Fourteen

Today August turned fourteen months old.
To celebrate we did some finger painting.


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August Time

I have been living with a baby for close to fourteen months now. Still, every morning I am shocked [for all of a few seconds] to find a baby in my bed. This evening the three of us played together in her playroom, around the huge box that has become her little house. It has two doors and a skylight.  Her Papi made it for her. She takes her stuffed animals and baby doll in there.  I have found her sitting quietly in it, slowly turning the pages of her favorite book.

This evening, Jacob and I knocked at her door and she came out. We were her guests. She offered us something to snack on from a plastic cup. Then she brought out her Fisher-Price television to entertain us. We each had an instrument to play along to London Bridge and Row, Row, Row Your Boat. After that activity she brought out her pail of shapes for us all to play, then a book. Jacob and I were in constant amazement of this tiny hostess with the precocious gestures. Who is she?



















Almost every morning we sit outside and admire our little rose bush. We begin with smelling the new roses, something August now does with any flower she sees. She will pluck the roses pull the petals apart and look at each one before putting them in her mouth or shoving them through the space between the boards on the deck.  Our rose bush doesn't seem to mind and gifts us new roses just about every day.

























I try to spot butterflies and when I do, I quickly point them out to her. I keep hoping a butterfly will visit us one day and want to dance around us.  I want August to spend some moments with one. We read about them, see pictures of them and she has one I made for her hanging in her playroom. Real butterflies are just too swift or just out of view.

She comes up with little dances, new ideas for empty boxes and she will melodically string every sound she can make into a song.  She is delightful. Who is she?

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Mr Gage



























This afternoon I received news that my good friend Mr Gage had passed away a few days  ago.  He was 100 years old, he still lived at home, he still had plans. He lived a long life, had many adventures, met awesome people... Still, his void on earth is felt.  Mr Gage was awesome, a dear friend who just cheered me up being in his presence. He exits leaving me wanting more because people like him are rare. I am reminded of how he felt about encores, "Rude", he said encores are rude, we must appreciate the show and be happy and satisfied with that.

I remember visiting him before I left Austin. It was a nice, long, relaxing visit and we spoke of things past and present. He made me fresh lemonade and I watched his hands at work, squeezing the lemons to make me lemonade. I wondered how I would do without seeing him every other weekend, sometimes every weekend. If he were to pass away, I thought, would I ever know or would I find his home razed when I came into town again, to make room for the community college parking. I hoped someone would contact me and that happened.  I appreciated it, greatly.

His art studio had such a youthful energy, perhaps youthful is the wrong word. It had a strong energy and I loved it when we got to hang out there. Off the studio was what he called a European style guest room. It was a small room and bath and it felt so cozy, familiar and safe.  One day I said to him that his studio was very sexy, definitely a sexy place. He laughed and said, "Well, then we better get out of here!" We both laughed so hard. So often he would say something that sent us both laughing for several minutes. Then weeks or years later we'd recall the conversation and laugh for minutes all over again.

I took many photos of his house and possessions and him. I recorded things he said too. This is a snippet from a conversation we were having about old film stars. It was one of our favorite things to talk about.  I tried not to laugh and ruin the recording but it was hard not to chuckle. Our sense of humor just clicked.

Our last conversation was over the phone a month ago. I am upset that I cannot remember it word for word. We laughed though and I remember his laugh. I remember all our other conversations, I don't know why I can't recall much from just a month ago. I did tell him I loved him and I missed him. I do remember that.

Lunamia

For nine days Lunamia accompanied her mother on the dusty, desolate two hour drive from their home to a small town church, to visit a shrine. If she was good, Mamá  promised her a sweet from the panadería around the corner from the shrine. She could have anything she wanted.  On the drive, Lunamia decided that today would be the day she'd ask for the cup of arroz con leche instead of the usual marranito. She had noticed how the top of the dessert had a thick coat of cinnamon. On the long drive she kept imagining taking a spoon and carefully skimming the cinnamon off with just enough of the pudding and savoring the creamy flavors until the spice tickled the roof of her mouth.

She had been so consumed with her plans, she didn't notice that the car had stopped.  They had arrived. "Okay, mija", her mother said, "This is the last day, so pray extra hard for us." Lunamia straightened her socks and took some spit to the scuff on her shoe before getting out of the car. She was tired and a bit queasy from the ride. She had closed her eyes too long on the drive, the sun at her face, she was now a bit dizzy. Other cars drove up and she recognize the faces from the previous eight mornings.

As the people entered the small shrine on the last day of the novena, the smell of incense escaped from inside the church and began to fill the air around her. It reminded her of visiting Tia Lina last summer in California. Tia Lina ran out of the house that day squealing with delight, her strong, distinct, almost piquant perfume greeted Lunamia before Tia's husky and welcoming arms could envelope her. Now inside the shrine, Lunamia took her right pointer finger up to her right eye and with her left eye closed, pretended to control the group in front of her. She whispered her commands, "You, old, Abuelito man, you sit over there, you his daughter, sit next to him."  The elderly man, back hunched over, slowly filed into the same pew he'd been occupying every morning for the previous eight days. His daughter, a skinny, middle aged woman with a long, drawn face sat next to him. "Now, Abuelito man, say,'Por favor, no olvides las prometas de tu Mamá.'" The man, turned to his daughter and tearfully made his request. "Now, daughter, say, 'Si papa, voy a resar.'" His daughter clutched his hand as she told him she would pray. Mamá took Lunamia's hand tightly and brought it down against her side.

Lunamia then took her seat next to Mamá. The hard, wooden pew was cold. She always panicked a bit, wondering how she'd make it through the whole service sitting on the hardest surface on earth.  She had to be good, no squirming. Thoughts of jumping up and running as fast as she could, up and down the center aisle consumed her. She inched forward until her feet were flat on the floor. Mamá was staring straight ahead. The priest entered and began to lead the prayers. The small and tired chorus of voices distracted her. Relieved, Lunamia sat back, the cup of arroz con leche with a thick layer of cinnamon returned to her mind. This time, she added large, sugar crystals to the top and raisins.