Mixed Messages
by Christy L. Hopper

Brush your teeth; wash your face; always say please, thank you, yes mamm and yes sir; be kind; be sweet; be smart and neat; first is God, then country, then family, then your name; never ruin the family name; never let your slip show; sweetie pie, sugar, darling girl look at your sparkling eyes; have a good day, week, month, year and life; say, "why don't you come up and see me sometime;" put your hand on your hip; now wink; yes, you can go play at Christina's house; yes, you were lost in the snow storm for five hours; you look like Grandma Moses; God is great, God is good, let us thank him for our food; now make a happy plate; we are moving; here's a dollar; don't let Brenda see it; don't pitch a fit in the grocery store; don't act ugly; mind your manners; mind your Granny; love everybody; be sweet to your little sister; we are moving; here's a dollar; don't let the bed bugs bite; go watch the TV; The Shining is on tonight; now I lay me down to sleep; don't wet the bed; I pray the lord my soul to keep; keep the covers pulled tight to your chin; if I should die before I wake; this will prevent vampires; I pray the lord my soul to take; read a book; here, Dean Koontz is good; go to school; quit fussing; here's a dollar; you have a hole in your britches; let's go to the library; let's get you into the theater; I'll help you memorize your lines; you have a bald spot; you were amazing; I can see the insides of your eyes; go play with your friends; don't talk to strangers; why don't you have any friends? The next school will be better; we're moving to California; now you can be a movie star; they say "grocery cart" here; no one knows what a buggy is; no, you can't go to the movies; no you can't go to her house; no, you can't go for a walk; stay inside; there's a tarantula on the screen door; watch the TV; read a book; the coyotes are howling in the canyons; go play with your barbies in the garage; look at the tumbleweeds rolling down the street; close the fridge door; the Santa Anna's are blowing strong tonight; the Co-cola is under my bed; quit picking on your sister; you are too old to play with barbies; play with your little sister; love everybody; don't play with the Marine children; they are trash; good lord, colored people have moved in next door; the year is up; we are moving.

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