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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Vacation: To the Hills & Back

Memoir: Vacation, April 1989

Friday, April 7th, 1989

Our trip is starting in a chilly rain-- and a rain of applesauce!!

It seems to take an interminable time to have everything packed, everything checked in the house, to make beds, dress the Baby-- and of course, she's cranky this morning.  It all reaches a peak after a week of cleaning, packing, baking, making lists.  And then I knock over a whole jar of applesauce putting away dishes that I'd washed the previous night.

I watch in amazement as the serving spoon throws a shower of applesauce spraying across the kitchen.  And Anne, in her striped bibbed overalls, hunches her little shoulders and turns to scurry away, in a vain attempt to elude the applesauce landing all about her!

Our trip is just beginning...

Friday night, 8pm
Parkston SD

Safe and warm in my mother-in-law's house with a raging wind tearing at the windows.  Cold.  Dark sky.  Typical temperamental weather on the mid-western plains. 

It felt like it took such a long time to get here (4 hours).  Anne slept most of the way.

A soft bed, plump pillows, warm blanket, hot coffee.

At first, Anne, in a delirium of excitement, running around looking at everything in the house.  Ooohing and Ahhhing in her baby talk.

Saturday morning, April 8th
Mitchell SD

Stop for gas.

Last night, cool clean sheets.  Anne bundled in her playpen under a wooly red and white blanket.  All night there is a tearing wind.  I wake up near dawn.  Something is different.  The wind has stopped.  It's quiet.

Coffee, eggs, toast for breakfast.  Dress the Baby, gather up our bags and reload the car.  (Always, it seems to me, frantic gathering up of clothes and bags.)

Sunshine this morning, and cold.

Sunday afternoon, April 9th, 4pm
Rapid City SD
The Foothills Inn

Saturday-- long, long drive on the interstate...long evening at Allan and Joyce's.  Noise, confusion, no place quiet to take Anne.  This morning, we are all packed off to church.  Anne fussy.  Breakfast in church basement-- Anne wandering among the tables.  An old lady bent down to hug her.

This afternoon:  driving around the city in a snowstorm!  South Dakota seemingly an expanse of unbroken prairie till you see the emerging shapes of the Black Hills in the distance.

Monday morning, April 10th, 7am
Rapid City SD
The Foothills Inn

Everyone still in bed.  Twin beds-- all they had.  Anne beside me, D. laying in the next bed.  Early morning light trying vainly to seep in around the heavy curtains hung at the patio door.

I'm sleepy but too excited thinking about the day's trip back o Mitchell to sleep.

Last night I went through and sorted and folded clothes and went through Baby's food and paraphernalia.  Everything is nice and tidy.  Anne loved the motel room.  She raced around the empty expanse of gray blue carpet.

The last two days are such a blur.  They went so fast.  We didn't see Mt. Rushmore.  Just after we left Allen's, it began to blizzard.  I looked to the west for the hills and they had disappeared in a white haze!

The next morning, when we step out of our motel room, I am pleasantly surprised to see the hills peeking over our shoulders.  They are dotted with furry pines.  These hills are not like the mesas and mountains I've seen in New Mexico.  These hills are soft, like a woman's body; soft rounded shapes with deep curving crevasses.  The hills in New Mexico are harder, harsher, sharper.  Not as friendly.

Last night at supper-- nice restaurant next to our motel, leisurely drinking coffee after our meal; Anne jabbering in her high chair, happily eating crackers.

Monday, April 10th
Mitchell SD

Arrived  back in Mitchell from the Black Hills in mid-afternoon.  Took baths at Lois's apartment, nice chat.  Lois all soft:  soft blonde hair, soft voice, soft pink slack suit.

At 6pm we went out to see Bonny & Joe & Carrie & the Kids...noise, confusion.  Carrie very tall, her eyes so dark, quick movements, that strange "not-quite-grownup" adolescent way about her.  Everything is rock music, rock bands, guitars, etc. etc.  I begin talking tentatively.  Anne, walking about, not at all afraid.  The center of attention much of the time.

Tuesday, April 11th
Mitchell SD

Roger and Debbie's...the newborn colt, quivery and long legged, white and black, clinging close to it's mother's side.  A cool comfortable house.  Little Colton and Anne toddering around, staring at each other wide-eyed.  A good supper, a lively game, conversation.  Always, between Debbie and I, an underlying difference of opinion-- on horses, on child care, on philosophy.

Wednesday, April 12th
Parkston SD

The afternoon at Ed and Laura's...an immaculate house, a delicious meal.  Anne took a long nap on the floor in the living room, oblivious to the sounds of our voices.

At night, my mother-in-law's house, our haven-- Lois and Janice and Tom down.  Foot long hotdogs with chili and soda pop.  I feel I don't really touch anyone in conversation until talking with Janice at the end of the evening.

Thursday, April 13th
Ethan SD

In the afternoon to Vern and Tracy's:  many memories for me from years and years ago.  The place, the people much the same, almost unchanged.  I had a headache and the beginning of a cold.  Lunch was rushed and we left too soon afterwards.

Friday, April 14th
Mitchell SD

Stopped at Ernie and Irene's in the afternoon.  How I miss my horses there!!  Short afternoon.  Coffee, cookies, Anne very sweet.  Many knick-knacks.  I am always, it seems, running around behind Anne to make sure nothing gets broken!  In the evening back to Bonny and Joe's-- good pizza.  At the end of the evening I and Anne and Carrie are sitting together.  We talk fairly well.

Always rushed for time.  A moment here, a moment there, with one person, then another.

I would rather spend *All Day* with just *One Person*!


Friday, April 11, 2014

Endless Summer

Memoir: June 28th, 1989

I dreamed very vividly of Grandma's house.  Maybe it's just this time of year-- summer, and heat, and sunshine; and this summer just opens the door to memories of other summers.  Grandma kept her house like a cool dark cave.  You could smell pine-sol on her freshly scrubbed linoleum floors, the rooms were cluttered with knick-knacks and endless bunches of books, and little dogs curled up sleeping in their baskets or at the end of a sofa. (Fans hummed)

I remember lying on my stomach across the foot of my bed upstairs, reading a book by a barely opened window to the east, the diffused light and all the little sounds of summer-- a lawn mower in the distance, birds, the rustling leaves in the large tree outside my window, a dog barking.

It was very peaceful.  You felt as though summer would never end, and you would be thirteen forever.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014


I have discovered that sometimes people like me because I write books-- they don't really like me.  I've discovered that sometimes people want to be my friend because of my spiritual practices, the things I'm involved with, the things I do-- they don't really like me.  My experiences with this type of behavior have left me somewhat gun-shy and much less open and receptive to the general public than I use to be.  I have learned to guard my feelings, sad as that sounds, and to be cautious when someone comes on a little too strong, a little too persistent, a little too starry-eyed and intense.

This is a blog post about friends, friendship, making friends, ulterior motives, expectations, and fantasies.

They like you why?...
because you do something that is unusual in their eyes, or exotic even, in an artsy avant-garde manner. 
They like you why? ...
because you are different and they're drawn to your 'differentness'.
They dislike you why?...
because you do something that is unusual in their eyes, or exotic even, in an artsy avant-garde manner; and they suddenly realize that in spite of this, you are as plain and ordinary and everyday as they are, and it is a disillusionment for them. 
They dislike you why? ...
because you are different and they are drawn to your 'differentness', until your 'differentness' does not click with what they expect or approve of, until your 'differentness' sets you apart in some way and they cannot accept it-- or until your 'differentness' wears off, and you are just one of them after all.