There Is Hope For The Future

by admin on January 5, 2015

I have worked in retail for several years now and have horror stories with the best of them, but sometimes we need to remind ourselves that hope for the future is not entirely lost. With the upcoming holidays, we could all use some cheer.

I have a love of unique and vintage fashion and, to be entirely honest, I don’t always look very mainstream. About six months ago I finally got the courage to dye my hair a lovely shade of purple, after agonizing over it for about a year. I love how it looks, and couldn’t be happier.

After the change, I completely expected questions and comments from strangers, both polite and not so polite. After all, I spend my day working with the general population, and in a retail setting sometimes filters seem to disappear. What I was not prepared for was the touching. Men and women, children and adults; they have all attempted to pet me.  It happens with such frequency that it is just second nature now to take a step back, sometimes accompanied by, “Please don’t”, and then continue like nothing happened. My friends are surprised by how little it surprises me anymore.

Conversely, it has allowed me to witness some wonderful teaching moments. Just yesterday, I felt a strange tickling on my back. Upon turning around, I discovered a young girl (maybe 8 or 9) playing with my hair. After a, ” Oh, hi there”, from me, her mother swooped in and said, “We don’t touch people we don’t know. You know better than that. Now, apologize to the nice lady.”  The little girl promptly apologized and they went back to shopping. (Needless to say, I made sure that mother had an awesome shopping experience.) This, luckily, is how almost all parents have handled the situation.

I know this story isn’t exciting, or filled with drama, but it is heartwarming to see how many parents are trying to teach their children to be polite to strangers, even in the stress of the season. So etiquette mavens be cheered, we may feel like a dying breed, but there is hope for the future. 1218-14

{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

just4kicks January 5, 2015 at 5:13 am

What a great way to kick off 2015! A happy story, with polite kids. 🙂

I would love to dye my hair purple, the farthest I’ve gotten is “black cherry”…Good for you!
It’s important for moms and dads to realize in this crazy world, we are still PEOPLE, and doing something just for our own pleasure is not selfish.

You did remind me of a story from when my daughter was in kindergarten. Her teacher was pregnant, and by the end of the school year was almost full term. During school, she would pick two kids names every morning, so everyone had a turn, if they wanted, to feel the baby kick in her tummy. When the baby kicked she would yell, “baby kicking time!”. The two names would hurry up to the front, and feel her belly. I thought it was very sweet, and my daughter, being the youngest of five, got a thrill out of feeling the baby kick, because she knew she would never be a big sister herself.
Fast forward to that summer in the grocery story and a very pregnant lady was in front of us at the checkout by herself. I leaned in to ask if she would like help out to her car. She said she was having a rough day, and oh my gosh, thank you! That would be great! I asked how her pregnancy was going, when she was due….little chit chat. She said she was feeling fine, just tired, and oh my….baby is kicking up a storm today! My daughter reached out to feel her tummy, and I grabbed her hand back, and said no, honey, you have to ask first!!! As the lady turned towards my daughter (to let her feel the kicking I assumed), my daughter looked at me quite confused, and then back at the lady and said, “But….my teacher lets me touch her all the time…She LIKES it when we TOUCH HER!!!”
The woman as well as the cashier looked horrified until I explained her teacher had been pregnant also….
Out of context, it sounded really bad!!! 🙂

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kit January 6, 2015 at 2:07 pm

To be honest, it doesn’t sound good to me in the context, either. To allow interested children do it once or twice, OK… but asking young children to pet her every single day?

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just4kicks January 7, 2015 at 10:40 am

Well…@Kit: I see your point, I really do.
I think my daughter’s class was her first class she taught, and it was her first pregnancy also.
I chalk it up to over enthusiasm, maybe???
The kids didn’t HAVE to feel the baby kicking if they didn’t want to, she wasn’t forcing it on any of the kids.
I think she was just super excited to get her career and family going, and wanted to share the joy.
But…I can certainly see how it may seem well….unseemly.

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just4kicks January 7, 2015 at 10:41 am

….And, there were over 30 children in her class that year, she picked one boy and one girl each day, so everyone would get a turn, if they wanted one.

