Friday, April 4, 2014

Food and Shelter in the Land of the Piggly Wiggly and the Palmetto Bug

There are several major events that take place in one’s life: losing your first tooth, marriage, child birth, sending your first born off to college. (We shall refer to this latter unpleasant event as the Event Which Shall Not Be Named or the EWSNBN.) At this very minute, I’m on the road looking at a college that is in a galaxy far, far away. It’s sort of like that other life event when you put your child on the school bus for the first time… ONLY ABOUT A GAZILLION TIMES WORSE!

Okay, I can deal with distance. This is the south (U.S.) and I love southern fiction, so what's not to love about sending my child off to Georgia? So long as I know she has food and safe shelter, it'll be fine, right?

I knew I was not in Kansas any more, (er, Virginia), when in the first housing option, we encountered our first Palmetto bug. I believe the phrase, “sweet cheese and pickles, look at the size of that roach!” might have passed my lips. The realtor tried to brush away my concerns. “No, that’s not a roach. That’s a Palmetto bug.” For anyone who has never seen a Palmetto bug, let me give you a little visual aid to clarify.

Yeah. “HUGE” doesn’t begin to describe it. But according to, a palmetto bug IS a roach. A big, monster, twice-the-size-of-anything-I’ve-ever-seen-before cockroach. I’m still not quite clear on this, so if someone can put my fears to rest, please leave a comment. I’m contemplating sending my first-born to live in a house possibly inhabited by the I’m-not-really-a-cockroach Palmetto bug. It would be nice to know if I need to send her out for fumigation before she comes back into our home at Christmas time.

Okay, so shelter is unresolved. So on to the next question: how will the child feed herself? Why, the Piggly Wiggly, of course. For those of you not familiar with this fine southern institution, it’s a grocery store chain. For real! We don’t have Piggly Wigglys at home, so when I heard the chain referenced in the movie, DRIVING MISS DAISY, I thought it was a made-up grocery store. But nope. It’s for real – and very nice, I should add – considering I’ve prefaced this with talk of the Palmetto bug. I’m not sure why the existence of the Piggly Wiggly as a real place rather than make-believe has taken me off-guard. Maybe it struck me as surreal, because this whole EWSNBN seems pretty surreal. But you have to admit, it’s a pretty funny name for a grocery store chain.
(Creative Commons,

I know, I know, it’s only 9 hours away. The kid will be fine. She knows how to get to the nearest Piggly Wiggly, and she won’t be lonely. She’ll have the Palmetto bug to keep her company. (Seriously, she could put this thing on a leash and keep it as a pet.) And I have a good Classic and Cozy novel to take my mind off of this latest life event, the EWSNBN. (Thank you, Christine Bush. Your latest novel, CINDY'S PRINCE is yummy!)

To read and laugh along with a fictious series of life events, (and a yummy May-December romance), you also may want to check out the antics of Felicity Quinn in KEEPING UP WITH MR. JONES. Now, that woman's life is a mess!
Super mom, Felicity Quinn, has built a dream life in a gated community, with manicured lawns, all the amenities, soaring home values... skyrocketing HOA fees and Draconian restrictions.
Unfortunately, everything she thought she wanted is unraveling at the seams. Her oldest child is a pot head, her teenage daughter dresses like a hooker and her youngest has a penchant for killing small animals. When her husband calls home to announce that he is leaving her for his office assistant, Felicity thinks things can not get much worse...
...Until she bumps into her eccentric neighbor, Mr. Jones... with her car. Out of a sense of responsibility, Felicity takes it upon herself to care for Mr. Jones during his recovery. But what woman half his age could expect to keep up with Mr. Jones?


  1. You have my sympathy, Sophie. My oldest took a job at a clinic in Guam and moved her family with her -- after our having shared the farm and house here for 15 years. A positive: My granddaughter is working on getting back here by the fall to stay and look at colleges. Her first choice is only four hours away.

    1. GUAM!!! Oh my! That is a galaxy far, far away. Thank goodness for the comfort of grandchildren, (of which I have none.) Maybe I'll get a pet Palmetto bug for comfort. :)

  2. You're a braver soul than I. I sniffed back tears all the way up to my daughter's college, then indulged my self-pity by playing Bette Midler's version of "Baby Mine" on a continuous loop for the 5-hour drive home without her. I knew she'd be all right, but me? What was I gonna do without her? But, guess what? We both survived. And now that she's home again, I know I'm looking at a day in the near future when she moves out FOR GOOD. Waaaaah! Good thing I still have that Baby Mine song.

  3. My oldest went to college in Arizona and never came back. He's been there 25 years now and I get to go ro Sedona everytuime I visit him - YAY ME

    My second child - by 3 minutes - enlisted in the Navy and didn't tell me until it was a done deal and he was already sworn in. I smacked him in the arm and he threatemed to report me for defacing US government property.

    The youngest - by 12 years now - who thought that wasa good idea - loved college so much in New Hampshire he stayed for 5 years. I think he's a legend at the school I mean he's in NH and I;m in NJ and he calls me at 2am and says "Now don't get nervous but the police are here.: To which I said - "Call me when you get paroled. I'll pick you ip."

    We all have that heart tug when they leave. But abscene actualy does make the heart grow fonder - it that is at all possible with children. Our hearts are full of love for them all time time.

  4. I don't know from palmetto bugs, but I'm pretty sure Piggly Wiggly was one of the first self-serve grocery chains. We had 'em in the northwest when I was a kid (that's Biblical Times), and in the '80s there was still one in N Portland, Or. I don't know if it's still there now because I haven't visited that area in many a year. Good to know the pig is still going strong in the south.

  5. Like your daughter, I grew up in the northeast, but came down South to go to college. My first meeting with the gigantic variety of roaches was not a happy one, but I've learned to cope with finding the occasional one in the house. The good news is that unlike smaller roaches, you don't tend to get swarms of them. And by the way, at least in parts of North and South Carolina, the Piggly Wiggly is affectionately known as The Pig.

  6. Sofie--
    I didn't know the Piggly Wiggly was a real grocery chain either! I feel for you, having gone through withdrawals when my daughter left for college and a few years later when my son left for college. The first one leaving was so hard and she didn't have cockroaches in her dorm. Good luck to your daughter, and you.

  7. And there are so many other lovely aspects of this fine state that I have omitted! "The Pig" is but one. :) We attended an AMAZING art exhibit last night, found a Whole Foods, (I do tend to harp on the availability of food), and today is a day of sight-seeing and more house hunting. Everyone we have met has been sooo warm and squishy.