Saturday, December 31, 2011

three word resolution

It is finally friday night and we are sitting in the living room of cabin #5, Happy Camp Hideway in Netarts, just like last year. New Year's in Netarts. It may be a bit soon to call it a tradition, but here we are, surrounded by the lapping waves of an inlet just south of Tillamook, two neon palm trees and a tattered Jolly Roger flag decorate the driftwood yard. The trees do not sway in the wind. I am happy to be anywhere but work. Anywhere. And I am very happy to be here. There's a silly ad on TV right now: Condense your new year's resolution to three words.

I'm thinking. That's two.

At work I've been doing the unthinkable: reading ghost stories to Alzheimer's patients. They love 'em. I found two books of Oregon ghost stories. We've read Jacksonville stories and Portland stories, stories of the Pittock Mansion and the old hotel in Baker City. Emmy lived in Baker for awhile. She has a tattoo on her upper arm. Like her, it is cloudy with age. It is a heart with a name in it --looks like it begins with a J. I asked if there was a story behind it. "Oh," she blushes, with a sweet Alabama twang, "Some boy or another, I s'pose." Only she says bo-way, all drawn out. "I was a little wild. I had five husbands, you know," she confides. I try not to raise my eyebrows, and she says, "Not at the same time, honey." And her smile fills in the blanks as her attention drifts. "I didn't pick so good," she admits. We both laugh. When I read the ghost stories, Emmy does the sound effects. "Woooooooo," in the pauses.

I have two couples living on the unit now. One is from Tillamook, just around the corner from where we are now. They met in the midwest during the Depression, in the Dust Bowl. "You don't know poverty," Tom says, shakes his head. I asked his wife how it was to clean the house. She said it was impossible, but she cleaned it every Saturday just the same. She told me grasshoppers ate the curtains right off the windows. I didn't understand. "There wasn't nothin' but dust to eat and millions of grasshoppers. The windows were black with them trying to get inside. They ate wood, anything. Your nose was always full of dirt. You got used to it." I guess I don't know poverty.

I take it back.

That's four.

Kurt spent yesterday netting crab for our New Year's Eve party of two. Nothing will ever taste as good. I don't know if its because you have to work so hard for the meat, then drag it though pools of melted fresh garlic butter. Mmmmm. We spent the day taking the long way home up through Cape Mears and Wheeler. I bought a cherry bark box in Wheeler where we had breakfast. Very pretty. Bought oysters and steamers in Garibaldi to make for dinner. I won't eat the oysters. Too ugly.

My shoulder is bad again. And again. Surgery on January 20th, followed by a month off work. Which will contribute more to healing? The knife or the absence from work I can't say.

Heal my body.

There. That's three. A bit ambitious if you know my body. And a direct ripoff of Louise Hay, but what good did it do her? All these health nuts and new age gurus, laying in the hospital dying of nothing.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

all smiles

Merry Christmas from Duffy and Sid.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

lemon verbena

I remember my untrained palette discerning the difference between the honey I suckled from a purple wildflower behind my house on Marsh Lane, and the sweetness at the base of field grass, chewed against the better judgment of my mother. "Those slivers will go through your blood stream and into your brain." She was great for death threats so far unrealized. She should have warned me about other things.

The smell of lemon verbena takes me home, back to the pastures of my childhood. I try to capture these smells with words and fail. I bought lemon verbena soap for the girls in hopes of sugarplums dancing in their heads, some memory other than the rags and black punk dreds of Portland street urchins who leave their warm homes in seach of meaning. Who camp in the dangerous cold and decay, who do not seem to benefit from our suffering, our rejection of all that we now protect. I lived in trees and hovels. I know poverty like the back of my hand. You can tell the difference between children who have lived in poverty, and those who see it as a alter-lifestyle. They wear better rags.

Ah well. It is Christmas Eve day. I haven't posted in ages... so long that Blogger changed my password for me. So Merry Christmas to all of you out there in blogland. I am warm in my home, surrounded by love and posessions. I love the facebook posts of people who say: you know you've grown up when the things you want for Christmas can't be bought." Fair warning: this encrypted message means you ain't gettin' squat. But it sounds good.