Monday, March 17, 2003



St Pat's

My husband, the Captain, bought me German knives. With Austrian precision, I put the biggest one through my finger. A few days later I fumbled the parmesan block while grating, and topped the cesar salad with knuckle of thumb. Two days ago I branded my forehead with Still Water's (Daughter #2) oversized curling iron.

The Captain came into the kitchen, looked at the spongebob bandaids affixed to my fingertips and the burn on my forehead and asked, "What are you doing to yourself?"

"I don't get it," I joined in his concern, as I filled the dishwasher with my left hand, pulled Baby Edit (Daughter #3) from the pots and pans cupboard she calls "home" with my right hand and shut off the cold water faucet with my right foot.

"Well, do you want to go to the parade?"

Yes, yes! The St. Patricks Day Parade. I had been running errands with Still Water earlier in the morning. The sun was out and it was the second day in a row the temperature was in the 50's. A week ago it had been 18. The car window was down, my left elbow was out and sunglasses were on. I was looking at everything except the road. Heading down Delaware Avenue, I noticed a bunch of college kids in t-shirts holding signs and gathering by the side of the road.

"Look," I exclaimed. "There is going to be a peace march here!"
"No," explained Still Water. "TheParade." (The "duh" on the end of her sentences is always silent, so she is my favorite.)

As I drove around the rest of the morning, I had a flashback to the first snowfall of this winter season. Cotton ball flakes came down slowly, against a pitch black sky. Sounds were muffled. The atmosphere seems to be made up of only a blanket of calm. Those kinds of snowfalls stick in my memory like a perfect day at the beach. I smiled to myself. I live in the North on purpose. Each season has its own power, which is best experienced in its intensity. So now Spring would surface like a flower in time-lapse photography.

We walked the two city blocks to the parade, in the sun. Everything Irish was there. I was trying to find some linguistic connection between Ireland's "Hibernian" references and Spain's Iberian Penninsula, when The Captain said, "Look at those wigs." I shifted my focus to the rows of little girls in little Irish folk dancing outfits and intense ringlets. "Those are wigs?" I asked in amazement. I have seen those heads of curls for years, and believed only that any mom committed to getting a daughter to folk dancing classes, would be herself well trained in the complicated coif . Then I tried to imagine my own efforts in getting my girls' hair curled and could only think of singed hair and burnt scalps. I touched my scarred forehead and shuddered.

I think I will buy myself a wig.

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