My oldest brother, The Suave Southern Host, was home from Mexico this month. We had good family visits, and my brother got to introduce baby Clyde to his first taste of apple pie. Then Ray and I went with TSSH to Omaha, where he played a 25th-anniversary reunion gig with the Omaha ska/NE range/reggae/dance band, the Linoma Mashers. It was pretty amazing watching those old farts (he’s two years older than me) kick some musical arse, and even more amazing to watch the packed house scream in unison on “Surfin’ Lake McConaughy.”
Then last weekend, my friend Linda Orbatch and I road-tripped to MN State U to read poems, along with another Little U. colleague, at the 29th annual Women and Spirituality Conference. Akasha Hull delivered a stunning keynote address on the intersection of spirituality and sexuality to 300-ish women and a few brave men, and there were 25-30 simultaneous panels running during each of four sessions. We could choose from topics like Eastern religions, shamanism, tarot, drum circles, spontaneous singing, kabbalah, laughter yoga and much more. The highlight for me was having my aura photographed because, well, you just gotta. According to the aura reader, I’m completely relaxed and not at all stressed. It must be true, right?
The Row is settling now under a thick blanket of leaves. Ray cleaned up the garden, and the mums are slumped over with morning frost. After planning it in his head for a couple of years, Ray took a weekend recently and built a pergola over the back sidewalk. We’re trying to convince the peas it’s not a giant pea-perch, and next spring we’ll plant hearty wisteria on both sides. It, like practically everything else on the Row, is draped in blue solar lights. Out here on the dark prairie, we have our own little solar system at night.
My Halloween costume this year is harried, housebound, decaying schoolmarm. Once again, as the days grow longer and I spend increasing periods bent over piles and piles and piles of essays and midterm exams, I’m losing my summer freckles and donning my winter Casper-white glow, nicely accented by big dark circles under my eyes, a coffee mustache, and a ring of Doritos cheese around my mouth. My new essential foundation garment is an Icy Hot patch on the back of my neck. (Note to students: Bless you for trying, but “LMAO” and “Even a total tool knows that…” isn’t really objective academic writing.) A couple of colleagues and I chuckled a while back over our collective wish to be just sick enough to be hospitalized for a few days so we could (a) sleep and (2) get caught up with our grading. Maybe an exotic, non-lethal parasite would be nice...and I could scarf down even more Doritos and banana bread…