23 April 2009

Me and Cat.

my sweet little boy & i have had the most miserable spring colds all week long. it is worse for him because he's not altogether skilled at nose-blowing and can't completely articulate what hurts. mostly, he's just been raiding the popsicles to get through it, while i have been pouting on both our behalves. one of my dearest friends gave birth to her daughter this week and i still haven't felt un-germy enough to go by for a visit; for me that has been the most frustrating part of the whole thing.

today i decided i at least needed to leave the house for a few minutes, if only to breathe some fresh air and change my mood. so with Eli napping in his bed, wearing the daddy-appointed combo of a royal blue mickey mouse t-shirt and burgundy sweat pants with a bulldog on the thigh, i headed out.

i decided to take Maude, my aunt's old VW bug. [i still can't get used to the idea that it's mine.] good Cat Stevens was already in the cassette player so i opened both of the smaller side windows, angled them at my face and zipped down the driveway.

there is truly nothing like that old car and some familiar tunes crackling from the speakers to bring me out of a funk and into a nostalgically happy place. i drove the curvy snake roads at a medium pace, scooting over to let faster cars pass so i could enjoy the scenery. the hills between here and White Bluff, the next town over, were edged with pink and white dogwoods arching out over the road.

for two minutes i felt like i was back in Palo Alto, on the winding California roads where this car spent most of its life and where i spent just enough of my childhood for it to feel like home in my memory. then a hint of some scent came through the windows and reminded me of how melting eskimo pies smelled at the neighborhood pool snack bar in Houston, where we sat on damp towels and let our shoulders bake in the sun, ice cream dripping down our arms. i made a circle and came back down Craggie Hope road, passing the entrance for Bethany Camp and then a yard with two shiny black horses eating afternoon grass.

my head felt a little less cotton-stuffed, at last, so i drove to Sonic for a small diet vanilla coke because who can beat their crunchy ice on a hot day when you have the sniffles? i thought about that Nanci Griffith song, the one about the five & dime. i puttered along behind a trailer hauling a backhoe, and knew that if Eli was with me he would have shouted, "mama, look! a digger!" with such excitement despite his stuffy nose. that made me miss him, so i almost turned back when i saw that the Sonic lot was packed with rows of cars and several dozen high school kids hanging out of the windows yelling to each other. but once you have a vanilla diet coke in your mind, especially with the special ice, it's hard to let it go, so i waited. it was rather toasty, sitting in Maude with no a/c and no wind to blow through the slanted windows. i turned down Cat Stevens so the kids wouldn't think i was listening to old people music. in retrospect, i should have turned it up.

ten minutes later, home again with a slightly clearer head and a better perspective. jeremy was waiting to take me out to the vegetable garden he planted yesterday. he grew tiny sprouted corn and green beans from seeds. we have tomato plants too, in several varieties, and i'm already thinking of oven-roasting a big salty pan of whatever we can't eat fresh or give away. want some?

spring is good, i've decided, even with a little annoying sickness. sometimes a quick change of scenery is all you need. the ranunculus i planted a few weekends ago have uncurled, bloomed, and multiplied. when my nephew jake was born, there were beds full of bright red and yellow ranunculus outside the hospital waiting room window. it was such a happy morning and i remember thinking those were the prettiest flowers i had ever seen. almost like poppies but with extra layers of beauty. i've been wanting them ever since.


Ali O said...

I would like to officially sign-up for excess tomatoes :)

Sorry you guys have been sniffly - glad Maude could cheer you up!!

clairestrebeck said...

wish we could sign up for extra veggies, too. :) i think they'd be spoiled by the time they got here. your ranunculus(es?) are beautiful. they are one of my favorites, too. right up there with peonies.

Christine said...

Love everything about this. Between both of our gardens, we should be able to feed a whole community this year :) Your ranunculus are stunning!

lisa said...

Just a few days ago jules and I were talking about that day after the yard sale – when we piled into maude and drove up through the hills - windows down and cat stevens playing. We both agreed there was something special about that afternoon :)
your flowers are beautiful...
And I definitely want to share in some of those veggies!
Hope you guys are feeling better!
love, lis

Alice Mary said...

We have spring colds too :(. Matthew leaves tomorrow morning for his last long run of shows for a while. Hopefully I'll start feeling better soon and I'll keep in mind the possibility of some exploration to help me feel better. Can't wait to see what your garden grows.

jenni said...

I love how I can always feel your writing - it makes my 5 senses happy. And Cat Stevens and that Nanci Griffith song - love it, love it all. :)

Alli Rogers said...

you sound like me. I just took my first solo outing since James was born last week. I drove to walgreens, Babies R Us and then went to get myself a hot dog. :) sometimes it just takes something simple like some time to myself (and maybe a small indulgence) to come back with a clearer head. I would have enjoyed the scenery out your way better than the craziness of Nolensville Road, but hey, it worked for me today. :)
love reading your perspective.

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