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Posts Tagged ‘halloween’

Yeah, it can be hard sometimes.  But again, that’s what’s great of having so much family nearby.  Calvin spends a lot of time at his Grandmama’s house, and often with his cousins at my brothers and sister’s houses. The weekends are great.  Right now there’s a lot of yardwork, so me and Steph and Calvin spend time in the yard.  As she pulls out the dead flowers and mulches the roses, he and I rake the leaves.  That is, I use the rake and he throws the leaves everywhere, repeating why why why.  We explain why the leaves fall down and why the winter is coming and why it’s important to take care of the yard.  He stops to listen for that minute, and then goes back to making his leaf mess. We wave to the neighbors, one of ’em’s got a kid about Calvin’s age and they shyly look at each other across the street. Steph goes right over and chats for a while.  I wave, but stand my post in the yard. I turn around and watch my son humming and making some sort of costume out of his mom’s garden gloves and the trowel.  I think having a sibling will be good for him.  Shoot, good for us too!  I hope to give him the experience of growing up in a big family like I did.  The preparations for our new little one have already begun; I have started building a rocking chair, Steph is working out finances.  The fall is a good season for us- I’ve got a lot of work, Steph’s job gets busy, so we’ve got good solid income.  And the holidays are always great- Calvin wants to be a pirate for Halloween, so his mama’s putting together a really great little costume. We’ll arrange a trick-or-treat party with his cousins and some of their friends.  From growing up here, me and my brothers remember the best neighborhoods to get the most candy. Our wives give us worried looks to say ‘we don’t need the most candy in our house. Our babies teeth, and your teeth will rot out.’  That’s what holidays are for!
           On normal days, when I’m home from work I love to spend time teaching him things.  He’s only three, but you can tell he’s paying attention.  I’ll fix a shovel or fiddle with my tools in the garage, he’ll just sit on the workbench with his eyes wide open and watch.  I have similar memories of me and Mike, watching my dad.  Sometimes he points and asks why (his favorite question these days).  I’ll explain what I’m doing, and lord if it doesn’t seem like he understands every word.  Even when I say things like two-stroke engine, and fulcrum of the lever…his eyes and ears just kind of soak it up.  Shoot, maybe he’ll be a mechanical genius some day.  Like his uncle Mike for example, he spent more time in dad’s garage than even I did.  As a kid, Mikey took apart the vacuum cleaner to see how it was put together. (Mama didn’t like that one so much.) And for his fifth birthday, he had asked for a real toolset. “Not the plastic toy kind, dad,  a real one!” He got to work right away; his first project was to start sawing off the legs of the dining room table.  (Mama didn’t like that one either.) But Dad was impressed.  He said, “Look here!  I never taught the boy how to use a saw.  He figured that out darn quick!  Smart kid!”  And now Mike works on cars- he’s the best mechanic in town.  He listens to Car Talk on NPR, and when a caller asks a question, Mike will turn down the volume, proclaim the answer, and then turn it back up to hear that he was right on the money.  Smart kid. 

 (Do you hope your son will someday follow in the family business?  Become a roofer like you?)

I’d sure love to teach him everything I know.  But I’ll tell you: I’m awfully grateful to my parents for never pushing a career or anything onto us kids.  We were told we could do whatever made us happy, so long as it put food on the table and didn’t cause trouble with the law.  I will definitely say the same for mine.  Just looking at him laughing in the yard and learning about the world…I sure can’t imagine limiting him in any way.

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Yes!  It’s a celebration that doesn’t really make sense anymore, and  I revel in the senselessness of it- the disconnect from our daily identities, the impossible amounts of sweets, a night when it’s not only acceptable but demanded that we walk the streets in large loud groups, passing through the amber circles of street and porch lights. Finally, we all get together and party, like Dia de los Muertos in Mexico, where neighbors are family and everyone walking by your door is a close friend.  But of course, here it’s much better than there- we’ve got warehouses of costumes and entire buildings devoted to liquor.  Two essential ingredients to my night last weekend.  Actually, I usually find a party is best described by the state of the house the morning after.  
Red plastic cups populate the living room in crumpled quiet.  A light bulb burns hot, forgotten even with the sunlight streaming in. The couch trades a rigid upright posture for sagging tired springs, and a crisp white towel for a limp leopard print bowtie.  It served guests with silent stoicism, but is now generally regarded with disgust.  What is under those cushions and smeared into the material- no one wants to know.  Three high heels, all unmatching, have flung themselves into various corners of the house.  The owners have not searched for them.  The kitchen is devoid of any space on a horizontal plane- the counters, the sink, the stove, even the shelves in the fridge are hidden beneath half-filled cups of mystery liquids, empty bottles of cheap vodka and cheaper beer, pizza slices and cupcakes stripped of their toppings.  A group of us gathers sometime late in the morning and a decision is made: we need food and coffee.  Stat.  So we find something decent to wear (Kat proudly keeps her lion tamer top hat on) and head to the diner.  Robbie’s got the hood of his sweatshirt up, a couple of us have sunglasses on to keep the morning-after headaches at bay, I toss back a few aspirin with my coffee.  And we re-live the night.  Reminding each other of our follies and victories.  Poking fun at connections made, commiserating over drinks lost to belligerence, glorifying the events before they can hardly be considered history.  Dude, it was awesome to watch whatever it was you were doing on the stairs… Did I really say that? … Girl, you looked like a super star wearing those suspenders and I know that Jake noticed…  By the time we are done eating, every single scene from the party has paraded in front of us again, even brighter and more clearly than in actuality.  For a moment, everything is so fun and young and alive, we don’t even think about the work it will take to get the sofa back to normal.  
(Haha! Sounds like college.  So, here’s a question for you: You mention “glorifying the events before they can even be considered history,” and with today’s social networking and picture sharing, it’s easy to re-live events and experience nostalgia at a much faster pace than ever before.  Do you think this affects the way you see your experiences?  Do you think it will ultimately be a good or bad thing?)
Well, for now, I think it’s great.  It’s like intentionally creating permanent memories- you can’t really forget what is fresh in your mind.  So replaying the party in our minds, cemented by the pictures put online the next day, help us maintain a really vivid experience.  It’s like in my English classes, where if you just read something, you get some percentage of the information in your brain.  But after to talk about it in class or ask a question, a higher percentage sticks in there.  Like experience is strengthened by keeping it active in our brains, or something. You know how you look at baby pictures and suddenly you “remember” that day you first rode your bike down the neighborhood sidewalk?  Well, what do you think are the odds you would have remembered that without the aid of the picture? How many details do you remember from college, and how much is just a hazy blend of everything?  I’m not saying that it’s good to remember everything…(We’ve all got memories we’d rather have buried…), and I’m not saying I have any idea of how this will affect us in the long run.  I just think that, for now, it’s pretty awesome.

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