Home-bound 1.6-SmallThings

smallthings
Our exile sits in the middle of a megalopolis, one of the recognized great metropolitan areas of the world. There, any excursion might lead to me brushing elbows with some celebrity; greatness. Noteworthy events originate there, echoing across the world. I casually stroll past landmarks, places where, in an earlier life, I travelled far to simply see. Now I barely notice my own passage by them.

Almost nothing of the internationally noteworthy class ever happens here in my home valley. Most people have never heard of this place, and nod distractedly whenever I fail to explain where and what it is. Some newspaper this week declared this valley a “wine Mecca,” whatever that means, since wine isn’t served in Mecca. The main street is predictably called Main Street. The rich seem to be getting richer and the poor, poorer, but everyone sometimes shops at the same Safeway.

The scale of the metropolis masks small things. Here, small things hold prominence.

I could live out the rest of my existence in abject anonymity there, knowing many without really knowing anyone. There, everyone comes from somewhere else, histories scattered and unsharable. We’re grafted onto alien rootstock, and while we grow and even thrive, our sustenance seems filtered and slightly bitter; the air sour rather than sweet. We eke out a livelihood, aching for a living.

I know everyone’s business here, and they know mine, if only via rumor mill. My neighbors and I live in a four dimensional present; history prominent, likely future no less so. I have genuine trespasses to forgive here, and to be forgiven for, rather than mere transgressions. We have both long memories and longer aspirations, and we all know for sure we’ll end up just about where we began. So we seem to reassure each other here, my wellbeing dependent upon yours and yours upon mine. Cut-throat competition amounts to a technical foul, a venial sin.

We spent the day jumping from place to place, just visiting. Visiting, a rare event nearer the center of the universe, seems commonplace here. We sit in the living room, idly chatting, not merely passing time. Our past seems present, our future, too. Our relationship on display like that special Christmas Santa or the reluctant Christmas cactus—all admittedly small things. I arrive at your mercy and you extend it. I depart with your blessings, heart felt.

We collect the grand daughters (Otter and Other) for another afternoon of simply goonking around. The Grand Otter graces us with torch songs wired in from her iPod. The Grand Other giggles almost uncontrollably in our presence after being secured in that mysterious child safety seat. We will visit my sister, hoping to see her lucky cat, but the cat’s decided to hide in the back room. My niece and her son show up instead and I learn he sold the two bit Subaru for six hundred bucks. I’d sold it to him for twenty five cents, which I had to ‘loan’ him, when we entered exile. I thought those wheels had stopped turning ages ago. Some wheels never stop turning here.

The Grand Otter invites us to her school for an art show where two of her lesser works are displayed. She explains perhaps too well each work’s shortcomings, but understands what she might do to improve. A fine, solid first showing, she’s still learning and still engaged.

The main hall passes as the gallery. Two tousel-haired young minstrels elbow through the crowd demonstrating near mastery of two endlessly-repeated power chords. Families clearly unfamiliar with the art gallery shuffle stumble toward the eats table, where budding culinarians show their early art work. A lovely young woman studies her shoelaces along the sideline, clearly embarrassed at this forced notoriety, while somebody’s kid brother loads up on cocktail weenies and hard boiled egg snow men.

This alternative high school suffers from some budget battle. While the school board holds out for a new levy to replace this ancient derelict, the misfit student body proves their ney-sayers wrong beneath missing crown moulding and rusty exposed nail heads. The place resembles a mad scientist’s labyrinthian laboratory, and might be. The Grand Otter seems sanguine here.

Me, too.

A bowl of genuine chicken noodle soup, served with a clean off color joke from the cafe’s owner, anchored our afternoon. Sister-In-Law-made spaghetti with meatballs anchored the other end. In between, only small things prevailed. I performed four songs for my mom, who silently clapped after each using only her fingertips and that wistful look in her eye. It’s ten minutes across town in traffic and five minutes between universes here. Busi-ness is not the primary business here, small things are.

©2013 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved









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