Saturday, April 21, 2007


There are many legends and myths surrounding Delphi.

One of the most famous – and hardest to shake – is that there are caves running from the hills above Delphi, all the way underneath the river, to the other side. Indians, supposedly, used these caves to traverse from one side of the river to the other, although why they wouldn’t have just canoed across the river is beyond me.

The caves also served as part of the Underground Railroad. Or so they say.

There are caves in the limestone cliffs above Delphi. Most people who have grown up in Delphi have seen or at least heard about them. Some have even crawled through them. But these caves do not go under the river. They do not go much of anywhere, in fact.

Still, it is kind of fun as a kid to imagine that there are a series of caves and tunnels that run beneath the town and then under the river clear to the other side.

I have been to the limestone cliffs. As a young girl we used to trek up there in groups from school. The cliffs were up above the local reservoir but below the cemetery. Young people from generations before ours had etched their initials into the walls of the limestone cliffs, especially in one particularly large indentation that resembled a cave. The actual caves were not in the cliffs, however. They were down below, their entrances hidden by vines and brush.

We were forbidden to go into the caves. Our parents had warned us about them, telling some tall tale of a young couple who had gone inside the caves and never come out. A crazy drunken Indian had kidnapped them and they had never been seen again. This story resembled that of Tom and Becky and Injun Joe a little bit too much to be simply coincidental.

I was not an adventurous sort of gal, so I never really looked for these caves which were supposedly so dangerous and off limits.

I know that people of Kaitlin and Sibyl and Trey’s generation used to go up to the limestone cliffs to drink beer and smoke dope. They would leave their detritus behind, much to the chagrin of the local police. I am not sure if these kids ever explored the caves, or even knew if they existed.

I do know that young Conrad and his friend Boover were well aware of the existence of these caves. I know because I told them about the caves one rainy afternoon when the telling of good stories seemed particularly appropriate. I am not sure if the boys then went looking for the caves or not.

But I can’t imagine that they wouldn’t have.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


What is it about April…?

There is so much about Spring that stirs things up.

Mixes me up, confuses me, discombobulates me.

Part of it, I suppose, could be the change of seasons.

The warming up. The longer days. The greening. The rain. The flowers. The snow, the cold, the ice, the wind, the clouds. The sun. The rain.


Part of it could be the fact that so many major things in my life have happened in the Spring. And the drastically changing weather reminds me of them.

Dredges them up. Good and bad.

Graduations. Weddings. Moves. Births. Deaths. Dissolutions of marriages.

Middle School dances.


Old age.


My father died ten years ago today.

Suddenly. Out of the blue.

Without warning.

Heart attack.

Boom. Flat line. End of story.

Rad was two. We were living in San Francisco. Jason was working for a bank. I didn’t really know many people.

The call came. It was my mom. She didn’t usually call at that time of day.

It was my father, she said. She’d been outside gardening, come in a few times, and out. My father had been reading in the den. And watching TV. Or listening to the radio. Or something. In and out. She had passed by the room several times, but never looked in. Didn’t want to bother him. And then finally she had stopped to look in. At first she thought he was asleep in his chair. But the angle of his head. The way the book lay in his lap. Something. Told her things were not right with the world.

He was gone.

We flew back from San Francisco as soon as we could get a flight out. Rad had a cold and was all snuffly and fussy on the plane. Jason pretended to be supportive, but I knew he was out of sorts about missing work. Plus, he didn’t really like my father.

My mother was so glad to see us. Met us at the gate. She took Rad into her arms and hugged him close and hugged me and hugged Jason and started to cry.

My mother pretty much had everything under control. There was a viewing the next night and funeral the following morning. We didn’t really have to help much with the arrangements. The phone was ringing off the hook until Jason set my mother up with voice mail. It was his voice on the recording for years after that. Which I found rather disconcerting whenever I called my mom to tell her the problems Jason and I were having.

My dad and I had been fairly close. I mean, sort of close. I mean….

I don’t know what I mean.

I had taken it for granted that he would be around for a good long time, and so I had never bothered to talk to him about… so many things.

I could not reconcile the still man in the dark suit who lay so silently in the coffin. I kept expecting to see his chest rise and fall. I was waiting for him to sit up and smile and laugh suddenly at our folly. Why, he… HE could not possibly be dead!

