Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Timmy and I were sitting on the porch this morning, watching birds and just sitting (that's what you do when you get old].  Anyway, Timmy suddenly said, "Well, look at that little asshole."  He pointed at the car, and there, in the car, in the grill, looking out was a chipmunk. We had seen a chipmunk go under the car before, but we never saw one looking out of the car. You can't have a rodent living in your car.  My sister Kathy had a mouse that did over $3000 worth of damage.  But he did look cute, like a little captain, steering his ship.  He looked like he belonged there in the front of the red Fit. Perfect for you tube, but Timmy got the havaheart and our little captain was soon riding inside his ship.  He went for a ride and a new home and that's the first thing in this blog.

The second is the hurricane Maria that is pounding the island today.  Every time I hear the name Maria or see it written in black letters on the tv screen, I feel not a sense of happiness, but something like that.  It reminded me of a Father Brown episode.  A woman's child had died and Father Brown said the child's name and the mother responded, "I have not heard that name said in a long time" and he said it again and again, and her face lit up.  I think it's like that - I'm just glad to hear her name.
So chipmunks and hurricanes - that's the excitement today.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

What a long spell in between blogs.  I think Jer's death dried me out.  Anyway, here it is - summer almost gone.  Since I last wrote we had high school graduations for Regina and Ava, a grand daughter and great granddaughter.  A happy occasion tinged with sadness for missing participants.
Then there was Cape Cod.  I rode out with Sabra this year, we had Jer's ashes with us and I held them in the car for a while, in a beautiful cloth bag that Sabra had found.  James Taylor was on the radio and his line "I always thought that I'd see you one more time again" brought the reality of lose - you never see them again.  Oh, maybe in dreams and there are always pictures and then with the internet they pop up unexpectedly on Facebook or Instagram and give you a smile.

We took the ashes to the Gut, one of Jer's favorite places on the Cape.  And strange to say I had probably the best time of the summer.  I was hesitant about the long walk in sand (never easy to walk in) and the high dunes you have to climb to get to the beach.  Liz had Vivian's carriage and assured me that it could hold up to 155 pounds (some big kid.)  I said no, I have my pride, but when we got there and Emil offered me the opportunity, I hopped into that carriage and off we went.  It was wonderful - I felt like a queen, maybe Sheba being carried to some palace.  On the dunes, a rope was tied to the front of the carriage and Liz pulled while Emil pushed.  We got to the beach, and it was crowded.  People stared - we were a group of  about twenty carrying coolers, pirate flags, candles and the boat to hold the ashes  and be set on fire. Then there was Linny being pushed and pulled in a baby carriage.  The ride back was just as much fun with Miles now doing the honor.  People waved, gave the peace sign and Miles yelled "we're starting a new type of race on the Cape".   Funny, isn't it?  The human condition can somehow not only recover from sadness, but go right into the best time of a whole summer.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

It's been a while, Spring is here, summer right behind.   I've been thinking about Jer because this time of year he would be around to do odd jobs for me, painting the bilko doors, or the porch floor or doing yard work..  Last year he borrowed Tony's chain saw and was trimming all the dead wood off the apple tree and the crab apple trees in front.  The front one was particularly bad, I use it to feed the birds, with two bird feeders and a giant suet holder on it. The squirrels' claws and the birds' talons had done a job on the poor tree.  More dead than alive, he was attempting to leave just the branches that had buds.  Jer was a sight to see, hoisting the saw above his head, that full head of hair, full beard, cigarette in his mouth.  He pulled the cord and went to work.  But he accidently cut a healthy branch and moaned as he saw what he had done.  I assured him there was no problem, the poor tree was more gone than alive, but he felt bad and shook his head in disgust.  After that we called it "Jer's tree".  This spring it didn't even try for a bud.  The bark is stripped off, dead branches going here and there.  So Tony came down to take off more branches.  Now it is a glorified bird feeding tree.

