Goodbye. So wrote Paul Dean when he left the Arizona Republic for a new job in San Diego and so begin I today. I was greatly impressed with that stand alone word, eloquent in its singularity, majestic and grandiose. As stately as an obelisk, it stood granite firm in its unequivocal declaration of finality. For [...]
A glorious Wednesday it was, sunny bright and calm, acclaimed by a choir of songbirds. After all, it was George Washington’s birthday, worthy of the chirping oratorio. Never before had I heard songbirds so early in the year, celebratory and jubilant in premature welcome of spring. They got it wrong. They were too darned early.
I woke up thinking about the one that got away. Everybody does. I grieve not of a fish, though. My piscatorial IQ leaves something to be desired. I speak of an inspiration, a burst of clarity the came in the night, a mystic comprehension that reconciled and unified all the contradictions of everyday life. There I lay in the glow of ultimate enlightenment! Then it was gone. As fleeting as quantum and as elusive as a quark, it fled into the mists of slumber. Could I remember, I would share it in grandeur, pearlescently ecstatic and exit in a crescendo of bluegill feathers!
Valentine’s Day is upon us and I am unprepared. My cupboard is bare, devoid of a single romantic thought. It wasn’t always so. In the days of my youth, before age imposed disinterest, I went to the dime store to pore over little cards with red hearts and imploring messages of admiration. There was always a pretty girl or two to whom I appealed, though I was invariably rewarded with disappointment. There was always that boy with the chocolate brown eyes, slender of build, with a statuesque mother. I didn’t stand a chance!
A troupe of snowflakes danced lightly on the window sill this morn while the wife shoveled off the sidewalk behind them. I tried not to notice or feel guilty, but not too successfully. Their extended family, a myriad of cold, lacy wafers, had carpeted the walk and driveway simply to give her something to do. Meanwhile, the dancers, Cecelia, Celeste, Celine, Ceria, Cerise, Cicily, Sabrina, Salome, Stacy, Sybil and Sylvia, had come to distract me with graceful pirouettes and seductive high kicks. I am especially fond of high kicks because of the architectural revelations.
Lloyd Windjammer is dead, called to that great licorice mine in the sky! Born Donald H. Jones, he was my childhood neighbor, a quiet, friendly boy inclined to solitude. The Jones family lived at the end of Earle Street, which ended just short of York Street because of the Jones’ back door. It was normally closed and too narrow, as well, for vehicular traffic. Accordingly, Earle Street ended where Ben Jones’ Model T began. He always had at least one, and I remember being kicked off the property for jumping onto the running board of a roadster as he worked on it. Old Ben seemed not to like me, but I’m not writing about him, anyway. Donald commands the story today.
The snow fell silently and softly over two nights, most spectacularly in the game reserve immediately north of Belding. It clung to the shrubbery and trees, an exquisite latticework of branches coaxing the eye into a world of reverie. A study in black and white, it framed a canopy of enchantment, evoking memories of an old fashion magazine that featured elongated, impressionistic drawings of women, as tall as trees and as slender as serpents. Rightly or wrongly I remember it as the old “Madamasoille,” but the current “New Yorker” sports similarly drawn cartoons linked to humor beyond my ken.
My dog was ecstatic because Mutt Romney won the Iowa “carcass.” Being both a dog and a carnivore, it is understandable that he misinterpreted the name and mispronounced the last word. The latter is correctly rendered “crocus,” the flower of victory that Romney tucked into his lapel and carried it to far away New Hampshire. As high as Mount Utah and as buoyant as the Great Salt Lake, he strode into New Confrontation humming “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.” At least, that’s what I’m given to understand.
There is magic and mystery to a predawn winter’s day. I rediscovered that last week, waking up to a full moon as gold and round as a freshly baked soda biscuit. A mantle of fresh snow responded in glistening blue-white. Sparkles of color twinkled skyward, subtly enhanced by the steady glow of crystallized fireflies. They had frozen to death with their lights on.
World War II turned 70 this week, at least our direct involvement did. That’s a lot of Doggie Redbones, 7 or 8, assuming that each lived a full life. Cal Thomas commented, too, but my essay is not based on his. As we once sang in church, “I was here when it happened and I ought to know.” I don’t have to read revisionary history and play “coulda shoulda.” I was there to experience and absorb the mystery, foreboding and anxiety of the day.