Together, forever

After a quick breakfast of muscadine grapes and crunchy toast topped with super greens, I set my intention on making the 9AM yoga class. But heavy school bus traffic got in my way this morning,  so I turned the car around and came home. All I could think about was the cigarette pack in the kitchen drawer, and how good it would feel to smoke one.

I’m one of those people who’s read Alan Carr’s “Easy Way to Stop Smoking” three times. I love that book. The little nicotine monster croaked easily after the first try, but was resurrected when my mama died. Mama was a heavy smoker the last twenty years of her beautiful life and, after her lively memorial service in December 2013, it felt dishonorable to ignore a chance to bond with my sister and nephew over a smoke. Had it been offered, I’d probably have taken a toke and a shot in the church parking lot, too, but Mama would have frowned on that.

A shiny metal, key-ring-sized cylinder, filled with a small batch of my parent’s mixed cremains, sits on my writing desk. I can touch them anytime I want to.  A few of their ashes are floating somewhere off the Adriatic Coast near Vasto, Italy and, in October, Dad will finally realize his dream of traveling to Australia. Mama has no choice but to join him, although she’d rather go to Hawaii.

By moms treasure boxthe cylinder is a sacred metal box filled with more tiny treasures. A lock of  Mama’s long steel-gray hair, held together by a narrow black ribbon, entwines around one of her lipstick-stained cigarette butts. Now, I realize non-smokers might find this creepy or disgusting, but feel free to honor your mama in your way and I’ll do the same.

The little red Cardinal feather lying in the top left corner of the box is a glowing ember straight from Mama’s heart, a gift of warmth that floated through the sky and landed on my arm a few weeks ago while I was working in the garden. Her message? “Have that okra fried with gravy on the side, doodle-lee-do.” Or maybe it’s a reminder that everything is going to be just fine, especially if I put my red lipstick on.

Soon, I’ll hit the mat and practice a few sun salutations. Then I’ll smoke another cigarette and think about my mama some more. Then, maybe, just maybe, I’ll pick up where I left off with Alan Carr.

Saturday matinee

A tired, beat up red 1999 Volkswagen Bug sits in my driveway, sighing and peeling in the sun. It’s a castoff, this car, once owned by my sweetheart’s punk-rock daughter. The gas gauge doesn’t work, and a siphon hose coils like a skinny, anemic snake underneath the flat spare tire. The headliner shrugs toward a fake, crippled daisy leaning in the vase that, apparently, comes standard issue with this model.

pink daisy vw

A flower vase. In a car. As if somebody ever said, “You know, I don’t like this car much, but I LOVE the flower vase! I’ll buy it!” (Actually, I know someone who did. She was stoned at the time and, driven by impulse, blew off her severe allergic response to cuteness in deference to the weed.)

Me: “Carolyn, aren’t you allergic to fake flowers?”

Her: “Yes, but aw, it’s so cute! Look, it’s smiling at me!”

Smiling car salesman: “Would you prefer a pink or blue daisy? Or, take me with you and you can have both hah hah hah.”

Said sweetheart and his  28-year year old, high-functioning autistic son (who splits his time between his sister’s house and ours) are headed out to the car wash and to make a few other stops.  Ryan is in charge of picking out the movie we’ll watch later today.

Me: “No Harry Potter, no Left Behind, OK?”

Ryan: “But popcorn and m&ms, right?”

Me: “Right.”

I wonder if m&ms will stack nicely in that vase…

Yoga Class

I walked out of yoga class this morning. Actually, I crept quietly out of the room because my body needed more air and less mat. It was as simple as that.

My dad walked his girls out of church one Sunday because the music was displeasing to his ear. He didn’t make a big production out of it, but he wasn’t going to sit and fidget in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve sat still when I should have moved, or the times I’ve moved when I should have sat still. So, here’s what learned in today’s yoga class: sit still, fidget restlessly, or move freely.

The choice is ours.

Lynn and Ace.