I took permanent markers and printed "Hobo Magician" on  the longest branch and I will tell you why.  Sabra had a lot of Jer's stuff in her barn, he often moved and there was never enough room for all his belongings.  Anyway, she found a small notebook that had a story printed in it, not in Jer's handwriting, so the author is unknown.  I don't remember all of it, but it started "J. Jacob Kelly, hobo magician", and it told about his life.  I thought at first it should be "hobo musician" but I came to realize the magician is the right word.  Jer was a magician.  He worked odd jobs, rarely steady, but he always managed to smoke the expensive cigarettes.  He never learned to drive, but he always managed to get a ride to parties or even out to the Cape.  He traveled both ends of the United States from a stay in California to a time spent with friends in Maine.  He was a magician with food, at Wellfleet taking leftover haddock and making the best fish cakes I have ever eaten.  He even made a green sauce, what the green was I don't know.  He was a magician with music, could play anything you gave him.  His girlfriend told me the crowd would yell "Wizard" when he played in spots in Hudson.  He was a magician full of knowledge on any subject and if he didn't know he would take his phone and in minutes be able to tell you everything about why there are all those funny looking moths in Wellfleet this year.  Yes, Jer was a magician and his magic and memory live on.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

So many people have mentioned a particular Jer story, that I thought it was worth repeating.. 
It was a hot summer day when Ria, Jer who was about 8, Rachael 3 and myself set off for a day with Aunt Lillian.  I was driving.  The plan was for a visit, then a trip to take her out for lunch and then back home before too late.  Well the visit went well.  Aunt Lillian wanted to try a restaurant in Cold Spring she had heard about, so we set off for another 20 minute ride.  When we got there, a note on the door said "closed", so we headed back toward Poughkeepsie, another 35 minute ride to Red Lobster, a favorite of Aunt Lillian.  The kids were being really good for being driven around so much, and after lunch we drove back to Beacon, leaving Aunt Lillian at her door.  The kids were getting restless now.  Maria sat in the back seat with Jer, Rachael sat next to me.  I dug in my purse and found my IBM Think pad, a little leather bound pad only 3" by 4 1/2" (I just measured it.)
Jer loved to draw, so with the pad and a pen, we thought he'd be occupied for the hour ride home.

It had been a long day, and it seemed the Taconic went forever,  We finally got off it, and headed toward Red Hook.  That was when Maria said "Ma, there's a police car with his lights flashing...are you speeding?"  No, I double checked the speedometer..."No", but I slowed down and pulled to the curb, with the police car right behind me.  The police man walked carefully up to the car, checking us out, and when he got to the window, I said "What's the matter?"  He replied "We had a call from a car on the Taconic about a sign in your back window".  Ria reached back and pulled the small piece of paper out of the window. Rachael was excited about this - "Is it swear words?"  Ria read out loud in a strange voice "Help I'm being kidnapped ".   She turned to Jer and started yelling "What were you   thinking"  Your grandmother could have had an accident or a heart attack".  The police man tried to calm her down, he said "Ma'am it's not his fault - they get that from TV".  He knew from Ria's reaction this was not a case of a kidnaping, just a kid that had been dragged around a little too much that day.  When we got  home Ria wanted Jer to stay in the car as a punishment and think about what he had done.  Ria, I said, It's hot as hell, and to tell you the truth, I don't blame the kid. I felt like I was being held prisoner too. 

I kept that little piece of paper with the misspelled KIDNAPPED for years, but recently put it in an album for Jer.  Regina has it now.  I imagine that story will be around for a long time.  It signifies the wit of Jeremy even as a young boy.  Thanks Jer for a story worth telling over and over again.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Since Jer died, I have such an urge to do my thread art - embroidery.  One of the last things we talked about was a hat I had worked on, for Timmy many years ago.  I had found a hat in the thrift shop that had the word "Evian", the mineral water on the brim.  I put a D in the front and a T in the back and Timmy wore the "deviant" hat for quite a while.  Jer remembered it and asked if we still had it.  I said probably, because Timmy never throws anything out, and he said "I would like one like that". 

I finished a baby shirt for the beer man last week and this week have been working on a pillowcase that has six scenes of cats on it.  No small project at this time.  I have a special hoop I use and that too reminds me of Jer.  Three years ago in cape cod that same favorite hoop broke into two pieces.  One of the kids had broken a dining room chair and Tony had called Jer and told him to bring glue when he came in a few days.  So when the hoop broke, Jer reglued it and then carefully and tightly wrapped
embroidery thread around the edges.  Three years and many projects later it is still holding.

