Sunday, September 29, 2013

Because I'm The First Woman In The World Who Ever Loved A Grandbaby

Well, I just can't help it.  I wanted to write an inspired post about fall.  How it enlivens me.  Why I think we should celebrate the new year at this time, rather than in the "dead of winter."  Share some old, roaming the countryside memories, post some photos of firey foliage popping out along the lane.  I wanted to immerse myself in nostalgia and excitement for the future in the same words.    
But, it ain't happenin', folks.  I looked over my blog past to see if I had written anything about fall before, so as not to repeat myself very much and I came across the entry I wrote a year ago.  Oh yeah!  That's right, I wrote about fall abiding with me while I anticipated the birth of my wee grandie!
I was in Alaska and he was landing in Utah.  We celebrated his 1st birthday this week together in Washington.  And don't think I didn't take oodles of pictures of him diving into a messy green cupcake, either!  I'm just not going to flood this post with those pictures.  I've already written plenty about how this little feller has changed the world in the short time he's been here, so there will be none of that, here right now, that is.
Just let me revel. 
Oh, and did you know that I love the color orange?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

It's All About The Water Around Here

We live close to the water.  Can you tell?  One day while at the park/beach/marina, Buddy and I were talking to our musician/artist next door neighbors and their friends who were percussion jamming under the picnic shelter.  We had met one of the friends down by the launch where she went out for a little paddle in her kayak.  Back up at the tables, she asked if I would like to borrow her "boat," (I don't know why she kept calling it her boat) and they would watch the baby for me.  Oh boy!  Could you just see me dropping Katy's son off with a bunch of strangers (neighbors or no, they are still strangers) while I went merrily rowing the woman's boat out in the inlet?   Still, I can't say I wasn't tempted. 

The "boat" I could have traded Buddy for, for a while, at least.

 On another such outing, I watched a young boy and his grandfather carry a little remote-powered motor boat down the beach and climb into their kayaks.  Once out on the water, they played with the toy boat, guiding it out around the pier and under the docks, past the harbor seals sunning on pilings.  Hope that kid grows up to be a writer.

Our Desmond is just too young and too rambunctious to take out on a kayak right now, but next year, watch out, kiddo!  We are going to have some splashing good times!  Until then, my little friend, try not to be too bored with your lot in life.


He kept crawling further out into the lake until it got too deep to know how to navigate, so he tried crawling sideways.  Hook or crook, he's going to figure things out!

And now a little about little Steamboat Island.  It's little.  And house-heavy.  It was founded in 1909 by settlers who thought it was shaped like a steamboat.  Today it is inhabitated mostly by 2-person households.  Retired people?  Vacation homes?  Whatever.   I like saying the word, itself, and I like to peek through the back yards and imagine having supper out on the deck overlooking the sound. 

My little buddy and I think it's just really pleasant to get there crossing the bridge. 


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Taking Walks. It's What's Good.


Baby Buddy and I often take long walks together all over the place, up and down, over and around, hill and dale,  (well, maybe not so many dales, but I like that turn of phrase,) through forests, over islands, across bridges, beaches and boardwalks, and this is my favorite view:

We have some interesting discussions, as we stroll along.  I tell him about similar walks I used to take with his mother when she was wee-little a long time ago and with my baby brother even (waaay) longer ago when I was a teenager.

I used to pull Michael in a wagon until he got old enough to ride piggy-back and walk a little on his own.  Then came the bikes and roller blades.  Rural living allows for some long stretches of wonderous discovery!  Becoming aware of a pigsty half a mile before seeing it, broken cattails with their innards floating out over the ditch, greasy smelling railroad ties, pungent onion fields, lanolin-rich sheep pens, foamy rabid dogs.

Katy started out in a stroller, advanced to piggy-back and then to being able to reach my hand as we walked together.  By the time she came along, I had left country environs and we learned the city.  Technically, riding the bus is not walking, but for us, riding the bus or the subway was often part of taking a walk.  The local (Daly City, CA) library and Chinese cemetery, first.  Then all those crazy-busy San Francisco neighborhoods.  I am so overcome with memories of our life at that time, I am just going to have to write a whole post about our experiences there, and get back to my walks with my grandson.

Let's see.  Where were we?  Oh, yes, the views!
I also don't hate looking at these kinds of things:

Nex up, our travels on Steamboat Island and maybe something else. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Buddy, Ol' Friend Ol' Pal O' Mine!

My daughter and her husband thought long and hard about what to name their son.  They had it figured out before he was born, as so many people do.  We think it's a great name.  Not too common, not hybridized and made-up, all three names together a bit stately and bequeathed. 
This child has been called numerous loving little pet-names over the months, and one that keeps coming out of my mouth is "Buddy."  It began as buddy in the generic "you betcha, buddy" noun sort of way, but the other day it felt like I was calling him Buddy as if it were his name.  At that moment, a very warm feeling came with the words and I remembered a beloved and long time favorite story I keep returning to year after year for more years than my grandson has hairs on his head.  It's Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory," which has had me entralled since my first reading decades ago. 
I love the story, I love the way it is written, I love the way it was made into a television special, and I take the whole thing very personally.  As a matter of fact, I'll be right back.  I'm going to go read it right now.
Buddy is the seven-year old narrator and his friend (distant cousin with whom he lives) is sixty-something.  When he refers to her, he names her "My friend."  

We are each other's best friend. She calls me Buddy, in memory of a boy who was

formerly her best friend. The other Buddy died in the 1880's, when she

was still a child. She is still a child.

If you haven't read this story by now, you probably won't, (more's the pity,) so I'm not going to worry that I might spoil the achingly poignant ending by quoting it here, which I'm doing to just give an example of the writing and the feelings it evokes. 

"My, how foolish I am!" my friend cries, suddenly alert, like a

woman remembering too late she has biscuits in the oven. "You know

what I've always thought?" she asks in a tone of discovery and not smiling

at me but a point beyond. "I've always thought a body would have to be

sick and dying before they saw the Lord. And I imagined that when he

came it would be like looking at the Baptist window: pretty as colored

glass with the sun pouring through, such a shine you don't know it's

getting dark. And it's been a comfort: to think of that shine taking away

all the spooky feeling. But I'11 wager it never happens. I'11 wager at the

very end a body realizes the Lord has already shown Himself. That things

as they are"—her hand circles in a gesture that gathers clouds and kites

and grass and Queenie pawing earth over her bone—"just what they've

always seen, was seeing Him. As for me, I could leave the world with

today in my eyes."


...a morning arrives in November, a leafless

birdless coming of winter morning, when she cannot rouse herself to

exclaim: "Oh my, it's fruitcake weather! "

And when that happens, I know it. A message saying so merely

confirms a piece of news some secret vein had already received, severing

from me an irreplaceable part of myself, letting it loose like a kite on a

broken string. That is why, walking across a school campus on this

particular December morning, I keep searching the sky. As if I expected to

see, rather like hearts, a lost pair of kites hurrying toward heaven.

And so, now you know, when I'm calling my little-friend-and-grandson Buddy, I'm calling him that in memory, not only of this story, but also of a time when this story came to my attention and what it did to my life then, what it does to me now. 
I have a feeling that many of my subsequent posts are going to be about Buddy and me or Buddy and his mother or Buddy and his mother and me.  Who knows, we might even gather our own pecans someday and make fruitcakes together.