Archive for the family Category

No Name on the Map

Posted in adventure, family with tags , , , , , on February 19, 2008 by staticity

 It’s tough in the jungle.

Slow cars for small roads. I was riding in the passanger side accompanying my mother on an adventure to the James River. We were headed toward the ferry, picnic in brown paper bags, sunglasses, pressed against the pits of our eyes, camera in the purse.

Now we just had to roll through the sleeping towns of Dollar General, Video Store, (actual name) the Grocers Market, one restaurant, one bar, and several concrete houses. The towns that didn’t quite make the map. The back roads with back woods people lazily strolling down a dirt road sidewalk. Burly men with open beer cans out in public. Sun burnt February. These were the villes.

“I wouldn’t mind living up here.” Again, I was surprised to hear Mom say such a thing. “It’s funny, when I moved down to the South I was so suspicious of everyone. Why ARE these people smiling… I guess you’re finding out the opposite up North.”

We drove past a couple more no-map villes and ended up under the clouds. Trespassing onto the Ferry boat and skipping stones into the river. Sandwiches never tasted so good. Water never felt so cold. We were home grown into the jungle.

Oblivion

Posted in adventure, family, interactions, life, Philadelphia, philly on January 24, 2008 by staticity

The city buildings outside of Dad’s suave hotel of sophistication, screamed luxury. I didn’t think they went so high. City people don’t look up. They look far past the street and into several blocks down. Never stopping. Up there, it was like we were above everything. The working people on their computers in the offices across the street still had their lights blaring florescent. It was just getting dark, but it doesn’t matter when windows are stars and stars are imaginary.

I gazed a thousand miles away at his New York Times that he had sent to the room. The king sized bed with bland, white, sheets matching the walls and hotel art stood blankly staring back at me. Mahogany wooden shelves and dressers with his fancy looking cell phone and keys placed on top. The black suitcase was walked up to our room by a black door man all-too-eager to open the door. I couldn’t help wondering if these were the people on our block. The ones people could buy ten dollars worth of dope from. The cologne said no.

Dad walks in an air of happy oblivion. So far away from what really goes on in skanktown basements of night crawling cities. He likes it that way. Pillow Chocolates and fancy dining with taxi’s as far as the eye can see.

“You like this camera?” I smile proudly, pulling out an expensive looking, tiny, digital camera from a hidden pocket. “I found it in the back of a cab one night.”

“Oh yes, that’s the exact model I was thinking of buying.”

I remembered last years Christmas present I saved for him. A digital camera. I said nothing as we were miles away in room 903.

Fire Season

Posted in distant, family, holidays, life, relationships on December 26, 2007 by staticity

There are three types of fires and three types of people one should always be aware of.

The first fire is the kind that’s burning out of control. You’re not sure where it’s going to end up or what damage it could potentially do. You haul the furniture out of the way and make room for this explosion because when it comes, it’s there.  The kind that attracts your eyes so flamboyantly that your body feels it. Bright. Quick. Sharp. Despite the spark that let it begin, there is a madness to it that can’t easily be escaped. It’s an attraction that you might be fooled into thinking will be there forever. You could be having a fine time when all of the sudden you are sucked into something so beautiful that by the time you take your eyes off it, you could be burned up in the commotion.

The second type is one that’s kept in a fire place or wood stove. Little bits of paper are saved up from the Sunday New York Times and stacked neatly in the living room for special occasions. You wait all year for fire weather to begin, and if it’s not quite there by the time you NEED a fire, than you crank the air conditioning or roll down the windows, and light a match anyway. The firewood has been stored in bulk from last year, ‘just incase.’  There are fire pokers, fire prongs, sawdust, wooden stakes, boxes among boxes of matches, and plenty of supervision. This is the kind of fire that takes timing. It takes patience and lots of care. Perhpas you are sitting around drinking cocktails with family or friends while one eye is always watching, ‘just to make sure.’ At night, when you pry yourself away from the glow, you can still hear it crackeling downstairs as if it’s calling to tell you ‘I’ll see you in the a.m. Don’t worry.’

