Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Surrounded by history

gama miller's bed
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
We started our day with a breakfast of surgared fruit in Concord, Mass., after a night of driving underneath the sparkle of fireworks and manufactured "sound effects." Though she drank and nibbled some, all she really wanted was the fancy cake in the cafe display case.

And thusly, pushed out of a lazy breakfast by the howls of our toddler in tow, our day of diversions begins.
Diversion #1: Walking in the sun with one of mama's many floppy hats; the soft one that nicely obstructs your view will do.

Diverson #2 and #3: Off we go, window peeping into closed shops; plugging pennies into parking meters, listening for the beeps and watching for numbers that blink.
Crossing the streets is safe here so long as you know what you are doing. No dawdling, make sure they see you to stop. Walk like you mean business.

Diversions #4 and #5: Climbing stairs at the post office, meeting Ama on the ramp, halfway back down. Dodging small dog droppings to collect the ancient baseball on the lawn. You throw it into the street in front of an approaching car and your daddy follows after to get it back: This is a part of your history now.

More closed shops greet us on this side of the street. Three, to be exact, and a gallery or two. In the alleyway a window box surprises us. It's filled with tiny porcelain horses perched atop their original card mats, which show the place of their manufacture. We stop to study them more closely. A unicorn is hidden therein. On closer inspection we find some token dogs, as well. Perhaps a cat, too, though we are not sure. One thing is definite, though: nothing as earth bound as a cow is among this odd stable of animals.

Diversion #6: Keep walking. Past a toystore with its giant horse in the window, it's $400 price tag and steiff-like fur soaking up the summer sun. I don't think it has a song in its ear, or even clip-clop sounds. There is no justice.We turn left, back onto the main street, past Sally's bake shop. Closed for the holiday.

Diversion #7: A parade is coming but instead of marching bands and majorettes, there is only the silent running: sinew and bone swifting past us. Just the cushion of shoes against hot pavement from the leaders, the chatter of neigbors in the middle and a sparkly antenae man bringing up the rear. We cheer and slip into the cemetary, where two and three hundred year-old stones wait for us to play hide and seek.

It all reminds me of how history makes us human. Here, in this historic place, I am reminded that sometimes history is more personal than one could imagine. How it sometimes gives us 94 birthdays, tremendous highs and lows, and cakes without sugar. Sometimes it dances on beds, smells of burned popcorn, tries on great grandmother's shoes and measures our temperature with a blood pressure cuff. It is unpredictable.

If all goes well, history tells us when we leave that we were not only loved but we are liked as well.
"I like you all day and night."
What more could one ask?

concord cemetary


Andrea said...

Sounds like the diversions were quite fun. Was the "I like you all day and all night" an epitaph? Truly, what more could one want?

toyfoto said...

No, not exactly an epitaph. ... but she did say it to Ama Linda when we got in the car to go home.