I drove seven hours last weekend with John Denver.
Well, kind of.
At 4 a.m. on Saturday, my daughter, 7-year-old granddaughter, and I hit the turnpike to drive from Boston to Delaware to visit my ailing mom.
Before we left the driveway, the 7-year-old was back asleep and stayed that way for almost three hours.
As I drove in the blackness of too-early morn, my daughter and I conversed quietly in the front seat. The dark shapes of homes and trees – then the lit-up highway signs and speeding cars and trucks – passed by like shadowy strangers.
We reminisced about her Nanny – my mom – whose strong feisty personality is dimming. We laughed softly as we shared a story or two of Nanny’s powerful presence in our lives, and then my daughter slowly, slowly, drifted off to her own dreams.
I was alone, then, in the quiet swiftly moving car, and I reached out for some music, something to fill the space of memories and sadness. Continue reading
I look at him across the table, thinking, who is he? Who is this tall, intense, handsome, stiff, strange man sitting with me at La Provence, eating his asparagus quiche daintily as if it were made of flower pedals?
I’ve known him for more than 30 years – intimately – and I truly have not a clue who he is. It was so much easier, when he was my baby boy, and even when he was a burgeoning almost-teenager, still giving me hard hugs at night. He told me stories about his war games with his best friend back then, and his dreams of being an importer/exporter, even though he had no idea what that meant. He was chubby, with a wonderful chuckle and a dimple as wide as a dime. Continue reading
Around the Thanksgiving table one year, my guy, our two teenaged children, and my visiting father stared at me with wide eyes as I insisted that we take turns listing what we were thankful for.
My man, uncomfortable with such a request, began to clear the table while still seated.
Our daughter bubbled forth, like champagne from a shaken bottle, describing the blessings in her life: the Science lab (what can I say? she ended up teaching 6th grade Science!), her bedroom (she had an amazing view of the SF Bay), her plans to attend the Nutcracker ballet in two weeks.
Our son, usually the stoic of the family and non-emotional like his dad, peered solemnly around the table, breathed in deeply, and proclaimed, “Family.”
All grew quiet when it was my father’s turn. “You know what I have to say,” he claimed quietly. Continue reading
“But is there a heaven?” he asked in all seriousness.
“Well,” I replied, “I think, um, I think that depends on how you define ‘heaven.’”
Son Sean, 12 at the time, looked at me blankly. “Whatd’ya mean?” he asked earnestly. Continue reading
I walk the strangely silent town at 7 a.m. The sun is blazing this time of year, when the egrets rise with the golden orb at 5:30 a.m.
Most of the humans, however, are still blearily eyeing their cups of caffeine.
So I’m almost alone this morning with the seals and the pelicans and the few pedestrians here and there, breathing in the fresh air, enjoying the satisfying strain of muscle, but also trying to fling away the worries swarming my brain like a bunch of bees. Continue reading