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Politrix January 7, 2015 at 1:07 pm

I think she was just trying to take pre-emptive measures against naturally curious 5-year-olds. I think it was a nice idea, and she probably saw her pregnancy as a “teachable moment.” I know my daughter’s curiosity would be sparked if her teacher had done this, and in my house it would lead to a healthy and age-appropriate discussion about where babies come from.
p.s. I like how your story fits with your handle 😉

just4kicks January 8, 2015 at 4:57 am

@Politrix: Thank you, that’s what I was trying to get across. A teachable moment, indeed.
It also taught the kids how to help someone else out and be kind. Toward the end of the year, and her pregnancy, my daughter said alot of the kids would pitch in to help her out around the classroom, straightening up and sweeping etc., since by that point she could barely see her toes!

And, I didn’t even notice that! Just 4 kicks! Lol. 🙂

kit February 2, 2015 at 12:14 pm

Um.. how old were these children? Three? Four? Five? You say they didn’t HAVE TO do what their teacher (who is SUPPOSED to be an authority) served as a big privilege (“choosing only TWO from whole class of 30 who were ALLOWED” etc)? And you yourself describe how later your child was not able to understand it was not appropriate to feel everybody she wants. If the teacher had said instead “now I will pick just two kids who are – only today! – allowed to feel the hole where baby will come out of me” – what do you think, how many of those young children would have been able to a) to understand this was improper b) have actually balls to say “no” to the teacher? There’s a reason why sex with children is considered a crime (in my country anyway) – because they possibly don’t even KNOW they should and could protect themselves. So, I’m totally not buying the “she was not forcing it on any of the kids” claim in your story.

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Kate January 10, 2015 at 2:19 am

Kids at that age are very touchy whether you’re pregnant or not. I taught grade 2 for a little while (so two years older than just4kicks’ child in this story) and kids were forever playing with my hair or trying to hold my hand. There was one girl who used to follow me around on yard duty and undo the buttons on my coat. I try to have as little touching as possible but something innocuous like feeling a baby kick shouldn’t be an issue IMO.

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JO January 5, 2015 at 6:36 am

Huzzah! It’s good to hear a positive story. Thank you 🙂

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Lera99 January 5, 2015 at 7:49 am

I’m so glad you’ve witnessed good parenting.
It’s always nice to see the next generation being taught how to be good people.

It’s a little disturbing that so many people feel it is ok to reach out and touch strangers.

When my sister in law was 8 1/2 months pregnant she had a woman grab her belly and shake it while yelling “Baby! Baby! Baby!” When my sister in law jumped back and loudly said “Stop! Don’t touch me!” the woman started ranting at my S-I-L for being rude. You never know when you’ll run into crazy.

Keep rocking the awesome purple hair and adorable vintage clothes!

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kit January 6, 2015 at 1:53 pm

I really liked the advice in another story given – to answer the same way. Grab that woman’s belly and shake it and see how does she like it… well, you don’t necessarily have to yell “fat! fat! fat”.

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Jinx January 5, 2015 at 8:38 am

I like happy stories 🙂 it’s good to know that people are passing on rules of etiquette to their children, especially important to retail workers.

There is something about “odd” coloured hair. Strangers are sometimes interested in mine because it’s very blonde and very long. I’ve had strangers ask to touch it; odd, but more polite than just trying to pet me. When I dyed half of it pink, the interest in it increased exponentially. I think it’s because you don’t see these colours very often. Even with pink, I never had someone just touch it. Maybe that woman from your story is spreading her words of wisdom to my neck of the world 🙂

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Mary January 7, 2015 at 3:17 pm

This has happened to me but my hair is dark brown, not any kind of funky cool unusual color. My hair is very thick and once I cut it in the ‘reverse bob’ cut that made the back lay in neat, thick layers. I constantly had women (always grown adult women) ask me if they could touch my hair. I was at the farmer’s market and a lady murmured something about “beautiful hair” then asked me if she could run her fingers through my hair. I let her. I didn’t really feel any kind of threat from her, she was very nice.
On the flip side I had a co worker run her fingers through my hair while I was on the phone. That was not nice and we had a few words about it. I think it was the sneak-attack that bothered me so much. Plus, I just don’t like this particular person.
My DD, who is 4, has very long, naturally curly hair and I can’t even count the number of adult women who want to touch her hair. It’s daily. They have to ask her directly and she always says NO!

