It's a Small World
This is my new favorite small-world story.
About ten years ago, I wrote the poem below:
UNDER ONE ROOF
Mother says a good thing about getting older
is you don’t have to shave as much, which must be
right up there with flossing at the table,
something she and her friends do after dinner,
their teeth now more important than decorum.
Mother tells me this like she expects me to get excited,
the way Georgia does when her dad calls,
because she can’t wait to spell “consolation” for him.
Apparently, turning fifty you acquire the desire
for wearable art. Gold lame’ moves into your closet,
gives birth to matching shoes. I yell at Mother
because she spills coffee on the stairs, a drop
on each step as if from an incontinent bladder,
and she always leaves the oven on.
You need to buy toilet paper, she counters, or The laundry’s
piling up, or Why don’t you get a haircut?
Then she wriggles into something metallic,
takes off in a fog of White Linen
to eat wings with Judy and Judy. Never mind Sadie,
nine, embarrassed by my breathing,
because I sang in the car in front of her friends,
bawling face-down on the floor. I’m reading
the note from Mr. Stark that informs me she was
laughing during oral presentations. Sadie says
that Timmy Nummy said when he grows up
he’s going to invent a new motorcycle
and call it the Nummster, how could she not laugh,
asks me to wear pants, not a short skirt, to the conference.
Well, nobody wears pants in this family--
not since her father walked out in his Easy Riders.
Even five-year-old Jack prefers a pastel floral print
that twirls above his knees when he spins.
Jack, the sugar-dusted prize Y in a cracker-box of Xs,
never dreams of motorcycles, but might
one day design his sisters’ serial wedding gowns.
Oh, I can see myself now: rhinestone-studded
mother-of-the-bride’s dress, silver mules,
searching my handbag for floss, and Jack beside me
whispering, Did you turn the oven off?
Now, continuing the story. In 2003, when I won Snake Nation Press's book prize, I got a little money award, and I bought Biggy and myself each a kayak, which we used about three times because the kid at Dick's neglected to tell us they weren't intended for whitewater. Since my husband deplores any sport that involves physical endurance without great risk of bodily harm, they have mostly been collecting dust in the garage.
This past Saturday, Biggy had one of his infamous million-dollar yard sales, the kind that I inspire when I've cleaned out our closets and collected a few bags to take to Goodwill, and he says, "Hell no, I could get a dollar for those parachute pants."
Said kayaks were among the offerings. As I sat in a camping chair, cooing to Fay, a woman approached me to tell me how beautiful my puppy was (duh), and I mentioned that I'd gotten her to replace Georgia, who had just graduated and left home. She responded that she too had a recent Walton graduate, and told me her daughter's name. Then she said she'd called her son, who was coming to look at the kayaks. I can't tell you how excited I was to hear this.
Next thing, Son shows up and they buy both kayaks.
"So who was the son?" you ask.