The gratitude list.

May 27, 2011 § 13 Comments

Hot Tamale plays Havana

I turn the tap and water comes out.  Whether hot or cold, it is never rusty like the water from the pump at my grandmother’s.

Or Kool-Aid purple like the water in the brand new subdivision I moved to in the fourth grade.

Or clouded with particulates like the water that came down the pipeline when we lived in The Keys—although even rusty, purple, or cloudy, fresh running water is an everyday miracle.

I flip the switch and a light comes on.  The ceiling fan stirs the warm air in the living room.

Like the Wizard of Oz, I have no clue how any of it works and yet, thanks to the collective WE, (not to mention the Romans and Thomas Edison) I get to take these services for granted.

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The lords of everywhere.

May 19, 2011 § 7 Comments

One Christmas when our family gathered my husband said, "I know, let's build a tree house."

“All right youse guys, I want you to steal the Brooklyn Bridge.”

This was my grandmother talking as her alter-ego, Iron Joe, giving me and my sister and brother, along with the usual crowd of neighborhood kids, our “instructions.”

Intent on stealing that bridge, we’d scatter into the dusk, leaving my grandmother on the patio in a folding chair, a glass of iced tea sitting in a cool puddle of condensation on the table beside her.

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The first thing I didn’t notice…

May 12, 2011 § 18 Comments

The first thing I didn’t notice today was myself in the bathroom mirror—I averted my eyes.  Why start the day knowing what my hair looks like after a whole night of sleeping on it funny?

I made coffee without noticing–some things are automatic–then booted up the computer.  The internet opened to the AOL home page, but I did not notice which star had a.) been sent to rehab or b.) had plastic surgery to some personal body part or c.) was sharing the intimate details of a messy break-up.

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Light one candle.

May 5, 2011 § 22 Comments

Walking the neighborhood.

We bought the house for $26,000, cheap even for 1996.  It was a bank foreclosure, common now, but much rarer then.  In addition to the fifty-year-old stucco cottage and a yard full of mature trees, we bought into a neighborhood.

Although modest, our new neighborhood was spotlessly clean.  No litter anywhere.

It wasn’t long before we saw a woman walking along our street, a plastic bag over her arm and a pair of tongs in her hand.  Her passage through the neighborhood looked furtive, like a night creature caught in the light.  She made quick forays into yards to pick up an empty soda can or a crumpled candy wrapper.  We soon learned her name was Miss Holly.

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