September 15, 1991
Huzzah! I cry. And yet again, huzzah!! And I know what you're saying to yourself. You're saying that you knew it would happen sooner or later and now the old broad has finally gone daffy. "Huzzah!? "Whuffo' she say, Huzzah!?" you ask. And well you might, 'huzzah' not being the sort of word that trips lightly off the lips in everyday ordinary conversation.
Friends, she say Huzzah!! because she has another summer in the bag and has survived it with both her raggy old body AND her mental faculties reasonably intact. She say Huzzah!! because, on June 25, l99l, Keeley graduated from high school, thereby confounding the nay-sayers who predicted him greybearded and toothless before his emergence from the hallowed halls of Freddie H. Collins. She say Huzzah!! because, two days before closing, she was on hand to welcome Ryan Philip Gerard, her seventh grandchild, into the family. She say Huzzah!! because the World Series has finally come to an end. And she say Huzzah!! just for the fun of saying it, for the sheer joy of being a wife and a mother and a grandmother and a daughter and a sister and an auntie, all rolled up into one chubby, happy, and yes, slightly daffy old broad.
Having said all that, however, I find that I'm having a tough time living up to that relentlessly cheerful image. It's this column, of course, and the having to come to terms with it after a whole summer of literary drought - indeed, the only thing dry about the season immediately past. I'm sure I've told you, time and again, how difficult this is to do.... and once more I hear you muttering under your breath, "Oh no, she isn't going to lay that whole routine on us AGAIN, is she?" And I have to tell, yes I am!
After all, it gives me a whole paragraph of flapdoodle without having to come up with a topic of importance and well you know that ANY excuse is fair game.
After a morning of procrastination, I finally rose from my rump-sprung recliner and as I did, I felt this terrible pain in my left temple. Grabbing my head, I groaned, long and piteously. Keeley did not even look up from his Stephen King thriller. "Just get over there and do it!" he said harshly. (The family gets fed up with my moaning and bleating, too.) Meekly, I walked over to my computer and turned it on. Instantly, the pain was gone. As I may have mentioned a time or two or six or eight, easy it ain't. But theraputic? No doubt about it.
As I began tapping up the first tentative Huzzah!, Charlie-cat came over to pat at the screen with an inquisitive paw. She's pleased to have summer over with too. All those mice, gone now to traps and Mouse-cide, put her under a lot of pressure to perform and I've told you often about this thing she has about mice. Play tag with 'em, invite 'em to share her lunch, watch in fascination while they gnaw their way through a king's ransom in baking supplies, but catch and dispatch the little blighters? Forget it.
Armed with this impunity, they came forth into my kitchen and multiplied, growing fat and sassy on chocolate chips and Kal-Kan Simmered Supper. And bold? I came to a screeching halt, very early one morning, when I came upon a group of them having a morning rap session in the pantry. At my gasp, one of them raised up on his haunches and with eyes flashing pink and arms akimbo, demanded that I state my business or get the hell out! I got. And it was about then that Charlie-cat and I sat down and had a heart-to-heart.
"Something's got to be done," I told her. "This whole mouse thing has gotten out of hand," I said. "And what do you propose we do about it?" I asked. We stared at each other for a moment and as one, got up and left the room on foggy cat-feet. We knew what we had to do.....
With slitted eyes and mouthes pursed with resolve, we entered the darkened chamber, awakened Phil from his sound sleep and demanded he get busy with the traps and poison. Charlie and I may be lacking in the old killer instinct but we do know how to deal with a situation that's gone too far.
And speaking of a situation that gone too far...
I hate to start harping on the subject of age so early in the season but for a change, I think there is a plus to report. You know, of course, as women approach middle age their hair gets thinner, waistlines thicker, and the down on their chin gets coarse and whiskery and abundant. Well sir, for the past several years I have not had much luck fattening up the hair or skinnying down the area below my bazooms. But I have spent many hours in cross-eyed scrutiny before the bathroom mirror plucking wiry beige hairs from the chin my father bestowed upon his innocent baby daughter so many years ago. It's a serious chin, one that has been likened to the business end of an Acrtic icebreaker. My brother Aksel was similarly gifted with that Porsildian prow but his is balanced by an appropriately large, hooked nose and is covered, more often than not, by a well-trimmed, gingery beard. And he looks great, just like one of our Viking forebears.
Well, the other day as I was tugging and tweezing, light dawned with a rosy glow and I asked myself: Why does Ax look so good? Because he covers the bottom half of his phiz with fuzz, that's why. So why, pray tell, are you de-fuzzing YOUR phiz, you clutz?
I stopped in mid-tweeze and scratched the point of my prow. Why indeed this tortuous pastime? Judging by their rate of growth, and if my calculation are correct, by this time next month I should be sporting a fairly respectable beige beard and that will take care of the jaw.
Now, if I could just find some shoes with platform soles that would make me the right height for my weight.... Huzzah!!