Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Good Book

Not a great one, not what you could call “literature,” not even on the best seller list. Just a paperback you picked up at the grocery store. A mystery with a convoluted, interconnected (but you don’t know that yet) plot with a little violence, a hint of sex, some nice suburban middle class families with secrets to hide. Add to that an empty day with nothing on the calendar, some dreary weather, a bit of lethargy, and pot of coffee. You have my Friday. I sat on the couch in my pajamas and read an entire book cover to cover. Between breakfast and supper with two naps thrown in.

I don’t remember the last time I stayed home all day. No place to go. No commitments. No errands. No pressing demands. I did go out to walk the dogs but not until I finished the book.

Today is back to busyness. A dump run, the Library Used Book Sale, lunch with my son, my knitting group at 3:00. A much more usual day. But I am going to stock up on books in case another lazy opportunity arises. Did I mention I am no longer working at the college? That will open up some windows of emptiness. This is my 5th or 6th retirement. I have lost count. Let’s see…since I retired from the State of California and moved to Missouri and then back here, I have had six jobs. During that eight year period, I have only had one year “off” completely with no job to go to. It seems time to try full retirement again.

Have you read any good books lately? Here is my “Book of the Month” list for 2009:
Jan: Kessler, Lauren – Stubborn Twig – Japanese in Oregon WWII era
Feb: Schlink, Bernard – The Reader – German setting post WWII
Mar: Morton, Kate – The House at Riverton – sprawling English country house saga WWI era
Apr: Coben, Harlan – Hold Tight – mystery set in current cyber age

Monday, April 13, 2009


Word came from Kansas City yesterday that a high school classmate has died. I didn’t know him well. He was well-liked, friendly. I went out with him once. And we chatted at the 50th Reunion a few years ago. I don’t remember what he looked like then. I see him still as the handsome young man that he was in the 1950’s. In my mind’s eye he is out on the athletic field at Southwest High in those days of sunshine and youthful exuberance. We were so young and hopeful and anxious for life.

This e-mail is one more in a string of messages as one loss after another occurs. We are all in our 70’s now. Fifty plus years later, we have lived the lives we were so looking forward to then. Careers, homes, families. Our accomplishments accomplished. Dreams realized or given up on. Friends in dusty faded photos all but forgotten.

It is strange that up until now I thought I was getting ready for my real life which was going to start any day now. “Today is the tomorrow you dreamed about yesterday” as the old saying goes. Now I’m looking in the rearview mirror and mourning those whose lives have played out. And pondering my own.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Virtual Dog Walk

Sometimes when I am gripped by nostalgia and victim of homesickness for the Ozarks, I pretend I am walking with my dog, Princess Dark Star, on our old route on Congress Hill. As we tromp around our neighborhood here, in my mind I am walking out the gate of Terrapin Station and turning right headed down to the end of Dewey Street. Past Donna's trailer (you know her as the grass police) and the Teeny Tiny Rock House where Betty lived until her family forced her to move. On to the next corner where Joy and Emily might be in the yard. Their dog, Baby, used to charge toward us until the electric fence stopped her. A little farther on and we might see Jack and Marie taking the air on their little porch. When we get to the end of the street and turn on Warsaw, old Mrs. Faulkner will come out on her porch to inquire after our health. We sneak up on Violet’s place from the back and she won’t catch us until we are on the way home. Zada might be out in her driveway saying hello or goodbye to one of her many family members who drop by to check on her welfare. I hurry up the pace to get past the Sheldon’s and the sad memories of Lelia’s place where many of the plants in my yard originally came from. Then I’m at the Bray’s saying hello to one or another of their kids and/or dogs. Then Julia’s is next. She always said she knew it was time to start dinner when she saw me go by. No sign of life at Cindy’s place. When I get to Gus & Courtney’s I’m at the bottom of the hill. Time to turn around and start the long climb home. As I reach the top and turn right onto Dewey Street for the last lap, Violet comes out and waves. Not long now until the sight of my little home gladdens my heart, and Princess picks up the pace anxious to get back and have her supper. As I come through the gate, I know either fresh brewed coffee or frosty iced tea will be waiting. As soon as I take care of the animals, I’ll be sitting on my couch or out on the porch working my crossword, reading and watching the day fade into evening. For many years, the Dog Walk has been the segue between the active busy day and the more relaxed evening.