Saturday, January 31, 2015

Saturday Musings, 31 January 2015

Good morning,

My friend Vivian and I dined at Jazz last evening,  The hostess saw two women alone and offered us what she clearly felt would be an inferior table but we grabbed it.  We sat right behind the band, listening to a splendid mixture of Motown and blues.    I went a little crazy with my order.  I got the seafood platter, a tender breaded flash-fried fillet of catfish, sweet batter-fried shrimp, and succulent bits of fried oyster.  I sprang for the up-charge to get sweet potato fries.

Then Vivian shanghaied me well past my bedtime, to the Green Lady Lounge, and the incredible keyboard work of Mark Lowrey.  I had no idea that ethereal music could flow from a person's hands without effort or thought.  The piano accompanist from the opening act stood to one side of the dusky cellar room. I could see envy and awe stamped on his face.  Mr. Lowrey wooed the scarred baby grand and the stand-up bass player, a kid not yet out of college, carried every note to the clouds.  

And then, of course: I fell into a time warp, and found myself in Eureka Springs, in the fall of 1991, when my weekend squire played bass guitar in a jazz fusion band.  He hired himself out as back-up for visiting performers at night and built houses with a crew of five using only hand-tools during the day.  His town sat on the east side of the mountains, forty-five minutes from my home in Winslow south of Fayetteville.  We saw each other on weekends but on a cloudless Thursday night in October of that year, I drove the distance to hear him play with an old blues singer from Kansas City.

I can't recall his name.  I can picture him:  a big, loose-boned man, sitting on a low stool in the evening air, on the stage of the small amphitheater.  The musicians tuned their instruments and the sound man checked the mic. The old man regarded me, the lone early attendee, with glistening brown eyes.  He shifted and his suit jacket moved across his shoulders.  I watched him rebutton his vest without paying any heed to the movement of his fingers.  I could see his starched white shirt collar rising above the knot of his skinny tie. He lifted his shoulders and sent a shudder through his body, those bony hands running down his arms.  I made no move to speak to him, to tell him I had seen him play at the Grand Emporium or somewhere east of Troost.  Or both.  I just sat, waiting, while a few people drifted down from the shop-lined street and eased into chairs around me.

The singer left for a while, before too many folks arrived.  When the sound-test finished and the back-up band took their places, somebody spoke the guest performer's name and he strolled back out, now with a hat on his head and a glass of something in his hand.  He sat back down, and set the glass on the stage and opened his mouth.

Mourning flowed from him, rolling clouds of it; and joy too, in easy pillows.  He vocalized unbidden and unchecked, briefly pausing to sip and tip his hat at the front row between numbers.  He pulled a mouth organ out from a pocket at some point and sent its music wailing above the tiny Ozark town, into the heavens, shared with the stars.  He slid it back into its spot without thought and opened his mouth again.  He did not so much sing as he preached; did not so much croon as cry.  He led the band and they followed with the valiance of youth, of lovers, of loyalists.  And after ninety minutes the stage fell silent and the man stood, adjusted his hat, and softly walked off-stage while the small crowd stood at their seats and gave him a lusty ovation.

After the little concert, Marc introduced me to the man.  I mumbled something about Kansas City and he surrounded one of my hands with both of his.  He nodded, eyes gleaming. I wondered about the glass he carried on stage. I could see the lines on his face, the pitted skin, the grey around his eyes and the grizzle of his beard.  He pulled away and moved towards his belongings, extracting a cigarette, reaching for a bottle.  I watched him walk away and closed my eyes.  His voice came back to me:  I held onto that, as Marc and I strolled down the sidewalk to another jazz bar, another act, though nothing which could compare to the lingering echoes of the blues man from Kansas City.

Here in that city, twenty-three years later, my bones creak and my knuckles protest.  The plates at Jazz  provide a modest serving, which helped but even so, I awakened at 3:00 a.m. with jangly legs, a heavy stomach, and swollen hands.  Gluten, grease, and salt:  triple whammy.  A wiser woman would feel regret.  What I thought:  But oh, so worth it.  Every savored memory of New Orleans floods back to me now, along with memories of that extraordinary, star-lit night in Eureka Springs.  What a life -- what a life I have led.  Laissez les bon temps roulez.

