cleaning my gutters


I feel my age more profoundly during the holidays, both in body and in thought. The Butterball is just a carcass now. The air is cold, brittle leaves are underfoot and barren branches make up most of the horizon, all bringing to mind the skeletal nature of a calendar, the wishbone connected to the backbone, the summertime connected to the fall. I crack a knuckle and find another wrinkle. In time I'll flip December's page, and only then be able to make my peace with what's gone by so fast.

There will be, in spite of the speed, some memories made, especially for the kids. Last night, Viv and I laid in bed in the dark, recalling visits we made as children to houses on the outskirts or our parents' social circles - orphan visits, one-time-only excursions to the home of a distant relative or an aunt's friend. Where were these places, and why did we go? They are foggy episodes, full of social unease and strange children. Viv had memories similar to mine, where grownups laughed and danced and dipped while the young'uns, segregated and sullen, played board games and wore uncomfortable shoes.

But Viv's childhood had a lot more Norman Rockwell in it than mine did, with sleds and angels in the snow and caroling mixed all up in there. My happy canvas was mainly Edvard Munch, with captions by Kafka. But hey, I'm not complaining. How do you think I got this lovely twist in my outlook? It's living through those oh-so-tender times that made me the man I am today, neck-bolts and all. Aliiiiive... aliiiiiiive..... alive with zest and enthusiasm for tomorrow's bright promise, yes?

* * * * * * *

Memory is raw material, and it's a beautiful and mesmerizing challenge to make sense of the stuff. As a parent I often wonder about the moments and events that are being formed and fired in the kiln of my daughter's memory. She and I are both only children (there are two ways to read that, and now that I think about it, either is correct), and I have to wonder whether she'll digest and deconstruct her childhood in the same way I have. The conditions are much different insofar as the general moods and behavior about the place are concerned, but there is nevertheless a climate to being an only child, and I wonder to what extent it will blow through her memories.

* * * * * * *

I sound like a serious old man today. Long weekends do that to me, they throw me off my pace. I'm always anxious to get back into the swim of things but for some reason I end up falling into the deep end first instead of happily splashing in from the shallows.

And what fathomless duties await me today? Well, rain is due tonight, so first off, it's cleaning the gutters.

Then grocery shopping.

Then after that, hold on, baby, 'cause I'm callin' pizza man.

Okay. That's enough. Bring me home, Mr. Wizard.

Drizzle... drazzle... drozzle...


Today's Music:

"Artistry In Rhythm" -- Stan Kenton -- KENTON IN HI-FI


Wisdom of the Day:

"Only cows are content."

- Stella Adler