Sunday, October 31, 2010

Jolly Vacuum

I don't know why but whenever I feel really good I want to vacuum. Since this isn't very often the job is huge and involved but quite rewarding. It's like painting the carpets and floors. Each drag of the vacuuming magic wand makes stripes of clean, restoring the original colors and corners of my home. When I feel good, I want to bake a cake or a chicken, and while it's baking I will think about how much I love everyone and everything. This is all in sharp contrast to my thoughts on a melancholic day. That my thoughts change so reliably with my mood is quite fascinating to me.

Stage Magic

I was thinking all week about the RI politician who told the visiting president to "shove it." We are all performing in our various roles in life, and it is dangerous if we forget that. We are better off waking up to this fact in order to become better actors and more conscious of where the boundaries of our roles are. We do not become omnipotent when we fill the role of doctor, preacher, politician, rock star, visiting artist. We are playing a role, and need to consciously play it well.

When I say acting I do not mean being inauthentic. I mean being more authentic by understanding that we are always playing many roles, in our families, in our professions, in our neighborhoods, when blogging, walking the dog, buying groceries, trimming hedges. I remember running into my painting professor on the street in Providence. He was "off stage" and very uncomfortable, as if he didn't even know how to say hello. I once saw my dentist at a party, and he too wasn't entirely sure of his role outside his office. They were good actors in their professions, but had not thought about how to act in other roles.

I am frightened by the preacher, the doctor, the policeman, the politician, who forgets he is performing and falls in love with the power and admiration to the degree that he loses his way. At least an actor usually knows he is acting. When he is really good at it, the audience believes he really does kick the cat and sleep with teenagers, they really think the guy is like that. But no, he's just a really good actor. We need to believe the mirror but also remember it is a mirror.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Reading Faces

I walked Lily up to the north end of town for a change. I saw a little boy in his yard playing with a miniature orange basketball, bouncing it off four white cement steps. When he saw Lily he ran out of the yard to pet her. The boy was not afraid of her at all. I sat Lily down so she wouldn't jump and squatted down beside her, holding her collar just to make sure. Lily was the same height and probably twice the weight of the boy. He petted her, and looked up at me and smiled. His face had dimples and a pointy chin. He reminded me of a boy who used to live on our street. Two seconds later the boy whose face I was remembering came out of the front door to say hello! They are brothers, and they have another brother who came outside too. This brother is the middle child, and he did not look like the other two. He petted Lily and said, "She smells like a dog." "Is she stinky?" I asked. "Yeah she's stinky," he said. "She had a bath two weeks ago, but she probably needs another," I said. "How does she get a bath?" the boy asked. "With the hose, outside in the yard. I wet her down and then wash her with dog shampoo. In the winter I wash her in the bathtub." Their father was raking leaves in the front yard, and I wanted to tell him his children were adorable, but I could see from his face that he was in a bad mood, so I said goodbye to the boys and kept walking.

Saturday

This morning I am washing all of the fleece pullovers, coats, jackets, gloves, hats and scarves that acquired a musty smell from being piled up in the cellar all summer. I am a little crabby about doing the job but it works. After the clothing gets washed in the machine the mustiness is completely gone. 100 years ago this task would've taken all day. I am grateful that this only takes a few hours and I hang the wet clothes next to the boiler to dry.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Give to Saint Dracula

I walked by the All Saints Church on my street and saw the big sign announcing a blood drive on Sunday. Do they realize Sunday is Halloween? Are the blood takers going to be dressed as Draculas? If so I'll have to go.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Launch into Song

This morning when I was walking Lily we passed the locksmith's parking lot. Lily pulled me toward a man standing beside his pickup truck in the lot. "He's a handful!" he said. "No, she just wants to say hello," I replied. "I'll say hello," he said, and Lily jumped up on him. "Gentle, I'm old," he said. But he looked like he was my age. Then he started singing.

