I’d never noticed his holster before. Perhaps because we were always passing too quickly to see, or perhaps because his unusual riding style leaves us scratching our heads until hewas too far away to see anything else.
But today he had just finished filling up as I pulled into the gas station, and as he adjusted his trademark red scarf over his lean, shirtless torso(an other part of his trademark) and stood up to ride, his feet planted on the bike’s footboards, I noticed that he was wearing a gun belt. It looked like something out of a western, and when he sped away, it was apparent that he was sporting a holster on each side.
Thinking that the chrome-colored firearms might be fake or for decoration, I went into the station and asked my husband, “Does he always carry?”
“You never noticed that?” My husband asked. “He always carries at least one Colt .45.”
“Really?” I was only curious because I knew it wasn’t deer season or bear season or decorate your gun-rack season.
“Well, except when he wears his nickel-plated Colts. They’re pretty cool. But only on special days”
“I guess he’s trying to remind everyone that it’s a special day,” I said.
Today I got a fresh crop of volunteers. I’m just starting to see the first descendants of last year’s veggies in places I didn’t plant them this year. The flowers, however, have arrived! Out come the weeds that happen to be flowers, and into the mason jar go the flowers I never planted (a gift from Irene, maybe?) that are now acting like weeds. But hey, they’re pretty and they’re free.
“What’s senility?” asked the imp at the kitchen table.
“Loss of memory that’s usually associated with old age,” I replied absently.
He laughed and then stopped abruptly, smiling at me at for just a moment. Barely controlling a grin, he looked back at his computer with a strange, happy expression on his face. It wasn’t discretion or valor. It was the smile of someone who is saving something special for rainier day.
One of the pitfalls of living in a rural area is that your kids are likely to run into lots of people who keep livestock – large and small. And after they meet the afore-mentioned chickens, pigs, dogs, goats, you-name-it, they work like crazy to steer all subsequent conversations to the “Can we get chickens, pits, another dog, another cat, you-name-it” question, secure in the knowledge that we do have somewhere to keep them.
Taking your kids to a sheep herding demonstration starring a dog who could melt the heart of a snowman practically guarantees a sudden interest in acquiring sheep and another dog, and today was no exception.
The one difference today was that the dog who inspired the latest request has been inspiring many of author Jon Katz’s recent blog posts, and that piqued my 11-year-old’s curiosity. Unfortunately for him, Thing1 is currently grounded from any electronica, but he saw an opening. Thinking, perhaps, that interest in reading about sheep online (as opposed to polishing the kitchen chair playing video games) was a more reasonable request than an actual sheep (or the requisite additional dog), he casually mentioned he might be interested in Red’s journey to Bedlham Farm.
Trying to avoid repetitive stress disorder from the inevitable refrains of ‘No computer’, we turned to the tried-and-true distraction – ‘what’s for dinner?’ But our five-year-old, also serving out a sentence of no electronica, was ready for this and began quizzing us about Red and sheep and who had herded the sheep before last week. And as we answered, I remembered that the story of Red’s predecessor Rose was waiting at home for us. I dropped a copy of ‘Rose in a Storm‘ on Thing1’s lap as soon as he got home and plopped on the couch. He eyed it with suspicion – it is summer vacation after all – but the little red dog had him wondering about sheep and dogs and farms, and he started casually flipping the pages. I said nothing and left for the grocery store. I got back an hour later and found my normally reluctant reader, remarkably lost in the story of another remarkable little dog.
Once Little League is done, we make it a point to spend our Saturdays dragging Thing1 and Thing2 to at least one art museum or event. We engage in this torture, partly because we want to expose them to some sort of culture that doesn’t come out of an iPod, but also because we love to hear the grumbling as we travel to and from the designated venue.
Today, however, we screwed up. We thought we had the rugrats where we wanted them – we promised an art opening in a country setting and even a little poetry at a show curated by Maria Wulf, a New York fiber artist and wife of author Jon Katz. The two-day event is showcasing her quilts and Jon’s photographs along with work by photographer and collage artist Kim Gifford, painter Donna Wynbrandt, Diane Swanson, and Joyce Zimmerman.
On any given Saturday surrounding the kids with fine art and holding out the promise of poetry and even a talk by one of the hosts would result in considerable push back. But the minute we stepped into the gallery/barn, they seemed to be under a spell. Colorful and popping with imagination, the paintings and collages provided plenty of eye-candy, but when Jon invited the crowd to congregate in the main barn, my husband and I realized that he and Maria were the ones casting the spell.
As a student of Jon’s at Hubbard Hall’s Writer’s Project, I (and exhibitor Kim Gifford) have had glimpses of this magic, and today, watching Maria and Jon share their lives and their art while nurturing the gifts of the other exhibitors, it created a little pocket of joy. And joy is pretty strong magic. It keeps a five-year-old listening contentedly to a poetess. It inspires people in its midst to go out and create their own magic.