Some of you will remember my daughter Quetzal, how I once wrote often of her and me and us and our father/daughter times together. That was then. This is now. Quetzal is 13, taller than you would think, and bursting with a primal life-force. That and sleepovers. Which is to say we do sleepovers at our house in a big way. Six/eight girls at a time in the loft overnight and bellied up to the table in the morning. With me doing breakfast (my wife sleeping). I set the table w/ cloth napkins and silverware and serve up eggs and ham and toast and OJ and home fries and fruit. Got tunes going to my liking. The second a girl finishes her plate, I pull it, wash it, dry it. Put it on the shelf. Done.
He was once a waiter, they whisper. If they only knew…
There’s a sleepover happening in our home right now, this very second!
6 girls. They’re outside just now wading in the creek. It’s 43 degrees. One girl is wearing my new boots, they’re all screaming, and another girl has another girl by the leg. Our poor, one-legged duck is stumbling in flight away as best she can.
That one-legged duck lays an egg every morning.
I’ll be driving all six girls to the school dance tonight at 7 sharp. And fetching them home at 9 sharp.
I asked Quetzal once if anyone danced. No, she said. They just play music. Who plays the music, I asked. The 8th grade boys, she said.
Once when I picked Quetzal up at 9, the boys were playing Zeppelin. Do you like Zeppelin, I asked. Not really, she said.
Of course the girls talk into the night and whisper and sometime wrestle. That always surprises me. But it’s always just a second or so.
My wife and I sleep on sleepover nights at the opposite side of the house. We keep Bach on low and all’s good. Can’t hear them.
Today, Sunday, and maybe not so different then last week’s Sunday and the one before and before. Same air, same house, same mountain water edging the roadside down. The corn shocks I stood up in October still stand in the field, and without doubt the turkeys, 15 of them, will shadow the farm’s west side at approximately 10:30 on their daily pass-by going I don’t know where. The habits of life. The pieces of living. The mundanity, the beauty. The absurdity, the transcendence. Continue reading
Today is my wife’s birthday. She is 53. We met in Virginia when she was 18 and I was 24. One day I asked my roommate’s girlfriend if she knew any beautiful women. “I do,” she said. “My roommate.” And she giggled and walked away.
The next day after classes, I climbed the stairs to my apartment, messed around in the kitchen, and then stepped into the living room. And there on the sofa was a woman: shy, thin, smiling, beautiful. Her name was Serita.
I don’t remember what we first said. But I do remember that I immediately sat down on a chair opposite her, and that we talked and laughed, and that talking and laughing (and looking at her) was kind of otherworldly.
A day or so later I saw her on campus and we talked again, and that evening we went walking on the hill behind the college dorms. We walked up and back, then sat on a bench, and then I walked her to her dorm room.
Serita and I have been married for 35 years.
(If you scroll down, you will come to a post titled “Wherein My Wife Takes a Turn.” It’s a video. Serita shows up in the third feature.)
Sometimes in good weather after I’ve delivered Quetzal to school, I take the long way home. And often on these drives I pass an elderly man out for his morning walk. He’s close to ninety years, I’d say, bent and a bit shaky, but alert and still active.
This morning when I passed the man, he was standing in the grass just down the hill from his house. Continue reading
Always on a rainy, late Saturday night you can find a photo that surprises. You may have to look over 6,000 to find but one, but still…
A photo by Lorenzo Mittiga. Dona Thud. Dona lives on Bonaire, an island off the coast of Venezuela. At last count she was somewhere into her 90’s.
(Consider clicking on the photo to better appreciate it.)
The white shift, the white hair, the advanced age, and yet the palpable sense Continue reading