Reptile beguile

Author: natalie  //  Category: From me to you

The Discovery Channel has Shark Week, and not to be outdone, I’m going to host and review my own little Reptile Week here today. I’m pretty sure my version won’t be nearly as riveting, but you know I’m going on with the show anyway.

First episode begins with a slightly frightening letter I received from Gladys “Granny” Adcox of Highlands. She reported a snake sighting inside the confines of her home.  I’ll go ahead and quote her verbatim, because it’s funnier to hear her tell it. We’ll paint some visuals together.

“Wish me luck. I’ve got a snake in the house. My lady that works for me came in about 9 o’clock yesterday and found it. She didn’t know what to do. So, she got some insect spray and sprayed it on its head.”

Ok, that’s not the end, but I must interrupt the programming to say that made me laugh right out loud! I can just see tiny, in her-mid-nineties Granny and another lady hovering over a serpent with a can of Raid.

“It started crawling off and we watched it go into a front bedroom. We closed the door, so it wouldn’t get out. My neighbor came over and brought his flashlight and a little hoe, but failed to find it.”

I don’t know why, but I see Inspector Clouseau complete with the detective hat and magnifying glass. I hope the kind, un-bumbling neighbor helping Granny gets a chuckle out of that.

“My granddaughter and her husband came today and searched that room for about 2 hours. They didn’t find it.”

I tell you, that Granny is tough as nails to remain in that home. A lesser woman (me) would have vacated those premises until the slitherin’, bug-spray-smellin’, forked-tongue intruder was captured.

“A friend of mine is going to come over tomorrow with her little dog. We hope the dog will be able to find the snake.”

Now, in proper TV fashion I’m going to leave you all hanging. Queue the ominous music, and cut!

Man it’s fun clapping that black-and-white director thingy shut. I feel so powerful having you all perched on the edge of your seats.

If my writer (ahem, Granny…) provides another installment, I’ll be sure to share.

Episode two involves my being a total sucker for those pop-psychology questionnaires, “Are you (fill in the blank)?”

I get a kick out of studying me. Not that I’m all that interesting, but because I’m my own guinea pig. No one else would put up with my shenanigans or the constant questioning.

The one that caught my eye this past week dealt with “social connectors” or people who can connect with virtually anyone, and maybe anything.

According to the in-depth, four-question quiz I am one, with a bit of an oddity (go figure) in that I’m introverted. But I’m also a “social chameleon”. Ooh.

On some level I’ve always known that and I was glad to confirm and see the slant that painted us environmental color-changers in a positive light.

You know I looked it all up and like everything else there is a dark side: Some “chameleons” are not as sweet as me and use their skill for nefarious (that’s wicked times a hundred) purposes.

Anyway, I sure hope Granny found that sneaky snake. If not, I may have to pay her home a visit . . . cross over to the dark side and use some cunning and trickery to coax it out of her life.

I may need a few of you to assist. Somebody needs to hold the dog, I’ll need another to hide the bug spray and the rest, please distract Clouseau with the hoe!

© 2012 Natalie Whatley

Gonna keep on truckin’

Author: natalie  //  Category: Life with children

Nearly four years ago you were all with me when my oldest began driving.

Since that time I— and thankfully everyone else peripherally involved— endured the first moving violation with ensuing fine, first traffic accident and the super silly burning off of tires and destroying the rear-end of a car in aforementioned burning of tires.

It all aged me a great deal, but I stand today not only older, more wrinkly and grayer, but wiser and proudly more calm about the whole business of cherub number two taking to the roads.

You may also recall that my choice of vehicle for my first baby was a giant wad of bubble wrap on wheels. That didn’t fly with a 16-year-old male prepared to take the world by its proverbial tail. And the story repeats with yet another similarly situated male still under my care and tutelage. Imagine that.

Adding to this old but new experience is that Jeremy, aka second cherub, has worked very hard, saved his pennies and amassed an impressive fund. The young man has automobile options far beyond my choice of the air-filled plastic stuff and he is putting me through my shopping paces. Maybe you also recall that I don’t like to shop.

To speak in today’s hip vernacular: He blows up my phone regularly with photos of the truck du jour. See, he falls in love anew each day he and his computer let his fingers do the walking.

I get all the views—front, back, sides, interior, stereo and the all-important tires and wheels. Oh, and it’s extra special if it’s “lifted”.