It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday. The regular crowd shuffles in. There’s an old man sitting next to me, Makin’ love to his tonic and gin. He says, son, can you play me a memory? I’m not really sure how it goes. But it’s sad and it’s sweet and I knew it complete When I wore a younger man’s clothes.


"You know the Piano Man, Billy Joel?" he asked. "Yes," I said, "thank you for singing!" "My name's Tom," he told me as he climbed into his truck. "I'm Emily, and this is Lily." I was thrilled to have a perfect stranger launch into a song because Lily jumped into his arms!

The Farm is Nearby

The cow farm is nearby and that's a comfort to me. At any moment I can start walking to the farm and arrive an hour later. Once, I bicycled up there at five thirty in the morning and scared the farmer nearly half to death. He was feeding the cows and I stepped into the old white barn to pet them. "What are you doing here?" he growled. "I had to pet a cow!" I replied.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Today

I wanted someone else's coffee and someone else's kitchen table to drink it at. The weather was too darn hot, 70 degrees for late October. I saw a young woman exit the cemetery wearing super short shorts and a skimpy spaghetti-strap tank top. She was walking a short and stocky yellow Labrador. She was plugged into an iPod, the white wires dangling down from her ears. Half a block behind her was a young man walking an orange-colored Pomeranian. His eyes were nearly popping out of his head as he caught up to her. I wasn't ready to admit it was hot today. I carried my sweatshirt for security. After all, you never really can trust the weather in New England - it could hail on a 70-degree day, and I was hoping it would.

First Grade

I was a guest at Woonsocket Harris Elementary school yesterday for Stephanie Roberts' first grade class. I drew with a stylus on a big screen in their school library and narrated a day in the life with Big Lily. Then I invited the kids to draw their pets on paper. It was fun.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Puzzling Puzzle

Today I walked Lily down Rathbun Street. When I turned onto Ethel Street I saw the City of Manhattan, made out of paper, in three dimensions, about eighteen inches tall, sitting on the sidewalk. There was a piece of lined loose-leaf notebook paper taped to one of the towers. "Free NYC Puzzle" was printed on the page in black magic marker. I stood there and admired the city I was born in from above. I noticed the Twin Towers were intact but the Chrysler Building was bent at the top. I continued on to the park and played fetch with Lily in the ball field. On our way home I looked down Ethel Street but didn't see the puzzle. Oh good, someone adopted it, I thought. But as I continued I saw that someone had simply moved it across the street. Poor Manhattan paper puzzle, I hope it gets a good home.

President Obama is Coming to Woonsocket!

President Obama is coming to Woonsocket tomorrow. The last president we had visiting our city was Abraham Lincoln in 1860.

Update: I just found out that William Howard Taft visited Woonsocket a century ago. Three presidents have visited Woonsocket!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Broached Chicken

Where I live there are a few restaurants famous for something called broasted chicken, which as far as I can tell is a word invented to mean boiled and roasted (till-it-falls-off-the-bone) chicken. It's also called family style chicken. Wright's Farm and a place that used to exist called Ma Glockner's were the two most popular places to sample this down-home delicacy. River Falls has been recently advertising on billboards around the city that they now serve Ma Glockner's berched chicken, which is chicken boiled then seared with a heavy weight on it (heavy like a building, says my friend). This morning I was talking to Bill and I confused the chicken names in the exact way that my Grandma Sophie always scrambled words. I asked Bill, "What exactly is broached chicken?" When I realized what I had said I laughed, and decided to define it myself. Broached chicken is chicken that the chef has sampled before it's served. Or maybe it's the chicken left over that a mother eats off of her children's plates.

Torn

Today I saw a boy I recognize from the area. He was driving in reverse down the narrow driveway that belongs to my neighborhood parking lot. He was having difficulty navigating, and bumped into the cement wall just as we were driving in, so he decided to drive forward up to the row of garages and turn around. He thought he had put the car in reverse, but instead he bolted forward, crashing into the steel garage door. Then he backed up and drove away as fast as he could.

