Home > Uncategorized > MY FUNNY VALENTINES…


I realize this is an odd lead-in to this post, but I need to give a little bit of explanation about what inspired it.  I watched a disturbing documentary a couple of weeks ago about the sex trafficking of children, particularly underaged girls, in Atlanta.  Even more disturbing was a 30 minute film included in the program titled “The Candy Shop.”  This film was set around the turn of the century, and it was intended to be a twisted fairy tale about the trafficking of young girls.  There was a young boy in it who hawked newspapers.  He noticed that a strange, tall cadaverous man had opened a candy shop across the street and that the customers were adult men.    It was later revealed that this evil creature had developed a machine that he put little girls into and turned them into “candy.”  It reminded me a lot of an even darker version of Ray Bradbury’s “Something Wicked This Way Comes.”  At the same time, there were a couple of men who are very much on the periphery of my life that I was hearing stories about involving some bad behavior.  (Not anything to do with the above topic, but still, bad and hurtful behavior.)  I had all this rolling around in my head, and I knew my little brain was about to start reciting a “men are evil” mantra – and that’s a road I don’t like to go down.  Instead,  I made a very conscious decision to refocus and stay away from that kind of thinking.  Because in my life, the genuinely significant men are absolutely extraordinary.  So this Valentine’s Day post is dedicated to the great men in my life…and to great men everywhere.

This list is by no means complete, but I’m hitting the highlights.



Will doing Mick Jagger


The best, the brightest, the most beautiful child on earth – on the cusp of becoming the best man on earth.   There aren’t enough superlatives to do justice to my perfect son.  I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like Will or who has a bad thing to say about him.  (They’d damnned well better not do it within earshot of me, anyway.)  My son is the best thing to ever happen to me.  Period.





Butler is the Sun


I’ve known Butler since I was nine years old – he’s closer to me than my own brother.  As his sister, Beth, so aptly put it, Butler is “surrounded by an aura of wonderful Butlerness.”  For those readers who don’t know him personally, I’m truly sorry for you.  See this picture?  It’s no accident that I chose Butler’s face to put on the sun – a benevolent Butler-Sun beaming down on us all.  Hey, in a perfect world.




TOM DECHMAN  Arguably the finest teacher, certainly the finest public school teacher I’ve ever had.  Tom taught me things when I was sixteen and seventeen years old – and I don’t mean lessons from books – that I have literally used for the rest of my life.  The man was such a genius that the first time I asked him a question and he replied that he didn’t know the answer, I thought he was lying.  Tom passed away in 2003, and I still think about him and miss him…and probably always will.

Tom Lake


TOM LAKE  Just when my former teacher named Tom died – this new one named Tom stepped up to the plate for me.  (And for those of you who’ve ever tried to teach ME anything, you know that it really does require stepping up to the plate.)  Tom Lake is the American/Western equivalent of the Dalai Lama as far as I can tell.  He’s a kind and compassionate friend and incredibly gifted shaman (also a taskmaster, when necessary) who travels all over the world to share his limitless talents with his students.  A true healer and a constant source of inspiration to me and all those lucky enough to know him.

 COMMANDER GEORGE W. “KIM” KIMMONS  I think of this man as the one who should have been my father – in the best of all possible worlds.  I met Kim when I was about eleven years old.  I thought the moon and stars revolved around him – and maybe they did.  I was just getting interested in playing the piano during those same years, and Kim only knew four chords.  He could play virtually anything with just those four, and decided to teach me some songs.  (Okay, they were mostly dirty Navy ditties, but still.)  His nickname for me as long as we knew each other was “Leeter.”  Believe you me, he’s the only person in the world who could get away with calling me that.  Don’t any of the rest of you even think about it.  Kim passed away in 2002, and I miss him terribly.  He was simply one of the finest men to have ever walked the planet.  Ever.


ALLAN KOLLAR  I’ve known Allan since I was in high school – he’s the former ringleader of Midnight Auto Supply turned rock star of the theater world in his neck of the woods. Makes me laugh harder than anyone I know.  Allan is a funky combination of Southern gentleman, boy-next-door, Dennis the Menace… and Denis Leary.  His crisp, candy-coated exterior hides a molten center of…what?   Lava?  Nitroglycerin?  Kryptonite?  The world may never know.




JOE TALLANT  My favorite uncle – always has been – always will be.  The true genius in my family.  Could doubtless figure out how to take apart a nuclear reactor and put it back together again.  (Could also tear up a crowbar.)  One of the only people in my family whose brain is frequently on the same weird wavelength as mine.  I guess that’s not necessarily a quality most would aspire to, but it certainly makes communication easier between me and Joe.  I truly don’t know what I’d do without him to explain to me how shit works.  And I mean everything from an electric toothbrush to a rocket ship and all things in between.  There’s only the singular Joe Tallant, but really, it’s too bad everybody can’t have one.


My cousin, Gary Tallant, is an old world craftsman who calls himself a trim carpenter – a VAST understatement.  He can pretty much build and fix anything.  He’s the type of person you can

trust with your house, your car keys,  or your wife.  He cooks, he calls, he cares.  Friends and family hang around him to drink in the good vibes of this guy who tries to do the right thing by everyone around him.  Don’t be fooled by his humble exterior – absolutely an incredible man.


