Finders Keepers

Laundry

A necessary evil

It piles up

Heaps, in fact

Endless loads

Darks and lights

 

Forget to empty pockets

Greeted with surprises

Shredded tissues

Empty wrappers

Ticket stubs

Coins

 

Hit the jackpot today

Two dollar bills

Washed

Then dried

Extra crispy

A tip from one of the teenagers?

 

Finders Keepers

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Front Porch

Outside

Room with a view

Open air

Invites a gentle breeze

Stars and stripes

Wave proudly from above

 

Escape

Sun’s hottest rays

Curl up

On a steamship chair

Reading

Is the best getaway

Hello Food, Goodbye Nails

What if the Common was filled with a variety of thriving independently owned restaurants instead of nail salons?

I close my eyes and imagine a small Mexican cantina selling the freshest tacos and tortillas.  Maybe they’d be interested in serving my roasted tomato salsa in season?  I’ll make myself a note to inquire next time I pass by.

My mouth begins to water as I think about a cozy Italian kitchen serving up pillows of homemade ravioli and piping hot loaves of bread, leaving the air seasoned in the best way.  Do they import their olive oil directly from Italy?  We can hook them up with the nicest family-run business outside of Florence in Fiesole.

I can hardly contain my excitement as I await the delicate fish and chips from the seafood hut on the corner.  Wouldn’t it be great to splurge and order the calamari tonight?  Such a tasty, satisfying treat!

My mind continues to handpick establishments that satiate my hunger and satisfy my taste buds.  It amazes me how real every one of these places feels.  I can almost taste each specialty as if it were being made just for me.

Cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo…

The gentle sound of the cuckoo clock striking the hour stirs me.  As I flutter my eyes open, I realize that my mind wandered even further than usual.  What a cruel twist of fate.

Reality sets in.  We have a plethora of nail spas in Bridgewater, not eclectic farm to table dining.

 

Scrambled Eggs

“You didn’t leave me any lunch, so I had to make lunch by myself.”

“What did you make?”

“Scrambled Eggs.”

“Oh,” I said, trying to keep my voice level in pitch and speed.

“Four eggs.  Two batches.”

“Uh huh,” I mused, trying not to let panic seep into my mind.

“The second batch came out milky.  The first batch was cooked too much.”

I tried not to gasp as the implication hit hard.

Would I ever erase the image of the gas stove being lit, I wondered.

The four egg shells greeted me in their broken state at the end of the school day.  A trail of dirty dishes started on the stove and meandered over the counter, ending near the sink.

But the gas was off.

Success!

Little did he know that this was the plan all along.

Independence.

Five days later and he’s made scrambled eggs almost daily.

How long will it take before he gets tired of the eggs and needs to learn a new dish?

Time will tell.

 

 

A Case of the Missing Cheez-Its

“Did you bring a box of Cheez-Its upstairs?” I ask puzzled.

“No, Mom.  I didn’t.” Jackson responds with a hint of annoyance.

That’s so strange.  I know I purchased TWO boxes of Cheez-Its, not just one.  I double check the pantry shelves to see if I put the second box in the wrong spot.  No luck, it’s nowhere to be found.  The two boxes are clearly imprinted in my mind, being scanned at the register.  I am truly baffled, so I look on the shelves a third time, almost willing the box to appear.  Not happening.

It dawns on me that other items I selected and purchased are not in the house either.  I can’t locate the eight rolls of toilet paper, or the loaf of sliced French bread.  The two types of tortilla chips are also missing in action.  Filled with hope, I go back outside to check the trunk of the car.  Maybe a bag slid into the middle seat unnoticed, out of eyeshot.  Nice idea, but no dice.

Determined to solve the missing items dilemma, I pull out my grocery store receipt and call to see if anyone reported products left behind.  I circle the ones that didn’t make it into the house with a red pen.

“Can you tell me what the items were, ma’am?”

“Yes, there was a box of Cheez-Its, a loaf of French bread, a package of 8 rolls of toilet paper…”

“OK, we have those items here at the front of the store.  Did you also buy milk?”

