I hadn't seen our black boycat for several days but he ambled onto the porch a few minutes ago and now he's noisily eating. Each time the catfood nears empty, I wonder, will this cat stop returning -- should I buy more? But I do; and he does; and now I'm in my rocker as usual, watching him nibble with one eye on the passing dogwalkers.
Morning: Brookside, Independence Day. The day after I set the record for Corinne-Walking, going from David Jones' Gallery on Walnut to Ruthie Becker's Gallery at 18th and Locust; and back again, spurred by the crowds, by passing cars with blaring hip-hop, and Ms. Jessica Genzer's stellar smile. Young friends might be my salvation.
But I am paying for my fun, aching and sore this morning as only befits a nearly-sixty woman long past her expiration date. The sun warms my bent neck and trembling arms. I cross the living room and stumble, almost dropping the last cup of coffee which I've warmed in the microwave. I right myself, make my way back to the porch, sit in the cool air thinking of fireworks gone by, of children staring into the sky, of my toddler son clinging to my blue jeans, of blankets spread on lawns and cars parked at angles in a cornfield far south of here, where home fireworks are legal and the men of the family show the children how it's done while the women carry pies to the picnic table and wash the supper dishes.
Jessica and I shared a couple's table at Grinder's last evening, ordering veggie sandwiches, gluten-be-damned. Dozens of people clung to their seats while hungry First-Friday-ers milled in the doorways. The heavy scent of cooking meat and beer drifted through the room. An easiness settled on my shoulders for no particular reason that I could discern.
At Gallery 504, Ruthie Becker folded me in her slim embrace and offered cups of Sangria. We followed a friend of hers to the Alley and watched the dancers for a while before heading back to where we had left the car at the far end of the Crossroads. Jessica took my picture in front of the robot that lives on a light pole at 18th and Grand. We skirted the foodtruck crowds and the little girls sitting on the hoods of their parents' cars with paper plates balanced on their laps.
At David Jones' place, I stepped inside to thank the displaying artist whom I had met there at the start of the night. A young woman born and raised in Iran, Behnaz Miremadi stood before her paintings with the quiet elegance which reminds me of my mother's Lebanese aunts and cousins. She made no apology for her heritage. She acknowledged the troubles of her country and the terrible plight of women there; the incongruity of the country's stark beauty and awful history. Her calmness spread to my agitated brain, and I let myself be pulled into her serenity.
The night ended. I drove us back to the Holmes house. As I fell asleep, I thought about these Musings, a contemplation in which I rarely engage. The stories of my past, the tales of my practice, the scenes through which my life has taken me, usually rise unbidden on Saturday morning as the birds call to one another and the sun rises in the east. But this morning, the peace and glory of a night spent among the revelers at First Friday hovers in my heart, crowding out the memories, pushing away the indignation of social injustice which I sometimes feel compelled to share.
Independence Day, 2015. The sixtieth year of my life. Our nation's 239th birthday. A flag waves from the Holmes house, the stitched flag we bought two summers ago and hung with such care. Its pole has cracks and the heavy iron holder in which the pole rests has gathered rust. But the flag still flutters, rippling in the soothing breeze, as the sun climbs behind me and caresses my tired limbs. In the distance, the occasional blare of fireworks testifies that Kansas City has already started celebrating. Here on my porch, the glad chirping of the birds hales the beauty of this day, and I am content with their pleasant song.
Saturday, July 4, 2015
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The Missouri Mugwump™
- M. Corinne Corley
- 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.
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