Monday, April 23, 2007

Summer comes to Columbus Ohio

When I lived in Ohio, I thought poets had made up all that stuff about Spring--poetic license, you know. We always went directly from Winter into red-hot Summer. Actually, Spring started this year on April 21, at 6:30 p.m., and by 7:20 it was all over. We were in the torrid zone.

Every flower possible springs out of the ground with a big shout and the sun bears down like in those movies about mad dogs and Englishmen.

When I lived on the east coast, I saw Spring in all its subtlety; first the hibiscus, then the forsythia, then a few tulips tentatively stuck their heads up. Vernal breezes blew, mornings were a little chilly, and you could wear a sweater in the evening. It made me understand what Will Shakespeare and the guys were going on about. Sweet. Subtle.

Columbus will always be familiar territory to me because it is in my bones. Beneath these freeways that zoom from one corner of the city to the other are the ghosts of the neighborhoods where I lived, played, and went to school. The ruined slum on the corner was once a corner grocery, and the rickety deserted movie house was once bustling with kids every Saturday, rain or shine. One of my aunts lived on this corner. Another was down this street, and my grandmother was about half a mile away. All gone now. My aunts were like boulders, landmarks which would always be there. Only one aunt remains, and she is frail and elderly.

How can I possibly live with absolutely no aunts? Cousins are a poor substitute.

My aunt Ellen loved the cemetery, particularly the spot where her mother was buried. It was a nice spot, shaded by a small tree. She once suggested setting up a card table and four chairs near the grave so the girls could play bridge while keeping their mother company. When that idea fell on hostile ears, she kept right on visiting, advising the cemetery staff on proper maintenance and upkeep, no doubt to their great advantage. Now she can spend quality time there, since she was buried there last December.

1 comment:

airforcewife said...

That bridge idea was perfect. I'm going to demand a game table and chairs at my resting place.

With the caveat that the games must be loud and boisterous and that someone must pour the libation of choice out for me, too.