An ordinary day.

February 22, 2015 § 7 Comments

03 05 028

It was an ordinary day.

A thin blue sky floated distant,

unlike a summer sky that hangs so low

you can reach up and poke it

with a stick.

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A thousand words are worth a picture.

June 29, 2013 § 4 Comments

There is no photo, except in my mind. A family portrait in sepia, and a voice, an old voice, recounting a day long gone: 

It isn’t in the picture, but beneath the photographer’s feet was a rare dusting of snow on the frozen grass, spring taking it’s time that 1895 April in Natchez, Mississippi.

You can see we are all still wearing our woolen winter leggings, even Mama and the aunts, although their skirts hide everything above the ankle.

That’s me, Amsy, in the middle of the bottom step, in the middle of the boys, in the middle of the picture. I hold Rastus and Remus, the tiger kittens. Both lived to be fifteen, which is long in cat years, but it took them just a short way into the new century, while I’ve traipsed nearly clean across it.

That’s Aaron on my left. He died in the trenches in the Great War not too many years after Rastus and Remus, one after the other, crawled under the porch and quietly died. Wish it could have gone as easy for Aaron.

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The sum of my habits.

April 19, 2013 § 3 Comments

Some of my journals.Every evening in the quiet space between dinner and lights-out I do four things.

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.

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The Dogwood Pin.

October 28, 2011 § 11 Comments

Claudia, Chris, our mother and the family Studebaker.

Early memory, at least for me, is an archipelago.

Small islands of perfect memory rise out of the watery depths of time and forgetfulness as clear as this photo shot with my first camera (a Baby Brownie).

What follows is my memory of the first piece of jewelry I ever owned. It begins with me squatting in our gravel driveway holding the pin in my hand. « Read the rest of this entry »

The Monsignor’s socks.

October 5, 2011 § 8 Comments

We already had two strikes against us. The week before we had missed mass and catechism class because I was sick.

Now we were in danger of repeating because the bug I’d brought home from school was making its way through the family. With three kids an illness could take a while to run out of potential victims.

Still, two Sundays of complete failure to worship seemed risky to my mother.

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“My routine.”

June 30, 2011 § 9 Comments

Italian playing cards.

Those two words belonged to my Italian grandfather, Nonno.

My brother, sister and I rolled our eyes at the mere mention. Who would want to do the same thing over and over and over?

Plus his routine was so…routine. For exercise he walked laps around the kitchen counter (a hundred tiny circles).

He lay in wait for the mailman, and then, when he was sure the small truck had moved on, he would collect the mail, flipping through it as he carried it up the driveway.

This was the part of my grandfather’s routine that caused my mother to
get a PO Box. As a frequently-rejected fiction writer (a term which applies to any fiction writer) the double-disappointment of receiving that terse “not for us” and my grandfather’s sympathy, “Oh, Gloria! Rejected again. Why don’t you just give up?” was more than she could bear.

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A day in the life…we got frogs!

April 30, 2011 § 6 Comments

It’s Saturday afternoon and too hot for napping on the couch, so I sit on the cool concrete back stoop.

The only good thing to be on a day this hot is a kid with a hose.

On the other side of the wire fence that separates our yards, my twelve-year-old neighbor, Dee, is busy being that perfect thing.

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