Thursday, April 26, 2012


Two weeks before my birthday Nan, my older sister, called to tell me the news. "Are you sitting down?"

Instead of the the bad news that I expected she shared that in just 2 weeks she was flying out to visit me for my birthday from Washington. And that's not all, my niece, Sherron, would join us too from Arizona. Shock of shocks! I haven't seen Sherron in about 8 years.

"What a great present!" I squealed into the phone. "I'll tell Dave and the boys right away."

"No need. They've known since January," she told me.

"Those bums kept this a secret since January?"

Geez. I had to clean the house. No time for spring cleaning. Dirty windows stayed dirty, spotty carpets  stayed spottty, and our plans to paint the bathroom? We settled for touch-ups. The yard's pruning, weeding, mowing, and clipping took place between rain showers.

I washed everything in the house, walls, floors, corners, counters, the fridge, and the coffee pot. I almost washed the cat, and I gave my sister updates on my exploits for the next 10 days while we made plans.

It seemed Mother Nature was doing some washing too, rain right up to the day they arrived, and then April skies cleared to a brilliant hue the moment Nan and Sherron stepped off their planes at the Oakland airport. Sherron brought sunshine from Arizona, and Nan left the rain in Washington.

What a wonderful birthday surprise! More trip notes and pictures to come.
Sherron & Nan


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Ed Returns

(Previous post, Free, continues)

Two days after The Zelda Incident, Roxie Petersen peered out her front room window, the one that faced the Sullivans’ ranch-style house across the street. Ed and Zelda Sullivan had moved to the quiet town of Langhorne, a suburb of Los Angeles, three years ago. Ed told the Petersens that The Gateway Retirement Community seemed the perfect fit with their two sons grown and leading their own lives.  

Roxie spied Ed’s jeep pulling into the driveway and quickly sent her husband, Buzz, out the door and over to talk to him. Did he know what had happened while he was gone? The two men stood in the driveway, Ed a head taller than Buzz. Both men had the thinning gray hair of middle age, and each wore faded jeans and open-necked shirts, their bodies tan from mowing lawns and tending summer gardens. Just one thing made them different. Roxie swooned whenever Ed was around. Buzz well...Roxie didn’t remember swooning.

Roxie hid her feelings from Zelda, because the two women were friends, but she knew the couple had problems. One problem, Ed’s Junk Addiction. A junk addiction could be overlooked if you had Ed’s charm. She wondered what the men were saying.


Ed was weary after his three-day-long camping trip, one of several he took each year with his four-wheel-drive club. He planned to flop onto the livingroom couch with a beer, but instead he listened to Buzz describe the details of that day. Ed thought about his 30 year marriage to Zelda, and their move to Langhorne. The Gateway Community seemed the peaceful lifestyle his wife craved. Why couldn’t she be happy? He was. So he was a clutter-bug as she liked to call him. So what?  Was that any reason to go nuts?

“Buzz, are you happily married?” Ed asked.

“Well sure, Ed. Roxie and I have been married 35 years. Oh, we fight now and then, but no one goes over the edge.” Buzz immediately regretted that last remark. He apologized. “I better be going Ed, but if there’s anything you need let me know.”

“Thanks Buzz. I’ve got some calls to make. See you later.” He turned to go inside the house, nearly tripping over the four cardboard boxes on the porch full of his belongings. It angered him to think of Zelda dumping his stuff in the yard.

For old time’s sake, Ed tossed his dirty cap onto the kitchen table. Zelda hated dirt. The last time he did that she hollered at him. Ed grabbed a beer, and flopped onto the couch. He propped his boots up on the coffee table and smiled.