A Holiday That Evolves With Time (and Hormones)

Easter has always been a complex and inconsistent holiday for me. When I was a relatively wee lad, the day was filled with baskets of fine chocolates, books, and ensembles perhaps better befitting a young dandy. We would attend church service and return home to a celebratory meal and a day of family bonding.

The imagery and explanations confounded me, however, as I struggled to link the Resurrection with a rabbit in a dinner jacket. Upon over-ponderance, I’d face the weary truths of kickball, grass-stains, and parental over-compensation.

As I approached the twitch of pubescent hormones, the treats were offered, naturally, far less frequently. We did, however, still go to Easter service which was always joyous and offered triumphant music. I realized at a young age that this day was the only one that, being Catholic, the hymns would be upbeat and melodic.

We’d return home to again share a special lunch and to reminisce about relatives I had never met. I would soon-after rush outside to join-up with my neighborhood cronies. I could always frolic until dark, since North Carolina was yet the only state that honored Easter Monday. The next day was another holiday!

As I became a young man, Easter became less of a special day, except that stores were closed. Many folks either went to the beach or spent the day with visiting relatives. Or savored moody independence, like I did.

I usually slept late, stayed in my robe, and spent the day either fervently reading or watching some Easter classic film that was hopefully neither “The Ten Commandments” nor some cloying Jeff Chandler chestnut!

Then as I started my journey of drifting toward and away from serious romantic relationships, the day always meant some spectacular meal: a festive brunch or elegant dinner party with perhaps a dozen guests. Certainly it was a festive day but no one really thought of Easter, its history, or its intent.

We made merry and indulged, and nursed a wretched aftermath.

Of course now I am in my reflective dotage and the day has further evolved. Like all my peers, I am prone to embrace nostalgia and share tales. Jon and I usually fix a special meal, nothing extravagant, but something out of the ordinary. 

This year, perhaps the hospital kitchen staff will make good on their vow to prepare something indeed special. If not, we can enjoy the richly and serene imaginary from equally imaginary open windows. And dine separately together.

We both have such fickle appetites and limitations, that “n’er the twain doth meet!”

Jon will play his sacred music most of the day as he swoons with the swell of the chords and the organ. We will savor a few treats. And we will reminisce about friends and lovers who have passed away and relatives that the other has never met or probably even heard mention.

It’s just the two of us, the cats, and of course the Easter bunny. I doubt I ever stopped believing in her. Yes, I learned long ago that the bearer of such sweet sentiment, gentle nostalgia, and special delicacies had to be a woman: a gentle, patient, and motherly type.

But alas and alack. I will sadly not be playing kickball this year, although it is not for lack of want.

Happy Easter, my friends. 
The Easter bunny is an angel; it’s an unwritten law of nature and divine order, at least at Marklewood and in #3702.

Personified Personas

Historically, my alter-egos have always teetered on a mucky brink. That 60’s “Sybil” of 70’s Sally fame had no idea just how simple her life was. True, her ratings were always better.

Add to the mix a few moody ids and restless egos.
Hmmm. That sounds like a psychiatric country tune, eh Lillian?

Not to fear, these potential, but perhaps dismissed profile pictures all result from too vivid episodes of wishful thinking and subconscious projection.

Okay. Okay. I’ll admit it now. While in Sr Edward Patricia’s class at St Thomas More Elementary School in Chapel Hill (1964-65, “She Loves You, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah”), my self image was derived from Saturday morning images of Mighty Mouse, Johnny Quest, and Natasha Fatale (Boris Badenov’s paramour).

That was countered with an equal part 2nd grade dysfunction in Mrs Greene’s decidedly UN-Catholic class at Glenwood Elementary. When asked to raise our hands if any characteristics or circumstances apply to “us”, I once too often scanned the room to find I was the only 7-year old with a raised hand. (“Who here isn’t Protestant?” “Who has heard Foreign languages at home?” ETC. ETC. ETC.)

Hal and Margy found no resistance when they presented me with the notion of transferring. They surely underestimated my relief.

Neighborhood buddies (Damian, Mark, Carol) helped assuage my blossoming neuroses and need for control.

I also met who would become my first girlfriend while seated in the third row. For two years she encouraged my primary school bravado. We alternated spending weekday afternoons at each other’s house. She complimented my first pair of glasses, round tortoise shell.

And I learned firsthand the joys of distraction that schoolyard drama can have.

