Saturday, July 29, 2006

A Walk in Kimbrook ("Good Dog")

060729 Walk in Kimbrook

Saturday, July 29, 8:26 PM I am out walking. It's been raining and it briefly cooled off, but it warmed up again and is hot, steamy and humid, ugh, and getting dark already. A man I am passing gives me a disgusted look because his dog is barking and lunging at me as if I'm doing something wrong by walking here, but HE is on the wrong side of the street and has white hair, so he's old enough to know better. A car goes by and nearly sideswipes me and I'm walking in the ditch and the road is wide enough for three or for cars to pass and no one is coming. Aiee. And not because he can't see me, it's not that dark. He's got a stick up his butt or something.

I hear a "bell song" like the one we've been trying to determine, but different. It is clearly not the same bell song. I can see the bird at the top of a dead tree nearby, but it is too small and dark to make out what it is.

The cicadas are going nuts

After nearly being sideswiped, I run way up into the wet grass every time a car comes which is surprisingly and annoyingly often.

I wish I could walk somewhere else, but am trying to save time by not driving anywhere, since time seems of an essence.

I was recalling, in the grocery store, a funny and somewhat poignant discussion, or series of discussions with Graham that I thought might make a good piece and also good material to put in one of the stories I'm theoretically working on.

* * *

"Good Dog"

Last year, while my son, Graham and I were visiting my daughter, Erin, I made a big fuss over my grand-puppy, Mr. Rochester. Mr. Rochester was, in fact, not a puppy at all, but I like to refer to him as my grand-puppy, since he's my daughter's dog and it's fun to be silly with him.

"Oh, Mr. Rochester," I cried, in a high-pitched silly voice, "what a good dog you are!" Then I told him to sit. "Goooood Boy!" I squealed.

Graham was eleven at the time. He usually wanted to be taken seriously, to be treated with respect. So I was surprised when he asked me, "How come you never tell me I'm a good boy?"

"Well," I stuttered, temporarily at a loss for words, "I do. I always tell you when you do a good job, and when you make me happy."

"Not like that!" Graham insisted.

"Do you want me to talk to you like that?" I asked.

"Yes!" he said.

For a while, I tried to inject a little more enthusiasm and gaiety into my praising of him. I even talked to him just as if he were a beloved dog. He seemed to eat it up. But once we were away from Mr. Rochester, he soon forgot his jealousy and was aptly pleased with more appropriate praise.

A short time later, I was leaning against Keith and telling him in my silly romantic voice how much I loved him and how sweet and cute he was. Graham came into the room and said, "How come you never talk to me like that?"

"Because," I answered, "You're my son and the apple of my eye. You're my little sweetie and Dad is my big sweetie, and there's a difference between the two. I love you both, but I love you in different ways."

"I want you to tell me how cute I am," he said.

"You are very cute," I replied, truthfully, but it just didn't sound the same, even though I was sincere. Even though my voice was full of love.

"Yeah, right," Graham said, tuning in to the difference in the inflection in my voice.

This is the same boy who goes off to school without even saying goodbye most of the time. If I want a goodbye hug, I have to grab him and give it to him. At family gatherings, if there are no children, he wants to sit in my lap and be my baby, but if there are children, I may as well be a piece of furniture.

When he asks me to make him a milkshake and then gobbles it without a thank you, I want to say, "How come you don't tell me I'm a good girl?" but I don't. When he says he'll run off and live with Aunt Sandy if I'm mean to him, I want to say, "How come you don't love me the way you love her?" But I don't.

I know that love is enduring. That we love each person differently. That there are ups and down in our feelings, and that our attention is sometimes diverted elsewhere, but the love continues underneath.

I am blessed by the fact that Graham, now 12, is surprisingly affectionate still. He is warm and capable of acts of great kindness and love. I can usually remember this when he seems to be ignoring me or being rude.

If he thinks I'm ignoring him, I have to remember that he is still a child, and that it is hard for him to remember the enduring nature of love, how it runs like a river deep underneath everything. If he's feeling ignored, or second best, I have to tell him I love him. I have to show him my love him the best I can in the all the unique ways that I love him.

* * *

It's gotten very dark, and I did not bring a headlamp. Sharon and Frank rode by on their bikes and I was wishing to ride my bike, but BOTH of my bikes are in Michigan because I thought I was moving there.

It's hot and steamy and summery, but the earth has tipped away from the sun and seasons are changing. Tuesday is Midsummer Day, and it is easy to see that we're progressing rapidly toward the equinox. Dark dark dark, so soon, so early.

The air is full of bats and I hope they eat of some of these mosquitoes!

9:12 I am home, only walked 43minutes, but I took Mom for a walk and walked at Wegman's so I hope that's good enough. I need to get on-line with Keith, even though he may not be back from Gail's.

Considering I wrote the above in complete darkness, it is not as bad as it might have been.

9:15 PM, he's not there yet, but he almost always signs in a few minutes late according to my clock. So, he may be coming, or he may be in Jackson or somewhere in-between. He never said.

9:30 PM Keith did call to say he's still in Jackson. I guess I didn't need to cut my walk short, but I wasn't sure. I miss him (and the story too! LOL!) I love the way he reads to me every night and I love the book we are reading, The Amber Spyglass, by Philip Pullman. Excellent book! (So was Drop City, which I just finished, in a different way.)

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