Thursday, January 21, 2016

Coffee & Crosswords

     "If you like colored water, you'll have to get your coffee somewhere else."  God knows the Luzianne coffee with chicory root that she used to brew in the morning could put hair on your chest (or take it off your head - a distinct possibility given my father's head and the way mine has turned out.)   Singing in the morning.  Who sings that loudly before the sun's up?  I can remember as a child thinking "if I didn't have to go to school and got to stay at home all day and do crossword puzzles I'd sing in the morning, too."   But that's not all that consumed her day - I was just too innocent (ignorant) to realize it.  Like anyone else raising a family, our clothes got washed, a broom got pushed and a hot meal at suppertime starts in the afternoon.  But when I think about her, the first images that come to my brain are strong coffee, crossword puzzles and that constant singing in the morning.

     Today would've been her 91st birthday and I considered going to the cemetery on my lunch break, putting down some flowers and standing there sad for a minute.  But I could just about hear her voice - "You've had a cold all week.  You don't need to be standing out here in the wet and cold."   She used to say she didn't want an open casket when she died ("I don't want people standing around saying 'Oh, doesn't she look good?!'  No!  I'll look dead!")   In the same conversation she would tell me "and I don't want people standing around at the cemetery staring at the ground.  That's not me in the ground."   Indeed it's not.  "Sweet" is something that lives on in our hearts, in our memories of her.  And 9 times out of 10 it's the first word I hear folks use when remembering her. "Your mama was so sweet."   "She was so sweet to us."  "She was sweet and she could cook!"  

     And she could make a pretty good cup of coffee.  My bride loves to poke fun at my own coffee addiction.  "I've never seen anybody who could just chug scalding hot coffee like you and  Erfy!"  I take it as a compliment - maybe if I can chug coffee as well as she did someday I'll learn to be as sweet as she was.  Probably not...and there's no chance I can breeze through a crossword as quickly as she did.  And my singing is not something you ever want to hear at any time of the day.  The fact that today's her birthday didn't make me  miss her any more than I already miss her every other day of the year.  And she'd be ok with that, I think.  "Just finish your work, make a pot of coffee and decide what you're gonna cook Rhonda for dinner."  I miss her but I can still hear her...


Monday, January 4, 2016

Penguins in the woods.....

     I just didn't want to get involved with Monday this morning.  A pot of my favorite coffee and I was still sitting and staring,  in spite of the big chunk of adulthood staring me in the face through a laptop and emails.  If you had a "Christmas break" then God bless you.  For a lot of us, Christmas break was Christmas Day and then another week of work then a day off Friday for New Years Day.   Had I scheduled my year a little differently, I would've taken some time off during the holidays but sometimes year-end business doesn't always lend itself to that.  In fact when I turned on my laptop I was bombarded by folks who HAD taken a chunk of time off since the week before Christmas and were now anxious to get things rolling again.  I was just anxious to drink coffee and feel sorry for myself.   And, as for my bride, being an RN rarely lends itself to long breaks of any kind.  At least I'm able to work from home and didn't have to get back into the commute and traffic like she did.

     I poured another cup and turned on CNN.  They interviewed Donald Trump.  I listened to the interview because I'm grown, by God, and listening to folks running for office (especially THAT office) should be on my agenda.  A few minutes in I couldn't decide if I was disgusted or frightened that someone who apparently went to politician fantasy camp (but then made the team!) was THIS close to the Oval Office. 

     STILL not wanting any part of Monday I poured another cup and started flipping channels.  Came upon some cartoon where a tiny British girl was imagining all the things that lived in her imaginary woods.  She decided her woods were full of penguins.  The little girl playing alongside her said "Penguins don't live in the woods!"  The first little girl had a swift and convincing retort with "They do in MY woods."   I couldn't tell you the name of this cartoon but I watched more of it than I did the Trump interview.  A little girl wanted to frolic in woods where penguins lived.  Hell, who wouldn't??   I was jealous of her innocence and imagination.

     Back in my single days - when I lived alone in a crash pad with a 130 pound Labrador Retriever - I had an odd cure for insomnia (because, well, I'm odd.)  Stashed away in my nightstand was the first book I ever read and had  held onto through all the changes and travels.  Anytime I had trouble sleeping  I grabbed my copy of "Charlotte's Web," opened it and started reading on any page.  I knew the story well enough to immediately follow whatever was going on with that girl and her pig.  A visit to childhood usually relaxed me enough to put me to sleep until an alarm clock forced me to, once again, deal with adulthood. 

     I'm not sure if I still have that copy of "Charlotte's Web."   It's probably best - I should learn how to deal with the "daily unadulterated crap" without trying to resurrect childhood innocence.  Still I think there's a reason why we leave this world sometimes curled back into the position in which we entered it (and, during our journey, spend a lot of time looking for our own patch of woods full of penguins.)