I cried when we moved away during the summer before fifth grade. My pen is raised to “J”, whom I never saw again until a chance moment in an elevator in DC fifteen years later. We recognized each other immediately.

(Image: “Caricature No. 61, Albert Clev” by Benjamin Roubaud, Panthéon Charivarique.)

Long Ago and Beyond the Blarney Stone

Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations have never come without mixed feelings or odd associations.

That was true when I was wrestling with my staunch German heritage as I grew up in the Post-Camelot sixties. Holiday celebrations involved very little that was either festive or libationary.

That was true when I questioned my maternal grandmother Dorothy about her supposed Irish ancestry. Even in grade school, I was certain that one doesn’t inherit one’s spouse’s nationality, even with Rights of Survivorship benefits.

She was born in Michigan in 1904 to a couple who was decidedly Anglican. By the fifties, however, she had taken Cavanaugh as both her maiden and married names … at least by my deduction.

That was of course true during my years spent with the anti-Christ who was indeed unabashedly Irish. One year, we spent the evening of the 17th enjoying the West End production of “Chess”. Afterwards, we embarked on a tour of good ole “Ugly American” bar-hopping.

As we later rounded the corner to our hotel, we were drawn into and argued at what turned out to be a drag bar. I should’ve never commented that extra dry Martinis didn’t seem particularly appropriate.

I best forego the seedier details that followed. Leave it with this veiled note: I was awake and stirring by 7am while the A.C. slept into noon and then dressed a little too leisurely and haphazardly.

Lastly, there was the benchmark trip to Ireland that followed five years later. George (Ooops. I broke confidentiality.) and I had bid on a two week all-inclusive holiday at a charity event. We scheduled it for mid-March not knowing that, as of the week before we’d be uncoupling.

He ended up spending the trip with an until-then neutral third party. I immersed myself in the NCAA tourney from home. I was guilt-free when I charged his credit card with a lavish dinner for six to L’Auberge Chez Francois. The night of his return, we each confessed disdain for the other.

I immediately planned my move back to Greensboro via an extended and healing vacation to Fort Lauderdale. (My employer had dissolved my division. At age 37, I was left with a severance package and a meager retirement match.)

And now we come to today. Although awake by six, the realization that it was St Patrick’s Day wasn’t fully realized until after lunch.

Since then, I have pondered: Spatzele, that oh-so green Windy City river, the anti-Christ’s damned Green Book obsession, my grandmother’s unanswered sighs, and all things “Magically Delicious!”

Erin Go Bra-less!

Yes, Sr Edward Patricia, I said it. Just please don’t tell Sr Mary Fitzpatrick.

(These are a few of my miscellaneous “green man” images from my iPod archives.)

The Saturday Morning Mirth Makers

12274561_1066983530012330_7503053877539959490_nBy age seven and a relatively new and mature Big Brother, I had tired of most Halloween traditions. The circus always bored me. And those silly physical comedies such as “The Three Stooges”, “Little Rascals”, and “Laurel & Hardy” seemed excruciatingly foreign.

I barely even appreciated any Saturday morning cartoons, except for perhaps a random “Mighty Mouse” and “Fractured Fairy Tales”, which I interpreted as cautionary, allegorical, and rife with symbolism. Of course, I had yet to learn those terms from Sr Edward Patricia. That never stopped me, though, from explaining, deconstructing, and interpreting to/for my cousin Dennis

Yes, I was the epitome of a mid-century nerd, a bookworm, and surely the last one in my class to understand the importance and power of humor.

Of course, now that I am in my fifties (and forever tempted to look back in both regret and resolve), I have finally and safely discovered the types of humor and their forums that “stir both my loins and imagination”.

And while I would fail miserably if charged with the mission, I respect those whose calling it is to entertain, rouse, cheer, and distract.

God bless the mirth makers who, in these difficult times, help us to insulate our hopes. On certain gloomy and desolate Thursday evenings, I am convinced that the impact of the noble clown can be quite profound.

“As I stumble through this life,
help me to create more laughter than tears,
dispense more cheer than gloom,
spread more cheer than despair.

“Never let me become so indifferent,
that I will fail to see the wonders in the eyes of a child,
or the twinkle in the eyes of the aged.

“Never let me forget that my total effort is to cheer people,
make them happy, and forget momentarily,
all the unpleasantness in their lives.

“And in my final moment,
may I hear You whisper:
“When you made My people smile,
you made Me smile.”

