Life Among the Never-Winged

Once upon a time I was writing a book called, "Just Another Love Letter", about angels behaving badly. Now I just quietly ask myself each day, "What the hell am I doing?"

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Location: The Rocky Mountain Empire, United States

My friends always knew I was going to hell. My only hope is that God likes good jokes and bad redheads.

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  • Monday, June 18, 2007

    My Life in Fragments

    Maybe you can string it together and pretend it's a post. Or at least a really funky necklace.

    * * *

    A Kitchen Conversation

    “There are times when I've wished I was an orphan.”

    Laughter from O. I smile and nod at my dad, who has just made this pronouncement.

    “No, really, I mean it,” he continues. “My life would have been so much happier if I'd been left on a doorstep and never adopted. I could have grown up without parents.”

    “I loved my Papa very much, but...her.” I say.

    “She's a millstone around my neck. I'll be relieved when she's dead.” My dad says, then looks at me. “You need to be polite to her. I've talked to her...”

    “I will be polite. But we will not go to her house. That house is a place of horror for me. I need to protect my boys from it. And I think I will have a nervous breakdown if I ever set foot in there again.”



    “What are you guys talking about in there...?”

    * * *

    I watch through the car window, unable to read, unable to write. I've never seen so many wildflowers in the Waste of Eastern Colorado. Nebraska is an ugly girl in a beautiful green velvet dress. Every creek is full, every field thriving.

    People in truck stops in Nebraska look at you funny when you have a nose ring, even if Andy is goofing on Elvis in the bathroom.

    “You can't run across the floor, Jack. This is a hotel. People are sleeping below us...Not so loud. Do you hear the people above us? That's how you sound to the people on the first floor.”

    “Mommy? Are we stacked up?”

    * * *

    Des Moines Girl looks beautiful. She's due in a month and she's absolutely gorgeous. She doesn't believe me. Her daughter is her five-year-old image and spills every secret imaginable with a smile and an innocent-wise laugh. The menu boasts, “The best shakes since 1988.” We had our first ones here in '89. I look around for a pair of familiar girls coming in for a quick meal between classes, even though they'd never believe it was us, and I wouldn't know what to tell them. Except maybe, 'Don't worry about where you're going; you're still holding each other up as you cross the ice.'

    * * *

    “Stop fighting or grandpa is going to get into an accident and it will be your fault!”

    Please, please don't tell them that.

    * * *

    The Amana Amish colony in Iowa now sports a water park. I'm not kidding. The Wasserbahn. I hope you find this as funny as I do.

    * * *

    Five minutes after walking through the door:

    SNAP Fingers.

    “Listen to me, Jack and Declan! You listen to me. Let's get one thing clear. You leave my cats alone, do you understand me? You leave my cats ALONE!”

    Who knew my dad was such a cat lover? Not me.

    Five minutes after that:

    I'm in the basement looking for toys to bring up to distract the boyos from the cats that have been hiding since we arrived. They're looking for toys too, completely unfazed.

    I see an old manikin; a naked boy. Buster Brown. A long-ago gift from the grandmonster.

    Here you go, R. He can be your new brother. He's just like the one you have now. Now say, 'thank you grandma'.”

    I realize I'm not looking for toys anymore, but scurrying like a rat in a cellar. Still, I mange not to cry in front of my sons.

    * * *

    “I told you father to call his mother. She'll be upset that she's not coming over tomorrow.”

    “We are not going to her house.”

    “Ah, well, whatever. That's up to you two. I'm out of the discussion.”

    She goes into the house. No, she flounces into the house with a little fluttery laugh.

    The boyos are running back and forth in the back yard laughing and looking for more lightning bugs like the one that flickered in my cupped hand, the first one they've ever seen. If I've done one thing right by them, one single thing in their lives that I've gotten right, it's that I've introduced them to lightning


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    27 people left me a love letter:

    Anonymous d-man wrote in a love letter...

    Very Fear&Loathing-esque...


    4:12 AM, June 18, 2007  
    Blogger Bud wrote in a love letter...

    You can write anything. ANYthing. And I'll read it with enormous love and appreciation. This is a beautiful necklace, indeed.

    6:42 AM, June 18, 2007  
    Blogger amusing wrote in a love letter...

    Lightning bugs and tidal pools -- no childhood should be without them!

    Lovely post and I am indeed chuckling about the Wasserbahn. My mom and I took the kids to see trains and stopped at an Amish corn maze, etc. and she began talking about the "Amish mafia" preying on the tourists.... ah, the good times, the good times...nothing like family!

    6:59 AM, June 18, 2007  
    Blogger Maggie wrote in a love letter...

    Lord, the word monster is starting to make sense now.

    Lightning bugs are indeed a great gift.

    9:02 AM, June 18, 2007  
    Blogger patches wrote in a love letter...

    Two weeks? No really, two weeks. After reading this string of passages, I have to say, our lives are no so different as I once thought.

    "Nebraska is an ugly girl in a beautiful green velvet dress. ". I love that line, I makes me feel like I'm riding in the car with you.

    9:05 AM, June 18, 2007  
    Anonymous clowncar wrote in a love letter...

    That post was like rummaging through old dusty boxes in an attic. I would say it was nice, but I doubt it feels that nice to you. And the whole "manikin" thing was so creepy I actually, literally gasped. Hang in there.