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AnaMaria January 5, 2015 at 8:53 am

Amen!!! I spent many years cashiering and waitressing to pay for school, and it always lifts my spirits to see parents teaching etiquette and social skills to their children, while setting a good example for them. I know it’s hard to take young ones with when shopping or going out to eat (and every devoted parent deserves a break here and there!), but it is such an opportunity to teach these skills and have the kiddos practice!!

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another Laura January 5, 2015 at 9:21 am

Sweet! I can understand children wanting to touch it. My four-year-old thinks anyone with blue, pink, purple or similar color hair is a La la loopsy or My Little Pony Equestrian Girl so I am sure she would try to touch it. And I would be like the mom in this story and explain we don’t do that. But adults!?! Why do adults think they have the right to “pet” your hair? Just because your hair is an unusual color doesn’t mean that common social norms don’t apply.

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manybellsdown January 6, 2015 at 10:35 am

Mine’s not even an unusual color; it’s just very fluffy and curly. Some guy in his 60’s just reached out and “boinged” a curl while I was walking into the post office a while back. I was busy thinking about errands I had to run so I didn’t even have time to react to it.

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Gully January 5, 2015 at 9:28 am

My hair has been blue for a year and a half. I get a lot of people who walk by and randomly say “I love your hair!” I always say “thank you” and we all keep on walking. Yesterday this adorable little girl said “I love you hair!” and I said “thank you!” She responded with “you’re welcome!” I marveled at her manners. So cute.

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crebj January 5, 2015 at 9:44 am

Good use of the Polite Spine: minimal contact with “offenders”, minimal embarrassment to all, and a gracious nod. Thanks for the example.

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whatifmaybe January 5, 2015 at 10:17 am

That is so lovely. I also recently dyed my hair purple and so far I have only met some old ladies pulling it quite hard and asking me if it was my natural colour/hair. I am now just saying that ‘yes, that is my natural colour/hair, will you please not pull my hair, it hurts.’ and just walking away.

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Kat January 6, 2015 at 4:48 am

I don’t get people who do this. If it comes off what are they going to do with it? Are they trying to embarrass you? If they are trying to, that’s incredibly bad etiquette anyway even without the hair pulling!

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Michelle January 5, 2015 at 10:32 am

Wonderful submission. Glad to see that there are parents who are trying to teach their children manners and proper appropriate behavior.

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The Elf January 5, 2015 at 10:35 am

Good for Mom! I’m glad to hear your retail experience is more heaven than hell.

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JesBelle January 5, 2015 at 10:35 am

I have really long hair, and particularly when it is in a braid, people just seem to think it is okay to reach out and mess with it. It’s like the braid is just a rope I’m wearing rather than a thing growing out of my body.

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mylittlepeony January 5, 2015 at 10:58 am

I HAD to delurk for this one. Despite my being a fairly staid stay-at-home mommy type, I also dyed my hair a very nice purple for a few years. One day while out shopping with my husband, he heard a small child in a stroller behind us — “Puurple hair. PUUUUUURPLE hair. I’ve never seen purple hair.” It was not loud, and was followed very soon after by the mom telling the child to hush and stop being rude. I missed most of it, but I was a) reassured by the mom’s actions and b) totally amused by the child’s comments. Bless him/her – s/he was just stating a fact….
I’m so happy to hear that there are indeed more moms teaching manners out there in the world. Pity some folks forget that teaching….

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NostalgicGal January 5, 2015 at 11:13 am

I am rather dark of coloration and I once went bottle bleach blonde for 8 months. I wanted dark ash but once I’d cooked my hair three times in three days to get it to go blonde with the stripper (the pumpkin orange shade day one was very interesting-and I had to go to work like that…)I left it that way-tortie colored roots when I had to do them was also interesting. People didn’t pet…. Other day in big box shopping a dark colored woman like I am (her hair should have been black) had the most incredible RED shade. This was truly a RED not a natural color… and I said ‘you have the most ‘AMAZING’ hair, may I ask what you used?’ She told me about having to bleach it out totally then use a particular shade. No I didn’t touch. Just asked. Enjoy your flair OP.

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Library Diva January 5, 2015 at 11:49 am

I think it’s often lost that retail workers get to glimpse not only the worst of humanity, but sometimes the best. Last year, the website notalwaysright.com collected positive stories for the month of December. They got some terrific ones. It’s easy to forget it, but there are truly a lot of good people out there, more good people than bad.

