Saturday, November 15, 2008


Life In Kickapoo Center at the Turn of the Century

The Pooch is spending more time downstairs sleeping on his favorite chair. Thus, I am able to sleep "perchance to dream". I am flying. To stave off the fear of falling, a big symbolic fear all my life, I tell myself that I can maneuver like a skydiver, perhaps bringing myself to a safe landing with a slow glide to the ground. In the dream I fly higher. Now, I'm worried about flying too high. It'll get cold up there. The air will be thinner. It reminds me of the short flight with a college buddy-Stoney Burke, who took me up to 10,000 feet and lit his Bic lighter to show me that the air was indeed thinner at this altitude. Thin air. freezing temperatures AND electric wires. Where did they come from? Bizarre. I wake myself up several times. My throat is sore from snorting and mouth breathing. Blame it on Pucci.
Somewhere between three and six am, the nightly ritual begins. First, he announces his arrival with a few meows. He'll jump on the bed and begin to stomp on the sheepskin I placed at the opposite side of the mattress to keep him off my pillow. A soft surface reminds him of his mother, a nest and life as a kitten. Then the restless series of attempts to nestle up to me on my pillows. PFFTT his tail is in my mouth. Oh, ick he's trying to lick my mustache. Catlips oh no catlips his rough tongue scrapes the skin off my nose. He purrs like a small engine warming up. Then he moves to my side. Remember, this is the kid who spends hours outside in below freezing weather. Is he trying to keep warm? At six thirty I give up trying to sleep. I shuffle downstairs, open the brand new highly insulated door to the deck and open the storm door. Pucci looks out. Determines it is safe and crawls under the storm door. He never chooses to walk around the door. It is routine to him to crawl under the door. Like a soldier at the front he mans his posts. First, at the top of the steps looking out to the north and the garden fields. Then, he trots to the back of the deck to check out the backyard and the south fence line. All clear. I notice that the storm door fogged up rather quickly which means it's below freezing out there or that the new insulated entry door works very well.
Booting up my computer I check the documents file for golden oldie stories from the past. I find one titled Berlin. Because the documents are listed in ABC order, it's one of the first but fairly recent. It's dated July 5, 2007-my mother's birthday.



“You can never leave Berlin.”
George Clooney to Cate Blanchett in The Good German.

I don’t know what it means. What I do know is that this film noir shot entirely in B&W mirrors the day: July 4,2007.

Cate Blanchett eventually boards a plane to leave Berlin in the last scene of the movie.

I pull in the driveway Tuesday evening after another siege at Wally World. The head lights reflect off of tall foliage in the garden. “That’s strange,”I think. I don’t remember the plants in the garden being that tall. “Oh, no. Oh, no.” The second half of a diseased soft maple falls in the garden. In a rainstorm that totals 6 inches of rain over a brief two hour period, Linda goes to the onion drying shelter which collapsed under the weight of too much, too soon. The ridge pole separates. Gallons of water pool in the plastic fabric at the eaves causing it to collapse. A few minutes later the 100 year old maple, over 80 feet high, falls to the ground with enough force to poke a 5 inch perfectly symetric hole in the industrial, plush carpeting recycled from the assisted living center in town which I laid in the cabbage patch as mulch.

The bean garden,spinach, corn, broccoli and cabbage have a swath cut through them like the tornado that passed through the small town 2 miles to the east a few years ago. In my driveway, musing, looking at the devastation, I mutter,”Oh, well that’s less work in the garden.” Today, reality says I worked for months to create the most beautiful, perfect garden of my whole life to have it partially destroyed in a few moments. The evil maple tree got its revenge.

My neighbor Ron is standing near the Shirofumi edible soybean plants late in the evening as I return from work. Linda is next to him. “Looks like the deer ate your soybeans,” he says. Sure enough, the soybean plants are topped by curious deer attracted by the fresh foliage in the garden. Insult after injury. The morning after, a proverbial dumb bunny suffers because he chose to spend some time in the bushes near the kitchen window.

After Ron, Linda and I confer, I decide to turn on all the outside lights (5 spotlights in total not counting the automatic light at the garage peak). I light up the pole shed, tuning the radio inside at full volume to a Christian station. “Have you accepted Jesus as your personal savior,” the voice booms from the tin shed.I park all three vehicle near the carnage giving the impression that we are waiting for you…you@#$% deer. I tie Wal-Mart plastic bags to the antennae and rear side mirrors to create additional deer discomfort. Then it begins to pour. Again.

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