Sunday, August 21, 2011

old photos

Karen tore up the house looking for her passport in preparation for her trip to Ethiopia in a few weeks. Thank God she found her passbook because a major clean up took place unearthing and returning to earth various strange discoveries. One of the treasures were photos of my grandmother and Laurel when she was one year old. Ma must have been close to a hundred years. I'm still amazed that a women who gave birth to eight children and ate awful food. I mean awful food! Donuts and half cooked bacon and eggs for breakfast. Beer with her supper. A shot of whiskey if she had company. And here I am eating like Ghandi with an upset stomach. So much for justice.
That's not what I started out to write. I looked at the photos and saw such love in her face for my one year old daughter. Laurel, of course, doesn't remember, but I had forgotten that look also--mores the pity. I remember the quirky, funny stories like how, if she had something on her mind, she would walk to our house next door, pass through Dr. Mary's waiting room and walk right in to ask her daughter a question. Some poor soul would be lying on the table half naked and Ma would ask every time, "Mary, you got customer?" Kind of obvious I would think. My mother would turn bright red. "Ma!, how many times do I have to tell you? They're patients! Not customers! Just what do you think I'm doing in here? Imagine the poor unfortunate lying there knowing my mother is going to take all her anger out on their naked butt when Ma finally leaves. Ma's burning question might be that she wants some milk from the store or where are we going for Xmas two months from now. Stories like this come back to me, but its that look when Laurel visited her at the nursing home that I hope Ill always remember.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A visit with Ray today

A Visit with Ray

Me, In my green wicker chair
Ray, I can't stay
Me, You never do
Ray, I'm sorry
Me, No need, my friend
Ray, You always understand
Me, Where have you been this time?
Ray, so far now, so very far from here
Me, Like a memory?
Ray, A warm memory
Me, Are you going back?
Ray, No, I can't go home again
Me, Neither can I

Friday, August 12, 2011

Maine morning

I have discovered mornings. I remember a notorious night owl saying years ago that he was 30 years old before he found out that there was a six 0'clock in the morning. I have been in the FA program for 13 months (weigh-in day is tomorrow) which is when I discovered six a.m. because I was asked, with all the shock of a cold shower, that I was expected to call in my food for the day to my sponsor and then, with all the shock of an arctic shower, that I was expected to actually eat what I had written down. Strange words like integrity and honesty were used--still covered in permafrost. It's summer and the frozen mist disguised as excess adipose tissue has melted away. Now, I am eager to do all sorts of things if I am not called into work. Yesterday, after my food call, I continued working on a project in front of the open garage. I have been refinishing rock maple wooden chairs that I had bought along with a round matching table years ago for my mother's house-then my brother's house. I sit in half in the shade of the garage stripping the old finish away, then putting on a new finish. This is a perfectly awful, messy undertaking that leaves a disgusting mess of paper towels and crusty steel wool on the garage floor. For some reason it calms my restless soul. Maybe it is the sight of Karen's flower garden or the coolness of a Maine morning or the salty aroma of the nearby tidal river or maybe for a few hours I have become part of nature--let in the back door because I have finally engaged in the messy process of renewal, rebirth--just like my reborn table and chairs I have left behind the detritus of life on the floor next to the bathroom scale. All a 175 pounds of it and counting. Now I will change into some grungy clothes and work on the last chair. Look at the flowers smell the river, feel the cool air and listen to Dar Williams sing, "The beauty of the rain is how it falls, how it falls..."--off me.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Rainy Day

I found this poem written a while back. I know it is about my late brother, but I share it because the sentiments could be universal.

A Rainy Day
Since I was a kid
He told me
With a big smile
He could fix them
Rainy days, that is
I believed him
I believed the smile
I can't remember the year
Maybe the year the smile went away
Then he looked at me
Like I was expected to fix
The rainy days, that is
But I couldn't fix them either
I kept my smile--his smile
It was all that I had left.