Wednesday, March 24, 2010



By Allison Adams 03-20-10, Submitted to The Greeneville Sun on 03-21-10

Dear Mother Nature,

I just wanted to take a couple of minutes to say thanks for throwing us a bone last Saturday.

I can say with certainty that if there’s one thing we all have in common in this small corner of the world, it’s been our united anxiety at the unusually l-o-n-g winter we’ve experienced. No offense.

You know I’m a winter-lover. I don’t mind the cold air. I even love the snow – every single flake! (You’ve really outdone yourself there.) But I also love a blue sky. And you can call me crazy (these days, I am) but I really need to see the sun every once in a while.

Or at least a little break in the clouds.

You’re probably aware that for the most part, all we’ve been able to talk about in this neck of the woods have been the ill-effects of our stinking economy, and the lack of good, natural lighting – if you get my drift.

I realized recently that for several weeks I have managed to start, or end, every conversation – even the conversations I have had with my own self – with some unappreciative, ungrateful remark about the condition of the weather.

I am not alone.

Just about everyone I know – and even those I don’t – seemed determined to share their observances about their extreme distaste for the cold, the wet, and most specifically – the day-after-day, dreary color of gray.

If it were practical, I would have offered you a little lipstick and mascara … or a box of Lady Clairol … because – pardon my frankness, Mother Nature – but gray is not your best color.

I think my fellow Freudians would agree that in large doses, the color gray does strange things to people. It’s a drab background against which almost everything looks dull, and as a result it makes us susceptible us to those other dreaded “d” words: depression, dysfunction, and vitamin D deficiency.

Extreme exposure to grayness evokes our inner-Eeyeore.

Thankfully, as I mentioned earlier, last Saturday you changed all that!

Last Saturday was payday! You didn’t just throw a ray of sunshine our way – you rolled-up the winter window shade to reveal a clear, blue sky surrounding the star of the day!

Last Saturday we flung open our windows, dug out our sunglasses, flip-flops, and madras shorts – and flocked outdoors, because we had to see it, to believe it.

The natural light was so good we finally noticed the trees budding, flowers blooming, and grass greening.

We fished, golfed, shot hoops, tossed Frisbees, pitched baseballs, and swung racquets. We mowed our yards, and planted pansies – whistling while we worked.

It was the perfect day for a long ride in a convertible … or in a car with the windows rolled down. We rode bicycles, jogged, walked, and sat still – soaking up the solar energy.

We cranked-up the music, fired-up the Weber, and cooked-up the first meal in months that didn’t require a stewpot, and soup spoons.

We waved to each other. We smiled when we spoke. And I realized that I managed to start or end every conversation – even the conversations I had with my own self – with an uplifting remark about the condition of the weather.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I know, I know – the weather we’ve grown weary of is not quite over yet. We can’t have spring without a little soft rain. But Saturday was just what I needed to be reminded that you’ve been at work all winter long – preparing to strut your stuff when its time to reveal your new spring line.

I’m ready when you are.

Yours truly,

Yours truly.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Back Attack

Back Attack

By Allison Adams 03-06-10 / Submitted to The Greeneville Sun on 03-08-10

If you see me out and about you may notice that I am walking a little strangely these days. My frame won’t straighten – its a little hunched over. My gait has been reduced to a shuffle. I cannot rise from a seated position without reaching for some assistance. I cannot make any sudden movements. No. Sudden. Movements.

I wince and gasp.

I am in pain.

I injured myself on Friday at a big event. I lifted, then carried something heavy for several hours: my entire self, balanced upon two 2 ½” high-heels. Now my back’s out-of-whack.

When I was younger I dressed for the office, power lunches, and big events, which meant living in suits and skirts and control top pantyhose. I used to be able to slap on a pair of high-heels at 7AM and slip out of them twelve hours later without batting an eye. When I was younger I punctuated almost every ensemble with a sleek set of stilettos. When I was younger I could walk, run, or stand for hours in shoes that elevated my 5’10” fashionably frocked frame to infinity, and beyond.

Not. Any. More.

Decades ago I sacrificed fashion when I traded-in my office for a laundry room and began eating power lunches at McDonalds. The Chamber of Commerce mixers were gone with the wind; attending a big event meant I dashed out to the grocery store.

I spent a lot of time on the floor, but not standing. I had to be prepared at a moment’s notice to do things that would be impossible to accomplish while wearing a stylish pair of high-heels – like rescuing a toddler’s errant sneaker from the bottom of the plastic ball pit at the fast food playland.

About that same time socks took the place of pantyhose – even though I needed their control-top feature more than ever – and I began buying shoes whose name brands included the words ortho, ergo, cush, and stride.

I embraced Mary Janes.

In those years, on more than one occasion, I stepped out to shop wearing my house shoes. I showed up at church sporting one conservative navy flat, and one conservative black one. If I really wanted to dress-up for the day, I slapped on my white leather Keds.

Fast-forward to last Friday.

I honestly don’t know what I was thinking when I dressed for my big event. I should have made a U-turn the second I pulled-on a pair of super control-top pantyhose – but I pushed onward.

