Here Is Why I Jist Ain’t Living Right

My husband and I used to head south to visit his family a couple of times a year. We didn’t have kids so traveling to southern Missouri was not as much of a hassle for us.

We were happy to do it. At first.

But then, they started to get to know me. They learned I was not conservative. The learned I did not own a hunting rifle. They learned I was not a ‘huntin’ gal.’ I was dead to them.

I may as well have been excommunicated from a religion that I never subscribed. I learned of my fate during one of the many Thanksgiving holidays we spent with them.

I should have seen the signs as soon as I walked in. Not a single person said hello to us. Not one – and there were thirty people there. Ominous, horror film music should have been playing in the background.

After saying our “Hello’s” as appropriate, we helped serve dinner and then proceeded to eat our dinner. The family retired to the great room for dessert.

As we were eating dessert, Uncle Bo began to wax philosophic about family values, appropriate conduct of today’s youth, and the necessity of church and marrying someone from that church. As he is revered as the “brains” of the family and often looked upon as the patriarch of the family, everyone was nodding in agreement.

It was like he was Jim Jones and the rest of the family was greedily gulping down the Kool-Aid he was offering.

I have never felt to out-of-place and uncomfortable in all my life. Then it got just a little bit better.

He then summarized his sermon with one statement. One statement that was supposed to beautifully showcase his beliefs in behaving appropriately, being a good Christian, raising good chilluns, and where to find the right spouse.

“If you ain’t living in the [insert small Missouri town’s name here] area, you jist ain’t livin’ right.”

It took me a second and then I realized it: there was not a single person there that did not live within a 10 mile radius of that exact spot in which we sat.

Except for me and my husband, of course. As I looked around the room, that is when I realized it.

That whole speech was directed at us. Fuck that, it was directed at ME.


Seriously, this sign could have appeared on their property. You have been warned...

Seriously, this sign could have appeared on their property. You have been warned…

photo credit: kindsir via photopin cc

So what shit did my in-laws “teach” me this time? Judgmental/hubris Christians, intolerance and only living in a small Missouri town – 1; acceptance and city-livin’ – 0.

I can’t make this shit up, I am just not that funny. Or that close-minded.


Fossils? Naaaahhhhhhh…

My brother-in-law, his wife and their five kids (nope, not a typo – they have FIVE kids) came to visit for an extended weekend.

I knew we were going to have to keep everyone busy and I was looking up things to do that were either free or incredibly cheap. Because paying admission to get into something for four adults and seven kids could possibly be mistaken for a lengthy hospital-stay bill.

Free and cheap was my plan, man.

I found a website that had a list of five different tourist attractions in our area that were either free or really, really cheap. I did a damn dance I was so happy. I could not wait for my husband to come home so I could tell him about the fun stuff I had found and had planned to do.

Me: “Oh, honey, I found so much fun stuff to do! I cannot wait to take all the kids to these awesome places. They will love it!

He: “So where are you going to take them?”

Me: “Did you know that we can go see dinosaur fossils and petrified dinosaur tracks just minutes from our house? How cool and educational will that be?”

He: “Ummm, yeah, it would be cool, but we can’t go to that. They don’t believe in dinosaurs.”

Me: “Wait. Wha?”

He: “Seriously, they don’t believe in dinosaurs. The Bible talks of creation and they believe in a literal translation of  the Bible.”

Me: <long pause> “How could that be? How do they explain dinosaur bones? Fossils?”

He: <sighs> “Government conspiracy. The government planted them there.”

Me: <facepalm>

I *totally* knew this was fake and part of a government conspiracy... and Disney is in on it, too... those bastards!

I *totally* knew this was fake and part of a government conspiracy… and Disney is in on it, too… those bastards!

photo credit: Scott Smith (SRisonS) via photopin cc 

What sh!t have my in-laws taught me this time?

The Bible, creationism, and government conspiracy theories – 1; Common Sense, dinosaurs and fossil fuels – 0.

Seriously, I cannot make this fucking shit up… I am just not that funny.

The Beginning… The Best and Worst Vacation Places On Earth

The first few times I met my future in-laws, they were kind to me. Welcoming, even. Curious about me. The first few times I met them, I would even say it was pleasant. Normal.

It wasn’t until our fourth meeting that I they started “teaching” me. The beginning.

We went to visit them in their very small, rural town in Missouri. It was March and beautiful outside. The best part was we were one week away from our first vacation together. We were going to fly to Cancun, Mexico for a week of sun, booze and pre-marital sex. We were excited and my in-laws read the excitement on our faces.

Gramma and Grampa [incorrect spelling intentional] were the ones brave enough to ask in their southern drawl, “Y’all look happ-y! You got big plans?”

My (black sheep of the family) husband says, “You bet Gramma! Jess and I are heading south for spring break!”

Gramma’s eyes lit up like a little kid’s first glimpse of a Christmas tree overflowing with presents just for her. “Y”all are goin’ to Dollywood???” she asked excitedly, tinged with just a bit of jealousy.

Oh Gramma, you are soooo funny, I thought to myself! Dollywood! Yeah, right! My eyes rolled and my smile widened at her hilarity.

But she wasn’t kidding. She. Was. Serious.


My husband gently swooped in and extinguished the light in her eyes when he told her, “No, Gramma, we are heading a little further south. We are going to Cancun, Mexico for a week!”

As soon as the word ‘Mexico’ exited his lips, the room silenced like a church filled with Catholic priests talking about altar boy abuse. You could have heard a pin drop.

At that moment, Grampa scooted in really close to us and with a grim look on his face, informed us,”Well y’all better be a careful down there in Mexico.They have shoot-em-ups and put their women and chillen up fer show!”

I think Gramma and Grampa have been watching too many spaghetti westerns, circa the 1930’s.

Not only do they still believe spaghetti westerns were non-fiction, but I am pretty sure they believe the creature on the left is actually a *horse*...

Not only do they still believe spaghetti westerns are non-fiction, but I am pretty sure they believe the creature on the left is actually a horse…

photo credit: JonDissed via photopin cc

I didn’t have the heart to tell them that Cancun, Mexico, is now more civilized and has better running water than their very small town.

We should have run when we had the chance.

What shit has my in-laws taught me this time? Dollywood (and anything related to Dolly Parton) and antiquated ideas – 1; Cancun, spring break and fun – 0.

Seriously, I cannot make this shit up, because I am not that funny.