Two years ago just after I adopted Lily, I was standing in my yard with her and she spotted a cat. She jumped the fence and was off and running before I could stop her. I chased her, shouting her name while trying to catch up to her before she reached the busy street nearby. I was more and more frantic with each ignored call of her name. I was terrified that she would be hit by a car; her life flashed before my eyes. It was a crisp February day. My shouts echoed off the buildings. Suddenly a kid stepped into the street, a boy I recognize but hadn't seen in years. He was checking out the commotion. Lily stopped running, turned around, and trotted towards him. She wagged her tail and jumped up to say hello. He petted her as I ran over and put her leash on. "You saved her life," I told him. It was our good fortune that he had been visiting next door and had heard me yelling her name. Now whenever I see him I say to his friends, "He's a hero, he saved Lily's life!"

This is the boy who drove into the garage today. Just after the crash and escape, the owner of the garage stepped out into his yard next door. I was heartbroken, but I knew I had to tell him what I had seen. The police would be involved. The boy didn't seem to have much control of his car. I hope he's OK.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Has To Talk

The other night at the Stop and Shop checkout a short bubbly buxom cashier was talking to the person in front of me about how her mother phones her four times a day and she can't talk. "I'm either working or with my three kids. She calls and I say, I can't talk mom, here, talk to the kids," and she hands Grandma in cell-phone form to her kids. "They put the phone into their toy trucks and drive Grandma around while she's yakking away, she doesn't even notice! She just has to talk, she doesn't need to listen."

Louise Erdrich

As a North American writer it is essential to me that I try to understand our human relationship to place in the deepest way possible, using my favorite tool, language.

-Louise Erdrich, NYT

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Man Hunt, or A Day in the Park

Yesterday afternoon Bill and I walked Lily to the baseball field for a run and then we continued along to the pond. It was a beautiful day. We kept seeing people out walking their dogs, but we couldn't speak with them because they were all on the phone. When we got to Edgewater Drive we saw flashing red and blue lights reflected in the water, and police cars on the other side of the pond. "That can't be good," I said, and laughed because our friend on Edgewater Drive says that.

We met up with with Milo, the very handsome young chocolate lab who loves Lily, and wiggles and moves like a cartoon. The kids in Milo's family were on the street with their mom and the neighboring kids eating fudgicles. A helicopter flew overhead. One of the kids was petting Lily, hiding his fudgicle behind his back. Then the other mom came over and said, "My neighbor just told me that she heard on the police radio that there's a manhunt going on, and the guy has a gun!" We saw the helicopter hovering overhead, staying in one spot like a gigantic dragonfly. Both mothers panicked and began hurrying their children into their respective houses, saying "We're going inside now." "Why?" the kids asked. "There's a very bad man on the loose," Milo's mother said. One of her daughters asked, "What about Daddy?" He was out on the street power washing the mud off of his RV. "Daddy will hit him with the power washer if he comes near," she said.

We kept walking and passed a man with chaotic gray hair who was standing in his driveway beside his black pickup truck. The truck door was open and he was on the phone. I noticed the Veteran seal on his license plate. He snapped the phone shut and looked at us. "It's the Staties," he said, meaning the State Police. I told him that we had just heard from a woman on the lake who had heard about it on her police radio. "They're looking for a guy," I said. "I just saw police racing down Rathbun Street," he said. The man was squinting at the helicopter. "Can a helicopter really have a view of a person on the ground?" I asked. "Yes, they can see really well from above. They can tell if it's a man or a woman." "Really? Do they use binoculars?" "No, they can see. He's only 1,000 feet up," the man said, gesturing up. The sound of the helicopter made me think of war. I watched the helicopter, imagining the pilot seeing us; two men and a woman and a dog on the ground looking up at him. I grabbed Bill and called up, "It's not him!"

We continued walking. Bill said they're probably trying to flush the guy out of the woods. "How can they do that?" "They have police dogs, and guys on the ground, along with the helicopter." I could only imagine it would be really easy to hide from a helicopter, especially in a city. Couldn't you just curl up into a ball under a shrub or a couch, or hide in a tree house or a shed?

