Oddments

In search of story


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Disconnections: September 10.18

Emmy wanted you to see

what a little girl she used to be,

how she would get all ice-cream-coned

before her skills were practice-honed.

Now that she’s a big girl of three,

she cones a lot more tidily,

avows, it should be here appended,

the ice cream facial is recommended.

 

 

My thanks to the unknown photographer

and to the photogenic Emmy.

 

 

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September 3.18

 

A kid with a cone

in raspberry shoes

teaches a lesson

we can all use:

know your priorities

focus, be serious

(a chinload of ice cream

is not deleterious);

practice makes perfect

as life goes along —

if you’re not getting sticky,

you’re doing something wrong.

 

I don’t know who took this picture, but I know that’s Emmy braving the hard work

of learning how to eat an ice cream cone. Sometimes work is indeed its own reward.

Happy Labor Day, dear reader!

 

 


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Disconnections: July 24.18

Some of us know it

from school days gone by

the rarified glow

of a holycard sky.

Angels and saints

no laggards allowed

canopied ever

by holycard cloud

its edges alive

with a peachy-gold hue

it had to be thus —

plain white wouldn’t do.

It all seemed marshmallowy

pretend, and ideal,

but I see it right now

undeniably real.

 

A word about holycards: they were tokens of acknowledgement given out in Catholic schools ever so long ago. They all depicted role models. Kind of like baseball cards but more flowy. And with lilies. In that time a coveted laurel.

 

 


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Disconnections: June 16.18

Was there a merry-go-round in your childhood, dear reader? Ours were wooden with raised metal handles that marked the whole into wedges like a cut pie. Those handles were the thing. You glommed onto one and ran, full throttle, in circles, making the merry-go-round go faster and faster until — at the exact right moment — you could catapult yourself onto it. Timing was everything. It was an art.

Fast forward to something called The Roundabout. It’s been de rigueur in these parts to build The Roundabout everywhere there is a clogged intersection. So now, instead of driving in straight lines controlled by traffic lights, we drive in circles controlled only by the sense of timing (and patience) in other drivers. Even for those of us who have jumped on many a merry-go-round, The Roundabouts can be daunting.

So one doesn’t enter The Roundabout without every sense on the alert, and yet I didn’t see him coming. There was a terrible sound, an awful jolt, and for a brief second my car seemed airborne. I got broadsided by someone trying to jump on the merry-go-round. Thank goodness there was no one in the passenger side.

That was Wednesday, and I am still taking inventory of my person. The doctor says I’ll feel worse before I feel better. Meanwhile, I reflect on that fine art of jumping on. Were we really meant to be jumping on in cars?


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Disconnections: June 6.18

Summer afflicts me with memories.

Like family vacation. A surfeit of togetherness. Dad’s mother, our beloved Grandma O’Hern, sat between my brother and me in the back seat. Poor Grandma. My brother loved confinement as much as I did and we were not anyone’s first choice of traveling companions.

Our expeditions almost always started with a new comic book, a thing of beauty and a joy for…well…five minutes. After that the only thing it was good for was rolling into a tube and clobbering someone. (But that was only because he clobbered me first.)

There were, of course, no such things as seat belts. We could kneel in the back seat and look out the back window, trying to see if where we’d been were any more interesting than where we were. Nope.

Rolling the windows down (aka air conditioning) had nothing to do with pushing a button and everything to do with grabbing a knob and turning for dear life. Reverse to roll back up. A life skill we’d already acquired. Boring.

The view from the back seat had greatly to do with the back of my mom’s head and the back of my dad’s head. And sameness out the windows. Devoutly did we pray for Burma Shave signs, when there would be respite from sameness. At the end we’d all shout out “Burma Shave!” and then I’d lapse back into a comatose state of childhood on hold.

There were “guessing games,” of course. And singing. And coloring books. For some reason, though, my parents got touchy about melted crayons under the seat. Was it our fault the summer sun was hot?

The years distort, I know, but I’m fairly sure that’s my dad’s voice asking “Are we there yet?”