The Bar

Tuesday

The sun receded as she walk into the cool atmosphere of her favorite restaurant.  She hadn’t come in to eat.  She headed toward the bar.  Sliding on to the stool, the friendly bartender greeted her.

“Long time no see,”he smiled.

“I know. Right?” she smiled back.

“What can I get you?” he asked while whiping a glass with a bar keeper’s towel.

“Im just ordering take out so a menu will do and a glass of pino grigio while I wait.”

It had been a long time.  There were a couple of reasons that she had shied away from her haunt.  Money was first in her thinking.  The last few months she had burned through her money having lunch out every day and  joining in at TGIFs.  The other was her weight.  If she ate her meal at noon she really didn’t need to eat again at dinner.  The other reason she had shied away was the temptation to go past the one glass rule for wine.  She was finding it harder as pressure built at work.

“Try this and see if you like it.” He poured a tasting pour and then realized he didn’t have any more of that particular wine. “Here. Just take the full glass no charge.”

She smiled as she replied, “Thank you. That is really sweet of you.”

“Listen do you like Creme Brûlée?” He was full of enthusiasm

“I don’t know, why?”

“It’s new on the menu.  It is really good.  I can give you a taste.”

“Just add it to the Grilled Chicken Penne to go,” she smiled as she handed the menu back. “I trust you.” She also noticed the three gentlemen at the end of the bar watching her and the exchange with the bar tender.

A woman came in and took the stool next to her.  She was nervous.  Her hand tremors  were noticeable as she tried to take out her wallet.  Her age seemed to be close to her own.

“Marnie, right?”  The bartender shot across the bar pointing her out.

“Right, you remembered after all this time?  I’m impressed.  Andy right?” She cocked her thumb and forefinger toward him.

“Wow, good memory!!” He retorted.

The woman turned and asked her if she knew him.  She said yes.  The woman asked if she had a recommendation for wine and food.  She said almost everything is good and the bartender has always suggested good wines when I have asked.

The two women went on chatting getting to know one another.  She learned the woman is divorced and still not reconciled to it.  Her husband left her and she was still in mourning and off her mooring.  When asked how long it had been the woman replied fifteen years… She couldn’t help but feel better about herself.  It had only been eight and her new life provided many wonderful experiences. She was at peace knowing the divorce was the best thing for both she and the man she married.  Soon it became obvious this woman had no direction other than to relive the loss of her marriage and hang on the dream that the marriage would  be renewed.

Her order was ready and she took her last sip of wine.  She smiled toward Andy and gave a wave.  Turning toward the door she did not see him come out from behind the bar.  As she pushed  the door she felt a familiar hand at her waist.

“I just wanted to ask,” he said.

“No don’t. It was grand to see you.”  She pushed through the door waving to him as she went.

Time is Not Always on Our Side.

I have been writing a lot of memoir pieces.  It has gotten me to dig deep into my family history which is filled with humor, love, and tragedy.  Today I took a few minutes to track down the factual information of my name sake.  I did a previous story about the haunting experience of being compared to my aunt who died at a very young age.  She was in elementary school, but there seems to be some disagreement about how old she was.

All I know is that her death is connected to me and to my family for three generations now.  Her death was attributed to a childish act of tag that brought boiling water upon her and she died.  I have struggled through the years to get details, but they were not easy to find.  The one who might have known was my own father who at the age of possibly kindergarten or a little older was involved in the game.  What haunts me is the fact whenever my grandmother mentioned my Aunt my father would remove himself from the room.  We never ever talked about her or her death.  I respect that he simply could not.

Today I spent some time researching the newspapers for her obituary, but I am not sure whether a child’s death was reported to the newspspers then.  I will keep digging, .  Time is not on my side.  Those who were alive when this tragedy took place are almost gone now. .  I don’t feel comfortable dragging out this old family wound for them.

I am convinced there must be a way to get at as much as I can without hurting others.  It will take a lot more digging time than I have right now, but Spring Break is around the corner and then there is retirement.  I thank “Slice”  for awakening this challenge for me.

A Special Brother and a Special Gift

When I turned eighteen, I graduated from high school. It was such a special time. So many things happened during the last two weeks of high school. First there was the prom. Everyone wanted to have the prettiest dress and a date for the dance.

One friend invited a group of us to her house for dinner. We were in the formal dinning room with a formal dinner that was served to us. Each girl and boy was treated as if we were adults. We all looked beautiful in our floor lengths gowns and all the boys looked so smart in their tuxes.

After dinner we were off to the prom at the High School. We danced and had photos taken. It was so much fun. After the prom we went to another home and we listened to music and tried very hard not to fall asleep. Of course some of us did!

