Note to readers: I’m going to change my posting schedule from Saturdays/Sundays to Mondays. It seems that I don’t always have a topic by the weekend but I do on Mondays, so it works out better for all of us. Please look for new posts on Mondays going forward.
It was the worst seven minutes of my life.
My husband threw up his hands and called out, “WHERE’S (OUR SON)?” I looked around, expecting to see my three-year-old in a ten-foot radius. He wasn’t there. I widened my search to twenty feet. He wasn’t there.
Our closest friend said, “I’ll watch your daughter. Go!”
Eyes wide, trying to suppress panic, I stepped out from under the festival tent and headed toward the main drag. I scanned the path, the tents, the alleys between them. My son wasn’t there. I got to the end of the path, turned around, scanned again, saw some of our friends looking too, but I didn’t see my son. At the end of the path, one of our friends pulled me aside and had me talk to a festival volunteer.
“What’s his name?”
I told him.
What’s he wearing?
“Uhh, I don’t know. Oh God, I don’t know. Khaki shorts!”
“What color shirt?”
I’d never wanted to remember something so desperately. “I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know!” read more
For the first time in weeks, the thermometer read below eighty degrees. I peeked out the front door, where my husband was weeding the walk. “Hey, do you wanna go for a bike ride?”
“Yeah, sure,” he said, and went to ready the bikes.
I told the kids to get dressed and I dressed myself. I was going to walk while they rode. I’d hurt my back and biking posture would kill me, plus I was pretty unsteady on my new bike. (See “Just Like Riding a Bicicle”) I hadn’t been taking my morning walks because of the heat, and I missed them. read more
Fingers crushing the handle bars, I started to pedal. The bike steered me on a wavy path before I realized I was leaning too hard on the handle bars and squeezing too tightly. I loosened up and got more control over the bike. I pedaled it up the incline, around the circle, shaky. It wasn’t true what they said. You really do forget how to ride a bike. I made a few laps around the cul-de-sac and slowed down for a break. I wasn’t used to using those muscles. I braked slowly and when I’d slowed down enough, put one foot down for balance. At least I remembered that.
I hadn’t felt that shaky on a bike in nearly forty years. I thought of the hot-pink bike my parents bought for me, with the chain guard that said “Sweet and Sassy.” Neil, my next-door neighbor, made fun of that all the time. “Sweet and Sassy, Sweet and Sassy,” he’d taunt in a singsong voice. Even so, it was a great bike. It was two steps up from my tricycle – I’d never had the middle step, so I wanted training wheels. read more
Dark skies loomed in the west as we drove home from camp yesterday. Halfway home, big drops hit the windshield and I switched the wipers from intermittent to fast. The radio was on and I heard the staccato attention signal of the Emergency Broadcast System. I looked at my radio, wondering why it wasn’t issuing a warning. Then I realized the attention signal was coming from my phone. (I know. I’m dating myself here.)
When we got to a red light, I grabbed my phone and looked at the alert. “Tornado Warning in your area,” it said, “Take shelter immediately.”
“Tornado? Shit,” I murmured. We were five minutes from home and I had workmen there waiting for a check. I kept driving. By the time we got home, dark skies cloaked the neighborhood. I gave my six-year-old daughter the house key and told her to get her little brother inside. The workmen were waiting in their truck at the end of my driveway. I went out to talk to them. read more
I was driving to preschool, minding my own business, when I saw what looked like a big rock on the highway. I swerved to avoid it and when I got close, I realized that it wasn’t a rock. It was a turtle. An old, beautiful turtle the size of a shoe box. He was crossing the highway and had a few feet to go. If I picked him up and got him to the grass, he’d be safe.
The turtle was crossing at the exit for my son’s school – right down the road. I decided to drop my son off at school and go back for the turtle. It was risky and I worried about the turtle as I rushed out of the preschool. I got in the minivan, drove back to the spot and parked. I couldn’t see it too well, but the turtle looked different. As I got closer, I saw that he’d been hit. His shell was smashed and his guts hung out the side. He was dead. If I’d stopped when I saw him, he’d still be alive, but this magnificent creature, who had a chance just a minute ago, was dead. read more