Is it Spring Yet?
I miss the flowers.
Don’t you wish you could go back to a time when you read your newspaper, the one with ink on it, that turned your fingers black, with your cup of hot coffee in one hand and your cat traipsing back and forth across the portion sitting on your table, rubbing against the section you are holding up and trying to read?
And then just when you get to the part of the story where you have to switch over to section 11A, where you are going to find out the details of that love-triangle-triple murder, the one with blood everywhere, a woman stabbed thirteen times, a loverboy with an axe stuck in his forehead, and an estranged husband on the floor no longer breathing due to a frying pan with what had been sizzling oil, in his face and the unfortunate way he landed on a salad fork that was sticking straight up in that pile of silverware, because that drawer was spilled a little earlier, and your sweet little kitty-cat, pops her fuzzy little face to the inside of your newspaper and you can clearly see that she is going make a kink in it, which will make it a struggle to turn over to 11A, without refolding a map, so to speak.
So you try to catch it before that happens.
It was a Friday night.
Fall was in the air when Sven and I arrived home around eight o’clock.
Our oldest son, who was closing in on fourteen, was busy entertaining friends.
Music was was drifting out the upstairs window as we parked the car.
We looked at each other.
There was no TV in the loft.
So it was rare to ever find a kid there.
But on that evening there were four of them.
Two of which, were girls.
“Hi Mom,” says Marques when I got to the top of the stairs.
“Hi,” I answered.
And then Sven and I were introduced.
“We’re going to walk them home,” says Marques a little while later.
Here is the thing.
Our house is located in the middle of nowhere.
“Where do they live?” I said. “We can give them a ride.”
Sven pokes me in the back.
“Nicolette just lives in the Grove, Mom. We can walk there. We do it all the time.”
That was a lie. That kid had never walked to the Grove.
My cell rang.
I pulled it out of my pocket, looked at the name and let it go into voicemail.
“Please God, just let me listen to this message.”
All I have to do is look at a call and my phone dials the number.
I got to the part where I had to type in my secret password.
My secret password is so secret that I have a hard time remembering it.
But that morning I tried my birth date.
I listened to the recording.
“Millie, I want to thank you for saving my life last night,” I heard Big D. say in his slow and easy voice, right out of the deep dark yonder. “You have no idea what I might have done if you hadn’t come along. Someday I would like to buy you a cup of coffee. God Bless you.”
It was last Thursday.
It was five PM.
I was starving.
That is why I stopped into the party room on my way out.
“I’ll be right there,” I’d said to Sven and got in a line that consisted of one big guy who was putting a lot of thought into what exactly he was going to eat.
I pictured hopping in front of him to the trays of cheese, but it seemed like it would have been a little rude.
I would have had to squish between him and his precious thoughts and the two women who were standing in front of the entire spread, wearing business outfits and pearls and chatting in a large and empty room, save for some tables, a shelf of books and an abandoned stage with a lonely guitar hanging on a stand.
When the man finally moved one step to the left, I picked up the lid of the first Nesco in line.
I married a bad ass.
He was born on New Year’s Eve.
The year was 1948.
His father was ecstatic with another tax write off, while his mother was distraught with the discomfort of labor, knowing between all the water boiling and sharp pains, that she was about to miss out on cashing in on that pile of gifts from the Chamber of Commerce for the first child born in the new year, in the little town of Dane.
He was adorable.
But unfortunately by the age of five, he and his blue jeans with the five inch rolled up cuffs were headed down the wrong path.
More than thirty years ago I married my sweet Sven. A guy who loved to golf and a guy who didn’t like pizza.
These flaws were easy to overlook because he was very cute.
Since that blessed day in 1986 the golf channel has been on the TV behind me, like as in this moment. Around the corner if I am in the kitchen brewing coffee, making a sandwich or stirring soup. Below me if I am in the loft searching for a piece of the jigsaw puzzle. And in front of me if I sit down on the couch.
Therefore, I have unintentionally absorbed mega doses of information, beginning each day with, The Morning Drive.
I know more about Arnold Palmer’s swing than he did.
And I don’t even own a club.
You see, I don’t care for the game.
Ever since the Yankees won the World Series in 1996 and the camera was forever on Joe Torre’s expressionless face and all the fans living it up behind the batter, I have wanted to sit behind home plate.
I knew way back then, that someday, I, me, Millie Noe, too, would be one of those fancy people, right there in Yankee Stadium.
But that didn’t happen.
New York is a long way from Wisconsin.
And I was more of a Milwaukee Brewer fan.
So I decided that I would sit behind home plate at The Milwaukee County Stadium instead.
But then they went and tore County Stadium down.
But not until they put up Miller Park in its place.
So I thought, “fine, Miller Park it is.”
And then just a couple of weeks ago my dream came true.
All because my grandson is one of the chosen few.
Remember back when you were the same age as the amount of times you saw The Wizard of Oz?
It was an especially big event for our family the year our next door neighbors brought home a brand new color TV.
Due to their purchase, we got to go over to their house to watch the annual showing along with our next door neighbors’ kids.
And the next door neighbor parents came over to our house to not watch The Wizard of Oz, with our parents.
We were flopped on their couch, strewn over their chairs and stretched across their living room carpet, in our pajamas.
I was lying on my stomach on the floor, chin resting in my palms, pushing my budding-two-front-fangs inward with my thumbs, the way my mother always told me to while watching TV.
The lion roared.
The movie started.
Remember when there was no need for bottled water? When you just took a drink because you were thirsty? When you ran full speed ahead to the bubbler at the park and you were all sweaty, and you stood on the bottom rim, turning that rusty knob with your dirty little hand? And remember gulping down a half a gallon of relief before jumping off and returning to TV tag or Red Rover, Red Rover or dodge ball?
Well, my sweet Sven does too.
Only he didn’t play TV tag or Red Rover, Red Rover or dodge ball.
He was too busy kissing Miss Kitty up in that wagon in that barn behind his house. Because he always got to be Matt Dillon while poor Eugene always had to be Festus, and they sent Festus off hunting down the bad guys in whatever direction they pointed.
But that was a long time ago.
And we all grew up.
This is a story of a day where nothing really goes right and nothing really goes wrong.
I needed new glasses.
“What’s that Louisa?”
You will have to excuse my sister. She is always interrupting me.
“Yes Louisa, this is the pedicure day story.”
I have been wearing, bent up, Sponge Bob Square Pants bifocals at the office for the past ten years.
And every so often a person has to make that call and set up an appointment and get a new prescription, especially when that person is having a difficult time telling the difference between threes and eights and her job is all about reading numbers and her job does not exclude certain numbers, just because she is having difficulty reading them.