Sunday, August 29, 2010

California Dreaming

I turned on the car radio this afternoon  and there were the Mamas and the Papas!  I instantaneously beamed  back to 1965 and Cousin Brucey, and my green and yellow bedroom, and to tearing  orange juice can rollers out of my hair with relief, and crowding into the bathroom mirror to see how my sister, Margie, applied her eyeliner, (one sliver-thin black line piggy backed by an identical white one) and I felt the rush of insecurities and wonder at this new world that we had landed in the year before  when we moved to suburbia New York from India. I think the most useful transitional tool for this move was my little gray transistor radio. Margie’s was brown. We slept in the same room but when the morning “Time to get up girls” sounded from downstairs, we each turned our radios on and zoomed about the upstairs. Those songs, that music, was this new world. If we could know these and feel them we would belong.

I wonder if I ever really listened to the words of “California Dreaming”. I couldn’t fathom California then. Now, forty-five years later, it is my home and though I spent my first five years here “Manhattan Dreaming” , I am fully here now.  The title makes me laugh out loud. The nostalgic innocence that those words illicit and the truth of this moment.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

August 21

An empty bed with a single red rose on the pillow where your adorable world weary golden head had lain only a few hours before.

Margaret,  your name means ‘pearl’. “”Meditate on ‘I am a pearl’” I said and you said “Boy, you’re good”. I held your body while you braced for a thousand jabs when your veins had collapsed from too much chemo.  I held your head when tears ran down your face because John wasn’t comfortable with hospitals. Your triathalon muscles continued to fight the fight when your inner organs began to shut down. After an entire lifetime of shared intimacies and friends and homes and triumphs and frustrations and competitions and  learning to dance and be free, and you, my younger sister by twenty months, how can I not feel that you are central to my life?

We waited for hours on the deck of the Alaskan cruise ship, you huddled in a blanket in your wheelchair and I pacing and blowing on my hands to keep warm. We waited for your whales to leap  and show themselves. You looked beyond to the hills and said “I should be out there climbing those ridges, not stuck here. Who am I?”

And then the moment came. After two years of “I will not say ‘good-bye’ to my boys! I won’t! They’re too young! I want to know them. I want to see them grow. I want to know them as men. I want them to know me. I will not say good-bye!” You turned to me on the last day of our cruise. Your dream: to see Alaska and the whales before you went. You patted the floor next to where you were sitting and I sat down next to you. “I’m not going to eat any more.” You said. Those huge dark, round eyes looking into mine. ‘Good-bye, Francie”.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Obie's Paw

Obie, Obie, Obie, of the giant, furry, bear like feet. I adore those precious feet of yours and just the mention of them has me visualizing them flying down the bike path in a golden blur.  What a glorious creature you are! And more dear to my heart than words can express.

So WHAT IS IT WITH YOUR PAWS???????? Three broken toes in a year!!!!!!

The first two were understandable as they came about by innocent, passionate means. The first? You were running at a break neck speed to retrieve your green tennis ball and slid into home plate, a true success but alas, a toe caught and tore in the process. The second time, almost a ditto. You were running amuck in a wild puppy moment and another  toe caught on a root. But this third toe, this there is no justification for and I’m having to deal with my own upset over the actual incident and put it behind me while you limp around in your purple bandage.

You had been left to hold the fort with Olive (an Australian shepherd) and Ben (a fourteen year old hound mix) when a UPS man came to deliver a 35-pound tool in a box. This man was apparently caught off guard by three woofing dogs. Now I take a step back.

HOW ON EARTH does a mailman or UPS man not come prepared for such a situation externally and internally? How is it that he panics at the sight of three non violent, loud mouth four-leggeds and does one bodily harm? Obie got caught. The UPS man heaved his 35-pound box at the dogs and it landed on Obie’s foot. A totally crushed baby toe. My angel. Softest heart in the world. Innocent and confused and with a searingly painful toe from out of the blue. The vet has him bandaged royally and there will be no running for at least one month. The toe will never unsquash.

Oh Obie, you will figure out how to deal with it., your joie de vive, your love of letting loose in the windy salt air, your  undauntible spirit and your smile!

How blessed we are that you chose us.
You beautiful teacher, you.