(Image: Poster by Beppo Lotti, 1925.)

Cold Cream (The ‘D’ is M.I.A.)


Henry has been sleeping under my chin as I lay in bed imagining an improbable but increasingly craved beach romp. He usually has a fresh scent with a hint of lavender. Tonight, though, was different. Weirdly so.

He smelled just like my grandmother Dorothy always did. But that puzzled me and left me theorizing: Henry hasn’t used cold cream in years. And it so defined “Dodie” who incidentally had graduated from Oberlin in the early 20’s and later worked for the Smithsonian Institute. That perhaps was where she learned to neatly archive her secrets.

She was arguably the moistest person I have ever known. I used to mumble to my sister: “Quick! Secure the paper towels. Get the loofahs to a secured location.” I often thought that she could definitely befuddle the Brawny spokesman.

My mother called my grandmother only as Dodie. Just to bug her. Ah the tales of dysfunction always simmer this time of year.

It may just be time to get out the very dusty Pressure Cooker. I shall name it Dorothy Helen in memoriam.

I’m Reviewing the Situation: Which Way, the Query?


I feel as though I should take September’s advice and look for those ageless life-reassuring sophomore’s books, and if I’m spent on such, step to “reaffirming” my quiet second look.
Life re-assuring is a calm, steady breeze;
Oh, your calm voice and gentle touch at once make gentle a “hard lesson”.

Life-reassuring is the denouement within Mr Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes latest venture; on which to “drag aboard” a bloody drip and a better grip.
Life-reassuring is the last question on an assessment test; in a non-related Human Resources Department.
Life-reassuring is its answer, my pencil down far; too quickly.
Life-reassuring is sharing my brood in a never-ending first scene of a novel; yet put to words.

But I digress. Take my Promethean demeanor straight to bed. Take two metaphors and call me in the morning. I’ll tell you what to do.

(Image: “Reading at the Sea” by Vittorio Matteo Corcos, 1910.)

The Fresh Producers: That’s My Watermelon

imageToday was such a perfect August day, one of Lou Reed perfection. At least I think so. It’s been many years since such a Marklewood Sunday peeked at us from the East. And then, upon a positive evaluation, the day opened its eyes from the squint.

My sister Polly and I had a good, old-fashioned “Shelling for Jesus” day.  We shelled two pounds of field peas, cooked them, and took note. We sautéed onions, added a package of my most favorite spicy sausage, and slowly combined the field peas.

You have absolutely no idea, Oh Gentle Reader and Generous Chef. All but a cupful fied into a hand-crafted turquoise tureen. There is a-plenty.

For the rest of the afternoon, we organized and prepped all the produce that easily filled two shelves: squash, honeydews, canteloups, peaches, berries. Polly sliced two watermelons into manageable pieces on which a melon freak might get a little crazy.

For my part, I made a simple scored-cucumber salad with vidalias and balsamic vinegar. My sister cooked ten ears of corn and then sliced the kernels right into some storage piece.

I sliced fresh jalapeños and stirred the slices into two cups of my favorite mayonaise. For those of you who do not live in the US, let me forewarn you. Southerners, if not consumers from all of the continental sbouncerstates, enjoy a rite of passage into culinary adulthood. Most folks seem to have lifelong selections for their “favorite” non-boutique mayonaise, ketchup, mustard, cola. In my case, a nosy guest might find Hellman’s, Heinz, Guldens, and Pepsi.

While there are many, many soft drinks with both many variations and fields of fans, I’m afraid that such a summit would never be a calm, civil display via Roberts Rules or behemoth bouncers.

I swear on the memories of Boar & Castle Drive In, years of transgression therapies have been unproductive. The best kitchen controls are high, broil, and anarchy-fueled domestic dictatorships.

By 5:30 pm, all the produce was washed, sliced, and bagged. Wherever appropriate foods were cooked, we secured the perfect size storage tureens.

We chatted, planned another such afternoon, and just passed away these suggestive dog days. No time had passed in the five years since we had a healthy interrupted visit.

I was so ready. I was so hungry. Eating healthily is its own revenge, eh Emily?

May your dreams tonight be as sweet as fresh Candor peaches!

Shalom. Bon apetit.

(Image: by Kevin Sloan.)

She Must’ve Gotten Waylaid Against the Wayward Wind


Finally! I have stumbled upon the Red Meat Fairy. Although she’s known by so many personas, I call her Delmonica. Before I Continue, I must shamefully  apologize to you, Gentle Reader,  and that wisp of a worn wailer, our Ms Grant.

