Today in Three Scenes

Howard staggered in the door looking gray and exhausted. A massive, slow-moving customs line made him miss his flight home from Canada yesterday. “You really need to be here 3 hours ahead of your flight.” The customs man said. The next morning, after an additional hotel night and an o’dark-thirty cab ride, less irritable customs agents greeted Howard with “Wow, you’re here early.”

That was all in the past. He was home and I hugged him tight. He smelled of airports. I sat in the kitchen while he fixed himself french toast and bacon to go with the Canadian Maple Syrup he bought in the duty free store. He was too tired to tell me stories, so I was the one talking. I picked my words carefully. Nothing could hint of things-for-Howard-to-do, that would merely depress him. I spoke of tasks I’d completed and quiet things which had happened at home while he was gone.

Food consumed, Howard headed up to bed. I swiped my finger in the maple syrup as I watched him go. Amazing flavor, it had aromatics and connotations. I’m pretty sure it was the cheap stuff which gets pawned off on tourists. I wonder what the premium would taste like. Howard slept and I finished my work for the day. Life is better with him in the house.


I was headed down the stairs for a restroom break, when I heard the lawnmower start in the front yard. I about faced and dashed back up. Gleek was out there with the mower, apparently a little too excited for her first lawn mowing job. At 10 and completely untrained in lawn mower safety, I was not ready to leave Gleek and a running mower unsupervised.

The mower sputtered to a stop before I got half way up the stairs. Gleek came dashing into the house.
“I started it!” Her grin took up her whole face.
Scolding withered in the face of her joyful triumph. “Yes, but don’t start the mower until I’m with you.”
“Okay!” she answered and bounced bak out the door.

I mowed the edges for her. I intend to do that all summer. I like the flowers in my beds to grow more than two inches tall. Then it was Gleek’s turn. I walked right behind her for the first time round the lawn. Then I sat on the steps and watched my little girl manage the big mower. She was handling it like a pro before she was done. She did have to give a little jump in order to put enough weight on the handle to turn the thing. Straight. Jump. Turn. Straight. Jump. Turn. It made me smile, particularly as the circles got smaller.

When she was done, Gleek was ready to do the back yard too. That was Link’s job. Before the end of summer, she’ll probably be tired of mowing, but for now she loves it.


“Look on the front, see there’s a button which says stop/eject. Push that.” Kiki said.
Patch peered at the front of the VCR, a video tape held uncertainly in his other hand. He found the button and reacted with delight when a tape emerged from the machine.
“We’ll have to rewind that one later, but for now put in the other tape.”
Patch put down the first tape and looked at the second, turning it left then right.
“Bring it here.” Said Kiki. She reached over the sleeping cat on her lap. The cat was the reason that Patch was being given verbal instructions on this strange technology. I was too amused at the process to interfere. At eight years old, he had only known DVDs. The idea that a movie could be contained in this clunky box called a tape felt strange to him.
“See this arrow? Put that end in first.”
Patch complied and grinned when the VCR pulled the tape from his fingers. Then Kiki talked him through fast forwarding through the interviews at the beginning. They didn’t want to watch George Lucas talk about his movies, they wanted to see the movie.

The tape was as old as Kiki. We bought the set when the movies were advertised in their original format for the last time, before things were digitally tinkered with. Han shoots first, and the Death Star explosion is small. Perhaps someday our VCR would break, or one of the tapes would break. Then we would buy the films again.

Patch pushed play and bounced over to the couch to sit next to Kiki. The opening strains of music swelled a deep nostalgia inside me. I stood and watched too. Just for a minute, before going back downstairs to finish my accounting.