Oddments

In search of story


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February 8.19

Yesterday, dear reader, came the fifth sunless day of rain in five days. Also came the haulers in a pickup truck pulling an open wooden cart. They hauled stuff from my garage and then we drove to my storage unit and they hauled stuff from there.

And the rain poured down.

I followed them out of the storage place, and there was no way not to see the detritus of my life, soaked and wilted, riding in front of me. The big cardboard box with the old Christmas tree figured prominently in the heap. Some of the stiff old branches had fallen out and, formed yet in their bent upward curve, lay there appearing to wave goodbye to me. It was the forlornest vignette to be imagined.

That tree belonged to my parents and had seen many, many Christmases. Yes, I still have the top. Yes, it was time to let it go.

But did it have to wave at me?

And the rain poured down.

I came home and attacked the garage, sweeping and shoving and piling. The temperature was 59 and it was suddenly April. We haven’t seen the sun all week, but there was warmth! The daylilies were sprouting!

This morning the temperature is 18, windchill 0. A winter wind rattles the house and my head. Poor daylilies. Poor old frozen Christmas tree.

Mourning is a process not meant to be cured or stopped or unfelt. Grief will be, just as the winter rains will be. I loathe Pollyanna-isms, but there are those sprouting daylilies.

 


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Disconnections: December 25.18

 

Do you remember, dear reader, two Christmases ago when my big beautiful tree fell flat on its face, ornaments and all? And we (my son) had to wrestle it across the room and tie it to the bannister with twine to keep it upright? Here it is again. More or less. Well, definitely less. This is the top part.

As you know, this has been the year of The Downsize. The tree is a little shorter, and so am I. We hold a million memories anyway.

Our tinsel might be tarnished,

our limbs a bit askew

but we wish a merry Christmas

and peaceful heart to you!

 

Maureen

 

 


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Disconnections: December 5.18

Now is the time of projects

inspired by the glow of the season

so I undertake insanities

in full-blown leave of my reason.

The proof of project fever

— I needn’t offer more —

is how much December time

I spend upon the floor.

Virtuous organization

visual oversight

can only be accomplished

by wall-to-wall floor blight.

Consuming and invasive,

tentacled, rapacious,

projects change to crowded

rooms that once seemed spacious.

But all of that aside

there’s yet another bane

the consequence to me:

my joints in chorus complain,

“Deck the halls! Hang holly!

Spike the eggnog cup!

But please to keep this truth in mind:

what goes down must get back up!”

 

 


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Vagaries in Gestation: November 14.18

Did you ever look at a close relative and ask yourself that hideous question “Am I like that?” No other question is so hard to answer, I think.

My mother was born 100 years ago today, and was a child of her time, as are we all. That time was one of clear-cut roles and expectations for women, and it crumbled around her during her life. She was, I think, stymied by the changes but willing to challenge her own perceptions. In a grudging sort of way. She stubbornly argued she was NOT stubborn. She was finicky and explosive and opinionated. She believed that anything worth doing was worth doing her way.

She ironed everything but rugs. And I’m not sure about the rugs. She believed in propriety and process, hard work and common sense. She inevitably bungled a punch line. She endured her own mother, although at great cost, believing it to be the moral way. Immersed in an immigrant Catholicism, she preferred Protestant humanness to Catholic etherealness. She wanted to sing “He walks with me,” not “Panis Angelicus.”

If I could fit her into a blog post, she wouldn’t be my mother.

So I salute my mom today and ask the answerless question: Am I like that?

 

Vagaries in Gestation