Tomorrow, my beloved and I meet with what seems like the transplant team of the United Federation of Planets. I am weary of the drama. Quite literally, I might add.

However, I am confident that the results will be amenable to all parties, in this case “Vlad”, my former trivia contest handle. I learned many things from those marathon triviathons of yesteryear. I am much more competitive than I ever imagined. Further, I met Vlad who schooled me in the art and value of being incognito.

Unlike me, Jon is less confident about tomorrow’s summit. He’s a reluctant, silver-haired fretter of Edwardian proportion. At least he is fired up and focused. Seeing begets believing. Believing begets joy and melody.

And celebration may just warrant an obnoxiously thick steak grilled rare. That sassy and elusive Red Meat Fairy has dangled it to rouse my spirits.

So I will catch up with you, my friend, on the other side of Friday. Keep your fingers firmly crossed, please. I just want closure and a hasty return to my crest on the transplant list.

The background music fades.

Pray for us singers, eh Gogi?


(Image: “Meat Dancer” by Mark Ryden, 2011.)

A Rainbow Wrapped in a Sigh

Yesterday was a cerulean day that became the sum of exceptional and precious moments:

I had another great hour with my rarely-mentioned therapist. Where Drs. Chase and Hoffman had failed years ago, she succeeds every other Thursday. With neither pretense nor pretext, we simply talk.

My life appears woven from tattered, faded strips of a Persian blue Fortuny silk with some moth-eaten chartreuse Dupioni. Like many of the Universe’s twists and turns, a trade discount does a metaphor proud.

My sister and I swapped stories from Life’s grand “tea party”, with at least a few bites of both earned and learned leftover scones of carefully portioned nostalgia. We talked of the sins of our parents — the ones that we inevitably repeat. And we imagined life in our doting 80’s. As if!

Finally, there were many, many random laughs. My Tom Bergeron pick would be when I was chatting with a dear friend. Ben Carson’s name came up. With no hesitation, I responded:

“Republican, African-American, Johns Hopkins educated, Detroit physician in 2015! What was God thinking?” The party is over; it’s now a raft of fools, as it were.

Lastly, I had a manly salad with blue cheese dressing for dinner, neither of which I can have post-transplant. It’s an unfortunate trifecta of bacteria, virus, and mold issues.

And now? I want candy. Pink candy smelling of clove and tasting of midnight.

Henry indeed loves his wee hour music references. Yes. Such a puss has his Bow Wow Wows. He’s the Candy Man and he certainly can!

(Image: “La Houppa” by R. Choppy, 1926.)

That Typical First Date Sigh

Like many of my wide-eyed peers, the late 60’s saw both my innocence lost and an awareness found. The drama of partisan politics, an inevitable move toward late night television viewing, and a Dion tune all changed my freshly stuccoed kingdom of escapism and awareness.

The world was indeed spinning around us and I wanted in. But those topics are poised fodder for future posts, but their mention sets a stage, albeit tenuous.

I was in Sr Mary Patrick’s sixth grade class at St Pius X Catholic School. I felt rather grown-up and my parents seemed to think so. It was finally time for me to ponder the “magical mystery” world of dating.

For three nights of sitting next to the phone, I was still unable to dial the seventh number. My father teased me. My sister giggled as she spied from the doorway.

I did it. I took a deep breath, sat back, and prayed she would answer the phone quickly. She, of course, didn’t. But alas, at least she finally did.

To protect her anonymity, some 46 years later, I will not reveal her name for she may be on Facebook. It is far more genteel to refrain from discussing such matters. Her initials, however, were the reverse of mine, SMcD.

My, how the sharing of details can lead to prosaic digression.

Anyway, Oh Patient Reader, I asked SMcD if she’d like to go to a movie the upcoming Saturday. She agreed without pause. On the other hand, she was caught off guard, of that I am certain. The lesson was to lead with spontaneity whenever possible.

Too much planning and notice often get lost in some neurotic and muddled puddle of anticipation, excuses, and uncertainty. Perhaps wavering, ambivalence or ennui follow. Beats me, Gentle Reader. I was only eleven years old.

That Saturday, my father dropped me off at my friend’s house in Fisher Park. The once opulent movie theater was only blocks away. We could simply stroll at some prepubescent pace. But we didn’t.

