Saturday, May 29, 2010

Grocery Store

Jamie was next to me. We had finished paying for our groceries, about $8 worth of stuff to get back home and cook for breakfast. I was walking away when the man behind me put out his hand and said, "Thank you." I said, "For what?" He said, "Thank you." Then, "I have a son at home. I try to take him everywhere I can."

I felt a little bit like a stolen moment, really. It should have belonged to someone else. To MyFella, or any of his siblings. MyFella has mentioned moments like this before, when someone understands. They speak, they nod, maybe they pass each other with a knowing look, not unlike the unspoken rule that Jeep owners always wave, however slightly, at other Jeep owners as they pass.

MyFella said he does it. He'll smile as he passes strangers who are in the mix of company not unlike Jamie. Peter Pan like, the children whose bodies grow, but whose minds don't. He smiles because he understands it all in one encompassing heart beat. He understands what the doctors told them when he was little. He understands what it's like to turn your head for just a moment in the grocery store to have him wander off. He understands what it's like to translate his sentences to friends. But he also understands the sheer joy of the simplest things. In Jamie's case, it's the constant thrill of going - anywhere. To town, to get gas, or just driving with the windows down. Or the way Jamie delights in helping wash dishes and fold clean laundry. Or the smile on his face when he holds a cat or puppy. It's all there, all the joy mixed in with it all. I suppose it's that way for every parent. But this is markedly different, knowing your child will never grow up as others do. And the shared knowledge is marked by simple acts like a nod or a handshake.

I made my choice long ago. I knew MyFella came as a package deal, and Jamie was part of the package. To me, some years later, taking Jamie with me at 7a.m. to the grocery was just as normal as going to the grocery.

But receiving the look, the handshake, it was new to me. Unknown ground. I didn't realize it for what it was until it was spelled out to me. "I have a son like him. I try to take him everywhere I can." I felt like I was cheating, that it belonged to Jamie's parents or to MyFella. I wondered if I should explain, "We're not family. We're friends." But I suppose that could be part of the same overall thoughts that the family might have. Who will his friends be?

I've seen people all over town smile at the sight of Jamie and call him by name. Just 20 minutes earlier at another stop, a couple had been engaging Jamie while I was distracted. When I turned my head to speak, the wife said, "We know him." I should have known, because the husband understood Jamie's speech. I should have caught on faster that they know him.

But I guess the simplest thing is also the most important thing. It was my morning, about an hour, with Jamie. We ran two errands while the word was still waking. And I suppose for all that it was, the moment that would come at the grocery store was my moment to be had. It was my gift from that stranger. He didn't care if our surnames were the same or not. He could tell we were friends. Are friends. He could tell as Jamie held the bacon and I held the milk that we live as friends.

I won't ever understand all that they think and feel, the families with their own Peter Pan's in their midst. I missed the first 40 years of Jamie's life. But the man he is today, I understand as well as I understand so many of my friends. And now I feel like I'm part of some kind of secret family. We nod to each other in passing.

Whoever that man is, I thank him, too.

Ford Tractor, blue

It's a 1970 Ford tractor. Blue. The machine an interesting combination of vehicle and tool. He rides it, controls it, commands it. . . the machine and the land he goes across as familiar to him as it is alien to me. He's bush hogging the land. Part of it his father's, part of it a neighbor's that lets their horses graze there. Her husband long ago fenced off enough of their land to maintain as a lovely yard.

I think it really only goes back a few acres, maybe 8 in total, though it could be miles to me. It eventually descends into the same ravine I've walked down on his father's land. Tree covered, tiny flying bug infested, beautiful and unseen spot of land probably with it's fair share of serpents, until it bottoms along a small, cold creek bed.

And there he goes, riding along. Cutting down errant grass and weed. I suppose to keep rodents and such at bay. To keep it from growing too high. Or maybe for the simple act of just cutting it. I suppose I don't know.

On the tractor he rides and I watch him from a fence gate, from afar. I walk the land before and after he's mowed it down. Careful of snakes. Not sure if I'm more interested in surveying the land or watching him. Spots of beautiful grass, areas in shade overgrown with weed, brush growing up along the rough hewn posts and barbed wire composing the fence. And over it all, he comes with the tractor that's almost as old as I am, with the bush hog behind it. Simple mechanics running it off the tractor's motion. He tells me things about a clutch, a PTO shaft, things that sound foreign to me, but he understands them. He understands them as well as I understand things he does not understand - the simplicity in blunt conversations about sexual practices with friends, the draw of the beauty of the drag show, the importance of matching brown belts to brown shoes.

I envy the owner of the land, actually. I covet the land. It's lovely, even beautiful in it's own way. I laugh and tell him later that if we are able to buy it someday, I have picked out the spot I want to build a gazebo with a swing. It's a spot in an open green field, open to the sun. There's a slight crest at the highest point. That's where I want a swing, in a gazebo, like I once saw on television. I think about ways to power a fan that far out in the field, and consider ways to keep the horses from walking through and getting wound up in the chain that will hold my someday swing. Problems I've considered long before there's a possibility. Challenges I'd like to overcome some day.

But today, there's him on the blue tractor and me walking in the field. I'm content with today.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Wednesday in my hometown.

A brick house with a front porch. A dining room table. A glass of tea. My Mamaw to my right.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Now, this creature is beautiful. But not near as beautiful as his confidence and outfit would leave you to believe. MyFella and I guessed he was from Ole Miss and in town with his girlfriend, hence the yellow shorts with the perfectly white shirt and the name brand shades.

From the bumper sticker on the car, we guessed the wrong college. But same stereotype of students there.

I wish I could have gotten a better snap of him.

Oh well.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


In just a little bit MyFella will arrive here. He's got a meeting in town that ends at 4:30p.m. I tell you, after all this time, I still look forward to him coming through the door.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Facebook Addiction

So, I had just looked down and realized I pee'd on my shorts and not in the toilet when I thought, "It's a shame to be 40 something and . . . "

OHMYGAWD I'm composing a Facebook post in my head about peeing on my shorts! You have to stop it!

Stop it!

So really, is it any better that I wrote a blog about it?