But he was.

I read at his service. I wanted to speak. You know, speak about him, his life, how much he had meant to me. But I couldn’t. Instead, I read a passage from the Old Testament. I do not remember what it was.

We did not take Rad to the cemetery. He stayed at my mother’s with a neighbor. He cried when we left him, but then he got immersed in a video and fell asleep with his purple Barney doll in his arms.

Jason kept putting his arm around me and holding my hand. He didn’t say much. At the time, I liked that. It was comforting but not overwhelming. I think it was the right thing for him to have done.

My mother cried. A lot. Both in the church and at the cemetery. She did not read. Or speak. Jason held her hand and gave her lots of hugs, too. I think. I am not really sure. But that is how I remember it.

I had this dream. Not long after my father died. But after we had returned to San Francisco. I was a teenager again. Riding my bike through the cemetery. Not sure why. Past a spot where they were burying someone. Only then I realized they weren’t burying someone. They were unburying him. Or moving him. It was my father.

And his body was laid out on the ground, face down. All he had on were white boxer shorts and a white tank undershirt and black socks. He had a full head of black hair like when he was young and these thick-framed black glasses. Like from the Sixties.

I had no memories of him this young.

And I had no idea what he was doing there. Or why they had dug him up. Or were moving him.

And why nobody had bothered to tell me.

It didn’t seem right somehow.

It was cold today. And rainy. And cloudy. And then sunny. And then rainy. It is Spring.

Yesterday Rad went to his first school dance. With a girl. Before he went, he told me he was now a man.

He doesn’t remember my father at all.

April is the cruelest month....

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


“My car is gay.”

“Sorry?” Kaitlin pushed her loose hair back behind her ear and took a sip of wine.

We were sitting on the floor of Kaitlin’s living room, finishing off a bottle of pinot noir. Rad had gone to a Middle School dance and was spending the night at Boo’s.

“I read this article the other day about how certain cars are, you know… gay,” I said.

Kaitlin laughed. “That doesn’t really make sense, Sib.”

“Yeah.” I sighed. “I think it actually said some cars have a reputation for belonging to gay people. Or some people think certain kinds of cars are owned by gay people. Or something like that. Subaru Outback station wagons were the biggest offenders, wouldn’t you know. Seriously! I mean, I didn’t know my car was a ‘Lesbaru.’”

“Oh, Sibyl! I hate to tell ya, but I have a Subaru, too, and I’m not gay. I bought my car because it was cheap and reliable. Not because it could sing show tunes.”

“Very funny.”

Kaitlin twirled her wine around in her glass, studying it in the firelight. “Rad came up to me right before we left for the dance. He was all dressed up, hair slicked back, you know, and he reeked to high heaven of deodorant, Axe, and this horrible after shave. Peeyeww! He said he wanted to smell really good! He looked so serious, though. And he said – all quiet and confidential and all: ‘Mom, I’m a man now.’”

“That is too funny!”

“Yeah, well, before you know it, he’ll be having sex and getting married and having babies of his own.”

“O.K., he’s like twelve.”

“I know. But I remember when he was a baby. I used to dance with him in my arms to the soundtrack of The Sound of Music. It always calmed him down and put him to sleep.”


“Yeah. And I used to sing along as we were dancing.”

“But you can’t sing….”


I knew Kaitlin was kind of upset about Rad’s going to the Middle School dance. It was his first school dance, and the first time he had ever asked a girl anywhere. Kaitlin didn’t want to let on, but I knew she felt sad, bereft, lonely. Old even. I thought the gay car thing might have gotten her mind off it. That and the wine.

“Should we finish this off?” Kaitlin held up the wine bottle, trying to discern how much, if any, was left.


Kaitlin tossed her hair back over her shoulder and winked at me. I felt a small jolt of electricity pass through my stomach. Maybe I shouldn’t drink any more wine….

“Are you sure you bought your Subaru because it was cheap and reliable?” I couldn’t believe I was actually asking her that.

“What do you mean?” She emptied the bottle into my glass.


“Oh, no. You can’t do that.” Kaitlin sat up straighter and set the empty bottle on the carpet.

“Do what?”

“Ask a question that doesn’t make sense and then change the topic.”

“I miss Esther,” I said softly.

“Oh, hon’, I know.” She touched my arm. “I’m sorry.”

