No Place Like Home
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. "Hey that's not in color!" "It doesn't change until the house lands on top of the wicked witch," explained my older brother Calvin, who must have been in charge. Time stood still as we all waited for the miracle to take place. And then Dorothy had to go and start singing, Somewhere over the Rainbow, like she did every damn year. It's a fine song. But not if you are under ten. Her wish upon that star was more than just a nuisance. It was worse than any commercial. It caused pandemonium in that living room. Pillows flew, the couch turned into a trampoline and the popcorn was spilled. Fortunately it was shortly after the spillage that suspense began to build in the movie. The wind started to blow. People were shouting, "Dorothy! Dorothy!" The sky was getting blacker and blacker. "Auntie Em! Auntie Em!" The wind howled. "Uncle Henry! Uncle Henry!" The bedroom window broke. The house took off with the twister and was airborne with Dorothy and Toto. We were all huddled together in a pile as a witch who looked just like Mrs. Gulch, rode past the window on her bike. And then the moment we'd been waiting for. The house was tumbling down. Down. And, down. And, down. There was one very loud, THUD. And then there was COLOR. Now, I thought that a color TV would look more like real life. I guess I was way ahead of my time. Because I assumed the picture would look like the high definition, fifty inch, flat screen TVs, that we have today, where you can tell when the local weatherman has a zit coming on. But instead there was a greenish tint to it. My girlfriend got up off the floor next to me and turned a knob this way and then a knob that way. Then everything was kind of pink. But in the very middle of the twenty-four inch screen, there was a green stripe of scenery. I always wanted to be Dorothy. I wanted her braids and her dog. I wanted a picnic basket to carry him around in too. There was one very short period where I thought it would be nice to be The Good Witch of the East because she was so beautiful and she had a wand and everything. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought, no. She really was not as nice as she pretended to be. It was her fault that all the bad shit even went down. If she hadn't stuck those ruby slippers on Dorothy, The Wicked Witch of the West wouldn't have gotten so pissed off about everything and demanded to seek revenge. She wasn't mad that Dorothy killed her sister. She just wanted those damn ruby shoes. They were pretty cool. But it wasn't like you could wear with very many outfits. Everything, including the horrifying evil flying monkeys could have been avoided if not for that good witch and that velvety voice of hers. And if Dorothy had half a brain, I think she could have figured out how to get those shoes off and hand them over to the bitch. It's not like she tried real hard to remove them. But they say there is a reason for everything. I guess Dorothy wouldn't have met the scarecrow, or the tin man or the cowardly lion, and the movie would have ended right then and there. And there is no way we would have had the popcorn cleaned up in that short of time. So. It was just as well. But the reason I bring this up at all is, it is coreopsis season. And every coreopsis season I am positive that I live in The Land of Oz. It makes me want to pick up Hunter, if I could, stick him in my picnic basket, if I had one, and take him for a walk through the coreopsis, all the while singing, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, together. But we both sing like shit. And Hunter can never remember any words. What neither of us do, is close our eyes and tap any of our red-ruby heels together and say, "There's no place like home," three times in a row. Never. We want to stay put. Right here, in the Land of Oz. "Sven, what is that thing down there in the flower bed?" "That's our chimney cap." "Why is it there? "It flew off the house when we landed here."