Sunday School Sue told me with an easy wide smile that she so enjoyed my post called “Reflections”. Her compliment was a chocolate-covered lemon, however, as she continued needlessly to add context. “I could understand it, unlike some of your other posts where I wonder what you are talking about.”
“Well, thanks, Sue, for driving that nice shiny new compliment right off the cliff into a slurpy mocha mudslide.”
“Oh, that didn’t come out right.”
“No, I think I understood it exactly, unlike some of your other comments where I wonder what in the heck you are talking about. But Sara tells me the same thing. In fact, she commented on the same post, “Reflections”. Let me paraphrase, ‘It was sweet and then you drove it off the cliff with the Ted Kaczynski part. Where do you come up with this stuff?'”
“Well, that was a little strange. I mean, the Unabomber and family love? C’mon.”
“Hey, it was an extreme contrast to illustrate the goodness and power of love.”
“Does this mean I’ll be featured in the next blog post?”
“Sure, why not?”
Well, there are two types of people in this world: those like me and everybody else. (Okay, maybe there are other categories like male and female, gay and straight, tall and short, smart and dumb. So, Fake News again. Okay, I’ll walk that comment back. One of my aides told me to say that. My generals said maybe they did and maybe they didn’t. I was first in my class and have a ginormous I.Q. except when fact checked. Many people are saying I was correct, you know. It’s playing well in the media. My base approves.) Admittedly, my group is pretty small. Eccentric for sure. I’ve only met a couple of other me’s along life’s highway. They were hitchhikers with small dogs and a “Hungry” sign outside Walmarts. Which makes me pretty darn special. (I must believe this or else what do I have to live for? Should I run for office to justify my life’s purposelessness?? Go into real estate? Oh, wait, that’s already being done.)
So what happens to Sue now? Will she join the Killer Snarks Hall of Fame? Not so fast. Here is where it gets sketchy. She asked if this snafu would rocket her into the mother of all blogs, i.e. , Burritospecial@Wordpress.com. Not to be manipulated by a Staten Island transplant, mind you, but yes, Sue, here you are in all the klieg lights glory.
She’s a nice lady, definitely a lady. Kind and winsome with a midwesterny laugh. Would anyone even dare to capture her in words and phrases? No, because some folks,actually most folks, are beyond simple shoe box bird traps. You youngsters would not know about these, but back, way back in the humid suburban summer days between the mimosa tree grove and the honeysuckle hedge that defined my backyard neighbor’s yard, Chris Young and I would set up shoe boxes on popsicle sticks attached to yards of string or twine. Under the tilted boxes we would sprinkle bread crumbs to attract robins, blue jays, starlings and sparrows. Cardinals and orioles were also invited but never showed up. Underneath the honeysuckle we waited, hardly breathing as the birds swooped in to gobble up the crumbs. A simple flick of the wrist would drop the box on the unsuspecting birds and away we’d rush to claim our prizes. It was comparable to catching bees inside rose of Sharon blossoms. It was neat and exciting to do, but what to do after you had secured your prey? Let them go. It was sort of anticlimactic as were many things in the early 1960’s. A lot of flirting and near seduction, but no real action.
Catching birds in shoe box traps was a half day adventure in the shared back yards of Dorset Drive and Virginia Hills Avenue. My goodness, in the days before the dreaded chain link fences, long stretches of open back yards called out for the children of Baby Boomers to play baseball and hit golf balls. Which is how I got the scar under my right eyebrow. I think it was Tommy Storm who was hitting golf balls off a tee with a one iron as we younger kids happily chased them down, over the hill like trained Labrador retrievers.
“Here you go, Tommy. Hit it again and we’ll exhaust ourselves running all over the neighborhood trying to track down your old Titleist 1 golf ball.”
It was times like these when older boys realized they could manipulate the crap out of young siblings and their friends who were eager to please them and be accepted into the cool teenager, hair wax museum. Greasers drove hot cars around our streets and did the splits at teen night dances back then at the community pool. They crossed the ultimate social taboo also: smoking cigarettes around the corner of the elementary school. Girls oohed and ahhed over these skinny guys in tight jeans and greasy hair, sneering at social norms. They were bad dudes who probably went on to be roofers and beer truck drivers and bowling alley mechanics. Anyway, they were way too tough for Sweet Sunday School Sue or my future wife to run around with. Not unless you wanted to get whiplash in a G.T.O. doing a burn out on The Parkway with Timmy O’Brian behind the wheel. But I digress as I recall the neighbors who populated those simple three bedroom ramblers back in the day…
The Houcks next door. Mrs. Houck was a Mexican cutie who ran off with a teenaged boy or two for research purposes. The Smiths, lots of drunken evenings when Phyllis ran down the hill to stay at our house overnight while her husband the plumber tried to kill her again. The Emkirs behind us, and the bologna sandwich party where Mr. Emkir came home unexpectedly and beat Eric for a long, long time before air conditioning so the windows were open. The Citchees next behind us, with only child Clancy. What an odd nursing home/ funeral parlor that was. And then the home of Rock n Roll early bird Ronnie Dove. Yep, our local claim to fame’s parents and sons lived there. And it rolled on like a trodden fairway through back yards down the hill, exiting on Berkshire Drive’s curbs and tin pan dramas.
One unfortunate day I took Tommy’s 1 iron in my right eyebrow as I stood in the Coopers’ backyard and saw a shower of blood for a while until six stitches sewn in the Old Alexandria Hospital stopped the flow. Such a notorious war wound, worth a lot of bragging points back then.
So, where were were going again, Sue? Oh yes, over the cliff.