What Momma says, goes

“Check this out.  Wait, the cell phone connection’s really bad in here.  I’ll walk to the front of the building and get the rest of her message.

“Okay, here it is.  I had texted Mom to ask her if she has any plans for Thanksgiving.  This is what she said:

‘No, I do not have any plans for Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or the New Year.  You children are grown up and it’s time you acted like it.  My father and I are old and tired and soon we’re going to be gone.  You need to start making the decision about what we’re going to do and what we’re going to eat for the holidays.'”

“There’s only one response for that one.  ‘Yes, Mom.'”

“Yes, Momma.  Yes, Momma.  That is so funny.  That’s just like her.”

“And it’s like you, too.”


“‘I’ve taught you all the dance moves.  You know all the dance moves.  It’s time you need to dance them without me telling you how to dance the moves.'”

“Haha…but it’s true, isn’t it?  That’s me!  If only I didn’t have so much on my plate right now — moving to my new flat, packing the crate for my boyfriend’s return to France, getting ready for St. Louis, DJing…I can’t believe he’s going to be gone next week!  I think I’m going to cry.”

“Can you hold it together?”

“I have to.  I have to work.  My life is my job.  I don’t take a break.”

“We can come over and help you ‘fluff your nest.'”

“No, no.  I’m good.  Now you guys need to practice what I just taught you.  Full weight on one foot, the other leg straight, toes pointed to the floor and just pivot your upper body, keeping your weight on the same foot as your lower body follows around half a turn.  I’m so glad I came tonight.  You guys are like a rock for me.  Thanks!”

“You’re welcome.”

“I’ll see you in St. Louis!”

If you don’t work, no one can say who you work for

Yesterday, while typing a blog entry and deciding whether to post it (the one containing jokes about Boston bombings and social aftermath), a framed copy of a Marconi Wireless stock certificate and tobacco card images of Marconi himself(!) fell onto the carpeted floor of the study, the glass shattering, shards bouncing, potential splinters pointing up in bayonet charge positions.

I am not one who sees signs and signals in my everyday life.

No, I create them in my fiction, instead, knowing how much our sympathy networks naturally tend to use random events as silent/subliminal signals from our companions and readers thus need not suspend their disbelief for long when encountering a character who would see a fallen picture frame and interpret the “pick up sticks” pile of silicon slivers in a symbolic manner.

The I Ching of clear bling, in other words.

Molten sand as messages from the gods.

We like continuity.

We want to believe that something is good or bad for us on an as-needed basis.

And I, dear readers, want to give you what you want.

Snakes in the grass, the devil in hell, drunk drivers and deadly sunburns.

Guardian angels, smart detectives, good Samaritans and healthy sunscreen.

Throw them in the clothes washer, set it on “extra tumble” and show you the results in a story about the universe you think you live in.

In a dream last night, a man wearing worn clothing, a man who looked like he had worked outdoors all of his life, probably on a farm, sat next to my father while our family sat down for dinner.

As I gave the pre-meal prayer, the man started crying.

He turned to my father and said that his family, the Dukes, had been good, law-abiding citizens, the men all members of the Masons, attending and caring for the Masonic Lodge on a regular basis, yet when his father and uncle recently died, no one, especially the Masons, showed up for the funerals.

My father inquired about how the Dukes had let others outside their family know about the deaths.

The man said they didn’t, they expected God to tell the community about their suffering and their needs for love from the community.

My father fell into silence and looked at me.

I had stopped praying, having faltered on a phrase I can not remember.

I started praying again, asking the Almighty to let the man know that the Dukes were asked to suffer during recent funerals so that the man would be at this meal with us at this particular time, so he could the people next door who had come to see the arrival of a newly-adopted baby by my parents’ next-door neighbours.

We turned and looked out the window to see people of all shapes and sizes, nationalities and beliefs crowd onto a carport to gain entry to the house next-door.

The man continued crying.  He just could not see why it had to be his family to suffer in silence.