Mugwumpishly tendered,

Corinne Corley

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Saturday Musings, 24 January 2015

Good morning,

A small article on the second page of my morning newspaper announces what the Internet has already told me:  Alabama ban on same-sex marriage fails.  And for some reason, this article sends me back 35 years, more, maybe; to a time when I longed to be desired by a straight-laced young graduate student.

I lived at the time in an apartment building south of St. Louis University.  Grand and old, the U-shaped brick structure flanked a grass expanse rimmed with a sidewalk.  Neighbors regularly crossed from one entrance to another, visiting, socializing, sharing wine and dinner.  My closest friends lived in the middle section, two men who formed a couple back in an era when same-gender couples still seemed novel.  The one with whom I became the closest was named Lloyd; and from this distance, I do not recall the other's name -- not because I did not like him, but because I am old and my brain works rather less well than it used to work.

Those were the early days of the appearance of AIDS in the Midwest.  HIV had already gripped each coast and squeezed, slaughtering its victims without regret.  In St. Louis, homosexuality still carried an embarrassing taint.  Heterosexual men and women alike still twittered about it, still told jokes, still ribbed each other by calling ugly names supposedly casting aspersions on each other's sexuality.  As for myself, in those days I was called names that the  users thought ugly, but I wore like a badge of honor because to me, they meant that my friends had depth, character, and variety.  To some, they meant that I had friends in low places, but I did not care about their opinion.  They meant that some of my friends were gay; and that I enjoyed their company.  Let's leave it at that.

I liked the apartment which I had in those days.  The building had not yet been renovated.  I had a studio, behind the doors of which I made a one-bedroom with judicious use of a wooden screen.  In the cubby which had once held a Murphy bed that could be lowered into the living room, I put a desk and lamp.  I scribbled poetry on the wall; in fact, I once wrote a poem called On the Wall.  I drank too much Scotch and wrote lamenting essays in long hand on loose-leaf paper.  I tucked my writings in folders and binders.  I slipped the folders and binders into a metal lock-box.  I don't know why; I cannot imagine anyone stealing such maudlin passages, nor would the box have withstood a fire.  A decade later, maybe two, the box became immersed in a basement flood and the yellowing paper on which I chronicled my alcoholic grad school years thankfully succumbed.

In that period, I fell in love with a grad student whose name I shall withhold.  From farm country, Conservative, Catholic, the man had deep brown eyes and thin curls.  His studious manner charmed me.  He gifted me with small smiles, chin downwardly tilted, upcast eyes.  My heart invariably melted.  But he looked right through me.  Perhaps, perhaps:  I was not pretty enough.  I've never felt pretty enough.

I held parties in that little apartment.  We put canapes on metal TV trays borrowed from my mother, and cold bottles of Piesporter in an ice-filled dish pan in the sink.  We drank from jelly jars.  We laughed:  Principally, we described our lives and loves  in broad, rowdy tones and goaded each other into personal admissions, confessions of situations in which we daringly placed ourselves and from which we barely escaped.  Had there been no escape, the stories would not have amused.  Only slight bouts of discomfort or embarrassment could make the tales amusing.  We told them on each other and on ourselves.  Gay couples, straight single girls, clumps of misfit men who ogled everyone regardless of gender.  And at the edge of it all:  My grad student stood, invariably looking uncomfortable, probably wishing he could vanish.

One night, we all decamped to the Central West End.  We had come to the end of our wine but not of our money.  Rather than make a beer run, we decided to invade the bars on Euclid.  It was July: Hot, sticky; we wore shorts, low-cut sun-dresses, and sandals.  My grad student wore jeans and a button-down shirt with its cuffs folded to just below his elbows.  We took four cars; my grad student drove me in his car, and I sat close, letting the wind through the open window blow my long hair into his face.

On the sidewalk, under a make-shift tent, we grouped around several tables.  Lloyd and his partner shared a table with my grad student and me.  When we had drinks, Lloyd dragged his friend out to the street to dance to the band at the restaurant next to where we drank.  I eyed my grad student, assessing whether he might be persuaded to step onto the pavement and put his arm around me.  I adjusted the skimpy bodice of my thin dress and took a drink.  He spoke, then, saying, Your friends are a little weird, Corinne.

I tried to play it off with a high giggle.  But  he pressed.  They don't exactly follow tradition.  I threw back the last of my first Scotch and looked around for the waiter.  He continued, suggesting immorality, decadence, undesirability.  I felt something rising in me.  Not nobility but kinship.  The offbeat were my people.  The weird were me.  I slammed my fist on the table, knocking over his beer and scaring both of us.

