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Showing posts from February, 2007

Chain Reaction~

Sometimes events, after going their unrelated ways for years, collide, creating a climax that no one could have foreseen.

Five years ago a couple divorced, and a thirteen year-old boy transferred to one high school from another. He entered the new school after completing his freshman year at the old one.

The guidance counselor in the new school enrolled the boy as a freshman again. I don't know why. The boy didn't say, "Hey! I finished my freshman year. I should be a sophomore?" I don't know why.

Four years passed. The boy was now a senior, and played on his high school basketball team, my son's team. They fought hard for their victories, and when they lost, it was close, a sweaty push-and-shove game decided at the buzzer.

Toward the end of the season, the boy was dropped from the team. He'd failed classes, had unexcused absences, and he had never turned in a doctor's form. He broke rules. The coach enforced them. He couldn't play the last six games…

Breaking the rules~

The bright sun and blue sky beckoned me to the beach. Despite temperatures only in the twenties, I grabbed my camera, hopped in my truck, and headed east.

Between looking for good pictures, I wanted to find a certain kind of beach stone that I'd taken a liking to. I'd brought home a small pile last spring after walking the beach with some friends.

I'd picked up a smooth pink stone banded round its center with a stripe of white quartz. "I love this," I'd said, and during our walk my friends stuffed striped stones in my pockets.

I'd returned home to a husband who didn't share my excitement.

"Look at these!" I said.

"Rocks with stripes." It was a flat statement.

"But don't you think they're kind of cool? This is going to be my next collection. Look at this one." I like emotion in my conversations. Bruce gives "just the facts, M' am."

"Are we going to have these all over the house now?" he asks in …

Off and on~

Bruce and I went out to eat at a nice little restaurant. Freida's. It's been around for years, well recommended, a family owned place. Not upscale, but nothing I'd be ashamed to take my city friends to. There are entrees with weird, sophisticated names, fried ravioli as a choice of pasta, spinach, garlic and feta cheese as ingredients, gourmet desserts, a long list of after dinner coffees laced with choices from the bar. . . . and two TVs over the bar, but it's middle class place not trying to be uppity.

At our dimly lit table, I pulled out my glasses to peruse the menu. The waitress saw me squint. "Oh, honey, do you need more light?"

"This is fine," I said. But she took my menu and swatted the light fixture on the wall with it. The light came on. Brightly.

She left, and we exchanged raised eyebrow looks with the women at the next table. "I wonder if she hits her husband to turn him on," said Bruce. We laughed.

The light blinked slightly. I…

What were you doing?

What were you doing at 10:15 a.m. on February 22?

Here's what I did. I'd dropped my truck off for an oil change slightly before 10:00, and walked to the Better Bean coffee shop in center of town, lugging my laptop in a briefcase slung over my shoulder. By 10:15, I had my vanilla latte and toasted raisin bagel spread with cream cheese, my laptop was booted up, and I was settling in to finish writing a story for the paper.

At the same time, I later learned, a neighbor of mine was in the middle of a conference call from her home. She couldn't hear over the barking of her dog, so she shut herself in a bedroom to muffle the noise. She looked out the window overlooking her porch, then said to those on the other end, "I'll have to call you back, My house is on fire. Can you take over, Matt?"

Two women who live within a half mile of each other: One spent a comfortable hour and a half in a coffee shop. The other spent that same hour and a half watching her house burn. …

Fondling my muse~

The only fondling I do these days, if you don't count the cat, is in my fantasies. Nice as that is, I'm lucky that my muse fondles me. Sometimes he gently wakes me in the night, with a thought or a fading dream, but usually he awakens me early in the morning with a muselike kiss, an idea which is too good to risk losing by falling back to sleep.

I always listen to him. If I'm too tired, or if I've neglected to leave a notebook and pen beside the bed, I repeat the thought to myself until I fall back to sleep. This is no guarantee I will remember it when I'm ready to get up. Sometimes I drag myself out of bed to my desk, and scratch out the words in the dark, hoping I'm on a blank page; sometimes in the light of day, I see I've written over another entry.

Because I've come to expect my muse to visit, and I've come to trust him, I have notebooks full of his nudges-- observations, images, questions, leads to a story I'm working on-- just waiting fo…

The trials of a cable TV diva~

Being friendly and somewhat chatty, having opinions and a willingness to express them--tactfully, for the most part-- and showing a propensity for asking significant questions, I was "discovered" by local cable TV. Or rather, discovered by the producer of a weekly cable broadcast.

With no claim to fame, other than keeping up with town politics because I write for the local paper, I got a call from the producer, Greg, after we'd met at a cookout. Would I be willing, he asked, to appear on "Around the Table," a forum for "civil discourse" on issues that affect our town?

Always one to push beyond my comfort zone, I agreed. Never having seen the program, I assumed that I might have an audience of ten, and what was the worst that could happen? I'd appear once, and quietly disappear, never to be seen on cable TV again. Not too scary, since 99.9 percent of the town would not have seen me in the first place.

My debut was painless. I forgot the camera whi…

Snow and Roses~

The meteorologists are in their glory. For the first time in this long Massachusetts' winter, there is a storm flexing its muscle on their radar screens. And to top it off, it is poised to hit on Valentine's Day. How poignant. Florists are jumping into the frenzy, offering floral deliveries early. Snow should never deprive someone's sweetheart of her roses, nor the florist of his seasonal cash.

I'm trying to keep my own excitement in check. I'd love a day off, a no school day! The kind of day to bring a cup of tea and the morning paper back to bed, while the wild winds howl. The kind of day to skip the gym, and get exercise shoveling the driveway, and bringing in wood for the wood stove. The kind of day to bake brownies, and get to lick the bowl because the one kid still at home is not interested any more. And if he were, he'd give it to me anyway. He's that kind of a son. Never mind that it will be winter vacation in four days. I prefer serendipity.

I try …

Anna and the hairspray~

Two days ago I had the privilege of interviewing a woman for a profile piece in the local paper. Anna. She's a hairdresser in a small two-chair shop she owns.

Born in Italy, she's retained a strong accent despite thirty years in the US. That day, while I waited for my turn, she cut the hair of an Italian man. She lapsed in and out of her native tongue so quickly that her words blended in a mixture I found hard to decipher. When finished, she powdered his neck and brushed off the stray hairs and then dispensed the hug she gives her male clients. They've come to expect it.

Then it was my turn for the chair. I watched her in the mirror, keeping track of what her newly hired hairdresser was doing. She watched, chatted, and answered the phone while she wielded her scissors to cut my hair expertly, if not a bit shorter than I wanted.

I returned later in the day, when her appointments were done, with a coffee for each of us. We sat on a leather couch in a small alcove off the sho…

Only the beginning~

I'm not sure I should do this. Publish a blog, I mean.

It always struck me as hopelessly exibitionist. But no one knows of my existence here, except for my muse, I hope. So I'll enter the land of the blogger slowly until I'm ready to open to the world.