When we got home I decided to give Lily a quick shampoo under the hose while the air was still relatively warm. My neighbor came into the yard to pet Lily. "I need a dog hug," he said, not minding that she was sudsy and soaking wet. "I completely understand. Did you see the helicopter?" I asked. "I heard it," he said. "They're looking for a guy, it's a man hunt," I explained. "Great, that's wonderful," he said, rolling his eyes.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Harvest Figure

It's a gray sky this morning and it makes the colorful trees seem even brighter. My bread dough rose slowly overnight and has been shaped into four oblong loaves and set to rise under a kitchen towel. Lily and I walked through Oak Hill Cemetery for the first time in months. There are acorns everywhere. Walking over them is like roller skating. The hydrangea blossoms throughout the cemetery resemble the heads of sheep. They were big and white in the summer, but now they are rose-colored, and the hydrangea leaves have partly turned from green to yellow. This annual rose-green-yellow color clash makes me laugh.

The neighborhood is crisp and quiet. The window screens are in various undecided states. The outdoor potted plants have been hit with frost. Pumpkins are optimistically perched on people's porches. Yesterday I saw an authentic home-made pumpkin-head harvest figure on my urban street. He slumped on his stoop beside the front door. I admired the simple hand-carved pumpkin-head, and was envious of his pristine black jeans and navy cotton sweatshirt.

Rick Moody

. . . I start with characters, and I want to sort of invite them into the landscape, but then always be open to the possibility that the story could really go in a great number of directions, that the characters, you know, if they're being treated as though they were real people, have to be accorded the volition to behave spontaneously.

-Rick Moody, NYT

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Little Things

Yesterday on my way to Turbesi Park I passed a green lampshade on the sidewalk. Today it was a crushed green lampshade in the same spot. I passed the house with the Husky and noticed they still have two Hawaiian shirts hanging on the line. They have hung out through a few rainstorms. It's funny the little things you notice going around the same streets repeatedly. The folks down at the corner harvested all of their tomato plants and in their place is a pile of firewood split and ready for burning. I saw one of their chickens out loose the other day - a white one poking in the bushes of the neighbor's yard.

Yesterday I saw Brady the chocolate Lab out of his yard, sleeping under a big red Lexus SUV parked on the street. I had never seen him out of his yard before, and I couldn't bear the thought of him getting hurt or accidentally run over by the Lexus. So I stood thinking for a few minutes and then turned back and went to the house and knocked on the door. There was no answer. I knocked on the window. Then I remembered the family next door was good friends with this family so I rang their bell. When the man came to the door, I told him I had noticed Brady sleeping under the big red car. The neighbor understood the concern and corralled Brady back into the yard, got his electric collar from the owner, and slipped it onto Brady's neck. I felt much better.

I love to look. Observing is its own poetry. When I was a child I would look at everything, but without comprehension. It was a game, like thinking my eyes could land on a spot that had never been seen before. Maybe that could be true after a snowfall, but now I see meaning, story, everywhere I look in my busy neighborhood.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Dog Place

Autumn chill is here and I want to huddle in front of a fire for warmth but since I don't own a fireplace I invite my 76 pound dog to sit on the couch with me and cuddle and perhaps that is even better. I lift her front legs onto my lap, I admire her big meaty paws, I hug her while sniffing her forehead which smells like the outdoors, I stroke her soft ears, I inhale the scent of her breath, I gaze into her soulful eyes. I love everything about her.

War News

One of the phenomena of the war is the news coverage. In a sense the American people are a bit overtrained on this strange concentrated diet. Body and mind adjust to almost any sort of stimulus; we compensate physically for the news, just as we do for the speed of a motor car in which we are riding, until at last it seems as though the car is not in motion at all, and as though there is no news, not really.

-E.B. White, One Man's Meat p187 (1941)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Family History

The first wife's husband was stolen by the first wife's friend. A third woman steals the husband from the second wife and becomes the third wife. The man dies leaving three wives, all of them hating each other. What a thief hates most is a more clever thief.