I was too excited. We had tickets to see “Yellow Submarine” and I was in my version of a frenzy.

The film was thrilling. The rapid cuts of color, music, song, and images were exhilarating. We had buttered popcorn and Cherry Cokes.

As we were exiting the theater and chattering away, the wind blew some particle of dust into my eye. I couldn’t get it out. Further, I was one of those repressed types that clamps down quickly on his/her eyelids. We kept walking so I could better conceal my frustration and panic. I had an idea.

Lane’s Drugstore was a nearby. We could get ice cream there. More to the point, the Pharmacist, Mr Stang, was certain to have a solution.

He rummaged through several drawers and emerged from underneath some cabinetry. Victory was, perhaps, mine. He brought over an eyewash. I had never heard of such a product but was approaching desperation. I prayed that the culprit would just disappear quickly and I could regain my composure.

Folowing Mr Stangs instructions, I raised the small cup to my eye to essentially rinse my cornea. However, I probably had no idea what a cornea really was.

I felt a chill, swooned a bit, and fainted … just steps away from the soda fountain. A silly sense of doom and embarrassment killed my appetite but I had a cone anyway. It would’ve been rude to allow SMcD to feel self conscious.

Over the next few hours, I walked her home and then to my father’s office where he was working and waiting for me to stop by. Hal’s Limousine Service seemed to always pull-up to the curb for a heavy tariff.

I scurried to my room to sulk a bit and examine my eye. With neither notice nor awareness as to when it actually happened, the fleck was flicked.

I turned on my radio and grabbed a book, planning to read for a bit before dinner. Recklessly and dramatically jumping onto the bed, I landed in the center with waning springs.

Peeking inside, I jumped for joy INTERNALLY. The “Yellow Submarine” album and a Heath bar were well-concealed in a bag. My mother was a pro at her rather consistent Saturday regime of shopping and errands. And I usually accompanied her.

For the rest of the day, save for dinner, the Beatles tunes filled the airwaves … from my room to my sister’s. Over to my parents’. And down the hallway to the rest of the house. One could probably hear a resounding “we all live in a …!” from outside the garage, if not beyond.

But I didn’t care. I had a new Beatles LP; my eyes were speckless but gleaming; and I had stepped across a soon-to-be teenaged milestone.

I had successfully completed my first date.

(Image: “Meat Train” by Mark Ryden, 2000.)

Skipping Along Moon River’s Banks


I love women. As a gay man, I might foolishly offer generalizations seemingly due the “fairer” sex. Wiser, more compassionate, fairer, kinder, more loyal, less uptight, more nurturing … Hell, they present a more appropriate creativity with the palette that is “style”.

Of course, all of that is seeded from childhood when we first realize that the mother/son or father/daughter paradigms are correct: both primal and essential to survival.

Most menfolk are attracted to a certain type of woman. In my case, Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly is sublime and non pareil. The resulting ideal is bold, yet innocent.

Without my trademark “gilding the lily”, probably another 748 adjectives apply, as most of us have pondered this several times.

The Universe has indulged me often. As an adult, I’ve worked with Liana H, Anna K, Julie H, and Carol H just to point out a few.

Liana and I worked together in Washington, DC. One day she came in wearing a smart Chanelish suit, wig, and pillbox hat. It was the only subject of conversation for days. I think most of us would like to have such confidence in paying homage.

Sixteen- year old Julie was an employee in Chicago. She treated all of life as a genre of art. And she was its impresario-in-waiting. I was 28 and considered taking her to my 10th high school reunion. I cautiously passed on the event, not wanting to even lightly spark mention of the inappropriateness of the age difference. She was, however, quite game.

The other two are from my days in Greensboro. Anna was stunning and, oddly, exotic for a doe-eyed, pierced, and Southern “ginger-ette”. During a horrific time of my life, she was the only person I felt could handle the rawness of exposing her innocence to the sadness, grief, panic, and total uncertainty that defined my world in 2001.

My partner was rapidly deteriorating from Progressive Multi-Focal Leukoencephalopathy or PML. Please google it. It is far too difficult to verbalize and explain the disease and its rapid spiral into anguish.

Anna brought smiles and compassion to a still household paralyzed with the anticipation of death.

Lastly, Carol is the epitome of a Bohemian, intrepid, and kind grandmotherly photographer. I shall be brief.

