Thursday, April 28, 2005

The unfairness of boredom...

I think I don't have anything particularly profound to say here, and this is why I haven't written anything in a while, so rather than trying to be deep and profound, maybe I'll just write something and see how it goes.

Brian and Tri are staying with us. This morning, I was sitting in my chair hacking, and Brian, looking through the window, said in his melodic british accent, "look, it's snowing!" Yellow blossoms flying off the neighbor's mesquite tree in the gentle spring wind.

My aunt Mary died last week. She was a woman who had her own very clear ideas about how things should be done. She spent most of her life taking care of my grandmother, Carrie Dickerson, whose mobility has been fairly minimal for a very long time. She was an expert in herbal remedies, a fine cook, quick with a smile, tireless. I want to say trapped, but I don't know that she would have ever chosen anything else - she just escaped sometimes, to go read a book in the supermarket or chat with who knows who in town.

When I was a kid she used to take us to movies and buy us ice cream. I remember going to see Animal House with her, and also Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. She used to brag about how good the ice cream was at Swensen's. She took me to her favorite bookshop in Tulsa on many different occasions. I remember one particular bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich with too-much-syrup Coke at the soda fountain there - it was a former drugstore whose book section somehow grew out of control and took over most of the store, but never the fountain. The person behind the counter was quite old - I don't remember if it was a man or woman, but I remember old, cheerful, knew Mary by name.

I remember her room, at my grandparents' house, the floor littered with comic books and novels like petals of flowers strewn beneath the feet of a great sage. Weird exercise equipment my grandmother had bought and then discarded hulked around the room like the skeletons of ancient, long-forgotten creatures. The stairs up to her room were slippery, scary, and beautiful, the balusters I think hand-turned by my grandfather when he built the second story.

When I was a kid I remember Mary as one of the adults, only willing to hang out with all the kids, nice to us, enjoying our company. As I grew older, she started to seem a little different, a little crazy, but never in a bad way - she just saw the world a bit differently than I did. We worried about her - what she would do with her life when Grandma died. Grandma outlived her.

It's a lovely day in Tucson today.