Monday, May 13, 2013

Other People's Stories

It was hot today:  91 degrees; so the creek is rushing, full of melt water from the ski resorts above.The radio announced that there were no flood warnings today; but that there was a high-flow alert - keep kids and pets away from the stream banks.

(Even if they're driving me nuts?)

The doors to our balcony are open to admit a breeze, and the creek is a steady hum. The pine trees release clouds of neon pollen with every breath of wind.  It collects itchily in the corners of my eyes and the underwires of my bra. 

I am slow and creaky, still tired from pedaling about 45 miles on the tandem yesterday.  We're in training!  And after all those miles and 2,000 feet of vertical, what have I learned? That some days in the Pyrenees will have 3,000 feet of vertical.  Spain:  we came, we saw, we got our asses whupped.   

Today's stories are brought to us by my brother and by Chuck's ex-girlfriend, Marianne.
 This one is Marianne's story, chalked on the foundation of her house, right next door.  This is very amusing, since she wrote it up there at the same time that she and her boyfriend Jim vacated the premises.  She plans to level this cabin and put up a new and improved abode. Meanwhile, it's so cool that love lives there, since no one else does.  Love gets the cabin.  She and Jim have a rental in the valley somewhere. 

This is not the first time that she has posted little messages that look like quirky self-expression, but are actually meant for Chuck and me.  For someone who is so completely happy and awash in the new love of her life, she sure puts an inordinate amount of effort into communicating that to Chuck, who is indifferent.
Here I am, wearing my brother's story.  This is a story that can only come from a very, very small town.  Markesan, Wisconsin is so out-of-the-way that the nearest dry cleaner is in Fondulac, forty miles away.  And so small and tight-knit that, when Marie Schmidt went to pick up her dry-cleaning a few weeks ago she suddenly asked the dry cleaner to stop the rotating rack and back it up.  She recognized the Pendleton shirt hanging there.  Had it been there long?  Yes, a ridiculously long time, said the cleaner. Should have given it away months ago.  Mrs. Schmidt asked whether the phone number on the tag was 398-2202.  Yes.  They had called the number, but it was disconnected.  She knew it was one of Dad's shirts - she had seen him wear it a thousand times.  Mom had taken it to the cleaners right after he died in 2010, but had been so overwhelmed with the funeral and moving that she had forgotten all about it.  Mrs.Schmidt gave it back to my brother last week.  It came to me in the mail with a note explaining the circumstances and  stated, "It's too small for me.  You can have it."

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