|Wild strawberries galorious.|
I knew so little about Petula Clark, this woman who sang the song I heard every time I sat waiting for my orthodontist to get off the phone (he was usually discussing his boat) so he could peek into my mouth and issue directives to his posse of hot babes with bitchin' wedge hair cuts, clad in uniforms the color of Necco Wafers. Adjust that, remove this, tighten this wire..... They carried out his bidding with painful precision while I winced, tried to fight the tears that sprang to my eyes and reminded myself that a dazzling, straight smile was worth it. Plus my mother always took me to Skyline Chili afterward. So worth it.
I always left with either Downtown or Georgie Girl stuck in my head for the remainder of the day. This didn't make being thirteen years old any easier.
While we watched, we discussed the songs (Chloe correctly noted that Ms. Clark had about six hits that she sang over and over on those funky TV specials), the hairstyles, the costumes and the background dancers. I decided that Ms. Clark would have done well to fire her stylist. I don't care if it was the sixties.
Petula Clark was quite the outlier. During the British Invasion, she was the PTA Mother to the hippies and mods. I mean, what in the hell was Donovan on? But there was Petula in her Paul Revere ponytail and flowery gown singing about where we can go to forget all our troubles, forget all our cares. Exception to the rule that she was, Petula Clark gave the world a song that, even forty years later, is guaranteed to worm its way into your brain and stay there. I can't think of a single song that Donovan sang despite the fact that he had a better hairstyle and cooler clothes.
Of course, I'm still singing Downtown today. The cats are providing backup. I love it when they're willing to play along. And they look smashing in their Mondrian outfits.
********Speaking of orthodontists, you should see the hate mail from Nate's orthodontist. They want their entire payment before they'll do any more work on the kid's teeth. Well, yes. That's practical and realistic. I can't make the $155 payment most months and they expect me to yank $3,000 from somewhere. It pains me greatly to send them dribbles of dosh, but I am not going without a place to live, electricity, water, gasoline, the phone, food, and natural gas in order to pay the orthodontist bill. I've offered to work as an indentured servant until the bill is paid in full, but so far no dice. Anyway, the hate mail contains colorful threats. They're going to ruin our non-existent credit or worse. What's worse? Jail? I hear it's being done.
This is frustrating, of course, because we're contrite non-payers who didn't include the orthodontist's bill in our bankruptcy because we intend to pay when we have money and who, when we agreed to put the braces on Nate's teeth, had twice as much income and always fully intended to make those payments. As much as I don't want to stiff a small business person, I really don't appreciate being threatened.
Meanwhile, Nate may wear these braces until the glue holding them on finally dissolves over time. I can't imagine the adhesive is meant to last more than twenty years or so. The brackets will fall off sometime in his early thirties, I suppose.
He's thrilled about getting a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the person who wore his braces the longest ever.
He's such a sunny side of the issue kinda guy, that Nate.
********The revisions on my manuscript continue, although operations have moved indoors. Funny, when we lived in the Midwest, this temporary weather setback would have sent me into a chill-induced Blue Period. Here I welcome the break from last week's searing heat. Oh, perspective, how I love you.
While I work on the story, I'm thinking about movies. I've been watching more than usual. Most of them aren't of the blockbuster genre. The Boys Are Back with Clive Owen. Summer in Genoa with Colin Firth and Catherine Keener. Please Give, another movie featuring Catherine Keener with Oliver Platt and cameos with Sarah Vowell and the guy I always think is Oliver Platt, but isn't. He's the guy who was in Grounded for Life, not Oliver Platt. Sometimes my brain connects two people and it's hard to sever those connecting threads once they entwine.
None of these movies are neat and tidy at the end. They illustrate the complex and often heartbreaking act of being human. Ugly and beautiful. Empty and full. Something to celebrate, something to smother.
What does this have to do with writing? Buckets. Buckets and buckets and piles.
From the mailbag, I want to share with you some treats we received from Summer. Such sweet goodness. And tea. Delectable tea named after one of my favorite cities. I guess share with you isn't quite accurate. It's a photo. If you want some of these, you'd better get here quick. We are not big on moderation.
Thank you, Summer. We're grateful for your kindness.
Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart. ~Erma Bombeck
What's been your biggest surprise lately?