How strange life can be! Sometimes the good is really bad and the bad is
really good. And half the time, you don't know which is which. I guess the
key is just to gain the experience of each and then make up your mind later. A
bad thing just happened, but it's turning out good. My old car was stolen, and
my car salesman brother is finding me a nice new one. I tried to tell him what
kind of new car I wanted but he interrupted and said, "I know what you want. You want a
$10,000 used car for $2,000." Yep, that's what I want!
Now, here's the strange thing. If I had a car I would be playing Bridge, but
it's lucky that I'm not because I would have missed the phone call from Susan.
She's a friend of mine and one of my Bridge partners. There was nothing
special about that phone call but the odd thing was, I had the feeling that
something important was going to happen but that it depended on my catching her
phone call. Have you ever had that feeling, that one event is entirely linked
to another event and then to another? It isn't something I can define but just
Susan just came home from Hong Kong where she has lived the last four years.
She moved there with her husband John. He works for IBM (I've Been Moved :).
She tells interesting stories about the place! In Hong Kong, she opened to the
spirit world and became fascinated with Feng Shui, the Chinese Art of
Placement. She's trying it out in her home as she unpacks. She has some idea
that putting certain things in certain places assists the flow of chi (spiritual
energy) through her home. As soon as she finishes with this, which may take a
while considering she bought half of Hong Kong, we have some Bridge games
planned. If I can get to the games, that is. No doubt, some great and divine
being determined it was time for me to be without wheels and the places they take you.
Oh, and I meant to tell you, I bought a book called
Tarot Spells. It is filled with beautiful affirmations that the author calls spells. They
aren't the kind of spells we've ever heard of but I guess one woman's spell is
another woman's prayer or something like that. Anyhow, I'm hoping they will
help me improve my strange luck. I bought a deck of Tarot cards to go with the
book. Do you know anything about Tarot? I think it's pronounced either Taro
From what I'm learning, Tarot is a deck of 78 picture cards, used mostly as
fortune telling cards. According to another book I have, the cards show an
ancient philosophy. Each card is supposed to show a different part of the
philosophy and is supposed to impart a spiritual insight. Supposedly, I can
use Tarot to analyze a problem I might be having or help out with something
negative in my life. I like them because they're based on playing cards, and
that really appeals to me. I'm going to use the cards and the spells to see if
I can upgrade my life.
And riddle me this, oh wise one! What does a tireless card player do when stuck
at home with no car? She runs an ad in a magazine to read Tarot cards for free
over the phone. That ought to be a hoot, don't you think? Car or no car, I
will play some kind of cards! Oh, and you should see where they put my ad.
What a laugh! It's between two root doctors' ads! Let's see what happens.
What's up with you, lately? Write soon.
What in the world is a root doctor? I take it that it is not a urologist.
Tarot, Claire? Will wonders never cease? I never knew you could read them. I
never knew anyone who could read them. There's a deck around here somewhere
that I don't know how I came by or even if they are all here. And how do you
read Tarot cards? Do you take a Tarot course or do you just pick them up and
I don't mean to sound glib and unbelieving. In fact, I have always wanted to
have my fortune told, but I got off to a bad start with fortune-tellers back in
high school. Remember when I went to one with Ricky Johnston after you broke
his heart? He was desperate to get you back. The fortune-teller relieved him
of some of his money and told him that if he bought her a certain expensive
sweater that she wanted, she would be able to work enough magic for him to get
you back. That was when I realized he was a fool and I began to see why you
dropped him in the first place. But you might be able to work the sweater scam
or a variation of it into your routine: "If you will bring me those ruby
earrings from Neiman Marcus, I know it will increase my power to alter your
fate." I also think you should wear a turban like the one Johnny Carson wore as
the Great Karnak.
So, you have a friend just come back from China. If you're interested in
China, read Clavell. He writes about Feng Shui and the dragon's breath. It's
a marvel to me that you have a Master's degree in English but have never read
Clavell. And I am thrilled that you finally have a phone. An excellent
investment! Not having a phone because you don't want to hear it ring is not a
good reason not to have a phone. All you have to do is attach an answering
machine to it and then turn off the ringer.
You never did say how you are enjoying learning Windows PC? Did the addition
of windows make it any more interesting? I am pea green with envy that you
know all that new computer stuff and word processing software. You don't love words
any better than I do. I have often thought about taking a computer course just
so I could get into the 20th century, so to e-speak. I have a friend who is a
court reporter. I could never perform that job properly. There would be times
when I would be unable to keep my mouth shut and type.
Jessie is growing like a weed, but she's not tall enough yet to reach the
videotapes. I finally realized I needed to rearrange her burgeoning tape
collection so it is all housed in a drawer she can reach. Now, we no longer
have to go through, "What do you want to watch?" where I have to name off all
14 and let her decide. Who would have thought a 3-year-old would require so
many videocassettes? Today we have watched The Wescuers, Wobin Hood, and
Jungey Book. And she just brought me Wescuers Down Unner.
