Miscellaneous May And Her Musings

May is the last box on the
Moving truck, filled with
Odd shaped leftovers and
The urgency of making them all fit.

May looks up August’s aspirations,
And finds they came up short. So
May fills the gap with ten thousand school
Details for each of her thirty one days.

May removes barcode stickers from 80
Wedding candles, gashing her fingers and
Pronouncing imprecative curses on
All sticker-attachers, everywhere.

May proctors SAT tests and boggles that
One stray fleck of lead located outside a bubble
Threatens to foul the scoring machine and
Bring down an entire school district.

May rewrites Joan Jett’s 1981 classic, “I love
Empty nest . . .” but reflects that she has only
Experienced two total weeks of it, so she
Suspects it’s a hoax to keep parents going.

May loads up her college boy’s dorm room, on a
Belz Hall slope, doubting they can do it, and learns
From his happy priorities and his friends’ nimble help,
That things just work out when you’re young.
      

May puzzles when a friend declares that she gets
Two meals out of a loaded baked potato from Johnny’s.
That would require stopping halfway.
And May knows that doesn’t exist.

May chuckles that one of her Yankee friends
Wore a llama sweater to his daughter’s recent
Wedding. Oh, to hear his thought process, “Hmmm,
Yes, this llama sweater hits just the right note.”

May learns to manage her webpage, and
Discovers Command Z. Mashed simultaneously,
Command and Z erase all blunders and
Take you back where you started. Muy theological.

From which May meanders to Heidelberg Catechism,
Answer 60 which exults that I can be “as if I’d never
Sinned, nor been a sinner, as if I’d been as perfectly
Obedient as Christ was obedient for me”!

May is a child’s purse filled with stickers and gum,
And the broken shoulder strap and a castoff cell phone,
And a little orange New Testament and tooth fairy quarters,
A magic rock and three green apple Jolly Ranchers.

~

https://www.rca.org/resources/heidelbergcatechism

I Went To Walmart In My Pajamas

Saturday night, 9:30 pm, and I was pajamaed and tucked in.  The preacher discovered he needed certain items for early on his Sabbath morning, so I rolled out of bed and fired up the Fiat. My strategy was military and precise: park down at the pharmacy entrance, dart in and grab the item, whiz through the ’20 items or less’ check out, and be halfway home before the security camera turned my way. Textbook. However, I found myself caught in the crossfire of the age-old clash between two women and slowed down to thoroughly enjoy it.

Clubber was standing in the ’20 item’ line in a black eyelet shorts-romper and those hybrid boot/stiletto/lace up shoes. Nails did, hair thick, straight, and blond, her success at the club was guaranteed. All she needed, all she needed, to blow the roof off the club, was a little more mascara. So there she stood at register 22, simply trying to buy one pack of mascara.

The customers in front of her had a tab of $208 which is certainly possible with only 20 items, but perhaps we can forgive Clubber’s visibly rising temper a little because there were probably more than 20 items in their buggy. And they were leisurely debating the last item with the clerk – was this little watermelon organic or regular? Clubber tossed her keys and mascara on the belt in audible frustration.

The Clerk, salt of the earth in her blue Walmart vest and having all her competitive woman buttons pushed by this bombshell, was taking her sweet time, speculating on the watermelon with the idle clerk at the next register. This was her moment; she was in charge.

Idle Clerk, to make her point and twist the knife, looked at me and said sweetly, “I can take you on my register.” Clubber saw red. I looked at Clubber and said, “Go ahead,” which she did with a huff and not a whiff of a thank you. Remember though what I looked like in my pajamas and ratty bun. I wasn’t even on her radar as a person, which was fair enough.

We both transacted our business, Clubber lurching out of the Walmart first on those hybrid, tilt-forward shoes, and Idle Clerk said to me with a ‘hoooeee’ eyeroll, “I am sorry about that. I was talking to YOU not HER.”

As it turned out, Clubber was parked right next to me and was sitting in her Focus applying her beleaguered mascara. Somehow I expected her to be driving something other than a Focus, which would probably gratify her to know.

Discussion Questions:
How did my being in pajamas affect or determine my place in this skirmish?

Why was I so willing to get out of bed and go to Walmart? Why didn’t I send the preacher for his own stuff?

Why do women wear those hideous shoes?

Did Clubber really believe that anyone in the club would notice her mascara?

Were the customers in front of Clubber with the $208 bill aware of the undercurrents between Clerk and Clubber and purposely delaying just to see the fireworks? Were they complicit?

