27 February 2015
This year my grandson turns eighteen, my granddaughters turn
sixteen, and today I turn sixty-five. At the corner pizzeria a
lunch of kale soup and cabernet; I won’t mention the fried
banana rings. This evening Cheryl and I gorge on
Nebraska—twice now—understated, masterfully
paced, cast, and acted. A quarter century ago I hadn’t the
wit to conceive of gifts like these, let alone of living long
enough to receive them.
26 December 2014
Gram and I, our grandchildren, and their mother lunch on Christmas
leftovers followed by Godiva chocolates. We open one final round
of gifts. Gram and grandson go for a walk. Mom takes one girl to
practice driving in a deserted parking lot. Her twin sister dozes
on the couch while I polish off food scraps and coffee. The boy
dresses for work; I knot his tie. Temporal. Quotidian. Mundane.
Moments that bring me joy.
14 December 2014
I memorize maps, and can freely indulge getting lost only when
I’m not responsible for anyone else. I feel in my bones why
my granddaughters are worrying about getting off the train at the
right stop on their first solo trip to Boston. I badly want to
escort them, but I know it’s purely selfish. They must do it
by themselves; I hope and fear they will. I don’t even trust
myself to go to the station to see them off.
25 November 2014
Warm November rain. Slow drive into Boston with “The
Professor and the Madman” on tape. The doctor’s news
isn’t dire. Handsome addition to my hydrant collection. Aged
uncle is in fine fettle. Dinner with friends, a full evening of
conversation accompanied by a surprising New York cabernet. A
winter moth flurry and my first sight of Orion and the Pleiades in
a dog’s age: no cataracts. Screw “It’s a good
day to die.”
17 November 2014
If I forgo wanting to be out in five minutes, the market never
fails to amuse. I queue in the express lane, which instantly
broadcasts a call for customer assistance. The register girl and
her customer sound like they've been hitting the helium. Funny.
Young mother lopes in from the rain, twisting her feet at each
step so her sneakers squeak, smiling over her shoulder at her
tag-along toddler. They laugh. I do too.
05 November 2014
No longer veiled, the woods have shed modesty and their gaudy
leaves in a Halloween nor'easter, exposed trunks and limbs glassy
black in the cold rain: dendritic dishabille. Freed from
paralyzing cold by an unseasonable shirtsleeves day, the last
katydid stridulates in a slow-motion croak. Then chaste oaks'
muted brown lingerie; an occasional snow flurry. And a few
dandelions hug the ground, promising another year.
26 September 2014
The city concrete curates an unremitting din: traffic,
helicopters, horns, sirens, waspish mopeds, perpetual overload, no
escape. At the plaza I strain yet fail to hear a sibilant bicycle
tire and clicks of the ratcheting freewheel—drowned out. On
the other hand, the canyons channel a changing wind. I absorb
olfactory calories from pizza, tandoori, and Zagat-rated Thai one
minute, ocean salt and low tide the next.
Waiting for Uncle Edward
02 July 2014
I’m tracking Ed on the Internet: left San Diego, arrived
Providence, arrived Attleboro. USPS Priority Mail Express 1-Day,
airfare $92.85, insured for $100. Last time home, he carried
loosely wrapped tiramisu wedged between the shirts in his
carry-on. This time, he won’t be bringing dessert.
I’ll be here to sign for his ashes.