Friday, March 31, 2017

Things get me thinking

This ten year business has me thinking about other marriages. For example, did you know that Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt were once married? I am sure you hear the sarcasm in that statement. 

But, did you know that they used to eat dinner naked?

I kid you not. Like, flapping in the wind for all to see- the birthday suit you were born with, N - A - K - E - D. While I am most certain that they thought this would sound so sexy, the reality is that it makes me wonder:

What did they eat?

Could you imagine if it were soup? 

“Honeyyyyy— shuck your shoes and your clothes at the door, I made chicken noo-dlllleeeee,” Jenn calls from the kitchen. Maybe Brad cringed a little and decided he wasn’t hungry, because if that soup spilled — the man would be in trouble.

If they ate naked, did she cook naked? Because that, my friends, is not hygienically correct. That isn’t sanitary and that’s just icky. Of course,I have to ask- if she cooked naked….

Did she cook bacon?

My money is on no.

And how did they come to conclusion that eating naked would be a good idea? Did one of their friends tell them to do this or did they come up with this idea all on their own? 

Do you think they ate lasagna? Used cloth napkins? Do we think they used napkins? FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, tell me they were smart enough to use napkins.

Did they do the dishes? 

Of course, these are all foolish questions as this is Brad and Jenn we are talking about. The Hollywood Power Couple that were going to last forever. They had cooks and maids and people to do those kinds of things for them. 

Would it have been awkward if they used old family recipes? Perhaps it depended on the recipe. Grilled chicken, totally fine but weiner schtiznel, absolutely awkward.

I’m not making fun of them, truly I am curious about these things. If I ran into Jenn at the beauty parlor at the Pumpkin Patch off Rural Route 1, I would ask these things. 

“Hey, Jenn. Wife. Nice to meet you. Listen, I have to ask….an autograph? No. I need to know about this eating dinner naked business. Did you cover your seats before you sat down? Was this something your publicist cooked up? Did you eat soup?”

These are things I think about while I am waiting for my kids in carline. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

10 years!

Husband and I are celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary. It is hard to believe how truly fast time can fly when you aren't paying attention.

We just got back from our celebratory trip to Jamaica. It was the most fun. I can't say that enough. For the past two years we have talked about where we want to go and what we want to do. We went big. Landing in Jamaica, our private driver drove us to the resort where our personal butler opened the door with her white gloved hands.

I kid you not.

The Royal Plantation in Ocho Rios was spectacular and if you are on the fence about choosing where to drop a chunk of change, look no further. While we were there, we made some friends. Several newlyweds were on their honeymoon and they let these old folks pal around with them.  On the last night, one of the girls said, "Y'all have been married ten years and seem so happy. What's the one piece of advice you have for us?"

Almost simultaneously, we stated {loudly}, "DON'T ASK FOR ADVICE."

Everyone laughed and then we proceeded to quote bad Hallmark cards about what to do and what not to do. Allow me to regale you with some of our words of wisdom:

- Have fun.

- Remember that your spouse chose you. They are your cheerleader and you, in turn, are theirs.

- Surprise each other.

- Be a fun person.

- Your spouse is your family. Don't let other family members make decisions about your new family for you. Make those decisions together without involving outside influences.

- Smile.

- Kiss.

- Eat dinner together as a family every night. Especially if the family is just the two of you. Yes, even if it is just cereal and beer. Cut the TV off and put the phone away.

- Save money. Even when you think you can't-- you can.

- Be the hero. Sometimes that is letting your spouse be the hero.

- Make plans.

- It's okay to go to bed angry. Actually, it's encouraged. Half the time you forget why you were mad the night before. If not, cooler heads typically prevail.

- Surround yourself with couples who love each other and treat each other the way you want to be treated. Stave off bickering couples and those that talk negatively about their spouse. You'll be shocked how fast a bad attitude can spread.

- Acknowledge when you are in hard times. Everything could be going right outside your relationship, but something is strained within; acknowledging it- man, it takes a load off. You don't have to argue, you just have to say the words: "I don't know why we are in a tough spot right now, but we are." The response is almost always: "I know. But, we'll get through it." It will happen sooner than you think.

- Your thirties are going to be way more fun than you think.

- Have fun, for the love of GOD-- life is amazing and beautiful and wonderful. It should, at the very least, be fun.

It's been a good ten years and decided we would try this marriage business for another five and see how we are doing at fifteen.

Thursday, March 9, 2017


It's 3 o'clock and Bennie is trying very hard to not nap. I find this incredibly frustrating and she has already received one spanking. On one hand, I want to force her to be still and sleep, but on the other, that awful other hand that makes me want to relish the moment and not punish her for not obeying- that other hand is telling me to smile and coddle her for another moment.

All I can see are the tufts of her curls and I have a flashback to being in the ICU with my brother's identical tufts and watching him sleep beside me. I wanted to protect him, take the scars away, and rewind the clock hours. Bennie, ever the image of my brother, looks like him in the bed next to me.

There is a fear resting in my heart of losing him and it is eternally a breath away. Sometimes, when the phone rings, it feels a little more urgent and I know that when I pick it up, there will be bad news and sadness on the other end. Just today, I received a phone call and before I picked it up, the wind was out of my body and I could barely press the button.

It was a nothing phone call, but it was the reminder of knowing that life changes in a beat.

Does Jonathon’s mother feel this same way when her phone rings? Does she automatically think back to the phone call that changed her life, turned her world upside down as she collapsed on her kitchen floor with those words hanging in the water? 