I shouldn't complain. Once, when she was younger, the TV went out and I read
Brer Rabbit and the Tarbaby six times in one day, and if I hadn't been such a
bad mother, I would have read it six more. I wanted to read Peter
Rabbit, but Jessie wouldn't listen because the illustrations weren't as
eye-catching. I couldn't explain to her that they were the originals. As
unpatriotic as this may sound, comparing Joel Chandler Harris to Beatrix Potter
is like comparing Danielle Steele to Amy Tan. You can bet Jessie was glad to
get her TV back, and so was I. It was essential to her potty training as she
was quite willing to sit there until gravity took over as long as something
interesting was on the TV. When she was potty training, I was going to set the
timer so I could remember to let her try to potty every hour or so, but I got
afraid that I would have her conditioned like Pavlov's dog, and every time an
elevator dinged, she would wet her panties. So many choices and I may not know
for 20 years which ones were wrong.
And, oh, the continuing woes of a cat lover! That hateful Kitty Emil just
spilled a quart of iced tea on my bookcase and all over my cookbooks. If I
could catch him I would wring his neck. A couple of weeks ago I caught Jessie
chasing Kitty Emil and thrashing him with my belt, but after finding one of my
eel skin boots cat-mauled past recognition or ever wearing again, I was loathe
to make her stop. I would tell you how much I paid for those boots 10 years
go, but I would have to stop typing and go throw up.
Because of the incident with the boots, and other such incidences, Kitty Emil
and Sandra Dee have been de-clawed one week today. Kitty Emil was his usual
hateful self. I had to load him up in the box to bring him home because nobody
at the vet's office would touch him or the box. Patty said he acted like the
cat from Pet Sematary and that I have a career waiting for me at Ringling
Brothers as a cat handler. Dr. Starbuck told me I could take Emil's Droncit
home with me and give it to him myself because he was so mean. And I said,
"Oh, he's nothing but hiss. Besides, now he doesn't even have any claws." That
was when she held up her mangled hand and said, "Yeah, well, he didn't have any
claws this morning, either." So far, Emil has never seen a vet but once than I
have to find another vet. I wish he wouldn't be so bad. I really like these
vets. They've always been good about sending home the medicine without seeing
the animal. If they had known about little Kitty Emil, they would probably
have sent me home the stuff to de-claw him with.
With which to de-claw him? It was a great literary faux pas to declare that
sentences can't end in prepositions like they're supposed to. It is one of the
most perverted rules I can think of. Real people speak the way they're the most
comfortable with. I have decided that the person who invented it is the
reincarnation of the person who decided that Chinese women were sexier with
their feet deformed and crippled from binding up. It just goes to show the
atrocities humans and grammarians are capable of. The rule binds only the
writers, and not even all of them. "It is an ancient Mariner, and he stoppeth
one of three."
Speaking of not-very-ancient mariners, my good friend Wade died of leukemia. I
miss him so much. I'm sure the crew of his ocean-going barge misses him, too.
Now they have Don as their pilot. They were safer when Wade was the pilot.
Wade said he had to be sleeping to be able to stand it when Don drove the
barge. He said he knew Don too well and that whenever he saw Don at the helm,
his eyes played tricks on him so that he saw Daffy Duck instead. But in all
fairness to Don, when the Tampa-St. Pete Bridge collapsed after the ship hit
it, and when the rush hour drivers were plummeting to their deaths, it was Don
who positioned the barge against the bridge and held it in place. Without Don,
the entire bridge would have collapsed. Daffy Duck saved the lives of maybe
Losing Wade is almost too much to bear. He was born in Rum Gully, South
Carolina, and grew up in Savannah, Georgia. The nicest thing he ever said
about Savannah was that it was situated directly over one of the vents of Hell.
I lived there for years. It wasn't that bad. It was good-bad, like you said.
Or bad-good, however you look at it. And it is a beautiful place. That's
where I met Wade.
Just before he died, he was in pain and taking Valium and chasing it with
brandy. I don't think it was strong enough to kill the pain, but Wade didn't
want to take anything stronger. He said he didn't want to lose focus. One
day, after taking Valium and drinking brandy, he invited me out to eat at an
Italian restaurant. The next day, when he opened his wallet, he saw his
American Express card had fettuccini wrapped all around it, and he couldn't
remember how it got there. Wade's hair was falling out because of the chemo.
He said it looked exactly like someone had used a burning rope to give him a
hair cut. He said that when he lost all his hair, he intended to have his
scalp tattooed in black finger waves. Wade never lost his sense of humor, even
though he lost his life. A few years ago he spent far too much money for a set
of four Dali prints. Wonderful prints, the Alice in Wonderland series. Alice
appears to be holding a jump rope but Wade always swore it was a whip! The
dumbest thing I ever did was not buy a page out of a Dali sketchbook for $450
in 1980. It was Don Quixote on Rocinante in a rearing position, with Quixote
wielding his sword with both hands. Done mostly in cyclonic downward spirals.
If there are any brown spatters on this paper, it is because I tried to gnaw
off my thumb in remorse.
Did brother Bill find a $10,000 car for $2,000? Even a $6,000 car for $2,000
would be acceptable. When you get your new car, you should immediately start
planning a trip to south Florida. In the meantime, let me know how things
progress in your anything-but-dull existence. Write soon.
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