I was standing in line this morning in Sharpsburg, waiting to buy a breakfast sandwich at Battleview Market. And I distinctly smelled something barn-like. I did not overreact. I stood my ground. I wondered what it could be. Then I remembered I was standing in a line with more than one farmer. And I thought of my dad’s barn boots on the bus heater driving to school. And how the students complained until he wore different boots to school. And, indeed, that was the issue. Cow issue. Helluva great sandwich. Helluva good people.
The old poet bit the woman’s beautiful arm at dinner. She ruffled his hair and laughed, knowing that he had few restraints. Ruth invented a word by combining two others: luxious. It explained how she felt at eighty when she skipped church and her granddaughter made her pancakes in pajamas.
Driving through Bumpass, VA today, I passed a seventies convertible Caddy with a steer’s horns attached to the front grill.
My dad’s favorite singer. I miss them both. I remember sitting in Kresge Auditorium for one of her summer concerts: hundreds of Interlochen staff and campers couldn’t get seats, so they were standing outside of the auditorium when the sky opened up and started pelting them with rain. “Baby, it’s raining.” The wind whipped. “Come inside or you’ll catch your death.” The aisles suddenly filled with grateful wet, blue corduroy campers. Probably a fire hazard, but better than the lightning strikes everyone was ready to endure for her.
Last night, Faith and Mavis and I were swimming upstream through people on Commercial Street towards our parked car. The moon was pressed, nearly full, above the harbor. And out of an open window at the Crown and Anchor, the whole bar appeared to be singing Moon River together.
May as a teenager. School year wrapped up. Working on the Huffy’s bike tires, busting my knuckles on the gears. Trip to Traverse City bookstore for a couple novels. Maybe checking a spy series out of the IAA library. Trading someone for floppy disks with pirated Apple II games. Maybe building 200 custom levels of Loderunner from my dad’s big desk chair in his den. 400 acre campus switching from school year to summer camp. Bike rides through the woods to check out new construction, repaired cabins, the docks going up on two lakes. Knowing the paint crew by name. Knowing the residents of each cabin. Wading across the Little Betsy where the train trestle crosses, the river bottom deepened by an eddy and cold on bare toes. Bike rides through the state park at all times of day: smelling campfires, admiring freckles, learning about boats pulled up on the beach, the moon following me home down the wide path between white pines.