Simple Gifts

A year of patience, a year of simple gifts. Thanksgiving was celebrated at home, just the three of us around a seventy year old table that was a gift from a friend this year. Our turkey, stuffing, the fixings...was a result of our teamwork. We sat down and ate in almost complete disbelief of how great we can be in the kitchen. Such a delicious meal.

After, there was the "fruit salad" my Granmo would always serve after Thanksgiving dinner and in the very same sherbet cups that she'd use. August asked for more cherries, just like I did when I was a kid. I called my Granmo and she and my Granpo were having friends and family drop in. My Granpo, a new man from the one I wrote about only a few months ago.

As we exchanged and read off the things we are thankful for, the fact that I still have them in my life was up there. I was also thankful for a table that quickly filled with food after I took this photo, the centerpiece of pine cone turkeys made without much of my help by our three year old and having Papi home for five days. While the days were kept busy with drives to Christmas tree farms in the rain, thrift stores, and standing in the cold to catch a downtown parade, with stops for hot coffee, chai lattes and hot chocolate, it was the best sort of busy, family busy. Today, we finish off the left overs, the flavors so much richer than the first time around.


I gave August my old, toy piano three years ago, but it's only recently that she began composing and naming her creations. Many a tune was created on it and using it...all my life, really. I wrote a little A C...something on it just five years ago. It was discovered that I could play by ear when I was six or so. I'd play with the keys until I had the tune I wanted. After watching Casablanca, I remember tinkering away at my piano until I had those notes playing As Time Goes By. I would love to have a real piano in my living room but the upkeep is a bit overwhelming and instead I'm hoping for a ukulele soon.

I had piano lessons for a year or two. While I learned to read music in school and with piano lessons, the habit or desire to play by ear resulted in finally leaving piano in frustration. My teacher didn't like the fight I was having between reading notes and hearing notes. I also messed up Mozart at my first recital. I remember feeling overheated after starting over a third time then walked off. 

I love hearing August play with it and naming her compositions. That little Jaymar is old, very much loved and full of the avant-garde tunes of childhood. Here is Ballet Music Instrument of the City.



Rollers are beautiful

What children find beautiful and attractive is interesting and exciting. They like what they like. August saw a woman wearing rollers at the library and exclaimed, "That beautiful lady has a beautiful hair on, Mommy!" It was simple, a fresh look at rollers, a woman with rollers in her hair meant nothing to August, rollers are new, rollers are beautiful and the elderly woman was beautiful. She then asked me what the woman did to her hair. I explained that some women will wear rollers to curl their hair. She wanted some, I had some.

Since that day she has worn rollers in her hair when she wants to feel special. She likes them because they are pink and in a cute, plastic bag. When she wears them she receives so much attention and plenty of smiles. Everything she gave the woman at the library that morning. She walks about regally with her head up and adopts dainty gestures, until she comes to a tree or a clearing inviting her to run, run, run. So, rollers are indeed something special to wear in your hair.

"I'm a Bat!"

On our way to a trick or treating destination we were told about, we drove through the streets of the Hyde Park neighborhood, passing old houses that now looked good as new. The decorated porches and crooked sidewalks were now quickly filling with children. We changed our plans and decided to park the truck. This is where August would have her first real trick or treating Halloween, having had to sit the last one out at urgent care a year ago.

As we started down the street filled with families it was hard not to remember how these houses were mostly dilapidated rentals and home to students, often five to a shack. When Halloween fell on a weekend, just about every other front yard, carport or back porch was filled with costumed twenty somethings and a keg or three. Now I walked hand in hand with my three year old, tripping on the same uneven sidewalks from twenty years before, watching her happily head down walkways all by herself, up stairs to trick or treat. The Hyde Park folks were so festive and sweet, the trick or treaters were all so cute.  It was by far the most idyllic Halloween I have ever had and one I hope that she remembers. She kept on saying,"I am so excited!" as she'd walk back to us from collecting her candy. We had to explain that you take one candy when offered a bowl full and, of course, be sure to say "Trick or treat" and thank you.

Her costume stood out among the many tiny toddler Star Wars and princess get ups. I was proud that she decided to be a bat and not a princess. All the compliments on her costume just made me happier as the night went on. Yes, I did a good job, I saw room for improvement, but a good job. August wanted me to be a witch. I had thought of perhaps Ozzy Osbourne circa 1982, with my little bat but... A witch is what I was and my costume impressed her.

We left Hyde Park just as it got dark and parked at my old neighborhood. The man at the corner still lived there and covered his yard with Halloween decorations. I finally got to share that corner with someone who found it at fun as I did all those years. At the end of the night, the plastic pumpkin was too heavy for August and filled to the top with candy. I never quite got that much candy in all my Halloweens. When we got home and emptied it out, I saw a wonderfully satisfied smile appear across her face. We all had so much fun. Before the evening was over, whilestill out trick or treating, August caught her shadow. "I'm a bat!" There it was, what a costume is all about. She stood there flapping her wings.