I changed my voice mail message this morning, announcing my return from “cloud nine” and my intent to attend once again to all things sporting.
When Debbie Salmon asked on my penultimate blissful day where I’d gone on my two-week vacation, I said, “Here.”
“Ah,” she said, “you took a staycation.”
I had, and a wonderful one it was. As usual, I had worried how the paper would get along without me, and whether I’d be able, being so close at hand, to keep the steering wheel from turning up The Star’s driveway. I did have a couple of urges, but sat down and held on until they passed.
A lot of my time I spent in the 15th century, having set myself the task of getting through the plays Shakespeare (with some help from his friends in some cases perhaps) wrote about the War of the Roses, and, aside from the mellifluous language, found the pickings rather slim, though Joan of Arc did say something in Act 3 of “Henry VI, Part 1” that proved helpful to Mary on her way to say a final farewell to her much-loved aunt: “Care is no cure, but rather corrosive / For things that are not to be remedied.”
Aunt Peggy’s death two days later got me to wondering, as I thought about her — a live wire if there ever was one — and Mary and her cousin Tom and his wife, where in Emily Dickinson’s poems was the invocation having to do with the birds and the butterflies and the bees. I found it when I returned this morning:
“In the name of the Bee —
And of the Butterfly —
And of the Breeze — Amen!”
And of Aunt Peggy too.
Often I went with Henry to Louse Point at the end of the day and hit him tennis balls to fetch in the channel there. Old now and hardly able to climb the stairs at the office, he’s a teenager in the water, when he swims toward me in the golden path of the setting sun.
I paid attention to the birds too, as Mary would have done, and took my sweet time in the outdoor shower.
Her mother, a Stoic, on one of my visits said no one should be allowed to live past 85, and we laughed at that. “But first I have to read all of Shakespeare and the Bible and the Greek myths,” I said, “which will pretty much bring me full circle.”
She’s a parasite of the state too — at least that’s what I said after I’d learned she paid no federal income tax. I still loved her, I said, “even though I know you’re laughing all the way to the bank on the third of every month as my shoulder’s to the wheel.”
That wheel has been at rest lately, though now it’s begun to turn again, and pretty much on its own.