I knew I was into something I shouldn’t have been, because every new link had some version of public radio sponsorship. Or however that works. Can you sponsor something if your existence is based – however foggily – on being sponsored by the public?
I’m trained like the rest of us: Guitar, bass, drums. We like a harmonica. A keyboard is fine, but a piano may be laying it on a bit too heavy. Now, if you bring out an accordion I know you’re trying too hard. And a harp? A friggin’ harp? For pop music? We’re gonna have words, you and me are. You don’t get points for incongruity alone, kids. But hey, like I said up there: Public radio. Everybody is into nothing on that stage. Why do I listen to it so much?
Okay, jump back. I wasn’t going to do that not-so-subtle condescension thing today. The idea was to come on here and be upbeat in spite of the weather, which calls for mostly cloudy with a chance of showers. If rolling back to June would help, I’d do it in a flash:
A barony of ivy in the trees
Expanding out its empire by degrees
And all the branches burst to bloom
In the boom
Heaven sent this cardinal maroon
To decorate our living room
Nothing wrong with that, eh? I can’t speak for cardinals, maroon. Haven’t seen many of those since I lived in Illinois some 20 years ago. I seem to remember them from there. What we have here is babies, bubbles, and balloons. The girl makes me go outside, even when it rains , to put up the umbrella on the patio so she can sit under it and blow bubbles. It’s a thing that takes me immediately back to those Illinois evenings where the buildings were low and the land was flat and we could see brutal thunderstorms coming our way an hour before they arrived. Dad would pull the Buick and the van from the garage, park them on the street, and we would stand in front of the lawn chairs he set up, watching it all come over us.
And it lasted. These were no ten minute Rocky Mountain squalls. These things hung around like taffy on a molar, and it was a real show. You’d try to vague away your vision and watch the whole sky at the same time because there was lightning out there, and if you looked at just one spot, that would be exactly where it never happened. You just wanted to be the person to say “Wow, did you guys see that one!” But the sky was forever.
“One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thou – Whoa, it’s right on top of us, dad!”
Out here we don’t get the benefit of the slow approach. Or the thunder. It’s just on us all the time, like this is where it started. The girl pops up every 5 minutes or so, puts down her bubbles, and exclaims:
“I hafta go touch the bad weather!”
A quick lap around the yard with arms outstretched and a bemused dog watching from the window – how could that girl be enjoying that? – she climbs back up into her dry chair.
“Did you touch it?”
“Yeah. I blow berry many bubbles into it now.”
I don’t want to stop her from talking wrong. There’s cuteness is in her semi-jibberized sentences: “That one says about da orca-fish.”
“Yes, sweetie, it’s a book about dolphins.”
I am trying to swing her from “gotsta” to “have to,” and little things like that. But I sincerely hope that when this exuberant and darling miscommunication goes away it is replaced by something as beguiling and dear. Whatever it is will be a surprise. It’s like our rain in that you don’t get to see it coming. One day the child is simply doing or saying something different, and you wonder if you can watch her the way you used to watch the sky for lightning, all vague and knowing that if you look too close, you’ll miss the flash.