This week’s prompts are at the bottom. The words below were written for practice. Practice makes perfect.
It was always on a Saturday morning. My sister and I would wear our pyjamas and sit on the floor behind the dark wood coffee table. We would gorge on over-sweetened breakfast cereals and drink black coffee. We had about three hours of uninterrupted cartoons brought to us, primarily, by the makers of those same cereals that we were eating. We’d watch Wonder Dog, Mr Magoo, Looney Tunes, and others until 10:00 when ABC’s Wide World of Sports came on. This was before Vinko Bogataj made his ill-fated jump in Oberstdorf Germany. In those days it was another ski jumper, whose name I cannot recall, but who lost the vertical alignment of his skis right before landing. Usually, my sister would disappear before the sports programme, and I didn’t always watch, but usually, I would stick around for at least part of it.
Who knows where my sister would go but I would usually venture outside. It was the weekend, no school, an abundance of clement weather; and I had friends living up and down the block. I would be gone for the rest of the day. The rule was: during the school year, I had ten minutes after the streetlights came on to be home. During the summer, when the days were longer, my mom would whistle us in for dinner and then we could go out again after that.
We spent our Saturday’s playing football or hockey in the street. Sometimes we’d wrap a potato in aluminum foil and ride bicycles through the nearby desert. We’d jump off berms or over arroyos seco; pausing only to bury our wrapped spuds and build a fire over them. The resulting baked potatoes served as lunch. We may have even been the unsung inventors of the sport of all-terrain mountain biking, although our equipment was rudimentary compared to what they ride today.
We dug an underground fort in Billy Emig’s back garden and built a treehouse high in Ula Ramirez’ giant Mulberry tree. Ula was a girl, but she was the smartest one of all of us, she could ride a bike like the wind, and she had the best tree on the block. I tried dating Ula briefly after high school but we were too good as friends for that to work. She joined the Army after that. She was an only child, her Mama worried about her when she went to Vietnam. The Ramirez house, like all the others on the block, was a three-bedroom ranch with a carport on the east side and a four-foot rock wall around the back garden. The Mulberry was in her back yard and her dad had planted a giant weeping willow in the front.
It was a pretty good childhood.
When my sister was sixteen she found herself ‘with child’. She was shipped off to have the baby, give the baby up for adoption, and finish high school. Shortly after that, my third year in high school, my parents ‘mixed-orientation marriage’ of twenty-five years failed (just like Vinko Bogataj’s attempt at flight in Oberstdorf) and they split up. I stuck around long enough to finish high school, loaded up a backpack, and for a graduation present my father gave me a ride to the freeway.
Don’t get me wrong, I got along pretty good with my parents even after they divorced, but I wanted adventure. I hitchhiked through the lower forty-eight states before waking up one Saturday morning and realizing that I needed to find Ula again. She and I eloped and even though they all said it wouldn’t last; we’ve been married 48 years, come our next anniversary. We have two daughters, Trella and Luz, they have a younger brother, whom we named Vinko.
Trella has two boys and lives with her third husband in the mountains of Colorado. Luz and her wife, live on the coast of South Texas. Vinko? Well, Vinko is Vinko. He’s on the road. We got a postcard about three months ago from Vinko. It seems he met and married an Indonesian girl named Cahya. They are staying, for the time being, on Atauro Island. It’s part of East Timor. I’m a little worried about the politics there, but he’s happy. He says that Cahya wants to come to meet the family.
That sounds pretty good to me.
This week’s prompts:
- you can be sincere and still be stupid
- sunny place; shady people
- not even the poets