I do believe he has settled on red. And I must admit they’re all starting to look the same, but he can point to some nuance that makes each day’s choice better than the one before. Clueless to so much of what goes on outside his own noggin (not sure where he gets that from) he becomes a man of details.

Then Mr. Detail gets annoyed when I point out a very major one by responding to shiny-truck-photo messages with, “Have you worked on your driver’s-education stuff today?”

It’s all requiring me to reverse previous training: In this instance he needs to put the cart before horsepower. Shoot, I want that cart sitting up front right now. We’re not done filling it! Close, but not done, yet.

Rest assured to you, the motoring public, we won’t turn him loose until he has been fully blessed by an officer of the Texas Department of Public Safety.  (As a side note: DPS has resumed actual driving tests for new drivers. They stopped doing said tests for a while. Someone saw the folly in that and reversed course. I, for one, appreciate that.)

And Jeremy’s a good egg and will be a responsible driver. I want all (ok, maybe not ALL, but most) of his auto dreams to come true.

The truth is that I, too, get hung up in the trappings of how incredibly handsome he will look perched behind the wheel of his vessel to greater independence.

That’s it, really. Kids grow up and do grown-up things like work hard, save money, make large purchases and drive away in them. I’m very blessed and proud to call such a young man my own.

Mom has to keep on truckin’. And she will.

© 2012 Natalie Whatley

Depending on independence

Author: natalie  //  Category: From me to you, Holidays

Being that I’m sitting down in the late evening of the Independence Day holiday to work on what I surely should have done before, I have independence on the brain. Not necessarily the red, white and blue variety even though I’m listening to the bombs bursting air as I type. Procrastination always makes for a few personal fireworks —requiring me to light a match so to speak—but I’ll get on with it.

Independence: The condition of being independent; freedom from control or influence of others; self-governing; self-reliant.

That brings up a whole swirl of thoughts for me on both the small and large scales of life here on this big rock.

When I think big and beyond my mostly petty grievances, I get pretty perturbed over where things currently stand given some folks labored hard to give birth to this nation, but my blood pressure can’t withstand even my own political rants, so I’ll not go there.

Pondering on the much smaller and what affects me directly, I wonder if true personal independence is even possible when considering the dictionary definition—especially the “freedom from control or influence of others”.

Freedom from control or influence?  Think about it. Even the most independent among us can’t claim it entirely.

Yeah, I know, it’s probably not what normal folks thought about while sitting at Baytown’s Bicentennial Park watching the Fourth of July parade. But as I waited for my youngest little cherub to make an appearance with her cheerleading team, that’s exactly what crossed my mind.

I’m externally controlled every day by a whole lot, some of it by choice, some if it not. (That was me channeling the great Theodore Seuss Geisel, otherwise known as Dr. Seuss.)

And as I held that thought I realized the red, white, and blue which surrounded me was pretty fitting: I’ve turned red in anger and embarrassment, white with fear, and have nursed my fair share of blue bruises while struggling to stake out my own ground.

That metaphor further begged the question: Is having so much choice really liberating or a grand invitation to step in what the parade horses dropped in the route?

Make no mistake: I’m not for the removal of any freedoms we presently enjoy, just wondering if this centaur would function any better with high, possibly electrified fences. Probably not.

I need to roam freely. And while that roaming may appear to have no particular purpose to a single other soul, it bears repeating words of the legendary J.R.R. Tolkien of Lord of the Rings fame: “Not all those who wander are lost.”

And so it all came full circle in my mind as I sat on the curb watching the parade come around the bend.

I’m dependent on independence.

Without it I’d surely wither and die. But to live in and celebrate a country that (mostly) allows it . . . it was enough to make this girl cry.

© 2012 Natalie Whatley

Some days you’re cracked

Author: natalie  //  Category: From me to you

Sometimes life —and 18-wheeled trucks—throws things unexpectedly in our direction. Some of those things crack us up, others leave a crack.

And that reminds me of a cute saying, “Some days you’re the windshield and some days you’re the bug.”

It’s not hard to discern the meaning: Sometimes we cruise through life pushing through all things in our path, and other times . . . SPLAT! I only wish that splattering could be as painlessly instantaneous as those unfortunate bugs.  But I’m going off on a tangent.

This past week, while driving on Interstate 10, enjoying some catchy tune and absolutely minding my own business a big truck ahead threw a rock from one of its tires. My sporty ride and I tried to move from its rapid trajectory, to no avail.

