I’m not sure if I was supposed to overhear the conversation taking place to my right. Nonetheless, it was out of my control as one woman sighed heavily, threw her arms up in the air, and declared quite dramatically that she was at her wit’s end. Her friend said nary a word, only shook her head in calm agreement and mumbled “um hmm” like good friends do.
And then the wit’s end woman let forth a proclamation I had not heard in quite some time.
“That woman and I,” she announced with passion to her companion and everyone else within earshot, “are going to have a Come-To-Jesus meeting the next time I see her.”
Cue the shudder down my spine. You can have a talk with somebody, a serious conversation, a sit-down, and even a one-on-one - but, as I understand it, a Come-To-Jesus meeting means business. I didn’t know who “that woman” was, but I knew enough from this brief encounter that she’d best be afraid … be very afraid.
It takes me back to my curious youth, lying prone on the hardwood floor next to the closed door to my parents’ bedroom, trying to hear how bad one of my older siblings was getting into trouble — sometimes they were just firm talks, but other times they were all out Come-To-Jesus meetings, and I seldom missed an opportunity to find out what the fuss was all about.
The big wooden house where we grew up didn’t have hallways, and each room spilled into the next with my brother’s room being at the center of it all. You couldn’t get to the bathroom, my sister’s room, my parents’ room, even the living room, without first going through his personal space. When time came for a good talking to, and it seemed to happen to him more so than the others, he’d get taken into my parents’ room for privacy.
Or so they thought.
Those doors were big and heavy and maybe you couldn’t hear much through them, but there was a good half inch gap at the bottom where you could get an earful if you laid real still and listened. I’ve often wondered in my old age if they ever heard my nosy little self breathing under the door. I always managed to jump up and hide before they came out, except for the one time I didn’t get up quick enough and Daddy swung open the door to find me sprawled out there. I faked like I had dropped a Weeble Wobble under the bed and was looking for it. My brother looked at me real mean and told me to keep my Weeble Wobbles out of his room, just a grumpy symptom of his CTJ meeting, I am sure, because he secretly liked playing Weeble Wobbles with me. Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down. Good times.
I have heard CTJ talks, uncomfortably witnessed CTJ talks, and have unfortunately been on the receiving end of a few. The number I have delivered, however, can be counted on one hand with a few fingers left over. I don’t like confrontation, never have and never will, and I avoid it like the plague — unless, of course, you unfairly mess with my child. Call me a redneck if you so desire but if you mess with my child, then you and I might just find ourselves in a little CTJ meeting. And I’d be willing to bet I’m not alone.
Which is what very well may have been the case with the woman to my right. Maybe … maybe not. Nonetheless, I kind of wish I knew “that woman” so I could give her a heads up. Because she’s gonna get more than a good talkin’ to the next time she sees the woman who’s at her wit’s end, that’s for sure.
And she best be afraid. Be very afraid.
Contact columnist Mandy Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.