Sunday, August 30, 2015

Remembering on Sunday the Ride Home From Summer

Originally posted September 14, 2010

It was on a train back from Coney.

I had been visiting someone half way there and when I got on I could smell the sun and the sea and the sand.

It was a mother and her two daughters and one of the daugher's daughter and that daughter's son. Three generations.

Doing what I had done with my gramma. A day at a beach, bags of wet suits and empty sandwich and cookie containers and just like that little boy, the ride back lulling me to sleep, my head on a warm lap.

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Summer Reruns: The Showdown

Originally posted August 18, 2010

That pigeon knew what it was doing. Sort of like the stare across a school lunchroom when you knew there were a couple of teachers in between you and having to prove it.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Summer Reruns: The Promise

Originally posted July 18, 2013

Everyone rushed to the railing to take a picture of the Lady.  Everybody, not just the tourists.

She was still and forever our promise for a fair, an equal, a just life in a fair, an equal, a just country.

A younger than me but older than young woman, dragging her older than me but younger than ancient mother behind her jockeyed their way closer to the view.  Then, in what sounded like Russian, the daughter told her mother to pose with the Lady and quickly snapped several pictures.

Whatever journey that mother and daughter had traveled to that moment,  they now had, from those quiet camera clicks, proof of the promise. 

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Summer Reruns of Memories:
Home Home Home On The Range

Originally Posted August 2, 2011


At Queensboro Plaza getting the N or the Q because the 7 isn't going into Manhattan on the weekend

The same MTA guy there when I got on the 7 to Main Street three hours earlier, still there on my way back still shouting into the megaphone...

"I'm just delivering the information they can receive it or not" but admitting 9 hours of this well he was just going to have to pray and give it to God when he sang in church the next day...

...and the gaggle of boys, speaking something I thought at first Korean but one gets sassy with me thought I'd be too nervous to tell him yes his hair cut was very attractive...

...and when I tell him I had the same cut in the 1980s including the shade in the back he figures out I was born in the 60's...

"I'm good at math, I'm Asian" they're headed to a party, they're from Tibet, they're arguing about which stop to get off, there will be girls there and they keep asking me which of them I thought was cute ...

...he seems like a good looking kid" and the kid going "I'm 19!" and I go "I'm old enough to be your grandmother, you're a kid"...

...and them all laughing and pushing and fixing their many different hair cuts trying not to look too fussy, I say to the sassy kid "you want to know how to get a girl interested in you? Listen to her" and him nodding but hoping he doesn't have to do much more to get her to kiss him...

...and then after the boys rush out to somewhere in Queens finally on the home stretch a family - the mom, the older sister who looked just like the mom, the fierce little brother, and the middle sister who had asked the screaming MTA guy for directions because her mother didn't speak enough English...

They sit down and I knit another pair of socks and the girl asks me what I'm doing and who I'm giving them for and the older sister takes out their new pet, a beta fish they got at the 99 cent store but it cost $7 they named her Vanessa...

...and that little girl smiles and I tell her about my fishes Esmerelda, Harold and Skuzy and her fierce little brother comes over because he wants to listen and they all get off at 34th waving good-byes and I miss them already...

It's all home as I go home.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Summer Reruns: Love Letters from
the Most Beautiful Harbor in the World

Originally posted August 25, 2011

Until I got on the Ferry I had forgotten how the smells and sounds were as intimate with me as Florence's music.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Summer Reruns of Guest Artist, Dana:
Bus Drivers and Me

Bits and pieces of Dana are slowly beginning to visit other places.   

Yet, she is like a lighthouse.   

Her brilliant light explodes into clarity and words that change the world.  For What Dana Says is worth pulling close and holding tight. 

From a series of Dana's writing, one of my favorite short stories.  


This really happened.

Note to Readers: You gotta know a little bit about the Village, the streets and the buses. If you have any questions, just drop a comment...

