Sunday, February 28, 2010


-  It's that time of year.  Cookie time.  Cute kids in badged brown banners hawking kill pills.  Must have. 

-  Like a toll taker at the traffic funnel exit of the store, she flashes that gapped smile and lisps her question, prompts your answer with an affirmative nod, then glances at her military stanced father for verification she'd followed procedure. 

-  I told her I'd waited a year for a thin mint and a snickerdoodle, and I wouldn't be denied.  She didn't understand.  I said, "A green one and a blue one, please."  She selected one of each from the stacks behind the polished "display" boxes, setting them carefully by the cash box, awaiting payment.  I asked if she had change, and offered a twenty.  She looked as if I'd slapped her, and whispered, "Yes."

-  Her father snapped into action, opening the cash box and taking the bill.  "So!  At four dollars each, he wants two.  How much would that be?", he pressured his daughter.  She could only muster a blank look.  "Four...,  Plus four?",  he asked. 

-  "Eight?", she whimpered. 

-  "Righto!  And how much change should we give him?"  She just shrugged and looked at me apologetically.

-  "Well then....",  he snitted.  "I guess it doesn't matter."  He reached into the pile of money and started to give me a fistful. 


-  He handed me the correct change.  "Sorry", he said to me.  "She's just like her mother."

-  I don't know why I chose to continue her pain, but I did.  "So!", I said (mimicking her father), "I would like to take this twelve dollars and donate two to your 'Help the Wounded Warriors' box."  I held the two ones in my left hand, the ten in the other.  "How much will that leave me?" 

-  She looked pained.  Her dad looked more pained and turned away.

-  I gave the ten a little shake, and her eyes lit up. 

-  "Ten!!"  She puffed her chest out.  Her Dad looked back, shocked.  "Right!", he huffed.

-  I put the two dollars in the slotted reciever, winked to her and said to her dad, "I'll bet her Mom is cute and a lot of fun, too." 

-  They put a third as many thin mints in a package as they used to.  Not many left in the rig when I got home.  I'm thoroughly busted.  I have  ten dollars.  Must go back.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Soft Point

The night's rest is not complete, my mind hovering in that phase between dream and controlled thought, when through a blurred half-lid I see the sillouette of her backlit by the dawn, and my hand travels (because it has to) to the soft curve on her side, my favorite, where her hip meets her waist, where she is so very female, and I embrace for the thousandth time how fortunate I am to share her bed, and her life.  She starts at my touch, and I glide into the small of her back with my palm; slow, rhythmic circles. When her breathing is steadier and heavier I ease the motion and press deeply into her back with my hand, and the wakefulness seems to drain from her in a relaxed wave.  I slowly, ever so slowly back away as she starts to gently snore.  Then (because it has to), my hand travels back to the soft curve of her hip.  I mouth the words "I love you" into her curls, and she answers from her sleep, "You, too."  And I wonder for the thousandth time how she does that.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


-    Sweetheart candies have updated flavors and sayings.  "Text Me", XOXO, and "Email Me", are written in brighter colors and boingier flavors instead of  faded ink on chalk.  I liked best the accidently old fashioned message I found.  It should have said "MEET ME", but a few bars were missing, and it said "MELT ME" instead.  Sweet.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Build It...

      Old guys cuss youth.  What is, is.  Deal with it. 

-    Today's kids are gutless. 

-    There was a cool old dude in another century that would do things to stimulate the neighborhood kids.  He had no children of his own and enjoyed watching the crew where I was raised.  He would grab a chair and popcorn when the sandlot games began.  Binoculars sat on the window sill, handy for snowball wars.  An old push scooter just showed up on his lawn one day, and the temptation was too great not to test drive it. We didn't consider we'd stolen it.  Just used for a bit.  The scooter became the property of the entire neighborhood, and when not in use, could always be found under the juniper bush in the old man's yard.  When it broke, it somehow got fixed. 

-    We had an abused soap box go cart that steered with rope and when the hard rubber lining stripped away from the wheel, a new full axle set was found in the street. 

-    We used the concrete flood channels for playgrounds.  Skateboards were ruined where the steep sides met the flat channel bottom.  The old man down the street spent a weekend building curved plywood ramps in the ditch.  We never considered that he spent retirement income on us.  To my knowledge, none of us ever thanked him.  When he died, nobody went to his funeral.  We read his name in the paper and thought of him fondly. 

-    My home sits on a steep circle drive.  The island in the circle is the respository for snow cleaned from the roadway, which we get a bit of.  From the piletop of snow to the bottom of the street is a vertical drop of about twenty-five feet. 

