Saturday, July 5, 2014

Saturday Musings, 05 July 2014

Good morning,

My bones ache this morning, a good feeling, the kind of feeling you get from climbing to the top of a football field to watch fireworks.  Surrounded by the growing family of my best friend Katrina, I surveyed the perimeter of the high school grounds, looking out high above the city.  First one display, then the other, for forty minutes.  By chance or unusual government foresight, three grand finales occurred not simultaneously but sequentially, spurred by the "oohs" and "aahs" of our little group.  When the last flare had died, we made the downward journey, the three little children trailed by their mother, Jennie, who had wrapped her slender body in a quilt to ward off the night air.

I hung back, in the soft darkness, and watched Jennie walk across the track, her head rising above the regal contours of the quilt, which fell like a train to her feet and trailed behind her as she stepped forward.  She wore a 4th of July sparkling tiara, for the amusement of the children, and from the few paces that I stayed behind her, she looked like a princess.

And without warning, I found myself transported back in time.  The football field fell away and I stood on Main Street Disney World, with sixteen-year-old Jennie dancing in front of me and five-year-old Patrick, my son, gripping my hand.  Ahead of us, the castle; to our right and left, a wide expanse of streets flanked with shops and signs decorated with the faces of Disney characters.  And Jennie's shining eyes, the light of a Disney childhood beaming from them, drew me forward.

On our first evening, we attended Mickey Mouse's luau, and someone should have told me the fruit drinks were spiked because I let Jennie have one of mine.  We both got giggly, two small females in charge of an innocent little boy, but the giggling of our slightly intoxicated psyches looked no different than the sheer joy we felt at being in the Magic Kingdom.  We watched the dancers, nibbled on the bountiful fare, and led Patrick through the crowds, to the bus, the three of us forming an impenetrable clutch.  We slept late, perhaps because of whatever had been in the drinks; perhaps because we dreamed of Disney princesses and Tinkerbell.

Our second day held no less pleasure.  We sang "It's a Small World After All" with lusty glee, as we rode through the ride featuring that theme.  We gasped at the pirates alongside our ship, and ate pancakes with Mickey's face while Minnie hovered nearby.  On the second evening, Jennie got scolded by Mom ostensibly for not eating her vegetables, at the 1950's themed restaurant, and cheerfully submitted to the wait staff's chastisement while Patrick and I watched, smiling, eating apple cobbler.

We spent a whole day at Epcot, incapable of letting even one feature of that glorious site go unexplored.  Back at the main park, Jennie took Patrick on the rides that I would have been incapable of tolerating, while I sat in the wheelchair that we co-opted, my legs having gotten too wobbly to make easy navigation an option.  That wheelchair, and a special pass, got us  through designated gates at every ride, and our visit became exponentially easier on account of my reluctant concession.

Our hotel room, on site, had a beach theme,  and we strolled down the edges of water in the coolness of the evenings.  On  the third night, Jennie met a boy, and Patrick and I walked back to the room alone.  She slipped through the patio French doors past midnight, beaming, happy; a normal teenager having had a little time away from prying parental eyes, to sit on the sand and talk about high school, and home, and music with an attentive male.

By the last day, Patrick had grown cranky, and I found myself wondering if I could see anything more.  At the same time, I loathed the loss of even a single memory.  Jennie gathered into her own arms, all those things we mothers carry with us: the bag of snacks, the extra jacket for our little one in case of rain, my pocketbook.  She took Patrick's hand and somehow managed to wrap her other arm around my shoulders.  She propelled our little gang forward, to a soda shop, to a candy shop, through every alley of the Magic Kingdom, as we drank in our last view of the park's wonder.

On the plane going home, Jennie and I talked about a return trip: with everyone in the family, for longer, at a closer-in hotel.  With sturdier shoes.  With starrier eyes.  I fell asleep halfway to Kansas City, my head tilting over Patrick, who sat in the middle seat, and landing softly on Jennie's slender shoulder.

Last night, as we all paused at the edge of the field to greet some friends of Katrina's husband, I slipped into a space between Jennie and her son Benton.  "You look like a princess," I told her.  "With your royal cloak, your fine tiara, and your adoring minions."  Her small, heart-shaped face, with its fine brows and its wide eyes, glowed in the darkness of the summer night.  Perhaps the aftermath of fireworks lingered there; perhaps my eyes played tricks on me in the unbroken darkness.  But as I gazed at Jennie, something inexplicable  danced across her face: a lively, radiant never-ending gleam like that from a guiding star.  For a moment, just for the briefest of breathless seconds, time fell away and I found myself back in the Magic Kingdom.  And suddenly, I could believe in fairies.

Mugwumpishly tendered,

Corinne Corley

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The Missouri Mugwump™

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I've been many things in my life: A child, a daughter, a friend; a wife, a mother, a lawyer and a pet-owner. I've given my best to many things and my worst to a few. I live in Brookside, in an airplane bungalow. I'm an eternal optimist and a sometime-poet. If I ever got a poem published in The New Yorker, I would die a happy woman. I'm a proud supporter of the Arts in Kansas City. I vote Democrat, fly the American flag, cry at Hallmark commercials, and recycle.