Holding onto Words

chinchilla_picture.jpgMy boss called me Chinchilla when he walked by today.  I have no idea what that means, but it's funny because when I was a little girl, I wanted either a chinchilla or a hedgehog for about a week.  Then I reconsidered because hedgehogs are pokey and chinchillas are so cute, I knew I couldn't handle having one behind glass.  I wanted to be closer to animals than I could ever get. It's weird how the things we think we want change over time.  This year, I want snowshoes for Christmas because I keep having dreams about stomping over a frozen ravine.  A few years ago, it was skiis.  Now I look at red-faced people parting through the snow at Wash Park and I'm jealous of their working knees.

Our Thanksgiving was marked by flying mashed potatoes and premature Christmas music.  My Aunt Ria said she was going to buy my mom another Manheim Steamroller CD, but then, rethinking it, said she'd rather be shot in the neck.  Then David asked Dad if we could please put the whole turkey on the table this year, and Dad, while brandishing the electric knife, replied: “NO.”

Last year, at this time, I was musing on beliefs, and again, our over-the-table conversations ranged from miracles to Mumbai to what each person's earliest memories were.  Dad's earliest story was walking to kindergarten in a stream of school-bound children while  Mom and Ria recounted poking holes in the top of their father's convertible with bobbypins.  Also, how Ria wore a white dress for five years and how Mom avoided her over that span of time.

I made a beet risotto dish that ended up on the curb of everyone's finished plates.  Mom made some tea rolls in which David hid a blue skull and crossbones eraser which Mom also tried to hide in a pan of unbaked cinnamon rolls the next morning until I whispered, “You better do that after you cook them.”  Michael called and everyone talked to him but me because I was rounding up all the crumbs from the coffee ice cream cake on my thumb.  I guess important things happen simultaneously.

I am thankful that my legs work, that sometimes we can achieve things through stories more than through what we're doing, and that kids hold onto dresses for years because maybe it means that while we're losing other things (the economy, the environment, collective faith), we are still inclined to remain close to the things we love.