It seems the forces of nature wanted to extend an appropriately warm welcome to summer this year. Many of us spent the last weekend of spring dealing with heat and humidity.
My siblings, however, were out and about: a car show in Arkansas, a grandson’s baptism in Mississippi, a visit to Colonial Williamsburg were all on tap, as were moving a math teacher daughter from South Carolina back to Ohio and emailing a list of questions with no answers – (Why do we sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” when we are already there?)
Meanwhile, I was catching up on the cross-stitch projects I plan to enter in the needlework competition at the county fair. I set an annual goal of five pieces, this year including an inspirational plaque for a cousin, a sampler for a new home owner, an unfinished flower picture for which I have lost the pattern, and an original design I created to experiment with colors.
Specifically, I worked on a wintery piece in shades of blue on a sparkly background, with the single word P-E-A-C-E dominating the design. It was somehow calming to stitch that word even as the TV screen filled with headline after headline of disturbing news.
Well, not all the news was worrisome. I have neither the attention span nor sufficient interest to watch seven entire NBA games, especially in view of my philosophical opposition to a winter sport championship being decided the day before the summer solstice.
But even I had to watch the final few minutes of the Cavaliers’ long-sought victory – especially since they beat the guys who beat them last year AND finally brought a sports championship home to Cleveland after 52 years. The Cavaliers celebrated out there in California, but the real party happened in Cleveland – for several days.
Cleveland’s triumph, miraculous as it was from a 3-1 game deficit, and the fact that the Chicago Cubs currently hold the best record in baseball are undoubtedly contributing to world instability – the laws of the universe cannot be defied without a cosmic reaction. Heck, the Cleveland baseball team is also having a great season, I am sure much to the delight of a certain saucy Indians fan with whom I used to teach.
As I sewed, my thoughts meandered into summer memories territory. I remembered so many years ago plucking purple clovers from along River Road and sucking the sweetness from their tiny petals. Back then, I am not even sure I knew what a pesticide was.
And I recalled lying on the grass in the back field, looking up at the sky, and making up stories about the angels and animals the clouds formed. I still find shapes in the sky; to paraphrase Robert Frost: One could do worse than be a gazer of clouds.
I also listened to the TV while I cross-stitched. An oldies music commercial led my thoughts to the room where my mother kept her piano and sheet music. I spent many childhood hours there teaching myself to play Christmas carols with one hand and over time memorizing the lyrics from Mother’s music: “Sentimental Journey,” “Yes! We Have No Bananas,” and “Paper Doll” by the Mills Brothers: “I’d rather have a paper doll to call my own, than have a fickle-minded real live girl.” I can still sing every word of them all.
Eventually my mind caught up with this century and a recent decision to let my magazine subscription to People run out. In addition to increasingly smaller font size, I find fewer and fewer familiar faces in the entertainment weekly.
Today’s young “starlets” and “hotties” all look alike to me. In fact, the only people I have actually recognized in the magazine for quite some time appeared under the headline “Hollywood Hunks Who Are Now Grandfathers”: Tom Hanks, Pierce Brosnan, Harrison Ford, and the like – I could identify them all!
I continued to contemplate my ongoing quandary about purchasing a new computer only to find myself thinking about Dot., a children’s book written by Randi Zuckerberg, the sister of Mark Zuckerberg, who dreamed up Facebook several billion dollars ago.
Obsessed with her computer tablet and smartphone, Dot could surf, tag, swipe, tweet, touch, and share with proficiency on her high-tech devices. One day the little girl ventured outside, only to find she could surf, tag, swipe, tweet, touch, and share out there, too – and often have more fun.
So for the hundredth time I wished that both “presumptive nominees” – a pompous political term I cannot tolerate – would follow Dot’s example in rearranging their cyber priorities: less tweeting and stricter adherence to email rules.
It was also Father’s Day, and more than once my sewing lay unattended in my lap as I reminisced about my dad. A beautiful memory surfaced several times, a recollection from the day of his funeral almost three years ago.
As our procession of cars headed from St. Paris to the cemetery, most motorists we met pulled to the side of Route 235 as we drove by. And then there was the semi truck driver who also paused – and removed his hat as we passed. Tears streamed down my face.
In my mind, I knew the driver was simply displaying common respect. In my heart, however, I felt that he somehow understood my father would have been a good man to know.
Shirley Scott, a 1966 graduate of Graham High School, is a native of Champaign County. After receiving degrees in English and German from Otterbein College, she returned to GHS in 1970 where she taught until retiring in 2010. From 1976-2001 she coordinated the German Exchange Program with the Otto-Hahn-Gymnasium in Springe.