Raggedy Anne and Bart-Holo, A Love Story

I tried to sign up for a dating app this afternoon. By tried, I mean I filled out the 20 minute questionnaire and attempted to say kind things about myself that some other person might find appealing. I was feeling just sort of ok with the whole process and then the app wanted me to upload pictures. Suddenly, ‘just sort of ok’ turned into an immediate ‘abort mission.’

And then I deleted the profile.

I don’t know why but I’m so terribly ashamed to put myself on a dating app even though I know it’s perfectly ok and normal and there’s nothing wrong with it. I really do understand this. It’s just that I live in this antiquated spot on the map with a population of Hi, Neighbor! and I don’t want anyone to know I’m single and lonely and looking for love through an app on my phone.

I mean, why don’t I just go to church?! Everyone knows Pastor Brown’s son is divorced and in need of a god-fearing woman to help raise his three boys. Have you seen those boys?? Davey, Rod, and Jimbo sure could use a haircut, a hot meal, and bed-time prayers.

Bless their hearts.

I honestly can’t remember the last time I stepped foot inside a church and haircuts, hot meals, and bed-time prayers are beyond my scope of expertise. I’m not exactly step-mom material even though I have a kid. It doesn’t make any sense, I know.

So what am I looking for?
What do I want?

I dunno.

I should know. I’m supposed to know! Everyone knows you’re supposed to know what you want in a relationship and out of life by the time you’re 4 decades into this thing but….here I am! Not knowing!

Fucking Daredevil. That’s me.
My middle name is Knievel.
My mom named me after Evel.
It was a tossup between Marie and Raggedy Anne and one look around her in the middle of that blue van on the way to the hospital in Selma, and my mom knew. She just fucking knew. She knew in that way that you know what you know but you don’t really know how you know it, or even when you finally knowed it….. ya know?
Wait. What?
Anyway, my mom took one look around her.
There were my sister and brothers, all snot nosed and yelling;
my dad, one hand on the wheel and the other on his Coors Light.
Then, she looked down at her swollen belly, down at me under all those veins and tissue,
warm and snug inside the same womb that held my sister before me and my brother before her and then my other brother before him;
all of us coming to be inside this tiny little hut inside my mom.
She put one hand on her belly and the other hand over her eyes and said “you’re either gonna be the dumbest little bitch out there or you’re gonna be the bravest. I can’t claim dumb for you,Butterbean, so brave it is.”

With that, she took her hand from over her eyes and in the loudest whisper she could muster declared an end to the middle name debate between my dad, who picked Marie, my sister, who was really hoping for Raggedy Anne, and my brothers, who didn’t even know if they were getting a boy brother or a girl sister.

“KNIEVEL!”, she whisper shouted. “KNIEVEL! Stephanie Knievel. That’s Butterbeans’ name.”

And so it was.

Stephanie Knievel Butterbean was born.

SLAYER OF LIFE. BAD ASS BITCH TO THE BONE. Chapter 1.

You would not believe how many people don’t believe that story when I tell them. It always amazes me. As if I would lie about a thing like my own middle name. Come on!

Ok.

I’m totally lying.

None of that actually happened except my sister really was hoping I would be named Raggedy Anne. I mean, I kind of do too now. Sure,my formative years would have been tough, no doubt. But fuck yeah, I could rock the shit out of Raggedy Anne now. Imagine being someone’s plus one to a formal event.

“Mom? Dad? Senator Kirkland? I’d like you to all meet Raggedy Anne.”

“I’m sorry Bartholomew Junior…..did you say Raggedy Anne?”

“Yes, father.” Bart-Holo (my pet name for him) would answer. “This is my girlfriend, or, as she likes to be referred to…my Shack Job, Raggedy Anne.” At which point, I, being Raggedy Anne, would smack Bart-Holo’s ass hard enough to make him jump.

Later on in the hotel room, Bart-Holo would turn Raggedy Anne ragged for displaying that very defiant claim of ownership. But, Raggedy Anne being Raggedy Anne, would welcome her punishment like the good little rag doll she is.

Raggedy Anne’s are fearless and feral and brave.

Stephanie Butterbean’s, though?

Stephanie Butterbean’s wake up forty chapters into their life and realize they’re stuck in Hi, Neighbor! with nary a Bart-Holo in sight.

There’s just Pastor Brown’s son who is recently divorced and really needs a step-mama for Davey, Rod, and Jimbo. Those boys could really use a haircut, a hot meal, and a bed time prayer. Or two.

Bless their hearts.

Bless their fucking hearts.

Bart-Holo and Raggedy Anne 4Ever.

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