May I introduce you to Cup-Cake? She is hot pink with big, black, flirty, dreamy, moveable eyes, a multicolored cute pug nose, wearing Elizabeth Arden’s Poppy Red lipstick smeared all over her million-dollar smile, and at her neck she is sporting a spiffy lime green and yellow bow tie. On her toes she is modeling a huge, clogged shoe with straps with a white border on top of her head. What is inside her hot pink body is a great big heart that is beating on a size 0 body to die for, which is about three inches from her knee cap.
Cup-Cake is a real, walking more like hobbling piece of art designed and created by a real free-spirited, whimsical, and quirky local Starkville artist. A quirk is a sudden or unexpected twist, turn or bend. Quirk is word that flourishes in music, drawing, or writing. I have heard quirkness has charm and often adds just the touch that really makes a painting or design pop out quirkily. Cup-Cake lives to make boring mundane life move suddenly and with gusto.
“Who are you?” “Where are you from?“ “Where is your home?“ “Who are your folks?” These are the questions that all native Mississippians ask a stranger when they first meet someone new. Why? It is just what we do down south in Mississippi. Agree? “Cup Cake, who are you?” She said, “Hi, I am mostly have hot pink skin which is wrapped round and round. I am sort of stiff plaster, and I am heavy set, and I know that I need to shed a pound or two cause I feel like I weigh a ton. I have white bubble wrap underneath my skin to keep me dry when I take a bath. “Where are you from?” “Guess you might say I was kind of rolled up, and I came to life in the hands of two assistants of Dr. Allen Butler, M.D. and orthopedic surgeon across the street from Oktibbeha County Hospital. I was taking a cat nap on a shelf when I was unrolled to ride along on a patient’s left foot and leg of an artist for six long weeks. This was on Sept. 20. Where is my home? I am permanently placed on the leg of Carole Elizabeth McReynolds Davis. I was at living on Hospital Road, and now I am living at 501 Louisville Street with Carole and her husband, Dr. Frank Marvin Davis, Sr. Why am I living here? Carole told me her real story, which began on Sunday morning about 5:15 a.m. She said, ‘I was going outside in the pitch darkness to check on the south side front curved brick sidewalk to see if Sunday’s Starkville Daily News had arrived. Safely, I went up the tall side steps on to the blue-gray front wooden porch as my elbow touched the old wooden white swing that my Papa Pearson (great-grandfather) built over 100 years ago. The swing moved slightly as if his ghost was sitting right there. I headed down those front three brick steps as my two feet touched the sidewalk where I could see the SDN rolled up in a blue plastic wrapper. I leaned over to pick it up, and from absolutely nowhere came a voice that screamed, ‘Whoa!’ I was so frightened that without thinking, I made a quirky, sudden, unexpected twist and bent my left ankle into the drop-off of the sidewalk. The excruciating, agonizing pain shot through my ankle and past my heart, which was beating so fast, and to my brain, if there is one in my head. I became nauseated. Then I looked up to see only a faint figure of a tall gentleman with a white shirt on his shoulders walking his dog on Wood Street on a white leash. You can easily see the color white at night. Evidently, the tall-legged dog saw my movement as I had leaned down to pick up the SDN and made a move toward me. They were walking near our periwinkle vines on the sloping hill as I saw both of their shadows disappear into the darkness of the early morning.”
I hobbled with great awkwardness back down the driveway up the tall back brick steps, pushing the screen door open into the back door. I yelled with great excitement, “Frank, come quickly. I have had an accident. Hurry!” Frank quickly came to my rescue. He has been my wonderful, caring husband for 47 years. He is St. Frank. I love and appreciate him so much. He has stuck by me all of these years. Thank you, Frank. He got out cold towels to wrap up my ankle. I was still shaking and very nauseated. My ankle did not swell until almost a day later. At 8 a.m. on Monday, we went to Dr. Drew Anthony’s office. Drew was out of the country, and his nurse said, ‘Go on over to the Oktibbeha County Hospital. Dr. Wayne Butts, M.D., an emergency room doctor from Tupelo will still be on duty until 9 a.m.’ On Monday. x-rays were made, and within minutes, Dr. Butts came in and said, ‘Carole, you have a hairline fracture, and it looks like a severe ankle sprain. Make an appointment to see an orthopedic surgeon. We drove immediately to the office of Dr. Allen Butler. He was performing surgery and could not see me until the next day at 8:30 a.m.
Dr. Butler came in, hugged me, and said, ‘Carole, you have broken your ankle bone on the left side.’ ‘What?’ I said. “Oh, no. Allen, here I am at the wonderful, happy age of 69, and I have never broken a bone in my life. Come on, now, really?” I said with tears in my eyes and my heart sinking in my chest. You know that feeling? I remembered what a Delta Rat and Hillbilly Redneck, Jerry, told me: “Life would not be life without at least one broken bone.” Then Dr. Butler said, “I’ll put a walking cast (waterproof, if you would like, so you can bathe for the next six weeks) on your left leg almost to the knee cap. Come back in three weeks to see me so I can see if you are better. Behave yourself, now. I’ll put another shorter walking cast on your left leg then. It is a six week treatment. You can make it.” He said, “Carole, just mark it off your bucket list of things you always wanted to do, break a bone before you went on to The Church Triumphant.” Between my dear friend, Jerry, and my dear doctor friend, Allen, I had to smile slightly.