E. B. White

The elevator boy in my hotel, after he has shut the grilled gate and started the car, always slips his hand through the bars of the gate so that as he passes each floor the sill-plate will give him a dangerous little kiss on the end of his finger. It is the only record he keeps of his fabulous travels. A doctor could probably tell him why he does it; but for that matter a doctor could probably tell me why when I pass through a long corridor I always kick lightly sideways with one foot so that it ticks the baseboard. A doctor could, but a doctor isn't going to. There are things about my life I don't wish to pry into and this is one of them.

-E.B. White, One Man's Meat p130


The first sign of spring here is when the ice breaks up in the inkwell at the post office. A month later the ice leaves the lakes. And a month after that the first of the summer visitors shows up and the tax collector's wife removes the town records from her Frigidaire and plugs it in for the summer.

-E.B. White, One Man's Meat p135

The Fair

It's seven days since the Fair ended, but in my head I still keep hearing the enormous sound of the waltz that accompanied the swings. And every once in a while I hear too the the gigantic summons, that somebody is wanted at the main gate, or will the owner of license 3261 please move his car, it is blocking the highway. (And the hasty search through my pockets to see if my car bears that number.)
Anything can happen at a county agricultural fair. It is the perfect human occasion, the harvest of the fields and of the emotions. To the fair come the man and his cow, the boy and his girl, the wife and her green tomato pickle, each anticipating victory and the excitement of being separated from his money by familiar devices. It is at a fair that man can be drunk forever on liquor, love, or fights; at a fair that your front pocket can be picked by a trotting horse looking for sugar, and your hind pocket by a thief looking for his fortune.

-E. B. White, One Man's Meat p224

E. B. White

There's a lot of the cat in me and cats are not joiners.

-E.B. White, One Man's Meat p141

Take Care

Take care of your art, don't expect your art to take care of you.
Take care of your children, don't expect your children to take care of you.

Regina Brett

What other people think of you is none of your business.
-Regina Brett

All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
-Regina Brett

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Colorful Distraction

I heard rain was coming so I set out early with Lily to catch a walk in the sunshine. I was running low on milk so I decided to walk to Wright's Dairy Farm, three miles from my house. When we got there I was able to tie Lily up to a post like a horse, run in and buy a gallon of milk, get her water, and have a pee stop. On the way back home the gallon of milk in my shoulder bag got pretty heavy, but the beauty of the rolling hills and orange trees kept my eyes and mind occupied.

Silence

Silence is a source of great strength.
-Lao Tzu

Let us be silent, that we may hear the whispers of the gods.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

A painter paints his pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence. We provide the music, and you provide the silence.
-Leopold Stokowski

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

After I'm Gone

I was in a cloudy state of mind this morning having woken up in the middle of the night, but once I started walking with Lily in the cool sunshine I wanted to keep going. We went all the way down Rathbun Street taking a few side streets in Blackstone and then on the way back we stopped at Turbesi Park. Lily found an empty plastic bottle in the grass just before we entered the ball field. She carried it in her mouth. I think she likes them better than sticks or balls because they are lightweight and satisfyingly noisy when she bites down on them. When we got inside the field I blocked the entrance and exit with the big white plastic trash barrels and unhooked her leash. She ran full throttle with exuberance. It was a joy to watch. I think she really wanted to run after the long walk. She raced in large circles and then she slowed to a prance all the while carrying the empty plastic bottle in her mouth. After a few minutes she was done and it was time to go.

On our way back I saw two elderly men talking to each other. One man had two Yorkies in tow, one on a leash and the other orbiting. The man with the dogs was talking to a man who was leaning over his car engine, checking the oil. He pulled out the dipstick and wiped it with a rag, examining it as they talked. I was eavesdropping from the opposite side of the street as Lily and I walked by. Both men had French-Canadian accents. "I'll have to leave it to one of my daughters after I'm gone," the oil-checking man said. "That won't be for a long, long time," the other man said. "I hope so," said the oil-checking man.

