I had a hat and a waistcoat.
I put them on, picked up my instrument, and went to work.
It was raw craft, at first. I had a little skill with words and so I used them to hide the flubs.
Raw craft … and then
I missed my mother. I was unhappy that she never saw me perform one effect, never saw what my hands were destined to do. I said so while shuffling cards. I made up a trick that i thought would make her laugh, could she but see.
… and they laughed. And they gasped. And they wriggled a bit in delight.
The laugh exploded and crystallized into art. Laughter through tears.
A marine. (hard and sober)
A goth chick.
A homeless man.
A homeless woman.
A college student.
A superstar athlete.
And several anonymous souls
… have told me that I saved their lives with my words and my art.
Tonight I made a woman weep with my stories.
I reminded her of her son
Who died …
Laughter through tears.
“He would have loved this … thank you for being who you are.”
tonight I drove home.
And I put my instrument down (for now, not for keeps)
I took off my hat and i hung up my waistcoat
and I wrote this to you.
This … is who I am.
I have vivid childhood memories of feeding ducks at Freedom Park with my mother and grandmother. Delighted and terrified by the experience, and clutching the wax paper bag of ‘yesterday’s bread’.
We took the girls to walk around the park when they were small, and we brought along bread to feed the ducks … perhaps past generations of the ducks I played with. The girls were … delighted and terrified, and it’s one of my treasured memories.
In Arizona, outside the coffee shop, I watched a father and son feeding the ducks … and I wish I words for how moved I was. Life is amazing, right down to the very moments.
“There was a boy who came into this world at the hands of a holy woman in a holy place.
He wore a red coat and walked a black dog, saw them reflected in the mirror of the lake.
Lived in the shadow of the mountain, with the smells of disinfectant, dusty old leather, and the polished wood of his bed.
No more than a baby, feeding swans on the river, clutching the hand of his mother and the wax paper bag of yesterday’s bread.” ~ Marillion, “This Strange Engine”
The six of us went to Disneyworld for most of a week. We ate together, we played together … we promised ourselves to come back in 2016. It was … beauty.
The kids wore matching M&M shirts in different colors to the park one day. The next day they wore matching Hannibal shirts …
On Valentines day we took large bags of Tootsie Pops and gave them away to park employees with little ‘I love you’s and smiles. We saw spectacular shows and cemented some old friendships.
We stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Giraffes in our backyard. At night we had infrared binoculars to watch the wildlife. On our last night, Dawn and I had dinner alone in the African restaurant, had a couple of bottles of wine and went walking on the trails for a bit. We talked about the past and the future and … our emptying nest. It was one of the most romantic nights we ever shared. And one of the last.
The world has changed. I have this shining memory. Its beauty is ice pick sharp and it cuts, but the scars are worth it.
Someone earlier asked my about my ‘happy place’, my ‘peaceful, thoughtful spot’.
I’m young … just starting to have questions about the world around me. My parents were still happy with each other. Grandpa Jack is still alive.
We’re sitting in his usual, favorite spot. Three quarters of the way down Scotch Bonnet Pier. It’s a hot summer day, but the breeze coming off the ocean is cool. I can feel the power of the sea, moving the pier and tugging gently on my fishing line.
Moving water. Distant sound of the surf.
I can smell the sea salt, the fresh fish we just caught, now chilling in ice.
I can tilt my face up and feel warm sunshine. I try to imagine how high the sky is …
Lately I’ve forced myself to be alone. A lot. I think about You. A lot.
The ocean is still there, the sky is still there. Everything else has faded into time. The horizon … is no closer.
There is peace in these memories. Hope.