The best

The best time I had as a child was playing hide-and-seek in my grandmother’s three story rooming house. With the basement and the front porch thrown in, the house was a treasure chest of hidden alcoves, narrow stairwells, obscure corners and roomy built-in cabinetry. You could move silently from floor to floor on the downhill route because you could slide down the banisters. If you held really still and didn’t breathe, searchers would pass right by your hiding place and not notice you there. Of course, you couldn’t go into rooms that were rented out to grandma’s roomers, but you could . . .

Lingering whiff

She held the box under my chin. I poked my nose in the Celestial Seasonings package hoping for a clue about what to expect from the Blueberry Zinger. Instead I inhaled a lingering whiff of hand soap. The smell of skin and soap seem much more interesting than the aroma of the tea, so I took her hand and pulled it closer.

Her skin was warm and dry and I turned her hand so I could explore the innerside of her wrist with my nose and mouth. Oh, she breathed, and dropped the box of tea to cup my face . . .

Seniors in love

Who woulda thunk that Anthony Hopkins would become a romantic leading man in his older years? But he is in the movie The World’s Fastest Indian, a wonderful story about achieving lifetime goals. There’s an undercurrent of seniors in love (or at least in bed) in the story.

The highlight of the movie for me (not counting the speed-racing success) was the very real looking Diane Ladd, whose skin is not stretched to the slickness of a skating rink. She looks natural and more beautiful than ever.

Now, about that little prostate problem the hero . . .

Shoot to kill

Darlene stopped at the ticket booth and Junie crowded up beside her. “How many tickets you want to get?” Darlene asked.

“I’ve got ten bucks,” Junie said.

“Okay.” Darlene turned to the woman in the tiny ticket booth. “We’ll each take ten bucks worth.” A wad a tickets came snaking out at them and they turned to weave their way toward the shooting gallery. Junie didn’t even have to think twice about it, she knew that was the first place Darlene wanted to go. Darlene thought she was some kind of reincarnation of Annie Oakley, always talking about what a great shot she was and how she wasn’t afraid to shoot to kill.

Junie thought it was just bluster. Darlene wouldn’t shoot anybody, even though a lot of people really pissed her off…

Flaming lips

She’s a stubborn old poot. Set in her ways and prone to blast with flaming lips at any opinion that differs from her own. It’s no wonder she lives alone; there’s no way another human could put up with her 24/7.

Since I don’t live with her, I’m free to enjoy her friendship. The benefits of her friendship are many, surprisingly. She’s funny and affectionate when she’s not bitchin’ someone out. She loves to . . .

Unshaven

He presented his library card to me with a trembling hand. He smelled of alcohol, and was unshaven, dirty and disheveled. Yet for all that, he didn’t appear to be homeless or drunk. He was intent and concentrated and something about him made me believe he was trustworthy. And, after all, he did have a library card.

I glanced at the title of the book he wanted . . .

Public speaking

There’s nothing more terrifying to a shy person than opening your mouth in public. All the more reason to be a writer, no? What do you do when you want to be sitting quietly in the back row, yet you find yourself standing in front of the crowd, expected to speak? And even to make sense?

Here are some helpful tricks to get you through this ordeal . . .

Nuts and bolts

I’m a practical kind of girl, I said, so I think we should take a sort of nuts and bolts look at how this is going to work.

Jeffrey looked at me without comment. I took this as an invitation to continue. First, you are going to pay half the rent. It will be due by the 1st of the month. If I don’t have it on time, you will have to move out.

Jeffrey frowned. I thought we were in love. I didn’t think this was about rent. . . .

White towels

My car died halfway between nowhere and the boondocks on highway 285. There was a house not too far away, I could see something that looked like white towels waving in the wind on a clothesline. I hoped that meant someone was home.

I ducked through the antelope fence and started across the desert, sure that the shortest distance to help was in a straight line. From the road, the desert looks bare, but close up it’s a mine field of cactus spines, holes, and heat. . . .