One year, wanting change in my life, I decided to travel down South for the holiday season. Now, in spite of my not being a world traveler and coming from New England, I know I really don’t live in a vacuum. In fact, I like to think of myself as being fairly knowledgeable about the many facets of lifestyles. I honestly didn’t believe that there was any one particular circumstance that could surprise or shock me. How wrong I was!
Feeling somewhat adventurous, I chose to explore the back hills of West Virginia and Tennessee. Needless to say, I ventured onto one of those old country mountain roads and got myself so twisted up I didn’t know if I was coming or going. After an hour of aimlessly wandering around, I had to accept defeat and admit to myself I was lost.
I didn’t get discouraged because, after all, I was exploring and it was supposed to be an adventure. At least I kept trying to convince myself to that way of thinking. It was at this point I spotted a dirt road that had all the indications of having been traveled quite a bit so I took a deep breath and turned onto it. As the road meandered up through the woods, I began to question my sanity thinking that at any moment I would be mistaken for an IRS agent and shot by moonshiners.
I have to tell you that this line of thinking can be detrimental to one’s mental stability, especially for a person who has an active imagination to begin with. Before I could stop myself from letting my thoughts get frantically out of control, I had conjured up a whole scenario that would have made the movie “Deliverance” seem like a “boys will be boys” boy scout movie. As you can imagine, within moments, I had worked myself into a rampant paranoid state. I was convinced I was going to die.
Just as I was about to shift the car into reverse and try to back down the road, I entered a clearing and an old shack appeared. I breathed a sigh of relief knowing I could make a u-turn and get the heck out of there. Not to be.
Halfway into the u-turn, someone came out of the shack carrying a rifle and waved for me to stop. At the sight of the gun, my mind went into pure chaos and all hell broke out inside the car. My heart beat against my chest so hard I thought it was going to explode; my body immediately broke out with a cold clammy sweat; my hand shook so damn violently it knocked the gear shift lever into neutral which stopped the car from moving; my foot pressed so hard on the gas pedal it caused the engine to roar like one of the rockets NASA sends to the moon; and a scream that would have scared the crap out of a banshee erupted from my mouth.
The person holding the rifle stepped to the front of my car and stopped. Once I calmed down, I was able to see more clearly and I know without a doubt that my jaw dropped open. Before me stood a hairy, six-foot man wearing a polka-dot dress; clod-hopper boots; with a scruffy beard and what appeared to be long yellow hair fashioned from a scraggly-looking mop head.
He motioned with the rifle barrel for me to get out of the car and I did. I thought for sure I was going to get shot right then and there. Instead, he stepped around to the side of the car and stuck his big, beefy, calloused hand out to shake mine.
I nervously placed my small hand in his and watched as it got swallowed up by his thick fingers. I waited for the mighty squeeze and the crunch of breaking bones but it didn’t come and I must admit that I was actually amazed by the tender, gentle way he shook my hand. “Name’s Glen, but you can call me Glenda.” When I looked up, I was greeted by a big speckled-toothed grin.
I couldn’t help but smile at the sight and I believe the big fella took it as a friendly gesture because he lowered the gun. In a deep-husky voice said, “C’mon inside, coffee’s on the stove.”
He took two steps, stopped and glanced up toward the roof and bellowed, “Granny, c’mon down we got ourselves a visitor.”
He must have noticed the shocked expression on my face and simply said, “She’s been up there all mornin’ cleanin’ that dang chimney. If tweren’t for feedin’ ol’ Jeb, she’d be up there all dang day. Well, never you mind, she’ll be down right quick. She loves havin’ visitors.”
The inside of the house was dark and the only light besides the little bit coming in through the windows was from a kerosene lamp on the small wooden table. Before I could take another step into the house, a large, fat pig came running from the darkness and was headed right for me. I let out a yelp and jumped to the side just in time to avoid being knocked out the door.
Glenda whacked it on the nose with the butt of the rifle. “Get in you’re corner, ya crazy damn ol’ pig.”
He turned to me. “You okay?”
I nodded I was while keeping my eyes on the pig.
“This here’s Jebediah but we call ‘im Jeb lessin’ he gets too crazy, then we call him a lot of other names. Granny does most o’ that bein’ as I’m tryin’ ta be a lady an’ all.”
Just then, Granny stepped into the house. “I see ya met ol’ Jeb, and…..” she paused and with a sarcastic tone, continued, “Gl-e-n-d-a. He thinks he’s a transmutant. Got the crazy notion from watchin’ some guy named Ponvict on the T.V. box in town.”
Glenda plunked the coffee mugs down hard on the table. “It’s not transmutant. It’s transgender. I keep tellin’ ya that. And it’s not Ponvict. It’s Povich ---- Maury Povich.”
“Don’t make a dang bit o’ difference what his name is, he’s got ya dancin’ and prancin’ round like a Mary Jane.”
Glenda huffed. “I ain’t prancin’ and I ain’t a Mary Jane. Sides, we got us a visitor and twoudn’t be polite ta argue in front of ‘er.”
Granny wrinkled her face at him and shook her head from side to side, then turned to me. “Would ya like a biscuit with ya coffee, Miss?”
I realized at that point, I hadn’t introduced myself. Not sure what they’d do if I didn’t, I blurted, “Teresa Miller, but you can just call me Terry.”
I took the biscuit and surprisingly, both it and the coffee were real tasty. We talked for a bit more and then I said I had to get going and asked if they could direct me on which way to go so I could get back to the main road. With the directions in mind, I bid my farewell and headed out of there as fast as I could.
A half-hour later, I made a right onto a road that turned out to be paved for the first 100 yards only and then changed to a dirt road. Panic immediately swept over me as I could only think of it being Déjà vu. I was in no condition to deal with another Redneck transgender person or an attacking pig or whatever else lurked up ahead and jammed on the brakes.
I shifted into reverse and practically gunned the car back down the road with surprising accuracy. Not long after, I spotted a sign that directed me to the highway, but instead of continuing South, I followed the route North. I remember thinking at the time that maybe a holiday in New England wasn’t such a bad thing after all.
December 18, 2013