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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Detours

 The street in front of the bank where I work, is under construction. I don't know what they are doing, exactly, but it involves tar, gravel, orange cones and very slow traffic. I don't care for any of those things, so I took a little detour. I drove down a street lined with small wood framed houses and grassy lawns. There was a young girl sitting on the front steps of one of those houses, and it was like a picture from my past. It was the same house where I had babysat the entire summer I was fifteen.
 The first day of Summer vacation, my parents woke me up to tell me, I would not be sleeping late and going to the pool everyday, because they had made a commitment to their friends. I would be their Summer babysitter.
 My mother drove me there every morning at 7:30. If I was lucky, the little girl would still be sleeping and I could get in a nap. But most days she was up and watching Captain Kangaroo. I tried to convince her, Sesame Street was a much better show, but at two, she already had a mind of her own.
 She really was a sweet little girl, and we got along well. Her parents provided me with a bike to ride, that had a child's seat. So we would ride all over town. Thinking about it now, she really needed a helmet, as I was not so coordinated, with the extra weight on the back. I wonder if she has headaches or blurred vision now. hm....
 At fifteen, I didn't handle dirty diapers very well, so I decided to potty train her. Her parents were thrilled. To this day, I'm not sure how I managed it.
 I cleaned house for her parents and made lunch for them every day, all for 15.00 a week. And, yes, even way back in the 70's that was slave wages.
But, it was a fun Summer. We sun tanned in the backyard while listening to the best music on A M radio. We made cookies and colored in coloring books. I bought her some chalk and we made a mess of the sidewalk.
 After lunch, when she was napping, I would talk on the phone or watch soap operas, or smoke her parents cigarettes on the back porch. I didn't really like smoking, it was just the idea of getting away with it.
 It may not have been the best Summer ever, but I get a good feeling when I think of it, or when I hear the music we listened to on that old radio. It's like a detour for the mind.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Still Missing You

We lost Lauren 5 years ago Friday. It doesn't seem possible. I look at pictures like this one, and it feels like she should be in the next room watching the Rangers play. I see that Gieco commercial, the one about, "Hey you woodchucks, quit chuckin' my wood!", and I can almost hear her laugh. She would think that was so funny.
But the truth is, I haven't seen her in five years, not really. I mean I see her in my dreams almost on a daily basis. But even in my dreams, I know it's not real. If I dream about her being a baby, I'm thinking, how can I protect her better so she never leaves me. If she's grown, it's like I know it's a dream. Crazy, I know, but I'm crazy since she's been gone. I just cant quite get a grip.
I took pink and orange flowers to the cemetery, Friday, and sat and talked to her for a long time. I told her all about Sarah and Jonathon, and Eric and Denice. I talked to  her about the Rangers and about this terrible drought we are in, and the wild fires burning up Texas. I know she's not there, but maybe she knows what I'm saying.
Tomorrow is my birthday, and again, I remember sitting with her in the funeral home on my birthday five years ago, not believing what was happening. I wonder how many more birthdays  will have before I'm with her again.

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A wife, mother, and spoiler of small dogs, I grew up in a small West Texas town, with my eyes full of sand, and my heart full of joy.


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