Monday, November 26, 2012

being the drummer boy

Squeezed into the back seat of Grandma Shelby’s car, I’d rather be anywhere else. She's riding shotgun and wants to go shopping on Black Friday. I want to hole up in an empty room all by myself. Shopping has never been my thing, but always hers.

Auntie Linda plays the role of the chauffeur, one of Grandma’s caretgivers, she takes the wheel and maneuvers through the traffic. All day long, the sky has unleashed a never-ending pounding of Seattle rain. My sister Konnie sits beside me holding Grandma’s purse at the ready to help with any whim or request.

I think about my cold, wet feet. Wish my rain boots weren't locked in the trunk of my car back at the hotel. Wish I hadn't been so concerned with fashion this morning to opt for my color coordinating but impractical flats. I hate being wet more than any other feeling.

Auntie turns the dial on the radio.

Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum

“I forgot that this station plays Christmas music starting today,” Auntie says.

A new born King to see, pa rum pump um pum

“The Drummer Boy. One of my favorites,” she said.

Grandma agrees.

“Don’t you know how to sing?” Grandma asks us.

“I didn't know you wanted us to.” I glance over at Konnie and we softly join in,

So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum. When we come.
Grandma Shelby with all the girls

I know instantly this moment is one I’ll want to remember. Packed away with all the other memories of Christmases past at Grandma’s house. The tree covered in angels surrounded by a white picket fence. The mounds of presents. The 13 stockings Grandma sewed with a name for each of her grandchildren. The ham and stuffing. The Star Wars movie marathons. Uncle Greg and Dad getting up to do the twist while sister Ashley and I are forced to reenact our school Christmas program singing “Rocking around the Christmas Tree.”

Today, Konnie and I sing, off key and words jumbled , through Seattle’s rain and Black Friday traffic. We are the drummer boy. Singing to honor her, hoping to see her smile. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

To the Twinkie: an epistle

Plain, fried, butter dipped 
unique as those who love you.
photo from wikipedia
Remember you and I in troubled
times. The last bite eleven
years – has it been? Two days 
after national  tragedy. From minimart,
to hotel room.  Baby sister’s
sweet sixteen.

She's grown now.
The nation still at war. 
Today it mourns
you.  A rush on grocers,
minimarts alike, ‘til shelves
left bare. A final taste 
of your big delight 
in every bite. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Update: Rodents and Good Company

Do you remember how I worried about setting poison to kill the mice? How I feared my basement would end up a graveyard for all the suicidal critters who ate the stuff? The managers in charge of the place where I live assured me that would not happen. So we set the poison.

Guess what? Last week, I traipsed downstairs to put something away and can you imagine what I found there? A rodent splayed out, as if it had died mid dash across the room. Thankfully. And luckily for me (because we all know I don't like to clean up dead rodents), Mr. Maintenance Man was set to arrive later that day and he promptly hauled the decomposing fellow off to the trash bin. (You can all thank me for not taking photos.) And Mr. Maintenance Man finished the rest of the sealing needed to keep future invaders out of my cupboards (fingers crossed).

I began to feel better about the whole mouse situation at an impromptu gathering with neighbors. People who've heard about my neighborhood liken us to Mayberry. I met up with the neighborhood when I walked down the block for Sunday's Veteran's Day Parade. When the flag-waving ended, we gathered at a home mid-block for coffee and tea and baked goods and hot soup. Slowly over the course of the afternoon, everyone told a story about the mice problems they've had this year, and what they've had to do to get rid of them. I did win the worst place to have mice awards with mice in my silverware drawer (silverware will never again live in that drawer -- the one and only drawer in my kitchen). At least now I know I'm in good company, and who to call if faced with another invasion.

Of course if this mouse problem continues, I'm going to have to learn how to do this, just so I can share with you all: