(Pt I is here; Café version, C99% version); Pt II is here: (Café version; C99% version)
I’d been building balconies for faux-Tyrolean apartments in Breckenridge, Colorado, and once they were finished, my now-husband, our dog Lincoln and I embarked on a hitch-hiking odyssey. We first headed to Poland, Ohio to visit my mother, and to and ‘do something’ with my dad’s cremated remains. No one seemed to want to touch them; God knows why.
We drove to our old stomping-grounds near Kent; Twin Lakes really, walked to his favorite golf hole, and sprinkled his ashes and bone fragments at the edge of the fairway. Looking up, a huge, smiling papa-face filled my sky-mind; I imagined everyone could see his radiant smile as it seemed to fill the sky. Bye, pop; God, I love you. I do so wish you hadn’t been the sole child of such rotten parents; how different your life would have been.
(Pt. I is here; Café version, C99% version)
I went to visit my mother in the St. Joseph’s mental ward as often as I could, and met most of her fellow inmates in the commons area. Lady had taken on the informal role of ‘social worker’, a job she’d had for the county for a few years in Ohio.
Occupational therapy was the clay-ashtrays, potholders and leather-craft sort, and my mum wanted to make me some moccasins, much more preferable to a popsicle-stick jewelry box. We decided on the size, and over a couple weeks she finished them. They were the Tandy Leather Kit kind, remember them? Split-leather suede that tied just below the ankle, with three inches of machine-cut fringe around the collar; no hard sole, just the same suede—you could curl your toes in them. They were grand and pathetic all at once, and I loved them! And as it turned out, useful.
I was standing in the kitchen of a house in Boulder, Colorado, staring down at the letter on the counter, but no longer seeing it. The shock-waves in my mind seemed to come from the paper, and my eyes began to see planes of shadows and light, forms without meaning as the photons of sunlight coming through a nearby window rode the waves. They battered me and turned my brain to cellophane.
The letter that had arrived a few minutes earlier in the morning mail was from my mother, and it announced that by the time I got the letter, she would be dead. Dead. My mind careened with live-mother images from the past few weeks, months, years; then dead-mother flashes; I leaned on the counter to support my wobbly legs.
(a Sunday vignette reprise from 2013)
“Mama! Maaa-ma!” he cried from the kids’ dark bedroom. I went to him; he was curled up on his knees on the top bunk bed, his face streaming tears.
“Hey, Jobie…what’s going on? I’m here…it’s mama; are you awake?” I reached up for him so that he could feel the weight of my hands, and know I was there. His eyes and the tears on his cheeks caught the bits of light coming through the door.
(a reprise from 2013)
Far in the southwest corner of Colorado rests the Sleeping Ute. His head is to the north, his feet to the south, his toes a volcanic outcropping. Legend has it that when he is angry, puffs of cloud come out his pockets; and that one day he will rise up and help the Ute Mountain Utes (Weeminuche) smite their enemies. (That might have been useful a hundred and fifty years ago…now, not so much.)
(A reprise; I wrote this a number of years ago, but I can’t quite place it in time.)
Our son seemed to have been born with a predisposition to love grandparents. I don’t know how he came by it; could there have been a genetic cause, hardwired somehow into his wee neural net, passed down from his biological forebears? Did it come from the books we’d read him as an infant and toddler? My mind flips through the long lists of titles and book covers, but I can’t find any particular ones that might account for this. It’s a mystery to me.
Over the course of our lives, we all must have received gifts that overwhelmed us with their thoughtfulness, suitability, and timeliness. One I received a couple years ago from Mr. wd qualified in the first two ways, but as to the third, please consider the implications of its irony as you read about what may end up being my favorite present ever.
Over a decade ago I sustained some pretty severe brain damage during knee surgery, although none of the surgical team would ever even admit to anything having gone awry. When I woke up from the anesthetic, among other horrors, I discovered that I’d lost all sense of time, basic arithmetic skills, boatloads of words, people’s names, and more annoying things like cognitive abilities. I.e.: I’d become the proverbial box of rocks.
(a reprise from another time)
We lived in an apple orchard for a time, in a funky old house used for the ranch hands, i.e., me and mr. wd. Dozens and dozens of apple trees surrounded the house, and in the spring upon every breeze rode the soft sweet perfume of their blossoms, a gentle, clean scent tinged with the tiniest bit of cinnamon that sometimes caused you to pause and close your eyes and breathe in; to sniff their fragrance into your quivering nose, perhaps hoping to commit it to memory; to listen to the ecstatic buzzing of the bees so hungrily diving into their centers to suck their sweet nectar and getting pollen on their little feet, which they’d spread to other blossoms on other trees and cause there to be apples…
a vignette (a reprise as a possible antidote to the current global zeitgeist)
(I’d figured you might like a bit of a break from the horrors in the current zeitgeist. Here’s hoping you might enjoy a bit of a trip back in time when life was a bit simpler, or at least more…comprehensible.)
(i’d written this some time ago, but thought i’d re-publish it as a bit of an antidote to the many grisly realities of the day. hope you like it. if ya don’t, please stay after class and wash the blackboards…)