My Mommal used to sing that to me, with the hand motions fist upon fist. I love when she does it with Ivy now. Grandmother hands shaky and beautiful.
There's a windstorm coming. Our house crackles and the kids think squirrels got in our walls. I worry about the spider and her web on the front porch. I hope she can hang on.
We go to a parade in my hometown on the fourth of July. And we always park on the same street in front of my cousins' grandmother's house. Then we pile up all our candy-catching bags and bottled waters and camp chairs and walk around the corner to find a good spot on the street to watch the parade.
And every year, the man that lives in the house on the corner ropes off his yard and the road on each side, and he sits cross-armed and brooding. He guards his grass and I guess the city street that might bring a car or festive passerby to walk too closely to his property.
We walk around the barrier and holding breath look at our feet, our hands firm with grip on the children, keeping them in line.
That man will train his eyes on the lawn, a piece of land that in months will be covered with leaves, and then dead under snow. That man will sit justified, and he will miss the parade.
We go on, every year, and we think huffy-judgy thoughts as he must the same of us.
A man, guarding his lawn and missing out on the whole parade? His treasure, he can not take it with him.
A parade-goer that keeps her glance averted, moving along to her party without incident, pretending he's not there? Shuffle, avoid. Repeat as necessary.
Cast another character,
who meets his grump-eye and compliments his beautiful yard. Wishes him well, offers him a drink? A wave? A smile?
An even though you don't get me I'm going to try to understand your heart from now on nod?
I want to be that one next year.
And every moment until then.
I sweep ten times a day and yet
am still guaranteed a renegade crumb will stick to the bottom of my foot
originally published October 26, 2010.