“Oh yes, I forgot about that.  Where did you find the groceries?  Did I leave them at the register?”

“Someone found them on the bottom of a cart outside and brought them inside.”

“Oh.  Thank you.  I have never done that before,” I say, slightly embarrassed.

How is it that a memory that used to be as sharp as a tack, now seems to be fragmented?  Does leaving groceries on the bottom of my cart mean something in the grand scheme of things?

Not ready to accept that forgetfulness is a sign of age, I’m just chalking up the experience to being preoccupied with trying to prepare the house for a meeting my husband was hosting a short time later.

Note to self:  Check grocery cart completely before returning it.

Where I’m From

I’m from the smallest state in the country, the town with the oldest Fourth of July Parade.  Del’s Lemonade, Gramma’s doughboys, and Rod’s Grill.

I’m from a large family – the oldest of six – a sister and four brothers came after me.  Burned brownies delivered our first pet – a black cat – but not until the college years.

I’m from going to church every Sunday.  Having grandmothers come for dinner.  Sometimes, the girls would go shopping before we all had to get ready for the week.

“I called front” is what I remember saying as we all packed into the Dodge Caravan to go anywhere together.

I’m from chlorinated pools racing the 50 Free and 100 Back countless times, breaking only for a short time in August before starting a new season.

I’m from Second Beach, baking in the sun, making poured sandcastles, riding the waves on boogie boards. Playing hide and seek as people went home and the beach thinned.

I’m from Prudence Island where time slowed and life was simple.  Muffler-less cars traveled the island.  Rope bracelets to show tan lines by summer’s end.  Layered rock houses, Matchbox cars, and reading by day.  Capture the Flag and Beverly Hills 90210 by night.

I’m from condos in North Conway that we won at the St. Phil’s Auction.  Storyland, Santa’s Village, Clark’s Trading Post, Echo Lake, and Jackson Falls were annual items in the family bucket list.  Sticker collections multiplied after visiting Elizabeth’s.

I’m from Jade Tree – my first job – the hostess with the mostest.  Greeting guests and seating them all night long. Eating special staff meals.  Folding napkins into hats.

I’m from learning how to drive in a Ford Tempo.  No denying that family life started to change as responsibility increased.

Fleeting moments, wistfully remembered.  The simpler days beckon to me and I want to return.  Relinquish the responsibility.

I’m from sharing memories with a deeper appreciation for all that my family provided.

With love.

 

 

 

Recycled Donut

“Can we stop at Dunkin’ Donuts on our way home?” Caroline asked pleadingly.

“Sure.”

We packed up the car, filled up with gas, and after about thirty minutes, the ever-popular donut establishment appeared on our left.

“Why don’t you just go inside to pick out the donut that you’d like.”

“No, let’s just go through the drive through.”

There’s nothing I dislike more than wasting precious minutes in a line of cars when I’d really rather be making a move on our journey home.

Against my better judgement, we go through the drive through.  After many requests for specific donuts were denied, we finally found one that was appealing.  Going inside would have made the selection process smoother, and most likely quicker, but I digress.

Thinking she’d eat the precious donut right away, I was surprised to see it stay in its bag, just waiting to be eaten.

Halfway through our ride, the donut was still in the bag, untouched.

“I’m saving it for later.”

“OK.  Just make sure that you eat that donut before we get home.”

It’s 4:14PM, we pull into our driveway and guess what?  The donut remains in the bag.

This morning, as Jackson walks away from the car to head into school, I say, “Do you want a double chocolate donut?  It’s still good.”

“Sure,” he says, taking the donut out of the open car window.

Because of a Duck

I had travelled on this trail more times than I could count.

My pace quickened as I made my way inside the woods to the river’s edge.  Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a duck just beyond the thick, downed tree trunk.  The boldness of this beautiful creature being so close to the footpath was not lost on me.

