Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I Can See Clearly Now

It's been a month since my class reunion and I haven't written about it because it just wasn't that exciting. And that's what made it so much fun. It was the most relaxed grouping of any sort I've ever attended. There was pleasant milling about, a lot of smiling. I stayed till one in the morning and if anyone was getting drunk, it only showed in the length of stories that were being told about high school exploits. Now and then, a couple of the men would drive off in a truck and return half an hour later. That's it. Pretty conservative, I'd say.

I didn't remember that C was a singer and J didn't remember that I was queen of the prom. I hadn't known that D's son is in prison for murder, but I did know that DA, a classmate, was. So, like any group I should think, it was mixed, and we talked about some things and not about others. There was just enough talk about Mexican migrant workers -- who were black when I was a kid, and then Puerto Rican and then Haitian -- and about the upcoming election for me to remember that, beautiful though Wyoming County is, I really couldn't live there. But I sure can visit there, and I'll love it when I do.

The lucid vision referred to in the title, though, is about my Miami windows in the living room. I finally cleaned them. I had quite forgotten how filthy they get without my even noticing it, giving out, as they do, onto the porch. But I like that, because the difference is profound when I do clean them and I can spend two or three days being mildly excited about my new windows.

Most of the people I visited on my trip were the kind of housekeepers who actually keep a house, as in maintain. They, poor things, never get to experience the night-into-day effect that I do. That's less poetry for them.

I worked in a slo-mo frenzy today, preparing for our house guest. I'm planning a trip to the recycling bins today, so I wanted to slice cardboard boxes, readying them for flattening. I went to my desk for my Xacto knife (which is really an Olfa knife but whoever heard of that?), and then I noticed a new email, so I sat down and read it. Then Mittens yelled that she wanted in, so I went to the porch and got caught looking at the huge red caftan swinging from a plant hook. I'm airing it out. I had to dismantle my altar for our guest, and this caftan was the bottom layer of cloth on the table, followed by a square of white cloth used in the secret ceremony that initiated me into my meditation practice. Am I mystical or what?

I bought that red fabric in Ghana. The edges have a thick border of intricate black design, drawn as if with a fine-tipped pen. The center has delicate black flowers. Red is the color of mourning in Ghana. The fabric sat in my house for years until The Arts Center had a Valentine's party that required attendees to wear red and bring tea cups. I had the caftan made by Joey here in Gulfport. It's got a V-neck and pockets. I've only worn it that one time. Really. Where else would I wear such a thing? But it's beautiful. It's possible that the picture in this blog will be one of the caftan taken through the clean windows. Such suspense.

I was in the big market in Kumasi in Central Ghana when a couple of women dressed in red came rushing up to the fabric booth where I was fingering material, planning shirts. The women were yelling and laughing and blowing shrill whistles. It turned out that the woman who owned the booth had had a sister die recently, and these noisy women were paid to visit her with noise and laughter, to cheer her up.


The houseguest is Miss Pook, a domestic short-haired cat belonging to my friend Melanie. Mittens is not happy about this. We've had Miss Pook stay as long as a month, and Mittens still refused to be a gracious hostess. The solution is to keep Miss Pook in the bedroom and Mittens out. The litter box is set up in there, along with the water and food dishes. I've cleared the top of the dresser so that if Miss Pook ever comes out from under the bed, she can have a perch up there. She can jump to the empty altar, then to a chair painted to match my car -- not that Miss Pook will pause to appreciate that -- and then to the feeding station on a bookshelf. She'll disappear for a while and then suddenly materialize in bed with me, just as I've turned a page. That'll scare the bejesus out of me, but then I'll settle down and pet Miss Pook till I fall asleep.

Here's a picture of a shirt I bought in Columbus, from Wali Neil. He's amazing. He painted it with bleach. And then here's my first attempt. I had to call him in Cleveland to get more tips, which he generously gave me. I'll show you a final product when I produce one.

I'm getting ready for Circus McGurkis on October 18, but some of my mailboxes will be with The Longhouse folks at the 49/1 Blues Festival this upcoming Saturday (also my birthday) on the 49th Street corridor at Tangerine. It's from ten to four.

When I started this blog, Mister Google wanted to know my birthday and my age. I gave him both, thinking that the birthday information would be prominent, so that my dozing fans could rouse themselves and go out to buy handsome gifts. Alas. My date remains a mystery to the adoring public. My age is listed, though. Do you think Mister Google will change 57 to 58 on Sunday? Let's watch!

If anyone can tell me how to put captions on this photos, I shall remain forever in his or her debt.

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