Well, for the next three days, I cried, fretted, and said, “Oh, God, why me?” In the meantime, I decided on that day to design and create a smiling, loving, wonderful partner and best friend in my days ahead to share my plight in life, and her name would be Cup-Cake. She would attempt to walk and hobble with me everywhere we would go. Every time I looked at my leg, she would look up and say, “Carole, wipe the tears off your cheeks. Let’s smile, giggle and laugh together because together we are going to make it for six long weeks.” I said to her, “There are MSU football games ahead, B.B. King’s concert at Lee Hall, and Frank’s 14th International Entomological Insect Rearing Workshop at Clay Lyle Entomology Building, which he is heading up. Frank is chairman. People from all over the world will be attending, and I act as Frank’s hostess.
What am I going to do, Cup-Cake? Her reply was, “Carole, why cry and fret? Instead, brush yourself off, pick yourself up, accept what has happened as an accident, and you and I are going to limp, hobble and sort of walk through these next six weeks together. I am smiling up at you every step of the way. Either accept it or lose it. What will your choice be? Cup-Cake, I shall choose acceptance of my accident because it happened and I cannot go backward, but move forward, hoping to heal, walk straight and sturdy once again with the help of you and God above.” I added a feminine, dainty, fashionable bent walking stick. I dressed it up with arty bows filled with rainbow colors. It is wild.
Along the way, I have so many folks who helped and encouraged me for the next few days. I felt so loved. I simply want to extend my own love and appreciation to each one of them. I say thank you to: Lori Aldridge , Ricky Hubbard, Farrah Jones, Joe Harmon of ZURCARE, Mark Wood, Lori Wood, Cameron Spann, Merilynn Wood, Sason Wilson, Hunter Hart, Alan Fortenbery of Chalet, Johnny Hardy, Will Sabin, Cayla Boyd, and Sean Britt of Pro-Graphics, Mary Adams, who gave me Cup-Cake’s name and who is the sweetest receptionist at the entrance table you would ever want to meet down at the Starkville City Hall, everyone down at the Starkville Cafe, my best friends Jerelyn and Jerry Scriver, Mary Sudduth Bell, my est buddy and cousin, Wanda Box who takes care of my hair and body down Louisville Street at Hair and Body Matrix, Patsy Bryan Stuart, my childhood best friend and sister of Sheriff Dolph Bryan. Their wonderful mama Polly Bryan said so many times to me, “This, too, shall pass.” I thought of her wise words on Sept. 20.
I went out again to the back porch and read on a tiny 100% cotton canvas that was a special gift to me from Carrie Copeland, “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” I love these words. To you, my viewers and my readers of my extra special artistic creation of Cup-Cake and who may be dealing with tragedy, death, incurable diseases, being broke and losing it all, worrying about finances and money, being completely disabled mentally or physically, or homeless, always remember life gets better, and time heals all of our hurts and pains.
I would like to share a country song and the words of a country singer to help lift you up and take you through all of your troubles and even a broken ankle.
“Sounds Like Life to Me”
By Darryl Worley
“Got a call last night from an old friend’s wife, said, I hate to bother you,
But Johnny Ray fell off the wagon, and he’s been gone all afternoon
Well, I know my buddy, so I drove to Scully’s and found him at the bar
Said, ‘Hey man, what’s going on?’ He said, ‘I don’t know where to start.
Sarah’s old car’s starting to fall apart, and the washer quit last week
We had to put mama in the nursing home and the baby’s cutting teeth.
Sounds like life to me.
I didn’t get much work this week, and I got bills to pay
I said, ‘I know this ain’t what you wanna hear, but it’s what I’m gonna say
Sounds like life to me, it ain’t no fantasy
It just a common case of everyday reality
Man, I know it’s tough, but you gotta suck it up
To hear you talk you’re caught up in some tragedy
It sounds like life to me.
Well, his face turned red and he shook his head
He said, you don’t understand, three kids and a wife depend on me
And I’m just one man, top it off we just found out that Sarah’s two months late
I said, Hey bartender, set up a round, we gotta to celebrate
Sounds like life to me, ain’t no destiny
Yeah, the only thing for certain is uncertainty
You gotta hold on tight, just enjoy the ride
Got used to all this unpredictability, sounds like life
Man, I know it is tough but you gotta suck it up
To hear you talk you’re caught up in some tragedy
Sounds like life to me.”
I said, “Hey, Cup-Cake, let’s all learn to accept life as it comes our way. Life is for living and accepting each day as a gift from Heaven. Some days are easy and some days are hard, and each day wipe a tear or two from our cheeks, we will not cry or fret, we will not feel sorry for ourselves, but we are going to truck on. In six weeks I would like to have the first dance with you as we dance in the rain as the raindrops fall on the top of our heads with a healed ankle, a skip in our steps, and big Poppy Red smiles on our lips. Sounds like a fun life to me, Cup-Cake.
Carole Elizabeth McReynolds Davis is a local artist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org .