I feel pretty lucky to have gone almost two years without a chink in my new car’s windshield, but DANG!

Isn’t that moment you hear it hit a most special cruddy one? I was all alone, but I think I muttered a string of gosh-darn-its and other things befitting all shades of the rainbow.

That out of my system I tried assessing the damage while still traveling at or below the posted speed limit. (I would never speed, and especially not while aggravated because I learned in Defensive Driving Class after my last speed-moving violation that not following traffic rules while emotionally charged is not a good combination. It is my civic duty to take care of me and those motorists around me. I’ll pat myself on the back for paying such careful attention while being punished for slightly breaking the law.)

I knew it broke the glass, but I couldn’t find it. Mere seconds later I saw what looked like a spider right below the driver’s side windshield wiper. Thanks to the extreme heat we experienced, it started to splinter within the minute.

I suppose I could’ve lived with a chip in an area just below where my eyes rest while driving, but no, it had to travel on up right where I have to look at it each and every time I sit behind the wheel.

Now I know in the grand scheme of all that life entails, this is truly a mere annoyance.  Far worse can and does occur to kind folks the world over every day. But still, it hurt.

And it’s going to be expensive to replace should I decide to do so.

I never knew how much I’d enjoy and grow dependent upon the heads-up display technology that allows my car to project all sorts of information onto the windshield so that my eyes never have to leave the road. Turns out that’s some special glass that can do that, but it’s no better at taking a rock than its not-so-special counterparts.

So now I’m left to decide. Do I live out my drive time with that blight always in front of my face? Or replace the windshield knowing all too well it’s only a matter of time before it’s my turn again in the rock meets windshield barrel? Decisions, decisions.

While I’m grateful I wasn’t the bug that day, being the windshield isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be either.

© 2012 Natalie Whatley

The tortoise and the hair loss

Author: admin  //  Category: From me to you

My trusty canine sidekick, Scooter, is getting on up in years and is perfectly content to quietly watch the world go by from close proximity to my feet.  So, when he gets excited over something and alerts with a bark and rapid tail wag I know I need to investigate.

Last weekend while enjoying some serene moments before the rest of the household was out of bed, he went berserk at the back door. Knowing it must be something quite novel to stir such a response, good judgment overrode my desire to fling the door open and unleash my beast.

At that very same moment, ground-level movement caught my eye.

It took me a moment to focus, and another few to make sense out of what my eyes were trying to relay to my brain: a rapidly moving turtle with a shell about the size of a soccer ball cut in half.

Living in close proximity to Cedar Bayou, I wasn’t totally shocked by its presence and imagined it dug under the fence to gain entry. I was more puzzled by its speed.

I plopped down on the floor next to Scooter and together we observed our backyard oddity.

Suddenly reminded of Aesop’s tortoise and hare, I was amazed by the not-so-slow and steady creature. And then, in my strange fashion, I felt a kinship with our visitor.

It was clearly on a mission, neck stuck way out pointing the way. It was even opening and closing its mouth in a snapping fashion as it traveled.

I explained to Scooter that was why he couldn’t go out and “get it”. Not sure he understood, but his nose surely would if I’d let him loose.

But I also knew that in a flash it could halt and disappear into an inner world with no room for company . . . invited or not. Ah, a true introvert much like me.  I envied the shell. Mine is not as apparent to others.

I’m slow, methodical, and basically over-think every thought that comes into my mind. Distraction during those thought processes make me snappy. And hares hopping around me all over-anxious-like. . . enough to make this girl SNAP!

And I can guarantee that if I’m physically in the middle of a swirl of activity, I’m in my shell.

It’s comfy in there. I have it decorated and full of all my favorite people and things.

But on a quiet morning, sitting at the back door with one of my dearest friends, watching the world go by from his feet I was fully outside my shell and happy to see my animal kingdom counterpart in action.

And getting back around to said reptile making its way across my yard: Scooter was quite distressed over my not allowing him to handle the intruder that was apparently too close to me for his liking. And when my poor doggie gets upset, he pulls the hair off his backside with his teeth. That paints a visual, doesn’t it?

But he loves me in spite of my snappy-turtle ways, so I’ll tell you he’s still top dog in my book . . . even with a bald backside and hair in his teeth.

