Always Keep Good Records

August 24, 2008

I received a strange phone call yesterday. My husband’s phone rang and when he said, “Hello,” they asked for me then hung up. Again, the phone rang. My husband said, “Hello.” They asked for me and then hung up.

I’m thinkin’ I’m lookin’ really bad right now. I said, “Honey, if I were having an affair, I’d be having the pool boy call me on my phone.” Then my phone rang. Fantastic. Would this happen were it anybody else’s life?

I answer the phone and a man said he was the D.A. I wondered, “What ticket have I not paid or what friend of mine is in trouble now?” He starts out with, “Mam, I think you have been the victim of fraud.” I said, “Oh, no. What do you mean?” He explained that some season passes to the local waterpark Schlitterbahn were apparently sold fraudulently. I said, “Are mine good?” He said, “Yes, but they are fraudulent. Could you please tell me where you bought them?”

“Sure,” I replied, “I bought them at HEB. We had to go to the next town to buy them because this town’s HEB was sold out.” He said, “Let me remind you, ‘mam, that you are a victim here and not a suspect.” I said, “I know. We got them at the store.”

“Let me remind you that you are a victim here and not a suspect in this case,” he said. “So can you tell me again where you bought them?” he asked. I said, “I told you we went all the way to the next town to get them because this one was sold out. It was the HEB on …” and I tried in vain to think of the name of the highway that I used to know as 802 but was renamed in honor of somebody who had lived some kind of remarkable life. He repeated, “Let me remind you that you are a victim here and not a suspect.” I said, “I know. I am trying to think of which HEB it was. We bought it there are the store office.”

“They don’t sell this kind there, Mam. Could you please tell me where you got them?” he said.

“I told you, we got them at HEB in Brownsville because this one was sold out. We got in line at the customer service center and are on videotape buying them. We have to be. They have cameras everywhere there because it is the office.”

“Mam, let me remind you that you are a victim here and not a suspect,” he reiterated. “Just tell me where you bought them.” I said, “I told you where I bought them… at HEB, in Brownsville, at the store’s office in line with everybody else.”

“Mam, they don’t sell those there. Could I remind you that you are a victim here and not a suspect.” He went on, “We have it narrowed down to two people you probably bought them from.” I said, “I bought them at the store in Brownsville, in line with everybody else. We have to be on camera buying them. I know we bought them there. Didn’t we?” I turned to my family who was intently listening to my end of the conversation.

I looked at my family questioningly. Was I losing my mind? I asked them if we went to Brownsville to buy those Schlitterbahn season passes. They assured me I had not lost my mind yet. I told him, “My family remembers going down there and buying them,” then realized that would have no impression on him either. A family of scoundrels produces scoundrels so I’m sure he thought he was dealing with another Ma Barker. I pictured myself coming out on the 10 o’clock news in a few days, handcuffed and chained to the other people who were really involved in this.

I was telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and so help me God this guy wasn’t believing a word of it. I was getting frustrated because the truth was NOT setting me free. I thought, “This is what it feels like to be accused of a rape, convicted of a rape and sent to prison for a rape you did not commit.” I dejectedly said, “Maybe we have some proof here somewhere,” and I hung up.

My better half said, “Maybe I have the receipt,” when I told him what was going on. I said, “Yeah, sure. Who is going to have a receipt for something from five months ago?” He pulled out his anti-Pandora’s box of important documents, started digging and lo and behold.. there it was. An HEB receipt that when unfolded almost began to glow with its power. I clutched it and said, “Thank you God!” I hugged and thanked my husband for saving me yet again from a hell I didn’t even bring on this time.

Redemption in hand, I called the detective and told him I had found the receipt and told him the date of the purchase, the time and even the name of the cashier. “I’ll send somebody out to get it,” he mumbled disbelievingly. I hung up and realized that I was going to be asked to hand over the only evidence I had of my innocence and that if the other authorities involved were as trustable as this guy, I’d better go protect myself and make myself some copies of this document vital to my freedom. We went to HEB, of course, where we told the manager of the brewing scandal, and asked her to make copies of our innocence. She gladly disappeared into the back of the office and came back with two copies, for good measure. We went home and waited, relishing in our redemption.

When the two lawmen came over, I invited them into our innocent home and sat at our innocent table where I showed them the copy of the receipt. He repeated assuringly, “I want you to know that you were always just a victim in this situation and not a suspect.” “Can it!” I wanted to tell him but smiled kindly and understandably and said, “I know.” Of course, I had to show him the original receipt which we ended up handing over because we had copies and witnesses now to the validity of our claim. The four of us in the room knew our involvement in this scandal was over.

The detective who so loved the phrase, “I need you to know that you are a victim and not a suspect in this case,” handed me his card and said, “If you ever need anything…” I countered by handing him my card and saying, “And if you ever need anything…” We shook hands and I walked them to the door gladly closing the door behind them and the trouble they had tried to bring into my world.

When the scandal breaks and it comes out on the newspaper or on the evening news, I am going to know how close I was to being sucked into that horrible mess and how easily one can go from being a victim to a suspect… for lack of a tiny piece of paper. I am going to save all my receipts now, no matter how insignificant they may seem for it is alot easier to save a receipt for ten years than to do ten years.


Portia de Rossi makes Ellen her Official Husband/Wife

August 17, 2008

Two Toronto women who were among the first same-sex couples to marry in Canada are now seeking what may be the first Canadian same-sex divorce.

The women married on June 18, 2003, a week after a landmark court decision legalized same-sex marriage in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province. They had been together for nearly 10 years, but separated after five days of marriage.