Why was Clubber so eager to get to the club? Who was going to be there? What important outcome depended upon her mascaraed presence this particular evening?

Was the little watermelon organic or not??

Clerk and Clubber were not competing for the same man, so explain the visceral clash between them.

How did the presence of Idle Clerk exacerbate the situation?

Should I be discouraged by the fact that I was clearly pushing neither clerk’s competitive woman buttons?  They liked me.

Why was I surprised to see Clubber in a Focus?

My Life Is His Answer

God answers prayer.

He uses the answer itself,
When it comes, to
Comb my heart and tease out the snarls.
Always, always.

His answer and my repentance –
One brings the other as sure as a
Baby’s head at my shoulder
Invites a storm of kisses.

The enemy of my soul feeds on my heart-snarls
Rasping in my ear that all I have done before
Is empty.

His accusations are exact, a perfect recitation
Of my rankest hidden moments.
But he is so very limited in his conclusions.
He takes the pieces, but
Fails utterly at the point of ‘Therefore, . . .’
And isn’t that the magic of the gospel,
That the enemy is right,
But I’m still not condemned.

Because
The Lover, the Answerer, breaks in and speaks
Truth.
Even as He answers my prayer,
He fills all I did before with
Himself. And so His
Good answer, the fruit I bear, is whole and
Life-giving;

His answer and my life are
The same thing.

         

April on Woodland Street


 

Getting Merried

In June, our daughter and her love will be
Merried! We attendants will merry them as they
Promise to
Merry each other
‘Til death does them part.

As busy as I’ve been, working toward the merry day,
It wasn’t real to me until my friends
Gave a tea and
Made it so –

Sabbath afternoon, when mind and body
Long only for green pastures and still waters,
My church sisters,
In high heels,
Decorated and celebrated my daughter’s
Merriment.
With me. For us.

I’ve been to teas and showers, and the
Stuff on the tables is fascinating
In the abstract.
Oh, what a beautiful painting by Anna.

But these things, this painting,
This towel, were for my daughter
(six-weeks-old in her pink onesie, surely)
In her St. Elmo home.
With her husband. Her husband.

It’s very different.

The groom’s grandmother Mary,
While carrying a table, asked
‘Could I be part of the second load going home?’
Adding even more muscle and sacrifice.

There is nothing fragile about tea-givers;
They are giving life
More than I ever understood
Until my own child was the merried one.

My friends. They make me merry.  ~

           
Tea-givers                                                             A guest of honor

              
Lovely touches

 

 

Little Thoughts While Andrew’s In St. Louis And I’m Waiting For The Storm

~ While exercising one day, a tatted gent sidled up with an I-know-you look and said,
Hey, aren’t you Lucky’s ex-wife?”
I am not making this up.
I stuttered out, “No, I’m Andrew’s wife.”
And he nodded knowingly, “Oh, you’re with Andy now!”
I know I don’t look like a magazine while exercising, but I wept that I looked like I could have been married to, and divorced from, someone named Lucky. And was the tatted gent implying that in his humble opinion Lucky was lucky because I was his ex? Was he that subtle? I realized that Tat Gent probably told his boys at the parlor that night that he had run into Lucky’s ex and she’s with Andy now and he always knew she was trash. I ended up really resenting Lucky for putting me through this.

~ I watched a woman chew her gum today. She was the kind who chews gum with her whole face. Mesmerizing.

~ Speaking of faces, when you are making a joke with your high school students and say, “Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin” and then blush because that strikes a little too close to home. And they haven’t read The 3 Little Pigs anyway.

~ Speaking of hair, the current enormous triangular eyebrow trend?? I grew up in the days of Brooke Shields, so I’m all for a healthy eyebrow. But this?

~ Speaking of trends, I saw a tiny undergarment recently – I won’t say where – that had a tag on it that was bigger than the tiny undergarment. Which led me to an existential flight of fancy in which the tag was the product and the tiny undergarment was the tag, and it was entirely plausible.

~ Speaking of seeing a tiny undergarment and not saying where, I visited my kids recently and enjoyed the college rhythm of life. Time is different there. It’s the equivalent of coming through a toll gate into the broad area where there are no lanes quite yet. And it’s a wild free-for-all! Drive here, drive there, roll down the windows and holler. No wonder they have such joy and unique productivity.  They’re incredibly busy, but days and nights mean different things to them than they do to the rest of the world.

