I can’t get them out of my head. What does this mean? The phrase takes me all the way back to high school English and teachers who analyzed poetry in particular, but also pretty much every other written thing, to death. I admit I liked trying to impress them with my twisted take on things. I expect a lot of authors would have been totally baffled by the garbage we came up with that they never meant at all.
Anyway, I want to know what you think. Please take my poll.
There are no wrong answers. Probably there are no right answers either. Thank you class. No going home for you until you finish this. I will mail you your marks.
In amongst my conglomeration of strange notes on a messy desk I came across this funny little list. Looks like a recipe, right? But what the hell is it for? I wrote it down thinking I would remember why without also jotting down a bunch of details, I guess.
I have a feeling there’s some major ingredient missing here, along with instructions. It looks like things one should add to something else or pour over some kind of meat maybe?? Throw in a crock pot? I don’t know. But since there’s no quantities for the first five ingredients, I think it would be safe to just skip them.
So go ahead and measure out those two cups of red wine. And serve immediately. Double this recipe if sharing with a friend. Who says doing stuff in the kitchen can’t be simple, easy and fun? I would definitely add this one to my recipe book if I had one.
“Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.” Sarah Dessen, What Happened to Goodbye
This is such a simple picture, and yet it brings back a flood of memories for me, even though it was taken on a day when I’m sure I wasn’t even there. My dad was the only one in his family who made his living by farming. His siblings were teachers and nurses and professionals, and ended up living in towns and cities. And all of them – every one – came to visit him and mom here with their families. If they hadn’t, we would never have known all our aunts and uncles and cousins so well, because running a farm means almost never getting away for trips much longer than a day. But if the relatives wanted to come and stay? They were welcomed with open arms. We had lots of room and the doors were always open. No offer of help was every refused. You might end up peeling the potatoes or shelling the peas for your dinner, but you never went away hungry.
The garage is on the far left, then dad, mom, the window to the den, Aunt Lorna, the main door, Aunt Marie, the edge of the big kitchen window, extra lawn chairs, a strange looking wooden whirly decoration that twisted in the breeze, flower beds gone wild. That little thing hanging on the bricks that resembles a bird house is a box that held a pencil and some notepaper. On it was written “If at home you do not find us, leave a note that will remind us.” I once pointed out to my mother that it didn’t make any sense. If you were away from home, surely you knew that already and didn’t need a reminder of it. I was just being a mouthy teenager. But I still think the message is stupid. And I don’t know why I’ve never forgotten it.
The view to the west was of maple trees bordering the laneway, the bank down to the pond, and fences and fields as far as you could see. Those numerous round white dots that look like holes are actually real holes in the photograph. It’s been pinned up to a cork board and shuffled around a lot, stuffed in a box, lost for awhile. And then it made its way to me. In this shot it looks like the veranda floor has had some repairs and a new coat of paint. I remember it being a steely blue grey with loose boards you could lift up and hide things under. I don’t remember dad ever saying he was tired of nailing them back down.
It’s a summer afternoon, dinner is over, the dishes have been washed and put away, and it’s just too nice to sit inside. If there are kids around, they’re off climbing trees or throwing sticks for the dog, or gathering firewood for the bonfire in the backyard after the sun goes down. I can almost hear dads voice, saying something profound in a lazy off-hand manner. Mom saying “Oh, Hank”, and laughing, Aunt Lorna’s droll observations (we never knew if she meant to be funny or not) and Aunt Marie’s infectious giggles.
The farm was sold years ago. We drove by it last October and saw the changes. The front veranda has been closed in, the barn is being torn down, the gigantic garden has gone to grass. The house is so old I’m surprised it’s still standing. It’s just another old building to me now. It hasn’t been ”home” for a very long time.
And yet in my heart it will always be home whenever I remember all the people who were part of it, and who made it come so alive with laughter and fun. I’ve had a lot of homes in my life and I carry parts of every one of them with me. The pictures in my head are as vivid as the real ones. I can visit them anytime I choose, simply by remembering the people I loved who lived there with me, and loved me back.
The things on this list are not to be mistaken for those scary Universal Truths people are always going on about. I would never be that presumptuous. Well actually I would but then this list would be considerably less credible. So it’s strictly stuff that is constant in my subjective reality. Believe it if you dare.
1. When W calls me from the island, he is sitting on the deck, looking out over the water, and downing copious amounts of rum. I know this is true, because it’s exactly what he tells me. Every time. It’s of course possible that this is how he spends his entire day, with or without making a phone call.
2. Everyone I know and everyone I meet just wants deep down to be GOOD. At something, with something, for something. They want to be good to someone, or do something good for the world. Some are better at this than others. Some will end up good at being bad, or good for nothing. But GOOD nonetheless.
3. No matter how hard you work or how hard you try, some lunatic manager/boss type person is always going to ask you to try harder, to be more, to do more and to get better. (And thus make him/her look better in the process.) Resist the urge to choke this nutcase and don’t make excuses; just smile and nod and promise you will. It’s not really a lie if you don’t mention “when” you’re going to get around to it.
4. The harder it is to learn something, the longer you’ll remember it. Because you sure as hell don’t want to go through THAT again.
5. You’ll never fully appreciate what you’ve got ’til it’s gone. And even then you’ll rationalize it to death.
6. Nothing is ever as simple as it first appears. If it looks complex from the get go, you’re in big trouble.
7. People tend to hate what they don’t understand, and fear what they hate, and then they can’t understand why they’re so afraid. And hateful. And bloody confused. Ignorance is not bliss, it’s hell.
8. Love can hurt, but it’s always worth the pain. As long as you get to be the one inflicting it at some point, it will all even out in the end. No one gets out of being in love unscathed. Just like no one gets out of life alive.
9. Upside down and downside up are the very same thing.
10. Because it’s in the last place it was left, you will always find what you lost in the last place you look. And if you never find it, it’s because you gave up before you got to that last place. Or some idiot destroyed it. One or the other.
I’ve finished reading Joe Golem and the Drowning City, by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden, and it was everything promised on the back cover and more. Steampunk turns out to be a genre I quite like. Except maybe don’t read it while you’re eating.
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