Performance Pieces

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Joan of Texarkana

*My name is Joan Ann Stickybolt and I’m on a mission.  I learned my mission in Jesus visions where I’m Joan of Arc and I’m trying to end racial strife in my hometown.  The scary thing about these visions is I always get burned alive.  But I’m starting to like burnin’.  Because according to our Baptist preacher—my sins are forgiven each time.  Which brings me to my first vision: 

At a Baptist social at the Texarkana High School gym, I was standing along the wall . . .

*Use Texas accent 

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In Defense of Tomatoes

*In defense of tomatoes—yes, tomatoes—I must say I have always been suspicious of people who disliked them.  Recently, I have even heard new-age, macrobiotic food cultists label this innocent a vicious nightshade, and proclaim that it should NEVER be eaten.

To such vacuous, venomous, vicariously vindictive, vegetable nay-sayers, I say PHOOEY!  Why would God or anybody else create a plump, juicy little, titian-colored, sunny tasting, bite-sized to portion-sized, echo of summer time, and not mean for people to eat it?

*Use American, deep South accent.

 Expecting Company

My husband and I became pregnant at the same time.  I first suspected his condition when he started leaving the top button of his pants unbuttoned.  He complained, “They’re getting too tight.”  He first suspected my condition when I, the ever determined night owl, began going to bed very early.  For a whole week I did this.  Finally, my husband looked at me and said, “I wonder why you’re so tired?” and his brows rose suggestively.

One Step At a Time

“I will stop measuring,” the woman panted, as she tried to run for the first time in a long time, slowly, down an oak-lined unpaved road, each foot searching tentatively for solid ground.  And on this new day in this new country, she was passing between a brick house on one side and a farm meadow on the other, while in the distance ahead on the right, was the small hill, the Iveshead Formation, that used to be a sacred place of an early English tribe.

First, I will pass that hill, she thought, calculating the distance.  Then corrected herself:   Doesn’t matter how far.  I’m ancient at only 46.  This is my last chance.

Turning 40 at a Tupperware Party

It is strange to be 39 years old and afraid to attend a Tupperware party alone. But that is what happened. You see, I had left my Texas homeland and moved to rural Austria. So there I was at a Tupper party having brought my husband and children with me so I would not cry. The problem, you know, was the language. The natives think they speak German--they actually speak a dialect called Mühlviertlerisch. I speak neither.

I sit surrounded by women who say “Drausen . . . drausen lausen jausen.” I nod companionably, the sort of feminist who is repulsed yet eager to be included in this international Hausfrau’s female-bonding ritual, especially at the mystical yet despised, sexy yet not-always-publically-admitted, fortieth turning point. I take a plate with cake.

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