Sunday, 24 June 2012

small town, big lights

Right now I'm sitting on a car hood, watching a drive in movie. This in itself isn't spectacular (although with the scarcity of drive-ins, it kinda is) but I'm sitting on a car hood, watching The Lorax at the drive in movie at the school

My childrens' school is so conscious of the families nearby and what would draw us all together, that they began showing drive-in movies in the heart of our community - the school. 

(Literally - the screen is up on the building!)

There are no stars tonight - it's actually spitting a little, but for the families sitting in their cars and trucks it matters little - they're cozy, full of popcorn and nachos from the concession stand, and watching a movie.  Little ones curl in the backseats, pillowed heads just peeping up over the headrests, while the adults grin at the memories of Saturday nights spent at drive-ins when they were young.

The village school - this same place that's drawing families and the community as a whole together is on the review list. It's becoming harder and harder not to express my frustration with this.

But on nights like tonight, watching the delighted faces and hearing an owl far off in the woods? It doesn't seem to matter. This is good and lasting and making memories. This school is doing what schools all over the country should be doing - working hard to keep their communities  interested and involved. 

This is worth it. 

This is worth it.




Friday, 22 June 2012

juris doctor

The candles were guttering out in the pale light when I found him, head down on the table, an empty bottle clutched in his hand. There was a wrapper stuck to his cheek, pizza boxes thrown on the floor, and his buddy Travis was raising the roof with his snores on the half-broken daybed in the corner. It must have been a great night.

Not that I blamed him for cutting loose. It had been a long winter, and an even more tedious spring, tests and exams and study study study, punctuated every once in awhile with pop quizzes and fits of bleak black depression where he insisted that he'd never make to graduation, never ever never, and what kind of man was he that he'd let his girl get a job and put him through school? Never mind that I wanted him to succeed, was sure that he would make an incredible lawyer, loved his fight and his grit and his unbending sense of justice and fairness, was awed by his determination and the solid good core of him.

But now....now it was time to get him up. I moved around to his side. 'Ry? Wake up, honey.'

He spluttered something and re-settled. I shook his shoulder, which got me a 'hmmmmm?' and a fluttering of his eyelids. Okay. Time to pull out the big guns.

I bent down and said loudly into his ear "Ryan! The baby's coming!' and stepped back a few paces when he almost hit the roof. He was on his feet, his eyes wide with shock. 'Wha? Wha? Dory, you can't be.....' his words slowed when he realized I wasn't rushing out the door or showing any kind of discomfort. Instead, I was grinning at him.

'No, I can't be. Honey, I'm only five months along. But here....I got the mail. And....this is addressed to you.'

I handed over the plain white envelope that held our futures and watched as he held it in his hands, then shrugged a little and opened the seam.  He read for a moment, then the the sun came out in his face as he smiled.

'I sit the bar in July.'

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

shine less

I see her walking by and I wonder if she's seeing me.

No, she's not made eye contact or done a half-wave or any of the other furtive motions we make when you spy someone you're not sure about. Just the quick, quick of her heels clicking on the pavement and  the whoosh of the stroller in front of her. The child inside looks bored.  He's clutching what looks like a dirty doughnut (or it's a....dog toy?) and a sippy cup.  I only see him quickly, though, long enough to register his long eyelashes curling down on his cheeks, and then they turn the corner and are gone.

I put down my cup and lean in to talk to the man across from me, knowing that she'll be back. She walks the town every day, and where we sit is on the loop.

The coffee shop is busy, and smells like raisins and danish. When the front door opens, a blast of scent eddies out into the street and you can see passersby blink and smile, snorting in the sudden goodness. The bells tinkle on the door and the waitresses pour good coffee and chat about the weather and the local goings-on. It's a great place to see your neighbors and figure out what the latest scuttlebutt is. Or just people watch.

My companion is droning on about health care (on a bright sunny day like today it's hard to take dire statistics and Department of Health pseudo-scandals seriously, so I'm only half-paying attention) and I watch as the woman with the bright blonde hair approaches again, this time on the other side of the street. She stops in front of the post office, adjusts the still-sleeping boy's shirt, and turns the other corner, her hair flicking out like a metronome.

I've never asked why she walks - if she's running from (or to) something, if she's escaping demons or merely has a colicky babe.We've spoken, and we know each other's names, but we're not close enough to do anything more than wave or grin if we catch sight of each other. She appears then is gone again down the alley. Does she think about me and wonder why I would choose to stay so tethered to a chair? Why we're not all out wandering and exploring town? And I wonder - whose way is better?

Friday, 8 June 2012

hurry scurry, time will flurry

The end of the school year is always a bittersweet time. The kids are longing to get it all over with, but there's still that little part of them that doesn't really believe that it will ever end and is horrified when it does.
The school building itself must feel the excitement. (It does, after all, frankly hum in the air.)

This month is crazy at school. There is a bike rodeo and the release of small salmon that the kids have raised from eggs. (One class will also be setting monarch butterflies free.) There will be drive-in movies (see, I told you the village school was magical!) beginning this Saturday night, and a huge weekend camping trip for the older grades. There will be a beach day for all the students. (See, when you grow up near the ocean (and have fearless teachers) the whole school gets to go on field trips to the Atlantic.)

There will be a graduation held for our sixth graders and goodbyes to the vice-principal.

And then there will be silence. The doors will be locked, and for three months the only sounds will be from the community groups that use the building.

Kinda a shock to the old weathered school, but I like to think it dozes in the sunshine, waiting for fall to make it come alive again.

Waiting, happily, for the children.