"Standing in a downpour on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 14th Street, I boarded a limited bus that would at least take me to a few blocks near my destination. My hope was to end up on Sixth Avenue and Third Street by dismounting at Fifth Avenue and Eighth Street. Not great. But doable.

It was 5 p.m. and I needed to be at the movie theater by 5:20. The driver understood my anxiety and simply said, "Sit Down."

When the bus turned left on Eighth Street to Broadway, I was shocked.

It had actually taken me even farther from my destination.

"Last stop!" he announced to all the passengers.

I started to get up when again he said, "Sit Down."

Then he drove south on Broadway and turned right on Houston and right again on Sixth Avenue heading north.

I expected him to sail right past my movie.  I stood up and again he ordered me to "Sit Down."

I gave up, wondering if maybe he was kidnapping me.

Then to my utter disbelief, he stopped illegally at Third and Sixth. He had taken me to a spot across the street from the movie theater!

"Bless you!" I said.

"Bless YOU! he replied. It was the one time he didn't say "Sit Down."


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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Summer Reruns of Sunday Memories:
April Showers Bring May Flowers

Originally posts October, 2008


It was one of those rare departures from home, the kind only Doc seemed to be able to pull out of me.

Meandering with her through scenery previously only seen on TV, I relished the brief moment I could forget my entire life and just be a girl in a nice pair of jeans. No one really cared what I thought and we all nodded politely, except when that kid pissed me off with his republican shenanigans. (But that's another story.)

However, even travels to far away lands offer familiar moments. A ramshackle house, a long picnic table booming with food, much to drink and smart minds eager to speak. And as people drifted in and out of inlets and kitchens a friend and I found ourselves alone with another guest.

She was a New York sparrow. Looked delicate and cute, but was tough as nails, could survive anything and had.

It wasn't the champagne that loosened tongues and poured story into waiting ears. It was the story few of us got to tell.

Years ago, her mother fell ill. The Sparrow did what we had all done - picked up the reins of care.  The slow and fast osmosis of changing places - from daughter to mother and from mother to daughter - began.

Soon taking a shower at the place the mother lived was no longer an option.  The tub insurmountable, the shower stall too small for her walker.

One day an opportunity arose for the mother to take a shower. The mother and the Sparrow were going to a home where there was a stall big enough to accommodate the mother's walker.

Could the Sparrow give her a shower? the mother asked.

Can you imagine having to ask your child to bathe you?

The Sparrow said of course.  And then realized this shower would require her to be in the stall with her mother. It would be an intimacy never before exchanged between them.

It wasn't that they didn't like or love one another. They very much did. But there wasn't that warmth and physical affection so often seen on Leave it to Beaver. Or Father Knows Best. Or even Star Trek.

So she packed a swim suit so she could get in the shower with her mom.

When the time came, and the water poured and the mother was carefully situated, the Sparrow, snug in her suit stepped into the shower.

There is a moment with a parent where you see a sudden nakedness that goes beyond skin and breasts and tufts of hair in quiet places...  and in that sudden moment our heart our soul our life no longer lives as their child.

That child now lives in a rounded shoulder or paper thin fragile skin a hand full of tremors the eyes tired and resigned to the greater need to be cleaned.  And along with that, a desperation to not be humiliated in the process, a clinging to hope some dignity could still clothe the soul...

... The Sparrow looked at her swimsuit and wondered at the barrier she had placed between this woman her mother and herself.  She wondered what it was about seeing her mother naked and having her mother see her naked at this point in life.  She was 60, her mother near 90.  What was it that had put the suit between them in the first place...

Slipping off her swimsuit, both of them now naked in this shower, she began gently soaping her mom.

And they started to laugh and weep and laugh and weep and laugh until there was no difference between the tears pouring from shower heads and those from brokenhearted eyes.

Plenteous grace with Thee is found, grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound; make and keep me pure within.
-- Charles Wesley

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