one of those days


This was one of those days where normal life was so overpoweringly normal that to not make some small note of it would be wrong. In those long gone days of youthful uncertainty, when the wolf came knocking, or I found myself holding the broken-off handle of a friendship, what I most looked forward to was someday having a day like today. We got Amy off to school this morning, I did some grocery shopping, a little writing, made the beds. Amy got off the school bus happy, did her homework, I washed some dishes, made some supper. I kissed my wife when she got home from work, we laughed and ate and talked about our daughter and how precious she is at this age, and we had some Halloween candy.

I'm happy dammit. This isn't good. I keep looking up, waiting for a sandbag.

One of my favorite pieces of writing is OUR TOWN by Thorton Wilder. The play is straight, clean, like an unbarbed arrow, with a richness artfully wrapped in a plain presentation. In that story, a woman dies young and goes off to spend eternity in the cemetery, where the long-dead residents there greet her and agree with her when she becomes aware that the living are so blind to the beauty of life. Emily, the young woman, yearns to go back and live a day over again, a happy day, but she is warned against it and told to pick an ordinary day, a happy one would be too painful.

Today was one of those days. Ordinary. As predictable as bacon in a skillet. And yet from morning till now there's been that small voice that reminds, that eye that lays back and watches, no, drinks the day in great gulps, the ear that hears the laughing, the footsteps, the doors opening and closing, a little girl reading quietly to her stuffed animals, sounds so sweet they hurt.

And always the clock. On a bad day, the pendulum swings, a blade to slice my day and make my choices. But today was a good day, with the big hand and the small hand squeezing the juice out of every hour.

There, you see? See what OUR TOWN does to me? I could hardly kiss my daughter goodnight just now without breaking into great sobs of happiness, fer cryin' out loud. Oh yeah, that's just what a kid wants to see before she goes to sleep at night, her dad's big leaky mug coming at her for a smooch. Eeeyaah! Get a grip, pops.

But I kissed her anyway and it was too good for words. Of course, now she'll have some nightmare about the big splashy face that came down and squished planet Earth, but hey kid, that's the price you pay for having a playwright like Thornton Wilder around to put the whammy on your dad.

I've long believed that each couple, on the night before their wedding, should be taken, bound and gagged if necessary, to a theater to see a good production of OUR TOWN. Only then would they really be ready for marriage, and all that's coming.

Well, it's getting late.


Most everybody's asleep in Grover's Corners. There are a few lights on: Shorty Hawkins, down at the depot, has just watched the Albany train go by. And at the livery stable somebody's setting up late and talking. -- Yes, it's clearing up. There are the stars - doing their old, old crisscross journeys in the sky. Scholars haven't settled the matter yet, but they seem to think there are no living beings up there. Just chalk... or fire. Only this one is straining away, straining away all the time to make something of itself. The strain's so bad that every sixteen hours everybody lies down and gets a rest.

(he winds his watch)

Hm... Eleven o'clock in Grover's Corners. -- You get a good rest, too. Good night.


Today's Music:

"I'll Be Seeing You" -- Tony Bennett -- TONY BENNETT - PERFECTLY FRANK


Wisdom of the Day:

"You know how it is: you're twenty-one or twenty-two and you make some decisions; then whisssh! you're seventy: you've been a lawyer for fifty years, and that white-haired lady at your side has eaten over fifty-thousand meals with you. How do such things begin?"

- Thornton Wilder