Wednesday, January 23, 2013
I don't know the date or even the month, but it was warm and very green and it was Marlene's birthday. How I came to be there is a mystery as I surely didn't live nearby, but there I was. Terry was there, and Pris and Charles. Marlene's best friend and some neighbor kids were there, too. I don't recall either Dwayne or Colin being there, but they were "big boys" and probably off doing "big boy" stuff. We sat on the living room floor and played "Button, button, who has the button?" and "Spin the bottle" and "Telephone". The day was pure gold with dust motes glinting and reflecting light. We had cake and lemonade then piled onto the big ol' hay wagon. Aunt Ruth hiked up her skirt and climbed onto the tractor. For some reason that surprised me. As she started the engine she turned, her face lit with pleasure as she observed us. Sweet, plain Aunt Ruth was prettier than any movie star in that moment. She put the tractor in gear and we jerked away down the hill to the creek. We paddled in the shallow waters in dappled sun and shade until we were hauled protesting and dripping back to the house. In retrospect I wonder where my mother was, where my other aunts were, and Grandma? Has memory wiped them off the slate of the day? How old was Marlene that day? 2 years older than me! But how old was I? I guess it doesn't matter. We were together, and happy in the day.