These are my thoughts as there are many things going on behind closed doors that we are not a part of nor privy to. In about a week, a grand jury will convene in Colquitt County and decide what kind of evidence the state has against Mr. Peacock and if he will be indicted.

Little steps along the way have brought us to this moment. Several months ago there was a bond hearing and bail was set at $1 million. What is the cost of life? For this, it was $200,000 a victim. The morning of that hearing, I called my sister-in-law and spoke from the heart and whatever words I said completely escape me now. When you speak from the heart, that is the way it should be-- said and then gone, because those words can only be used once.

After the hearing, there was anger- how can a life be worth a mere $200K? That's a yearly salary, albeit a good salary, but a salary just the same. Whether the bail was a single million or five million- it did not matter as Mr. Peacock did not have the funds to afford it. He sits in jail, where he has sat since May.

People create facts out of fiction and truth out of lies. The beautiful part about a grand jury is that this is no place for fiction or lies. Peers sit in a room without an audience and review the evidence, ask questions, and understand both sides of the case. In this room, these strangers will hold the fate of a breathing young man in their hands.

The same way Mr. Peacock held the fate of his five friends in his own hands.

While we, as a family, are certain that the guilty party is in hand, justice must be served with the proper course and diligence that we would all want and deserve. Vigilante justice won't bring peace and it surely won't bring answers.

Nothing will.

What we can hope for and what we can pray for is the guilty party be brought to justice.

Swipe out the lies, forget the fiction, and know that nothing is fact until it comes forth in the grand jury next week, hidden from all unnecessary parties, gossip, and ridicule. On one hand, I want to be at the door as it swings shut in support of my family- but on the other hand, that beautiful other hand reminds me that if I cannot be there, no other gawking eye can be there either. 

"The Media" has started contacting the families, looking for quotes and tidbits of information that they can weave into a story. On one hand, I understand that they are tasked with the job of keeping the world informed. I also understand the other hand-- our side and the prying eyes wanting to know what we know and how we know it.

I don't envy the people behind the closed door next week and the decisions that they have ahead of them. I don't envy Mr. Peacock's family, nor would I expect anyone to envy ours.

But, in the stillness, watching my child not sleep, you should be envious of us. Yes, we lost one of our own. The kid that was on the edge of adulthood and making his way in this life. We lost a good one. But, the way he continues to work behind the scenes in ways we did not know, the way he has brought us together and helped us linger a little longer with one another... he humbles me.

Watching my family come together and try a little harder to find our tomorrows without him but with each other, he makes us all want the times together to not end and be more often. We laugh about him and know that he is laughing with us and helping us be stronger.

Be envious of that. Know that we are better and stronger one year later because of this. You cannot knock one Cagle down without expecting the rest of us to rise up together in solidarity, protecting those that are hurt and loving those that are gone.

Be envious of our faith; faith in our God, faith in fair justice, faith in strangers, and faith in ourselves.

The grand jury is just one step in a very long process of what we have in store for us and we will continue to fight, to love, and to grow together.

As I kneel in prayer at the end of the day, I still my heart in the waters of life. Often, I do not know what to pray for, in constant fear of praying the wrong thing. Sometimes, I wonder if God hears me and in the next breath afraid that He is actually listening to me and I am going to ask for the wrong thing.

As this grand jury nears, what do I pray for? How and what do I ask God for as our prayers are in direct contrast to Mr. Peacock's family. Is it a battle of who loves more? Who loves better?

No, it is absolutely not a battle of who has the greater love. If that were the case, Jonathon would still be here with us, because no one loved more than him. It is his continued love that raises his family in the still water of faith that he is in our hearts, protecting his mother and sisters. 

I miss that kid. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

What I fear

There are some things in life that I am truly and embarrassingly afraid of.

I am afraid of dead cockroaches. Alive ones, too. But I see more dead ones.
I am afraid of frogs.
I am afraid of those oversized grasshoppers. You know the ones that are like 6 inches long and 2 feet tall? When I see one outside, I scream and run the other direction.

These are things that make me quiver in fear.

I am not afraid of being mugged, shot, stabbed, heights, small spaces, or anything usual- but, put me in a room with dead cockroaches and frogs, I am a puddle.

There is something else that I must confess. I am afraid that I will become a hoarder. It is so easy to hoard and I come from a long line of successful hoarders. The things that my family can hide from sight but not from reach will astound and astonish you.

When I was a new mother and visiting my aunt, Birdie needed a diaper change. My aunt asked if I needed a mat and from virtually thin air she produced her son's kindergarten nap mat.

Her son was 20 at the time.

Like I said, I come from a line of hoarders.

And I love my hoarding family. When we need something, before heading to the store to {scoff} spend money and buy it, we will ask Woody if he has it. Typically, if he doesn't have it, he has something that will work or once worked and he found it on the side of the road.

One of the reasons we like to move so much is that it keeps us from developing and honing our hoarding skills. If we are constantly relocating, we are constantly filling trash bags and throwing things away.

In the past week, I have thrown out no less than one dozen trash bags full of .... stuff.

Not those white kitchen trash bags; those are for amateurs. Rather the oversized outdoor black trash bags that mobsters use to hide dead bodies. Instead of dead bodies, we are hiding our crazy- sending it to the landfill.

"You should give it to GoodWill," if I had a penny for every time I heard that, I would have about fifteen cents. My answer is simple: NO. If I have to give it away and cannot get rid of it immediately, somehow the contents of those dead-body-black-trash-bags make their way out and back into the rotation.

The packers are coming tomorrow and will probably run for cover once they see what is ahead of them. I have thinned as much as I can stand. As we close down this house and move to another one,  I am excited that I evade that hoarder status for another few years.