I think

Sometimes I think about the lollypops. There were dozens of lollypops arranged in a colorful display with the handles stuck into a hunk of styrofoam. They were presented to me by a student’s parent as a Christmas gift. They were bright and beautiful, but they were lollypops. I made the horrible mistake of thinking they were meant to be eaten, not admired as a Christmas decoration. I offered to share them with the students, thereby destroying the beautiful decoration and making the parent very unhappy. I think about that mistaken assumption that the lollypops were for eating more often than is probably mentally healthy, and I and wonder how many other stupid mistakes I’ve made that I didn’t even realize I made.

I remember . . .

“Buddy Greco kissed me once,” she said. “I remember it like it was yesterday. I had such a crush on him. I’d been to a bunch of his shows when I lived back east. One time I was in the front row and he called me up on the stage.” She grinned and paused in her story, remembering. “He sang a song just for me, and then he gave me a kiss. I didn’t wash my face for a month!”

The best news for lovers of Buddy Greco is that he is now available on iTunes. So we . . .

Old Men

Three old men in traditional Greek garb walked up the stone-lined street. Behind them a dazzling white church with a blue dome glittered in the sun.

Four tattooed young men spilled from a bar, drunk and rowdy even in the late morning quiet. They staggered down the street and stopped, swaying, in front of the old men. One of the drunks snatched the small, round black hat off the head of one of the older Greeks. . . .

Music I love

I’m hopelessly old and out of date in terms of music. I love Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald. I still play their music regularly. Jeeze, I’m hopeless. Anything new I like has to somehow sound a little bit like the best in old-timey vocal female jazz. So I like young singers like Norah Jones, Molly Johnson, Bernadette Seacrest, Patrice Pike, Diane Schuur and Diane Reeves. These are women who know how to sing and don’t hide behind a lot of noise; they are out there with their voice and no other protection.

What I hate are vocalists you can’t even hear for all the crap beating in the background. Janet Jackson is a good example. Can she even sing? Who knows? You can’t hear a damn thing she says over the . . .

Spring breeze

Tiny red and white blossoms from the trees scatter in front of my windshield in the spring breeze. It’s like being in a multicolored snowstorm when it’s 80 degrees outside. Fallen blossoms pile up to kickable depths on the sidewalks, just like the leaves did in fall. I keep finding blossoms on my carpet that have ridden home with me in the tread of my athletic shoes.

I saw a quail today, trotting across the trail near the park. Just one. Where were his pals? I saw mating roadrunners on the same trail a day or two ago. Such a voyeur I turned out to be.

This morning there was a pile of scattered bits of fur beside the trail. A stark reminder that if you let your cats roam the neighborhood they will become coyote kibble. . . .

Venus de Milo

It was my first visit to Aunt Lily’s. I didn’t know she existed until a week ago. It took ages to find the place, and I ducked desperately into the bathroom almost the moment I arrived. There was a home-made sign on the bathroom wall: Godesses Have Hips. Next to it was a framed photo of the Venus de Milo, armless and not particularly hippy, either.

Aunt Lily waited in the living room, thin and defintely not hippy herself. She offered me some iced tea, “Now that you’ve drained,” and plucked nervously at the hem of her shirt. . . .

Mastodon bones

I stood in the dusty and fly-blown museum before a display of mastodon bones. All the tiny building’s doors and windows stood open to the blazing July heat radiating from the ancient Italian rocks lining the street outside.

The stone floor echoed with the clicking of high heels. I looked up to see a chic woman in a business suit, her hair immaculate in a dark twist atop her head, her eyes flaming with anger. Paolo! she shouted, and burst through a small door into what looked like . . .

Code A

Okay, then. You want the Code A plan? The phone salesman looked at me expectantly. I realized I hadn’t listened to his last five minutes of sales pitch.

Code. That’s the thought that kept sticking in my head. If I could dream up an outgoing voice mail message that was in code, then the one person I wanted to know where I was going would understand. I could disappear, just me and my cell phone.

The mob wise guys wouldn’t have a clue . . .