Last Tuesday, when I went down to my apartment lobby to check the mail, another woman was there at the same time.
Sigi’s* a little German lady who’s probably lived here since the building opened back in the ’60’s. I was a little taken aback that she was standing there in her housecoat and bath slippers, telling me about a workman damaging one of her walls. She was waiting on the repairman to come and give her an estimate.
I was there when he walked in. A young man, he gave her the once-over. His eyes went wide when he noticed her attire. I give him credit for trying hard to focus on her face instead of staring at her clothes.
A couple of weeks ago, my blogger friend, Gloria, the Nomadic Chica, nominated me for the Sisterhood of the World bloggers award. Thank you, Gloria!
To be a member of the Sisterhood, there are some requisites. One of them is answering ten questions. I’m not going to make it with all ten today, but one of them brings a story to mind. Here is the question: “If you could go any place in the world right now, where would that place be and why?”
I’ve been asked that question before. At some point, back in my youth, I was in a beauty pageant. We were a gaggle of local teenage girls, all vying for the crown, the right to represent our area at charitable events and in other pageants, as well.
My parents bought me a frothy, green “evening gown,” and even paid for a singing coach. I’m not sure how my mother finagled that one, but for weeks, she drove me to a bigger town nearby where I practiced with a man who was a retired musical theatre director.
On the night of the big competition. we sailed through the swimsuit and evening gown categories. Then came the talent portion. Dressed as a sailor and singing “Honey Bun” from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific, I wowed ’em. “Get a load of Honey Bun tonight…” I made it through the routine without falling on my face or forgetting the lines.
When the judges called out the finalists’ names, I was one of them. They asked each of us a different question and we had a few seconds to think before answering.
My question? “If you could go any place in the world right now, where would that place be and why?”
Oh, my gosh! What do I say? How do I answer? I can’t choose just any one country.
“Okay, Sally. Time’s up. Where would you like to go and why?”
I stuttered. I stammered. I hummed and hawed until I finally blurted it out. “I want to go everywhere! There are too many interesting places to only choose one.”
I came in First Runner Up to my classmate and friend whose answer to her question had been tidy and concrete.
Would I go back and change my answer if I could? Probably not. For me, the question isn’t, and never has been, “Where do you want to go?” but “Where do you want to go next?”
Today is my birthday. Like the old vaudevillian Jack Benny, who never admitted being older than 39, I’ve stopped counting.
People who know me best, know that my cake will be chocolate, but I couldn’t resist posting this photo of a Cherbluble.
It is pie, baked inside of a cake. Actually, it’s three pies, cherry, apple, and blueberry, baked in red, white, and blue cake layers. This indulgence only sounds appropriate after a dinner of Turducken, another over-the-top gastronomic creation. Think I’ll stick with my chocolate cake.
On one of my birthdays several years ago, my son sent me this poem, author unknown:
“Count your garden by the flowers,
Never by the leaves that fall.
Count your days by golden hours.
Don’t remember clouds at all.
Count the night by stars, not shadows.
Count your life with smiles, not tears.
And with joy on this, your birthday,
Count your age by friends, not years.”
I have received cards, calls, messages, and notes from Korea, Japan, Spain, Italy, Chile, Canada, and from sea to shining sea. In friendships, I am “old” and very, very rich.
But I’m still only admitting to 39!
Way back when I was a little girl, starting to lose my baby teeth, my father and I had a ritual.
I could not stand the thought of pulling my own teeth. I was such a wimp about it that, when one became loose, it had to practically fall out of my head on its own because I wasn’t going to touch it.
Sometimes, I watched in the mirror as my tongue tugged at it, jiggling it back and forth in my mouth, worrying it until it was often hanging only by a thread. Even then, I couldn’t do it. There was no way I was going to remove my own teeth.
One fell out one day when I was eating ice cream. Another was pulled out by a sticky candy bar. The rest were Daddy’s job.
My mother would usually report to him that I had a tooth that needed pulling. Sitting in our living room after work, he would put down his newspaper and call me over. “Sally, come here and let me check your tooth.”
He might as well have said, “Come here and let me give you a spanking,” but I knew that I had to go and sit on his lap so that he could “test” my loose tooth.
I would sit down, begging, “No, Daddy, don’t pull it! Just check it, okay? Don’t hurt me.”
Invariably, he would respond. “I’m not going to pull it. I’m just going to wiggle it to see how loose it is.”
“Really? You promise?”
“I promise I’m just going to wiggle it.”
He made that promise to me every time, and every time, it was a necessary lie. He’d twiddle my tooth back and forth a couple of times before getting a good enough grip on it to yank it out. He knew that he only had one shot at it because, had he not gotten it the first time, I would have been out of there like a scalded dog.
I usually cried a little, though it really didn’t hurt much, as I’d jump down to run and look in the mirror at the bloody hole where my tooth used to be.
My sister, who was younger, pulled all her own baby teeth. So did my son, years later. I was eternally grateful for that because, even now, the idea of that parental task makes me shudder.
Thank you, Daddy, for having a strong stomach and nibble fingers.