The Kids are Gone; The Dog is Depressed and Mom's on the Loose

Overview Shelley Fraser Mickle's latest book is a departure from her previously published works of fiction, Replacing Dad and The Queen of October. In this nonfiction book, she not only proves that you can go home again; you've never really left. Mom's on the Loose humorously details how events throughout our lives continue to influence the person we keep reinventing ourselves into. This collection of delightful essays highlight events from her youth in Arkansas, such as the day the Thanksgiving football game ended in a knockout; her stint as a transplante See more details below
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Overview

Shelley Fraser Mickle's latest book is a departure from her previously published works of fiction, Replacing Dad and The Queen of October. In this nonfiction book, she not only proves that you can go home again; you've never really left. Mom's on the Loose humorously details how events throughout our lives continue to influence the person we keep reinventing ourselves into. This collection of delightful essays highlight events from her youth in Arkansas, such as the day the Thanksgiving football game ended in a knockout; her stint as a transplanted Southerner, her days as a homeroom mother, including the one when she is stopped by a police officer for speeding the party cupcakes to school, as well as the unforgettable day when a snake shows up at the family room window. After many years, she is finally free to pursue her own wishes and desires, yet her life's experiences are never far from the core of whom she was, and whom she has become. Only now she has the time to appreciate the mundane yet sometimes quirky events that take place in our everyday lives which leads to answering the question, "Just what exactly does one do when the kids finally grow up, move out, and the dog is lying under the grand piano, depressed?"

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What People Are Saying

Henri T. Pensis
Shelley is the consummate storyteller. She presents each piece with a delightful sense of humor, yet the core of her stories illuminate some basic aspect of the human condition. (Henri Pensis, WUFT Station Manager)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780967278810
  • Publisher: Alachua Press Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/1/2000
  • Pages: 225
  • Product dimensions: 6.23 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Blue Dog

My dog is depressed. She lies under the grand piano with her tobacco-juice eyes closed. Won't even get up when I open a package of wieners, dragging out the tearing of the plastic wrap until all the crackling I am making sounds as if I am setting a fire. But there is no fire in her, not even to get up and investigate. When I hold the wieners in front of a fan to blow the smell toward her - nope - she just lies there, flat, like a rug or an Egyptian sphinx.

What started all of this was when my last child got his driver's license. No more carpools. My dog and I have been taken off the streets. We are home everyday now from two to six. For a while we watched Oprah, and then we'd go out and dig in the dirt around my house.

But my dog doesn't much care about Oprah, and not much more about the dirt. Giving up my carpooling has saddened her.

All those years she went with me to drop the kids off - first in the morning early, when I didn't look good or feel sweet - she'd sit in the back seat of my station wagon and fog up the windows while snapping her teeth. She'd terrify the drivers in the next lane so we could jockey in position to beat the bell. At 2:00 p.m. she'd wait by the back door to go again to pick the kids up. Just the sound of my taking the car keys out of my purse could make her do a tap dance like she had hot feet on the kitchen floor.

From the back seat of my station wagon, she'd hang her head out of the window and let her tongue trail. She is a big mean-looking dog, the kind that men in pick-up trucks with rifles in their back windows admire at red lights. It's not uncommon to have them roll down their windows and get her riled up by making faces at her and then call out to me, "Nice dog, lady."

She's gone to piano lessons and waited at the curb; she likes country music on the radio. She's gone to and come back from soccer practices, Halloween carnivals, and Boy Scout meetings.

Now that she's taken up her down-in-the-mouth spot under the grand piano, I am tempted to pick up the car keys and jiggle them, just to see if she is all right. But that seems cruel. So I have started wrapping the keys in a paper towel so they can be picked up in silence. Because there is nowhere that I go now that I do not park, get out, and stay awhile.

It's a sad event - to just up and change a dog's life with no good warning. She had no way to know that those little kids who played with her as a puppy would one day get cars of their own. Then go on, grow up, and move all the way out.

Yesterday, I felt so sorry for her that I picked up the keys and let her do her hot pepper dance, then headed on out to the car. We've traded in the station wagon. We have a sedan now. And I let her sit beside me in the front seat. As we drove out of the driveway, her big hairy head came on over and rested on my arm near the gear shift.

We made a loop out to the soccer field, then to the piano teacher's where we parked by the curb and listened to the radio. Then we spun on out to the school, even though it was closed. On the way home, I drove her through Burger King and ordered her a Whopper, all the way, but told them to hold the pickles and onions.

Next Sunday I plan to drive her around again. It seems the only decent thing to do for a blue dog.

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Table of Contents

A Snake Story
Hair
This Thing Called Memory
Devils
The Piano
Sayings
Watermelon
Hearts
Grandma's Organ
Willie Mae
Nickel Words
Tin Cans
The Price of Silver
You're Whose?
Long Distance Christmas
Dear Juan
First Job
Tilly
Costumes
Cupcakes and the Law
First Day
End-of-the-Year Programs
Suits
Deer Secrets
A Cowgirl at the Last Minute
Getting On
Stalled
Mares
There You Have it
Cows
Vacation
Me and My Bugs
Cat
Ants
Space
Sunshine
Sunsets
Hurricanes
Perfect Gift
Christmas Gifts
Sawed-off Santa
Thanksgiving Peas
The Flu
Luck
The Blues
A Slipping Down Personality
Blooms
Mother's Day
Spring Cleaning
Daylight
Packing
Wild Turkeys
Building the Ark
Birthday
Fly Swatter
Zucchini
Sweat
Mildew Days
Organized
Purses
WD-40
Potato Gun
A Day's Work
Dr. Dolittle
Names
True Love
Goodness
Shelved
Gone
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