In search of story


The old lady who danced a jig

By way of experiment, the old lady tried to insert photos into her blog again — and she did it! “Media upload” worked! The old lady was ecstatic and danced a jig around the room. This is also known as the rheumatiz gavotte and is risky because the old lady was a dance-school drop-out once upon a distant time. But the sheer joy of the moment caused her to rise above the confines of age and sense. And she is sure that the wall she tried to claim as partner can be easily patched.

She hereby thanks the WordPress Happiness Engineers for working their magic. She knows that she is hanging on to the blog world by the merest thread and so it is with profound gratitude that she finds that thread strengthened.

Her readers will also be glad to hear that the old lady has a new printer and that she has gone so far as to read the directions that came with it. She has flawlessly executed the first directive: remove the tape. Nothing exploded and so it was time for another jig.

The old lady needs a nap.

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Change of life

paper petals
ochre dust
yesterday’s tokens
faded troth
but troth still:
change is not
promise broken


stems crack
leaves crumble
into tingly wind —
Puritan greys
one Hester scarlet
swirled into whispered whistle
a sly din
restive air
crowded with dry voices

softly pliant
summer bloom
into leaf crackle
twig snap
hollow wind moan


scuttling city
underfoot —
tree’d —
wait for me

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Old friends

Ann and I go way back.

We met in kindergarten. That was 1948. We went on to grade school together. Same high school, same college, same sorority. We rode our bikes in the summers, grade school through college, long after our peers took to cars. We banged out duets on each other’s pianos. My mother tripped over her at our house and her mother tripped over me at their house. Sometimes it was a toss-up as to which house was whose.

We never ran out of talk. That is still true: we email all the time, and with telepathic understanding. When she writes “dum-dee-dum-dum,” I hear the Dragnet theme. “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park” needs no exegesis, Officer Krupke no footnote, tarantulas in bananas no clarification. When I write “Back to you, Chet,” she calls me David. If I mention frocks and chums, she will write of Ned Nickerson, and, when she grouses about how people don’t know nominative case from old underwear, I commiserate and we both blame Sister Mary Clare, our sixth-grade teacher, whose obsession with nominative case makes us both crazed today when we hear “between you and I.”

In college, people exclaimed at how much we looked alike. Nope. We never looked anything alike, which was my loss, but we’d rubbed off on each other. We didn’t look alike; we WERE alike.

We are grandmas now and will be 72 soon. We met when we were five. So that means we’ve been friends for…ummm…did I mention she tutored me through math?

Recently she emailed that it seemed like yesterday when she went apoplectic laughing at my high school freshman picture. How sweetly sentimental she can be.

From Nancy Drew to the Internet. Girls to grandmas. Old friends.

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The bridge

Those of you who have memorized my blog know that we are going into my preferred half of the year. I love pulling in and closing off. I am by nature a plodder and these coming months of inner dwelling are therapeutic; plodders like me need the down time to recover from the frenetics of summer. So I savor the time on this bridge to winter.

Except for the melancholy in the garden. Cutting back, digging up, harvesting. Divesting my world of color. Snapping the brittle that once was soft-greened. Thumbing through shriveled petals for seeds like little black tears. Rattling the maraca pods. Fluffing the dried leaves, pillow-like. Tucking in for the long winter’s nap. SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAThe gardener’s autumn has its grey reveries.

But it also has its lively side. And that would be in the kitchen.

All miscellaneous pitchers, glasses, and vases are called to duty, giving the cut-backs a last moment of glory, a blazing curtain call amid lumps of towels and other kitchen flotsam.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA A transient rose window fashioned by a mystic guild, it transforms this everyday workspace with its vibrant farewell.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

The drying center cannot boast of such color except in promise. Brown, grey, and black belie the palette within. Rudbeckia, nasturtium, and zinnia seeds rest in old china, a tea box, and two mid-century Girl Scout projects. Begonia tubers rest in lunch bags. Herbs and granddaughter’s potholders in artistic suspension over all. Baking supplies fight for space, reminders of breads and cookies interrupted.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

I bundle lavender and thyme, floating on their breath, in the midst of this eloquent mess, the seeds speaking of what will be, the cut flowers of what has been. With all gardeners, I marvel.