Skip to main content

My Summer Steps

I have sugar cones in my house. I did not buy them because I am not particularity fond of them. But I remember always wanting one every time I was out for ice cream as a child. My Mother never bought sugar cones, either.
My house felt packed. Three adults and three kids running inside, then outside.
And I got to thinking ice cream sugar cones would be a fabulous treat. We could eat them on the steps. Where everyone would be outside. On my steps.
So, us adults start the line. Amber is the collector. I am the scooper. I let Aunt Cindy receive the excited thank yous and smiles of the children. She misses her own kid today.
The ice cream is hard, coming from the deep freeze. I dig in with my scooping anyway, using hot water freely. I find myself annoyed by the fifth cone. I have wet ice cream sticking down to my wrists.
My son is almost done his cone by the time we are all sitting on the steps and this annoys me further. So much for my perfect little picture of laughing, smiling, ice cream-eating people on a porch.
Sigh.
A child has spread a green blanket on the front lawn. Let's sit there, I announce to everyone. It's my house, so of course, everyone agrees.
I am still bummed out, but the ice cream does taste good.
Did I mention these are cheap sugar cones?
The cone gets soggy and I can feel myself start to smile. The cone was always soggy when you were a kid by the time you got to it. Adults just eat cleaner and faster.
I tell everyone.
Which leads into music from the eighties and we start to sing, just as a neighbor and her son show up. Amber can never hit the tune right, so it is a guessing game guessing her songs. Cindy and I laugh at her. The kids think this is boring, so we break out in Disney Songs and a loud rendition of the Scooby-Doo theme song.
Which leads into "Down By The Bay." Most of the kids are not good enough for this game yet. It makes me remember...

...the chilly night out on the sands of the trailer park. By a large body of man-made water. The lights from the trailer burned brightly 50 yards from us. The sky was pitch black, the stars bright and my father had made a bonfire. Of course there was marshmallows, the only reason to even start a fire while children are still awake.
There were four kids and two adults, and it seems we sang that song for hours...

And I wonder now how my father had put up with it so long. It is annoying by the third verse. I make sure all eight people get two turns, before I say ick.
My daughter demands a game of charades. I would never choose this game.
The kids are easy.
Frog.
Old man.
Cat.
Amber gets up at her turn and start parading around, little finger flutters, tiny steps. Then she stops and itches her crotch.
Everyone is quiet. And staring.
She rolls her eyes and throws up her hands. "I am a transvestite."
The adults start to laugh. We laugh hard, on the verge of tears.
My daughter waits until the laughter ebbs. "Mom, I am 9. I know what that is," she says.
The laughter starts again, this time we are wiping our eyes.
The kids, suddenly bored of us, run off into the backyard.

Comments

jakethelad said…
We say scratches, you say itches .. what the hell. You say tomato we say tomato. Funny, funny, it made me laught out loud! Four in the afternoon, however, almost made me cry.
Jake in Australia!
Esther said…
it's sometimes surprising how everyday tasks can bring back almost totally unrelated memories
Jennifer said…
Oh Queenie :) That was an amazing post. It brought back so many memories. I really enjoy these happy posts as to the sad ones that make me want to strangle Tommy's mother ;)
The Writer said…
Great posting as usual, Queenie. I love the nine-year-old retort on the game. Brought back some wonderful memories from before the "times of despondency" as we've coined them. Lol.

Always a pleasure to read your work.
phoebe said…
loved this, Queenie.
AJ said…
...sugar cones RULE.
...thank you for that memory of your father.
...and is it really at all surprising that your daughter would share your unique powers of observation? I mean, you know Mom, she is 9 — and the apple doesn't fall far from the tree...

:)
Inanna said…
YEAH! SUGAR CONES RULE!! Thanks for the memories.
Dave said…
I could see your painting as I read this. And then hear the laughter, feel the grass and the blanket, smell the warmed ice cream on your hands, and taste the sogginess. i think it is time for you to contact a publisher.
Queenie said…
Not yet.

Q

Popular posts from this blog

Again

When I was in Ottawa, abandoned and enthralled,
breathing in the
heat waves shimmering off the people
and the cats
and that lazy raccoon that I later named Mondrian in my mind
after I saw my first one,
I did not look for you.
Nor in the malls, the halls,
the magazines, in the new towns,
or down the old roads,
on silver screens, between the book shelves, down on my knees
hands in the clover.
Never.
I took you for granted.
Oh hey.
There you are.

I know myself
Far, far, far more than I let on
I know what I am doing.
Regardless.


Love is such an easy word.
Besides, it's a given,
We can keep it there, easy, big, broad like the straight black painted lines, it's nice.
Effortless. Quiet. Assured.
So then, I guess that it is not the word.

Punks-Starting to Remember

Minnie is 14. She likes wearing bright red lipstick and getting high.
Right now, Tommy is arguing with her. "Vitto will be waiting for me then."
"He can wait longer," she tells him. "Tell him there was too many cops following you around or something."
"Yeah," Tommy says. "That might work. Vitto would believe that. Three different cops stopped me on the street this week."
"What?" Minnie almost shouted. "Oh, Tommy. They are on to you."
“No, they aren't."
But she knew. "For sure they are. Listen. Meet me outside the pool hall at 9:30. I'll havethe dope then, Tommy."
“No. I really should go see Vitto first.” He kisses her quickly on the forehead and then runs home to make himself some Kraft Dinner for supper.

When he walks in the front door, there is Momma with a bottle of whiskey tucked between her legs, her head rolled to the back of the couch, her mouth open.
"What the fuck, Momma?” Tomm…

Quiet Company

I've been sold, I've been sold, I've been sold, I'm being sold-out
It is torture but
I don't even care
Except to love you more, to love myself more
Those hot-burned tears for you as I rally to save my skin
wind down me and leave behind gold and green
and I don't stop looking
until I look upon you
What on earth...
I've been sold, I've been sold, I've been sold.
I'm being sold-out.


Sunlight filtering through cracks
in the sky
in the walls
fall across your skin
I fingerpaint across your chest
Every word
known to man
and found in you

Fresh snow
Our footprints mark us
You are here!
I am here!
We are here!
Turn your face upwards
Let falling snow rest on your eyelashes
(dream of me)
Let the white melt on your outstretched tongue

Sing.
It's spring.
Just one word.


I'd sit across the hall
looking upwards until I saw the flicker; light on
Sit with you while your busy hands rolled over these plains, these fields
The stretches of nothing
(Look at…