Friday, September 12, 2008

Sunrise through the Storm

I just want to let you know...all you who slept in this morning...that you missed a gorgeous sunrise. If you live in my part of the world, you awoke to a heavy, wet fog--a storm-cloud gray, smoky veil that hung in great swaths all around. It was warm, wet, and smothering. None-the-less we set out for school, with the u-joints squeaking a little and the wipers adding a whoosh every half mile or so. Our road appeared only shortly before we needed it, and the green pasture lands all around us crumbled to mists at the edges. Suddenly, right in front of our eyes, a door opened in this dark cavern sky wall, and the sun bounced in--big and orange and bulging, like an overripe persimmon, but it shone, and the rays of that soft shining showed us the proud, white castle of a grain elevator with the quiet town clustered meekly at its feet. A place of greatest pre-dawn calm...and all around a world of whirling dark storm. Like I said...You missed it.

I didn't have a camera, so I looked for a sunrise that came close to what we saw...well, I did find this one where the sun is the same and the doorway it looks through is the same. We had no intervening tree, however, just a straight road leading into the little town ahead, and myriads of clustering clouds.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Grandparents' Day at Preschool

As I walked through the door of the gymnasium, before I could fold my dripping, black umbrella, I was sideswiped by a little, red-headed bundle of momentum:

"I'm a railroad car," he announced loudly, "My name is John Henry."

While I was trying to sort that out, I felt another child hugging my legs. It was my grandson, Zaya, happy to see me in his world for once. He pronounced the umbrella cool, made me show him how to open it, and practically danced as he led me to a room full of old people..."Grandparents' day," he shouted, to no one in particular.

It's true. I attended a grandparents' a grandparent. It felt extremely odd, and made me want to shuffle a little and wear round, gold-rimmed glasses. This can't be happening to me. It still feels strange to me that my parents are grandparents; that word only refers to old people...people like my parents' parents. Now there are the real grandparents. I'm still a kid, trying to sort out the world.

And yet...there I sat, being read to...cute little poems and stories about how wonderful I am. It seemed all wrong. I'm the one who usually writes all that stuff for grandparents' day. Now I have to listen to it while I sit primly at a cute table decorated with cut-out handprints, fall viney/leafy stuff, orange and yellow laffy taffys intermingled with new crayons and a few chocolate kisses. I sipped the orange juice...because I had already gulped down three cups of coffee this morning at school-- it sometimes takes that much to give me the upper hand in will power over my sophomores--and if I drank any more, my junior class would have to peel me off the ceiling sixth hour so we could grade their assignment. As I said, before I distracted myself in dependent clauses and punctuation, I sipped the orange juice and listened, and looked at all those old people around me. Three or four of the pre-schoolers had four grandparents there, and almost all of them had two, so there was a large audience. Fortunately, I made it through the speech, but it took a furtive snatching of a candy kiss to sustain me.

Next we went to see the preschool room. Zaya showed me, and his other grandparents where everything was. He showed me how bouncy his shoes were and how he kept a hula hoop up. Later, in the auditorium, he sat on a fuzzy, round mat.

"Look, Grandma," he yelled from his pink bubble, "I've got a girly color."

Then we heard songs and poems and a story. We colored an elephant and listened to Zaya read. He tried to write his name, but got sidetracked by an A that turned out like a balloon. It was too funny, so we amused ourselves with the colors on the crayons. They are written in English, Spanish, and French. He had fun with rojo-violeta and with vert. We were then asked to interview our own grandchild, asking them questions from a written sheet. My grandson knew I was his mom's mom, but he didn't know my real first name. He knew where I lived, but wasn't sure what I did for a living; he said I did cleaning.

Then we all went into another room and feasted on a fantastic lasagna meal. It was an odd interlude in the middle of my usual day, and I enjoyed it immensely, almost as much as a grandparent would have .

Oh well. Guess I better stop writing on and on about it and get some of that cleaning done.