“Yeah. It’s just, you know, it’s been so long. She’s been… gone for five years. Five years, Kaitlin.” I felt tears starting to well up in my eyes and shook my head. I wasn’t going to go there.

“I know.”

“No, you don’t, Kate. I miss Esther, yes. I always will. But, Christ, Kaitlin, it’s been five fucking years since I’ve been physically intimate with… anyone.”


“That’s a long time.”


“It bums me out sometimes, you know. I mean, what if I never have sex again as long as I live? Do you have any idea how depressing that is?”

“Well, actually, yeah. I mean, I haven’t been with anyone since Jason and I separated.”

In light like this, Kaitlin was particularly beautiful. Normally, I wasn’t attracted to straight women. I mean, what was the point? But sometimes Kaitlin would move a certain way or make a certain expression and I would feel something. And then be all weirded out.

“Are you sure you are straight, Kaitlin?” I asked her suddenly.

“What?” Kaitlin seemed surprised.

“Nothing. It’s just that sometimes I – you know. It’s just that you drive a Subaru. It’s like you’re trying to drive us poor dykes astray….”

Kaitlin smiled warmly and blushed.

“Sibyl, I love you to death. But my choice in automobiles is strictly financial. Hell, if I could pick any car in the world, I would probably get a… um… a Mini Cooper.”

“Aaahhh! That’s another gay car!”

“I know.” Kaitlin laughed. “I saw that article, too. I was just, you know, pulling your leg.”

“I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

Saturday, April 14, 2007


You know how you have these thoughts and, at the time, they seem normal. But in retrospect, they seem insane?

Well, this thought actually crossed my mind today: “I didn’t know Vivaldi had a fifth season!”

The bell over the door had just tinkled someone’s entrance, and then… it was as if a herd of elephants in heat came careening across the sagging floorboards of the flower shop. I blinked. The boys had galumphed into Petals right in the middle of “Spring.” How could two still relatively small human beings make so much noise?

Rad skidded to a halt in front of the checkout counter.

“Mom, you’re a girl, right?”

I looked up at him. And then over at Boo. Pink-faced and sweaty, they looked like two puppies, panting in expectation of a doggie treat.

“Last time I looked,” I said.

The boys didn’t get my humor, but I heard Tony harrumph from behind me. He was putting the final touches on a dinner party centerpiece.

“We need some advice,” Rad said.


Tony clucked under his breath and then swooped around us to place the finished arrangement on the “Pick Up” shelf.

“I want to ask Sarah Gilliam to the Middle School dance. But I’m not sure how to do it.”

“Couldn’t you just ask her?” I said.

“Well, duh! But I’m afraid of putting her on the spot. You always told me to be sure not to put girls on the spot.”

“You actually said that, Kaitlin?” Tony whirled around, one eyebrow arched up above the other.

“Well, yeah. Guys I didn’t really like used to get me in these really awkward conversations and then ask me to stuff and I always felt pressured to say yes right there on the spot. I just didn’t want Rad to do that same kind of thing, you know. If you give a girl the chance to think things over and get back to you, it’s better. In the long run. You know. I think.”

“Whatever!” Tony shrugged his shoulders and went back to rearranging some of the greenery in his centerpiece.

“So?” Rad said impatiently.

“So… what?”

“Well, I think I may have put Sarah on the spot.”

“I thought you hadn’t asked her yet.”

“Well…,” Rad’s face turned red.

“He called her up on Hakim’s cell phone right after school,” Boo said.

“And what did you say?”

“He asked her if she wanted to go to the dance with him,” Boo said.

“I asked her if she wanted to go to the dance with me.”

“And what did she say?”

“She said, ‘Sure!’”

“Well, that doesn’t sound like you put her on the spot. If she answered yes right away. What did you say next?”

“I said, ‘Great! Guess I’ll see you in school tomorrow. Bye!’ And then I hung up.”

“You hung up?”

“I was really nervous. Now I think I may have put her on the spot.”

“Well, you could always call her back and say you were really nervous and then just keep talking to her.”

Rad looked at me like I was deranged. “But what would I ever talk about?!?”

“Yeah, Mrs. B. What would he ever talk about?”

“Was this just now?” Tony asked.


“Is she at home?”


