Is it Spring Yet?
I think it’s gonna be all right.
Yes, the worst is over now.
The morning sun is shining like a red rubber ball.
Remember that song?
It was by the Cyrkle.
I was doing the dishes with my brother, Calvin. I was washing and he was drying. Only he wasn’t drying. He was too busy snapping me with his towel.
And we were singing along with The Cyrkle.
But we knew the words.
I was sitting on a chair holding a coffee cup the size of a thimble.
It was filled with black gold.
I took another sip.
My ears began to ring.
“Would you like some more?” she says to me in her thick Portuguese accent, long shiny black hair, dark eyes and bright white smile. She was holding a beautiful porcelain coffee pot in her hands.
“No, thank you,” I stammered.
I covered my doll house cup and saucer, containing what I later learned to be, espresso.
One Friday evening, not so long ago, Sven decided to change a light bulb.
It was the one on the fan in our bedroom.
The one that is next to the skylight, way up there on the cathedral ceiling.
Therefore he brought a ladder upstairs to do his handy work.
“Do not take that away,” I said.
One should never let an opportunity such as a ladder in one’s bedroom slip away.
There were four of us, my sweet Sven, Burt, Claudette and myself, staring into the yellow, orange and blue flames.
A car came down the road.
It pulled onto the grass out front and stopped.
A door shut in the distance.
“Hi,” says Jack rustling through the leaves behind us.
We turned around.
“What’s going on?”
He pulled up a metal lawn chair and opened a beer.
And then there were five of us staring into the yellow, orange and blue flames.
One Sunday, back when I was in sixth grade, I hopped on my bike and I pedaled my way to school.
It was located at the top of a very long and steep hill.
What I didn’t know until that day was that our school was not at the top of a very long and steep hill. Our school was at the top of just one of a series of long and steep hills, on a road that never really ends.
But I’d never had a reason to go beyond the building that held all those teachers who taught me how to sound out the words in the fun filled adventures of Dick and Jane.
How to add and subtract.
How to multiply.
And, well, they did their best with division.
Until that Sunday.
And now, will the third place winner, please step forward?”
Something went wrong out there in the universe when all those particles that were less than tiny were spinning and twirling and swirling around. Because at the end of it all, my dog came out of his mother’s womb, a cross between a German Shepard, an Italian opera singer, a storm chaser, a yellow lab, Mark Spitz, Rin Tin Tin, an ostrich and a chow.
So, it is not his fault that he is annoying.
He can’t help it.
As his human mother, I am very proud to say that he does not waste any of his God given talent.
He is a prodigy.
I, as his nurturer, understand why he spends so much time pacing around the house practicing his earth shattering, booming notes. If he could only get on a stage where he belongs, he would absolutely bring the house down with all his bellering.
He’d be famous.
A world renown opera singer.
A super star.
Move over Pavarotti.
Remember the operator on Laugh-In?
Back in my mother’s day that was how you made a call.
You went through Lilly at the switchboard.
My earliest recollection of a phone was a square, black, rotary one, sitting on a stand.
To make a call you had to pick up the mouth piece very quietly in case the neighbors were on the line. And you could only answer it if it was your special ring.
But the future came flying in fast.
By the time I was in fourth grade we weren’t on a party line.
By middle school the curly cord had grown to six feet.
By the time I was out skipping class and shopping for my homecoming dress there were super cool slim lined phones, with push buttons. And they came in all kinds of colors, including turquoise.
But even those fancy designer phones didn’t cut it.
They were too restricting for the modern times.
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.”