Five-minute Friday: Grateful

Well, this is a cop-out on the day after Thanksgiving, I have to say.  (No disrespect to The Gypsy Mama – after all, she started this bidness, she can run it how she wants – but haven’t we all been talking about gratitude for the past month?)

Grateful Dead.  Deadheads.  Can think of a few.  Good people.

Grateful that the explanations in my head rarely turn out to be accurate, and the actual explanations tend to be far more benign than anticipated.  The world is really not out to get me.  I have not (generally) embarrassed myself or my loved ones beyond redemption.  The sun’ll come out, tomorrow.

Grateful for the usual things: roof over my head, food in my belly, cat on my lap, people in my life. Grateful for dental floss, even though I don’t use it as often as I should.  Grateful that I had AWESOME parents and still have AWESOME parents.  Grateful that my kids are turning out to be awesome, in spite of me.


Five-minute Friday: Grow

Doing it at tea with friends: stop, drop and write for five minutes.  GO.

Grow.  Grow.  Grow.

Grow, you tomatoes. Grow better and riper and redder than any that have ever appeared in this neighborhood ever before, and garner for me the admiration and awe of all.

Grow, you basil.  Fill up my window with fragrant leaves that I can break off and tear up over the sliced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella from the farmers’ market and douse with balsamic vinegar and eat with utmost satisfaction.

Grow, you jade plant.  Make those plump, round leaves a symbol of abundance to send them abundant vibes throughout this tacky little condo.

Grow, you peace lilies.  Remind me of the increasing peace I’m experiencing as I gain my balance.

Grow, me, the most stubborn of all.  GROW.


Ba-dum bum

It was the end of a long day.  Charles was due home shortly; the house was clean and dinner was in the oven.  Darcy sat on the sofa, sipping a glass of chablis and enjoying the song that had just come on the radio.

Cherise glanced up from her book, noticing her mother’s foot-tapping.  “Mother, you have absolutely no rhythm,” she said.

Darcy didn’t miss a beat.  “If I did, you wouldn’t have been born,” she shot back.

That shut Cherise up.


Nothing in the house seemed to be of much value to anyone outside the family.  There was a model airplane in Hubert’s room that the boys all seemed to want.  A rubber alligator hung in the door frame of the middle bedroom, suspended by rubber bands.  Cherise realized both that she had never been conscious of it and it had been there for her entire life.  She asked her mother why it was there.

“Oh, I think Esther brought that home after a trip to Louisiana,” Darcy answered, as though that were an explanation all by itself.  Cherise hoped no one would move it.

They found a godawful metal Christmas tree in the middle bedroom closet.  It consisted of a central post about six feet tall, from which silver glittery poles radiated in sets of four, decreasing in length each level up, with each set being about a foot apart.  It had a little light machine you could set up next to it, and a motor to make it turn around slowly as the lights shown on it: red, blue, green, yellow.  Cherise was enchanted.  Her parents laughed, but that Christmas, when she arrived at their house, they had set it up as a surprise, with blue ornaments bravely attempting to fill the gaps between the make-believe branches.  After presents and dinner, they all sat around with full bellies and fuller hearts and listened to the tree creak.  Charles, who liked a real tree, told his daughter, “I told your mother we would set it up ONCE.”  On New Year’s Day, Darcy took the tree down, packed it up carefully and brought it back to the house.

Charles Junior had his eye on the Hoosier cabinet in the kitchen, the one Opal had made biscuits at every day of her married life.  He had a fancy 1920s  house he had decorated to period with a big kitchen in it.  Trouble was, that Hoosier cabinet was from the 1940s.

“The cabinet stays with the house,” Cherise said stubbornly.  She wanted to live in the house, she was the only one who wanted to live in the house, and she was convinced that if she wanted it badly enough, one day she would live in the house.  Walter would help her fix it up, she was sure of it.  Charles Junior didn’t respond.

Sally came to visit the house.  She and Darcy hadn’t been on good terms for years.  Cherise was sorry about that, as when she was a child, Sally had been her favorite aunt.  She wondered whether it had anything to do with the time when she was four years old, when Sally called Darcy to see if Cherise would be her flower girl, and Darcy asked Cherise, but she was in the bathtub and mad about it so she shouted, “NO!” and that was that.  Later she had wished she’d said yes and been able to ride in an airplane and wear a pretty dress and sprinkle petals before her beautiful aunt, but it was too late.  Surely Sally wouldn’t have held that against her mama for all these years, but you never know.  At any rate, Sally didn’t stop by to see Darcy, but she did visit Johnny and his family.  A few weeks after she’d gone back home, Cherise and Walter went to visit Johnny.

