Tuesday, September 20, 2005

background

So, my kids are still a big deal to me, maybe too big, but M's imminent flying from the nest is making it more and more obvious that I need to "get a life" for when they go out on their own ... I have my little hobbies: quilting, knitting, and I dote on the dog, Rudy. It simply makes me feel good to create beautiful things, and what a boost to my ego when I give them away and people exclaim how wonderful they are. I run one of the cameras at blues shoots that get made into the "Blues Plate Special" on public access TV, and direct the studio interviews with the bands, which makes me feel like I'm still a little cool. I'm still very much a fan of the Red Sox! Last fall was an incredible time! We - all four of us - watched virtually every game all summer - that's just what we do in the summer, this summer, too; most all other TV shows just go away - and so we were swept along on a magical ride that had a fairy tale ending! At the time I thought a lot about my grandmother, my dad's mom, who I remember so vividly supporting and heckling the Sox on TV as she puffed away on her Pall Malls and knitted hats and blankets; she died in 1992. I could relate to all of the people who told their stories of relatives who had passed away without seeing the Sox win a World Series. Now, J and I share our love of baseball - he is relatively new to it, as Texans generally don't pay much attention to it, but he has been forced to by his proximity to me. As the years have gone by, (six this past June) I realize how little I knew him when we married, but maybe that's to be expected. How could you really really know someone before you have lived with him for six years? Makes me wonder what more I will know six years from now, and six years after that? Is a marriage a lifetime of getting to know someone more and more? Do you think it's true that the first year is the hardest?
Last Thanksgiving we (J, S and I - M had to be at school) drove to Minneapolis to finally see my sister's home there. We spent the weekend with her, her boyfriend and his son, and then we drove down to El Paso to see J's family: his parents and two brothers and their families live there, and one of his sisters and her family drove over from Killeen, TX. It was quite a family reunion, and I'm glad we did it. The driving thing was at once glorious and grueling - I love seeing the country, but unfortunately, to make good time, you really have to stick to the interstates which start to look very much the same.
Here are some of my impressions from the trip: there are many dead deer on the side of the road in Pennsylvania. Chicago is a beautiful city, with a distinctly Midwestern design. Cheese is sold liberally in Wisconsin. Iowa is very neat, all squares and rows, with virtually no people. Tumbleweeds really do exist, and not just in ghost towns: we had a run-in with one in the Texas panhandle. We were watching it come bouncing along the street, and it attached itself to the front bumper of our rented minivan; we had to stop at a 7-Eleven, laughing hysterically, and disattach it. I think now we should have kept it somehow. There was a young guy who worked at an all-night gas station/truck stop in Oklahoma; we were the only customers there at 4 in the morning, and he pointed me toward the coffee machine. He was writing something in a notebook while he sat at the register, and when I paid for the coffee, I could read upside down in his notebook that he was making a list of Christmas gifts for people. Several people had "poetry" next to their names. I was again reminded that ordinary, seemingly insignificant people have whole unique worlds inside of them. We drove on smaller roads south from Amarillo all the way down to Odessa, past cotton fields, where we stopped on a long lonely stretch and picked a little branch of a cotton plant, to the famous oil fields, where the pumps or drills or whatever they are called, bobbed rhythmically up and down, and then up the border through the desert, at sunset, with beautiful mountain ranges and strange plants into the large city of El Paso. It was wonderful. I love Texas, in spite of all of the negative stuff associated with it, and would love to spend some time there. Someday maybe.

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