Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Would you read about these people? Do you know these people? I do. But Y'all know I'm makin' 'em up, as I go along.

 SISSY COVINGTON: Still got her figure, still lingering a bit in the Eighties---her fashion sense runs to shiny blouses with big clocks and maybe the Eiffel Tower in several sizes and slants, worn with her customary necklace of big gold beads---they were the Eighties woman's upscale edition of her childhood Add-a-Pearl. Has had her standing appointment at the Chat ‘n’ Curl for the last nine years, since Mrs. Prysock went into The Golden Years Nursing Home, where the same beauty operator goes over on Thursday afternoons to do hair for quite a few of the residents.

Sissy is one of the holdouts who still does her hair daily with a pick; it stands high on top, like a big long crewcut, with the tips all turned back, like wind through a wheatfield. Her own appointment is Wednesdays at eight a.m.; her husband Perk has learned that first-day hairdos create their own standoffish forcefield, and after all these years of wistful Wednesdays, the scent of fresh AquaNet acts on Perk like a cold shower.

Sissy is a proud proponent of Stovetop, Jello Instant Pudding, and Minit Raas, and she has enough money to shop and travel well, picking destinations from magazine covers she peruses in line at Kroger. Wednesdays are also grocery-days, so Sissy pulls that big green Lincoln up in the parking lot about nine-thirty, wearing oversize sunglasses year-round, handling the wheel gingerly on Manicure Day, and bearing a xeroxed shopping list. The page bears the name of each and every item she buys on any kind of regular basis, and all she has to do is step to the fridge door and put a checkmark by items that are running low. She had her sister's assistant at the flower shop type it up and run her off several hundred copies years ago, in her spare time between funerals, weddings, and the Valentine's Day frenzy.

She and Perk go out for a lot of their meals, appearing for lunch at Viola's Meat 'n' Three, or at at the Pig 'n' Pit, or sauntering into the CLUB for weekend brunch. They are regulars at the Catfish Shack and Shoney's, and talk to friends all across the room as they eat and then sit and enjoy a few minutes' leisurely pursuit with their toothpicks, never missing a conversational beat.

The Covingtons have made the obligatory pilgrimages to Paris, Jamaica, England, It-ly and Hawaryuh, wearing home matching T-shirts and bringing a supply of small ones for the grandchildren. Perk travels wherever Sissy buys tickets for, but he’d rather be at Deer Camp.

Sissy's been known to chew gum in church. And has been heard to snap it unconcernedly whilst discussing next week's WMU in the parking lot. She always looks good and smells good, with the scents of Estee Lauder and Doublemint and the ever-increasing layers of Aqua-Net marking her unmistakable aura. She tried Norell one time, liking the way it smelled on Margie Hampton when she came into the Chat 'n' Curl. She picked up a nice atomizer bottle on a Saturday trip up to Goldsmith's, but it gave her such a headache next morning in church---she could hardly open her mouth to sing the Doxology it hurt so bad---she gave it to Queenella when she came to do the windows, with a stern caution not to ever wear it around HER. Sissy likes things the way they are and always have been.

Sissy, on decorating the house:

Well, I had to go sneak and write Hollis Mae a check for my new Trump Loyal, and put down it was for my share of a baby shower in case Perk looked in the checkbook---he got so mad when he looked at the wall I thought he was gonna explode. It was sposta be a window lookin’ out on a garden, but he just lost it when he saw she’d painted in what looked like a big ole broke place, right by the windaframe---said she made him look like he didn’t know his job when he put up that sheetrock. And why in the Pee-Diddle would anybody want to take a nice piece of work and make it look like it was fallin’ apart, anyway?

But that’s just him. Me---I think it looks real nice, like there’s a place to look at that’s not even there, but it looks like it is. And the fountain out past that winda looks just like one we saw in IT-ly, cause I looked it up on the Internet and Hollis Mae copied it, line for line. Even the squirt of water looks Eye-talian. She’s a real good painter. Her roosters have won prizes.


Nail said...

Yes I woooooood! I love this woman, she's a couple of our relatives and a few people from where I live now. Texas is the last to overcome the "big hair thang..."

I wanna know about her good-for-nuttin kids soon!

racheld said...

You want 'em snobby-social or sneaky or just a little bit triflin'?

Keetha said...

Priceless! I know these people. You're great. :-)

Nail said...

Just a little bit triflin, of course....snobby-social would never exit her womb!

Anonymous said...

Nail, Big hair is inching down a bit here in Texas now. Some of the gals are never gonna give it up. Some times I think I should have bought shares in AquaNet many years ago.

Racheld, I laughed as I read this because I,too, know more than one Sissy. Your talent is so special and you are so wonderful to share it with us. My opinion - best blog on the web!

Love ya for being so sweet ~ Janie in Texas

racheld said...


Those words coming from YOU are a great compliment, indeed!!

And Dear Lord Have Mercy, Janie!!

What a lovely thing to say!! I just write down what I'm thinking, and haven't posted but maybe twenty pictures in all, and November will be a year since I started. So it doesn't FEEL like much some days, with just little bits and bobs of rememberings and hopings and stuff that's just a little bit exaggerated, but not much.
Janie---I see Big Spring nearly every day on the counter---I hope that's you---someone is really a faithful reader, and that gladdens my heart.

Thank you, thank you both!!

And Nail, my precious Sis of my own---who knows these people, every one, and knows ME better than most anybody---always.

Dear Lord---this sounds like an Academy Awards speech! I'll be branching off into Piano teachers and "Does this dress make my butt look big?" any minute.

Anonymous said...

You are correct. I am in Big Spring...half way between Dallas and El Paso...the oil patch. Mostly, mesquites, cactus, cattle, cotton, and pump jacks.

You do not need any pictures. You paint the most vivid ones with your words. I eagerly look forward to the bits and bobs of remembering for it calls to mind many of the same scenes and experiences.

And Lordy, what a good place to practice an Academy Awards speech. It will be refined when you write that great American screen play.

Have a great is beautiful the 70s and fall in the air ~ Janie

Cape Coop said...

I like these people, and I hope that they end up having big hearts, shining gold. Brava, Rachel!

Tonja said...

Sissy is quite the lady. Needs to get caught up with the and hair wise! She likes to 'eat out' can't fault her for that! I feel like I would know Sissy immediately if I ran into her!

Maggie said...

Being a Northern kinda girl I don't know Sisssy and Perk personally, but I love them like mad! Thanks for performing the introductions.