Good advice from momma

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I may or may not have been a difficult child. George can fully attest to the fact that I can be a difficult adult, but I’ve gotten better. Traveling in a truck with someone you’d like to spend the rest of your journey through the mortal coil with teaches you a little restraint and patience. Also, we used to spend a lot of time in Texas, and I’m pretty sure “being annoying” is a valid defense for shooting someone there, so I reigned it in a little.

We lived in downtown Atlanta when I was little, and I was probably a good kid until I learned to talk, but after that switch was flipped, my poor momma was destined to shush me for the rest of my life. I recall loudly questioning why our upstairs neighbor, who was clearly a man, came out of his apartment after supper every night dressed as a woman. Anyone who has shushed a four-year-old understands the decibels only their tiny voices can reach, and a screened-in porch was little help to baffle the screech of “MOMMA!! THAT MAN HAS ON A DRESS!”

This is where she clamped her hand over my mouth and whirled me around and gave me the “very patient momma who will snap and slap the tar out of you if you don’t listen carefully” voice.

“Mr. Henry is a very nice man. I don’t know why he does what he does, but he’s not hurting anyone and you will be pleasant to him as long as he’s not.”

Be pleasant. If she told me that once, she told me a million times. “If you can just manage to be pleasant, dear, things will go much smoother.”

Be pleasant

It was always the “managing” part I had trouble with. Being pleasant most definitely makes things better, in every situation. It’s good advice from momma and the reason I auto-responded it to George the day we saw the guy in the tight, black leather miniskirt and white lace shirt. He was fueling his big ol’ truck like it was perfectly normal for a giant hairy man to wear a leather miniskirt.

I didn’t say a word, but Mr. Henry immediately came to mind, and I gave the guy the benefit of the doubt. He was probably a very nice man, and he certainly wasn’t hurting anyone, so my lips were sealed.

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George squinted, shook his head.

“He ain’t even tryin’.”

“Be pleasant, dear. He’s probably a very nice man.”

“It’d be nicer if he shaved.”

Sometimes, being pleasant is hard.