Look, I snapped.  It comes down to this.  Either you are my friend, and accept my other friends; or you reject my friends in which case, you reject me.

I felt rather than saw that Lloyd had reappeared at my elbow.  The three of us stood still, frozen in that moment.  My grad student, my friend, and I:  waiting.  And the soft reply, I guess I reject you, then.  I rose.  Lloyd's hand went out to me, and pulled me away from the table.  I did not take my eyes off the man from whom I retreated.  Lloyd's partner appeared behind  me, and they turned me toward the street, toward their car, toward our home, and walked me to my apartment.

They enfolded me in a circle of their arms.  We love you,  they murmured.  I let them hold me.  Then I went into my little home, and lay on the mattress that was my bed.  I did not cry.  But neither did I sleep.

Across the country, men and women whose only difference from their neighbors is their attraction to their own gender finally begin to see their loves and their alliances acknowledged.  My grad student, who resurfaced in my life years later, seems to have changed -- to soften.  I don't see him much, but when I do, I see the virtue and not the ugly past; I hear the goodness, and not those almost whispered, ugly words.  I have not ask him if he's had a change of heart. I simply assume that like the courts across our land, he has come to see that love should be enough.

Mugwumpishly tendered,

Corinne Corley

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Saturday Musings, 17 January 2015

Good morning,

As I made my coffee this morning not in the coffee maker but in a French press, with water poured from a tea kettle, I thought about the first cup of coffee that I drank for purposes of staying awake.  A long time ago it was; in a turreted building in North St. Louis County, St. Vincent De Paul Psychiatric Hospital. And I am taken back to that time, as I nibble half of a half of a gluten-free bagel with sunflower seed butter here in Kansas City.  I close my eyes and I am seventeen again, and a ward clerk on 3-South.

The head nurse on my floor, Sister Kenneth Anne, stands in front of me in a starched white habit with its small modern collar.  Her smooth face and arched eyebrows regard me as I transcribe orders.  I don't know what she wants; I feel a shudder run through my body.  I cast my glance around to see if I have done something to displease her.  Then she says, in her dry unruffled voice, "Have you had your break?" and I feel my stomach unknot. 

I shake my head.  She gestures toward the half-open Dutch door and tells me that I had better go now, we're expecting several admissions in the afternoon.  I put my pen down on the table and stand, smoothing the stiff polyester of the uniform that I wear as a clerk on the acute ward.  It's ugly,  pale blue but made from indestructible fabric that  hides the female form.  I don't care.  I'm stick-thin and look awful in it.  I haven't yet begun to fill out, something I won't do for several years and then only when a Brown recluse spider bites me, sends me to bed with prednisone for company, and I start to fill out in places that will disturb me. 

But then, in 1972, I look boyish.  My long hair is braided and wrapped around my skull.  I have no hips, no bosom, no curves.  And the uniform, which does not bend, renders me even more flat and unappealing.  

I take myself down the hallway and let myself out the door with a fat key on a laden ring.  I walk the dingy corridor to the old elevator and descend to the floor where the break area is located in a large, high-ceilinged hall.  I slot some coins in a machine, get a diet soda and a packet of peanut butter crackers, and sit at a table far in the back of the huge room.  Clusters of nurses come into the area and sit together with their packed lunches.  They pay me no attention.  I pass the twenty minutes in solitude and then drop the plastic wrapper of my crackers into a trash bin and go to the third floor, letting myself in, walking past the dining room where a few lethargic patients still linger over lunch.

When I get back to the nurse's station, Sister Kenneth Anne stands with Dr. Craig, the head psychiatrist.  Big-boned, ginger-haired, Irish, Dr. Craig flirts unabashedly with everyone: Me, the nuns, the patients.  As I enter the station, he drops his loose frame into the closest swivel chair and pulls a pile of papers towards him.  He scribbles orders, glances at records, shrugs and mutters while Sister Kenneth Anne stands unmoving and I busy myself straightening the supply cabinet, since the doctor is at my station in my chair, writing at my desk with my pen.  A fact that all three of us know but no-one mentions.