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Lady Macbeth January 5, 2015 at 11:52 pm

I find it amusing, Library Diva, that you and I seem to frequent the same sites (I think we were both lovers of Regretsy?), but admittedly, I had to quit reading notalwaysright.com. It was stressing me out too much (and some of the stories that got through were so obviously fake – or at least overly-exaggerated – as well). Working retail is a very mixed experience, though most of it is good and has been a long-term learning experience for me. But, there’s always that 1-2% of customers (and sometimes employees!) who are absolute nightmares…

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Shea January 5, 2015 at 11:56 am

It’s bizarre how many people, including adults, think that if your hair is in any way “unusual” (extra long, very curly, red, in many small braids, etc.), it’s fine to touch it without asking. I have curly hair, and I used to wear it fairly long, about halfway down my back. I lost track of the number of times people would walk up to me and start petting my hair, or even tug on a curl to see it bounce back, generally while oohing and asking if it was natural (yes, thanks for asking. Now get your mitts off my head). Now that I have it short people don’t try to touch it anymore, thank goodness. I’m glad the mother in the OP’s story is doing parenting right.

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Enna January 5, 2015 at 12:23 pm

I am amazed at adult men and women touching the OP’s hair. They are old enough to know better. Children are depending on their age. Glad that the mother in this story did the right thing and the OP had the grace to except the apology.

Years ago I dated a black man and we were in a coffee shop waiting to be served coffee – behind us was a white woman carrying her white grandson who must have been about 3. The boy reached out and touched my date on the back of his neck. The grandmother was embrassed. My date turned round, smiled at the boy, raised his and said “high five!” which I thought was quite a good way to defuse an awkard situcation.

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jgm1764 January 5, 2015 at 2:16 pm

Oh my goodness, I’ve had a similar experience! 🙂
My hair is red, and used to be very long, almost to my waist. At my old job at an attorney’s office, we had a regular client with a daughter of about 16 years old who had Down syndrome. One time I was at the copy machine and suddenly felt a hand on my hair. I nearly jumped out of my skin because I just so startled (you couldn’t hear anyone approaching on that office’s carpet). Her mom was so apologetic and telling her, “we don’t touch without asking!” I said it was okay, she’d just startled me. I let her touch my hair, and whenever they came in the office after that, she came to sit next to me at my desk and wanted to brush my hair. She just loved it and always said, “you look like Ariel!” It was so sweet.

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Puzzled January 5, 2015 at 8:15 pm

Awww. That is very sweet, and sweet of you to take the time to interact with her. You must have been like the character come to life for her.

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fizzychip January 5, 2015 at 8:29 pm

This made me smile, thank you for sharing this x

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Lady Macbeth January 5, 2015 at 11:55 pm

“You look like Ariel.” That is an incredibly endearing comment (melted my heart a little). 🙂

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just4kicks January 6, 2015 at 12:48 am

My daughter adored Ariel when she was younger. If she saw a beautiful lady with long red hair, she might have taken a tug too! What a sweet story. 🙂

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Michelle M January 6, 2015 at 1:02 pm

Love it! 🙂

It is the little ones who usually say to me, “You look just like Ariel!” whereas I usually get ‘the look’ from the adults and hear, “Is that your REAL hair color?” Sheesh. Yes, it really is, and how very rude of you to sneer and ask.

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NostalgicGal January 7, 2015 at 6:14 pm

Family in my hometown on next block, parents were both redheads and so were all seven children. From the darkest brick red to the lightest sandy strawberry blonde, none of them had the same shade. And from looking at their brows, every one was ‘natural’. When the whole family was together they did get stares…. and some of them did comment to me about people having to comment and more, especially the girl ‘cursed’ with naturally curly hair. It was wonderous, she HATED it, and people pulling her hair and such. She went to really short and a headscarf to minimize what they could reach for without her knowing. She wanted a squirt gun to fend people off….

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Coco January 5, 2015 at 2:43 pm

Customers often forget that employees are real people. When I was a flight attendant,people would poke us in the butt to get our attention. They were seated and we were walking by,so our butts were right there. They also seemed surprised that we needed to use the bathroom.

