Friday, September 23, 2011

for brides to be

I was washing dishes, something I really never mind doing; jazz might be playing or my mind might be wandering... 

Spoke comes around and kisses my neck.  I turn my head for him to kiss the other side, just like I always do, but last night my hair was pinned up with a large clip which caught his face as his lips moved from right to left.

He didn't say anything but as he left the kitchen and I turned to smile at him, he posed; one eye blinded and completely shut, the other blinking furiously, his head wobbling about as if he could see nothing from this wounded eye. 

Marry a man who makes you laugh!  Big, spontaneous laughs.

Standing there at the sink, I realized how long, how very long it's been since I laughed like that. 

This summer, this wretched summer... 

Seventy days of triple-digits broke the record for the hottest summer and it's been the driest as well.  Flowers are long gone and even the lambs' ears have struggled.  Cooking came to a standstill and we never found enough enthusiasm to hang the kitchen chile pepper lights this year. 

The hot summer months have also brought sadness, illness, and death to so many people close to me.  When your friends hurt, you hurt.

Today though, is the first day of autumn. 

Windows and doors are wide open, the big black crows have returned from wherever they vacationed this summer, and there are pumpkins in the markets.  The state fair is coming which means we will get some rain because it always rains when the fair is here.  We'll turn the oven back on and maybe fire up the grill.  Mostly we'll do nothing on several bistro patios. 

Oh, happy fall! 

I plan to laugh myself silly, right up to Thanksgiving.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

you bet it does

O! say can you see, by the dawn's early light,

what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming

whose broad stripes and broad stars, through the perilous fight

o'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming

and the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.

O! say does that star spangled banner yet wave,

o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Francis Scott Key, 1812
Designated our National Anthem
March 3, 1931

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

mother mary

"Mother Mary comes to me,
speaking words of wisdom; let it be."

It was not a long and winding road that led me to the school.  It was seventeen miles of highway traffic and speeding trucks, and prayerful moments when the semi in front of me came to an abrupt stop. 

I cross the hot, vast parking lot and enter the building, my knees still wobbly.  Standing right in front of me, Mary greets me from her niche as I step up and into the main hall of this private school.  I like that she's there to welcome me. 

She sets a tone.

Zach is a third grader learning braille because he is rapidly losing his vision.  Smart, precocious and polite, he manages our long sessions which begin at what should be the end of his school day.  

We work on the braille codes for English and math.  We read Henry and Mudge books.  Zach's favorite thing to do though, is three-digit times three-digit multiplication on the chalkboard, I suspect because he gets to check his answers on his new, talking calculator.

In the midst of all this instruction, adjacent church bells ring.  They ring every hour.  Each time, I am gloriously transported back to the days I walked the cold, gray streets of Florence, passing ancient niches housing ancient statues of Mary. 

There will be an answer, I pray.

My friend, my dearest friend Elizabeth, has returned from days away, hours spent by her sister's hospital bed.  She'll take back this seat I've merely kept warm for her, her full attention once again devoted to her student in these late day lessons, uninterrupted except by the church bells. 

I want her to find comfort in those bells. 

And in her hour of darkness, I hope she'll be able to hear Mother Mary's words of wisdom.

The Beatles, Let It Be

Monday, September 5, 2011

a soulful night at button's

I have been told that a year will make a difference.  I was told this when I was drowning in grief, when their deaths were just three months new.  Three months felt like three days. 

So, it was with trepidation and many tissues within reach in my purse, that I met my sister last night to hear Andrea Dawson. 

I told you about Andrea last September.  It was a serendipitous afternoon when Colleen and I happened upon her, playing with Lucky Peterson at Central Market. 

The next few months, the three of us followed her to different venues.  Mom loved listening and watching Andrea handle the microphone, remembering the days of her youth when she knew how to use that mic to hold an audience's attention. 

I could no longer follow Andrea after Mom passed away.  Until last night at Button's...

Seven months does make a difference.  It's not good.  It's not easy.  But I got through the night with a soulful voice that willed me to be strong, that dared me cry, that forced me to sit back and soak up every minute, just like Colleen used to do.