I woke up in the dream state, my eyes open, seeing the silhouetted trees outside the sunroom where I had fallen asleep on the sofa earlier in the evening, yet also still in the dining room with my family and the man, watching the people next door slowly entering the house in single file.

As the dream continued, I asked myself what I expected from the dream.  What were my dreamlike/subconscious thoughts trying to accomplish, assimilating symbols, strengthening neuronic connections, by having this dream?

I stopped praying.  We let go of each other’s hands.  My father nodded at me and continued to console the crying man, quietly talking to him about the wonderful life that the Dukes had in order to be able to share the luxury of a family-only funeral, a luxury which the community had not been given nor would ever have.

I fully woke up.

I rolled from my side and onto my back, wrapping the heated blanket a little closer around my body.

I rolled back onto my right side, a pile of boxes atop a sofa table blocking light from the neighbour’s driveway lamps.

The dream itself was what it was, a subconscious reminder that the one-year anniversary of my father’s death is approaching, following on the heels of my birthday.

I lay on the sofa, unwilling to get up and write down the dream, wanting to see what my emotional state at that moment felt like.

A little bit of sadness remained.  Yes, I missed my father’s ability to work openly with community leaders to ferret out the misfits and reorient them toward positive community service before they became law-breaking criminals.

I also knew that Dad could not help everyone, despite his best efforts, because some people’s personalities are well-formed and cocooned from outside influence due to their upbringing, their beliefs as strongly set in black-and-white/good-and-evil stone as my father’s.

As my father knew, I had developed a personality different than his.

Perhaps because Nixon was my favorite U.S. President, a man known as Tricky Dicky, who, like me, used the available material to accomplish his goals, regardless of the material’s origin.

“Judge not lest you be judged” can also mean the same thing.

It’s not my place to condemn someone to hell.  I want to use everyone for my one-and-only purpose — establish viable colonies of Earth-based lifeforms off this planet.

Meanwhile, the rest of us live and die for my entertainment, providing fodder for stories that you interpret as meaningful messages about life itself.

I am my own reader as well as a writer.

I write for myself first, planting clues in this and previous blog entries about what I want to write later.

Unlike the man in my dream, my wife and I would be happy if no one showed up at my funeral.  We are private people who enjoy meeting others when we eat out, go to dance lessons, etc., but are just as happy to sit at home by ourselves with our own hobbies to occupy us.

Are we any different than you, dear reader?

My brother in-law’s mother’s needlepoint artwork

A few weeks ago, my brother in-law’s family graciously treated us to a Christmas morning country breakfast.

I probably gained several pounds that day but the weight was well worth the joy of eating the delicious meal.

While we ate, my brother in-law’s mother showed us some of the needlepoint artwork she had completed.

I’ve been racking my brain trying to remember the art style she used.  It was an Oriental word — possibly Japanese…

In any case, my Internet search came up blank so far…

I wish I had photographed the needlepoint pictures on Christmas morning — they were analog (as opposed to computerised/digital) three-dimensional images that fascinate my imagination.

Books of my father

While we continue to celebrate the holidays with my new friends and family, enjoying this morning’s early breakfast hospitality of my brother in-law’s folks and, later, dinner with mine, my sister and I reconcile our differences, strengthening old sibling bonds that run deeper than temporary political hot topics.

My mother, in the meantime, reconnects me with the early adult education of my father, exemplified by the following scanned book/calendar/flashcard titles:

Books-of-my-father 1956-Germany-calendar Books-of-my-father-2 Books-of-my-father-3

My brother in-law and I look through my father’s small collection of tools, from handmade ballpein hammers used in my great-grandfather’s metalsmithing days to brand-new circular blades still in their plastic packaging.

Let us remember the usefulness of what we have and worry less about what we don’t have.

Can Shifting Winds Turn Big Boats in Midstream?

More stories for afternoon contemplation on a cloudy Monday in which strains of “In the Bleak Midwinter” plays…

BONUS: Teaching kindergartners to pay attention pays off