I have been taking a memoir class that focuses on writing short bursts of memory about your life. This week’s assignment was: Develop a list of things that seem trivial or small but upon reflection are vital. Since it is Thanksgiving week, my list is about my home and family.
Around 6 a.m. each morning my husband noisily scuttles around the end of the bed and kisses me briefly on the mouth, occasionally missing and hitting my cheek in the dark. He rotely says, “Have a nice day!” I’m still dozing, catching the last misty grays of dreams, gauzy thoughts I can’t return to. Sometimes he forgets the first time out the door; then he comes back.
White cat, called Angel but a stinker in a slinky fur coat is carefully washing Satchel, the grey Tom cat’s face. He is preening on her behalf, neck extended, eyes closed in ecstasy, macho man for sure. Angel lunges. Satch takes a surprise bite to the neck. They simultaneously link legs, lego-like, replicating a gyrating hair pillow of intertwined grey and white, rolling off the bed and chasing each other into the floor length curtains, fluttering now like animated ghosts in a fun house. All goes still. Each cat marches out a different side, tails twitching, parallel metronomes, heads held high—a draw.
The rat terrier, bolts through my legs out the front door, across the street, over the berm, hair on her neck raised, resembling an enraged porcupine’s quills, tail pointed rigidly out, barking in a loud, sharp, rat-a-tat-tat, a sergeant leading a non-extent platoon into battle. I am the bugler shouting repeatedly, “Violet Come!” Out of sight, the barking is interrupted by a guttural, primeval, wolverine growl. High pitched screaming and screeching echoes over the hill in response to my call. Head down, whimpering, tail between her legs, all body parts intact; Violet limps home, a vanquished warrior.
Shani,is my giant miniature collie, a mini-me lassie look a-alike with an absurdly fluffy coat resembling caramel-colored pom-poms. Today, she, keeps gently nudging my hand with her long pointed nose, her head is all olfactory lobe. I finally realize I have put her food where Violet’s bowl goes. Shani is either too polite or timid to touch it. I move Shani’s bowl to its proper place and she chows down.
My 17 year-old daughter texts from school:
- Can I go to a concert? My homework is done, I have my own money, I’m taking my car.
At the concert she texts:
- Here now.
- Can I stay until 10:30?
- Leaving now. Taking Emma home.
10:50 p.m. I hear the garage door open.
When we moved into our home 11 years ago, Scott controlled a third of the upstairs; his bedroom, attached bath, a playroom usually filled with teenaged boys playing video games and the best view in the house off his balcony. The balcony has been used for tossing a five foot stuffed Mr. Simpson off regularly, testing rope ladders, a cat escape hatch to the roof and a feline wrangling corral for said cats, but hardly ever for contemplation and viewing. Since Scott has been largely absent for the last four and half years, his sister has stealthy slunk in and helped herself to his sweaters and shirts much to his chagrin. Now, I pass a closed door with a plastic sign reading, Scott Kozisek, Keep Closed.
The night owl. I crate the dogs, walk through the house, turn off the lights, check the dishwasher is set to wash, flip the gas logs off leaving only the blue glow of the pilot light where a warming flame just resided, test the locks on the outside doors. I snuggle under the heated blanked wrapping myself around my husband like a clam shell protecting a pearl. The pesky cats are nesting on my side of the bed, entangling my feet.
I hope each of you has a wonderful Thanksgiving! My family has much to be thankful for.