What’s that Smell

“What’s that smell?” Dad asked. He dropped his briefcase and car keys.

“Hmm, I don’t know. I burned some pizza in the oven earlier when it dripped.”

“Come on, that isn’t burned anything except maybe pot. Are you smoking weed in my house? That’s grounds for eviction, buddy.”

“Naw, pop, I wouldn’t do that. We have a deal.”

“Okay, then explain the smell, smart boy.”

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What Granny Said

Granny said S-H-I-T and spelled it out. She never said the actual word. Grannies were different then. Now they say everything just like the rest of the world, toddlers included. I recall the first time I said ‘shit’ out loud. I was in 7th grade, at the swimming pool. I was walking by myself and uttered the forbidden word to myself. It changed my life, saying that word out loud. Now I say everything just like the grannies and toddlers.

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Hello, Autumn

Hello, autumn

I wrote just to say thanks for cooling things down a bit. I’m looking forward to what you’re going to do with the aspen trees up on the mountain and the cottonwood trees here in town. With the cool mornings, I want to thank you for bringing a few hot air balloons around. And, autumn, could you please make it safe to be in the world soon? I would be nice to get to hug someone again.

Your friend,
Summer

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I Learned

I learned I could live on a deserted island during this pandemic. Provided I had plenty to eat. And assuming the place wasn’t full of hungry predators who were bigger than I am. Actually, maybe what I really learned is that I can be isolated in my comfy home for months at a time and not go stark raving mad. We writers have an advantage over the rest of the world. We are introverts. Another advantage is that we produce whole worlds in our imagination – so who needs anything outside the house?

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Blessings

They say an attitude of gratitude makes you a more successful person. That you should count your blessings each night before going to sleep. Right now just being alive and disease free is a blessing. There is so much to worry about – our democracy, our planet, our jobs and livelihoods. It’s hard to remember to be thankful for anything. So lets stay safe, live through this, and bless the world with our wisdom as we recover.

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I’m sorry

My Aunt Elise was the kind of woman who would start a sentence with the words, “I’m sorry but,” and proceed to blast you with the most vile insults. Especially if the topic was religion or politics. She really wasn’t that nice about other topics, either, now that I think about it. I cut her out of my life long ago just to stay sane. Even so I wasn’t happy to hear about her death from a disease she called a hoax. Another unnecessary death that could have been prevented.

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The Plants!

Nature Center, Albuquerque 9/2017

In Kansas City they have these flowering plants called naked ladies. They are so odd looking to me. I’m used to spiny things that warn you to keep away. If we humans completely mess up the earth (which seems inevitable), the plants are going to take over. They’ll fill all the crevices, infiltrate the buildings, cover the streets. I hope they like it hot.

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I miss

I miss picking out the restaurant we want to go to. I miss choosing a movie from a long list at the multiplex. I miss flying to the coast to see family. I miss hugs. I miss playing music with people. I miss chatting up the folks in my exercise class. There’s a lot to miss during a quarantine. But it isn’t as hard as missing the people who’ve been caught in this pandemic. Missing the people who are missing. The trauma and grief from so many missing people will last long after this is over.

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The Kitchen

The kitchen was
Where I talked to mom,
The kitchen was
Where we were all together,
The kitchen was
Where we played table games,
The kitchen was
The place to sit and stare,
The kitchen was
Full – filled – with life.

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What’s that smell?

I opened a new pack of Clorox wipes to clean up the load of groceries I’d just brought in the house. Ah, life during corona virus.

After, the smell on my hands took me back years. Back to an elementary school where I used to teach. Back to a school where the janitor polished and waxed the floors so regularly they gleamed. The wax, or the cleaning fluid, that he put in the machine he pushed up and down the halls, smelled like my hands.

I was back in the hallways of that building, thinking about all the kids who passed through them – probably still will when this pandemic is over. Back in a part of my life that was as natural as breathing.

Now, each time I use those wipes, I’ll go far away. Funny how a smell can do that to you.

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