When I drive to town or come home by the back way, I pass this house. It never ceases to disturb me. An acre at least of plain grass yard with not a bush or a tree. A straight-up brick house and that cop car is always parked there outside the garage so I suppose a police officer lives there. I don't know how that works. The car parked out front is on a slab of white cement and is a step or two from the front door.
A few months ago one small bit of ornament did show up. Two pots on either side of the entrance filled with plastic flowers. You can't see them for the car.
This disturbs me because it seems so unnatural. Who lives like this? What sort of people who choose to live in a relatively rural area don't want at least a few flowers, a fruit tree or a crepe myrtle? Bushes under the windows? A garden patch? I just don't get it. I swear to you- I worry about that place. Or at least its inhabitants. What does the inside of the house look like? Do they have a couch? A picture on the wall? Rugs? There are the hints of plain white curtains at the windows in front but they could be there simply for privacy. I do not know.
It is certainly nothing like my house. Not one bit. It resembles the place I live as much as a stick and palapa-roofed Mayan house resembles a New York City Brownstone.
I took that picture on the way home from town today where I went swimming with Lily and Jessie and the boys. We went down to a local lake in a State Park, Maclay Gardens and ate our picnic of salads and various other delicious foods from Publix which we'd picked up and there were hundreds of people at the park. At least one major family reunion was going on, maybe more than one. There were kids and babies and adults of every color and shade and proclivity and age and ability and we just floated around and soaked in the warm water, letting the boys splash and play and we talked and laughed.
"Mer!" Owen would say. "Pretend you a little girl and I'm an alligator and you not supposed to be in the deep end but you are and you say, 'I not in the deep end,' and the alligator comes up and..."
I couldn't even follow that one. His pretend scenarios are getting pretty complex. Small little plays which he scripts and I follow his lines and improvise and sometimes he has to step in to correct me, to nudge me back to the story.
Oh, that child.
Anyway, after all of that I drove home to find Mr. Moon and Vergil, drowsing in front of the World Cup. They had spent most of the day trying to sight Glen's bow and were hot and tired. It was after four and they had just had their lunch of leftover chicken and dumplings. Jessie and I had discussed the fact that they probably hadn't eaten, had flat forgotten to eat, which both of them tend to do. Sometimes I get so angry at my husband when he does that. I suppose I worry that if I died, he would never eat at all and would grow faint and follow me into an early and unnecessary grave.
I'm sure that would not happen but for goodness sake! Who in the hell forgets to eat?
I did a few things around here and then laid down on the bed to read. Maurice came and got on the bed with me and I found myself saying something completely idiotic and embarrassing like, "Oh, is that my sweet wittle baby? Does she want to lay down with Mama?"
And I almost gagged but didn't and we snuggled up and I read for awhile and then I had to put the book down and snooze a little.
I got up but Maurice still hasn't. She looks like this.
This is the circuit breaker box right outside our kitchen porch which of course, everyone who comes into the house passes on their way up the steps except for people running for local office and Jehovah's Witnesses and the Mormon boys in their white shirts and ties who knock on the front door.
My bottle tree and oh! how it needs cleaning. Still, I love it. Can you see Elvis?
Sometimes I look around me and I feel overwhelmed by the so-muchness of it all. The skulls with their teeth and the postcards and cards and pictures and aprons and chickens and phlox and madonnas and mermaids and seashells and Buddhas and books and Fridas and year-round Christmas lights and toys and bad art. And sometimes, like right now, I just revel in all of it.
Might as well.
Life is messy. Clean it up.
Or just enjoy it as much as possible.
Every child who ever comes in this house looks around and says basically what Owen has asked me so many times which is, "Where did you get all this stuff?"
And I just say, "I don't even know."
And they say, "I love it here."
I do too. Maybe I'm just trying to reclaim some bit of childhood which I never had- that which is playful and whimsical and light-hearted and not serious or scary or black-and-white at all but which is colorful and light-shot and silly and mythical and sensuous and which no one in this world would spank you for if you broke it. It would just make room for more.
Talk to you tomorrow.