My suggestions worked best as letters, I’ve found. We, Greg and I, have taken to checking the mailbox out front every day, just in case the flag is up. It lets us know we were thought of. We have done this little method of honey-do’s, love letters, and just-because’s for a few years now. Complete with those fake stamps that come in the mail when you order a new set of checks. It’s a more complete look. I am well aware that email is an option, but really, who doesn’t love a handwritten letter addressed to them? Plus, it gives the new mail-lady, Merna, a reason to hang out for a moment, wondering why there is a letter from our address, going TO our address.
Which she does. Every time.
I make it a thing to be there at the front window at noon-ish, to watch. The envelopes are random enough that she scrunches up her eyes all crinkle-like and purses her lips for a minute. I can practically see the lightbulb pop over her head, over and over again. I chalk it up to her advancing years. Amusing.
I am writing to inform you that I have come to a brilliant conclusion. We should move back home. Home to our roots. We grew up together there, married there, and it has been a long time since we have been back. Enough time has passed that most of our co-conspirators will have grown mature (like us, heh heh), moved out of town, or still be serving time in prison. 🙂 Our original community, our family and neighbors, and the general feel of belonging may just be fun after our jaunts to The Great Outside, gaining our own habits and traditions.
What say you?
I mailed it, put the flag up, and looked at my list of things to do. House stuff, bills, and errands were at the top, of course. I chose to make another list, however. I flopped down in The Queen’s Chair, my big leather recliner, and enjoyed the quiet as the sun warmed the room through the big window. The King’s Chair had our cat, Move, in it. She was there in defiance of my husband’s proclamation: MOVE, CAT! YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED IN MY CHAIR. She looked at me sleepily, and promptly closed her eyes. She makes LAZY a career. I turned to my phone. It had one of those notebook apps on it, and I used it way too much. It was a jumble of random thoughts, lists, and phone numbers.
I added to it.
I added all the things needed for the move to our hometown. I ignored immediately the reality of the list. Or the facts about things like… details. Nope, I just bounced around to the beginning of the end of our time here, in this house.
-Take a trip to hometown to look for just the right house. Preferably the beautiful one on Main Street with that wraparound porch. I want to watch the parades with ease.
As a former marching band member and parade participant, I wondered what it would look like from the sidelines. I remembered the practices throughout the summer, marching down various streets, lanes, roads, and avenues, carrying an enormous instrument and knowing I was part of the center of attention for those moments. The attention had made me a bit nervous and self-conscious, practicing on songs that I may or may not have flubbed, until I would notice various kids, out playing in their yards before the heat hit, waving and waving and waving for us to… what? Nod our head? Come over and see their stick art in the sand pile? Wave back? They would watch us play, perform our various maneuvers, and as we would march away, would go right on back to their stick play.
What is it that makes people wave at their live entertainment, anyway?
I remember me waving fanatically at a huge cartoon mouse at Disney World, a couple years ago. Couldn’t help it. Just a knee jerk reaction. I didn’t even have a little kid with me to use as camouflage. Other adults would be holding a little one, pulling up their kid’s chubby arm and make it flap in the air. This was the strategy to gain favor with the kid, while using their own grown-up enthusiasm to convince the child that seeing a giant mouse coming toward them for the first time was natural, normal, and pleasant. Worked like a charm. Kids all over the place would giggle and grin, heedless of the drool running down their chin. Older children would jump up and down, one hand on the pantleg of their adult and the other waving desperately to be seen. That grown-up would usually take pity on them and swish them up and over and onto their shoulders for a better view.
There was no one pulling up MY limb, urging me to gain favor with the mouse. That energy just burbled up, and before I knew it, I was just as happy as the 4 year old standing next to me picking his nose with the handle of a lollipop. I waved, the mouse waved back, probably to the 4 year old, and I felt special. End of story.
I would nod my head at those kids as I marched on, by the way. I’d nod my entire brass instrument to do it, and it made me feel gracious, doling out my special acknowledgement as I marched down the street. Hello to you, young one. And to you, flag-waver. Nod for you and your cabbage-patch kid, as well…. It would make up for the enormous, wet ring I would gain from that mouthpiece being attached to my lips for 2 hours. It would make up for the blisters from the ridiculous plasticky shoes I was forced to wear. They matched the Colonel Sanders get-up that someone, years ago, decided was a good idea for a uniform. Bright red WOOL suit? In July? What kind of monster were you, former Band President??
I believe the waving also made up for my face getting splotchy from the dehydration. Sickly white patches would contrast with hold-your-breath-for-as-long-as-you-can red spots around my face and neck when I would exert myself. Ask anyone that played tennis with me. I have heard, “OH YOUR POOR FACE…” way too many times for my own good. It was always accompanied by, “Can I get you something? A doctor?…” and it would bring on my canned answer, “I’m FINE, really. I’m alright. I get this way when I’m having fun. HaHaHa…” Not attractive, a’tall.
The looks I would get from marching were worth it, because as I became accustomed to the routines, the notes, and the stares, I’d enjoy the day. The flags. The floats and Mustangs filled with this county’s royalty or that little league championship team. The fire engines spraying water and throwing taffy simultaneously, daring the kids to come close enough to grab the treasure.
There were the elderly ladies holding court under the big elm trees, their grandkids and husbands opening coolers full of soda for them. They would wave benevolently at the parade participants, many of whom they had taught in church. Their wispy, fine hair, shaped in a perfect ball, would crown them in subtle hues of blues, grays, and silvers.
I would pass the extended family sections, cordoned off by folding camp chairs and die-hards, camping out for the prior 24 hours to get the coveted spot under the broom trees. Dozens of grown-ups and gaggles of kids, all with faces painted red, white, and blue to match the shirts, socks, and hair bows their moms had so joyously created from scratch. All would wave and clap as we went by, hoping we would stop and perform a simple routine for them. Just for them, it would seem.
And then there was the house I loved. Victorian, large, and grown seamlessly from the informal, yet tidy yard, a happy crew of twenty or so would be barbecuing and playing water balloon games on the big lawn. Yelling and laughing would follow my ears as we marched to the cadence of the drums. That house meant love. It meant Rest-From-The-Cares-Of-The-world. It meant a sigh of relief at the end of a full day.
I realized two things then, as I reminisced. 1. Move had moved from the King’s Chair to my lap, and 2. I had started snoring.