, regrettably, true.
  3. We only had two beers each.
  4. I do have a tendency to giggle in church.
  5. Aunt Lilly does not glare, but she would just tell you without preamble that you need to shut the hell up.
  6. In some ways, Grandma was actually a pillar.  As far as I know, she wasn’t a Methodist.  But she was an avid volunteer in the community for many years, and I’m sure that earned her a place in heaven.


Love and peace

February 14, 2014

Tweet The year I was 19, I rode in a car that Grandma Bean was driving for the first time in my life. We were going out for Chinese and I’d just driven for an hour in a blinding sunset, so when Grandma asked me if I wanted to drive, I told her I would […]

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When the gingerbread house goes unattended

December 24, 2013

Tweet   They’re getting sticks and coal for Christmas…. Merry Christmas,  my bloggy friends!!!  Love you all.  I resolve to be a better bloggy pal in 2014.  Coming next:  My career as a toe model ended in 2013. xoxo, Jenny

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Moose love, homophones, escape artist bunnies, and ME

November 1, 2013

Tweet Moose love Moose:                Mommee! Why do they always have to yell across the house? Moose:                MOMMEE!!! Oh, Lord, doesn’t he know that I’m not going to come running? Moose:                MOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, shit, I better go see what he wants. Me:                       WHAT???!!! Moose:                I wuv you. Homophones Sissy was making butterscotch oatmeal cookies.  She’d creamed […]

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The summer it rained, part II

August 16, 2013

Tweet Endless cycles Convalescing friends Portia broke her ankle in three places, and she wasn’t even drinking wine when she fell down the steps in the dark.  Since the unfortunate occurrence, there have been doctors, a surgery with pins, and now a scary blue cast and boredom. Portia:  Are you ever going to blog again. […]

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The summer it rained, part I

June 30, 2013

Tweet And rained and rained and rained. The floods have come.  My new grass is at the bottom of a pond.  Flip and Flop are wearing life preservers. At Maison Bean, the schedule changes every day.  One day it’s camp soccer; the next day it’s camp rec center.  And a trip to the good doctor […]

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Flip/Flop: It’s not a dog’s life

May 13, 2013

Tweet Dear PETA, My name is Flop Bean.  It was originally Flip Bean until the woman who adopted me—Crazy Jenny—decided that my coloring was unsuitable for the name “Flip,” so she changed it to “Flop,” and my brother, who was “Flop,” became “Flip”—Flip Wilson Bean to be exact. Color discrimination was just the beginning of […]

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When the Easter Bunny’s stars are not aligned

April 1, 2013

Tweet “When the universe tells you to do something that Bethany thinks is a bad idea, follow the universe.” So said my witty colleague Miller.  Bethany is also a colleague, and bless her heart, she’s a glass-is-half-empty colleague.  I decided to take Miller’s advice. It all started in January when I was innocently buying another […]

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In memoriam: the world’s greatest defender of stampeding elephants

March 22, 2013

Tweet Rooster Bean entered into eternal rest this morning.  It was his time, and Papa couldn’t take him, and I volunteered.  Before we left for the vet, I gave Rooster half a valium and I took a Xanax.  The vet was really compassionate, and despite the fact that I was wearing my old plaid pajama bottoms […]

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