Oh to be here.
Winter and more of those touristy sleighs with jingle bells heading down the road loud enough to drive one mad. Who would have thought it, really. South Carolina to grow up in and jingle bells on straps for the music teacher to shake at Christmas concerts. Not enough snow for a sleigh even an elf could fit into, let alone one for grown-up people with horses and all.
But a dashing husband in a white naval uniform and a chapel to get married in by the sea. So many countries lived in one can barely count them up. Aden with its sand, Okinawa and then Pensacola.
Warm that had been and close enough to go home every few months. If only. Life with no down coat or snow boots.
But no, the navy done and a job with a different place but one that kept just as many moving and shipping companies in business. Latvia and then Honolulu. South Africa and Iceland. All over just so there’s water someplace near.
But a postcard coming in the mail from that school friend who married the fellow from Key West and it all coming back. Christmas vacation under a beach umbrella and a bench to sit on barefoot with an ice cream and watch the world go by. Men pushing carts up and down selling ice-cold sodas and other men with hamburgers and hot dogs.
But all of it warm and that day after day. Little skirts, t-shirts and flip-flops and a girl cousin or two. . . .perfect . . . did it end or did it not . . . all there if one but sits on the beach and remembers it back . . .
Oh to be here.
Scrapbooks that came over from Mother’s bottom closet shelf and all the time in the world. Everything closed for at least another day with trees covered with ice that look like something from the production of “The Nutcracker” that Grandmother took everyone to that time in New York.
The last scrapbook and Florida from the trip that time everyone got taken out of school when no one could bear the snow and ice anymore. Funny. Way up north but a dad from Mississippi who could only bear shoveling snow just so long.
Kids in the way back of the station wagon with sleeping bags to curl up on and dusk following dawn all the way down.
The beach in Fort Myers where the cousins lived and then over to Fort Lauderdale to visit someone’s old friend. Key West but no, too far. But beaches to play on and tourist cabins for naps after.
Sunsets to sit on rocks as everyone coos and get bored. Funny. Sunsets back home every day but those no one sits down on anything to see.
But all of it a treat. Winter and no winter coat. Everyone in Florida thinking it is cold but laughing. No. Mom having to climb out the second-floor window and tow the sled down the drift that goes up and over the porch to get to the store to buy bread and eggs. Somehow sheets draped over the plants at night so they won’t freeze just isn’t as bad.
But a postcard falling out from the back. One of the restaurants with a jumbo plate of fried shrimp ascending into the sky.
Not remembering it exactly but remembering mostly. A bunch of them. Some on the highway but the one near Fort Lauderdale it looks to be. The one where little brother had the screamer when he ordered pancakes with bacon . Thought there was no bacon until the waitress lifted up the pancakes and showed him while everyone wanted to hide because he was so loud . . .
But a good memory now . . . . not anymore it isn’t . . . .no one would drive all that way anymore . . . .the airport instead but no day after day voyaging across America in a station wagon that felt like a seashell getting ready to open once you arrive. . . .