© 2012 Natalie Whatley

Take it to the bank, Dads

Author: admin  //  Category: Holidays, Life with children, National

While assisting my kiddos in finding the perfect Father’s Day greetings for the paternal figures in their lives I ran across a few that were quite funny. Others—with a giggle and grin—touched on the cold, hard truth that Dads often get second billing in the grand theatrics of getting offspring to adulthood.

Of course what now constitutes “adulthood” has Dad on the hook even longer than in times past, but we’ll not go there today. In my mind that’s no cause for celebration, and I’d be on my soapbox far too long.

Anyway, one card in particular hinted that the origin of June’s Father’s Day came about after menfolk caught on to the major celebration May’s Mother’s Day turned into. The card showed a disheveled man standing, arms out and palms facing upward exclaiming, “Hey!?”  He’s clearly thinking, “What about me?”

While clearly not of the male persuasion, I see his point.

We girls tend to get a lion’s share of the credit having to go through the whole pregnancy and birthing process.  It’s worth mentioning that mothers get a bit of a head start and a hefty helping of biology to bond them to their babies.

The following nifty little quote from illustrates my point: “Your child, at birth, already has a deeply complicated relationship with his mother, and, for the first year, you are only a curiosity. For a couple of years after that, an amusement-park ride. Then, a referee. And finally, a bank.”

I laughed at that truth, and I’m sure you guys are grinning, too. Although my own little cherubs’ dad swears the banking part pretty much runs start to way after finish. (Jeff and I are still operating under the potential illusion that there will be a “finish”. Please don’t burst our bubble.)

But as I look around at today’s fathers their job has become just as complex as mom’s.

Women bemoan having to juggle all of life’s demands, but as motherhood changed with en masse female entry into the workforce, the guys had to evolve, too.

All the dads I know work, take the kiddos to activities, help around the house . . . pretty much do it all. And they’re far calmer doing it.

When I consider how much they’ve had to change in such a short evolutionary period, I’m impressed beyond words.

For all the strides that have been made on the female side of life’s equation, it would have been impossible had they not stepped up to the plate . . . and hit it out of the park.

To all the Dads on your special day: I suspect you often feel unnoticed and unappreciated, but your massive contribution and continual hard work does not go unnoticed. You are first-rate and far more than a monetary institution. You can take that to the bank. Happy Father’s Day!

© 2012 Natalie Whatley

You can lead a foal to dishwater . . .

Author: natalie  //  Category: Life with children

Every generation spends some time thinking the next doesn’t have what it takes to properly get through life. 

Of course we older folks have to take some of the blame, but I refuse to take it all because I led my foals to the dishwater.  But you know how the saying goes. I wasn’t successful at making them drink, either.

When school let out last week, I began yet another summer with offspring who have the time—minus the inclination—to help more with the running of a five-member-plus-animals household.  I’m no different in thinking they are doomed to an unkempt existence once they fly the family coop.

Shoot, at this point in life with three teenagers under my roof this momma bird is not at all averse to kicking them out of the nest entirely since they pretty much know how to fly. Ask them, they’ll tell you how they know it all. If they’re not careful, I won’t let them take any of the feathers currently lining the twigs upon which they balance so precariously.

I estimate that over the span of their lifetimes I have done roughly 10.7 trillion loads of their laundry. I understand it takes that many repetitions before the process of sorting loads and operating the washer and dryer becomes fully engrained in one’s nature. So, I think it’s time they seriously increase their training.

I’m also trying to help them understand that they too can brandish a toilet brush. A sparkling bowl is good for the soul. At least it is for mine. And if momma is happy . . .

A broom: not difficult to operate and truly doesn’t require any special instruction. I know it’s a little bristly, but I’ve assured them it doesn’t bite.

They see no need for such an archaic piece of equipment since their great grandmother gifted me with a nifty little robot that sweeps and mops, but I feel I’m not doing my parental job if I don’t at least make them aware cleanliness can be achieved without the modern-day technology they probably won’t be able to initially afford for their own nest.

And I still can’t get them to comprehend the rationale behind dusting after sweeping and vacuuming instead of before.  I’ve hurt cherubic feelings by questioning their work order, and I know I should be thrilled to receive help at all, but is help that’s not really help helpful?

Maybe I need a whole different kind of help . . . in the form of a long couch and possible prescription drugs. Tranquilizers would probably do the job nicely. 

