Boat Sailing Days



Best month ever.

My sister Louisa, disagrees.

She thinks April is the best.

What? You don't like March either?

Well, perhaps your are not a Pisces.

You see, we Pisces know everything.

Or so I have been told.

Maybe I have been told that we Pisces think we know everything.

Or perhaps I have just heard so many times, "Millie, you think you know everything."

Well, I do.

I am a Pisces. That is what I have been trying to tell you.

What is so special about March?

Well, for starters........

This can happen.

jake 13As a matter of fact, it did.

The above picture was taken on my second birthday.

The boys in the photo are, Coz in the front and my sweet Sven, in the rear.  Unbeknownst to me, Coz and or Sven, we would meet one day, and Sven and I would fall madly in love. Or that my mother would remember that second birthday party of mine, because it happened to be during a blizzard in 1959 and that snowstorm was the very reason that my grandparents ended up staying with us, for three days, in our tiny, cracker box house, on Rosa Road.

And to think that, while I was spit-blowing my candles out, in my brand new, 'I Love My Grandma and Grandpa' sweater, my future honey bun was outside playing in the snow, making a tunnel over the sidewalk in front of his house, in Dane.

And that is not the only cool thing about March.

In March spring is official.

Spring is a big deal in Wisconsin, as in large.

That tunnel dug out of snow and all the other mountains of the white and often by March, brown snow, melts rapidly, because in March, three days after a snowstorm the temperature often soars to an unheard of fifty-four degrees and the sun rises high into the sky and it beats down upon us. It makes people crazier than if there were a total eclipsed full moon. Kids walk around in shorts, t-shirts and back packs, because the lead is all the way up to thirty-nine at seven A.M.

Adults skip to their cars and throw their jackets on the passenger seat and crack their windows for their commutes.

It is WILD!

Everyone has funny, tingly, sensations.

"Am I in love?"

"Am I anxious?"

"Is this joy that I am feeling?"

Whatever the hell it is, everyone feels it.

People are heard saying things like, "Hey, I saw a robin today."



"My ash tree has buds."

"Shut the front door!"

After people have been in semi coma states for several months, this is normal behavior.

A high of sixty-three makes the whole world sparkle.

"The lake is open."

"Get outta town!"

"I saw green on my way to work."

"Get real."

And while all of this manic adult talk is taking place, boat sailing days are happening right under their noses.

Boat sailing days only show up once a year. They only last a couple of days. And, they are only for those who watch for them, as in Sven and Coz.

I am not talking about the kind of boat you may be picturing, with a motor and fishing poles and a cooler of beer.

I am referring to popsicle sticks, twigs and ping pong balls.

As the mountains of snow melt at a rapid pace, torrents of water begin to rush through the gutters and turn into raging rivers in the ditches next to the road.

So, what better way is there to pass the time on your way home from school, then to race your boats that are whatever you find then and there on the ground.

It has to make it through thick and thin and get past all obstacles.

So, whatever you choose to pick up, is extremely important.

As Sven says, it is kind of suspicious when somebody happens to find a ping pong ball just sitting there on the ground. A ping pong ball that doesn't get stuck on anything and always pops out the other end of a culvert, two days in a row.

Once a ping pong ball sitting there on the ground, maybe.

Twice a ping pong ball sitting there on the ground, not likely.

It is not that this ping pong ball thing has scarred Sven for life, but he does mention the great ping pong ball fiasco, every March.

Luckily boat sailing days season is short, so he only complains about the great ping pong ball fiasco, for a short time, every March.

Chicago is the windy city.

March is the windy month.

And wind can be annoying.

But the wind is sent by Mother Nature for one reason. It is sent to dry shit up, to shut Millie up.  She understands that Hunter and Sven, have a limit on the amount of bitching about the mud on their feet.

Even though your hair or someone else's hair is in your face and doors are slamming open and doors are slamming shut and garbage cans are rolling around out in the middle of the road, it is okay, because this means that it is kite season.

I don't know what it is like in households with kids now, but as simple as a design that kites seem to be, all dads, at least in my day, are not necessarily in the same mood as the kite recipients about putting them together and flying them, the very moment they receive them.

That is why, my father for one, was really happy when my older brother, Calvin could be in charge of me.

My dad was busy enough with Louisa and Kiki and lots of kite string and I don't know why, but we always had tape out on the table.

The directions never mentioned tape.

And kite flying never ends happy.

Kites are either up in the air looking really cool, or else they are stuck in a tree or tangled in telephone wire.

No one ever says, "Okay, that was fun. Reel her in," when things are going well.


You keep on dazzling the world with your kite as long as you can.

But the odds are, the longer your kite is in the air, the higher its rate of mortality.

And the more kites, the more disasters.

In March a kite disaster is okay.

In July, it is not okay.

If you are flying a kite in July, you are weird.

Kite season is over.

And what about that Benjamin Franklin dude?

He was a grown man out there flying a kite, in a thunder storm, with a metal key attached to it.

Do not get me wrong. I am glad we have lights, toasters and hair dryers.

Very glad.

But you know, he is not the only guy in this world to make a discovery while flying a kite.

Do you want to know what I discovered?

I found out that if the wind switches direction on you and instead of your kite soaring above the wide open field on the other side of the ditch where it had been doing so well, and it takes an about turn and heads back toward you and it passes you by and crosses the street, and a car happens to be heading west on the road and your kite string is stretched across the road and your kite is still hovering there in your yard and all at once it decides to take a loopdey loop kind of a dive at the exact moment that car passes by and the string that is stretched across the road drops to head light level and that car runs smack into your kite string, your kite string will snap in half and you will lose your kite to the wild wind that sends it like a tumble weed across the neighborhood and back into traffic.

But not until that kite string has already sliced through all four fingers that you had it wrapped around.

I wonder if Benjamin Franklin knew about that?

A poem by Sven, April 5, 1972


Spring is the first boat sailing day.

Spring is dirty snow on the sides of the street.

Spring is the emergence of a winter of dogs shitting on the lawns.

Spring is an old lady making ice castles in the snow so that the water will flow and little boys won't get their boats stuck.

Spring is packing your penis in your suitcase and going to Florida.

Spring is coming back without your suitcase.

Spring is not buying anymore fuel oil.

Spring is fall in reverse except the Kool-aide is green.

Louisa thinks that the only reason I like March so much is because March is my birthday month.

And I have always been partial to my birthday.

That is bullshit.

millie and cake

There is no present like the time.


Oh. Louisa says, "There is no present like the present time."

water in Ditch

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