I accompany my daughter to the surgical center in predawn darkness. My three year old grandson is scheduled for a procedure. He wants a drink of water, which is not allowed before anesthesia. He is very focused on his need for liquid. When we leave the house his mother points to the moon, still high in the sky. He asks, ” Mama, can we drive right under the moon?” “Sure, Bud,” says his mom. He stops asking for a drink, the unpleasantness of his thirst forgotten for the moment.
It’s the early 50’s. My mother walks me to school those first few months. There’s a sharp recollection of leaving her side to walk across the schoolyard to enter the building with other children. A feeling of being overwhelmed by ‘bigness.’ No looking back or crying for me, though. I want to learn about the world.
air raid drill
a tiny caterpillar curls up
under a leaf
I am four or five. It is warm and the fragrance of the blooming privet hedge tickles my nose. Visiting Grandma, which happens often, she lives only blocks from our house, my mother’s Uncle Willie is at home when we arrive. He is old with a surprisingly full head of gray hair and a round, fat belly. He always makes us laugh and today he is taking my sister and me for an ice cream cone.
the soft feel of chalk
on my hands
As we set out on our stroll, Uncle Willie holds each of us by the hand. He is walking slowly and there is no reason for my short legs to hurry. As we amble, his grip tightens on our hands until we squeal with delight. We know the game. He will not stop squeezing until we say, ‘uncle.’ We play this game until we arrive at the soda fountain.
just the right amount
of music at noon
I try to eat my ice cream quickly, before it drips down my arm. It is a losing battle and Uncle Willie helps keep it from getting messy. I taste the cold sweetness of Butter Pecan and the crunch of the sugar cone. I laugh and lick and lick and laugh. He teaches us how to push the ice cream down into the cone. I finish my cone and begin our walk back. In spite of sticky fingers, he holds my hand tightly and I giggle once more.