plans for the 4th Awais woke me this morning "get up! Get UP! It's America's birthday!
It's 1-2-6 o'clock! (True enough, according to the digital clock.)
We faced off for a while, me putting the pillow over my head, Awais jumping on the bed. Not actually on my head, just sort of around my head, mostly stepping on my hair. Finally he went for the never fail and woke up his brother. Harry joined us with an open carton of yogurt and a couple of raw eggs.
Happy Birthday America!
It's 0-1-8 o'clock in the morning and the humidity has already descended. Even the cat is sticky though not from Harry, because both kitties have been giving him a wide berth since he's taken to sneaking up behind them and roaring like a tiger.
I say tiger, because he recently made the comment that a tiger is "like a kitty". Very true and kind of brilliant I think.
My brother Matthew has been working a part-time gig at the Thresher's Convention in Denton, N.C. He called me on his cell phone yesterday. In the background was the sound of "awacka- wacka- wacka- wacka" I asked him if I should take the kids there for the 4th. He said "wait a minute . . . mumble, mumble, mumble HORSE TRAILER!"
When he returned he said, "If they like tractors and threshers and belt buckles and snakes. I got snake bit yesterday, but it wasn't poisonous. It was a black snake."
"HOW did that happen?" I asked him.
"Um, cause I tried to pick it up . . .. hold on a minute . . ." – then more hollering about horse trailers and more of that wacka, wacka sound which didn't sound like a horse trailer, but I couldn't tell you what it because, apparently I didn't care enough to ask.
The sheets are in the washer and I've already made several calls to relatives trying to come up with last minute plans. Everybody seems pretty unmotivated.
I called Amy last night with some trepidation. She's the plan ahead girl plus a big holiday junkie. I figured she'd be annoyed that I hadn't called earlier, like May, if I wanted to join her on the 4th. (More like bust in and partake of whatever she'd planned, because she always does. Make plans with thought and inspiration and I don't). She called me back this morning and carefully avoided discussion of what she and Violet were doing today, but did arrange for a trip to the lake tomorrow.
But it's America's birthday TODAY!
Salon has an article about Ann Coulter's new book, whereby Joe McCarthy is a hero. This makes me want to call my cousin Scott. He was raised by a man who made his living warning Americans about the desperate, immediate, dire, dire possibility of Communist take over.
When I see red white and blue, I think of Scott- not just the right wing conservatives who've managed to co-op patriotism. I think of his mom who decorated the family home in those colors for years from McCarthy to Reagan.
Then I think of light blue striped sear sucker suits and white cotton shirts worn with Tucson colored vests, the colors Scott stared wearing when he moved to Arizona a couple of years ago.
I think of deep blues and greens, the colors his mom used to decorate her Cape Cod home after the unexpected fall of the Soviet Union.
Tucson is three hours behind and it's too early to call him. Although if I were to call him today, we wouldn't talk about McCarthyism or politics.
We might talk about alien abduction support groups, of which there are many in AZ. We might talk about scheduling fire-eaters for poetry slams. We would most definitely talk about the newly discovered earth-like solar system. We would not talk about anything specific to his life.
I don't know if this was the result of his upbringing, but he is the terminally non-straight answer to any question you might think of- guy.
At 0-0-9 Matthew calls again from his post at the Thresher's Convention. "I just saw Elvis in a Plymouth" he tells me . . ..
"I said, ‘nice costume', but he didn't say anything back. Not even ‘thankyou. Thankyouverymuch'. People are so lame."
"You've only go 200 minutes a month on that cell phone". I remind him. "Today is not off-hours."
"Right." He says. "Better go".
I call my mom and ask her if she's interested in the Thresher's Convention.
"no." She says.
There's a kid's festival, fireworks thing in Lexington. It would be fun and free (and hot and crowded). You can take a shuttle bus from the parking lot of the newly closed K-mart. Better bring the stroller.
I ask her if she wants to go. "Uhhh, let me wake up a little more and I'll let you know . . . but YOU have to go." She tells me.
"I know." I respond. "It's America's birthday."
"You could go early and walk down Main Street and look at the pigs." She suggests. . . .
"and if the kids get too tired to stay for the fireworks, Curtis H. puts on a display every year, right in front of his auto-body shop. You could watch from Jimmy's store, across the street . . . if you didn't want to see him." (she suggests that because I dated Curtis for approximately 2 minutes back in the spring of '88).
"I don't have a problem with Curtis", I tell her, (although he did try and duck me at Jimbo's service station the other day. He turned red and tried to pretend he didn't see me. So silly. Maybe because he's gained so much weight. Or maybe because he doesn't want to catch up. Too many marriages and divorces. I can relate.) . . ..
"So what's the deal with the pigs?" I ask her.
"I saw one in front of a car wash the other day and another one at city hall". (giant ceramic pigs that recently appeared along Main Street in Lexington) "The Bar-B-Q festival's in the Fall, right?"
"Town pride." My mom yawns. "Maybe competing with Thomasville and their giant chair?". (nearby Thomasville is home to a giant chair approximately 3 stories tall, a shaker style kitchen chair, a furniture factory pride thing, although before the most recent lay-offs and plant closings Lexington did a lot more business in furniture production than Thomasville).
"Your neighbors invited us over for a cook-out/pool party," I tell her. "They're going to shoot off fireworks, too."
"I know. They just got back from South Carolina. They invited us, too. They always do that when they're throwing a big party, so we'll be less likely to call the police . . . . . Your dad says next year he's going to get a 100 bottle rockets and return fire."
"That would be so funny." I tell her. "You could rig up some giant speakers and broadcast the Boston Pops . . .. That would be hilarious".
"We're still finding bottle rockets on the roof from last year . . .. It hasn't been too dry though, I guess it'll be o.k."
"You know the problem is that pool . . . and no fence. If Harry's there he'll want to be in the pool 24-7, than I've got to be in there with him. And then there's the swing-set with the slide that shoots off into the ravine at the back of their yard . . .. I just can't face it . . .. Socializing AND keeping the kids from killing themselves."
My mom knows what I mean. In tiny, tiny, itty-bitty communities socializing is tricky. Getting too close is tricky. Not to mention the fact her neighbors like to party. Partying with my parent's neighbors is just about as unappealing a thing as I can consider. Although I do like them and I like their kids and I especially -for real- like the idea of a bottle rocket fight, for next year.
"You know, my place would be perfect for shooting off fireworks, too." I tell her. (It's three minor roads plus a private gravel dead-end road to my front door and my back door looks out over a golf course). Next year I'll get a grill. Put me down for next year. I'll plan ahead. It will be great.
I've got a one-year lease on this place. So much will happen in the next year. I can't imagine how much will happen although I know I would very much like to still be living here. Got to prove myself to the landlord and keep up that yard.
This has been written over the course of the day in between baths and meals and play and naps. Plans have been made. It's going to mean a few hours on the road, coming and going and three more small boys and seeing yet another relative's new house and McDonalds and fireworks, maybe the pigs. It will be hot and aggravating. Leaving the house with small children is still sometimes kind of daunting for me. BUT when I carry their sleeping sticky bodies from the car to their beds I'll be glad I did it. I think I've got too much to say about the 4th. Hope your's was fun. Happy Birthday.