Life in Kickapoo Center at the Turn of the Century
At seven this morning it is dark. (It is winter). The overcast sky mirrors an inch of snow which fell after dusk last night. The Pooch goes out via the back door. The overhang between the garage and house creates a breezeway and an area free of snow. Because the winds were straight out of the north in the afternoon, the woodpile against the garage is tinged with white. Poochie sits on the concrete and surveys the scene. I close the door and go into the kitchen to make coffee. Because of the snow cover, I can track his whereabouts. If I let him out through the deck door, he'll walk on the ledge closest to the house, drop down off the deck and under the steps to his hideout beneath the porch. He comes in an hour later for breakfast, shaking snow off his coat.
As I eat my breakfast, I consider titles for this segment. I've been batting around creating a humorous "wish list" for Christmas. No. Way too snotty. My daughter will feel I'm making fun of the wish lists she sends out for birthdays and holidays. I understand that she needs to create a narrow focus for gifts because of numerous in-laws. Bear's Eye Buttons is the next title candidate. It is a vague reference from a novel about Boston around WWI. It's way too involved to explain. Monday is quickly dismissed. There will be many Mondays. I settle on Devil's Underwear. First, does the devil have underwear? Is there a devil? This could lead to a long, involved description of my early childhood living with a Polish Catholic family. You and I are not ready for that YET.
OK, I'll reveal the symbolism here to make it easier for those people who haven't had their morning caffeine rush. Underwear "hidden". "Devil" negativity. Jump on the toboggan. It'll be a short ride until I get us back up to the top of the hill. For those of you interested in etymology toboggan is an Algonquin word out of Canada.
Poochie spent the night somewhere besides the thermal blanket on the foot of my bed. At one point I awaken after dreaming of making love to a woman I can only describe as a "cat woman". Oh jeez. Deep psychosis. Transference. I mean I really like this cat I found on a cold February night, but.... Then because of the war movie, A Bridge Too Far, I'm behind enemy lines. I'm a lucid dreamer. Just about anything is good as a suggestion for one night's dream frivolity. That's why I like romantic movies with a happy ending. No nightmares about ex-wives (the one who left without a note-Hey Howareya Penelope?) man eating monsters, being pinned down by machine gun fire or flying at 11,000 feet and climbing.
Break/pause:let the cat in for a second breakfast, "Are you cold enough yet?" I ask him.
He comes in quickly with a cat grunt. I'll continue with the story. He'll come in my office, pester me with cute tricks including sitting on my lap purring to convince me to let him out. Then, he'll sit under the deck for another hour and watch birds at the feeder. He butts his head under my right hand as I type. It's a not too subtle hint to get a pat on the head. Then, he curls up facing me and looks up with an intent, questioning look. It works. "What?" I say and pat him on the head.
I'm already sitting with my feet on tiptoes so he doesn't fall off my lap. The purring is loud. Every movement my hand makes is accompanied by a- wet nose nudge- (I've got to remember that for a title about some sexy dreams). "Poochie, I can't write with you on my lap, kid!" He reluctantly moves over to the chair next to mine. Then climbs on top of the monitor-one paw draped over the screen. "Will he get cancer from the radiation? Will my monitor get an allergic reaction to the fur? Oh Poochie-you kid you"
It's beginning to snow, again. I've a kitchen remodeling project to distract me from winter- from now until the beginning of March. I draw a line in the dirt, literally, about this remodeling project. In March I plant onions. No drywall, no construction, no dirt, dust or disruption,nada.
I promised a short ride. I'm sick of winter, already. Sitting on a riding mower seems like a luxury compared with splitting and hauling firewood. Dark days depress me. The Pooch and I start our afternoon walk a little after three. "For God's sake, that's the middle of the afternoon in the summer!"
I pull a piece of paneling from an inside wall between the entryway and the bathroom. Excuse my language. There will be more @#$! before this construction project is over. @#$! when the corner molding splits. #@$! when I discover that the rug which was laid on top of the linoleum in the entryway prevents me from removing the paneling. @#$! I have to remove the carpet strips to slide out the panel. @#$! the paneling is recessed beneath the cellulose ceiling tile which was applied after the paneling. And why the fuck did they insulate an inside wall??? Deep breath. Relax.
OK. We're at the top of the hill. I'm sliding the toboggan into the back of the pickup. The picture, you say. The deer? Oh yes, Christmas,2005. Oh, those were the days. The deer poops candy when you pump his tail. The painting is one of my wife's landscapes.
My wife and I are having lunch at "The Corners". Two men and the teenage girl at the table to my left are talking venison-venado-deer. The oldest of the two men recounts the tale of the buck at the edge of the "crick". The girl isn't much more than 14,judging by a serious case of acne. She'll remember deer hunting with her father. Could there be anything more wholesome than the Sunday special-chicken at Kickapoo Corners After paying the bill and walking to the car, I see their buck sprawled on the tailgate of the truck. If I were a life-long resident, I'd be counting the points and totaling up the score of the rack. My mind wanders to venison jerky. Hey you out there. I need venison for jerky.
A Barrel of Gaffes
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