“Well, then why don’t you call her back and invite her to meet you at Starbucks or something?”

“What? To drink coffee?” I frowned at Tony.

“That’s a great idea!” Rad brightened.

“But you don’t drink coffee….”

“Oh, Mom, Starbucks has more than coffee. It’s like a place to hang out.”

“Yeah, Mrs. B. It’s like a place to hang out.”

I eyed Boo. “And what about you? Are you inviting someone to the dance, too?”

“Me?” Boo looked horrified. “Nahhhhhh! I don’t like girls.”

The boys couldn’t see Tony standing behind them, but he was leering down at Boo, head cocked to one side, finger poised against his cheek, as if he were appraising him. He winked at me. I gave him a dirty look.

“Can I use the phone?” Rad asked.

“You can use the one in back,” Tony offered.

“See, Mom, if I only had my own cell phone, I could call Sarah myself.”

“Yeah, Mrs. B., if he only had his own cell phone, he could call Sarah himself.”

“How much homework do you have?”

“Just math.”

“Here, take this in back with you.” I tried to pick up the backpack he had unceremoniously dumped in the middle of the shop. It must have weighed a ton. “I thought you just said all you have is math.”

“I do.”

“Well, this backpack weighs a ton. I can hardly lift it.”

“Yeah, well, it has all my stuff in it.”

“But why would you bring all your books home when you only have math?”

Rad rolled his eyes at me. “Mom, you just don’t understand!”

Apparently not.

Rad came back out front a few moments later. “Mom, can I have some money? Sarah is going to meet us over at Starbucks, and I have to, you know, be prepared.”

“Well, how much do you need….?” I hardly ever went over to Starbucks because it was so expensive. Still, I always saw tons of kids over there after school. I could never figure out how teenagers could afford to go to Starbucks all the time.

“I dunno.” Rad shrugged. “But I need to be prepared to treat my lady right.”

I stared at him. He wasn’t even thirteen.

“That was a joke, Mrs. B!” Boo said.

I rifled through my purse for my wallet and reluctantly handed Rad a twenty. All I had was twenties as I had just been to the ATM. “Bring back the change.”

“Yeah, sure, whatever!”

“Bye, Mom!” Boo smiled at me.

“Thanks, Mom!”

And then just as suddenly as they had come, the elephants in heat were gone.

And it was just me and Tony. And Vivaldi.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


OBE does not stand for “Order of the British Empire.”

Well, it does. Sort of. The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire has five classes of awards for… chivalry. OBE is the one for “Officer of the British Empire.”

But that is not what I am talking about here.

OBE does not stand for “Out of Body Experience.”

Well, yes, it does. But, again, that is not how I mean it.

It has been almost a month since I last posted to this blog. I am a bit stunned that it has been that long. It does not seem like it has been that long.

I have just been really, really busy, and, alas, I have allowed my blog to sink to the bottom of my “to do” list.

No excuse.

In the Army, we had a term (and, of course, an acronym!) for what happens when certain things don’t get done because they are pushed out of the way by other (supposedly more important, pressing, or time-sensitive) things. They are OBE: “Overcome by Events.”

One of my greatest fears is that my life will be OBE.

I realize that every moment of every day – regardless of how I spend it – is my life. I get that.

But when I say “life,” I mean the life that I wish I had, want to have, intend to have, am meant to have, need to get off my ass and just plain have.

Ultimately, the events of my day-to-day life are not “overcoming” me.

I am allowing them to overcome me, or rather, allowing myself to push aside the things I REALLY want to be doing – for myself – in order to meet the needs of just about everyone else on the planet.

If I were a bit more selfish – or perhaps valued more highly things like my blog, my writing, all those characters and stories that fill up my head and burst forth from every pore and orifice – then maybe, just maybe, I would not feel as though life were slipping by like ever-accelerating grains of sand in the proverbial hourglass.

As God is my witness, I will make a conscious effort to write more diligently in my blog.

I will not get hung up on creating new episodes of the Delphi story – although I already have multiple episodes planned out in scribble in one of my little pocket notebooks – and go ahead and post whatever I happen to be thinking about on any particular day.

So, caveat emptor: my blog will end up being a mixture of stream of consciousness musings juxtaposed with melodramatic sagas posted in installment plan fashion.

Then again, it could end up being something entirely different….

And so it goes.