“Sally came down,” he told them.  Cherise nodded.

“She took that cabinet, what you call it?  Out of the kitchen.  She took that home with her,” he continued.  “Glen said her name was on the back; I never saw it, but he said it was.”

As Walter drove them home in the dark, Cherise texted Charles Junior:  “Sally took the Hoosier cabinet.”

“Bitch,” he texted back.

“Johnny said her name was on the back.  I wonder if Grandma wrote it there before or after Sally stopped speaking to her,” she replied.

“BITCH!” he texted back.  Cherise told Walter, and he grinned.

The next weekend, Cherise went back to visit her parents.  She and Darcy went to the house.  The ironing board was set up in the dining room, and fabric was strewn everywhere.  Someone had been sewing.  Darcy took a quick tour through the house.  She came out of the middle bedroom with a strange look on her face.

“That silver Christmas tree?  It’s gone,” she said.  She didn’t mention Sally; she didn’t have to.

“Bitch,” said Cherise.


Cherise and Walter went back to Darcy and Charles’ house for Thanksgiving.  In the middle of all of the ruckus of cousins and uncles and in-laws and outlaws, Darcy drew Cherise aside.  “I have to tell you something,” she said quietly.  “That Christmas tree?  I think I found it.”  Her eyes were twinkling.

Cherise had only a moment to wonder.

“I think it’s in my attic,” Darcy confessed.  The two women burst out laughing.  Darcy could have that tree if she wanted it, Cherise thought.  She’d earned the damned thing.

Later, over dinner, Glenn’s daughter Ashleigh announced out of the blue, “I would live in Grandma’s house.”  The room became very quiet.  “I would live in Grandma’s house as is,” she stressed.

Well, that’s it, Cherise thought.  She’s Glenn’s daughter, it’s Glenn’s house, of course he’s going to let her have it.  But no one said anything.

“I would live in Grandma’s house as is,” Ashleigh repeated, but she didn’t sound quite as confident.

Cherise decided to quash the idea before it took hold.  “I’ve been saying the same thing for a while, Ashleigh,” she called from across the room.  “No one will listen to me, either.”  She noted her cousin’s crestfallen look and suppressed a smile.  Dibs, she thought.  I got dibs.

Five-Minute Friday: Unexpected

So, I haven’t written anything ANYTHING anything at all except, like, notes on stuff I have to do since last Friday, and in part that is because I got in big trouble for something I wrote last Friday.  Which has been amended/deleted/tidied up/made even more vague and less likely to be interpreted as even worse than it was, so don’t go looking for it to try to figure out what was up.  But that makes it particularly striking that this week’s word is Unexpected.


It was unexpected that I would get a reaction of such intensity.  It was unexpected that words unedited from my heart/subconscious mind/train of thought would bite me in the ass.  Wow, that’s rather naive, if I do say so myself.  Well, there ya go.

It was unexpected that I, the Good and Quiet Girl, would have a fairly/mildly/somewhat/shockingly scandalous early adulthood.  It was unexpected that I would one day wake up and Know it was time to have a child.  It was unexpected that I would love her – and then 2 years and 9 months later, him – so intensely.  So much that I would have killed for them, died for them if I had to.  Unexpected that I still feel that way.

Unexpected that I would be where I am now.  Does everyone feel that way?  Somewhere, is there someone living a life that is exactly as they planned/intended/foresaw from the get-go?  Right here, right now, sitting in the warmth of sun streaming in the window of a dear friend’s living room is delicious.  Unexpectedly so.

Living in the moment and feeling the blessings of every second is a habit I am cultivating.  Thought I already had, but it hit me today, 11/11/11, particularly right around 11:11 a.m.

But then, I expected that.

Five-Minute Friday: Remember

Remembering can be wonderful.

I’ve been wallowing in memories of my childhood … romanticizing it all, finding humor in things that weren’t really funny if you think about them for any length of time.  It’s been healing/purging/enlightening.

Sometimes it’s been damned terrifying.  Regret is not an emotion I particularly enjoy.  Rage at people who SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER, for God’s sakes, is something I am not sure where to put.  Wondering about the “what-ifs” doesn’t really do a whole lot of good, except maybe in helping me find material/plot twists/characters for my Great American Novel.

Remembering Mama tapping her foot to music, completely off-beat, and telling her she had absolutely no rhythm, then being shocked and hit upside the head with the hilarity of her response: “If I did, you wouldn’t have been born.”

Remembering the night at the end of the last family vacation in my married life.

Remembering my uncle taking me for rides in the pony cart.