Saturday, July 30, 2011

Nothing Ever Happens in our Little Town...Except For the Occasional Drive-by Shooting

Yes, those are bullet holes, 38's by the look of them, and they shattered a glass door and a window before embedding themselves in the art gallery wall. When Claye got to work Tuesday morning, her boss--the mayor--and a policeman were surveying the scene of the crime, figuring trajectories and counting bullet holes. All together there were four. One was deflected by a strip of metal outside, two were embedded in this wall and door frame, and one passed through the open doorway in this picture and expended its last energy on the closet frame of the pottery wheel room beyond.

Cameron's boss made up a glamorous story about a long, black limousine, surreptitiously-lowered glass, and mysterious guns blazing at the two of them while they bravely dodged bullets in the gallery, protecting the priceless artwork. (Well, we don't get a lot of excitement around here, so you have to use what you have at hand.)

The truth is probably more prosaic:

Since the shots were fired in the middle of the night, nobody was really trying to kill anyone.

Since they ignored the eight large plate glass windows and shot a smaller, easily-replaceable door,  they were not trying to bankrupt the business, nor carry out a political vendetta (not saying  that hasn't been done around here recently in nasty city council maneuvers but that's beside the point ).  

Since the shots were fired from about the height of a pick-up truck bed, and grouped into a limited area, the shooter was probably targeting a small object.

Therefore, from my extensive experience as a reader of detective fiction, I've concluded that the shots were fired by a slightly-inebriated young man, trying to impress the high school girls by shooting an ominous bat that fluttered in the light of the street lamp across the way.  Obviously, he missed.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Blue Door

 It was almost 23 years ago when we stumbled across a little house in a small village out in Western Oklahoma near the school where I was teaching.

The house had been re-possessed by the bank, abandoned, left with windows open and grass gone wild. Birds had nested in the light fixtures, and the carpet had been soaked with rain water several times. Still, it wasn't so bad. Dirty, but not filthy. Cleanable, paintable, fixable and livable. It was small, and had a tiny bathroom, but the three bedrooms each had a closet of their own, and there was room for a washer and dryer, albeit crammed into the already crowded kitchen. Someone had built a room off the back of the house, but it was only accessible from the back porch...or a bedroom window. It was a scraggly, forlorn little place and most people didn't give it a second glance. But we had three young children, and not a lot of money. The neighborhood was a perfect place for us and we never regretted the decision.

Over the years, we built another room onto the house--one which connected the main building with the odd room out back-- lived in the house for five years, rented it out for several years while we lived in Colorado, moved back into it again about the time our oldest daughter went to college, and finally, sold it when we moved into the parsonage where we are now. However, we sold it to our daughter and her husband, so for ten more years we have been in close contact with the house. Art and Carina completely re-modeled the house--roof, floors, walls, lights, woodwork. They took out an old, water-filled storm shelter, added a fireplace and built another bathroom, created attic access, stripped and stained cabinets. In short, made a beautiful home, just in time to leave it.

Yesterday, I watched as Carina, Zaya and Mim drove off toward Missouri to join Art at his new job and move into a new house. I helped as the movers cleared out the last of their stuff. We carried on, bantering about who was being lazy and who had lost the tape. Turtle came by, and Elijah and Marie. Art's mom came after noon, and helped with those gritty decisions about what to do with stuff left over. I gave a paint of coat to a few doors, covering little hand prints and a few penciled records of how tall children were at what age. My hands never fumbled, but sometimes my heart did.

It's only six hours to Missouri. I'll visit often. That's what I keep telling myself.

When everybody was gone I painted the door a bright, sparkling blue.
Three times I've painted that door blue.
It looks beautiful.

Three word Wednesday: Glance, fumble, banter