Last year, my family decided that for Christmas, we would all make each other presents. By “my family decided” you might suppose that there was some sort of democratic vote. Not really. Perhaps a treaty reached by the negotiations of elected representatives? Wrong again. It was more of a “council of wise elders” kind of thing. In short, by “my family decided” I mean everyone but me made this decision and then informed me of it.
I have a bar of soap in my bathroom that was gifted to me by almost a total stranger. It smells like my grandmother. I can’t recall what it was supposed to smell like -- some serenity white tea nonsense or the other -- but every time I walk into my bathroom, I smell my grandmother when she lived in Hawaii.
My family recently lost two pets. Melvin and Max were wonderful cats in their own ways. Max was ornery, loud, and topped the scales at 20 lbs in his healthier days. He could slice you up like swiss cheese while purring at you, unless you were my mother, for whom he had a devotion that is rarely seen in a cat. I think he fancied himself the husband and my father the pet. I recall my dad telling me once that he returned home from work late and found my mom asleep and Max stretched out beside her on my dad’s side of the bed. When Dad tried to move him, Max growled at him.
Yesterday my son was sitting on my lap and I bent down and kissed him on the nape of his neck. "That's where the angel lives," I whispered to him. And then I paused. My grandmother used to tell me that. I had forgotten all about it until it popped out of my mouth. I never really understood it, but that's what she said. I had an angel that lived in the nape of my neck. I wonder where that came from. Is it from some story or legend that my grandmother read, or just some bit from family lore or her own imagination? Do I even remember it right?
Last weekend I watched my aunt button up her granddaughter's coat. When she got to the bottom she realized that she had misaligned the buttons and had to start over. My parents stood by watching this and Dad called out to my young cousin, "Uh oh, Grandma buttoned your nerd button." My face lit up beside him.
"Nerd button! I had forgotten all about the nerd button!" My father looked a little shocked.
"How could you have forgotten the nerd button?"
Sorry I've been missing in action for the past few weeks. The latest edition of The Crow is due on bookstore shelves on the 15th, so after ringing in the New Year with a few friends, I got back to work, trying to meet my deadline. It's at the printers now and thus out of my hands. With luck, I might get my copies on Friday. (A quick glance at my calendar just informed me that this Friday is Friday the 13th.
Family. It's an interesting...reality. I was about say "an interesting concept" but "concept" doesn't cut it, does it? No. Concepts have bounds and logic and concise little ideas that can be summarized up in an abstract. The idea of family may have these things, but the reality of family is just what it is. Chuck your standard societal rules at the door. Shed your precepts and hang them up next to your coat on the rack. We operate on our own gravity here.
After 5 days in Arizona, I return. My Uncle F.T.'s funeral was on Friday. My family caravanned out to Yuma to attend the service and be there for each other as best we could. Some laughter out of tears and some tears out of laughter. As it should be.
Technology is moving along so fast it's tiptoeing into the realm of divination.
Once, when you took a photograph, you had to wait a week to see it. By the time most of us took the film in, we couldn't remember what was on the roll. Rediscovery. The receiving of the developed pictures took us back to show us our past. Oh look dear, remember when we went to the zoo? This picture came out well. Oops, should of used the flash there. Oh well.
Dad and I went to see Star Wars III last night. A few years ago I stopped giving my parents presents for Father's Day and Mother's Day. Now we go on adventures instead. Mom and I have been to the ballet and basketball games. Dad and I typically do baseball, with a few Star Wars exceptions.