It would take some clever planning on my part, but perhaps today was my lucky day!  My steps would need to be light and quiet, not my usual racehorse variety that instantly announced my presence.  Caroline wouldn’t mind if I ditched her now, I reasoned.  She’d understand that I just had to see the duck in all its glory.

All of this plotting must have taken more time than I realized, making me lose track of the passing minutes.  How long had I been away from Caroline already?  Was she near me now?  In the distance, I could hear her calling for me.

“Leo, where are you?”

My conscience was weighing heavy on me as I moved further along the trail, following the duck’s movements as discreetly as I could muster.  I felt like it was intentionally distracting me, diving under the water in one spot, and then popping up for air in an entirely different location.  Was the duck playing tricks on me?  Were we playing a game?

I stopped counting how many times the duck swam underwater and relocated.  I also noticed that Caroline stopped calling for me.  Maybe she gave up because I didn’t come when she called me.  I figured I’d better head back to save face.

As I retraced my steps, there was no need to tread carefully or quietly as the duck was no longer my main priority.  I found myself sprinting through the trail back to the start, thinking Caroline would be waiting for me at the picnic table.  My heart was racing and my breath was coming in short bursts as I came to a stop and was disappointed to see an empty bench – no sign of people anywhere.

Did I dare walk back to the house alone?  I certainly knew my way.  Impatience set in almost immediately, and I climbed the hill up to the main road.  Passing the farm on my left, and the Distillery on my right, I started to breathe a little easier knowing that I was on my way home.

Everything seemed to be on track, until I was approached by a strange man.  He guided me into his tan sedan.  I know what you’re thinking.  Adults are always telling us not to get into cars with strangers.  Believe me when I tell you that I had no choice.

I decided to sit in the front on the driver’s side.  Trapped, I waited until I saw a familiar face.

My heart leaped when I saw Caroline walking toward the car.  Her face looked different somehow, like she had been crying.  Next to her was my dad.  What had I done?

Then I heard my dad apologize to the Animal Control Officer.  He promised that I wouldn’t be left unattended in the center of town again.

So much for knowing my way home.

Free Birds

HIgh-pitched chattering beckons through the thick glass panes in the bedroom.

Will this be a new alarm clock?

 

“Whoosh, whoosh,” followed by a trio of chirps, echoes from the lining of the chimney.

Will they enter the house uninvited?

 

And then, their worst offense yet…

Unimpressive white stipple dots the driver’s seat of her unfortunate car with the window down.

Why couldn’t they hold it?

 

In spring, the birds are free.

Will there be an end to their antics?

No Butts About It

If you must smoke, please be sure to keep your butts to yourself.

Simply stating the obvious that smoking is harmful to your health seems superficial, but discarding used butts poses risks to others and needs to be given more attention.

When not properly disposed of, cigarette butts are classified as litter and essentially illegal to drop and go.  Seemingly oblivious to the legal ramifications, smokers really need to consider their habit’s footprint.  All of the chemicals that they knowingly put into their bodies are now left on the ground to be soaked into the earth and possibly ingested by ground- travelling animals.  What makes smokers think it’s OK to rid themselves of their butts however and wherever they choose?

After participating in a town-wide cleanup on Saturday, I was horrified at the number of used cigarette butts that were lining the side of the road like confetti.

Carrying a heavy duty garbage bag and donning latex gloves, I set out with members of the community to beautify our town.  We signed up for Pleasant Street from South to Crescent.  Right from the onset, my partner and I decided that we’d pick up everything we saw – including cigarette butts.  Little did we know that an hour into our route, we hadn’t made much progress distance-wise due to the sheer volume of butts in centralized areas.

We began to wonder:

  1. Do staff at the nursing home take breaks in the same spot each day, multiple times each day and discard their butts at the end of the path?
  2. Do people empty their car ashtrays at the side of the road when the traffic slows to a crawl?
  3. Do people follow the same routine and throw their butts out the window regularly in identical locations?

While the answers to these questions are largely unknown, I can tell you that there is a palpable epidemic of unwanted cigarette butts lining the entry into our town. Butt by butt, we plan to turn this around.