March 16, 2007
My first day home, and it’s a snow day. I really would have preferred a school day. But it’s a snow day.
Despite the circumstances, or maybe because of them, I had a good time in Omaha. In Omaha, my childhood is always just around the corner. Sometimes I seek it out, driving slowly past old houses, but sometimes it jumps out at me. For example, as I was pulling on to Highway 75 on my way to pick up mom at the hospital yesterday, I slowed down to get around a road crew that was clearing brush from the shoulder. A bear of a man in a neon yellow vest– tossing a tree limb into the back of the truck like it was a rolled-up newspaper–waved at me. It was Uncle Pauly! Uncle Pauly is only a year older than me. We went to the same high school. I would pass him in the halls and say, ‘Hi Uncle Pauly.’ (Are you amazed that I survived high school? Could I have been a bigger geek?) Uncle Pauly was on the football team (in Nebraska this is not mere royalty, but immortality). I needed all the help I could get, popularity-wise. I heart Uncle Pauly.
I had seen a lot of Uncle Pauly these past few days, as Mom’s branch of the family is quite orthodox in their observance of Old-School Hospital Visitation. This goes back generations–my great-aunt Bet could settle into a relative’s hospital room for weeks. If the patient did not want her there, that was just proof of the gravity of their condition. Some of our best Family Togetherness Times have been at the bedside of a beloved relation who is just trying to get some sleep. In a year of good health, we might only see each other on Christmas and Thanksgiving (and Highway 75). Bad health years, we get a chance to catch up with each other. So I’m up to date on Uncle Pauly, Aunt Liz (Mrs. Uncle Pauly, also my age), Uncle Terry (an age appropriate handsome dawg of an uncle) and Aunt Sue (Mrs. Uncle Terry), their kids and their kids’ kids. Good times!
Another blast from the past occurred as I was driving alongside a McDonald’s (don’t judge me–I was caffeine- deprived) to the drive-thru order box. Through the window I spied Leroy and Annie! The parents of my BFF Since Second Grade, Laurie Ann. So naturally I parked the car and went in to say hi. Leroy is the man who taught me, at a tender and timid age, that just because a man has red hair sticking straight up and a voice like Popeye, and he is growl-shouting, ‘HOW ARRRRRRR YA KID????!’ while placing you in a head lock– doesn’t mean he is not a big ol’ sweetie pie. Forty years on, and he still greets with me ‘HOW ARRRRRR YA KID?” Annie is a saint on earth (obviously). She made all of Laurie’s and my Home Ec sewing projects, sunbonnets for us and clothes for our cornhusk dolls for the Nebraska Centennial Year (1968), and hula skirts for our ‘study’ of Hawaii. When I was in college, Annie let me stay over with Laurie and come home later than my mom let me. (Still mad at Mom about that. I was in COLLEGE. O the humiliation of a curfew.) It was so reassuring to see that they are still the same. A little white hair, is all.
That’s all I’ve got today–a mini-memoir. I’m on the last skein of Argosy the Wrap, but nobody would want to see a picture–it looks the same as it did on Wednesday, only longer.
We had fun in the snow, with gorgeous Fort Tryon Park pretty much all to ourselves. Virgin powder! Ice in our faces!