May 17, 2013 § 9 Comments
At first, happiness was a store window, everything I wanted behind shiny plate-glass, unattainable, but brightly lit.
In my ordinary life I had a lot: a loving family, plenty to eat, other kids to play with. Still, I pressed my nose to the glass and yearned for more.
If I couldn’t touch happiness I could always describe it.
At ten, happiness looked like a pair of black patent leather T-strap shoes, with princess heels of course. The happiness that would be granted by putting on those shoes included confidence, head-turning beauty, a satisfying click as I paraded down the hall—the full happiness package.
The dog of my imagination would love me as-is, would understand me, would not talk behind my back, would not care that I wasn’t popular, high-achieving or cool. Happiness had a wet nose.
May 8, 2013 § 13 Comments
The soul must escape through the open mouth, not caring about the terrible grimace it leaves behind. You were through with that home.
I knew even then that what was in the hospital bed was not you, but it was all I had left, so I sat beside the husk of what had been my mother and was bereft.
Even as a kid I’d known this moment would come. When I was ten, waiting for you to pick me up from piano lessons, if you were five minutes late I began to grieve. You had to be dead. Then the station wagon would pull up with you at the wheel and I’d take a breath.
May 5, 2013 § 10 Comments
Unless that something is crawling with ants or is so flat-disgusting even a dog wouldn’t take a whiff, I’ll pick it up.
I don’t know you, but it’s easy to make assumptions. You like to drink. Beer cans sheathed in brown paper bags squeezed tight and form-fitting, like buxom women in slinky dresses abound.
Just who do you think you’re fooling drinking out of a paper bag?
The long-neck amber beer bottles you fling as far as you can. You must like the weight leaving your hand—can you hit the bushes past the mown stretch by the road? Sure. The bottles poke up, cock-eyed, storing rain water, breeding mosquitoes.
April 26, 2013 § 5 Comments
Some of the dead have “Gone Fishing.” Some are “Gone But Not Forgotten,” although with a death date more than 50 years past, I wonder, are all those tasked with remembering beneath the grass as well?
Still, it’s a cheerful place to wait out eternity. Conflagrations of statuary; everything from lawn jockeys to saluting soldiers to dime-store china dogs keep the dead company.
Many family plots include a bench for the comfort of those not in repose. The artificial flowers, in permanent bloom, are refreshed regularly.
Walk the edges of the cemetery and you will find bright individual blooms wind scattered. They catch your eye, as if they were real. Treated with ultraviolet dyes they sometimes fool the bees and butterflies as well.
April 19, 2013 § 3 Comments
I stretch; always the same pattern of ridiculous moves made normal by repetition.
I found them in a book that purported to cure, or at least ease, carpal tunnel syndrome. My CTS rages on, but the exercises keep me limber and I have an interesting view of our dog Moo as she steps over me; seen from below she seems to smile.
I wash the dishes and clean the kitchen so the next day is a fresh start, none of the spills of the previous day lingering. I have a great affection for fresh starts, even if it is just the beginning of a new day.
I sing scales, pushing as close to three octaves as I can without sounding like a cat in heat.
April 14, 2013 § 11 Comments
I send my query into the unknown, reaching out with both hands, seeking.
Religious or not, we all share a curiosity, a yearning to know something larger than ourselves.
My own seeking has taken many forms, but at first the answers were delivered to me, unsought, as big and heavy as the Sunday New York Times; the other tradition that weighted my family’s Sunday mornings.
The God of my childhood, God the Great and Good, could give me anything, which encouraged me to sit on his knee, as if he were a department store Santa, and recite my gimme list: a diary, a dog, a canopy bed.
This God was also temperamental, given to occasional smiting. Often I felt like Dorothy with my knees knocking in the presence of the Great and Powerful Oz.
April 6, 2013 § 12 Comments
As “Hot Tamale” Craig Reeder and I were there to play for any kids who had come along to the “Stand Down.”
There was music on other stages as well, but the music was just the feel-good part of an effort to give homeless veterans three nights of shelter, medical screening, a few hot meals.
Only one kid wandered into our tent, the rest were adults, which included the man who sat three vacant chairs away from the others.
Instead of the Hokey Pokey we played Hank Williams, Everly Brothers—covers from back in the day.