Bye-bye Buffett

parrotSaturday was my favorite day of the year – the day of the Jimmy Buffett show. I’ve been going to shows since 1997, once or twice a year on the East Coast, and one year out of six in Seattle, because he only played there once during our stay. I’ve seen him in Vegas; I’ve seen him in New York, Virginia; and I’ve seen him up close and personal in Key West.

I don’t talk about it much (or ever) here, but being a Parrot Head (for that’s what we official fans are) is a big part of my life. My husband and I met in part because of Jimmy Buffett – he found a girl on Match.com who was into Buffett and 80s hair bands and just had to meet her. Most of our closest friends come from the Parrot Head clubs that we’ve joined wherever we’ve lived. Our social life revolves around the Parrot Heads. Our kids know scores of Buffett songs and we always make sure they’ve got at least one Hawaiian shirt to wear to club gatherings (phlockings). They go to parties and charity events with us and those experiences, in part, are why they’re so good around adults. read more

Something About Mary

heart of gold

I apologize for the late post. I went to New York for a funeral. Pleas read on. 

The first time I met Mary, she was moving into the house next door to mine. She was tall, Italian and had short black hair, curled and coiffed so it never moved.  Her seven-year-old daughter, Beth, asked me if I wanted to have a picnic on the front lawn. I was nine and wary of hanging out with younger kids, but she was so nice and she was right next door, so I said yes. Beth and I laid a blanket out on the tall grass that grew above the septic tank. We could hear her mom and dad, but mostly her mom, directing the movers as they emptied their truck. Mary was  multitasking, taking care of Beth’s baby sister while she got the house in order.

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Seven Minutes

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. 

 

BoyIt 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

Damning the demons of Dad doubt

old_man-2Ever since my dad died, I’ve been thinking about what I did for him, what I could have done, and what I should have done.

When I called my aunt to tell her my dad was dying, I told her that the doctor had recommended a pacemaker but Dad’s living will forbade it so we didn’t do it. “A pacemaker?” she said. “Why didn’t you get a pacemaker? Pacemakers save lives.” The day I made that decision, Dad had been flirting with reality for a while already. His living will said that if he wasn’t expected to make a full recovery, I shouldn’t allow the doctors to use any “artificial means” of support. And I looked it up. Pacemaker was at the top of that list. But when I talked to my aunt, all the doubts came back. read more

Dad’s pride and joy

old_man-2When it’s about Dad, you know nothing comes easy. For a guy who spent a portion of every visit showing me where the keys to the safe were – in the baseboard heater, the old vacuum cleaner bag, tucked under the ironing board cover – he sure didn’t do anything to ease the transfer of his estate. When I asked him to just give me a key to the safe, he refused. Didn’t want it falling into the wrong hands. I live 3,000 miles away. Which wrong hands were going to steal the key, fly to New York, find his house, and break into his safe? read more