By dawn I was taken home because my house was the host of the senior breakfast. My mom and some others were there to serve us our breakfast. It was amazing, pancakes, juice, sausage, bacon, eggs, and coffee or hot chocolate.

The greatest part of this time was my brother let me have his car for the day. He said it was his graduation present to me from only him. He handed me the keys to his brand new 19– Austin Healey. It was a sports car and a convertible! Everyone admired the car. But the best part was I drove my date to the prom home in the sports car. I do believe he was as thrilled as I was to have the car.  Yes, I did let him drive it a bit.  This is the first time that was ever revealed.. Ooops

Rock and Roll Memories from a Baby Sister

There was nothing as wonderful as the sound of Buddy Holly on the High-Fi. I loved to watch my sister and brother practice dancing. They would do the jitterbug and try out all the new dance steps.

If I was quiet and didn’t ask too many questions, I would able to hang out for the whole time. Sometimes it was too hard to not talk or ask questions and then they would tell me to get out of the room. Or worse they would go to one of their rooms and shut the door.

My brother was popular and always had a girl friend. My sister had tons of girl friends but not many boy friends. My brother used my sister as a dance partner to keep up his reputation as a great dance partner.

My greatest treat that would occasionally happen was my sister had homework or some other task and while she may have danced one or two songs she would leave. Then all the magic happened. He would look toward me, crook his finger and just like Dirty Dancing I would go toward him and he would dance with me. Dance with ME!

Then it would happen…I would forget and start singing along with the record. DEAD STOP. He would say, “Never mind, and drop my arm and walk out of the room. I would be devastated.

Riding a Bike

I had a shiny new bike. It was red and brand NEW. My brother and sister had bikes too. Their’s were bigger than mine. They had streamers on the handlebars. My brother who is six years older than I am also had playing cards clipped to his spokes on the front and back tires. They made loud sounds, as he would speed past us on the road.

I had a shiny new bike, but all I had ever ridden was my little three-wheeler. I couldn’t keep up with my sister and brother. BUT, now I have a shiny new bike that will help me ride with my sister and brother.

I slowly put my leg across the center of the bike. Each leg could touch the ground. My Dad held onto the back of the seat. “Get on the seat and then put your feet on the pedals and pump as hard as you can.”

I did exactly as he said. I pushed myself up onto the seat and I started to push one pedal down one up then that pedal down and the other up. I felt my dad’s hand helping me along.

“Keep going!” my brother shouted.

“You got it,” called out my sister.

It was just then that I realized my dad was way behind me and I was riding all by myself. My hair lifted as I went faster.

“How far should I go?” I shouted back

“Go to the end of the paved road and turn around and come back.”

Shear fear struck me. “I don’t know how to turn!”

“Just turn the handle bars,” my brother shouted.

I did as I was told. The bike started to lean and soon I was sprawled on the pavement and I could hear screaming. It was me I was screaming while blood ran onto the ground. It was coming from both knees.

Those scabs lasted for months.

Monday

Monday is the first day of the week.  I cant help but wonder what this week will be.  Will it come along like a train on the track?  Whoosing past.  Or will it be like the turtle moinvg with purpose but,oh so slowly. I often look at Monday this way and yet I have never been able to determine.

The Last Snow Day

On Friday morning I was walking down the stairs in the old section of our school.  There are two large floor to ceiling arched paned widows.  They are incredibly beautiful.  They mark the landing between the floors before the next set of stairs take over.

As I came to the last  landing the snow had increased and fat white flakes painted a wonderland though the setting of the window which overlooks our school garden. I paused to take it all in and enjoy the solitude of the moment when up came a little boy who looked to me to be a first grader on his way to a early morning enrichment class.

“Hi there!”

“Hi,” he said

” Isn’t the snow beautiful?  I don’t think we’ll see it again this year.”

” No we won’t.  It will be the last snow. And it has a lot of water in it today.  It’s not good for snowballs or snowmen.  There won’t be enough for sledding and it has too much water.  I don’t like it when it doesn’t have a lot of water because you can’t make snowballs.  It won’t stick if  it doesn’t have enough water.  It just wil blow around.”

“My goodness you know so much about snow,” I said.

“Yeah I do and you know………”

This is where his long pause began and I could see by his face he didn’t have anymore information to tell.  He wasn’t quite sure what to do.  As the dead silence stretched out and he seemed to be getting uncomfortable. I said,” It was really nice of you to share all that information about snow.  I didn’t all about the water.  You be sure to have a great day today.”  I smiled and he quickly continued on his way.

I had never seen this child before. I was just a teacher passing by when a very busy school was quiet and still; a magical moment .  I watched out the window a little longer as the smile on my face grew.