When Dr. Craig has finished writing admission orders for one of the new patients he turns his eyes towards me.  I squirm under his gaze.  I feel Sister Kenneth Anne's poie stiffen, as she continues to stand placidly just a few feet from the doctor.  The three of us maintain our positions.    Finally Dr. Craig carelessly tosses my pen on the table and pulls his frame upright, brushes past me in the narrow space, and tosses a glance over his shoulder at the silent nun.  "Good luck with this one," he tells her; and neither of us is quite sure who he means.  Then he exits and we watch  him walk unseeing down the long hallway to the ward's exit.

Sister Kenneth Anne says nothing but she shakes her head, a small motion but plain enough for me to see.  She lifts the orders from the table and hands them to me, bends down and swipes the chair with a tissue before she gestures for me to sit.  I am afraid to smile.

Just then, before I can take my place and start working on the new admission, a cry rises and we rush into form.  Sister Kenneth Anne heads to the door and says, with urgent authority, "Call the code," and I do so, Code red 3 South, over the phone to the operator who echoes it through the entire building.  The crew comes running.

I see the team rush into the dining room and do my part:  I lock down the station, secure the little medicine room, and monitor the phone.  Through the glass I watch the commotion until it subsides.  When everything has calmed, Sister Kenneth Anne comes back to the nursing station, her face passive, the only sign of the struggle in which she's engaged being a slight tremble in her upper lip.  She goes to the back counter, takes two Styrofoam cups down from the shelf above, and dispenses thick black sludge from the twenty-cup pot into each one.  She moves towards me, hands me one of the cups, and says, "Those people are crazy out there.  You better stay alert."

I drink, feeling the burn as the liquid passes down my throat and into my stomach.  We stand, Sister Kenneth Anne and I, behind the locked door, while the patients of 3 South settle back into their comfortable, crazy routine.

My coffee cools on the place mat beside the small table on which I write.  Its fragrance wafts towards me.  I think about how to describe the scent of coffee; I have no words for it.  I wonder whether Sister Kenneth Anne lives in some retirement community somewhere; but realize that she would be in her nineties by now, or maybe older; probably she has died.  I lift the blue ceramic cup from which I drink my coffee most mornings, the one Trudy gave me.  I raise it, heavenward, in a silent salute to the woman who got me started on this most pleasant addiction:  A woman who glared daggers at a lecherous doctor and held the hands of patients intent on doing themselves harm; with equal aplomb.

Mugwumpishly tendered,

Corinne Corley

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Saturday Musings, 10 January 2015

Good morning,

The wind rises, now low, now loud; and the dog turns her eyes towards me.  She can feel it.  She ran into the yard and then quickly back to the porch, barking and threatening the neighbors' Saturday sleep.  She has curled into a defiant, determined ball:  I will not go out again!  I smile at her.

I'm thinking of a long winter's evening in Winslow, Arkansas, a night spent huddled in a recliner near the wood stove, listening to the wind howling between the old mountains down the corridor of Highway 71.  I had piled my great-grandmother's quilt over my legs and added heavy split logs to the stove.  My clumsy hands had not  mastered the trick of stacking wood in the carrier so I brought them one at a time into the living room.  After eight or nine trips, I reached to turn the back-up baseboard heaters to high.  Outside, the unrelenting wind pounded on the shingles and slammed the mudroom screen door.

I wore three layers of clothing and an extra sweater tucked around the small bulge growing high in my belly.  Four months pregnant, cold, worried; I wondered if a February had ever passed so frigidly in the Boston Mountains.  The phone had rung at ten.  Friends from Fayetteville checking:  Yes, I'm fine.  The wife's voice called to the husband, Shouldn't you go get her? but I declined.  I had bought a house in the country before I knew that I would winter with child growing in me, but here I had staked my claim and here I intended to remain.

I could not sleep.

With a cup of tea on a table at hand, I stared into the flames through the glass door.  I saw no images there; I only saw warmth and possible destruction.  The fire controlled me.  Without it, I could die.  But it could kill me and I knew that.  Its flames could leap out into the room or send deadly smoke to curl around my face and smother me.  I watched it burn until I felt water trickle down my cheeks -- not tears so much as the sting of staring.  I shook my head and struggled from beneath the quilt, to go into the kitchen and make another cup of tea.

I heard a banging then, from the weird, half-finished deck at the back of the house.  I strained to peer through the darkness to see what critter might have taken shelter at the apex formed by the addition, also incomplete, which had drawn me to see potential in the dwelling when my friend Carl had offered to sell it to me.  I sensed a presence but could see nothing in the starless night.