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Annie January 6, 2015 at 11:41 am

There was a girl in my high school who had a mohawk, and one of my friends expressed surprise at seeing her in the bathroom. When I asked why, she said, “I didn’t know people like that went to the bathroom.”

Still not clear to me what she thought they did.

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Marozia January 5, 2015 at 3:37 pm

I love the story! It’s great that good manners are not a dying breed.
My great-niece decided to dye her hair about three different shades, blue, yellow and red. She was always a little inventive with her hair. After some not-so-nice comments from people, a little girl about 6 years old said to her ‘Your hair looks like a Paddle Pop and I like Paddle Pops.’ That cheered her up immensely and now always calls her hair ‘Paddle Pop colour’.

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manybellsdown January 6, 2015 at 11:17 am

When my daughter was about 4, she saw some punk-rocker teenagers at the mall. I think there were 4 of them, two guys and two girls, and the whole nine yards: safety pins, ripped fishnets, spikes, and towering rainbow mohawks. She couldn’t stop staring and then she asked me if she could talk to them. I said sure, and she toddled over and in an awestruck voice said “Your hair … is AMAZING.”

Immediately all these “tough-looking” kids dropped to their knees to coo over her. That might explain why she’s now 17 and dyed her hair like Cruella DeVil!

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K January 6, 2015 at 3:56 pm

That is so cute!

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Green123 January 5, 2015 at 4:05 pm

I’ve never had anyone try to stroke my brightly coloured hair – perhaps I’ve been lucky. I did recently nearly choke laughing at an adorable little girl who told her mother ‘MUMMY! THAT LADY HAS BRIGHT RED HAIR! I WANT BRIGHT RED HAIR PLEASE!’ across a cafe. Her poor mum blushed as red as my fringe, but I honestly wasn’t offended, and told her so as she profusely apologised. Such a cute kid!

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kingsrings January 5, 2015 at 5:59 pm

I have naturally golden blond hair, and when I was much younger and in college, I wore it straight and very long. A classmate of mine who sat behind me just loved my hair, and every once in a while I would feel my hair being stroked by her! So disconcerting, although she was very sweet. She was a foreigner from a dark–haired culture, so I guess she loved my hair because it was something new to her.
I also wear my hair in a ponytail once in a while and my big pet peeve is it getting tugged or yanked by people! Sometimes it’s to get my attention, other times it’s just to be mischievous. It’s not acceptable either way, and I hate it when people do that!

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Lady Anne January 6, 2015 at 8:33 pm

I used to work with a gal who had waist-length naturally blond hair. She took a trip to China, and she said people were absolutely fascinated with her hair. Very polite, but you could feel the curiosity coming off of them in waves. She would usually pull some hair over her shoulder and let them touch it. Not only was the color odd to them, but it had a different texture from their hair.

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Kimberly January 5, 2015 at 6:33 pm

My mom used to have beautiful, long red hair. She was also a fan of curlers, so it always looked long, and wavy, shiny, etc. I cannot tell you how many people would just try and touch or play with her hair.

My 16 year old daughter loves to color her hair. She has had blue, purple, pink and red hair. The red washes out the fastest. She receives so many compliments on her hair and people tell her how beautiful she is. My favorite was the blue. Think a, hmm….how best to describe, like a peacock blue, but brighter. Then, it was gorgeous when it had a rainbow effect from pink, blue and purple.

Congrats on anyone who teaches not to touch, but ask first. Especially, with body parts.

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Yet Another Laura January 5, 2015 at 6:35 pm

It’s nice to hear stories of the good things. Most of what I see are drama-free people raising their kids right, but bad behavior makes for entertaining cautionary tales of what not to do.

Once I dyed my hair a fun color using the non-sweetened Koolaid packets. The color isn’t supposed to last more than six weeks. Mine lasted several months and I’m considering doing it again. So many colors to choose from…

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girl_with_all_the_yarn January 5, 2015 at 7:10 pm

One of my nieces, I can’t remember which one (there are 25 nieces and nephews), and I were out at the park this past summer. A young lady with blue/pink/purple hair walked by and my niece (who was about 4 I think) yelled out “Look Auntie! Look! It’s a fairy princess!”