DAN LAWSON  Husband of one of my dearest friends, and father to their sons, Tom and Warren.  This is the guy who uncomplainingly packs all our stuff into the van every summer when it’s time to go to Hunting Island.  Who patiently explains to us, over and over and over, how to work the remote.  Moves furniture around for parties, makes ice runs, ferries his kids all over God’s green earth (and God’s green golf courses), and I could go on and on.  Dan’s another one who makes me laugh so hard I almost start to snort.  He has always been unfailingly good to me and as far as I know – has never asked for a single thing in return.




Last, but certainly not least, my ex-husband and the father of our beautiful perfect child.  Ben and I just couldn’t seem to gee haw when we were together, but we do have the greatest kid in the world.  Ben is an IT ubergeek, and I mean that in a good way, who taught me the Golden Rule of handling PC problems, and I quote “Have you rebooted?  DON’T call me about your computer malfunction until you’ve tried rebooting.”  Most importantly, he’s a good father to my son.  Every time I hear horror stories from my friends and family about their exes, I secretly rejoice that mine is nothing like theirs.  In the world of ex-husbands, Ben is definitely a keeper.  (And really, he only wears that Elvis costume two or three times a week.)




My completely unsolicited advice for Valentine’s Day?  Take good care of the good men in your lives.  Love them and let them know that you do.  Lyta has spoken.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Butler
    February 14, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Wow. Thank you for including me in this great bunch of guys. I miss you, too.

    • lytanorman
      February 14, 2011 at 1:45 pm

      I get inspired once in a
      while, Butler. What can I tell you?

  2. B^4
    February 14, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Hey, what about Kiwi and Smut?

    • lytanorman
      February 14, 2011 at 6:17 pm

      Kiwi and Smut haven’t been profound influences in my life, so they didn’t make the cut.

  3. jennofark
    February 14, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    Hot damn! Lyta makes an appearance on the blog, and BUTLER TOO! This is indeed a special VD. And even though Kiwi and Smut haven’t been profound influences in Lyta’s life, they’re helluva good guys and I’m sure made lots of people’s lists. You too, B^4.

    Nice work, Lyta. Here I am posting pictures of Frank Booth’s psychopath cat and discussing decomposition rates of dead possums under houses, and you go and post something really uplifting.

    P.S. – for those of you in comments who don’t know Butler, he really is awesome. He’s coming to us live from Afghanistan. Hey, Butler! You damn well better be HOME for next New Years!

    • lytanorman
      February 14, 2011 at 6:54 pm

      Thank you, Jaffner. Like I told Butler, once in a while I get really inspired. Now if only I could drive the WordPress thing better. Every time I try to edit my post something gets screwed up – especially when there are lots of pictures. I think Beth needs to give me a tutorial on this damned thing.

      • jennofark
        February 14, 2011 at 7:19 pm

        Nope, it’s just sucky that way with pictures (and lots of other stuff). It does that to me all the time – I’ve got the thing looking just right, and when I hit publish, it cuts out pictures, runs captions togther, etc etc. It’s this kind of stuff that inspired the acronym “FYWP”.

  4. February 14, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    I would be pretty stunned to be included on anyone’s list and I wholeheartedly agree with Lyta (who I don’t think I know, do I?). Partly because there would be not much to say, about me, really.
    Your men all sound like really great people, I wish I had an uncle that could fix things.
    Jennifer is right, of course, it is an uplifting post

    • lytanorman
      February 14, 2011 at 7:40 pm

      Thank you. I really appreciate the comments. As will all the men I named in this post.

  5. BDay
    February 16, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    Hey, some of my favorites are here, too!

    Call me if you have problems with WordPress. It’s not going to do everything you want it to, but I find that we have lots of options.

    • lytanorman
      February 17, 2011 at 4:57 pm

      Beth, you don’t even want to KNOW the vile names that I called WordPress the other day. Thank God no one was home but me. I’m surprised my PC didn’t grow arms and clawed hands and choke the life out of me.

  6. February 18, 2011 at 2:15 am

    You just turn it off at the wall if it does that Lyta :)

    • lytanorman
      February 18, 2011 at 3:34 pm

      Is THAT how that works? Are you the voice of experience, Kiwi? If so, what is your take on this? I was trying to restore an earlier version of my VD post and that wouldn’t work and wouldn’t work, so I hit the button “compare versions” or whatever the name of it is. A screen came up reading something like “comparing versions…process will terminate in 3…2…1” THEN a black screen with green writing on it pops up and says “Wake up, Lyta Norman. The Matrix has you.” I opted out of that screen before any more words came up because I was already getting flipped out. All of a sudden, Voila! there was my revision. What the hell was that all about?

  7. February 18, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    Yikes Lyta, do you have access to Holy water?

    • lytanorman
      February 18, 2011 at 6:51 pm

      Not exactly. Not Catholic, fortunately or unfortunately. Depends on who you talk to – me…or the Pope. Actually, I was thinking I should contact Neo or Morpheus;)

  8. BDay
    February 26, 2011 at 11:42 am

    I don’t know what is wrong with you people. Of the many, many content-management systems I’ve used, WordPress gives me by far the most options without touching the code. You just have to understand that there are some limitations within the template you’ve chosen. If you want go beyond those, somebody’s gonna have to look at the source code. And I’ve decided I’m just too old for that when it comes to a personal blog, so I live within the framework.

    Lyta, you managed to unlock an Easter egg and just didn’t recognize WordPress’ brand of humor: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/disable-matrix-easter-egg/

  9. Lyta Norman
    March 8, 2011 at 8:21 pm


  10. November 10, 2011 at 10:40 am

    This makes perfect sense to me..

  11. December 11, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Extremely well written piece…

  1. February 26, 2011 at 7:17 pm

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