Cooking, I only have four words: Ramen noodles don’t count. But the mess does, so, uh, how hard is it to rinse out those dishes and place them in the dishwasher?

Which is a grand segue into: Little elves don’t show up and put the clean dishes away. If you know where you got a fork from in the kitchen, surely you can find your way back with a fistful of clean ones.

This old mare is tired of draggin’ young’uns to the watering hole.  But I imagine if I “accidentally” kicked one into the water . . . they’d sink or swim. And if I had to bet, I’d wager on the swimming. Lord knows they won’t touch a sink!

© 2012 Natalie Whatley

Too hot to mishandle

Author: natalie  //  Category: It's all about me

I spend an inordinate amount of time here being silly, but this week I’ll temper it—part antics of a possibly brain-damaged, middle-aged woman and part summer-season public-service announcement.

If you’re the stunning Linda Rowe—aka Mom to me—put the paper down and walk away. There are some things you don’t want to know.

OK, Mom. I know you’re still with us. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

As I have confessed before, I have a long-standing, serious relationship with Mr. Sun. He lifts my spirits with his brightness and warmth and makes me glow. After all, he is the “glorious lamp of heaven”.

Dermatologists surely bristle.  

I practice what I consider moderation realizing any exposure is unacceptable these days. I can’t help it. A slightly rebellious gal could partake of far worse in my estimation.

Anyway, Memorial Day weekend Sunny and I had a hot date.

I usually limit our time to one hour—30 minutes each front and back. But as the late spring/early summer season progresses I additionally “cook” the left and right sides of my body causing my exposure window to be slightly longer. Hour and a half tops.

I followed my rotisserie-like rotation while reading a great book, sipping water, and sweating profusely—more than usual in fact, and that made sense in 20/20 hindsight.

When our time was up, I bid Sunny good-bye and started my short trek to the indoors.

Freshly bronzed, I stepped through the back door and the room began to swirl. Shaky legs carried me on to the kitchen where I promptly found a chair. Mere seconds later my condition drastically worsened: severe nausea, dizziness, muscle cramps, loss of coordination . . . the not-so-good works.

Through tunnel-like vision I saw my life flashing and bananas on the nearby island. Minimal brain function told me I’d become overheated and that the potassium-laden fruit would save me, so I stood to  get one . . .only to find I didn’t have the strength to break one free from the bunch. Odd.

A loud CRACK preceded “lights out”.

Somewhere between one and three minutes later I “came to” slightly confused over my ground-level location.

With sputtering cerebral synapses firing, I realized the crack I heard, but didn’t feel, was my noggin crashing into the hard kitchen floor. 

As clearer vision returned, I looked up, saw the full knife block I apparently raked across the counter-top on the way down teetering precariously over my head  – half on, half off the counter.  Gravity was being defied.  Maybe I even saw a little angel—wings furiously fluttering—holding it up. 

I sat up, pushed the knives back, and for the most part felt perfectly fine. Suppose I just needed a re-boot.

But the point of all this is to tell you: I’m a seasoned, frequently-exerts-herself-through-all-seasons-in-the-outdoor-climate kind of girl . . . and I surely suffered heat exhaustion. It came on quickly and without warning (the heavier than usual sweating was a sign). I’d never experienced it before.

I hadn’t eaten in several hours and was not taking in nearly enough fluids. Neither of those things seemed significant before the heated incident. I should have known better.

I felt a little weak and had a headache the rest of the day—still sporting a nice goose egg on the back of my head among other minor bodily contusions, but otherwise I’m fine. Maybe it knocked some sense into me. Scared me for sure.

Don’t follow in my stupid footsteps. The heat is already too hot to mishandle.

© 2012 Natalie Whatley

Remember our heroes

Author: natalie  //  Category: Holidays, National

Having been at this column-writing thing for some time now (Fifth year, can you believe it? Seems like a long time but I know it’s only a flash in the pan compared to my cohorts Finley and Orton), I feel like I’ve worn out certain topics.

What more could there possibly be to say as I move through the cycle of commemorative days on the calendar yet again? But there is one that I never feel I can speak enough on.

Tomorrow is not merely the last Monday in May.  But I know it would largely be forgotten if not for the long weekend that unofficially kicks off summer. I’d wager some folks don’t even know (or care) how this extended weekend came about.

Memorial Day—formerly Decoration Day—is day of remembrance for soldiers who have died in our nation’s service. I can’t think of another group deserving of any higher amount of gratitude.

