The Mighty Viking

Conquering those things we must, one story at a time

Archive for January, 2014

The Paper Hat Parade

image Somewhere in the Caribbean:

The clouds come scudding across a timeless sky, an armada of impish children riding with the mysterious breath of unseen mothers, little boys with paper hats, Sailing from unseen waters, where those mothers gather of a Sunday morn, and blow their babies kisses, and blow all the joy in their hearts and lungs into these bassinets, and send them off to play, to grow, to age, and maybe in time to weep their sorrow and return home to their mothers, sunburned sailors, battle-worn soldiers, traveling wizards with the dew of life in their bosom.

And yet, today they are but children, and I dream here on an island in the midst of their silent child’s’ parade. I’ve sailed the place of their birth, I’ve traveled the lands of their death.

But here in-between, I watch them pass as a father, wishing to play with them, quietly laughing at their pretend severity, hoping for them to grow strong shoulders, wishing I could be with them as they frolic, and mature, tip and taunt the fisherman, plunder the earth, and woo Life Itself from the farmers seeds. I know their end, and want to weep with them as they weep their Last Sorrow, as if they were mine.

But I do not grieve. I make a paper hat, and stand face-on into the Mother’s-breath of this Sea, and wait.

Poseidon’s waves will carry their souls back to the Beginning, and they will be born and blown again, by laughing, loving, breathful mothers of the Sea, They will adventure again. I wish nothing but to ride in their midst for the adventure.

Dear automated toilet:

I appreciate your enthusiasm, but I was merely shifting my weight, not standing up.  Although now I clearly AM finished, I was here to leave something else behind besides my dignity.  That seems to have jostled loose somewhere between caroming off the inside stall wall and the sincerity of the high-pitched scream of terror I didn’t know I had in me.  Should my dignity come sniffing around looking for me, please let it know I had to go on without it, and that it will have to find its own fare home.
Dear automated faucet:
Yes, I agree, “recoiled in horror at the display of immaturity” of your associate is the only proper tone, might I remind you that I still have needs.  I have places my hands under the sensor several times now, and am failing to develop that “freshly-washed” feeling, or, even, a mild case of damp hands.  If you could collect yourself for a moment, perhaps we could put this whole sordid scene behind us.  Or, like Moses and his rock, will I have to resort to striking you with my staff to conjure water out of you.
P.S.  if you could talk to your little friend the automated soap dispenser, perhaps suggest he breathe once in a while.  The small squeak of product he currently produces strikes me as a bit uptight.
Dear automated paper towel dispenser:
I admire your restraint in the face of such calamity, but could we remember that you are dispensing drying towels, not postage stamps.  Please note that my hands bear no volumetric resemblance to those of, say, small raccoons.  Also, the measured solemnity with which you pause between cycles is impressive, but while it would be admired in, say, a palace guard your stoicism comes across as gruff reluctance, and does not play well to the service industry to which you are employed.

Queen of the Realm

My wife has been gone this last month and a half, on a mission of mercy to Nevada – tending the last days of one of her relatives there.  I had been left to run the house as best as I could.  As it turned out, I wasn‘t quite as good as it as I had dreamed I might be.  Nor was I as good at being home without her as I thought I might be.  the house seemed less a home, and more a place to stay in her absence.  The day of the conclusion of her mission came, and this last week I and the family that had stayed with me went down to join her and now, last night, we all returned home,  Unexpectedly one of the Daughters and family also came for a visit.  We all arrived about an hour apart.
The house has stood completely empty for a week, and the Queen has been absent for a month.  This house of ours, is an old, 1930s era Colonial at the end of a quiet street in a quiet town.  It sat cold and moody in the absence of the family within it.  One week ago today, I had turned down the thermostat, locked the doors, and tiptoed away to let it sleep for the duration of our absence.  Now, a week of winter weather later, it sat in wooden hibernation, nothing more than a carefully arranged stack of old, dried lumber.
 I was actually the last one in the house.  an hour ahead of me, daughter and son-in-law had arrived with two or our grandchildren.  with instructions in hand, they had travelled all day themselves, and arrived, turned on the furnace, and set about unloading the car, making kids comfortable, and straightening up a bit.  Next in a half hour later was our college daughter, along with our youngest son and cousin.  More luggage, more joy of meeting, and a fire was lit in the wood stove.  Lastly, my wife and I arrived with another son.  My wife went in ahead while I assisted our son in.
As I entered this old, freshly reoccupied house, the relative importance of everything stood in clear relief.  The furnace was churning out hot air and warming the bones of the house slowly, but it was still cold.  The pulse of this house beat to the rhythm of the people.  Each person doing something – some more usefully than others.  But there, at the core of the commotion of arrival and settling in, was my wife directing the traffic, getting things put away, put right, food for the youngest being planned and prepared, the important little things being minded – with the skill of a queen.  I stood for a moment in the front entry, watching and listening.  I realized with the clarity of a Salvation that indeed, she was a Queen in her realm, and that she, more than anything, was the lifeblood of this home, that Essence that had been missing for too long.
Welcome home.  I am the King of this house.  Thank you for being the Queen of our home.