all of us go Oooooh! when our paterfamilas floats on air and we lug the machine out the
door and the winch spins round and round, twirled by the youngest of us. (His hand still
throbbing from earlier, the SMACK, which punched his hand away as the handle spun free
and fast in the glimmering night of spin and soft decay. But he’s fine. Really. He won’t
show his hand to anyone.) Greatpa smiles, chuckles, laughs, hangs his head in good humor:
these things are all so short. If you blink you miss them, unless you catch them later on
the television where all of us have been stamped with timeless echoes. (Even I lurched on
frame from time to time, plucking at my new-grown beard and pushing rolling specs up and
onto my ever-present nose; which slope is far too slippery for these specs. And so I nose,
and notice, my cheeks cutting sharp into points when I bare my teeth for a smile.) There
was a quick hum when Greatpa shook the engine to life, when he flipped the throttle and
cut the choke and did all sorts of wondrous magick to lift himself and all his craft, so
that he floated (gravity a whipped cur) nearly a foot off the ground. Can’t we all see
this? Didn’t we all laugh and clap with glee? Didn’t we all scream with joy to see our
very own paterfamilias singing in the air?
Later, when I napped: I dreamt of many things: a man slipping down stairs only to find
himself at home; birds of many stripes, but mostly swans or ostriches; when the calico
donkeys came out to play that was when I knew it was time to get up, go outside, wobble
into a tree or something (still being groggy). Ah, the perilous nature of youth. Or maybe
I’m thinking about watercress. Ah, the perilous nature of watercress…?
all of us go Ooooooh! when our bellies our filled with food, because when the time comes
and we eat and eat after not eating and not eating: well, you can understand our dilemma.
We laze about in chairs, thinking to ourselves, why, when we know what happens, do we still?
but that’s just how we are. We like food, we like the taste, the feel, the smell: we like
how it sounds when it’s cooking in the stove or on the oven. We like the colors. We like
to mash (esp. the bananas) around and around on our table with our fingers, making pretty
food diagrams which will one day answer everyone’s questions to their utmost satisfaction!
not the paterfamilias, but one pater asks one familia “want to drive the new car?” to which
one says “right on” or “groovy” or some other delicately chosen delinquent verbalization.
So the drive, in search of a so-called or, as it were, mythical “Covered Bridge”. In the
dark, their eyes were clouded, they could not see, the air-roof opened and shut and at times
the familia thought he was driving too fast (perhaps the pater thought so too). And they
drove and drove and someone said, “how far away is this Covered Bridge, anyhow?” and the
other one said, “maybe we should turn around; go back; reinscribe our chosen path.” to
which the first said, “yes,” and began to look for a place to turn to turn to pull around.
And the car’s furry seats said purrrrrr against the back of their backs and the soft
smell of the engine made them sleepy and the lights zoomed up into the sky and made
everything so bright-bright clear (but the pater, when a car approached, said, “the brights”
and this one familia said, “oh” and turned them off; he had forgotten they were on; so
enrapturedwas he by the smell of those bright lights and the smells those lights illumined.
And when they got back, there was food there, hot and bright. And nuncle was telling stories
of far away lands and most famous people: and how in Italia when they break things
everyone throws a party so no one is sad. So spill wine when you’re there. Everyone likes
to party. And food was mellifluous. and they (the familia and the pater) told their
story, the one about them missing the Covered Bridge (which they in fact noticed and drove
through on their way back, they both feeling to do otherwise would be neglecting their
quest). And everyone laughed and said, “we wondered where you were!” and all was well.
and so it goes and so it went and always we were talking.