Tuesday, February 14, 2012

February 14--years ago

Valentine Day—oh, that brings back school day memories. Mother was a procrastinator, so we’d spend the afternoon of the thirteenth dashing from H&Y Drugstore ownered by those cute Hansard twins' daddy, to Goeslin’s (later TG&Y) on a frantic search for Valentines. Then, after supper, we’d sit around the breakfast table and address them. I was a scrawly writer, so she helped. One for each kid in the class. That was the rule. Miss Copeland had sent home the list two weeks ago, and the rule, “one for everyone or none at all.”
            This followed the first grade disaster. It was Miss Harper’s (name disguised to protect the guilty) first year to teach. She later swore they didn’t teach her this at Texas Women’s. We spent a couple of days of our art period (ahh, we did have art every day in those good old days) building and decorating our “Valentine Post Office.” Then the big day came. One at a time, we went and played postman filling the boxes. Then in reverse order we took the sack we’d brought our Valentines in and collected our mail.
            Disaster. Jerry, who couldn’t learn to read and nobody liked didn’t get but two and the one Miss Harper gave him. Thank goodness for my sweet mother, mine was one of the two. Several other kids only got a few. And Julia W. and Betty A. got one from everyone and two from some of the boys. I did okay. But I can still remember some of the kids I didn’t get one from. Never again.
            One for all and all for one!

            That’s not my biggest February 14th memory though. That one has nothing to do with Valentines other than the date. We lived in Amarillo, in the middle of the wind-swept Panhandle of Texas. Often we got the gift (?) of ‘blue northers’ from the icy Rocky Mountains, swept across the plains by a ferocious North wind, the blizzards could be blinding. Mother hated them. February was usually the worst month. Dorothy, the eternal optimist, declared that because spring was around the corner, on February 14 it was appropriate to wear a new spring cotton dress. She spent much of January and early February making dress for my sister and me. (Sewing was not her long suite, but she hung in and did it.) No more heavy jumpers and sweaters.
One year we were mid-snow storm. I despaired about my new dress. I certainly couldn’t wear it in the snow. Not a problem. After I put it on, Mother pulled my Sunday wool jumper over my head, declaring that the green in the jumper matched the green in the leaves of the daisies she’d embroidered around the neck. Off I went to Wolflin School through the snow with my bag of Valentines feeling smart, stylish and very springish. 

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Slam! Bam! The garbage can! Our Trashy Story

Crash! Bam! The garbage can!
Not out! Run! Run! No time! Damn!
We missed the truck—again.

I posted this haiku on Facebook this morning. But there’s more to the story.

The community cans.
We live in an involuntary garbage commune, sharing the three garbage cans behind our rented house with the two guys who live in the garage apartments over the garage. (We share that as well.)  We’ve never discussed garbage rules, we all three just do it. Somehow the full cans get down to the street late Sunday night (usually Michael) or early, early Monday morning (usually either Bob or me). After the truck comes, and we must be the first stop, someone goes down and fetches them. Works well.
Except yesterday. Sunday night both the apartment fellows were gone. We had dinner guests. Certainly, no can down before they came. After they left, two sleepy people did most of the clean-up—lots of trips out to the cans, but not to the curb.
I've rooted celery.
Why not a turnip?
Monday morning, as usual I was up at dawn. Cans, thought I, must get them down to the curb—in a little while. I read the thin-as-usual Houston Chronicle, picked up a little more, got the dinner linens into the washer, and was contemplating rooting a left-over turnip when I heard the truck gobbling garbage down the street and heading our way. Now!
The can next door---
they made it.
“Bob, the trash! Hurry! They’re coming! Now!” I yelled at Bob who was at his computer waking up as I headed for the back door. I’m glad we don’t have a picture of that. I was in my fuzzy black house shoes, my pando, excuse me, panda pajamas, and a University of Houston Cougar sweatshirt. Bob was similarly stylishly clad. We ran. We did not make it. We stood and surveyed our neighbors’ empty cans. It was going to be an interesting (and smelly) week behind our house.
But clever Bob. Clever, clever Bob saved the day. Later in the morning when we headed out for our walk and a stop at the grocery store (I’m lucky—four in walking distance.) Bob noticed the truck hadn’t been across the street yet. He also noticed that the supposed-to-open-soon yoga studio across the street had failed to put out their can as well. Frisky as a squirrel, Bob fetched our can, rolled it across the street and saved the day.


Mission accomplished.