Saturday, March 5, 2016

Saturday Musings, 05 March 2016

Good morning,

I've heard it said that the mark of a good party comes when something breaks, preferably a wine bottle or a beautiful crystal goblet.  It's a party now! But for me, the sign that a function has succeeded lies in the ache of my feet, the knot in my knee, and the exhaustion that claims me when I finally collapse into bed.

I felt every speck of that last night after the opening reception for the latest artists at Suite 100, the professional suite that I've shared with four other professionals (friends, all) for the last six years.  I'm not sure I can faithfully reconstruct how these art receptions developed, but we have them four times a year.  The March and June openings are "all about the art".  In September, we do a fundraiser for two area domestic violence shelters, Rose Brooks in Missouri and SAFEHOME in Kansas.  Then in December, our big annual Holiday Open House provides a chance for us to thank our clients, colleagues, and friends for their faith in us and their support of us.  At each, new art graces our walls and artists have a chance to mingle and sell their art.

It's hard work, but rewarding.  This morning I feel each day of my sixty-plus years, from the ends of my hair to the gnarled tips of my toes.  But I'm okay with that; I can feel, therefore, I still live.

As I sit peering through the still-broken slats of the blind in one of my north-facing windows, I can hear a faint roar.  Traffic out on Troost Avenue, perhaps; maybe a distant passing train.  A motorcycle courses through my neighborhood, its engine racing to a crescendo as it nears my house, then fading as it moves south.  Five birds flutter in the air and land on a taut wire.  As they sit, the wire gently sways; suddenly, they lift and dart out of sight.  I watch the movement of the wire in their wake and wonder where they would light if humanity had not provided this perch.

Four houses to the north of mine, an overturned wheelbarrow protrudes from a  pile of spaded earth.  Squirrels dart along its upper edge, catapulting into a nearby spindly dogwood.   My neighbor has torn down a small gazebo and started work on her backyard, hoping, I suppose, to match the beauty of her front yard plantings which already put the rest of us to shame as we walk past.  I remember when the people before her leveled the yard for a swing set.  Our children took turns on the glider before running three yards over to conquer the jungle gym in my backyard.  The littlest, Rebecca, scurried behind her brother Dane and my son Patrick, dragging a doll in the dirt as she ran. Though our yards were fenced, a series of old gates yielded as the kids darted from one house to the other,

The gates are gone now.  Rebecca and Dane moved to Kansas, and my son found other playmates. Decades receded; those laughing, flushed children no longer exist.  The Girl Scouts who lived on 61st Terrace are college students and graduates. I see their parents at parties once or twice a year.  We trade stories of our children's successes, beaming and proud beneath our grey hair.

I have survived to middle age.  I count among the days gone by, the loss of both parents and one brother;  four failed pregnancies including my son's twin; one live birth, three marriages and three divorces; life in three states and five cities; two home purchases; a moderately successful law practice; three separate, successful efforts to overcome substance dependence; the intentional loss of eight-two pounds; and the acquisition of a heartbreakingly loyal group of friends.  I've fallen in love five times; had my heart broken six times (counting the loss of my son's twin as one); and outlived a firm prediction of my impending death by eighteen years and counting.  I survived Catholic schools, an alcoholic abusive father, two tornadoes -- one of which some disputed, calling it a mere straight-line wind; and an attack on an emergency room in which two people died from close-range shotgun blasts.  I stood fifteen feet behind one of them as he fell to the floor.  I have been hit by cars while crossing a street three times, twice unscathed and once with only a crushed leg -- and not one drop of blood shed.

I'm cleaning out the closets at the Holmes house.  I sense the approach of a storm; or perhaps a tidal wave.  Change looms around the corner.  I feel the need to jettison anything that will not aid my survival.  Meanwhile, the world turns outside my window.  My son voted for the first time this week, in the Illinois presidential primary.  I have tried off and on for the last six years to convince him to exercise his civic duty.  I had stopped trying; his decision to register had nothing to do with me, unless you count whatever passion I have inspired in him for  the betterment of the world around us.

Now the dog barks to be let back into the house, pulling me from these pleasant reveries.  By the light streaming through the window, I know that the hour of my next obligation draws near.  I leave the keyboard, and the cold cup of coffee beside it, and take up the day.

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.