August 23, 2010

Day About Town

This morning was gorgeous. And I had the pleasant prospect of being picked up for the afternoon at eleven. The way I carefully chose my clothes and put on makeup- I should have been going on a date. But it wasn't a date. It was a turning-left-at-an-intersection and parallel-parking session with my grandfather. (When stress is inevitable it's important to at least feel prepared.)

We drove down old country roads- past corner stores and stone walls, by the road I used to live on- into downtown Peekskill. I didn't see a yield-for-turning-policeman sign and stopped just in time to miss running into one.

We dropped by an old bookstore- where Nonno rummaged through and selected records to buy... and I flipped through one faded, gilt-covered book after another- weighing beauty against content and at last selected a red and gold 1909 copy of Dumas' The Black Tulip.

For lunch Nonno took me to a Mexican restaurant. As we sat outdoors under the blue sky- and read the opening paragraph of my new book- "On the 20th of August, 1672, the city of the Hague, whose streets were ordinarily so neat and trim, and withal so tranquil that every day seemed like Sunday;" -Nonno commented that Peekskill was like the Upper West Side, and that the Upper West Side was like Paris. Then a truck blared past us and we decided it wasn't so very much like anything.

Back in the car. Parallel-parking. I think I got the hang of it- the last few we did I got down to one movement. Confidence is currently high.

Back through the country roads... looking for a shack Nonno lived in thirty years ago and not finding it. Not even its place- nor the pond which had once been across the road from it...

Do we change the land so much in thirty years?

Driving. Musing... On the relentless march of Time... And singing. -These words from an old Shirley Temple movie running continuously through my head:

The simple things in life
are a-round you ev-'rywhere
right outside your door
why keep reaching for
the moon?

- 8/6/10


  1. Linda, this is beautiful. I feel like I was right there with you. Well, maybe in your pocket, but there nonetheless.

    I got a really big smile about it being like Paris and then like nothing at all. Keep taking me with you, okay? :)

  2. Oh I love this. I remember learning to parallel park with my Dad. Being 18 at the time, a bit older than my peers. I remember thinking I'd never get it right as he stood outside the car and watched my fumblings.

    Your adventure sounds so much more exciting. I learned to parallel park in a KMART parking lot {like Walmart but smaller}...
    Welcome to blogland!

  3. L.L. Barkat sent me over here to take a look, and I'm glad she did.

  4. It's dark here, late.
    And yes -- your words make me reach for the moon....

    Thank you. *And again... thank you.*

    All's grace,

  5. Welcome. Glad L.L. sent us over. Tulips, Paris, wandering all over, looking for home. And yes, we do change the land that much in 30 years, sometimes. There are simply places I can't locate anymore without the oak tree that used to be there, and the elm over there, and...

    Take care, Melissa

  6. Funny memory. I think we ALL have a similiar memory of learning to drive. Some of those words still come back to me. -- David