I crossed the street into the church parking lot and the two big dogs in the yard behind the church followed us along the fence, barking. When Lily and I walked past Precious Blood Cemetery I noticed a path of plywood planks leading to a grave site. I saw the big orange digging machine poised over a rectangular hole in the ground. Talk radio was blaring out of the digging machine's cab. The radio voices were talking and laughing, disturbing the normally quiet cemetery. I looked for the grave digger to say hello, but he was already fifteen yards away, walking up the hill toward the cemetery garage.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Fall

A fair is good at any hour of the twenty-four. I love it early on a rainy morning when the Ferris wheel is wearing its tarpaulins and the phrenologist is just brushing her teeth. You climb a wet ladder into the loft of the cattle barn for a forkful of hay and find a fellow asleep heavily, his shoes folded across his breast like a lily.

When a glass of wine is poured a wine fly appears promptly - but I never see him at any other time, and wonder where he keeps himself in the meanwhile and what he does for a drink.

- E. B. White, from his essay "Fall" One Man's Meat

E. B. White

I knew from the very start that some day there would be a cow here. One of the first things that turned up when we bought the place was a milking stool, an old one, handmade, smooth with the wax finish which only the seat of an honest man's breeches can give to wood. A piece of equipment like that kicking around the barn is impossible to put out of one's mind completely. I never mentioned the name "cow" in those early days, but I knew that the ownership of a milking stool was like any other infection - there would be the period of incubation and then the trouble itself. The stool made me feel almost wholly equipped - all I needed was the new plank for under the cow, the new stanchion, the platform, the curb, the gutter, the toprail, the litter alley, the sawdust, the manger, the barn broom, the halter, the watering pail, the milk pail, the milk cans, the brushes, the separator, the churn, the cow, and the ability to milk the cow.

-E. B. White, One Man's Meat p276

Friday, October 08, 2010

Have A Ball

This morning I walked through downtown and saw the parks and recreation crew setting up the Autumnfest Parade reviewing stand. The guys said hi to Lily and as usual she jumped into their arms. I told them to look for us in the parade. I continued on to Cold Spring Park in the North End, and decided to visit the baseball field. When I descended the hill I could see that all the fence gates were wide open and an old man was in the outfield practicing his golf swing. With Lily in tow I went around the field, closing each gate. When I got to the big gate near the golfer I asked him if he minded sharing the field with us. He volunteered to move his golf game just outside the fence, a few feet away. We had the park to ourselves, playing our respective ball games.

The sun was illuminating the field and the grass was still wet from dew. I threw the baseball for Lily to chase. When I tossed the ball in the direction of the sun, it would roll across the wet grass, spraying water lit up in the sunshine. Lily chased the ball, running and prancing in circles and then dropping it back at my feet. We played fetch for a few minutes and then I found a bottle of water in the outfield and poured some into my cupped hand for her. Then I tossed her the empty plastic bottle and she ran with it in her mouth, making crunchy noises and prancing around some more. When I was ready to leave I attached her green leash, shoved the empty bottle in my bag, and thanked the golfing man on our way out. We headed back home, walking in the striped shadows cast from the fence along Railroad Street. When we reached our neighborhood, I walked through the park where all the Autumnfest booths were being set up for the weekend.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Planet Comfort

I hear the big hydraulic hum of the trash truck and I race out to retrieve my bin. Each week there's the risk that my bin will get mixed in with the four other identical brown bins belonging to the multifamily house next door. When that happens my bin winds up living there for a while, and I have to use one of theirs. Why am I relieved to have my trash bin back? Why must I hunt down and use my favorite coffee mug every morning? Why do I cling to these little things? It is comforting to restore order. It gives me the momentary illusion that all is well on this spinning planet.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Raw Day

It's a raw day of drizzly mist. I needed to air out my brain. Lily and I walked to Turbesi Park and she went wild, running in big loops inside the fenced-in ball field. The whole park was empty except for three teen boys in baggy black clothes who came traipsing through. Lily and I passed through the cemetery on the way home. I think of the cemetery as little Ireland - it is very green, with rolling hills and few trees. Today it was real Irish weather. The long walk warmed us both up and calmed us down. Now my shoes are slowly drying out on a heater, and Lily is curled up asleep on her bed beside me.