In the late 90’s, she took a rather extensive body of artful nude pictures of me. Actually, I was “nekkid”. In one shot my jeans were bunched at my ankles while I wore a mushroom-brown fedora. It was titillating, well for me. There wasn’t the slightest reveal of genitalia. We did, though, exhaust ways of draping a duvet without adventuring into a lurid and unseemly nadir.

But I obsess.

What started as a goofy albeit private moment of “Georgy Girl” flashbacks took a shower, dressed in something sensible and Head-like, and turned on Liam, my iPod. Of course, such MP3 players all aim to mature into moderately flashy and trendy timepiece.

The playlist was a “no brainer”: gems from the Zombies, Lou Reed & the Velvet Underground, the Poppy Family, Timi Yuro, and the Ronettes. Add four or five classic Led Zeppelin and the Who tunes and select shuffle. Then pay homage to inspired M.R. covers by Katie Melua, the Honey Trees, Elton John, and the Birds & the Bees.

Such a late afternoon soundtrack would lead to Mancini mayhem of the Mid-Century ilk.

Holly would’ve loved it. With Cat soundly lap napping.

(Image: “Curved Light of the Night” by Kobayakawa Kiyoshi, 1932.)

An Infant Hums “Stonecutters Cut it on Stone”


Wednesday has always been my least favorite weekday, rooted in a summer swelter that rushed my parents from enjoying “Carousel” at Chapel Hill’s Varsity Theater, back in ’56. My mother spent the next full day in flailing labor. Then at a moment past midnight, I finally emerged, dazed and confused, and overwhelmed with questions. “Who are these skinny people?” “Why am I still naked?” And “What ever happened to that suddenly charming, misunderstood, and freakishly kindred baby that first appeared on screen as Hal and Margy were scurrying down the aisle?”

I was born at 12:01 on a Wednesday, a day that no two people were ever able to recount with the same details and zeal. My mother, an excruciatingly reserved, demure, and proper woman of twenty-five, endured 27 hours of labor without so much as an unkind word or expletive.

My father, a confident and boldly dramatic man, likely slipped into endless German ravings and commentary, as I’d later find that he did whenever he got just a little too excited. By Saturday, we were quietly at home as I enjoyed my new crib and new-found privacy. I imagine that very day would’ve been a far more appropriate day to enter the world.

Yet I was born on an uneventful midweek day, Wednesday. Over the next fifty-eight years, I would endure almost 3,000 of them. All of the momentous chestnuts of my life have been on other days: weddings, funerals, graduations, parties, great first dates, lousy first dates, and Casey Kasem’s “American Top Forty” radio show. Wednesday was always a day on which I was cramming my energies into finishing a school project, staying late at work to meet a deadline, or compulsively planning the most elaborate of details for a dinner party.

I can’t really recall any particular Wednesday, although with prodding and time, I might. There was one particular one, back in 1993, on which I went to sleep on a Tuesday and awakened on a Thursday. That medically-supervised and morphine enhanced stay in the hospital was, I am certain, blissful for both my sub-conscious and alter ego. They never, however, addressed such an admission.

So here I sit, on yet another Wednesday at my ever comfortable and increasingly dusty desk. The day has naturally been uneventful, although my “To Do” list is teeming with unfinished household missions. Surely, there will be nothing on television this evening to pique my interest. Every time there is indeed a compelling program that airs on Wednesday, it is promptly cancelled by the network; case in point: “Pushing Daisies”.

Mind you, I am being neither negative nor a fatalist, just an observant pragmatist. Wednesdays are, in my humble estimation, the best of “bridge” days. They link Tuesday to Thursday, both of which are days that are infinitely more interesting with historically more attractive TV viewing options.

I am, however, now fifty-eight. Time seems to pass, unravel, or tick away rather quickly, so Wednesdays are no longer consumed with dread. “Carousel”, however, is! For quite a while it was my parent’s favorite film as it was linked to the birth of their first-born.

At age ten, when I finally first viewed it, I suggested that my parents had indeed exited the theater too quickly that night to escape the film’s idiocy, dripping sweetness, and insipid ploys. They rolled their eyes, as they often did that year, and Hal sang “My Boy Mark” in German, gently adapting Mr. Hammerstein’s original lyrics. I’ll always remember that night as my parents and I all laughed but for different reasons. Of course, it was a Friday night.

Turnabout is fair play, but Wednesdays still “suck apples through a chain link fence!”

Do I rank the days of the week? You bet I do!