The women are now seeking to change Canada’s divorce law, which still applies only to marriages between a man and a woman. Their identities have been kept secret by court order.

While more than 3,000 same-sex couples married in the last year in Canada, the Canadian Divorce Act had not been amended to reflect the new reality of gay marriage.

People will be people.

Visitors urged to leave Florida due to tropical storm Fay

August 17, 2008

Florida Keys officials closed schools, opened shelters and urged visitors to leave as Tropical Storm Fay threatened to strengthen into a hurricane Sunday, but residents and tourists seemed in no hurry to evacuate. We just got our dose of rain and floodwaters down here in South Texas.  I hope and pray that Miss Fay stays at tropical storm level and does not increase to hurricane level. We are still dealing with the aftermath that Miss Dolly left us down here in the South Padre Island area of Texas. The devastation was not as bad as it could have been but for some people who were not financially prepared for the mess Dolly created, it was bad enough. FEMA just set up shop this weekend on the island and is still helping people deal with Miss Dolly’s damage. At least now I know firsthand what Florida is going to be like for the next few weeks: crowded with huge trailers and trucks that were just here. Even in destruction, there is rebirth; the construction, contractors, glass, roofing, and air-conditioning businesses will all experience a boom in business. Insurance adjusters will swoop down into the area. Housekeeping and cleanup crews will find lots of work as well. The restaurants and hotels that service these workers will also see business come their way. Even in destruction there is construction. That is the beauty of life, that in even in death, there is birth. The end of something almost always signals a beginning of something else. How many of us did not want to see something end or were saddened by it only to find out it meant the birth of something else? How many of us did not see that everything is part of a cycle, a master plan and that “all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord”? You may not see it or feel it but sometimes horrible tempests in our lives had to occur for a new beginning, perhaps the birth of a new you or of a new chapter in your life. I hope that whatever happens in Florida that it is more of a rebirth and an economic surge than anything detrimental and that no injuries or deaths occur during their upcoming trial.

What’s Worse Meth or Heroin?

August 17, 2008

I think it is so funny when I watch the TV show “Cops” and a policeman from up north somewhere after a “major bust” holds up a teeny-tiny twenty bag of marijuana, smiles at the camera, and says, “Yeah! This is what it is all about! We took a load off the streets!”

Meanwhile back at the ranch, cops in this border area are taking huge loads of drugs off the street as evidenced by today’s Brownsville Herald article, “Investigators seize nearly 200 pounds of pot.” That is a small bust around here. Authorities here regularly take in literally tons of marijuana, hundreds of pounds of cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, meth and other assorted evils. We cannot laugh at their smidgeons though, because all it takes is a little evil sometimes to do a world of destruction. One hit of crack, pot, heroin, or meth may end up leading the user to a path that so many have gone down. It is a wide path crowded with toothless, dirty, smelly, dejected, miserable souls towards the end of the road that only wish they had never gone down that path. That road leads to suicide, jail, death and immeasureable suffering. People at the beginning of this journey still look, sound, smell and think well but the ones on the end of their journey towards hell, or rock bottom, are so fraught with pain, poverty, illness, frailty, suffering, doubt, fear, self-loathing and so many more ills, many are unrecognizable.

The thing that scares me now is that the US strengthened the laws concerning pseudoephedrine, that drug that the meth cooks are after in our cold medicine. That by the way is the reason your cold medicine won’t be as effective this cold and flu season. So, guess who has bravely stepped up to the plate? Mexican drug lords willing to go to any depths to get the almighty dollar. They don’t care how many lives they ruin doling out that poison to the public. They are interested in their immediate gain and nothing less. Some of the most horrifying, grotesque and sad photos are the before and after photos of meth users. When I am asked, I can’t decide which is the worst poison: meth, heroin, crack, or alcohol. All are heavy duty players on the field and each has a very wide belt with millions of notches he can gird around his waist. Elvis’ belts can’t compare to these things. Now we have to watch out for the horrific presence of meth in our community, like the tons of pot, thousands of ecstacy pills and hundreds of kilos of cocaine were not enough. All we can do is continue to chip away at the mountains of illegal drugs coming in through our borders, educate and scare our youth because finding out the hard way about drugs too often results in tragedy. Fear is good sometimes. You should be afraid of getting in the path of a speeding 18-wheeler. You should be scared if a shark is coming up behind you while you are joyfully paddling away and minding your own business. Our children should be scared of the horror, destruction and immeasurable pain that drug abuse creates.

Fear is good when it prevents a fate worse than you could ever imagine.

Texas school district OKs pistols for teachers, staff

August 17, 2008

Harrold Independent School District approved a district policy change last October so employees can carry concealed firearms to deter and protect against school shootings. The teachers must have a Texas license to carry a concealed handgun, must receive training in crisis management and hostile situations and have to use ammunition that is designed to minimize the risk of ricochet in school halls. What good is all this training when all a kid has to do is get into the teacher’s purse when she is not looking and then get payback for the jocks calling him a freak? Students can be as charming as Valentino but as deadly as a viper. Students are children; children who are still maturing. Some are very emotionally immature. Just as a two-year-old cannot contain his rage upon being denied anything, neither can some picked-on kid who thinks the entire world hates him and is talking about him and mocking him. Fighting siblings often yell, “I hate you!” to the object of their loathing, then after a while, calm down and are best friends again with their loving brother or sister. How many brothers have killed the other in a moment of uncontrolled rage? How much easier for a student who feels that the whole class is laughing at him and his payback is right there in the teacher’s desk drawer or up in the closet? It is sad that someone is going to have to lose their life or possibly be critically injured before somebody realizes that guns in a classroom is a can of worms that did not need to be opened.