Tag Archives: Father

The Art of Slow Cooking

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The day my father retired he threw away every suit he owned save one basic blue.

He also shifted into low, easy gear. A sort of simmering Crock-Pot sense of being.

He walked no farther than the mailbox or the perimeter of his one-acre suburban ranch of weed-less green lawn.

He leisurely patrolled his tiny fiefdom in a new uniform:

  • a mesh baseball cap
  • polo shirt
  • high-waisted, flat-butt jeans
  • a pair of Thom McAn loafers .  .  . with ruptured toe boxes where bunion bouquets emerged.

His days were largely spent on the back porch in the rubber band rocking chair. Reading the local newspaper. Smoking cigarettes. Drinking cans of Old Milwaukee.

By afternoon, he was finished with printed words.

His eyes slightly glazed and dreamy, he’d sink into contemplative silence.

Thoughts simmering like a thin stew.

His body beginning to look like a portly little pot.

And after 8 to 10 hours of back-porch marinating, he’s be ready to uncork a vat of ancient memories and freshly-poached wisdom.

Dad spinning a yarn to my brother.

 

From him, I learned there are two forms of retirement:

  • The Outer: the pride of possessions earned and achievements polished for posterity.
  • The Inner: the reflective retiring.

This last one fascinated me.

Those methodically lazy days. The slow-cookery living. My dad perfected them and gifted them to me as the legacy for his firstborn.

The stride meant for my adoption .  .  . a bit like a monk with an imaginary monastery.

But honestly, I feel rather lost and lonely trying to step in his footprints. I long for the days of his endless stories and jokes, no matter how stale. They gave me a steady sense of place.

 

 

Marooned Trucks

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Pickup Truck - New Mexico

One of my favorite personalities of New Mexico is desolation.

 

I tingle at its tableaux, especially pickup trucks parked randomly – slantwise on farm roads overgrown with buffalo grass. Parked on dust ravaged, ghostly earth. Earth that crawls continually toward the gaunt hills of a frontier desert, across a basin bottom that fillets before them, across those boundless flounder-flat plains.

 

This is also a portrait of my heart, I realize – a montage of rusty and hollowing. A still life of my red-clay heart sinking into fields of somber silt. Left behind by the thoughtlessness of time.

What attracts me to inertia is its potential. The power, love and wisdom that can flow through once the current is turned on.

I love the stillness of potential:

The hour just before dawn

The heart just before it loves

The marooned truck just before its engine ignites

The moments after death before the soul transitions

It’s all so scintillating.

Prairie Schooner Cartoonery by jayni

I look at my heart like a crazy cartoon outlined in black and I color it with ridiculously intense colors, trying to resuscitate it. Inflate it. Give it a second birth. Just as I do with marooned trucks that I adopt roadside.

 

Sometimes my heart feels like a sordid red satin curtsying cowgirl at the close of the fair. Waiting for her night shift to end. For night to run away, chased on its heels by dawn’s bloody fingertips.

 

I both fear and crave abandonment. I’m afraid of being totally unloved, yet, I want the world to leave me alone – to cast me into a field of decaying carnival rides. I want the corpse of the barker to kiss me goodnight on the boardwalk at midnight.

I’m a Jersey girl by birth, and, that birthmark can erupt like a wounded tattoo and go bankrupt without warning. I need my hood-love sometimes to tether my bilingual life to a knot in sea-beaten, sun-bleached wood.

 

It’s a moment after twilight and I’m angry.

The anger is born from me not knowing how to operate the instrument panel of my vehicle. The owner’s manual burned when my father died and no one has edited a new reference book.

 

I sense that if I have the keys and can read the dials and shift the gears, that I can save myself. That I can drive my forlorn prairie schooner out of the desert’s talcum powder dust, and into the merger of life’s crossroads.

 

In the quest for meaning, I know that many walks, or drives, through the lion’s den are required.

 

But right now, I’m still angry. Or, I’m angrier still because my dearest friend died last autumn. The last of the true friends.

 

Now I only face faux friends who charge me an exchange rate for likes and favorites and follows and comments and hashtags and stats that exceed the galaxy.

 

I hate bartering for friendship, for love.

 

I hate haggling in the brothel of Wall Street relationships, waiting for the bell to ring; waiting for the net to connect; waiting for inane conversation to begin only to bring shine to the ego of another and shadow to the heart of my vacant vehicle – dying little by little.

 

Yeah. I’ve been on the road all my life . . . out there running just to be on the run.

 

I need a little off-roading time for quiet, detailed contemplation.

 

I need to bury my burdens like a velveteen rabbit and learn to drive my own vehicle of soul back to the original destination from which I departed eons ago.

 

I’m just a traveling soul stripped of her colors. Trying to paint over my anger and reupholster my spirit. And rejoin my tribe.  Pickup Truck - Rusted Trio

 

The Grind

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Mocha Muse has its very own newspaper, The Grind. It may contain a quote, a poem, song lyrics, snippets of overheard conversation or fascinating facts about creativity/life. So, leather sofa in Home Interiorsnuggle into the sofa, unfold the paper and reach for your morning cup of coffee.

Here’s the twelfth issue. . . just click on newspaper to enlarge, then continue to click until text is readable for you!

The Grind - (6-22-2015) Ode to Dad on Father's Day

Many thanks to Ron Sickler for sharing the opening quote in this week’s The Grind. The moment I read his words, I knew that they echoed the ghost of my father.

To read more of Ron’s witty quips and quotes, check out his book, Out of My Mind, From My Heart & Off My Chest!

And in case you’re unfamiliar with Icebox or Zebra Cake, here’s a little sample to tempt your taste buds:  Icebox Cake

It was a staple in my mom’s summer dessert repertoire. Perfect for those hot, humid “dog days” of East Coast summer!

There’s even a Mocha Chocolate version of the original Icebox Cake. It’s far more decadent .  .  . perhaps best served as a winter dessert, accompanied by hot espresso or mulled wine.