~ Speaking of college kids, they have no money. They really don’t. However, they somehow afford the following: a special razor ordered online that is heavy as Grandma’s silver and so, so good for the skin (Amazon suggests you also buy Harry and Co’s herbal shave lotion ((get it? Harry? Hahaha)); a combo color-changing nightlight/essential oil diffuser that will open the sinuses and decrease anxiety; the kitchen hand soap from Mrs. Meyers in spa scents that I crave but settle for Sam’s; Tresemme, Cetaphil, organic vegetables, quinoa, almond milk, almond butter, Rewind candles for the talking area, and Netflix. Hmmm. Essential oil to diffuse the anxiety that comes from being broke which comes from shopping for things to deal with the anxiety that comes from being broke . . .

~ Speaking of anxiety, I ran up against a challenge today. Said to myself, “You are a hero and life’s about figuring it out.” It worked!

~ Speaking of figuring it out, actually, God figured it out, or was never stumped to begin with. He started the lawn mower for me on the third pull. My first two pulls had no effect on the machine whatsoever.

~ Speaking of mowing the lawn, today was a valuable day. While waiting for the storm to arrive I figured out how to work the Coleman camp stove, ground enough coffee for two days (Wyatt Pettus, you have two days to fix my power lines if they go down tonight, and your bum shoulder is no excuse), filled the car with gas, gathered candles, stocked up on healthy snacks, heroically walked right past the Utz Cheeseballs in the huge container and if anything screams buy-the-cheeseballs an imminent apocalypse does, went for a walk, and am now officially ready for the storm.

~ Speaking of healthy, a friend and I agreed at barre last night that after this amount of time doing barre, we expected to look different. We still look like us.

~ Well, that’s about it except that as I sit here and wait for the storm, I can see all sorts of grass sprigs I missed in my character-building mowing. Grrrrr.

          
Food righteousness!                            Youtubing “How to start a Coleman stove.”

St. Elmo In The Morning

Hush and lull of quiet time in my
Daughter’s apartment as she
Prepares for a later-starting workday.
Extra time allows for the little nothing
Tasks like unknotting a shoelace,
Soaping out yesterday’s Thermos.
~
The oval mirror above the fern
Reflects the wall behind me.
Prints of birds – finches? –
And a South of France travel
 poster.
Books stacked and angled,
Bubbling fish bowl – home of Joel.

Ten foot ceilings widen narrow rooms,
And there’s curry, somewhere.
Yes, I am just rearranging prose on the page,

But the street window is open, and
St. Elmo is wet through from last night’s
Storm, and dazzling in the morning sun,
Vital and delicate both.
Baby green leaves peek out of wet, black limbs.
Wet tires slur rubbery down Tennessee Avenue
Because a time clock beckons. And the bluff face
Looks down from behind moving clouds,
Sun and shadow tagging over its rocks and redbuds.
I can trace the curved road only by glints
Of wet cars climbing through the greeny, misty
Trees, up, up, up. I wonder where they are going and
Why they need to get to the top of the mountain.

Eliza arrives with three coffees and we
Puzzle out her route through nursing school,
As the building pops in the morning damp,
And Joel recovers his nerves
After last night’s storm.


Eliza and Adrienne; March 28, 2017,Tennessee Avenue, St. Elmo
For the record, Eliza looks pained because she didn’t want her picture taken.

Ode To March: Covered up

January showed herself as
Sticks against the
Indifferent back of
Stephen Crane’s deity.

March is those sticks fanning out from
Within themselves,
Expanding their marrow
To the east and west,
Joining hands and
Becoming thatch –
A Radagast roof that
Turns the softening sky into
Tiny triangular pieces.

March is the blush-beginning of
Being covered up.
~
Covered up.
Around here, when people say they are
Covered up, they mean they are
Busy,
Behind,
Overwhelmed;
Their production line isn’t meeting
Incoming orders and sirens are going off
All over the factory floor.

I get covered up like that,
Flat covered up. Oh, me.

And when I do,
I do the Adam-and-Eve thing –
Worry
And sew up a fig-leaf.
As a spider’s web is made of
Spider, so my skirt is woven of my
Panic and pride and dyed with a
Peacock’s palate of self-righteousness.

I wear my skirt to Sunday
Worship and there sing,
“Cover my defenseless head
In the shadow of thy wing.”
Tucked up there, He lets me hear
His heart beat the calming rhythm of
“It is finished.”
He removes my scrappy fig leaf,
And covers me up
With Himself.
He whispers over my head that
The production line is not my job.
~
I am covered up, oh, me.