I was walking from the train station one sunny summer morning, headphones on, listening to Elton John’s “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” in my last few moments of solitude before work. Suddenly, it hit me, seemingly out of nowhere but with such force I knew it to be true: this was the song my dad and I would dance to at my wedding. I am not a person who has dreamed of and planned my wedding since I was a girl, and for many years I swore I’d never get married, but then I fell in love with a wonderful man who brings me peace and we started thinking about marriage. I was not even engaged, let alone wedding planning, but the first decision made was apparently going to be the Father Daughter Dance. The song was one of my favorites, and the lyrics had always reminded me of my dad, evoking hard work, an adventurous spirit, and being thankful for the people that love you. Part of me wondered if Elton John was not rock and roll enough for my dad, but the song felt so right I thought, “He will just have to get over it.”
An hour later my brother called and said my dad was dead. Continue reading
I never understood why my mother wiped down the coffee table with a damp dishrag after every time we ate dinner. Is that filthy of me to not understand? Spills, yes, I understand. By all means, red Kool-Aid rings have no place on the dinner table. Flecks of beef stroganoff Hamburger Helper should be promptly disposed of as soon as this episode of Full House is over. But my mother would wipe down the orange wood of the table regardless of whether it needed it or not. She would sponge up salt kernels or pepper flakes or even nothing at all, so far as I could see, leaving a damp shine over what had once been a large round dining table prior to my father sawing its legs off in the garage to better see the TV over.
Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.
Yesterday I received a call from someone in Kansas looking to buy homegrown tomatoes, which is not uncommon these days. After this year’s torrential downpours throughout the spring and summer, it seems like most gardeners and farmers in the area have experienced innumerable losses, especially tomatoes. Our surplus of heirlooms–survivors that persevered through the floods of 2015–draw customers not only from the neighborhood but from miles away.
The man who called asked what kinds of tomatoes I had, and I told him, “Cherokee Purples, Missouri Pink Love Apples, Tappy’s Heritage Reds, Black Plums. All heirlooms.”
“How much?” he asked.
“$2.00 a pound,” I replied. He knew it was a steal. I asked him how many tomatoes he needed and he said all of them.
“I sell about 150 pounds a day,” the man told me, “so I need everything you have ASAP.”
“I’ll see what I have and I’ll call you back,” I said, having no intention of calling him back. Continue reading
For Mother’s Day, the TV show The Voice had contestants sing songs in honor of their mothers. My own mom asked me what song I would dedicate to her, and she has been asking me every day since the show aired. I kept telling her I didn’t know, not because I couldn’t think of one, but because I couldn’t narrow my list of songs down to just one that represented my mom. So I didn’t. Here’s my list of songs that remind me of my momma and embody her spirit. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I love you. Continue reading
My 17-year-old client killed himself this week. I was getting ready to leave work Friday afternoon when I saw my coworker Kayla on the phone to someone, saying, “No, don’t drive right now. Just wait for someone to come pick you up. You don’t need to be driving right now.” When she saw me she tilted the phone away from her mouth and said, “I’m on the phone with Bethany. Jordan killed himself.” She tilted the mouthpiece forward and went back to listening to Bethany cry as she told what happened. Kayla looked over at me and mouthed, “He hung himself,” as she mimed tying a noose around her neck.
Every morning as I head to work I drive by my neighbor’s truck, which is covered in political and religious bumper stickers. The one that catches my eye most days says, “TRUTH, NOT TOLERANCE!” and every day I think, you know, I don’t really want to get to know that neighbor. Look, I’m all for bumper stickers and window decals, and I think it’s almost required for truck owners such as myself to proudly display their opinions and interests to fellow drivers who do not in any way give a shit, but I have to wonder…what is your bumper sticker really saying?
“COEXIST”: I drive slow and I don’t want people to yell at me for it.
I’m working on a lot of things right now but none of them are quite ready, so in the meantime I would like to share one of the many beautiful things I’ve read this week. It’s a poem called “The Invitation,” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. Feel free to leave suggestions for what I should adopt as my hippie poet name. Continue reading