    If it makes you feel any better, were were entertaining visiting Texans this weekend. Yikes!

    9:38 AM, June 18, 2007  
    Blogger Des_Moines_Girl wrote in a love letter...

    Good luck with grandmonster. You were right to keep the visit at your parents' house and not give in. Gives her less power that way.

    The mannikin story was just plain creepy!

    Me? Gorgeous?!?!? You are too kind but thank you! :-)

    Hang in there! Call me if you need an excuse to hide for awhile.

    *big hugs!*

    11:17 AM, June 18, 2007  
    Blogger meno wrote in a love letter...

    Family, oh family.

    You just gave me a reason to be glad that mine live close. That way i can go home any time.

    I hope there will be more beads.

    1:14 PM, June 18, 2007  
    Blogger Schmoopie wrote in a love letter...

    I will Fed-Ex you a big bucket to pour water over her.

    What is it about people when they get old? They get really protective of their pets. My dad was the same way with his bird when we were out there 3 years ago. It is really strange.

    I love lightning bugs. I used to catch them and keep them overnight in a jar with a lid so I could watch them light-up in my room. I'd let them go in the morning.

    Your mom doesn't seem to get it does she?

    Here are a few hugs from us in Seattle. OOOO

    6:44 PM, June 18, 2007  
    Blogger Lynn wrote in a love letter...

    Oh my!...I'm figuring if I now have a headache, after reading must need lots and lots of here they are ((hugs)), ((hugs)), ((hugs)), ((hugs)), ((hugs)), ((hugs)).

    9:54 PM, June 18, 2007  
    Blogger Mona Buonanotte wrote in a love letter...

    The family thing made my arms tingle, in a very-familiar-angsty way. You are handling it all very well, m'dear. And you are treating lightning bugs better than I did as a child...we'd catch 'em, and then squish them on our t-shirts and watch the glow. I know, I know, a special hell for me.

    4:41 AM, June 19, 2007  
    Blogger Irrelephant wrote in a love letter...

    I wonder at times if we as parents are given one and only one moment in our lives with our children to make that perfect impression, that core event that will affect them for the rest of their lives. I think you might have found yours with the lightning bugs. Brava. *hug*

    10:25 AM, June 19, 2007  
    Blogger Mother of Invention wrote in a love letter...

    Such realistic vignettes from your fragmented memory snippets..but somehow they are indeed strung like a funky chunky necklace with you as the pendant. This type of writng is womderful and reminds me of waht famous writers like margaret Atwood do.

    12:12 PM, June 19, 2007  
    Blogger Scott from Oregon wrote in a love letter...

    A toast to family survival skills!

    9:19 PM, June 19, 2007  
    Blogger Da Duck wrote in a love letter...

    here is something to get you away from the family...

    6:24 AM, June 20, 2007  
    Blogger amusing wrote in a love letter...

    Steely Dan was on the radio this morning as I drove the kids to camp. I thought of you and sent good thoughts your way. Hang in there!

    8:28 AM, June 20, 2007  
    Blogger Lisa wrote in a love letter...

    "Nebraska is an ugly girl in a beautiful green velvet dress."

    Best line ever.

    And oh, what a trip it can be to visit family...hang in there, kiddo. :)

    10:41 AM, June 21, 2007  
    Blogger Cheesy wrote in a love letter...

    All I can really do is send you some peaceful hippy chick vibes.. I feel the pain with you.. stick to your guns gurlie...Keep the boyos at bay from her.. you know BEST!

    5:52 AM, June 22, 2007  
    Anonymous Rudi wrote in a love letter...

    It's been a long week.

    I'm looking forward to you surfacing again soon.

    9:42 AM, June 22, 2007  
    Blogger amusing wrote in a love letter...

    Here, here, rudi.
    We need our Dancehall days.

    11:44 PM, June 23, 2007  
    Anonymous Rudi wrote in a love letter...

    Everybody Wang Chung tonight!

    2:01 PM, June 24, 2007  
    Anonymous Meredith wrote in a love letter...

    In fragments but such lovely sparkley ones!
    If I ever get back to sleep I'll have nightmares involving Buster Brown. I'm sure of it.

    4:38 AM, June 29, 2007  
    Blogger Popeye wrote in a love letter...

    Holy cats! I do know this axe murder in Chicago. . .

    10:42 AM, June 29, 2007  
    Anonymous Rudi wrote in a love letter...

    Okay, now its been a long 2 weeks.

    We miss you kid (Charlemagne).

    Yes there's gas in the car (if we need to come bust you out).

    You didn't end up in the county jail with the working girls did you?

    2:13 PM, July 02, 2007  
    Blogger amusing wrote in a love letter...

    Hey, I've just recovered from my week with my parents post-break up. Not recommended. They were worse than the break up. So I hope you are recovering and will be back soon.

    9:02 AM, July 04, 2007  
    Blogger Scott from Oregon wrote in a love letter...

    Well, I've heard rumors of a sighting carrying two pounds of coffee...

    11:47 AM, July 04, 2007  
    Blogger Jay wrote in a love letter...

    A lovely mosaic. Families are complicated.

    3:33 PM, July 05, 2007  

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