At the reception following his Mass last week, his friend Peter spoke with me and pointed out his little girl who I had made a shirt and bib for.  One of Rachael's friends' baby also was there, and I had made a shirt for her as well.  I don't know if all these moments have made me want to do the sewing, or if it is my way of handling the day by days.  I remember when I was five and had my tonsils out, Bucky sat next to my bed, working on a hanky that she was decorating the edges with embroidery stitches.  I think it helps, the stitch in, the stitch out, the routine, soothing, and giving one a lot of quiet time to think.  36 years of his life gives me a lot to think about.  And a lot to smile about.  God Bless and rest in peace Jer. Love, Linny

Sunday, January 22, 2017

When I was growing up, my father used a word for different people coming to the house or just as a common referral name.  Ignatz.  A car would drive up and Daddy would say "Ignatz is here for you." Or my brother's friend would knock on the door and Daddy would call Bob "Ignatz is here,"  I never thought anything of it until today.  I was reading an article about a cartoon that ran from 1913 to 1944 about a cat and a mouse.  The cat was Krazy Kat, of indeterminate gender, sometimes he, sometimes she.  And this cat was in love with a mouse and - to my surprise the mouse's name was Ignatz. 

Bingo! I realized that my father probably read that cartoon all his life, and used that word in place of a name.  I looked up that cartoon and found that the Kat loved the mouse, a grumpy soul, that would throw bricks at the Kat.  And there was an Officer, a dog that liked Krazy and would try to stop the brick throwing.  And in one scene, when Ignatz is sleeping, Krazy Kat kisses him and you see above Ignatz's head, in his dreams, hearts.  So there you are.  Yesterday was the Women's March and somehow this tied into my brain with my new found cartoon.  Where like angels, the cat is sexless, and it really doesn't matter.  That's what we need right just shouldn't matter.  Ignatz, put down your brick -peace.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The last day of the year.  I like to list some of the best moments of 2016.  Anne Morrow Lindberg wrote that we can't expect best whole days, only that there are best moments, moments that give us joy and pleasure.  So here are my best moments of the year:

(1)  Five minutes of fame being in the Poughkeepsie Journal for having a weasel live with us in the house.  I still think it was a least weasel, but the authority said they are rare in New York State.  But I saw her and her picture and I am certain it was a least weasel.
(2) Shane's graduation from Simon's Rock - when his Aunt Rachael asked "Where's Sammy?" her dog she inherited from her mother, my best friend.  Sammy was found right where she left her, by the library.  As Uncle Toby had said, "This could be bad, really bad" and it turned out fine.
(3) Solomon playing the trumpet at his grandfather's memorial.  Over the rainbow, very suiting, Joel loved the Wizard of Oz even though the flying monkeys scared him as a kid.
(4) Wellfleet - again.  Four generations - the youngest being Cove who took to the water just like his name.  I enjoyed the boys' humor, especially their discussions on Star War on the beach.  Good to see the Kelly's all together enjoying the walk to the Gut.
(5) David Sedaris at Bard College.  A birthday gift from Paul and Helene, Sabra and I waited in line before the show and he signed my copy of Maria's obituary, me explaining how much she loved his writing.  He signed his name, with the word "sadly".
(6) Oysterfest - again Wellfleet, meeting Caleb P in PJ's restaurant.  He told Timmy that Timmy was an LM.  I thought he meant my name, but then he explained  - LM lucky man.  He sure is.
(7) Church.  This is a strange one, but I am getting used to my new church.  I especially like it when our priest put a statue of Saint Lazarus on the front altar.  He looked like a Halloween fright, rags falling off, bloody sores that the dogs were licking.  I tried to find one on the internet that looked as good (or as bad) , but none came close to that.
(8) And finally, Maria's Christmas tree.  We usually make a blanket, cover chicken wire with branches and decorate that to lay flat on her grave,  This year Laura suggested putting up a whole, regular size real tree.  So the girls bought one at Williams, we decorated it at Sabra's house and drove it fully decorated and in a stand to the grave.  When it was situated there, you had to smile.  A full size real Christmas tree, putting all the other wreath covered gravestones to shame. 
(9) The really best moment when Timmy put the sick skunk in my car to drive to another location and the car came back, skunkless and stinkless .  You can't ask for more than that.  Happy New Year.