I closed my eyes and pulled an image of the back lot into my mind.  Long, low and sloping, the yard ended at the far side of the flat-bottomed creek.  Dry now, in the height of spring it had sent a flood that reached the house.  But as summer claimed the waters, I could walk barefoot on the flagstone, southwards into the woods, north towards the neighbor's cleared acreage.  Something had come up to the house from the stand of trees flanking the creek, I felt sure.  A deer, perhaps; or something less benign.  I pulled the curtain further back and leaned against the glass sliding door, blinking, trying to sharpen my gaze.

And then a shape loomed, straight against the glass, dark, thick.  I staggered back into the room and dropped the cup which shattered and sent a shower of hot water towards my feet.  We stood still, the creature and I, caught in that moment, me in the chilly kitchen and it in the frigid air of its domain.  I could not see its eyes. I could not discern the contours of its body.  It could have been anything.

As I stood frozen, it lowered its body back to the planking and hovered on the deck.  I could not breathe.  I felt its indecision.  Then it rose, turned, and lumbered over the side.  I lost sight of it as it ambled away into the unbroken darkness.

I did not sleep at all that night.  In the morning, I pulled back the French doors and gazed across my yard, down to the dry creek and the bare trees.  I saw a flicker of white that I thought might be the tail of a deer.  On the deck, my wooden reading chair lay  splintered, crushed beneath the weight of whatever had sought shelter in the shadow of my home.

In an hour or so, a friend will arrive to work with me on some chores that need stronger hands than mine.  The little dog will be banished to the backyard and I will brew another pot of strong coffee.  In Hawaii, my autumn roommate Jessica starts her first Saturday as an Island girl.  Eight hours northeast of me in Evanston, Illinois, the child who grew within me during my strange Arkansas winter will make his own pot of coffee before setting out for his day's adventures.

Mugwumpishly tendered,

Corinne Corley

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Saturday Musings, 03 January 2015

Good morning,

The quiet of the room around me ripples only with the voice from the radio and occasional inexplicable electronic noises.  The blips and squeaks of modern life evoke the world of Walter Mitty. I smile; I wonder how many people in my son's generation know anything about Walter Mitty except the failed movie of recent years.

My place in the continuum of time announces itself more loudly in the silence of the house.  Even if I live to be 103 as I threatened once to do, I've passed more than half my days.  Two-thirds or more, likely as not.  Aching muscles and nervous legs remind me that I've pushed myself too far, too far, and have farther to go.  I remember my grandmother saying, "Put your best foot forward," and asking her, "Which foot is my best foot, Nana?"  She smiled, inevitably, and gently replied, "Whichever one is going first."  I would follow her off the curb, watching my feet, wondering which one is going first?  Tall above me, Nana's face carried her radiance all the way across South Sixth Street in Springfield, down the block, back to the office where she and Grandpa had their business.  I marveled as she greeted the other business owners on her street and thought When I'm grown, I want to be like Nana.

Last night, I talked for a while with my ex-husband in Ohio, someone with whom I never dreamed I could find myself remaining friends after the turmoil of our break-up in 2008.  But our connection testifies to a theory of mine:  Love doesn't dissipate.  I have been forced to admit that the thing we call love can change character -- you can be friends one moment and lovers the next; married today and friends tomorrow; good friends today, and less close months from now. So it has gone with Dennis and me.  When I am hurting, he sends messages or calls.  They make me laugh.  He castigates those whom he perceives as wronging  me, in strong, coarse terms that I could never use but which, typed or spoken by him, give me a little secret pleasure.

And all of this leads me to think about some of the times we had together.  Inevitably:  I recall a vacation we took with my son and the youngest boy of the Alongis, neighbors whom we called "the Christians".  The odyssey on which the four of us embarked took us all the way to Asheville, North Carolina; to Fort Knox and the George S. Patton Tank Museum; and home again.

On our first morning in Asheville, we loaded Patrick and Phillip in the van and drove up into the wooded mountains.  I brought a book to read; Dennis had packed a rifle and ammunition.  He had decided to teach the boys to shoot.

The lushness of the trees nestled around us as we parked in a small clearing beside the rural route.  A nervousness crept over me.  I'm a city girl; the concept of just pulling over to the side of the road and firing a weapon seems odd to me.  In the city, guns get stuck in people's backs, wallets stolen, rings jerked off trembling fingers.  In the country, guns are carried easily by one's side as people move to and from their vehicles, and ride in racks at the back of people's truck cabs.  I have a city-dweller's guarded respect for guns.