In any case, Gentle Reader, I am listening to the Real Tuesday Weld on an otherwise uneventful day. I will close my eyes tonight at bedtime with modest hopes of greeting the day known as Friday when I next awaken.

(Image: “Royal Bath” by Martin Wittfooth, 2012.)

We Never Really Know the Same Motherly Spirit


Only a few minutes remain in this Mothers’ Day. Sunday night at Marklewood will then be steered via automatic pilot for “wee hour” television viewing. “Eastenders” on PBS is usually the one casualty and therefore saved for later in the week.

True, it’s a mindless soap that fell into excruciatingly repetitive story lines long before ABC’s Susan Lucci was halfway through her string of Daytime Emmy nods.

Back on track: There have been only a handful of mothers whose life, love, and profound nurturing I celebrate: my grandmothers, Dorothy and Paula, my mother Margaret, and my sister Paula. My grandmothers, however, weren’t necessarily of the equal opportunity variety.

The older Paula doted on my father, denying any real acknowledgment of my sister’s and my accomplishments. Dorothy, on the other hand, treated me as if I were the only male in her family, which was essentially true.

Conversely, she viewed my sister as too much of a rebel and was mortified that my sister converted. I never saw my grandmother go to church nor heard her even utter the name of one. She did remain well-versed in the traditions of parental martyrs.

Dorothy encouraged me to follow my instincts and heart. She consistently nagged my mother and my sister, often in a hateful, “Queen Bee-esque” manner. Yet, she allowed me the privilege of manhood or, for that matter, adulthood.

My sister Paula, whom I still call Polly, broke traditions from both family sides. She raised her three daughters with little help, unyielding in her sacrifice or devotion. She was perhaps the only supermom I ever knew.

But Mothers’ Day belongs to Margaret. Her graveside memorial was held on Mothers’ Day 1991. And to me, she was always perfect: kind, attentive, encouraging, and proud of her children. She’d celebrate the day with a couple of Manhattans. I’m certain that Angels are permitted to drink alcohol, though probably not a whiskey cocktail.

Alas! The “Eastenders” theme is queuing and Peggy is back with her misguided maternal small-mindedness. She was the blonde who romped with Benny Hill and then eased into small screen bitchiness. Nonetheless, Henry has wished her a Happy Mothers’ Day. If he so much as hears that voice, he is quick to jump onto the bed and actually watch the program (or at least go through the motions!)

That puss is such a devoted fan.

(Image: “Mothers” by Seymour Chwaste, Pushpin Graphics #64, 1976.)

Thank God I’m a City Boy!

This afternoon on the way home from our separate physical therapy sessions, a familiar tune started playing on some erstwhile Sirius radio station. With neither thought nor realization, the lyrics stated rolling off my mind’s tongue. I know better than to ever sing aloud in front of another person or, especially, myself.

Trust me. Freedom from such torturous screeching is well worth the tolerance of a weak, if not awful metaphor. Jon had not even an inkling of what I was thinking, nor was he aware of his bliss.

Surprisingly, I remained a stanza ahead of the radio and missed ne’r a beat nor a lyric. The song was clearly etched into my sub-conscious. Its title and the chanteuse’s name, however, both escaped me.

Anxiously, I remained a rather still passenger. I know better than to ask Jon a “music trivia” question. Hell, he couldn’t even identify a Madonna hit, let alone have success with this pop singer.

I’d like to blame my heart’s ejection fraction for my loss. Nonetheless, it could have simply been an unprompted mid-dotage moment. The song reminded me of my teenage years so my assumption was that it scored on Billboard in the early 70’s.

The disc jockey’s voice grew and I stopped just short of breathing. I had been reliving an Anne Murray song.

It was plain but complex: an unlikely, in fact unlinked, song was toward the middle of my life’s ever-evolving soundtrack.

There’s that dreaded rub. Was I becoming my parents? Would I start humming “The Last Farewell” or some Tony Orlando and Dawn tune?

Yikes. Remembering that familiar sound bite scared me right into a Casey Kasem stupor. I “reached the stars” just like he always urged his passionate listeners.

Unfortunately, At least for the time being, I did not “spread my tiny wings and fly away.”

I was far too busy reciting to myself a new mantra: I will not sing along nor aloud to any John Denver song. Let Wolfman Jack bear witness.

That is, unless my senses are “filled up”.

(Image: “Working as One” by Chris Buzelli, 2015.)