Friday, April 30, 2010

Always the cowboy

He had been locked out by a gust of wind and an automatic latching door: no phone, no keys, and no shoes. We walked the two blocks to my house to find him something, a screwdriver, a crowbar, or even a hanger, to help him break back in. We made it to the start of the gravel driveway, when he pulled up short and stopped. He was nervous about walking barefoot down the gravel. I slipped off my sandals and handed them over, but he just laughed and rejected my gift before saying he never went barefoot growing up. He was a cowboy he said. Cowboys always wore boots.
We both spent our childhoods playing Cowboys and Indians. He was raised in Missouri, I grew up in Kansas, but the rules were always the same. Track down the other group and have a battle with sticks, plastic guns, and imagination. The last group standing wins.

He was always a cowboy. He had a quick draw and stead aim. He dreamed of duals in dusty streets with a pair of pistols, a trusty stead to carry him away into the setting sun, and a sturdy pair of leather boots with spurs to protect his feet. Cowboys always wore boots, even when they were running down neighborhood streets, hopping fences in small town Missouri searching for the illusive Indians.

I, on the other hand, always knew I was a long lost Indian Princess with an Indian Brave out there, who had been searching for me his entire life; he just hadn’t found me yet. I could jump fences and weave through overgrown backyards without leaving a trail. I knew how to dodge a Cowboy’s bullet from an imaginary pistol, track a trail with ease, and disappear down a gravel road without shoes. Because Indians didn’t need shoes.

I walked down the middle of the gravel driveway, watching him pick his way carefully between large rocks and chunks of concrete, while mumbling profanities under his breath. His uncalloused feet unwittingly move the rocks as he passed. I tracked each of his footsteps, the way I did as a child. As I ran to catch up with him, not caring about the sharp edges of the rocks pushing into my bare feet, I knew that there was no way that this Cowboy would survive the fight if his gang were pitted against mine.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

holding on for the ride...

I've spent my day being reaffirmed. Little comments not meant to be heard, notes written on white boards, even an occasional compliment. Despite all these I'm still reminding myself to put my big girl pants on and to be strong.

It's time for me to stand up. Time to fight. Time to face those things I've been sweeping under the rug.

No more Miss Nice Girl.

It's time some people started paying attention to me. Not in the selfish, I'm all there is kind of way. But the, hey, you, I exist, I'm competent, and i'm tired of being ignored kind of way.

It might get messy. It might get crazy. It sure as hell isn't going to boring.

Here's to the craziest week so far. It'll only be out-shadowed by next week, but we aren't looking that far ahead....

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Someday lady

The chords reverberated into the night, drowning out the constant sound of the spring bugs. His golden curls shone as the light illuminated the room. The red plaid fedora sat askew on the back of his head, getting perilously close to falling off. His fingers moved gracefully around the frets, bending at just the right angle, applied with just the right amount of pressure. He was lost in his mind, while I was content to just watch. The chords were interrupted every now and then to allow time for a story, or an explanation, or a song he sings with his Kindergartners. They brought a smile to my face and a peacefulness to the evening.

He played his favorite song. The one whose words may or may not have been written for me.

Later as I drifted off to sleep, the lyrics ran through my head, inviting me to even try and say no to what was knocking at my door. Change, uncertainty, and adventure. I wasn't worried about what was to come, just at peace with what was happening.

I don't know where I'll end up or even if he will be there.

I just know the gypsy wind will blow warm some night, the night will be starlit, and the time will be right....

Thursday, April 8, 2010


The note spoke of broken dreams and heartbreak. Of frustration, failure and insufficiencies. It came out of nowhere and yet it was all too familiar. It ended up being an apology for not finishing a gift that was planned. A gift meant for my high school graduation. Instead a check and a line begging for forgiveness.

I had every intention to write about how my family is crazy, or how i'm not the favorite grandchild, but I can't make it right. It sounds as if i'm a three year old complaining about only getting one cookie instead of two. So instead imagine gloriously crafted lines and fill in the blanks leading up to this...

So this time around, four years later, the family that I am celebrating with isn't the usual grandparent's, aunts, uncles and cousins. Yes they will be proud, but the people I want to be with, are the ones that don't need an invitation to know I'm graduating. They are the ones who know what is going on in my life and want to be an integral part of it. They are a group of Asian middle school girls, a seven year old with an all encompassing smile and big round grey eyes, a woman who does wonders with my ignored hair, a tall hippie friend planning on studying economics who helps me get into trouble, my second momma who knows her plumbing and salad dressing, the residents of 920 Porter, a cheering squad of people with slow southern drawls and big open hearts, and the friends who have walked these past four years with me up on the hill.

That, to me, is family.

And that is sufficient.