But I voiced no objection to the boys learning.  I settled myself in the back seat, coffee at hand, granola bars at hand, as the three of them maneuvered themselves into a shooting format.  Dennis decided that they should shoot from the clearing to the other side of the road.  I steeled myself not to interfere but questions rose in my mind:  What if there is someone down below, at a house we cannot see? What if someone calls the sheriff? I bit the questions back and watched their progress, one eye on my book, the other on the two boys, who at ages 11 and 12 projected starkly different attitudes. Phillip looked the more eager of the two. Patrick, who had gone shooting with Dennis at the range,  looked determined --- or, possibly, resigned.

By the time the three had attained the grouping and set-up that Dennis thought most functional, I had dropped all pretense of reading.  I found my nervousness gathering, tight in my stomach.  I chugged the rest of my coffee and ate both granola bars, feeling my jitteriness instantly accelerate,  My nerves jangled.  On coffee and carb overload, I sat straight in the back seat and stared through the open door daring the scenario to degrade into disaster.

Phillip begged to go first and Patrick conceded.  I saw the struggle on his face.  It was his rifle.  Dennis had given it to him for Christmas and while he might not have wanted it, nonetheless it was his rifle.   But he acquiesced and Phillip took a stance, with Dennis in his wheelchair along side.  The first shot rang out and my stomach clenched.

The boys rotated and fired, one after another.  The brown of a tree's bark across the way began to shatter as the occasional shot found its mark.  A flutter of wildlife rose in the brush; birds squawked,  rodents skittered.  I studied the faces of the three males.  Dennis's features seemed stamped by a kind of euphoria.  Phillip's smile had grown as his shot got more sure. His eyes shone; his face, smooth, open, broad, turned toward Dennis after each round.  Patrick's brow had become furrowed, his eyes narrow, his mouth set in a straight line.  Stance, fire, stare.  Both boys got better as they practiced.  I began to feel ill.

I got out of the van.  I stood a few feet from the line from which the boys were shooting and leaned against the van door, my eyes closed.  I remembered something from Patrick's toddler days.  I had not gotten a toy gun for him.  He had no father; no cable TV; no male influence except my law clerk, a gentle man who wouldn't have had a gun in his house for anything.  But one day I heard noises from the other room, Pow, pow, pow, and came around the corner to see my eighteen-month old son holding two forks, the tines of which he had jammed together to former a weapon.  One fork clutched in his little hand, he aimed the protruding fork at the furniture.  Pow, pow!

I took a few steps toward my husband and said, I'm hungry, I need protein, can we go back to town?  He pivoted and cast a glare toward me and I fell back against the side of the van.  No, he snapped.  We're not done.  The boys stood still.  The four of us froze.  But then the moment passed.  They spent another twenty minutes, maybe fifteen, taking aim at the poor tree and then Dennis relented though not without complaint.  They tidied up the forest floor and we climbed into the van.  All the way back to Asheville, Phillip chattered:  How good the rifle felt in his hands, how well he shot.  I said nothing.  In the afternoon, we toured the Biltmore Mansion, and I snuck the boys a taste of wine while Dennis flirted with the ladies at the bar.

Here in the Holmes house, yesterday's newspaper announces that the murder rate in Kansas City fell 23% in 2014.  I don't like guns, I have to admit; and I will never understand the expressions on the faces of those male personages, twelve years ago, in a clearing in the North Carolina mountains.  But I understand the nausea of their mother, their wife, their neighbor, as I stood and watched the perennial ritual of boys learning to shoot.  Nothing but fear.  Cold, stark fear.

Mugwumpishly tendered,

Corinne Corley

Folks:  I make no apology for the tone of my musings today.  They write themselves.  Sometimes they trickle out as what one reader called "warm, fuzzy fluff" and sometimes, other emotions crowd any tendency towards frothy sentiment.  This piece came out nearly whole-cloth.  With only two interruptions in writing -- a message from a friend, to which I responded, "Wait Please Writing"; and a phone call from my doctor with test results and medication adjustments, this poured from me over an hour.  To Dennis, who will, with two or three others, understand; I say:  "Life is complicated; put aside blame; embrace the good in every experience."  And if you are one who finds yourself stuck on the question of "Who the heck is Walter Mitty?", read here.  

The Missouri Mugwump™

My photo
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.