The last type is probably the most quiet. The kind that is decorated in an upscale house with fruit paintings lined ‘just so’ on the mantle. Guests may come in and out and on such an occasion you might need a fire to keep some sort of entertaining image glowing. These are the times of fake logs. The twenty-somethings or the money holders with out experience and patience. It’s the paper kind that you don’t even have to peel off the log before setting a match to flame. They burn for a few hours, it’s a rich glow with out much sound. There’s nothing to it. Ease comes fast and no work is required. As the hours grow longer the fire starts to dwindle. ‘It will last longer’, you think to yourself, but the crackeling was never there to begin with.  When all the guests have left the house, you see yourself rearranging the pictures on the mantle and blowing out the candles. The fire is almost out. You don’t have to pour a bucket of water on it. You don’t have to poke it with a fire stick. You know that there is no sound to tell you it will be there in the morning. It wasn’t really there in the beginning.

The Castle

Posted in adventure, family, life, relationships, thanksgiving, Uncategorized on November 23, 2007 by staticity

The place where the lights went out.  Deep into the fresh air with electric stars and fields of night time adventure.

I arrived in town at my grandmother’s house on Thanksgiving. Greeted by the heavy-New York accent my uncle defines.  The skinniest girl (being his daughter) was pointed out fairly early into the conversation. New York Accent included.

Tradition is very important in our family. Not in a traditional sense though. A few good qualities passed along include:

 Snorting when we laugh.

Not being able to carry a tune.  

Talking with our hands. 

Perhaps the most shamed upon would be smoking. Every woman in the family excepting the most pure, smoked cigarettes. And no one wanted to be that pure except one person. Our Princess. Queen is what really fits her, but Mom already called that title.

The Princess is the one we all look at with hope for ourselves. A healthy dose of jealousy. A huge amount of respect. And a giant feeling of awe. Everyone has one in their family, our’s is my younger cousin, Sarah.

When I arrived at my Aunts house Tuesday morning, she immediately informed of the news. Thankfully the tumor was ”normal” and sarah was not going to die.  Then, the religious part.

Sarah had found a church group.

Religion is not a big ‘to-do’ in my family. In fact, it’s more of an opposite tradition, (a threat some might go so far to say)  so when Sarah joined the church group, she was definitely the first we had heard of. One of us? Going to one of those? Don’t be silly. We’re too strong for that stuff. Give us a pack of cigarettes and let’s call it a night.

As the week progressed, I met a friend of hers from the church group. Intrigued, I stayed to watch this turn of events. Anyone that could be involved with the church had to be at least watched for a little bit. (just to make sure nothing strange was going on here.) I curiously gawked as a small boy of probably sixteen, pulled out a collective bout of James Bond knowledge. (Accompanied by a video)

Though the conversation seemed a bit forced (mostly from my end) he was so tame, I couldn’t find a thing wrong with him.  Fun? Camping on a retreat. I wouldn’t even have the heart to ask him if he had used drugs.  Not to say I didn’t try.

I caught myself wondering if this was real. Could someone really be that generally nice? Then I looked over at Sarah who was laughing hysterically at the side comments to James Bond.  Oh yeah. I guess he could be.

I decided to lay low after invading her movie time with a boy. A boy. She shouldn’t be seeing Boy’s alone.  Maybe I shouldn’t have intruded in the first place, but you never can be too sure with the strong opinionated type.

 As we sat down to Thanksgiving dinner, Sarah and I faced the skinny-model looking cousin, but were too side tracked with Aunt Deborah’s snorting laugh and Uncle Mark’s flamboiant hand gestures to really notice. 

“Should we tell her about our excitement?” Deborah asked Sarah. Sarah didn’t seem to know what excitement had happened.

“Well…. Sarah was just napping there during lunch at school when all of the sudden someone tried to wake her up and she just wouldn’t come to. So they called the principal, he couldn’t wake her. They called the police. They couldn’t wake her…”

I look toward Sarah, to see if she’s at all nervous about the conversation, but like some sort of strange miracle, she is laughing.

“I named it Teddy the Tumor.”

Oh my dear God.

I couldn’t help snorting when I heard it. I wanted to laugh harder, but I was trying so hard to keep it in.  Why should I keep it in? It struck me why I didn’t like the religious idea. No way would I want to lose Sarah to anything that could be stronger than our family. That wasn’t going to happen. Teddy and I were going to be just fine.  

At the risk of sounding cheezy, I knew I wasn’t in the dark anymore.