Category Archives: Kids

Citrus Desparado

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This is a story about a man whose son supplemented his day-job income by working as kind of a jack-of-all-trades for a company that produced concerts and other shows at large entertainment venues in a particular mid-sized southern city.

One day Don Henley came to town. Former co-leader of the Eagles rock group, the singer-song writer-guitarist tours with his own band now, and was preparing for a local show.

It’s somewhat customary for well-known entertainers to request and be provided various foods and other comfort items for consumption before and after their shows. In this case, so the story goes, the owners of the concert venue required such items be obtained from a hotel attached to said venue and being operated by a national hotel chain.

But after an ominous breakfast, which included a salad containing metalic foreign objects, it became clear the hotel was not capable of providing this particular group’s needs.

For instance, the lemons were inadequate. “I hate small lemons,” Henley was quoted as saying, approximately, to the people producing the show. “Don Henley hates small lemons,” the production company officials said to the son mentioned above. “Go out and find us the largest lemons available.”

“You’re not going to believe this,” the son replied. “But it turns out that my father grows the biggest lemons in the world.” Then he drove to his home and retrieved a half-dozen lemons given to him by the man who is the subject of this story.

It turns out that man is me. While it is an exaggeration to call them the biggest in the world, it is true that I grow Meyer lemons, which are considerably larger than Lisbon lemons – the type almost always seen in grocery stores. Meyer lemons, more importantly, are incredibly flavorful and fragrant.

And while I have not been directly informed by any of his people, I have heard no complaints whatsoever about the lemons my son provided to Don Henley, and it is my belief that he probably found them of outstanding size and flavor, and may even recall them with fondness in the future in the likely event he is presented with some inferior lemon.

Which just goes to show you, anything can happen. I forget that sometimes.

As kind of a postscript, I have to say that my lemon tree was seriously damaged in our recent and uncommon freezing weather. I have hopes that the tree will survive, although nothing is guaranteed. I have decided that if the tree manages to live and produce fruit, I will heretofore refer to them as Desparado Lemons, just for fun.

Also posted in Fruit, Garden, Metaphysics

The Way We Were

They hadn’t told us there was no passport photographer in the embassy. We only found out that Monday afternoon, when we tried to get in line there, in order to have our small mountain of adoption paperwork finally approved so that we could bring our new adopted son home to Texas with us.

But no, now we had to search for a passport photographer. Luckily, that didn’t take long because several such photographers were parked in vans in the backstreets around the embassy building. We handed little Nick to one of them, he took three photos and handed the baby back. We waited a few minutes, then walked back to the embassy with our Polaroids.

By that time the long line had grown longer, filled with couples and the babies they were trying to adopt. Several more lined up behind us, too, however, as the clock ticked on toward 5 p.m., we were the last couple to have our papers processed. We were happy and relieved. This long adoption ordeal was coming to a close after all this time, and tomorrow we’d fly back to the United States and baby Nick would see his new home.

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Or so we thought.

We were up early the next morning, packing up, double-checking our plane tickets, ready to grab a cab to the airport. Then the phone rang. My father-in-law from back in Texas. Turn on the TV, he said. And there was the plane, flying in slow motion through one of the World Trade Center towers and into the permanent memory banks of my brain.

Sept. 11, 2001, in Guatemala City. No, we soon learned, there’d be no flight. America was closed.

Also posted in Family, Nobody Gets It Like They Want It To Be, Travel, War

Back Up To Halloween

Wait a minute, how could I have forgotten about it? Maybe because almost everyone else did.

In recent years, fewer and fewer local kids have been stopping by for their Halloween sugar fix. This probably is because fewer and fewer neighbors seem willing to go out and buy candy, turn on the porch lights and show up at the door to play their role for the young costumed ones.

Which is too bad, because about the only children left who trick or treat around here are being escorted by young moms too poor to own their own vehicles, meaning they can’t drive the kids to a neighborhood where the houses are closer together and the pickings therefore easier. Plus, it had rained most of the day.

We only had one group – three little girls.

Still, the spirit moved us, in mysterious ways, and we had a fine time.

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And maybe overdid it just a hair.

Also posted in Be Afraid, Nobody Gets It Like They Want It To Be, Uncategorized

Green Grass Of My Childhood

I’m late with this, of course, just as I’m lately late with all my writing. Events happen and you sit down and report on them immediately while the details still stick in your mind, so I was taught, so I thought. But events also happen and the details run together in a multi-dimentional mental patina that flavors the memories and, perhaps, ages them well as with fine wine.

Or could that be a load of toro de caca?

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We flew to Northeast Ohio, my nuclear family and me, to visit Mom, brothers and sister, nieces and nephews and a couple of old friends. We hadn’t been in a long time – long enough that my youngest son and daughter didn’t remember the old Dunn abode or the lakes or the swimming beach.

I had a great time at my brother’s place, more absorbing the vibes and pieces of conversation than actually saying anything profound, just sitting back with a couple of beers and good barbecue, surrounded by siblings and a parade of tiny toddlers I’d never seen before, but with whom I apparently share some DNA, playing Bocce Ball badly but having a blast anyway.

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It was odd, as usual, to haunt the old fishing holes and walk the streets of the old neighborhood and see the last of my wooded childhood haunts turned into backyards for houses busy churning out memories for strangers. But it was great, too, hanging with mama and the others, collating the changes and the samenesses, adding another layer to the patina, reveling in the lush, cool gardens and greenery, where 102 degrees Fahrenheit is nothing more than a bad idea.

Of course I took pictures. Too many, as is my normal. I’ve saved a few in a new gallery over here, if you care to take a peek…

Also posted in Family