While any one of us could easily become ensnared in all the hoopla that has been bestowed upon the day to the point of losing its intent, not one of us can deny being inextricably linked to the past lives and deaths of so many who were unknown to us personally.

But those soldiers belonged to real families, who felt real pain and maybe even genuine pride for having contributed to a greater cause.

And let’s pause and reflect:  Would you march into danger and lay down your life for the benefit of unknown people from an unknown time?

Many have. Many still do.

How does one adequately appreciate the gift of freedom and protection?

We can start by understanding that for all the “injustices” we think we suffer . . . life is pretty darn good here in the U.S. of A.

Sure, I get discouraged, too, when I clearly see the principles this country was founded upon threatened by political posturing, power plays or just plain steering the country away from  what was bought and paid for with the blood of our ancestors.

 And in this current election season (vote Tuesday if you haven’t already), I’m weary of wading through the deception and egos to exercise my fought-for-and-won right, honor, and privilege of casting a ballot.

 I’m ashamed to feel that way, but know I must pay attention in honor of those who afforded me the opportunity.

By the grace of God I’ve never walked a single step in a battle-weary soldier’s boots – only stood under the umbrella of their and their families’ sacrifices.

While out enjoying whatever the extended weekend brings, please take a few moments to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we all might enjoy the freedom to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.

To all that have been lost and those who lost loved ones: Thank you. Anything I can give back seems inadequate, but you are not forgotten.  What you gave lives on.

“We cherish too the Poppy red that grows on fields where valor led. It seems to signal to the skies that blood of heroes never dies.” ~Moina Michael

© 2012 Natalie Whatley

In a pig’s ear!

Author: natalie  //  Category: From me to you

I don’t know about you folks, but I have had my fill of unscrupulous businesses looking to make some extra dough engineering “food” by mixing up nasty concoctions and passing them off as something I might rather enjoy eating.

We all heard about the “pink slime” that mimicked meat . . . I believe of the poultry variety. I didn’t get too worked up because I swore off chicken nuggets and the like many years ago.

I’m no rocket scientist, but my palate alerted me something was not quite right with those chicken-like products. I can’t tell you how relieved I am that when I can’t put my finger on something, my tongue steps up to the plate and makes an objection. I listen when it speaks.

Then I heard about meat glue. If you find yourself with a few free moments—make sure your stomach is empty—take a look.  That high-dollar prime rib may be lesser cuts in disguise.

Shoot, eating paste from the jar at school back in the day was mere child’s play. And I decided to eat said paste of my own volition. I don’t like being tricked into eating “glue” in my steak and who knows what else.

And the story goes on with product after product.

Some bee-hind out there somewhere is even simulating honey and having us believe it’s the real thing. The phony products have been found on the shelves of many well-known retailers—unbeknownst to them, of course. Like you and me, they bee-lieved they were getting Buzzy’s best.

But this week when I witnessed the breaking of the latest food scandal, I threw my hands up in disgust. These money-hungry swine have gone too far.

Chinese police are investigating the discovery of a batch of “fake” pigs’ ears.

The bogus ears were discovered in a market in Ganzhou City in the eastern province of Jiangxi—where I keep one of many vacation homes—after a customer (bet it was one of my friendly seasonal neighbors) complained of a strange smell when cooking them.

You did know that REAL pig ears smell divine when heated, right?

Food safety officials tested the “ears” and determined they were made out of gelatin and sodium oleate, which is commonly used to make soap.

Ah. Surely you’re imagining that gelatinous, soapy “ear” in the frying pan and the to-die-for aroma. Makes me want to squeal just thinking about it.

Photos circulating on the Internet show the “ears” being examined. They appear light brown with a plastic-like texture. YUM.

Rest assured, an expert came along (thank your lucky stars) and offered up a sure-fire method for telling real ears—a popular delicacy—from fake ones.

Pay close attention. Are you ready?

The genuine article should have . . . hair . . . wait, it gets even better . . . and visible small blood vessels.

Somebody pass me some paper towels, I started salivating profusely just typing that.

Whew! I feel so much better now that I know definitively how to differentiate between the real thing and imposters.

Am I sufficiently grossed out? Has this scandal affected my ability to enjoy something that sounds delicious? Is a pig’s hind-end pork?

Careful, folks, some of those pigs’ ears you might want to eat are not.

© 2012 Natalie Whatley