Precocious

On Saturday I drove into Tallahassee in order to stay out of Studly Doright’s hair. Since he can’t play golf right now due to a recent back surgery, he’s embarked on a series of projects that I’m not adept at taking part in, such as cleaning the carburetor and spray painting the frame of a PW 80 Yamaha he’s fixing up for our grandkids.

I tend to be something of a bull in a china closet when working in the shop. Parts break, stuff gets lost, paint goes everywhere except where it should. Studly is patient, but after so many goof ups he shoos me into a corner.

My escape from Doright Manor took me to Target where I wandered the aisles picking up items on a shopping list. I made goofy faces at little kids and chatted with their moms, sniffed scented candles and hefted different styles of bookends.

I created backstories for people I encountered–the woman dressed in all black was in the federal witness protection program, the elderly gentleman wearing old-style khakis and a button down shirt had made millions in the stock market only to lose it all in the last recession. His gold digging trophy wife had left him for a still wealthy man, only to return because the sex was so damned good.

My imaginings were disrupted by a crash followed immediately by a harried father of three sternly reprimanding the oldest of his children.

“Isabelle, what did you do?”

Isabelle, who appeared to be six, or thereabouts, said, “The boogie boards just fell over.”

“Did you have anything to do with the boogie boards falling over?”

“Maybe, Daddy, but they were stacked so deceptively.”

The dad and I made eye contact. Neither of us laughed; although, it was a near thing. He’s going to have his hands full with Isabelle.

I wandered a bit more before returning to Doright Manor. Thanks to Isabelle I have a new excuse for my klutziness.

Peace, people.

The Colt’s Concern

Photographic art by Julie Powell


The Colt’s Concern
Words by Leslie Noyes

I had a dream last night of galloping like the wind, of leaving your warm side and running with new friends.

Scary, it was, yet exhilarating, too, the further I ran the harder it was to find my way back to you.

You dreamed, my colt, of life as it should someday be. The time will come when you no longer have a need for me.

How will I know when the time is right to strike out on my own, a colt no more, instead a mighty stallion?

There’ll surely be false starts before you venture out; that day’s not set in stone, and we’re never free from doubt.

If it’s all the same to you, I’ll hang out here awhile longer, let my legs lengthen and my heart beat stronger.

Sweet son, stay until you’re ready in your body and your soul. I will gladly keep you close and proudly watch you grow.

Check out Julie Powell’s blog at https://juliepowell2014.wordpress.com/

Driving Home

In another life I might have been a truck driver or a race driver or even a cab driver. The act of driving is one I thoroughly enjoy. Others seem oblivious, though, to the joys.

One afternoon this week I sat at a stop light and watched as the twenty-something woman in the car next to mine immediately slouched into her seat and began texting on her phone once her brakes fully engaged. 

For a few seconds I watched her intently typing a message–most likely something earth shattering like, “LOLZ!” Or “WTF man?!” before I scanned the other traffic around me that included an unevenly loaded trailer two cars ahead and a motorcycle with a dangerously low tire in front of my texting friend. In addition a group of elderly pedestrians was crossing at the indicated walkway a few car lengths in front of me.

My texting friend noted none of this. In fact, once the light changed to green she continued to sit and text only moving forward when those behind her began honking their displeasure.

This isn’t a treatise on safe driving; although, as a motorcyclist few things infuriate me more than a driver who texts while behind the wheel. No, this is a post about noticing one’s surroundings and enjoying the drive.

Many years ago (I might’ve even been a teenager!) I read a fluff piece in a doctor’s office magazine about the connection between women and driving. The magazine, I recall, was a religious publication, perhaps Guidepost, or something similar. Something about that article stuck with me all these years, even though I couldn’t quote a single word from it if my life depended on it.

The heart of the article was that women had gained a great deal of freedom in the preceding decades (this was probably written in 1975) and that perhaps the greatest freedom outside of being able to vote was that of being able to drive, and with that freedom came great responsibility.

The author of the article noted that female drivers always looked proud and responsible, that they seemed particularly aware of their surroundings and relished their independence. The author went on to say that since female drivers often had children in tow they seemed to take extra care with their precious cargo and to spend time pointing out interesting and educational sights along their routes.

Perhaps I was young and impressionable, but I took that article at face value and decided that I’d be an exemplary driver–and I probably succeed 85% of the time. 

I enjoy engaging with the road, noting how different driving surfaces interact with my tires. I love solving the puzzle of traffic, figuring out where my vehicle fits into the bigger picture as Car A moves into the space vacated by Car D while avoiding Pedestrians X, Y, and Z. And I’m keen on listening to the engine and how the gears shift in the transmission.

When our children were small I helped them learn to read by calling attention to billboards and signs on the sides of trucks. Our youngest could spell “Toyota” before her third birthday.  And time spent at stop lights wasn’t wasted either as we sang along to the radio or counted the number of blue, or red, or white cars around us.

Maybe my texting friend will at some point look up from her screen and realize there’s more to driving than pressing on the gas pedal and steering the wheel. Let’s just hope she doesn’t get rear-ended before then.

Peace, people!

  

Easy Times

i read the news this morning of a friend’s mother having a stroke,
and another’s father breaking a hip.

i heard of an adult child who fled
his responsibilites and left his
wife and children for a fling.

i thought about the pain we experienced
as young parents, worrying about our
infants’ developmental stages.

i recalled the nights spent agonizing
over my teenagers’ angst and woes,
their heartaches and heartbreaks.

i wept when reflecting on the loss
of my parents, both gone too soon
from my life; too young from theirs.

i realized there are no easy times,
nothing worthwhile comes without cost.
the joys of loving our only reward.

  
Recently a beloved uncle passed away after a long illness. When I shared the news on Facebook a friend who’d recently experienced a similar loss commented that we are at a tough age. 

I knew what she meant. I’ve lost both of my parents, as have most of my closest friends. Several in my age group have experienced the traumatic loss of a spouse, and some the loss of a child.

We are the sandwich generation, those of us in our mid-to late 50’s. Some still have children at home while simultaneously caring for aging parents. I would almost say it is the most difficult time. But then I started thinking and the poem appeared.

There are no easy times. We might be fooled for a second by a lull in the action, but every stage has its pitfalls. The love is worth it, though. Just keep plugging. 

Peace, people!