With my top super-controlled, I reached for the shoebox on my closet shelf. I pulled it down, dusted-off the lid, completely ignored the warning label, and opened the box to reveal a spectacularly snazzy set of black leather, high-heeled, ankle boots, wrapped in a blanket of tissue paper.

Chic shoes, sister.

I sat down on the edge of my bed prepared to wrestle a while, but was amazed how easily I was able to wedge my feet into the boots. They actually felt com … comfort … not nearly as excruciating as I imagined they would feel.

I arose, and after a few seconds of teetering, I was able to regain my balance. I stood tall and then test-drove myself around the house without too much trouble. By that time the super control-top pantyhose had also managed to restrict the blood flow to my brain, rendering me unable to think clearly, and I decided I was good to go for the entire day.

Eight hours later, my fashionable footwear had taken its toll on my fifty-something year-old form. Even after I popped my feet out of their trendy torture chamber they continued to pulse with pain.

And it didn’t stop there. The pain traveled up my legs, gained speed, invaded my ample hip area, and eventually settled in my lower back.

It lives there today. As a result my movements – if I choose to a make any – are deliberate, and jerky, and punctuated with painful moans.

I may be temporarily sidelined, but I’m not surrendering my quest to one day be able to sport a sexy stiletto heel. I think my feet just bit-off a little more than they could chew.

Next time I get the urge to dress-up for a big event I think I’ll start with knee-high hose and a pair of patent leather pumps – something that will allow for adequate circulation while sustaining my substantial load.

For now though, its bye-bye, boots; hello, Hush Puppies.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Caller I.D.

Caller I.D.
By Allison Adams 02-20-10 / Submitted to The Greeneville Sun on 02-20-10

“What is this scribbled on this piece of junk mail?”


“This! I can’t make out what it says – its your handwriting. Looks like it might be a… oh, wait… oh, no. Is this a telephone message?”

“Oh yeah! Mom – somebody called for you earlier - maybe yesterday.”

“I can’t believe you actually answered the house telephone.”

“Yeah – I know. I don’t know what came over me.”

“I can’t read this. Does it say Jane, or Jan?”

“Jane. Jane somebody, or maybe Jan somebody. No, I think it was definitely Jane.”

“I know about a dozen Janes!”

“Really, mom? A dozen? Don’t you think you’re exaggerating just a little?”

“Am I supposed to call her back? What does this say here? Did you take her number?”

“I don’t remember – that was about a week ago.”

“I thought you said she called yesterday.”

“Before I answer any more questions, I think I should be allowed to have an attorney present.”

“Honestly, son – how hard is it to take a message?”

“Wait. Is that a trick question?”

“Let me tell you a little story.”

“Why are you punishing me?”

“Once upon a time, before the days of Caller ID, answering machines, and cellular phones, families often had only one telephone in their home. Because there was just one phone in the house, it was centrally located – like on the wall in the kitchen.”

“Was it a tin can tied to a string?”

“No – but it did have a long cord. That one telephone was used by the entire family – they all shared it!”

“Mmmm. Hard times.”

“Not really – just different. Back in those days, whenever the telephone rang, it was a big event! Everyone was excited to find out who was calling whom! Whenever it rang, everyone within earshot would make a beeline to the telephone so they could be the one to answer it! Not like now when our house telephone rings and everybody but me scatters like ball bearings on a marble floor. Why, back then, sometimes the kids would actually race to the phone yelling - I got it! I got it!”

“How lame.”

“They recognized it was a privilege and a courtesy to answer the telephone back in those days. Why, before the children in the family were even allowed to answer the phone, they were trained how to do so.”

“Get out!”

“Really! Parents made sure their children understood proper telephone etiquette first.”

“You mean they didn’t know how to say hullo?”

“Back in those days, you wouldn’t just say hello – you’d also politely identify yourself.”


“For example – you’d be expected to answer the phone by saying, Hello! Adams residence – Nate speaking!”

“No way!”

“Yes. And, you’d use a clear speaking voice instead of a drone.”


“There’s more. If the person calling wanted to leave a message for someone else in the family, the person who answered the telephone would write down the message on a proper piece of paper. There was even a special pad of paper and a pencil placed next to the telephone for the express purpose of facilitating the taking of the phone messages.”

“Wait. Is there going to be a test over this later?”

“They’d also take care to correctly spell the caller’s first AND last name, they’d ask the caller for their telephone number, which would be included on the message along with the date and the time of the call. ”

“Seems a little excessive.”

“And instead of using chicken scratch to copy a portion of the caller’s name on the back of a postcard advertising free estimates for aluminum siding, and leaving it folded up and partially hidden underneath the fruit bowl on the kitchen island – all of this helpful information was written legibly, and the message was carefully placed out in broad daylight so the person for whom it was meant would actually see it! Do you see where I’m going with this?”

“Yep – I do. Because you haven’t properly equipped me to do so, I shouldn’t answer the telephone.”

(Sigh.) “So … do you think it was Jane who called, or Jan?”

“I’m sure it was Jan, mom. Unless it was Joan …”