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MetalRose January 5, 2015 at 8:31 pm

I’ve had many colors in my hair for many years, the only color I haven’t been is bright yellow. I did tame it, but never had any issues with people wanting to touch my hair. Although I did get a lot of comments on it, most of them in the positive. A few negative, but I never let them bother me.

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SherlockSara January 5, 2015 at 9:11 pm

Great story to start off the new year! I have red hair and when I lived in China people used to try that (adults, not just my students…) Never had anyone try it here though.

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Marian Perera January 5, 2015 at 10:08 pm

On my final visit to my extended family in Sri Lanka, I met one of my dad’s cousins, a woman perhaps ten years older than I was. She said, “You’re so flat-chested!” Then she reached out, put her hand on my chest and seemed to be feeling for whatever I had.

So I reached out as well, and gave her boob a little squeeze.

She jumped back and said, “What are you doing?”

“One good grope deserves another,” I said. “And next time, I’ll do that to your butt, too.”

I think she figured that since I was part of a younger generation (culturally, lower on the status ladder), she could paw me with impunity. But after that, she didn’t lay a hand on me.

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Mary January 6, 2015 at 1:26 pm

I almost spit out my lunch. That was an awesome response!

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NostalgicGal January 7, 2015 at 12:45 am

Oh man, I almost sprayed my monitor and keyboard with my drink. Awesome, Marian!

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Angel January 5, 2015 at 10:33 pm

When I was pg with my first child I was working in retail. It is my family’s business so we are pretty casual over here, but I was surprised at the number of unsolicited belly rubs. Not just children either! It is good to hear a positive story. People see something unusual and they are tempted to touch. Most of the time people’s intentions are good though. If I saw different color hair I might be inclined to ask how you got it purple? Rather than touch.

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sylviatexas January 5, 2015 at 11:53 pm

My date turned round, smiled at the boy, raised his and said “high five!”’

Bless your date!

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Betsy January 6, 2015 at 11:03 am

Recently, I had to care for two young children, a boy 5 years old and his sister who was 3. They spent one long, unexpected evening with us when their mother had to be taken to the emergency room. While they know us, they did not expect to spend until 11 pm with us and did very well, even though it was long past their bedtimes. About 9 o’clock the little boy turned to me and said unprompted by anything “Thank you for watching over us tonight.” Talk about good manners! (Of course, to prove they weren’t total angel children the next day after having the previous night’s sleep totally disrupted I heard they were quite cranky for their mommy who was still recovering herself from the previous night!

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Angeldrac January 7, 2015 at 4:28 pm

As a mother of two young children , I would like to see more adults respect the personal space of children. My children are forever being patted and stroked and some people even try to kiss them and take them out of my arms or pick them up. This happens when they are walking, in a pram, in my arms/carrier, even while being breastfed. I’m not talking about friends and family, here, I’m talking about strangers – cashiers, other customers in shops etc. Yet, if I pull them back and say “please don’t touch him” (yet, keep smiling and trying to remain as cordial and friendly as I can), they get all snippy and huffy with me.
I wish their own parents had taught them to keep their hands to themselves when they were children!

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AnaMaria January 9, 2015 at 10:13 am

While working as a missionary abroad (in Europe), I lived with an American family that included a 3-year-old that they had adopted from Africa. I guess interracial families were not common in the area where we were, and people starred at us like crazy. Some people would come over and start stroking their daughter. They didn’t mind the casual questions (“Is she yours? Is she adopted?”), but they weren’t fond of strangers walking up to her and petting her, and needless to say it scared her!!

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just4kicks January 8, 2015 at 4:50 am

A lot of the other stories reminded me of a very bitter, lonely older woman I used to work with.
Someone once commented about her “I cannot believe she can’t find a man because she can suck the fun out of anything!”
“My son got accepted into the college he wanted to go to!!!”
“Well…must be nice…we were poor, I had to WORK after high school!”

“After months of saving, we are finally able to afford the new car we need.”
“Oh…how nice. I’ve been driving the same piece of crap car for ten years!”

You get the idea….Someone finally said to her one day, “is it REALLY that HARD to just share in someone else’s GOOD news…without throwing your wet blanket over it?!?”
She stormed off muttering….

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just4kicks January 8, 2015 at 5:00 am

Oh…shoot.
My kindle back tracked without me realizing it.
This was meant for another post, “some comments are not worth responding to”.
Oops, sorry.

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