Bobs and Dawdles

My solitary work requires me to create a kind of intense space to operate in. The space is a bubble beyond worry and time, where the imagination bobs and dawdles, opens and receives.

Between The Rungs

Between the rungs. That's where the poetry lives. That's where I live. I climb the ladder as in a dream, slip through between the rungs, floating in a white flannel nightgown. Birds and serpents in view on the hill below. I wake up. I want to return to the dream but the bed is cold and my elbows are digging into the mattress. I hold my hands over closed eyes.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Blue Monday

I walked Lily through the cemetery and then decided to continue on to the ball field at Turbesi Park. I threw the baseball for her. She ran, ignoring the baseball but grabbing a plastic bottle of bright blue juice that was in the outfield. She ran in big circles agitating the blue liquid as she carried the bottle in her mouth. I tried to catch up with her but she kept running making big fast loops around the field. An old gold Buick pulled up and a couple jumped out with their big brown dog and entered the park from the street behind the baseball field. The dog was loose and raced towards Lily, running along the chain link fence. The husband yelled "Romeo, Romeo," and the woman yelled back at her husband, "I'll get him." She called Romeo, and the dog turned towards her. I called out to them, "Does your dog like to play with other dogs?" "No," the husband shouted back and they all disappeared into the woods. Oh well. Lily and I exited the park on the other side and as we walked down the street I heard Penny the coon hound baying for Lily. I turned and approached the yard so Penny and Lily could greet each other through the fence.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Moon Food

Supermarkets can fascinate or depress me, but they most often make me feel like I am visiting another planet. The foods for sale have begun to resemble moon food for the astronauts.

Two For Tarragon

Yesterday I noticed two ladies talking loudly in the spice aisle in the supermarket. "Do you think they have it?" "Yes, here it is." One of the ladies selected the red-capped jar from many rows of spices. "How much tarragon do you need?" her friend asked. "The recipe says two teaspoons," she said, examining the jar. There was a large purse in the seat of her carriage with big black flowers printed on a field of white. She had nothing else inside her gigantic cart. Were they really only interested in two teaspoons of tarragon?

More Fun Than A Lawn

Yesterday on my walk through East Woonsocket I saw two gigantic shiny bright orange pumpkins on the front steps of a house. They were not shaped like the round squat pumpkins you normally see. They looked much larger and a bit stretched out lying on their sides. I saw a man in the yard and called out to him, "These are gorgeous pumpkins. They look homegrown. Did you grow them?" "Yes I did," he said, walking towards me. He said he grew an even larger pumpkin that he gave to his son. He said he grew watermelons and corn too, pointing to the garden patch. The corn stalks were dry and brown but still standing. "More fun than a lawn," he said. I noticed a huge green plant in a clay pot beside the front door. "Is that elephant ears?" "Yes it is." "Lovely!" "Glad you're enjoying them." "That's the whole fun of walking around," I said, "you get to see people's gardens."

Pops

Yesterday in the supermarket I noticed a thin old man wearing a Father Knows Best hat and suit. He was smiling while pushing his cart through the store. I glanced at the contents of his carriage: microwave popcorn, freezer pops, pop-tarts, an Entenmann's oblong coffee cake with wiggles of thin white icing on top, and a half-gallon of milk. I guessed this is what he lived on. At his age, he finally eats whatever he wants; the foods that make him happy.

Drum Roll

This morning I woke up to what sounded like a drum roll. I wondered, are the bands practicing for the Autumnfest Parade a week early? But why at seven AM on a Sunday morning? I got up and went to the open window. What I was hearing was a guy pushing one of those wheeled plastic trash barrels down the street.