Before and After Hat

 

This morning in my writing,  I remembered the old hat I found in Mom’s closet. It was one of her mother’s old church hats.

She let me play with it,  but it didn’t take long for me to see that it wasn’t really my style. I think I was nine or ten. With permission,  I deconstructed the hat and wore it for years,  till I lost it somewhere in the field between the woods and our house.

It fit perfectly with my idea of myself as an explorer, with my radioactive Army watch on my wrist and my eyes on the horizon.  Dad found that watch in one of the used cars he sold and I begged for it; it was my first timepiece.

Random memories from a feral childhood. Maybe one day I’ll be good enough to draw the faces under those hats.

Bulletproof Love

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This is what love looks like this week.

This is also what a legal-style notepad looks like after four nights on the freeway.

Last Sunday, Hydra and I were on our way to the Songmakers board meeting and I decided to clip my nails. I know, right?  In the passenger seat?  But all the clippings dropped onto my portfolio, so I could gather them up. We were just past the Crown Valley exit on the 14 when I–decided would be too strong a word–acted without thinking, cracked my window and held the portfolio up so the wind could whisk away the clippings.

It was like a huge hand slapped the notebook out of my grasp. It was shockingly quick and stupid. Hydra was flabbergasted. Me, too.

I was quickly fatalistic about losing the notes from the past couple of fabulous PEN Center West craft sessions I attended, but Hydra insisted on circling back to see if we could retrieve it. We sped by it where it lay open on the double yellow line between the car pool lane and the fast lane, pages fluttering madly in the vehicle-produced windstorm.

Trying to get to it would be like playing a real live game of Frogger.

We went on to the board meeting. For the rest of the drive I veered back and forth between laughing about how utterly ridiculous it was and that particular brand of self-loathing that can overtake me when I’ve done something particularly self-sabotaging.

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So on Thursday morning, Hydra went for his hike and I went for my walk. Afterward, I sat in the back yard to read a script for work. When I looked at the clock, it was almost 11:00 which would mean he’d been on the trail for three hours. Not unheard of, but a little worrying.

Tried to raise him on his cell phone.  Five times. No answer.

Went into his office to look for binoculars because it seemed like the right time to hit the trail to see if he was out there keeled over for some reason. Like you do when you’ve been married a long time and still like each other. A lot.

I found his hiking gear in his office. Weird. Checked the garage. Car’s gone. Also a little weird. Still no answer on the phone.  About this time, the garage door goes up. He’s home.

With the portfolio!  He drove to the Crown Valley exit, parked at the McDonald’s and accessed the wide weedy median there. He walked about a mile to where he’d seen the portfolio, which had been swept to the side of the road next to the carpool lane by Wednesday. He’d seen it when we were off to visit a friend and didn’t say anything about it.

Then he walked around picking up scattered papers. Didn’t find the minutes from the last board meeting that were tucked in there, but he did find some papers that were recognizably mine. And of course, it was loud out there and he didn’t hear his phone.

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The ink test.

So, after four nights on the freeway, the Sharpie ink with which a set list was written survived, as did the excellent Noodler’s Ink Bulletproof Black fountain pen ink. The fanciful teal Flair ink faded a lot. Not surprising.

So corny as it is, I have to say that this man will move mountains–or at least very large rocks–for me without my asking. And he’ll spend a lot of time on a crazy errand so he can be my hero, which he is anyway for putting up with me on a daily basis.

If that’s isn’t bulletproof love, I don’t know what is.