-    I've watched a dutiful mom pull her bundled little people up to the base of the snow pile and give them a gentle shove.  I've listened to the squeals from the toddler and noticed the eight year old looking wistfully up at the huge mound of snow. 

-    A coworker gave me a small broken fancy toboggan because I have tools and time.  I fixed it.  It hogs a surprising amount of valuable storage space in my garage. 

-    I'm sure you know where this is going.  I cut a staircase into the backside of the hill.  I flattened the top for a perfect mounting platform.  I sunk past my waist filling the gaps between peaks.  I piled and packed, got cold and wet, polished the path, misted the soft spots, waxed the sled, set it in plain sight atop the hill, and went inside to warm up and watch. 

-    Nuthin'. 

-    Now I am certain my activity was noticed.  My old Santa shaped neighbor shook his head.  The sulky teen who shortcuts through the deep snow in the corner of my yard walked past and turned his head away instead of offering to help me extricate myself.  The two little guys who had already made the street glassy had their faces plastered to the minivan windows when they came home from school and daycare. 

-    I got a long stare from one kid I've never seen before.  He walked the entire circle, suspiciously inspecting the setup from a distance, but could never make himself climb the hill. 

-    The lady I share my life with laughed at me.  She told me that while I won't admit it, winter is getting to me.  She says that I so miss fishing that I built a deathtrap for children, and I am enjoying watching them being drawn to it.  She giggles that the children are too smart for me.  She says I am fascinated like a NASCAR fan waiting for a wreck, or a hockey fan.  She won't quit.  She says she doubts our insurance agent would be impressed.  I say "What sled run?  What Toboggan?"  She says that perhaps I should demonstrate the sled run for the poor hesitant children.  Right.

-    And now I have an epiphany.  The nice old man from my childhood was evil.  He was a disaster junkie and empowered children to kill themselves while distancing himself enough to deny liability. 

-    The sky turned red and I retrieved my toboggan with disgust.  Cowards, this new generation.  Smarter than we were, but cowards.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tell me how to feel...

     Someone close got news that mattered.  Her monster died.  The man that molested her when she was a child passed away.  She was not alone; he was a pedophile all his long miserable life.  She managed to protect her sister from all but the introduction to his 'affections'.  She confronted him when she was old enough to do so.  She alienated distant family by warning them to guard their children. She has always felt guilt for not managing to do enough to stop him.  Sadly, the people most of us depend on to protect us were no help to her.  She has lived in the shadow of what happened for forty years, and now he is dead.  And she is not sure how to feel about it. 
     I don't see her celebrating.  She won't call attention to his memory or travel to grind her heel on his grave.  She can't grieve him or offer solace to those who cared about him, but I've heard her consider what drives someone to that sort of addiction.  She wonders if his 'illness' was inflicted by a previous generation, and if other family was involved or victimized.  She wonders if  he suffered Karmic retribution or guilt.  She believes in the power of forgiveness.  But she can't.  Even in death.
     She describes being "ruined", his taking something precious he didn't deserve.  Her love relationships have been rocky, and she understands that HER choices were to blame, but can't help the discomfort her introduction to intimacy caused.  I've seen her reaction to the place where it happened, and I don't think her mind has blocked anything, though she doesn't talk details, and I don't ask. 
     She opened up more to me than she ever has when she heard he'd died.  She'd like to care.  She'd like to stop hating.  She'd like to forgive, at least those who should have shielded her from him.  She'd like to forget.  But his death seemed to just stir the old emotions. 
     All I could suggest was to be thankful for the future.  He can't hurt anyone else.  Times have changed and folks don't sweep psychopaths under the carpet like they used to.  Allowing him to occupy her thought empowers him, even in death.  Maybe some day she will understand what drove him, or those who wouldn't stop him.  But dwelling or forgiving isn't necessary.  There is so much positive in her world now to busy her. 
     She is a caring and nurturing partner in a ten year stable relationship.  She is aware of her trust and intimacy issues, and is dealing with them, finally.  She has special bonds with her children and has a second grandchild on the way.  She creates art in the kitchen, and has embraced the technologies she feared, even blogging and skyping with joy.  She is appreciating her own health, getting baseline tests and watching her figure.  She is funny, and capable, and generous.  And now the evil in her mind's closet is dead.  She may not be able to celebrate, but I am.  I will celebrate that she is wonderful, and capable of overcoming what he did to her so long ago.  Ding, dong.