The Long Hot Summer

Remember when you were a kid – back in the days before kids spent their time looking at a screen? When summer lasted forever and getting outside in the heat was the best thing ever? Riding the bike, playing hide and go seek after sunset, skipping down the sidewalk, getting an ice cream cone at the drug store, watching ants and grasshoppers with fascination? Yeah. Me, too.

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Road Trip

“Let’s take a road trip,” he said. He clunked his coffee cup down on the table and dropped the newspaper.

“Where?” I asked.

“There’s an article in here about a bed and breakfast in the mountains north of Taos. You can see a million stars at night!”

“Do we need to drive to Taos to see a million stars?”

“The food there is 4 stars. Quiet, beautiful, great food. 4 stars . . .”

He looked at me, waiting.

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Admire

Italy
First 50 many years ago in Italy

I admire and am attracted to intelligence. An intelligent, well-written sentence or poem impresses me. All my life I’ve strived to write to write impressive sentences. Once in a while I succeed.

Recently I was reading an old journal I wrote while on a trip to Italy. There were a few good sentences in it. You have to admit it’s pretty funny when a writer impresses herself with her own sentences!

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My Favorite Aunt

Kala is my favorite aunt. She’s also my only aunt. Even if I had a dozen aunts, she would still be my favorite. She doesn’t have any kids, so I’m sort of her substitute kid. She’s not judgmental like my mom. I can tell her stuff and she just listens. Sometimes she gives me good advice. She likes to do cool things, too, like rollerblading. She’s the best.

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The Best Cookie

So many cookies, so little time. The best cookies are homemade, of course. Where I come from the master bakers always produce tons of biscochitos. They are good. Cinnamon and sugar always works.

But give me something with chocolate. My grandson made some chocolate and peppermint cookies the other day that were the best cookies ever made. Yes, give me something chocolate.

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A Bowl of Cherries

Cherries

Uncle Bill must have had big plans for those cherries. When he heard that I’d been climbing the cherry tree in the back yard eating up the cherries he was most unhappy with me. You can’t give back a juicy, sweet cherry once you’ve eaten it. But, really, those particular cherries – illegally seized right from the tree – were the best dang cherries I ever ate.

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Summer Holidays

Fireworks 3

Our first summer,
Do you remember that one?
We lived down by the river
And caught fish for the 4th?
Remember that old tub
We filled with ice and watermelon?
We put a blanket on the grass
And watched the fireworks.
We chased grasshoppers in
The weeds behind the house.
When everyone was gone and
The night was quiet
We lay on the blanket all night long,
Just the two of us
In love.

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Stars

I remember as a younger person staring at the stars for hours. I learned to find the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper, Orion, The Pleiades, Gemini and many more. To really see stars, you have to go outside the city. The mountains of New Mexico are a good star watching spot. Best night of star watching I ever had was on the way to Lincoln, NM. We pulled off the road and laid on the fenders and just looked. Ghost Ranch in NM is another good spot. The Milky Way is so close and so bright you can almost feel it.

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My Favorite Candy

Last night I ate a Mozartkugel, a Austrian/German confection I’d never heard of before. Someone brought it to book club for the discussion of “The Afterlife of Stars.” It set me to thinking about favorite candy that I’ve loved. Chocolate has always been the favorite, changing over the years from gooey sweetness like Mounds bars to the darkest of dark chocolates I love now. Now I happily down the 85% cocoa bars that I would have found bitter as a younger person.

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The Shirt

It’s a plaid Pendleton wool shirt that used to belong to my dad. If I wear it long enough to get it warmed up, I can smell my dad’s sweat. I don’t do that very often, just when I really miss him and know his smell will make me feel closer to him. I have other things of his – his pocket knife, a carved duck – but they don’t carry a scent like that shirt. It takes me back to . . .

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