Best DayNovember 22, 2006 at 6:48 AM | Posted in Journal | 3 Comments
But we don’t ask. I want to, badly. I want to *know*, you know? Do I? Don’t I? Does she–
But we do communicate. We talk, we talk alot. Some have indicated that some of us talk alot, although we aren’t sure if we buy that. Regardless. . .
I have wanted to say something on occasion, but I have bit my lip and not said it. Because although I feel it at the time–and, to be fair, it’s generally right after. . .you know–I know it’s not exactly true. It’s close, though. What I have wanted to say to her is, "I love you more than anything."
I get caught up in the moment, and it’s how I feel. . .briefly. But I know I don’t love her more than anything. Don’t worry; it’s okay. She will agree. She does not love me more than anything. I am completely happy being second in her heart.
This has to do with our kids. Detroit has left behind her son in the hands of her ex. To follow her heart, of all things, for Christ’s sake. But she loves her son dearly, misses him every day, and talks to him as often as possible. Issues with phone service recently–blackmail by the ex–and they were incomunicado, which is now resolved. We are going up to see him this weekend, after Thanksgiving. This trip is all for her, but I must admit I am looking forward to it as well–just to make her happy.
Besides–well, a long holiday road trip pulling an iffy trailer that shakes like an epileptic whore on a vibrating bed, traveling just barely above the speed minimum (who knew there was such a thing?), maintaining the fine balance between being driven off the road by other angry drivers behind us and bouncing off of it completely in questionable weather and relentless traffic. . . is one of the last frontiers where a real man can experience the thrill of competing against nature and machine. It’s alot like crossing the ocean in a leaky kayak, only with less certainty. And a better stereo. And a dog that sheds.
Crap! Where was I?–Christ, if my train of thought had a caboose. . .
Oh, yeah, the kids. My own ex, The Storm, thusly laid down the law that verily I would not see my kids when I left her. Then she mandated that I did not just leave her, I left the kids as well. Her logic is. . .
I managed to sneak by and see them when she wasn’t home, and call them several times a week. I had to give The Storm time, but I didn’t want the kids to think I abandon them. With help from her older kids, I have been able to work some of this out. I was able to pick up my son from school and take him to get his driver’s permit a week ago. Just last Saturday, I got to pick up my daughter and take her to lunch and a movie.
How was it? Not exciting. We went to lunch, we chatted and played and teased. She told me everything she knows. That day was one of the best days of my life. Any day I get to see my children is. Earlier this year, I took both the kids to the zoo on Miranda’s birthday. I had been split from the wife about a month. Her birthday was on a Tuesday, so they did her party on Sunday. School hadn’t started yet, so they were off. I took off of work, and took them to the zoo, just me and them.
The best day of my life.
Thanksgiving, I get to take Miranda (don’t think Mitchell wants to go) downtown to the Thanksgiving Day parade. A couple of the grandkids want to go too, and that’s fine. It’s a big deal here in St Louis. We’ve gone every year for 15 years or more, except the year she was born, because she was only a few months old.
It’s suppose to be nicer weather, 40’s warming into 60. Still, it’s always cold downtown. You have to bundle up, brings blankets, and bring hot chocolate. Don’t forget your mittens. Schools from all over the metro area bring their marching bands, local businesses have the floats they have every year, but always some new ones. The big inflateables walked by groups of people holding onto the ropes, an unchoreographed tabula rasa. The crowds on the sidelines cheer and taunt them: "SPIN! SPIN! SPIN!" and they will all run in a circle, making their helium filled charge pirouette to the delight of everyone. A local grocery chain has a giant shopping cart, powered by a stock car engine. The thing is over twenty feet tall.
Street vendors push carts, selling cotton candy, popcorn, snap n pops, funny hats, foam reindeer antlers. Everyone is cold and happy, feeling the inner glow of the sense of community.
Father Time still walks the parade, I think. I talked to him last year, and he gave me a copy of newspaper clippings about him from his glory days, but I may have lost it. Father Time is this old guy, dressed as Uncle Sam, who is in the parade every year. He is as much a part of St Louis local culture as Beatle Bob, and much less annoying. He ran a produce stand, I don’t know if he still does. He used to drive an old school bus until the city told him it was no longer safe to drive.
About twenty years ago maybe, his wife died. After that, he needed a hobby. He painted the school bus red white and blue, painted slogans on it and carried flags. He drove the bus in the parade for many years, honking and waving to people. "Father Time says ‘God Bless America,’" the side of the bus said. He tossed candy out for the kids.
When he could no longer drive the bus in the parade, he walked. A couple of years, I saw him twice. He walked the parade route, stopping and talking to people, shaking hands, chatting and waving–twice.
He’s getting older, and I don’t think he can lap them anymore. But the chance I had for a brief chat last year made me feel like I owned a part of history.
I don’t know if Father Time will be there this year. I don’t know what the weather will really be like, but I’m hopeful the forecast is right. I don’t know how I’m going to coordinate getting down to the parade, getting the kids back, and then getting to my Dad’s and starting the cooking in time. Detroit has to work in the middle of the day. It’s like her manager said, "Let’s see, when can I have someone work that would completely ruin their Thanksgiving? Hmmmmm. . .how about. . .noon to four?"
So that is a raw deal for her, I wanted to be able to take her to the parade as well; she’s never been. But we wouldn’t be able to be back in time. And then I get to do the majority of the cooking, which is a risky proposition at best. She will show up in time for Dinner, in the evening. Me, her, Dad, and my sister. At least I won’t be ruining food for alot of people.
Maybe my dad’s girlfriend will stop by too, that would be nice. We’ll have some drinks, too, and watch football, because Dad wants to watch it, and we’ll all sweat and be uncomfortably warm, because Dad is always cold and has the heat set near 80. Thinking about the Thanksgivings past, the big gatherings, and how I may not have that ever again. If I do, it certainly won’t be with the same people. Holiday memories are pieces of dark, bittersweet chocolate.
I could carefully craft this essay, this well thought-out monologue, and pull it in to the station right here at the stop where, traditionally, it comes back around to what we’re thankful for. But maybe I’m not that good. Besides, there are none-too-subtle hints here as to what I’m thankful for, and I don’t, for once, feel like repeating myself. Either you will pick up on them or you won’t.
I am grateful for the days I get to be with my children, and thankful most of all that I realize now that those are the best days of my life.