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Monday, February 20, 2017

All Over the Place Ruminations...

"Sometimes I just feel like running,"  Aunt Deane said.  We were on an exercise walk--just past Davey Slater's Road--and the air was crisp as the sun set over the small town of Mt. Cory, Ohio. We'd earlier sat on the swing outside her garage and talked; reminisced about her and mom's youth in this town. We talked a lot about my dad.  His and my mom and Aunt Deane's lives are woven together as only lives in small towns can be.  I'd arrived from Miami for a visit. Aunt Deane and I were waiting for my mother, her identical twin sister.

Aunt Deane's house sits just outside the railroad tracks of that speck of a town.  She and I were on State Route 235, vigorously walking out to the stop light on "Old Route 25" and back.  We'd passed the pen and house that, in my youth, had kept and slaughtered buffaloes.  A restaurant in the nearby small town of Bluffton, served buffalo burgers and so that meat was fresh.  

Aunt Deane's house is the "grand dame" of Mt. Cory. Its elegance transcends time.  Five acres of grass surround it.  On three sides, corn fields protectively wrap its grassy lawn. From the front of the house, one views the grain elevator across the street. 

Aunt Deane loved to mow. She'd "gas up the rider" and get down to the roaring business of assuring her house's yard met her--and really her mother's, for aren't we all products of the generations that precede us?--high standards.

I feel Mt. Cory in the roar in my mind of Aunt Deane's mower. I feel its lush stillness.  Ha!  A roaring mower takes me to a mental place of pure quiet! A place of shade trees and dappled sun.  Languorous afternoons of childhood daydreaming. 

My Aunt Deane's roaring mental mower takes me to a place of freedom.

Deane's there, in my head, complainingly proud and seated on the rider. Back and forth she goes.  Every once in a while the roar stops with a screech as she puts her rider in reverse to attack a troublesome spot.  Sometimes the mower putt-putt-putts in my mind as Aunt Deane takes a contemplative moment to survey the work already done.  But mostly I see her resolute in getting the job done!

State Route 235 runs right in front of Deane's house and is Mt. Cory's Main Street.  There's a speed limit for the semi-trucks and cars barreling through town.  It's rarely honored, But there are few cars and fewer trucks and, so, Main Street is pretty much true to its peaceful reputation.  With the exception of the weekly volunteer fire station and squad's blaring of the siren, cricket chirps and bird songs are its background sound tapestry.   

Aunt Deane--the oldest of the twins and number eight of eleven children--has lived in this town and in this house since she was fifteen.  That's five years after the death of her 42 year old father of a heart attack.  He died in the fields; just keeled over and died after working all day in the sun. He left his wife, my grandmother, alone to raise the last five of the children.  

"Old Route 25" has never been young.  It's never been new and kicky and sassy. It's never had convenience stores and fast food restaurants lining its sides.  With the exception of Winnie's small gas station on the way to Findlay, there's not much to purchase on "Old Route 25."  

But "Old Route 25" has got it some history.  It's got stories to tell about the lives of people living in the farm houses lining it--way back from the road-- Bluffton in one direction and Findlay in the other. Maybe people dying there too. Right there--1967?--is where the house trailer blew up and killed everybody inside.  The boy who lost his toes in a lawn mower accident lives there.  

"Cancer took him," my dad would say as he pointed to a house, almost as if it was the house that had suffered the illness. "It was a long and valiant battle." I've since learned he'd gone to high school with that cancer stricken man. "That woman there", my mother would add as she pointed to the house in the opposite direction. "She died of cancer too."   It was almost as if my parents spoke of the houses as well as the people living and dying in them.

 Instead of billboards advertising easily attained divorces and "sue-anyone-for-anything" opportunities, "Old Route 25" had signs about Jesus.  "Seek ye the Lord while He may be found:" and " He who hath the Son hath life." are the two I remember.  

I'm sad the Jesus signs are no longer there. I miss them. Thank God, though, they've not been replaced with the ubiquitous lascivious attorneys, like in Miami, smiling down at me with perfect teeth, perfect hair and perfect opportunities for them to get rich.

Aunt Deane and I, turn at Old Route 25's stop light to walk back to her house, side by side on State Road 235.  

The air is fresh.  The sun is setting.  It's all so beautiful.  We both feel like running.

10:18 am est          Comments

Saturday, February 11, 2017

More PTSD Contemplations...

 I may have, over the last seven years, glamorized my "Day of Truth."   There may not, for instance, have been a light silhouetting him from behind. Flicks of his spit may not have slowly arched and glistened like sparkling jewels as he screamed.  He did, though, scream. And I do recall his spit. I recall it in a fascinated withdrawn "not-happening-to me" kind of way.  The quality of that recollection has not changed over the years.  It's still as if I am behind a movie camera filming in slow motion.  

"Walk more slowly!" I might direct the me of the movie as "movie me" enters his office. "Let the audience feel the foreboding menace..."  To him, "Just let it fly.  Be your true self."

But that moment didn't have a movie quality to it all.  It was just ugly.  Gross. Scary.  Mine was a role I did not want to play. It just didn't suit me. If I'd been sent that script from an imaginary Hollywood agent, I'd have said "No. Too tawdry. I don't like the spit part. I'll just keep serving food until something better comes along.  Thanks."

But there I was--little old ethical me.  I'd put myself in that role by my own imperfect ethics.  Those frightened ethics accompanied me as I entered his office and faced his BIG POWERFUL SELF. Faced his screaming, spitting self.  His lying, cheating self.  

I do love the turn of a word, don't I?  Now, seven years later, I love the rich and nuanced material my school district gave me and I'm workin' it!   I can't help myself!  Can't help evaluating, for example, my six principals on a 1-10 scale; one being awful and ten being wonderful.  Four of them are all over that scale.  I work for my "10" now. 

The screaming spitter's not even on the scale.  He's "on beyond" zero on an upside down scale.  He goes lower and lower and becomes more and more dangerous, but on the upside down scale it looks like he's going up.  

I hope that makes sense, because it is working for me.  The more dangerous he becomes, the better he looks on the upside down scale.  

Hey, my "behind-the-movie-camera" surreal day of March 16, 2010, is my day and don't ANYONE even think of taking it from me!  I'll do with it what I please!  I'll write of his beefy dry hands pushing his body up from the plush "Principal" chair, if I want to!  I remember red hairy knuckles.  Strained. He was sitting--of that I am certain.  He arose.  That too.  "JUST DO IT!" he screamed. Now that's not exaggerated, is it?  I've not added "JUST 'F-ING' DO IT!" even though he often used that expressive word.

Ah, KIm, what's true and not true? Certainly his teeth were not the sharp wolf's teeth of your Red Riding Hood nightmares.  He definitely wasn't wearing a granny bonnet that day with a blanket pulled up to his chin. He wasn't wearing a Wicked Witch hat of Wizard of Oz fame either.  That's the dream that awakened you, Kim, with its "ding-dong, not dead, not dead, not dead" repetition.  HIs face, that day and all days really, did have a leering Grinch quality to it.... before the Grinch had his loving epiphany and trumpeted his way back to the Whos.

We're still waiting for a three sizes growth of this Grinch's heart.

That's the day we'll turn the principals' 1-10 rating scale right side up.

12:22 pm est          Comments

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