My Mother In Spring

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My mother grew up in New York City never learning how to drive a car before she left.  When she moved to Frederick, MD for college, she fell in love with the country life.  She loved gardening and flowers.  Her gardens were quite unorganized and messy compared with my father’s orderly rows of onions and cantaloupe.

When the daffodils came in, she would send my niece off with scissors and a grocery bag to gather them from the neighbor’s lane.  I remember walking in the kitchen and the table covered with mounds of daffodils.  My mother would put vases of these flowers all over the house.  She was as reliable as crocuses in the spring.

It’s So Cold….

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The other day it was so cold out I saw a deer wearing long underwear.  I saw two squirrels putting their nuts in a microwave.  When I stepped outside there was a cute little chipmunk, frozen solid. The wind was howling, and I told my girlfriend, when you go outside, stand next to me because I’m good at breaking wind.  She agreed.

It is too cold here. I want to go to Miami.

Aunt City

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I heard my dad yell up the stairs, “Boys, we’re going to Aunt City’s after church.”
I put on my best blue sweater. My Aunt City was a real chef–I had seen a picture of her with a chef’s hat on. She welcomed us into her kitchen with kisses on our cheeks and big hugs. She filled the kitchen table with foods like country ham and cheese spread with Ritz crackers. It was so good, cheesy and salty.
Her homemade kinklings were very special: square donuts designed to hold more powdered sugar. I ate one at the table and ate two later when I hid in the broom closet. I was sneaky like that, but Dad noticed that my sweater was covered with sugar.
She served a powerful eggnog. I drank a cup and threw up in her spotless bathroom.

Uncle Joe and Aunt City had been eating this good food all their lives, and they were both quite large. Uncle Joe’s back was three feet wide. He could really block your view of the TV. Aunt City had big ankles which carried her through a loving life of cooking and taking care of Joe, a railroad worker.

When mass ended, the priest said, “The mass has ended. Go in peace.”  My brother and I would smile and reply loudly, “Thanks be to God!”
We knew we were going to Aunt City’s.

The First Time

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In 1972, my hippie sister got married. The wedding was in our front yard, on a hillside overlooking Frederick valley. I was twelve years old then and quite naïve.
So, when my cool cousin, who was eleven, asked me if I wanted to get high,
I said, “yeah, you want to climb some trees?”
He said, “no, lets catch a buzz.”

I liked this cousin. He lived in McLean, Virginia, in a big cool house next to a United States senator. I was not going to let him know that I had no idea what he was talking about. He said, “come on,” and, we walked down the lane into the woods. He got out a little pipe, flipped his Zippo lighter and started smoking. I had never smoked anything, never tried alcohol, but, I hit that pipe like I was Popeye. Some things just come naturally.

Exhaling smoke was fascinating. I was hooked.
He said, “I’m wasted,” and I said, “I am too,”
although I didn’t know whether I was buzzed or not. My eyes felt funny, and later, I did eat four pieces of wedding cake. A couple weeks after that my best friend told me that he smoked it, and, shortly after that, I became a young pothead. I can’t say what happened that day was a bad thing. I do know it’s been a factor in my taking the road less traveled. I have been high for most of the journey.

The Residents

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The residents of the Record Street Home for the Aged are my responsibility as far as breakfast, lunch and dinner are concerned. Thirteen women with an average age of eighty-nine. While cooking I also have to answer the telephone.
“Good morning, Chef Stephen, Record Street Home, how can I help you?”

“My mother is in the infirmary and I would like to come by
with some of her Depends underwear,” some lady says.
“Let me send you to the Nurse’s Station.”

I have worked here five years and have not totally figured out the phone system. I have cut many people off by accident, especially when I am busy in the kitchen. The responsibility and the help that I am given have caused me to lose my temper on several occasions.
The residents, who are hard of hearing, have complained to the director of yelling and banging in the kitchen. She said one more incident and I am history. She yells this at me. She has threatened me with dismissal four times. The one time I quit she called me the next day and for the first time in four year she said, “You do a good job. Please come back.”

I don’t handle stress well. It can cause me to eat like a hog, smoke mother nature, and watch weird movies on Netflix. It is a good thing I only work on weekends…

Visiting Aunt Sity

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I heard my dad yell up the stairs, “Boys, we’re going to Aunt Sity’s after church.”
I put on my best blue sweater. My Aunt Sity was a real chef–I had seen a picture of her with a chef’s hat on. She would welcome us into her kitchen with kisses on our cheeks and big hugs. She would then start filling the kitchen table with foods like country ham and cheese spread, that would go on a Ritz cracker. It was so good, cheesy and salty.
Home made kinklings, square donuts designed to hold more powdered sugar. I ate one at the table and ate two later when I hid in the broom closet. I was sneaky like that, but Dad did ask why my sweater was covered with sugar.
She served a powerful eggnog. I drank a cup and threw up in her spotless bathroom.
Uncle Joe and Aunt Sity a been eating this good food all their lives, and they were both quite large. Uncle Joe’s back was three feet wide. He could really block your view of the TV. Aunt Sity had big ankles which carried her through a loving life of cooking and taking care of Joe, a railroad worker.

When mass ended and the priest said, “The mass has ended. Go in peace,” my brother and I would smile and reply loudly, “Thanks be to God!”
We knew we were going to Aunt Sity’s.

The Kings of Frederick County

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My best buddy Vance and I were cruising to Monocacy Village Park to catch a buzz. We had just beaten Westminster’s football team. Later, we would go to a house party with the cheerleaders. In those days we were the kings of Frederick County. Making our own rules, no fear, all muscle, living large.

Vance had two fatties of Mexican. Some hard tokes, holding it in, feeling the coolness, which seemed to go all the way to my vertebrae. We headed back to TJ High School. We would go to the school dance and scope on some babes.

Making a left turn onto 13th Street, I saw flashing lights in my rear-view.

“Vance, it’s a cop,” I yelled. I had never been pulled over before.

“Vance, what do I do,” I yelled again.

“Floor it!” Vance said.

Vance was crazy and stoned, and so was I. I jammed on that gas peddle with my extra-wide foot. My rusty, beat-up VW beetle did not put much distance between us and that cop. At the four way stop, I pulled over.

“Eat this.”

Vance handed me a fat joint. I stuck it in my mouth as I saw the cop, almost at my window. He shined his light in my face as I pushed the joint between my front teeth & gums and my upper lip. I smiled at him with my hidden joint bulging my lip and tiny slits for eyes. I must have looked like a chink. Then he shined the light on Vance. Vance was holding his arms weirdly in the air, and he was making a face with his lips all crooked, and he said, “Officer, I have muscular dystrophy.”

The cop and I both did a double take. The cop said, “Now look, your smart-asses could get a fine of over 100 dollars for speeding. As I saw you boys kick Westminster’s ass, and my nephew is your defensive end, I just want you to get the hell out of here.”

I was lucky that night, and many other nights. We were kings of Frederick County, living large, in our glory days.